Least Productive Congress EVER – House Only Working 8 More Days This Year

house calendar 2013
House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci) | AP

The Huffington Post

Working during the holidays sucks. Luckily for members of the U.S. House of Representatives, they don’t have that much of it before the new year begins.

The House is only scheduled to work eight days between now and January 7, when members return for the second session of the 113th Congress.

The House had 239 days off scheduled during 2013, and they have even more off days scheduled for next year.

The 2014 calendar for the House, released in October by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), shows members will only work only 113 days. That’s down from 2013, when House lawmakers were scheduled to meet for 126 days. Only 107 days were scheduled in 2012.

As HuffPost reported in July, the 113th Congress is on pace to be the least productivein modern history. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has been defensive of that report.

“We should not be judged on how many new laws we create,” Boehner told CBS News’ Bob Schieffer in July. “We ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal. We’ve got more laws than the administration could ever enforce.”

Colin Powell: Voter ID Laws Will ‘Backfire’ For Republicans

The Huffington Post

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell warned Republicans on Sunday that the strict voter identification laws they’re pursuing around the country will damage the party’s standing with growing blocs of voters.

“[H]ere’s what I say to my Republican friends: The country is becoming more diverse,” Powell told Bob Schieffer on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “You say you want to reach out, you say you want to have a new message. You say you want to see if you can bring some of these voters to the Republican side. This is not the way to do it.”

“The way to do it is to make it easier for them to vote and then give them something to vote for that they can believe in,” Powell added.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling that struck down a key portion of the Voting Rights Act, Republicans in states like North Carolina, Florida and Texas have sought voter restrictions that critics, including Powell, say will disproportionately hurt minorities at the polls. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed legislation earlier this month that requires voter identification, rolls back early voting hours and ends a state-supported voter registration drive. Powell condemned that particular law at an event in Raleigh last week.

Powell pointed out that there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud, the very premise of the identification statutes.

“You need a photo ID. Well, you didn’t need a photo ID for decades before,” Powell said. “Is it really necessary now? And they claim that there’s widespread abuse and voter fraud, but nothing documents, nothing substantiates that. There isn’t widespread abuse.”

Powell predicted that such measures will blow up in Republicans’ faces.

“These kind of procedures that are being put in place to slow the process down and make it likely that fewer Hispanics and African Americans might vote, I think, are going to backfire, because these people are going to come out and do what they have to do in order to vote, and I encourage that,” he said.

During the interview, Powell also reflected on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, recalling times when he couldn’t eat in certain places due to the color of his skin, even though he’d just served his country.

“In my lifetime, over a long career in public life, you know, I’ve been refused access to restaurants where I couldn’t eat, even though I just came back from Vietnam: ‘We can’t give you a hamburger, come back some other time,'” Powell recalled. “And I did, right after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, I went right back to that same place and got my hamburger, and they were more than happy to serve me now. It removed a cross from their back, but we’re not there yet. We’re not there yet. And so we’ve got to keep working on it.”

Schieffer Destroys Snowden: ‘I Don’t Remember Martin Luther King Jr. Or Rosa Parks Hiding In China’


Bob Schieffer excoriated NSA-leaker Edward Snowden on Face the Nation this morning, not as a traitor but as a coward who fled the country rather than accept responsibility for his actions.

“I like people who are willing to stand up to the government,” Schieffer began. “As a reporter, it’s my job to do that from time to time. Some of the people I admire most are in the government. Men and women who led the civil rights movement— Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr.—they are true heroes. I’m not ready to put Edward Snowden in that category. For one thing, I don’t remember Martin Luther King, Jr. or Rosa Parks running off and hiding in China. The people who led the civil rights movement were willing to break the law and suffer the consequences. That’s a little different than putting the nation’s security at risk and running away.”

Schieffer was careful not to let his disapproval of Snowden be misconstrued as complete acceptance of the surveillance Snowden revealed, but was also careful to criticize a program about which he knew little.

“I know eleven people who died or lost a member of their family on 9/11,” Schieffer said. “My younger daughter lived in Manhattan then. It was six hours before we knew she was safe. I’m not interested in going through that again. I don’t know yet if the government has over-reached since 9/11 to reinforce our defenses, and we need to find out. What I do know, though, is that these procedures were put in place and are being overseen by officials we elected and we should hold them accountable.”

“I think what we have in Edward Snowden is just a narcissistic young man who has decided he is smarter than the rest of us. I don’t know what he is beyond that, but he is no hero. If he has a valid point—and I’m not even sure he does—he would greatly help his cause by voluntarily coming home to face the consequences.”

Watch the commentary here


Politico’s: The week in one-liners: Wolf, FLOTUS, Newt


The top quotes in politics …

“I did an awful, awful lot that was wrong.”  — Former Sen. John Edwards speaking after a mistrial was declared in his federal campaign finance trial.

“He’s slightly wacked.” — Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich zinging MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.

