Thursday Open Thread

Do You Hear What I Hear? is a Christmas song written in October 1962 with lyrics by Noël Regney and music by Gloria Shayne Baker.[1] The pair were married at the time, and wrote it as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis.[2] It has sold tens of millions of copies and has been covered by hundreds of artists.[2]

Noel Regney wrote the lyrics for the song, while Gloria Shayne Baker composed the Christmas carol‘s music in October 1962.[2] This was an unusual arrangement for the two writers. Usually it was Baker who wrote the lyrics for their songs while Regney composed the music, as they did when they wrote a song based on the classic children’s song “Rain Rain Go Away“.[1][2]

Regney was inspired to write the lyrics “Said the night wind to the little lamb, ‘Do you see what I see?’ ” and “Pray for peace, people everywhere,” after watching babies being pushed in strollers on the sidewalks of New York City.[1] Baker stated in an interview years later that neither could personally perform the entire song at the time they wrote it because of the emotions surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis.[1] “Our little song broke us up. You must realize there was a threat of nuclear war at the time.”[1]

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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120 Responses to Thursday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    Wow! 3 Chics sure is a trend-setter. IMITATION is the sincerest form of FLATTERY!”

    • rikyrah says:

      what are you referring to….I wanna know…

      • Ametia says:

        LOL We know PBO’s got staffers reading the blogs too. He’s starting to use some of the same terminology as we use here and other sites. Only we don’t expect PBO to give us a hat tip. He can take whatever he needs to get his message out.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Thanks to Peanut:

    1. I have rediscovered why I loved Scooby-Doo all those years ago. She’s crazy about it.

    2. I love the new Kung Fu Panda cartoon series.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Holder, Chaffetz Get Into Heated Exchange Over Fast And Furious (VIDEO)
    Ryan J. Reilly- December 8, 2011, 5:48 PM

    One of the most heated exchanges of Attorney General Eric Holder’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday came thanks to questioning from Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who accused Holder of being “oblivious and disengaged” from guns “walking” during Operation Fast and Furious.

    “Well, first off, the notion that I am somehow oblivious to this matter is totally belied by these inconvenient things called the facts,” Holder said.

    “You took five days to go to the Caribbean, you didn’t have 15 minutes to call Secretary Clinton, Napolitano, talk to the president or your counterparts in Mexico?” Chaffetz injected.

    Holder later told Chaffetz that he needs “to understand something about the way that Washington works” when it comes to matters under investigation.

    The full exchange is embedded below. TPM’s preview of Thursday’s hearing is here.

  4. rikyrah says:

    December 08, 2011 4:55 PM

    Obama tackles the ‘appeasement’ question
    By Steve Benen

    The AP’s Ben Feller, during a brief press conference at the White House this morning, told President Obama, “Republican candidates have taken aim at your approach to foreign policy, particularly the Middle East and Israel, and accused you of appeasement.” Feller asked for the president’s reaction.

    Obama offered a rather memorable response.

    For those who can’t watch videos online, the president told the press corps, “Ask Osama bin Laden and the 22-out-of-30 top al Qaeda leaders who’ve been taken off the field whether I engage in appeasement. Or whoever is left out there, ask them about that.”

    Now, there’s a reasonable discussion to be had over whether the president should boast about how many people he’s had killed, even if the targets are al Qaeda terrorists.

    Having acknowledged that legitimate concern, Obama’s brief response this morning was a reminder about how difficult Republicans will find it to attack this aspect of the administration’s record. To hear the GOP presidential candidates tell it yesterday, the president is not only weak and spineless, he’s arguably a modern-day Neville Chamberlain.

    While sane people clearly know better, Obama just doesn’t have to try too hard to point to his record — the death of bin Laden, the decimation of al Qaeda, the end of the war in Iraq, the end of the Gadhafi regime in Libya, etc. — to make the Republican rhetoric appear literally unbelievable in the eyes of the American mainstream.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Disingenuous Karl Rove Ad Smears Elizabeth Warren,
    Implies She Facilitated Bank Bailouts And Corporate Bonuses
    By Scott Keyes on Dec 8, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Karl Rove’s independent group Crossroads GPS is up with a new advertisement today, smearing Massachusetts senate candidate Elizabeth Warren (D) by insinuating that she was responsible for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the bank bailout that took place at the height of the financial crisis.

    The ad blames Warren for “bailing out the same banks that caused the financial meltdown, bailouts that helped pay big bonuses to bank executives while middle class Americans lost out.” It closes by imploring the viewer to “tell Professor Warren we need jobs, not more bailouts and bigger government.”

    The accusation that Warren is responsible for TARP, bank bailouts, or huge executive bonuses is beyond absurd. TARP and the bank bailouts were Republican ideas that began under President Bush. As Simon Johnson notes, Warren “has also been a strong supporter of all efforts to rein in Too Big To Fail banks, including by breaking them up.”

    In fact, her work creating and heading up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau involved advocating directly on consumers’ behalf, a key check on the power of big banks. She also ran the Congressional Oversight Panel for TARP, where her role was to track the money that was given to the banks. She was extremely critical of both the banks’ and Washington’s inability to accurately account for TARP money.

    Viewers could be excused for thinking that Crossroads GPS might not even believe the veracity of its own ad, given that a month ago, they released a different ad accusing Warren of “sid[ing] with extreme left protests” and supporting the Occupy Wall Street protesters.

    In fact, if Crossroads actually cared about fighting back against excessive bank power, they would release an ad critical of Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), whose top 10 contributors include six banks or financial institutions, such as Goldman Sachs and Bain Capital. In total, the financial industry has contributed over $2.9 million to Brown’s campaign. It is unclear where Crossroads’ funding comes from because under existing election law, groups like Crossroads GPS are not required to disclose their donors, nor are there limits on how much those donors can give.

    Crossroads GPS was one of the largest-spending outside groups in the 2010 election. There is little doubt that the group’s 2012 spending will dwarf its expenditures last year, using unlimited amounts of undisclosed money to run smears like the Warren ad against progressive candidates around the country.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Massachusetts to allow access to Romney paper records

    Surge in requests comes after reports that Romney spent nearly $100,000 in state funds to replace computers

    Massachusetts will allow some public access to hundreds of previously off-limits boxes of official records generated by Mitt Romney’s office when he was governor from 2003 to 2007, a state official said on Tuesday.

    Romney has asserted that a 1997 decision by the Massachusetts state supreme court means that while paper records of his administration are property of the state, they are exempt from public disclosure.

    But the state had allowed access to some of the estimated 600 boxes of paper records from Romney’s governorship held by the state archives.

    The surge in requests to review the records comes after reports that Romney spent nearly $100,000 in state funds to replace computers in his office at the end of his term as part of an unprecedented effort to keep his records secret.

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

  7. rikyrah says:

    Found this over at THE OBAMA DIARY:


    A Letter to Obama

    Dr. John Boyd, Jr. Blog Site

    Posted by jboyd on December 7, 2011


    My name is John Boyd and I am the great grandson of a slave and the grandson of a sharecropper. In 1984, I bought a farm from another African-American farmer named Russell Sallie, who was forced to sell his property when the U.S. Department of Agriculture began foreclosure procedures on it. As a black farm owner I spent many years battling discrimination by the USDA, and fought hard for the passage of legislation
    which would compensate black farmers who had suffered under the USDA’s discriminatory practices.

    It was a long and often lonely battle, until I met a young Senator from Illinois, named Barack Obama.
    I approached Senator Obama and said to him, “I need your help with the black farmers bill.” He took an interest in the situation, and wanted to hear from me about the discrimination that black farmers faced. He genuinely cared about what I had to say.

    As President, Barack Obama continued to fight for black farmers, and on December 8th, 2010, he signed legislation that would give $1.25 billion in compensation to black farmers. I had the privilege of representing the nation’s African-American farmers in the room the day he signed the bill. And when the President embraced me, I felt like he was embracing all those who were affected by the unjust policies of the USDA.

    That’s why I am committed to standing with the President to pass the job’s plan and help get all Americans back to work. Because if it can be done for black farmers, I believe it can be done for the good of the entire nation. And nothing could be more important at this moment for the African-American community and for all Americans than to pass the job’s bill.

  8. Ametia says:

    Where are you Carey? 3 Chics MISSES YOU!!!

  9. Hanukkah at the White House

  10. Ametia says:

    Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann latest to skip Trump-moderated debate
    By Brian Montopoli Topics Campaign 2012 .
    Updated 7 p.m. ET

    The planned Donald Trump-moderated Republican presidential debate seems to be turning into a bust.

