Tuesday Open Thread | Holiday Spirit

Christmas Candles 57This Christmas” is a well-known Christmas song originally recorded by R&B singer/songwriter Donny Hathaway and released as an Atco single in 1970. Hathaway co-wrote the song (it is credited to Nadine McKinnor and “Donny Pitts,” the stage name Hathaway used as a young rap singer). Since Hathaway’s original version, it has become something of a modern holiday standard, covered by a wide range of artists:

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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66 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread | Holiday Spirit

  1. eliihass says:

    Chag Sameach and a merry Christmas everyone!!!

  2. Liza says:

    This was so predictable. Isn’t everything about money?


  3. Spaghetti & Texas Garlic Toast. mmmmmm…

  4. rikyrah says:

    CNBC Now ‏@CNBCnow
    BREAKING: S&P places Russia on CreditWatch negative. http://cnb.cx/1AXb2Hk

    Russia Moves to Stave Off Panic Among Depositors After Rescuing Bank
    Dec 23, 2014 12:06 PM ET

    Dec. 23 (Bloomberg) — Bloomberg’s Ryan Chilcote reports on Russia lawmakers bank support measures. Chilcote speaks on “In The Loop.” (Source: Bloomberg)

    After arresting a decline in the ruble, Russia is now trying to avert a banking crisis.

    Lawmakers rushed legislation through the lower house of parliament today allowing the Deposit Insurance Agency to buy stakes in banks before they face bankruptcy proceedings to keep the system stable. While the ruble strengthened for a third day as the government told state-run exporters to sell foreign currency, it’s still down 30 percent in three months.


  5. rikyrah says:

    Letters: City education shown the Gates

    THE PAST three years have put a world of hurt on Philadelphia’s public schools. On top of devastating budget cuts from Harrisburg, communities have been rocked by School Reform Commission votes to close more than 30 neighborhood schools and turn others over to charter companies. Students have been subjected to more high-stakes tests whose results are used to justify those decisions. Though these actions have resulted in more harm than good, there are still some, including those who have a hand in them, who are actually calling for more.

    School closings were sold to Philadelphians mostly as an economic issue. The district promised savings of $22 million, but netted only half that after moving and reorganization costs. School communities were broken up, young children walked longer distances to and from school, and enrollment in receiving schools swelled. Once-thriving schools became eyesores.

    Although conceived as a way to cultivate innovation, the charter-schools movement has become a means for edu-entrepreneurs to make public education the new marketplace. Study after study has shown that district schools perform better than most charters. The district’s failure to provide anything close to meaningful oversight has led to financial fraud and questionable academic achievement. Last year, parents at two neighborhood schools rejected district efforts to convert their schools to charters.

    Why did we go down this path in the first place? Who decided that these measures constituted “reform”? Short answer: Bill Gates and those who signed his Great Schools Compact in November 2011. The compact – whose signers include representatives from the district, the mayor’s office, charter organizations and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia – calls for moving tens of thousands of students into charters, closing neighborhood schools, an accountability method based mostly on standardized test scores, and an overhauled application system no longer controlled by the district.

    Compact signers authorized the Philadelphia School Partnership, a private nonprofit, to oversee the Great Schools Compact Committee and ensure implementation of its mandates. Neither the Partnership nor the Compact Committee allows the public to attend their board meetings. PSP has expanded its role since 2011, using tens of millions from corporations and foundations to fund schools of its choosing. Grants to district schools have come with strings attached; many have mandated changes in curriculum and replacement of teachers and staff. Even after parents in a packed SRC meeting expressed overwhelming opposition, PSP is still pushing for the compact’s Universal Enrollment system, in which students would be required to apply online for any school – district, charter or archdiocesan. Thus, control of enrollment and placement of students would move from the public-school system to a private organization.
    Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20141222_Letters__City_education_shown_the_Gates.html#70OVJWUfiA08tw9f.99

  6. rikyrah says:

    Racist song at ex-cop’s charity event compares Michael Brown to a ‘roadkill dog’
    23 DEC 2014 AT 08:35 ET

    Members of the Elks Lodge in Glendale, California are outraged after a former police officer hosted a charity event that compared slain teen Michael Brown to a “roadkill dog.”

