President Obama’s Press Conference, December 31, 2012

This is what President Obama had to say about the “fiscal cliff”.

 

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Watering Hole: Monday, December 31, 2012 – Hillary Clinton Hospitalized Sunday with Blood Clot

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Many news organizations, including Reuters, have reported that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been admitted to a hospital following the discovery of a small blood clot stemming from the concussion she suffered earlier this month.

Many in the right wing media have been trying to say, sometimes in a roundabout way and sometimes directly, that she was faking her concussion to get out of testifying about what happened in the Sept 11 attack on the Benghazi Consulate. Of course, there is no basis whatsoever for these accusations, but when did the truth ever stop the right wing from saying anything? Fox News hasn’t been shy about questioning the veracity of Secretary Clinton’s claims or the seriousness of her injury. While she was following doctor’s orders and getting bed rest (a smart thing to do after a concussion, especially when you were sick when you got it), some Fox News people have wondered aloud (and on camera) why she still couldn’t testify as scheduled on Benghazi. (I’m no doctor, but I’m guessing the brain damage prevalent at Fox News was not the result of concussions, but simply a prerequisite for being hired to work there as an on-air “talent.”)

Bill O’Reilly dismissively said, “If She Was In The NFL I Wouldn’t Let Her Play, But I Think She Can Make A Phone Call.” And former unconfirmed G. W. Bush UN Ambassador John “I Am The Walrus Mustache” Bolton even pushed a story about how diplomats lie to get out of meetings they don’t wish to attend.

Fox News contributor John Bolton told host Greta van Susteren that when foreign service officers “don’t want to go to a meeting or conference or event,” they have “a diplomatic illness. And this is a diplomatic illness to beat the band.”

And Fox’s Laura Ingraham mocked Sec. Clinton’s condition saying, “We Are Now Calling This The Immaculate Concussion.” It’s actually pretty ignorant of them to say, “No one knows where she is.” Of course people knew – she was at home, as previously reported, where her doctor’s told her to stay. O’Reilly even said where she was later in the segment.

It’s time for Fox News to start apologizing for accusing the Secretary of State of faking her concussion so she wouldn’t have to testify regarding the Benghazi attack. And they’re not the only ones. Soon-to-be former Congressman Allen West said that she was trying to get out of testifying with a bout of the “Benghazi Flu.” To her credit, Fox’s Greta van Susteren has pushed back on these accusations saying, “I don’t agree with any of my (Fox News) colleagues or anyone else who is a tad bit sarcastic on our air about Secretary Clinton’s health.”

Given his well-documented obsession with Hillary Clinton, we can only imagine what Rush Limbaugh has said on the subject. We have to because none of us here can stomach listening to that blowhard.

Surely their apologies are imminent. Yeah, just as surely as I’ll be sworn in next month to replace Secretary Clinton.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Hillary’s concussion, Rush’s obsessions, O’Reilly’s brain damage, or any other topic you wish. And from all of us at The Zoo, please enjoy your New Year’s Eve celebrations safely and responsibly.

The Sunday Roast: 2012 – The Best Line…and The Worst

I have been thinking a lot about what stuck in my mind from last year and, of course, there are numerous occasions that are memorable. In my own life and in politics. Not all good memories, but that was 2012 for me. Not all good. Let’s stick to politics.

Here the best line in politics of 2012. Hint: A door painted on a rock…

And there was in my humble opinion the worst:

The only way is to take away the guns from the bad guys. Period!

So, what are you thinking? There are some really great quotes out there you are welcome to post the best, funniest, most thoughtful, most thought provoking and most uplifting lines that come to your mind. I think we might as well end this year on hope. Heaven knows we can all use it.

To All Critters and Regulars and the Occasional Lurker. I wish you a very Happy, Healthy and Successful New Year. Let’s get 2012 behind us, we have been spared another Republican President, yes it affects us over here as well. But there is still a lot of work to do on both sides of the Atlantic. I wish us all the best for it.

