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Deal or no deal?

The New York Times Editorial Board recommends a fight over Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms post in A Broken System for Tracking Guns:

One immediate task for Vice President Joseph Biden Jr., who is heading the new White House group on gun violence that will report recommendations in January, is to focus on dismantling the senseless obstacles impeding the bureau’s day-to-day functioning.

The bureau — which should have a lead role in protecting the nation from gun crimes — has been severely hindered by an array of N.R.A.-backed legislative restrictions. For example, a 1986 law prohibits A.T.F. agents from making more than one unannounced inspection a year on a gun dealer, a rule that serves no purpose other than protecting unscrupulous dealers. (As it is, a lack of agents means that a gun shop can go years between inspections.)

Paul Krugman at The New York Times says Brewing Up Confusion that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz's "Come Together" campaign should never have recommended people read about the nation's problems by reading the material at "Fix the Debt" website:
First of all, it’s true that we face a time-sensitive issue in the form of the fiscal cliff: unless a deal is reached, we will soon experience a combination of tax increases and spending cuts that might push the nation back into recession. But that prospect doesn’t reflect a failure to “fix the debt” by reducing the budget deficit — on the contrary, the danger is that we’ll cut the deficit too fast.

How could someone as well connected as Mr. Schultz get such a basic point wrong? By talking to the wrong people — in particular, the people at Fix the Debt, who’ve been doing their best to muddle the issue.

Joshua Holland at In These Times vivisects the Weekly Standard's BS on the social safety net in The GOP’s 1 Trillion Dollar Lie.

Ruth Marcus presenting her support for chained-CPI at the Washington Post, makes the case for buying cheaper catfood in A cost savings everyone should endorse.

Daniel Akst at the Los Angeles Times snarks his way through the gun debate in What's missing from the typical kindergartner's backpack? A pistol:

The time has come to get over our squeamishness and arm the children. If those kids in Connecticut had been allowed to bring firearms to school, it's doubtful anyone would ever have attempted the kind of assault that so tragically victimized them. If anyone did, the combined firepower of 20 or more armed elementary school pupils in a single classroom would put a stop to it, and far more effectively than a single dozing constable summoned from the opposite end of campus.
The Denver Post Editorial Board explains Why Colorado should end the death penalty:
Start with the fact that capital punishment is nearly extinct in Colorado already as a practical matter, with only one execution occurring in the past 45 years. Admittedly, part of the reason for this long dry spell has to do with court decisions at various times that pushed some inmates off death row. However, the bigger reason is that prosecutors don't often seek the death penalty and juries are reluctant to embrace it when they do.

But that in turn means that the penalty is unevenly applied — that there are many instances when prosecutors could have sought the death penalty but didn't as well as instances when criminals committing similarly brutal murders end up being punished in significantly different ways. That shouldn't be.

The Chicago Tribune Editorial Board points out how tough things are for some Americans in The recession that keeps on taking:
In a recent study, scholars at the University of Chicago and Columbia University found that men ages 50 and under who were laid off when the nation's unemployment rate stood below 6 percent could expect to lose the equivalent of 1.4 years of income over the rest of their working lives. That's money they otherwise could have expected to earn had they been able to continue on their former career trajectories, before layoffs forced them to take jobs that paid less.

And when the unemployment rate exceeds 8 percent, as it did from early 2009 until this September, those thrown out of work lose a staggering 2.8 years of income over the rest of their working lives.

These insights help explain why demand is unusually high — three years after the Great Recession formally ended — for emergency food and shelter.

Marcy Wheeler at  The Nation asks Will Congress Rein In Illegal Spying?:
When New York Times journalists James Risen and Eric Lichtblau revealed, on December 16, 2005, that the Bush administration was secretly wiretapping Americans without a warrant, it caused a scandal. Outraged commentary ensued. Lawsuits were filed. An attempt to renew the Patriot Act was met with a filibuster.

But seven years later, the government not only continues to collect Americans’ communications (including e-mail) without a warrant; it has largely gutted the law designed to protect against such abuses. The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), passed in response to domestic spying on activists, sought to require the government to obtain a warrant before wiretapping Americans. Today the law is all but extinct, thanks to the 2007 Protect America Act and the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, which legalized—and expanded—much of what the Bush administration had been doing illegally. [...]

