Friday Open Thread

Feliz Navidad” is a Christmas song written in 1970 by the Puerto Rican singer-songwriter José Feliciano. With its simple Spanish chorus (the traditional Christmas/New Year greeting, “Feliz Navidad, próspero año y felicidad” or “Merry Christmas, and a happy New Year”) and equally simple English verse (“I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart”), it has become a classic Christmas pop song in the United States, Canada and throughout the Spanish-speaking world.

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 Friday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    saw these in the comments at TPM about Nancy Smash.

    comment 1:

    Ovaries of steel.

    comment 2:
    aalex> austin_dave•

    I think she has Boehner’s balls hanging from the rearview mirror of her car.

    comment 3:
    Ivee> aalex•

    Which gives a whole new meaning to “fuzzy dice,” and one that I will enjoy.


  2. rikyrah says:


    Between the humiliating and chaotic collapse of Speaker Boehner’s already ludicrously extreme Plan B and Wayne La Pierre’s deranged proposal to put government agents in schools with guns, the Republican slide into total epistemic closure and political marginalization has now become a free-fall. This party, not to mince words, is unfit for government. There is no conservative party in the West – except for minor anti-immigrant neo-fascist ones in Europe – anywhere close to this level of far right extremism. And now the damage these fanatics can do is not just to their own country – was the debt ceiling debacle of 2011 not enough for them? – but to the entire world.

    Those of us who have warned for years about this disturbing trend toward ever more extreme measures – backing torture, pre-emptive un-budgeted wars, out-of-control spending followed, like a frantic mood swing, by anti-spending absolutism of the most insane variety in a steep recession, vicious hostility to illegal immigrants, contempt for gay couples, hostility even to contraception, let alone a middle ground on abortion … well, you know it all by now.

    But the current constitutional and economic vandalism removes any shred of doubt that this party and its lucrative media bubble is in any way conservative. They aren’t. They’re ideological zealots, indifferent to the consequences of their actions, contemptuous of the very to-and-fro essential for the American system to work, gerry-mandering to thwart the popular will, filibustering in a way that all but wrecks the core mechanics of American democracy, and now willing to acquiesce to the biggest tax increase imaginable because they cannot even accept Obama’s compromise from his clear campaign promise to raise rates for those earning over $250,000 to $400,000 a year.

    And this is not the exception. It is the rule. On abortion, the party proposes that it be made illegal in every state by amending the Constitution. Torture? More, please. Iran? It should be attacked if it merely develops the technological skill to make a nuclear bomb, let alone actually make one. Israel? Leading Republicans don’t just support new settlements on the West Bank. They show up for the opening ceremonies!

    Gun control? A massacre of children leads to a proposal for more guns in elementary schools and no concession on assault weapons. Immigration? Romney represented the party base – favoring a brutal regime of persecution of illegal immigrants until they are forced to “self-deport” – or rounding as many up as they can. Climate change? It’s a hoax – and we should respond by shrieking “Drill, Baby, Drill!” Gay marriage? The federal constitution should be amended to bar any legal recognition of any gay relationships, including civil partnerships. Their legislative agenda in this Congress? To “make Obama a one-term president.” Not saving the economy, not pursuing new policies, not cooperating to make Democratic legislation better. Just destroying a president of the opposite party. And, of course, failing.

    Then there is the rhetoric. In just the last fortnight, House Republicans have asserted that secretary of state Clinton faked her recent fall and concussion at home in order to get out of testifying on the Benghazi consulate attack. And then the Weekly Standard quotes a Senate Republican staffer saying: “Send us Hagel and we will make sure every American knows he is an anti-Semite.”

    Enough. This faction and its unhinged fanaticism has no place in any advanced democracy. They must be broken. But the current irony is that no one has managed to expose their extremism more clearly than their own Speaker. His career is over. As is the current Republican party. We need a new governing coalition in the House – Democrats and those few sane Republicans willing to put country before ideology. But even that may be impossible.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Charles Pierce: The National Rifle Association held a press conference today at which it was determined that there would be no questions asked or answered, but the organization made it quite clear that they would be open to media questions next week, between Christmas and New Year’s. Then they trotted out Wayne LaPierre, who had bats flying out of both ears.

    ….. For all the hopeful rhetoric expended over the past week about how this might actually be a “tipping point” for the NRA, the organization is as dead set against rational gun laws as it was a week ago Friday.

    … They have their plan, and its about more guns, period … Now we know where everybody stands. Clarity is a wonderful thing … [they] made it implicitly clear that they will fight any legislation that comes before the Congress as regards gun control, and that it will work (as always) to undermine the enforcement of that legislation should it become law. The country should realize all of that and move on ahead without them.

