In the 2010 midterm elections Democrats suffered from a so-called "enthusiasm gap."
If Dems agree to the tax plan just negotiated by the White House with Republican leaders, they'll face a "why-should-I-get-up-out-of-my-chair" gap that will make 2010's Dem enthusiasm seem like a pep rally by comparison.
It's a $70,000 gift for every millionaire, financed by a gigantic hole in the federal budget that will put on the cutting board education, infrastructure, and everything else most other Americans need and want.
Some Dem apologists say the deal is a $900 billion stimulus. Not true. The rich spend a smaller share of their incomes than everyone else, so the huge benefits going their way will barely stimulate the economy. (Their savings will move around the world wherever they can get the highest return.)
And while middle and working class consumers will get a small break from payroll taxes, they'll use most of it to help pay down their debts because they know the tax break isn't permanent while their debt payments and penalties are growing. Again, very little stimulus.
An extension of unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless will surely help them and the economy overall. But a new WPA to put the jobless to work would have been far better. The longer they're out of work the harder it will be for them ever to get back in, even if and when jobs return. But apparently a new WPA wasn't even considered.
It's not just the Dem base that worries about the deal. Independents who believe the dice are increasingly loaded in favor of the privileged and powerful are also concerned. (Just the latest example: The New York Times today reports on a small cabal of bankers from the biggest Wall Street houses who meet regularly to maintain their lock on the lucrative multi-trillion dollar derivatives trade. The Times story could have gone further and revealed how much the big banks are spending on lobbyists to gut provisions of the financial reform act aimed at regulating derivatives trading.)
Even Tea Partiers are convinced big government, big business, and Wall Street colluding against the rest of America. Only instead of blaming the powerful and privileged, the Tea Partiers are more comfortable taking aim at America's so-called cultural and intellectual elites.
The point is that with income and wealth more concentrated at the top than it's been since 1928, with money flooding politics as never before (much of it secret), and with cynicism about government at a post-World War II high, Obama's tax deal couldn't come at a worse time.
Enthusiasts on the right want to shrink government, and the deal sets them up nicely.
Most Democrats, many Independents, and everyone else who still sees government as our last bulwark against privilege and power, are aghast by the deal. They ask: How could it have come to this? And when 2012 rolls around, why should I get out of my chair?
Above-it-all politico Joe Scarborough whinges that judiciary scandals never seem to describe the judge involved as "Clinton-appointed". Hmmm.....wonder why that is?
Of course, Scarborough and his sycophant Jon Meacham could just be pulling facts out of their whiney asses. I quote from Heritage.org :
In Log Cabin Republicans v. United States, the Obama Administration sought to win a policy victory by losing a case. By failing to adequately defend the ?Don?t Ask, Don?t Tell? (DADT) statute?a bipartisan act of Congress that provides that members of the military are subject to separation for engaging in a homosexual act, stating that he or she is a homosexual, or marrying a person of the same sex?President Obama is able to undermine or do away with a statute that he opposes. He can do so while shifting any blame for the change in policy to the courts. And a Clinton appointee, Judge Virginia Phillips, proved more than willing to accommodate the Administration, issuing an activist opinion that reads more like a press release than a legal judgment.
And from the NY Times:
The Senate on Wednesday found Judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr. of Federal District Court in Louisiana guilty on four articles of impeachment and removed him from the bench, the first time the Senate has ousted a federal judge in more than two decades. [..]
Mr. Porteous, 64, was appointed to the bench by President Bill Clinton in 1994 and has been suspended with pay since 2008. As a result of his removal from the bench, which took effect immediately, he will not receive his annual federal pension of $174,000.
Maybe Joe, you should focus on why there are so many judicial scandals surrounding Republican appointees next time.
Conservative media are praising a federal court decision striking down a portion of the Affordable Care Act, with Fox's Peter Johnson Jr. saying people should give the judge's opinion to their children, their church, and their synagogue because "this is the Constitution." However, other federal judges have upheld the statute, and legal experts from across the political spectrum agree that the opinion was incorrect.
Fox'sJohnson: "People Have To Read This [Opinion]. It's The Dream Of The Tea Party" And "Americans WhoSay 'The Constitution Means Something.' " On Fox News' Fox & Friends,Johnson, a Fox News legal analyst, discussed the decisionby Virginia federal district judge Henry Hudson to strike down the individualmandate portion of the Affordable Care Act, which requires that most peoplepurchase health insurance or pay a fee:
JOHNSON: [T]his is a ringing proclamationhere in America. And it gives hope to so many people, December 13, 2010, in thecase of Virginia against Sebelius, that this districtcourt judge says you've gone crazy with ourconstitution and that you are bowdlerizing and exaggerating what the WelfareClause of the Constitution is, what necessary and proper is. What the CommerceClause is. You cannot regulate, according to this district judge, inactivity,and you cannot demand with a fine -- a fine, not a tax -- that you buyinsurance or that you buy an avocado or that you buy a car or that you doanything because the government says you have to.
