Monday Open Thread

It's a jail day for me, open thread for you. All topics welcome.

< Sunday Night Open Thread | Looking for Reasons behind School Shootings >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Since I have been critical of Morning Joe before (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by mogal on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 02:24:59 PM EST
    I want to say Joe's statement this morning was terrific. He admitted  his "change of heart" [after receiving NRA's  highest rating the four year he was in congress]  to his feeling now, might have something to do with having four children of his own.

     If didn't see it, take a look, it will give you hope and this is the season of Hope.

    The money quote below (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by mogal on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 04:08:17 PM EST
    I am a conservative Republican who received the NRA's highest ratings over four terms in Congress. I come to you this morning with a heavy heart and no easy answers. Still, I've spent the past few days grasping for solutions and struggling for answers -- while daring to question my own long-held belief on these subjects."
    I knew that day that the ideologies of my past career were no longer relevant to the future that I want, that I demand for my children. Friday changed everything. It must change everything. We all must begin anew and demand that Washington's old way of doing business is no longer acceptable. Entertainment moguls don't have an absolute right to glorify murder while spreading mayhem in young minds across America. And our bill of rights does not guarantee gun manufacturers the absolute right to sell military-style, high-caliber, semi-automatic combat assault rifles with high-capacity magazines to whoever the hell they want. It is time for Congress to put children before deadly dogmas.

    My (5.00 / 4) (#25)
    by lentinel on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 06:42:32 PM EST
    only objection to his statement is that I would not put "entertainment moguls" on a par with gun manufacturers selling "military-style, high-caliber, semi-automatic combat assault rifles with high-capacity magazines to whoever the hell they want."

    And, personally, I would add that our own government does a good job from time to time glorifying murder. Who else could come up with a term like "Shock and Awe" to describe the merciless slaughter of Iraqi citizens?


    good points (none / 0) (#29)
    by mogal on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 07:12:11 PM EST
    Hill Democrats Warm To GOP-Backed Social Security (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by MO Blue on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 03:36:32 PM EST
    Amid news reports that President Obama is considering a proposal from House Speaker John Boehner to slow the growth of Social Security payments over time as part of a broader budget deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, senior Democratic congressional aides are portraying the idea as a more palatable alternative to other benefit cuts Republicans have sought.

    As part of a deal that would include higher taxes on top earners and an increase in the debt limit, Republicans are pushing a plan to index Social Security benefits and perhaps tax brackets to a slower-growing measure of inflation called chained CPI.

    The plan would reduce Social Security spending by over $100 billion over 10 years by reducing cost of living adjustments, and potentially increase tax revenues by hastening taxpayers into higher tax brackets. TPM

    So much for Social Security being off the table. If Obama wants it on the table, it is on the table.

    Boehner's offer:

    He's offered to raise tax rates on income over $1 million -- well above Obama's $250,000 threshold -- and to make up the revenue difference by limiting tax expenditure benefits for high income earners. A grand total of $1 trillion in revenue. And he's offered to raise the debt limit by a concomitant amount of deficit reduction (not just spending cuts, but new tax revenues, too) -- enough to stave off another potential fight over U.S. credit for about a year.

    F'ing Traitors (5.00 / 5) (#9)
    by shoephone on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 04:51:40 PM EST
    We don't need any more proof that the words in the Democratic Party Platform are meaningless.

    Seriously. F*ck these traitors.


    Yesterday read a piece (none / 0) (#11)
    by the capstan on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 05:13:40 PM EST
    saying chained CPI would be favorable to seniors since it includes more things seniors have to have.  No way with my eye trouble to trace steps on web history and the 2 magazines I have read since getting back home.  Any informed opinions?

    Chained CPI will be bad for seniors and (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by caseyOR on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 05:24:23 PM EST
    everyone who gets federal benefits. Chained CPI cuts benefits. It is based on the idea that as things get more expensive people will opt to buy cheaper products. For example, if the price of beef rises, then people will buy cheaper cuts of meat, like pork (if pork is cheaper). Or, if the cost of a Buick is too high, people will buy a Chevy.

    The problem with this is that the cost drivers for seniors tend to be things for which there is no way to trade down. Medications cost what they cost. The consumer has no bargaining power and is bound by the rates set by insurance companies. The same goes for medical care. No one negotiates the cost of a heart by-pass or an emergency appendectomy. There is no "cheaper option".

    There is a consumer price index that targets the real costs of seniors. It is called CPI-E. If SS COLAs were based on CPI-E, then benefits would go up. We can't have that, of course. It makes too much sense to use a measurement that is based on actual expenses.


    Chained CPI, would also cause taxes to (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by caseyOR on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 05:35:18 PM EST
    rise, especially for people earning between $30,000 - $40,000 per year.

    Here is a good explanation of chained CPI and who would be hurt by its adoption.

    Since everyone has acknowledged that Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit, the only reason to make it part of this deal is sheer meanness and callous disregard for people's welfare.

    Any Democrat that votes for a deal that takes pocket change from the likes of Warren Buffett and sends grandma to the catfood aisle should be vigorously primaried.


    Exactly what "things" does it have (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by MO Blue on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 05:36:53 PM EST
    that seniors have to have?

    Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) really thinks the idea of a chained CPI for Social Security is a disastrous one, and does a good job of explaining why? Video if you have poor eye sight. link

    ...Mr. Furman who work for President Obama say "we're [...] overstating inflation with the way we adjust, so there's something called 'substitution effect,' so when prices of things go up, you buy something cheaper so that means there isn't inflation."

