"Our economy is facing a major headwind, and that's Republicans in Congress," said the White House spokesman Jay Carney.
Republicans said the White House was not advancing concrete plans for creating new jobs and stimulating the economy.
"The bad GDP news makes it even more unbelievable that Obama has been ignoring job growth in his 2nd term agenda," Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, posted on Twitter.
Meanwhile, some astonishing news at The Washington Post, "Senators question U.S. penalties against Wall Street banks as too lenient: A bipartisan pair of lawmakers on Tuesday questioned the Justice Department's prosecution of large financial institutions, raising concerns that recent settlements have fallen short of holding Wall Street accountable for wrongdoing. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. asking for a detailed explanation of the department's procedures for going after financial crime. Penalties in settlements have been disproportionately low relative to company profits and the costs imposed on consumers, investors and the market, they said."
This should be interesting: "Antigua Gets OK to Become Copyright Haven: The islands of Antigua and Barbuda are threatening to strip intellectual property protections from American goods as part of a long-running trade dispute over the U.S. embargo on the tiny Caribbean nation's online gambling industry. U.S. officials say the proposed copyright haven - whose broad outlines were approved Monday at the World Trade Organization in Geneva - amounts to "government-authorized piracy." But Antiguans, who've won a series of legal victories against the U.S. at the international trade body, reject any suggestion that they're pirates."
Marcy Wheeler: "The International Manhunt for WikiLeaks: One of the things DOJ is protecting from FOIA in Electronic Privacy Information Center's suit is information other governments have shared with the US on the investigation."
Here's a legal problem you might want to read up on: Wickard v. Filburn: "Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942), was a United States Supreme Court decision that recognized the power of the federal government to regulate economic activity. A farmer, Roscoe Filburn, was growing wheat for on-farm consumption. The U.S. government had established limits on wheat production based on acreage owned by a farmer, in order to drive up wheat prices during the Great Depression, and Filburn was growing more than the limits permitted. Filburn was ordered to destroy his crops and pay a fine, even though he was producing the excess wheat for his own use and had no intention of selling it. The Supreme Court interpreted the United States Constitution's Commerce Clause under Article 1 Section 8, which permits the United States Congress "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes". The Court decided that Filburn's wheat growing activities reduced the amount of wheat he would buy for chicken feed on the open market, and because wheat was traded nationally, Filburn's production of more wheat than he was allotted was affecting interstate commerce. Thus, Filburn's production could be regulated by the federal government." Now read on for how this applies to marijuana.
Matt Taibbi: "It's certainly strange that White has to qualify the idea that bringing cases is a positive thing in a government official - that bringing cases is a 'positive thing . . . to a point.' Can anyone imagine the future head of the DEA saying something like, 'For a prosecutor, bringing drug cases is a positive, to a point?'" (via)
This story is headlined in such a way that I think you're not supposed to notice that the nasty partisan fighting is threatening to force Republicans to do the right thing just to get back at Obama-supporting companies.
More media-myth-busting from Dean Baker: "Fiscal Cliff Concerns Did Not Restrain Hiring. The NYT is still pushing the line that, 'uncertainty over fiscal policy and the fragility of the economy still seem to be holding back employers.' There is no evidence in this or prior job reports to support this contention. If employers are seeing a level of demand that would otherwise justify hiring, but are reluctant to do so because of uncertainty, they would look to fill this demand through alternative channels. The two obvious alternatives are increasing the length of the average workweek and hiring temporary employees. The average workweek has been stable or even gotten slightly shorter in recent months. Temp hiring has been extremely weak. These facts suggest that the reason for lack of hiring is simply that employers are not seeing adequate demand, not uncertainty."
Bill Black has a good take-down of Matt Yglesias trying to feed us roofies so the Elites can rape us some more.
"US military struggling to stop suicide epidemic among war veterans: Last year, more active-duty soldiers killed themselves than died in combat. And after a decade of deployments to war zones, the Pentagon is bracing for things to get much worse."
Bruce Schneier on Power and the Internet: "The standard story is that it empowers the powerless, but that's only half the story. The Internet empowers everyone. Powerful institutions might be slow to make use of that new power, but since they are powerful, they can use it more effectively. Governments and corporations have woken up to the fact that not only can they use the Internet, they can control it for their interests. Unless we start deliberately debating the future we want to live in, and information technology in enabling that world, we will end up with an Internet that benefits existing power structures and not society in general. [...] Either we fight for a seat at the table, or the future of the Internet becomes something that is done to us." PNH: "This is the thing. Even in 2013, too many of us still believe, down deep, when we're not forcing ourselves to think clearly, that there's something magic about the internet that always works to the benefit of underdogs. That the fact that we now all carry more computing power in our pocket than was used in the spaceship that landed on the Moon means that somehow all these 'disruptions' will amount to a net increase in the autonomy and power of individuals. To a significant extent these delusions reflect the tremendous success of the narratives promulgated by modern libertarianism, the just-so stories of 'free markets' and the 'wisdom of crowds.' Even non-libertarians have spent a generation eating that stuff up. Faith in those ideas has led many of us into quietism and apathy. But in fact, in the words of the Kevin Maroney remark quoted on the colophon of Making Light, 'a better future isn't going to happen by itself.' While we dream our dreams of the wisdom of crowds, power works in silence." I never bought the story that the internet was some sort of magic that could bypass all censorship; I knew that censorship does not simply shut down ideas, but shuts down the actors who promulgate and act on the ideas, and no medium can bypass that process.
Also at Making Light, Avram on Mayor Koch.
I was really hoping that Tom Harkin would never retire.
Photos: Battle scenes from Damascus
Google failed to celebrate Langston Hughes' birthday, but Michael Moore tweeted a link to his poem, "Democracy", and to his 1926 essay for The Nation, "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain" (which features a smashing photo of Zora Neale Hurston), in its honor.