Tuesday Open Thread

God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen (also known as God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen) is an English traditional Christmas carol. The melody is in Aeolian mode. It was published by William B. Sandys in 1833, although the author is unknown.[1]

Like so many early Christmas songs, this carol was written as a direct reaction to the music of the fifteenth century church, in Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas. However, in the as-yet earliest known publication of the carol on a circa 1760 broadsheet, it is described as a “new Christmas carol,”[2] suggesting its origin is actually in the mid-18th century. It appeared again among “new carols for Christmas” in another 18th-century source, a chapbook believed to be printed between 1780-1800.[3]

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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76 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    December 06, 2011 3:40 PM

    The McCaskill/Collins compromise
    By Steve Benen

    The leadership of both parties in both chambers want to pass an extension of the payroll tax break, but all of the relevant details have led to a predictable partisan standoff. A bipartisan duo — Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) — presented a compromise plan today intended to pick up at least some Republican votes.

    Brian Beutler walks us through the outline:


    It renews the current two percent payroll tax cuts for workers and extends a 2 percent cut to employers as well, on their first $10 million of payroll. In other words, it does not deepen the existing payroll tax for employees.

    It provides a tax credit for young, U.S.-based tech businesses, and renews other expiring business tax credits. It would provide $10 billion to state governments and require them to use the funds to seed state-based infrastructure banks, and provide an additional $25 billion in highway and bridge funding. To win GOP support, the legislation would delay for at least 15 months EPA rules meant to prevent industrial boilers and incinerators from emitting harmful toxins and pollutants — and impose other new regulatory requirements on federal agencies.

    But, and this is key, it will be paid for exclusively with higher taxes: a two percent millionaires tax that carves out an exemption businesses that file as individuals, and a repeal of tax subsidies for the five largest oil companies in the country.

    I’m generally not pleased when McCaskill starts reaching compromises with GOP senators, but this one could have been worse.

    Obviously, a large chunk of the Republican caucuses will refuse to even consider any plan that asks more of millionaires and billionaires, but the principal GOP talking point has been about small-business taxes. The McCaskill/Collins compromise eliminates that concern.

    If we were dealing with sensible Republicans who were willing to compromise, this would pass rather easily.

    But we’re not. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has already signaled his opposition to the bipartisan deal, and the likelihood that House Republicans would go for this is hard to even fathom.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/the_mccaskillcollins_compromis033939.php#comments

  2. rikyrah says:

    December 06, 2011 4:20 PM
    Big babies
    By Steve Benen

    Leon Cooperman, a billionaire hedge-fund CEO, is unhappy with President Obama. Apparently, as far as Cooperman is concerned, the president has adopted a “divisive, polarizing tone.” He elaborated in an interview with the NYT’s Andrew Ross Sorkin:


    “What pushed me over the fence was the president’s dialogue over the debt ceiling,” Mr. Cooperman said, explaining that just when it seemed like a compromise was near, President Obama went on national television and pressed harder on “millionaires and billionaires,” a phrase that has stuck in the craw of many of the elite.

    For example, Mr. Cooperman zeroed in on what he described as the president’s belittling remarks about taxing the wealthy: “If you are a wealthy C.E.O. or hedge fund manager in America right now, your taxes are lower than they have ever been. They are lower than they have been since the 1950s. And they can afford it,” the president said back in June. “You can still ride on your corporate jet. You’re just going to have to pay a little more.”

    As far as Cooperman is concerned, this is an example of the president conveying “the sense” that the hyper-wealthy as “bad people.”

    I haven’t the foggiest idea what this guy is talking about.

    I’ve heard, or read the transcript of, just about every recent Obama speech, and he never belittles the rich or makes them out to be villains. On the contrary, when the president talks about asking more from the wealthy, he invariably will include a phrase such as, “This isn’t to punish folks who are better off — God bless them.”

    But as Cooperman apparently sees it, the mere mention of “millionaires and billionaires” is somehow a personal slight. That the president is referring to those who really are, quite literally, millionaires and billionaires, doesn’t seem to matter.

    Greg Sargent is asking the right questions: “Can we really be at the point where the phrase ‘millionaires and billionaires’ is too sharp-elbowed for our thin-skinned elites to countenance? Are we really at the point where that little jibe from Obama about corporate jets tantamount to casting the wealthy as ‘bad people’?”

    I’m afraid the answer to both questions is, “Apparently, so.”

    The over-arching realization seems to be that some of the extremely wealthy, who’ve benefited tremendously from tax breaks and federal policies intended to reward their riches, have become, for lack of a better phrase, big babies. It’s not enough that the nation allow wealthy to concentrate at the top; we have to be politically correct in our phrasing to protect their delicate sensibilities, too. Even when we’re talking about millionaires and billionaires, we shouldn’t say “millionaires and billionaires” because we don’t want to hurt their feelings.

    President Obama, we’re supposed to believe, is a big meanie because he’s trying to rescue the nation from several crisis that were not of his making, but he’s not using phrases that make obscenely wealthy Americans feel good about themselves.

    If Dickens and Carroll co-authored a novel, I suspect it’d look a little like this.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/big_babies033941.php

  3. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:51 AM ET, 12/06/2011
    Why Mitt Romney is on thin ice in Iowa
    By Jonathan Bernstein
    Exactly four weeks from today, Iowa Republicans will attend their party caucuses. A new Washington Post/ABC News Poll confirms what two polls over the weekend said — that Newt Gingrich has built a substantial lead, with Mitt Romney losing ground and basically tied with Ron Paul. So what is Romney doing in Iowa? Why doesn’t he, as Reid Wilson suggests today, just bow out of Iowa and wait for New Hampshire, a state that is far better suited to Romney’s charms?

    He can’t. What Romney’s campaign seems to understand, and why he has fully committed to Iowa, is that the important thing isn’t winning Iowa. It’s winning the week after Iowa — the week between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary — during which the media will decide what the Iowa results meant, with far reaching implications for New Hampshire, which is key to Romney’s strategy.

    If the polls hold, the spin coming out of Iowa surely will be that Gingrich leads a two-person race. The press will continue to treat Ron Paul as a sideshow and ignore him, and the rest of the field will be starved for oxygen and rapidly drop out. That’s not a bad result for Romney going forward; while Gingrich does have some strengths, Romney will have solid advantages in money, in support from Republican opinion leaders, and in organization, and has a nice, fat, opposition research file on Gingrich with plenty of time to use it.

    But while Romney could easily come from behind and close the gap — Nate Silver reminds us that significant late shifts in Iowa are very possible — it’s also not hard to believe that Romney could drop out of the top three entirely. The next group of candidates includes Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum, and they’re tightly bunched about ten points behind Romney and Paul. If Romney does fall behind one of those others, that really does change things. For Romney it would be seen as a major defeat. What’s more, the press, always on the lookout for a new story, would probably devote quite a bit of attention to a Perry or Bachmann comeback or a Santorum surprise.

    And that’s why Romney is stuck in Iowa. If the week between Iowa and New Hampshire is full of talk of , say, a Perry surge, then the game changes in a way that’s very dangerous for the Mittster. An intense blast of positive press following a surprise third-place finish in Iowa could instantly revive Perry’s candidacy. So Romney will compete hard over the next four weeks. If he winds up barely scraping into third place, everyone is going to call it a huge loss for him — but I suspect that Team Romney will be inwardly just fine with that result. But anything worse risks a real disaster — and that’s why Iowa remains absolutely critical to Romney’s hopes.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/why-mitt-romney-is-on-thin-ice-in-iowa/2011/12/06/gIQAmPgeZO_blog.html

  4. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 03:59 PM ET, 12/06/2011
    Obama unleashes sharp attack on inequality, and Campaign 2012 begins
    By Greg Sargent
    Obama’s speech in Kansas, which just concluded, was the most direct condemnation of wealth and income inequality, and the most expansive moral defense of the need for government activism to combat it, that Obama has delivered in his career. The speech is best seen as a bid to establish a moral and philosophical framework within which literally all of the political and policy battles of the next year will unfold, including the biggest one of all: The presidential campaign itself.

    While Obama did pivot to a more populist posture earlier this fall after the debt ceiling debacle, today’s speech was notable for its more direct emphasis on inequality itself as a moral scourge and as a threat to the country’s future. He cast the question of whether government can and should act to combat inequality as a referendum on American values and our national identity.

    The clash of visions Obama tried to set the stage for today — a philosophical and moral argument over government’s proper role in regulating the economy and restoring our future — is seen by Dems as more favorable to them than the GOP’s preferred frame for Campaign 2012, i.e., a referendum on the current state of the economy and on Obama’s efforts to fix it. Hence his constant references to the morality of “fairness.”

    “We simply cannot return to this brand of you’re-on-your-own economics if we’re serious about rebuilding the middle class in this country,” Obama said, in what will probably be the most enduring line of the speech. A number of people on Twitter immediately suggested a new shorthand: “YoYo Economics.”

    That line is key in another way. Dems believe inequality will be central in 2012 because they think there’s been a fundamental shift in how Americans view the economy, one rooted in the plight of the middle class and in the trauma created by the financial crisis. As Chuck Schumer told me recently, Dems think the public’s rising anxiety about inequality is not just about the top one percent doing far better than everyone else. Rather, they’ve concluded it’s directly linked to the public’s perception that unfettered capitalism undermined the security and future of the middle class in a very fundamental, frightening way. Occupy Wall Street reflects broader, deeper concerns that are thoroughly mainstream, and no matter what people tell pollsters about government, they want sustained government action when they understand it’s about restoring the middle class’s security and durability.

    Obama’s speech went to great lengths to criticize inequality in this context, and his historical references were also designed to support that theme. He drew a direct line between today’s debate and the debate at the turn of the century between the forces of unregulated capitalism, which caused massive inequality and suffering, and Theodore Roosevelt’s insistence on humane government intervention in service of the national good.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/obama-unleashes-sharp-attack-on-inequality-and-campaign-2012-begins/2011/12/06/gIQAS1EJaO_blog.html?tid=sm_btn_twitter

  5. rikyrah says:

    Robert Reich Exposes The GOP’s Dirty Little Payroll Tax Cut Secret

    Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich was on Countdown discussing the dirty little secret behind the GOP’s tax cut hypocrisy. If taxes are lowered for the rich, everyone else must pay more.

    Reich said, “I think the most important point is that the president is pointing out very very clearly for the entire country to understand the two pieces of hypocrisy here. Number one that the Republicans don’t want to raise taxes on the rich, but that may require and mean that taxes are going to be raised on almost everybody else, but number two that suddenly they are sort of born again oh, you’ve got to pay for tax cuts. Tax cuts don’t pay for themselves when for years they have been saying that tax cuts pay for themselves, and they can’t have it both ways.”

    The former Labor Secretary talked about what will happen if the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance are not extended, “Eighty percent of Americans pay more in payroll taxes than they do in income taxes, so this is a big deal, and a thousand dollars on average per family or worker for that matter is a big deal for most families. The second is the extended unemployment benefits and given how many people are actually still unemployed in this economy, that’s important. It’s puts money in their pockets. They can turn around and buy things, and that creates jobs or at least keeps people in jobs. If the Republicans have their way and neither of these things is extended, neither the payroll tax nor the extended unemployment benefits then it will be a tremendous fiscal drag on the economy.”

    Yes, the dirty little secret of the Republican Party is that they recognize the need to raise taxes. Even the GOP knows that their tax free utopia is not possible. After all someone has to pay for those huge defense budgets, and that someone is you and me. Republicans know that taxes will have to be raised on everyone else in order to fund their tax cuts for the wealthy.

    They understand that trickle down economics does not work, and they expect every American who isn’t a member of the income elite to pay more so that our country can afford their ideological driven generosity to the rich. How else can the GOP conversion from the mantra of tax cuts pay for themselves to the payroll tax cut must be paid for be explained?