    Well, no. Wait a minute. The think you used to buy is more expensive so you're buying something else. In the pointy head economics world this makes sense. So let's see how this would work for someone on Medicare. Okay, you can't afford your heart bypass so instead you'll say to the doctor "look, I can't afford the copay on the heart bypass, why don't you do a hernia instead?" That's substitution, and in Mr. Furman's world this makes sense.

    Now what this would do to seniors on Social Security--we already understate inflation, and seniors haven't gotten a COLA for the lat two years. Tell me the price of prescription drugs and medical care hasn't gone up over the last two years. We need, in fact, a different measure for seniors, for Medicare, for veterans for others who consume more health care and more essentials which the CPI doesn't measure. It just measures junk that people buy. That's all it measures. And they're saying because people will buy cheaper junk we should change the CPI.

    It would result in reduced in reduced Social Security and veterans benefits.

    And then there's this other little impact they're not mentioning. If you're earning $20,000 a year, the tax brackets get adjusted every year. Well, they wouldn't get adjusted so much any more under the chained CPI. So someone who earns $20,000 a year over ten years would see their taxes go up 14 percent. But, guess what? For the rich people, ha. You earn $500,000 a year, you're already at the top, their taxes will only go up 0.3 percent. Three-tenths of one percent. Fourteen percent for someone who earns $20,000 a year. Point three percent for someone who earns $500,000.[...]

    Chained CPI: A sneaky plan to cut Social Security and raise taxes

    First, the lag present in the final values of chained CPI as well as some of the other data limitations make the implementation of such a policy problematic and would likely make the laws that the policy affects more complicated. Second, the fact that the traditional CPI numbers tend to overstate the true increase in cost of living implies that the chained CPI figures will be lower than the traditional CPI, which means that government benefits that are indexed to inflation will not increase as quickly as they do now, the income cutoffs for tax brackets will not move up as quickly as they do now, and so on. Therefore, adopting chained CPI as the official measure of inflation for these purposes would translate to tax hikes and benefit reductions for a large number of people.

    But that latter thing is good, right? We keep hearing about the fiscal cliff and the need to cut the deficit, and it seems like this could be one reasonable way to do so since it would raise taxes and cut spending. While this is true, it's important to consider who would be most affected by this change- given that the most notable program that is indexed to inflation is Social Security, it's likely that such changes will disproportionately impair the elderly. In addition, there is evidence that the tax-bracket changes resulting from adopting chained CPI would disproportionately impact lower-income households. link

    Oh, cripes. I feel like an ice floe (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Towanda on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 05:45:55 PM EST
    has my name on it, courtesy of the federal government.

    Disabled people, too (5.00 / 3) (#32)
    by SuzieTampa on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 07:22:21 PM EST
    I just wanted to remind people that Social Security changes also affect people like me who are on SSDI.

    Yes, chained CPI adversely affects anyone who (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by caseyOR on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 07:27:02 PM EST
    receives benefits from the federal government. This means the old, the disabled, veterans, federal retirees, etc.

    A whole lot of "sacrifice" at the low end of the income range in exchange for pocket change from the 1%. When do the likes of Buffett and Trump and Dimon put some "skin in the game"?


    Here is some of the other programs (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by MO Blue on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 07:56:50 AM EST
    that would be impacted because the annual adjustment to the poverty level would be smaller:

    The new index could reduce the number of people eligible for programs such as Medicaid, Head Start, food stamps, school lunches and home heating assistance.


    Correction to subject line above (none / 0) (#75)
    by MO Blue on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 09:17:56 AM EST
     Here ARE some of the other programs

    Believe it or not I use to get straight "A"s in all subjects relating to structure and composition. I also was assigned various writing projects in several different jobs.

    I wonder if my skill sets are reversing back to pre-elimentary school days or if it just that I don't take the time to properly compose and proof read what I write.


    "[E]limentary" my dear Watson. (none / 0) (#84)
    by oculus on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 02:32:18 PM EST
    Politicians use deficit to argue to safety nets (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by MO Blue on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 04:12:55 PM EST
    What the Dr. Evil types think, and want you to think, is that the big current deficit is a sign that our fiscal position is completely unsustainable. Sometimes they argue that it means that a debt crisis is just around the corner, although they've been predicting that for years and it keeps not happening. (U.S. borrowing costs are near historic lows.) But more often they use the deficit to argue that we can't afford to maintain programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. So it's important to understand that this is completely wrong. Krugman

    Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) has died (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by caseyOR on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 04:57:49 PM EST
    at age 88. He died at Walter Reed from respiratory ailments.

    Senator Inouye was the the Senate's longest serving member. He served 50 years in the Senate. He was the president pro-tempore of the Senate, and as such was third in the line of presidential succession after the Vice-President and the Speaker of the House.

    A WW II veteran, Inouye lost an arm in that war. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

    ... only last night. With the pending retirement of Sen. Daniel Akaka in two weeks, Hawaii has lost 72 years of Senate seniority in one month.

    Here's Sen. Inouye's obituary from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, which was posted about 50 minutes ago (12:45 p.m. HST). From what I wrote last night:

    "While most of you know him as the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and a few more of you might recall his service as a member of Sam Ervin's Senate special committes investigating the Watergate scandal back in 1973, from a local perspective, Sen. Inouye is the last man standing among John Burns' intensely loyal and disciplined cadre of liberal Democrats, 90% of whom were Japanese-American World War II veterans.

