Serendipity SOUL | Thursday Open Thread | Fleetwood Mac Week!

Hope y’all are enjoying Fleetwood Mac



Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary’s 1-23-13 press briefing:


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45 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Thursday Open Thread | Fleetwood Mac Week!

  1. rikyrah says:

    January 24, 2013, 9:17 am

    An Insurance Company With an Army

    Jonathan Chait and Greg Sargent both weigh in on the absurd Republican claim that they’ll produce a plan to balance the budget in 10 years, without a penny in additional revenue. Chait points out that the Ryan plan, even if you accepted all its magic asterisks, still didn’t produce a balanced budget until 2040. Sargent, armed with numbers from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, points out that if the GOP were to honor its promises not to cut military spending or benefits for those over 55, you’d have to impose savage cuts on everything else.

    What all this comes down to is a collision between GOP deficit scare tactics and the reality of what the federal government does. The government really is an insurance company with an army; if you demand rapid deficit reduction without raising taxes or cutting military spending, you have to cut deeply into programs that the public values.

    Republicans have, for the most part, managed until recently to skate over this reality, simultaneously calling for lower spending in the abstract while posing as the defenders of seniors against Obama’s Medicare cuts.They’ve been aided in this by pundits and reporters unwilling to seem “unbalanced” by pointing out the realities. But they’ve now run out of room, and are facing a crisis of arithmetic.

  2. rikyrah says:

    If you can’t win elections, rig them
    By Steve Benen
    Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:00 AM EST.

    We’ve been keeping a close eye on state Republican officials hoping to rig electoral-vote distribution so that only GOP candidates are able to be elected president. As Rachel noted on the show last night, there are several states considering election-rigging schemes — Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania — but Virginia is the first to advance an actual plan.

    Dave Weigel had a terrific report yesterday afternoon on the efforts of Virginia Republicans, noting that if the preferred GOP system had been in place last year, President Obama would have defeated Mitt Romney by 150,000 votes, but when it came time to distribute electoral votes, Romney would have won nine votes to Obama’s four. Or put another way, the Democrat would win 51% of the popular vote, but 30% of the electoral-college vote. It is, quite obviously, a plan “designed to disenfranchise Democrats,” Weigel concluded.

    Jamelle Bouie highlighted a detail that would be hilarious were it not so offensive: the bill’s sponsor, Republican Senator Charles W. “Bill” Carrico, “says the change is necessary because Virginia’s urbanized areas can outvote rural regions, weakening their political strength.” Got that? Virginia Republicans feel the need to rig democracy in their favor because they think it’s unfair that there are more Democratic voters — so the GOP needs to level the playing field.

    Eric Kleefeld added last night, “The openly stated goal of GOP electoral bills is to win while getting fewer votes. Think about that.”

    That’s good advice — I desperately hope the political world takes the time to really think about that. I know it’s not as gripping as whether a pop star sang the National Anthem on Sunday or Monday, or the latest Benghazi conspiracy theory, but we’re quickly approaching a crisis the establishment is not yet prepared to acknowledge.

    Republican policymakers are looking ahead, concluding that they’re likely to lose future elections, and moving forward on plans to ensure they get power even when the American people don’t vote for them. That may sound insane, but that’s the plan on the table.


    And just to reiterate a point from several weeks ago, the fact that this is happening in Virginia, of all places, warrants special attention.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Real movement: Joe Manchin, NRA darling, comes out for universal background checks
    Posted by Greg Sargent on January 24, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I reported earlier today that Senator Joe Manchin’s office won’t say whether he is open to legislative action to achieve universal background checks. Boy was I wrong. It turns out that Manchin — who has a sterling “gun rights” reputation and an “A” rating from the NRA — is not only open to them, he’s already working on a proposal to make it happen.

    Manchin voiced his support for universal background checks (with narrow exceptions) this morning in an interview with a West Virginia radio station. This represents real movement in the right direction. On Metro News radio’s Talkline, Manchin said he wasn’t ready to support the assault weapons ban, but then had this exchange with his interviewer:

    MANCHIN: The first logical step would be, can’t you get the background checks, and get the information? Can’t we make sure that someone who has been violent but has mental illness is able for us to track? That person shouldn’t get a gun.

