Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thom Hartmann: Stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship American jobs overseas....

President Obama may have another massive tax cut in the works - this one for America's giant corporations. The White House may be considering cutting the 35% corporate tax rate next year. The rate is the highest in the world - but with so many loopholes in the law - most companies don't pay nearly 35%. Also - as most businesses divert their profits into the hands of individuals who play some of the lowest income taxes in the world - many corporate profits go completely untaxed. Last year - Exxon Mobile - the most profitable corporation in the history of the world - and General Electric paid no corporate taxes. In fact - 85% of all corporate tax revenue comes from only one half of one percent of companies - about 10,000 businesses in all. This may actually be a good idea though - if President Obama does indeed close some of the loopholes that plague our corporate tax structure. The best way to do that - stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship American jobs overseas. Not only will the federal government raise more revenue to offset the lowering of the corporate tax rate - it will encourage business to stay in the United States. It's time for meaningful tax reform - not giveaways to companies who can hire the most lobbyists.


(What do you think the president should do? Tell us here.)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Grandma Sick - Positive Thoughts Please

My 90 year old Grandma`s Leg is in major pain, she cannot move, the pain medicine is making her a bit 'loopy' , she has a low tolerance to Drugs. She is having Spasms in her leg and side. My Grandma is losing a lot of weight, She is not eating much, my Aunt is trying to get her to eat more. My grandma is upstairs and she cannot get down and my Aunt is not strong enough to help her down. My Grandma`s Doctor is coming to see her today. Please send out & Show Grandma POSITIVE Thoughts - Please no Dramatics (like a Certain Family Member of mine did today) by such antics as doing a Solemn Rosary Prayer in her face as if it was her Last Rights -that would depress Anybody! Sheesh - PLEASE Use Common Sense People!!

Thom Hartmann: The United Nation's Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People

Since taking office - President Obama has tried to reach out to indigenous Native Americans in a number of ways. Recently - the President announced support for the United Nation's Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People - a document previously opposed by former President Bush. As the State Department says - the declaration is not legally binding - but it does work to, "address historical inequities faced by indigenous communities in the United States." And - President Obama has pledged to improve access to quality health care, education, and employment. Of course - like any reasonable civil rights policy championed by the President - Conservatives are angry. The American Family Association and other right-wing groups claim that in reaching out to Native Americans President Obama is trying to hand over our nation's sovereignty to Native Americans - including handing them all of Manhattan. Right... - this is nothing more that the politics of bigotry. And this hatred of American Indians happens to coincide with the anniversary of the massacre at Wounded Knee - which happened 120 years today. It was there - that as many as 300 Lakota Sioux Indians were killed at the hands of the US 7th Cavalry Regiment. It was a dark day in American history - and unfortunately just one of many brutal incidents and injustices that have littered the timeline of American Indians since the country was settled by European colonizers more than 500 years ago. And today's Republican Party is perfectly happy to continue many of these injustices.


(Add your thoughts here.)

Randi Rhodes: Homework 4 2day


Chris Matthews: “I Don’t Think Democrats Want To Stop” Illegal Immigration

McCain whines that Latinos turned their backs on him -- after he threw them under the bus

The 'Death Panels' and Betsy McCaughey are Back at Fox News

Five memorable 2010 debate moments

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Thom Hartmann: Starting to Feel like a Peon?

Good news! Companies are hiring again. Bad news - they're hiring overseas. A recent report by the Economic Policy Institute revealed that Americans businesses created more than 1.4 million jobs overseas in 2010 - that's compared to fewer than one million created here in the United States. Had those 1.4 million jobs been created here - the unemployment rate could have dropped by nearly a full percentage point. But as long as profits are up for CEOs and other millionaires and billionaires in the country - no worries right? According to Reaganomics - we just need to wait for that money to trickle down. It's been more than 30 years though - still no trickle. Starting to feel like a peon?


(Are starting to feel like a peon? Tell us here.)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Randi Rhodes: 2day`s Post Holiday Homework


Robert Gibbs talks GOP responsibility and Gitmo, Valerie Jarrett sidesteps Sarah Palin questions, and Sen. Tom Coburn warns of economic apocalyptic pain.

Bob Schieffer's Holiday Verse

Gibbs: Health Care Bill Inspired Obama To Chew Nicorette Over Cigs

Michele Bachmann Calls 9-11 Responders Bill a New Entitlement Program

Larry King: Sean Hannity And Rachel Maddow Are “Preachers” Who Offer “No Learning Experience”

Thom Hartmann: Mainstream media has been taken over by Conservative ideology

You need to know this. The mainstream media has been taken over by Conservative ideology. A new Pew Research Center Survey studied the media exposure of politicians during the recent midterm elections. What they found was - out of the ten most covered candidates during the election season - the top 3 were all Republicans. And most surprising - Sarah Palin - who essentially has no job and was not running for one - received three times more coverage to spew her talking points than the sitting Vice President Joe Biden. Also - conservative commentators like Glenn Beck received considerably more media coverage than their more liberal counterparts like Keith Olbermann. These findings from the Pew Research Center are similar to a study by MediaMatters back in 2006 that found that Republican talking heads appeared on Sunday morning news shows 58% of the time compared to Democratic commentators appearing only 42% of the time. And finally - reporter Sebastian Jones - with "The Nation" magazine - uncovered at least 75 corporate lobbyists or PR officials that now appear on television political talk shows with no disclosure of what business interests they actually work for. Their job? To do the bidding of their corporate overlords under the disguise of "expert political commentary". So now can we finally put an end to the myth that there is a liberal bias in the mainstream media? And hopefully now start recognizing we need to create new media outlets that aren't beholden to corporate interests or the talking points of their billionaire owners like Rupert Murdoch. Maybe then American will again hear the news they need to know.


