Serendipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread-POETRY!

April is NATIONAL POETRY MONTH and 3 Chics would be remiss if we didn’t start our celebration by sharing the works of  poet Langston Hughes.  Afterall, we can’t allow former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum tohijack one of Mr. Hughes most indelible works, and once learning the origins and originator of the poem, admitted he didn’t have anything to do with the campaign slogan, and that he doesn’t even read poetry.

Howard University Library System:  Born in 1902 in Joplin, Missouri, Langston Hughes grew up mainly in Lawrence, Kansas, but also lived in Illinois, Ohio, and Mexico.

By the time Hughes enrolled at Columbia University in New York, he had already launched his literary career with his poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” in the Crisis, edited by W E. B. Du Bois. He had also committed himself both to writing and to writing mainly about African-Americans.

Hughes’s sense of dedication was instilled in him most of all by his maternal grandmother, Mary Langston, whose first husband had died at Harpers Ferry as a member of John Brown’s band, and whose second husband (Hughes’s grandfather) had also been a militant abolitionist. Another important family figure was John Mercer Langston, a brother of Hughes’s grandfather who was one of the best-known black Americans of the nineteenth century. At the same time, Hughes struggled with a sense of desolation fostered by parental neglect. He himself recalled being driven early by his loneliness ‘to books, and the wonderful world in books.’

Leaving Columbia in 1922, Hughes spent the next three years in a succession of menial jobs. But he also traveled abroad. He worked on a freighter down the west coast of Africa and lived for several months in Paris before returning to the United States late in 1924. By this time, he was well known in African American literary circles as a gifted young poet.

His major early influences were Walt Whitman, Carl Sandburg, as well as the black poets Paul Laurence Dunbar, a master of both dialect and standard verse, and Claude McKay, a radical socialist who also wrote accomplished lyric poetry. However, Sandburg, who Hughes later called “my guiding star,” was decisive in leading him toward free verse and a radically democratic modernist aesthetic.

His devotion to black music led him to novel fusions of jazz and blues with traditional verse in his first two books, The Weary Blues (1926) and Fine Clothes to the Jew (1927). His emphasis on lower-class black life, especially in the latter, led to harsh attacks on him in the black press. With these books, however, he established himself as a major force of the Harlem Renaissance. In 1926, in the Nation, he provided the movement with a manifesto when he skillfully argued the need for both race pride and artistic independence in his most memorable essay, ‘The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain.”

By this time, Hughes had enrolled at the historically black Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, from which he would graduate in 1929. In 1927 he began one of the most important relationships of his life, with his patron Mrs. Charlotte Mason, or “Godmother,” who generously supported him for two years. She supervised the writing of his first novel, Not Without Laughter (1930)–about a sensitive, black midwestern boy and his struggling family. However, their relationship collapsed about the time the novel appeared, and Hughes sank into a period of intense personal unhappiness and disillusionment.

One result was his firm turn to the far left in politics. During a year (1932-1933) spent in the Soviet Union, he wrote his most radical verse. A year in Carmel, California, led to a collection of short stories, The Ways of White Folks (1934). This volume is marked by pessimism about race relations, as well as a sardonic realism.

After his play Mulatto, on the twinned themes of miscegenation and parental rejection, opened on Broadway in 1935, Hughes wrote other plays, including comedies such as Little Ham (1936) and a historical drama, Emperor of Haiti (1936). Most of these plays were only moderate successes. In 1937 he spent several months in Europe, including a long stay in besieged Madrid. In 1938 he returned home to found the Harlem Suitcase Theater, which staged his agitprop drama Don’t You Want to Be Free? The play, employing several of his poems, vigorously blended black nationalism, the blues, and socialist exhortation. The same year, a socialist organization published a pamphlet of his radical verse, “A New Song.”

With World War II, Hughes moved more to the center politically. His first volume of autobiography, The Big Sea (1940), written in an episodic, lightly comic manner, made virtually no mention of his leftist sympathies. In his book of verse Shakespeare in Harlem (1942) he once again sang the blues. On the other hand, this collection, as well as another, his Jim Crow’s Last Stand (1943), strongly attacked racial segregation.

Perhaps his finest literary achievement during the war came in the course of writing a weekly column in the Chicago Defender that began in 1942 and lasted twenty years. The highlight of the column was an offbeat Harlem character called Jesse B. Semple, or Simple, and his exchanges with a staid narrator in a neighborhood bar, where Simple commented on a variety of matters but mainly about race and racism. Simple became Hughes’s most celebrated and beloved fictional creation, and the subject of five collections edited by Hughes, starting in 1950 with Simple Speaks His Mind.

The Negro Speaks of Rivers 
I've known rivers:
I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
     flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
     went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy
     bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I've known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

You can hear Langston Hughes recite the poem on audio here.

This week, feel free to Drop a poem or link at 3 Chics to some of your favorite poems/poets.  Have a great Monday!

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97 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread-POETRY!

  1. The Janitor says:

    Shout out to Lawrence, Kansas! True story: when I used to live in Lawrence I lived a few streets away from where Langston Hughes stayed. And then, by sheer coincidence, when I first moved to NY I lived in Harlem literally 4 short blocks away from Langston’s house on 127th street.

  2. Ametia says:

  3. Obama planning major black outreach for 2012

    “For centuries, African American men and women have persevered to enrich our natural life and bend the arch of history toward justice … African-Americans have strengthened our nation by leading reforms, overcoming obstacles and breaking down barriers.” – President Barack Obama

    It may be a stretch to say that President Barack Obama has crafted a “black agenda” for America, but this much is clear: One week after announcing his re-election campaign for 2012, Obama has dispatched senior black White House advisors to black communities across the country to share stories about how the administration is working to improve the quality of life for African-Americans.

    The Obama administration’s goal is ambitious: To connect with one million African-Americans and host 100 events in black communities across the country throughout 2011. Obama, America’s first black president, is sending out a resounding battle cry to his African-American base at a time when his approval ratings among blacks is slipping.

    This charge-the-hill approach to African-American outreach is unprecedented for the Obama administration, and it signals that Obama is leaving nothing to chance and has listened – and responded – to critics who claim that Obama needs a black agenda moving forward.

  4. Jan Brewer Vetoes Presidential Birther Bill

    PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has vetoed a bill to require President Barack Obama and other presidential candidates to prove their U.S. citizenship before their names can appear on the state’s ballot.

    The bill vetoed by Brewer on Monday would have made Arizona the first state to pass such a requirement. According to My Fox Phoenix, the governor said the measure “is a bridge too far.

  5. dannie22 says:

    And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, ‘Speak to us of Children.’

    And he said:

    Your children are not your children.

    They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

    They come through you but not from you,

    And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

    You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

    For they have their own thoughts.

    You may house their bodies but not their souls,

    For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

    You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

    For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

    You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

    The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

    Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

    For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

    Khalil Gibran

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  6. dannie22 says:

    Where are you, my beloved? Are you in that little
    Paradise, watering the flowers who look upon you
    As infants look upon the breast of their mothers?

    Or are you in your chamber where the shrine of
    Virtue has been placed in your honor, and upon
    Which you offer my heart and soul as sacrifice?

    Or amongst the books, seeking human knowledge,
    While you are replete with heavenly wisdom?

    Oh companion of my soul, where are you? Are you
    Praying in the temple? Or calling Nature in the
    Field, haven of your dreams?

    Are you in the huts of the poor, consoling the
    Broken-hearted with the sweetness of your soul, and
    Filling their hands with your bounty?

    You are God’s spirit everywhere;
    You are stronger than the ages.

    Do you have memory of the day we met, when the halo of
    You spirit surrounded us, and the Angels of Love
    Floated about, singing the praise of the soul’s deed?

    Do you recollect our sitting in the shade of the
    Branches, sheltering ourselves from Humanity, as the ribs
    Protect the divine secret of the heart from injury?

    Remember you the trails and forest we walked, with hands
    Joined, and our heads leaning against each other, as if
    We were hiding ourselves within ourselves?

    Recall you the hour I bade you farewell,
    And the Maritime kiss you placed on my lips?
    That kiss taught me that joining of lips in Love
    Reveals heavenly secrets which the tongue cannot utter!

    That kiss was introduction to a great sigh,
    Like the Almighty’s breath that turned earth into man.

    That sigh led my way into the spiritual world,
    Announcing the glory of my soul; and there
    It shall perpetuate until again we meet.

