Wednesday Open Thread

Gregory Anthony Isaacs (15 July 1951 – 25 October 2010)[1] was a Jamaican reggae musician. Milo Miles, writing in the New York Times, described Isaacs as “the most exquisite vocalist in reggae”.[2] His nicknames include Cool Ruler[3] and Lonely Lover.

In his teens, Isaacs became a veteran of the talent contests that regularly took place in Jamaica. In 1968, he made his recording debut with a duet with Winston Sinclair, “Another Heartache”, recorded for producer Byron Lee.[1] The single sold poorly and Isaacs went on to team up with two other vocalists (Penroe and Bramwell) in the short-lived trio The Concords, recording for Rupie Edwards and Prince Buster.[1] The trio split up in 1970 and Isaacs launched his solo career, initially self-producing recordings and also recording further for Edwards.[1] In 1973 he teamed up with another young singer, Errol Dunkley to start the African Museum record label and shop, and soon had a massive hit with “My Only Lover”, credited as the first lovers rock record ever made.[1]

About SouthernGirl2

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

  1. Jesus Christ…Son of the Living God!!!!!!!!!!

    VIDEO: Indiana GOP Rep Says Women Will Pretend To Be Raped To Get Free Abortions

    Yesterday morning, the Indiana House considered an anti-abortion bill that “would put some of the tightest abortion restrictions in the nation into Indiana law.” Introduced by state Rep. Eric Turner (R), HB 1210 would make most abortions illegal after 20 weeks. Current law restricts abortions after the fetus is viable, generally around 24 weeks.

    In an attempt to soften the blow this bill would land on Hoosier women, state Rep. Gail Riecken (D) introduced an amendment to exempt “women who became pregnant due to rape or incest, or women for whom pregnancy threatens their life or could cause serious and irreversible physical harm” from being forced to carry to term. Fearing this bill would “push women to the back alleys” for illegal abortions, Riecken pleaded with lawmakers to allow women to make the choice in these cases.

    Turner then stepped to the podium and insisted that Riecken’s amendment would create a “giant loophole” for women. That loophole? Women “could simply say they’ve been raped”:

    TURNER: With all do respect to Rep. Riecken, I understand what she’s trying to do. But as you know that when the federal health care bill was going through Congress there was a lot of discussion whether this would allow for abortion coverage and of course we were all told it would not. And the bill, my house bill 1210, would prevent that for any insurance company to provide abortion coverage under federal health care bill. This [amendment] would open that window and I would ask you to oppose this amendment.

    I just want you to think about this, in my view, giant loophole that could be created where someone who could — now i want to be careful, I don’t want to disparage in any way someone who has gone through the experience of a rape or incest — but someone who is desirous of an abortion could simply say that they’ve been raped or there’s incest.

    • Ametia says:

      When does a man get to decide when a woman is faking being rape? Please tell me why these white men think they have jurisdiction over our vaginas, wombs and our lives?

      It’s got to be an attempt to compensate for their own sexual INADEQUACIES. That has to be it. They are weak, insecure trolls who think money and power makes them a REAL MAN. SICK, WEAK, INSECURE MOFOS.

  2. rikyrah says:

    the clutching to the buxom by the Soul Patrol of Moammar STILL makes me go W-T-F?

    Moammar is not Nelson Mandela or the Daili Lama.

    Moammar is an Arab Kim Jong Il —-without the nukes.

    but, the checks clear, so I guess that’s all that matters.

    • Ametia says:

      LOL De brothas don’t want nobody messin’ wid de $$$ game! Losers all of them. To support a murdering 40 year dictator like Moammar G.

      PBO is doing the RIGHT thing, because, he’s got so many folks, black and white scrambling to maintain the status QUO. It takes a tremendous amount of courage on his part to keep moving forward, despite the haters.

      Doing the greater good for the whole, instead of the parts, now that is TRUE LEADERSHIP.

  3. Ametia says:

    “We are not lapdogs for the president.”

    TRANSLATION: We ain’t paying’ this nigga no mind, HE’S NOT THE BOSS OF ME!

  4. Ametia says:

    Just a REMINDER of the GOP’s GOAL

  5. Ametia says:

    Libyan foreign minister Moussa Koussa defects

    Moussa Koussa, the Libyan foreign minister, last night defected from Col Muammar Gaddafi’s government after flying to Britain, telling officials he was “no longer willing” to serve the regime.

    By Andy Bloxham, and Damien McElroy 11:11PM BST 30 Mar 2011
    Mr Koussa flew from Tunisia, where he had been on a diplomatic mission, and landed at Farnborough airport before being shuttled to London for immediate talks with high-ranking Foreign Office officials.

    Mr Koussa was one of the leading figures in Col Gaddafi’s government and one of the architects of Libya’s recent rehabilitation in the eyes of the international community.

    As such, his departure represents a significant scalp both for the coalition against Col Gaddafi and the rebels seeking his overthrow, and will fuel speculation that more defections could follow.

    A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: “We can confirm that Moussa Koussa arrived at Farnborough Airport on 30 March from Tunisia. He travelled here under his own free will. He has told us that he is resigning his post. We are discussing this with him and we will release further detail in due course.”

    He added that the senior politician’s “role was to represent the regime internationally – something that he is no longer willing to do”.

  6. Lawrence O’Donnell called Eric Cantor the most ignorant person in Congress. Apparently, Eric Cantor DOESN’T know how a bill becomes law!

  7. Ametia says:

    I just heard on MSNBC that Sunday, April 10, 2011 at NOON Ed Shultz & Tamron Hall gonna facilitate a BLACK AGENDA.


    CNN hasn’t done enough for us poor, helpless black folks, and apparently PBO hasn’t either.

    • Black Agenda?

