17
Dec
12

Catching Up

Daniel Inouye 1924 – 2012

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Statement by the President on the Passing of Senator Daniel Inouye

Tonight, our country has lost a true American hero with the passing of Senator Daniel Inouye.  The second-longest serving Senator in the history of the chamber, Danny represented the people of Hawaii in Congress from the moment they joined the Union.  In Washington, he worked to strengthen our military, forge bipartisan consensus, and hold those of us in government accountable to the people we were elected to serve.  But it was his incredible bravery during World War II – including one heroic effort that cost him his arm but earned him the Medal of Honor – that made Danny not just a colleague and a mentor, but someone revered by all of us lucky enough to know him.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the Inouye family.

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Ezra Klein: …. a “fiscal cliff” deal seems to be coming together … Boehner offered to let tax rates rise for income over $1 million. The White House wanted to let tax rates rise for income over $250,000. The compromise will likely be somewhere in between….

On the spending side, the Democrats’ headline concession will be accepting chained-CPI (see here), which is to say, accepting a cut to Social Security benefits…..

…. On stimulus, unemployment insurance will be extended, as will the refundable tax credits. Some amount of infrastructure spending is likely. Perversely, the payroll tax cut, one of the most stimulative policies in the fiscal cliff, will likely be allowed to lapse, which will deal a big blow to the economy…..

….. As is always the case, the negotiations could fall apart, or the deal could change. But right now, the participants sound upbeat….

More here

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Paul Krugman: It sounds as if Ezra Klein is hearing more or less the same things I’m hearing: Republicans willing to give up a lot more on tax rates, although not fully undoing the Bush tax cuts in the 250-400 range; additional tax hikes via deduction limits in a form that hits the wealthy, not the upper middle class; unemployment extension and infrastructure spending; but “chained CPI” for Social Security, which is a benefit cut.

… this contains stuff that Obama can’t get just by letting us go over the cliff: more revenue than he could get just from tax-cut expiration, unemployment and infrastructure too. But it has a cost, those benefit cuts.

Those cuts are a very bad thing, although there will supposedly be some protection for low-income seniors. But the cuts are not nearly as bad as raising the Medicare age….

…. we shouldn’t be doing benefit cuts at all; but if benefit cuts are the price of a deal that is better than no deal, much better that they involve the CPI adjustment than the retirement age….

Full post here

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President Barack Obama works with senior advisors in the Oval Office, Dec. 17. Standing, from left, are: Rob Nabors, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs; Jeffrey Zients, Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget; and Chief of Staff Jack Lew. (Photo by Pete Souza)

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National Journal: Republicans alarmed at the apparent challenges they face in winning the White House are preparing an all-out assault on the Electoral College system in critical states, an initiative that would significantly ease the party’s path to the Oval Office.

Senior Republicans say they will try to leverage their party’s majorities in Democratic-leaning states in an effort to end the winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes. Instead, bills that will be introduced in several Democratic states would award electoral votes on a proportional basis.

….. if more reliably blue states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin were to award their electoral votes proportionally, Republicans would be able to eat into what has become a deep Democratic advantage.

All three states have given the Democratic nominee their electoral votes in each of the last six presidential elections. Now, senior Republicans in Washington are overseeing legislation in all three states to end the winner-take-all system.

More here

Charles Pierce: There is no longer any reason to believe that the Republican party has any intention of changing itself to adapt to a changing America. Every story you read to that effect is a lie. Every apparent attempt by the party to convince you that it is planning to do it is a fake. They are not planning on adapting to a changing country. What they’re planning is to change the system of presidential elections so that they never have to do so. I’m not sure it will work, but that hasn’t stopped them recently….

More here

Jonathan Bernstein: There was a lot of chatter today about National Journal’s report that national Republicans are pushing a plan to…well, there’s no other way to say it: they’re pushing a plan to rig presidential elections.

…. Fortunately, it’s unlikely that it will happen. As I’ve argued, unlike the cases in which state Republican parties have tried to strip unions of resources or engaged in gerrymanders, the incentives on this one are at cross-purposes. What’s good for the national GOP would be quite bad for Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, and probably even worse for Republican legislators and governors in those states.

More here

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E.J. Dionne: …. There was a different quality to President Obama’s response to this mass shooting, both initially and during his Sunday pilgrimage to offer comfort to the families of victims. I think I know why. It is not just that 20 young children were killed, although that would be enough.

For some months now, there have been rumblings from the administration that Obama has been unhappy with his own policy passivity in responding to the earlier mass shootings and was prepared in his second term to propose tough steps to deal with our national madness on firearms.

He spoke in Newtown in solidarity with the suffering, but pointed toward action. No, he said, we are not “doing enough to keep our children, all our children, safe.” He added: “We will have to change.”

More here

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Cagle

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Charles Pierce: ….. Too many people make too much money on guns and ammo …. Profit is what gives the NRA its real power; it lobbies less for the rights of its membership than for the right of weapons manufacturers to make a pile….

…. You want to eliminate the guns? Take the profit out of them. Take the fight to the people who make the weapons, not to the people who sell them or the people who buy the politicians so that selling them will be easier….

…. Too much of our entire national economy is based on violence — physical violence, emotional violence, environmental violence, economic violence — and there is too much profit to be made out of the production of violence. You want the violence to stop, break the people who are getting rich off it. Break their fortunes and you can break their power. The money comes first. It always does.

Full post here

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Cagle

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NY Mag: At 7:58 p.m. on Saturday evening, gun control’s newest advocate took to Twitter to call for stricter firearm legislation. “Nice words from POTUS on shooting tragedy,” wrote News Corp. boss Rupert Murdoch, “but how about some bold leadership action?” Around the same time at Fox News, one of Roger Ailes’s deputies was sending a very different message.

According to sources, David Clark, the executive producer in charge of Fox’s weekend coverage, gave producers instructions not to talk about gun-control policy on air. “This network is not going there,” Clark wrote one producer on Saturday night….

More here

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The NRA’s A team:

See more at the Washington Post

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Steve Benen: With gun legislation practically non-existent in recent years, it’s easy to forget that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), before he became his caucus’ leader, voted against the assault weapons ban. But in light of Friday’s violence, Reid is joining his Democratic colleagues in looking anew at possible changes.

More here

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Link

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319 Responses to “Catching Up”


  1. 1 Pamela
    December 17, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    {{{{PBO}}}}

  2. December 17, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    RIP Sen Daniel Inouye 1924 – 2012

  3. December 17, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    RIP Senator.

    Thank you for your service to your country.

  4. December 17, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Lots of good entries from last thread about Sen. Inouye, particularly those with photos from the 1960s with the Senator hangin’ out with the Kennedy’s (via @jrboh).

    Bringing a couple of tweets over from the last thread:

    “Tomorrow will be the first day the state of Hawaii has not been represented by Daniel Inouye.”

