Yesterday I took a trip to the mailbox and the store. I almost did not make it home, because my nether regions have still not recovered fully. I’m current with replies. Tomorrow I have housework to do.
Jig Zone Puzzle:
Today it took me 3:58 (average 4:55). To do it, click here. How did you do?
From MoveOn: Rewriting The Word ‘Liberal,’ By Lawrence O’Donnell
I could not have said it better.
From Common Dreams: Environmental group Friends of the Earth, represented by Earthjustice, sued the State Department yesterday to gain access to communications between the department and lobbyists who pushed for approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
This is something I fully support. We need to root out the corruption in the State Department, no matter how high up it goes.
From Current: Rating tax plans: Robert Reich compares the strategies put forth by Obama and GOP challengers
Keith and Robert Reich make it crystal clear. Republicans do NOT represent YOU!
After politicizing women’s health by tying their so-called charity to Republican misogyny, the Susan G. Komen continues to struggle to regain standing without coming clean about what they did and why they did it. The Republican ideologue who spearheaded Komen’s war on women’s rights stepped down today.
Karen Handel, a Republican who once ran for governor of Georgia on a platform calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood, stepped down from her role as the charity’s senior vice president for public policy and chief lobbyist, the organization said on Tuesday.
"I have known Karen for many years and we both share a common commitment to our organization’s lifelong mission, which must always remain our sole focus," Komen founder Nancy Brinker said in a statement. "I wish her the best in future endeavors."
Planned Parenthood, a leading provider of birth control, abortion and other women’s health services, had no comment.
Komen’s move last week caused an uproar among supporters who also back Planned Parenthood. Komen reversed the decision on Friday.
Many had accused Komen of initially bowing to political pressure from anti-abortion groups who want to cut off all funds to Planned Parenthood. The charity says it had been guided by a new policy to avoid funding organizations under investigation by authorities.
In a Fox News interview, Handel charged Planned Parenthood with using "vicious attacks" and "coercion" to prevent Komen from setting its own standards. "It’s outrageous," said Handel, whose appointment to Komen’s leadership last April raised the hackles of pro-abortion activists… [emphasis added]
Yesterday I slept late, paid bills and did paperwork. I’m current with replies. We have a special treat today. The daily cartoon was made by SoINeedAName, aka Nameless. Today I have a lot of housework to do.
Jig Zone Puzzle:
Today it took me 6:01 (average 7:06). To do it, click here. How did you do?
From NY Times: Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, on Friday called off a scheduled vote on the online antipiracy bill that had rallied the World Wide Web and rocked Capitol Hill, and House leaders took steps to slow legislation as well. Taking to the medium that helped organize extensive protests against the legislation, Mr. Reid, Democrat of Nevada, announced a delay in the vote via the social media Web site Twitter. But he indicated the issue, which had been scheduled for a vote Tuesday, had not died.
Woooo Hoooo!! Here’s Keith with Markos Moulitsas on Countdown.
Thank goodness for Oregon’s Ron Wyden!
From NY Daily News: A fake CNN email claiming that Newt Gingrich pressured his ex-wife to have an abortion made the rounds Friday – the latest entry in South Carolina’s infamous history of dirty political tricks.
The message, which was sent from a phony account made to look like a CNN breaking news alert, was sent out to dozens of state Republican activists.
This is important only because it is a harbinger of what will come in the general election. Remember that Karl “Turd Blossom” Rove is Romney’s campaign mentor, and this has his fingerprints all over it.
From CBS: The Supreme Court on Friday threw out electoral maps drawn by federal judges in Texas that favored minorities. The decision ultimately could affect control of the U.S. House of Representatives and leaves the fate of Texas’ April primaries unclear.
The justices ordered the three-judge court in San Antonio to come up with new plans that pay more attention to maps created by Texas’ Republican-dominated state Legislature. All four of the state’s new congressional seats could swing based on the outcome.
But the Supreme Court did not compel the use of the state’s maps in this year’s elections, as Texas wanted. Only Justice Clarence Thomas said he would have gone that far.
I expected the fascist five of SCROTUS to goose step, but this still isn’t over. Even if the three judge court does cave, Texas still needs DOJ approval due to their record of extreme racism in drawing districts.
Cartoon: (by SoINeedAName aka Nameless: I just added the URL and border.) Thanks Nameless!