    • Ametia says:

      you got it

      Why is Ed Schultz hosting MSNBC’s special on “The Black Agenda” alone?
      It’s hard to know what troubles me more about an upcoming MSNBC special dubbed “A Stronger Nation: The Black Agenda,” planned April 10 at a convention held by Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.

      Is it the use of a dated term like “black agenda,” which sounds oddly pejorative? Regardless of who came up with it — MSNBC or Sharpton’s group — it feels like the kind of term anti-civil rights people used to describe work towards social justice decades ago

      Is it the implication that there is a single black agenda, given all the challenges facing black communities across the country? I have a feeling the concerns of black folks in California might be different than the concerns of black people in Chicago, however common our struggles may also seem.

      Is it the fact that a similar event last year was hosted by a more diverse anchor panel, including African American anchor Tamron Hall?

      Has MSNBC grown so diversity-challenged it can’t find another anchor of color to join Ed Schultz, who is white, in leading a discussion about black leadership?

      Well intentioned as this event may be, it could also be a pretty strong argument for MSNBC to diversify its own staff in the future.

      MSNBC needs to do a forum on THE WHITE AGENDA.

  8. Florida Governor Wants Poor to Pay $35 for Drug Test Before Receiving Welfare

    Oh to be a wealthy politician in this day and age. Tanyaa Weathersbee of Black America Web is reporting that Florida Gov. Rick Scott wants poor people to pay $35 on a drug test before they can collect welfare. Weatherbee highlights the fact that welfare recipients are not abusing drugs at a disproportionately higher rate than the general population. In addition to rescinding a rule restoring voting rights of convicted felons who complete their sentences, the Governor also wants state employees to submit to drug tests at least four times a year. Again, there is no evidence of rampant drug use among state employees.

    What about those who abuse prescription drugs, most of whom are white? Law enforcement officials in Florida approved a database that would help stop doctors from over prescribing addictive drugs. Of course, Gov. Scott wants to get rid of that database because it is too much government intrusion into people’s lives.

    Maybe Gov. Scott is on that stuff, because he is clearly biased about his definition of too much government. Should government be rescinding the right for convicted felons to vote after completing their sentences? That sounds like invasion of privacy and too much government to me. We won’t mention how the pharmaceutical companies will benefit from the removal of that database. What is the fee to test CEOs of corporations that collect corporate welfare?

    We get it, Republicans and Tea Party members want less government when it comes to corporations, taxes and their ability to build and maintain wealth, but more government when it comes to controlling the lives of the poor and disenfranchised. Hypocrisy at its worst.

    • Ametia says:

      THIS: “We get it, Republicans and Tea Party members want less government when it comes to corporations, taxes and their ability to build and maintain wealth, but more government when it comes to controlling the lives of the poor and disenfranchised. Hypocrisy at its worst.”


  9. dannie22 says:

    SB5 just passed the Ohio house of reps. It’s the union busting bill. Pray for Ohio. Haiti will look like paradise compared to Ohio before long.

    • Ametia says:

      Thanks for the tip, Dannie. Does this mean we won’t be seeing Ohio’s HALO?

      Breaking News: Ohio House of Representatives Passes Amended S.B.5
      March 30, 2011 5:12 p.m.
      COLUMBUS, Ohio — After nearly four hours of debate, the Ohio House of Representatives moments ago passed an amended version of Senate Bill 5, immediately prompting jeers and boos from the gallery.
      The vote passed with 54 members voting in the affirmative, 44 members voting against the measure.
      For in-depth coverage of today’s vote — and today’s demonstrations outside the offices of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber — check our Web site Thursday morning.

  10. Ametia says:


    Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa arrives in London and tells government he has resigned, UK Foreign Office reports

  11. Ametia says:

    Exclusive: Obama authorizes secret support for Libya rebels
    By Mark Hosenball Mark Hosenball
    5 mins ago

    .WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, government officials told Reuters on Wednesday.

    Obama signed the order, known as a presidential “finding”, within the last two or three weeks, according to four U.S. government sources familiar with the matter.

    Such findings are a principal form of presidential directive used to authorize secret operations by the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA and the White House declined immediate comment.

    News that Obama had given the authorization surfaced as the President and other U.S. and allied officials spoke openly about the possibility of sending arms supplies to Gaddafi’s opponents, who are fighting better-equipped government forces.

    The United States is part of a coalition, with NATO members and some Arab states, which is conducting air strikes on Libyan government forces under a U.N. mandate aimed at protecting civilians opposing Gaddafi.

    In interviews with American TV networks on Tuesday, Obama said the objective was for Gaddafi to “ultimately step down” from power. He spoke of applying “steady pressure, not only militarily but also through these other means” to force Gaddafi out.

    Obama said the U.S. had not ruled out providing military hardware to rebels. “It’s fair to say that if we wanted to get weapons into Libya, we probably could. We’re looking at all our options at this point,” the President told ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer.

    U.S. officials monitoring events in Libya say that at present, neither Gaddafi’s forces nor the rebels, who have asked the West for heavy weapons, appear able to make decisive gains.

    While U.S. and allied airstrikes have seriously damaged Gaddafi’s military forces and disrupted his chain of command, officials say, rebel forces remain disorganized and unable to take full advantage of western military support.


    People familiar with U.S. intelligence procedures said that Presidential covert action “findings” are normally crafted to provide broad authorization for a range of potential U.S. government actions to support a particular covert objective.

    In order for specific operations to be carried out under the provisions of such a broad authorization — for example the delivery of cash or weapons to anti-Gaddafi forces — the White House also would have to give additional “permission” allowing such activities to proceed.

    Former officials say these follow-up authorizations are known in the intelligence world as “‘Mother may I’ findings.”