  4. rikyrah says:

    John Boehner’s Career Sank Last Night

    By Charles P. Pierce

    at 8:30AM

    What happened to John Boehner last night, when the feral children put Boehner’s balls inside a Christmas pinata and invited themselves to take a whack, couldn’t have happened to a nicer fellow. Boehner himself chose to be king of the dipwads. He offered himself up as Speaker knowing full well that, in 2010, the country had elected itself a Congress straight out of the more fantastical chapters of Gulliver’s Travels. He had to have watched what happened thereafter, when the president put a deal on the table in 2011 that made him look like Dwight Eisenhower on a bad day, and Boehner couldn’t sell it to the vandals in his caucus. He had to have watched as a vulnerable Democratic president got re-elected with ease, and brought a more liberal Democratic senatorial majority along with him, largely because the Republican presidential primary field was such a carnival of the politically insane that it even made an useless windsock like Willard Romney look like the wildest hair across Barry Goldwater’s ass. Boehner had to know that there is no deal he could have brought back to his caucus — no bargain, grand or otherwise, that he could sell — because he no longer even is the putative leader of an actual political party. He is Speaker because somebody has to be, and he may not be Speaker for long, because it doesn’t matter who is.

    You could see it coming during the campaign. Movement conservative politics — without which, the Republicans are the Whigs — is now made up of a series of independent power bases. That’s how hopeless cases like Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich were able to stay “viable” for as long as they did, even though everyone in the country knew that their campaigns were at best glorified exercises in pumping up book sales and honoraria. There was no party structure in place to tell those people that it was time to fold the tents. There is no party structure to weed out the crazoids from their safely gerrymandered districts. They all are independently financed actors responding to private constituencies that are rich enough and strong enough within the party to withstand any attempt at discipline. It’s a little unrealistic to expect John Boehner to wrangle them once they get to Congress.

    Last night, he couldn’t get the votes to pass a truly horrid plutocrat’s wet dream. He couldn’t get the votes to gut Obamacare or Wall Street reform. He couldn’t get the votes to throw children off food stamps and he couldn’t get the votes to throw the elderly off meals-on-wheels. He couldn’t get the votes for a simple, vicious stunt. He couldn’t get the votes because he couldn’t budge enough Republicans to support a tax increase in the upper .01 percent of taxpayers. He couldn’t do it because he had nothing with which to threaten people who look on governing the country as though they are running an evening-drive talk-radio program in Bugtussle. He couldn’t do it because he is a Republican pretending to be a fanatic who went hat in hand to a bunch of fanatics pretending to be Republicans.

    Read more: John Boehner Over The Fiscal Cliff – Wherein Democracy Mocks Itself – Esquire

  5. rikyrah says:

    Don’t worry too much about John Kerry’s Senate seat

    Posted by Jonathan Bernstein on December 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Barack Obama today announced that he will nominate John Kerry for Secretary of State. Is it foolish for the president to risk a Senate seat?

    Obama has been aggressive in selecting currently elected Democrats for his administration, including then-governors Janet Napolitano and Kathleen Sebelius and then-Senators Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. Both Senate seats remained in Democratic hands, but Republicans picked up both governor seats. There’s at least a fair chance that Scott Brown will wind up as the new Senator from Massachusetts; a special election will be called this summer, with a temporary appointee serving until then, unless of course Massachusetts changes their law again.

    While it’s certainly the case that every Senator counts, I don’t think the risk that Obama is taking here is all that strong. He’s not risking the 60th Senator or the 51st Senator, certainly not during the coming Congress. Even with a strong potential Republican contender, Massachusetts remains an overwhelmingly Democratic state, and it’s hard to see Brown as a real favorite to take the seat. If he did win, he would have to do it again, with the special election only filling the seat until the 2014 regular election. Indeed, many have speculated that Brown would have a safer path if he ran for governor in 2014.

  6. rikyrah says:

    John Boehner tries to save face

    Posted by Jamelle Bouie on December 21, 2012 at 11:27 am

    This morning, during a Capitol Hill press conference, John Boehner attempted to save face after last night’s rejection of “Plan B” by House conservatives. But rather than directly addressed the failed vote, he shifted blame to Senate Democrats — and the White House — for not acting. “We’ve already passed bills addressing the fiscal cliff,” said Boehner, “We passed a bill to stop all tax hikes on the American people scheduled to take effect on January 1st, and we did that on August 1st.”

