Wednesday Open Thread

Carol of the Bells” is a popular Americanized version of a Ukrainian Christmas carol. It is a choral work by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych as “Shchedryk and translated, or rather, adapted to English by Peter J Wilhousky who wrote and Americanized the lyrics. Leontovych’s composition was in turn, set to the words of an ancient Ukrainian carol performed during the celebration of the New Year.

The song is recognized by a four-note ostinato motif (see image to the right). It is a holiday favorite throughout the English-speaking world, having been arranged hundreds of times for different genres, styles of singing and settings. For example, it was been covered by artists and groups of many genres: classical, jazz, rock, and pop. It has also been featured in films, television shows, and parodies.

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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61 Responses to Wednesday Open Thread

  1. Obama Health Care Law Gave Medical Coverage To 2.5 Million Young Adults

    2.5 Million Young Adults Gain Health Coverage Under Obama Plan

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/14/obama-health-care-law_n_1148762.html#comments

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration says the number of young adults going without medical coverage has shrunk by 2.5 million since the new health care law took effect.

    A new analysis to be released Wednesday finds the drop is two-and-a-half times the figure indicated by government and private estimates from earlier this year. The health care overhaul allows young adults to stay on a parent’s plan until they turn 26.

    Administration analysts found that nearly 36 percent of Americans age 19-25 were uninsured in the third calendar quarter of 2010, before the law’s provision took effect. That’s over 10.5 million people.

    By the second calendar quarter of 2011, the uninsured dropped to a little over 27 percent, or about 8 million.

    The difference is nearly 2.5 million more young adults getting coverage.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Tens Of Thousands March On Koch Industries For Suppressing Voting Rights |

    This past Saturday, tens of thousands of civil rights activists marched on the New York offices of Koch Industries to protest the Koch brothers’ support of restrictive voting laws that disenfranchise millions. In dozens of states, Republican politicians have pushed laws that disproportionately keep Democratic voters, including blacks, Latinos, students, and the poor, from the polls. U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) was among the lawmakers and labor leaders who locked arms and led the march on Madison Avenue. The billionaire Koch brothers help fund the shadowy corporate front group ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council) that has modeled restrictive voting legislation.

    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2011/12/14/388783/tens-of-thousands-march-on-koch-industries-for-suppressing-voting-rights/

  3. rikyrah says:

    14 Dec 2011 07:48 PM
    Mitt Romney Is Running Against Himself

    Now he’s attacking Gingrich’s wealth. Allahpundit analyzes:

    He brought up Newt’s Tiffany expenses not once but twice today, first with CBS and then again during his radio chat with Hannity this afternoon. (Audio here.) At first blush this looks like he’s pulling a tu quoque as damage control following his dopey $10,000 bet offer at the debate on Saturday night, but I don’t think he’s worried much about that. It was tin-eared, and the competition’s bound to tweak him for it, but the election won’t turn on goofy stage theatrics. What’s panicking him, I think, was Gingrich’s attack on Monday about him “bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain.” Kennedy used that against Romney in 1994 with great success and the class-warrior-in-chief is going to hammer him relentlessly for it in the general if Mitt makes it that far.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/12/mitt-romney-is-running-against-himself.html

  4. rikyrah says:

    Fighting For A Country That Looks Down On You
    A reader writes:

    I appreciate the comparison you highlighted between the gay vet who confronted Mitt Romney and the black veterans in history observed by Ta-Nehisi. I am a former soldier, having served in the US Army from 1985 until 1989 before being discharged after a witch hunt. My sister is a retired soldier and my son is currently serving. We have a tradition of military service going back to at least the Second World War. It is my father, who fought with the storied 761st Tank Battalion (the Black Panthers) and his generation for black soldiers and airmen that I want to talk about briefly.

    On my mother’s side, there were three Tuskegee Airmen.

    My father, as I said, was a tanker. Before WWII, both my father and my uncles had lived every day of their lives in either Louisiana or Alabama, respectively. My father joined the Army the week following the attack on Pearl Harbor because the Army would let him fight as either infantry or a tanker but the Navy would have had him shining shoes or being a cook. My father wanted to fight.

    He spent four years in the Army, was decorated with the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. When he came home at the end of the war, he went to college where he met my mother, who had spent the war building airplanes as a ‘Rosie’. Because my father served, he and my uncles got the GI Bill that allowed them to go to college. World War II made my father who he was.

    My parents stayed in Alabama, where I was born, until 1968 when they moved us to California. The 1968 election was the first time my father ever cast a vote in the nation he had fought and bled for. When I joined the Army my father was very opposed to it – partially because my sister had joined four years earlier, partly because of his memories of serving in a segregated military. To convince him that my reasons were good, I told him that it takes a special kind of man to go and fight for a country that does not consider him enough of a human being to go to school where he wishes, to vote in elections, to live where he can afford and to work in any job he is qualified for. That generation of black men who signed up and served knowing that they would return home and not be able to vote were very special men.

    When I think of the generations of gays and lesbians who served in our military, I think that whether the likes of Romney (or a non-trivial swath of the GOP for that matter) realize it or not, they are in the debt of these folks and are in the presence of the very best of America.

    I am not trying to blow my own horn. This is not about my service. I went in because I felt that I had grown up in a nation that did consider me an actual citizen and if my father could put on the uniform when he was, at best, a second-class citizen I could do no less. I just want us, as Americans, to acknowledge that gays and lesbians have served and continue to do so and that these are the very best of our nation. They get up and they do their duty knowing that the man or woman they love back home is not considered their actual, wedded spouse and yet they do it anyway. We should honor them as the exceptional Americans they are.

    As a quick aside, I also want the gay community to get off their Left-leaning, anti-American high horse and recognize that our queer vets are the very best of us and give them our full support and thanks for their service.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/12/fighting-for-a-country-that-looks-down-on-you.html

  5. rikyrah says:

    Florida Sen. Rubio’s Aponte vote draws criticism from Hispanic leaders

    Sen. Marco Rubio on Tuesday abruptly canceled a meeting with a high-level State Department official after learning that Democrats had described his vote Monday against the ambassador to El Salvador as an insult to the Puerto Ricans he represents in Florida.

    The Senate failed to get enough votes Monday night to take up the nomination of Mari Carmen Aponte, who has been serving on an interim basis as ambassador to El Salvador. The White House lashed out at Republicans for blocking the vote, calling their move Monday night one that played “politics with America’s national interests.”

    In a call Tuesday afternoon, Hispanic leaders accused Rubio and other Republicans of abandoning fellow Hispanics. Aponte is the first Puerto Rican woman to serve as a U.S. ambassador. But she has a complicated past — a former boyfriend was accused of being a Cuban spy. The FBI cleared Aponte, who later received two top security clearances, but not before the chatter scuttled her 1993 nomination by President Clinton to serve as ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

    “Once again, one of the victims of this political agenda here in Washington, D.C., is someone who is very qualified and happens to be a stellar member of the Latino community,” said Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., in a call put together by the Democratic National Committee. “Most of us are not only disappointed but angered to see politics played at the expense of someone who is so capable.”

    A spokesman for Rubio said the Obama administration was playing “ethnic politics,” and said the Florida senator would abandon efforts to work with the administration on Aponte’s nomination. She’s been serving as the ambassador to El Salvador since mid-2010, when President Obama appointed her during a recess.

    Rubio’s spokesman,Alex Conant,said he didn’t know why the DNC was “injecting itself into serious policy discussion on issues of democracy and the western hemisphere.”

    “For them to try to play ethnic politics shows that they’re not serious or acting in good faith,” Conant said. “We’re canceling that meeting because it’s clear the White House and administration is more interested in playing politics than in getting anything done.”

    Yet Hispanic Democrats in Florida have taken notice, too. They include Florida state Rep. Darren Soto of Orlando and Annette Taddeo-Goldstein, who ran against Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, in 2008 and again unsuccessfully for Miami-Dade County Commission last year. Taddeo-Goldstein on Monday urged people to call Rubio’s office to criticize his vote.

