Serendipity SOUL | Wednesday Open Thread

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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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64 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Wednesday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    photo/1

  2. rikyrah says:

    Pelosi: Boehner Was ‘Projecting’ When He Called Obama Weak

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) was “projecting” his own failures when he claimed that President Obama won’t cut spending because he is too weak to stand up to the liberal wing of his party.

    “I don’t understand that because he’s a gentleman, the speaker is,” Pelosi said in an interview with CNN published Wednesday. “But that remark was — I mean, it was almost as if he was projecting onto the president his lack of being able to pass any bill that created jobs since he became speaker.”

    http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/pelosi-boehner-was-projecting-when-he-called-obama

  3. rikyrah says:

    If the GOP is opposed to raising the minimum wage, what is their plan to ensure people who work full time don’t live in poverty?
    — Dan Pfeiffer (@pfeiffer44) February 13, 2013

  4. rikyrah says:

    Gay Will Never Be The New Black: What James Baldwin Taught Me About My White Privilege” http://zite.to/12MNN4F Great essay posted at GLAAD

  5. Ametia says:

    Lawdy, when will the MADNESS end?

  6. Ametia says:

    Harry Reid Files For Cloture On Hagel Nomination

    GOR BOBIC 4:18 PM EST, WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 13, 2013
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) filed for cloture on the nomination of Chuck Hagel as the secretary of defense on Wednesday, saying it was the first time in history that such a nomination faced a filibuster.

    “What a shame,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “But, that’s the way it is.”

    The Senate will vote to end debate on Friday, ultimately requiring 60 votes to proceed to final confirmation.

    http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/harry-reid-files-for-cloture-on-hagel-nomination

  7. Ametia says:

    Where are you, SG2?!

  8. Ametia says:

    WASHINGTON, DC
    Wednesday, February 13, 2013

    The Senate Finance Committee holds a confirmation hearing for Treasury Secretary nominee Jacob “Jack” Lew. If approved, he will replace Timothy Geithner.

    Among the topics addressed include the state of the economy, strategies for reducing the budget deficits, economic ties with China along with questions about global currency war.

    http://www.c-span.org/Events/Treasury-Sec-Nominee-Jacob-Lew-Faces-Confirmation-Hearing/10737438000-1/

  9. rikyrah says:

    Is anyone else watching The Following?

    I had DVR’d the first 5 episodes and began watching them on Monday.

    This show is disturbing and creepy and I feel myself being sucked in, because I need to know, week to week, which one is the crazy. And, I enjoy Kevin Bacon.

    anyone else like it?

  10. rikyrah says:

    A stunning missed opportunity: Rubio’s moment

    The former presidential aide was suggestively prescient: “Forget the Obama speech. I can’t wait to see the Rubio thing.”

    What a disaster–the Rubio thing, not the Obama speech–compelling me to tweet only once last night: “Marco Rubio–sweating like Albert Brooks in ‘Broadcast News.’” At least I think it was sweating, as indicated by weird nervous tics which appeared to be wiping, which, along with the athletic lunge for the water bottle, rendered Rubio’s national debut into a cable-access pratfall.

    I did see some of Obama’s SOTU, which the NY Times nicely compressed as mostly “familiar” proposals that “will probably be snuffed out by politics,” which of course they will. (On Fox News, for instance, House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy instantly snuffed out one of the SOTU’s rare semi-innovations, the minimum wage hike.) I know I’m too hard on this annual form of political ritualism; it is, after all, constitutionally required. But bless the Founders, watching it isn’t.

    Of Rubio’s response, however, I watched nearly all, captivated as I was by much more than its gymnastics. What really fascinated was its unrehabilitated hostility, its entrenched ignorance, its determined wreckage of any Republican resurrection. The Times’ Andrew Rosenthal:

    http://pmcarpenter.blogs.com/p_m_carpenters_commentary/

  11. rikyrah says:

    The test of intestinal fortitude
    By Steve Benen
    Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:35 PM EST.

    For two years, John Boehner has struggled as arguably the weakest House Speaker in modern times. He’s afraid to challenge members of his far-right caucus, afraid to strike deals conservative activists won’t like, and afraid of compromises that his party wouldn’t tolerate.

    And with this in mind, his latest verbal attacks against President Obama are especially odd.

