Thursday, January 31, 2013

4th Quarter GDP Growth Declines...Government's Fault? Yes, but...

The Washington Post's Ezra Klein writes this morning in his Wonkblog about the decline in the economy in the 4th quarter of 2012:

"...the government is hurting the recovery, and badly. But it’s not because it’s spending too much, or because of concerns over future policy. It’s because government, at all levels, is spending and investing too little. Despite the stimulus and various other policies we’ve passed to help the recovery, and despite the large deficits the government has been running, government spending and investment have, at all levels, been contractionary since 2010."

That's right. Government spending is too little right now, which hurts, well, businesses that do business with the Government. The biggest decline in Federal spending in the 4th Quarter was by the Pentagon, which cut their purchases by a beefy 22.2%. If the Pentagon hadn't cut spending so severely, the economy would've seen a small but steady growth of about 1.27%. 

Some economists feel this is no indication that the economy is in danger of falling back into a recession. "Frankly, this is the best looking contraction in GDP you'll ever see," Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist of Capital Economics wrote in a research note. Consumption growth rose by 2.2 percent, up from 1.6 percent in the third quarter, and business investment also climbed by 8.4 percent. "There is nothing in these figures to change our view that US GDP growth will accelerate as this year goes on."

Consumer spending and business investment both showed strong performances, which aligns with the widespread expectation of a more robust economy through most of 2013. 


Obama's Organizing for Action Group Screws Up... has a story that sure makes the "tech savvy" gang running the Democratic "Organizing for Action" group look pretty foolish. What happened? Well, the group was going to utilize the mammoth power and scope of the Obama campaign email database to buttress support on various issues, such as gun control and immigration. Somehow in the rollout from last week, something important got forgotten.

The result is that and have all been registered to some enterprising individuals who snapped up the domains on January 18, the day the news broke about the new group. The people listed as the contacts didn't respond to e-mails asking them what they intend to do with domains.

Wait, it gets better...

Three guesses what website clicking on any of those three links take you to?

Yup, the National Rifle Association homepage...

You couldn't make this shit up.

Just goes to show that these guys screw up bad just like the rest of us...


Monday, January 28, 2013

Obama's Recess Appointments-Abuse of Power?

Obama's Recess Appointments-Abuse of Power?

In its Friday edition, The New York Times reported that,

...a federal appeals court ruled on Friday that President Obama violated the Constitution when he installed three officials on the National Labor Relations Board a year ago. 

The ruling was a blow to the administration and a victory for Mr. Obama’s Republican critics — and a handful of liberal ones — who had accused him of improperly asserting that he could make the appointments under his executive powers. The administration had argued that the president could decide that senators were really on a lengthy recess even though the Senate considered itself to be meeting in “pro forma” sessions.

Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution says, "The President shall have power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session."

The appeals court ruling: “An interpretation of ‘the recess’ that permits the president to decide when the Senate is in recess would demolish the checks and balances inherent in the advice-and-consent requirement, giving the president free rein to appoint his desired nominees at any time he pleases, whether that time be a weekend, lunch, or even when the Senate is in session and he is merely displeased with its inaction,” wrote Judge David B. Sentelle. “This cannot be the law.

Was Congress in recess? Actually, the House of Representatives must give formal permission to the Senate to shut down or go into "recess." (As the Senate must also provide permission to the House when they wish to recess.) Had the House granted the Senate, as required by the Constitution, permission to be in recess?

No, they had not. Which means, according to the Constitution, that the chamber can not adjourn for more than three days. 

As a result The Senate went into "pro forma" mode, where typically a member of the chamber will be one of a very few number of elected officials in the actual room, gavel in (to officially open the day's session) and then seconds later gavel out (to officially end the day's session.) There are no speakers or speeches. There are no Bills presented for consideration. There is no actual business conducted as the vast majority of the chamber's members aren't even there. 

Technically the Senate stayed in session. 
Functionally, it was not. 

