Tuesday Open Thread

The Little Drummer Boy,” originally known as “Carol of the Drum,” is a popular Christmas song written by the American classical music composer/teacher Katherine K. Davis in 1941.[1] It was recorded 1955 by the Trapp Family Singers[2] and further popularized by a 1958 recording by the Harry Simeone Chorale. This version was re-released successfully for several years and the song has been recorded many times since.[3]

In the lyrics the singer relates how, as a poor young boy, he was summoned by the Magi to the nativity where, without a gift for the infant Jesus, he played his drum with the Virgin Mary‘s approval, remembering “I played my best for him” and “He smiled at me”.

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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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58 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    Inouye’s body to lie in state in Capitol

    Source: The Hill
    Sen. Daniel Inouye’s (D-Hawaii) body will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda on Thursday.

    -snip-

    Inouye’s body is expected to arrive the Capitol around 10 a.m. and remain in the Rotunda until 8 p.m. or longer if needed.

    The Senate is not expected to be in session during that time.

    Inouye’s body will remain in the Capitol until 9:15 a.m. Friday when it will be taken to a 10:30 service at the National Cathedral.

    Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/273633-inouye-to-lie-in-state-in-capitol-rotunda

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  2. Ametia says:

    LOL You ripped this on eup RIPPA!

    <b.Gun Control: If Only We Could Be Spearchuckers Again
    Posted: 18 Dec 2012 05:11 PM PST

    Way back in the day, well before we were known as Niggers, Negroes, and subsequently African-Americans, we were known as Spearchuckers. It was meant as a derogatory term as did most other terms used to describe Blacks of African descent in America. But you know what? I do not think Spearchucker is a bad term. Actually, I wish we were Spearchuckers today, or rightfully called that in a literal sorta way.

    Ok, bear with me as I explain. You see, way back when, when Africans lived on that other planet called Africa, we carried spears as a weapon, right? I was not there, but I suspect, that back in the day in Africa, a Black man without a spear was as worthless as a Black man without a job and unable to pay his child support today. Yup, possessing a spear was important, without it, there was no food, or means of defending the homies in your crew from some other crew that claimed to either be a Crips or Bloods, or whatever. Plus, I seriously doubt the chicks took a Black man without a spear seriously. I mean, why would she if he cannot even bring home a rhino or elephant periodically, right?

    READ ON

    http://www.rippdemup.com/2012/12/gun-control-if-only-we-could-be-spearchuckers-again/

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  3. Ametia says:

    What the fuck do these GOP-baggers and righties mean by “I’m a second amendments guy.” As if they are the only ones protected under the SECOND AMENDMENT.

    This tells us what we already know that they believe that the SECOND AMENDMENT is just for them; you know the white guys… and this loser right here. So Palin’s out there running her ignorant trap. Here’s one of the PRIME reasons why she and McCain were rejected in 2008

    palin-crosshairs

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  4. Sandy Hook Parent Sends Message To NRA: ‘Return This Country Their Kids’.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/18/sandy-hook-parent-speaks-_n_2323558.html#comments

    WASHINGTON — Andrei Nikitchyuk, whose 8-year-old son escaped violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School last week, had a message Tuesday for the National Rifle Association: Think of the children who could be saved in the future if stricter gun control laws are enacted.

    “I would offer NRA, return this country their kids,” Nikitchyuk told reporters after a press conference hosted by Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which advocates for stricter gun control laws. “If they can do it, I would like that very, very much.”

    Nikitchyuk said his son, who goes by Bear, is a classroom helper and walked with a fellow student on Friday to give attendance sheets to the principal’s office. Nikitchyuk said his son heard loud noises and saw gunshots and was then pulled into a classroom by a teacher and kept safe from harm.
    ______________

    AMEN, Andrei Nikitchyuk! AMEN!

