Friday, December 31, 2010

Politico's 10 Worst Decisions of 2010

They must have seemed like good ideas at the time. But the politicos who made these bad decisions are surely looking back on 2010 and kicking themselves.

A bad decision isn't just a gaffe — something that slips out when your mouth runs ahead of your brain. It's something you do on purpose, like doubling down on that thing you shouldn't have said, talking trash about your own state or getting blown up by your own political grenade.

What follows are 10 choices that those involved would almost surely take back if they could.

Delaware Republicans' nomination of Christine O'Donnell:

It's easy to play coulda-woulda-shoulda with primary candidates, speculating about whether a primary loser could have won the general election. But few nominations so clearly cost their party the seat as the Delaware GOP's selection of the gadflyish perennial candidate O'Donnell over moderate Mike Castle. Overnight, Democrat Chris Coons went from sacrificial lamb to senator-in-waiting, and the GOP's hopes of taking the Senate were essentially dashed.

Jack Conway's "Aqua Buddha" TV ad:

Kentucky Democrat Conway was desperate for a way to halt the momentum of his opponent, tea-party-allied Republican Rand Paul.  So he cut an ad hitting Paul on his alleged collegiate pranks: "Why did Rand Paul once tie a woman up, tell her to bow down before a false idol and say his god was Aqua Buddha?" In a state in which large swatches of the population reflexively view Democrats as suspicious heathens, painting your GOP opponent as a suspicious heathen might seem like a nice move. But it backfired in a big way. Paul accused Conway of attacking his religion and ended up winning by 12 points.

Eric Massa's tickle defense:

Upon the sudden announcement that the erratic New York Democrat was stepping down in March, word began to leak that he had been under ethics investigation for alleged sexual harassment of staffers. An indignant Massa insisted his retirement was for health reasons.  He didn't help his case any by going on Glenn Beck's show and describing the alleged groping incident as drunken horseplay: "Not only did I grope him, I tickled him until he couldn't breathe!" Massa later tried to claim the allegations were payback from Democrats angered by his health care stance, making him very briefly a cause célèbre on the right, until he became too radioactive even for Rush Limbaugh and faded into the woodwork.

Sharron Angle speaks to Hispanic high schoolers:

The tea-party-backed Nevada Republican was declining most mainstream press interviews and campaigning out of public view after her handlers realized she had a knack for sticking her foot in her mouth. So why did the campaign think it was a good idea for her to speak to a Hispanic students' group at a Las Vegas high school in October? Confronted about her ads featuring Latino-looking gangsters, Angle said she had no way of knowing that's what they were: "I don't know that all of you are Latino. Some of you look a little more Asian to me." She also claimed she'd been mistaken for Asian while serving in the state Legislature. Reid's campaign's attempts to paint her as an off-the-wall fruitcake couldn't have asked for a better Exhibit A.

***BONUS BAD DECISION: Harry Reid and Sharron Angle agree to debate: Normally, debates are an important means for voters to see the unfiltered contrast between two candidates, but "the dud in the desert" did neither candidate — nor the public — any favors.

Martha Coakley riles up Red Sox Nation:

The Massachusetts Democrat thought she was headed for an easy win in the January special election to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. But between derisively asserting she was above such political duties as shaking hands outside Fenway Park, and mistaking Red Sox hero Curt Schilling for a Yankee fan, Coakley couldn't have seemed more out of touch with the voting public. By losing to Republican Scott Brown in the bluest of blue states, she deprived Democrats of their 60-seat supermajority and ability to easily pass legislation — and put the party into the defensive crouch it would stay in all the way through November.

Joe Barton's BP apology:

The Texas Republican just couldn't stand to see BP CEO Tony Hayward take a tongue-lashing from the rest of the House Energy and Commerce Committee at a June hearing. So in a classic case of boldly standing up for the not-so-little guy, Barton, the GOP's ranking member on the panel, seized the floor to offer his regrets. "I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown," Barton said. Outrage over the apology was swift, dragging Republicans off their preferred message of populist anti-Washington fervor for several days. Yet it didn't stop Barton from making an unsuccessful play for the committee gavel after the election.

Joe Miller's journalist detention:

After winning the Republican primary in the Alaska Senate race, the tea-party-favored Miller should have had it in the bag. But amid reports that Miller's work as a local government lawyer was being scrutinized, security guards working for the campaign handcuffed a reporter for a news website and detained him for half an hour, apparently for the infraction of trying to ask the candidate questions. The Anchorage police promptly freed the journalist. The incident, meanwhile, only intensified the impression that Miller was an angry loose cannon, and Miller lost to primary loser Lisa Murkowski's long-shot write-in bid.

Sue Lowden's "Chickens for Checkups":

Nevada Republican primary candidate Lowden might have survived advocating "barter with your doctor" as one way to reduce health care costs. But it was when she chose to amplify and defend those remarks with a vivid image — "In the olden days, our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor" — that a late-night joke was born. Lowden's unforced error paved the way for an ascendant Sharron Angle to win the primary, and Republicans' chances of knocking off Harry Reid took a possibly fatal blow.

Raul Grijalva's home-state boycott:

For a Democrat with a safe seat in the House of Representatives, this was a year to duck and cover as your more vulnerable colleagues got swept away by the GOP tornado. Instead, Grijalva stuck his head up: In response to Arizona's passage of a controversial anti-illegal immigration state law, Grijalva joined those calling for a boycott of his own home state. Cue the Republican bumper stickers: "Boycott Grijalva, not Arizona." His opponent, a 28-year-old first-time candidate, drew close in the polls, but Grijalva ended up surviving with less than 50 percent of the vote.