(Have you noticed this? Tell us here.)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Thom Hartmann: The 111th session of Congress has passed more legislation affecting more people than any other Congress since the 1960's...

On Capitol Hill - The START nuclear treaty passed a cloture vote yesterday in the Senate. 67 Senators agreed to end debate on the treaty setting up a final vote for passage today. Majority Leader Harry Reid will need all of those 67 votes to hold for the treaty to garner the necessary 2/3 majority for passage - and thus securing an important foreign policy victory for President Obama. And for that matter - the rest of the world that wants to take a tougher stance on reducing loose nuclear materials. Also - the Senate is expected to finally pass the 9/11 first responders health care bill this afternoon - now that changes to the bill have accommodated the Chamber of Commerce's corporate concerns. And in the White House today - President Obama signed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal into law - an important milestone for civil rights in our country. All in all - according to Columbia University historian Alan Brinkley - the 111th session of Congress has passed more legislation affecting more people than any other Congress since the 1960's - unfortunately they weren't the transformative victories many progressives hoped for 2 years ago. And while more people have received much needed help - the status quo of supply-side economics, free trade, and corporate preference still continues.


(Do you think they have done all they could or should? Tell us here.)

President Obama Signs 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Repeal Into Law

Randi Rhodes: Homework for Dec. 22nd 2010

Randi's on vacation, but that's no excuse to fall behind on your homework!

Audio & Video

To Provide Perspective On START, Hannity Turns To Jon Voight. Wait, What?

Stephen Colbert: Jesus Is a Liberal Democrat

Bill O’Reilly responds to Stephen Colbert who was responding to O’Reilly

Republican Senator Will Block 9/11 First Responders Bill, Potentially Killing Its Chance Of Passage

Mayor Rudy Giuliani: Pass 9/11 Health Bill

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Thom Hartmann: Why the Media isn't Talking about the War...

You need to know this. A new study by the Pew Research Center may explain why outrage isn't growing around the country over the unpopular war in Afghanistan. Simply - the media is not talking about it. This year - Afghanistan surpassed Vietnam as the longest military engagement in American history. It was also the bloodiest year on record in the 9-year war. In great detail - a release of wikileaks cables illuminated the conflict for Americans to see the brutality clearer. And - a strategy review released by President Obama stated the US military will likely be involved in the country for at least another 4 years. Yet - according to the new Pew study - the American media has only devoted 4% of it's coverage to Afghanistan. The war costs taxpayers more than $160 billion a year - but it's not even talked about in the public sphere - even in terms of deficit reduction - which has been a hot-button topic all year. Media outlets claim the story of the war simply doesn't interest people - so they don't cover it. And therein lies the problem with our news media - instead of reporting the news we NEED to know - they report what we WANT to know like partisan politics - or the royal wedding - or bed bugs. Ending this war is one of the greatest challenges facing all of us right now. Unfortunately - Americans can't take a stand against the war if corporations who own our news media - and have interlocking boards of directors or company divisions in the defense industry - won't cover it.


(How can we end the Afghanistan war? Tell us here.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Randi Rhodes: Homework Day 1

Randi's on vacation, but that's no excuse to fall behind on your homework!

Audio & Video

Sunday Shows: Joe Biden talks WikiLeaks damage, John Kerry and Jon Kyl sound off on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and Mitch McConnell vows (again) to fight Obamacare.

Obama Weekly Address: National Security Over Politics on START

Kristol Claims DREAM Act Was Political Ploy by Reid and Obama to Make Republicans Appear Anti-Hispanic

SNL: Assange vs. Zuckerberg on Time Magazine’s Person of the Year award.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Randi Rhodes: Done Deal

t’s Friday, ya bastids!

The big tax cut compromise bill was finally passed by the House last night at midnight (see how your rep voted). While this bill was necessary, maybe midnight is the best time to pass it—there are elements of this agreement that really never should see the light of day. Actually, this bill does a lot. It’s good for the economy, and it’s good for wealthy people. And those are not complimentary aims. Most importantly, this bill extends unemployment benefits for 13 months. And that provision does dovetail nicely with healing the economy.

Meanwhile, the Senate just gave up trying to pass a bill to fund the government over Republican objections. If that sounds like the Republicans object to the government, it’s not that far off the mark. Instead, the Senate will pass a short-term stop-gap spending measure. It seems like Democrats are forever taking stop-gap measures, while Republicans are forever creating gaps. The abandonment of the spending bill shows how much more clout the Republicans have after the elections… and before they even take office. It’s almost like giving up a home run to the guy in the on-deck circle.

