... Dowd does a nice job of showing, not telling, us that Newt Gingrich is absolutely crazy.
** "Free the FDA." Prof. Daniel Carpenter, in a New York Times op-ed: "... for the first time in American history, a cabinet secretary — and by extension, a president — has overruled a drug-approval decision by the Food and Drug Administration.... The only solution, then, is to make the F.D.A. truly independent.... At the very least, President Obama and Ms. Sebelius need to clarify what their precedent entails. If they don’t, we can expect to see lobbies from all corners of society — drug companies themselves, safety advocates, groups of doctors and patients — walk directly away from an F.D.A. decision they don’t like and take their cases to the White House."
Time magazine's "Person of the Year" is "the protester." Begins here.
The Voter Fraud that Isn't There. Steve Benen: "... if the [Republican National Lawyers Association] thinks .. 311 cases [of alleged voter fraud] from the last decade — some of which weren’t from the last decade, some of which were cases that got thrown out of court, some of which may have very well have been innocent mistakes — justify a national campaign to restrict Americans’ access to their own democracy, they’re wildly misguided. Republicans support all kinds of new voting restrictions — voter-ID laws, severe limits on voter-registration drives, closing early-voting windows, strict new limits on absentee ballots — because they find it easier to rig voter eligibility than to win elections fair and square." (See also today's Local News below.)
I got a real problem with the mandated drug testing for unemployment insurance. We don’t demand drug testing for people getting farm subsidies. -- Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), on GOP requirements to pass a payroll tax cut
Conservatives Rethink the 14th Amendment. David Gans & Doug Kendall in Slate: "Justice Antonin Scalia created a firestorm last winter when he opined that the 14th Amendment does not protect women against discrimination on the basis of sex.... This view has been, until recently at least, a bedrock conviction of conservative originalists. In that sense then, the bigger news came at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in October when, confronted on his remarks by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Scalia backpedaled.... For a Justice famous for his blunt and unchanging conservative views, Scalia’s fancy footwork was fascinating, and telling." Read on.
I wish bigots would not inconvenience me. Los Angeles Times: The home improvement chain Lowe's "decided to stop advertising on the show 'All-American Muslim,' on [the]... TLC channel, after complaints by the Florida Family Assn...." Lowe's is the closest home improvement store to my house. Also, I've been avoiding Home Depot for years, ever since I found out they gave their incompetent CEO a huge golden parachute. Now what am I supposed to do? ...
... AND it gets worse. Per Tanya Somander of Think Progress: "The Muslim Public Affairs Council has published a full list of companies that FFA claims it persuaded to pull ads from the show. The list includes Airborne Vitamin, Bare Escentuals, Campbell’s Soup, Capital One, Cotton, Inc., Dell computers, Estee Lauder, Gap, Good Year, Hershey Kisses, Ikea, JC Penny, Kayak.com, McDonald’s, Nationwide Insurance, Old Navy, Pier One, Radio Shack, Sears, T-Mobil, Volkswagen, Wal-Mart, and Whirlpool. Click here to see the full list." I can't buy soup? What is the matter with these corporate honchos? In the spirit of the holiday season, a little kook shall lead them? And they're doing this over a show that probably has 80,000 viewers, of whom I will never be one. ...
... Here's a little about the Florida Family Association, the group that has scared the bejeezus (or something) out of Dell Computers & McDonald's from Zack Ford of Think Progress: "Claiming a membership of 35,000 individuals, FFA’s only paid staff member is its president, David Caton, and it is not affiliated with any national organizations." They've also protested "Gay Days" at DisneyWorld, Miss Universe for promoting HIV/AIDS awareness, & TV shows for including anti-bullying messages. I'd go protest FFA, but it probably is the figment of one man's warped imagination, so I'd be standing out in front of some jerk's garage. Get a grip, corporate America. ...