    Ultimately, Boehner said, Republicans “only run the House.” It’s Democrats that “control Washington,” and thus, it’s up to them to either accept Republican proposals, or craft solutions that will pass muster with congressional conservatives.

    The problem, as we saw last night, is that there is a wing of House Republicans who refuse to accept any tax increases on the rich, even if they’re small, and even if they only apply to the wealthiest people in America. Indeed, in trying to explain away the Plan B debacle, Boehner acknowledges this fact. “We had a number of our members who just didn’t want to be perceived as raising taxes,” he said.

    So what’s next? When asked if he would be walking away from continued negotiations with President Obama, Boehner protested: “I did not say that…the president knows that I’ve always been able to deliver on any promise I’ve made with him.” Nor is he concerned about losing his speakership, “If you do the right things everyday for the right reasons, the right things will happen,” he explained, “And while we may not have been able to get the votes last night to avert 99.81 percent of the tax increases, I don’t think – they weren’t taking that out on me.”

  7. rikyrah says:

    December 20, 2012

    Let them go

    How embarrassing for Mr. Boehner.

    So now we’re hearing an array of Democratic pols urge the speaker to rejoin the negotiating process with President Obama. That may be the only path left for the House leader, although it appears that Boehner is a de facto leader of few–far too few to sustain his speakership as leadership. The same path for Obama, however, besides a display of mere showmanship, would be ill advised.

    The Republican Party is teetering, and it is quite possibly terminal. A responsible, good-faith opposition party would have grievously pondered the election’s results and then positively rushed its House members to the floor to pass the Senate tax bill, which awaits only House action. Such an act would have signaled a refreshing Republican willingness to once again play adult roles in the nation’s governance. Yet that, the party did not do. Instead it pouted and threatened and has regressed even farther.

    In short the Republican Party has slapped a DNR label on its anti-intellectually corrupt and soullessly ailing ass. President Obama would be wise to honor that label. He should no longer dignify the GOP by permitting it further chances at respectability. They’ll only turn on him anyway. It’s going to be a long two years, and Obama should spend that time profitably by pulling the GOP’s plug. Then, in its memory, perhaps a genuine, earnest and newborn conservative party can gather some wits, duly ensoul, and arise.

  8. rikyrah says:

    The GOP is dead, long live the Conservative Party

    Ezra Klein writes that “it’s clear now what Plan C is going to have to be: Boehner is going to need to accept the simple reality that if he’s to be a successful speaker, he’s going to need to begin passing legislation with Democratic votes.” That, however, portends a vanishing post-Jan. 3 scenario for the speaker-cum-speaker, for “a conservative spoiler … could very possibly deny Boehner the 218 votes he needs to become speaker, clearing the way for a more moderate candidate like Eric Cantor to unite the party.”

    After choking down the deployment of both “moderate” and “Eric Cantor” in the same sentence, let’s entertain another, longer-range and fundamentally deeper possibility–that of a Plan D.

    For starters, whoever the next speaker is–Boehner, Cantor, Kevin McCarthy or any other compromise candidate–his reign will come pre-packaged as a political catastrophe. If on any piece of House legislation he’s able to rally the radicals to vote with the moderates, the legislation must by inexorable definition be unacceptably radical to the Democratic Senate and president–for otherwise the radicals would have been un-rallyable. Hence any “successful” Republican speakership of the 113th Congress is almost certainly doomed: no sober, sane legislation will ever make it out of the House, while all the wacko tea-party stuff will never make it through the Senate or to the president’s desk for veto.

  9. rikyrah says:

    This is no time for a Grand Bargain’–or anything like one

    I’m with Krugman:

    This is no time for a Grand Bargain, because the Republican Party, as now constituted, is just not an entity with which the president can make a serious deal. If we’re going to get a grip on our nation’s problems — of which the budget deficit is a minor part — the power of the G.O.P.’s extremists, and their willingness to hold the economy hostage if they don’t get their way, needs to be broken.

    And I’d go even farther. This is no time for a bargain–period–whether grand or petite. GOP extremism has become tantamount to political gangsterism, and one should never bargain with gangsters. There’s no honor among them, they’ll double-cross you at the smallest drop of self-advantage, and, in sum, only an unspeakable fool would place any trust in them. At all.

    If we don’t break their strangling power, then we can kiss this potential city on a hill goodbye, and one of the globe’s still-leading hopes will descend into permanent dysfunction and chronic impuissance.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Simply oblivious

    This is fascinating.

    The GOP has now unleashed its own PPP–a statistical creature called Harper Polling, “with the goal,” reports Politico, “of putting the party on parity with Democrats in the field of IVR polling — a term that stands for interactive voice response polling, commonly known as ‘robo-polling'”–and idiomatically known as a relative piece of shit.

