Thursday 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”.

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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70 Responses to Thursday Open Thread

  1. Breaking (and Major) News: Indiana Secretary of State White Removed from Office by Trial Court

    The ruling is here
    If there is no (successful) appeal, the second place finisher, Democrat Vop Osili, becomes Indiana’s Secretary of State.

    UPDATE: Emergency relief sought:

    The commission is seeking an emergency stay of the ruling, said A.J. Feeney-Ruiz, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, of which the commission is a part.

    The panel will seek to do so through Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office, he said.

    Zoeller’s office said it has not yet discussed the matter with the Indiana Recount Commission.

    “We’ve not met with them yet. I’m sure we’ll be meeting with them soon to see how they want to proceed. We do not represent Charlie White the candidate,” said Bryan Corbin, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office.

    If that request for a stay is granted, it would mean that White will remain in office as the legal case plays out.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 02:13 PM PST.

    *BREAKING* Indiana SecState (R) Ineligible!

    for voter fraud. Yup, voter fraud.

    From the Indy Star:

    Charlie White is ineligible to serve as Secretary of State and should be replaced by Democrat Vop Osili, the second-highest vote-getter in the November 2010 election, a Marion County judge ruled today.
    Judge Louis Rosenberg threw out a decision by the Indiana Recount Commission to deny Osili’s petition contesting White’s election.

    White is facing seven felony charges, including allegations of voter fraud.

    His criminal trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 30. Felons are ineligible to serve as Secretary of State.


    “The fact that Mr. White knowingly registered in the wrong precinct is sufficient to render him ineligible for the office of Secretary of State,” Rosenberg wrote in the ruling.

    In other news this week, his Motion to Dismiss the felony voter fraud charges against him was denied.

    White was indicted after using his ex-wife’s address while living with his girlfriend. He is said to have done it because the girlfriend did not live in his city council district.*BREAKING*-Indiana-SecState-(R)-Ineligible!?via=siderec

  3. rikyrah says:

    BREAKING: House Republicans Cave, Agree To Two-Month Payroll Tax Cut Extension
    Brian Beutler- December 22, 2011, 3:51 PM

    A top Senate Democratic aide says House Republicans have privately offered up the terms of their surrender on the payroll tax cut.

    As Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) suggested Thursday morning, it will involve House Republicans passing a temporary extension of the payroll tax cut (and unemployment insurance and reimbursement rates for Medicare physicians) in exchange for Senate Dems agreeing to a formal conference committee to work out a year-long extension of all items.

    The temporary extension won’t be identical to the one Senate Dems passed. It will differ in very minor technical ways. House Republicans have already rejected the bipartisan Senate compromise bill, so they’ll have to draw up essentially the same bill from scratch, pass it in the House and then have the Senate readopt it by unanimous consent.

    In exchange, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will agree to a formal conference committee. The House will bring its partisan, one-year extenders bill to the table (complete with policy riders and pay-fors that cut programs like Medicare) and the Senate will bring the bipartisan legislation that passed overwhelmingly on Saturday.

    This is a fairly minor concession for Reid. He’s been on the record for days now saying he’d resume negotiations on a full-year extension as soon as the House passed the Senate bill. He’s saying that instead of taking the lead on those negotiations with Boehner and McConnell, that a formal conference committee would get first bite at the apple.

    Democrats have no reason to believe the conference committee will actually result in anything. For one, Republicans have already announced they will appoint to the conference committee several negotiators who have been on the record in opposition to any extension of the payroll tax holiday. Dems strongly suspect that in the end, just before the two-month stop gap measure expires, the issue will be settled in private discussions between party leaders, regardless of whether there’s a conference.

    After conceding for weeks, the Dems finally said this far and no further — and actually meant it. You read that right.

  4. rikyrah says:

    How Republicans Miscalculated And Underestimated Obama On The Payroll Tax

    How Republicans Miscalculated And Underestimated Obama On The Payroll Tax
    December 22, 2011
    By Rmuse

    Most military experts and athletic coaches will admit that miscalculations and underestimating the opposition is a certain guarantee of losing a contest. There are myriad reasons for making wrong assumptions during the heat of battle whether it is a vicious military conflict or a hard-fought football game. In politics, there are only a few reasons a political party makes bad policy decisions, but at the top of the list has to be arrogance and, on some level, underestimating the opposition’s resolve to hold the line when it looks like the public is solidly in favor of their agenda. The Republicans in the House and Senate have miscalculated and underestimated President Obama and Democratic representative’s resolve at demanding Republicans pass the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefit extension proposed by President Obama as part of his jobs plan from a couple of months ago.

    Republicans, led by ineffectual leader John Boehner, have put themselves in an unenviable position of being responsible for raising taxes on 160 million hard working Americans on January 1st unless they get inspired to pass the Senate’s two month payroll tax cut and unemployment benefit extension. Despite the rhetoric and deflection of blame on President Obama and Senate Democrats, Republicans have finally made a hostage demand that the president is not willing to pay. It has taken three years, but Americans now have a clear picture of who Republicans really serve and regardless of the outcome of the payroll tax cut fiasco, the GOP has damaged itself badly and they may not recover anytime soon.

    When a House Republican referred to what they’re doing with the payroll tax extension as being “high-stakes poker,” President Obama said, “He’s right about the stakes, but this is not poker, this is not a game—this shouldn’t be politics as usual.” If Republicans believe playing political brinkmanship with 160 million American’s tax increase was a game, they fail to understand the fragile state working Americans find themselves in, or how serious the President is in demanding Republicans do their jobs. However, it is becoming clear that Republican’s job may have been to never pass the payroll tax cut extension in the first place. The fact that Boehner did not allow an up or down vote on the Senate’s two month extension makes clear that he knew there was a possibility of it passing the House, and to satisfy the tea party caucus, set aside the Senate’s bill and scheduled a conference committee to work out the differences between the House and Senate’s version of the bill. Now that the Senate has gone home until January and all but 8 “negotiators” appointed by Boehner to work out a deal with the absent Senate are still in Washington, it appears there will be a tax increase on 160 million Americans.

    There has been criticism against Boehner and Republicans from Senate Republicans and Karl Rove who said that House Republicans overreached in reneging on the payroll tax cut deal. But Rove has a plan to shift blame onto the President and Democrats even though they have pushed the full year extension for months. Rove suggested that Boehner and House Republicans “wait until President Obama gets on an airplane and heads to Hawaii and then hold a session of the House, vote the two month extension, and use it as an opportunity to beat up on the now long-absent Democrats and Harry Reid and the absent President and say, look, this is going to cause … not be good for the companies that have to write the paychecks because we have heard from the people who process payroll checks that this is gonna be a problem, and it is not good for the American people because we’re only giving them a two months not a year’s worth of confidence.”

    Yes, that is the vile Karl Rove Americans came to hate during the Bush administration, but his tactical suggestion is too late and a gross miscalculation of the intelligence of the American people who have nervously waited to hear if their taxes are going up in less than two weeks. Rove’s suggestion is also a slimy maneuver that risks backfiring because with the public’s approval of Congress at only 11%, they will be hard pressed to believe anything Republicans say. A recent poll reported that Americans already think Republicans are not ethical or working for anyone but the ultra-wealthy so they will hardly believe the President is shirking his duties; especially when he has urged Congress to pass his jobs plan for over two months without cessation.