    House Speaker John Boehner Tuesday repeatedly challenged the president’s willingness to go against his own party on issues that include reforms to social programs and spending.

    “I think he’d like to deal with it [fiscal problems], but to do the kind of heavy lifting that needs to be done, I don’t think he’s got the guts to do it,” the Ohio Republican said in a meeting with a small group of reporters for nearly an hour Tuesday morning…. When pressed about the severity of that statement, he modified, saying the president does not have the “courage.”

    Yeah, that’s far more polite.

    There’s actually two layers of irony here. The first is that Boehner is convinced that Obama lacks the intestinal fortitude to adopt positions the left won’t like. Here’s a challenge for the Speaker: ask any liberal activist in America if they agree.

    The second, of course, is that Speakers who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Boehner is infinitely more reluctant to break with his party’s orthodoxy than Obama is, and I don’t think anyone in American politics has ever considered the Speaker for a Profile in Courage Award.

    Wait, it gets worse.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/

  12. rikyrah says:

    The immigration debate in a post-truth world
    By Steve Benen
    Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:48 PM EST

    Following up on an item from last month, it appears President Obama’s strategy for immigration reform has come together fairly well. His plan has always been quite transparent: he’d focus heavily on enforcement and border security at the outset, which would, in theory, engender goodwill from Republicans and create some legislative breathing room for comprehensive reform.

    And for four years, Obama stuck to his commitment, reducing illegal border crossings, increasing deportations, and boosting enforcement at a level without modern American precedent. By any reasonable measure, this president has been more aggressive on this front than any of his Republican predecessor, all in the hopes of convincing GOP lawmakers to work constructively on a comprehensive solution.

    Of course, that only works if Republicans in Congress make an effort to keep up with the basics of current events.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/02/13/16950550-the-immigration-debate-in-a-post-truth-world?lite

  13. rikyrah says:

    The secret writing of American slaves

    Through rare diaries and letters, a portrait of ordinary life in captivity

    By Craig Fehrman

    Throughout the 1840s and 1850s, Adam Plummer kept a simple diary. In a small, leather-bound book, the Maryland resident noted major life events, such as his marriage to Emily Plummer in 1841 and the births of their nine children; recorded his payments and receipts; and listed the things he owned, like a mirror and a “blue flowered suger bole.”

    But Adam Plummer was a slave, and so he also wrote about events that, to a modern reader, seem far less mundane. Again and again in his diary, he struggled to detail how his family had been torn apart. On one page, he managed to write only the following in a shaky hand: “November 25 Day 1851 Emily Plummer and five Childrens who whous sold publick.”

    On the next page, Plummer tried again, this time with a more even script: “Emily plummer and four Childrens on November 28, 1851 Sold at public sale. The said woman was bought by Mrs M A Thomson in the Washington City.” Since Plummer still lived on a plantation in Maryland, his wife and children were now “banished form me Eyes.”

    Plummer’s diary, in short, is both a modest record of a life and something far more stark and horrifying, the notes of an American owned by someone else. It belongs to an exceptionally small body of writing: documents written by slaves while they were still enslaved. Most writing about American slavery came from freed slaves living in the North, like Frederick Douglass, or from sympathetic white authors like Harriet Beecher Stowe. But in a few cases, actual slaves wrote letters, diaries, and other private snippets for themselves—often at great personal risk.

    Now, in a new book, “Word by Word: Emancipation and the Art of Writing,” Christopher Hager has undertaken the first full-length study of these writings. Hager, who specializes in 19th-century American literature at Trinity College in Hartford, spent years reading—and, in some cases, discovering—more than 200 documents written by slaves. By analyzing them closely and thinking about their cultural contexts, he argues, we can uncover “an intellectual history of a group that by most accounts had no intellectual history.”

    Historians have done a lot of archival digging to understand slavery, of course, but Hager believes they’ve missed an opportunity to think specifically about the individuals behind the scraps of paper—to study what, how, and why some slaves learned to read and write. That takes some effort—Hager has found that most slave writers were, like Plummer, only “marginally literate”—but it also offers us a chance to hear these writers speak in their own voices, to their own audiences. And while sometimes those voices can be hard to make out, in many ways that’s the point. “What’s hard to read about these documents isn’t an obstacle,” Hager says. “It’s the most interesting thing about them.”

    http://bostonglobe.com/ideas/2013/02/10/the-secret-writing-american-slaves/Lbem3fQ8viu8FmwXr2UcKO/story.html

    • Ametia says:

      Nothing beats getting it straight from the slaves’ mouth. Folks really want to know the truth, they’ll take all the time needed to understand the dialect, voices of these courageous people.

