Wednesday Open Thread

George Benson (born March 22, 1943)[1] is a multi- Grammy Award winning American musician, whose production career began at the age of twenty-one as a jazz guitarist. He is also known as a pop, R&B, and scat singer. This one-time child prodigy topped the Billboard 200 in 1976 with the triple-platinum album, Breezin’.[2] He was also a major live attraction in the UK during the 1980s.[2] Benson uses a rest-stroke picking technique similar to that of gypsy jazz players such as Django Reinhardt.

Benson was born and raised in the Hill District in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At the age of 7, Benson first played the ukulele in a corner drug store for which he was paid a few dollars; at the age of 8, he was playing guitar in an unlicensed nightclub on Friday and Saturday nights which was soon closed down by the police. At the age of 10, George recorded his first single record with RCA-Victor in New York, called ‘She Makes Me Mad’.

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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57 Responses to Wednesday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    Voters remember these two, come election time.

    Mary Landrieu, Mark Begich Defend Oil Companies Against Democrats

    WASHINGTON — The Democratic attempt to take on the major oil companies is being challenged from within, with representatives of producing states rushing to the defense of the industry, complicating the plan to present a stark contrast between the two parties.

    Democratic Sens. Mark Begich and Mary Landrieu, who represent Alaska and Louisiana, respectively, each took to the Senate floor Wednesday to decry their party’s attempt to strip tax breaks from the top oil companies.

    Landrieu bemoaned the “inherent unfairness” of closing the tax loophole, insisting that doing so “will not reduce gasoline prices by one penny.”

    Begich chided the party for putting message over substance. “It is a gimmick, a gimmick to get the next week of activity, and get some press out there,” he said. “Picking on one industry because it sounds good, rates good in the polls, gets you a couple of headlines is not what the American people want us to do here. If anything, they’re getting fed up with that. … Let’s stop the headline-grabbing and get serious about the energy security.”

    Read more:

  2. Ametia says:

    Ed Schultz is giving the Bush/Cheney clowns a BEATDOWN. Showing clips of how his cohorts and he went before the cameras and PUSHED TERRORISM!!!!!!!!! Pure FEAR MONGERING…

  3. Democratic Gov: GOP Risking National Default To Deny Obama Second Term

    WASHINGTON — With states and cities already suffering the consequences of the nation creeping toward hitting the legal debt limit, one Democratic governor is accusing Republicans of bringing the government to default in an effort to kill President Obama’s reelection chances.

    Democratic Governors Association Chairman Martin O’Malley (D-Md.) took several sharp swipes at congressional Republicans on Tuesday during a sit-down interview with The Huffington Post. The topics covered ranged from tax cuts to deficit reduction, but the gist of each was the same: O’Malley said the GOP was willing to derail the country’s economic recovery so long as it gave Republicans a gateway to the White House.

    “[T]he new breed that is leading the Republican Congress have, I think, nothing but a short-term goal in mind. And that is to keep the president from winning a second term,” said O’Malley, who had come to Washington D.C. for a round of media interviews. “They accomplish that one way and one way only and that is to stop the jobs recovery — to put a halt to the jobs recovery — and, if possible, to reverse the jobs recovery.”

    “They have two means for accomplishing that one goal,” O’Malley said. “One is with deep, debilitating and crippling cuts to that common endeavor of ours known as the public sector. The other way is to force the United States needlessly into a default position — either of which would do such damage to job creation, consumer confidence and investor confidence that they would accomplish their goal of halting the jobs recovery in order to keep the president from getting reelected.”

    To destroy the country’s economic progress =Treason

  4. Obama to reach out to Muslims in post-bin Laden world
    President preparing major policy speech on political change in Middle East

    WASHINGTON — Amid searing change in the Middle East and North Africa, President Barack Obama will address U.S. policy toward the region in a speech that could be delivered as early as next week.

    Aides said Obama’s emphasis would be regional and political, highlighting the democratic values that have linked the popular uprisings that started in Tunisia and Egypt and quickly spread throughout the region. But Obama was not expected to focus on religion, as he did in his address to the Muslim world during a 2009 trip to Cairo.

    A U.S. official said Obama had originally planned to deliver the speech during the first week in May, but it was pushed back because of the raid in Pakistan that led to the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. A new date has not been officially set, but the White House said Obama could speak before he leaves for a nearly weeklong trip to Europe next weekend. The speech would be in this country, not overseas.

    Bin Laden’s death has given the White House an opportunity to cast al-Qaida as a movement past its prime, as young people throughout the Middle East and North Africa turn to political protest, not terrorism, to vent their grievances.

