Wednesday Open Thread

Alannah Myles (born December 25, 1958, Toronto, Ontario) is a Canadian singer-songwriter, the daughter of Canadian broadcast pioneer William Douglas Byles. In 1989, she released her eponymous debut album. In 1990, “Black Velvet“, a single from that album, was a worldwide hit[1] and won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female.[2]

Alannah began writing songs at the age of 9. She performed in a songwriting group for the Kiwanis Music Festival in Toronto at 12 years of age and by the time she was a teenager, began performing solo gigs in Southern Ontario. She eventually met Christopher Ward, a WMG recording artist and songwriter who helped her to form her own band, and performed cover versions of T. Rex, AC/DC, Bob Seger, Ann Peebles, the Rolling Stones, and the Pretenders.

Black Velvet with that slow southern style….

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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146 Responses to Wednesday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    I’m reposting this here:


    May 25, 2011

    Clinton Encourages Ryan Backstage
    ABC News got interesting video of former President Clinton speaking to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) backstage at a forum on the national debt.

    Clinton praised the Democratic victory in NY-26 yesterday but added, “I hope Democrats don’t use this as an excuse to do nothing.”

    Ryan responds: “My guess is it’s going to sink into paralysis is what’s going to happen. And you know the math. It’s just, I mean, we knew we were putting ourselves out there. You gotta start this. You gotta get out there. You gotta get this thing moving.”

    They parted with Clinton telling Ryan that if he ever wanted to talk about it, he should “give me a call.”

    Here’s the video:

    • Ain’t that some ish? Bill Clinton a no good two-timing scum!

    • Ametia says:

      Bubba,lewenskyblowjobclinton has the nerve to speak about democrats not doing anything. PBO’s had to come into office and unravel his shitty policies and laws. DADT, DOMA, look at the prison population, the 3 strike drug laws, etc.

      Fuck Bill Clinton. He needs to go somewhere and find another young intern to crawl under a table and give him head, or go home to Hillpatine.

  2. James Clyburn Says Racism To Blame For Obama’s Problems

    House Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn, the highest-ranking African-American in Congress, on Wednesday blamed most of President Barack Obama’s political problems on racism.

    Tell the truth, Congressman Clyburn!

  3. Ametia says:

    What’s Bernie Sanders up to?

    • creolechild says:

      Gotta’ say it…Bernie raises good points about taxes being raised on the wealthy and corporations paying their fair share too. The current administration has been cracking down on tax havens but that doesn’t make it into the news. Will post more information tomorrow. Basically, I think he’s right that the President has to draw a line in the sand and require that Congress stop coddling the wealthy and make them do their part too instead of deep cuts being made for the middle-class and low-income workers. Where’s the shared sacrifice of the wealthy?

  4. creolechild says:

    Thank you, Nicole Kief, UCLA! We’re going to continue to remind people about this issue:

    “Remember the adage “one person, one vote?” In an increasing number of states, it’s more like:”

    1 person
    + 1 birth certificate
    + 1 marriage license
    + 1 utility bill
    + 1 trip to the DMV
    = 1 vote

    “That’s because states around the country — from Kansas to Wisconsin to South Carolina — are approving voter identification laws, which would require voters to show a photo ID in order to cast a ballot.”

    “Those of us who drive, have passports and are generally well-resourced may be surprised to learn that a lot of Americans don’t have photo ID. In fact, research estimates that one in four African-Americans of voting age don’t have government-issued photo identification. Senior citizens and low-income folks also lack ID at disproportionate rates.”

    “So say you live in Wisconsin and you want to vote, but you don’t have a valid driver’s license or state ID card. In order to get one, you’ll need to prove your name and date of birth (your birth certificate will suffice, but only if it’s a certified copy — no hospital copies allowed), your identity (with something like a social security card or marriage license — original only) and your Wisconsin residency (a utility bill will work). You’ll also need a ride to the nearest DMV, which, depending on where you live, may only be open between 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. on the second Wednesday in January, March, May, July, September and November.”

    “Why not make folks guess the number of bubbles in a bar of soap while we’re at it?”

    “To add insult to injury, there’s no credible reason why photo ID at the polls is necessary. Proponents say that voter fraud is rampant, but it’s just not true. In Kansas, records show a whopping seven cases of alleged voter fraud in five years, six of which were not even prosecuted. But that didn’t stop Gov. Sam Brownback from signing a voter ID bill into law back in April. And it didn’t stop the South Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin, Missouri and Minnesota legislatures from passing voter ID bills either. (Fortunately, someone appears to be minding the store in Minnesota — Gov. Mark Dayton is likely to veto that state’s bill. And voters in Missouri would have to approve a constitutional amendment to make voter ID effective there.”

    “So congratulations to all those state legislators out there who are supporting voter ID — you’re doing a great job of solving a problem that doesn’t really exist, and suppressing the vote while you’re at it, just in time for a major election.”

    • Ametia says:

      Isn’t it ironic, that the party of small government, fights to suppress and disenfranchise voters, so that they can get elected into said government, by creating laws that voters will need GOVERNMENT issued IDs in order to vote them into government?

      It’s madness.

  5. Ametia says:

    Thank you, SG2, for posting relief information for Joplin, MO tornado victims.

    An email I received today from my good friend in Iowa about my dear friend Geoffrey in Joplin. He’s a mutual friend of ours.

    Hello A team!

    This was posted on Geoffrey’s Facebook page by a kind friend. Thought you would like to know.

    “Just got home from Joplin. Geoff is in great shape, a little shook up but not hardly a scratch on him. His house was totally destroyed except a wall by his bathtub. He stayed there, a 2×4 fell over him and propped against the wall then sheet rock covered that to protect him from debri. After it quieted down he threw off the 2X4 and walked out. A kind lady picked him up off the street and he has been in a neighboring town all this time. We are going to start a fund to try to help him get a new chiropractic tables, clothes etc. Best hug I ever got in my life!”

    ~ from Gwendolee Ellison

    And just two hours ago…

    “I have set up a relief fund for him where I work: Can send funds to:
    Community National Bank & Trust, P O Box 479, Coffeyville, KS.

    Make checks out to Geoffrey Hilton Relief fund. Put Attn: Gwen on outside of envelope. Thanks so much everybody> Some kind soul donated a cell phone for him.”

    ~ from Gwendolee Ellison

    I’m not asking folks to donate to my friend Geoffrey but if you’re so inclined, he’d be much obliged! And I trust Gwendolee to assist Geoffey in his efforts to rebuild his life.

    Thanks for listening.

  6. Ametia says:

    Let’s keep reminder our readers of this

    Becaue Mittens Romney’s trying to claim credit. No, Mitt, you were against the bailout. YOUTUBE, BITHCES!!!! BWA HA HA

    • Chris Matthews was speaking about it on Hardball tonight. Mitt is trying to claim credit for something he talked against and said it was a bad idea to write a check for the bailout. The GOP voted against the stimulus but then had the gall to secretly ask for the money afterwards. Republicans have no shame!

  7. creolechild says:

    BOYCOTT THESE PRODUCTS! But that’s not all: Koch Industries also profits from Cordura nylon, and Lycra fabric is produced by the Koch-owned textile company Invista. From ranching to fertilizers to chemicals and energy, the Koch brothers have their hands in a very wide range of goods and services. But though these products may seem bland, they’re putting billions of dollars into the coffers of one of this country’s most politically destructive corporations. For more on the Koch brothers, read Mark Ames and Mike Elk’s recent report for The Nation, “Big Brothers: Thought Control at Koch.”

  8. Ametia says:

    Senate rejects Ryan budget
    By Alexander Bolton – 05/25/11 05:45 PM ET

    The Senate on Wednesday resoundingly rejected a budget sponsored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that calls for significant cuts to future Medicare benefits.

    Five Republican senators voted against the ambitious budget plan, which suffered only four Republican defections when the House passed it earlier this year.

    Ryan’s budget fell by a vote of 40 to 57 after every Democrat lined up against it except for Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) who did not vote.

    Republican leaders voted for the Ryan plan but did not pressure colleagues to do the same, recognizing that it had no chance of passing and would likely become a political liability on the 2012 campaign trail.

    Republican senators complained about the political trap that Democrats have tried to set for them at Tuesday lunch meeting.

    Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told his rank-and-file members that they were free to vote their conscience and warned them the vote would have negative political ramifications in some instances, according to GOP sources.

