Thursday Open Thread

John Robert “Joe” Cocker, OBE (born 20 May 1944) is an English rock and blues singer, who came to popularity in the 1960s, and is most known for his gritty voice, his idiosyncratic arm movements while performing, and his cover versions of popular songs, particularly those of The Beatles. He is the recipient of several awards, including a 1983 Grammy Award for his #1 hit “Up Where We Belong“, a duet he performed with Jennifer Warnes. He was ranked #97 on Rolling Stone’s 100 greatest singers list.

Cocker was born on 20 May 1944 at 38 Tasker Road, Crookes, Sheffield, England. He is the youngest son of a civil servant, Harold Cocker, and Madge Cocker. According to different family stories, Cocker received his nickname of Joe either from playing a childhood game called “Cowboy Joe” or from a neighbourhood window cleaner named Joe. Cocker’s main musical influences growing up were Ray Charles and Lonnie Donegan. Cocker’s first experience singing in public was at age 12 when his elder brother Victor invited him on stage to sing during a gig of his skiffle group.

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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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71 Responses to Thursday Open Thread

  1. Republican Governor To Women Having A Forced Sonogram: ‘You Just Have To Close Your Eyes’

  2. Mitt Romney: Wrong for Women & Wrong for Illinois

  3. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 02:26 PM ET, 03/15/2012
    The Romney campaign’s idea of `tough decisions’
    By Greg Sargent

    The other day, Mitt Romney said he wants to “get rid” of Planned Parenthood. The Romney campaign is now pointing out that the context of the remark shows that he was merely talking about getting rid of Federal funding for the organization.

    In fairness, that’s obviously true. That said, there’s another aspect of the Romney camp’s handling of this issue that warrants attention.

    Here’s how Romney’s spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, put it: “It would not be getting rid of the organization. They have other sources of funding besides government appropriations, but in order to achieve balance, we have to make some tough decisions about spending.”

    Tough decisions about spending?

    Steve Benen, who first flagged this quote, aptly points out that the idea that cutting Planned Parenthood’s funding would reduce the deficit in any meaningful way is just laughable. Indeed, more broadly, this illustrates that Romney’s fiscal policies in general don’t embody tough decisions at all. They are anything but courageous.

    It is not difficult to tell voters that you can solve the deficit only with spending and tax cuts, because cutting taxes on everybody will lead to an explosion of economic growth and revenues that will make our fiscal problems go “poof.” That’s what Romney has said. But this is an easy thing to tell voters.

    Romney’s supporters would argue that it’s politically difficult to call for deficit reduction via cuts to Medicare and Social Security. But the point is, Romney’s idea of “tough decisions” is that all the further sacrifices necessary to fix our fical problems must be made primarily by people who rely on federal spending. Either because it reflects his actual worldview or because he’s saying whatever he needs to say to get through the GOP primary, he won’t level with Republican primary voters by telling them tax hikes simply must be part of the solution, and that it’s wildly irresponsible to insist that further tax cuts for the super-rich will make all our problems disappear.

    Along these lines, a Democratic reader emailed me this the other day:

    What’s heartening to me is that my brother is a Republican who feels his party has abandoned him. He is adamantly against any more tax cuts. He fears his sons and the following generations will be stuck with the massive bar tab run up by the rest of us. We both believe it takes absolutely no courage for a politician to offer tax cuts…especially with a trillion dollar deficit and record numbers of baby boomers retiring.

    I wonder how many other people get this.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/the-romney-campaigns-idea-of-tough-decisions/2012/03/15/gIQAJ0TaES_blog.html

  4. rikyrah says:

    North Carolina county possibly sorry about turning down state money for birth control
    By Rebekah Dryden

    Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:35 PM EDT

    Commissioners in New Hanover County, North Carolina voted this week to refuse state grant money for family planning. The money — around $9,000 — would have gone to the county’s health department, which had initially planned to use it to buy IUDs but, since the commission vote, has said it could be used for other family planning-related expenses.

    Here’s video of the brief discussion surrounding Monday’s decision from NC Policy Watch (excerpted transcript below):

    BARFIELD: I guess this is one of those kinda hot-button topics. This is what they’re talking about in the national news right now with a woman’s right to choose and this is, I would assume, part of that whole discussion.

    CATLIN: No. No, sir. It has nothing to do with that. It’s about personal responsibility and accountability. It has nothing to do with that.

    DAVIS: I just think, personally, it’s a sad day when the taxpayers are asked to pay money to buy – for contraceptives to keep young women who should not be having sex but are having sex from becoming pregnant. And if these young women were responsible people and didn’t have the sex to begin with we wouldn’t be in this situation.

    BARFIELD: I do agree with your comments there. I’m one of those abstinence guys so I do agree with your comments there.

    At least one of the commissioners featured above — Democrat Jonathan Barfield — has said he regrets his vote, posting on his Facebook page:

    “I’m getting a good lesson from my wife right this minute on the error of my vote.”

    The county commission now plans to reconsider the vote in April but a rally against this week’s vote is still planned for tonight in downtown Wilmington, NC.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/15/10704437-north-carolina-county-possibly-sorry-about-turning-down-state-money-for-birth-control

  5. rikyrah says:

    March 15, 2012 4:09 PM
    If They Had Some Ham….

    By Ed Kilgore

    I admire a good, analytical look at an emotional issue, particularly by someone whose political allies seem to be careening around in highly emotional confusion. So I read with interest Ramesh Ponnuru’s advice to Republicans about how they can still win on the contraception mandate issue.

    Ramesh is a cool customer, so his critique of his friends is very straight-up:


    By November, nobody is going to remember who Sandra Fluke is. That’s what Republicans need to keep in mind as they judge the political impact of opposing the Obama administration’s latest health-care mandate. The issue is likely to help Republicans in the fall, if they can keep their wits about them.

    They’re not doing that right now. Instead, they’re overreacting to two mistakes that opponents of the mandate have made. Both involved Fluke.

    He then goes on to describe the ammunition given to progressives by Darrell Issa and Rush Limbaugh, before suggesting that the bigger problem is that conservatives have let the fight become “about” support for or opposition to contraception, rather than the mandate itself and its alleged offense to Catholics (or at least the Catholic hierarchy). As a sign that the issue is still salvagable, Ponnuru points to the relatively robust postion of anti-mandate activist Scott Brown, and to polling showing that public opinion on the contraception mandate is mixed.

    So how can conservatives get back in the saddle on this issue, other than shutting up about Sandra Fluke? Well, says Ponnuru, they should (a) focus on the mandate’s inclusion of “abortion pills,” (b) keep emphasizing its relationship to the general overreaching involved in “ObamaCare;” (c) do everything possible to paint the administration as the aggressor in the dispute; and (d) work to stiffen the spines of Catholics fighting the mandate against their “liberal Catholic” sell-out friends (not Ramesh’s words, but the implication is clear).

    This is all sound advice, but it all reminds me of the old saying: “If I had some ham, I could make a ham sandwich, if I had some bread.” Will conservatives shut up about Fluke and in general, about women wanting contraception coverage as sluts? Don’t know for sure, but aside from the continuing war of words to defend poor Rush Limbaugh (and perhaps start a counter-boycott of liberal gabbers in his defense), the conservative blogosphere lit up today with new, even more bizarre attacks on Fluke (some even focusing on her “socialist Jew” boyfriend, believe it or not).

    Making the distinction between “contraception” and “abortifacients” theoretically makes some sense, but then there are those rather large differences in how they are defined by, say, the Catholic hierarchy and most everyone else. I haven’t seen any exact polling on it, but I am reasonably sure that the vast majority of Americans, non-Catholics and Catholics alike, do not consider IUDs or estrogen pills (whether the “regular” kind or Plan B) abortifacients (a term, come to think of it, almost no one other than anti-choice activists uses) rather than contraceptives. Totally aside from the mandate issue, moreover, you’d think anti-choice folks would be wary of placing emphasis on their belief that a zygote is a “person,” after all their efforts to convince us they are mainly concerned with stopping late-term abortions.

    As for the strategy of reframing the mandate issue as one of government aggression against the passive ranks of believers, this, too, strikes me as an effort to put raging genies back into a hundred bottles. Had GOP pols and the bishops alike not been so shrill in their immediate reaction to the mandate, and so gleeful when it looked like they had Obama on the run, maybe that could work, but now, like it or not, it really is all running together: Rush-and-Fluke, Santorum-the-spiritual-warrior opposing contraception, bishops and Christian Right leaders openly plotting “campaigns” to increase their sway over public policy, etc., etc. It’s too late for ravening conservative wolves to don sheep’s clothing on these issues. And when it comes to the Catholic clergy, there is an unavoidable contradiction between the strategic need to pose as victims and the tactical need to beat rebellious “liberals” back into line. I also suspect they are rightly worried about the damage they have already done to their fragile credibility on sex-and-gender matters with their own flocks by going after Obama so vocally on this issue.

