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Week In The News: Polar Vortex, Christie’s ‘Bridge Gate’ And Al Qaeda In Iraq

Polar vortex. Chris Christie and “Bridge Gate.” Al Qaeda in Iraq. Dennis Rodman in North Korea. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie enters a news conference Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, at the Statehouse in Trenton, N.J. Christie has fired a top aide who engineered political payback against a town mayor, saying she lied. Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly is the latest casualty in a widening scandal that threatens to upend Christie's second term and likely run for president in 2016. Documents show she arranged traffic jams to punish the mayor, who didn't endorse Christie for re-election. (AP)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie enters a news conference Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, at the Statehouse in Trenton, N.J. Christie has fired a top aide who engineered political payback against a town mayor, saying she lied. Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly is the latest casualty in a widening scandal that threatens to upend Christie’s second term and likely run for president in 2016. Documents show she arranged traffic jams to punish the mayor, who didn’t endorse Christie for re-election. (AP)

Polar vortex to the max this week.  Al Qaeda flags in Iraq.  And a bridge full of traffic puts Chris Christie in a political jam.  We’ve had Arctic cold in much of the country.  Fallujah and Ramadi overrun with jihadis.  And New Jersey’s governor and his presidential aspirations on a tightrope.  Unemployment’s down to 6.7 percent, but the numbers aren’t so great.  Former defense secretary Bob Gates hits Obama and Biden on Afghanistan.  Dennis Rodman jumps the shark in North Korea.  Apologizes.  This hour On Point: our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Margaret Brennan, CBS News State Department correspondent. (@margbrennan)

Charles Babington, Associated Press Congressional and political reporter. (@cbabington)

Jack Beatty, On Point News analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Leverage in Iraq Tested As Fears of Civil War Mount — “Iraq’s Shiite-led government paused on Wednesday on the brink of a military assault against al Qaeda-linked Sunni militants that posed the risk of exacting a high civilian toll and plunging the country deeper into sectarian conflict. Senior U.S. officials, including Vice President Joseph Biden, have urged Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to secure the support of local Sunni leaders before attacking to drive the extremists from Fallujah, which sits in the heartland of Iraq’s Sunni minority. Many Sunni tribal leaders, alienated and angered by Mr. Maliki, have refused.”

WNYC: N.J. Gov. Christie Faces Traffic Jam Scandal — “Uncovered emails and text messages link Gov. Chris Christie’s administration to a scandal involving the closing of lanes leading to the country’s most traveled bridge. It snarled traffic for days. The emails add evidence to claims from state Democrats that the closure was political retribution for a mayor who did not endorse Christie for re-election.”

Washington Post: A Deep Dive Into the Polar Vortex — “The polar vortex is really just a large air mass that is extremely cold (temperatures fall below -78C, or -108F, during the Northern Hemisphere winter). This concentrated area of cold is encircled by a fast-flowing river of air called the polar night jet. Basically, the jet – with its swiftly moving air current – traps the vortex over and near the poles, north and south.”

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  • JGC

    Christie Haiku #1:

    august morning kelly text
    “time for some traffic problems
    in fort lee” “got it”

    • hennorama

      bridge scandal blossoms
      Sandy spirit washes away
      adios White House

  • JGC

    sunny autumn day
    squirming children trapped on bus
    nowhere to pee

  • JGC

    kelly texts at wake
    while old woman breathes her last
    life so ironic

  • JGC

    yes it is true
    i placed those cones myself
    just kidding jersey

  • JGC

    radio silence
    seven hours pass til statement
    time to lawyer up

  • JGC

    coffee mug, cell phone
    tear-stained Christie photograph
    packed in my cardboard box

  • JGC

    watch out Christie aids:
    the mighty arc of jersey justice
    bends toward pine barrens

  • JGC

    watch out christie aids:
    the mighty arc of jersey justice
    bends toward pine barrens

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      I think you maybe better at poetry than commentary.

      • J__o__h__n

        It didn’t rhyme.

        • HonestDebate1

          Roses are red
          Violets are blue
          Some poems rhyme
          And some don’t

        • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

          Not all poetry rhymes,

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    The supposed “scandal” over the GW Bridge situation is perfect lamestream media clap trap. It’s sensational, requires little thought or digging, and so the media voraciously consumes and spits it back at us. If they had spent this much energy and done their jobs over the snarling traffic jam trying to cross the broken bridge known as Obamacare before “the lie of the year” was foisted upon the American public, and the fact that it will bankrupt our health care system, they would have really been earning their keep and could have prevented a real multi-million person pileup. But the superficial, star-involved stories require little work, thought, and effort. So that is where the press puts their efforts.

    • StilllHere

      He should just reply, “What difference does it make?”
      Or, the always applicable, “If four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal.”

    • jimino

      Obamacare has been the most-covered, reported on and and talked about story for years. Your comment is just further proof of the delusional alternate universe in which you and many other self-identified conservatives who post here live.

      • Fiscally_Responsible

        The reporting has been after the fact of it being approved and primarily about the website. The reporting should have been on the many weaknesses and shortcomings of the fundamental structure (needing millions of young healthy people to sign up and pay for older/other people with health care needs), digging into memos saying that the rollout was going to be the fiasco that is was, reporting how much more expensive the program was going to be for most people (higher premiums, higher out of pocket costs, or both), and how the administration was lying to us. It should have been BEFORE it was voted on so that the public could be informed and communicate with their congressman, which is the fundamental duty of a responsible and independent press. The shallow after the fact reporting that cannot undo the fiasco is not helpful, investigative journalism. But then again, the mainstream media goes goo goo over Obama and probably didn’t want to do anything that could jeopardize his signature program. One network, Fox News, was warning us about the many shortcomings and flaws of the program BEFORE it was implemented. None of the others were either honest enough, or willing to work hard enough, to uncover the truth of the pending Obamacare train wreck barreling down the track.

        • Don_B1

          You are just spouting idiocy because your desire that ObamaCare having problems has not been shown to be true.

          But because your ideology demands that ObamaCare cannot work, it must therefore be the fault of the press for not finding those problems.

          It seems every (false) “problem” dug up by the radical right and paraded on Fox News turns out to not be the “disaster” it is portrayed as, and that further inflames the right, which cannot deal with their projections being wrong.

          • Fiscally_Responsible

            Since I am younger than 65, considering retirement, which will depend upon my ability to pay for my own health insurance, it is in my own personal financial interest for Obamacare to deliver what it promised. In investigating a personal policy, I have found the policies to be more expensive than my employer is currently paying with much higher out of pocket co-pays/deductibles. I am not saving $2500 nor able to keep my current plan, as was promised PERIOD. Hence, the big lie.

      • HonestDebate1

        Where was the reporting that said there is no way premiums would go down or that it would be deficit neutral or that you could keep your plan? It’s not like these things weren’t vividly clear from day one.

        • Fiscally_Responsible

          They were not only not vividly clear. They were flat out lied about, with the lamestream press simply taking the administrations’s word for it,too lazy to dig into it, or worst of all, being part of the coverup because of their left wing bias.

      • jefe68

        It’s amazing, is it not.

        • Fiscally_Responsible

          Read my detailed response, Pal. It’s not just superficially covering the website failures after the fact. see below.

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    The other item regarding the “bridge scandal” is that according to the new mayor of NYC, most of the people who can afford to drive and park in NYC are probably the rich people. So it is probably good to make those “parasitic rich capitalistic pigs” to have to wait for hours on the bridge!

  • SteveTheTeacher

    “. . . this technique I thought was even more chilling and scary than waterboarding — which Lord knows I thought was quite chilling on its own right. It was very rough … something that would come out of an Edgar Allan Poe plotline.” – John Rizzo, former CIA lawyer.

    What is this undisclosed CIA enhanced interrogation (i.e. torture) technique?

    How about some investigative journalism into this?

  • Fredlinskip

    Well at least we’ve advanced some since gangster days.
    No one was sent by Christie’s group to break Sokolich’s fingers or anything.

  • Ray in VT

    Seeking an equal access to public space following the erection of a Ten Commandments piece at the Oklahoma Statehouse, a Satanist group has revealed their design for a statue that they are seeking to place nearby. Other groups, including Hindus and Pastafarians have also applied. Not surprisingly, this hasn’t flown too well with some people.

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      But it should. If you are offended by restrictions on your speech you should not seek to put restrictions on others’ speech. It would be like Rosa Parks insisting that Asians ride in the back of the bus.

      • Ray in VT

        But it should surprise me? Is that what you mean? I would say that it probably should, but experience has shown me enough about how people often, or at least sometimes, work that it doesn’t really surprise me.

        • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

          To clarify, it should fly well with the people that don’t want anyone telling them they can’t have Christmas displays. But there are many who see this as a zero sum game where there are only so many “words” and you can’t be taking mine away from me.

          • Ray in VT

            One would think that those crying persecution shouldn’t be trying to limit others. Take, for instance, those seeking to halt Murfreesboro Muslims from building a mosque. In the Oklahoma case, though, if one is going to allow one religious perspective or view in a public space, then I think that one be required to allow all.

          • HonestDebate1

            Do free speech now encompass construction?

          • Ray in VT

            So we can stop certain religious groups from constructing a place of worship on a piece of private property because we don’t like them?

          • HonestDebate1

            As long as the term “private property” exists (it’s days are numbered), yes. But that wasn’t my question.

          • Ray in VT

            Oh, is there some conspiracy to outlaw private property of which I am unaware? Please inform me. This should be good.

            I think that my response addressed your question.

          • HonestDebate1

            Kelo.

    • J__o__h__n

      I think this is really funny. If they hadn’t concocted a legal cover to force the Ten Commandments on everyone, they wouldn’t now be forced to accept the wonderfully absurd Satan statue.

      • Ray in VT

        I thought that the plan for the statue that would allow people to sit on the lap of Satan and contemplate, or whatever, is hilariously brilliant. I bet that it gets immediately vandalized, though. On the other hand, I bet that the Satanists will at least probably not make the spelling mistakes that were on the Ten Commandments piece.

    • hennorama

      Ray in VT — before doing a brief search, I thought “Pastafarians” was a typo.

      Turns out that, in addition to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, there may also be some interest from the Dudeists, man.

      Not sure they would abide the application and approval process, though.

      See:
      http://cabsurdum.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/the-church-of-the-latter-day-dude-wants-monument-at-oklahoma-capital-man/

  • John Cedar

    I like Christie. He is the kind of democrat I could and would vote for. Still would too.
    One interesting thing about bridge gate, is that it reenforces the idea that no matter how wholesome of an individual you put into office, they are still susceptible to corrupt actions, and therefore the power of all government needs to be limited and spread out over multiple people.

    Christie has shown himself to be a political amateur in his response to this crises. He should have used the Obama play book of acting shocked, questioning the truthfulness and referred to it as a rogue action he had no control over. Then promote the person responsible in a week or two. The sarcastic response would be amateur for even the mayor of Mayberry. Never apologize and never admit you are wrong.

    The other instesting predictable phenomena/nominee/non, is the coverage by the MSN. It was the lead story on CBS and included a pundit to surmise the future ramifications for a presidential bid. It was the lead joke on Jon Stewart two nights ago. It made honorable mention on TMZ last night as they compared him to Dennis Rodman.

    • J__o__h__n

      Christie is not a Democrat.

      • olderworker

        Interesting that John Cedar thought he was a Dem, though, isn’t it? Like it’s more logical for NJ to have a Democratic governor than otherwise.

  • pete18

    Although I think this story is worthy of the press’s attention and their tough questions at his press conference were appropriate,
    it is amazing the contrast between their ferocity, skepticism and intensity over this as compared to the anemic disinterest they have given Obama over far more important scandals ( IRS, Benghazi, etc). They really have internalized their own world view prejudices.

    I think Christie handled himself well at the press conference, he answered all the questions, stayed on stage for an extraordinary length of time and seemed contrite and honest. He actually fired some people too, which was refreshing to see. I still think it’s hard to believe he wasn’t aware of his top aides actions on this, and it’s still possible he’s lying, but he certainly didn’t act like someone who was at the press conference.

    • Ray in VT

      Perhaps the supposed liberal media will beat this issue to death for months and months, promoting any sort of conspiracy theory that they can dream up in order to keep attacking Governor Christie. It’s worked pretty well in conservative media circles regarding their approach to the President.

      • MrNutso

        Lets see what everyone says after the NYT publishes an investigative article showing Christie was not at fault in any way.

        • Ray in VT

          I would be willing to bet that at least some Times haters would toute it.

    • jimino

      Until Darrel Issa calls for a Congressional hearing on Christie’s problems, your views qualify as delusional,

    • MrNutso

      Problem. The George Washington Bridge has proven itself to be an actual scandal whereas Benghazi and IRS have proven themselves not to be.

      • Ray in VT

        I think that there are real issues with both Benghazi and the IRS, and one could call them scandals if one wanted, but I just don’t think that the important issues are the ones that opponents of the President have focused/obsessed over.

        • HonestDebate1

          That seems to contradict your previous statements that they were phony or faux scandals. You wrote one could call them scandals if one wanted, what do you want to call them? In other words how can they be phony if you think the issues are real? Were you just repeating the party line? Please clarify.

          • Ray in VT

            Phony and faux are the whacked out conspiracy angles that Obama haters have pushed. I’ve been pretty clear and consistent about this over time.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s not much of a clarification but thanks.

          • Ray in VT

            It seems pretty clear to me. What is not clear?

          • HonestDebate1

            How real issues can be phony but never mind. Let’s spare the blog from another silly pissin’ match. You win.

          • Ray in VT

            As I stated, there are real issues. The President’s haters just choose to largely push bizarre conspiracies.

          • HonestDebate1

            Alrighty then.

          • Don_B1

            It really is quite simple! The aspects of the tragedy in Benghazi and the attempt by workers in the Cincinnati office of the IRS to simplify their task of qualifying groups with political aims in qualifying for tax-exempt status, that the right-wingers have tried to make President Obama some sinister part of the story are mostly whole-cloth made up stories that rightfully are labelled phony.

          • HonestDebate1

            The blame Cincinnati meme was debunk a long time ago.

          • Ray in VT

            Have any evidence for the directed from the White House conspiracy?

          • HonestDebate1

            Not really but if it quacks like a duck. It’s too bad the BArret Report got buried in the 90′s. Do you have evidence it was just a few rogues in Cincinnatti and nothing more? No one is saying that anymore.

        • pete18

          My comment is not about the President’s opponents but the press and their lack of skepticism and energy in questioning Obama over issues that have just as much
          potential meat to them as the lane closings do. It is an illuminating contrast.

    • John Cedar

      I don’t think it went well for Christie at all.
      But all I saw of it was a few blurbs from “news” and “comedy” shows.
      The sarcasm about setting up the cones himself was just foolish.
      What did he mean when he said politics isn’t bean bag? Is he admitting he plays hardball and the bridge closure was hardball?
      And who closes a bridge as payback? That hurts everyone. Couldn’t he just have them do a state tax audit on all the guys family and every business
      associated with his family? That’s what Obama would have done.

      • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

        And his campaign donors.

      • pete18

        I streamed the press conference as I worked and overall I think he handled himself very well. Obviously, if he actually knew about it before hand, which still seems like a possibility, then he’s toast. But he certainly didn’t act like someone who was evasive or trying to cover anything up.

        • John Cedar

          I’m looking at it from how I think his audience will take it. Are you? Are you good at predicting how the unwashed masses respond to such things? Are you factoring in that the unwashed masses will only see the blurbs fed to them by the “comedy” shows and MSN?

          • pete18

            I was just talking about how he handled himself, which he did well. I’m making no predictions about how it will play out politically, except that he’s definitely toast
            if it’s proven that he is lying and you can count on the mainstream media to hammer a Republican much harder than a Democrat.

          • J__o__h__n

            I’d imagine that his potential rivals for the Republican nomination will keep bringing it up.

          • pete18

            No doubt.

  • alsordi

    Citizens of the USA need to read more foreign news.

    How is it everyone else in the world knows that the CIA is backing Al Qaeda, who has now made a resurgence and control more territory than ever before ?

    Americans fail to make the connection between the “Al Qaeda” that supposedly attacked Manhattan and the “Al Qaeda” that is now destabilizing much of the MIddle East. Its because the US news is controlled by the very same interests that is perpetuating war and instability in the MIddle East.

    The very name Al Qaeda was an American creation.
    So was 911 was an inside job? Most certainly.

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      Je désapprouve ce que vous dites, mais je me battrai jusqu’à la mort pour que vous ayez le droit de le dire.

      Voltaire

      • Ray in VT

        He didn’t really say that.

        • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

          lol Good morning.

          • Ray in VT

            And a good morning to you as well, but he just didn’t say those words. It may be a good embodiment of his views, but it’s not a quote, although I do note that you did not put it in quotes.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            Let us just agree that I am not claiming that I did not originate those words but I subscribe to them.

          • Ray in VT

            It’s a great principle to go with, but one should not attribute it to someone when that person didn’t say it.

        • hennorama

          Ray in VT — he didn’t build that, either. ;-)

      • alsordi

        N’approuves pas tu la verite ?

        • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

          la vérité n’a pas mendier mon approbation.

          (and we are reaching the limit of my high school french class)

    • JGC

      “All politics is local.”

      • alsordi

        An outside perspective is much more reliable.

        • JGC

          Agreed. It is more to note the reality of life.

      • hennorama

        JGC — it doesn’t hurt that Americans are particularly xenophobic, and ignorant of most things outside their local area.

        Actually, it DOES hurt that Americans are particularly xenophobic.

        • John Cedar

          By what measure or definition are they/ [we] “particularly”?

          “1. to a higher degree than is usual or average”???

        • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

          What evidence do you have for either assertion?

    • J__o__h__n

      Even the average uninformed Fox news viewing American is more informed than you are.

      • alsordi

        “Average uninformed” indeed. But I am willing to bet the farm Johnny, that I am considerably more informed than you.

        • J__o__h__n

          Your paranoid conspiracy theories would indicate otherwise.

          • alsordi

            You Johnny,are merely a name-caller.

            No facts, no logic, no discussion, just weak infantile attacks.

          • J__o__h__n

            The 911 conspiracy has been debunked. I doubt anything I add would change your mind. Any name calling is justified by your attitude that no one else is informed like presumably you are.

          • Ray in VT

            But that’s the thing about conspiracies. A lack of evidence or support is merely an indication of how thorough the conspirators have covered their tracks.

          • alsordi

            Wrong, there is no lack of evidence !! The fact of the no WMDs is mainstream news.
            USA backing Al Qaeda against USSR, Libya and Syria is mainstream news. There is plenty of facts out there for THINKING FREE-MINDED people.

          • Ray in VT

            Our support of militants against the USSR is well noted. I was referring to statements along the lines of “So was 911 was an inside job? Most certainly.”

          • alsordi

            Most certainly….Seek the plethera of facts… not one debunker hired by the US govt.

          • alsordi

            Debunked by whom ?? Maybe Henry Kissinger ? who was supposed to lead the investigation?? LOL
            The investigation was a total whitewash, and all subsequent critics are weak. The fact is there is an overwhelming amount of fact by qualified professionals that prove that 911 was an inside job.

            Just be wary of the 911 sites that include Chem trails, UFO, and Crop circles, meant to discredit the true conspiracy, and you will find all the facts you need.

    • John Cedar

      Does al jazeera America count as foreighn news?
      I can only read speak engrish so I am constrained and I will be damned if I’m gonna type things into a translator.

      Its no secret that our current president is a Muslim extremist sleeper cell president, so it would be no surprise if he directed the USA to support “Al Qaeda”.

      • alsordi

        FYI
        Al Jazeera has long become an asset of the CIA. Its just more subtle.

        • Don_B1

          While you occasionally make valid points, all too often, like here, you are just the opposite extreme from John Cedar’s.

      • MOFYC

        Al Jazeera America counts as quality news, about the only option on the television set.

        • alsordi

          No doubt. Al Jazeera is way better than Fox even if it is a CIA asset.

      • MOFYC

        First, the president was in league with his CHRISTIAN extremist pastor. Then he’s a Muslim extremist. I wish the right-wing fanatics would pick one demagogic lie and stick with it.

        • John Cedar

          The problem is that Obama is a moving target. But if I haaaaave to stick with just one demagogic lie, I would stick with Crazy Carl’s. When asked if Obama is a Christian or a Muslim, he said Obama worships himself.

      • alsordi

        The extremists in the USA are the Evangelicals Christian warmongers supported by Israel. It is the USA CIA that is backing the real muslim extremists: Al CIAda.

      • RolloMartins

        Hoping this is satirical. Will say that if more people watched Al Jazeera than FOX the U.S. would be much better off.

        • John Cedar

          If your premise is true, It is ironic that the FOX audience is the salt of earth people who compose the neighborhoods where no one is playing the knock out game and you can leave your doors unlocked and your keys in your car, with no worries.

      • Don_B1

        Does making such wildly extravagant claims as in your second paragraph really do so much for you?

        The contamination of everything else you might have to say and get a rational response leading to some actual gain in understanding you completely give up with that kind of BULL.

        • John Cedar

          Yes.
          Are you really so thin skinned that you are compelled to respond?
          That’s odd…someone gave you a down vote, so I gave you an up vote.

  • HonestDebate1

    According to my google search there have been 189 million news stories on the polar vortex since Dec. 11, 2013. From 1960 to Dec.10, 2013 there were zero. The polar vortex has always been around, why the surge in coverage? My opinion is the weather deniers (there really is weather) are reaching for anything to say it’s climate change as they scold those of us who believe in weather (and climate) for not knowing the difference.

    Will someone please clear it up for me? I have simple mind so please keep it simple. Does this weather prove climate change is real?

    • Ray in VT

      189 million news stories in a month. Wow. That’s pretty amazing. Lets take a look at the methodology. Google “polar vortex”. Select “news” tab. Am I right so far? The results that I got listed the same two stories twice in the first three pages. Seems like a bit of an overblown number based upon even those limited examples.

      Zero examples from 1960 to December 10, 2013? Please entertain me with a source for that. I easily found a reference in the news from 1974. I’m sure that it isn’t the only one.

      Your opinions on this matter are hilarious as usual.

      • HonestDebate1

        Okay lets’ throw out 188 million of them for no reason whatsoever so that it’s only 1 million to zero. And lets count your 1 but add another 999 for no reason whatsoever. That’s 1 million to one thousand. Run the math I’m not smart enough to calculate the percentage of increase. I think my point stands.

        It’s now up to 193M so throw out 4 million more:

        http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=polar+vortex&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8#q=polar+vortex&rls=en&tbm=nws

        And here:

        http://www.google.com/search?q=polar+vortex&client=safari&rls=en&biw=1280&bih=722&sa=X&ei=Kf3PUpHjCNWpsQTg-4DwCw&ved=0CB4QpwUoBQ&source=lnt&tbs=cdr%3A1%2Ccd_min%3A1%2F1%2F1960%2Ccd_max%3A12%2F10%2F2013&tbm=nws

        Waddaya think, do I make this stuff up?

