Tuesday Open Thread

Aretha Louise Franklin (born March 25, 1942) is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Although known for her soul recordings and referred to as The Queen of Soul, Franklin is adept at jazz, blues, R&B, and gospel music. Rolling Stone magazine ranked her atop its list of The Greatest Singers of All Time[1][2][3][4] and the ninth greatest artist of all time. [5]

Franklin is one of the most honored artists by the Grammy Awards, with 18 competitive Grammys and two honorary Grammys. She has 20 #1 singles on the Billboard R&B Singles Chart and two #1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100: “Respect” (1967) and “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” (1987), a duet with George Michael. Since 1961, she has scored a total of 45 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. She also has the most million-selling singles of any female artist (14)[citation needed]. Between 1967 and 1982 she had 10 #1 R&B albums—more than any other female artist.

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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76 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    Pat BucKKKLANAN on Hardball

    “Obama is Affrimative Action All the Way’

    Watch the fuckery here. SMGDH


  2. rikyrah says:

    This Should Leave A Very Large Mark

    by John Cole


    Leaving aside the fact that Obama, who went on to graduate Harvard Law magna cum laude, seems like he was probably a very good student, Mr. Trump might need a refresher course in how unqualified people actually do manage to get into the prestigious Ivy League Universities .

    Let us take, as an example, the story of a student so obviously unqualified, so transparently unworthy, that a book was written about what his admittance into Harvard said about the sorry behavior of supposedly elite colleges.

    That student—that dull, below-average student who somehow made his way into Harvard—was Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

    Kushner’s father, real estate developer Charles Kushner, bought Jared his Harvard acceptance. It cost him $2.5 million. (Kushner later went to jail for tax evasion and witness tampering, so it was also, technically, dirty money that bought Trump’s daughter’s husband’s entry into the Ivy League.)

    Wall Street Journal education writer Daniel Golden’s book “The Price of Admission” explores the Kushner donation at length. An official at Kushner’s (expensive, private) high school told the author: “There was no way anybody in . . . the school thought he would on the merits get into Harvard. His GPA did not warrant it, his SAT scores did not warrant it. We thought, for sure, there was no way this was going to happen.”

    But it did.

    And that is how things actually work at “elite” schools.

    Our meritocracy at work.


  3. White House berates religious leader over birth comments


    WASHINGTON — The White House struck back at Christian evangelical leader Franklin Graham on Monday for suggesting that President Barack Obama might not have been born in the United States.

    Graham, the son of evangelical leader Billy Graham — a long-time counselor to Republican and Democratic presidents — said on ABC television that Obama “had some issues to deal with” in proving that he was born in Hawaii — echoing claims from the so-called “birther” movement that have been debunked.

    “I was born in a hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, and I know that my records are there. You can probably even go and find out what room my mother was in when I was born. I don’t know why he can’t produce that,” Graham said in remarks broadcast on Sunday.

    ‘What is a Christian?’

    He also seemed to question Obama’s religious convictions.

    “Now, he has told me that he is a Christian. But the debate comes, what is a Christian?” Graham said of the president.

    “For him, going to church means he’s a Christian. For me, the definition of a Christian is whether we have given our life to Christ and are following him in faith and we have trusted him as our lord and savior.”

    The White House, which has had to deny false claims repeatedly that Obama was not born in the United States, dismissed Graham’s comments.

    Franklin Graham, you don’t have the power to see or know what is in a man’s heart.
    That belongs to God and him alone! How dare you deny what God has said! God will not forget what you said. You will answer to him for this, false prophet!

    The bible says….Roman 10: 9 -10 If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness: and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

  4. Ametia says:

    WXYZ Detroit WH interview with PBO
    Stephen Clark has sat down with President Barack Obama for a wide ranging interview that included your questions.

    Among the topics they touched were gas prices, the economy and Michigan’s developing battery industry.

    Video: http://www.wxyz.com/dpp/news/exclusive%3A-stephen-clark-interviews-president-barack-obama-at-the-white-house

  5. Reid Considering Forcing Senate Vote On Ryan’s Budget


    WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office confirmed reports on Tuesday that the Nevada Democrat is thinking of holding a vote on Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget. That would force moderate Republican senators to take an uncomfortable political stand.

    “He’s considering it,” Reid’s top spokesman Jon Summers told The Huffington Post.

    The idea, first reported in The Hill newspaper, would be to build off the skeptical reaction that the Ryan budget has engendered at local town hall events this past week. After voting in near unanimity to pass the measure — which would make drastic spending cuts, lower tax rates and fundamentally alter Medicare and Medicaid — House Republicans have faced hostile receptions back home.

    The Senate, which features several moderate GOP lawmakers, has not been forced to publicly weigh-in on Ryan’s proposal. A vote could force the likes of Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), both of whom are up for re-election in 2012, to make a difficult decision.

  6. Barbour didn’t think he could beat Obama


    WASHINGTON — Haley Barbour ultimately decided not to run for president after concluding that Barack Obama will be too tough to beat in a general election race, according to two advisers familiar with the Mississippi governor’s decision making.

    Barbour “wanted to run, he would have loved it,” said one of the advisers (who both asked for anonymity). But while he saw a path to winning the Republican nomination, the governor and his inner circle became gun-shy when they considered Barbour’s prospects of prevailing against Obama and a likely united Democratic party behind him in the general election, the advisers said.

    “It would have required an inside straight,” said one adviser.

    Barbour and his team were convinced that he could emerge as the conservative alternative to presumptive front-runner Mitt Romney in the GOP primary contest and ultimately win the party’s nomination. But beating Obama looked far more problematic.

  7. rikyrah says:

    April 26, 2011
    FACTS VS FEELINGS…. Democrats are, not surprisingly, hammering Republicans over the GOP budget proposal, with most of the attacks focused on the Republican plan to end Medicare and replace it with a privatized voucher system.

    The typical Republican response is that Dems are relying on “scare tactics.” It’s not that Democrats are wrong, the argument goes, it’s just that they’re big meanies for telling voters about GOP policies.

    The media is echoing the point, and Josh Marshal is right to find it annoying.

    I’ve noted several times that when it comes to issues like Medicare and Social Security, establishment journalism is most focused on whether political rhetoric is inflammatory than on whether it might be true. Or put a different way, the details of how key government programs work is of comparatively trivial importance compared to whether the ads a controversy generates are mean. As yet another instance of this, we have the unfortunate example of ABC’s Rick Klein’s report on the new politics of Medicare.

    Klein laments that “the ‘adult conversation’ around Medicare reform has taken a detour in the land of adult diapers.” And he goes on to explain that that’s mainly because Democrats are running ads saying either that the Ryan plans “ends” Medicare (which there’s a very strong factual argument that it does) or that it would be deeply damaging to America’s seniors (which math suggests it would). And it’s bad to run ads like that because that’s “Mediscare.”

    Part of this is the result of an apparent hostility the establishment tends to bring to entitlement programs in general. A knee-jerk discomfort when Democrats go on the offensive at all may have something to do with this, too.

    But it’s important that the establishment realize the difference between demagoguery and ringing an alarm. Demagoguery relies on falsehoods to scare people — it’s about playing on folks’ worst instincts, being divisive in a deceptive sort of way, effectively fooling people into believing something they shouldn’t.