    So there remains the argument that conservatives should just make this all about ObamaCare, and maybe that will help their cause, though it’s obviously a rather circular argument. At this point, if I were a Republican, I’d be more worried that the issue, by making insurance coverage mandates concrete rather than abstract, might make ObamaCare more popular, helping people understand that (as conservatives used to routinely argue) you can’t get all the highly popular benefits of health care reform without coverage mandates.

    Since I doubt many Republicans are going to take Ponnuru’s advice in any event—some will continue to flail around crazily while others change the subject or head for the hills—it’s probably all academic. But it’s interesting to see the contortions one must go through to make this issue a winner for the GOP after everything that’s already gone down.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2012_03/if_i_had_some_ham036083.php

  6. rikyrah says:

    Right-Wing Pundits Smear Soledad O’Brien As ‘Anti-Semitic’ And Racist

    By Eli Clifton on Mar 15, 2012 at 11:40 am

    A contentious CNN interview by Soledad O’Brien with Breitbart.com editor Joel Pollak set off a firestorm of vitriolic name-calling against O’Brien from the far-right, with some critics going so far as to falsely accuse the CNN anchor of anti-Semitism.

    In a March 8, interview, O’Brien challenged Pollak’s assertion that a video from 1990 showing President Obama, then a law student, hugging late Harvard Law Professor Derrick Bell was a “smoking gun” for Obama’s true beliefs on “racial division and class warfare.” Pollak’s manufactured controversy hinged on characterizing Critical Race Theory (CRT) as “hold[ing] that the Civil Rights Movement was a sham and that White Supremacy is the order and it must be overthrown.” Prodded by Pollak to define CRT, O’Brien accurately characterized it as a theory that “looks into the intersection of race and politics and the law.” (Watch it here.)

    While Pollak in his eagerness to hype his “bombshell” video mischaracterized CRT as a radical theory that calls for a war against white people, animosity on the far right has been pointed at Soledad O’Brien for correcting his inaccurate statements. Chris Loesch, husband of CNN contributor Dana Loesch, tweeted (HT: Little Green Footballs):

    And Michelle Malkin, writing on David Horowitz’s FrontPageMag.com, claimed that O’Brien defended CRT and Bell because “she masks her political activism under the banner of corporate media ‘diversity.’” Malkin continues:

    …[L]iberal minority journalists simply can’t resist carrying water for Obama. That’s because their journalistic unity demands political unanimity. If you don’t accept the left-leaning agenda of “social change” journalism, you’re enabling racism. If you don’t support the pursuit of racial hiring goals as a primary journalistic and academic goal, you’re selling out.

    Noticeably, neither Loesch and Malkin offer any evidence that CRT calls for “war against white people” or that O’Brien’s comments were rooted in anti-Semitism or racism. Indeed, the increasing politicization of anti-Semitism accusations has raised eyebrows among many in the Jewish community. Sarah Wildman, a columnist for the International Herald Tribune and PBS, wrote in The Jewish Daily Forward last January:

    …[W]hen anti-Semitism is falsely applied, we must also stand up and decry it as defamation, as character assault, as unjust. That is why when we debase the term by using it as a rhetorical conceit against those with whom we disagree on policy matters, we have sullied our own promises to our grandparents. For if we dilute the term, if we render the label meaningless, defanged, we have failed ourselves, our legacy, our ancestors, our children.

    While Loesch and Malkin are quick to throw around incendiary accusations, it might be helpful for them to explain why they believe O’Brien’s defense of CRT and critical questioning of Joel Pollak justify accusing an award winning CNN anchor of racism and anti-Semitism.

    http://thinkprogress.org/security/2012/03/15/444949/soledad-obrien-smear-anti-semitic-racist/

  7. WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 14: U.S. President Barack Obama (L) and British Prime Minister David Cameron walk out of the Oval Office to a joint press conference in Rose Garden of the White House on March 14, 2012 in Washington, DC. Prime Minister Cameron is on a three-day visit to the U.S. and he is expected to have talks with Obama on the situations in Afghanistan, Syria and Iran. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

  8. Ametia says:

    Why Obama is unleashing Joe Biden on 2012 campaign trail

    Vice president Joe Biden spoke to auto industry workers in Ohio Thursday about the auto bailout. Biden speaks to working-class American voters, say analysts, in a race that could be between two Harvard-trained presidential candidates – Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

    By Andy Sullivan, Reuters / March 15, 2012
    Toledo, Ohio

    In a presidential election that could feature two Harvard-trained candidates not known for their common touch, President Barack Obama’s campaign deployed a new weapon on Thursday: Vice President Joe Biden.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Elections/From-the-Wires/2012/0315/Why-Obama-is-unleashing-Joe-Biden-on-2012-campaign-trail

  9. President Obama Speaks to Campus Champions of Change

  10. Ametia says:

    Loved this comment: “I feel like there’s a used car lot out there missing a salesman.” BWA HA HA
    And Meghan Kelly was sooooo DISMISSIVE.

  11. Ametia says:

    Biden in Ohio: Obama’s ‘spine of steel’ saved GM, Chrysler
    By Michael A. Memoli
    11:50 a.m. CDT, March 15, 2012

    Reporting from Toledo, Ohio— The rescue of the American auto industry was Vice President Joe Biden’s opening argument as he began making the case for the president’s reelection here today.

    In remarks at a local United Auto Workers union hall, Biden hailed the “courageous” action Obama took to save American automakers General Motors and Chrysler – and hundreds of thousands of jobs with them. The approach favored by Republicans, Biden said, is “sort of a cautionary tale” for how they’d manage the economy at large.

    “The guy I work with every day, the president -– he didn’t flinch,” Biden said. “He knew that resurrecting the industry wasn’t going to be popular. He knew he was taking a chance. But he believed -– he wasn’t going to give up a million jobs in the iconic industry American invented.”

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/sns-la-pn-biden-campaign-toledo-20120315,0,4359962.story?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=cheatsheet_afternoon&cid=newsletter%3Bemail%3Bcheatsheet_afternoon&utm_term=Cheat%20Sheet

  12. Ametia says:

    From ABL LMAO

    Dear GOP: You do know how pregnancy works, right?
    I have been pregnant four times. These pregnancies led to the following four results, in this order: abortion, baby, miscarriage, baby.
    These pregnancies occurred over a span of many years, across two continents, and in three different homes. There were at least seven different health care professionals involved, my hair styles varied widely, as did my levels of nausea. The only constant, in all four cases, other than me, was the presence of a penis.

    Read on:

    http://angryblacklady.com/2012/03/15/dear-gop-you-do-know-how-pregnancy-works-right/#more-71091

  13. Ametia says:

    GOP ARE GOING AFTER THE BLACK COLLEGE VOTERS IN PENNSYLVANIA.

    Pennsylvania Photo Voter ID Bill is Now Law, HBCUs in the Crosshairs

    by Brentin Mock
    Thursday, March 15 2012, 9:14 AM EST

    Pennsylvania Republican Gov. Tom Corbett wasted no time signing HB 934 into law after the legislature voted it through with not one Democrat in support and in fact a few Republicans that opposed. That vote happened yesterday afternoon and Corbett’s ink was on the bill by the evening. The law goes into effect today mandating that all voters have photo identification issued by state or federal government, a state university or a nursing home. The state becomes the 16th with a photo voter ID bill, and the ninth with a strict photo voter ID bill, meaning unlike other states there’s no alternative non-photo ID that can be used if you show up without proper photo identification.

    The granting of nursing home IDs (is there such a thing?) as an eligible voting ID was fought in as an amendment by groups like AARP, a voting bloc that Corbett and fellow Republicans apparently care about. Other groups, like low-income, college students, didn’t fare as well. ACLU legislative director Andy Hoover told me that amendments that didn’t make the final bill included one made for people to sign an affidavit to vote if they didn’t bring photo ID and another to qualify a Medicare card as an eligible ID to vote.

    Local civil rights group Black Political Empowerment Project told Gov. Corbett in a letter that allowing nursing home IDs is fine, but there are thousands of elderly voters who are cared for at home, not at care facilities. Those would be senior citizens from low-income families who can’t afford nursing homes.

    http://colorlines.com/archives/2012/03/pa_photo_voter_id_bill_is_now_law_hbcus_in_the_crosshairs.html

  14. rikyrah says:

    New GOP Medicare Privatization Plan: Obamacare For Seniors Only?

    Brian Beutler- March 15, 2012, 12:45 PM

    You’re a Republican senator. How do you sell a plan to privatize Medicare?

    One way is to fashion the massive overhaul as an extension of the private system members of Congress enjoy — the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan — and then trumpet the merits of that system over existing Medicare.

    “We have to convince [seniors] this is something better,” said Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), flanked by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Rand Paul (R-KY), authors of a new Medicare privatization plan, at a Capitol press conference on Thursday. “If we thought Medicare was better, we would be on it as senators.”

    DeMint is 60 years old. Graham is 56. Paul is 49. Medicare eligibility age is 65.

    The plan itself is remarkably similar to ObamaCare, but for seniors. The senators say the system they envision would go a long way toward fixing Medicare’s solvency problem, though the details don’t support the claim.