        • Ray in VT

          So there’s only that one? Pretty funny. Please tell me how you arrived at the conclusion that there were zero? There seem to be plenty, but that doesn’t fit the Rush/dittohead conspiracy.

          • HonestDebate1

            I didn’t get it from Rush but I did email him to give him a heads up. He often agrees with me. Why do you bring him up? That’s odd and refudiates squat but it happens a lot.

            The second link is how I got there. I specified “according to google”. Go to google and search “polar vortex”, then click the news tab, then narrow the search to the timeframe from 1/1/1960 to 12/10/2013. You will get zero.

            But you are dodging Ray. I tortured the numbers beyond all credibility to the benefit of for position and still had a 1000% increase. What do you attribute it to?

            I have simple mind so please keep it simple. Does this weather prove climate change is real?

          • Ray in VT

            I brought up Rush because I first heard of this “liberal conspiracy” from him the other day. Great comedy.

            Perhaps you shouldn’t rely on Google for something like this, primarily because so many news sources do not have their news archives on the web, so while they ran stories, they cannot be found online.

            Then take this, for instance:

            https://www.google.com/search?q=polar+vortex&client=safari&rls=en&biw=1280&bih=722&sa=X&ei=Kf3PUpHjCNWpsQTg-4DwCw&ved=0CB4QpwUoBQ&source=lnt&tbs=cdr%3A1%2Ccd_min%3A1%2F1%2F1960%2Ccd_max%3A12%2F10%2F2013&tbm=nws#q=yasser+arafat&rls=en&tbm=nws&tbs=cdr:1%2Ccd_min:1%2F1%2F1960%2Ccd_max:12%2F10%2F2013

            I searched Yasser Arafat for the same period. Zero results. Shall we conclude that there were no news stories about Yasser Arafat during that period of time?

            I attribute any recent upswing as an industry term entering the public lexicon during an usual event that is of much concern or interest to the public.

          • HonestDebate1

            What I wrote was spot on true and I gave my methods. It is what it is.

            Does this weather prove climate change is real?

          • Ray in VT

            So, like the polar vortex, Yasser Arafat was never covered in the news before December 10, 2013. There are also no fire trucks, or even any trucks of any type in the entire state of Vermont. This is based upon the methodology of how many of each I can see outside my window right now. It is spot on true, I gave my methods, and it is what it is.

            The weather today doesn’t really prove anything about the climate or how it is changing. Noted climate scientist Neil Cavuto often disagrees though.

          • HonestDebate1

            If you are correct then according to google, yes.

          • Ray in VT

            Then one shouldn’t trust Google with such things. Trust it would be unwise.

          • HonestDebate1

            Google is not knowledge.

          • Ray in VT

            It can lead to knowledge, or it can lead one to totally preposterous conclusions, like how there were zero uses of “polar vortex” in the news prior to December 10, 2013. Like all tools, Google must be properly used and appropriately understood.

          • HonestDebate1

            I agree. Thanks for checking Arafat. Since today is the 10th and the results don’t show up until Dec. 11, I’m thinking the news searches go back only a month. Maybe that’s it.

          • RolloMartins

            If Rush agreed with me on anything, I would take that as a warning and go back to hitting the books.

          • Don_B1

            The particular weather here in the U.S. this January, by itself, does not prove anything about climate change, as I have tried to get you to accept many times before. And it is not because your mind is simple that you keep pushing the denier button here and probably other places.

            The reason you do that is that you have an agenda, to deny any and all problems that might require government action to solve them.

            I encourage anyone else reading this post to visit:

            http://www.skepticalscience.com/

            and explore the climate scientists’ answers to denier (and your) claims about climate science and also the latest posts on new climate science work as well as recent debunkings of your favorite false claims.

            But note that the temperatures are running about 20 to 30 degrees warmer in Sochi, Russia, where they could use the colder weather and a lot of snow. Shades of Vancouver, CA in 2010 when there was a shortage of snow for the Olympic events.

            The bottom line is that when the temperatures all over the world are accounted for, the earth is warming.

      • jefe68

        Ta Da…It’s Friday morning right wing clown show!

        • HonestDebate1

          I have simple mind so please keep it simple. Does this weather prove climate change is real?

          • jefe68

            That would depend on how the climate effects the weather in the long term.

            Jet streams are caused by a combination of a planet’s rotation on its axis and atmospheric heating (by solar radiation and, on some planets other than Earth, internal heat).

            The have an effect on local weather conditions. And air travel.

          • HonestDebate1

            Thank you.

          • RolloMartins

            I posted the link above. In essence there may be a lessening of the warm air/cold air barrier as climate change increases. The polar vortices then can escape its normal scope. Theory, yes; but, it does make some sense.

          • Don_B1

            And the “polar vortex” is not a new term; Al Roker, on yesterday’s Today program, showed his college meteorology textbook with a discussion of the term. While he did not date himself, the textbook was not written and published yesterday.

          • jefe68

            if I’m correct it was from 1958.

      • hennorama

        Ray in VT — remember too that one’s use of search engines, and the history of the results one selects, leads the search engine to customize the search results, and can in effect “bury” atypical results further down the list.

        This can lead to confirmation bias. If one keeps clicking on the same sites in the search results, one gets “fed” more of the same in the future.

        • Ray in VT

          That’s true as well. There’s one site, though, that often comes up in some of my searches, and it never seems to go down the list, although I don’t click on it because I have found factual errors with the information there.

          • Don_B1

            That shows that others are clicking on it enough times to make up for your not clicking as often.

          • Ray in VT

            It’s just irritating. A few tables and such were pretty egregiously mislabeled.

        • brettearle
          • hennorama

            brettearle — that is hilarious! I haven’t thought of Candid Camera or Buster Keaton in a long, long time. TYVM.

          • brettearle

            I knew you’d like it.

            That’s why I sent it your way.

            I was just watching it, again, here–when you dropped by here, now….

          • hennorama

            Wringing out the sandwich … there are no words.

          • brettearle

            Of course, the key to it is Keaton’s utter oblivion to his surroundings–as if either what he does is totally socially acceptable, to him; or that he couldn’t care a whit, as to how he is coming across to others.

            And the timing?

            Priceless…..

            [I can't stop watching it....]

            I hope that you did not stop with the sandwich wringing. There was a second part of the presentation.

            There was a couple to his right. The toupee, etc…..

            Did you see that part?….

            Satire’s my thing, Henn….

            [At some point--perhaps in the not-too-distant future--I might have stuff to tell you, about my work....If you want to hear that is....]

          • hennorama

            brettearle — I of course watched the entire clip and enjoyed it in its entirety. Keaton was an absolute genius.

            And you already know the answer.

      • keltcrusader

        It is actually a term that has been in use since the 30-40s

        • Ray in VT

          Nah. I think that it’s sum sorta librul conspiracy to steal mah rats.

        • Ray in VT

          Love the new avatar, btdubs.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      The news is that the polar vortex has broken down; not that it exists.

      • Ray in VT

        Broken down or is behaving atypically?

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          Sorta’ both. The jet stream is created by the temperature differential between the Arctic and the lower latitudes. The warmer air pushes upward farther and this forms a “hill” of sorts, and air above it flows “downhill” toward the Arctic, and the earth’s spin gets it moving laterally.

          The melting Arctic ice has a strong influence on the jet stream, and the Arctic ice is declining precipitously.

      • HonestDebate1

        So three days cold weather in January proves global warming? Should we expect more cold weather before April?

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          You are twisting what I said.

          Anthropogenic climate change is real, and it is very likely that the abnormal polar vortex is yet another symptom.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Was the polar vortex that caused the Delaware River to freeze over in 1776 also caused by burning fossil fuels?

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            No, that was before the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and the level of carbon dioxide was still at ~270ppm and the average global temperature was less than it is today.

            I thought they crossed in boats?

          • HonestDebate1

            Sorry, it wasn’t intentional. Try this: Does that make it unlikely it was just a cold snap (AKA weather)?

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            The jet stream is wobbly and weakened, and Arctic air is dispersing in lumps and clumps. Have you ever heard of that happening before?

            The climate has changed, and therefor all weather is a product of the climate. The Arctic is much warmer than it used to be, and the ocean is more acidic, and there is more evaporation, and the ocean level is higher than it used to be.

            Here’s proof that the climate has warmed in the last 100 years: when is the last time you heard of an ice harvest? When is the last time you heard of a hockey game on a pond or lake?

          • HonestDebate1

            I’ll take that as a yes.

            Doesn’t El Nino disrupt the jet stream?

            http://www.minnpost.com/view-finder/2012/01/scenes-pond-hockey-championships-lake-nokomis

        • Don_B1

          See my post in response to your continuous inanity below!

          When you understand climate change science, you will understand that the current “three days of cold weather” is something that the real science predicts, that it is an effect of the changes man is making in the earth’s atmosphere by burning fossil fuels to generate energy.

          Actually, I think you do understand it all too well, but use that knowledge to think up ways to confuse the less-informed public in your ideological drive to limit government and keep it from doing anything to solve mankind’s problems.

          • HonestDebate1

            I could have told you there would be a three day cold snap in January and I’m an idiot… or maybe that makes me a real scientist.

            But that’s interesting, what can government do to affect squat? Even the staunchest proponents admit there is nothing we can do without China and India helping. Even then it’s a guess. How much pain should we endure for nothing?

        • nj_v2

          DishonestMisdebatorGreggg = victim of Ignorance Vortex.

          Sad.

          • HonestDebate1

            They were simple questions.

    • RolloMartins
      • HonestDebate1

        The weather deniers are those that say every weather event is proof of AGW and not weather.

        • Don_B1

          False again! On multiple levels.

          “Weather deniers” is not a term in general use. But climate deniers are the ones, like you, WUWT and Rush, etc. use a single event, such as the current southerly excursion of the polar vortex to claim, falsely, that the climate is not changing due to warming due to the burning of fossil fuels to generate power for human use.

          What the climate scientists do is to show how climate change, that has been verified in all kinds of data, from earth temperatures, to earth cores from glaciers all over the earth, to tree rings and other plant evidence, is the source of the current unusual weather event.

          The climate scientists show that that the current weather is a product of climate change, more than that it is a “proof” of climate change.

          Get over your falsifying mission; it will be less and less believed as time moves on.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Talk about false. Please show where WUWT has used the polar vortex to make a scientific argument.

            What they do is use it to MOCK the alarmist propagandists that use every weather event to claim proof of CO2 caused global warming.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s my term, I get to make the definition. Do you believe in weather? Can it explain cold and hot?

          • jefe68

            Are you aware you sound like your about 10 years old?

          • HonestDebate1

            Of course, I always play to my audience. Plus I love it when the simplest of questions cannot be answered because ridiculous positions have already been dug in on and ideology will not allow an answer.

          • Don_B1

            You might as well ask if I believe in the atmosphere!

            But since you appear to be making a non-standard use of it (and many other words you are using these days), maybe you had better include definitions of each of the words you use in all your posts!

            I’ll help you get started:

            Definition: “Weather: the state of the atmosphere at a place and time as regards heat, cloudiness, dryness, sunshine, wind, rain, etc.” (of the molecules present).

            The weather is not so much something that explains as it is the collection of facts about what the molecules in the atmosphere are doing.

            But your actions on this blog are close to meeting the definition of a smart idiot, in other words, of an oxymoron.

          • HonestDebate1

            Maybe it was just a cold snap Don.

      • Don_B1

        Another, longer exposition on the polar vortex is here:

        http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/01/06/3122491/cold-polar-vortex/

        Thank you for providing the CSM link.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Yeah, I always go to thinkprogress as my source for science info too.

          • Don_B1

            That must explain, at least in part, your total ignorance on the subject.

            Except that your ignorance is deliberate for the ideological reason that you have a mission to make sure that government is not able to help people deal with any problems that society inflicts on them, with the exception that the government cannot do too much for the wealthy.

  • sickofthechit

    Just in from the West Virginia chemical spill of a foaming agent used in coal industry where 9 counties are declared under a state of emergency and residents are not to drink, bath or use their tap water.
    “Coal, It keeps the lights on,
    and children out of taking baths”

    Charles A; Bowsher

  • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

    FTA:
    “It seemed so safe,” he said recently. “It was a government guarantee.”

    But the Spanish government has changed its mind. It plans to pay less, a lot less. Under legislation that goes into effect this year, it will drop its per-kilowatt-hour payment system altogether and effectively impose retroactive cuts in payments. It also plans to make solar power producers pay a charge on electricity they generate and use themselves, a measure that angry protesters have named the “sun tax.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/06/world/europe/spains-solar-pullback-threatens-pocketbooks.html?ref=science&_r=0

  • J__o__h__n

    USS Gerald R. Ford to be rechristened USS Chevy Chase.

  • hennorama

    Synchronicity?

    After listening to the second hour of yesterday’s show, “A Pill For ‘Brain Youth’?,” I came across a piece on HuffPo, titled “Dad Is (Mostly) Totally Honest On 11-Month-Old Daughter’s Daycare Questionnaire.”

    The main article is funny, but I found the “Cute Kid Notes” slide show to be even better, and a great insight into a few young brains.

    Enjoy!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/08/dad-daycare-questionnaire-11-month-old-daughter_n_4560620.html

  • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

    FTA:

    But their actions speak differently. The president and Democrats were happy to support Bloomberg’s opposition toward the proliferation of firearms so long as it was not principled. However, when Bloomberg’s group released an ad targeting Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) over his opposition to new gun ownership restrictions, it became clear that Bloomberg was actually serious about this public policy initiative. So serious, in fact, that he would go as far as to challenge an embattled Democratic incumbent whose loss in November could help hand control of the U.S. Senate over to Republicans. This could not stand.

    “There had been information that I had as recently as two weeks ago that he was resisting pressure from both [Sens. Charles] Schumer (D-NY) and [Harry] Reid (D-NV) to defend Mark Pryor, or not to attack Mark Pryor, on the gun issue,” MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell said of Bloomberg’s latest move on Tuesday.

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/at-democrats-request-even-mike-bloomberg-is-giving-up-on-gun-control/

  • ChristopherNoel

    Today’s jobs report is a perfect example of the grave inadequacy of the “unemployment rate” metric. Only an anemic 74,000 new jobs were created in December (barely 1/3 of what was predicted), and yet the unemployment rate plummeted to 6.7%. This can only mean that many have left the ranks of those officially looking for work. Why don’t we adopt a diagnostic formula that reflects the real picture–taking account of all those who are out of work whether or not they are considered “actively looking”–instead of the highly deceptive and apparently outmoded formula we still use today?

    • HonestDebate1

      Bingo.

    • jimino

      How does any of what you point out affect the deficit which, as all “very serious people” agree, is the real problem facing our country?

      • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

        Less jobs
        Less wealth
        Less taxes
        But more deficit spending
        QED

      • HonestDebate1

        Fewer people working means fewer taxpayers which means less revenue. Fewer people working means a larger safety net which means less revenue. Less revenue means larger deficits.

        • Ray in VT

          Yet in total dollars the federal government took in more dollars than ever, although it is still well below the percentage of GDP collected when compared to the past 50ish years, and the deficit has been shrinking. How can both of those things be if the sky is falling?

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            I have seen different figures will you tell me where you found yours?

          • HonestDebate1

            I would be interested too. According to OMB 2007 brought in the most revenue ever in constant 2005 dollars and current dollars. The 2013 numbers are an estimate but still don’t eclipse 2007 in constant dollars.

          • Ray in VT

            Based upon what I have seen that is no longer the case, although they may be preliminary, but they do appear to be in the same constant dollars.

          • HonestDebate1

            If so then it’s about damn time. Still too little too late.

          • Ray in VT

            Recovery from something that big takes a while, plus revenues were rather intentionally depressed via tax cuts. Too little too late? So we’re doomed? Dooooomed!!!

          • HonestDebate1

            But 2007 (the record year) was after 4 years of tax cuts and wars. The cuts for the poor in 2001 did depress revenue but it put the money in the pockets of people in desperate need. When the rates were lowered across the board in 2003 the unemployment rate went down for 52 months and revenue increased by over a half trillion dollars by 2007. I just don’t see how you can make the case revenue was depressed by the tax cuts. Obama extended all of the tax cuts because letting them expire was a horrible idea and he didn’t have the votes despite having majorities.

            And yes, I do think we are pretty much doomed. We haven’t seen ratios of spending to GDP or debt to GDP like this since WWII. I don’t think it is possible to ever pay back the debt. We are now hyping a 3 or 4% GDP as positive when it took 8 or 9% GDP to recover under Reagan. I’m not being dramatic, I am being rational. And now we have Obamacare. Do you think this is sustainable?

          • Ray in VT

            On the Interwebs from what I think is a good source.

          • HonestDebate1

            I make 15K but last year I spent 150K, this year I’ll spend 140K. My deficit is shrinking so everything is peachy.

          • Ray in VT

            Except that GDP is growing. Nice try, though.

          • HonestDebate1

            I just got a raise now I make 18K, happy days are here again. Maybe I should up my spending.

          • Ray in VT

            Your numbers still do not make a sensible argument regarding the situation at hand.

          • jefe68

            He dos not understand that a country is not a household.

          • HonestDebate1

            You don’t understand that we can’t keep spending more than we take in forever.

          • jefe68

            And the deficit is going down.
            The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that, through the first 11 months of fiscal 2013, the budget deficit was down 35 percent from the comparable period of 2012.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            So is it, 15K in, 150 out last year, and 17K in, 140 out this?

          • Ray in VT

            Based upon deficit numbers, I don’t think that those work either.

        • Fredlinskip

          We’ve heard that argument justifying supply side economics for 35 years.
          National debt doubled under Reagan.
          And increased at record rates under every Republican administration since.
          How long do you keep supporting an economic theory that has clearly failed before you perhaps endorse something different?

          • HonestDebate1

            Are you saying fewer people working means more revenue and a smaller safety net?

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            2, 3, 4, 5 wrongs make a right?

      • PoliticsWatcher

        The very serious people agree it isn’t the real problem.

        The real problem is the Great Recession.

    • alsordi

      Those who look to the official unemployment rate as well as the DOW JONES for the true economic situation, are seriously misled.

    • JGC

      New Jersey unemployment rate upticks to 9% after mass firing of all Governor Christie’s most trusted aids…

      • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

        If Obama fired the criminally incompetent in DC…. (Fish, Barrel, Shot Gun)

        • sickofthechit

          Can he fire Congress?

          • HonestDebate1

            No but we can.

    • Fredlinskip

      95% of income gains since 2009 went to top 1%.

      Is it any wonder unemployment and full employment have been such persistent problems, median income has shrank, & middle class is shrinking?

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        I hope they thank Bernanke. The rest of us can thank him for the inflation.

        Just like the war on poverty, instead of Bailouts and Open Windows, they should have just given us the money directly, and let us use it in a real economy.

        But then what would happen to the government and finance crowd who administer this crap and take there cut, leaving us the debt and inflation.

        Government……Banking…….Serf!

        • Euphoriologist

          What inflation?

          • sickofthechit

            Graham crackers that are no longer 16 ounces, but instead are 14.4 ounces. That is more than a 10% inflation rate. Dollar store oatmeal cookies that still “weigh” the same but there are three fewer cookies. “King size” hershey bars that are no longer 2 for $2.50 but are instead 2 for $3.00 and slightly smaller.. Inflation is all around us if we look a little more closely. Shirts at the local Goodwill are now $3.00 instead of $2.00 and let’s not forget the “generous” donors who make even more in tax credits donating them than the Goodwill realizes in selling them. Spalding Donuts are now $9.00 a dozen instead of $6.00 a dozen. My organic milk is now %6.99 a gallon instead of $5.99. That is just some of the inflation in my world. charles a. bowsher

          • Euphoriologist

            I can’t tell if you’re being sincere or attempting a very elaborate joke. If the former, I feel for you. What you describe sounds more like underhanded manufacturer and retail tricks than inflation, though. Not to mention most wages are going down, not up (which might explain your pain better).

            Maybe you’re just unlucky, because the US is actually in a long hard fight with DISinflation, the opposite of inflation. Despite trillions of dollars being injected into the money supply by Bernanke, investors in US securities are worried that prices aren’t rising fast ENOUGH. This means the specter of deflation is still too real a possibility for comfort.

            http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-16/tips-wipeout-signals-fed-losing-fight-against-u-s-disinflation.html

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            “High prices seem to be the norm. The US stock and bond markets are at, or near, all-time highs. Agricultural land in the US is at all time highs. The Contemporary Art market in New York is booming with record sales and high prices. The real estate markets in Manhattan and Washington, DC, are both at all-time highs as the Austrians would predict. That is, after all, where the money is being created, and the place where much of it is injected into the economy.

            This doesn’t even consider what prices would be like if the Fed and world central banks had not acted as they did. Housing prices would be lower, commodity prices would be lower, CPI and PPI would be running negative. Low-income families would have seen a surge in their standard of living. Savers would get a decent return on their savings.

            Of course, the stock market and the bond market would also see significantly lower prices. Bank stocks would collapse and the bad banks would close. Finance, hedge funds, and investment banks would have collapsed. Manhattan real estate would be in the tank. The market for fund managers, hedge fund operators, and bankers would evaporate.

            In other words, what the Fed chose to do ended up making the rich, richer and the poor, poorer. If they had not embarked on the most extreme and unorthodox monetary policy in memory, the poor would have experienced a relative rise in their standard of living and the rich would have experienced a collective decrease in their standard of living.

            There are other major reasons why consumer prices have not risen in tandem with the money supply in the dramatic fashion of oil, gold, stocks and bonds. It would seem that the inflationary and Keynesian policies followed by the US, Europe, China, and Japan have resulted in an economic and financial environment where bankers are afraid to lend, entrepreneurs are afraid to invest, and where everyone is afraid of the currencies with which they are forced to endure.

            In other words, the reason why price inflation predictions failed to materialize is that Keynesian policy prescriptions like bailouts, stimulus packages, and massive monetary inflation have failed to work and have indeed helped wreck the economy.”

            http://mises.org/daily/6340/Where-Is-the-Inflation

        • PoliticsWatcher

          There is no inflation. The GOP kept predicting it, but it never happened.

          Turn off Fox News.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            We aren’t done with the cycle yet Einsteins. Printing the money is easy. Reeling it back in is more tricky. Good luck staying out of the next bubble before they pop it.

            And this just from some mainstream financial reporters who love the status quo….

            “You might remember from Econ 101 that when the government prints money willy-nilly and the money supply increases, it can cause inflation. (Take the case of Zimbabwe, though there are also other causes of inflation.) Some critics warn that the Fed is playing with fire by flooding the system with easy money.

