Friday Open Thread

Silver Bells  is a classic Christmas song, composed by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. The lyric is unusual for a Christmas song in that it describes the festival in the city and not a rural setting.

Silver Bells was first performed by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell in the motion picture The Lemon Drop Kid, filmed in July-August 1950 but released in March 1951.[1] The first recorded version was by Bing Crosby and Carol Richards, released in October 1950.[2] After the Crosby and Richards recording became popular, Hope and Maxwell were called back in late 1950 to refilm a more elaborate production of the song.[1]

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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46 Responses to Friday Open Thread

  1. Marine Asks First Lady Michelle Obama to Marine Corps Ball

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/12/marine-asks-first-lady-michelle-obama-to-marine-corps-ball/#.TuvccFYrJLg.facebook

    While sorting donations at the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign, this afternoon First Lady Michelle Obama received an unusual request.

    Across a pile of race cars, the Associated Press reports Lance Cpl. Aaron Leeks invited Obama to be his date for next year’s Marine Corps Ball.

    The 20-year-old Marine from Maryland told the AP, Obama said “she’d love to go.”

    “Actually she said I’d need to speak to her husband, too, but she said she’d love to,” Leeks said.

    No word yet on whether the request has received the president’s approval. “If the president’s watching this, this might be the first he’s heard of it,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney joked at today’s daily briefing.

    Carney did not know if Mrs. Obama will in fact attend the ball, but said, “I’m sure she was flattered by the invitation.”

    A user with the name “Aaron Leeks” has already changed his profile picture on Facebook to a photograph of himself in uniform with the First Lady, matching the outfits the two wore during the charity event today.

    This is not this year’s first celebrity invitation for a Marine Corps Ball. Co-stars Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake both attended the ball in November.

    JavaScript required to play Flotus asked to the ball.

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  2. rikyrah says:

    WH’s Carney Confronted Over First Lady’s “Extravagant” Jet Travels

    Reporter: “Yeah, the First Lady’s going to be leaving in a few hours for Hawaii, obviously, she’s not able to go with the president, but I wanted to ask you, isn’t it an extravagance for four people to go in two jets to Hawaii, particularly given the state of the economy and budget and given the directive we put out about limiting air travel by the administration?”

    Jay Carney, White House: “Two things, Mike, first of all, I think you might check your sourcing on that. The original story was an interesting one, but the First Lady and their daughters — the First Lady and their daughters will be traveling today, as originally planned for their holiday trip to visit the president’s family in Hawaii. As previous First Ladies have done, they’ll travel on a military aircraft.”

    Reporter: “Shouldn’t they wait and everybody go on one so it’s one jet? That’s a long flight.”

    Carney: “Again, as previous First Ladies have done, they’ll travel on a military aircraft, separate from the president. That’s been a practice in previous administrations.”

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/12/16/whs_carney_confronted_over_first_ladys_extravagant_jet_travels.html

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  3. White House Awards Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Grants

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  4. rikyrah says:

    The GOP’s Corporate Oligarchy Has Pushed Half Of America Into Poverty
    It is doubtful that throughout history, any country witnessed their own demise as it was occurring, or realized that their representatives in government were quietly handing power over to a few wealthy elites. Many Americans are not yet aware that Republicans have nearly destroyed the great middle class as well as the function of government through obstruction and perpetual preferential treatment for the oligarchs who really run this country. Political observers have known for at least a decade that the GOP intends on establishing an oligarchy to replace our representative democracy and now that nearly half of Americans are living at or near poverty, it is just a matter of time until the wealthiest 1% controls the government and all the wealth and the rest of the population are peasants.

    There are two recent reports that should serve as a wake up call for all Americans who believe that American exceptionalism will prevent the decline of the country, and each is telling in its own right. One gives a bleak vision of a once-great country with an admirable standard of living that has fallen so fast and low into a land of peasants that it is nearly unbelievable. The other poll gives an indication that the American people now have a clear view of who is responsible for the gridlock and dishonest rhetoric that contributed to half of the country’s residents joining the ranks of the destitute and is no surprise that Americans blame Republicans for the dysfunctional Congress.

    A Pew Research Center poll reported that 40% of respondents believe Republicans are to blame for the “Do Nothing” Congress and that Democrats (51%) are more willing to work with the other side. Conversely, 53% see Republicans as more extreme in their positions and are not willing to work at all. The same poll found that 45% of respondents felt Democrats were more honest and ethical than Republicans (28%) and are more apt to manage government better than Republicans. The poll’s results are not a revelation to most Americans who have witnessed Republicans fight tooth and nail against any legislation to help create jobs or give struggling Americans a chance at escaping poverty. Instead, the population has watched Republicans slash safety nets, cut spending for programs to help the needy, and kill jobs to protect the wealthy elite.

    The Republicans have been accused of overreaching, but they have surpassed overreaching and are making a naked power grab to install a permanent oligarchy ruled by industrialists and multinational corporations. For all of 2010, Republicans have made wanton attacks on women and gays, and have done nothing whatsoever to help Americans who are not the wealthy class. In fact, Republicans are guilty of criminal obstruction of legislation to create jobs, give relief to poverty-level Americans, and maintain a stable middle class. Another report outlined the horrific standard of living half of Americans have found themselves in because Republicans reject Democratic efforts to grow the economy and create living wage jobs. That refusal to help the economy and create jobs is in great part responsible for shameful poverty numbers

    http://www.politicususa.com/en/gop-oligarchy-poverty

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  5. rikyrah says:

    Fri Dec 16 03:01pm EST

    Home for the holidays: No jail for Barry Bonds
    By Rob Iracan

    Home run king Barry Bonds has been pitched around again. The former San Francisco Giants star was sentenced to two years probation and a month of home confinement in San Francisco district court on Friday, a delayed result of his conviction back in April on one count of obstruction of justice.

    Prosecutors in the case had asked Judge Susan Illston to hand down a stiff 15-month prison sentence, a far weightier punishment than cyclist Tammy Thomas and track coach Trevor Graham had received when sentenced for the same crime by the same judge. But Bonds’ probation officer recommended a lighter deal: two years’ probation, 250 hours of community service, and a mere month of home confinement and location monitoring.

    In the end, Judge Illston chose the lesser sentence, which included a measly $4,000 fine. She chose to go easy on the home run champ for four reasons: He didn’t try to silence witnesses, his recent charity work showed character, he had no prior arrest record, and to keep in line with the previous sentences handed down to Thomas and Graham.

    Though it’s a relatively light sentence, Bonds’ lawyers still plan to appeal the conviction of the obstruction charge so Bonds doesn’t go through life as a labeled felon. Illston has given Bonds a stay of his sentence pending the appeal.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/Home-for-the-holidays-No-jail-for-Barry-Bonds?urn=mlb-wp28693

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  6. rikyrah says:

    December 16, 2011 3:40 PM

    Romney’s healthcare competence called into question
    By Steve Benen

    The conventional wisdom keeps telling me that Mitt Romney, for all his many faults (chronic dishonesty, incessant flip-flopping, cowardice, etc.), is at least a smart guy who cares about policy. Romney may lack integrity, we’re told, but at least he’s a vaguely technocratic wonk.

