Category Archives: Daily Repartee

Sunday’s Newslinks and General Repartee


Politics and Prose

By JD Chang

Two days until Christmas and holiday cheer is spreading everywhere…except Washington DC.

Politico talks about why President Obama (TR-1isn’t going to cave on the Fiscal Cliff (TR-11). Paul Krugman takes “wimpy” Obama to town for negotiating with himself again last week.

And here’s a really dumb article comparing Obama to Karl Marx and then Santa Claus (?). It’s full of talking points derived from the excuse book of Romney’s failed election bid.

At least this guy has a sense of humour…he imagines what it would be like if Mike Huckabee (TR-8) and Wayne LaPierre were on Fantasy Island together.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday’s Newslinks and General Repartee


By JD Chang

More Boehner, more calls for his head. Salon’s Jonathan Bernstein writes about the history of the speaker gavel, albeit it’s a little left-leaning. Dierdre Walsh of CNN outlines the current situation and effect on Boehner leading up to the new House next year. Meanwhile, John Boehner (TR-2) is officially the worst liked Congressman in America. 

Marco Rubio (TR-9) is someone that I’ve always been a fan of. Smart, smooth, and able to explain things clearly. Someone that the right can look to in building a new persona and to explain to the public why raising taxes on the rich is not sound economic policy. Unfortunately, he gets butchered by his anti-thesis, Rush Limbaugh (TR-233), who doesn’t explain anything well, is not smooth or concise, and just leads on his sheep audience to whatever extreme he wants to portray that day.

Dianne Feinstein (TR-5) is making some news as well. She’s up to number 5 in TrendPo Rank after a steady week in the Top Ten based on her presence in pushing Gun Control (TR-15) legislation. She’s going to introduce an assault weapons ban on the first day of the new Congress. I’d love to see if she actually does this. She may, however, have a pretty nice new title come the first of the year.

Finally, Feinstein joins fellow senators John McCain (TR-24) and Carl Levin (TR-114) in giving a thumbs down to the new Hollywood movie Zero Dark Thirty.

The three call the film “grossly inaccurate and misleading in its suggestion that torture resulted in information” that led to finding Osama bin Laden. They acknowledge the film is fiction, but note that it opens with the words “based on first-hand accounts of actual events.”

The senators say they are fans of the filmmaker and “understand the special role that movies play in our lives,” but say the problem is that people will believe the film’s version of events.

The letter says the use of torture should be banished from serious public discourse not only because it doesn’t provide the results shown in the film, but because it also violates the Geneva Convention. “The use of torture in the fight against terrorism did severe damage to America’s values and standing. … We cannot afford to go back to these dark times.”

I can understand that. We don’t want people around the world to think that we used torture in capturing Bin Laden. We just want them to think that we put an armed officer in every Pakistani school and public market.

Screen shot 2012-12-22 at 11.24.40 AM

Friday’s Newslinks and General Repartee


By JD Chang

Top news of the day is definitely the failure of John Boehner (TR-2) and the House GOP to pass either one of the GOP’s proposals to avoid the Fiscal Cliff (TR-9).

I just don’t get the logic of what the GOP is doing. Political posturing is fine, but backs against the wall…they’re still sticking to their guns beliefs not to budge on raising taxes. This is even after their surrogate uncle okayed the Plan B (not this Plan B though) to raise taxes on millionaires.

This is also after multiple polls showing that Americans favor higher taxes on the rich. Further, this morning a new Gallup poll came out showing Obama at a 56% approval rating, the highest he’s had since Oct. 2009.

Meanwhile, can the average American name one Republican politician who resides in Washington DC? Probably not. And even the ones who know the name John Boehner don’t really like him (or their GOP reps in DC for that matter).

Many pundits and editorialists are sinking their teeth into the failure of the GOP. Paul Krugman of NYT thinks the GOP is playing poker with our future, Steve Benen of Rachel Maddow’s Blog thinks the GOP is lost and weak,  The Washington Post wants them to stop having silly fights, and the New Yorker laments the cause of the 0.03%.

But that’s just one side of the story, right? In the wake of last night’s failed vote, there has to be supporters of the GOP coming to their rescue….right? Well, I couldn’t find any. Even the politics page at FoxNews had one small article.

Hell, even Jim DeMint (TR-27) said last week the GOP had to raise taxes. And his explanation was actually sound!

“[W]e have not done a good enough job of convincing Americans that less government, less taxes, and a more vibrant economy is really going to work for every American,” DeMint said. “I spent most of my life in advertising and marketing and research, and I want to go back to the battle of ideas. I just think unless we win the hearts and minds of the American people, we’re not going to win elections with conservative ideas.”

Sounds like a different man now that he’s out of the barn right?

Anyways, as any good marketer knows…what the public wants today is not what it will want tomorrow. If there ends up being no deal on the fiscal cliff, then the GOP will get blamed…especially the House GOP. If the economy tanks because there’s no deal, then the GOP will get blamed. If the economy stabilizes and doesn’t tank after no deal on the fiscal cliff, then Obama will be credited. The only way that the GOP gets credit here is if they compromise and negotiate (which is what the Nov. 6th elections were about). Then they get the public image of being sensible in thinking about all Americans.

But, to keep this hardline approach on taxes when really, at most, only a fourth of the country (half the country voted & half of those voters supported GOP) wants it is playing with fire. Remember, all Americans have access to TV and public opinion…not just the ones who voted for you. And, it’s there’s another truth in advertising, it’s that all people are bandwagon fans.

Sigh…it gets me frustrated thinking about this. I think it’s fitting though, that Boehner scheduled an impromptu House Vote last night trying to get support…and then ended up NOT VOTING. It was like he was trying to get ahead of the Mayan prediction for himself and his party.