    Political rhetoric isn’t “demagoguery” when it’s true. If a political message leads the mainstream to feel scared, it’s not necessarily “scare tactics” if people have good reason to worry.

    What Dems are doing are ringing an alarm — Republicans are up to something dangerous, and Democrats want people to know about it. This makes ABC, Politifact, and much of the establishment antsy, and leads to reports that Dems are being overly “political” because (a) they refuse to go along with unnecessary cuts that would hurt seniors; and (b) they’re saying intemperate things like the GOP wants to “end” Medicare.

    But what should matter most is the truth, and in this case, the truth is, Republicans want to privatize Medicare out of existence and impose new burdens on those who can’t afford them, all while cutting taxes for the wealthy.

    That’s not “Mediscare”; that’s the Republican plan. If pointing this out hurts the GOP’s feelings, that’s a shame, but sometimes a warning bell needs to be rung, even if some find the sound unpleasant.

    —Steve Benen 4:40 PM


  8. rikyrah says:

    Boehner: Republicans Voted To Turn Medicare Into Obamacare
    Another top Republican has admitted what few members of his own party will admit. In fact, it’s the toppest-Republican.

    According to Speaker John Boehner, the House Republican budget, which passed on April 15, “transforms Medicare into a plan that’s very similar to the President’s own healthcare bill.”

    That’s from an interview with ABC’s Jon Karl. Boehner joins Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) as one of the few high-profile elected Republicans who will admit that the GOP’s Medicare privatization plan is similar in many key respects to the health care law they have spent the last two years demonizing.

    After acknowledging those similarities, Cornyn said he’d be open to tweaking the health care law in ways that appease both parties without throwing the entire thing out.

    By contrast, Boehner’s second-in-command, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor denied the similarities.


  9. rikyrah says:

    Obama to Boehner: Glad To Hear The Change Of Heart On Oil Subsidies
    President Obama didn’t wait to take advantage of what looked to be a new Republican position on federal oil and gas subsidies. In a letter sent to Congressional leaders on Tuesday, Obama welcomed House Speaker John Boehner’s apparent newfound appreciation for the call to end taxpayer payments to oil companies, expressed in an interview with ABC News on Monday night.

    “I was heartened that Speaker Boehner yesterday expressed openness to eliminating these tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry,” Obama wrote. “Our political system has for too long avoided and ignored this important step, and I hope we can come together in a bipartisan manner to get it done.”

    Not so fast, Boehner’s office said.

    “The Speaker wants to increase the supply of American energy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and he is only interested in reforms that actually lower energy costs and create American jobs,” Boehner spokesperson Michael Steel said in a statement. “Unfortunately, what the President has suggested so far would simply raise taxes and increase the price at the pump.”

    In his letter, Obama reiterated his strategy of ending government incentive programs for oil companies and then using the money saved to invest in alternative sources, which Obama has said will help lessen the nation’s dependence on foreign oil in the long run.

    Underlying the politics of the letter and Boehner’s response are skyrocketing gasoline prices, which observers say will be a central issue in the 2012 elections.

    As reported in Politico on Tuesday morning, team Boehner said the Speaker’s openness to talking oil subsidies was part of staying on the right side of that political hotbutton, which Obama has acknowledged will not be an easy one for any political side to solve.

    “[Boehner] simply wasn’t going to take the bait and fall into the trap of defending ‘Big Oil’ companies,” Steel told Politico. “Boehner believes, as he stated in the interview, that expanding American energy production will help lower gas prices and create more American jobs.”


  10. rikyrah says:

    The Dems Are Holding Our Lifeline
    by BooMan
    Tue Apr 26th, 2011 at 12:01:01 PM EST

    Ezra Klein’s unassailable observation, that the president more nearly resembles a moderate Republican of early 1990’s vintage than a socialist Muslim born in Kenya, will probably be misinterpreted by a lot of progressives as an insult. But Klein’s point is not to complain about Obama’s policies, but to defend them as thoroughly mainstream. That is why Klein documents the support prominent Republicans displayed for an individual mandate in health care, Cap and Trade environmental policy, and sane tax policy, before those policies were offered by a Democrat. I think Klein is mostly interested in the possibility that Republicans are moving right, not out of any shift in principles, but out of a simple refusal to cooperate with a Democratic president.
    What is of more concern to progressives, however, is that the political landscape has shifted so far to the right that Democrats are now being labeled as radicals for proposing Republican solutions to our problems. I don’t have a solution for this. At least, nothing comes to mind in the short-to-medium term. As I have argued for two years, the way our system is set up constitutionally, combined with the rules of the Senate, and exacerbated by the Citizen’s United ruling, the minority has effective veto power and the minority is completely in the hands of corporate interests.

    Real change is possible, but extraordinarily difficult. Only fate can tell us whether we’ll be able to change the composition of the Supreme Court. No amount of lobbying or organizing will have any impact on that whatsoever, except insofar that it keeps a Democrat in the White House in case a conservative judge leaves the Court. We aren’t going to abolish the Senate and the Senate’s failure to change its rules after the unprecedented obstruction of the last Congress proves that those rules are unlikely to ever change. I haven’t even mentioned the media, but that is just one more example of out-sized corporate influence in our politics. We can strengthen the reach of citizen-journalism, but we can never match the reach of the major networks and radio syndicates.

    What’s going on in the Republican Party isn’t sustainable, but as long it lasts, the country actually needs a caretaker that represents the silent majority of sane people. That means that the Democratic Party has the heavy responsibility of being a welcome home to people who were moderate Republicans in the early 1990’s. This is not a necessity driven by ideology. It’s driven by the loss of a responsible alternative to liberalism. It’s also driven by the simple impossibility of overcoming the effective veto-power of Senate Republicans over all congressional legislation. The rise of the DLC took us to much the same place, but for a different reason. Klein might be right that the GOP has moved right simply to remain in clearly-defined opposition. If that is true, the limited success of the DLC had an unintended consequence. The quest for corporate financing moved the Democrats temporarily to the right, which led the right to march over a cliff, which left the Democrats holding onto the rope, trying simply to keep the whole country from slipping over the edge.

    Things would be bad and unmanageable even without a Great Recession and unending military commitments all over the globe.

    I’m sorry to paint this depressing picture, but this is what things have come to. Progressives need to look at long-term solutions, but they also need to keep a tight focus on the here and now. Things can definitely get worse. There is a lot of dead weight, and it’s uncertain that we can hold on.


  11. rikyrah says:

    Birther Calvinball
    by John Cole

    This cracked me up. In yet another investigation into where Obama was born, CNN discovers that he is, in fact, an American citizen. But the story also included this gem:

    Rick Smethurst, a 2008 John McCain voter who now lives in Obama’s childhood home in Hawaii, counts himself among the doubters. He said he wants to find someone who saw Obama immediately after the president was born.

    Did they even need to point out he was a McCain voter? Of course he was. So now, after spending years doubting the certificates, they grudgingly accept their validity, but now want someone who saw the Kenyan usurper right after birth. And guess what? We have that:

    Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie said he did. Abercrombie, a Democrat, was friendly with Ann Dunham, Obama’s mother, and remembers celebrating the birth.