**BONUS BAD DECISION: MSNBC's Keith Olbermann donates to Grijalva (and two other Democrats) the same day the congressman appears on his show, earning a suspension when the donation comes to light.

Charles Rangel fires his lawyer:

Rangel, the longtime Democratic New York congressman, unexpectedly walked out of the first day of his House ethics trial last month, saying he deserved legal representation and didn't have it since parting ways with the law firm to which he'd paid $2 million in fees. It was a dramatic bluff, and the committee called it. Instead of giving Rangel the delay he sought, the panel decided it didn't take a trial to see that the charges against Rangel were "uncontested." The venerable 21-term representative was found guilty of 11 charges and later censured.

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Frank Schaeffer: We Are Survivors

"We find ourselves in the position of survivors of a shipwreck clinging to a life raft. President Obama is that “life raft.” Our young president is leading us at a time of extraordinary peril. He and we face overwhelming challenges including two wars and a financial crisis he had dumped into his lap by fools. When we hear that jobless numbers are going down faster than expected, that shoppers spent money over the holidays, that economic forecasts are being revised upward and so on, it’s time for a reassessment of the President’s critic’s claims of impending doom because of his many alleged “mistakes.” (These include such “facts” as the accusations that Obama “sold out” to Wall Street, is “too ready to compromise” etc., etc.)"

Frank Schaeffer (via azspot)

Obama gets knee-capped every step of the way by a useless opposition of “death panels”, Obamacare innuendo for total takeover of the health care industry, socialism as a moral disservice to America, taking “social justice” out of the Church’s mission, lobbyists and corporations in a blood contract to take as much profits as they can, and countless more willfully ignorant detractors.

Obama is not about perfection. Obama is about pragmatism in an age of distractions and greed. We are a cell phone culture, staring at a LCD screen, awaiting a text or email to change our minds or plans, continually searching for a bigger, better deal.

Instant is not quick enough for a growing section of the population. I can deal with that, the cell phone zombie culture of America needs tweets and Facebook updates to feel normal. That being said, when we look back on the long-term achievements of Obama, never forget the context to what, and how, he did things. I feel lucky just thinking about it.

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Thursday, December 30, 2010


THE CABLE NEWS NUMBERS ARE IN.... To note that the Republicans' cable news network is out in front of its competitors is an understatement. In 2010, Fox News had more viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined.

But that no longer seems especially interesting. Indeed, it's pretty predictable -- Fox News has cornered the market when it comes to offering misleading, partisan propaganda that leaves its viewers more ignorant than if they received no information at all. It's been this way for quite a while.

Jay Bookman digs a little deeper, though, and finds some interesting related data.

MSNBC beat CNN for the second straight year among viewers 25-54, and for the first time beat CNN among total primetime viewers as well. The numbers for CNN are truly abysmal, not only compared to Fox and MSNBC, but compared to its own numbers of a year ago. Total primetime viewers of CNN fell by 34 percent compared to 2009.

However, Fox viewership fell as well, declining 7 percent in primetime and 8 percent among primetime viewers in the 25-54 demographic. And to put things in some perspective, "The O'Reilly Factor" drew an average of 3.2 million viewers a night. That makes him the king of cable news talk, but well behind network news shows. With roughly 1 percent of America watching, his numbers also put him well behind cable competitors such as his show's spiritual cousin, World Wrestling Entertainment, and Spongebob Squarepants on Nickelodeon, both of which often pull 5 million or more viewers.

In addition, "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart and "The Colbert Report" with Stephen Colbert both regularly outdraw O'Reilly among the younger demographic sought by advertisers. In fact, it's striking how old the O'Reilly audience skews (3.2 million average audience, just 781,000 of them between 25 and 54.)

CNN has to realize that its status quo is untenable. It has some credible programming -- Anderson Cooper really isn't bad -- but if there was ever a line-up in need of a major overhaul, this is it.

As for O'Reilly, I knew his audience was older, but I didn't realize just how skewed his audience really is. Long term, that's not really a recipe for success, either.

Steve Benen 9:45 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (23)

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O'Reilly's 3.2 million, of which 3/4 are over 54 years old...he would have been canceled after a week on prime time network. I think the reach of these cable news shows is vastly over rated. He's preaching to a shrinking aging demo.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

10 Moments Comedians Made Us Think This Year/2010

#1. Jon Stewart’s closing remarks at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.

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It Was "That Bad"

In the Weekly Standard profile, [Haley] Barbour marvelled at the fact that Yazoo City's schools were desegregated without violence, unlike in many other towns in Mississippi. But for Mangold, whose parents were both physicians in Yazoo City, another local institution is in the forefront of his memory of that era: the hospital.

Built in the mid 1950s with federal assistance, the Yazoo City hospital was, at the insistence of the local White Citizens Council, a whites-only facility, Mangold says. As a child, he had the nighttime assignment of answering the back door at his parents' home, where they had their medical practice (whites came to the front door, blacks to the back). He would often see black residents with grievous injuries requiring emergency care -- but they had nowhere to go.

"There was no hospital in town where blacks could go. They would have to go to Jackson 40 or 50 miles away and many died on the way," he says, adding that this state of affairs lasted for years.

Further, his parents became pariahs in town and their business was damaged because they had resisted the White Citizens Council petition that the hospital be whites-only.

"Threatening phone calls, dead cats on the lawn and other acts of intimidation combined to run my father out of town for two years," Mangold wrote in his letter to the Clarion-Ledger.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour's (R) does not recall the 1950s, opining "I just don't remember it as being that bad."

I guess it's easy when you are not looking or caring for or paying attention to the real world around you, only the all-white bubble of your ignorance.

