Tagged: Politics

The Part where we realize Mark Halperin was better off Calling POTUS a Dick

“I miscalculated a fair amount about what would happen with debt talks. I thought, for instance, that there’d be a big signing ceremony. I thought the president would stand with the Republican leaders, and they would announce together, we’ve solved the problem, even if we didn’t do everything everybody wanted. That didn’t happen.” – Mark Halperin

 

So, apparently calling the President kind of a dick is actually an improvement  over his standard boilerplate political commentary.  I am starting to wonder if Mark Halperin could predict the weather here in Dallas-Fort Worth (hint: it hasn’t been something other than Hot as all bejeezus and sunny since July 2)

 

 

Happy Veterans Day, But…

Idealism is what precedes experience, cynicism is what follows.

-David Wolf

There has been a nagging at my spirit during what I am viewing as an unprecedented media run up to Veterans’ Day.   I don’t have a particular gripe with Veterans Day, other than that they should just make it a Monday like all the other holidays, but that is just me being picky. 

What I struggle with is the nature of the holiday.  and its celebration. 

At the risk of  being particularly picky, Veterans Day isn’t about the military;  It is about the service member. 

Dragging your studio show overseas to use the military as a prop for your jingoism and let the military use you as a recruiting tool is all well and good( although it would be better if your parent company hadn’t been in bed with the administration in their reckless run up to a fraudulent war while totally ruining the one war that seemed to make sense, transforming it into a  debacle that may be worse than the initial one, I see you NewsCorp) but is that REALLY paying tribute to the service members?  REALLY?

It is about acknowledging the sacrifice being made by the service members.  The Human beings that end up being converted into pawns and rooks in the chess match that plays out in the DoD.

Enough of the Military photo ops. I wanna meet the people whose lives have been made…and broken by their military experience.   Because that’s what VETERANS Day should be about.

So, in that spirit.  My Veterans Day message.

To those who spend the lions share of their adulthood sacrifing to a country that occasionally patronizes their efforts and appreciates them to the extent it advances their political agenda.

To Those who sacrifice everything for a nation that just might allow them to die for nothing.

A nation far more grateful than it will ever be man/woman enough to express thanks you.

15 minutes on What scares the crap out of me.

I am by my nature, a difficult person to scare.  I am a father of three small to medium boys with a wife whos is as prone to shreiks of fear as she is feats of amazing mental and spiritual (and occasionally physical) strength.

As such, I dont let much shake me.

Except one thing.

The prospect of waking up at the Dawn of the Congressional Christmas break without National Health Care reform Scares the shit out of me.

But Why NOW?  Health care in the US is the best in the world?  (you.  Shut up.)

Ok, maybe not the best but do you REALLY want the alternative?

The alternative to WHAT?  ANOTHER decade of being shut out of the health care market because I have a job where I am largely paid by strangers?

Here is a secret, boys and girls…A deep, dark secret that I am taking this opportunity to share with all of you.

My youngest son has been diagnosed with sickle cell anemia.  This is a fact that my wife and I knew was a very real possibility when we got married, so we didn’t really plan to have children.  TFMI also had the sickle cell trait (as do Mrs. Ink and Me), so after rolling the dice successfully twice before…I wasn’t really interested in having more children, for 1000 reasons.  Mrs. Ink just plain didn’t want kids.

But alack and alas, here we are.  with a child who has a serious hereditary disease (how serious? The boy qualifies for Make-a-wish) and Faces a LIFETIME of medical challenges in order for him to lead a normal life.

TODAY, He is under my wife’s insurance, who as a school teacher for a large urban district in Texas, has PRETTY good insuance which is only affordable provided SHE is the only one on it.

The notion of me joining her on her insurance apparently is unpalatable to the good taxpayers of Texas, because that would send her monthly premium up 600%.  Adding the boy only raised it 400%, what a bargain.

Here is the hook, My wife would like NOTHING better than to step out of the Classroom and retire to run our family business full time.

Fat effin chance of that happening until Health Care reform passes.  So we wait. and watch. and pray.

Pray with us and for us, please.

