Daily Archive: January 8, 2013

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The Stars Hollow Gazette

Flip the Bird But Don’t Point

Cross posted for letting real debate take place from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Sometimes more reasonable adults need to be in charge.

Flipping Off Police Officers Constitutional, Federal Court Affirms

by Ryan J. Reilly

WASHINGTON — A police officer can’t pull you over and arrest you just because you gave him the finger, a federal appeals court declared Thursday.

In a 14-page opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled (pdf) that the “ancient gesture of insult is not the basis for a reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation or impending criminal activity.”

Now if we only had them in schools

Terror Tots III: Maryland Student Suspended For Use Of Finger Gun

by Jonathan Turley

We have previously seen absurd examples of disciplinary actions taken under zero tolerance rules for drugs and guns (here and here and here). This includes cases involving kids using finger guns (here). Now Roscoe R. Nix Elementary School in Montgomery County has joined these ranks by suspending a six-year-old boy for making a finger gun with his hand and saying “Pow.”

OK? Or Overkill?

Congressional Game of Chicken: Fixing Filibuster, Part IV

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

“Get out the old phone books,” as Chuck Todd suggests in the video below, if Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) are successful in bringing filibuster reform to the Senate. By using Senate rules, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) recessed the chamber at the end of Thursday’s proceedings to extend the legislative day until later this month. Debate will begin on January 22, two days after the inauguration.

“I think the conversation is going to continue between [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell [(R-Ky.)] and Harry Reid about this. I think they’re going to see if there’s a way to reach a bipartisan agreement, they’re still talking,” said Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.).

“We’re going to preserve our rights, we’re going to stay in the first legislative day and deal with the rules when we get back after the inauguration,” said Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), a leading proponent of reform.[..]

Liberals say the Levin-McCain proposal is inadequate because it would not implement their highest-priority reform, the so-called talking filibuster.

Udall and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore), the leading advocates for filibuster reform, say lawmakers who filibuster legislation should be required to actively hold the floor and debate. This would make it more arduous for senators who want to hold up business – they would have to organize teams to hold the floor for days or even weeks on end.

Udall said he would have to be convinced to support the Levin-McCain plan because it would not implement a talking filibuster rule, which he said is “the heart of the matter”

He said Reid may insist on it as part of any overhaul of Senate rules.

“The talking filibuster is still very much on the table,” Udall said.

Real Senate filibuster reform needed

By Frank Knapp, Jr., vice chairman, American Sustainable Business Council Action Fund

Dysfunctional!

Much of this problem lies with the voters rewarding extreme partisanship over cooperative problem solving and Congress making policy decisions that guarantee later stalemates.

However, there is one self-inflicted structural problem in the U.S. Senate that magnifies both these electorate and policy decisions – the filibuster.Except for rare occasions, the Senate is ruled by the minority. With 60 votes needed to end a filibuster that can essentially be “called-in” by the minority, the American public is being deprived both of a truly deliberative body and seeing the consequences of their voting behavior.

There is no transparency or accountability under today’s Senate filibuster rules. Consequently we have had an abusive and undemocratic use of filibusters in recent years at every step in the legislative process. The Senate has become frozen in its ability to address the nation’s problems, especially when it comes to promoting a healthy economy. That is why many business organizations like the American Sustainable Business Council, a national coalition of business organizations that together represent over 150,000 small and medium businesses, strongly supports filibuster reform.

Merkley, Udall Escalate Criticism Of Scaled-Back Filibuster Reform

by Sahil Kapur, TPMLiveWire

Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Tom Udall (D-NM) held a briefing with reporters Thursday to make the case for adopting their “talking filibuster” proposal with 51 votes via the constitutional option. [..]

Udall said the Merkley-Udall plan has “good momentum” and said he believes it has the necessary 51 votes to pass under what Republicans call the “nuclear option.” Changing the rules ordinarily requires 67 votes.

On Filibuster Reform, Advocates Claim Momentum

by Ryan Grim and Sabrina Siddiqui, Huffington Post

The Senate postponed debate on reforming the filibuster Thursday, as advocates cited the support of 48 senators for eliminating the silent filibuster using the so-called constitutional option, a measure that requires 50 votes plus that of the vice president. [..]

The main component of the Merkley-Udall approach is the talking filibuster, which still enables the minority to filibuster legislation but would require them to do so by actually standing and speaking on the floor. Additionally, the proposal would also streamline conference committee assignments and nominations, and eliminate the motion to proceed — a motion typically offered by the majority leader to bring up a bill or other measure for consideration.

On this morning’s The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd, Sen. Merkley appeared to discuss why what he and Sen Udall propose is better filibuster reform and where the negotiations stand.

Congressional Game of Chicken: Round 2 of the Road to Austerity

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Last night (Jan. 1) the House of Representatives voted to make permanent the Bush/Obama tax cuts on all but the top 1% of tax payers and increasing taxes on on 77.1 percent of U.S. households, mostly because of the expiration of a payroll tax cut. With the bill set to be signed by Pres. Barack Obama, Congress and the White House move to the next manufactured crisis that this bill set up, the draconian sequester cuts to defense and non-defense spending and the debt ceiling, also a manufactured “crisis.” The bill did hold off those draconian cuts for two months, just in time for spending to hit the debt ceiling.

Pres. Obama made it clear in his address after the passage of the “Fiscal Cliff” bill, that he would not allow the debt ceiling to be used as a bargaining chip in negotiations over spending.

“I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they’ve already racked up through the laws that they passed. We can’t not pay bills that we’ve already incurred.”

“If Congress refuses to give the United States government the ability to pay these bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy would be catastrophic – far worse than the impact of a fiscal cliff.”