    Rick Perry’s campaign indicated Thursday that the Texas governor will not participate, saying he will be focused instead on meeting Iowa voters.

    “Traditional retail campaigning in the days and weeks leading up to the Iowa caucus is the Perry campaign’s top priority,” said Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan. Perry is one of a number of GOP presidential candidates who has met with Trump seeking his endorsement.

    Later Tuesday, Michele Bachmann’s campaign said the Minnesota representative would also not participate in the debate.

    Three candidates – Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman – have previously said they would not participate in the December 27 debate in Des Moines. Huntsman and Paul mocked the event, with Paul deeming it “beneath the office of the presidency,” while Romney said his busy schedule precludes his participation

  11. Jerry Sandusky’s Wife Defends Him Against ‘False Accusations’

    Jerry Sandusky was arrested again on Wednesday after two new alleged victims came forward with detailed allegations of sexual abuse perpetrated by the former Penn State football coach. Over the weeks since Sandusky’s initial arrest, there has been a consistent stream of new accustations and revelations pertaining to the alleged crimes. Meanwhile, Sandusky has twice spoken in his own defense. His lawyer, Joseph Amendola, has also maintained his client’s innocence and stated his intentions to fight the case in court. There has been, however, a relative paucity of outspoken defense of Sandusky by friends and family in the face of the mounting accusations.

    Until today. In a statement issued through Amendola, Dottie Sandusky, the wife of the coach now facing more than 50 counts of child sexual abuse, spoke out, decrying “false accusations.”

  12. rikyrah says:

    December 08, 2011 2:20 PM

    Republicans still long for other presidential options
    By Steve Benen

    Erick Erickson this week suggested he’s “praying” for a brokered Republican convention, so that some other GOP candidate — as opposed to those currently running — might win the party’s presidential nomination. Joe Scarborough said in response, “I don’t know many Republicans who aren’t praying for a brokered convention right now.” (thanks to F.B. for the tip)

    Though he doesn’t specifically reference the brokered possibility, Rhodes Cook argues today that it’s not “too late” for some other “late-starting candidate to emerge” in the new year. Bill Kristol seems excited about the possibility.

    It wouldn’t be easy to pull off a late draft or a late entry, but it’s not as impossible as conventional wisdom assumes.

    The key, I think, would be if both Romney and Gingrich stumbled during January. If that were to happen, there would be a window of opportunity in February — during the gap between the first spurt of January primaries and Super Tuesday on March 6. The window probably closes around Valentine’s Day — Tuesday, February 14 — so let’s call the late entry the Valentine’s Day option. That could be the last chance (unless there’s a deadlocked convention, which isn’t totally outside the realm of possibility either) for Republicans to throw off the old suitors and run into the arms of a new Prince Charming. Or two. And Valentine’s Day is for the young.

    So … why not the best? Ryan-Rubio 2012?

    First, this really should be humiliating for the Republican Party. They’ve been planning to take on President Obama for three years, and as of last week, had at least eight candidates to choose from (more if you include guys like Buddy Roemer and Gary Johnson). And yet, just 26 days before the Iowa caucuses, leading GOP voices are still trying to figure out how to get a better candidate nominated.

    Second, the party should probably give up hope now of a brokered convention, at which a white knight can come save the party. It’s “not going to happen.”

    And just as an aside, I can’t help but wonder how Mitt Romney, who’s been running practically non-stop for five years, feels about all of this.

  13. rikyrah says:

    I’d watch every debate if candidates were asked these questions
    by Kay

    I’m just going to post this entire comment, exchange btwn Kaine and Allen and analysis (via TPM) and accompanying comment (via El Cid), because it’s great:

    Allen criticized Kaine for accepting the role of chairman of the Democratic National Committee, saying he should have spent his final year as governor on state priorities, “not the national partisan role of advocating for the likes of, not only President Obama’s policies, but those of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.”

    “The likes of President Obama?” Kaine responded.

    “Well, the policies and agenda of President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid,” said Allen. “Were you or were you not advocating for their agenda? And their agenda surely wasn’t consistent with what’s in the best interests of the people of Virginia.”

    “Wiping out al-Qaeda?” Kaine responded “Stopping the Iraq War? Saving the auto industry? Is that not being consistent with Virginia’s interests? I just see it a different way than you do, George.”

    The candidates were asked about conservative proposals to declare that life begins at conception. Kaine opposed this, explaining that it would not only outlaw abortion, but would outlaw contraception such as the birth control pill and intra-uterine devices.

    Allen said that defining life as beginning at conception would not outlaw contraception, as “contraception” means stopping conception — that is, preventing fertilization from taking place.

    Later on, there was this awkward exchange with a moderator:

    Moderator: Could you tell us, how do you think birth control pills and intra-uterine devices work?

    Allen: I’m not – I don’t profess to be a doctor. i’m just using logic of — maybe a little bit of Latin, that contraception means it stops conception – and so you do not have a fertilized egg.

    Moderator: Don’t they work by preventing implantation of a fertilized egg?

    Allen: Well if the egg is not fertilized, there is not conception.

    When Kaine’s turn came up to speak, he explained that the common birth control pill works by a dual mechanism — both preventing fertilization, and preventing successful implantation when fertilization does occur. Also, he added, intra-uterine devices work singly by preventing implantation.

  14. rikyrah says:

    December 08, 2011 1:20 PM

    Romney camp backs radical budget plan
    By Steve Benen

    Several months ago, the House Republican budget plan, crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) generated a national firestorm for good reason. Among its many controversial provisions was a radical plan to force seniors out of Medicare and into a private voucher system. When nearly every Republican in the House and Senate endorsed the proposal, it instantly became the basis for much of the Democratic strategy in 2012.

    At least at the congressional level, that is. Among GOP presidential candidates, Ryan’s radical approach to Medicare had a certain radioactive quality that gave would-be presidents pause — they couldn’t denounce the plan without infuriating conservatives, but they couldn’t endorse it without creating a major general-election vulnerability for themselves.

    Mitt Romney, known for being on every side of every issue, spent quite a bit of time dodging questions about the Ryan plan in the Spring, because, well, he’s not exactly a courageous guy.

    And that leads us to today, when the Romney campaign, feeling a little desperate, decided to go on the attack against Newt Gingrich. The former governor’s team organized a big conference call with reporters this morning, allowing former Gov. John Sununu (R-N.H.) and former Sen. Jim Talent (R-Mo.) to unload on the former Speaker, questioning his character, record, and ideology.

    Of particular interest, though, was Romney’s surrogates attacking Gingrich for having criticized the Paul Ryan budget plan.

    Repeatedly, they claimed that Romney supported the Ryan plan. “Gov. Romney recognized right away the features of that plan,” said Sununu.

    What’s more, Jed Lewison noticed a related development this morning.

    More importantly, in order to make this attack, Mitt Romney has now given himself ownership of the Ryan plan. On his website, he’s proudly touting a quote from June in which he said he would sign the Medicare-repeal plan into law.

    Let me say that again: Mitt Romney is now one hundred percent committed to Paul Ryan’s proposal to end Medicare and replace it with vouchers.

    This is no small revelation. In April and May, Democrats desperately tried to get Romney to endorse the Ryan budget plan, but the former governor kept dodging and eventually the questions stopped. But now it’s back, and the ambiguities are gone — Romney’s campaign is now on record supporting a radical budget plan that, among other things, replaces Medicare with a private voucher scheme, slashes taxes on the wealthy, and adds $6 trillion to the debt.

    This is the line Democrats have waited eight months for Romney to take.

  15. President Obama Speaks on Confirming Richard Cordray

  16. Ametia says:

    Love David Plouffe. Dude knows how to STAY.ON.MESSAGE. Trust, he did not buy into Lawrence’s bait to talk about GOP presidential clown show

  17. Ametia says:

    Newt Gingrich’s gay half-sister backs Obama for 2012
    By theGrio
    8:18 AM on 12/08/2011

    The gay half-sister of Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich has criticized his position on gay rights, saying she will support Barack Obama in the 2012 election.

    Candace Gingrich-Jones, a gay rights activist, said in an interview with MSNBC that she and her older half-brother, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, were “mutually respectful” but disagree on gay rights.

    “He is definitely on the wrong side of history when it comes to those issues,” Gingrich-Jones said.

    She said she would “work really, really hard to make sure that President Obama is re-elected next year no matter who the Republican candidate is”.