    Anyway, assuming you’re interested in such results, Harper is out with its first collection, part of which asks about the GOP 2016 presidential primary (no hissing, please). And the winner–by a plurality of roughly 100 percent–is … senator and theo-geologist Marco Rubio.

    Do you still care? Put any stock in Harper and IVR polling? OK then, if so, let’s proceed.

    “[T]he TEA party … is the foundation of Rubio’s support,” writes Harper’s founder, Brock McCleary. “Approaching half of all TEA supporters (43%) are voting for him”–that stat from a GOP sampled universe in which 58 percent “support the goals of the TEA party movement” (and 80 percent watch Fox News).

  11. rikyrah says:

    December 21, 2012

    A ‘for show’ news conference?

    Maybe that was just for show. One can hope. But if not for show, there were two disturbing lines from President Obama in his late afternoon news conference.

    In any negotiation the parties must meet halfway, he said, yet he added that he had met Republicans “halfway on taxes and more than halfway on spending.” Why the latter offer? Why would the chief victor of a national election ever concede more than 50 percent of anything in any negotiation? And for heaven’s sake why would the losers receive, in toto, 51 percent?

    Second, as the president indirectly lectured his base that no party ever gets 100 percent of what it wants, he was speaking over the heads of a party that indeed insists on 100 percent of whatever it wants–even subsequent to an electoral thrashing–or the country gets it, so to speak.

    But, as noted, perhaps this was all just for show. One can hope. The quite possible alternative is too frightening

    • Ametia says:

      WTF, PM? Someone in WASHINGTON needs to be the adult here. If both parties grab their toys and go home, then what? Stop your hand-wringing and let this president PRSIDE.

  12. Ametia says:

    BREAKING: Shooting in Blair Co. PA, 3 dead plus shooter.

    HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. – A prosecutor says a shooting along a rural road in central Pennsylvania has left four people dead, including the gunman. Three state troopers were injured.
    Blair County District Attorney Rich Consiglio says the shooting scene on Friday morning “extended over several miles” in Frankstown Township, about 70 miles west of Harrisburg.
    Consiglio says the dead were three men and one woman.
    State police say one trooper was struck by gunfire but escaped serious injury because he was wearing a bulletproof vest.
    Consiglio says a second trooper was hit by shattered glass and a third was in a crash involving the gunman.
    He says the public isn’t at risk. Township supervisor Mark Schroyer says nearby schools weren’t placed on lockdown.
    The identities of the victims and gunman weren’t immediately released.

    Read more:

  13. The NRA is peddling fear for profit. They prey on the minds of the weak that minorities are the enemy, so buy guns! Stop the madness!

  14. Wayne LaPierre has no regard for the little kids who were murdered. The press conference was a pro gun rally to sell guns. Lord Have Mercy!

  15. rikyrah says:

    Plan B fiasco leaves GOP lost, divided, and weak
    By Steve Benen
    Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:05 AM EST

    The irony of last night’s drama on Capitol Hill was that the proposal at stake had far more symbolic value than substantive. House Speaker John Boehner, after having abandoned his own fiscal talks, pushed his “Plan B” knowing full well it would not, and could not, become law. Rather, Boehner hoped to use the measure to send a message.

    Oh, he sent a message, all right. It’s just not the one the Speaker intended.

    At least in theory, there was a coherent strategy underlying Boehner’s efforts. He would pass his pointless charade, demand Democrats do as he instructed, and cover his backside when the larger process fell apart. All the Speaker needed was his own allies to follow his lead, and give him some additional leverage.

    To that end, Boehner tried everything. He tried pleading with his Republican allies, threatening them, and offering them all kinds of goodies. The Speaker made appeals based on emotion, economics, loyalty, and pragmatism, at times, simultaneously.

    But in the end, despite all the bravado and faux confidence, Boehner just couldn’t deliver. The party he ostensibly leads heard his impassioned pleas, and decided not to follow him.

    Debacles of this magnitude are rare.

    We’ll explore Boehner’s future as Speaker a little later this morning, but before we do, let’s take stock of where things stand.


    We know, for example, that Democratic unity is on the rise, despite concerns over President Obama’s latest offer, and that the “Plan B” fiasco has strengthened the Democratic position considerably.

    Similarly, we know congressional Republicans are in complete disarray, lacking direction, vision, cohesion, and leadership. Boehner invested his stature and credibility in a pointless initiative, and after twisting in the wind for days, was left looking like a fool.

