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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
Number of posts: 44,767

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KRUGMAN: “We are at war with Eastasia, and always have been.”

........business leaders intervening in our economic debate are, for the most part, either predatory or hopelessly confused (or, I guess, both).

I’d put Fix the Debt in the predatory category; it’s quite clear that the organization (which is yet another Pete Peterson front, this time explicitly dominated by corporate interests) has an agenda more focused on cutting social insurance and corporate taxes than on reducing the deficit per se.

Meanwhile, Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, exemplifies the hopeless confusion factor. By all accounts, he’s a good guy, with genuinely generous instincts. But in his message to employees, urging them to write “come together” on coffee cups, he gets the nature of the fiscal cliff completely wrong. In fact, he gets it wrong in two fundamental ways. He writes:

As many of you know, our elected officials in Washington D.C. have been unable to come together and compromise to solve the tremendously important, time-sensitive issue to fix the national debt.

OK, first of all, the fiscal cliff is NOT A DEBT PROBLEM. In fact, it’s the opposite: the danger is that with expiring tax cuts, expiring unemployment benefits, and the sequester, we’ll reduce the deficit too fast. Deficit scolds are having a hard time reconciling their sudden concern about excessive deficit reduction with everything they were saying before – and evidently Mr. Schultz hasn’t gotten the message that we are now at war with Eastasia, and always have been.

And then, on top of that, he has the politics all wrong, in the characteristic centrist way: he makes it sound as if the problem was one of symmetric partisanship, with both sides refusing to compromise. The reality is that Obama has moved a huge way both in offering to exempt more high-earner income from tax hikes and in offering to cut Social Security benefits; meanwhile, the GOP not only won’t agree to any kind of tax hike at all, it also has yet to make any specific offer of any kind.



Congress knew the cliff was coming. In fact, Congress made the cliff.

About those spoiled children we pay to govern us

Dan Amira is (rightly) incensed at all the complaining members of Congress -- and particularly the Senate -- are doing in the New York Times and elsewhere about having to come back to Washington to work on the the quote fiscal cliff crisis endquote.

Hey, guess what? Nothing requires Congress to wait until the very last second (or even after the very last second) to hammer out a compromise. Nobody is forcing Congress to reach a lofty annual gridlock quota. Congress knew the cliff was coming. In fact, Congress made the cliff. If you wanted to spend some time with your kids over Christmas break, maybe that sense of urgency you're feeling now should have surfaced a few weeks ago. Legislating is your job, and the only reason you're in Washington instead of seeing Les Misérables with your family is because you're terrible at it. ...Dan Amira, Daily Intel

Pawn Shop Owner: 'I Will Sell No More Guns-I broke into tears seeing types of firearms I'm selling'

SEMINOLE, Fla. - As a pawn shop owner, Frank James was always a big believer in gun rights and the second amendment. After all, it was his bread and butter business.

But after what he saw in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday, he's had a change of heart. "I basically broke into tears and looked up on the wall, seeing the types of firearms I am selling," James said.

At the Loan Star Pawn store in Seminole, a glass display case that once housed several Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifles is now empty. The glass counters normally filled with handguns has been completely cleared.

"I'm not going to be part of it anymore," James said. He has several copies of the exact rifle suspected in the massacre.


BOO HOO: “You work your butt off & you end up with next to nothing (but about $2 million this year)”

Mr. President, Have Pity On The Working Man
By: TBogg Thursday December 27, 2012 10:25 pm

Courtesy of the NY Post, here is one of the people John Boehner and the Republicans are protecting from the onerous confiscatory upper end tax increase from 35 percent to 39.6 percent:

They’re ready to jump off a real cliff.

New Yorkers of all income levels got a rude awakening yesterday when they saw in The Post how much more they will pay in taxes next year without a fiscal-cliff deal by Jan. 1.

Clothing designer Peter Opie, of Canary Wharf Clothier, made about $2 million this year — and would see his tax bill spike by a staggering $100,000.

“The system is nuts here — it’s madness personified!” he said

“We were impacted massively by the hurricane — and now there is this,” said Opie. “You work your butt off and you end up with next to nothing.”


Oh look, here are some kids who worked in coal mines for $3 a week!

I’m sorry. What was Peter Opie saying about “working your butt off”?


Low testosterone causing “irritable male syndrome" in Washington DC

Get off my lawn! Why some older men are so grouchy

The look: A scowling face, a wagging finger, and a shaking head. The targets: The economy. Teenagers. Windmills. Some informally dub it “grumpy old man complex.” British author Carol Wyer labels it “irritable male syndrome,” a spike in the outward crankiness of guys of a certain age. As more baby boomers hit 60 — the age when male grumpiness seems to kick in — be ready for a growing chorus of grouchy flare-ups, like a Donald Trumprant set to explode.