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RIP 2010: All The Great Musicians Who Passed

Sunday, December 26, 2010

"What's A Magazine?"

"We are not a nation that says ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘Out of Many We Are One." 
— President Barack Obama signing the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

Matt Foley: Motivational Santa

A little P.M.A. for you on Boxing Day. Miss you, Chris Farley.

John and John: Who Really Flip-Flopped

"McCain and Kerry have quite a bit in common. Both long-term Senators, both lifetime “government employees”, both veterans, hell, they both married wealthy women (the second time around), so there’s some similarity even in their personal lives.

They’re also members of a very exclusive club. They both lost Presidential elections.

And that’s where the similarities end.

After John Kerry lost to George W. Bush, he returned to the Senate and simply did his job there, and he’s continued to do his job there.

Kerry lost, big, on climate change this year and he still rallied and led on START, rather than booking time on cable shows to bitch.

Kerry didn’t subject the country to two years of bitter griping, temper tantrums and petulant demands. Kerry didn’t pursue purely personal vendettas against whole groups of voters who (allegedly) “betrayed” him. Kerry didn’t flip-flop on each and every policy position he has ever held. He voted and votes the same way he always did. John McCain, remarkably, considering what we were told about him, has done all those awful things since his loss in 2008.

In the 2004 Presidential election, political media and pundits portrayed John Kerry as an elitist, foppish, slightly silly “flip-flopper” who lacked character and core convictions. The same political media and pundits lovingly and carefully nurtured the fairy tale that John McCain is a rock-ribbed, Country First, straight-shooter. Events since tell a radically different story."

Source: Balloon Juice
How can this be? Wasn’t this script supposed to run the other way? Could they have been more wrong?

How McCain can look himself in the mirror explains a lot about values of the elected Right.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

What Christmas Is All About

Add the fact that Santa has roots as a Turkish Christian saint of children and sailors, and that has been mixed together with 19th century poetry, early 20th century Coca-Cola ads [the red suit], and 1960’s stop-motion animation specials, and you see how stolen and borrowed traditions work.

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The Willingness To Protect Those That Harm Us

"What I can’t understand is the willingness of the citizenry to protect and reward someone who has harmed or is continuing to harm them. I do not understand voting for politicians who support tax cuts for and neutered regulation of these same destructive speculators. Nor do I understand voters’ apparent willingness to eviscerate all of the social programs and safety nets that are all that stand between them and what can only be regarded as neo-feudalism. I conjecture that the reason for this counter-intuitive behavior is that the moral narrative that accompanies a technocratic tax cut for the wealthy is more compelling that the moral narrative that accompanies a technocratic stimulus of aggregate demand or support for families harmed by the financial sector’s market and moral failures."

Maxine Udall (girl economist)

We are a vindictive country, scared by boogie men of our own making.

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2010 Christmas Gifts For America

I wonder if the GOP believes in Santa?

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

START Treaty Breaks Filibuster

The Senate just voted to break the GOP filibuster of the START Treaty, with a critical 67 votes. That suggests, though nothing is ever guaranteed in the Senate, that the treaty should muster the 2/3 required for passage.

Another score for Obama. Suck it, Republicans.

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Republicans Exploited 9/11 Responders, Now Abandoning Them

A party that rode 9/11 for years at every RNC event, and in every commercial, heck, Giuliani and Cheney couldn't say a sentence without 9/11 in it, now Republicans expose themselves for what they really are: #complete scum

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Prove I exist? Prove I don’t, FTW.

(Source: yeathatsfuckedup)

Prove I exist? Prove I don’t, FTW.

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2010 Census: New Data

"On the other end of the spectrum, Southeastern Kentucky was home to four of the nation's poorest counties."
Home of millionaire Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell and a lot of Republicans who push the Conservative agenda and get hicks to vote against their own self interests. I bet dickheads in Kentucky pushed for the "billionaire bailout" as they ate dog food out of a can. #idenitypolitics #yourewhitetrash

So sanctimoniously righteous. So morally derelict. So Kentucky.

We Pay The Most, Get The Least


Taxes already pay for more than 60 percent of US health spending Americans pay the highest health care taxes in the world. We pay for national health insurance, but don’t get it.

50% of the country is covered by Medicare/Medicaid/VA Hospitals. And they all will never part with it. Why is convincing the other 50% that they don’t have to get screwed by private corporations so hard?

Americans are so vindictive. They can’t let another person enjoy health care. Somehow they “earned” the right to be taken care of in a time of need.

Why not not just envision your insurance premiums as pitching in to the Universal Plan and everyone gets covered. It would be the same money. Probably less.

Is your indignation towards the less fortunate that strong? That was rhetorical.

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When Chickens Side With The Fox


‘…money alone does not create political trends in the United States. Within a year of Barack Obama’s inauguration, the most energized and angry people on the American political scene were not the homeowners with subprime mortgages who faced foreclosure as a result of the crisis, but rather those who faulted the government for taking steps to protect those homeowners, and to prevent the crisis from deepening.

It was a strange phenomenon that saw many of those most deeply injured by the crisis become, in effect, objective allies of those who caused it.’

For every mortgage given to a less-qualified applicant, there were 1000’s of bankers, risk analysts, Wall St traders, and their entire respective industries, building a house of cards. They created the fantasy land, they built the speculative track homes, they approved the lending.

To focus on the little guy as the Big Shots stole the farm is the classic Tea Bag mindset. Tea Klanners are upset and angry at individuals, with zero influence, at gaming a system run by greedy, soulless corporations.

To them, the entire global banking and mortgage industries were brought down by a NINJA loan for a condo in [place minority-populated city here].