On a dumber note, Sarah Palin is out doing interviews to promote her book. ABC’s Robin Roberts, interviewing Sarah Palin, said that when John Boehner cries, “he’s seen as being passionate.” No. Actually, he’s seen as being drunk. Palin replied that Boehner “has worn his feelings on his sleeve.” Yup. Along with a lot of spilled merlot. Sarah doesn’t seem to be a big drinker. But what’s the point when you start out that confused? There’s the old phrase “that’s the whiskey talking.” If the whiskey could talk, it would be bound to make more sense than Sarah Palin.

This week Kate Gosselin was a guest on Sarah Palin’s show. Kate turned out to be even more annoying than Sarah Palin. Maybe that’s the strategy of the show—to have Sarah with people who are even more dislikable than she is. Look forward to upcoming guest shots from Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen, and that assistant coach for the New York Jets. Gosselin whined the entire time. But then she was on a bear hunting trip with Sarah Palin. At a certain point you’re going to start asking yourself if you wouldn’t be better off with the bears.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Larry King says so long…

Thom Hartmann: The next battle in 2012....

You need to know this. The tax cuts compromise deal is now at the President's desk. The House of Representatives passed the legislation late last night by a vote of 277 - 148. Earlier in the afternoon - it looked as though liberal Democrats in the House were ready to blow the deal up when they protested the planned vote in the afternoon -forcing the House into an indefinite recess. But in caucus meetings later in the night - Speaker Nancy Pelosi was able to wrangle up enough Democratic members to bring the legislation to the floor and pass it. Ultimately - 112 Democrats didn't support the bill - including the entire Democratic leadership aside from Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. Now - with the President's signature - the bill will become law. Congressman Peter DeFazio from Oregon - one of the most outspoken opponents of the bill - summed up the conclusion of the tax cut debate by saying, "This basically concedes the argument to the supply-side Republican failed economic policies." And unfortunately - he's right. Progressives lost this fight - capping off 2 years of losing battles. But since the tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires weren't extended permanently - we all need to get to work to make sure progressives win the next battle in 2012.


(What do you think it will take to turn things around? Tell us here.)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Randi Rhodes: Playing the Christ Card

Sounds like someone’s been nipping at the eggnog. The latest line from Republicans is that trying to get things done before Christmas is somehow disrespecting Christmas. Hello! If people didn’t get things done before Christmas, there would be no Christmas! Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) said that working in the weeks leading up to Christmas is “disrespecting one of the two holiest holidays for Christians.” I assume Kyl meant Christmas and Easter. Or is there another bigger holiday where Christians like Jon Kyl celebrate hypocrisy? Tea Party idol Jim DeMint (R-SC) said “It’s sacrilegious. What’s going on here is just wrong. This is the most sacred holiday for Christians.” Jim spoke on December 15. I know there’s a “Christmas season,” but I didn’t think we were supposed to take the entire season off. Here’s a classic from DeMint: “We shouldn’t be jamming a major arms control treaty up against Christmas; it’s sacrilegious and disrespectful.” Yeah, an arms control treaty really conflicts with all that “Prince of Peace” stuff.

I have news for Senators Kyl and DeMint—everybody works up until Christmas. Even the shepherds at the first Christmas were “tending their flocks by night.” So not only were they working, these poor guys pulled a graveyard shift on Christmas. And Jesus was a carpenter. I doubt very much if he routinely took the last three weeks of the year off to celebrate his birthday.

The Christmas comments from Kyl and DeMint weren’t even the most hypocritical things said by Republicans yesterday. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and John Thune (R-SD) are working through Christmas on the hypocrisy front. They were crowing about how they were going to vote against the omnibus spending bill because it was loaded with earmarks. They were quite certain of that, since they did much of the loading themselves. Cornyn has some 53 pork projects in this bill, worth $15.7 million. Thune added 53 earmarks costing $38.5 million.That’s like the doctor that wrote all those prescriptions for Michael Jackson criticizing him for abusing prescription drugs. If this bill was full of pork, Cornyn and Thune helped design the recipe. And the part they put in was “add $50 million worth of pork and place in a preheated oven.” But Cornyn came up with the capper: “We will reject any earmarks requested by us or by anyone else.” That’s the attitude! “I’m not going to let me get away with this reckless spending!”

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blasts those using Christmas as an excuse not to work…

Thom Hartmann: Richard Holbrooke - Stop this war!