    Soto said in the DNC call that Rubio should be more conscious of what his “no” vote means to the thousands of Puerto Ricans who live in Florida and will vote in the presidential election.

    “You would think because he represents the state, because he represents so many Puerto Rican Americans here, that it would have some consideration,” Soto said. “This would have been an easy way for him to cross the aisle and perhaps pick up some more support in Central Florida for the 2012 elections.”

    Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/12/14/133069/florida-sen-rubios-aponte-vote.html#ixzz1gZ5J9HBW

  6. Lying liars and the lies they tell!

    Plan B Backlash: Women’s Groups Sour On Obama

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/14/plan-b-birth-control-morning-after-pill-obama_n_1148769.html#comments

    Women played a huge role in propelling President Barack Obama to victory during the 2008 elections, supporting him more strongly than men by seven percentage points. His record on women’s issues as president, however, has been spotty, and major women’s rights organizations are warning that if he makes the wrong decision on birth control coverage in the coming weeks, it could cost him the election in 2012.

    • Stop your dm lies, lying liar!

      Women played a huge role in propelling President Barack Obama to victory during the 2008 elections, supporting him more strongly than men by seven percentage points.

      **********­**********­**********­**********­****

      Black women voted overwhelmi­ngly for President Obama and they are NOT leaving him. Jesus will return before that happens. Your bs articles doesn’t work with us.

      Bye beyotches!

    • Ametia says:

      This here’s a CROCK-O-SHYT. I smell PUMA POOP!

      Under-aged girls should not be given scripts for birth control. Don’t get me started on side effects.

      Folks take one issue and use it to threaten the oresident. Don’t vote for him fools, vote for teh GOP and see where that gets ya!

    • Ametia says:

      Barack Obama Is A Win For Women

      Barack Obama doesn’t just represent a win for the women of America in terms of his positions on reproductive choice, health care, pay equity, family leave, comprehensive sex education and subsidized child care — though, arguably, he is definitely that in comparison to the McCain-Palin ticket. He is also a win for women because — more so than ever before — women’s votes propelled him to victory. So, first, congratulations, women of America! Now let’s look at the numbers.

      In 2004, a slim majority of women — 51% — went for John Kerry over George Bush, whereas this year, 56% of women voted for Obama. In fact, this year, fully 53% of all voters were women! Men, on the other hand, split much more evenly: only 49% of men voted for Obama and 48% of men voted for McCain. By any reckoning, women, more than men, propelled Obama to victory. As The Guardian’s Sarah Wildman noted yesterday, women weren’t remotely swayed by the presence of a woman on the McCain ticket — so maybe politicians will start treating us like we count and pay attention to the issues.

      Of course, it must also be said that all women cannot share in this credit equally. Nearly 52% of white women voted for McCain (and 57% of white men did), according to AP exit polls.

      On the other hand, minority women voted overwhelmingly for Obama, helping all of us keep and expand our rights to reproductive choice, equal pay and equitable health care access. Overall, 95% of African Americans voted for Obama, but 96% of African-American women did so. And nowhere was the gender gap more striking than among Latino voters — two thirds of whom voted for Obama on Tuesday, says MSNBC:

      READ ON: http://jezebel.com/5078508/barack-obama-is-a-win-for-women

  7. rikyrah says:

    BWA HA HA HA H AH AHA HA HA HA

    ……………………

    Clearly, he’s a victim of peer pressure
    by Kay

    Governor Walker has fallen in with the wrong crowd:

    Another major shoe has dropped in the John Doe investigation of Gov.Scott Walker’s current and former aides. On Tuesday, authorities arrested Andrew P. Jensen Jr., a commercial real estate broker with Boerke Co. and a past president of theCommercial Association of Realtors-Wisconsin. Fran McLaughlin, spokesman for Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., confirmed that Jensen was behind bars Tuesday night. But McLaughlin said no one had filed a criminal complaint against the 50-year-old Milwaukee resident.
    The sheriff’s website states that charges are pending against Jensen.

    Jensen was a minor contributor to Walker’s gubernatorial campaign, donating $850. Boerke Co. employees gave a total of $12,150. Insiders told No Quarter that he was arrested after refusing to cooperate with the long-running John Doe investigation by Milwaukee County prosecutors.
    Prosecutors launched the investigation in May 2010 – around the time Darlene Wink left her county job as Walker’s constituent services coordinator. She quit shortly after admitting that she had frequently posted political comments online on Journal Sentinel stories and blogs while on the county clock. Authorities later took her work computer and executed a search warrant of her home in August 2010. They also took the work computer of Tim Russell, a former Walker campaign staffer who was then working as county housing director.
    Sources have told the Journal Sentinel that the probe, which initially looked at campaign activity by Walker staffers, has moved in a number of directions since then.
    Since then, No Quarter reported that Walker’s current spokesman, Cullen Werwie, who worked on the governor’s campaign, was given immunity to testify in the John Doe probe. Also receiving immunity was Republican operative Rose Ann Dieck.
    More recently, a grant of immunity was considered for an unnamed person about four or five weeks ago, according to former Appeals Judge Neal Nettesheim, who is overseeing the investigation. The person sought to have the immunity grant performed in secret, but Nettesheim determined it had to be done in open court. The person then appealed.
    The District 1 Court of Appeals denied the request to rule that the immunity hearing be held in secret, saying the unnamed person had not shown that Nettesheim had a plain legal duty to do so. Quoting a past Supreme Court decision, the three-judge panel wrote, “It is clear the policy is that the public ought to know who is given immunity from prosecution.”

    Walker has maintained that he is not concerned about the investigation because he has followed the high standards given to him by his parents.

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2011/12/14/clearly-hes-a-victim-of-peer-pressure/

    • Ametia says:

      “Walker has maintained that he is not concerned about the investigation because he has followed the high standards given to him by his parents.”

      ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????/

  8. rikyrah says:

    The Next Birtherism?
    by SteveM

    Let’s say it’s a tight race between Barack Obama and whoever emerges from the GOP scrum—the Real Clear Politics poll summary currently has Obama leading Romney by less than a point, and though Obama has a much bigger lead over Gingrich, the economy isn’t getting better all that quickly, and it’s impossible to know what could happen in Europe in the next year. So if it’s Obama vs. Gingrich, that could be close, too.

    So imagine Obama ekes out a win in November, barely ahead in the popular vote and with one or two tight states separating him from the Republican in the Electoral College. Now, imagine that this comes after Eric Holder has promised an aggressive pushback against Republican laws restricting voter participation:

    Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Tuesday entered the turbulent political waters of voting rights, signaling that the Justice Department would be aggressive in reviewing new voting laws that civil rights advocates say will dampen minority participation in next year’s elections….

    Do you think the aftermath of such a squeaker victory might be the point at which the demagoguing of the “massive Democratic voter fraud” myth goes utterly mainstream? By which I mean that prominent Republican officeholders and officials may literally not accept the results of the 2012 election, and may work to get them overturned, or at least to make hearings on the subject the main business of Congress (or whatever part of Congress is GOP-controlled)? And isn’t it possible that, if they work this hard enough, it could actually seem credible to parts of the mainstream press, even though the “evidence” will be overwhelmingly anecdotal and mostly irrelevant (e.g., Mickey Mouse’s signature showing up on petitions before being invalidated under the usual perfectly adequate fraud-detection procedures)?

    This stuff pumps up the rubes, and Republicans use it as the basis for restrictive laws in the states, but they don’t seem to try to sell the voter fraud myth to the broad general public in a serious way. Under these circumstances, would they make a mainstream move with it? And could they get, say, The Washington Post to bite? Could they effectively nullify Obama’s reelection that way?

