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Posted at 6:43 AM ET, 02/ 7/2011

Wonkbook: Truce on Senate rules is holding; WH starts announcing budget cuts; Obama heads to the Chamber

By Ezra Klein

If you were watching the Superbowl in the DC area last night, one of the ads you saw came from the No Food Taxes coalition (which includes 7-Eleven, Alcoa, the Mid-Atlantic Petroleum Distributers Association, American Airlines, McDonald's, and many more). It showed a sensible-looking woman putting soda into her shopping cart and complaining that "some politicians" are "trying to control what we eat and drink with taxes." Pulling into the checkout lane, a deep-voiced announcer intones, "government needs to trim its budget back, and leave our grocery budgets alone." Watch the ad here.

It's evidence of how seriously the sugared drink industry takes the threat of a soda tax. And, in the interest of balance -- I did link to the ad -- here's David Leonhardt making the case for one. But a federal soda tax doesn't currently exist and, if it did, it would reduce deficits, so it's not really a great place to concentrate your energies if you want to reduce budget deficits and ensure a level-playing field in the snack foods aisle. That said, however, I'd like to propose common cause with my brothers and sisters in the Coca-Cola Company. Government does need to trim its budget back. And it probably should be doing less to influence us in the checkout lines. So let's make this the year we finally end subsidies to the corn industry. Deal?

Top Stories

The easy cuts to the budget have already been made, writes OMB director Jacob Lew: "In each of the past two years, the administration has put forward about $20 billion in savings from ending some programs and reducing funds for others. This entailed finding programs that were duplicative, outdated and ineffective. But to achieve the deeper cuts needed to support this spending freeze, we have had to look beyond the obvious and cut spending for purposes we support. We had to choose programs that, absent the fiscal situation, we would not cut."

"Since they were instituted, community service block grants have helped to support community action organizations in cities and towns across the country. These are grassroots groups working in poor communities, dedicated to empowering those living there and helping them with some of life’s basic necessities. These are the kinds of programs that President Obama worked with when he was a community organizer, so this cut is not easy for him. Yet for the past 30 years, these grants have been allocated using a formula that does not consider how good a job the recipients are doing. The president is proposing to cut financing for this grant program in half, saving $350 million, and to reform the remaining half into a competitive grant program, so that funds are spent to give communities the most effective help."

The Senate's informal truce on rules reform is holding, reports Carl Hulse: "Under a rules truce struck in the Senate late last month, minority Republicans allowed a long-stalled aviation policy measure to come to the floor without a filibuster as the Senate’s first legislative business of 2011. In exchange, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, has so far let Republicans offer ample amendments, including one politically charged whopper that would have repealed the new health care law. 'It worked,' Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, a member of the Republican leadership...Last year, the situation would probably have unfolded very differently. Democrats would have tried to bring up the bill but then taken parliamentary steps to block amendments, to prevent Republicans from having an opportunity to make a political point. In retaliation, Republicans would have forced Democrats to assemble 60 votes just to get the bill to the floor."

Obama will speak to the Chamber of Commerce, report Peter Wallsten and Zachary Goldfarb: "The White House's campaign to rebuild ties with corporate America gets the ultimate photo opportunity Monday when President Obama crosses Lafayette Park and steps into the imposing headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The gesture may surprise Americans who recall that Obama, just four months ago, said the group may have used foreign money to air ads attacking Democrats...Obama, even as he calls for cooperation on a range of issues such as revamping the corporate tax code, passing a South Korea free-trade deal and fixing the nation's schools, will reiterate his defense of the new restrictions on insurance companies that make up the core of the health-care law that the Chamber wants repealed. And he will implore corporations to spend the profits that many are stockpiling."

Businesses are partnering with House Republicans to rid themselves of old, troublesome regulations, report Philip Rucker and David Hilzenrath: "Responding to solicitations from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), businesses have asked Congress to roll back or preempt more than 150 rules governing their industries, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post...The rules under scrutiny include familiar issues suchas greenhouse gas emissions, health-care reform and the landmark Wall Street overhaul. But the committee also will examine more obscure regulations. For instance, makers of some cleaning products that remove mold and mildew have asked the committee to reconsider rules that require their products to be registered as pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.

Streaming album interlude: James Blake's self-titled debut.

Got tips, additions, or comments? E-mail me.

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Still to come: Obama broke a promise to support "cramdown" legislation helping homeowners; the health industry has given millions to members of Congress since health care reform passed; states are using spending cuts, not tax hikes, to balance their budgets; the EPA tops the list of agencies facing industry complaints to Congress; and a toddler who knows the period table of elements better than most adults.