    I remember when you kissed me and kissed me,
    With tears coursing your cheeks, and you said,
    “Earthly bodies must often separate for earthly purpose,
    And must live apart impelled by worldly intent.

    “But the spirit remains joined safely in the hands of
    Love, until death arrives and takes joined souls to God.

    “Go, my beloved; Love has chosen you her delegate;
    Over her, for she is Beauty who offers to her follower
    The cup of the sweetness of life.
    As for my own empty arms, your love shall remain my
    Comforting groom; you memory, my Eternal wedding.”

    Where are you now, my other self? Are you awake in
    The silence of the night? Let the clean breeze convey
    To you my heart’s every beat and affection.

    Are you fondling my face in your memory? That image
    Is no longer my own, for Sorrow has dropped his
    Shadow on my happy countenance of the past.

    Sobs have withered my eyes which reflected your beauty
    And dried my lips which you sweetened with kisses.

    Where are you, my beloved? Do you hear my weeping
    From beyond the ocean? Do you understand my need?
    Do you know the greatness of my patience?

    Is there any spirit in the air capable of conveying
    To you the breath of this dying youth? Is there any
    Secret communication between angels that will carry to
    You my complaint?

    Where are you, my beautiful star? The obscurity of life
    Has cast me upon its bosom; sorrow has conquered me.

    Sail your smile into the air; it will reach and enliven me!
    Breathe your fragrance into the air; it will sustain me!

    Where are you, me beloved?
    Oh, how great is Love!
    And how little am I!

    Khalil Gibran

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  7. dannie22 says:

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    Phenomenal Woman

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      Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
    I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
    But when I start to tell them,
    They think I’m telling lies.
    I say,
    It’s in the reach of my arms
    The span of my hips,
    The stride of my step,
    The curl of my lips.
    I’m a woman
    Phenomenal woman,
    That’s me.

    I walk into a room
    Just as cool as you please,
    And to a man,
    The fellows stand or
    Fall down on their knees.
    Then they swarm around me,
    A hive of honey bees.
    I say,
    It’s the fire in my eyes,
    And the flash of my teeth,
    The swing in my waist,
    And the joy in my feet.
    I’m a woman
    Phenomenal woman,
    That’s me.

    Men themselves have wondered
    What they see in me.
    They try so much
    But they can’t touch
    My inner mystery.
    When I try to show them
    They say they still can’t see.
    I say,
    It’s in the arch of my back,
    The sun of my smile,
    The ride of my breasts,
    The grace of my style.
    I’m a woman

    Phenomenal woman,
    That’s me.

    Now you understand
    Just why my head’s not bowed.
    I don’t shout or jump about
    Or have to talk real loud.
    When you see me passing
    It ought to make you proud.
    I say,
    It’s in the click of my heels,
    The bend of my hair,
    the palm of my hand,
    The need of my care,
    ‘Cause I’m a woman
    Phenomenal woman,
    That’s me.

    Maya Angelou

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  8. My Morning Coffee

    When I rise, I smell your sweet “aroma”
    I’m addicted to your
    Creamy, Flavor

    I “savor” every warm sensation you give
    From the first “taste”, to the last drop Damn, Starbucks aint got nothin on you

    Night falls…my cup is empty

    A new day is dawning, and
    I can’t wait for…

    My Morning Coffee
    “You are good to the last drop”

    Willie C. Robinson, Sr.

  9. Ametia says:

    Obama Is Now and Will Be a Great President
    Frank Schaffer
    Monday, April 18, 2011

    The “disappointed” left says president Obama sold out. The racist-laced Medicaid-mugging, billionaire-codling right staggers under the weight of terminal “birther” mythology (now trumpeted by moron-come-lately Donald Trump). Meanwhile president Obama continues to bide his time and looks down the road to the post-2012 reality when his patience with an impatient country, his thoughtfulness in the context of a sound-bite-entertain-ourselves-to-death era of short attention spans and historical amnesia will be vindicated.

    If you think that president Obama played the Republicans in the last lame duck congress like a violin just wait until after 2012 when the rotten Tea Party will be about as relevant as 1930s hate monger radio priest: Charles Coughlin (the “father” of hate radio), is today.

    President Obama has met the vile far right (and religious right lynch mob) and also met the disappointment of the shrill impatient left with a calm smile and good humor. He’s even reached out to what remains of the Republican Party languishing hock deep in the quagmire of their own frightened and wholly imagined paranoid “victim” status. President Obama has also played chicken with each new crisis and — invariably — pulled last moment hair raising victory from what critics said would be defeat…

    Before he’d served a year president Obama lost the support of the easily distracted (bitter?) left of the Left and also became the target for the white hot rage of the hate-filled right of the Right. But some of us, from all walks of life and ideological backgrounds are sticking with our president.

    I happen to be a white fifty-eight-year-old former Republican. In my new book I explain why I left (fled!) the right and religious right movement my family helped found Sex, Mom and God: How the Bible’s Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics–and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway. (In this book I deconstruct evangelical “thinking” about politics and the Bible in a way that I hope entertainingly exposes the religion-created sexual dysfunction that has been the only actual motivating factor for the so called culture wars.)

    That said… I voted for Obama and have been impressed by the success of his presidency so far (we’re not in an economic depression because of his interventions) and heartened by the promise of his post-2012 presidency that is shaping up to be historic. .

    What Obama Faced

    Here is what Obama faced on “Day One”:

    Two wars; one that was mishandled from the start, the other that was unnecessary and immoral

    The worst economic crisis since the depression

    America’s standing in the world at the lowest point in history

    A country that had been misled into accepting the use of torture of prisoners of war

    A health care system in free fall

    An educational system in free fall

    A global environmental crisis of history-altering proportions (about which the Bush administration and the Republicans had done nothing)

    An impasse between culture warriors from the right and left

    And a racist-dominated white old boys club — the Republican Party — that would use code words “no birth certificate,” “not a real American”… etc., etc., for what they really wanted to shout which was a shocked, “There’s an uppity black man in the White House!”…

    Republican Party Hate, Democratic Party Impatience

    What did the Republicans and the religious right, libertarians and half-baked conspiracy theorists — that is what the Republicans were reduced to being by the time Obama took office — do to “help” our new president (and our country) succeed? They claimed that he was a reincarnation of Hitler and wanted “death panels” to kill the elderly!

    What did the left do to help our newly elected president? Some proclaimed that the president’s economic policies had “failed” before the president even instituted them!

    Those that had stood in transfixed legions weeping with beatific emotion on election night turned into an angry mob saying how “disappointed” they were that they’d not all immediately been translated to heaven the moment Obama stepped into the White House. And the greatest (willful?) stupidity on the left has been to ignore the racists context of Republican obstructionist “policy” and to make a he-didn’t-bring-enough-change critique of the president as if he could do all he wanted to do, or intends to do when he gets a second term.

    The disappointment on the left has apparently led some folks to concoct an alternate reality in which — in a mirror image of the loony embittered far right, not to mention in a mirror image of people like Sarah Palin who have made a profitable career out of being professional Obama haters — no matter what president Obama does they dismiss it. In other words some on the left don’t just disagree on tactics they act like jilted lovers (and/or opportunistic cynics trolling for the next book advance) and have turned their once too-ardent love into hate.

    For instance here’s how blogger media personality and professional Obama-hater Glenn Greenwald describes president Obama:

    “[Obama will] pay lip service to some Democratic economic dogma and defend some financially inconsequential culture war positions: that’s how he will signal to the base that he’s still on their side. But the direction will be the same as the GOP desires and, most importantly, how the most powerful economic factions demand: not because he can’t figure out how to change that dynamic, but because that’s what benefits him and thus what he wants.”

    Think about Greenwald’s claim that what president Obama really wants is the same thing that the Republican leaders in congress want. He dismisses president Obama’s defense of stem cell research, a woman’s right to choose, gay rights, gay’s right to serve in the military et al as “inconsequential culture war positions.” Parkinson’s disease suffers waiting for a cure, women with unwanted pregnancies and gay men and women in the military might disagree that the costly stand the president has taken is inconsequential.

    Think about Greenwald’s claim that president Obama is just the same as the Republicans in the context of the non-stop character assassination that the Republicans have carried on against president Obama, and in the light of their hysterical and false attacks on health care reform, in the light of bumper stickers calling for the president’s death etc., etc. Odd that the Republicans don’t seem to understand that Obama is really one of them!