    Like

  5. Ametia says:

    From my son-in-law Rashad
    MONDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2012

    From 1984 to 1987, my family lived in Newtown, Connecticut. My mom was working on her dissertation, so she was home all the time. My dad worked at General Foods in White Plains, NY, but he chose to have us live in Newtown, so that he could shield us from the hustle and bustle in New York and the surrounding suburbs. Newtown was quite, earnest and overwhelmingly white, which was a shock to my family’s system, since we lived in Cleveland, Ohio before that.

    http://rashadiscrazy.blogspot.com/

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  6. Ametia says:

    NRA Statement on Newtown School Shootings

    Here is the text of the NRA statement on the Connecticut school shootings, released Tuesday Dec. 18.
    NRA STATEMENT

    The National Rifle Association of America is made up of four million moms and dads, sons and daughters – and we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown.

    Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting.

    The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.

    The NRA is planning to hold a major news conference in the Washington, DC area on Friday, December 21.

    Details will be released to the media at the appropriate time
    .http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2012/12/18/nra-statement-on-newtown-school-shootings/?mod=google_news_blog

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  7. Dannie Owens‏@DAOWENS44

    N.R.A. Declines to Meet With Obama on Gun Policy – http://NYTimes.com http://nyti.ms/UAr7wQ from 2011. now they wanna talk!

    Like

  8. NRA to hold press conference on Newtown: http://tpm.ly/UPj7Zy

    Like

  9. NRA breaks their silence…

    NRA says it is ‘prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again’ – statement via @BreakingNews

    _________________

    Too Late! Your time has past.

    Like

  10. Ametia says:

    White Men as the Major “Social Problem”
    By Joe ·

    Journalist and commentator David Sirota has an interesting piece about the reaction to some statements about the role of white men as the typical killers in the mass murders like the ones in Columbine, Aurora, and Newtown which he made in an MSNBC commentary and interview with Chris Hayes:
    I said that because most of the mass shootings in America come at the hands of white men, there would likely be political opposition to initiatives that propose to use those facts to profile the demographic group to which these killers belong. I suggested that’s the case because as opposed to people of color or, say, Muslims, white men as a subgroup are in such a privileged position in our society that they are the one group that our political system avoids demographically profiling or analytically aggregating in any real way. Indeed, unlike other demographic, white guys as a group are never thought to be an acceptable topic for any kind of critical discussion whatsoever, even when there is ample reason to open up such a discussion.

    Calling out white men, and most especially elite white men, as a/the social or political problem is something I have written and lectured on for many years now, but it is still very rare for anyone, commentator or researcher, to even go as far as Sirota does in this important Salon article.
    Toward the end of the article even he starts backing off on some of the logical implications of calling out white men and insisting that he is not calling for racial profiling of white men as potential killers. He notes that the current tempered and nuanced conversation of these mass killings is only occurring because “white guys” are the (usually unremarked upon) demographic so dramatically involved:

    http://www.racismreview.com/blog/

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  11. rikyrah says:

    Michigan’s Snyder pays a price for anti-union law
    By Steve Benen – Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:06 PM EST

    A week before Election Day, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s (R) political standing looked quite good. He enjoyed a 47% approval rating and fairly comfortable leads against prospective Democratic challengers.

    A lot can happen in a month. Since that poll was taken, the Republican governor abandoned his promise to voters and signed a brutal anti-union law, described by the right as a “right to work” measure. A new survey from Public Policy Polling shows the decision has taken a severe toll on Snyder’s public standing.

    The PPP results show Snyder’s approval rating down to just 38%, while 56% disapprove, which suddenly makes him one of the nation’s least popular governors. What’s more, a 51% majority disapprove of the anti-union law Snyder promised not to pursue, but which he signed last week.

    Making matters slightly worse for the Republican, in hypothetical matchups, Snyder “trails every Democrat we tested against him,” even though the leading Democratic candidates aren’t especially well known statewide (not one has name recognition above 50%).