    He advised his colleagues to prepare to explain their votes, whether yay or nay, when they return home and meet constituents.

    The uneasy feeling in the Senate Republican caucus grew sharper on Wednesday after Democrat Kathy Hochul scored an upset victory in the special election in New York’s 26th district, a heavily Republican district. Hochul, a long-shot candidate, captured the seat formally held by Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.) by pounding on Ryan’s Medicare reforms.

    Some Republican senators said it was a mistake for Ryan to roll controversial Medicare reforms into a broader budget package.

    “All Ryan had to do was set an overall number and leave it up to the policymaking committees how to come up with the savings,” one GOP senator told The Hill last week.

    Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who voted no because Ryan’s plan fails to balance the budget within the foreseeable future, said Medicare should have be handled separately.

    “One of the problems he’s having is it’s stuck in a whole big budget with a lot to talk about and it needs to be fully explained, they’re losing that battle in the public as far as the explanation,” Paul said. “If you roll out something that is going to transform an entitlement program we’ve had for 50 years, you roll it out with ten groups supporting you and press conferences and materials and white papers.”

    Paul said he likes some of Ryan’s Medicare reforms but noted it would do little to reduce the deficit over the next five years.

    Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, acknowledged Ryan’s Medicare reforms may have made a difference in the Hochul race. But he argued the bigger reason for the upset was the presence of a Tea Party candidate who siphoned away conservative votes from the Republican nominee.

    Jack Davis, a former Democrat running as a Tea Party candidate, finished in third place with 9 percent of the vote. Hochul won with 47 percent over Republican Jane Corwin, who received 43 percent.

    Cornyn said lawmakers up for re-election next year “need to consult with their constituents and listen to them” when considering how to act on Ryan’s budget.

    Many GOP lawmakers shied away from taking public positions on Ryan’s plan and the weeks and days before the vote.

    Sens. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) said last week they were still undecided. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) on Wednesday declined to reveal his position only a few hours before the vote.

    Paul and three GOP centrists — Sens. Olympia Snowe (Maine), Susan Collins (Maine) and Scott Brown (Mass.) — announced their opposition before the vote.

    Senate Democrats say they plan to attack Republican candidates relentlessly next year over Ryan’s Medicare reform plans.

    “This issue will have staying power and be a defining issue for 2012,” Schumer, who is in charge of coordinating political and legislative strategy for Senate Democrats, said in a conference call with reporters Monday.

    Ryan’s budget would cut spending by $5.8 trillion over the next decade but is not projected to balance the budget within the next 20 years. It would lower the corporate and top individual tax rates from 35 to 25 percent and transform Medicaid into a block grant program.

    Democrats have panned Ryan’s plan mostly for its comprehensive overhaul of Medicare as an effort to dismantle the safety-net program.

    Ryan would eliminate Medicare’s fee-for-service payment plan and instead give government subsidies directly to health insurance plans to compete for senior customers through an exchange.

    Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) slammed the House GOP plan for making radical changes to Medicare while still adding to the national debt.

    “Anybody that thinks that shredding Medicare and giving these giant tax breaks to the wealthiest among us is going to solve the problem, is going to stop the explosion of debt is just wrong,” he said before the vote.

    He said the Ryan budget would add $8 trillion to the gross debt over the next decade.


  9. Ametia says:


  10. Ametia says:

    Got to give it to the blue-eyed devil; he’s really pushing his voucher care.

    Ryan Rolls Out New Video: ‘Saving Medicare, Visualized’
    Eric Kleefeld | May 25, 2011, 12:56PM

    With his push to privatize Medicare increasingly becoming an albatross around the neck of the GOP, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) is continuing his efforts to explain it clearly to the American public.

    Ryan has released a new video, posted on the House Budget Committee’s Web site, with no shortage of charts and graphs.

    The video is entitled, “The Path to Prosperity (Episode 2): Saving Medicare, Visualized.”

    “Those in or near retirement should not be forced to reorganize their lives because of government’s mistakes,” Ryan says in the video. “That’s why our budget ensures no changes for those 55 years old or older. But for current taxpayers and future generations, we need real reform.

    “Rather than putting the government in charge, our plan provides financial support to help future Medicare patients pay for the insurance plan that works best for them and their families. Patients will have the freedom to choose from a list of guaranteed coverage options – the same kind of system members of Congress enjoy today. And insurance providers, competing for patients’ business, will look to lower the costs and increase quality for their services – the way it always works when the consumer is in charge.”

  11. creolechild says:

    LOL! This coming from someone who ISN’T smarter than a 5th grader…Just because you can’t walk and chew bubblegum at the same time doesn’t mean that others can’t Bachmann!

    “Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is fundraising off President Obama’s trip to Europe. Obama is currently on a six-day, four-nation visit to the continent that started in Ireland on Monday and then took him to Britain. During a dinner at Buckingham Palace in London on Tuesday, he was served a wine that retails for between $1,000 and $1,700. When his visit made the evening news last night, network anchors were broadcasting from tornado-ravaged Missouri.”

    “‘Bachmann has seemingly picked up on that contrast. ‘Oil prices are at an all-time high. Obamacare is bringing socialism to our doorstep, and the national debt is over $14.3 trillion. Yet, our President is too busy gallivanting around Europe with his Irish cousins, to focus on rebuilding our economy and strengthening our nation,’ she wrote in a fundraising pitch Wednesday.” [THOUGHT YOUR PARTY WAS GOING TO CREATE JOBS…THAT’S WHAT BOEHNER SAID.]

    “Bachmann, who is mulling a run for the White House, said she wants to make Obama a “one-term president” and asked for help raising $240,000 in a 24-hour “moneybomb.” [GEE, THAT SOUNDS FAMILIAR…”ONE-TERM PRESIDENT.]

    • Ametia says:

      Ah that raving lunatic from my neck-0-the woods, Minneapolis. Bachman’s another GRIFTER, no different thann Sarah Palin. A midwestern cook.. And she’ll probably get the $$ too. SMGDH

  12. Ametia says:

    Gingrich takes few questions, avoids press at N.H. town hall
    By Nia-Malika Henderson, Wednesday, May 25, 2:29 PM
    DERRY, N.H. — Republican Newt Gingrich seems to have developed a new strategy in his second week of campaigning for the White House: take as few questions as possible and ignore the press.

    At an event Wednesday billed as a town hall, Gingrich stood behind a lectern and gave a 15-minute speech, then took questions for about two minutes, raising the question of whether an event is really a town hall if the speech outlasts the question-and-answer session.

    In the lobby of Derry Medical Center here, the former speaker of the House vowed to repeal President Obama’s health-care law and replace it with a state-based, free-market approach.

    “I will fight for the repeal of Obamacare until it is repealed in its entirety,” Gingrich said. “Obamacare is not only unconstitutional, it is an assault to the vision of the founders, who carefully created a government of enumerated and limited powers, not a government of unlimited and open-ended powers.”

    He also took an apparent swipe at fellow presidential contender Mitt Romney, likening the current federal health-care law to the mandate-centered law in Massachusetts, implemented when Romney (R) was governor.

    “The inevitable result is rationing by a nameless, faceless, unaccountable board of government bureaucrats,” Gingrich said. “This has been the sad, unworkable path now being followed by Gov. Deval Patrick in Massachusetts, and it is now the same sad unworkable path unfolding in Washington.” Patrick is a Democrat.

    After his speech, Gingrich walked into the crowd of about 20 people and began to shake hands.

    voter asked whether Gingrich was going to take questions.

    “I’ll chat with the news media individually,” Gingrich responded. “From citizens, or

    news media? Yeah, I’ll take questions from citizens.”

  13. Ametia says:

    Barack Obama Will Visit Puerto Rico, Fortuño Says
    Published May 25, 2011
    | Fox News Latino

    For the first time in thirty-five years a sitting U.S. President will step foot in Puerto Rico.

    President Barack Obama has accepted an invitation to visit Puerto Rico next month, a trip that would make him the first sitting president to come to the U.S. territory in decades, the island’s governor said Tuesday.

    The president, who campaigned in Puerto Rico for the Democratic primary, will visit the island June 14, Gov. Luis Fortuño said, without disclosing details of his itinerary.

    “With his visit, the president makes good on the promise he made during the presidential primaries in 2008 that he would return to Puerto Rico as president,” Fortuno said in a statement.

