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An unusually busy lame-duck session

Somebody is getting screwed here


A repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell?” Don’t bet on it.

The window for action on reversing the ban on gays in the military is quickly closing, and the path to undoing the 17-year-old law is riddled with roadblocks: a crowded lame-duck calendar, Democratic defectors, and emboldened Republican senators who have no desire to hand a legislative victory to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

If Democrats fail to pass the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” next month — before Republicans take control of the House in January — it could be years before they get another shot.

“Unless Democrats completely neglect the tax-hike issue and everything else they’ve been talking about lately, like the DREAM Act, the START treaty and controversial nominees, they won’t be able to finish it,” said one senior Senate GOP aide.

The repeal of “don’t ask” has been attached to the defense authorization bill, and Senate Republicans have already blocked the bill once before over this issue.

DADT, the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors), the START treaty, the Paycheck Fairness act, retroactive immunity for mortgage fraud, the extension of Bush tax cuts for the rich and the Catfood Commission report are all on the table of the 111th Congress.

This Congress has been in session for almost two years and several of the items before them have been languishing the entire time. START has been waiting a Senate vote since last Spring and the only thing of recent development is the discovery of massive mortgage fraud.

So why with less than two months left to go are all these items suddenly urgent?

I can’t recall any prior lame-duck session with such a full agenda of important legislation. Some of these items might have helped the Democrats energize their base for the election earlier this month. Yeah, those bills might have helped some GOPers too, but it wasn’t like the Democrats were expecting to gain seats on November 2nd.

If they couldn’t pass them before, what makes them think they can pass them now?

Maybe it’s just my Reynold’s Wrap beanie, but I get the feeling the Democrats aren’t being fully honest with us. Either that or they’re not playing with a full deck.

Friday Night Cookout on Saturday Pre-Turkey Day Edition

Here’s my recipe for Easy-Peasy Green Bean Casserole:

8 slices of bacon
2 16 oz. cans of French cut green beans
1 medium onion
1 16 oz can sliced stewed tomatoes
1 can French’s French Fried Onions

You can either chop the bacon and then fry it or fry it then crumble it. Either way get it crispy then remove from the frying pan. Slice up the onion and carmelize in the leftover bacon grease. Remove from heat and drain excess grease.

Mix bacon, onion, green beans and stewed tomatoes in a casserole dish. Bake about 30 minutes at 300 degrees (or less time at higher temperature) and top with French Fried Onions.

What are some of your favorite Thankgiving recipes?

PS: I LOVE Paula Deen!


You can’t make this stuff up

If you thought the progressive blogosphere lost its collective mind to Palin Derangement Syndrome two years ago, you ain’t seen nothing yet:

Insiders: If Bristol Palin Wins, ‘Dancing’ Is Ruined

At first, having Bristol Palin participate in ‘Dancing With The Stars’ seemed like a brilliant idea. Just like Kate Gosselin before her, casting an admittedly bad dancer who was shrouded in controversy has raked in big ratings and tons of press. But now the joke is on the show’s producers, as they fear Bristol is actually going to win this thing.

“This will be a disaster for the show if Bristol wins,” one TV insider tells me. “Any creditability the show had will be over. It will go from being a dancing competition to a popularity competition where whoever has the most rabid fan base will always win no matter how little talent they have.”

And while it’s true Bristol’s dancing has dramatically improved since the season began, no one with working eyes would put her in the same league as the other remaining stars, Jennifer Grey and Kyle Massey.

“Another problem the producers foresee is that after Bristol wins no one in Hollywood will ever want to be on the show again,” a well-placed ABC source tells me. “Why would a real star want to compete and lose against someone like [former U.S. Senate candidate] Christine O’Donnell or Levi Johnston. It’s humiliating. The producers know they are in big trouble for sure.”

And it’s not just future contestants and viewers that the show needs to worry about. A friend of one of the judges tells me Bristol has made a fool out of all of them. It’s now painfully obvious that the judge’s scores and opinions mean nothing.

Dancing with the Stars is a show that takes some retired athletes, singers, fashion models, washed up actors and actresses and other minor celebrities and matches them with professional dancers in a semi-rigged dance competition.

You see, some of the “stars” are ringers while others are plodders with multiple left feet. Jennifer Grey is one of this season’s ringers:

Born in New York City, Grey is the daughter of stage and screen actor Joel Grey and the former actress/singer Jo Wilder. Grey is the granddaughter of comedian and musician Mickey Katz. She is an alumna of the Dalton School, a private school in Manhattan, and studied both dance and acting.