This way of avoiding the technical closing of the Senate which, by a literal interpretation of Article II, Sec. 02, is the only time President can make a recess appointment, is a tactic originated by Democrats during the GW Bush administration. Mr. Bush did not contest it. Mr. Obama has. 

The fallout of this Court's action may be significant as any appointments made by President Obama during what he considered a "recess" may be, in the end, null and void. As may any decisions made by these appointees during their time in their position. 

The tactic seems to be a cheap way to go against the spirit of Article II, Sec. 2. It was cheap when utilized by the Democrats during the Bush years and its cheap during the Obama years. Presidents have utilized recess appointments for a long time. The history suggests they're not the "power grab" some Conservatives suggest they are. Is President Obama abusing this privilege to appoint people to positions while Congress is in recess? The New York Times says: 

Mr. Obama has made about 32 such appointments, including that of Richard Cordray, as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. President Bill Clinton made 139, while Mr. Bush made 171, including those of John R. Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations and two appeals court judges, William H. Pryor Jr. and Charles W. Pickering Sr.

The Administration has said it will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. Therefore, this won't be over anytime soon. All of the decisions made by all of the appointees are now, I imagine, subject to great controversy pending the final outcome by the Courts. Whenever that might be. 

Is this anyway to run our Government?


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Women in Combat: Opinion

Earlier this week Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced a fundamental change in the policies regarding the use of women in combat positions. In Mr. Panetta's own words, "Today Gen. Dempsey and I are pleased to announce that we are eliminating the ground combat exclusion rule for women and moving forward with a plan to eliminate all gender-based barriers to service. Our purpose is to ensure the mission is carried out by the best qualified and most capable service members, regardless of gender and regardless of creed and beliefs. If members of our military can meet the qualifications for a job -- and let me be clear, we are not reducing qualifications -- then they should have the right to serve."

The media, talk shows and the internet has been covering this development for the last week with plenty of excitement for both sides of the issue. Arguments for the idea here, here, here and here. Arguments against the idea here, here, here and here.

Some of the arguments are better than others of course. 

I say yes, let's open all the jobs up to all of our military personnel who are capable of performing the required duties. Standards, as Mr. Panetta said, should NOT be lowered in any cases. If a female is capable to pass the required competencies and tests, she's earned the opportunity to serve in that role. Like many social groups that have been rejected before (blacks, asians, gays, etc...) the United States Military seems to have a solid ability to adapt to changing circumstances. They got over serving and fighting next to those groups, even the most elite groups will likely get over it, too. 

That said, if we're able to, over a period of determine based on evidence that certain jobs don't seem to suit females or there is a greater rate of injury or death, then that would be a legitimate reason to modify the future role of women in the service. It must be evidence based with a statistically significant amount of data to base decisions on. 

So far, at least based on a study done by the National Center for PTSD, women are reacting to the experience of combat operations in much the same way males are. 

From the study: (Emphasis mine)

Though the broader literature suggests that women may be more vulnerable to the effects of trauma exposure, most available studies on combat trauma have relied on samples in which women’s combat exposure is limited and analyses that do not directly address gender differences in associations between combat exposure and post deployment mental health. Female service members’ increased exposure to combat in Afghanistan and Iraq provides a unique opportunity to evaluate gender differences in different dimensions of combat related stress and associated consequence for post deployment mental health. The current study addressed these research questions in a representative sample of female and male U.S. veterans who had returned from deployment to Afghanistan or Iraq within the previous year. As expected, women reported slightly less exposure than men to most combat-related stressors, but higher exposure to other stressors (i.e., prior life stress, deployment sexual harassment). No gender differences were observed in reports of perceived threat in the war zone. Though it was hypothesized that combat-related stressors would demonstrate stronger negative associations with post deployment mental health for women, only one of 16 stressor gender interactions achieved statistical significance and an evaluation of the clinical significance of these interactions revealed that effects were trivial. Results suggest that female Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom service members may be as resilient to combat-related stress as men. Future research is needed to evaluate gender differences in the longer-term effects of combat exposure.

