Thursday Morning Open Thread: Green Shoots

In our (East Coast-centric) breakfast roundup of happy, or at least not depressing, news…

Noam Scheiber, at TNR, says “The Budget Deal Is a Win for Democrats (And the GOP doesn’t know it yet)”:

The Murray-Ryan deal isn’t really about the sequester. It’s a two-year truce on fiscal self-sabotage—and, more to the point, a bet on who benefits from such a truce.

That is, Republicans believe the Obama administration (and really the entire Democratic Party) will collapse under the weight of its irredeemable health care law if we just get through the next two years without a political catastrophe like the recent government shutdown. Democrats believe the economy will pick up momentum and solve a lot of their political problems, not to mention a good chunk of the deficit, if we can just put an end to gratuitous spending cuts while the recovery is still fragile.

So the question becomes: who got the better side of this bet? And that answer to that, I think, is Democrats. For one thing, Republicans are way over-estimating the extent to which Obamacare will be a liability for Democrats. They assume the problems of the first two months will extend indefinitely into the future—that they’re structural (flawed conceit) rather than mechanical (flawed website)—when the evidence suggests implementation is improving by the day. By contrast, the state of the economy is typically the biggest driver of the public mood. If the economy is humming along next fall, the Democrats’ prospects (and those of incumbents generally) could look pretty damn good

Professor Krugman, in his NYTimes blog, notes “That Unskewed Feeling”:

[R]ight-wing pundits, from Bill Kristol to the WSJ, have clearly decided that the GOP will win big in 2014 by running against the Obamacare debacle. The possibility that it might not be perceived as a debacle by November — that it might even be perceived as a qualified success — doesn’t seem to figure at all in their thinking.

Why the disconnect? Well, it’s feeling to me a lot like the later months of the 2012 campaign, when the polls clearly pointed to an Obama win but Republicans lived in a closed information loop where such information was excluded — the only polls they heard about were “unskewed” to remove the unwelcome information…

Greg Sargent, at the Washington Post, notes that “Republicans will face intense pressure over unemployment benefits”:

On the morning after lawmakers reached a budget deal that doesn’t include an extension in unemployment benefits, chief GOP budget architect Paul Ryan awoke to a raft of home-state headlines that were all about the nearly 100,000 Wisconsinites who stand to get cut off.

“99,000 unemployed Wisconsinites face cuts,” blared one front page. “Jobless benefits at risk for 99K in Wisconsin,” blared another. “99,000 state residents to lose benefits,” blared a third. You can see those and a lot more at this compilation of front pages put together by Dems on the Ways and Means Committee.

The imminent expiration of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program for 1.3 million Americans is mostly being treated as a fait accompli in Washington. But it looks to be turning into a very resonant issue in local media in states where many thousands of residents will be directly impacted by it. (Dems have created an interactive map showing how many people in each state stand to lose benefits.)

This fact is central to the emerging Dem strategy to increase pressure on Republicans to agree to an extension. House Dems are working to drum up as much local press coverage of the issue as possible, because local coverage can focus directly on how many constituents in a lawmaker’s state stand to be hurt – making it hit home in a way Beltway media coverage can’t…

… [T]he coverage could get a lot worse, once the deadline looms and human interest stories multiply about folks facing the loss of benefits during the holiday season, at a time when reporters have little else to write about. I wouldn’t give up on Republicans agreeing to the extension just yet.

We live in hope, Mr. Sargent.

Apart from that, what’s on the agenda for the day?

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66 replies
  1. 1
    raven says:

    Holiday lunch at work and then off till the New Year!

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    How about we not declare this a win or a loss and focus instead on how to best use it to advance our goals?

  3. 3
    raven says:

    @Baud:

    “if you can meet triumph and disaster and treat these two imposters just the same”.

  4. 4
  5. 5
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    Apart from that, what’s on the agenda for the day?

    Emergency work phone call last night. Headed from Detroit to Piedras Negras Mexico in a few minutes. I have a headache. Hope this doesn’t take all weekend.

    I hope Professor Shrill is right and the GOP keeps on deluding themselves about their electoral chances. The more disconnected from reality they are, the more we win.

  6. 6
    geg6 says:

    Two more days of work and then off until the 2nd. Yay! And one of those days includes the Chancellor’s holiday luncheon, a lovely huge spread he has catered by our food services and that we get a two-hour lunch break to attend. It’s always massive amounts of prime rib, ham and turkey and all the sides and fixings and a dessert buffet. Retirees, advisory board members, faculty and staff all attend. It’s a nice party even without alcohol.