Texas Two-Step

“All new states are invested, more or less, by a class of noisy, second-rate men who are always in favor of rash and extreme measures, but Texas was absolutely overrun by such men.” – Sam Houston

Let me start this post by stating that there is NO DOUBT that I believe in my heart of hearts that this is where God wants me to be and I would not be where I am as a man today if I had not packed up my worldly belongings in two large duffle bags and jumped a Greyhound bus and left the driving to them 5 years ago, never to return to my native home of Pittsburgh.

While people immediately identify me as a refugee from up yonder, the fact is I am starting to notice Texas rubbing off on me.  E.G.

  • anything under 55 degrees is suddenly a wee bit chilly
  • I simply WILL NOT leave the house if there is frozen preciptiation on the ground
  • My punctuality game has taken a major hit
  • I am a barbecue snob
  • I have taken to putting ranch on EVERYTHING

In all seriousness, though, while I love Texas, I do not love it like Native Texans do.  Their affinity for Texas can be down right treasonous at times; manifests itself in random foolishness like the Texas pledge, the propaganda machine that is Texas History in schools and that penchant for threatening Secession (I asked around, fellow Texans…if you leave the country you will need to build a fence to keep us IN.  Texas gets a lot less attractive as a home when its not one of fifty (or fifty-seven, shout out to POTUS and his new math)) and is a stand alone entity.  Frankly, the only reason this place is livable at all is due to the fact that federal regulations keep Texas from coming COMPLETELY unhinged.

But this is my new home.  A home I moved to in 2004 in part to revitalize interest in local politics.   I would have been better off moving to Detroit to save General Motors and Chrysler.  Thank God for plan B.

I will get back to Plan A as soon as I finish school.

Did Playboy call Rick Santelli a ho?

While pondering the mysteries, intricacies, and banalities of the universe in between the eighteen credits I am carrying, the full time job I am working, and the blended family I am heading don’t think for a second that I don’t have my ear to the street.

The good humorous folk at LOLFed brought this nugget to my attention, because Lawd knows that I don’t even read the Playboy website for the articles.

Apparently Barry Ritholtz, does though.  You would do well to add both LOLFed and The Big Picture to your regular reading.

For those of you who are loathe to click on any link that puts $ in Hugh Hefners pockets and pictures of silicone on your monitor, allow me to quote…um…extensively.

Last week, CNBC correspondent Rick Santelli rocketed from being a little-known second-string correspondent to a populist hero of the disenfranchised, a 21st-century Samuel Adams, the leader and symbol of the downtrodden American masses suffering under the onslaught of 21st century socialism and big government. Santelli’s “rant” last-week calling for a “Chicago Tea Party” to protest President Obama’s plans to help distressed American homeowners rapidly spread across the blogosphere and shot right up into White House spokesman Robert Gibbs’ craw, whose smackdown during a press conference was later characterized by Santelli as “a threat” from the White House. A nationwide “tea party” grassroots Internet protest movement has sprung up seemingly spontaneously, all inspired by Santelli, with rallies planned today in cities from coast to coast to protest against Obama’s economic policies.

But was Santelli’s rant really so spontaneous? How did a minor-league TV figure, whose contract with CNBC is due this summer, get so quickly launched into a nationwide rightwing blog sensation? Why were there so many sites and organizations online and live within minutes or hours after his rant, leading to a nationwide protest just a week after his rant?

What hasn’t been reported until now is evidence linking Santelli’s “tea party” rant with some very familiar names in the Republican rightwing machine, from PR operatives who specialize in imitation-grassroots PR campaigns (called “astroturfing”) to bigwig politicians and notorious billionaire funders. As veteran Russia reporters, both of us spent years watching the Kremlin use fake grassroots movements to influence and control the political landscape. To us, the uncanny speed and direction the movement took and the players involved in promoting it had a strangely forced quality to it. If it seemed scripted, that’s because it was.

What we discovered is that Santelli’s “rant” was not at all spontaneous as his alleged fans claim, but rather it was a carefully-planned trigger for the anti-Obama campaign. In PR terms, his February 19th call for a “Chicago Tea Party” was the launch event of a carefully organized and sophisticated PR campaign, one in which Santelli served as a frontman, using the CNBC airwaves for publicity, for the some of the craziest and sleaziest rightwing oligarch clans this country has ever produced. Namely, the Koch family, the multibilllionaire owners of the largest private corporation in America, and funders of scores of rightwing thinktanks and advocacy groups, from the Cato Institute and Reason Magazine to FreedomWorks. The scion of the Koch family, Fred Koch, was a co-founder of the notorious extremist-rightwing John Birch Society.