  18. Martin Luther King Murder: Smithsonian Channel Uncovers Film From Assassination

    NEW YORK — Some forward-looking college professors enabled television’s Smithsonian Channel to offer a look at the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. from the time in which it occurred.

    The network said Wednesday it will air a documentary in February culled primarily from local news footage in Memphis, Tenn., where the civil rights leader was murdered on April 4, 1968. Most of the footage hasn’t been seen on television since it originally aired.

    Many such moments are lost since local television stations usually taped over old broadcasts or threw away film reels, said David Royle, executive producer at the Smithsonian Channel. But some University of Memphis professors sensed in March 1968 that civil rights history was happening with a strike of local sanitation workers, the event that drew King to Memphis, and they collected footage of the events through King’s murder and its aftermath.

    “What they were doing was absolutely visionary – and very unusual,” Royle said.

    It enabled the production of a documentary with a vivid, “you-are-there” feel and the uncovering of some fascinating moments.

    Royle said he was drawn, for instance, to coverage of King’s famed “mountaintop” speech at the Mason Temple the night before the assassination. Cameras followed King after the speech to where he slumped in a chair, and viewers could sense the man’s fragility.

    The producer said he recognized how the existence of such film was unusual when he researched an older documentary on Sam Ervin, the North Carolina senator who chaired the Watergate investigative committee in the 1970s. Royle said he traveled across North Carolina and could find only a minute and a half of tape of Ervin in his home state.

    Another stroke of luck for Tom Jennings, who produced “MLK: The Assassination Tapes,” was finding Vince Hughes, who was a 20-year-old Memphis police dispatcher on his second day of work when King was killed. Hughes kept audiotapes of police calls on that day and crime scene photos from where King was shot, and the material was made available for the film.

    Jennings also went to radio station WDIA to collect interviews from black Memphis residents at the time. The white-owned and operated TV stations at the time had little such material, Royle said.

    “This (documentary) plunges you into the immediacy of the period and allows you to absorb it the way people at the time absorbed it,” Royle said. “There’s something that’s electric about that. It gets you to sit up and pay attention.”

    Smithsonian plans to air the special on Feb. 12.

  19. Ametia says:


  20. Ametia says:

    Posted at 12:59 PM ET, 12/08/2011
    Police officer shot at Virginia Tech; reports of second victim

    By Daniel deVise

    A police officer has been shot at Virginia Tech, and a suspect is at large on the Blacksburg campus, the university reports.

    A campus-wide message advised of a potential second shooting victim at a campus parking lot. “Stay indoors,” it warned. “Secure in place.”

    Virginia Tech, a public campus of about 30,000 students, has one of the nation’s most advanced security alert systems, installed after the nation’s worst campus shooting, a 2007 rampage by student Seung-Hui Cho that left 32 dead.

    Today’s report of shots fired came in the noon hour. The first alert advised of gunshots reported at the school’s Coliseum parking lot, off Washington Street and Spring Road, in a southern section of campus devoted to athletics. It told the community to stay inside and secure doors.

  21. Allen West: Obama’s ‘Talk About Equality And Fairness’ Is ‘Divisive’

    When did equality and fairness talk become divisive? Allen West is one ignorant fool!

  22. Perry Misspeaks on Candidacy Age

    Add a new gaffe to GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry’s list: The age of candidacy to run for president is 21.

    The Texas governor quickly corrected his mistake, saying that the age is 35.

    Perry was speaking to “future President” Catcher Jones, 7, of Greenville Thursday during an event in Mount Pleasant.

    “I’m glad you’re not 21,” Perry said, crouching down to Jones and then eyeing the group around him. “Or actually 35.”

    Perry recently came under fire for saying the legal voting age was 21 in New Hampshire, according to the Huffington Post.

  23. Ametia says:

    How Big Telecom Used Smartphones to Create a New Digital Divide
    by Jamilah King
    Tuesday, December 6 2011, 10:19 AM EST

    As the 2011 holiday shopping season geared up, the country’s leading mobile wireless carrier, Verizon, announced a special deal. For a limited time only, customers could get the popular HTC Droid Incredible 2 smartphone for free, if they signed up for a two-year data plan. Since the phone’s full retail price is usually more than $430, the deal meant a savings of more than $200 with a new contract. It features a four-inch touchscreen and eight mega-pixel rear camera, along with top-of-the-line video and one of the industry’s fastest processors. It’s everything you need to feel like you’ve got the Internet in your pocket, and for a fraction of the price of a computer. That’s a compelling selling point for many buyers, but particularly so among the black and Latino consumers who are so key to the now-massive smartphone market.

  24. rikyrah says:

  25. rikyrah says:

    Confused Banksters
    by BooMan
    Thu Dec 8th, 2011 at 12:14:47 PM EST

    JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is confused about why people are considering constructing guillotines in Lower Manhattan.

    “Acting like everyone who’s been successful is bad and that everyone who is rich is bad, I just don’t get it,” Dimon said. “Most of us wage earners are paying 39.6% in taxes, and add in another 12% in New York state and city taxes, and we’re paying 50% of our income in taxes.”

    Isn’t it interesting that Mr. Dimon thinks he is still paying the same marginal income tax rate that he paid under President Clinton? Someone should tell him that he’s actually paying 35%, which the highest rate under the Bush tax cuts. If he isn’t even noticing the difference then maybe he and his banking buddies can tell the Republicans to stop resisting the president’s efforts to return to the 39.6% rate for the wealthiest two percent of wage earners. But, let’s get real. Mr. Dimon was only paid a one million dollar salary last year. He received a $5 million bonus. He also got “nearly $8 million in stock awards and $6.2 million in option awards.” And, the best part?

    When you take into account his salary and bonuses, then add in the stock options exercised in 2010 based on previous awards — that is, stock given to him at depressed valuations across 2008 and 2009 — Dimon pulled in around $42 million.

    So, he made $42 million last year. And what percentage of that income was taxed at 39.6%? The answer is zero percent. What percentage was taxed at 35%? I don’t know the answer to that, but probably not much more than a sixth of it. The vast majority of his income was measured as capital gains, which have a 15% tax rate for investments held for more than a year.

    The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Bush tax cuts blew a $2.2 trillion hole in the budget in the period between 2002 and 2010. That represents a third of all deficit spending. And the beautiful thing about it is that Mr. Dimon didn’t even notice that his tax rate had dropped.

    Every day that goes by with the government looking to slash programs that help working people while people like Jamie Dimon complain about being demonized, brings us a day closer to when those guillotines actually get erected and put to use.

  26. Ametia says:

    Mittens is going after the philandering 3 wifer Newter Salamander

  27. rikyrah says:

    awe…..Willard has a sad….

    * Four new Time/CNN polls show Newt Gingrich leading Mitt Romney in three of the four early nominating contests. Gingrich leads Romney by 13 points in Iowa, 23 points in South Carolina, and 23 points in Florida. Romney still leads in New Hampshire, but his margin over Gingrich has shrunk to just 9 points.

    * New Quinnipiac polls also show Gingrich well ahead of his Republican rivals, leading Romney by 13 points in Florida, 18 points in Ohio, and 14 points in Pennsylvania.


    He’s losing to a piece of slime like Newt.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Obama Stings And Rebukes The GOP By Redefining American Exceptionalism

    Republicans are enamored with the term American exceptionalism and they have belittled President Obama for not promoting the concept that in this country, all things are possible and that exceptionalism gives America the right to be a dominant force in the world. There was a time when America was exceptional because any citizen, regardless of economic station, could aspire to and achieve the American dream if they worked hard, persevered, and made personal sacrifices. That reality, although gone now, created the great American middle class and was responsible for building the country into the greatest nation on Earth. For the past generation though, conservative ideology has transformed the American dream into an exercise in futility because regardless of hard work, dedication, and perseverance, the prospect of achieving middle class status is nothing more than a pipe dream.

    President Obama’s speech in Kansas yesterday was a stinging rebuke of Republicans’ economic philosophy that more wealth at the top produces income and jobs for the peasant population. The President said, “It’s a simple theory — one that speaks to our rugged individualism and healthy skepticism of too much government. It fits well on a bumper sticker. Here’s the problem: It doesn’t work; it’s never worked.” There was an underlying theme in the President’s speech that focused on inequality, fairness, and a sense of right and wrong that many Americans have complained is lacking in this country since Republicans began giving wealth and special privileges to a small percentage of Americans who, through greed and power over the government, perpetuate the conditions that are sending more American families into the depth of poverty while the wealthy prosper and increase their control over the government.


