Tuesday Open Thread

Jingle Bells” is one of the best-known and commonly sung winter songs in the world. It was written by James Lord Pierpont (1822–1893) and published under the title “One Horse Open Sleigh” in the autumn of 1857. Even though it is commonly thought of as a Christmas song, it was actually written and sung for Thanksgiving.[1] It was mistakenly branded as a Christmas song because being extremely popular at Thanksgiving, it was sung again around Christmas.

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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89 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Latino Military Veteran Not Expected To Survive After Scuffle With Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Officers

    Nick R. Martin- December 20, 2011, 3:50 PM

    A Latino military veteran is brain dead and his family is planning to decide today whether to take him off life support, following his scuffle with officers last week in one of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s jails.

    Ernest “Marty” Atencio was injured early Friday morning, just hours after the Justice Department released a scathing report accusing the Arizona sheriff of running an agency that regularly violates the rights of Latinos.

    Now, a lawyer representing Atencio’s family has told TPM the man’s relatives have flown in from out of state to say goodbye. “The family has gathered and is talking with doctors,” attorney Mike Manning said. “They will make a decision today as to what to do.”

    Manning is a high-powered Phoenix lawyer with a history of winning major lawsuits against Arpaio. In 2000, he scored an $8.25 million settlement in a wrongful death case against the Maricopa County sheriff. In 2006, he and his team won a $9 million verdict in another wrongful death case against Arpaio.

    There are still more questions than answers about what happened to Atencio after his arrest. Phoenix police said they took him to jail Thursday night after he was seen kicking on the door of an apartment and then harassing a woman walking down the street.

    Officers arrested Atencio on suspicion of assault, processed him and took him to the Maricopa County jail for holding. At the jail, however, Atencio began struggling with officers from both Phoenix and Maricopa County law enforcement, according to statements by both agencies.

    Neither department has detailed exactly what happened during the struggle. But doctors later determined he had been shocked at least four times with a Taser, according to the family’s attorney. The sheriff’s office said Atencio was soon put into a cell by himself and the jail’s medical staff discovered him unresponsive a short time later. (His booking mugshot is below.)

    The family’s attorney said Atencio’s strange behavior can be explained by the fact that he suffers from bipolar disorder and was off his medication. A toxicology report by his doctors showed no sign of drugs or alcohol, Manning said.

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/latino_military_veteran_not_expected_to_survive_scuffle_with_arpaio_officers.php?ref=fpnewsfeed

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  2. rikyrah says:

    White Supremacist Harpham Gets 32 Years For Failed MLK Parade Bomb Attack
    Ryan J. Reilly- December 20, 2011, 4:05 PM

    Kevin Harpham, the white supremacist who admitted to plotting a racially-motivated attack on a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade in Spokane, Washington in January 2011, as was sentenced to 32 years in federal prison on Tuesday.

    Harpham, the Justice Department announced, will serve the rest of his life under court supervision. He pleaded guilty to two counts of a superseding indictment that charged him with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction as well as a hate crimes charge.

    “Today, Mr. Harpham faces the consequences of his hate-filled act,” Laura M. Laughlin, special agent-in-charge of the FBI’s Seattle office, said in a statement. “A prototypical ‘lone wolf’ such as Mr. Harpham presents a particularly vexing threat—with nothing foreshadowing a carefully planned attack.”

    As TPM reported, federal authorities were able to track down Harpham because they noticed an unusually high number of sales of quarter-ounce fishing weights — the kind used in the bomb — at a Walmart in Colville, Washington

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/white_supremacist_harpham_gets_32_years_for_failed.php?ref=skyboxes

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  3. rikyrah says:

    Chipsticks has put together some good stuff over at The Obama Diary:

    honest, i tried to find some bad news….

    http://theobamadiary.com/2011/12/20/catching-up-12/#comment-199631

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  4. rikyrah says:

    Ron Paul As A Third-Party Candidate

    He could cripple the GOP nominee:

    As a third-party contender, Paul would draw heavily on Republicans and independents who lean toward the GOP, and less so from Democratic ranks. As a result, Obama takes a smaller (albeit significant) hit in a three-way race than either of the two leading Republicans.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/12/ron-paul-as-a-third-party-candidate.html

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  5. rikyrah says:

    December 20, 2011 4:45 PM
    What the House GOP conferees have in common
    By Steve Benen

    Now that House Republicans have rejected the Senate’s bipartisan compromise on a payroll tax-break extension, the next step, apparently, is moving forward with the conference-committee charade. It’s a joke intended to fail, but House GOP leaders have begun going through the motions.

    To that end, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said this afternoon he’s chosen eight House Republicans to work on negotiations — which probably won’t occur — with the Senate. The DCCC noted that most of them have already announced their opposition to extending the payroll tax cut at all.


    Rep. Dave Camp (MI-04). “I’m not in favor of that. I don’t think that’s a good idea.” [The Hill, 8/14/11]

    Rep. Kevin Brady (TX-08): “I am not as big a fan of the payroll tax cuts…” [Bloomberg News, 12/14/11]

    Rep. Tom Price (GA-06): “It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.” [NPR, 9/8/11]

    Rep. Renee Ellmers (NC-02): “it’s not the answer … these tiny little feel good measures. We don’t need more gimmicks.” [CNN, 11/30/11]

    The DCCC actually missed one: Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) was also named to the conference committee, and just two weeks ago, he falsely claimed the payroll tax break is a “threat to Social Security.”

    Why would the House GOP leadership choose conferees to work on the details of a tax cut who already oppose that tax cut? They wouldn’t unless the point was to set up the committee to fail.

    In fact, it’s worth appreciating one of the great oddities of the last few days. House Republicans, from the leadership down, spent most of yesterday and today saying they really do love the payroll tax break and are eager to keep it going, but they don’t like the temporary nature of the Senate compromise. House Republicans aren’t for a middle-class tax increase that takes effect in January, they’ve said; they want a year-long extension.

    To believe this, one would have to completely discount several months of rhetoric from these very same politicians, many of whom have spent months insisting that they reject the very idea of a payroll tax break.

    Do these folks seriously expect anyone to believe their rhetoric, pretending to support a policy they’ve already argued against? Do they realize we have access to Google?

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/what_the_house_gop_conferees_h034227.php

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  6. rikyrah says:

    Obama admin smacks down Michigan GOP effort to thwart Affordable Care Act
    Tuesday, December 20, 2011 | Posted by Eclectablog at 12:58 PM

    In a rather stunning rebuke this week, the Obama adminstration, through the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services denied an effort by the Republican Snyder administration in Michigan to thwart part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

    The federal government has denied a request by the Michigan Office of Insurance Regulation to delay a regulation under health care reform that requires insurers to return $89 million to people who have purchased health insurance.

    The decision means that eight health insurers in Michigan will return the $89 million to their subscribers, said Gary Cohen, acting director of oversight with the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    “After careful consideration, the evidence does not establish reasonable likelihood (that the regulation would) destabilize the market,” Cohen said in a conference call this afternoon.

    “Most issuers are profitable or would be profitable once they adjust their business model” to spend 80 cents of each health care dollar on health care or related costs, Cohen said.

    In a letter to Snyder administration (PDF), the CCIIO told them they found no reason to grant the Michigan Office of Insurance Regulation’s (MIOR) request to delay and phase in the requirement that insurers use at least 80% of their revenues on actual health care and that the rebates should continue as scheduled if the insurers don’t get in line.

    ……………………………..

    “What we found: some insurance companies, based on their estimates to the Michigan insurance department, might be paying rebates in 2011, but they would still be profitable after paying rebates,” Gary Cohen, acting director of oversight for CMS’ Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, said during a call with reporters. “Others said they were adjusting business practices so they would be able to meet the 80-20 rule without having to pay rebates,” he continued. “So we reached conclusion that no adjustment was needed.”

    In other words, they found that the handful of companies that are complaining are doing just fine, thank you very much, and the rebates will still allow them to be profitable. The MIOR was asking that they be allowed to phase in the requirement, requesting “an adjustment of the MLR standard to 65 percent, 70 percent, and 75 percent for the reporting years 2011, 2012, and 2013, respectively.” No, the Feds told them. They will meet the 80% requirement in 2011 or pay the rebates. According the Crane piece, “[b]ased on 2010 data, estimated rebates paid by Golden Rule would total $10 million, Time would pay $5.3 million, Aetna $1.7 million, Humana $1.3 million, Priority Health $200,000, and MEGA at $2.6 million.”

    The upshot of this is that the Affordable Care Act is, in fact, working. It’s forcing insurance companies to actually deliver services and not embiggen their bank accounts at the expense of sick and injured Michiganders. The CCIIO found that companies are adjusting their business models to be more efficient at delivering services and, surprise, surprise, still making a buck or two along the way anyway.

    Put this one in the “win” column for the Obama administration’s health insurance reform and the Affordable Care Act.

    http://www.thepeoplesview.net/2011/12/obama-admin-smacks-down-michigan-gop.html

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  7. NBC News reporter arrested for DUI after party at home of Jerry Sandusky’s lawyer http://tinyurl.com/cdz9yro

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  8. rikyrah says:

    Meep Meep Watch

    As the House GOP revolts against its own Speaker and risks raising taxes on millions in January, and as Obama re-emphasizes the need for bolstering the economy and spreading the sacrifice more evenly … the polls are on the move:


    Obama’s gains have come at the expense of the Republicans in Congress and the GOP in general. By a 50% to 31% margin, people questioned say they have more confidence in the president than in congressional Republicans to handle the major issues facing the country. Obama held a much narrower 44% to 39% margin in March.

    And the GOP’s overall favorable rating has dropped to six points, to 43%, since June, while the Democrats’ positive rating remained steady at 55%. “The Democrats do particularly well among middle income Americans, while the Republicans win support only from the top end of the income scale,” adds Holland.