    The governor’s office described the Obama trip as the “the first official presidential visit” since December 1961, when President John F. Kennedy stopped on the island to a formal welcome on his way to Venezuela. But that was not the last time a U.S. president set foot in the territory: President Gerald Ford hosted an economic summit in Puerto Rico in June 1976.

  14. creolechild says:

    “Republicans on the Committee on House Administration have voted to eliminate the independent commission that was established to address election problems after the contested 2000 presidential contest between George W. Bush and Al Gore.”

    “The U.S. Election Assistance Commission, established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002, has disbursed more than $3 billion in “requirements” payments to states to update voting machines and enhance election administration. But the commission has seen that funding significantly decline in recent years.”

    “In a full committee hearing Wednesday, Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) called the EAC a “bloated bureaucracy that mismanaged taxpayer dollars,” and said it has far outlived its initial three-year mandate. The best course the committee could take, according to Harper, was to “dissolve the agency, end its wasteful spending and transfer its remaining beneficial functions to another location.”

  15. Ametia says:

    Oprah finale is on!

  16. creolechild says:

    “Well, this is uncomfortable. Notorious racist Sherrif Joe Arpaio, who has spent time on the conservative circuit of late endearing himself to the Tea Party, maybe should have been supervising his own house instead.”

    The Arizona Republic has the report:

    “Three Maricopa County sheriff’s employees, including a deputy in the human-smuggling unit, were arrested Tuesday by authorities who say they were involved in a drug- and human-trafficking ring and used Sheriff’s Office intelligence to guide smugglers through the Valley.”

    “…The sheriff’s employees were among 12 suspects arrested Tuesday during a series of early-morning raids at 16 locations throughout the Valley where investigators had targeted members of the organization.”

    “The group mostly moved heroin, according to investigators, and officials suspect each of the arrested sheriff’s employees played a crucial role in moving the drugs and hiding the illicit profits. Authorities say the ring moved about $56,000 worth of heroin a week through the Valley.”

  17. creolechild says:

    “Republicans used a House subcommittee meeting Tuesday afternoon to repeatedly attack Elizabeth Warren, who is advising President Obama on the formation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFBP) and is among the candidates to become the bureau’s first director. Led by subcommittee chair Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Republicans questioned Warren’s veracity and accused her of hiding the truth from Congress in previous hearings.”

    “The baseless attacks became so intense that Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) used his time to apologize to Warren for the “rude and disrespectful” behavior of his colleagues. The attacks came, Yarmuth said, because the GOP fears Warren’s ability to stick up for consumers:

    YARMUTH: I apologize to the witness, Dr. Warren, for the rude and disrespectful behavior of the chair. The snarky comments about a Senate race, and the questioning of your veracity when there is documented evidence that you are being totally truthful indicates to me that this hearing is all about impugning you because people are afraid of you and your ability to communicate in very clear terms the threats to our consumers and the threats to our constituents and possibly very, very effective ways to combat them. So I think, in one respect, I congratulate you for instilling such fear in the committee, on the majority side, and in some aspects, or segments, of the business community because they understand how effective you are in getting the message out to the American people.”

  18. creolechild says:

    ‘In a stunningly heartless move, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) put strings on emergency relief for the victims of the killer Joplin tornado, saying that other government services would have to be cut to offset aid spending. Yesterday afternoon, the House Appropriations Committee passed an amendment by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) to add $1 billion in funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) disaster relief fund, offset by cutting $1.5 billion from the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program at the Department of Energy. On MSNBC’s Ed Show, Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO) called the decision “just plain wrong”:

    “When you talk about cutting clean energy programs versus cutting subsidies for big oil, let’s have that debate here in Washington. But not on the backs of the people of Joplin.”

    • Ametia says:

      Yes, keep posting the antics of Mr. Cantor. I’m sure the folks of Joplin, MO. Kansas, Oklahoma, and Minneapolis would love to hear and read about how he feels about providing relief for natural disaster victims.

  19. creolechild says:

    “The New Jersey Constitution requires the state to “provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of free public schools for the instruction of all the children in the State between the ages of five and eighteen years.” Yet, because the state failed to meet this obligation in many of its poorest school districts, the state Supreme Court ordered New Jersey to stop underfunding those districts more than 20 years ago. In 2009, the court finally determined that the state had complied with its decades-old order, and ended much of its oversight of the state’s education funding. Sadly, Gov. Chris Christie (R) almost immediately took this as a license to slash education funding for the poor.”

    “Yesterday, however, the justices reminded Christie that he is not allowed to thumb his nose at the state constitution, and it ordered the state to restore $500 million that had been stripped from the state’s most needy districts….”

  20. Ametia says:

    Breaking News Alert: Suspect in Giffords shooting found incompetent to stand trial
    May 25, 2011 3:38:16 PM

    A federal judge has ruled that the suspect in the Arizona shooting rampage that wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is mentally incompetent to stand trial, putting the criminal case on hold indefinitely.

    The decision by U.S. District Judge Larry Burns means 21-year-old Jared Lee Loughner will be sent to a federal facility for up to four months in a bid to restore his competency.

  21. Ametia says:

    Jared Loughner, the murderer who wounded Gabby Giffords and killed 6 people has been deemed unstable to stand trial.

  22. rikyrah says:

    PPP Poll: Wisconsin Wants To Recall Walker — And Put Dems In The State Senate
    A new survey of Wisconsin from Public Policy Polling (D) finds some good news for Democrats in their efforts to take control of the state Senate in the upcoming recall elections, in a backlash against Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) anti-public employee union legislation: The state’s voters want to recall Walker — and they would rather have the Democrats in control of the state Senate, too.

    The poll finds Walker with an approval rating of only 43%, with 54% disapproval. The poll also asked: “Would you support or oppose recalling Scott Walker from office before his term is up?” The result was support 50%, oppose 47%.

    However, recalls in Wisconsin do not take the form of a yes-or-no question on the incumbent, but are effectively special elections pitting the incumbent against an opposing candidate. Thus, Walker was also tested in hypothetical match-ups against two potential Democratic nominees. Former Sen. Russ Feingold, who lost re-election after three terms in the 2010 Republican wave, leads Walker by 52%-42%. And Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the 2010 Democratic gubernatorial nominee whom Walker defeated by a margin of 52%-47%, now leads Walker by 50%-43%.

    “The enthusiasm for recalling Scott Walker is still there three months after the height of the protests in Wisconsin,” writes PPP president Dean Debnam. “He’d be done if the vote was today, it’s just a question of whether that desire to put him out can continue to be sustained in the coming months.”

    It should be noted, though, that Wisconsin’s recall laws also require that at least one year of a term be served before an incumbent can be recalled, thus placing Walker out of reach of the recalls until next year. However, there are now nine state Senate recalls going on, against six Republicans and three Democrats, with the Dems hoping to gain at least three net seats and take control of the chamber.

    The poll asked: “Would you rather that Democrats or Republicans had control of the State Senate?” The result: Democrats 50%, Republicans 42%. While this statewide poll is not necessarily the same as what might be going on in the individual districts, it would at least appear to be an indicator of the overall mood in Wisconsin.—-and-put-dems-in-the-state-senate.php

  23. rikyrah says:

    This Town Deserves A Better Class Of Critic
    By Ta-Nehisi Coates
    May 25 2011, 11:25 AM ET
    Colbert King weighs in on Cornel West’s barrage, Stanley Crouch gets his licks in, and Adam notes that Crouch has (thankfully) changed his tune.

    Meanwhile Eddie S. Glaude summons up a rhetorical army and, with considerable aplomb, plows through an enemy battalion of strawmen:

    Recently, Cornel West offered a strident critique of President Obama’s relative silence on this matter. For him, the president has failed to address substantively the conditions of the poor and the most vulnerable in our society.

    Instead, West maintains, Obama has been too concerned with appeasing the robber barons on Wall Street. Many took offense, not only with the personal nature of the criticism but also with the fact that West dared to criticize the president at all.

    Some African Americans hold the view that this only contributes to right-wing attacks against Obama, making him vulnerable in 2012. Others believe that such criticisms betray an unreasonable expectation that Obama owes something to the black community because he is the first black president — a troublesome black identity politics, they might say.

