Open Thread for December 30, 2012….

This is the last Open Thread for the year 2012 AD at the Politicaldog101….

It’s been a Great Year here at the ‘Dog’

Up and and more ups….

We’ve got thru site crashes….

People leaving this place in huff and a flash….

Primaries….

Tons of polling…..

Featured OTHER sites….

and a whole Lot of posts and comments….

Thru and thru we’ve grown here…..

as of today 12/30/12…

the original wordpress site now called jamesb101.wordpress.com there was 158,638 hits since its birth….

and for the site you’re on ….The Current self hosted Politicaldog101.Com there was 1,302, 233 hits since its birth….

Again as I posted in the first annual report on the PDog101 here…

Thanks…..

If you can find it in your heart to throw a few bucks in our donation box …..

Thanks Again….

Above all….

Keep coming back here to the ‘Dog’….

(We’ll watch the Fiscal Cliff Show together)

Tell your friends and families to come here …

Tell your politcal opposites to come here….

Ah, Maybe Not them….

But Enjoy!

Happy New Year!

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Top 10 Economic Charts of 2012…from the Wall Street Journal….

As the year draws to a close, we dug up our 10 favorite economic charts that ran in the Wall Street Journal this year. The jobs market continued to dominate our graphics, but there are also looks at consumer spending, student loans and the euro crisis. Click on any image for full-size version.

What Drives the U.S. Economy?
A look at what the largest and smallest parts of the economy have been, going back to 1949. Original article.

Beyond the Basics
Where Americans have been spending their money from 1901 to the present. Original article.

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As many as 49,000 Florida voters stayed home due to the state’s efforts in November……

Are you surprised people?

Why?

The effort to supress the vote WAS a REAL THING there….

And it didn’t work in the end….

The President STILL won the state….

Florida took center stage in the 2012 elections, when voters around the state had to wait in line at the polls for up to nine hours. Gov. Rick Scott (R) initially denied that there was any problem, saying it was “very good” that people were getting out to vote.

But a new study shows that tens of thousands of people were actually discouraged from voting because of the long lines.

According to an analysis by Theodore Allen, an associate professor of industrial engineering at Ohio State University, as many as 49,000 individuals in Central Florida did not vote because of the problems at the polls.

About 19,000 of those people would have backed former GOP nominee Mitt Romney, while the rest would have gone for President Barack Obama, according to Allen.

The Orlando Sentinel, which published the results of Allen’s research, notes that those findings suggest “that Obama’s margin over Romney in Florida could have been roughly 11,000 votes higher than it was, based just on Central Florida results. Obama carried the state by 74,309 votes out of more than 8.4 million cast.”

Since the elections, Scott has admitted that his state still has its share of electoral problems. In a December interview with CNN, Scott said “we’ve got to restore confidence in our elections,” pointing to three issues: the length of ballots, size of polling places and the number of days for early voting.

Indeed, Allen’s research also found that the long ballots that confronted many Florida voters led to longer lines, which resulted in suppressing turnout. Black and Hispanic voters were disproportionately disenfranchised.

 More….

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Daily Real Clear Politics Polling 12/29/12……

Friday, December 28
Race/Topic   (Click to Sort) Poll Results Spread
President Obama Job Approval Gallup Approve 53, Disapprove 41 Approve +12
President Obama Job Approval Rasmussen Reports Approve 55, Disapprove 43 Approve +12

from realclearpolitics

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On the last year and Republicans Bad Luck….

The Republicans Really Had A Bad Year!!

This was a bad year for the Republican Party. What started out as a year of hope that they would return to power ended in a series of profound disappointments that left party strategists debating whether the GOP would become a permanent minority unless they change course.

Here are the party’s five most disappointing moments.

1. Payroll Tax Cut Defeat

The year began with a standoff between President Obama and House Republicans that split the GOP and ended in a clear defeat for the party. Worse, it placed the mantle of working class tax breaks in the hands of a Democrat.

Obama demanded a one-year extension of the payroll tax cut; House GOP leaders made a public showing of their resistance, insisting on offsets but resisting ideological compromise until the bitter end. Obama stood firm, as did House Republicans — until Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell publicly called on them to give up the game.