    In the battle for the middle class, Obama has had a good fall. My own view is that the GOP nomination circus has helped him immensely. With the exception of Romney, they just don’t look ready for government. And their absolutism against taxing the very rich combined with their plans to transform Medicare is not a great advertisement for their middle class voters.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/12/meep-.html

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  9. Breaking News: Woman files lawsuit against MCSO & Arpaio after being shackled during birth http://tiny.cc/y85ir

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    • The lawsuit is just one more example of the abuses perpetrated against the Latino community. The lawsuit outlines and alleges egregious behavior on behalf of the MCSO deputies who shackled the woman while giving birth and subsequently forced her to walk with a bleeding surgery wound.

      When evil gets to rockin, Karma comes a knockin…

      Lock his azz up and throw away the key!

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  10. Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto

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  11. Christie: My job is tougher than Obama’s

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/12/20/christie-my-job-is-tougher-than-obamas/

    Despite inheriting a recession, two wars and a myriad of other problems, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) doesn’t think President Barack Obama’s job is harder than his.

    Appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Tuesday morning, Christie continued his support for Mitt Romney in the GOP presidential race. But he decided to spend more time criticizing Obama, especially over his Teddy Roosevelt speech a few weeks ago.

    “I’ve had to face much tougher things in New Jersey from a political perspective than he has,” he said. “I have a state that’s overwhelming Democratic, I have a legislator that’s overwhelming Democratic. Yet we accomplished the things I mentioned before, plus balancing two budgets without raising taxes.”

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  12. rikyrah says:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/obama-directly-calls-out-boehner-stop-the-games/2011/12/20/gIQA0ZPU7O_blog.html

    Posted at 02:50 PM ET, 12/20/2011
    Obama directly calls out Boehner: Stop the games
    By Greg Sargent

    This afternoon, after House Republicans voted to “disagree” with the Senate compromise extending the payroll tax cut, the brinksmanship took a sudden and dramatic turn. Obama made a surprise appearance before reporters and called out John Boehner in the most direct terms yet to stop the games and pass the Senate proposal. He said:

    House Republicans say they don’t dispute the need for a payroll tax cut. What they are holding out for is to ring concessions from Democrats on issues that have nothing to do with the payroll tax cut — issues where the parties fundamentally disagree. A one year deal is not the issue…
    The clock is ticking. Time is running out. And if the House Republicans refuse to vote for the Senate bill, or even allow it to come up for a vote, taxes will go up in 11 days.

    I saw today that one of the House Republicans referred to what they’re doing as “high stakes poker.” He’s right about the stakes. But this is not poker….This is not a game for the average family who doesn’t have 1,000 bucks to lose. It’s not a game for somebody who’s out there looking for work right now, and might lose his house if unemployment insurance doesn’t come through. It’s not a game when the millions of Americans take a hit when the entire economy grows more slowly because these proposals aren’t extended…

    I’m calling on the Speaker and the House Republican leadership to bring up the Senate bill for a vote. Give the American people the assurance they need in this holiday season.


    If Obama is to be believed, there will be no more negotiations. No more discussions. No move to “conference.” Either the House GOP supports the Senate compromise, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, or taxes go up on 160 million Americans. As a Dem aide told me earlier today, if it’s absolutely necessary, Dems are willing to allow the payroll tax cut to expire, and hammer House Republicans until they come back and pass the Senate extension. Obama implicitly seconded that just now.

    After Obama’s appearance, John Boehner held a quick news conference in which he pushed back, demanding that Obama call on Senate Dems to renegotiate a compromise with House Republicans. But it’s not clear how much leverage House Republicans have left at this point. House Republicans were unwilling to even hold a straight up or down vote on the Senate proposal, suggesting they may have been worried it might pass the House against the GOP leadership’s will. Boehner claimed that a two month extension is merely “kicking the can down the road.” But this is a can that the public would rather see kicked down the road than off of it — if it is not kicked down the road, taxes will go up on millions. And a full-year extension can be negotiated after a shorter-term one is achieved.

    Indeed, even Senate Republican aides are privately questioning the wisdom and leverage of the House GOP position. Polls suggest that the payroll tax cut fight may be enabling Obama to rebound, strengthening his position among key demographics on core questions, such as who can be trusted to protect the middle class. Obama even has an advantage now over Republicans on the signature GOP issue of taxes. He seems persuaded that Republicans will ultimately have to cave.

    No question, Dems could still end up retreating from their hard-edged posture and enter into talks with the House GOP. But there are signs that this time may be different. Obama’s appearance today suggests he has calculated that he has already won this fight. He’s decided that if the worst happens, and the tax cut expires, Republicans will shoulder the blame for it. And his appearance also seemed like a warning shot: At a time when Congress is suffering record low approval numbers, he’s the one with the big megaphone, and he will continue to use it in the days ahead.

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  13. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:22 AM ET, 12/20/2011
    Senate GOP aide: House GOP has `zero leverage’ in payroll tax cut fight
    By Greg Sargent
    This morning, Chuck Schumer went on MSNBC and vowed that Dems would not budge from their position on the payroll tax cut — and would hold the line until House Republicans buckled and agreed to support the Senate compromise extending it by two months.

    “Pressure every day is mounting on Republicans,” Schumer said. “All you have to do is let the pressure mount, day in and day out, and they will come back and support the two month. Not a majority of Republicans, but enough Republicans added to the Democrats to pass the bill by a large majority. In a few days, they will fold.”

    Which raises a question: Do House Republicans have any leverage at all in this fight at this point?

    A senior Senate Republican aide I spoke to this morning said the sentiment among some Senate Republican aides is that the House holds no leverage at all. And he suggested a very interesting endgame in this fight for Dems.

    “The House has zero leverage,” this Senate GOP aide says. “If I’m Schumer or Reid, what I’d do is let it expire and force the House to come back the next day and pass it.”

    Is it plausible that it could come to this? Could Dems simply allow the payroll tax cut to expire, then hammer House Republicans mercilessly in the press until they come back in January and pass the Senate bill? Dems could continually point out that the Senate has already passed an extension with an overwhelming bipartisan majority, that the President is ready to sign it, and that the only reason the tax cut expired is because House Republicans won’t support the compromise backed by many members of their own party in the upper chamber. And the president has an awfully big megaphone to amplify this message.

    A senior Democratic leadership aide said this endgame is a possibility.

    “If they refuse to pick it up, it will expire, and we will continue to rake them over the coals in the press,” the Dem aide said. There are already fractures showing in their facade. At a certain point they are just going to have to cave and cut their losses. Our line is, no negotiations until they pass the Senate compromise. That’s not changing at all.”

    The Dem aide stressed that this is not their preferred outcome. “We really don’t want this to expire, but if it comes to that we’ll win the political battle,” he said.

    Obviously it remains to be seen whether Dems will hold fast to this strategy, and there are plenty of reasons to assume they might not, given recent events. But this situation does seem unique, in that an overwhelming number of Senate Republicans agree with Obama and Democrats on the temporary extension, and even Senate Republicans don’t see what leverage their House counterparts have at this point, if any.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/senate-gop-aide-house-gop-has-no-leverage-in-payroll-tax-cut-fight/2011/12/20/gIQAwwg86O_blog.html

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  14. Tamron Hall takes Georgia republican Jack Kingston to the woodshed!

    JavaScript required to play Tamron Hall.

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  15. Ametia says:

    DON’T LET THE POLLS FOOL YA!! VOTE 2012

    President Barack Obama now holds a lead over potential Republican presidential rivals in a CNN/ORC International Poll released Tuesday.
    If the election were held today, Obama would have a 52%-45% advantage over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Rep. Ron Paul. The incumbent would have a double-digit lead over former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the poll suggests.
    A similar poll last month found Obama trailing Romney, but the margin was within the poll’s sampling error, which is considered a statistical tie.
    The poll is not a prediction that Obama will win in November; polls taken this many months before an election do not have predictive value.

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  16. President Obama Speaks on the Payroll Tax Cut

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  17. Ed Schultz Hammers Rush Limbaugh With Study: ‘Fox News Viewers Are The Most Uninformed’

    JavaScript required to play Ed hammers Rush.

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  18. Nancy Pelosi and House Democratic leaders will take their turn before the microphones and cameras at about 3:15p

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  19. rikyrah says:

    Buying Iowa: Pro-Romney Forces Keep Up Unprecedented Battle For Hawkeye Airwaves
    How did Newt Gingrich fall so far so fast in Iowa polling? A big reason is the massive ad campaign that are blanketing the state partially in an attempt to take him down.

    And when we say blanketing, we mean it. A pro-Mitt Romney Super PAC has already spent $3.1 million on ads building up their guy in Iowa. That’s double what the entire GOP primary field spent on Iowa advertising in 2008.

    Now the same group, Restore Our Future, is spending the same amount on ads attacking Gingrich. The AP reports the Super PAC will buy $1.4 million in ads attacking Gingrich this week, bringing their total spending to $3 million.

    That’s in addition to anti-Gingrich ads coming from Ron Paul, Rick Perry and others.

    But it’s Romney doing the bulk of the work on Gingrich’s once-high Iowa poll numbers. On Monday, NBC news reported Restore Our Future is outspending Gingrich 34-1.

    As he starts to abandon his all-positive campaign, Gingrich’s campaign is buying up around $222,000 in air time over the next week in Iowa, according to the Wall Street Journal. (Perry is no slouch, however: his ad spending plus that of groups allied with him will total around $800,000, the Journal reported.)

    But clearly that’s barely a dent in the volume of spending coming at Gingrich. Polls show the spending has worked. As Politico noted Monday, respondents to the latest ABC/Washington Post poll shows Republicans don’t like the political life Gingrich has led since leaving office, the main focus of the campaign aimed at him.