    “If you put the story behind Daniel Inouye’s Medal of Honor in a movie, it would be dismissed as not believable.”

    Condolences to all of Hawaii, and the Senator’s family. Rest in Peace, WWII war hero.

  5. December 17, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    congrats pamela……………. Video of Dan Inouye introducing Joe Biden at his 1988 presidential campaign kickoff in Wilmington. http://cs.pn/T3giEu

  6. 23 dotster3
    December 17, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Social Security cuts? Really? What is that all about? What is chained-CPI?

    • December 17, 2012 at 7:25 pm

      At the moment, it’s Ezra – someone I have very little regard. As to chained-CPI, you may find this helpful …

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/2chambers/wp/2012/12/17/what-is-chained-cpi/

    • 29 susanne
      December 17, 2012 at 7:53 pm

      it’s another rethug boondogle. they want to limit the cost of living increases for seniors who receive social security benefits. the ‘logic’ is that if you have less money, you spend less.

      for instance, you buy store brand mayo instead of your preferred brand. so really, the ‘logic’ goes, you’ve reduced your cost of living. so you didn’t need a cost of living increase. maybe you’ll stop going to the movies, if your social security benefit is too low to include that beloved recreation. so gosh, you didn’t need that money after all! see!

      you can just load all your clothes on top of you at night–no need for blankets or heat. you can eat those dandelions in the yard–no need for groceries. you can just die instead of wasting money on doctors. etc.

      the concept is, if you could survive without a cost-of-living increase, then you don’t need it. you takers, you.

      • 30 desertflower
        December 17, 2012 at 8:02 pm

        I heard Bernie Sanders talk about this. This SHOULD be a nonstarter!

      • December 17, 2012 at 11:39 pm

        That they would trade a few dollars increase for seniors at the end of their lives – who paid into the programs – so that they can give hundreds of thousands of dollars to rich people to stock away in their accounts is unconscionable. Those same rich people have failed to return to the taxpayers the jobs that were promised in exchange for those cuts over a decade ago. Those same rich people have failed to invest in the country’s infrastructure. Those same rich people are hiding their money so they don’t have to pay their fair share of taxes – and they want more. It’s shameful that they would even propose such a thing.

    • 32 Vicki Green
      December 17, 2012 at 8:01 pm

      Nancy P said there would be no cuts on the backs of seniors. I will believe her until I know differently.

    • December 17, 2012 at 8:39 pm

      I gotta say, I get CPI for VA monthly disability check, and if it gets calculated that instead of inflation graded, it is just flat 2% all the time.
      I would be ok with that, if it meant a defecit deal that raised taxes on the wealthy and go us stimulus infrastructure.
      Sure, that’s not so bad.
      Compromise is the name of the game.
      If no compromise, no deals ever!

  7. 35 Sweetpeg
    December 17, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Someday I’ll make it first.

  8. 36 Kreen
    December 17, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Hi family. I am still in Africa but checking in regularly and wanted to send you all big hugs. Take care all

  9. 40 dotster3
    December 17, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Humor break—–kids don’t really like Santa much at all

    • 41 PoliticalJunkessa
      December 17, 2012 at 7:47 pm

      :lol: I really needed that! My nose is running from laughing so hard. Thanks dotster.

    • December 17, 2012 at 7:49 pm

      Ooooooh, they are seriously bad Santas Dotster!!! :-)

    • 43 GGail
      December 17, 2012 at 9:11 pm

      dotster – those are hilarious!!!!!! That was a smart parent who gave McDonald french fries to those two little children. They didn’t care who they were taking a picture with….they had their FRENCH FRIES! :-)

    • 44 theo67
      December 17, 2012 at 11:49 pm

      Some of those poor kids looked absolutely traumatized! Poor things. And some of the Santas looked traumatized, too. Hard job – on both sides…

  10. December 17, 2012 at 7:45 pm
  11. December 17, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Dont know whether to laugh or cry, this is apparently the solution to the shooting!

  12. 50 donna dem 4 obama
    December 17, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    I’ve heard of three US Dem Senators (Warner, Manchin & Reid) that support the NRA that have come out in favor of reforming the gun laws. I’m curious to know, have any Republican Senators or Congresspersons done that as well?

    • 51 HZ
      December 17, 2012 at 7:55 pm

      Donna dem, I have not heard any come out and speak with any comforting sensible statements while I have been watching today.

      I do know that POB is working with DOJ and HHS and others today. He always keeps his word. Now we pray that those who will plan to oppose him will be move out of his way. That will be my prayer. POB is a man of his word, that I do know. HZ

    • 52 utaustinliberal
      December 18, 2012 at 12:18 pm

      Nope. They’re all hiding.

  13. 53 Rain
    December 17, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    RIP Sen Inouye. Interesting that Faux Noise is keeping the lid on gun control talk. And is the NRA still MIA?

  14. 54 PoliticalJunkessa
    December 17, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    May Sen Inouye rest in peace. What a distinguished career and life well lived.

  15. 56 susanne
    December 17, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    on behalf of hawaii’s people, i thank you tods for your kind expressions of sympathy on the loss of sen inouye. his life has never been comfortable or easy, and yet he has persevered and accomplished so much, on behalf of his beloved hawaii and america. there are many good articles circulating about him right now. take a minute and read about his life. this was a hero.

    • December 17, 2012 at 8:00 pm

      Thank you, susanne. I know the people of Hawaii will give him a service befitting his most honorable life. I hope POTUS can be there.

    • 60 GGail
      December 17, 2012 at 9:16 pm

      Thank you susanne – and be sure to let the people of Hawaii know that we are proud that Senator Inouye served his State and Country with pride and dignity. May he now have eternal peace.

  16. December 17, 2012 at 7:58 pm
  17. 64 hopefruit2
    December 17, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    Rest in Peace Senator Inouye.

  18. 65 dotster3
    December 17, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    The Voice just had a beautiful opening in tribute to the victims in Ct.—–singing Hallelujah, each contestant holding a name, 26 candles flickering.

  19. December 17, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Ok, just read on Twitter that Richard Engel has been missing for a week.

  20. December 17, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Holy crap, I had no idea:

    • 75 dotster3
      December 17, 2012 at 8:54 pm

      What in the world was that Ct. mother doing with that damn gun????? Something’s wrong with these people, these people who love guns. It’s an illness, a mental illness, in my opinion.

    • 76 theo67
      December 17, 2012 at 11:58 pm

      It’s also the type used by the military – with some modifications. Why is a military grade weapon the streets of America, gunning down children?

      One of the NPR hosts was interviewing a former ATF head guy tonight. He kept describing the weapon as “cool” and saying that gun sales will go up before Christmas because people will want to get one before it gets banned. She finally was so disgusted that she said to him, “sir, this is the weapon that was used to gun down twenty young children and you keep describing this weapon as cool”. He didn’t really back down. He insisted that this was a “cool” weapon to former military folks or those who use the gun for “target practice” and that sales will go up. I was so disgusted by the end of the segment – there is a psychology with these gun nuts that cannot be understood.

