We couldn’t agree more.
Portrait of the 113th Congress – The Hill: “In the House, there will be a roll call vote at 11 a.m. for new members and the swearing-in at noon, followed by a ceremonial swearing-in in the Rayburn House Office building at 3 p.m., which is where new members will get their photo taken with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). The lower chamber will gain 82 new lawmakers on Thursday: 35 Republicans and 47 Democrats. This year’s Republican freshman class is much smaller than the legendary class of 2010, which caused many headaches for Boehner.”
think-progress: Meet the Senate’s new women caucus.
A primer for the 113th Congress – latimes.com: “Democrats gained slight ground in both houses in the 2012 election, though control of both remained in the same hands: Democrats still run the Senate and Republicans the House. The GOP leads, 234 representatives to 201, in the House, having lost eight seats to Democrats. And in the Senate, Democrats lead, 55-45, counting independent Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine, who will caucus with them. Republicans lost two seats and Democrats gained two, including the closely watched race in Massachusetts between Elizabeth Warren and departing Sen. Scott Brown. The incoming congressional class features a record number of female (100), Latino (31), Asian American (12) and openly gay or bisexual (7) members, along with 43 African Americans.”
FLASHBACK: Two years ago – 112th Congress sworn in, GOP flexes muscles: With the ceremonial swearing in of the 112th Congress, Republicans have taken control of the House of Representatives, promising a fierce challenge to President Barack Obama and the potential for legislative gridlock in the countdown to the 2012 presidential election. Rep. John Boehner, a long-serving Ohioan from a working-class background, was awarded the speaker’s gavel Wednesday, ending the historic term of Democrat Nancy Pelosi, the San Francisco liberal who was the first woman to preside over the House. The speaker is second-in-line for the presidency after the vice president.
[...] Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell said the voters had made it clear they “want lawmakers to cut Washington, tackle the debt, rein in government and to help create the right conditions for private sector growth.”…Many Republican freshmen will feel obliged to answer the call of hardcore conservative constituencies that sent them to Washington on contentious matters such as the need to raise the federal debt limit…..By way of example, House leaders set their first spending cut vote for Thursday, a 5 percent reduction in the amount spent for lawmakers’ and committees’ offices and leadership staff. Aides estimate the savings at $35 million over the next nine months. Republicans have pledged to vote at least once a week on bills that cut spending. And the new House Majority Leader, Rep. Eric Cantor, challenged Obama to include significant spending cuts in his State of the Union address on Jan. 25. But Republicans acknowledge they must do more than simply oppose Obama’s every proposal, as they did the past two years of Democratic rule.
Think Progress reports that Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden, Red Lobster) has reconsidered its decision to reduce the hours of their full-time workers to avoid having to provide them with health insurance:
AP is reporting that, in an effort to stem the negative attention, Darden will announce Thursday that they will not be moving any workers to a part-time schedule because of Obamacare. The company is, however, keeping the option open of relying more heavily on part-time employees in the future. Ultimately, reports a Darden spokesman, they tested a shift to part-time staff and found a decline in satisfaction all around:
After Darden’s tests were reported in October, the company received a flood of feedback from customers through its website, on Facebook and in restaurants, said Bob McAdam, who heads government affairs and community relations for Darden. Additionally, he said that internal surveys showed both employee and customer satisfaction declined at restaurants where the tests were in place.
“What that taught us is that our restaurants perform better when we have full-time hourly employees involved,” he said… McAdam declined to give specifics on the internal surveys but said the decline was “enough to make a decision.”
This is, of course, after all the negative press they’ve attracted since their announcement in October — and a subsequent drop in stock value.
The only way to get their attention is to punch these companies in the pocketbook.
Daily Intel: “According to multiple Fox sources, [Fox News chief Roger Ailes] has issued a new directive to his staff: He wants the faces associated with the election off the air — for now. For Karl Rove and Dick Morris — a pair of pundits perhaps most closely aligned with Fox’s anti-Obama campaign — Ailes’s orders mean new rules. Ailes’s deputy, Fox News programming chief Bill Shine, has sent out orders mandating that producers must get permission before booking Rove or Morris. Both pundits made several appearances in the days after the election, but their visibility on the network has dropped markedly. Inside Fox News, Morris’s Romney boosterism and reality-denying predictions became a punch line… Multiple sources say that Ailes was angry at Rove’s election-night tantrum when he disputed the network’s call for Obama.”
…for those who work in retail today.
There’s no way I want to be anywhere with this many people packed around me. I’ll wait a day and pay 5% more, or whatever.
Some wonder if the Mitt Romney Tax Return Theft hoax (fact?) is really just a political ploy by Karl Rove, or someone like him, to try and move Romney out of the position of “rich asshole who won’t release his tax returns to the American public,” and into the position of sympathetic victim (evil Democrats did it!).