As you read this, Big Business is pouring tens of millions of dollars into their media machines in order to destroy just about every economic campaign promise Obama has made, as reported recently in the Wall Street Journal. At stake isn’t the little guy’s fight against big government, as Santelli and his bot-supporters claim, but rather the “upper 2 percent”’s war to protect their wealth from the Obama Adminstration’s economic plans. When this Santelli “grassroots” campaign is peeled open, what’s revealed is a glimpse of what is ahead and what is bound to be a hallmark of his presidency.

Let’s go back to February 19th: Rick Santelli, live on CNBC, standing in the middle of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, launches into an attack on the just-announced $300 billion slated to stem rate of home foreclosures: “The government is promoting bad behavior! Do we really want to subsidize the losers’ mortgages?! This is America! We’re thinking of having a Chicago tea party in July, all you capitalists who want to come down to Lake Michigan, I’m gonna start organizing.”

Almost immediately, the clip and the unlikely “Chicago tea party” quote buried in the middle of the segment, zoomed across a well-worn path to headline fame in the Republican echo chamber, including red-alert headlines on Drudge.

Within hours of Santelli’s rant, a website called ChicagoTeaParty.com sprang to life. Essentially inactive until that day, it now featured a YouTube video of Santelli’s “tea party” rant and billed itself as the official home of the Chicago Tea Party. The domain was registered in August, 2008 by Zack Christenson, a dweeby Twitter Republican and producer for a popular Chicago rightwing radio host Milt Rosenberg—a familiar name to Obama campaign people. Last August, Rosenberg, who looks like Martin Short’s Irving Cohen character, caused an outcry when he interviewed Stanley Kurtz, the conservative writer who first “exposed” a personal link between Obama and former Weather Undergound leader Bill Ayers. As a result of Rosenberg’s radio interview, the Ayers story was given a major push through the Republican media echo chamber, culminating in Sarah Palin’s accusation that Obama was “palling around with terrorists.” That Rosenberg’s producer owns the “chicagoteaparty.com” site is already weird—but what’s even stranger is that he first bought the domain last August, right around the time of Rosenburg’s launch of the “Obama is a terrorist” campaign. It’s as if they held this “Chicago tea party” campaign in reserve, like a sleeper-site. Which is exactly what it was.

ChicagoTeaParty.com was just one part of a larger network of Republican sleeper-cell-blogs set up over the course of the past few months, all of them tied to a shady rightwing advocacy group coincidentally named the “Sam Adams Alliance,” whose backers have until now been kept hidden from public. Cached google records that we discovered show that the Sam Adams Alliance took pains to scrub its deep links to the Koch family money as well as the fake-grassroots “tea party” protests going on today. All of these roads ultimately lead back to a more notorious rightwing advocacy group, FreedomWorks, a powerful PR organization headed by former Republican House Majority leader Dick Armey and funded by Koch money.

On the same day as Santelli’s rant, February 19, another site called Officialchicagoteaparty.com went live. This site was registered to Eric Odom, who turned out to be a veteran Republican new media operative specializing in imitation-grassroots PR campaigns. Last summer, Odom organized a twitter-led campaign centered around DontGo.com to pressure Congress and Nancy Pelosi to pass the offshore oil drilling bill, something that would greatly benefit Koch Industries, a major player in oil and gas. Now, six months later, Odom’s DontGo movement was resurrected to play a central role in promoting the “tea party” movement.

Up until last month, Odom was officially listed as the “new media coordinator” for the Sam Adams Alliance, a well-funded libertarian activist organization based in Chicago that was set up only recently. Samuel Adams the historical figure was famous for inspiring and leading the Boston Tea Party—so when the PR people from the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance abruptly leave in order to run Santelli’s “Chicago Tea Party,” you know it wasn’t spontaneous. Odom certainly doesn’t want people to know about the link: his name was scrubbed from the Sam Adams Alliance website recently, strongly suggesting that they wanted to cover their tracks. Thanks to google caching, you can see the SAA’s before-after scrubbing.

Even the Sam Adams’ January 31 announcement that Odom’s fake-grassroots group was “no longer sponsored by the Alliance” was shortly afterwards scrubbed.

