Thursday Open Thread

Brook Benton (September 19, 1931 – April 9, 1988) was an American singer and songwriter who was popular with rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and pop music audiences during the late 1950s and early 1960s, when he scored hits such as “It’s Just A Matter Of Time” and “Endlessly“, many of which he co-wrote.

He made a comeback in 1970 with the balladRainy Night in Georgia.” Benton scored over 50 Billboard chart hits as an artist, and also wrote hits for other performers.

I love this song. It’s a classic! It’s so soothing to the soul. Have a good day, 3 Chics!

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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55 Responses to Thursday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    Gaddafi likely wounded and not in Tripoli: Italy
    By Paolo Biondi
    LA BAGNAIA, Italy | Fri May 13, 2011 12:48pm EDT

    LA BAGNAIA, Italy (Reuters) – Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has likely been wounded in western airstrikes and has probably left Tripoli, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Friday.

    A Libyan government spokesman immediately denied that Gaddafi had been harmed.

    Frattini told reporters that he believed what he had been told by Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, the Catholic bishop in Tripoli, that Gaddafi had probably left Tripoli and had probably even been wounded by NATO airstrikes.

    “I tend to give credence to the comment of the bishop of Tripoli, Monsignor Martinelli, who has been in close contact over recent weeks, when he told us that Gaddafi is very probably outside Tripoli and is probably also wounded. We don’t know where or how,” Frattini said.

    “It’s nonsense,” Libyan government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said in Tripoli. “The leader is in high morale. He’s in good spirits. He is leading the country day by day. He hasn’t been harmed at all.”

    Asked about the Libyan denial, Frattini said he still believed what Martinelli said.

    In a separate interview published on the website of the Corriere della Sera, Frattini also said that he did not believe that Libyan TV footage of Gaddafi greeting tribal leaders on Wednesday was authentic.

    “I strongly doubted that those images were taken on that day and above all in Tripoli,” Frattini said.

    “There are people on the ground who have the pulse of the situation … Among many others I am referring to Bishop Martinelli, who has had, and still has, close relations with the regime,” he said.

    He added: “The international pressure has likely led Gaddafi to decide to seek shelter in a safe location. I tend to think that he fled Tripoli, not Libya.”

    An official at the NATO operations center in Naples repeated NATO’s line that it was not targeting individuals in bombing raids that have hit Libyan capital and said the alliance had no way to confirm Frattini’s comments.

    “We can’t verify that as we don’t have any way of tracking his movements,” the official said. “We don’t have boots on the ground.”

    Contacted from Rome, Martinelli’s office said the bishop had left Tripoli for Tunis. The bishop himself was not reachable.

    As the Vatican’s top official in Tripoli, Martinelli has been in contact with Gaddafi’s entourage.

    The Italian prelate joined a Muslim cleric in blessing the bodies of Gaddafi’s youngest son and three grandchildren who were killed in a NATO air raid on April 30.

    Since the start of the NATO operation, Martinelli has been highly outspoken and critical of the military strikes, saying that many civilians had been killed.

  2. rikyrah says:

    update on Mitten’s speech today:


    May 12, 2011 4:15 PM
    Romney doesn’t know how to fix his health care problem

    By Steve Benen

    This morning offered multiple reminders that Mitt Romney has a health care problem. The leading Republican presidential candidate created a state law that’s nearly identical to the Affordable Care Act, and has supported individual health care mandates — poison in GOP circles — for about two decades.

    Romney decided to address the problem head-on today. It wasn’t so much a speech as a presentation — the former Massachusetts governor had no pre-written text, and instead led a PowerPoint presentation in a classroom. For all the complaints that President Obama is too professorial, Romney was literally like a professor today, leading a class in RomneyCare 101.

    To his credit, the former governor didn’t dodge the controversy. To his detriment, he didn’t tell Republicans what they wanted to hear. As Benjy Sarlin explained:

    [H]e took the issue [of mandates] head on, issuing a thorough and impassioned defense of his state’s health care law — even as he pledged never to apply it to the rest of the country. “I respect the views of those who think we took the wrong course and who think we should have taken a different course,” he said.

