Serendiptiy SOUL | Friday Open Thread | Fleetwood Mac Week!

Happy FRY-day, Everyone!  Today’s Fleetwood Mac tunes

SARA

SILVER SPRINGS

Enjoy your weekend.

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About Ametia

I am a Spiritual traveler, a devoted wife, mother, sister, lover of dream study, reading, theater, music, dance, and thought-provoking discussions on love, life, humor and service.
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61 Responses to Serendiptiy SOUL | Friday Open Thread | Fleetwood Mac Week!

  1. rikyrah says:

    photo/1

  2. rikyrah says:

    Twitter……why did they ever give y’all twitter…

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  3. rikyrah says:

    A Conversation About Why Bridget Foley’s Michelle Obama Rant Is Outrageous
    by Leah Chernikoff and Lauren Sherman

    Lauren: I like that Bridget Foley is being contrarian—that she has an opinion about the whole thing. I just don’t happen to agree with her.

    Leah: I see her point, but it seems a bit scathing. I just don’t know if I buy that designers were so put out by creating a dress for Michelle Obama in hopes that she might wear it. As a designer I would think – you can’t not take that chance.

    Lauren: Totally. This is a part of their job. They do it for celebs on the red carpet constantly.

    Leah: Exactly.

    Lauren: So little of what designers create for the runway gets sold. It’s just like one more runway piece, but with so much more marketing potential, that even if she wears it a year from now it’s worth it. Look at the press Chris Benz received over the Obamas wearing his stuff.

    Leah: And part of her rant sounded to me like there’s some disappointment that WWD has to wait to find out what Michelle Obama wears just like the rest of us. Whereas WWD used to break the news. But I think it just speaks to how much the First Lady has done for fashion. We all care. We all want to find out. Anderson Cooper was breathless about it on CNN.

    Lauren: And shouldn’t Foley be thrilled that Michelle has made a game of it? It’s good for WWD. Way more entertaining. What fun is a press release?

    Leah: She says Michelle Obama shouldn’t behave like a celebrity but isn’t she one?

    Lauren: Exactly. No one is chiding Kate Middleton for doing the exact same thing.

    Leah: Well, she said Kate only picked one wedding dress.

    Lauren: Sure, but she certainly calls in multiple items for different events. I equate the Inaugural balls to the Oscars, not the Royal Wedding.

    Leah: Also, this: “But let’s say Mrs. Obama enjoyed the public guessing game; she must, or it wouldn’t have happened.” How can we make presumptions about what Michelle Obama is thinking?

    Lauren: I also think it comes back to what you and I discussed on Monday. She is her own person, and this whole saga demonstrates that. She does what she feels is right for her. Whether or not she enjoyed the guessing game really isn’t the point.

    Leah: And I can’t imagine Michelle Obama was like trolling fashion blogs and enjoying how much speculation was going on over her clothes. She just wore the clothes she liked best.

    Lauren: Hahaha what if she reads Fashionista?

    Leah: Well I could die happy.

    http://fashionista.com/2013/01/bridget-foley-michelle-obama/

  4. rikyrah says:

    From The Maddow Blog:

    When we talked yesterday about Virginia Republicans’ scheme to rig the distribution of electoral votes in the GOP’s favor, I noted the 2012 breakdown under the right’s preferred model: President Obama would have defeated Mitt Romney by 150,000 votes, but when it came time to distribute electoral votes, Romney would have won nine votes to Obama’s four.

    It led Maddow Blog reader (and my friend) Gerry Canavan to do the math and note an interesting fraction.

    It’s true: Obama won about 51% of the popular vote, but would have won a little over 30% of the electoral-college vote under the new Republican model. That means, as Gerry noted yesterday morning, Democratic voters would be counted under the GOP plan as about three-fifths of a vote when it comes to the electoral college.

    Where have I heard that fraction before?

    Yes, Virginia Republicans began the week by spending Martin Luther King redrawing state Senate district lines in their favor, taking advantage of the fact that one of their colleagues — an African-American civil rights activist — was away from the chamber for the inauguration of the nation’s first African-American president. They then adjourned in memory of Confederate general Stonewall Jackson.

    The same week, Republicans moved to a scheme to rig the presidential election — because GOP policymakers think there are too many voters in “densely populated” urban areas — and count Democratic votes as 3/5 a vote relative to their actual population.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Anyone else watch Ed Schultz tonight?

    Guess who’s all up in heading this GOP trying to rig the vote bullshyt?

    Mr. Slave Catching Coon Voter Suppression himself Ken Blackwell.

    The only time State Senator Turner held her tongue in the entire interview was when Ed asked her what she thought of Blackwell being involved in this…

    “THAT SAMBO” was on the tip of her tongue, but she knew she was on national tv.

  6. Palin Out At Fox News

    http://huff.to/WlNf1F

    Sarah Palin has parted ways with Fox News, multiple outlets wrote on Friday.