    It’s worth noting that this unprecedented GOP ad campaign Romney is waging may have taken Gingrich out of contention for the top spot in the state, but it hasn’t done much for Romney’s numbers. He’s still running second despite dumping millions on Iowa through his own ads and those from his supporters.

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/buying-iowa-pro-romney-forces-keep-up-unprecedented-battle-for-hawkeye-airwaves.php

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  20. rikyrah says:

    December 20, 2011 10:45 AM

    Pushing the Iowa caucuses into irrelevance?
    By Steve Benen

    Can Ron Paul win the Republican presidential nomination? No. Can he win the Iowa caucuses? Sure.

    The larger question, then, isn’t what the party intends to do about Paul’s candidacy, which will wither as the nominating process unfolds, but rather, what the party intends to do about the Iowa caucuses.

    Conservatives and Republican elites in the state are divided over who to support for the GOP nomination, but they almost uniformly express concern over the prospect that Ron Paul and his army of activist supporters may capture the state’s 2012 nominating contest — an outcome many fear would do irreparable harm to the future role of the first-in-the-nation caucuses. […]

    Paul poses an existential threat to the state’s cherished kick-off status, say these Republicans, because he has little chance to win the GOP nomination and would offer the best evidence yet that the caucuses reward candidates who are unrepresentative of the broader party.

    “It would make the caucuses mostly irrelevant if not entirely irrelevant,” said Becky Beach, a longtime Iowa Republican who helped Presidents Bush 41 and Bush 43 here.

    This is an entirely legitimate concern. Iowa, for reasons I’ve never been fully comfortable with, believes it is blessed by God to have first-in-the-nation status, and fiercely treasures this role. Candidates, or even possible candidates, have been reluctant to even suggest changes to the existing structure.

    But a Paul victory would set a precedent that could change how Republicans perceive the caucuses themselves. It wouldn’t necessarily lead to a de jure change, but rather a de facto change — GOP presidential contenders would simply conclude, “Let’s focus our attention on New Hampshire on South Carolina, because those Iowans appear to be nuts.”

    A party county chair in Iowa told Politico, “My biggest fear is that the Republican Party nationally and a lot of states that want to be number one [in the nominating process] will simply point to his winning and say, ‘Iowa’s irrelevant.’”

    And that seems pretty likely.

    What’s more, if Paul wins in Iowa two weeks from today, it arguably raises his visibility and bolsters his campaign in such a way that would encourage him to run as an independent after one of his rivals wins the Republican nomination. Paul has already suggested he may run against the GOP nominee in the general election, and Iowa’s Republican caucuses may very well, ironically, boost a candidate who won’t even stick with his party.

    To be sure, this is speculative, and arguably premature. With 14 days to go, the political winds in Iowa are blowing in a variety of directions and no one can say with confidence exactly who’ll win in Iowa when the dust settles. Still, it’s a dynamic worth watching, especially as the party establishment starts to panic.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/pushing_the_iowa_caucuses_into034213.php

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  21. rikyrah says:

    December 20, 2011 11:25 AM
    Stuffing the ballot box didn’t matter
    By Steve Benen

    Following up on an earlier item, I’ve seen some suggestions that PolitiFact’s “Lie of the Year” competition was skewed — House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) stuffed the ballot box. In some ways, I wish that were true, since it would make PolitiFact’s mistake easier to understand.

    It’s accurate to note that Ryan did use his notoriety to try to influence the process. As Jamison Foser explained a couple of weeks ago, the right-wing lawmaker sent out an email to supporters, urging them to vote at PolitiFact’s website for the Democratic Medicare argument as the Lie of the Year. (Ironically, Ryan lied in his email.)

    And while the congressman’s lobbying may have had some impact, we saw the results of the reader survey this morning:


    1. The economic stimulus created “zero jobs.” — The National Republican Senatorial Committee and other Republicans (24% of the vote)

    2. Abortion services are “well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.”- Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. (17% of the vote)

    3. “Republicans voted to end Medicare.” — The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and other Democrats (16% of the vote)

    So, PolitiFact’s audience voted for two actual lies for Lie of the Year, but PolitiFact’s editors ignored this and awarded the dubious honor to a claim that happens to be true.

    And why did the fact-checking website do this? I can’t say with certainty what the editors were thinking, though Paul Krugman makes a compelling case: “[T]he people at Politifact are terrified of being considered partisan if they acknowledge the clear fact that there’s a lot more lying on one side of the political divide than on the other. So they’ve bent over backwards to appear ‘balanced’ — and in the process made themselves useless and irrelevant.”

    Again, I’m not going to claim to read the minds of PolitiFact’s editors, but there is a larger context to consider. In 2009, the Lie of the Year was a Republican lie. In 2010, the Lie of the Year was a different Republican lie. In 2011, a majority of the Lie of the Year nominees came from Republicans, and the two vote-getters in its reader surveys were both Republican lies.

    If PolitiFact had chosen another GOP falsehood for this year’s “award,” the website would have been condemned by the right for being partisan. So, coincidentally or not, PolitiFact avoided the conservative pushback by picking a Democratic argument.

    Unfortunately for the fact-checking website, it chose a lie that happens to be true.

    If PolitiFact was eager to create partisan “balance,” the least it could have done was choose a Democratic claim that was false.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/stuffing_the_ballot_box_didnt034214.php

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  22. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney: I Hate That Romney-Supporting Super PAC I Helped Raise Money For
    Evan McMorris-Santoro December 20, 2011, 1:31 PM

    Meet Mitt Romney, campaign finance reformer.

    On Morning Joe this morning, Romney came out firmly against the Super PAC that’s currently spending more in Iowa on ads running on his behalf than the entire GOP field combined spent in 2008. Romney was responding to Newt Gingrich’s criticism of the Super PAC’s ads that are battering Gingrich in the Hawkeye State. Gingrich has promised to disavow negative campaigning and has called on his supporters to abandon any Super PAC that runs negative ads on his behalf.

    Romney, on the other hand, has helped raise money for Restore Our Future, the Super PAC laying into Gingrich. Romney’s defended the right of a former colleague to dump $1 million into ROF.

    But now he says the Super PAC — which is staffed by members of his 2008 campaign — is everything that’s wrong with politics today.

    “Campaign finance law has made a mockery of our political campaign season,” Romney told the Morning Joe team. “We really ought to let campaigns raise the morney they need and just get rid of these super PACs.”

    Romney said the creation of Super PACs — allowed by recent Supreme Court decisions on campaign finance — is “a disaster.” Obviously Romney’s not the first guy to say the system is broken while letting it work for his campaign. Democrats are strongly opposed to the modern campaign finance system, but they’ve said repeatedly they refuse to unilaterally disarm.

    But Romney is using his newfound focus on campaign finance reform to dance around Gingrich’s criticism — he literally said on TV this morning that he can’t criticize ROF’s campaign or he could go to jail thanks to rules that prevent him from coordinating with the Super PAC. (Politico notes Stephen Colbert has proven this is not really true.)

    The Gingrich campaign doesn’t seem to be buying it.

    “He’s either a lying politician or a piece of sh-t,” Gingrich spokesperson RC Hammond told Jonathan Weisman (the tweet was later taken down.)

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/mitt-romney-i-hate-that-romney-supporting-super-pac-i-helped-raise-money-for.php

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  23. rikyrah says:

    December 20, 2011 12:40 PM
    Mr. Speaker, your weakness is showing
    By Steve Benen

    On Saturday, None other than House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) seemed relieved by the Senate’s bipartisan compromise on a payroll tax cut. He called it a “good deal” and a “victory,” and took it to his caucus hoping they’d follow his lead.

    As is often the case, they didn’t. Rank-and-file Republicans were outraged by the bipartisan agreement in which Democrats made key concessions and the GOP gave up nothing, forcing the Speaker to announce his opposition to a deal he’d endorsed the day before.

    Boehner is one of those rare “leaders” who follows the instructions of his followers, rather than the other way around. Or as Dana Milbank explained today, referencing the payroll-break fight, “[T]he old-school speaker is less a leader of his caucus than a servant of his radical backbenchers.”


    Three times at a news conference on Friday, Boehner was asked whether he could support a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut, as Senate Democrats and Republicans were planning. Three times, Boehner declined to state an objection to the two-month extension (he objected to a different part of the agreement, about an oil pipeline, which the senators subsequently changed to his liking).

    “I just gave you an answer. How much clearer can I be?” Boehner said, refusing to take issue with the two-month extension.

    And so senators passed the extension, 89 to 10. Tea Party heroes Pat Toomey and Marco Rubio voted for the compromise. The fiercest budget cutter of them all, Sen. Tom Coburn, voted for it. Republican lions such as John Cornyn, Jon Kyl and Mitch McConnell voted for it. Only seven Republicans voted “no.”

    McConnell, the Senate Republican leader who negotiated the compromise, kept Boehner informed at every step — and was confident enough in Boehner’s acquiescence that his office sent out a notice saying there would be no more legislative business in the Senate until 2 p.m. on Jan. 23. But Boehner’s backbenchers — particularly the Tea Party freshmen — had other ideas, and, in a Saturday teleconference, made clear to Boehner that he would have to abandon the compromise.

    The Speaker fielded some questions from Capitol Hill reporters yesterday, and Milbank added, “denied the obvious truth that he had encouraged the compromise before opposing it.” Asked why, Boehner “licked his lips, gave a ‘thanks, everybody’ and disappeared.”

    It’s worth appreciating the fact that the Speaker of the House — the office, not this individual — isn’t supposed to be nearly this politically feeble. It’s a very powerful office, historically wielded by dominant, respected politicians.