    In a video obtained by TMZ, a singer can be heard parodying “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” with racist lyrics mocking Brown.

    “Michael Brown learned a lesson about a messin’ / With a badass policeman,” lodge member Gary Fishell sings. “And he’s bad, bad Michael Brown / Baddest thug in the whole damn town / Badder than old King Kong / Meaner than a junkyard dog.”

    The song continues: “And he’s dead, dead Michael Brown / Deadest man in the whole damn town / His whole life’s long gone / Deader than a roadkill dog.”

    According to TMZ, the event was hosted by retired LAPD Officer Joe Myers, and about half of the 50-60 attendees were officers. The gathering was part of an annual charity golf tournament.

    Fishell, who is a former federal investigator, later realized that the song was “off color and in poor taste,” his lawyer told TMZ.

    “He’s a goofball who writes funny songs,” the lawyer remarked, adding that Fishell thought that the roomful of police officers “would get a kick out of it.”

    For his part, Myers refused to show any remorse for the song.

    “How can I dictate what he [Fishell] says in a song?” Myers said. “This is America. We can say what we want. This is a free America.”

    A trustee of the Glendale Elks Lodge said that many members were upset over the song.


  7. rikyrah says:

    GOP greets economic news with total silence
    12/23/14 12:58 PM—UPDATED 12/23/14 01:08 PM
    By Steve Benen
    For those hoping to see the American economy succeed, there are a lot of reasons to smile this morning. Economic growth is at an 11-year high. Job growth is at a 15-year high. The stock market is soaring. Wages are rising. Gas prices are plummeting. American manufacturing is improving. The uninsured rate is dropping.

    President Obama is boasting about “America’s resurgence,” and in a twist, the public may be starting to believe him.

    And this got me thinking: what’s the Republican response to all of this?

    As we discussed earlier, GOP officials have been heavily invested in a simple proposition: the combination of the Affordable Care Act, federal regulations, Dodd-Frank reforms, and higher taxes approved last year are a brutal “wet blanket” on economic growth. Obama’s entire agenda has been a disaster for the economy, they argue, and if we want conditions to improve, we’ll have to do the exact opposite of what the White House has done.

    So, what’s the Republican reaction to the latest GDP numbers, for example?


    Note, I don’t mean “nothing” in a colloquial sense, as if they issued press releases that struck me as vapid and meaningless. Rather, I mean “nothing” in a literal sense. I went to the homepages for John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, the RNC, the NRSC, the NRCC, and the RGA. Collectively, they didn’t publish a single word about the striking economic growth.


  8. rikyrah says:

    Obama enjoys broad public backing on new Cuba policy
    12/23/14 10:00 AM
    facebook twitter 4 save share group 9
    By Steve Benen
    There were some political risks associated with President Obama’s new foreign policy towards Cuba. Major changes are sometimes met with public skepticism, and the old, ineffective Cuba policy was the American norm for over a half-century.

    Would Americans balk with the sudden break with the past? If the new Washington Post/ABC News poll is any indication, the answer is, apparently not.
    Sixty-four percent support establishing ties with Cuba, similar to 66 percent in a 2009 Post-ABC poll asking whether the United States should do so.

    Sixty-eight percent support ending the trade embargo with Cuba – up 11 points from 2009 – and 74 percent support ending travel restrictions to Cuba – a jump of 19 points from five years ago. The poll described each policy in general and did not mention Obama’s action, maintaining broad comparability to previous surveys.
    Specifically, when respondents were asked, “Overall, do you support or oppose the United States government establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba?” the responses were roughly two-to-one in favor of diplomatic ties. But looking through the crosstabs, it’s striking how broad the support is – other than self-identified conservative Republicans, every other group and subgroup agreed with the White House’s position.