    How about this: Given the racist state of American politics and the lack of steadfast lefty support not to mention morale-destroying lefty jilted lover carping (and the critique-for-profit members of the left who now define themselves by opposition to president Obama and thus have their egos tied to presidential “failure”), and the hate-filled mythology of the right, president Obama has done incredibly well to get anything done at all.

    Maybe there are some on the left who (besides selling anti-Obama screeds) suffer from some sort of psychological problem of denial and are unable to deal with the reality of what America has become and actually is: A place where progressive ideas are routinely crushed beneath the weight of the corporate state and entrenched bigotry. But THAT reality is where president Obama must function.

    And he has to bide his time. President Obama did not sell America to the cooperate oligarchy that has destroyed our democracy– the Republicans did, the lobbyists did and above all the Supreme Court did. President Obama didn’t bust the unions– Reagan did. President Obama didn’t declare war on women and minorities and immigration rights, gay rights and working men and women– the Republicans and religious right did. President Obama did not create the permanent war economy of imperial gun-toting undereducated and over-armed America– the Republicans did with the backing of American evangelicals (not to mention the neoconservative Israel lobby) who believe in God-ordained American “exceptionalism.”

    Trying to change any or all of this will take time. It will not be achieved by one man. And our best shot at changing anything at all is to be realistic about what one president can do.

    The President’s critics left and right all had one thing in common: impatience laced with little-to-no sense of history.

    Meanwhile back in the real world …

    Health care reform passed

    Gay rights in the military took a quantum leap

    The economy began to revive

    The world loved an American president for the first time in half a century

    The war in Iraq drew down

    America foiled countess terror attacks

    And post-Libya intervention president Obama has in a little noticed historic move — changed America’s arrogant unilateral habit of global intervention perfected by Bush II.

    Mr. Kupchan (of the Council on Foreign Relations) says that something new about Obama re actual change is the way he acts in international interventions. “The governing mantra since World War II has been, ‘America is out in front,’ so it’s quite striking how prominent the administration’s focus is on letting others take the lead,” he says. “It’s really kind of revolutionary.”

    … And everything president Obama has done he did against the backdrop of a hate campaign against him – from the right and the left — the likes of which no American president has faced since Lincoln faced down the slave-owning states.

    Make no mistake the Tea Party, the rise of shills-and-fools-for-profit like Palin, Bachmann, Trump et al, the sale of bumper stickers calling for the president’s death (Psalm 109) etc., etc., all add up to one thing: the white rube underclass is lashing out. (Jimmy Carter was correct; it’s always about race in America).

    And in THIS context, with the just-say-no Republicans doing nothing but obstructing him our first black president has nevertheless:

    Extended child tax credits and marriage-penalty fixes; increased minority access to capital; established a credit card bill of rights; expanded loan programs for small businesses; closed the “doughnut hole” in Medicare prescription drug plan, required insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions; required children to have health insurance coverage; expanded eligibility for Medicaid; increased the Veterans Administration budget to recruit and retain more mental health workers, fully fund the Veterans Administration, fully funded the Violence Against Women Act; directed military leaders to end war in Iraq; sought verifiable reductions in nuclear stockpiles; repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy; raised fuel economy standards and reversed restrictions on stem cell research…defended a woman’s right to abortion…

    While President Obama brilliantly cajoled 13 Republicans to join every Democratic senator to ratify the New Start nuclear arms treaty with Russia, adding (as the Times put it) “the capstone to what now shapes up to be a remarkably successful legislative agenda for President Obama’s first two years…” And while President Obama signed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell into law and while President Obama orchestrated the push back in the Senate–that then unanimously approved a bill to pay for the medical care of workers who cleaned up ground zero… the President also kept proving that his rabid critics on the right, who have been working so hard to undermine his presidency at every turn, are dead wrong. And then president Obama foiled the great Tea Party budget “victory” of April 2011.

    According to some rueful (angry) conservative press reports: “The historic $38 billion in budget cuts resulting from at-times hostile bargaining between Congress and the Obama White House were accomplished in large part by pruning money left over from previous years, using accounting sleight of hand and going after programs President Barack Obama had targeted anyway.”

    The President keeps proving himself smarter that his detractors

    President Obama wasn’t able to walk on water! And he has made mistakes! But he has his feet firmly planted on the ground and understands the reality of what America has become and just where he must function, which is more than his critics can claim.

    President Obama also keeps proving that compared to the talking-heads he knows how to get things done that actually change lives and matter– health care reform, gay rights (instead of mere slogans), actual education reform, ending a war, restoring America’s image worldwide.

    We Americans are very lucky people. A sane and compassionate president is in charge. Over an 8 year period he will change American history for the better. Only president Obama’s dimwitted and/or hate-filled opponents are unlucky: they are betting against a political genius who also happens to be a very good human being.

    Frank Schaeffer is a writer. His new book is, Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible’s Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics–and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway.

  10. Ametia says:

  11. dannie22 says:

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    Homage to My Hips

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      these hips are big hips.
    they need space to
    move around in.
    they don’t fit into little
    petty places. these hips
    are free hips.
    they don’t like to be held back.
    these hips have never been enslaved,
    they go where they want to go
    they do what they want to do.
    these hips are mighty hips.
    these hips are magic hips.
    i have known them
    to put a spell on a man and
    spin him like a top

    Lucille Clifton

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  12. dannie22 says:

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    I Crave Your Mouth, Your Voice, Your Hair

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    Don’t go far off, not even for a day, because —
    because — I don’t know how to say it: a day is long
    and I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station
    when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep.

    Don’t leave me, even for an hour, because
    then the little drops of anguish will all run together,
    the smoke that roams looking for a home will drift
    into me, choking my lost heart.

    Oh, may your silhouette never dissolve on the beach;
    may your eyelids never flutter into the empty distance.
    Don’t leave me for a second, my dearest,

    because in that moment you’ll have gone so far
    I’ll wander mazily over all the earth, asking,
    Will you come back? Will you leave me here, dying?

    Pablo Neruda

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  13. dannie22 says:

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    If You Forget Me

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      I want you to know
    one thing.

    You know how this is:
    if I look
    at the crystal moon, at the red branch
    of the slow autumn at my window,
    if I touch
    near the fire
    the impalpable ash
    or the wrinkled body of the log,
    everything carries me to you,
    as if everything that exists,
    aromas, light, metals,
    were little boats
    that sail
    toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

    Well, now,
    if little by little you stop loving me
    I shall stop loving you little by little.

    If suddenly
    you forget me
    do not look for me,
    for I shall already have forgotten you.

    If you think it long and mad,
    the wind of banners
    that passes through my life,
    and you decide
    to leave me at the shore
    of the heart where I have roots,
    that on that day,
    at that hour,
    I shall lift my arms
    and my roots will set off
    to seek another land.

    if each day,
    each hour,
    you feel that you are destined for me
    with implacable sweetness,
    if each day a flower
    climbs up to your lips to seek me,

  14. rikyrah says:

    I’ve never done this before, so I have to ask…how does one register a domain name? Where do you to see if one has been taken?

  15. rikyrah says:

    Two Ways
    by Kay

    Donald Berwick lays out the difference between the Obama approach to cutting health care costs in Medicare and the GOP approach to cutting health care costs in Medicare:

    “There are two ways to save money,” Berwick told the journalists meeting. “One is to cut and the other is to improve.” He cited hospitals that have dramatically reduced patients’ bed sores and another that adopted efficiency steps from Toyota to save millions of dollars while also delivering better care. “The aim is to make the best the norm,” he said.

    Berwick said the health law provides other tools to improve health care quality and delivery. These include accountable care organizations, in which doctors and hospitals coordinate patient care, and the newly created Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to “nurture invention” that will lower costs and raise quality.
    He also pointed to a patient safety initiative the Obama administration announced this week to reduce preventable hospital-acquired infections and complications. It could save 60,000 lives and cut Medicare costs by an estimated $50 billion over 10 years, officials estimated.

    Berwick is an internationally recognized expert on patient-centered health care. With Berwick’s recess appointment, conservatives immediately swung into campaign mode, cherry-picking statements he has made over the course of a long and distinguished career to portray him as a wild-eyed rationing socialist. That’s the sum total analysis of Berwick and the cost-cutting measures in the PPACA. Two statements, two cites.

    Conservatives are fighting tooth and nail in Congress to defeat every existing and real mechanism to reduce Medicare costs while shouting “hey, look over here!” and shoving Paul Ryan onto the stage, where Ryan waves a piece of paper around to convey URGENCY and FISCAL CONCERN.

    It’s a kindergarten-level con. And, they’ve worked this kindergarten-level con successfully since they gained a majority in the US House.