    “It’s an interesting coincidence of timing — that he is killed at the same time that you have a model emerging in the region of change that is completely the opposite of bin Laden’s model,” Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser at the White House, told the Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the planned speech on Tuesday.

    Obama plans to make the case that bin Laden represented a failed approach of the past while populist movements brewing in the Middle East and North Africa represent the future, U.S. officials told the Journal.

  5. Ametia says:

    • creolechild says:

      Thank you for putting this up, Ametia. It’s a powerful reminder of what we’re up against!

      • Ametia says:

        You’re welcome. I think you and I were posting the GOP’s shenanigans , chicanery, and attempts of theivery at the same time. Thank you for all you do to bring truth, creolechhild.

      • creolechild says:

        Thank you, Ametia and SouthernGirl2, for providing this space. I enjoy being able to post comments and information here about current events. You all have made me feel welcomed and I appreciate that.

  6. creolechild says:

    PLEASE, follow the link and read the entire article when you have a chance. Photo ID laws that have been surfacing will have a damaging impact on 2012 elections. The corporate-sponsored media has been downplaying how many states will be effected…and it’s not good news unless we can find a solution soon.

    “WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 7, 2011) – In a report released today, Advancement Project, a next-generation civil rights organization that works to eliminate barriers to voting, is sounding the alarm on photo ID proposals pending in states across the nation that could disenfranchise millions of voters in the 2012 elections.”

    “The report, “What’s Wrong With This Picture? New Photo ID Proposals Part of a National Push to Turn Back the Clock on Voting Rights,” is the most comprehensive document to date examining the trend, analyzing the proposals in each state, and bringing context to the larger political and legal debates shaping these efforts to roll back ballot access.”


    “Studies show that approximately 11 percent of voters – about 21 million people – lack or cannot obtain a current state-specific photo ID. African American voters are twice as likely to lack current state ID.”


    “As noted in the report, voters of color, senior citizens, young voters, people with disabilities, immigrants, the working poor and students are disproportionately less likely to have current state ID or face substantial hurdles to getting one.”

    • creolechild says:

      Those are 21 million potential votes that will be lost and President Obama won’t receive. It’s something to think about…

  7. rikyrah says:

    May 11, 2011 12:35 PM
    Huntsman’s implausible spin
    By Steve Benen

    I still can’t quite wrap my head around the idea that the Republican Party, when choosing a nominee to run against President Obama would turn to … an Obama administration official. When you add the fact that this official described President Obama as “a remarkable leader,” there’s something about this that just doesn’t compute.

    That said, Obama’s former Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, certainly appears to be gearing up for a presidential run — as a Republican — and the media already adores him.

    One of his first hurdles, apparently, will be questions about his loyalties. RedState’s Erick Erickson, of all people, raised a provocative point this week about Huntsman, who left his job as Utah’s governor in 2009 to join the Obama administration.

    The reason I will never, ever support Jon Huntman [sic] is simple: While serving as the United States Ambassador to China, our greatest strategic adversary, Jon Huntsman began plotting to run against the President of the United States. This calls into question his loyalty not just to the President of the United States, but also his loyalty to his country over his own naked ambition.

    It does not matter if you are a Republican or a Democrat. Party is beside the point here. When the President of the United States sends you off to be Ambassador to our greatest strategic adversary in the world, you don’t sit around contemplating running against the very same President you serve. It begs the question of did you fully carry out your duties as Ambassador or let a few things slip along the way hoping to damage the President? Likewise, it begs the question of whether our relations with China have suffered because the President felt like he could not trust his own Ambassador?

    Huntsman’s team of insiders and professional advisors laughed off the concern, but the unannounced candidate felt compelled to respond yesterday

    There was no gearing up for a campaign, whatsoever,” Huntsman said, explaining that the campaign structure had been put together without his input.

    “I didn’t even know these people,” he said, pointing to several campaign staffers nearby. “I did not know them until I got off the plane…. These are all new friends.”

    At the risk of sounding like a cynic, this seems wildly implausible. Huntsman sent out word five months ago — four months before stepping down from his Obama administration post — that he’d likely seek the GOP nomination, even while ostensibly serving a Democratic nomination. Are we to believe Huntsman simply got off the plane from Beijing, and immediately fell into the arms of perfect strangers — campaign professionals, all — who magically formed a presidential campaign operation with no input whatsoever from the candidate?

    I suppose anything’s possible, but it seems Huntsman is starting his campaign with a defense that’s literally hard to believe.

    As for his chances, Huntsman is not only a former member of Obama’s team, he’s also a former governor who embraced stimulus funds, support a cap-and-trade plan, and endorsed civil unions for same-sex couples. Huntsman’s campaign operation is largely staffed with veterans of John McCain’s 2008 team, which isn’t exactly popular among GOP activists.