    Even Snyder’s brand is shot. You may recall that he ran as a moderate technocrat with no interest in his party’s culture war, describing himself as a “tough nerd.” PPP found less than a third of Michigan voters consider the governor a “tough nerd” now.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2012/12/18/15995368-michigans-snyder-pays-a-price-for-anti-union-law?lite

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  12. rikyrah says:

    Yesterday at 6:35 PM
    McArdle Wins Worst Newtown Reaction Award
    By Jonathan Chait

    In what can only be seen as a malicious plot by Newsweek’s editors [Update: this is a long blog post, not a magazine piece] to ensure Megan McArdle’s reputation does not outlive Newsweek, the Daily Beast has published a 4,000 word essay by its new hire on how to stop massacres like last Friday’s. McArdle begins her essay with a prescient harbinger (“There just aren’t good words to talk about Newtown.”) but recovers to churn out a fairly standard libertarian argument about why various government remedies won’t work. And it’s true, to some extent, that various regulatory solutions all have complications.

    The problem comes at the end when, having dismissed the standard liberal regulatory measures as unworkable, she has to propose her own solution. This is what McArdle comes up with:

    I’d also like us to encourage people to gang rush shooters, rather than following their instincts to hide; if we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once.

    Are you kidding me? You think gun control is impractical, so your plan is to turn the entire national population, including young children, into a standby suicide squad? Through private initiative, of course. It’s way more feasible than gun control!

    McArdle does allow that such behavior runs contrary to instinct. Well, yes. Teaching even fairly aggressive young boys who are learning football to avoid their self-preservation instinct and crash into their opponent full speed rather than shying away from contact usually takes rigorous, lengthy training. This is when they’re wearing a helmet and full-body padding and going up against a kid their age. Trying to get them to fling their bodies into danger in a situation where they’re in shock, have no protection, and are facing an adult with a gun rather than a kid with a football is beyond impossible.

    Unless I am missing a very subtle parody of libertarianism, McArdle’s plan to teach children to launch banzai charges against mass murderers is the single worst solution to any problem I have ever seen offered in a major publication. Newsweek, I award this essay no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2012/12/newsweek-wins-worst-newtown-reaction-award.html

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  13. rikyrah says:

    December 18, 2012
    Curing Krugman’s agony
    Reading Krugman’s blogging about proposed and counterproposed fiscal-cliff deals is like reading a day-to-day history of the Korean War peace negotiations–“I’m agonizing, big time; as of last night I was marginally positive, right now marginally negative”–so I’d like to offer, to Prof. Krugman, this advice. Endorse no compromise. Not this time.

    Ordinarily I’m a big defender of the art. Compromise is, after all, the essence of politics, notwithstanding the intensity of the far right’s and activist progressives’ commonplace exhortations to just fight, fight, fight to the bitter end, which are more pretentious than strategic.

    In today’s circumstances, however, I find myself among their ranks, although not for ideological or idealistic reasons. Rather, I believe we’ve arrived at a critically decisive juncture with respect to the essence of governance and raw power, much as Lincoln did in 1861–a juncture at which he could either compromise the Union into oblivion, or he could crush the South into submission.

    In the 42 days since the election, we’ve learned this much about the GOP’s “new” politics: It possesses no will to fundamentally change. Republicans are geopolitically cornered and they know it; yet rather than modify or moderate, they’re entrenching. Although I suspect they’ll relent on their debt ceiling threats at the eleventh hour, even the run-up to more extortionist brutality and protection-racket politics reveals a party unalterably bereft of conscience or integrity or even the most rudimentary commitment to responsible governance. It seems their indulgence of nihilism is complete.