    Except, I’m not at all convinced this guy is any smarter than his hapless Republican rivals. Romney speaks in complete sentences, which makes him look like a genius compared to Rick Perry, but consider some of the things the former governor says about his understanding of public policy. Here’s a gem from Iowa earlier today:


    “Medicaid. You wonder what Medicaid is; those who aren’t into all this government stuff. You know, I have to admit, I didn’t know the differences between all these things until I got into government. Then I got into it and I understood that Medicaid is the health care program for the poor, by and large.”

    I see. So, Mitt Romney, despite two degrees from Harvard, learned what Medicaid is when he became governor in 2002. He was 55 years old at the time.

    Before he “got into government” and discovered what Medicaid is, Romney helped run a health company, which relied heavily on funding from — you guessed it — Medicare and Medicaid. What’s more, in his book, Romney boasts about having been a health care consultant, where he developed an expertise in how to deal with entitlements.

    But he didn’t know what Medicaid was until he got into government?

    Now, I know what some of you are thinking. “Romney didn’t mean what he said this morning,” you’re going to tell me. “He was only saying he didn’t understand Medicaid so that he could pretend to relate to the people in the audience. This wasn’t ignorance; it was pandering.”

    Perhaps. I can’t say with certainty what Romney is ignorant of, and what he only pretends to be ignorant of.

    But if this is the accurate explanation, let’s appreciate a disconcerting fact: Romney is so desperate to appear folksy, he’s willing to lie about his lack of awareness to get people to relate to him. And that’s just sad.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/romneys_healthcare_competence034155.php

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  7. dannie22 says:

    good afternoon all

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  8. rikyrah says:

    December 16, 2011 2:55 PM
    What the DNAA does
    By Steve Benen

    The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a $662 billion spending bill that finances the military, was the focus of a contentious fight in recent months, including a formal veto threat from the White House. This week, however, there was considerable movement, including 11th-hour changes to the language, the withdrawal of the veto threat, and passage of the bill in both the House and Senate. President Obama will, by all accounts, grudgingly sign it into law.

    The question, then, isn’t whether the bill is disappointing. Rather, it’s appreciating just how disappointing it is.

    Adam Serwer, who’s covered the ins and outs of the NDAA fight better than anyone, has a helpful piece today summarizing what the bill does (and just as importantly, what it doesn’t do).

    [The NDAA] says that the president has to hold a foreign Al Qaeda suspect captured on US soil in military detention — except it leaves enough procedural loopholes that someone like convicted underwear bomber and Nigerian citizen Umar Abdulmutallab could actually go from capture to trial without ever being held by the military.

    It does not, contrary to what many media outlets have reported, authorize the president to indefinitely detain without trial an American citizen suspected of terrorism who is captured in the US. A last minute compromise amendment adopted in the Senate, whose language was retained in the final bill, leaves it up to the courts to decide if the president has that power, should a future president try to exercise it. But if a future president does try to assert the authority to detain an American citizen without charge or trial, it won’t be based on the authority in this bill.

    There’s been a fair amount of coverage this week, arguing that the bill, among things, empowers the executive branch “to throw American citizens into prison for life without charges or a trial.” Adam’s reporting shows otherwise.

    This is not to say the NDAA is a good bill. In fact, as Adam explained, the bill’s language “writes into law an assumed role for the military in domestic counterterrorism that did not exist before,” and though this president and this administration appear to have no interest is using the law the way Republicans would like, we don’t know how future presidents may implement the same provisions.

    But it’s not quite as outrageous as some reports have suggested.

    I had one related thought about this. President Obama has been facing quite a bit of criticism from the left over the NDAA’s provisions, and that’s understandable. It’s pretty easy to make the case that the measure should have been vetoed.

    That said, if I’m making a list of those responsible for the NDAA’s most odious measures, the White House wouldn’t be on top. I’d start, obviously, with congressional Republicans whose misguided worldview intended to make the NDAA even more offensive, but it was a whole lot of congressional Democrats who went along with them.

    We’ve seen this problem before — most notably with the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay — where the president and his start off in a relatively good place in a national-security dispute, but end up in a much worse place because congressional Dems helped push them there.

    Regardless, the NDAA is done. Recalling a phrase I’m sure I’ve used more than once this year, it’s bad, but it could have been worse.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/what_the_dnaa_does034154.php

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  9. rikyrah says:

    Blog
    December 16, 2011 9:30 AM

    Playing telephone with a controversial quote
    By Steve Benen

    On Monday, we talked about an odd line that has worked its way into Mitt Romney’s stump speech: he wants to “keep America American.” I argued that the line is kind of creepy, and Steve M. noted that the same three-word phrase was used in the 1920s by the KKK. A day later, John Aravosis tied the threads together in a piece that generated a fair amount of attention.

    As campaign stories go, this was largely a blip on the radar, but the history of “keep America American” was noticed by a few major outlets — the Washington Post noted that the phrase was also used by the nativist Know-Nothing Party in the 1850s — and MSNBC briefly mentioned this briefly on Wednesday morning.

    And that apparently proved problematic.


    The MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews, who was not involved with the original report, read an apology to the Romney campaign during his 5 p.m. program, “Hardball.”

    The network, Mr. Matthews said, “reported on a blog item that compared a phrase used by the Romney campaign to one used by the K.K.K. way back in the 1920s. It was irresponsible and incendiary of us to do this, and it showed an appalling lack of judgment. We apologize, we really do, to the Romney campaign.”

    The odd part of this is that no one, including Matthews, said what was wrong with the original report. Romney was quoted using a line with a troubled past, and some media outlets — the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and MSNBC — made note of this. No one called Romney a Klansman, which clearly would have been ridiculous. This was more a story about a presidential candidate using a phrase with a scandalous past.

    Shouldn’t on-air apologies offer some kind of explanation as to why the original reporting was mistaken?

    As it turns out, as of late yesterday, two days after the apology, the Romney campaign produced a video showing Romney had said “keep America America,” rather than “keep America American.” What we’re left with, then, is a sort of political game of “telephone” — the L.A. Times ran a quote; I highlighted the quote; Steve M. added historical context to the quote; Aravosis elevated the historical context; and some major outlets mentioned this briefly to the public.

    I guess the blame goes to the L.A. Times on Monday for missing the letter “n”?

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/playing_telephone_with_a_contr034142.php

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  10. rikyrah says:

    December 16, 2011 12:30 PM

    ‘A Promise Kept’
    By Steve Benen

    Obama for America unveiled this video earlier today, called, “Ending the War in Iraq: A Promise Kept.” It sketches out President Obama’s opposition to the war before it began, shows his commitment to ending the conflict over the course of several years, and takes us through to this week, when he welcomed home U.S. servicemen and women at Fort Bragg.

    Clearly, when it comes to listing his first-term accomplishments, Obama will put a very big check mark next to “end the war in Iraq” on his presidential to-do list. With each of the leading Republican candidates criticizing the withdrawal, and calling for an indefinite military presence in Iraq, it will be a point the president and his team will be eager to emphasize.