  21. December 17, 2012 at 8:08 pm
  22. December 17, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    By JENNIFER EPSTEIN | 12/17/12 6:08 PM EST
    President Obama spent time Monday afternoon discussing “ways the country can respond to the tragedy in Newtown” with his top advisers, a White House official said.

    Obama spoke with Vice President Joe Biden and senior White House staff, plus Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

    The official had “no further specifics on process except to say the work will continue.”

  23. December 17, 2012 at 8:12 pm
  24. 82 hopefruit2
    December 17, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    I see that Ezra Klein’s latest rumor-mongering article has ignited some more fiscal cliff hysteria on Twitter. Hmmm…seems to be a pattern these days.

      • 84 hopefruit2
        December 17, 2012 at 8:36 pm

        Meanwhile, over on that Crimson place, they are having a major meltdown on the same fiscal cliff deal in an article titled “Boehner Can’t Give Away the House Fast Enough”

        • December 17, 2012 at 8:42 pm

          You know what I hate? I hate that the ordinary workings of Congress have become these agonizing and protracted hostage negotiations where people are torn apart by the consequences. Congress just needs to DO THEIR JOB. It’s like the ballot in California. If our elected leaders did their job and made tough decisions, we wouldn’t need 100 pages of initiatives and propositions that are worded to trick your vote. It infuriates me because we should be entitled to a smooth running government. Not this constant drama with CLIFF BS every few weeks. I detest Boehner and McConnell all they stand for.

          • 86 jackiegrumbacher
            December 17, 2012 at 10:28 pm

            Couldn’t agree with you more, Meta. We elect our representatives to do a job and if they don’t like doing the job or are ideologically opposed to a well-functioning government, then they should just quit or be booted out. I, too, an fed up with the endless nonsense of begging them to do their jobs and to please, please think of us–those who put them there–instead of their corporate bosses.

    • December 17, 2012 at 8:49 pm

      Hope it is just a rumor. Don’t like what I read at all.

      • 88 hopefruit2
        December 17, 2012 at 9:27 pm

        The deal has not been finalized. I will reserve all my comments until PBO/WH puts out an official document or he speaks about it himself.

    • 89 idon
      December 17, 2012 at 9:39 pm

      I saw the link and think I’ll wait until PBO tells us what’s going on.

  25. December 17, 2012 at 8:27 pm
  26. December 17, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    When PBO made his “cling to guns and religion” remarks in SF way back during his first campaign, he was responding to the issue of people who become fearful and vote agains their own interests. I think he may have to go on a road trip to have a conversation at some point to talk about sensible gun laws and protecting the general population from automatic weaponry in the hands of disturbed zealots and how their 2nd amendment exists but does not extend to Bushmasters.

    • 95 theo67
      December 18, 2012 at 12:01 am

      I wouldn’t want him travelling out to those crazed areas where the gun nuts actually live. Maybe meet them somewhere sane, in an enclosed area where they can be thoroughly checked out.

  27. December 17, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Statement by the President on the Passing of Senator Daniel Inouye

    Tonight, our country has lost a true American hero with the passing of Senator Daniel Inouye. The second-longest serving Senator in the history of the chamber, Danny represented the people of Hawaii in Congress from the moment they joined the Union. In Washington, he worked to strengthen our military, forge bipartisan consensus, and hold those of us in government accountable to the people we were elected to serve. But it was his incredible bravery during World War II – including one heroic effort that cost him his arm but earned him the Medal of Honor – that made Danny not just a colleague and a mentor, but someone revered by all of us lucky enough to know him. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Inouye family.

  28. 98 mophene
    December 17, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    The republican sobs are running rough shod over the people of Michigan. I’m not surprised that they are scheming with our DC congress critters to change the electoral college. When Mittens ran against Santorum in the primary, although the race was close, the MI GOP decided to award most of the delegates to Mitt, Santorum put up a fuss, but to no avail. When we Dems get back in power, and we will, we are going to have to show them no mercy and kick their asses good. I don’t even want to think about all the damage they will do until we get a chance to change it all back.

    • 99 pkayden
      December 17, 2012 at 8:51 pm

      Not trying to be rude, but how did the Republicans get so much power in a blue blue state like Michigan? Funny how I heard people talking about “punishing” President Obama in 2010 by not coming out to vote for Democrats. Now look who’s suffering because Republicans are large and in charge in several Blue states. Sad.

      • 100 amk for obama
        December 17, 2012 at 9:11 pm

        The result of non-participation in democracy is you end up being ruled by thugs – paraphrasing Plato.

      • 101 Nena20409
        December 17, 2012 at 9:19 pm

        Michael Moore is from MI. What did he do other than go around trashing pres Obama? MI, PA, OH, WI ans NV…..these states had no business electing TBGOPers in 2010. FL was another one, but that was Dems infighting that derailed that.

      • 102 Pamela
        December 17, 2012 at 9:39 pm

        Gerrymandering brought this on. Charlie Pierce explains it pretty well. Link is above.

        • 103 nathkatun7
          December 17, 2012 at 11:34 pm

          Gerrymandering, in favor of the GOP, was a result of Democrats not showing up to vote in 2010 and allowing teabag Republicans to take control of state legislatures and governorships in these otherwise blue states.

      • December 17, 2012 at 11:31 pm

        It sounds like Krugman has learned something from the health care debate. He’s saying it’s a good deal except for the CPI, and that could have been worse. I trust PBO.

  29. December 17, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Senate passes resolution recognizing Leahy as third in line for the presidency

    By Ramsey Cox
    The Senate passed a resolution Monday evening recognizing Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) as the third in line for the presidency as president pro-temp of the Senate.

    The resolution, S. Res. 619, came just hours after Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) — the former pro-temp — died.

    As the Senate ended business for the day, it passed a several other measures by unanimous consent Monday.

    -/
    Also, I seen Leahy in the latest Batman movie.

  30. December 17, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Krugman’s (surprisingly) calm-ish:

    It sounds as if Ezra Klein is hearing more or less the same things I’m hearing: Republicans willing to give up a lot more on tax rates, although not fully undoing the Bush tax cuts in the 250-400 range; additional tax hikes via deduction limits in a form that hits the wealthy, not the upper middle class (28 percent and all that); unemployment extension and infrastructure spending; but “chained CPI” for Social Security, which is a benefit cut.

    Unlike what we’d heard from Republicans before, this contains stuff that Obama can’t get just by letting us go over the cliff: more revenue than he could get just from tax-cut expiration, unemployment and infrastructure too. But it has a cost, those benefit cuts.