    Right now we pay $11,000 per person for Medicare, the taxpayer does,” Paul said. “Right now for the federal employee health plan is $5,000. It’s going to be about $7,000 when we put an older crowd in there. Federal employees including myself will have to pay more. It’s about $30 a month more. But I think that’s something we have to do to make it fair to help save Medicare.”

    Under the plan, seniors would be subsidized up to 75 percent of their monthly premiums, with wealthier seniors receiving smaller subsidies. The eligibility age would also climb, slowly. But FEHBP per-capita costs are rising faster than Medicare’s — so even if the plan were able to save money at the outset as Paul claims, the costs of the new program would likely surpass projected Medicare costs in the near future.

    Unlike ObamaCare, Paul says there would be no mandate requiring seniors to buy insurance — “The system is voluntary in that sense,” he said. “But it will be the new Medicare.This will be Medicare. Medicare will be the federal employee health care plan.” But that would create an incentive for healthier seniors to opt out of the program, triggering what health policy experts term adverse selection — and a “death spiral” for insurance premiums.

    In all other ways, the plan is structurally akin to Obama’s health care law. It even kicks in in 2014 for all seniors, just as Obama’s law does for the uninsured. DeMint explained, in admirably honest terms, why Republicans are OK with, essentially establishing Obamacare for seniors, but not for everyone else.

    “Medicare is already set up as a government program,” DeMint said. “So we’re beginning to privatize with this idea. To go the other way in the private sector for people who have private employment, and to bring that under government control and to define benefits is completely the opposite direction. So what we’re trying to do with Medicare is move it back toward a plan that we would like.”

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/03/gop-senators-back-new-medicare-privatization-plan—-and-even-call-it-that.php?ref=fpb

  15. rikyrah says:

    Watching Scotty Go, Part MCMXIII
    By Charles P. Pierce at 1:00PM

    It has not been the best of months for Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus now serving as local sales director of the Koch Industries subsidiary once known as the state of Wisconsin. First, the John Doe investigation into what allegedly was the pure political hackery that Walker’s entourage engaged in while he was the county executive in Milwaukee has intensified to the point where Walker has lawyered up. Quoth the governor:

    “To assemble additional background information, I hired counsel to insure that I am in the best position possible to continue aiding the inquiry.”

    Translation: I’m throwing all of you sorry bastards who used to work for me right under the 4:10 Hiawatha to Chicago.

    Then, yesterday, the decks were cleared for a whole spate of recall elections. The recall primaries will be on May 8, and the elections themselves will take place be on June 5 .Not only are Walker and lieutenant governor Rebecca Kleefisch under the gun, but recalls were also approved for four Republican state senators, including senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald. Three of the four senators under the ax are from districts that the president carried in 2008. Even some of his allies in the state legislature have taken to ignoring him. Yesterday, the state assembly’s joint finance committee essentially killed a multimillion dollar railroad maintenance project in Milwaukee, a move that doomed a rail-improvement proposal that Walker supported.M Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, whom Walker defeated in 2010 and who may well turn out to be a candidate in the recall primary, fumed against what he called “an ideological war on trains,” which it certainly is. But, more obviously, in terms of your political life in Wisconsin, Scott Walker has become Typhoid Mary. By the end of it, he may not even have a train under which to throw those former aides of his.

    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/Scott_Walker's_Latest_Bad_Month#ixzz1pDM9jFv0

  16. rikyrah says:

    BECAUSE THIS IS WHO THEY ARE:

    photo/1

  17. rikyrah says:

    Talking Jim Crow Blues, in Texas and Beyond
    By Charles P. Pierce at 1:17PM

    It was only a matter of time before someone tried it, but now, the state of Texas has amended its response to the Department of Justice’s objection to its voter-ID law to include an assault on the Voting Rights Act itself. The truly nervous-making part of the whole thing is that line at the end of the news story in which we are told that both Chief John Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas have “raised concerns” about the pre-clearance provisions “needs.” Which, one supposes, are based on the argument that, because the nation has triumphed over racism and even elected a black guy president, the pre-clearance provisions of the VRA are now obsolete. If the Supreme Court has a couple more justices with these concerns, the whole structure of what was achieved at great cost in the 1960′s could be sticks and splinters in a very short time.

    The obvious rejoinder to all this is the staggering welter of voter-suppression laws that has erupted in the various states in the aftermath — and, I would argue, as a result — of the country’s having elected a black guy as president. They have their roots, of course, in the assorted voter-suppression tactics that came to light conspicuously in 2000 in Florida, but, in writing the spirit of those tactics into law over the last couple of years, Republican officeholders out there in the Laboratories of Democracy have committed themselves to a reestablishment of an element of American apartheid that people bled and died to reverse. If I thought the concept of shame still applied to some of these people, I’d send them all to talk to John Lewis for a few minutes.

    It’s been a bad couple of weeks for the vote suppressors. In addition to the DOJ’s chucking of the Texas statute, a judge threw out Wisconsin’s voter-ID law. Which is probably part of the reason that Texas decided to shoot the moon here. Sometimes, the most depressing thing about politics is how impermanent the real victories are.

    Read more: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/texas-voter-id-challenge-7358705#ixzz1pDJ4W7Xo

  18. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    March 15, 2012 2:23 PM

    Who’s Got the Wedge Issue Now?

    By Ed Kilgore

    Facebook Twitter Digg Reddit StumbleUpon Delicious

    My how the worm does turn.

    Last month Republicans were beside themselves with joy at the perception that they had found a sure-fire “wedge issue” in the administration’s contraception coverage mandate, which was under siege by the Catholic bishops and was drawing criticism from some Democratic Catholics as well.

    Some of them are still looking for evidence in the polls that this remains the case (much like the proverbial child looking for the pony in a room full of manure), but for the most part, GOPers would just as soon not talk about “women’s issues” at the moment, thank you very much. But now they’ve got a new problem, and it’s on Capitol Hill, notes the New York Times’ Jonathan Weisman:

    With emotions still raw from the fight over President Obama’s contraception mandate, Senate Democrats are beginning a push to renew the Violence Against Women Act, the once broadly bipartisan 1994 legislation that now faces fierce opposition from conservatives….

    Republicans are bracing for a battle where substantive arguments could be swamped by political optics and the intensity of the clash over women’s issues. At a closed-door Senate Republican lunch on Tuesday, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska sternly warned her colleagues that the party was at risk of being successfully painted as antiwoman — with potentially grievous political consequences in the fall, several Republican senators said Wednesday.

    Some conservatives are feeling trapped.

    “I favor the Violence Against Women Act and have supported it at various points over the years, but there are matters put on that bill that almost seem to invite opposition,” said Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, who opposed the latest version last month in the Judiciary Committee.


    Yeah, yeah, we know, you care about domestic violence, but—there’s always that “but,” isn’t there?

    More to the point, people like Sessions have to pay attention to their “base,” and the “base” is probably best represented by cultural conservative warhorse Phyllis Schlafly, who, notes Weisman, is thundering against extension of the Violence Against Women Act because it promotes “divorce, breakup of marriage and hatred of men.” Sessions is right that the version of the extension being offered by Senate Democrats includes things conservatives consider “poison pills,” but only because they involve giving undocumented workers ((guess they should just self-deport!) and people in same-sex relationships (who presumably deserve what they get) protection against domestic violence, which predictably enrages anti-feminists and homophobes alike.

    So in figuring out a way to oppose this legislation without making themselves look even worse than they do know, Republicans are indeed “trapped.” But it’s a trap of their own making.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2012_03/whos_got_the_wedge_issue_now036081.php

  19. rikyrah says:

    Sandra Fluke’s Boyfriend Is the Jewwiest Jew that Ever Did Jew
    by ABL 2.0

    ***I know Cole covered this, but I wanted to drive it home. My best friend from law school is friends with Fluke’s boyfriend. They went to high school together. These assholes are anti-semitic and shameless.

    The mini-Breitbarts are ass-deep in the Fluke Countertops Inspection Extravaganza and it’s not going so well. Nary a granite countertop has been found, but never fear! The idiot bloggers at The Graph have uncovered mind-bottling skullduggery: Ms. Fluke’s boyfriend’s countertops are Jewish.

    The hell you say?!

    Yes. JEWISH. And socialist. And radical. And Democrat… I mean Demonrat. But mostly Jewish.

    These brave bloggers scoured Facebook for pictures of Sandra Fluke’s Jewish boyfriend and her Jewish boyfriend’s Jewish parents and slapped them up on a blog for all the world to see. DO YOU SEE? This is what radical Jewish Zionist socialist radicals who graduated from Jew University aka Brandeis look like. DO YOU SEE?

