Friday Open Thread

Tina Turner (born Anna Mae Bullock; November 26, 1939) is an American singer and actress whose career has spanned more than 50 years. She has won numerous awards and her achievements in the rock music genre have earned her the title The Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll.[1][2][3] Turner started out her music career with husband Ike Turner as a member of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue.[4] Success followed with a string of hits including “River Deep, Mountain High” and the 1971 hit “Proud Mary“. With the publication of her autobiography I, Tina (1986), Turner revealed severe instances of spousal abuse against her by Ike Turner prior to their 1976 split and subsequent 1978 divorce. After virtually disappearing from the music scene for several years following her divorce from Ike Turner, she rebuilt her career, launching a string of hits beginning in 1983 with the single “Let’s Stay Together” and the 1984 release of her fifth solo album Priva

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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65 Responses to Friday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    Dems Maneuver GOP Into Voting Against Their Own Budget Proposal
    By karoli

  2. Ametia says:

    On Jackie Robinson Day, all players, coaches and umpires to wear No. 42
    April 15, 2011 | 1:54 pm

    Jackie Robinson Day will be celebrated Friday in every Major League Baseball park around the country to honor the Hall of Fame infielder who broke baseball’s color barrier by becoming the first African American to play in the majors when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947.
    To pay respect to Robinson, hundreds of players, coaches and umpires will don No. 42 as all MLB teams will be required to wear the legendary player’s now-retired number. Robinson is so important to baseball that his number is not just retired for the team for which he played, the Dodgers, but it is retired on every team in baseball. Mariano Rivera, the veteran closer of the New York Yankees, is the only current player to sport the number, and he will be baseball’s last.

    Los Angeles baseball fans may remember in 2007 when Angels outfielder Garret Anderson chose not to follow the lead of other African American ball players and wear Robinson’s number. Back then, wearing the number on Jackie Robinson Day was an optional way to honor the athlete. Anderson said that although he has a great appreciation for Robinson, he didn’t want to don the number because Ken Griffey Jr., among others, came up with the idea. Meanwhile, other players of a variety of ethnicities wanted to wear the number. Today, everyone will wear the number.
    Rachel Robinson, Jackie Robinson’ wife and the Founder of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, and Robinson’s daughter Sharon Robinson will participate in festivities before the Yankees game in New York. Members of the Tuskegee Airmen will be the color guard before the Phillies game in Philadelphia. And in Houston, the Astros are honoring Robinson by selling tickets at half price for Friday night’s game against the San Diego Padres.

    In Los Angeles, the Dodgers will hold festivities for Robinson on the field. Off the field, several Dodgers will visit will hold a panel discussion at Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles Friday to discuss the UCLA graduate’s legacy. Current Dodgers Matt Kemp, James Loney, Marcus Thames, Xavier Paul and Tony Gwynn Jr., will join former Dodgers legends Don Newcombe, Sweet Lou Johnson, Tommy Davis and Maury Wills in the discussion.

  3. Ametia says:

    House passes GOP budget plan for 2012
    By Felicia Sonmez and William Branigin,
    Friday, April 15, 2:50 PM

    The House on Friday passed a Republican budget plan for 2012 aimed at privatizing Medicare and dramatically scaling back the size of the federal government.

    Voting along party lines, the House approved the $3.5 trillion GOP blueprint 235 to 193 after final debate was repeatedly interrupted by protesters chanting and singing in the gallery. Four Republicans joined all Democrats in voting “no.”

    The vote came a day after Congress passed a contentious budget deal for fiscal 2011 that ended the possibility of a government shutdown before Sept. 30, when the current fiscal year ends.

    The debate on various 2012 budget blueprints unfolded as Republicans were smarting from President Obama’s attacks on their cost-cutting goals and Democrats were growing more frustrated with the GOP’s growing power and deficit-reduction zeal.

    The GOP plan that passed the House on Friday was crafted by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Republicans have dubbed it “The Path to Prosperity.” Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have belittled it as the “Road to Ruin.”

    In debate before the vote, Democrats argued that the GOP proposal would drastically affect the entitlement programs valued by voters, especially seniors, and would deny funding for crucial infrastructure investments.

    “This Republican plan ends Medicare as we know it and dramatically reduces benefits for seniors,” Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the House minority leader, said in a floor speech. She said it would force the average senior citizen to pay twice as much for half the benefits while giving “tens of billions of dollars” in tax breaks to big oil companies.

    The GOP plan “reduces Medicaid to our seniors and nursing homes . . . while it gives tax breaks to companies that send jobs overseas,” Pelosi said. “That’s just not fair.”

    House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) defended the Ryan budget plan, saying it “shows families and small business that we are serious about dealing with America’s spending illness.” He said Americans “understand that we can’t continue to spend money that we don’t have” at a time when the national debt tops $14 trillion.

    Boehner blasted President Obama for a speech earlier this week that the speaker described as advocating “more taxing, more spending and more borrowing.” He also criticized Obama for asking Congress to raise the debt limit while rejecting any linkage to Republican policy prescriptions in return.

    “The president wants a clean bill, and the American people will not tolerate it,” Boehner declared. “There will be no debt limit increase unless it is accompanied by serious reforms.”

    The four Republicans who joined 189 Democrats in voting against the GOP budget were Reps. Ron Paul (Texas), Walter B. Jones (N.C.), Denny Rehberg (Mont.) and David B. McKinley (W.Va.).

