Tuesday Open Thread

Feliz Navidad” is a Christmas song written in 1970 by the Puerto Rican singer-songwriter José Feliciano. With its simple Spanish chorus (the traditional Christmas/New Year greeting, “Feliz Navidad, próspero año y felicidad” or “Merry Christmas, and a happy New Year”) and equally simple English verse (“I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart”), it has become a classic Christmas pop song in the United States, Canada and throughout the Spanish-speaking world.

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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87 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread

  1. Attorney General Eric Holder’s Speech On Voting Rights

    http://news.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/attorney-general-eric-holders-speech-on-voting-rights.php

    Eric Holder: Let me be clear: voter fraud is not acceptable – and will not be tolerated by this Justice Department.

    He AIN’T playing with the mofos.

    Like

  2. An Open Letter To Newt Gingrich From A Black Kid Who Grew Up In A Poor Neighborhood

    http://travonfree.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/an-open-letter-to-newt-gingrich-from-a-black-kid-who-grew-up-in-a-poor-neighborhood/#comment-516

    Dear Newt Gingrich,

    I recently saw you stand up in front of a group of people and allow some of the most
    idiotic, unfounded, racist, and ignorant words pass your lips that I’ve ever heard
    from a member of a group of the most unqualified presidential candidates America
    has ever seen.

    To have the audacity to say that poor kids, and let’s be clear that’s republican speak
    for black and brown kids, “have no habits of working and nobody around them who
    works” is not only an insult to me as black man who grew up in one of those “really
    poor” neighborhoods you spoke of but it’s an insult to my mother. And it’s an insult to
    many other black and brown children, adults, and hard working parents(often single
    parents) who get up every single day to try to provide a better life for their children in
    poor neighborhoods.

    As a child grew up in Compton in the early 90′s, one of the most dangerous
    neighborhoods in America, I watched my mother work tirelessly, sometimes juggling
    multiple jobs to provide for myself and my sister. Day in and day out just like many other
    parents in poor neighborhoods she did what she had to do in order to provide for us.
    You know what that turned into Mr. Gingrich?

    A son who received academic and athletic scholarship offers from three Ivy League schools
    and countless other universities, a son with a college degree in Criminal Justice who
    graduated with honors from every school he attended, and a daughter who not only
    attended a Gifted and Talented Education high school but is one year away from
    completing a degree at UCLA.

    This is not just the case for my family. I know I speak for many other hard working
    black, brown, and even poor white families who have the same experiences in the poor
    neighborhoods to look down upon from your elitist 1% out of touch pedestal. To say that
    an entire community “literally has no habit of showing up on Monday” or “they have no
    habit of staying all day” I say that is a load of shit.

    Millions of poor children watch their parents show up Monday and many of them
    sometimes have to suffer from the fact that their parents have to stay at work ALL DAY.

    And lastly, you suggest that to remedy this “problem” as you so blindly see it is to make
    poor kids assistant janitors and pay them to clean the restrooms? Your solution is child
    labor. Degrading young children by suggesting they clean toilets while painting all union workers as lazy leeches. It’s a shame they don’t have the work ethic of hard working Americans like Kim Kardashian who worked so hard in her sex tape before we crowned her a role model for young girls and showered her with money and adoration or Paris Hilton who was forced to clean so many toilets as a teen to learn “work ethic” before her parents handed over the millions.

    This not only echoes the depth of your ignorance but just how truly unqualified
    you are to ever be president of this country. Your assumption that poor people have no
    ingrained work ethic and “have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash’ unless it’s
    illegal” is not only dangerously ignorant but it proves you have no connection with the
    true heart of this country.

    I believe I speak for most if not all of “poor” America when I say Mr. Gingrich you have
    no habit of performing, thinking or speaking in a manner that warrants becoming the
    leader of the free world and the 45th president of these United States of America. You
    represent a party of greedy, selfish, out of touch, wealth protecting, non tax paying,
    destroyers of the middle class. You know nothing about us. But your words in your
    speech in Des Moines told us everything about you.

    Which is why I hope you win your party’s nomination so that poor and impoverished
    families can at least experience four more years of a man working diligently to help
    them and the communities they call home that you have proven to know nothing about.
    president number 44.

    PS. You look like someone poured mashed potatoes into a suit

    Like

  3. Ohio landlord fights ‘White Only’ pool sign ruling

    http://news.yahoo.com/ohio-landlord-fights-white-only-pool-sign-ruling-220303214.html

    CINCINNATI (AP) — A landlord found to have discriminated against a black girl by posting a “White Only” sign at a swimming pool wants a state civil rights commission to reconsider its decision.

    The Ohio Civil Rights Commission found on Sept. 29 that Jamie Hein, who’s white, violated the Ohio Civil Rights Act by posting the sign at a pool at the duplex where the teenage girl was visiting her parents. The parents filed a discrimination charge with the commission and moved out of the duplex in the racially diverse city to “avoid subjecting their family to further humiliating treatment,” the commission said in a release announcing its finding.

    An investigation revealed that Hein in May posted on the gated entrance to the pool an iron sign that stated “Public Swimming Pool, White Only,” the commission statement said.

    Several witnesses confirmed that the sign was posted, and the landlord indicated that she posted it because the girl used in her hair chemicals that would make the pool “cloudy,” according to the commission.

    Hein, of Cincinnati, hung up when The Associated Press called her for comment Tuesday. A message was left at her lawyer’s office.

    The commission’s statement said that its investigation concluded that the posting of such a sign “restricts the social interaction between Caucasians and African-Americans and reinforces discriminatory actions aimed at oppressing people of color.”

    Commissioners were scheduled to hear Hein’s request for reconsideration at a meeting Thursday in Columbus, commission spokeswoman Brandi Martin said.

    If the commissioners uphold their original finding, the case would be referred to the Ohio attorney general’s office, which would represent the commission’s findings before an administrative law judge, Martin said.

    Penalties in the case could include a cease-and-desist order and even punitive damages, but the administrative law judge would determine any penalties, Martin said.

    It still would be possible for the parties to reach a settlement before resorting to legal action, she said.

    Any decision by the administrative judge could be appealed to Hamilton County Common Pleas Court in Cincinnati, Martin said.

    ..

    Like

  4. Obama coming to Fort Bragg as soldiers return home from Iraq

    http://www2.nbc17.com/news/2011/dec/12/obama-coming-fort-bragg-soldiers-return-home-iraq-ar-1706596/?referer=http://bit.ly/uWgtXr&shorturl=http://bit.ly/uWgtXr

    Obama coming to Fort Bragg as soldiers return home from Iraq
    At the end of this month the War in Iraq will be ending, and that means soldiers will be heading home. More than 200 men and women are coming back to Fort Bragg on Tuesday, and on Wednesday President

    Like

  5. TheRevAl:

    Leaving the White House Holiday Party w/ President and Mrs. Obama. A very nice event.

    RevAl’s all up in the White House! Go Rev Al!

    .

    Like

  6. Rachel Maddow on Eric Holder’s speech on Voting rights…paraphrasing… laws that are trying to undermine voters rights will be investigated and dealt with.

    Go Eric..it’s on & poppin

    Like

  7. Breaking News:

    Gingrich Iowa director refers to Mormonism as a cult, resigns

    Like

  8. Holder Speech to Fault New Restrictions in Voting Laws

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/14/us/politics/in-speech-holder-to-critique-new-voting-laws.html?_r=2

    AUSTIN, Tex. — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. entered the turbulent political waters of voting rights on Tuesday, signaling that the Justice Department will take an aggressive stance in reviewing new laws in several states that civil rights advocates say are meant to dampen minority participation in the national elections next year.

    Mr. Holder’s speech on Tuesday night could inflame a smoldering partisan dispute over race and ballot access just as the 2012 campaign cycle intensifies. It comes as the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division is scrutinizing a series of new state voting laws that were enacted — largely by Republican officials — in the name of fighting fraud.

    Mr. Holder spoke here at the presidential library of Lyndon B. Johnson, who signed the Voting Rights Act in 1965. The act enables the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division to object to election laws and practices on the grounds that they would disproportionately deter minority groups from voting, and to go to court to block states from implementing them.

    Like

  9. Heads Up, 3 Chics!

    Eric Holder Set To Deliver Speech On Voter Rights Tonight

    http://newsone.com/nation/tjstarr/eric-holder-voter-rights-laws-minority-voters/

    Embattled U.S. Attorney Eric Holder is set to deliver a speech this evening that is likely to address the wave of newly passed state laws across the country that require voters to provide photo identification when voting, the New York Times reports.

    Many civil rights advocates say the laws Holder is expected to address in his speech will limit the number of minority voters who can participate in the upcoming elections because many cannot afford to purchase photo identification. This year alone, more than a dozen states established voting restrictions. Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin require photo identification. In the past, voters only needed a phone bill or a social security card to cast a ballot.
    The debate on voter rights is arguably the number one issue Republicans and Democrats will fight over well into next year’s presidential elections:

    Like

  10. Ametia says:

    DOO WOP! C’momSg2; I know you love doing the JERK. LOL

    Like

  11. Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto

    Like

  12. Ametia says:

    Russell Simmons Offers To Buy Up All The Remaining Ad Time For TLC’s All-American Muslim
    by Jon Bershad | 11:56 am, December 13th, 2011

    Now that is putting your money where your mouth is. Yesterday, Russell Simmons had spoken out on the cowardly companies like Lowe’s who had buckled to extremist conservative pressure to stop advertising on TLC’s All-American Muslim, a show that dared (DARED!) to show Muslim Americans who weren’t crazed terrorists bathing in the blood of Christians or something. Furious at the seeming victory of bigotry, Simmons did what any person with integrity, passion, and an absolutely insane amount of money would do; he offered to buy up all the now-vacant ad space himself.

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/russell-simmons-offers-to-buy-up-all-the-remaining-ad-time-for-tlcs-all-american-muslim/

    Like

  13. Ametia says:

    CNN BREAKING NEWS

    The House of Representatives, led by a majority of Republicans, voted 234-192 today to extend the payroll tax cut and speed the process for government approval of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline.
    However, approval by the Senate appeared unlikely given strong opposition from the Democratic majority.
    President Obama has said he would veto the measure, which attaches pipeline approval to the payroll tax cut, setting up further brinkmanship before Congress’ holiday recess begins at the end of the week.
    Congress had been debating the payroll tax cut extension and a spending bill that must pass in order to keep the government funded after Friday and avoid a shutdown.

    Like

  14. rikyrah says:

    Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 10:55 AM PST.