    And we know that there are very limited options remaining to avoid the looming deadlines, which if unmet, may well push the nation back into a recession.

    As a simple matter of arithmetic, if House Republicans aren’t prepared to follow their own leadership and support a list of right-wing goodies, Boehner and the rest of the GOP leadership must realize that the road to 218 votes runs through the Democratic caucus — if the Speaker can’t pass a bill with his own side’s support, he’s going to need Nancy Pelosi’s help.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Boehner’s precarious future

    By Steve Benen

    Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:02 AM EST

    The deadline on the political world’s mind right now is Dec. 31 at midnight — the point at which tax rates go up, automatic spending cuts kick in, extended employment benefits end, ad a series of related measures begin to undermine the economy.

    But there’s another date that’s circled on House Speaker John Boehner’s calendar: Jan. 3. That’s the day Boehner is supposed to run unopposed for a second term as Speaker. Up until fairly recently, the outcome of the vote was a foregone conclusion, but this week’s debacles have raised serious questions about the Ohio Republican’s future.

    We talked earlier about the “Plan B” fiasco, which left Boehner beaten and humiliated, looking very much like a leader without followers. But will this translate into the Speaker’s downfall in two weeks? Indeed, if the leader of the House Republicans cannot, as a practical matter, lead the House Republicans, doesn’t he necessarily have to be replaced with someone the conference will follow? If last night amounted to a vote of no confidence, how does Boehner recover?

  17. rikyrah says:

    The fever isn’t breaking, it’s rising
    By Steve Benen
    Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:04 AM EST.

    Before the election, President Obama would occasionally get asked about what Americans should expect regarding the political environment if he won a second term. His response was always the same: his re-election would help break the Republican “fever.”

    As a campaign strategy, the response certainly made sense. Voters probably wouldn’t have responded well if the president had said, “Yep, Republicans are stark raving mad, there’s nothing I can do about it, and everyone should expect at least two years of brutal gridlock in which the GOP forces us to endure a series of painful crises of their own making.”

    But as a practical matter, Obama’s rhetoric, whether he believed it or not, was wrong. Kevin Drum had a compelling summation of the last six weeks, noting that Republicans have:

    * Shamefully smeared Susan Rice in order to prevent her nomination as secretary of state.

    * Shown themselves completely unwilling to compromise with President Obama over fiscal cliff legislation.

    * Begun a campaign to block the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense.

    * Almost unanimously refused to set up state healthcare exchanges to implement Obamacare.

  18. rikyrah says:

    NRA’s LaPierre slips into performance art

    By Steve Benen
    Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:07 PM EST.

    The National Rifle Association, quite conspicuously, said literally nothing in the wake of last week’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary at Newtown, Conn. Instead, the group very carefully took its time, crafted a specific message to present to the public, which would present the NRA and its vision in the best possible light.

    And this train wreck is what the group came up with.

    To call this a press conference is to mislabel what transpired. The NRA’s Wayne LaPierre decided to give a speech, and the group refused at the outset to consider questions from the reporters that had been invited to the event.

    It went downhill from there. It was hard to tell at times whether LaPierre was serious or had become a spectacular performance artist, making a dramatic statement about the absurdity of the NRA’s increasingly twisted worldview.

    Regardless, his performance is worth watching, if only to marvel at its farcical qualities, but don’t brush past the substance of his message. As LaPierre sees it, there’s a very long list of culprits that bear responsibility for gun violence — but guns have no place on that list.

    The NRA leader this morning blamed gun-free school zones, the media, the entertainment industry, video games, music he doesn’t like, existing gun-control laws, and President Obama as all sharing collective responsibility for tragic violence. Guns, however, are fine.

    LaPierre was willing to call for a new national database. Of firearms? No. Of gun owners? No. What the NRA wants instead is a new national database of Americans with mental illness.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Rove outfit plays fast and loose with IRS
    By Steve Benen
    Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:48 AM EST.

    Outside of Republican candidates themselves, very few political players had a worse campaign season than Karl Rove. His well-funded attack operation spent invested heavily and lost just about every race it contested, and Rove added insult to injury with an on-air tantrum that’s already become the stuff of legend.

    But as awful as Rove’s 2012 has been, there are some post-election questions that need answers, too. ProPublica uncovered fascinating evidence of dubious claims Rove’s Crossroads GPS made to the Internal Revenue Service — and misleading the IRS is generally a pretty serious no-no.

    In a confidential 2010 filing, Crossroads GPS — the dark money group that spent more than $70 million from anonymous donors on the 2012 election — told the Internal Revenue Service that its efforts would focus on public education, research and shaping legislation and policy.

