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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
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Pope Warns Against Bling

"Today Christmas has become a commercial celebration, whose bright lights hide the mystery of God's humility, which in turn calls us to humility and simplicity," he said in his homily to about 10,000 people in the basilica and millions more watching on television throughout the world.


The Molotov Party (by Frank Rich) For the new GOP, conservative isn’t nearly radical enough.

The Molotov Party
Frank Rich
New York Magazine
January 2012

The GOP is even undergoing a cultural revolution to match its ideological reboot. A party that has spent much of the past three decades pandering to the religious right remains adamantly opposed to reproductive rights for women and equal rights for gays. But now it routinely rationalizes and even embraces the same licentious sexual culture it once opposed with incessant anti-indecency crusades. Extramarital behavior that Republicans decried as an apocalyptic stain on the national moral fabric in the Clinton era is the new normal on the right. Just look at Iowa, long an epicenter of the family-values brigade, and the plight of Rick Santorum, a hard-line proselytizer for every religious-right cause and an ostentatious promoter of his own religious orthodoxy and procreative prowess. He has not had one even near-winning week in state polls in 2011 despite campaigning in all 99 counties among what would seem to be his natural constituency. The thrice-married philanderer Newt Gingrich, despite little presence in Iowa and an even smaller campaign outlay than Santorum’s there, effortlessly surged to the top, however transitorily, beating his nearest competitor (Paul) by nearly a two-to-one margin among white Evangelical Christians in an early December Times–CBS News poll of likely ­Republican caucusgoers.


The panicked GOP Establishment, belatedly closing its ranks to hasten Romney’s coronation, could well get its wish. Gingrich’s capacity for self-immolation is infinite, and the only non-Romney left who could make trouble is Paul. Either way, the 25-75 split has been a lucky break for Obama. Though the White House has made a great show of saying that it regards Romney as its toughest potential opponent, that stance has always seemed disingenuous. In a time of economic woe, it’s a gift to run against a chilly venture-capital tycoon who, in Mike Huckabee’s undying characterization from the 2008 GOP primary campaign, looks like “the guy who laid you off.” If a candidate can attract only a quarter of his own party after essentially four years of campaigning, where is the groundswell going to come from next November? The thinness of that 25 percent is dramatized by the Real Clear Politics compilation of polls of Republican contenders and voters: Of 59 surveys taken since the Perry boomlet of August, Romney has only placed first in 20. A bomb-throwing non-Mitt, by contrast, would energize the 75 percent majority that whipped Mitt the other 39 times—particularly the activists who might otherwise be tempted to sit on their hands on Election Day. But fielding a radical ticket would come at the price of energizing any Democrats who also are thinking of staying home in 2012.



CNN turns up a cache that raise questions about Gingrich's claim's regarding his divorce

The Gingrich divorce papers

By ALEXANDER BURNS | 12/26/11 12:15 PM EST
CNN turns up a cache that raise questions about Gingrich's claim that his first wife requested their divorce:


Jackie Battley Gingrich, the congressman's wife and the mother of Jackie Gingrich Cushman, responded by asking the judge to reject her husband's filing.

"Defendant shows that she has adequate and ample grounds for divorce, but that she does not desire one at this time," her petition said.

"Although defendant does not admit that this marriage is irretrievably broken, defendant has been hopeful that an arrangement for temporary support of defendant and the two minor daughters of the parties could be mutually agreed upon without the intervention of this court," her petition said. "All efforts to date have been unsuccessful."

When CNN presented the information found in the divorce file to the Gingrich campaign, its spokesman stood by the contention that it was Gingrich's ex-wife who asked for the divorce in 1980.


Finally, OWS Crafts a Clear Message


A local artist dropped off approximately 250 of these candles to OWS, and they clearly found a festive use for them before the NYSE.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone.

Obama: The conservative in 2012 --- by: E.J. Dionne Jr.

E.J. Dionne Jr.
Opinion Writer

The GOP is engaged in a wholesale effort to redefine the government help that Americans take for granted as an effort to create a radically new, statist society. Consider Romney’s claim in his Bedford speech: “President Obama believes that government should create equal outcomes. In an entitlement society, everyone receives the same or similar rewards, regardless of education, effort and willingness to take risk. That which is earned by some is redistributed to the others. And the only people who truly enjoy any real rewards are those who do the redistributing — the government.”

Obama believes no such thing. If he did, why are so many continuing to make bundles on Wall Street? As my colleagues Greg Sargent and Paul Krugman have been insisting, Romney is saying things about the president that are flatly, grossly and shamefully untrue. But Romney’s sleight of hand is revealing: Republicans are increasingly inclined to argue that any redistribution (and Social Security, Medicare, student loans, veterans benefits and food stamps are all redistributive) is but a step down the road to some radically egalitarian dystopia.

Obama will thus be the conservative in 2012, in the truest sense of that word. He is the candidate defending the modestly redistributive and regulatory government the country has relied on since the New Deal, and that neither Ronald Reagan nor George W. Bush dismantled. The rhetoric of the 2012 Republicans suggests they want to go far beyond where Reagan or Bush ever went. And here’s the irony: By raising the stakes of 2012 so high, Republicans will be playing into Obama’s hands. The GOP might well win a referendum on the state of the economy. But if this is instead a larger-scale referendum on whether government should be “inconsequential,” Republicans will find the consequences to be very disappointing.


Year in review, part two - by Tom Tomorrow

But Then It Was Too Late...

But Then It Was Too Late


"What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security.....................

"This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.


the rest:

War vets invade an urban village (in Baltimore)

By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun
December 25, 2011

Earl Johnson, who served in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq, is a board member for Operation Oliver, a campaign to clean up Baltimore's run-down Oliver neighborhood. (Algernia Perna, Baltimore Sun / December 5, 2011)


They've come to this neighborhood once synonymous with the worst of Baltimore to help it become something better. They call this mission Operation Oliver.

As the men walk, they pick up empty Seagram's gin and Bacardi rum bottles. They point to progress — refurbished homes, a painted playground — and to vacant houses and trash-filled alleys that still need work.

"A lot of the conditions from places we're deployed to, Iraq and Afghanistan, are not that much different from the conditions here in Oliver," says Blake, executive director of the 6th Branch, one of several nonprofit groups involved in Operation Oliver.


Operation Oliver, which began in July, is a one-year commitment to the neighborhood, the veterans say. It involves cleaning up alleys, rehabilitating homes, organizing volunteers and notifying police about illegal dumping sites and drug dealing.


so cute!

President Obama nibbles on baby’s hand during visit to Marines


Newt-FORGOT(?) To BUY His OWN Domain Name!

Book Sales, However, Are Looking Up
by Geov Parrish
Fri Dec 23rd, 2011 at 03:18:29 PM EST

One more piece of evidence, in case you needed any, that Newt Gingrich's campaign was never intended to be serious: he forgot to buy his own domain name.

Go ahead. Click on NewtGingrich.com. http://www.newtgingrich.com/ Do it again. Try it a couple more times. I'll wait.

That, ladies and gentleman, is not the campaign of your next President of the United States. Or even the next nominee of the lunatic-run asylum that is the Republican Party.


Romney wins by virtue of having the fewest people who despise him ("only" about two-thirds of the party) and by having the party elite and its money firmly in his pocket. There may be a year, very soon, when the party base is strong enough to overthrow the choice of its leadership, but that requires a candidate for it to rally behind. That hasn't happened so far in this race, and it's not going to.