    Just gotta get through today.

  7. 7
    Baud says:

    @raven:

    Abraham Lincoln?

  8. 8
    raven says:

    @Baud: Kipling, “If”.

  9. 9
    raven says:

    @geg6: We do our holiday luncheon with “support” from above and have it catered. My buddy catered it twice and someone has now decided that it was “too eclectic” so they have gone to this awful outfit that people seem to like.

  10. 10
    NotMax says:

    @raven

    Almost obligatory naughty postcard.

  11. 11
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    The budget deal could also just be the ultimate result of the GOP’s gerrymandering – most of those GOPer congress critters know they will win their reelection in 2014 – why risk it all for the conservative purity trolls when they can just set it on cruise control now? Even if the Dems take the house they will still have their jobs and an even bigger excuse to do less. Plus they have the example of Ted Cruiz who went from Tea Party darling to RINO in two months.

  12. 12
    WereBear says:

    @raven: My sympathies. I stopped attending the backyard BBQ’s of an otherwise nice couple because 99% of the food was based on macaroni salad. I came from the midwest and didn’t know there were so many variations on this one theme.

    Yet the other attendees were practically rolling in it, they were so pleased.

  13. 13
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    Green, shoots, and leaves.

    Showing once again how the serial comma, not to mention just the comma, is not a panacea but must be used on a case-by-case basis.

    As a child I once put myself into a cereal coma after an overindulgence of Sugar Pops, but that’s slightly different.

  14. 14
    p.a. says:

    UI extension? Politicizing it on the home front no matter what TNR and the Village CW is? Has the donkey finally learned about ‘wedge issues’? It only took 1.5 generations, but let’s hope the lesson sticks. And it’s good policy too.

  15. 15
    fuckwit says:

    Discovered this and it is fascinating, and rings very true, explaining exactly how corporations work:
    http://www.ribbonfarm.com/2011.....-you-lose/

  16. 16
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: Congratulations… On your new porch/deck.

  17. 17
    gene108 says:

    @p.a.:

    The electorate needs to be sufficiently pissed off about something for wedge issues to stick.

    People are frazzled enough over rising fuel and food prices and stagnant wages and insecure jobs and a soft job market to be willing to react to economic populism to work as a wedge issue.

    EDIT: I think people are more pissed off about their economic well being than they are about gays marrying, abortion, and other social wedge issues.

  18. 18
    WereBear says:

    @gene108: I think people are more pissed off about their economic well being than they are about gays marrying, abortion, and other social wedge issues.

    I would agree, because all the people I know who get worked up about such things are all quite comfortable economically.

  19. 19
    p.a. says:

    @WereBear: I had a pot-luck BBQ (guests bring side dishes unless they want to spring for shrimp) and one single guy brought this mac salad: elbows and mayo. What can you do? If you add to it it’s a bit of an insult. If you put it out as is you know it won’t get touched. I put it out and ended up eating about 25% myself, and served up the food instead of the usual d i y method of BBQ. Slapped some on every plate. Whitest food (color and culture) ever.

  20. 20
    WereBear says:

    @p.a.: Whitest food (color and culture) ever.

    Day-um. That’s pathetic. Quite the hospitality hurdle.

    After the first time at this pasta-fest, I brought a Waldorf salad the next couple of times. NO ONE took any, ever.

    This sub-culture apparently lives on flour and mayo.

  21. 21
    Keith G says:

    The Budget Deal Is a Win for Democrats….

    Well it is certainly a win for Democrats of the DLC brand. The sequester gamble was largely won by the forces of austerity and this budget deal continues the trend.

    I guess the key will be what the Democrats do to try to remedy the negative effects caused by this trend in “budgetry”.

    Hopefully more than talk. The Sargent column sounds positive. We will see.

  22. 22
    SixStringFanatic says:

    Sorry if this has been addressed already but whatever happened with the Pets of BallJu calendar for 2014? Been waiting to grab a couple.
    OF CALENDARS, DAMMIT!

  23. 23
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    Showing once again how the serial comma, not to mention just the comma, is not a panacea but must be used on a case-by-case basis.

