Friday Open Thread

This Christmas” is a well-known Christmas song originally recorded by R&B singer/songwriter Donny Hathaway and released as an Atco single in 1970. Hathaway co-wrote the song (it is credited to Nadine McKinnor and “Donny Pitts,” the stage name Hathaway used as a young rap singer). Since Hathaway’s original version, it has become something of a modern holiday standard, covered by a wide range of artists:

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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41 Responses to Friday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    And here’s another piece of CREATIVE piece of GENIUS by Nadia’s sister Alexia!

    Animal adoption PSA


  2. Ametia says:

    Here’s a fantastic piece of CREATIVE GENIUS by my BEAUTIFUL NIECE NADIA

  3. Jingle Bells–SheDaisy

    I love this song so much. It’s one of my favorites!

  4. Justice Dept. rejects South Carolina voter ID law, calling it discriminatory

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/justice-dept-rejects-south-carolina-voter-id-law-calling-it-discriminatory/2011/12/23/gIQAhLJAEP_story.html?tid=sm_twitter_postpolitics

    The Justice Department on Friday entered the divisive national debate over new state voting laws, rejecting South Carolina’s measure requiring photo-identification at the polls as discriminatory against minority voters.

    The decision by Justice’s Civil Rights Division could heighten political tensions over the new laws, which critics say could depress turnout among minorities and others who helped elect President Obama in 2008. A dozen states this year passed laws requiring voters to present state-issued photo identification, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

    Although Democratic governors vetoed four of the measures, liberal and civil rights groups have raised alarms about the remaining laws. Opponents of the laws say they would discriminate against minorities and others, such as low-income voters, because some don’t have the necessary photo identification and lack the means to easily obtain ID cards.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Media Alert-First Couple with Baba Wawa tonight:

  6. rikyrah says:

    Rep. West: Payroll tax extension deal ‘a sad day for America’
    By Justin Sink – 12/23/11 08:03 AM ET

    Tea Party freshman Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) said Thursday that the agreement to extend the payroll tax was “a sad day for America” and an example of when “the politics of demagoguery trump policy and also principle” in a post to his Facebook wall.

    “I cannot support this, but it seems the politics of demagoguery have won over policy and principle with the concession to enact tax policy on two-month basis,” West wrote. “This is a sad day for America and further evidences our continuing decline. Men and women of principle are become a dying breed in this Republic.”

    West went on to criticize a conference call held by House Republican leadership Friday in which the deal, in which Republican agreed to pass the two-month extension of the tax cuts in exchange for a promise to appoint conferees to strike a year-long deal by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

    “The conference lasted less than 15 minutes and we were not allowed to ask questions,” West wrote. “We were told that by unanimous consent the House will pass the Senate Amendment with a correction to the new payroll reporting procedures. Harry Reid agreed to appoint conferees but we were not told any timeline for this move.”

    In an interview later Thursday on Fox News, West warned that the American people “were duped by the president of the United States.”

    “The American people lose out because this is bad policy. You cannot do tax policy every two months. And I think all across the world, people are laughing at us right now,” West said.

    He also said that other Tea Party freshmen were similarly upset with the establishment congressional leadership.

    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/201133-rep-west-tax-cut-extension-a-sad-day-for-america

  7. rikyrah says:

    racist ass muthafuckas

    ………………………………….

    Obama Called ‘Skinny, Ghetto Crackhead’ On Fox News

    A Fox News guest on Thursday said that “you might want to say” President Obama looks like “a skinny, ghetto crackhead.”

    Brent Bozell, of the conservative Media Research Center, appeared on Fox Thursday night, where guest host Mark Steyn showed a clip of MSNBC’s Chris Matthews saying that Newt Gingrich “looks like a car bomber.”

    Steyn said that aside from anything else, Newt doesn’t even look like a car bomber, but a “big, cuddly, slightly older Winnie the Pooh.”

    “How long do you think Sean Hannity’s show would last if four times in one sentence, he made a comment about, say, the President of the United States, and said that he looked like a skinny, ghetto crackhead?” Bozell wondered. “Which, by the way, you might want to say that Barack Obama does.”

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/obama_called_skinny_ghetto_crackhead_on_fox_news.php?ref=fpb

  8. rikyrah says:

    December 23, 2011 12:40 PM
    Ron Paul had racist direct mail, too
    By Steve Benen

    Well, he wanted to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate. And with leading status comes scrutiny.