    As final debate was getting underway, a group of environmental protesters repeatedly interrupted speakers from both parties, and Capitol Police ultimately removed at least seven people from the House visitors’ gallery.

    “We want the government to protect our futures and not the futures of the corporations,” one protester told reporters as a Capitol Police officer put her in flexicuffs in the third-floor hallway outside the House chamber.

    The protest came after the House rejected a Democratic budget alternative proposed by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) .

    Earlier, in a surprise move, House Democrats voted “present” on a more conservative Republican alternative to the Ryan budget, putting GOP leaders on the spot. The procedural effort fell just nine votes short of succeeding.

    The rare move came on a vote on a fiscal year 2012 budget proposal presented by the Republican Study Committee, a group of 176 conservative House Republicans. The group comprises 76 percent of the entire Republican Conference.

    The RSC budget plan, proposed by the group’s chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), called for even bigger changes to federal spending than the Ryan plan, enacting $9.5 trillion in cuts over the next decade and balancing the federal budget by 2020. Ryan’s plan would bring the budget into balance by 2030 and make $6.2 trillion in cuts.

    As Democrats changed their votes from “no” to “present,” Republicans were forced to scramble to make sure the alternative did not pass instead of symbolically voting for it. In the end, the RSC budget failed on a 119-to-136 vote, with 172 lawmakers voting “present.” That meant that if just nine more Republicans had backed the RSC proposal, it would have passed.

    Obama rejected the Ryan plan in his speech on the country’s debt earlier this week. “We will all need to make sacrifices, but we do not have to sacrifice the America we believe in,” he said in a speech at George Washington University. “And, as long as I’m president, we won’t.”

    Thursday night, in Chicago, Obama said America’s two major political parties have dramatically different views of government that offer the nation “a very stark choice.”

    “Under their vision, we can’t invest in roads and bridges and broadband and high-speed rail,” Obama said. “We need to build on the compromises we made last week, but we can’t compromise on our investments to grow, the investments we need to create jobs.”

    Even within the Democratic and Republican parties, the nation’s soaring debt and sluggish economy are stirring divisions.

    Obama is taking heat from liberal groups angry that he is willing to cut domestic spending and make compromises with the Republican majority in Congress. And there is a growing rift inside the GOP over whether the tax increases Obama espouses — long anathema to Republicans — have become necessary. That fissure could threaten passage of any deal to reduce the deficit.

    In debate on the budget Thursday evening, some Democrats argued, as Obama did in his speech, that the country’s debt problem cannot be tackled without raising taxes from higher-income earners.

    “You know, cry me a river,” Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) said on the House floor regarding potential higher taxes for the wealthy.

    Republicans countered that Democrats were lashing out at the Ryan budget while ignoring the scope of the country’s deficit problem.

    “Your problem isn’t Mr. Ryan. It’s Mr. Arithmetic,” Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said.

  4. rikyrah says:

    House Dems Almost Pull Fast One On GOP
    Chaos erupted just now on the floor of the House of Representatives as the minority Democrats almost succeeded in buffaloing the majority Republicans into voting for a long-term budget plan that is even more to the right than Rep. Paul Ryan’s “official” GOP budget and would have supplanted it.

    When the vote on the Republican Study Committee’s uber-conservative budget came to a floor vote a short time ago, Dems voted present and the result was that the RSC’s budget was about to pass with a simple majority of only Republicans. That would have put GOPers on the record for some really fringe budget ideas that would have made for great campaign ads against them, but it would also have supplanted the Ryan budget as the official budget template for the GOP.

    As the chaos ensued, Republicans were able to scramble and reverse their yes votes to no votes, and the far-right budget ultimately failed, but just barely. Brian Beutler reports.


  5. Ametia says:

    Open Season on Jon Huntsman: Letter praises Obama
    By James Oliphant
    April 15, 2011, 10:54 a.m.

    Looks like someone is attempting to abort a prospective Jon Huntsman presidential run while it’s still on the launching pad.

    The Daily Caller, a conservative media news site, obtained two handwritten letters apparently written by Huntsman from an undisclosed source in which the U.S. ambassador to China was effusive in his praise of President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    “You are a remarkable leader and it has been a great honor getting to know you,” Huntsman allegedly wrote to Obama in a note written in August 2009 on what appears to be Huntsman’s letterhead while the Republican was serving as governor of Utah.

    Of Clinton, Huntsman apparently wrote in letter that same month to former President Bill Clinton: his wife ““I must report that Sec. Clinton has won the hearts and minds of the State Dept. bureaucracy—no easy task. And after watching her in action, I can see why. She is well-read, hard working, personable and has even more charisma than her husband! It’s an honor to work with her.”

    Huntsman’s resignation as Chinese ambassador takes effect at the end of the month, and supporters of a presidential bid have already created a political action committee to move those efforts forward, spearheaded by John Weaver, a former adviser to Sen. John McCain.

    Widely viewed as a moderate Republican alternative to the current field, who has supported gay civil unions and combating climate change, Huntsman’s path to the GOP nomination would be a seemingly implausible one given the mood among the Republican base.

    But that hasn’t kept Obama from joking about trying keep Huntsman from the race by noting how well he has worked with the White House.

    When the president named Huntsman ambassador to China, he was widely credited for keeping a potential 2012 rival—a popular governor from a western state–out of the field.

    The GOP presidential contender who would likely be hurt the most if Huntsman entered the race appears to be Mitt Romney, who holds similar appear to moderates.