Back when he was rolling out this secret program, Dick Cheney’s counsel, David Addington, reportedly enthused, “We’re one bomb away from getting rid of that obnoxious” law. Sadly, FISA’s intent couldn’t withstand the politics of fear, much less a bomb. The government still conducts its warrantless wiretapping in secret. But that’s just to prevent us from knowing what it’s doing. It no longer needs to fear the law.

Mark Folman declares at Mother Jones in The NRA Myth of Arming the Good Guys that mass shootings will not be stopped by ordinary citizens with guns:
Attempts by armed citizens to stop shooters are rare. At least two such attempts in recent years ended badly, with the would-be good guys gravely wounded or killed. Meanwhile, the five cases most commonly cited as instances of regular folks stopping massacres fall apart under scrutiny: Either they didn't involve ordinary citizens taking action—those who intervened were actually cops, trained security officers, or military personnel—or the citizens took action after the shooting rampages appeared to have already ended. (Or in some cases, both.)

But those facts don't matter to the gun rights die-hards, who never seem to run out of intellectually dishonest ammo.

Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive is happy with President Obama's actions regarding the national debt and negotiations over spending and taxes, as he notes in Why the “Fiscal Cliff” Bores the Snot Out of Me:
The “fiscal cliff” has been a tiresome charade, and it disguises the fact that both parties are taking us down the path of austerity.
Owen Jonesat The Independent says in Sexual violence is not a cultural phenomenon in India—it is endemic everywhere that Europeans and other Westerners should not get self-righteous over the gang-rape that ultimately took the life of a woman in Delhi:
Rape and sexual violence against women are endemic everywhere. Shocked by what happened in India? Take a look at France, that prosperous bastion of European civilisation. In 1999, two then-teenagers – named only as Nina and Stephanie – were raped almost every day for six months. Young men would queue up to rape them, patiently waiting for their friends to finish in secluded basements. After a three-week trial this year, 10 of the 14 accused left the courtroom as free men; the other four were granted lenient sentences of one year at most.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Being a teacher (4+ / 0-)

    I reflect on what that means to me in this post to which I invite your attention.

    Peace

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 04:43:47 AM PST

  •  All too true, sadly (14+ / 0-)
    Rape and sexual violence against women are endemic everywhere. Shocked by what happened in India? Take a look at France, that prosperous bastion of European civilisation. In 1999, two then-teenagers – named only as Nina and Stephanie – were raped almost every day for six months. Young men would queue up to rape them, patiently waiting for their friends to finish in secluded basements. After a three-week trial this year, 10 of the 14 accused left the courtroom as free men; the other four were granted lenient sentences of one year at most.
    A friend of mine once wrote a term paper for college about why men beat their wives.  (She herself had been the victim of repeated beatings before she found the courage to leave.)  Her conclusion:  Why do men beat their wives?  Because they know they can get away with it.

    I think she had it right.  Why do men (not all, of course, but a certain element) rape?  Because they know they can get away with it.

    Women are devalued and our lives are held to be cheap.  I've heard it said that the lowest man in the world knows he's higher (in social status) than the highest woman.

    If all women could be taught from early childhood to defend themselves, and if women could be elected in large numbers--say 50 percent--to be legislators, we'd have a chance of stopping this.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 04:48:23 AM PST

    •  Actually I think that rather than just an emphasis (7+ / 0-)

      on women defending themselves, we also need to have a "stand your ground" law for abused women where they won't be sentenced to life for fighting back and extremely tough sentences for rape and abuse and heavier penalties for harassment.

      In this country we go apeshit over an ounce of dope but allow pedophiles to go free. We go absolutely hysterical over some poor woman that flips out and kills her child but yawn when some bastard kills his wife and/or child. (and if he plays football we can always feel sorry for him if he takes his own life as well!)

      But we won't come to a balance in this country until we actually have a representative government that is forced to reflect the actual society they are supposed to govern. We now have a rethug congress that represents the rural society and a senate heavily leaning toward less populated states. They cannot possibly find common cause with women when there is not a majority (which is what our population has) of women.