    First it was the racist newsletters. Now it’s the direct mail advertising them. In a signed appeal to potential subscribers in 1993, Ron Paul urged people to read his publications in order to prepare for a “race war,” military rule, and a conspiracy to use a new $100 bill to track Americans.

    The eight-page mailer obtained by Reuters via Jamie Kirchick, who unearthed Paul’s newsletter archives in 2008, is mostly focused on a rambling conspiracy theory about changes to the dollar. But Paul tries to bolster his credibility on the issue by noting that his newsletters have also “laid bare the coming race war in our big cities” as well as the “federal-homosexual coverup on AIDS,” adding that “my training as a physician helps me see through this one.”

    This mailer, like the racist newsletters that went out under Paul’s name, includes some truly insane ideas, including warnings that American currency would soon feature chemical tracking agents as part of an authoritarian plot. Indeed, Paul claims to have learned directly about this scheme as a member of Congress.

    Paul’s presidential campaign, of course, denies the Republican candidate saw and/or endorsed this.

    Even if one accepts Paul’s defense at face value — I step that strikes me as foolish — it doesn’t exactly speak well of the radical congressman’s skills. Apparently, a large operation existed over the course of many years, which distributed racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic propaganda and fundraising appeals. Ron Paul was the head of this operation, and yet he had no idea what messages were going out under his name, or why people who agreed with this garbage kept sending checks to support Paul’s venture.

    That’s not what critics are saying; that’s what Paul and his staff are saying.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/ron_paul_had_racist_direct_mai034288.php

  9. rikyrah says:

    Bush Spent 5 Times More On Flights To Texas Than Obama‘s Christmas Vacation Costs

    Those who criticize the cost of Obama’s Christmas vacation don’t want you to know that George W. Bush spent at least $20 million taxpayer dollars just on flights to his ranch in Crawford.

    The right wing has been outraged at the four million dollar plus price tag for Obama’s family Christmas vacation, and they constantly hold George W. Bush up as an example of how thrifty a president should be when going on vacation.

    The problem is that W. wasn’t thrifty. He was the most expensive vacation president in US history. Not only did Bush spend more days on vacation than any other president, but he used Air Force One more often while on vacation than any other president.

    During Bush’s two terms, the cost of operating Air Force One ranged from $56,800 to $68,000 an hour. Bush used Air Force One 77 times to go to his ranch in Crawford, TX. Using the low end cost of $56,800, Media Matters calculated that each trip to Crawford cost taxpayers $259,687 each time, and $20 million total for Bush’s ranch flights.

    If cost of the flight was the only expense involved to taxpayers Bush’s vacations would still seem rather economical, but there is more, much more. Unlike the Obama’s $4 million Christmas vacation price tag, which includes the cost of everything from transportation from transportation to accommodations for the First Family, the White House staff, and the White House press corps, Bush’s numbers only include the cost of flying the president to Crawford. The cost of transporting and accommodating staff, media, friends and family is not included in Bush’s vacation numbers.

    http://www.politicususa.com/en/cost-obama-christmas-vacation

  10. rikyrah says:

    The GOP Is Getting Scared: Joblessness Is Down & Economic Growth Is Up
    During times of increased drama and uncertainty in Washington, good news is often lost in the contentious circumstances of political maneuvering. For the past week, there has been such combative discourse over the payroll tax cut extension and the Republican opposition to helping 160 million Americans survive the slowly recovering economy, that the fate of millions of unemployed Americans has taken a backseat in the 24-hour news cycle. Yesterday, there was good news that House Republicans caved to immense pressure from President Obama, the public, and Republicans in the Senate and agreed to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits for millions of Americans. However, there was also good news on the jobs front that portends well for the economy and struggling Americans.

    The Labor Department reported that unemployment claims fell to their lowest levels since April 2008 in a sign that the economy is making a comeback at the end of the year. On Thursday, the Labor Department said it was the third straight weekly drop and the less volatile gauge of the four week average fell for the 11th time in thirteen weeks; the lowest since June 2008. A senior economist with BMO Capital Markets said, “The underlying trend is undeniably positive. I think everyone is starting to come around to the view that, yes, there is a recovery going on.” In March 2009, unemployment claims peaked at 659,000. Four years before Bush-Republicans’ Great Recession, unemployment levels stayed between 300,000 and 350,000 making the current level of 364,000 closer to pre-recession levels and is a sign that layoffs from the past three years have nearly stopped. An economist at Wells Fargo, Sam Bullard, said that “We haven’t yet really seen substantial numbers of new jobs, but this is definitely an encouraging sign of what lies down the road.”