            So why has there been virtually no inflation and why do so few experts expect it any time soon?

            “Because this is $3 trillion that never left the building,” explains Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management.

            The Fed handed over all this money to the banks, hoping they would lend it out. But the banks aren’t doing much with it.

            “Most of it hasn’t even touched the economy,” Paulsen says. “They’re being held in excess reserve at the Federal Reserve.”

            Excess reserves are sort of like savings accounts banks keep at the Fed. So why are banks holding on to the money?

            “It’s a combination of some banks are still reluctant to make loans, and some of it is businesses and families that used to come to the banks for more loans, they’re not coming to demand the loan,” says Matthew Slaughter, a professor at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.

            Keith Leggett, vice president and senior economist at the American Bankers Association, says banks are more growing more eager to lend.

            “All evidence is indicating that banks are beginning to relax underwriting standards. Terms of credit are becoming easier, so on the supply side things are improving,” he says. But “it’s still a challenge” to find creditworthy borrowers, and many businesses aren’t confident enough to borrow funds to expand.

            But that’s today. What happens if the banks decide to start lending out all that money they have lying around?

            That’s when the specter of inflation might rise. If those reserves finally do start to flood the economy, the Fed will have to take money out of circulation.

            “A big part of the Fed’s exit strategy, which will make tapering that everyone’s talking about look trivial and unimportant, is how and when to judge that it’s time to start withdrawing this liquidity from the banking system,” says Alan Blinder, a Princeton economist and former Fed vice chair.

            The Fed withdraws money by selling the bonds and securities it had bought or letting them mature. It then destroys the proceeds, thereby reducing the money supply.

            Doing that at exactly the right pace is beyond human ability, says Blinder, so “the Fed is gonna have to make judgment calls about where it wants to take chances.”

            If the Fed reduces the money supply too fast, it might stunt the economy. If it goes too slow, it could let inflation sweep in.

            “That’s gonna be a really critical set of choices for the Fed,” Blinder says.

  • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

    Hate Speech? or protected political expression?

    FTA:
    Catholics in high places of power have the most trouble, I’ve noticed, practicing the separation of church and state. The pugnacious Catholic Justice, Antonin Scalia, is the most aggressive offender on the Court, but not the only one. Of course, we can’t know for sure what Sotomayor was thinking, but it seems she has joined the ranks of the five Republican Catholic men on the John Roberts Court in showing a clear religious bias when it comes to women’s rights and liberties. We can no longer be silent about this. Thomas Jefferson, the principal champion of the separation between state and church, was thinking particularly of pernicious Rome in his writings. He deeply distrusted the narrowness of Vatican hegemony.

    http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/Jamie-Stiehm/2014/01/07/the-catholic-supreme-courts-war-on-women

    • J__o__h__n

      protected. Issuing a stay while appeals are pending isn’t the same as a ruling so the opinion is moronic.

    • Ed75

      If someone makes a decision, and they are Catholic, then their decision is biased. Is it just possible that there is merit to their case? (Thomas Jefferson’s separation of church and state was in a letter concerning a Baptist congregation I think in Rhode Island, I don’t know that it was directed at Rome. The separation of church and state was as much to protect the church from the state’s intrusions as vice versa.)

    • MOFYC

      Catholics tend to have the most trouble because they have the highest level of parallel institutions. Protestantism, Judaism and Islam are more decentralized.

      You are correct but their trouble with separation of church and state is ironic. Some of the sainted Founding Fathers wanted to deny voting and other civic rights to Catholics altogether.

      • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

        Interesting.

  • Ed75

    Lots of replies to get to. After Abraham Lincoln was elected and before he was inaugurated in March there was a waiting period. I wonder if they felt they were on the brink of a large event, the Civil War starting in April. Because it feels now like we are on the brink of a major event, just waiting a little while.

  • Ed75

    Mary appeared to several children in Garabandal in the early 1960s (there’s video footage of the children in ecstacy on the internet). She said several things would happen:
    Mary: “When communism comes again everything will happen.”
    Conchita: “What do you mean by comes again?”
    Mary: “Yes, when it newly comes again”, she replied.
    Conchita: “Does that mean that communism will go away before that?”
    We see now that Communism has gone away, largely through John Paul II, and also that it’s coming back, in South American, and in New York City.

    • J__o__h__n

      No she didn’t.

      The Mayor of New York and the Pope have similar views on economic justice.

      • HonestDebate1

        Phil Robertson and the Pope have similar views on gay sex.

        • J__o__h__n

          Is that the duck guy? I don’t care about the pope’s views, I was just citing them in relation to Ed’s claims about Communism and the Church.

          • HonestDebate1

            I know but I couldn’t help it.

        • jefe68

          That’s so cute, you made a meme.
          It’s OK, you can go back to eating your cheerios now. Let the adults finish there conversation.

  • MrNutso

    Please no polar vortex. It’s called winter (this is the winter of my polar vortex discontent).

    • jefe68

      How about jet stream antics?

      • MrNutso

        I’m Leaving on a Jet Stream …

        • Ray in VT

          Don’t know when I’ll be back again.

          • Steve__T

            Oh Ray, I hate to go…..But

          • Ray in VT

            One time I accidentally played that song around a friend of mine whose sort of adopted sister was going to be flying back to Russia (maybe forever), and I made her cry. It wasn’t my best moment, but the sister did come back, so no long term harm I guess.

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      Bravo.

    • Labropotes

      So it is the summer of your polar vortex content?

  • MrNutso

    The Bridges of Bergen County.

    • Labropotes

      I cried.

      • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

        I heard her name was Bridget but I stink at spelling.

  • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

    FTA:
    Big business lobbies for big government in order to profit in ways the free market would never allow. All the time. The light bulb law is a great example, as this stock report from Motley Fool lays out in a dispassionate manner:

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/your-light-bulb-loss-is-manufacturers-gain/article/2541783

    And as a bonus American factories are closed.

  • toc1234

    I.R.S mess? yawn…
    but closed jersey traffic lanes?
    eric holder jumps

  • RolloMartins

    ChristieNacht has exposed the man as the bully he is. This is just one of *many* similar instances. He has lost his likability factor.

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      Down vote not to defend Christie (he lost likability with me long ago) but to register dislike for the term ChristieNacht. I think it insensitive and insulting and truly bullying.

      • Ray in VT

        Yeah, I think that it’s better to stay away from something like that.

  • JONBOSTON

    Tom,
    Today’s pathetic jobs report , if a harbinger of things to come, exposes Obama’s failure to articulate a pro-growth jobs program. A higher minimum wage and increased unemployment compensation do absolutely nothing to create new jobs or spur economic growth in the private sector. Why isn’t the media demanding more from Obama?

    • keltcrusader

      They should be demanding more from Congress

  • Coastghost

    Once we establish a working definition for “Newsworthiness” (definition forthcoming, we’ll work with self-evidences at least until after THIS show is over), probing and intrepid journalists in search of tawdry behavior might also look at the Barack and Michelle marital strife that seems strong enough to keep them both off the same Federal jet transport. (Personally, I think she’s still miffed that she did not appear in the UK/Denmark/US photo shoot at Mandela’s funeral. Or maybe Michelle has discovered Barack is homosexual. –Who knows? Someone needs to examine the circumstances, with requisite journalistic decorum and tact.)

  • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

    FTA:
    On the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s declaration of a War on Poverty, Republicans and Democrats are engaged in a battle over whether its 40 government programs have succeeded in lifting people from privation or worsened the situation by trapping the poor in dependency.

    Many of today’s fiercest political debates can be traced to the aspirations of the Great Society, the domestic programs it spawned during the 1960s, and the doubts it raised about the role and reach of Washington.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/great-society-agenda-led-to-great–and-lasting–philosophical-divide/2014/01/08/b082e5d0-786d-11e3-b1c5-739e63e9c9a7_story.html

  • William

    Jack, Jack….does Obama take responsibility for the “culture of revenge” surrounding him?

    “Punish your enemies and reward your friends” – Obama talking to Hispanic voters – Oct. 2010.

    • J__o__h__n

      New right wing conspiracy theory: Christie learned this behavior from when he was palin’ around with Obama.

      • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

        He got it from hugging the President, its like when a werewolf bites you and you become one.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        What does Sarah Palin have to do with it? ;)

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      “Punch back twice as hard”

    • Labropotes

      That is interesting. The ancient Greeks used to say, “be a pleasure to your friends and a terror to your enemies.” Is Obama a pagan, in reality?

      • Ray in VT

        Obviously.

      • jefe68

        From Africa no doubt…

      • StilllHere

        Depends on the audience he’s ingratiating himself to.

      • William

        Sometimes Obama let’s his true nature slip when he has to speak off the cuff.

    • hennorama

      William — first of all, that’s a misquote. And more importantly, it is context-free.

      The full quote, in context:

      President Obama was being interviewed by Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo for a Univision radio show, back on October 25, 2010, just before the 2010 midterm elections. Mr. Sotelo asked the President to focus on immigration, and there was this exchange; the full quote is the President’s last sentence:

      POTUS: Ah, but Piolín, look, the truth of the matter is — here’s the question that I think all your listeners have to ask themselves. If the vast majority of Democrats support this issue, if I as the President support this issue, if we’ve been willing to speak out on this issue forcefully and we have the other party, which not only is not supporting it, but actually doing things that are damaging to the Latino community, then the question I have is why are we spending time talking about us instead of spending time focusing on getting Republicans to do what is right? Because I’m not asking for 100 percent support from Republicans, I’m not asking even for 50 percent support from Republicans. I just want a little bit of support so that I can actually get this thing passed. Now, the fact of the matter is, is that we have worked this issue hard; we will continue to work this hard. I’m only in the first two years of my presidency and, by the way, I had a huge economic crisis. The issues like healthcare reform that we worked on are hugely important to the Latino community. By far, Hispanics are the most likely to work and not have health insurance. The issues of the economy hugely affect the Hispanic community. A lot of them were in construction and when the housing market collapsed, that meant a lot of people were laid off. So it’s not as if the issues that we’re working on are issues that aren’t important to the Latino community. They’re very important. Immigration reform is one of those issues we’re gonna get it done, but I’m gonna continue to need some help from the other side.

      EPS: When is it going to happen? You will tell me after this.

      [COMMERCIAL BREAK]

      POTUS: Well, here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna see how well we do in this election and I think a lot of it is gonna depend on whether we still have some support not only from Democrats, but also Republicans, but they’re gonna be paying attention to this election. And if Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, we’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us, if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s gonna be harder and that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2.”

      Perhaps next time you will be more accurate. And if you find the word “enemies” to be unsavory or inappropriate, try substituting the word “opponents.”

      See:
      http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2010/10/transcript-of-president-barack-obama-with-univision.html#sthash.2enlkJzs.dpuf

      • William
        • hennorama

          Willaim — thank you for confirming that you misquoted President Obama.

          • William

            No misquote..he said what he said….now Romney and his 47 percent comments..those were misquoted, taken out of context and misunderstood…

          • hennorama

            Willaim — please point out the exact segment of the video in which President Obama said, as you wrote:

            “Punish your enemies and reward your friends.”

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s a hilarious obsession you have there.

          • olderworker

            OMG! You are so wrong about Romney. Romney’s father, George, was a decent guy, but Mittens had a severe lack of compassion.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        I think that “rewarding our friends” is the more disturbing phrase. Christie traffic jam….. Obamacare website designers…. etc. etc. etc.

        Ok, Christie is pretty blatant punish our enemies there, but he rewarded his traffic jam-making friends with the position of power.

        Susan Rice got rewarded for carrying the administrations Benghazi video water, by a promotion.

        It all just makes most people sick, and thoroughly disillusioned.

        • hennorama

          Government_Banking_Serf – thank you for your response.

          President Obama said “And if Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, we’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us, if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s gonna be harder and that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2.”

          He was not referring to himself and/or his administration when using the word “our,” but instead was referring to Latinos.

          Please allow further explanation.

          Implied/referenced terms are in brackets, and the President’s own words, from his comments just prior to the quote above, are inside quotation marks:

          “And if Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, we [Latinos are] gonna [vote, and] punish our enemies [“the other party, which not only is not supporting {immigration reform}, but actually doing things that are damaging to the Latino community”],and we [Latinos are] gonna [vote, and] reward our friends [“the vast majority of Democrats {who} support this issue,” and] who stand with us [Latinos] on issues that are important to us [Latinos], if they [“the other party”] don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting [by Latinos] in this election, then I think it’s gonna be harder [to get immigration reform through Congress] and that’s why I think it’s so important that people [Latinos] focus on voting on November 2.”

          Hope that helps.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Thanks. I’m not arguing the quote and intent business. I’m talking about the REALITY that both parties reward their friends and punish their enemies, that we all see it, and I think its reaching a tipping point.

            Thats why I think a Hillary/Christie Race would be fascinating as a source of exploration of all these types of ideas, as they both display the worst in terms of crony management and political opportunism, and I think the electorate is getting fed up finally.

            Then again, I’m always disappointingly surprised at how quickly partisan cheerleeding and side-choosing trumps larger principles.

          • hennorama

            Government_Banking_Serf — I appreciate the distinction you are making, and your thoughtful response.

            Please note also that, as is my wont, my post was not meant solely for your consumption.

            Thank you for your thoughtful response.

          • HonestDebate1

            ..

  • nickribush
  • creaker

    they are making this all about Christie and glossing over the fact this was implemented under a Republican administration.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    The traffic-cone-gate story is really embarrassing — FOR THE MEDIA.

    On-point leading with this story says it all.

    • Labropotes

      Wrong. When a governor uses the suffering of his citizens as a way to punish a man who had done him no wrong, that governor is revealed to be one sick MF. If you are alright with that, we all have one more reason to be worried for the country.

      • Ray in VT

        I would say governor’s staff at this point, unless evidence emerges that he was in the know.

        • Labropotes

          Not me. These folks were in one suite with a common center. They are best friends. But I don’t actually know.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, that’s your choice.

          • Labropotes

            Ray, this was a prominent story and the governor’s office provided an explanation. Why didn’t the governor ask to see the results of the “traffic study?” Why didn’t he seek out those responsible and ask for an explanation? Because he knew the truth, maybe?

          • HonestDebate1

            Plausible deniabliity? My gut tells me he’s not that stupid because it was indeed stupid. But it has worked for Obama countless times because Obama knows he can get away with it. I can see that Christie is beginning to think he is bullet proof, so maybe… nah, Republicans don’t slide on this sort of thing so it comes back to stupid.

          • JGC

            I thought it was interesting in his press conference yesterday, Christie went out of his way to minimize his relationship with Wildstein, trying to walk back the high school buddy description given by the press.

        • jefe68

          The problem for Christie is he loses no matter how this plays out. He looks incompetent because he lost control of his top advisers. If he knew about this he’s toast.

          • Ray in VT

            It’s a good thing for them that those in former ages didn’t have to stand up to the scrutiny that those of today do.

          • HonestDebate1

            Obama says he didn’t know about NSA spying, the IRS shakedowns and the fact the website was not ready for launch. Does the same dynamic apply?

          • pete18

            No, of course not. He wears the letter “D.”

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        . I didn’t say it wasn’t a story. It just isn’t the lead story.

        btw – the governor isn’t implicated — yet.

        In my state (MA) — the actions of the governors staff has lead to the death of 65 people and the release of hundreds of criminals. Yet, there is no where near the press scrutiny.

        • Labropotes

          Refering to the drug lab? I agree that story was under stressed.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Both the drug mixing oversight and the criminal forensic lab oversight.

          • JGC

            In spite of the seeming lack of focus on the compounding pharmacy disaster, this do-nothing Congress introduced almost 700 bills on health care issues, only 6 became law, and one of those six was the Drug Quality and Security Act, which increases the FDA’s power to regulate compounding drugs. Too late for those 65 people, but maybe will help prevent future similar situations.

        • J__o__h__n

          That story has been all over the news. Also the poor oversight of the child services agency, the crooked Lt Gov, even the new drapes.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            National news or local?
            I must of missed Deval’s two hour grilling by the national press corp.

          • J__o__h__n

            I think the drug lab was national. Also the compounding lab got national press.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I think you are missing the point. Are you saying the media treats republicans and democrats equally in both scale and scope?

            What if Christie appointed a major GOP donor to lead the investigation of traffic-cone-gate like Obama/Holder did for the IRS investigation? Do you think that would be a story? Would it be allowed to continue under the scrutiny?

          • J__o__h__n

            I think the media goes after whatever is considered the more newsworthy and/or attention grabbing story. Christie has a higher national profile than Patrick due to speculation he will run for president. Benghazi and the IRS have been shown to not be the scandals the Republicans claimed they were.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            You make a good point about Christie’s relative profile.

            However, the media has been AWOL on Benghazi. No major interviews of the survivors one plus years out? And if the regime is preventing those interviews then why isn’t that the story.
            They spent more time scrutinizing a Romney tweet than investigating the inconsistency of the regime’s statements in the aftermath. 60 Minutes even edited out comments by Obama when taped on 9/12 that would have exposed that inconsistency.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            There is no there, there.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            The relatives of the 4 killed in Benghazi disagree.

            Somehow I believe you would feel differently if you were targeted by the IRS.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Daryl Issa is whispering in your ear…

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Daryl Issa appears inept.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, they’re really up in arms about the CIA talking points and why it wasn’t known for 17 days whether or not there was an initial protest or why the administration didn’t mobilize any aid to relieve Benghazi in the wake of the attack or why the President was personally directing the IRS to investigate potentially politically opposed groups. Does that properly cover all of the phony scandals?

          • olderworker

            The drug lab was ONLY here in Massachusetts, in Boston in fact. There was a separate issue with the compounding pharmacies, which I believe were also in Massachusetts, but I could be wrong about that.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        I agree its big, and using political revenge against the citizenry? What could be more sick and elitist?

        Does the GOP say the whole thing stinks, sorry Christie, its over, finish your term but then pack your bags? No.

        No better than the Dems here, of course.

        Be interested to see how Rand plays this. Or some 3rd party person.

        I think the institutional/political/crony staffing/poor management similarities in a Hillary vs Christie race would be too much for America to swallow, and they could support someone else.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Yes it is horrific abuse by hacks but is it worse than Obama hacks shutting down the open air WWII memorial or roadside viewing sites at national parks?

          Where was Obama’s two hour grilling by the press explaining his hacks misdeeds?

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Who forced the government to shut down, again?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            The first 24 hours the GOP. After that it was all on Obama and Reid.

          • John Cedar

            The GOP passed a budget that did not include Obamacare and the senate rejected it, setting the stage to shut down the government if the lower house did not cave in to the demand to fund Obamacare. The Senate also rejected piece meal government funding. How is that the GOP shutting down the government anymore than it is the Dems shutting down the government?

    • jefe68

      Wow, talk about delusional thinking.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        The Gates revelation is a much bigger story.

        • olderworker

          Gates did not “reveal” anything; his book was based on his opinions. And I happen to not agree with those opinions.

    • StilllHere

      Democrats and their lackeys in the media, like Tom, will grab at anything they can to take the attention away from the failure-in-motion that is the Obama presidency.

  • Jon

    looks like the GOP just lost a candidate who is the only matchable against H Clinton

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      What will they ever do?

      • Jon

        they’re practically finished since W

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      I hope they both run. The display of their ineptitude and crony packing of their offices for political gain, concentrating on optics and how to cover tracks, as opposed to working for the people’s best interests, would make a great space for a 3rd candidate to step in.

      “I fired somebody!”

      “What does it matter!?”

      Your choice folks, Status quo in a Sopranos costume or a pantsuit?

      enter stage left……

  • MrNutso

    Christie is only 35% not a bully.

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      65% body fat?

      • MrNutso

        I ain’t what I ain’t.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    This valid point about Christie and the notion of his ability to appoint good, capable people as President, is exactly why the question of Benghazi and the State Dept. under Clinton deserving such critical scrutiny is fair.

    Or Obama and Sebelius for that matter. This is just another Chapter in our saga of no accountability by those in power.

    Wars, NSA, Banking Scandals, Bailouts, Terror attacks, and yes, now Political Traffic Jams.

    Real accountability is not just saying, we’ll investigate, or even to simply fire you poor underlings, it to step down, admitting that you have lost your privilege of holding the Public Trust.

  • Andreas Lehner

    If Christie really did not know about the plot to block the bridge, why didn’t he take decisive action to solve the problem as soon as he saw the traffic jammed up?
    I think he’s on a bridge to nowhere.

    • Labropotes

      Or at least do all he could to provide evidence to support the explanation his office was giving the press. He didn’t do this because he already knew the story was bunk.

    • StilllHere

      He was too busy filling pot holes and rescuing cats from trees.

  • Julie

    Not nearly as serious as the medical issues caused by the delays, but many people travel on I95 from the south, through NJ and NY to continue north to CT or MA and sat for hours at the GW. Now we just refuse to ever take that route and go around the area which is another loss to the cities.

  • toc1234

    election ’16?
    Christie is GOP’s man?
    the Times runs hit piece

  • Ray in VT

    Funnily enough, even though temperatures here were not all that cold by Vermont standards, the pipes in the house that I am buying froze and broke. Upside? Floors and such that I wanted to replace anyway are now getting paid for by insurance. Score.

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      Every gray cloud has a silver lining.

      • Ray in VT

        It’s going to save me thousands. I was pretty worried when I first got the call, but I was happy the next day. It does put off my move by a few weeks though potentially.

      • lobstahbisque

        Every gay crowd has a silver lame lining.

        • Ray in VT

          I prefer a purple toupe and gold lame.

          • Guest

            Me too. Circa 1983″

          • HonestDebate1

            I did not intend to upload the picture of me in the tux, it was an accident. I clicked the x to delete it and then posted but it came back. I then deleted the comment which worked until I refreshed and now I’m “guest” and can’t even edit it. Evidently once you upload an image it cannot be taken back. Be warned and keep your pants on.

            O well, there I am in all my glory. Maybe a resident computer wiz like my good friend TFRX can chime in with some tips. Or better yet Mr. Moderator if he has the time. I would appreciate it if he can take it down for me but it’s no big deal.

            I guess I deserve it for getting cutsie and showing off my gold lame. Sometimes I wear it to Walmart.

          • HonestDebate1

            Me too, circa 1983:

    • HonestDebate1

      Go back with pex and lose the copper if you can.

      • Ray in VT

        Already ripped out. Demolition started within 60 minutes of the insurance adjuster surveying the damage. The system is quite good, but a faulty valve allowed an air bubble to form in the system, so it didn’t circulate, and because the thermostat was low and no one is in the house now, it went unnoticed for some time.