    Romney campaign responds to claim by Mitt Romney that he is ‘progressive’
    by Jed Lewison

    Mitt Romney’s campaign is responding to this video of himself in 2002 saying “I am not a partisan Republican” and “my views are progressive” …

    Mitt Romney said he was ‘progressive’ as a gubernatorial candidate.
    … by blaming Democrats:


    The very last thing the Democrats want to do is run against Mitt Romney. That is why they are focused on his campaign and not on the economy. The Democrats are continuing their campaign of deception in their strategy to ‘kill Romney.’ If anyone has a question of how Mitt Romney will govern as president, take a look at his record of creating jobs, cutting spending, and protecting the sanctity of life and traditional marriage. That was his record as Governor and that will be his record as president.

    Of course, nothing in that statement explains why Mitt Romney declared himself to be a “progressive” and I’ll bet you $10,000 that it won’t convince a single conservative Republican to vote for Mitt Romney. This isn’t some slice-and-dice O’Keefe editing job … this is Mitt Romney in Mitt Romney’s own words.

    Pointing the finger at Democrats would be absurd even if they had uncovered the clip, but it was posted on YouTube by Andy Kaczynski, a 22-year-old college student whose hobby is finding old video clips of today’s politicians. He’s says he’s a Republican, and he’s found plenty of stuff critical of Romney’s opponents in both the Republican and Democratic parties, so he’s certainly not picking on Romney. Moreover, the first big media outlet to feature the clip was Fox News through it’s foxnation.com website.

    But the key point is that blaming Democrats doesn’t come close to explaining how Mitt Romney could go from calling himself a progressive to calling himself a conservative in the space of just 27 months.

    Romney can’t plausibly square those two statements without admitting he was lying in at least one of them. And because it’s so damn near impossible for him to explain the quote, you can damn well be sure that during Thursday’s debate his Republican rivals are going to give him every opportunity to try. In fact, I’ll bet they’d be happy to give him the full 90 minutes to try to explain himself, because there’s really no way he can.

    11:16 AM PT: Dave Weigel unearths a Romney quote from November 10, 2002 in which he again refers to himself as a progressive. This time, however, Romney explicitly modifies progressive to mean “progressive-on-social-issues,” suggesting at least the possibility that when Romney called himself a progressive he was referring to himself being pro-choice and a supporter of gay rights. Romney’s point was that a governor like himself might not do well in a future national campaign because of his positions on social issues, which makes his flip-flops all the more dramatic. And don’t forget that just over two years later, he was calling himself a conservative. It was a remarkable transformation indeed.

    11:23 AM PT: And Greg Sargent finds a 1994 pledge by Romney to seek “full equality for America’s gay and lesbian citizens.”

    .

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/12/13/1044923/-Romney-campaign-responds-to-claim-by-Mitt-Romney-that-he-is-progressive?via=blog_1

    Like

  15. rikyrah says:

    December 13, 2011 2:10 PM

    The ‘evidence’ bolstering voter-fraud allegations

    By Steve Benen

    To rationalize the “war on voting,” Republican policymakers point to the scourge of voter fraud. The problem, of course, is that the allegations of fraud are largely imaginary, and GOP officials are really just looking for excuses to block traditionally-Democratic constituencies from voting.

    But wait, Republicans say, occasionally there really is fraud. In fact, the Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) released a report last week to document all the cases of voter fraud that have been prosecuted over the last decade.

    And what did the group turn up? A grand total of 311 cases. Given the larger national context — over 131 million Americans voted in 2008, for example — that’s an infinitesimally small number.

    But as Julia Krieger explained, that’s really just the start of the problems with the RNLA’s findings.


    What’s more, the RNLA is dishonestly representing their data when they describe it as “in the past decade”: A quick gander at the website’s evidence shows citations going as far back as 1997. Although they claim to have evidence of 46 states with voter fraud prosecutions in the last decade, their website only lists 44 states. For two of those 44, there are only examples from the 1990s up to 2000, bringing the state count down to 42. To be clear, that’s eight states where they identified no instances of voter fraud in the last decade.

    Further, the RNLA brags: “The RNLA webpage presents evidence that there were at least seventeen cases involving prosecutions for non-citizen voting in 2005 just in one state: Florida.” However, according to the Department of Justice, at least four of the seventeen cases they list were dismissed.

    Remember, we’re talking about a Republican group taking its best shot at this. RNLA officials could take their to do as much comprehensive research as they wanted, they could define their terms to their liking; they could massage the results to match their pre-determined conclusion; and they still couldn’t make much of a case.

    And if the RNLA thinks these 311 cases from the last decade — some of which weren’t from the last decade, some of which were cases that got thrown out of court, some of which may have very well have been innocent mistakes — justify a national campaign to restrict Americans’ access to their own democracy, they’re wildly misguided.

    Republicans support all kinds of new voting restrictions — voter-ID laws, severe limits on voter-registration drives, closing early-voting windows, strict new limits on absentee ballots — because they find it easier to rig voter eligibility than to win elections fair and square. It’s why all of these restrictions affect traditionally Democratic constituencies.

    GOP officials can keep defending a foolish pretense about imaginary fraud, but there’s no reason for anyone else to take it seriously.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/the_evidence_bolstering_voterf034087.php

    Like

  16. rikyrah says:

    Polls Don’t Reflect GOP Split
    by BooMan
    Tue Dec 13th, 2011 at 01:01:08 PM EST

    According to the latest PPP/Daily Kos/SEIU poll, less than a third of Americans think Barack Obama will be defeated in next year’s election. I confess that I am little surprised to see such a small number. The key swing ‘independent/other’ category is in rough agreement with the overall numbers. Just 31% of independents think Romney would win, while only 27% think Gingrich could pull it off. Yet, a new USA Today/Gallup Swing-State Poll shows a Republican enthusiasm advantage and some worrisome results for the president.

    I think the key dynamics are starting to show, but they aren’t necessarily showing up in the polls, yet. The Republicans may be generically more motivated. That’s natural for the party out of power. But they’re horribly split over their two front-runners, both of whom are simply unacceptable to a huge swath of the party. Once they have to settle for a candidate, I think the enthusiasm rating of the Republican base will take a major nosedive.

    What do you think?

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2011/12/13/1318/3054

    Like

  17. rikyrah says:

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011
    The Laws Of Unintended Consequences
    Posted by Zandar

    TPM’s Brian Beutler explores the Republican argument against health care reforms Medicaid expansion provision. Conservatives argue that by declaring that states expand the coverage of Medicaid to 133% of the poverty line, adding millions of people to the program, the federal government is using its financial power to coerce the states to do what Congress wants.

    The problem with that argument as Beutler points out is that basically that’s what the Hyde Amendment does: a favorite federal provision of conservatives that they want to strengthen to prevent any state from using federal money, such as health care reform funding, to subsidize any insurance plan that would cover abortion or to include those plans in state insurance exchanges.


    When it has suited social conservatives, they’re all for coercion,” says Sara Rosenbaum, a law professor at George Washington University, where she’s also the chair of the Department of Health Policy.

    The plaintiffs will ask the Supreme Court to rule narrowly that the Medicaid expansion is an unconstitutional use of Congress powers to tax and spend. If the court follows suit, though, it will invite a flood of challenges to other statutes, many of which conservatives adore, but all of which rely on Congress’ power to impose conditions on money they provide to states.

    “It opens a tremendous Pandora’s box of other spending clause statutes that might be considered coercive with no clear limiting principles,” Rosenbaum said. “At what point does something become a coercion.”

    Timothy Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University who has been monitoring the health care lawsuits very closely runs through some of these: “Title IX of the Civil Rights Act and national security programs and No Child Left Behind and all kinds of other programs.”

    The list is long. It includes requirements that universities receiving federal funds allow the military to recruit on their campuses. And, both Jost and Rosenbaum note, if conservatives get their way, it will also include a stronger version of the so-called Hyde Amendment, which severely restricts the use of federal funds to provide abortions.

    “The House of Representatives has been fashioning a very different kind of Hyde amendment … restrictions say that no federal funds go to the insurance program if that coverage offers more than the [federal] minimum for abortions,” Rosenbaum said.

    What are the implications here? Several states that help provide abortion coverage with their own funds would have to pare back that funding or drop out of Medicaid. That’s a federal power conservatives are happy to exercise — but one they’d stand to lose if they get their way in the Supreme Court next year.

    “If the states were to prevail on the issue of expansion, then the [abortion] mandate would presumably fall,” Rosenbaum said.

    On the other hand, if winning the coercion battle meant losing on the Hyde Amendment but also the end of Title IX and the Civil Rights Act, I’m betting Republicans would be more than happy to take that outcome. I’d have to say they’re well aware of the potential tradeoff here.

    http://zandarvts.blogspot.com/2011/12/laws-of-unintended-consequences.html

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  18. rikyrah says:

    December 12, 2011
    Romney Meets a Veteran
    Posted by Amy Davidson

    The Republican candidates are not having shining moments when it comes to dealing with gay veterans. One example of this came in a Fox News debate this fall, when the candidates, asked by gay service member on active duty in Iraq, all but froze when some in the audience booed him. There wasn’t even the rote thanks for his service you’d expect even there, on the planet of the G.O.P. race. Then there was another transmission from that world last week, when Rick Perry came out with an ad in which, dressed in a denim shirt and Carhartt jacket, he said,

    I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in schoo

    Does that work among Republicans in Iowa? The Washington Post notes that the ad has gotten more than six hundred thousand “dislikes” on YouTube, and also, within a few days, generated a series of parodies; it may be on its way to becoming the “Downfall” video of primary season.

    Perry may not have much of a serious chance now—though really, with this cast of characters, who knows—but Romney does, or did. A video of him talking to a gay veteran in a New Hampshire diner gives one a sense of why he didn’t have more of one. Romney sat down in a booth with two older men, Bob Garon and Bob Lemire; according to Politico, they were regulars there, known to the waiters as “the Bobs.” As the Boston Globe put it, “Though Romney had no reason to know it, Garon—a 63-year-old from Epsom, N.H.—was sitting at the table with his husband.” Garon was wearing a baseball hat referring to his time in Vietnam—“Vietnam veteran!” Romney said when he saw him, not by way of introducing himself (he has no military experience) but perhaps to demonstrate his eye for textual details. Garon asked Romney where he stood on gay marriage. Romney was against it; when Garon followed up by asking why a same-sex partner shouldn’t get the veterans’ benefits available to spouses, Romney repeated that “I believe that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman, and we apparently disagree.” What is striking is how Romney, despite picking up—sooner than some of his rivals might have—what Garon thought of the issue, completely fails to turn this into any sort of a human moment. You are a politician; here is an old man, sitting next to you in a diner, who, one way or the other, has had a complicated life. There was no strand Romney could seek out and hang on to? Ask what years he fought in the war, express some sense of respect or internal struggle—anything. (Except, maybe, propose a wager.) This is how they said goodbye

    Garon: And you know, I also learned something and New Hampshire is right. You have to look a man in the eye to get a good answer, and you know what, Governor, good luck.