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2011/12/14/the-next-birtherism/

  9. rikyrah says:

    An Iowa Gaffe

    In the Kinsley sense. Here’s what Gingrich’s Iowa political director, Craig Berman, said in a focus group that oddly included the names of various players:

    “There is a national pastor who is very much on the anti-Mitt Romney bandwagon,” Craig Bergman said. “A lot of the evangelicals believe God would give us four more years of Obama just for the opportunity to expose the cult of Mormon…There’s a thousand pastors ready to do that.”

    He’s now fired. But this was a broad consensus among the participants:

    Judd Saul agrees that Mitt Romney faces problems with evangelicals. “They won’t vote for a Mormon,” he said.

    Polk County GOP Co-Chair Dave Funk believes Romney can defeat Barack Obama in the general election, but the Republican Party as a whole would be better off with another candidate. “The thing with Romney is, we don’t get coattails,” Funk said. “We don’t get the Senate with Romney at the top of the ticket. He’s able to grab enough independents and Democrat to beat Obama. However, we don’t turn out three million evangelicals to vote in every school board and local election.”

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/

  10. rikyrah says:

    about WILLARD:

    Quote For The Day

    “I’m just going by my gut. I shook the guy’s hand, looked him in the eye and he has no soul. I don’t see a conviction. I don’t see a leader. I feel like I’m talking to a robot. I’ve talked to all the other candidates and none of them gave me the vibe that Gingrich did. He is not a guy you want to go have a beer with,”
    – Judd Saul, a Tea Party member and GOP activist from Black Hawk County.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/

  11. rikyrah says:

    Republicans Warn Bain Capital Could Cripple Romney’s Campaign
    Benjy Sarlin December 14, 2011, 11:22 AM Mitt Romney’s career at Bain Capital buying up and restructuring companies — sometimes with major job cuts along the way — has been a glaring vulnerability since his earliest political runs. But it’s rarely come up in his two presidential campaigns, where the GOP’s investor-friendly ethos has made rivals hesitant to use it against him. Until now, that is.

    Newt Gingrich got the toughest shot in on Monday, suggesting that Romney’s time at Bain showed he was heartless and out of touch with the average American.

    “I would just say that if Gov. Romney would like to give back all of the money he’s earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain, that I would be glad to listen to him,” Gingrich told reporters.

    Jon Huntsman’s been hinting at Romney’s investment capital years as well, albeit more subtly, making extensive use of a now infamous photo of Bain-era Romney awash in dollar bills in his new website 10kbet.com and an accompanying web video (This is the same Huntsman whose father is a billionaire).

    Why is the issue coming up all of a sudden? Despite the Tea Party’s anti-bailout streak, it isn’t because Republicans have suddenly decided they hate investors — Gingrich, for example, got pilloried in the conservative press as anti-capitalist over his “layoffs” line and conspicuously rededicated himself to a “positive” campaign the very next day.

    The real subtext is electability. President Obama has made it absolutely clear that this race is going to about the 99% vs. the 1% on taxes, entitlements, and regulation. Sure we think Bain Capital is a paragon of free market values, Romney’s Republican critics argue, but what about those swing voters who are all too easily swayed the first time they see an ad featuring workers Romney laid off?

    “If you can make the argument either directly or indirectly that this makes him unelectable, then you have fundamentally undermined the rationale of his candidacy,” one unaligned Republican strategist skeptical of Romney told TPM.

    Behind the scenes, Republicans opposed to Romney have long whispered that Bain is the candidate’s glass jaw, that it killed his Senate campaign in 1994, that he’s shown no sign he’s learned to handle the issue on a national stage because it’s not a big factor in the Republican primaries.

    “A main argument Romney has made to Republicans has been that they should hold their noses and vote for him because he has the best chance of beating Obama,” one Republican operative at a rival campaign told TPM. “But a lot of Republicans who have thought through how his record at Bain could be used against him, especially in nasty campaign ads in economically depressed parts of swing states, think Bain is a huge liability and that Democrats will bludgeon him with it. Expect to see a lot more scrutiny of Romney’s record in business, and of Bain, in the next month.”

    Influential RedState blogger (and Romney detractor) Erick Erickson has brought up the Bain days in exactly that context, warning voters that “if you are foolish, given that the President intends to campaign on a moral case against success and a lot of people are receptive to it, you might want to put up a candidate who made his money doing leveraged buy outs, laying off people, and restructuring companies.”

    Erickson is certainly right that Democrats are waiting to pounce on Romney’s business record. Perhaps the biggest sign of how much oomph Democratic strategists ascribe to the Bain Capital angle, is that they’ve barely used it at all. Even while the DNC and Obama campaign frequently bring up Romney’s wealth (see: bet, $10,000), Bain’s layoffs almost never come up. That’s not an oversight: they’re keeping the powder dry for the general.

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/republicans-break-silence-on-romneys-bain-capital-days.php

  12. rikyrah says:

    Where Will Is Wrong On Romney
    His column today represents the tip of the spear in Republican Washington’s panicked fusillage against someone who was once and will again be the least popular public figure in America. It pounces on Gingrich’s classic blow-up this week, when he seemed to criticize the activities of Bain Consulting. It is, indeed, a largely leftist point made by Newt:


    “I would just say that if Governor Romney would like to give back all the money he’s earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain Capital, that I would be glad to listen to him.”

    Compare it with Huckabee’s brilliant quip from the last cycle:

    “I want to be a president who reminds you of the guy you work with, not the guy who laid you off.”

    But Will goes overboard when he defends the sophomoric photograph of Romney and his Bain fellows literally covered in money. The “animal spirits” of capitalism are surely better captured by genuine entrepreneurs, not fabulously rewarded consultants, who exist because weak CEOs need an alibi for firing people. And what Romney is revealing in that photo is pure worship and celebration of money and wealth – and the joys of rubbing it in the face of others.

    It’s toxic. It’s ugly. It’s what helps drag conservatism down. You want a way to remind Reagan Democrats that the GOP is not their kind of show any more? The photo will do it. Can you imagine Reagan in that picture? Nah. Only the spoiled children of Reagan.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/12/where-will-is-wrong-on-romney.html

  13. rikyrah says:

    REPORT: 3.3 Million Will Lose Unemployment Insurance Under House GOP’s Payroll Tax Bill
    By Travis Waldron on Dec 14, 2011 at 9:36 am

    House Republicans passed their version of a payroll tax cut extension last night, but not before adding a litany of spending cuts and changes to federal programs that they knew Democrats would never accept. The GOP, which still refuses to tax a relatively small number of millionaires to give an extra $1,000 a year to the average middle class family, included cuts to Medicare benefits and the Affordable Care Act and froze federal worker pay for an additional two years.

    But as ThinkProgress reported last week, the bill also targets the unemployed, reducing eligibility for unemployment insurance from 99 weeks to 79 weeks. Eventually, the plan will reduce that eligibility down to 59 weeks — and when it does, it will kick more than 3.3 million unemployed Americans out of the program, according to data from the Department of Labor.

    In just four states — California, Florida, Texas, and New York — more than 1.25 million will become ineligible for the program. In each of five other states — North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Illinois — more than 100,000 people will lose their eligibility.

    Across the country, Republicans have chosen to paint unemployment insurance as a “lifestyle” that creates laziness among those who use it just to get by. The GOP ignores that there are, on average, four applicants for each open job, decrying the unemployment insurance program for incentivizing joblessness, even though those who are eligible for the program remain out of work only 1.6 weeks longer than those who aren’t eligible.

    Unemployment insurance, meanwhile, remains one of the strongest economic stimulus tools available to the federal government, as recent studies have shown that failure to extend them would cost the economy $57 billion in the first three months of 2012. That amounts to a loss of 0.38 percent of GDP, equal to the rate at which the economy grew in 2011.

    Ten congressional Democrats joined Republicans in voting for the misguided plan. In the eight states they represent, nearly 886,000 people would become ineligible for unemployment insurance, led by the 584,000 that would lose benefits in Rep. Dennis Cardoza’s (D) home state of California. You can see the full state-by-state breakdown here.