    "Back in November 1954, Burns and Inouye and a brilliant political strategist named Robert Oshiro masterminded the Hawaii Democrats' decisive political rout of the ruling white Republican corporate oligarchy, which heretofore had held its foot to the throat of the islands ever since the successful U.S.-led military coup d'etat in 1893 toppled the constitutional monarchy of Queen Lili'uokalani, and the United States unilaterally annexed her kingdom five years later. The self-styled 'Revolution of '54' remains the watershed moment in modern Hawaiian politics.

    "And in the long history of island politics stretching back to the days of King Kamehameha and Queen Ka'ahumanu, it's not overstating the case to say than Dan Inouye is truly one of the giants."

    We are grateful for the senator's years of service on our behalf, and he will be very much missed. My fondest Aloha to a great man, his wife Irene, son Ken and granddaughter Jessica.


    So, Donald, are you (none / 0) (#30)
    by Peter G on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 07:13:51 PM EST
    entering the race?

    UPDATE: Gov. Abercrombie received ... (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 08:48:59 PM EST
    ... a personal letter written by Sen. Inouye this past Saturday, which was hand delivered to the governor's offices at the State Capitol only this morning, in which the senator apparently discussed who he'd like to see replace him were he unable to finish his term.

    While Abercrombie has confirmed its receipt but declined to discuss its contents out of respect for the senator's family, Inouye's spokesperson Peter Boylan disclosed that the senator asked the governor to appoint Honolulu Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa as his replacement in the Senate.


    Definitely not interested (none / 0) (#38)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 08:23:39 PM EST
    I much prefer my vantage point as an elected party official for the island of Oahu. I wouldn't even be interested in serving as senior staff to whomever succeeds Sen. Inouye. I was turned off by the vitriole on Capitol Hill back in the late '90s when I worked up there, which led me to quit and return here to the state legislature, and it's only gotten worse in D.C. since then.

    But in all seriousness, Hawaii law requires Gov. Neil Abercrombie to appoint Inouye's successor to the Senate, the only specific criterion being that the replacement must be a member in good standing of the same party as the deceased. A special election will then be held concurrently with the 2014 midterms to fill out the remaining two years of Sen. Inouye's term.

    While it's obviously way too early, given that the senator hasn't even been dead six hours, I'd offer that immediate speculation regarding Inouye's successor over the coming days will probably focus upon the following individuals, among others:

    • Irene Hirano Inouye, the senator's widow -- particularly since it was the senator's thinly-veiled wish that his wife might be considered as his successor.

    • Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa (HI-1), who has been in the House since 2010, and prior to that served as State Senate President for six years.

    • Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, who served in the State House of Representatives for eight years, and then for two years as state chair of the Hawaii Democratic Party.

    • Former Gov. Ben Cayetano, who is a close friend and former State Senate colleague of the governor's.

    • Former Gov. John D. Waihee III, who served as chief executive from 1986 to 1994.

    • State Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, a longtime elected official who has a solid reputation as a policy wonk and is considered one of Hawaii's smartest and most able state legislators.

    • State Rep. Marcus Oshiro, chair of the powerful House Finance Committee and son of the late political strategist Robert Oshiro (see my earlier comment above), who like Sen. Kim is similarly considered to be one of Hawaii's most able legislators.

    (Disclosure: I worked for Oshiro and House Speaker Calvin Say for nine years as senior policy analyst and parliamentarian, and consider him a close friend.)



    MOH Citation (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Cylinder on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 05:42:33 PM EST
    Lt. Inouye's CMH citation:

    Second Lieutenant Daniel K. Inouye distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 21 April 1945, in the vicinity of San Terenzo, Italy. While attacking a defended ridge guarding an important road junction, Second Lieutenant Inouye skillfully directed his platoon through a hail of automatic weapon and small arms fire, in a swift enveloping movement that resulted in the capture of an artillery and mortar post and brought his men to within 40 yards of the hostile force. Emplaced in bunkers and rock formations, the enemy halted the advance with crossfire from three machine guns. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Second Lieutenant Inouye crawled up the treacherous slope to within five yards of the nearest machine gun and hurled two grenades, destroying the emplacement. Before the enemy could retaliate, he stood up and neutralized a second machine gun nest. Although wounded by a sniper's bullet, he continued to engage other hostile positions at close range until an exploding grenade shattered his right arm. Despite the intense pain, he refused evacuation and continued to direct his platoon until enemy resistance was broken and his men were again deployed in defensive positions. In the attack, 25 enemy soldiers were killed and eight others captured. By his gallant, aggressive tactics and by his indomitable leadership, Second Lieutenant Inouye enabled his platoon to advance through formidable resistance, and was instrumental in the capture of the ridge. Second Lieutenant Inouye's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.

    And he was fond of recalling his recovery and ... (none / 0) (#34)
    by Erehwon on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 07:29:30 PM EST
    receiving blood transfusions during the war: "So I must have had seventeen bottles of good African-American blood. And so here I am."

    Read and listen to him on Ken Burns and Lynn Novick's The War on PBS: Daniel Inouye: Blood transfusion.


    Is Burns' and Novick's "The War on PBS" (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Peter G on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 08:40:46 PM EST
    related in any way to "the War on Christmas"?

    The War on PBS is a reaction to (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by caseyOR on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 08:51:54 PM EST
    the War on Christmas. Apparently, those fearful that Christmas will be defeated see PBS as the Great Satan Disseminater of cultural diversity.