You need to know this. President Obama released his Afghanistan war strategy review this morning. In it - the President claims the timeline for troop withdrawal in July of next year is still on track - though the pace of withdrawal is still uncertain. A US military presence is expected to be in the region until at least 2014. Most of the news is good - we've taken more territory and knocked off most of Al Queda. But the review summary warns that many of these advances can quickly unravel if more is not done to combat insurgents coming across the border from Pakistan. In addition - there is little acknowledgment within the report of how corruption in the Afghan government continues to undermine US efforts. Which raises the question of exactly what we are fighting for in the country? Are US troops dying to prop up a corrupt Karzai government? Americans think so according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll that shows disapproval of the war at an all time high - 60%. While President Obama may point to individual targets that show improvement - the war as a whole is deteriorating. That's because - despite the whitewashing in the strategy review - 2010 was the bloodiest on record for the United States. And that's after more than 9 years of sustained combat in the country. Listen to the American people Mr. President - and listen to the final words of your chief diplomat, Richard Holbrooke - Stop this war!


(Do you think there is any point staying in Afghanistan any longer? Tell us here.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Randi Rhodes: Lame Duck Quacking Loudly

BREAKING: The House just passed a repeal of Dont Ask, Don't Tell (roll call of the vote)

EARLIER: The tax deal has passed in the Senate 81-19 (roll call of the vote)

Republicans always seem to be crying. Is all this crying sincere, or are these Republicans just in the pocket of the Kleenex lobby? They even cry on the floor of Congress. Every time Mitch McConnell takes to the floor, a Capitol Hill janitor goes to fetch a bucket and mop. Republicans have done more maudlin crying on the floor than David Hasselhoff. At least John Boehner wasn’t fumbling around with a cheeseburger.

Amidst the tears, the tax deal is slowly moving forward. The liberal Democrats in Congress who are so upset about the tax deal are the same ones who punted responsibility for doing something about it months ago. But then everybody puts off their taxes, don’t they? Congressional Democrats waited until their tax situation hit a deadline and then scrambled to do a half-assed job of it. Now Congress is going to end up trying to mail this off just before midnight on the day it’s due. I hope the Post Office stays open.

Conservative pundits, activists, and potential presidential candidates have lined up against this deal. They’re standing on the sidelines… and trying to trip up this bill like they’re a conditioning coach for the New York Jets. There’s a lot wrong with this deal. Still, conservatives have managed to object only to everything that’s right about it. Guys, sometimes you just have to take the good with the bad… even if you really hate the good.

Today President Obama is meeting with some 20 CEO’s of American businesses. Obama is going to try and get these fat cats to invest some of the money they’ve been sitting on. It’s going to be like that A&E show “Hoarders” where they try and get some crazy lady to part with one of her 2,000 dolls. Our economy is being run by people with the same mentality as the people on “Hoarders” who have a house full of knick-knacks covered in rat feces. And you know what’s going to happen. At the bottom of the huge piles of cash, they’re going to find a bunch of cat skeletons.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Share a good cry with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell - he really gets going about 10 minutes in…

Study: either Fox News makes you stupid or stupid people watch Fox News - you decide -

Thom Hartmann: Lame Duck roundup

You need to know this. Congress is feverishly working to finish up business before the end of the lame-duck session. The Senate is expected to pass President Obama's tax cut deal in a vote today. And the House seems to be warming up as well - at least Blue Dog democrats are. Despite the package costing nearly $1 trillion - at least 27 members of the Blue Dog coalition sent a letter to Nancy Pelosi urging her to bring the bill to the floor for a vote. She needs 39 Democrats on board for the legislation to even have a chance at passing - there are 54 members of the Blue Dog coalition. So as more momentum builds in favor of the bill - the more it looks like progressives will lose this fight too. In other business - the House is expected to vote on a stand-alone "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" bill in hopes that it will have a better chance of passing the Senate than the current legislation which is attached to a defense spending measure. That too could be hopeless as Republican Senator Jim DeMint is threatening to force the reading of an entire 2,000-page omnibus spending bill - a procedural tactic that's almost never employed - but could grind the entire chamber to a halt. In response - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid warned he would bring the Senate back into session after Christmas if Republicans continue to stall on addressing important legislation. Among the unresolved issues that could be tackled after Christmas: a START nuclear treaty - the DREAM Act - and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal. So - as the book starts to close on the 111th Congress in chaos - let's acknowledge how much good stuff did get done - and how much more could have been done if it weren't for Republicans being the Party of No for the past two years.


(What do you think should be their highest priority? Tell us here.)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Randi Rhodes: Lessons from FDR

The compromise tax deal moved forward in the Senate on a vote of 83 to 15. Among the 15 nay votes were progressive stalwarts Bernie Sanders and Russ Feingold, and arch-conservatives like Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn. The votes for this measure came from both sides of the fence. And the votes against it were from the parts furthest from the fence.

The polls show broad support for the tax deal. A Washington Post/ABC poll showed 69 percent support for the package as a whole, but only 11 percent supported all four of the deal’s primary provisions. People like compromise, but not what comprises compromise. This deal is like sausage—everybody likes it, but they don’t necessarily like everything that’s in it. Just eat the sausage, people. We’ll start eating healthy breakfasts after 2012.

Remember that hardcore conservatives absolutely hate this tax compromise. There’s proof right there that it must be helpful. The group Tea Party Patriots is blasting the reinstatement of the estate tax. Yeah, a lot of those people at the tea party rallies look like they’re going to get hit by a tax on estates worth over $10 million. If the people at all those tea party rallies have many estates worth over $10 million, they should be spending more money on professional sign makers. Or at least on a spelling dictionary.

