Saturday, January 5, 2013

January 5

Fiscal cliff deal included up to $205bn in corporate gifts, thanks to White House


Ezra gives the middle finger to the worst congress ever:

What's the record of the 112th Congress? Well, it almost shut down the government and almost breached the debt ceiling. It almost went over the fiscal cliff (which it had designed in the first place). It cut a trillion dollars of discretionary spending in the Budget Control Act and scheduled another trillion in spending cuts through an automatic sequester, which everyone agrees is terrible policy. It achieved nothing of note on housing, energy, stimulus, immigration, guns, tax reform, infrastructure, climate change or, really, anything. It's hard to identify a single significant problem that existed prior to the 112th Congress that was in any way improved by its two years of rule.

The 112th, which was gaveled into being on Jan. 3, 2011, by newly elected House Speaker John Boehner, wasn't just unproductive in comparison with the 111th. It was unproductive compared with any Congress since 1948, when scholars began keeping tabs on congressional productivity.


The 112th found legislating so difficult that lawmakers repeatedly created artificial deadlines for consequences and catastrophes intended to spur them to act. But like Wile E. Coyote with his endless supply of Acme products, when the 112th set a trap, the only sure bet was that it would explode in its collective face, forcing leaders to construct yet another hair- trigger legislative contraption.

The near-shutdown of the federal government in early 2011 was the first of these self-detonated disasters, the near-breach of the debt ceiling in August 2011 was the most damaging, and the fiscal cliff was the dumbest. In each case, Congress mainlined a dose of fear and uncertainty into an economy already beset by too much of both. In each case, the deadline failed to spur responsibility; instead, Congress punted on hard decisions while setting up a new deadline to supplant the old, discarded one.

In that way, the 112th ended as it began: by creating a mess it couldn't clean up. The resolution, such as it is, of the fiscal cliff simply sets up another fight in the weeks ahead over the debt ceiling and sequestration. Continued fear and uncertainty over the impending battle is the legacy of the 112th to the nation's economy. Thanks, guys.

Unfortunately, I am under no illusion that the shit-show fail parade of a Republican led House will end with the 112th. I fully expect this new congress to be just as bad or worse, and with Boehner signalling today he is done negotiating with Obama, on this I am probably going to be right.

Buckle up, America. We're on a big bus together and a drunk driver has the wheel.


I hate these damned signing statements:

President Barack Obama signed a major defense bill Wednesday, notwithstanding public veto threats the White House issued with regard to earlier versions of the legislation.

Obama issued a written "signing statement" explaining his decision to approve the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act despite his objections to various aspects of the measure, including provisions that effectively thwart his efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay prison for terror suspects and give military members the right to refuse to take certain actions that violate their conscience.

"I have approved this annual defense authorization legislation, as I have in previous years, because it authorizes essential support for service members and their families, renews vital national security programs, and helps ensure that the United States will continue to have the strongest military in the world," Obama said. "Even though I support the vast majority of the provisions contained in this Act, which is comprised of hundreds of sections spanning more than 680 pages of text, I do not agree with them all….Though I continue to oppose certain sections of the Act, the need to renew critical defense authorities and funding was too great to ignore."

In signing the bill, Obama turned aside pleas from a coalition of liberal groups that he veto the measure in order assert his authority to close Guantanamo and return much of the war on terror to the law enforcement sphere.

Just veto the god damned thing instead of writing a signing statement whining about how flawed the bill is. Send it back to Congress and make them rewrite the damned bill. The Republicans don't have a 2/3 majority. Throw the ball back to them and do the right thing


The Terrorists Haven't Won... Yet.


One of the ugliest men on the planet insults Nancy Pelosi's Appearance: 'There's No Facelift With John Boehner'

And he also said this.


Schools 'May Require Recitation Of The Lord's Prayer' Under Indiana Bill




Infamous self-loathing (alleged) woman Ann Coulter says that newspapers should publish the names of women who had abortions because "mothers might want to know what other women on their street might be willing to murder a child." (Raw Story)


See how your member of the 113 Congress voted on Sandy Relief and note that the GOP Club for Growth told Wingnuttia that it will primary them if they voted yes. Reserve this one for a big bowl of Claim Chowder at the midterms. (NYTimes)


For the 33rd time the GOP introduces legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act (thanks to One-L, and remember the pop culture definition of insane?) so naturally strangely orange-hued Speaker of the House John Boehner is talking about how no one has jobs and the debt is to damn high. (Live Wire)


Birther v. 2.0 - World Nut Daily is now agitating Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court John Roberts to refuse to administer the oath of office to The Kenyan Usurper. Why you ask? Because he is not qualified to be the preznint because he's a Kenyan, obviously. Oh, and World Nut Daily is suggesting impeachment of Chief Justice Roberts if he does administer the oath of office. (World Nut Daily, employer of Cardinal Frothy Santorum)




Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) says that three angels appeared at his hospital bed following his massive stroke last year.

For Mark Kirk, there was no white light, no tunnel. What Illinois' junior U.S. senator experienced was three angels standing at the foot of his bed. "You want to come with us?" Kirk was asked. "No," he told them. "I'll hold off."  Kirk's life and outlook would be dramatically changed, the stroke serving as a defining moment that he said deepened his faith and altered his sense of purpose. Sitting at the dining room table of his suburban townhouse, his left arm slack, Kirk gestures emphatically with his right hand as he says the experience made him resolve "to never, ever give up."
Kirk concedes that he doesn't know if the angels were a dream, a medication-created hallucination, or a near-death experience, but his "angel encounter" is being widely touted on Christian sites. On Thursday Kirk laboriously climbed the steps of the Capitol Building for the first day of the 113th Congress.


Yesterday Diocese of Springfield Bishop Thomas Paprocki testified against same-sex marriage before the Illinois state Senate. His testimony came just days after he was forced to put one of his own kinky priests on leave for calling 911 to get help to free himself from handcuffs and a mouth gag.


Below is the letter Paprocki is demanding that all priests in his diocese read aloud this Sunday. NOM blogger Thomas Peters has also posted the letter on his blog at Catholic Vote. 


Charles Pierce reminds us why Paul Ryan isn't a serious person. From 2008:

This summer's extreme weather and widespread flooding has wrought considerable damage throughout the Midwest and the nation," said Ryan. "I have been inspired by the support and compassion demonstrated by Wisconsinites who have reached out to help their neighbors in need. To supplement this tremendous community support, I have worked to help secure additional assistance from the federal government. With the deadline for disaster claims approaching, I stand ready to assist those with any lingering questions on how to seek assistance."

Ryan also voted for the auto-bailout because it directly effected his district, but today he voted against relief funding for victims of Hurricane Sandy.

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