    Those cuts are a very bad thing, although there will supposedly be some protection for low-income seniors. But the cuts are not nearly as bad as raising the Medicare age, for two reasons: the structure of the program remains intact, and unlike the Medicare age thing, they wouldn’t be totally devastating for hundreds of thousands of people, just somewhat painful for a much larger group. Oh, and raising the Medicare age would kill people; this benefit cut, not so much.

    The point is that we shouldn’t be doing benefit cuts at all; but if benefit cuts are the price of a deal that is better than no deal, much better that they involve the CPI adjustment than the retirement age…

    More here: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/17/rumors-of-a-deal/

  31. 131 amk for obama
    December 17, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    The depths the repubs are openly willing to sink in order to gain power are chilling. The dems seem to be nitwits when it comes to fighting their vile machinations.

  32. December 17, 2012 at 8:52 pm
  33. December 17, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Hawaii Gov. Abercrombie overcome with emotion as he discusses Inouye’s passing, video from his office

  34. December 17, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Hawaii Dem sources float name of possible Inouye successor @TulsiGabbard, 31, congresswoman-elect & Iraq war vet, but Daniel Inouye’s office says senator’s dying wish was for Rep. Colleen Hanabusa to replace him. Also nice read about when senate was informed of his death http://t.co/Qslo1vuK

  35. 142 forus50
    December 17, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Maddow is annoying. I can’t watch her anymore – she’s says the same things five different ways. Piers guy is giving this asshole gun advocate hell.

    • 143 Joy
      December 17, 2012 at 9:48 pm

      I find Maddow annoying as well and have a hard time watching her. Most of her message is good but the way she incessantly drags out her story is just irritating to me. It’s hard to listen to.

      • 144 jacquelineoboomer
        December 17, 2012 at 11:35 pm

        Maddow wants us to think that we need to try to follow her every syllable, thus getting her fully investigated message, which she is pretty sure none of us could get on our own.

        There’s something about Piers Morgan that I do not trust to be coming from an honest perspective. Although he’s saying the right things about gun control, at least the little I’ve heard he’s been saying, he’s reciting it all like he’s trying to get his rant to go viral, or like he’s acting in a Shakespearean play or something that we should assume is worthy of note. But maybe that’s just me.

    • 145 Jeff
      December 17, 2012 at 9:57 pm

      She’s also wrong about mental illness treatment not effective in preventing gun violence.

    • 147 Bill R.
      December 17, 2012 at 9:24 pm

      In other words there is no deal! And any deal has to be approved by both chambers of Congress in the new year. In the meantime the Rs either pass the Senate bill or Bush tax cuts expire.

      • December 17, 2012 at 9:30 pm

        Yep & Sequester happens and we witness the single largest cut in DoD funding in history and SS, Medicare, etc., are all NOT part of the Sequester package.

      • December 17, 2012 at 9:31 pm

        And the debt ceiling does not get raised and the government runs out of money in 2 months.
        Great logic! Not!

        • December 17, 2012 at 9:40 pm

          The government is not going to run out of money in 2 months, Jovie, especially if Sequester kicks in – the implications of those DoD cuts and other cuts will have a major reset on funds available in the US Treasury.

          • December 17, 2012 at 9:53 pm

            Debt ceiling still has to get raised in order to borrow money. Geithner said at best mid march.
            As for the Government running out of money? The Republucabs were cute last year when they struck a deal funding the government until, wait for it, mid march.
            Hello?

            • December 17, 2012 at 9:58 pm

              Jovie, Geithner’s comments were made in the context of Sequester not happening. The amount of revenue that will begin to flow to the Treasury and not flow out of the Treasury, should the Sequester happen completely change the arithmetic of when the Government will need to raise the debt ceiling. That reality is entirely in President Obama’s negotiation favor and has hardly been noticed by anyone. It is also why the incessant ‘hair on fire’ nonsense that folk like Ezra instigate is truly boring to me.

              • December 17, 2012 at 10:06 pm

                The swquster saves money over a decade.
                The taxes flowing in, will be good, but augmented by other cuts in spending and no extensionif unemployment insurance, etc.
                Now I know how you all felt when I jumped to conclusions.

                • December 17, 2012 at 10:21 pm

                  Jovie, the impact of the Sequester and ending the Bush tax cuts will have an immediate impact on the inflows and outflows of the Treasury, apart from accrued consequences. It will change the equation in a way that pushes out the debt ceiling beyond March – how far beyond March I’m sure the President and his team have done the calculations and know. None of that works in the Rs favor.

      • 155 Bill R.
        December 17, 2012 at 9:41 pm

        I’m not advocating against a deal here. I’m just saying nothing has been determined yet. And it won’t be until after the new year.

  36. 157 forus50
    December 17, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    Michael Steel said. “We hope to continue discussions with the President so we can reach an agreement that is truly balanced and begins to solve our spending problem.”‬.

    Yes, you do have a spending problem GOP; among many problems brought on by your poor math skills, racism and bigotry.

  37. 160 desertflower
    December 17, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    http://www.bradblog.com/?p=9424

    The horror that played out during the recent midnight massacre inside a Century theater in Aurora, CO is but the latest example of the danger posed to our safety and our very lives by the radical right’s expansive interpretation of the Second Amendment.

    On June 28, 2008, that view — that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm unconnected to service in a state militia — became the law of the land, courtesy of the U.S. Supreme Court’s hard right quintet’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller (“Heller”) — a 5-4 decision that ignored precedent, history and basic rules of constitutional interpretation.

    Heller not only elevated the profits of the domestic small arms industry above the ability of government to protect our safety, our general welfare, our domestic tranquility and our very lives, but provided a disturbing new context to the eerily prescient 1991 warning provided by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) when he likened the confirmation of Clarence Thomas as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court to a game of “Russian Roulette”…

    Ignoring text, history and precedent

    In his powerful dissent in Heller, Justice John Paul Stevens observed:

    The Second Amendment was adopted to protect the right of the people of each of the several States to maintain a well-regulated militia. It was a response to concerns raised during the ratification of the Constitution that the power of Congress to disarm the state militias and create a national standing army posed an intolerable threat to the sovereignty of the several States. Neither the text of the Amendment nor the arguments advanced by its proponents evidenced the slightest interest in limiting any legislature’s authority to regulate private civilian uses.

    We need a new Supreme Ct.

    • 161 amk for obama
      December 17, 2012 at 9:46 pm

      Is there any way that the Prez can pack the SC ? IIRR, FDR threatened to do it. How is that done ?

      • 162 desertflower
        December 17, 2012 at 9:48 pm

        I have no clue. This is a lifetime appt, and to my understanding, unless a justice retires or dies….it is what it is. I have no idea if I’m right about this or not…this is just my understanding. Anyone?

      • December 17, 2012 at 9:54 pm

        President Obama could well have the opportunity to appoint 3 more Justices during the next four years. Given the quality of his 1st two appointments, should he have that opportunity, he will shape the Court for one or more decades.