    The President made a prescient point that it is heartbreaking that hard-working Americans increasingly are left with little choice but to take their children to food banks just to ensure they have decent meals. Obama said, “But the idea that those children might not have a chance to climb out of that situation and back into the middle class, no matter how hard they work; that’s inexcusable. It’s wrong.” Republicans have assailed the middle and working class with gusto since they took control of the House, several state legislatures, and governor’s mansions in 2011 by limiting union representation, reducing the government workforce, and slashing wages only to send the savings directly to corporations and the wealthy.

    President Obama made the point that income inequality is the divisive issue facing America today and commented that “the breathtaking greed of a few” who caused the financial crisis is the reason there is a “raging debate over the best way to restore growth and prosperity, balance and fairness.” For those who have criticized the President for not giving support to the Occupy movement, his speech should clear up where his loyalties are. He said, “This isn’t just another political debate. This is the defining issue of our time. This is a make or break moment for the middle class, and all those who are fighting to get into the middle class.” There can be little doubt that President Obama is firmly on the side of the 99% or that he is working to eliminate the crippling income inequality that is destroying democracy.

    Although the President said the divisive income inequality was not a political debate, he clearly set the tone for next year’s election. Americans who have a memory will remember that Obama’s policies and achievements over the past three years have primarily benefited 99% of Americans whether it is the Affordable Care Act, Financial reforms, or the payroll tax cut Republicans oppose. All of the Republican presidential candidates support the status quo that favors the wealthiest Americans and punishes the poor, elderly, children, middle and working class that make up 99% of the population. They will have a difficult time convincing most Americans they have their best interests in mind regardless the rhetoric of not taxing the so-called job creators.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Trickling down the low road
    by Kay

    Factual rebuttal to the effort by Mitch Daniels to destroy private sector unions in Indiana:

    As a report by the Higgins Labor Studies Program pointed out, trying to attract businesses to a state based on low wages is the “low road” to economic development. It is a “trickle-down” approach that leads to a “race to the bottom.” It undermines living standards for most workers and, in a globalized environment, is unlikely to lead to a long-lasting increase in economic growth.
    Most people would agree that lowering wages and benefits for Indiana workers is not the best way to promote economic development in Indiana. RTW advocates seem to recognize this and go to great lengths to deny that RTW laws lower wages and benefits. In a section in its report titled, “Testimony Supporting RTW,” the committee states that “RTW states have … higher wages when adjusted for cost of living … than non-RTW states.”
    The truth of the matter is that RTW laws do lower wages and benefits—for all workers in RTW states. In a recent thoroughly documented and well-researched study (which, by the way, adjusts for the cost of living), economists Elise Gould and Heidi Shierholz demonstrate that workers in RTW states make $1,500 less in wages annually compared to workers in non-RTW states.

    In its section on testimony supporting RTW, the committee repeats, without comment, the following statement: “Unions argue that they are forced to bargain for all employees, not only for union members, but there is nothing in law that forces them to do that.”
    This statement, however, represents a misunderstanding of the relevant legal principles under the National Labor Relations Act. Section 9(a) of the NLRA provides that any unions selected or designated for purposes of collective bargaining “shall be the exclusive representatives of all the employees in such unit. ..” (emphasis added). Moreover, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that a union owes a duty of fair representation to all employees in the bargaining unit (union members and non-members alike), and it is because of that duty that the court has sanctioned the imposition of fees “to the extent necessary to ensure that those who enjoy union-negotiated benefits contribute to their cost.” In addition, if a union has not been designated as the exclusive representative of all employees in the bargaining unit, then the employer is under no statutory obligation to collectively bargain with the union.

    It might also be useful to point out another misleading statement about unions in the committee report. Its first “finding of fact” states the following: “Based on the principles of freedom of speech and association, individuals should be able to choose whether or not to associate with unions.” There is no requirement under current labor law for any worker to join a union. The “fair share” clauses that RTW laws would ban do not require workers to become members of a union; they only require workers who benefit from the results of a collective bargaining agreement to contribute to the costs of negotiating and administering that agreement. The Supreme Court established this principle in NLRB v. General Motors Corp., and further defined it in Communications Workers of America v. Beck.

    Mitch Daniels was and is the regional leader of the effort to lower wages and quality of life for working people that is now being conducted in Ohio and Wisconsin. He was first. Daniels put all of these policies and practices in, beginning way back in 2005, when he ended public sector unions by executive order. Daniels got the whole conservative-libertarian race to the bottom wish list, virtually unopposed, until now, when he’s finally, finally meeting resistance.

    And what’s the result for ordinary people in Indiana? What’s the result after they made concession after concession on worker rights and sold or privatized state assets and public services? How’d that go for them?

    This is the Indiana unemployment rate: 9.0

    This is Ohio: 9.0

    This is Wisconsin: 7.7

    Ohio and Wisconsin don’t have to travel far to see what race to the bottom gets them. They can simply hop on the privatized toll road and visit Indiana. Nothing. They’ll get nothing. They can meet the demands of the politicians and pundits who serve “job creators” and when they take those hits the same people will simply tell them they haven’t given enough yet and be right back for more.

    This is the report on how RTW reduces wages across the board cited in the editorial.

  30. Ametia says:


  31. rikyrah says:

    At the Press Conference:

    President Obama’s answer to reporter asked about GOP accusing him of appeasement:

    “Ask Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda and whomever is left out there if I engage in appeasement.”


    YEAH, BABY!!!

  32. Ametia says:

    Vice President Joe Biden surprises sailors, visits students
    High-level welcome home a surprise for USS Gettysburg sailors
    Published On: Dec 08 2011 09:18:36 AM EST Updated On: Dec 08 2011 11:54:19 AM EST

    MAYPORT, Fla. –
    Vice President Joe Biden was expected to discuss college with Fletcher High School students Thursday morning, but his appearance at the Mayport to welcome sailors returning from a seven-month deployment was a surprise to just about everybody.

    It is a homecoming for the USS Gettysburg and a port visit for the carrier USS George H.W. Bush coming off its maiden deployment supporting American efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Biden spoke to family awaiting the arrival of the Gettysburg, a guided missile cruiser based at Mayport and part of the Bush battle group.

    He and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan then traveled to Fletcher in Neptune Beach to discuss college affordability at an assembly of students, teachers, administrators and parents.

  33. Ametia says:

    Tell’em PBO; you know POTUS’ don’t really get vacations. It’s 365/24/7

  34. Uh Oh! President Obama laid the smackdown about Osama Bin Laden and appeasement!

    Ka Pow!

  35. Ametia says:

    Ed Henry is lickin his chops to ask stupid questions.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Emboldened By Our Silence, GOP Tyrants Are Coming For The Children

    Despots are the most despised people in any nation, and history is littered with remnants of once-great societies that fell victim to evil tyrants who persecuted entire populations for profits and twisted ideology. For the past thirty years, Americans have suffered from conservatives who put the interests of a small group of wealthy elites over the entire population, and in 2011, it is safe to say that Republicans are tyrants for assailing 99% of the population. Last week, the front-runner for the Republican nomination for president suggested forcing poor school children to work at schools mopping floors and called child labor laws stupid. Other Republicans have proposed eliminating the federal minimum wage and labor laws to enrich corporations’ bottom line. Many Americans are astounded that Republicans feel confident in their blatant attacks on every segment of the population and are asking; how did we get to this point? The answer is simple, but most Americans are unlikely to appreciate the reason the GOP feels emboldened to wage war on 99% of the American population.

    For decades, Republicans assailed the poor and minorities with impunity and although there were, and still are, some decent Americans who spoke out about the injustice perpetrated by Republicans, there was a stunning silence from most of America; most of America that claims Christianity as their religion.

    Tyrants are bullies, and like all bullies, Republicans escalated their assault during the Bush administration to include the elderly by proposing a Social Security privatization scam that jeopardized every working American’s retirement they paid into their entire working lives. The Republicans were confident that since they were successful assaulting the poor and minorities without objection by the American people, they could expand their attacks on the nation’s elderly because they knew no-one would mount a campaign to stop their tyranny.