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/03/15/sandra-flukes-boyfriend-is-the-jewwiest-jew-that-ever-did-jew/

  20. rikyrah says:

    Can Romney Be Stopped?
    by BooMan
    Thu Mar 15th, 2012 at 10:13:35 AM EST

    So far, Mitt Romney’s delegate team has been doing a good job. He has over twice as many delegates as second-place Rick Santorum, and over 50% of all delegates that have been awarded. He is on track to win the nomination on the first ballot in Tampa despite not having won a majority of the vote anywhere but Idaho, Massachusetts, Virginia, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Romney did benefit from his victory in Arizona, which gave him all 29 of its delegates, but he’s done the rest of this so far by simply out-hustling his opponents. For example, he won 43 out of Virginia’s 46 delegates simply because Santorum and Gingrich failed to get the signatures they needed to secure a place on the ballot. Similarly, Santorum lost delegates in Ohio (and will lose more in Illinois) because he didn’t get delegates placed on the ballot in all congressional districts.
    Some are suggesting that Newt Gingrich can be of more help to Santorum by staying in than by dropping out. This is actually not that hard to decide. The goal for Santorum and for Gingrich is to deny Romney an outright majority of the delegates. This might allow them to prevent his nomination on the first ballot in Tampa. So, as long as Romney isn’t getting more than 50% of the delegates awarded on a given night, Santorum and Gingrich are making progress toward their goal. The problem with the theory that Gingrich can help Santorum is that I can’t identify one state where he has done so, so far. He denied Santorum certain victories in Ohio and Michigan, and he failed to win any delegates at all in states like New Hampshire and Florida.

    Gingrich can help, in theory, if he and Santorum win more delegates combined in a given state than Romney does, despite Romney winning the state. As far as I can tell, that outcome has not happened once. On the other hand, Gingrich can help Santorum if, by dropping out, he causes Santorum to win in states he would have otherwise lost, or if he allows Santorum to win by much bigger margins or in a broader swath of the congressional districts within a state.

    Santorum will benefit most clearly from Gingrich dropping out in winner-take-all states like Delaware and New Jersey. Those two states, which border Santorum’s home-state of Pennsylvania, might go all Christine O’Donnell on Romney’s ass and give Santorum the boost he needs to deny Romney an outright majority of delegates at the convention.

    Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see whether Puerto Ricans are angry with Mitt Romney over his strident anti-Latino rhetoric or if they follow the trend of all other U.S. territories and protectorates and support the least socially conservative candidate.

    Hispanics, a powerful bloc whose vote could decide the outcome in pivotal states such as Nevada, Florida, Colorado and Arizona, seem to have responded by abandoning Romney, with only 14 percent of Hispanic voters favoring him over Obama in a recent Fox Latino poll — one-third of the Hispanic support George W. Bush enjoyed in 2004.
    I don’t think right-leaning Puerto Ricans are going to vote the same way as Mexicans and Guatemalans in Arizona and Colorado. But it will be a pretty alarming signal if Romney doesn’t win the primary there quite comfortably.

    Finally, there are two things that Romney has in his back pocket just in case he gets to Tampa without an outright majority of the delegates. There will be approximately 150 delegates from the RNC that he can probably count on, and he may be able to cut a deal with Ron Paul to pick up the support of his delegates.

    However, I can’t envision a more divisive and disastrous outcome than Romney winning on the first ballot through backroom deals after failing to win the majority of elected delegates.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2012/3/15/101335/936

  21. rikyrah says:

    Now We’re Just Negotiating the Price
    by Steve M.
    Thu Mar 15th, 2012 at 08:58:00 AM EST

    We’ve heard for a while that Ron Paul is in cahoots with Mitt Romney, but now Time’s Alex Altman claims to have an idea of what’s about to transpire:

    …Paul’s campaign has sent discreet signals to Camp Romney that the keys to Paul’s shop can be had for the right price.

    … four legislative priorities would top the Texas Representative’s wish list: deep spending cuts that lead to a balanced budget; the restoration of civil liberties; a commitment to reclaim the legislative branch’s right to declare war, which it abdicated to the executive branch in recent decades; and reforms that shore up the U.S. monetary system, such an audit of the Federal Reserve or competing-currency legislation. The Texas Representative might also be enticed, says campaign chairman Jesse Benton, by the prospect of serving as a presidential adviser, a Cabinet position for someone in his orbit or “perhaps a vice presidency.”

    Not for himself, but rather his son. Rand Paul, the junior senator from Kentucky and a Tea Party icon, is expected to launch his own White House bid in 2016. Being on the ticket now — or even being mentioned for it — would be a helpful step. Says one Paul adviser: “If you’re talking about putting Rand on the ticket, of course that would be worth delivering our people to Romney.” …

    The reason I’m having trouble imagining this happening, or at least imagining it working if it does happen, is that, yes, Romney wants Paul’s voters, but the aspects of Paul’s platform that most appeal to the Paulbots are precisely the ones Romney either won’t accept or can’t endorse with any credibility.

    Oh, sure, Romney can promise to cut gazillions of dollars from the budget — he’s going to say that anyway. He can promise to audit the Fed — he might promise that no matter what. But the Paulbots care mostly about anti-interventionism and legal dope — and there’s no way in hell I can imagine Romney signing on to either of those. In which case Paul can talk Romney up all he wants, but the Paulbots won’t follow. In fact, Paul himself will lose credibility with them.

    And, um, is the younger Paul really “a Tea Party icon”? He ran as a teabagger in 2010, but he’s not a pulse-quickening guy in that movement the way, say, Sarah Palin is, or even Scott Walker. (Maybe that’s because we liberals don’t hate him enough — that always helps if you want to be a teabagger hero.)

    But everything gets murky here. The article suggests that the voting bloc Ron Paul can deliver is the tea party, but Ron Paul’s fans aren’t teabaggers at all — they want war against Muslims and social conservatism on the domestic front. So either Time’s reporter is confused or Romney’s people are — or maybe the Paul people, who are clearly the major sources for this story, are claiming a level of clout they don’t have. In any case, don’t expect this to be Romney’s magic bullet, if it happens at all.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2012/3/15/8580/27465

  22. rikyrah says:

    for those interested in the Trayvon Martin case Ta-Nehisi Coates has done a series of pieces on this subject.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/ta-nehisi-coates/

  23. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:14 PM ET, 03/15/2012
    The national right wing’s top Senate target: Ohio
    By Greg Sargent

    Liberals and Dems across the country are understandably paying very close attention to Elizabeth Warren and the Massachusetts Senate race. But there’s another Senate contest that deserves to be watched just as closely, and may be just as pivotal to Dem hopes of holding the Senate: The battle over Sherrod Brown’s seat in Ohio.

    In what may come as a surprise to many Democrats, the Ohio Senate race appears to be the target of more spending by GOP-aligned outside groups than the Warren contest or any other Senate race in the country.

    Outside conservative groups have spend nearly $5 million on ads attacking Senator Brown, according to data provided by the Brown campaign and its media tracker. National Dems who track ad spending say no other race in the country has been targeted by so much outside money.

    Follow the money and you can see that conservative groups seem to view Senator Brown’s seat as key to the GOP’s efforts to take back the Senate. The 60 Plus Association, a self-proclaimed advocacy group for seniors, has spent over $1.4 million on ads targeting Brown. The U.S Chamber of Commerce has spent around $2.4 million on ads, the source says, over $1 million of that in the last couple months.

    The Rove-founded Crossroads GPS spent $800,000 in 2011 on ads attacking Brown, a group spokesman confirms. Two other groups — the Concerned Women for America, and the Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights — have spent another $270,000, the ad-tracking source says.

    Total: Nearly $5 million in ads attacking Senator Brown alone.

    Why the focus on Brown? There are several factors at play. One is that despite recent polls showing Brown with a sizable lead over his challenger, Josh Mandel, this very well could be a close contest. Ohio, unlike Massachusetts, is a true battleground state, and Obama and Mitt Romney are neck-and-neck there.

    Second, Brown is an outspoken working class progressive who has crafted a populist message that resonates among the blue collar white swing voters the GOP is fighting for — making him a big prize for the right. Third, Ohio is pivotal to GOP hopes in the presidential race. And fourth, recent developments in Maine, and the fielding of a tough Dem challenger in Massachusetts, have increased pressure on the GOP to win in Ohio if Republicans are to take back the Senate.

    At any rate, keep an eye on this race. It could prove decisive in the battle for control of the Senate, as you can see if you follow the money.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/the-national-right-wings-top-senate-target-ohio/2012/03/15/gIQA3ZaMES_blog.html

  24. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 09:08 AM ET, 03/15/2012
    The Morning Plum: Romney putting GOP at risk with Latinos
    By Greg Sargent

    You constantly hear top Democrats and neutral commentators warning that Mitt Romney’s embrace of extreme positions on immigration has effectively dashed his hopes of making inroads among Latinos in the general election. But as Glenn Thrush reports in a must-read this morning, this sentiment is now being privately voiced to the Romney campaign by top Republicans, who worry his lurches to the right are undoing years of what they are calling GOP outreach to a consistuency whose share of the vote will only grow in the years ahead.