    Romney: Thank you, appreciate it. Have a good day to you, sir.

    Garon: You’re going to need it.

    Garon later told reporters that “you can’t trust him…. I saw it in his eyes.”

    Perhaps “gay soldier” is a phrase that encompasses too many categories for a Republican field that has been caught up in caricature-mongering, and all too willing to slip away from reality, and from the multitude of complexities that most lives contain. (One probably could have heard a story that wasn’t simple in almost any booth in that diner.) But there is also a distinctly Romneyan problem here. Only connect, as the saying goes; he can’t, and that is why we have been talking so much about Newt Gingrich.

    Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/closeread/2011/12/romney-meets-a-veteran.html#ixzz1gRTQVT00

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  19. rikyrah says:

    December 13, 2011 1:15 PM

    At the intersection of dishonesty and hypocrisy
    By Steve Benen

    In the debate over the weekend for the Republican presidential candidates, Mitt Romney offered to bet $10,000 on a health care claim, generating all kinds of attention. But just a couple of minutes earlier, Romney made a claim that was far less colorful, but far more dishonest.

    As part of a discussion on the Affordable Care Act, Romney told viewers, “Let’s not forget, only one president has ever cut Medicare for seniors in this country, and it’s Barack Obama. We’re gonna remind him of that time and time again.”

    Jonathan Cohn, who generally avoids using the “l” word, calls Romney’s claim “a flat-out lie.”

    There are a few relevant angles to this. The first is the notion that Obama’s health care law “cuts Medicare.” It’s an inherently dubious claim — as has been explained many times before, “The Affordable Care Act does reduce Medicare spending by $500 billion over the next 10 years. But here’s the catch: Those dollars aren’t taken out of the current budget, they are not actual cuts, and nowhere does the bill actually eliminate any current benefits. The $500 billion is all in future spending reductions and come through the law’s attempts to slow projected growth, not cut spending.”

    The second is the notion that “only one president has ever cut Medicare.” Cohn knows better.


    During the 1990s, Bill Clinton signed the Balanced Budget Act. That reduced Medicare spending by even more than the Affordable Care Act will.

    In the 1980s, first Ronald Reagan and then George H.W. Bush introduced major changes to the way Medicare pays for services: Reagan brought a “prospective payment system” to Medicare hospital insurance while Bush brought a fixed fee schedule to Medicare physician insurance.

    I’m actually note sure whether the fee schedule for physicians reduced Medicare spending in the ensuing years, but the new payment system for hospitals certainly did. And both changes were far more socialistic in nature than anything the Affordable Care Act contemplates. The fee schedule, in particular, is effectively a form of price controls.

    And then there’s the third problem: Romney made the remarks on Saturday, after endorsing Paul Ryan’s budget plan on Friday. In other words, on Friday, Romney said he supports privatizing Medicare out of existence, replacing it with a voucher scheme. “We’re going to have to make changes like the ones Paul Ryan proposed,” he told voters. Just one day later, Romney nevertheless felt comfortable falsely accusing President Obama of trying to “cut Medicare.”

    As we talked about yesterday, this kind of shameless dishonesty may not be as entertaining as Romney’s willingness to bet $10k, but it’s far more important.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/at_the_intersection_of_dishone034086.php

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  20. rikyrah says:

    “Full Unconcealed Panic” Ctd

    TNR chronicles the mounting and widespread consternation over Newt’s rise:

    Charles Krauthammer: “Gingrich has his own vulnerabilities. The first is often overlooked because it is characterological rather than ideological: his own unreliability. Gingrich has a self-regard so immense that it rivals Obama’s—but, unlike Obama’s, is untamed by self-discipline.

    Ross Douthat:

    “[Gingrich’s] candidacy isn’t a test of religious conservatives’ willingness to be good, forgiving Christians. It’s a test of their ability to see their cause through outsiders’ eyes, and to recognize what anointing a thrice-married adulterer as the champion of “family values” would say to the skeptical, the unconverted and above all to the young.”

    Joe Scarborough:

    “When [Gingrich] puts on his political helmet he is a terrible person. … Let me tell you something: the Republican establishment will never make peace with Newt Gingrich. They just won’t! They won’t. This is an important point. Because the Republicans I talk to say he cannot win the nomination at any cost. He will destroy the party. He will re-elect Barack Obama and we’ll be ruined. That’s going to happen. I mean Newt Gingrich would possibly win 100 electoral votes.”

    Even Jennifer Rubin thought Newt’s rabid Likudnik stance on the Palestinians was de trop:

    Playing historical one-upmanship may satisfy the candidate’s desire to be the smartest guy in the room, but it is not indicative of mature leadership. It’s certainly not comparable to Ronald Reagan’s predictive aspiration on the demise of the Soviet Union. (Our goal is not to eradicate Palestinian nationalism, as it was to end communism, and anyone who thinks Palestinian nationalism is going away is clearly delusional.) This sort of talk is not helpful in the least to Israel, to U.S.-Israel relations, or to the Republican Party and in fact concedes the entire ground of sensible pro-Israel policy to the other side. Yet the purportedly smart right-leaning punditocracy nods admiringly at Gingrich’s folly.

    Talk-radio host Michael Savage puts his money where his mouth is, offering Gingrich $1 million to drop out of the race. All-caps alert:

    HIS CONTINUED CANDIDACY SPELLS NOTHING BUT RUIN FOR CONSERVATIVES, REPUBLICANS, AND ALL TRUE AMERICAN PATRIOTS.

    Along the same lines, John Cassidy is assembling responses to the question: “What is the nicest thing you can think of to say about Newt Gingrich?” I don’t disagree with this line of argument, and Tomasky’s idea that Obama might be handed a landslide is intriguing (although it’s a huge stretch from a couple of polls in South Carolina and Florida). But there’s a hell of a way to go before we can really assume any of this. Gingrich could explode (he doesn’t implode); Paul could surprise; Romney could rally over the long haul.

    But in many ways, this is all a simple result of the intellectual and ideological collapse of the Republican party. All they have, it seems, are some visceral reactions to social change – Latino immigrants, gay spouses, tolerant Millennials – and an argument that remains unchanged for thirty years, regardless of a hugely changed world.

    So we have a Cold War mentality without the Soviet Union – and a crazy endorsement of pre-emptive war and torture as core elements of American exceptionalism! We have a myth of massive new regulations by the Obama administration. We have more tax cuts, as if Reagan’s supply side policies have been vindicated in the long term. And we have more tax cuts, while revenue is at 50 year lows. Or we have truly utopian ideas like abolishing the Fed, bringing back child labor, and fracking our way out of climate change. The whole caboose is a sign of a party that has long since unmoored itself from the country it exists in. If one of the GOP’s problems is that it has lost the last two generations, nominating a 68 year-old curmudgeon who told OWS to get a job and take a bath is not likely to help. Newt’s still a boomer, with all that boomer baggage.

    But here’s what he’d do. He’d clarify dramatically the options in front of us. In refusing any tax hikes on the wealthy, and pledging to end Medicare as we have known it, and proposing a pre-emptive war on Iran as Israel’s proxy, he’d help put the real GOP agenda on the table. To have that destroyed by Obama, and to have him handily re-elected would reform that party in a way nothing else would.

    I always said it would get worse before it gets better. The hope now is that it will get much, much worse, and thereafter much, much better. But it’s just a hope, not a prediction. Only a fool would predict anything at this point

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/12/the-gingrich-panic.html

    Like

  21. rikyrah says:

    Go Political AnimalBlog
    December 13, 2011 10:10 AM

    ‘My views are progressive’
    By Steve Benen

    One of the lead stories of Fox News’ “Fox Nation” website this morning is a “Romney Flashback.” It highlights this video from Mitt Romney’s successful gubernatorial campaign in 2002.

    For those who can’t watch videos online, the key quote from Romney comes towards the end: “I think the old, standby definitions of who votes for which party have been blown away in this campaign. I think people recognize that I’m not a partisan Republican, that I’m someone who is moderate. My views are progressive….”

    Now, I suspect Romney and his supporters would respond to this by insisting that Romney has since gone through a couple of radical transformations — shedding his policy agenda and his entire worldview — and that the presidential candidate of 2011 bears no resemblance to the gubernatorial candidate of 2002.

    I’m not sure how that would make anyone feel more comfortable about Romney’s consistency or reliability, but that’s for Republican primary voters to decide.

    That said, we talked recently about why the flip-flopper label has stuck to Romney and not Newt Gingrich, despite the fact that the latter has reversed course on nearly as many issues as the former. The answer probably has something to do with the fact that there are no videos of Gingrich boasting, “My views are progressive.”

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/my_views_are_progressive034076.php

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  22. rikyrah says:

    Government Employees Union Launches ‘Explain It To Me, GOP’ Campaign
    By Kenneth Quinnell

    The American Federation of Government Employees has launched a new advertising campaign calling Republicans to task for attempting to pay for an extension to the payroll tax holiday by cutting government employee salaries and jobs:

    The “Explain it to me, GOP” campaign highlights the hypocrisy of forcing federal employees to pay for extending payroll tax relief that benefits all working Americans.

    “Extending payroll tax relief for another year will boost the economy by putting an extra $1,500 in the pockets of the average American family. But forcing middle-class workers to pay for it is hypocrisy at its worst,” the ad reads. “Federal employees are part of the 99 percent. Explain to me, GOP, how slashing their jobs and wages helps the economy.”

    “We are calling out these GOP lawmakers and asking them to explain how freezing federal employee salaries and cutting hundreds of thousands of federal jobs will boost the economy in their communities,” AFGE National President John Gage said.

    “Federal employees already have had their pay frozen for two years and they’re facing layoffs and downsizing due to shrinking agency budgets. Subjecting them to additional pay freezes and layoffs is wrong, especially when the wealthiest 1 percent aren’t being asked to sacrifice anything.”

    The ads will run online and in local newspapers and will direct people to the ExplainItToMeGOP.org website.

    It is hard to see how this either/or proposition from Republicans doesn’t cost jobs and hurt the economy. If the payroll tax holiday ends, tax rates for average citizens go up, further stalling the economy. If the tax holiday is extended by cutting jobs and taxes, that also harms the economy as well.

    http://crooksandliars.com/kenneth-quinnell/government-employees-union-launch

    Like

  23. rikyrah says:

    December 13, 2011 10:45 AM

    Imaginary problems
    By Steve Benen

    It appears lawmakers are becoming increasingly proficient in addressing policy challenges that don’t exist.