    Real Clear Politics was the first to report that Palin — who reportedly signed a $1 million-a-year contract with the network in 2010 — will not be renewing it. The New York Times’ Brian Stelter later confirmed the news with Fox News.

    A “source close to Palin” told RCP that she had turned down a new offer. Fox News merely told the New York Times in a statement that it wished her the best.

    The news is not very surprising, but it does highlight, as much as anything, Palin’s diminished relevance. Reports about the increasingly icy relationship between Palin and Fox News CEO Roger Ailes have been circulating for years. He has mocked her in public, and is said to have privately labeled her “stupid.” Meanwhile, her public profile has waned as the years since her bid for the vice presidency grind on.

  7. Ametia says:

    25 January 2013 – 10H41
    Tina Turner ‘to become Swiss, give up US passport’

    AFP – US pop legend Tina Turner, who has been living in Switzerland since 1995, will soon receive Swiss citizenship and will give up her US passport, Swiss media reported Friday.

    “I’m very happy in Switzerland and I feel at home here. … I cannot imagine a better place to live,” Turner told German language daily Blick.

    Turner, 73, who was born Anna Mae Bullock, lives in picturesque town of Kuesnacht, on the shores of Lake Zurich in northern Switzerland, and has passed a local civics test and interview, according to an official announcement published in the Zuerichsee-Zeitung daily

    http://www.france24.com/en/20130125-tina-turner-become-swiss-give-us-passport

  8. President Obama, Hillary Clinton to give joint interview on ’60 Minutes’ http://bit.ly/V5e5cF

  9. Romney: ‘I’m Not Going Away’

    http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/romney-im-not-going-away

    Visiting Washington this weekend, former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Friday told some of his top donors and senior-level campaign staff that he’s not going anywhere.

    “We lost, but I’m not going away,” Romney said, according to a person who attended the meeting and relayed the remarks to Politico. “I will continue to help.”

    From Politico:

    The source also said Romney had been laying low deliberately after the election.

    “[Romney] explained that he had been out of the news and that was purposeful,” said the source in the room. “He didn’t want to say something on the fiscal cliff and have the president use that as a wedge between the speaker and the minority leader… He said it wasn’t going to last for long and that he was going to come back and start talking about the things that matter to him.”

    Individuals in the group thanked Romney for running and more than one Mormon backer praised Romney for showing their faith in another light.

    The former Massachsuetts governor and his wife, Ann Romney, will attend a reception held in their honor tonight. On Friday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told his followers on Twitter that he had a “great lunch” with the Romneys.
    *************************

    Bye Mitt Romney! Go away, dude!

  10. Breaking Politics ‏@breakingpol

    Mark Kelly, NRA’s Wayne LaPierre to testify on gun violence at Senate hearing on Wednesday – @TPM http://bit.ly/W8A43v

  11. NRA Lobbyist Admits Ad Referencing Obama’s Daughters Was ‘Ill-Advised’

    http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/nra-lobbyist-admits-ad-referencing-obamas-daughters-was

    In an interview with Reuters, the head of the federal affairs division at the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action acknowledged that a controversial ad released by the NRA earlier this month — which referenced President Obama’s daughters — was “ill-advised.”

    “I don’t think it was particularly helpful, that ad,” Jim Baker said. “I thought it ill-advised.”

    “I think the ad could have made a good point, if it talked about the need for increased school security, without making the point using the president’s children,” he said. The NRA has advocated putting armed guards in schools

    Baker was the NRA’s representative at a meeting with Vice President Joseph Biden on January 10 to discuss the administration’s plans to reduce gun violence in the wake of the school shooting.

    He said he was not involved in creating the ad, and once it appeared, he had let others at the NRA know what he thought. “I got to say my piece,” he said.

    Baker gave no details of the their response to him, but said, “Believe it or not, there are occasionally differences of opinion in this building.”

  12. rikyrah says:

    Females At The Front, Ctd

    A reader highlights another reason why ending the ban is so crucial:

    Without the combat designation, women veterans can be denied the benefits they need, particularly medical and psychological, because they were designated non-combat while serving. Receiving many benefits from the VA is dependent on “if the veteran engaged in combat with the enemy.” A critical part of the approval process is what was the veteran’s designated military occupational speciality. If women will have noncombat MOS even if they engaged in combat because they are women then that means the VA might not approve them for combat related requests for benefits. Women are not being treated equally under the law because of the noncombat designation.

    I expect there will be a massive lawsuit on behalf of all the female veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to be retroactively reclassified as having served with combat duty in order to get the medical benefits they will need from the VA for the rest of their lives. Because right now, that shit is being denied and will continue being denied for the entirety of their lives, all because they were designated ‘non-combat’ when they served.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/

  13. rikyrah says:

    DNC slams GOP’s electoral vote rigging scheme
    Posted by Greg Sargent on January 25, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    As you may have heard, Republicans are pushing for changes in the electoral vote system in states like Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Wisconsin — to maximize their advantage in future presidential elections in the face of demographic shifts that may be inexorably undermining their chances at winning national elections.