    In 2009 Obama gave a similar authorization for the expansion of covert U.S. counter-terrorism actions by the CIA in Yemen. The White House does not normally confirm such orders have been issued.

    Because U.S. and allied intelligence agencies still have many questions about the identities and leadership of anti-Gaddafi forces, any covert U.S. activities are likely to proceed cautiously until more information about the rebels can be collected and analyzed, officials said.

    “The whole issue on (providing rebels with) training and equipment requires knowing who the rebels are,” said Bruce Riedel, a former senior CIA Middle East expert who has advised the Obama White House.

    Riedel said that helping the rebels to organize themselves and training them how use weapons effectively would be more urgent then shipping them arms.

    According to an article speculating on possible U.S. covert actions in Libya published early in March on the website of the Voice of America, the U.S. government’s broadcasting service, a covert action is “any U.S. government effort to change the economic, military, or political situation overseas in a hidden way.”


    The article, by VOA intelligence correspondent Gary Thomas, said covert action “can encompass many things, including propaganda, covert funding, electoral manipulation, arming and training insurgents, and even encouraging a coup.”

    U.S. officials also have said that Saudi Arabia and Qatar, whose leaders despise Gaddafi, have indicated a willingness to supply Libyan rebels with weapons.

    Members of Congress have expressed anxiety about U.S. government activities in Libya. Some have recalled that weapons provided by the U.S. and Saudis to mujahedeen fighting Soviet occupation forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s later ended up in the hands of anti-American militants.

    There are fears that the same thing could happen in Libya unless the U.S. is sure who it is dealing with. The chairman of the House intelligence committee, Rep. Mike Rogers, said on Wednesday he opposed supplying arms to the Libyan rebels fighting Gaddafi “at this time.”

    “We need to understand more about the opposition before I would support passing out guns and advanced weapons to them,” Rogers said in a statement.

  12. rikyrah says:



    Supreme Court rejects damages for innocent man who spent 14 years on death row

    In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court overturns a jury verdict and lower-court rulings awarding $14 million to John Thompson, who had sued then-New Orleans Dist. Atty. Harry Connick Sr. because prosecutors hid a blood test that would have proved his innocence in a murder case. The court majority says the mistakes in the case did not amount to ‘deliberate indifference.’

    By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau

    March 29, 2011, 3:14 p.m.
    A bitterly divided Supreme Court tossed out a jury verdict Tuesday won by a New Orleans man who spent 14 years on Death Row and came within weeks of execution because prosecutors had hidden a blood test and other evidence that would have proven his innocence.

    The 5-4 decision delivered by Justice Clarence Thomas shielded the New Orleans District Attorney’s office from being held liable for the mistakes of its prosecutors. The evidence of their misconduct did not prove “deliberate indifference” on the part of then-District Attorney Harry Connick Sr., Thomas said.

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg emphasized her disapproval by reading her dissent in the courtroom, saying the court was shielding a city and its prosecutors from “flagrant” misconduct that nearly cost an innocent man his life.

    “John Thompson spent 14 years isolated on Death Row before the truth came to light,” she said. He was innocent of the crimes that sent him to prison and prosecutors had “dishonored” their obligation to present the true facts to the jury, she said.

    In the past, the high court has absolved trial prosecutors from any and all liability for the cases they bring to court. The key issue in the case of Connick vs. John Thompson was whether the district attorney could be held liable for a pattern of wrongdoing in his office and for his failure to see to it that his prosecutors followed the law.

    In 1999, when all his appeals had failed on his convictions for the murder of a hotel executive, Thompson was due to be put to death. But a private investigator hired by his lawyer found a blood test in the police lab which showed the man wanted for a related car jacking had a type “B” blood, while Thompson’s was type “O.”,0,4120668.story

  13. rikyrah says:

    under KNEEGROW, Please news…

    that’s why your Black behind is a FORMER Congressman


    Centrist Dem: Government shutdown would be on President Obama
    By Shane D’Aprile – 03/29/11 11:01 AM ET

    Former Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) said Tuesday, no matter how budget negotiations between the White House and Congressional Republicans play out, it’s President Obama who will get the blame if the government shuts down.

    “I think that voters always focus on the executive as the responsible officer,” Davis said. “There is this belief in Democratic circles that because Republicans are so intransigent about spending cuts that they’ll get the blame. But people expect the president to bring all sides together, especially when he’s made that one of his selling points.”

    Davis made the comments after a breakfast with reporters in Washington, D.C. that featured three former Democratic House members. Davis, who lost a bid for Alabama governor last year, was joined by former Reps. Glenn Nye (Va.) and Dan Maffei (N.Y.), both of whom were ousted in 2010’s midterm elections.

  14. Ametia says:

    Assad blames ‘conspirators’ for Syria unrest

    Syrian president delivers first public speech since security forces curbed anti-government protests across the country.
    Last Modified: 30 Mar 2011 12:16

    Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, has blamed “conspirators” for two weeks of anti-government protests that have rocked the nation.

    In his first address to the nation since the start of a violent crackdown on the protests, Assad said Syria was going through a “test of unity”.

    “I belong to the Syrian people, and whoever belongs to the Syrian people will always keep his head high,” he said in the televised address before members of parliament in the capital, Damascus, on Wednesday.

    “I know that the Syrian people have been awaiting this speech since last week, but I was waiting to get the full picture… to avoid giving an emotional address that would put the people at ease but have no real effect, at a time when our enemies are targeting Syria,” he said.

    Assad entered parliament to a mass of cheering crowds outside the building. Once inside, legislators chanted “God, Syria and Bashar only!” and “our souls, our blood we sacrifice for you Bashar.”

    He said “conspirators” have tried to reinforce sectarianism to incite hatred and “bring down Syria”.