    It’s an image many Americans would find rather upsetting: a recently laid-off millionaire, luxuriating next to the pool eating grapes bought with food stamps while waiting for an unemployment check to roll in.

    Under the Republican bill to extend a payroll tax holiday scheduled to be voted on in the House as early as Tuesday, those Americans with gross adjusted income over $1 million would no longer be eligible for food stamps or jobless pay, producing $20 million in savings to help pay for the tax cut for American workers. The idea is also embraced by many Democrats, who had a similar version of the savings in a Senate bill to extend the payroll tax cut, as did a failed Republican Senate bill.

    Yet as it turns out, millionaires on food stamps are about as rare as petunias in January, even if you count a lottery winner in Michigan who managed to collect the benefit until chagrined officials in the state put an end to it

    I certainly don’t have a problem with the idea of cutting off the rich from public benefits intended to help struggling Americans who need a hand, but the issue here is the frequency with which this actually happens. There are, for example, practically zero examples of the very rich taking advantage of food stamps. There’s some evidence of millionaires getting jobless aid, but the numbers are very tiny.

    Wayne Vroman, an economist at the Urban Institute, told the NYT, “It’s a water drop in a hurricane. I can see the PR appeal, but unemployment insurance collected by millionaires is not one of the major problems with the program. This is a way of trying to put an income test on the unemployment system that has never existed in the past.”

    And in the larger context, it seems the list of policy initiatives launched by Republicans to address problems that don’t exist keeps growing. GOP officials are passing measures to combat voter fraud, without instances of actual voter fraud. House Republicans voted to eliminate a proposed EPA farm-dust regulation, despite the fact that the EPA has no proposed farm-dust regulation. GOP officials recently passed a resolution to affirm “In God We Trust” as the national motto, but “In God We Trust” was already the national motto.

    Now they’re tackling benefits for millionaires that hardly ever go to millionaires.

    There are real problems in need of policymakers’ attention. Maybe Congress should consider working on them?

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/imaginary_problems034077.php

    Like

  24. rikyrah says:

    December 12, 2011
    Mitt Romney, humble leader
    His ineffable phoniness marches on:

    In my view, [primary voters] want someone who is willing to be a responsible leader, that brings America together as opposed to dividing America…. I don’t tend to say outrageous things about other people that I don’t believe in order to win political points.

    Mitt Romney has been mining the GOP base for so long he knows every primary voter’s name and address and telephone and Social Security number and hat size by memory; plus he has their psychological profile stored up the yazoo, and from that he also knows they want, they demand, they absolutely adore divisiveness, from which there stems the contemporary, lily-white, sexually uptight Republican Party.

    As for Romney’s claim of avoiding “say[ing] outrageous things,” at least he had the courtesy of prefacing that hoot with, “I don’t tend” to. See “appeasement.”

    http://pmcarpenter.blogs.com/p_m_carpenters_commentary/2011/12/mitt-romney-humble-leader.html

    Like

  25. rikyrah says:

    ACLU Sues Scott Walker Over Wisconsin’s Voter ID Law
    Ryan J. Reilly December 13, 2011, 11:15 AM

    Wisconsin’s voter ID law imposes the equivalent of a poll tax on individuals with out-of-state drivers licenses and discriminates against the poor, students and the elderly, according to a federal lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday.

    ACLU lawyers argue in a 54-page lawsuit that the law “imposes a severe and undue burden on the fundamental right to vote under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution; violates the Twenty-Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution as an unconstitutional poll tax; and violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment in arbitrarily refusing to accept certain identification documents.”

    The suit argues that the law would force individuals to “choose between surrendering their driving privileges to obtain a free Wisconsin state ID card, paying a fee for a Wisconsin driver’s license, or losing their right to vote.” They argue that the requirement to surrender an out-of-state driver’s license “constitutes a material requirement imposed on an eligible voter who refuses to forfeit his/her right to vote without paying an unconstitutional poll tax.”

    Notably, Wisconsin is not covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act which requires certain states to get changes to their voting laws pre-cleared by the Justice Department.

    In making their case, the ACLU gathered 17 voters — from a 84-year-old woman without a certified birth certificate to a 52-year-old homeless Army veteran to a 20-year old without a Social Security card to a 19-year-old college student who doesn’t want to give up his California driver’s license — to demonstrate the effect the law could have.

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/aclu_sues_scott_walker_over_wisconsins_voter_id_law.php

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  26. rikyrah says:

    Blog
    December 13, 2011 11:30 AM

    When an annual deficit loses its ‘t’
    By Steve Benen

    This would be a fairly interesting development, especially in an election year.


    The Treasury Department forecast Monday that the budget deficit for fiscal 2012 will come in at $996 billion, the first time President Obama has presided over an annual deficit of less than $1 trillion.

    The budget deficit in fiscal 2011 and 2010 was $1.3 trillion, while the Obama stimulus law pushed the deficit up to $1.4 trillion in fiscal 2009.

    It’s worth emphasizing that this is a projection based on currently available data, and we won’t know the actual 2012 deficit until next fall. It’s not unusual for these preliminary forecasts to be off by significant amounts. (The 2011 deficit, $1.29 trillion, was originally projected to be $1.5 trillion.)

    But if the Treasury forecast is right, it will point to a marked improvement in the nation’s fiscal conditions. For that matter, a $300 billion one-year reduction in the deficit is likely to be the best in American history, at least in real-dollar terms.

    For the record, I don’t consider deficit reduction an especially important goal under the current circumstances, and would be much happier if policymakers were borrowing right now — at remarkably low interest rates — to make vast public investments and boost the economy.

    But the political world has accepted as fact the notion that a smaller deficit is a better deficit. And with this in mind, will Tea Partiers and deficit hawks herald the news as a great accomplishment for President Obama?

    Somehow, I doubt it.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/when_an_annual_deficit_loses_i034081.php

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  27. rikyrah says:

    Axelrod Plays The Monkey Butt Card On Newt Gingrich
    Evan McMorris-Santoro
    December 13, 2011, 10:59 AM

    Any question that the Obama campaign will ignore the surging Newt Gingrich to continue their attacks on Mitt Romney was answered in full today when Obama senior strategist David Axelrod compared the former House Speaker to the ass end of a monkey.

    At a press briefing with reporters on the state of the Obama campaign, Axelrod talked about the chaotic Republican primary that’s now led by Gingrich. For months, it’s been clear that team Obama anticipated facing Romney in the fall, but Axelrod said it’s possible that Gingrich could hang on and win the GOP nomination against all expectations.

    (Note, this is not the monkey quote. We’re getting there. Be patient.)

    “Now Newt is back. Last week you all left him for dead at the checkout counter at Tiffany’s and now he’s back like a lion in winter,” Axelrod said at the Washington briefing Tuesday. “That’s L-I-O-N by the way, I don’t want to stir up any trouble here.”

    Axelrod continued:


    In certain ways [Gingrich] fits the role for this, because as we pointed out earlier in the week he is the original tea partier. You know, he brought that kind of politics to Congress in the early 90s, he led three government shut downs in order to try and roll back environmental protection, roll back the Department of Education and education programs, he wanted to cut Medicare, he wanted to give more tax cuts to the wealthy.

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/in-which-david-axelrod-compares-newt-gingrich-to-a-monkeys-butt.php

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  28. rikyrah says:

    Romney: Newt’s The Frontrunner
    Mitt Romney is taking up the underdog mantle in the GOP race, conceding that Newt Gingrich’s leads in the polls make him the frontrunner to win the nomination.

    Asked by Politico if Gingrich was the favorite, Romney replied: “He is right now,” before adding that it’s still “a very fluid electorate.”

    With the early primary calendar weighted against him, Romney predicted that his fight with Gingrich “could go for months and months,” lasting past Super Tuesday and well into the later states in the process.

    “I think I’ll get the nomination,” Romney said. “I can’t predict when…I’ve got — what? — five or six more months to go to make that a reality.”

    Democrats are eagerly watching for any signs that Romney is shifting towards the Tea Party wing of the GOP to outflank Gingrich, but Romney stressed in the interview that he would avoid the inflammatory rhetoric that Gingrich and other candidates have employed.

    “If…they want language that’s so incendiary that it really excites them, then some can offer that in a primary,” he said. “And you can be assured that they’ll lose in the general. Because the people who decide elections, the people in the middle—by the way, people who last time voted for Barack Obama—do not want to have a president elected based on red meat.”

    Romney declined to say whether he felt Gingrich would be “dangerous” as president.

    “Look, that’s not the word I would apply,” he replied. “I just don’t think he will be as effective in leading the country or in defeating President Obama as I would be…[O]f the people on the stage, any one of them would be better…than our current president… And so, I’m not going to say outrageous things that can be used to hang them down the road if they happen to become the nominee.”

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/romney-newts-the-frontrunner.php?ref=fpnewsfeed

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  29. rikyrah says:

    Secretive Millionaires Funding Online Primary For ‘Independent’ White House Run

    They won’t tell us who they are, but they are spending tens of millions as part of ‘Americans Elect’ to nominate and to field an ‘Independent’ presidential candidate in 2012.

    There’s an increasing amount of buzz around Americans Elect, a peculiar Internet-based effort to shake up presidential politics. But dig a bit beneath the surface and there’s reason to be deeply skeptical of the endeavor

    The basic pitch of Americans Elect goes like this: We’ll go through the expensive and time-consuming process of getting ballot access in all 50 states. Then we’ll hold an online convention in June in which any registered voter can participate. Participants will nominate a presidential ticket including one Democrat and one Republican who will then enter the general election fray.

    Here’s what the group is not so upfront about: It’s fueled by millions of dollars of secret money, there is a group of wealthy, well-connected board members who have control over Americans Elect’s nominating process, and the group has myriad links to Wall Street.

    Americans Elect has been getting periodic bursts of support from prominent commentators.

    “What Amazon.com did to books, what the blogosphere did to newspapers, what the iPod did to music, what drugstore.com did to pharmacies, Americans Elect plans to do to the two-party duopoly that has dominated American political life — remove the barriers to real competition, flatten the incumbents and let the people in,” wrote Thomas Friedman in July.

    And in a Huffington Post column this week titled “2012: The year of the Independent?” Jon Huntsman bundler Lynn Forester de Rothschild hailed the group for offering a “revolutionary new way to nominate a bipartisan ticket to occupy the White House.” Rothschild is also on the group’s board.

    There is little doubt that these kinds of hosannas will intensify as the election heats up. Americans Elect’s brand of third way-ism tends to be irresistible to newspaper editorial boards. So here are some facts about the group to keep in mind.