    In 2009-2010, Republicans expanded their assault to include the infirm by rebelling against efforts by President Obama and most Democrats to give every American access to affordable health care. Republicans and the Koch brothers’ tea party convinced more than half of the country that health care was a privilege reserved for those who could afford expensive premiums, and except for a minority of Americans, the GOP has been relatively successful in pursuing a repeal of the Affordable Health Act. The Republicans are still promising to repeal the health law because there are very few Americans willing to speak out against the inhumanity of letting American citizens perish and suffer debilitating maladies

  37. rikyrah says:

    December 08, 2011 10:30 AM

    Unprecedented obstruction and false equivalencies
    By Steve Benen

    Politico has a piece today on Senate Democrats’ outrage over Republican obstructionism, as evidenced by Tuesday’s filibuster of judicial nominee Caitlin Halligan and today’s expected filibuster of CFPB nominee Richard Cordray. As Dems see it, GOP abuses are setting a new standard — which Democrats will take advantage of the next time they’re in the minority.

    “There’s an old saying, ‘What goes around, comes around,’” Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said.

    Republicans respond that these current tactics aren’t new, and the Politico article tells readers the GOP argument is sound.

    To a tremendous degree, Republicans have relied on filibuster threats over the last three years to stop Democratic legislation in its tracks — but they’ve replicated stall tactics used by Democrats when they were in the minority.

    Indeed, Republicans complain about Democratic filibusters on President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees, something that McConnell himself has said led to the situation the Senate finds itself in today. And the filibuster has been increasingly used for decades by the Senate minority party to block everything from routine motions to landmark bills, worsening the partisan gridlock.

    If they return to the minority, Democrats say they won’t arbitrarily filibuster legislation because of a pure political vendetta. But Don Stewart, McConnell’s spokesman, said the Democrats’ latest threats are nothing new, saying they launched “serial filibusters” when they were in the minority during the Bush years.

    This isn’t a subjective question on which the parties are entitled to different opinions. There are objective, often quantifiable, answers to the points Politico and Republicans are raising: are GOP senators “replicating” Democratic tactics? Were Dems abusing Senate rules in the Bush era to the same degree that Republicans are abusing them now?

    The answer to both is “no,” and the false equivalence does little to advance the discussion.

    Here’s a chart Brian Beutler put together a year ago, showing the explosion in the number of filibusters. (It’s a little tough to read; click on it for a bigger view.)

    The Senate keeps an updated table, charting cloture votes by Congress over the last nine decades, using three metrics: (1) cloture motions filed (when the majority begins to end a filibuster); (2) votes on cloture (when the majority tries to end a filibuster); and (3) the number of times cloture was invoked (when the majority succeeds in ending a filibuster). By all three measures, obstructionism soared as Republican abused the rules like no party in American history.

    Consider this tidbit: cloture was invoked 63 times in 2009 and 2010, which isn’t just the most ever, it’s more than the sum total of instances from 1919 through 1982. That’s not a typo.

    Yes, obstructionism is proving to be far less severe in this Congress, but that’s not because Senate Republicans have suddenly become more responsible — it’s because there’s a right-wing House majority and there’s now far less for the Senate to do.

    Much of the political world would have the public believe that the Senate status quo is just normal operating procedure for the institution. That’s plainly false. The Senate wasn’t designed to work this way; it didn’t use to work this way; and it can’t work this way.

    As James Fallows recently explained: “To make it clear: requiring 60 votes for everything is new, and it is overwhelmingly a Republican tactic.”

  38. rikyrah says:

    Eric Boehlert Targeted In Bungled ‘Verizon’ Sting (UPDATE)

    First Posted: 12/ 7/11 06:02 PM ET Updated: 12/ 8/11 10:40 AM ET

    It was the middle of the day on Friday, and Eric Boehlert heard a knock on the door. A senior fellow at Media Matters, a nonprofit watchdog that challenges conservative news outlets, Boehlert works from his Montclair, N.J., home.

    A short, bearded man stood outside, holding a clipboard and wearing a Verizon uniform. He asked Boehlert if he’d be willing to take a customer survey. Verizon had, perhaps coincidentally, been at the house a week earlier to handle a downed wire. Boehlert quickly agreed and noted that a Verizon worker had actually failed to show up when he said he would.

    But as the survey went on, it started getting strange. “The only weird part before he got to his final question was he started telling me, ‘Oh, you know, it’s really tough out there, the economy, and I’m just happy to have a job,’ and stuff like that, which I thought was weird for a customer rep to be telling one of his customers,” Boehlert recalled to HuffPost.

    “So he gets to the last questions, and he’s really reading intently off of his clipboard, and he says something about making the kind of salary I do, working from home, something something about the 99 percenters,” Boehlert said.

    The man claiming to be a Verizon representative finally asked his question. “After he mentioned my salary and that I work from home, all the bells went off, and this is not who this guy says he is. Therefore, I kind of lost track of the exact wording of the question, but it definitely was like very accusatory of me and I’m a hypocrite and how do I have this supposedly cushy job while I’m writing about real workers and the people of the 99 percent,” said Boehlert.

    “So there was this pause, and I said, ‘You work for Verizon?’ And he just sort of looks back at me and [says], ‘Will you answer the question? Will you answer the question?’ And I said, ‘Can I see your Verizon ID?’ And he wouldn’t produce any Verizon ID, and I think he asked me another time to answer the question. And basically I just said, ‘I’m done so you can leave now.'”

    The man started to walk off.

    Boehlert decided to follow him to obtain his license plate number. By now he had realized that the man was likely pulling a political stunt, and James O’Keefe’s notorious “To Catch a Journalist” project came to mind as a possibility.

    “The only sort of comical part was he forget which way he was supposed to run in case I started following. He ended up sort of in the road, and he sort of turned left and then right,” said Boehlert. “The last I saw him he was in a full sprint down my street running away from my house.”

    Boehlert then called the Montclair cops to report the incident. He also rang up Verizon.

    Lee Gierczynski, a spokesman for Verizon, told HuffPost that whatever the man was doing, he wasn’t a Verizon customer service representative. “Security determined that Verizon had no door-to-door sales people in that area. There were no Verizon employees in that area,” he said, adding that Verizon “does not send out employees to conduct consumer surveys door to door.”

  39. rikyrah says:

    House Passes Bill To Grant Congress Veto Power Over White House Rules
    A bill that would give the controlling party of either chamber of Congress veto power over any major new regulation passed the House of Representatives Wednesday.

    The measure, dubbed the Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny — or REINS — Act, would require Congress to sign off on any new rule estimated to cost more than $100 million. It passed 241 to 184, with a handful of Democrats crossing the aisle.

    The REINS Act is only the latest of a slew of bills aimed at peeling back regulations, which House Republicans have pushed for in the name of cutting red tape and freeing up businesses. The GOP sees the regulations as overbearing rulemaking by unelected bureaucrats.

    “Who do the regulators answer to? No one,” said Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) in debate on the House floor.

    “When the regulators go to work everyday, like most people go to work, their work assignment’s a little different,” Poe said. “In my opinion, they sit around a big oak table, sipping their lattes. They have out their iPads and their computers, and they decide, ‘Who shall we regulate today?’ And they write a regulation and send it out to the masses and make us deal with the cost to that.”

    Rep. Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.), argued that if Congress can stop rules in their tracks, businesses will flourish.

    “Poll after poll of small business owners, of medium-sized business owners — they will show you and tell you that major regulations are holding back their expansion and the ability of them to hire more workers,” Quayle said.

    The bill would effectively give either chamber a veto on a regulation because leaders could simply not put it on the calendar for a vote, and the rule would expire after 70 congressional working days.

    The Senate is unlikely to pass the measure.

    Opponents of the bill argue that there is actually no evidence that regulation is a drag on the economy. Although REINS advocates frequently point to an estimate that regulations cost business more than $1 trillion a year, opponents point to a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office that found the benefits of regulations often outweigh their costs by spurring economic activity.

  40. Crooks and Liars
    New At C&L: President Obama Threatens Veto Over Keystone XL Pipeline

  41. The President will deliver a statement on GOP obstruction of Richard Cordray, the consumer watchdog at approx 1130 in the Briefing Room

  42. rikyrah says:

    Russia PM Vladimir Putin accuses US over poll protests

    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of being behind protests over the results of Russia’s parliamentary elections.

    Mr Putin said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “set the tone for some opposition activists”.

    She “gave them a signal, they heard this signal and started active work”, he said.

    Mrs Clinton maintained that her concerns were “well-founded”. Election monitors have also been critical.

    About 1,000 people have been arrested in Moscow during three days of protests alleging election fraud.

    Organisers have called another protest for Saturday.

  43. Talking Points Memo:

    Huntsman to deliver “Restoring Trust” speech, attacking Romney and Gingrich. ^@erickleefeld

  44. Sen. McConnell Claims Electing The President By Popular Vote Is A ‘Genuine Threat To Our Country’

  45. rikyrah says:

    Rick Perry And The Politics Of Resentment
    Andrew correctly calls out the bigotry of Rick Perry who evidently thinks frowning upon lynching and beatings of gays qualifies as a “special right.”