    “I also recognize that a lot of pundits around the nation are saying that I should say that was a bone-headed idea and I presume folks would think that would be good for me politically. But there’s only one problem with that. It wouldn’t be honest. I in fact did what I thought was right for the people of my state.”

    I found watching the presentation rather awkward. On the one hand, Romney made odd, patently false claims about the Affordable Care Act and President Obama’s approach. On the other, he offered impassioned defenses of policies I and other lefties agree with, including mandates.

    Indeed, one of the great ironies of the day was hearing Romney do a better job of supporting mandates than any Democrat in a long while. The more he explained the benefits of the reform plan he championed in Massachusetts, the more obvious it became that he could have just as easily been defending the Affordable Care Act, since they’re effectively the same thing.

    I’m not sure if Romney has fully thought the politics of this through. Republicans want him to denounce his ACA-style law and reject mandates, and today, he did the opposite. Romney made a half-hearted attempt to condemn a national mandate, but he’s still stuck with an unpersuasive line: if the federal government imposes a mandate, it’s tyranny; if a state government imposes a mandate, it’s a great and effective idea that should be applied nationally.

    What it ultimately boils down to is this: Romney recognizes the mandate as a good policy and he hasn’t figured out a way to pretend otherwise.

    For a GOP candidate accused by the Wall Street Journal editorial board of being “Obama’s running mate,” there’s every reason to believe Romney’s problems just got worse.

    Elsewhere in his remarks, Romney expressed support for the French health care system — that’s likely to play well with the GOP base, right? — and said he wouldn’t pursue the House Republican plan to privatize Medicare.

    The initial reviews from some on the right weren’t positive. Jonah Goldberg joked that Romney appeared to be auditioning for “David Axelrod’s job”; Peter Suderman said Romney made “a much better case for ObamaCare than against it”; and Jennifer Rubin said, “The only idea dumber than this speech was strapping the Irish setter to the top of the car.”


  3. Breaking:

    Senate Panel: Ensign Lied To FEC, Violated Campaign Finance Laws, Obstructed Investigation

    Senate Ethics Committee leaders prepared on Thursday to disclose information about the investigation of former Sen. John Ensign, whose conduct came under scrutiny after an affair with the wife of a former top Ensign aide.

    According to a report released by the panel, Ensign “made false or misleading statements to the Federal Election Commission,” violated campaign finance laws and obstructed the probe.

    The Senate Ethics Committee has referred the case to the Justice Department and the Federal Election Commission.

    Ensign resigned May 3 rather than face a continuing Senate inquiry that could have included public hearings about his affair with Cynthia Hampton, a former campaign aide. She’s the wife of Douglas Hampton, who was Ensign’s co-chief of staff.

  4. Man caught after Mo. Army base crashed
    Report: Suspect fires AK-47 at pursuing police before fleeing at university

    ROLLA, Mo. — A gunman who police say tried to break into a Missouri Army base, fired on pursuing police during a high-speed chase and caused a university to go on lockdown was taken into custody Thursday afternoon, officials said.

    Police identified the suspect as Cody N. Willcoxson, 31, of South West City, Mo., near the Oklahoma border.

    Officials said Willcoxson, considered dangerous, was released from Oklahoma prison in 2008 after serving about three-and-a-half years for second-degree burglary, escape from a county jail and assisting escape of a prisoner.

    Police at a Thursday afternoon news conference said they were continuing to investigate scenes involved in Willcoxson’s alleged crime spree, which began at Fort Leonard Wood.

    Army spokesman Mike Warren said a man tried to enter the installation through its west gate in the morning. The security guard determined the identification card the man produced didn’t look legitimate and told him to leave. Instead the driver of a silver Dodge Magnum accelerated rapidly and drove through the gate, then led military police on a chase that ended when he drove back out through the front gate and the St. Robert Police Department began the pursuit.