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Our Rape Culture

Rape culture is telling girls and women to be careful about what you wear, how you wear it, how you carry yourself, where you walk, when you walk there, with whom you walk, whom you trust, what you do, where you do it, with whom you do it, what you drink, how much you drink, whether you make eye contact, if you’re alone, if you’re with a stranger, if you’re in a group, if you’re in a group of strangers, if it’s dark, if the area is unfamiliar, if you’re carrying something, how you carry it, what kind of shoes you’re wearing in case you have to run, what kind of purse you carry, what jewelry you wear, what time it is, what street it is, what environment it is, how many people you sleep with, what kind of people you sleep with, who your friends are, to whom you give your number, who’s around when the delivery guy comes, to get an apartment where you can see who’s at the door before they can see you, to check before you open the door to the delivery guy, to own a dog or a dog-sound-making machine, to get a roommate, to take self-defense, to always be alert always pay attention always watch your back always be aware of your surroundings and never let your guard down for a moment lest you be sexually assaulted and if you are and didn’t follow all the rules it’s your fault.

This is a damn good read. (via nikkiwiley)

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Lame Duck Session? Dems PWNAGE Of The GOP


‘…the Democrats are starting to rack up a pretty sizable number of successes in what was at one time expected to be a quiet and largely uneventful lame-duck session. There was the tax-cut deal, which included an extension of unemployment benefits, then the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and soon, it appears, even the long-stalled James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act…

New York’s Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand didn’t give up, and with a few tweaks, they’ve apparently been able to garner a whopping three Republican votes for the legislation. “I believe we now have more than enough votes to pass this legislation,” Gillibrand said yesterday.’

Obama and Democrats get things done. #haterz gonna hate

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Jesus Loved The Poor, Americans Not So Sure

"Because if this is gonna be a Christian nation that DOESN’T help the poor, either we’ve got to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition — and then admit that we just don’t want to do it."

Stephen Colbert (via technipol)

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This Is My Rifle

Doesn’t it seem a little strange that teaching safe sex will make kids want to misuse that knowledge, but teaching gun safety won’t do the same?

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Franken's Net Neutrality Crusade

"That’s why net neutrality is the most important free speech issue of our time. And that’s why, this Tuesday, when the FCC meets to discuss this badly flawed proposal, I’ll be watching. If they approve it as is, I’ll be outraged. And you should be, too."

Sen. Al Franken,

Big media corporations like AT&T and Comcast are pushing for tiered-service to improve their profits. The fact that these same corporations do not cover these stories on their media networks is no surprise. Why would they want to let you know they are about to rob you?

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Republicans Solidify "#Complete Scum" Title

On Thursday night, hours before passing the tax cut compromise, House Republicans thwarted a bill that aimed to protect girls around the world from being coerced into child marriage. They opposed it because, they claimed, it might fund abortions.

"The text of the bill does not mention abortion, contraception or family planning. Instead, it directs the president to make preventing child marriage a priority, especially in countries where more than 40 percent of girls under the age of 18 are married. The ways to do that, according to the bill: support educating communities on the dangers and health effects of child marriage, keep young girls in school, support female mentoring programs and…."

Pious Republicans want every young female child, around the world, to not have access to health care. Just like they oppose condoms in the era of HIV/AIDS, the amount of pain and suffering the Republicans have spread around the world is staggering. #complete scum

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy Holidays From The Lord And King

Merry Crimbo to my friends on the interwebs. Glad we are connected. Holiday Cheer to all!

- Douglas/liberalsarecool

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

DADT Is Over, Civil Rights Are Stronger: Who Made It Happen?

It's worth pausing to note some of the folks who made this success possible.

* The LGBT community's activists and their allies -- For those demanding equality and LGBT civil rights, there are a variety of issues that fuel and motivate activism, but DADT has been a central rallying cry for many years. They helped get repeal on the map, helped push policymakers to do what's right, and it was the community's tireless efforts that helped deliver today's win.

* The American people -- Policymakers don't always follow the polls, but the more popular the proposal, the easier it is to pass. In the case of DADT, survey after survey showed the American mainstream overwhelmingly supportive of repeal -- regardless of party, ideology, age, race, gender, education level, income, or region. Had the public not shown such good sense, today's victory, in all likelihood, wouldn't have happened.

* U.S. troops -- Gay and lesbian soldiers helped tell their story, making it painfully obvious to decent people that the status quo wasn't working. The larger community of servicemen and women answered a survey, and their comfort with change made today possible.

* President Obama -- In 2008, candidate Obama ran on a platform that included DADT repeal as a key promise. In his first State of the Union address, President Obama put repeal on the front burner, urging Congress to make the long-overdue change, and raising the visibility of the issue to new heights. The president, his White House, and Organizing for America continued to push for repeal, and played an important role in making it happen.

* Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen -- Perhaps no one brought more credibility and stature to this debate than Gates and Mullen, both of whom not only endorsed repeal, but offered persuasive and powerful congressional testimony on the issue. In multiple hearings, Republicans kept rehashing tired talking points, and these two men kept knocking them down. It was absolutely pivotal.

* Joe Lieberman -- It pains me to admit it, because I've been exasperated with Lieberman for many years, but the truth is he showed real leadership on this issue, and today's victory is a direct result of his hard work.

* Harry Reid -- The Senate Majority Leader was not only on the side of angels on this issue all along, but he made damn sure it reached the floor when it looked like it might not. Reid invested endless hours in helping assemble the necessary votes, and worked with the House to get the standalone bill crafted just right. Without Reid's commitment and follow-through, the bill would have very likely died.

* Susan Collins -- There have been times when I've questioned whether she was negotiating in good faith. She was. Last week, Collins teamed up with Lieberman, when it would have been easy for her to quit and move on, and made the standalone a bipartisan bill, which in turn helped bring other Republicans on board.

* Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and Patrick Murphy -- House Democrats have been on board with repeal from the outset, and were willing to pass this more than once to accommodate a serpentine process. Pelosi, Hoyer, and Murphy never wavered, and never blinked.

I could go on, and I don't want to short shrift other deserving figures. Kirsten Gillibrand, Barney Frank, Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell, and many others made today possible.

The larger point, though, is that a variety of groups, figures, leaders, and policymakers established a goal and worked together to reach it. The result is a historic victory for American civil rights that all of us can be proud of.

Bravery has no orientation.

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Obama's Long Game: 65 - 31

"Like 2009's removal of the HIV ban, which was as painstakingly slow but thereby much more entrenched, this process took time. Without the Pentagon study, it wouldn't have passed. Without Obama keeping Lieberman inside the tent, it wouldn't have passed. Without the critical relationship between Bob Gates and Obama, it wouldn't have passed. It worked our last nerve; we faced at one point a true nightmare of nothing ... for years. And then we pulled behind this president, making it his victory and the country's victory, as well as ours.

We also know now what a McCain administration would have done: nothing. The disgraceful bitterness and rancor and irrationality that the Senator has shown these past few months reveal just how important it was to defeat him and his deranged, delusional side-kick in 2008."

- Andrew Sullivan

Obama is delivering on his word. As Commander-in-Chief, as a diplomat, as a pragmatic world leader. START is coming along, too. Democrats will need to join the Presidential vision as the House changes in 2011.

Just think how little would have been done if McCain/Palin were in charge? Disturbing.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Wealth And Power Trumps Facts

"In the end, those of us who expected the crisis to provide a teachable moment were right, but not in the way we expected. Never mind relearning the case for bank regulation; what we learned, instead, is what happens when an ideology backed by vast wealth and immense power confronts inconvenient facts. And the answer is, the facts lose."
Paul Krugman, Wall Street Whitewash

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MD University Study: Extended Exposure To Fox Causes Stupidity

The troublesome record of spin by conservative television station Fox News has long been a cause for concern to many Americans, who frequently allege that the nation's most viewed "news" network has the effect of dumbing down voters.
Turns out, they were right.
A University of Maryland study (PDF) published earlier this month found that people in the survey who had the most exposure to Fox News were more likely to believe falsehoods and rumors about national and world affairs when compared to those who paid attention to other news outlets.
In a summary carried by Alternet, the following falsehoods were most relayed by Fox News viewers:
91 percent believed the stimulus legislation lost jobs;
72 percent believed the health reform law will increase the deficit;
72 percent believed the economy is getting worse;
60 percent believed climate change is not occurring;
49 percent believed income taxes have gone up;
63 percent believed the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts;
56 percent believed Obama initiated the GM/Chrysler bailout;
38 percent believed that most Republicans opposed TARP;
63 percent believed Obama was not born in the U.S. (or that it is unclear).
Does Fox make viewers more stupid, or, are stupid people drawn to Fox? #willfully ignorant

Obama Leads Palin By 22% In WSJ/NBC Poll

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found Obama with a 55 percent to 33 percent lead over Palin, and a 47-percent to 40-percent lead over Romney. The survey also found Obama with a 47-percent to 27-percent lead over the relatively unknown South Dakota Senator John Thune. The poll was conducted Dec. 9-13 by Democratic pollster Peter Hart and Republican pollster Bill McInturff among 1,000 adults, and has a 3.1-percent margin of error.

Run, Sarah, run.

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PolitiFact's Lie of the Year: 'A government takeover of health care'

In the spring of 2009, a Republican strategist settled on a brilliant and powerful attack line for President Barack Obama's ambitious plan to overhaul America's health insurance system. Frank Luntz, a consultant famous for his phraseology, urged GOP leaders to call it a "government takeover."

"Takeovers are like coups," Luntz wrote in a 28-page memo. "They both lead to dictators and a loss of freedom."

The line stuck. By the time the health care bill was headed toward passage in early 2010, Obama and congressional Democrats had sanded down their program, dropping the "public option" concept that was derided as too much government intrusion. The law passed in March, with new regulations, but no government-run plan.

Reality is stubborn, and the "government takeover" claim is demonstrably false, whether it was called out by the media or not. PolitiFact quoted Jonathan Oberlander, a professor of health policy at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, explaining, "The label 'government takeover" has no basis in reality, but instead reflects a political dynamic where conservatives label any increase in government authority in health care as a 'takeover.' "

NOTE: In late 2009, PolitiFact named Sarah Palin's "death panels" garbage the Lie of the Year. It was a well-deserved honor.

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The GOP: Delays Just For The Sake Of Delays

After eight months of Senate consideration of the pending nuclear arms control treaty, New START, Republicans are still complaining the process is moving too quickly. The latest problem is over amendments.

Fine, Democrats said, let’s have the debate. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), one of the leading champions of the treaty, went to the floor yesterday to invite Republicans with concerns to present their amendments for consideration. It was, by some accounts, the moment the GOP has been waiting for — a chance to present their recommended policy changes and have them voted on.

Except, that’s not what happened. Kerry kept asking Republicans to present their amendments so the Senate could vote on them, but GOP detractors of the treaty had nothing to offer. They had demanded time for their amendments, but hadn’t bothered to actually write any.

Kerry waited for 5 hours. The GOP delivered nothing.

“We’ve reached a new stage in America where you just say something; it doesn’t matter if it’s based on the truth ” Kerry said, speaking without a prepared text. “Just say it. Put it out there — somebody’s going to believe it, someone will pick it up.”