  16. rikyrah says:

    April 18, 2011
    THE ‘V’ WORD DOESN’T POLL WELL, EITHER…. The House Republican budget plan, approved late last week, intends to effectively eliminate the Medicare program, replacing with a privatized voucher system. That’s not rhetoric or campaign spin; that’s the plan. The next step should be debating whether it’s a good idea or a bad idea.

    But some on the right are still a little hung up on the words used to describe the plan. Last week, we discussed how some are pushing back against the word “privatization,” apparently because it doesn’t poll well. The word is clearly accurate in this case — the GOP plan takes the socialized, government-financed health care program, and turns it over to private insurers — but Republicans are resisting it anyway.

    As it turns out, they’re fighting against “voucher,” too.

    Yesterday, ABC’s Christiane Amanpour asked Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) about the budget plan she supports. “[I]t includes a radical restructuring of Medicare, essentially converting it to a voucher system, sort of privatizing it,” the host noted. “Now, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the average senior will then have to end up paying an extra $6,000 or more out of their own pocket, I mean, how do you think that that will sit with the voters? With the American people?”

    Here’s Ellmers’ response in its entirety:

    “Well, let me just say, Christiane, that, first of all, as a nurse, you know, Medicare is an issue that we absolutely have to deal with. And, as you know, you mentioned in the Ryan budget that this issue is going to be addressed.

    “It is not a voucher system. Basically what we will be doing is allowing seniors to be able to make the choices for their health care, the same that we in Congress are doing. It’s the very same basic plan. And it actually saves money. It saves money in Medicare over time and it actually increases the coverage, but at the same time, it also increases coverage for those in the low income areas as well.”

    First, being a nurse isn’t an excuse for voting to eliminate Medicare. Indeed, it suggests the freshman congresswoman actually ought to know better.

    Second, saying, “It’s not a voucher system” is bizarre since the whole point of the plan is to create a voucher system. If Ellmers wants to say that’s a good thing, this was her chance. But simply pretending the plan she voted for — just 48 hours earlier — doesn’t do what it plainly does make it seem as if the lawmaker has no idea what she’s talking about.

    And third, saying that Medicare privatization “saves money” is willfully dishonest. No one, even on the right, believes Paul Ryan’s voucher scheme actually lowers costs — all it does is shift those costs onto the elderly, and then use the difference to finance tax cuts for the wealthy.

    Does Ellmers not understand the basics of the proposal she supports, or did she just go on national television and deliberately mislead millions of viewers? (Given how ridiculous her campaign was last year, it’s arguably a close call.)

    My ongoing concern, however, is that the media will screw this up. News organizations may start avoiding the “v” word, even though it’s accurate, if Republicans simply state, “It’s not a voucher system.” The public will hear a stunted debate because media outlets are too often cowed into using politician-endorsed word choice, rather than accurate descriptions.

    —Steve Benen 2:50 PM

  17. rikyrah says:

    under Bitch, Please news:


    April 18, 2011
    BACHMANN’S ODD ATTEMPT TO TIE OBAMA TO WALL STREET…. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) expected to hold a big Tax Day rally in South Carolina today, but it didn’t go well. More interesting to me, though, is what she said at the event.

    Michele Bachmann’s much anticipated Tax Day rally on Monday was a “dud” that drew a paltry 300 people in Columbia, S.C., according to reports.

    Bachmann met privately with South Carolina GOP Gov. Nikki Haley ahead of her speech to the small crowd in the Palmetto state’s capital.

    The Minnesota congressman rallied the tea party supporters with a call to block Washington from raising the debt ceiling and attacked Barack Obama for being too close to Wall Street.

    One local reporter said “politicians, political operatives and members of the media came close to outnumbering attendees” at the event. Ouch.

    But I’m fascinated by the notion that the unhinged GOP lawmaker believes the president is too close to Wall Street.

    Bachmann may not have heard about this, but Wall Street tends to hate the president. Politico reported not too long ago that Wall Street hates Obama and his team with “an almost irrational passion,” as bankers and their lobbyists regard the administration “with a disdain so thick it often blurs to naked loathing.”

    And why is that? It probably has something to do with the fact that Obama successfully pushed a major Wall Street reform package though Congress, with the most sweeping rule changes and new safeguards since the Great Depression. This White House has also been willing to blame the financial industry for its colossal mistakes — the ones that almost destroyed global capitalism, and very nearly caused a catastrophic meltdown of international markets.

    It was Bachmann’s party, meanwhile, that huddled with hedge fund managers and industry lobbyists to try to kill Wall Street reform, offering to trade campaign contributions for weaker layers of accountability, and then vowing to repeal the new safeguards.

    And it was Bachmann who personally voted as Wall Street preferred when the reforms reached the House floor.

    Bachmann “attacked Barack Obama for being too close to Wall Street”? Seriously? I realize her rhetoric tends to be pretty nutty, but even Bachmann should be able to do better than this.

    —Steve Benen 4:55 PM

  18. Ametia says:

    Jesus, the comments on that site are straight stone cold crazy!

    Glenn Greenwald: Why Do We Assume Obama’s Actually Trying to Enact a Progressive Agenda?
    What evidence is there that Obama truly wants progressive outcomes?

    What I see here is confirmation bias and speculation, not substantive, evidence-based political analysis. My question is, why do we assume Glenn Greenwald is a credible and competent political analyst? Greenwald is purported to be a legal expert, not a political scientist. Now, I realize political science is actually a soft science and inherently prone to subjectivity. But Greenwald’s analysis is so flawed and repeatedly filled with reactions to hypothetical, predicted, or even *imagined* future policy (which has little or no substantive evidence to support), it’s astounding he receives credibility for it. I believe he is using his earned credibility in civil rights law to buttress unearned credibility in political analysis. And I think it’s a problem, because he’s using it in a pernicious way.

    I won’t touch Greenwald’s analyses on civil rights law. He has amassed an impressive volume of specialized knowledge and experience there. But I *will* criticize the way he uses that cred to shift into political analysis, wherein he makes *authoritative* statements that go beyond analyzing demonstrable evidence. He slips in pronouncements about politicians’ *true* motivations without having anything but the thinnest (and sometimes manufactured) substance to base them on. Moreover, his specific complaints morph (within the space of a *single* column) when his predictions don’t pan out, and require either a backtrack or some acknowledgement of a mistake in his prejudgement. But Greenwald doesn’t offer either of those. Why?

    Here’s an example: Before Obama’s April 13 budget and debt speech, Glenn took to his prominent platform to post a column called “Obama’s ‘bad negotiating’ is actually shrewd negotiating,” wherein you’ll find him discussing the “bully pulpit,” and how Obama’s “most loyal supporters” (for whom GG spells out his disdain in an earlier post called “The impotence of the loyal partisan voter”) complain that “bully pulpit” power is limited and insufficient to transcend some of the technical, *operational* obstacles Obama and Dems face. So Glenn proceeds to point out the “transformational” power Ronald Reagan wielded by using the bully pulpit–that *Reagan’s* power changed conventional wisdom and still influences our discourse. At this point, Glenn poses the rhetorical question, “When has Obama ever done any of that?” He goes on the say that, sure, Obama *could* easily do that if he *wanted* to. But then Glenn shares with us his special insight: somehow, he *knows* Obama’s heart and interior motivations. The reason Obama doesn’t use the bully pulpit is because “It’s that he evinces no interest in it. He doesn’t try because those aren’t his goals. It’s not that he or the office of the Presidency are powerless to engender other outcomes; it’s that he doesn’t use the power he has to achieve them because, quite obviously, achieving them is not his priority or even desire.”

    Of course, later, when Obama pulled the rug out from Glenn’s prediction and DID use the bully pulpit in his speech, Glenn decided to *defend* his earlier complaint without backtracking. So he made this allowance: “If this becomes a sustained bully pulpit campaign to rhetorically sell these principles to the citizenry accompanied by real action to defend them, that will be one thing: I’ll be pleasantly surprised and will be happy to say so. But what matters is actions and outcomes.”

    “…actions and outcomes.” That brings us back to the point his “loyal supporters” make about technical, operational obstacles facing Dems and the President. Missing from Greenwald’s column is the *most* useful, crucial thing political analysis could offer: practicable suggestions for overcoming those obstacles.

