Thursday Open Thread

Good Morning, Everyone. I hope you all will have a good day, and spend some of it at 3CHICS. We love your comments, so please feel welcome.

hat tip-The Obama Diary:

The President and First Lady visited the troops stationed in Hawaii.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet military personnel eating Christmas dinner at Anderson Hall at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on December 25.

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65 Responses to Thursday Open Thread

  1. Pingback: Monday Open Thread - Jack & Jill Politics

  2. rikyrah says:

    Tagg Romney Explains It All

    By Charles P. Pierce

    at 11:00AM

    Much was made over the holidays, mainly by people who had little or nothing else to make, including merry, of Tagg Romney’s startling admission to The Boston Globe that — psych, America! — the old man didn’t want the stupid job of being your president anyway.

    “He wanted to be president less than anyone I’ve met in my life. He had no desire… to run. If he could have found someone else to take his place… he would have been ecstatic to step aside…(Willard) is a very private person who loves his family deeply and wants to be with them. He loves his country, but he doesn’t love the attention.”

    Now, ever since this quote hit the papers, young Tagg has been the subject of much mockery and ridicule, and suggestions that he join that nice Mr. Aesop in the Produce section, over by the grapes. It has been hinted that Tagg has the same largely accidental relationship with the truth that his father so vividly demonstrated over the five years in which he pursued the job he really didn’t want anyway. I choose to believe Tagg Romney entirely. Willard Romney didn’t want to be president. Willard Romney expected to be president, and that was his real undoing.

    It has been years, probably, since Willard had to go to all the emotional fuss and bother of actually wanting something. If there was something that caught his eye — a slow-moving company’s fat pension fund, a nice house in La Jolla, the governor’s office in Massachusetts — there would be a deal to be struck and whatever it was that should be his would be his. This is not a man who tolerates disappointment well, not because he burns with ambition and avarice — although he profited for years from very effective simulacrums of ambition and avarice –but, rather, because he rarely has experienced disappointment in his life. He does not want. He expects.

    So, when his son comes out now and tells us that Willard didn’t “want” to be president, he says more than he planned on saying. He subtly reinforces that foundation of the basic problem that his father had as a political candidate — namely, that the more you were exposed to Willard Romney, the less you wound up liking him. That has been the case in his entire political career. He left Massachusetts with an approval rating in the substratum and lost the state so badly this time around that he probably helped sink Scott Brown, too. By the end of the 2008 campaign, the other candidates, particularly John McCain, were ready to boil him in oil. This time around, he got chunks taken out of his hide — particularly by Rick Santorum, who is a colossal dick, and have I mentioned recently what a colossal dick he truly is? — almost up until the moment he mounted the podium in Tampa. Paul Ryan’s people started sniping at him about 11 seconds after the networks called Ohio. To know Willard Romney is to casually loathe him. To know him well, at least in a political context, is to want to set him on fire and send out for more marshmallows.

    And you know what drives them really crazy? He knows how much they hate him. They know he knows how much they hate him. And he…couldn’t…care…less. What can they do to him, really? Deny him a place at the festival for fruitcakes in 2016? Deprive him of the chance to hobnon with Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker, and whoever else comes slouching out of the mire at the behest of The Base? Look at that sunset out there. That’s his sunset. He paid for it and it belongs to him. He didn’t want it. He expected it. He deserved it. And he got it. Cosmic justice was done. The universe is in balance again and he’s where he belongs, on top, far distant from The Help, who pestered him so rudely over the past five years.

    The presidency was like that sunset. It was something he deserved, because he was rich and well-born, and his job is not to want, because that implies that you might not get the prize — which, my dear young man, simply is not done — but to deserve. He only wants what is his due, which is pretty much everything. Santorum wanted to be president to bring the power of his repressive personal deity to our politics. Gingrich wanted to be president because he had books to sell and megalomania has a short shelf life. Herman Cain wanted to be president because, well, he was a little nuts. I still have no idea what Michelle Bachmann wanted. But Willard Romney didn’t “want” to be president for any of these reasons, or for any reasons outside the fact that the office was his by right and by birth. That came shining through long before the “47 percent” comment emerged to define him. (We in Massachusetts saw it in the casually brutal way he shoved aside Jane Swift, who was pretty much the definition of an accidental governor, but who nonetheless was the incumbent.) The president saw the job as something you had to earn, and people caught on, and that pretty much made all the difference. So Tagg was telling the truth. His old man never wanted the job. But he deserved it. And he may never understand why the country so publicly disagreed.