    \

    http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/12/14/389015/report-33-million-will-lose-unemployment-insurance-under-house-gops-payroll-tax-bill/

  14. rikyrah says:

    PA GOPer Admits There’s No Evidence That Voter ID Laws Are Needed, But He’s Ramming One Through Anyway
    By Ian Millhiser on Dec 13, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    In the wake of the 2010 elections, numerous GOP-controlled states have adopted so-called “voter ID” laws to target the entirely fabricated problem of in-person voter fraud. Such voter fraud is so uncommon that a voter is 39 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to actually commit fraud at the polls. Yet because these laws also disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters in demographics that tend to support Democrats, they have become the darling of GOP lawmakers.

    So it is much more disappointing than surprising that Pennsylvania’s Republican Gov. Tom Corbett is now pressuring lawmakers in his state to enact one of these vote suppressing laws, despite the fact that a top GOP lawmaker admits that there is no proof that these vote suppressing laws are needed:


    Republicans continued Monday to press legislation to require Pennsylvanians to show photo identification before they vote, despite resistance from Democrats who say it is intended to suppress turnout of poor and black voters and Republicans acknowledging they lack proof of voter fraud.

    Senate State Government Committee Chairman Charles McIlhinney said he has seen no proof that people are casting illegal ballots, but he also said he’s seen no proof that tightening the requirements would deny anyone the right to vote. He called the requirement a “security check.”

    “It was put upon us and asked for by the governor and by the House, who passed the bill, and they asked me to take it up,” McIlhinney, R-Bucks, said after the committee vote. “I made the changes based upon what I felt I would accept to come out of the committee.”

    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2011/12/13/388169/pa-goper-admits-theres-no-evidence-that-voter-id-laws-are-needed-but-hes-ramming-one-through-anyway/

  15. rikyrah says:

    14 Dec 2011 02:03 PM
    A Battle For The Soul Of The Tea Party

    That’s how Douthat frames the Gingrich and Paul contest in Iowa. He calls Paul “the kind of conservative that Tea Partiers want to believe themselves to be” and Gingrich “the kind of conservative that liberals believe most Tea Partiers to be.” His bottom line:


    If the town hall crashers and Washington Mall marchers of 2009 settle on a Medicare Part D-supporting, Freddie Mac-advising, Nancy Pelosi-snuggling Washington insider as their not-Romney standard bearer in 2012, then every liberal who ever sneered at the Tea Party will get to say “I told you so.” If Paul wins the caucuses, on the other hand, the movement will keep its honor – but also deliver the Republican nomination gift-wrapped to Mitt Romney.

    A couple weeks back, Nate Silver challenged Douthat’s final point:


    [Paul] is the only Republican candidate apart from Mr. Romney (and Jon M. Huntsman Jr., who is not competing in Iowa) to overachieve his national numbers in polls of New Hampshire. A one-two punch of winning Iowa and New Hampshire is not impossible for Mr. Paul, and it is hard to know where Mr. Romney might wind up if the field were scrambled in this way.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/12/a-battle-for-the-soul-of-the-tea-party.html

  16. rikyrah says:

    Romney: Obama’s A Wimp For Not Destroying That Drone
    Paul Werdel December 14, 2011, 10:37 AM

    The commander-in-chief elects not to commit an act of war in order to destroy sensitive American military technology before it can fall into Iranian hands. Prudent presidential decision-making, or total wuss move?

    In an interview with FOX News on Wednesday morning, Mitt Romney seemed to suggest that if he were the one calling the shots, it would have been bombs away.

    When asked what he would have done upon learning a U.S. surveillance drone had crashed in Iran, Romney said “absolutely take it out.”

    He (Obama) was extraordinarily weak and timid in a time of … a critical moment. This will have severe implications for us, long term, and it was a terrible mistake on his part. I find it incomprehensible that he didn’t destroy it, or go get it. I think destroying it would have been a good deal easier. Destroy it immediately, or go get it. But the idea of letting it fall into the hands of people who will use it against us, use the intelligence capacity against us, is an extremely enormous mistake on the part of this president.Though it remains unclear whether the RQ-170 “Sentinel” drone was equipped with a self-destruct mechanism, former Vice President Dick Cheney has suggested in recent days that Obama should have just ordered an airstrike to destroy it, damn the consequences. Romney seems to be suggesting the same

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/romney-obamas-a-wimp-for-not-destroying-that-drone.php

  17. rikyrah says:

    Contra Will, Gingrich Was On Point
    by BooMan
    Wed Dec 14th, 2011 at 11:33:13 AM EST

    You gotta love the headline of George Will’s latest piece: Newt Gingrich commits a capital crime. Mr. Will really lays down some heavy snark as he takes Gingrich apart limb by limb. It’s unusually good writing from Will. But he still misses an important point. Here is Will’s defense of Vulture Capitalism:

    Romney, while at Bain, performed the essential social function of connecting investment resources with opportunities. Firms such as Bain are indispensable for wealth creation, which often involves taking over badly run companies, shedding dead weight and thereby liberating remaining elements that add value. The process, like surgery, can be lifesaving. And like surgery, society would rather benefit from it than watch it.

    I don’t really disagree with what Mr. Will is saying here, but he isn’t defining what he means by ‘society.’ He’s also failing to acknowledge that it matters how you go about “connecting investment resources with opportunities” to create wealth. Too often, Bain Capital has created wealth only for themselves. The most famous example is American Pad & Paper Co. (Ampad), which they bled dry until it was forced into bankruptcy. And it didn’t help that they were simultaneously funding mega-retailers like Staples that only exacerbated Ampad’s problems.

    When a company specializes in outsourcing jobs to other countries with cheaper labor, the ‘society’ that benefits is global. The wealth that is created no longer benefits our local communities. And when a company enriches itself by bleeding their acquisitions into bankruptcy through excessive fees, it isn’t even performing its job as a scavenger. It’s acting as a predator.

    We need scavengers to create efficiencies, but we don’t need a race to the bottom on wages, nor do we need predators to come into our communities and destroy our jobs. That’s what Bain Capital did under Romney’s leadership. He didn’t serve the country. Too often, he didn’t even serve the investors in the companies he acquired. He served himself. So, as far as I am concerned, Gingrich’s criticism that Romney earned his money “bankrupting companies and laying off employees” is a completely valid criticism.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2011/12/14/113313/88

  18. 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.

    Read More here:

  19. rikyrah says:

    TPM2012
    Team Obama: We’ll Take The Longest Republican Primary You Have, Please
    There are signs that we’re in for a long haul on the primary campaign trail. Mitt Romney expects to battle Newt Gingrich across the nation for months in the hunt for the nomination, forcing the nation to endure another long slog through caucuses and primaries like the one that occupied the Democrats for most of 2008.

    A long fight would shorten the general election, and thus most likely put less of a focus on Obama for much of the year as Gingrich and Romney duke it out. Yet the Obama campaign says bring it on.

    “The Republican primary have not benefitted the Republican candidates,” Obama 2012 communications director Ben LaBolt told reporters at a briefing in Washington Tuesday morning. LaBolt pointed to a chart by pollster PPP showing Romney’s favorables dropping the more people learn about him.

    A long primary means more and more exposure for Romney across the country, the Obama theory goes, and that means great news for Democrats.

    “[Voters] are responding to some of these iconic moments in the GOP primary,” LaBolt said. The primary has brought out some doozies for Romney, he added, suggesting the “10-1 moment” on the debate stage, the “corporations are people” line and the infamous $10,000 bet are contributing factors to Romney’s waning popularity.

    “The $10,000 bet may end up being Mitt Romney’s grocery store scanner moment,” LaBolt said.

    There are signs that LaBolt has the right read on the situation. The rise of Gingrich has forced Romney to take stands that Democrats are quite thrilled with, such as his new embrace of the Ryan Budget, which polled poorly back when the Republican House approved it. Months more of trying to win over conservative voters away from Gingrich could force Romney into more less-than-general-election-ideal stances.