    “Of course, we had no idea at the time that the future president of the United States was that little boy, that little baby,” Abercrombie recalled. But “we are very, very happy … that took place.”

    Professor Alice Dewey of the University of Hawaii was a faculty adviser to Dunham and also knew the future president when he was a child. She called the controversy “funny.” She said there is “no way” Obama wasn’t born in the state.

    Dewey remembered a conversation in which Dunham compared the birth of Obama with that of his sister, Maya, who was born overseas.

    “She said, ‘When I had Maya, it was a lot of more difficult because Indonesia doesn’t believe in painkillers while you’re giving birth. … Of course, in the United States, giving birth to Barry (Obama’s childhood nickname) was quite different and much more comfortable,’ ” Dewey recalled.

    Waidelich’s mother, Monika, said she believes she saw Obama in Honolulu’s Kapi’olani Medical Center next to her son in 1961.

    “In those days, there were hardly any other black babies,” she said.

    The hospital wouldn’t show patient records from 1961, but the state’s African-American population was less than 1% at the time.

    Regardless of the evidence, there may be no convincing some of those who question the president’s origins.

    There simply is no amount of evidence that will be enough for these clowns, Donald Trump and Franklin Graham and the rest of these assholes stirring up this crap should be shunned from polite society.


  12. rikyrah says:

    naw Son….you bought them…you own them..

    the Birthers are YOURS…

    lock, stock and barrell


    RNC Chair Priebus Dismisses Birthers
    Eric Kleefeld | April 26, 2011, 1:04PM

    Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is dismissing the birther phenomenon within his party’s base — a further sign that the Republican establishment is trying to put some distance between itself and the conspiracy theories still popular on the Tea Party right.

    “Trump and the candidates can talk about it all they want, but my position is that the president was born in the United States,” Priebus told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, CNN reports.

    “I don’t think it’s an issue that moves voters,” Priebus added. “It’s an issue in my opinion that I don’t personally get too excited about, because I think the more important question is what’s going on in this country in regards to jobs, to debt, and the deficit and spending. Those are the things that people are worried about. People aren’t worried about these other issues.”


  13. President Barack Obama talks with advisors in the Oval Office before a phone call with President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon to discuss the situation in Cote d’Ivoire, April 4, 2011

  14. Ametia says:

    Sorry Shep, too late for you too. The genie’s out of the bottle, and you, and certainly of all folks FOX Channel cannot pop it back in the bottle.

    Shep Smith: ‘Fox News Can Confirm The President Of The U.S. Is A Citizen Of The U.S. Period.’
    by Colby Hall | 12:59 pm, April 26th, 2011

    Well there it is. The most respected newscaster at the most watched and dominant cable news network has weighed in on the controversy surrounding Barack Obama’s citizenship (and legitimacy as president of the United States) and has found for the president. “Fox News can confirm the president of the United States is a citizen of the United States,” said Fox News Shep Smith, adding for dramatic effect, “Period.” Next.


  15. Ametia says:

    For the late great Phoebe Snow who passed this morning. It’s National Poetry Month


    Rest in peace, Ms. Snow.

  16. rikyrah says:

    The Right-Wing Network Behind the War on Unions
    — By Andy Kroll

    From New Hampshire to Alaska, Republican lawmakers are waging war on organized labor. They’re pushing bills to curb, if not eliminate, collective bargaining for public workers; make it harder for unions to collect member dues; and, in some states, allow workers to opt out of joining unions entirely but still enjoy union-won benefits. All told, it’s one of the largest assaults on American unions in recent history.

    Behind the onslaught is a well-funded network of conservative think tanks that you’ve probably never heard of. Conceived by the same conservative ideologues who helped found the Heritage Foundation, the State Policy Network (SPN) is a little-known umbrella group with deep ties to the national conservative movement. Its mission is simple: to back a constellation of state-level think tanks loosely modeled after Heritage that promote free-market principles and rail against unions, regulation, and tax increases. By blasting out policy recommendations and shaping lawmakers’ positions through briefings and private meetings, these think tanks cultivate cozy relationships with GOP politicians. And there’s a long tradition of revolving door relationships between SPN staffers and state governments. While they bill themselves as independent think tanks, SPN’s members frequently gather to swap ideas. “We’re all comrades in arms,” the network’s board chairman told the National Review in 2007.

    Occasionally, SPN think tanks boast of their clout. Such was the case when the Tennessee Center for Policy Research bragged on its website recently that it “leads the charge against teachers’ union” and “laid the groundwork” for the bills now in the Tennessee legislature to restrict, and possibly eradicate, bargaining for public school teachers. More often, though, the fingerprints of SPN’s members are less apparent.
    Advertise on MotherJones.com
    Founded in 1992 by businessman and Reagan administration insider Thomas Roe—who also served on the Heritage Foundation’s board of trustees for two decades—the group has grown to include 59 “freedom centers,” or affiliated think tanks, in all 50 states. SPN’s board includes officials from Heritage and right-wing charities such as the Adolph Coors and Jacqueline Hume foundations. Likewise, its deep-pocketed donors include all the usual heavy-hitting conservative benefactors: the Ruth and Lovett Peters Foundation, which funds the Cato Institute and Heritage; the Castle Rock Foundation, a charity started with money from the conservative Coors Foundation; and the Bradley Foundation, a $540 million charity devoted to funding conservative causes. SPN uses their contributions to dole out annual grants to member groups, ranging from a few thousand dollars to $260,000, according to 2009 records.

    According to SPN’s website, Roe launched the conservative network “at the urging” of President Reagan himself as a way to shape state-level policy just as Heritage has influenced federal policy. Surveying the political landscape today, Roe’s and Reagan’s idea couldn’t have been more prescient. More than a dozen states are currently considering legislation weakening the clout of organized labor. In many of those states, SPN think tanks have been pushing for similar prescriptions for years via “research” papers, policy recommendations, and talking points that are widely distributed to lawmakers.

    In Iowa, Republican Gov. Terry Branstad cited research (flawed, it turned out) by SPN’s Public Interest Institute in his January 2011 budget address to justify curbing the state’s collective bargaining law for public workers. (Last month, the GOP-controlled Iowa House passed a bill limiting bargaining rights, but the measure died in the Democratic-controlled Senate.)

    In Michigan, as Mother Jones previously reported, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, an SPN member, published a list of four policy recommendations that would give unelected “emergency managers” more power to go into municipalities and wipe out union contracts and fire local elected officials, all in the name of repairing broken budgets. All four ended up in Governor Rick Snyder’s “financial martial law,” as one GOP lawmaker described it. The bill was signed into law in March.

    The Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI) has for more than a decade bashed the Silver State’s efforts to pass collective bargaining laws and accused unions of trying to “monopolize the public sector.” In March, Nevada Republicans, citing NPRI data, introduced a bill of their own to weaken bargaining rights. There, as in other states considering similar measures, GOP lawmakers called on an SPN staffer to testify on the bill, which he did favorably.