But it’s the Alliance’s scrubbing of their link to Koch that is most telling. A cached page, erased on February 16, just three days before Santelli’s rant, shows that the Alliance also wanted to cover up its ties to the Koch family. The missing link was an announcement that students interested in applying for internships to the Sam Adams Alliance could also apply through the “Charles G. Koch Summer Fellow Program” through the Institute for Humane Studies, a Koch-funded rightwing institute designed to scout and nurture future leaders of corporate libertarian ideology. The top two board directors at the Sam Adams Alliance include two figures with deep ties to Koch-funded programs: Eric O’Keefe, who previously served in Koch’s Institute for Humane Studies and the Club For Growth; and Joseph Lehman, a former communications VP at Koch’s Cato Institute.

All of these are ultimately linked up to Koch’s Freedom Works mega-beast. Freedomworks.org has drawn fire in the past for using fake grassroots internet campaigns, called “astroturfing,” to push for pet Koch projects such as privatizing social security. A New York Times investigation in 2005 revealed that a “regular single mom” paraded by Bush’s White House to advocate for privatizing social security was in fact FreedomWorks’ Iowa state director. The woman, Sandra Jacques, also fronted another Iowa fake-grassroots group called “For Our Grandchildren,” even though privatizing social security was really “For Koch And Wall Street Fat Cats.”

If you log into FreedomWorks.org today, its home page features a large photo of Rick Santelli pointing at the viewer like Uncle Sam, with the words: “Are you with Rick? We Are. Click here to learn more.”

FreedomWorks, along with scores of shady front organizations which don’t have to disclose their sponsors thanks to their 501 (c)(3) status, has been at the heart of today’s supposed grassroots, nonpartisan “tea party” protests across the country, supposedly fueled by scores of websites which masquerade as amateur/spontaneous projects, but are suspiciously well-crafted and surprisingly well-written. One slick site pushing the tea parties, Right.org claims, “Right.org is a grassroots online community created by a few friends who were outraged by the bailouts. So we gathered some talent and money and built this site. Please tell your friends, and if you have suggestions for improving it, please let us know. Respectfully, Evan and Duncan.” But funny enough, these regular guys are offering a $27,000 prize for an “anti-bailout video competition.” Who are Evan and Duncan? Do they even really exist?

Even Facebook pages dedicated to a specific city “tea party” events, supposedly written by people connected only by a common emotion, obviously conformed to the same style. It was as if they were part of a multi-pronged advertising campaign planned out by a professional PR company. Yet, on the surface, they pretended to have no connection. The various sites set up their own Twitter feeds and Facebook pages dedicated to the Chicago Tea Party movement. And all of them linked to one another, using it as evidence that a decentralized, viral movement was already afoot. It wasn’t about partisanship; it was about real emotions coming straight from real people.

While it’s clear what is at stake for the Koch oligarch clan and their corporate and political allies—fighting to keep the hundreds of billions in surplus profits they’ve earned thanks to pro-rich economic policies over the past 30 years—what’s a little less obvious is Santelli’s link to all this. Why would he (and CNBC) risk their credibility, such as it is, as journalists dispensing financial information in order to act as PR fronts for a partisan campaign?

As noted above, Santelli’s contract with CNBC runs out in a few months. His 10 years with the network haven’t been remarkable, and he’ll enter a brutal downsizing media job market. Thanks to the “tea party” campaign, as the article notes, Santelli’s value has suddenly soared. If you look at the scores of blogs and fake-commenters on blogs (for example, Daily Blog, a slick new blog launched in January which is also based in Chicago) all puff up Santelli like he’s the greatest journalist in America, and the greatest hero known to mankind. Daily Bail, like so much of this “tea party” machine, is “headquartered nearby” to Santelli, that is, in Chicago. With Odom, the Sam Adams Alliance, and the whole “tea party” nexus: “Rick, this message is to you. You are a true American hero and there are no words to describe what you did today except your own.  Headquartered nearby, we will be helping the organization in whatever way possible.”

It’s not difficult to imagine how Santelli hooked up with this crowd. A self-described “Ayn Rand-er,” one of Santelli’s colleagues at CNBC, Lawrence Kudlow, played a major role in both FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth.

