WASHINGTON — In the spirit of the holiday season, President Barack Obama's tax-cut deal with Republicans is becoming a Christmas tree tinseled with gifts for lobbyists and lawmakers....
The tax deal, reached behind the scenes and still informal, now includes ethanol subsidies for rural folks, commuter tax breaks for their cousins in the cities and suburbs and wind and solar grants for the environmentalists – all aimed at winning votes, particularly from reluctant Democrats.
So, it’s business as usual, then, regardless of whether it makes most people
howl at the moon with rage? Goldman Sachs, this pillar of the free market,
breeder of super-citizens, object of envy and awe will go on raking it in,
getting richer than God? An impish grin spreads across Blankfein’s face.
Call him a fat cat who mocks the public. Call him wicked. Call him what you
will. He is, he says, just a banker "doing God’s work"
One by one, the venerable institutions of old Coney Island are vanishing. Ruby’s, the last of the boardwalk-facing bars, has served its final drink; Shoot the Freak, one of the most popular game booths, won’t reopen in the spring.
Click the link for cool pictures.
LOS ANGELES – A federal agency reversed itself Friday and said lead-laced Wizard of Oz and superhero drinking glasses are, in fact, for adults — not children's products subject to a previously announced recall....
The CPSC has no limits on lead content on the outside of adult drinking glasses.
Since he first landed in a London jail upon his arrest on Tuesday, the only thing that WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange has been requesting is access to a computer.
Dude. Is it still OK to laugh? Sometimes I'm not sure.
Larry Summers, the president’s outgoing chief economic adviser, conceded that families earning less than $20,000 a year will pay more in taxes next year, after President Barack Obama agreed with Republican demands to replace the expiring Making Work Pay tax credit with a one year cut in the payroll tax used to fund Social Security and Medicare.
And such is undoubtedly the case with most observers: disciples of authentic democracy and freedom respect and uphold the WikiLeaks agenda, while those who despise democracy abhor it.
Here's where I always get confused in the whole WikiLeaks discussion (if one call anything where both sides are so far over the top a discussion - shouting match, more like): How is WikiLeaks a champion of democracy? I don't recall an election with Assange's name on the ballot. I don't recall voting for any WikiLeaks thing, or against it. I don't recall any elected official appointing anybody at WikiLeaks to decide what should be secret and what not, or illegal or not, or whatever. What's so democratic here?
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Facing a battle over a tax-cut package that has prompted a backlash within his own party, President Barack Obama on Friday is turning to one of his predecessors, Bill Clinton, for advice.
About 119,000 of the aircraft on the U.S. registry have "questionable registration" because of missing forms, invalid addresses, unreported sales or other paperwork problems, according to the FAA.
Worse, home prices are forecast to drop an additional 10 percent next year, according to a recent report from Fitch Ratings, a major credit ratings agency.
Investment banks and financial firms are reportedly planning on handing out fatter paychecks and bonuses this year than in 2009.
One of the most depressing features of our modern democracy is that politicians aren't really even scared of being voted out of office anymore. What seems to actually frighten them is the thought that they won't get a plum job on K Street or Wall Street once they leave. This is why they're so eager to cut taxes for the rich while pushing for Social Security cuts: They know it makes a nice little bullet point on their résumé that their prospective employer will see as a mark of class solidarity.
As he pumped $60 of regular unleaded into his H3 Hummer Thursday, Chuck Miller anxiously calculated how much he's blown since gas prices, suddenly and sharply on the rise again, hit $3 a gallon....
A weaker U.S. dollar may be only part of the story, said Michael Greenberger, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Law, where he teaches a course about futures markets and complex investment vehicles.
"The overriding cause of this," Greenberger said Thursday, "is excessive speculation by Wall Street types."
PARIS — The United States considers itself a shining beacon of democracy and openness, but for many Europeans Washington’s fierce reaction to the flood of secret diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks displays imperial arrogance and hypocrisy, indicating a post-9/11 obsession with secrecy that contradicts American principles.
The reaction to the WikiLeaks promulgating the leak of U.S. State Department documents on both sides is way over the top, as far as I can see.
“This is beyond politics. This is about justice and doing what’s right,” said Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana as she slammed “the almost, you know, moral corruptness” of tax cuts for millionaires.
It was a stirring statement, and would have been even more so if Landrieu had not been one of the few Democrats who actually voted to put the tax cuts on the books in the first place in 2001.