    Read more: Tagg Romney Quote Mitt Romney – Tagg, You’re It – Esquire

  3. BREAKING NEWS: Retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf has died, AP reports.

  4. rikyrah says:

    SMDH! Rapper Shawty Lo And His 10 Baby Mamas To Star In Oxygen Reality Show

    The cable network has announced the production of a new one-hour special, “All My Babies’ Mamas,” which features the day-to-day drama-filled shenanigans of Atlanta rapper Shawty Lo (pictured), his 10 baby mamas and their army of 11 children, reports TV By the Numbers.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Stuff About Polls

    by BooMan
    Thu Dec 27th, 2012 at 01:27:04 PM EST

    I agree with Ed Kilgore that we cannot cover politics well if we simply ignore polls, and there’s a good debate to be had about how best to aggregate polls. But Kilgore ignored the subject that most interests me. And that is the likelihood that Gallup and (particularly) Rasmussen polls were deliberately favorable to Mitt Romney in the last polling cycle, and what that did to benefit both Romney and Republicans in general.
    Candidates operate within a larger nebulous media environment that they can influence but not control. It is easier to function as a candidate in an environment in which you are not being told day after day that the polls show that you have no more than a 33% chance of winning. That was what Nate Silver’s aggregator consistently showed almost all last year, and he still overestimated Romney’s final standing because all the pollsters (but especially Gallup and Rasmussen) were off.

    Other aggregators that did not correct for house effect were much worse and more commonly used on television and in print. The effect was to create a false impression that the race was closer than it was, which (on the whole) was beneficial to Romney.

    An argument can be made that this false impression created an unwarranted complacency on Romney’s part, preventing him from taking big chances that could have turned the race. Yet, frankly, understanding the role of simple denial in the Romney campaign is a separate topic from how we should interpret polls and poll aggregations in the future. Romney’s in-house pollster may have been the worst of all, and we can’t really know why they were delivering such rose-tinted news to their boss.

    In general, closer-than-reality polling was beneficial for Romney. In addition to contributing to an easier media environment, it helped him continue to rake in money until the very end of the campaign.

    For media outlets who were more focused on getting eyeballs than getting it right, closer-than-reality polls were helpful because they made the campaign seem more interesting and newsworthy.

    So, there are a lot of issues surrounding polling beyond just explaining why the pollsters underestimated Obama’s lead.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Watching the ‘war on voting’ backfire
    By Steve Benen
    Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:00 PM EST.

    For the better part of two years, Republican policymakers in states nationwide launched a deliberate, calculated effort to restrict voting rights — the most sweeping effort in the United States since the Jim Crow era — specifically to influence the outcome of the 2012 elections. The goal of voter-ID laws, voter-registration restrictions, and closed early-voting windows wasn’t subtle: identify likely Democratic voters and try to limit their turnout.

    It’s hard to overstate the extent to which this backfired.

    Blacks voted at a higher rate this year than other minority groups and for the first time in history may also have voted at a higher rate than whites, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of census data, election day exit poll data and vote totals from selected cities and counties. […]

    These participation milestones are notable not just in light of the long history of black disenfranchisement, but also in light of recently-enacted state voter identification laws that some critics contended would suppress turnout disproportionately among blacks and other minority groups.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Quote of the Day
    By Steve Benen
    Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:00 PM EST.

    I often wonder if congressional Republicans believe their own talking points, or if they no longer care about credibility (via Kevin Drum).

    “The president made a strategic miscalculation and overreached,” said one GOP aide granted anonymity to discuss party strategy. “He could have worked to reach a fair agreement, but instead he picked a fight, poisoned the well, and now we are likely to have a rather unproductive next four years. The decision he made only hurts himself.”