    The worry has been prompted by a recent poll showing only 14 percent of Latinos support Romney over Barack Obama:


    One top GOP operative said that number needs to be closer to 33 percent: “We lose Hispanics this bad, we lose the whole election. Period.”

    That opinion is growing. National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn and other top party brass have made it known to Romney’s campaign that the party risks losing Hispanic voters by a historic margin, creating a downward draft on Senate and House candidates, according to two Hill sources.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham has also made clear that the tone of the campaign is political suicide for the party, the sources said.

    On the surface, this is another issue where the drawn-out nomination battle is forcing Romney to embrace positions that will alienate key general election constituencies. But what’s also interesting is that Romney may have been forced to tack harder to the right on immigration than a real conservative might have had to, in order to reassure the GOP base that he’s really one of them.

    Result: Obama has a better chance at winning western states where the Latino vote share is growing, such as Colorado and Nevada, which could be key to reelection, enabling him to get to 270 despite expected losses in the Rust Belt

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/the-morning-plum-romney-putting-gop-at-risk-with-latinos/2012/03/15/gIQAHrx2DS_blog.html

  25. rikyrah says:

    Perceived Crimes And Collective Punishment
    by Zandar

    Expanding on the conversation in ABL’s thread from yesterday, I’m honestly wondering if we do understand that the larger, more salient point of crazy, clearly unconstitutional insanity like Arizona’s “right to fire people for using birth control” bill is to assure the Republican base that the coalition of “others” that elected Barack Obama to the White House: all “those” people who “don’t know their proper place” like African-Americans, Latinos, young people, women, the LGBT community, and “traitor” liberals in general, are going to be punished in 2013 and only they will be punished, right?

    Look, Republicans are basically saying “Hey, look, we know you’re scared. When push came to shove, the America you thought you knew sided with the black guy and for a lot of you that was pretty much the last straw. So here’s the deal: we promise to make laws that will assure that, demographic shift be damned, they’re never going to have that kind of financial or political power again for a long, long time. We’re going to force the reckoning that you know has to be coming soon and we’ll make sure the bill goes to them, not you. And here’s the best part. We’ll design the laws to be guilt-free code-word stuff. We’ll give you the power to make the decisions on winners and losers and keep the losers losing for a long time to come. We’ve got all kinds of experience with that. Don’t worry about the courts, we’ve got those covered. If you side with us now they’ll be backing us for decades, that’s where there real long game is and then the control at the local and state level really pays off. But we need you with us, because anyone against us, well…you don’t want to be them when this train leaves the station, because it’s going to run over everyone else, got it? What do you say?”

    And yes, that means that a healthy chunk of our political process in this country is motivated by the “plot” of GCB. It’s all about vengeance, both petty and fever-bright. Never mind the GOP’s real aim is to screw over the people who support them in the end, but they need the political support for now. They figure once they get back into power, they won’t make the same mistakes of the Dubya era as far as allowing that power to slip through their fingers again. It’s time to reboot America, they believe. They’re not too far away from being able to pull it off, either. Demographic tides and all be damned if they can lock down power at the state level to simply ignore federal laws they don’t like and simply treat the unwashed “others” unlucky enough to live in a red state as untouchable lepers who need to be driven off to the urban hellholes and liberal enclaves.

    Something to keep in the back of your mind when you hear the GOP make their pitches this campaign season.

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/03/15/perceived-crimes-and-collective-punishment/

  26. rikyrah says:

    It’s all about priorities
    By Steve Benen – Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:03 PM EDT.

    Mitt Romney caused a stir this week when he told the NBC affiliate in St. Louis that he would “get rid of” Planned Parenthood if he’s elected president. The candidate and his campaign are now pushing the context of the comment.

    “Planned Parenthood is a private organization. What I want to get rid of is the federal funding of Planned Parenthood,” he told Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times. [...]

    His spokesperson, Eric Fehrnstrom, soon clarified that Romney did not mean to eliminate the organization altogether.

    “It would not be getting rid of the organization,” Fehrnstrom said. “They have other sources of funding besides government appropriations, but in order to achieve balance, we have to make some tough decisions about spending.”

    In fairness, there’s some truth to the explanation. When Romney said he intends to “get rid of” Planned Parenthood, he was, in context, talking about federal funding.

    But that doesn’t make the pushback persuasive. For one thing, as a practical matter, if a Romney administration keeps its campaign promise and cuts off Planned Parenthood from all federal aid, it would very likely crush the health organization’s ability to function.

    For another, Romney prioritizing the elimination of Planned Parenthood support continues to be pretty ironic, since he’s traditionally supported the group — including having attended a Planned Parenthood fundraiser during his Senate campaign.

    But it’s Fehrnstrom point that warrants special scrutiny. As far as the campaign’s spokesperson is concerned, Planned Parenthood needs to be cut off due entirely to “tough decisions about spending.”

    To borrow a line, that’s bullpucky — and it’s important to understand why.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Planned Parenthood receives a fairly small amount of money from Congress, and eliminating every penny of the aid would barely scratch the surface when it comes to deficit reduction.

    Indeed, the larger budgetary context is extraordinary. Mitt Romney wants to increase spending on defense by billions of dollars, and slash taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars. How would he pay for this? So far, Romney hasn’t been willing to answer that.

    But look again at the Romney campaign’s line: “We have to make some tough decisions about spending.” The Republican, who claims to be a “numbers guy,” seriously seems to believe he can take a $1.1 trillion deficit, increase spending on the Pentagon without comparable offsets and cut taxes for the wealthy without comparable offsets, but still bring the budget close to balance by blocking women from accessing contraception, family planning services, pap smears, cancer screenings, and tests for sexually-transmitted diseases.

    In his much-derided speech to an empty football stadium a few weeks ago, Romney said his plan “calls for sacrifice.” He added, “It requires a leader … to call for sacrifice.”

    Perhaps, but in this case, Romney doesn’t want shared sacrifice. The only folks Romney wants to suffer are women who rely on Planned Parenthood — defense contractors and the former governor’s millionaire friends wouldn’t have to sacrifice anything.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/15/10703029-its-all-about-priorities.

  27. rikyrah says:

    A crack in the GOP’s anti-tax wall
    By Steve Benen – Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:56 PM EDT.

    About five months ago, during Senate debate over the proposed American Jobs Act, the White House and nearly all congressional Democrats rallied behind a popular financing option: invest in job creation and create a surtax on millionaires and billionaires to pay for it.

    Senate Republicans, not surprisingly, ignored polls showing broad national support for the idea. The Democratic surtax measures died at the hands of a GOP filibuster.

    In an unexpected development, however, a conservative House Republican has apparently decided to break ranks on the issue.

    Freshman Republican Rep. Rick Crawford will propose a surtax on millionaires Thursday morning, a crack in the steadfast GOP opposition to extracting more money from the nation’s top earners.

    The Arkansas Republican will unveil the plan during a local television interview Thursday morning, and plans to introduce legislation when the House returns next week, according to sources familiar with his thinking.

    Crawford will propose the additional tax — expected to be north of 2.5 percent — on individual income over $1 million as part of a broader fiscal responsibility package.

    To say this is unusual is an understatement. Thanks in part to Grover Norquist’s pledge, Republican anti-tax rigidity has been unyielding for many years. GOP officials are occasionally comfortable recommending federal tax increases on low-income families who are not currently eligibility to pay a federal income tax; and will sometimes consider new “revenue” so long as taxes remain unchanged; but for a Republican to ask the wealthy to pay a little more is unheard of in recent decades.

    It makes Crawford’s proposal a breakthrough moment — or at least, a possible breakthrough moment. There are a couple of catches to keep an eye on.

    ——————————————————————————–

    The first is that the Arkansas congressman is willing to support a millionaires’ surtax, not to create jobs, but to lower the deficit. In the context of a fiscal debate, Crawford’s measure would, in fact, be a sensible part of a debt-reduction package, but most Democrats — as well as most economists — believe economic growth and job creation are far more important than bringing the budget closer to balance.

    In this sense, the freshman’s idea may have merit, but he intends to apply the new revenues to the wrong problem.

    Second, before we can evaluate Crawford’s idea, it’s important to know what he expects in return for the surtax. The article said this would “part of a broader fiscal responsibility package,” but the devil’s always in the details. Could Democrats go along with a plan that includes a 2.5% surtax on millionaires and billionaires? Sure. Would they trade the surtax for Medicare privatization? Of course not.

    This is a worthwhile concession, but if it comes with too great a cost, any hopes for a deal will fall apart quickly.

    And finally, other congressional Republicans haven’t exactly thrown their support behind Crawford’s measure. The Arkansan hasn’t faced GOP excommunication just yet, but if his fellow Republicans stick to the usual script — no tax increases on anyone at any time by any amount for any reason — then his offer will have symbolic significance, but no practical effect.

    Crawford appears to have taken a step towards a larger compromise. But there an awful lot of additional steps between this and his destination.
    .

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/15/10703832-a-crack-in-the-gops-anti-tax-wall

  28. rikyrah says:

    Democrats on offense over ultrasounds
    By Laura Conaway – Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:10 PM EDT.