      American Television is a vast sea of stupid. -xxdr zombiexx

      by glitterscale on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 05:29:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It would help enormously (6+ / 0-)

        if laws were changed to abolish the statutes of limitation on rape.  There is no reason, in this day and age of DNA identification, for there to be any statute of limitations on rape at all, including marital rape.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 06:09:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What does 'rural' have to do with the abuses (0+ / 0-)

        you listed?

        Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

        by FrankRose on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 08:41:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Rural voters vote for authoritarians (0+ / 0-)

          and authoritarians tend to side with the perpetrator in domestic disputes.

          American Television is a vast sea of stupid. -xxdr zombiexx

          by glitterscale on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 11:39:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Uh-huh (0+ / 0-)

            Any links? Or are you just going to stick to moronic stereotypes?
             While you are at it, tell me about how much you support the Bill of Rights........all of the amendments.

            Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

            by FrankRose on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 06:43:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Having partially grown up in a very very (0+ / 0-)

              small Okie town and moving back and forth into TX and NM I had very much the ability to see what the differences were. And while it is true that TX has very much descended into authoritarianism itself, while I was young it was very much a hodgepodge of large and small towns. The small town in Oklahoma was very insular. And in the 50's it still retained the law that blacks could not stay over night within its limits. And it really was a useless law cause there were no blacks there that I saw. But still the bigotry was parroted constantly through that town. In Amarillo, on the other hand, my mother hired a black woman to baby sit me while she worked. And I felt very at ease with her being only 3 at the time. And, though I felt very free to go where I wanted and do what I wanted in both locations it was most definitely true that in the small town people were hyper aware of what everybody else was doing. I would often get feedback from my grandma about how incensed some people were about my shorts.

              American Television is a vast sea of stupid. -xxdr zombiexx

              by glitterscale on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 01:19:04 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Nothing like anecdotal evidence with a sample size (0+ / 0-)

                of 3....in the 1950s......in a small geographic area.....
                Allow me to question your methodology.

                1) If someone told you that they had met 3...whites or blacks or Hispanics, and they thought they were stupid/lazy/prone to authoritarianism....would you find that convincing?
                I certainly wouldn't.

                2) If my example of the well-established knowledge that anecdotal evidence is unreliable, then allow me to present my own:  I have lived in 12 small towns, and found them not authoritarian at all.
                As 12>3, and it is based on a time more recent than 1950, we can only conclude that my anecdotal evidence 'trumps' yours.

                3) You know what is an example of being 'prone to authoritarianism? Supporting infringing on Individual Constitutional Rights.

                Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

                by FrankRose on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 02:12:57 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Being allowed to stay overnight in a small (0+ / 0-)

                  town might be considered a constitutional right. But you are entitled to your experiences and I am entitled to mine.

                  American Television is a vast sea of stupid. -xxdr zombiexx

                  by glitterscale on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 02:27:05 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Whaaaa? (0+ / 0-)

                    Yes, you are entitled to your experiences. And you are free to be an ignorant bigot.
                    And I am free to question you upon it.

                    "stay overnight in a small town might be considered a constitutional right"
                    Not catching your meaning here.

                    Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

                    by FrankRose on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 02:30:05 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

  •  Happy (?) New Year??? Seems like we're head for (0+ / 0-)

    more of the same in DC....

    And, the so-called pundits won't see what is happening, once again.

  •  And how about . . . (6+ / 0-)

    Joshua Green at Bloomberg Businessweek explains how Democrats are about to get screwed:

    Here’s what’s important about everything Democrats would get: it’s temporary; everything expires (presumably) within a year. Here’s what’s important about what Republicans would get: it’s permanent. The tax rates won’t expire.

    That means Democrats are offering a huge gift to Republicans and getting almost nothing in return . . .

    •  As per usual (0+ / 0-)
      That means Democrats are offering a huge gift to Republicans and getting almost nothing in return . . .
      I believe there is a reason for that and it doesn't bode well for the 99% of us.

      American Television is a vast sea of stupid. -xxdr zombiexx

      by glitterscale on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 05:30:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dow futures are optimistic; Slightly ahead this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, Remediator

    morning...