If the science bears out over time that women are just as suitable to specialty service groups like Navy Seals of Army Rangers, we as a Country are best served by having the most qualified people, regardless of gender, serving in those roles. If the science bears out over time that female aren't holding up as well as males, then we'd need to change it. 

As our Country realizes more and more that white males aren't superior to the rest of America in a wide swath of professions including politics, the law, education, the clergy, athletics, law enforcement, etc. there should be no shock that this evolution reaches the outer limits of our military. There should be no barriers or false limits preventing any American, male or female, white or black, straight or gay, christian or non from all of the same opportunities any of us enjoy. 


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Best line (one of) of Obama's 2nd Inaugural Address...

I enjoyed President Obama's Inaugural Address on Monday quite a bit. Many of the themes and ideas we heard from him during his first campaign back in 2008 resurfaced as goals and intentions for his second term. I understand the political reality that a President can't do everything in his first term and with his prioritization of reforming healthcare in the United States, its obvious that almost everything else had to come later.

Mind you, there was significant legislation not related to healthcare in the form of equal pay for women, the end of "don't ask-don't tell" in the military, consumer protection, financial regulatory reform, etc. Looking forward, immigration, gun reform and addressing the debt/deficit in a balanced fashion are next up.

My favorite line from his speech earlier this week was this:

"We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate." 

He's absolutely correct. Regardless of your political persuasions, we all should embrace rational discourse and shun the theatrics we've seen for much of the last decade.

We should all agree on this, right?

Why wouldn't we?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Guess who has fewest Executive orders in last 100 years?

New Yorker Magazine has done some research on the number of executive orders issued by the presidents from the last one hundred years.

The findings are a little surprising...

We know its a popular talking point among Conservatives that President Obama is exceeding his authority by issuing so many executive orders. With the research going back 100 years, how does President Obama compare? Is he in the top five most? The top three? Where does this "king or monarch" (Ron Paul's words, not mine) come in?

Click here to see the New Yorkers findings...


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Obama bad for corporate profits?

Well, that Commie Socialist Muslim in the White House is at it again. And, I hope he's happy this time.

According to Bloomberg, the newest Corporate profit reports are out and they're quite something. We know that Obama's LOVE of all things regulatory and those high taxes on businesses have stunted any real shot we had at a serious economic recovery. And now, those ill-conceived tactics have come home to roost.

From Bloomberg:

U.S. corporations’ after-tax profits have grown by 171 percent under Obama, more than under any president since World War II, and are now at their highest level relative to the size of the economy since the government began keeping records in 1947, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Profits are more than twice as high as their peak during President Ronald Reagan’s administration and more than 50 percent greater than during the late-1990s Internet boom, measured by the size of the economy.
Looks as if some economists feel President Obama pulled some of the right strings once he took over in January of 2009: 
In a February 2012 survey, 80 percent of senior economics professors said unemployment was lower at the end of 2010 than it would have been without Obama’s stimulus spending. A July 2010 study by Alan Blinder, former Federal Reserve vice chairman, and Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics, said the stimulus, bank rescues and Fed policy “probably averted what could have been called Great Depression 2.0.”
No, everything isn't rosy and it isn't going to be for sometime. However, the next time you read or hear someone suggest that Obama is killing business, remember these numbers.

After tax profits have grown by 171% under this president. They are twice as high as the best numbers during the Reagan Administration and 50% better than the Clinton era Internet Boom days. For a Commie, Socialist Muslim, he's not doing that badly, eh?

What's in President Obama's gun proposals?

National Journal has the list and a nice explanation of each proposal... - What Are Obama's Gun Control Proposals? An Easy Guide - Wednesday, January 16, 2013

National Journal on Obama's gun speech...

Good write-up on President Obama's remarks yesterday about the need for gun reform in the United States... - Obama's New Frame: Gun Rights Vs. The Right to Life - Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

President Obama's Gun Proposals...