EV

 

The Watering Hole, Saturday, December 29, 2012: Ignore That E-Mail

I happen to be a fan of FactCheck.org. They are a non-partisan site dedicated to checking facts in political discussions and reporting the results no matter who it helps or hurts. For example, many of us on the Left have pointed out that the reason Social Security should be off the table during debt ceiling and budget talks is because it is not contributing a penny to the federal deficit. FactCheck looked into that and you know what? It turns out that is not entirely true. And with the problem getting a little worse each year (the payroll tax “holiday” isn’t helping the long term prospects of Social Security, even if it is putting about twenty bucks or so a week in your pocket today), it was wrong of Sen Dick Durbin (D-IL) to repeat the claim last month. So while I may not like what I hear from them sometimes, being the good Liberal that I am, I let facts change my mind. So I no longer say Social Security is not contributing to the deficit or debt, because right now it is.

One of the things FactCheck does (and does well) is check the facts in all those viral e-mails you get, usually accusing President Obama of doing something unprecedented, or illegal, or, I don’t know, black. There usually isn’t a lot of truth in those e-mails. Yes, Barack Obama is the President of the United States, but that’s usually where the truth ends in those e-mails. In their year-end summary, FactCheck.org reviewed many of the viral e-mails of the past year that didn’t pass, shall we say, the smell test.

Whether it’s the truth about how much of our national debt can be blamed solely on Obama (both sides have been wrong on this one), did Obama give stimulus money to Chinese contractors to build bridges in the U.S. (no, he didn’t), does Mitt Romney’s son Tagg (he’s the tall, thin, dark-haired one) own voting machines in Ohio (no, he doesn’t), or did the IRS pay billions in tax refunds to workers who are in the U.S. illegally (okay, that one turned out to be true), Fact Check.org digs in and uncovers the truth.

For those interested in the truth (which makes being right easier), I recommend FactCheck.org. If you know of any fact-checking sites with as much or more reliability, I’d like to hear what they are. Because, being the good Liberal that I am, I like Facts. You should, too. Life can be so much easier to deal with when viewed through the prism of Truth, as opposed to that of Ideology.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss FactCheck.org, some other fact-checking websites, or any other subject you wish. It’s a free country. And that’s a fact. At least I hope it still is.

The Watering Hole, Friday, December 28, 2012: “Blues Cruise”

From a recent article by Joe Hagan in New York Magazine, some very revealing observations, each and all laced with direct quotes of/by his “shipmates,” the combination of which seems to perfectly define the American wingnut conservative (… umm … movement? Yeah, OK, that works). So, from the ‘bowels ‘ (sotospeak) of the GOP via a post-election-get-away-from-it-all Caribbean cruise here it is, Hagan’s ‘observer’ commentary of his encounters as recorded onboard the Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch registry) Caribbean cruise ship, cruise beginning Nov. 16 2012 in Ft. Lauderdale FL:

Who sent Obama here to destroy America?  a fifty-something woman asked.

Minorities came out like crazy. White people didn’t get to the polls. There are far more African–Americans voting than they expected. said Kevin Hassett, a former economic adviser to Mitt Romney

So what do we do with our money?  asked a tall, extremely tanned blonde named Kay, from Old Greenwich, Connecticut, of Hassett, who replied:

Okay, if Europe is what you want, go to Poland. Go to Krakow, buy a house for $50,000, and it’s going to be like Paris in a few years.

And Hagan continues: “As we drained the Pinot Noir,  Hassett gave his audience the insider’s view of the Romney campaign, describing how its election-monitoring software crashed on November 6 and Obama was probably behind it, because those guys are so evil.

The table grumbled in assent.

The thing we have to understand is, these are people who don’t have any morals, said Hassett. They’ll do anything. I’m one of their No. 1 targets. I mean, they really want me bad. I was in the middle of the fight against the propaganda, and I have stories like you wouldn’t believe. These people are so evil. They’re basically Fascists. It’s unbelievable.