    • Liza says:

      The median age in the US is 36.8 years. Most Americans either don’t know or don’t care what the “hostilities” were about during the Kennedy Administration. Why carry it on with such a close neighbor wasting all that tourism, good music, great beaches, and a really positive cultural experience? I didn’t include good food because Cuban food is actually kind of bland for my taste.

      We forgave Japan and Germany, didn’t we?

  9. rikyrah says:

    Barack Obama is killing the economy


    America is just killing it.

    Q3 GDP growth was just revised up to 5.0%, from last month’s estimate of 3.9%.

    This is the fastest pace of growth since Q3 2003. This was also much stronger than the 4.3% expected by economists.

    “The increase in real GDP in the third quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from PCE, nonresidential fixed investment, federal government spending, exports, state and local government spending, and residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased,” the BEA said.

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/gdp-q3-revision-2014-12#ixzz3MjxFYrkw

  10. rikyrah says:

    Last Call For No Longer Whistling Past Dixie

    Posted by Zandar

    Looks like the GOP’s southern state base wants the deciding word on who will be the Republican nominee in 2016, and they’re changing the primary game in order to do it.

    Officials in five Southern states — Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas — are coordinating to hold their primary on March 1, 2016. Texas and Florida are considering also holding a primary the same day but may wait until later in the month. Either way, March 1 would be a Southern Super Tuesday, voting en masse on the heels of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

    The joint primary, which appears increasingly likely to happen, would present a crucial early test for Republican White House hopefuls among the party’s most conservative voters. It could, in theory, boost a conservative alternative to a Republican who has emerged as the establishment favorite from the four states that kick off the nominating process. But one risk is that the deep-red complexion of the Southern states’ primary electorates would empower a candidate who can’t win in general election battlegrounds like Ohio and Colorado.

    Republicans from the South say their states make up the heart of the GOP and that it’s only fitting the region should have commensurate say over whom the party puts forward to compete for the White House. Proponents are already dubbing March 1 the “SEC primary,” after the NCAA’s powerhouse Southeastern Conference.

    Especially if Texas and Florida join this little party, it’s entirely possible that the GOP will have a presumptive nominee by St. Patrick’s Day in 2016. That makes me think more than ever that we’ll get a far-right Tea Party nutter out of the GOP in sixteen months, although it could mean Jeb Bush’s Florida and Texas connections could vault him into the lead.

    Either way, it looks like the Republicans aren’t going to repeat their mistake of too many debates and late primaries. They want a nominee early so they can stop fighting amongst themselves and start attacking Hillary.


  11. rikyrah says:

    Mitch McConnell, compromiser?

    By Paul Waldman December 23 at 8:39 AM 

    Is Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) a changed man? Now that he has finally achieved his longtime ambition of becoming Senate majority leader, could the politician who got there through a strategy of unremitting opposition to anything and everything President Obama wanted to do now become an apostle of compromise? That’s the impression you’d get if you read this article in today’s New York Times based on interviews with McConnell. Before you scoff, let’s consider that it might actually be true, at least to a degree. McConnell is nothing if not adaptable, and he may be charting a kind of middle path for Republicans for the next two years — not exactly one of joining with Obama in a new spirit of cooperation, but with the fist-shaking opposition of the past six years considerably toned down.

    I’ll explain why this might make sense in a moment, but here’s what McConnell is saying:

    “One of my challenges is to try to convince some of my members that passing an appropriations bill is a good thing, not a bad thing,” Mr. McConnell said during an interview in which he looked ahead to assuming command of the Senate on Jan. 6. Mr. McConnell, who was instrumental in holding Republicans together against President Obama and Democratic initiatives, acknowledges that changing the mind-set of opposition he helped instill in his colleagues will be crucial to advancing legislation that will attract Democratic support and force Mr. Obama into difficult choices over whether to sign measures pushed by his adversaries. And that is why his focus will be lawmakers he thinks he can meld into a governing coalition.

    “There are two kinds of people in politics,” Mr. McConnell said after the recent blowup when Mr. Cruz, the fiery Texan, and Senator Mike Lee of Utah, another firebrand, forced the Senate into a year-end session that handed Democrats more time to confirm dozens of presidential nominees on their way out the door. “Those who want to make a point and those who want to make a difference.