    QUESTION: Do you think there should be universal background checks on anybody who wants to buy a gun? Right now it’s done only through federally licensed firearms dealers.

    MANCHIN: I’m working on a bill right now with other Senators — Democrats and Reupblicans — we’re trying to get it, and looking at a background check that basically says that if you’re going to be a gun owner, you should be able to pass a background check, to be able to get that. With exceptions. The exceptions are: Families, immediate family members, some sporting events that you’re going to — that if you’re just going to be using them at the sporting events. So we’re looking and talking to people with expertise. I’m working with the NRA, to be honest with you, and talking to them. […]

  4. rikyrah says:

    The Odd Choices of 2016 GOP Contenders

    by BooMan
    Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 10:45:17 AM EST

    Not too many people can do better in contemporary America than Bobby Jindal, a two-term Republican governor who has some hope of leaving office without the people of his state wanting to escort him to the border of Arkansas on a rail. It ought to translate into a viable presidential candidacy four years hence, but that viability might be limited to winning the nomination if he keeps doing things like trying to eliminate funding for hospice care for Louisiana’s poorest residents. He reversed course on that policy yesterday, but it was just insane enough that merely proposing it might endear him to the rabid Republican base voter who will be deciding the 2016 primaries. Sure, Jindal looks enough like a Muslim that he must surely be a socialist, but he tried to force people to die in lonely hospital rooms at everyone’s expense rather than with dignity at home with their family. That’s got to count for something, right?
    It has to be a better plan that what Paul Ryan will be pursuing this spring. Because the Speaker of the House is a moron, and because he promised his Tea Party contingent a budget that balances within 10 years, Mr. Ryan is now charged with identifying cuts so severe that the House Republicans will need decimal points and magnifying glasses to read their approval numbers. The last time around, Rep. Ryan’s budget didn’t balance until about 2040. That budget voucherized Medicare and contributed mightily to a surge in the polls for lice, colonoscopies, and used car salesmen. Laying out a budget austere enough to balance 16 years earlier than the old plan without the assistance of any new revenue, and then forcing the whole Republican caucus to vote for it even though the Senate will never agree to it? Priceless. It will keep Paul Ryan in the headlines in a Lindsey Lohan kind of way.

    Perhaps Marco Rubio can do better by becoming the Republican face of immigration reform. We know how the Republican base loves Latino immigrants (especially in Iowa). They love them almost as much as they love the federal government spending money on education and retraining. If Rubio is going to try to sound moderate on some issues or actually help the president achieve a few things, he’ll need make up for it by finding some new Democrats to disrespect who aren’t named Hillary Clinton.

    As for Chris Christie, the reason he can bash the Republican Party without angering the Republicans in his state is because he is from New Jersey. Garden State Republicans are generally not wingnuts and they have no use for Southern culture. They make a lot of money and they want to spend it on their horses, not negroes in Patterson, Newark, or Camden. It’s not personal, just a preference, you see. In any case, messing around with the debt ceiling and bitching about hurricane relief is no way to endear yourself to a New Jersey Republican. Yet, blasting away at the Teahadists in Washington DC is no way for Christie to win over the South Carolina primary voter.

    So, who’s winning this thing?

  5. rikyrah says:

    Violence Against Women Act proponents get to work

    By Steve Benen
    Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:12 AM EST

    After decades of bipartisan support, the Violence Against Women Act expired a few weeks ago, after House Republicans blocked a bipartisan Senate bill that would have kept the law alive. For supporters of the 1994 law, which assists victims of domestic and sexual violence, the GOP’s indifference to VAWA was outrageous.

    But the fight isn’t over. This week, Sens. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), the lead sponsors of VAWA reauthorization in the last Congress, introduced their bill again, and yesterday, Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), herself a victim of domestic assault, introduced an identical measure in the House.

    So, is there reason to hope this effort will fare better than last year’s bill? Yes. For one thing, as Adam Serwer reported, the new VAWA proposal resolves some procedural concerns House Republicans used as an excuse to ignore the Senate version.

