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Frankenstein’s monster loves tea


“We believe it is vitally important for the U.S. government to make good on its financial obligations and to put its fiscal house in order,” wrote the Chamber of Commerce in a letter signed by nearly 500 American CEOs that was sent to the White House and all Capitol Hill offices. “Now is the time for our political leaders to put aside partisan differences and act in the nation’s best interests. We believe our nation’s economic future is reliant upon their actions and urge them to reach an agreement.”

The high-profile signers included Tom Donahue, the influential chairman of the Chamber of Commerce; Robert Koch, CEO of Koch Enterprises; and James Gorman, president of Morgan Stanley.

Notice Robert Koch’s name there.

I don’t know if they are sincerely worried about the tea drinking monster they’ve created or it they are just playing their designated role. But if it’s the former, they have only themselves to blame for forgetting to tell the Tea party that it was all a game.



Spending, Growth, And The White House Political Strategy

Matt Yglesias:

I don’t agree with President Obama’s decision to prioritize securing a long-term budget deficit reduction package in 2011. But I do think some of the criticism of this idea that I’m seeing somewhat misstates the situation. In particular, I hear people baffled as to why the president would pursue growth-reducing spending cuts that would damage his own re-election bid.

It’s generally wise to assume that the White House isn’t blind to that obvious potential political problem. Part of what they’re thinking is that a 2011 agreement to long-term spending cuts is the best way to avoid the need to reduce spending during the election season. How’s that? Well, it’s because the fiscal consolidation plans being discussed are for trillions of dollars worth of cuts over a 10-year horizon. Since you’ve got that horizon, it’s not strictly necessary for any of them to come between September 2011 and November 2012. On the contrary, in principle spending could go up in the short-term consistent with any long-term cuts. By contrast, what happens if the White House winds up getting a “clean” debt ceiling increase is that we then head into the September lapse in appropriations. It’ll be a replay of the “government shutdown” fight in which the GOP goal has to be short-term cuts. And the White House isn’t going to get away without giving something up in that fight. In other words, clean debt ceiling increase = guarantee of fiscal anti-stimulus, whereas a 10-year spending cut plan leaves open room to avoid that.

There are a lot of assumptions going into that analysis, and I’m not sure it’s right. But this is the thinking and it’s not crazy. The administration understands the way short-term fiscal policy relates to their 2012 campaign.



A good explainer by WaPo: Five questions on the debt-ceiling debate






We’re Spent

David Leondhardt:

There is no shortage of explanations for the economy’s maddening inability to leave behind the Great Recession and start adding large numbers of jobs: The deficit is too big. The stimulus was flawed. China is overtaking us. Businesses are overregulated. Wall Street is underregulated.

But the real culprit—or at least the main one—has been hiding in plain sight. We are living through a tremendous bust. It isn’t simply a housing bust. It’s a fizzling of the great consumer bubble that was decades in the making.




Penny-Wise Policy


Mark Thoma sends me to Jonathan Schwarz making the case that Obama knew perfectly well that the stimulus should have been bigger. I’m not sure that lets his advisers completely off the hook; there’s a big difference between saying, well, the macroeconomic case says this should be bigger, but smaller is OK, and saying — as they should have, and maybe some did — that a weak stimulus runs a large risk of setting us on a path toward a lost decade.

Never mind. What really struck me was this quote from Obama that Schwarz found:

Well, we are still in consultation with members of Congress about the final size of the package. We expect that it will be on the high end of our estimates, but [it] will not be as high as some economists have recommended because of the constraints and concerns we have about the existing deficit.

Aside from the fact that Obama was being cautious about the deficit when he really, really shouldn’t have been, think about how this has actually played out. A weak stimulus together with caution on other fronts, including mortgage relief, led to a weak economy in 2010. This led to a big GOP victory in the midterms. And this led to Republican success in getting the high-end Bush tax cuts extended for two years and quite possibly indefinitely — which will do far more damage to the US debt position that a bigger stimulus in 2009 would have done.

And yes, it’s quite possible that even aside from the political-economy angle, the weak stimulus directly made our long-run debt position worse.

Penny-wise, pound-foolish; or make that multi-trillion dollar foolish.






Our Broken Escalator

Nicholas Kristof:

“Every year we say: ‘What can we cut? What can we reduce?’ ” said Steve Chiovaro, superintendent of Yamhill-Carlton schools. “We’ve gotten to the point where we can no longer ‘do no harm.’ We’re starting to eviscerate education.” […]

In higher education, the same drama is unfolding. California’s superb public university system is being undermined by the biggest budget cuts in the state’s history. Tuition is set to rise about 20 percent this year, on top of a 26 percent increase last year, which means that college will become unaffordable for some.

The immediate losers are the students. In the long run, the loser is our country.


Texas schools prepare to sue the state again

Texas lawmakers who left town recently after cutting public education and doing little to fix school funding disparities have guaranteed another school finance lawsuit, according to educators and lawyers involved in the case.

They expect to file a school finance lawsuit later in September.

“There’s going to be litigation. The timing of it is really nothing more than putting together the case. We’re still analyzing all the impact of the mess that they passed,” veteran school finance lawyer Randall “Buck” Wood said.

School superintendents across Texas are “very frustrated,” said John Folks, superintendent of San Antonio’s largest school district — Northside ISD — and a respected veteran among the state’s school leaders. Folks is past president of the Texas Association of School Administrators.

Litigation is a certainty, he said.





Drought: A Creeping Disaster

Alex Prud’homme:

Climatologists call drought a “creeping disaster” because its effects are not felt at once. Others compare drought to a python, which slowly and inexorably squeezes its prey to death.

The great aridification of 2011 began last fall; now temperatures in many states have spiked to more than 100 degrees for days at a stretch. A high pressure system has stalled over the middle of the country, blocking cool air from the north. Texas and New Mexico are drier than in any year on record.

More people died last year from heat than tornadoes, and Rick Perry’s prayer sessions don’t seem to be tuning in the right station. Unfortunately, with drought this severe, other solutions may be as fruitless as Perry’s approach.



Reuters: Heat wave has plunged much of the US into a deep fryer.



Nearly 900 heat records already broken.





Salt or cocaine, a fix is a basic instinct

Primordial instincts that drive animals to seek out salt may be governed by the same mechanism that drives drug addicts to hunt down their fix.

Researchers deprived mice and rats of salt, then offered them salty water to drink. After killing the animals they examined gene activity in the hypothalamus, the brain’s “reward” centre. They found that gratification genes had been activated – the same genes that are active in cocaine and heroin addicts when their craving has been satisfied.

If the team used a drug to block the effects of dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with feelings of enjoyment, the animals did not drink the salty water. This suggests that the urge to seek out salt is indeed linked to the reward mechanism (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1109199108).

