Dec 182014
 

The US Senate is done for the year, but before they went home they confirmed a bunch of Barack Obama’s appointments.  That’s the last thing Republicans wanted, but Democrats got the extra floor time, Because Ted “The Immigrant” Cruz made a fool of himself.  That’s an easy undertaking for him.

1218SenateThe Democratic-controlled Senate confirmed the last batch of President Obama’s judicial appointees and sent the White House legislation extending tax breaks for working-class millions and special interests alike late Tuesday as Congress ended a tumultuous two-year run.

The Senate adjourned at 11:24 p.m., officially ending the 113th Congress.

An 11th-hour attempt to renew a program obliging the government to cover part of the cost of terrorism-caused losses was sidetracked by retiring Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who said it was a giveaway to private industry.

But dozens of Mr. Obama’s nominees to agency positions won approval on the final night of the Congress. Among them were Sarah Saldana to head Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Nicholas Rasmussen as director of the National Counterterrorism Center at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Rasmussen is currently the deputy director, a post he has held since 2012. He served on the National Security Council from 2007 to 2012, where he was a special assistant to the president and senior director for counterterrorism.

In addition, the Senate voted 55-38 to approve the president’s nominee to be Deputy Secretary of State, despite criticism from Sen. John McCain and other Republicans. Tony Blinken, who is replacing the retiring William Burns, joined the White House in 2009 as a top aide to Vice President Joe Biden. He later became Mr. Obama’s deputy national security adviser and a key player on foreign policy issues, including the fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria…

Inserted from <CBS>

This could never have happened had not Democrats changed Senate rules to eliminate filibusters on nominees.

Lawrence O’Donnell discussed the rule change and it’s effects with Jeff Merkley (D-OR).  Unfortunately, I can only bring you MSNBC clips, if I can find them on YouTube.

No I imagine you think that I’m pro-filibuster, now that Republicans control the Senate.  That is not so.  I think the only kind if filibuster that should be allowed is a talking filibuster by one Senator taking no breaks.  We might get some Republican votes of we give David Vitter (R-LA) the diaper concession. The party in charge must be allowed to govern.  Had we gone to a talking filibuster only in 2009, we would not have a Republican Congress now.

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Dec 182014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 43.  I’m waiting for Store to Door to deliver groceries.  I’m still feeling pretty crappy, but I do have a second article for you.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:58 (average 5:08).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: What some insiders are calling a “rash display of backbone” last week could endanger Senator Elizabeth Warren’s career as a Democrat, leading party operatives say.

Harland Dorrinson, a strategist who has guided the campaigns of dozens of Democratic candidates, said that the Massachusetts legislator’s “recklessly truthful” tirade about banks left him “smacking my head.”

“She stood up for what she believed in and didn’t try to water it down,” he said. “That is a serious violation of the Democratic playbook.”

Andy is on. Unlike the Nevada Leg Hound, Harry Reid, Liz does not hump a few Republican legs, while begging, whine, roll over, and play dead.

From Daily Kos: Yesterday, the former vice president of the United States and one of the architects of the American torture program explained why he was unconcerned about the torture of innocent prisoners.

CHUCK TODD: Let me go to Gul Rahman. He was chained to the wall of his cell, doused with water, froze to death in C.I.A. custody. And it turned out it was a case of mistaken identity.

DICK CHENEY: –right. But the problem I had is with the folks that we did release that end up back on the battlefield. […] I’m more concerned with bad guys who got out and released than I am with a few that, in fact, were innocent.

CHUCK TODD: 25% of the detainees though, 25% turned out to be innocent. They were released.

DICK CHENEY: Where are you going to draw the line, Chuck? How are– […]

CHUCK TODD: Is that too high? You’re okay with that margin for error?

DICK CHENEY: I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective.

I’d be happy to chip in for his ticket to The Hague.

From Upworthy: Housing is a human right. And an economy based on financial markets doesn’t care about human rights. Maybe it’s time for a new economy?

 

Click through for more info. This is what Republican rule is doing to Detroit and to America.

Cartoon:

1218Cartoon

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Dec 172014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 42.    I’m still mostly down and feeling pretty lethargic, so this my only article.  Tomorrow was supposed to be a prison volunteer day, but because it’s social meeting rather than work, and since I need my groceries delivered tomorrow, I had to opt out.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:28 (average 5:10).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Report:

Here’s the playoff picture from our own fantasy football league, Lefty Blog Friends.

15Playoffs

It’s not at all unusual for leading teams to lose in the first round, but for those nwho did, there are still consolation games to play.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: 32 members of the Democratic caucus and 24 Republicans supported it. 22 members of the Democratic caucus and 18 Republicans opposed it.

So who were the naughty 32?

Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Mark Begich (D-AK)
Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Ben Cardin (D-MD)
Tom Carper (D-DE)
Bob Casey (D-PA)
Chris Coons (D-DE)
Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Kay Hagan (D-NC)
Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
Tim Johnson (D-SD)
Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Angus King (I-ME)
Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Pat Leahy (D-VT)
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
Chris Murphy (D-CT)
Patty Murray (D-WA)
Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Mark Pryor (D-AR)
Harry Reid (D-NV)
Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
Brian Schatz (D-HI)
Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Mark Udall (D-CO)
Tom Udall (D-NM)
John Walsh (D-MT)
Mark Warner (D-VA)

he rationale of some was, once it passed the House with Obama’s support, Senate Democrats would take the blame for a subsequent shutdown. That is true.  You asked for the list.