    SECRET MONEY

    The group is hoping to raise $30 million for its effort. It has already raised an impressive $22 million as of last month. So where is all that money coming from? Americans Elect won’t say. In fact, the group changed how it is organized under the tax code last year in order to shield the identity of donors. It is now a 501(c)(4) “social welfare” group whose contributors are not reported publicly.

    What we do know about the donors, largely through news reports citing anonymous sources, suggests they are a handful of super-rich Americans who made fortunes in the finance industry. (More on this below.) But it’s impossible to fully assess the donors’ motives and examine their backgrounds and entanglements – important parts of the democratic process – while their identities and the size of their donations remain secret.

    http://www.alternet.org/news/153412/secretive_millionaires_funding_online_primary_for_%27independent%27_white_house_run/

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  30. rikyrah says:

    December 13, 2011
    Why Newt, not Mitt?

    As I ponder with no little fascination Newt Gingrich’s sudden frontrunner status, the question haunts: Why would the Republican base so enthusiastically pursue a sinister earthworm like the former Speaker, when that base knows perfectly well that he is abjectly unelectable?

    The commentariat’s word on the street about GOP primary voters is that they seek not only a nominee who will viciously slander Barack Obama throughout the general campaign, but whose slander will culminate in a crushing defeat of same. Assuming that for the base the outcome equals in importance the preliminaries, then why the unmistakably unelectable Gingrich?

    The answer, I think, is this. Somewhere in the subconscious substrata of the base’s collective mind there thrives the seed of an undeniable fear: No Republican challenger is going to beat Barack Obama. Earlier the base watched as more competent Republican pol after more competent Republican pol — Mitch Daniels, Jeb Bush, Haley Barbour — refused the thrown gauntlet. And each rather conspicuously did so not because they loved their nuclear families more intensely this year than any other, but because they knew that against Obama, they too were likely unelectable.

    The base, perhaps, got the message: In the presidential year of 2012, the GOP is going down, again. For a variety of wholly unnecessary reasons, Obama is saddled with the worst economy since the Great Depression, yet his approval rating remains in the mid-40s — and he hasn’t even begun to earnestly campaign. That sort of incongruity registers with professional political advisers, whose discouraging advice, no doubt, further registered with the Danielses et al so profoundly that even the chronically benighted base couldn’t avoid grasping it.

    So why not Gingrich? He’ll lose, but in the process he’ll also be loads of scandalously sick fun.

    Can anyone say that about Mitt Romney?

    On the other hand, this Gingrich affair could be quite temporary, just like all the others; the base could return to wet-dreaming about an actual victory in 2012, and so up against Mitt they’ll try to warm themselves. That alternative would be nearly as agreeable to me as a Gingrich nomination, so my druthers have grown rather mild.

    http://pmcarpenter.blogs.com/p_m_carpenters_commentary/2011/12/why-newt-not-mitt.html

    Like

  31. rikyrah says:

    December 13, 2011
    On Gingrich, Gerson leaves blood

    One of the more delightful aspects of this season’s Republican scrum is that every morning, in every op-ed section of every major newspaper, one finds a conservative op-ed-er chewing on a conservative presidential candidate (rather, what passes, in these times, for a “conservative” candidate). It’s a bloody war out there, in which establishment commentators are assailing insurgent GOPers and establishment GOPers are being assaulted by insurgent commentators. The party of preserve and reserve has become a gangland whacking machine.

    This morning, for instance, former W. speechwriter and lingering vestige of establishmentarianism Michael Gerson chases Newt Gingrich around the Post’s opinion page with very sharp scissors. Since The Gingrich packs a massively sized soft underbelly, there is abundant territory for Gerson to target; the columnist eyes and slashes at, though, perhaps the most sensitive spot — the disgraced, dethroned Speaker’s pseudointellectualism:

    The epochs of Newt Gingrich’s public life are defined by the books that have revolutionized him — generally of the type that sell well at airports.

    Ouch. That’s going to leave a stain. Or not. Since the GOP base is so prodigiously anti-intellectual, Gerson’s mocking of Gingrich’s pseudointellectualism could either go over their heads or land in one of their vast expanses of utter indifference to any topic of real import. Whatever. For the rest of us, Gerson’s mocking is, as noted, a profound delight.

    Which, happily, Gerson extends:

    Gingrich has recently been captured by the theory, developed in books such as Andrew C. McCarthy’s “The Grand Jihad,” that sharia law is a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States and the world as we know it.

    Gerson’s surgical evisceration of Gingrich’s malignant demagoguery and loathsome sciolism proceeds from there, and it is truly something to savor, firsthand. Hence I’ll somewhat conclude where Gerson concludes:


    [Gingrich’s] views demonstrate a disturbing tendency: the passionate embrace of shallow ideas.

    Here, one would be justified in noting the irony of Gerson’s final observation: the columnist’s former boss as well as, of course, all of this year’s GOP presidential candidates passionately embrace — indeed, have built careers on — the shallow ideas of forever-lower taxes and ever-fewer regulations. But let us not quibble with Gerson right now, for that would only diminish the immense pleasure to be derived from his frothing assault on Newt Gingrich.

    http://pmcarpenter.blogs.com/p_m_carpenters_commentary/2011/12/on-gingrich-gerson-leaves-blood.html

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  32. rikyrah says:

    Monday, December 12, 2011
    S.C. braces for deep federal spending cuts

    They may be more than a year away, but looming federal spending cuts, forced by the special deficit-reduction panel’s failure to reach a deal, have folks across South Carolina concerned.

    They are worried at Savannah River Site, which could see a $110 million cut in money for toxic-waste cleanup — a cut that would likely mean fewer jobs at the Aiken County complex.

    They are worried at Force Protection in Ladson, which makes armored vehicles for the military, at FN Manufacturing in Columbia, which supplies guns to the military, and at dozens of other defense contractors that employ thousands of people across the state.

    They also are worried at public schools, three-quarters of which get federal money, now threatened, for low-income students, one of the nation’s highest rates for Title 1 education funding.

    While welfare, Medicaid and other safety-net programs are exempt from the cuts, community leaders also fear for low-income South Carolinians, who depend on federal aid to help pay their rent or summer air-conditioning bills.

    “We’re just going to get slammed,” said Sue Berkowitz, head of Appleseed Legal Justice Center in Columbia. “South Carolina is such a poor state. So many programs that help low-income people would definitely be in trouble.”

    Fort Jackson, Shaw Air Force Base and other military hubs in the state could see pay freezes or even layoffs for some of their 11,000-plus civilian employees.

    With the next-generation F-35 fighter plane under fire in Congress for production delays and higher-than-projected costs, the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons system is a prime target for absorbing a chunk of the more than $500 billion in required defense cuts.

    That could slow or even halt current upgrading and expansion of the Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station to accommodate three F-35 squadrons

    Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/12/12/132888/sc-braces-for-deep-federal-spending.html#storylink=omni_popular#ixzz1gQvwwuIX

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  33. Ametia says:

    American troops have served in Iraq with honor and distinction since March 19, 2003, but the cost to our nation has been great. December 2011 marks the end of our mission in Iraq, and the fulfillment of a promise Barack Obama made to the American people even before he became President. Now, President Obama has made another promise to the troops and their families: We will fight as hard for them as they return home as they have done for us these past nine years.

    Scroll down to experience the interactive timeline.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/iraq?utm_source=121311&utm_medium=topper&utm_campaign=daily

    Like

  34. Ametia says:

    HAT tip ChristiMtl Faultlines-

    Politics, Religion and the Tea Party
    What role does religion play in the US presidential elections?

    Frances Schaffer

    Video: http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/faultlines/2011/12/2011121093110983115.html

    Like

  35. Ametia says:

    Melissa Harris Perry hosts Maddow Show- segment on Newt

    JavaScript required to play Melissa Harris Perry.

    Like

  36. rikyrah says:

    Homelessness Among Veterans Drops by 12 Percent

    Date: Tuesday, December 13, 2011, 5:03 am
    By: Kevin Freking, Associated Press

    Homelessness among the nation’s veterans declined by about 12 percent during a one-year period ending January 2011, the Obama administration says.

    Officials said the drop is a sign of progress and that the administration is on track for reaching President Barack Obama’s goal of eliminating homelessness among veterans by 2015.

    In all, there are nearly 67,500 homeless veterans, according to a survey that thousands of communities around the country help to administer each January. More than 76,000 homeless vets were counted in the prior year’s survey.

    Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan attributed much of the drop to getting more veterans to participate in a voucher program that greatly subsidizes their housing costs. While Congress has regularly increased funding for the voucher program, thousands of veterans were not taking advantage of the help.

    “At the time we came into office in 2009, even though we had about 20,000 of those vouchers available; fewer than 5,000 veterans were actually using them and had successfully moved from the streets or shelters into permanent housing,” Donovan said.

    http://www.blackamericaweb.com/?q=articles/news/the_black_diaspora_news/35337

    Like

  37. rikyrah says:

    What is Capitalism?
    by BooMan
    Tue Dec 13th, 2011 at 08:55:37 AM EST

    I had Morning Joe on this morning (don’t ask me why) and I saw Scarborough ripping Gingrich because he had attacked Romney for bankrupting companies and shipping people’s jobs overseas. “Somebody’s gotta defend capitalism,” Scarborough cried, “somebody’s gotta defend the free market! Romney created Staples!!” Now, it’s my understanding that Bain Capital made a seed investment in Staples when it was just one store, and that helped it grow into a very successful chain that employs a lot of people. That’s venture capitalism, and no one is criticizing Mitt Romney for venture capitalism. It’s the vulture capitalism of taking over troubled companies, downsizing them, and/or shipping labor costs to foreign countries where costs are lower that makes people uncomfortable.
    Of course, our economy needs scavengers just like the food chain needs them. Without scavengers our roads would be littered with roadkill and our economy would be filled with inefficiencies. But I think we have a right to set some standards and make it a national priority to maintain a manufacturing base in this country. I’m all for capitalism and the free market when we’re talking about the free exchange of goods and services. But when we’re talking about global capitalism that takes no notice of our sovereign interests and the health of our local economies, then I start to have a problem.

    I guess what it comes down to is that “capitalism” doesn’t mean the same thing for me as it does for Joe Scarborough. Or, if I accept his definition, suddenly I am not an unqualified supporter of capitalism.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2011/12/13/85537/607

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  38. rikyrah says:

    another one from THE OBAMA DIARY

    utaustinliberal
    December 13, 2011 at 9:10 am

    I saw that interview. It was wonderful. Carole King has always been a PBO supporter. Joe will never learn. She’s made previous appearances on Morning Joe before and he always asks her the same stupid questions and wonders if she’s disappointed in PBO and she always gives him a resounding NO! and lists PBO’s accomplishments and the unprecedented level of GOP obstruction he’s facing. It was nice to see her words and support shut him up.