The discovery might open up new ways to treat addiction. “We’re not saying the new data tells us how to cure addiction, but it does point to new avenues of investigation,” says team member Derek Denton of the University of Melbourne, Australia.





Sen Harry Reid Interviewed by Nevada Week In Review, discusses Medi/Medi

Dems’ muddled message on Medicaid worries advocates

The Hill:

Medicaid advocates remain worried that the state-federal program for low-income Americans remains on the chopping block as debt ceiling negotiations enter the final stretch.

Congressional Democrats’ on-again, off-again pledge to protect the program from drastic cuts is causing heartburn among advocates for the poor and state officials who worry about the lawmakers’ commitment. In particular, the Democratic leadership has at times left out any mention of Medicaid when vowing to fight entitlement cuts.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) rekindled some of those concerns with her statement Thursday evening after negotiations hosted by President Obama broke down.

“After several days of comprehensive discussions, the President asked the bicameral, bipartisan leadership to go to our respective caucuses to see what could be passed. I told the President that the House Democratic Caucus stands with him in support of the ‘grand bargain‚’ saving up to $4 trillion while avoiding an unprecedented default crisis,” Pelosi said.

“House Democrats want a final agreement that reflects the ‘grand bargain‚’ while protecting Social Security and Medicare benefits. Democrats are committed to ensuring that our nation meets its obligations by working toward a long term plan to reduce the deficit, create jobs, grow the economy and strengthen the middle class.”

She repeated that sentiment during a press conference Friday.

“We continue to say to the President: ‘Congratulations. We are proud of the work you are doing, and we are glad that it does not reduce benefits for Medicare and Social Security beneficiaries’,” Pelosi said Friday. “It doesn’t mean we are not open to initiatives that will strengthen those, Medicare and Social Security, that will cut cost and keep them solvent for a longer period of time.  But we are not reducing the deficit on the backs, and give tax cuts to the wealthy, on the backs of our Social Security and Medicare recipients.”

One Medicaid advocate said Pelosi’s failure to mention the program is a missed opportunity. The source said Democratic staffers tell advocates that references to Medicare really include Medicaid as well, but that they want to keep their message simple; however, the advocate points out, President Bill Clinton managed to keep the program top of mind with his M2E2 – Medicare, Medicaid, Environment and Education – motto during Balanced Budget Act talks.

“A lot of us have been really irritated by it,” the advocate said. “You can make a message pretty simple that includes Medicaid.”

The advocate explained that the messaging is important now as both Democrats and Republicans have vowed to take more and more healthcare cuts off the table, including deeper rebates for drugmakers. That leaves many advocates worried about a proposed $100 billion Medicaid cut the White House proposed to attain by blending and lowering reimbursement rates for different programs.

“As all of these things come off the table, what’s left?” the advocate asked rhetorically.

Pelosi’s office says the leader remains fully committed to programs for the poor, and point to her past statements.

“These discussions take a heavy toll on women if they do not come out right,” she said Thursday, for example. “Women understand the need for Social Security, for Medicare, for Medicaid. They are beneficiaries, and even before then they are caregivers and they are responsible for much of the care in their own families.”

Other advocates aren’t as worried.

The $100 billion blended rate cut, Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack told The Hill, was in the context of a $4 trillion deficit deal that would have included revenue raisers. Given Republicans’ inflexibility on the subject, he said, there’s no reason to believe that the White House is willing to cut a program it cherishes by anywhere near that amount.

“I would not make too much out of that $100 billion proposal, which was meant for a very different context than the context we’re likely to see come out of the negotiations,” Pollack said. “I wish the word Medicaid was used more frequently, but I do think there is great sensitivity by the Democratic leadership to potential cutbacks in Medicaid.”







The Most Incredible Thing Fox News Has Ever Done

James Fallows, The Atlantic:

Or at least the most amazingly brazen I can think of at this moment.

Via Erik Wemple of the Washington Post, the simply unbelievable Fox and Friends segment below. It’s about the News of the World hacking scandal.

To the good: they treat hacking as a problem and scandal. To the incredible/bad: they present their (now closed) UK sister publication News of the World as a victim of the hacking problem, rather than as a perpetrator.

Watch, if you can stand to. They roll out some expert, Bob Dilenschneider, to say how hacking is a big problem. It’s happened at the Pentagon. It’s happened at Citibank. It’s happened at the News of the World. When are we going to get serious about it?

HEY, WAIT A MINUTE!!! Citibank and the Pentagon were the hackees — the objects of hacking, by criminals or spies. Murdoch’s News of the World was the hacker — the perpetrator, the criminal-or-spy counterpart.

I submit that this could not happen at any other news organization. Rather, it could not happen at a news organization. It happened at the agitprop operation known as Fox News.

Update: As several readers have suggested, I should have pointed out the way the segment ends. Steve Doocy of Fox and his expert agree that it’s terrible that the mainstream media are wasting so much time on this old-news London hacking story rather than paying attention to what really matters. Which is the segue to … Casey Anthony.



Adam Green: Not So Much a Bold Progressive as a Bold Faced Liar

The People’s View:

The Professional Left is engaged in a campaign of lies, deceit and misinformation to try to take down President Obama, just as much as, if not more so than, are the Right wing in this country. “Progressive Change Campaign Committee” founder Adam Green (also the creator of at least one racist ad against President Obama), delivering petitions to issue threats to the President over any form of entitlement reform, had this to say on Friday, Jake Tapper reports:

“Today for the first time, President Obama made clear that he’s considering benefit cuts — even for Americans that currently depend on Medicaid and Medicare. Even Paul Ryan didn’t say that much publicly,”

First of all, frankly, if Adam Green prefers Paul Ryan’s position on Medicare (to end it) to the President’s, then frankly, as far as us liberals and progressives are concerned, he knows where the door is. Secondly, this is a bold-faced lie. Not mis-speaking, not exaggeration, an out-and-out lie. Adam Green would like you not to have seen the President’s press conference, of course, and just take his word for it. But luckily, we have both the video and a transcript available. But before I quote from it, let me say a word about this small contingent of followers that Green took to the Obama HQ in Chicago who he claims “volunteered and donated to Obama 2008″… dear Jake Tapper, I wouldn’t print it without seeing donation receipts for every last one of them.

Anyway, here is the President’s entire answer on means testing social security:

I’ve laid out some criteria in terms of what would be acceptable. So, for example, I’ve said very clearly that we should make sure that current beneficiaries as much as possible are not affected. But we should look at what can we do in the out-years, so that over time some of these programs are more sustainable.

I’ve said that means testing on Medicare, meaning people like myself, if — I’m going to be turning 50 in a week. So I’m starting to think a little bit more about Medicare eligibility. (Laughter.) Yes, I’m going to get my AARP card soon — and the discounts.