    With the Virginia state legislature now locked in a battle over the budget, Virginia Democrats seem to have figured something out about this politics thing. Namely, the budget battle is boring. But that mandatory, state-ordered vaginal probe thing initially backed by Governor Bob McDonnell and his Republicans — that’s really, really interesting.

    Yesterday, long after Republicans backed off the vaginal probe part of the bill, Virginia Senate Democrats renewed their call to at least have the state pay for the unnecessary belly ultrasounds. From their letter (pdf), which is pointedly addressed to McDonnell:

    Not only does this legislation seriously impinge on a doctor’s authority and undermines the doctor-patient relationship, it imposes, through government fiat, an unnecessary financial cost on women.

    In our budget priorities, we have sought to remedy this situation by mandating insurance coverage of the ultrasounds and/or having the Commonwealth pay for the ultrasounds. While this will not change the inappropriateness of the legislation, it will, at least, ameliorate the financial burden.

    Back in February, when the Virginia Senate passed the bill, Republicans voted down a string of amendments that would have dealt with how women would pay for the test which the state now mandates they have. Word out of the Virginia Capitol is that Democrats may have lost on the ultrasound bill, but they’re not about to let this issue go.

    See also: Democrats in Pennsylvania, where Republican Governor Tom Corbett said that state’s mandatory ultrasound bill is no big deal as long as it’s not one of those probe things. And even though the screen would be pointed at the woman, she wouldn’t have to look at it, Corbett said. “I don’t know how you make anybody watch,” he told reporters. “You just have to close your eyes.”

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/15/10702396-democrats-on-offense-over-ultrasounds

  29. rikyrah says:

    Limited diversity on 2012 ballots
    By Steve Benen – Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:26 AM EDT.
    Associated Press

    Deval Patrick will remain the only member of a very small club.

    There are 100 members of the United States Senate, and none is African American. There are 50 governors, and only one, Massachusetts’ Deval Patrick (D), is African American, and he won’t be able to seek re-election due to term limits.

    Perhaps the 2012 elections will help bring some additional diversity to statewide offices? Apparently not. Jamelle Bouie reported yesterday that there will very likely be no African-American candidates even running for governor or senator in November.

    [S]ince the momentous 2008 election, there has been no great flowering of black political life, no renaissance in black political leadership. In a year when the first black president is running for re-election, the only African American bidding for a top statewide office is Maryland state Senator C. Anthony Muse, who is challenging Ben Cardin — a well-liked incumbent — in a hopeless race for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination. At most, by the end of 2012, two of the nation’s 150 governors and senators will be African American.

    Yes, David Patterson became governor of New York after the resignation of Eliot Spitzer, but he bowed out of running for a full term after struggling with low approval ratings and accusations of corruption. Obama’s replacement in the U.S. Senate, former Illinois lawmaker Roland Burris, operated under a cloud of scandal and didn’t even attempt to win the seat in his own right. In 2010, a historically bad year for Democrats, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick was the only African American to win statewide office.

    If the number of officeholders was in line with African Americans’ share of the population — 12.2 percent — there would be at least 12 African American senators and six governors. By contrast, the percentage of African Americans in the House of Representatives is nearly consistent with their share of the population — 42 members, or almost 10 percent.

    Jamelle’s point wasn’t just to recite the data, but rather, to consider what’s responsible for these circumstances. Of particular interest, he takes note of the African-American House members who could, in theory, use their seats to springboard into statewide campaigns, but don’t — these lawmakers have lower name recognition, tend to be too liberal for statewide campaigns, and generally represent less-affluent districts, making fundraising far more challenging.

    As for concerns about racism, Jamelle went on to argue, “[O]utright racism isn’t the main reason that keeps African Americans locked out of the highest statewide positions. Rather, it’s the accumulated effects of long-term racial discrimination — the limitations associated with representing heavily black House districts or leading majority-black cities — that block further advancement.”

    The result is that Deval Patrick will remain the only member of a very small club.
    .

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/15/10702020-limited-diversity-on-2012-ballots

    • Ametia says:

      Speaking of senate diversity, what’s up with the chap from Illinois who took PBO’s seat? Sheesh! Can’t remember his name. I’ve got to start taking my Ginko Biloba, only thing is, I keep forgetting to take it. LMAO

  30. rikyrah says:

    The View From Mississippi: “We Lost A War!”
    The right has gone ape-shit about this selection of interviews from Alexandra Pelosi. I think they speak for themselves

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/03/the-view-from-mississippi-we-lost-a-war.html

  31. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, March 15, 2012The upside to uncovering Obama’s “radical” past
    As most of you are aware, the late Breitbart’s crew thinks there’s some hay to b

    e made by digging up minutia about President Obama’s past. Their first effort revealed that he had been a panelist in Chicago at a play about the life of community organizer Saul Alinsky. And next they unveiled the video tape of the first African American President of the Harvard Law Review introducing Harvard Law Professor Derrick Bell.

    For those of us who care about the effects of racism in this country, what they’re doing is providing us with a collection of President Obama’s long-term and deep commitment to these issues (you paying attention Tavis and Cornell?)

    For example, the latest efforts are about President Obama’s deep ties to fellow Harvard Law School grad Cassandra Butts. Oh my! We learn that she’s actually committed to affirmative action and thinks race is a factor in the health disparities between blacks and whites in this country…and she’s a close friend and advisor to the President. Apparently she helped in the selection of “wise Latina” Sonja Sotomayor for the Supreme Court and also worked with AG Holder on the case against voter ID’s (short update here: Take all that in for a moment…an African American Harvard Law grad helping the first African American President pick the first Latina on the Supreme Court and providing support for the first African American Attorney General in fighting voter suppression. WOW. And you wonder why the haters are running scared?)

    Here’s how they end the article about her:


    …despite the wishes that Obama would be a “post-racial” president, Butts told The Wall Street Journal just days after Obama’s election that he doesn’t consider himself “post-racial.”

    “When people say that, they seem to suggest that we are beyond the issue of race, that issues of race don’t matter,” she said. “I don’t think that is necessarily the case. I don’t think Barack considers himself post-racial in that way. He will tell you he thinks race does matter.”

    Having worked to remake the judicial branch in harmony with Bell’s theories, Butts is now at work remaking American development aid as Obama’s appointee to the Millennium Challenge Corporation, doling out millions in American taxpayer dollars.

    She is both a symptom, and a cause, of the important role Critical Race Theory plays in the Obama administration’s governance.

    Contrary to what they’re trying to accomplish, it warms my heart to hear things like this and know that profoundly wise people like Cassandra Butts are involved in the important work of this administration.

    But the Breitbart crew are not the only ones digging up these gold mines. Over at The Gateway Pundit (sorry I’m not going to provide a link to that one), they’ve unearthed a 1990 article in the Daily Herald titled “Harvard student tackles racism at core.”

    ………………………………………..

    http://immasmartypants.blogspot.com/2012/03/upside-to-uncovering-obamas-radical.html

  32. Joe Biden Enters 2012 Campaign With First Major Speech

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/15/joe-biden-2012-obama_n_1346986.html?ref=topbar

    TOLEDO, Ohio — Vice President Joe Biden says the verdict is in on the auto bailout: President Barack Obama is right, and the Republicans trying to take his job away were “dead wrong.”

    In his first major foray of the 2012 campaign, Biden told a union audience in Ohio on Tuesday that the auto industry rescue saved more than a million jobs – and prevented a new Depression.

    Biden spoke at a United Auto Workers hall in Toledo two days after President Barack Obama was in the politically crucial state. Obama took British Prime Minister David Cameron to a college basketball game.

    Biden said the willingness of Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich to let Detroit go belly-up shows the bankruptcy of their economic theories. The vice president declared, “If you give any one of these guys the keys to the White House, they will bankrupt the middle class again.”

    THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

    Vice President Joe Biden is making his first major foray into the 2012 presidential campaign in Ohio, an effort by President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign to use the frequently blunt Biden to combat criticism from Republicans and dish it right back at them.

    In a speech Thursday at a United Auto Workers hall in Toledo, Ohio, Biden is expected to offer a vigorous defense of the president’s auto industry bailout and a robust takedown of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s opposition to the policy. The White House says the president’s actions saved 1.4 million U.S. jobs.

    “The verdict is in: President Obama was right and his critics were dead wrong,” Biden says in excerpts of his prepared remarks released by the Obama campaign.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Labor may prove to be thorn in GOP’s post-Citizens United rose
    Tuesday, March 13, 2012 |
    Posted by Deaniac83 at 5:10 PM

    Last November, the SEIU made a courageous move and endorsed the president early for re-election this November. Today, the AFL-CIO took the same step. President Obama has been a tremendous advocate for working people in the White House and has rigorously protected the rights of workers from the overreach of corporate greed. Richard Trumka, the president of AFL-CIO, noted that in his statement following the endorsement.