JOHNSON: What the judge did in a 40-somethingpage decision and I suggest that people go to the Fox News Web site and theydownload it, and they print it, and they give it to their children, and theygive it to their civics class, and they give it to folks at church on Sunday atthe synagogue on Saturday. And they say this is the Constitution. This is theliving, breathing Constitution. This is what the General Welfare Clause is.This is what it means to be unnecessary and improper and an infraction on ourrights as Americans.
JOHNSON: Great opinion. People have to readthis. This is the dream of the Tea Party and this is the dream of a lot oflawyers and a lot of Americans who say the Constitution means something. [FoxNews' Fox & Friends, 12/14/2010]
McCaughey: The "Ruling Emphasized The Importance OfUpholding The US Constitution's Limits On Federal Power." In an op-ed titled,"ObamaCare overreach," serial health care misinformer and former New York Lt. Gov.Betsy McCaughey stated:
Health and Human Services Secretary KathleenSebelius tried to ridicule Virginia's strategy as mere politics and get theVirginia case thrown out of court. [Virginia Attorney General Ken] Cuccinellitold the court that, "in the view of Secretary Sebelius, federalism is sowithered and near death that states lack the power and right to go to federalcourt" to stop excessive federal power. But federalism is not dead.Hudson's ruling emphasized the importance of upholding the US Constitution'slimits on federal power and drew a clear boundary around the Commerce Clause.
The Obama administration claims that theCommerce Clause gives Congress the authority to mandate coverage. It citedWickard v. Filburn (1942), in which the court ruled that the federal governmentcould limit what a farmer can grow to feed his own animals. Similarly, in Gonzalezv. Raich (2005) the court found that the federal government could bar a sickperson from cultivating a mere six stalks of marijuana, even where state lawallows it. Growing something for personal use doesn't seem like interstatecommerce, said the justices, but individual decisions in the aggregate couldhave an impact on national commerce.
Sebelius stretched the meaning of commerceeven farther, to include an individual's decision not to do something. Allowingpeople to forego insurance will raise the price of coverage for others, shesaid. Hudson resoundingly rejected Sebelius' artifice, warning that it could beused to give the federal government authority over people's decisions abouttheir own nutrition, transportation and housing and "invite unbridledexercise of federal police power." [New York Post, 12/14/2010]
JudgeMoon: "Congress Acted In Accordance With Its Constitutionally Delegated Powers"When It Passed The Mandate. Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy notedduring the segment that White House press secretary Robert Gibbs pointed outthat two judges have found that the individual mandate is constitutional.Indeed, in his decision, Judge Norman Moon of the Western District of Virginiastated:
For the reasons provided below, I hold thatCongress acted in accordance with its constitutionally delegated powers underthe Commerce Clause when it passed the employer and individual coverageprovisions of the Act.
Far from "inactivity," by choosing to forgoinsurance, Plaintiffs are making an economic decision to try to pay for healthcare services later, out of pocket, rather than now, through the purchase ofinsurance. As Congress found, the total incidence of these economic decisionshas a substantial impact on the national market for health care by collectivelyshifting billions of dollars on to other market participants and driving up theprices of insurance policies. [U.S. District Court for the Western District ofVirginia, 11/30/10]
JudgeSteeh: Individual Mandate "Is A Reasonable Means Of Effectuating Congress'sGoal" Of Regulating Interstate Health Care Market. From a decision onthe constitutionality of the individual mandate by Judge George Steeh of theEastern District of Michigan:
There is a rational basis to conclude that,in the aggregate, decisions to forego insurance coverage in preference toattempting to pay for health care out of pocket drive up the cost of insurance.The costs of caring for the uninsured who prove unable to pay are shifted tohealth care providers, to the insured population in the form of higherpremiums, to governments, and to taxpayers. The decision whether to purchaseinsurance or to attempt to pay for health care out of pocket, is plainlyeconomic. These decisions, viewed in the aggregate, have clear and directimpacts on health care providers, taxpayers, and the insured population whoultimately pay for the care provided to those who go without insurance. Theseare the economic effects addressed by Congress in enacting the Act and theminimum coverage provision.