    Republicans want these states, which went for Obama in the last two elections but are controlled by the GOP at the state level, to apportion electoral votes based on who wins each Congressional district. If just the six states above used this system, Mitt Romney would have been elected president. RNC chair Reince Priebus recently voiced support for the idea, while couching it as something that the states will decide.

    This is mostly being fought out on the state level, but the DNC is now weighing in with a statement slamming the idea — raising the possibility that if Republicans take this national, Democrats will respond in kind. DNC spokesperson Melanie Roussell emails:

    Although Republicans are couching their proposals in language of fairness, the motivation for changing the Electoral College is purely partisan. The Republican party lost in 2012 because they failed to appeal to the majority of voters in states like Pennsylvania, Virginia, Michigan and Wisconsin. They know they can’t win on the issues, so they’re resorting to underhanded tactics and undermining the majority of voters in blue states

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/01/25/dnc-slams-gops-electoral-vote-rigging-scheme/

  14. rikyrah says:

    The Party of John Calhoun

    Jan 23 2013, 5:04 PM ET

    In Virginia, the legislature is moving to apportion its electoral votes by congressional district, instead of by direct popular vote:

    Sen. Charles W. “Bill” Carrico, R-Grayson, said the change is necessary because Virginia’s populous, urbanized areas such as the Washington, D.C., suburbs and Hampton Roads can outvote rural regions such as his, rendering their will irrelevant.

    Last fall, President Barack Obama carried Virginia for the second election in a row, making him the first Democrat since Franklin D. Roosevelt to win Virginia in back-to-back presidential elections.

    For his victories, he received all 13 of the state’s electoral votes. Under Carrico’s revision, Obama would have received only four Virginia electoral votes last year while Republican Mitt Romney would have received nine. Romney carried conservative rural areas while Obama dominated Virginia’s cities and fast-growing suburbs

    One reason the rural areas were “outvoted” is because there were fewer votes in rural areas, and more in urban ones. If the GOP can’t convince enough people to win, it will rig the rules so that certain people matter less than others.

    Jamelle Bouie calls this exactly what it is:

    In addition to disenfranchising voters in dense areas, this would end the principle of “one person, one vote.” If Ohio operated under this scheme, for example, Obama would have received just 22 percent of the electoral votes, despite winning 52 percent of the popular vote in the state…

    It’s also worth noting, again, that this constitutes a massive disenfranchisement of African American and other nonwhite voters, who tend to cluster near urban areas. When you couple this with the move on Monday to redraw the state’s electoral maps — eliminating one state senate district and packing black voters into another, diluting their strength — it’s as if Virginia Republicans are responding to Obama’s repeat victory in the state by building an electoral facsimile of Jim Crow

    I’d like to double down on that point. Efforts to disenfranchise black people, have always been most successful when they worked indirectly. After the initial post-war Black Codes were repealed, white supremacists turned to less obvious modes of discrimination — poll taxes, grandfather clauses, and literacy tests.

    These were cloaked under a colorblind argument — “We don’t discriminate against black people, we discriminate against people who can’t read the Constitution.” By “read the Constitution,” they meant “recite the Bill of Rights by heart.” And they’d ask you to do this after reducing your school funding to a pittance. I say this to point that this is not a “new” racism. This is how it scheme went before the civil-rights movement, and this is how the scheme works today.

    To see the only other major political party in the country effectively giving up on convincing voters, and instead embarking on a strategy of disenfranchisement is bad sign for American democracy. There is nothing gleeful in this.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/01/the-party-of-john-calhoun/272464/

  15. rikyrah says:

    There are no real “reformers” in the GOP
    Posted by Jamelle Bouie on January 25, 2013 at 11:29 am

    There’s a lot of chatter this morning about the forceful speech Governor Bobby Jindal has delivered to the Republican National Committee on the future of the GOP — partly because he’s a possible contender for 2016, and partly because the GOP’s “soul searching” about the way forward continues.

    The speech was directed towards conservatives (the Washington Examiner called it “dynamic”), assuring listeners that Jindal won’t compromise conservative values: “I am not one of those who believe we should moderate, equivocate, or otherwise abandon our principles.”

    It also positioned Jindal as a reform-minded outsider: “Washington has spent a generation trying to bribe our citizens and extort our states,” Jindal said. “As Republicans, it’s time to quit arguing around the edges of that corrupt system.”

    But there’s just little in the way of “reform” here — after all, he has no interest in actually moderating the party’s conservatism. This highlights a larger problem: There aren’t any real “reformers” in the GOP.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/01/25/there-are-no-real-reformers-in-the-gop/

  16. Ametia says:

    Getting ready to watch the movie “TOO BIG TO FAIL” with my daugthers.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Election-rigging scheme stumbling in Virginia?
    By Steve Benen
    Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:33 PM EST

    We’ve been focusing quite a bit lately on Republican efforts to rig the 2016 presidential election by changing how electoral votes are allocated in several key states. Slowly but surely, this burgeoning political crisis has captured more attention, culminating this morning with a front-page piece in the Washington Post.