    Worries about Democrats closing ranks for an upcoming election seem, to me, at least, to be a perennial (and uninteresting) concern. I am more interested in the underlying anxiety about black people criticizing Obama. It is as if we are being told to keep our mouths shut.

    And I am more interested in who–specifically–took offense “with the fact that West dared to criticize the president at all.” Glaude never bothers to name these critics, preferring to debate his own paraphrasing. I share Glaude’s faith that there are black people out there, somewhere, who do believe Obama shouldn’t be criticized. I just think it’d be nice if he’d name them and quote their actual arguments.

    It also would be nice if Glaude quoted Cornel West’s actual arguments. To be clear, their number include:

    –That Obama is a “black mascot” and a”black puppet” for Wall street and corporate America.

    –That Obama, whom West supported as a candidate to be Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful military in the world, who throughout his candidacy repeatedly said he would kill Bin Laden if given the chance, has lately mutated into the proud “head of the American killing machine.”

    –That West, a self-dubbed advocate of working people, is entitled to three inauguration tickets for every one ticket dispensed to mere baggage-handlers.

    –That West is an independent “free black man” who strikes terror in the heart of the rootless, deracinated, and culturally white Obama.

    –That Obama, who for decades has made a home on Chicago’s South Side, “feels most comfortable with upper middle-class white and Jewish men,” as opposed to West who through considerable time spent studying and teaching in the Ivy League has acquired the powers of blackness denominated in the previous point.

    I debated Glaude on twitter when this story initially broke. His defense at the time held that the worst aspects of West’s tone “shouldn’t detract from his criticism of Obama’s policy choices.” But I have searched West’s argument repeatedly, and found only thin evidence of such criticism. West is disappointed with the tapping of Geithner and Summers. He also thinks it would be a good idea for Michelle Obama to abandon her childhood obesity campaign and tour America’s prisons.

    But there is nothing in West’s volley about how the lack of public option will ultimately hurt poor black people. There no real attempt to argue that the Dodd-Frank won’t actually end the problem of too big too fail. There’s no detailed critique of how Obama’s willingness to see Planned Parenthood defunded in local Washington D.C. ultimately hurts black women. There are no hot words for an Obama-led Democratic Party failing to deliver congressional representation to Washington, D.C. despite holding the House, Senate and the presidency. There is no serious assessment of the Office of Urban Policy.

    In sum, there isn’t much policy anywhere in West’s article or in Glaude’s defense. But even if there were substance beneath West’s essentialist dogma, this fact would not make it excusable. Should I find a Latino man blocking my way as I walk down the street, it would take some hubris to insist that the “Spic get out of my way.” But it would take much more for me to, while in the midst of picking my teeth, to insist that, as a matter of fact, the Spic really was blocking the sidewalk. Dinesh D’souza does not get to call Obama a Kenyan anti-colonialist, and then protest that we missed the deeper aspects of his argument.

    And this is really the point. In the matter at hand, there is no real difference between the tribalism offered by D’Souza and his ilk, and the tribalism offered by West and his defenders. There is no real difference between Tea Partiers who insist that NAACP are the actual racists, and those who believe Obama is a “black mascot” damning the influence of identity politics. There is no real difference between those who push their agenda by implying that Obama isn’t really American, and those who push their agenda by implying that Obama isn’t really black.

    Both are afflicted with a species of blindness, and intellectual sloth. Understanding and debating actual policy is hard. Enumerating perceived slights and name-calling, and dubbing it a black agenda, is not.

  24. rikyrah says:

    this was in the comments section at the article:

    By Brother x,
    May 23 at 11:12 pm
    Link to this comment
    The West Critique: The Folly of Puffed-Up Self-Importance_Part 2

    During the 2008 presidential campaign, many of us waxed teary-eyed as we fell asleep and dreamed that we were witnessing the second coming of the Messiah, only to emerge from our celestial bliss awakened to the earthly reality that we were once again in the presence of yet another Caesar.

    The image of the messianic figure, the heroic charismatic champion of the poor and downtrodden has undergone an alchemic transmutation into a kind of clay-footed figurine idol, a consummate political pragmatist.

    Such is the landscape of American politics, a landscape seeded with unrealistic delusions that inevitably mature into crops of realistic disillusionment. No one should be surprised, least of all such career public intellectuals as Dr. West.

    Part of the angst Dr. West must feel certainly derives from his own disillusionment with Mr. Obama; the other part of that angst arises from the sobering realization that his wounds are self-inflicted.

    After all, it was he who allowed his judgment to become impaired by the seductive allure and the intoxicating prospect of gaining proximity to the power that resides in a newly minted African American president.

    He saw himself assuming the exalted role of De Facto Counselor to the President, a role which has been usurped by the Reverend Al Sharpton.

    He saw himself as a twenty-first century version of Frederick Douglass to Mr. Obama—the presumed twenty-first century version of Abraham Lincoln. In spite of all the personal campaigning he did on behalf of Mr. Obama, he couldn’t even score a ticket to the inaugural dance or even a presidential courtesy call.

    No wonder he is frustrated. His instinctive reaction was to misinterpret Mr. Obama’s stiff-arming as a personal insult, rather than as part of a broader calculus of political expediency similar to the stratagem employed during the stiff-arming of Reverend Wright.

    Like a jilted lover who has been inexplicably kicked to the curb, Dr. West, through his questioning of Mr. Obama’s “blackness”, has sought retribution on a very petty level by targeting personal attacks on what may be the soft underbelly of Mr. Obama’s psyche, his sense of racial identity.

    Such pettiness on the part of Dr. West is not only unbecoming of someone of his stature, it undermines the strength of his argument; while at the same time, it threatens to fracture the political solidarity of the African American community and the prospect of a second term Obama Presidency.

    And let’s be clear, the prospect of a second term Obama Presidency, a prospect which admittedly lacks the “audacity of hope” luster of the first, is still a far more attractive alternative to any version that the neo-fascist Tea Party Republicans would offer. Dr. West should hold his fire until the advent of a more appropriate time.

    • Ametia says:


    • creolechild says:

      The business about people considering Barack Obama to be some kind of “Messiah” is ridiculous and is a term that Republicans and/or Tea Parties used, and are still using, to describe the awe that most blacks in this country felt at the possibility of a black man being elected to the highest office in the land during their lifetime. What? Are we supposed to be ashamed of that, given this country’s history of racism and oppression of people of color? For real? Kiss my gumbo!

      I certainly agree that Barack Obama caused many people to have unrealistic expectations when he didn’t accomplish whatever it was they thought should be tackled immediately. I also think this shows that many Americans should get up on their knowledge of how the government actually operates. You know, three branches of government: executive, judicial, and legislative. But that’s a discussion for another time…

      As to Brother X’s perspectives about Cornel West…where to begin. First of all, there were thousands of people who knocked on doors, registered voters, made phone calls, the whole nine. Did these people sit around and cry in their soup because they didn’t receive tickets to the inauguration or the President didn’t make a call to thank them personally? Cornel West should get over himself? Did he even consider that the Barack Obama had his hands full dealing with the Clinton campaign, John McCain and race-baiting Palin at the time–pushing back against the same smears that are being directed towards him 2 1/2 years later? Furthermore, if you really believed in what you were doing during campaign season–without ulterior motives–why wasn’t the vicotry enough? It was for everyone else! And to the best of my knowledge, Cornel West didn’t single-handedly cause Barack Obama to be elected. I don’t care how many fundraisers he threw! It was a collective effort…

      Brother X can make all the lame-assed excuses he wants to about Cornel West’s nasty behavior but I see exactly what he’s trying to do and why, so don’t many others. Though Brother X is right when he states, “Such pettiness on the part of Dr. West is not only unbecoming of someone of his stature,” I really don’t think he knows what he’s talking about when he claims “it undermines the strength of his argument” because there is NO argument to be had. It’s about EGO, pure and simple…It’s also about Cornel West’s hiddent agenda to help others who “claim” to be Democrats to primary President Obama.

      Nice going, Cornel! I’m sure the folks your helping and the Republicans will find an appropriate way to “thank you” for helping to put a Republican back into office… Need evidence? Read this and then make up your own mind!

  25. rikyrah says:

    May 25, 2011
    Diagnosing Paul Ryan

    I’m still divided. Either Paul Ryan is merely this nation’s clumsiest ideologue or he’s the most vacuous politician since William Crawford, who in 1824 ran for the presidency while in a state of stroke-induced paralysis. Of course there might inhere a roughly equal mixture of both, however such aforementioned attributes, like left- or right-handedness, are, generally, singularly dominant.