    The truth is that the Republican Party is engaged in a massive wealth redistribution plan. Their plan is to concentrate America’s national wealth at the top, and expand the economic inequality already present at historic levels in our current system. The GOP is out to fundamentally transform America into a rigid class structure where poverty will be inescapable for many, and advancement up the economic ladder will be a myth.

    Republicans don’t hate all tax cuts, just those that will require the rich to pay more.

    http://www.politicususa.com/en/robert-reich-payroll-tax

  6. rikyrah says:

    @jeffzeleny Jeff Zeleny
    A look inside NYT/CBS Poll: Best prepared to be president? Gingrich 43-Romney 20. What issues matters most? Economy 71%, Social issues 14%

    BWA H AHHA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

  7. rikyrah says:

    this simply SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN.

    PERIOD.

    THE UTTER DESPERATION THIS WOMAN MUST HAVE FELT.

    and, we have mofos like Newt et al disrespecting poor people.

    …………………………….

    Mom denied food stamps shoots kids, kills self

    A Texas woman who for months was unable to qualify for food stamps pulled a gun in a state welfare office and held a seven-hour standoff with police that ended with her shooting her two children before killing herself, officials said Tuesday.

    The 10-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl remained in critical condition Tuesday. Authorities identified the mother as Rachelle Grimmer, 38, and children Ramie and Timothy.

    When the family entered the office on Monday shortly before it closed, Grimmer asked to speak to a new caseworker, and not the one whom she worked with before, Texas Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman said.

    Grimmer was taken to a private room to discuss her case, then she revealed a gun and the standoff began, Goodman said.

    Police negotiators stayed on the phone with Grimmer throughout the evening, but she kept hanging up, Laredo police investigator Joe Baeza said. She allegedly told negotiators about a litany of complaints against state and federal government agencies.

    Grimmer let a supervisor go unharmed around 7:45 but stayed inside the office with her children. After hanging up the phone around 11:45, police heard three shots, and a riot police team entered the building. Inside, they found Grimmer’s body and her two wounded children.

    The children were “very critical” and unconscious, Baeza said.

    Goodman said it’s not unusual for caseworkers to confront angry or confused benefit-seekers, but that it’s very rare for a situation to escalate to violence.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57337766/mom-denied-food-stamps-shoots-kids-kills-self/?tag=pop;stories

    • Rikyrah

      It’s the saddest thing ever. Why did it have to come to this? Pray tell, who would be at a food stamp office if they weren’t in need. To have a mother desperate for help and yet she gets denied and in the end she shoots her kids and then herself.
      This is just too much.

      Should.not.have.ever.happened. SHAMEFUL!

  8. rikyrah says:

    When Does President Obama Get Your Apology, Professional Left?

    I had changed my registration from Democrat to Independent, and I had blacked out the top of the “h” on my Obama bumper sticker, so that it read, “Got nope” instead of “got hope.” I felt like he had let down the struggling middle class. My son and I had campaigned for him, but since he took office, we felt he had let us down.

    So this is my public apology. I’m sorry I didn’t do enough of my own research to find out what promises the president has made good on. I’m sorry I didn’t realize that he really has stood up for me and my family, and for so many others like us. I’m getting a new bumper sticker to cover the one that says “Got nope.” It will say “ObamaCares.”

    When I read those words, I got a chill. These are words by Spike Dolomite Ward, a breast cancer patient and an Obama volunteer in 2008 who felt that the President had let her down, and who now calls ObamaCare a “lifesaver – perhaps literally.” The plan she is talking about is the Pre-existing Conditions Insurance Plan (PCIP), provided under the Affordable Care Act with a federal funding of $5 billion as a bridge for patients with pre-existing conditions until 2014, when the exchanges start, pre-existing conditions discrimination ends forever and the subsidies kick in.

    Spike is not someone who was predisposed to dislike the President, and as we see, she is certainly an American willing to let facts change her mind. But for her, it took staring cancer down to realize that the Affordable Care Act is saving her life, and that “ObamaCare” is the answer to the prayers of so many to fix our broken health care system. Whose job was it to keep her informed throughout the health care debate? Who were claiming to be the vanguard of progressivism and denying her the opportunity to have information about how the ACA could change her life, instead engaging in what they thought was a “fight” in order to amplify legislative ponies to the point where the legislative meat got all shoved aside?

    Spike’s story is not uncommon. There’s been very little coverage of what health reform has done to change lives in the media – Left, Right and “center.” For example, chances are that you have no idea that the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Studies has just released data showing that ObamaCare has saved seniors on Medicare $1.5 billion in prescription drug expenses in just the last year.

    Sure, our media failed. And it continues to fail. But that is not new, and that is not news. And someone who’s campaigned for the President in 2008, I doubt, is getting their news and opinions off of Fox News or the Wall Street Journal. So there’s some specific people in the media (both online and offline) that we have to look at here who have misinformed and lied to people like her. When I say people like her, I mean progressives and ordinary Americans who put their trust in President Obama, who gave their time and money to make this country a better place during the course of the 2012 campaign.

    Not to put too fine a point on this, but the people who failed Spike and numerous other Americans are the same people who have branded themselves True ProgressivesTM in the media and berated those of us who actually pointed out the benefits at the time of the debate as paid shills, corporatists and sellouts. They are the same people who, in the name of defending progressive values, refused to consider the impact of legislation on the lives of ordinary people, choosing instead the easy path of generating hysteria and gaining infamy by having a fit about an incomplete ideological checklist. They are the same people who proudly make up the “Left” media. They are Ed Schultz, Jane Hamsher, Firedoglake, Michael Moore, Daily Kos, Cornel West, Cenk Uygur, Keith Olbermann, and so on and so forth.

    It is they who decided that doing nothing about our health care system was an option in their zeal to kill the bill. It is they who decided that if we could not get a weak public option that would cost more than private insurance, then Spike Dolomite Ward should not have been able to get this lifeline that she got through the ACA. They are the ones who decided that if the President didn’t pound enough podiums, then it was fine for seniors to have to pay $1.5 billion extra over the past year for prescription drugs. They are the ones who went out and told people like Spike that there was no point to voting in 2010 since the Democrats and the president “caved” on pony demands on their checklists, and because, you know, there wasn’t a clear enough difference between the parties. Damn the progress we made, they told us, because in their eyes, it wasn’t big enough or fast enough. They are the ones who saw an opportunity in manufacturing outrage based on a pre-ordained frame (“Obama is weak”) rather than doing the hard work of legislative research and analyzing how provisions may affect the lives of the least fortunate and the middle class. The Professional Leftists are the ones that saddled this country with Speaker Boehner.

    http://www.thepeoplesview.net/2011/12/how-professional-left-undermines.html

  9. “What IS Mitt Romney Hiding?”

  10. Romney’s $100,000 Taxpayer Funded Destruction of Records Gets Wide Coverage

  11. rikyrah says:

    Found this over at THE OBAMA DIARY:

    Sweet Baby Jesus

    Colorado: Newt 37, Mitt 18, Bachmann 9, Paul 6, Perry/Santorum 4, Huntsman 3

    North Carolina: Newt 51, Mitt 14, Bachmann 8, Paul 7, Perry 4, Santorum 3, Huntsman 1

    BWA HA HA H AH HA HA HA HA

  12. rikyrah says:

    FOUND this at Balloon Juice comparing Leroy and Willard:


    21.Jewish Steel – December 6, 2011 | 2:56 pm · Link

    My psychologizing take on the two front-runners. I think that Newt will consolidate his hold on the base because he is the aspirational version of the Republican base. He is what the old white men I know want to be; they have money and they are comfortable but they wield no power in this world. They are powerless to stop the tide of brown people/sexting teens/mooslims that they see as an existential threat. Newt, for them, stands athwart this deluge and says, with authority, “STOP!” That’s exactly what they want to hear and he’s the unprepossessing troll they want to hear it from. He resembles the man they see in the mirror.

    Romney, by contrast, is their more successful competitor from across town, or the next big town over. A soi disant Republican but, so the reasoning goes, corrupted by his undeserved wealth. Educated back east (Stanford and BYU in addition to faih Hahvahd), travels to Europe (speaks French? French? You gotta be shittin’ me!)And with Romney it is more than whispered that he as some sympathy with the ideals of a welfare state. He has an actual record to prove it. Too handsome as well. That is why he repulses the base.

    I want it to be Gingrich so bad, these are the tales I tell myself.

  13. rikyrah says:

    December 06, 2011 2:30 PM

    What a primary can do to a candidate
    By Steve Benen

    Remember when Jon Huntsman, the so-called moderate of the Republican presidential field, was saying sensible things about climate change? Well, forget it.


    Jon Huntsman attended a packed blogger sit down at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. TPM’s Evan McMorris-Santoro attended, pressing the GOP presidential candidate about his position on climate change.

    In August, Huntsman acknowledged the broad body of science pointing to climate change. Seated at an elite conservative think tank, however, Huntsman played a different tune, saying climate scientists “owe us more” information before we can decide if climate change is real.

    “I think there’s probably more debate to be played out within the scientific community,” he said.

    For those who haven’t been following him closely, it’s important to realize that Huntsman was not only a voice of sanity on climate change; he actually seemed to take some pride in using the issue to differentiate himself from his Republican rivals. The former governor used to even support cap and trade.

    Asked about climate change in May, Huntsman said, “All I know is 90 percent of the scientists say climate change is occurring. If 90 percent of the oncological community said something was causing cancer we’d listen to them.”

    Responding to Rick Perry in August, Huntsman said, “The minute that the Republican Party becomes the anti-science party, we have a huge problem…. When we take a position that basically runs counter to what 98 of 100 climate scientists have said, what the National Academy of Sciences has said about what is causing climate change and man’s contribution to it, I think we find ourselves on the wrong side of science, and, therefore, in a losing position.”

    Around the same time, Huntsman boasted, “To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.”

    What was “crazy” was thinking Huntsman could thrive in national Republican politics saying sane things about science. Now that the pressure’s on, he’s pulling a Romney, abandoning what he knows to be true, and desperately trying to tell his party’s right-wing base what it wants to hear.

  14. President Barack Obama climbs onto the stage prior to speaking about the economy, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011, at Osawatomie High School in Osawatomie, Kansas.

  15. rikyrah says:

    The Truth About Pundit Crap: Could Jon Meacham Be the Most Insufferable Human in Washington?

    I have long proposed that every single major elite political pundit be frog-marched away from the buffet tables inside the Beltway and deep into the Blue Ridge Mountains, there to be confined to a re-education facility where they will clear trails, and reclaim swampland, and repair dams, and make life lovely for the furry little woodland creatures until every damn one of these hacks has learned not to look at the incredible universe of grifters and charlatans that is our current political elite and in them see the giants of the past. Comes now Parson Meacham, and I suspect he’s going to be working out in the woods until the squirrels up and bury him some winter.

    I mean where in the name of god do I go with this kind of fanzine bullshit? (And you had to know Mike Allen would be wrapped up in there, too. With the advent of that promised e-book, we may be close to the event horizon of Washington suck-up-itude.) Meacham’s work here is what Walter Lippmann would’ve produced if he’d worked for Tiger Beat.

    Try this…

    It is a perennial lament, one we are hearing anew as the Republican nomination race closes in on the actual casting of votes, and every candidate appears small if not fatally flawed.

    Only Jon Meacham, who knows where they hide the Three Musketeers bars in every green room in Christendom, can look at this Republican field and not see it as being sui generis in terms of rampant, obvious crackpottery. Compare it to other larger Republican primary fields and to some of the losers in them. Michele Bachmann is not Jack Kemp. Rick Santorum is not Ronald Reagan. Herman Cain is not… well, he’s not a serious candidate, and he never was. Rick Perry is not even George W. Bush, Lord save us. Okay, maybe Jon Huntsman is a hyper-conservative John Anderson, and Mitt Romney is a hyper-disingenuous Bob Dole, but Huntsman’s polling in the Marianas Trench, and the entire party wishes Romney would die in a fire. And that’s something that Meacham, in his endless attempt to make chicken salad out of that which you cannot make chicken salad, loses sight of entirely. This field is a festival for fruitcake because so is the party to which it seeks to appeal.