  14. rikyrah says:

    When Congress gives up on the pretense of caring

    By Steve Benen

    Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:37 AM EST

    Doug Elmendorf, the director of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, told the House Budget Committee this morning that automatic sequestration cuts will cost the American economy 750,000 jobs just this year. And really, that’s just the start, the “sequester” will push the economy closer to a recession, and do real damage to everything from education to food safety to medical research.

    All of this leads to a fairly simple question: has Congress lost its mind?

    The sequester was supposed to force both Democrats and Republicans to the bargaining table to work out a debt-reduction deal. With two weeks remaining until the brutal cuts kick in, Republicans realize how drastic the consequences would be, but aren’t in the mood to compromise.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/02/13/16949978-when-congress-gives-up-on-the-pretense-of-caring?lite

  15. Ametia says:

    The GOP has shown Americans their ASS, and the GOP is the ENEMY, LIL Eddie Munster Ryan.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Moving Beyond Pragmatism

    by BooMan
    Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 09:42:14 AM EST

    I was tempted last night to write a response to the State of the Union address that would have been close to identical to Jamelle Bouie’s response. After all, I’m known for my pragmatism, and my practice is tell you what can and cannot happen. Something prevented me from writing that piece, and I went to bed instead without saying anything. I knew I needed time to digest what I had witnessed.

    Whether or not the perception is overblown, the president has gained a reputation for promising only what he can realistically deliver. Some call it timidity. Some call it practicality. Some call it genius. But the president almost never picks a fight that he can’t win. In fact, the first time I can really remember him violating that rule was in the summer of 2011 after it became clear that no Grand Bargain would be achievable, and he introduced the American Jobs Act. He knew that the Republicans wouldn’t enact any part of his proposal, but he started campaigning for it anyway.

    What distinguished last night’s State of the Union speech was precisely the lack of realism. Congress is not going to raise the minimum wage or pass cap-and-trade or fund universal preschool or ban assault weapons. They are not going to do almost anything that the president proposed. Even the emotional peroration of the speech was a pleading for Congress to simply allow a vote on a pared down set of gun violence proposals. It was stirring and effective, yes, but it was also the most powerful man on the planet plaintively begging Congress to consider a small proposal.

    Yet, it felt like more than that. The whole speech felt like more than the sum of its parts. Parts were philosophical. In fact, his summation was philosophical.

    We are citizens. It’s a word that doesn’t just describe our nationality or legal status. It describes the way we’re made. It describes what we believe. It captures the enduring idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations; that our rights are wrapped up in the rights of others; and that well into our third century as a nation, it remains the task of us all, as citizens of these United States, to be the authors of the next great chapter in our American story.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2013/2/13/94214/0261

  17. rikyrah says:

    3 campaign aides leave Booker

    By MAGGIE HABERMAN | 2/12/13 5:53 PM EST

    The departure of Cory Booker’s national finance director this week was the second person he’s lost for that job in the last six weeks, POLITICO has learned.

    It brings the total losses from Team Booker to three people in the past six weeks — his former treasurer also parted ways with the Newark mayor as he explores a Senate campaign during that time period, sources confirmed.

    Booker has been struggling to put together a team for his nascent Senate exploration, which is all but certain to become a full campaign at some point.

    Word emerged Monday that Samantha Maltzman, who had worked for Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez, as well as Hillary Clinton, stepped back from the role she was supposed to play as Booker’s national finance director. Booker is pushing to raise a large sum of money in the first fundraising quarter of the year, as he prepares for a run for the seat currently held by the 89-year-old Lautenberg, who has not yet signaled whether he’ll retire.

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/02/three-campaign-staffers-leave-booker-87535.html#ixzz2Knvg7bpj

  18. rikyrah says:

    February 13, 2013 9:49 AM

    SOTU Day-After Thoughts

    By Ed Kilgore

    FacebookTwitterDiggRedditStumbleUponDelicious

    Well, don’t know about you, but I’m happy to stand by my initial reactions to the State of the Union Address. It was by no means perfect: there were several areas where the rhetoric wasn’t matched by what the president actually proposed to do (e.g., on election reform, where he’s proposing another bipartisan commission, when the solution, national election standards, is obvious to everybody), and a few less-than-skilful evasions (e.g., promising to make his administration “even more transparent” in its counter-terrorism efforts—hah!).