    Boehner, at least on a historical level, appears almost pathetic after one year on the job. Early on, the Speaker told his caucus not to take the debt ceiling hostage, and his members ignored him. In April, his caucus told him his negotiations over a budget agreement weren’t right wing enough, nearly forcing a government shutdown. Over the summer, Boehner wanted a “grand bargain” with President Obama on debt reduction, and his Republican followers rejected it out of hand. Over the weekend, the Speaker supported a bipartisan agreement on extending the payroll tax break, and his members again told him they don’t care what he thinks.

    A leader with no followers is, by definition, weak. Boehner may be the Speaker, but as he’s quickly realizing, he’s taking the orders, not giving them.

    In the asylum known as the House of Representatives, is there any doubt as to the inmates’ power?

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/mr_speaker_your_weakness_is_sh034222.php

    Like

  24. rikyrah says:

    Unemployment dropped in 43 states in November and increased in 3, reflecting national trend
    By Associated Press, Updated: Tuesday, December 20, 10:57 AM

    WASHINGTON — Unemployment rates fell in 43 states in November, the most number of states to report such declines in eight years.

    The falling state rates reflect the brightening jobs picture nationally. The U.S. unemployment rate fell sharply in November to 8.6 percent, the lowest since March 2009. The economy has generated 100,000 or more jobs five months in a row — the first time that’s happened since 2006, before the Great Recession.

    Only three states reported higher unemployment rates in November, the Labor Department said Tuesday. Four states showed no change.

    Nevada for the 18th straight month had the highest state unemployment rate: 13 percent. It was followed by California at 11.3 percent. North Dakota again enjoyed the lowest unemployment rate: 3.4 percent. It was followed by Nebraska at 4.1 percent and South Dakota at 4.3 percent.

    The biggest decline in the unemployment rate in November compared with October was in Michigan. Its rate dropped by 0.8 percentage point to 9.8 percent, from 10.6 percent in October.

    Alabama, Minnesota, South Carolina and Utah all reported declines of 0.6 percentage point in November from October.

    Employers added jobs in 29 states and the District of Columbia. Employment decreased in 19 states and was unchanged in two. The largest month-over-month increases were in New York, up 29,500 jobs, and Texas, with a gain of 20,800.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/unemployment-dropped-in-43-states-in-november-and-increased-in-3-reflecting-national-trend/2011/12/20/gIQAFxw66O_story.html

    Like

  25. rikyrah says:

    Nevada Court: ‘Personhood’ measure would limit healthcare access, not just abortion
    Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2011, 7:30 am by Paddy

    Hopefully this will start a trend.

    Abortion-rights supporters cheered a Nevada judge’s determination Monday that controversial “personhood” proposals would limit women’s access to basic healthcare services.

    Critics of the personhood approach argue that it goes far beyond abortion, and some social conservatives agree. A judge lent further support to that argument Monday by rewriting a proposed ballot initiative in Nevada.

    (snip)

    The Nevada judge said personhood opponents had proven their case about the movement’s implications. He rewrote the state’s personhood initiative to explicitly reference the ripple effects of passing a personhood amendment to the state constitution.

    “The initiative will impact some rights Nevada women currently have to access certain fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization,” the rewritten initiative says. “The initiative will impact some rights Nevada women currently have to utilize some forms of birth control, including the ‘pill;’ and to access certain fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization. The initiative will affect embryonic stem cell research, which offers potential for treating diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, and others.”

    http://thepoliticalcarnival.net/2011/12/20/nevada-court-personhood-measure-would-limit-healthcare-access-not-just-abortion/

    Like

  26. rikyrah says:

    oh Willard…Russia is so….1980’s

    ………………

    Romney: If You Don’t Like Bain Layoffs, Go Back To Moscow

    Mitt Romney, under fire from his Republican rivals for laying off workers as CEO of Bain Capital, says critics of his jobs record are flirting with communism.

    “If someone thinks they can find a way that every enterprise that one invests in becomes… all are successful, why they’re not living in a free enterprise system, they’re living in a system like the old Soviet Union where the government insists that everybody adds employment every year and ultimately the economy suggests that the people become poorer,” Romney said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Tuesday. “I believe that free enterprise works and that the other models have been proven to be failures time and time again, and I was surprised to have Newt Gingrich pick up the story line that came from Barack Obama and the DNC and go on the attack against free enterprise.”

    It’s the toughest defense Romney’s offered yet and comes as critics from both parties are increasingly highlighting the private equity firm’s history of buying up companies and downsizing workers, sometimes profiting even as the company goes bankrupt. A new Iowa ad from Rick Perry tells viewers that Romney “made millions buying companies and laying off workers.” As Romney mentioned, Newt Gingrich mockingly suggested last week that he “give back all of the money he’s earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain.”

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/romney-if-you-dont-like-bain-layoffs-go-back-to-moscow.php?ref=fpb

    Like

  27. rikyrah says:

    Good poll for Obama
    by Kay

    It’s way early, but I like this poll, so let’s look at it. Don’t tell me the only poll that matters is the one on election day, because, well, I know that:


    According to the survey, 49% of Americans approve of the job Obama’s doing in the White House, up five points from last month, with 48% saying they disapprove, down six points from mid-November. The 49% approval rating is the president’s highest since May, when his number hit 54% thanks to a bounce following the killing of Osama bin Laden. Since then, in CNN polling, Obama’s approval rating has hovered in the mid-40s.

    “President Barack Obama’s approval rating appears to be fueled by dramatic gains among middle-income Americans,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “The data suggest that the debate over the payroll tax is helping Obama’s efforts to portray himself as the defender of the middle class.”

    Obama’s gains have come at the expense of the Republicans in Congress and the GOP in general. By a 50% to 31% margin, people questioned say they have more confidence in the president than in congressional Republicans to handle the major issues facing the country. Obama held a much narrower 44% to 39% margin in March.

    And the GOP’s overall favorable rating has dropped to six points, to 43%, since June, while the Democrats’ positive rating remained steady at 55%.

    “The Democrats do particularly well among middle income Americans, while the Republicans win support only from the top end of the income scale,” adds Holland.

    There’s a shocker. Republicans only do well in the top end of the income scale. One of the nice things about reading (actual) polls is the plain language. Rest assured you won’t hear that sentence phrased so bluntly again.

    Here’s what interests me, however:


    The survey indicates that Obama remains personally popular, with three-quarters saying they approve of him as a person.

    Since Obama was elected, I have heard over and over that Americans don’t “connect” with him, mostly from millionaire pundits, but still. I heard it phrased like this the other day, from one or another gasbag: “no fundamental emotional connection”.

    What does “approve of him as a person” mean, then? Is that more abstract and cerebral than “connect” or something? I would think it means they simply like him (what they know of him, of course) as a person or national figure. Does it not mean that? Is “approve” very much different than “like”? Can they approve of him without connecting with him? Sort of a cold, distant, approval?

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2011/12/20/good-poll-for-obama/

    Like

  28. DECEMBER 20: U.S. President Barack Obama (L) attends a ceremony to mark the return of the United States Forces-Iraq Colors and the end of the Iraq war on December 20, 2011 at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. The last U.S. troops left Iraq on December 18, 2011 ending the was after nearly nine years.

    Like

  29. rikyrah says:

    A New Line of Attack on Dr. Paul
    by BooMan
    Tue Dec 20th, 2011 at 10:14:47 AM EST

    I hadn’t anticipated this line of attack. How do you convince people who are inclined to vote for Ron Paul in the Iowa Caucuses to change their mind? You can try to discuss issues and policies, but if they are already leaning towards Rep. Paul, that may not be too effective. How about telling people that if Rep. Paul wins the caucuses, the Republicans will stop letting Iowa be the first state in the nation to hold a nominating contest? In other words, if you vote for Rep. Paul, it may be the last time you get to vote in an important caucus. All the money that Iowa sees every four years may simply dry up.


    With his left-of-Obama foreign policy views, libertarian outlook on social issues and paper trail of controversial statements, a Paul victory could represent a potentially devastating blow to the tradition of Republicans starting their White House campaigns in Iowa.
    “Mortal,” said Doug Gross, a leading Republican lawyer and Branstad adviser, when asked how severe the wound of a Paul win would be.

    “I think a Paul win would be devastating for the state of Iowa and the caucus process,” added Sam Clovis, an influential talk radio host in Northwest Iowa who endorsed Rick Santorum Monday.

    The back up plan is to pretend that Ron Paul doesn’t exist. Here’s the Republican governor of Iowa speaking:

    “People are going to look at who comes in second and who comes in third,” said Gov. Terry Branstad. “If [Mitt] Romney comes in a strong second, it definitely helps him going into New Hampshire and the other states.”

    Now, what’s interesting is that the Republicans are also voicing concern about how they believe Rep. Paul will win the caucuses. They think he will attract a bunch if independents and some Democrats who will show up and register as Republicans on January 3rd. It’s similar to how Barack Obama succeeded in beating John Edwards and Hillary Clinton in the caucuses four years ago. The problem, from the Republicans’ point of view, is that they do not believe these voters will vote for the Republican nominee if it isn’t Ron Paul. All they’ll do is help select a candidate in Iowa who holds some very unorthodox and heretical views. It’s a rather self-limiting way of looking at things. Ordinarily, you’d welcome a candidate who was adding droves of new voters to your party list.

    I’m not suggesting that the Iowa Caucuses are representative of the country as a whole, or even of Iowa as a whole, but it will still be meaningful if Ron Paul is more popular there than any of the orthodox candidates the Republicans could produce. It could be a canary in a coal mine, suggesting something fundamental is broken in the GOP’s coalition. New Hampshire allows independents to vote, and Ron Paul could surprise some people there as well.