    As April rolls into May, Huntsman should make his intentions known. But Friday’s revelations won’t make a presidential run any easier.,0,4908404.story?track=rss

    Read the letters here:

  6. Andrea Mitchell is still harping on the Paul Ryan budget beatdown. She asked Maya Macguineas what did she think of the President inviting Paul Ryan over and then slamming him on his budget deal? Andrea–stfu!

  7. Ametia says:

    LOL Some idiot is singing WE shall overcome in the house chambers while Chris Van Hollen is speaking.

  8. Ametia says:

  9. Ellison Stumps Republican On House Floor By Asking Him When Paul Ryan’s Plan Would Balance The Budget

    This morning, the House debated the budget proposal put forth by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, a response to the budget drafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). During the debate, CPC member Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) asked Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) when the Ryan budget would balance and create a surplus. After hemming and hawing for a few seconds, Rokita ultimately couldn’t come up with an answer:

    ELLISON: When does the Ryan budget create a surplus?

    ROKITA: The budget proposed and voted on by the committee — […]

    ROKITA: With responsible, gradual reforms to the drivers of our debt, like Medicare and Social Security, this budget will balance –

    ELLISON: I asked the gentlemen when the Ryan budget created a surplus. He could have given me a year. He didn’t. That’s because he’s probably embarrassed about when that is. Let me tell you when the Progressive Caucus comes to surplus: 2021. That is known as a responsible budget.

    • Ametia says:

      Stick it too’em, Rep Ellison. There’s too much at stake here for Americans. It’s time the Dems grew some balls and start standing beside POTUS.

      EXPOSE GOP’s game plan for AMERICAN to see, and then shred it and them to bits.

  10. rikyrah says:

    The 2012 Race Could Be a Cakewalk
    by BooMan
    Fri Apr 15th, 2011 at 11:25:12 AM EST

    William Galston, the issues director of Walter Mondale’s 1984 presidential campaign, takes a look at President Obama’s reelection prospects and finds that he’s vulnerable to a “credible” Republican challenger. Given the economy, I don’t think this is news, but the question is whether the Republicans can produce a credible challenger. Galston acknowledges the possibility that the GOP won’t field a credible candidate but he doesn’t really examine the likelihood.

    If the Republicans nominate someone who’s seen by the people as a plausible potential president, they’re going to be in the game unless the economy surges as it did in 1984. But they have two opportunities to commit creedal suicide: They could nominate someone too far outside the mainstream to compete effectively, as they did in 1964, or their primary electorate could force more mainstream aspirants to adopt positions that would cripple their general election chances.

    I think we’ve already seen evidence that the Republicans are adopting positions that will cripple their general election chances. The first indicator is coming from the governor’s mansions in Madison, Lansing, Harrisburg, Tallahassee, Augusta, Phoenix, and Columbus. The new batch of Republican governors are collectively overreaching in a big way and causing a major backlash. Usually, you would see it as advantageous to own the governorships in swing states, but I don’t think that will be the case in 2012.

    Another indicator in the willingness of Congressional Republicans to get behind Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan which was easily eviscerated by the president in his budget speech on Wednesday. It would be one thing if the GOP could actually enact these reforms and take credit for tackling our long-term budget concerns, but they won’t have the benefit of accomplishing anything remotely like what they have proposed. Instead, nearly every member of their caucuses has cast a vote in favor of destroying Medicare and slashing taxes on millionaires and billionaires. None of their presidential aspirants came out against Ryan’s plan and it is unlikely that any of them will.

    While we all cringe at the spectacle of Donald Trump questioning the president’s citizenship, Mitt Romney felt compelled to vouch for Obama’s legitimacy. With candidates like Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul, the debates will be a freak show even without The Donald.

    There are only two candidates (Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty) who can reasonably be considered “credible” and they have real weaknesses. Regardless of whatever positions individual candidates take on various issues, the one rock-solid article of faith issue that all Republicans will have to agree on is that Obama’s Affordable Care Act must be repealed. In 2008, I think Obama and Clinton competed in nineteen debates. If Mitt Romney has to defend his signature health care bill in Massachusetts (which was a model for Obama’s bill) nineteen times, he’s going to lose.

    As for Pawlenty, he strikes me as an implausible leader who lacks charisma and any compelling argument for being the standard-bearer of conservatives. His main attraction may be a perceived but unproven “electability” advantage.

    And, in any case, given where the Republicans have positioned themselves right now, I can’t see Romney or Pawlenty winning the nomination and still maintaining any independence from Rush Limbaugh-orthodoxy.

    The weakness of the Republican field is not going unnoticed by Republican lawmakers, but Ed Kilgore argues persuasively that relying on some dark-horse savior is probably not a good idea.

    Personally, I don’t see anyone with the fire-in-the-gut needed to win the Republican nomination, let alone the presidency.

    Presidential prognosticators like to look at things like the unemployment rate and economic growth to predict outcomes. That’s a good place to start, but sometimes a party nominates someone who has no chance of winning regardless of economic conditions. What’s odd about the current situation is that the Republicans don’t seem to have any candidate who can simultaneously appeal to their base and to the general electorate.

    I’m not saying the presidential election will be a cakewalk, but it’s hard to see how it could possibly be competitive. And that’s why Nate Silver is right that the Senate is not necessarily lost.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Cheeseburger in Paradise
    by John Cole

    Like many of you, I think the reason there is so much distance between the Ryan/GOP plan to dismantle Medicare and Medicaid and send that money to Charlie Sheen and the Obama plan is because they are simply incompatible viewpoints. They are quite simply competing visions in which there can be very little common ground.