  •  Jones' post on sexual violence was excellent. (13+ / 0-)

    His next to last paragraph:

    But although the voices of women must be heard above all else, men must speak out too. It’s really important that we show solidarity with women, educate each other and challenge prejudice in our ranks. In the US and Australia there are more flourishing movements of men against sexual violence, such as Men Can Stop Rape. But there are similar campaigning groups in Britain such as the White Ribbon Campaign and Respect: they have a crucial role to play, too.
    This is crucial:
    men must speak out too
    Men Can Stop Rape

    White Ribbon Campaign

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 04:56:21 AM PST

  •  Washington has one thing to be happy about: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, singe, mdmslle, Egalitare

    There will be more NFL football in DC......Redskins won the NFC East and move into the playoffs.

    •  As a Giants fan my choice was easy last night, I (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Phil S 33

      of course was rooting for the Skins against the loathsome Cowboys (not that the players are loathsome but rather that the whole wacky state of Texas is...). Hopefully the amazing rookie quarterback can heal up that leg in time for the playoffs.

  •  Gibbs on Mourning Joke.....the spotlight is on (8+ / 0-)

    Boehner......time to shine Mr Orangemen.

  •  Add Tiahrt amendment - (12+ / 0-)

         The NYT editorial didn't mention this, from NPR's Fresh Air:

    GROSS: So this amendment prevents the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms from releasing information about what guns have been used in crimes. Do I have that right?

    DIAZ: You have that exactly right. It's interesting, you know, I used to work on the Hill for Congress Schumer back during the early '90s, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms routinely released aggregate data. We're not talking about specific investigative files here. We're talking about useful data about what types of gun are used in what types of crime.

    The gun industry realized that it really loses every argument where you can have facts. So they got Congressman Todd Tiahrt from Kansas to sponsor what are called riders. You put them on appropriations bills. And it basically says, ATF, you cannot spend any money to release any of this data.

    So immediately we're shut down. ATF collects by make, model, caliber - data about the guns and the type of crimes they're used in. So we could, for example, were ATF able to release this data, we could say we want to look at Bushmaster. How many of these Bushmasters have been used in how many crimes and where in the United States over the last, what, 10 years? Take your pick.

    That data is available in the files of ATF, but it cannot release it. It is forbidden by law from releasing it.

    GROSS: So the Tiahrt Amendment, which is basically a rider to the appropriations bill that was introduced by Congressman Todd Tiahrt, what year was that first passed?

    DIAZ: It was first passed in 2003, and it's been amended since and continuously included in appropriations bills.

         LINK

    The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

    by Azazello on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 05:01:17 AM PST

  •  Somebody call KagroX, Daniel Akst is "Homage-ing" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    his material

    As the Elites Come Together to Rise Above to Find a Third Way to do Rude things to the 99%

    by JML9999 on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 05:04:05 AM PST

  •  Curious: Wonder if Wayne LaPierre carries???? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999

    More likely he has a body guard...

  •  When there was a budget surplus Republicans, with (7+ / 0-)

    the acquiescence of the Democrats, gave it all away in fat tax breaks for the rich. Now they want the working and the poor to cover the deficit they created by unfunded wars, unregulated markets and international trade agreements that place little requirement on third world nations to treat their workers to a decent wage,health care or livable environment.

    I hope this New Year sees leaders like President Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten  Gillibrand, Nancy Pelosi and Sherrod Brown fight a more clearly defined and aggressive battle for the generations of this planet yet to be born.

  •  The Fiscal Cliff....in four words......'Obama won, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mdmslle, glorificus

    Romney didn't.'

  •  Krugman (3+ / 0-)
    Well, that was quick. For some time it has been obvious to anyone paying attention what the true GOP budget strategy was: demand that Obama make proposals for entitlement cuts, and then
    they’ll just pronounce themselves unsatisfied with whatever he comes up with, and are indeed very likely to campaign in 2014 attacking him for whatever cuts take place.
    But it turns out that they didn’t even wait for any actual budget deal.

    “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.’” -Barack Obama

    by skohayes on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 05:32:39 AM PST

    •  Oops, forgot link (0+ / 0-)

      http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/...

      Don't expect a deal is what it comes down to- you can't deal with the nutjobs in the House. Boehner would never try and pass a bill that needs a majority of Dems to sign off on it.