    ‘Most important speech’

    Al Jazeera’s Cal Perry, reporting from Damascus said the address is “without a doubt the most important speech of [Assad’s] career”.

    “People want to see an end to corruption. But on the street, people are also saying ‘We want to see reforms, but we want to see Bashar al-Assad stay in power’,” our correspondent said.

  15. rikyrah says:

    they are a pack of whiny bitches, who never want to take responsibility for anything….they all big and bad, then stand up and accept responsibility


    GOP Freshmen Push Back Against Blame For Shutdown

    With Democratic leaders aggressively assigning blame to the Tea Party for derailing funding talks, a group of freshman Republicans held a press conference on Wednesday to assert instead that the impasse was instead the fault of Senate Democrats.

    Democratic lawmakers, including Sens. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), claimed yesterday that they were close to a deal with House Republicans and the White House before conservative rank-and-file Republicans revolted, but the group of about half a dozen Republicans insisted they were on the same page as House Republican leaders.

    “They want to frame the debate as one within the Republican caucus, but the American people are not buying it,” Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) said. “The fight is between Republicans who want to cut Washington spending and Democrats who want to defend it.”

    The group blamed Reid for the looming shutdown, taping a letter from 30 freshmen Members onto the door of the Senate in a manila envelope addressed to “MR. REID” in Sharpie that called on Democrats to jump start negotiations by passing their own CR. The Senate rejected the House’s long-term continuing resolution earlier this month but has not passed its own long-term bill funding the government.

    Reporters repeatedly pushed the freshmen Members as to whether they were willing to negotiate at all on either their demands for $61 billion in discretionary spending cuts or on various policy riders restricting funding for Planned Parenthood, public broadcasting, and other groups. While refusing to give specifics, several freshmen suggested at least some wiggle room and stressed they wanted to avoid a shutdown.

    “I don’t know anyone who has said ‘our way or the highway,'” Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR) told reporters.

    “We have a lot to talk about, but failure is not an option — we’re not here to try to shut down the government. We’re here to reform the way the government does business,” Rep. Rick Crawford (R-TX) said. “We can’t negotiate with ourselves, what we’re interested in is getting the Senate to take action.”

    Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) noted that Tea Party activists gave the GOP a boost in negotiations by planning protests for this week, but suggested that they may have to temper their demands.

  16. Ametia says:

    Charles Rangel Joined Obama at Harlem Events
    March 29, 2011 12:10pm

    Rangel, who has criticized Obama’s use of military force in Libya, attended the president’s Harlem events.

    By Jeff Mays

    DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

    HARLEM — U.S. Rep. Charlie Rangel has made no secret of his disapproval of President Barack Obama’s decision to use U.S. military force in Libya, but that didn’t keep the Harlem Democrat from attending the president’s events on Tuesday night.

    Rangel was in attendance at the $30,000 per head fundraiser that Obama hosted for the Democratic National Committee at Red Rooster Harlem and the invitation-only reception at the Studio Museum in Harlem.

    “That he disagrees with the president shouldn’t come as a shock because he is an independently elected official,” said Rangel campaign spokesman Bob Liff. “The fact that he disagrees doesn’t change the closeness and the support he has for the president. He has said Obama is the most exciting and best president he has worked with.”

    Rangel was adamant in his opposition of the U.S. involvement in Libya when asked last week

    You have to decide how many lives you are willing to lose for oil,” Rangel told DNAinfo.

    Rangel said he would be at a loss for words if an American pilot from his district was shot down over Libya and the pilot’s parents asked why.

    “What the hell am I going to tell them,” Rangel said. “There is no threat to America at this time.”

    Rangel also sparred with the president during the run-up to his ethics trial when Obama said Rangel was “at the end of his career.” The 81-year-old has since filed early for re-election.

    The guest list for Tuesday’s functions has remained pretty tight, but aides for former New York City Mayor David Dinkins also confirmed to DNAinfo on Tuesday that he would be in attendance.

    Obama addressed the nation last night in a televised speech designed to explain the decision to authorize the use of military force in Libya. Obama said he wanted to prevent a massacre there while reassuring the country that regime change or the involvement of U.S. ground troops was not on his agenda.

    “I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action,” Obama said.

    Rangel was not be the only one at Tuesday’s events who opposes the president’s decision on Libya.

    A coalition of groups called the Harlem Fight Back Against Wars At Home and Abroad plan a protest this evening on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and West 125th Street, said Nelly Bailey, president of the Harlem Tenants Council and an organizer of the group.

    “We want this to be a wake up call for black America. We used to occupy the moral center in this country but we have abandoned that moral center established by Martin Luther King Jr. and acquiesced to unforgivable silence because Barack Obama is the first black president,” Bailey said.

    Rangel spokesman Liff said Obama’s visit carries a lot of symbolism for Harlem.

    “We know Harlem is the center of the world so its pretty exciting that a president linked to the history and what Harlem is and what Harlem has struggled for is highlighting this community,” he said.

    “This is not just any president, this is Barack Obama, and this is Harlem,” he said.

    Read more:

  17. rikyrah says:

    DOJ Rightly Dismissed Faux-Panther Case
    by BooMan
    Wed Mar 30th, 2011 at 02:05:21 PM EST

    I know it’s shocking that two black guys were allowed to don Black Panther costumes and stand around in front of a polling station in Philadelphia on election day in 2008, but it didn’t constitute a violation of anybody’s rights, let alone signal a systematic imposition on white people’s inherent right to vote. It was just two neighborhood knuckleheads pretending to belong to the Black Panthers. They didn’t even do anything except stand there looking ridiculous. The video, which went viral on Fox News shows voters, including a defenseless white women and an elderly man, walking right past them into the polling station without even taken any special notice. You know why? Because it’s a big city with a lot of goofy people in it who do goofy things, wear strange outfits, and stand around doing nothing and bothering nobody. When the Department of Justice dismissed the case against these two buffoons, suddenly the right started accusing the negro in charge of the DOJ of not giving a crap about the voting rights of white people. To no one sane’s surprise, the Justice Department’s Office of Personnel Responsibility (OPR) has concluded that it was perfectly reasonable to treat the case with the contempt which it deserved. But who will save the white women?