Obama broke a pledge to force banks to assist homeowners, report Paul Kiel and Olga Pierce: "Before he took office, President Obama repeatedly promised voters and Democrats in Congress that he’d fight for changes to bankruptcy laws to help homeowners--a tough approach that would force banks to modify mortgages...But when it came time to fight for the measure, he didn’t show up. Some Democrats now say his administration actually undermined it behind the scenes...Instead, the administration has relied on a voluntary program with few sticks, that simply offers banks incentives to modify mortgages. Known as Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, the program was modeled after an industry plan. The administration also wrote it carefully to exclude millions of homeowners seen as undeserving."

AIG has paid off its bailout loan and is on firmer footing:

France and Germany are working to defend the Euro by deepening European integration, reports Stephen Castle: "Initiating a bold effort to strengthen the euro, Germany and France on Friday laid down far-reaching plans to deepen integration among the 17 nations that use the currency. The move prompted immediate opposition, but could lead to embryonic economic government for Europe. After days of speculation, the proposal from the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, was greeted with criticism from governments that fear they may have to raise corporate tax rates or scrap deals that link annual wage increases to inflation. At a European Union summit meeting in Brussels, several prime ministers from euro-zone countries, including Belgium’s caretaker premier, Yves Leterme, criticized the proposal or questioned the way it would operate."

Higher corporate profits aren't translating into job growth:

Housing bubbles are rare, writes Robert Shiller: "This enormous housing bubble and burst isn’t comparable to any national or international housing cycle in history. Previous bubbles have been smaller and more regional. We have to look further afield for parallels. The most useful may be the long trail of booms and crashes in the price of land, particularly of farms, forests and village lots. Those upheavals may give some insights into the present situation, and some guidance for the next decade. In the 19th century and most of the 20th, speculation in land was a powerful phenomenon...Land manias have been rather infrequent, many decades apart. They suggest that the recent housing bubble is a similarly rare event, not to be repeated for many decades."

Credit card companies' "rewards" are sleights of hand, writes Steven Pearlstein:

Adorable kids who will rule us all interlude: A two-and-a-half-year-old wins a game of "name the chemical elements" with his dad.

Health Care

Over $40 million in health industry donations have gone to Congress since the reform vote last year, reports Jeffrey Smith: "More than $42.7 million in health-care and health-insurance industry funds...have flowed to current Republican and Democratic lawmakers after each chamber voted on the Obama bill, according to the study of spending for that period...The study, conducted for The Washington Post by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, also shows that Republicans have been heavily favored in this period. While Democrats got just more than half of the industries' money before the bill was approved in spite of uniform Republican opposition, the Republican attracted 60 percent after the votes were counted.

If history is any indication, the Supreme Court will keep its public reputation regardless of how it rules on health care:

State need more flexibility in implementing health care reform, writes Mitch Daniels:

Domestic Policy

State budget proposals are heavy on cuts and light on tax hikes, report Conor Dougherty and Amy Merrick: "Governors around the U.S. are proposing to balance their states' budgets with a long list of cuts and almost no new taxes, reflecting a goal by politicians from both parties to erase deficits chiefly by shrinking government. On Monday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a newly elected Republican, is expected to issue a budget that cuts state spending by $5 billion and overhauls public-employee pensions. A Democratic governor, John Kitzhaber of Oregon, has proposed a two-year budget that would make cuts to mental-health institutions and reduce state Medicaid reimbursements to doctors and hospitals. Cuts to Medicaid, a joint state-federal program, are some of governors' largest proposed reductions."

Michelle Obama is working to cut a deal on nutrition with restaurants:

The FCC is revamping a fund for spreading broadband, reports Eliza Krigman: "Under pressure to expand high-speed Internet access around the country, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski will Monday lay out a plan to revamp an antiquated $8 billion program to fund new broadband networks. Modernizing the program, known as the Universal Service Fund (USF), is a key part of meeting President Barack Obama’s goal of bringing wireless broadband connections to 98 percent of the country’s population, Genachowski told POLITICO...The USF program is one of the most arcane issues the FCC plans to tackle this year. It was formed 14 years ago to pay for telephone lines in low-income and rural areas. All phone companies must contribute some of their revenue to the fund."

The White House has again delayed an NRA-opposed rule targeting gun smuggling to Mexican cartels:

Adorable animals in slow-mo interlude: A chipmunk grooms himself.


