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The VP Debate may have changed things around a little… I think Biden really pulled it off.

I’ve heard critiques this morning that Vice President Joe Biden was all smirks, smiles, laughs, sharp elbows and impolite interruptions in his debate with Paul Ryan. It is always a risky tactic to let Joe be Joe, but it seems to have paid off.

After President Obama’s passive, lackluster response to Mitt Romney’s energetic assault during the first presidential debate, it was a relief that Biden came out swinging at Ryan. They got what they wanted and, as a result, Democrats should be reinvigorated as the closing days of the 2012 campaign tick away. I know I am.

And Biden made sure voters got to see Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” line put into action against the Republican presidential campaign. It was a fantasy moment for Democrats and Obama supporters, who thought the 47% quote from Romney was their major attack point.

CBS’s poll of undecided voters had Biden with a clear win, 50-31. Now we’ll see over the next few days how the VP debate effects overall polling for the presidential candidates.


Harold and Kumar Go to the Democratic National Convention


One of the things I like about Obama and the Democrats that I didn’t see with Romney and the Republicans: they have a sense of humor.

Kal Penn will be hosting live coverage of the convention on

Kal Penn and the First Lady rehearse for the convention. The First Lady speaks tonight.


Quotes of the Day – Diversity of the Democratic National Convention

Remember last week when the Republicans put up black, woman, hispanic and other speakers (in front of the virtually all white audience) and said their convention represented a much more diverse America than the Democrats ever could? Well, they ought to take a look at a convention where the speakers AND the conventioneers are made up out of a great mix of Americans.

“This is truly the most diverse, the most open, the most transparent, the most exciting convention we’re about to undertake. It is big, it is bold, it is beautiful, it is America.”

– Alice Germond, Democratic National Committee Secretary

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

“We’re doing things a little different than the Republicans. A lot more delegates, Latino delegates, African Americans, women. In addition to having very prominent roles like the keynote speaker, and in my case chairing the convention, you’ll also see that our platform reflects our values.

“The face of our party will reflect the values of our party”

– Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Convention Chairman

Makes me proud to be a Democrat.

Getting ready for the Democratic Convention…


Tomorrow will be the start of three days of Democrats firing up their base and showing support for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. They are in Charlotte, North Carolina, and we’ll be hearing some great speeches.

There’s been a lot of criticism of C lint Eastwood at the Republican Convention with his empty chair routine. A lot of people are suggesting that the Democrats come up with a parody attack. The leading suggestion is to have Betty White talking to Romney in an empty chair. It’s a very funny idea, but it is not going to happen.

Democrats are going to make the point that we are actually better off today than we were when George W. Bush left us in an economic mess.

Just look at how much job growth there has been in the private sector sing the Republicans (red bars) were replaced by Obama and the Democrats (blue bars.) Of course this is what the Republicans lied about last week when they said Obama had done nothing in the last 3 1/2 years.

So I hope everyone enjoys watching the convention and that independents and undecideds go for Obama/Biden and the Democratic congressional candidates.


Quote of Day – on the summer of economy repair

From Sandy Underpants at The Aristocrats:

if the Obama team is any good, and I think they are, they are going to spend every penny they can spend, every squirreled away billion is going to hit the economy.  if it is possible for us to have a recovery summer, this will be the summer we get it.  of course it can’t be done without fingerprints and Republicans will all squeal like a stepped on cat every time a dollar gets spent.  President Obama won’t be able to have an extra squirt of creamer in his coffee without being accused of juicing the economy.  so that will be our long boring political summer.  to the extent that anyone pays attention it’ll be a long boring political summer that Democrats win.

You know, I agree with him and I’ll be promoting the Democratic program here on this blog all summer.

Boehner Caves!

We enter the evening with Speaker John Boehner caving in to a growing chorus of criticism from both within and outside his Republican party. He has agreed to The Senate’s short-term deal to extend a payroll tax cut for 160 million Americans.