The Act regulates a broader interstate marketin health care services. This is not a market created by Congress, it is onecreated by the fundamental need for health care and the necessity of paying forsuch services received. The provision at issue addresses cost-shifting in thosemarkets and operates as an essential part of a comprehensive regulatory scheme.The uninsured, like plaintiffs, benefit from the "guaranteed issue" provisionin the Act, which enables them to become insured even when they are alreadysick. This benefit makes imposing the minimum coverage provision appropriate.
The minimum coverage provision, whichaddresses economic decisions regarding health care services that everyoneeventually, and inevitably, will need, is a reasonable means of effectuatingCongress's goal. [U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, 10/7/2010]
FormerCornyn Adviser Kerr: Health Care Decision Has "A Fairly Obvious And Quite SignificantError."George Washington University Law Professor Orin Kerr, who served as Sen. John Cornyn's (R-TX) special counsel for theSonia Sotomayor confirmation proceedings and has previously said that "there is a less than 1%chance that courts will invalidate the individual mandate as exceedingCongress's Article I power," wrote in a blog post:
I've had a chance to read Judge Hudson'sopinion, and it seems to me it has a fairly obvious and quite significanterror. Judge Hudson assumes that the power granted to Congress by the Necessaryand Proper Clause -- "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper forcarrying into Execution the foregoing Powers" -- does not expand Congress'spower beyond the Commerce Clause itself. The key line is on page 18:
If a person's decision not to purchase healthinsurance at a particular point in time does not constitute the type ofeconomic activity subject to regulation under the Commerce Clause, thenlogically an attempt to enforce such provision under the Necessary and ProperClause is equally offensive to the Constitution.
Judge Hudson does not cite any authority forthis conclusion: He seems to believe it is required by logic. But it isincorrect. The point of the Necessary and Proper clause is that it grants Congressthe power to use means outside the enumerated list of of Article Ipowers to achieve the ends listed in Article I. If you say, as a matterof "logic" or otherwise, that the Necessary and Proper Clause only permitsCongress to regulate using means that are themselves covered by the CommerceClause, then the Necessary and Proper Clause is rendered a nullity. But that'snot how the Supreme Court has interpreted the Clause, from Chief JusticeMarshall onwards. Indeed, as far as I know, not even the most vociferouscritics of the mandate have suggested that the Necessary and Proper Clause canbe read this way. [Volokh Conspiracy, 12/13/10]
LawProfessor Balkin: Hudson's Commerce Clause Holding Is "Blinkered To Reality." From an opinionpiece by Yale Law professor Jack Balkin:
When uninsured individuals get sick, theyborrow money from their families to pay for the costs of health care. They buyover-the-counter medicines. Above all, they go to emergency rooms and demandmedical services. In 2008 these demands cost hospitals some $43 billion. All ofthese are significant effects on interstate commerce.
But according to Judge Hudson's decisionstriking down the individual mandate, these effects on commerce are completelyirrelevant and Congress cannot take any of them into account. Congress cannotregulate uninsured individuals, Judge Hudson explained, because theseindividuals are not doing anything when they fail to buy insurance -- yet theyare borrowing money, purchasing drugs, or visiting emergency rooms instead.
This is pure sophistry. Such arguments arereminiscent of the constitutional struggles over the New Deal, when the SupremeCourt's conservative majority argued that no matter how great an effect laborstrikes had on the national economy, Congress could not regulate workingconditions because their effects on interstate commerce were only indirect.Judge Hudson's decision is yet another example of a long line of formalistjurisprudence that is blinkered to reality. [The New York Times, 12/13/10]
NRO'sSeverino: The Decision Erroneously "Conflates" Analyses of DifferentConstitutional Provisions. Carrie Severino, chief counsel for the conservativeJudicial Crisis Network, has stated that the individual mandate isunconstitutional. Nevertheless, she stated that Hudson's interpretation of theNecessary and Proper Clause of the Constitution wasincorrect:
The court noted that, rather than arguingthat the individual mandate had an "independent freestanding constitutionalbasis," the government was focused on it as necessary to its otherhealth-insurance-market reforms. This sounds like a Necessary and Proper Clauseargument, but Judge Hudson treats it as a Commerce Clause argument, whichconflates the two analyses (perhaps as a result of the briefs having done so --I have not yet read them all). Hudson later states that the Necessary andProper Clause cannot apply in this case if there is no Commerce Clauseauthority. On the contrary, I believe it is only relevant if there is noindependent (i.e. Commerce Clause) basis for the mandate.