    I also watched Piers Morgan yesterday and I’ve always known Harvey Weinstein (The King’s Speech, My weekend with Marilyn, The Iron Lady with Meryl Streep) is a Democrat but it was wonderful to see him knock down Rudy Guiliani’s crap about Gingrich being a more formidable candidate than PBO. He talked about PBO’s accomplishments and said he will be doing everything he can to make sure PBO is re-elected. That he’s the only one who’s been fighting for the middleclass, his Osawatomie speech was great, he likened the GOP debates to a clown show and said he’s glad more Americans are watching the debates and seeing the comparison between their abhorrent policies and PBO’s vision for the future.

    He also talked about the teaparty and called out the Koch Bros. for their funding of a “grassroots” organization. He lambasted the teaparty, said there was nothing grassroots about them, they were funded by a small group of billionaires who want to suppress the vote and make sure their inhumane policies get airtime in Washington. He said that he and his friends with money are on PBO’s side and will do everything to stop their nefarious plans. He also said he supported PBO’s American Jobs Act and he’s fine with paying more in taxes because America has blessed him and he knows that PBO wants to use the increased revenue for good policies like education, investment in our future, etc.

    Piers Morgan was kind of taken aback at how political Harvey was being and how in tune with all the issues and PBO’s accomplishments he was. He then told him “Wow you’re being all uber political. That’s a new and weird thing.” Harvey replied saying “I’m not uber political and it’s not weird; I’m just a 100% Obama supporter.” BOOM!

    http://theobamadiary.com/2011/12/13/rise-and-shine-44/

    Like

    • …That’s what I’m talking ’bout!

      Like

    • Ametia says:

      UT recaps are brilliant! Carole King, you make me feel like a NATURAL WOMAN!

      Like

    • Ametia says:

      JavaScript required to play Carole King.

      Like

  39. rikyrah says:

    found this over at THE OBAMA DIARY:

    Bill
    December 13, 2011 at 8:45 am

    After Carole King told Morning Joe how much she admired and supported PBO, he asked her wasn’t she disappointed with him. She said she has been lobbying for twenty years and realizes how difficult ir is to deal with Republicans. Joe had no response. It was beautiful.

    BWA HA HA HA H HAH A HA HA HA HA

    Like

  40. rikyrah says:

    All-American Prejudice

    Lowe’s has pulled its ads from TLC’s “All-American Muslim” just as the show was being attacked as “propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.” Alyssa Rosenberg is furious:

    [T]he idea that Muslims deserve to be judged by a majority of believers rather than a small minority, is all you have to believe is true to support the show. I’ve never really understood why Muslims in particular shouldn’t have that last right. Should all depictions of Christians include references to the Inquisition, religion-inflected colonialism, and anti-gay hate crimes? Is the truest way to depict Catholics to look at the faith from the perspective of Cardinal Law and the pedophiles he protected? Do we judge all Jews by a car accident in Crown Heights or Baruch Goldstein? Lowe’s fallen prey to this kind of thinking made clear whose its most prized customers are. And acting on the principals of solidarity that motivate Russell Simmons, this homeowning Jew is glad she bought her washer-dryer from Home Depot.

    Adam Serwer nods:

    [Islamophobes] biggest fear is that shows like “All-American Muslim” will succeed at fostering the idea that Islam and American values are not necessarily in conflict. After all, if non-Muslim Americans begin to see American Muslims as being like themselves, then it becomes far more difficult to argue that Muslims’ rights should be curtailed, that Muslims should be treated with greater suspicion than other Americans, or that Muslims shouldn’t be able to build houses of worship on their own private property. It also becomes much harder to sustain a million-dollar industry devoted to persuading the country that Muslims as a whole are dangerous.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/12/all-american-prejudice.html

    Like

  41. rikyrah says:

    The Gingrich-Huntsman ‘Debate’
    By James Fallows
    Dec 12 2011, 10:52 PM ET

    I put “debate” in quotes because this was more like a well-mannered talk show with two guests. Archived video on this site. Here’s the significant point:

    This was the first GOP debate of the four million we’ve had so far where the real winner was not Barack Obama. All the preceding debates have highlighted the very elements the Republican party would not like to bring into the general-election campaign: Fractiousness among the candidates; extreme, half-baked (“9-9-9″), or under-informed positions from many of them; sound-bite sloganeering from all of them; and barely any time to make a concerted case against Obama apart from saying that he’s awful.

    This time there were two informed-sounding adults talking in complete thought-sequences — even to the point of dullness, which is not bad compared to the preceding craziness. And they offered thoughts that they simply could not have developed, or that would have been batted away with slogans, in the “normal” crowded-house debate with its 30- or 60-second segments. For instance, both of them explained why the defense budget really had to go down. Or the realities of what can be expected with Pakistan and Afghanistan. The ways in which China is both rival and partner, etc. Because they both knew they’d be able to make their points, there wasn’t the desperation for air time that had made performers in all the other debates act as if they have to blurt out their attack-lines and applause-points whenever they have a chance.

    I didn’t agree with a lot of what I heard. Among other things: in this and the previous Republican debate, all the candidates have essentially said they would franchise out decision-making in the Middle East to the government of Israel, in a way that would seem bizarre if we were talking about delegating decisions to the UK or France in Europe, or to Japan or South Korea in East Asia. Still, this was the only debate that was overall a win for the Republicans.

    On Newt Gingrich: Stephen Budiansky has a very penetrating assessment of why Gingrich sounds the way he does. To summarize, he talks the way people who know nothing about academics or intellectuals think academics and intellectuals would talk. Or, as Andrew Sullivan put it more bluntly, he sounds like “A Dumb Person’s Idea of a Smart Person.” When reading that item I couldn’t help thinking about the Martin-Aykroyd “Wild and Crazy Guys” routines on SNL, showing what Eastern Europeans of the Communist era thought that hep-cats from the U.S. would sound like.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/12/the-gingrich-huntsman-debate/249901/

    Like

  42. rikyrah says:

    Jennifer Rubin’s Sophie’s Choice

    Pretty much everybody who observed Saturday night’s Iowa debate declared Newt Gingrich the winner. By “everybody,” I mean Jonathan Martin, John Heilemann, Dave Weigel, Chris Cillizza, and basically everybody else. Except, of course, Jennifer Rubin. Obviously Rubin thinks Romney won – Rubin has appointed herself Romney’s chief advocate, and has taken it upon herself to defend him endlessly and savage his enemies. What’s comic is the grounds on which she chose to assail Gingrich:


    Tonight’s Des Moines debate had no meltdown moment for any candidate, although it did suggest Newt Gingrich is in for a tough time now that he’s not just an entertaining candidate, but a serious contender for the nomination. The debate followed Gingrich forced “clarification” of his comment remarking that Palestinians have an “invented” nationality.

    His press secretary had lamely suggested earlier in the day: “Gingrich supports a negotiated peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, which will necessarily include agreement between Israel and the Palestinians over the borders of a Palestinian state. However, to understand what is being proposed and negotiated you have to understand decades of complex history – which is exactly what Gingrich was referencing during the recent interview with Jewish TV.” But of course he was not being complex or nuanced; he was being provocative and, if we are to believe he might be president, irresponsible.

    If you’re not in on the joke, allow me to explain. Rubin holds extremely right-wing views on Israel, and is highly prone to inflammatory and false charges. Gingrich’s comments on Palestinian nationality fit snugly within Rubin’s worldview – if anything, they are a bit too staid for her taste. Yet here she is denouncing him for his excessive anti-Palestinian bluster! If Gingrich simply quoted Rubin, I wonder if Rubin would denounce him for it.

    Aside from demonstrating just how far Rubin is willing to follow the cause of advocating for her candidate of choice, it sheds some light on a controversy that arose last week over the term “Israel-firster,” a term of derision used by some left-wing critics to describe Israel hawks. The term implies that certain Americans, American Jews, place the interests of Israel above those of their own country. Rubin’s reaction to the Gingrich-Palestinian controversy offers a neat refutation of the charge. You can’t find a more passionate Israel hawk than Rubin. She is faced with a choice between her loyalty to the Republican Party and her loyalty to Israeli nationalism. And she sides with the former, clearly showing that her loyalty to the GOP – and, by extension, America – sits above her fidelity to Israel.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2011/12/jennifer-rubins-sophies-choice.html

    Like

  43. rikyrah says:

    Birthers Fly Aerial ‘Where’s The Real Birth Certificate?’ Ad Over NFL Game

    Apparently there’s a lot of potential overlap between football fans and birthers, because the birther-tastic site WorldNetDaily took out an aerial ad asking “Where’s the real birth certificate?” at a Cowboys-Giants game on Sunday.

    An article on the right-wing “news” site describes how the banner “took to the skies above Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, to let everyone within eyeshot know there are serious questions about the authenticity of Barack Obama’s purported record of birth.”

    The banner was originally scheduled to run over the Cowboys’ Thanksgiving game, but had to be rescheduled because of inclement weather.

    “This flyover is another manifestation of our national billboard campaign that began three years ago, asking simply, ‘Where’s the birth certificate?’” Joseph Farah, who started WND, said Sunday.

    “We have used billboards because the rest of the media refuses to address seriously the problems of Obama’s eligibility,” he continued. “And we will continue to use other creative efforts to address one of the most serious constitutional questions facing our country, namely, ‘Is Obama actually eligible for office?’”

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/worldnetdaily_runs_aerial_wheres_the_real_birth_ce.php?ref=fpb

    Like

  44. rikyrah says:

    ‘They Cut Me Open Like A Hog’

    Sticking with this theme of history as debt we come to North Carolina, which on the basis of “promiscuity” and “intelligence” testing, enacted a program of eugenics and sterilization. The program was not a legacy of pre-Civil Rights or pre-World War II America. North Carolina’s program began in 1924 and proceeded afoot as late as 1974. Nationally the effort was supported by big money businessmen like Clarence Gamble of Procter & Gamble

    Now North Carolina is trying to make amends for the past, but can’t quite figure out how. The fact is that sterilization was perfectly legal, if shockingly immoral. Moreover, eugenics was national program enacted, in some form, in most states throughout the country. North Carolina is one of the few states that’s actually trying to grapple with the issue.