    I lean toward the “clumsiest ideologue” diagnosis, although, again, a diseased vacuity cannot be altogether discounted as an underlying condition. My inclination springs from Ryan’s seeming sincerity: “We don’t have that much more time to keep kicking the can down the road because we will have a debt crisis if we don’t start taking these issues seriously,” he said after last night’s New York implosion.

    We can’t “keep playing politics and using political weapons against each other” — ding, ding, ding: possible vacuity alert — but then just as suddenly he erupted in what I can only interpret as ideological obliviousness: “I think we’re moving forward. We’re unified and excited about taking this challenge to the public.”

    Oh you poor thing. My dear Mr. Ryan, you just did take your “challenge to the public” — a partisanly affectionate public at that — and they handed you back your swollen, reactionary head.

    He also doubled back on his own self-righteous admonition about “playing politics.” While speaking only a few words away from scolding opposing politicians for plying their trade, Ryan launched into the politically squalid GOP defense that last night was only about fearmongering in the absence of any justified fear:

    If you can scare seniors into thinking that their current benefits are being affected, that’s going to have an effect. And that is exactly what took place here. So yes, yes, it’s demagoguery, it’s scaring seniors.

    No, no, it wasn’t — and Ryan knows it. Those “scared seniors” who’ve been showing up at town hall meetings in fits of outrage are not by and large scared for themselves; they’re petrified that their children will be be left to the untenderest of the GOP’s mercies. And last night was their first opportunity to express their outrage in material form.

    Ryan is not a stupid man. He’s smart enough to inveigle deceptive policy papers from the Heritage Foundation et al and lie like a Palin on stilts. Hence I resist the seemingly confirmed thesis of his vacuity. Still, he’s not quite smart enough to hide his ideological clumsiness — which isn’t, after all, that much of a rap on his intelligence, since Edmund Burke himself couldn’t sell Ryan’s immense turkey of a Medicare plan.

  26. Ametia says:

    Breaking News Alert: Egypt to open border crossing for Palestinians, easing Gaza blockade
    May 25, 2011 1:41:11 PM

    Egypt will open its only crossing with the Gaza Strip this weekend, the Cairo military government announced Wednesday, significantly easing a four-year blockade on the Hamas-ruled territory but setting up a potential conflict with Israel.

    This gives Gaza Palestinians a way to freely enter and exit their territory for the first time since 2007, when Hamas overran the territory, and Israel and Egypt closed the crossings.

  27. rikyrah says:

    25 May 2011 11:17 AM “2012’s Goldwater”

    That’s what David Frum is calling Paul Ryan:

    The GOP will run on a platform crafted to be maximally obnoxious to downscale voters. Some may hope that Tim Pawlenty’s biography may cushion the pain. Perhaps that’s right, at least as compared to Mitt Romney, who in the 2008 primaries did worst among Republicans earning less than $100,000 a year. And yes, Pawlenty is keeping his distance from the Ryan plan. But biography only takes you so far. The big issues of 2012 will be jobs and incomes in a nation still unrecovered from the catastrophe of 2008-2009. What does the GOP have to say to hard-pressed voters? Thus far the answer is: we offer Medicare cuts, Medicaid cuts, and tighter money aimed at raising the external value of the dollar.

    No candidate, not even if he or she is born in a log cabin, would be able to sell that message to America’s working class.

    Ryan’s new Medicare pitch via Mike Allen. Could the GOP actually move the country to the left? It couldn’t be that big of a meep-meep, could it?

    • creolechild says:

      Hmmm…so the Affordable Health Care Act was just “one big give away” to the insurance industry because President Obama is a “corporatist” who isn’t interested in actually helping us, right? Think again…

      (Thank you, WhatIsWorking!)

      “More than 15,000 Aetna customers could see their health insurance premiums drop by between 5 and 19.5 percent later this year, reflecting, at least in part, a new federal requirement that limits how much insurance companies can spend on nonmedical costs.”

      “The proposed rate cuts would affect Connecticut residents covered by Aetna individual health plans and, if approved by the Connecticut Insurance Department, would take effect Sept. 1. The average rate cut would be 10 percent, according to documents filed by the company.”

      “Beginning this year, the federal health reform law requires insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of the money they collect in premiums on health care costs for individual and small-group plans, and 85 percent for large-group plans. The percentage is known as a medical loss, or medical care, ratio. Insurers that don’t meet the mark will have to give customers rebates.”


      “Under the new medical loss ratio requirement, an estimated 9 million people nationwide will be eligible for rebates, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. HHS says that more than 20 percent of people who receive coverage through the individual market are in plans that spend more than 30 cents of every premium dollar on administrative costs, and another 25 percent are in plans that spend between 25 and 30 percent of premium dollars on administrative expenses.”

      “People getting rebates for individual plans would get an average of $164, HHS projected.”

  28. Steve Israel, DCCC Chair, Turns Sights To 97 Republicans And Unseating Paul Ryan

    WASHINGTON — In the wake of Tuesday night’s upset victory in upstate New York’s special election, the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is expanding his horizons, pinpointing nearly 100 House seats that could present favorable match-ups for Democrats in 2012. He is also refocusing attention on unseating House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

    “We have an excellent Democratic candidate named Rob Zerban who got into the race largely because he couldn’t tolerate Paul Ryan’s leadership on a plan to terminate Medicare, while funding tax cuts for big oil companies,” DCCC Chair Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) told The Huffington Post in a late-night interview Tuesday. “So that’s one district where the political landscape may change.”

    “In addition to that, there are 97 congressional districts currently represented by a Republican that are more moderate than New York 26,” he added. “So there are 97 Republican members of Congress who are probably losing a lot of sleep tonight.”

    It’s on & poppin…

    • Ametia says:

      Tee hee hee. Morning Murderer had the blue-eyed devil Paul Ryan on this morning to spin his bullshit medicare plan by blaming PBO and the Dems for scaring seniors. Now ain’t that the pot calling the kettle black?

      No, Paul Ryan, that’s what you and the GOP do fear mongering and destroying any and everything America stands for. GTFOH

      • rikyrah says:

        ain’t scaring them when they are just telling the truth about you and your PATH TO POVERTY plan , Goober Ryan

  29. rikyrah says:

    How To Spin Paul Ryan’s Medicare Plan: A Guide For Fence-Sitting Republicans
    The Paul Ryan budget is proving a difficult issue for Republicans across the spectrum to discuss. If you back it, you take a barrage of hits from Democrats for its plan to “essentially end Medicare,” a potential death sentence in a tough race or if you have national ambitions. But if you vocally oppose it, a la Newt Gingrich, the base’s wrath comes instantly crashing down on you. Fortunately for fence-sitting politicians there are ways to create some wiggle room without getting trapped in either camp. Here’s a handy guide for how to spin like a pro:

    Rule #1: Paul Ryan Is Awesome

    If you’re a Republican looking to avoid trouble from the right, this is the single most important thing to remember. Whether or not you agree with Paul Ryan’s plan, nothing is more dangerous than suggesting for even a second that you think he was wrong to put it forward or that he is threatening seniors. Newt Gingrich is hardly the only Republican to disagree with his Medicare plan but he’s suffered by far the most for his position in part because his comments were interpreted as an attack on Ryan, who is rapidly becoming a martyr figure on the right.

    Instead, you could follow the example of Tim Pawlenty — who has not backed the Ryan plan — and praise the House budget chair for “offering real leadership in Washington.” Or you could take the Mitt Romney approach and praise Ryan for “setting the right tone.”

    Calling him “courageous” never hurts, either.

    • creolechild says:

      “….Nearly 40% of Medicare recipients believe that they have never “used a government social program.” Plausibly, this is because the recipients of this and other welfare benefits identify government social programs with welfare, and welfare with the poor (and often, with non-white people – debates over welfare in the US have an obvious racial tinge).”

      “And hence the American welfare state is submerged, inefficient, and largely unrecognized, even by left-leaning commentators like Marshall, as actually being a welfare state. Mettler’s book, which will look at the underlying dynamics, comes out in a few months – I hope it has the effect on political debates that it deserves.”