    Maybe Iowa has reason to be concerned about a Ron Paul victory in the caucuses, but the Establishment would let out a sigh of relief. It would allow them to sell Romney on national security grounds to a base that has so far resisted all sales efforts for the Mittster.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2011/12/20/101447/31

    Like

  30. rikyrah says:

    BREAKING: House Republicans Walk Away From Bipartisan Compromise on Payroll Tax Cut, Jobless Benefits
    By Josh Dorner on Dec 20, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Moments ago, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted 229-193 to walk away from a bipartisan compromise that would have extended for two months both the payroll tax cut for 160 million working Americans and long-term unemployment benefits for millions of jobless Americans, as well as stopped automatic cuts to Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors that are scheduled for Jan. 1, 2012. Seven Republicans joined every Democrat in opposing the motion to abandon the Senate’s compromise plan and instead move to a House-Senate conference committee.

    A straight up-or-down vote on the Senate compromise was originally scheduled for last night, but Republican leaders were forced to abandon the vote after it became clear that the compromise plan, which passed the Senate 89-10 on Saturday, might pass with the overwhelming majority of Democrats and some Republicans voting in favor. Instead, the House Republican leadership, under pressure from the Tea Party, used a procedural maneuver to avoid an up-or-down vote on the bipartisan deal.

    http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/12/20/393230/breaking-house-walks-away-payroll-compromise/

    Like

  31. rikyrah says:

    House GOP To Raise Taxes On The Middle Class Then Head Home For Christmas
    Not only will House Republicans not vote on the Senate passed payroll tax cut extension, but they will be going home for Christmas after they raise taxes on 160 million Americans.

    Last night, Speaker John Boehner said, “Our members do not want to just punt and do a two-month short-term fix where we have to come back and do this again. We’re here. We’re willing to work. We will appoint conferees and we hope the Senate will appoint conferees because we’re willing to get the work done now and do it the right way.”

    Apparently, this willingness to work does not apply to Christmas. Roll Call is reporting,

    House Republicans are planning to leave for the Christmas holiday Tuesday afternoon after voting on a Senate proposal for a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut.

    ,,,

    GOP members argue that they are not needed while conferees meet and are only needed when another House vote is required before the current payroll tax cut expires on Jan. 1.

    “I’ll stay if they want us to stay, just say the word,” Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) said. “I am not going to stay just to talk to [the press].”

    Nancy Pelosi summed up the real House Republican motives, “The reason the Republicans are not taking yes for an answer is because no is their answer. No, to the payroll tax cut. And that is driven, again, by the Tea Party Republicans, who will be responsible for this tax increase—if it happens, which I hope it won’t.”

    Later she said, “So why is it, why is it that a couple hundred people in the Republican Caucus, and I think it’s probably a smaller number than that can hold up a tax cut for middle-income people, proper access to Medicare for 48 million seniors and unemployment insurance for American workers. It’s because they do not support the payroll tax cut. Mr. Hoyer referenced their early remark. They were against it. President Obama went around the country with the American Jobs Act. It was one of the most popular features of it. It made the issue too hot for the Republicans to handle—too hot that they can’t put it on the floor, afraid that their own Members will abandon them.”

    http://www.politicususa.com/en/house-gop-home-christmas

    Like

  32. rikyrah says:

    POLITICO 44: A Living Diary of the Obama Presidency GOP warns Obama on appointments
    By BYRON TAU | 12/19/11 4:19 PM EST All 47 Senate Republicans have signed a letter to President Obama warning him against making recess appointments for the two open seats on the National Labor Relations Board.

    “Appointments to the NLRB have traditionally been made through prior agreement of both parties to ensure that any group of nominees placed on the board represents an appropriate political and philosophical balance. Indeed, the very statutory design of the Board is meant to ensure a basic level of bipartisanship in the appointment of Members,” the GOP caucus wrote. “As you are undoubtedly aware, appointments to Board that depart from this tradition have resulted in some of the most contentious, divisive struggles we face in the Senate.”

    The letter, spearheaded by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), is in response to the president’s formal withdrawal of Craig Becker, a union-backed attorney who was appointed last year during a congressional recess. Obma nominated Sharon Block and Richard Griffin to the two open slots, while a third GOP-backed nominee has been held up in committee.

    The NLRB has emerged as a partisan battleground during President Obama’s term in the fight over government regulations and the right to organize. Labor advocates have noted that with Becker’s departure as an interim member of the board, it will lose quorum and the right to mediate disputes.

    “Workers illegally fired for union organizing won’t be reinstated with back pay. Employers will be able to get away with interfering with union elections. Perhaps most important, employers won’t have to recognize unions despite a majority vote by workers. Without the board to enforce labor law, most companies will not voluntarily deal with unions,” wrote former NLRB chairman William Gould in the New York Times last week.

    http://www.politico.com/politico44/2011/12/gop-warns-obama-on-labor-appointments-108044.html

    Like

  33. rikyrah says:

    John Boehner’s House Divided Is About To Fail 160 Million Americans

    In June 1858, Abraham Lincoln gave a speech that included a line that became the title of his address when he sought a seat as a United States Senator. Lincoln said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” and although he was referring to the slavery issue, his comment is apropos to today’s Congressional Republicans, and by extension America itself. At the rate they are proceeding, and with Congress’s approval ratings at record lows (11%), it appears the GOP is fracturing into a dysfunctional group that is doing everything in their power to destroy itself, the middle class, and tens-of-millions of Americans living in poverty. The latest split between different factions within the GOP in Congress is over extending the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefit extensions.

    The temporary deal worked out between Senate Republicans and Democrats faces rejection by House Republicans because John Boehner is an ineffective leader and staunch protector of the richest 1% of Americans. Boehner had insisted earlier that Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell work out a compromise to extend the payroll tax cut so the House could vote and pass it before the Christmas recess. Although the Senate deal only extended the extension for two months, at least it gives 160 million hardworking Americans relief until Republicans can hold the extensions hostage again in February. However, a deal to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefit extensions could have been resolved in short order had the House and Senate passed a clean bill paid for with a minute surtax on millionaires and billionaires.

    It seems that now, the sticking point for House Republicans is that the extension is only for two months and not an entire year as the President requested in the first place. Boehner has decided that after the House defeats the Senate extensions, the two houses should meet and iron out a full year extension that should take any proposed deal right up to the last minute. On Saturday, Boehner called the Senate compromise a “good deal” and a “victory,” but changed his mind on Sunday after his caucus reminded him that as Speaker, his job was to obey and not lead. The problem now is that the “House divided” runs the risk of failing to give 160 million Americans much needed payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefit relief as any bicameral conference compromise will take too much time and lose the opportunity to reach agreement before the end of the year.

    The Senate deal was not perfect by any means, but with House Republicans panting to add conservative policy riders to a full year extension, at least 160 million Americans will not lose their tax cut; if only for two months. House Republicans did pass a version of their own to extend the tax cuts and unemployment benefits but Democrats rejected the Republican’s offsets; as they should have. To pay for the extensions, House Republicans added reductions in unemployment benefits, cut billions from healthcare, a pay freeze for federal employees, eliminating federal jobs, and a requirement for taxpayers to include Social Security numbers to collect child tax credit refunds. Every tax filer already has to include the child’s Social Security number on their tax forms regardless if they take the child tax credit or not.

    http://www.politicususa.com/en/boehner-payroll-tax

    Like

  34. US President Barack Obama (C)and Vice President Joe Biden take part in a ceremony to mark the return of the US Forces – Iraq colors December 20, 2011 at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. The event marks the end of the Iraq war after the last US combat troops rolled out of Iraq into Kuwait on December 18.

    Like

  35. US President Barack Obama(C), and Vice President Joe Biden take part in a ceremony to mark the return of the US Forces – Iraq colors December 20, 2011 at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. The event marks the end of the Iraq war after the last US combat troops rolled out of Iraq into Kuwait on December 18.

    Like

  36. US President Barack Obama(C), and Vice President Joe Biden take part in a ceremony to mark the return of the US Forces – Iraq colors December 20, 2011 at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. The event marks the end of the Iraq war after the last US combat troops rolled out of Iraq into Kuwait on December 18.

    Like

  37. US President Barack Obama(C), and Vice President Joe Biden take part in a ceremony to mark the return of the US Forces – Iraq colors December 20, 2011 at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. The event marks the end of the Iraq war after the last US combat troops rolled out of Iraq into Kuwait on December 18.

    Like

  38. House rejects Senate-passed payroll tax bill, 229-193. Seven GOP voted with Dems in opposition to the motion.

    Like

  39. President Obama and Vice President Biden participate in a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews marking the return of the United States Forces-Iraq Colors

    http://www.pentagonchannel.mil/

    Like

  40. Ametia says:

    President Barack Obama’s approval rating jumped 5 percentage points from November to December, fueled by dramatic gains among middle-class Americans, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Tuesday.

    Obama’s approval rating rose from 44% last month to 49% now, and the results suggest the debate over extending the payroll tax cuts in Congress is helping Obama’s efforts to portray himself as defender of the middle class. The poll was conducted from Friday through Sunday, while the Senate was passing the measure with bipartisan support and House Speaker John Boehner was giving it a dim outlook in his chamber.

    Obama’s gains appear to have come at the expense of congressional Republicans and the GOP in general — the party’s overall rating has dropped 6 points, to 43%, since June while Democrats’ rating has stayed at 55%.
    And a majority now say they have more confidence in Obama than in Republicans in Congress — last spring, only 44% felt that way.

    Democrats do particularly well among middle-income Americans, while the Republicans win support only from the top end of the income scale.

    Like

  41. Rihanna Called N-Word In Dutch Fashion Magazine ‘Jackie’

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/20/rihanna-called-n-word-in-_n_1160181.html

    Rihanna is well known for her fierce fashion sense, and regularly receives praise for her chic wardrobe choices. But one fashion magazine is apologizing after making a statement about the good girl gone bad that was totally out of style.