  5. rikyrah says:

    December 22, 2011
    A re-clarification
    A couple of days ago Ezra Klein attempted to clarify House Republicans’ latest tantrum:

    The single most important thing to understand about the ongoing debate over the payroll tax cut is that it’s not about the payroll tax cut…. Rather, Democrats and Republicans are arguing over the price Democrats are willing to pay and Republicans are willing to accept in order to extend the payroll tax cut for a full year. Republicans want, among other things, the Keystone XL Pipeline and further cuts to discretionary spending.

    Understood, as far as that goes. Yet were this President McCain asking for a one-year or two-month or friggin’ decade-long payroll tax cut, would House Republicans object? Would they burden any such bill with extraneous demands for this and that? Of course not.

    It is House Republicans who insist the “ongoing debate” is indeed about the payroll tax cut, and, indeed as well, that somewhat duplicitous insistence is what has defined (which Ezra Klein failed to clarify) not only Republican tactics, but this entire debate. And the debate isn’t really about those “other things” — “the Keystone XL Pipeline and further cuts to discretionary spending.” It is instead, quite simply, about denying President Obama a commonsensical, Keynesian band-aid to a limping economy.

    It is about denying President Obama, period.

  6. rikyrah says:

    December 22, 2011
    The offensive guilt-by-association defense
    Andrew Sullivan:

    In supporting Ron Paul, I am backing one of the few candidates in the GOP field not to have exploited racial code words, homophobia, illegal immigration, or generalizations about Muslims that come easily to the mind of, say, Newt Gingrich or Herman Cain, who actually said he wouldn’t appoint a Muslim to his cabinet! I am backing one of the few GOP candidates not to have endorsed torture and to have opposed the Iraq war. To pick Paul out as the core bigot in this crowd, and to regard anyone who backs him as tainted by bigotry … seems to me to be perverse.

    Oh, damn. Sullivan was doing just fine until that last part.

    For the phrase, “to regard anyone who backs him as tainted by bigotry,” is a straw man, or at least it is to anyone sensible enough to find such an alleged, sophistic taint contemptible.

    Hey, I know the feeling. I received I don’t recall how many emails throughout 2008 regarding my anti-Hillary “misogyny,” when my written opinions were little more than a clean combination of pro-Obamaism and anti-Iraq-warism, contra-Hillary Clinton’s 2002 Senate vote. The latter’s gender had no more to do with my 2008 political preference than, I’m sure, “bigotry” does with Sullivan’s 2012 GOP endorsement.

    The only legitimate question here is one of judgment: Does Ron Paul, given his inadequately explained history, now deserve a fair man’s endorsement? I think not, and I also think I’m pretty fair (as I believe Sullivan is; he’s merely experiencing a momentary lapse of excessive redemption).

    To those who have so endorsed, however, I’d add that to play the diversionary self-defense card of contempt-worthy guilt-by-association is itself, well, rather perverse.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, December 22, 2011
    A Pair Of Jacksons From Your Paycheck
    Posted by Zandar

    The White House is wisely asking American workers what losing $40 in take home pay from their bi-weekly paycheck would mean to them as House Republicans are about a week away from raising taxes on 160 million Americans.

    House Republicans on Tuesday rejected a Senate deal to temporarily extend the payroll tax cut, leaving the White House and Congress at an impasse and creating a showdown between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner.

    The tax cut is set to expire on December 31. Ending the tax break would cost the typical family about $1,000 a year, or $40 per paycheck.

    Americans are telling the White House what $40 means to them. So we wanted to know if you agreed that $40 is a significant amount of money. We asked you if the end of the tax cut affect your family or if it would have little difference in your daily life. Here’s what you said:

    Selena Campbell is a 21-year-old from Orlando, Florida, who works in Admissions Control at Full Sail University. She said that the money she may be losing each paycheck would help buy new shoes for her husband. He has to walk to work every day because they can’t afford a second car. But Campbell said that isn’t the only thing it would help out with.

    “For me and my family, $40 is $10 less than what we pay for groceries every week,” she said. “There have been weeks, where we have only been able to spend $10 on groceries and have lived off of mac ‘n’ cheese and hot dogs.”

    I know for me, $40 a paycheck is gas money to get to work, plain and simple. The new job’s a longer commute, and that payroll tax cut for me makes up for the extra gas money. I’m not totally screwed without it, but a thousand bucks over the course of a year is still nothing to laugh at.

    And yes, as if I didn’t need another reason to not vote for Republicans in 2012, this one’s personally costing me money. It’s going to personally cost you money too, I’m betting. So what would losing $40 in your paycheck mean you and your family would have to cut back on?

  8. rikyrah says:

    BREAKING: Federal Judge Blocks Key Provisions Of South Carolina’s Anti-Immigrant Law
    By Ian Millhiser on Dec 22, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    United States District Judge Richard Mark Gergel just handed down a preliminary injunction blocking several key parts of South Carolina’s anti-immigrant law. The provisions blocked by Judge Gergel’s opinion include:

    •Papers Please: The SC law makes it unlawful for immigrants to fail to carry immigration papers. This provision is now blocked under Judge Gergel’s order. Additionally, Judge Gergel’s order suspends a provision prohibiting immigrants from presenting fake immigration papers to law enforcement.
    •No Rides For Undocumented Immigrants: The SC law makes it a felony punishable by up to five years in prison to “transport, move or attempt to transport” an undocumented immigrant “with intent to further that person’s unlawful entry into the United States” or to help that person avoid detection by authorities. This provision is now blocked.
    •No Shelter For Undocumented Immigrants: Finally, the provision of the SC law making it a felony to “conceal, harbor or shelter” an immigrant for the same purposes forbidden under the provision prohibiting transportation is also blocked.
    Judge Gergel’s opinion hews closely to longstanding precedents establishing that the federal government — and not the states — must be in charge of our nation’s immigration policy. For this reason, it is an important reaffirmation of the fact that America has one policy towards foreign nationals, just like it has one policy toward trade with China or one policy towards war with Iraq, not fifty different foreign policies for fifty different states.

    Moreover, while Gergel leaves some parts of the law in effect, it is possible that more provisions of the law could be struck down at a future date. Although a challenge brought by several immigrant rights groups challenged the entire law, Gergel found that they did not have legal standing to bring such a broad challenge. Accordingly, he did not reach the merits of the question of whether the entire law is unconstitutional, and a future lawsuit could do so.

  9. rikyrah says:

    December 22, 2011 2:15 PM

    Obama throws support to McConnell/Reid plan
    By Steve Benen

    Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) offered House Republican leaders a way out of their payroll-tax-cut mess: after the House approves the Senate-approved bipartisan compromise, senators can start the next round of negotiations over a year-long extension. This morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced his support for Reid’s approach.

    And about an hour ago, President Obama threw his support behind the same plan.

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    So, for those keeping score at home, the White House, the Senate Majority Leader, the Senate Minority Leader, the House Minority Leader, and 89% of the Senate all want the same thing, and if the House brought the bill to the floor for a vote, it’d probably pass.

    Which is why the House GOP leadership won’t let that happen.

    The above clip is worth watching, but of particular interest was this line in the president’s remarks: “What’s happening right now is exactly why people just get so frustrated with Washington. This is it. This is exactly why people just get so frustrated with Washington. This isn’t a typical Democrat vs. Republican issue; this is an issue where an overwhelming number of people in both parties agree. How can we not get that done? Has this place become so dysfunctional that even when people agree to things we can’t do it?”

    The answer, I’m afraid, is “probably yes.” That’s what happens when a radicalized Republican Party controls part of the government.