    The larger fight, however, is anything but static. GOP leaders in Florida’s legislature are already announcing their opposition to the scheme, and in Virginia, where the Republican plan to rig the election is an immediate threat — a vote may come as early as next week — GOP unanimity is starting to crumble.

    My colleague Laura Conaway noted yesterday that Virginia state Sen. Jill Vogel (R) is “generally not” in favor of the plan, and this morning, another key Virginian joined her.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/01/25/16698949-election-rigging-scheme-stumbling-in-virginia?lite

  18. Soledad tells former RNC chair: Minorities ‘know you and they… don’t like you’

    http://goo.gl/bl7le

    CNN host Soledad O’Brien on Friday advised former Republican National Committee Chairman Mel Martinez that Republicans would need to do more that just encourage African-Americans and Hispanics to get to know them better because “they know you and they decided they don’t like you.”

  19. Hillary Clinton faces vision problems following concussion http://huff.to/10Jxh01

  20. rikyrah says:

    Tea Party dreams of rigging the vote

    By Laura Conaway
    Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:53 AM EST

    Republicans’ dreams of changing the Electoral College got a little narrower today, dropping from six states to five now that the Florida House speaker says he won’t go along. But the Tea Party, at the least the part of it that gins up the National Tea Party Alert, says changing the rules in five states would still have done the trick. They emailed an article about it just yesterday, saying, “Editorial note from National Tea Party Alert: If the fix discussed in the article below had been in place in just 5 states in 2012, it would have changed the results and Romney would have won the election. It is constitutional and would limit voter fraud.”

    The article they’re talking about is this one, from Business Insider. As you can see below and in your browser’s top bar, Business Insider’s web title for it is: “Virginia Moves To Rig Electoral College Votes.” But hey, the Tea Party says it would be legal (and would magically “limit voter fraud”).

    The Washington Post today tracks the progress of the electoral college change in Virginia and other states. In Virginia, the change would mean “a much smaller role for the swing state in presidential elections.” In Pennsylvania, the supporter of a stalled bill to divide the electoral college votes by congressional district is planning a new one to divide them according to the popular vote. In Michigan, the WaPo says a bill is coming that would divide that state’s votes by congressional districts.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/01/25/16697366-tea-party-dreams-of-rigging-the-vote?lite

  21. rikyrah says:

    Michelle Obama’s Outfits Matter

    Michelle Dean on January 22, 2013 – 1:23 PM ET

    Like a lot of people, I found myself curious to see what Michelle Obama would wear to the inaugural ceremonies yesterday. The breathless and frankly idiotic tone of most fashion journalism aside—The New York Times described her recent choices as having “enough of a story,” a meaningless phrase always employed without much elaboration—her manipulation of its hyperbolic lunacy often puts me in a state of awe. This is a woman who always manages to own the picture. And she does so without either looking “like a model” (another of those meaningless phrases) or succumbing wholesale to the lily-white cluelessness of the fashion establishment, often choosing designers of color, like Jason Wu or Isabel Toledo.

    I feel wary writing of this. It’s an old trope of the left to complain that fashion is “unimportant.” (See Kevin Drum’s latest salvo at Mother Jones, for example.) Of course, I know and have all the standard leftist objections to focusing on her outfits. I worry that to place too many fashion burdens (or plaudits) on women is to put them at a structural disadvantage, because keeping up with fashion is definitionally about buying new things, and so: rather expensive. I also think too much of the discourse on fashion is too removed from the material realities of how clothes and textiles are produced in this world—which is to say often in terrible labor conditions. This is what made that speech Meryl Streep gave in The Devil Wears Prada about the “importance” of the fashion industry so risible—because in her description of the large-scale capitalist enterprise that is the fashion industry, she acted like capitalism is a good in itself, no matter the inequalities it produces, which is: gross.

    Yet the first lady’s distinctive outfits, just as an example, have a way of undermining certain strictures on women even as they focus our gaze on the clothes. For one thing, Michelle Obama’s style, put bluntly, might be said to be that of caring very much to look exactly like herself, not like the “first lady.” (Mea culpa for that first mention in this paragraph.) There’s something both defiant and self-knowing about it, in that it’s not the plain pantsuits of yore, and yet the aura it projects is “control.” And that isn’t even to get into how looking exactly like yourself is still a novelty for an African-American woman in the pallid, debased and retrograde culture of high fashion in America, and also pretty much everywhere else. The fashion industry’s total lack of apology for its racism, and its embrace of body-policing, are legendary, facts so much already in evidence I don’t even need to argue them to you.