If so, good luck with that. I’m not sure many would feel sorry for him if his tax returns were released without his consent.
AP: “The plot in this mystery has enough holes that it could be an elaborate hoax. But it comes at a critical moment during the 2012 presidential campaign. In its broadest outlines, the case might be compared to Watergate, the 1972 political break-in that led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation. But unlike Watergate, which started with the arrest of bungling burglars traced to Republicans, the Tennessee case is a baffling mystery so far, without any clear suspects. There is no evidence Democrats were involved.
“[...] It was unclear even among experts whether the purported theft might be a hoax. The alleged culprit so far has provided no evidence that Romney’s tax returns actually were stolen, such as a scan of a partial page from one of the documents. But for seasoned and committed hackers such a theft was described as entirely plausible, especially for someone who could gain physical access to a company’s keyboards.
“[...] Even if the latest case were a hoax, hackers have been alerted to intense public interest in Romney’s personal finances. ”You’ve got every hacker in the world thinking, `Wouldn’t that be awesome to do?’” Maiffret said. “I have a feeling this is going to be a hoax, but you’re going to have copycats who are going to try to do this.”"
And just in time for all the new hacker-interest:
Larry Flynt Offers $1 Million for Mitt Romney’s Tax Returns: The offer will be featured in a full-page ad taken out in the Sunday edition of The Washington Post and the Tuesday edition of USA Today.
Release those returns, Willard. You’re supposed to be proving yourself, not asking voters to prove they believe you.
“The work begins anew. The hope rises again, and the dream lives on.” – Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, 1932-2009
Ted Kennedy (from the video): “Now [Romney] looks like he’s for minimum wage, now he looks like he’s for education reform. If we give him two more weeks he may even vote for me because those are the things I’m for.”
Josh Marshall: “I am pro-choice. Mitt Romney is multiple choice,” was the big Kennedy line from the video. I believe Alex Castellanos, on CNN, called it “eviscerating.” I should say so.
Elizabeth Warren: ”Ted Kennedy changed my life. He changed how I understood what it is that a public servant does. And I think of him in this race every single day. And I come to this convention and I think of him every single hour.”
Jamelle Bouie: In just over seven minutes, Democrats have honored a lion of American liberalism, and reinforced the image that Mitt Romney is utterly devoid of conviction. Not a bad first move.
@ezraklein: I, for one, am shocked that Democrats would inject politics into a video about politician Ted Kennedy during a political convention.
Charles P. Pierce: The video was a delightful combination of elegy and attack ad. A lot of it was taken up with clips from the debate between Edward Kennedy and Willard Romney during their 1994 Senate race in which Romney came off looking very badly. In fact, I’d forgotten how much of an obviously snippy lord of the manor type he was back in his younger days. This prompted some Twittery whining from obvious anagram Reince Priebus, as though that pipsqueak was the true custodian of Edward Kennedy’s legacy, and as though Edward Kennedy himself wouldn’t have been twice as tough in person as he was on film.
Ron Paul won’t be speaking at the convention because of two conditions that he says convention organizers required:
Paul claims that convention organizers told him he could deliver a speech on two conditions. First, the Romney campaign would get to vet his speech, and second, he would have to give a full-blown endorsement of the GOP nominee. Paul balked at both requirements. “It wouldn’t be my speech,” Paul told the Times. “That would undo everything I’ve done in the last 30 years. I don’t fully endorse him for president.”
IDK, what does “I don’t fully endorse him” even mean? That he sort of endorses him? Slightly? That he doesn’t completely reject him? Blah. And now Ron Paul goes back to his day job of writing frivolous bills (14 long years, 620 bills sponsored, FOUR made it to a vote and only ONE became a law).
Ed Gillespie, a senior campaign advisor for Mitt Romney, appeared on Meet the Press this morning to answer questions about Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, and unveiled a new excuse for why Romney should not be held responsible for the company’s actions during a time in which he remained CEO and president:
GREGORY: He was still financially linked to Bain. And of course, a lot his fortune is due to his time with Bain. Even when he was on leave, does he stand by the business decisions that were made by the firm he created?
GILLESPIE: He actually retired retroactively at that point. He ended up not going back to the firm after his time in Salt Lake City. So he was actually retired from Bain.
“Last week, the Huffington Post reported that Romney, in sworn testimony during a 2002 Massachusetts hearing to determine if he met the residency requirement to run for governor, declared that he had remained on the board of a company in which Bain was an investor. This scoop received much attention. Still, the Romney camp did not directly respond to it, and in interviews with the major television networks on Friday, Romney insisted, as he told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl, that he had “no role with regards to Bain Capital after February 1999.” He maintained that all the questions regarding his stint at Bain were merely part of the Obama campaign’s “kill-Romney” strategy.” — Romney’s Account of His Departure From Bain Undercut By…Romney Testimony | Mother Jones