Hudson's error seems to stem from hisstatement that only constitutional means are permitted under theNecessary and Proper Clause. This could indicate, as seems most logical, thatonly means that don't violate constitutional prohibitions are possible. ButHudson interprets it to allow only means that have independent constitutionalauthority. If that were so, the Necessary and Proper Clause would bemeaningless and give Congress no power it did not already possess.
In fact, there are good reasons the Necessaryand Proper Clause doesn't apply here (shameless plug: check out JCN's amicus brief on behalf of Rep. Boehner in theFlorida litigation that covers that Clause), and it's a shame this decisionmisses a chance to discuss them. [National Review Online, 12/13/10]
LawProfessor Tushnet: Hudson's Decision Is "Inconsistent With The GoverningPrecedents." Froma post by Harvard Law professor Mark Tushnet:
I don't think anyone was surprised thatconservative Judge Henry Hudson held the individual mandate unconstitutional.What's surprising is the traction that the distinction he relied on has gotten.Congress, according to Judge Hudson, has the power to regulate economicactivity but not economic inactivity, that is, a failure to participate in somemarket such as the insurance market. This distinction seems to me unsound inprinciple but, more important, inconsistent with the governing precedents. Theprimary one is Wickard v. Filburn, which is usually described as holding thatCongress has the power to regulate economic activities that, taken inthemselves, have no substantial effect on interstate commerce but whenaggregated do have such an impact. The economic activity in Wickard wasthe consumption on a person's own farm of wheat grown on that farm.
What the farmer did, though, could just aseasily -- indeed, probably more easily -- be described as a failure to purchasewheat in the general market. (Justice Jackson's opinion made the point in thisway: "The effect of the statute before us is to restrict the amount whichmay be produced for market and the extent, as well, to which one mayforestall resort to the market by producing to meet his own needs"(emphasis added). Those who do not purchase health-care insurance"forestall resort to the market" by paying the full out-of-pocketcosts of their medical care when they incur those costs (or at least assertthat they are willing to do so) or by relying on charity to cover the costs(although I would think that in principle the person should forgo that portionof the charity care attributable to the public decision to grant tax-exemptstatus to charitable health care -- or at least that Congress could requirethat the person do so). [Balkinization blog 12/13/10]
LawProfessor Koppelman: The Decision Invented "Bizarre New Legal Theories." From a post byNorthwestern Law Professor Andrew Koppelman:
Today's federal ruling striking down theObama health care law is powerful proof that the law is, in fact,constitutional.
This apparent paradox emerges from thebizarre new legal theories that Judge Henry Hudson had to invent in order toinvalidate the law - theories that, if taken seriously, would randomly destroylarge parts of federal law.
Judge Hudson correctly observes thatexercises of the Necessary and Proper power "must not violate an independentconstitutional provision." But then he reads this to mean that it may not gobeyond the specifically enumerated powers. The mandate is unconstitutionalbecause "no specifically articulated constitutional authority exists to mandatethe purchase of health insurance." This does more than implicitly overruleMcCulloch v. Maryland. It reads the Necessary and Proper power out of theConstitution, because it won't allow it to add anything to the enumeratedpowers. [Balkinization blog, 12/13/10]
HealthCare Law Professor Hall: Decision "Fumbled" Its Necessary And Proper ClauseAnalysis.From a blog post by Wake Forest Law Professor Mark Hall:
On that question [of whether the individualmandate was Necessary and Proper], the Richmond court reasoned inscrutably (p.24) that
"Because an individual's personal decision topurchase-or decline to purchase-health insurance from a private provider isbeyond the historical reach of the Commerce Clause, the Necessary and ProperClause does not provide a safe sanctuary."
What?? I thought the whole point of theN&P clause was to expand powers beyond those enumerated. Ifthe Commerce Clause itself provided the power, then we wouldn't need N&P;thus, the ONLY time we need N&P is when the power in question is beyondenumerated powers.
The court continued:
"This clause grants Congress broad authorityto pass laws in furtherance of its constitutionally-enumerated powers. Thisauthority may only be constitutionally deployed when tethered to a lawfulexercise of an enumerated power. . . . The Minimum Essential Coverage Provisionis neither within the letter nor the spirit of the Constitution. Therefore, theNecessary and Proper Clause may not be employed to implement this affirmativeduty to engage in private commerce."