    Like it or not, that industry and its images have shaped the self-perception, self-esteem and, consequently, yes, the liberation of women in ways that are crucial to their having a role in public life. You don’t grow up in a culture that still retains a belief that women are aesthetic objects, and emerge unmarked by it. African-American women who have never seen themselves reflected in prominent images of beauty happen to have the bluntest claim here, but I’d say even white women often get it: if we are going to be judged on the way we look (and we are), it’s at least preferable that we feel some measure of control over it. None of us think that control is total, but degrees count, in matters of self-esteem. And forbidding anyone even small succor on grounds of alleged “triviality” isn’t just wrong—it’s actually reactionary. Knock off the attempts to drive people out of the public sphere for your abstract ideas about importance, please.

    And if self-esteem isn’t the same as structural change, well: the two do have some connection. Of course, I can only speculate about whether Michelle Obama’s undermining of the fashion industry itself is conscious and deliberate. But it’s inarguable that the enormous commercial power Michelle Obama wields—people just want to buy what she’s wearing—is shaking up some of its comfortable assumptions about what counts as “beauty” or “class.” Those are words that have always been wielded to keep people out. But increasingly, in the Obama era, their definition is becoming more democratic, not totally so, but open to more bodies and skin tones and hell, just people than they have been in the past. And manipulation is not capitulation, even if we’d love to do away with the whole beauty business altogether. But activists don’t get to choose the world they change; they’re stuck with the clothes in the closet, imperfect though they are. Except Michelle Obama’s wardrobe, of course, which is near-perfect.

    http://www.thenation.com/blog/172348/michelle-obamas-outfits-matter#

  22. rikyrah says:

    Comment from Rhoda

    Rhoda

    Good Morning, POU!

    So, I’ve been thinking about the GOP attempt to steal 2016 and it won’t work. I read that if this had happened in the states the GOP control POTUS would still have won the election with 271 votes. And IMO, POTUS vote totals were depressed by racism. We all know there are white folk that will slit their throats before acknowledging the humanity (much less intelligence and power) of a black man and his black family. Meanwhile, if Joe or Hillary or Gov. O’Malley are on the ticket in 2016 the racism issue will be put away. And even if someone like Deval Patrick capture the nomination; he’d still likely win with 271 votes (if not more w/a backlash leading to Dems recapturing some state houses in 2014).

    So, I am at peace. This proves how the Republicans are imploding. They can lie, cheat, and steal. We know they tried in ’12 (I’m looking at you Rove and the bullshit that must have been about to go down in Ohio) and it didn’t work.

    Also: regarding Ohio. A friend of mine was saying there was a reason Obama’s team had their computers geeks in house and had so many hackers on staff; they were preparing for a Scandal like possibility. Also, I read the lady that Olivia Pope was modeled on worked for Bush and I swear the Grant stolen election is based on Bush’s ’04 win IMO. This happened before and Barack Obama was prepared for it; so will the Democratic nominee in ’16 if they don’t pull a Gore and run from POTUS.

  23. Florida’s Republican House speaker knocks GOP’s Electoral College scheme http://tpm.ly/Vn9whz

  24. Breaking Politics ‏@breakingpol

    Federal appeals court rules Obama violated Constitution when he made recess appointments to labor relations board

    http://bit.ly/WVhfyW

  25. rikyrah says:

    Georgia’s Saxby Chambliss to retire
    By Steve Benen
    Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:32 AM EST.

    Just a few months ago, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, a two-term Republican incumbent from Georgia, started facing credible primary threats in advance of his 2014 re-election bid. In a bit of a surprise, the senator has said there won’t be a re-election campaign — Chambliss is retiring at the end of his term (via James Carter).

    U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss will announce this morning that he’s dropping plans to run for a third term in 2014, a decision certain to set off an avalanche of Republican candidates who will seek to replace him.

    Word out of Washington is that Chambliss broke the news to his senior staff this morning.

    The news was not widely expected, and Chambliss was expected to win re-election if he sought another term.

    What’s especially interesting now, however, is the field of Republican candidates who may try to succeed Chambliss in 2014. One of the leading GOP officials to watch is Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), who said just this week that was considering taking on Chambliss in a primary, and with the incumbent stepping down, the congressman is that much more likely to run himself.

    That would set up quite a campaign — Broun is one of Congress’ more ridiculous members, and a Senate campaign would create an Akin-in-Missouri situation in which a candidate may simply be too nutty to compete on a statewide level, even in the South. In this case, Broun is perhaps best known for arguing that that cosmology, biology, and geology are, quite literally, “lies straight from the pit of Hell,” and that President Obama only believes in supporting “the Soviet constitution.”

    In other words, even among loony extremists, Broun is almost a caricature of himself.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/01/25/16697626-georgias-saxby-chambliss-to-retire?lite

  26. rikyrah says:

    Obama to tap Denis McDonough as chief of staff
    By David Nakamura,
    Jan 25, 2013 02:34 PM EST

    The Washington Post
    President Obama will name deputy national security adviser Denis McDonough, a longtime trusted aide, as his new White House chief of staff Friday, officials said.