    What I find interesting, though, is to realize the muted political impact.

    I started blogging in February 2003, shortly before the war began (I was against the invasion), and along with millions of others, I was horrified by this disaster. For years, the notion of a U.S. withdrawal and an end to the war seemed like a dream. Indeed, if you’d told me in 2006 or 2007 that a Democratic president would, less than three years after taking office, bring all U.S. troops home, I would have expected it to be a huge deal, with a major bump in the polls, and pockets of national celebrations. This was, after all, the dominant issue in American politics for several years.

    But the nation’s political priorities have changed dramatically in a fairly brief period of time, in large part because of the economic crash in 2008. And as a result, President Obama likely won’t receive any political boost at all, no matter how significant the development.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/a_promise_kept034151.php

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  11. rikyrah says:

    December 16, 2011 1:10 PM
    Turning the ‘sabotage’ question on its head
    By Steve Benen

    After the debate last night, Mitt Romney spoke to Fox News’ Sean Hannity and made a rather remarkable claim. Here’s a transcript of the relevant portion:


    Hannity: The president has been using class warfare as we know. He says Republicans want dirty air, dirty water. Says Republicans want old people, kids with autism and Down’s syndrome to fend for themselves. Pretty outrageous charges.

    Romney: Shameful. It’s really shameful.

    Hannity: Explain, and how do you counter that if you get this nomination?

    Romney: You know, I think the president has gone from being a failed presidency, a guy over his head, to someone who is now so desperate to get re-election that he’s doing things that are very much counter to the interest of the country and he knows it. In the past I think he was just misguided. Now I think he really knows that his decision in Afghanistan to pull the troops out a couple of months earlier than commanders suggested. That was not a wise, not a wise thing for the country. The Keystone pipeline, he knows we need that oil, he knows the consequences.

    Let’s quickly note that these two Republicans are confused. Have congressional Republicans pursued an agenda of dirty air, dirty water, and fewer benefits for disabled children? Actually, yes, they have. It’s not a matter of opinion — it’s an objective truth that GOP lawmakers really have pursued an agenda of dirty air, dirty water, and fewer benefits for disabled children. If Hannity considers the Republican agenda “outrageous,” and Romney thinks the Republican agenda is “shameful,” they should take it up with members of their own party. There’s nothing wrong with the president pointing out the facts.

    But the more important point here is the notion that Romney believes President Obama is deliberately acting against the nation’s interests. It’s one thing for Romney to argue that the president has bad ideas that won’t work; it’s something else when Romney argues the president is pursuing an agenda that would hurt the country, on purpose, purely for partisan political reasons.

    As Greg Sargent put it, “I’m not sure why this isn’t getting more attention…. Republicans react with bloody screams of outrage whenever Dems suggest that they might be trying to sabotage the recovery in order to harm Obama politically and make it easier for them to recapture the White House. Yet here Romney has now made an even broader charge, arguing that Obama is making policy decisions across the board that he ‘knows’ are ‘counter to the interests of the country,’ including major decisions involving war and national security.”

    I’ve been covering the Republican “sabotage” question for over a year now, documenting ample evidence to suggest the question is at least worth considering. I’m not surprised Romney would try to turn it around — what better way to negate a provocative question like this than to raise it preemptively? — but that doesn’t make his on-air comments any less idiotic.

    And why would the Republican candidate repeat such garbage? We know why: because as Romney and his boosters have already conceded, the truth is largely irrelevant, campaign messages necessarily constitute “propaganda” that need not be accurate, and there’s nothing especially wrong with sociopathic standards for honesty in the public discourse.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/turning_the_sabotage_question034152.php

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  12. rikyrah says:

    December 16, 2011 2:00 PM
    GOP leaders: Keystone XL or else
    By Steve Benen

    As of last week, congressional Republicans, especially in the House, had a lengthy list of demands they expected to have met before extending the payroll tax break. As of today, the ransom note has been winnowed, basically to a single condition.

    Regarding that legislation, Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell emails me with the following statement: “The Leader will not support any bill without the Keystone XL language as part of the agreement.”

    House Speaker John Boehner is also insisting that he’ll amend any Senate-passed payroll tax cut bill to add the Keystone provision to it, if it’s not already in there. So Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama now have a choice: stick to their guns and object to the provision — at the risk of allowing the payroll tax cut (and unemployment insurance and the Medicare “doc fix”) to expire? Or give in to the GOP.

    Are Republican leaders seriously taking the position that taxes should go up for 160 million Americans unless they get the Keystone XL pipeline? Yes, that’s pretty much the GOP position.

    Note, as of a few days ago, both parties were pushing for measures in the payroll fight the other party found objectionable — Democrats wanted a surtax on millionaires and billionaires; Republicans wanted Keystone. Democrats, hoping to reach a deal, effectively said yesterday, “We’re willing to drop our demand.” To which Republicans responded, “Give us what we want or else.”

    There appears to be a difference in the way the parties negotiate.

    At this point, there are plenty of questions to consider. At the top of the list: are Republicans bluffing? I rather doubt it, since most GOP lawmakers don’t like the idea of a middle-class tax break anyway.

    Another question: exactly how many jobs are we talking about? The standard Republican/Fox News talking point is that the Keystone XL project would create 20,000 jobs. Nonpartisan estimates suggest that figure is wildly inflated, and one independent report concluded that “the project could actually destroy more jobs than it creates.”

    There’s also the inconvenient details as to how the pipeline decision would be made. The Republican demand isn’t exactly that the project get a green light, but rather, that the decision be expedited. The issue is in the hands of the State Department, which has warned Congress that forcing the issue may very well kill the entire initiative. Indeed, Reuters reported last week that a deadline imposed by Congress could “effectively rule out a permit for the project.”

    Republicans don’t seem to care, and seem to think they can eventually get their way with the administration, but it’s an angle worth watching. If Dems cave on this point in the payroll fight, the project may die anyway.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/gop_leaders_keystone_xl_or_els034153.php

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  13. rikyrah says:

    Friday, December 16, 2011
    Getting The Book Thrown At Him
    Posted by Zandar
    The Justice Department’s three-year investigation into countless civil rights violations by Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has resulted in “the most egregious” examples of racial profiling of Latinos one career civil rights investigator has said he’s ever even seen

    The inquiry’s findings paint a picture of a department staffed by poorly trained deputies who target Latino drivers on the roadways and detain innocent Latinos in the community in their searches for illegal immigrants. The mistreatment, the government said, extends to the jails the department oversees, where Latino inmates who do not speak English are mistreated.

    “The absence of clear policies and procedures to ensure effective and constitutional policing,” the report said, “along with the deviations from widely accepted policing and correctional practices, and the failure to implement meaningful oversight and accountability structures, have contributed to a chronic culture of disregard for basic legal and constitutional obligations.”

    The report said Latino drivers were four to nine times more likely to be stopped in the sprawling county, which includes Phoenix and its environs, than non-Latino drivers. The expert who conducted the study called it the most egregious racial profiling he has ever seen in this country, said Mr. Perez, the prosecutor, without naming the expert.