  6. rikyrah says:

    January 23, 2013 11:16 AM
    Liberalism and Freedom

    By Ed Kilgore

    Whatever else you think about the president’s second inaugural address—its combative tone, its choice of issues to emphasize or ignore, its relationship to current disputes in Washington, and even its treatment of the Declaration of Independence—all subjects of great controversy during the last two days—its basic framing deserves a bit more attention that it’s getting.

    In particular, Obama made the long-lost liberal case that collective action is necessary to the achievement of individual freedom, instead of implicitly conceding that social goals and individual interests are inherently at war. Consider these lines:

    W]hile freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by his people here on earth.

    The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few, or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a republic, a government of, and by, and for the people….

    [W]e have always understood that when times change, so must we, that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges, that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action….

    We do not believe that in this country freedom is reserved for the lucky or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us at any time may face a job loss or a sudden illness or a home swept away in a terrible storm.

    Even this concluding line, which may have initially sounded like a throw-away, repeated this theme:

    With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.

    Obama chose to embrace an old but often-forgotten tradition of closely associating liberalism with the “positive freedoms” necessary to make “negative freedoms” meaningful (remember FDR’s “Four Freedoms?” It’s the same idea). And he articulated the progressive conviction that there are forces just as if not more powerful than government with threaten freedom—notably privilege and prejudice.

  7. rikyrah says:

    The Morning Plum: Obama as the anti-Reagan
    Posted by Greg Sargent on January 24, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Little by little, it’s sinking in that Obama’s inaugural speech has the potential to be a turning point in American history, one akin to Ronald Reagan’s inaugural address in 1981, in which he declared: “Government is not the solution to our problem; it is the problem.” That speech did more than articulate the conservative philosophy of governance; it was a declaration of ideological victory, a proclamation that the nation had opted for a new ideological direction.

    Obama’s speech was every bit as ambitious, recasting progressivism in the eyes of the nation, declaring that the country has opted for a fundamentally new philosophical and ideological course. In a must read, E.J. Dionne explains:

    Like Reagan, Obama hopes to usher in a long-term electoral realignment — in Obama’s case toward the moderate left, thereby reversing the 40th president’s political legacy. The Reagan metaphor helps explain the tone of Obama’s inaugural address, built not on a contrived call to an impossible bipartisanship but on a philosophical argument for a progressive vision of the country rooted in our history.

    The key to Obama’s argument, as Ed Kilgore points out, is that he made the “long lost liberal case that collective action is necessary to the achievement of individual freedom, instead of implicitly conceding that social goals and individual interests are inherently at war.” Indeed, Obama himself put it this way: “Preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.”

  8. rikyrah says:

    Boehner: Obama intends to ‘annihilate’ the GOP
    By Steve Benen
    Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:12 AM EST.

    It’s often hard to understand how House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) sees the world, but his whining at the Ripon Society this week seemed especially odd.

    For those who can’t watch clips online, this quote, which comes at the 9:56 mark, seemed the most newsworthy:

    “[G]iven what we heard yesterday about the president’s vision for his second term, it’s pretty clear to me and should be clear to all of you that he knows he can’t do any of that as long as the House is controlled by Republicans. So we’re expecting over the next 22 months to be the focus of this administration as they attempt to annihilate the Republican Party. And let me tell you, I do believe that is their goal — to just shove us in the dustbin of history.”

    There’s quite a bit to this. Boehner noted, for example, that President Obama can’t achieve “any” of his policy goals so long as House Republicans maintain their majority (and since they’ve already rigged the congressional-district lines, they don’t intend to cede that majority any time soon). This may have seemed like a throw-away line, but it’s significant — the policies the president addressed in his inaugural address enjoy strong public support, but as far as Boehner is concerned, less than a month into the new Congress and days into Obama’s second term, the president’s agenda is already a non-starter.

    But it’s the dramatic rhetoric about “annihilation” that raises eyebrows. As Boehner sees it, the even-keeled, technocratic Democrat, who’s spent four years pursuing a fairly moderate agenda, endorsing Republican ideas, appointing Republicans to his cabinet, and expressing a willingness to compromise on practically everything, this guy has launched the audacious goal of “annihilating the Republican Party.”

    And how do we know this to be true? Because the often-confused House Speaker says so.