    But seriously, folks, ... (none / 0) (#43)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 09:22:13 PM EST
    ... here's a short clip from Burns' documentary The War, in which Sen. Inouye's reminiscences about his time in the Second World War were recorded for posterity.

    Sen. Inouye on Military Ethics: (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 07:52:38 PM EST
    From the Iran-Contra hearings:

    "In 1964, when Colonel North was a cadet, he took an oath of office like all hundreds throughout the service academies. And he also said that he will abide with the regulations which set forth the cadet honor concept. The first honor concept, first because it is so important, over and above all others, is a very simple one: A member of the brigade does not lie, cheat, or steal.


    "And when the Colonel put on his uniform and the bars of a Second Lieutenant, he was well aware that he was subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It is a special code of laws that apply to our men and women in uniform. It is a code that has been applicable to the conduct and activities of Colonel North throughout his military career, and even at this moment. And that code makes it abundantly clear that orders of a superior officer must be obeyed by subordinate members.

    "But it is lawful orders. The uniform code makes it abundantly clear that it must be the lawful orders of a superior officer. In fact, it says, 'Members of the military have an obligation to disobey unlawful orders.'


    "Colonel North, I am certain it must have been painful for you as you stated to testify that you lied to senior officials of our government, that you lied and misled our Congress and believe me it was painful for all of us to sit here and listen to that testimony. It was painful.

    "It was equally painful to learn from your testimony that you lied and misled because of what you believed to be a just cause, supporters of Nicaraguan Freedom Fighters, the Contras. You have eloquently articulated your opposition to Marxism and communism. And I believe that all of us, I am certain all of us on this panel, are equally opposed to Marxism and communism. But should we in the defense of democracy adopt and embrace one of the most important tenets of communism and Marxism: the ends justify the means?

    "This is not one of the commandments of democracy. Our government is not a government of men, it is still a government of laws."

    - Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, in response to the contention of Col. Oliver North that his actions in Iran-Contra "were necessary for our country's survival in a dangerous world." (July 14, 1987)

    Marxism and "the ends justify the means" (none / 0) (#71)
    by Andreas on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 04:03:40 AM EST
    The anti-communist Daniel K. Inouye obviously is not an expert in communism and Marxism.

    Those interested in the real positon of Marxism on "the ends justify the means" might want to read Their Morals and Ours by Leon Trotsky:


    Inouye's not an expert on anything now. (none / 0) (#80)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 04:26:15 PM EST
    He's deceased.

    And speaking of Marxists, their morals and the ends justifying the means, the aforementioned Leon Trotsky undoubtedly experienced it all firsthand, courtesy of Josef Stalin's agent in August 1940, while living in exile in Coyoacán, Mexico -- only he didn't live to tell about it.


    Stalin (none / 0) (#82)
    by Andreas on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 03:18:17 PM EST
    Stalin was the worst anti-Marxist and counterrevolutionary who ever lived on this planet. He was responsible for the murder of more Marxists than Adolf Hitler.

    Trotsky..Rosa Luxemburg.. (none / 0) (#83)
    by jondee on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 12:57:01 PM EST
    two more of those malevolent "international jews" that the great Churchill tried to warn everyone about..



    Was the longest currently (none / 0) (#15)
    by CoralGables on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 05:35:33 PM EST
    and the second longest in history behind Senator Byrd.

    Right, Sen. Byrd. Byrd was first elected (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by caseyOR on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 05:38:12 PM EST
    during the administration of Martin Van Buren wasn't he?

    Close :) (none / 0) (#19)
    by CoralGables on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 05:43:07 PM EST
    Casey, you just gave me (none / 0) (#20)
    by shoephone on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 05:45:27 PM EST
    my first big laugh of the day.

    Oh, c'mon! It wasn't THAT long ago. (none / 0) (#39)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 08:28:34 PM EST
    I think Byrd first arrived on Capitol Hill sometime during President Grover Cleveland's second term.

    Dan Inouye had served the islands ... (none / 0) (#28)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 07:06:07 PM EST
    ... in our nation's Capitol since statehood was first achieved back in August 1959. He was first elected to the U.S. House in November of that year as its first voting member from the State of Hawaii, and then was elected to the Senate in 1962 -- some 53 years in all.

    So for us out here, his passing today literally marks the end of an era.


    Look at the trombone on the left (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Dadler on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 06:59:41 PM EST
    He does look quite musically (none / 0) (#31)
    by caseyOR on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 07:20:24 PM EST
    gifted.  :-)

    It is nice to se a proud papa.


    Been playing the horn since 2nd grade (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by Dadler on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 07:41:13 PM EST
    Which, in this day and age of arts cuts to schools, is pretty much unheard of.  As a result, he has become a student-teacher to other kids, who only picked up an instrument in the last year, if not for the first time this year. You can put any piece of music in front of him, and he can pretty much sight-read it cold, which his teachers tell me is pretty damn advanced.  So, you are certainly right I am a proud papa.  Thanks and peace to you and yours this Fat Man in a Loud Suit Season.

    And what the heck... (none / 0) (#37)
    by Dadler on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 07:52:49 PM EST
    The sweetest sound... (none / 0) (#45)
    by desertswine on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 09:47:16 PM EST
    this side of heaven (is your own kid's playing).

    I agree (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by sj on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 12:26:13 PM EST
    That's even for first year band students.  I accompanied my sister to my nephew's first band concert.  We laughed until we cried -- scrunched down in our seats so he couldn't see. All those earnest budding musicians who hadn't quite figured out what the conductor was for and were completely undeterred by the squeaks and squawks.  It was absolutely hysterical.