      • Ametia says:

        This info is not surprising in the least, creolechild. Folks are either willfully ignorant or just plain ignorant of the government’s role in their daily lives.

      • creolechild says:

        I think part of the problem is the prevalence of the “US” against “Them” mentality in this country that keeps the corporations and some of the wealthy in a position to ensure that we stay divided instead of holding politicians accountable for legislation that is harmful and not reigning in the corporations influence over…pretty much everything.

  30. OXFORD, ENGLAND – MAY 25: First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama (2nd L), delivers a speech and answers student’s questions in Christ Church dining hall in the University of Oxford on May 25, 2011 in Oxford, England. Mrs Obama joined female students from the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School in North London for an open day at the University of Oxford. The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, and his wife Michelle are in the UK for a two day State Visit at the invitation of HM Queen Elizabeth II. Last night they attended a state banquet at Buckingham Palace and today’s events include talks at Downing Street and the President will address both houses of parliament at Westminster Hall.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Poll: Rick Scott Earns His Worst Approval Rating Ever
    Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) approval rating has sunk to a new low, as nearly six in ten Florida voters now say they disapprove of their chief executive’s job performance barely 5 months into his tenure, according to a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday morning.

    Scott was one of the new Republican governor’s swept into office last year as anti-incumbent rage thwarted Democrats nationwide. But since his inauguration, Scott has pursued a number of unpopular proposals, capped off by a recently-passed budget he is set to sign this week that voters overwhelmingly dislike by a two to one margin.

    In the poll, 57% of registered voters said they’re unhappy with how Scott has handled his job as governor, a record high. At the same time, only 29% of voters said they approved of Scott’s job performance, making Scott the most unpopular of 10 governors Quinnipiac has surveyed this year.

    Scott’s approval rating has gone from bad to horrendous since Quinnipiac last checked in on him back in April. At that time, 35% of voters approved of Scott’s job performance, while 48% disapproved.

    • creolechild says:

      “Indiana-based manufacturer Autocar has announced the commercial launch of the E3 Advance Series Hybrid at Waste Expo 2011 in Dallas, Texas. Autocar, a waste and recycling automaker, has been testing prototype models of the fleet in Miami, but is now ready to offer the vehicle to the larger market.”

      “The company claims the E3 is the lowest emission Class 8 truck (over 3,300 pounds) available today, stating that the hybrid vehicle reduces fuel consumption up to 50% compared to standard models. Autocar partnered with Parker Hannifin to replace the truck’s automatic transmission with a hybrid system that can save 4,500 gallons of diesel fuel each year and offset CO2 emissions by fifty tons per truck.”

      “The E3 has been recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency as an emerging technology vehicle under the Nation Clean Diesel Campaign that we recently covered following President Obama’s speech about upgrading America’s fleets to cleaner technology. As garbage trucks are needed in every city in the United States, this new vehicle will hopefully set new standards for others to follow.” [CLICK ON LINK TO VIEW SPEECH.] President Obama talks about energy efficient vans and buses.

    • creolechild says:

      It’s not surprising, rikyrah. But this calls for a walk down memory lane to re-visit the facts since people tend to have *fuzzy* memories about past events:

      “Scott started what was first Columbia in the spring of 1987, purchasing two El Paso, Texas, hospitals. In 1994, Scott’s Columbia purchased HCA and its 100 hospitals, and merged the companies to form Columbia/HCA. When Scott resigned as CEO in 1997, Columbia/HCA had grown to more than 340 hospitals, 135 surgery centers and 550 home health locations in 37 states and two foreign countries, Scott’s campaign says. The company employed more than 285,000 people.”

      “Now, about why Scott left Columbia/HCA in 1997. That year, federal agents went public with an investigation into the company, first seizing records from four El Paso-area hospitals and then expanding across the country. The scope of the investigation at first was unclear; even Scott said he didn’t know what the U.S. Justice Department was looking for. But it later became apparent that the investigation focused on whether Columbia bilked Medicare and Medicaid.”

      “Scott resigned as CEO in July 1997, less than four months after the inquiry became public and before the level of fraud became known. Company executives said had Scott remained CEO, the entire chain could have been in jeopardy.”

      “In December 2000, the U.S. Justice Department announced what it called the largest government fraud settlement in U.S. history when Columbia/HCA agreed to pay $840 million in criminal fines and civil damages and penalties…”
      [See article for list of charges.”

      “The government settled a second series of claims with Columbia/HCA in 2002 for an additional $881 million. The claims were largely related to additional allegations of fraud….”


      There were no stories from 2000 that referenced Columbia/HCA and 14 felonies. So we went to the Department of Justice looking for help. There we unearthed the original press release. Dated Dec. 14, 2000, the release highlights the record $840 million settlement agreed to between HCA and the Department of Justice:

      “Health care fraud impacts every American citizen. When a company defrauds our nation’s health care programs, it takes money out of the pockets of the American taxpayers. It is wrong,” then-Attorney General Janet Reno said in the release. This investigation has been the largest multi-agency investigation of a health care provider ever undertaken by the U.S. and reflects our commitment to vigorously pursuing all types of health care fraud schemes.”


      “…A couple of important notes. The actual plea deals were arranged with HCA subsidiaries and not the hospital chain itself. That was done so HCA could continue to participate in the Medicare program. Also, all of the charges deal with corporate criminal liability. Scott wasn’t charged individually, and the plea deal was struck after Scott already had left the company.”

      “In interviews, Scott accepts responsibility for the problems at Columbia/HCA, but denies direct knowledge of the fraud.”

  32. rikyrah says:

    awe sookey sookey now…

    bwa ha ha ah ah aha h


    Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. takes stand to testify in Blagojevich retrial
    May 25, 2011 10:47AM

    Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich walked in to U.S. District Judge James Zagel’s courtroom at about 9:45 a.m. Wednesday, prepared for his lawyers to begin presenting his defense with witnesses expected to include U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

    Blagojevich walked over and to a staffer for Jackson, the Chicago Democrat, smiled and shook hands. Jackson is expected to testify Wednesday.

    Emanuel is also “on-call” and prepared to testify.

    Jackson “will testify that he never offered or directed anyone to offer any campaign contributions in exchange for the senate seat,” Blagojevich attorney Aaron Goldstein said.

    Jackson will testify that the two met, that Jackson told Blagojevich why he would make a good senator and that the two apologized for having a “bad relationship” with each other, Goldstein said.

    “Fund-raising was never brought up, never offered, no offers of ‘quid pro quos,’ “ Goldstein said.

    Prosecutors objected, saying they never contended that Jackson made those overtures.

    Zagel has ruled that both Jackson and Emanuel may testify, though he warned Blagojevich’s attorneys not to elicit inadmissible testimony.

    Emanuel will testify he was never made aware of any alleged attempt by Blagojevich to get Emanuel or his brother to hold a fund-raiser in exchange for releasing funds for a high school football field, Blagojevich attorney Sheldon Sorosky said.

    Emanuel also will testify he was not aware of any request he set up a non-profit group for rich people to fund in exchange for a Blagojevich job, Sorosky said.

    He said Emanuel will testify that he held a meeting with U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and David Axelrod about brokering a peace deal between Blagojevich and Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan to pave the way for Blagojevich to appoint Madigan’s daughter, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, as a U.S. senator, filling the seat left vacant by President Barack Obama.

  33. U.S. first lady Michelle Obama talks with a student from the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School at Oxford University in Oxford, southern England May 25, 2011.

  34. U.S. first lady Michelle Obama speaks to children from Elizabeth Garrett Anderson school in London as they visit Christ Church College in Oxford, England, Wednesday, May 25, 2011.

  35. U.S. first lady Michelle Obama speaks to children from Elizabeth Garrett Anderson school in London as they visit Christ Church College in Oxford, England, Wednesday, May 25, 2011.

  36. rikyrah says:

    May 25, 2011
    The coming venom
    So, the good people of NY’s 26th have spoken. And by all accounts it seems they spoke for nation’s larger body politic: You pols can monkey with taxes in unintelligible ways or further heat the atmosphere or conduct mindless wars on credit or even cut spending when we most need it, but don’t — we repeat, do not — mess with Medicare.

    The people’s message was unmistakable. From an intensely conservative district came a rebuke of the conservative candidate, yet a profound confirmation of conservatism: They rejected the radical change of the contemporary GOP’s reactionaryism and they instead embraced the traditional and familiar.