    A chief global strategist with a brokerage firm said if unemployment keeps falling, the rate may fall as low as 8% before the November election. The strategist, Dan Greenhaus also said, “When you fire fewer people, hiring unquestionably follows.” There can be little doubt that the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits extensions certainly helped the economy and as business owners have said for two years; when people have more money to spend, they will begin hiring to keep up with consumer demand. That consumer spending also prompted another encouraging report by the Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators that rose strongly in November, the second straight month, hinting that the dangers of another recession are receding. A chief U.S. economist said the economy is on track to grow at 4% annual rate in the fourth quarter that ends in less than two weeks. There has not been a 4% growth period since the first quarter of 2006 and the best since then was 3.9% in spring 2010.

    There should be little doubt that President Obama’s stimulus spending and payroll tax cut and unemployment benefit extension have prompted spending, hiring, and economic growth. Perhaps that is why Republicans were reticent to extend the middle class’s tax cut or unemployment benefits. There are Republicans who opposed the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefit extensions so the economy would remain sluggish to portray President Obama as ineffective at handling the economy. Lost in the fray is the importance of keeping the unemployment benefits available to Americans who have been out of work. There are some Republicans who want to scale back unemployment benefits altogether.

    Senator Orin Hatch (R-Utah) said, “I don’t see why you have to go more than 59 weeks. In fact, we need some incentives for people to get back to work.” Senator Hatch is right; Americans do need incentives to get back to work and the first place to start is jobs. The President proposed a jobs plan that Republicans panned because they refused to levy a 0.7% surtax on millionaires and billionaires. Hatch echoed a persistent claim by Republicans that, “A lot of these people don’t want to work unless they get really high-paying jobs, and they’re not going to get them ever.” However, most of “these people” did have really high-paying jobs before they were downsized or outsourced to maximize corporate profits. In California, there are thousands of people with post-graduate degrees who lost their jobs and are barely subsisting on their savings and food stamps. In one city two months ago, a restaurant chain faced 2,000 applicants for 120 part-time, minimum wage jobs and a year earlier, a Wal-Mart store offering 200 part-time minimum wage jobs had over 2,400 applicants desperate for any kind of work. Republicans like Hatch have little comprehension of the plight of the unemployed to expect professionals used to earning six-figure salaries to stand in two-block long lines for a minimum wage job instead of drawing unemployment benefits that are paid for by employers and in many professional jobs, the employees themselves.

    The good news for the unemployed is two-fold. First, their long-term unemployment benefits will be extended for two months, and second, with news of economic growth and increased hiring, their prospects for finding a job are greatly improved. The best news is that despite the best efforts of Republicans to destroy the economy, President Obama’s stimulus, payroll tax cut, and unemployment benefit extension are clearly working. Republicans will not let up in their efforts to kill jobs and prevent economic growth, but they are being watched by the American people who witnessed another hostage scenario unfold before their eyes with the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefit extension. This time though, President Obama stood up to Republicans and refused to pay the extortionists in the GOP and 160 million working Americans and millions more unemployed people are grateful he did

    http://www.politicususa.com/en/obama-economy-improves

  11. Ametia says:

    FYI, if you want to see a few pics of my grandson Nyles, check out his dad’s site. :-))

    http://rashadiscrazy.blogspot.com

      • Ametia says:

        THIS:

        I didn’t cry when he was born, I didn’t cry when I held him, and I didn’t cry when I watched Nyles in his mother’s arms. But when I tried to write his name on my copy of the birth certificate, I broke down big time.

        I love Nyles, I love his mother, and I love just about anything right now..

  12. rikyrah says:

    December 23, 2011 10:40 AM

    Romney’s limited understanding of ‘jobs’
    By Steve Benen

    Mitt Romney seems to think his strongest issue in a general-election race against President Obama is jobs. I’d argue he has that backwards.


    In an interview with TIME Magazine’s Mark Halperin, Romney said, “I know that the Democrats will try and make this a campaign about Bain Capital…. 25 million people are out of work because of Barack Obama. And so I’ll compare my experience in the private sector where, net-net, we created over 100,000 jobs.”

    “I’ll compare that record with his record, where he has not created any new jobs.”

    This detachment from reality fascinates me, so let’s unwrap the argument.

    First, the confused former governor believes 25 million people are out of work “because of Barack Obama.” If Romney can explain why Obama is to blame for a recession that began in 2007, I’d love to hear it. For that matter, the economy lost 3.6 million jobs in 2008 — the year before the president took office. How exactly is Obama responsible for that, too?