  9. rikyrah says:

    The pot accuses the kettle of having an ‘adoring media’

    By Steve Benen
    Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:55 AM EST

    At yesterday’s Senate hearing on September’s Benghazi attack, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a series of questions, all of which seemed rather familiar. Indeed, the odd thing about McCain’s inquiries is that he would already know the answers to all of his questions if he’d familiarized himself with the publicly available information, including the findings (pdf) of the independent investigation.

    And while I was willing to let that go, McCain’s appearance on Fox News this morning was even more difficult to endure.


    Clinton never said it “didn’t matter” how the four Americans were killed. She said the opposite.


    As was obvious to anyone paying attention, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) was preoccupied with preliminary intelligence reports about a possible protest in Benghazi and Clinton said that was irrelevant as compared to the death of four Americans — and she was correct.

    If McCain found this too confusing to understand, perhaps the Senate Foreign Relations Committee isn’t the best place for him to serve

  10. rikyrah says:

    Ron Johnson, still struggling

    By Steve Benen
    Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:04 PM EST.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) look pretty foolish yesterday during a hearing on Benghazi. He made matters worse for himself after the hearing — accusing Clinton of faking her emotions — though he eventually expressed some regret for his churlishness.

    But Johnson apparently learned very little from the incident.

    For reasons that only seem to make sense to Johnson and conspiracy theorists, the far-right Wisconsinite remains preoccupied with preliminary intelligence reports from September that there were protests in Benghazi before the deadly violence erupted. Today, during John Kerry’s confirmation hearing, Johnson wanted the Democrat to commit publicly to help him “find out what actually happened.” Kerry explained that we already know what actually happened.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Virginia GOP ‘freaking out’ over gerrymander bill

    By Laura Conaway

    Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:05 PM EST

    First, a correction. In our segment last night about Virginia changing the rules for electing a president, we reported that the bill had gone to a full committee of the Virginia Senate, and that the committee has a 10 to five GOP majority. That was incorrect, and my mistake. Republicans hold a majority of eight to seven. As Think Progress reports, one of those Republican senators is not sold on the idea of rigging the election. Senator Jill Vogel told them:

    “… I am generally not in favor right now of the bill and it’s very unlikely that I will vote for it in full committee or the Senate floor.”

    A couple of factors argue against Virginia Republicans gaining from a change in the way they apportion the state’s electoral college vote. For one thing, under that system them would have given votes to Bill Clinton, John Kerry and Al Gore. For another, the history of openly changing election rules to benefit one side does not end well for that side.

  12. rikyrah says:

    The emergency-room argument just won’t die

    By Steve Benen
    Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:36 AM EST

    I keep hoping this argument will go away. It never does.

    Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) doesn’t like President Barack Obama’s health care reform law. It’s too expensive and too intrusive, he says.

    And Bryant has another reason to oppose the law, he revealed in an interview with Kaiser Health News: It’s not necessary because everyone’s doing just fine now: “There is no one who doesn’t have health care in America. No one. Now, they may end up going to the emergency room. There are better ways to deal with people that need health care than this massive new program

    I assume regular readers know how misguided this is, but in case anyone’s forgotten, let’s set the record straight again. It’s true that under the preferred Republican system — the U.S. system before the Affordable Care Act became law — if you were uninsured and get sick, you could probably find public hospitals that would provide treatment.

    It is, however, extremely expensive to treat patients this way. It’s far cheaper — and more medically effective — to pay for preventative care so that people don’t have to wait for a medical emergency to seek treatment.

  13. Cecil and Marsha Webster Attending the “Texas Black Tie and Boots Inaugural Ball”

    Texas Black Tie and Boots Inaugural Ball

  14. Cecil and Marsha Webster At The President's Inaugural Ball

    This is my county’s chair of the Democratic Party and his lovely wife.

  15. Orly Taitz Says She Can Arrest Barack Obama In Connecticut

    Birther queen Orly Taitz is now claiming she has the ability to have President Barack Obama arrested in Connecticut.

    Taitz posted on her website Wednesday night that she has three supporters in Connecticut who are willing to sign a petition claiming that Obama has violated election law in the state. Under Sec. 9-368 of the state’s election code, if “three electors” in a town sign complaints to a judge claiming violations of election law then an arrest warrant can be issued. Taitz had earlier posted a request for Connecticut residents to sign complaints and asked her supporters to move to one town in the state.