    But I am a lowly blogger, and as such, have a jaundiced view of things. Far more beautiful minds, such as David Brooks at the NY Times, have other reasons for the distance between the two men and their visions for America:

    President Obama and Paul Ryan are two of the smartest, most admirable and most genial men in Washington. It is sad, although not strange, that in today’s Washington they have never had a serious private conversation. The president has never invited Ryan over even for lunch.

    And, should they decide on a neutral location, I suppose they could always choose the Applebee’s Salad Bar.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Obama unplugged, tells Republicans: ‘You think we’re stupid?’
    By David Jackson, USA TODAY

    Thinking that reporters were out of the room, President Obama opened up Thursday night about the recent budget talks with Republicans and what he called their efforts to sneak in attacks on Planned Parenthood and his health care bill.

    “I said (to Republicans), ‘You want to repeal health care? Go at it,’ ” Obama told backers in a private meeting with an open microphone.

    ” ‘We’ll have that debate. You’re not going to be able to do that by nickel-and-diming me in the budget.’ ”

    He said he added: “You think we’re stupid?”

    Obama took questions from political donors after a press pool had been dismissed. But a microphone remained on, and Mark Knoller of CBS News took notes.

    In what amounted to his most extended remarks on talks with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and others, Obama said he protested GOP efforts to add items to the budget bill under discussion.

    That included efforts to cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

    “Put it in a separate bill,” Obama said he told Boehner and his staff. “We’ll call it up. And if you think you can overturn my veto, try it. But don’t try to sneak this through.”

    Obama also had some choice words for Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who chairs the House Budget Committee:

    “When Paul Ryan says his priority is to make sure, he’s just being America’s accountant … This is the same guy that voted for two wars that were unpaid for, voted for the Bush tax cuts that were unpaid for, voted for the prescription drug bill that cost as much as my health care bill — but wasn’t paid for … So it’s not on the level.”

  13. rikyrah says:

    April 14, 2011
    Categories:Budget.Kyl: I ‘misspoke’ on Planned Parenthood
    Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) has been taking a beating from the left and late-night comics for his office’s claim that he was not making “a factual statement” when he overstated Planned Parenthood’s abortion services.

    Asked if he regretted the flap, Kyl said Thursday: “I misspoke when I said what I said on the floor – and I said so.”

    But what about the claim that it was “not intended to be a factual statement” when Kyl said 90 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services were abortion related?

    “That was not me – that was my press person,” he said.

    Indeed, it was Kyl’s office that put the statement out attempting to clarify the senator’s remarks last week, which has since prompted the likes of Stephen Colbert to relentlessly rail on

  14. Ametia says:

    h/t JJP’s dj & profGeo- PASS it ON!

    Jerry Lawson, Inventor of Modern Game Console, Dies at 70

    Gerald “Jerry” Lawson, creator of the first cartridge-based videogame console, died Saturday morning in a Mountain View, California, hospital, has learned. Lawson was 70.

    As an engineer at Fairchild Semiconductor, Lawson designed the electronics of the Fairchild Video Entertainment System, later renamed the Channel F, in 1976.

    Predating the release of Atari’s Video Computer System by a year, the Channel F was the first videogame machine that used interchangeable game cartridges, which Fairchild sold separately. Previous game machines like Atari’s Pong and the Magnavox Odyssey had all their games built into the hardware. Lawson’s pioneering design set the standard for the game consoles of today.

    “Jerry was an amazing personality,” said family friend David Erhart, who broke the news of Lawson’s death Monday on the Digital Press website. “He created part of the videogame industry history in Silicon Valley and it was always a pleasure to hear his stories about back in the day.”

    Much of Lawson’s background is discussed in a wide-ranging interview he gave Vintage Computing and Gaming in 2009.

    A lifelong engineer and tinkerer, Lawson was born in 1940 and grew up in a federal housing project in Queens, New York. As a kid, he operated a ham radio; as a teenager he earned money by repairing his neighbors’ television sets.

    Rest in peace Mr. lawson

  15. rikyrah says:

    Predatory payday lenders target military families
    By Bruce Watson

    Members of America’s military face threats to life and limb around the world every day, but it’s a domestic threat that has recently put the top brass on the offensive on the homefront — predatory lenders.

    In 2006, the Department of Defense researched the problem, interviewing soldiers who had been devastated by payday loans (.pdf file). While each story is unique, they all include the same basic series of events: A soldier takes out a seemingly simple loan and soon finds him or herself drowning in an ever-deepening morass of debt. Take, for example, the case of an Air Force sergeant who got behind on her car payments and rent. To catch up, she took out a $500 payday loan, agreeing to pay back $600 in two weeks. Things spiraled downhill from there:

    “Unable to repay, she took out other payday loans … to pay off these loans, she contacted an installment loan company who provided her with a $10,000 loan at 50 percent APR. Total cost to pay off the payday loans was $12,750 and her total obligation to the installment loan company was $15,000. Her financial problems were a contributing factor to her pending divorce.”

    It isn’t hard to see why so many members of the military borrow from payday lenders. Across the country, the areas around military installations are almost always cluttered with payday lenders, rent-to-own stores and other companies that offer fast cash for desperate borrowers. This is no accident: Military personnel and their families are ideal targets for unethical lenders. Many enlisted personnel are poorly paid, and the seemingly simple credit terms offer what appears to be an easy solution to a temporary problem.