What!? (I'm channeling Jon Stewart here).Doesn't this reason that the power in question is untethered because it's nottethered to itself? Shouldn't we be looking to link to OTHER powers orobjectives that ARE within the Commerce Clause? The government's clearly statedposition, summarized by the court itself, is obviously that regulating howinsurance is offered and sold is easily within the core of the commerce power.That forms the anchor to which the individual mandate is tethered - astraightforward position to which the court never responded. [Health ReformWatch, 12/13/10]
Fox'sJohnson: Judge Acted In A "Dispassionate, Non-Political, Straightforward,Law-Based Way."From Fox & Friends:
JOHNSON: Well, what this judge did in adispassionate, non-political, straightforward, law-based way was to say "No, itdoesn't fall under the Commerce Clause." And let's look at what he said interms of the constitutionality here. He said the minimum essential coverageprovision is neither within the letter nor the spirit of the Constitution.Therefore, the Necessary and Proper Clause may not be employed to implementthis affirmative duty to engage in private commerce. [Fox News' Fox &Friends, 12/14/2010]
JudgeIn The Case Repeatedly Received Appointments From GOP Presidents. Hudson was appointedas U.S. attorney for Eastern District of Virginia by President Ronald Reagan in1986. He was subsequently appointed asdirector of the U.S. Marshals Service by President George H.W. Bush in 1992. In1998, he was appointedby Republican Governor Jim Gilmore to be a Virginia state court judge. And in2002, he was appointedto his current position as a federal judge by President George W. Bush.
JudgeRan in Elections as a Republican. The Washington Post reportedthat Hudson was elected as Arlington County commonwealth attorney as aRepublican and that he "briefly ran against U.S. Rep. James P. Moran (D-Va.) in1991." [The Washington Post, 12/7/10]
JudgeChaired Reagan Administration Commission On Pornography. As Politicoreported:
By far the most colorful item on the resumeof U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson, the jurist who ruledunconstitutional a key part of the Obama health care law on Monday, is hisstint as head of Attorney General Ed Meese's commission on pornography duringthe 1980s.
You can view the report, released in 1986,here. Hudson's personal views, as stated in the report, are here. He complainedthat the report's finding should have been "couched in more forcefullanguage, and that our recommendations for enhanced law enforcement,particularly with respect to violent and degrading materials, [should havebeen] likewise more pronounced."
Hudson also dissented from a commissionrecommendation that obscenity prosecutions not be brought in connection withwritten works that describe adult conduct. [Politico, 12/13/10]
JudgeOwns Stock In GOP-Allied Firm Associated With VA AG Who Brought The Lawsuit. As the HuffingtonPost's Sam Stein and others have noted, Hudson's financial disclosure formsshow that for several years Hudson has owned shares in Campaign Solutions, Inc.According to the most recent publicly-available disclosure form, in 2009,Hudson owned between $15,001 and $50,000 in Campaign Solutions stock. Steinreported:
A powerhouse Republican online communicationsfirm, Campaign Solutions, has done work for a host of prominent Republicanclients and health care reform critics, including the RNC and NRCC (both ofwhich have called, to varying degrees, for health care reform's repeal). Thepresident of the firm, Becki Donatelli, is the wife of longtime GOP hand FrankDonatelli, and is an adviser to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, among others.
Another firm client is Ken Cuccinelli, theAttorney General of Virginia and the man who is bringing the lawsuit in frontof Hudson's court. In 2010, records show, Cuccinelli spent nearly $9,000for Campaign Solutions services. [Huffington Post, 7/30/10]
Steinalso reported that Campaign Solutions says:
Judge Hudson has owned stock in CampaignSolutions going back 13 years to the founding of the company or well before hebecame a federal judge. Since joining the federal bench, he has fully disclosedhis stock ownership in the company. He is a passive investor only, has noknowledge of the day to day operations of the firm, and has never discussed anyaspect of the business with any official of the company. [Huffington Post, 7/30/10]
Ablog post on The Washington Post's website reported that "InAugust, Cuccinelli called Hudson's tie to the company 'so unbelievably distantas to be irrelevant.' " The Post also reported:
In a recent interview, U.S. District CourtJudge Henry E. Hudson said that he invested in the company before joining thebench in 2002 and that he has no day-to-day involvement with the company.
In the interview, a rarity for a sitting federaljudge, Hudson said he and his wife invested in Campaign Solutions Inc. at theinvitation of friend and neighbor Becki Donatelli, the company's founder and amajor Republican fundraiser, more than a decade ago. Other than suggesting thefirm to some charitable organizations, he's had no involvement since.[WashingtonPost.com, 12/14/2010]
A day after Federal Judge Henry Hudson handed down his ruling that found the individual mandate component of the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, he is drawing considerable criticism from all quarters.
