TPM News

Taking The House, GOP Primes For Fight With Obama The Associated Press reports: "Taking control of the House at last, Republicans are rushing straight into a political fight with President Barack Obama over health care and changes in Washington they say voters demanded in the midterm elections. 'It's new energy,' incoming House Speaker John Boehner told reporters on the eve of his swearing-in."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and Vice President Biden will receive the presidential daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET. Obama will meet with senior advisers at 10:30 a.m. ET. He will meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at 3:45 p.m. ET.

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On Wednesday afternoon, new members of Congress will be sworn in, John Boehner will be elected Speaker, and the Republican majority will settle into control of the House of Representatives.

After some pomp and circumstance -- and probably a few tears -- the House will get to work on a dramatically different agenda than Democrats pursued in the 111th Congress. And that's one side of a fundamental tension that will set the stage for (bipartisan) gridlock, posturing and, eventually, high-stakes brinksmanship.

It'll start almost right away.

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Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight Jacob Volkmann was giving a snooze-inducing interview about his recent victory over Antonio McKee when things took a political turn for the worse. When Fanhouse's Ariel Helwani asked Volkmann whom he'd like to fight next, Volkmann said President Barack Obama.

"He's not too bright," Volkmann said. "Someone's gotta knock some sense into that idiot."

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Today is a very momentous occasion. With the 112th Congress being sworn in, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) will be officially elected as the new Speaker of the House, taking the gavel away from departing Speaker and incoming Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). So let's get to know Boehner, as he's grown over the past two years.

At least up until recently, Boehner's most famous moment was in the mid-1990s, when he handed out checks from the tobacco lobby right on the House floor, while a vigorous effort (and a successful one, at that) was underway to save the industry's government subsidies. However, no video of this moment exists -- but we will get to it later.

But the past two years really deserve a look back. It is, after all, the period when the Republican Party went from dead in the water to a strong majority in the House, and John Boehner grew as a political leader and spokesman in that time, too.

So let's look at five key moments over the past two years, a time when a wounded Boehner and GOP began as white-collar Washington insiders who you couldn't give away, only to regenerate into populist Washington insiders with gavels. Okay, it's not quite as impressive a regeneration as the Doctor, but it's still a magnificent transformation all the same.

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To some, the word "coon" is most recognizable as a racial slur. Yet as South Carolina considers issuing specialty plates with "Coon Hunters" written on them, the president of a raccoon hunting organization there says the term is hardly offensive.

"Coon is a word that's in the dictionary," David McKee, president of the South Carolina Coon Hunters Association told TPM. "There are national publications about coon hunting."

True, the dictionary does define coon primarily as an abbreviation for nature's mischievous bandits. Yet the online version of Merriam-Webster notes the common derogatory connotation as well. The site defines coon like this:

1: raccoon 2: usually offensive : black

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1||January 5, 2011: As members of the 112th Congress are sworn in today, Republicans officially take control of the House. Some are familiar faces, others are freshmen legislators. Meet the members of the new Republican House leadership.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)||newscom/ZUMA Press&&

2||House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA)||newscom/Bill Clark/Roll Call Photos&&

3||House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)||newscom/Jeff Malet&&

4||Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI)||newscom/Tom Williams/Roll Call Photos&&

5||Homeland Security Committee Chair Peter King (R-NY)||newscom/Ron Sachs/CNP&&

6||Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA)||newscom/Jeff Malet&&

7||Energy and Commerce Chair Fred Upton (R-MI)||newscom/Ryan Kelly/Congressional Quarterly&&

8||Conference Chair Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)||newscom/Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly&&

9||Science and Technology Committee Chair Ralph Hall (R-TX)||newscom/&&

10||Armed Services Committee Chair Buck McKeon (R-CA)||newscom/Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly&&

11||National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Pete Sessions (R-TX)||newscom/Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly&&

12||Agriculture Committee Chair Frank Lucas (R-OK)||newscom/Kevin Dietsch/UPI&&

13||Policy Committee Chair Tom Price (R-GA)||newscom/Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly&&

14||Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD)||newscom/Tom Williams/Roll Call Photos&&

15||Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC)||newscom/Bill Clark/Roll Call Photos&&

16||Appropriations Committee Chair Hal Rogers (R-KY)||newscom/Tom Williams/Roll Call Photos&&

17||Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)||newscom/Kevin Dietsch/UPI&&

18||Education and Labor Committee Chair John Kline (R-MN)||newscom/Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly&&

19||Chairman of the Leadership Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR)||newscom/Bill Clark/Roll Call Photos&&

20||Financial Services Committee Chair Spencer Bachus (R-AL)||newscom/Richard Clement&&

21||Judiciary Committee Chair Lamar Smith (R-TX)||newscom/Bill Clark/Roll Call Photos&&

22||Natural Resources Committee Chair Doc Hastings (R-WA)||newscom/Ron Sachs/CNP&&

23||Small Business Committee Chair Sam Graves (R-MO)||newscom/MCT&&

24||Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair John Mica (R-FL)||newscom/ZUMA Press&&

25||Veterans' Affairs Committee Chair Jeff Miller (R-FL)||facebook.com/jeffmiller&&

26||Ways and Means Committee Chair David Camp (R-MI)||newscom/Ryan Kelly/Congressional Quarterly&&

27||Conference Vice-Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)||newscom/Bill Clark/Roll Call Photos&&

28||Conference Secretary John Carter (R-TX)||newscom/Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly&&

29||Rules Committee Representative David Dreier (R-CA)||newscom/Tom Williams/Roll Call Photos&&

Buy! Sell! Repeat. Quickly.

In a thorough discussion of America's economy over the past century with TheRealNews.com, economist Michael Hudson noted that the average financial transaction in the U.S. lasts an astoundingly short 22 seconds. According to Hudson, President of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends and a professor of economics at the University of Missouri, the average foreign currency investment lasts just 30 seconds.

In the interview, Hudson summarizes the drastic shift in American tax policy since the early 1900s, explaining how falling tax rates for the wealthy, and on financial transactions, encouraged people to make money on Wall Street than with deals surrounding tangible goods. The computerization of financial transactions then exacerbated this trend, making it easier to buy and sell at a frantic pace.

"All of a sudden you have the economy encouraging speculation in real estate, in stocks and bonds, instead of direct investment," Hudson said.

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Lawyers for Paul Magliocchetti, the big time lobbyist who pleaded guilty in September to making hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions and giving false statements to a federal agency, are asking a federal court to grant leniency to their client, who's set to be sentenced on Friday.

Dr. David Blackmon, a licensed psychologist in Jacksonville Beach, Florida performed a neuropsychological evaluation on Magliocchetti and lawyers have requested he testify in court this week.

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