    The group’s application for recognition as a social welfare nonprofit acknowledged that it would spend money to influence elections, but said “any such activity will be limited in amount, and will not constitute the organization’s primary purpose.”

  20. President Obama leads white house staff in a moment of silence for the Newtown victims

    President Obama leads white house staff in a moment of silence for the Newtown victims

  21. NBC Nightly News ‏@nbcnightlynews

    President Obama will make a personnel announcement at 1:30pm ET from the White House

  22. Wayne LaPierre has no sympathy, no empathy, no compassion for the kids killed but a defiant attitude to blame everything but the NRA. OMG!

    • Vettte says:

      You’ve got to wonder where this country is headed. The desperate white men who feel themselves loosing control to growing minorities are surely going to find a way to kill us all off. I can’t believe what I am hearing. No regard whatsoever for 20 dead babies. It’s not the gun that kills he says but the videos? The pornograpic violence is an issue but there can be no action taken without the gun. Where are we headed as a country? It’s really scary.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Le Freak, C’est Chic

    By mistermix December 21st, 2012

    If I can over-simplify ABL’s post about the chained CPI as “chill out, Obama’s got this”, then my position is something like “chill out and trust Obama to hear you”. The fact that Obama was a community organizer has been repeated so frequently that it’s cliche, but it still doesn’t change the fact that he’s looking for engagement from the people he represents. So when I wrote my Member of Congress to tell her not to support chained CPI, it wasn’t because I think that Obama and his surrogates are sellouts or phonies or frauds, it’s to encourage them to make a deal that doesn’t involve Social Security. My feelings about the Obama Administration–it’s fairly centrist, willing to compromise to get things done, too militaristic, a bit over-cautious, saddled with a terrible Congress, and probably the best Democrats can do at this point in history–didn’t change much.

    What’s so irritating about a lot of the professional Progressives isn’t the policy content of what they’re saying, it’s the implicit or explicit notion that every compromise or too-conservative policy decision made by the Obama White House reflects some kind of betrayal. There’s got to be a way to criticize the Obama Administration, or to try to push it in a different directions, without all the sweet emotion we’ve been hearing for the last 4 years.

  24. NRA press conference interrupted by protester holding banner, yelling ‘the NRA is killing our children’ – live video

  25. Ametia says:


    Huelskamp Defiant on Taxes, Guns on ‘Morning Joe’

    Read Latest Breaking News from
    Urgent: Should Obamacare Be Repealed? Vote Here Now!

    When the conversation turned to gun control in the aftermath of the Newtown shooting. Scarborough pressed Huelskamp because he has been critical of those calling for gun control even as he is asking for more study on violence and its relationship to video games.

    “I’m not saying to pass a single law about that because I think that would be politicizing the issue,” Huelskamp said.

    Scarborough fired back angrily “Do you dare come on my show and say I am using the slaughter of 20 little 6 and 7-year-old children, I’m using that for political purposes, Tim?”

    Guests on the show, including Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post expressed exasperation adding that Huelskamp’s responses were what’s wrong with the GOP.

    See video below:

    Read Latest Breaking News from
    Urgent: Should Obamacare Be Repealed? Vote Here Now!

  26. rikyrah says:

    The GOP is Nuts

    by BooMan
    Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 08:16:44 AM EST

    Randolph Linn is a 52 year old truck driver from St. Joseph, Indiana who passed by an Islamic Center somewhat often during his work. One day, in the process of drinking 45 beers in seven hours, he was convinced by watching Fox News that all Muslims are terrorists. He set off for the Islamic Center with a loaded revolver, he went inside, and he lit a fire in one of their prayer rooms. He was arrested.
    Of course, the probable Republican spin doctor’s response to this will be to blame the beer rather than the propaganda this was man was subjected to. He was drunk, which is a little like being mentally ill or having Asperger’s Syndrome.

    But how do we explain Erick Erickson’s truthful observation that last night the House Republicans proved that they are “more loyal to the Americans for Tax Reform pledge than Americans for Tax Reform itself is”? Grover Norquist gave them a pass to vote on John Boehner’s Plan B bill, and they took a pass on the pass.

    Can we safely say that the majority of the House Republican caucus has been so indoctrinated into their own propaganda that they no longer realize that it is just bullshit designed to help rich people get their way? Do they all now actually believe that raising taxes reduces revenues? Do they believe that increasing income inequality increases consumer demand and promotes economic growth? Do they actually believe that government spending doesn’t create any jobs even when the government is paying people to work?

    With the likely exception of their Speaker, the House Republicans can’t point to their blood-alcohol level as an excuse.