Some say that what a person does at home is private and should not be made a part of political discussions. To an extent I agree, but when that candidate is making his morality a campaign issue and has a history of condemning others over moral issues, it is an issue, not because of the moral lapse, but because of the hypocrisy.
Dredging up a past that Newt Gingrich has worked hard to bury, the GOP presidential candidate’s second ex-wife says Gingrich asked for an "open marriage" in which he could have both a wife and a mistress.
In an interview with ABC News’ "Nightline" scheduled to air Thursday night, Marianne Gingrich said she refused to go along with the idea that she share her husband with Callista Bisek, who would later become his third wife.
The explosive interview was airing just two days before the presidential primary in South Carolina, a state with a strong Christian conservative bent, and as Gingrich tries to present himself as the strongest alternative to front-runner Mitt Romney.
In excerpts of the interview released ahead the ABC broadcast, Marianne Gingrich said her husband conducted his affair with Callista "in my bedroom in our apartment in Washington" while she was elsewhere.
"He always called me at night and always ended with `I love you,’" she said. "Well, she was listening."
Marianne Gingrich, who was Gingrich’s second wife, said Gingrich told her "Callista doesn’t care what I do."
"He was asking to have an open marriage and I refused," she said. "That is not a marriage."
She also said Gingrich moved to divorce her just months after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
"He also was advised by the doctor when I was sitting there that I was not to be under stress," she said. "He knew."… [emphasis added]
We need to remember that the request came six years after the affair began, and while this was going on Gingrich was leading the charge to impeach Bill Clinton. The de-facto head of the Republican Party jumped immediately to Newt’s support.
Limabugh [sic], who could fairly be described as a proudchauvinist, said, “I don’t understand why the media’s pretending to be so upset” about Gingrich’s behavior with his ex, Marianne. Limbaugh went on to read a “great note” from a “good friend of mine,” which posits that Newt and not Marianne — whom Gingirch left shortly after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis — is the real “victim” here. Moreover, the fact that Gingrich asked for “permission” to cheat on his wife is “a mark of character, in my book,” Limbaugh continued [Limbaugh delinked]:
LIMBAUGH: I got a great note from a friend of mine. “So Newt wanted an open marriage. BFD. At least he asked his wife for permission instead of cheating on her. That’s a mark of character, in my book. Newt’s a victim. We all are. Ours is the horniest generation.” […] That’s from a good friend of mine, “Newt’s slogan ought to, ‘Hell, yes, I wanted it.’” (laughing) I’m sharing with you how some people are reacting to this.
It’s worth noting that Gingrich had been having an affair for several years before he asked “permission” to cheat on his wife.
That do as I say, not as I do attitude is so Republican. Limbaugh’s attitude reflects Newt’s well, because Newt had been appalled that Marianne would insist on having him all to herself.
Then came the Republican debate.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich slammed CNN host John King for asking about an explosive ABC News report claiming the White House hopeful asked his former wife for an "open marriage" before they later divorced.
"I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run of for public office and I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that," Gingrich said.
"Every person in here knows personal pain. Every person in here has had someone close to them go through painful things. To take an ex-wife, and make it two days before the primary a sign question in a presidential campaign, is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine," Gingrich said… [emphasis added]
Where was his indignation, when he was condemning Clinton?
Keith Olbermann covers this and other Republican candidates with Ken Vogel on Countdown.
Patriotism made him do it? Really? I’ll have a load of that for the front lawn.
Of course the Theocon take on this is that Gingrich has repented and changed his ways. I certainly agree that people are redeemable, and no matter what they have done they are capable of reform. However, I see absolutely no evidence that Newt has reformed in any way. He is still lies about the affair. And he still has the same haughty attitude, condemning all who do not share his pseudo-Christian values.
Nevertheless, Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians only count the sins of Democrats and always excuse their own. So for the moment, I think Newt’s newties are safe.
Yesterday I slept late and took a long nap, so I did not get started on planned tasks. That’s OK, I obviously needed the rest, and I got my research done. I’m current on replies. Today I still have that paperwork to do.
Jig Zone Puzzle:
Today it took me 4:29 (average 6:21). To do it, click here. How did you do?
From The Guardian: Barack Obama has taken a big step towards preserving one of the world’s natural wonders, banning uranium mining on 1m acres of land around the Grand Canyon.
The move, announced by the interior secretary, Ken Salazar, at a film screening in Washington, bans new mining claims around the canyon for the next 20 years. The area is rich in uranium deposits.