    So screw ‘em. No compromise, no life rafts, no concessions from which they’ll only triumphantly wave freshly bloodied shirts. Let them sweat it out. And then you, Prof. Krugman, can stop agonizing.

    http://pmcarpenter.blogs.com/p_m_carpenters_commentary/

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  14. Ametia says:

    Sixth Grader Brings Gun To School, Says Parents Told Him To Carry It For Protection After Newtown Shootings
    by Anjali Sareen | 12:54 pm, December 18th, 201

    A sixth grader in Utah told classmates yesterday his parents encouraged him to bring a gun to school in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy. He was apprehended by teachers after he was found with an unloaded .22 caliber rifle, according to local station, Fox 13.

    The student remains unidentified, but is described as an 11-year-old boy at West Kearns Elementary School, in a suburb of Salt Lake City. He reportedly took the gun out of his backpack during recess Monday afternoon and showed it to classmates. Isabel Rios, a fellow student, told teachers he pointed the gun at her head and said he was going to kill her.

    A spokesman for the school district told Fox 13 that although they were not notified immediately, teachers apprehended the student in “30 to 45 seconds” once they were alerted to the weapon. He was then taken to the principal’s office.

    Local parents, however, aren’t satisfied with the school’s reaction. John Klaus, a father, complained, “There was no lockdown. No one was called. Nothing was done. And then we had to hear it from our kids.”

    The administrators say there was no lockdown because the situation was resolved immediately and more importantly, they feared startling students. Police were called to determine the boy’s parents’ involvement in the incident and he was taken to juvenile hall.

    Watch the full clip below, via Fox 13:

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/sixth-grader-brings-gun-to-school-says-parents-told-him-to-carry-it-for-protection-after-newtown-shootings/

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  15. South Carolina could sentence federal officials to 5 years in prison for implementing Obamacare http://thkpr.gs/VP3zUo

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  16. rikyrah says:

    The legendary Daniel Inuoye
    By Steve Benen – Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:00 AM EST

    Rachel mentioned this on the show last night, but I’d be remiss if I neglected to write an item on the passing of Sen. Daniel Inouye (D) of Hawaii, who died yesterday at the age of 88.

    Despite his extraordinary career and rank as the Senate’s president pro tempore, Inouye probably isn’t a household name, and that’s a genuine shame because he’s the kind of American hero who doesn’t come along often. Rachel noted that the senator lived a life “that reads like fiction and that earned him legendary status.” Here’s a portion of a Ken Burns documentary in which Inouye spoke about joining the U.S. military during World War II.

    The details of Inouye’s decorated combat service are truly extraordinary. In 1945, in firefight against Nazi soldiers, he was shot in the stomach, but continued to lead his platoon. On the same mission, when preparing to throw a grenade, his right arm was shot and shattered, so Inouye used his left arm to grab the grenade from his lifeless hand, throw it at the enemy, and take out a Nazi machine gun nest.

    Seriously.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2012/12/18/15991487-the-legendary-daniel-inuoye?lite

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  17. Newtown Gunman Adam Lanza’s Hard Drive Damaged, Evidence Possibly Destroyed

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/newtown-shooter-adam-lanzas-hard-drive-badly-damaged/story?id=17998071

    A computer at the Connecticut home where Newtown, Conn., school shooter Adam Lanza lived with his mother was badly damaged, perhaps smashed with a hammer, said police who hope the machine might still yield clues to the gunman’s motive.

    The computer’s hard drive appeared to have been badly damaged with a hammer or screw driver, law enforcement authorities told ABC News, complicating efforts to exploit it for evidence.

    Officials have “seized significant evidence at [Lanza's] residence,” said Connecticut State Police spokesman Paul Vance, adding that the process of sifting through that much forensic evidence would be a lengthy and “painstaking process.”

    _________________

    He planned this whole nightmare and now has possibly destroyed the evidence.

    There are no words..

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  18. rikyrah says:

    Wal-Mart plays role of ‘aggressive and creative corrupter’ in Mexico
    By Steve Benen – Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:15 AM EST.6

    We talked back in April about a stunning Wal-Mart scandal, uncovered by the New York Times’ David Barstow, who found evidence of the retail behemoth bribing public officials in Mexico. As it turns out, the larger controversy is sill unfolding.

