Some predictions

  • The "insider stories" from the past week, once they emerge, are going to contain a lot of angry House GOP quotes about the people in their party that, for their own personal gain, voted against a fiscal cliff deal that they knew had to be passed.
    • Why: if it hadn't passed, the House GOP would have found itself the target of popular (not just elite) scorn, McConnell would have lost all credibility as a negotiator, and Obama could have sat back and waited for a legitimate proposal from the roadblock.
    • Yet, because this is a compromise that didn't cut spending, no one from a Solid-Red district is going to enjoy defending their vote.
  • The conservative media is going to be split in the same way.
  • There's going to be a lot of GOP hankering in two months about not having spending cuts in this vote. 
  • There's going to be a lot of Dem hankering in two months about making so much of the 2003 tax cuts permanent.
  • There's going to be a HUGE amount of hankering in two years when the Democratic loved tax breaks expire. (note the difference there)
  • It will remain advantageous for politicians to talk about how Washington is broken while actively opposing efforts to fix it.

My taxes just went up

And the fact that everyone in DC wants to ignore that fact is reprehensible. The payroll tax is regressive and far more damaging to the economy than income taxes.

A guide to abridging Les Mis

 Behold; here's a link to Project Gutenberg's edition of Les Misérables. If you want to read it on a website at straight HTML, this is the appropriate link. But, intepid readers, you should be warned that Hugo sometimes veers off into slightly irrelevant tangents. If you want the purest plot, follow the guide below of areas that you can afford to skip:
  • Volume 1, Book 1: All about the Bishop and how awesome he is. Jean Valjean not mentioned.
    • Chapters I - VII are still good to read since they encompass Hugo's views on morality.
  • Volume 1, Book 3: All about how Fantine came to be abandoned
    • All you need to know is that her boyfriend left her (and Paris) to start his career in earnest after a few years of merriment.
  • Volume 2, Book 1: All about the battle of Waterloo
    • Only important plot point is that Thenardier accidentally revives an "Officer Pontmercy" while robbing him. Pontmercy makes note of this.
  • Volume 2, Books 6 and 7: All about the history and situation of French Convents
  • Volume 3, Book 1, Chapters I - XII: All about urchins in Paris.
    • Gavroche (important character) not mentioned until last chapter (XIII)
  • Volume 3, Book 2: Exposition about Marius's grandfather's politics.
  • Volume 3, Book 4: All about Marius's revolutionary friends and how they came to meet.
  • Volume 4, Book 7: On slang
  • Volume 5, Book 2: On the sewers of Paris