    The OPR’s findings were released in a letter Tuesday to Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) that was signed by department attorney Robin Ashton…

    …In a statement, Smith, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee and is expected to hold hearings on whether the department is politicized, said the review — which was limited to the actions of attorneys in the case — “did not address the Civil Rights Division’s misguided policy of using racial considerations when determining whether to enforce voting rights laws. The Division should protect the voting rights of all Americans, regardless of race, gender, religion or political affiliation.”

    Let me translate this for you. Someone at the DOJ made the mistake of saying something along the lines of “why are we trying to protect the voting rights of white people? This case is so stupid,” when they should have just said, “This case is so stupid.” What happened is that two knuckleheads played dress-up on election day and the right tried to turn into something on the level of the Germans invading Poland.

    Here’s some plain English that maybe even wingnuts can understand.

    After reviewing thousands of pages of internal e-mails and notes and conducting 44 interviews with department staff members, the OPR reported that “department attorneys did not commit professional misconduct or exercise poor judgment” and that the voter-intimidation case against the Panthers was dismissed on “a good faith assessment of the law” and “not influenced by the race of the defendant.

    I can’t wait for Lamar Smith’s hearings. He should call the two dipshit faux-Panthers to the witness table so they can explain how they happened to wake up that day without anything better to do than pretend to belong to the Black Panther party.

  18. Ametia says:

    President Obama Hits New Low: Half Of Voters Say No Second Term
    By Mark Joyella | 9:42 am, March 30th, 2011
    What do the other HALF of the voters that weren’t polled have to say about this nonsense right here?
    Half of voters now say President Obama does not deserve a second term, according to a poll released today by Quinnipiac University. 41 percent of voters surveyed said the president does deserve four more years. The poll’s results also show the president hitting an all-time low in his overall approval, at 42 percent. His disapproval rating has risen from 46 percent to 48 percent.
    The poor performance in this latest poll–and in a hypothetical 2012 matchup with an unnamed Republican–may be driven by voter dissatisfaction with the president’s policy in Libya:

    In a hypothetical 2012 matchup, President Obama gets 36 percent of the vote to 37 percent for an unnamed Republican challenger.
    Democrats approve 80 – 13 percent of the job Obama is doing, but disapproval is 81 – 9 percent among Republicans and 50 – 39 percent among independent voters. Men disapprove 52 – 41 percent while women split 44 – 44 percent.
    Voters oppose 47 – 41 percent America’s involvement in Libya. In the survey concluded Monday evening as President Obama was addressing the nation about Libya, voters say 58 – 29 percent that he has not clearly stated U.S. goals for Libya.
    The poll was conducted March 22-28 and surveyed 2,069 registered voters. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.

  19. Ametia says:

    March 29, 2011
    Looking for Luck in LibyaBy THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
    There is an old saying in the Middle East that a camel is a horse that was designed by a committee. That thought came to my mind as I listened to President Obama trying to explain the intervention of America and its allies in Libya — and I don’t say that as criticism. I say it with empathy. This is really hard stuff, and it’s just the beginning.

    When an entire region that has been living outside the biggest global trends of free politics and free markets for half a century suddenly, from the bottom up, decides to join history — and each one of these states has a different ethnic, tribal, sectarian and political orientation and a loose coalition of Western and Arab states with mixed motives trying to figure out how to help them — well, folks, you’re going to end up with some very strange-looking policy animals. And Libya is just the first of many hard choices we’re going to face in the “new” Middle East.

    How could it not be? In Libya, we have to figure out whether to help rebels we do not know topple a terrible dictator we do not like, while at the same time we turn a blind eye to a monarch whom we do like in Bahrain, who has violently suppressed people we also like — Bahraini democrats — because these people we like have in their ranks people we don’t like: pro-Iranian Shiite hard-liners. All the while in Saudi Arabia, leaders we like are telling us we never should have let go of the leader who was so disliked by his own people — Hosni Mubarak — and, while we would like to tell the Saudi leaders to take a hike on this subject, we can’t because they have so much oil and money that we like. And this is a lot like our dilemma in Syria where a regime we don’t like — and which probably killed the prime minister of Lebanon whom it disliked — could be toppled by people who say what we like, but we’re not sure they all really believe what we like because among them could be Sunni fundamentalists, who, if they seize power, could suppress all those minorities in Syria whom they don’t like.

    The last time the Sunni fundamentalists in Syria tried to take over in 1982, then-President Hafez al-Assad, one of those minorities, definitely did not like it, and he had 20,000 of those Sunnis killed in one city called Hama, which they certainly didn’t like, so there is a lot of bad blood between all of them that could very likely come to the surface again, although some experts say this time it’s not like that because this time, and they could be right, the Syrian people want freedom for all. But, for now, we are being cautious. We’re not trying nearly as hard to get rid of the Syrian dictator as we are the Libyan one because the situation in Syria is just not as clear as we’d like and because Syria is a real game-changer. Libya implodes. Syria explodes.

    Welcome to the Middle East of 2011! You want the truth about it? You can’t handle the truth. The truth is that it’s a dangerous, violent, hope-filled and potentially hugely positive or explosive mess — fraught with moral and political ambiguities. We have to build democracy in the Middle East we’ve got, not the one we want — and this is the one we’ve got.