Here is the detailed information about President Obama's proposal's for gun reform. Mr. Obama, after receiving recommendations from Vice President Joe Biden, whom he had tasked with the job of researching the problem, meeting with all sides, developing a list of common sense ideas to move forward with, addressed the media this morning at the White House.

 The highlights include:

*Require background checks for all gun purchases
*Strengthen the system for background checks
*Limit ammunition magazines to ten rounds
*Eliminate armor piercing bullets from the street
*Additional tools for law enforcement
*Prosecute gun crime more effectively
*Restart gun violence research programs
*Provide funding to make schools safer various programs
*Improve mental health services, especially for young people

Read the whole plan here...


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Interesting Conversation with Dr. Aaron Carroll....

If you've been following health care reform you probably already know who Dr. Aaron Carroll is. Carroll is a pediatrician and an expert on health care reform. He is also an associate professor of Pediatrics and the associate director of Children’s Health Services Research at Indiana University School of Medicine. He is also the director of the Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research. He earned a BA in chemistry from Amherst College, an MD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and an MS in health services from the University of Washington, where he was also a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar.

He also blogs at the Incidental Economist website...

Recently he and Harold Pollack recorded a conversation about health policy and what the next year holds for the Affordable Care Act's continued implementation. The thirty minute conversation is split into two halves. Its fast moving and covers a good bit of ground. I found it very enjoyable. 

Click on the link below to watch it...

"How I became a health policy wonk, my favorite policy charts and what's ahead for health reform..."

Friday, January 11, 2013

Obama May Use Executive Order for Gun Reform...

Vice President Biden is expected to submit his recommendations to President Obama sometime next week with regard to what, if any, changes we should implement on the matter of guns. Earlier this week, Biden commented that an Executive order may be used to enforce these changes as opposed to using a piece of legislation that was debated on and ultimately passed through both chambers of Congress on its way to becoming law.

The outrage from the right has been loud and rather high pitched in reaction to the possible use of Executive Order (EO) by this Administration. The Drudge Report, for example, posted this photo and headline after word on the possible use of EO's came out:

Yes, those are pictures of Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin, two of the worst human beings in the history of the planet. And, there's this guy. James Yeager, CEO of a company called "Tactical Response" who expressed his feelings this way:

A perfectly healthy, sensible position, wouldn't you say? 

(NOTE: As of this afternoon, Mr. Yeager's gun licence was suspended for the remarks he made in the video above. Read the story here...)

We also saw talk show host Alex Jones of comment in general regarding gun laws on the Piers Morgan show on CNN earlier this week:


There seems to be this notion that if President Obama does use an executive order to make some changes in our gun laws, that it would be:

A) Outrageous
B) Unprecedented
C) An Anti-American abuse of power

It would be none of those things. Executive Orders have been utilized since the times of Lincoln and before. According to the National Archives, which has tracked every Presidential executive order since 1937, Obama seems to use the privilege less than most recent President's have. 

As of late last Fall, Obama has used EO's 140 times. Compare that to these other President's:
GW Bush - 291 in 8 years...
Clinton - 364 in 8 years...
Bush Sr. - 166 in 4 years...
Reagan - 366 in 8 years...
Carter - 320 in 4 years...
Nixon, LBJ - both over 300...
Eisenhower - was over 500...
Truman - well over 900...

At this rate, Obama is on pace to use fewer EO's than any full term POTUS except George H. W. Bush did since tracking began. Is this the abuse of a dictator? Not hardly. Presidents can not overturn any Amendment to the Constitution that they feel like. Congress has the right to veto the order with a 2/3rds majority vote from both houses. Congress may also elect to deny funding to any executive order being fulfilled. The order can be appealed to the Supreme Court, in fact. Long term, if nothing is able to reverse an EO, it can simply be repealed by the next President who takes office. Simple. We don't need people like Mr. Yeager to take up arms against other Americans to defeat it. We're civilized and the right answer is rarely found with a gun. 