    In California, where a Republican lawmaker introduced a bill in February to repeal collective bargaining on retirement benefits for public workers, the Pacific Research Institute (PRI) has churned out a steady stream of reports and op-eds claiming that teachers unions use collective bargaining to “neuter school board authority, protect bad teachers, restrict principals, emphasize seniority over performance, and limit teacher evaluation and accountability.” That is, bargaining is to blame for just about everything that’s gone wrong. A 2003 PRI paper recommended that policymakers “streamline or repeal” collective bargaining for teachers.


  17. rikyrah says:

    April 26, 2011
    HAL ROGERS HAS SOME EXPLAINING TO DO…. Rep. Hal Rogers (R) was almost certainly the wrong choice to head the House Appropriations Committee in this Congress. It doesn’t even make sense — for all the emphasis on cutting, Rogers has developed quite a reputation for doling out ethically-dubious pork.

    He spent $52 million for a National Center for Hometown Security, which happens to be located in his small hometown in Kentucky. It’s located near a local airport, which received $17 million from Rogers, despite the fact that it has no commercial flights in or out. The airport is down the road from Hal Rogers Parkway. Take a wild guess where the money came from for that project.

    But some of Rogers’ spending raises questions that go beyond mere waste. Last year, he pushed through a $5 million earmark for wild cheetah conservation. Are there wild cheetahs in Kentucky? No, but his daughter works for a nonprofit called the Cheetah Conservation Fund.

    What a coincidence.

    As it turns out, it gets worse. Scrutiny of Rogers’ spending practices is raising new questions about the man House Republicans tapped to lead the powerful Appropriations Committee.

    Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), the new chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, has funneled more than $236 million in federal funds since 2000 to a web of nonprofit groups he created back home in the Bluegrass State, according to a new report by an ethics watchdog group.

    Another group of private firms linked to Rogers and the nonprofit companies received another $227 million in federal loans, grants and contracts during the same period, a three-month investigation by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) found.

    Rogers’ family members, current and former aides, donors and business associates have benefited personally from the congressman’s largesse with federal dollars, according to the report.

    I don’t mean to sound picky, but when a powerful politician uses his office — and our money — to directly benefit his friends and family, there’s a word that comes to mind. It’s generally known as “corruption.”

    “Rep. Rogers sits at the center of an interconnected web that includes Kentucky nonprofit groups, a bank he partially owns, and several companies he has supported with federal money,” CREW said in its new report. “These entities have strong ties to Rep. Rogers and to each other, and help extend the congressman’s influence in his district.”

    Not only does Rogers have some explaining to do, but it’d be especially nice to know why House Republican leaders rewarded Rogers with this committee chairmanship, and whether they’re concerned about his dubious spending practices.

    —Steve Benen 11:20 AM


  18. rikyrah says:

    First Dem Attack Ad Targets Candidate Who Claimed To Support GOP Budget (VIDEO)

    A few Democrats might be vulnerable to attack ads based on their recent budget votes. But just about every Republican is stuck — even one who isn’t in Congress.

    “Jane Corwin said she would vote for the 2012 Republican budget that would essentially end Medicare. Seniors would have to pay $6,400 more for the same coverage,” the below ad says. “But the plan Jane Corwin supports would cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans.”

    Corwin is running against Kathy Hochul in the NY-26 special election to fill the seat vacated by former congressman and Craigslist philanderer Chris Lee. It’s the first GOP budget ad paid for by a Democrat this cycle. The election’s less than a month away, and will now be a barometer for the effectiveness of this line of attack


  19. rikyrah says:

    April 26, 2011
    STILL STUCK IN THE WRONG CONVERSATION…. I know it’s a lost cause. The debate has already spiraled in a ridiculous direction; Dems didn’t put up much of a fight; and it’s not coming back anytime soon.

    But when I see sensible people trying to shine a light on reality, I feel compelled to endorse it. Take Eugene Robinson’s latest column, for example, which dares to note that jobs should matter more than deficits right now.

    What is it about the word “jobs” that our nation’s leaders fail to understand? How has the most painful economic crisis in decades somehow escaped their notice? Why do they ignore the issues that Americans care most desperately about?

    Listening to the debate in Washington, you’d think the nation was absorbed by the compelling saga of deficit reduction. You’d get the impression that in households across America, parents put their children to bed and then stay up half the night sifting through piles of think-tank reports on the kitchen table, trying to calculate whether there will be enough in the Social Security trust fund to pay benefits beyond 2037.

    And you’d be wrong. Those parents are looking at a pile of bills on the kitchen table, trying to decide which ones have to be paid now and which can slide. The question isn’t how to manage health care or retirement costs two decades from now. It’s how the family can make it to the end of the month. […]

    Depressed housing prices, an epidemic of foreclosures, 8 million lost jobs — that’s the reality that Americans face every day. Politicians had better start facing it, too.

    But they won’t. President Obama, Robinson notes, at least “perceive this disconnect” between what people want/need and what their elected representatives are prioritizing. That’s true. But the president doesn’t intend to invest a lot of time and energy in promoting a jobs agenda that can’t pass, and which much of the country won’t like as soon as someone tells them it involves “more government spending.”

    Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, are willing to deliberately make unemployment worse — remember, “So be it”? — and focus on taking as much money out of the economy as possible, as quickly as possible.

    Still, the larger debate between “cut a little” and “cut a lot” is so far from a sensible approach to reality, it’s almost refreshing to see columns like Eugene Robinson’s. It won’t help — voters’ choices were a little too misguided six months ago — but his reminder deserves to be read anyway.

    —Steve Benen 10:55 AM


  20. Ametia says:

    Joey Scar, whatcha doing using Britians model to promote austerity?

    Watch it here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036789/#42763084

  21. rikyrah says:

    April 26, 2011
    THE MINOR DETAIL SCARBOROUGH OVERLOOKED…. In keeping with his partisan allies, Republican media personality Joe Scarborough devotes his latest column to praising British Prime Minister David Cameron for his willingness to challenge “the British cradle-to-grave welfare state that has grown uninterrupted since Winston Churchill was kicked out of office after World War II.”

    Cameron has taken the hatchet to defense spending and proposed raising the age for retirement benefits. It has been a death-defying act for a British politician whose chance of survival seems unlikely at best.

    Cameron was elected because he promised to make tough choices and, a year after the formation of his government, he has been true to his word. In a nation conditioned to believe in an all-encompassing welfare state, Cameron looks to raise the retirement age to 66 by the end of the decade, lay off hundreds of thousands of public workers, raise taxes and slash the costs of government programs by an average of 19 percent. He’s even willing to transform the National Health Service, for generations seen as the third rail of British politics, in a move that even members of his own party are blasting as “the greatest upheaval in the organization’s history.”

    Those radical reforms have been met with large-scale protests that have occasionally descended into violence, but to their credit the prime minister and Clegg stood firm over the past several months. A budget presented in March by George Osborne, Cameron’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, doubled-down on the spending cuts despite increasing public resistance.

    It goes on (and on) from there — nearly a thousand words on how impressed Scarborough is with Cameron, his similarities to Thatcher, his willingness to support a conservative agenda, how the United States will soon have to go in a similar directions, etc.

    The one thing Scarborough neglected to mention? Cameron’s agenda isn’t working and austerity is a failure. The British economy is contracting and household incomes are shrinking. Richard Portes, an economist at the London Business School recently said Cameron’s failures are likely to be “a cautionary tale” to others thinking about following his lead.