    It’s unclear whether the GOP aide was able to say this with a straight face or not.

    Let’s quickly recap the fiscal process in case anyone is confused. President Obama presented a platform to the nation in 2012, and was rewarded with 332 electoral votes, during the same election cycle in which Democrats added seats in both the House and Senate. After the election, the president proposed — get this — implementing his agenda, which enjoys broad public support.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Boehner, unable to lead, waits for Senate rescue

    By Steve Benen
    Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:26 AM EST\

    House Speaker John Boehner had a strategy: strike a deal with President Obama on looming fiscal deadlines, get it passed, and look like a competent policymaker capable of governing. That plan fell apart last week when Boehner’s own allies forced him to scrap the negotiations.

    So, the Speaker came up with a new strategy: pass a plainly ridiculous “Plan B,” send it to the Senate, dare Democrats to defeat it, and avoid blame when everything fell apart. That, too, crashed and burned when Boehner couldn’t convince Republicans to have his back.

    Left with no “Plan C,” it’s come to this: hope the Senate can figure something out.

    After a high-level telephone conference call, House Republican leaders called on the Senate to act but opened the door to bringing to the House floor any last-minute legislation the Senate could produce.

    “The House will take this action on whatever the Senate can pass, but the Senate first must act,” said the statement issued on behalf of Speaker John A. Boehner and his three top lieutenants

    If you’re thinking, “Wait, this doesn’t make any sense,” you’re not alone. For one thing, the Senate already acted, passing a bill to freeze lower rates on income up to $250,000, and the House GOP leadership is choosing not to take up the Senate version. For another, there’s a Democratic majority in the Senate — are Harry Reid and his caucus expected to just guess what kind of plan can generate some modicum of Republican support?

  9. rikyrah says:

    The irresponsible Republican Party

    Posted by Jonathan Bernstein on December 27, 2012 at 10:14 am

    It’s worth noting, again, the irresponsible behavior of the Republicans with regard to the fiscal crisis.

    At its core, this is not about a tea party mindset that refuses all compromises based on either misguided principle or fear of primaries. That’s happening, as Steve Kornacki explains this morning, but it’s not the core problem. Nor is it about a House speaker too afraid of losing his job that he becomes too cowardly to put pressure on members of his conference or to pass something without the crazies of his conference. It’s not even, really, about a party refusing to accept the election returns or having a fanatical devotion to low tax rates no matter what. All those things are true, but they aren’t the worst of it.

    Back up from the day-to-day and really look at it, and what you’ll see is a situation in which Republicans insist on superficially popular deficit reduction without being willing to support any of the means of getting deficit reduction — and having demonstrated repeatedly that if Democrats propose any specific deficit-reduction measures, they’ll be quick to attack.

    The truth is that we probably wouldn’t have any major problem if Republicans were willing to propose actual policies that would achieve the deficit-reduction goal they insist is essential. For better or worse, Barack Obama and the Democrats appear willing to cut a deal, even if it involves accepting spending cuts that Democratic voters and activists hate. Obama and the Democrats are also, obviously, willing to propose and strongly support tax increases.

    What Obama and the Democrats are not willing to do — and should not be willing to do — is to propose and take the blame for the specific spending cuts that would be needed for deficit reduction of the size that Republicans insist on.

  10. rikyrah says:

    I could maybe understand this if Barack Obama had grown up in Jersey…but, he GREW UP IN HAWAII.

    W-T-F wouldn’t he know about his Senator?


    Can’t We Speak Well of the Dead?

    by BooMan
    Thu Dec 27th, 2012 at 10:41:57 AM EST

    It’s hard to get lower than concern trolling the literal accuracy of a eulogy. Maybe some ethics professor can chime in with a theory on the propriety of hyperbolic praise on the occasion of someone’s death. A few days ago, the president delivered a eulogy at the funeral of Sen. Daniel Inouye in which he said that he had first learned what a senator was while watching the Watergate hearings during a family vacation in the summer of 1973. He also said that he took special notice of Sen. Inouye because of his non-white appearance, the respect he commanded, and because his mother told him that he was their senator. He went on to say that Sen. Inouye was perhaps his earliest political inspiration.