    That’s assuming Romney wins. If the long primary results in a Gingrich nomination, well, the Obama campaign thinks more exposure for Gingrich is a good thing for them, too.

    Now, those with four year memories will recall that the epically long primary that resulted in Obama’s nomination was widely seen as strengthening Obama and turning him in to a general election force to be reckoned with. Obama strategist David Axelrod said there’s no danger of something similar happening to the GOP nominee that emerges from a long Gingrich-Romney slog.

    “The difference here is that we weren’t being tugged to a pole in our party, we weren’t being tugged to the left,” Axelrod said. “They’re being tugged to the right everyday.”

    And there’s no way it can be bad for Obama if that tilt right continues, Axelrod said.

    “The agenda that the Republicans are embracing in order to win the nomination, I think they’re mortgaging themselves for the general by tacking as far as they are now,” he said. “I think the longer the race goes the more they’re going to do that and the harder it is to scramble back.”

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/team-obama-well-take-the-longest-republican-primary-you-have-please.php?ref=fpa

  20. Ametia says:

    Hat tip UT @ TOD Thank you! :-)

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of young adults lacking medical coverage has shrunk by 2.5 million since the new health care overhaul law took effect, according to a new analysis the Obama administration is to release Wednesday.

    That drop is 2½ times as large as the drop indicated by previous government and private estimates from earlier this year, which showed about 1 million Americans ages 19-25 had gained coverage.

    Administration officials said they now have more data. They say they’re also slicing the numbers more precisely than the government usually does, trying to pinpoint the impact of a popular provision in an otherwise politically divisive law.

    Under the health overhaul, children can remain on their parents’ health insurance plans until they turn 26, and families have flocked to sign up young adults making the transition to work in a challenging economic environment. But the fate of President Barack Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment remains uncertain, with the Supreme Court scheduled to hear a constitutional challenge next year, and Republican presidential candidates vowing to repeal it.

    “The increase in coverage among 19- to 25-year-olds can be directly attributed to the Affordable Care Act’s new dependent coverage provision,” said a draft report from the Health and Human Services Department. “Initial gains from this policy have continued to grow as … students graduate from high school and college.” A copy of the report was obtained by The Associated Press.

    HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is scheduled to release the findings Wednesday.

    The health care law’s main push to cover the uninsured doesn’t come until 2014. But the young adults’ provision took effect last fall. Most workplace health plans started carrying it out Jan. 1.

    Using unpublished quarterly statistics from the government’s ongoing National Health Interview Survey, analysts in Sebelius’ policy office determined that nearly 36 percent of those age 19-25 were uninsured in the third calendar quarter of 2010, before the law’s provision took effect.

    That translates to more than 10.5 million people.

    By the second calendar quarter of 2011, the proportion of uninsured young adults had dropped to a little over 27 percent, or about 8 million people.

    The difference — nearly 2.5 million getting coverage — can only be the result of the health care law, administration officials said, because the number covered by public programs like Medicaid went down slightly.

    Overall, nearly 30 million Americans are between the ages of 19 to 25. For those who are little older, ages 26-35, the uninsured rate went up during the same period.

    “From September 2010 to June 2011, coverage rose only among those adults affect by the policy,” said the HHS report.

    The National Center for Health Statistics has documented a broadly similar trend in its official publications, only it’s not nearly as dramatic.

    Administration officials said those statistics do not focus on the change from calendar quarter to calendar quarter, as does the report by Sebelius’ staff. Instead, they pool data over longer time periods. That has the effect of diluting the perceived impact of the law, administration officials said.

    Traditionally, young adults were more likely to be uninsured than any other age group.

    Some are making the switch from school to work. Others are holding down low-wage jobs that don’t usually come with health care. And some — termed the “invincibles” — pass up job-based health insurance because they don’t think they’ll use it and would rather get extra money in their paychecks.

    Other early coverage expansions in the health care law have not worked as well, including a special program for people with health problems who got turned away by private insurers. Many applicants found the premiums unaffordable.

    Young adults are a less expensive group to cover than people who are middle-aged, and many companies have spread the extra premiums among their workers. Benefits consultant Delloite LLP has projected additional health plan costs in the range of 1 percent to 2 percent for covering young adults.

    http://m.yahoo.com/w/news_america/apnewsbreak-2-5m-young-adults-gain-coverage-075541098.html?back=%2Fhealth%2F&.ts=1323863314&.intl=us&.lang=en

  21. 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

  22. NBC/WSJ: Gingrich At 40% With GOP, But Would Be Crushed By Obama

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/nbcwsj-gingrich-hits-40-percent-among-gop-down-against-obama-by-11.php

    In the most pronounced contrast between former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s position within the Republican primary contest and his standing in a matchup against President Obama, Gingrich has taken a commanding lead in a new national poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal. Newt gets 40 percent of the GOP vote nationally, the highest total for any candidate in the past few months. He’s currently 17 points above his main competitor, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney.

    But the data also shows that Gingrich is a much weaker candidate against President Obama nationally. While Romney is only bested by the President by two points within the poll, Gingrich is crushed 51 – 40, showing the expansive disconnect between the GOP voters’ desire to have a non-Romney candidate and the chances that candidate has in the general election.

  23. Ametia says:

    When It Comes To Marriage, Many More Say ‘I Don’t’
    by Jennifer Ludden

    NPR

    Listen here: http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=143660764&m=143694850

  24. Ametia says:

    Married couples at a record low

    By Carol Morello, Published: December 13
    The proportion of adults who are married has plunged to record lows as more people decide to live together now and wed later, reflecting decades of evolving attitudes about the role of marriage in society.
    Just 51 percent of all adults who are 18 and older are married, placing them on the brink of becoming a minority, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of census statistics to be released Wednesday. That represents a steep drop from 57 percent who were married in 2000.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/married-couples-at-a-record-low/2011/12/13/gIQAnJyYsO_story.html

  25. rikyrah says:

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011
    When The Abyss Keeps Staring Back At You, Everything’s An Abyss
    Posted by Zandar

    First, the actual story, and it’s an important one: As part of UN Human Rights Day this weekend, Occupy movement protesters made “Occupy the Voting Booth” a top priority, and today Attorney General Eric Holder will give a major speech on voting rights at the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library in Texas. Ari Berman:

    Holder’s speech could not come at a more critical time. Over the last year we’ve witnessed an unprecedented GOP war on voting, with a dozen Republican governors and state legislators passing laws to restrict voter registration drives, require birth certificates to register to vote, curtail early voting, mandate government-issued photo IDs to cast a ballot and disenfranchise ex-felons who’ve served their time. The Brennan Center for Justice has estimated that “these new laws could make it significantly harder for more than 5 million eligible voters to cast ballots in 2012,” and notes that “these new restrictions fall most heavily on young, minority and low-income voters, as well as on voters with disabilities.”

    The story of GOP voter suppression continues to be the major headline in 2011 and that will continue into 2012. If there is one demonstrable difference between the two parties, it’s that Democrats want as many eligible people to be registered to vote as possible, and that the Republicans want to restrict voting to as few people as possible. Period.

    The wingers immediately come up with nonsense like this to attack that truth.


    The Democrats will use their constituent organizations to whip up a frenzy of opposition to “voter suppression,” while DOJ launches, or threatens to launch, legal challenges to selected state statutes. This will energize the Democrats’ base by pretending that Republicans are trying to disenfranchise voters. It also may succeed in increasing the illegal votes that Democrats rely on at the margins of close elections.

    Democrats want felons to vote, because an overwhelming majority of them will vote Democratic. They want illegal aliens to vote for the same reason. And they want loyal Democrats to vote more than once where they are able to do so. Where there is no voter security, these abuses will increase. So, either through legal rulings or through intimidation, the Democrats want to disable the states from protecting the integrity of the ballot box. It appears that Obama’s politicized Department of Justice will be in the forefront of this effort.