    The report said that roughly one-fifth of the traffic-related incident reports generated by the department’s human smuggling unit contained information indicating the stops may have been conducted in violation of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable seizures.

    The report also suggested that Sheriff Arpaio’s well-publicized raids aimed at arresting illegal immigrants were sometimes prompted by complaints that described no criminal activity but referred to people with “dark skin” or to Spanish speakers congregating in an area. “The use of these types of bias-infected indicators as a basis for conducting enforcement activity contributes to the high number of stops and detentions lacking in legal justification,” the report said.

    http://zandarvts.blogspot.com/2011/12/getting-book-thrown-at-him.html

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  14. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, December 15, 2011
    Behind The Scenes At The Presidential Holiday Parties: The Protocol, The Menus, The Mingling…

    The President and Mrs. Obama celebrate the holidays with thousands of guests and an incredible menu of traditional American favorites, served at buffets designed for maximum security…
    “Business attire” is the sartorial suggestion printed on the cream-colored cards sent to invite guests to President Obama and First Lady Obama’s holiday receptions, which have been going on almost daily since right after Thanksgiving. Despite the fashion guidance, there were women wearing evening gowns–complete with fur coats and jewels–at the evening party I attended.

    http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2011/12/behind-scenes-at-obamas-white-house.html

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  15. rikyrah says:

    AFL-CIO is making very powerful videos about unemployment, the need for jobs, unemployment benefits, etc.

    Jobless Worker Gets by on One Meal a Day

    http://www.whatisworking.com/2011/12/jobless-worker-gets-by-on-one-meal-day.html

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  16. rikyrah says:

    Fla. Gov. confronted by FAMU students
    By theGrio

    8:58 AM on 12/16/2011

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s call to suspend FAMU’s president prompted hundreds of students to march on the governor’s mansion in protest late Thursday.

    Scott has called on FAMU President James Ammons to step aside amid multiple investigations into the death of a marching band member. Scott said he did not know if Ammons had done anything wrong, but he contended it would be in the best interest of the university for the president to go.

    That opinion wasn’t shared by students who staged an impromptu protest and marched more than two miles from the FAMU campus. Scott eventually came outside and talked to them, but he did not back off from his recommendation that Ammons be suspended.

    Scott was scheduled to meet with Ammons in person later Friday.

    WCTV in Tallahassee showed video of students telling the governor that he should rescind his recommendation and not get involved with FAMU’s operations until the investigations were over.

    The television station showed the governor, who was wearing a grey sweat suit, using a bullhorn to tell the students that he made the recommendation so that no one can question the outcome of the investigations.

    Scott asked state law enforcement to assist in the investigation of the death of drum major Robert Champion. Champion died following a football game in an incident that police say involved hazing. Florida officials said this week that probe led to them discovering “financial irregularities” with the band’s finances.

    The governor returned to Florida on Thursday following a seven-day trip to Israel. He called the chairman of the FAMU board on Thursday and asked him to suspend Ammons effective immediately.

    When asked by reporters if Ammons could hang onto his job, Scott said, “If he’s not done anything wrong, sure, absolutely he should survive this.”

    FAMU’s president does not report directly to the governor. But it is the governor who is responsible for selecting some of those who serve on the FAMU board of trustees. The governor also appoints most of the people who sit on the board of governors that oversees the State University System.

    Solomon Badger, the chairman of the FAMU board, said the trustees would meet by phone on Monday to consider the governor’s request.

    Some of the student protesters have started an online petition calling on Badger and other board members to ignore Scott’s recommendation and to keep FAMU “in our hands.”

    “Florida A and M University has been a beacon of light for its community and students,” states the petition. “The rich heritage and culture of the university should not be over shadowed by the poor choices and unethical actions of a few.”

    http://www.thegrio.com/news/fla-gov-confronted-by-famu-students.php

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  17. rikyrah says:

    December 16, 2011 10:00 AM
    A can of worms’
    By Steve Benen

    On Fox News this morning, Steve Doocy, reflecting on Newt Gingrich’s remarks in last night’s debate, said the disgraced former House Speaker “was brilliant” when “talking about out-of-control judges and the courts.”

    I saw the same comments. “Brilliant” wasn’t the adjective that came to mind.

    Megyn Kelly noted in her question to Gingrich that he’s proposed congressional subpoenas for judges who issue rulings that Republicans don’t like, as well as judicial impeachments and the prospect of eliminating courts the right finds offensive. Kelly reminded Gingrich that two conservative former attorneys general have characterized his approach as “dangerous,” “outrageous,” and “totally irresponsible.” He responded:


    “[T]he courts have become grotesquely dictatorial, far too powerful, and I think, frankly, arrogant in their misreading of the American people. […]

    “I taught a short course in this at the University of Georgia Law School. I testified in front of sitting Supreme Court justices at Georgetown Law School. And I warned them: You keep attacking the core base of American exceptionalism, and you are going to find an uprising against you which will rebalance the judiciary.”

    Gingrich added he’s “prepared to take on the judiciary” unless federal courts started issuing rulings that he agreed with. He went on to say he understands these issues “better than lawyers,” because he’s “a historian.”

    Let’s note a few relevant angles here. First, it’s time to stop characterizing positions such as these as “conservative.” Gingrich doesn’t want to conserve anything; he’s eyeing a radical revolution of the separation of powers and the American branches of government, stripping the judiciary of its power as an independent branch.

    Second, Gingrich is a lousy historian. Real scholars tend to consider Gingrich’s crusade against the courts as a crackpot agenda.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/a_can_of_worms034143.phpn.

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  18. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, December 15, 2011

    If you want to prognosticate about Republicans, pay attention to the epistemic closure

    Jared Bernstein is filling in for Steve Benen yesterday and today while Benen takes a very well deserved couple of days off. I enjoy reading Bernstein (he’s on my blogroll) but lately I’ve been noticing that he’s making the same mistake many regular journalists are making when it comes to analyzing the Republican primary.

    Yesterday Bernstein noted the all-out attack on Gingrich from other candidates as well as some slippage in his poll numbers. Here’s what he attributes it to.

    One factor? Here’s where Newt’s unpopularity among highly visible conservative opinion leaders matters. Because practically no one appears to be rallying to his side.

    When Bernstein refers to the “highly visible conservative opinion leaders,” he’s talking about the Republican Party political establishment. And he thinks what they say affects the Republican voter base. I don’t agree.

    This week Jonathan Freedland captured what I’ve been trying to say all along. Only he was much better and more comprehensive in doing so. He’s referring to what Josh Marshall called “The Murdoch Primary.” In other words, its all about Fox News.

    Posted by Smartypants at 8:51 AM

    http://immasmartypants.blogspot.com/2011/12/if-you-want-to-prognosticate-about.html

    Like

  19. rikyrah says:

    December 16, 2011 10:35 AM
    Haley’s healthcare headache
    By Steve Benen

    South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) is generating some campaign-related news today, but the far more interesting story is the health care controversy the first-term governor has generated back at home.

    Like all states, South Carolina was supposed to be working on creating a health care exchange — a marketplace where consumers can choose among competing coverage plan — and Haley’s office accepted taxpayer money to explore alternatives. Behind the scenes, however, the governor apparently had a far less constructive plan in mind.