    Strange things can happen in presidential politics, but I’m comfortable predicting that Huntsman has a very steep hill to climb.

  8. rikyrah says:

    from Coates on the Common brouhaha:

    I Feel Like A Black Republican
    May 11 2011, 1:00 PM ET
    David White picks up on the Common piece and expounds a bit:

    You know, normally something this stupid wouldn’t bother me, but this story really gets under my skin. If they can try to paint Common as a ‘dangerous black man,’ what black man is immune? If they think Common is vile, then I know they have no use for my black ass. Common is beyond the pale, Michelle Obama hates whitey, Eric Holder is protecting the New Black Panther Party, Shirley Sherrod is discriminating against white farmers, Barack Obama is giving reparations to black people? Conservatives, do you realize how stupid this sounds to black people? (and I know that black people aren’t the audience for that kind of talk, there’s no need to point that out to me.) Seriously, you can’t find less-threatening black people.

    And fundamentally, I doubt if they even think Common’s that bad. He’s a convenient target for a bit of demagoguing, which is even more repugnant. At least when Lee Atwater used the “Let’s dredge up the ‘dangerous black man’ feelings for a cheap political hit” ploy, he’d choose an actually dangerous black man.

    I mean, look, politically, I’m pretty liberal, so it’s not like I’d ever be a regular Republican voter anyway. But shit like this is what prevents me from even getting to the point where I’d give their policies a fair hearing. And I know there are some Republicans and conservatives here, and I say that you have no chance of getting any kind of support from black voters as long as the leaders of your party are pulling these kinds of stunts.

    I think that first paragraph captures a lot of what I meant when I asked “Who will they accept? This is different from \”Who will they agree with?” I think Liz Cheney’s attacks on Eric Holder were disgusting and erroneous, but they were also pretty run of the mill for American politics. I think “Obamacare” is disparaging, but it’s also the sort of term that people who disagree with you generally coin. I think “pull the plug on gradma” was a lie, but it was the exact sort of lie that I could imagine being employed against President Hillary Clinton.

    David is pointing to something else, something which I tried to get at in my Malcolm piece. Throughout the 80s and 90s, there were a lot of black folks on the public stage who many of us loved, but never really held up as role models or hoped would be “accepted.” You can understand why, say, Mike Tyson, Chuck D, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, OJ Simpson, NWA, or Snoop Dogg might be polarizing. A lot of these folks were polarizing even within the black community. You didn’t really expect these people to be received as your ambassadors.

    But Common is the dude in the Gap ad. His mother is a teacher. Shirley Sherrod is a victim of white supremacist terrorism, who lectures black people on seeing their own prejudice. Eric Holder went to Stuyvesant. Michelle Obama’s mother was a homemaker. Her parents forfeited a full athletic scholarship to send Michelle Obama’s brother to Princeton. They used to watch the Brady Bunch together.

    If Common is disturbing, Shirley Sherrod wants to discriminate against white people, MIchelle Obama is obsessed with Whitey, and Barack Obama has a hatred of white people, then the rest of us are in real trouble. When you talk about “nonthreatening” this really is the best we’ve got.

  9. rikyrah says:

    but but butbut but



    They thought they’d just be able to ram it through.

    uh huh

    Ain’t nobody forgiving, and come November 2012, STILL…nobody would have forgot.

    The DNC is preparing the Political Ads as I type.


    GOP Freshmen On Medicare Attacks: Let’s Let Bygones Be Bygones
    Brian Beutler | May 11, 2011, 11:11AM

    House Republican freshmen admit that their so-called “MediScare” attacks on Democrats helped them win a big majority in 2010. Democrats had voted for the health care law, which included $500 billion in “cuts” to Medicare — primarily slashing overpayments to private insurers — and Republican challengers never let them forget it.

    Now, they say, it’s time to let bygones be bygones.

    Nearly a dozen House Republican freshmen held a press conference outside the Capitol Tuesday morning to “wipe the slate clean,” and “hit the reset button.”
    “Yeah, I mean there’s been — again, this is a both-sides issue,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) when asked if GOP candidates and the NRCC had engaged in ‘MediScare’ tactics last year. “To say that one side is blameless in trying to use issues to win votes is just dishonest.”

    On Tuesday, Kinzinger and 41 of his colleagues sent a letter to President Obama, asking him to rein in Democratic attacks on GOP members who voted for the House budget, which includes a plan to privatize Medicare and cap spending on the program.


    They called Barack Obama everything but a child of GOD during the 2010 elections, and think he should ‘ rein in Democratic attacks’?

    G-T-F-O-H with THAT bullshyt.