The EPA faced more business complaints to Congress than any other agency, reports Louise Radnofsky: "The Environmental Protection Agency, which enforces rules that affect the U.S. economy from factories to farms, is the No. 1 target of complaints from business groups collected by House Republican leaders. EPA rules were cited more than those from any other agency in more than 100 letters sent by trade associations, businesses and some conservative groups to House oversight committee chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) in response to his call for businesses to identify regulations they deemed burdensome, according to documents reviewed by the Wall Street Journal. The letters are scheduled for release today."

Sen. Jay Rockefeller is urging the coal industry to get on board with green tech:

The White House denies its regulations contributed to Texas' rolling blackouts, reports Darren Samuelsohn: "President Barack Obama’s team wants the world to know his environmental policies had nothing to do with the rolling blackouts blanketing Texas this week. White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer swung back late Friday at conservative media and lawmakers who have pinned the blame on Obama for the lights going off across the Longhorn State amid extreme cold temperatures and high winds. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the lead regulatory agency in the region, says that weather was to blame for the mechanical failures at more than 50 power plants around the state."

Soaring food prices should serve as a climate change warning, writes Paul Krugman: "While several factors have contributed to soaring food prices, what really stands out is the extent to which severe weather events have disrupted agricultural production. And these severe weather events are exactly the kind of thing we’d expect to see as rising concentrations of greenhouse gases change our climate -- which means that the current food price surge may be just the beginning... Temperature records were set not just in Russia but in no fewer than 19 countries, covering a fifth of the world’s land area. And both droughts and floods are natural consequences of a warming world: droughts because it’s hotter, floods because warm oceans release more water vapor."

Closing credits: Wonkbook is compiled and produced with help from Dylan Matthews and Michelle Williams.

By Ezra Klein  | February 7, 2011; 6:43 AM ET
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Next: Can 'The Box' get smaller?


A tax on pop (yes, pop!) would be a good thing, but I'd happily trade it away if we could get rid of corn subsidies.

Posted by: MosBen | February 7, 2011 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Someone forgot to tell the grain commodity markets that global warming is a religion (according to some partisan hack at the WP)

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 7, 2011 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Any time you see a group called "Americans Against X" it really means "Large Corporations Against X"

The No Food Taxes coalition is more astroturf than the field at Cowboys Stadium.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 7, 2011 8:18 AM | Report abuse


I think it would make more sense to end the subsidies to sugar first and then corn.

Not sure I have my facts correct, but, "The Agriculture Department operates a complex loan program to guarantee sugar growers certain prices, which it enforces with import barriers and domestic production controls."

Why don't we start by getting the government out that business.

Posted by: getjiggly2 | February 7, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, cramdown would be blatantly and totally unconstitutional. Perhaps the President just remembered he's an attorney at the right time.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 7, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Ummm, no Paul, a single weather event today doesn't have a whole lot to do with actual food prices, but only on the termporary speculation in them in the commodities market.

Only a fool, you should excuse the expression, would deny that it is the worldwide demand for biofuels that is causing the main part of this inflation.

Of course ANOTHER factor that Krugman won't mention is the debasement of the currency by the Fed, since the US is such a huge exporter of grains to the world market. However since Krugman wanted even MORE dollar devaluation, he can't very well cite that as a cause now can he.

So to conclude, Krugman is as usual completely wrong in his analysis which is based as always on politics, not factual information.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 7, 2011 9:40 AM | Report abuse

--*[A] federal soda tax doesn't currently exist and, if it did, it would reduce deficits, so it's not really a great place to concentrate your energies if you want to reduce budget deficits and ensure a level-playing field in the snack foods aisle.*--

It is just me, or is that nonsensical?

--*And [the gov] probably should be doing less to influence us in the checkout lines.*--

I love the passive voice with the action verb tied to the word "less", Klein. That's some real conviction you've got, there.

Posted by: msoja | February 7, 2011 9:45 AM | Report abuse

"For instance, makers of some cleaning products that remove mold and mildew have asked the committee to reconsider rules that require their products to be registered as pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act."

Well, mold and mildew are fungi, and chemicals that destroy them are therefore fungicides. If makers of fungicides are exempted, I would expect makers of all the other chemicals regulated by the act to be exempted as well. What is the basis for drawing the line?

Posted by: DavidinCambridge | February 7, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

"Obama will speak to the Chamber of Commerce..."

That must mean it's time for Obama to start raising stockpiles of cash for 2012.