    Perry is a nasty bigot on this. The United States has long opposed the persecution of minorities in other countries; and the appalling threats against gay people across the planet must surely count among them. We are talking here about jailing people for being gay, executing them, burying them under walls and lynching. Maybe the man who hunted at Niggerhead is untroubled by these events. Few others will be.

    It’s worth checking out the video Andrew links to. What strikes me is the sense of being under siege, a constant theme in conservative politics. It is as if itself is against them. And they know it. The line “I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian” stands out. Who is ashamed of this? This is a predominantly Christian country, and one of the most religious in the West. People don’t “admit” their Christianity here. They proclaim it–as the president has done repeatedly.

    But what if there’s something else? What if the conservatives are more perceptive and honest than the moderate liberals? I love Grant and Lincoln, but they were dead wrong in claiming that emancipation did not promote “social equality.” Meanwhile the bigots who asserted that emancipation meant that Sambo would be “marryin yer daughters” were right. I wouldn’t be shocked if Grant and Lincoln knew this, but also knew that to admit as much would be suicidal.

    Andrew, himself, has talked about the rigorous challenge atheism presents to Christianity. Are Christians in this country actually under-siege? Will Barack Obama’s grandchildren, for instance, be as Christian as he is?

    Beyond that, there’s a question of privilege. It’s simply true that white Christian men don’t enjoy the kind of luxuries that their grandfathers did, particularly the luxury of knowing, outright, that there is some class of people that–no matter what–will always be under you. That must have given people some amount of psychological comfort. Whatever your fights, you knew that you and people like you, always had a place in America. Not so much anymore.

    I think back to the great John C. Calhoun:

    With us the two great divisions of society are not rich and poor, but white and black; and all the former, the poor as well as the rich, belong to the upper class, and are respected and treated as equals.

    What you had, before, was a weird kind of socialism–exclusive rights for a mass aristocracy. Better neighborhoods, better schools, better water fountains, better rest-rooms, better pools, better everything.

    And now you don’t. And look–There are the Muslims in Congress. And there are the Latinos in the Unions. And there are gays shooting guns in Iraq. And there are women dying in Iraq. And there are black ladies marrying white men. And there are black men marrying white ladies. And their children are Muslims. And their children are in the White House.

    And for the first time in American history, it appears that you will have to fight to not end up on the bottom.

    Damn. Things just ain’t the same for gangsters.

  46. rikyrah says:

    Eric Cantor Crushes Insider Trading Bill
    by BooMan
    Thu Dec 8th, 2011 at 10:23:45 AM EST

    I can’t imagine why House Majority Leader Eric Cantor wouldn’t want Congress to pass rules that ban congresspeople from trading on insider information. Remember this?

    Putting his money where his mouth is? Eric Cantor, the Republican Whip in the House of Representatives, bought up to $15,000 in shares of ProShares Trust Ultrashort 20+ Year Treasury ETF last December, according to his 2009 financial disclosure statement. The exchange-traded fund takes a short position in long-dated government bonds. In effect, it is a bet against U.S. government bonds—and perhaps on inflation in the future.

    Maybe Cantor’s habit of self-enrichment explains why he did this:

    A day after Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus said he would move forward on an insider-trading bill, Majority Leader Eric Cantor stopped him dead in his tracks.
    In a Wednesday meeting described by one source as “extremely direct” and by another as “very blunt,” Cantor (R-Va.) ripped into Bachus, explaining in no uncertain terms that it was unacceptable for Bachus to mark up the bill without having run it by GOP leaders and other chairmen with jurisdiction over its provisions.

    The Alabama Republican abruptly canceled the vote, which was scheduled for next week.

    Spencer Bachus was recently profiled by 60 Minutes. Here is Hoover Institute fellow Peter Schweizer, speaking with CBS correspondent Steve Croft:

    Schweizer:…In mid September 2008 with the Dow Jones Industrial average still above ten thousand, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke were holding closed door briefings with congressional leaders, and privately warning them that a global financial meltdown could occur within a few days. One of those attending was Alabama Representative Spencer Bachus, then the ranking Republican member on the House Financial Services Committee and now its chairman.
    Schweizer: These meetings were so sensitive– that they would actually confiscate cell phones and Blackberries going into those meetings. What we know is that those meetings were held one day and literally the next day Congressman Bachus would engage in buying stock options based on apocalyptic briefings he had the day before from the Fed chairman and treasury secretary. I mean, talk about a stock tip.

    While Congressman Bachus was publicly trying to keep the economy from cratering, he was privately betting that it would, buying option funds that would go up in value if the market went down. He would make a variety of trades and profited at a time when most Americans were losing their shirts.

    Politico reports that Chairman Bachus made as much as five figures in a single day on some of his trades. Feeling the heat, he wants to pass a reform bill. But Cantor wants no part of it, so it isn’t going to happen.

  47. rikyrah says:

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011
    Knowing Exactly What Buttons To Push
    Posted by Zandar
    So I wonder what the deal is behind this story, but that’s not the interesting part.

    Late Tuesday evening, a press release went out to numerous political journalists with stunning news. Mega-union SEIU had voted to withdraw its recently bestowed endorsement of Barack Obama. That’s certainly not unimaginable — SEIU often takes its own path and has a conflicted relationship with the Democratic party establishment.

    Only it wasn’t true.

    It was a pretty real looking hoax press release that managed to snare a number of reporters who posted the news on twitter.

    The interesting part is not who is behind it, the interesting part is the fact that whoever did it knew that a professional beltway type like Josh Marshall finds the notion of a massive union withdrawing its endorsement of a Democratic president plausible and almost irresistible, and would miss the irony of how that little piece of conventional wisdom completely fooled a number of “journalists” last night who couldn’t resist the notion that THE LEFT HATES OBAMA ZOMG.

    Exactly who else would SEIU endorse, Josh? Newt? Ron Paul? Mittens? Bachmann? People so openly hostile to organized labor they want them eliminated completely, who regularly call them thugs and criminals and blame them for the state of the American middle-class?

    Especially after already declaring for the President? Are we that certain inside the beltway of the conventional wisdom that everyone secretly hates President Obama and that SEIU would pick up its ball and go home, knowing that the only real alternative to the President is people who want to see them utterly annihilated? SEIU completely backs the President. Is that more or less plausible?

    So very eager for those emoprog stories, aren’t we, liberal media. It’s to Josh’s credit that he didn’t fall for it, but he certainly thought long and hard about running with it, didn’t he. Whoever pulled this little stunt knew exactly how it would fall out, and just how successful it would be. They got Politico’s Ken Vogel, National Journal/Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder, and more than a few other people to bite on it.

    But even after debunking the story, the beltway types admit “Yeah, this was still plausible”. And that’s all the proof you should need to know that our brave Village betters need a long, long vacation out in Actual America for some much needed perspective.

  48. GOP Congressman: Drug Test The Jobless

    A Republican congressman has proposed drug testing people who apply for unemployment insurance.

    The bill by Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) would require unemployment claimants to pass a drug test if they are identified in an initial screening as having a high probability of drug use.

    The proposal comes as Congress is mulling a reauthorization of federal jobless benefits for people out of work six months or longer. House Republicans have been drafting legislation, but the details have not been released.

    Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), said Wednesday that Republican legislation would “reform” unemployment insurance. “We are working on a bill to stop a tax hike, protect Social Security, reform unemployment insurance and create jobs,” Steel said.

  49. rikyrah says:

    December 08, 2011 10:00 AM

    It wasn’t ‘a Nancy Pelosi-driven effort’
    By Steve Benen

    Before being driven from Congress in disgrace in 1998, ousted by members of his own party, Newt Gingrich had some fairly serious ethics troubles. In fact, Gingrich was found to have violated House ethics rules, and became the first Speaker in American history to face both a reprimand and a substantial financial ethics fine from his own chamber.

    Asked about this on Fox News this week, Gingrich said the investigation was “very partisan” and “related more to the politics of the Democratic Party than to ethics.” He added, “[T]his was “a Nancy Pelosi-driven effort.”

    This is a line that may satisfy some Republican audiences, but it’s not even close to being true. Kate Conway had a good piece on this, highlighting the history that Gingrich would prefer to forget.