    Again, the people who authored the policy are long dead. And we are left to pick up the pieces.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/12/they-cut-me-open-like-a-hog/249875/

    Like

  45. rikyrah says:

    Lindsey Graham: Consumer Protection is Stalinist!
    After insisting that American citizen terrorism suspects arrested on American soil “shut up” and give up their Constitutional right to legal counsel, Senator Lindsey Graham (R, Not-Closeted-Gay) has put his finger on the real fascist, Stalinist practices of the government: Consumer protection! Yes, the government ought to be allowed to hold its own citizens without legal representation in perpetuity, but you see, that’s just national security. But the government protecting consumers? Why, that just reeks of Stalin!

    Senate Republicans last week blocked Richard Cordray, the President’s nominee to head the historic, first ever consumer financial watchdog agency established in the most significant regulatory reform of Wall Street since the Great Depression. The Senate failed to overcome the Republican filibuster, although 53 senators voted in favor of the president’s nominee for the top consumer cop. In the United States Senate, a 53-yes 45-no vote means that the ‘no’ side wins.

    President Obama is not backing off. He is not going to take ‘no’ for an answer, especially a tyranny-of-the-minority ‘no’ in which a majority of the Senate actually voted ‘yes:’


    Every day that the country must wait for a director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau “is another day that dishonest businesses can target and take advantage of students, seniors and service members,” Mr. Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address.

    “So I refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer. Financial institutions have plenty of high-powered lawyers and lobbyists looking out for them. It’s time consumers had someone on their side.”

    As the President has said, the law is what it is. The Republicans, if they want to change it, are free to introduce a bill and take it through the usual legislative grind. The constant hostage taking by the Republicans is now coming full circle. The President is right to insist. Without a head, the agency cannot exercise its powers fully. It can regulate large financial institutions, but cannot regulate nonbank institutions (you know, your average everyday payday loan sharks, for example). The Republicans want to handicap the agency right now without a director so that they can force the President and the Democrats to kneecap consumer financial protection later. But the President has vowed to veto any such effort.

    Apparently, GOP blowhards don’t like the fact that the President is insisting on a popular part of a popular reform and demanding that the Senate vote, up or down, on the President’s nominee, Richard Cordray. As mentioned before, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham is calling the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) a Stalinist plot to keep the boots on the necks of the poor, poor loan sharks… err, I mean financial institutions.


    “It is something out of the Stalinist Era,” the South Carolina Republican said Sunday, defending his GOP colleagues’ efforts last week to block President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

    “The reason Republicans don’t want to vote for it is we want a board, not one person making all the regulatory decisions, and there’s no oversight under this person; he gets a check from the Federal Reserve. We want him under the Congress so we can oversee the overseer,” Graham said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.

    http://www.thepeoplesview.net/2011/12/lindsay-graham-consumer-protection-is.html

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  46. rikyrah says:

    December 12, 2011 4:30 PM
    Romney wants to ‘keep America American’
    By Steve Benen

    Maybe it’s just me, but I find phrases like “keep America American” kind of creepy. Take Mitt Romney’s stump-speech rhetoric, for example.

    There are people in this room who are informed and who care about this election, who recognize that this is a defining time for America,” he said. “We have on one side a president who wants to transform America into a European-style nation, and you have on other hand someone like myself that wants to turn around America and keep America American….”

    I understand the context, but as Seth Masket noted, “keep America American” sounds an awful lot like a line we might expect from Bill the Butcher. (It also, of course, reinforces the not-so-subtle attack on President Obama’s patriotism, which has long been a favorite ploy for Romney.)

    I’m also struck by this preoccupation with trying to “transform America into a European-style nation.” I suspect much of the political world has forgotten about this, but four years ago, the Romney campaign had adopted a nearly-identical tack — strategy documents from within the campaign showed that Romney and his team intended to use Europe as the centerpiece of an anti-Democratic attack.


    The European Union, [the Romney ‘08 campaign document] says at one point, wants to “drag America down to Europe’s standards,” adding: “That’s where Hillary and Dems would take us. Hillary = France.” The plan even envisions “First, not France” bumper stickers.

    I guess they dusted off the playbook from four years ago?

    It seems hard to believe any voters would seriously be persuaded by such nonsense, but for anyone tempted, it’s worth noting how backwards it is.

    Europe, in case Romney hasn’t noticed, has been Austerity Central. European countries have slashed public investments to reduce their debts, and the results haven’t been pretty, with austerity failing badly to produce the intended results. But therein lies the more salient domestic point: President Obama doesn’t want to follow the European model; Mitt Romney does.

    For that matter, it was Romney, not the president, who said over the summer that the U.S. should be following Europe’s lead on energy efficiency.

    And while we’re at it, Romney is also the only presidential candidate who actually moved to Europe, living in France for nearly three years doing missionary work.

    Taken together, it’s hard not to wonder what in the world Mitt Romney is talking about.

    * Update: Steve M. takes this a step further, noting that the phrase “keep America American” originated with the KKK.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/romney_wants_to_keep_america_a034064.php

    Like

  47. rikyrah says:

    December 13, 2011 8:00 AM
    The competition to reward the wealthy
    By Steve Benen

    Just about all of the major Republican presidential candidates have unveiled tax plans they’d pursue if elected, and the result has become a competition with a competition — GOP contenders aren’t just fighting for votes, they’re fighting to see who’s willing to give the biggest tax breaks to those who are already very, very wealthy.

    For now, it looks like disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has taken the lead in this race, too.


    The Tax Policy Center has run the numbers on Newt Gingrich’s tax plan. The verdict? Gingrich’s plan does more for wealthy American households than any plan released by the other 2012 candidates — and increases the deficit by trillions.

    Gingrich would give the top 1 percent of U.S. households an average $430,000 tax cut, with their tax rate dropping 22 percentage points under the assumption that the Bush tax cuts expire in 2012. Households with an income of more than $1,000,000 would get a whopping $760,000 tax break on average, heavily weighted by the top 0.1 percent, who’d get a $2.3 million tax reduction. By contrast, the bottom 20 percent would save only an average of $649 under the Gingrich plan — with their tax rate dropping just 1.5 percentage points — and more than half of that group wouldn’t see any benefit at all. And those earning $40,000 to $50,000 would get a tax cut of about $1,900 on average.

    Those who make the least would get the least, with lower-income households getting almost no benefit at all. Those who make the most, meanwhile, would get the most, with multi-millionaires and billionaires — who’ve already benefited from exceedingly generous tax breaks over the last decade — poised to be rewarded even more in a Gingrich administration.

    Matt Yglesias put together this chart, showing the breakdown by income, making clear that those in the top 0.1% — those making more than $8 million a year — stand to get the bulk of the reward under the Gingrich plan.

    Pat Garofalo added that, under this approach, “The end result of the plan would be millionaires paying a lower tax rate than middle-class families.” Remember the recent debate over the Buffett Rule? Gingrich plans to turn it on its head.

    And what about the deficit that Republicans occasionally pretend to care about? Gingrich doesn’t bother with the pretense — his tax plan would “add $1.3 trillion to the U.S. budget deficit in 2015 alone,” according to an analysis released yesterday by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

    President Obama was asked on “60 Minutes” the other day about the GOP presidential field, and he said, “It doesn’t really matter who the [Republican] nominee is going to be. The core philosophy that they’re expressing is the same. And the contrast in visions between where I want to take the country and where they say they want to take the country is going to be stark.”

    Truer words were never spoken.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/the_competition_to_reward_the034073.php

    Like

  48. rikyrah says:

    December 13, 2011 8:35 AM
    Why Mari Carmen Aponte was blocked
    By Steve Benen

    The outcome was expected, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was maddening.


    Senate Republicans on Monday blocked President Obama’s choice to be ambassador to El Salvador after raising questions about whether her former boyfriend was a spy for Cuba. Republicans also were concerned that Mari Carmen Aponte wrote a commentary about gay pride that offended some citizens in the conservative Catholic country.

    Aponte is serving in the post temporarily as a recess appointment that expires at the end of the year. Efforts by the White House and congressional Democrats to defend and promote Aponte to a permanent position fell short when the Senate voted along party lines against her.

    To overcome a Republican filibuster, Aponte needed 60 votes. She got 49, including the support of just two Republicans, Maine’s Susan Collins and Massachusetts’ Scott Brown. (Olympia Snowe, who seems to be slipping further and further from reality with each passing day, supported the filibuster.)

    As we discussed over the weekend, President Obama gave Aponte a recess appointment in 2010 to serve as the U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, and now the administration wants her to be formally confirmed to the position, at least through 2012. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) led the fight to kill the nomination, pointing to Aponte’s ex-boyfriend from 20 years ago, who was accused of having ties to the Castro government in Cuba.

    If investigators had turned up evidence connecting Aponte to the Castro regime, then it would certainly be a legitimate issue. If there was any reason to believe Aponte had shared sensitive intelligence with her ex-boyfriend, obviously it would deserve extensive scrutiny. If there was any reason at all to believe Aponte had performed poorly in her job over the last year, Senate confirmation would deserve to be in doubt.

    But none of that is true. She has no connections to the Cuban government; she never shared sensitive intelligence with anyone, and didn’t even have top-secret clearance until after she’d broken up with her ex-boyfriend; and by every measure, Aponte has already been doing this job extremely well. The Senate should be thanking her and pleading with her to stay on the job.

    But that’s not how Republicans operate in 2011.

    What about complaints that Aponte used her office to promote LGBT rights? As it turns out, the ambassador wrote an op-ed essay in a Salvadoran newspaper praising the country for signing a U.N. declaration for the elimination of violence against gays and lesbians. It was part of a State Department initiative urging ambassadors to do something in recognition of Gay Pride Month.

    With yesterday’s vote, Aponte, despite excellent work, will have to return home. The dysfunction plaguing the Senate just keeps getting worse.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/why_mari_carmen_aponte_was_blo034074.php

    Like

  49. rikyrah says:

    Monday, December 12, 2011
    Zandar’s Thought Of The Day
    Posted by Zandar
    Old Broken Down GOP opinion on debates: Debates are stupid and meaningless. Voters only care about whether or not candidates are likeable enough to have a beer with. Dubya and Palin won all their debates just by agreeing to this outdated nerdy nonsense and showing up. Real presidents don’t have time for debates.

    New GOP Hotness on debates: Debates are the most important thing ever and Newt Gingrich will put that uppity empty suit affirmative action hire in his place because he is the smartest Republican alive, just ask Ross Douthat.


    It’s easy to see why this kind of myth-making would infuriate Obama’s opponents. And so ever since the 2008 election, the right has embraced a sweeping counternarrative, in which the president’s eloquence is a myth and his brilliance a pure invention. Take away his campaign razzle-dazzle and his media cheering section, this argument goes, and what remains is a droning pedant, out of his depth and tongue-tied without a teleprompter.