    In the latest issue of Jackie, a Dutch fashion magazine, one feature is dedicated to showing readers how to imitate the singer’s style, New York Magazine reports. But while imitation might be the highest form of flattery, the content was downright insulting, using a derogatory term to describe the artist:

    “She has street cred, she has a ghetto ass and she has a golden throat. Rihanna, the good girl gone bad, is the ultimate n***abitch and she displays that gladly–for her that means what’s on can come off. If that means she’ll be on stage half naked, then so be it. But Dutch winters aren’t like Jamaican [ed. note: Rihanna is actually Barbadian, not Jamaican] ones, so pick a clothing style in which your daughter can resist minus ten [temperatures]. No to the big sunglasses and the pornheels, and yes to the tiger print, pink ‘shizzle,’ and everything that glitters. Now let’s hope she won’t beat anybody up at daycare.”

    After the offensive comment went viral, the magazine’s editor Eva Hoeke issued a statement on their Facebook page, apologizing for the failed attempt at a joke but insisting they meant no harm:

    Furthermore I hope that you all believe there was absolutely no racist motive behind the choice of words. It was stupid, it was naive to think that this was an acceptable form of slang–you hear it all the time on tv and radio, then your idea of what is normal apparently shifts–but it was especially misguided: there was no malice behind it. We make our magazine with love, energy and enthusiasm, and it can sometimes happen that someone is out of line. And then you can only do one thing: apologize. And hope that others wish to accept it. From the bottom of my heart I say it again: we never intended to offend anyone. And I mean that.
    Although translations of the replies to Hoeke’s post imply that fans were satisfied with the magazine’s apology, the songstress is not accepting it. She took to Twitter to respond to the incident and to the editor:

    @evajackie I hope u can read english, because your magazine is a poor representation of the evolution of human rights! I find you disrespectful, and rather desperate!! You ran out of legit, civilized information to print! There are 1000’s of Dutch girls who would love to be recognized for their contributions to your country, you could have given them an article. Instead, u paid to print one degrading an entire race! That’s your contribution to this world! To encourage segregation, to mislead the future leaders to act in the past! You put two words together, with the intent of abasement, that made no sense…”N***A BITCH”?!….Well with all respect, on behalf of my race, here are my two words for you…F**K YOU!!!

    Like

  42. Ametia says:

    I see Mittens is making the rounds on cable tee vee. Fox, MSNBC’s Moaning Joke this morning. Joey Scar basically propped up the puppet to spew his lying nonsense about being conservative, blah, blah, blah… Obama, blah, blah, blah…

    It’s clear the media is helping Mittens Rummy play his hand to win the GOP nomination. BYE, NEWT!

    Like

  43. rikyrah says:

    December 19, 2011
    ‘[Issue here] in doubt amid House Republican uproar’
    This five-word paragraph, the 16th of 28, in a nearly 1,100-word WaPo story on the innumerable complications most recently caused by a handful of House GOP extremists, says it all:

    The way forward remains unclear.

    The story is headlined, “Payroll tax cut extension in doubt amid House Republican uproar” — the wording of which, I imagine, comes from a saved, electronic template: “[Issue here] in doubt amid House Republican uproar.”

    If any amusement is to be pulled from this slow-motion wreck of the once-Grand Old Party, it’s the realization that an entire generation of young Americans will someday be shocked to learn that “conservative,” etymologically, is in fact not related to or synonymous with “reckless,” “radical,” and “ignorant.”

    But that’s OK. The same generation will also learn that “liberal” falls a bit short of “99 percent.”

    http://pmcarpenter.blogs.com/p_m_carpenters_commentary/2011/12/issue-here-in-doubt-amid-house-republican-uproar.html

    Like

  44. Mark Knoller:

    President Obama takes part in noon ceremony at Joint Base Andrews for the return home of the flag of US Forces-Iraq.

    Like

  45. rikyrah says:

    December 19, 2011
    Boehner’s unruly herd

    Reading what follows lugubrious headlines such as Politico’s “Christmas chaos on payroll tax” reminds one of G.K. Chesterton’s lament — or, knowing Chesterton, perhaps his delight — that “there is never anything new in the news.”

    Yet what a treat at this festive time of year that House Republicans have transformed Chesterton from a stuck-in-the-mud Englishman to an American prophet; that they have taken the merely lamentable and stomped it and pulverized it into a political motto, on which we can all rely, well into the future.

    A year from now, guaranteed, thanks to John Boehner’s unruly herd, I’ll still be sitting here reading about how “The House and Senate are accelerating on a collision course,” how “the House will vote to reject [some other] bipartisan Senate deal,” and that “After such a bitter year on Capitol Hill,” all this squabbling is both deeply regrettable and quite unremarkable.

    For by then — again, thanks to John Boehner’s unruly herd — we could be well in the sizzle of another economic meltdown. Fears of a recidivist slump might have morphed into a statistical confirmation of another Great Recession, which will of course be advertised by Roger Ailes & Numerous Friends as yet more proof that Obama’s policies aren’t working, rather than that Republicans’ policies are.

    What intrigues, though, is less Chesterton’s suspected prognosticative ability than his bottomless, Catholic belief in free will; which is to say, or ask, rather, Will that foreseeable, concluding Congress have been largely ejected by voters in the preceding month of November? Will voters, by then, have freely spit out the rancid tea? Will they have come to acknowledge that economic downturns cannot be remedied by electoral tantrums and demagogic platitudes?

    I’m wagering they will, although on the other hand a year is a long, long way off — and so often there comes distressingly little that is anything new.

    http://pmcarpenter.blogs.com/p_m_carpenters_commentary/2011/12/boehners-unruly-herd.html

    Like

  46. rikyrah says:

    December 20, 2011 9:10 AM

    PolitiFact ought to be ashamed of itself

    The fact-checking website PolitiFact has announced its “Lie of the Year” for 2011. It made a poor, credibility-killing choice.


    Republicans muscled a budget through the House of Representatives in April that they said would take an important step toward reducing the federal deficit. Introduced by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the plan kept Medicare intact for people 55 or older, but dramatically changed the program for everyone else by privatizing it and providing government subsidies.

    Democrats pounced. Just four days after the party-line vote, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released a Web ad that said seniors will have to pay $12,500 more for health care “because Republicans voted to end Medicare.” […]

    PolitiFact debunked the Medicare charge in nine separate fact-checks rated False or Pants on Fire, most often in attacks leveled against Republican House members.

    Now, PolitiFact has chosen the Democrats’ claim as the 2011 Lie of the Year.

    This is simply indefensible. Claims that are factually true shouldn’t be eligible for a Lie of the Year designation.

    It’s unnerving that we have to explain this again, but since PolitiFact appears to be struggling with the relevant details, let’s set the record straight again.

    Medicare is a single-payer health care system offering guaranteed benefits to seniors. The House Republican budget plan intended to privatize the existing system and replace it with something very different — a voucher scheme. It would still be called “Medicare,” but it wouldn’t be Medicare.

    It seems foolish to have to parse the meaning of the word “end,” but if there’s a program, and it’s replaced with a different program, proponents brought an end to the original program. That’s what the verb means.

    I’ve been trying to think of the best analogy for this. How about this one: imagine someone owns a Ferrari. It’s expensive and drives beautifully, and the owner desperately wants to keep his car intact. Now imagine I took the car away, removed the metallic badge off the trunk that says “Ferrari,” I stuck it on a golf cart, and I handed the owner the keys.

    “Where’s my Ferrari?” the owner would ask.

    “It’s right here,” I’d respond. “This has four wheels, a steering wheel, and pedals, and it says ‘Ferrari’ right there on the back.”

    By PolitiFact’s reasoning, I haven’t actually replaced the car — and if you disagree, you’re a pants-on-fire liar.

    Indeed, reading through PolitiFact’s defense of its dubious honor, the explanation is effectively a semantics argument — its Lie of the Year, the editors argue, didn’t include the caveats and context that would make it more accurate. But let’s not forget, there were actual, demonstrable, unambiguous lies among the finalists for Lie of the Year. PolitiFact overlooked all of them.

    When an outlet puts “fact” in its name, the standards for accuracy are especially high. When its selecting a Lie of the Year, standards dictate that the falsehood should be overwhelmingly obvious and offensive.

    Today, PolitiFact, which relies exclusively on its credibility to affect the political discourse, ought to be ashamed of itself.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/index.php

    Like

  47. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    December 20, 2011 8:35 AM
    Romney camp gets tripped up by Afghanistan
    By Steve Benen

    U.S. military and intelligence officials agree that talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan are not only unavoidable, but also worthwhile. Such negotiations are critical to establishing some semblance of stability to the country, and while the right may resist this, among most leading officials, including David Petraeus, this is simply an obvious fact.

    With this realization in mind, the Obama administration is ready to defend talks that may seem distasteful. Indeed, Vice President Biden caused a stir yesterday with his comments to Newsweek about the Taliban.


    “Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That’s critical. There is not a single statement that the president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy because it threatens U.S. interests. If, in fact, the Taliban is able to collapse the existing government, which is cooperating with us in keeping the bad guys from being able to do damage to us, then that becomes a problem for us. So there’s a dual track here:

    “One, continue to keep the pressure on al Qaeda and continue to diminish them. Two, put the government in a position where they can be strong enough that they can negotiate with and not be overthrown by the Taliban. And at the same time try to get the Taliban to move in the direction to see to it that they, through reconciliation, commit not to be engaged with al Qaeda or any other organization that they would harbor to do damage to us and our allies.”

    Mitt Romney’s campaign quickly pounced, calling Biden’s comments “an outrageous affront to our troops.”

    The rhetoric is predictable, but there’s a problem. The Romney campaign not only disagrees with the Vice President, it also disagrees with the Romney campaign.