    • Ametia says:

      Nope! The Dems had better ATTACK the GOP’s Medicare SCAM like a RABID dog. They can make up for their lukewarm support of HCR.

      To Hell with the freshman teabaggers

    • Oh hell no, bygones my ass. The GOP OWNS this mofo!

    • rikyrah says:

      I found this at Washington Monthly in the comments in response to the GOP freshmen whining to the PRESIDENT in a letter:


      •ameshall on May 11, 2011 2:42 PM:

      Dear Rep. Kinzinger:

      Thank you for your recent letter. I’m truly sorry that your constituents don’t like your vote to replace Medicare with a voucher program, and that you didn’t get the hero’s welcome in your district that Paul Ryan promised.

      • I wish I could rescue you from your own political mistakes and the mean Democrats who are exploiting them, but I’m too busy ramming through my socialist agenda, imposing government-run health care, administering death panels, doctoring my birth certificate, palling around with terrorists, directing U.S. courts to apply Sharia law, and plotting with union leaders on how to steal the next election.

      • If you’re looking to erase all memory of the vote you cast to end Medicare, I suggest you consult with the experts at Fox News. They are veritable magicians when it comes to revising history.

      With warm regards,
      Barack Obama

  10. rikyrah says:

    guess the National Democrats are getting the message from the labor unions:

    get your asses out in front and defend us and labor issues.


    Harry Reid Tells GOP To Stop Pressuring Independent Labor Agency

    Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) defended the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday amid a concentrated attack from prominent Republicans around the country, accusing conservative critics of meddling with an independent federal agency.

    “We need agencies like the NLRB to be able to operate freely and without political pressures,” he said in a floor speech. “We need to keep our independent agencies independent. This case is for them to decide, not us.

    “Led by Governor NIkki Haley (R-SC) and Sens. Lindsey Graham and Jim Demint (R-SC), Republicans have been waging an increasingly loud battle against the NLRB over a lawsuit alleging that Boeing illegally retaliated against unions in Washington State by opening a production line in South Carolina.

    Yesterday, they demanded at a press conference that the White House condemn the suit, with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) even suggesting the president may be involved in a vast conspiracy to target GOP states. Reid said in his remarks that he was not defending the merits of the NLRB’s case, only the neutrality and independence of the NLRB in their handling of the law.

    He added that Republicans’ attacks fed into a larger campaign against unions.”They’re threatened because when a large, organized group is so concerned with workers’ rights, the members of that group vote in large numbers. And because Republicans and the big businesses they defend so often try to take away workers’ rights, workers don’t often vote Republican,” he said. “But this kind of interference is inappropriate.

    It is disgraceful and dangerous. We wouldn’t allow threats to prosecutors or U.S. Attorneys, trying to stop them from moving forward with charges they see fit to bring to the courts and we shouldn’t stand for this.”

  11. rikyrah says:

    Per Politico:

    .. an AP poll showing President Obama’s approval rating at its highest mark in two years — 60 percent — and a majority of people saying he deserves another term.Liz Sidoti and Jennifer Agiesta write of the post-bin Laden survey: “In worrisome signs for Republicans, the president’s standing improved not just on foreign policy but also on the economy, and independent Americans – a key voting bloc in the November 2012 presidential election – caused the overall uptick in support by sliding back to Obama after fleeing for much of the past two years. “Comfortable majorities of the public now call Obama a strong leader who will keep America safe. Nearly three-fourths – 73 percent – also now say they are confident that Obama can effectively handle terrorist threats. And he improved his standing on Afghanistan, Iraq and the United States’ relationships with other countries.“Despite a sluggish recovery from the Great Recession, 52 percent of Americans now approve of Obama’s stewardship of the economy, giving him his best rating on that issue since the early days of his presidency; 52 percent also now like how he’s handling the nation’s stubbornly high 9 percent unemployment.”

    • Ametia says:

      Honestly, I can’t get all revved up about these polls. He who creates the great polls, creates the shitty ones.

      Some of us already know that PBO’s a FANTASTIC POTUS, and is doing a teriffic job! That faith and support has NEVER waivered.

  12. GOP Candidate Calls President Obama A ‘Sambo’

    The leaders of an Eastern Panhandle Tea Party group are claiming former state lawmaker and current GOP gubernatorial candidate Larry Faircloth made a racist and sexist remark about President Barack Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

    Terry and Larrice Craver, the co-founders of We the People of Hampshire County, said the group hosted a candidate forum April 29 in Romney,Virginia that three GOP candidates attended.

    “While Mr. Faircloth was giving his opening comments, he chose to tell a racist, sexist ‘Joke,’” the couple said in a Monday email obtained by the Daily Mail.”This offended several people, some laughed, most gasped, and one man stood up and walked out and made the statement ‘You’re all nothing but a bunch of bigots’ on his way out the door.”