    And it was surpassing sweet and we were very proud.


    So much misinformation (none / 0) (#2)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 02:46:24 PM EST
    came out regarding the shooting. Today they're reporting that two adults were wounded, not just the one (the Vice Principal, presumably) that was reported so many times previously.

    Fiscal cliff deal is near - Details (none / 0) (#4)
    by MO Blue on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 04:07:29 PM EST
    Boehner offered to let tax rates rise for income over $1 million. The White House wanted to let tax rates rise for income over $250,000. The compromise will likely be somewhere in between. More revenue will come from limiting deductions, likely using some variant of the White House's oft-proposed, oft-rejected idea for limiting itemized deductions to 28 percent. The total revenue raised by the two policies will likely be a bit north of $1 trillion. Congress will get instructions to use this new baseline to embark on tax reform next year. Importantly, if tax reform never happens, the revenue will already be locked in.

    On the spending side, the Democrats' headline concession will be accepting chained-CPI, which is to say, accepting a cut to Social Security benefits. Beyond that, the negotiators will agree to targets for spending cuts. Expect the final number here, too, to be in the neighborhood of $1 trillion, but also expect it to lack many specifics. Whether the cuts come from Medicare or Medicaid, whether they include raising the Medicare age, and many of the other contentious issues in the talks will be left up to Congress. Erza Klein

    Chained CPI: terrible, terrible idea. (5.00 / 5) (#8)
    by Anne on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 04:44:56 PM EST
    But one of those things politicians can count on people not really understanding - probably because most of them don't really understand it themselves, and they don't need SS to keep the wolves from the door, so what do they care?  

    It's also one of those things that that can be made to sound not as bad as it will be in reality, so before anyone gets the real scoop, it will be a done deal.

    I'm really developing quite a hatred for these f**kers.


    Well you know Anne (5.00 / 5) (#22)
    by MO Blue on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 05:48:27 PM EST
    Obama has been talking a good game this time. He has been talking "tough" this time. Didn't you hear the "tone" he has been setting for his negotiations this time. WOW fantastic stuff! That in itself should definitely make up for taking away the domestic and safety net benefits that people need.

    Pretty much the same benefits he was willing to cut when he wasn't talking tough but that is definitely irrelevant. :o(  


    Krugman (none / 0) (#23)
    by CoralGables on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 06:07:44 PM EST
    says it's something that has to be looked at closely as it might be workable and better than the option but the GOP may balk at it anyway.

    Your interpretation is much different (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by MO Blue on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 09:53:44 PM EST
    than mine. His statement was that it is the best of two evils.

    Those cuts are a very bad thing, although there will supposedly be some protection for low-income seniors. But the cuts are not nearly as bad as raising the Medicare age, for two reasons: the structure of the program remains intact, and unlike the Medicare age thing, they wouldn't be totally devastating for hundreds of thousands of people, just somewhat painful for a much larger group. Oh, and raising the Medicare age would kill people; this benefit cut, not so much.

    The point is that we shouldn't be doing benefit cuts at all; but if benefit cuts are the price of a deal that is better than no deal, much better that they involve the CPI adjustment than the retirement age. Krugman

    Our interpretations are identical (none / 0) (#53)
    by CoralGables on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:18:06 PM EST
    the only difference between "lesser of two evils", and "better than the option" are the words chosen.

    But if you prefer lesser of two evils, I'm happy to take the lesser of two evils.


    Krugman did not say that these were workable (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by MO Blue on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:51:47 PM EST
    In fact, he said the cuts were bad.

    It's not clear that going over the cliff would yield something better; on the other hand, those benefit cuts are really bad

    I prefer that neither evil is unnecessarily imposed on the elderly, the poor and the sick. You realize that a chained CPI not only cuts benefits but also raises taxes on poor people and people with very moderate incomes.

    The group getting the biggest tax hike is families making between $30,000 and $40,000 a year. Their increase is almost six times that faced by millionaires.

    Also the chained CPI is only the initial installment of the deal Obama presented. The total of the spending cuts is expected to be in the neighborhood of $1 trillion. The specific details will be decided next year and they could include cuts to Medicare or Medicaid and also raising the Medicare age. So after you rationalize the fact that the chained CPI is O.K. because it is less evil than raising the Medicare age, there remains the chance once this change is quietly accepted, the Medicare eligibility age will be raised next year.



    Sure he said cuts are bad (none / 0) (#63)
    by CoralGables on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 11:17:54 PM EST
    he also said ...

    "if benefit cuts are the price of a deal that is better than no deal, much better that they involve the CPI adjustment than the retirement age."

    The question becomes, if SSI and the most vulnerable seniors are protected, is it better than sequestration. You choose. Which would you prefer of the two. It's one or the other. There may be no other options.


    W hy is it that the only people who (5.00 / 2) (#65)
    by caseyOR on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 11:25:57 PM EST
    end up with "skin in the game", the only people who have to sacrifice are those at the bottom? And why do we accept that paradigm?

    I don't believe that the only choice is is between sequestration and once again sticking it to those at the bottom.

    Oh, and I also do not for one minute believe that the most vulnerable will be protected. That supposed protection for vulnerable seniors, if it even survives the wheeling and dealing,   won't kick in until said senior is well into hir 80s.

    Why is it that time and time again progressives are kicked in the teeth by Obama? And why do they take it?