    My favorite recent example is from Sky News Headlines earlier this week:

    World leaders at Mandela tribute, Obama-Castro handshake and same-sex marriage date set…

  24. 24
    fuckwit says:

    One more from this fascinating series:

    Recall that Sociopaths create meaning for others through the things they subtract, rather than the things they add. This is something conspiracy theorists typically don’t get: manufacturing fake realities is very hard. But subtractive simplification of reality is much easier, and yields just as much power.

    Yep, that’s the stupid media, Karl Rove, the beltway kool kids, and the Koch’s, right there. They don’t need to outright lie all the time in order to control us. Just oversimpify. The Narrative.

  25. 25
    p.a. says:

    @WereBear: and Coors light if they partake.

  26. 26
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: But that’s not a serial comma. The serial comma is always correct when used in a list. No one said it was correct to form a list where none exists.

  27. 27
    Cassidy says:

    Cinnamon buns in the oven, kids getting dressed, going to help out in a field trip, and no NSA ninjas tried to kill me in my sleep. Gonna be a good day.

  28. 28
    Betty Cracker says:

    I work at home, generally spending the day in the company of my pets and livestock after the family clears out in the morning. But today, I’ve had to set up shop at a Starbucks in a town some distance from home because the sprog is involved in a regional school competition, and I have to shuttle her back and forth. I’m finding that the passing parade of strangers is curtailing my productivity. Also, it turns out I’m an ace at guessing which person goes with which vehicle.

  29. 29
    raven says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I am actually nearly done. The dimensions of the new treads made my money saving idea of using the stuff I tore down a bust but what the hell. I’m putting up fencig so the pups can use the dog door but the yard is trashed again. We graded and planted rye but the guys that built the frame had to work in the mud so it’s a mess.

  30. 30
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Cassidy: Just wait until you walk out the door.

  31. 31
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @Cassidy:

    Good morning, folks. The daughter unit finished her semester yesterday, with a good deal of drama concerning deadlines. I’m looking forward to a more relaxed few weeks.

    ACA: I think the Republicans are very, very wrong about Obamacare. I think it’s going to be so helpful that we Dems might even persuade some more poor people to actually get out and vote. For us.

  32. 32
    Poopyman says:

    @Cassidy: The NSA ninjas worked on your car while you slept.

    Have a good day!

  33. 33
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Linda Featheringill: I hope you’re right. It’s probably also helpful that the Repubs can’t just stop at an honest criticism: They have couch everything in the most apocalyptic terms. So when the dust settles and people realize the ACA hasn’t resulted in the collapse of capitalism, IRS death squads, mass granny-snuffings, etc., whatever legit gripes people have about it will pale in comparison.

  34. 34
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven:

    I am actually nearly done.

    Well then, I say “Congratulations!” again and this time I will leave out the sarcasm.

    Dogs and mud… tee hee.

  35. 35
  36. 36
    Eric U. says:

    back during the most recent manufactured budget crisis, I happened to hear the Fox people talking about how Obamacare was going to fail so the republicans should just let it go through and profit from the damage. This was, of course, after it had gone into effect. But they were really, really confident that it would fail. Makes no sense to me, but they all agreed even though they could offer no reasons why it would fail.

  37. 37
    danielx says:

    Two friggin’ degrees above zero…..and faced with nonnegotiable demands for breakfast burritos before I get back to finishing last bits of a project for a client.

  38. 38
    Elizabelle says:

    Rather like this WaPost website headline; wonder how long it will stay up.

    Campaign of GOP loser in Va. AG race questions handling of Fairfax ballots

    RICHMOND — Republican Mark D. Obenshain’s campaign for attorney general raised new questions Wednesday about how Fairfax County ballots were handled while also dismissing the idea that he has already decided to ask the General Assembly to step into the race.

    Earlier this week, Obenshain’s attorney raised the possibility that after next week’s recount, the closest statewide election in Virginia history might wind up before the legislature, which has the power to decide elections or call a new one under a little-known law.

    Contesting the election through the General Assembly would be an extraordinary step, one that political observers said has never been taken in a statewide race, at least not in modern Virginia history.

  39. 39

    I’m mad as hell. Or as we call it around here, Thursday.

  40. 40
    Cassidy says:

    @Poopyman: I wish they’d fix the wheel hub then. When the other one went out it cost me $400. Now the other one is going and I found the part cheaper than Chrysler’s “you need this right now” premium, but have to wait until after Christmas.