    James Shinn is Mitt Romney’s top foreign policy advisor on Afghanistan. He’s also a former assistant secretary of defense for Asia in the Bush administration who helped write the Bush administration’s Afghan Strategy Review, as well as having served in the State Department and the CIA.

    And as it turns out, Romney’s top foreign policy advisor on Afghanistan happens to agree with Biden’s line about talks with the Taliban. In June, Shinn endorsed direct negotiations with the Taliban, and in August, Shinn endorsed “a negotiated settlement” with the Taliban, which would give them a formal role in the Afghan government. “Negotiation does not represent an easy or early way out of Afghanistan for the United States and its NATO allies, but it is the only way in which this war is likely to end,” he argued.

    What are the foreign policy differences between what Joe Biden said and what Romney’s top foreign policy advisor on Afghanistan said? There are no differences.

    I’ll look forward to the Romney campaign explaining why its own foreign policy is misguided.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/romney_camp_gets_tripped_up_by034210.php

    Like

  48. rikyrah says:

    December 20, 2011 8:00 AM
    Congress’ conservative, convoluted chaos
    By Steve Benen

    Passing a popular, middle-class tax cut really shouldn’t be this difficult.

    Conditions looked pretty good on Saturday. The Senate easily passed a bipartisan compromise for a two-month extension of the payroll tax break, 89 to 10. The White House liked it; House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) liked it; and there was ample room for optimism.

    Then the radicalized House Republican caucus decided to throw a tantrum. As of Sunday night, the New York Times noted that the deal that would send everyone home for the holidays had “given way to chaos.”

    Yesterday, Capitol Hill was even more chaotic.

    House Republicans entered the day with one goal in mind: kill a bipartisan compromise on a middle-class tax cut, the week before Christmas, without looking ridiculous. After days of meetings and delays, a broken promise to hold an up-or-down vote on the Senate bill, and a surprising number of pot shots at their Senate Republican colleagues, the House GOP came up with a convoluted scheme. This accurate description of the new plan is likely to make your eyes glaze over:


    Initially, the House Republicans planned to hold a standard vote on a “motion to concur” with the Senate tax cut extension…. But in a heated meeting of the Rules Committee that determines how votes are held, the motion was changed to a “motion to reject.”

    What was originally scheduled to be three votes — a vote on the Senate bill, a vote to go into conference with the Senate to change the bill, and a vote on a nonbinding resolution relating to the debate — turned into one. The final rule that passed the committee, along party lines, allows for a single vote to reject a motion to agree with the Senate bill. If the motion is rejected, the bill is sent to a conference committee. […]

    Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) said a vote to reject the Senate bill and send it to conference is “exactly” the same as a vote to concur with the bill.

    It is still “regular order” for the House to specifically vote to “reject” a bill versus holding an up-or-down vote on a bill, Dreier said. Anyone who supports the Senate bill can simply “vote in opposition to that motion to go to conference.”

    The way House Republicans have set this up, those who vote “yes” are actually voting “no” on the bipartisan Senate compromise. In fact, under this scheme, the House will hardly be voting on the Senate version at all — Republicans know they’re inviting political trouble by rejecting a middle-class tax cut — and will instead be kinda sorta voting to send the competing versions of the payroll extension to conference committee.

    And what’s wrong with that? In theory, this might sound reasonable — the House and Senate passed radically different bills on the same issue, so the standard operating procedure would be for a conference committee to work out a consensus bill that falls somewhere between the two.

    But in this case, what’s theoretically reasonable is irrelevant. It would take the Senate a week just to assign members to the committee, and the odds of the two sides quickly finding a financing solution for a 12-month extension before the calendar year wraps up are roughly zero.

    In other words, the new House Republican scheme is intended to raise middle-class taxes without making it look like House Republicans are raising middle-class taxes. In two weeks, Americans will discover in early January that their paychecks have shrunk, and because political journalism is largely broken, they’ll be told it’s the result of “both sides” being unwilling to compromise.

    Those reports will be wrong.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/congress_conservative_convolut034209.php

    Like

  49. rikyrah says:

    Which candidate should answer that 3 a.m. phone call?
    By Eugene Robinson, Published: December 19

    It’s late at night when the phone rings at the White House: Kim Jong Il, the ruthless oddball dictator of nuclear-armed North Korea, is dead. His apparent successor is his 20-something son, about whom practically nothing is known. South Korean officials have rushed to put the nation’s military forces on high alert.

    Do we want Mitt Romney answering that phone call?

    Newt Gingrich?

    We learned Sunday night what happens when Barack Obama is on the receiving end of unsettling news from one of the world’s most dangerous flashpoints. There’s a round of consultation with allies, a carefully worded official statement, an assessment of the status of diplomatic efforts to defuse North Korea’s nuclear program — in other words, a cautious and measured response.

    Implicit in Obama’s actions is the recognition that nothing a U.S. president says or does at this moment is likely to influence North Korean events in a positive way. Intemperate words or deeds, however, could be destabilizing at a moment of sudden transition. This is no moment to apply sharp pressure to a hermetically sealed, supremely paranoid regime that considers itself perpetually besieged and happens to possess nuclear weapons.

    The White House was particularly concerned about how Kim’s son — Kim Jong Eun, the “Great Successor” who may have already assumed power — would react to anything seen as a provocation. The young, inexperienced leader might believe he had to make a show of belligerence to prove himself. Aggressive action could prompt a sharp South Korean reaction, and suddenly a situation could become a crisis.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/which-candidate-should-answer-that-3-am-phone-call/2011/12/19/gIQA7MbR5O_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions_TE1

    Like

  50. rikyrah says:

    BREAKING: House Republicans Again Delay Payroll Tax Cut Vote, May Resort To Procedural Gimmicks
    By Alex Seitz-Wald on Dec 19, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    In a stunning move, the House Republican leadership postponed a vote planned for late tonight on a two-month extension of the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits that passed the Senate with a huge bipartisan majority. Republicans planned to reject the Senate bill today in a gambit to force the upper chamber to come back from recess and pass a longer term extension. But it seemed House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) caucus wasn’t as united as he expected, as there was “a desire among some rank-and-file lawmakers to cast an affirmative vote rather than a negative one” favored by Boehner, Politico reports.

    Now, Boehner may resort to procedural tricks to help ensure his desired outcome when the House votes on the package tomorrow. The House will most likely vote on a motion to reject the Senate bill, instead of regular up-or-down vote. That way, Republicans won’t have to outright vote against the payroll tax holiday and Boehner doesn’t risk the measure accidentally passing in case he miscounts his votes.

    A tax cut for 160 million Americans and unemployment benefits for millions of others hangs in the balance.

    Update

    Moments ago, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said she would not appoint conferees to a House-Senate conference committee if the House votes to go to a conference instead of approving the compromise Senate bill. Pelosi cited, in part, the House GOP’s use of procedural tricks to avoid an up-or-down on the Senate bill.

    http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/12/19/392738/breaking-house-republicans-delays-payroll-tax-cut-vote-may-resort-to-procedural-gimmicks/

    Like

  51. rikyrah says:

    Almost an A-Plus
    by BooMan
    Mon Dec 19th, 2011 at 09:06:12 PM EST

    I don’t like to get my hopes up too much, but even a thirty percent chance of a political settlement with the Taliban sounds well worth pursuing. If Obama can end both stupid wars, in addition to passing the most sweeping health care reform in history and the strongest Wall Street reforms and consumer protections in over half a century, all in one term in office, then we won’t even have to mention the elimination of bin-Laden and Gaddafi or the stabilization of the financial system or the saving of the auto industry or the end of DADT or the non-enforcement of DOMA or the hate crimes bill or the many other worthy achievements he’s already notched on his belt. If he can end both wars without further humiliation, and without endangering our national security, then he deserves a special place in the pantheon of American presidents.
    He’s at least 50% of the way there. As for cleaning up Bush’s mess, he’s doing an outstanding job with less than no cooperation from the Republicans and often not enough help from the Democrats.

    We still have a Congress full of cowards who don’t believe in the American justice system. And the administration is guilty of playing too much defense to protect itself from criticism. It’s hard for any administration to reject powers that Congress, through its predilection for bedwetting and fear mongering, throws at it with threats that they better accept them or they’ll be attacked for endangering national security. The Obama administration has done too much to protect the prior administration and has accepted too much power into its own hands. If not for that, they’d be getting an A-plus in my grading system.

    I’d like to see them do more in a second term to roll back these excesses. I’m not optimistic about it, but the luxury of not needing to worry about reelection should give them more confidence to do the right thing without it handing power to a bunch of would-be war criminals and Tea Partiers.

    In any case, I fervently hope that the talks with the Taliban bear fruit.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2011/12/19/21612/857

    Like

  52. rikyrah says:

    First Ever Calendar Illustrating African-American History In Paris Launched By Walking The Spirit Tours of Black Paris
    By The Admin on December 19, 2011

    Walking The Spirit Tours, who pioneered tours of historical and contemporary Black Paris, has published the first ever calendar illustrating the African-American experience in Paris. The 12-month 2012 calendar features original artwork by Paris artist Ealy Mays as well as key dates, inspirational quotes, and informative historical summaries.

    The full color Spirit of Black Paris calendar provides a strikingly original daily journey to the Paris of African-Americans who found opportunity in France over the past 200 years. From Sally Hemings in 1787 to Richard Wright in the 1950s, expatriates and visitors are illustrated in their favorite places as well as among the familiar sites of the City of Lights.

    For example, in September, stand outside the formidable Sorbonne University with Anna Julia Cooper while she prepares her doctorate in 1925. Perfect for sunny July, catch a glimpse of James Baldwin, Richard Wright and Chester Himes in Les Deux Magots in St.Germain-des-Pres. And in the dreary month of March, admire the lesser-known but exhilarating works of women artists Lois Mailou Jones, Nancy Elizabeth Prophet and Meta Vaux Warrick.