    St. Robert Police Chief Curtis Curenton said the officers had been on Interstate 44 for only a couple miles when the driver began firing shots from what Curenton said appeared to be an AK-47 assault rifle. Curenton said he followed the gunman about 32 miles to Rolla when his driver’s-side mirror was hit with one round and his engine compartment was hit by another.

    “We could see him firing through the driver’s-side window and through the sunroof,” Curenton said.

  5. rikyrah says:




    May 12, 2011 10:45 AM
    Romney’s no good, very bad morning

    By Steve Benen

    We’re still a few hours away from Mitt Romney’s speech on health care policy in Michigan, but while we wait, it’s worth noting that the Republican presidential hopeful isn’t having a very good morning.

    Democrats are on the offensive, relentlessly mocking Romney for his health care flip-flops and contradictions. DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz told ABC this morning, “What I think is unfortunate about Mitt Romney is he doesn’t even know who he is.”

    Perhaps more importantly, Romney is also facing renewed heat from the right, as evidenced by this blistering, 1,200-word editorial from the Wall Street Journal. The headline describes Romney as “Obama’s running mate,” and the piece concludes:

    More immediately for his Republican candidacy, the debate over ObamaCare and the larger entitlement state may be the central question of the 2012 election. On that question, Mr. Romney is compromised and not credible. If he does not change his message, he might as well try to knock off Joe Biden and get on the Obama ticket.


    As a substantive matter, the Wall Street Journal’s far-right editorial board plays fast and loose with the facts while going after Romney, and Jonathan Cohn takes the paper’s editorial apart.

    But to a certain extent, the fact that the newspaper’s editors don’t understand health care policy is secondary to the attack itself. In all of Republican media, the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page is one of the most important and influential powerhouses in the country. On a typical day, Fox News and Rush Limbaugh will routinely follow talking points they’ve picked up by reading WSJ editorials.

    And as of this morning, the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page is telling the Republican world that Mitt Romney, ostensibly the frontrunner for the party’s 2012 presidential nomination, just isn’t good enough.

    Worse, given the larger context, there’s not much Romney can do about it. If he flip-flops (again) and abandons his health care policy, Romney reinforces suspicions that he’s a craven opportunist with no core beliefs or principles. If he sticks to his proverbial guns and stands by health care mandates, Romney is “Obama’s running mate” in the eyes of the GOP establishment.

    Good luck, Mitt.

  6. McCain: Torture Did Not Lead To Osama Bin Laden

    WASHINGTON – The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committees is insisting that enhanced interrogation techniques were not a factor in the discovery of Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts and he rejected any form of torture.

    In a speech on the Senate floor on Thursday, Arizona’s John McCain said that waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques are not necessary to the U.S. success in the war on terror.

    “It was not torture, or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees that got us the major leads that ultimately enabled our intelligence community to find Osama bin Laden,” he said.

    The Arizona senator said former Attorney General Michael Mukasey was wrong when he claimed harsh interrogation had led to bin Laden. McCain said he got the facts from CIA Director Leon Panetta and they contradicted Mukasey’s claim.

    McCain addressed his opposition to torture and said it did not play a role in the search for bin Laden in a Washington Post op-ed published on Wednesday:

  7. creolechild says:

    “The White House sought Monday to reassure the traveling public that railways around the nation were safe after reports al Qaeda was plotting an attack on U.S. trains. “Obviously, we take the issue of passenger rail safety very seriously,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters during his daily press briefing.”

    “Information about a possible attack on the U.S. rail system was found amid the documents and hard drives recovered during last Sunday’s raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Al Qaeda was planning to execute it later this year, on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, according to reports.”