There is another take on this subject, one that I haven't seen or read much about. The politics of this are interesting. Imagine you are a Republican up for re-election in an area where the Tea Party is a presence but not in the majority just yet. You support your constituents usually but there have been whispers from your right (from the tea partiers who would love to get your seat next election) that you are not conservative enough.

You also realize that with the Obama Administration winning most of the year-end fiscal cliff battle, that Congress, especially the House, is in no mood to cooperate on anything until spending is addressed in a meaningful way. Certainly not a proposal that even remotely infringes on the Second Amendment.  Even if the Biden recommendations are nothing more than increased background checks, close the gun-show loophole and increased mental health funding, (all pretty easy to swallow reforms), how could Mr. GOP in a tea party area support such a Bill? It would be safer for that Congressman's career to reject it, be able to fight the tea party challenge on a different issue and keep the Republican leadership happy at the same time. Understand, this person wouldn't have voted against this proposal because of any credible reason except for politics. Courage, it seems, is over-rated in politics these days.

Should the Obama Administration decide to use executive orders to strengthen our gun laws with the hopes of avoiding another mass shooting, it takes it off the political table for now. For moderate republicans who may support the changes, they won't have to publicly speak in favor of it. or go on record as having voted for it. With the current dynamics between this President and the current Congress being what they are, an executive order may be the best, perhaps the only way to implement meaningful reforms. 

In a recent Gallup poll, most Americans seem to want stricter gun laws, but oppose an outright ban. If the Congress can't/won't put everything else aside and agree to work together on this, then I applaud President Obama for leading on this issue and getting some common sense measures put into place. One caveat, I do think the President should give Congress the chance to vote on his proposal. Yes, many may likely say why vote for this when we know Obama will put this into place via EO if it fails to pass Congress? The reason? To get these Congressmen and women on the record. Obama takes the high road and gives Congress a chance to participate in the action. If they agree, terrific. If they don't, at some date in the future Obama implements all of the proposals via executive order. The Congress can complain all the want, but their chance will have come and gone. If they won't lead, I suspect President Obama will. 


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Has a gun ban made England safer?

From the October 9th, 2012 edition of the Guardian News...
*551 homicides (includes murder, manslaughter and infanticide) were reported in 2011/12, a considerable drop on the previous year's total of 638. Homicides are now down to around half of the figure for 2001/2.
*Attempted murders also fell, but by a smaller proportion, dropping by 7.6% in comparison to a fall of 13.6% in homicides.
Interesting information given the current discussion of guns in America...
Read the whole article here...

Who's got the answer about the president? CBS's Mark Knoller does...

CBS's Mark Knoller is the subject of a nice write-up in the Shane Harris has the byline with the story of the reporter that the reporters go to for details about the President. Knoller tracks stuff no one else does including the White House itself.

An excerpt:

“Mark, when was President Obama’s last full news conference?” asks a reporter from Reuters who, apparently on deadline, has just popped into the cramped press booth Mark Knoller shares with two colleagues from CBS News in the back of the White House Press Room.
“March 6, 2012,” Knoller says without looking up from his computer screen as he updates his Twitter feed. “It was 44 minutes long. It was in the briefing room.”
Knoller explains that although Obama held his first post-election news conference this afternoon, November 14, none of his interactions with reporters since March 6 count as a full-on news conference. They can only be described as limited question periods, unscheduled appearances in the briefing room, or impromptu exchanges. The Reuters reporter doesn’t ask, but Knoller could tell him exactly how many of those there were.
“Okay, March 6,” the reporter says. “That’s what we’ll go with. We’re counting on you.”
I turn to Knoller, who is typing a tweet while listening to three evening news broadcasts from a bank of TVs above his desk. “Do you get a lot of questions like that?” I ask.
He chuckles softly and shrugs, as if to say, “You think anyone else keeps track of this stuff?”
Click here to read the entire article...


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Alex Jones, Piers Morgan "Debate?" on CNN...