    And, then there’s this…

    We tend to forget the partisanship of yesteryear, preferring to re-imagine our history as a sure and steady march toward greatness. The problem with such narratives is that they are in fact ahistorical. Franklin Roosevelt was hated by a large number of Americans in real time; some people actually celebrated when word came of his death in April 1945. From Jefferson to Jackson to Lincoln to FDR to Reagan, every great president inspires enormous affection and enormous hostility. We’ll all be much saner, I think, if we remember that history is full of surprises (both good and bad) and things that seemed absolutely certain one day are often unimaginable the next. (Remember President Palin?)

    Yes, if you are unusually dim, or unusually badly read, or four years old, you may well re-imagine things this way. If you are not, you will recall that, not all that long ago, the Washington political class, with Newt Gingrich proudly (if ironically) in the lead, was in hot pursuit of a president’s penis. I think it’s safe to say that anyone who was alive then, and did not as a result drink himself into alcoholic dementia, still recalls that presidents can be both greatly liked and greatly disliked. The same, it should be noted, can be said for the music of ABBA and the taste of beets. So what? And if Meacham can find a single person not confined to a secure facility who thought it “absolutely certain” that Sarah Palin would be president, even for one day, I’ll let him off his work detail reclaiming the swamp for Christmas. President Palin remains as “unimaginable” a concept as is thoracic surgeon Charles Manson, M.D.

    Read more: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/jon-meacham-on-newt-and-fdr-6610880#ixzz1fmobD6PU

  16. rikyrah says:

    GOP Strategists: Lay Off Obama, People Feel Sorry For Him

    With election season upon us, Republican strategists are urging party surrogates not to attack President Obama personally. Although that approach may be tempting given his low approval ratings they warn it could backfire because voters “feel sorry for him.”

    On a conference call Tuesday run by Nicholas Thompson, Vice President of Tarrance Group — which Yahoo News “accessed via a clerical error” — Thompson warned that though Obama’s overall approval is low, his personal approval ratings are quite high. Voters “don’t think he’s an evil man who’s out to change the United States,” explained Thompson, and Republicans should “exercise some caution” when going after him personally.

    Obama’s job approval rating has been in the low 40s recently, but it’s true that voters like him personally. According to CNN, in November voters’ personal approval of the president was nearly 70%.

    Former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleisher, also on the call, directed Republicans to attack Obama on flip-flopping — the issue Democrats are currently using to attack Mitt Romney. Rather than play defense, Fleisher suggested turning the attacks around: “When it comes to flip flopping, Barack Obama is the king of flip flopping.”

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/gop-strategists-lay-off-obama-people-feel-sorry-for-him.php?ref=skyboxes

  17. rikyrah says:

    Trump vs Romney
    National Review attacks Gingrich for agreeing to attend the upcoming Trump-moderated debate:

    Sure, we see the angle: Gingrich excels in debates and he knows it, and in light of his threat to Romney in Iowa, his participation all but dares the yet-uncommitted Mitt to irk the pro-Trump rump of GOP voters by refusing. As a serious contender running a campaign with maximal pride in its own seriousness, Gingrich lowers himself by association with this consummately unserious man. Romney should refuse to follow suit.

    Weigel has more on Trump’s motivations. Patrick Caldwell wonders if Trump will revive birtherism:

    It’s a terrifyingly plausible scenario that Trump will use his perch later this month to quiz each of the candidates on Obama’s birth certificate; hopefully they won’t take the bait and will rebut Trump’s crazy ramblings, but since the majority have visited Trump Tower, they may kowtow with the hopes of securing the reality TV star’s endorsement.

    And wouldn’t that accurately reflect the reality of the GOP these past two years? It’s a talk radio show pretending to be interested in governing.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/12/could-trump-help-sink-romney.html

  18. rikyrah says:

    TPMDC
    GOP Rep Proposes Financing Payroll Tax Cut — By Workers Agreeing To Cut Their Social Security

    Eric Kleefeld December 6, 2011, 1:36 PM

    Freshman Rep. Jeff Landry (R-LA) has come up with an interesting solution to the political debate over the pending expiration of the payroll tax cut: Have workers voluntarily choose whether to continue the cut for themselves — with the tradeoff that for every calendar year they claim the tax cut, they would also cut their own Social Security, delaying the start of benefits by one month.

    The Hill reports that Landry is pitching the bill as an addition to the debate over payroll tax cut’s expiration, which has hinged on the fact that the payroll tax is used to finance Social Security. (Republicans have refused Democratic efforts to pay for the tax cut by raising other taxes on the wealthy.)

    Many workers would likely see their taxes go up — but that would be because they declined to cut their future Social Security benefits.

    Landry’s bill is entitled the SSPICE Act: Social Security Preservation through Individual Choice Enhancement. Landry has thus far attracted two co-sponsors, fellow freshman Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) and two-term Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA).

    This would seem to satisfy two conservative ideological goals, in one single motion: 1) Avoid raising taxes, and 2) Wean people off of Social Security, at least partially, by having workers voluntarily agree to raise their own retirement ages.

    “The payroll tax holiday is a difficult issue for Congress because it forces us to choose between allowing Americans to continue to keep more of their hard-earned money or providing for the continued life of Social Security,” Landry said in a press release. “As the American people know how to manage their own money far better than Congress does, the SSPICE Act allows the each American to make this decision.”

    And as The Hill reports, McClintock said Tuesday morning on the House floor: “For the first time, costs and benefits would be linked in a manner that all consumers can understand and judge for themselves based on their own circumstances.”

    The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee — which has been focusing on Social Security as a key issue for the 2012 election cycle — is already out with a statement on this proposal from the House side.

    “We already knew that Republicans were going to do whatever they could to protect millionaires but this new proposal takes the cake,” said DSCC spokesman Matt Canter. “Only Republicans in Washington – the same folks who tried to end Medicare in order to protect Big Oil – would think it’s a good idea to cut Social Security in order to protect millionaires. Their endless, undying devotion to millionaires and billionaires is going to be an enormous vulnerability for Republicans next year.”

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/gop-rep-proposes-financing-payroll-tax-cut—-by-workers-agreeing-to-cut-their-social-security.php?ref=fpnewsfeed

  19. rikyrah says:

    Sherrod Brown, an update
    by Kay

    I wrote here that I’ll be following Sherrod Brown’s Senate campaign, here locally. I haven’t done anything yet, as far as organizing, but I thought I’d check in with it because the campaign against him has started, and I don’t wanna go back (later) because I have all this stuff twirling around in my head.

    Brown’s getting hammered with ads from the US Chamber of Commerce:


    First comes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ad with a picture of a U.S. senator badly in need of a shave. Except representatives of the senator, Democrat Sherrod Brown of Ohio, say the Chamber of Commerce manipulated an Associated Press photo that showed a clean-shaven senator, doctoring it to made him look shifty.

    Or like an aging hipster, perhaps, though that’s sort of the same thing.

    Speaking of authentic images, Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, a Republican who plans to run against Brown and is supported by the Chamber of Commerce, was in Washington yesterday to raise money. A video tracking team from American Bridge, a political group that says it wants to “hold Republicans accountable,” was waiting for him outside one of the Capitol Hill events, and the video—of a fast-walking Mandel—is posted above.
    The conversation is a little hard to decipher, so here’s help:

    Tracker: “Treasurer Mandel, we see you in D.C. a lot raising money from Washington lobbyists. Are you missing any important duties back home as Ohio’s treasurer? Treasurer Mandel?”

    Mandel: (Silence, but a brisk walk.)
    American Bridge admits to shooting the Mandel video. As for the scruffy Brown photo, we asked the Chamber of Commerce’s J.P. Fielder if it was, in fact, doctored.
    “I don’t know the answer of whether it was or wasn’t,” he said, “but I know from this conversation what the candidate doesn’t want to discuss.”

    The US Chamber of Commerce doctoring a photo of Sherrod Brown is exactly the same as American Bridge not doctoring video of Josh Mandel. Those two things are the same. If you’re insane.

    In any event, back in the real world, Sherrod Brown has three strengths coming into this: one, he’s an excellent retail politician, two, he’s had a consistent focus on middle class populism his entire career, and, three, he actually knows a lot about a lot. Two local examples of strengths one and three:

    On political skill, I participated on a conference call Brown held on voting rights earlier this year. He wanted to hear from a poll worker, so that’s why I was asked to join. I was able to remain lawyerly and dignified until we got to the subject of provisional ballots, when I went off in what can only be described as “my favorite provisional ballot rant”. Apparently I had delivered this same detailed complaint to Sherrod Brown in 2006 when he was here campaigning, which I had forgotten. Brown remembered. He brought it up.

    On knowing what he’s talking about, we have a private hospital here. The CEO of the hospital is a local big shot and rabid Republican. When the PPACA passed, the newspaper interviewed the CEO and he made all these dire predictions about how the hospital was going to close and we were all going to die. The last time Sherrod Brown was here, he went to the hospital to meet with this guy, and the CEO then sent an email to the hospital staff where he praised Brown on his knowledge of health care issues.

    This is Donald Berwick, the former head of Medicare and Medicaid, on “deep knowledge” of health care and who has it:

    As a federal official, Dr. Berwick was sometimes impatient with colleagues in the government and with the health care industry. During his tenure, Dr. Berwick testified at only two public hearings, and he said he “loved them” both, even though Republicans tried to skewer him. He said some members of Congress had “deep knowledge” of health care — he mentioned two Democratic senators, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

    Strangely, Rand Paul wasn’t mentioned.

    That’s where we are. Next time I’ll tell you what I know on Brown’s opponent, Josh Mandel, who is, broadly, by way of introduction, a vitriolic know-nothing who appears to be running his entire Senate campaign through national Right wing groups and conservative media outlets.

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2011/12/06/sherrod-brown-an-update/

  20. rikyrah says:

    December 06, 2011 12:30 PM

    Department of pots and kettles
    By Steve Benen

    There’s nothing quite like watching the most shameless political flip-flopper of his generation spend five minutes condemning someone else of being a flip-flopper.

    If you haven’t seen this clip of Mitt Romney in 2004, it’s just stunning. (via Jamil Smith)

    At the time, Republicans were so heavily invested in attacking John Kerry as a flip-flopper, it was the only thing GOP officials and surrogates were prepared to talk about. In this case, Romney was speaking to Republican convention delegates in September 2004, and he blasted his home state’s senator on the topic du jour.

    But with the benefit of hindsight, and knowing now the ideological journeys that Romney would soon take, these comments are simply amazing”


    “In politics it’s pretty much standard operating procedure that when you’re running for office you look at your opponent’s record, you find someplace where he or she has changed position, and you say they’re a flip flopper, and that’s a pretty standard thing. But in this case, this guy really is! This guy is different than you have experienced before. […]

    “I’ve tried to think why it is that he has changed so often — why he finds it so difficult to come down on one side of an issue, instead sort of floats between both issues, both sides of things…. For those who don’t understand how he can be so vacillating, it stems from that fact that he is very conflicted, that he is drawn in two different directions — very powerfully. If he’s with an audience, he wants to identify with and satisfy that audience, and will say what he thinks they want to hear. And if that audience, for instance, is on one side of an issue he’ll follow that, on another, he’ll follow another.”

    All of this came from a Republican governor who, at the time, supported abortion rights, gay rights, gun control, “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants, and combating climate change, and who distanced himself from Reagan, attended Planned Parenthood fundraisers, and would soon after help create the blueprint for the Affordable Care Act.