    But all in all, it was a successful Big Speech, which left Republicans all but spluttering incoherently. The GOP’s response reminded me an awful lot of how they used to behave when Bill Clinton was president, which may not be a coincidence, since a lot of the policy content was right out of the unfulfilled Clinton playbook—something to remember before adjudging Obama’s current direction as drastically liberal. Indexing the minimum wage to inflation has been a consensus Democratic idea for at least two decades. The closely associated concept that public policies should produce after-tax income for working families at least above the federal poverty line was a Clinton staple, expressed exactly the way Obama did last night. Universal pre-K was something progressives debated—not the whether, but the how—in the 2000 presidential cycle. And the idea that made deficit hawks from both parties so apoplectic last night—that more aggressive government intervention in the health care marketplace is the actual key to “entitlement reform” and thus long-term deficit reduction—has been Obama’s line since before enactment of the Affordable Care Act.

    I did wonder last night if Obama’s approach to the opposition—using the language of bipartisanship while articulating policies he knows full well Republicans will almost universally oppose—might be too subtle for either the consensus-seeking “center” of public opinion or the confrontation-hungy Democratic “base.” But the Republican response—both planned and unplanned—made that concern less urgent. By its spending-cuts-only demands within a deficit-reduction-only stance on fiscal and economic issues, the GOP made it easy for Obama to sound conciliatory without sacrificing partisan differentiation. This morning Bill Galston suggested Obama was “gambling his presidency” on an effort to force Republicans to change their positioning via the blunt instrument of public opinion (and ultimately electoral defeat). Before and after the State of the Union Address, Republicans left him little choice on that matter.

    Anyone imagining there is some sort of “moderate Republicanism” in the wings that Democratic charity can vault into control of the GOP should watch Marco Rubio’s official response last night and pay attention to something other than his water-guzzling. This is the guy who was supposed to offer a “reformed” Republicanism with greater appeal than Paul Ryan’s Randian budget-cutting or Rand Paul’s unvarnished Tea Party extremism. Yet his speech was almost nothing other than a repetitive rejection of the power of the public sector to play any positive role in national life other than at the Pentagon.

    I don’t know exactly where Obama’s speech leaves us. Yes, it got pretty good ratings in the snap polls. The reaction from Democrats indicates I may have been wrong to think he was being too conciliatory to the opposition. It’s more likely than ever that the sequester will go forward, followed by a government shutdown, unless (and this is possible) congressional Republicans decide just to defer all the fiscal conflicts until after the midterms. Obama will probably get his vote on a threadbare gun regulation bill. Immigration reform will slowly move towards enactment as Republicans try to convince their nativist wing it’s politically non-negotiable. Obamacare will be implemented, albeit unevenly thanks to GOP sabotage in Washington and in the states.

    But anyone pining for a different trajectory, whether it was some magical consensus with an imaginary GOP, or an equally magical vanquishing of the partisan foe by sheer force of will, needs to realize this is the standoff we’ve been in since 2008 and will remain in at least until 2016. Obama’s dealing with it pretty well, all things considered. And last night’s speech was a better step forward than most.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2013_02/sotu_dayafter_thoughts042976.php

  19. Ametia says:

    Pelosi nails it: “I am more concerned about Steve Stockman being here than Ted Nugent,”

    While many have expressed skepticism about Nugent’s presence at the State of the Union, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday she was more worried about Rep. Steven Stockman (R-Texas), the congressman who invited Nugent.

    “I am more concerned about Steve Stockman being here than Ted Nugent,” she told The Huffington Post. “Ted Nugent will leave. Steve Stockman will still be here.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/12/ted-nugent-jim-langevin_n_2673040.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

  20. rikyrah says:

    A filibuster by any other name…

    By Steve Benen
    Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:59 AM EST.

    The available research shows that no cabinet nominee has ever faced a filibuster. This week, however, as Chuck Hagel’s Defense Secretary nomination reaches the Senate floor, a new level of Republican obstructionism may very well be reached.