    So, Glenn took us ’round the block for a spin through Obama’s-a-sell-out-who-doesn’t-care-about-progressive-outcomes-land, because…wait a minute. Why DID we go through all that? Is it mostly an exercise in venting frustration, contributing little of value to effective progressive outcomes, but at least offering an easy *target* for frustration? I suspect so, but like Greenwald, I’m just speculating. I do know that Greenwald tries to support to claim that he CANNOT prove–that Glenn knows Obama’s deepest motivations and that Obama doesn’t accomplish MORE because he doesn’t WANT TO. This seems like overly-simple, lazy political “analysis” to me, and it makes me suspicious of Greenwald’s motivations. Coming from a man whose expertise implies that he well understands what’s involved in sound reasoning, I find this puzzling. Vexing. But I don’t have to know his motivations to see that, whatever his motivations, he uses flawed reasoning, unearned cred, and a prominent platform to persuade his audience.

  19. dannie22 says:

    by Claude McKay

    Although she feeds me bread of bitterness,
    And sinks into my throat her tiger’s tooth,
    Stealing my breath of life, I will confess
    I love this cultured hell that tests my youth!
    Her vigor flows like tides into my blood,
    Giving me strength erect against her hate.
    Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood.
    Yet as a rebel fronts a king in state,
    I stand within her walls with not a shred
    Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer.
    Darkly I gaze into the days ahead,
    And see her might and granite wonders there,
    Beneath the touch of Time’s unerring hand,
    Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand.

    Share Digg StumbleUpon Facebook E-mail to Friend

  20. dannie22 says:

    I, Too, Sing America  
    by Langston Hughes

    I, too, sing America.

    I am the darker brother.
    They send me to eat in the kitchen
    When company comes,
    But I laugh,
    And eat well,
    And grow strong.

    I’ll be at the table
    When company comes.
    Nobody’ll dare
    Say to me,
    “Eat in the kitchen,”

    They’ll see how beautiful I am
    And be ashamed–

    I, too, am America.

    Share Digg StumbleUpon Facebook E-mail to Friend

    From The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, published by Knopf and Vintage Books. Copyright © 1994 by the Estate of Langston Hughes. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Harold Ober Associates Incorporated.

  21. Vettte says:




    Pentagon inquiry CLEARS McChrystal of Wrongdoing

    Probe calls into question accuracy of article that led to former U.S. commander’s ouster

    WASHINGTON — A Pentagon inquiry into a Rolling Stone magazine profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal that led to his dismissal as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has cleared him of wrongdoing.

    The probe’s results released Monday also called into question the accuracy of the magazine’s report last June, which quoted anonymously people around McChrystal making disparaging remarks about members of President Barack Obama’s national security team, including Vice President Joe Biden.

    At the time he dismissed McChrystal, Obama said the general had fallen short of “the standard that should be set by a commanding general.” The Defense Department inspector general’s report, however, concluded that available evidence did not support the conclusion that McChrystal had violated any applicable legal or ethics standard.

    Last week the White House tapped McChrystal to head a new advisory board to support military families, an initiative led by First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, wife of the vice president. The selection of McChrystal was announced on April 12, four days after the inspector general’s report was finished.

    The inspector general’s report said it reviewed an unpublished Army investigation of the case and interviewed numerous eyewitnesses. It said McChrystal declined an invitation to provide sworn testimony, saying he had already testified to Army investigators. He also declined to comment on the IG’s conclusions.

    The Pentagon inquiry also concluded that not all of the events at issue happened as reported in the Rolling Stone article.

    “In some instances, we found no witnesses who acknowledged making or hearing the comments as reported,” the Pentagon report said. “In other instances, we confirmed that the general substance of an incident at issue occurred, but not in the exact context described in the article.”

    Rolling Stone issued a statement saying it stands behind its story, which it called “accurate in every detail.”

    After the Rolling Stone article was published, McChrystal was summoned to the White House and dismissed. He was replaced by Gen. David Petraeus.

    Story: Obama relieves McChrystal of command

    Obama at the time called the dismissal the right decision for U.S. national security and said McChrystal’s conduct represented in the magazine article also “undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our democratic system. And it erodes the trust that’s necessary for our team to work together to achieve our objectives in Afghanistan.”

  22. The View: Michelle Obama and Jill Biden – Family – The View

    • Ametia says:

      Why does Barbara W. feel the need to ask FLOTUS if she and Dr. Jill get along? Just trifling…

      I absolustely cannot wait for the “O” interview.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Tiger Woods’ Niece Wins Golf Championship

    Baby Tiger: Cheyenne Woods
    The Woods family is trying to build a sports dynasty, I see. Next stop: the LPGA? From the Winston-Salem Journal (hat tip: Mr. Ref): “Ever since Cheyenne Woods arrived at Wake Forest [University], her goal has been to carve out her own identity. Woods, a niece of Tiger Woods, carved out a 3-under-par 68 Sunday and won the ACC Women’s Golf Championship by seven shots over Allie White of North Carolina. Woods, a junior from Phoenix, made no bogeys and three birdies at Sedgefield Country Club, opening up an early lead on White and never looking back.”

    More about the 20-year-old amateur golfer: “As for making a name for herself, [Wake Forest coach Diane] Dailey said, Woods took another step in that direction. Close to 50 fans were following her most of the round, and close to 200 were watching on the 18th green. ‘She’s doing her own thing,’ Dailey said, ‘and I think she’s been very successful at doing it. She has a famous relative or famous uncle, but for her, that monkey is off her back now. People are going to look at her for who she is, and I think for anybody who came out to watch her play today could see she’s a true champion.'”

    The proud uncle posted on his Twitter page: “My niece, Cheyenne, just won the ACC golf title by 7 shots! That’s awesome, I’m so proud of her.”

    Discuss “Tiger Woods’ Niece Wins Golf Championship” post here.

  24. rikyrah says:

    **** you, john king
    By Chipsticks 25 Comments

    I’ve already ranted about CNN’s John King recently (here and here) and honestly intended ignoring the creature and focusing on media people with a hint of intelligence. But then I read this post on Mediaite tonight (“CNN’s John King Manages To Out-Crazy Birther Queen Orly Taitz In Wild Interview”).

    So, King invited the vile knucklehead that is Orly Taitz on his show, and allowed her spew her racist-fueled venom at the President for 12 minutes. Classy.

    For fear of upsetting the birther section of his audience, King said this:

    Let’s look again at what he said: “This is the cynic in me, Cornel Belcher, the White House says they don’t worry about this, but every now and then, you start to hear things where I think that somebody, quietly, is trying to at least use a subtle message to rebut this. Listen to these several recent snippets of the President and things around him.”

    Then he plays clips of the President saying…. “We’re all Americans” … “this isn’t a Democratic or Republican idea, it’s patriotism” … “this is what America is all about” … “the thing about America that is great is that we’re bold, we’re tough…” …. “we showed the world that all things are possible in the United States of America.”

    Let’s get this clear – John King is ‘cynical‘ about the President of the United States using phrases like ….“We’re all Americans”???

    Why? Well, how can you avoid the conclusion that King doesn’t view this man – you know, the black guy – as a true American? If he did, why on earth would he be cynical about the President of the United States of America using a phrase like “We’re all Americans”? Did he express such cynicism when, say, George Bush talked about ‘we Americans’? No, of course not. So, what innocent explanation could there possibly be for King to be cynical about President Obama using “we” when he talks about Americans?

    Sounds to me like John King just unveiled his inner Orly Taitz.

    John King? **** you.

    Twitter: @JohnKingCNN

  25. rikyrah says:

    The last thing they’ll ever do is act in your interest
    by Comrade DougJ

    A good one sentence summary of contemporary American from E. J. Dionne:

    The American ruling class is failing us — and itself.


    An enlightened ruling class understands that it can get richer and its riches will be more secure if prosperity is broadly shared, if government is investing in productive projects that lift the whole society and if social mobility allows some circulation of the elites. A ruling class closed to new talent doesn’t remain a ruling class for long.

    I believe that the health of the American economy depends on the health of the American middle-class. I don’t mean this philosophically, I believe that historical data shows this to be true in reality.

    The American ruling class does not believe this. They believe that the American middle-class are lazy, worthless rubes, strapping young bucks buying big screen tvs with their ill-begotten union wages and gubmint hand-outs.