    I can only imagine what this version of Romney would think of the other version.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/department_of_pots_and_kettles033933.php

  21. rikyrah says:

    December 06, 2011 1:30 PM

    GOP kills qualified judicial nominee with filibuster
    By Steve Benen

    This is simply an outrageous abuse that further undermines the integrity of the Senate.


    Senate Republicans on Tuesday filibustered the nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, blocking a nominee tapped last year by President Obama to serve on one of the country’s most powerful courts.

    Tuesday’s final roll call vote on cutting off debate was 54 to 45.. One Republican — Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) — joined all 53 members of the Democratic caucus in voting to move ahead with Halligan’s nomination, leaving the former New York state solicitor general six votes short of the 60 votes necessary for ending debate.

    Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who has never voted to filibuster a judicial nomination, voted “present.”

    The “Gang of 14” struck a deal six years ago, limiting judicial filibusters to “extraordinary circumstances.” That deal now appears to be dead — all of the Gang’s Republican members who are still in office joined the filibuster of Hilligan today. That includes so-called moderates like Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and Scott Brown.

    Maybe, the GOP might argue, Hilligan counts as being so “extraordinary” her nomination cannot be subjected to a vote? Hardly. She’s a clearly qualified former New York solicitor general who has earned wide, bipartisan praise. A joint letter from 21 attorneys who’ve worked with her, including some high-profile conservatives like Miguel Estrada, wrote, “Caitlin also has an ideal judicial temperament. She brings reason, insight and judgment to all matters. Even those of us who have been on opposite sides of Caitlin in litigation have been greatly impressed with her ability and character. We have no doubt that she would serve with distinction and fairness.” A joint letter from several law-school deans and professors added, “Ms. Halligan’s legal credentials, experience, and accomplishments make her exceptionally well-qualified to serve on this court.”

    And yet, 46 out of 47 Republican senators wouldn’t even give her a vote. Why? Because they said Halligan is sympathetic towards marriage equality and once signed a brief in a liability suit against gun manufacturers. Even for the alleged moderates, that was enough.

    They could have voted against her, but these GOP senators said that wasn’t good enough.

    What’s more, let’s not forget what many of these same Republicans said about judicial filibusters before there was a Democratic president. For some, their own actions today weren’t just wrong; they were literally unconstitutional.

    Here’s a list ThinkProgress put together in May:


    Lamar Alexander (R-TN) : “I would never filibuster any President’s judicial nominee, period. I might vote against them, but I will always see they came to a vote.”

    Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA): “Every judge nominated by this president or any president deserves an up-or-down vote. It’s the responsibility of the Senate. The Constitution requires it.”

    Tom Coburn (R-OK): “If you look at the Constitution, it says the president is to nominate these people, and the Senate is to advise and consent. That means you got to have a vote if they come out of committee. And that happened for 200 years.”

    John Cornyn (R-TX): “We have a Democratic leader defeated, in part, as I said, because I believe he was identified with this obstructionist practice, this unconstitutional use of the filibuster to deny the president his judicial nominations.

    Mike Crapo (R-ID): “Until this Congress, not one of the President’s nominees has been successfully filibustered in the Senate of the United States because of the understanding of the fact that the Constitution gives the President the right to a vote.”

    Chuck Grassley (R-IA): “It would be a real constitutional crisis if we up the confirmation of judges from 51 to 60, and that’s essentially what we’d be doing if the Democrats were going to filibuster.”

    Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “The Constitution of the United States is at stake. Article II, Section 2 clearly provides that the President, and the President alone, nominates judges. The Senate is empowered to give advice and consent. But my Democratic colleagues want to change the rules. They want to reinterpret the Constitution to require a supermajority for confirmation.”

    There are other examples. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said “denials of simple votes on judicial nominees” are “unconstitutional.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said, “I think filibustering judges will destroy the judiciary over time. I think it’s unconstitutional.” Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) argued, “Why not allow the President to do his job of selecting judicial nominees and let us do our job in confirming or denying them? Principles of fairness call for it and the Constitution requires it.”

    How many of these senators filibustered Liu’s nomination today? All of them.

    What’s more, senators like Scott Brown, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and John Thune had never supported a judicial filibuster in their careers before 2011. How many of them refused to allow a qualified nominee to have an up-or-down vote? All of them, too.

    What an embarrassment.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/gop_kills_qualified_judicial_n033935.php

  22. rikyrah says:

    SH!T Just Got Real

    New Gallup national survey finds Peach Stater holding sizable lead over Bay Stater among Republican leaning voters.

    Gingrich 37
    Romney 22
    Paul 8
    Perry 7
    Bachmann 6
    Santorum 3
    Huntsman 1

  23. SarahPalinUSA Guilty of Major Ethics Act Violation: Must Return $386,000 in Contributions. http://tiny.cc/645qz

  24. rikyrah says:

    Will The GOP Establishment Veto Newt?
    Chait is unconvinced:

    Jonathan Bernstein has made the most confident version of this argument, though others have echoed it as well. Bernstein argues that Republicans understand how erratic and ineffective Gingrich is, and won’t let him get the nomination. I see a couple flaws in this assumption. First, insiders can’t always get their way. The party elite knew full well in 2010 that nominating candidates like Joe Miller in Alaska, Sharron Angle in Nevada, and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware was suicidal. They just couldn’t sway the voters not to nominate them in primaries. And presidential nominations are just a series of primaries.

    Nate Silver makes an important observation along these lines:

    Republicans are sometimes thought of as the party of the establishment. But the party’s leadership has spent much of the last three decades cultivating distrust among its rank and file about the legitimacy of these institutions, particularly the government and the news media. This may have contributed to the party’s electoral successes. But it’s also possible that Republican elites have neutered their ability to influence how voters decide on a candidate. If so, they may end up with Mr. Gingrich rather than Mr. Romney.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/12/will-the-gop-establishment-veto-newt.html

  25. rikyrah says:

    Ready for Another Shutdown?
    by BooMan
    Tue Dec 6th, 2011 at 09:05:13 AM EST

    Back in August, the Republicans made a deal on the debt ceiling that set overall spending at $1.043 trillion for the next fiscal year. Speaker Boehner has said that he feels bound by that agreement. I think that’s very nice. Imagine, he thinks a person should keep their word. I am almost surprised. In any case, only three appropriations bills have been passed, and there’s $900 billion left to spend. Since Congress is out of time, they’re going to put all the bills (except defense) into an omnibus bill. If the omnibus bill doesn’t pass by Dec. 16th, most of the government will shut down.

    The Republican leadership has reportedly read the polls and concluded that another government shutdown will give them a lower public approval number than Satanic ritual murder. However, their rank-and-file members are like the Honey Badger. They don’t give a shit. There are enough Republican house members opposed to honoring the debt ceiling agreement that Boehner needs to crawl on his hands and knees to Nancy Pelosi and beg for some Democratic votes.

    That’s a problem, because Boehner’s nutty caucus wants to attach all kinds of obnoxious ‘riders’ to the omnibus bill. They want to limit what the EPA can do about greenhouse gases. They want to defund public broadcasting. They want to defund Planned Parenthood and all Title X Family Planning programs. They want to cripple the healthcare and Wall Street reforms. They want to kill the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in its crib. They want to prevent the courts from determining whether the grey wolf is an endangered species. But, Nancy Pelosi doesn’t approve of any of these riders, and the Senate Democrats are unlikely to be too keen on most of them either.

    So, Speaker Boehner is in a bit of a bind. He wants to include at least some of these riders in a bid to gather more Republican support, but he won’t get enough support to overcome his need for Democratic votes.


    The question for GOP leaders is how many votes the riders can buy.
    Some 50 House members signed a letter in September saying they would not support any appropriations measures at the $1.043 trillion level, suggesting the riders’ value is limited. Leaders no longer have earmarks to sweeten the pot.

    The House Republican defections have empowered House Democrats at the negotiating table, and they have made it clear they will not support any omnibus that contains “ideological” riders.

    “House leaders have to decide which is more embarrassing, a large defection or a government shutdown,” one Democratic aide said.

    It sucks to be Speaker

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2011/12/6/9513/81838

  26. rikyrah says:

    6 Dec 2011 10:54 AM
    Ron Paul vs Roger Ailes In Iowa

    Robert Costa reports on Paul’s steady, traditional strategy:

    According to state GOP insiders, a Paul victory is a real possibility. In background conversations, many say Paul is much stronger than outside observers believe, with deep and wide support among a frustrated electorate. With Herman Cain’s departure from the race, operatives see Paul potentially collecting a quarter of caucus attendees. … “Ron Paul’s Internet operation is to Republicans in 2012 what Barack Obama’s Internet operation was to Democrats in 2007 and 2008,” [Paul adviser Trygve] Olson says. “It’s very grassroots and national, with thousands of very active supporters who spread the message in every state. That energy is the undercurrent to what’s happening on the ground, where people are going person to person.”

    Last night, I sat through both O’Reilly and Hannity to get a read on the Ailes propaganda at this moment in time. The line on Paul is clear: they all say in unison at any available moment: “Ron Paul has zero chance of getting the nomination.” They never said that about Cain or Bachmann of Perry, over whom Paul has solid leads. A new NBC/Marist poll indicates that Paul could attract independent voters and even disaffected Democrats in Iowa:

    Paul’s popularity among independents could be a crucial advantage. Paul leads Obama 42 percent to 35 percent among independent voters, according to the poll, and he also attracts 15% of Iowa’s Democrats.

    A Paul win in Iowa would completely discombobulate Fox News. That’s good enough reason in and of itself to vote for him. Any restoration of decent, intelligent conservatism must start with a weakening of Ailes.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/12/a-ron-paul-surprise-in-iowa.html

  27. rikyrah says:

    December 06, 2011 9:30 AM
    The hard-drive plot thickens
    By Steve Benen

    Shortly before Mitt Romney departed the governor’s office, 11 of his top aides purchased 17 state-issued hard drives, and purged the Romney administration’s email records in advance of his presidential campaign. The move has no precedent among modern Massachusetts governors, including Romney’s recent Republican predecessors.

    Two weeks ago, the story got a little worse when Romney admitted the move was intended to hide official correspondence from the public and keep potentially-embarrassing information from “opposition research” teams.

    Today, the controversy managed to take an even more serious turn. Reuters reported overnight:


    Mitt Romney spent nearly $100,000 in state funds to replace computers in his office at the end of his term as governor of Massachusetts in 2007 as part of an unprecedented effort to keep his records secret, Reuters has learned. […]

    The cleanup of records by Romney’s staff before his term ended included spending $205,000 for a three-year lease on new computers for the governor’s office, according to official documents and state officials.

    In signing the lease, Romney aides broke an earlier three-year lease that provided the same number of computers for about half the cost — $108,000. Lease documents obtained by Reuters under the state’s freedom of information law indicate that the broken lease still had 18 months to run.

    As a result of the change in leases, the cost to the state for computers in the governor’s office was an additional $97,000.

    So, Romney and his team not only went to great lengths to hide official correspondence from the public, they also handed taxpayers a bill for nearly six figures.

    I can only imagine how absolutely devastating those emails must have been.

    This is, by the way, the same Republican campaign that issued a memo last month attacking the Obama White House for failing to maintain the right standards of “openness and transparency.”

    It’s worth noting that the consensus seems to be that the former governor and his team did not violate any laws with this stunt, though Reuters noted that “state law on maintaining and disclosing official records is vague and has not been updated to deal with issues related to digital records and other modern technology.”

    But in a case like this, the legality is secondary to the appearance of impropriety and the degree to which Romney wiped public records in order to advance his ambitions.