    The Cameron government believes the path to prosperity runs though fewer public services, less public investment, and counting on low interest rates to save the day. This experiment isn’t working at all, and yet, Joe Scarborough somehow neglected to mention this minor detail.

    —Steve Benen 9:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (12)


  22. Olbermann’s Current TV Show Called ‘Countdown,’ Launches June 20 (VIDEO


    Keith Olbermann finally announced what his new Current TV show will be called, and when it will air.

    The new name? “Countdown With Keith Olbermann.”

    “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Olbermann joked in a video announcement posted to his “Fok News Channel” site on Tuesday morning.

    Previously, Olbermann would only say that the show would air in “late spring.” In the video, he at last gave a specific date: Monday, June 20, at 8 PM Eastern.

    Olbermann’s show has been in the works since he abruptly left MSNBC in January.

  23. Ametia says:

    WSB-TV Exclusive: Justin Farmer To Interview President Obama

    ATLANTA — Channel 2 Action News Anchor Justin Farmer is preparing for a one-on-one interview Tuesday morning with President Barack Obama at the White House.
    WSB-TV is the only local station in Atlanta given exclusive access to the president.

    Farmer will question President Obama on immigration and the new Georgia law; gas prices; taxes and Obama’s plan to reduce the national deficit.

    The exclusive interview will air on Channel 2 Action News starting at noon on Tuesday.

    Farmer will also file reports from Washington at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. He will also compile an “inside the White House” story for wsbtv.com.

    Farmer will be Tweeting and updating his Facebook pages throughout his trip.


    • Ametia says:

      The President will all so do interviews with the followign stations this morning. Just go to their websites to check out the interviews.

      WKYC Cleveland, WTKR Hampton Roads, Virginia, and WXYZ Detroit

  24. Ametia says:

    April 24, 2011
    A Fight Over How Drugs Are Pitched

    Before pharmaceutical company marketers call on a doctor, they do their homework. These salespeople typically pore over electronic profiles bought from data brokers, dossiers that detail the brands and amounts of drugs a particular doctor has prescribed. It is a marketing practice that some health care professionals have come to hate.

    “It’s very powerful data and it’s easy to understand why drug companies want it,” said Dr. Norman S. Ward, a family physician in Burlington, Vt. “If they know the prescribing patterns of physicians, it could be very powerful information in trying to sway their behavior — like, why are you prescribing a lot of my competitor’s drug and not mine?”

    Marketing to doctors using prescription records bearing their names is an increasingly contentious practice, with three states, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, in the vanguard of enacting laws to limit the uses of a doctor’s prescription records for marketing.

    On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case, Sorrell v. IMS Health, that tests whether Vermont’s prescription confidentiality law violates the free speech protections of the First Amendment.

    The case is being closely watched not only by drug makers and data collection firms, but also by health regulators, doctors and consumer advocates who say the decision will have profound implications for doctors’ control over their prescription histories, and for information privacy, medical decision-making and health care costs.

    Vermont’s attorney general, William H. Sorrell, petitioned the court to review the case after three leading data collection firms including IMS Health, a health information company, and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a drug industry trade group, challenged the state statute. Although the federal district court in Vermont originally upheld the law, an appellate court reversed the decision last November.

    The federal government, the attorneys general of several dozen states, AARP, professional medical associations, privacy groups and the New England Journal of Medicine have filed briefs in support of Vermont’s law. The National Association of Chain Drugstores, the Association of National Advertisers and news organizations like Bloomberg and The Associated Press have filed briefs aligning themselves with the data firms.

    The concern over marketing based on doctor-specific prescription records revolves around the argument that it makes commercial use of private health treatment decisions — initiated in nonpublic consultations between doctor and patient, and completed in government-regulated transactions with pharmacists.

    The data has become more available because pharmacies, which are required by law to collect and maintain detailed files about each prescription filled, can sell records containing a doctor’s name and address, along with the amount of the drug prescribed, to data brokers. (The records are shorn of patient names and certain other personal details covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as H.I.P.A.A., the federal legislation governing a patient’s privacy.) Data brokers in turn aggregate the records for use in medical research and marketing.

    Drug makers spent about $6.3 billion on marketing visits to doctors in 2009, the last year that such figures were available, according to IMS Health. Access to a doctor’s prescription history, drug makers say, helps ensure that information about the latest prescription drug options quickly reaches specialists who treat particular conditions.

    But some federal regulators and medical societies argue that drug makers are simply mining the data to identify and go after the doctors who would be most likely to prescribe the latest, most expensive brand-name medicines — driving up health care costs and exposing patients to newer drugs whose side effects may not yet be fully known.

    Vermont enacted its prescription confidentiality law with the idea that drug makers do not have an inherent right to a doctor’s identifiable prescription information for use in marketing because the data originated in highly government-regulated, nonpublic health care transactions, said Mr. Sorrell, the Vermont attorney general.

    “Does ‘Ajax Incorporated’ have a constitutional unfettered right to the data for commercial purposes,” Mr. Sorrell said, “or is it legitimate to give the doctor who is writing the prescription a say over whether that information should be used for marketing?”

    Although the state law does not inhibit pharmaceutical sales representatives from marketing to doctors in their offices, he said, it does give doctors the right to consent before their prescribing information may be sold and used for marketing. If a doctor does not agree, he said, pharmacies must remove or encrypt the doctor’s name, just as they do for patients, before they sell this type of record for promotional use.

    Even if the Supreme Court were to find that the law infringes on free speech, Mr. Sorrell added, the justices could still uphold the law on the grounds that the state has a legitimate interest in containing the higher medical costs and safety risks that can be associated with the newest drugs.

    But industry representatives contend that Vermont should not be allowed to cherry-pick certain approved uses for the records in question while restricting those that conflict with what the law’s opponents say is the state’s apparent agenda: promoting less expensive generic drugs in an effort to lower health care costs.

    Vermont allows those records to be used in research and by law enforcement, said Thomas C. Goldstein, a lawyer representing IMS Health. Moreover, he said, drug makers are allowed to buy the very same records so they can identify doctors whose patients might be good candidates for clinical trials or communicate drug safety updates.

    “The one exception is that drug companies cannot use the data to combat the insurers’ and the state’s messages about their products,” Mr. Goldstein argued.

    He added that pharmacies obtain the information through business transactions that are no different than any other, making the physician records no more private than stock quotes or commodity prices.

    “It’s all data,” he said, “and it’s all protected by the First Amendment.”

    Moreover, such laws reduce the ability of drug makers to quickly communicate with specialists about new drugs for rare diseases, a situation that could make it prohibitive for, say, a small biotechnology company with a tiny sales force to market a breakthrough medication, said Randy Frankel, the vice president for external affairs at IMS Health.

    “Without the data, you might visit 1,000 physicians to identify the 10 whose patients might most benefit,” Mr. Frankel said. “With the data, you would go to the 10.”

    But some consumer advocates say the real issue in the case is the confidentiality of information that people submit in government-regulated transactions that they would not otherwise make public.

    “If the court is not going to protect personal and confidential health records,” said Wells Wilkinson, a staff lawyer at Community Catalyst, a nonprofit group that filed a brief in support of Vermont, “how could any consumer transaction be protected?”