    Second, Romney now claims to have created “over 100,000 jobs” at his vulture-capitalist firm. Romney also appears to have made this number up out of whole cloth. Indeed, two weeks ago, when Romney’s Super PAC ran an ad claiming he “helped create thousands of jobs” as CEO at Bain, Super PAC officials were asked to back that up with evidence. They refused.

    Third, it’s remarkable that Romney is only willing to compare his “experience in the private sector.” What about when Romney was willing to put his experience to work in the public sector, during his one term as governor of Massachusetts? Romney doesn’t want to talk about it for a reason — his state’s record on job creation was “one of the worst in the country,” ranking 47th out of 50 states in job growth. It’s one of the reasons Romney left office after one term deeply unpopular, and why his former constituents don’t want him near the White House.

    And fourth, Obama “has not created any new jobs”? The ease with which Romney lies continues to be disconcerting.

    With one month remaining this year, the U.S. private sector has now added 1.67 million jobs in 2011, well ahead of last year’s private-sector total of 1.2 million, and the best year for businesses since 2006. Since March 2010, American businesses have created 2.9 million jobs.

    I’d encourage Romney to consider this chart showing private-sector job growth by month since the Great Recession began…

    …and this chart showing private-sector job growth by year over the last two decades (and 2011 isn’t over yet).

    Reporters really need to brush up on this stuff. When Romney lies to their face — which seems to happen just about every day — they should be able to push back with reality.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/romneys_limited_understanding034285.php

  13. rikyrah says:

    Keep talking, Charlie
    by Kay

    Last spring:


    After Charlie White admitted to voting last year in a precinct in which he did not live during a strange 13-minute talk with reporters on his way into court Friday, his lawyer had a piece of advice for him. “Shut up,” Dennis Zahn told his client. He grabbed White by the arm and escorted him away from reporters.In the hours that followed, it became apparent that Zahn was not the only one at odds with Indiana’s secretary of state.
    Sean Keefer, who was White’s campaign manager and then his deputy secretary of state and chief of staff, resigned Friday. Keefer’s deputy position is established by law, and he would have assumed White’s duties if, as many top Republican officials had urged, White took a leave of absence while his legal matters are being resolved. A Hamilton County grand jury has indicted White on seven felony counts. He is accused of voter fraud stemming from his decision to register to vote at his ex-wife’s address around the same time he was moving to a new condominium across the town of Fishers, Ind., last year.Two special prosecutors allege that White did so in order to keep his seat on the Fishers Town Council. His ex-wife’s address is within the district he used to represent, but his new condo is not.

    Here’s where we are now:


    Indiana’s Republican Secretary of State Charlie White was not eligible to run for the office he now holds and his opponent should be named the winner of the November 2010 election, an Indiana judge ruled.

    The Republican secretary of state, who faces seven felony charges including vote fraud, defeated Democrat Vop Osili by more than 340,000 votes in the election. Opponents contended White was not properly registered as a candidate.

    White was registered at his ex-wife’s address when he voted in the May 2010 primary and was not registered at his address until after the deadline for filing a declaration of candidacy or certificate of nomination, Judge Louis Rosenberg found in a ruling dated December 21.
    Rosenberg, a Marion County Circuit Court judge, reversed a 3-0 Indiana Recount Commission decision finding White eligible and returned the matter to the commission with instructions to certify Osili as secretary of state.

    Besides the obvious embarrassment of the state official who is in charge of elections being indicted on charges of voter registration fraud, it’s just perfect that this happened in Indiana, because Indiana paved the way for the voter suppression laws we’re seeing all over the country. Indiana led the way with the most restrictive voter ID law in the country. There are now more restrictive laws in other states, because once conservatives get a voter suppression law past a federal judge they then work to make it still more restrictive, but Indiana was the undisputed national leader on voter suppression efforts.

    This is voter registration fraud, not voter impersonation fraud. So. Indiana has one of the most restrictive voter ID laws in the country, and that didn’t stop their top elections official from registering and voting in the wrong place. That’s because voter ID laws target the imaginary problem of voter impersonation fraud, while doing next to nothing to address the fraud that actually occurs.

    Fascinating, isn’t it, this peek inside the conservative soul, and the values that are reflected in the laws they champion. Mitch Daniels spent all that time and energy restricting ballot access for ordinary voters, and his top elections official was pulling stuff like this right under his nose. Some voters are more equal than others, I guess.