So today’s protests show that the corporate war is on, and this is how they’ll fight it: hiding behind “objective” journalists and “grassroots” new media movements. Because in these times, if you want to push for policies that help the super-wealthy, you better do everything you can to make it seem like it’s “the people” who are “spontaneously” fighting your fight. As a 19th century slave management manual wrote, “The master should make it his business to show his slaves, that the advancement of his individual interest, is at the same time an advancement of theirs. Once they feel this, it will require little compulsion to make them act as becomes them.” (Southern Agriculturalist IX, 1836.) The question now is, will they get away with it, and will the rest of America advance the interests of Koch, Santelli, and the rest of the masters?

Rick, Rick, Rick…You better hope this stays buried in the cleavage of Miss March.

I could Kick Michael Fletcher’s ass.

I KNOW I didn’t just see this nigra ask The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED FUCKING STATES, in the midst of more problems than you can shake a baseball bat at, about Alex Rodriguez.

They should donate his check to the DC Food bank.

Writing for the Washington Post and shit.  I hope the President NEVER calls on him again.

Ever.

Alex Rodriguez and shit.

*Shakes my head in disgust*

I got a Question

It’s serious as cancer.

What the hell isJesse White doing?

Nancy Erickson, the secretary of the Senate, rejected Burris’ appointment on Monday because Burris’ certificate of appointment was missing the signature of Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, an aide to the secretary said.

Rule 2 of the Standing Rules of the Senate states that the secretary of state must sign the certificate of election along with the governor.

White has declined to sign the certificate, siding with some Senate Democrats who say Burris should not be seated because of the cloud over Blagojevich.

Senate Democrats have said they would not seat Burris because he was appointed by Democratic Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is accused of scheming to sell the Senate seat.

The focus of all this Bullshit is on the wrong person.

Someone tell Jesse White to stop Hating and sign the damn appointment so his state can have TWO senators.

I will be shanking Mr. Secretary as soon as I get hold of what his angle is supposed to be.

Now Starring on Front Street: Chuck Schumer

While you were alternately laughing at George W. Bush ducking shoes in Iraq and watching in nail-biting anxiety as the Dallas Cowboys string along its fans in  their annual late-season heartbreaking swoon, The NY Times put Sen. Charles Schumer on front street.

An exceptional fund raiser — a “jackhammer,” someone who knows him says, for whom “ ‘no’ is the first step to ‘yes,’ ” — Mr. Schumer led the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the last four years, raising a record $240 million while increasing donations from Wall Street by 50 percent. That money helped the Democrats gain power in Congress, elevated Mr. Schumer’s standing in his party and increased the industry’s clout in the capital.

But in building support, he has embraced the industry’s free-market, deregulatory agenda more than almost any other Democrat in Congress, even backing some measures now blamed for contributing to the financial crisis.

Other lawmakers took the lead on efforts like deregulating the complicated financial instruments called derivatives, which are widely seen as catalysts to the crisis.

But Mr. Schumer, a member of the Banking and Finance Committees, repeatedly took other steps to protect industry players from government oversight and tougher rules, a review of his record shows. Over the years, he has also helped save financial institutions billions of dollars in higher taxes or fees.

He succeeded in limiting efforts to regulate credit-rating agencies, for example, sponsored legislation that cut fees paid by Wall Street firms to finance government oversight, pushed to allow banks to have lower capital reserves and called for the revision of regulations to make corporations’ balance sheets more transparent.

Oh, thats not good enough for you?  Try this one on for size:

An exceptional fund raiser — a “jackhammer,” someone who knows him says, for whom “ ‘no’ is the first step to ‘yes,’ ” — Mr. Schumer led the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the last four years, raising a record $240 million while increasing donations from Wall Street by 50 percent. That money helped the Democrats gain power in Congress, elevated Mr. Schumer’s standing in his party and increased the industry’s clout in the capital.

But in building support, he has embraced the industry’s free-market, deregulatory agenda more than almost any other Democrat in Congress, even backing some measures now blamed for contributing to the financial crisis.

Other lawmakers took the lead on efforts like deregulating the complicated financial instruments called derivatives, which are widely seen as catalysts to the crisis.

But Mr. Schumer, a member of the Banking and Finance Committees, repeatedly took other steps to protect industry players from government oversight and tougher rules, a review of his record shows. Over the years, he has also helped save financial institutions billions of dollars in higher taxes or fees.