    If campaign reporters don’t pounce on this, they’re missing a real story.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/the_harddrive_plot_thickens033924.php

  28. rikyrah says:

    December 06, 2011 11:25 AM

    Voter-ID schemes keep snagging the elderly

    By Steve Benen

    Republican policymakers across the country are pushing a variety of schemes as part of the “war on voting,” but none are as pernicious as voter-ID measures. The practical effect of these laws will be to keep more minorities and senior citizens from participating in elections.

    And the examples to reinforce the concerns keep piling up. Tanya Somanader yesterday highlighted the story of Wisconsin’s Ruthelle Frank, who’s been voting for 63 years.


    Though paralyzed on her left side since birth, the 84-year-old “fiery woman” voted in every election since 1948 and even got elected herself as a member of the Brokaw Village Board. But because of the state’s new voter ID law, 2012 will be the first year Frank can’t vote. Born after a difficult birth at her home in 1927, Frank never received an official birth certificate. Her mother recorded it in her family Bible and Frank has a certification of baptism from a few months later, along with a Social Security card, a Medicare statement, and a checkbook. But without the official document, she can’t secure the state ID card that the new law requires to vote next year.

    “It’s really crazy,” she added. “I’ve got all this proof. You mean to tell me that I’m not a U.S. citizen?” But state officials have informed Frank that, because the state Register of Deeds does have a record of her birth, they can issue her a new birth certificate — for a fee. And because of a spelling error, that fee may be as high as $200:

    Remember, the voter-ID law was approved by Republicans to address a problem that doesn’t exist. Voters are facing these burdensome hurdles to prevent fraud that’s almost entirely limited to right-wing imaginations.

    And yet, Ruthelle Frank isn’t alone. It’s the year’s biggest scandal that most Americans have probably heard nothing about.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/voterid_schemes_keep_snagging033927.php

  29. rikyrah says:

    Poll: Iowa GOP voters think Gingrich is best choice to face Obama

    Two new polls show Newt Gingrich holding a strong lead in Iowa and GOP voters saying the former House Speaker has a better chance than Mitt Romney of beating President Obama.

    The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll shows Gingrich with support from 33 percent of likely caucus-goers surveyed, well ahead of Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul, who tied for a distant second place with 18 percent each.

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry received 11 percent, Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) 8 percent, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum 7 percent and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman 2 percent.

    Gingrich also topped Romney in electability. Twenty-nine percent said Gingrich held the GOP’s best chance of defeating President Obama. Twenty-four percent picked Romney.

    However, the poll also showed a fluid race. Fifty-two percent of those surveyed said there was a chance they would change their support before the caucuses. Twenty-seven percent said there was a “good chance” they would shift their support to another candidate

    The poll’s findings follow several national polls showing Gingrich to be the new GOP front-runner.

    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/197401-polls-iowa-gop-voters-think-gingrich-best-choice-to-face-obama

  30. rikyrah says:

    Donald Trump is back! And he still has a black people problem
    Donald Trump is back! And there’s every indication that he still has a black people problem. Apparently, the real estate and reality show mogul with the criminally tasteless combover doesn’t like black folks, which makes one wonder why he chooses to live in the city with the largest number of us.

    Trump is like luggage. He sticks around. After flirting with presidential politics and trash talking about the president — with absurd talk about Obama having a foreign birth certificate — he won’t go away or be silenced.

    He claimed he made Lady Gaga famous. And Trump is hosting a December 27 debate in Iowa, which Congressman Ron Paul and former Ambassador Jon Huntsman will not attend.

    ……………………….

    Paul is right behind former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with second place in a Des Moines Register poll of Iowa caucus voters. Speaking of Gingrich, he created a firestorm of late when he suggested that poor inner city children lacking a work ethic should be hired as janitors, and their labor apparently exploited.

    “It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in, first of all, child laws, which are truly stupid,” Gingrich said. He added that to solve poverty, “schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school.” Sounds like illegal child slavery to me. I thought we’ve been there already.

    http://www.thegrio.com/politics/donald-trump-is-back-and-he-still-has-a-black-people-problem.php?page=1

  31. rikyrah says:

    How Herman Cain Killed Black Republicanism
    One day the GOP will get a legitimate black conservative voice. That day hasn’t come.

    This past Saturday afternoon in Atlanta, the once jocular and front-running, now defiant and rapidly crumbling, GOP presidential contender Herman Cain announced that he’s indefinitely “suspending” his bid for the White House — and in the process he killed black Republicanism.

    That probably wasn’t his plan, but after running a race filled with gaffes and gimmicks and lacking any humility or substance, Cain left the conservative movement unharmed and the mainstream GOP alive and well, but he may have finally laid to rest the peculiar strain of political thought that’s been driving black Republicans ever since the kinder, gentler Rockefeller Republicanism of former Sen. Edward Brooke and the late NAACP President Benjamin Hooks was replaced by the talking-point parroting brand that found its ultimate distillation in Cain.

    After Cain’s woeful run, American politics may have finally seen the last of the “I’m not like those other blacks” candidate — and good riddance.

    Cain called himself conservative, but he mostly encouraged supporters to see him as the ultimate anti-Obama — claiming to be the “real black man” in the presidential race and saying America needed “a leader, not a reader.” Yet when the time came, Cain couldn’t back up those claims.

    He tried to be the “likable” candidate in the Republican field but went about it by indulging in a faux-folksiness unbecoming a serious contender — kicking off stump speeches by exclaiming “Aw, shucky-ducky!” and wishing aloud that he’d get the Secret Service code name “Cornbread.”

    http://www.theroot.com/views/how-herman-cain-killed-black-republicanism

  32. Talking Points Memo:

    Blago sentencing underway: http://tiny.cc/6up9j

  33. Ametia says:

    Viola Davis deserves Oscar for ‘The Help’

    By Gael Fashingbauer Cooper

    I haven’t yet seen Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady,” but that said, right now I’d be thrilled if the best-actress Oscar goes to Viola Davis in “The Help.”

    The film, which comes out on Blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday, was based on Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling novel. While “The Help” was generally praised by critics, there was also plenty of debate about the racial issues depicted in it. Some didn’t think that Stockett, who is white, could have fairly depicted the lives of African-American maids in the 1960s. Stockett and director Tate Taylor grew up as friends in Jackson, Miss., and both have defended their take on the film

    http://entertainment.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/12/05/9230386-viola-davis-deserves-oscar-for-the-help

  34. Ametia says:

    See What the Republicans Will Be Costing You Via The White House Calculator
    December 6, 2011
    By Sarah Jones

    On October 24, the President said, “Without a doubt, the most urgent challenge that we face right now is getting our economy to grow faster and to create more jobs…. we can’t wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do its job. Where they won’t act, I will.”

    On January 1, taxes will go up on middle class families unless congress takes action. The President’s plan will cut in half the taxes paid by businesses on their first $5 million in payroll and provide a complete payroll tax holiday for added workers or increased wages. The payroll tax reduction is a part of Obama’s Job Act.
    Read on

    http://www.politicususa.com/en/republicans-taxeswhite-house-calculator

  35. Ametia says:

    How the American Media Helped the GOP Become An International Humiliation
    December 6, 2011
    By Sarah Jones

    When a political party suffers a “political lobotomy” in public during election season, the entire nation’s reputation suffers.
    Top international news magazine Spiegel (think Europe’s version of Time or Newsweek) ran an article written by Marc Pitzke calling the Republicans a farce who are ruining our country’s reputation. The article is entitled, ‘The Republicans’ Farcical Candidates
    A Club of Liars, Demagogues and Ignoramuses.’ In this article, Mr. Pitzke writes what our press here won’t:
    The US Republican race is dominated by ignorance, lies and scandals. The current crop of candidates has shown such a basic lack of knowledge that they make George W. Bush look like Einstein. The Grand Old Party is ruining the entire country’s reputation.
    We knew it was true, but it hurts to read it. We won’t often read such stark condemnations in the mainstream press here.

    It probably helps that Spiegel has “most likely the world’s largest fact checking operation”. Yes, Virginia, their press actually checks facts unlike ours, who reports what both sides have “said” and the runs away, eagerly clutching their invite to John McCain’s ranch party like an hysterical tween Twilight fan waiting for Edward. This is the same American press that jumped in to defend Fox News from President Obama’s easily and obviously true charge that it was not a news outlet.

    http://www.politicususa.com/en/media-republican-party-humiliation

  36. Chris Matthews’ Brother Arrested on Perjury Charges

    http://gawker.com/5865500/

    James R. Matthews, the Republican commissioner of Pennsylvania’s Montgomery County and brother to sputtering blowhard Chris Matthews, was arrested this morning on perjury charges. Yes, Chris Matthews’ brother is a Republican politician.

    James, who lost his reelection bid this year and is due to step down in January, was indicted for lying under oath during a state investigation into something called “breakfastgate,” which is an awesome way for your political career to go up in flames. Breakfastgate was launched by the Norristown Times Herald, a local Pennsylvania paper, which accused Matthews and another local politician of discussing county business at weekly breakfast meetings.

    That violates the state’s sunshine and open meetings laws, which requires prior notice and public access for any meetings where government business is on the agenda. How did the Herald know that Matthews was breakfasting over official business? “Reporter Jenny DeHuff allegedly overheard the elected officials discussing county business over breakfast on at least two occasions at an East Norritown diner.”

    So a budding family empire is brought down because a small-town reporter overheard him talking shop over has corned beef hash. Big mouths, the Matthews have.

  37. Ametia says:

    This has possibilities

  38. rikyrah says:

    Only Obama Stands Between The GOP And Millions Losing Unemployment Benefits
    President Obama made a statement today in defense of the 1.3 million Americans that Republicans are considering throwing into poverty by killing their unemployment insurance.

    Here is the video

    Obama said, “Now, I know many Republicans have sworn an oath to never raise taxes as long as they live. How can it be that the only time there’s a catch is when it comes to raising taxes on middle class families? How can you fight tooth and nail to protect high end tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and yet, barely lift a finger to prevent taxes going up for one hundred sixty million Americans who really need the help? It doesn’t make sense.”

    The president called out the GOP tax cut hypocrisy, “Now, some Republicans who have pushed back against the idea of extending this payroll tax cut have said you’ve got to pay for this tax cut. I’d just like to point out they haven’t always felt that way. Over the last decade they didn’t feel the need to pay for massive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, which is one of the reasons we face such large deficits. Indeed when Republicans took over the House earlier this year, they explicitly changed the rules to say tax cuts don’t have to be paid for. So forgive me a little bit of confusion when I hear folks insisting on tax cuts being paid for.”

    Later, Obama urged Congress to extend unemployment insurance, “With millions of Americans still looking for work, it would be a terrible mistake for Congress to go home for the holidays without extending unemployment insurance. If that happens, in January they’ll be leaving 1.3 million Americans out in the cold. For a lot of families this emergency insurance is the last line of defense between hardship and catastrophe. Taking more money out of the economy now would do extraordinary harm to the economy. And if you believe that government shouldn’t take money out of people’s pockets, I hope members of Congress realize that it’s even worse when you take it out of the pockets of people who are unemployed and out there pounding the pavement and looking for work.”

    The president continued, “We are going through what is still an extraordinary time in this country and in this economy. And I get letters every single day from people who talk to me and say to me, this unemployment insurance is what allowed me to keep my house before I was able to find another job. This is what allowed me to still put gas in the tank to take my kids to school. We can not play games with unemployment insurance when we still have an unemployment rate that is way too high.”

    Republicans accuse Obama and the Democrats of class warfare on a daily basis, but President Obama pointed out the real tactics of America’s true class warriors. Why is that trillions of dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy did not have to be paid for, but a tax cut of a thousand dollars for working Americans does? The truth is that the Republican opposition to the extending the payroll tax cut has nothing to do with debts or deficits. The GOP does not want to do anything that might make life easier for the American people before the 2012 election.

    This same rationale is why they are poised to throw 1.3 million people off of unemployment insurance.

