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Archive for December 24th, 2011

Late Late Night FDL: Christmas Dinner

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 24th, 2011 5:44 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: Christmas Dinner
The Swedish Chef and Big BirdChristmas Dinner from A Muppet Family Christmas.

The Swedish Chef and Big BirdChristmas Dinner from A Muppet Family Christmas.

Grab your popcorn, put your feet up on the coffee table, and try to keep the spitballs off the screen please. This is Late Late Night FireDogLake, where off topic is the topic … so dive in. What’s on your mind?


‘Left, Right & Center’: Extreme Makeover: U.S. Economy Edition

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 24th, 2011 5:43 am by HL

‘Left, Right & Center’: Extreme Makeover: U.S. Economy Edition
Do Americans really want a tectonic shift in our economic system? Or are we happier “muddling through”? And most important, what would Jesus do in this seemingly relentless recession? Truthdig’s own Robert Scheer has some thoughts on all of the above this week, as do show regulars Arianna Huffington, Tony Blankley and Matt Miller.

Do Americans really want a tectonic shift in our economic system? Or are we happier “muddling through”? And most important, what would Jesus do in this seemingly relentless recession? Truthdig’s own Robert Scheer has some thoughts on all of the above this week, as do show regulars Arianna Huffington, Tony Blankley and Matt Miller.



Harry Reid Runs Up Score Against Tea Party

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 24th, 2011 5:42 am by HL

Harry Reid Runs Up Score Against Tea Party
WASHINGTON — You can forgive Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) if he’s feeling like a Tea Party slayer. He not only led a stinging…

Do Detroit’s New House Districts Make Sense? (INFOGRAPHIC)
DETROIT — The U.S. Department of Justice is reviewing Michigan’s new electoral maps, perhaps thanks in part to a legal challenge filed by a coalition…

Bachmann Fights Back In Iowa
As Republicans scramble for votes in the crucial days before the Iowa caucuses, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) announced a new ad campaign painting her as…


Alleged Tea Party HD Scammer Countersues Former Business Partners

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 24th, 2011 5:41 am by HL

Alleged Tea Party HD Scammer Countersues Former Business Partners
A conservative businessman, accused of scamming investors in a Tea Party television venture, is countersuing his former business partners, claiming that they conspired against him and that he “has suffered shame and humiliation” as a result of their suit.

Kentucky’s ‘Ark Encounter’ Creationist Theme Park Struggles To Stay Afloat
It’s been a while since we checked in with Kentucky’s planned “creationist theme park.” A local alternative magazine, LEO Weekly, reported this week that slow fundraising has delayed the Ark Encounter’s groundbreaking….



More Political Good, Bad and Ugly

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 24th, 2011 5:38 am by HL

More Political Good, Bad and Ugly
More Political Good, Bad and Ugly Good: Your husband has decided to get more involved in politics. Bad: He’s running for president as a conservative Republican. Ugly: He’s Rick Santorum. Good: Your wife is a nationally-known political figure. Bad: She’s Michele Bachmann. Ugly: After thirty-three years of marriage, she still doesn’t know you’re gay. Good: Your husband landed an important job in […]


Paul Says Ghost Writers Wrote Racist Messages

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 24th, 2011 5:37 am by HL

Paul Says Ghost Writers Wrote Racist Messages
Ron Paul apologized “for not paying enough attention to ‘ghost writers’ he said were responsible for racist and anti-gay messages in newsletters and an ad published under his name two decades ago,” Reuters reports.

“Political analysts say that if even if Paul did not write the messages in the ad and newsletters, his apparent inability to control his modest newsletter and book-selling operation may not bode well for a man seeking to run the executive branch of the U.S. government.”

Gingrich Fails to Qualify for Virginia Ballot
Newt Gingrich has failed to qualify for Virginia’s presidential primary, the Richmond Times Dispatch reports.

Rick Perry also failed to amass the required 10,000 signatures of registered voters to qualify for the March 6 contest.

Mitt Romney and Ron Paul will be the only candidates on the ballot.

Several polls this month showed Gingrich with a substantial lead over Romney in the state.


Two Political Rumors Worth Following

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 24th, 2011 5:36 am by HL

Two Political Rumors Worth Following
Here are two rumors worth noting, one Israeli, one Palestinian, each with potentially big political significance. 1. The first has to to do with Netanyahu’s decision to call a snap Likud primary for late January. The superficial explanation is that…


Guess Who Obama Was Channeling in Kansas
You really can’t get more egg on your face than Barack Obama’s neoliberal Washington apologists have after his big speech in Kansas. That’s because a portion of the speech reads as if he were channeling the pundits’ nemesis, the political…


Mitt’s Mythical Math on Health Care and Defense
All right — I wasn’t going to blog on the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving until someone tweeted me Igor Volsky’s great piece at Think Progress eviscerating Mitt Romney’s assertion that he would save money by cancelling the Obama health plan…