End of GOP

Thursday’s Newslinks and General Repartee


Forrest Gump

By JD Chang

December, 20th, 2012 —

You may have heard a lot of talk recently about “Chained CPI” or the adjustment to inflation measures on Social Security. This is because Chained CPI is about the only spending adjustment or savings that’s being discussed between the two parties right now. If you wanted to know what the Chained CPI is in layman’s terms, Jason Fichner of Marketwatch does a good job:

What does this mean in actual dollars? Theaverage retired worker on Social Security received $1,240 a month in 2012. The scheduled 1.7% COLA for 2013 will increase this average monthly benefit to $1,261, or a $21 increase per month. If the COLA was instead based on the chained CPI , the 1.5 % increase would bring the average monthly benefit up to $1,259, a $19 increase in monthly benefits and only $2 less per month than based on the current CPI.

The Social Security Trust Funds are currently estimated to become insolvent in 2033 . While I understand every dollar counts when you’re on a fixed income, a difference of $2 a month ($24 a year) hardly amounts to draconian benefit cuts for seniors. That said, I think it’s important to stress that moving to a chained CPI isn’t just about saving money or slowing the growth of benefits, it’s primarily about getting the measure of inflation correct. The change to a chained CPI should be made even if it didn’t produce appreciable savings. It should be done because it’s a more accurate measure of inflation. The goal of the COLA is to protect beneficiaries’ purchasing power accurately, and moving to a chained CPI accomplishes this goal.

Fichner does what journalists should do: describe the situation accurately, explain the pros and cons of both sides, and then inserts his opinion at the end. Reading it this way, it’s hard to see why any sensible person couldn’t support this in light of the country’s debt woes.

In other news, Barack Obama was named Time’s Person of the Year and Sarah Palin says that’s irrelevant because she was once on that list too:

“I think there’s some irrelevancy there, to tell you the truth,” Palin told Greta Van Susteren. “I mean consider their list of the most influential people in the country and the world, some who have made that list — yours truly! That ought to tell you something right there regarding the credence that we should give TIME magazine and their list of people.”

Palin’s got a fight on her hands for the title of GOP’s “head stupid” though. That person is John Boehner says John Tamny of Forbes. Greg Sargent of the Washington Post posits Boehner isn’t stupid, he’s really just a scourge of the wealthy. What’s that saying from Forrest Gump? — stupid is as does? Well, the Washington Post says that Obama v. Boehner is like deja vu all over again:

The dueling press conferences today by President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner regarding the fast-approaching fiscal cliff had an eerie feeling of deja vu for political observers.  After all, this was the exact same way that the attempts by Obama and Boehner to strike a big debt and spending deal over the summer collapsed.  Threats over who would be blamed? Check.  Assertions that each side has gone more than halfway to compromise? Check. Calls to “get serious”? Check.

(And, for you history buffs out there, the back-to-back  press conferences was also the way the 1996 balanced budget/government shutdown showdown between President Bill Clinton and then House Speaker Newt Gingrich ended too. Thanks to the Post’s Glenn Kessler for reminding us of that.)

Finally, if you haven’t been paying attention, Piers Morgan is making gun control a personal crusade. It got to a boiling point here:

Monday’s Newslinks and General Repartee


By JD Chang

Monday morning and parents, families, and children head back to work and school. Let us continue our vigil in supporting those affected in CT with our support and prayers.

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Also on this Monday, Barack Obama will become the next president of the United States. Oh, you already knew that? Well, did you know that he won’t officially win until the Electoral College casts their ballots, which they did today. John Nichols from The Nation argues that it’s time to do away with the Electoral College.

I think that idea is going to gain more traction over the next few presidential cycles. Not only is the electoral college process outdated now, but it gives an unhealthy weight to “battleground” states like Ohio, Florida, Virginia. Having bellwethers is great in any predictive environment, but the electoral college voting process undermines the voice of people in influential states like CA, TX, NY and others. People don’t come out to vote in those states because their vote is “already locked in” as part of a blue or red state. But, what that does is also discourage people to come out and vote down-ballot and also importantly, local and community measures. When you vote each cycle, you’re not just voting for the president, you’re also voting for a lot of state and local propositions. If less people come out and vote because they’ve been told their vote “doesn’t count”, it undermines the democratic process.

In some Fiscal Cliff (TR-7) news, John Boehner (TR-9) has offered to not fight over the debt ceiling this year and also raise taxes on millionaires. This is actually a pretty big deal because it signals the first makings of any negotiations from either side. But, you’ll have ample opportunities to get your fill of “Days of Our Lives” from the Cable News Networks this week. So is Boehner or Obama Marlena Evans in that scenario?

The Boston Herald has a nice write-up on John Kerry (TR-18) and his qualifications to be Sec. of State. It’s more of a review in John Kerry politics, but a good read nonetheless:

The selection of Kerry would close a political circle with Obama. In 2004, it was White House hopeful Kerry who asked a largely unknown Illinois state senator to deliver the keynote address at the Democratic convention in Boston, handing the national stage to Obama. Kerry lost that election to President George W. Bush. Four years later, Obama was the White House hopeful who succeeded where Kerry had failed.

Senate colleagues in both parties say Kerry’s confirmation would be swift and near certain, another remarkable turnaround. Eight years ago, the GOP ridiculed Kerry as a wind-surfing flip-flopper as he tried and failed to unseat Bush.

This one sounds like All My Children and Susan Lucci has to be John McCain there.

Enjoy your Monday!

Susan Lucci

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