    Because (none / 0) (#66)
    by CoralGables on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 11:40:43 PM EST
    it's math. You need a chunk of Republican votes in the House. It's really very basic. Wishing you had a dictatorship doesn't make it so.

    Ultimately you'll have two options. You can prefer the deal or get sequestration. I have no idea yet what I'd choose.


    Why does SSI need to be included (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by shoephone on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 12:27:49 AM EST
    in the deal at all? It's not part of the budget deficit problem.

    That's the talking point from this morning (none / 0) (#77)
    by sj on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 12:13:02 PM EST
    Well now the problem is just math.  I guess it is.  It's just math if there isn't enough money to pay for heat.  It's just math if housing costs have gone up.  It's just math if the rising cost of food has long since outstripped any previous COLA.  

    It's all just math.

    You're right about the two options.  But a good deal is better than two bad ones.

    As usual, Obama blinked first.


    If the most vunerable are "protected" (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by MO Blue on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 12:44:31 AM EST
    using the methodology in Bowles/Simpson, they will not receive much protection at all. (See details here)

    Also as I stated in my previous comment, cutting Social Security Benefits now does not mean that there will not be further cuts to Medicare or Medicaid next year. Even raising the Medicare eligibility age could be raised next year. Here is another quote that might make that point clear to you since you seemed to miss it.

    Instead Boehner has agreed to pony up even more revenue, and a couple extra goodies for President Obama, in exchange for a real up front Social Security cut and a promise of major social insurance savings next year
    I don't think it's quite so black and white for Democrats. Everyone (including Republicans) knows Obama could have netted nearly a $1 trillion in revenues without offering Boehner anything. On top of that, though, he's prepared to pony up chained CPI and about half a trillion in future, unspecified cuts to social programs

    What everyone is taking pains to point out (5.00 / 2) (#73)
    by MO Blue on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 08:04:04 AM EST
    is that this is just the beginning of what Obama is offering. Boehner has said that this is still not enough. Not enough sacrifices from those on the bottom of the income scale. Meanwhile

    There are still plenty of disputes to iron out. And people familiar with Obama's proposal were careful not to describe it as his final offer.

    Those interpretations (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by sj on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 12:05:39 PM EST
    are not identical to this reader either.  "Might be workable" and "Better than" is not the same thing as "less evil."

    Maybe because I am NOT happy to take the lesser of  two evils.  Lesser evil is still evil.  I'm not going to get all smug and self satisfied that I'm only being kicked down two stairs instead of three.


    It is called "compromise" (none / 0) (#81)
    by christinep on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 05:13:09 PM EST
    That which is the engine of any functioning government of more  than one group.

    All (5.00 / 5) (#24)
    by lentinel on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 06:11:07 PM EST
    I know is that I"m certainly relieved that cuts to Social Security will take place under a Democratic administration and not under those awful Republicans.

    Chained CPI was a part (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by KeysDan on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 06:51:30 PM EST
    of the B.S. (Bowles Simpson) proposal, and, in addition to raising the eligibility age for Social Security to 69 was among reasons that caused Congresswoman Jan Schalkowsky, and B.S. Commission member,  to be opposed to it. But even, B.S. called for a "bump"  or modest increase for very old people  who would be hit hard by a Chained CPI.  And, many who loved B.S. called for an exemption for Supplemental Social Security (SSI) which otherwise would hurt badly the poorest elderly.  Chained CPI is just a stealth cut to social security benefits.  And, then there is that point about needing to cut social security in the first place.

    Information on the benefit bump (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by MO Blue on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 11:21:58 PM EST
    if it is the same as that proposed Bowles-Simpson report.

    NWLC's new analysis finds that for the typical single elderly woman - a woman whose initial benefit is $1,100 per month, the median benefit for single women 65 and older:

    • The cut from the chained CPI would reduce her monthly benefits by an amount equal to the cost of one week's worth of food each month at age 80. She would still have two years to wait before receiving any help from the bump-up.

    • The Bowles-Simpson bump-up would restore her monthly benefits to current-law levels for only two years - and then her benefits would fall behind again.
    The report also explains that the bump-up would provide no relief to most of the poorest elders who rely on Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI beneficiaries would get a double hit from the chained CPI, because it is used to adjust both the initial benefit level and subsequent benefits. But every additional $1 in Social Security benefits reduces SSI benefits by $1 - so a small increase from the bump-up would provide no additional income to most SSI beneficiaries. And some SSI beneficiaries could be even worse off, if the bump-up in their Social Security benefits pushed them slightly above the SSI eligibility threshold - and they lost automatic Medicaid eligibility.

    People disabled at an early age also would be severely impacted by the chained CPI. The Bowles-Simpson 20-year bump-up would apply to recipients of disability benefits, starting 20 years after the disability determination. But some proposals for a "birthday bump-up," such as the proposal in the Rivlin-Domenici deficit reduction plan, would provide no help to recipients of disability benefits. link

    If this is what is being proposed, they might well be protecting the poorest in name only.