  41. 41
    rikyrah says:

    Republicans will face intense pressure over unemployment benefits
    By Greg Sargent
    December 11 at 12:24 pm

    On the morning after lawmakers reached a budget deal that doesn’t include an extension in unemployment benefits, chief GOP budget architect Paul Ryan awoke to a raft of home-state headlines that were all about the nearly 100,000 Wisconsinites who stand to get cut off.

    “99,000 unemployed Wisconsinites face cuts,” blared one front page. “Jobless benefits at risk for 99K in Wisconsin,” blared another. “99,000 state residents to lose benefits,” blared a third. You can see those and a lot more at this compilation of front pages put together by Dems on the Ways and Means Committee.

    The imminent expiration of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program for 1.3 million Americans is mostly being treated as a fait accompli in Washington. But it looks to be turning into a very resonant issue in local media in states where many thousands of residents will be directly impacted by it. (Dems have created an interactive map showing how many people in each state stand to lose benefits.)

    This fact is central to the emerging Dem strategy to increase pressure on Republicans to agree to an extension. House Dems are working to drum up as much local press coverage of the issue as possible, because local coverage can focus directly on how many constituents in a lawmaker’s state stand to be hurt – making it hit home in a way Beltway media coverage can’t.

    For instance, articles like this one in the Las Vegas Review-Journal dramatize the plight of a family set to lose benefits, after the mother was laid off last year from her job as a store manager. Headline: “With benefits on block, jobless Nevadans face uncertainty.” Dems hope such coverage pressures Republicans they deem getable, such as Nevada Senator Dean Heller and Rep. Joe Heck.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....-benefits/

  42. 42
    rikyrah says:

    A K.I.N.D. miracle from Alabama

    Lawrence O’Donnell traveled to the Sixth Avenue Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama to accept a donation to the K.I.N.D fund for over $18,000 from the church’s Cub Scout Pack #3415

    http://on.msnbc.com/18VFVTw

  43. 43
    rikyrah says:

    Like it or not, inequality is a huge issue for Democratic voters
    By Greg Sargent
    December 11 at 2:42 pm

    You’ve probably noticed that there’s a big argument raging (joined most prominently by Elizabeth Warren and the “centrist” group Third Way) over how aggressively, and in what manner, Democrats should campaign against inequality.

    Here’s a point that keeps getting lost, however: Inequality is already a disproportionally huge issue among Democratic base voters, and they believe overwhelmingly that government can — and should — do something about it. So it’s probably inevitable that inequality and the need for a serious policy response to it will figure prominently in Democratic Party politics going forward.

    A new poll captures this nicely. The Bloomberg survey found that huge majorities of Americans say the U.S. no longer offers everyone an equal shot, and that the gap between the rich and the rest is getting bigger.

    But the poll also finds only 45 percent say government should implement policies to shrink that gap, while 46 percent say government should let the market operate freely.

    Strikingly, however, Democratic voters overwhelmingly see a government role in combatting inequality. According to Bloomberg’s partisan breakdown:

    When asked if all Americans have an equal shot at getting ahead, 75 percent of Democrats said they don’t, compared with 51 percent of Republicans and 63 percent among independents…To narrow the income gap, 71 percent of Democrats said new government policies are needed, while 68 percent of Republicans said it would be better to let the marker operate freely. Among independents, 50 percent favored a free-market approach, while 40 percent support government changes.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....ic-voters/

  44. 44
    danielx says:

    Oooh! This bit from the Kaplan Daily gives me a nice warm feeling. Not as warm as Paul Teller’s face and/or ass, but warm.

    Not that the sonofabitch will miss any meals; on the wingnut welfare circuit there’s no such thing as excessive zealotry.

  45. 45
    rikyrah says:

    Virginia Republican Leader Tries to Incite Assassination Attempt On President Obama
    By: Rmuse
    Wednesday, December, 11th, 2013, 8:21 pm

    Last year, a Virginia county Republican Committee issued a warning that if President Obama won re-election in November there would be an armed rebellion that revealed their hatred of voters and the electoral process. The letter from the Republican county party chairman calling for armed rebellion is replete with a Christian bible verse on its logo that reads, “If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one” (Luke 22:36), and it said Republicans need candidates who were “intelligent and courageous and cut from the same cloth as (revolutionary hero) Patrick Henry and our attorney general and soon to be governor Ken Cuccinelli.” Fortunately for Virginians, the “soon to be governor Ken Cuccinelli” lost his bid to be governor, and when about 450 members of the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) met to lick their collective wounds at a former Confederate War hospital, the party chairman took the warning of “armed rebellion” a step farther.