On Feb. 13, they did, and agreed to extend the tax break without paying for it. It would prove to be a turning point in how Obama dealt with the GOP.

2. Nominating A Presidential Candidate They Disliked

The GOP’s presidential field was widely seen as weak. The race came down to two unpopular relics of the past (Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum) and a former blue stater who once embraced abortion rights, gun control and planted the seeds for Obamacare (Mitt Romney.)

After a series of embarrassing moments from the other candidates involving moon colonies, anti-porn crusades and the like, Republicans finally decided they had nowhere to go but Romney, crowing him their nominee on May 30. Conservatives never really warmed up to the former Massachusetts governor, and many lamented the selection. But, they consoled themselves, at least he had what it took to throw Barack Obama out of office.

3. Obamacare Upheld

On June 28, the Supreme Court broke Republicans’ hearts when it refused to strike down Obama’s signature legislative achievement.

It came at a time when Republican leaders were openly preparing for victory in quashing the Affordable Care Act. Even more depressing: the deciding vote in the 5-4 ruling came from one-time conservative hero, Chief Justice John Roberts, whose vote the right had mostly taken for granted. It left conservatives flummoxed and eager to understand his betrayal.

Now their only hope for repealing Obamacare was to defeat Obama.

4. Obama Reelected

On Nov. 6, Barack Obama was re-elected in a swift and brutal victory, sending shock waves through conservatives who were convinced they had the election in the bag. Mitt Romney was among those convinced he’d win, his campaign aides said, until well into election night.

Also distressing: Senate Democrats gained two seats against all odds. And while a redistricting advantage helped Republicans keep the House majority, Democratic candidates for the lower chamber picked up more votes overall than GOP candidates.

It was a crushing blow for many reasons. The America that much of the Republican base knew and loved seemed to be gone, replaced by a new America more diverse, young and liberal. The day of reckoning had arrived.

5. Taxes Are Going Up

The fix came in with the election results, and Republicans were immediately forced to come to grips with the fact that taxes are about to go up. And, because they control the House, there’s no easy way to dodge accountability.

The path toward acceptance has been ugly and painful, and the dilemma on their defining issue unenviable. If Republican strike a deficit-reduction deal with Obama, they’ll devastate and demoralize their base. If they scuttle a deal, they’ll face the wrath of a public that intends to blame them for driving the country off the proverbial fiscal cliff.

All this amid a backdrop of top GOP voices desperately urging their party to reverse course on core issues from immigration to gay rights — or risk being driven into the political wilderness…

Source…..

(A Keith Highlight)

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John Boehner WILL Still be the Republican House Speaker come January 4, 2013

Nobody else has the votes…..

And who would want the job seeing as to how Boehner is getting kicked around?

When Boehner walks onto the House floor on Jan. 3, there’s an outside chance he‘ll see low double-digit defections – and those in and around his camp recognize it. The speaker’s fate has become a much-discussed topic as the fiscal cliff approaches and the Senate conducts last-minute talks this weekend — so far without a deal — to avoid across-the-board tax hikes.

But even staunch conservatives admit what’s become abundantly clear within the House Republican Conference.

“John Boehner is our Speaker,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who has one of the most conservative voting records in the House. “Harry Reid may not like it, but he is our guy.”

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who had a turbulent tenure atop the chamber, put it more bluntly: “I think somebody could run. They would get some votes.

And they would lose.”

More….

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Republicans Resigned to Getting Blamed…..

It’s about fucking time!

BuzzFeed: “It’s difficult to find a Republican operative who is willing to say on the record that going over the fiscal cliff next Tuesday is a good idea. Provoking a crisis is bad politics: Republicans are resigned to taking the blame. And it’s bad for their policy agenda: They will likely be cornered into a broader tax hike than the best deal they could get from President Barack Obama today, and with none of the spending cuts that might now be on the table.”

“And yet, the dominant emotion among most Republicans here is one of sheer resignation.”

Said one prominent Republican: “It’s a shit show.

Tax rates are going to go up on everyone, and we’re going to get the blame.”

Politicalwire….

Note….

NO ONE is talking about the Payroll taxes going up either…

So they’ll probabaly go up and that money goes to Social Security which will be otherwise untouched…..

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The FBI will still be able to Intercept Messages….