    In order to lower the amount of mass shootings (none / 0) (#6)
    by Slayersrezo on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 04:09:36 PM EST
    In order to lower the number of mass murders in our society the following things should be done:

    1. More coverage for mental health issues. Often, even people who have insurance have trouble getting mental healthy therapy, and most coverage only pays enough to cover the issuance of psychotropic drugs.
    2. Don't popularize such things in the media as some of the killers do this stuff for attention. That doesn't mean don't report it, but it would be nice if news organizations informally decided to report only official statements for the first 5 days after an attack (to allow initial investigations to complete) and voluntarily agreed to publish no books nor do any tv special reports for six months after an attack.
    Of course getting the news media to be this responsible would be a hard battle.
    3. Someone at any large gathering SHOULD be armed. It might be a security guard or a principal, but the someone should be trained and have access to some sort of protective gun or weapon.
    4.Oh, did I forget the biggest and most effective way to reduce fatalities, esp. firearms fatalities?
    End or at least significantly reform our "War on Drugs". Most firearms deaths in this country are between criminals killing each other over sex, drugs, or money.
    1. Ban clips containing more than ten rounds.
    2. An assault weapons ban could be considered BUT if it is going to survive Constitutional scrutiny it will not only have to tighten up the definition of assault weapon but it will also have to grandfather in pre-existing legally owned weapons.

    I think idea #1 and idea #4 would do the most to reduce deaths from murder and murderous rampages. I think item #5, and #3 would go along way toward mitigating these things if they occur. Item #2 is very important, unfortunately I see it as politically and socially unrealistic anytime soon. The final item wouldn't help much, but it would help a little.

    you left out bullet-proof vests (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by observed on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 09:33:01 PM EST
    All children should wear bullet proof vests at schools.
    Also, since this is a legal site, I wonder if you can define "large gathering" for us.
    What kind of weapon with  the armed guard at a "large gathering" carry?
    This is  important in Texas, for example, where a lot of people will be armed already. The guard should be armed to a higher degree, right? After all, he's got to make people feel safe.

    So far I've been proven correct (none / 0) (#48)
    by Slayersrezo on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:00:17 PM EST
    No one has responded to this except you. One person responds to a thoughtful post.
    That's because the purpose of the emotions in those other threads was to vent at the "others" in this country, those who have guns and also at the evils of life, which they don't understand. The hatred and fear I saw end up leading to wars one way or the other and yet while those emotions feel good they rarely solve problems.

    Now as to your question, which I'm being extremely generous and assuming is meant in good faith.
    The answer is, it doesn't matter the size of the group, though I'd recommend it for places with more than 25 people because most of those who hope to commit large massacres will obviously choose concentrations of people as their targets.

    From a few reports I've seen (and I know EVERYTHING is still a bit preliminary now) the Principal at Sandy Hook tried to ward off the attacker and gave her life in the process. Perhaps had she had a gun in her office and had been trained to use it, things might have been different.

    Large groups of people are targets for those who are mentally disturbed and those who are evil. That you do not like this does not matter one whit to the world. Thus if you don't want some sort of armed guard at those gatherings you have the responsibility of coming up with an alternate solution. What is it?


    You've been proven correct? (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by observed on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:06:57 PM EST
    What planet are you living on??
    What is your standard of proof. Did you deliver a peer-reviewed paper?
    Honestly, your idea of more armed guards is a typical right wing fantasy. In general, and not surprisingly, people who resist attacks with guns are far more likely to be shot.
    Let's generously assume that you put more thought into your comment than it took to hunt and peck the proper letters on your keyboard (unlikely, of course).
    What are the logistics of providing armed protection at every gathering of more than 25 people. Who pays? Who certifies the guards?
    Do they need to brandish weapons at all entering guests?

    Observed (none / 0) (#56)
    by Slayersrezo on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:44:55 PM EST
    I recognize irrational arguments when I see them.
    When you have facts and links (and not to anti-gun organizations or pro-gun organizations for that matter) to back up those facts, please get back to me.

    P.S. Private guns don't have to be paid for. Guards can be volunteers. There are actually gasp private (not sure about public but it wouldn't surprise me) schools in the US where the Principal is armed. We had a gun club in my HS when I was a teen, surprisingly there wasn't a Columbine! OMG!
    The World is Ending and Dogs and Cats are marrying!

    Kindly drop the hyperbole and learn to argue rationally. Besides trying to make fun of my suggestion that large groups don't contain "Gun Free Zones aka "shoot here!" signs for people up to no good, what do you think about the rest of my proposed solutions to reduce this stuff?

    If you can't be bothered to answer that, please save yourself the effort and don't respond to any more of my posts as I won't be responding to you.


    Look, you are just making things up, (3.67 / 3) (#60)
    by observed on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 11:01:52 PM EST
    claiming you have solutions.
    The easiest thing is to simply ignore your buffoonery, because you offer no facts, provide no evidence, and display no internal logic.
    You THINK more guns are the answer.
    The evidence strongly contradicts your beliefs.
    End of story.

    There's an obvious fact, demonstrated (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by observed on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 11:14:16 PM EST
    by statistics: the more guns there are, the more people are killed---often by accident, by the way.
    Given that people using guns for self-defense are more than 4 times more likely to be shot during an assault, I don't see how you could rationally expect more armed guards to be a solution.
    If we take your proposal seriously (yes, I'm joking),
    you are talking about a constant armed presence of, hundreds of thousands of people in public gatherings.
    You suggest, generously, that they don't need to be police officers. Just as a pure public health question, what would be the expected rate of excess shootings and deaths, by accident, if we followed your proposal?
    What are the scenarios for killing MORE innocent people if you have guards? What if two people are armed "guards", but dont' know each other?
    IIRC correctly, one armed bystander nearly shot another armed bystander at one of the university shootings a few years ago.
    Look, I was generous when I said you obviously had given the matter no thought, because then you could retract your obviously ill-considered "proposals".
    Sadly, I overestimated your deliberative abilities.

    You wasted your time (none / 0) (#68)
    by Slayersrezo on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 11:48:21 PM EST
    I told you to respond to my five other proposed solutions and you did not do so.