  • alsordi

    Wake up people! Why are the other muslim rebels fighting Al Qaeda? Because they know they are western operatives supported by the CIA.

    The fact is that Al Qaeda are a bunch of well-armed thugs for hire that have lost their credibility to the Muslim world.

    They are back in Iraq to renew the Shiite-Sunni hate, and to keep muslims killing each-other, threatening Iranian interests, while Israel keeps taking over territory.

    • lobstahbisque

      Why did you wake me up?
      I was having the most pleasant dream about how this forum will be moderated and be swept clean of falsifiers and trolls.

    • Fredlinskip

      There were no Al Qaeda in Iraq before we occupied.

      • Ray in VT

        There may have been a few, but there isn’t evidence that they were working with Saddam, as we were told.

        • Fredlinskip

          Sadaam was not very tolerant of “rival groups”. If he was aware of them, they would not have been around long.

          • Ray in VT

            There was some indications in various reports that his internal repression may not have been as good as he might have liked, and there were areas of Iraq where he had much less say, such as in Kurdistan, where, I think, he was somewhat limited.

          • Fredlinskip

            Somehow I don’t associate Kurds with Al Qaeda- at least back then.
            Point is that our unjustified occupation of Iraq created “terrorists”.

    • BHA_in_Vermont

      Al Qaeda is a bunch of western operatives?

      Right.

      Have you any interest in buying a bridge? It has held up well for the last 130 years.

      The closest your claim is to the truth is that the USA backed the mujaheddin against the Russians in Afghanistan because of our wonderful “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” foreign policy. They became the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

      Hoisted on our own petard. Again. As usual.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    While I don’t agree with Christie politically, I believe he was not part of this bizarrely stupid scheme. He would not intentionally do anything that would derail his bid for President and certainly not anything so juvenile.

    Now as to the question of his selection of “political affiliates” …
    who knows.

    I WOULD like to know what these idiots thought they would be gaining by their stupid acts. One “other party” mayor’s endorsement, or lack of same, isn’t expected in most voting districts.

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      When you surround yourself with political supporter cronies, like most politicians do what do you expect. Same thing in DC whether it’s heckuva job Brownie with Bush or Susan Rice or State Dept under Obama etc.

      Taking turns defending it depending on what party is in the Executive is getting old and painful to watch.

      At least Christie fired somebody, even if we should have no faith in him. In DC, everyone gets a promotion.

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      The classic example is Henry II saying “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” and his knights going out and killing Thomas Becket.

    • JGC

      See the Rachel Maddow Theory of Christie Administration Political Payback

  • dt03044

    Should we have left troops in Iraq?? Perhaps we should have left Saddam Hussein in Iraq. We opened up a power vacuum and now we act surprised that nasty people are filling it. Never should have invaded.

    • BHA_in_Vermont

      Yep. We haven’t forced regime change in other countries where despot leaders oppress those in opposition, ruin the economy and live high. North Korea and Zimbabwe come to mind.

      • Fredlinskip

        Let’s go occupy North Korea!! Woo-hoo!
        (Oh wait- they’ve got a bomb.)
        How about Pakistan! -they can be a pain.
        (Oh yeah, they’ve got one too.)
        What happened to Gadaffi in Libya???

        I wonder why Iran wanted a bomb??

  • StilllHere

    What difference does it make?

  • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

    Serious Journalism? or Partisan Propaganda?

    FTA:
    Important distinction: Maddow didn’t allege that the Kochs pushed for the Florida law. She merely stated that a Koch-affiliated group did so. But just how affiliated are the FGA and the Koch brothers? Melissa Cohlmia, director of corporate communication for Koch Companies Public Sector LLC, says that “Koch has not contributed to the Foundation for Government Accountability. We have had no involvement whatsoever with FGA or the Florida law.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2014/01/08/msnbcs-rachel-maddow-hunkers-down-on-koch-bros-claim/

  • StilllHere

    If four Americans get stuck in traffic, it’s not optimal.

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      Frankly I think that the direct parallel is to President Obama closing national monuments during the budget debate. While we can agree that the MSM has been curiously absent on these other scandals.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    Gates is trying to sell his book and make a bundle of $$. The best way is to create conflict and get a lot of FREE advertizing all over the radio, TV and newspapers. He ignores all the facts regarding who agreed to the withdrawal date, who required the U.S. to pull out.

  • Coastghost

    World War III breaks out by August, in observance of the centennial of the First World War? (We know by now just how dependent our intrepid journalists are upon OLD calendars.)

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      not even in jest

    • Ray in VT

      The Austrian Archduke better watch out.

      • J__o__h__n

        I hope the colonial powers draw the boundaries better this time.

        • Ray in VT

          I doubt it. Sometimes I think that we have learned little in the past century (on the political front perhaps), except how to better destroy each other.

  • James

    What is with the parade of neo-cons today? It sounds like 2003 on the radio.

    Anyway, we have been nation building in Iraq since 2004, exactly how much more time and wealth do people want to spend in that area.

    Here’s a better idea, take the wealth you would be wasting trying to fix Iraq give it back to the taxpayer and let them decide for themselves the best way to deal with the morons sitting on of the oil over there.

    • StilllHere

      Tax cuts? Sounds good.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Would Middle East neighbors really let Al Qaeda get its own oil pipeline in Iraq? Doubtful. That would be suicidal. Not our job, except for perhaps logistical and air support, paid for by the locals.

  • Ray in VT

    I hadn’t heard of Amiri Baraka having passed away.

  • J__o__h__n

    Was that call for On Point or an audition for that duck show?

    • jefe68

      He was from central casting for the red neck bigot.

    • StilllHere

      No elitist seal of approval, I’ll bet he’s disappointed.

  • Ray in VT

    Majority rules; minority rights. I thought that that was the way that things were supposed to work. The First Amendment doesn’t exist to protect the popular/majority (in rather general terms).

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      Am if you are not willing to reciprocate then why should I care about your rights? It take greater understanding to see the wisdom in:
      “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Martin Luther King Jr.

      • Ray in VT

        People should be willing to reciprocate. Without that then why should one want to give ground to another.

        • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

          Bringing to mind that other wise quote:
          “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

          • Ray in VT

            Agreed. One of my neighbors and I are quite different. His family is fairly religious, he works at a mill, he hunts and logs his woods, but we get along great because we’re both fine with each other being different. He told me when he was going to put up a deer stand somewhere near my property line, and I told him when I was thinking of building a garage near his property line. Neither of us had to, and it wasn’t an issue with either of us, but we respect each other enough to want to keep on good terms and not raise the other’s hackles.

          • jefe68

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but is that not what one calls be good neighbors?

          • Ray in VT

            I think so. It works pretty well for us. This summer I was doing some work at the house where I am going to buy, and I took a break for lunch, shot the bull with the new neighbor and tried to get an idea about what his expectations were, and it was basically the same. He let me know that I could use his drive if I wanted, and he offered to mow the lawn while the place wasn’t being lived in. Seems like a real nice guy, and if he needs a hand with something, then I’ll offer my help.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s a shame you even have to say it. Those with differing political views should not be considered enemies by default.

          • Ray in VT

            Indeed, it does seem like something that does not need to be said, but the assumption may exist for some. I pretty much assume that I am going to get along, and have something in common, with everyone that I meet. That, along with my willingness and ability to talk to just about anyone about just about anything, drives my wife crazy sometimes.

          • hennorama

            RWB — and a bit more contemporaneous to the First Amendment (although not an exact analog):

            “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

            - Benjamin Franklin

            See: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/b/benjaminfr151597.html#yJK5Vi4U1dTOoXmu.99

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            I don’t see your meaning but it is one of my favorite quotes about hanging. But the best one is:
            “Nothing focuses the mind like a hanging in the morning.” Samuel Johnson

          • hennorama

            RWB — as stated, the quote is not an exact analog, but the basic idea of both quotes is cooperation.

            Comparing the MLK and BF quotes:

            MLK: We must learn to live together as brothers
            BF: We must, indeed, all hang together

            MLK: or perish together as fools.
            BF: or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately

            Hope that helps.

      • Fredlinskip

        King’s quote seems to relate directly to the current income inequality issue

      • HonestDebate1

        I like the quote and agree with it. I apply it globally. I’ll leave that there.

        But I really wanted to answer your question. The answer is because decent people respect the rights of others. It does not matter how someone treats me or views my rights, I will still respect theirs.

    • Labropotes

      That guy’s comment was irrational. But I feel for those stressed by rapid social change.

    • MrNutso

      Meanwhile, Republicans are rolling out DOMA lite.

      http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/house-republicans-eye-doma-sequel

      • Ray in VT

        Some just have to fight that battle to the last.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Will we talk about the new Transitional Living Fund proposal?

    • JGC

      I hadn’t heard about that. I actually thought at first you were referring to a proposal from the American Enterprise Institute to provide money to unemployed people to move to areas of higher employment.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        Nope, just a crass joke about folks in Congress advocating a re-branding of Welfare. But appreciate you raising real ideas.

  • creaker

    I love the Republican “anti-poverty” program – it’s the same platform with “anti-poverty” tacked on the front of it.

    • MrNutso

      They are only talking about it, because Democrats are talking about.

      Reince Priebus claims Democrats are only talking about it and don’t actually want to enact legislation to make it a campaign issue.

      If that’s so Reince, why don’t you urge Republicans to adopt the Democrat’s measures?

  • Coastghost

    Nothing to do, ability to do nothing, and the money to do nothing with: our “On Point” 2014 Formula for Success!

  • Labropotes

    New unemployment record! People not in workforce reaches 91.8 million.

    • StilllHere

      You don’t need to be in the workforce to collect checks.

    • HonestDebate1

      There can be no recovery until that number turns around but it sure helps give the illusion of a recovery via the U3 unemployment rate number.

  • Alan from CHS

    In response to their narrow minded gentleman from Nashville regarding gay marriage, he did not respond to Tom’s question about equal rights versus special rights. My husband and I were married three years ago and once DOMA was the defeated, we filed an amended tax return. We got a refund of $10,000. I did not realize that heterosexuals were getting such special treatment for so long. Time for EQUAL rights is now.

    • William

      Certainly you would support a single person cashing in on what married people, gay/straight, are getting too right? You received 10k (5 k each) so a single person should get at least 5k too right? Seems like the people really being discriminated against are the single people.

      • JGC

        The original point of the tax break for marrieds is to support the concept of married people raising their children. Maybe this notion is out of date now, and other ways to more directly support the expense of successful child rearing need to be explored.

        • William

          The expensive of rearing a child belongs to the couple that has the child.

          • Ray in VT

            In some ways yes, but in others no. I think that we all have a stake in the education of the next generation, so I think that we should all be contributing to the costs of educating our nations children. I consider that a part of the cost of rearing, but perhaps you do not.

          • William

            Paying taxes to support public education has been a good idea but seems very corrupted these days with such high spending rates and very poor results.

          • JGC

            After all, if we do not support our youth, then who will we have to yell at to get off our lawns when we are old?

          • hennorama

            JGC — you forget — we are never going to be old, just oldER.

          • Ray in VT

            I almost yelled at an old(er) lady who was walking her dog on the lawn of my new house when I drove by it a while ago. The irony did not escape me.

    • HonestDebate1

      It was your money.

  • tbphkm33

    Someone really needs to point out to Dennis Rodman that the Iranians are bigger basketball fan’s than the North Koreans. Maybe Dennis can put on a dress and head for Tehran to serenade the Ayatollah with a happy birthday song.

    • HonestDebate1

      I was thinking the same thing. Rodman may be an improvement.

  • Jon

    That wallstreet o-i-l caller is very insightful and it’s that kind of insightful lead this country into deepshit at the first place.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    The idea of the Guaranteed income, or negative tax rates, suggested by the caller, without much time for response is interesting, and supported by libertarian types, who are trying to get conservatives on board.

    “Scrap the Welfare State and Give People Free Money

    A guaranteed income would reduce the humiliations of the current welfare system while promoting individual responsibility.”

    http://reason.com/archives/2013/11/26/scrap-the-welfare-state-give-people-free

    http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/12/10/rethinking-the-idea-of-a-basic-income-for-all/?_r=0

    • Dee

      What we need to do is scrap tax loopholes and write
      offs to Wall St and Big corporations .,plus end the current 100 billion dollar a year floating of Bonds by
      the Feds which aids the rich once again and deprive
      US tax payers of the help they need See Ralph Nader http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsPGHBLcLtc

      We need to have a government system that responds
      to the ordinary needs of people and services that pro-
      mote their well being. Not give aways to the Big Banks Wall Street and Corporate America and their interests.

      (Please read why they extended the illegal war on
      Iraq into Afghanistan and indeed I imagine into the
      Horn of Africa today . (It’s all seems about absolute
      other peoples resources not “building democracy”
      as they claimed.) Dee
      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/20/opinion/20collier.html

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        Yes, libertarian types and Nader types should continue to work together on the big issues they have overlap in. Like they did vs Iraq, like the did about Fed and Banking crisis.

        People should go back and watch the you tube clips of all the times Ron Paul was interviewed alongside Dennis Kucinich or Ralph Nader over the years.

        Its important and invigorating to realize that if we just enacted and lived by the points that they can agree on, we would be so much better of in terms of Wars and Crony Finance than where we are today.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        Lets be clear, definition wise, we could call the entanglement of the Government with the Health Insurance Industry and the Individual Mandate, fascism.

        For Nader lovers, (I voted for him), I think while bashing GOP types is easy pickin’s, its important to constantly point out the way the DNC types are party to so much of what Nader abhors.

        The danger of Big Government and Big Capital colluding is age old, and real.

        But its a 2 part problem, and the Dems have plenty of blood on their hands regarding bail outs and give aways, let alone rigging the financial sector.

        Good intentions, if they are even there, don’t make it any better.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        Nader said, “Rule of Law”! Boy that’s going to get the Dem apologists all riled up. How dare he talk so vaguely, and about ideas relegated to the scrap heap of history. It’s so…….. 1700′s!

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        “So I had to ask: how could he profess hope in Ron Paul, who almost certainly would have opposed the very regulations on which Nader built his career?

        “Look at the latitude,” Nader says, referring to the potential for cooperation between libertarians and the left. “Military budget, foreign wars, empire, Patriot Act, corporate welfare—for starters. When you add those all up, that’s a foundational convergence. Progressives should do so good.”

        I thought I’d bring up the subject of Ron Paul with Nader after seeing the two jointly interviewed on Fox Business Channel in January. Nader had caught me off guard when he identified an emergent left-libertarian alliance as “today’s most exciting new political dynamic.” It was easy to foresee objections that the left might raise: if progressives are in favor of expanding the welfare state, how well can they really get along with folks who go around quoting the likes of Hayek and Rothbard?

        There may be an insurmountable impasse between the camps on social-safety-net spending. “But,” Nader says, “you could get together on corporate entitlements, subsidies, handouts, giveaways, bailouts. Ron Paul is dead set against all that. So are a lot of libertarian-conservatives. In fact, it’s almost a mark of being a libertarian-conservative—in contrast to being a corporatist-conservative.

        If the issues around which progressives and libertarians can coalesce, I ask Nader, are the most intractable, deeply entrenched problems, is he proposing that such a coalition would be more tenable than the one currently cobbling together the Democratic Party, with its many Blue Dogs and neoliberals?

        “Exactly,” Nader says. “Libertarians like Ron Paul are on our side on civil liberties. They’re on our side against the military-industrial complex. They’re on our side against Wall Street. They’re on our side for investor rights. That’s a foundational convergence,” he exhorts. “It’s not just itty-bitty stuff.”

        http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/ralph-naders-grand-alliance/

        http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/22/ron-paul-ralph-nader-agree-on-progressive-libertarian-alliance/

      • StilllHere

        Yeah, like the earned income tax credit, the tuition tax credit, the mortgage interest tax credit, charitable deductions, renewable energy credits,

    • hennorama

      Government_Banking_Serf – the Friedman Fans in the forum should support the Negative Income Tax, since Dr. Friedman promoted it in his 1962 book, “Capitalism and Freedom.”

      However, despite this, you will likely find no groundswell of support among Friedman Fans for the idea of the U.S. Treasury writing millions and millions of checks.

      Sources:
      http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-08-08/its-time-for-a-negative-income-tax

      http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/23/business/23scene.html?_r=0

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        One of the challenges is the optics. Paying out to people, some of whom will then turn around and squander it one way or the other, which would create an obvious backlash, but we would just need the stomach to say, hey, you had a fair shake and you blew it.

        But the ideas make rational sense.

        • hennorama

          Government_Banking_Serf — when it comes to Congressional action, if “the ideas make rational sense,” they are pretty much tossed in the dustbin.

      • HonestDebate1

        I don’t know about the negative income tax but your comment is revealing and I think a microcosm of the assumptions of many. I am a huge Friedman fan but I agree with Keynes on some things. I agree with President Obama on some things despite being a vocal critic. I disagree with Rush, The Wall Street editorial staff and my hero Newt on various issues. I have found enlightenment from Huffpo, NPR and even liberals on this blog.

        So I guess I view your comment as a big fat “duh” and am wondering what significance you attach to it.

        I cannot relate at all to that ideological censorship of my own better judgement. Maybe I misunderstood your implication.

    • William

      I think it is time for a negative income tax just to reduce or eliminate the massive waste and eliminate tens of thousands of government workers that have so mismanaged the modern welfare state.

    • OnPointComments

      From the Brookings Institute:

      “We already spend more than enough money on means-tested programs for poor and low-income people to bring them all out of poverty. There were about 46.5 million people in poverty in 2012, a year in which spending on means-tested programs was around $1 trillion. If that money were divided up among the poor, we could spend about $22,000 per person. For a single mother and two children, that would be over $65,000.”
      http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2013/11/19-war-on-poverty-what-went-wrong-haskins

      Imagine if the government paid a guaranteed income of $10,000, and to people currently in poverty $10,000+$22,000 per person in poverty. Government departments that administer welfare would be abolished or greatly reduced. People previously on welfare would be told that it’s your responsibility to take your guaranteed income and buy an Obamacare policy (Medicaid is abolished), rent a home (no more government housing), buy groceries (no more SNAP, TANF, school breakfast), pay for childcare so that the parent(s) could go to school (no more federal employment traing programs) or get a job, save for your childrens’ education (no more Pell, Stafford, or other grants), and pay all of the other expenses working people pay. The extra $22,000 per year continues for five years, then you’re on your own, so you better have gotten training and a job by then.

      It sounds good until people don’t behave and spend the money responsibly. At the end of five years when some hadn’t gotten a job, there would probably be a call from some to establish welfare programs.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        I think they advocate for negative income tax, minimum guaranteed level, each year. Can’t and shouldn’t reach great comfort levels, but yes, should have to act somewhat responsibly or face consequences.

        If we gave people those levels, or a bit lower (65K) is obscene for no work, and we STILL felt guilty if they squandered it, what does that say?

        As you note, think of the govt. shrinkage and how much more $ would circulate in the real economy, let alone the benefits of being part of the “regular” economy like everybody else.

        It only hurts govt bureaucracy jobs. And the feelings of all the technocratic central planning types.

      • Salvor Hardin

        I guess you are planning on posting this garbage statistic over and over again. I haven’t been checking so maybe you’ve been posting this for awhile now.

        Again, the $1 trillion figure you are using consists primarily of Medicaid which is also why you include state numbers in this total. Medicaid cannot be taken and converted to cash and be given out to healthy people. In fact there are over 70 million enrollees in Medicaid with millions more being brought in by the ACA. So obviously millions of those are not even in poverty. In fact the elderly in nursing homes being paid by Medicaid are also not in poverty and you would have to kicked out by the way so you could give all of the money to healthy people.

        The same is true of the EITC which goes to millions who are not in poverty and is what keeps millions from going into poverty.

        So again, this is flawed and deceptive math. You cannot add the values of unrelated government programs that go to many type of people and divide this by a totally unrelated figure of the number of people in poverty (and many of the 46 million in poverty receive no government benefits). The resulting value = GARBAGE.

        From what I’ve seen both Brookings and Heritage employ many ideologues who use deceptive and misleading statistics with no basis in actual mathematics to fit their ideology.

        But since we have discussed this before and you are continuing to post this claptrap. I think you know that this is misleading. I don’t think too much of your personal integrity in continuing to try to dupe others.

  • JGC

    I would have liked to have been sitting in the NSA control room,leaning in with them on Christie’s exit interview with Bridget Kelly.

    So now she joins the unemployed in our country. On the positive side, she has lots of time to binge view all those misses episodes of “Orange is the New Black”.

  • Ray in VT

    I posted a comment below, and got a couple of responses. I gave an intentionally vague response, as I was curious to see what the response would be. I response was only a single down vote. Interesting.

    At any rate, I stated that “in total dollars the federal government took in more dollars than ever, although it is still well below the percentage of GDP collected when compared to the past 50ish years”. Others disagreed. Here is my source:

    http://www.cbo.gov/publication/44716

    • William

      Is it a good idea for such a massive amount of money being taken out of the economy with 92 million Americans out of the job market and only creating 74k jobs last month?

      • Ray in VT

        It’s probably, by and large, better than many of the alternatives pushed by many with whom I think that I philosophically disagree in the Congress.

    • hennorama

      Ray in VT — these figures are in nominal US dollars, and not adjusted for inflation. The cumulative U.S. inflation since 2007 is a bit north of 12 percent. (And from the end of FY 2007 to the end of FY 2013, it was a bit south of 12 percent.)

      Regardless, the pertinent paragraph regarding your points:

      “In 2013, the government’s revenues increased (in nominal terms) for the fourth consecutive year, reaching $2.8 trillion, which was $325 billion, or 13 percent, more than revenues in 2012 and 8 percent above their previous peak in 2007. As a result, 2013 was the first year since the recession in which revenues exceeded the amounts collected in 2007. As a percentage of GDP, revenues rose from 15.2 percent in 2012 to 16.7 percent in 2013, but they remained below the level in 2007 (17.9 percent) and the average over the past 40 years (17.4 percent).”

      • Ray in VT

        I checked that here http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=200 and http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCsQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.whitehouse.gov%2Fomb%2Fbudget%2Fhistoricals&ei=XEHQUqvRDLOwsASPqYDgDA&usg=AFQjCNGCcJCEsTzcnF4K_lV42bqMQtRJ2Q&bvm=bv.59026428,d.cWc to see if the figures lined up using constant dollars long before posting. The previous year figures all line up, and while it does not state that the FY2013 number is in constant dollars in the CBO report, it would be an oddity to have only the last year in non constant dollars.

        • hennorama

          Ray in VT – I think you just misread the tables, which is easy to do.

          If you read the tables again, you will see that you were correct in your initial post far below, when you wrote “in total dollars the federal government took in more dollars than ever,” but incorrect in your later post when you wrote “they do appear to be in the same constant dollars.”