  25. Hello 3 Chics!

    Would you be so kind to take a few seconds of your time to nominate us for The Black Weblog Awards 2011? Click on the link here



    Just enter our URL http://3chicspolitico.com/in the following categories:

    [Best Culture Blog]

    This category is for blogs which analyze and discuss Black culture and/or the African diaspora with respect to art, dance, Black history, music, and other related content.

    [Best Faith-Based Blog]

    This category is for blogs which feature unique religious and spiritual content from any religion or faith.

    [Best Group Blog]

    This category is for a single blog which is updated by a group of people (two or more people). This blog can be about any topic.

    [Best New Blog]

    This category is for blogs of any topic which have been started on or after September 1, 2009.

    [Best Political or News Blog]

    This category is for blogs which are about politics or current newsworthy topics.

    [Blog of the Year]

    The blog of the year has it all: great writing, frequent posts, active comments, and a strong reader base.

    [Blog to Watch]

    This category is for that great blog that not everyone knows about…but should! It’s undiscovered. It’s a best kept secret. (Although it won’t be anymore if they win this award!)

  26. rikyrah says:

    John Boehner: GOP Could Ditch Oil Subsidies
    House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told ABC News on Monday that he would be open to reevaluating billions of dollars in subsidies to oil companies that have enjoyed strong support from the GOP.

    “It’s certainly something we should be looking at,” Boehner said. “We’re in a time when the federal government’s short on revenues. They ought to be paying their fair share.”

    Democrats have relentlessly attacked Republicans in recent months for supporting tax breaks and subsidies aimed at oil companies, contrasting the corporate aid with GOP proposals to drastically reduce long-term funding for Medicare and Medicaid. Boehner’s small — but significant — step back from the traditional Republican position is a clear indicator that he senses political vulnerability as gas prices soar.

    In addition to his new line on subsidies, Boehner went out of his way to take a dig at oil companies’ profits in the interview.

    “Everybody wants to go after the oil companies and, frankly, they’ve got some part of this to blame,” he said, discussing rising oil prices.

    Boehner cautioned that he wasn’t ready to abandon support for subsidies just yet, saying he wanted to make sure he first studied “what impact this is going have on job creation here in America.”

    The party has taken hits for its oil-friendly outlook in the past — during the BP spill, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) memorably apologized to BP for their treatment by the White House. The statement drew condemnations from GOP leaders and Barton was not granted a waiver to chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee after the Republicans retook the House.


  27. rikyrah says:

    he graduated MAGNA CUM LAUDE from Harvard Law School. I’ll say it again…these mofos think he, and FLOTUS got their degrees in crayon.


    Affirmative Action, Baby!
    by John Cole

    I think we all know what Trump is getting at here:

    Donald Trump is upping the ante against President Barack Obama’s legitimacy, raising questions on Monday night about how the president was admitted to two Ivy League schools.

    Trump openly questioned how Obama, who he said had been a “terrible student,” got accepted into Columbia University for undergraduate studies and then Harvard Law School.

    “I heard he was a terrible student, terrible,” Trump told the Associated Press in an interview, a claim he’s made in the past but one he doubled down on by suggesting he’s probing that area of the president’s life.

    “How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard? I’m thinking about it, I’m certainly looking into it. Let him show his records,” he said, without providing backup for his claim.

    Trump added, “I have friends who have smart sons with great marks, great boards, great everything and they can’t get into Harvard.”

    “We don’t know a thing about this guy,” Trump said. “There are a lot of questions that are unanswered about our president.”

    Apparently Trump is mad that Obama didn’t do things the right way- inherit his good fortune from daddy.


    • I am getting really tired of this nasty looking sob! What is he going to say next? Call the President a nigga? Trump need his ass kicked but good.

    • First Black Elected to Head Harvard’s Law Review
      By FOX BUTTERFIEL­D, Special to The New York Times
      Published: February 06, 1990

      The Harvard Law Review, generally considered the most prestigiou­s in the country, elected the first black president in its 104-year history today. The job is considered the highest student position at Harvard Law School.

      The new president of the Review is Barack Obama, a 28-year-ol­d graduate of Columbia University who spent four years heading a community developmen­t program for poor blacks on Chicago’s South Side before enrolling in law school. His late father, Barack Obama, was a finance minister in Kenya and his mother, Ann Dunham, is an American anthropolo­gist now doing fieldwork in Indonesia. Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii.

      What a Law Review Does-
      Law reviews, which are edited by students, play a double role at law schools, providing a chance for students to improve their legal research and writing, and at the same time offering judges and scholars a forum for new legal arguments. The Harvard Law Review is generally considered the most widely cited of the student law reviews.

      Obama’s performanc­e inside and outside the classroom attracted more notice than his distinctiv­e personal story. In the spring of his first year at law school, Obama stopped by the office of Professor Laurence Tribe ’66 inquiring about becoming a research assistant.

      Tribe rarely hired first-year students but recalls being struck by Obama’s unusual combinatio­n of intelligen­ce, curiosity and maturity. He was so impressed in fact, that he hired Obama on the spot—and wrote his name and phone number on his calendar that day—March 31, 1989—for posterity.

      Obama helped research a complicate­d article Tribe wrote making connection­s between physics and constituti­onal law as well as a book about abortion. The following year, Obama enrolled in Tribe’s constituti­onal law course.

      Tribe likes to say he had taught about 4,000 students before Obama and another 4,000 since, yet none has impressed him more.


      • Ametia says:

        LOL Bring it, SG2. No matter how much these fools want to spin, lie, cheat, and holler. Barack Hussein Obama is the PRESIDENT of the United States of America.

        And he achieved his success without their white privileged approval.

        Remember for folks like Trump, a Black, well-educated, good-looking, successful, INTELLIGENT man is white man’s KRYPTONITE. LOL The election of the black man has literally driven these fools mad.

    • Ametia says:

      It’s hard out there for the affirmative action white privileged!

      Your mediocrity is showing…

  28. rikyrah says:

    April 26, 2011
    ROMNEY REMEMBERS WHAT ‘PEACETIME’ MEANS, AFTER ALL…. In a published op-ed yesterday, former Gov. Mitt Romney (R) slammed President Obama for launching “one of the biggest peacetime spending binges in American history.” It’s a bizarre argument for several reasons, not the least of which is that this isn’t peacetime.

    After this caused a bit of a stir yesterday afternoon, the presidential candidate’s team walked it back. As it turns out, Romney’s claim wasn’t intended to be a factual statement.

    That word “peacetime” doesn’t really jibe, does it? Team Romney has an explanation for that: It was a mistake.

    “He meant to say since World War II,” said Romney’s PAC spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, in an e-mail.

    I suppose there are more charitable ways to interpret the defense, but I’m inclined to agree with Jed Lewison, who didn’t find the explanation especially persuasive.

    Uh, say what now? How do you go from making a point about “peacetime” spending to saying you meant post-WWII? And how do you make that mistake in the first place?

