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Good afternoon, Daily Kos readers. This is your afternoon open thread to discuss all things Hill-related. Use this thread to praise or bash Congresscritters, share a juicy tip, ask questions, offer critiques and suggestions, or post manifestos.

Some of the Hill news that's fit to blog is over the fold...

Intro

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

I have been know to come up with tables and lists that are a bit long. This time I will spare you.

111 Lawmakers Block Recovery While Taking Credit For Its Success

Rep. Shelly Capito Moore (R-WV) Lauded $1.5 million In Stimulus Funds She Voted Against. Talking Points Memo reported: “There are copious other examples from Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) lauding $1.5 million in neighborhood funds to Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) boasting on Twitter of the ''very generous'' stimulus incentive for first-time homebuyers. TPM, 2/10/09

    -Rep. Moore Voted Against The Recovery Package Twice
     Roll Call Vote #46; Roll Call Vote #70

Yup, that's our Shelley. Her Democratic challenger  this year is Virginia Graf, former religious sister. Notice the district: 20 miles wide and 300 miles long,stretching from the expensive DC metro area through three  other media markets to get  to the Ohio River. West Virginia has eight separate markets, California has fourteen.

Does anybody else have a critter with a track record like this too?

***
Is being the Party of No Enough?

It was a straightforward question.

"Name three bills or amendments that you have gotten passed that are the most beneficial to the people of the 6th Congressional District," GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann was asked by St. Cloud Times reporter Dave Aeikens.

The answer wasn't.

Maybe not not everyone in MN-06 is afraid of ACORN taking over the financial regulation.

***
Speaking of that TEA Party movement, it appears the Democrats aren't the only ones who occasionally form a circular firing squad. Patriots appear to like to talk to muckrakers.

"These few self proclaimed leaders are helping the GOP hijack the movement, despite Rasmussen polls that indicate the majority support a third party," wrote Knapp.

Meanwhile, yesterday, Everett Wilkinson, a South Florida Tea Party activist, launched Save Our Movement, a website warning that Steele, the RNC chair, "is trying to take over the 'Tea Party.'" The site allows users to send an email message to Steele "regarding the 'hijacking' of the Tea Party Movement by the GOP."

Wilkinson was acting in response to Steele's meeting with a group of around 50 Tea Party leaders. Many Tea Partiers have long warned of efforts by the Republican Party to seize control of the movement

Remember, they surround us.

But they just haven't figured out where.

If Ganley were to win the primary, his candidacy would pit one of Ohio's most successful car dealers against the politician who put money in his pocket. Sutton sponsored the legislation for the popular 2009 cash for clunkers program, which offered people rebates of up to $4,500 to trade in their old gas guzzlers.
Squeaky Latch is not amused. Smell the burn.

***
Not all bankers are against the idea of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

A Consumer Financial Protection Agency can be the vehicle that restores consumer confidence in our products, our services and our institutions. The customers we serve will always need credit and other banking products . . . What they want is simple, clearly explained products and the comfort that someone is looking out for their best interests when financial products are developed and marketed. . . .
But it seems all the Republicans in the Senate are, similar to the results in the House.
Indeed, Republicans are already treating the protection agency like poison. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) may have abandoned his finance-reform talks with Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), an outspoken foe of a separate agency to protect consumers. But Shelby’s replacement at the negotiating table is Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who said recently that, just as Republicans were unanimous in opposing the public plan in the health care debate, so too are they united against an independent consumer financial protection agency, or CFPA — a proposal championed by Elizabeth Warren, head of the TARP oversight panel.
Frank Lutz is part of the wrecking crew. Don't forget it.

***
Deficit scolds are one dimensional. None of them remember what the tax structure and average life span were when Social Security and Medicare were created.

Taxes, Choices and Gridlock

Recently, and without announcing it, according to the excellent tax journalist David Cay Johnston, the IRS published a report showing that the top 400 earners in the US made around $345 million each in 2007, up 31% in just one year from 2006. These 400 people paid an effective tax rate (meaning, after deduction and all the other shenanigans) of 16.62%.

These people, who made about $39,000 an hour every hour of the year, paid a lower effective rate, according to Johnston, than a taxpayer in the $100,000 annual range, and also "enjoyed a 27 percent increase in their income, or nine times the rate of increase for the bottom 90 percent."

After the shenanigans of the deficit panel not being supported by the sponsors in the Senate, Mr. Chao and Orange Guy are not going to participate. Because the solution is not one dimensional.
And now, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, the top Republicans in Congress, are saying that they probably won't even bother to fill their seats on the presidentially created panel. They each get to name a few members. It looks like they're not even going to do it.

Their reason? Because the panel might include in its mix of recommendations some kind of tax increase. This, from the people who want to exempt all estates worth up to $5 million from even one penny in inheritance tax.

Former Sen. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t Simpson R-WY and Erskine Bowles, former Clinton White House chief of staff, have until the end of the year to figure out how to touch the mythical third rail. Another example of Article I being broken.

***
There is supposed to be some televised thing on February 25 about a document to be posted online. Sen. Enzi R-WY, proud to be non-bipartisan staller, is going to attend.

The White House plans to post the proposals online by Monday morning.

A senior White House official says Democratic negotiators are resolving final differences in House and Senate health bills that passed last year.

Sen. Susan Collins R-ME is hopeful that bipartisanship will suddenly blossom like the cherries. Another broken branch.

***
Pair this with the terrible, no good, very bad health-care idea.

In reality, the ad was a recruiting pitch for a plan hatched by a prominent Rhode Island estate-planning lawyer, who believed he had discovered a way to use an investment product sold by insurance companies to make no-risk bets on the stock market. He recruited dozens of terminally ill people to, in effect, serve as paid fronts for purchases of the product, variable annuities. The lawyer and other investors put tens of millions of dollars into the policies, hoping to reap a profit when the recruits died.
.

Mrs. Palin? Paging Mrs. Palin.

****
In The Most Important News of the DayTM, conservatives know where Mount Vernon is but they can't just let anybody in. Reason is not impressed.

The first one is Ed Meese, who as attorney general during the Reagan administration happily prosecuted national wars on dirty pictures and politically incorrect intoxicants. Where in the Constitution, pray tell, do we find the authority for such crusades? Or for the national restrictions on abortion supported by the fifth signatory, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council? Or for the national regulation of broadcast speech pushed by the seventh guy on the list, Brent Bozell of the Parents Television Council? I do not expect conservative constitutionalists to be libertarians, but is it asking too much to expect them to be constitutionalists?
In related news, I live near George Washington's bathtub. Soap anyone?
Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to CA Berkeley WV on Thu Feb 18, 2010 at 01:41 PM PST.

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