    “‘Carney said safety concerns were the reason the warnings about the plot were released. “No specific or imminent threat, but enough of a concern to put out that alert,” he said. Some lawmakers are already calling for expanded screening of train passengers. One, Sen. Charles Schumer, wants to create a “Do Not Ride” list patterned after airports’ no-fly list.”
    “Anyone, even a member of al Qaeda, could purchase a train ticket and board an Amtrak train without so much as a question asked,” Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a weekend interview with WCBS radio in New York.”
    But Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood urged caution.
    “We’re going to look at the information from bin Laden’s house and see what’s in there and see if [there] were any threats they were thinking about for trains,” LaHood said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “For now, riding trains is safe.”
    LaHood agreed with Schumer that making railways safer was a priority, but he stopped short of embracing the senator’s “Do Not Ride” proposal.


  8. We’re getting some bad weather here. It’s darker than a sons-a-gun!

    1sm118ChairHide Pictures, Images and Photos

  9. creolechild says:

    Good for them! Koch Brothers can’t be too happy about being out in the “sunlight.”

    “On Wednesday night, a diverse crowd of more than 500 New Yorkers gathered at Martin Luther King High School behind Lincoln Center in preparation for a “Guerrilla Drive-In,” a satirical urban take on the drive-in movie. The rowdy event was designed to shine a spotlight on the now infamous Koch Brothers and their efforts to cover up their far right wing, anti-environment, anti-union agenda by donating large sums of money to New York City cultural institutions.”

    “The audience witnessed the world premiere of Brave New Foundation’s short film, and the event culminated in adding a sign reading “I am the Tea Party’s wallet” to the name plate of the Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater. (After donating more than $100 million dollars to Lincoln Center in 2008, the institution renamed its New York State Theatre, which houses the New York City Ballet and Opera, the David H. Koch Theater.)”

  10. Donald Trump Says Public Scorn Greater Than He Expected

    Real estate magnate Donald Trump suggested Wednesday it’s not much fun flirting with the idea of running for president in the face of relentless attacks and ridicule.

    “Nobody said it was going to be easy, but I had no idea I would get hammered in the way I’ve been hammered the past few weeks,” Trump said in Nashua, New Hampshire.

    The billionaire host of NBC-TV’s “Celebrity Apprentice” has hinted for months that he will run for the 2012 Republican nomination for a chance to take on President Barack Obama.

    But Trump has slipped badly in surveys taken since Obama released his birth certificate confirming he was born in the United States.

    The so-called “birther” issue had been a major issue of Trump’s nascent campaign.

    Public Policy Polling, which in April showed Trump leading the Republican field with 26 percent support, this week showed him with just 8 percent support.

    You’re delusional, Trump! Your ignorant racist ass will never be President.

  11. Ametia says:

    • creolechild says:

      “President Obama called on hundreds of Latino religious leaders to mobilize their constituencies and push Congress to pass an immigration reform measure. Obama’s comments Thursday morning at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast came amid a weeklong push by the administration to move the issue of immigration back to the forefront, despite the long odds for a comprehensive reform bill in the divided Congress.”

      “The president sounded a cautiously optimistic tone, telling the audience that progress might be slow. He said he was counting on religious and community leaders to drive members of Congress to take the lead on crafting an immigration bill. ‘That means changing minds [and] changing votes, one at a time,’ he said of the uphill battle a comprehensive bill faces on Capitol Hill.”

  12. creolechild says:

    Good morning everyone! Hope your day is progressing nicely and stress-free. I can’t even summon up the energy to be upset by much of this stuff because its so PREDICTABLE!

    “On Wednesday, ConocoPhillips CEO Jim Mulva outraged many on Capitol Hill when he released a statement calling it “un-American” to end subsidies to the Big 5 oil companies — ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips. A press release referencing the subsidies posted on the company’s website was headlined: ‘ConocoPhillips Highlights Solid Results and Raises Concerns Over Un-American Tax Proposals at Annual Meeting of Shareholders.'”

    “This position is a stark reversal from what Mulva said just a few years ago. In 2005, he testified that he agreed with President Bush’s assessment that with “$55 oil, we do not need incentives to oil and gas companies to explore.” Mulva testified, “With respect to oil and gas exploration and production, we do not need incentives.” But with oil prices now hovering around $100 per barrel, Mulva has inexplicably changed his tune.”