From NY Times: The Senate on Monday confirmed President Obama’s nominee for surgeon general, ending a long fight over gun control and politics that had left the country without a permanent top doctor for a year and a half.

In an early-evening vote, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, an internal medicine physician, was approved, 51- to 43.

The confirmation was one of the last acts of business for the Democratic-controlled Senate. Had it not moved, the nomination would have died, making it unlikely the president would have been able to get anyone approved to the post for the remainder of his time in the White House.

We Actually have Ted "Go Back Home" Cruz to thank for this. His idiotic move to hold up the horrible budget deal, while he preened for the cameras, is what kept the Senate open over the weekend, providing time for this and other confirmations.

From Common Dreams: Promising to put forth and lobby on behalf of two bold progressive policy ideas in the months ahead, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has announced his intention to push for new pieces of legislation in the next session, one of which would break up the nation’s largest Wall Street banks and another that would expand the Social Security program for all Americans.

I fully support both of Bernie’s ideas, but the chances of it passing the Senate, let alone even getting a vote in the House, bring snowballs and perdition to mind.

Cartoon:

1217Cartoon

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Dec 162014
 

Here are the results of our “Meaning of Christmas” poll.  Politics Plus Polls are not scientific, because those who respond are not balanced according to demographic categories.   Therefore, we do not accurately reflect the makeup of the US population.  Nevertheless, our are usually factually accurate, and more often than not, reflect will of the national majority.

1216Poll

And here are your comments:

Showing comments 1-10 of 10.

Posted by Patty  December 13, 2014 at 3:51 am.  

 

Christmas to me is about Giving. 365 days a year are about Giving too.

 

Posted by Rixar13  December 11, 2014 at 7:05 am.  

 

http://youtu.be/ZGpATMO-6_o?list=PLAF22812129BFCD50

 

Posted by Rixar13  December 11, 2014 at 7:04 am.  

 

http://youtu.be/ZGpATMO-6_o?list=PLAF22812129BFCD50

 

Bill Maher is right on with this segment.

clip_image001

 

Posted by mamabear  December 3, 2014 at 5:40 am.  

 

I voted Santa,Family and Giving. When your children are little it’s the wonder and innocents you see in their eyes. Family it’s so exciting to get up 5am and see all the fun the day brings. But giving is by far the most fun because it brings such happiness to others.

 

Posted by Nancy W  December 1, 2014 at 5:22 am.  

 

Personally for me it’s about Jesus although I don’t belong to a church, family of course and giving. Despite the fact we donate food most of the year to food banks we also buy some toys.

I think it’s more fun if you have young children who believe in Santa. But it really has become to focused on how many presents people get and what those presents are. And way too many parties if you ask me.

 

Posted by Joanne D  December 1, 2014 at 4:55 am.  

 

I don’t really know how to answer this, as it is about all of the above, and more. Light. That just when the days are shortest and it is darkest, there is a turnaround, and the light will return. Rebirth. New beginnings. Equality (both rich are poor were called, the rich by a star, the poor by an angel, to come and see, and both responded – to an event that is for everyone.

clip_image002

In a way I don’t participate, because I don’t go to church, I don’t go to parties, I don’t decorate, I don’t bake. All of those are because of allergies (well, I could bake wheat-free, but with limited mobility it’s not a pleasure, and the result isn’t really worth it to me). I could be resentful that I have had my Christmas stolen by allergies, but I’m not, because what Christmas is REALLY about is in the spirit. And I have all of that. And, as Lona says, the music.

 

Posted by SoINeedAName  December 1, 2014 at 3:47 am.  

 

For several decades now we dropped the gifts, and instead we each pick a charity to donate to. Before, all we were doing was exchanging shopping lists for each other. And none of us really needed anything to start with.

 

So now our Christmas is just like our Thanksgiving … only with better decorations!

 

(OK – when there were little kids, we would get THEM gifts. But there are no little kids now.

clip_image002[1]

 

Posted by Lona  December 1, 2014 at 1:25 am.  

 

The Dutch weren’t very big on Christmas 50 years ago, they celebrated St. Nicolaas on the 5th of December. But my mother had taken the grand German Christmas tradition with her when she came to Holland and we celebrated it with a tree, presents, cookies and fruit and a lavish meal with the whole family when nobody else did. But it has become popular, i.e. very commercialized here too and we stopped celebrating it after my parents died.

These past few years I’ve been Down Under at Christmas and I don’t get into the Christmas feeling at all in the subtropics when it near 40 degrees Celsius out, even with Bach’s Weinachtsoratorium or Händel’s Messiah playing, so we now skip it all together and just donate money to charity – Doctors without borders fighting Ebola this year.

 

Posted by Edie  November 30, 2014 at 4:24 pm.  

 

For me, it is the pleasure of family being together and giving, both to family and those less fortunate.