The 10 Craziest Economic Policy Ideas Of 2011

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 24th, 2011 5:35 am by HL

The 10 Craziest Economic Policy Ideas Of 2011
The economy continued to struggle through 2011, with persistently high unemployment, a foreclosure crisis that kept on burning, and banks behaving badly in a whole host of ways. And there were plenty of ideas from economists, lawmakers, and pundits about what to do about it. But some ideas were, shall we say, more…unique than others. […]

The economy continued to struggle through 2011, with persistently high unemployment, a foreclosure crisis that kept on burning, and banks behaving badly in a whole host of ways. And there were plenty of ideas from economists, lawmakers, and pundits about what to do about it. But some ideas were, shall we say, more…unique than others.

Here are ThinkProgress’ nominations, in no particular order, for the ten craziest economic ideas of the last twelve months. Think we missed a good one? Let us know in the comments below:

Florida State Rep. Proposes Ending Ban On Dwarf Tossing To Create Jobs: In October, Florida state Rep. Ritch Workman (R) filed a bill to end the state’s ban on dwarf tossing — the practice of “launching little people for the amusement of an audience.” Workman may not condone throwing little people across his lawn, but he introduced the bill because he wanted to remove a “Big Brother law” that would create jobs: “Well, there is nothing immoral or illegal about that activity,” Workman said. “All we really did by passing that law was take away some employment from some little people.”

New Jersey Gives MTV’s ‘Jersey Shore’ A Film Credit Worth $420,000: Despite Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) unapologetic hatred for the MTV series Jersey Shore, the state Economic Development Authority awarded the series $420,000 in taxpayer funds to pay for the show’s production costs. Not only does the credit fail to create virtually any long-term, stable jobs, the EDA offered the credit without even considering the show’s content. The Jersey Shore cast, however, did succeed in producing rare a agreement among Democrats and Republicans to veto the credit, a veto Christie happily delivered.

Kentucky Provides Tax Credit To Build Theme Park Modeled After Noah’s Ark: In May, Kentucky gave a Bible-themed amusement park — replete with a model Noah’s Ark and Tower of Babel — a $43 million tax break, even as the state was cutting social services. In August, the state went even farther, giving the Ark Encounter theme park a 75 percent property tax discount for the next three decades (the tax break, it turns out, will last 10,580 days longer than the Great Flood itself). The justification for the tax breaks? Ark Park officials say it’ll create 900 jobs — based on a study Ark Park officials did themselves and never showed state officials.

Virgina Bill Provides Tax Credit For Blasting Cremated Remains Into Space: A Virginia state representative proposed a bill that “would provide a state tax credit of up to $8,000 to those who agree to have their cremated remains loaded onto a rocket and blasted into space,” in an attempt to bolster Virginia’s nascent space industry. There’s just one catch: Virginia’s lone spaceport doesn’t actually offer space burials. The bill is scheduled to be debated in January.

Newt Gingrich Proposes Jobs Plan For Poor Kids To Be Janitors: The idea factory that is Newt Gingrich produced a gem of a jobs plan this year when he called for firing all school janitors and replacing them with poor students. Believing child labor laws are “tragic” and “stupid,” the presidential candidate repeatedly touted the idea, asking “What if they became assistant janitor and their jobs were to mop the floor and clean the bathroom?” The tireless child labor advocate did finally concede that some jobs weren’t necessarily suited for children: “Kids shouldn’t work in coals mines; kids shouldn’t work in heavy industry.” Instead, he thought these children might do better as “apprenti” to business mogul Donald Trump.

Alaska Rep. Proposes A Tax Deduction For Donations Of Wild Game Meat: A bipartisan group of representatives led by Rep. Don Young (R-AK) proposed a bill this year that would have given a tax break to anyone who donated wild game meat. After introducing the bill, Young, who once refused an award from the Humane Society, predicted it would have strong bipartisan support, only to see it shot down in committee. In a year where Republican talking points centered around closing tax loopholes, it turned out there wasn’t much love for a bill that would have given people money for shooting Bambi.

The GOP Presidential Candidates’ Tax Plans — From 9-9-9 To The Tax Break For No One: One plan either came from a video game or off of a pizza box and its author, former pizza magnate Herman Cain, said it could fix just about anything. Mitt Romney’s plan centers on a middle-class tax cut that doesn’t cut taxes for most of the middle-class. Two of the plans — from Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Speaker Newt Gingrich — are supposed to be flat and simple, but aren’t actually either. Several of the plans propose tax breaks for the wealthy that are so huge it takes absurdly long charts to accurately characterize them. And they all blow humongous holes in the budget. 2011, it would seem, is the year for comically bad tax plans from those campaigning for the highest office in the land.