    This is where Gingrich comes in. Just as Kerry’s candidacy represented an attempt to effectively out-patriot George W. Bush (“You have a war president? We have a war hero!”), the former speaker has skillfully played to the Republican desire for a candidate who can finally outsmart and out-orate Obama.

    Ahh, but Douthat concludes. The debate stuff really is meaningless…because President Obama really is nothing more than a pathetic affirmative action hire, so we don’t need to prove it.

    More important for the Republican Party’s purposes, it isn’t 2008 anymore, and conservatives don’t actually need to explode the fantasy of Obama’s eloquence and omnicompetence. The harsh reality of governing has already done that for them. Nobody awaits the president’s speeches with panting anticipation these days, or expects him to slay his opponents with the power of his intellect. Obamamania peaked with the inauguration, and it’s been ebbing ever since.

    See, he’s dumb. Just quote the unemployment rate for an hour and you win. That’s what a real President would do against President Black People Aren’t That Smart After All, Huh?

    So yes, the Republicans like Ross Douthat are indeed now trying to have it both ways: debates are meaningless because President Obama has already lost on his record and he’s pretty stupid anyway, so it doesn’t matter in the end.

    Of course, you could have seen that one coming a mile away.

    http://zandarvts.blogspot.com/2011/12/zandars-thought-of-day.html

    Like

  50. Ametia says:

    Chelsea Clinton Makes Her Low-Key Debut on NBC’s ‘Rock Center’

    Dec 13, 2011 4:45 AM EST She’s a bit reserved for television—but still has that classic Clinton poise. Howard Kurtz on the former first daughter’s premiere on NBC.

    Wtch a clip here: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/12/13/chelsea-clinton-makes-her-low-key-debut-on-nbc-s-rock-center.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=cheatsheet_morning&cid=newsletter%3Bemail%3Bcheatsheet_morning&utm_term=Cheat%20Sheet

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  51. rikyrah says:

    Ben Smith Becomes King of the Click Whores
    by mistermix

    Nobody got around to posting about yesterday’s big media news, Ben Smith’s move to Buzzfeed, where he’ll curate a site that has this as its #2 featured story this morning:

    If you’ve looked at Politico lately, it’s hard to argue that Smith didn’t make a move up.

    Smith’s move is getting huge coverage by other journalists because they all know that click whoring is one of the few economically viable paths for modern journalism. Politico does it, and Smith is good at it, so it makes sense that he’d be picked to run a site that does nothing but put out click bait. Smith’s a big name, and BuzzFeed is proud to get him, so we get jabber like this:

    [Buzzfeed co-founder] Peretti went on to explain how BuzzFeed’s small team of editors has already started to come up with new ways of reporting that involve not only covering stories but engaging in them as they happen. The best example he offered was the coordinated effort spearheaded by BuzzFeed that brought dozens of people to People’s doorstep with RyGos face masks to protest the magazine’s not naming Ryan Gosling as the Sexiest Man Alive this year. Imagine a more serious future in which BuzzFeed readers show up on the campaign trail with masks.

    Tell you what: let’s not imagine a future that stupid, and just deal with it if it happens.

    All this talk of “engagement” is just an effort by Buzzfeed’s founders to obscure the fact that their type of media outlet has been with us since the dawn of the printing press. There’s always been a huge market for human interest stories, the lighter side of news, and for the lowest, silliest stories about politics. Buzzfeed will be successful because people like to look at pictures of fuzzy bunnies and cute kittens first thing in the morning, and they love hearing that Rick Perry thinks Solyndra is a country (Buzzfeed’s current #2 “hotlist” story) . Ben Smith knows exactly which kinds of kittens and politicians will get clicks, so he’ll be successful at Buzzfeed. It’s not that complicated, and it sure as hell isn’t a revolution in journalism.

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2011/12/13/ben-smith-becomes-king-of-the-click-whores/

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  52. rikyrah says:

    NBAFOX Sports Exclusive

    In his twilight, Stern coming up small

    In the twilight of his career, David Stern seems intent on proving his fiercest critics correct.

    It’s a shame, really. Way back in the day, Stern was easily the best, brightest and most forward-thinking of all the commissioners. Perhaps that doesn’t sound like much today, when the competition is Bud Selig.

    But people forget what a monumental task it was 30 years ago, selling a predominately black sport to the Americas — middle and corporate. Sure, Stern was blessed with a confluence of talent and opportunity. But don’t forget that Magic, Michael, Larry and yes, Charles, became first name-only icons during Stern’s tenure.

    If the NBA was a superstars’ league, that’s only because the commissioner knew what he was doing.

    Now? He comes off as petty, vitriolic, dictatorial, unable to discern his short-term reputation from his long-term legacy, his job from his purpose. Fresh from this disgrace of a lockout, he’s added to his titles.

    Stern apparently has appointed himself the de facto general manager of the New Orleans Hornets. Stern is a smart guy and a highly competent lawyer. Still, his degrees confer no skill as an evaluator of basketball talent.

    Last week, he killed a perfectly good trade that would’ve sent Chris Paul to the Lakers. This week, his minions are interfering with a deal to send Paul to the Clippers.

    It’s not just bad business. It’s a conflict of interest.

    Interestingly enough, the guy who saw this all coming was Phil Jackson, who chose to retire as coach of the Lakers rather than face the rigors of Stern’s post-lockout NBA. Back in December, Jackson confessed that he wasn’t at all sanguine about the NBA’s takeover of the Hornets.

    “Not happy,” he told FOXSports.com’s Billy Witz. “Who’s going to trade whom to whom? Who’s going to (push) the button on trading players? When Chris (Paul) says he has to be traded, how is that going to go? Someone has got to make a very non-judgmental decision . . .”

    http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/nba-david-stern-running-new-orleans-hornets-rejecting-trades-has-become-incredible-shrinking-commissioner-121211

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  53. rikyrah says:

    Eric Holder wades into debate over voting rights as presidential election nears
    By Jerry Markon and Krissah Thompson,
    Published: December 12

    The Obama administration on Tuesday will wade into the increasingly divisive national debate over new voting laws in several states that could depress turnout among minorities and others who helped elect the president in 2008.

    A dozen states this year tightened rules requiring voters to present state-issued photo identification at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Although Democratic governors vetoed four of the measures, liberal and civil rights groups have been raising alarms about the remaining laws, calling them an “assault on democracy” and an attempt to depress minority voter turnout.

    Supporters of the tighter laws say they are needed to combat voter fraud.

    With the presidential campaign heating up, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. will deliver a speech Tuesday expressing concerns about the voter-identification laws, along with a Texas redistricting plan before the Supreme Court that fails to take into account the state’s burgeoning Hispanic population, he said in an interview Monday.

    Holder will speak at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Libary and Museum in Austin, Tex., which honors the president who shepherded the 1965 Voting Rights Act into law.

    “We are a better nation now than we were because more people are involved in the electoral process,’’ Holder said in the interview. “The beauty of this nation, the strength of this nation, is its diversity, and when we try to exclude people from being involved in the process . . . we weaken the fabric of this country.’’

    Some of the measures, most of which were enacted by Republican legislatures, also impose restrictions on early voting and make it harder for former felons to vote. Florida and Ohio, for example — both key battlegrounds — would cut nearly in half the number of days for early voting.

    The speech comes as debate is intensifying over whether the primary impact of the new laws will be to keep eligible voters away from the polls in the November 2012 election or deter election fraud.

    One study estimated that the changes could affect more than 5 million voters overall, potentially keeping them away from the polls in states that also include Wisconsin, Kansas and South Carolina.

    When it comes to voting fraud, some conservatives have long argued that it is a serious problem, although others say the number of such cases is relatively low. Studies of the issue have reached different conclusions on the extent of the problem.

    “You constantly hear about voter fraud . . . but you don’t see huge amounts of vote fraud out there,’’ Holder said.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/holder-to-wade-into-debate-over-voting-rights/2011/12/12/gIQAdUHZqO_story.html

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  54. rikyrah says:

    Yearly deficit falls below $1 trillion for the first time under Obama
    By Erik Wasson – 12/12/11 03:50 PM ET
    The Treasury Department forecast Monday that the budget deficit for fiscal 2012 will come in at $996 billion, the first time President Obama has presided over an annual deficit of less than $1 trillion.

    The budget deficit in fiscal 2011 and 2010 was $1.3 trillion, while the Obama stimulus law pushed the deficit up to $1.4 trillion in fiscal 2009

    The Treasury statement is the first since the congressional supercommittee failed to come up with any deficit reduction and disbanded on Nov. 21. Because of that failure, $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts are to take place over the next decade.

    That is not nearly enough to stop the exponential growth of the deficit, which is expected to balloon at a more rapid pace later in the decade due in mainly to the retirement of the baby boomers. The retirements will decrease income tax revenue and increase Medicare costs.

    For November, the monthly budget deficit was $137 billion, compared to $150 billion in November of last year. The government took in $152 billion in November and spent $289 billion.

    The deficit in October was only $98 billion, but that month benefited from the fact that payments normally made in October were made in September.

    http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/198821-budget-deficit-shrinks

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  55. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone at 3CHICS!!!

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  56. rikyrah says:

    I think Huntsman is a rich, spoiled weasel, so I just go BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA and his dumb ass being ignored by the GOP primary voters while being fawned over by the MSM.

    …………………………………….

    Tree Falls in Forest, Nobody Around
    by mistermix

    John Huntsman and Newt Gingrich had a foreign policy debate yesterday, and apparently it was well-mannered and carried out in complete sentences. If you look at Politico’s front page, which is leading with the question of whether Romney is to Gingrich as Clinton was to Obama (whatever the fuck that means), you’ll learn that Sarah Palin is trying to pimp another reality show, but you won’t read anything about the Gingrich/Huntsman debate. It’s as if the even didn’t even happen.

    That’s pretty much the story of Huntsman’s entire campaign: he does something serious and everyone ignores him. Nate Silver has a new post detailing the kinds of needles various camels would have to pass through in order for Huntsman to win, and it’s a long, circuitous path. If you look at the polling, Huntsman has never gotten above a couple of percent, while Newt was up in the double digits many times before his current surge. Even Rick Santorum beats him consistently.

    Sane journalists like Silver and Fallows constantly mention Huntsman because he’s clearly more electable than Newt, and probably Romney. But to the Republican primary voter, he’s the dork in the corner at the junior high dance. He’s not even interesting enough to ridicule. Every dog seems to have its day with the GOP electorate, except for Huntsman. Since the process of becoming the GOP frontrunner seems inherently irrational, I can’t count him out completely, but at some point he’s going to stop spending Daddy’s money and realize that he should have kept his powder dry until 2016.

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2011/12/13/tree-falls-in-forest-nobody-around/#comment-2929276

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