    The Cravers declined to retell the joke in a telephone interview Tuesday.

    Faircloth referred to Pelosi as a “bimbo.”

    “Is she not one?” Faircloth said in a Tuesday evening telephone interview. “I mean, a lot of people think she is a bimbo; that’s why they replaced Congress with Republicans, and they removed her as speaker. I don’t find that as anything different than a political poke at her.”

    He also referred to Obama as a “Sambo,” a term many consider racist.

    “It was meant to be a joke, and if they took it different, I told the people there that I apologized,” Faircloth said.

    He added, “We’ve been tiptoeing around the president.”

    Faircloth said he had heard the joke earlier that day from a poll worker.

    The Cravers said they first asked Faircloth to make a public apology but he refused. Finally, they said they sent the email Monday to other tea party groups across the state.

    “I put it out there so other tea parties would know what’s going on. I didn’t put it out for publication; I was putting it out for their knowledge because it goes to the character of the candidate,” Terry Craver said in an interview.

    • Ametia says:

      Nothing but KLANSMAN in politics; three piece suits instead of white hooded robes. It sucks being white in this country for these folks.

  13. Obsessed bin Laden wanted to kill Whitney Houston’s husband

    Terror mastermind Osama bin Laden is so obsessed with singer Whitney Houston he thought about killing her husband, Bobby Brown, it was claimed last night.
    The suggestion is made by Sudanese poet and novelist Kola Boof, who claims she was bin Laden’s sex slave for four months 10 years ago.

    In her autobiography, Diary of a Lost Girl, she writes: “He told me Whitney Houston was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.”

    Boof, 37, who claims bin Laden raped her and held her prisoner in a Moroccan hotel, says he could not stop talking about the songbird, even though he disapproved of music.

    “Osama kept coming back to Whitney Houston,” she says in the book, excerpted in the magazine Harpers’ Bazaar. “He asked if I knew her personally when I lived in America. I told him I didn’t.

    “He said that he had a paramount desire for Whitney Houston, and although he claimed music was evil he spoke of someday spending vast amounts of money to go to America and try to arrange a meeting with the superstar.

    “It didn’t seem impossible to me. He said he wanted to give Whitney Houston a mansion that he owned in a suburb of Khartoum.

    “He explained to me that to possess Whitney he would be willing to break his colour rule and make her one of his wives.

    “Whitney Houston’s name was the one that would be mention constantly.

    “How beautiful she was, what a nice smile she has, how truly Islamic she is but is just brainwashed by American culture and by her husband Bobby Brown, whom Osama talked about having killed, as if it were normal to have women’s husbands killed.”

    Boof, who once claimed she had to take her son out of a Los Angeles school after rumours surfaced that bin Laden was his father, also claims the Al Qaeda mastermind read more than the Koran.

    “In his briefcase I would come across photographs of the Star magazine, as well as copies of Playboy,” she writes.

    She also says his favourite television shows were The Wonder Years, Miami Vice and MacGyver.

  14. rikyrah says:

    either we believe in redemption, or we do not.




    For Felon Mayor-Elect, Redemption Is Denied

    Small town OK with past, Ariz. board isn’t

    Christopher Linder persuaded the people of a small Oklahoma town to elect him as their mayor despite his criminal past, but he couldn’t persuade a clemency board in Arizona to scrub his felony convictions.

    The 33-year-old former gang member, convicted of transporting marijuana and taking part in a drive-by shooting in Phoenix 12 years ago, will now not be allowed to take the office that the people of Pawnee voted him into, reports the New York Times. Linder, who told the town’s voters about his past during his hard-fought mayoral campaign, served five years for his crimes.

    He and his wife bought a restaurant and built a new life in her native Pawnee after his release in 2005—Linder now serves on the Chamber of Commerce, attends the local Baptist church, and coaches baseball.

    “This is a tough one,” one clemency board member said. “I’ve long been a believer when the public speaks at the ballot box, that’s an important decision.” He opted to pardon Linder, but the four other board members decided the other way.

    Linder may now take the matter up in court, or his wife could run for mayor in the special election to replace him.

  15. Fox News’ Hannity Outraged That Rapper Is Going To The White House

    Sean Hannity devoted two segments of his Tuesday show to Michelle Obama’s decision to invite rapper Common to the White House on Wednesday night for a poetry reading. Hannity was not pleased with the choice.

    “This administration will never learn its lesson,” he said, adding that, “not surprisingly,” Common had performed at Jeremiah Wright’s church in 2007. He then proceeded to read some of Common’s previous poems, which he said called for the killing of police and the assassination of President Bush.