Since Obama hypocritically called out the Chamber for 'foreign donations' this past year, he probaby realizes he won't get away with another election-cycle of questionable-origin donations this time around like he did in 2008.

The mass-media was all too happy to look the other way in 2008, but I have to believe even they will re-discover their journalistic conscience this time around if the hypocrisy of Obama remains so flagrantly displayed.

Posted by: dbw1 | February 7, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

getjiggly2, you're right that our sugar policy is messed up, but it's not subsidies but trade policy that's the problem there. We've got tarrifs that make foreign sugar more expensive, and thus support domestic sugar production. I'm not enough of a trade expert to say whether the effect of corn subsidies and sugar tariffs are the same, but I don't think either is good policy.

Posted by: MosBen | February 7, 2011 9:56 AM | Report abuse

"The White House has again delayed an NRA-opposed rule targeting gun smuggling to Mexican cartels"

End the drug war, and this won't be a problem.

Posted by: justin84 | February 7, 2011 10:03 AM | Report abuse

In the NH legislature last term a bill was introduced to tax soft drinks. Because the soft drink industry is so good at packaging and repackaging the product in multipaks or super-sized bottles and jiggling prices and offering special deals, it became apparent that the product would have to be taxed at the wholesale level by weight or volume, for taxing consistency. If that happened, consumers would not see a tax at the checkout. And the producers would continue marketing machinations, since the profit margin on soft drinks is so high, so the effect of the tax on consumers would probably be negligible.

The bill failed, even in a chronically underfunded state like NH. And now we have a Tea Party controlled legislature.

So let's kill corn subsidies first. High fructose corn syrup is in everything. (Read labels on those lo-fat salad dressings.)

Posted by: jshafham | February 7, 2011 10:24 AM | Report abuse

John Marshall

It is high noon and I am calling you out.

You incorrectly asserted Krugman won't mention that the fed didn't have anything to do with rising food prices.

If you read Krugman's article, he does mention that the Chinese and right-wingers are in large part blaming the fed for high food prices. The point of Krugman's article is to provide evidence that other, more important factors are at work. Clearly, if you want an opinion as to the fed's involvement, then go to right-wing articles or the Chinese.

Also, you imply Krugman said only ONE weather event was to blame. Yet, again, if you read Krugman's article, he specifies several events, and also mentions that a La Nina is involved as well as the Russian heat wave and the Australian floods.

Krugman eludes to other factors as well.

I have scanned other articles recently by grain analysts citing the weather events as being the primary reason grain is in short supply this year, and thus, why the commodity market is reacting. There is NOTHING unusual in this kind of reaction due to weather events. History is replete with weather events affecting commodity markets on agricultural goods.

So, when you say Krugman is "completely wrong", you are obviously completely wrong to make that assertion about the one weather event.

I would now ask you to be very specific in what Krugman is wrong about.

My guess is you think he is wrong because of this statement: "And these severe weather events are exactly the kind of thing we’d expect to see as rising concentrations of greenhouse gases change our climate — which means that the current food price surge may be just the beginning."

Well, unlike you, he did not utter absolute certainties such as "I am absolutely convinced" or "They are completely wrong". He simply pointed out that (in my interpretation) that if scientists are right, then expect to see higher food prices as the climate continues to be more chaotic.

I await your clarifications (and admission that you were completely wrong to say Krugman is completely wrong). Even George W(rong). Bush, was never completely wrong.

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 7, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

--*It is high noon and I am calling you out.*--

Violent, eliminationist rhetoric, I'd say.

Posted by: msoja | February 7, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

The line from Conor Dougherty's WSJ article quoted in Wonkbook reads "A Democratic governor, John Kitzhaber of Oregon, has proposed a two-year budget that would make cuts to mental-health institutions and reduce state Medicaid reimbursements to doctors and hospitals. Cuts to Medicaid, a joint state-federal program, are some of governors' largest proposed reductions."

A while back, an astute reader noted that cuts to Medicaid were, in reality, one of the few options available to Sovereign States: as expected, by enacting the Obama/Pelosi PPACA, Congress essentially denied health care to millions of the most needy citizens. Also as expected, the CDC has deferred release of many of its annual health care statistics, including counts of abortions performed.

The overwhelmingly negative consequences of the PPACA have long been clear to most observers untainted by Washington elitism and hubris. So far, 27 Sovereign States have sued the federal government, claiming unconstitutionality of the PPACA... and all of the Sovereign States which have sued have prevailed in Court. There are only 50 states, so the 27 Sovereign State litigants represent a majority of the states and, interestingly, the populations of the 27 Sovereign State litigants combine to represent an overwhelming majority of the nation's citizens. It's certainly possible for a large group to be wrong, but even if wrong doesn't the large group have the absolute right to determine its own destiny? Is it possible that those outside of the Federal Enclave have knowledge and insight greater than that of those within the beltway?