As you listen to the new Republicans in Congress rail about spending, remember this history lesson from the last Democratic president who faced pressure on deficits from Republicans during an economic crisis: when FDR spent, unemployment fell. When FDR cut back under pressure from Republicans, unemployment rose. Like FDR, Obama has a choice. He can listen to Republicans, or he can listen to common sense. In 1938, in this famous fireside chat, Roosevelt recommitted to using government action to relieve the depression. Then, as today, the only reason to listen to Republicans on financial matters is to get a firm grip on what NOT to do.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Jon Stewart tore into Republicans last night over their continued blocking of healthcare funding for 9/11 first responders…
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Lame-as-F@#k Congress
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>The Daily Show on Facebook

Thom Hartmann: Don't ever fall in love with a politician...

This isn't advice from Elizabeth Edwards, but a more practical commentary applicable to all Americans.

Progressives are right now trying to process their feelings about President Obama's going back on his campaign promise to not cut taxes on billionaires.

Last year we were trying to deal with the discovery that he'd not only gone back on his campaign promise - or implied promise - of a public option, but that he'd given it away even before the Senate began negotiating the bill.

And ditto for Medicare negotiating drug prices.

The five stages of ending a relationship are pretty much identical to the famous five stages of death and dying identified by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.

They go from denial to anger to bargaining to depression to acceptance.

The majority of American voters don't consider themselves strong liberals or conservatives, and thus don't "fall in love" with the politicians they vote for.

They just figure they're voting for a politician - what the heck - and probably the lesser of two evils.

But conservatives fell in love with George W. Bush, and liberals fell in love with Barack Obama.

Today it's hard to find a conservative who'll defend Bush's illegal wars or doubling of the national debt.

And increasingly it's getting hard to find liberals who aren't in some stage of grieving shock as Obama participates in compromise - what some would call sellout - after compromise.

What we all need to realize is that Obama - like Bush - is just a politician.

He doesn't walk on water, and while he has a political compass, he's more driven by pragmatism than ideology.

He's not our progressive saviour.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't support him or work for his election.

If nothing else, the Supreme Court - the most powerful branch of government - is on the line.

But more important, instead of being elated and then depressed every time a new issue is put on Obama's plate - progressives will see better results investing their physical and emotional energy in movement politics - working with grass roots groups like Tim Carpenter's Progressive Democrats of America, or Howard and Jim Dean's Democracy For America.

Movement politics have been the bedrock of political change in this country since its founding, and continue to be.
Politicians come and go, but movements last.
Don't fall in love, and don't get angry if you feel spurned by your candidate.

Instead, get active.


(How are you active? Tell us here.)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Randi Rhodes: The Crying Game

Tears of a clown: John Boehner was on 60 Minutes last night. And yes, 58 of those minutes were Boehner crying. This guy simply cries too much. There’s a fine line between “sensitive” and “maudlin,” and John Boehner’s tears have washed that line away. He cries at the drop of a hat. And a guy who drinks as much as John Boehner drops a lot of hats. And it’s not like the guy gets misty, or tears up a little. He blubbers like he’s watching “Terms of Endearment,” “Ghost,” and “Old Yeller” all at the same time. Boehner told Leslie Stahl “There’s just some things that trigger real emotions.” Yup. And one of them is bourbon.

John Boehner is from a poor family and had to struggle to get ahead. And now he’s devoting his life to making sure other poor people have to struggle even more. I think Boehner is like one of those ex-smokers who ends up being rabidly anti-smoking. He grew up poor, and now it seems like he wants to stomp out the poor. Not stomp out poverty… stomp out poor people. Maybe Boehner just doesn’t want anybody else to go through what he went through… and by that I mean eventual wealth and success. It also came out that Boehner met his wife while working as a night shift janitor in college. He’s come a long way from janitor. These days he spends his time trashing the Constitution.

Boehner choked up when talking about the American Dream. He said “I’ve been chasing the American Dream my whole career.” I just hope he never catches it, because I have a feeling he wants to strangle it. At the end he said “I’m a regular guy with a big job.” And that would be making sure no other regular guys get a job until he can get Obama out of the White House.

A big snowfall in the Midwest has collapsed the roof of the Minneapolis Metrodome (watch). That sounds worse than what actually happened, since the roof is essentially a giant balloon. Did they not see this eventually happening? Any giant public engineering project that includes the phrase “inflate the roof” has structural problems—literally. Now workers are trying to repair the roof. Looking at it, all I can think is that they’re going to need an awful lot of duct tape. At least the Minneapolis Metrodome doesn’t have a corporate sponsor. It would be embarrassing to be associated with a deflated and collapsed structure. Although, it would be kind of appropriate if it was the Viagra Metrodome.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Bill Clinton on Friday threw his support behind President Obama’s tax plan compromise and even went on to take questions after Obama left…