    For his part, Boehner’s office is saying the temporary extension approved by the Senate would be “unworkable for many small business job creators.” I have no idea if the Speaker actually believes that, but just in case, it’s worth noting that (a) Boehner didn’t say that House Republicans proposed a two-month payroll tax cut in 2009; and (b) if Boehner’s caucus kills the Senate’s bipartisan compromise, “small business job creators” will get hit with a tax increase.

  10. rikyrah says:

    December 22, 2011 1:45 PM
    Homecoming tradition buries DADT
    By Steve Benen

    At some point in the future, a story like this will hopefully be so routine, it’ll hardly be worth noticing. For now, however, it’s a reminder of a civil-rights breakthrough.

    A Navy tradition caught up with the repeal of the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule on Wednesday when two women sailors became the first to share the coveted “first kiss” on the dock after one of them returned from 80 days at sea.

    Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta of Placerville, Calif., descended from the USS Oak Hill amphibious landing ship and shared a quick kiss with her partner, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell of Los Angeles. The crowd screamed and waved flags around them.

    Both women, ages 22 and 23 respectively, are fire controlmen in the Navy. They met at training school and have been dating for two years.

    Navy officials said it was the first time on record that a same-sex couple was chosen to kiss first upon a ship’s return. Sailors and their loved ones bought $1 raffle tickets for the opportunity. Gaeta said she bought $50 of tickets. The Navy said the money would be used to host a Christmas party for the children of sailors.

    The Navy isn’t embarrassed by this — it posted the photo on the official Navy website.

    The news comes one year to the day after President Obama put his signature on the bill that repealed DADT.

    I know the historic gains may disappear if Republicans win next year, but for now, a picture like this is heartening

  11. dannie22 says:

    hello everyone!!

  12. Ametia says:

    PBO on SS Payroll tax cut extension

  13. Ametia says:

    Armed with the top Senate Republican’s recommendation that the Republican-controlled House give in on the standoff over a payroll tax cut extension, President Obama on Thursday again called for the House to pass the two-month extension passed in the Senate before the cuts expire December 31.
    “Americans can’t afford $1,000 because of some stupid standoff in Washington,” Obama said while flanked by men and women who he said had responded to the White House’s “What does $40 mean to you” Twitter and Facebook campaign.
    The tax cut extension, which means about $1,000 to the average taxpayer, affects about 160 million Americans.
    Earlier Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, urged House Republicans to support a short-term extension of the tax holiday — similar to a two-month bipartisan measure passed overwhelmingly by the Senate and now demanded by both Obama and congressional Democrats — while encouraging the Senate to negotiate a longer extension with the House.
    “House Republicans sensibly want greater certainty about the duration of these provisions, while Senate Democrats want more time to negotiate the terms,” McConnell said in a written statement. “These goals are not mutually exclusive. We can and should do both.”
    But House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, pushed back, reiterating in a statement his call for negotiators to craft an immediate one-year tax cut extension — something now considered unlikely by most congressional observers.
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, later released a statement promising that he will be “happy to restart the negotiating process to forge a year-long extension” as soon as the House passes the Senate’s two-month compromise deal.
    The Senate bill also extends emergency federal unemployment benefits and the so-called “doc fix,” a delay in significant scheduled pay cuts to Medicare physicians. All three measures are scheduled to expire December 31.

  14. rikyrah says:

    December 22, 2011 12:35 PM
    Romney to keep his tax returns hidden
    By Steve Benen

    Mitt Romney recently reflected on lessons he learned from his father. “He made sure my brother and I mowed the lawn, shoveled the driveway,” Romney said. “When he ran for president and his tax returns were published, it was clear he could’ve hired a landscaper. But he decided we would work with our hands.”

    It struck me as an anecdote. For one thing, Mitt Romney, we now know, hired undocumented workers to do landscaping work. For another, Romney makes it sound like the release of tax returns are a routine part of running for president.

    It turns out, the former one-term Massachusetts governor doesn’t actually believe that.

    Romney said he didn’t intend to release his tax returns. “I doubt it. I will provide all the financial info, which is an extraordinary pile of documents which show investments and so forth.”

    Pressed further on disclosure, Romney added, “I don’t intend to” release the returns.

    In 2008, Barack Obama released his tax returns, and so did Joe Biden, John McCain, and Sarah Palin. Four years earlier, each of the seven major Democratic candidates released their returns, too. In 2000, Al Gore and George W. Bush both released their tax returns. In 1996, Bob Dole released his returns, and in 1992, Bill Clinton released his previous 12 years of returns.

    You probably see where I’m going with this, but just to be clear, every major-party presidential nominee in the post-Watergate era has taken this step, not because they’re legally required to do so, but because they thought it was the right thing to do. (Reagan resisted for a while in 1980, but ultimately gave in.)

    And then there’s Mitt Romney — he of the missing hard drives — who recently condemned the Obama White House for failing to maintain the right standards of “openness and transparency.”

    Why is it, exactly, that Romney is so eager to hide the same information other modern candidates have shared? Only the candidate knows for sure, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that Romney, worth in upwards of a quarter-billion dollars, makes just about all of his income from “dividends, interest, and capital gains,” which means he pays taxes at a much lower rate.

    In a campaign context, that means the multi-millionaire Republican pays a lower tax rate than working families and — this is important — intends to pursue tax policies as president that would keep this advantage for people like him in place.

    Romney could be more forthcoming on these facts, but he’s running for office for Pete’s sake.

  15. ThinkProgress:

    People who’ve abandoned Boehner on payroll tax cut: McConnell, McCain, WSJ, Karl Rove, Krauthammer (and many more)

  16. Protest planned at John Boehner’s office

    WEST CHESTER TWP. – Unemployed workers and concerned working families say they plan to protest and hold a press conference outside House Speaker John Boehner’s West Chester office Thursday.

    The 2:30 p.m. event was arranged this week to object to Boehner’s vote “against unemployment insurance benefits” and to “demand extension before year’s end,” according to a prepared statement from the group.

    “Jobless Ohioans attending will emphasize the importance of the extension given the impact of long-term unemployment on working families and local communities,” the statement reads.

    Boehner’s West Chester office is located at 7969 Cincinnati-Dayton Rd.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Matt Damon Is Angry Because the President Isn’t Really Bagger Vance
    Matt Damon, Harvard dropout (read: epic fail) and son of a stockbroker (read: one percent) is throwing a temper tantrum.

    Matt Damon is a successful Hollywood actor, which means he’s actually probably the top one percent of the one percent. His films rake in millions of dollars and earn him millions of dollars too.

    Matt Damon lives the ultimate fantasy life. He’s the danger-dodging hero in action films. He’s the soldier who always wins the war, the athelete who always triumphs in the most adverse competitons, he’s the embodiment of nobility and goodness. In films, a body can do anything, even play golf with and as well as Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen, even though that body had to have the help from someone who was, effectively, a Magic Negro.

    Maybe Matt Damon came to believe in a mystical Magic Negro figure – much the same way Linus believes in the Great Pumpkin. Maybe he believed, in 2008, that Barack Obama was Bagger Vance incarnate, the Magic Negro, himself.

    Maybe Matt Damon, and others like him, saw Barack Obama through the eyes of a child caught up in the make-believe world of the movies. The Magic Negro arrives, eyes twinkling, imparts words of wisdom and quells all opposition and all obstacles in his path. He clears the way and cleans up the mess left by the big, bad Bush.