          Current Dollars = nominal dollars, when received and paid out

          Constant Dollars = inflation-adjusted dollars, for “apples-to-apples” comparison purposes

          The TPC chart from the OMB, and the same chart in your second link, show annual figures, first “In Current Dollars” in a series of three columns, followed by annual figures “In Constant (FY 2005) Dollars” in the next three columns. The very next column are annual figures for “Addendum: Composite Deflator,” which is the adjustment factor used to convert Current Dollars into Constant Dollars, thusly:

          Current Dollars/Composite Deflator = Constant Dollars

          Using the Composite Deflator for 2013 from those charts (1.1940), and the 2013 Revenue figure from the CBO’s “Monthly Budget Review—Summary for Fiscal Year 2013,” in your link above ($2.774 T), we get $2.323 T. In Constant (FY 2005) Dollar terms, this is about 3.7 percent lower than 2007 Revenues of $2.413 T.

          In sum, in Current/Nominal Dollar terms, “In 2013, the government’s revenues … (in nominal terms) …[are] 8 percent ABOVE their previous peak in 2007,” AND AT THE SAME TIME, in Constant (FY 2005) Dollar terms, are about 3.7 percent BELOW their previous peak in 2007.

          (which makes my point that cumulative inflation from 2007 to 2013 was about 12 percent)

          See also:
          https://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/historical/dollars.html [Current versus Constant (or Real) Dollars]

    • HonestDebate1

      Those numbers correspond with revenue unadjusted for inflation. We’ll see if the 2013 estimated numbers hold up but the estimate for the constant dollars predict less revenue than 2007.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    What’s up with Harry Reid? Acting like dictator again blocking amendments.

    The NYT exposes his power play which results in blocking 3 month extension of UI benefits.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/10/us/politics/reids-uncompromising-power-play-in-senate-rankles-republicans.html?smid=tw-share&_r=1

    • OnPointComments

      Harry Reid is corrupt. He was elected to Congress thirty-three years ago, a man of relatively modest means, and now he’s wealthy. He uses his position of power to influence deals that enrich both himself and his son. He’s vindictive and fosters the atmosphere in Congress today.

      “One of Washington’s worst-kept secrets is that Reid’s attitude toward most people ranges from miserable on his best days to uncommonly vicious on his worst. When he describes members of the public as unwashed masses to their face, he isn’t being playful. He holds most people in utter contempt, and despite the best efforts of his staff, he usually tells them so. It’s refreshingly honest in its own way, but it does not exactly grease the wheels of compromise.”
      http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2013/10/02/why-harry-reid-lost-his-temper/

      • HonestDebate1

        He really is a nasty man working against the best interest of his constituents. Tom Daschel was a disgrace but I’d take him in a minute over Reid. George Mitchell was as partisan as they come but I think he was an honorable man and IMHO the last democrat with integrity to lead the Senate.

    • VinceD2

      Harry Reid should be led out of the Senate in handcuffs and to the gallows. He cares more about illegal aliens than American Citizens. There were two great ammendments that would have saved many millions of $$ and opened up 7 million jobs for Americans, Reid said no. This is treason.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Is Mark Zandi available to weigh in on the latest Obamanomics numbers?

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Oh wait, Zandi did comment. More Koolaid.

      ” ‘I wouldn’t pay any attention at all to these numbers. They’re not consistent with anything,’ Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi said on CNBC. “

      • StilllHere

        Check from Obama will now clear.

      • hennorama

        WftC — one month’s data does not a trend make. If we see multiple months with similar data, which BTW, is from the more volatile Household Survey, then we’ll have to worry.

        • HonestDebate1

          The trend is a record number of people not working which means a record number of people not paying taxes. The trend is for every one job added, nearly 5 people left the workforce. The trend is to pay them not to work with your money,

  • HonestDebate1

    Earlier I put up some search numbers regarding the polar vortex that were misleading. I am sure many will say it was on purpose but it wasn’t. I’m just not that smart. Either way my apologies and thanks to Ray for pointing it out. FYI, it seems the google news search goes back only one month no matter what timeframe you assign.

    I repeated the search but this time used a general search instead of a news search. Searching from 1/1/1960 to 12/10/2013 yields 180 million results. Searching back one month yields 849 million results.

    I will leave it to y’all to decide if the results in one month that only total almost 5 times the results from the past 54 years takes away from my point.

    Maybe I’ll try lexus nexus but I think it cost money.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Time magazine and others have put forth that the polar vortex is evidence of global warming.

      One climate scientist has weighed in, Judith Curry:

      “Is global warming causing the polar vortex?

      In a word, no.”

      “the claims that greenhouse warming causes more cold waves like we have seen this week really seems to be without any basis in observational evidence or in theory. The media needs to stop pushing this unsupported argument.

      It is SO frustrating that every major weather event causes such claims and counterclaims to be aired, with many media outlets unable to do the minimal research that would allow them to give the public more dependable information. ”

      http://judithcurry.com/2014/01/07/is-global-warming-causing-the-polar-vortex/#more-14293

      • HonestDebate1

        It’s amazing how the media walks in lock step.

        I have learned from this blog hot and cold weather, droughts and floods are proof of AGW. I have also learned never to conflate weather and climate unless you are a liberal.

        • nj_v2

          Another dim bulb parrots a vacuous thought. See response to the Worried One above.

          • HonestDebate1

            Do you believe in weather or are you a denier?

      • OnPointComments

        Time Magazine
        Another Ice Age?
        Monday, June 24, 1974

        “Scientists have found other indications of global cooling. For one thing there has been a noticeable expansion of the great belt of dry, high-altitude polar winds —the so-called circumpolar vortex—that sweep from west to east around the top and bottom of the world.”

        • nj_v2

          It doesn’t matter how many times or in how many places the various pieces of denialshpere twaddle has been thoroughly debunked, the most persistent and ignorant of the dimmest bulbs of the denial movement keep spewing at every opportunity.

          http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/the-global-cooling-myth/

          The global cooling myth

          “Finally, its clear that there were concerns, perhaps quite strong, in the minds of a number of scientists of the time. And yet, the papers of the time present a clear consensus that future climate change could not be predicted with the knowledge then available. Apparently, the peer review and editing process involved in scientific publication was sufficient to provide a sober view. This episode shows the scientific press in a very good light; and a clear contrast to the lack of any such process in the popular press, then and now.

          http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/global-cooling

          “Many claim that in the 1970′s all scientists believed the earth was cooling. Factual examination ofthe controversial report reveals that there was a consensus. The consensus was we don’t know enough yet. The confirmation of the Milankovitch cycles indicated that we were to begin a coolingphase, the introduction of industrial greenhouse gases indicated we could interrupt the natural cycle. More study was needed.”

      • lobstahbisque

        The only cause and effect relationship is between homosexual acts and hurricanes. Just ask Pat Robertson. If you want a simple answer to a complex problem, there it is.

      • nj_v2

        In case anyone wants to check the Worried One’s ignorant, dissembling prattle, and see what, exactly, “Time magazine and others have put forth that the polar vortex is evidence of global warming.”…

        See here:

        http://science.time.com/2014/01/06/climate-change-driving-cold-weather/

        where the most definitive statement making the connection is,

        “But not only does the cold spell not disprove climate change, it may well be that global warming could be making the occasional bout of extreme cold weather in the U.S. even more likely.”

        Note the the two layers of qualification in even this, the introductory statement.

        Read the embedded links for the theorized connection, which makes perfect sense to anyone who isn’t a brain-dead denialbot.

        And still, even with the usually scientific qualifiers, the article adds another layer of qualification with,

        “Still, this research is fairly preliminary, in part because extreme Arctic sea ice loss is a fairly recent phenomenon, so scientists don’t have the long data sets they need to draw more robust conclusions about the interaction between Arctic warming and cold snaps. In fact, the most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that it was likely that the jet stream would shift towards the north as the climate warmed, and that the polar vortex would actually contract, even as a 2009 study found that sudden stratospheric warming events are becoming more frequent, which in turn seems to be driven by the rapid loss in Arctic sea ice.”

        before the concluding paragraph:

        “And while a muddle like that would seem to make the science less rather than more reliable, it’s actually one more bit of proof that climate change is real. Global warming is sometimes thought of more as “global weirding,” with all manner of complex disruptions occurring over time. This week’s events show that climate change is almost certainly screwing with weather patterns ways that go beyond mere increases in temperature—meaning that you’d be smart to hold onto those winter coats for a while longer.”

        All this is far too sophisticated for the denialbots like the Worried One and his right wingding forum compatriots who deftly blend adherence to ludicrous ideas with scientific ignorance and mental dullness to continue spewing their dreck.

    • JGC

      From the Discovery blog, I saw “Freezing Temperatures Trigger Rare Frost Quakes” in Ontario and parts of the U.S.

      • hennorama

        JGC — are Frost Quakes a new cereal from Kellogg, with Tony the Temblor, and his stripes that look like output from a seismograph?

    • jefe68

      Yawn.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    From the “only in California” file:

    “Global Warming Warning Labels Proposed For California Gas Pumps”
    http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/01/09/warnings-labels-proposed-as-global-warming-reminder-at-california-gas-pumps/

  • StilllHere

    If Obama doesn’t know or take responsibility for what his Dept of State, Treasury Dept, or NSA are up to, shouldn’t that hold for all politicians.

    • VinceD2

      At least Christie fired the staffer responsible and in a very public fashion. He does get a few points for that!

      • OnPointComments

        How many people were fired for the following:

        Fast & Furious
        Benghazi
        IRS
        Obamacare
        Spying on AP reporters
        Eric Holder perjury
        EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson skirting FOIA laws

        More people were killed than were fired.

        • jefe68

          And the right wing clown show keeps on going, like the energizer bunny of memes.

        • StilllHere

          Excellent point.
          Obama-apologists will reply by insulting you with their autobot memes.

      • HonestDebate1

        Yea but Obama fired…er… ugh… never mind.

        • StilllHere

          Exactly, Democrats don’t take responsibility for their actions, that’s why we have the nanny state.

          • HonestDebate1

            Obama handed out promotions.

      • JGC

        But only after she had a couple of months to shred or scrub documents, and most likely, to shift personal assets so they would not be attached to her name. No points.

        • StilllHere

          By your standards, Obama is the devil incarnate.

  • Guest

    The New Yorker cover nails it.

    • jefe68

      Disgus is doing some strange things.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Just heard a good one. 74K jobs. 50% part time. Carter era labor participation rates.

    The job market was sucked into the Obamacare Vortex.

    • hennorama

      WftC — which of course proves the idiom, “There’s no accounting for taste.”

    • PoliticsWatcher

      Go ahead, blame President Obama for the results of the GOP’s government austerity program.

      • OnPointComments

        Austerity?

        US Debt: $17.3 trillion
        Debt Per Citizen: $54,588
        Debt Per Taxpayer: $150,549
        US Federal Spending: $3.5 trillion
        US Federal Budget Deficit: $656 billion

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Does anyone remember the first ‘bridgegate’?

    -happened right here in MA
    -small island off of Marth’s Vineyard
    -July 1969
    -9 hour delay in reporting a fatal accident
    -no staffers to blame
    -a different kind of ‘press conference’. No questions. Simply a prepared statement.

  • OnPointComments

    “In less than 48 hours, ABC, CBS and NBC deluged viewers with coverage of Chris Christie’s traffic jam scandal, devoting a staggering 88 minutes to the story. In comparison, these same news outlets over the last six months have allowed a scant two minutes for the latest on Barack Obama’s Internal Revenue Service scandal.

    “From Wednesday through Friday morning, the latest on Christie’s Traffic-Gate led 11 out of 13 news programs. NBC produced the heaviest coverage, over 34 minutes. CBS followed close behind with more than 30 minutes. ABC came in third with just under 23 minutes.

    “Over the last six months, NBC featured a meager five seconds on IRS targeting of Tea Party organizations. CBS allowed a minute and 41 seconds. ABC managed a mere 22 seconds.”
    http://www.mrc.org/media-reality-check/deluge-now-44-times-more-tv-coverage-christies-traffic-scandal-last-six-months-I

    • Salvor Hardin

      You do realize there should be actual “news” to report when you report it. Fox news reporting of the same news over and over, every day, month after month even though there is not any actual new information is not the news model that legitimate news organizations should be aspiring to. The constant repetition that Fox engages in is for the purpose of inculcation of their viewers and they seem do have done an excellent job.

      It is interesting that you pick an old story and compare it to a brand new story as if there should be any equivalence between the two. When the IRS story first broke I heard story after story over it. Republicans have not been able to find any relevant new information on the IRS story in the last few months so why should there be much in the way of reporting on it.

      This is the perfect kind of story the news media loves. They would love reporting this whether it is a democratic or republican politician. The only thing they may have liked better would be a sex scandal. Look at the unbelievable amount of coverage Anthony Weiner got. I don’t remember seeing the lamentation of the Tea Party folks about lack of IRS coverage during the Anthony Weiner scandal.

      • HonestDebate1

        Sure it’s news but 17 times the coverage in one day for a local story than 6 months of coverage for a national disgrace? That can’t be justified. Whose head rolled over the IRS? The IRS is now in charge of enforcing Obamacare which affects every citizen. The scandals aren’t in the same universe.

  • OnPointComments

    When Is a Traffic Jam A Greater Threat to Democracy Than an IRS Scandal?
    http://www.bernardgoldberg.com/traffic-jam-important-irs-scandal/

    Excerpt:
    All the IRS did was target political opponents of President Obama. A top aide to Governor Christie, on the other hand, caused a traffic jam…compared to using the IRS against political opponents during an election campaign, closing traffic lanes for four days is jaywalking.

    Anyway, it sounds like a federal investigation is in order. And it may be. It took about 10 seconds for Team Obama to leak a tidbit to the media that the United States attorney is investigating the traffic jam as a criminal matter. Good to know that Eric Holder would never do anything political. He’s the Attorney General, after all.

    • HonestDebate1

      “The big three networks alone devoted 17 times more coverage to this story in one day, one day, than they devoted to the IRS scandal in six months.”

      Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/nb-staff/2014/01/10/mrcs-brent-bozell-hits-obnoxious-double-standard-christie-coverage-vs-irs#ixzz2q3E9OWcO

      edit: I see now you already posted these facts. It deserves repeating anyway.

    • twenty_niner

      They couldn’t shut up about this thing on the Diane Rhem show and how Christie is going to find it hard to put this behind him blah blah blah. I believe there was a high five at one point.

      The press doesn’t even bother with even hinting at a veil of impartiality: it’s pledge allegiance to the Democrats and the central planning for which it stands.

      In contrast, the coverage of Obama’s lies to get re-elected was shockingly tame with quotes like, “it was a tough week for the Dear Leader President, but once the POS site is up an running, people will forget about being constantly lied to.”

    • jefe68

      It’s bad for Christie, and that’s the point.
      You can stop the bloviating.

      • HonestDebate1

        Of course it is, he’s a Republican. Look at the antics of Corzine, no biggee.

        Is it your opinion that Obama did not know anything about security request in Benghazi, the not ready for prime the website launch, the IRS shakedowns or the 1000% increase in section 215 request by the NSA? Did he have no idea that Obamcare would increase premiums, it would not be deficit neutral or create record part-time employment?

        Or is he just that incompetent? Did it hurt him in 2012? What’s the difference here? Surely not party.

        • jefe68

          Amazing. You right wingers are real clowns.

          • HonestDebate1

            Okay, we’re clowns. So?

            Here is CNN’s Don Lemon asking DWS the same thing.

            http://www.mediaite.com/tv/don-lemon-grills-dnc-head-why-is-christie-suspicious-if-he-denies-involvement-but-not-obama/

          • jefe68

            You keep on trying to change the subject.
            What happened happened.
            It’s not going to end well for Christie’s presidential bid which is a shame.
            I’m not sure he knew about this, but the fact remains his higher level staff contrived this idiotic scheme.
            It’s as if his staff is made up of 12 year olds. Now go on, add more right wing memes.

          • HonestDebate1

            Much worse happened under Obama’s watch and all he had to do was say he didn’t know about it. It didn’t hurt his reelection. Do you deny that?

            As Obama said “The buck stops with you”.

          • jefe68

            There it is, the right wing meme.

          • HonestDebate1

            Call it whatever you want, it’s true. Absolutely undeniably true. Totally and completely unrefudiated by you.

          • jefe68

            Again, you play this game of trying to change the subject. Then you go on and on, and on. I don’t care about what you think about Obama. That’s not the topic.
            It’s what the Christie administration did.
            But then again you right winger get off on acting like petulant adolescents, or so it would seem.

            Wait, let me change the subject, it’s all GW Bush’s fault…

          • HonestDebate1

            You don’t get to decide the subject, it’s OPC’s thread. But even so, I have agreed with you, this is bad and will hurt Christie even if he didn’t know. What the hell do you want? Take yes for an answer. Move on.

            If you don’t see that this is all politics, I can’t help you. Obama is President and he owns nothing in the shallow minds of his apologizers. Poor thing, he’s doing the best he can.

          • jefe68

            Man, you are one piece of work.
            I can decide what I want, when I want and how I want you don’t like it, to bad.
            OPC does not own this forum. He’s playing the right wing game “lets change the subject and blame Obama” game.

            Brings it back to what a bunch of clowns you right wingers are.

          • HonestDebate1

            Look in the mirror dude. I addressed your point you decidedto run from mine. Deal with it. Don’t tell me I’m the one changing the subject.

          • StilllHere

            That one is as greasy as the come.

          • jefe68

            Alas you did. The subject was Christie, not Obama. You right wingers use Benghazi all the time for anything that involves Obama. The man be eating lunch a and the first thing you post is Benghazi, then more about Benghazi followed by another round of Benghazi memes.

            It’s pathetic.

          • HonestDebate1

            No it wasn’t. OPC’s subject was the disparity in media coverage.

            This is bad for Christie, what more doe you want. Howe much more can be said. So what. Who cares about Christie. It has no bearing on anything. The IRS does; Benghazi does.

          • StilllHere

            You’re wasting your time with that one. A complete Obama-sheep.

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      The hypocrisy is real, and rich. But using that reality to try and defend Christie is lame. He’s a bum, like most of them. Someone who runs a state like that, with appointees like that, shouldn’t get near Washington, a place already teeming with so much Cronyism and Status Quo BS, we likely aren’t going to survive it as a free Nation.

    • StilllHere

      Obama-apologists are seeing a great opportunity to divert attention from the president’s failures.

  • OnPointComments

    Remember “disparate impact,” the faux theory used by the DOJ against companies where the accused is guilty until proven innocent if the racial quotas don’t come out the way the DOJ thinks they should? It’s worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the DOJ to make sure that a case never makes it to the Supreme Court challenging their faulty theory.

    Coming soon to a public school near you: the DOJ has issued a letter to US schools instructing them that the DOJ will use “disparate impact” to determine if schools discriminate in administering discipline:

    “DISPARATE IMPACT: Schools also violate Federal law when they evenhandedly implement facially neutral policies and practices that, although not adopted with the intent to discriminate, nonetheless have an unjustified effect of discriminating against students on the basis of race. The resulting discriminatory effect is commonly referred to as ‘disparate impact.’ “

    Whites disciplined more than Asians? That’s disparate impact. Blacks disciplined more than Whites? That’s disparate impact. Infraction rates don’t matter; only the racial quotas matter.

    “It’s ridiculous to assign quotas for discipline based on race. If we did that, for one thing, we’d have to believe that Asian students are severely under-disciplined.” –Joy Pullmann, managing editor of School Reform News

    “As best I can tell, they are telling schools that even if you have policies that are clearly neutral, that are clearly evenhanded, that are clearly designed to create safe environments for students and educators, DOJ still might come down on you like a ton of bricks.”–Frederick Hess, director of education policy at the American Enterprise Institute

  • VinceD2

    One of you on the show said somethng about the Republican havinga war ahgainst the poor opposing benefits etc. True enough.

    But hold on just a second! The Democrats are every bit as guilty of harming American workers. Obama is pushing the TPP and the Senate immigration surrender bill. Both of these will drastically harm american workers to the benefit of the extremely rich.

    The sad fact is that BOTH parties are in the pockets of big money and BOTH are working against the interests of the American worker.

    • OnPointComments

      There’s no doubt that members of Congress always, always put themselves first.

  • JGC

    There was a certain concept – a meme, in today’s parlance- sold to the American public about the intrinsic dignity and honor of thousands of ordinary people kissing their spouses on the morning of 9/11/2001 and trudging off to their work and their doom. Ordinary people, good and hard working people, going about their lives, just wanting to do their work and duty for their families.

    How does that play against what Governor Deputy Chief of Staff Kelly and Port Authority Hackuva Job Wildstein wrought on the thousands and thousands of ordinary Americans just trying to go to their jobs, to go to their schools, to go to their medical appointments and to their medical emergencies the week of 9/11/2013?

    Christie’s office has a lot to answer for. He may not have been in the loop himself, but for sure, somebody in that circle gave the green flag to unleash the week-long GWBridge disaster. And why, that is another story.

    • OnPointComments

      Oh please. It was a traffic jam, not a terrorist attack.

      It’s not the first time there have been disruptions for political purposes. Remember the government shutdown? “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting,” said a National Park Service Ranger during the government shutdown. Traffic cones were placed along a public highway to make sure no one pulled over to look at Mount Rushmore, the parking lot at privately-owned Mount Vernon was closed, barricades were erected at open-air memorials on the National Mall, armed Park Rangers stopped tourists from photographing bison. Homeowners evicted.

      Remember the sequester, which we were assured would be the end of times? White House tours cancelled for lack of funds (now reinstated even though the sequester is still in effect). An email from an agency head warning not to do anything that would lessen the dire impacts of which Congress had been warned: “So it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be.” Education Secretary Duncan’s warning that as many as 40,000 teachers could lose their jobs (a claim given 4 Pinnochios by the Washington Post). Air traffic delays, immediately remediated with a Congressional override.

      All maximum disruptions for political purposes.

      • jefe68

        Oh please? it only lasted for 4 days and was done out of spite for no reason. That’s possibly a criminal offense.
        Now of course you can keep on with the right wing memes. As you right wing whiners seem to love sooooo much.

        • pete18

          It certainly was something that is worth condemning and maybe even criminal but to compare it to 9/11 is actually disgusting. It is an insult to those who suffered through that day.

          • StilllHere

            Just when you think Obama-sheep can’t go any lower…

          • jefe68

            Just when you thought the troll could not stoop any lower, he does.

          • jefe68

            Why are you bringing up 9/11?

            It is what it is. An act of political stupidity on a large scale. This is not some small bridge here, this is the GW bridge which has more traffic on it on any given day than almost any bridge in the US.
            It seems to be a deliberate act, which is a criminal act in this case.