    “We’re going to require a 60-vote threshold,” [Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma] told [Josh Rogin].

    [Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas] told The Cable, “There is a 60-vote threshold for every nomination.”

    Well, no, actually there isn’t. Cornyn has been in the Senate for 11 years, and I have a strong hunch he knows that “every nomination” doesn’t have to clear a “60-vote threshold,” and many haven’t. Why Cornyn is comfortable saying the opposite is anyone’s guess.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/02/13/16949687-a-filibuster-by-any-other-name?lite

  21. rikyrah says:

    Putting election reform on the front burner

    By Steve Benen
    Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:10 AM EST.

    On the night he won re-election, President Obama ad-libbed a line in his victory speech: referencing election reform, he said, “By the way, we have to fix that.” He brought up the issue again in his inaugural address: “Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.”

    And it was clearly a top priority in last night’s State of the Union address.

    We must all do our part to make sure our God-given rights are protected here at home. That includes one of the most fundamental right of a democracy: the right to vote. When any American, no matter where they live or what their party, are denied that right because they can’t afford to wait for five or six or seven hours just to cast their ballot, we are betraying our ideals.

    “So tonight, I’m announcing a nonpartisan commission to improve the voting experience in America. And it definitely needs improvement. I’m asking two long-time experts in the field — who, by the way, recently served as the top attorneys for my campaign and for Governor Romney’s campaign — to lead it. We can fix this, and we will. The American people demand it, and so does our democracy.”

    Obama pointed to Desiline Victor, a 102-year-old woman in North Miami, who was told when she arrived at her polling place that there would be a six-hour wait — which she endured.

    What kind of modern democracy forces a 102-year-old woman to wait in line for six hours to participate in her own democracy? Ours is.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/02/13/16949255-putting-election-reform-on-the-front-burner?lite

    • Ametia says:

      A Total DISGRACE to force a 102 year old lady to wait in line. But Ms. Desilien Victor’s lived over a century and knows how some WHITE FOLKS BEHAVE. She wasn’t going to let anybody turn her around.

  22. Ametia says:

    PBO in NC speaking on the economy AT 12 NOON EST.

    AUDIO: http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

  23. Ametia says:

    OBSTRUCTION to moving this country FORWAD is UNCONSTITUTIONAL, McTURTLE.

    Ya GOT NOTHING McConnell. Serve the American people and stop this bullshit nonsense!

  24. Ametia says:

    Did he or didn’t he?

    Anderson Cooper asks if a black man is harder to find at night; Correction: He asked if darkness would be a problem

    Posted at 9:00 pm on February 12, 2013 by Twitchy Staff

    http://twitchy.com/2013/02/12/real-journalist-anderson-cooper-asks-if-a-black-man-is-harder-to-find-at-night/

  25. rikyrah says:

    The Daily Edge‏@TheDailyEdge
    How did asking whites to pass background checks to buy a gun become more offensive than asking minorities to provide photo ID to vote? #SOTU

  26. Ametia says:

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013
    Obama’s passionate pragmatism

    Obama has always presented himself as both pragmatist and idealist, projecting faith that if we “uphold our ideals through the hard, often frustrating, but absolutely necessary work of self-government” we will make incremental progress toward audacious goals: a new age of broadly shared prosperity, plentiful sustainable energy, affordable health care, nuclear weapons reduction (and ultimately eradication), an end to global poverty, arrested global warming. In tonight’s SOTU, he wedded the pragmatism and the idealism powerfully, reasoning with understated passion, shouting less than in his inaugural but building to a powerful climax of moral exhortation as he invoked Newtown, recapturing also the balanced cadences and grammatical parallelism that marked his speeches in 2008.

    Obama’s repeated plea to the nation tonight was to face reality: his tone was relentless reasonability. He spoke with a distilled fluency of a man who has been articulating the same values and proposing essentially the same policies (excepting gun control)* for six years on the national stage and now speaks with the knowledge that through several permutations and waves of oppositional hysteria he has still has (or has regained) a majority with him on the big stuff. And so he argued, not only as if he were himself convinced but convinced that we are convinced: Deficit reduction has to be balanced. Undocumented immigrants have to be offered a path to citizenship as part of comprehensive immigration reform. The nation has to invest in the pillars of shared prosperity: alternative energy, education, infrastructure. Climate change is real and wreaking havoc. The level of gun violence we live with is insane. Everyone has to vote without standing in line for five, six, seven hours. As he said with respect to immigration reform: “we know what needs to be done.”