    These factors, combined with haphazard regulation, have made the cash-to-payday industry one of the biggest threats facing military families. Military leaders have identified debt as a “threat to military readiness, and service members overwhelmingly rate finances the second-most stressful part of the military lifestyle, outpacing family separations and deployments.

    The perfect target
    In 2005, the Center for Responsible Lending determined that 20 percent of active-duty military members had taken out a payday loan. In fact, members of the military were three times more likely than civilians to go to a payday lender. In 2007, Congress passed legislation making it illegal to charge service members more than 36 percent interest on a loan. Since then, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has targeted lenders who prey on military personnel. Even so, usurious lending continues to be a problem for many members of the military

    Part of the problem is that military personnel remain nearly perfect victims for predatory lenders. The vast majority — more than 84 percent — are under 25 years old and are stationed far from home, which means that they cannot easily call on families or friends for help when they get into debt. While the military offers financial support resources, military culture strongly discourages indebtedness: Soldiers who get in over their head can be punished, stripped of their security clearances and even discharged. For many young servicemen and women, the fear of disciplinary action keeps them from taking advantage of low-interest military loans and free debt counseling.

    Low salaries also make military personnel into promising targets: 74 percent of soldiers are in the six lowest ranks, and most make less than $31,000 per year. On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine a more stable group of borrowers: Unlikely to be fired and unable to quit, there is little question that military borrowers will continue to have consistent income for the duration of a loan, especially if — as is the case with payday borrowing — the loan only extends for a couple of weeks. Soldiers also are required to have checking accounts for direct deposit, which makes it easy for lenders to access their money.

    • Ametia says:

      First, this is a NATIONAL DISGRACE. Our military men and their familes shouldn’t want for anything. We all know that wars=profits, and unfortunatley, we know who reaps the benefits of these profits.

      Second, all these pay day centers need to be SHUTDOWN in not only the military regions but across the country.

  16. Ametia says:

    C-Span is carrying the House vote on Ryan’s budget now

  17. Ametia says:

    Caught a bit of Joey Scar on “Moaning Joke.” He’s still whining about PBO’s take down of Paul Ryan’s shitty sham bill.

  18. Tone deaf Trump: ‘The blacks’ remark is beyond the pale


    That hasn’t been his only racial misstep on his campaign trial run. Just yesterday on the Fred Dicker radio show, Trump had this to say regarding the number of black people who voted for Obama in 2008: “I have a great relationship with the blacks, I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks. But unfortunately, it seems that, you know, the numbers you cite are very, very frightening numbers.”

  19. Ametia says:

    Friday, April 15, 2011 7:27 AM EDT

    Obama, Cameron, Sarkozy Joint Letter On Libya (FULL-TEXT)

    Together with our NATO allies and coalition partners, the United States, France and Britain have been united at the UN Security Council, as well as the following Paris Conference, in building a broad-based coalition to respond to the crisis in Libya. We are equally united on what needs to happen to end it.

    Even as we continue military operations today to protect civilians in Libya, we are determined to look to the future. We are convinced that better times lie ahead for the people of Libya, and a pathway can be forged to achieve just that.

    We must never forget the reasons why the international community was obliged to act in the first place. As Libya descended into chaos with Colonel Gaddafi attacking his own people, the Arab League called for action. The Libyan opposition called for help. And the people of Libya looked to the world in their hour of need.

    In an historic resolution, the United Nations Security Council authorized all necessary measures to protect the people of Libya from the attacks upon them. By responding immediately, our countries halted the advance of Gaddafi’s forces. The bloodbath that he had promised to inflict on the citizens of the besieged city of Benghazi has been prevented.

    Tens of thousands of lives have been protected. But the people of Libya are suffering terrible horrors at Gaddafi’s hands each and every day. His rockets and his shells rained down on defenseless civilians in Ajdabiya. The city of Misrata is enduring a medieval siege as Gaddafi tries to strangle its population into submission. The evidence of disappearances and abuses grows daily. Our duty and our mandate under UN Security Council Resolution 1973 is to protect civilians, and we are doing that. It is not to remove Gaddafi by force. But it is impossible to imagine a future for Libya with Gaddafi in power.

    The International Criminal Court is rightly investigating the crimes committed against civilians and the grievous violations of international law. It is unthinkable that someone who has tried to massacre his own people can play a part in their future government. The brave citizens of those towns that have held out against forces that have been mercilessly targeting them would face a fearful vengeance if the world accepted such an arrangement. It would be an unconscionable betrayal.

    Furthermore, it would condemn Libya to being not only a pariah state, but a failed state too. Gaddafi has promised to carry out terrorist attacks against civilian ships and airliners. And because he has lost the consent of his people any deal that leaves him in power would lead to further chaos and lawlessness. We know from bitter experience what that would mean. Neither Europe, the region nor the world can afford a new safe haven for extremists.

    There is a pathway to peace that promises new hope for the people of Libya: a future without Gaddafi that preserves Libya’s integrity and sovereignty and restores her economy and the prosperity and security of her people. This needs to begin with a genuine end to violence, marked by deeds, not words. The regime has to pull back from the cities it is besieging, including Ajdabiya, Misrata and Zintan, and its forces return to their barracks.