  13. Sarah Palin: Common Invitation To White House Lacked ‘Class And Decency’ (VIDEO)

    Sarah Palin took issue with the White House inviting Grammy Award-winning rapper and actor Common, born Lonnie Rashin Lynn Jr., to a poetry event hosted by the first lady on Wednesday night.

    During an appearance on Fox News’ “On the Record,” Palin said, “The White House’s judgment on inviting someone who would glorify cop killing during Police Memorial Week, of all times, you know, the judgment, it’s just so lacking of class and decency.”

    The AP reports on the event:

    Common, who is considered fairly tame as rappers go, is known for rhymes that tend to be socially and politically conscious.

    He was on his best behavior Wednesday night.

    The rapper opened his performance with cuts of words from Martin Luther King Jr. and spoke of walking into the White House with “love on my sleeve.” His performance gave nods to the challenges of crime and violence that face children, to gangsters and beacons of light for those in dark alleys, and celebrated the rise of Barack Obama.

    It ended with “one King’s dream, he was able to Barack us.”

    It is unfreakingbelieveable how ignorant this grifting trash really is. Does this WT remember the crosshairs she put over opposing candidates names? Was not her own words….”don’t retreat…reload”? The gall of this bish! Classless WT!

  14. Ametia says:

    Posted at 10:48 AM ET, 05/12/2011 Torture supporters put Bush legacy before rule of law
    By Adam Serwer
    As Greg noted below, Senator John McCain has an op-ed in the Washington Post skewering the idea that the killing of Bin Laden vindicates torture. The key to this op ed is that it calls into question one of the key arguments advanced by torture apologists who are intent on figuring out a way to claim Bin Laden’s killing as a part of Bush’s legacy:

    I asked CIA Director Leon Panetta for the facts, and he told me the following: The trail to bin Laden did not begin with a disclosure from Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times. The first mention of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti — the nickname of the al-Qaeda courier who ultimately led us to bin Laden — as well as a description of him as an important member of al-Qaeda, came from a detainee held in another country, who we believe was not tortured. None of the three detainees who were waterboarded provided Abu Ahmed’s real name, his whereabouts or an accurate description of his role in al-Qaeda.

  15. VIDEO: Bush’s Failed Hunt For Bin Laden

    One of the more staggering developments to emerge in the aftermath of Osama bin Laden’s elimination has been the attempt by many on the right to shoehorn George W. Bush into the narrative of how the terrorist mastermind behind 9/11 was successfully tracked down and ultimately killed. Soon after Obama’s announcement of Bin Laden’s death, House Majority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) attempted to spin the accomplishment as a continuance of Bush’s “vigilance,” Sarah Palin thanked the former president without even mentioning Obama, the news shows on the Sunday following the event featured no less than five former Bush administration officials (versus only two from the Obama administration), and Bush himself reportedly declined an invitation to a commemorative ceremony at the World Trade Center because he reportedly felt like he did not receive enough credit for Bin Laden’s death.

    But attributing Bin laden’s death to “vigilance” on Bush’s part is a stretch (to put it kindly) as an analysis and a timeline by ThinkProgress demonstrate. Bush’s missteps included not focusing on Bin Laden prior to 9/11, undermining the search for Bin Laden by abandoning the fight in Tora Bora, and above all, by shifting resources away from a focus on al Qaeda and into the massive folly that was the invasion of Iraq. Watch a ThinkProgress video documenting Bush’s failures:

    Update Former Colin Powell Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson told MSNBC’s Ed Schultz on Wednesday night that President George W. Bush wasn’t interested in bringing Osama bin Laden to justice. “I don’t think they really wanted to get bin Laden,” Wilkerson said.

    • Ametia says:

      the video of Bush saying he’s JUST NOT THAT CONCERNED ABOUT OSAMA BIN LADEN should play on a CONTINUOS LOOP.