      “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.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 05:34:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The GOP's denial about the election (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      glorificus, skohayes

      runs deeper than deep, I guess.  

      Probably their base is thrilled, that percentage of it that hasn't been institutionalized.  These people are off the wall.  

      I could seriously see John Boehner getting on a plane in the next 24 hours.  In a hastily written statement on the cold tarmac in Washington, he announces his retirement from the House and hopes

      "...whoever becomes the next Speaker is as insane to hold the position as he/she was to want it in the first place.  I'm just tired of the bullshit.  Adios."

  •  link (0+ / 0-)

    Here is a fixed link for Wheeler's article at The Nation. Unfortunately, a sub is needed. :(

  •  I say Go over the Cliff and let Wall Street (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mdmslle, glorificus

    Go Crazy....Once GOP sees that their Major Donors went Crazy, they will be quicker to fix the mess.  

  •  Ms. Marcus is not going to... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    glorificus, Meteor Blades

    ...give up on her claim on the "Broder Chair of Official Village Happy Medium-ness" anytime soon. At least she's consistent.

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 05:57:47 AM PST

    •  Where do the NY Times find these (0+ / 0-)

      people? They offer to work for free? Surely they don't pay them for that drivel.

      "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

      by gritsngumbo on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 06:43:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Boehner is supposed to be the media (3+ / 0-)

    darling here, the Republican leading his caucus to its predictable agenda.  

    When the action shifted to the Senate, Boehner all but disappeared.  He's going up against the White House high up on the castle walls while Cantor and the other Baggers shake the ladder he's standing on from below.  

    Now hard-hittin' rough-n-tumble Joe Biden is called in from the bullpen for the last couple innings.  It's the 31st, and the Speaker of the House is scarcely on the field.  

    Pardon my abrupt shift from the castle siege to the ball diamond.  But these are strange times and surreal metaphor-splitting is called for.

    If John Boehner took a midnight flight back to his district in southwest Ohio and is at this hour waiting for the local La Rosa's Pizza place to open, resolved never to return to Washington again, I wouldn't blame him one bit.  

  •  Latest outrage by the nutcase wing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    glorificus, Heart of the Rockies

    of my family:  congressional pay raises.  The president has, by executive order, raised the pay of government service (GS) workers and congress, to take effect in March of 2013.  My family is outraged, although they know next to nothing about this pay raise (how much it is, whose pay is being raised and why it was done).  They insist it was done to give the Democrats, and especially the executive branch employees, more taxpayer money for "following Obama's marching orders."

    There is no reasoning with these people, no point in giving them facts.  If the facts don't comport with their pre-conceived notions, they refuse to accept them as true.  Why do I continue to talk respectfully to these people?  Because my mother has told me she would be mortified by my refusal to do so - that is the ONLY reason.

    "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

    by SueDe on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 06:04:44 AM PST

  •  Krugman's drugs: I want some... (0+ / 0-)

    These few words from Krugman make clear just how delusional the man is (along with all other economists, I would bet):

    push the nation back into recession
    OK -- Krugman is right in the technical sense, but, in the technical sense, recession is a meta-concept, a trend rather than a state.

    So...

    The economy can completely bottom out, and, so long as it's expanding instead of contracting, and we are out of recession.
    There is no need for there ever to be a "good" economy to make ecnomists happy.

    For the rest of us, however, state matters. Trends are interest -- but so long as we are actually out of work, can't sell our homes or pay our mortgages, send our kids to college, etc, we remain locked in recession, depression, whatever you want to call it.

    Maybe deep shit is sufficient.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 06:35:28 AM PST

  •  You missed the most important headline: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, Stude Dude, gramofsam1

    AL QAEDA DISBANDS; SAYS JOB OF DESTROYING U.S. ECONOMY NOW IN CONGRESS’S HANDS
    Posted by Andy Borowitz

    Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/...

  •  Paul "I called for the Housing Bubble" Krugman (0+ / 0-)

    "the danger is that we’ll cut the deficit too fast"

    gotta love Paul Krugman for winning statements like this.

    Lol

  •  When it hits middle-class, middle-age white guys. (0+ / 0-)

    ....the Chicago Tribune figures it's time to pay attention.

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 09:14:17 AM PST

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