    But if Matt Damon thought more like an adult living in the real world (the type who pays money to watch his films and augment his wealth), then he’d realise what exactly this President encountered in the way of opposition, vicious innuendo and hatred. He would realise that the sole goal in the mindset of the Republican Party is to ensure that Barack Obama is a one-term President … which, curiously, seems to be what Matt Damon wants too.

    You see, Matt Damon realises now that the President isn’t Bagger Vance, that there really isn’t a Bagger Vance at all.

    But instead of seeing the President as someone actually striving to make life better for the working and middle class people of America, instead of recognising the enormous achievements he has accomplished in the face of the most virulent opposition any President has ever faced, instead of appreciating the President for those achievements and supporting him like his fellow co-stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Tom Hanks, Matt Damon throws the mother of all hissy fits and throws the President under the bus, with the most ignorant of insults and the most puerile of politcal analyses.

    Earlier this year, Matt Damon, Harvard dropout, presumed to tell Piers Morgan, in an interview on CNN that the President, an actual graduate of Columbia University and the President of the Harvard Law Review, had “misinterpreted his mandate” when he – in Damon’s words – “rolled over to the banks” and extended the Bush tax cuts.

    Really, Matt?

    Then tell me, O Son-of-Stockbroker-Daddy, why is Wall Street reacting so virulently towards the President and the regulations imposed upon the banking industry by the Dodd-Frank Bill? Could the legislation have been stronger? Of course, but the President doesn’t legislate, Matt; Congress does, and the law cobbled together by then-Senator Phil Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank is the best that could be obtained in the Congress of the moment.

    • Ametia says:

      One failed movie after another. Matt, I’d concentrate on that acting career and movie choices. Let the qualified people, like President Obama take care of the IMPORTANT BUSINESS, like leading our country.

  18. rikyrah says:

    December 22, 2011 11:10 AM
    McConnell sides with Dems over Boehner
    By Steve Benen

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been awfully quiet the last few days, as House Republicans rebel against the bipartisan payroll-tax-cut compromise he negotiated and helped pass last weekend. This morning that changed.

    Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says the House and Senate should meet in Washington to extend the payroll tax set to expire Dec. 31.

    With the clock ticking, McConnell says the House should pass a short-term extension that gives 160 million Americans certainty that their taxes will not rise Jan. 1. The Kentucky Republican also called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to convene negotiators on the longer-term extension that House Republicans are demanding.

    In a statement, the Senate Minority Leader argued, “House Republicans sensibly want greater certainty about the duration of these provisions, while Senate Democrats want more time to negotiate the terms. These goals are not mutually exclusive. We can and should do both.”

    As a practical matter, McConnell was throwing his support to the same proposal Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) offered House GOP leaders earlier in the week — after the House approves the Senate-approved bipartisan compromise, senators can start the next round of negotiations over a year-long extension.

    The timing of McConnell’s announcement was rather remarkable. House Republican leaders, including Speaker Boehner, had just wrapped up a press conference on the Hill, telling reporters that the House GOP caucus won’t give in, won’t pass the temporary extension, and won’t do anything until a conference committee convenes (the conference committee would invariably kill the tax cut).

    McConnell, almost immediately after Boehner wrapped up his remarks, cut the legs out from underneath the House GOP leadership and sided with Harry Reid’s proposed solution.

    I honestly can’t remember the last time we saw a Senate Republican leader and a House Republican leader this far apart on a high-profile policy dispute. Everything about McConnell’s new statement appears intended to smack Boehner down, just as the Speaker tries to find his footing.

    It’s remarkable, and further isolates the radicalized House GOP caucus.

    There are 9 days, 12 hours, and 50 minutes left on the clock.

  19. rikyrah says:

    December 22, 2011 10:45 AM
    Those who got the rescue wrong
    By Steve Benen

    It’s pretty entertaining to look back at Republican quotes in 2009, responding to President Obama’s rescue of the American automotive industry.

    Dozens of prominent Republican officials, including most of the GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate, were absolutely certain the rescue would be a disaster. In the midst of an economic crisis, Republicans saw the American automotive industry — one of the central backbones of the nation’s manufacturing sector — teetering on the brink of collapse. The GOP was prepared to simply let it fail, forcing hundreds of thousands of workers into unemployment during an already-severe jobs crisis.

    What’s more, they were equally certain Obama’s rescue plan was hopeless. It was a foregone conclusion, they said, since government intervention in the marketplace is always a disaster. Mitt Romney, in particular, said policymakers should “let Detroit go bankrupt,” and called the administration’s plan “tragic.”

    Except they were wrong — about literally every aspect of the debate. The policy they assured us was doomed to fail actually succeeded, and every GOP prediction about the rescue has proven false. McClatchy reports this week that the industry is now starting to hum.

    After a near collapse at the height of the Great Recession, the streamlined U.S. auto industry defied the odds and outperformed the greater economy this year with solid sales increases, job growth and product innovations that signal that a full industry recovery no longer is just possible, but probable. […]

    After selling roughly 11.8 million cars and trucks last year, U.S. vehicle sales to businesses and consumers are expected to hit nearly 12.8 million in 2011, Toprak said. That’s up from 10.6 million at the height of the Great Recession in 2009. […]

    U.S. and foreign automakers are poised to add nearly 167,000 U.S. jobs by the end of 2015, according to the nonprofit Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. That breaks down to 30,000 hourly and salaried workers at the Big Three U.S. automakers, 17,000 jobs at foreign automakers and about 120,000 auto-supply sector jobs.

    “The industry has pretty much hired back just about everybody from the automotive side that had been laid off. And now they’re hiring fresh, so they’re actually adding to their rosters. And it’s not just the Detroit automakers. It’s everybody,” said Aaron Bragman, senior analyst at IHS Automotive in Northville, Mich.

    As for Republicans who assured us the opposite would happen, I’m reminded of a column E.J. Dionne Jr. wrote over the summer: ‘[What’s wrong, sorry to say, is that you won’t see a news conference where the bailout’s foes candidly acknowledge how mistaken they were. The lack of accountability is stunning but not surprising.”

  20. BREAKING: GOP Senate Leader McConnell calls on House to pass short-term extension of payroll tax.

  21. Rikyrah, I hate to do this so early in the morning but I couldn’t resist…


  22. rikyrah says:

    December 22, 2011 9:55 AM
    Romney picks a fight over bin Laden
    By Steve Benen

    Of all the issues Republican presidential candidates want to talk about, it seems the U.S. mission that killed Osama bin Laden would be near the bottom. It’s not complicated: there’s no GOP upside for reminding Americans about one of President Obama’s triumphs.

    It was curious, then, that Mitt Romney went on Fox News and picked a fight over this. In reference to Republicans, the former one-term governor who doesn’t know anything about national security policy said, “We’re delighted that he gave the order to take out Osama bin Laden. Any president would have done that.”

    The problem, of course, is that this isn’t true. In fact, we know a President Romney wouldn’t have ordered the same strike because he’s said so.

    During Romney’s first presidential campaign, he took an entirely passive attitude towards the al Qaeda leader, saying “it’s not worth moving heaven and earth” to get the terrorist responsible for 9/11. Around the same time, Romney said he would not order a strike into Pakistan to get bin Laden, rejecting Obama’s willingness “to enter an ally of ours” to target the terrorist leader.

    As for the notion that the president’s decision in May was easy and obvious — something that “any president would have done” — the DNC has a very good video out this morning showing just how “courageous” and “gutsy” Obama’s decision really was.