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2011/12/23/keep-talking-charlie/#comments

  14. rikyrah says:

    December 23, 2011 11:15 AM

    A done deal
    By Steve Benen

    Congress sure can move quickly when it wants to.

    Late yesterday, House Republicans caved to Democratic demands agreed to accept a slightly-tweaked bipartisan compromise from the Senate. This morning, just to move the process along, the Senate preemptively approved the tweaked version by unanimous consent. Less than an hour later, the House took up that bill and it too passed it by unanimous consent.

    And with that, the bill heads to President Obama for his signature. The White House took down its countdown clock this morning.

    There was some question as to whether House passage would be this easy. Boehner told his members that any of them objected, he’d hold an up-or-down vote on this bill next week — a vote that was very likely to pass the deal anyway — so rather than delay the inevitable, House Republicans bit their tongue, dropped the silly “Braveheart” routine, and let the two-month extension pass.

    The next step is the arguably-more -difficult conference committee, which will be tasked with shaping a year-long extension. This morning, Democratic leaders — who seemed to be in a very good mood — announced which members would lead the negotiations.


    Mr. Reid later announced his appointees to the conference committee: Senator Max Baucus of Montana and chairman of the Senate finance committee; Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island; Senator Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland and Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.

    Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the minority leader, also named her appointees: Representative Sander M. Levin of Michigan; Mr. Van Hollen; Representative Xavier Becerra and Representative Henry Waxman both of California and Allyson Y. Schwartz of Pennsylvania.

    The conferees are expected to begin meeting during the winter break.

    They’ll be trying to strike an agreement with several congressional Republicans, most of them have said they don’t want a payroll-cut extension no matter what concessions Democrats are willing to make.

    But that’s a fight for January. In the meantime, today’s a good day.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/a_done_deal034286.php

  15. rikyrah says:

    Presidential Cojones: Obama Gives House GOP No Credit For Payroll Tax Extension

    In his statement praising the payroll tax cut extension, President Obama praised and thanked the American people, and made sure that House Republicans got zero credit.

    Obama said in a statement:

    For the past several weeks, I’ve stated consistently that it was critical that Congress not go home without preventing a tax increase on 160 million working Americans. Today, I congratulate members of Congress for ending the partisan stalemate by reaching an agreement that meets that test.

    Because of this agreement, every working American will keep his or her tax cut – about $1,000 for the average family. That’s about $40 in every paycheck. Vital unemployment insurance will continue for millions of Americans who are looking for work. And when Congress returns, I urge them to keep working to reach an agreement that will extend this tax cut and unemployment insurance for all of 2012 without drama or delay.

    This is good news, just in time for the holidays. This is the right thing to do to strengthen our families, grow our economy, and create new jobs. This is real money that will make a real difference in people’s lives. And I want to thank every American who raised your voice to remind folks in this town what this debate was all about. It was about you. And today, your voices made all the difference.

    Notice who was missing from Obama’s statement? Did you happen to catch who wasn’t mentioned in any way, shape, or form? President Obama got one final shot in at the House Republicans by completely ignoring them in his statement. Unlike after previous House temper tantrums, Obama did not sound a bipartisan tone this evening.

    By not mentioning the Republicans, Obama didn’t try to give them any of the credit that they didn’t deserve. The message was clear. The president was not going to praise House Republicans for finally doing what Speaker Boehner agreed to do in the first place. Obama tried to give the credit to the American people, but the truth is that much of the credit goes to the president

    Last year, the Republicans successfully used the threat of millions of people losing their unemployment insurance to get the Bush tax cuts extended. When House Republicans tried the same holiday tactic again in 2011, Obama and the US Senate were prepared by making sure that the Senate passed the bill first and then leaving town for Christmas recess. Obama and the Democrats took away the House’s leverage.

    With the only hostages that the House tea party might have had already out of town, their ransom tactics were toothless. Their only hostages were the members of their own caucus who were willing to support the Senate bill. Faced with the prospect of being solely to blame for raising taxes on 160 million Americans, John Boehner had no choice but to allow the Senate bill to come up a vote and pass

    http://www.politicususa.com/en/obama-payroll-tax-statement

  16. Ametia says:

    Republican-controlled House approves payroll tax cut extension, ending heated standoff over issue. Details soon.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Rich Indian can’t buy out of lowest caste
    ‘Life is good for me … very bad for many, many people,’ says businessman

    By TIM SULLIVAN
    updated 12/22/2011 8:15:40 PM ET

    AGRA, India — As far back as he can remember, people told Hari Kishan Pippal that he was unclean, with a filthiness that had tainted his family for centuries. Teachers forced him to sit apart from other students. Employers sometimes didn’t bother to pay him.