    “All of us from time to time make a point,” Mr. McConnell said. “But it is time now to make a difference.”

    That might sound like empty rhetoric, but I think it actually reflects McConnell’s assessment of the surest way to achieve his most immediate goal, which is to maximize the chances that a Republican wins the White House in 2016.


  12. rikyrah says:

    Republicans Block Reappointment of CBO Chief Doug Elmendorf

    Dec 22, 2014 3:32 PM CST

    Conservatives would like to change the way the CBO conducts its budget analysis

    Bloomberg) — Incoming Republican leaders in Congress won’t reappoint Doug Elmendorf to another term as head of the Congressional Budget Office, according to a party aide briefed on the decision.

    The move comes after a campaign from conservative lawmakers who want to change the way the CBO calculates the costs of government, said the aide, who requested anonymity to discuss a personnel decision. The office provides nonpartisan budget analysis for members of Congress that includes estimates of the cost of legislation.

    Elmendorf, 52, an economist with experience at the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve, was appointed to run the CBO in 2009 when then-director Peter Orszag was picked by President Barack Obama to run the White House Office of Management and Budget.

    In 2011, Elmendorf won a full four-year term, after Republicans took control of the House while Democrats retained the Senate. A CBO conclusion that Obama’s signature domestic achievement — the 2010 Affordable Care Act — was cutting costs pleased Democrats, while Republicans appreciated the office’s finding that the health-care law and a proposed minimum wage increase would cost jobs.

    Even as Democrats lost their Senate majority in the November election, some economists who side with Republicans said that Elmendorf should keep his job.

    Analysis Questioned

    “His background insulates his rulings and the congressional Republicans who choose to reappoint him from accusations of bias,” wrote Keith Hennessey, who served as President George W. Bush’s final director of the National Economic Council and is now a lecturer at Stanford University’s business school.

    Republican lawmakers who have questioned the office’s analysis were unmoved. They agreed with calls from incoming House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price for a new director who might introduce so-called dynamic scoring to CBO analysis.

    Dynamic scoring is the idea that policy changes can induce significant macroeconomic effects, such as tax cuts partially paying for themselves. Democrats say the method is unproven and relies on too many assumptions.

    Price, a Georgia Republican, had previously introduced a bill to require a dynamic score from the CBO, and the Republican House passed the measure.

    Price’s office declined to comment.


  13. rikyrah says:

    Wesley Lowery ✔ @WesleyLowery

    NYT editorial board: The protests for police reform should not be stifled — they should…continue and be listened to http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/12/23/opinion/mr-de-blasios-call-for-harmony.html?referrer=

  14. rikyrah says:

    David Axelrod ✔ @davidaxelrod

    I had my frustrations with CBO when I was in WH, but Elmendorf was an honest umpire. His ouster is ominous sign. http://bloom.bg/1zOZDcL

  15. rikyrah says:

    CNBC ✔ @CNBC

    BREAKING: Dow Jones Industrial Average hits 18,000 for the first time ever. http://cnb.cx/1vjPBMD pic.twitter.com/Gs5GRlJzIs

  16. rikyrah says:

    Gridlock in Lansing tosses road funding decision to taxpayers but Dems get a LOT of what they wanted

    By Eclectablog on December 19, 2014

    Michigan’s legislature is essentially a microcosm of what is happening in Washington, D.C. A small coalition of hard-right tea party types are holding the Republican party hostage, forcing them to cut deals with the Democrats in order to actually, you know, govern. Cast in the role of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner is Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger. This gridlock gave Democrats the ability to secure some important elements in the road funding agreement.

    The battle to find over a billion dollars in road funding finally came to an end at something like 5:30 a.m. this morning. The final result does a whole lot of things but entirely depends on Michigan taxpayers raising the sales tax from six percent to seven percent. Unfortunately, we won’t be given the chance to weigh in on it for nearly six months at an election in May of 2015.