    In general, it seems that Romney should just avoid talking about national security, foreign policy, and international affairs altogether. His only experience is traipsing around France for a few years, and whenever Romney tries to sound intelligent on the subject, he comes across like an idiot.

    Yesterday, he flip-flopped on Iraq. A few weeks ago, Romney couldn’t answer a question about an al Qaeda affiliate, Al Shabab, controlling significant territory in Somalia.

    Romney’s take on Iran is gibberish. His call for a trade war with China is hopelessly insane. He’s under the false impression that there are “insurgents” in Iran.

    Worse, Romney keeps failing these tests. Remember the time Romney told ABC News he would “set a deadline for bringing the troops home” from Iraq — but only if it’s a secret deadline? How about the time Romney, more than four years into the war in Iraq, said it’s “entirely possible” that Saddam Hussein hid weapons of mass destruction in Syria prior to the 2003 invasion? Or the time Romney pretended “Hezbollah and Hamas and al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood” were all the same thing? How about my personal favorite: the time Romney made the bizarre assertion that IAEA weapons inspectors were not allowed entry into Saddam Hussein’s Iraq?

    More recently, Romney tried to trash the New START nuclear treaty in an op-ed, prompting Fred Kaplan to respond, “In 35 years of following debates over nuclear arms control, I have never seen anything quite as shabby, misleading and — let’s not mince words — thoroughly ignorant as Mitt Romney’s attack on the New START treaty.”

    Everyone got a good laugh at Herman Cain and Rick Perry for coming across as dumb on these issues, but Romney is every bit as big a joke.

    • Mitt Romney,

      Stop your damn hateful lies! Just fking stop it! Any President would NOT have made that gutsy call to take out Osama Bin Laden. President Barack Hussein Obama got him. And Not one US soldier lost their life. This President made a brilliant call. Deal with your own got damn insecurities. President Obama OWN this!

      • rikyrah says:


        you remember that night like everyone else. It was a Sunday, and I was about to go to bed, when I heard that the President was gonna speak..I was like WTF is he doing speaking to the nation on a SUNDAY NIGHT?

        so, no bed for me…had to hang around..

        then word got out….

        Bin Laden was dead.

        it was like damn.


        he swaggered..

        hell yeah, he swaggered, but with his usual cool, told us Bin Laden bit the dust.

        you could just hear the GOP heads exploding. they had NOTHING. NOTHING.

        and now, this punk mofo who did SEVEN DEFERRMENTS DURING VIETNAM has the nerve to open his mofo’ing mouth on it?


      • Rikyrah,

        I was taking an exam and my son called and said turn on CNN, the President is getting ready to do a press conference…


        What? BIN LADEN IS DEAD?

        Then I listened to the details..

        Hell Yeah, he owns this. He made the gutsy call and it was brilliant.

        This is a hard pill for the GOP to swallow. Take your medicine, mofos!

      • Ametia says:

        LOL and PBO was yuckin it up at the WH Correspondence Dinner, smackin down olde rug-headed Trump and nem. All the while SEAL 6 was going in for the KILL!

  23. rikyrah says:

    Michael Tomasky on the GOP’s Christmas Gift to Obama
    Dec 21, 2011 9:25 PM EST

    President Obama has had an awful year. But thanks to the politically asinine miscalculations of House Republicans, he’s ending 2011 with a bang, says Michael Tomasky.

    For a bunch of people who don’t believe that Barack Obama celebrates Christmas, Republicans sure are going out of their way to make sure the president has a merry one. The short-sighted stupidity of the House Republicans is hardly to be believed. The presidential nomination contest is as unsettled as ever and still features a bunch of candidates who are about as appealing to most Americans as Aunt Gladys’s fruitcake (fruitcake . . . a more apposite metaphor I’ve rarely stumbled upon). Obama is ticking up in polls, and there are even a few actual green shoots sprouting up from the economic pastures. The year coming to a close was a hideous one for Obama most of the way through. But who’ll remember that when the ball drops? He’s heading into the election year with agreeable winds behind him.

    Opening with the Congress: If you resisted the belief that the Tea Partiers are living in their own desiccated cocoons, I don’t see how you can deny it now. Did they not know how badly this would look for them, or did they know and just not care? Or—worst of all, and probably most likely—did knowing that it would look bad in some perverse way make them all the more eager to block the payroll-tax extension? They’re like the proverbial alcoholic who wants to get caught—the constant pressure of pretending to be interested in legislating had led to the point where they simply couldn’t live the lie any longer.

    The extremists wanted a showdown. John Boehner—who, after all, wants to remain in favor with these people because he wants to keep his job next session—let them have their way. He had no real choice. The spin from Eric Cantor and the others was notably laughable. Usually, the Republicans are brilliant with the spin; even when what they’re saying hasn’t the remotest relationship to the truth or rational earth logic and discourse, they have a flair for making what they’re doing sound reasonable. But you really had to be deep into the Kool-Aid to believe these lines. The biggest howler, which I heard repeated by several members on an NPR report Tuesday evening, lit into the folks across the dome, the senators, for going home early: by gum, the American people have to work until Christmas Eve, and so will we! Congress’ track record at feeling the peoples’ pain on such matters is not especially lengthy or enviable.

    It’s all a reminder that Obama won’t be running just against a Republican candidate. He’ll be running, as he has been, against a Republican Congress. And the public is finally getting the message that they are breathing a different kind of air from the rest of us. Check out this Pew poll from last week showing that majorities agree that the GOP is more extreme and less amenable to compromise than the Democrats.

    On the campaign front, while the Newt nonsense has settled down, two facts remain. First, Iowa is still up in the air and could deliver a jolting surprise. Second, even if the chalk horse wins the nomination fairly early, he’s just not a very well-loved horse. Mitt Romney tends to trail Obama in recent surveys in Ohio, Florida, and Colorado. North Carolina is a dead heat, but with Obama usually ahead by a figure within the margin of error. Obviously, if Obama were to end up carrying those four states, the election would be basically a rout. The voting is many months away, but my point is Romney’s relative weakness. A more attractive and popular Republican candidate would be leading Obama in North Carolina and Florida by at least six or eight points right now. And if the nominee is anyone but Romney, there’s hardly a point to even holding the election.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Wherein I Risk Making a Fool of Myself
    by BooMan
    Thu Dec 22nd, 2011 at 12:04:16 AM EST

    Based on the reporting in this Yahoo News piece, Mitt Romney hasn’t been doing any legwork whatsoever in South Carolina. He has one office and three paid staffers working in the state. It makes me wonder what the hell he is doing with his money advantage. He traveled to South Carolina last Friday to receive the endorsement of the governor, but his overall level of endorsements in the Palmetto State has plummeted in comparison to four years ago:

    The most telling sign of the uphill battle Romney faces in South Carolina is the skepticism he faces among many leading Republicans who backed his bid four years ago. At this point in the 2008 campaign, Romney had announced more than 100 endorsements among key public officials, political operatives and fundraisers in the state. By comparison, he has announced fewer than 10 endorsements in the state, including [Gov. Nikki] Haley’s, this year. And many of his key staffers from 2008 remain neutral.

    Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich, who truly has no money to speak of, has nearly four times as many paid staffers in South Carolina.