    Pippal is a dalit, a member of the outcast community once known as untouchables. Born at the bottom of Hinduism’s complex social ladder, that meant he could not eat with people from higher castes or drink from their wells. He was not supposed to aspire to a life beyond that of his father, an illiterate cobbler. Years later, he still won’t repeat the slurs that people called him.

    Now, though, people call him something else.

    They call him rich.

    Pippal owns a hospital, a shoe factory, a car dealership and a publishing company. He owns six cars. He lives in a maze of linked apartments in a quiet if dusty neighborhood of high walls and wrought-iron gates.

    “In my heart I am dalit. But with good clothes, good food, good business, it is like I am high-caste,” he said, a 60-year-old with a shock of white hair, a well-tailored vest and the girth of a Victorian gentleman. Now, he points out, he is richer than most Brahmins, who sit at the top of the caste hierarchy: “I am more than Brahmin!”

    But in an increasingly globalized nation wrestling with centuries of deeply held caste beliefs, there is little agreement about what that means. Do Pippal and the handful of other dalit millionaires reflect a country shrugging off centuries of caste bias? Does caste hold still hold sway the way it used to?

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45770579/ns/world_news-south_and_central_asia/

  18. Ametia says:

    President Obama’s Christmas Present to America
    —By Kevin Drum
    | Fri Dec. 23, 2011 3:00 AM PST

    Christmas is only a couple of days away, and this week the Obama administration delivered a last-minute Christmas present to all of us, one that’s been 20 years in the making. On Wednesday, following a tortured history, the EPA finally released new standards that sharply reduce the emissions of mercury and other airborne toxins from power plants. David Roberts is jubilant:

    This one is a Big Deal. It’s worth lifting our heads out of the news cycle and taking a moment to appreciate that history is being made. Finally controlling mercury and toxics will be an advance on par with getting lead out of gasoline. It will save save tens of thousands of lives every year and prevent birth defects, learning disabilities, and respiratory diseases. It will make America a more decent, just, and humane place to live.

    http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/12/president-obamas-christmas-present-america

  19. Ametia says:

    The GOP’s slip is showing
    By Eugene Robinson, Published: December 22

    Finally. After a year of artful camouflage and concealment, Republicans let us glimpse the rift between establishment pragmatists and Tea Party ideologues. There may be hope for the republic after all.

    Forty Republican senators, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), joined Democrats in voting for compromise legislation providing a two-month extension of unemployment benefits and the payroll tax cut. The bill passed 89 to 10, the kind of margin usually reserved for ceremonial resolutions in favor of motherhood. Senators clearly were confident that House approval would quickly follow.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-gops-slip-is-showing/2011/12/22/gIQAnhgPCP_story.html?hpid=z3

  20. rikyrah says:

    The Post-Truth Campaign
    By PAUL KRUGMAN
    Published: December 22, 2011

    Suppose that President Obama were to say the following: “Mitt Romney believes that corporations are people, and he believes that only corporations and the wealthy should have any rights. He wants to reduce middle-class Americans to serfs, forced to accept whatever wages corporations choose to pay, no matter how low.”

    How would this statement be received? I believe, and hope, that it would be almost universally condemned, by liberals as well as conservatives. Mr. Romney did once say that corporations are people, but he didn’t mean it literally; he supports policies that would be good for corporations and the wealthy and bad for the middle class, but that’s a long way from saying that he wants to introduce feudalism.

    But now consider what Mr. Romney actually said on Tuesday: “President Obama believes that government should create equal outcomes. In an entitlement society, everyone receives the same or similar rewards, regardless of education, effort, and willingness to take risk. That which is earned by some is redistributed to the others.”

    And in an interview the same day, Mr. Romney declared that the president “is going to put free enterprise on trial.”

    This is every bit as bad as my imaginary Obama statement. Mr. Obama has never said anything suggesting that he holds such views, and, in fact, he goes out of his way to praise free enterprise and say that there’s nothing wrong with getting rich. His actual policy proposals do involve a rise in taxes on high-income Americans, but only back to their levels of the 1990s. And no matter how much the former Massachusetts governor may deny it, the Affordable Care Act established a national health system essentially identical to the one he himself established at a state level in 2006.