In a major reversal that appeared to end a standoff with Democrats, Boehner told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid he would set a vote in the House on a Senate-passed two-month extension of the payroll tax cut.

Boehner’s about-face contrasts with a year of Republican dominance in The House, in which a staunch opposition to higher taxes and spending yielded a string of political successes. Their backpedalling this time handed a rare victory to President Barack Obama and Democrats.

The vote to carry out the 60-day plan should take place tomorrow.

As June ends we see the economy getting worse…

Unemployment looks like it’s starting to go up again, even here in Shepherdstown where we were doing pretty well – something which I think is pretty common in small University towns not based on industry or international trade – and I’m getting more and more pissed off at our Congressfolk who would rather battle for control of the government than the salvation of the citizenry.

Take, for instance, the walkout of Cantor and Kyl from the deficit talks – blaming it n the Democrats seeking tax increases for the rich (after they had already given up three trillion dollars in concessions according to the news on television). Now it seems the walkout was pre-planned and this  was a strategy to throw the Republican position into Boehner‘s lap, keeping the House from any kind of agreement on returning the upper 1% of rich folks from going back to the tax levels that Bush had brought them “temporarily” down to. As they pulled this off, the ability to fund the basics of Medicare and Medicaid seem strained and folks like Max Baucus, one of the few Democrats that I have the least trust in, announced he was ready to look at more cuts in the health care agenda.

If the deficit ceiling is not raised by the end of the next three or four weeks we will have plenty of opportunity to hear both parties blaming the other… both of them claiming that the majority of Americans agree with them. But since the rest of us are all part of that majority of Americans it seems strange that no one really feels the politicians are really speaking for us.

Perhaps it is time for us all to find ways to show that we could work together to solve problems, and send the politicians, lobbyists, Koch Brothers, Fox Newscasters, and all the rest who are making their big bucks on this conflict out into the night.

Maybe we can do it. Maybe.

Thoughts in the Afternoon…

While I’ve been waiting at home for the delivery of my SuperFocus glasses (according to UPS tracking they left the Hagerstown UPS facility at around 7:30 this morning… it is now around 1:30 in the afternoon and they are not here yet. Of course, the estimated delivery listing said they would come at “some time” today… so I’m just going to wait.

Anyway, while sitting here waiting, I was thinking about the things that make politicians the servants of corporations with endless supplies of money, while they ignore the needs of citizens who have little or no cash to spare. Notice I didn’t distinguish between Democrats and Republicans… I can cite instances where members of both parties have knuckled under to Corporate funds. Although I must say that, during this season, and especially after the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court, the Republicans are a good ten times ahead of the Democrats in raising corporate donations for campaign ads (about $100.00 vs. $1,000,000.00 so far) and, unlike the small players, the Republican contributions have not been attributed to anyone… they are completely secret.

That’s going to make the campaign season a little off center as we watch TV ads and listen to radio shows. It’s going to be the responsibility of blogs like this one to keep all the players honest. So I hope as petitions come up and phone calls need to be made that my readers will be as active as necessary to help us preserve the America that is run by the People and not by the Corporate Elite.

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Budgets and Taxes

Ben Sargent in the Austin American-Statesman:

Republicans favor the Rich and their Budget reflects that case…

– and –

Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle:

… and they want to replace Medicaid with a new Block Grant program… after all: No Pain, No Gain…

– and –

Chip Bok at

… but wait until Tax Day and see who really has the Pain and who really makes the Gain…

– and –

John Sherffius in the Boulder Daily Camera:

… but don’t take my word for it. It’s all written down in black and white.

So what’s new in Wisconsin?

Just received this in an e-mail from the Daily Kos (to be honest, it was a fundraising letter):

Wisconsin Republicans say the state is too broke to pay for teachers, but they just gave the 26-year-old mistress of a union-busting Republican Senator a state job with a fat raise. It’s a classic Republican scandal filled with hypocrisy, cronyism, and their special version of “family values.”