    Wal-Mart longed to build in Elda Pineda’s alfalfa field. It was an ideal location, just off this town’s bustling main entrance and barely a mile from its ancient pyramids, which draw tourists from around the world. With its usual precision, Wal-Mart calculated it would attract 250 customers an hour if only it could put a store in Mrs. Pineda’s field.

    One major obstacle stood in Wal-Mart’s way.

    After years of study, the town’s elected leaders had just approved a new zoning map. The leaders wanted to limit growth near the pyramids, and they considered the town’s main entrance too congested already. As a result, the 2003 zoning map prohibited commercial development on Mrs. Pineda’s field, seemingly dooming Wal-Mart’s hopes.

    But 30 miles away in Mexico City, at the headquarters of Wal-Mart de Mexico, executives were not about to be thwarted by an unfavorable zoning decision.

    The zoning map wouldn’t be official until it was published in a government newspaper, so Wal-Mart apparently delivered a $52,000 bribe to a local bureaucrat who redrew the lines, changed the map in the company’s favor, and then sent it to the newspaper. Locals were outraged by the store, but never knew about the bribe that made it happen.

    Here in the U.S., it’s been widely reported that a senior Wal-Mart lawyer learned about the company’s campaign of bribery in virtually every corner of Mexico in 2005, and an internal investigation was launched. That is, until Wal-Mart executives squashed the probe a year later, before the extent of the scandal was clear.

    So, the New York Times is doing what the company would not: getting to the bottom of the alleged, systemic Wal-Mart corruption in Mexico.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2012/12/18/15993508-wal-mart-plays-role-of-aggressive-and-creative-corrupter-in-mexico?lite

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  19. Ametia says:

    White House Rejects Boehner’s Fiscal Cliff ‘Plan B’
    David Taintor 11:30 AM EST, Tuesday December 18, 2012

    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney released the following statement in response to House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) “plan B” to avert the fiscal cliff:

    The President has put a balanced, reasonable proposal on the table that achieves significant deficit reduction and reflects real compromise by meeting the Republicans halfway on revenue and more than halfway on spending from where each side started. That is the essence of compromise. The parameters of a deal are clear, and the President is willing to continue to work with Republicans to reach a bipartisan solution that averts the fiscal cliff, protects the middle class, helps the economy, and puts our nation on a fiscally sustainable path. But he is not willing to accept a deal that doesn’t ask enough of the very wealthiest in taxes and instead shifts the burden to the middle class and seniors. The Speaker’s “Plan B” approach doesn’t meet this test because it can’t pass the Senate and therefore will not protect middle class families, and does little to address our fiscal challenges with zero spending cuts. The President is hopeful that both sides can work out remaining differences and reach a solution so we don’t miss the opportunity in front of us today.

    http://livewire.talkingpointsm

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  20. rikyrah says:

    Chain of Fools
    By mistermix December 18th, 2012

    Even Kevin Drum, who thinks that some kind of compromise is necessary on Social Security, doesn’t like the chained CPI “compromise”:

    The only proposal being offered right now is to adopt chained CPI, full stop. As far as I’m concerned, that’s unacceptable, and no Democrat should even think about endorsing it. We can argue all day about whether Social Security needs rescuing in the first place, and if we decide it does, we can then argue about exactly which combination of measures would be fairest and best. But some things should be completely off the table, and passing a package that’s 100% benefit cuts is one of them. It’s ridiculous. This is really a no-brainer.