      Along side President Obama announcing this:

      • creolechild says:

        “Washington (CNN) — More members of Congress are seeing something cleared for only a select group of Americans: Photos of Osama bin Laden’s corpse. Republican Sen. James Inhofe told CNN’s Eliot Spitzer on Wednesday he saw about 15 photos of bin Laden’s body, most taken at the al Qaeda leader’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Three were taken on a naval vessel from which bin Laden was buried at sea after the May 2 U.S. commando raid.”


        “That was him,” said Inhofe, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “He is gone. He’s history.”

      • Ametia says:

        Yep, OBL’s gone, history; just like the Republican Party.

    • creolechild says:

      “House GOP leaders are struggling to find the votes for a long-term extension of the PATRIOT Act as the Judiciary Committee takes up the law today. GOP leaders will hold a classified briefing to attempt to drum up support for the controversial law. The current proposal under consideration would extend the law for six years.”

      “Republican leaders have had to play up the death of Osama bin Laden — and fears of retaliation by Al Qaeda following the May 1 U.S. raid that killed him — as reasons for extending the controversial legislation, arguing that American counterterrorism experts need the authority granted them under the Patriot Act in order to thwart any plots against the U.S.”

      “FBI Director Robert Mueller will give a classified briefing to the House Republican Conference on Friday, outlining the agency’s support for the proposed extension of several contentious provisions of the law.”

    • creolechild says:

      “A group of multinational corporations (that already pay exceedingly low taxes) have been lobbying Congress to enact what is known as a tax repatriation holiday. Under such a plan, multinational corporations would be able to bring money they have stashed offshore back to the U.S. at a dramatically lower tax rate (instead of the statutory rate that they normally pay to bring back money).”

      “The corporations have united under a campaign called “WinAmerica,” and evidently they are having some effect. Yesterday, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) unveiled a bill that would let corporations repatriate their money at a tax rate of 5.25 percent (instead of the usual 35 percent). Brady said that, “this is about creating jobs, expanding U.S. businesses and strengthening American companies.”

      “However, when Congress approved a repatriation holiday in 2004, companies used the money to enrich their executives, not create jobs. And according to an analysis by the Joint Economic Committee a repatriation holiday today would cost close to $80 billion in lost revenue.”

  16. Barack Obama’s Grandmother Threatened By Al Qaeda

    Security has been increased around the home of President Barack Obama’s step-grandmother in Kenya after an African al Qaeda branch issued a personal threat against her, police said today.

    Kenyan police told ABC News they are patrolling round the clock after Al Shabaab, the Somalia-based branch of al Qaeda, threatened the life of Sarah Obama.

    Though security had been added to the elder Obama’s house the day after bin Laden was killed in fear of reprisals, the number of patrolling officers has ballooned since Al Shabaab’s threat was issued. One police chief told ABC News he now had enough officers “to patrol the entire village.”

    But the 88-year-old seemed unconcered about the threat and told ABC News she didn’t mind the extra security.

    “My life has not been affected in any way,” Sarah Obama said. “It has not restricted my movement. If the government has decided to bring more security personnel, we are OK with it.”

    Al Shabaab, which has been involved in fierce fighting in Somalia for years against the Western-backed government, counts among its members Alabama-raised Omar Hammami, also known as Abu Mansur al-Amriki or The American. Hammami, who is known to produce pro-jihadist hip hop songs, was thought to have been killed in fighting earlier this year, but reappeared by releasing a new rap song in April.

    • creolechild says:

      “Millionaires would be hit with a 3 percent surtax under a draft Senate Democratic budget. A Senate aide told The Hill on Wednesday that the draft 2012 budget proposal presented at Tuesday’s Democratic policy lunch called for a 3 percent surtax on income above $1 million a year.”
      “While I am not prepared to comment on specifics, I can tell you that the draft plans I have shared with colleagues all have about $4 trillion of deficit reduction over the next 10 years,” he said. “They are balanced plans that achieve savings in a fair and responsible manner, and put the country on a sound long-term fiscal course.”