    This is such rabid idiocy as to deserve open scorn. John Hinderaker here is openly accusing the President, the Attorney General, and the Democratic Party of massive voter fraud, and he has no proof whatsoever, he just assumes it to be true because it has to be, else how did we end up with a black President? What is true is that Republicans tend to win in general elections when turnout is low, and Republicans want to keep turnout as low as possible among the poor and working class, those of us who don’t have the luxury of being able to take time off to vote on a Tuesday and miss work.

    If you disenfranchise the poor and urban voters, you affect Democratic voter turnout. It really is that simple, and that’s why Republicans want to make it as difficult as possible, so they win. Instead of admitting that, we get that it must be “the politicized Obama Justice Department orchestrating massive voter fraud!”

    Which one makes more sense to you, Republicans going out of their way to add hurdles to voting in multiple states so that they can lower turnout among the poor and college students by needlessly passing Voter ID laws that wouldn’t actually prevent voter fraud but would actually prevent eligible people from voting, or Hinderaker’s ACORN BLARGLE BLOOGITY BLOO BLAH here?

    The fact is, the reason Hinderaker doesn’t have proof of his insane accusations is that the “voter fraud” that Republicans are fighting doesn’t exist. In his eyes, the only fraud out there is poor people, minorities, young people, and the elderly being allowed to vote for Democrats.

    And Republicans are making every effort to “correct” that fraud in state after state.
    \

    http://zandarvts.blogspot.com/2011/12/when-abyss-keeps-staring-back-at-you.html

  26. rikyrah says:

    Is The GOP Base Prepared To Re-Elect Obama?

    Noting that the current Republican Party platform consists of positions that “range from unpopular to very, very unpopular with the public as a whole,” Jeffrey Toobin draws an analogy between 2012 and 1964:

    In 1964, Republican insurgents seized control of the party. They recognized that their views were not held by a majority of Americans—at least not yet. As Rick Perlstein wrote in “Before the Storm,” his fascinating history of the Barry Goldwater campaign, the Republican Party was taken over by “a little circle of political diehards whose every move was out of step with the times”—which did not bother them much at all. For their moment, they were political missionaries who came to introduce a nation raised on the New Deal to an alternative approach to governing. Goldwater embraced “extremism” in the fond hope that its time, if not his time, would come. Goldwater and his aides didn’t spend a lot of time worrying about “electability.” They didn’t expect to win, and, emphatically, they did not. Lyndon B. Johnson won sixty-one per cent of the popular vote, and carried forty-four states.

    Paul Waldman adds:

    [F]or the base of the party, beating Obama may be a secondary goal, and this is where the 1964 comparison makes the most sense. As Ed Kilgore explains, “the conservative activists who dominate the Republican presidential nominating contest are split between those who simply don’t believe adverse polls about Gingrich, and those who would rather control the GOP than the White House, if forced to choose.” If this is a conflict between the establishment, which would rather nominate Romney, and the base, which would rather (at this point anyway) nominate Gingrich, then right now the establishment is losing, and they don’t have too many ways of stopping Gingrich if he were to win the early contests.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/12/is-the-gop-base-prepared-to-re-elect-obama.html

  27. rikyrah says:

    December 13, 2011 4:30 PM

    Repeating a walked-back lie
    By Steve Benen

    In September, Mitt Romney claimed that the federal regulatory burden had increased four-fold since President Obama was elected. When NPR asked Romney’s campaign to back that up, aides said the former governor “misspoke” when he made the bogus claim.

    Yesterday, as Pat Garofalo noted, Romney repeated the same lie his campaign had already walked back months ago.

    The level of regulation in America, every the regulators, the government, come up with new regulations. And they send them out. The rate of regulatory burden has increased four-fold since Obama has become president. Four times the amount of regulation coming out per year as in the past. And so businesses say, ‘gosh, I’m not sure I want to invest in America.’”

    Gosh, I’m not sure I want to trust Mitt Romney.

    It’s problematic enough when major presidential candidates say things that aren’t true on the campaign trail. But when a candidate says something untrue, then the campaign acknowledges it was a mistake, only to have the candidate repeat it all over again points to a campaign that doesn’t take the truth seriously.

    What’s more, it’s worth emphasizing just how foolish Romney’s argument really is. The notion that regulations are hurting the economy has already been so thoroughly debunked, it’s safe to conclude that anyone who repeats it is not to be trusted. But there’s another angle to the talking point that’s equally important: Obama hasn’t approved massive new regulations.

    President Barack Obama’s “tsunami” of new government regulations looks more like a summer swell.

    Obama’s White House has approved fewer regulations than his predecessor George W. Bush at this same point in their tenures, and the estimated costs of those rules haven’t reached the annual peak set in fiscal 1992 under Bush’s father, according to government data reviewed by Bloomberg News. […]

    Obama’s White House approved 613 federal rules during the first 33 months of his term, 4.7 percent fewer than the 643 cleared by President George W. Bush’s administration in the same time frame, according to an Office of Management and Budget statistical database reviewed by Bloomberg.

    Let’s also not forget that Romney simply assumes that federal government regulations are necessarily bad things. That’s absurd — we’re talking about rules that help ensure healthier children, safer roads, and fewer industrial accidents, which in turn offer societal and financial benefits.

    In other words, every relevant aspect of Romney’s argument is completely wrong. The regulatory burden hasn’t increased four-fold; it hasn’t increased at all; it’s not hurting the economy; and there’s no reason to concede the premise that regulations are awful.

    Romney’s argument is a lie wrapped in confusion stuffed in ignorance.

    As for why Romney would repeat a falsehood his own campaign already admitted wasn’t true, we know why — because to Romney and his boosters, the truth is largely irrelevant, campaign messages necessarily constitute “propaganda” that need not be accurate, and there’s nothing especially wrong with sociopathic standards for honesty in the public discourse.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/repeating_a_walkedback_lie034092.php

  28. rikyrah says:

    The Makings Of A Ron Paul Upset?
    PPP’s latest poll puts Paul second in Iowa, behind Gingrich by a single point:

    Paul’s supporters are considerably more committed to him than Gingrich’s are. 77% of current Paul voters say they’re definitely going to vote for him, compared to only 54% for Gingrich. Romney has much more solid support than Gingrich as well, 67% of his voters saying they’re with him for the long haul. Among only voters who say their mind’s totally made up, 29% support Paul to 21% for Gingrich, 18% for Romney, and 11% for Bachmann.

    Doug Mataconis wonders if Paul is about to get his turn in the spotlight:

    Right now… it looks like some of the attacks on Gingrich are having an impact while Paul seems to be the one benefiting from them. Romney, on the other hand, is pretty much stuck where he’s been for a month or more. The one piece of good news for Gingrich here is that its better to have the numbers dipping three weeks out than one week out. We’ve got another debate coming Thursday, then we head into the holidays. If this trend continues, get ready to see a lot more Ron Paul coverage between now and January 3rd.

    Mark Blumenthal considers on-the-ground organization in Iowa:

    [Peter Giangreco, a Democratic strategist] says the “secret sauce” of traditional field organization was the ability to provide voters with information about how and where to participate that was otherwise hard to find. The advent of the internet and social media makes it “pretty easy to go find the information now about how to participate and where to go.” It also makes it easier for campaigns to push that information out to their supporters.

    Those changes can help Gingrich, Giangreco adds, but they may aid Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) even more. Paul could “change the math,” he says, like Barack Obama, who turned out thousands of younger and independent voters to participate in their first caucus. “Paul is going to bring [out] people who are on nobody’s list.”

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/12/the-makings-of-a-ron-paul-upset.html

  29. rikyrah says:

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011
    Last Call
    Posted by Zandar
    Good news, America! House Republicans have passed an extension to the payroll tax cut! They just have a few, teensy-weensy things they want in exchange.