          • pete18

            Because JGC compared it to 9/11. I was responding to her comparison. I agree with you that it could be viewed as a criminal act.

      • JGC

        Not a terrorist attack? It satisfies the 3 characteristics in the FBI definition of domestic terrorism, including

        - involves acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;

        -appear intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population or to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; and

        -occur primarily within the territories under the jurisdiction of the U.S.

        No wonder Wildstein is taking the 5th, and I expect Kelly to do the same when she is hauled in front of the panel.

        The only saving grace in this spectacular is that everyone has kept their clothes on (so far).

        • HonestDebate1

          That’s quite a stretch JGC.

          • JGC

            It is absolutely true, as far as I know, Christie and his staff have all kept their clothes on. Please don’t post any photos if you can prove otherwise.

        • William

          But government officials made the decision to do this so how can we question them?

    • StilllHere

      It’s a traffic jam, it’s not like he’s responsible for the death of innocents like the president.

      • JGC

        I don’t know the specific innocents you are referring to, but any war-time president will be responsible for collateral civilian deaths during the military actions he ordered.

        It is not a traffic jam. It was a deliberate assault by the governor’s staff on civilians, and for what reason, unfathomable.

        • jefe68

          He’s a troll, best to ignore.

        • StilllHere

          Pathetic hyperbole.

          By your standards, Obama is a deliberate assault on all that is good and decent.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Keynesians and the Free Lunch

    “In his The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money, John M. Keynes criticized, without citing or mentioning him explicitly, Hayek’s (Austrian) primary policy recommendation: the best way to avoid a bust is prevention. Hayek knew that avoiding the credit-created boom prevents the associated malinvestments and over-consumption while boom-bust cycles will be avoided through prevention or significant reductions in credit creation.[1] Keynes, however, thought differently:

    Thus the remedy for the boom is not a higher rate of interest but a lower rate of interest! For that may enable the so-called boom to last. The right remedy for the trade cycle is not to be found in abolishing booms and thus keeping us permanently in a semi-slump; but in abolishing slumps and thus keeping us permanently in a quasi-boom.”

    http://mises.org/daily/6628/Current-Fed-Policy-An-Exercise-in-Keynesian-Folly

    Same wishful thinking digging us deeper everyday here.

    Note how Hayek was critical of overconsumption based on “malinvestments”. Something you would think “progressives” who are rightly critical of our “consumer culture” and the companies that serve it, would agree with, but for them, that’s bad politics.

    Always a strange conundrum, how progressives are against the consumer culture in their gut, but support a political party and Keynesian theories that feed the beast, to keep the illusion of a party going, to fund social engineering and pander to voters. Of course establishment Repubs do the same, with more social conservative vitriol on the side.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    “During an artificial boom, employment may initially decline. However after a return to “normalcy,” unemployment may actually be higher than what would have been the norm before the policy-induced boom.”

    Sound familiar?

    http://mises.org/daily/6628/Current-Fed-Policy-An-Exercise-in-Keynesian-Folly

    • jimino

      You bet. It describes what happened during “W”‘s term doesn’t it?

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        Clinton/Bush Greenspan term, yes. Rubin/Paulson/Summer term, yes.

  • jefe68

    And the hole gets deeper for Governor Christie.

    Bridge Scandal Papers Point to Cover-Up by Chris Christie Allies

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/11/nyregion/hundreds-of-pages-on-bridge-scandal-released.html?hp&_r=0

    • pete18

      I don’t see how that article makes the hole any deeper or any closer to Christie. I certainly think it’s quite possible that Christie could have known about it, but there’s nothing in that story that contradicts what he said in the press conference.

      • HonestDebate1

        No matter how you slice it, or how egregious it is or isn’t, this is a local issue with unlike Obama’s national disgraces…make that international.

        Journalism is dead.

        • JGC

          It is a local issue, but it does have national implications with Christie trying to manoeuver himself into presidential material.

          • HonestDebate1

            He hasn’t even said he’s running. The media isn’t taking any chances.

          • JGC

            True, that.

          • HonestDebate1

            Let’s go there anyway. I respect your views you just have a little liberal problem. That’s cool.

            What about the Presidential aspirations of Hillary? She skated on Benghazi. The NYT piece did not even mention her name. Would it be appropriate for the press to cover Bridgegate without mentioning Christie? If not, what’s the difference? People died after she refused to increase security. What has she done that turned out well? The Russian reset? Do you think the media should continue with her anointment?

          • JGC

            Little liberal problem? My uncle from Georgia says the same thing.

            It is my recollection that the Republican House cut the budget to the State Department by hundreds of millions of dollars, even though Clinton had warned this would affect security concerns.

            But briefly, to your questions, all I can reply is “She hasn’t even said she is running. But the media isn’t taking any chances.”

          • HonestDebate1

            Yea but like your uncle, I say it with love… sort of.

            Those cuts had nothing to do with it. We had extra security in Barbados. The State Department bought Chevy Volts and built a charging station in Vienna for heaven’s sake. We could have brought him home and saved all of it anyway.

            As I said, I respect your opinion when your little Liberal problem doesn’t prevent you from giving it to me.

          • JGC

            Sometimes I don’t give my opinion because I don’t have the knowledge and the drive to advance the argument – better to leave it to those who do, so I don’t bore or annoy the rest.

            Another perspective I have is again from my Southern family. Two uncles got into such a lather about who was really behind the Korean Airlines take-down in the early 80′s, it forever altered family reunions and my chance to enjoy real barbeque. And there is no argument that should ever cleave a person from their family heritage or from their barbeque.

          • HonestDebate1

            My tongue still hurts from the biting it endured over Thanksgiving.

          • jefe68

            Notice how the right wingers keep going on about Benghazi and the IRS as an answer. Republicans are defending Christie by saying Benghazi.

            http://thinkprogress.org/home/2014/01/12/3151261/christie-republicans-benghazi/

            I noticed that on the Sunday news shows. Giuliani was the worst, he spent most of time trying to talk about Obama when the question was about Christie.Martha Raddatz was having none of it and at one point she even seemed to laugh at the level of his absurdity.

          • HonestDebate1

            Please point out where anyone has defended Christie. That’s crazy.

          • pete18

            The critiques from the right are about the press and Obama’s defenders. The IRS and Benghazi events have real questions and facts to them that should invite much tougher scrutiny from the press. The fact that they would be so rabid over Bridgegate with Christie and so benign and anemic when questioning Obama is the issue.

            The press and the public is right to question Christie skeptically over the lane closings and push hard to find out what his role in it was. They are dead wrong in turning their heads in the other direction over Benghazi
            and the IRS targeting (just to name a few) which have at least as much factual evidence connecting the President to much more troubling activity than what has happened at the George Washington bridge.

            I want the mainstream press to be equally tough on both parties. Don’t you? That’s their job and they are failing miserably at it.

      • StilllHere

        Just Obama-apologists trying to get people to forget about the disaster-in-process that is Obama’s presidency.

      • JGC

        The only thing I’ve read where Christie has had any direct involvement is when he called New York Gov. Cuomo on Dec. 12, asking Cuomo to pressure the Port Authority (specifically Patrick Foye) to desist in their investigation of the lane closures on the approach to the GW Bridge. I don’t know who suggested Christie do that.

        So far Wildstein and Kelly are the two best documented staff directing the closure. Other names to watch are Kevin O’Dowd, Christie’s Chief of Staff at the time of the bridge closure -O’Dowd supervised Bridget Kelly- and he was slated to become the next NJ Attorney General. And Regina Egea is also of interest: she served as Director of the Authorities Unit under Gov. Christie, which includes direction of the New Jersey Port Authority. Egea was to become the new Christie Chief of Staff, replacing O’Dowd, until the e-mails got printed by the Bergen County newspaper early this week. It seems like a very incestuous relationship between the Chief of Staff’s office and the New Jersey Port Authority appointees.

      • jefe68

        I agree, to a point. It’s early days in this mess.
        It does make him look as if he was not in control of his top aides which does put a bit of a damper on his GOP nomination for 2016.

        For someone who is known for micromanaging his office it does seem a little odd that this just kind of went by him. We shall see.

  • HonestDebate1

    I am agnostic on Christie. I like him but he doesn’t give me that tingle. I may work one up but who knows. There is an eternity between now and Nov. 2016 so most of all I think the assumptions that he’s the only one who can beat Hillary, or that he’ll even run or Hillary will win the nomination, all of it, are nuts. At one point is was a given that 2008 would be between Hilary and Rudy.

  • OnPointComments

    JUDGE SCRAPS CHICAGO’S BAN ON RETAIL GUN SHOPS
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-citys-gun-ordinance-ruled-unconstitutional-by-federal-judge-20140106,0,578847,full.story

    U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang found that the city failed to convince him that banning the sale of guns by licensed dealers was necessary to reduce gun violence. Chang found that the city’s “blanket ban” on sales and transfers of firearms violated the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

    Maybe the City of Chicago should learn from the police chief of Detroit.

    DETROIT POLICE CHIEF: LEGAL GUN OWNERS CAN DETER CRIME
    http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140103/METRO01/301030038

    “Coming from California (Craig was on the Los Angeles police force for 28 years), where it takes an act of Congress to get a concealed weapon permit, I got to Maine, where they give out lots of CCWs (carrying concealed weapon permits), and I had a stack of CCW permits I was denying; that was my orientation. I changed my orientation real quick. Maine is one of the safest places in America. Clearly, suspects knew that good Americans were armed.”

    “There’s a number of CPL (concealed pistol license) holders running around the city of Detroit. I think it acts as a deterrent. Good Americans with CPLs translates into crime reduction. I learned that real quick in the state of Maine.”

  • HonestDebate1

    I don’t get Friday’s show until 6PM tonight so I haven’t heard the show. Was Bob Gates’ book discussed? There have been comparisons between Bridgegate and the IRS scandals. Shockingly some are defending the outrageous disparity in news coverage. The IRS, Fast and Furious, AP, Benghazi and the Obamacare keep your plan scandals are soooo yesterday they say.

    Leave aside the fact this is evidence the administration’s tactic of delay, obfuscate and repeat the lies has worked on many. If you don’t come clean for long enough and the press doesn’t do their job then you can get away with murder.

    So let’s stay with current events. This week Bob Gates released his book. The allegations reveal an astonishing apathy towards life. It illustrates and administration that is playing politics on the international stage affecting millions. Where is the outrage?

    • Salvor Hardin

      Again there has not been any IRS news to report. I know you believe that all news should be run by the Republican party but there is actually other news.out there to report.

      • HonestDebate1

        I don’t get your point at all. I didn’t say there was new IRS news. I am saying two things: 1) at the time there wasn’t a fraction of the coverage for the IRS scandal, and 2) we still don’t know much about it because no one has been held accountable and the press remains uncurious. I will also add the IRS is being give dramatically more power with Obamacare and added tens of thousands of agents. this matters now, today.

        My comparison was with Gates’ book which is new news. There is new news on Fast and Furious with more deaths attributed to walked guns. There is new news on Benghazi with evidence an Al Qaeda leader we released from Gitmo was involved. These things matter and there is a virtual feeding frenzy one a traffic jam.

        • Salvor Hardin

          If you yourself say that there isn’t any new IRS news then why do you continue to discuss it? It was covered very extensively at the time and there is nothing new to report.

          The Gates book is being covered very extensively. I’ve seen many news stories on it and it was discussed on the Sunday news shows and on On Point on Friday. I’ve seen reporting on the other news stories that you’ve mentioned. None of them seem startling but they are reported. I have seen them and you have seen them. So it seems that news organizations have done their jobs.

          And again none of them have anything to do with the Bridge story. It is just partisan bloviation to continue to try to link them to the other stories.

          • HonestDebate1

            It was not covered extensively at the time compared to the traffic jam. Not even close. I am not discussing the IRS I am discussing the shameful actions of the press.

          • Salvor Hardin

            The GW Bridge story is not one I will personally follow closely but I do understand why it is a big story. If you want to talk about the Bridge story then talk about that. If you want to talk about the IRS story (which I know you want to talk about ad nausem) then talk about that.

            But your linking of totally unrelated stories is just political obfuscation.

          • HonestDebate1

            You don’t have to follow it closely, it’s in your face 24/7. I want to talk about the press and their influence on the public discourse. The media’s double standard is disgusting because it works on so many who seem apathetic about outrageous abuses of power that affect us all.

          • Salvor Hardin

            I believe it is you with the double standard. You want the press cover stories you think should be covered 24/7. And Fox News has done precisely this with the IRS controversy and Benghazi. They have for many, many months provided constant coverage of these two events. They have provided thousands of hours of coverage.

            Yet you condemn the news media in general for high volume of coverage for that involved a Republican who is a major political figure and one of the likely Republican presidential contenders. Yet this is only for a few days. In two weeks do you really believe there will be this high volume of coverage. They will move on to other things.

            There is not a doubt in my mind that you would not be talking about a double standard if this had happened to a major Democratic politician. And if it did involve a Democrat then Fox and you yourselves would be the ones that would want 24/7 coverage for years to come.

          • HonestDebate1

            What’s with the Fox thing? To the best of my knowledge Fox covered the bridge story more that Benghazi too. And no, I never wrote , implied or hinted I wanted 24/7 coverage of Benghazi or the IRS.

            There was 17 times the coverage in one day for a local story than in 6 months for a national story. ONE DAY! That’s the fact. It makes no sense at all to conclude I am complaining about a lack of coverage or an abundance of coverage. I am complaining about unequal treatment between the two. Outrageously unequal. What’s so hard to understand? Do you condone such imbalance? How is asking for equal treatment a double standard?

            I don’t care about politics and cannot relate at all to your projection. I called Bob Gates a gutless coward just the other day. I defended Melissa Harris-Perry. This has nothing to do with party for me but you seem to have no problem with the disparity. Why? Surely not because of party. Please clarify. Why?

            I’ll ask you the same question I asked someone else, maybe you’ll answer. The NYT piece on Benghazi did not mention Hillary. Would it be appropriate for the bridge stories to not mention Christie?

          • Salvor Hardin

            Fox News coverage of the bridge story was a national joke the first day. Jon Stewart made great hay out of it on the Daily Show. They were telling their viewers to Google what was going on. The next day they started covering it; although pretty soon they were really covering the other news outlets coverage of the story. And you are parroting their talking points by comparing it to the IRS story coverage.

            Fox News is the news division of the Republican party. The foxnews .com website makes that even more apparent. There is no difference between that web site and one that would be run directly by the RNC. It was even worse during the election. I believe Fox just hadn’t gotten guidance for how to handle the politically tricky story which was why they used the pretty lame “Google it”.

            Calling this a local story seems naive. It is a NY/NJ story involving a Governor’s office who is also a major political candidate. This is where the news divisions are located at. It certainly deserves a fair amount of attention. And
            it is not even a week old. All news has to go through at one news cycle including the Sunday talk shows. If they don’t find anything to implicate Christie this will die down to a fairly low level – although it may take a little longer than usual because it is a NY/NJ story. Just look how much press was generated for a local NYC story because Bloomberg wanted to ban large sodas.

            David Kirkpatrick’s NYT story on Benghazi was a reporting what he discovered in Benghazi by his research there and interviewing local militia leaders and militants at the scene. He didn’t discuss Hillary Clinton because she was a non-issue in Libya at least – she wasn’t involved in the events he was reporting. While there may be a political story that would validate the conspiracy theorists beliefs in all of the awful things they know she has done. But that was not his story. I imagine that would have to be a Washington reporter’s story. But Kirkpatrick’s was a Libyan story and the surrounding region, not a Washington story.

          • HonestDebate1

            Dude, I haven’t seen Fox news and their coverage despite your certain belief I have. Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State and our Ambassador worked for her. I like balanced news, sue me. Just never mind.

          • Salvor Hardin

            The NYT article seems very balanced to me. It started presenting both the Obama administration story initially presented by Amb. Rice and critics of the Obama administration. Amb. Stevens worked for Clinton but he had much more confidence in the local militia leaders than was justified. The information presented was factual – so what “balance” should be applied to facts. It presented a unique perspective of interviews with the local militia leaders. It states that there was little to no security present. There was nothing in Kirkpatrick’s article that provided any solace or help for any Obama administration official. It stated very factually all of the underestimates of the direness of the situation because of overconfidence in the local militias.

            From the information presented about the attack it agrees with Republican critics other than the video having nothing to do with the motivation or timing of attack – which has always seemed irrational to me. I believe they have had to stick to this position because of Rice’s initial statement about the attack arising from spontaneous protests which they had to back off of in just a few days after that statement. Republican critics felt they had to discredit the video motivation in every way to show that the Obama administration lied to the American people.

            I have seen no one show what was factually incorrect about the article (other than the video which I have discussed previously). Why does Hilary being absent in the article not provide “balance?” Critics can and will criticize her and others in the administration for the lack of security in Benghazi, how reinforcements were handled, etc. So there is still plenty to keep conspiracy theorists busy until at least 2016.and if she were to win the presidency they can fume about it until 2024.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that the “balance” that some prefer is to have equal coverage to both the facts and the conspiracies dreamed up by opponents of the president.

          • OnPointComments

            Search results for these two two-word searches:

            Google News:
            Obama IRS – About 31,500 results
            Christie bridge – About 398,000,000 results

            Google Web:
            Obama IRS – About 75,700,000 results
            Christie bridge – About 835,000,000 results

          • HonestDebate1

            And evidently that is perfectly acceptable to some.

          • Salvor Hardin

            I grant to you sir that you are the reigning king of misleading and useless statistics. You compare “Obama IRS” which is somewhat targeted to the subject at hand to “Christie bridge” which uses common words. If you go through a few pages of results then you will find that most of them have nothing to do with the current controversy. I am a computer programmer and searching in Google is one of the primary tools of my trade. Using targeted search terms is a key of obtaining useful searches.

            So I bow to you King of the mathematically and common sense challenged. Long may you reign.

          • OnPointComments

            Google News:
            Obama IRS – About 31,200 results
            Christie George Washington Bridge scandal – About 58,800 results

            Google Web:
            Obama IRS – About 111,000,000 results
            Christie George Washington Bridge scandal – About 159,000,000 results

            Even with a broad search for Obama IRS, and a specific search for Christie, still more stories on Christie.

            Remember, the IRS scandal was disclosed on May 10, 2013, eight months ago.

          • Salvor Hardin

            The search heuristics of Google searches are complex and it will still contain many non-relevant hits. And doing the same search on Christie several months from now will probably yield much fewer results. But I agree that there are certainly more hits on Christie than the IRS story. If anything your IRS search is overly broad and is returning many hits not related to the “scandal.”. For example a better search would be something like:

            IRS tax exempt conservative

            This gives about 3,640 hits in Google News. But the Google search you are doing doesn’t have anything to do with what the “media” is covering. So you are not measuring what you believe you are measuring. Google is searching the entire Internet so it is not a measure of what only the media stories are. It is a measure of what people are talking about.

            Most people are generally not concerned about the IRS story. This is a story for those who are insiders who care passionately. I know you don’t agree but it is really a policy disagreement and most people don’t care about these partisan fights except for the partisans involved.

            But the Christie bridge story has all of the elements that attract people to a story. It is easy to understand – it is very straightforward story of political revenge that effected hundreds of thousands of people as collateral damage. No complex law interpretations or policy disagreements that make most peoples eyes glaze over. This is a clear right and wrong story that we seldom get.

            Google searches don’t really have much meaning in their absolute numbers but they are a very egalitarian measure of what people are talking about. But they don’t really show what the “media” are reporting.

            I personally don’t believe you will ever solve the whole IRS controversy or scandal if you will. It will always be a matter of interpretation of the law.

            The problem is the law itself. As long as the law allows for a subjective interpretation of what is a group largely involved in political work as to whether they receive tax exempt status then there will be constant problems and room for abuse. The problem is the campaign finance laws themselves.

            The law should be changed to reflect the current reality and remove the need for the IRS to make these subjective interpretations of the purpose of these 501(c)4 groups. Political groups should be allowed to be formed and coalesce funds from donors. Donations to these groups should not be tax deductible and this is not a change as this is the current law. But they should all be tax exempt. People should be allowed to coalesce their funds together to exercise their political free speech without being subject to any additional taxes. Another change that should be made is that all groups should have to reveal their donors who donate over a certain amount. Some parts of the current law allow for keeping the donors secret. It seems reasonable that if you allow for unlimited donations to promote political speech then the public should be able to know who is doing the speaking.

            But changing the law is the only way to fix this problem.

          • OnPointComments

            The illegal targeting of conservative groups by the IRS is not a policy disagreement.

            IRS: “That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. That’s not how we go about selecting cases for further review. The IRS would like to apologize for that.”

            OIG: “Inappropriate Criteria Were Used to Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review”

            President Obama: “I have now had the opportunity to review the Treasury Department watchdog’s report on its investigation of IRS personnel who improperly targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. And the report’s findings are intolerable and inexcusable. The federal government must conduct itself in a way that’s worthy of the public’s trust, and that’s especially true for the IRS. The IRS must apply the law in a fair and impartial way, and its employees must act with utmost integrity. This report shows that some of its employees failed that test. I’ve directed Secretary Lew to hold those responsible for these failures accountable, and to make sure that each of the Inspector General’s recommendations are implemented quickly, so that such conduct never happens again. But regardless of how this conduct was allowed to take place, the bottom line is, it was wrong.”

            There is a DOJ and FBI investigation into whether criminal activity took place at the Internal Revenue Service. It is not a policy disagreement.

          • Salvor Hardin

            Well good luck with that. I don’t believe anything will come of it. The bottom line is that those organizations that were targeted do have a largely political purpose which means according to the law they should not have been granted tax exempt status. Even if the law was applied in a way that targeted conservative groups more they can simply say that they were trying to interpret a very ambiguous law.

            Republicans can whine and complain with nothing coming of it or you can try to fix the law.

          • jefe68

            Yep, it sure is. But you know the answer is going to be Benghazi or the IRS.

    • jimino

      You say it reveals an “administration that is playing politics on the international stage affecting millions.” Which administration is it referring to?

      • HonestDebate1

        The Obama administration, duh. You replied 3 days ago to my comment and the quote from the Iraqi ambassador to Washington comparing Bush’s and Obama’s approaches.

    • Don_B1

      What is known about Robert Gates’ book is mostly from the publisher cherry-picked items that understandably give the “juiciest” quotes for wide dissemination to encourage the public to buy the book.

      The problem is this unbalanced aspect will be what the general public will remember because few will ever actually read the whole book. And those that do will probably not have the extensive knowledge to be able to make a thorough analysis and know when Mr. Gates is himself making wild and unfounded accusations.

      But all that just plays into your agenda of spreading any and all false claims of problems with and within President Obama’s administration.