    Here are a few of the reality checks:
    http://xpostfactoid.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-passionate-pragmatism-of-audacious.html

  27. Ametia says:

    WAHHHH WAHHHHHHHHHH Tweety’s a trip. Rev. Al = CHECK-CHECKMATE!

  28. rikyrah says:

    Obama Delivers One of the Best Speeches of His Presidency: a Tour de Force SOTU

    By: Jason EasleyFeb. 12th, 2013

    The Obama vision for America was laid out in sweeping fashion. President Obama delivered what might be the greatest State of the Union address from a president in at least 25 years.

    Why was Obama’s address so good? It laid out a real vision for the future.

    The president took on broad issues like climate change,”The good news is, we can make meaningful progress on this issue while driving strong economic growth. I urge this Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy. Four years ago, other countries dominated the clean energy market and the jobs that came with it. We’ve begun to change that. Last year, wind energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America. So let’s generate even more. Solar energy gets cheaper by the year – so let’s drive costs down even further. As long as countries like China keep going all-in on clean energy, so must we.”

    Obama laid out the goal of slashing our energy waste in homes and business by 50% over the next 20 years, “I’m also issuing a new goal for America: let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next twenty years. The states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make it happen.”

    The president proposed a comprehensive infrastructure repair program that uses public and private capital, “I’m also issuing a new goal for America: let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next twenty years. The states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make it happen.”

    http://www.politicususa.com/obama-delivers-tour-de-force-sotu-speeches-presidency.html

  29. rikyrah says:

    The Morning Plum: Obama’s ambitious second term agenda intensifies GOP’s dilemma

    Posted by Greg Sargent on February 13, 2013 at 9:11 am

    In his State of the Union speech yesterday, President Obama laid out an ambitious vision for where he wants to take the country. He offered a way out of our economic doldrums — investment in the country’s future as an alternative to more crippling austerity. He proposed taking action to fix the broken immigration system, address the climate change that threatens our future, reform voting irregularities, staunch the ongoing gun slaughter of tends of thousands of Americans each year, and help millions struggling to enter the middle class, via a minimum wage hike, universal pre-school, and other proposals.

    Many of these ideas have broad support. Obama’s speech represented an effort to solve an array of problems that the American people appear to want solved. Yet the prospects for his agenda’s success are not up to him. They rest in the hands of Republicans.

    Republicans face a choice. Either they can accept the realities of public opinion and become a functional opposition party, by working with Obama and Democrats to get some of what they want while allowing Obama to claim some victories of his own, as unbearable a prospect as that might seem. This is what Newt Gingrich eventually did in the 1990s. Or they can continue to reflexively obstruct everything, with an eye towards — well, it’s not clear what this would accomplish, except kicking the can down the road in hopes of taking back the Senate in 2014, making it even easier to tie up Obama’s agenda in advance of another grab at the White House in 2016.

    Given the current state of the GOP brand — and the shifting demographic realities that suggest the Democratic coalition is ascendant, while the Republican one is shrinking — is this really a long term gamble Republicans are prepared to take? The proposals Obama laid out yesterday are likely to continue cementing the degree to which core growing constituencies — Latinos; young voters; college educated whites, especially women; and even to some extent non-college white women — identify with the Democratic Party. Reflexive GOP opposition to all these things could exacerbate the party’s estrangement from these groups.

    Yesterday’s rebuttal by Marco Rubio was not encouraging. He rehashed many of the same old anti-government bromides that were soundly defeated in the 2012 election. As Steve Benen notes, the speech suggested that that Republicans are absolutely convinced that “there are no substantive lessons to be learned from their 2012 defeats.” Rubio’s primary statement outlining the GOP vision for government’s role in people’s lives amounted to this: “It plays a crucial part in keeping us safe, enforcing rules, and providing some security against the risks of modern life.” This isn’t an affirmative vision. It’s a grudging concession.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/02/13/the-morning-plum-obamas-ambitious-second-term-agenda-intensifies-gops-dilemma/

  30. rikyrah says:

    A progressive economic blueprint from an emboldened president

    Posted by Greg Sargent on February 12, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    Obama’s Inaugural Address laid out an expansive progressive agenda that was focused heavily on civil rights and rooted in the founding values of the country. His State of the Union speech was Chapter Two of this story. It laid out a progressive economic blueprint that was focused heavily on nuts-and-bolts policy ideas and rooted in a much more basic call for economic fairness, shared sacrifice in bringing down the deficit, and aggressive government action to help struggling Americans gain access to the middle class.