  17. Ametia says:

    2:30 PM: The President meets with the Congressional Black Caucus

  18. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s bin Laden coup has GOP at a loss for words

    Republicans who mocked President Barack Obama’s election as a cult victory and derided his health plan as a government takeover are scrambling to respond to his national security triumph in taking down Osama bin Laden.

    While some GOP leaders have been effusive in their acclaim of Obama’s derring-do, far more haven’t even gone so far as to damn him with faint praise.

    They’ve simply neglected to name him, hailing U.S. military and intelligence personnel, but sounding as if Obama isn’t their commander in chief, much less president.

    A McClatchy analysis of responses from 110 Republican lawmakers and potential 2012 White House rivals — from a total of about 300 — shows an almost comical range, from the inference that George W. Bush is still the president to grudging admiration by a distinct minority.

    “We thank President Bush for having made the right calls to set up this victory,” former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told students at Colorado Christian University within 24 hours of bin Laden’s death.

    Palin, the 2008 GOP vice-presidential nominee, didn’t mention Obama in that speech or in statements on Facebook or, her main online fundraising portal.

    Several other Republicans who are weighing or launching presidential bids against Obama were more magnanimous, among them former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and real estate mogul Donald Trump.

    “President Bush promised that America would bring Osama bin Laden to justice, and we did,” Pawlenty said. “I want to congratulate America’s armed forces and President Obama for a job well done.”

    Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee delivered phantom praise. Instead of recognizing Obama’s direct hand in planning the bin Laden raid and setting its key rules of engagement, Huckabee portrayed him as a kind of Athenian messenger delivering news of Greek warriors’ victory on some distant battlefield.

    “The leader of al Qaida — responsible for the deaths of 3,000 innocent citizens on September 11, 2001, and whose maniacal hate is responsible for the deaths of thousands of U.S. servicemen and women — was killed by U.S. military,” Huckabee said. “President Obama confirmed the announcement late last night.”

    Peter Feaver, a Duke University political science professor who served on Bush’s National Security Council, said Obama was closely involved in the raid’s planning and made a handful of crucial decisions for a high-risk mission by an elite Navy SEAL unit that, had it failed, might have doomed his presidency.

    “He bet his second term on these guys,” Feaver said. “He understood there was a deep political risk to this.”


    Feaver and others also expressed admiration for the mission having been kept secret for many weeks, which they said reflected Obama’s discipline and control of his top aides.

    More than two in three GOP leaders didn’t mention Obama, much less credit him, in their responses to the stealth assault May 2 by an elite Navy SEAL unit on bin Laden’s complex in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

    “It’s not accidental in the slightest,” said Norman Ornstein, a fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, a research center in Washington. “If you are a significant public figure putting together your response to an event of this magnitude, you’re going to think it through, talk about it with your staff and be very careful about what you say or don’t say.”

    Ornstein and other analysts said Republicans found it hard to credit Obama for the raid because national security was a longtime bastion of GOP strength that the party was loath to relinquish.

    As recently as two weeks before the raid, prominent Republicans were accusing the president of being weak on Libya, which followed earlier claims that he went all wobbly on Egypt before finally pulling the rug from beneath now-fallen strongman Hosni Mubarak.

    In a speech March 18 at the California Republican Convention, John Bolton, who served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under Bush and has mused about running for president, said Obama wasn’t fit to sit in the White House.

    “When President Obama took the office on Jan. 20, 2009, when it came to foreign policy and national security, he wasn’t qualified to be president,” Bolton said. “Today, more than two years later, he’s still not qualified.”

    Post-bin Laden, it will be harder to make such claims.

    “Everything about this raid demolishes those arguments,” Ornstein said.

    Read more:

    • Ametia says:

      The spin and silence has gone on the record for the cowardly GOP.


    • creolechild says:

      This reinforces why we should be doing everything possible to get out of the wars that we’re entangled in. People tend to forget the toll that it takes on those who are actually doing the fighting, and their families.

      “More than half of all Iraq and Afghanistan veterans treated in Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals since 2002 have been diagnosed, at least preliminarily, with mental health problems, according to statistics obtained by the advocacy group Veterans for Common Sense.”