    The annual Virginia Republican retreat, “Advance,” was supposed to be a time for introspection to assess why Democrats swept three statewide elections and won the governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general’s offices, but instead the state party chairman accused the media for the losses. He also took aim at governor-elect Terry McCauliffe and President Obama and said, “Obama’s so close to death that Terry McAuliffe is about to buy a life insurance on him, I’m looking forward to taking the gloves off!” The head Republican in Virginia, RPV Chairman Pat Mullins, is yet another in a long string of extremist conservatives to incite an assassination attempt against the President of the United States. However, Mullins is not just another rabid teabagger inciting or threatening violence against the President; he is, like the letter calling for armed rebellion against the government, a high-ranking representative of the Republican Party.

    http://www.politicususa.com/20.....obama.html

  46. 46
    rikyrah says:

    To be WHITE in America.

    You wanna know what White Privilege looks like?

    Here you go.

    ……………

    Judge gives probation to teen who killed four in DWI crash citing ‘affluenza’
    by JIM DOUGLAS
    Posted on December 10, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    FORT WORTH, Texas — A juvenile court judge sentenced 16-year-old Ethan Couch to 10 years’ probation Tuesday for the drunk driving crash that killed four people.

    Judge Jean Boyd could have sentenced Couch to 20 years behind bars.

    Youth pastor Brian Jennings; mother and daughter Hollie and Shelby Boyles; and 24-year-old Breanna Mitchell died in the June 15 accident.

    Boyd told the teen that he is responsible for what happened, but didn’t believe he would receive the necessary therapy in jail.

    Loved ones of victims left through a back door. They spent the afternoon speaking directly to Couch about how the crash changed their lives. They wanted him to serve some jail time.

    The widow of one of the victims looked at the defendant and said, “Ethan, we forgive you.”

    Couch swallowed hard and appeared to tear up a little bit in the courtroom upon hearing those words.

    Prior to sentencing, a psychologist called by the defense, Dr. G. Dick Miller, testified that Couch’s life could be salvaged with one to two years’ treatment and no contact with his parents.

    Investigators said Couch was driving a pickup truck between 68 and 70 miles-per-hour in a 40 mph zone. The four who died were standing on the side of the road outside their vehicle. Nine others were hurt.

    Miller said Couch’s parents gave him “freedoms no young person should have.” He called Couch a product of “affluenza,” where his family felt that wealth bought privilege and there was no rational link between behavior and consequences.

    He said Couch got whatever he wanted. As an example, Miller said Couch’s parents gave no punishment after police ticketed the then-15-year-old when he was found in a parked pickup with a passed out, undressed 14-year-old girl.

    Miller also pointed out that Couch was allowed to drive at 13. He said the teen was emotionally flat and needed years of therapy. At the time of the fatal wreck, Couch had a blood alcohol content of .24, said Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson. It is illegal for a minor to drive with any amount of alcohol in his or her system.

    Judge Boyd could have sentenced Couch to up to 20 years.

    http://www.khou.com/news/texas.....13421.html

  47. 47
    rikyrah says:

    Downton Abbey Fans:

    If you can’t wait for Season 4, and don’t mind spoilers,

    AfterBuzzTV has a recap program and they’ve been following Season 4 already.

    Listening to the webcasts have only made me want to see the new season of Downton Abbey even more.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....FoQ103QC9_

  48. 48
    handsmile says:

    @danielx:

    Apparently you didn’t get the memo about the change in epithet for the Capital City’s favorite fishwrap: sold by the Graham family, it’s now Bezos Daily or Amazon Prime Daily.

    Tough 24-hours for GOP senior staff members though, what with Paul Teller’s sacking and Ryan Loskarn, chief of staff for Sen. Lamar Alexander, being fired for allegations of possessing and distributing child pron.

    Do anyone see any mention of the latter incident on the teevee this morning? I didn’t come across any myself. How puzzling….oh, wait, that’s right….Alexander is a Republican…duh…

  49. 49
    Lee says:

    @rikyrah:

    Already have a thread here on that story.

  50. 50
    low-tech cyclist says:

    Greg Sargent, at the Washington Post, notes that “Republicans will face intense pressure over unemployment benefits”:

    They may face pressure, but they’re damned good at ignoring what the public wants when it suits them.