    Won’t someone deport this crazy bee.itch?

  16. Huh? 34 Percent of Black Men are unable to vote in Alabama!

    Voter research in Alabama shows that 34 percent of black men have permanently lost the right to vote. Even more shocking, the research shows that in 10 years, that number will be higher than it has been since the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.

  17. Senator Diane Feinstein introduces assault weapons bill.

    • Ametia says:

      Dianne Feinstein: Doesn’t Want Huge Filibuster Reform Because it Will Hurt Dems Later

      Republicans, the minority party in the Senate, have sought to end hopes of significant filibuster reform, especially one plan that would make the act more public … and thus more damning for the one filibusting, especially if the act is done for pety reasons.

      Late in December, a group of senators had put forward a plan on Thursday for much milder filibuster reforms that would leave the current rules in place.

      Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who has been reluctant to change the filibuster rules on a party-line vote because of concerns about what will happen when Democrats are once again in the minority said this last week:

      “I think there are some changes that can be made on a bipartisan basis,” Feinstein said. “I think that’s where things are going right now, to see what we can agree upon. If we can’t, then the so-called nuclear option comes into play. I’m hopeful that that is not the case, because what comes around goes around.”

  18. Ametia says:

    Watch Joe Biden at 1:45 PM ET

    Before Vice President Joe Biden introduced a set of ideas to help reduce gun violence, he kicked off a national conversation. He wanted to make sure that he heard from people from every perspective about the steps we need to take to protect kids and make our communities safer.

    And that dialogue isn’t over.

    Today, in a hangout hosted by Google and moderated by Hari Sreenivasan from PBS NewsHour, Vice President Biden will speak with a group of Google+ users about the White House policy recommendations and answer their questions. And we want you to join us.

    What: Google+ Hangout with Vice President Joe Biden

    When: Thursday, January 24 at 1:45 PM ET

    Where: Live on

  19. Loving Fleetwood Mac this morning!

  20. Ametia says:

    How Republicans Plan to Rig the Electoral College and Steal the White House

    Endnotes and citations are available in the PDF version of this issue brief.

    President Barack Obama won a commanding victory in this November’s elections, defeating Republican candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by nearly 4 percentage points in the popular vote. In doing so, President Obama became the first president to twice win more than 51 percent of the popular vote since President Dwight D. Eisenhower did so in 1956.

    If a Republican plan to rig the Electoral College had been in effect in 2012, however, it is reasonably likely that President Romney would be the one meeting with his new cabinet officials in the Oval Office. Under current law, most states allocate all of their electoral votes to the winner of the state as a whole. This Republican Plan to rig future elections, however, would change this in several blue states where Democrats are likely to carry the state’s full slate of electors. Texas, South Carolina, and other safe red states would therefore continue to deliver every single one of their electoral votes to the Republican candidate, while blue states such as Pennsylvania or Michigan would have to give away half or more of theirs to the Republican ticket. The result is a giant thumb on the scale for Republicans, enabling them to take the White House even when the electorate strongly prefers the Democratic candidate.

  21. Ametia says:

    Stop Making Michelle Obama Your Feminist Leader
    By: Demetria L. Lucas | Posted: January 24, 2013 at 12:51 AM

    Shortly after I began penning this column in June 2011, I wrote a somewhat controversial post, “Struggling to Claim the F-Word,” in which I distanced myself from being called a ‘feminist.’ “Do I believe in equality, equal pay, equal rights for everyone, including men? Yes,” I wrote. “But to say, ‘Yes, I am the F-word!’ Just feels … like a burden I’m not ready to bear.”

    More than a year later, I’m probably farther away from claiming the title than ever before. Feminism, at its core, is a great and empowering purpose. But a vocal minority among the group are making all feminists look bad. Here’s a recent example: a story in the Washington Post last week headlined “Four years later, feminists split by Michelle Obama’s ‘work’ as a First Lady.” (The quotations around work, as if it’s debatable whether Mrs. Obama does any, are the original publication’s and not my own.)