John Spartz, assistant professor in the department of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth, explored the famous phrase ["come with"] in his PhD dissertation: "Do You Want to Come With?: A Cross-dialectal, Multi-field, Variationist Investigation of With as a Particle Selected By Motion Verbs in The Minnesota Dialect of English."
WASHINGTON -- Hoping to build support for the tax-cut deal that the president reached with Congressional Republicans, the White House has begun pressing Hill Democrats with polling data showing that extending the tax rates for the rich is politically popular.
“My dad has taught me that if you want to have wild, organic, healthy food,” she pontificated, “you’re gonna go out there and hunt yourself and fish yourself and you’re gonna fill up your freezer.”
Does Palin really think the average housewife in Ohio who can’t pay her bills is going to load up on ammo, board two different planes, camp out for two nights with a film crew and shoot a caribou so she can feed her family organic food?
The United States, which is currently engaged in a complete war against some weird guy with a website, is going to host “World Press Freedom Day,” the Department of State announced....
...this is funny.
WHAT SOME WOULD HAVE PREFERRED: “Now, I know there are some who would have preferred a protracted political fight, even if it had meant higher taxes for all Americans, even if it had meant an end to unemployment insurance for those who are desperately looking for work.” The assumption here is that he would have lost the fight. It’s pretty much always Obama’s working assumption that he will lose any fight. And then, funnily enough, he does.
"This country was founded on compromise," the president said.
...the irony of this statement by Barack Obama.
I sympathize, I do, with the argument that Obama couldn't win here, with the crap-ass Congress he has and his own inherent bent towards being concilatory. Trouble is, his job at that point wasn't to win. It wasn't to compromise in the hopes of winning even just a little.
It was to sharpen his teeth and lose, HARD.
The way we're all going to be losing, year after year after year, because we keep avoiding the argument.
Republicans are not afraid to drive the bus off the cliff and Democrats are, and that's why the Republicans will always win.
NEW YORK – Oil prices on Tuesday jumped above $90 a barrel for the first time in more than two years, a key milestone for Wall Street analysts who say tightening supplies will eventually drive prices above the $100 mark next year.
Although it means my heating cost will go up (or would, if my thermostat setting didn't go down) and WTF, the government in its infinite wisdom has cut the fuel assistance fund in half because, you know, if you're out of luck you're out of luck and you might as well be cold too.
Pearl Harbor Attack: Dec. 7, 1941
...I have enough here to get through the rest of the week, at least. But damn, I had it on my list and then I made the mistake of deleting it from the list before I actually picked the peanut butter off the shelf and right there, in that split second between deleting and picking, I was distracted by a donut and the rest is history.
A very good donut, true. But still. Maybe I need a minder of something. I don't know.
LONDON – A British judge denied Julian Assange bail on Tuesday after the WikiLeaks founder told a London court he would fight efforts to extradite him to Sweden to face a sex-crimes investigation.
I thought the news over the weekend was that Assange and his merry band of WikiGeeks had posted a giant, encrypted file of really, really scary super-bad secrets online and intended to dump all these secrets (a "poison pill") if Assange was arrested (a nice Hollywood touch: Take one more step and ze bomb goes off). So now he's arrested (I just assume you can't be held without bail if you're not arrested). Ka-boom?
Meanwhile I'm just thinking about all the geeks running around in the blacknets and firing off their encrypted emails (Oh wait, you didn't think all this passion for transparency and openness extended to them too, did you? Silly, silly. No, that only applies to State.) What to do, what to do?
FORT LAUDERDALE — South Floridians woke up Tuesday morning to temperatures hovering around the very low 40s that sometimes felt like the mid-30s because of the wind chill factor.
In Fort Lauderdale, a low temperature record of 42 degrees for Dec. 7 that had been in place for 169 years was broken, said Dan Gregoria, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami.
Because, obviously, duh, how can you have global friggin' warming if it's 42 degrees in Ft. Lauderdale? Just tell me that. Ha!
Also what is the Carleton College swim team doing there? I have no idea, and the photo caption is no help. Of course anybody from Minnesota who doesn't want to be in Florida this time of year is flat-out nuts, but aside from that.
President Barack Obama should resign if it can be shown that he approved spying by US diplomatic figures on UN officials, the founder of WikiLeaks said in an interview published Sunday.