    McDonough, 43, has spent the past two years as the No. 2 official in the National Security Council, helping guide some of the administration’s most high-profile decisions, including the military drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan, the response to earthquakes in Haiti and Japan and the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, last September.

    Obama considers McDonough one of his “closest and most trusted advisers for nearly a decade,” a White House official said.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-to-tap-denis-mcdonough-as-chief-of-staff/2013/01/25/498045ac-66f9-11e2-9e1b-07db1d2ccd5b_story.html

  27. rikyrah says:

    NYT: The White House delivered a strong message to Wall Street on Thursday, taking the unusual step of choosing two former prosecutors as top financial regulators.

    But translating that message into action will not be easy, given the complexities of the market and Wall Street’s aggressive nature.

    At a short White House ceremony, President Obama named Mary Jo White, the first female United States attorney in Manhattan, to run the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mr. Obama also renominated Richard Cordray as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a position he has held for the last year under a temporary recess appointment without Senate approval.

    With the appointments, the president showed a renewed resolve to hold Wall Street accountable for wrongdoing, extolling his candidates’ records as prosecutors.

    http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/01/24/mary-jo-white-to-be-named-new-s-e-c-boss/?hp

  28. rikyrah says:

    photo/1

  29. rikyrah says:

    January 24, 2013

    Don’t Blame Harry Reid for Filibuster Reform; Thank Him.

    I am continually fascinated by the number of “progressive political junkies” who want to blame someone for everything that doesn’t go their way; especially those who continuously blame the wrong people.

    Latest example; filibuster reform. Be careful what you wish for.

    If you’re blaming Harry Reid because he wasn’t able to transform the filibuster into a “Mr. Smith”-style waste of the Senate’s time, then I suggest you turn in your “political junkie” card, because you’re blaming the wrong people. It’s not his fault. I mean, if you imagine 60 Senators rushing to him to demand it, then you’re not existing in the real world. And make no mistake; to make monumental changes in the filibuster with 51 votes could have dire consequences. If not now, then in the future.

    As real “political junkies” will recall, we last fought this fight back in 2004. Only then, it was Republicans who wanted to kill the filibuster altogether, and Democrats and liberals who were foursquare against it. Then-Majority Leader Bill Frist wanted to impose a “nuclear option” to stop Democrats from filibustering Bush’s judicial nominees. That would have required just 51 votes for cloture. Sound familiar? Liberals were up in arms about it then. It was th worst idea in the whole wide world. Now? A lot of them are excoriating Reid for not doing the same thing.

    Reid knows what he’s doing. Let me explain.

    in 2006 and 2008, Democrats scored huge electoral victories. HUGE ones, to the point that they had 58 Senators. For about a month and a half, Democrats technically had 60 seats, if the ailing Ted Kennedy and the ailing Robert Byrd both happened to show up on the same day. Al Franken was the 60th vote, and he finally took his seat in early July, about six weeks before Ted Kennedy died. Plus, one of those 60 was Joe Lieberman, who was almost John McCain’s running mate and who owed GOP voters for his reelection. In other words, it’s a fantasy to believe the Democrats ever had 60 votes in the Senate. Hence the sheer volume of filibusters.

    Yet, for all of 2009 and 2010, that’s all anyone heard from the professional left; “Democrats suck!” “Democrats can’t do anything right!” “Democrats are sell-outs.” Progressives should have seen a red flag when a Republican teabagger won Ted Kennedy’s seat. But too many did not. The Republicans’ main strategy in every election is to drive down turnout, and the progressive blogosphere, as Arianna is fond of calling it, seemed more than willing to help.

    As a result, after two elections in a row of amazing momentum, Democrats were perhaps 2-3 Senate seats away from dominating government for a cycle or two. But they fell flat on their asses.

    While some progressives don’t seem to remember this, Harry Reid does. That’s why he’s none too keen on giving up the 60-vote cloture option quite yet. He doesn’t trust progressives.

    http://pleasecutthecrap.typepad.com/main/2013/01/dont-blame-harry-reid-for-filibuster-reform-thank-him.html

  30. rikyrah says:

    And then there were five

    By Steve Benen
    Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:00 AM EST.

    When it comes to the Republican strategy of rigging the electoral college by changing the way some states distribute electoral votes, the focus has been on six states: Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Florida. There’s no great mystery as to why: the point is to find states that tend to vote “blue” in presidential elections, but are nevertheless led by GOP policymakers at the state level. These six obviously fit the bill.

    But it looks like we can probably cross one of these states off the list.

    … Florida, the largest swing state, won’t go along with changing the Electoral College if Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford has any say (and he has a major say).

    “To me, that’s like saying in a football game, ‘We should have only three quarters, because we were winning after three quarters and the beat us in the fourth,” Weatherford, a Republican, told the Herald/Times. “I don’t think we need to change the rules of the game, I think we need to get better. [...]

    Not only is Weatherford opposed to the idea, fellow Republican and Florida Senate President Don Gaetz is decidedly cool to it.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/01/25/16695987-and-then-there-were-five?lite

  31. rikyrah says:

    New York shivers while Senate delays Sandy vote

    By Laura Conaway

    Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:39 AM EST.