    In response, Patrick Brennan of National Review, decided to pore through Obama’s published writings to see if he had ever called Sen. Inouye an inspiration in the past. Maybe the president was exaggerating!!!

    I know it’s the slow news season, but when you have to work this hard to criticize the president maybe you just don’t have any good criticisms to make.

  11. Ametia says:

    POTUS & FLOTUS were getting down with the performances.

  12. Ametia says:

    President Barack Obama will send Congress a proposal for a scaled-back agreement to avoid some of the fiscal cliff, according to Republican and Democratic sources.

    The president cut short his Christmas vacation in Hawaii and the U.S. Senate reconvened, with the deadline for going over the fiscal cliff of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts just four days away.

    The House remains on Christmas break, but members say they could be called back on 48 hours’ notice if needed.

    • Ametia says:

      “The House remains on Christmas break, but members say they could be called back on 48 hours’ notice if needed.” Seriosuly?!

      Short: Hey NEGRO, let us know when you’re finished lifting that bale of hay.” I loathe these MOFOs.

  13. Ametia says:


    Programming Note: I Will Be On Radio Discussing Social Security and Chained CPI
    Thursday, December 27, 2012 | Posted by Deaniac83 at 9:58 AM

    ere’s a programming note: I have been invited to debate the Chained CPI and Social Security on We Act Radio, a Washington, DC based station. I am recording today, and the show will be aired on Saturday. I will be on Take Action News with David Shuster, which airs on Saturdays from 12-3pm Eastern Time (stations follow). I will be debating the subject of Chained CPI and Social Security with Alex Lawson, the Executive Director of Social Security Works/Strengthen Social Security. I have had some correspondence with the group before, and I have written about it.

    Check out radio station and air times here:

  14. Ametia says:

    Reid: Fiscal cliff failure looks likely due to Boehner’s House ‘dictatorship’
    Source: NBC News

    The Senate’s top Democrat said Thursday that he was pessimistic that Washington could avoid the impending fiscal cliff, accusing House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, of running the lower chamber as a “dictatorship.”

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he was unsure there was enough time between now and the end of the year to reach a deal to avoid the combination of spending cuts and tax hikes set to take effect on Jan. 1. Reid said “the only viable escape route” was for the GOP-controlled House to give its approval to a Senate bill that would preserve existing tax rates on income under $250,000.

    Read more: Link to source

  15. Ametia says:

    What if Spike Lee Had Made Django Unchained?

    I just watched Django Unchained. I will be offering up a longer response later today. But, I can say with confidence that Quentin Tarantino has made an excellent movie, that aided by amazing performances from Jamie Foxx and Samuel Jackson, should win an award (at the very least) for best screenplay this year at the Academy Awards. Christoph Waltz’s role as a lens and critical voice, a chorus of sorts, through which a contemporary post civil rights, Age of Obama audience can be “present” in the film, was also superb.

    Read on here:

    Hubby and I saw the movie yesterday. Kudos to the cast and what I really appreciated about this movie, was the actual showing of BLACK SLAVE WOMEN BEING RAPED BY MASSA. aka Kerry Washington. Most slave films from the past, don’t show the horror and graphically despicable act of the how women were raped, not made love to or had sex with, but RAPED by white masters.

    • I hope to see Django this weekend.

    • rikyrah says:

      there was a review of it over at JJP, and while I could nod in agreement with a lot of the criticisms, the one part of it that I said to myself that I disagreed about was the criticism of the treatment of Black women. I was like, that’s what life was like. Black women have never had control over their own persons…for we were the vessels used to proliferate slavery – either by having us ‘ mated’ like animals to another slave, or having their rapist’s child.

      when, in the history of THIS country, have Black women had control over their own bodies, outside of the last 40 years?

      • Ametia says:

        Tell it. I’d just ask folks to view Django for themselves. They’ll form their own views. It’s refreshing to read the criticisms after seeing it, personally.