"The whole chain of command who was aware of this order, and approved it, must resign if the US is to be seen to be a credible nation that obeys the rule of law. The order is so serious it may well have been put to the president for approval," Julian Assange told Spanish daily El Pais.
Hey, look, I'm not a big Obama fan so it's OK with me if he resigns, we can have Biden for a president. Would that be all right with Assange? Will somebody ask him if he approves of Biden? And soon - because if he doesn't like Biden either let's get this done while Pelosi is still third choice. Otherwise we could wind up in real trouble here.
The Australian founder of WikiLeaks is in the midst of publicizing 251,287 secret US diplomatic cables dating from the past four decades.
So "dump" is really the accurate word here.
WASHINGTON – An outline of a bipartisan economic package is emerging that would temporarily extend the Bush-era tax rates for all taxpayers, while extending jobless benefits for millions of Americans.
This so-called bipartisan package has been in the cards for quite some time now and all the drama in the Congress last week was just a warm-up act. The R's hold the middle class and the jobless hostage to get their fat cat tax cut extension and - no surprise here - get away with it. My guess is the only remaining detail under discussion is who gets this whole thing to run on again in 2012. The detail is the timing and the D's will take a dive. Again. Because gee, those R's are sooooo mean.
...the recent lifting of a ban on switchblades, stilettos, dirks and daggers in New Hampshire, has given new life to the knife rights lobby...
In fact, knife advocates contend that the Second Amendment applies to knives as well as guns. They focus their argument elsewhere, though, emphasizing that knives fill so many beneficial roles, from carving Thanksgiving turkeys to whittling, that they do not deserve the bad name they often get.
The Obama administration has, in its assault on Wikileaks, launched the greatest government censorship since World War II. It, along with some private institutions such as Columbia University, has threatened citizens if they even read matter in media that is constitutionally protected.
Part of the problem is that the Obamites are control freaks, but beyond that we suspect they greatly fear the content of future releases since nothing published so far explains their hysterical reaction.
(Note that my disapproval of the WikiLeaks leaks does not translate to approval of all the over-the-top reaction they've encouraged. That is another subject for, perhaps, another day.)
Until folks get it through their skulls that Obama is not and never was a liberal, a progressive or left wing in any way, shape or form they are going to continue misdiagnosing the problem. That isn’t to say Obama may or may not be a wimp, but he always compromises right, never left and his compromises are minor. He always wanted tax cuts. He gave away the public option in private negotiations near the beginning of the HCR fight, not the end. He never even proposed an adequate stimulus bill. He bent arms, hard, to get TARP through.
He’s a Reaganite. It’s what he believes in, genuinely. Moreover he despises left wingers, likes kicking gays and women whenever he gets a chance and believes deeply and truly in the security state (you did notice that Obama administration told everyone to take their objections to backscatter scanners and groping and shove them where the sun don’t shine, then told you they’re thinking of extending TSA police state activities to other public transit?)
The State of Illinois is still paying off billions in bills that it got from schools and social service providers last year. Arizona recently stopped paying for certain organ transplants for people in its Medicaid program. States are releasing prisoners early, more to cut expenses than to reward good behavior. And in Newark, the city laid off 13 percent of its police officers last week....
“It seems to me that crying wolf is probably a good thing to do at this point,” said Felix Rohatyn, the financier who helped save New York City from bankruptcy in the 1970s.
The titles of every British book published in English in and around the 19th century — 1,681,161, to be exact — are being electronically scoured for key words and phrases that might offer fresh insight into the minds of the Victorians.
Noted by our Midwest bureau:
We’re now at the brink of a new economic disaster that will eventually yank a chicken out of every pot.
(And, may I add, from the same opinion piece...)
Obama should have pounded home the case against profligate tax cuts for the wealthiest before the Democrats lost the Senate. Even now Warren Buffett — not a socialist, by the way — is making the case with a Christie-esque directness that usually eludes the president. “The rich are always going to say that, you know, just give us more money and we’ll all go out and spend more, and then it will trickle down to the rest of you,” he told Christiane Amanpour on “This Week” last Sunday. “But that has not worked the last 10 years, and I hope the American public is catching on.”
(The only problem I have with that is...wait, the Democrats lost the Senate? Dude, the Democrats haven't even lost the House yet. They may be lame ducks but they're still ducks. Or maybe just quacks.)