You may have heard that CNN talk show host Piers Morgan invited radio talk show host Alex Jones to debate guns the other night. Morgan has come out in favor of banning military grade semi automatics, increased background checks especially through gun show and more money for mental health programs. Jones is a controversial figure who believes that 9/11 was a conspiracy on behalf of the military industrial complex. He also supports the petition on the White House website to deport Piers Morgan, mostly because of his position on guns.

The segment runs about 15 minutes.

Watch it:

 I think Mr. Jones did himself and many gun owners a large dis-service with his approach to this appearance. He does not seem reasonable or even, frankly interested in being reasonable. He appeared to arrive in ill-humor and with a speech of sorts to make. His rudeness only grew throughout the segment and viewers really learned nothing about the issue they probably knew already. Except that Alex Jones is a bit of a oddball who's wound a bit tight.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Birther wants Supreme Court Justice Roberts to refuse to issue oath of office to President Obama...

Yup, they're still at it...

The latest birther foolishness is from a Craig McMillan, contributor for

Here it is, in its entirety:

Dear Mr. Roberts,
When you administered the oath of office to Barack Obama for his first term as president, you could have been excused for believing that Mr. Obama was qualified under the Constitution to hold the office of president, which he had sought and won. After all, Obama’s opponent, John McCain, never raised the issue of Mr. Obama’s qualifications.
Now that Mr. Obama has been re-elected and is preparing to serve a second term of office, there can be no doubt regarding his qualifications. This is because by Mr. Obama’s own admission, his father was of Kenyan nationality and perhaps holding British citizenship as well.
In addition to the nationality of Mr. Obama Sr. listed on Barack Obama’s birth certificate, we know that Obama Sr. was not an American citizen because of correspondence surrounding his stay in this country.
Because Obama Sr. lacked American citizenship, Barack Obama is not a natural born citizen, as required by our Constitution. He is not natural born, and can never be natural born, because of his father. Therefore, Barack Obama is not qualified to be president and never will be qualified. This would still be true, even if he received every vote cast.
Your failure to investigate these citizenship issues surrounding Mr. Obama at the time questions were raised during his first term places you in a terrible position. You are now confronted with a most difficult choice.
Your own oath of office, sworn before God and the American people, requires you to uphold the Constitution. (If not you, then who?) If you now administer the oath of office for the presidency to a man who by his own admission fails to meet the natural born citizen requirement imposed by that Constitution, you have violated your own oath of office and are rightly subject to impeachment by any House of Representatives, at any time, now or in the future.
If you choose the easy course of ignoring our Constitution, it does not change the fact that Mr. Obama is barred by that same Constitution from acting as president. I am sure that if you turn your judicial mind to the ramifications of this fraud, both foreign and domestic, you will understand that the harm you will have done insures your impeachment and eternal dishonor at some point down the road: If not this House of Representatives, then the next, or the next, or the next.
These things do not end well. One need only look to the aftermath of World War II and the Nuremberg Trials to see what awaits. Illegal wars. Illegal debts. Illegal laws. Will the rest of the Supreme Court’s justices, now knowing they are violating their own oath of office, continue the sham through a second presidential term? How, then, is the highest court of law in the nation any different than that pictorial proverb in Japan of the three monkeys who see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil?
Given the gravity of this situation, we therefore urge you to take the honorable course of action and refuse to administer the oath of office to Mr. Obama. And yes, this will also require you to explain to the nation in the clearest possible terms why you have been compelled to take this most extraordinary action.
Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice, for your consideration.

What's left to say that hasn't already been said or written about this subject? We've seen the birth certificate, birth announcement and we known that Barack Obama is eligible to be the President of the United States because his Mother was, in fact, a citizen
Letters which suggest impeachment of a sitting Supreme Court Justice will garner some attention from time to time, but the birther thing is getting sad and tired. Maybe these types will go to their grave believing that the greatest hoax of all time has been perpetuated upon the American People, maybe they'll loose their zest for this silliness over time. We have four more years of President Obama in office before he moves on with his next project. 
Unless of course, that bastard finds a way to get a third term...