... THEN there's this from Ben Popken of Adweek: "Should Lowe's need a crowbar to pull its head out of the sand, it can find one in its own aisles. On Saturday, the home-improvement company posted a note to Facebook explaining its decision to capitulate to an email campaign by the Florida Family Association and pull its ads from the TLC reality show All-American Muslim. As of this writing, the post has drawn more than 22,000 comments, a significant portion of which are racist and contain anti-Muslim/anti-Islamic hate speech. (Scroll down to see some of them.) So, why isn't Lowe's moderating its Facebook wall?"
Jason Zengerle of New York magazine on the amateur oppo researcher. Zengerle focuses on Andrew Kaczynski, a 22-year-old student at St. John's University on Long Island, who does oppo research for fun, but whose C-SPAN discoveries have provided embarrassing to Republican candidates, especially the Mittster. Here's a Kaczynski find -- Romney attesting that he's a "progressive":
Right Wing World
Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post: "For a man who likes to tout his expertise as a historian, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has a decidedly revisionist approach when it comes to his own history."
Let's not forget, only one president has ever cut Medicare for seniors in this country, and it's Barack Obama. We're gonna remind him of that time and time again. -- Mitt Romney ...
... Politifact: "The statement gets it wrong on every front. The Medicare belt was tightened in 1981 and 1982 under Reagan, in 1989 under the first President Bush and again in 1997 under Clinton. So Obama is in no way the only president to cut the program. Further, by specifying that Obama cut Medicare 'for seniors,' Romney seems to mean that the president slashed benefits, not just the program’s spending. That’s even more egregious. Other presidents have made changes to Medicare that reduced benefits for seniors, while the health care law Obama signed actually increases them. That’s a lot of inaccuracy in a single sentence."
... "(Another) Romney Lie on Health Care." Dishonesty AND Hyprocrisy. Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic: (a) Obama has not cut Medicare; (b) Bill Clinton cut Medicare payments; (c) Ronald Reagan cut Medicare payments; (d) George H. W. Bush cut Medicare payments. And the Big H for Hypocrisy: "Romney has lavished praise on Paul Ryan's Medicare reform scheme, most recently last week.... Ryan proposes to cut Medicare spending by more than Reagan, Bush, Clinton, or Obama ever did."
FactCheck.org: Karl Rove's "Crossroads GPS distorts the facts in TV ads that attack two Democratic Senate candidates for their roles in the Wall Street bailout and the federal health care law: The well-heeled conservative group says Elizabeth Warren was appointed to oversee how tax dollars were spent for bank bailouts that "helped pay big bonuses to bank executives." That's absurd.... Another ad says Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson 'demanded a payoff' for voting for the new health care law and was 'accused of selling his vote, cynical what's-in-it-for-me-type politics.' That insinuation of personal corruption is false. Nelson demanded nothing for himself."
Media Matters: Obama family fails to wage anticipated Secular War on Christmas; Sean Hannity finds they're celebrating Christmas "too much." Audio.
Ryan Reilly of TPM: "Wisconsin’s voter ID law imposes the equivalent of a poll tax on individuals with out-of-state drivers licenses and discriminates against the poor, students and the elderly, according to a federal lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday."
President & Mrs. Obama will speak to the troops & their families at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, at 11:55 am ET.
AP: "A Republican payroll tax cut bill that sailed through the House despite a White House veto threat is dead on arrival in the Senate, and it will soon be time for talks on a final package, [Harry Reid,] the Senate's top Democrat says." Washington Post story here.
AP: "China has imposed duties on imports of some U.S.-made vehicles, claiming damage from foreign automakers due to dumping and subsidies in the latest round of trade friction between the two countries. The Commerce Ministry said Wednesday that the duties would be imposed for two years on imported cars and sport utility vehicles with engine displacements of over 2.5 liters. The duties range from 2 percent to 21.5 percent."
Live Science: "Barely half of American adults are married, a record low for the country, a new analysis of Census data finds. Following that same trend, the median age at first marriage is older than ever for both men and women, with the median age of marriage for women at 26.5 and the median age for men at 28.7."
AP: "Elizabeth Taylor's jewelry collection sold for a record-setting $115 million — including more than $11.8 million for a pearl necklace and more than $8.8 million for a diamond ring given to her by Richard Burton — at a Christie's auction Tuesday night of memorabilia amassed by the late actress."