    Here are some other important things in the package of 11 bills and two resolutions (much of this comes via a Facebook post by Democrat David Knezek as well as reporting by the Detroit Free Press):
    •Raises $1.3 billion to fix our roads and bridges. $1.2 billion goes to road construction with $112 million going to transit. There is also a lockdown of the School Aid Fund to ensure that only K-12 and community colleges can use these specific funds. Currently, some School Aid Funds are being used to fund universities to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars and other random appropriations. This ensures that money collected for the classroom goes to the classroom.
    •As an offset to mitigate the regressive impact on the sales tax increase which falls more heavily on poor people as a percentage of their budget, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) was restored to 20% of the federal EITC level. Recall that back in 2011, Republicans had slashed this tax break for the working poor to only 6% of the federal level.
    •Because our constitution requires it, the increased revenues from the sales tax will result in an additional $300 million per year for education as well as $94 million per year for our local governments.
    •An immediate $40 million appropriation to at-risk schools in Michigan.
    •Elimination of the 6% sales tax on motor fuel.
    •An increase in the wholesale tax on motor fuels beginning October 1, 2015. Taxing at the wholesale level is better and less prone to fluctuations in the economy to maintain a stable funding source.
    •An increase in the fines and fees on overweight trucks.
    •Guarantees warranties on new road construction. This is to say that if a contractor builds a 25-year road and it starts to fail after 5 years, they are responsible for coming back to fix it, not the taxpayers.
    •An official study on what it actually costs to educate a child here in Michigan. If we are not spending enough, we will soon know – along with how much we need to spend in order to be competitive. This comes out of legislation proposed by Democrats earlier this year.
    •Increases of $45 million in vehicle registration fees and $50 million in fees for heavy trucks. A spokeswoman for the Senate Majority Leader said registration fees for cars and light trucks won’t go up, but the 10% discounts new car buyers receive for each of the first three years they own their cars will be eliminated.
    •An increase in the registration fees for commercial trucks and a hike in the cost of registration for hybrid and electric vehicles between $25 and $200.
    •A commitment to hiring more minority and women workers in the construction industry.


  17. rikyrah says:

    SHOCKER: Number of Michigan schools in deficit jumps 10% after billions a year in GOP cuts to education

    By Eclectablog on December 23, 2014

    Now that the election is over, you don’t hear much about the massive cuts Republicans have made to public schools in Michigan. Without someone like Mark Schauer to constantly put it out into the mediasphere, it’s simply no longer being discussed. Well, except by bloggers like me whose “intellectual content” Gov. Snyder gives “a very low number” on a scale of one to ten.

    But, the fact is, Gov. Snyder hasn’t just taken a billion dollars out of our schools each year, he has taken BILLIONS out of our K-12 classrooms each year.

    Well, those chickens are coming home to roost. 57 Michigan public schools are now in deficit, an increase of just under 10% in a single year. Oh yeah, and one of those districts is Gov. Snyder’s failed education experiment on Detroit children, the Education Achievement Authority:


  18. rikyrah says:

    The road ahead for NY’s Michael Grimm
    12/23/14 08:40 AM—UPDATED 12/23/14 08:41 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Following up on our piece and Rachel’s segment from yesterday, it’s hard not to wonder what will become of Rep. Michael Grimm’s (R-N.Y.) career. The fact that his fate is still uncertain is itself rather remarkable.

    As things stand, the Republican congressman, facing a 20-count criminal indictment, has spent months insisting he’s the victim of a “political witch hunt” and that the charges against him have no merit. Yesterday, however, sources close to Grimm told reporters that the New York lawmaker is prepared to plead guilty to tax fraud, which is a felony, as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.

    Grimm’s office has not officially confirmed these reports, but if they’re accurate, it’ll be interesting to see what the House Republican leadership intends to do about it. Or as Rachel put it on the show last night, “It’s one thing to have someone with felony charges pending against them serving Congress; it’s another thing for Congress to include a confessed, convicted felon among its members.”

