Thursday Open Thread [12.27.12]

Filed in Open Thread by on December 27, 2012

Well, I am finally getting back into the swing of things here. I was wiped out yesterday, recovering from Christmas, and cleaning up from hosting Christmas dinner for my large and loud Irish Catholic family. I am still kinda zoned out, and I am not sure what day it is. I am told it is Thursday. It does not feel like a Thursday. It feels like a Tuesday, and you just awoke from a 20 year coma. Yeah, that’s how it feels like today.

So, reconnecting to the political world….

We are going over the cliff. Whoops, I am sorry Nemski. I mean the street curb, or gentle ski slope.

Nearly all the major players in the fiscal cliff negotiations are starting to agree on one thing: A deal is virtually impossible before the New Year. Unlike the bank bailout in 2008, the tax deal in 2010 and the debt ceiling in 2011, the Senate almost certainly won’t swoop in and help sidestep a potential economic calamity, senior officials in both parties predicted on Wednesday.

Why are we going over the cliff? Chait:

“Everybody knows what happens in January. Both sides ought to be able to anticipate it and make the deal they could make then now. Business types have therefore assumed a December deal would happen. If this was a business deal between two rational people, that’s what would happen.”

“But we are not dealing with rational people here. We are dealing with House Republicans. As Republican Tom Cole gently put it, by way of describing his colleagues’ implacable hatred of taxes, ‘It’s who they are. It’s the air they breathe. It’s what the Republican electorate produces.’”

“If Boehner strikes a deal before January, Republicans will suspect he gave away revenue he could have fought for. But if he refuses, the House Republicans will see for themselves what happens. The revenue will go away on its own, over Boehner’s objections. All Obama has to do is continue to make clear he will not under any circumstances extend any tax cuts on income over $250,000 a year. Then he has nearly all the revenue he needs, and he can offer Republicans a deal they would never walk away from. They might try to get that deal in December, but January remains the best bet.”

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Hawaii has a new Senator: the current Lt. Governor Brian Schatz. Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed Schatz to fill the Senate seat left vacant following the unexpected death of the late Sen. Daniel Inouye (D). This choice is not without controversy, as it would seem that Abercrombie disregarded the apparent wishes of the dying Senator, as Inouye specifically asked Abercrombie to appoint Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) to fill his seat in the event of his death. Given Inouye’s popularity in Hawaii, this will likely cause him and his Lt. Governor problems within the party come the 2014 party primaries.

Booman likes Schatz’s resume though.

I don’t know much about Lt. Gov. Schatz, but I quickly learned a few things. He’s Jewish and was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He went to the same high school as Barack Obama. He studied philosophy at Pomona College and spent a semester studying in Kenya. He has an interracial family with two kids. He got his start as a community organizer.

Schatz first became active in the community when he became involved in the Save Sandy Beach movement in the 1980s. He served as CEO of Helping Hands Hawaii as well as Director of both the Makiki Community Library and the Center for a Sustainable Future. In March 2010, Schatz stepped down from Helping Hands to focus on his campaign for the office of Lieutenant Governor

And, of course, he was appointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie who was good friends with Barack Obama Sr. when they were both students at the University of Hawaiʻi in the early 1960′s. As a fellow philosophy major and former community organizer, I kind of feel like I am getting personal representation. He’s also three years younger than me, so he may be in the Senate for the rest of my life.

Schatz also appears to be progressive on the policy side. He has described the climate crisis as “the most urgent challenge of our generation,” which is an encouraging sentiment. Schatz is hitching a ride on Air Force One as we speak, and will be sworn into office later today.
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Meanwhile, and I am starting to get a bad feeling about this… but former President George H.W. Bush has been moved into intensive care and is in a “guarded condition.” He was hospitalized right around Thanksgiving for a persistent cough and difficulty breathing, went home briefly, and then returned to the hospital with a fever and other ailments. The 41st president has been in the hospital for more than a month now. The former President is 88. Sometimes people reach a point in old age when their bodies just begin to shut down. I hope we are not witnessing this with President Bush.

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  1. Education news –
    DOE Charter Committee Recommends Revocation for Pencader – Elizabeth Scheinberg

    http://www.doe.k12.de.us/infosuites/schools/charterschools/files/PCAPR112612.pdf

  2. bamboozer says:

    No one who’s been paying attention would have thought that the angry lame ducks in the house, especially the Tea Party Types, would be party to a logical, pragmatic deal to avert the fiscal cliff. Given a choice between doing what’s right and causing trouble one last time they choose trouble. The new session will be a fresh start minus some really wretched irritants like West & Walsh. At some point a deal, not a “grand bargain”, will be reached and every body will take a hit, some big and some small. Then it’s on to the debt ceiling and a fresh debacle for the nation’s credit rating.

  3. cassandra_m says:

    Way to go Harry Reid:

    “The American people I don’t think understand the House of Representatives is operating without the House of Representatives,” Reid said. “It’s being operated by a dictatorship of the speaker, not allowing the vast majority of the House of Representatives to get what they want.”

    “If the 250 were brought up, it would pass overwhelmingly,” Reid said, referring to the cut-off for income tax cuts. He also noted that Democrats in the House and enough Republicans would vote for it.

    “What goes on in this country shouldn’t be decided by ‘the majority,’ it should be decided by the whole House of Representatives,” Reid said.

    “The speaker, he said, ‘No, it has to be a majority of the majority,’” Reid added.

  4. kavips says:

    Remember FISA? The “FISA” Bill was supposed to expire 12/31/12. The Republican House passed it’s renewal a couple of weeks ago, and today.. at 11:00 it gets debated by the Senate.

    here is the Google Search Page…

    http://www.google.com/search?client=opera&q=FISA+Amendments+Act,&sourceid=opera&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&channel=suggest

    The effort to get it ran though yesterday (Thursday) without debate failed. Debate and vote will be today.

    Of course, Coons and Carper need to hear it is time for this to go. 9/11 is over. Bin Laden is dead. We are out of Iraq. We are leaving Afghanistan. Many of you here were heavily involved with the arguments during 2008, when the Bill passed on a very close vote, giving legality to the Bush Executive Order that allowed the government to filter through all American emails. That has been extended to all electronic media today.

    Most of this bill violates the 4th Amendment. It allows the illegal search and seizure of electronic data without a warrant.. The pretext is that foreigns are not subject to the 4th Amendment. But, if a foreigner is on Facebook, then all that data gets collected including every American on it… Of if a foreigner is working for Capital One in Wilmington, then all those workers are swept up as well.

    From the links, you may see its Constitutionality has been challenged in court. The best option is to let it expire. and any new piece of legislation to extend it, will have to be debated in public before it goes into effect.

    Those around here in 2008, may remember that parts of this bill were so secret, Congress wasn’t allowed to see them, and had to vote on them sight unseen. That’s how bad it is.

    Please contact Coons and Carper.

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