    More than an evocative and beautiful visual celebration, the calendar functions as a daily tool to improve knowledge of African-American history in Paris. It was created in the spirit of educating and inspiring adults, students and children. The rich contents invites previous visitors to relive the inspiring stories; the abundant details pique the curiosity of those dreaming of following the footsteps of a still existing dream of Paris; and for those preparing a trip, it stimulates a sense of belonging where expatriates have left their mark.

    The artwork was commissioned to renowned artist Ealy Mays. Texas-born Mays has lived permanently in Paris since 1996 and he is uniquely positioned to provide heartfelt depth to the subject. Since 2008 he has also guided visitors and locals through the narrow streets and past famous sites for Walking The Spirit Tours, telling the stories of the African American expatriate experience.

    “It was an honor,” says Mays, “to be a part of the first of a kind calendar, and to put my input into such an endeavor.”

    Created by Julia Browne, founder of Walking The Spirit Tours this project is a rewarding extension of the passion that she holds for Black Paris. Browne founded the company in 1994 following her studies with the late Professor Michel Fabre at the Sorbonne. Fabre is the author of ‘From Harlem to Paris: Black Writers in Paris 1840 to 1980′. Browne created the indepth series of walking and bus tours as a way to share her expertise on Paris, history, and Black culture. The fascinating tours provide appealing and new understanding for people of all cultures and backgrounds. Now a certified French Specialist, designated by Tourism France, Browne creates culture rich excursions to Richard Wright’s Normandy, Josephine Baker’s Dordogne and James Baldwin’s Nice.

    http://blackpoliticsontheweb.com/2011/12/19/first-ever-calendar-illustrating-african-american-history-in-paris-launched-by-walking-the-spirit-tours-of-black-paris/

    Like

  53. rikyrah says:

    Monday, December 19, 2011
    Getting Soaked ByThe Free Market
    Posted by Zandar

    The endless drive to privatize public government services is beginning to hit consumers right in the wallet. We’re told by the corporatists that private companies can provide services and utilities more cheaply and efficiently that evil old government. Increasingly, that list of privatized services is including basic necessities like water itself.

    Ask Texas resident Robert White how that’s working out.


    When Robert White opened his water bill last month, his jaw dropped: $250 for a month’s worth of water and sewer service. The 63-year-old construction contractor, who shares a three-bedroom home with his wife in the bucolic Springbrook Centre subdivision, said he likes to keep his lawn green and expects hefty water bills. “I just don’t want to be hijacked,” he said.

    White’s water service is provided by a private utility owned by California-based SouthWest Water Co. LLC. Just across the four-lane Pflugerville Parkway, where White’s neighbors in the Springbrook Glen subdivision — a nearly identical grid of neatly arranged brick-faced homes — get their water from Pflugerville, rates are on average about 60 percent less.

    And White’s bill for water service may nearly double soon, if SouthWest Water gets the latest rate increase it has requested. “I have never felt so helpless,” he said.

    So White and other Texans are facing up to $2,000 a year for just for water and sewer service. No competition, bound to a company who only cares about profiting off water. And Texas’s Utility Commission is designed to make it all but impossible to fight these massive rate increases. The private water companies say they are simply passing on the true cost of water these days…because states simply don’t want to pay to fix aging pipes. They pass it all over to the private companies and they are making a killing.

    Do read the whole story. Privatized water systems are becoming more and more common…and so are massive rate increases.

    http://zandarvts.blogspot.com/2011/12/getting-soaked-bythe-free-market.html

    Like

  54. rikyrah says:

    Tuesday, December 20, 2011
    The Sandbag Game, Orange Julius Version
    Posted by Zandar

    Having completely lost control of his caucus to the Tea Party, Orange Julius is now using legislative parlor tricks to assure that the payroll tax cut extension fails and that the Senate bill, passed 89-10 by an overwhelming bipartisan majority is scrapped for the House version. On top of that, the House plans to leave town for the holidays after the vote, leaving both Senate Republicans and Democrats with a take it or leave it deal. Brian Beutler:


    “We will have a motion to reject the Senate amendment and go to conference,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told reporters at a Monday press briefing. “We expect the minority to have a motion to instruct conferees. And then we will have a majority resolution that will lay out our House position that is consistent with the bill that we passed last week.”

    In other words, House GOP members will get to vote “yes,” but in a way that says “no” to the Senate bill. This bears some resemblance to the health care reform-era controversy over so-called self-executing rules, when Democrats briefly considered tying two votes together into one, thus “deeming” unpopular legislation passed. Under the GOP’s plan, there’s no way for a vote to result in passage of the Senate bill.

    Despite the delays and the procedural hijinx, House GOP aides confidently predicted that their measure will pass Tuesday. That would leave Reid to decide whether to stick to his guns or to appoint negotiators to work through the holidays on a full-year plan to renew the payroll tax cut, extend unemployment benefits, and patch a Medicare reimbursement formula to make sure physicians don’t take a big paycut on the first of the year. Reid has insisted he considers the matter closed and will leave Boehner holding the ball — giving him a choice between quelling the rebellion and passing the bipartisan Senate bill before January 1 or triggering a tax increase on middle class workers in a weak economy.

    Republicans will hit back and call on Democrats to return to Washington to strike yet another compromise. Complicating that message for them? Many Republicans plan to leave town tomorrow after the close of votes.


    \
    In other words, after the deal was worked out in the Senate and Speaker Boehner signed off on it Saturday, the Tea Party revolted. Orange Julius has now lost complete control of his own caucus, and the Senate deal cannot be passed under this 2 for 1 vote. If today’s vote passes, the Senate deal is automatically scrapped, if it fails, the Senate deal dies normally. Jon Chait points out why the revolt happened: Boehner is a terribly weak leader, and the Tea Party caucus has decided that America’s poor, working class, and middle class aren’t paying enough taxes.
    Republican opposition to extending the payroll tax is, in part, an expression of this same belief that the lower-earning half of the income distribution is getting a free ride – that the “takers” are exploiting the “makers,” to use Paul Ryan’s increasingly common catchphrase. This happens to be a wildly unpopular position, and Republicans are attempting to avoid having to defend it openly. (Being unpopular obviously isn’t the same as being wrong, though I do disagree with the Republican position.)

    Surprise, the Tea Party has always been the political patsy of the one percent, and nowhere is this more clear than the payroll tax cut rebellion in the House. The fact of the matter is the Tea Party doesn’t care if the 160 million Americans get burned with higher taxes next year…as far as they’re concerned, you’re all looters and moochers anyway.

    http://zandarvts.blogspot.com/

    Like

  55. Ametia says:

    By Eugene Robinson, Published: December 19
    It’s late at night when the phone rings at the White House: Kim Jong Il, the ruthless oddball dictator of nuclear-armed North Korea, is dead. His apparent successor is his 20-something son, about whom practically nothing is known. South Korean officials have rushed to put the nation’s military forces on high alert.

    Do we want Mitt Romney answering that phone call?

    Newt Gingrich?

    We learned Sunday night what happens when Barack Obama is on the receiving end of unsettling news from one of the world’s most dangerous flashpoints. There’s a round of consultation with allies, a carefully worded official statement, an assessment of the status of diplomatic efforts to defuse North Korea’s nuclear program — in other words, a cautious and measured response.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/which-candidate-should-answer-that-3-am-phone-call/2011/12/19/gIQA7MbR5O_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions_TE1

    Like

  56. HOLA CHICAS!

    I do visit you but don’t always have time to comment. It’s that time of year and my grandkiddos & family are total tyrants for my time right now. Today you posted early and I’m up very late so I am blessed to have a little time to be with you all.

    Ametia, what is the status on the arrival of your grandchild? I hope I didn’t miss this somehow. I must tell you that being a Granny is just the very best part of a long life. I try to keep up with the politics and all but so much lately I just get sap happy over the presents I got the grandkiddos that I can’t wait for them to open.

    I’m just worthless! All I want to do right now is cook, bake cookies, love on my family and enjoy the holidays.

    Like

  57. Payroll Tax Cut: Democrats See House GOP Opposition To Senate Deal As A Gift

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/19/payroll-tax-cut-house-gop-opposition-gift_n_1158233.html

    WASHINGTON — Many Democrats think House Republicans have given them an early political Christmas present by opposing the Senate deal to extend the middle-class payroll tax cut for two months.

    “Without a doubt, this is a gift,” a senior Democratic aide told HuffPost, predicting that if the House GOP kills the compromise, Democrats will hammer them relentlessly through the holidays and beyond for hurting the middle class.

    “If Republicans block this vote,” the aide said, “we are going to spend a month back in every member’s state talking about how we reached an overwhelming compromise to extend unemployment benefits and a middle-class tax cut, but that it was blocked by House Republicans, whose only concern all year has been keeping millionaires and billionaires from paying a penny more in taxes.”

    The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is so certain that GOP opposition to the deal is a political loser that it is already campaigning on that opposition, launching a website and a round of robocalls targeting 20 Republicans in swing districts.

    Like

    • REPUGNANTS! A gift that just keeps on giving….to the rich!

      These goatfiggers are toast. They are also double stupid if they think the folks back home will vote for them in 2012 after they spent almost two years saying NO to everything that would help people and the economy recover.

      Like

  58. I love love SheDaisy’s rendition of Jingle Bells. It takes me back to my Christmas as a child. It gives me happy thoughts. I love the country sound…

    …Come and ride with me in that open sleigh

    merry christmas banner Pictures, Images and Photos

    Like

  59. Good Morning, Ametia, Rikyrah, 3 Chics, Friends & Visitors!

    Hot Comments

    Like

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