    Over all, Mr. Obama’s positions on economic policy resemble those that moderate Republicans used to espouse. Yet Mr. Romney portrays the president as the second coming of Fidel Castro and seems confident that he will pay no price for making stuff up.

    Welcome to post-truth politics.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/23/opinion/krugman-the-post-truth-campaign.html?_r=1&hp

  21. rikyrah says:

    The Great Republican Crackup: How Angry, White, Southern Men Took Over the GOP and Made Our Government Into a War Zone
    The GOP’s radicalism is dangerous for America. We need two political parties solidly grounded in the realities of governing.
    December 21, 2011 |

    Two weeks before the Iowa caucuses, the Republican crackup threatens the future of the Grand Old Party more profoundly than at any time since the GOP’s eclipse in 1932. That’s bad for America.

    The crackup isn’t just Romney the smooth versus Gingrich the bomb-thrower.

    Not just House Republicans who just scotched the deal to continue payroll tax relief and extended unemployment insurance benefits beyond the end of the year, versus Senate Republicans who voted overwhelmingly for it.

    Not just Speaker John Boehner, who keeps making agreements he can’t keep, versus Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who keeps making trouble he can’t control.

    And not just venerable Republican senators like Indiana’s Richard Lugar, a giant of foreign policy for more than three decades, versus primary challenger state treasurer Richard Mourdock, who apparently misplaced and then rediscovered $320 million in state tax revenues.

    Some describe the underlying conflict as Tea Partiers versus the Republican establishment. But this just begs the question of who the Tea Partiers really are and where they came from.

    The underlying conflict lies deep into the nature and structure of the Republican Party. And its roots are very old.

    As Michael Lind has noted, today’s Tea Party is less an ideological movement than the latest incarnation of an angry white minority – predominantly Southern, and mainly rural – that has repeatedly attacked American democracy in order to get its way.

    It’s no mere coincidence that the states responsible for putting the most Tea Party representatives in the House are all former members of the Confederacy. Of the Tea Party caucus, twelve hail from Texas, seven from Florida, five from Louisiana, and five from Georgia, and three each from South Carolina, Tennessee, and border-state Missouri.

    http://www.alternet.org/story/153534/the_great_republican_crackup:_how_angry,_white,_southern_men_took_over_the_gop_and_made_our_government_into_a_war_zone

  22. rikyrah says:

    The humbling of the House GOP

    By CARRIE BUDOFF BROWN and JONATHAN ALLEN | 12/23/11 4:43 AM EST

    This time there was no discussion. This time, House Speaker John Boehner didn’t take the chance of losing another deal to a caucus with a tendency to self-immolate.

    And so when Boehner delivered the news that he had struck a deal on a Thursday afternoon conference call with House Republicans, the technology was in place to prevent rank-and-file lawmakers from voicing the kind of angry dissent that scuttled a Senate-passed payroll bill on Saturday. The five day drama that exposed both the political naivete of the freshman-heavy Republican Conference and the sharp limits of Boehner’s power over them ended in silence.

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1211/70803.html#ixzz1hMw2fBlS

  23. rikyrah says:

    December 23, 2011 8:00 AM

    An important win — with caveats
    By Steve Benen

    After House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) surrendered in the payroll tax-cut fight late yesterday, he did what he should have done on Sunday: he told his caucus what they didn’t want to hear.

    After the Senate approved its bipartisan compromise, the Speaker initially approached his members, hat in hand, asking for their permission to pass the extension. They said no. Yesterday, Boehner presented the same deal as a fait accompli — and this time, he took no questions from his caucus.

    As for what happens now, the GOP leadership will, probably later today, bring the tweaked Senate agreement to the House floor, hoping to approve it by unanimous consent. If Republicans balk — and they might — Boehner will reconvene the House next week for an up-or-down vote. Since that vote would very likely pass the Senate bill, an objection today would only delay the inevitable, and extend this fiasco for a few more days.

    For his part, the Speaker conceded yesterday that putting his caucus between 160 million Americans and a popular, bipartisan tax cut probably wasn’t the “smartest thing in the world.” That’s clearly true. In fact, there was nothing “smart” about Boehner’s strategy at all — he fought to kill a middle-class tax cut; he allowed his unhinged caucus to push him around; and he falsely assumed Dems would raise the white flag first.

    Indeed, perhaps one of the most striking realizations from this entire dispute is that Republicans gambled that Democrats would cave when the pressure was on — and Democrats didn’t. Arguably for the first time all year, Democrats from the White House to Capitol Hill knew they had the better hand, told Republicans that Dems wouldn’t fold this time, and sat back and watched and the GOP unraveled.

