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House Dems Pass Only Middle Class Tax Cut Bill

“Using a wily procedural maneuver to tie Republican hands, House Democrats managed to pass, by a vote of 234-188, legislation that will allow the Bush tax cuts benefiting only the wealthiest Americans to expire.

Democrats were not united on the issue. Twenty voted with Republicans to kill the tax cut bill, as they hold out for extending additional cuts to wealthy Americans — though 3 Republicans, including Reps. Ron Paul (TX) and Walter Jones (NC) voted for the tax cut extensions. However the outcome will (and was designed to) allow Democrats to draw distinctions between themselves and Republicans during the 2012 election cycle.”

Senate Planning Four Tax Cut Votes Tomorrow

“Jim Manley, spokesman for Majority Leader Harry Reid confirms that the Senate is planning four tax cut votes tomorrow. As reported here, these will include the two Dem-sponsored plans: middle-income only cuts, and a tax hikes for millionaires.

The Senate will also vote on two Republican-backed plans: one to extend all of the Bush tax cuts for five years, and another to extend them permanently.

This is all contingent upon unanimous consent of the Dem caucus. If any senators — Jim DeMint or Tom Coburn come to mind — decide to object, then plans change. Reid could file for cloture on the tax cut plans, or they could drop the whole thing.”

UPDATE: Senate Tax Cut Deal Falls Through Senate will vote on two bills.

After Getting Amazon To Boot Wikileaks, Lieberman Eyes Other Firms (VIDEO)

“Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, yesterday succeeded in getting Amazon.com to boot Wikileaks off its servers.

Now, Lieberman says he’s widening his scope.

“We’ve gotta put pressure on any companies — like Amazon, [which] just cut Wikileaks off from its servers to distribute — there’s a company now in Sweden, I think it’s called Bahnhof, which is providing that kind of access to the Internet to Wikileaks,” he said on MSNBC this afternoon. “We’ve got to stop them from doing that.”

Editor’s Note: Amazon denies that governmental pressure caused them to stop hosting Wikileaks but says that Wikileaks violated their terms of service.

Flashback: NASA Agency That Discovered New Life Form Was Subject To Severe Budget Cuts Under Bush

“This afternoon, NASA’s Astrobiology Institute revealed a fairly breathtaking finding: the discovery of what is essentially another form of life. Geobiologist Felisa Wolfe-Simon found bacteria in Mono Lake, California that can live without phosphorus, instead sometimes using arsenic. All life on earth is made of six components: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur, but these bacteria are instead made of arsenic, something previously thought impossible. It even has a DNA blueprint that can contain arsenic, instead of phosphorus, meaning they are essentially a different form of life than anything else that exists on earth. […]
It is important to note that NASA’s Astrobiology Institute, which produced these amazing findings, is surviving despite falling victim to the Republican war on science. Under President George W. Bush, the department saw its funding reduced by half. The cuts were so drastic that many young astrobiologists faced tough decisions about leaving the field entirely.”

157 Republicans Vote Against Deficit-Reducing Bill That Gives Free, Healthy Meals To Hungry Kids

“Well-versed in obstructing help to the hungry, House Republicans first blocked, then voted against the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act yesterday, a bill that “would give more needy children the opportunity to eat free lunches at school and make those lunches healthier.” The Senate passed this bill by unanimous consent in August — essentially a 100-0 vote in favor of providing school meals to the nation’s 17 million hungry kids.

But 157 House Republicans had a different message for hungry children: get in line. During the House’s first attempt to pass the bill yesterday, Republicans “used a procedural maneuver” to add an amendment requiring background checks for child care workers. Recognizing it as a poison pill, House Democrats delayed the final vote till today rather than allow an amendment to “kill the bill.” The main champion of this tactic Rep. John Kline (R-MN) decried the Hunger-Free Act as a Democratic ploy to increase government spending.”

RNC Chair Candidate Ann Wagner: ‘We Should Not Be Raising The Debt Ceiling’

“With the all-important debt ceiling vote looming in the next few months, more GOPers are making their feelings known about the issue. A few conservatives have rightly chastised their Republican brethren for playing games with the debt ceiling and possibly forcing the nation to default on our debt. They include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), who called such a move “naïve,” and incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), who said that those GOPers who vote against raising the debt ceiling and risk a government shutdown will be seen as “yahoos.” Unfortunately, many on the right are ignoring these warnings and instead pitching their tents in the Shutdown Caucus by refusing to raise the national debt ceiling.

Now, one of the candidates to become the next RNC Chairman, former Missouri Republican Chair Ann Wagner, is taking a firm stance on whether her party should fight against raising the debt ceiling. In an interview at the first RNC Chairman debate, Wagner told ThinkProgress, “no, we should not be raising the debt ceiling”.”

Before Bankruptcy, Conservatives Touted Ireland As Model For U.S.

“During the 2008 Presidential campaign, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) praised the Irish economy for its low corporate tax rate and said that if the U.S. would just follow suit, companies would “be able to create jobs, increase your business, make more investment.” And McCain was far from the only conservative making the “Celtic Tiger” argument that Ireland’s low tax rates were a shining, successful model of conservatism in action. […] But now that Ireland’s economy has crashed down around it, those on the right are claiming that Ireland’s woes are due to big government run amok. […] Though far from being the sole cause of Ireland’s economic calamity, its very low-tax environment turned it into a favorite tax haven and led to an influx of “business” that wasn’t really business at all: it was just companies like Google shuffling paper through Ireland to dodge taxes.”

Congress Acts To Lower Volume On TV Ads

“The House on Thursday gave final congressional approval to a bill that would prevent advertisers from abruptly raising the volume to catch the attention of viewers wandering off when regular programming is interrupted. The legislation now heads to President Obama for his signature.”

Rangel has 2 GOP defenders in House censure vote

“The House of Representatives voted 333-79 Thursday to censure Rep. Charles Rangel, the most severe punishment the House of Representatives can dole out to one of its own, short of expulsion. Two Republicans, Reps. Don Young of Alaska and Peter King of New York, voted against censuring the 20-term New York Democrat.”

General Electric Tapped Fed To Borrow $16 Billion

“Newly released documents from the Federal Reserve Board show that General Electric Co. was a significant user of one of the Fed’s rescue programs in the fall of 2008, even as the blue-ribbon company enjoyed the highest credit rating available at the time.”

Euro Zone Is Imperiled by North-South Divide

“The currency union is divided between competitive export countries and uncompetitive deficit countries. The European Union and the 16 nations that use the euro face two crises. One is the immediate problem of too much debt and government spending. Another is the more fundamental divide, roughly north and south, between the more competitive export countries like Germany and France and the uncompetitive, deficit countries that have adopted the high wages and generous social protections of the north without the same economic ethos of strict work habits, innovation, more flexible labor markets and high productivity.”

Warsaw Journal: Poles Seek to Overcome Gap in Math and Sciences

“While Polish education has long emphasized arts and the humanities, some Poles are now trying to revive interest in math and the sciences.”

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