    The ruling class is deserving because it creates jobs. If they don’t create jobs here, they create them for the Chinese, who are harder-working anyway. The members of the ruling class who don’t create jobs—media elites, trust fund babies—are deserving because they have higher IQs, which is all that matters in a Bell Curve world. If they don’t have higher IQs, they did better on those all-important marshmallow tests Bobo is always blabbering about. Failing all of that, they have a better primal scent than plebes like you and me. Even if they’re not deserving or genetically superior at all, that doesn’t matter, because they can get their kids into good colleges and high-paying jobs, so there’s no chance that any of their descendants will ever be middle-class. It’s Luke Russert’s world, we’re just living in it.

    If you follow this to its logical conclusion, there is no reason for the ruling class to support policies that help the American middle-class. They don’t believe that their own financial well-being is related to that of the middle-class. They don’t believe that the middle-class deserves anything. They don’t believe that anyone important to them will ever be in the middle-class.

    So why support Medicare, Social Security, progressive taxation etc.? There’s no reason to, none at all. To the contrary, those things are all drags on your own income.

    It’s not just that the desires of the ruling class have become delinked from the desires of the middle-class. The desires of the ruling class are now in direct opposition to those of the middle-class. There’s a class war going on, it’s that simple.

  26. Ametia says:

    • Ametia says:

      FLASHBACK: Ronald Reagan Raised Corporate Taxes To Force Tax Dodgers To ‘Pay Their Fair Share’
      By Zaid Jilani

      Today is “Tax Day,” the normal filing date for federal income tax returns for millions of Americans who do their patriotic duty and ensure that, to paraphrase Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., we live “in a civilized society.”

      Yet while ordinary, Main Street Americans sacrifice for their country by paying taxes, a whole host of big corporations are getting away with paying little to nothing in federal corporate income taxes — exploiting loopholes in the tax code to avoid their tax responsibilities. From Bank of America to ExxonMobil to General Electric, these big businesses have gone quarters or entire years without paying their income taxes — at a time when the effective tax rate on a median family is 13.6 percent.

      This isn’t the first time Americans have had to deal with a tax code that lets the nation’s richest firms get away with shirking their tax responsibilities. In the middle of his presidency, then-president Ronald Reagan learned that a number of big corporations, including his former employer, General Electric, were completely escaping paying federal corporate income taxes. “I didn’t realize things had gotten that far out of line,” Reagan told his Treasury secretary, Donald T. Regan, according to his 1988 memoir.

      So Reagan undertook a comprehensive tax reform effort that actually raised the corporate taxes and closed numerous loopholes that allowed big firms to dodge their tax responsibilities. As part of these reforms, Reagan passed the 1986 Tax Reform Act. This law “raised corporate taxes by $120 billion over five years and closed corporate tax loopholes worth about $300 billion over that same period.”

      During the signing ceremony for the speech, Reagan explained that his goal in pursuing these reforms was to make sure “that everybody and every corporation pay their fair share”:

      REAGAN: We’re going to make it economical to raise children again. Flatter rates will mean more reward for that extra effort, and vanishing loopholes and a minimum tax will mean that everybody and every corporation pay their fair share.

      Unfortunately, the modern tax code is still riddled with loopholes and exemptions that allow big corporations to get away with paying little to nothing in federal corporate income taxes. When asked about this tax dodging, leading members of Reagan’s party have shown nowhere near the Gipper’s motivations to crack down on corporate America. Potential GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said we should “celebrate” corporate tax dodgers, and Tim Pawlenty responded to a question about Bank of America paying nothing in federal income taxes by saying “taxes are too high.”

  27. Ametia says:

    Keep the RECALL coming folks!
    Recall Petitions Being Filed Against Third Wis. GOP State Senator
    Eric Kleefeld | April 18, 2011, 12:12PM

    Another recall effort by Wisconsin Democrats, targeting Republican state senators in reaction to Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union legislation, is coming to a head on Monday, with signatures to be filed against GOP state Sen. Luther Olsen – the third such petition to reach that stage. And in theory, this development could now put majority control of the chamber officially in play.

    As the Wisconsin State Journal reports, rural Wautoma substitute teacher Ann Schmidt will file 23,000 signatures, far more than the 14,700 minimum needed, though in practice signature efforts often collect an additional buffer against signatures that could be challenged and disqualified for errors.

    Olsen has a clear vulnerable spot, having previously called Walker’s plan “pretty radical” — and later voting for it, for which he has already been targeted in a Democratic TV ad.

    Democrats have already filed recall petitions against two other Republican state senators, Dan Kapanke and Randy Hopper.

  28. Ametia says:

    Texas Governor Perry asks President Obama for federal assistance to fight fires
    April 18th, 2011 7:56 am ET

    Governor Rick Perry, who at one point in 2009, said Texas had the right, and increasingly a good cause, to secede from the United States, has made a request for federal assistance to help Texas fight increasingly destructive wildfires.

    Perry said: “I urge President Obama to approve our request quickly so Texans can continue receiving the resources and support they need as wildfires reman an ongoing threat.”

    Perry’s request comes after several Emergency Disaster Proclamations, which the Texas governor began in December of last year, to deal with the severe threat of Texas wildfires. According to FEMA, Texas leads the list of states asking for federal aid to assist with declared disasters.

  29. rikyrah says:

    April 18, 2011
    TAX POLICY IN A BIZARRO WORLD…. As part of yesterday’s “Tea Party panel” on ABC’s “This Week,” host Christiane Amanpour suggested it’s unrealistic to think the budget shortfall can be addressed through spending cuts alone. “Can you really sustain what everybody is calling for just by cuts in public services?” she asked her right-wing guests. “Doesn’t there need to be revenue-raising mechanisms?”

    Rep. Joe Walsh (R) of Illinois rejected the premise: “Christiane, you raise revenue by growing the economy. And everything this president has done the last two years has gone against that. You get taxes and regulations off the backs of businesses so that revenues can increase.”

    That’s actually backwards. The president’s policies, as an objective matter, grew the economy and increased revenues. That’s not opinion or spin; it’s just what happened. Walsh doesn’t have to like reality, but he shouldn’t lie about it on national television.

    Amanpour pressed further, noting that Reagan cut taxes, saw that the debt increased, and then raised taxes. Walsh, apparently stuck in his own bizarro world where calculators bend to his will, replied:

    “[I]n the ’80s, government revenues went up. We didn’t cut spending. Revenues went up in the ’80s. Every time we’ve cut taxes, revenues have gone up, the economy has grown.”

    He then quickly changed the subject.

    It’s important that folks realize that Walsh and those who share his talking points have no idea what they’re talking about. This truly absurd argument — tax cuts pay for themselves — comes up from time to time, but it’s not getting better with age.

    Amanda Terkel noted that actual economists, even conservative ones, have no use for this argument.

    Federal revenue is lower today than it would have been without the tax cuts. There’s really no dispute among economists about that,” said Alan D. Viard, a former White House economist under George W. Bush, in a 2006 Washington Post article.

    Robert Carroll, deputy assistant Treasury secretary for tax analysis, also said that no one in the administration believes tax cuts created a surge in revenue. “As a matter of principle, we do not think tax cuts pay for themselves,” Carroll said.

    Bruce Bartlett, a Reagan economist who became a strong critic of the Bush administration’s policies, used data from the Office of Management and Budget in a blog post last year to illustrate how “the Bush tax cuts reduced revenue rather significantly.”

    Congressional Republicans aren’t just wrong about this; they’re pathologically confused. The evidence isn’t ambiguous in the slightest — when Walsh claims “every time we’ve cut taxes, revenues have gone up,” that’s just crazy.

    It’s also a reminder of why meaningful, substantive debate seems so impossible right now — there’s no foundation of reality, shared by the left and right, to build upon. It’s like being stuck on in an algebra class, and half the students are convinced arithmetic is a scam cooked up by communists. There’s just not much to talk about after that.

    —Steve Benen 11:25 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (11)

  30. Vettte says:

    Michelle Obama on The View

    I just love the fact that she can just get up and put on the earrings that make her feel good on that day. I’ve gotta find my green ones.

  31. Andrew Breitbart tells the #wiunion to ‘Go to hell!’


    President Obama presents the Commander-in-Chief Trophy to the Air Force Academy Football Team

    April 18, 2011 1:45 PM EDT

  33. Still I Rise

    You may write me down in history
    With your bitter, twisted lies,
    You may trod me in the very dirt
    But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

    Does my sassiness upset you?
    Why are you beset with gloom?
    ‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
    Pumping in my living room.

    Just like moons and like suns,
    With the certainty of tides,
    Just like hopes springing high,
    Still I’ll rise.

    Did you want to see me broken?
    Bowed head and lowered eyes?
    Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
    Weakened by my soulful cries.