    Dave Weigel thinks it’s because Romney meant to talk about domestic spending, but if we’re not talking about military spending, then World War II is irrelevant. Plus, it’s silly to talk about spending since 2001 without talking about the military. According to data available from the CBO on discretionary spending, from 2001 to 2010, defense spending increased by 125%. Domestic spending went up by 92%. In dollar terms, if defense spending had just increased at the same rate as domestic discretionary spending, it would be $100 billion lower than it is today, saving well over $1 trillion over the next decade.

    Of course, none of that helps explain what the hell Mitt Romney thought he was saying when he said America was in “peacetime.” Or how in the world he could have confused post-WWII era with “peacetime.”

    Before we move on from this little flap, I was curious to see how (and whether) the media picked up on this. The DNC pushed the story yesterday afternoon, and Vote Vets released a rather scathing response.

    Would it be enough to get political reporters’ attention? Not really; major media outlets generally didn’t care. If Google News and Nexis are accurate this morning, Reuters ran an article, but the AP ignored the story. Politico had a short piece, but the major dailies — WaPo, NYT, WSJ, LAT, USAT — didn’t mention it in their print editions. I couldn’t find any mentions in broadcast media at all.

    I’m curious — if an inexperienced Democratic candidate with no experience in foreign policy or military affairs described a time of multiple wars as “peacetime,” would he or she ever live it down? Or would it be seen as evidence that Dems lack credibility on international affairs?

    —Steve Benen 8:00 AM


  29. rikyrah says:

    Even the Best Is Not Good Enough
    by BooMan
    Mon Apr 25th, 2011 at 11:33:45 PM EST

    Haley Barbour will not run for president. Rep. Ron Paul will. This time, Ron Paul won’t sound like an isolated iconoclastic loon. In fact, he may discover that he’s almost a mainstream Republican. This is going to open a massive hole in the political middle of the country that Obama should be able to waltz through with little problem. To maximize the margin of victory, Obama will have to hold as many of the alienated Republicans as possible. A Lyndon Johnson-size victory is definitely a real possibility. I think Paul Ryan’s budget plan combined with the radicalism of the Republican candidates makes a landslide a better than even bet. There are two things that are frustrating, however. To maximize the size of the victory, Obama needs to hold the center, which means he isn’t going to tack to the left. Worse, even if he wins in a landslide, he’ll still spend his second-term basically check-mated by Senate Republicans. There’s not much hope in that.


  30. rikyrah says:

    April 26, 2011
    David Brooks’ piece today is titled “The Big Disconnect” — as their political parties react feebly to persistent economic, entitlement, energy and immigration problems, “Americans have lost faith in the credibility of their political system” — yet this public “disconnect” is precisely the attitude desired by Republican strategists, who thereby regard themselves as connecting quite effectively.

    Well, they were, until the Ryan proposal. More on that later.

    Nothing depresses what was once called civic virtue and drives down voter turnout like despair: the electorate’s helpless feeling that no matter what, problems will be neither resolved nor even soberly addressed. So, since January 2009 Republicans have heaved one monkey wrench after another into the machinery of effective government and government responsiveness. They have filibustered, slowed, attacked, thwarted, obstructed, done everything imaginable to grind good government and economic recovery to a pulverized rubble.

    Although President Obama and Congressional Democrats performed with remarkable, one could say even heroic, effectiveness for two years — achieving historic healthcare reform, financial reregulation, the auto industry’s salvation, an almost reasonably sized stimulus package, etc. — Republicans were “patriotically” on hand to loyally perform their opposition duty of disinformation, destruction and delay. It worked like a nightmare. In November 2010 we got what a depressed electorate and consequently smaller turnout were determined to deliver unto us: a larger GOP Senate minority and a House majority of downright Gothic horror.

    After a mere four months of these alternating prophets of doom and rootin-tootin revolutionaries in office, the statistical result has been what Mr. Brooks itemizes: “There is a negativity bias in the country, especially among political independents and people earning between $30,000 and $75,000 (who have become extremely gloomy).” What’s more,

    The share of Americans who say they trust government to do the right thing most of the time is scuttling along at historic lows. Approval of Congress and most other institutions has slid. Seventy percent of Americans think the country is on the wrong track, according to The New York Times/CBS News poll. Nearly two-thirds believe the nation is in decline, according to a variety of surveys.

    Well done, Grand Old Party. You took a crippled nation in pain and delivered more debilitating blows to its ribs. “Over the past months” — notes Brooks rather cowardly, that is, without assignment of proper and pointed blame — “we’ve seen a fascinating phenomenon. The public mood has detached from the economic cycle. In normal times, economic recoveries produce psychological recoveries. At least at the moment, that seems not to be happening.”

    One need not wonder why.

    In the process of demoralizing Americans, though, Republicans committed an enormous, twofold strategic error. It was introduced as politically pragmatic. Barring Keynesian measures they despise (and knew to work), they were left with no realistic measures whatsoever in living up to their pledge to create jobs, the actual creation of which, of course, at any rate would not have helped their efforts to defeat Obama in 2012. (America first, always America first.) So they pivoted hard to deficits and debt as monstrous distractions. So far, so good, politically speaking.

    Then, however, from a whopper of ideological compulsion came a political stunner of almost unthinkable magnitude: in tackling the deficit bugaboo, they would reduce government outlays by murdering Medicare. They said so. In writing. With ribbons and bows. Glory be.

    Which loops us back to the Brooksian “disconnect.” Which is to say, not for long. For public despair is being replaced by national outrage — squarely at Republicans.

    An uncommon preciseness has been introduced to the 2012 campaign. Rather than the indefinable miasma of economic lethargy, from which cacophonous voices of blame are raised and partisan fingers are pointed this way and that, we now have the stark poignancy of clearly identifiable villains — yep, those guys. If the electorate ever wanted to “connect” its roiling anger to a rewarding outcome, 2012 will be the time. And it will stand 2010 on its head.


  31. rikyrah says:

    April 26, 2011
    BOEHNER’S HOSTAGE STRATEGY BECOMES EVEN MORE RECKLESS…. It’s important to appreciate the evolution of House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) rhetoric when it comes to raising the debt ceiling. This matters because, as we get closer to a crisis of Republicans’ own making, Boehner is become more reckless and irresponsible, not less.

    Here’s Boehner in November 2010:

    I’ve made it pretty clear to [my caucus] that as we get into next year, it’s pretty clear that Congress is going to have to deal with [the debt limit]. We’re going to have to deal with it as adults. Whether we like it or not, the federal government has obligations and we have obligations on our part.”

    And here’s Boehner in December 2010:

    “We’ll have to find a way to help educate members and help people understand the serious problem that would exist if we didn’t do it.”

    And here’s Boehner in January 2011:

    “[A debt-ceiling default] would be a financial disaster, not only for us, but for the worldwide economy. I don’t think it’s a question that’s even on the table.”

    The Speaker, perhaps too weak to explain reality to the caucus he ostensibly leads, has given up on this sensible rhetoric altogether. A question that wasn’t even on the table a few months ago is now the basis for threats unseen in modern American history.

    Boehner told Politico yesterday, “If the president doesn’t get serious about the need to address our fiscal nightmare, yeah, there’s a chance it [the debt limit vote] could not happen.”