    The first half of Lonnae O’Neal Parker’s piece considers Mrs. O’s “strange but considerable” power in the White House where some feminist women accuse FLOTUS of “letting down the team” by “not working” and scoff at her self-described primary duty of “Mom-in-Chief,” a sort of Captain America Mom where no child leaves the table without eating their vegetables. Mrs. O, these feminists lamented, is no Hillary Clinton.

  22. Ametia says:

    Filibuster Fail

    by BooMan
    Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 10:49:57 PM EST

    The filibuster deal that Jeremy Peters is reporting in the New York Times looks wholly inadequate. The one upside is that it will apparently have significant Republican support. If all the Democrats agree to the rule changes, it will take at least 12 Republicans to reach the magic two-thirds needed to change the rules in a non-nuclear fashion. In theory, this preserves the prejudice against using a mere majority to upend the rules and makes future power moves of that type somewhat less likely. In reality, Reid bolstered the precedent for using the threat of the nuclear option to force the minority to make significant concessions.

    Some of the details are still up in the air or unreported, but it looks like relatively little will change. The minority will no longer be able to filibuster a motion to proceed, which means that the majority can put any bill or nomination it wants on the floor and begin debate. However, the minority will still be able to prevent a vote by refusing to end debate. And they will still be able to do it without maintaining a cloture-proof presence in the Senate chamber.

  23. Democratic Representative Introduces Two Bills To Overturn Citizens United Ruling

    One day after the three-year anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court ruling for Citizens United, the fight to overturn it has begun. Two bills were introduced by U.S. Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts: one that declares that corporations are not people, and one that says that Congress has the power to regulate the financing of political campaigns.

    Both pieces of legislation are the first step in what will likely be a long and bitter fight to make an addition to the U.S. Constitution. If successful, it would mark the 28th Amendment to this country’s sacred document of governance. The last time an amendment was ratified was in 1992. It took over 200 years for it to pass the 2/3 majority of both Houses and the 3/4 majority of the states to meet the requirements. Most probably don’t remember it. It determined when changes could be made to Congress’ pay. Most would not consider that a life-altering change. However, many would agree that the current proposed Amendment does matter to them.

  24. Assault rifles at Calif. school get mixed reviews

    FONTANA, Calif. — The semi-automatic rifles look like they belong in a war zone instead of a suburban public school, but officials in this Los Angeles-area city say the high-powered weapons now in the hands of school police could prevent a massacre.

    Fontana Unified School District police purchased 14 of the Colt LE6940 rifles last fall, and they were delivered the first week of December — a week before the Connecticut school shooting. Over the holiday break, the district’s 14 school police officers received 40 hours of training on the rifles. Officers check them out for each shift from a fireproof safe in the police force’s main office.

    Fontana isn’t the first district to try this. Other Southern California districts also have rifle programs — some that have been in operation for several years. Fontana school police Chief Billy Green said he used money from fingerprinting fees to purchase the guns for $14,000 after identifying a “critical vulnerability” in his force’s ability to protect students. The officers, who already wear sidearms, wouldn’t be able to stop a shooter like the one in Connecticut, he said Wednesday.


    Reuters Top News‏@Reuters

    U.S. jobless claims fall to 330,000 in latest week from 335,000 in prior week; lowest in five years

  26. House Democrats propose opening gun makers to civil liability

    House Democrats on Tuesday proposed legislation that would ease current law to allow people to file civil law suits against gun manufacturers and others in the industry when they act irresponsibly.

    The Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act, from Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), would amend the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). According to Schiff, that 2005 law gives gun manufacturers, distributors and gun dealers immunity from most civil negligence and product liability actions.

    Schiff said his bill is needed to allow suits to go forward when these entities are found to be negligent, or for product liability issues.

  27. rikyrah says:

    From <a href=""The Maddow Blog:

    Virginia Republicans move for permanent majority
    By Laura Conaway
    Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:18 PM EST

    Kudos to Benjamin Tribbett today for breaking the news out of Virginia. By his count, the map approved by Virginia state Senate Republicans could leave Democrats with as few as 13 winnable seats in that chamber, which currently stands at 20-20.

