As I was watching morning news earlier today, I noticed that there was a serious lack of any big news. Are Democrats doing anything important? Their lips are moving and there is some activity but will it influence anything?
Saddam's half-brother's head fell off during his execution. That must've been dramatic, heh. Also 24 just started last night. Is anyone watching that? A lot of lefty sounding drivel has been inserted into it.
This is an Open Thread.
The site seemed to be down today. A lot of the US is experiencing an ice storm. We just have lots of rain here. The big story of the last few days is the two boys who were found in MO, one of whom had been missing for four years. The Colts have advanced thanks to their defense.
So what's on your mind?
The weekend is close, though ours here in Arkansas will likely be cold and maybe wet. President Bush's approval ratings are hitting all time lows. Here is one sample of that.
What's on your mind?
It's almost the weekend! Bush had a decent speech last night, minus a lot of the usual stumbling with a very sober tone. No idea if his plan is going to make a difference, but it sounds like a more honest attempt at resolving Baghdad violence.
Pentagon wants 92,000 more troops, and economy is doing well.
What's new with you?
UPDATE by Mike P: Here is a link to a story about the request for 92,000 more troops.
The US strike in Somalia actually killed the embassy bomber, according to the Somalis. Bush is set to deliver his Iraq address tonight announcing the last troop increase before we hand Iraq off. I wish him luck. Dems look like they will go the non-confrontational route of non-binding resolution pronouncing their displeasure. Boo hoo.
This is an Open Thread.
So we executed Saddam Hussein, and now we can all go home and call it a day, right?
Not quite. Problems in Iraq are one thing, but who knew that Saddam was like the broom from The Sorcerer's Apprentice: you chop up one, and now all the splinters are growing up to be your worst nightmare .
Instead of being called Majhar Alam, Mr Alam has opted to call the boy Saddam Hussein in honour of the former Iraqi leader who was executed on 30 December.
What is more, the child will not be the only Saddam Hussein in the neighbourhood. There are more than 20 other Saddam Husseins in Lakhanow alone.
This is breaking:
A first wave of additional U.S. troops will go into Iraq before the end of the month under President Bush’s new plan, a senior defense official said Tuesday.
Up to 20,000 troops will be put on alert and be prepared to deploy under the president’s plan, but the increase in forces on the ground will be gradual, said the official, who requested anonymity because the plans have not yet been announced.
Moving first would be the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, which is in Kuwait and poised to deploy quickly into Iraq.
So it's on, and in full disregard of the Dems... I'll stay neutral because I can't support either party on this one. Just hoping that our guys stay safe.
I just noticed a new dkos diary Help me set the Senate's agenda by Dick "Our troops are like nazis" Durbin. There he lists 10 Senate bills that will be introduced when the new congress convenes. He also asks for community's priorities.
* S.1 -- Ethics & lobbying reform
* S.2 -- Increasing the minimum wage
* S.3 -- Lowering prescription drug prices for seniors
* S.4 -- Fully implementing all 9/11 Commission recommendations
* S.5 -- Expanding stem cell research
* S.6 -- Developing new technology to promote energy independence
* S.7 -- Making college more affordable
* S.8 -- Rebuilding America's military
* S.9 -- Immigration reform
* S.10 -- Reinstating "Pay As You Go" rules for the federal budget
So I had some thoughts on those, and what is ommitted. Some predictions as well.
US Air Force attacked Al Qaeda in Somalia, interesting situation there. More fighting going on in Baghdad. Any predictions for the Bush plan tomorrow? Is the "surge" going to happen?
This is an Open Thread.
UPDATE by Mike P: A Turkish plane has crashed in Iraq near Balad. (link ) Airstrikes and raids on Haifa Street in Baghdad kills some foreign militants, captures others. (link ) A new video of Saddam's body has surfaced. (link )
The Japanese American creator of Scooby Doo has died. He evidently learned to draw in an American concentration camp during World War II. (link )
I'm having trouble with the link but I see that some odor has shut down Macy's in NYC and at least part of the Subway. Anyone have any details?
What else is going on with you?
This is an open thread.
UPDATE by Mike P:Here is a link to the story. Seems to be some kind of widespread gas leak.
I keep seeing that kiss that Boehner gave Pelosi as he gave her the gavel. He is a pretty smooth guy, I gotta say. People are walking around with short sleeved shirts here today as temperatures are hovering around 70 though I hear it is wintery in Colorado :)
Bush is going to announce some plan for Iraq soon.