      • 165 nathkatun7
        December 18, 2012 at 12:40 am

        There is no way to pack the SC if there are no vacancies for the President to fill. FDR threatened and failed. Right now conservatives are in majority on the Supreme Court. Any discussion of gun control laws must take into consideration the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in “District of Columbia v. Heller,” which basically endorsed the NRA’s position on the 2nd Amendment. The same five Justices who handed down this decision are still the majority on the Supreme Court.

  38. December 17, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    I see, that in the most pro Obama blog out there, we are second guessing the President and the deal he will get with Boner?
    Look, these negotiations ate not easy, being President is not easy. We ejected him to make the tough decisions.
    We have a lot of systemic problems, mostly due to fuckjng tax cuts and starving the beast but also the baby boomers pruning and coming of age.
    We must get this done so we can start spending on electric grid, education, infrastructure, R&D etc.
    Come on Guys, you know what he is up against, he is doing the best he can.
    Glass half full!!
    That is all!

  39. 174 Bill R.
    December 17, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    “Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie will appoint a replacement, choosing from a list of three candidates selected by the state Democratic Party.

    Whomever Abercrombie appoints would serve until a special election in 2014.” – Glad to see there will be no wait time to have a new Dem. senator in his seat.

  40. 175 Joy
    December 17, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    WOW! Your President is going to need some well deserved time off with all that is on his plate just before xmas. When is he leaving for Hawaii?

  41. December 17, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    This is excellent: http://www.coffeepartyusa.com/progun_friends It’s a response to the gun nut freakout and shows one person’s response to the attempts to intimidate her on Facebook. Good for her.

  42. 181 forus50
    December 17, 2012 at 9:54 pm
  43. December 17, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    A mom’s eulogy for Noah:

    The sky is crying, and the flags are at half-mast. It is a sad, sad day. But it is also your day, Noah, my little man. I will miss your forceful and purposeful little steps stomping through our house. I will miss your perpetual smile, the twinkle in your dark blue eyes, framed by eyelashes that would be the envy of any lady in this room.

    Most of all, I will miss your visions of your future. You wanted to be a doctor, a soldier, a taco factory manager. It was your favorite food, and no doubt you wanted to ensure that the world kept producing tacos.

    You were a little boy whose life force had all the gravitational pull of a celestial body. You were light and love, mischief and pranks. You adored your family with every fiber of your 6-year-old being. We are all of us elevated in our humanity by having known you. A little maverick, who didn’t always want to do his schoolwork or clean up his toys, when practicing his ninja moves or Super Mario on the Wii seemed far more important.

    Noah, you will not pass through this way again. I can only believe that you were planted on Earth to bloom in heaven. Take flight, my boy. Soar. You now have the wings you always wanted. Go to that peaceful valley that we will all one day come to know. I will join you someday. Not today. I still have lots of mommy love to give to Danielle, Michael, Sophia and Arielle.

    Until then, your melody will linger in our hearts forever. Momma loves you, little man.

    • 183 dotster3
      December 17, 2012 at 10:12 pm

      Sad, sad, sad. I give her great credit for such a moving tribute. I don’t know how she did it. Another father of one of the victims said today that he and his wife do not know how to process their loss, that they don’t know how to get their lives going again.

    • 184 jackiegrumbacher
      December 17, 2012 at 10:56 pm

      What an incredible statement from this mother. I so admire her courage. It must have taken everything she had to write and deliver this beautiful eulogy. I feel as if her description of her son helps us all to know him a little better–not a statistic, not one of 20, but a real, vibrant, fun-loving little boy.

    • 185 a4alice
      December 17, 2012 at 11:06 pm

      started to read it. can’t.

    • 186 nathkatun7
      December 18, 2012 at 12:57 am

      What a beautiful and wonderful eulogy! This is pure love that we all owe our children.

    • 187 theo67
      December 18, 2012 at 1:29 am

      I’m glad she was able to write this. It’s unspeakable what these families are going through.

  44. 188 desertflower
    December 17, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Senator Sanders talking about chained CPI and other important things that Republicans wish we didn’t know

  45. December 17, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    HBO producing Scorsese-directed Bill Clinton documentary
    By Daniel Strauss – 12/17/12 01:52 PM ET

    HBO is producing a documentary about former President Clinton by Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese.

    The channel announced Monday that Clinton had given Scorsese full cooperation for the movie. 

    “I am pleased that legendary director Martin Scorsese and HBO have agreed to do this film,” Clinton said in a statement. “I look forward to sharing my perspective on my years as president, and my work in the years since, with HBO’s audience.”

    HBO officials said the documentary will give Clinton a new chance to reflect on his presidency.

    “This documentary, under Marty’s gifted direction, creates a unique opportunity for the president to reflect on myriad issues that have consumed his attention and passion throughout both his presidency and post-presidency,” HBO CEO Richard Plepler and programming president Michael Lombardo said in a statement.

    Scorsese called Clinton a “towering figure” who “continues to shape the political dialogue both here and around the world” in a statement.

    “Through intimate conversations, I hope to provide greater insight into this transcendent figure,” Scorsese said.
    A title and date for the movie’s premiere have not been announced yet, according to The New York Times. 

    • 193 theo67
      December 18, 2012 at 1:26 am

      Can’t they just let President Obama have his time? I don’t begrudge Clinton having this documentary done about him, but it just seems like more grandstanding. President Obama has had to spend half his time cleaning up Clinton and Bush’s messes – DADT, DOMA, wars, deficit, right wing crazies, lack of healthcare, aging citizenry with escalating health care, capitalism gone mad… And at least Bush has the decency to keep quiet while President Obama is having to fix his mess. Clinton, on the other hand, demands the spotlight. I may be wrong, but this just makes my blood boil.

  46. 194 desertflower
    December 17, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Night all…it’s early, but I have a wicked cold. I can’t breathe and my head feels like a cannonball. See you in the am…..

  47. December 17, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    Wal-Mart Takes An Assault Rifle Off Its Virtual Shelves http://t.co/OIzAkX6K, also Terry McAuliffe, running for Va. governor, calls for assault weapons ban, better mental health services. http://goo.gl/fJoh6

  48. December 17, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    If anyone is inclined to sign a whitehouse.gov petition, this one is to change the status of Westboro Baptist from Religious organization (church) to a Hate Group: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/revoke-tax-exempt-status-westboro-baptist-church-re-classify-westboro-baptist-church-hate-group/tNVz4V7Q

    • 206 0388jojothecat
      December 17, 2012 at 10:18 pm

      The petition is over 32K and has passed the required 25K….I would not let me sign the petition.