Thom Hartmann: New class of GOP power players

You need to know this. The GOP elected their new Committee Chairmen last week. They will be the primary lawmakers in charge of crafting legislation and holding hearings when the House of Representatives reconvenes for the 112th session of Congress next year. And the new roster of leaders could spell trouble for the country moving forward. Heading up the Appropriation Committee - Kentucky Rep Hal Rogers. Don't anticipate any reduction in pork spending and pet projects under the new Republican Congress - as Rogers is known as the "King of Pork" on Capitol Hill. So let the wasteful spending continue. The new head of the Budget Committee is Paul Ryan from Wisconsin. Ryan has already declared war on seniors and now has the purse strings to enforce it. His "long-term budget roadmap" includes privatizing Social Security and drastically cutting Medicare. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen will be the Chairwoman of the Foreign Relations Committee - and she's not exactly a fan of diplomacy. Back in 2006 - videotape surfaced of her advocating for the assassination of Fidel Castro. So much for restoring America's image around the world. The Homeland Security Committee will be now be headed by New York Congressman Peter King. He recently has declared wikileaks a terrorist organization. And - when Attorney General Eric Holder said he would be investigating CIA interrogation tactics - or torture - King quickly expressed his discontent calling the oversight "bull - 'crap'". And finally - to make sure nothing gets done in Congress next year - Republicans elected Darryl Issa to head the Government Oversight Committee. Issa has already pledged to investigate President Obama on a variety of issues from a Joe Sestak job offer to ACORN. Curiously though - back in 2007 - Issa was opposed to investigating Blackwater after the mercenary group killed countless Iraqi civilians in a massacre. Looks like Issa isn't motivated by justice - he's motivated by politics. Also - looks like there is plenty of corporate cash behind the new roster of Committee Chairs. USA Today is reporting that nearly 1.2 million dollars was donated to 7 new Chairmen by special interest PACs. Oh - and the majority of their new staffers are former lobbyists. There you have it - the Republican Committee leadership of the 112th Congress. Bought and paid for by corporations to do the bidding of the rich and legislating of the irrational.


(Why do you think Republicans choose people who are so opposed to what they should be doing? Tell us here.)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Randi Rhodes: Bernie Filibusters & The Palin Reading List

It’s Friday, ya bastids!

Happening Now: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is holding old-school filibuster on the tax deal. Watch it live

Some Democrats are starting to come around to seeing the tax cut deal in a more positive light. Nobody likes paying ransom, but it’s hard not to feel good when the hostages start coming home. The tax cut deal is like one of those artifacts they drag up from an old shipwreck. The tax cuts for the rich and the estate tax are the ugly layer of barnacles. After you chip those away, and you realize you may have something valuable on your hands. A person making around $50,000 gets about another $1,679 out of this deal. The average millionaire gets an extra $140,000. And the millionaires who die… well, they really make out. Essentially, Obama agreed to give a lot of money to people who don’t deserve it, in exchange for being able to give a lot more money to people who really need it. The bottom line is that it’s important to keep the middle class from sinking, even it means allowing the super rich to rise into the stratosphere.

But let’s end the week on a light-headed note. And that means Sarah Palin. Barbara Walters recently asked Sarah what she reads. I’ll tell you one things she reads—memos from staffers telling her she needs to come up with a list of things she reads before that Barbara Walters interview. Sarah said “I read a lot of C.S. Lewis when I want some divine inspiration.” C.S. Lewis wrote everything from children’s books to literary criticism. Something tells me Sarah isn’t talking about his literary criticism.

Palin also said she reads Newsmax. If you don’t know what Newmax is, chances are that you’re pretty well-informed. Newsmax has a radically conservative stance. It’s a news site for people who don’t really want to know what’s going on. And it gives them their lies served up to them in bite-sized chunks. Basically, Newsmax is for people who want to remain completely ignorant, but who don’t want to put a lot of work into it. Think of it as the USA Today for people for whom “USA” is a chant, not a country.

Then Sarah asked “Why would it be that there is that perception that I don’t read?” Oh, I don’t know, Sarah. Maybe for the same reason there is a perception that Kirstie Alley doesn’t run marathons. From appearances, there is simply no evidence for it.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Jon Stewart opened The Daily Show last night spotlighting the shameless blocking of healthcare benefits for 9/11 first responders by Senate Republicans…

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Republicans Block 9/11 Health Care Bill
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Thom Hartmann: House Democrats reject President Obama's tax cut

Bernie Sanders reads from "Rebooting" on Senate floor!
Senator Bernie Sanders, (I-VT) is on the Senate floor mounting a historic filibuster against the tax cut proposal, which viewers of the Thom Hartmann Program were able to watch, and he read an excerpt from "Rebooting the American Dream".

You need to know this. President Obama's tax cut compromise was rejected by House Democrats in a near unanimous caucus vote yesterday. Without significant changes to the bill - it's likely Speaker Pelosi will not bring the package to the floor anytime soon. Reacting to the rejection in the House - the Senate is preparing to take the first steps and schedule a vote as early as Monday. To gain more support among Democratic Senators - additional tax provisions were added to the legislation targeting clean energy investments like hybrid automobiles - energy efficient homes - and biodiesel fuel. But the measures likely won't sway angry Democrats in the House who still want to see changes made in the proposed new estate tax - which amounts to $66 billion giveaway to millionaires and billionaires. Regardless of whether or not the bill passes - major Democratic donors have already lost faith in their President. And they plan on expressing their discontent by holding out on campaign funds in 2012. As big Republican donors plan on flooding super PACs with millions in special interest money for the next election - Democrats could face a real uphill battle if their wealthy supporters sit on the sidelines in two years.