    Yesterday’s election results will be as grossly misread by some progressives as by some disbelieving Republicans. In their own minds, the voters of NY’s 26th didn’t choose socialism over right-wing overreach — although, more than just technically, in reality they did; they voted for the status quo. And that’s the electoral reality that cannot be overemphasized. (Whether they’ll be just as willing to vote for higher taxes to support the socialism they did/did not support yesterday is an altogether different question, but their vast acceptance and embrace of the entitlement status quo was also vastly undisguised.)

    Such is yesterday’s conspicuous lesson, which few on the right would sincerely dispute and even fewer would deliberately misinterpret, since misinterpretation could only produce more political humiliation and self-destructive losses. Right?

    Perhaps. That is not, however, the advice which instantly shot from the GOP’s Department of Strategic Redesign. From Politico, I quote one of the party’s designers:

    From day one, our members need to be attacking their challenger for supporting the president’s Medicare-cutting health care bill and his plan to ration benefits for future seniors. Paul Ryan was wrong; leaders don’t change polls – scaring seniors changes polls, and we had better be prepared to do it as shamelessly as they did in this special if we want to retain the majority.

    So rather than Socratic exchange or rational debate or the pleasantness of a coming synthesis, we are more likely than not about to experience from the GOP the most venomous election in history.

  37. creolechild says:

    LOL! Oh really, Mitt? Stop your lying…

    “The Obama administration’s decision to rescue General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler in 2008 spurred hyperbolic criticism from Republicans who viewed the financial aid as “the road to socialism” and “a war on capitalism.” However, as the Wonk Room’s Pat Garofalo reported, the companies are regaining strength and proving profitable once again. Indeed, not only is General Motors set to add 2,500 jobs at its Detroit plant, but Chrysler recently paid back $7.5 billion in government loans. In view of the auto recovery’s success, “the GOP hasn’t been advertising its previous denunciations.”

    “In fact, one outspoken critic is now actually trying to take credit for the auto rescue: GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Slamming Obama’s decision as “tragic” and “a very sad circumstance for this country” in 2009, Romney’s camp is now actually claiming that “Mitt Romney had the idea first“:

    A Romney spokesman said on Tuesday that the president’s plan was modeled after one Mr. Romney advocated in 2008. “Mitt Romney had the idea first,” said Eric Fehrnstrom, a Romney spokesman, citing the Times opinion article. “You have to acknowledge that. He was advocating for a course of action that eventually the Obama administration adopted.”

    “But Mr. Fehrnstrom also accused Mr. Obama of wasting billions of dollars “propping up” the auto companies as part of the government’s restructuring plans for the industry.”

    “Mitt Romney argued that instead of a bailout, we should let the car companies go through a restructuring under the bankruptcy laws,” Mr. Fehrnstrom said.

    • Ametia says:

      The lengths the GOP won’t go through to do ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY nothing, and then try to lay claim to the GOOD DEEDS & SUCCESSES of others, especially President Obama and the Democratic Party.

  38. Ametia says:

    Next Generation Fuel Economy Labels Arm Consumers with Information They Can Use
    Posted by Secretary Ray LaHood on May 25, 2011 at 09:48 AM EDT

    Ed. Note: Cross posted from the Department of Transportation’s Fast Lane blog. Secretary LaHood and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson will hold a press conference today at 10:30 a.m. EDT on this to discuss the new fuel economy labels. You can watch the press conference live here.

    This Administration has taken unprecedented steps to protect consumers at the gas pump. In March, the President announced a plan to reduce our oil imports by a third by 2025–leveraging domestic resources while reducing the oil we consume. Since the beginning, this Administration has been making investments and taking smart steps that are already helping us move towards this important goal. You can see it in our investment in alternative fuels and our support of electric vehicles–creating jobs while decreasing costs for consumers.

    Most importantly, you can see it in the historic, national fuel economy standards for passenger cars and trucks achieved last year under President Obama’s leadership.

    • creolechild says:

      “San Francisco’s Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment (CRPE) announced today that it received the judge’s writ in its lawsuit against the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The writ gives the green light to most of the policies advanced under AB32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, but puts a permanent hold on cap and trade.”


      “CRPE’s Brent Newell, the lead council on the case, called this “the best possible outcome we could have hoped for. The judge essentially gave us the writ exactly as we submitted it. The ruling, Newell said, “allows the good parts of AB32 to go forward.”

      “Beyond its now defunct cap-and-trade provision, AB32 contains 68 other regulations, from motor vehicle fuel standards to renewable energy mandates, aimed at reducing California’s greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020.”

  39. Ametia says:

    May 24, 2011
    Don’t Be a StrangerBy MAUREEN DOWD

    It’s the next morning.

    Swaddled in the afterglow, the Irish are trying to figure out: Was it true love or merely a one-day stand?

    Not even a whole night, after all, since Barry O’Bama ran off after the ecstatic lovefest, muttering some incredible excuse about a volcanic ash cloud from Iceland.

    The tall, dark stranger who bewitched an island didn’t say when he’d be calling again to help out with Ireland’s $100 billion debt. The American president was back in the arms of the Special Relationship. He even proposed a deeper commitment with David Cameron, calling it the Essential Relationship. And on Thursday he’ll be whispering je t’aime to the French.

    But the ordinarily laconic lad had looked really happy while he was here, hadn’t he?

    As J.F.K. and Bill Clinton discovered before him, Irish love is all-encompassing, a mother’s milk for needy politicians.

    Taoiseach Enda Kenny was so enamored of the president that he offered an odd homage, a near-carbon copy of the opening of Obama’s victory acceptance speech in Grant Park in Chicago in 2008, changing the word “America” to “Ireland” and “founders” to “ancestors”: “If there’s anyone out there who still doubts that Ireland is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our ancestors is alive . . . today is your answer.”

    The Irish thought they had their dream man when Obama drained a pint of the black stuff in Moneygall. For Barry, who drinks little and watches his calories a lot, that was the equivalent of a keg stand.

    (One survey estimated that his suds-mustache picture taken at Ollie Hayes’s pub in Money-all, as his cashing-in hometown is now known, is worth about $200 million to Guinness.)

    The next night, lonely and back to passing time with cooking shows and reruns of “Friends,” the Irish watched jealously as Barack enjoyed a more upscale repast with the Queen, washing down sole and watercress with Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Vintage Rich 2002.

    They couldn’t help but be secretly gleeful that their events went off without a hitch, whereas the band at the British state dinner missed its cue and ended up playing “God Save the Queen” while the confused president was still toasting and the queen was staring stonily ahead.

    In Ireland, all had been ebullient. Barry O’ kissed and hugged with abandon, totally out of character for him. He waved a hurling stick and playfully threatened to bring it back to paddle Congressional foes. He cuddled babies, kissed grannies and chatted up a mom who was home making spaghetti when her daughter thrust a cellphone at the president.

    He basked in the glow of adoring distant relatives in Moneygall, like “long-lost” eighth cousin Henry Healy whom the president dubbed Henry the Eighth, and a crowd of 25,000 Dubliners, many young and all thrilled, in College Green.

    The Irish warmed to their new native son’s flattery — “this little country that inspires the biggest things” — even though some privately doubted his sweet nothing that “your best days are still ahead.” Funnily enough, Obama had to take a foreign trip to seem less foreign to Americans. Even though he did a best-selling memoir about his roots, he has had a persistent and puzzling problem coming across as rooted.

    A surprising number of Americans still find the president exotic and existentially detached, falsely believing he’s either a Muslim or foreign born. Just before his trip, he gave in to the demands of Donald Trump and other birthers to release his long-form birth certificate.

    But with American reporters swarming Moneygall to examine and show off the long-form birth records of Obama’s ancestor Fulmouth Kearney, a shoemaker who immigrated to Ohio in 1850, the president suddenly seems more rooted in an ethnic working-class persona that even his critics can recognize.

    On the streets and at the pub in Moneygall (still smelling of fresh paint) and again at his big speech in Dublin when he offered the Gaelic version of “Yes We Can” — “Is Feidir Linn” — Obama was transformed. He dropped his diffident debutante act. He liberally offered all the Irish charm, wit and warmth that he had lacked in working-class bars and neighborhoods when he lost primaries to Hillary in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana in 2008.