“Donald, you’re beginning to sound a little ridiculous.” — CNN’s Wolf Blitzer addressing  Donald Trump.

“What ever happened to hope and change?” — CBS’s Bob Schieffer putting Robert Gibbs on the spot about President Obama’s attack ads.

“You’ll be able gaze at this portrait and ask, ‘What would George do?’” — Former President George W. Bush talking about his new White House portrait.

“You also left me a really good TV sports package, I use it.” — President Barack Obama  thanking  Bush.

“I don’t wield it over him.” — First lady Michelle Obama on having an approval rating that’s higher than her husband’s.

Alice Stewart, Rick Santorum Aide, Explains Offensive Obama Gaffe

So, this is my question.  When Ms. Stewart said “radical Islamic policies”, why didn’t Andrea Mitchell correct her?  MSNBC is notorious for wanting “access” to news makers at the expense of appeasing their guests and making their hosts look impotent.

Rick Santorum’s Press Secretary, Alice Stewart said President Obama has “radical Islamic policies” which is looped three times for you to clearly hear her words:

 The Huffington Post

Santorum press secretary Alice Stewart says it was an accident when she accused Obama of “radical Islamic policies.”

Stewart appeared on MSNBC Monday for an interview with Andrea Mitchell to discuss the controversial comments Santorum made about Obama’s “phony theology” over the weekend. As she repeatedly railed against Obama’s “radical environmentalist policies,” she slipped up and said “Islamic” instead (watch at 1:25).

Mitchell writes that Stewart quickly called her to clarify that she had misspoken.

Stewart called only moments later — while the show was on the air — to say she regretted the slip of the tongue, and to please note that she had misspoken and did not realize until it was pointed out to her that she had used the word “Islamic” by mistake.

Santorum continued a religious critique of Obama on “Face the Nation” Sunday, attacking his theology and deference to “radical environmentalists.” HuffPost’s Josh Hersh reported:

“I’ve repeatedly said I don’t question the president’s faith,” Santorum told host Bob Schieffer, denying what some have said was a signal that Santorum had challenged the legitimacy of Obama’s Christianity. “I’ve repeatedly said that I believe the president’s Christian — he says he’s Christian. But I am talking about his worldview, the way he addresses problems in this country, and they’re different than most people view it in America.”
In a speech to Tea Party conservatives on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, Santorum had dismissed Obama’s politics as being based in “some phony theology.”

“It’s not about you. It’s not about your quality of life. It’s not about your jobs,” Santorum said. “It’s about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology.”

An incredulous Bob Schieffer began his interview with Santorum Sunday by asking, “What in the world were you talking about?”

“I was talking about the radical environmentalists,” Santorum said, suggesting that they believe man should protect the earth, rather than “steward its resources.” “I think that is a phony ideal. I don’t believe that’s what we’re here to do… We’re not here to serve the earth. That is not the objective, man is the objective.”

Tuesday Blog Round Up

Herman Cain has a very bad day

Occupy Wall Street roundup, Day 45 

The eternal campaign to depict Michelle Obama as ‘angry‘ 

Calling BS on GOP ideas for job creation 

From The Annals Of Chutzpah

Cain’s Dumbfounding Press Conference Regarding Sexual Harassment .. 

Bill O’Reilly: Here at Fox News, We Expect Facts To Back You Up 

CBS’ Bob Schieffer lets Herman Cain have it over ad glorifying smoking

Koch-Funded Scientist Shocked To Discover World Getting Rapidly Warmer 

White House staff lose weight, credit first lady

CBS’s Face The Nation Dismantles Gingrich’s Lie That He ‘Wasn’t Referring To Ryan’

Gingrich tries to be as sleazy as possible in the following video….ugh!



Think Progress

Last Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press, Newt Gingrich offered a carefully conceived, triangulating strategy of attacking Obama’s health reform plan as well as the Republican plan proposed by Paul Ryan that privatizes Medicare. “I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering,” he said.

When the right-wing base predictably flipped out at Gingrich’s criticism of Ryan, Gingrich quickly folded, calling Ryan to personally apologize while stating on Fox News on Tuesday night that his comments were an “unfortunate…mistake.” But by Thursday, Gingrich offered a new formulation to Rush Limbaugh, arguing that his original comments about “right-wing social engineering” were not a reference to Paul Ryan.

This morning on CBS’s Face the Nation, Gingrich trotted out the same excuse. “I wasn’t referring to Ryan,” Gingrich pleaded. Host Bob Schieffer then played a clip of Gingrich on Meet the Press last week, in which Gingrich explicitly said Ryan’s plan was “too big a jump.” Caught in a trap of his own making, Gingrich could only say that Ryan’s plan is a “big plan that needs to be worked through.” Watch it:

David Gregory said this morning on Meet the Press that Gingrich’s claim that he wasn’t referring to Ryan is “on its face absurd.”