    It’s hard to overstate how truly insane this is. Boehner wants the White House to address a “fiscal nightmare” that Boehner’s own party helped create, and if he’s unsatisfied with the president’s response, the Speaker will deliberately cause an economic catastrophe. Take steps to fix a long-term problem, Boehner is arguing, or the GOP will cause a short-term crisis on purpose.

    A simple desire to do what’s best for one’s country should preclude such madness.

    Indeed, look again at what Boehner was saying in November, December, and January. He knows what the right course of action is. He practically vowed to be responsible. He assured the nation that Republicans would take our collective obligations seriously. The Speaker’s own rhetoric made it clear he wasn’t going to risk a catastrophe as some kind of partisan game.

    And yet, he we are, and Boehner is now prepared to do exactly that.

    I have to hope that Boehner’s hostage strategy continues to be a radical stunt, and that he doesn’t actually intend to hurt all of us on purpose. He has the proverbial gun to the hostage’s head (in this case, our economy), but he doesn’t really want to pull the trigger — Boehner just wants Democrats to think he will so they’ll pay his ransom. That’s how the game works.

    But as Ezra Klein noted this morning, “The danger in this is that as the rhetoric ramps up, the market may not realize this is all just more of Washington’s fun and games. Brinksmanship runs the risk of misjudging what is the last minute, or the maximum amount of uncertainty, that the market will accept before it reevaluates the American government’s capacity to pay its debts back in a timely and smooth way.”

    When Americans elected a Republican House majority, they may not have realized just how serious a risk they were taking with our future. The electorate’s mistake may prove to be devastating fairly soon.

    —Steve Benen 8:35 AM


  32. Ametia says:

    April 26, 2011, 7:00 am
    Why Republicans May Be Skipping 2012 Presidential Run

    Haley Barbour’s decision to forgo a run for the presidency in 2012 puts him in the company of a half-dozen top Republicans who have considered — and rejected — a challenge to President Obama next year.

    The question is: why?

    In a statement that surprised much of official Washington, Mr. Barbour indicated that he does not have “absolute fire in the belly” to mount a campaign that, if he wins, could consume the next 10 years of his life.

    “I cannot offer that with certainty, and total certainty is required,” he said.

    Others have offered different reasons. Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, said he considered himself “best positioned to fight for America’s future here in the trenches of the United States Senate.” Representative Mike Pence of Indiana hinted that he might run for governor instead, saying that he and his family “choose Indiana.”
    Among those who have turned down the chance to run in 2012: Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey; Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida; and Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee. Mr. Christie said that he could win but that “I’ve got to believe I’m ready to be president, and I don’t.”

    An additional half-dozen potential 2012 hopefuls remain on the fence about whether to run, leaving just a handful of major candidates who appear certain to take the plunge.

    But the publicly stated reasons often mask other considerations as politicians consider whether to run for president. Here are five reasons why some of the Republican Party’s brightest stars might be opting for the sidelines this year.

    1. Biden. If Mr. Obama wins re-election, there is almost zero chance that Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. would run for the presidency in 2016, when he would be 76 years old. That puts him in the same place where Vice President Dick Cheney was in 2008. That means that Republicans who can afford to wait until 2016 can assure themselves not only that they will not face an incumbent Democratic president, but also that they won’t face a sitting vice president.

    2. The economy. Mr. Obama’s approval ratings have dipped below 50 percent, but he remains personally popular and by many calculations the economy appears to be improving — if slowly. Even Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and one of the handful of very likely candidates, said last September that Mr. Obama would be “difficult to beat” if the economy continued improving, which he predicted it would. (He later changed his tune and said Republicans should focus on the economy if they wanted to win.)

    3. Money. Mr. Obama is expected in some quarters to raise $1 billion for his re-election campaign, and he has no serious primary opposition, which means he will be free to aim that firepower at his Republican adversaries. For a potential challenger, that raises the stakes for fund-raising at a time when more outside groups are competing for the same dollars, many of which, even on the Republican side, would go to congressional races.

    4. The Tea Party. The emergence of the Tea Party movement as a force inside the Republican Party requires potential presidential candidates to pick sides in an intraparty philosophical struggle. The risks are clear for some Republicans who may have to alter or modify earlier positions to get through a contentious primary. Less clear are the benefits of having that support during a general election, especially if it means alienating independents in the process. Some of the most high-profile Tea Party candidates in 2010 did not fare so well in the general election.

    5. The media glare. Candidates for president have always had to contend with scrutiny from the press. But the intense, Internet-driven political environment in 2011, when everyone has a camera phone and every offhand comment can be recorded, is enough to scare away even the most hearty of politicians. Mr. Barbour’s family apparently hated the idea of his running for president (though reports suggest that they had made peace with the idea, were he to have run). Candidates who have been on the fence about making a run often consider the consequences to their privacy if they do.


  33. Ametia says:

    The word most politicians ignore: Jobs
    By Eugene Robinson, Monday, April 25, 8:00 PM
    What is it about the word “jobs” that our nation’s leaders fail to understand? How has the most painful economic crisis in decades somehow escaped their notice? Why do they ignore the issues that Americans care most desperately about?

    Listening to the debate in Washington, you’d think the nation was absorbed by the compelling saga of deficit reduction. You’d get the impression that in households across America, parents put their children to bed and then stay up half the night sifting through piles of think-tank reports on the kitchen table, trying to calculate whether there will be enough in the Social Security trust fund to pay benefits beyond 2037.

    And you’d be wrong. Those parents are looking at a pile of bills on the kitchen table, trying to decide which ones have to be paid now and which can slide. The question isn’t how to manage health care or retirement costs two decades from now. It’s how the family can make it to the end of the month.

    President Obama gives signs of beginning to perceive this disconnect. His Republican opponents, not so much.


  34. Jan Brewer: Birther Issue Leading Country ‘Down A Path Of Destruction’


    PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer says the so-called “birther” issue is a potentially destructive issue for the country.

    Brewer was interviewed on CNN on Monday about her decision a week ago to veto an Arizona bill that would have required President Barack Obama and other presidential candidates to prove their natural-born citizenship.

    Brewer reiterated her veto explanation that the bill was poorly drafted. She also said she believes there’s no question that it was directed at Obama though it’s clear he was born in Hawaii.

    She told CNN interviewer John King that the birther issue is leading the nation “down a path of destruction.”

    What? Dat You, Jan Brewer?

    • Ametia says:

      Too lae, Jan. You helped let the genie out of the bottle.

    • Ametia says:

      Apr 23, 2010
      Gov. Brewer signs controversial immigration bill
      By John Fritze, USA TODAY
      By Matt York, AP

      Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer today signed a controversial immigration bill into state law, advancing a politically charged debate that is already having reverberations in Washington.

      Respect for the rule of law means respect for every law,” said Brewer, a Republican. “People across America are watching Arizona.
      “We in Arizona have been more than patient waiting for Washington to act,” Brewer added. “But decades of inaction and misguided policy have created a dangerous and unacceptable situation.”

      Brewer’s decision came just hours after President Obama called the proposal “misguided.” At a naturalization ceremony for new U.S. citizens today, Obama pressed Congress to revamp federal immigration policy or face the possibility of “irresponsibility by others.”


      So you see Jan Brewer, your signing a bill to conduct RACIAL PROFILING immigrants, has been quite helpful to the cause of the birther movement.

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