The criticisms I started reading this morning were enough to get me to read the whole thing, but this is the passage that jumped out at me:
If a person's decision not to purchase health insurance at a particular point in time does not constitute the type of economic activity subject to regulation under the Commerce Clause, then logically an attempt to enforce such provision under the Necessary and Proper Clause is equally offensive to the Constitution.
Now, I am not a lawyer, but I have scads of friends who are, and I worked for one of them for several months as he wound down his practice to move out of state, and I learned a lot in the time I had to available.
I read those words three times, and it didn't get any less tautological the second or third times through.
By Hudson's "logic" the Necessary and Proper clause is effectively moot because anything that isn't specifically authorized by another part of the Constitution can not be authorized by the Necessary and Proper Clause, either.
That's just wrong. Or, as Kevin put it, "But the Necessary and Proper Clause isn't meant to merely add an exclamation point to other provisions of the constitution."
But there is another point of consideration here. Hudson manages, via his bizarre tautology, to duck the key question in the case, and I can't see any other court -- not even the Roberts Supreme Court -- upholding his absurd, ideologically-driven, tautological ruling.
Read The Full Article:
For years, Rush Limbaugh has referred to first lady Michelle Obama as "Michelle, my belle." But in recent months, Limbaugh has repeatedly called Obama "Michelle, my butt" and then acted as though he misspoke.
LimbaughAttacks "Michelle, My Butt" For "Talking About Nutrition." On the October 18 edition of his radio show, Rush Limbaugh said:
LIMBAUGH: Liberalism, socialism, communismresponsible for more deaths than cell phones could ever hope to be. Liberalism,socialism, communism is responsible for more deaths than cancer. Yet everythingthey do is predicated on saving us from ourselves, everything they do ispredicated on keeping us safe. Michelle, my butt -- uh, Michelle, my belleObama out there talking about nutrition. You can't eat that, you shouldn't eatthat. She's making field trips to food manufacturers trying to force them toalter the way they manufacture food. [Premiere Radio Networks' TheRush Limbaugh Show, 10/18/10]
Limbaugh:"Michelle, My Butt" Is "Not Drawing Big Crowds And She's Not Happy AboutThis." Fromthe November 2 edition of Limbaugh's show:
LIMBAUGH: Why is he leaving town and taking3,000 people with him two days after the election, a trip which has beenplanned for months? Democrats all over the country are asking him to redo hiswhole agenda. His wife, Michelle, my butt -- uh, uh, Michelle, my belle Obama,she's out there, and she's not drawing big crowds and she's not happy aboutthis. She thinks that her time has been wasted.
She's out there amongst the little people andthe little people didn't show up, except for Harry Reid. Did you see them walkout together on the stage? Harry Reid looks like a dwarf walking out.Michelle is not happy. The big crowds didn't show up. And there are stories inthe media today about how she was the best asset they had, and they didn't useher properly. [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 11/2/10]
Limbaugh RefersTo "Michelle, My Butt" and Purportsto "Apologize." Fromthe November 8 edition of Limbaugh's show:
LIMBAUGH: This is CNN, their Web page:"For 10 weeks, Mark Haub, a professor of human nutrition at Kansas StateUniversity, ate one of these sugary cakelets every three hours, instead ofmeals. To add variety in his steady stream of Hostess and Little Debbie snacks,Haub munched on Doritos chips, sugary cereals and Oreos, too." This is anutrition professor. "His premise: That in weight loss, pure caloriecounting is what matters most -- not the nutritional value of the food. Thepremise held up: On his 'convenience store diet' --" now, remember, thisis what Michelle, my butt -- uh, that's the second time I've done that and Iapologize.
You know, I have sworn, folks, that I'm notgonna pass on stories to you that have to do with her fashion sense, 'cause I,frankly, don't care. I really don't care. But some of it's gettingtoo hard to stomach now. The fact that she's a fashion icon, I'msorry. When she gets off the plane wearing something that looks like it'sgot grease splotches on the dress, looks like she ran up against the hydraulicmachine on the airplane and they're calling it a fashion statement, I'm sorry,it doesn't cut it with me. [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 11/8/10]
LimbaughCalls Michelle Obama "Michelle, My Butt." On the December 13edition of his radio show, Limbaugh said:
LIMBAUGH: I was joking a moment agoabout Michelle, my butt -- damn it.Michelle my belle's' obesity thing out here. Look at this.Speaking at Monday's -- AP -- it's at Newsbusters and a number of places.Speaking at Monday's signing ceremony for the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act orHealthy Hunger-Free Kids Act -- See, I didn't know if -- I keep getting confused -- if today's bill is to stop kids fromstarving to death or to keep them from getting fat." [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 12/13/10]
Limbaugh DiscussesMichelle Obama's Supposed Weight Gain "Below The Waist" With Caller. On the October 18edition of Limbaugh's radio show, a caller theorized that Obama had gainedweight. Limbaugh replied: "I'm glad you said it and not me. Where hasshe gained all this weight? What did yousee?" He later asked the caller:
LIMBAUGH: Look, as one woman looking atanother, Barb, where has she gained 30 pounds? What are you seeing?