    Conservatives can hurt millions of Americans and their families with no remorse because their ideology tells them that unemployment insurance is bad. Their ideology blocks any thoughts that may occur to them about the consequences of abruptly cutting off a lifeline and throwing millions of people into a dark pit of poverty.

    What all Americans need to understand, even those who grumble about Obama from the left, is that this president is the last line of defense that working Americans and the unemployed have. If he is not reelected, there will be no one in power in Washington who will speak out for both working people and the most economically vulnerable in our society.

    Can you imagine a Republican president saying that we can’t take money away from those who are struggling most and give it to those who need it least?

    http://www.politicususa.com/en/obama-protects-unemployed

  39. rikyrah says:

    December 06, 2011 8:00 AM

    Dems’ payroll plan picks up Romney’s support

    By Steve Benen

    As part of his overly-cautious, don’t-upset-any-constituencies style, Mitt Romney has balked at taking a position on all kinds of contentious issues. Near the top of the list is the Democratic plan to extent the payroll tax in 2012.

    Romney’s vacillation is almost understandable. On the one hand, he doesn’t want to endorse a tax increase. On the other, he doesn’t want to endorse part of President Obama’s economic agenda. Romney ended up dancing around the issue for months — reinforcing concerns about his inability to hold any convictions at all — before finally dismissing the White House’s proposal. “I don’t like temporary little Band-Aids,” he said at a debate in October.

    Yesterday, the former governor decided he’s better off flip-flopping than endorsing a middle-class tax hike.


    On Monday, Mitt Romney embraced one of President Obama’s signature proposals — another one-year extension of a cut in payroll taxes, after just weeks ago deriding the idea as “little Band-Aids” that offered only a temporary fix.

    “I would like to see the payroll tax cut extended just because I know that working families are really feeling the pinch right now — middle-class Americans are having a hard time,” Mr. Romney said Monday on Michael Medved’s conservative radio talk show.

    Hmm. So, let’s see. First, Romney sort of endorsed the payroll tax break. Then he dismissed it. Then his campaign no longer wanted to talk about. Then he announced his support for it.

    Romney must realize that there’s a perception — based on voluminous evidence — that he’s a cowardly, unprincipled hack with no core beliefs who’ll shift with the political winds. And yet, the Republican presidential hopeful keeps offering proof that the criticisms are accurate.

    As for the larger context, it’s worth noting that Romney joins Newt Gingrich in supporting Obama’s proposed extension of the tax break. This leaves us with an important realization: congressional Republicans balking at the tax cut are now even further to the right than both of their own party’s leading presidential candidates.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/dems_payroll_plan_picks_up_rom033922.php

  40. rikyrah says:

    Heartbreak Awaits Republicans Who Love Gingrich: Ramesh Ponnuru
    Before Republicans put Newt Gingrich at the top of their party, they should consider what happened the last time he led it.

    In the mid-1990s, Gingrich was the de facto head of the Republican Party. He helped lead it to victory in the congressional elections of 1994, which brought about real accomplishments such as welfare reform. But once he attained power, both his popularity and that of his party started to plummet. In the aftermath of his leadership, a Republican was able to take the presidency only by pointedly distancing himself from Gingrich.

    Conservatives who dislike George W. Bush’s compassionate conservatism have Gingrich to thank for it. After Gingrich lost the budget battles with President Bill Clinton, it took 15 years for any politician to take up the cause of limited-government conservatism that he had discredited.

    Although Gingrich isn’t solely responsible for the Republican policy defeats of those years, his erratic behavior, lack of discipline and self-absorption had a lot to do with them. He explained that one reason the federal government shut down in 1995 was that he was angry that Clinton had snubbed him during an international flight. The Clinton White House then released pictures of the two men gabbing on the plane. Later negotiations didn’t go well, with Gingrich saying, “I melt when I’m around him.”

    Erratic, Undisciplined, Grandiose
    Gingrich’s fans say that he isn’t the same man he was then; he has “matured” in his 60s. Maybe so. But he’s still erratic: This year he flip-flopped three times on the top issue of the day, the House Republican plan to reform Medicare. He’s still undisciplined: He went on a vacation cruise at the start of his campaign. He still has the same old grandiosity: In recent weeks he has compared himself to Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher and said confidently that the nomination was his.

    He still has the same need to justify his every petty move by reference to some grand theory. Plenty of politicians competing in Iowa come out for ethanol subsidies; only Gingrich would proclaim that in doing so he was standing up to city slickers in a culture war invented in his own mind. He still has a casual relationship with the truth. In recent weeks he has said that Freddie Mac (FMCC) paid him to condemn its business model, only for reporters and bloggers to find out that he had in fact shilled for the organization in return for about $1.6 million.

    He still has the same penchant for sharing whatever revelation has just struck him, as with his recent musings about getting rid of child-labor laws. “He goes off the deep end and throws things out there,” says Joe McQuaid, the publisher of the Manchester Union Leader, which has endorsed Gingrich. He means it as a compliment, but it doesn’t strike me as one of the top traits to seek in a president. Many voters may have the same reaction.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-06/heartbreak-awaits-republicans-who-love-gingrich-ramesh-ponnuru.html

  41. rikyrah says:

    Defeated, Health Insurers Cut Lobby Costs, Thank You Obamacare!
    It turns out that Republicans might be right about health reform costing some jobs. The jobs of health insurance company lobbyists. Aww. From the second to third quarter of this year, the health insurance industry is cutting lobbying budgets.


    WellPoint Inc. ( WLP ), the largest health insurer based on membership, spent $870,000 on lobbying in the third quarter, up 9% from the prior-year quarter. However, the cost was down by a substantial 34% from the second quarter of 2011.

    The second-largest health insurer based on membership and largest in terms of total revenue, UnitedHealth Group Inc. ( UNH ), also recorded a significant 18% year-over-year hike to $650,000, while it witnessed a sizeable 24% decline from the prior quarter.

    Meanwhile, CIGNA Corporation ( CI ), the fourth largest health insurer on the basis of membership, bucked the trend by reducing its lobbying cost by a considerable 34% from the year-ago quarter to $470,000, while the amount was 24% higher than $380,000 spent in the second quarter of 2011.

    Humana Inc. ( HUM ), which is the fifth-largest on enrollment basis, recorded a 43% year-over-year and 11% sequential decline in lobbying expenses to $160,000.

    Now what could be causing this decline? Oh, I don’t know, maybe the fact that despite their best efforts, ObamaCare continues to make people’s lives better. Despite all their lobbying, the HHS just issued regulations that refused to count broker’s fees as health care costs. Despite all their big money efforts, Barack Obama became their worst nightmare, passed health reform, and is now implementing it full speed. And oh, beginning this year, the insurance companies are going to have to start writing checks to their subscribers if the companies don’t spend at least 85% of premium revenue in large group markets (80% in individual and small group markets) on you know, providing actual health care services

    http://www.thepeoplesview.net/2011/12/defeated-health-insurers-cut-lobby.html

  42. rikyrah says:

    Why Is Fox Attacking Republicans?
    Gabriel Sherman thinks “the network plans to tack toward the center for the general election”:

    While CNN has slipped again to third-place in the cable ratings race, Fox recognizes that the network still poses the biggest threat if it gets its act together.

    During the 2008 election, Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer surged to the top the ratings for their respective time-slots and CNN scored wins on big news events. Since then, CNN has flailed and ratings have dived. But CNN’s brand remains powerful at big news-making moments — and Presidential elections are about as big as they get. Which partly explains why Fox wants to distance itself from the overt championing of Tea Party politics that defined its post-2008 coverage of Obama. Dominating as much of the election as possible means appealing to viewers beyond the conservative base and being perceived as a credible news outfit

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/12/why-is-fox-attacking-republicans.html

  43. rikyrah says:

    Top Republican: We’ll Only Extend Payroll Tax Cut If You Extend Bush Cuts Too
    Brian Beutler- December 5, 2011, 5:45 PM

    The top Republican vote counter in the Senate says extending the expiring payroll tax holiday is a terrible idea and he’ll only do it if Democrats agree to major concessions — in particular, simultaneously extending all the Bush tax cuts, which are scheduled to expire just over a year from now.

    On the Senate floor Monday, Sen. Jon Kyl argued that reducing the payroll tax doesn’t stimulate the economy — a claim most economists disagree with — and criticized the Democrats’ plan to offset the cost of the tax holiday with a small surtax on millionaires.

    “We should therefore only do it under circumstances that in effect override these objections, one of which would be to extend all of the taxes that expire at the end of next year — at the end of 2012,” Kyl said. “That would be a good idea.”

    In November 2009, Kyl felt differently. On CNBC he argued, “What you’re suggesting here is that you can do some things to stimulate job creation and certainly doing something like reducing the payroll tax, which has been written about recently, would accomplish that.”

    For the most part, Republicans have been demanding that the cost of the payroll tax holiday be offset with spending cuts. Kyl’s suggestion would dramatically worsen the overall fiscal impact of a the payroll cut. The plan Democrats introduced Monday would last one year at a cost of about $180 billion. A full extension of the Bush tax cuts would cost about $4 trillion over 10 years.

    In 2010, Kyl told me and a group of reporters “My view, and I think most of the people in my party don’t believe that you should ever have to offset a tax cut.”

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/top-republican-well-extend-payroll-tax-cutif-we-extend-all-the-bush-tax-cuts-too.php?ref=fpb

  44. rikyrah says:

    Monday, December 5, 2011
    We Don’t Need No Education, Part 2
    Posted by Zandar

    The “Republican conservative libertarian” fascination with limiting higher education only to those who can either earn scholarships or to the moneyed elite who can pay cash for it is actually really simple when you realize that they view education as a finite resource that’s being wasted on the non-elite. Having more people with college degrees means more competition for the best jobs, and well, pulling up the ladder after you is so much easier.

    But it’s especially baffling behavior coming from a law professor, even if he is Glenn Reynolds.

    This is a simple case of inflation: When you artificially pump up the supply of something (whether it’s currency or diplomas), the value drops. The reason why a bachelor’s degree on its own no longer conveys intelligence and capability is that the government decided that as many people as possible should have bachelor’s degrees.

    There’s something of a pattern here. The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle class people.

    But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay in, the middle class

    OK, yes, people apparently exist who have college degrees and lack positive work ethic traits and critical thinking skills, Glenn Reynolds is apparently proof of that, but the notion that college is not a cause of middle-class status clearly never tried to get a job with a middle-class wage and benefits in an economy where there’s five or six applicants for every available job.

    That’s okay, he’s got a solution for that.


    Another response is an increased emphasis on non-college education. As the Wall Street Journal has noted, skilled trades are doing quite well. For the past several decades, America’s enthusiasm for college has led to a lack of enthusiasm for vocational education.

    That may be changing as philanthropists ranging from Andy Grove of Intel to Home Depot’s Bernie Marcus work to encourage the skilled trades. We need people who can make things, and it’s harder to outsource a plumbing or welding job to somebody in Bangalore.

    Of course, the thing about skilled trades is that they require skill. Even with training, not everyone makes a good welder or machinist any more than just anyone can become a doctor or lawyer.

    Which is funny, because these skilled trades require training and education. Most of all, they require an investment of money. That’s a nasty catch-22, because saying “Go to trade school” is in many cases tens of thousands of dollars over 2-4 years, just like regular college. Since trades like electrician and plumber and carpenter are in demand, trade schools can charge more tuition when their programs are in demand. Wow!

    What’s really going on here of course is that a stupid, pliable populace is key to making Republican ideals work, chief of all the notion that financial success is free market tautology: if you were meant to be successful, you’d be successful already. If you’re not, you need to “work harder”.

    Also note how Republicans want to rid the country of trade unions. God forbid machinists, mechanics, plumbers, pipefitters, electricians, etc have a union. They might make enough money to enter into middle-class status.

    Whenever anyone advocates making education more difficult to obtain, they’re doing so for their own benefit, not for yours. Republicans tend to have this problem, making education, voting rights, contraception and abortion, etc. as limited as possible. They understand all too well that these things are keys to maintaining a working middle-class. By doing everything they can to limit who has access to those, they secure more resources for themselves.

    After all, if voting, a college education, and being in control of your own reproductive system didn’t matter, why are Republicans trying to take all three away from as many people as possible? They say “There’s declining power in the market for a degree. This is because too many people have them. If we make it harder to get a degree, the cost of getting one will go down.”

    All that means of course is that Republicans flunked Macroeconomics 101. Since when did limiting a finite resource make the price of that resource decrease?

    Why, that’s easy to sell to an uneducated public that doesn’t have college degrees, yes?

    By the way, the wealthiest 1% of Americans? They are educated.

    Apart from their bank accounts, Gallup finds education to be the greatest difference between the wealthiest 1% of Americans and everyone else. The Gallup analysis reveals that 72% of the wealthiest Americans have a college degree, compared with 31% of those in the lower 99 percentiles. Furthermore, nearly half of those in the wealthiest group have postgraduate education, versus 16% of all others

    So yes, there’s a definite reason they want to make college student loans harder to get, so that only the rich can go to college and graduate school.

    http://zandarvts.blogspot.com/2011/12/we-dont-need-no-education-part-2.html

  45. rikyrah says:

    Monday, December 5, 2011
    Will To Powerless
    Posted by Zandar
    George Will goes into full Village scold mode, not only calling health care reform “Obamacare” in his column over the weekend but blaming it and other “government regulations” for every single unemployed and underemployed American as he bravely defends CEO Andy Puzder of fast food chain Hardees’ and Carl’s Jr. from the unending terror of having to provide actual affordable health insurance options to its California employees.

    Puzder laughs about the liberal theory that businesses are not investing because they want to “punish Obama.” Rising health-care costs are, he says, just one uncertainty inhibiting expansion. Others are government policies raising fuel costs, which infect everything from air conditioning to the cost (including deliveries) of supplies, and the threat that the National Labor Relations Board will use regulations to impose something like “card check” in place of secret-ballot unionization elections.

    CKE has about 720 California restaurants, in which 84 percent of the managers are minorities and 67 percent are women. CKE has, however, all but stopped building restaurants in this state because approvals and permits for establishing them can take up to two years, compared to as little as six weeks in Texas, and the cost to build one is $100,000 more than in Texas, where CKE is planning to open 300 new restaurants this decade.

    CKE restaurants have 95 percent employee turnover in a year — not bad in this industry — and the health-care benefits under CKE’s current “mini-med” plans are capped in a way that makes them illegal under Obamacare. So CKE will have to convert many full-time employees to part-timers to limit the growth of its burdens under Obamacare.

    In an economic climate of increasing uncertainties, Puzder says, one certainty is that many businesses now marginally profitable will disappear when Obamacare causes that margin to disappear. A second certainty is that “employers everywhere will be looking to reduce labor content in their business models as Obamacare makes employees unambiguously more expensive.”

    I’m thinking if your business model has 95% turnover in 12 months baked into an industry where the average employee doesn’t earn a living wage and are basically subject to indentured servitude, the problem isn’t “government regulations” at all. Will dismisses that little fact, however. Think about that. If you get a job at a Hardee’s, there’s only a 5% chance you will still work for the company a year later.

    What kind of business model is that where that exists, where 95% of your employees are gone after a year? Furthermore, what kind of person believe that to be a good thing? George Will, apparently. He’s had his job for quite some time, from what I understand.

    A bit too long, if you ask me. The larger problem of course is that Will wants to draft every unemployed and underemployed American into the “war on job-killing regulations” when the reality as to why our economy is shot is that the people at the top designed it to churn through people at an alarming rate. Without the stability of a dependable job at a iving wage, no wonder we’re falling apart.

    If you wonder where the American middle class went to, they got shoved into the economic fast food meat grinder. If only we could make these employees actual indentured servants, America’s middle class would be so much more vibrant!

    http://zandarvts.blogspot.com/2011/12/will-to-powerless.html

  46. rikyrah says:

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011
    Mystery Mitt-chine, Part 3
    Posted by Zandar
    The Obama crew is aiming for Mitt Romney already, and they know they can depress his turnout and throw the entire GOP process into chaos if anyone other than Mittens ends up winning in Iowa or New Hampshire. Enter Robert Gibbs on Sunday’s Face The Nation:


    “I think the reason that Mitt Romney people don’t like him and why he hasn’t caught fire is if you hear what he says today it’s likely to change tomorrow. I think there’s great skepticism. He’s a political gymnast of the highest order. He will say virtually anything to get elected to any office. Just last night he was in New York on a Mike Huckabee show disavowing climate change and the Environmental Protection Agency despite the fact that just a few years ago he was bragging in Massachusetts about all the steps they were taking to combat climate change. The one thing that is certain in this Republican primary: If you don’t like where Mitt Romney is today, just wait until tomorrow.”

    Bold charges…and entirely true. Every time Mitt’s record comes up as Governor of Massachusetts, he has to backtrack, dissemble, obfuscate, or completely disavow his position then. It’s not been lost on the GOP rank and file, either. In poll after poll the Anyone But Mitt coalition is steady at around 3 out of 4 Republican primary voters. Mitt can’t break out above 30%.

    So no, I don’t see Mitt as inevitable at all. I still believe there’s going to be a brokered convention.

    http://zandarvts.blogspot.com/2011/12/mystery-mitt-chine-part-3.html

  47. rikyrah says:

    Obamacare’ to the rescue
    A woman who felt President Obama had let the middle class down has changed her mind.

    By Spike Dolomite Ward

    December 6, 2011
    I want to apologize to President Obama. But first, some background.

    I found out three weeks ago I have cancer. I’m 49 years old, have been married for almost 20 years and have two kids. My husband has his own small computer business, and I run a small nonprofit in the San Fernando Valley. I am also an artist. Money is tight, and we don’t spend it frivolously. We’re just ordinary, middle-class people, making an honest living, raising great kids and participating in our community, the kids’ schools and church.

    We’re good people, and we work hard. But we haven’t been able to afford health insurance for more than two years. And now I have third-stage breast cancer and am facing months of expensive treatment.

    To understand how such a thing could happen to a family like ours, I need to take you back nine years to when my husband got laid off from the entertainment company where he’d worked for 10 years. Until then, we had been insured through his work, with a first-rate plan. After he got laid off, we got to keep that health insurance for 18 months through COBRA, by paying $1,300 a month, which was a huge burden on an unemployed father and his family.

    By the time the COBRA ran out, my husband had decided to go into business for himself, so we had to purchase our own insurance. That was fine for a while. Every year his business grew. But insurance premiums were steadily rising too. More than once, we switched carriers for a lower rate, only to have them raise rates significantly after a few months.

    With the recession, both of our businesses took a huge hit — my husband’s income was cut in half, and the foundations that had supported my small nonprofit were going through their own tough times. We had to start using a home equity line of credit to pay for our health insurance premiums (which by that point cost as much as our monthly mortgage). When the bank capped our home equity line, we were forced to cash in my husband’s IRA. The time finally came when we had to make a choice between paying our mortgage or paying for health insurance. We chose to keep our house. We made a nerve-racking gamble, and we lost.

    Not having insurance amplifies cancer stress. After the diagnosis, instead of focusing all of my energy on getting well, I was panicked about how we were going to pay for everything. I felt guilty and embarrassed about not being insured. When I went to the diagnostic center to pick up my first reports, I was sent to the financial department, where a woman sat me down to talk about resources for “cash patients” (a polite way of saying “uninsured”).

    “I’m not a deadbeat,” I blurted out. “I’m a good person. I have two kids and a house!” The clerk was sympathetic, telling me how even though she worked in the healthcare field, she could barely afford insurance herself.

    Although there have been a few people who judged us harshly, most people have been understanding about how this could happen to us. That’s given me the courage to “out” myself and my family in hopes that it will educate people who are still lucky enough to have health insurance and view people like my family as irresponsible. We’re not. What I want people to understand is that, if this could happen to us, it could happen to anybody.

    If you are fortunate enough to still be employed and have insurance through your employers, you may feel insulated from the sufferings of people like me right now. But things can change abruptly. If you still have a good job with insurance, that doesn’t mean that you’re better than me, more deserving than me or smarter than me. It just means that you are luckier. And access to healthcare shouldn’t depend on luck.

    Fortunately for me, I’ve been saved by the federal government’s Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, something I had never heard of before needing it. It’s part of President Obama’s healthcare plan, one of the things that has already kicked in, and it guarantees access to insurance for U.S. citizens with preexisting conditions who have been uninsured for at least six months. The application was short, the premiums are affordable, and I have found the people who work in the administration office to be quite compassionate (nothing like the people I have dealt with over the years at other insurance companies.) It’s not perfect, of course, and it still leaves many people in need out in the cold. But it’s a start, and for me it’s been a lifesaver — perhaps literally.

    Which brings me to my apology. I was pretty mad at Obama before I learned about this new insurance plan. I had changed my registration from Democrat to Independent, and I had blacked out the top of the “h” on my Obama bumper sticker, so that it read, “Got nope” instead of “got hope.” I felt like he had let down the struggling middle class. My son and I had campaigned for him, but since he took office, we felt he had let us down.

    So this is my public apology. I’m sorry I didn’t do enough of my own research to find out what promises the president has made good on. I’m sorry I didn’t realize that he really has stood up for me and my family, and for so many others like us. I’m getting a new bumper sticker to cover the one that says “Got nope.” It will say “ObamaCares.”

    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-ward-in-praise-of-obamacare-20111206,0,6794828.story

  48. rikyrah says:

    Are Liberals Abandoning the President?
    Posted on 12/05/2011 at 8:25 pm by Bob Cesca
    Gallup’s answer is a big fat nope.

    The president’s very first job approval rating among liberal Democrats was 83 percent, around the inauguration. Today, he’s at 84 percent, down from 87 percent at the beginning of 2011.

    This would indicate that liberal support for the president has intermittently improved, contrary to what we often read online.

    Which is to say, good news. Constructive criticism and rational observations appear to be winning, at least on the far-left of the party.

    Whether this translates to enthusiasm during the general election remains to be seen. If liberal turnout is low, we could still have a serious problem — and strong approval doesn’t necessarily translate into large-scale turnout.

    http://bobcesca.com/blog-archives/2011/12/are-liberals-abandoning-the-president.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

  49. rikyrah says:

    District teens disagree with Newt Gingrich: They are ready to work
    By David Montgomery and Lonnae O’Neal Parker, Published: December 5

    “Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working, and have nobody around them who works. So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash,’ unless it’s illegal.”

    — Newt Gingrich

    When Nickaro Young, Khalid Bullock and Rian Hayes heard what the GOP presidential candidate was saying about young people like them and their peers in the Congress Heights neighborhood of the District, they bristled, briefly. Then they went back to their responsibilities.

    Which for Young, 16, includes walking to the IHOP on Alabama Avenue SE, where he is a host on weekends. Bullock, 17, helps out at his father’s store, Shar Retailers on Martin Luther King Boulevard SE, and last month he co-founded a nonprofit to help young people put their talent to work in the community.

    Hayes, 17, is studying hard to become a lawyer, after a successful internship this past summer at the downtown law firm of Alston & Bird.

    “He’s got it way wrong,” says Young, a junior at Ballou High School, who has applied for weekday work at other stores and restaurants, so far with no luck. “How would he know if he’s not where we’re at?”

    “We have the desire, we just don’t have the opportunity,” says Bullock, 17, a senior at Ballou, who is waiting to hear back from Giant, Foot Locker and Starbucks, to supplement his work at the family business. “I’m looking for more experience.”