    That’s why I am proud of my president, really worried about him, and just praying that he’s lucky.

    Unlike all of us in the armchairs, the president had to choose, and I found the way he spelled out his core argument on Monday sincere: “Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And, as president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.”

    I am glad we have a president who sees America that way. That argument cannot just be shrugged off, especially when confronting a dictator like Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. But, at the same time, I believe that it is naïve to think that we can be humanitarians only from the air — and now we just hand the situation off to NATO, as if it were Asean and we were not the backbone of the NATO military alliance, and we’re done.

    I don’t know Libya, but my gut tells me that any kind of decent outcome there will require boots on the ground — either as military help for the rebels to oust Qaddafi as we want, or as post-Qaddafi peacekeepers and referees between tribes and factions to help with any transition to democracy. Those boots cannot be ours. We absolutely cannot afford it — whether in terms of money, manpower, energy or attention. But I am deeply dubious that our allies can or will handle it without us, either. And if the fight there turns ugly, or stalemates, people will be calling for our humanitarian help again. You bomb it, you own it.

    Which is why, most of all, I hope President Obama is lucky. I hope Qaddafi’s regime collapses like a sand castle, that the Libyan opposition turns out to be decent and united and that they require just a bare minimum of international help to get on their feet. Then U.S. prestige will be enhanced and this humanitarian mission will have both saved lives and helped to lock another Arab state into the democratic camp.

    Dear Lord, please make President Obama lucky.

  20. Ametia says:

    March 29, 2011

    Lawsuit filed in suicide of Joshua MS student
    By Pete Kendall/

    The Cleburne Times-Review Tue Mar 29, 2011, 03:55 PM CDT

    The family of Jon Carmichael isn’t interested in riches, their attorney Martin Cirkiel of Round Rock said Tuesday.

    They want a heightened awareness of school bullying and its consequences.

    To that end, Cirkiel said, he and the Carmichael family will probably hold a press conference in Joshua in the coming weeks to explain their side of an incident that concluded with Jon Carmichael, a 13-year-old student at Loflin Middle School, taking his own life last March.

    The Carmichael family filed suit against Joshua ISD and representatives of the district Monday in federal court in Dallas. Joshua ISD representatives named were Superintendent Ray Dane, school board president Ronnie Galbreath, teacher Kenneth Randall Watts, teacher Walter Strickland, teacher Dayton Barone and counselor Elizabeth Rosatelli. All are listed as defendants.

    Cirkiel said the district and the representatives had not been served with papers as of Tuesday.

    “But they know about the suit,” he said.

  21. rikyrah says:

    First Presidential Debate Pushed Back To September Due To Lack Of Candidates

    The Politico/NBC News presidential debate is reluctantly ceding its title of first-in-the-nation to Fox News. The two big media titans announced today that they will push the debate back to the fall because so few candidates have officially announced their plans to run.

    The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation was scheduled to host the debate May 2nd, but in a press release today NBC Universal announced that the event will be rescheduled for September 14.

    Fox News is scheduled to hold its own debate just a few days later, on May 5.

    John Heubusch, executive director for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, explained in a statement: “Although there will be a long and impressive list of Republican candidates who eventually take the field, too few have made the commitment thus far for a debate to be worthwhile in early May.”

    The debate was announced back in November with much fanfare, and then officially set for May 2nd in January. A press release in January also announced the moderators:

    Brian Williams, anchor of the top-rated “NBC Nightly News,” will be co-moderator, along with POLITICO Editor-in-Chief John F. Harris, a presidential scholar and one of the nation’s top political journalists. A Telemundo reporter will also join in the questioning.

    • Ametia says:

      The GOP’s got NOTHING or NO ONE who can rival President Obama, so they’ll spend the next few months BASHING HIM, and the media will be more than willing to assist the GOP in their endeavors.

  22. Open for Questions: Women in America
    March 30, 2011 5:05 PM EDT

  23. rikyrah says:

    North Carolina bill would prohibit cities from upgrading Internet access

    By Stephen C. Webster
    Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 — 9:18 am

    The Republican-dominated North Carolina State Assembly this week approved a bill that would prohibit communities from upgrading their internet access, forcing individual municipalities into a private monopoly of managed broadband services by companies like Time Warner and Comcast.

    Both firms have been restricting the amount of bandwidth users can consume, even though bandwidth itself is not a tangible, meter-able commodity.

    The bill, which was heavily supported by telecom giant Time Warner, comes on the heels of several communities successfully launching their own fiber-optic broadband programs. One program in Wilson, North Carolina, called Greenlight, even features speeds up to 100 Megabits-per-second (Mbps) at a lower price than its corporate competitors.

    That’s because Greenlight is a public utility, instead of a profits-making scheme, that places access and quality of service above harvesting dollars off customers. Instead of focusing on margins or how to impose fees on metered bandwidth use, they’re able to focus on simply providing the best the Internet has to offer.

    Prior to the arrival of Greenlight, most Internet users in Wilson only had access to 7 Mbps speeds, at a much higher price than the public utility’s plans. For about the same price as the slower connection, Greenlight users get access to 20 Mbps speeds, with options to upgrade to 100M for about $150 a month.

    However, in a Monday night vote, North Carolina assemblymen voted 81-37 to bring that to a halt, banning any other communities from upgrading their own connections and forcing them to continue patronizing private providers.

    Currently-existing community broadband services like Greenlight, which five North Carolina communities have already set up, would not be affected should the bill clear the state senate.

    The cities of Asheville, Bladenboro and Momeyer have all passed resolutions condemning the statewide bill.

    Proponents of the broadband restrictions claim municipalities should not be able to borrow money to build networks without explicit voter approval. They also want the restrictions passed to prevent groups like Greenlight from providing service below what it costs, using money from other public utilities to cover the income gap.