    The debate about chained CPI is important, but it seems small and tangential after last night’s mutiny. It should be clearer now that the biggest problem facing the country is not the budget deficit or the strength or generosity of our entitlement programs. The biggest problem is that your average elected Republican is just as susceptible to Fox News right-wing bullshit as Randolph Winn was when he lit an Islamic Center on fire because he had been watching Fox News and got “riled up.”

    It is extremely dangerous to have a party this detached from reality.

  27. NBC confirms President Obama to name John Kerry as next Secretary of State.

    • Ametia says:

      President Barack Obama today will nominate Sen. John Kerry, the former presidential candidate who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to be the next secretary of State, a senior administration official tells CNN.

      The senior senator from Massachusetts is noted for the experience, gravitas and relationship-building skills that could help him succeed Hillary Clinton, the outgoing top U.S. diplomat.

      U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice had been seen as a frontrunner for the job, but she withdrew her name from consideration after Republicans said her comments on television about the killings of Americans in Libya were misleading.

  28. LOL! Bo is spoiled! He loves Michelle’s lap!

  29. rikyrah says:

    Plan B Goes Down In Flames: Reax

    Last night Boehner failed to get enough Republican votes to pass Plan B. Tomasky is dumbfounded:

    [S]tep back and think of last night in this context: Plan B was a conservative plan with one little tiny dash of compromise, one small and mostly symbolic feather step outside the safe zone of hard-right ideology and toward…not even the center, but the far-right fringe of the center. And the Republicans could not vote even for that.

    Rich Lowry sighs:

    If part of what President Obama was after was Republican humiliation and disarray, it’s going better than even he could have hoped.

    Avlon piles on:

    A new CNN poll shows that for the first time, a majority of Americans view the Republican Party as “too extreme”—up 17 percentage points since the fall of 2010, before the Tea Party election. Moreover, 53 percent of Americans say Republicans should be willing to compromise more in fiscal-cliff negotiations—but that’s the opposite of the message conservatives are sending to their leadership. Theirs is a worldview where any compromise on taxes equals death. By putting ideological purity ahead of the good of the country or the good of their party, they are revealing a streak of nihilism—“some men just want to watch the world burn” as Republican strategist Rick Wilson tweeted after the vote.

    Kevin Drum considers what comes next:

    One possibility is that this makes falling off the fiscal cliff much more likely. If the loonies won’t even vote for Plan B, what are the odds they’ll vote for a compromise bill along the lines that President Obama has offered? A second possibility—and I honestly don’t know how likely this is—is that Boehner now knows he can’t get the tea partiers to vote for anything, so he’ll give up on the idea of bringing them into the fold. Instead of trying to craft a bill that can get 218 Republican votes, he’ll round up fifty or a hundred of the non-crazies and pass a compromise bill along with 150 Democrats. On this reading, today’s failure actually makes a fiscal cliff compromise more likely.

  30. rikyrah says:

    The Morning Plum: In Plan B implosion, House conservatives exit the conversation

    Posted by Greg Sargent on December 21, 2012 at 9:13 am

    The spectacular implosion of John Boehner’s Plan B confirms something that should have been obvious for a long time now: House conservatives simply may not be capable of playing any role in the near-term conversation over how to move the country forward and place it on a sounder fiscal and economic footing.

    In a way, though, this last stand of sorts by conservatives — by confirming their own inability to play any meaningful or constructive part in the rest of this drama — could ultimately pave the way to a resolution.

    Much of the commentary about what happened yesterday focuses on Boehner’s miscalculation: He hoped passing his Plan B would force the White House to move in his direction, and failed to anticipate the revolt among conservatives that would ensue. This is widely being painted as an unnecessary gamble that wasted crucial time.

    But last night confirmed something that needed to be established: Thanks to the conservative wing of the GOP, House Republicans, on their own, simply cannot pass anything that raises tax rates one penny on an extremely tiny, and extremely rich, minority of Americans — no matter how small or how wealthy. This may mean the only way to a deal will be to reach a compromise that includes a sizable number of House Dems.

    At this stage, it’s hard to see any other way out, since there doesn’t appear to be any way of reaching an agreement that’s acceptable to White House and Senate Democrats on one side and House conservatives on the other. What we learned last night is that the gap cannot be bridged. And so, I’m hopeful that Obama and Boehner will begin to focus the talks on a final package that can win over a few dozen (or perhaps more) Republicans on one side and solid Democratic support on the other. It also wouldn’t be surprising if they coalesce around something that passes the House with roughly equal numbers from each party.

