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Member since: Wed Jan 30, 2008, 02:33 PM
Number of posts: 7,445

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Time Names Barack Obama Person of the Year

Source: Time Magazine

In mid-December, as Obama settles into one of the Oval Office’s reupholstered chairs — brown leather instead of Bush’s blue and gold candy stripes — the validation of Election Day still hovers around him, suggesting that his second four years in office may turn out to be quite different from his first. Beyond the Oval Office, overwhelming challenges remain: deadlocked fiscal-cliff talks; a Federal Reserve that predicts years of high unemployment; and more unrest in places like Athens, Cairo and Damascus. But the President seems unbound and gives inklings of an ambition he has kept in check ever since he arrived at the White House to find a nation in crisis. He leans back, tea at his side, legs crossed, to explain what he thinks just happened. “It was easy to think that maybe 2008 was the anomaly,” he says. “And I think 2012 was an indication that, no, this is not an anomaly. We’ve gone through a very difficult time. The American people have rightly been frustrated at the pace of change, and the economy is still struggling, and this President we elected is imperfect. And yet despite all that, this is who we want to be.” He smiles. “That’s a good thing.”

Two years ago, Republicans liked to say that the only hard thing Obama ever did right was beating Hillary Clinton in the primary, and in electoral terms, there was some truth to that. In 2012 the GOP hoped to cast him as an inspiring guy who was not up to the job. But now we know the difference between the wish and the thing, the hype and the man in the office. He stands somewhat shorter, having won 4 million fewer votes and two fewer states than in 2008. But his 5 million-vote margin of victory out of 129 million ballots cast shocked experts in both parties, and it probably would have been higher had so much of New York and New Jersey not stayed home after Hurricane Sandy. He won many of the toughest battlegrounds walking away: Virginia by 4 points, Colorado by 5 and the lily white states of Iowa and New Hampshire by 6. He untied Ohio’s knotty heartland politics, picked the Republican lock on Florida Cubans and won Paul Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Wis. (Those last two data points especially caught the President’s interest.) He will take the oath on Jan. 20 as the first Democrat in more than 75 years to get a majority of the popular vote twice. Only five other Presidents have done that in all of U.S. history.

Read more: http://poy.time.com/2012/12/19/person-of-the-year-barack-obama/
Posted by democrattotheend | Wed Dec 19, 2012, 09:30 AM (9 replies)

What happens if we go over the "cliff"?

Do people expect that if we go over the cliff, the Republicans will magically agree to extend unemployment benefits, invest in infrastructure, cut taxes for the 98% w/o cutting it for the 2%, pass the doc fix, patch the AMT, and raise the debt ceiling for 2 years without any cuts in Medicare/SS/social spending?

How will going over the cliff take away the GOP's leverage in the debt ceiling fight?

I don't understand what the argument is for going over the cliff. How would that make us any better off in terms of negotiating? How would going over the cliff guarantee that entitlement programs are protected?
Posted by democrattotheend | Tue Dec 18, 2012, 09:18 PM (28 replies)

Here's what I don't get: why would the White House share its latest proposal

They know that there will be lots of opposition to chained CPI, and I don't see why they want to be the ones seen as proposing it when it's something the GOP has been pushing for.

I could see it if House Democrats who were informed of the plan were unhappy and leaked it, but that doesn't seem to be what happened here. It seems like this disclosure came straight from the White House.

I am not saying the president is not willing to agree to chained CPI...in the past, he has shown willingness to agree to that in exchange for revenue if it was structured in such a way that protected the poorest SS recipients.

But if they were actually close to reaching this deal, you would think they would keep it under wraps to avoid protests from liberal groups and bloggers and activists until it is too late to do anything.

The only reason I can see for the White House making this proposal public is either a) Boehner agreed to it on the condition that the president be the one to propose it; or b) the White House put it out knowing the House Republicans won't accept it, to ensure that House Republicans look unreasonable when they fail to reach a deal.

Wishful thinking to hope that it's b?
Posted by democrattotheend | Tue Dec 18, 2012, 07:42 PM (18 replies)

Question about CPI

I have not looked into it too much because I have been buried with studying for exams, but I read a little bit last night, and one thing I noticed about the current formula is that it is based on the price of goods in urban areas. So my question is, why do they use the urban formula for the whole country? Some things are a lot cheaper in rural areas...if they are going to tweak the formula, why not do so by varying it by geographic area and using urban prices only for urban areas?

I know this is how they set the federal pay scale. They have a base and then a supplement for high cost of living areas.

Please don't jump all over me...I am just asking why they don't do it that way and whether it has been considered. Do you think this is a better option than chained CPI? It seems sort of unfair to me to use the same cost of living index all over the country despite big differences in the actual cost of living.
Posted by democrattotheend | Tue Dec 18, 2012, 04:14 PM (9 replies)

Lautenberg to Introduce Legislation to Ban High-Capacity Magazines Post Sandy Hook

Source: Huffington Post

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) will introduce legislation in the next Congress to ban the sale of high-capacity magazines, his office told The Huffington Post on Monday.

A longtime advocate for gun control legislation, the New Jersey Democrat has pushed similar bills in the past, most notably following the shooting of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and others in Tucson in 2010. They have failed to gather the necessary support to become law, though Lautenberg's office, like others on the Hill, feels that the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday has altered the political dynamics of the debate.

The legislation would simply reintroduce the prohibition of high-capacity magazines that existed under the federal Assault Weapons Ban from 1994 to 2004. In Tucson, the shooter Jared Loughner was able to fire 30-plus shots without having to reload. During the shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., the alleged shooter reportedly had a 100-round magazine drum. At Sandy Hook Elementary School, the alleged shooter also had high-capacity magazines.