Posted by: rmgregory | February 7, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse



Posted by: lauren2010 | February 7, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse


I like the fact that you have been at your feistiest recently! Okay if you don't like completely wrong, then how about if we agree on mostly wrong?

What we are really talking about is the margin for error in production. The commodities market anticipates and farmers hedge their bets on weather in every year, not just since Paul Krugman discovered the phenomenon. Neither you nor I nor Paul Krugman are competent to speak of any direct causal relationship between these events and global warming. (I DO if it matters believe there is a scientific basis for the concept of global warming however.)

Notice I didn't attack him on a meteorological basis only that if true, it was still not the most important factor.

If for instance you take a look at the Commodity Agricultural Raw Materials Index Monthly Price, you would see that prices have been on a steady rise since August 2009, not since the Australian floods or the Russian heat wave.

Not coincidentally I would argue, if you overlay the chart for spot gold prices in that same time frame it is almost identical to the index chart. This points out the price rise as being more related to currency than to any individual weather event.

Getting back to what I was saying, the margin for error in weather related events is now TINY because of the huge worldwide increase in the production of crops for biofuels. So you will contitue to see an overly magnified swing in grain prices because of things like Australia. Not only is this not a surprise, I told you in this very column 5-6 months ago to invest strongly in commodities.

I have a big bromance going with Ben Bernanke. However what he has done out of neccessity to save the patient so to speak has not been benign. Real inflation is already well entrenched as you can see reflected in the rise in Treasury yields, which I also predicted. (stuck on the I key today LOL) and the rise in all energy commodities.

Please understand I am not saying that Krugman is an incompetent economist. What I am saying is that he uses his standing as a economist to promote a political agenda totally unrelated to his academic accomplishments, and to disguise the economic effects of policies he vociferously promotes such as weakening of the dollar.

Great to chat with you as alwasy!

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 7, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I really do not want to go into the health care thing, but a a quick point. That a state has sued the feds over the bill does not mean that the "sovereign state" opposes it. Consider Colorado. Until 2010 it was a Democratically controlled state that oddly enough sued the federal government over health care. Why? Its Attorney General is a Republican. He decided that his state did not like it. While it certainly did not cause him to lose reelection, it is disingenuous to state the people of Colorado asserted their sovereignty against the feds. The same is equally true in Washington state. Complete Democratic control and yet their state is suing the feds because their attorney general is a Republican. There was no vote, no resolution to sue the federal government. It was executive fiat.

Again, I am not making an opinion about the bill itself. I'm just saying that "27" states have sued over the bill hardly tells the whole story at all.

Posted by: Mszaf01 | February 7, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse


C'mon, this place is deader than the empty cavity in Cheney's chest on the weekend. It's ok if Mondays get a little purple in the prose department, especially when it's against me!

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 7, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

He isn't even mostly wrong.

I think his article is spot on.

If he is only mostly wrong, then I think what you are saying is that speculators are the reason for high food prices.

Although I am never surprised at the damage speculators can do, I think in this case it is clear that the market is reacting to a very bad weather year for grains.

Indeed, there is a reason the markets are reacting hard this year to grain shortages and why there are food protests all over the world this year--A DOCUMENTABLE SHORTAGE OF GRAIN DUE TO SEVERAL UNUSUALLY HARSH WEATHER EVENTS.

Not ONE event as you initially claimed Krugman said.

BTW, Krugman, also points out that food prices have been high the last TWO years (including 2009, as you say).

And sorry, I don't have much stock in your dismissal of Krugman just because he happens to have opinions contrary to mainstream media. It's not like we are quoting chumps like Olbermann or Limbaugh or Ben Stein or Hannity or Matthews, or even OReilly, who is now the respectful "journalist" (instead of an opinion oriented hothead) interviewing Presidents though Olbermann was fired due to his political overtness.

When the media starts being even handed, then maybe we can watch two boring, apolitical economists on TV debating, but that will never happen.

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 7, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

--*It is high noon and I am calling you out.*--

Violent, eliminationist rhetoric, I'd say.

then you'd say wrong, dude.
"Calling you out" has nothing to do with violence or elimination. It has to do with accountability.