        And all the cries about the use of “NIGGER” in the movie. What was that like for folks?

  16. Ametia says:

    LO, Joy and Richard Wolf take down Mitten’s claims about not wanting to be POTUS.

  17. Ametia says:

    EPA head Lisa Jackson to resign post

    Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, who pushed through the most sweeping curbs on air pollution in two decades, announced Thursday morning she will resign her post.

    Jackson, who will step down shortly after President Obama’s State of the
    Union address next month, has not accepted another job at this time,
    according to several individuals who have spoken with her. Many expected she would not remain for the administration’s second term; Jackson herself joked about it recently.

    The slew of rules EPA enacted over the past four years — including the first-ever greenhouse gas standards for vehicles, cuts in mercury and other toxic pollution from power plants and a tighter limit on soot, the nation’s most widespread deadly pollutant — prompted many congressional Republicans and business groups to suggest Jackson was waging a “war on coal.” But it also made Jackson a hero to the environmental community, who viewed her as their most high-profile advocate within the Obama administration.

    Read more at:

  18. Breaking Politics ‏@breakingpol

    US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says going over fiscal cliff ‘looks like where we’re headed’ – @Reuters

  19. rikyrah says:

    Make the Offer Already, Gov. Patrick…

    By Anne Laurie December 27th, 2012

    So now that both Ben Affleck and Ted Kennedy Jr. have declined the honor, I say it’s time for Barney Frank to be offered the interim Senate position (between Kerry’s confirmation as Secretary of State and the mandated special election five months later). Via Wonkette, from Politico:

    Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank isn’t ruling out a short-term stint in the U.S. Senate, if President Barack Obama taps Sen. John Kerry to be secretary of state.

    If Kerry is nominated and confirmed to the job, Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick would appoint a temporary senator to fill the seat until a special election is held next year. Frank, the liberal icon who’s retiring at the end of the year after more than three decades in the House, has said he would not run in a special election.

    But in an interview with POLITICO Wednesday, the former House Financial Services Committee chairman said he wouldn’t necessarily say “no” to a short-term, caretaker appointment – not that anyone’s offering yet.

    “The governor ought to be free to make whatever choices he makes. In Massachusetts, you’re talking about an interim, not a permanent appointment. I certainly would not take on any long-term appointment,” Frank said. “As for an interim thing, I think accepting offers that haven’t been made is kind of presumptuous.”…

  20. rikyrah says:

    Why Did Dick Armey Leave FreedomWorks?

    Posted on 12/26/2012 at 2:00 pm by JM Ashby

    Because he’s batshit crazy.

    The partnership came to a crashing end when Armey marched into FreedomWorks’s office Sept. 4 with his wife, Susan, executive assistant Jean Campbell and the unidentified man with the gun at his waist — who promptly escorted Kibbe and Brandon out of the building.

    “This was two weeks after there had been a shooting at the Family Research Council,” said one junior staff member who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. “So when a man with a gun who didn’t identify himself to me or other people on staff, and a woman I’d never seen before said there was an announcement, my first gut was, ‘Is FreedomWorks in danger?’ It was bizarre.’ ”


    Armey appeared out of touch and unsure of how FreedomWorks operated when he took over that Tuesday morning, according to interviews with more than a dozen employees on both sides who witnessed the takeover. Sitting in a glass-walled conference room visible to much of the staff, he placed three young female employees on administrative leave, then reversed himself when they burst into tears; his wife lamented aloud that maybe they had “jumped the gun.”

    Dick Armey literally staged an armed coup, and it failed. After it failed, he was paid to leave so he would not have an opportunity to run the organization into the ground. And if he was using an armed guard to escort people out of their jobs, someone could have been killed.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Tea Party Fantasies of Sending Obama to Prison for Benghazi

    By: Hrafnkell HaraldssonDec. 26th, 2012

    Sorry Haters: The Gate Has Closed on Benghazi-Gate.

    The Republicans guilty of withholding money to protect our embassy personnel in Benghazi are still fantasizing about pinning the blame on President Obama.