    Gov. Nikki Haley dictated the conclusions of a committee charged with deciding how the state should implement federal health care reform before the group ever held its first meeting, public documents show.

    Now, some of those involved in the dozens of meetings are calling the entire planning process a sham that wasted their time and part of a $1 million federal grant.

    In a March 31 email thread that included Haley, her top advisers and the committee member who eventually wrote the report, Haley wrote, “The whole point of this commission should be to figure out how to opt out and how to avoid a federal takeover, NOT create a state exchange,” which is eventually what happened.

    The nonpartisan South Carolina Health Planning Committee was supposed to be working on policy alternatives, but Haley dictated otherwise. Officials were supposed to be creating an exchange, but Haley dictated otherwise. And the state was supposed to be using taxpayer money responsibly, but Haley dictated otherwise.

    “Oh my God, we just threw $1 million away here,” said Frank Knapp, who participated in the meetings as president of the S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce. “This confirms this whole thing was an effort to justify the million-dollar grant, but the reality is they had no intention of even exploring whether the state should establish an exchange — which is exactly what the grant called for.”

    The Post and Courier added that Haley’s behind-the-scenes antics also “enraged consumer advocates, small business leaders, local economists, taxpayer watchdogs and S.C. Press Association officials this week,” many of whom falsely hoped the governor was working on public policy in good faith.

    Asked for an explanation, Haley, who ran on a platform of transparency in government, refused to release relevant public records and shot down FOIA requests from journalists.

    Yesterday, as Laura Conaway noted, Haley was tracked down in a hallway by reporters seeking a comment, and the governor simply refused to say anything at all, avoiding eye contact with those pressing her to account for her actions. This minute-long clip is worth watching:

    For the record, states that balk at creating exchanges necessarily invite the federal government to create, and possibly manage, exchanges for these states. Haley, ironically, is welcoming expanded federal control over health care in her state.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/haleys_healthcare_headache034144.php

    Like

  20. rikyrah says:

    Another Victim of the P.C. Mafia
    By Ta-Nehisi Coates
    Dec 15 2011, 4:53 PM ET

    It’s like a girl can’t even display an infamous emblem of hate and bigotry anymore:


    An Ohio landlord accused of discriminating against an African-American girl with a “white only” sign at her swimming pool told ABCNews.com that the sign was an antique and a decoration.

    “I’m not a bad person,” said Jamie Hein of Cincinnati. “I don’t have any problem with race at all. It’s a historical sign.”

    The sign in question reads, “Public Swimming Pool, White Only.” It is dated 1931 and from Alabama.

    Precisely. This is 2011. This is heritage, not hate:

    “I’ve never said anything to that child,” Hein said. “If I have to stick up for my white rights, I have to stick up for my white rights. It goes both ways.”

    And may I add, that men get sexually harassed too. And all these poor people resent me because I’m rich. And your gay agenda is making my kids all homosexual…

    What? The Muslims made me do it!

    http://www.theatlantic.com/personal/archive/2011/12/another-victim-of-the-pc-mafia/250080/

    Like

  21. rikyrah says:

    Friday, December 16, 2011

    Pictures and dog whistles

    You know the old saying…a picture is worth a thousand words. I’m one who endorses that 100%. Although I’m not that schooled in how our brains work, I think part of the reason is that the information we take in from a picture (or music and perhaps other forms of art) enters our thought processes in a different way and tends to by-pass many of the rational filters that operate when we read or listen to words.

    That sometimes is a beautiful thing and its why any form of art is a powerful way to communicate. But it also means that power is available to reinforce prejudices and stereotypes that may prove uncomfortable to the rational mind but reside in a more embedded form in all of us emotionally. In other words, pictures make great dog whistles.

    I ran across an example of that today when I visited The Daily Caller. Yes, I read there quite regularly. Its a right wing site created by Tucker Carlson that is about as subtle as a jackhammer when it comes to propaganda. It helps me keep track of how the opposition is thinking and framing things.

    Anyway, there are two stories highlighted there today. The first one is titled Young voters unenthusiastic about Obama’s re-election prospects. Here’s the photo that accompanies that story.

    In contrast is another story titled Unemployment benefit claims drop, but real joblessness persists. Here’s the picture with that one.

    You see what they did there? Of all the photos they could have used to represent young voters and the unemployed, they picked the ones that reinforce the message that young voters are predominantly white and the unemployed are mostly people of color. Readers won’t actually think about that message…it just slips in and is put alongside all the other emotionally laden prejudices we’ve all built up over the years in this culture.

    While The Daily Caller is a publication that seems to revel in this kind of thing, the truth is that it happens all the time in most of our media. The way to combat it is to bring those messages out for a rational look and think about what they’re telling us. In other words, tune in to the dog whistles embedded in pictures.

    Posted by Smartypants at 10:17 AM

    http://immasmartypants.blogspot.com/2011/12/pictures-and-dog-whistles.html

    Like

  22. rikyrah says:

    December 16, 2011 11:15 AM

    Allen West’s Goebbels reference
    By Steve Benen

    I’m getting pretty accustomed to Republicans referencing Nazis in their attacks. Michele Bachmann compared the national debt to the Holocaust; Newt Gingrich said President Obama poses a domestic threat on par with Nazi Germany; and various Fox News figures regularly invoke Nazis, Hitler, and Goebbels to go after their perceived enemies.

    But this new one stood out for me for a couple of different reasons

    Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) on Thursday said Democrats have an “incredible propaganda machine,” comparing Democrat proficiency to that of a Nazi administration head.

    “If Joseph Goebbels was around, he’d be very proud of the Democrat Party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine,” West told reporters in the House, according to multiple reports.

    Joseph Goebbels was the head of the Minister of Propaganda in Germany while it was under the control of the Nazi party from 1933 to 1945. The department sought to control public opinion and enforce Nazi Party ideology in Germany prior to and during World War II.

    West said the comparison was not between Democrats and Nazis and only applied to the quality of the propaganda.

    Now, I think it’s fair to say most objective, independent observers would agree that Allen West is stark raving mad, which suggests his comments are not to be taken especially seriously.

    But just for the sake of conversation, let’s note a couple of things. First, I think it’s called the Democratic Party. If West is going to be in Congress, he should probably take a moment to learn the parties’ names.

    Second, earlier this year, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) made a passing reference to Goebbels when going after Republican rhetoric, and Fox News was apoplectic. Megyn Kelly, in particular, devoted quite a bit of time to covering the comment, and I can’t wait to see — in the interests of being fair and balanced — how much time she invests in criticizing Allen West for the same misdeed.

    And finally, even if we put aside the Nazi garbage, what on earth is West talking about? Democrats are good at message dissemination? Democrats “have an incredible propaganda machine”? Since when?

    I’ve been watching Democratic politics for as long as I can remember. The party has plenty of strengths, but the development of an “incredible propaganda machine” isn’t one of them.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/allen_wests_goebbels_reference034145.php

    Like

  23. rikyrah says:

    Elon James is crazy..

    but, a good crazy

    http://ifiwasapoorblackkid.com/

    Like

  24. rikyrah says:

    December 16, 2011 8:00 AM

    One deal done, one to go
    By Steve Benen

    As recently as Wednesday, federal employees were receiving ominous instructions: prepare, once again, for a possible government shutdown. The deadline for a spending deal was Friday night.