NHL Lockout is Over...News Links...

The National Hockey League and the National Hockey League's Player's Association have announced an agreement. "Don Fehr and I are here to tell you that we have reached an agreement on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement, the details of which need to be put to paper," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed to reporters early Sunday morning. "We have to dot a lot of I's and cross a lot of T's. There is still a lot of work to be done, but the basic framework has been agreed upon."

The agreement still has to be ratified by the players association, with details regarding the length of the season, start dates, schedules, etc. to be announced in the next few days. 

The deal is good for ten years with an opt-out clause after eight and should provide some consistency for the league for the next several seasons. How fast the fans will return is another question but I suspect the arenas across North America will be sold out on opening night. 

There's no shortage of stories on this announcement...

To see TSN's coverage, click here...

To read coverage from the Ottawa Citizen, click here...

To read coverage from the Toronto Globe and Mail, click here...

To read the CBC's coverage click here...

To see coverage from Sportsnet, click here...

To see coverage from the NHLPA, click here...

To see coverage from, click here...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Tick tock on the on the fiscal cliff negotiations...

 Politico has an interesting tick tock on how the fiscal cliff negotiations played out over thelast several weeks. Utilizing numerous interviews from White Houee and Congressional leadership staffers, the article walks the reader through the entire process from the last two months.

From trade-offs from all sides to John Boehner telling Harry Reid not once, but twice no less to "...go fuck yourself," its a compelling portrait of how this legislation got made and the fiscal cliff was avoided.

It is worth your time to read this...Great work by Politico's John Breshahan, Carrie Budoff Brown, Manu Raju and Jake Sherman. 

Click here for the entire piece...


The Implosion of the Republican Party...

The Republican Party is really two Parties. The Republican Party and the Tea Party. Republicans are petrified of being "primaried" by conservatives on their right, so as we've seen in the last session of Congress, the recent fiscal cliff negotiations and even the normally slam-dunk of a disaster relief aid package debacle, the GOP is having all sorts of problems. 

Conservatives from Peter King to Chris Christie are screaming mad at their Republican leadership, mostly for delaying a vote on the Hurricane Sandy relief package. Gov. Christie said, "Shame on you.  Shame on Congress. It's absolutely disgraceful, and I have to tell you, this used to be something that was not political. Disaster relief was something you didn't play games with. But in this current atmosphere, it's a potential piece of bait for the political game.  It is why the American people hate Congress." At another point, he said of Republicans in Congress: "We've got people down there who use the citizens of this country like pawns on a chessboard."

Rep. King also voiced his displeasure..."I can’t imagine that type of indifference, that type of disregard, that type of cavalier attitude being shown to any other part of the country.” “People in my party, they wonder why they’re becoming a minority party,” he continued. “They’ve written me off and they’re going to have a hard time getting my vote.” King also added that anyone in New York or New Jersey who gives money to the House Republican campaigns, "needs to have their heads examined."
A political party can't expect to fare very well in upcoming elections if they keep driving people away. The hard core conservatives will, of course, stay true. But its hard to imagine droves of Independents rushing to vote for the GOP next election. To piss off women and young people and Hispanics/Latinos and gay rights groups and labor groups and climate/environmental interests, etc. is quite something. 

It really is. 

They have time of course to make some changes and several fresh attractive faces like Marco Rubio ready to take on an expanded role in the party, but with the recent mis-steps, one wonders how long before the reset button has to be pressed on a national level. Someone or some group will have to find a way to save the Republican Party from itself. It won't be easy as the Tea Party are pulling from the right, which makes moving the Party to the left, almost impossible. 


Al Jazeera Buy Current TV, plans News Channel...

Al Jazeera has announced the purchase of Current TV and its intentions to debut a US based news network utilizing Current's distribution network.

Read the full story here...