The GOP: Delays Just For The Sake Of Delays.


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IMDb’s Top 10 Films of 2010

Click the link. I've seen 4 of them.

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Republicans' Race To The Bottom

"Democrats have some things they want to do, but in addition to satisfying their own interest groups they have to settle for third or fourth best policies because Republicans have simply decided they don’t care about anything except tax cuts for the rich, hating gay people, and bennies for favored industries.

In the middle of a massive recession they opposed a stimulus bill. In the aftermath of a financial crisis they opposed a financial reform bill. In the face of skyrocketing health care costs they demagogued modest cuts in Medicare spending. They spent months negotiating a spending bill — transparently, openly, via the ordinary committee process — and then killed it just because it would annoy Harry Reid.

Global warming is a hoax, gay recruits will destroy the military, and creationism is an appropriate topic for high school biology classes. Our infrastructure is crumbling and our schools are mediocre, but the creeping encrustation of government prevents anything serious from being done about either.

We’re in hock to Middle Eastern theocracies for our oil, and the laughable answer from the right consists entirely of nukes and a bit of marginal extra drilling around the periphery of America.

An arms control treaty that could have been negotiated by Ronald Reagan himself is unsure of passage because too many Republican senators deem it unsafe to risk the wrath of Fox News or their tea party constituencies."

The Decline of America | Mother Jones

The Republican race to the bottom. “Why try?” should be their motto.

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Boehner's Billionaire Bailout

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

On Slippery Slopes: "You Just Might Be Wrong"

"The fear of slippery slopes is not the fear of a legislative or judicial process leading by its own wicked logic to the abandonment of common sense. It’s the fear of cultural change. Or rather, the fear that the future will not always agree with you. Less charitably, it’s the fear that you might just be plumb wrong on a lot of things that you would find highly embarrassing to reconsider." - Jason Kuznicki

Ex: there is no reason that religious liberty and marriage equality can't co-exist. The slippery slope does not end with a person marrying his horse or dog is same sex marriages are made legal. It ends with two people loving each other.

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Why Hate On WikiLeaks As Others Do The Exact Same Thing?

The New York Times & Los Angeles Times would publish reports divulging information obtained from classified documents all the time.

"Put simply, there is no intellectually coherent way to distinguish what WikiLeaks has done ... with what newspapers around the world did in this case and what they do constantly: namely, receive and then publish classified information without authorization." Glenn Greenwald

Truth hurts. Get ready for some pain.

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Dumbest Judge In America

In declaring mandatory health insurance unconstitutional, Federal Judge Henry Hudson uses a perfect tautology—a fallacy that proves a point by restating it. Buying insurance isn’t covered under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, the judge says. Therefore, he says, the law can’t be covered under the Necessary and Proper Clause. The problem is, the Necessary and Proper Clause exists to extend federal power over things not covered by the Constitution. In other words, Hudson argues that because insurance isn’t covered by the Constitution, it can’t be covered by the part of the Constitution that exists to cover stuff that isn’t otherwise covered. You follow? While striking down a key part of the health care law, Judge Hudson has pulled off an equally impressive feat: embarrassing his fellow conservatives. The Dumbest Judge in America

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U.S. Sues BP, Transcoean, Anadarko Over Gulf Oil Spill

WASHINGTON; Attorney General Eric Holder announced Wednesday that the United States is filing a lawsuit against BP and its partners in the Deepwater Horizon oil well in the Gulf of Mexico claiming their negligence led to the massive spill that sent millions of barrels of crude into the Gulf during the spring and summer.

Holder said a months-long investigation by Justice Department investigators had found that BP, which was the primary operator of the well, its partners in the well, which included Aandarko and the MOEX subsidiary of Mitsui & Co., and Transocean, which BP had hired to drill the well, had failed to secure the well properly, failed to maintain drilling equipment and failed to monitor the well, and that those failures had caused the spill.

Holder also said the massive spill was a violation of the Clean Water Act, and that the defendants will be held liable for fines for each barrel of oil that spilled into the gulf.

You know this somehow annoys Republicans.

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Unfettered Capitalism Consumes The Country

“We have to grasp, as Marx and Adam Smith did, that corporations are not concerned with the common good. They exploit, pollute, impoverish, repress, kill, and lie to make money. They throw poor families out of homes, let the uninsured die, wage useless wars to make profits, poison and pollute the ecosystem, slash social assistance programs, gut public education, trash the global economy, plunder the U.S. Treasury and crush all popular movements that seek justice for working men and women. They worship money and power. And, as Marx knew, unfettered capitalism is a revolutionary force that consumes greater and greater numbers of human lives until it finally consumes itself.”

Chris Hedges from Death of the Liberal Class (2010)

The US has socialized capitalism. True capitalism would shred this country from limb to limb, grinding every advantage over the next person, until nothing were left. So stop yourself from saying how great capitalism is because it does not really occur as you think it does.

Yes, parts are good, but as we see with modern banking, the game of making money was not good enough, they had to make the most money until the entire global game broke.

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via Jeff Parker / Florida Today

You don’t need a 1000 words for this picture, you need one: frauds

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Opposition to Health Law Is Steeped in Tradition

"Guaranteeing people a decent retirement and decent health care does more than smooth out the rough edges of capitalism. Those guarantees give people the freedom to take risks. If you know that professional failure won’t leave you penniless and won’t prevent your child from receiving needed medical care, you can leave the comfort of a large corporation and take a chance on your own idea. You can take a shot at becoming the next great American entrepreneur."

Opposition to Health Law Is Steeped in Tradition - David Leonhardt (via

The Entitled Class hates access to upward mobility. Their DNA “earned” it.