I’ve been to the canyon enough times that I’m glad to see that unique vista is being protected, despite Republican attempts to despoil it. Kudos to Obama.
This represents Republican wishful thinking at it’s worst.
From Washington Post: Despite his absence from early primary coverage, Current TV’s Keith Olbermann will soon be part of the act.
In a tweet posted Sunday, the volatile anchor of the “Countdown” show said he would be “running the election coverage of Current” after Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary. On Monday, a Current representative confirmed Olbermann would host future coverage.
I’m glad to see this. Current’s election coverage has been sub-par without their best at the helm.
We have more good news for the oppressed laborers in the totalitarian Corporate Plutocracy of Fitzwalkerstan, formerly Wisconsin. Two of Walker’s best buddies are proving to be just like he is, and in the process, demonstrating that Walker is not fit to govern at even the county level.
Two people, including a former close aide to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker when he served as Milwaukee County executive, were arrested on felony theft charges Thursday as part of an ongoing criminal investigation that centers on people who served in the county during Walker’s tenure…
…Former county housing director Tim Russell, 48, was charged with two felony and one misdemeanor embezzlement charges, according to the criminal complaint from the Milwaukee County district attorney’s office.
Kevin Kavanaugh, Walker’s appointee to the Milwaukee County Veteran Service Commission, was charged with one felony embezzlement charge of taking more than $10,000 from a business and four felony counts of fraudulent writings by a corporate officer.
Russell and Kavanaugh each face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the most serious felony embezzlement charge.
The arrests come more than a year and a half after a secret investigation into people who worked in the county when Walker served as executive began in May 2010. The arrest of a close Walker aide raises more questions about the extent of the investigation and its direction as Walker faces a possible recall election motivated by anger over his proposal effectively ending collective bargaining rights for public workers.
Russell, who previously ran former Gov. Tommy Thompson’s Milwaukee office, had worked for Walker’s county executive office from 2002 until Walker was elected governor in 2010. Russell also worked on Walker’s gubernatorial campaign but did not follow Walker to Madison… [emphasis added]
Yesterday I slept most of the day, and when I finally surfaced, I felt well enough to do a little research and writing. Although excessively brief, I’m current with replies. Today is a high holy day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb.
Jig Zone Puzzles:
Yesterday it took me 4:05 (average 4:57). To do it, click here. Today it took me 4:25 (average 5:20). To do it, click here. How did you do?
From LA Times: Members of the tea party movement that swept into power in 2010 may be anti-elitist in their rhetoric, but their personal finances tell a different story.
While the median average net worth in the U.S. House of Representatives was $755,000 in 2010, the comparable figure for the House Tea Party Caucus’ 60 members was $1.8 million, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.
What better evidence could there be that the Teabaggers are top-down astro-turfed?
There you have it: the Republican spectrum from criminal to nuts.
From Reuters: Employment growth accelerated last month and the jobless rate dropped to a near three-year low of 8.5 percent, the strongest evidence yet the economic recovery is gaining steam.
Nonfarm payrolls increased 200,000 in December, the Labor Department said on Friday. It was the biggest rise in three months and beat economists’ expectations for a 150,000 gain.
In spite of European difficulties, triggered in part by the Republican recession here, and in spite of Republican attempts to sabotage our economy at every turn, measures taken by Democrats are finally beginning to bear some fruit. Were it not for Republican interference, the recovery would be further along.
In a move that I have strongly recommended, Barack Obama appointed Rick Cordray, Elizabeth Warren’s choice, to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). He also appointed three new members to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Republicans have been obstructing all of those appointments, because they want neither consumers nor labor represented federally despite laws that provide for both. Republicans are furious!
President Obama threw a gauntlet before Congressional Republicans on Wednesday, defying deep opposition to appoint Richard Cordray as director of a new consumer protection agency in a move that ignited a possible legal challenge and Constitutional fight.
The decision to install Mr. Cordray without Senate approval under the Constitutional provision for making appointments when lawmakers are in recess was a provocative opening salvo in Mr. Obama’s re-election strategy of demonizing Congress.
The president, announcing his decision before a political rally-like crowd of 1,300 at a high school here in Mr. Cordray’s home town, seemed to welcome a contentious second session of the 112th Congress, in which any attempts at bipartisan compromise appear in danger of being lost in all-out election-year war.
“I refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer,” Mr. Obama said.