    The sudden redistricting passed 20-19, because a lone Democratic senator had gone to Washington for the day, for the Inauguration. Senator Henry Marsh is 79, a Civil Rights hero in Virginia, and he wanted to see this inauguration, on Martin Luther King, Jr., day, and while he was gone, Republicans redrew the state for their own advantage. Republicans justified this by saying they had created a new majority black district — by carving off part of Senator Marsh’s district.

    This session in Virginia, Senate Republicans have also been pushing a bill to change the rules for picking a president. We have been documenting Republican ambitions to do that in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, along with talk of them doing it in Florida. Had those plans been in place for the November election, Barack Obama would still have won the popular vote by several million, but he might still have lost in the electoral college.

  28. rikyrah says:

    AP Source: Obama picks Mary Jo White to lead SEC

    By JULIE PACE, AP White House Correspondent

    Updated 5:31 am, Thursday, January 24, 2013

    President Barack Obama will nominate Mary Jo White to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, tapping an attorney with broad experience in prosecuting white-collar crimes to lead an agency that has a central role in implementing Wall Street reform.

    A White House official said the president would announce White’s nomination during a ceremony in the State Dining Room Thursday afternoon.

    At the same event, Obama will renominate Richard Cordray to serve as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the official said. The president used a recess appointment last year to circumvent Congress and install Cordray as head of the bureau. That appointment expires at the end of this year.

    The official spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss the nominations ahead of the president.

    White spent nearly a decade as the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, building a reputation as a tough prosecutor with an expertise in pursuing white collar crimes and complex securities and financial fraud cases. White House officials say that experience makes her well positioned to implement Obama’s Wall Street reform legislation.

    Read more:

  29. rikyrah says:

    January 23, 2013 07:00 PM
    President Obama’s 2nd Inaugural Exposes Radicalism of Modern GOP
    By Blue Texan

    President Obama’s second Inaugural was the spirited, full-throated defense of the role that government plays in making our society more just that liberals have been waiting to hear for years. While most pundits focused on what the speech said about Obama, I think it’s more significant in what it says about the Republican Party, especially in this key passage:

    We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great

    There has always been an element on the far right that opposed the programs of the New Deal and Great Society. But no Republican presidents — from Eisenhower to George H.W. Bush — made a serious efforts to overturn them. Why? Because, as President Eisenhower once wrote, it would be terrible politics.

    Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid

    But what used to be a “splinter” fringe in the GOP somewhere along the line became the GOP. When George W. Bush tried to privatize Social Security after mentioning it in his 2nd Inaugural, his effort was soundly rejected by the electorate, and the GOP was routed in 2006 and 2008 at the polls. And what did Republicans do in response? Nominate for the Vice Presidency an Ayn Rand devotee who wants to end Social Security, whose budget (which they passed) ended Medicare as we know it, and who once called the majority of Americans “takers.” Mitt Romney was at the top of the ticket, but make no mistake: this is Paul Ryan’s party.

    That Obama had to defend the New Deal and Great Society in his inaugural — programs that stretch back 80 years — says a lot more about the radicalization of the GOP than it does him.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Mississippi Governor: ‘There Is No One Who Doesn’t Have Health Care In America’

    By Tara Culp-Ressler on Jan 23, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    In an interview with Kaiser Health News on Wednesday, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) explained he remains a staunch opponent of Obamacare because health care reform is unnecessary. According to Bryant, every single American already has the health care they need.

    In order to justify his continued refusal to expand his state’s Medicaid program — which would extend health coverage to an additional 200,000 low-income Mississippians — the governor explained that poor people don’t need a “massive new program” when they can simply visit an emergency room to receive care:

    BRYANT: There is no one who doesn’t have health care in America. No one. Now, they may end up going to the emergency room. There are better ways to deal with people that need health care than this massive new program.

    This is not a new train of thought in the Republican Party. During the presidential election, GOP candidate Mitt Romney claimed that “we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance” by picking them up in ambulance and taking them to the hospital. But suggesting that uninsured Americans can simply get the care they need in the ER is naive. Emergency room and ambulatory care are some of the most expensive medical services in the industry, and the current health care safety net isn’t able to accommodate the strain of an influx of uninsured, low-income Americans who can’t foot those bills.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone at 3CHICS!

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