Posted by: rjewett | February 7, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse


You wrote:

"then I think what you are saying is that speculators are the reason for high food prices."'

-well speculators include farmers, food producers, food retailers, and sovreign wealth funds of governments who are highly involved in the import or export of grains. You seem to think that's a bad thing. I call it a market.

For instance a smart farmer in Australia who was expecting a bumper crop this year would have been able to months ago purchase call options on grain futures, reasoning that if his crop came in, it was like the hazard insurance on your house, money wasted in a good cause. However if, as happened, his crop was destroyed, then the options would run up and compensate him for his loss in some way.

Similary McDonald's is constrained from passing on the increased costs of the their raw materials to their consumers. There's only so much you can ask for a double cheesburger. so they go into the commodities market and hedge aginst that rise to offset their declining margins.

Multinational companies do this with currencies to prevent wild swings in their balance sheet which cause destruction to their stock prices. It really isn't any different then you as an individual calculating how much and what kind of the various types of insurance available to you to buy.

Now there are people like me who enter that market in an effort to profit in some way from that change in prices. Even so, for me it's still a hedge. Being self-employed as a homeless guy at a public library computer, I have to speculate on commodity prices because I have no way to increase my income to match inlfation. LOL

"Not ONE event as you initially claimed Krugman said.

BTW, Krugman, also points out that food prices have been high the last TWO years (including 2009, as you say)."

-then in writing quickly I did not convery my thoughts well. I wasn't refrring to one event but the capacity of the market to ABSORB one event or two. That is the dynamic that is changed by the production of biofuels.

Thanks for the reply

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 7, 2011 12:17 PM | Report abuse

--*"Calling you out" has nothing to do with violence or elimination.*--

It's the "high noon" component, eliciting images of cowboy justice and main street shoot outs between gun slingers.

And I was just tweaking lauren2010, who blames Sarah Palin for the Tuscon massacre.

Posted by: msoja | February 7, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

If you are going to characterize my opinions, get it right.

I have (or may have) said things like:

- Palin's rhetoric is unbecoming a leader and disqualifies her IMO from being leader.

- Palin's rhetoric, or rhetoric like hers, MAY have had something to do with Tucson or other violent acts. I also say now, in all likelihood, Laughner acted violently because politicians like Palin taught him it is OK to act out like that.

And if you can't tell the difference between my words above (delivered in a joking manner to one person I am cordial with) and palin's (calculated imagery delivered to millions of angry ideologues by a national leader), then you're an idiot.

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 7, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

*It's the "high noon" component, eliciting images of cowboy justice and main street shoot outs between gun slingers.*

You didn't even get that part right. High Noon was about a single lawman with the courage to stand up to a bad guy. There was no "cowboy justice." It was actual justice. And only one of them was a "gunslinger."

Posted by: rjewett | February 7, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

--*I have (or may have) said things like:*--

Here's what you said...

"The surviving victims ought sue Sarah Palin and other public people who say those things."

"I say again, the survivors of this shooting should sue Sarah Palin and others who publicly encouraged people to shoot them."


"Gifford should SUE Sarah Palin for every penny she is worth."

"If this does not serve as a wake up call to Americans to throw those racists and fascists off the air and out of politics, then there is absolutely no hope for this country."

Those were from just one thread.

Posted by: msoja | February 7, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Oh geez can we please talk about something other than Palin? Doesn't anybody want to call me an idiot for my posts about Krugman or anything?

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 7, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

OK, quote me, no problem.

Just don't say I blamed Palin as if I blamed her alone.

And yes, I'd sue Palin for putting me on a hitlist.

And again, no one is suggesting that average Americans modify acceptable speech.

Though leaders like Palin and other public figures do have to watch what they say because lunatics like Laughner listen to her.

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 7, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse


dont tempt me.


Posted by: lauren2010 | February 7, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Another quote from yours truly on that link msoja provided, but which he did not copy over....

"Have there been any current or formerly elected liberals who have advocated violence in the way many conservatives do in recent years?"

As you can see I clearly proposed that violent rhetoric from elected figures was my concern.

And yet msoja wants to equate my high noon comment (directed in fun to John) to Palin's violent rhetoric and hitlists that are directed to millions of angry tea partiers.

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 7, 2011 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Modernizing the program, known as the Universal Service Fund (USF), is a key part of meeting President Barack Obama’s goal of bringing wireless broadband connections to 98 percent of the country’s population,
Obumbler must be unable to read. Wireless internet is ALREADY available nationwide.

Posted by: illogicbuster | February 10, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

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