    I’ve refrained from following every twist and turn in the fiscal cliff negotiations, but the dynamics in the House are pretty clear. Boehner’s speakership has one foot on a banana peel and one foot in the grave, so it’s doubtful whether he can deliver votes on anything he agrees to. I’m sure Hey Pauly hey Pauly hey Pauly lets have a ball Ryan and the Tea Party debasers want to starve America’s grannies, but there are still some sane members of the caucus who realize that the only lobby more scary than the NRA, the AARP, will eat them for breakfast like stewed prunes if they cut Social Security. So, at best, what Boehner is offering is part of his caucus to form a coalition with of Democrats, and the minute that vote goes through, the Republicans who voted no will run to the microphones to remind their constituents that they didn’t vote to cut Social Security. Democrats are stupid, but I doubt they’re that stupid.

    Also, too: I thought the point of the fiscal cliff was to force Congress to compromise because the cuts in the fiscal cliff are deep and onerous. Maybe chained CPI isn’t deep, but it’s certainly onerous, compared to the other options for fixing Social Security, chief among which is raising the ceiling on the income subject to the Social Security tax.

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/12/18/chain-of-fools-2/

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  21. rikyrah says:

    How Does the Deal Look?
    by BooMan
    Tue Dec 18th, 2012 at 09:14:41 AM EST

    You are going to hear a lot about chained CPI. If you want to know why progressives hate the idea, this explains it. It’s basically statistical manipulation that is used to lower the cost of living adjustments the government makes to various programs, including Social Security. It means less money for you and me in retirement. A good guess is that we’ll see a three percent reduction in our earned benefits. Why should the elderly pay the price for our stupid wars and tax cuts for the rich?
    Well, they shouldn’t. The rich should pay for it all. The vulnerable should pay for none of it.

    However, just because chained CPI is unfair and unjustified, that doesn’t mean that the president isn’t in the process of brokering a worthwhile deal. In a negotiated compromise with asshole Republicans, there has to be at least a couple things we hate included. The question in this case is: what do we get in return and what to we get to keep instead? And, then, is it a better deal than we’d get just by going over the fiscal cliff?

    It’s not possible to answer those questions definitively until we see the whole package. Democratic advocates of chained CPI see it as more palatable than increasing the retirement age for Medicare. I can’t argue with that, but we don’t need to do either thing if we just off the cliff. So, what do we get for not going over the cliff?

    It appears that we get quite a lot. We get an extension of unemployment benefits and a no-drama extension of debt ceiling. We get a modest stimulus bill focused on much-needed infrastructure projects. We limit itemized deductions for the rich. We get a permanent solution for the Alternative Minimum Tax and the Medicare Doc Fix. We avoid rattling the markets or further jeopardizing our credit rating. We regain control over the budget rather than having to put the pieces back together after sequestration takes place.

    The Republicans reportedly get tax protection for people making under $400,000 a year, cuts to Social Security cost of living adjustments, a commitment to do tax reform this year, and significant cuts in discretionary spending.

    Also, the payroll tax holiday expires. That’s probably a good thing, although it will take a bite out of the economy.

    The Republicans are still resisting elements of this deal, so it could get worse. As it stands, it’s weak enough tea for the Republicans that I suspect they will have trouble passing it. It definitely is not a sweet deal for the Democrats, but it would accomplish a lot for the president and give him room to begin governing again like a first world leader instead of fighting over whether we’ll pay our bills.

    I find it modestly preferable to going over the cliff and dealing with the ensuing chaos. But only modestly preferable. I suppose that is the nature of these kinds of deals when you have leverage but not dictatorial powers.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2012/12/18/91441/715

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  22. Mark Murray‏@mmurraypolitics

    Just in: Biden to swear in Sen. Pat Leahy as Senate pro-tempore at 11:30 am ET at the U.S. Capitol

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  23. rikyrah says:

    The Senate is Changing
    by BooMan
    Tue Dec 18th, 2012 at 12:41:57 AM EST

    As South Carolina Govenor Nikki Haley made the announcement that she had selected Rep. Tim Scott to replace Sen. Jim DeMint today, she made a point to repeatedly emphasize that Rep. Scott had earned the position. This was an example of protesting too much. Rep. Scott is a freshman in Congress whose resume is extremely thin. But, now that Allen West failed to be reelected, Rep. Scott is the only black Republican in Congress. The Republicans can be very aggressive with their affirmative action efforts, they just don’t like to admit it.
    Nevertheless, the soon-to-be Senator Scott will be the first black person from the South to serve in the Senate since the Reconstruction Era. That he will represent South Carolina, the state that led the rebellion against the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, is more impressive. I certainly did not expect to see this happen in my lifetime. I’d be happier if I didn’t know that Mr. Scott was hand-selected by Sen. Jim DeMint.