    Politico’s report noted that House GOP leaders, at least for now, aren’t saying anything about Grimm’s future, though the piece added:
    [A] guilty plea by Grimm would make it hard for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other top Republicans to support his continued tenure in the House. The Ethics Committee has held off from moving against Grimm while the federal criminal case unfolds. However, if Grimm admitted to a crime in federal court, then Ethics could begin proceedings against him, which could include expulsion, among other sanctions.

    Democrats are likely to put heavy pressure on the GOP leadership to call for Grimm’s resignation, hoping they can win that seat in a special election.
    Remember, in April, the House Republican leadership urged Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.) to resign after a video surfaced of the Louisiana Republican kissing a staffer. How the party could hold Grimm, soon to be a convicted felon, to a lesser standard seems inexplicable.


    • racerrodig says:

      I’ve said this before & I’ll say it again. I’ve made the most money with my business no matter if it was in the beginning as a side thing or since this is all I’ve done since 88 when a Democrat was in the White House.

      I started this on the side in 76 (Carter) and when RayGuns was in office it struggled as most people didn’t have hobby or disposable income. The same with Bush 1. When Clinton was in the White House things were growing and booming for me. When Bush 2 was elected by “Chad” and he decided to look for those always elusive WMD’s, business went downhill. Then he catered to the big banks and we all know how that went.

      Since Obama has been President, things have been slowly getting better. When I was working for a speed shop as a store manager in the 70’s up to 88, the owner said the same thing. He hated election years to begin with but when a Republican was Prez, business suffered.

      Math………..an exact science !!!!!!

  19. rikyrah says:

    Having faced a medical bankruptcy, Republican has a change of heart about the ACA

    By Amy Lynn Smith on December 22, 2014

    Seeing other people’s success stories convinced her to look into getting covered — and she’s glad she did.

    When health insurance became available through Healthcare.gov last year, Theresa had her doubts about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As a fiercely independent small business owner — and a Republican — the only news she saw about Obamacare was negative.

    Most of my friends were so anti-Obamacare, and based on my past experiences trying to buy insurance on my own I thought I couldn’t afford it. I thought Obamacare was like making a homeless man buy a house.

    But then I started reading the stories about how much money people were saving and I decided to dig into it.


  20. rikyrah says:

    NewsBreaker ✔ @NewsBreaker
    BREAKING: President Obama pardons eight federal inmates serving lengthy sentences for drug offenses. http://cnn.it/1vhTr9e – @cnnbrk
    5:56 PM – 22 Dec 2014

  21. rikyrah says:

    How David Gregory Lost His Job

    Last summer, Gregory was let go from his gig as host of “Meet the Press.” Here’s an inside look at his fall from the top—and what it says about the state of TV news. By Luke Mullins


  22. rikyrah says:

    SheriffFruitfly @sherifffruitfly
    Obama Leads A Comeback For Labor With Biggest Protection Of Workers’ Rights In a Generation http://www.politicususa.com/2014/12/22/leading-big-comeback-labor.html … via @politicususa
    7:19 PM – 22 Dec 2014

    • Liza says:

      Trayvon Martin will never be forgotten. His murder was, in fact, the tipping point despite the fact that his killer was acquitted by five stupid, narrow minded women who chose the wrong side of history. Trayvon was the one. It should have been Oscar Grant, but apparently, that wasn’t the right time.

      BTW, still no decision from Zimmerman’s federal grand jury that I am aware of and I check almost everyday.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Public options and single payer going forward
    Posted by Richard Mayhew at 8:35 am Dec 232014

    Yesterday’s post on the decline and fall of the Vermont single payer experiment will be leading to a couple of long responses from me as there was a great discussion on building universal coverage and default enrollment schemes in the comments. I think single payer in this country will be extraordinarily hard to do because it is such a massive disruption of middle class and upper middle class lives. And those are the people who vote in disproportionally large numbers, so pissing them off is a great way to lose political power.