But you can envision a situation where for somebody in my position, me having to pay a little bit more on premiums or co-pays or things like that would be appropriate. And, again, that could make a difference. So we’ve been very clear about where we’re willing to go.

What we’re not willing to do is to restructure the program in the ways that we’ve seen coming out of the House over the last several months where we would voucherize the program and you potentially have senior citizens paying $6,000 more. I view Social Security and Medicare as the most important social safety nets that we have. I think it is important for them to remain as social insurance programs that give people some certainty and reliability in their golden years.

But it turns out that making some modest modifications in those entitlements can save you trillions of dollars. And it’s not necessary to completely revamp the program. What is necessary is to say how do we make some modifications, including, by the way, on the providers’ side. I think that it’s important for us to keep in mind that drug companies, for example, are still doing very well through the Medicare program. And although we have made drugs more available at a cheaper price to seniors who are in Medicare through the Affordable Care Act, there’s more work to potentially be done there.

So if you look at a balanced package even within the entitlement programs, it turns out that you can save trillions of dollars while maintaining the core integrity of the program.

Let me see if this can’t be put in a nutshell.

Current beneficiaries would not be affected. Adam Green’s claim that the President wants to cut benefits for current beneficiaries is a bold faced lie.

People affected by means testing would only be for the well to do. Which, mind you, would have the effect of essentially taxing the rich more to use Medicare (as opposed to the Medicare payroll tax, which is regressive), and make Medicares benefits structure more progressive (here, progressive is not a matter of opinion but of math). I thought Adam Green wanted to tax the rich more. No?

The reforms President Obama envisions strengthen the program, not end it. In a post coming up soon, I will cover, in detail and in context, Medicare reform that the President has eluded to.

Far from cutting benefits, President Obama has in fact added to Medicare benefits through health care reform (by shrinking and eventually closing the prescription drug donut hole, by getting 50% discount on prices of drugs that fall into the donut hole until it actually is closed all the way, and by making preventive services free under Medicare). By the way, why is it that you never see these self-appointed defenders of Medicare never ever mention that?

And oh by the way, President Obama is looking to do a lot of savings in Medicare on the provider side. Some of it was done in the ACA, but there is plenty more room. What the President is talking about there is cutting into the profit lines of the massive hospital and drug industries. Where is self-proclaimed progressive “champions” cheering him on?

What is it I need to do for this to get through the thick heads of Adam green and the like? Circle those parts in crayon?

Make no mistake about it. This is a calculated, nefarious and deliberate propaganda campaign. It involves lies because it is intentional. You cannot tell me that this guy doesn’t know any better. The deception is deliberate and the lying should be clear as daylight to anyone in command of the facts. Green and his cadre would like to drive people off a cliff with soundbites, and his idea is to perform Fox-style campaigns to incapacitate progressive policy makers from doing any kind of reforms to our nation’s social safety net in order to sustain it.

What motivates it? I don’t know. It may be that this is all he knows how to do – complain. It might be that bashing the President earns him loyalty of his followers (the same way the same thing earns Sarah Palin the loyalty of her followers). It may be that he’s not done ripping off his donors for his own financial gain. It may be that his racist attempt to demean the President is not yet over and has now taken the-scary-black-man-is-out-to-get-you form. I don’t know. What I do know is his lie, at this point is not just about the President and Medicare. His big lie is that he is a progressive at all.

But the good news is that real progressives are onto this impostor and many others like him. Those of us who have understood that this President is on our side – proven through his policies – have fought back against the likes of Green, Hamsher, etc. We didn’t have much resources, but we did have the truth on our side. It turns out that we on the disparate PragProg blogosphere weren’t the only ones that stood by this President because he stood by us. And that has resulted in 552,462 donors (260,000 of them brand new donors), 680,000 donations, $86 million, and 300,000 conversations on behalf of the President’s re-election campaign in three short months, a year and a half before the election, shattering all records. Yes, we will continue to expose the lies perpetrated by the faux-Left, but that must be our ultimate answer.



Durbin: Congress Will Investigate NewsCorp



Larry Flynt: Rupert Murdoch went too far

One of the few values Rupert Murdoch and I share is the importance of a free press.

I’m sure we would both agree that it is an unimpeachable right, especially in a day and age when few pure freedoms still exist in this country. We recognize that, if we lose free expression in the media, we will have lost everything. And, perhaps most important, we understand that in the quest to protect this freedom, boundaries must be pushed.

The way in which we push those boundaries, however, is where we differ. I test limits by publishing controversial material and paying people who are willing to step forward and expose political hypocrisy. Murdoch’s minions, on the other hand, pushed limits by allegedly engaging in unethical or criminal activity: phone hacking, bribery, coercing criminal behavior and betraying the trust of their readership. If News Corp.’s reported wrongdoings are true, what Murdoch’s company has been up to does not just brush against boundaries — it blows right past them.

One cannot live off the liberty and benefits of a free press while ignoring the privacy of the people. People such as Murdoch and I, as heads of publishing conglomerates, have a responsibility to maintain and respect this boundary. While Murdoch may understand the significance of what we do under the umbrella of free speech, he may fail to recognize the liability attached to publication. Simply put, he publishes what he wants, apparently regardless of how he gets information and heedless of the responsibility associated with the power he wields.

Murdoch’s enterprises have consistently published stories about people who did not give permission to have their private lives dissected in the media — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. News Corp. employees allegedly hired known criminals to obtain private information about former British prime minister Gordon Brown when his infant son was given a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis. News Corp. employees allegedly hired investigators who hacked into the phones of victims of the 9/11 attacks in the United States and the July 7, 2005, bombings in London. And News Corp. employees allegedly paid police officers for illegally obtained information about the queen. Meanwhile, Roger Ailes, chief of Murdoch’s Fox News, runs a well-oiled propaganda machine.

So it only seems fair that Murdoch was forced to close the News of the World tabloid, that he has had to abandon his bid for British Sky Broadcasting and that his reputation, not stellar to begin with, is forever tarnished. […]

If the allegations are true, Murdoch did not just cross the line — he erased it. By doing so, he has placed all of us who enjoy freedom of the press at grave risk. Only when our readership trusts us to provide material acquired honestly can a free press continue to be a driving force in preserving our democracy. If Murdoch refuses to take his responsibility as a publisher seriously, he threatens not only Americans’ right to privacy, but also our basic freedoms. […]

Members of the news media walk a fine line between fully leveraging freedom of the press and respecting their responsibilities to the public. It is a difficult balancing act. Murdoch seems to have fallen off the tightrope. Let’s just hope he doesn’t take all of us down with him.



NYT: Troubles That Money Can’t Dispel

[…] Time and again in the United States and elsewhere, Mr. Murdoch’s News Corporation has used blunt force spending to skate past judgment, agreeing to payments to settle legal cases and, undoubtedly more important, silence its critics. In the case of News America Marketing, its obscure but profitable in-store and newspaper insert marketing business, the News Corporation has paid out about $655 million to make embarrassing charges of corporate espionage and anticompetitive behavior go away. […]

And the money the company reportedly paid out to hacking victims is chicken feed compared with what it has spent trying to paper over the tactics of News America in a series of lawsuits filed by smaller competitors in the United States.

In 2006 the state of Minnesota accused News America of engaging in unfair trade practices, and the company settled by agreeing to pay costs and not to falsely disparage its competitors.

In 2009, a federal case in New Jersey brought by a company called Floorgraphics went to trial, accusing News America of, wait for it, hacking its way into Floorgraphics’s password protected computer system.

The complaint summed up the ethos of News America nicely, saying it had “illegally accessed plaintiff’s computer system and obtained proprietary information” and “disseminated false, misleading and malicious information about the plaintiff.”

The complaint stated that the breach was traced to an I.P. address registered to News America and that after the break-in, Floorgraphics lost contracts from Safeway, Winn-Dixie and Piggly Wiggly.

Much of the lawsuit was based on the testimony of Robert Emmel, a former News America executive who had become a whistle-blower. After a few days of testimony, the News Corporation had heard enough. It settled with Floorgraphics for $29.5 million and then, days later, bought it, even though it reportedly had sales of less than $1 million.

But the problems continued, and keeping a lid on News America turned out to be a busy and expensive exercise. At the beginning of this year, it paid out $125 million to Insignia Systems to settle allegations of anticompetitive behavior and violations of antitrust laws. And in the most costly payout, it spent half a billion dollars in 2010 on another settlement, just days before the case was scheduled to go to trial. The plaintiff, Valassis Communications, had already won a $300 million verdict in Michigan, but dropped the lawsuit in exchange for $500 million and an agreement to cooperate on certain ventures going forward.




CNN Ignores Piers Morgan’s Connection To News Corp. Scandal

Think Progress:

The ongoing News Corp. hacking scandal has given competitors a likely long-sought chance to tear into Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, with CNN leading the way. According to a Media Matters report, CNN reported on the scandal 107 times over the same period of time MSNBC and Fox News reported on it 71 and 30 times, respectively. But while the Time Warner news network may smell blood, some may be emanating from their own studios.

Piers Morgan, the British journalist and talk show host who took over for CNN’s venerable Larry King earlier this year, is a former editor of the now-defunct News of the World, the tabloid at the center of the hacking scandal. Moreover, Morgan has been implicated in a separate celebrity phone hacking scandal while he was editor of the U.K’s Daily Mirror.

But so far, CNN has failed to report any of this. A ThinkProgress search covering the last 30 days of several media monitoring services and CNN’s own website, show the network has not so much as mentioned Morgan’s connection to the failed News Corp. tabloid, nor the separate Mirror allegation.

A CNN spokesperson confirmed the lack of coverage to Ad Week last week, “saying that the network hasn’t covered the matter because Morgan has not been officially called to testify in England.”

Morgan himself did address the issue on Monday, telling a CBS talk show that neither he nor his former publication have broken any laws.

The allegations are especially troubling given this passage from Morgan’s 2005 book, The Insider: The Private Diaries of a Scandalous Decade:

Apparently if you don’t change the standard security code that every phone comes with, then anyone can call your number and, if you don’t answer, tap in the standard four digit code to hear all your messages. I’ll change mine just in case, but it makes me wonder how many public figures and celebrities are aware of this little trick.

As Ad Week notes, “Morgan has been sounding a fairly sympathetic note about Murdoch.” In the CBS interview, he said, “I’m not going to join the Murdoch bashing. I’ve always been a big admirer of his. He gave me my first break in journalism. He made me editor of [News of the World] when I was 28 years old.”


This afternoon on CNN’s Reliable Source, Howie Kurtz briefly noted Morgan’s connection to News Corp. Kurtz said that the media should “be careful about some of these allegations” because Piers Morgan has “absolutely denied” knowing about the illegal conduct. Pressed by one of his guests if that was “an official company denial,” Kurtz said he’d be happy to speak with Morgan about it.






‘To marry principle to a political process’

Steve Benen:

Late on Friday, the White House circulated an interesting video of President Obama speaking to some college students in Massachusetts in March. At least as far as partisan is concerned, it was a pretty diverse group, featuring Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.

If you have three minutes, I’d encourage folks to take a look.

For those who can’t watch clips from your work computers, I put together a transcript.

“If you are only talking to people who you agree with, then politics is always going to disappoint you,” Obama said. “Politics will always disappoint you. You think about some of the issues we’ve worked on over the last couple of years, I think the College Republicans here would say that I was pretty liberal president, right? But if you read the Huffington Post, you would think that I was some right-wing tool of Wall Street. Both things can’t be true, but I think that what it has to do is, this sense of, ‘We have a position and we can’t compromise on it.’

“And so, one of the challenges of this generation is, I think, to understand that the nature of our democracy and the nature of our politics is to marry principle to a political process. That means you don’t get a 100% of what you want. You don’t get it if you are the majority; you don’t get it if you are in the minority. And you can be an honorable in politics understanding that you are not going to get 100% of what you want.

“And that’s been our history. You think about our greatest presidents — Abraham Lincoln, here is a guy who didn’t believe in slavery, but his first priority was keeping the Union. I’ve got the Emancipation Proclamation hanging up in my office, and if you read through, it turns out that most of the document is: those states and areas where the Emancipation doesn’t apply because those folks were allies with the Union so they can keep their slaves. Think about that. That’s the Emancipation Proclamation.

“So, here you’ve got a war time president who is making a compromise around probably the greatest moral issue the country ever faced because he understood that, ‘Right now my job is to win the war and to maintain the Union.’ Well, can you imagine how the Huffington Post would have reported on that? It would have been blistering. Right? Think about it, ‘Lincoln sells out slaves.’ There’d be protests, running a third party guy.”

Just to be clear about this, while I found the clip compelling, let’s note what this doesn’t, and shouldn’t, mean. It doesn’t, for example, mean that every compromise is sensible and necessarily worthwhile. It also doesn’t mean that a compromise couldn’t have been better through smarter negotiations.

But on Obama’s larger point, he’s right, isn’t he?

I’ve mentioned this before, but I often think about Social Security at its origins. In 1935, FDR accepted all kinds of concessions, excluding agricultural workers, domestic workers, the self-employed, the entire public sector, and railroad employees, among others. And why did the president go along with this? Because Franklin Delano Roosevelt had to cut deals with conservatives, even in his own party — many of whom were motivated by nothing more than racism — in order to get the legislation passed.

When delivering red-meat speeches in public, FDR saw his Republican critics and “welcomed their hatred.” When governing, FDR made constant concessions — even if it meant occasionally betraying his principles and some of his own supporters — in order to get something done.

Obama’s focus on the Huffington Post is probably misplaced — there are far better examples — but the larger point seems persuasive to me. Wouldn’t FDR have faced a bitter backlash from the left? Wouldn’t Lincoln have drawn howls for compromising on the greatest moral crisis in American history?

I suspect we’d see and hear plenty about donor boycotts, talk of primary challengers, supporters lamenting how disappointed they are, columns about a lack of “leadership,” “failed opportunities,” “unmet expectations,” etc.

History and hindsight, I suppose, tend to round some of the edges over time.



To progressives who complain about Barack Obama “squandering” the progressive majorities he supposedly had going for him when he was elected president, I refer you to the following chart (from Wikipedia):

What the chart shows is the actual number of Democrats and Independents in the Senate from the time Obama was sworn in, in January 2009, through the present, when Democrats hold a slim, 53-47 majority in the upper chamber.

Of the 56 Democrats and 2 Independents caucusing with the Senate majority when Barack Obama took office,  (there were two seats unfilled, due to a disputed race in Minnesota that wasn’t resolved until July, and the former Obama Senate seat in Illinois) — 17 represented red or red-leaning states: […]

Another 27 represented blue or blue leaning states: […]

The remaining 12 repped swing states:

  • Michael Bennett and Mark Udall (Colorado)
  • Sherrod Brown (Ohio)
  • Bill Nelson (Florida)
  • Bob Casey (Pennsylvania, plus Arlen Specter who switched parties in April 2009)
  • Tom Harken (Iowa)
  • Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold (Wisconsin)
  • Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow (Michigan)
  • Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
  • *Al Franken didn’t come on board until in July 2009.

In addition, there was Joe Lieberman, who by January 2009 was a reliable vote for the red state caucus on key legislation like healthcare, despite hailing from blue Connecticut.

Even if you generously put all of the swing state Democrats into the “progressive” group, and that’s stretching it when it comes to certain votes, that puts the president at minus 18 reliable “progressive” votes in the Senate.

And because Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made it clear from the start that he intended to have his caucus use the filibuster on every piece of legislation, and vote as a bloc, forcing Democrats to always need 60 votes to pass anything, those numbers really matter.

[Sidebar: In the House, Democrats had both a stronger majority and a stronger progressive majority, with the progressive caucus outnumbering the blue dog caucus by something like 83-54 in 2009 (the blue dogs lost half their numbers in the 2010 elections.) That’s why the House was able to pass something like 400 bills, including lots of progressive legislation, fewer than a third of which ever made it to the Senate floor. The House is where ideological ideals live — on the left as well as on the right (witness the amount of right wing legislation that the tea party caucus, also about 83 strong, has passed, but which has gone nowhere in the Senate). The Senate is where they go to die, and actual law is made.]

Despite the myth-making on the left, Democrats actually held their tenuous 60-vote majority for only five months in 2009: from July of that year, when Al Franken was finally sworn in after winning the recount against Norm Coleman, through November 2009, when Democrats lost Barack Obama’s old Senate seat in Illinois to Mark Kirk. Then in a special election the following January, Scott Brown won Teddy Kennedy’s old seat, and was sworn in on February 4th.

Could Barack Obama have somehow rammed through the entire progressive wish list in five months? I find it hard to see how, given the unreliability of the blue dog Senators. Could he have convinced the conservative Senators to put a vote to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell through, at the same time they were struggling to get a healthcare bill done? Could he have gotten them to add DOMA to their task list, given the knock-down, drag-out healthcare fight and with the rising tea party town hall rebellion brewing? Maybe, but I doubt that, too.

Would it have made progressives happy if he had made a vocal, visible show of trying to do those things, and spoken out like a true liberal lion, lambasting Wall Street, calling for the heads of the banks on a platter or even ordering the Treasury Secretary to seize and privatize the big banks, and demanding that gay marriage be made the law of the land without delay? Sure. Would that have helped any of those things pass the Senate? Nope.

So what did Obama and the Democrats accomplish in the window between January 2009 and January 2010, when they both gained, and lost, their 60 vote majority? Here’s the list:

And each of those bills had to get through a Senate which at any given time, had a “progressive” wing that at most, contained 44 Senators — not 60.

Remember: the Recover Act (a/k/a the stimulus bill) passed the Senate in February 2009 (before the country descended into the healthcare wars) — not with “60 progressive votes” – but with 57 Democrats, the two independents, and two Republicans: Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine. Roll call here.

Healthcare reform finally passed on Christmas Eve, 2009, with exactly 60 votes, including the 58 Democrats — 17 of whom cannot be considered progressives — the two independents, and NO Republicans. This following a virtual war both inside the Democratic caucus (remember when House blue dogs threatened to blow the bill up over abortion?) and with Republicans and their newly minted tea party town hall mobs owning the news cycle, and only after Harry Reid agreed to strip out the public option to prevent Joe Lieberman from filibustering the bill. Even with the special election looming in January, right up through November 2009, the administration was still trying to bring Lieberman and about a half dozen other moderate Republicans and Democrats around. But once it was clear they weren’t even going to get one of the Senators from Maine, giving in to Lieberman was the only way to get to 60.

It’s arguable that it was a mistake for the administration to leave so much of the work of passing healthcare to Congress, and especially to the Senate Finance Committee, led by blue dog Max Baucus. I’d probably make that argument myself. And maybe, somehow, the president could have hypnotized Lieberman into supporting a public option. But the fact is, whatever was going to pass had to get through a Senate that never had a 60 vote progressive majority, but rather a cobbled together 60 vote Democratic-Independent majority, with anywhere between 4 and 18 conservatives holding sway over it, and the clock running out. The president and Harry Reid did what was pragmatic, to get a foundation laid down that can always be added to and improved. Compromise is part of the legislative process that progressives have to come to terms with, unless they put 60 progressives in the Senate (and with so many red states, that’s gonna be a tall order.)

Lastly, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal Act passed in December 2010, with 55 Democrats, the 2 independents and 8 Republicans. Remember, DADT was a law, which could only have been repealed by Congress. The Executive Branch had no power to undo it by fiat, and to simply stop obeying that law would have been unconstitutional, and probably impeachable.

As for the notable failures?

Closing Gitmo: Denied.

In May 2009, only six Senate Democrats voted against denying the president the funds the administration requested to close Gitmo:

Durbin (D-IL)
Harkin (D-IA)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Reed (D-RI)
Whitehouse (D-RI)

Who’s not on that list? Russ Feingold, a hero of the angry progressives, and even Bernie Sanders, who some progressives would like to see primary Barack Obama next year. Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd were ill, and Jay Rockefellar abstained. Everyone else sided with Republicans.

Was it any better in the House? Nope. There, Democrats rejected the administration’s request for $80 million to begin closing Gitmo, too. And Democrats have also blocked the funds the administration would need to try KSM in the U.S. It’s easy to blame Obama for failing to keep a campaign promise there too, but without Congress’ consent, it cannot be done.

And while we’re at it, Reid has never been able to muster the 60 votes needed to pass card check, climate change legislation, or the DREAM Act. The votes simply aren’t there, nor have they really ever been.

Given the situational unreliability of much of the Democratic caucus (who, in fairness, represent more conservative constituencies and interest groups in their states than Senators from New York or Vermont or Massachusetts), it’s a wonder the president, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi got anything done at all, let alone the incredible volume of work they did. With all the challenges, the 111th Congress was the most productive Congress since the 1960s (just as the 112th Congress is shaping up to be the least.)

Progressives can be disappointed that lawmaking requires so many compromises, and I guess they can quibble with the fact that Barack Obama doesn’t talk more like Bernie Sanders (though if he did, he’d get even LESS done, since highly partisan, ideological rhetoric doesn’t deliver Senate votes, and doesn’t square with the moderate majority among the American people.) But they can’t claim there was some giant, wasted, “progressive” majority in the body that counts — the Senate — because there never was. The 60 votes was a great moment for Democrats, and a great media story. But it was never a guarantee that progressives would get the legislation they want.

Related: Politifact tracks Obama’s campaign promises

Endnote: a lot of conservatives felt the same way about George W. Bush, who for much of his two terms (until 2006) held the golden triad of the White House and both houses of Congress, but failed to fulfill his campaign promises to conservative Christians, like pushing through a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, a legislative or judicial end to legal abortion in America, or the conservative goals of privatizing Medicare and Social Security, shrinking government and reducing federal spending, while pursuing a more humble foreign policy. In fact, Bush did quite the opposite.

Bush, too, has been accused by the people on the right of having squandered congressional majorities, of spending too much money and embracing too many big government ideas like Medicare Part D and No Child Left Behind, and increasingly, of wasting his post-9/11 mandate on an unnecessary war in Iraq and an unfocused one in Afghanistan. So I guess for presidents, disappointing their most ideological supporters comes with the territory.

And yet, the myth that Bush somehow rolled Congress to enact The Conservative Agenda is part of what fuels progressive anger at Obama, but like the rock solid 60-vote “progressive majority of 2009″ — it IS a myth. Bush did implement a broad, NEOCON agenda, but that’s almost the opposite on what he ran on, and certainly not what he promised either his supporters, or the country. As with anything, a little perspective helps.

UPDATE: an earlier version of this post incorrectly identified Amy Klobuchar as a Senator from Minnesota. Thanks to reader Dave B for catching the error. Also, Roland Burris’ tenure ended in 2010, not 2009. Kudos to TRR readers who are always on point!


Richard Cordray, not Elizabeth Warren, to lead CFPB


President Obama has selected former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to lead the embattled Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. […]

In the newspaper report, Elizabeth Warren endorsed Cordray’s nomination, even though she was not ultimately nominated to lead the agency that she has been credited with proposing.

A person familiar with Warren’s thinking said that she very much wanted the job, but acknowledged that she would not be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. In addition to Cordray, Raj Date, a top aide at the Bureau, would also have been one of Warren’s top choices.

“Rich has always had my strong support because he is tough and he is smart-and that’s exactly the combination this new agency needs,” she said. “He was one of the first senior leaders I recruited for the agency, and his work and commitment have made it clear that he will make a stellar director.”

Obama also praised Warren for her work in standing up the agency and for advocating for consumers throughout her career.

“This agency was Elizabeth’s idea, and through sheer force of will, intelligence, and a bottomless well of energy, she has made, and will continue to make, a profound and positive difference for our country,” Obama said.

Cordray, a Democrat, lost his reelection bid in November to Republican Mike DeWine, a former U.S. senator. He has also served as the state’s treasurer and in the Ohio House of Representatives.

Republicans responded to the announcement about Cordray with a reminder that they intend to oppose “any nominee, regardless of party affiliation” unless the White House made a slew of changes to the agency.

In a May 5 letter to Obama, 44 Republicans said that no nominee would be confirmed unless there were structural reforms in place to make the agency more “transparent” and “accountable to the American people.” […]

The reforms include replacing a single director with a board of directors, subjecting the agency to the congressional appropriation process, and establishing checks against excessive bank regulation. […]

A White House official, who asked not to be identified, said that Obama will continue to oppose attempts to weaken the agency.

“From day one, there have been many who have worked hard to try to prevent the CFPB from becoming a reality. From spending millions of dollars to defeat the consumer agency to lobbying Congress to get it out of the final bill, special interests and their lobbyists have worked hard to defeat these historic new protections for consumers,” the official said.

“We believe Cordray deserves a hearing and vote on his merits and his sterling qualifications for the job.”

Progressive Democrats who had launched online campaigns pushing Warren’s nomination responded to the news that she was not selected with a subdued endorsement of Cordray.

“With her track record of standing up to Wall Street and fighting for consumers, Elizabeth Warren was the best qualified to lead this bureau that she conceived — and we imagine Richard Cordray would agree,” said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which collected more than 350,000 petition signatures supporting Warren. “That said, Rich Cordray has been a strong ally of Elizabeth Warren’s and we hope he will continue her legacy of holding Wall Street accountable.”

The CFPB is expected to officially begin its work as an independent agency Thursday.


Cordray Oct ’10 interview with AnnieLowrey on foreclosure fraud, then just developing 



Elizabeth Warren’s full statement in response to the nomination of Richard Cordray here



Question for Liberals

Jonathan Bernstein:

The big weekend news is that Barack Obama has chosen Richard Cordray to be filibustered by Republicans over a nomination to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, rather than subject liberal hero Elizabeth Warren to that filibuster. News reports have it that Warren will likely run for the Senate from Massachusetts instead.

Here’s the question: suppose that in fact the two choices available were: Warren gets a recess appointment to CFPB and Scott Brown wins re-election; or, Warren runs and defeats Brown. If those really were the only two choices, which would you prefer (and why)?

(Note: I’m not saying that they were the only two choices; I do think that Warren has a decent chance of defeating Brown, but I have no idea whether she’s the best positioned to do so. You’ll need an close observer of Massachusetts politics to tell you that part).

Click here for comments answering the question.

Yes, I’ll dare call it treason

Aljzeera English:

Once upon a time, in a land that now seems to have been populated by tooth fairies and unicorns, there was a political party that had a set of core beliefs to which they actually adhered.

Among them was that actually balancing the budget, as opposed to just talking about it, was sacrosanct. Slow change, while necessary, had to be balanced against the traditions of the United States, ones that had mostly served us well over two centuries.

Foreign military adventures should be limited to our national security interests. And one of the single most important components of diplomacy was protecting the economic interests not only of an elite few, but of the great many Americans who toiled in our factories and fields.

This party was known as the Republican Party, and while one might have disagreed with them on their policy prescriptions to cure any particular US ill, one could at least see some logic in their beliefs and understand that they – with some obvious exceptions from time to time (ahem, Joseph McCarthy, ahem) – were doing what they thought was right for the United States of America.

Today, this once respectable organization has turned into nothing so much as a collective id the size of a David Vitter Pampers shopping spree. When facing changes to this nation that make them uncomfortable, they choose national hate. When facing ideological worship versus the greatness of the US, the former always wins the day. When facing a choice of what is good for the US or their personal bank accounts, they inevitably go with the latter.

Every. Single. Time.

In simple terms: We, the people of the United States, are the maid. The GOP is Arnold Schwarzenegger. Any questions?

The one caveat is that it’s not Republicans, so much as the forces of the anti-American, gun-toting, religious and corporate Right that have taken over the GOP who are responsible for papa’s brand new bag. The Right is Darth Sidious to the GOP’s Anakin Skywalker, Angelina Jolie to foreign-born children.

And yes, sadly, the Dark Lord has also sunk his hooks into quite a few in the Democratic Party, just somewhat less in number and relevance.

Charter members of this anti-American Right include the National Rifle Association, whose executive vice president-cum-Waldo impersonator, Wayne LaPierre, pushes new and more deadly weaponry into the hands of American criminals and terrorists without a first thought of the common good of his country. Giddily referring to US law enforcement agents as “jack-booted thugs”, and using fear of a black president to encourage the militia mentality among his most deranged (and armed) followers, his reign at the NRA has facilitated their retreat into revolutionary rhetoric, which has included plans by associated paramilitary groups to kill police officers and government officials.

Not so good for the US, but great for selling weapons to support LaPierre’s $1.27m salary, as well as NRA board members who earn a paycheck by owning companies that pay their bonuses based on firearm sales.

It also includes the “pro-business” Right’s support for finishing a four-decade quest to hollow out US manufacturing and destroy what was once, as succinctly put by polymath and top-rated progressive radio host Thom Hartmann, “the American way of life”. A few elite moneymen get rich, while the United States’ ability to create things that don’t come with fries or an apple pie, once a source of great pride to, you know, Americans, has gone off clubbing with Casey Anthony.

No political will to fix US infrastructure

Last week, China broke the record for the longest sea bridge in the world with the opening of the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge. Quite symbolically, it passed Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, which had previously held the record.

You’d think that this, in and of itself, would pain those on the Republican Right and their friends among the Blue Dog Democrats, “patriots” who never hesitate to tout American greatness. But for some reason – perhaps campaign contributions make a soothing bubble bath? – their refusal to fund the slightest hint of improvement or addition to US infrastructure is allowing it to collapse quicker than John Boehner at an all-you-can-drink Margarita marathon at Bahama Mama’s.

We used to make big things in the US, often with direct government investment. Whether it was the federal highway system, the Sears Tower, or the Golden Gate Bridge – these were not small undertakings. It was a proven method of creating jobs and wealth, as well as a source of national pride.

These days, it’s the historical blindness and hatred of any spending contained in a philosophy that underpins simplistic calls for “austerity”. Contained in budgets written by small-minded men such as Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, it has seen corporate cybernetic organisms posing as legislators do what once would have been unthinkable: pave the way for Chinese exceptionalism.

US slipping in quality-of-life indicators

Yet perhaps right-wingers’ work to undermine America is nowhere as evident as it is in the everyday indicators of how we are doing as a country. Whether it is the World Health Organization’s ranking the US in 37th place, our impressive 33rd place in children’s ability to navigate math and science, or 39th place in our environmental quality (we’re still two spots ahead of Cuba!), I simply don’t understand how one can claim to love the US and blithely ignore or work to exacerbate these indicators by gutting government every day.

But then again, what should we expect from a movement whose leaders, such as that dimwitted dolt known as Texas Governor Rick Perry, openly discuss secession? Or, as I pointed out in last week’s column, the blood diamond-accruing conman Pat Robertson, who has wished Sodom-like destruction on the United States, because gay couples in New York now have the right to marry?

Secession? Destruction? There used to be a term to describe people who wished these tragedies would befall their own country. Today that term is “Republican presidential candidate”, whether from the recent past (Robertson in 1988) and potentially – God help us – the future (Perry in 2012).

Lest one think this list is biased, I have not even gone into the details of the outing of an undercover CIA agent (see Karl Rove) or the Right’s current crusade to make the US default on its debt (and Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s incentive to profit off of this, as he has shorted US treasury bonds in his personal investment portfolio).

Humorist and writer Leo Rosten once said that “a conservative is one who admires radicals centuries after they’re dead”. Today, however, the love for radicals and radicalism is alive and kicking on the Right, and sadly for the US, it doesn’t seem ready to die anytime soon.



And The Jokes Write Themselves

Bob Cesca:

Tim Pawlenty, who is so certain that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac single-handedly caused the 2008 financial crisis, hired one of their top lobbyists of the last decade to be one of his campaign co-chairs.


ALEC Letter to Scott Walker Exposes Influence, Denial H/T Buddy McCue



Gov. Perry Feels ‘Called’ to Run for President




Michele Bachmann’s Openly Gay Stepsister Praises Obama






Arthur Recreates Scenes from Classic Movies

Arthur Recreates … THE SEVENTH SEAL


Arthur Recreates … JAWS

Arthur Recreates … THE GODFATHER

Arthur recreates … ALIEN

Post Secret

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail
in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.

[Check out the very last post card. 🙂 ]




Kos: Can’t win a class war unless we fight one




Here’s a list to make your voices heard…..It’s time to make some noise, that’s the least we can do.

Thank you

ABC News
147 Columbus Ave., New York, NY 10023
Phone: 212-456-7777

General e-mail: [email protected]
Nightline: [email protected]
20/20: [email protected]

CBS News
524 W. 57 St., New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-975-4321
Fax: 212-975-1893

Email forms for all CBS news programs
CBS Evening News: [email protected]
The Early Show: [email protected]
60 Minutes II: [email protected]
48 Hours: [email protected]
Face The Nation: [email protected]

900 Sylvan Avenue, Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632
Phone: (201) 735-2622
Fax: (201) 583-5453
Email: [email protected]

One CNN Center, Box 105366, Atlanta, GA 30303-5366
Phone: 404-827-1500
Fax: 404-827-1784
Email forms for all CNN news programs

Fox News Channel
1211 Ave. of the Americas, New York, NY 10036
Phone: (212) 301-3000
Fax: (212) 301-4229
[email protected]