Testosterone levels generally fall as men age, according to the Mayo Clinic. Such hormone drops are known to dampen male moods, says Dr. Ridwan Shabsigh, head of the International Society of Men’s Health and a urologist in New York City. “Testosterone is a hormone that grows muscles, reduces fat in the body, affects energy, and improves sexual desire,” Shabsigh says. “However, it also has neural-psycho effects. And in some men we encounter in our practice, those affects can be mostly visible: low mood and irritability.”

Take that Ann:

Did Democrats plan to go over the cliff all along?

Giving the appearance of movement in fiscal talks
By Steve Benen - Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:00 AM EST


Putting aside all the posturing, press releases, and finger pointing, the fact remains that nothing has changed except the calendar. Republicans still don't intend to compromise, don't want to present specific ideas to further their own goals, and don't intend to act until the president negotiates with himself, coming up with a plan filled with preemptive concessions, predicated on guesses as to what GOP officials might find acceptable.

So what's the point of today's White House chat? I suspect one of two scenarios is true:

1. Participants have been very quietly working out the details of a compromise, and today's meeting is about sealing the deal while working out a legislative strategy. They're closer than is publicly known, and today, they'll try to work out the final details.

2. Everyone knows failure is inevitable, and there's no way a deal can be reached with Republican extremists, especially with so little time remaining, so today's meeting is motivated by theatrics -- they'll go through the motions so no one can say they didn't at least try to sit in a room and talk to one another.

If I were a betting man, I'd put money on the latter.


A Haiku Review of 2012, Part 2: Gun Crazy


A Haiku Review of 2012, Part 2: Gun Crazy:

Death in Florida
Trayvon was shot dead.
The NRA backed up George.
Can't blacks stand their ground?

Death in Colorado
Crazy-eyed coward.
Theater of sitting ducks.
Joker would be pleased.

Death in Wisconsin
Hate crime against Sikhs
By a racist thug who bought
his gun legally.

Death in Chicago
More murdered children
By guns than Newtown times six.
One year, one city.

Death in Newtown
The funeral home
Laid to rest eleven kids,
Didn't take a dime.


Thank A Teacher Today & Everyday

Decades Later, Student Finds Teacher To Say 'Thank You'
December 28, 2012 3:25 AM

John Cruitt reunited with his third-grade teacher, Cecile Doyle, to tell her about the impact she had on him as he coped with his mother's death.

"Then you bent over and kissed me on the head. It was really the only time someone said to me, 'I know what you're feeling, and I know what you're missing,' " Cruitt says. "And I felt, in a very real way, that things really would be OK."


Decades after his mother's death, when Cruitt became a teacher himself, he began to think more and more of Doyle.

"And I started to think to myself, here I am, with a memory of a teacher who changed my life, and I've never told her that," he says.

So, that's when he finally wrote a letter:

Dear Mrs. Doyle,

If you are not the Cecile Doyle who taught English at Emerson School in Kearny, N.J., then I'm embarrassed, and you can disregard the sentiments that follow.

My name is John Cruitt, and I was in your third-grade class during the 1958-1959 school year. Two days before Christmas, my mother passed away, and you told me that you were there if I needed you. I hope life has been as kind to you as you were to me.

God bless you, always. With great fondness,


Doyle says his letter, which arrived in February, could have not come at a better time. Her husband, who passed away this August, was struggling with Parkinson's disease.


Portrait: Wayne LaPierre

Obama to send fiscal cliff tax measure to Congress Thursday

Source: CNN

Obama to send fiscal cliff tax measure to Congress Thursday

Posted by
CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash

(CNN) - Two sources on Capitol Hill say President Barack Obama told Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell he would send to Congress on Thursday a scaled back fiscal cliff measure.

The bill would include elements of Obama's tax plan which would prevent for some the tax hike scheduled to take place in the new year.

McConnell has said he can not say whether he would require a simple majority or 60 votes for passage in the Senate until he sees Obama's proposal.

It is expected that the measure would extend the Bush-era tax breaks for income under $250,000, extend the current estate tax rate, and extend unemployment insurance. The estate tax extension is on Republicans' wish list for a deal.

Read more: http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/12/27/first-on-cnn-sources-obama-to-send-fiscal-cliff-tax-measure-to-congress-thursday/
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