He said he had looked for opportunities to work with Congress. But, he said, “I am not going to not stand by while a minority in the Senate puts party ideology ahead of the people we were elected to serve.”… [emphasis added]
…The Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, accused Obama of an unprecedented power grab that "arrogantly circumvented the American people."
Added House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio: "It’s clear the president would rather trample our system of separation of powers than work with Republicans to move the country forward. This action goes beyond the president’s authority, and I expect the courts will find the appointment to be illegitimate."
It was unclear who might undertake a legal fight. But people familiar with the matter said an outside private group regulated by the consumer agency might be in the best legal position.
By going around the Senate, where Democrats hold an edge but Republicans can block action, Obama essentially declared that the chamber’s short off-and-on sessions are a sham intended to block him, but don’t prevent him from such an appointment…
Let’s examine these bogus claims. How could Obama be circumventing the American people when the majority voted for Cordray’s confirmation? How could Obama be refusing to work with Republicans, when they have repeatedly stated that they will not confirm anyone to head the CFPB? They re not just whining, they are lying too, as Keith Olbermann and Policy Analyst Ian Mullhiser show.
The key is indeed that Republicans did not act in good faith.
And the Republicans have backed themselves into another corner. Their only alternative is to support a suit by financial predators against the American people.
Once again we see that there is a clear difference between the parties.
Yesterday I caught up my email, did some paperwork, and set up couple improvements here that I shall announce over the weekend. I’m current with replies. Today is another catch up day.
Jig Zone Puzzle:
Today it took me 3:20 (average 4:27). To do it click here. How did you do?
Fantasy Football Report:
Here are the results of the playoff semifinals in Lefty Blog Friends.
I think Dusty’s score is the highest of the year. Next week is the finals, and I will be playing for 5th place. 🙁
From Current: Keith and Chris Harris, a reporter with The Record (Bergen County, N.J.), discuss conservative blogger Nadia Naffe’s civil claim against O’Keefe. She is accusing the controversial journalist of sexual harassment — including intimidating calls and messages — after an incident at his parents’ home in New Jersey when she refused to be involved in an upcoming hidden-camera sting on Occupy Wall Street for his “To Catch a Journalist” series.
It’s a shame they could not get this creep on criminal charges.
From The Nation: In short, you don’t even need to think about Paul’s bizarre right-wing economic views to find him unacceptable.
You can watch the John Birch video from 1990 here:
That’s right. The feature performer in this insane Bircher documentary was Ron Paul.
From NY Times: Iran issued a blunt warning on Tuesday that it would block the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important oil transit point, if Western powers attempt to impose an embargo on Iranian petroleum exports in their campaign to isolate the country over its suspect nuclear energy program.
I would hope this is an empty threat, but if Iran actually moves to block the Strait of Hormuz, I see no alternative to stopping it militarily.
Republicans were so anxious to avoid extending the payroll tax cut for Main Street Americans, that they bent over backwards to block it. They insisted on making the poor, not the rich, pay for it. They loaded it down with poison pills. And even when Senate Republicans finally did compromise, the House Republican leadership refuse to allow a vote on it, because it would have passed. Boehner even turned off C-SPANs cameras, so America could not see Democratic objections. However, the public outcry was so great that the Republicans caved in yesterday. This is how it happened.
President Barack Obama on Thursday chided House Republicans he said are holding up an extension of expiring payroll tax cuts, saying the debate is "about the American people."
To make his point, Obama was flanked at the White House by people who said they would be stretched thin financially if Congress failed to extend the cuts before the end of the year. If no deal is reached, the White House says a person making $50,000 a year would see a loss of about $40 per paycheck.
"Now there may be some folks in the House who refuse to vote for this compromise because they don’t think 40 bucks is a lot of money," Obama said. "But anyone who knows how to stretch a budget knows that at the end of the week or the end of the month, $40 can make all the difference in the world."
In seeking to ratchet up pressure on Republicans for a deal, Obama reiterated his call for a two-month extension of the payroll tax cuts, a measure already agreed to by an overwhelming majority of Senators from both parties. He said the House GOP’s refusal to sign on to the bipartisan deal was exactly why the American people have grown so frustrated with Washington…
Anyone who has read my work for any length of time has seen me say that for Democrats to cave in to Republican economic terrorism guarantees more, but that if they stand firm the Republicans will cave in. I’ve said it over and over again, ever since Republicans took the House and began to practice blackmail, holding the American people hostage over their extreme demands. It has taken the Democrats far too long to prove me right, but I’m happy that at last they have.