This bill was not the best deal as this article on the behind the scenes Senate dealings by Ryan Grym at Huffington Post tells it:

The White House sent Reid a list of suggested concessions as his staff debated what to send back to McConnell. Reid looked over the concessions the administration wanted to offer, crumpled up the paper and tossed it into his fireplace. The gesture was first reported by Politico and confirmed to HuffPost by sources with knowledge of it, who noted that Reid frequently keeps his fire going and is fond of feeding a variety of proposals to it.

Reid’s staff then called McConnell’s office with a simple message: Our last offer stands. There will be no further concessions. McConnell took to the Senate floor, complaining that he had no “dance partner” in Reid, and called Vice President Joe Biden, a man he assumed would be more willing to give. McConnell was right.

Perhaps the most important concession he wrangled from the administration, which Reid had been unwilling to make, was a two-month extension of the sequester, automatic cuts to defense spending and domestic programs that were supposed to be triggered Jan. 1. Reid wanted much more, worried that the two-month period will simply set up another colossal showdown that will also rope in the debt ceiling and funding for the government. “The deal itself is OK, but sets up Democrats for [a] worse fight and strengthens Republicans’ hand for what they really want: cuts,” said a Democratic source close to Reid. “Biden gave away the store on timeline. Two months and we’re back at this and in worse shape.”

President Barack Obama has vowed not to negotiate over the debt ceiling, but Democrats in the Senate are worried that they’ve now lost their leverage. “Everyone knew taxes would be raised on high earners,” said the Democratic source. “So with that out of the way, what do we bargain with?”

All they had to do was let the tax cuts end and pass new tax bill that included extension of unemployment benefits, ended unconstitutional the debt ceiling nonsense and added some stimulus to really create jobs, since we all know that tax cuts don’t. But no, Pres. Obama had to have this done and kept backing away from his so-called “line in the sand.”

If anyone believes at this point that Obama stand up to the threats of a government shut down by Republicans refusing to raise the debt ceiling without serious concessions on Medicare and Social Security, consider these three reasons to doubt from Jon Walker at FDL Action

1) Failure to stick to previous lines in the sand – In past negotiations Obama has failed to stick to his previous lines in the sand. Obama did not stick to his demand that the Bush tax cuts end for income over $250,000. Similarly despite saying he would not play games with the debt ceiling, Obama seemed to treat it as just another bargain chip when trying to get a deal with John Boehner.

2) Dismissing unilateral action – The Obama administration has dismissed unilateral action to address the debt ceiling. Doing something like invoking the 14th amendment would probably be the easiest way to defuse the fight, but the administration has declared that “not an option.” Even if the Obama team didn’t think it was a legally viable solution by completely removing the threat it has weakened its bargaining position.

3) Allowing the creation of a new super cliff in two months – When WP Joe Biden took over the negotiations from Sen. Harry Reid the major concession he made was to have only a two month delay of the sequestration cuts instead of a one year delay.

Meanwhile the “irrational exuberance” of Wall St’s feral children over the tax deal abounds with the markets closing on a high. Let’s see what happens in two months when we sit on the edge of another cliff.

About that electoral victory thing.

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Rendell Attacks Safety Net While Calling for More Elected Republicans

By John Amato, Crooks and Liars

January 07, 2013 10:00 AM

Rendell and himself would solve all our problems in a week and a half if he was allowed to. Rendell goes on to support the idea that it’s fine if more reasonable and conservative Republicans are elected to Congress. Did it ever cross his mind to maybe mention that electing many more progressive Democratic politicians would be the best solution to the crisis?

Rendell: Look, even if it means there are a few more Republicans in the Senate and the Congress, if they’re reasonable Republicans who are moderate-conservative then that’s a good prescription for America.

Republicans holding the House hostage isn’t enough for Rendell, he wants a few more, just in case their majority isn’t strong enough — and wants to add a couple more in the Senate, which would give R’s one-party rule. Ed Rendell, a major league embarrassment!

Cartnoon

The Fountainhead

Let’s have a look at that handshake again, in slow motion.

On This Day In History January 8

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

January 8 is the eighth day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 357 days remaining until the end of the year (358 in leap years).

On this day in 1877, Crazy Horse and his warriors–outnumbered, low on ammunition and forced to use outdated weapons to defend themselves–fight their final losing battle against the U.S. Cavalry in Montana.

Six months earlier, in the Battle of Little Bighorn, Crazy Horse and his ally, Chief Sitting Bull, led their combined forces of Sioux and Cheyenne to a stunning victory over Lieutenant Colonel George Custer (1839-76) and his men. The Indians were resisting the U.S. government’s efforts to force them back to their reservations. After Custer and over 200 of his soldiers were killed in the conflict, later dubbed “Custer’s Last Stand,” the American public wanted revenge. As a result, the U.S. Army launched a winter campaign in 1876-77, led by General Nelson Miles (1839-1925), against the remaining hostile Indians on the Northern Plains.

On January 8, 1877, General Miles found Crazy Horse’s camp along Montana’s Tongue River. U.S. soldiers opened fire with their big wagon-mounted guns, driving the Indians from their warm tents out into a raging blizzard. Crazy Horse and his warriors managed to regroup on a ridge and return fire, but most of their ammunition was gone, and they were reduced to fighting with bows and arrows. They managed to hold off the soldiers long enough for the women and children to escape under cover of the blinding blizzard before they turned to follow them.

Though he had escaped decisive defeat, Crazy Horse realized that Miles and his well-equipped cavalry troops would eventually hunt down and destroy his cold, hungry followers. On May 6, 1877, Crazy Horse led approximately 1,100 Indians to the Red Cloud reservation near Nebraska’s Fort Robinson and surrendered. Five months later, a guard fatally stabbed him after he allegedly resisted imprisonment by Indian policemen

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning


Web Set C

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning


Web Set C

Late Night Karaoke

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