    Late yesterday, an agreement came together.

    Congressional negotiators signed off Thursday evening on a $1 trillion spending agreement for 2012 for federal agencies, barely 27 hours before a deadline that could have led to a government shutdown.

    After dropping minor policy prescriptions that President Obama opposed, members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees gave final approval to the plan after a four-day standoff related to Obama’s demands to extend the payroll tax holiday for 160 million workers.

    The leaders of both parties in both chambers accepted the terms last night, after some modest concessions, but the measure still needs to be approved by House and Senate members today. Passage looks to be a near-certainty.

    The spending package will fund federal operations though the end of the fiscal year, which wraps up in September, and sets spending at $1.043 trillion — a figure agreed upon during the debt-ceiling crisis in August — which represents a 1.5% cut from the previous year.

    Stepping back for a moment, let’s note a couple of relevant angles for context. First, Congress is waiting until the last possible day to avert a shutdown — and this is the third time this year that’s happened. In April, an agreement wasn’t reached until the last possible day; in August, the debt-ceiling deal wasn’t reached until the last possible day; and now we’re seeing the same thing again in December. It’s not encouraging.

    Second, and on a related note, I’m delighted that a deal was reached — shutdowns don’t do anyone any favors — but no one should mistake the agreement as evidence of an effective legislative branch of government. In other words, we shouldn’t be impressed when Washington manages to somehow keep the lights on. The fact that a shutdown was even a possibility this week only reinforces fears that Congress is basically hopeless — lawmakers shouldn’t struggle to complete the most basic tasks, and avoiding shutdowns need not be deemed an accomplishment.

    And what about the fight over extending the payroll tax break? The White House and some Democratic leaders had hoped to tie the issue to the larger spending bill — telling Republicans to pass the tax cut or shut down the government — but those efforts faltered, and the issues were decoupled this week.

    Talks on the payroll issue continue, however, and several leading lawmakers sounded optimistic notes yesterday. Dems have already given up on a surtax on millionaires and billionaires, and most of the talk yesterday focused on a two-month extension of the payroll cut, allowing lawmakers to revisit this fight in February (rather than delaying their holiday break).

    Chances are, if a deal is reached on the payroll cut, it’ll be approved no sooner than the weekend.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/one_deal_done_one_to_go034138.php

    Like

  25. Ametia says:

    Ex-Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae chiefs sued by SEC over loans
    By David Glovin and Joshua Gallu, Updated: Friday, December 16, 9:20 AM

    Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) — Richard Syron, the former chief executive officer of Freddie Mac, and Daniel Mudd, ex-CEO of Fannie Mae, were sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over disclosures they made about subprime loans.

    Complaints were filed against the two men today in Manhattan federal court. Also sued by the regulator were Enrico Dallavecchia, who was chief risk officer for Fannie Mae; Thomas Lund, Fannie’s Mae’s former executive vice president; Patricia Cook, Freddie Mac’s former executive vice president; and Donald Bisenius, who was a senior vice president at Freddie Mac.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/ex-freddie-mac-fannie-mae-chiefs-sued-by-sec-over-loans/2011/12/16/gIQAnLPGyO_story.html?wpisrc=al_comboPNE_b

    Like

  26. Ametia says:

    News Bulletin: Ron Paul Is a Huge Racist
    By Jonathan Chait

    With Ron Paul ascending in Iowa, winning the hearts of independents, and even the endorsement of Andrew Sullivan, it’s worth pointing something out: Ron Paul is not a kindly old libertarian who just wants everybody to be free. He’s a really creepy bigot.

    Around four years ago, James Kirchick reported a lengthy story delving into Paul’s worldview. As Kirchick writes, Paul comes out of an intellectual tradition called “paleolibertarianism,” which is a version of libertarianism heavily tinged with far-right cultural views. The gist is that Paul is tied in deep and extensive ways to neo-Confederates, and somewhat less tightly to the right-wing militia movement. His newsletter, which he wrote and edited for years, was a constant organ of vile racism and homophobia. This is not just picking out a phrase here and there. Fear and hatred of blacks and gays, along with a somewhat less pronounced paranoia about Jewish dual loyalty, are fundamental elements of his thinking. The most comparable figure to Paul is Pat Buchanan, the main differences being that Paul emphasizes economic issues more, and has more dogmatically pro-market views.

    How, then, has Paul become a figure of admiration among social liberals?

    http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2011/12/news-bulletin-ron-paul-is-a-huge-racist.html

    Like

  27. Ametia says:

    Here’s teh scoop on SC Gov. Nikki “I ain’t really Indian” Haley’s shenanigans

    Like

  28. rikyrah says:

    Iowa Debate Reax

    Josh Marshall:

    Newt’s opponents are clobbering him on the air with an avalanche of negative ads. He has no money to respond (even with positive ads) or surrogates to defend him. And maybe that’s all that matters. But I still felt like Gingrich did better in this debate …

    Michael Tomasky:

    Romney tries to persuade on the level of factual truth. Gingrich goes straight for emotional truth. This is a way, come to think of it, in which Romney is like a Democrat. It’s very Al Gore, or John Kerry, that style. It doesn’t break through. Gingrich breaks through.

    E.M. at DiA:

    I think Bachmann briefly had Gingrich on the ropes. His claim that lobbying for Freddie Mac was a business like any other rang very hollow. But Gingrich recovered his poise, delivering several crowd-pleasing answers about liberal judges running amok, and Obama losing his marbles on Keystone. I certainly don’t think Newt said anything zany enough, or looked riled enough to lose his lead. So that, in effect, makes him the victor, with an honourable mention for Bachmann.

    Mona Charen:

    Gingrich took on some water over Freddie Mac, but other than that, I think the evening was his — again. If people vote based on debates, he will be the nominee

    Quin Hillyer:

    Gingrich performed better than anybody in the debate, although Michelle Bachmann REALLY hurt him among women by fighting back against him repeatedly saying she has her facts wrong (she doesn’t) in a way that sounded like, well, a male chauvinist correcting a “little lady.” And all the other attacks on him on Iowa TV, all well-founded, mean that his campaign is really in at least temporary difficulty overall. The Freddie/Fannie attacks against him really hurt, too, even though he handled it as well as anybody could have.

    Dave Weigel:

    I was worried about this on Paul’s behalf: He’s getting ample time to explain why he disagrees with the Republican [foreign] policy mainstream. His victory strategy in Iowa isn’t to win over the Republicans who agree with that consensus — he needs to grab 25 percent, maybe, if he’s lucky — but he gains no support on answers like this. He’s even put in the position of defending Barack Obama’s position on sanctions.

    Various pundits are the right are attacking Ron Paul for those answers. Here’s Ryan Preston:

    Newt Gingrich had the most to lose but he didn’t do the most losing. Ron Paul had a terrible run when attempting to explain his policies on Iran’s nuclear program, ultimately losing a one-on-one confrontation with Michele Bachmann. This was Ron Paul’s worst debate.