CALLER: She was in a pantsuit and she lookslike she's gained it all over. And I am all about nutrition, I am all aboutlooking fit, being fit, but you don't stand up on a podium and come in and tellGeneral Mills -- the quote in the paper, if they don't change, it will be thegovernment or else.
LIMBAUGH: Yes you most certainly do if youare a Marxist totalitarian type. You most certainly do. Okay, so she saidpantsuit, focused on below the waist, Michelle's gained 30 pounds. You figureout where it must be. She said it, folks. [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 10/18/10]
Limbaugh:Hillary Clinton Wasn't Let Into Marines Because "They Didn't Have Uniforms OrBoots Big Enough To Fit That Butt And Those Ankles." From the September23, 2009 edition of Limbaugh's show:
LIMBAUGH: Hillary Clinton, Secretary ofState. With her many years of military experience and training tells us thatthe general doesn't know what he's talking about. And I made mention of thefact that, you know, she once tried to join the Marines. That'sas close as she got. I couldn't remember if it was the Marines or the Army.Close as she ever got. And she tried to say they wouldn't let her in because itwas sexist and she was a woman, andso on. That wasn't the reason.They didn't have uniforms or boots big enough to fit that butt and thoseankles. [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 9/23/09]
LimbaughCompares Rosie O'Donnell To A "Killer Whale." On the February 26edition of his show, Limbaugh said:
LIMBAUGH: I'm watching the networks here, andthey're getting ready for the press conference from Sea World. This is the mostamazing thing. They've got a podium and microphone set up in front of the tankwith a glass wall. You can see the -- Youcan see the killer whales allswimming around, and one of them keeps coming to the glass as though it wantsto say something
I'm told that's not a killer whale. That'sRosie O'Donnell. I'm sorry, I'm not watching this in high definition." [TheRush Limbaugh Show, 2/26/10]
Limbaugh On Martha Coakley: "If It Weren't For Her Varicose Veins, She Would Be Totally Colorless." On January 18, Limbaugh said: "The narrative isto throw Marsha Coakley under the bus, that she blew it. And she has, she has -- I mean, if it weren't for her varicose veins, she would be totally colorless.There's not question about that. But here are the biggest factors: Scott Brownworked his tail off." [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 1/18/10]
Limbaugh: "Feminism Was Established So As To AllowUnattractive Women Easier Access To The Mainstream of Society." On theApril 10, 2009 edition of his show, Limbaugh discussed a story about the impactof breast implants on one's career and said:
LIMBAUGH: Can I redirect you to feminist truth number 24,undeniable truth of life number 24, written by me in the mid-eighties: Feminismwas established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to themainstream of society. It's proved practically every day in our modern culture.[The Rush Limbaugh Show, 4/10/09]
Limbaugh: "I Love The Women's Movement. EspeciallyWalking Behind It." Limbaugh stated on February 3:
LIMBAUGH: Oh, I'm a huge supporter of women. WhatI'm not is a supporter of liberalism. Feminism is what I oppose, and feminismhas led women astray. I love women. I don't know where all this got started. I love the women's movement,especially when walking behind it. This idea that I don'tlike women is absurd. [Fox News' Fox & Friends, 2/3/10]
A lot of important stuff is cooking here at the end of the year. The headline battles about the tax[...]
Read The Full Article:
Look back to how they passed the war supplemental in July.
Basically, if you read the following pieces:
...and cross out "war funding" wherever you see it and replace it with "tax cut extensions for the rich," and then cross out "social spending" where you see that and replace it with "tax cut extensions for the middle class and other goodies," you'll have a pretty good road map to how to pass a bill that can't muster a majority.