List of Email addresses for all Fox News Channel programs
Special Report with Bret Baier: [email protected]
FOX Report with Shepard Smith: [email protected]
The O’Reilly Factor: [email protected]
Hannity: [email protected],
On the Record with Greta: [email protected]
Glenn Beck: [email protected]

30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112
Phone: (212) 664-4444
Fax: (212) 664-4426

List of Email addresses for all MSNBC/NBC news programs
Dateline NBC: [email protected]
Hardball with Chris Matthews: [email protected]
MSNBC Reports with Joe Scarborough: [email protected]
NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams: [email protected]
NBC News Today: [email protected]

2100 Crystal Drive, Arlington VA 22202
Phone: 703-739-5000
Fax: 703-739-5777

The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer: [email protected]

National Radio Programs

National Public Radio
635 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001-3753
Phone: 202-513-2000
Fax: 202-513-3329

E-mail: Alicia Shephard, Ombudsman [email protected]
List of Email addresses for all NPR news programs

The Rush Limbaugh Show
1270 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
Phone (on air): 800-282-2882
Fax: 212-445-3963
E-mail: [email protected]

Sean Hannity Show
Phone (on air): 800-941-7326
Sean Hannity:212-613-3800
James Grisham, Producer: 212-613-3832

E-mail: Phil Boyce, Program Director [email protected]

National Newspapers

The Los Angeles Times
202 West First Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: 800-528-4637 or 213-237-5000
Fax: 213-237-4712

L.A. Times Contact Information by Department
Letters to the Editor: [email protected]
Readers’ Representative: [email protected]

The New York Times
620 8th Ave., New York, NY 10018
Phone: 212-556-1234
D.C. Bureau phone: 202-862-0300
Fax: 212-556-3690

Letters to the Editor (for publication): [email protected]
Write to the news editors: [email protected]
Corrections: [email protected]
New York Times Contact Information by Department
How to Contact New York Times Reporters and Editors

USA Today
7950 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, VA 22108
Phone: 703-854-3400
Fax: 703-854-2078

Letters to the Editor: [email protected]
Give feedback to USA Today

The Wall Street Journal
1211 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036
Phone: 212-416-2000
Fax: 212-416-2658

Letters to the Editor: [email protected]
Comment on News Articles: [email protected]

The Washington Post
1150 15th St., NW, Washington, DC 20071
Phone: 202-334-6000
Fax: 202-334-5075

Letters to the Editor: [email protected]
Ombudsman: [email protected]
Contact Washington Post Writers and Editors


251 W 57th Street, New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-445-4000
Fax: 212-445-5068

Letters to the Editor: [email protected]

Time & Life Bldg., Rockefeller Center, 1271 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
Phone: 212-522-1212
Fax: 212-522-0003

Letters to the Editor [email protected]

U.S. News & World Report
1050 Thomas Jefferson St., NW, Washington, DC 20007
Phone: 202-955-2000
Fax: 202-955-2049

Letters to the Editor [email protected]

News Services / Wires

Associated Press
450 West 33rd St., New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212-621-1500
Fax: 212-621-1723

General Questions and Comments: [email protected]
Partial Contact Information for the Associated Press by Department and Bureau

Three Times Square, New York, NY 10036
Telephone: 646-223-4000

Reuters Editorial Feedback

United Press International
1133 19th Street, NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20036
Telephone: 202-898-8000
FAX: 202-898-8048

Comments and Tips: [email protected]



Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.
~~Rudyard Kipling

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Cher, Didn’t know that Piers Morgan is former editor of News of the World. It makes sense though — he comes off as a real sleaze.


1.)I never called it a “progressive majority”. It was a Democratic majority. Remember the Democrats? The ones who just needed to be elected in large numbers, then they’d do the things that need to be done. So we did. And they didn’t. Both houses and the Presidency. I bet when Obama got into office he thought, “Alright! Now we’ll get some stuff done!” Fast forward two weeks later and it’s, “WTF?!”

2.)I’m still pretty sure that, by Thanksgiving, the “debt ceiling debacle” will be forgotten. A classic example of bullying votes. Yo know what phrase I;m REALLY getting tired of? “During an election season…”. Cause the season NEVER fucking ends. Every week, every month is a goddamn fight for “the soul of America”. It’s getting ridiculous. How many times is a person gonna see a politician tell them they’re future is in danger, then turn on the TV to see talking heads laughing about it?

3.) “The administration understands the way short-term fiscal policy relates to their 2012 campaign.”

That’s great. And I hate to interrupt your awesome political campaign but, aren’t you suppose to be making decisions FOR THE REST OF US?!

4.)The Texas education system has so many thing so worry about along with getting funding for their shitty, one sided, heavily abridged textbooks.

5.)The climate change argument is irrelevant now. It’s far, far too late to do anything about it. Prepare to reap what has been sown.

6.)People need to shut the fuck up about FOX News. I am so goddamn tired of it. WHO CARES?! Do they think that one day people are suddenly gonna turn around and say , “this is bullshit!”? NO! It’s never going to happen. The highest rated show on FOX News barely captures the ratings of a rerun of Project Runway. FOX News is destroying America?! Really? I think people just need something to hate and will do anything to validate it.

7.)Man. That had to be devastating to find out that the Democratic Party is full of fuck-ups too. “Blue Dogs”, “professional Left”. Who says Democrats can’t bow to faction and watch their Party disintegrate? Good for them.

8.)Everything Murdoch has done and they’re gonna bring his empire down on phone hacking charges? I guess. it kinda has that “Capone busted on tax evasion” feel to it.

9.)Lincoln compromised a little but got a lot. He never originally intended to free any slaves. He once said, “…if I could preserve the Union with slavery I would do it.” But that was after he said,” If I could preserve the Union without slavery, I would.” ALL he cared about was the country as a whole. When the Confederacy came to him before the war to “compromise”, he turned them down each time. The Confederacy wanted legitimacy. He dared not give it to them. But the politics of the time were so different than today. The Confederacy was actually holding part of the country hostage. It wasn’t the silly metaphors we trade in today.

10.)Congress merely controls funding. Obama can remove all military personnel from GITMO and declare that military operations can no longer take place there. That means the base closes. Then what does Congress do? Nothing. They can’t do a goddamn thing about it. Load the prisoners on helicopters that have already been paid for and take them home. So, when I ask, “Why doesn’t Obama close GIITMO?”, I mean, “Why doesn’t Obama close GITMO?”. He tried the signing statement route and it failed. Now exercise your supreme authority as Commander in Chief and just get it done already.


Hiya, Cher! Wooah, that Fox clip was UNREAL, even by their “standards”. They do things like that because they know they can get away with it. Their viewers have now been led to believe that the hacking scandal at their sister company was the same as that of companies that GOT hacked! But for SOME reason, THEY are the ones getting picked on for it while the other companies don’t. It’s right out of Orwell (tip o’ the hat to Kilgore Trout), and their viewers will fall for it.