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The New York Times says that offering changes in Social Security cost of living calculations was a mistake—one that shouldn't be repeated.

At the end of last year, just shy of the 11th hour in the fiscal cliff negotiations, President Obama made an offer that included a Republican-backed ...

But that is not the end of the story. As the next round of deficit reduction talks gets under way, the administration seems determined to include the COLA cut in any new package of spending reductions. Rather than using the issue as a bargaining ploy, the administration appears to have embraced it as a worthy end in itself.

Is it? In a word, no.

It's not that the NYT editorial board feels Social Security couldn't do with reforms, it's that this proposal is just particularly stupid.

Ross Douthat thinks he has President Obama's world policy neatly defined. Obama is just like Bush... except for the times Obama is completely unlike Bush.

Maureen Dowd is justifiably pissed.

President Obama ran promoting women’s issues.

But how about promoting some women?

...

We’re equal partners in life and governance now, and we merit equal representation, good traits and bad, warts and all.

It’s passing strange that Obama, carried to a second term by women, blacks and Latinos, chooses to give away the plummiest Cabinet and White House jobs to white dudes.

Frank Bruni may have a point about Harry Reid and the President overplaying their hands, but since Bruni grinds his text into near gibberish in a hunt for clever phrasing, it's hard to tell.

Helaine Olen sympathizes if you've been trying to cut back on nice-to-haves in an effort to put a little cash away for later, but there's a good reason why walking past Starbucks isn't doing much to bolster your 401k.

...deciding to take your lunch to work or to cancel your cable television won’t help nearly as much as you’d think. For all the attention we pay to overspending, we struggle with our personal finances not because we spend too much money on small luxuries but because salaries have stagnated at the same time as the costs of nonluxuries have gone up.

Even as the average household net worth plunged by almost 40 percent between 2007 and 2010, the cost of everything from health care to housing has risen for decades at rates well beyond that of inflation. Almost half of us are living paycheck to paycheck, barely able to save a penny. ...

We seem to want to believe we can budget-cut our way to financial success, maybe because we view monetary setbacks as shameful, nobody’s fault but our own. The personal finance establishment endorses our self-blaming tendencies. David Bach became famous promulgating the idea that by cutting out the daily Starbucks run, people could retire as millionaires. ... let me suggest another financial resolution, one that will do more for our future financial outlook than simply forgoing a few consumer goods: talk about money. It’s not shameful. Pick a cause, and resolve to fight for change.

Dana Milbank says Obama isn't selecting old, white men. He's selecting old, white YES men.
Republicans have uncovered a shocking level of wrongdoing in the Oval Office, and I’m afraid what they say is true: The president is brazenly trying to fill his Cabinet with . . . people he likes.

Alas, the perfidy doesn’t end there. Not only is Obama naming agreeable people to his Cabinet, he is also — audaciously, flagrantly — nominating people who . . . agree with his policies.

He also reminds us just how long it's been since a cabinet nominee was rejected by the Senate.
The last rejected Cabinet nominee, John Tower, was denied confirmation as defense secretary after accusations of alcohol abuse and womanizing.
That was in 1989, and Tower was one of only three nominees rejected in the 20th century. Basically, despite all the bluster, presidents can nominate who they please—which only makes the recent nominations more disappointing.

Leonard Pitts, along with pretty well everyone else, feels that the Journal News went too far.

Six years ago when white supremacists published my home address and phone number on their web sites, the first thing I felt was vulnerable.

The folks at the Journal News newspaper in New York state would doubtless say it was not their intention to do anything like that when they published online maps of gun ownership in their area. But intention and effect are two completely different things.

The maps show dots covering two suburban New York counties ...

But the paper did not stop there. Click on any one dot and up comes the name and home address of the gun owner in question.

Gun owners nationwide have been furious ever since the maps went up a few days before Christmas. They have a right to be.

No right is unlimited. This applies to the second amendment, but it also applies to the first.
The Journal News database seems an act of excess, the sort of thing that is done because it can be done, with little thought given to the consequences of the doing.

...

This is not about freedom of the press or freedom to own guns. It is, rather, about the freedom to be left alone, and whether that’s still sustainable or whether henceforth we must all live exposed.

Sara Reardon reports on the world's most badass mouse.
In the dark expanses of the Sonoran desert in the US, a terrifying creature stalks the night, searching for fresh meat. ...

Even the poisonous scorpion cannot escape the savage monster's little pink paws. It fights bravely, stinging its attacker on the nose. To no avail. The mouse ignores the painful venom and cruelly breaks the scorpion's tail by pummelling it into the ground, then bites its head and feasts on its flesh. Throwing its head back, the murderous animal howls at the moon.

That's right, people. A mouse that eats scorpions and howls out its rage at the world. You're gonna need a bigger sticky trap.

Apparently we solved that gun violence issue, since no one was talking about it today. Good for us.

Originally posted to Devil's Tower on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 08:41 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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