    • Ray in VT

      “Leave aside the fact this is evidence the administration’s tactic of delay, obfuscate and repeat the lies has worked on many.” That would certainly explain why some will still go to the mat for Bush. You were talking about the things that that administration did to get us into a war that killed thousands of Americans, right? Certainly you weren’t referring to the hodge-podge of faux scandals that have been pushed by right wing media during the current tenure of this president.

  • hennorama

    Some have expressed a concern over what was inaccurately described as a “New unemployment record” of 91.8 million “People not in workforce.” This figure is not the number of unemployed persons, and represents only one portion of the overall U.S. employment picture.

    Some facts are needed to add some perspective.

    Since 1947, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) redefined the “Civilian non-institutional population” and the “Civilian Labor Force” to include only “Persons 16 years of age and over” (versus 14 and over), there have been only 9 years when a new record for the Annual Average number of members of the U.S. civilian non-institutional population who were “Not in the Civilian labor force” was NOT set:

    1948, 1951, 1955, 1956, 1978, 1979, 1985, 1986, 1989. That’s 9 years out of 67.

    Since there has been a new record set every single year since 1989, this “record,” and the chart posted far below, are rendered nearly meaningless on their own.

    See:
    http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsa2012.pdf (Table 1)

    Another measure that gets less attention is the Civilian Employment-Population Ratio (EMRATIO). This is the ratio of those age 16 and older who are employed (as defined for the CPS and Household Survey), compared to all members of the Civilian non-institutional population (as defined for the CPS, and who are also age 16 and older).

    This ratio has stubbornly stayed in a very narrow post-Great Recession range of 59.3 to 58.2 percent. The FRED (Federal Reserve Economic Data) graph below shows the EMRATIO since 1948, in blue. Also shown is the Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate (CIVPART), in red.

    Since 2000, these ratios have been affected by both demographic (e.g., retirement of Baby Boomers) and cyclical factors (e.g., recessions). You can easily see that while both ratios fall during periods of recession (the shaded areas of the graph), the EMRATIO is much more negatively impacted by recessions.

    The decline in the EMRATIO during and after the Great Recession was far worse than for any other recession in the past 65 years. At its lowest, the EMRATIO declined 4.7 percent during the Great Recession (in December 2009), which is more than 50 percent larger than the next largest decline (3.1 percent, during the Post-Korean War Recession in1953-1954).

    Anyone familiar with stock chart technical analysis will recognize the blue Employment-Population ratio line since the mid-1980s as a “head-and-shoulders” pattern, which implies that it will be difficult to get the EMRATIO to move from its most recent reading of 58.6 percent back above the “neckline” of a bit over 61 percent.

    A move of 2.5 percent in the EMRATIO represents over 6 million additional employed persons (2.5% of the Dec. 2013 Civilian non-institutional population figure of 246.745 M). And that over 6 M figure would be net of those baby Boomers and others who leave the Labor Force. That’s not going to happen overnight, especially in the face of the very strong demographic headwinds.

    The BLS released their Employment Projections: 2012-2022 Summary on December 19, 2013. The projections imply a very gradual upward move in the EMRATIO, to about 60.7 percent in 2022. The following are the figures used for these implied figures for 2022 (please remember these use 2012 figures as their base):

    2022 projections:

    Labor Force 163.450 M
    LFPR 61.6 percent

    (Implies Civilian non-institutional population of 265.341 M)

    Total Employment 160.9837 M

    (Implies EMRATIO of 60.67 percent)

    Bottom line: the nearly unprecedented economic impacts of the Great Recession, combined with the aging of the Baby Boomers, has drastically impacted the EMRATIO. Given that Boomers will continue to retire and leave the Labor Force at high rates, it’s difficult to see how the EMRATIO will move up quickly, or exceed its new implied limit of a bit over 61 percent.

    Sources:
    http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm
    http://bls.gov/news.release/ecopro.htm
    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/EMRATIO
    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CIVPART

    • HonestDebate1

      The premise is whacked. The so called great recession should have been a blip and has zero bearing on squat right now. We are in their mess because of horrible fiscal policy and Obamacare. So there’s that.

      http://hotair.com/archives/2014/01/10/image-of-the-day-the-obama-jobs-recovery-in-one-handy-chart/

      The U6 rate is 13%. Those still working are taking pay cuts, lousy jobs or part time. Obamacare has been delayed out the wazoo, what’s going to happen when the employer mandate kicks in? There are more shoes about to drop and nothing but nothing to indicate anything will get better, only worse.

      That sure is a lot of excuse making for ideology.

      • Don_B1

        Keep dreaming that your fantasy world where a huge economic hit has virtually no reverberations.

        Like the 9/11 World Trade Towers “hit,” which was small economically, has had no effect on people’s psyches since.

        Just because the wealthy bankers were bailed out and have since gone on to record gains in wealth, by appropriating over 90% of the income gains since the 2008 debacle, how do you expect the 99% to “recover” when they have been forced to accept no wage gains and pay off the overleveraged debt which many of them did not even realize they had committed themselves to?

        That overleveraged debt came about with the housing bubble, so that anyone who simply bought a new (to them) house was paying much more than it would be worth (post 2007), and many unsophisticated people were convinced to refinance their homes to pay for unexpected financial reverses, such as medical (hospital and doctor) bills resulting from cancer and heart problems that no one could predict and those with less than median income have no way to save for.

        • hennorama

          Don_B1 — best of luck discussing economic issues with someone who writes of the “so called great recession” that “should have been a blip.”

        • HonestDebate1

          It should have been a blip.

  • OnPointComments

    You’ll have to forgive me. This is a difficult time for me. This week I have been forced to confront memories I’ve been trying to bury my whole life, but recent events have made that impossible. I…am a survivor of traffic jams.

    To CNN, thank you! Your wall-to-wall coverage in this time of national tragedy has been second to none. To the rest of the mainstream media, you too have shown courage in our time of need.

    To Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department, your leadership in launching a possible criminal investigation into the driving delays in New Jersey brought a tear to my eye. I only hope your efforts to uncover the cause of this brake pad genocide does not distract you from the important work of reading journalists’ emails and persecuting potential “leakers.” And I hope against hope this avalanche of idling didn’t delay delivery of any of the thousands of yet-unaccounted-for guns you forced gun stores to sell to Mexican drug cartels, then almost immediately lost track of. It’s “fast and furious,” not “traffic jam and furious,” right?

    Just like 9/11, everyone will remember where they were when the wall of secrecy around this silent inconveniencer fell. We are all Fort Lee residents today. Stay strong, my traffic-bound brothers and sisters. Bumper-to-bumper finally met its match. Help has arrived; the media is on the case.

    Excerpt from http://townhall.com/columnists/derekhunter/2014/01/12/im-a-traffic-survivor-n1777624/page/full

    • JGC

      I give this a thumb’s up for humor – it is funny and all good comedy has that kernel of truth.

      But I hope it is also recognized that there are thousands of folks who don’t see much humor in the situtation. For a couple of representative thoughts, there is the woman who angrily contacted the Port Authority that they were “playing God with people’s lives” because her husband who had been unemployed for a year, finally had been hired in a job but had to endure the frustration and agony of being an hour late on the first day of his new job; and another person who, although not a resident in the NYC area, totally felt the moment since she had a high risk pregnancy and if she had had to wait 2 hours to get through the single toll lane on to the bridge, is certain she would have lost her baby.

      Hard working Americans can identify with this contrived disaster, in a way that they cannot identify with Benghazi. Everyone who wants to hold office or support their candidate should wake up to this reality.

  • davecm

    “The number of Americans who are 16 years or older and who have decided not to participate in the nation’s labor force has climbed to a record 90,609,000 in September, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. – http://cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/90609000-americans-not-labor-force-climbs-another-record#sthash.Eo08AMp1.dpuf

    “The labor force participation rate, which is the percentage of the non-institutionalized population 16 years or older who either have a job or actively sought one in the last four weeks, was 63.2 percent in September. That was unchanged from August. – See more at: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/90609000-americans-not-labor-force-climbs-another-record#sthash.Eo08AMp1.dpuf

    “77 percent of positions added to the market in 2013 have been part-time,”

    More than 100 NYC firefighter and police retirees were charged Tuesday with faking up to $400M in disability payments based on faked claims of debilitating injuries suffered during 911.
    Sad!!!!!!!!

    What America “may be” becoming????
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRRwZDSmTVI

    • hennorama

      davecm – if you’re going to use data, at least use the most up-to-date data available.

      December 2013 (NOT SEASONALLY ADJUSTED):

      Total not in the labor force: 92.338 M
      Do not want a job now[1]: 86.406 M (93.58%)
      Want a job[1]: 5.932 M ( 6.42%)

      [1] Includes some persons who are not asked if they want a job

      TRANSLATION: less than 1 out of every 15 persons not in the labor force wanted a job in December 2013.

      For comparison purposes, here are two annual average figures for those not in the labor force who wanted a job:

      2002: 6.43 percent
      2007: 5.97 percent

      See:
      http://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cpseea38.htm
      http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsa2002.pdf (Table 35)
      http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsa2007.pdf (Table 35)

      ==========
      December 2013 (NOT SEASONALLY ADJUSTED):

      Civilian labor force Participation rate: 62.6 percent

      http://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cpseea13.htm

      Of those people not in the labor force, more than 50 million (54.4 percent of the total) are at least age 55.

      36.0 million (39 percent) are aged 65 and over, including nearly 26 million aged 70 and over. There are roughly 15 million men and 21 million women in this group aged 65+.

      These people are also known as RETIRED.

      An additional 14.253 million (15.4 percent) are aged 55 to 64. There are roughly 5.8 million men and 8.5 million women in this group.

      [PS] There are some great charts in a new BLS publication titled “Charting the labor market:
      Data from the Current Population Survey (CPS)”

      See:
      http://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cps_charts.pdf

      • davecm

        We shall see in the fullness of time!!!!

        • hennorama

          davecm — I have no idea whatsoever as to the point of your response.

          Care to try again?

          Perhaps you might discuss how the BLS data shows that very few of those who are “not in the labor force” actually “Want a job,” and that the most recent data show the reading of 6.42% for December 2013 is practically identical to the averages for 2002 and 2007.

  • Mike_Card

    Reince Priebus. hmm. Is that something I should get a vaccination against? Sounds like an influenza. I’m sure the goppers insist that it shouldn’t be covered under ACA, whatever it is.

    • hennorama

      Mike_Card — Due to the fact that I just can’t get my mind around the pronunciation of the RNC chairperson’s name, I use “Priince Reebus” instead.

    • HonestDebate1

      But you’re smart enough to spell it and my guess is you’re smart enough to pronounce it too.

      I went Striper fishing the day before yesterday and didn’t get a single bite, still had fun.

    • OnPointComments

      You haven’t contracted Reince Priebus, you’ve been infected with ODS, Obama Dementia Syndrome; the symptoms are willful blindness and excessive fawning. Mental health issues are covered under the ACA, but there is no hope for ODS sufferers.

  • HonestDebate1

    I asked earlier if Bob Gates’ book was discussed. I’ve now heard the show, it was. Credit where credit its due. The show is always more balanced than this blog. Unfortunately that doesn’t say much.

    I think Mr. Ashbrook is very good at his job but I’ll keep to myself what I think he thinks his job is. He does allow differing viewpoints which should not be remarkable but is.

    A caller said we could not let Al Qaeda get control of the oil and Mr. Ashbrook made a remark about going back to the same principle that got us there in the first place. That’s the conventional wisdom but it’s not true. I am beginning to think we should have taken the oil but we didn’t. We didn’t even try, it was never considered. Still, the accusation is considered gospel by haters muttering Haliburton under their breath. It’a really bizarre.

  • HonestDebate1

    I find it amazing that so many are treating Obama as if he is doing the best he can with the economy and jobs but the dadgum “great recession” Bush gave him was just so overwhelming. For a while people tried to blame the tax cuts that Obama embraced in law. Or the wars or Medicare part D. It’s really silly but the lie has been repeated ad nauseum.

    The economy tanked because of the banking crisis and the bursting housing bubble. That is clear. Obama said the economy was the worst since the great depression during the 2008 campaign but at the time it wasn’t even close. Then he said he didn’t realize it was as bad as he claimed it was. That makes no sense at all but he sold it anyway and people ate it up.

    Can someone connect the dots for me? Why are we still suffering?

    • jimino

      Nothing has really changed structurally in our economy. All gains from economic growth are going to a tiny portion of the population; those in control of capital can make more from debt and financialization than creating businesses that employ people who make things. For those that really count, the recovery has been complete, so from their perspective, there is nothing wrong. If you’re not a member of that cohort, that’s your problem.

      You realize that any “success” of the pre-recession economy was a total illusion based on unsustainable debt backed by $8 trillion on assets that disappeared in the blink of an eye, don’t you?

      • HonestDebate1

        Health care comprises 1/6th of the economy, Obamacare is a pretty big structural change. Taxpayer bail outs of the auto and banking industries as opposed to bankruptcy and restructuring creates a new paradigm. 40,000 new laws and a spike in regulations is a structural change. A trillion dollar “stimulus” is not the way we typically do things. Printing $85 billion a month is a structural change from business as usual. Demographics have changed as well, the number of people collecting disability and food stamps has skyrocketed with fewer taxpayers footing the bill.

        So I disagree. I get your point but the reason the economy is in the doldrums is because people are not working and they aren’t working because there aren’t enough jobs. There aren’t enough jobs because the risks are too high for job creators. Obama has increased the risks and demonized the risk takers.

        • jimino

          “Health care comprises 1/6th of the economy”

          That’s why decades of the USA paying more than twice what every other developed country does for health care is such a drag on our economy. Wasting more than a trillion dollars every year can’t be good, can it?

          • HonestDebate1

            So Obama fundamentally transformed America with Obamacare. That’s a structural change, no?

  • Fredlinskip

    Admittedly have not followed the Christie incident very closely, but believe Christie has been unfortunate to have it occur in a lull of significant news.
    IMO, if he has integrity, he will survive this and likely come out stronger for it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes out with more Conservative support than he had going in. If he has moxie this might be the trigger that makes him seek the highest office in land. If so, he should remember Jefferson’s statement, “No man will ever bring out of that office the reputation which carries him into it”.
    Then again if I was one of those stuck trying to get across the bridge, my opinion might be different.

    • JGC

      Some think the significant news would have been the Gates book, but the Christie incident has detracted from its importance.

      Anyway, agreed about most of your statement. I do not think he is directly implicated, but who was working for him, and what were they thinking?

  • pete18

    For those of you who are confused as to why the bridge scandal is getting far more coverage from the press than the IRS scandal–

    Scandals are not just about themselves; they are about the media atmosphere that surrounds them. They are perpetuated and deepened by the attention of journalists, whose relentless pursuit of every angle keeps the story going. That is exactly what has been missing from the IRS scandal from its outset; Republicans in Congress have been the dogged pursuers, not the press.

    There was plenty of material. Just as journalists remain skeptical today about who exactly might have gotten the idea for the lane closures, they could have been asking without letup who got the idea to dig into conservative tax-status applications. Several officials at the IRS resigned, retired and took the Fifth, just as was the case with Christie-aligned Port Authority officials.

    It’s pretty clear the questions about how high up Bridgegate went are going to be pursued far more diligently than they have been in the IRS case.

    Why? Oh, come on, you know why. Christie belongs to one political party. Obama belongs to the other. You know which ones they belong to. And you know which ones the people at the three networks belong to, too: In surveys going back decades, anywhere from 80% to 90% of Washington’s journalists say they vote Democratic.

    Journalists know the Obamans. Intimately. They know them from college, they know them from work, they know them from kids’ soccer. They’re literally married to them.

    To the journalists, the Obamans don’t look like crooks and cheats. Far from it. For them, it’s like looking in a mirror.

    http://nypost.com/2014/01/11/why-bridgegate-made-headlines-but-obamas-irs-scandal-didnt/

    • hennorama

      pete18 – what a surprise! A neocon, writing in a Murdoch tabloid, who thinks there’s something nefarious about press coverage.

      • pete18

        Always a good strategy to attack the messenger!

        • Ray in VT

          Like attacking the entire media alleging partisan bias?

          • pete18

            Podhoretz is giving an opinion, his bias is transparent. You should certainly consider his bias when evaluating his point but you shouldn’t dismiss it out of hand.

            The mainstream media, which is not the entire media, but the one that dominates the news coverage, should not be allowing their partisanship to so greatly influence how they cover things. To point out that their bias has been, is fair game. That doesn’t mean that everything they do should be discounted. I think their tough questioning and investigation of Christie is warranted. But I don’t know how you can think that the IRS situation doesn’t demand the same amount of inspection.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, the IRS thing didn’t get covered at all.

          • HonestDebate1

            No one said that but in comparison to Bridgegate you’re right.

          • Ray in VT

            Did you go to Google News to get some hard numbers on that? It worked real well for polar vortex, and that well known liberal conspiracy that was the existence of Yasser Arafat.

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            The taking of the 5th in the IRS thing could have kept the press busy indefinitely. They chose not to dig. That is really pretty clear, and not much of a partisan observation. Doesn’t mean we have to defend Christie either.

          • HonestDebate1

            I (and others) posted the numbers, so sorry they’re acceptable to you.

            http://onpoint.wbur.org/2014/01/10/christie-bridgegate-polar-vortex-iraq#comment-1195824678

            Regarding Arafat and Google news:

            http://onpoint.wbur.org/2014/01/10/christie-bridgegate-polar-vortex-iraq#comment-1195407608

            And then I put my thanks to you and the harder numbers up top days ago:

            http://onpoint.wbur.org/2014/01/10/christie-bridgegate-polar-vortex-iraq#comment-1195455868

            They don’t call me Honest Debate for nothing.

          • Ray in VT

            Numbers based upon an obviously flawed or misused tool are worse than useless. They can actually become destructive to knowledge of the facts.

            I had not seen your post. Thank you for the update. It appears flawed as a tool.

            The term has become recently popularized and brought into the public discussion. It it neither something new or made up, and I fail to see how the discussion of this very real weather phenomenon is evidence of any sort of attempt to make this issue something about climate change, as you alleged.

            “I will leave it to y’all to decide if the results in one month that
            only total almost 5 times the results from the past 54 years takes away
            from my point.”

            This statement, I think, also fails to take into account that it is only in fairly recently that much has moved online. Google does not have access to the content of pretty much every newspaper and tv news story that was published, so even a term that had stable usage would end up looking biased due to this.

          • HonestDebate1

            I gave the caveat, my point stands… as it always did.

          • Ray in VT

            And your point was what exactly? That use of the term has increased of late? Is that supposed to be news in and of itself.

            I think that your point pointing towards some sort of link between the use of this long established term and attempts to link it to climate change stands about as well as a one legged stool.

            I am also curious about this statement:

            “I repeated the search but this time used a general search instead of a
            news search. Searching from 1/1/1960 to 12/10/2013 yields 180 million results. Searching back one month yields 849 million results.”

            I am curious about these numbers, seeing as how when I conducted a Google search for polar vortex I found 727,000,000 hits, not 869,000,000, and also when I searched for “polar vortex”, which forces a search for those terms when used together, one only gets 15,200,000 hits. This eliminates all hits for pages that merely contain the two words somewhere on it.

            I am also curious to see the pages that you saw that produced these numbers, as when I attempted to narrow searches by date on the general search Google omitted the numbers of results.

          • HonestDebate1

            I just searched and got 632M. Go figure? Check me on that, see what it is now…. what? You wanna continue this silly crap in front of everybody and their moderator? If your premise is always going to be that I am not worthy of my heartfelt moniker then what’s the point?

            As to what’s my point, it’s not the number of hits. IMHO the spike, that you previously acknowledged (pick your number) is, the weather deniers (MSM) are clinging to a scientific sounding sound byte for the pseudo-intellectual sycophants to counter the horrible optics of record low temperatures that confirm the now available fifth assessment report from the IPCC that owns up to the unassailable fact they were off by, at best, half.

            So there’s that.

          • Ray in VT

            Yup, yet another whacked opinion, based upon blatantly questionable numbers and methods and echoed by the likes of such dim bulbs as El Rushbo. There’s that.

          • HonestDebate1

            The Rush monster didn’t say a thing about the numbers. You’re a one trick pony.

          • Ray in VT

            That’s just where I first heard of the “made up” polar vortex. It just didn’t surprise me in the least to see you also say something about such nonsense. I’d rather be a one trick pony than be stuck beating a dead horse as you often do.

          • HonestDebate1

            If you want to reduce pollution or conserve energy then you will find much agreement on the right but you guys are overreaching. Doom and gloom always sells. There are plenty on the left who freely admit to exaggerating because they feel the situation is so dire. It’s good news that the IPCC 4th assessment was so wrong. I told you that years ago. But the left is invested in the narrative that uncaring Republican Americans are intent on destroying the planet. It’s crazy.

            http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2006/01/27/algore_we_have_ten_years_left_before_earth_cooks

          • Ray in VT

            Sure, those energy backed think tanks and their fans in the TOP really care. I’ll stick with the science on the issue, and not the jokers at Heartland, in Rushland or the at petition project.

          • HonestDebate1

            The science says no significant warming in 15- 20 years, the lowest CO2 levels in America in 20 years and that the models were wrong, way wrong. The science says temperature rises before CO2 levels rise, not after. The science says the 2013 hurricane season was atypically mild even thought NOAA predicted it would be atypically harsh. The science says it gets cold in the winter. The science says relax.

          • Ray in VT

            The science says that the last decade was the warmest on record, and this decade is on pace to top that.

            http://www.weather.com/news/science/environment/no-hiatus-pause-global-warming-climate-change-heres-why-20140109

            Emissions are lower, but levels continue to rise. Historically temperature rise first may have been the case, but that was without us dumping stuff into the atmosphere for 250 years. NOAA predicted an active season, and it wasn’t. It’s cold today, so there must be no global warming, right? They got is right on the low end of named storms, but they were off on the number of hurricanes. These things happen.

          • HonestDebate1

            No, the cold snap doesn’t disprove AGW. it proves it. Have you heard of the polar vortex? It’s you guys making that argument not me.

            It’s funny that you even write the words “on pace” after the the pace parted ways with the predictions.

          • Ray in VT

            I’m not arguing that the polar vortex, a term that describes a condition and occasional weather pattern which has existed for decades, proves or disproves anything. It is possible that global warming could affect it.

            I don’t find my on pace comment to be at all funny. At this point this decade’s global temperature anomaly is roughly 1.4 degrees Celsius above that of the preceding decade. Of course the sample size is smaller for this decade, and that number will change soon when NOAA releases the 2013 global climate report, so we’ll see where that goes, or I could just listen to Rush and the other people that you seem to like in order to get the “real” truth.

          • HonestDebate1

            The 5th assessment is in.