    As for you trying to "educate" me -well, let's just say I was reading The Brady site, the Violence Policy center, and the Potowmac Institute back in 2002.

    And that's that.


    "Proven correct" - heh (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by Yman on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 04:15:10 PM EST
    So far, all you've done is make up a list of "solutions" that you find acceptable or least objectionable - no facts to support your premises, no studies to support your theories of what will be effective in stopping gun violence.  Oh, - and you've denigrated the ideas of others as simply feel-good, "emotional" responses not based on facts or logic.

    But what the he//:

    1.  More coverage for mental health services - Of course that would be a good thing, but ho's going to pay for it when Tea Partiers/Libertarians don't even want to fund basic/physical health care?

    2.  Voluntary media embargo of such incidents for some period - Difficult?  Difficult?!?  More like rose-colored-glasses, pie-in-the-sky, wish-I-won-the-Powerball impossible.  A nice fantasy, but not a reality-based solution.

    3.  Someone at every large gathering should be armed - You say "should" be, but it sounds as though you would make it mandatory.  Interesting theory, but who pays for the security guards or approves the volunteer guards?  Will they be required to pass background/mental health screenings?  How much training will be required and how will they stay current?  What happens when they shoot an innocent bystander in the head while trying to stop a bad guy?  Or if they drop their gun while going to the bathroom and shoot the person in the next stall?  Or if they shoot their own child be accident when getting back in their car?  Or if they decide to follow someone down a dark path because they "look like their on drugs or something ..."  What happens when one volunteer misidentifies another volunteer as a bad guy and shoots him/her?  Should they get immunity because they were a "volunteer"?

    Any idea of how many more shootings/killings we can expect by requiring armed guards at all large gatherings?

    4)  End or at least significantly reform our "War on Drugs".

    Most firearms deaths in this country are between criminals killing each other over sex, drugs, or money.

    You'd probably get some agreement here, but what makes you claim (as you did elsewhere) that most firearms deaths are drug-related and would be eliminated by ceasing the "War on drugs"?  Any stats to back up that claim?  Cause I think you're just making it up.  Also, nice conflation of drug-related gun deaths with sex/money-related crimes.

    1.  Sounds good.  But sticking with that train of thought - if limiting the number of rounds/firing rate of someone would be an effective way of preventing these crimes, why not just make semi-automatic guns illegal?  Bolt/pump/breech/revolvers only ... just following your logic.

    2.  AWB - Depends on what you mean by "tighten up".  I have a feeling you mean "make it so tight that almost no weapons are prohibited", but you'd have to be more specific.  Also why would weapons need to be grandfathered?  Just leave the thousands of assault weapons already out there in circulation?  Why not just pay people fair market value for them and declare them illegal?  (except for that rare, single-shot AR-15 you talked about).

    BTW - How - by proposing that stricter gun controls are part of the solution - am I "venting at others which I don't understand", given that I am a gun owner?

    An odd omission---tax cuts. (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by observed on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:01:11 PM EST
    What kind of tax cuts would be effective in this context?
    I personally believe that tax cuts would be at least as effective as posting heavily armed guards at all "large gatherings".

    This week's weather forecast: (none / 0) (#46)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 09:53:30 PM EST
    We've had about a week of (none / 0) (#51)
    by observed on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:09:59 PM EST
    -40ish temperatures here, with windchill as low at -56C.
    Today is a holiday, but I need to get out and do some things. I'm waiting until (hopefully) the temperature eases above -40.

    lol. It was the Mayan weather forecast. (none / 0) (#52)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:17:05 PM EST
    (feeling a bit unclicked...)

    I know. Looks like I made (none / 0) (#54)
    by observed on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:40:20 PM EST
    a bad call about waiting. It's -38C now, but wind has picked up, so with windchill it's -47C

    Note to kdog (none / 0) (#55)
    by CoralGables on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:43:15 PM EST
    That was one of the ugliest performances ever and I was pulling for them. Sanchez with 5 turnovers and they lose by 4. Pitiful.

    But did one of those turnovers (none / 0) (#57)
    by caseyOR on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:49:37 PM EST
    involve Sanchez running smack into the hind quarters of his own teammate? If not, then tonight was not the Jets' ugliest performance.

    Several helium balloon passes (none / 0) (#59)
    by CoralGables on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:55:28 PM EST
    into double and triple coverage, and dropping the snap which was then kicked by the running back with a minute left on the opposing team's 25 yard line.

    Yes, it was worse.


    Is it Sanchez? Or is it the whole team? Would (none / 0) (#61)
    by caseyOR on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 11:02:40 PM EST
    a coaching change improve things? Or is it all of the above?

    Whatever the cause, the Jets are a mess.


    Good question (none / 0) (#67)
    by CoralGables on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 11:46:50 PM EST
    This is the first time I've watched them for a full game all season. Tonight I'd say it was Sanchez.

    You're a better man than me.... (none / 0) (#74)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 08:51:16 AM EST
    I can't watch that team anymore, no stomach for it...I decorated the tree with half an eye on the Knicks first home loss of the season.  Lin and Harden went off...

    Losing is one thing, Jets fans know losing...it is the total offensive ineptitude while losing.  Ya know the Red Zone channel?  The Jets need a channel where they only show the defense play, and switch to another game when the offense takes the field.  


    Tebow, Tebow, Tebow! (none / 0) (#85)
    by oculus on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 02:37:11 PM EST