House Republicans Call For Blocking Job Killing Python Regulations: Reacting to a proposed Interior Department rule that would have limited trade in the sort of exotic snakes that are causing significant problems in Florida, House Republicans claimed that such regulations were job killers. “The effect of this regulatory action on small businesses could be devastating,” the House GOP claimed. As Politico put it when writing up the GOP’s response, “snakes alive!”

Goldbugs Return Across The Country: Goldbuggery — the belief that the U.S. should go back to using the gold standard — made a strong return to the country in the last year, from Georgia lawmakers proposing a bill that would force taxpayers to make state transactions in only gold and silver to Utah legalizing the use of gold and silver coins for just about anything. And Republicans piled on, deriding the U.S. dollar as “fiat currency” and attending goldbug conferences. Nevermind that most mainstream economists agree that linking the U.S. currency to a rock that comes out of the ground never actually worked and would have disastrous consequences if embraced again.

South Carolina Offers Tax-Free Weekend To Buy Guns: Amidst continued teacher layoffs and surging violence, South Carolina lawmakers thought it’d be wise to keep in place a sales-tax-free weekend for gun purchases. Created several years ago, the tax-free weekend for guns costs the state $250,000 in revenue each weekend it’s in place. The effort prompted one Democratic state senator to convey a message he heard from his constituents: “Have ya’ll lost your mind? Why would we want to give people a tax break to buy guns? Crime’s going up. What are we we doing? We’re providing tax breaks for people to buy guns.”


Newt Gingrich: What kind of Catholic is he?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 24th, 2011 5:34 am by HL

Newt Gingrich: What kind of Catholic is he?

The Newt Gingrich who talks about finding ways around the U.S. Supreme Court ban on school prayer and says public schools should be required to “teach the Creator” is not immediately recognizable to those who knew the former House speaker when he was not much of a church-goer. These days, Gingrich is running an overtly faith-based presidential campaign with echoes of televangelist Pat Robertson’s run in 1988.

Read full article >>

Trump drops Republican Party, registers as ‘unaffiliated’ in NY to keep 2012 options open

NEW YORK — Billionaire businessman Donald Trump has changed his voter registration in New York state from Republican to unaffiliated.

A spokesman for Trump says the businessman and television host changed his affiliation to preserve his option to seek the presidency in 2012.

Special Counsel Michael Cohen said Friday that Trump could enter the race if Republicans fail to nominate a candidate who can defeat President Barack Obama.

Read full article >>

Obama heads to Hawaii for 10-day vacation, after payroll tax fight

Fresh off his political victory in the payroll tax cut fight, President Obama will head to Hono­lulu for a 10-day vacation with his family.

Obama delayed what had originally been scheduled as a 17-day jaunt to stay in Washington and pressure House Republicans to support a two-month extension to the tax holiday. That bill was approved Friday morning after House Speaker John A. Boehner told rank-and-file members a day earlier that it was time to make a deal.

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Justice Dept. rejects South Carolina voter ID law, calling it discriminatory

The Obama administration entered the fierce national debate over voting rights, rejecting South Carolina’s new law requiring photo identification at the polls and saying it discriminated against minority voters.

Friday’s decision by the Justice Department could heighten political tensions over eight state voter ID statutes passed this year, which critics say could hurt turnout among minorities and others who helped elect President Obama in 2008. Conservatives and other supporters say the tighter laws are needed to combat voter fraud.

Read full article >>


Do Old Racist Newsletters Disqualify Ron Paul?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 24th, 2011 5:31 am by HL

Do Old Racist Newsletters Disqualify Ron Paul?
Nick Gillespie, Reason
As Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) gains in popularity and political relevance – he's currently polling tops in Iowa and is looking very good in New Hampshire – he's got more and more explaining to do about the late 1980s-early '90s newsletters that went out under his name.And make no mistake about it: The newsletters include undeniably racist and other vile comments, such as calling blacks “animals,” preternaturally criminal, and welfare cases. No amount of “contextualizing” is going to change that, especially when the contextualizing includes rationalizations such…

5 Myths About Obama’s Economic Recovery

What a Real Opportunity Society Looks Like
Joe Biden, DM Register
Mitt Romney recently laid out his plan for America. Reading about it, I thought of my dad. My dad was a hard worker. He took pride in what he did. And, like millions of Americans, that pride was put to the test when he found himself struggling to make ends meet.When I was a child, he had to ask my grandfather to take care of my mom, my brother, sister and I while he moved away to find a better job in Wilmington, Del. My dad had a saying: “A job is about more than a paycheck. It’s about dignity. It’s about respect.” 

Perry in Iowa: Less Roar, More Whisper
Sandhya Somashekhar, Wash Post
Rick Perry stormed into the Republican presidential race with a certain swagger over the summer, when he planted one foot on a hay bale at the Iowa State Fair and roared, “Government, get out of the way.”His pitch these days is humbler, that of a flawed but earnest candidate — a Christian and a military man who is not a grandfather but hopes to be someday. A public servant who fears deeply for the nation’s future.