    In a private conversation Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid again warned House Speaker John Boehner that his bill remains dead on arrival in the Senate. In particular, Democrats and the White House oppose a number of GOP-backed provisions: a measure forcing the Obama administration to expedite its decision about whether to green light construction the Keystone XL pipeline; out-year spending caps that could further reduce funding to key federal programs; and other restrictions including one that would allow states to drug test unemployment applicants.

    The GOP bill also includes a steep increase in Medicare costs for middle class and upper class beneficiaries to help offset the cost of the payroll holiday. Per the Associated Press, it would “rais[e] premiums for ‘high-income’ Medicare beneficiaries, now defined as those making $85,000 and above for individuals, or $170,000 for families.”

    Some would pay as much as several hundred dollars a month additional for Medicare outpatient and prescription coverage. Millions who don’t consider themselves wealthy would also end up paying more.
    Just the top 5 percent of Medicare recipients currently pay higher premiums, a change that took effect a few years ago. The new GOP proposal would expand that over time to include the highest-earning one-fourth of seniors.
    The White House issued an official veto threat Tuesday afternoon. But Republicans are insisting on going through the motions.

    The bill also has a number of other poison pills, it would also gut health care reform, specifically federal subsidies to states for setting up insurance exchanges and for funding preventative care, force all unemployment benefits applicants to get their GED, would require all children to have Social Security numbers in order for their parents to qualify for federal income tax credits for kids and would even deregulate boilers and incinerators…and cut up to 40 weeks in unemployment benefits.

    Republicans call this “compromise.” President Obama calls it “dead on arrival.” The GOP threw their own poop at the wall and called it a bill, because the Senate has already tied the bill to the budget shutdown measure on the docket for Friday, meaning the GOP had already lost (hence all the crazy stuff including the unicorn and the new Lamborghini in the driveway.)

    We’ll see what happens the rest of this week, but time’s getting a mite short at this point, just three days left until things get ugly

    http://zandarvts.blogspot.com/2011/12/last-call_13.html

  30. rikyrah says:

    Everything Still Broken in DC

    BooMan
    Tue Dec 13th, 2011 at 08:59:14 PM EST

    Here’s the roll call for Boehner’s stupid bill to do a bunch of radical things in exchange for extending the payroll tax holiday and unemployment insurance benefits. Ten Democrats, most of them reliably terrible, voted for this monstrosity. Fourteen Republicans voted against it, most, if not all, because it wasn’t radical enough. The Speaker wanted 240 Republican votes, but got only 224.

    Members approved the bill in a 234-193 vote in which 224 Republicans supported it — short of House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) goal of getting 240 GOP votes, which he said would give the House a “strong hand” in negotiations with Senate Democrats.

    The White House didn’t wait long to issue their response:

    Statement by the Press Secretary on Tonight’s House Vote on the GOP Payroll Tax Cut Plan
    This Congress needs to do its job and stop the tax hike that’s scheduled to affect 160 million Americans in 18 days. This is not a time for Washington Republicans to score political points against the President. It’s not a time to refight old ideological battles. And it’s not a time to break last summer’s bipartisan agreement and hurt the middle class by cutting things like education, clean energy, and veterans’ programs without asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share.

    This is a time to help the middle class and all those trying to reach it by extending a tax cut worth $1,000 for the average family. The President has been very clear: Congress should not finish their business before finishing the business of the American people. They cannot go on vacation before agreeing to prevent a tax hike on 160 million Americans and extending unemployment insurance. That is simply inexcusable in this economy. It is our expectation that in the eleventh hour Congressional Republicans and Democrats will come to an agreement to protect the middle class and finish their budget work for the year.

    As far as the White House is concerned, it’s like the House didn’t pass anything at all. They didn’t even react to the stupid Keystone XL gambit. Boehner went to a lot of effort to pass this stupid bill in the hope that he would gain some leverage, but he fell far short of his goal and he now has even less time to wrap his business.

    The vote sets up the prospect of negotiations with the White House and Senate over how to deal with the bill, as the Senate is not expected to approve it. The House all year has moved to pass critical legislation in order to boost its chances of success in negations with Democrats in the Senate and the White House, and appeared to be following that game plan with today’s vote.

    Harry Reid slowed down the negotiations over the separate appropriations omnibus bill, preventing Boehner from passing his version of it and then just splitting town and forcing the Senate to take it or leave it.

    As for forcing Congress to spend Christmas in Washington, Article II, Section III of the Constitution says this (emphasis mine):


    Section 3 – State of the Union, Convening Congress
    He [the president] shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

    There’s a whole lot of dysfunction on display in the Capitol. And not much holiday cheer.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2011/12/13/205914/13

  31. rikyrah says:

    APNewsBreak: 2.5M young adults gain coverage
    By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR | AP – 5 hrs ago

    The number of young adults lacking medical coverage has shrunk by 2.5 million since the new health care overhaul law took effect, according to a new analysis the Obama administration is to release Wednesday.

    That drop is 2½ times as large as the drop indicated by previous government and private estimates from earlier this year, which showed about 1 million Americans ages 19-25 had gained coverage.

    Administration officials said they now have more data. They say they’re also slicing the numbers more precisely than the government usually does, trying to pinpoint the impact of a popular provision in an otherwise politically divisive law.

    Under the health overhaul, children can remain on their parents’ health insurance plans until they turn 26, and families have flocked to sign up young adults making the transition to work in a challenging economic environment. But the fate of President Barack Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment remains uncertain, with the Supreme Court scheduled to hear a constitutional challenge next year, and Republican presidential candidates vowing to repeal it.

    “The increase in coverage among 19- to 25-year-olds can be directly attributed to the Affordable Care Act’s new dependent coverage provision,” said a draft report from the Health and Human Services Department. “Initial gains from this policy have continued to grow as … students graduate from high school and college.” A copy of the report was obtained by The Associated Press.

    HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is scheduled to release the findings Wednesday.

    The health care law’s main push to cover the uninsured doesn’t come until 2014. But the young adults’ provision took effect last fall. Most workplace health plans started carrying it out Jan. 1.

    Using unpublished quarterly statistics from the government’s ongoing National Health Interview Survey, analysts in Sebelius’ policy office determined that nearly 36 percent of those age 19-25 were uninsured in the third calendar quarter of 2010, before the law’s provision took effect.

    That translates to more than 10.5 million people.

    By the second calendar quarter of 2011, the proportion of uninsured young adults had dropped to a little over 27 percent, or about 8 million people.

    The difference — nearly 2.5 million getting coverage — can only be the result of the health care law, administration officials said, because the number covered by public programs like Medicaid went down slightly.

    Overall, nearly 30 million Americans are between the ages of 19 to 25. For those who are little older, ages 26-35, the uninsured rate went up during the same period.

    “From September 2010 to June 2011, coverage rose only among those adults affect by the policy,” said the HHS report.

    The National Center for Health Statistics has documented a broadly similar trend in its official publications, only it’s not nearly as dramatic.

    Administration officials said those statistics do not focus on the change from calendar quarter to calendar quarter, as does the report by Sebelius’ staff. Instead, they pool data over longer time periods. That has the effect of diluting the perceived impact of the law, administration officials said.

    Traditionally, young adults were more likely to be uninsured than any other age group.

    Some are making the switch from school to work. Others are holding down low-wage jobs that don’t usually come with health care. And some — termed the “invincibles” — pass up job-based health insurance because they don’t think they’ll use it and would rather get extra money in their paychecks.

    Other early coverage expansions in the health care law have not worked as well, including a special program for people with health problems who got turned away by private insurers. Many applicants found the premiums unaffordable.