    • 208 theo67
      December 18, 2012 at 1:19 am

      Yikes – the gun nuts are out in full force on those petitions, begging for the President to protect “law abiding gun owners” to not be victimized by gun laws (and even demanding that Ana Wintour not be considered for British Ambassador…). Well, Adam Lanza’s mother was a “law abiding gun owner”, and all the killers in the last four shootings have been “law abiding gun owners”, too. When will they concern themselves with all the law abiding citizens and children who are victims of all these “law abiding gun owners”. The selfishness of these gun owners, and their fanaticism, is frightening and sickening.

  49. 209 susanne
    December 17, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    nice continuous live coverage of senator inouye’s passing:

    http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/category/198303/livestream

  50. 210 dotster3
    December 17, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    The usually reserved and composed Gov. Malloy broke down today when telling about having to tell parents of the deaths of their children. There were parents still waiting around at 3:00 in the afternoon at the fire station, holding out hope that their children were in the hospital or somewhere else—–and authorities seemed reluctant to tell them they would not be reunited even after they knew of their childrens’ fates—–were waiting for positive ID’s. But Malloy thought that the parents had agonized long enough and it became clear that he would have to tell them. It was his most nightmarish task. The scene became beyond heartwrenching.

  51. December 17, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Here is the AP take on it-

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/movement-seen-fiscal-cliff-talks-0

    He is fighting for us. Everybody keep their Shirts on and chill.

    • 213 susanne
      December 17, 2012 at 10:25 pm

      good advice jovie.

    • December 17, 2012 at 10:35 pm

      More AP Right wing propaganda.

      Good advice, Jovie. Unfortunate after all that PBO has done these past 4 years anyone needs to be told.

      #TrustBarack He’s Earned It

      • 215 theo67
        December 18, 2012 at 1:04 am

        Some of them (including some of his “supporters”) will continue to question and undermine President Obama until he leaves office – and maybe even after that, because their disrespect has nothing to do with what President Obama has done in office or how he’s performed. It’s not about who he is, but what he represents to them (and their little minds).

  52. December 17, 2012 at 10:25 pm
  53. 219 forus50
    December 17, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    I think Joan McCarter should give bwd her Twitter account back –the account she took on November 7th. :)

    • 220 hopefruit2
      December 17, 2012 at 10:44 pm

      Sam Stein and Ezra Klein get a perverted kick out of seeing PBO supporters attack him on Twitter and call him “weak.” They love to spread these rumors – with an emphasis on how much PBO is giving up. All one has to do is take a stroll on Red State and see the meltdown over stuff that is not even finalized yet.

      The media LOVES to (falsely) portray this President as someone who is a poor negotiator and who caves easily and prematurely. They spend all of 2009 and 2010 doing just that. And they are at it again. And the same gullible people keep falling for that nonsense every time. No wonder the media is as corrupt as they are – because people reinforce their bullshit.

      • December 17, 2012 at 11:06 pm

        Exactly, hf. And, I’m convinced PBO and the folk in the WH consider all of this never ending chicken little nonsense as unworthy of even a second of their attention.

      • 222 susanne
        December 17, 2012 at 11:09 pm

        there’s a pompous piece in the new yorker, written by ek, about the president’s inability to persuade. seems to me these cub reporters think the way to get noticed is to throw tomatoes at their betters, their elders, and their mentors. no, ek, we are not impressed.

      • 224 anniebella
        December 17, 2012 at 11:20 pm

        hopefruit2, Why waste your time with Klein or Stein? We know exactly how these weasels are, they aren’t worth it.

        • 225 hopefruit2
          December 17, 2012 at 11:31 pm

          Well we have to push back on the media because their false reporting can sometimes have bad consequences. Correcting misinformation and disinformation is never a waste of time in my opinion.

      • 226 theo67
        December 18, 2012 at 1:01 am

        And the sad part is that many of these “cub reporters”, as you call them, are creating a world that their children, or future children, will have to live in. They don’t even seem to care. They can’t think that far ahead.

        • 227 susanne
          December 18, 2012 at 1:07 am

          so true! it’s as if their name in print tomorrow is all they care about. reminds me of the bottom-line-obsessed business nuts.

  54. 233 dotster3
    December 17, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Can this be??? The Tea Party Nation sent out a missive saying that teachers, unions and sex were responsible for the tragedy in Ct. Also no spankings in schools. Also—-need George Zimmerman guarding our schools. Brilliant?

    http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/12/17/1346491/tea-party-group-attributes-connecticut-shooting-to-teachers-unions-and-sex/

    • 234 anniebella
      December 17, 2012 at 11:23 pm

      The Tea Party nation are dam sickos

    • 235 theo67
      December 18, 2012 at 12:57 am

      And these people are members of the US Congress? This is pretty embarrassing.

      I saw an ad today on TV from the Tea Party – very anxious, demanding 500,000 people to write their elected officials to demand no negotiation on tax hikes. It doesn’t even occur to them that they’re not even in the top 2% – and never will be. It was ranting on about socialism, etc. I don’t know who listens to that crap, and those who believe any of it should never admit to that in public. It will brand the immediately as idiots – or worse.

  55. 236 amk for obama
    December 17, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    via bj

    • 237 susanne
      December 17, 2012 at 11:34 pm

      ‘I’d also like us to encourage people to gang rush shooters, rather than following their instincts to hide; if we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once.’

      first day of kindergarten, right after learning the names of the colors, and counting to 25, we’ll all practice rushing at gunmen who are firing at us, and who will kill us if we do, but then, other people won’t have to die. then recess, then lunch, then learning the alphabet.

    • December 17, 2012 at 11:35 pm

      Newsweek has now completely become a joke.

    • December 18, 2012 at 12:54 am

      Some of these people aren’t normal, they’re not human. This is not normal. And if she was in that situation that those babies were in last week, she’d be hiding in a corner, not rushing anybody.

  56. 244 dotster3
    December 17, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    More gun fun

    Man fatally shoots himself while showing off new gun’s “safety”

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/suburbs/joliet/chi-joliet-man-shoots-himself-20121217,0,4868019.story

  57. December 17, 2012 at 11:30 pm
  58. December 17, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    A moment of needed levity (this one’s for my football heads, but especially Chips).

  59. December 17, 2012 at 11:53 pm
    • 254 nathkatun7
      December 18, 2012 at 2:02 am

      Bob, I agree with you about “A well regulated militia” portion of the second amendment; but I think you should direct your appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which, in the “District of Columbia v. Heller,” sided with the NRA’s interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. To this day, I still do not understand why the courts have allowed gun advocates to disregard the part of the 2nd Amendment that says “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state” as being the necessary condition for “the right of the people to keep and bear arms….” If this is not clear enough for many federal judges and the majority of the Justices on the SC, then we need an Amendment to the Constitution to, in plain language, clarify or supersede the 2nd Amendment.

  60. December 18, 2012 at 12:09 am
  61. 256 Rain
    December 18, 2012 at 1:05 am

    Well friends, it’s 1 AM here and I must hit the sack. Wishing you all a peaceful sleep. =)

  62. 257 globalcitizenlinda
    December 18, 2012 at 1:08 am

    I do not know how credible the rumors about a “fiscal cliff deal” and “Chained CPI are.