          • Ray in VT

            Are you not going to go to anonymous bloggers, energy funded think tanks and right wing talk radio for climate coverage. When did you start caring what a bunch of librul scientist said?

          • HonestDebate1

            When they were proven to be liars.

          • Ray in VT
          • Steve__T

            Who calls you that?

        • hennorama

          pete18 — Mr. Podhoretz is merely theorizing, which makes his words simply an opinion, and not a message.

          Then there’s the inaccurate headline of his piece, as well:

          “Why Bridgegate made headlines but Obama’s IRS scandal didn’t”

          Is that an accurate “message”?

          • pete18

            Of course it’s an opinion, it’s an op-ed piece! But it is a theory with a lot of merit and worth considering and thinking about rather than dismissing out of hand because of who wrote it. When you look at the political leanings of the Washing press corp, which is well documented, and the facts of the IRS case as compared to bridgegate, there are at least an equal number of questions that call for the same amount of scrutiny from the press. The fact that they haven’t pressed as hard on it gives rise to the question, “why?” I don’t think that is fairly answered by saying that there’s nothing there.

          • hennorama

            pete18 –the theory that “the Washing [sic] press corp [sic]” have not given these two stories “the same amount of scrutiny,” and/or “… they haven’t pressed as hard…” is not proven by the number of stories.

            The reason this theory is not proven by the number of stories is that the number of stories cannot and do not take into account the possibility that both stories were equally investigated, and in the case of one, nothing else newsworthy was found.

            You characterizing the theory about the relative investigative efforts of the press as “fact” is also inaccurate, as you have no idea about what has happened behind the scenes.

          • pete18

            “You characterizing the theory about the relative investigative efforts
            of the press as “fact” is also inaccurate, as you have no idea about
            what has happened behind the scenes.”

            That’s just silly. You’re using a negative to disprove a positive. One can only evaluate how the press has covered a story by how they cover a story. If we don’t see published investigations, I think it’s fair to assume they haven’t done them.

          • hennorama

            pete18 — your admission that you are making assumptions about the investigative efforts of the press regarding these stories is appreciated.

            Have you come up with an answer to my question about the accuracy of the headline for the opinion piece you found so compelling yet?

          • pete18

            You’re nitpicking over irrelevant points.
            It is a fact that their haven’t been as many press stories or the intensity or skepticism in the questioning Obama of the IRS as their has been of Christie over the bridge.
            If the press had been doing intense investigations that they didn’t publish (regardless of the results) then they would still not be doing their job. If they investigated and found nothing that would also be a story. It doesn’t matter if you call this a “fact” or an “assumption” based on logic and probability.

            As to the headline, I don’t know. Has the IRS scandal ever been a front page story over the same number of days as “Bridgegate?”

          • Ray in VT

            Well, on the one hand one has a scandal that deals with issues in the tax code that occurred in a field office where indications are not that the White House was involved, and on the other one has a very public snarl occurring on one of the busiest bridges in the world where involvement reached right into the governor’s inner circle. I think that one having been something of a “white collar” issue versus the other being a physical, tangible one may play a part. One also occurred in one of the busiest cities in the world.

          • pete18

            Actually, there is plenty of indications that the White House might be involved–

            According to the White House Visitors Log, provided here in searchable form by U.S. News and World Report, the president of the anti-Tea Party National Treasury Employees Union, Colleen Kelley, visited the White House at 12:30pm that Wednesday noon time of March 31st.The White House lists the IRS union leader’s visit this way:

            Kelley, Colleen Potus 03/31/2010 12:30

            In White House language, “POTUS” stands for “President of the United States.”

            The very next day after her White House meeting with the President, according to the Treasury Department’s Inspector General’s Report, IRS employees — the same employees who belong to the NTEU — set to work in earnest targeting the Tea Party and conservative groups around America. The IG report wrote it up this way:

            April 1-2, 2010: The new Acting Manager, Technical Unit, suggested the need for a Sensitive Case Report on the Tea Party cases. The Determinations Unit Program Manager Agreed.

            In short: the very day after the president of the quite publicly anti-Tea Party labor union — the union for IRS employees — met with President Obama, the manager of the IRS “Determinations Unit Program agreed” to open a “Sensitive Case report on the Tea party cases.” As stated by the IG report. http://spectator.org/articles/55560/obama-and-irs-smoking-gun

            Certainly enough to cause honest reporters to ask questions and push the
            White House to provide some answers.

          • Ray in VT

            Interesting. I suppose that the “Workplace Flexibility Forum that she attended that day in South Court Auditorium of the old Executive Office Building across the street from the What House that day was just cover for some sort of clandestine meeting?

            http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2013/05/20/obamas-meeting-with-irs-union-leader-not-a-smoking-gun

            I think that the American Spectator is about as reliable a source as Anthony Crispino.

          • pete18

            I highly doubt that the press or you would take at face value a statement from a spokesman for Christie’s office claiming that Christie hadn’t met and talked with Bill Baroni the night before the e-mails went out about the bridge, if Baroni and Christie were both at some forum together that same evening.

            Although it is certainly possible that Colleen Kelley’s visit to the White House was perfectly innocent, the timing is very suspicious and warrants a little more aggressive reporting than what you posted above.

          • Ray in VT

            I guess that the conservative elements of my nature leads me to be inclined to not jump to such conclusions based upon rather scant evidence.

          • pete18

            No one’s asking you to jump to conclusions, you and the press are being asked to be curious, skeptical and inquisitive in the face of so many unanswered questions:

            1. Who inside the IRS hatched
            the plan to target conservatives and what, if any, connections do
            they, their associates, or superiors have to the Obama White House,
            campaign team, or other political organizations?

            2. Who at the IRS leaked confidential tax documents to the progressive-leaning journalism group ProPublica, an action which the IRS official manual says can result in up to five years in prison and fines of up to $5,000?

            3. Who are the two “rogue” individuals
            disgraced former IRS Commissioner Stevens said went “off the
            reservation” and acted “overly aggressive,” and what, if any,
            connections do they have politically? If, as the Inspector General
            report alleges, political motivations were not driving the
            targeting of conservatives, then what was? Also, what “discipline”
            did the two rogue agents receive?

            4. Did IRS agents coordinate with Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) or his staff to “go after them [conservative groups],” as he told the New York Times, following Levin’s letters to then-IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman and Director Lois Lerner?

            5. Did Sen. Max Baucus (D-MO) or his staff communicate or
            coordinate with IRS agents after Baucus wrote this September 28,
            2010 letter instructing
            then-Commissioner Douglas Shulman to have his “agency survey major
            401(c)(4), (c)(5) and (c)(6) organizations to determine whether
            they are acting as conduits for major donors advancing their own
            private interests”?

            6. What communications took place between IRS agents and the
            following senators and their staffs following the delivery of this jointly written letter demanding
            the IRS crack down on “abuse of the tax code by political groups
            focused on federal election activities”: Sen. Charles Schumer
            (D-NY), Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO ), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse
            (D-RI), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), Sen.
            Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)?

            7. What communications existed between Obama reelection campaign co-chair Joe Solomonese, whom the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) alleges received its confidential tax returns, and IRS agents?

            8. What portion of Obama’s 79% increase in audits of charities were of conservative groups?

            9. If political motivations were not driving the selective
            targeting of 500 conservative organizations, then why were a
            similar number of liberal groups not harassed?

            10. What role did IRS Rulings and Agreements Division Director Holly Paz, who in 2008 donated $2,000 to Obama, play in ratcheting up IRS investigations, as she promised she would in June 2012?

            And is it not curious and disturbing that an Obama political donor would be leading the Justice Departments investigation into the matter: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2014/01/09/obama-political-donor-leading-justice-departments-irs-investigation/

            Sort of the reverse of the Saturday Night Massacre.

          • hennorama

            pete18 — if you’re going to life a DullLisa.com article in its entirety, shouldn’t you at least have the courtesy of giving the writer credit?

          • pete18

            So interesting that this is what you focus on. Much more important than who came up wth the questions is why they haven’t been answered. Don’t you think they are important and need to be addressed? Isn’t that the pertinent issue here?

            They came from Breitbart by the way (http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/06/05/Congress-Fails-To-Answer-Core-IRS-Scandal-Questions), not Dull Lisa, whoever that is.

          • Ray in VT

            Your comment suggests that I and the press are not curious about this issue. I don’t think that that is the case. As for myself, I’m willing to wait and see what investigations reveal, although I am somewhat wary of Representative Issa, as I think that he can be prone to advocating partisan positions, but a few of the reports that his committee has produced have been, I think, largely fair, despite the grandstanding that he sometimes does.

          • pete18

            I don’t think the press are very curious about this at all. I’m glad to hear that you are. I agree that there has been grandstanding by Issa, but the important thing, as you’ve acknowledged, is that his committee’s reports have been fair.

          • hennorama

            pete18 — thank you for expressing your opinion about the relevance of various points made, and the efforts of the press.

            Did the headline of the opinion piece read “Why Bridgegate made headlines but Obama’s IRS scandal didn’t,” or did I miss the new headline implied by your question:

            “Why the IRS scandal [hasn't] ever been a front page story over the same number of days as “Bridgegate”?

            Nice try as to changing the question asked into one that wasn’t asked..

          • pete18

            I didn’t avoid anything, I don’t know whether the IRS story has ever been a front page headline, do you? If it has, my guess is that it has not been for as long or as prominent, which is the point of the op-ed.

            But again, pretty minor points that you are using to avoid the heart of the story.

          • hennorama

            pete18 — the GWB story is only of mild personal interest, and will play out as events dictate.

            The IRS story is old news, and unless something new arises, is pretty well played out.

            Rather than address the facts of the GWB story, the idea is to obfuscate, and try to change the subject. This is all well and good, and is a well-practiced political tactic universally utilized when powerful people find themselves the center of negative media attention.

            So we wind up with conservatives and others saying the GWB coverage is overblown, and blaming “the media,” and everyone and anyone they can think of, exactly as Mr. Podhoretz did in the opinion piece you quoted.

            Again, not exactly a surprise, and certainly not a surprise coming from a neocon writing in a Murdoch tabloid.

          • Ray in VT

            Are you telling me that a die hard Red Sox fan would be critical of the Yankees? I’m shocked. Shocked!

          • pete18

            Pay attention, no one is refuting the GWB. It is a story well worth investigating and finding out if Christie had any role in it.

            What we on the right would like to see is the same kind of aggressive and thorough look at the myriad of Obama scandals by the press. The reason it comes up at all is when people watched the press conference with Christie ( I actually tuned in expecting a car wreck with Christie leaving a heap of stammering contradictions, his career finished) and noticing such a persistent, skeptical and drooling press corp, hammering away at Christie. Cheers to them for doing their job. Now give me just half of that adrenaline for one Obama press conference and we might begin to see the president actually held accountable for a few of his actions.

          • HonestDebate1

            “The IRS story is old news, and unless something new arises, is pretty well played out.”

            That’s right up there with your most outrageous defenses ever. Do you really want to let that comment stand?

            It’s 2014 now. Obamacare has kicked in and the tens of thousands of new IRS agents are enforcing it. Meanwhile no one has been held accountable for the debacle and the public has no assurances politics will not rule the process. This is not old news. Until someone is held accountable, changes are made and assurances are give this HAS NOT played out.

            This is another example of your astonishing disingenuousness. You are too smart to fall for Obama’s dastardly plot to let the clock run out. No, this is willful, you are not only playing along you are leading the charge. It’s shameful.

          • HonestDebate1

            And as to the facts of your comment that’s wrong too. Just a few days ago we learned the person in charge of the IRS investigation, Ms. Bosserman, is a Democrat donor. Today we learned the FBI has decided there will be no criminal charges. They did not interview any Tea Party targets. This is news. Today, now.

        • jefe68

          You should know.

      • jefe68

        Oh the horror! The shock of it all!

    • HonestDebate1

      Evidently you hit a nerve with the unassailable editorial. It’s amazing to me how much effort some put into avoiding what’s right in front of their eyes. The piece focuses on the IRS but the list is long and the same case could be made about a host of issues. If the press did their job Obama would never have been elected much less reelected.

    • jimino

      I agree that the IRS scandal, in which obvious political entities that had no claim whatsoever to tax-free status, were not prosecuted for their attempt to violate the law, should have been bigger news. That’s the story from my perspective, and I have seen virtually nothing about it. Shameful.

      • OnPointComments

        So you disagree with President Obama’s assessment of the IRS scandal?

        “I have now had the opportunity to review the Treasury Department watchdog’s report on its investigation of IRS personnel who improperly targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. And the report’s findings are intolerable and inexcusable. The federal government must conduct itself in a way that’s worthy of the public’s trust, and that’s especially true for the IRS. The IRS must apply the law in a fair and impartial way, and its employees must act with utmost integrity. This report shows that some of its employees failed that test. I’ve directed Secretary Lew to hold those responsible for these failures accountable, and to make sure that each of the Inspector General’s recommendations are implemented quickly, so that such conduct never happens again. But regardless of how this conduct was allowed to take place, the bottom line is, it was wrong.”

        • jimino

          They can both be correct. A thief detected by an unlawful search is still a thief, right?

    • JGC

      Don’t you worry your pretty little head, Miss Scarlett.

      I just read on “The Hill” that Rep. Issa is planning another yearful of hearings on the IRS “scandal, Benghazi, and Fast and Furious in 2014.

      (I heard he found a cryptic email where Valerie Jarrett sent “Time for some IRS problems for the Etay Artypay” to Eric Holder. Shhh…don’t tell anyone…it’s a surprise attack…)

      • jefe68

        So glad Issa is spending our tax dollars on such worthy causes. It’s as if he’s playing solitaire with his regressive agenda.

        • pete18

          Heaven forbid that the congress try to hold the executive office accountable, that would be like a balance of powers or something.

          • jefe68

            Nope, he is not doing that at all, it’s just a partisan hack job. The FBI just finished it’s investigation of the faux IRS scandal and found nothing, nada, not a thing. And yet this extreme right winger Issa is going to waste thens of thousands of dollars of tax payers money on this faux-scandal.

          • pete18

            More like a faux FBI investigation than a faux scandal. I’m more concerned about the millions of tax payer dollars spent on Obamacare PR to shine up a completely failed policy that is wasting billions of dollars, aren’t you? Tens of thousands of dollars to attempt to keep the government
            semi-honest and accountable is a pittance.

      • HonestDebate1

        That’s good news.

    • Sy2502

      I absolutely agree with you and that’s the reason why I am glad Gates released his insights in the Administration. Many say he should have used the “courtesy” to wait until the end of Obama’s term. The truth is that it should be the media’s job to report these things and, in general, to keep the government in the crosshairs at all times. But these days, they are so far up Obama’s rear that you don’t know where one ends and the other begins.

  • Ray in VT

    Freedom Industries president Gary Southern complains about having had a long day. I bet that many in West Virginia don’t feel too bad for him at this point.

    • hennorama

      Ray in VT — I suspect that, unlike the 300,000 WV residents affected by the chemical spill, Gary Southern can take a nice hot bath or shower after his “long day.”

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Chris Christie and the Perils of Power

    “A wise citizenry would take this episode as a warning about the dangers of ceding control over our lives to the government. Anytime someone wants to expand some power of government, here’s what you should assume: Kelly and Wildstein will be the ones exercising it.”

    http://reason.com/archives/2014/01/13/chris-christie-and-the-perils-of-power

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Noam Chomsky: Obama Trade Deal A ‘Neoliberal Assault’ To Further Corporate ‘Domination’

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/13/noam-chomsky-obama-trans-pacific-partnership_n_4577495.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003

  • HonestDebate1

    Come to find out, according to Pew, few are all that moved by the press’ Christie crisis:

    http://www.people-press.org/2014/01/13/christie-story-attracts-little-public-interest/

  • 228929292AABBB

    It was quite shocking to hear Mr. Babbington sound surprised at the concept oil is the key reason we’re concerned with the Middle East. Good Lord we’re looking to this man to add insight to this panel? Mr. Babbington, in case you’ve not noticed, we haven’t invaded Africa to stop all the same sorts of conflicts we’re so fascinated with in the Middle East.

  • HonestDebate1

    Rush Limbaugh and GWB both are more admired than Hillary Clinton. How did she even make the list?

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/hillary-clinton-ranks-last-on-u.s.-most-admired-list-behind-rush-limbaugh-bush/article/2542028

  • HonestDebate1

    Recently declassified transcripts reveal Obama was told about the “Terrorist Attack” in Benghazi that night.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/01/14/benghazi-transcripts-top-defense-officials-briefed-obama-on-attack-not-video-or/

    • Ray in VT

      I guess that it’s a good thing that the President talked about that act of terror the next day in the Rose Garden. It’s too bad the that preliminary intelligence wasn’t clearer, as bad intelligence is a lie if you’re a Democrat.

      • HonestDebate1

        Candy Crowley apologized.

        • Ray in VT

          She, and the President, was right. He referred to Benghazi the next day as an act of terror. Romney was wrong. Perhaps it is not the job of the moderator to do some live fact checking, but Romney’s statement about the President not calling it an act of terror for two weeks was flat out wrong.

    • Salvor Hardin

      I agree with Ray here. Other than Rice’s statement, the Obama administration has been calling it a terrorist attack for months now. You have been in agreement since virtually the beginning and you just seem covering the same ground over and over again accomplishing nothing.

      You agree. Move on to your other conspiracies.

      • HonestDebate1

        He parsed his words very carefully that day, don’t fall for it.

        • Salvor Hardin

          You agree. Why keep going on and on about it? You don’t seem to be able to take yes for an answer.

          • HonestDebate1

            No trolls will be tolerated on this blog. Did I just call you a troll? No.

            I disagree. He parsed his words very carefully to avoid saying it was a terrorists attack.

            “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.

            President Obama sent Susan Rice out to say with certainty, certainty, it was a reaction tot the video. Obama was repeating the meme 2 weeks later. Every effort was made to point to a video protest that did not happen and they knew did not happen. It matters. Evern din the same Rose Garden speech Obama said, “Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others”.

            Why? He was blaming the silly video. There was no reason to say we respect the murderers faith.

            http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/09/12/remarks-president-deaths-us-embassy-staff-libya

          • Salvor Hardin

            It’s like the Groundhog Day movie – everything has to start from scratch like the past never happened. So now we are going back to the “silly video” again.

            The attack WAS a reaction to the video. It was the primary motivation for the attack and the timing of the attack. It had nothing to do with protesters. It was a heavily armed attack by Libyan Jihadist militants (and terrorists will fit that description). Reporters at the scene verified that the video was the motivation for the attack. David Kirkpatrick’s Benghazi article in the New York Times provides additional corroboration.

          • HonestDebate1

            It was a preplanned, highly organized terrorist attack on the anniversary of 9/11 that had nothing to do with the video. Nothing. Even Diane Feinstein has said the NYT piece was wrong.

          • Salvor Hardin

            You know we just discussed this a week ago – this was your thread:

            http://onpoint.wbur.org/2014/01/03/russian-bombing-obamacare-pot-colorado#comment-1189643477

            You could not provide any evidence from your position that didn’t validate that the video was the motivation for the attack.

            Here is info from the AP link that you yourself provided:

            http://bigstory.ap.org/article/libyan-witnesses-recount-organized-benghazi-attack

            There was no sign of a spontaneous protest against an American-made movie denigrating Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. But a lawyer passing by the scene said he saw the militants gathering around 20 youths from nearby to chant against the film. Within an hour or so, the assault began, guns blazing as the militants blasted into the compound.

            One of the consulate’s private Libyan guards said masked militants grabbed him and beat him, one of them calling him “an infidel protecting infidels who insulted the prophet.”

            The witness accounts gathered by The Associated Press give a from-the-ground perspective for the sharply partisan debate in the U.S. over the attack that left U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead. They corroborate the conclusion largely reached by American officials that it was a planned militant assault. But they also suggest the militants may have used the film controversy as a cover for the attack.

            You have not and cannot provide any evidence that the attack would have occurred that day at that hour if there was no video.

            There are many 9/11 anniversaries but only one had an attack by the militant Jihadists.

            But you seemed to have picked an odd source of Diane Feinstein as your “definitive” evidence that the video had “nothing” to do with the attack.

          • jefe68

            Really?

  • pete18

    Obamacare, bringing people together:

    The public might not agree on much these days, but one thing it overwhelmingly believes is that government is ill-equipped to manage one-sixth of the economy — 67% said so in the January IBD/TIPP poll.

    This distrust has only gotten worse as the ObamaCare debacle
    unfolded, climbing 4 points in one month. Even Democrats — at 44%, up from 34% the month before — are increasingly skeptical.

    Read More At Investor’s Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-obama-care/011314-686171-obamacare-is-government-run-health-care.htm#ixzz2qOU9zU4B

ONPOINT
TODAY
Apr 23, 2014
In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, file photo, Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, Inc., shows a tablet displaying his company's technology, in New York. Aereo is one of several startups created to deliver traditional media over the Internet without licensing agreements. (AP)

The Supreme Court looks at Aereo, the little startup that could cut your cable cord and up-end TV as we’ve known it. We look at the battle. Plus: a state ban on affirmative action in college admissions is upheld. We’ll examine the implications.

Apr 23, 2014
Attendees of the 2013 Argentina International Coaching Federation meet for networking and coaching training. (ICF)

The booming business of life coaches. Everybody seems to have one these days. Therapists are feeling the pinch. We look at the life coach craze.

RECENT
SHOWS
Apr 22, 2014
This undated handout photo, taken in 2001, provided by the Museum of the Rockies shows a bronze cast of the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton known as the Wankel T.rex, in front of the Museum of the Rockies at Montana State University in Bozeman, Mont. (AP)

As a new Tyrannosaurus Rex arrives at the Smithsonian, we’ll look at its home – pre-historic Montana – and the age when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.

 
Apr 22, 2014
Security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack in the town of Suwayrah, 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, April 21, 2014. Suicide bombings and other attacks across Iraq killed and wounded dozens on Monday, officials said, the latest in an uptick in violence as the country counts down to crucial parliament elections later this month. (AP)

We look at Iraq now, two years after Americans boots marched out. New elections next week, and the country on the verge of all-out civil war.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Week In Seven Soundbites: April 18, 2014
Friday, Apr 18, 2014

Holy week with an unholy shooter. South Koreans scramble to save hundreds. Putin plays to the crowd in questioning. Seven days gave us seven sounds.

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Our Week In The Web: April 18, 2014
Friday, Apr 18, 2014

Space moon oceans, Gabriel García Márquez and the problems with depressing weeks in the news. Also: important / unnecessary infographics that help explain everyone’s favorite 1980′s power ballad.

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Some Tools And Tricks For College Financial Aid
Thursday, Apr 17, 2014

Some helpful links and tools for navigating FAFSA and other college financial aid tools.

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