Lautenberg's bill would be a pared-down iteration of gun control legislation for lawmakers to consider. A more ambitious proposal is set to be introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who has pledged to reintroduce the assault weapons ban the first day of the new Congress.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/17/gun-control-legislation-frank-lautenberg_n_2315618.html

Apparently less ambitious than Feinstein's bill, but maybe has a better chance of passing? Even Joe Manchin is saying there is no legit need in hunting for high capacity magazines.

I don't know much about guns, so can someone explain this? If there are no high capacity magazines, does that mean that fewer shots can be fired without reloading?
Posted by democrattotheend | Mon Dec 17, 2012, 03:54 PM (8 replies)

Fiscal Cliff Talks Center on $2 Trillion Proposal

Source: Political Wire/CNN/WSJ

President Obama and House Speaker Boehner "are discussing a $2 trillion framework on a deal to avert the fiscal cliff, that would include roughly a trillion in tax increases and roughly a trillion in savings from entitlement programs," CNN reports.

"Boehner and the president met in person on Monday, but sources familiar with the talks indicate that the framework under discussion is what Republicans are pushing to get to agreement, but it's unclear whether the make up of the $2 trillion framework could get support from Democrats."

Wall Street Journal: "While the White House objected to major parts of the proposal, senior Democrats described it as a tipping point that moves talks away from deadlock. Instead, it cleared the way for both sides to engage in nitty-gritty haggling over exactly where the new income threshold might be set and what should comprise the spending cuts."

Read more: http://politicalwire.com/archives/2012/12/17/fiscal_cliff_talks_center_on_2_trillion_proposal.html

No good, IMO. The $1 trillion in revenue is OK depending on how it is structured (the president upped it to $1.6 trillion in his initial offer to start out from a high bargaining position; we never expected to actually get it). But $1 trillion in cuts is bad...way too much. They already cut $1 trillion last year, which means they probably got most of the low-hanging fruit. I don't see how you cut $1 trillion w/o seriously hurting the most vulnerable populations.

It looks like it's far from a done deal...WSJ says the White House is pushing back on major parts of the proposal. But we need to keep the pressure up, and not just regarding Social Security and Medicare. There are a lot of other important programs, such as food stamps and LIHEAP, that could be on the chopping block. Medicaid not so much, according to an article I read last week, but doesn't hurt to be vigilant.
Posted by democrattotheend | Mon Dec 17, 2012, 01:56 PM (35 replies)

Haley to name Tim Scott to Senate Seat (SC)

Source: CNN

(CNN) - South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will name GOP Rep. Tim Scott as the replacement for outgoing Sen. Jim DeMint, according to Republican sources in South Carolina and Washington.

Haley will announce the pick at noon Monday.

Read more: http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/12/17/breaking-haley-to-name-tim-scott-to-senate-seat/
Posted by democrattotheend | Mon Dec 17, 2012, 09:57 AM (25 replies)

Democrats have supermajorities in the Mass. house and senate

Can't they change the law back to having an appointed senator until the next regularly scheduled election? They only changed it the first time to prevent Romney from appointing Kerry's replacement if he was elected president (bitter irony, huh?)

Or would they take too much political heat for doing that?

They could cite the cost of holding a special election.
Posted by democrattotheend | Sun Dec 16, 2012, 06:34 PM (9 replies)

Final Tally Shows Election Wasn't Even Close

On a slightly brighter note than many of the other threads on this forum the last few days:

Los Angeles Times: "More than five weeks after election day, almost all the presidential votes have been counted. Here's what the near-final tally reveals: The election really wasn't close."

"In the weeks since the election, as states have completed their counts, Obama's margin has grown steadily. From just over 2 percentage points, it now stands at nearly 4. Rather than worry about the Bush-Kerry precedent, White House aides now brag that Obama seems all but certain to achieve a mark hit by only five others in U.S. history - winning the presidency twice with 51% or more of the popular vote."

Most of the nation’s remaining uncounted ballots, perhaps as many as 413,000, Wasserman estimated, are in heavily Democratic New York, where officials have until next week to finish their tabulations. The other two states yet to certify a final count are West Virginia, which Romney carried, and Hawaii, which went heavily for its native son, the president. Once all those get tossed into the mix, Obama’s margin almost surely will rise slightly, allowing him to claim the 51% mark without rounding up.


Posted by democrattotheend | Sun Dec 16, 2012, 02:42 PM (21 replies)

600 weapons surrendered in gun buy-back in San Francisco

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

(12-15) 17:56 PST Oakland -- Arturo Hurtado of Richmond was still stricken with grief over the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 school children dead when he awoke Saturday morning.

So he decided to get rid of his gun - "that darn thing" as he called it - and purged it from his home.

"I've got kids, man," said Hurtado, who works at Waste Management in Oakland and has children ages 14, 10, 6, and 1. "Kids are curious. Kids don't know any better. I had it locked in a toolbox, so I don't know... I just know it had to go."

Hurtado was among hundreds of Bay Area residents who dropped off their firearms at "buy back" locations in Oakland and San Francisco Saturday, collecting $200 cash for their weapon, no questions asked.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/600-weapons-surrendered-in-gun-buy-back-4121621.php#ixzz2FBAlRltP

This is slightly encouraging. Not going to solve the problem on its own but it's a start.

I think I read about something similar happening in Brooklyn. I hope more police departments around the country do this.
Posted by democrattotheend | Sun Dec 16, 2012, 12:44 AM (37 replies)
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