Here’s the story. Last year, Wisconsin Republican state Senator Randy Hopper left his wife to live with a young Republican political operative. Last month, as Governor Scott Walker unveiled legislation calling for deep cuts in state workers’ salaries and collective bargaining rights, Hopper’s mistress was hired by the state on the advice of Scott Walker’s cabinet as a “communications liaison.” Further, her salary is 35% higher than her predecessor’s.

Randy Hopper is now facing recall.

What is it about Republicans that, no matter what kind of principled stance they claim to be making, they always undermine it with something like this? And they all work together doing it, so you can’t say it isn’t planned. That also means they lie during campaigns and, once they have the majorities they engineer, they go ahead and do what they intended to do… in this case bust unions, get rid of teachers and reward their own.

I’m getting really tired of this… I only wish Democrats had enough guts to go in and make things right. Maybe those 14 Democratic State Senators in Wisconsin are stronger than our Federal donkeys.

Quote from Republican History…

A century ago, Teddy Roosevelt summed up changes in the Republican Party:

The Republican Party is now facing a great crisis. It is to decide whether it will be, as in the days of Lincoln, the party of the plain people, the party of progress, the party of social and industrial justice; or whether it will be the party of privilege and of special interests, the heir to those who were Lincoln’s most bitter opponents, the party that represents the great interests within and without Wall Street which desire through their control over the servants of the public to be kept immune from punishment when they do wrong and to be given privileges to which they are not entitled.

One hundred years later we see the Republicans having made the anti-Lincoln decision. If he were alive today, Teddy would most likely be a Democrat.

So much for the relationship with History.

Watching the House go at it on Health Care…

This is a moment of extreme entertainment as the House of Representatives battle over amendments coming from the Republican Congressman King of Iowa trying to stop funding for the Affordable Care Act (which he insists on calling “Obamacare” even though that name has been protested by Democrats). Rosa De Lauro of Connecticut is organizing the Democratic opposition and seems to be doing a pretty good job at it.

Republicans seem to refuse to address the cost of ending the Affordable Health Care Act in lost jobs and extreme cost increases put on Americans by Insurance companies. They are carrying out an assault on the working poor, the elderly and the ill Americans. It is a travesty that we have to go through this.

King is putting out amendment after amendment, all going after the same end: ending what he calls “Obamacare”. Since there is no act with that name, why don’t they just tell him to shut up and sit down?

Quote of the Day – Results of the Lame Duck Session and a salute to Harry Reid.

“When it’s all going to be said and done, Harry Reid has eaten our lunch. This has been a capitulation in two weeks of dramatic proportions of policies that wouldn’t have passed in the new Congress.”

— Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)


The Dream Act went down due to a filibuster by Republicans…

This is so unfortunate, since it effects children who have spent most of their lives here and know no other country. If it hadn’t been for the filibuster, it would have passed.

If I was Dick Durbin today, after pushing for this legislation for a decade, I would certainly try to keep my confidence up, even if it takes ANOTHER decade to get it through.

Voting this bill down has cost us students, citizens, soldiers and participants in the economy. Now that the Republicans take over the House in January (and the number of Republicans increase in the Senate), the fight over this legislation will be even harder next year. It will be important for Democrats to keep the intensity up over the idea of welcoming these young people into our citizenry as opposed to shutting them out. And they certainly will have support at this blog.

Does anyone remember what Obama SAID he was going to do?

… and what Boehner said as well?

This is pathetic. I hope the rest of the Democrats show some guts and pull this down. Of course, that’s not likely to happen.

Does anyone trust these guys?

The Bush Tax Cuts for Millionaires and Billionaires… will they get extended? This from FireDogLake today:
clipped from
Michael Bennet gets caught in a moment of rare honesty with an open mike in the Senate:

“It’s all rigged. The whole conversation is rigged. The fact that we don’t get to a discussion before the break about what we’re going to do in the lame duck. It’s just rigged.”