    That’s the good news. Unfortunately, there’s some bad news, too.

    First, this extension only keeps the status quo in place for two months, and the odds of another bipartisan deal before the new February deadline are poor. I’ll flesh this out in more detail later this morning.

    Second, Dems held their ground this week, but they were really only standing firm after having made concessions in the Senate compromise (they dropped the surtax and accepted an expedited Keystone XL decision). I give Democrats credit for doing the right thing this week, but it’s only fair to note they refused to compromise after already compromising.

    And third, as Greg Sargent explained, Republicans have still been able to block the larger Democratic jobs agenda, of which the payroll tax cut was a part.


    [T]his is the only piece of Obama’s jobs plan that Dems have been able to pressure Republicans into supporting. As a result, the basic overall dynamic may remain unchanged: A bad economy next year; Congressional gridlock; rising public disenchantment with government; and an incumbent running for reelection after failing to prevail on Congress to pass many of his major proposals to fix the economy.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/an_important_win_with_caveats034278.php

  24. rikyrah says:

    I don’t post much on Ron Paul, mainly because I know how I feel about the man – he’s a racist, and I’m quite clear on that. But, I really enjoyed Melissa Harris-Perry on Rachel Maddow last night discussing Ron Paul. Melissa is never the ‘Happy Negro’ on tv, but watch her in this clip- the chill in her voice as she discusses Paul was a little startling, but her words were as lethal as her tone, IMO.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#45772174

  25. rikyrah says:

    I LOVE This Christmas. Donnie was taken away from us all too soon.

  26. Congratulations to Granny Ametia! What a sweet baby boy! Feliz Navidad to you and your family and to all the Chicas here.

  27. The Great Republican Crackup: How Angry, White, Southern Men Took Over the GOP and Made Our Government Into a War Zone

    http://tiny.cc/bsj5n

    December 21, 2011 | Two weeks before the Iowa caucuses, the Republican crackup threatens the future of the Grand Old Party more profoundly than at any time since the GOP’s eclipse in 1932. That’s bad for America.

    The crackup isn’t just Romney the smooth versus Gingrich the bomb-thrower.

    Not just House Republicans who just scotched the deal to continue payroll tax relief and extended unemployment insurance benefits beyond the end of the year, versus Senate Republicans who voted overwhelmingly for it.

    Not just Speaker John Boehner, who keeps making agreements he can’t keep, versus Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who keeps making trouble he can’t control.

    And not just venerable Republican senators like Indiana’s Richard Lugar, a giant of foreign policy for more than three decades, versus primary challenger state treasurer Richard Mourdock, who apparently misplaced and then rediscovered $320 million in state tax revenues.

    Some describe the underlying conflict as Tea Partiers versus the Republican establishment. But this just begs the question of who the Tea Partiers really are and where they came from.

    The underlying conflict lies deep into the nature and structure of the Republican Party. And its roots are very old.

    As Michael Lind has noted, today’s Tea Party is less an ideological movement than the latest incarnation of an angry white minority – predominantly Southern, and mainly rural – that has repeatedly attacked American democracy in order to get its way.

    It’s no mere coincidence that the states responsible for putting the most Tea Party representatives in the House are all former members of the Confederacy. Of the Tea Party caucus, twelve hail from Texas, seven from Florida, five from Louisiana, and five from Georgia, and three each from South Carolina, Tennessee, and border-state Missouri.

  28. Eric Holder: ‘Critics Don’t Like Me Because I’m Black’

    http://cowboybyte.com/2652/eric-holder-critics-dont-like-me-because-im-black/

    It wasn’t the disastrous Fast and Furious gunrunning operation that armed the Mexican drug cartel and led to the death of a border patrol agent that has led conservatives to call for Eric Holder​’s resignation. Nope. Nor was it the fact that Holder’s office inexplicably refuses to defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act and his decision to sue Arizona over its sensible law to check the legality of people living in the state.

    In reality, Eric Holder is under undue scrutiny because he’s a black man. And his boss, Barack Obama​, also takes the heat because, he too, is a black man.

    So says the Attorney General​ anyway: “This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him,” he told the New York Times, “both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we’re both African-American.”

  29. Good Morning, Ametia, Rikyrah, 3 Chics, Friends & Visitors!

    Congrats to Ametia on her new grandbaby! God bless the baby, parents and grandparents!


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