I will say this: Inaugural speeches are often legacy speeches and based on this speech I’m going to guess that whatever his policies actually were and are, he told us today that he would like to be remembered by most people as a progressive president, not a centrist technocrat. Certainly, it won’t be centrists or the conservatives who bestow it on him — positive legacies are sustained by the members of your own party and ideology. If he wants to be in the liberal pantheon beyond the obvious (and very real) accomplishment of becoming the first African American president and some movement on gay rights, the second term will have to be different from the first. From the sound of today’s address, it would seem that he wants it to be. And if that’s true, progressives have some leverage.

The remains of the (gun appreciation) day

Gun lovers have a habit of seizing on the rare instances where having a gun does actually protect you (as opposed to it being used against you or going off from mishandling) that I was going to compile my own list to balance things out, but since Gawker already did it, I might as well point you to their “Gun Appreciation Day” casualties:

Yesterday was deemed a day to appreciate your guns in America, and boy did we. Five people were shot at gun shows in North Carolina, Ohio and Indiana. These were not, however, the only instances of gun violence yesterday.

As happens everyday, numerous people were either injured or killed by guns on “Gun Appreciation Day,” be it on purpose or accidentally. Spanning Alaska to Florida, here are those people:

  • A 14-year-old suburban Atlanta boy shot and killed his 15-year-old brother while playing with their mother’s handgun.
  • A 26 year old was shot and killed while driving in San Francisco.
  • A man was found dead from a gunshot wound in his home in Kansas City, Kansas.
  • A woman in an El Paso County, Texas shooting range was hit in the knee by a bullet that ricocheted off a trash can.
  • Two women were shot to death in a Dallas-area home.
  • Two women were injured after someone opened fire at a crowded soccer field in Las Vegas.
  • A 15-year-old girl was shot while sleeping in her bed when her Anchorage home was shot at.
  • A 7-year-old boy in Tallahassee shot a 5 year old with a gun he found in a 22-year-old relative’s room.
  • A Huntsville woman shot her boyfriend after the two had an argument.
  • A 23-year-old man died after being accidentally shot in a Greshman, Oregon home.
  • A Cleveland father has been charged in connection with the death of his 6-year-old daughter from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
  • One man was shot in Elyria, Ohio, just west of Cleveland, early Saturday morning.
  • A man was found shot dead in a parking lot in Greenville County, South Carolina.
  • Two people were shot and killed outside an inn in Hampton, Virginia.
  • At least 10 people were shot in Chicago, at least two were fatal.
  • A Colorado Springs man was driven to the hospital with a gunshot wound.
  • A Jackson, Mississippi police officer was shot while responding to a disturbance call.
  • One man was shot at a Martin Luther King Jr. parade in Jackson.
  • Two men and one woman were shot at a home in Oakland.
  • An 11-year-old boy was shot in an Oklahoma City apartment complex.
  • Police in Richmond, Virginia are looking for three men who shot another man in his thirties.
  • Police believe gang violence is to blame for the shooting death of one man in Santa Ana, California.
  • An early morning shooting in Tuscaloosa injured two teenagers.

Oh, and here’s another one: Father shoots wife and then himself at daughter’s 16th birthday party.

So remember, kids: Guns don’t always keep you safe. Sometimes they’re the very things that hurt you!

Money worries

budget_pieEver since I announced my new job, my daily hits have dropped by 40%. (Those visits and page views are what drives ad revenue.) So that concerns me, because I sat down and did a budget last night, and after my monthly bills are paid, I have $30 left. That’s it. It seemed like a lot, but it isn’t.

That’s without putting anything at all away for taxes (because it’s a contract job), and of course just one doctor co-pay eats that up last $30.

So I’m a little nervous, and I’d really appreciate your continuing support. Please keep clicking back on the page, and please continue to make donations if you can afford it. Because I really hate hyperventilating.


Remember, the people who agreed to this want to cut your Social Security and Medicare “to get spending under control”. Why, you might almost think they don’t care about the deficit at all!

WASHINGTON — Just two weeks after pleading guilty in a major federal fraud case, Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology firm, scored a largely unnoticed coup on Capitol Hill: Lawmakers inserted a paragraph into the “fiscal cliff” bill that did not mention the company by name but strongly favored one of its drugs.

The language buried in Section 632 of the law delays a set of Medicare price restraints on a class of drugs that includes Sensipar, a lucrative Amgen pill used by kidney dialysis patients.

The provision gives Amgen an additional two years to sell Sensipar without government controls. The news was so welcome that the company’s chief executive quickly relayed it to investment analysts. But it is projected to cost Medicare up to $500 million over that period.

Amgen, which has a small army of 74 lobbyists in the capital, was the only company to argue aggressively for the delay, according to several Congressional aides of both parties.

Amgen has deep financial and political ties to lawmakers like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, and Senators Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, and Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, who hold heavy sway over Medicare payment policy as the leaders of the Finance Committee.

It also has worked hard to build close ties with the Obama administration, with its lobbyists showing up more than a dozen times since 2009 on logs of visits to the White House, although a company official said Saturday that it had not appealed to the administration during the debate over the fiscal legislation.

Aides to Mr. Hatch and Mr. Baucus, and a spokeswoman for Amgen, said the delay would give the Medicare system and medical providers the time they needed to accommodate other complicated changes in how federal reimbursements for kidney care were determined.

Big Pharma always complains about regulation and policy changes. Whine, whine, whine! And you know what? It works.

Wife swap

I fucking love this show. Today it’s a helicopter mom swapping with the mom from a family of rabid survivalists who are even prepared for a zombie invasion and the Mayan prophecies. You can’t make this shit up!

Brunch with the populists

I long ago lost my appreciation for inaugurals (although I did like going to the Nixon Counter-Inaugural in – what, ’72?). The main reason is the overwhelming stench of Big Money. It strikes me as especially unseemly this year, when so many have been financially devastated.

But, as Charlie Pierce points out, you can’t get anywhere without money. Not just for inaugurations, but for the election campaigns.

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