Bristol Palin is a plodder with no previous dance experience. She was supposed to be eliminated no later than the middle rounds. But then a funny thing happened – she kept avoiding elimination due to fan voting.

This caused heads to explode. One of the first casualties was Jeralyn Merrit. Jeralyn has had a raging case of PDS since about five minutes after John McCain announced his choice of running mate back in 2008. She let her mind wander and it never came back.

A few weeks ago Jeralyn’s PDS mutated into BPDS. After last weeks DWTS semi-final round BPDS has become a pandemic.

At HuffPoop, we have Megan Carpentier (Associate Editor, Talking Points Memo) writing this:

But Sarah Palin’s vast and unending popularity — and her supporters’ fanaticism to defend everything in the Palinsphere — threw everyone for a curveball. Let us be clear: no one should begrudge a mother wanting her daughter to win, or using her popularity to help that. But Operation Bristol isn’t that, and it isn’t about conservatives watching (and enjoying) Dancing with the Stars and voting for their favorite candidate: it’s about supporting one dancer on a show many of them aren’t even watching for strictly political reasons.


The plan to hand Bristol the Mirror Ball next week despite the fact that there were three candidates who were much, much better than her might make Bristol happy — until Monday night’s unfortunate display of attitude, we would have expected that she would prefer to lose graciously rather than win this way, but now we don’t know — and it might make her mom happy, but her fan base is hurting the show and the public perception of the woman they admire and the daughter they claim to champion. Plus it means the audience that loves (even grudgingly) to watch people dance and improve won’t get to see the best people battle it out: instead, we’ll be stuck watching Mark and his guyliner dance around Bristol’s flaws while quietly bemoaning whomever isn’t on screen. And from the look on Mark’s face the last two weeks, he knows that’s bad for him and the show he loves.

I’m sure Megan is only concerned about artistic integrity and the credibility of ABC’s reality programming. Politics never entered her mind.

But wait! There’s more:

FBI Investigates White Powder Mailed to ‘DWTS’

First a guy shoots his TV over Bristol Palin’s fancy footwork. Now, another viewer is apparently taking America’s favorite ballroom-dance extravaganza way too seriously.

Emergency responders in Los Angeles were called to the offices of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ late Friday to investigate a white powder that was reportedly contained in a piece of fan mail addressed to Sarah Palin’s daughter, the 20-year-old Alaskan who has remained in competition with ‘DWTS’ partner Mark Ballos despite poorly judged performances.

The FBI told TMZ, “The L.A.P.D., L.A. City and FBI Hazardous Materials officials responded to a report of a threatening letter containing white powder.”

If you google “bristol palin dancing with the stars” you will get 31 MILLION 700 THOUSAND hits. Seriously.

Now there is even a Facebook page called “Operation Vote Off Bristol.”


The winner of DWTS shouldn’t be the contestant who went from log to broom. It should be the best dancer. The show has already been damaged by allowing conservatives to gin the system and get Bristol to the semi-finals. If ABC doesn’t put voting checks in place for the finals, it deserves to go down.

The final two episodes of this seasons DWTS will be this Monday, November 22 at 8:00 PM and Tuesday, November 23 at 9:00 PM.

Make sure you have plenty of popcorn.

Obama must be drinking his own Kool-aid

Another victory like this, and we’re done for” – Pyrrus


Jake Tapper:

Huh? President Obama Tells Volunteers That In Midterms “You Guys Turned ‘Yes We Can’ Into ‘Yes We Did’

Members of Organizing for America – the president’s former campaign committee – received a text message today asking them to call 888-206-1431 “to hear a special message from President Obama.”

In the recorded message, the president says, “Thank you for the tireless work, you guys organized the single largest midterm election effort in this history of our party…You turned ‘Yes We Can’ into ‘Yes We Did.’”

“You didn’t sit this one out even when all the pundits said it was hopeless and because of that we are stronger,” the president said.

What the fuck? What part of “major ass-whipping” doesn’t he understand?

Considering that President Obama himself called the election “a shellacking,” with Democrats losing control of the House of Representatives, six Senate seats, 20 state legislatures, one might be forgiven for wondering exactly he thinks his volunteers did – other than valiantly trying but failing to get enough voters to the polls.