    The problem with Gingrich’s attempt to dismiss the ethics episode as nothing more than a partisan attack on a standup Republican leader is that both the Ethics Committee and the subcommittee responsible for the investigation were bipartisan — and chaired by Republicans. Then-Rep. Nancy L. Johnson (R-CT), head of the Ethics Committee at the time, believed strongly that Gingrich’s actions justified the panel’s recommendation. […]

    When the GOP-controlled House of Representatives voted to go ahead with the reprimand and fine, it broke down 395 in favor to 28 against. […]

    On top of all that, the penalty ultimately recommended for Gingrich was a compromise — some believed there was evidence of far more serious violations than the “intentional” or “reckless” treatment of House rules for which he was condemned. A special counsel to the committee concluded that Gingrich had both broken federal tax law and lied to the Ethics Committee about it.

    Related more to the politics of the Democratic Party than to ethics”? Nice try, Newt.

    PolitiFact trashed Gingrich’s claim, too, noting how bipartisan the ethics process really was: “The ethics panel’s case only moved forward with the express consent of Republicans, including the committee’s chairwoman, and it was led by a special counsel who was not a Democratic partisan and who focused on substantive legal matters. Most notably, when it became time to vote, the House — including nearly 90 percent of voting Republicans — voted to support the committee’s recommendation. We rate Gingrich’s statement Pants on Fire.”

  50. Joe Scarborough calls viewers “Idiots who are too stupid to be watching TV.”

    • Ametia says:

      Joe Scarborough, what happen to the DEAD INTERN that was found in your office? You’re an IDIOT, if you think folks aren’t suspicious of your connection with her.

  51. rikyrah says:

    December 08, 2011 9:30 AM

    Romney acknowledges ‘exaggeration’ on health care
    By Steve Benen

    Before this year, Mitt Romney was only too pleased to tout his health care reform law in Massachusetts as the basis for a national plan. He said he thinks his measure is “a good model for the nation”; he argued “we’ll end up with a nation that’s taken a mandate approach”; and he boasted that his plan “allows every citizen in America to get health insurance.”

    All of this, however, was before 2011. Yesterday, in an interview with the editorial board of the Washington Examiner, Byron York pressed the former governor on this point.

    YORK: But you wouldn’t recommend that any state adopt the plan that was adopted in Massachusetts in its entirety?

    ROMNEY: In its entirety, no. But there are principles that I think that are helpful and instructive for the states to learn from and I think that there are other states that have picked up some portion of what we did. [emphasis added]

    So we’ve gone from a Republican who believes his own plan is a good model for the nation to a Republican who wouldn’t even recommend other states follow his lead.

    But in 2007, when Tim Russert asked about this specific point, Romney said, “I happen to like what we did. I think it’s a good model for other states. Maybe not every state but most.”

    He was reminded of this yesterday.

    YORK: Governor, on health care, you’ve often said that the health care plan that you’ve created in Massachusetts would be a good model for some other states. You said, “Maybe not every state, but most.”

    ROMNEY: I don’t think I said “most,” but —

    YORK: On “Meet the Press” in 2007.

    ROMNEY: Oh did I? Did I make that exaggeration? [Laughs]

    As Greg Sargent responded, “I get that Romney was joking, but still: He just described his own past assertion about the success of his signature accomplishment — one that’s now politically inconvenient for him — as an ‘exaggeration.’”

    Imagine what the political world — specifically, campaign reporters — would do if John Kerry or Al Gore called their own rhetoric about their key policy priority an “exaggeration.” Voters would never hear the end of it.

  52. Talking Points Memo
    Mitt Romney unleashes the hounds on Newt:

  53. Ametia says:

    8, 2011 4:56 AM
    Record year for billion-dollar disasters

    AP) WASHINGTON – America smashed the record for billion-dollar weather disasters this year with a deadly dozen, and counting.

    With an almost biblical onslaught of twisters, floods, snow, drought, heat and wildfire, the U.S. in 2011 has seen more weather catastrophes that caused at least $1 billion in damage than it did in all of the 1980s, even after the dollar figures from back then are adjusted for inflation.

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration added two disasters to the list Wednesday, bringing the total to 12. The two are wildfires in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona and the mid-June tornadoes and severe weather.

    NOAA uses $1 billion as a benchmark for the worst weather disasters.

  54. rikyrah says:

    December 07, 2011 12:17 PM

    Against Inequality
    By Mark Kleiman

    The great issue of our time is the growing inequality of wealth and income.

    Here’s the key passage from Barack Obama’s Osawatomie speech:

    In the last few decades, the average income of the top 1 percent has gone up by more than 250 percent to $1.2 million per year. I’m not talking about millionaires, people who have a million dollars. I’m saying people who make a million dollars every single year. For the top one hundredth of 1 percent, the average income is now $27 million per year. The typical CEO who used to earn about 30 times more than his or her worker now earns 110 times more. And yet, over the last decade the incomes of most Americans have actually fallen by about 6 percent.

    Now, this kind of inequality — a level that we haven’t seen since the Great Depression — hurts us all. When middle-class families can no longer afford to buy the goods and services that businesses are selling, when people are slipping out of the middle class, it drags down the entire economy from top to bottom. America was built on the idea of broad-based prosperity, of strong consumers all across the country. That’s why a CEO like Henry Ford made it his mission to pay his workers enough so that they could buy the cars he made. It’s also why a recent study showed that countries with less inequality tend to have stronger and steadier economic growth over the long run.

    Inequality also distorts our democracy. It gives an outsized voice to the few who can afford high-priced lobbyists and unlimited campaign contributions, and it runs the risk of selling out our democracy to the highest bidder. (Applause.) It leaves everyone else rightly suspicious that the system in Washington is rigged against them, that our elected representatives aren’t looking out for the interests of most Americans.

    I wish that Obama had spoken out more clearly about inequality before now. (His actions are a different matter: not just on tax policy, but in building a huge downward income transfer into health care reform.) But you can’t imagine any current Republican candidate saying what he said. And therefore you shouldn’t be able to imagine that keeping the White House in the hands of an opponent of the plutocracy rather installing one of its friends is anything but a central task over the next eleven months.

    The other side knows all too clearly what the stakes are. Here’s hoping that the big-and-small-D democrats will find a way to come together in this moment of crisis.

  55. rikyrah says:

    CNN/TIME Polls: Gingrich Skyrockets In First Four Primary States
    Kyle Leighton- December 7, 2011, 4:40 PM

    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has taken a double digit lead in the national Republican primary since the fall of businessman Herman Cain. But he’s also moved to the front of the pack in the first primary states, and is even closing on former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney in New Hampshire, the longtime stronghold of the former Massachusetts Governor.

    The new CNN/TIME polls show Gingrich with a 13 point lead among Iowa GOP caucus-goers and a 23 point lead in both the South Carolina and Florida primaries. In New Hampshire, where Romney has averaged more than forty points of support throughout the campaign, Romney gets 35 percent to Newt’s 26.

    In Iowa and New Hampshire, the first three finishers are the same: Gingrich at the top, Romney more than ten points behind, and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) with exactly the same level of support in both states — 17 percent. In South Carolina and Florida, it’s essentially a two man race (barely). Gingrich soars in Florida with 48 percent followed by Romney at 25, and in South Carolina Gingrich hits 43 percent to Romney’s 20.

    Of course, as has been the trend with this year’s primary process, voters are still unsure. The four polls show that between 48 to 55 percent of Republicans in each state may change their minds before it’s all said and done, with 34 to 44 percent of GOPers saying they are staying put with a candidate.

    TPM reported earlier on Wednesday that there does seem to be some coalescing around Gingrich as the chief alternative to Romney, mainly because Gingrich is snapping up conservative support while still convincing GOP voters that he’s electable in a national matchup with Obama. But almost all public polling has shown the opposite to be true — Romney is still a superior candidate in both national and swing state contests against President Obama at the moment.

  56. rikyrah says:

    December 08, 2011 9:05 AM

    Sharp improvement in unemployment claims
    By Steve Benen

    We generally look to the first Friday of every month for new unemployment figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but every Thursday morning, the Department of Labor releases a report on initial unemployment claims.

    And this morning, the news is very good.

    The number of people filing for state unemployment benefits for the first time fell 23,000 to the lowest level since late February, the government said Thursday.

    The Labor Department said claims fell to a seasonally adjusted 381,000 last week. The level of initial claims in the week ended Nov. 26 was revised up by 2,000 to 404,000.

    The consensus expectations were for a slight drop, which makes the sharp drop that much more encouraging.

    As a general rule, national job creation is improving when jobless claims fall below the 400,000 threshold.