    One of his guests, Bucknell University Prof. James Peterson, attempted to explain that Common was merely portraying a character in his poems, but Hannity was having none of it.

    “This is not the guy that you invite to the White House for a poetry reading,” he said. “This is not the guy we want our kids to listen to.” President Obama, he said, “goes back to his radical roots again and again and again: Ayers, Wright, Pflager.”

    In his next segment, Hannity invited Karl Rove on to discuss the matter. Rove called Common a “thug” and said the invitation was a slap in the face to all who wanted to unify the country in the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden.

    The White House is the peoples house! Kick rocks, Hannity!

  16. rikyrah says:

    Overcrowded Field Shows Weakness
    by BooManWed May 11th, 2011 at 08:55:08 AM EST

    I saw somewhere that Rep. Thad McCotter (R-MI) is not planning to run for reelection. In itself, that’s not very interesting, but now the Moonie Times is floating him as a presidential contender, touting his opposition to the widely successful TARP program and the critical stimulus bill, and his supposed foreign policy chops. Meanwhile, Jon Huntsman heads to New Hampshire to give a commencement speech and spend a few days on the campaign trail. Michele Bachmann is expected to announce that she’s a candidate on May 26th at a Polk County, Iowa fundraiser. Mitch Daniels is still doing his Hamlet routine, but has advisers out there saying he wants to make a run but doesn’t want to talk about problems in his marriage. Newt Gingrich is getting ready to announce his candidacy on Facebook and Twitter, and somehow got Matt Bai to compare him to Charles de Gaulle and Ronald Reagan in the New York Times.

    One thing all these people have in common is that none of them appeared at the first debate in South Carolina. Neither did Mitt Romney. If all these candidates get in the race, they’ll never be able to seat them all for debates, nor will they get more than ten minutes to answer questions.

    With Obama’s approval rating hitting 60% in the most recent Associated Press-GfK poll, you would think that candidates would be dropping out, not getting in. I still think the GOP might face a novel situation where no candidate can win the majority of the delegates.

    By eliminating most winner-take-all primaries, the GOP is setting itself up for a long primary season much like we saw between Obama and Clinton in 2008.

    But, with so many cooks in the kitchen, and no clear front-runner, it could easily prove impossible for a single candidate to emerge who can win delegates consistently in all regions of the country.

    And, even if one candidate has a clear lead in delegates, if they’re winning primaries with just a quarter of the vote, they’ll have a hard time accumulating a majority of the delegates before the convention. Ordinarily, under these circumstances, a ton of pressure would come down on lesser candidates to get out of the race.

    But candidates like Gingrich and Bachmann and Paul have a ton of money and the ability to raise much more. Moreover, the GOP Establishment may actually want to pick their nominee at the convention rather than accept whichever loser emerges from this gang of fools.

    The way things are shaping up, 2012 could resemble 1972 (McGovern), 1984 (Mondale), or 1988 (Dukakis) in reverse. Basically, the GOP is at risk of nominating someone who is not seen as a plausible alternative to Obama even in many very red states. And the Establishment knows this, which is why they may prefer a brokered convention, where they can pick someone with a damn chance.

  17. rikyrah says:

    THIS is the way to use the guvmint……go ahead, Mr. President.



    IRS gift tax move could hit new anonymous groups

    The Internal Revenue Service appears to have begun to enforce a tax on gifts to the non-profit organizations that were a key vehicle for anonymous politics in the last five years and had promised to play a large role in the presidential cycle, a move which could reshape the place of money in politics in 2012.

    “It appears that the IRS Estate and Gift Tax team has also started paying attention to 501(c)(4) organizations,” a Los Angeles tax lawyer who has followed the issue closely, Ofer Lion, wrote in a memo to clients today.

    Gifts to other political organizations are not taxable under federal law, and lawyers informally say many donors do not typically pay the gift tax — which may run as high as 35%, mirroring income tax rates — for contributions to 501(c)4s.

    The IRS focus would only apply to quite large donors: the first $13,000 annually are exempt.

    The rest of the contributions, however, reduce a donor’s lifetime tax exemption, which stands currently at $5 million but stands to drop to $1 million in 2013, a fact which would mean a donor’s heirs lose substantially more to estate taxes, including potentially a “clawback” of money that’s already been given away back into the taxable estate.

    Now the Republican donors who gave generously to Crossroads GPS and other groups last cycle may find themselves on the hook for substantial back taxes. And Democrats contemplating contributions to Priorities USA Action, the new pro-Obama c4, may face similar questions.