So: “They’re basically Fascists.” Yeah, ok, right. Reminds me of that old adage in which the Pot accused the Black of  being a Kettle, or something close to that.

In any case, Hagan’s saga continues. Scary! And yes, it’s lengthy, too, but for those who are trying to comprehend the (incomprehensible?) undercurrent of today’s American conservative wingnut Republican ‘movement,’ it’s well worth the time. I mean hey, with wingnut luminaries such as Ralph Reed, Jonah Goldberg, John Yoo, Cal Thomas, Rich Lowry, et al. in attendance … I mean, what more could anyone ever ask?? [Well, yeah, ok, but “Fire one, fire two, fire three” went out of style in the Caribbean when, in the early forties? Still, yes, as Charles de Gualle quite likely would have said on more than one occasion, Je comprends] (sotospeak).

Back to the task at hand, one more enticing tidbit; Hagan writes:

As [Cal] Thomas downed the rest of his drink, Duane [a retired surgeon from California] said the only way out of the current quagmire is a revolution, citing the famous Thomas Jefferson line about watering the tree of liberty with blood from time to time.

What kind of revolution did he have in mind?

Duane’s eyes crinkled into a big smile. You ever heard of guns?

His wife sat up: How do you like the veal?

It’s awful, Duane growled, poking at it. I can’t hardly chew it.

And so it went. I offer kudos to Joe Hagan for having SURVIVED a week with that cluster of idiots, and offer further kudos to him for finding the means to somehow ENDURE the stupidity!

Hagan quotes National Review’s Jonah Goldberg’s summation of these recent electoral events:

This is a more downbeat bunch this year. We lost in 2008, but it was almost boisterous and fun. This, a little less so. People were dyspeptic.

Their conception of what the country is about, they really were sure the country would reject Barack Obama. I do think it hits them hard. The fear I have, why this election stung, I think, Obama has successfully ­de-ratified some of the Reagan revolution in a way that Clinton never could and didn’t even try to. That’s what freaks people out, that feeling in their gut, either Obama has changed the country, or the country has sufficiently changed that they don’t have a problem with Obama. That’s what eats at people.

As my cousin has long (always, actually) been wont to say, “Republicans forever, Democrats never!” My new response: Obama has changed the country! Yay! Finally! De-ratify! Yes! Yeehaw!‘”

Weird world, this one. Why is that? Anyone got the explanation?

This is our daily open thread — what’s on YOUR mind?

The Watering Hole, Thursday, December 27th, 2012: Other Goodbyes

As I said in a previous thread, many of us here at The Zoo have, sadly, suffered the loss of loved ones this year. Those personal losses will never make any of the lists of famous or otherwise notable people who died this year, regardless of how important or life-altering our own losses have been to us.

However, 2012 has been a year during which many people have been lost who have also affected our lives, whether in minor ways or more deeply. Actors and other entertainers and celebrities – Charles Durning, Jack Klugman, Phyllis Diller, Richard Dawson, Marvin Hamlisch, Ravi Shankar, Gore Vidal, Ray Bradbury, to name a few – have been part of our lives as well, and their passing brings back many memories. Several people who had more significant impact on our nation as well as individually have also quit this mortal coil, such as Helen Gurley Brown, Rodney King, George McGovern, Arlen Spector, astronauts Sally Ride and Neil Armstrong. Ranker.com provides a list of 90+ such individuals in various fields. (Note: a couple of the people on this list are duplicated.)

Cracked.com has also compiled a list of “Where Aren’t They Now? 13 Overlooked Deaths of 2012” and, while one or two are listed at the link above, most are not, and are not necessarily household names. But many things that we take for granted today are, at least in some part, due to the contributions of these lesser-known individuals.

One name that is not on either list is the actor William Windom, who was one of my favorite actors since I was a child. Is there anyone else that you can think of who is missing from both lists?

This is our daily open thread — what’s on YOUR mind?