  57. rikyrah says:

    Quinnipiac: Romney, Gingrich Show Strength Against Obama

    Kyle Leighton- December 8, 2011, 8:35 AM

    Quinnipiac University released a trio of polls on traditional swing states Thursday that challenge the long held belief that former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney is the more electable presidential candidate for the Republican Party in 2012. Polling of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida shows that Romney still does slightly better against Obama than former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has shot to the top of the polls nationally and in the first primary states, but the gap is closing.

    In Florida, Romney bests Obama 45 – 42, while Obama tops Gingrich 46 – 44. In Ohio it’s Romney over Obama 43 – 42 with a Gingrich—Obama matchup the same. In Pennsylvania the two Republicans fare differently, with Obama moving past Romney 46 – 43 and by Gingrich 48 – 40. Gingrich is also up by 13 points in a trial heat of the Florida Republican primary, which is set to take place on January 31st.

    “Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is no longer just the flavor of the month since his boomlet has now stretched from November into December and voting begins in Iowa in less than four weeks,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute said in a release. “The suspension of Herman Cain’s campaign is unlikely to hurt Gingrich and might help him vis-a-vis Romney by reducing the number of candidates courting Tea Party voters.”

    “Gingrich certainly has the momentum on his side and is peaking at the right moment, but Romney has the edge in money and organization, which can be important especially if the primary race turns out to be a long, drawn-out affair,” said Brown.

    As has been a common refrain this cycle, the close results are mainly due to voter frustration with the candidates with both parties. The worst example of this is in the crucial state of Ohio, where Obama is down with voters but Republicans haven’t made tremendous inroads either.

    Gingrich gets a negative 32 – 38 percent favorability rating from all Ohio voters, compared to Romney’s positive 32 – 28 percent and Obama’s negative 42 – 52 percent.
    Ohio voters disapprove of the job Obama is doing 55 – 41 percent and say 53 – 42 percent he does not deserve reelection.

  58. rikyrah says:

    December 08, 2011 8:00 AM

    Social Security’s alleged champions
    By Steve Benen

    While GOP congressional leaders have made clear they’d like to extend the payroll tax break for another year, several prominent Republicans have begun crafting an excuse for failure. The new line: they have to let the tax cut lapse because they just love Social Security too much.

    Let’s take a step back and provide some policy context here. The payroll tax that American workers pay goes into the Social Security system to pay benefits for retirees. What happens if the payroll tax is cut? In this case, nothing — proponents replace the lost revenue with money from the general fund. Workers find some additional money in every paycheck, and integrity of the Social Security finances isn’t affected. No muss, no fuss.

    You don’t have to take my word for it — Social Security’s chief actuary told policymakers yesterday the system “would be unaffected by enactment of this” tax cut.

    But for Republicans who don’t want to give the middle class a tax break, these details are proving inconvenient, and as such, they’re being ignored. Here’s Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) on CNBC this week:

    “Republicans are always ready to cut taxes, as you know. We don’t think it’s a good idea to do it by raiding Social Security.”

    And here’s Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Fox News

    “[T]he president is advocating reducing the amount of funding to Social Security when they’re already $6 trillion short. So it doesn’t really make any sense and it really argues that he’s going to bankrupt Social Security even quicker by reducing its funding.”

    And here’s Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) to Dave Weigel:

    “The payroll tax is targeted toward making Social Security stable. I don’t want to harm the stability of our Social Security system.”

    Rush Limbaugh and the House Republican leadership have gotten in on the same game.

    It’s quite a transition, isn’t it? Not quite three months ago, all kinds of leading GOP voices were comfortable condemning Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme.” This week, Republicans are prepared to stick the middle class with a tax hike because of their deep and abiding love for this “Ponzi scheme.”

    Indeed, the irony of the rhetoric from DeMint, Paul, and Johnson is especially rich. These are three pretty extreme right-wing ideologues, who, when pushed, admit they’d love to privatize Social Security out of existence. It makes this new rhetoric rather amusing, for lack of a better word.

    For the record, they’re entirely wrong. If the payroll break is extended, Social Security wouldn’t be “raided”; it wouldn’t “bankrupted”; and it wouldn’t be “harmed.” The system wouldn’t lose so much as a dime. Either Republicans don’t understand the basics of this policy debate, or they do, and they’re playing the public for fools.

    Either way, Washington’s biggest foes of Social Security are doing their very best to pretend they’re Social Security’s biggest champions. It’s a shameless, inane con.

  59. rikyrah says:

    Schumer: GOP Message Machine Can’t Save Them From Tax Debacle
    Brian Beutler- December 7, 2011, 2:26 PM

    Elaborating on a premise that should be familiar to TPM readers, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told reporters Wednesday that the political terrain has shifted so much over the last several months that the GOP’s playbook isn’t working — and it has them badly wrongfooted.

    “You have to follow the broad movements underground that affect our politics,” he said. “And it’s happening. And they seem to be just stuck on the wrong side of issue after issue after issue. They’re very good at messaging. They’re very good, you know, they have some media people who just follow their line….but the weight of the issues and the place where America is at is so overwhelming that’s no longer enough to sustain them.”

    In other words the plates have shifted. And the GOP’s having a tough time messaging their way out of the box they’ve put themselves in now that the country’s clamoring for fairness for the middle class even if it means higher taxes on wealthy people. Dems ultimate goal is to break the GOP’s will on that score.

    “We’ve had four Republicans now talk about taxes on incomes of over a million dollars. If you don’t keep at it you’re not going to change their view and the purpose is that the public comes to our side on this issue and they feel it.”

  60. rikyrah says:

    Senate Dems To Boehner: Don’t Even Think About Jamming Us On Payroll Tax Cut

    Senate Democrats are winning the political fight over the payroll tax cut. But Republicans still control the House and that gives them plenty of agency. Some reports suggest they might pass partisan legislation to extend the payroll tax cut, loaded full of GOP goodies, and then adjourn for the holidays, leaving Democrats holding the ball. (They’ve tried this before.)

    Democratic leaders are fully aware of this and say they’re not fazed. They’re warning House Republicans not convince themselves they can get away with it.

    “There’s some talk that Speaker Boehner next Wednesday will throw us some kind of proposal and go home,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) at a Wednesday press availability. “Don’t go home, Speaker Boehner, because we’re going to be here, and we’ll be embarrassed before the American people if you do.”

    Before the press conference, Democratic leaders met with President Obama and they say he’s prepared to drop his own holiday plans to bully pulpit Republicans into playing ball.

    “I’ll paraphrase it but I’m pretty close,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). “He said, ‘Michelle and the girls are gonna have a great time in Hawaii. They don’t need me there.’”

  61. Ametia says:

    “Mitt Romney Wants You To Know He’s Been Married To The Same Woman For 42 Years In New Ad video
    by James Crugnale | 1:10 pm, December 7th, 2011

    If I’m President of the United States,” Romney says in the family values-centric ad. “I will be true to my family, my faith and our country and I will never apologize for the United States of America.”

    Watch the video below via Romney’s campaign:

  62. rikyrah says:

    The GOP Primary Needs Better Writers
    Will Truman imagines the Republican race as fiction:

    [I]f someone had written a TV show and the plot followed the current Republican primary, I would have some serious problems with it. Namely, I would pan the show as unrealistic. A joke. Liberal Hollywood’s parody of what the Republican Party is.

  63. rikyrah says:

    Report: 274 Troops’ Ashes Dumped In VA Landfill

    The Washington Post reports that at least 274 U.S. troops’ partial remains were dumped in a Virginia landfill. That number is much higher than the military had acknowledged.

  64. Ametia says:

    Can’t be posted ENOUGH…

  65. Ametia says:

    Poll: Elizabeth Warren soars 7 up over Scott Brown
    UMass-Lowell, Herald poll shows attack ads harm both
    By Joe Battenfeld
    Thursday, December 8, 2011 – Updated 13 minutes ago

    Democrat Elizabeth Warren has opened up a lead against Republican incumbent Scott Brown for the first time in their U.S. Senate showdown, but a barrage of attack ads appears to have damaged Warren and Brown’s standing among Massachusetts voters, a new University of Massachusetts at Lowell/Boston Herald poll shows.

    Warren leads Brown by a 49-42 percent margin, outside the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 5.3 percentage points. That number includes voters who say they are “leaning” for either candidate. But even without the “leaners,” Warren still leads by a 46-41 percent margin, barely within the margin of error.

    read the rest herre:

  66. Business Insider:

    INITIAL JOBLESS CLAIMS PLUNGE TO 381K (Analysts expected 395K)

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