He succeeded in limiting efforts to regulate credit-rating agencies, for example, sponsored legislation that cut fees paid by Wall Street firms to finance government oversight, pushed to allow banks to have lower capital reserves and called for the revision of regulations to make corporations’ balance sheets more transparent.

“On the right, you have those who view any government intervention as a threat to free markets,” one executive recalled Mr. Schumer explaining. “On the left, you have people who choose to view this as a government handout to the rich. In the middle, you have everyone who knows and takes the Treasury secretary seriously and recognizes that if something is not done here, we could be staring into an abyss.”

Still not convinced?  Brace yourself for the punchline:

At times in Congress, Mr. Schumer has teamed up with Republicans, like former Senator Phil Gramm of Texas, who aggressively promoted a free-market agenda. Mr. Schumer pushed for the Gramm-Leach-Bliley law, passed in November 1999, which knocked down the walls between investment banks and commercial banks and allowed financial supermarkets to flourish. The law also weakened regulatory oversight by fracturing it among different agencies.

In 2001, Mr. Schumer and Mr. Gramm jointly proposed legislation that would cut fees paid by Wall Street firms and others to the S.E.C. in half, or by $14 billion, over the coming decade. Their proposal included some extra money for salaries of commission employees.

But with trading volumes high, Mr. Schumer argued, the government was collecting far too much money from those fees and using it to subsidize other government operations. “It is a tax, an unintended but very real tax, on all sorts of investors,” he said at the time.

But some Democrats, pointing to the recent corporate accounting scandals, argued that the S.E.C. budget should be doubled or tripled so it could more effectively combat fraud that could lead to a major economic collapse.

“We are making a tragic mistake,” Representative John J. LaFalce, Democrat of New York, warned in arguing for a much smaller reduction in S.E.C. fees.

“We give the industry what it asks for unwittingly.”

Mr. Schumer’s argument prevailed, and the fee cut passed overwhelmingly.

So, while you’re cheering the overwhelming Democratic Majority, remember the folk who helped bankroll it and be sure to keep an eye on Mr. Schumer.

The Cruel Cycle

One of the great ironies in any legislative branch is the fact that in order to get a certain amount of pull for your district, your representative needs seniority.  In order to get seniority, they spend a lot of time fund-raising and deal making, which in turn makes them a typical grimy politician and in turn makes you get the urge to vote them out.

Then you’re reminded that if you DO put them out (especially if you are dealing with a Rep of color) you have to go through the whole hassle of having a representative with no experience finding his way while you have little to no influence on the general scene.

This is the cruel cycle of the legislative branch, where EVERYONE ELSE’S Congressman/State Rep/City Councilman is a crook and yours is just handling biz.

But what about when The proverbial shit hits the proverbial fan and even those of us OUTSIDE the district are affected.  What do you do when YOUR rep is a Heavy Hitter and his potential doom affects the whole country?

Let us dispense with the hypotheticals and get on with the reality.

 

Charlie Rangel is fuckin up, Harlem.

Charlie Rangel might be looking for a shovel these days. The flurries started last summer as a series of embarrassing revelations. Among them was the fact that Rangel was occupying four rent-controlled apartments simultaneously in Upper Manhattan, and that his tax returns — Rangel is the chairman of the tax code–writing House Ways and Means Committee — were such a mess that he was hiring a “forensic auditor” to figure out why he had failed to report $75,000 in rental income from a villa in the Dominican Republic. Adding to the tangle of questions was the fact that, even as he was living in those New York apartments and being charged less than half what they would cost on the going market, Rangel was claiming a homestead exemption on a house he owns in Washington, D.C.

All of that might be written off as small lapses, or even just sloppiness. But any snickering stopped last week, when the New York Times reported that Rangel had been “instrumental” in preserving a lucrative tax loophole that benefited an oil-drilling company whose chief executive had pledged $1 million to a school of public service named for Rangel at City College of New York CCNY). Now the doubts surrounding Rangel have grown to the point that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is worried they will linger past Barack Obama’s inauguration and into the dawn of the new Democratic era. She issued a statement the day before Thanksgiving saying she expects the House Ethics Committee to complete its initial inquiry into Rangel — an investigation that the chairman called for himself — by Jan. 3.

What are you going to do?