      “The data, which is released quarterly, also shows that the raw number of returning soldiers with psychological problems is rising. Nearly 18,000 new patients were treated for mental health issues at VA facilities in the last three months of last year—the most recent time period for which data is available— upping the total to more than 330,000.”

  19. Let’s Move! For Military Kids and Families

    • creolechild says:

      I apologize for the long post but I think it’s important that people know that Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, alongside their husbands, have been working to support military families from the very start. Of course, that’s information that you won’t find coming from the MSM. And this is only a small portion of what’s being done…imagine that!

      Strengthening Our Military Families – January 24, 2011
      “As Commander-in-Chief, I am determined to do everything in my power to make sure that we are fulfilling that request from our troops, that we are taking care of their families….
      “And today, I’m proud to announce that for the first time ever, supporting the well-being of our military families will be a priority not just for the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs, but all across the federal government. That’s why all these Cabinet folks are here today. Sixteen members of my Cabinet have committed their departments and agencies to making military families one of their highest priorities.”
      “We’re focusing on four areas —- the things you said matter most to you, whether you’re Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine or Coast Guard — active Guard or Reserve, a veteran or a member of a family of the fallen. We didn’t wait for today to launch these efforts. Many of these efforts have already been underway….”
      “….First, we are putting new emphasis on the quality of life for our military families. The Departments of Defense and Health and Human Services, for example, have joined forces to improve community mental health services and prevent suicides.”

      “A new office in the Treasury Department is working to protect military families from abusive practices like predatory lending. It turns out that military families are more subject to some of these financial scams than just about any other group.”

      “The Agricultural Department is expanding its support for families in rural areas. A disproportionate number of our military families come from rural areas or are stationed in rural communities.”

      “The Interior Department — we use our national parks to help our wounded warriors recover.”

      “And we are going to remain relentless — not just at VA, but at HUD and HHS and across the government -— in our fight to end homelessness among our veterans. We have to have zero tolerance for homelessness among our veterans.”

      “Second, we’re putting a new focus on the education and development of our military children, most of whom go to public schools. So for the first time ever, the Department of Education will make military families a priority for some of its grant programs. And that’s going to give states and communities new incentives to address the unique needs of military children.”

      “The Interior Department, which is already one of the largest federal employers of young people, will create more opportunities, like summer jobs, for young people from military families.”

      “And today, we are renewing our call for every state to adopt the Interstate Compact, which makes it easier for military children to transfer between schools and succeed in the classroom.”

      “Third, we’re redoubling our efforts to help military spouses pursue their educations and careers. As Michelle said, we’ve brought in the departments of Labor and Commerce and the Small Business Administration. We’re going to help spouses get that degree, find that job, or start that new business. We want every company in America to know our military spouses and veterans have the skills and the dedication, and our nation is more competitive when we tap their incredible talents.”

      “And finally, we’re going to keep increasing childcare for our military moms and dads with young children. This is not just a job for the Department of Defense. As Michelle said, the departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Agriculture are now helping, too. And working together, we believe we can find new childcare options for tens of thousands of military children.”

      “So these are just some of the nearly 50 specific commitments that my administration is making today. In other words, we’re not simply reaffirming our responsibility to our military families, we are upping our game. In fact, these 16 members of my Cabinet have signed their name to this report, pledging personally to see this through. ”

  20. US First Lady Michelle Obama exercises with children on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington during an event announcing the creation of a program to promote military family wellness on May 9, 2011.

  21. Former Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes does a backflip on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, May 9, 2011, during an event with first lady Michelle Obama to promote physical fitness among military families.

  22. First lady Michelle Obama, accompanied by NBA basketball player Grant Hill, left, and tennis legend Billie Jean King, throws a football on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, May 9, 2011, during an event to promote physical fitness among military families.

  23. US First Lady Michelle Obama exercises with Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes (R) on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington during an event announcing the creation of a program to promote military family wellness on May 9, 2011.

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