    North Carolina’s broadband limitation bill now moves on to the state senate.

  24. President Obama Speaks on America’s Energy Security

  25. rikyrah says:

    KARMA…it’s what’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner


    March 30, 2011
    MICHELLE RHEE’S INADEQUATE RESPONSE TO LEGITIMATE QUESTIONS…. While more than a few major media outlets have offered effusive praise for Michelle Rhee, USA Today ran a very different kind of piece this week. The paper took a closer look at D.C. test scores during Rhee’s tenure as the city’s schools chancellor.

    The results weren’t flattering. While her work has been heralded as producing miracles, USA Today’s investigation found less magic and more smoke and mirrors. Reported improvements in test scores now appear dubious, and “wrong-to-right erasure rates” suggested there may have been instances of actual fraud.

    Rhee did not initially respond to USA Today interview requests, but finally offered a comment after the story was published.

    It isn’t surprising,” Rhee said in a statement Monday, “that the enemies of school reform once again are trying to argue that the Earth is flat and that there is no way test scores could have improved … unless someone cheated.”

    USA TODAY’s investigation into test scores “is an insult to the dedicated teachers and schoolchildren who worked hard to improve their academic achievement levels,” Rhee said.

    Wait, that’s the response? There’s credible evidence that Rhee’s impressive record is a mirage, perhaps even the result of outright fraud, and her defense is that “enemies of school reform” aren’t to be trusted? Does she realize that USA Today is not the National Education Association’s newsletter?

    Mark Kleiman said the response eliminates any benefit of the doubt he was prepared to extend to Rhee.

    [I]t was, barely, possible that Rhee was culpably negligent — but no worse — in the cheating and the cover-up via a grossly inadequate “investigation.”

    However, her slime-and-defend reaction to the exposure of the cheating eliminates that possibility. She was, and is, complicit in the cover-up, if not the cheating itself. There is simply no honest explanation for the very high ratio of wrong-to-right changes to right-to-wrong changes. […]

    So when she blames uncomfortable facts on unnamed “enemies of school reform,” she’s bullsh*tting.

    Rhee may want to come up with a slightly more detailed defense to salvage her reputation.

    —Steve Benen 9:25 AM

  26. rikyrah says:

    Video- Fox, Ingraham Now Attacking White House Over Easter Eggs
    Posted on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 by Paddy


  27. Ametia says:

    Dismal housing numbers lend urgency to new mortgage rules

    By Kevin G. Hall and David Lightman | McClatchy Newspapers
    WASHINGTON — U.S. home prices continue falling, new data showed Tuesday, giving urgency to important fixes taking shape this week aimed at fixing specific causes of the U.S. financial meltdown.

    January home prices fell 1 percent from a month earlier and 3.1 percent from January 2010, as measured by the S&P/Case-Shiller index, a composite of sales prices in 20 major U.S. housing markets. National prices have slumped for six straight months and home prices are down 31.8 percent from their 2006 peak.

    “The bottom line is we just have a boatload of loans sitting in foreclosure or close, and we have to work through those loans before we can find a bottom,” said Mark Zandi, the chief economist for forecaster Moody’s Analytics.

    The dismal numbers reflect the deep damage done by a financial crisis that began with problems in mortgage finance. This week may prove a pivotal one for fixing some of what went wrong.

    The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. approved Tuesday a rule that would force Wall Street to retain an ownership share when issuing complex bundles of mortgages that poisoned the global financial system.

    Lack of “skin in the game” allowed Wall Street firms to take millions of shoddy U.S. mortgages and profitably bundle them into complex bonds in a secondary market, where they were dumped on unsuspecting investors. The FDIC measure, backed by other regulators, is designed to restore investor trust in this secondary market, which is vital to mortgage lending.

    Read more:

  28. Ametia says:

    I’m totally loving the Reggae this week, SG2. Thanks mon.

  29. rikyrah says:

    March 30, 2011
    BOEHNER EYES BLUE DOGS FOR BUDGET DEAL…. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has struggled for several weeks with an arithmetical problem. He could strike a budget deal that would make his own extremely conservative caucus happy, or he could strike a deal that the Senate and White House would find acceptable.

    But he couldn’t do both. If the Speaker went with the former, and stuck to his guns on a right-wing plan that the American mainstream would find offensive, the base would be happy but a government shutdown would be unavoidable. If Boehner went with the latter, he’d lose much of his own caucus, and would (again) need House Democrats to finalize a deal.

    As of yesterday, Paul Kane reports that the Speaker is at least open to Door #2.

    Having difficulty finding consensus within their own ranks, House Republican leaders have begun courting moderate Democrats on several key fiscal issues, including a deal to avoid a government shutdown at the end of next week.

    The basic outline would involve more than $30 billion in cuts for the 2011 spending package, well short of the $61 billion initially demanded by freshman Republicans and other conservatives, according to senior aides in both parties. Such a deal probably would be acceptable to Senate leaders and President Obama as long as the House didn’t impose funding restrictions on certain social and regulatory programs supported by Democrats, Senate and administration aides said.

    The fact that Republican leaders have initiated talks with some Democrats shows some division within House Republicans just two months after taking over the House.

    Ya think?

    Ideally, John Boehner would prefer to be a strong House Speaker with resilient credibility among his own members. He could negotiate with Democrats, go to his caucus and assure them he reached the best possible deal, and they’d believe him and vote accordingly.

    But that’s not the case. Boehner is a weak Speaker, leading a caucus that doesn’t necessarily trust him, dominated by freshman who don’t really know him and owe no allegiance to him. The Speaker could work something out with the Senate and White House, explain to House Republicans it’s the best deal possible under the circumstances, only to hear from his own members, “No, you’re wrong, this isn’t good enough.”