  31. Ametia says:

    Jobless rates down in 45 states in November; payroll jobs up in 30 states, down in 20

    Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

    For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Friday, December 21, 2012

    Regional and state unemployment rates were generally lower in
    November. Forty-five states and the District of Columbia recorded
    unemployment rate decreases and five states had no change, the U.S.
    Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Forty-three states and the
    District of Columbia registered unemployment rate decreases from a
    year earlier, six states experienced increases, and one state had no
    change. The national jobless rate, 7.7 percent, edged down from
    October and was 1.0 percentage point lower than in November 2011.

    In November 2012, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 30 states
    and decreased in 20 states and the District of Columbia. The largest
    over-the-month increase in employment occurred in North Carolina
    (+30,600), followed by Florida (+24,500) and Texas (+22,100). The
    largest over-the-month decrease in employment occurred in New York
    (-33,500), followed by Indiana (-9,100) and New Jersey (-8,100).
    November data for New Jersey and New York reflect the impact of
    Hurricane Sandy, as well as underlying economic trends. Louisiana
    experienced the largest over-the-month percentage increase in
    employment (+0.9 percent), followed by Hawaii, Nevada, and North
    Carolina (+0.8 percent each). The District of Columbia experienced the
    largest over-the-month percentage decline in employment (-0.7 percent),
    followed by Nebraska and New York (-0.4 percent each). Over the year,
    nonfarm employment increased in 45 states and decreased in 5 states
    and the District of Columbia. The largest over-the-year percentage
    increase occurred in North Dakota (+4.7 percent). The largest over-
    the-year percentage decrease in employment occurred in West Virginia
    (-1.8 percent).

    Read more:

  32. President Obama and Vice President Biden Speak at the Funeral Service for the Late Senator Daniel Inouye

  33. Ametia says:

    Loving Jose this morning. SG@, the music and atmosphere around here is just delightful!

    Thank you so much for bringing us all the Holiday cheer. :-)

  34. Tribute to the Connecticut shooting victims with Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

  35. Holding You In Our Hearts: First Lady Sends A Touching Message To Newtown!

    Over the past week, we as Americans have been united in our grief as Newtown has laid to rest so many beautiful, innocent children, along with the heroic educators who worked every day to help them achieve their dreams.

    As a mother of two young daughters, my heart aches for you and your families. Like so many Americans, I wish there were something — anything — I could do or say to ease your anguish.

    But I know that I cannot begin to imagine the depths of your grief. I know that for many of you, the pain you are enduring right now seems unbearable; and many of you may be asking yourselves, how can we go on — as families and as a community?

    But I also know that we have already begun to see the answer to that question in the countless acts of courage, kindness and love here in Newtown and across America.

    Over the past week, I have been awed and inspired by Newtown’s heroes: the first responders who risked their lives at a moment’s notice; the educators whose devotion to their students shone brightest in one of our nation’s darkest hours; the children who comforted each other despite their fear; the families coming together to support each other as they grieve.

    And I am so proud of the outpouring of love and support that has come from every corner of America: from first responders from neighboring cities rushing to help however they could; from people in Cleveland and Charlotte and Juneau and so many other communities joining together to honor Newtown with their thoughts and prayers; and in living rooms and houses of worship and the halls of our government, where we are beginning to have those difficult conversations about how we can build a safer, more peaceful tomorrow for all our children.

    And I want you to know that this is just the beginning. As my husband has said, in the coming weeks, he will use all the powers of his office to engage citizens from across this country to find ways to prevent tragedies like this one. And please know that every minute of every day, we are thinking of you, and praying for you, and holding you and your families in our hearts as you begin the slow and wrenching work of healing and moving forward.

    In the months and years ahead, may the memories of those beautiful children and those heroic adults be a blessing for their families, for your community, and for our country, and may God bless you all.

    First Lady Michelle Obama, Washington, D.C.

  36. A Message from President Obama about Your Petition on Reducing Gun Violence

    Ed. Note: Today, the White House responded to a number of petitions on We the People asking the Administration to take action to reduce gun violence in our country. The response is below and can be viewed on We the People here.

    In the days since the tragedy in Newtown, Americans from all over the country have called for action to deter mass shootings and reduce gun violence. Hundreds of thousands of you have signed petitions on We the People.

    I’m writing you today to thank you for speaking up, to update you on an important development, and to encourage you to continue engaging with the White House on this critical issue.

    First, you should know that President Obama is paying close to attention to the public response to this tragedy. In fact, he sat down to record a message specifically for those of you who have joined the conversation using We the People. Watch it now:

  37. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone. Happy FRY-day! :-)

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