Do you remember how that all worked? Let's take the old description of the war supplemental procedure and update it for tax cut extensions:
Remember that the
supplemental, H.R. 4899tax bill, H.R. 4853, was passed firstamended by the House (without war fundingtax cuts for the rich) back in Marchon December 2nd, and sent to the Senate for its consideration. The Senate amendedwill amend the bill, adding the war fundstax cuts for the rich, and passedwill pass their version in late Mayeither today or tomorrow. [Deleting the portion wherein the Senate requested a conference with the House, but the House rejected that option. There's really no time for a conference on this bill, and it's by no means certain that Republicans would allow the necessary motions to clear, anyway.]
Having decided not to pursue a conference at this point, the House
hadthe options of either: 1) refusing to take further action on the bill; 2) taking a vote on agreeing to the Senate amendment without further amendment, and letting the bill sink or swim on its merits as thennow written by the Senate, or; 3) agreeing to the Senate amendment with a further amendment of its own, sending the bill back for another round on the other side of the Capitol. In scenario 1, of course, the House does nothing, and no bill is passed. In scenarios 2 and 3, the House acts, but the question is on a motion to agree to the Senate amendment, and not on the bill itself. Accepting the Senate amendment without further amendment has the effect of putting the two houses in agreement, which for constitutional purposes means it's ready to be enrolled and sent to the President for signature. But further amending it keeps the houses in disagreement. But in none of the above scenarios is there required a vote on "final passage" of the bill in the way there was during its initial consideration in the House. And that's not because of any self-executing provisions of the rule, but because there's a motion under consideration and not a bill.
Self-executing provisions of the rule? What?
Yes, that was how they engineered the war supplemental vote, and they could do it again.
In case you've forgotten, the basic run-down was this: The rule for the war supplemental said that several amendments would be allowed: one adding additional domestic spending as a sweetener, and; three amendments that would take various steps toward limiting funding for the continuation of the wars. Further, the rule said that if all four of those amendments failed, "then the House shall be considered to have rejected the motion and to have made no disposition of the Senate amendment to the text."
They could absolutely do the same thing with the tax cut extensions. Offer up a sweetener amendment alongside multiple amendments aimed at killing some portion of the tax cut extensions for the rich, and say that at least one of these has to pass in order for the bill to move forward. Members -- presumably a majority -- get to vote first for the sweetener, and pass it, and then smaller subsets representing various, shifting minorities, get to vote for some number of amendments that take aim at tax cuts for the rich, but which all ultimately fail. That way, a majority get to extract some price for their agreement (at least temporarily), and also get to go on record once again opposing tax cuts for the rich, but in the end those cuts remain intact, with whatever face-saving changes might be adopted in the first amendment.
Of course, that would mean the bill would have to go back to the Senate. And if time is running short and there's no chance of the Senate getting to the bill, the rule could just as easily be engineered to deem some pro forma amendment as passed, and then give several amendments rolling back some of the extensions a chance to garner some minority of votes, and then have the motion pass without the adoption of any substantive amendments at all. And ultimately, that was the result of the war supplemental showdown, anyway, since the Senate simply rejected the House position and handed the bill back with a demand that the House STFU and pass the damn thing the way the Senate asked, so maybe they might just opt to register their protests in a series of failed votes and just move right on to passage afterward, without any kind of sweetener attached.
But that's how you use House procedure to allow your members to register their opposition, but ultimately end up passing the thing they oppose, anyway -- with or without additional sweetener, as necessary.
A month ago, Brad Miller and a dozen other Congressmen -- including House Financial Services Committee Chair Barney Frank -- wrote the Financial Stability Oversight Council to ask that they look into the systemic dangers of foreclosure fraud. Timmeh[...]
Read The Full Article:
...and they're damn proud of it.
Spotted today in traffic in eastern Jackson County, Missouri:
The Creation "Museum"
Posted on: August 10, 2009 2:08 PM, by PZ Myers
....This was not a museum: it is a haunted house. It is a carnival ride. It shows throughout in the layout - the rubes are supposed to be shuttled through efficiently, get their little thrills, and exit so the next group can make the trip. If they'd had a few million more, I imagine they would have invested in tracks and little cars and turned it into the Creation Ride. The creators of this place wouldn't recognize a museum if they woke up in the middle of the Smithsonian on a bed of museum maps with a giant sign saying "MUSEUM" in front of their faces and an army of docents shouting directions at them. They seem to have gotten all their information about how a museum works by visiting Disneyland....
"Prepare to believe."
Wasn't that one of the punch lines for a paranoia drenched science fiction television show in the 90s? Just asking.
Read The Full Article:
After watching a few minutes of the obligatory Christmas movie "It's a Wonderful Life" this past[...]
Read The Full Article: