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Big Time Operators

Going big on entitlements

Isn’t it great that campaign adviser David Plouffe wanted (and probably still wants) Obama to “go big on entitlements”? And that Obama doesn’t like us to know what he’s doing?

Via Brad DeLong, excerpts from Christina Romer’s new book:

[Top Adviser David] Plouffe urged the president to give [entitlement reform] a shot. “I said he [Obama] should be big on entitlements,” Plouffe told one former administration official, by which he meant reining in these budgetary elephants. Sure, this would enrage the party’s base. But the political upside with the rest of the country would more than make up for it … “Plouffe is pretty big on accomplishments trump normal politics,” said one White House colleague. “Plouffe’s view is that big trumps the little.”…

[W]hile internal staff disputes did play a role, Scheiber ascribes blame ultimately to the president. As he concludes:

[T]he Jobs Act punctuated the chronic confusion about the connection between politics and governing. Too often, the two activities were treated as an either-or proposition in the West Wing. Obama generally believed the way to pass his program was to engage earnestly with the opposition, not take his case public. A president never has more leverage with Congress than when he’s riling up voters, but Obama rarely exploited the massive stature of his office as a tool for influencing legislation.

Caterpillar calls the shots

Now that he’s on the campaign trail, President Obama says he’s working hard to come up with incentives that will encourage American companies to bring home jobs that have been outsourced. However, an item in Reader Supported News sheds light on how badly American workers can expect to be treated by these companies. More here.

The long game

Are Obama’s attempts at bipartisanship a conscious strategy?

Thou shalt not cock-block the Lord

Stephen Colbert recently explained the theological underpinnings of the Church’s opposition to contraception, and warned birth control users that their sin is a grave one:

The transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God. You see, to Catholics, sex isn’t two drunk strangers getting their freak on at closing time. It is the mystical union of two people inspired to create new physical life while God adds a soul in a divine and ineffably beautiful three-way. So, when you use contraception, you are not only sinning, you are cock-blocking the Almighty.

More here.

Oy

What Violet said. Nothing needed to be done.

Taking hostages

To protect Big Oil. They’re not much good for anything else.

Politics

Joseph Kennedy III to run for Barney Frank’s seat.

Oil prices on the rise

From Sen. Bernie Sanders in August, after leaking documents related to oil speculation to the Wall Street Journal:

While making this confidential information public may have upset Wall Street oil speculators, the American people have a right to know exactly what caused gasoline prices to skyrocket to more than $4 a gallon back in the summer of 2008… Further, there is little doubt that the same speculators who caused gasoline and heating oil prices to unnecessarily spike in 2008 are playing the same games again in 2011. This is simply unacceptable and must not be allowed to continue.

It seems the Obama administration wasn’t listening. From ThinkProgress, yesterday:

Oil is once again trading above $100 per barrel, bringing with it estimates that U.S. gas will cost more than $4 per gallon by May, if not sooner. The Obama administration is already bracing for higher gas prices and the political cost that they could exact.

But it isn’t increasing demand for oil that is driving the recent price increase. In fact, demand is the lowest it’s been since April, 2007, according to the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS). Instead, OPIS points to speculators as the party responsible for driving up prices…

Obama should listen to Bernie and take action, if only because his re-election bid might be derailed if his Wall Street buddies push gasoline prices too high.

I get so sick of liars like Charles Murray, a man who’s made a 30 year career of shoveling shit. I don’t mean to suggest he works on a farm: that’s actual work. No, Murray writes “scholarly books” he refuses to submit for peer review, because his data and conclusions are made of excrement.

This time, he’s slandering Philadelphia’s working class. So he’s our piggie of the week.

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