    However, so long as Gaddafi is in power, NATO and its coalition partners must maintain their operations so that civilians remain protected and the pressure on the regime builds. Then a genuine transition from dictatorship to an inclusive constitutional process can really begin, led by a new generation of leaders. For that transition to succeed, Colonel Gaddafi must go, and go for good. At that point, the United Nations and its members should help the Libyan people as they rebuild where Gaddafi has destroyed — to repair homes and hospitals, to restore basic utilities, and to assist Libyans as they develop the institutions to underpin a prosperous and open society.

    This vision for the future of Libya has the support of a broad coalition of countries, including many from the Arab world. These countries came together in London on March 29 and founded a contact group that met this week in Doha to support a solution to the crisis that respects the will of the Libyan people.

    Today NATO and its coalition partners are acting in the name of the United Nations with an unprecedented international legal mandate. But it will be the people of Libya, not the UN, who choose their new constitution, elect their new leaders and write the next chapter in their history.

    Britain, France and the United States will not rest until the United Nations Security Council resolutions have been implemented and the Libyan people can choose their own future.

    David Cameron is Prime Minister, Barack Obama is President of the United States and Nicolas Sarkozy is President of France.

  20. Ametia says:

  21. Ametia says:

    April 15, 2011 4:36 AM
    Obama: GOP tried to “sneak” agenda into budget
    Updated 9:10 a.m. ET

    In what he thought was a private chat with campaign donors Thursday evening, President Obama offered the most revealing behind-the-scenes account to date of his budget negotiations with GOP leaders last week.

    CBS Radio News White House correspondent Mark Knoller listened in to an audio feed of Mr. Obama’s conversation with donors after other reporters traveling with the president had left the room.

    In the candid remarks, Mr. Obama complains of Republican attempts to attach measures to the budget bill which would have effectively killed parts of his hard-won health care reform program.

    “I said, ‘You want to repeal health care? Go at it. We’ll have that debate. You’re not going to be able to do that by nickel-and-diming me in the budget. You think we’re stupid?'” recalled the president of his closed-door negotiations on the bill to fund the federal government until September.

    What’s in the budget bill?

    Mr. Obama said he told House Speaker John Boehner and members of his staff that he’d spent a year and a half getting the sweeping health care legislation passed — paying “significant political costs” along the way — and wouldn’t let them undo it in a six-month spending bill.

    The bill, approved by Congress on Thursday, trims about $38 billion from the government’s spending authority, though confusion and consternation over the size of the bill’s actual spending cuts increased Thursday in the wake of a report showing the legislation would only bring a reduction of $352 million in non-war government outlays for the rest of this fiscal year since most of the cuts come from authorized funds not intended to be spent right away.

    Speaking into a microphone which he may not have realized was still relaying his remarks to the White House press room — where Knoller had been listening to earlier remarks that were open to the press — Mr. Obama bemoaned GOP leaders’ attempts to attach a measure to the budget bill which would have cut funding for Planned Parenthood.

    “Put it in a separate bill,” the president said he told Boehner and his staff. “We’ll call it up. And if you think you can overturn my veto, try it. But don’t try to sneak this through.”

    In the end, the deal that was struck did see the Planned Parenthood measure, and a separate effort to defund parts of the health care program, voted on as stand-alone bills Thursday prior to the budget vote. Both measures failed in the Senate.

    With the limited 2011 budget now set to hit Mr. Obama’s desk following Thursday’s vote, both he and his opponents across the aisle are expected to move quickly into negotiations on a much larger, multi-year budget, which both sides hope will trim trillions, rather than mere millions, from the nation’s towering deficit.

    Obama deficit reduction plan leaves deficits
    It’s on: Obama takes iron fist to GOP
    Is Social Security on the table as Obama, Congress tackle the deficit?

    The president told his backers Thursday night that he expects Republicans to continue using that process to enact their political agenda under the guise of cutting spending. He specifically called into question the sincerity of Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who crafted the House GOP’s controversial 2012 budget which includes significant and controversial cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

    “When Paul Ryan says his priority is to make sure, he’s just being America’s accountant … This is the same guy that voted for two wars that were unpaid for, voted for the Bush tax cuts that were unpaid for, voted for the prescription drug bill that cost as much as my health care bill — but wasn’t paid for,” Mr. Obama told his supporters. “So it’s not on the level.”

    • In the candid remarks, Mr. Obama complains of Republican attempts to attach measures to the budget bill which would have effectively killed parts of his hard-won health care reform program.

      “I said, ‘You want to repeal health care? Go at it. We’ll have that debate. You’re not going to be able to do that by nickel-and-diming me in the budget. You think we’re stupid?’” recalled the president of his closed-door negotiations on the bill to fund the federal government until September.

      What were they thinking?

      • Ametia says:

        The stupid would think the POTUS is stupid. The GOP are not smart people. These white men think they are smart, because they’ve been indoctrinated in that thought of white superiority.

  22. Ametia says:

    On April 14, 2011

    Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore talk to Piers Morgan about their support of President Obama and how he’s doing now.

  23. rikyrah says:

    The Ryan Plan’s Political Problem
    Steven L. Taylor · Thursday, April 14, 2011

    I have been meaning to write about the Ryan Plan for days, but have not gotten around to it (although, in general, I think that both James Fallows and Michael Kinsely are largely on target). This post is less about the plan itself than about the politics of the plan.

    To wit, a question: how likely is the plan to pass the House? (Heck, will it even come to a floor vote?) In other words: all the rhetoric of superlatives aside, are Republicans in the House willing to pass the plan?