    Making predictions is a bit of fool’s game at this point. I mean, how better to make myself look stupid than to make some really bad predictions about what will happen in Iowa? What we’re seeing is a late surge from Ron Paul, who everyone recognizes has the premier ground game in the Hawkeye State. I’m inclined to go ahead and predict that he will do no worse than second place. Gingrich seems to be slipping and could fall out of the top three. Romney seems to be moving around in his usual range of 20-25%, but some polls show him as low as eighteen percent. And Rick Santorum is picking up some steam and could leave Hunstman and Bachmann in his dust. Rick Perry is a wildcard. He’s polling in the low double digits, and he could move up to third or drop down to sixth, or finish anywhere in between.

    I’m a believer in late momentum, and on that score it appears that Paul and Santorum are the ones set to exceed expectations, while Gingrich and Bachmann are set to disappoint. Right now, I expect the following order in Iowa: 1. Ron Paul 2. Mitt Romney 3. Newt Gingrich 4. Rick Santorum 5. Rick Perry 6. Michele Bachmann 7. Jon Huntsman.

    Even small news events can reshuffle the deck, and I expect plenty of news events, but this is my prediction as of tonight. So, what would this result do in New Hampshire?

    Most obviously, it would kill all hope for Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry to do well there. It would also cause some erosion in Jon Huntman’s position, which has been on the uptick lately. Newt Gingrich would struggle to explain his collapse. Rick Santorum might get some new looks. And Ron Paul would create a full-blown identity crisis for the Grand Old Party.

    The most compelling story lines would be:

    1. Can Ron Paul be stopped in New Hampshire?
    2. Will Gingrich’s twenty-point leads in South Carolina and Florida disappear if he can’t finish in the top two?
    3. Will Jon Huntsman or Rick Santorum win third place?
    4. Will Rick Perry drop out?

    The answers, I suspect, will be ‘Yes,’ Yes,’ ‘Jon Huntsman,’ and ‘no.’

    When things move to South Carolina, we should be dealing with a situation where the first two contests ended with Paul-Romney-Gingrich and Romney-Paul-Gingrich. Michele Bachmann will have dropped out, bolstering Santorum. And Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman will need breakthroughs to keep their campaigns alive.

    Santorum’s Catholic brand of social conservatism in not as good a fit for South Carolina as Rick Perry’s, but Santorum will have more momentum and is a better campaigner. Romney and Paul are terrible fits for South Carolina, each for their own unique reasons. Romney hasn’t done the legwork and his Mormon faith and liberal past are suspect. Ron Paul has nothing in common with South Carolina’s martial spirit. I think Newt Gingrich has a real chance to win there and recover his mojo. If he does, he should win Florida as well. But the Nevada caucuses will be a big question mark. They could go to Romney based on the heavy Mormon presence there, or they could go to Ron Paul based on his strengths in caucus states and the appeal of his libertarian message in the Old West. If things go as I have described, with Romney only winning in New Hampshire, and losing in South Carolina and Florida, I think he will be desperate to win in Nevada. If he doesn’t, we could finish the first five contests with Ron Paul having won in Iowa and Nevada, Newt Gingrich having won in South Carolina and Florida, and Romney having won only in New Hampshire.

    That’s kind of how I see things going right now. If I’m right, it should be a three-man race from that point on. Of course, Romney, Gingrich, and Paul are all incredibly divisive personalities within the Republican Party. None of them are even as broadly acceptable as John McCain, let alone Bob Dole. What I am seeing in my crystal ball is kind of a train wreck.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011
    Worst Kasich Scenario, Part 2
    Posted by Zandar

    Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich is bound and determined to drive his approval numbers down into the dirt, it seems. This week, he’s given Ohio women a lovely holiday gift: banning Ohio’s state insurance exchange from offering any plans that cover abortion.

    House Bill 79, which would prohibit insurance plans participating in a yet-to-be created state health exchange or marketplace from providing abortion coverage, was among 13 bills Kasich signed this morning. They were passed last week during the legislature’s final session days of 2011.

    “Ohio is witnessing historic gains in legislation that protects mothers and saves unborn babies,” said Mike Gonidakis, executive director for Ohio Right to Life.

    The new federal health-care law requires states to have an exchange in place by 2014 to give consumers and small businesses a place to shop and compare policies. Gonidakis said the federal health-care law allows states to opt out of abortion coverage.

    Ahh, but there’s a catch: the ACLU is eager to challenge the law, based on Issue 3 that passed in the state last month:

    But the ACLU of Ohio has said the constitutional amendment that Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved last month was a message in opposition to the mandated insurance provisions of the federal health-care law and can now be used to block measures to restrict abortion access.

    Issue 3 says that no state law shall “prohibit the purchase or sale of health care or health insurance” or “impose a penalty for the sale or purchase or health care or insurance.”

    In other words, the same legal mumbo-jumbo that Kasich and the GOP used to “eliminate” the individual insurance mandate is now the same legislation that the ACLU will use to fight this anti-abortion measure.

    And make no mistake, this is a bill that will eliminate insurance providers from covering abortions, making them all but unaffordable to women. That’s the point…and there’s probably going to be a number of court battles in states over this as well as a Supreme Court fight eventually.

    Let’s keep in mind the GOP plan is to have as many blatantly unconstitutional bans on abortion as possible to make it de facto unavailable for any woman. After all, court battles can take far longer than pregnancies.

    So women of Ohio, what do you plan to do about the Republicans in November?

  26. rikyrah says:

    December 22, 2011 8:35 AM

    Ron Paul struggles with scrutiny

    By Steve Benen

    Facebook Twitter Digg Reddit StumbleUpon Delicious

    The irony of Ron Paul’s new problem is that he’s wanted the media to start taking his candidacy seriously for quite a while, but reporters have treated him like a joke and a sideshow. Now that news outlets are taking him seriously and asking about his record, the Texas congressman seems thoroughly annoyed.

    As you’ve probably heard, Paul published political newsletters for several years in the 1990s, called the “Ron Paul Survival Report,” many of which included racist, homophobic, and anti-Israeli propaganda. The most offensive content from Paul’s publications didn’t come with a byline, and the congressman later claimed to be unaware of the bigotry in his own newsletters.

    When the political establishment considered Paul a meaningless afterthought, the media didn’t pay too much attention to this. Now that the Texan stands a reasonably good chance of winning the Iowa caucuses, reporters are starting to press Paul for some answers. And wouldn’t you know it, the congressman finds this terribly irritating.

    CNN’s Gloria Borger pressed Paul on the issue yesterday. Paul said he read his own publication “on occasion,” but referencing the bigoted columns, he added, “I didn’t write them. I disavow them. That’s it.”

    BORGER: But there are reports that you made almost a million dollars off of them in — in 1993.

    PAUL: No. Who — I’d like to share — see that money.

    BORGER: So you read them, but you didn’t do anything about it at the time?

    PAUL: I never read that stuff. I never — I’ve never read it. I came — I was probably aware of it 10 years after it was written. And it’s been going on 20 years, that people have pestered me about this. And CNN does it every single time.

    When Borger noted that some of the racist content he published was “pretty incendiary,” Paul snapped backed, “That’s because of people like you.” (I’m not sure what that’s even supposed to mean.)

    A moment later , Paul took off his microphone and ended the interview.

    I can appreciate why Paul finds scrutiny inconvenient. I can even understand why this seems unusual for him, because he’s accustomed to simply being able to spout off on any subject he wants, appealing to like-minded fans, and not having to deal with reporters asking pesky questions about his record.