    Organized workers see the President as a major asset and recognize the stakes in 2012, and are ready to spend $400 million in this year’s federal, state and local elections. But that won’t be all. The Citizens United ruling from the US Supreme Court – while an astoundingly bad decision – left this saving grace for our democracy: it freed up unions to organize ground campaigns to talk to non-union voters and not just their members, something labor was not able to do prior to Citizens United. And after victories in Wisconsin and Ohio, labor is strong and ready to put nearly half a million footsoldiers to knock on doors.

    The same Supreme Court ruling in 2010 that set the stage for these political action committees to accept unlimited donations also allowed unions to send their foot soldiers to visit not just union members at home, but also voters who do not belong to unions — a move expected to increase labor’s political clout significantly in this year’s elections.

    Unions first used their expanded ability in a big way in Ohio last November to educate and mobilize both union and nonunion voters in a battle to repeal a law that curbed bargaining rights for Ohio’s teachers, firefighters and other public employees. Spurred by 17,000 union volunteers, labor won in a blowout, with Ohioans voting 62 percent to 38 percent to repeal a law that the Republican-dominated Legislature had enacted seven months earlier.

    The real pivotal role organized labor will play in 2012 will be far beyond early endorsements of the president or money to keep Democratic campaigns competitive. Labor will be the only major thorn in the way of uber-wealthy individuals purchasing the American government for pennies on the dollar. Yes, labor has money. A lot of it – but not nearly as much as the Koch brothers. But Labor has something Koch brothers cannot even dream of matching: an army of footsoldiers ready to reach out to working people door to door, adding to Obama’s own campaign’s ground game. Labor has that thing conservatives dread: organization.

    The only people standing between the right wing and their wet dream of an oligarchy are President Obama, the Democratic Party and the organized labor movement. In post-Citizens United America, democracy is left almost entirely at the mercy of corporate greed and the super rich. But only almost. There is still the organized working people’s movement, and the strong power of organizing people – by both the president’s campaign and the labor movement – that serves as the silver lining in the dark cloud of Citizens United.

    http://www.thepeoplesview.net/2012/03/labor-may-prove-to-be-thorn-in-gops.html

  34. Texas Ups The Ante
    Strikes At Constitutionality Of Voting Rights Act

    http://tiny.cc/agx7aw

    Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has amended the state’s lawsuit against the federal government over the rejections of their voter ID law to include a direct strike at the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act.

    Abbott argues in the amended complaint that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, amended by Congress in 2006, “exceeds the enumerated powers of Congress and conflicts with Article IV of the Constitution and the Tenth Amendment.”

    “For the Department of Justice to now contend that Texas cannot implement its voter ID law denies Texas the ability to do what other states can rightfully exercise under the Constitution,” Abbott said in a statement.

    While several courts have dealt with challenges to the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act — which forces certain states with a history of racial discrimination to have their election laws precleared by either the federal government or in a D.C. court — Texas’ challenge is the most prominent. Law professor Rick Hasen thinks there’s at least a chance the Supreme Court could hear the case before the November election.

    “It is really late in the SCOTUS term. So maybe this does not make it to SCOTUS before adjournment in June. But if Texas wants to use its voter id law in November, the Court could well take it up even in September, before the usual October start of the Court term,” Hasen writes.

  35. President Obama Speaks on American Energy
    March 15, 2012 10:55 AM EDT

    Prince George’s Community College, Largo, Maryland

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

  36. The Road We’ve Traveled

  37. Ametia says:

    Source: Department of Labor, Employment and Training Admin
    UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE WEEKLY CLAIMS REPORT
    SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

    In the week ending March 10, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 351,000, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 365,000. The 4-week moving average was 355,750, unchanged from the previous week’s revised average of 355,750.

    The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.6 percent for the week ending March 3, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week’s unrevised rate of 2.7 percent.

    The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Mach 3, was 3,343,000, a decrease of 81,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 3,424,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,394,250, a decrease of 25,250 from the preceding week’s revised average of 3,419,500.

    UNADJUSTED DATA

    The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 337,713 in the week ending March 10, a decrease of 30,719 from the previous week. There were 371,721 initial claims in the comparable week in 2011.

    Read more: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ui/eta20120454.htm

  38. Ametia says:

    Scotty’s wife wants him to get out there and “MAKE SOME REAL MONEY.” So much for being a hottie, Scottie.

  39. Ametia says:

    SMGDH EWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

  40. rikyrah says:

    I love Joe Cocker.

  41. rikyrah says:

    An Obvious Outlier
    Posted on 03/14/2012 at 4:30 pm by JM Ashby

    My gut reaction to the CBS/NYTimes poll showing a 9 point drop for President Obama in one month was that it was clearly a flawed poll or otherwise an anomaly.

    This reaction was based on a couple things.

    First was the fact that the president’s approval has surged among independents, women, and Hispanics in recent months, and it seems highly unlikely his overall approval rating would suffer the biggest drop in the CBS/NYTimes poll’s history in the midst of this.

    Second, polls also clearly demonstrate that Americans do not blame the president for the price of gas which is the prevailing narrative these polling organizations used to explain this unprecedented drop in approval.

    Further analysis would reveal that the CBS/NYTimes poll weighted conservative voters far more heavily than in previous samples, essentially skewing the results far to the right. Whether this was intentional or not is anyone’s guess.

    New samples from other polling organizations also seem to not only contradict the CBS poll, but also show the president’s numbers improving even further.

    A new Pew poll shows President Obama up by twelve on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney nationally as the former governor stuggles on favorability with registered voters.

    Obama leads 54 – 42 in the direct matchup, and one of the chief reasons seems to be Romney’s personal rating — only 29 percent of registered voters see him favorably, while 51 percent see him in a negative light. President Obama’s results are the opposite, 56 percent see him favorably versus 41 percent, and Obama has reached 50 percent on job approval for the first time in Pew’s polling since May 2011.

    via Reuters

    (Reuters) – For the first time since early July, more Americans approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing than disapprove, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll that shows his approval rating now at 50 percent.

    No one poll can be taken as definitive, but it’s easy to spot an obvious outlier that isn’t reflected among any other polling organization and among multiple demographic groups. That is unless the white, male conservative population spontaneously grew by 9 million overnight.

    The sudden jump to conclusions in the media based on one single flawed poll shows just how fragile, or manufactured, depending on your perspective, perceptions can be. All the more reason for everyone to get involved and create a buffer against flawed media narratives that can and do sway voters.

    http://bobcesca.com/blog-archives/2012/03/an-obvious-outlier.html

  42. rikyrah says:

    House GOP plans to renege on budget deal
    By Steve Benen – Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.

    Last summer, as part of the debt-ceiling crisis, Democrats and Republicans agreed to spending levels for the upcoming year, suggesting the budget process would go relatively smoothly in 2012. After all, with the figures already locked in, the most contentious part of the process was already addressed. As far as everyone was concerned, a deal’s a deal.

    And then GOP officials started whispering that they didn’t much like the deal anymore.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters earlier this week, “This wasn’t a handshake, it was a law we passed…. I guess [House Republicans] love government shutdowns, or at least the threat of them.”

    That threat is becoming increasingly real. Reuters reports that House GOP leaders are “ready to break a hard-fought budget deal,” in large part because rank-and-file Republicans are insisting upon it. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) are now reportedly seeking a compromise on the compromise, asking Dems to accept an additional $19 billion in cuts, on top of the cuts Democrats already agreed to swallow.

    How would congressional Republicans justify reneging on a deal they struck just seven months ago? To hear them tell it, there’s room for a semantics debate — both sides agreed to a $1.047 trillion cap on discretionary spending for fiscal 2013. GOP officials are now arguing that the cap is simply a ceiling, and that there’s nothing wrong with pushing a budget that’s lower than the agreed-upon maximum.

    While I’ll gladly give Republicans credit for creativity, the argument is dishonest to a jaw-dropping degree. Greg Sargent set the record straight by reminding us what GOP leaders were saying before they changed their minds.


    …Dems and the White House will argue that even Mitch McConnell himself recently acknowledged that what was actually agreed upon were “discretionary spending levels.” Eric Cantor also has described the deal as one that set a “level of spending.”

    Get ready for a rerun of a very bad movie. We’re hurtling towards another government shutdown fight, in which the House GOP leadership will be dealing with a Tea Party wing that prioritizes shrinking government above all else — this time, in the lead up to the elections.

    That’s exactly right. The next question is how serious this situation really is.

    ——————————————————————————–

    The divisions are getting increasingly messy. Democrats want Republicans to honor the bipartisan deal; House Republicans want an additional $116 billion in cuts; the GOP leadership wants rank-and-file members to settle for $19 billion in cuts.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/15/10699347-house-gop-plans-to-renege-on-budget-deal

  43. rikyrah says:

    Jobless claims remain at four-year low
    By Steve Benen – Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:39 AM EDT.

    The general trend on initial unemployment claims over the last few months has been largely encouraging, despite occasional setbacks, including one last week.

    Today’s report, however, was far more heartening. Initial jobless claims reached a four-year low a month ago, and returned to that level this week, beating expectations.