    Congress Heights, where Ballou is located, is one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city’s poorest ward. More than a third of the residents of Ward 8 live below the poverty line, and the median household income is $31,188, compared with the citywide median of $56,519, according to the American Community Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau.

    Hayes says Gingrich’s observation may accurately characterize some young people, but not most teens she knows.

    “The kids who don’t work, they believe that getting money on the streets would be faster,” says Hayes also a senior at Ballou. “But I know more kids like myself who want to actually get a job and not get over easily by using their parents’ money or doing something illegal.”

    Gingrich’s remarks at a campaign stop in Iowa ricocheted around the blogosphere and the political talk shows over the weekend. The candidate has also proposed putting children to work as janitors in schools to give them work experience.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/district-teens-disagree-with-newt-gingrich-they-are-ready-to-work/2011/12/05/gIQABUmtXO_story.html?tid=sm_twitter_washingtonpost

  50. rikyrah says:

    Gingrich: ‘File charges’ against Pelosi if she releases dirt on me
    Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich sounds a little worried that Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi might follow through with her threat to divulge details of his past transgressions.

    “If she’s suggesting that she’s going to use materials that she developed when she was on the ethics committee, that is a fundamental violation of the rules of the House, and I would hope that members would immediately file charges against her the second she does it,” the candidate told reporters in New York Monday.

    “I would hope that the House would immediately condemn her if she uses any material that was gathered when she was on the ethics committee.”

    Talking Points Memo asked Pelosi if she would be willing to tell what she knows.

    “Not right here,” she said. “When the time’s right.”

    “I know a lot about him. I served on the investigative committee that investigated him, four of us locked in a room in an undisclosed location for a year. A thousand pages of his stuff.”

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/12/05/gingrich-file-charges-against-pelosi-if-she-releases-dirt-on-me/

  51. rikyrah says:

    Romney Reverses Position, Backs Payroll Tax Cut Extension
    Benjy Sarlin- December 5, 2011, 6:54 PM

    Mitt Romney derided President Obama’s call for a payroll tax cut extension as a “band aid” in October. But he came out in favor of the move on Monday as the White House makes a new push to prevent taxes from going up on millions of Americans.

    “Look, I don’t like temporary little Band-Aids,” Romney said earlier. “I want to fundamentally restructure America’s foundation economically.”

    On Monday, however, he endorsed the idea.

    “I would like to see the payroll tax cut extended because I know that working families are really feeling the pinch right now — middle-class Americans are having a hard time,” he told radio host Michael Medved.

    While he had previously danced around the question in debates, this was the first time since the Democrats’ new effort to renew the extension that he had unequivocally backed keeping the cuts in place.

    Romney’s decision didn’t occur in a vacuum. Democrats hammered him over his “band-aids” comments for months, with every tool in their arsenal, saying his comments were out of touch with average Americans’ financial situation. They also noted that he had “appeared to support the extension in interviews only months earlier

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/romney-reverses-position-backs-payroll-tax-cut-extension.php

  52. rikyrah says:

    05-2011 5:30 PM

    Pelosi To Newt: I Don’t Need Secret Documents To Embarrass You
    When it comes to the Newt Gingrich v Nancy Pelosi war of words that erupted today, Pelosi’s office told Brian Beutler that Pelosi wasn’t talking about dinging Gingrich with some secret cache of documents, but rather the ethics report from the 1990s that’s already available online.

    “Leader Pelosi was clearly referring to the extensive amount of information that is in the public record, including the comprehensive committee report with which the public may not be fully aware,” Pelosi’s spokesperson said.

    http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/updates/2440

  53. rikyrah says:

    Newt Gingrich’s Second Wife Dishes Hard To Esquire: His Money Woes, His Philandering, His Meltdown
    Megan Carpentier- August 11, 2010, 8:42 AM

    In 1999, after refusing to take the seat he won in the 1998 elections, Newt Gingrich left his second wife, Marianne, for a much-younger staffer with whom he’d been having an almost-ignored affair. As in his first marriage, he did so shortly after Marianne was diagnosed with a serious illness; as in his first divorce, he fought Marianne tooth and nail over any financial settlement. And then he had the Atlanta archdiocese inform Marianne that their marriage was invalid in the eyes of his fiancée’s faith; 9 years later, he completed his conversion to Catholicism.

    Given his popularity among Republicans, one would think there is little left to say about Gingrich’s personal foibles that could hurt his political career. But sandwiched in between snippets from his campaign to return to popularity in yesterday’s Esquire profile are tidbits from the still-supportive Marianne that portray Gingrich in a far-from-pleasant light — and hints that his personal foibles took quite a toll on his political fortunes behind the scenes.

    Before marrying Marianne, Gingrich presented his first wife, Jackie Battley, with the terms of their divorce as she lay in a hospital bed recovering from surgery for uterine cancer. Gingrich had pursued Marianne from nearly the moment they met at a January 1980 fundraiser:

    She told him about the local economic decline, he said somebody needed to save the country. She said that he couldn’t do it alone, he asked about her plans for the future. Even then, he was making rash pronouncements that reasonable people made fun of, such as that he would be the next Republican Speaker of the House.
    They kept the conversation going on the phone, often talking late into the night. Although he was still married to Jackie, Gingrich told Marianne they were in counseling and talking about divorce.

    Of course, they weren’t. In April 1980, only one day after Jackie’s surgery, Newt went to her room to present her with the terms of the divorce. That summer, he introduced Marianne to his parents, according to Esquire. By October, he was already refusing to pay alimony or child support. Marianne admits she knew little of that at first.

    At first, she had no idea that the wife he was divorcing was actually his high school geometry teacher, or that he went to the hospital to present her with divorce terms while she was recovering from uterine cancer and then fought the case so hard, Jackie had to get a court order just to pay her utility bills. Gingrich told her the story a little at a time, trusting her with things that nobody else knew — to this day, for example, the official story is that he started dating Jackie when he was eighteen and she was twenty-five. But he was really just sixteen, she says.The divorce was finalized in February 1981; Marianne and Gingrich wed six months later in August. She says now that she probably should have known better. She told Esquire that he asked her to marry him after only a few weeks and before he was divorced, adding, “It’s not so much a compliment to me. It tells you a little bit about him.”

    Esquire goes on to describe the financial pressures faced by the new couple: Gingrich declared keeping a budget “too stressful,” so Marianne took that over, looking to maintain homes in Georgia and D.C., pay Gingrich’s alimony and child support and reduce his massive personal debt. A Vanity Fair article from 1995 indicates that Jackie, too, was in charge of the household finances because of Gingrich’s spendthrift ways: in fact, the debt the couple faced when they married in 1981 wasn’t paid off until 1994.

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/08/gingrich_profile_featuring_ex-wife_begets_question.php

  54. Scott Walker Recall Campaign Gets Ugly As Allegations Fly

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/05/scott-walker-recall-underhanded_n_1126579.html

    WASHINGTON — Few races next year will carry as much symbolic importance as the campaign to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R). His push to strip state workers of collective bargaining rights set off a nationwide debate over the role of unions and public workers and reenergized progressives who were still recovering from the tough losses they sustained during the 2010 elections.

    Both sides recognize the importance of the campaign, which is also targeting the lieutenant governor and three Republican state senators. Progressive activists are working to collect enough petition signatures to force a recall of the governor, and Walker and his allies have already started an ad campaign in response.

    Underlying all this is a scattered amount of isolated, underhanded activity that may be illegal. The past weekend even saw two arrests of recall opponents.

    On Sunday, a man was arrested on allegations that he defaced recall petitions.

    “The suspect stood in line to sign a petition and when given the petition clipboard, he scribbled out some names on the actual form, and the recall worker took the clipboard back, and he left the scene without any incident,” West Bend, Wis. police Sgt. Matt Rohlinger told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

    Police arrested another woman from Thorp, Wis. after she reportedly grabbed a sign from recall volunteers, tore it up, threw it on the ground and then drove away. Officers charged her with disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property.

  55. Romney Staff Spent Nearly $100,000 To Hide Records

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/06/us-usa-campaign-romney-computers-idUSTRE7B500X20111206

    Reuters) – Mitt Romney spent nearly $100,000 in state funds to replace computers in his office at the end of his term as governor of Massachusetts in 2007 as part of an unprecedented effort to keep his records secret, Reuters has learned.

    The move during the final weeks of Romney’s administration was legal but unusual for a departing governor, Massachusetts officials say.

    The effort to purge the records was made a few months before Romney launched an unsuccessful campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. He is again competing for the party’s nomination, this time to challenge Barack Obama for the presidency in 2012.

    Five weeks before the first contests in Iowa, Romney has seen his position as frontrunner among Republican presidential candidates whittled away in the polls as rival Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, has gained ground.

    When Romney left the governorship of Massachusetts, 11 of his aides bought the hard drives of their state-issued computers to keep for themselves. Also before he left office, the governor’s staff had emails and other electronic communications by Romney’s administration wiped from state servers, state officials say.

    Those actions erased much of the internal documentation of Romney’s four-year tenure as governor, which ended in January 2007. Precisely what information was erased is unclear.

  56. Newt’s war on the poor

    JavaScript required to play Rev Al.

    • Newt insults America’s children

      JavaScript required to play Rev Al2.

      • Newt Gingrich vs. Nancy Pelosi: GOP Candidate Fires Back

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/05/newt-gingrich-nancy-pelosi_n_1130127.html#comments

        Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich fired back on Monday to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s suggestion that she could reveal information about him “when the time is right” because she once served on a committee that investigated him for ethics violations.

        “First of all, I want to thank Speaker Pelosi for what I regard as an early Christmas gift,” he said at a press conference in New York.

        “Well, if she suggested that she’s going to use material that she developed when she was on the ethics committee, that is a fundamental violation of the rules of the House and I would hope that members would immediately file charges against her the second she does it,” he continued. “I think it shows you how capriciously political that committee was when she was on it.”

        Pelosi told Talking Points Memo that she could eventually release information about Gingrich from his time as House Speaker.

        JavaScript required to play Newt vs Nancy.

  57. Newt Gingrich’s Second Wife Dishes Hard To Esquire: His Money Woes, His Philandering, His Meltdown

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/08/gingrich_profile_featuring_ex-wife_begets_question.php

    In 1999, after refusing to take the seat he won in the 1998 elections, Newt Gingrich left his second wife, Marianne, for a much-younger staffer with whom he’d been having an almost-ignored affair. As in his first marriage, he did so shortly after Marianne was diagnosed with a serious illness; as in his first divorce, he fought Marianne tooth and nail over any financial settlement. And then he had the Atlanta archdiocese inform Marianne that their marriage was invalid in the eyes of his fiancée’s faith; 9 years later, he completed his conversion to Catholicism.

    Given his popularity among Republicans, one would think there is little left to say about Gingrich’s personal foibles that could hurt his political career. But sandwiched in between snippets from his campaign to return to popularity in yesterday’s Esquire profile are tidbits from the still-supportive Marianne that portray Gingrich in a far-from-pleasant light — and hints that his personal foibles took quite a toll on his political fortunes behind the scenes.

    Before marrying Marianne, Gingrich presented his first wife, Jackie Battley, with the terms of their divorce as she lay in a hospital bed recovering from surgery for uterine cancer. Gingrich had pursued Marianne from nearly the moment they met at a January 1980 fundraiser:

    She told him about the local economic decline, he said somebody needed to save the country. She said that he couldn’t do it alone, he asked about her plans for the future. Even then, he was making rash pronouncements that reasonable people made fun of, such as that he would be the next Republican Speaker of the House.

    They kept the conversation going on the phone, often talking late into the night. Although he was still married to Jackie, Gingrich told Marianne they were in counseling and talking about divorce.

  58. Good Morning, Everyone!

    zwani.com myspace graphic comments

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