    Obama — having been lifted to reelection by an ascendant majority coalition of minorities, young voters, and college educated whites, mostly women — gave very little ideological ground to his opponents. His speech built on the Inaugural address in the sense that it continued to reshape the conversation around the priorities of these core groups — only with a more direct focus on the economy.

    The biggest news in the speech was the call for Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour. But the most important ideological moment in the speech came when he challenged the idea that reducing the deficit is good for the economy and renewed the push for more stimulus spending. “Let’s be clear: Deficit reduction alone is not an economic plan,” Obama said. “It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth.” We needed Obama to renew the case for more stimulus spending — while skewering the idea that reducing the deficit alone is good for the economy. As unlikely as it is that this Congress will agree to any more stimulus, it was important to hear Obama make this case.

    The other newsmaking moment — working with states to make pre-school available to every child in America — was similarly cast as an important step in securing future economic security for the middle class. Obama renewed the pitch for equal pay for women — and shrewdly paired this with a call on the GOP House of Representatives to pass the Violence Against Women Act — redoubling the pressure on Republicans to support government action to help a constituency that is fast deserting the GOP. Obama’s vow to use executive action to combat climate change in the face of Congressional dithering was a similarly aggressive challenge to Republicans.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/02/12/a-progressive-economic-blueprint-from-an-emboldened-president/

  31. rikyrah says:

    Barack Obama: THE Most Liberal President. In History.

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013 | Posted by Deaniac83 at 8:17 PM

    You know what a liberal firebrand sounds like? You know what a liberal firebrand sounds like, if you heard tonight’s State of the Union address by the President. Wow, what a speech! He didn’t let Congress breathe for a second, and John Boehner looked ready to begin crying. Let’s just go through a quick list of the president’s newly invigorated agenda:

    •Raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour and index it to the cost of living! (Wow, this guy is talking about a living wage!)
    •Pass the Violence Against Women Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act.
    •Create jobs by helping the middle class and making the wealthy pay more. (That’s right, the rich aren’t done paying yet.)
    •Build more renewable energy resources and attack climate change.
    •Full benefits to same sex families of the military.
    •Victims of gun violence and their families deserve a vote on taking weapons of war off the streets, on limiting the size of magazines, and on universal background checks.
    •A comprehensive immigration reform plan must include a pathway to full citizenship.
    •Congress must address election reform; no citizen should be deprived of their right to vote because they have to wait too long to cast a ballot.

    Let me be clear: if there is such a thing as libgasm, and you didn’t have one during this State of the Union address, you aren’t a liberal.

    http://www.thepeoplesview.net/2013/02/barack-obama-most-liberal-president-in.html

    • Ametia says:

      Yes; PBO laid it all out there, and NO it’s not rhetoric, punditheads and GOP. That’s why the GOP are ALL over the tee vee today, whining and spinning about the POTUS’ address. He put them all on notice.

      I’m leaving dodge and going straight to the American people=VOTERS. Y’all can stay your asses in D.C. and DO NOTHING, but come 2014….

  32. rikyrah says:

    Obama charts bold course for second term

    By Steve Benen
    Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:00 AM EST

    Every State of the Union address carries its own contextual significance. President Obama’s 2011 speech was the first after his party lost the House, and observers were eager to see how he’d adapt to a changed landscape. His 2012 address came against a backdrop of his re-election campaign.

    But last night was the first SOTU of Obama’s second term, and it offered the president an opportunity to present a new way forward. The address also served as something of a book-end speech — Obama delivered an ambitious inaugural address just three weeks ago, articulating a broad vision of collective action, and last night was a chance to start filling in the principled gaps with policy specifics.

    So what did we learn? That the president with arguably the most consequential first term in generations doesn’t intend to rest on his laurels.

    Much of the political establishment keeps advising Obama to temper his ambitions, strike conciliatory tones, accept preemptive concessions, and make a conscious effort to find new ways to make Republicans happy. And the president keeps responding to this advice the same way: No. He isn’t satisfied with singles and doubles; he wants to swing for the fences.