    But Paul can’t have it both ways. If he wants the media to start treating him like a real presidential candidate, it’s time he realizes that real presidential candidates get asked questions like these. It’s also time the congressman start offering some additional information about this controversy, including whether he knows who wrote the offensive content and whether those people still have a role in his operation.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011
    Last Call
    Posted by Zandar

    Mitt Romney knows that there’s only a short step for Republican primary voters between calling for the deportation of President Obama’s uncle to calling for the deportation of President Obama, and that’s exactly why he’s opening his mouth on this birther surrogacy issue.

    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Wednesday joined Reps. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Steve King in making political hay out of the August arrest of President Barack Obama’s uncle on DUI charges.

    Romney — who’s been getting hammered by Democrats over his “for Pete’s sake” response to a previous question on immigration — didn’t seem to know what Boston radio host Howie Carr was talking about when he brought up Onyango Obama’s arrest during an interview, ABC reports. “Who is Uncle Omar, Howie?” Romney asked.

    Once Howie explained, Romney said “the answer is ‘yes.’”

    “Well, if the laws of the United States say he should be deported, and I presume they do, then of course we should follow those laws,” Romney said, according to ABC. “And the answer is ‘yes.’”

    He presumes of course, but it’s not like he knows. Nice one, Mitt. Meanwhile, he keeps having to spend all his time bowing and begging to the nutjobs on the right who would basically deport everyone darker than Taylor Swift if they had their way.

    Mitt Romney’s a hack.

  28. rikyrah says:

    December 21, 2011
    Good demagoguery gone bad
    There was an encouraging sign yesterday that John McCain’s creeping senility can in fact bob and weave, as demonstrated in his shockingly lucid criticism of his House counterparts’ refusal to extend the payroll tax cut:

    It is harming the view, if it’s possible anymore, of the American people about Congress.

    Sadly, however, John’s sudden improvement seems to have come at the cost of Eric Cantor’s acute slippage:

    [T]he people of this country are beginning to wonder about the body on the other side of this Capitol and are wondering what the leader over there has against the middle class of this country.

    Now, now, Eric, you know better. You know that populist, insurrectionist rumblings are rarely if ever ignited over what half of one-third of a government is doing at the tyrannical behest of its bourgeoisie-despising majority leader; assuming, even, that you, Eric, could make such a preposterous rap stick.

    American demagoguery is a delicate thing. It is not, as many republican adepts believe, always cruelly unrighteous, for it can be adorably wicked, as it was, say, in the playful hands of Boston’s James Michael Curley; and it is not always ill advised, as Huey Long’s material improvements of his swampland of a state proved; nor is it always rhetorically smooth, as the often drunken incoherence of Joe McCarthy revealed. But it does require at least some subatomic smidgeon of truth, reality, and above all believability — and here, on all three indictable counts, Eric Cantor has pitiably transgressed. Harry Reid has it in for the American middle class?

    One could conjure more threaded evidence for the old lunatic bugaboos that Gen. George C. Marshall was a Stalinist sympathizer and President Eisenhower a fellow traveller, as the John Birchers raved, than for Cantor’s peculiar desperation that Harry Reid is plotting against our vast and sainted Babbittry.

    In short, Mr. Cantor has heaved the envelope of sniveling, rabble-rousing Crazy to unacceptably unbelievable extremes. He has left even the abstract and post-expressionist artists of American demagoguery behind, thereby endangering its immediate future. And woe to him who knows not his limits, or the limits of his craft.

  29. rikyrah says:

    December 22, 2011 8:00 AM
    ‘The Speaker is … boxed in a corner’
    By Steve Benen

    The payroll tax cut will expire in 9 days and 16 hours unless House Republicans agree to pass the Senate’s bipartisan compromise, and at this point, there’s no reason to believe that’s going to happen. The House GOP is under all kinds of pressure, but it hasn’t so much as hinted at giving in.

    With this in mind, yesterday’s White House press briefing with Jay Carney featured a couple of interesting exchanges. One reporter argued, for example, that President Obama seems to have “no intention of negotiating.” The press secretary explained, “The negotiating has happened already…. This was a compromise worked out by the Republican leader in the Senate with the Democratic leader in the Senate, with the approval — in fact, even the instigation — of the Speaker of the House.”

    It ultimately led to this back and forth between Carney and another reporter (the transcript doesn’t say which one):

    Q: Yesterday, the President said he needed the Speaker to do something. The Speaker said, “I need the President to do something.” My assumption would be the Speaker expected something more than a phone call. He was looking for something from the President as far as negotiations; you say there’s nothing to negotiate. The Speaker is in a corner, he’s boxed in a corner. Is the President going to do nothing to help the Speaker get out of that corner?

    CARNEY: The President is doing everything he can to help the American people. The Speaker is very capable of helping himself by calling a vote on the Senate compromise, a compromise that received the support of 80 percent of the Republican senators and even a greater percentage of Democratic senators. There is a bipartisan compromise available to him as a lifesaver, if you will.

    Q: But politically he’s in a box. Is there anything the President can do?

    CARNEY: Well, I mean, honestly, the important thing here is not who’s up and who’s down politically because, as I talked about yesterday, we are beginning to see some positive signs in the economy. We are a long way from full economic recovery, but the last thing we need to do is fail to pass a payroll tax cut extension which would have a negative impact on the kind of economic growth that we have been seeing and need to continue to see. It’s just wrong at every level to prevent this from passing.


    What I found fascinating about this is the notion that Obama should be helping Boehner. The poor Speaker of the House has found himself in a jam, and apparently the president should be a good sport and lend the guy a hand. How? Presumably by agreeing to compromise on the compromise.

    I’m not sure who asked the question, but I hope someone will remind him or her that political disputes aren’t supposed to work this way. The White House and the House Republican leadership disagree on a policy, and the president hopes to see Boehner give in. That the Speaker is “is in a corner” and feels “boxed in” is … how do I put this gently … exactly what Obama wants to resolve the dispute.

    Indeed, House GOP officials started the day under fire from their own allies, and this only got worse as the day progressed. By close of business, Karl Rove and Newt Gingrich both wanted to see the Speaker to cut his losses and accept the compromise, and Senate Republicans concluded that their House counterparts are on their own.

    Questions from White House reporters notwithstanding, the next move should be House Republicans coming to their senses, not the president throwing Boehner a life-preserver.

    • rikyrah says:

      I found this in the comments over at Washington Monthly on this article:

      chi res on December 22, 2011 8:05 AM:

      There’s an old joke about the Lone Ranger and Tonto that ends with the punchline:

      “Whadaya mean ‘we’, white man?”

      (may want to change white to orange)

  30. rikyrah says:

    Romney – Shockingly – Has It Both Ways On Iraq

    In an interview with Chris Wallace on Sunday, Romney “would not say” whether, in hindsight, the US should have gone to war:

    At the time, we didn’t have the knowledge that we have now,” Romney said, pointing to intelligence before the war suggesting that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. After the war, U.S. and international inspection teams did not find those weapons, which had been the basis for much of the Bush administration’s case for invading Iraq. The invasion, Romney said, was “appropriate” because the U.S. acted “in light of that belief,” that is, in intelligence that ultimately turned out to be faulty.

    Ali Gharib took issue with Romney’s account. Chait flags an interview from today:

    In an interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd today, Mitt Romney asserts that “of course” invading Iraq was a bad idea now that we know Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction. (“If we knew at the time of our entry into Iraq that there were no weapons of mass destruction, if somehow we had been given that information, obviously we would not have gone in.”) Four years ago, Romney said just the opposite. (“It was the right decision to go into Iraq. I supported it at the time; I support it now.”)