    Aaron Goldstein basically calls Paul a traitor:

    After tonight’s performance, especially following his exchange with Bachmann over Iran, I am convinced that [Ron Paul] would be the perfect spokesman for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. During WWII, you had Tokyo Rose. Today, you have Tehran Ron.

    E.D. Kain completely disagrees:

    Iran may indeed be a threat, but there are other ways to approach this threat than war, including working to bring Iran into the global economy, giving them a stake in the peace and prosperity of the world economy. The far greater threat, as Paul warned, is a costly and destructive overreaction.

    Nate Silver:

    Ron Paul did lots to help himself with the 15% of the party who already love him. Little for the 85% who don’t.

    Jonathan Bernstein:

    Nothing tonight likely slowed Gingrich’s descent in the polls, or, as far as I could see, determined which candidate will gain from that decline. At least, not the debate itself; winning the spin from it, which is affected not so much by what happened but by how high-profile Republicans choose to play it, certainly could have a significant effect.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/12/fox-debate-reax.html

    Like

  29. rikyrah says:

    TPM2012
    GOP Senate Hopefuls Court Middle Class … From Country Club

    Good: appealing to the middle class with your Senate campaign speech. Not so good: Doing it from an ultra-swanky country club.

    Republican Senate hopefuls in Michigan’s Republican primary Clark Durant and Pete Hoekstra gathered at the gorgeous 93,000 square foot Shenandoah Country Club to court local Republicans at an annual dinner.

    Durant sounded a message of class unity: “Let our party be the party…of the 100 percent,” he said, according to the Detroit News.

    The candidate has attracted national attention recently for some of his more provocative statements about inequality. Last month, Durant suggested that the income disparity between the 99% and 1% may actually be too low.

    “I think it should be wider,” he told a group of students at Calvin College, according to the Grand Rapids Press. “Does anybody think Steve Jobs should not be in the 1 percent? He made life better for the 99 percent of the rest of us. You want to create opportunities for people with their unique gifts.”

    He added at the same event that Occupy Wall Street protesters should “go find a job.”

    Durant did clarify later that he doesn’t favor increasing inequality, and that his “‘widening the gap’ remark, in its context, sought to challenge the students to think outside the box when they hear stock statements that pit one group of people against another.”

    Hoekstra also addressed the Republicans at the club on Thursday, calling the White House’s delay of a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline “an attack on the middle class.” Democrats have been looking to target his wealth in recent weeks, putting out statements noting he’s taken $240,000 from a lobbying firm, Dickstein Shapiro, since leaving Congress.

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/gop-senate-hopefuls-court-middle-class-from-country-club.php

    Like

  30. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, December 15, 2011
    Wyden Load Sign Ahead
    Posted by Zandar
    By enlisting Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon to go along with the latest iteration of his plan to privatize Medicare, Paul Ryan has the Centrist Daleks in an absolute tizzy today.

    Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) is teaming up with Paul Ryan, the House’s top budget guy and the author of the GOP’s controversial budget which proposes phasing out traditional Medicare and replacing it with a private plan. The two announced via The Washington Post that they’ll be teaming up on a different version of that Medicare plan — one that closely mimics plans offered by leading GOP presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, and a proposal authored by former Sen. Pete Domenici and former Clinton budget director Alice Rivlin, which loomed large in the Super Committee’s failed negotiations.

    The move makes Wyden the first elected Democrat to endorse creating a premium-support system to compete with traditional fee-for-service Medicare, and for Ryan represents a de facto admission that his own plan was too radical to ever gain bipartisan support. That’s bound to affect how congressional and presidential candidates approach the issue, which will feature prominently in next year’s elections. But it raises a number of other questions, both about the merits of the policy and of the political calculus behind it.

    Two things here: one, I don’t want to hear how President Obama is the one “putting Medicare on the block” anymore with Wyden buying into this cockamamie scheme. Backing a Paul Ryan plan — any Paul Ryan plan — is what the end of Medicare as we know it looks like.

    Secondly, the plan is basically turning Medicare into the PPACA.


    The policy itself allows insurers to compete with traditional Medicare turning Medicare essentially into a public option on a private insurance exchange. Wyden and Ryan would give patients subsidies that could be applied to either private insurance or fee for service Medicare. It has features of both a “defined contribution” and “defined benefit” program. All plans including Medicare would have to meet a high benefit standard. But if seniors were to choose plans that exceeded a benchmark cost they would be required to pay the difference out of pocket. If Medicare itself were to come in below the benchmark, it would function no differently than Medicare does right now. If Medicare were to exceed the benchmark, though, seniors would have to pay more out of pocket to enroll in it.

    And here’s where we get into all kinds of ugly problems: the odds of a for-profit insurer being able to provide something as good as or better than Medicare’s benefit standard for less money is, well, a complete and utter fantasy. That’s going to leave Medicare as the only option to buy into for a huge percentage of seniors.

    And it’s a moot point anyway: no Baby Boomer will ever have their Medicare or Social Security benefits touched. My generation on the other hand, well, let’s just say we’re going to be told to accept this new plan or something like it or else. There’s not going to be any cost savings for the next twenty years or so out of the Medicare end of things, which means the only serious question is “What will await my generation when I’m supposedly ready to retire in 35 years?”

    Most of us are convinced it will be “nothing”. The way the Tea Party is going, government itself will be outlawed by then and we’ll all live in anarcho-capitalist city states like 21st century Spartans.

    Pit-kicking will be on Thursdays.

    http://zandarvts.blogspot.com/2011/12/wyden-load-sign-ahead.html

    Like

  31. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, December 15, 2011
    The Holder Doctrine: Register All Eligible Americans To Vote Automatically
    Posted by Zandar

    And for such a brilliant,elegant, and simple idea, and being the logical endpoint of all the voter ID laws that Republicans are putting into place, they will scream FASCISM at any such efforts to make the following into law as Eric Holder’s speech this week in Austin at the LBJ library will be ignored.

    All eligible citizens can and should be automatically registered to vote. The ability to vote is a right — it is not a privilege. Under our current system, many voters must follow cumbersome and needlessly complex voter registration rules. And every election season, state and local officials have to manually process a crush of new applications – most of them handwritten – leaving the system riddled with errors, and, too often, creating chaos at the polls.

    Fortunately, modern technology provides a straightforward fix for these problems – if we have the political will to bring our election systems into the 21st century. It should be the government’s responsibility to automatically register citizens to vote, by compiling – from databases that already exist – a list of all eligible residents in each jurisdiction. Of course, these lists would be used solely to administer elections – and would protect essential privacy rights.

    And so I look forward to the Republican Party, after having spent years saying that only government-issued IDs could possibly prevent fraud and protect the sacred rite of voting in America through databases and strict adherence to them, immediately tell us that the notion of the government collecting this information is part of Obama’s police state and that the government has no right to register people to vote. It’ll be great.

    http://zandarvts.blogspot.com/2011/12/holder-doctrine-register-all-eligible.html

    Like

  32. rikyrah says:

    Romney Offers Contorted Defense Of His Flip-Flops
    Mitt Romney took some fairly tough questions from moderator Chris Wallace on his notorious political reinvention at Thursday’s debate.