    I am pondering this issue because I am wondering if a majority of House Republicans are going to be willing to go on record for a plan that will end Medicare as we know it. Yes, there are many in the Republican base, especially the Tea Party faction, that are currently quite passionate about the plan. However, with the 2012 elections around the corner, how willing are individual members of the House to go home and campaign for reelection after having voted to utterly transform Medicare? Worse, since even if the given member believed in the Ryan Plan they know that it will never pass the Senate (let alone survive the veto pen if it did). As such: why go home and risk the wrath of constituents over Medicare when the whole thing is a legislative dead end?

    Remember: we know that some attendees of Tea Party rallies have brandished signs demanding that the government keep its hands off Medicare.* Further, many Republicans ran for office in 2010 by campaigning on the notion that the PPACA was damaging to Medicare (for example:Coates Ad: Obama Forcing Seniors into “Government Run Healthcare” and Blunt Ad Complains of Cutting Medicare…to Support “Government-Run Health Care”).

    Remember also (and more importantly): the public overwhelmingly opposes Medicare cuts: “76% of respondents oppose cutting Medicare (30% find it “unacceptable” and 46% find it “totally unacceptable”)” (see link for details on the given poll—which replicates a consistent result in poll after poll on this topic).

    So again: will the GOP actually go to the mattresses for this plan?

    I have my doubts.|+OTB%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

  24. rikyrah says:

    April 15, 2011
    CANTOR CLAIMS CREDIT FOR DEMOCRATS’ JOBS RECORD…. Oh, Eric Cantor. Are there are any foolish claims you won’t make?

    Yesterday, House Democrats took note of the fact that it was the 100th day of the new Republican rule in the chamber. Most notably, Dems emphasized the fact that the GOP, despite a year of campaign promises, haven’t even considered any jobs bills, with Republicans instead preferring to waste time on pointless gamesmanship and culture war crusades.

    As if to say, “Oh yeah?” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) turned to Twitter to respond to the Democratic argument.

    Now, when it comes to the arithmetic, at least Cantor’s count is correct. The first three months of 2011 have been pretty good for the job market — overall the economy has created 478,000 jobs, and if we look exclusively at the private sector, the total reaches 564,000 jobs.

    The problem, of course, is the breathtaking shamelessness of the oft-confused Majority Leader claiming credit for these encouraging job numbers.

    Indeed, by Cantor’s own reasoning, the boast doesn’t even make any sense. How can all of these jobs be created in the midst of Obama-induced uncertainty? And with crushing tax rates so high? And with pesky regulations stifling the engines of ingenuity? Are we to believe Republicans’ mere presence in the House of Representatives is enough to overcome these burdensome hurdles? And if so, why do we need to act on the GOP agenda at all?

    For that matter, how can all of these jobs be created when Republicans haven’t actually passed any economic policies? Apparently, just knowing Republicans are working hard on abortion legislation that can’t pass and attacking NPR has inspired employers nationwide.


    The reality here is so easy to understand, even Eric Cantor should recognize it. The job market in late 2008 and early 2009 was in freefall, devastated by failed Republican policies, with the economy shedding nearly 800,000 jobs per month. The Recovery Act passed in February 2009, and the employment picture immediately began to improve. We saw growth continue throughout 2010 — even after those rascally Democrats passed health care reform and Wall Street reform — while Republicans said Dems were killing the economy.

    These successes built a healthier economy and a foundation for the kind of job growth we’re starting to see in 2011. If Eric Cantor, with exactly zero legislative victories under his belt, wants to claim credit for this, he’s either not very bright, or he’s assuming we’re not very bright.

    Kevin Drum makes a compelling case for the latter — Cantor’s message is “almost comically shameless,” but the Republican makes the case anyway because Republicans are “willing to be shameless and they don’t really care if anyone calls them on it.” After all, “If you say that your policies are responsible for economic growth enough times, people will believe it.”

    Alas, that’s true. We would ideally have a news media that would offer a disincentive for nonsense like this — political leaders wouldn’t want to appear foolish for making demonstrably ridiculous claims, knowing that reporters would call them on it — just as, ideally, we’d have House leaders who knew what they were talking about and wanted to tell the public the truth. That’s not in the cards.

    But for anyone who cares about the facts, they’re readily available, and they’re the opposite of what Cantor claims.

    —Steve Benen 8:35 AM

  25. rikyrah says:

    Jesse Jackson denies gay worker’s harassment, discrimination claims
    BY STEFANO ESPOSITO Staff Reporter/ Apr 15, 2011 02:10AM

    A spokesman for the Rev. Jesse Jackson on Thursday denied a claim from a man who says he was fired from the civil rights leader’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition because he is gay.

    Tommy R. Bennett filed a complaint with the city of Chicago’s Commission on Human Relations last year, alleging Jackson fired him unjustly and that the civil rights leader forced him to perform “uncomfortable” tasks, including escorting various women to hotel rooms to meet Jackson for sex.

    “The Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., unequivocally deny Tommy Bennett’s false claims of harassment, retaliation and discrimination,” PUSH spokeswoman Lauren Love said in a written statement. “We are fully cooperating with the Chicago Commission on Human Relations and expect to be fully exonerated.”

    The statement goes on to say that Bennett’s “inflammatory allegations are an attempt to malign Rev. Jackson and the organization, and are hurtful and harmful to the progressive community.”

    Bennett claims he worked for PUSH starting in July 2007, and was both an organizer and Jackson’s travel assistant. In his complaint, Bennett — who also goes by the name “Aruba Tommy” — said he experienced discrimination almost immediately, including from a woman at PUSH who refused to work for him because of his sexual orientation, according to the complaint.