    Does my haughtiness offend you?
    Don’t you take it awful hard
    ‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
    Diggin’ in my own back yard.

    You may shoot me with your words,
    You may cut me with your eyes,
    You may kill me with your hatefulness,
    But still, like air, I’ll rise.

    Does my sexiness upset you?
    Does it come as a surprise
    That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
    At the meeting of my thighs?

    Out of the huts of history’s shame
    I rise
    Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
    I rise
    I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
    Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
    Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
    I rise
    Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
    I rise
    Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
    I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
    I rise
    I rise
    I rise.

    Maya Angelou

  34. Ametia says:

    Obama to hit road to rally support for debt reduction plan ahead of budget battles

    By Zachary A. Goldfarb and Perry Bacon Jr.,
    Sunday, April 17, 9:15 PM

    President Obama will hit the road this week and forcibly deliver his message that a combination of spending cuts and tax hikes on the rich is necessary to rein in the nation’s rocketing debt — a high-stakes effort to rally public support ahead of a series of contentious budget battles in Congress.

    From Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale to Facebook’s headquarters in Silicon Valley, Obama will make a series of campaign-style stops in an effort to block a Republican plan that would reduce the deficit by dramatically changing Medicare and reducing spending on education and other social programs.

    Obama faces a political necessity — claiming the debt issue as his own — and a political opportunity. Recent polls show that Americans disapprove of his record on the deficit. But sizable majorities agree that a combination of spending cuts and tax hikes on the wealthy — Obama’s vision — is the best prescription for the nation’s fiscal malady.

    Still, some analysts say, the challenge for Obama will be to link his position on reining in the debt to efforts that would boost the economy. The high joblessness rate, stagnant wages and soaring gas prices represent a triple threat to Obama’s reelection, but the president has virtually no options left to spur job growth before 2012.

  35. Ametia says:

    LAWDY! Rikyrah, have you heard about this?

    Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Blames The iPad For Killing Jobs

    Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL), who admits to owning an iPad, blames the Apple Inc. product for “eliminating thousands of American jobs.”

    “A few short weeks ago I came to the House floor after having purchased an iPad and said that I happened to believe, Mr. Speaker, that at some point in time this new device, which is now probably responsible for eliminating thousands of American jobs. Now Borders is closing stores because, why do you need to go to Borders anymore? Why do you need to go to Barnes & Noble? Buy an iPad and download your newspaper, download your book, download your magazine,” Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL, Chicago) said on the House floor Friday afternoon.

    Ironically, it was only last month that Rep. Jackson was promoting the Apple iPad and Amazon on the House floor.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Capitalism is failing the middle class
    Apr 15, 2011 10:37 EDT

    Global capitalism isn’t working for the American middle class. That isn’t a headline from the left-leaning Huffington Post, or a comment on Glenn Beck’s right-wing populist blackboard. It is, instead, the conclusion of a rigorous analysis bearing the imprimatur of the U.S. establishment: the paper’s lead author is Michael Spence, recipient of the Nobel Prize in economic sciences, and it was published by the Council on Foreign Relations.

    Spence and his co-author, Sandile Hlatshwayo, examined the changes in the structure of the U.S. economy, particularly employment trends, over the past 20 years. They found that value added per U.S. worker increased sharply during that period – 21 per cent for the economy as a whole, and 44 per cent in the “tradable” sector, which is geek-speak for those businesses integrated into the global economy. But even as productivity soared, wages and job opportunities stagnated.

    The take-away is this: Globalization is making U.S. companies more productive, but the benefits are mostly being enjoyed by the C-suite. The middle class, meanwhile, is struggling to find work, and many of the jobs available are poorly paid.

    Here’s how Spence and Hlatshwayo put it: “The most educated, who work in the highly compensated jobs of the tradable and non-tradable sectors, have high and rising incomes and interesting and challenging employment opportunities, domestically and abroad. Many of the middle-income group, however, are seeing employment options narrow and incomes stagnate.”

    Spence is neither a protectionist nor a Luddite. He prominently notes the benefit to consumers of globalization: “Many goods and services are less expensive than they would be if the economy were walled off from the global economy, and the benefits of lower prices are widespread.” He also points to the positive impact of globalization on much of what we used to call the Third World, particularly in China and India: “Poverty reduction has been tremendous, and more is yet to come.”

    Spence’s paper should be read alongside the work that David Autor, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been doing on the impact of the technology revolution on U.S. jobs. In an echo of Spence, Autor finds that technology has had a “polarizing” impact on the U.S. work force – it has made people at the top more productive and better paid and hasn’t had much effect on the “hands-on” jobs at the bottom of the labor force. But opportunities and salaries in the middle have been hollowed out.

    Taken together, here’s the big story Spence and Autor tell about the U.S. and world economies: Globalization and the technology revolution are increasing productivity and prosperity. But those rewards are unevenly shared – they are going to the people at the top in the United States, and enriching emerging economies over all. But the American middle class is losing out.

    To Americans in the middle, it may seem surprising that it takes a Nobel laureate and sheaves of economic data to reach this unremarkable conclusion. But the analysis and its impeccable provenance matter, because this basic truth about how the world economy is working today is being ignored by most of the politicians in the United States and denied by many of its leading business people.

    Consider a recent breakfast at the Council on Foreign Relations that I moderated. The speaker was Randall Stephenson, chief executive officer of AT&T. Mr. Stephenson enthused that the technology revolution was the most transformative shift in the world economy since the invention of the combustion engine and electrification, leading to a huge increase in “the velocity of commerce” and therefore in productivity.

    One of the Council of Foreign Relations members in the audience that morning was Farooq Kathwari, CEO of Ethan Allen, the furniture manufacturer and retailer. Kathwari is a storybook American entrepreneur. He arrived in New York from Kashmir with $37 in his pocket and got his start in the retail trade selling goods sent to him from home by his grandfather.

    Here’s the question he asked Stephenson: “Over the last 10 years, with the help of technology and other things, we today are doing about the same business with 50 per cent less people. We’re talking of jobs. I would just like to get your perspectives on this great technology. How is it going to over all affect the job markets in the next five years?”

    Mr. Stephenson said not to worry. “While technology allows companies like yours to do more with less, I don’t think that necessarily means that there is less employment opportunities available. It’s just a redeployment of those employment opportunities. And those employees you have, my expectation was, with your productivity, their standard of living has actually gotten better.”

    Spence’s work tells us that simply isn’t happening. “One possible response to these trends would be to assert that market outcomes, especially efficient ones, always make everyone better off in the long run,” he wrote. “That seems clearly incorrect and is supported by neither theory nor experience.”

    Spence says that as he was doing his research, he was often asked what “market failure” was responsible for these outcomes: Where were the skewed incentives, flawed regulations or missing information that led to this poor result? That question, Spence says, misses the point. “Multinational companies,” he said, “are doing exactly what one would expect them to do. The resulting efficiency of the global system is high and rising. So there is no market failure.”

  37. rikyrah says:

    Retaking state: Floridians need to get active now
    April 17, 2011|Stephen Goldstein, Columnist

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott doesn’t just look scary; he is scary — and he does scary things. As Floridians watch helplessly, millions are screaming “buyer’s remorse,” now that they finally understand the extent of Scott’s radical agenda — and face what they did to themselves by failing to heed warnings.

    In addition, the Florida Legislature, now tea party/Republican-dominated with overwhelming majorities, is matching Scott’s madness. Under the pretense of achieving fiscal soundness, Tallahassee is giving Florida an extreme makeover — as a state in which corporate interests trump people’s rights and religious zealots tell everyone how to live.

    Floridians have a choice: They can grouse but do nothing — or they can retake the state and show the governor and Legislature that “the people” are still boss.

    Voters should pass eight constitutional amendments to restore representative government in Florida:

    1. The “Recall” Amendment would give “the people” power to toss all bad elected officials. Now, the Florida Constitution only allows the Legislature to impeach the governor, or Rick Scott would be on his way out faster than you could say $1.7 billion fine for Medicare fraud. Tainted politicians, like defective toasters, should also be returnable — by citizens.

    2. The “Majority Rule” Amendment would require a winning candidate to get at least 50 percent of the vote — or force a do-over. Rick Scott was elected by just 48.9 percent of voters. He does not have the mandate he claims to rule Florida and wouldn’t have been elected after a second round.

    3. The “60 Percent” Amendment would require another election if fewer than 60 percent of voters turn out. Candidates win and initiatives are approved in primaries and off-year elections when almost no one votes.