Of course it is. They know what they want — a deal to extend all the Bush tax cuts for two to three years. It’s just a matter of how the Democrats can set the Republicans up to take the blame, yet not do it in a way that causes political blowback for them. They tried for months to get the Republicans to share the blame for the health care bill, and couldn’t pull that off either, so I doubt their competence has improved significantly.
So, Nancy Pelosi will preside over her little piece of stunt theater today in the House, taking a meaningless vote that will surprise nobody when it fails because she set the bar for success at 290 votes, which they can’t possibly hope to achieve.

But gosh darn it, they tried

blog it

… and this from FireDogLake’s Founder. Jane Hamsher:

Pelosi beats Shuler for Minority Leader position 150 – 43

C-Span has just announced this and Pelosi is about to speak with the Press… Formal announcement won’t take place, however, until tomorrow.

Lame Duck Session starts today…I’m hoping they just let the Bush tax cuts expire…

..and by that I mean for everybody. I no longer believe that extending them would aid the middle class… they will just make the deficit worse. It certainly won’t help if we extend them to the wealthy… it will just put is a trillion dollars further into the hole.

What we must see is that when Bush put in the tax breaks eight years ago, they just made everything worse… they did not help as they were supposed to. Remember the definition of insanity? It’s making the same mistake over and over and expecting different results. If the tax cuts are extended, the results will not be different. It will not create jobs. It will leave us in greater debt. We won’t be back where we began, we’ll be far worse.

With good luck, the division between the Dems and the Repubs will prevent ANYTHING from happening. Then, in January, the Republican-controlled House will be faced with a situation where they won’t be able to do anything without working together with the Democrats… and they just may start to solve the problems.

Quote of the Day – What in Hell is Obama Doing?

While Obama still has a Democratic majority for the Lame Duck Session, it appears that he has decided to cave into the Republicans on the Bush Tax Cuts extensions and give the rich the cuts they…deserve? That’s why someone like MaryScott O’Connor hits the nail on the head:

MaryScott O’Connor  Commented 3 hours ago

“I’m shocked, SHOCKED to find this Administration bending over for the Republicans again. And by “shocked” I mean… totally unsurprised. What a total WIMP this man has turned out to be. Or… I guess I should say… next to Clinton… Obama is the best Republican President we’ve ever had? What a desolation.”

I guess I have to say that my support for Obama is slipping rapidly. I don’t so much care that he gives in, but that he DOES NOT FIGHT for the things we know to be necessary. In fact, I’d rather be taxed as a member of the Middle Class and help us get away from the deficit than to make sure the rich take out infinitely more than any of the bottom 99%.

What is this man doing? Does he not talk with liberals or progressives? Does he not hear even old guard Repubs like David Stockton who made a statement last Sunday that it was time to back away from the “cut taxes” mentality he introduced under Reagan?

Doesn’t Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi stick a nose in here and vow to get the changes we all hoped for?

I’m utterly pissed!

Quote of the Day – From Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

Just Like 1994

“November 2nd was a very bad day for Democrats — indeed, the worst since November 8, 1994 when Democrats lost their four-decade hold on the House of Representatives, control of the US Senate and 472 state legislative seats across the country. Newt Gingrich and his new majorities were triumphant. I was polling then for President Bill Clinton and the poll findings today in this joint poll with Resurgent Republic look eerily similar. On election night, an identical two-thirds said the country is seriously off on the wrong track; an identical 45 percent said Clinton and Obama were moving the country in the right direction; and Clinton and Obama had almost identical favorability ratings – split evenly between favorable and unfavorable responses.”

-Pollster  Stan Greenberg


Here I am in what must be the only near-progressive county in West Virginia. Oh, we voted for Governor Manchin to take the Senate seat (Manchin is many things, but Progressive is not one of them), and Delegate Doyle seems to have made it back. It looks like Democrat Paul Taylor and not Independent Dunleavy is the County Commissioner. (Update: newest results now in and Paul Taylor is not county commissioner, but Walt Pellish, the Republican, has taken a slight edge – BT) My town seems to have supported Virginia Graf for the house, but Shelly Moore Capito (R) was reelected by the rest of the constituency (which stretches irregularly accross the state).