    Bennett also claims he was forced to escort women for Jackson into hotel rooms — and later clean up the rooms.

    Bennett claims he received a letter in December 2009, in which he was told he was being laid off due to a “lack of funding.” But Bennett alleges someone else was then hired to replace him.

    Bennett could not be reached for comment Thursday, but his attorney, Thomas V. Leverso, said his client, for a time, “actually enjoyed the work in terms of his actual job duties, but it became increasingly bad and homophobic.”

    Under the right circumstances, Leverso said, Bennett would return to PUSH.

    “He believes that gay rights are civil rights,” Leverso said. “He believes in that organization reaching the potential of its message, which is that everyone has equal civil rights.”

    The Windy City News first reported Bennett’s allegations on Wednesday. The Human Relations complaint is still being investigated by the city, Leverso said. City officials did not comment.

  26. rikyrah says:

    The Usual Suspects
    by mistermix

    I’ve been enjoying reading through the nays on the roll call on the budget bill, and every one of the Fox showboat bigmouth Tea Partiers is on it: Bachmann, Flake, Steve King, Dan Quayle’s idiot boy and the ever-serious Mike Pence. This bunch, and the wannabees that tag along, are a herd of cats that’s all but uncontrollable.

    In addition to the unfortunate fact that this crew answers only to Fox and their own ambition, the other problem Boehner faces is the lies that his more loyal, less crazy caucus members told to stave off Tea Party challengers. A good example is Tom Reed, the freshman representing my district, NY-29. Reed’s campaign was full of happy horseshit about how he’ll go to DC and demand deep budget cuts and fiscal responsibility. Yet there he is, voting with the rest of the Chamber of Commerce Republicans for a budget cut that’s almost indistinguishable from nothing if you use Tea Party arithmetic.

    This group of Boehner loyalists will be waking to an avalanche of phone calls, emails and crayon scrawls from their district’s mobility scooter riders, and they’re going to be complaining to Boehner long and loud. I expect more defections and drama from all of them, especially since next year a few more Democrats are going to bother to vote. I really don’t see how Boehner holds his caucus together, and I think that the Beltway/Politico notion that Pelosi is a non-player is upside down. Pelosi just showed that the only way Boehner can get a deal passed in the House is through her caucus. That sure looks like power to me.

  27. Ametia says:

    The selfish budget? Or the selfless one?
    By Eugene Robinson, Thursday, April 14, 8:00 PM
    It was refreshing to hear all those unambiguous declarations from President Obama on Wednesday. “I will not” let Medicare become a voucher program or deprive families with disabled children of needed benefits. “We will” reform government health-care programs without disavowing the social compact. “I refuse” to sign another renewal of the Bush tax cuts for millionaires. Republicans “want to give people like me a $200,000 tax cut that’s paid for by asking 33 seniors each to pay $6,000 more in health costs. . . . And it’s not going to happen as long as I’m president.”

    Okay, there weren’t any lines with the simple heat of “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” or the terse power of “Make my day.” But Obama’s budget manifesto represented a significant warming of his usually cool rhetoric. He said he wanted to find common ground but instead devoted much of the speech to drawing lines in the sand.

    And thank goodness. If ever there were a time when lines desperately needed to be drawn, it’s now

  28. Ametia says:

    Happy FRY-day, Everybody! :-)))

  29. Wis. Dems charge election has held back votes totals before

    WAUKESHA, Wis. (WTAQ) – Wisconsin’s Democratic Party asked state election officials today to expand its investigation into Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus.

    She’s under fire for not counting Brookfield’s votes in her Election Night tally for the State Supreme Court race last week.

    Now, Democratic Chairman Mike Tate wants to know if Nickolaus under-reported 17-thousand votes in the 2006 race for Wisconsin attorney general. The clerk’s Web site counted 174-thousand votes for the candidates – but it said only 156-thousand were cast.

    Tate said the discrepancy was enough to turn the election – meaning that Democrat Kathleen Falk would have won instead of Republican J-B Van Hollen.

    Tate said the discrepancy is a “serious concern” – and given the revelations of the past week, he asked state Government Accountability Board director Kevin Kennedy to expand his inquiry.

    A blogger noticed discrepancies this week for that race and others. And Nickolaus then posted clarifications on her Web site. She said the candidates’ vote totals do not equal the “ballots cast” totals, because the candidate results include hand-counted ballots which are not included in the “ballots cast” section.

    Also today, Democrats on the Assembly and Senate elections’ committees asked their G-O-P chairs to hold hearings on what’s happening in Waukesha County.

  30. State investigating vote irregularities in Waukesha County going back 5 years

    The state’s investigation into vote irregularities in Waukesha County will stretch back at least five years, the head of the Government Accountability Board said Thursday.

    Questions over vote totals in Waukesha have lingered over the last week, after County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus announced she failed to report more than 14,000 votes from the city of Brookfield in initial vote totals.

    The new total gave incumbent Supreme Court Justice David Prosser a lead of about 7,000 votes over challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg in the hotly contested state Supreme Court race. Official results in that race have not yet been announced.

    Now questions have emerged over Nickolaus’ published vote counts from as far back as the fall of 2006, when there were key statewide elections including races for governor and attorney general.

    “This is part of what we’re looking into. We have a lot of complaints,” said Kevin Kennedy, the director and general counsel for GAB. “It’s part of our investigation.”

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