  31. rikyrah says:

  32. rikyrah says:

    Payroll Tax Backlash Follows GOP Home To Districts
    Brian Beutler December 22, 2011, 5:52 AM

    Everyone knows House Republicans endured tremendous punishment all day Wednesday, making it clear to most observers that in the standoff over renewing this year’s payroll tax cut, they’ll have to blink.

    But an even more important story, which escaped notice inside the Beltway, is that the lashings followed GOP members of Congress back to their states and districts.

    Here’s a roundup.

    Republican New York State Senator Greg Ball in a letter to Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-NY):

    They had everything they wanted in a deal handed to them with white gloves and a silver platter, yet still found a way to not support this critical tax cut for struggling families. Let me join the thousands of blue collar families who will be thanking our ultra-wealthy Congresswoman for the coal this Christmas. From a political perspective, I appreciate their efforts to extend these measures for a full year, but a two-month extension is an immediate necessity and one that should not be aborted due to dogma or political ideology. Along with some of her colleagues, the Congresswoman seems to be completely out of touch with working families and struggling small businesses. Ensuring that blue-collar families can rely on a tax cut in a time when so many families are feeling the ravages of a hemorrhaging economy is the right thing to do regardless of how the politics play out in the next election.
    The editors of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

    [W]e’d reserve a special lump of coal for [John] Boehner’s stocking.

    Yes, the Senate deal was for a ridiculously short period of time, and it was merely putting off until February tough decisions that need to be addressed now. But its virtue lies in the fact that it did buy more time to reach those decisions. The Senate recognized that virtue by overwhelmingly approving the measure, 89-10. Only seven Republican senators, including Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson, voted against the measure. Two others did not vote.

    The editors of the Las Vegas Sun:

    House Republicans’ refusal was purportedly because they didn’t want to “kick the can down the road” and instead wanted a year-long deal. The reality is that they are using the measure to try to gain political leverage. They have tied the extension of cuts and benefits to several major policy issues that have met with strong opposition….

    It’s shameful to see this as a political game. We can’t understand what Republicans in the House, including Nevadans Mark Amodei and Joe Heck, are thinking. Certainly, it would be better to have a year-long deal, but the failure of this plan would be terrible for average Americans. The Senate understood that — it passed on an 89-10 vote with 39 Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, voting in favor of it.

    The editors of the Charleston Gazette: “The action showed that GOP leaders care only about tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, not for middle-class U.S. families.”

    The editors of Tulsa World:

    As much spin as the House leadership tries to put on this, it is painfully clear that the tea party congressmen who came to Washington to all but shut down the government and run Obama out of town are hellbent to achieve their goals at any cost. Any hope of bipartisanship on such important issues is nonexistent. And this recalcitrance has shown itself over and over again.
    A dark moment for House Republicans.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Analysis: Republicans risk backlash in 2012

    They began this year vowing to slash spending and reduce government.

    Republicans in Congress can boast that they have done just that: As 2011 ends, they have wrung $2 trillion in spending cuts from Democrats without conceding a penny in tax increases.

    But the bare-knuckle tactics and brinkmanship that congressional Republicans have used to achieve several victories could come at a big cost for the party in next year’s elections.

    This week’s tense standoff over how to extend payroll tax cuts for 160 million Americans offered an unflattering look at how conservative House Republicans occasionally have overreached in avoiding compromise, lawmakers, strategists and analysts say.

    One of the biggest potential perils for Republicans in 2012 is the continuing influence of the party’s Tea Party-affiliated lawmakers, who once again showed their ability to stymie efforts by Republican Speaker John Boehner to cut deals on legislation.

    Despite overwhelming Republican support in the U.S. Senate for a compromise that would allow the payroll tax cut to be extended for two months, Tea Party Republicans in the House – as they often have done in 2011 – rebelled and refused to give ground, demanding instead a year-long extension.

    Until recently, many Republicans did not push hard for the payroll tax cut, questioning claims that it would stimulate the economy. They were more focused on blocking President Barack Obama’s call for a surtax on millionaires.

    Their objections to extending the tax cut softened as Obama and other Democrats began to publicly question them for not being more enthusiastic about a tax cut that particularly benefits the middle class.

    For Republicans, the tax cut bill became a vehicle for other legislative “sweeteners” they supported. Those included tacking on a measure that would force Obama to speed up a decision over whether to approve construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline from Alberta, Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast.

    Republicans and unions say the pipeline would be a job-producing aid to oil production; environmental advocates object to it.

    Analysts say Republicans’ stance in the debate over the payroll tax cut has put them in a curious position.

    “Republicans seem to be opposed to a payroll tax cut even though they have positioned themselves as the party of lower taxes. It’s nuts,” said Stu Rothenberg, a non-partisan political analyst.

    “The bad news for Republicans in 2012 is that the louder the Tea Party squawks, the harder it is for Boehner to get things through the House. This gives Democrats and President Obama ammunition,” Rothenberg said.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Justice Who Upheld Gov. Walker’s Anti-Union Law Received Over $10k Worth Of Free Services From Walker’s Law Firm
    By Ian Millhiser on Dec 20, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Last week, news broke that conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman received tens of thousands of dollars worth of free legal services from a law firm defending him against charges that he ran a deceptive campaign ad in violation of state ethics law. Wisconsin judicial ethics laws prohibits judges from receiving gifts of any kind from someone who is likely to appear before them.

    Nevertheless, Gableman did not simply accept these services from a law firm that frequently appears before his court, he cast the key vote in two cases argued by that law firm — including the single most contentious case heard by the state supreme court this year:

    State Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman in two cases cast the deciding vote in favor of parties represented by a law firm that gave him tens of thousands of dollars of free legal services, a review of state records shows.

    One of those was a high-stakes case this June that allowed Gov. Scott Walker to implement a law that all but eliminates collective bargaining for most public workers. Gableman was in the 4-3 majority that allowed Walker to prevail. Michael Best & Friedrich – the firm that defended Gableman for free in an ethics case – worked for the state and Walker’s administration in the collective bargaining case. […]

    Since the firm started representing Gableman in the ethics case in July 2008, Gableman has participated in nine cases in which the court voted on substantive issues involving Michael Best clients. Gableman ruled in those clients’ favor in five of those cases – more than any other justice.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Romney Wants His Billionaire Wall Street Donors To Be Able To Give Him Unlimited Sums Of Money
    By Ian Millhiser on Dec 21, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    If campaign donations are any sign, Mitt Romney is the runaway favorite candidate of billionaires and Wall Street bankers. Indeed, Wall Street has flooded his campaign with donations and a massive 10 percent of all American billionaires donated to his campaign. So it should probably come as no surprise that, in an interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, Romney called for the super wealthy to be able to give unlimited sums of money directly to candidates:

    TODD: Do you think Citizens United was a bad decision? […]

    ROMNEY:Well,I think the Supreme Court decision was following their interpretation of the campaign finance laws that were written by Congress. My own view is now we tried a lot of efforts to try and restrict what can be given to campaigns, we’d be a lot wiser to say you can give what you’d like to a campaign. They must report it immediately and the creation of these independent expenditure committees that have to be separate from the candidate, that’s just a bad idea.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Koshering the White House kitchen. Video
    The White House kitchen was koshered for President Obama’s Hanukkah party earlier this month, and this White House video takes you behind-the-scenes with White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford and Rabbi Levi Shemtov, who supervised the koshering process.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone at 3CHICS!!!

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