    Just as they got themselves all hot and bothered over Electoral College fantasies in the wake of their election defeat, thinking they could still somehow get the black man out of the White House, now they think they can send that black man to prison for a crime they committed even though they failed to impeach him as the scapegoat for their crime.

    I guess the logic is, if you can’t get him now, get him later. Their buddy George W. Bush and his cronies Rumsfeld and Cheney, of course, can illegally invade and pillage countries and violate international law at a pace that can only be characterized as unholy (and get rich doing it), but Obama should go to prison because of something he did not do.

    Because he’s black (for another example, see here).

    Drew Zahn on World Net Daily lustily recounts a story that “has been resurrected by the website, a story at least one national pundit believes could send Barack Obama to prison.”

    That pundit is, of course, Glenn Beck, who has made his livelihood out of wondering why the rest of us aren’t upset about fantasies taking place only inside his own head.

    Zahen writes,

    The tea-party site posted a Glenn Beck video from October in which the TV and radio host insisted a case for treason could be built against President Obama for his role in the attack of Sept. 11, 2012, in which armed Libyans captured and killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three others at an American diplomatic mission in Benghazi.

    “This president is lying to you about Benghazi in such spectacular fashion that I believe people will go to prison,” Beck said on the Blaze TV broadcast of his radio show. “This is impeachable; the president might go to prison for this one.”

  22. rikyrah says:

    Why John Boehner Wants Action to Move to the Senate
    By Matthew Yglesias
    Posted Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, at 4:30 PM ET

    The new line from John Boehner is that the onus is now on the Senate to pass a fiscal cliff solution, and then the House will take up and consider whatever the Senate passes.

    On the face of it, this is nonsensical. Democrats have a majority in the Senate. Anything that’s acceptable to both Barack Obama and John Boehner will easily get through the Senate. That’s why all the negotiations thus far have been Obama-Boehner negotiations, with perhaps a side order of Nancy Pelosi. But while Boehner’s proposal is illogical, I understand why he likes the idea.

    The reason is that while anything Boehner and Obama agree to will easily pass the Senate, in the absence of an agreement it’ll be hard for Obama to get anything past the Senate. He’d need a lot of Republican votes to overcome a filibuster, and those votes would probably come through something like Gang of X talks between Republicans and squishy moderates like Kent Conrad and Joe Lieberman. Conrad wants to split the difference between the President’s last offer and Boehner’s last offer. Then once something like that difference-splitting bill passes the Senate, Boehner gets to take it up as the new baseline for negotiations and pull the ultimate resolution even further to the right.

    But that’s exactly why Obama would be foolish to take any such thing seriously. Starting in the New Year, the Senate gets more liberal. The House also gets more liberal. And the policy baseline also gets more liberal. The White House isn’t going to pull the plug on negotiations, but unless Boehner comes back to the table with something new to say they have no incentive to further weakn their hand.

  23. rikyrah says:

    The 4 Fiscal Cliff Deals That Are Still Possible

    With less than a week to go before going over the fiscal cliff becomes the reality that common wisdom said absolutely could not happen, there are only a handful of ways this is going to go down.

    1. The Big Deal. This isn’t going to happen. Never mind that the political support doesn’t exist to do the combined comprehensive tax and Medicaid/ Medicare/Social Security reform that is the basic definition of a big budget deal. Even if that political support did exist there simply isn’t enough time left to get it done before January 1 and 2. I’m mentioning it here just to dismiss the notion out-of-hand before someone asks about it. Chance of happening: 0%.

    2. The Kick-the-Can-Down-the-Road. Yes, I know how sickeningly commonplace this continually repeated phrase has become, but it is still a fiscal cliff possibility. In fact, the procedurally (but not the politically) easiest thing to do at this point would be to extend all the existing tax cuts until, say, six months or a year from now, and delay the spending cuts to the same date, that is (no screaming, please), to kick the can down the road. This might even be doable with a voice vote in both houses. Chance of happening. Chance of happening: 5%.