Attempts to introduce additional safeguards to the law failed…..

The continued approval by Congress is for Five years…..

The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 73 to 23, clearing it for approval by President Obama, who strongly supports it. Intelligence agencies said the bill was their highest legislative priority.

Critics of the bill, including Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon, a Democrat, and Rand Paul of Kentucky, a Republican, expressed concern that electronic surveillance, though directed at noncitizens, inevitably swept up communications of Americans as well.

“The Fourth Amendment was written in a different time and a different age, but its necessity and its truth are timeless,” Mr. Paul said, referring to the constitutional ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. “Over the past few decades, our right to privacy has been eroded. We have become lazy and haphazard in our vigilance. Digital records seem to get less protection than paper records.”

The bill, which extends the government’s surveillance authority for five years, was approved in the House by a vote of 301 to 118 in September. Mr. Obama is expected to sign the bill in the next few days.

Congressional critics of the bill said that they suspected that intelligence agencies were picking up the communications of many Americans, but that they could not be sure because the agencies would not provide even rough estimates of how many people inside the United States had had communications collected under authority of the surveillance law, known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The inspector general of the National Security Agency told Congress that preparing such an estimate was beyond the capacity of his office.

The chief Senate supporter of the bill, Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California and chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee, said the proposed amendments were unnecessary. Moreover, she said, any changes would be subject to approval by the House, and the resulting delay could hamper the government’s use of important intelligence-gathering tools, for which authority is set to expire next week.

 More…..

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act……Wiki….

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Hobby Lobby to defy courts over contraceptive ruling and impose religious views on workers….

by Meteor Blades @ Daily Kos…..

Hobby Lobby, the 13,000-employee arts and crafts chain, says it will ignore two court rulings and defy a federal mandate that companies must offer health insurance to workers that covers birth control, including Plan B, the morning-after pill. The defiance could cost the company $1.3 million a day in fines. Hobby Lobby is self-insured and must begin compliance as of Jan. 1.

The 40-year-old Hobby Lobby labels itself a “biblically founded business.” It has 500 stores in 41 states that are closed on Sundays. Of the two dozen or more companies that have filed suit over the mandate on similar grounds, Hobby Lobby is the largest and only one not owned by Catholics.

Hobby Lobby made its decision after a ruling Wednesday by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotamayor denied the company an emergency injunction while its lawsuit works its way through the appeal courts.

The company’s owners say they should not have to comply with the Health and Human Services requirement because it impinges on their religious beliefs. Imposing their religious views on their employees doesn’t bother them, however. They argue that they are not against covering contraception, in general, but oppose Plan B because, they claim, it causes abortion. That is bunk except to folks who think a fertilized egg is a baby. In fact, the progestin levonorgestrel used in Plan B delays or prevents ovulation, blocks fertilization or prevents implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterine wall.

None of that constitutes abortion. And none of it is Hobby Lobby’s business.

Under health care reform, employers must include contraception in their employees’ health insurance policies, without charging a co-pay or deductible. Exemptions have been granted for houses of worship as well as religious-affiliated institutions such as non-profit hospitals. But the Catholic bishops have argued that even secular businesses should not have to cover contraception if their owners have religious objections.

Hobby Lobby’s lawyers took that idea to court in September and had it shot down in November by U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton. In a 28-page ruling, he stated that Hobby Lobby and a sister company, Mardel, don’t qualify for exemptions since they are private businesses:

“However, Hobby Lobby and Mardel [its partner company] are not religious organizations,” the ruling states. “Plaintiffs have not cited, and the court has not found, any case concluding that secular, for-profit corporations such as Hobby Lobby and Mardel have a constitutional right to the free exercise of religion.”

Hobby Lobby’s owners don’t seem to get that they don’t own their employees. They hire them. As such they should stick to selling paints, glue and glitter, and making multi-million-dollar contributions to Oral Roberts University instead of mucking about in the personal lives of workers who have helped make them rich.

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MSNBC head: Chris Matthews ‘a statesman’?

Photo…examiner.com

By MACKENZIE WEINGER @ Politico

MSNBC President Phil Griffin recently called MSNBC’s Chris Matthews a “statesman” and “the model figure for who we are” in an interview with The Associated Press.