    4. The “Follow the Will of the People” Amendment would fine and remove from office elected officials who fail to enforce the provisions of constitutional amendments. Florida voters have repeatedly reaffirmed support for the amendment limiting class size in public schools. But every year legislators try to undercut it. The Legislature has also failed to uphold the provisions of the “polluter pays” amendment requiring Big Sugar to clean up its mess in the Everglades. Elected officials must be held responsible for flouting the will of “the people.”

  38. rikyrah says:

    Gov. Scott Walker slams President Obama
    The State Column | Staff | Sunday, April 17, 2011

    Fresh off a grilling on Capitol Hill, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker slammed President Obama Friday, saying the Democratic president should “focus on the facts.”

    “The president should focus on the facts and stop worrying about beating people up. You want to bring people together, then put out a plan that has courage,” Mr. Walker said during an interview with Fox News. “At least have the courage to defend your plan instead of attacking others.”

    The Wisconsin Republican governor made the comment in reference to a discussion focused on a proposed budget put forth by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan. The Wisconsin Republican has proposed spending cuts upwards of $4 trillion, a proposal Democrats have vowed to oppose. The measure easily passed the House Friday before heading to the U.S. Senate where it is expected to stall.

    “Rep. Paul Ryan is one of the most politically courageous people I’ve seen,” Mr. Walker said.

    Mr. Walker continues to garner national attention following passage of a controversial law aimed at eliminating collective bargaining rights for state public employees.

    Read more:

  39. rikyrah says:

    April 16, 2011
    The last Red Scare
    Portions of President Obama’s unintentionally public remarks at a private Chicago fundraiser this week received boundless media exposure, especially those about Paul Ryan’s towering hypocrisy and the GOP’s downright goofy attempt to unfund the healthcare act, with the president’s permission.

    Yet Obama uttered another line of far superior insight and penetrating truth, whose media underplay was distressing, but not atypical:

    This will be the strategy going forward, trying to do things they can’t do legislatively under the cause of “cutting spending.”

    Bingo. In one sentence — all the GOP’s customary diversionism and demagoguery and underhandedness and ideological corruption. Just another Red Scare, only this time about ink.

    The very people who spent 30 years driving deficits and the debt to historically alarming levels are now genuine budget hawks extraordinaire, uber alles, in toto. And anyone who believes that is, well, I guess gullible enough to vote Republican. Even their own bloody budget passed yesterday in the House does virtually nothing about resolving deficits for years and years and years.

    It’s a scam; a shrieking, terror-inducing, intent-diverting hoax designed, simply, to dismantle the New Deal and essentially all of 20th-century liberalism. The bogeyman of the right’s imaginary America — white yeoman farmers, straight enterprising artisans, fearless entrepreneurs, submissive women and happy Sambos and deported Spics — isn’t deficits: it’s 21st-century civilization, which is as liveable as it is because of 20th-century human decency.

    And right wingers can’t stand it. They’ve not been able to since 1933. And now, they know, is their last chance to gut decency-through-government by bamboozling and terrifying the body politic about deficits.

    Perhaps the saddest part of all this is that what I just wrote isn’t polemical at all. It’s not malicious, it’s not partisan, it’s not ideologically driven or emotionally compelled. It’s just a brief though unimpeachably accurate history of 20th- and 21st-century American conservatism, which historian Richard Hofstadter astutely noted a half-century ago is but “pseudoconservatism.”

    • Ametia says:

      THIS: GOP= This will be the strategy going forward, trying to do things they can’t do legislatively under the cause of “cutting spending.”<b.

      Yepper! Ask the citizens of WI, OH, MI, FL how it's working for them so far.

  40. rikyrah says:

    carpenter’s commentary « Intolerable prickliness | Main

    April 18, 2011

    Yesterday morning, in a double-barreled display of aggressive Tea Party Orwellianism and Beltway-media incompetence, ABC’s Christiane Amanpour interviewed four “stars,” as she put it, from the former: Congressmen Allen West, Steve Southerland and Joe Walsh, and Congresswoman Renee Ellmers. They all arrived packed to their green gills with GOP talking points and Hayekian ideology, of course, most of which blew by the host uncontested, as is customary for Sunday morning talk shows whose mission is to gently push, but don’t probe; probe, but don’t pry; pry, but don’t ever antagonize.

    In brief, it was a waste of time for anyone wishing to learn and explore the guiding philosophies and assorted rationales of these freshman lawmakers, who, with no apparent learning in the humanities or social sciences and with no training in government, wish to dismantle — just like that — roughly a century of painstakingly devised progress. Ms. Amanpour would ask her question, her guests would evade, and they would move on.

    But it was the anemic dance between Ellmers and Amanpour that horrified most. The subject between them — Medicare — was one that most any bystander, simply pulled off the street and with pancake-makeup hurriedly applied, could have used as a decisive cudgel in compelling the congresswoman to reveal that she hadn’t the foggiest notion as to what she was saying, other than what Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor and Frank Luntz had told her to say.

    Now, I could describe how this Socratic abomination proceeded, but you would think me a liar. You would say to yourself, No, oh no, no experienced Beltway journalist could possibly be so incompetent, so lazy, so utterly unprofessional as to allow a strutting, ideological fraud to quack her way around and out of such immensely self-evident truths. Therefore, I give you the transcipt. Read it and weep.

    AMANPOUR: Congresswoman Ellmers, the House did pass that budget … And it includes a radical restructuring of Medicare, essentially converting it to a voucher system, sort of privatizing it. Now the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the average senior will then have to end up paying an extra $6,000 or more out of their own pocket, I mean, how do you think that that will sit with the voters? With the American people?

    ELLMERS: Well … It is not a voucher system. Basically what we will be doing is allowing seniors to be able to make the choices for their health care, the same that we in Congress are doing. It’s the very same basic plan. And it actually saves money. It saves money in Medicare over time and it actually increases the coverage, but at the same time, it also increases coverage for those in the low income areas as well. And so that is why I am very much for the Ryan budget….

    AMANPOUR: … [M]ost economists … do actually say that seniors will not be able to keep up with the rising costs, they will have to pay out of their pocket. I mean, I guess I’m still asking, is that fair?

    ELLMERS: … Actually that is not correct. And, as it is right now, if we do not address Medicare, as it is, it will be — it will not be there for myself, it will not be there for our children or our grandchildren. And we have to address the issue. And we are. And the Ryan budget does that. And it actually improves upon all of those areas of unsustainability that we’re faced with. So, you know, the numbers play out.


    ELLMERS: And I’m very much in favor of it. Again, we must save Medicare. We have a spending problem in this country, not a revenue problem.

    My favorite line wasn’t the one about the voucher system not being a voucher system or the one about increases in medical coverage or even the tidy Orwellianism about saving Medicare. No, actually, it was that last line. One could see, and now read, that Ms. Ellmers had been thus instructed from the Luntzian leprechauns: Look, if you find yourself clutching, if you can’t go on, if you feel every decent impulse in your body hurling up through your windpipe and about to vomit all over the set, then do this, we implore you, do this — just say, “We have a spending problem in this country, not a revenue problem.”

    Because, you know what? It works. Like a dream. QED, Ms. Amanpour’s “follow-up” …

    All right.

    • Ametia says:

      Armanpour is a waste of space in that chair at ABC’s “This Week.” She’s an EXTREME disappointment, and should go back into the field where she can offer her true journalistic talents.

      As for the freshmen teabaggers, GTFOH with that BS.

  41. Ametia says:

    Obama’s Character And The Progressives Who Resent It
    Apr. 14 2011 – 1:25 pm

    It wasn’t just that the President of the United States drew that proverbial line in the sand by stating his firm refusal to continue the Bush tax cuts one moment longer than legally required.

    And it wasn’t just Obama’s taking a solid stand when he said “Not while I’m President” to the GOP budget plan that would break the nation’s most basic cultural commitments by destroying Medicare and dramatically curtailing Medicaid, all to provide still more tax breaks to the richest Americans.

    What did it for me in Obama’s plan to get the nation’s finances in order was that the President took his stand against the GOP effort to take away the soul of this nation while staring directly into the eyes of Rep. Paul Ryan- the architect of the document that would remake this country in the mold of third world nations where there are rich people and poor people with nobody in the middle.

    Unlike the taunts, personal insults and barbs that Ryan and his companions lob at the president on a daily basis from the safety of a television studio, Obama took the route that requires character.

    He did it to Ryan’s face.

  42. Ametia says:

    Happy MUN-dane, Everyone! :-)

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