    Obama wants economic investments to strengthen the recovery and sweeping new efforts to combat the climate crisis. He wants a minimum wage increase and universal pre-K. He wants comprehensive immigration reform and an overhaul of the nation’s elections system.

    State of the Union addresses are, by their nature, invariably going to sound like laundry lists of ideas, and last night was no exception, but it’s what ties the wish list together that gives it significance — and in this case, the president has an aggressive, progressive vision of how to make a material difference in the lives of the American mainstream, and he doesn’t much to limit himself based on what the political establishment considers realistic.

    Which, of course, leads to a related question: what’s reasonable to expect going forward?

    ——————————————————————————–

    In the broadest possible sense, there are two questions of interest — what the president wants and what he’s likely to get — and they’re not necessarily of equal weight. The former offers Americans a sense of Obama’s priorities and issues he’s prepared to fight for; the latter provides a sense of what policymaking we can actually expect to see, at least over the next two years.

    With this in mind, political observers should keep a close eye on immigration and reducing gun violence. On the former, the president presented a credible challenge:

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/02/13/16948133-obama-charts-bold-course-for-second-term?lite

  33. rikyrah says:

    Sepia

    Rep. Clyburn was on Joe Madison this morning. Madison asked him if he was interested in being the Secy. of Transportation. Clyburn said he has no interest in leaving Congress. He said wants to stay in Congress and help PBO and prove that people of color can run the country.

  34. rikyrah says:

    twitter…twitter…twitter….

    #RubioFilms

    Casey‏@pari_passu
    O’ Water Where Art Thou? #RubioFilms

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    A Drink Before Dying #RubioFilms #Gulp

    21st CENTURY | Bill‏@Political_Bill
    The Parched Knight Rises #RubioFilms

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    The Legend of Creepy Swallow #RubioFilms #Gulp

    21st CENTURY | Bill‏@Political_Bill
    A Waterbottle Named Desire #RubioFilms

    *Don’t Lose Focus*!!‏@Heknowsmynam
    Young Gulps #rubiofilms

    21st CENTURY | Bill‏@Political_Bill
    The Good, the Bad, and the Thirsty #RubioFilms

    Dudette‏@Dudette9t9
    Too easy #RubioFilms Water for Elephants!

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    #rubiofilms Diary Of A Thirsty Whimpy Kid.

    Rita A‏@ritaag
    we have a winner. RT @AVD911: #RubioFilms Zero Dark Thirsty

    Liberal Librarian‏@Lib_Librarian
    #RubioFilms Interview with a Water Vampire

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    #RubioFilms The Good, the Bad, the Parched

  35. rikyrah says:

    Putting the rube in Rubio

    By Steve Benen
    Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:39 AM EST

    The expectations going into Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) response to the State of the Union address couldn’t have been much higher, especially coming on the heels of the “Republican savior” label. And it’s fair to say the far-right Floridian didn’t exactly make the most of the opportunity.

    In speeches like these, it’s almost inevitable that in the contest between style and substance, the former trumps the latter. It’s why so many still laugh at Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) four years later. And on this score, Rubio had a very tough night — he looked like a nervous and sweaty personal-injury attorney before taking an instantly-famous drink of water during his live broadcast.

    Watching this unfold over 15 minutes, it was hard not to think that if this guy is the GOP’s “savior,” the party is in deep trouble.

    But while it was Rubio’s dry mouth that will be remembered, I hope the political world won’t completely overlook the speech itself, because the far-right senator’s remarks helped prove that he’s quite literally not ready for prime time, for reasons that have nothing to do with his hard-to-watch presentation.

    By any sensible measure, Rubio’s entire pitch was incoherent gibberish. He thinks President Obama is hostile to free enterprise and wants to increase the deficit, neither of which makes any sense. Rubio thinks the housing crisis was caused by big government, which is simply idiotic. Rubio celebrates his family’s history of dependence on government social programs like student loans and Medicare, while articulating a policy agenda that guts government social programs like student loans and Medicare.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/02/13/16948495-putting-the-rube-in-rubio?lite

  36. ‘Exploding Fist Bump’: State Of The Union Exchange Between Obama, Mark Kirk Sparks Internet Meme

  37. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

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