Atrios: "Violating The Pledge: If we switch over to the chained-CPI, it isn't just about Social Security cuts. It'll impact other federally set things, including tax brackets, meaning it will be a tax increase on those earning less than $250,000 per year. Like Matt I don't really care about that, but it has been one of the few guiding principles of the administration, so..." Even Yglesias can figure out that it raises taxes on the non-rich, just aside from its other evil qualities. (More on chained CPI from Dean Baker.)
Jon Walker says, "Obama Again Proves Why the GOP Should Always Bet on Him Folding: During this fiscal cliff fight, the Obama team has only \drawn two lines in the sand. The first was on raising the tax rate for people making over $250,000 a year. The other was refusing to allow raising the debt ceiling to be used for political gain. On both of these demands Obama has already folded like a tissue in a rainstorm. A compromise on the tax rate is not that surprising. While the Obama team was firm on this point it always seemed more like a negotiation ploy than a real line in the sand. The fold on the debt ceiling, though, has basically destroyed any negotiating creditability Obama might had left with Congressional Republicans. President Obama repeatedly said he was not going to 'play that game.' His team said they see the debt ceiling issue has have historic significant. The White House claimed they had a duty to the future to break this dangerous habit. The President used the strongest possible language to say he would not hold on this issue, yet two weeks later he completely folds. This is just the latest in a long pattern of behavior by Obama. Obama always seems to blink first. By this point it would frankly be idiotic for any Congressional Republicans to believe Obama will hold firm during a negotiation." And it's a great tactic for Obama, who is plainly playing for the other team. And, yes, he really is. He has telegraphed this from the moment he entered the White House.
"A Different Kind Of Democrat-- A Republican Kind [...] That's what we're up against-- and Obama and his conservative allies have every intention of remaking the Democratic Party in their own image. Standing up to him and pressuring your two senators and your congressman to reject the Obama-Boehner sellout to the wealthy and their mania to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class is going to be very serious over the course of the next few weeks and months. Just think of Obama as Bush and proceed accordingly."
No one could have predicted that Restrictive laws make it harder for teens to get abortions: "If a 17-year-old girl in the state of Virginia needs to have an abortion, she has the option to bypass the state's parental consent laws by obtaining written permission from a judge. But court employees in many parts of Virginia are overwhelmingly unprepared or unwilling to provide correct information on the judicial bypass option, a new report finds, making it exceedingly difficult for teen girls to exercise their right to abortion care."
Alex Gibney on Zero Dark Thirty's Wrong and Dangerous Conclusion
"Why the Pundits Are Wrong About Big Money and the 2012 Elections" - see, they both spent a lot of money.
Alex Pareen's 2012 Hack List is complete, with the top ten winners correctly skewered.
Were you wondering what would happen to the Olympic Stadium? Yes, it's just like in America - taxpayers pay for this stuff, and the rich guys get the benefit. (And finding this blog was a fascination - just the kind of local reporting I wish we were seeing more of and that we were paying more attention to. A bit disappointed to see the loopy Liberal Fascism as a recommended book on the sidebar, but glad to know someone is keeping an eye on the weird blurring between cops and not-cops, among other things.)
And, speaking of East London, Whitechapel Bell Foundry has put up a Christmas greeting with a click-through about the story of how that enormous bell got from their design boards to the Olympic Stadium.
There is more writing around than I realized about the Christmas Truce.
I enjoyed the Christmas Sermon On Not Believing in Canada (and boy was Molsen's a disappointment - no wonder!). And a nice little comment from Scott Martens that followed in the ensuing thread: "But as for the main point: Among the non-empirical arguments to be made on behalf Canadianism is the moral virtue of believing in the existence of place where people don't freak out so much about the terms of dispute between their various beliefs and mostly just try to get along. Even if no such place exists, it's better to assert its existence as an example to encourage moral virtue than to abandon virtue altogether. If people need to believe in a fictitious former British colony to do what is right, then arguing against their beliefs is incredibly counterproductive." (via)
Also: Tower Bridge forced to open for 50 foot rubber duck.
And: Dear Slate: Buy a map..
I am charmed to learn that Dan Savage bought Ann Landers' old desk.
Another Elf's Christmas Playlist