    The U.S. Senate on Tuesday put off voting on $50.7 billion in disaster relief for Superstorm Sandy, this time so they could finish filibuster reform, such as it was. Meanwhile, it has been darned cold around here, and not everybody has heat. From the New York Times:

    Devon Lawrence’s home in Far Rockaway, Queens, was washed through with ocean water that damaged his boiler and heating system beyond repair. At night, he tucks his 75-year-old mother, who has dementia and suffers from diabetes, under two blankets — she never takes off the four pairs of pants, three jackets and hat she wears indoors to hold off the seeping cold. Though the boiler was replaced by contractors from the Rapid Repairs program, the repairs have not been completed, he said. For now, Mr. Lawrence, 48, is heating his home with a kerosene heater and has spent $450 on kerosene in the past few weeks, dipping into money he was given by the Federal Emergency Management Agency that should be going to repairing his house, he said.

    “I’m worried about everything,” Mr. Lawrence said. “When you wake up in the morning, you will breathe fog. If we are not properly covered we could suffer from hypothermia.”

    Confusingly enough, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid seemed to signal on Tuesday that Sandy relief would come first. Now the vote looks to be set for Monday.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/01/25/16682641-new-york-shivers-while-senate-delays-sandy-vote?lite

  32. rikyrah says:

    ‘A cautionary tale’
    By Steve Benen
    Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:11 AM EST.

    David Cameron’s economy still isn’t pointing in the right direction.

    The failures of British austerity offer lessons for the United States, if policymakers of a certain ideological persuasion care to listen.

    Britain could be on course for its third recession in four years after the economy shrank 0.3% in the last three months of 2012.

    The figures were worse than expected and could put pressure on the government to consider a “plan B” that would stimulate demand.

    A fall in manufacturing output dragged down the economy, countering a small rise in construction between October and December, according to the Office for National Statistics. The economy achieved zero growth for the year as a whole.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/01/25/16696665-a-cautionary-tale?lite

  33. rikyrah says:

    Filibuster reform dead until at least 2015
    By Steve Benen
    Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:35 AM EST.

    As expected, the weak, watered-down filibuster reform plan that does not actually reform the filibuster was easily approved by the Senate last night, 78 to 16. Some of the Democrats who took the lead in pushing for bolder changes, including Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.), grudgingly went along, knowing it was this or nothing.

    But once it became clear that the measure would pass, reformers tried to put a positive spin on the developments. This package fell far short of expectations, they said, but if these minor changes fail to improve matters, and the Senate remains a dysfunctional mess, Democrats can and will return to the issue and push for more sweeping improvements.

    But if reformers are hoping to get another bite at this apple, they should know they’ll have to wait until 2015, at the earliest. Sahil Kapur reported this morning that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) promised Republicans “he will not seek to make any further changes to the filibuster or other rules in the 113th Congress without Republican consent.”

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/01/25/16696335-filibuster-reform-dead-until-at-least-2015?lite

  34. rikyrah says:

    January 24, 2013

    That other war: they’re winning it

    Political Whac-A-Mole:

    In last year’s elections, [Kansas] bucked its long tradition of moderate Republicanism. Conservatives ousted several moderates in Senate primary contests and went on to victory in November. Now, for the first time in generations, the House, the Senate and the governor’s office in Kansas are controlled by conservative Republicans. In much of the rest of the country, the political equation is similar: The Republican Party now controls both legislative chambers and governorships in 24 states. Democrats have single-party control in 13.

    And they–the tea partiers, the right-wing extremists, the conservative Republicans, whatever you wish to call the they of the core GOP–told us some time ago that they’d do precisely what they’re doing, in Kansas: gutting government services, undermining revenue streams, heaping fiscal burdens on the working class, further privatizing government healthcare programs, decimating education funding and, reports the NYT, “repeal[ing] … tax credits for food, rental housing and child care that benefited low-income residents.”

    State and local politics are the more perfect union for the right’s dystopic aims: they offer even lower-information but ideologically motivated voters a rather easy chance to dominate at the body politic’s lightly frequented polls. Thus while the left is cheering a reblossoming of its nationally progressive vision, the right is whistling and walking away with the citizenry’s real-world, material future.

    http://pmcarpenter.blogs.com/p_m_carpenters_commentary/2013/01/that-other-war-theyre-winning-it.html

  35. rikyrah says:

    Republican Electoral College Plan Would Undermine Democracy

    Alan I. Abramowitz, Senior Columnist

    After losing the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections and seeing Barack Obama sweep to a surprisingly easy reelection victory in 2012, Republican leaders and strategists are understandably worried about their party’s prospects in future presidential contests. There is no doubt that the GOP faces major challenges as a result of the nation’s shifting demographics and a growing Democratic advantage in the Electoral College.