    “Governor Romney, you have changed your position in the last ten years on abortion, on gay rights, on guns,” Wallace asked. “You say keeping an open mind is a strength. Some of your critics say every one has been to your political advantage. You took liberal positions in Massachusetts but now you take more conservative positions running for president. Is it principle or just politics?”

    Romney took issue with the gay rights mention, noting that he had always opposed gay marriage.

    “I am firmly in support of people not being discriminated against based upon their sexual orientation,” he said.” At the same time, I oppose same-sex marriage. That has been my position from the beginning.”

    He’s correct, but his answer understates just how far out on a limb he went relative to his party — he argued in 1994 he would be better on gay rights than Ted Kennedy, a time when gay marriage was barely on the national radar as a political issue. Wallace brought this episode up in a follow up question, asking whether “you are still more of a champion of gay rights than Ted Kennedy was.”

    “I believe as a Republican I had potential to fight for anti-discrimination in a way that would be better than [Senator Kennedy] the Democrat, who was expected to do so,” he said. “At the same time, Chris, in 1994, and throughout my career I said I oppose same-sex marriage. “

    There was a similar dynamic at play as Romney explained his shift on abortion, an area where he said he “changed my mind.”

    “With regard to abortion, I had the experience of coming in to office, running for governor saying you know I’m going to keep the laws as they exist in the state,” he said. “They were pro-choice laws so effectively I was pro-choice. Then I had a bill come to my desk that didn’t just keep the laws as they were but would have created new embryos for the purpose of destroying them. I studied it in some depth and concluded I simply could not sign on to take human life. I vetoed that bill. I described to them why I am pro-life.”

    But the description of Romney as a relatively neutral, even pro-life, politician who merely went with the flow on his state’s current laws is at odds with his record as well. For example, he brought up a moving story about a family member who died of an illegal abortion during a debate with Ted Kennedy in 1994 in order to prove his dedication to state laws ensuring access to safe, legal, abortions.

    “I have my own beliefs, and those beliefs are very dear to me,” he said in that debate. “One of them is that I do not impose my beliefs on other people. Many, many years ago, I had a dear, close family relative that was very close to me who passed away from an illegal abortion. It is since that time that my mother and my family have been committed to the belief that we can believe as we want, but we will not force our beliefs on others on that matter. And you will not see me wavering on that.”

    Pro-choice groups in Massachusetts claim that Romney wooed them by explicitly pledging to challenge his own party over abortion. “You need someone like me in Washington,” NARAL Pro-Choice members say Romney told them in a 2002 meeting, arguing that he would a “good voice in the party” on abortion rights.

    The exchange was a good reminder that, for all the talk about Romney’s flip flops, he hasn’t had to face too many tough, extended exchanges over them. Should he win the nomination, then they’re going to come up plenty in the general election as Democrats have already pledged to make his shifting positions central to their campaign against him.

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/mitt-romney-defends-flip-flops-at-iowa-debate.php?ref=fpa

    Like

  33. rikyrah says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.
    As a Black person, certain things are NON-NEGOTIABLE.
    If you’ve been given dozens of chances to say that you WOULD have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964..

    and you SAY EACH TIME THAT YOU WOULD NOT HAVE VOTED for the Civl Rights Act of 1964….

    you are saying that the codification -into law, of the second-class status and the terrorism that went with it was OK for my family that grew up in the Police State that was JIM CROW AMERICA.

    you are also saying that you are my enemy.

    period.
    …………………………………………..

    Thursday, December 15, 2011
    Last Call
    Posted by Zandar
    It says volumes how easily Ron Paul can trick Sully into thinking that he doesn’t despise minorities or especially President Obama.


    And I see in Paul none of the resentment that burns in Gingrich or the fakeness that defines Romney or the fascistic strains in Perry’s buffoonery. He has yet to show the Obama-derangement of his peers, even though he differs with him. He has now gone through two primary elections without compromising an inch of his character or his philosophy. This kind of rigidity has its flaws, but, in the context of the Newt Romney blur, it is refreshing. He would never take $1.8 million from Freddie Mac. He would never disown Reagan, as Romney once did. He would never speak of lynching Bernanke, as Perry threatened. When he answers a question, you can see that he is genuinely listening to it and responding – rather than searching, Bachmann-like, for the one-liner to rouse the base. He is, in other words, a decent fellow, and that’s an adjective I don’t use lightly. We need more decency among Republicans.

    Let me again remind you of exactly what “decency” Ron Paul would bring to the table.


    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave the federal government unprecedented power over the hiring, employee relations, and customer service practices of every business in the country. The result was a massive violation of the rights of private property and contract, which are the bedrocks of free society. The federal government has no legitimate authority to infringe on the rights of private property owners to use their property as they please and to form (or not form) contracts with terms mutually agreeable to all parties.
    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 not only violated the Constitution and reduced individual liberty; it also failed to achieve its stated goals of promoting racial harmony and a color-blind society.

    Oh yeah, he’s a decent guy alright. No racially-motivated Obama Derangement Syndrome stuff at all.


    There has been controversy over Ron Paul’s ties to racism for some time now. Many people have pointed to Ron Paul’s Newsletters as proof of his racism. Paul has previously admitted to writing the newsletters and defended the statements in 1996, then blamed them on an unnamed ghostwriter in 2001 and then denied any knowledge of them in 2008. He has given no explanation, for how the racism entered his newsletter. If we are to take Paul at his word, he is guilty of at least promoting racism on a large scale. Paul earned almost a million dollars a year from the racist, conspiracy theorist newsletters.

    But you know, the hipsters love him. And so does Sully. Saying he’s the best of the Republicans is like picking the most humane way to be tortured because it’s not so bad.

    http://zandarvts.blogspot.com/2011/12/last-call_15.html

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  34. rikyrah says:

    My favorite drunken athiest has passed away.

    RIP Christopher Hitchens.

    Though I didn’t agree with a lot of what you said, you were more than likely able to make me laugh, even when I disagreed with you.

    Like

  35. Ametia says:

    Perry; Timmy Boy’s not a great QB, DUH!!!!

    Like

  36. Ametia says:

    Has Gingrich ever heard an idea he didn’t like?
    By Eugene Robinson, Published: December 15

    Can we please bury the notion that Newt Gingrich is some kind of deep thinker? His intellect may be as broad as the sea, but it’s about as deep as a birdbath.

    I’m not saying the Republican presidential front-runner is unacquainted with ideas. Quite the contrary: Ideas rain through his brain like confetti, escaping at random as definitive pronouncements about this or that. But they are other people’s ideas, and Gingrich doesn’t bother to curate them into anything resembling a consistent philosophy. Given enough time, I’m convinced, he will take every position on every issue.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/has-gingrich-ever-heard-an-idea-he-didnt-like/2011/12/15/gIQA1E7ywO_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions_TE1

    Like

  37. Ametia says:

    Happy FRY-day, Everyone! :-)

    Like

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