 

Posted by Lynn Squance  November 30, 2014 at 1:45 pm.  

 

For me, as a Christian, Christmas is about Jesus, family and giving. But non Christians, and that includes right wing pseudo Christians as well as peoples of other faiths, can celebrate the spirit of Christmas too by giving of themselves to others that truly need to know they matter, that they are loved. Oh, and BTW, Christmas can be celebrated 365 days per year! Giving knows no limit or time frame.

I chose Jesus, family and giving.  The first is by definition.  The third is what he did.  While I am alone, my guys in prison and you all are my family.

The new poll is up and voting in a timely manner is critically important. ;-)

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Dec 162014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 42.  I’m still mostly down, but I have three articles, because it‘s time to change the poll.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:07 (average 4:35).  To do it, click here.  How did you do.

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: In an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” on Sunday, former Vice-President Dick Cheney told host Chuck Todd that he was “sick and tired of Americans being ashamed of our beautiful legacy of torture” and that he was organizing the first “National Torture-Pride March” to take place in Washington in January.

“This is a chance for all of us torturers to say, ‘Look at us, this is who we are,’” Cheney, who will be the Grand Marshall of the parade, said.

I’d love to attend Andy’s march … with a cattle prod.

From Bernie Sanders: Sen. Bernie Sanders discusses the omnibus appropriations bill on the Senate floor.

 

As usual, Bernie is spot-on.

From Kansas City Star: As he drops new hints about his 2016 intentions, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is appearing in South Carolina just weeks before a self-imposed deadline to decide whether he will run for president.

Bush is scheduled to give Monday’s commencement address at the University of South Carolina. It marks the Republican leader’s second visit in three months to the state that will host the 2016 presidential primary season’s first contest in the South.

In a television interview aired on the eve of the South Carolina appearance, Bush expressed confidence that he “would be a good president,” adding that he was in the process of writing an e-book about his time as governor that would come out in the spring.

When Jeb claims that he would be a good President, he was merely proving that he is a Republican. He is lying. Jeb "Strike Three" Bush would be as bad as “Strike One” and “Strike Two”. He has the same owners.

Cartoon:

1216Cartoon

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Dec 152014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 40.  I’m still down.  It’s halftime.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:52 (average 5:24).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:

1214-Broncos22-Chargers10

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: The banking giant Citigroup announced on Friday that it would move its headquarters from New York to the U.S. Capitol Building, in Washington, D.C., in early 2015.

Tracy Klugian, a spokesperson for Citi, said that the company had leased thirty thousand square feet of prime real estate on the floor of the House of Representatives and would be interviewing “world-class architects” to redesign the space to suit its needs.

According to sources, Citi successfully outbid other firms, including JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, for the right to move its headquarters to the House floor.

The Citi spokesperson acknowledged that the extensive makeover of the House is expected to cost “in the millions,” but added, “It’s always expensive to open a new branch.”

Explaining the rationale behind the move, Klugian told reporters, “Instead of constantly flying out from New York to give members of Congress their marching orders, Citigroup executives can be right on the floor with them, handing them legislation and telling them how to vote. This is going to result in tremendous cost savings going forward.”

I bet Andy thinks they’ll wallpaper with $100s.

From Daily Kos: A member of the Open Carry Texas rallies that have seen members marching through restaurants, grocery stores and other businesses with assault rifles has been arrested after two people were found dead in their home.

Veronica Dunnachie, 35, was arrested without incident 11 miles away at Millwood Hospital on North Cooper Street, a mental health facility. She is facing a capital murder charge. […]

Family members who arrived at the scene identified the victims as Russ Dunnachie, Veronica’s husband, and an adult daughter of his.

Dunnachie has been active in the Open Carry movement.

The problem with Republican Ammosexuals carrying guns is their tendency to use them.

From NY Times: After moments of high drama, dry process and acrimony, the Senate passed a sweeping $1.1 trillion spending package Saturday night, abruptly ending several days of chaotic legislative maneuvers and clearing the bill for President Obama to sign.

The legislation, which will fund most of the government through the fiscal year that ends in September, passed in a bipartisan vote, 56 to 40, after a turbulent process — a fitting coda for a governing body that has often failed to govern.

Here are the Democrats with the courage and integrity to vote no. Thank them.

Member

Party

State

Richard Blumenthal

D

CT

Cory Booker

D

NJ

Barbara Boxer

D

CA

Sherrod Brown

D

OH

Maria Cantwell

D

WA

Al Franken

D

MN

Kirsten E. Gillibrand

D

NY

Tom Harkin

D

IA

Mazie K. Hirono

D

HI

Amy Klobuchar

D

MN

Carl Levin

D

MI

Joe Manchin III

D

WV

Edward J. Markey

D

MA

Claire McCaskill

D

MO

Robert Menendez

D

NJ

Jeff Merkley

D

OR

Jack Reed

D

RI

Jon Tester

D

MT

Elizabeth Warren

D

MA

Sheldon Whitehouse

D

RI

Ron Wyden

D

OR

Now, excuse me, please, while I go puke, because it passed.

Cartoon:

1215Cartoon

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