    The only leverage the Dems really have is the budget deal itself; they need to repudiate the deal that Sen. Murray negotiated for them, label it the “Freedom to Starve” budget, and refuse to okay a deal unless it includes an extension of UI benefits and no cuts to food stamps going forward.

    If that means shutting down the government, then so be it. Let the Dems shut down the government so that people can eat, and let the GOP shut it down to keep people from eating. Let’s see who wins this one.

  51. 51
    imonlylurking says:

    Getting ready for the company potluck-setup starts tonight, then tomorrow morning I’ll be directing traffic. I think I’ve gotten out of clean-up crew this year. Usually the planning committee is 3 people but last year was so much work, we told everybody that we need more help or it doesn’t happen. So, more help this year!

    I’m making that fruit salad from a can mixed with Cool Whip and mini marshmallows-specifically requested by a fellow committee member. (He also wants those little wreath cookies make with rice krispies, but I told him he’s on his own for those.)

  52. 52
    Xantar says:

    The latest update to the Facebook app now auto plays videos on your news feed. WTF? Who thought it would be a good idea to automatically use up people’s data and bandwidth? It’s stuff like this that makes me think Facebook doesn’t deserve to be the leading social network. They got there by default, but they are horrible at design and user interfaces otherwise.

  53. 53
    GregB says:

    I have noticed many wingnuts who are essentially saying that the healthcare bill is not only the Democrat’s Waterloo, it is also the total destruction of liberalism.

    It seems to be one of those idiotic memes that have consumed them and they repeat over and over as it to convince themselves.

  54. 54
    Feebog says:

    Sitting on the patio of my room overlooking Medano Beach in Cabo San Lucsa. Got to decide what to have for breakfast, then go get a massage. Life is good.

  55. 55
    Raven says:

    @Feebog: they’s tuna out there!

  56. 56
    Elizabelle says:

    @Feebog:

    Enjoy. That sounds wonderful. Have a rich cup of coffee and some fresh fruit for me.

    And then — those tuna ain’t going to catch themselves.

  57. 57
    flukebucket says:

    Just found out that according to FOX both Jesus and Santa are white. Suck it libs!

  58. 58

    Bill Kristol is always wrong, which means that the Democrats will take over the Congress next year.

  59. 59
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Baud:

    Sorry, doesn’t fit in with the horse race narrative that is the only one the MSM knows, because it’s the only one they can pretend to understand in a semi-credible way.

    On the plus side, if the GOP follows Billy Kristol’s advice and runs against Obamacare, it will be a Democratic landslide.

    Please proceed, fascist filth.

  60. 60
    burnspbesq says:

    In which the Hersh LRB article is carefully unpacked and found to be, umm, unpersuasive.

    http://justsecurity.org/2013/1.....ks-ghouta/

  61. 61

    Austerity cat will sit on your green shoots and eat them!

  62. 62
    mainmata says:

    So I am in Amman, Jordan for work reasons and there is a big snowstorm happening. Mainly a “DC snowstorm” where the streets are clear and grassy areas get some cover but the higher areas here have been paralyzed because, like, 1 inch of wet cover is a disaster. ;). Meanwhile the Syrian refugees in northern Jordan and Lebanon are getting a lot more snow and cold and really suffering.

    Meanwhile, though 95% of the population here is Muslim, the capitol is all into generic Christmas with the decorations and American music. Weird. Capitol city phenomenon.

  63. 63
    Mnemosyne says:

    @burnspbesq:

    I honestly don’t get what the big deal is. Even assuming Hersch’s story is true (and it seems a little weak), the big scandal is, what, that we bum-rushed Syria into peaceful multi-party negotiations?

  64. 64
    Rob in CT says:

    The annual Virginia Republican retreat, “Advance,”

    I laughed.

  65. 65
    Heliopause says:

    With all due respect to Scheiber and Krugman, why do they assume that Republicans have put all their eggs in the Obamacare basket? They’ve proven remarkably adaptable at inventing and applying hissy-fits. Sure, they’re riding the Obamacare train right now and appear poised to bargain away their government shutdown and debt ceiling chips, but six months from now they’ll be fretting about something else that’s as bad as slavery and Hitler put together. Jesus, if I had a dollar for every time liberals declared premature victory over the GOP…

  66. 66
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Burnsie has some sort of Sy Hersh jones, it seems.

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