    The number of Americans who filed requests for jobless benefits fell by 14,000 last week to 351,000, matching a four-year low, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday. Claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 365,000 from 362,000. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had projected claims would fall to a seasonally adjusted 355,000 in the week ended March 10. The average of new claims over the past four weeks, meanwhile, was unchanged at 355,750.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/15/10699805-jobless-claims-remain-at-four-year-low

  44. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 02:40 PM ET, 03/14/2012
    Here we go again
    By Greg Sargent
    Via Pat Garofalo, Reuters reports:

    Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives are ready to break a hard-fought budget deal with Democrats as they try to quell a revolt by conservatives who are insisting on deeper spending cuts ahead of the November elections.

    The original August 2011 deal that resolved the debt ceiling impasse called for a $1 trillion limit on discretionary spending for fiscal 2013. House conservatives want much deeper cuts. House GOP leaders are offering a compromise that would include some cuts, but not enough for the Tea Partyers, and Dems are vowing to reject anything that breaks the original deal.

    Republicans will justify breaking the deal by arguing that the original compromise only set a cap on spending, which is to say an upper limit, meaning there’s nothing preventing spending from being cut further. But Dems and the White House will argue that even Mitch McConnell himself recently acknowledged that what was actually agreed upon were “discretionary spending levels.” Eric Cantor also has described the deal as one that set a “level of spending.”

    Get ready for a rerun of a very bad movie. We’re hurtling towards another government shutdown fight, in which the House GOP leadership will be dealing with a Tea Party wing that prioritizes shrinking government above all else — this time, in the leadup to the elections.

    The original debt ceiling fight was a debacle for both parties. But since then, House Republicans took more lumps in the payroll tax cut fight, and overall, the skirmishes of the past year may have taken a greater toll on them. Some polls show House GOP ratings lower than those of Dems and others find the public heaps more blame on Republicans for Congressional gridlock.

    Now we may be seeing a reprise of the same dynamic. One question is whether this could spill over into the presidential race. Dems will be working hard to prevent Mitt Romney from achieving separation from the House GOP, arguing that the Dem emphasis on a mix of tax hikes and spending cuts, along with more public investment to keep the recovery going, is far more balanced than the Romney/House Tea Party emphasis on gutting government at all costs.

    In this sense, another government shutdown fight could help Dems sharpen the contrast with the GOP and Romney over the two parties’ values and priorities. A new Bloomberg poll finds that 51 percent say government spending on infrastructure, education and alternative energy is a better way to grow the economy, while only 41 percent favor more spending and tax cuts.

    On the other hand, maybe this will all help Romney. After all, more deep spending cuts sought by conservatives could imperil the recovery, which could weaken Obama and help Romney’s case against his reelection. Perverse, perhaps, but very possible.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/here-we-go-again/2012/03/14/gIQAk3BKCS_blog.html

  45. rikyrah says:

    Goldman Roiled by Op-Ed Loses $2.2 Billion
    By Christine Harper – Mar 15, 2012 5:25 AM CT

    Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) saw $2.15 billion of its market value wiped out after an employee assailed Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein’s management and the firm’s treatment of clients, sparking debate across Wall Street.

    The shares dropped 3.4 percent in New York trading yesterday, the third-biggest decline in the 81-company Standard & Poor’s 500 Financials Index, after London-based Greg Smith made the accusations in a New York Times op-ed piece.

    Smith, who also wrote that he was quitting after 12 years at the company, blamed Blankfein, 57, and President Gary D. Cohn, 51, for a “decline in the firm’s moral fiber.” They responded in a memo to current and former employees, saying that Smith’s assertions don’t reflect the firm’s values, culture or “how the vast majority of people at Goldman Sachs think about the firm and the work it does on behalf of our clients.”

    Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, 84, whose “Volcker rule” would limit banks like New York-based Goldman Sachs from making bets with their own money, called Smith’s article “a radical, strong” piece. “I’m afraid it’s a business that leads to a lot of conflicts of interest,” Volcker said at a conference in Washington sponsored by the Atlantic.

    Goldman Sachs slid $4.17 to $120.37 yesterday, leaving the shares still up 33 percent this year. The stock advanced 0.7 percent to $121.20 by 11:16 a.m. in Germany today.

    David Wells, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs in New York, declined to comment beyond the contents of the memo and an earlier e-mailed statement in which the firm said it disagrees with the views expressed in the op-ed.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-15/goldman-stunned-by-op-ed-loses-2-2-billion-for-shareholders.html

  46. rikyrah says:

    Whistleblowers reap millions in U.S. mortgage suits
    Troubled homeowners are not the only ones set to get a financial lift from the U.S. government’s $25 billion landmark mortgage settlement.

    Whistleblowers who were instrumental in revealing epidemic mortgage abuses, some of whom risked their careers to do so, are getting multi-million-dollar payouts, court documents show.

    Victor Bibby and Brian Donnelly, two Georgia mortgage brokers, are among the handful of whistleblowers whose stories are coming into focus.

    Bibby and Donnelly said they started noticing in 2005 that lenders were charging veterans hidden fees on mortgage refinancing – a violation of the government’s Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loans program.

    The pair, who worked for U.S. Financial Services Inc, a mortgage brokerage firm in Alpharetta, Georgia, said they became suspicious when lenders told them not to show an amount charged for attorneys fees on loan documents, but instead add the sum to the charge shown for “title examination fee.”

    After lenders ignored their concerns, Bibby and Donnelly hired an attorney and filed a whistleblower suit.

    The suit remained under seal to give the government time to investigate. Bibby and Donnelly had to keep mum for more than five years and try to find ways to avoid charging the hidden fees.

    “For both our families being hushed for such a long time and holding this inside was unbearable,” Donnelly said in an interview. “It puts a lot of stress on you.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/14/us-settlement-whistleblowers-idUSBRE82D1G620120314

  47. rikyrah says:

    Docs show murderers got special treatment from governor, wifeSee show times »
    By Rich Phillips, CNN
    updated 6:50 AM EDT, Thu March 15, 2012

    Investigative documents obtained by CNN show that former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, his wife and his staff may have given preferential treatment to two of the convicted murderers who were among the more than 200 former and current inmates he pardoned in January.

    According to the documents compiled by the office of Mississippi’s attorney general, the state’s former first lady, Marsha Barbour, apparently called a car dealership regarding the purchase of two vehicles for two convicted murderers — days before they were pardoned. The cars were later delivered to the governor’s mansion, two days before the men were released.

    CNN has also learned that a member of the governor’s staff took the same two men, David Gatlin and Charles Hooker, to get their driver’s licenses while they were still in state custody, before their pardons were signed and made official.

    “Yes, that’s true … I did take some of them,” said Barbour’s former security chief, Wayland Adams. “I knew that they were going to be paroled. I was assured of that and I just took them to get their driver’s licenses.

    “I thought that if I went ahead to get them a driver’s license it would speed things up on getting them a job. And that was the only reason. I was just trying to help them.”

    Adams, who retired as security director of the Mississippi governor’s mansion when Barbour left office in January, told CNN the former Mississippi governor did not ask him to take Gatlin and Hooker to get their licenses.

    “No, I assume full responsibility for it,” he said.

    Adams admitted his actions were a bit unusual.

    State law enforcement experts and legal experts told CNN that while this would be considered preferential treatment for any inmate, no state laws were violated.

    “Unless a person has had his or her license revoked … they are not prohibited from acquiring or renewing a driver’s license while incarcerated as long as they had domicile in the state prior to imprisonment,” according to a written statement from Mississippi Department of Public Safety spokesman Master Sgt. Johnny Poulos.

    Poulos said his department was not aware of any directive from Barbour to provide licenses to the men.

    Either way, Randy Walker is furious. Nearly 20 years ago, he survived a gunshot wound to the head by Gatlin moments after Gatlin killed Tammy Ellis, Gatlin’s estranged wife. Gatlin admitted he shot her in the head as she held their 6-week-old child in her arms. Police found the infant, still in her arms, alive and covered with blood.

    “Where is enough enough?” said Walker, who has recovered from his head wound. “It should be enough that they gave a convicted killer his life back.”

    During his last days in office in January, Gov. Haley Barbour issued pardons to more than 200 current and former inmates. Most of the pardons were granted to former inmates who had already completed their sentences and were free. However, some of the prisoners were convicted murderers. Now, the legacy of the once popular two-term governor, who considered running for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, is being questioned by some Mississippians.

    The pardons were challenged by Mississippi’s attorney general, but last week the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld the legality of the pardons. Five of the prisoners — including Gatlin and Hooker — worked as trusties as part of a state rehabilitation program that allows model prisoners to work as servants and handymen at the governor’s mansion. They had access to Barbour practically every day, according to people familiar with the program.

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/14/us/mississippi-pardons-special-treatment/index.html?hpt=hp_c2

  48. dannie22 says:

    good morning

  49. Jueseppi B. says:

    Good morning SouthernGirl….hope you are smiling this morning.

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