    As usually, I will wait for PBO’s own statement.

  63. 258 Bill R.
    December 18, 2012 at 1:30 am

    NY Times sent out an alert that PBO has given Boehner the final offer. Boehner is going to present it to his caucus in the AM. So it must be crunch time. If they really plan to vote on it before 12/31 it will have to go through the process in the House and the Senate.

  64. December 18, 2012 at 1:40 am

    Fact …

    • 260 susanne
      December 18, 2012 at 1:50 am

      excellent point, bob. we cannot hold ourselves hostage with fears of what has been proven to be a rowdy, vocal, impotent minority.

  65. December 18, 2012 at 1:52 am

    A reasonable person after witnessing the reality that PBO prevented a great depression, rescued the auto industry, restored job expansion, ended the Iraq war, ended DADT, ……………………….. endless legislative and moral achievements ………. became only the 6th President in US history to win two elections by > 51% and did it as a mixed race black guy …………. that what an Ezra or a Cenk or a Schultz or Maddow or any of these other yakity-yak mouth breathing, exceedingly well paid, emoticons had to say …. that folk would get a clue that PBO:

    1 Doesn’t give a crap what they say;

    2 Doesn’t give a crap what they say;

    .
    .
    .
    .

    10000000000 Doesn’t give a crap what they say.

    And for a good reason – it’s likely that less than 5% (generous, for sure) of the people who gave him those 2 major victories GIVE A CRAP WHAT THEY SAY.

    Hope that’s clear.

    Rest well everyone.

    #TrustBarack He’s Earned It

    • December 18, 2012 at 1:58 am

      Timely ….

      Thank you Morgan Freeman

      Good night (morning, day) everyone …

    • 264 theo67
      December 18, 2012 at 3:29 am

      Well said, Bob.

      • December 18, 2012 at 6:27 am

        Yes, thank you, Bob. One of our jobs is to re-train ourselves in terms of giving
        our attention to crap and insanity. It takes something to not respond; and that’s our job.
        We have four years to count on the integrity and sanity of the President.
        I hope we will take the full measure of what’s available during this time . . .
        and we must practice democratic action at every opportunity. In ways we’ve
        never thought of before.

    • 266 vcprezofan2
      December 18, 2012 at 6:35 am

      Morning Bobfr, LOVE your truthful ‘rant’! :lol: :lol: In the midst of your work today, have a great Tuesday!

    • 267 jackiegrumbacher
      December 18, 2012 at 7:53 am

      Yes, Bob, you could keep those numbers going up to infinity and they would still be true. I never turn on tv news or pundits, never hear the nonsense, don’t care what they say. I’m positive the same can be said for all the very busy people in the WH, especially the president. If some poor fool is assigned to turn in to all those screaming pundits to get a lay of the land, then I feel sorry for him/her and hope there is good compensation involved. At this point in my life, you couldn’t pay me to tune in.

  66. 268 amk for obama
    December 18, 2012 at 2:31 am
    • 269 susanne
      December 18, 2012 at 4:01 am

      showing my age, we did have to ‘duck and cover’ in elementary school. it was a meaningless drill–because there were no bombs dropping on our schools. we saw photos of the ‘atom bomb’ but it didn’t relate to the real world in which we walked to school, played outside for hours without parental interest, and were sent to the store to buy dad some cigarettes. for today’s children, it’s unlikely the shootings in schools around the country have been entirely kept from their consciousness. their fears are real. it is very sad, and must be addressed now.

      • 270 jackiegrumbacher
        December 18, 2012 at 7:48 am

        Susanne, I talked about this on another thread. What the duck and cover and all the talk about the bomb did do was instill a sense of terror. We were always meant to be afraid that a bomb could drop anytime—I know I had nightmares about it. And we were told we would be taken over by the Communists. Fear, always fear. The generation before practiced air raid drills, in case American towns were attacked in WWII. Now the enemy is within and kids are being taught to fear nameless assassins who can enter their safe zones at any time and destroy them. We couldn’t stop the bomb terrors (imaginary as they were), but we can stop the mad gunman terror by working together to say NO MORE.

  67. 271 amk for obama
    December 18, 2012 at 2:37 am
  68. 276 xtine
    December 18, 2012 at 2:40 am

    This has been ghosting around my head for a couple of days & I’ve been trying to put it into words, still working on it all, but though I’d share a tad w/ my TOD family:

    Coup d’état of Innocents

    On one side of our world
    Little-grown child soldiers
    Playing havoc with lives.
    On the other side,
    Little grown advert soldiers
    Continue to play havoc with all lives.
    Where are our mature voices
    Raised in outcry and distaste at the
    Coup d’état of Innocents?
    — Xtine

  69. December 18, 2012 at 4:25 am
  70. 282 vcprezofan2
    December 18, 2012 at 6:17 am

    G’Morning TODville! The phone woke me up 10 mins ago which means I\m off to work today! Take good care of each other and don’t let Ezra K or any like-minded soul disturb YOUR soul today. Whatever decision the Pres makes or whatever negotiations he endorses will be in the best interests of the nation. ;)

    Silent prayers go out to the Newtown families who will lay their angels, young and older, to rest today.

    • December 18, 2012 at 6:44 am

      Good morning all. I agree, vc. I could take no more of Bill Press few minutes ago. Repeated how the WH press conf. went yesterday–questions demanding answers NOW…….right NOW today…….expecting PO to fix everything TODAY. Idiots all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Today is my day to work in our food pantry (Manna House–love the name); then have a Christmas luncheon. See y’all later. :)

  71. 284 amk for obama
    December 18, 2012 at 6:52 am
  72. December 18, 2012 at 7:06 am

    Thank God. Richard Engle and his team released. On Today right now telling their story.

  73. 287 dotster3
    December 18, 2012 at 7:33 am

    Other countries tightened gun laws after mass shootings—–in some cases, within days. No similar horrific events since. As article says, you cannot guarantee it will never happen again but new tighter gun laws greatly reduces the risk.
    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/around-world-massacres-have-spurred-gun-control

  74. December 18, 2012 at 7:51 am

    The President has tapped Joe Biden to lead a commission on new gun control laws.
    CNN-

  75. December 18, 2012 at 7:55 am

    It’s becoming more and more clear to me that Bloomberg is trying to take down the President as A good Guy Figure
    He has gotten on every Show and literally blamed the President for these shootings.
    Not one mention of any Republican and how they are absent from this discussion, entirely.
    Ergo, Bloomberg have a worthy cause but he ruins it by being a Jerk!
    That is all!