    3. The Fig Leaf. This has become the increasingly discussed option last Friday: Do something small that’s just enough to provide political cover to everyone for cancelling the tax increases and spending cuts. For example, an agreement to do nothing more than extend the tax cut for those earning $250,000 or less each year and perhaps something else (the White House is pushing for an extension of unemployment benefits, for example) might be enough to make cancelling the rest of the fiscal cliff politically acceptable. This could be done relatively quickly because the legislation would only deal with a limited number of issues. Chance of happening: 10%.

    4. Nothing. Even though it will be one of the worst possible outcomes economically, It’s hard to argue with the procedural simplicity of doing nothing because nothing would have to be debated, passed in the House and Senate, compromised or signed by the president. No votes, caucus meetings, press conferences or negotiating sessions. Chance of happening: 85%.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Five ways your health care will change in 2013

    Posted by Sarah Kliff on December 26, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    The Affordable Care Act’s biggest year is, without a doubt, 2014: That’s when the federal subsidies to purchase health insurance roll out. It’s also when penalties for not buying coverage kick in.

    But many of the big changes will start gradually in 2013. They range from increasing payments to Medicaid doctors to upping Medicare taxes to the exchanges’ very first open-enrollment period. Here’s a quick guide to what will happen in health care in the next year.

    1. Health-care cost growth will slow to a new low. The United States is expected to spend a $2.9 trillion on health care in 2013, according to actuaries at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That would be 3.8 percent more than then $2.8 trillion that CMS estimates we spent in 2012.

    That 3.8 percent growth rate, if it actually happens, would be the slowest health-care growth in decades. That has little to do with the Affordable Care Act, the CMS actuaries explain, and a lot more to do with slow income growth. “Consumers are expected to remain sensitive to rising health costs, particularly given continued low projected income growth,” they write. “In this environment, consumers are likely to continue to be judicious in their use of health-care services.”

  25. rikyrah says:

    While our President cut short his vacation with his family…

    these mofos here…

    these mofos here..


    House GOP in no rush to return
    By Steve Benen
    Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:10 PM EST.

    President Obama has cut short his vacation plans and will leave Hawaii tonight in order to return to Washington. The point, obviously, is to participate in more fiscal talks in the hopes of avoiding looming deadlines, just five days away.

    But just because Obama is heading back to DC doesn’t mean Congress is prepared to do the same.

    According to House Republican leadership aides, House GOP leaders have not yet called their members back to Washington D.C., and WILL NOT be in session tomorrow for legislative business. According to one GOP aide, “It’s up to Senate Democrats to act right now.”

    During the House Republican conference meeting late Thursday night, leadership told the conference that they would be given 48 hours before being called back to D.C. after Christmas. According to aides, leadership has not given that notice yet.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Hawaii’s Schatz headed to U.S. Senate
    By Steve Benen
    Thu Dec 27, 2012 7:59 AM EST

    When legendary Sen. Daniel Inouye (D) of Hawaii died last week, it was a great loss to the nation, but it was also a loss for the Senate Democratic caucus — with key votes coming up, Dems found their majority shrinking from 53 seats to 52. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) reached out to Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie with a simple message: hurry up and pick a successor “with due haste.”

    Yesterday, he did.

    Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie named his lieutenant governor, Brian Schatz, to fill the Senate seat left vacant following the death of the late Sen. Daniel Inouye (D).

    Abercrombie, a Democrat, chose Schatz from a list of three finalists forwarded to him by the state Democratic party. Inouye, who served almost 50 full years in the Senate, died on Dec. 17.

    “No one can fill Sen. Daniel K. Inouye’s shoes, but together, we can all try to follow in his footsteps,” Schatz said in a press conference in Hawaii.

    As Ezra noted on the show last night, the choice is not without controversy. When his health deteriorated, Inouye specifically asked Abercrombie to appoint Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) to fill his seat in the event of his death. That the governor ignored a dying hero’s wish is likely to cause political troubles for Abercrombie back home.

    Indeed, to appreciate the larger context, it’s also worth noting that while the governor respected Inouye, the two “weren’t exactly best friends.” Inouye actually urged a different candidate to run for governor in 2010, even when Abercrombie was the frontrunner.

