Think Progress has the run down.
From Nate Silver:
When I think about Mr. Trump, whose share of the Republican primary vote is rising in some polls (in fact, he’s tied for first in one of them), I think about the Fairfax Five and the Factional Five. If Mr. Trump were going to run for president, it might have been more natural for him to do so as a social moderate but fiscal conservative, touting his executive experience and the virtues of free-market capitalism. Instead, he has run far to his right, giving voice to false and misleading claims about Mr. Obama’s birth certificate, and reversing his prior, more moderate positions on gay rights and abortion.
While Mr. Trump, a creature of New York rather than of Washington and one who carries his share of personal baggage, might never have been the first choice of establishment Republicans, he now threatens to become a problem for them. Mr. Trump wasn’t all that popular to begin with — Talking Points Memo’s poll tracker has him with ratings of 32 percent favorable against 44 percent unfavorable among the general public — and those numbers are more likely than not to worsen as he is viewed less as a celebrity and more as a politician with some outside-the-mainstream views.
The opportunity for Mr. Trump may have been created by the demise of the candidate who might be thought of as the founding member of the Factional Five: Sarah Palin, whose numbers have declined among Republican voters as she has received more criticism from the establishment. For the establishment Republicans, it must feel like a game of Whac-A-Mole. Just as Ms. Palin’s numbers decline, candidates like Mr. Trump and Ms. Bachmann — who could be nearly as problematic next November — pop up in her place.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Dennis Kucinich has rapped a U.S. House of Representatives cafeteria with a $150,000 lawsuit for selling him a vegetarian sandwich wrap in 2008 that he says caused dental damage when he bit into an olive pit.
The lawsuit that the Cleveland Democrat filed Jan. 3 against operators and suppliers of the Longworth House Office Building cafeteria says the sandwich he bought there “on or about” April 17, 2008 “contained dangerous substances, namely an olive pit, that a consumer would not reasonably expect to find in the final product served.”
Biting into it caused serious “permanent dental and oral injuries requiring multiple surgical and dental procedures,” the legal documents say. They contend the congressman is entitled to damages for future dental and medical expenses and to compensate him for pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment.
From the HuffPost:
WASHINGTON — President Obama, who had gone nearly 700 days without using his clemency power, finally issued nine pardons on Friday afternoon to a very minor rogue’s gallery of small-time felons who long ago did their time, if they did any at all.
Far from sending a message about the excesses and errors of the judicial system, Obama picked minor and sometimes ancient offenses — such as a 1963 conviction for “mutilation of coins” — to forgive. He also chose not to commute any sentences at all.
But expectations diminished as the days and months went by, and Obama became the second-slowest president to issue a pardon at all. He was about two weeks away from surpassing even George W. Bush, who pardoned seven people just before Christmas of his second year.
“You can decrease the significance of the pardon power by not using it, that’s one way to do it,” Ruckman said. “The other way to decrease its significance is to basically use it on behalf of the people who need it the least.”
From Sociological Images:
J.L. Bell at Oz and Ends counted the number of rumors about President G.W. Bush and President Obama that were identified and determined by rumor-validation site, snopes.com, to be true, false, a mixture of true and false, or uncertain. It turns out, there are a lot more rumors and a lot more false rumors about Obama than there were about Bush:
And the summary:
In less than two years, Obama rumor-mongers have had nearly twice the output that their Bush counterparts managed in eight years – 87 to 47. And while the Bush rumors split almost evenly true-false, false Obama rumors dwarfed the true ones. The false rumors about Obama outnumbered the total number of rumors about Bush. And while the lies about Obama are almost all negative, some of the false rumors about Bush are quite flattering, along the lines of the George Washington cheery tree rumor – like the rumor that had Bush paying for the funeral of a boy who had drowned near the Crawford ranch.
New Rule: You can’t use the statement “there will be no cooperation for the rest of the year” as a threat if there was no cooperation in the first half of the year.
Oh those compassionate conservatives:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is trying to pass an extension of unemployment benefits, but is facing resistance from Republicans who are throwing up procedural hurdles and trying to use the extension as leverage to push through a tax cut for the wealthiest families in the country. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) today questioned the necessity of an extension on the grounds that “we intend to have some immediate impact on the economy through what we’re doing.” And discourse in the House isn’t any better, with Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) positing that extending unemployment benefits may be creating “hobos”:
Heller said the current economic downturn and policies may bring back the hobos of the Great Depression, people who wandered the country taking odd jobs. He said a study found that people who are out of work longer than two years have only a 50 percent chance of getting back into the workforce. “I believe there should be a federal safety net,” Heller said, but he questioned the wisdom of extending unemployment benefits yet again to a total of 24 months, which Congress is doing. “Is the government now creating hobos?” he asked.
(via Joe My God)
Talking Points Memo on why Michele Bachmann suddenly has stopped urging voters to not participate in the Census:
The state of Minnesota could be on the verge of losing a House seat after 2010 — and interestingly enough, it’s been a while since we heard Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) talk about refusing to participate in the Census.
Last year, Bachmann repeatedly said she would defy the Census by not completely filling out the information on the forms, but would instead only give the number of people in her household. She said that Census data was used to conduct the 1940′s Japanese-American internment, and warned that the government was seeking to gather information about people’s mental health. But as far as we can tell, her last anti-Census public statement was in August.
The largest newspaper in Minnesota, the Star-Tribune, is calling on the state’s citizens to vigorously participate in the Census. The key issue here is that according to current population estimates, Minnesota is right on the cusp of losing one of its eight seats in Congress, and will be in a close competition with Missouri, Texas and California for that district. The Strib points out that “Minnesota traditionally has had one big advantage — the cooperation of its civic-minded citizens.”
Bwahahaha. And here’s the really fun part:
The really fun fact, as I’ve learned from Minnesota experts, is that Bachmann’s district would likely be the first to go if the state lost a seat. The other seats are all fairly regular-shaped, logical districts built around identifiable regions of the state (Minneapolis, St. Paul, the Iron Range, and so on). Bachmann’s district is made of what’s left over after such a process, twisting and turning from a small strip of the Wisconsin border and curving deep into the middle of the state. As such, the obvious course of action if the state loses a seat is to split her district up among its neighbors.