What are you all up to this weekend? I have some things to do but otherwise rest up for the long full week of work ahead.
This is an Open Thread.
US Job Picture brightens - The economy is still chugging along quite well. The unemployment held steady at historically low 4.5% as another 167,000 jobs were added.
Many employers showed not only a greater appetite to hire in December but also more willingness to boost compensation to workers.
Workers, many of whom had seen their paychecks eaten by inflation, saw wages grow robustly last month. Average hourly earnings jumped to $17.04, a sizable 0.5 percent rise from the prior month. Analysts were forecasting a more modest, 0.3 percent increase.
Over the last 12 months, wages grew by a strong 4.2 percent. That matched the annual gain registered in November and was exceeded only by a 4.3 percent annual increase in November 2000.
So despite all the whining, the economy is doing well. This is an Open Thread.
I posted earlier on Alan Reynolds's research on income inequality and what is *really* going on with "the top 1%" in this country (http://www.swordscrossed.org/node/863 ). Now here's some more, courtesy of an economics professor who has read Reynolds's new book and done some analysis of his own. Here are some choice quotes from his series of articles:
How often have you heard that the vast majority of families' incomes in the United States are rising little or not at all, that the middle class is shrinking, that real wages are stagnating, that the top 20%, or 5%, or 1% are getting the lion's share of the gains in the U.S. economy, that average CEO pay is getting to be a couple of orders of magnitude larger than average people's pay, or that mobility across income groups has declined? [...] Well, guess what? All of the above claims are either absolutely false or at least highly misleading.
By now most of you have heard about the new signing statements by President Bush claiming to himself the right to open our mail.
(link ) I have written about signing statements here before, suggesting that they essentially make congress irrelevant. (link ) Leon responded by writing that mine was an objection without merit, inasmuch as the signing statements have no proven legal effect. He actually suggested that Clinton had more signing statements than Bush. (link ) My response came later, in which I pointed out a case where at least one signing statement had a legally verifiable affect on a whistleblower. (link ) To clarify my position, it isn't the signing statements that are the real problem, but rather a presumptuous president who chooses to to grant himself unnecessary powers. These include using his "war on terror" as an excuse to take away civil liberties, punish political opponents, and other dubious activities."
I am back at work. How's everyone doing on this fine Thursday morning? It's a bit chilly in NY but still warm - going up to upper 50s and even 60s for the weekend before going back to mid 40s for the next week. That Global Warming is really kicking in this year!
Dems are about to take over... Anyone watching that live? Any spontaneous rallies occurring to celebrate power going back to the people? :)
What's new with you guys? I know I haven't been around much with all of the problems, but I should be back to semi-normal now.
This is an Open Thread.
With a new Congress entering from stage left, the subject of bipartisanship came up today both on redstate and dailykos: I thought this would be a great place to talk not only about the nature of partisan politics, but also about our expectations when we cross the party lines on this website.
First, the headline from redstate reads, "Bipartisanship is Dead". In the conclusion to his diary, streiff threw out this observation:
Second, I'm pretty much a "no quarter asked, no quarter given" type of guy... This mewling over bipartisanship has always struck me as distinctly un-American, not to mention unmanly, and is really nothing more than an excuse for failed leadership and an insurance policy against being held accountable for your actions.
In the news today, an official who presided over Saddam's execution, the man who allegedly filmed it, is the target of a probe which has already yielded his arrest. (link ) President Ford's body to be interred in Michigan today.
Elsewhere, in an op-ed President Bush has called on Dems to cooperate with him and warning that “political statements” in the form of legislation would result in a stalemate. (link ) That sounds like a threat to veto things he doesn't like. If I were him I would really hesitate to veto most of the things Democrats are promising to pass, such as raising the minimum wage.
When various changes to the Social Security program are proposed, one frequent objection that is heard from folks of many different political stripes is: "That would turn Social Security into a welfare program." Let's ignore the question of whether that's a good or bad thing, and instead ask: is Social Security *already* a welfare program? The question seems to presume that it is not (i.e., that people, regardless of income, get benefits that are roughly proportional to what they pay in).
A new CBO study (http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/77xx/doc7705/12-15-Progressivity-SS.pdf ) attempts to answer this question. Their conclusion may be surprising to some: Social Security today is already a welfare program.
Hey all. Hope everything is going well in this New Year. I am sick as a dog which is why I am only posting this brief open tread - got a stomach virus or something and am spending all my time in bed with a fever.
So yeah, I hope your guys' New Year started on a more positive note.
So how is everyone today?