    Democratic presidential candidates have carried 18 states and the District of Columbia with a total of 242 electoral votes in all four elections since 2000, and another three states with 15 electoral votes in three of those elections. In addition, three of the five states that have voted twice for each party since 2000 — Colorado, Nevada and Virginia, with a total of 28 electoral votes — clearly appear to be trending Democratic. That gives Democrats a base of 24 states plus the District of Columbia in which they have the advantage going into the next presidential election. Those states have 285 electoral votes — 15 votes more than needed to win the presidency.

    Of course there is no guarantee that Democrats will carry all of these states in 2016. That will depend on the condition of the U.S. economy and the mood of the country at that time as well as whom the parties nominate to succeed Barack Obama. But recent trends certainly look ominous for the GOP.

    As the electorate continues to become less white and more liberal in its outlook on social issues, Republicans have two choices about how to improve their party’s prospects in future presidential elections. One approach would be to adopt more moderate positions on issues such as immigration, abortion, gay rights and health care in order to make their party more appealing to young people, women and nonwhites. But that strategy would risk alienating a large portion of the GOP’s current base, especially those aligned with the Tea Party movement. So rather than adopting that risky strategy, some Republican leaders appear to be opting for a different approach — changing the electoral rules to make it easier for a Republican candidate to win the presidency despite losing the popular vote.

    Several Republican governors and state legislative leaders in key battleground states have recently expressed support for a plan to change the method of awarding their state’s electoral votes from the current winner-take-all system to one in which one vote would be awarded to the winner of each congressional district in the state and two votes would be awarded to the statewide winner. In the aftermath of the GOP’s 2012 defeat, this plan appears to be gaining momentum and was recently endorsed by the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus. On Wednesday, a bill to apportion electors by congressional district advanced through a subcommittee in the Virginia Senate.

    http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/articles/republican-electoral-college-plan-would-undermine-democracy/

  36. rikyrah says:

    January 24, 2013

    Rich Lowry is puzzled

    To appreciate the fundamentally underlying psychological projection of the intensely ideological right, you simply must read Rich Lowry’s “Rush was right.” It’s a fascinating look into how a political observer can so misunderstand the world by approaching it from exclusively one-dimensional cognition. Lowry’s opening “insight” reveals pretty much everything he has to offer:

    If you listened to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, you got a better appreciation of Obama’s core than by reading the president’s friends and sophisticated interpreters, for whom he was either a moderate or a puzzle yet to be fully worked out.

    It’s neither particularly friendly nor especially sophisticated to note what has been–to those of us who are resistant to Lowry’s ideological macular degeneration–so plain to see, for years. Barack Obama is no determined centrist, but he’s also no leftie or rightie, and what’s more he’s scarcely a “puzzle” to be worked out. He’s simply a pragmatist, of the FDR school of incremental, conservative-progressive pragmatism, which means he favors whatever works in digestible portions–whether served from the left or the right or the moderate middle–and to hell with fixed philosophical preconceptions.

    http://pmcarpenter.blogs.com/p_m_carpenters_commentary/2013/01/rich-lowry-is-puzzled.html

  37. rikyrah says:

    GOP Panic Move Will Backfire

    by BooMan
    Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 09:53:14 PM EST

    Some Republican-controlled legislatures are moving ahead with plans to change the way their states apportion Electoral College delegates. It’s not a particularly smart idea. If Virginia or Pennsylvania or some other state decides to change their system to create an advantage for the next Republican presidential candidate, that will obviously make it easier for that candidate to win the presidency. At least, it could, if the change sticks. The next election is four years away and the Democrats could retake control of those state legislatures and change the rules back to the way they have always been. The real problem, though, is that Barack Obama would still have won the presidency even if the Republicans had made these rules changes in all the states where they now have the technical power to do it.
    It’s true that Romney would have won the election if all 50 states awarded their delegates according to who won each congressional district, but that’s not what the Republicans are trying to do. They are trying to change the rules in just a few blue states that voted for Obama but in which Romney carried more than half of the districts. That kind of change would have made the election closer, but it wouldn’t have changed the outcome.

    Obviously, these changes have the potential to alter the outcome of the 2016 election, but they are not a good substitute for fielding a more appealing candidate. In a very real way, this effort to change the rules smacks of desperation. It not only will galvanize the left for the midterms (so we can try to repeal the reforms), but it delegitimizes the eventual Republican nominee, the Republican Party, and our entire electoral system. Imagine if Romney had become president after losing by four percentage points and nearly five million votes! Does anyone think that would have been a healthy outcome?

    But, you may remember, I predicted that this would happen. The GOP does not want to change and they will do what they can to compensate for their increasing unpopularity even if it means bending or outright breaking the rules. They are a neo-fascist party, and quite dangerous.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2013/1/24/215314/023

    • Ametia says:

      The GOP has now leader. The party is DEAD, and the few nuts running the party aren’t going down without yelling, screaming, and fighting. DIE, MOFOS, DIE!

  38. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone.

  39. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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