“This was about the volunteer effort, not the election result,” said Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse. “The party made 86 million voter contacts, we had staff or volunteers in 435 congressional districts, we raised and spent more money than ever in a midterm, we had the lergest midterm field effort ever, we ran or staffed virtually all the coordinated campaigns in all the key states.”

As ABC News Polling Director Gary Langer has pointed out, according to exit polls, 29 million Obama voters from 2008 didn’t show up to vote in the midterms.

“Thirteen percent of Obama voters defected to Republicans for Congress,” Langer noted.

Women – who won women voters by 13 points in 2008 — voted 49-48 percent for Democratic vs. Republican House candidate — the best for Republicans among women in national House vote in exit polls since 1982.”

In terms of party self-identification, Democrats went to the polls in 2008 with a seven point advantage in 2008, 40-33% over Republicans. This year it was 36-36 percent.

Swing-voting independents went for Obama by 8 points in 2008; this year they favored Republicans for the House 55-39 percent – the Republicans’ biggest win among independents in exit polls since 1982.

Young voters, in particular, were a disaster this year. Eighteen-to-29 year olds comprised 18% of the electorate in 2008 and only 12 percent earlier this month.

I guess in fairness I should point out that the message was intended for Obama’s Kool-aid zombies loyal followers and it’s well established that they will believe ANYTHING.

But it’s still one of the stupidest things Obama has ever said, and he’s said lots of stupid shit.

So much for the “smartest president ever.”

“I haven’t seen a beatin’ like that since somebody stuck a banana in my pants and turned a monkey loose” – Cousin Eddie/Randy Quaid

The Knitting Diaries: Of Needles and Pins

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Not that you can tell from the photos above, but I’ve spent most of this week working on the first sleeve of my sweater. The first couple of attempts failed because I just couldn’t stand the huge holes on either side of the extra stitches I cast on under the arm. Apparently, this is a common problem with sweaters and the Internet is filled with hints for fixing it after the sleeves are knit. Most recommend sewing the holes up which I didn’t want to do.

Read more of my adventures in knitting below: Continue reading

Birthday Boys on a Shero Saturday

Secretary Clinton and President Obama in Lisbon, November 19, 2010

Good morning, sleepyheads. Wonk the Vote here with my two for this Saturday, November 20th, 2010. Eighty five years ago today, Bobby Kennedy was born. On November 3rd, 1964, the voters of New York elected Bobby Kennedy to the US Senate. Thirty six years later, on November 7th, 2000, the voters of New York elected Hillary Rodham Clinton to the seat that had once belonged to Bobby. Hillary earned 55 percent of the vote, nearly the same as Bobby Kennedy’s 54 percent in 1964. Over eight years later, toward the end of the 2008 race between Clinton and Obama, much was made of Hillary’s RFK remarks — much ado about absolutely nothing. The photo to the left, from yesterday in Lisbon, is testament to just how baseless and phony the outrage over Hillary’s comments had been from the start.

Months before, back in January 2008, when the banshee choir’s chant of “Why Won’t That Stupid Bitch Quit” was still in its infancy, RFK’s children had endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. Their endorsement prompted Stephen Schlesinger to pen an op-ed for the Huffington Post called “Hillary and RFK” underscoring the thread between Bobby’s career and Hillary’s:

It is interesting to read the op-ed piece in Tuesday’s Los Angeles Times (Jan 29, 2008) written by three of Robert Kennedy’s children — Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Kerry Kennedy, endorsing the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. The match-up of RFK’s offspring with Hillary Clinton is, on one level, a personal and passionate embrace of a woman whom all of them greatly admire for her political prowess and broad vision. But, on another level, it is a symbolic reminder to America of how similar Hillary’s and RFK’s political experiences have been — and what lessons we can draw from them.

First, all political analogies are imperfect. Still the similarities are quite atonishing. Both individuals, we should remember, started their political careers with famous last names. Like RFK, Hillary ran for the U.S. Senate in NY State as an outsider and won. Like him, she won the adoring support of New Yorkers. But, like him, the moment she jumped into the presidential race, she was labeled ruthless and unprincipled. And like him she has faced an opponent who is considered a “breakthrough” candidate, a man of change. In the case of RFK, voters were eventually able to see through the din and dust to his true progressive beliefs. In the case of Hillary Clinton, her triumphs in New Hampshire, Nevada and Michigan suggest that as more and more people listen to her, the more they are willing to embrace her as the most reliable liberal trailblazer in the contest.

Continue reading

Voting is more fun in Spain

This is an open thread.