    Lion quotes the 2011 Workplan of the IRS Exempt Organizations Division on the intensifying IRS interest: “[i]n recent years, our examination program has concentrated on section 501(c)(3) organizations. Beginning in FY 2011, we are increasing our focus on section 501(c)(4), (5) and (6) organizations.” Lion also forwarded to POLITICO a letter from the IRS to a client whose identity has been redacted:

    “The Internal Revenue Service has received information that you donated cash to [REDACTED], an IRC Section 501(c)(4) organization,” the agent wrote to a donor. “Donations to 501(c)(4) organizations are taxable gifts and your contribution in 2008 should have been reported on your 2008 Federal Gift Tax Return (Form 709).”

    The question of whether these (c)4 gifts should actually be taxable could be subject to litigation. But the reason for the emergence of (c)4 gifts presents a bit of a trap for donors: If they go to court to fight for the right to avoid taxation on their anonymous gifts, they will compromise their anonymity.

    Alternately, they may be forced to pay a hefty premium to remain anonymous.
    “[C]ontributors wishing to remain anonymous may feel the need to pay sizable gift tax assessments rather than challenge the tax in open court, and on the public record,” Lion wrote.

    “They may end up having to calculate the value of that anonymity,” he added in an email.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Muskets in hand, tea party blasts House Republicans
    By Dana Milbank,
    Published: May 9

    Poor Paul Ryan and John Boehner.Ryan, chairman of the House budget committee, proposed budget cuts so severe his plan has been described as a suicide note.

    Boehner, the House speaker, rushed the budget to passage before Republicans grasped the potential fallout from their vote to replace Medicare. Yet even this was not enough for the tea party.

    On Monday morning, tea party leaders from around the country gathered at the National Press Club for a news conference denouncing Boehner and Ryan in terms normally reserved for that most loathsome of creatures, the Democrat.

    “Instead of a fighter for U.S. taxpayers, Mr. Boehner has been a surrenderist, if that’s a word,” proclaimed William Temple, chairman of the Tea Party Founding Fathers.

    “It seems House Speaker John Maynard Boehner and his fellow RINOs — Republicans In Name Only — like to spend other peoples’ money just as much as the Democrats.”

    Temple mocked the “tearful” speaker and vowed to give him “something really to cry about” this fall: “As the GOP primary season opens, if House freshmen and others elected by the tea party caved to Obama, we will find replacements for them.”The threats carried extra oomph because the event was endorsed by Rep. Michele Bachmann, (R-Minn.), tea party doyenne and presidential hopeful.

    After the event, Bachmann’s office circulated a statement telling the tea party activists “I hear you and I agree.” She backed their call to reject an increase in the debt ceiling without undoing health-care reform, and she said her colleagues had “squandered” an opportunity to cut spending.

    Bachmann’s colleagues won’t be pleased with some of the sentiments expressed by her tea party friends. Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily, a conservative Web site, accused Boehner of “capitulating to business-as-usual in Washington.”

    The Rev. C.L. Bryant preached: “We send this message to John Boehner and every RINO on Capitol Hill, that we did not get you the gavel of the House of Representatives to play nice with the liberal Democrats.”

    As for Ryan, economist Brian Wesbury asked, “What is he? Is he for bigger government?” Wesbury suggested that Republicans should show some “adult kind of behavior.”This was a curious request coming from a group that included two men wearing tricorn hats and colonial costumes.

    Temple had a feather in his hat, carried a 5-foot musket and, without explanation, switched to a Scottish accent during the news conference. Next to him was a man dressed up as George Washington who read a 215-year-old passage.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:58 PM ET, 05/10/2011
    New York 26: The House GOP majority’s first electoral test
    By E.J. Dionne Jr.

    For good reason, most of the media attention today went to House Speaker John Boehner’s speech on the deficit.

    But the more important event may have been his journey Monday to upstate New York to bolster Jane Corwin, his party’s candidate in the May 24 special election in New York’s 26th Congressional District.

    This district should have been an easy Republican win. Registered Republicans substantially outnumber registered Democrats in the 26th, and Christopher Lee, the GOP congressman who resigned his seat after — I use the New York Times’ nicely restrained language here — “he e-mailed a woman a shirtless photo of himself that appeared on the Web,” won in 2010 with almost 74 percent of the vote.

    But Democrat Kathleen C. Hochul has made a race of it by targeting the Medicare privatization plan in Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget that was adopted by the House Republican majority. Hochul is further helped by the independent Tea Party candidacy of Jack Davis, a conservative former Democrat who is taking is votes away from Republican Corwin. This Hochul ad makes the clear case for the Democrats’ core argument — that Ryan would cut Medicare to protect tax cuts for the rich.