(What do you think will happen to the tax cut deal now? Tell us here.)

Petition to the USPS for a Gypsy Rose Lee Centennial Stamp

<<--- Click Photo to Sign Petition <<---
In anticipation of her impending 100th birthday--and in celebration of her unique and lasting impact on our culture--we are gathering signatures in support of a United States postage stamp commemorating the First Lady of American Burlesque, Gypsy Rose Lee.

Born Rose Louise Hovick in Seattle, Washington in 1911, Ms. Lee was a legendary stage and screen entertainer, whose 1957 memoir inspired the Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents musical, Gypsy: A Musical Fable. Adapted for the screen in 1962 (with Natalie Wood in the title role), Gypsy is widely considered one of the crowning achievements of mid-20th century musical theatre; remaining as relevant--and popular--today as when it first debuted in 1959.

But there was much more to Gypsy, the woman, than Gypsy: the Fable. While her legacy as America's most celebrated stripteaser endures, Ms. Lee's other accomplishments--as an author, playwright, political activist, popular talk show host, fashion icon, and a devoted single mother--are equally noteworthy. A proud patriot, she entertained troops during the Korean and Vietnam wars and was adored by factory workers, homemakers, the military, New York's literary elite, gangsters, Eleanor Roosevelt, and everyone in between.

In honor of Ms. Lee's centennial, we humbly request a tribute worthy of such a beloved (and enduring) American icon: a United States postage stamp in her honor.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Randi Rhodes: Tax Deals & Dead Things

Today the Senate begins debate over the tax cut deal. It looks like they’re ready to start talking about it, after everybody had a chance to yell about it. It’s kind of like Obama supporters had to go through the five stages of grief over this deal. We’ve seen denial and anger. Now the bargaining begins. Then we still have to go through depression before we come to acceptance.

There’s a lot of good in this deal. Liberal commentators are acting like Obama walked out of the negotiations with a handful of magic beans. They characterize Obama’s deal as a surrender. In reality, it’s more like a negotiated cease-fire. Obama didn’t cave. He dug himself a foxhole to ride out the next couple of years. Remember, in any negotiation, Republicans have a huge bargaining chip in the fact that they’re perfectly willing to let the country go to hell.

The rich aren’t the only ones to make a killing recently. On the latest episode of her reality TV show, Sarah Palin hunted, killed, and butchered a caribou. Man. And I thought reality TV hit rock bottom of gratuitous violence when Snooki got punched on “The Jersey Shore.” As Aaron Sorkin pointed out, Sarah Palin is a millionaire. She wasn’t shooting the caribou for meat. She was shooting it for fun. But then how did you expect Sarah Palin to relax… by doing crosswords? Nice. Sarah Palin unwinds by killing things. As far as how politicians relax in their spare time, I have more respect for Mark Sanford, Eliot Spitzer, and Larry Craig.

As real hunters have pointed out, not only was Sarah Palin slaughtering animals, she was doing it all wrong. Pathetic. Most killers take a little pride in their work. Just look at Dexter. Palin made a truckload of basic hunting mistakes. She’s no better at handling a gun than she is at handling the English language. For starters—she missed. Repeatedly! There were bullets flying everywhere but at the caribou. Palin looked like Al Pacino at the end of Scarface. “Hey Caribou, say hello to my little friend!” Palin missed the caribou five times before finally hitting it. Really Sarah, at a certain point, just call in an air strike. People who oppose hunting always say that the animals don’t stand a chance. Well, they do when Sarah Palin is handling the rifle.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

Austan Goolsbee, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, tackles the Obama tax deal in the latest edition of “White House White Board”…

Thom Hartmann: Democratic Caucus votes democratically on tax cut deal

You need to know this. House Democrats are for the first time trying to implement majority rule within their own party. Congressmen Peter DeFazio - Jim McDermott - and Jay Inslee are circulating a letter in opposition to President Obama's tax cut deal. They hope to convince 60 members of the House Democratic Caucus to sign on to it and force a vote within the caucus on whether or not the tax cut package should be brought to the House floor. As Congressman DeFazio says, "We want to have a record vote in the caucus on a resolution that says this resolution should not go to the floor without a majority of Democratic votes." Democrats have been in the majority in Congress for two years. Yet - the legislative proposals supported by the majority of the party - have repeatedly been torpedoed by the interests of a minority of Blue Dogs. Progressives are right to ensure that this vote - likely to be one of the last of a Democratically controlled Congress - reflects the majority will of the party. If they had used this strategy earlier - the 2010 midterms may have turned out differently.