    Which is where “centrist” and Blue Dog Democrats come into the picture. Boehner figures he might be able to thread the needle, crafting a deal the Senate and White House can live with, and get to 218 in the House with a coalition of center-right Dems and sane Republicans.

    That would prevent a shutdown and lay the groundwork for future talks. It would also cause widespread apoplexy among conservative activists and the GOP’s Tea Party base, and perhaps even put Boehner’s role as Speaker in jeopardy.

    Indeed, perhaps the only development yesterday that was as interesting as outreach to the Blue Dog Dems was House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) noticeably putting some distance between his budget approach and Boehner’s. In fact, Cantor suggested he isn’t even in the loop when it comes to where things stand, telling reporters, “There is a difference in my knowledge base.”

    Insert joke here.

    If or when push comes to shove, and Boehner feels the need to strike a deal that the hysterical wing of his party won’t like, will Cantor have the Speaker’s back or will Cantor stab the Speaker in the back?

    —Steve Benen 8:35 AM

  30. rikyrah says:

    I’ll Take Godwin for $1,000: Wisconsin Rule of Law Edition*
    by Tom Levenson

    Pre-publication update: Yes, I know that John has already posted on this while I made the error of dining with my wife. But I just love the picture below too much not to press the button. Do not mess with justice, I say.


    Via TPM, we find that Wisconsin Judge Maryann Sumi (echoing a commenter here, what a great name for a judge) has again enjoined the state of Wisconsin from implementing the union busting law passed in dubious battle last month.

    Based on the following, I’m guessing she’s seriously pissed (a legal term of art, you know):

    Apparently that language was either misunderstood or ignored, but what I said was the further implementation of Act 10 was enjoined. That is what I now want to make crystal clear…

    adding that

    Now that I’ve made my earlier order as clear as it possibly can be, I must state that those who act in open and willful defiance of the court order place not only themselves at peril of sanctions, they also jeopardize the financial and the governmental stability of the state of Wisconsin.

    (image below possibly NSFW)

    Most sentient puddles would conclude that perhaps they should obey the court’s order until the substantive issues had been fully litigated. Governor Walker and his henchmen do not share that conviction:

    But minutes later, outside the court room, Assistant Attorney General Steven Means said the legislation “absolutely” is still in effect.

    Please note that the speaker quoted there is an Asst. Attorney General. As in a lawyer. As in an officer of the court.

    So, I guess this is the time to go all Godwin. It is important to remember that authoritarians almost always use the simulacrum of law to provide a tattered aura of legitimacy for their lawless exercise of power. Hitler did certainly; his critical powers derived from grants by the Reichstag.

    Please note: I am not saying Wisconsin is going the way of Berlin, c. 1933. I am saying that the disdain for the ordinary structure of governance and law is how people behave when democracy is an accessory, and not essential to the entire idea of legitimate authority. Courts are convenient to such folks when complaisant, and superfluous if not.

    To be sure, Walker is a pissant way out of his depth, but as many others have noted, he’s important precisely because he is so overt and obvious in his anti-democratic hatred of that messy business of governing. He lets us see plainly what his slicker and more sophisticated co-conspirators plan to do: achieve ends that could not command popular support on their own by any means necessary.

    For that, I suppose we should be grateful to the claque of clumsy thugs now in power in Wisconsin. They are showing us what lurks below the hood of the Republican machine. And so I’ll say to all those right bloggers who maunder on about Obamacare or the Libyan attacks or birth certificates or whatever, if you wish to invoke the words “rule of law” you better have something to say here.

    Gotta give them time, I guess, but my bet is on crickets.

  31. Ametia says:

    Op-Ed Contributor

    Where the Bailout Went Wrong
    Published: March 29, 2011

    TWO and a half years ago, Congress passed the legislation that bailed out the country’s banks. The government has declared its mission accomplished, calling the program remarkably effective “by any objective measure.” On my last day as the special inspector general of the bailout program, I regret to say that I strongly disagree. The bank bailout, more formally called the Troubled Asset Relief Program, failed to meet some of its most important goals.

    From the perspective of the largest financial institutions, the glowing assessment is warranted: billions of dollars in taxpayer money allowed institutions that were on the brink of collapse not only to survive but even to flourish. These banks now enjoy record profits and the seemingly permanent competitive advantage that accompanies being deemed “too big to fail.”

    Though there is no question that the country benefited by avoiding a meltdown of the financial system, this cannot be the only yardstick by which TARP’s legacy is measured. The legislation that created TARP, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, had far broader goals, including protecting home values and preserving homeownership.

  32. Ametia says:

    Washington in Fierce Debate on Arming Libyan Rebels
    Published: March 29, 2011

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is engaged in a fierce debate over whether to supply weapons to the rebels in Libya, senior officials said on Tuesday, with some fearful that providing arms would deepen American involvement in a civil war and that some fighters may have links to Al Qaeda

    The debate has drawn in the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon, these officials said, and has prompted an urgent call for intelligence about a ragtag band of rebels who are waging a town-by-town battle against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, from a base in eastern Libya long suspected of supplying terrorist recruits.

    “Al Qaeda in that part of the country is obviously an issue,” a senior official said.

    On a day when Libyan forces counterattacked, fears about the rebels surfaced publicly on Capitol Hill on Tuesday when the military commander of NATO, Adm. James G. Stavridis, told a Senate hearing that there were “flickers” in intelligence reports about the presence of Qaeda and Hezbollah members among the anti-Qaddafi forces. No full picture of the opposition has emerged, Admiral Stavridis said. While eastern Libya was the center of Islamist protests in the late 1990s, it is unclear how many groups retain ties to Al Qaeda.$reE

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