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Fox Manipulating Facts. Again. And Again


Today, more hard evidence of Fox’s spin came to light when documents concerning global warming issues were leaked. The same Fox editorial manager behind the careful manipulation of ‘government option,’ had this to say about reporting on any climate change issues:

…we should refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question. It is not our place as journalists to assert such notions as facts, especially as this debate intensifies.

Now, we know that 2.5% of the top 200 climate scientists are even skeptical of people’s impact on rapid climate change, but Fox found this extreme fringe opinion worth pointing out “IMMEDIATELY.” In caps, folks.

This is how conservatives do business. Manipulation.

—Billy from GoodReasonNews filling in—

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Mark Zuckerberg is Time’s ‘Person Of The Year"

Pretty unflattering picture of Mark. Maybe he should un-friend Time.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Obama Pushes Ahead With Health Care


A judge’s ruling on Monday that the individual mandate in health-care reform is unconstitutional hasn’t thrown the legislation off course yet: “Implementation of the act will proceed,” a White House official said Monday.

“The ruling will not materially impede our work.” Health insurers are complying, though one representative says, “There is no alternative [to the mandate].”

The New Republic’s Jon Chait says, “The real loser here is the health-insurance lobby. Health insurers would have preferred to avoid any health-care reform at all. But the health-insurance lobby’s second-highest priority would be a working system with an individual mandate.”

(Source: The New York Times)

Activist Republican judges can’t stop this CHANGE. Single payer/Universal on the way. #hope-y change-y

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Tweet Of The Day

Tears of a huckster. Beck is a copycat.

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Gawker FAIL

LiberalsAreCool On TUMBLR

Be sure to follow my Tumblr, I post more stories and pictures there. It's like Twitter with visuals, youtube video, pictures. Check it out. Click below.

A Man Has Been Cured Of HIV.

A man has been cured of HIV:

Let us never forget that even though Congress passed a bill (in the senate it passed 63-37) permitting federal funding for stem cell research in 2006, President Bush vetoed the funding. President Obama overturned it early in his administration.

(Source: hannahlouisef, via liberal-lad)

Science > faith.

Bush’s anti-baby, pro-fetus, civilian massacring, pro-torture, #1 executioner as TX Governor, “Culture of Life” rhetoric is complete bullshit.

For anyone who dislikes Obama and uses technology from stem cells, I hope you can rationalize who is saving you. Democrats.

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Conflict Of Interest? Or Republicans Doing What They Do?

"So is it a problem that Judge Henry Hudson, the Virginia-based federal judge who struck down part of the Health Care Reform law today, is part owner of a GOP consulting firm which spent the last year attacking the Health Care law?"
Striking down parts of reform, albeit less popular, that pay for the good parts of the reform is not the solution. #lazy fake populism

Hudson is in error calling things un-Constitutional, too:
The Necessary and Proper Clause allows Congress to take steps beyond those listed in the Constitution to achieve its Constitutional ends, including the regulation of interstate commerce. Hudson’s argument wipes a key part of the Constitution out of existence. Kerr says Hudson “rendered [it] a nullity.”

Monday, December 13, 2010

I've Got Thick Skin

And by “thick”, Boehner means privileged, within a Conservative ultra-safe Ohio district, crying at-the-drop-of-a-hat, white skinned with an orange hue.

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When Frank Luntz Rules Your Brain: Boehner Programmed Not To Say "Compromise"

  • Boehner: We have to govern. That's what we were elected to do.
  • Stahl: But governing means compromising.
  • Boehner: It means working together.
  • Stahl: It also means compromising.
  • Boehner: It means finding common ground.
  • Stahl: Okay, is that compromising?
  • Boehner: I made it clear I am not gonna compromise on my principles, nor am I gonna compromise...
  • Stahl: What are you saying?
  • Boehner: ...the will of the American people.
  • Stahl: You're saying, "I want common ground, but I'm not gonna compromise." I don't understand that. I really don't.
  • Boehner: When you say the word "compromise," a lot of Americans look up and go, "Uh-oh, they're gonna sell me out." And so finding common ground, I think, makes more sense.
  • Conservatives are robots. Built without empathy, run on greed.

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    Sarah Palin Invents Drawdown Of US Assistance To Haiti

    At the news conference, Palin created some confusion when she referred to a potential drawdown of U.S. assistance to Haiti.

    “I know that there’s been some discussion of U.S. aid perhaps being lifted from this area,” she said. “Again – not to get political – but if some of the politicians would come here and see the conditions, perhaps they would see a need for, say, a military airlift to come bring supplies that are so needed here.”

    It was not clear what she was referring to, and a Palin spokeswoman declined to elaborate.

    Discussion of drawing down aid to Haiti? Not to get get hyperbolic about Conservatives always making shit up, but Palin just made some shit up.

    Love her caveat, "not to get political". Then what are you doing?

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    Always Looking Backwards

    "Republicans live in this fantasy world, where it’s always 1945, America is always #1. We’re like 65th at Infant Mortality, 19th in Literacy. One of the big arguments during the Health Care debate that the Republicans put forward, one of their major talking points was, ‘why are we messing around with the greatest health care system in the world?’ I don’t know, maybe because the U.N. ranks it #37? You know, these people love the truth, they just hate facts."

    Bill Maher (via leftish)

    (via liberal-lad)

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    Magical Tax Cuts-For-The-Rich Beans

    GOP Fairy Tales never address the real problems.

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    GO[od]P Grief

    We all know how this ends, yet we give Republicans the chance over and over again.

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    Sunday, December 12, 2010


    Facing a huge budget deficit when he took office in January, Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano did not impose a hiring freeze. He did not stop borrowing to subsidize some of the richest school districts in the country. He did not eliminate the Police Department’s beloved mounted unit.