    I also think that if PPACA is not gutted at the Supreme Court this summer, the groups that benefits from single payer will continue to shrink as more and more people will get and maintain either Medicaid expansion coverage or Exchange individual policy coverage. Single payer is hard. It is also not necessary for universal or near universal coverage as the rest of the OECD has examples of successful systems that produce better results, at less cost than the pre-PPACA cluster fuck and still better results at lower costs than the improvement upon status quo kludge that is PPACA.

    JGabriel asks if continuing a campaign for a public option would be a good way to get single payer:

    The most obvious answer – to me anyway, but I am not a health policy expert – would appear to be a public option that could become single-payer by default as more and more people began using it.

    So, Richard, is a public option a viable route for transitioning to single-payer?

    I don’t think a public option as passed by the House but disapproved by the Senate in 2009/2010 would lead to de facto single payer. I think in several states, such a public option would be the market leader, but in most states given the experience that we’ve seen in the 2014 and 2015 rate cycles, a public option as passed by the House with three votes to spare in 2009 would be an interesting choice but not a market leading choice.

    I am only looking at public options that are no stronger than the 2009 House public option that passed with three spare votes. I think I am putting my thumb on the scale signficantly in favor of a public option with that qualification as it is as I don’t see a more liberal public option passing any chamber of Congress at any point in the next ten years.

    Why is that?


  24. rikyrah says:

    Kat 4 Obama @Kat4Obama
    He is dangerous: New York PBA Pres Lynch threatens that police will use “extreme discretion” toward “our enemies.” http://nydn.us/13rWp3z
    8:09 PM – 22 Dec 2014

    • Liza says:

      That son-of-a-bitch needs to be told by someone that he isn’t God, he is a f***ing municipal employee. He might be paid by the union, I don’t know, but he represents municipal employees who are paid out of the city’s general fund. That means that the source of their compensation is from an assortment of revenues collected from the people who they are supposed to serve. Interesting because most employees are keenly aware of who signs their paycheck.

      If this Godlike union president is telling cops to turn on who they are supposed to serve, or decide who are their enemies and go after those people, then he needs his sorry a$$ removed from this position and from all public service. Show him his retirement papers and where to sign and get his stupid a$$ out of there.

      Who the f*** is in charge anyhow? Is there no oversight?

      • eliihass says:

        Have you seem him Liza; He actually looks like he’s got a screw lose. That and he’s so clearly racist.

        That anyone in thinks this lunatic should be representing any police union in this country, tells you a lot. The man is a racist nut.

      • eliihass says:

        Have you *seen* him..

      • Liza says:

        Yes, as a matter of fact, I saw a clip of him on Monday’s “Democracy Now.” He’s clearly looking for a showdown with the mayor. He thinks he’s in some kind of war when in reality he is a municipal cop just like all the other NYC municipal cops. How do these people get to thinking that they are a separate entity with special powers? These cop unions have gotten much too powerful.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Wendell Pierce ✔ @WendellPierce
    Rudy Guiliani blames President Obama for the execution of the two NY Police. Irresponsible, Divisive, and Slanderous
    5:38 PM – 21 Dec 2014

    • Liza says:

      Why in the blazes won’t Rudy Guiliani STFU? This is no time for gasbags. I wish people could learn that and stop giving an audience to people like him.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Angus Johnston @studentactivism
    A black man shoots a black woman, a Latino man, and an Asian-American man, and it’s seen as an attack on white people.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Rod TBGWT @rodimusprime

    The other day I had someone call me at 7 am in tears and they apologized b/c they didn’t have anyone else to talk to.

    Rod TBGWT @rodimusprime

    I’m honestly glad it was me that they reached out to. I just wanted to listen and let them know they aren’t alone.

    Rod TBGWT @rodimusprime

    Life isn’t just about all the happy shit. A lot of times it’s about the hard conversations that don’t have solutions.

    Rod TBGWT @rodimusprime

    A lot of the time it’s about listening and having empathy. And that process can’t start until someone reaches out. You are not alone.

    Rod TBGWT @rodimusprime

    If you need to reach out to someone because you’re in pain emotionally. You are not weak. You are not “bothering” people who care about you.