As to the Federal elections and the state governor races. this was the Republicans‘ election. They swept the House, giving John Boehner a seat of power that I fully expect him to abuse. The cut down on the Democrat lead in the Senate, but at least Harry Reid got reelected in the face of a Tea Party Loony looking like she might take his seat. We’re still waiting to see if Patty Murray takes Washington state. That would help keep the Democratic Senate in a working majority situation.

The thing I am most thankful for is that Christine O’Donnell lost by a large margin in Delaware. While she may not be a witch, she is definitely not an intelligent politician and would have made our lives even harder to get through.

Now I want to see how the Republicans are going to both cut taxes and reduce expenditures at the same time. Whenever winning Reps like Rand Paul were asked how they would do it, they sort of smiled and gave us a “you’ll see.” Even Eric Cantor (R – VA), now in a new seat of power couldn’t come up with an answer to the how-will-they-do-it question. I expect a lot of head-on crashes between House and Senate, Congress and Obama, and the people against the government. It’s not going to be pretty.

My wife said this morning that it might be time to see if there is a way to move to Canada.

Brady Bonk comments on Former President Clinton…

… and his remarks on the Obama student loan changes.
Why aren’t we hearing more of this?


It is titled “Student Lones”:

clipped from
By the way, the Washington Post article I linked to in the last post contains a incredibly good point made by the former President, an accomplishment of these Democrats that they should by shouting from the rooftops, but that they just aren’t talking about one bit: They reformed student loans.

Clinton reserves time near the end of his speeches to talk about student-loan policy change, an Obama accomplishment he says isn’t getting its due on the campaign trail. Clinton bemoans that the United States has fallen from first to ninth in the world in the percentage of adults with a four-year college degree – because too many students drop out for fear that they can’t repay their loans.

Democrats overhauled student-loan policy to cap monthly repayments at 10 percent of discretionary income – a law Clinton says Republicans want to repeal.

Why in God’s green earth isn’t every Democrat running for anything touting this marvelous accomplishment?

blog it

Looks like Democrats will retain NY Senate seats…

Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman.

Kirsten Gillibrand

There were wonders about whether Kirsten Gillibrand could hold onto Hillary Clinton’s old seat. Quinnipiac poll numbers say “no problem”.
clipped from

Gillibrand Headed for a Blowout

A new Quinnipiac poll in New York finds Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) leads challenger Joseph DioGuardi (R) by 21 points among likely voters, 55% to 34%.


In the state’s other Senate race, Sen. Charles Schumer (D) tops challenger Jay Townsend (R) by an even larger margin, 63% to 32%.

Notes pollster Maurice Carroll: “If Republicans are going to take back the U.S. Senate, it doesn’t look as if New York will be much help. Both New York seats are on the ballot and Gillibrand and Schumer have comfortable leads.”

blog it

Quote of the Day – I found this while tooling around the blogs…

I am not a Democrat, because I have no idea what their economic policies are; And I am not a Republican, because I know precisely what their economic policies are.

– Barry Ritholtz

Barry’s blog is The Big Picture.

Cartoon(s) of the Week… Teabaggers Topple Traditional Tag Teams…

Jeff Danziger in the L.A. Times:

Post Primaries’ Pachyderm Pandemonium…

– and –

Tom Toles in the Washington Post:

Rough Ride Racks Right…

– and –

Chan Lowe in the South Florida Sun Sentinel:

Couch Candidates Claim Congress…

– and –

Joel Pett in the Lexington Herald-Leader:

Reality Rejected Republican Rhetoric…

– and –

Pat Bagley in the Salt Lake Tribune:

Whores Walk With Wealth.