Griffin told the AP the “Hardball” host is “as good as he’s ever been.”

“He’s at a place in his life where he’s really comfortable in his own skin,” Griffin said. “He’s a statesman. He has so much knowledge and I think he understands it better. He’s always been great, but I really think he’s been at the peak of his game.”

More….

Dog’s Comment…..

Chris Matthews as a ‘statesman’?

Come On guys!

Going his show has to be a torture….Really…

The Guy seems like he’s gonna jump out of his skin …first…

Second….The Guy does NOT let his guests talk….

You say five words….

And he’s OFFFFFFF!…

Chris Matthews was gonna run for something in Pennsylvania…

So his bosses (Above?) jumped up and conveniently threw more money at him….

This is just brand bull shit calling him a ‘stateman’….

But Look at me…

I’m posting this shit….

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The Senate approves a Sandy Emergency Aid Package….

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Gulf state pols helped the bill get passed by a good margin…

The House GOPer’s aren’t too happy with the total amount of the add-on’s neccessary to get the votes but will be pressured to vote on the bill by early January due to the FEMA funding level problems coming up….

A $60.4 billion Hurricane Sandy disaster aid package cleared the Senate Friday evening after Democrats beat back a Republican alternative promising less than half the funding and focused more narrowly on the immediate needs over the next three months.

“It would just stop dead in its tracks the recovery effort so desperately needed,” warned Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “You cannot plan a recovery on a three month basis. The bottom line is if you want to build a tunnel you can’t say I’ll build a fifth of the tunnel now and then we’ll see if there is more money later.”

Indeed, the final package — approved 61-33 — is heavily weighted with transit and community development funds including long-term capital projects to strengthen the New York subway system and rebuild New Jersey’s devastated shoreline.

An estimated $5.35 billion is provided for the Army Corps of Engineers, for example, and $11.78 billion would be allocated to emergency relief for public transportation. The $17 billion designated for community development block grants is more than eight times what Republicans had proposed for the same account, and the bill also appropriates substantially more to FEMA for its ongoing disaster relief efforts.

Gulf state Republican senators—remembering their own experiences with Katrina—helped to swell the final vote on passage. But the House GOP leadership remains cool to any package so large, making the scaled-back Senate alternative still a factor, even in defeat…..

More…..

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Mass Rep. Edward Markey seems to be the popular choice for the Democratic Mass Senate Special Candidate….

The Democrats up in Massachusetts need to pick a person upfront …..

A political knife fight will only help Scott Brown……

US Representative Edward Markey picked up two critically important endorsements and received strong praise from US Senator John Kerry for his candidacy to fill Kerry’s seat, in what appears to be a coordinated effort by party leaders to close ranks behind the congressman.

The moves by both Kerry, President Obama’s nominee for secretary of state, and the national Democrats to try and shape the race is a clear sign that the national party leadership is sending a message to other potential Democratic candidates to stay out of the campaign.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic leadership’s organization that raises fund and provides support for party candidates around the country, issued its endorsement of Markey just a day after he became the first and still the only candidate to join the race.

The DSCC’s unusual decision to quickly take sides in the race came just minutes after Kerry issued an highly unusual statement, in which he said he supports Markey’s decision to seek his Senate. He heaped strong praise on the Massachusetts congressman, but stopped short of an outright endorsement of his candidacy. Still, an aide to the senator confirmed that Kerry would vote for the congressman to be the Democratic nominee in a special election.

Within minutes after Kerry’s statement was released, Victoria Kennedy, the widow of the late senator Edward M. Kennedy, threw her support to Markey, using much of the same language that Kerry used in his statement.

More….

Photo….livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com

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Mini-Roundup for December 28, 2012…Red Racing Horses

by: shamlet
There are a small handful of items worth noting from the last two days…

MA-Sen: Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll (D), who is often mentioned as a possible statewide prospect but likely too short on name rec to be a serious contender right now, is officially out.

HI-Gov, HI-Sen: Anonymous sources say Rep. Colleen Hanabusa is being encouraged to challenge unpopular Gov. Neil Abercrombie in the D primary. Hanabusa, or someone else in the HIDP’s vast bench, could also take on newly appointed Sen. Brian Schatz.