(Were they right? What do you think will happen now? Tell us here.)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Randi Rhodes: Dems Without TV Shows Dig Obama

More positive reviews of what President Obama did keep coming in. And by positive reviews, I mean negative reviews from the right wing. The Rush Limbaugh crowd hates the deal. Tea Party god Jim DeMint says he’ll filibuster it. Well, put that on the list of things Jim DeMint will filibuster… right after “everything.”

The right wing is also apoplectic about President Obama comparing the situation to “hostage takers.” Obama isn’t just willing to deal realistically with what the Republicans are doing… he’s also willing to call it what it really is. This was definitely hostage taking. The Republicans should have written their tax cut proposals with words cut out of magazines like kidnappers do. And Obama should have conducted the tax cut negotiations through a megaphone. It was like “Dog Day Afternoon II,” except Al Pacino is a much more charismatic hostage taker than Mitch McConnell.

The tax cut deal functions as a backdoor stimulus plan. It’s not the most efficient way to stimulate the economy, but then the Republicans are on the lookout to stop all the most efficient ways of stimulating the economy. Obama snuck a second stimulus bill past the Republicans while they were busy counting all the money they got for the rich.

As for leftwing discontent, Obama’s approval rating among Democrats has held steady at about 80 percent for the past year. But you’d never know that because of Obama’s seemingly dismal approval rating among Democrats with TV talk shows or blogs. It seems Obama has a silent majority. Or maybe they just seem silent compared to all the noise that’s being made by the leftwingers who are angry with him. The people who are upset with Obama are the starry-eyed types who projected all their hopes onto him. The people who just elected him to run the country realize that he’s doing that… quite well, actually. After all, we elected Barack Obama to lead, not to go where he’s told to go.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

After 30 years it still seems like just yesterday…

Thom Hartmann: There's a full revolt taking place within the Democratic party following President Obama's tax cut deal with Republicans

You need to know this. There's a full revolt taking place within the Democratic party following President Obama's tax cut deal with Republicans. House Democrats caucused last night to discuss the plan and count votes for it. Let's just say it didn't go too well and another meeting is scheduled for today. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi admitted last night that there was a lot of "unease" within her Party regarding a vote on the compromise deal. She needs to convince at least 39 Democrats to support it. And among Progressives - that won't be easy. Congressman Anthony Weiner said the President "shouldn't count on [it]," and Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey - co-chair of the Progressive Caucus - said the bill is simply not popular within her caucus. So if Pelosi can't get progressives on board - she needs Blue Dogs. But they aren't enthusiastic either. Earl Pomeroy - a member of the Blue Dogs - has already come out in opposition to the bill. And others deficit hawks are likely to follow since the compromise adds nearly a trillion dollars to the national debt. The White House is sending Vice President Joe Biden to Congress today to rally support - though he is likely to face a hostile audience. If the Democrats blow this deal up - and taxes go up - it will then be up to the Republicans to solve the mess. And with the Americans people in large numbers supporting a tax increase for millionaires and billionaires - Republicans will be in a tough position not to listen. So could President Obama's plan backfire - and in the end actually help him with his base? We'll see - but I'm not holding out much hope.


(Is it time for a revolt, or is it too risky for the 99-ers? Tell us here.)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Randi Rhodes: It’s Lonely at the Top

Breaking: Elizabeth Edwards has died at 61

I know, I know. Relax. This is all part of a plan. And if it’s a plan to throw Obama’s base into a tizzy, it’s working. This deal is completely bipartisan, at least in the sense that it makes Obama’s supporters as mad at Obama as they are at Republicans. Remember, the Republicans didn’t get everything they wanted in this deal. But then the Republicans want everything.

The White House says this is part of a deliberate strategy to demonstrate Obama’s ability to compromise with Republicans. The plan is to portray the president as the last reasonable man in a sharply divided Washington. But if Obama’s twin goals are to find agreement with Republicans and to look reasonable, is it even possible to agree with Republicans and look reasonable at the same time?

You have to remember, the fight between Obama and Republicans is kind of like a fight between a guy driving a car and the person in the passenger seat. And despite what they think, the Republicans are not the ones in the driver’s seat. Obama is, and he has to keep the car on the road while the lunatic in the passenger seat is attacking him. President Obama still has to worry about running the country. All the Republicans have to worry about is ruining the country. At least in one sense we’re on the same page. Obama is trying to make the best of a bad situation. And Republicans are trying to make a bad situation.

If you have any doubts that there are some very good things about this deal, just consider this—Michele Bachmann hates it. So it this is a bad deal, it’s not bad enough for Michele Bachmann. Michele doesn’t want her tax cuts for the rich tied to an extension of jobless benefits. It’s kind of like saying that they refuse to give the rich a feast if there’s a chance that the poor will be able to gather a few crumbs from the table. Is it any surprise that Michele Bachmann refuses to make concessions? This is a woman who refuses to make concessions to reality.

The bottom line is that there are a lot of things in this deal that are good for the economy. It’s better than nothing. And believe me, the Republicans would much prefer nothing. At least this is something.

Today’s Homework | Discuss

President Obama announces the tax cut/unemployment benefits compromise last night…