    He will do the bidding of the Good Old Boy network down there, which should be profoundly depressing most of the time. Perhaps there will be some hope for him somewhere down the line. He seems like a genuinely nice person of deep religious faith who has a permanent smile plastered on his face. If he ever gets the clout to be his own man, he might be reasonable on a few issues.

    It was almost as stunning to lose Sen. Daniel Inouye today. It’s hard to believe that Hawai’i will have two new senators next year. It’s also hard to believe that Massachusetts will have two new senators next year. A lot of state delegations are losing power.

    On the other hand, Vermont is really moving up. Patrick Leahy will take over the Appropriations Committee, which is the most powerful non-leadership post in the Senate. He’s also third in line for the presidency after Joe Biden and John Boehner. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders is taking over the Veteran’s Affairs Committee.

    Washington state has a lot more clout with Patty Murray taking over the Budget Committee and Maria Cantwell taking over the Indian Affairs Committee.

    Oregon hasn’t done too badly, either, with Sen. Wyden taking over the Energy Committee and Sen. Merkley landing a position on the Appropriations Committee.

    I think Diane Feinstein is going to wind up chairing the Judiciary Committee, which will add to California’s clout.

    I think Michigan has the strongest (most powerful) Senate delegation, followed by Iowa, Nevada, Kentucky, and Vermont.

    The weakest (least powerful) will be Hawai’i, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Nebraska.

    In any case, the Senate is going to be a lot different next year. In some ways, it will be a lot better. But it’s not easy to lose folks like Daniel Inouye and John Kerry. They aren’t that easily replaced.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2012/12/18/04157/133#8

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  24. BREAKING: In wake of Friday’s school shooting, Dick’s Sporting Goods suspends sales of ‘modern sporting rifles’ nationwide

    http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2012/12/in-wake-of-fridays-school-shooting-dicks-sporting-goods-suspends-sales-of-modern-sporting-rifles-nationwide.html/

    The store has also stopped showing and selling guns in its store near Newtown, Connecticut, where they’ve begun burying the children and educators killed on Friday.

    In a statement sent to media this morning, the chain explains:

    “We are extremely saddened by the unspeakable tragedy that occurred last week in Newtown, CT, and our hearts go out to the victims and their families, and to the entire community.

    Out of respect for the victims and their families, during this time of national mourning we have removed all guns from sale and from display in our store nearest to Newtown and suspended the sale of modern sporting rifles in all of our stores chainwide.

    We continue to extend our deepest sympathies to those affected by this terrible tragedy.”

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  25. rikyrah says:

    The Associated Press
    ✔@AP Tuskegee Airmen instructor among 4 to be inducted into National Aviation Hall of Fame in Ohio: apne.ws/12llEjt -RJJ

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  26. rikyrah says:

    From Good Black News:

    Meet the Youngest African-American Engineer in America

    Brittney Exline is special, very special. She’s the Michael Jordan of intellectuals, and getting the attention that she deserves. Brittney has been named, according to Ebony.com and other sources, to be the young black engineer in the entire United States. At 19 years old, the University of Pennsylvania grad has achieved more than most will achieve in their lifetime.

    In addition to being an extraordinary engineer, Brittney also speaks five languages. She graduated with minors in five different fields, including Math, Psychology and Classical Studies. She has worked on Wall Street and also participated in numerous beauty pageants.