HI-LG: In other Hawaii news, State Senate President Shan Tsutsui (D-Wailuku, Maui) has ascended to the office of Lt. Governor. Tsutsui is the first LG to come from Maui, and the first since 1962 to come from an island other than Oahu.

NJ-Gov, etc.: EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is stepping down, with running for Governor as a Dem in her native NJ as a remote possibility. Another possibility I might throw out is that she could be a good running mate for someone like Sweeney or Pascrell. Being #2 would boost her name rec while largely shielding her from blame for any loss to Christie. That said, the most likely future for her is in the private sector.
IA-Gov: Ex-Gov Chet Culver (D) confirms he is looking at a rematch with Terry Branstad. Culver would almost certainly clear a primary field.

Minneapolis-Mayor: Mayor R.T. Rybak (D), often speculated as a candidate for higher office, is stepping down at the end of his term next year. Our own OGGoldy gives some possible replacements here.

More….

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Daily Real Clear Politics Polling 12/28/12……

Thursday, December 27
Race/Topic   (Click to Sort) Poll Results Spread
President Obama Job Approval Gallup Approve 56, Disapprove 39 Approve +17
President Obama Job Approval Rasmussen Reports Approve 55, Disapprove 43 Approve +12
Direction of Country Rasmussen Reports Right Direction 35, Wrong Track 55 Wrong Track +20

from realclearpolitics

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The Human side of the Russian adoption ban…And it’s politics….

There are 15,000 children in the pipeline…..

Russian’s aren’t too enthusiastic in adopting their own…..

What is mising…And I assume Putin is trying to leverage in his political chess move against America influencing Russian actions (Good or Bad)…..

Is the Russian children and the American families…..

There ARE those in Russian who do NOT agree with their countries actions against the adoption’s….

In late October, Charles and Elisabeth Smith from Phoenix traveled to Borodino, Russia, to meet their prospective son, Malcom (not his real name), a 5-year-old with cerebral palsy. “This little boy just tugged at our heart strings,” says Elisabeth. “It was not a rational response, but even when I saw his picture, he looked like my child. When I got to hold him and talk to him and be with him, it was a good fit.”

After accepting his referral from the orphanage, just one step in the long adoption process the Smiths started in March, they anticipated taking Malcolm home a couple months after the New Year.

That family reunion is now in flux.

On Friday, Russia President Vladimir Putin signed into law a ban that would cease adoption of Russian children by American families.

The ban, called the Dima Yakovlev Law, throws families like the Smiths and tens of thousands of Russian orphans into the middle of a political tit-for-tat that began with the U.S. passage of the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act. That law, named after a hedge-fund lawyer who exposed corruption among Russian officials and died while in prison, sanctions Russian officials whom the U.S. believes are guilty of corruption and human-rights violations in Russia. Putin and other officials have been openly critical of the law, and the ban is part of a broad-based attempt to reduce U.S. influence in the country. The ban is named after Dima Yakovlev, a Russian toddler who was adopted by American parents and died of heat stroke when his adopted father, Miles Harrison, left him in a car and was later acquitted of involuntary manslaughter.

More….

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The Fiscal Cliff Show Update 12/28/12…….

The show plays on the center stage …..

……from the Hill……

Senators are growing more optimistic of a deal to avoid part of the fiscal cliff as Senate Republican Mitch McConnell (Ky.) works with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and President Obama to craft a last-minute deal.

The president will meet with McConnell, Reid, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) at the White House at 3 p.m. Friday.

Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) said the White House meeting could accelerate negotiations among the president and Senate leaders.

“I don’t think much comes out of this meeting per se, but the preparation for the meeting and some of the things that are said in it could cause case other conversations to occur. That is generally the way these things work,” he said.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Senate’s third-ranking Democrat, said on the “Today” show Friday that leaders are closer to a potential deal than many people in Washington think.

A senior Senate Democratic aide said if McConnell wants to raise the threshold for extending the Bush-era income tax rates to $400,000 — up from the $250,000 cutoff Obama campaigned on — Democrats would like to see unemployment insurance benefits, a freeze in scheduled cuts to doctors’ Medicare payments, and a package of “tax extenders” added to it. The tax-extender package would address expiring business and renewable energy tax breaks…..

More….

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