    Regardless, Schatz will serve until 2014, at which point there will be a special election to fill out the remainder of Inouye’s term. If the incumbent wins, he’ll have to run once again in 2016 for his own full term.

    The next question, of course, is what kind of senator Schatz is likely to be.


    Not well known outside of Hawaii, the senator-designate arrives in Washington as something of a blank slate, but some key details on his resume nevertheless jump out. Schatz was, for example, the chair of the Hawaii Democratic Party and a top official in the 2008 Obama campaign in Hawaii. In fact, Schatz appears likely to be a very loyal ally to the president going forward — he specifically emphasized last night that he’s “looking forward to supporting his agenda in the Senate.”

  27. rikyrah says:

    From The LA Times:

    Black voter turnout may have surpassed whites for the first time

    By David Lauter
    .December 26, 2012, 4:43 p.m.

    Despite often-voiced concerns about the effect of voter identification laws, black voter turnout remained high in 2012 and, for the first time, may have topped the rate for whites, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.

    Four years ago, the rate of black voter turnout almost equaled that of whites, continuing a trend of a steady increase in black turnout rates that began in 1996. This year, with white turnout appearing to have dropped, black turnout seems very likely to have exceeded the white level, although definitive figures won’t be available until the Census Bureau reports in a few months.

    A higher turnout rate among blacks than whites would mark an historic milestone given America’s long history of disenfranchising blacks. Blacks were effectively barred from polls in many states until after passage of the federal Voting Rights Act in 1965.

    In the run-up to this year’s presidential election, a number of states with Republican-majority legislatures passed laws limiting voting hours, curtailing voter registration efforts or requiring voters to show identification. Many black leaders said those laws would disproportionately hurt elderly, poor and minority voters and accused Republicans of running a campaign of “voter suppression.”

    Republicans said the measures were needed to combat voter fraud. In a few states, Republican legislative leaders explicitly said they hoped the measures would hurt Democratic candidates or reduce the “urban” vote.

    Courts blocked some of those laws, and in the end they may have backfired as black organizations used “voter suppression” as a rallying cry. The perception that “people don’t want you to vote” motivated many blacks, particularly young people, to turn out, said Chanelle Hardy, executive director of the National Urban League. “It was huge,” she said during a recent panel discussion.

    • Ametia says:

      Let’s be CRYSTAL CLEAR; there was no PERCEPTION of voter suppression. Mofos were attempting with all their might to SUPPRESS the BLACK VOTE, HISPANIC VOTE, EDERLY VOTE. PERIOD

  28. Ametia says:

    Kate Winslet Marries Ned Rocknroll in Secret Ceremony

    Kate Winslet’s heart did go on.

    The 37-year-old Oscar winner tied the knot with boyfriend Ned Rocknroll, 34, earlier this month in what apparently was a very hush-hush ceremony in New York, her rep confirmed Wednesday to E! News.

    The private nuptials were “attended by her two children and a very few friends and family,” the rep said, adding that the couple got engaged over the summer.

    More fun facts about Ned Rocknroll

    According to Britain’s Sun, Leonardo DiCaprio gave the bride away in lieu of her father, the wedding being that much of a secret..

  29. rikyrah says:

    Jobless claims improve again, near four-year low
    By Steve Benen
    Thu Dec 27, 2012 8:36 AM EST

    The Christmas holiday made collecting data on initial unemployment claims a little tricky, but the new report from the Department of Labor nevertheless exceeded expectations and pointed to good news.

    U.S. applications for new unemployment benefits fell by 12,000 to 350,000 in the week ended Dec. 22, but the decline may have been exaggerated by the Christmas holiday. The federal government was closed Monday and Tuesday and many states also closed for both days. As a result, the Labor Department had to use estimates to gauge the level of jobless claims for 19 states, including California and Texas, because of paperwork delays. Rarely does the government need to use estimates for more than one or two states in any week. Initial claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 362,000 from an original reading of 361,000, based on more complete data collected at the state level. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected claims to total 361,000

  30. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone at 3CHICS!!

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