    As a college professor who’s seen a few young people with this kind of ability, there are a few things you should know. Children like Brittney are not created by accident. They are products of great parenting and tremendous guidance by the people who care enough to make the necessary investment. Brittney’s parents, Chyrese and Christopher Exline, deserve as much credit as Brittney herself, because they shaped her reality to be one where their daughter was firmly convinced that anything is possible if you simply put your mind to it.

    “I made sure they remained committed even when they wanted to quit,” said Brittney’s mother. “They learned you can’t quit an activity just because it’s hard. Sometimes you need to stick with something. That’s the only way to learn how to persevere and overcome true obstacles. Eventually, it becomes a part of you. I believe this.”

    The second secret about women like Brittney is that there are young people all around us with just as much capacity for greatness. In too many cases, the child’s greatness is killed off like some kind of virus long before it ever has a chance to develop. Their potential can also be misguided into some other set of meaningless activities, like running out to the club or dribbling basketballs for a stadium full of white peoople. Sometimes, the child’s greatness is not activated because the carrier has been trained to sit hypnotized on the couch watching BET for 12 hours a day. Most of the Brittney Exlines of the black community are physically, spiritually, intellectually and socially aborted before they even get a chance to be great.

    So, the most extraordinary thing about Brittney’s story is not what she puts on her resume. It is the fact that her greatness was nurtured and developed in a way that allows all of us to see just how special this woman was meant to be. There is probably a Brittney Exline in your own son or daughter and it is your decision to activate that which makes him/her special. Also, by simply setting high expectations for our kids and pushing them to be their best, we can give them a chance to live as leaders and not as sheep. This is as much a spiritual exercise as it is an intellectual one, for your passion serves as the fuel for nearly all intellectual endeavors.

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  27. rikyrah says:

    Richard Engel and NBC News team freed from captors in Syria
    By Mike Brunker, NBC News

    Updated at 7:35 a.m. ET: NBC News’ Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel and members of his network production team were freed from captors in Syria after a firefight at a checkpoint on Monday, five days after they were taken prisoner, NBC News said early Tuesday.

    “After being kidnapped and held for five days inside Syria by an unknown group, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel and his production crew members have been freed unharmed. We are pleased to report they are safely out of the country,” the network said in a statement.

    “It is good to be here,” Engel said during a live appearance on TODAY from Turkey. “I’m very happy that we’re able to do this live shot this morning.”

    Engel said that they were traveling with Syrian rebels when a group of about 15 gunmen “jumped out the trees and bushes” and captured them.

    http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/18/15985279-richard-engel-and-nbc-news-team-freed-from-captors-in-syria?lite

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  28. Ametia says:

    Connecticut shooting, white males, and mass murder

    It’s a tragedy. One of the worst in American history. Twenty-six people dead, including twenty children. Dozens more children who will live their lives with the terrible memory. Tens of thousands of parents who will wonder quietly whether it might one day happen to their child. A community in utter shock and disbelief. For the family and community members directly affected by this tragedy, it is their day to grieve. For the millions of Americans that have been affected by gun death, today may be a day to relive grief and loss. For the rest of us, we can take today to think critically about the problem of mass shootings to try to come up with a solution. This is how we who are not directly affected can honor the dead. In this spirit, I will offer one perspective which may help explain why these things are happening.

    Through history, there have been a lot of suggestions as to the cause of mass shootings. In the 60s, it was the permissive culture. In subsequent decades, it’s been the teaching of evolution, working mothers, birth control pills, and “evangelical jockocracies.” The interesting thing about all of these suggestions is that they may point indirectly at a much more plausible explanation. To begin with, we must ask who is offering these explanations in the first place. Overwhelmingly, the answer is white males. Most likely not coincidental is the fact that since 1982, one very specific type of mass shootings has been almost entirely perpetrated by white males.

    http://www.examiner.com/article/connecticut-shooting-white-males-and-mass-murder

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  29. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

    Like

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