    • 294 jackiegrumbacher
      December 18, 2012 at 9:30 am

      He may try, Jovie, but he is not likeable and, while he has money, he’s just not that popular. I can’t see anyone who has voted for PBO saying, Geez, this little guy Bloomberg must be right and my beloved president is responsible for the shootings.” The Republicans have just been waiting, banging on the door of the WH to get gun restrictions. Bloomsberg is actually shredding what little credibility he has left.

  76. December 18, 2012 at 7:57 am

    GOOD morning, TODville:

    • December 18, 2012 at 8:01 am

      Updated at 7:35 a.m. ET: NBC News’ Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel and members of his network production team were freed from captors in Syria after a firefight at a checkpoint on Monday, five days after they were taken prisoner, NBC News said early Tuesday.
      “After being kidnapped and held for five days inside Syria by an unknown group, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel and his production crew members have been freed unharmed. We are pleased to report they are safely out of the country,” the network said in a statement.
      “It is good to be here,” Engel said during a live appearance on TODAY from Turkey. “I’m very happy that we’re able to do this live shot this morning.”
      Engel said that they were traveling with Syrian rebels when a group of about 15 gunmen “jumped out the trees and bushes” and captured them.
      ‘Psychological torture’
      He said the gunmen executed one of the rebels “on the spot,” and later during their captivity they were subjected to mock executions while blindfolded and bound.
      “We weren’t physically beaten or tortured. It was a lot of psychological torture, threats of being killed,” Engel said.
      “They made us choose which one of us would be shot first and when we refused there were mock shootings. They pretended to shoot Ghazi [Balkiz, an NBC producer] several times,” Engel said.
      Balkiz said that they had “worked with each other very well… we kept each other’s spirits up” during their ordeal. Cameraman John Kooistra said he had “made good with my maker” and had been “prepared to die many times.”
      Engel, 39, and his team disappeared shortly after crossing into northwest Syria from Turkey on Thursday. The network had not been able to contact them until learning that they had been freed on Monday.
      The network said there was no claim of responsibility, no contact with the captors and no request for ransom during the time the crew was missing.
      After entering Syria, Engel and his team were abducted, tossed into the back of a truck before being transported to an unknown location believed to be near the small town of Ma’arrat Misrin. During their captivity, they were blindfolded and bound, but otherwise not physically harmed, the network said.

      More: http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/18/15985279-richard-engel-and-nbc-news-team-freed-from-captors-in-syria?lite

  77. December 18, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Believe me he was debriefed by the US Government, officially or unofficially!

    • 300 jackiegrumbacher
      December 18, 2012 at 9:22 am

      That’s good news! Joe will do a great job and he will put his heart into it. He also gets things done, despite all the sniping he gets from the right.

  78. December 18, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Let’s keep up the pressure, TODers.

  79. December 18, 2012 at 8:46 am

    The President has asked Janes Clapper to stay on as DNI, he has agreed.

    • 307 anniebella
      December 18, 2012 at 9:19 am

      desertflower, I have wonder about that very question myself. These people feel it’s their right to own a gun and don’t know one dare try to take it away. But I ask the question isn’t it my right or any other woman’s right to do as we choose with our body. But these Republicans are trying to take women’s right away to have a abortion even if it’s because of their health.

  80. 308 hopefruit2
    December 18, 2012 at 8:55 am
  81. 309 hopefruit2
    December 18, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Getting a little too close to home for comfort, huh?

    • 310 anniebella
      December 18, 2012 at 9:23 am

      Maybe just maybe every time they look at one of those Bushmaster assault weapons they see those little kids being rip to pieces. I’m just saying maybe, because I’m sure the bottom line with some people is the dollar bill.

      • 311 hopefruit2
        December 18, 2012 at 9:27 am

        I also think that there is growing fear that the next victim could be one of their loved ones – or themselves. After all, the mother who got shot by her son was among the most avid pro-gun Americans out there.

        • 312 anniebella
          December 18, 2012 at 9:36 am

          I really hope what happen in Newtown reaches alot of these people’s heart, and they decide to accept and support gun control. Of course there will always be people who feel like that Republican Congressman Gommer from Texas, but I think we all know that darn idiot has no heart.

          • 313 Nena20409
            December 18, 2012 at 10:28 am

            No doubt. 20 and 6-7 yrs old. Then their little voices on TV/Cable. Their Angelic faces and that their lives were shortened not by illness, mother nature, but by man made products that we could have avoided. Last……the kid that did this and the family involved. Some of these people have kids and grand kids with issues.

            Lats……Humanity. Helplessness. And common sense. That is hitting bottom. They could no longer explain their actions when their kids or grand kids ask them why little kids who went to school died.

  82. 314 swbluega
    December 18, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Just learned about this site right before the election and have been lurking ever since. In addition to being informative, this site is inspirational. Thanks to the moderator and the regulars who keep it going.

    I appreciate that our President can be the adult in the room. All of those that are (and will be) flipping out about PBO compromising have so much less to lose than the people for whom they are claiming to be a voice. These are the same people who lost their minds after the first debate.

    What good is it to lose so much for the people that truly need it just to prove a point. PBO did not say he would not compromise on ANYTHING. He wanted to make sure that moving forward, the middle class, seniors, etc. would be taken care of. That does not mean that you get everything you want. Why do some think that it has to be all or nothing?

    There are so many things that the President will be working to accomplish in the next four years. Some things we know; some things unforseen. Whenever I allow myself to listen to the talking heads, it seems that they have the expectation that everything should be done TODAY in the way THEY think it should be done. The President knows that he will need cooperation from both sides to resolve many of the issues that impact us. Yes, PBO won the election, but you don’t put all your eggs in one basket and be the bully just because. Because if things go downhill, the repubs may get the blame initially, but ultimately, who will be held responsible?

    We voted for PBO because of his intelligence and his compassion among other things. He’s proven himself over and over again during his first term. Who else could have accomplished what he was able to given all the obstacles that were thrown in his path?

    So let him be the person we elected. Let him do his job the way he needs to do it. We may not understand or agree with every decision, but in the end, I believe the President has our best interest at heart.

  83. 315 hopefruit2
    December 18, 2012 at 9:21 am

    This is a classic example of why I strongly object to any one who reacts to media rumor mongering about the fiscal cliff issue. This Salon article puts a disclaimer that “crucial details are still unknown” in the 2nd paragraph of their pre-emptive whine article, but they are ready to publish a piece on PBO “selling out.” What kind of journalism is this?

    • 316 anniebella
      December 18, 2012 at 9:30 am

      I am convince these people are not true supporters of President Obama, we’ve walk down this road to many times with these people and I am fed up with them. They would get on my very last nerve if I allow they to, but I won’t allow them too.

  84. 317 desertflower
    December 18, 2012 at 9:21 am

    http://www.randirhodes.com/pages/rrnews.html?feed=393046&article=10640557

    Ten Ways To Avoid The Fiscal Cliff
    In all the bluster of 24/7 cable and internet “news” here are ten solutions you rarely hear about.


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