    Instead, Mr. Mangano, a Republican who won one of the first upsets of the Tea Party era, did what he had promised: He cut taxes, adding $40 million to the county’s deficit, which has since reached nearly $350 million.

    Now, with its bonds suddenly downgraded and a state oversight agency preparing to seize its checkbook and credit cards, Nassau is on the verge of a full-fledged fiscal crisis.

    Tea Klanners and GLibertarians have zero skills in governing. Their one skill is making things worse.

    The invisible hand is giving Nassau Country the finger. Schadenfreude is a bitch.

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    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    Madoff Son Found Dead of Apparent Suicide

    Mark Madoff, far left.

    New York (CNN) -- Mark Madoff, the son of convicted Ponzi-schemer Bernard Madoff, apparently killed himself while his wife was out of town and his 2-year-old son was asleep in a nearby bedroom, New York police officials said Saturday.

    One more life ruined.

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    Bernie Is A Monster!

    Senator Bernie Sanders, showing Neocons that filibustering is about logic and not about reading out of a phone book.

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    Republicans and their voters are shameless. Willfully delinquent of consistent morals. #complete scum

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    Friday, December 10, 2010

    Bernie Sanders on C-SPAN: American Hero, Must Watch

    "I am absolutely sure that millions of people in one way or another are telling the same stories. These are great Americans. These are people who work, people who want to do the best they can by their kids, and they are simply not making it right now. These people. This is the United States of America, year 2010. People are going cold. People are going cold. People don’t have enough food. People are homeless. And my friends here are talking about tax breaks for billionaires? My friends here are talking about lowering rates on the estate tax for the top 3/10 of 1% of the American people? What are we talking about? What kind of priorities are these?"

    Bernie Sanders, 5:11 EST today. Hour 6.75

    Wake Up, America. In the race to the bottom, winning is not the goal. We are crushing the country, rewarding the richest over and over again. What has this country come to?

    As winter approaches, it's just going to get worse.

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    $2 Trillion Cash In Hand And Want More Tax Breaks?

    WikiLeaks vs US Hosting Press Freedom Day: Irony Alert

    With American politicians screaming for Julian Assange to be killed, and US companies pressured to squeeze Wikileaks, I was most surprised to see this State Department press statement put out this week:

    The United States is pleased to announce that it will host UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day event in 2011, from May 1-3, Washington, D.C.
    The theme for next year’s commemoration will be 21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers. The US places technology and innovation at the forefront of its diplomatic and development efforts. New media has empowered citizens around the world to report on their circumstances, express opinions on world events, and exchange information in environments sometimes hostile to such exercises of individuals right to freedom of expression.

    At the same time, we are concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information.”

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    $990 Billion Reasons Republicans Are Clueless And Fake

    Barack Obama won the great tax-cut showdown of 2010 - and House Democrats don’t have a clue that he did. In the deal struck this week, the president negotiated the biggest stimulus in American history, larger than his $814 billion 2009 stimulus package. It will pump a trillion borrowed Chinese dollars into the U.S. economy over the next two years - which just happen to be the two years of the run-up to the next presidential election. This is a defeat?

    If Obama had asked for a second stimulus directly, he would have been laughed out of town. Stimulus I was so reviled that the Democrats banished the word from their lexicon throughout the 2010 campaign. And yet, despite a very weak post-election hand, Obama got the Republicans to offer to increase spending and cut taxes by $990 billion over two years. Two-thirds of that is above and beyond extension of the Bush tax cuts but includes such urgent national necessities as windmill subsidies.

    No mean achievement. After all, these are the same Republicans who spent 2010 running on limited government and reducing debt. And this budget busting occurs less than a week after the president’s deficit commission had supposedly signaled a new national consensus of austerity and frugality.


    Republicans and Tea Klanners ran 2010 elections on reducing debt and Government spending. The fact that Republicans just approved $990 billion in borrowed spending does not even register with their conservative base. #imbeciles #fake rage

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    Thursday, December 09, 2010

    STFU Capitalists

    Ezra Klein: The Tax Deal In One Graph


    Chinese censors apparently began blocking the news Web sites of CNN, the BBC and the Norwegian broadcaster NRK from appearing in China on Thursday, a day before the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony is to be held in Oslo to honor Liu Xiaobo, the imprisoned dissident.

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    Charles & Camilla's Car Hit By Demonstrators

    The protests are over plans to hike tuition fees to £9,000 a year.

    The Rolls-Royce limousine was en route to the London Palladium to see performers like Kylie Minogue, Take That and N-Dubz.

    Take your pick, both are worthy of a paint bombing.

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    GOP To 9/11 Responders: Fuck You

    Senate Republicans on Thursday derailed a bill to aid people who got sick after exposure to dust from the World Trade Center's collapse in the Sept. 11 attack.

    Moral obligation? Republicans don't know what that means.

    If Halliburton would have provided half the health care and compensation at three times the price, Republicans would have voted "yea" reflexively.

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    Ireland Proposes 90% Bank Bonus Tax

    Irish Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said on Thursday he would impose a 90 per cent tax on bankers’ bonuses, in a move to try to silence critics who have said the banking sector drove Ireland into the ground.

    “As far as the future is concerned I do propose to introduce the amendment to the finance bill to put this matter beyond any doubt and provide a high rate, a 90 per cent rate of charge on any ... bankers’ bonuses,” Mr. Lenihan told local radio.

    On using bank bailouts to pay banker's bonuses:

    “Let me make this clear, they’re entitled to be paid it, we’re entitled to tax it,” Fine Gael deputy leader James Reilly.

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