    Rod TBGWT @rodimusprime

    I know the holidays are a time of much sadness for many of us. Nothing is “wrong” with you. But this is as good a time as any to reach out.

    Rod TBGWT @rodimusprime

    People are in your life who do care about you and they don’t want you to be in pain or suffer alone. Please believe me.

    Rod TBGWT @rodimusprime

    I don’t have issues around depression or any diagnosed mental health issues but that doesn’t mean I don’t have empaty.

    Rod TBGWT @rodimusprime

    No one can help carry the weight if you don’t allow them. No one can help you with a burden if you’re too worried about being seen as “weak”

    Rod TBGWT @rodimusprime

    You’re not weak. You’re human. We all are. We all need support at times. Like I don’t want to get into too many details

    Rod TBGWT @rodimusprime

    But the person that reached out to me was the perso who TAUGHT me empathy. Who taught me what emotional value meant.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Why the House GOP wants a new accountant
    12/23/14 08:00 AM
    By Steve Benen
    Imagine your family puts together a budget. Once you and your loved ones have made financial plans for various expenses and long-term needs, you show it to your family accountant to see if you’re on the right track.

    The accountant, much to your chagrin, notices some important flaws in the numbers you’ve put together. In some cases, your arithmetic is off, and in other cases, you made unrealistic assumptions.

    At that point, you have a choice about what to do next. If you’re thinking, “It’s clearly time to fire my accountant,” congratulations, you’re ready to join the House Republican leadership. Dave Weigel had this important scoop yesterday.
    Incoming Republican leaders in Congress won’t reappoint Doug Elmendorf to another term as head of the Congressional Budget Office, according to a party aide briefed on the decision.

    The move comes after a campaign from conservative lawmakers who want to change the way the CBO calculates the costs of government, said the aide, who requested anonymity to discuss a personnel decision. The office provides nonpartisan budget analysis for members of Congress that includes estimates of the cost of legislation.
    I have a hunch Elmendorf, despite four highly consequential years on the job, probably hasn’t attained “household name” status, but as the head of the Congressional Budget Office, he’s chiefly responsible for telling lawmakers – and by extension, all of us – how much stuff costs.

    And for the most part, Elmendorf, a respected economist before taking over at the CBO, has been pretty good at his job – so good that plenty of Republicans urged party leaders to keep him around now that his term is ending. Indeed, the argument from mainstream conservatives is that Elmendorf could extend meaningful credibility to GOP proposals through favorable scores – if Elmendorf said Republicans’ numbers add up, everyone else would know GOP lawmakers were taking their responsibilities seriously.


  29. rikyrah says:

    Appeals court strikes down N.C. ultrasound law
    12/22/14 01:28 PM—UPDATED 12/22/14 03:37 PM
    By Steve Benen
    A few years ago, North Carolina’s Republican-led legislature passed one of the nation’s more outlandish ultrasound laws. By state mandate, any woman wishing to terminate a pregnancy would be required to undergo a medically unnecessary ultrasound, and abortion providers would be required by law to position the ultrasound image within the patient’s line of sight.

    Medical professionals would be legally required to describe the details of the ultrasound’s image, whether the woman wanted to hear the descriptions or not.

    For all the Republican rhetoric about “limited government,” and how important it is for government never to get between a patient and a physician, here was an incredible example providing that conservatives, at least in North Carolina, don’t take their own principles seriously.

    At the time, then-Gov. Bev Perdue (D) vetoed the bill, but the GOP-led legislature overrode the veto in 2011 and made the policy state law.

    Earlier this year, a federal court struck down the law as unconstitutional. This morning, as WRAL reported, an appeals court agreed.
    The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday declared as unconstitutional a North Carolina law requiring abortion providers to show a woman an ultrasound and describe the images in detail four hours before she can have an abortion.

    The decision upholds a lower-court ruling from January and could send the issue to the Supreme Court.
    Of particular interest to the appellate bench was the fact that North Carolina was mandating speech on private citizens, forcing Americans to say things they didn’t want to say through government mandate.


  30. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone. :-)

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