    Young adults are a less expensive group to cover than people who are middle-aged, and many companies have spread the extra premiums among their workers. Benefits consultant Delloite LLP has projected additional health plan costs in the range of 1 percent to 2 percent for covering young adults.

    http://m.yahoo.com/w/news_america/apnewsbreak-2-5m-young-adults-gain-coverage-075541098.html?back=%2Fhealth%2F&.ts=1323863314&.intl=us&.lang=en

  32. rikyrah says:

    Holder Declares War on Vote Suppression
    by Geov Parrish
    Wed Dec 14th, 2011 at 02:35:08 AM EST

    More, please:


    Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Tuesday entered the turbulent political waters of voting rights, signaling that the Justice Department would be aggressive in reviewing new voting laws that civil rights advocates say will dampen minority participation in next year’s elections.
    …Mr. Holder also laid out a case for replacing the “antiquated” voter registration system by automatically registering all eligible voters; for barring state legislators from gerrymandering their own districts, and for creating a federal statute prohibiting the dissemination of fraudulent information to deceive people into not voting.

    We now have a decade’s worth of evidence that vote fraud, of the type that involves unregistered people voting or people voting multiple times, is so rare as to be inconsequential, while reports of voter suppression (almost all by Republicans) have over the same period been epidemic.

    Holder and the Obama administration should run with this. It is, first of all, morally the right thing to do. Secondly, it’s politically advantageous, given who is primarily being targeted by these local efforts. But it is also a winning argument. On the one side, you have Republicans engaging in self-serving behavior ostensibly to combat a problem that according to the experts does not exist. On the other side, you have a large group of Americans being denied a fundamental constitutional right.

    It’s also good to see that Holder is expanding this discussion beyond voter ID laws, and treating such laws, gerrymandering, and voter suppression tactics as of a piece. Hopefully he will add caging, frivolous voter eligibility challenges, and other vote suppression tactics to his agenda. And in the best of all worlds his people will also explore and highlight the coordinated national effort to enact such laws on the local level.

    Politically, taking on this issue should be a no-brainer for the Obama administration, particularly since it’s not just minorities but also the elderly, disabled, and young adults who are disproportionately affected by many of these tactics. It’s always easy to scare people, and Fox News has raised it to an art form. But there are probably literally millions of people who can tell stories of being shut out from their own democracy, where a straight line can be drawn from their stories to the coordinated Republican efforts to shut them out. That sort of storytelling needs to happen. If the civil rights division of the Department of Justice can document the abuses and get some of these laws shut down, great. But even the effort to do so has the benefit of telling a story: Republicans don’t want you to vote.

    Also, too, there’s no reason the White House and civil rights advocates should be taking this on alone. Hopefully, somewhere, some PAC is making a slick “I deserve to vote” TV ad with a rainbow of people (young, old, white, minority) describing how some politicians are passing laws and enacting policies and regulations because they’re afraid of us exercising our constitutional rights. It dovetails perfectly with the 99% narrative, too, since most of the politicians pursuing that agenda are in the pocket of the one percent. It’s an issue that needs to be pushed. Hard.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2011/12/14/2358/1472

  33. rikyrah says:

    FROM VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN:

    What I haven’t seen before is the intensity of the desire on the other side to see to it that Barack Obama is not president again. There seems to be a willingness to put that ahead of what might be a short-term – or a long-term – benefit to the American people.”

    On the Presdsent: “What I’m amazed about is the guy’s courage. The decisions the president makes day in and day out are decisions that nobody sees. Trust me, if you had to make only one of those decisions, you’d be telling your grandchildren about it. … I would argue that this president has had more land on his plate from the day he got in office than any other president – including Franklin Roosevelt.”

    On Mitt Romney’s faith: “When my son was a senior, I was asked to do a speech at Georgetown University,” Biden recalled in an interview with the magazine. “Father O’Donovan asked me to speak on how faith informs my public service. I’d never talked about my faith publicly. I mean, I acknowledge that I’m a practicing Catholic, but I don’t think it’s anybody’s business, nor do I think it should matter to anyone. That’s why I’m so angry about the way they’re treating Romney. Who I’m not crazy about, but…”

    http://www.esquire.com/features/what-ive-learned/meaning-of-life-2012/joe-biden-quotes-0112

  34. rikyrah says:

    Christiane Amanpour proves to be wrong fit

    By KEACH HAGEY | 12/13/11 10:55 PM EST
    The Arab Spring. The killing of Osama bin Laden. The WikiLeaks dump of U.S. embassy cables.

    If there ever was a time to try injecting more international news into the tried-and-true, Washington-based Sunday public affairs talk show format, these last 18 months were it. And if there were ever a TV journalist with the resume to pull it off, it was Christiane Amanpour.

    But in the end, the ratings made clear that was not what Sunday show viewers wanted.

    “Sunday morning – it’s ESPN for political junkies,” said Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of The New Republic and a friend of Amanpour’s. “If you try to do anything else with it — boom.”

    When ABC News announced on Tuesday that it was ending Amanpour’s experimental run as the anchor of “This Week,” few were surprised. The move had been rumored for months, and in recent weeks items about her unhappiness had begun leaking into Page Six. The only question was who would succeed her – her predecessor, George Stephanopoulos, or White House correspondent Jake Tapper, who ran the show to rave reviews after Stephanopoulos decamped to New York and the anchor job on “Good Morning America.”

    In the end, ABC News went with the better known quantity, even though it meant working Stephanopoulos, who will be keeping his morning job, doubletime.

    “This Week with Christiane Amanpour” was a bold experiment that failed, sending all parties back to their comfort zones – ABC back to Stephanopoulos, Amanpour back to foreign reporting and CNN, where she had made a career as the world’s most famous and respected international correspondent. She’ll host a weekday show on CNN International, but continue to appear on ABC as a global affairs anchor.

    But how did such an unexpected arrangement come to be in the first place?

    Stephanopoulos, the former Democratic operative and Clinton aide, had done well as the Sunday show host, narrowing the gap with the long-dominant “Meet the Press” while competing fiercely with “Face the Nation.”

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1211/70403.html#ixzz1gW8wdfVY

    • Ametia says:

      Armanpour’s performance in the talking-heads tv venue was ABYSMAL from day one.

      She shone out in the field and was an asset for media reporting on international affairs.

  35. rikyrah says:

    TPM2012
    Guess Which Candidate Is The Most Organized In Iowa?

    With less than a month to go until the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, you’d probably think the candidate with the most offices and the the biggest operation in the Hawkeye State would be a Republican.

    You’d be wrong.

    The Obama campaign is touting what it says is already a superior ground operation in Iowa, saying the offices and thousands of volunteer hours it already has up and running in the state are a sign that it’s better prepared for the general election than the other side.

    The numbers are indeed stark. While no Republican candidate has more than one campaign office in Iowa, the Obama campaign has eight offices open across the state.

    What has all that manpower done since April, when the reelect kicked off? Some stats from the Obama campaign in Iowa:

    • Held over 1,000 trainings, planning sessions, house parties, and phone banks.
    • Made over 250,000 calls to supporters.
    • Held over 2,500 one-on-one conversations.
    • Opened eight campaign offices across the state for the November 2012 election- Cedar Rapids, Sioux City, Des Moines, Waterloo, Davenport, Iowa City, Dubuque and Council Bluffs.

    When TPM visited Obama HQ in October, the team there talked about its advanced field and turnout operations. The Iowa operation is a real-world example of what that looks like this far out from the general election. And it’s not just Iowa — this sort of commitment to the ground operation already is a key part of Obama’s win strategy, and the campaign says it’s working.

    At a briefing with reporters Tuesday morning in Washington, top strategists for the president touted their organization in Iowa and the rest of the nation.

    “I think we have more staffers on the ground in Iowa than any of the other campaigns do right now,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said. “We have structure on the ground in all the key states — I don’t think any of [the Republicans] do.”

    “In the general election, that’s of course going to be an advantage for us when we have to turn folks out,” Messina said.

    Obama strategist David Axelrod noted that the Iowa campaign for Republicans looks very different than the one that propelled Obama to an unlikely victory in the 2008 caucuses.

    “We spent 83 days in Iowa in 2007,” Axelrod said. “There’s nothing like that going on there now.”

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/team-obama-were-the-most-organized-campaign-in-iowa.php?m=1

  36. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone at 3CHICS!!

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