    The latest poll in the race comes from the Public Policy Institute. Sponsored by the Service Employees International Union and the liberal Daily Kos Web site, it gives Hochul 35 percent, Corwin 31 percent, Davis 24 percent and Green Party candidate Ian Murphy 2 percent. Yes, the poll is from Democratic-leaning sources, but Boehner’s visit shows that Republicans are worried that it accurately captures the dangers in this race for the GOP.

  20. rikyrah says:

    May 11, 2011 8:30 AM
    Wall Street, GOP aren’t on the same page

    By Steve Benen

    In general, congressional Republicans and Wall Street couldn’t be much closer. Financial industry lobbyists keep GOP leaders’ cell-phone numbers on speed dial, and Wall Street has grown to hate President 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.”

    What’s more, it was the Republican Party that huddled with hedge fund managers and industry lobbyists to try to kill Wall Street reform, and later offered to trade campaign contributions for weaker layers of accountability.
    Over the last month or so, however, it appears the GOP and its Wall Street allies are no longer on the same page.

    Wall Street executives and their Washington lobbyists, for example, have been pleading with Republicans not to play games with the debt ceiling, and so far, the GOP is ignoring their appeals.

    Yesterday, Reuters found another break between the two buddies.

    A majority of top Wall Street bond dealers and money managers say spending cuts alone cannot solve the U.S. budget problems and tax increases must be part of the mix.

    In a Reuters survey conducted on Tuesday, 17 out of 29 fund managers and economists representing major Wall Street bond dealing firms said the Republicans’ favored option of spending cuts alone would not a work.

    Are we to assume, given GOP rhetoric, that much of the financial industry is made up of socialists who are opposed to economic growth? Or is it more likely these industry leaders realize a balanced approach preferred by Democrats just makes more sense?

  21. creolechild says:

    How much do you want to bet that folks will say that the people who view these photos are now part of the grand conspiracy to make us believe OBL is dead?

    “WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The CIA has informed two Senate committees that their members can view post-mortem photos of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden if they wish, a congressional aide said on Tuesday.”

    “The CIA invited members from the Senate Intelligence Committee and Senate Armed Services committee to make an appointment with the intelligence agency to see the photographs, the aide said.”

    “President Barack Obama last week ruled out making the photos available for public viewing because it could incite violence and be used by al Qaeda as a propaganda tool.”

  22. Ametia says:

    MAY 11, 2011.President to Renew Muslim Outreach
    WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama is preparing a fresh outreach to the Muslim world in coming days, senior U.S. officials say, one that will ask those in the Middle East and beyond to reject Islamic militancy in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death and embrace a new era of relations with the U.S.
    Mr. Obama is preparing to deliver that message in a wide-ranging speech, perhaps as early as next week, these officials say. The president intends to argue that bin Laden’s death, paired with popular uprisings sweeping North Africa and the Middle East, signal that the time has come to an end when al Qaeda could claim to speak for Muslim aspirations.

    “It’s an interesting coincidence of timing—that he is killed at the same time that you have a model emerging in the region of change that is completely the opposite of bin Laden’s model,” Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser at the White House, said in an interview.

    Since January, popular uprisings have overthrown the longtime dictators of Tunisia and Egypt. They have shaken rulers in Libya, Bahrain, Syria, Yemen and Jordan, marking the greatest wave of political change the world has seen since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    But the push for democracy appears to have stalled in some countries. The street protests against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi have morphed into a civil war, with North Atlantic Treaty Organization backing the rebels. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Bahrain’s ruling Khalifa family have both met demonstrations with violence.

  23. creolechild says:

    Good morning, Ametia!

    Well, this is interesting…

    “Republican golden boy Paul Ryan is hardly known for his sympathies to organized labor. With his drastic budget proposal to privatize Medicare and unabashed support for Governor Scott Walker’s anti-union bill, the Wisconsin congressman has become the new face of the GOP’s right flank.”

    “But a closer look at Ryan’s voting record reveals a single eyebrow-raising exception when it comes to labor unions: Ryan has consistently broken with his party to defend a law protecting the wages of unionized construction workers. His stance on the issue has earned him the support of a handful of unions back home, setting them apart from the majority of Wisconsin’s labor community, which who has cast Ryan as public enemy No. 1.”

    ” What explains this break in GOP orthodoxy? Ryan’s family owns a construction firm that relies heavily on union labor—and the company could suffer if the law were repealed.”

    • Ametia says:

      Good Morning, creolechild. Thanks for this news, I’ll post it on the Ryan thread. Not the least bit surprised by it , though. Ryan and his comrades are in it for themselves.

  24. Ametia says:

  25. Ametia says:

    Happy Hump Day, Everybody! :-)

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