Newt Gingrich: I’m Debt-Free and Frugal! No, Really!

Perhaps it’s because I simply don’t like Newt Gingrich, but it appears to me that the man consistently lies not only about the President, but about everything else as well.

Any time one makes a statement one day, then repudiates that statement the next day with a caveat to the opposition party that if anyone repeats what he said on the first day will be lying about him.  (Go figure that logic!) 

It’s so similar to the Saturday Night Live skit which aired the night before Gingrich appeared on Meet The Press, last week:

It’s just so great to be back on Fox News, a network that both pays me and shows me the questions ahead of time. I just hope that tonight the lamestream media won’t twist my words by repeating them verbatim.

Here’s Gingrich on Face The Nation today…

Crooks & Liars – Nicole Belle’s Blog

I love Newt Gingrich’s campaign strategy of demanding that the media only hold him accountable for how great he is *right now*. Ignore all those ethical issues in his past tenure as Speaker of the House, he’s *now* the only one with leadership skills. Ignore all those infidelities in the past, he loves his wife *now*. Ignore what he said last week about Paul Ryan’s budget, he thinks it’s the best thing for America *now*. Likewise, *right now* Newt knows exactly how to get us out of the economic crisis we’re in because he’s debt-free and frugal, just ignore the fact that his own financial dealings have been less than cut and dried.

Bob Schieffer brings up this week’s revelation that Callista Gingrich disclosed five years ago an outstanding debt to Tiffany’s Jewelers in the six figures. Callista claimed the debt (of somewhere between $250,000 and 500,000) was her husband’s. Now, I don’t know about you, but I think it’s hard to claim understanding the financial concerns of most Americans when you’re floating a six figure debt to Tiffany’s, but Newt wants you to know that *right now* he and Callista are living frugally and debt-free.

Continue reading here…


John McCain: Obama Has “Learned a Lot”

Wait!  The GOP and Dems will be mixing it up at the State of The Union sitting next to their “SOTU dates“; Eric Cantor pronounces that “Obama is an American citizen and now John McCain declares that the President “has learned a lot”. 

What the heck have they done to the old Washington, DC?

CBS News

Ariz. Sen Says President Has “Changed a Great Deal” in Last Two Years; Sees Improvements in His Politics Following Midterms

Arizona Senator John McCain said on Sunday he thought President Obama had “learned a lot” in his first two years as president, and that he saw adjustments in the president’s politics following the November midterm elections.

In an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday morning, McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, said he thought Mr. Obama “has learned a lot in the last two years,” and that there was room for Republicans to work with him.

“He is a very intelligent man. I think he’s doing a lot of right things. This emphasis on cutting spending that we’ll be talking about…was something that obviously was not talked about in the last two years,” McCain told CBS’ Bob Schieffer. “I think there’s common ground because I think the president realized, as a result of the November elections, that the American people have a different set of priorities.”

McCain said he was hopeful that Mr. Obama’s recent efforts at bipartisanship could signal a changing atmosphere in Washington.

“I think the president has already changed a great deal,” McCain said. “Tomorrow night he’s going to be talking about cutting spending. That’s what the message of the November election was. He’ll be saying some things that we don’t agree with, but obviously with the new appointments, with an agenda where he wants free trade agreements passed … I think there’s going to be a number of areas that we can at least find common ground on.”

McCain also said that he, like a number of other Congressional members, would be sitting with a member of the opposite political party during Mr. Obama’s State of the Union Speech on Tuesday – though he noted his belief that the bipartisan seating issue was being “overblown.”

Wild Face The Nation Shoutfest: Reps. Michele Bachmann And Anthony Weiner Go At It

Face the Nation
Image via Wikipedia


Luckily regular Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer was vacationing because the mild-mannered Schieffer might not have been able to keep this wild bunch of elected representatives under control. Substitute host Harry Smith handled the debate well though, as Representatives Michele Bachmann, Anthony Weiner , Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Mike Kelly unleashed a fury of verbal blows on one another.

Discussion of the nation’s debt ceiling was a frequent topic on the Sunday shows, to which Kelly called raising it “absolutely irresponsible” and Bachmann declared “at this point I am not in favor of raising the debt ceiling.” During the lively debate, each participant fired off a few humorous shots, here are some of the best one-liners from each:

Weiner: “Apparently my Republican friends believe the tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires – somehow the bill fairy pays for that.”

Kelly [to Weiner]: “You’re very amusing. You have never, in your life, you have never done anything on your own with your own skin in the game.”

Wasserman-Schultz: “It’s time to go beyond rhetoric. Going beyond campaign slogans which is all I’ve heard today from Mr. Kelly and is all Ms. Bachmann really ever engages in.”

Bachmann: “Real world is where America lives, it’s not the bubble in Washington, D.C. where they engage in fantasy economics.”

In the end though they shook hands, laughed and wished each other a happy new year, one sure to be filled with many more heated arguments like this.