    In Buckingham Palace in London, Obama would get to see a copy of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” given to Queen Victoria in 1852. And in Dublin, the president talked about the challenges of being a brash young African-American politician trying to get ahead in a hidebound white Irish-controlled city.

    He lobbied for a spot in the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade but ended up at the tail end. “I’ll bet those parade organizers are watching TV today and feeling kind of bad,” he said in Dublin.

    With Gael force gusts that gave new meaning to the Irish toast, “May the wind be always at your back,” the cherished Son of Eire looked beyond what the eye could see at the throng of adoring Irish, his new instant family, and he drank in that mother’s milk. President Obama, happy at last.

    • Ametia says:

      This bitch soooo wants PBO. Sorry dear Maureen; First Lady Michelle’s got him. Get yer own “tall dark stranger.”

      • creolechild says:

        So, she’s still hating on the President. It never gets old for them. Can’t stand the idea that he knows what he’s doing in spite of their constant criticism, name calling, and anything else they can think of to negatively label him.

        Wasn’t this the same person who was a prominent cheerleader for the U.S. going to war? She should STFU!

    • Swaddled in the afterglow, the Irish are trying to figure out: Was it true love or merely a one-day stand?

      Well, we know where your thoughts are, Maureen! It’s so obvious you have the hots for the President. Keep your sexual fantasies to yourself!

    • creolechild says:

      When you have nothing to talk about, you make shit up or you lie. Case in point:

      “In Ireland, all had been ebullient. Barry O’ kissed and hugged with abandon, totally out of character for him. He waved a hurling stick and playfully threatened to bring it back to paddle Congressional foes. He cuddled babies, kissed grannies and chatted up a mom who was home making spaghetti when her daughter thrust a cellphone at the president.”

      If you want to see a daily site which shows the President doing exactly what Dowd claims he doesn’t (because the media NEVER covers it) go to BWD’s OR chipstick’s, just to name a few. The information is out there, if you take the time to look. But haters have to hate…what else do they have?

    • rikyrah says:

      she is one bitter bitch

      PBO don’t want yo’ ass

    • creolechild says:

      Here are two comments from Dowd’s article that I like:

      Phyllis Kritek
      Half Moon Bay, CA
      May 25th, 2011
      10:25 am

      “I have concluded, Ms Dowd, that your chronic cynicism limits your capacity to report events with a wide angle lens. You prejudge every event in the light of your preconceptions.”

      “As a suggestion, perhaps the president knew he was somewhere other than in the U.S. where a rather large political force, well-funded and focused, has been systematically discrediting his every action and opposing his every initiative. The efforts of this political force have been aided and abetted by an easily manipulated media willing to highlight every slight flaw of the president and reluctant to affirm his successes; the most recent version of this was the air time given to a coterie of folks insisting that President Bush actually was the one who killed bin Laden. One can only hope that the cynicism that underlies this approach to reality might lift just enough for some in the media to notice what they are doing. It is clear that affirming this president evokes a frenzied response, as if we all have a shared commitment to only commenting on what is “wrong” with him.”

      “If one follows the media from other countries, in Europe and elsewhere, one discovers a more nuanced, even-handed, and intelligent appraisal of this President. Your observations reveal a certain disdain, even ridicule of people who are enthused about our President, a stance that has shaped virtually all the media coverage of this president in his home country. Why is that the media’s stance?”

      “As a concerned citizen, I take pride in the leadership and achievements of this president. I feel some shame at the U.S. media’s coverage of his presidency to date. It says more about those reporting than it does about the president.”
      Carolyn Egeli
      Valley Lee, Md.
      May 25th, 2011
      10:38 am

      “Perhaps the racism in Europe for blacks is not as bad as it is in America. Barack Obama was pretty much forced into the identity of being only black, because American society demands it. What else was he to do? And in American, that is definitely a strike against one’s success. What a remarkable man, that he has over come this. In Ireland, he could embrace all of his legacy. Yeah for the Irish for recognizing their child and embracing him! They have set a good example for the racists in the U.S. For a politician who has felt he had to be so exact in building his cases, and his message so controlled, with the racist noise machine of the far right nipping at his heels, it must have been a release to just have a beer and hang out among all of these people who clearly love him. He is not made of stone. He obviously is responding.”
      Boca Raton, FL
      May 25th, 2011
      12:27 pm

      “The comments here sicken me. I just finished watching OUR President make an amazing speech at Parliament and they ALL LOVED him!
      What the hell is wrong with my country? Why can’t people in this country recognize what people all across the world do – that we have in Barack Obama a once in a lifetime fabulous leader! One, quite frankly, that we don’t deserve and certainly don’t appreciate. This magnificent man could have opted for an easy life, one that would not have posed daily danger for him and his family – a life where he could walk down the street, go to an ice cream parlor or a movie theater anytime he wanted to. For the rest of their lives they will have to have protection as there will always be people who will want to do them harm. They will never again in their lives be able to do anything spontaneously – just think about that! And don’t anyone tell me that no one asked him to do this – I know that. We are so damn lucky that he chose to make this sacrifice for America.”

  40. Ametia says:

    CNBC Anchor Mark Haines dead at 65

    Veteran journalist Mark Haines, a fixture on CNBC for 22 years, died unexpectedly Tuesday evening. He was 65 years old.

    Haines, founding anchor of CNBC’s morning show “Squawk Box,” was co-anchor of the network’s “Squawk on the Street” program, providing insight and commentary sometimes humorous and occasionally acerbic.

    CNBC President Mark Hoffman called Haines a “building block” of the financial networks’ programming. Hoffman said Haines died at his home.

    “With his searing wit, profound insight and piercing interview style, he was a constant and trusted presence in business news for more than 20 years,” Hoffman said in a statement to CNBC employees. “From the dotcom bubble to the tragic events of 9/11 to the depths of the financial crisis, Mark was always the unflappable pro.

    “Mark loved CNBC and we loved him back. He will be deeply missed.”

    Haines may be best remembered for his calming and commanding presence during the 9/11 tragedy when he reacted unflappably to the furious stream of incoming rumor and even more astonishing truth with a professionalism that rivaled any television anchor, said CNBC senior economics reporter Steve Liesman.

  41. creolechild says:

    Here’s something to think about regarding the Internet…

    “Whatever the benefits, the intent of these services isn’t just to benevolently help us find the things we’re looking for. They’re also designed to help companies find unwitting customers. When you open your web browser to shop for a product—or really for any other reason—you yourself are a product whose personal information is literally being sold. Companies that you know, like Google and Facebook, and companies you’ve probably never heard of (e.g. Acxiom) are using increasingly sophisticated programs to map your personality.”

    “And it’s not just creepiness and individual privacy that’s at issue here. Personalization is also adding to a civic crisis. It’s one thing for code to help us find music, movies and other consumer products we like. But what about when code also feeds us our preferred news and political opinions, shielding us from alternative viewpoints?”

    “Personalization now means that you and your Republican uncle will see dramatically different results when you run the same exact Google news search. You’re both likely to see results that come from news sources that you prefer — sources that tend to reinforce your existing opinions. Maybe your search will pull articles from NPR and Huffington Post, while his will spotlight stories from FOX News. Both of you will have your biases and worldviews fed back to you — typically without even being aware that your news feed has been personalized. Web personalization is invisibly creating individual-tailored information universes. Each of us is increasingly surrounded by information that affirms—rather than challenges—our existing opinions, biases, worldviews, and identities.”


    “My friends and I may be satisfying our identity needs when we talk politics at the bar—or when we share political posts on each other’s Facebook walls—but what are we accomplishing? What can we accomplish? What do we, as a small, self-selecting, self-segregating group of folks have the capacity to accomplish — if we’re not connecting with others?”


    “In a society that is self-selecting into ever more specific micro-aggregations, it makes sense that “activism” itself could become one such little niche. But when it comes to challenging entrenched power, we need more than little niches. We need huge swaths of society bought in.”


    “Reaching a broader audience is an indispensible task of social change agents. If we are to leverage the kind of collective power it takes to make the kind of change worth talking about, we need to construct broad alignments of heterogeneous social forces.
    This filter bubble impacts everyone. And it poses big challenges for grassroots activists and organizers in particular.

    • creolechild says:

      “The new documentary Forks Over Knives is, in an eat-your-spinach kinda way, a feel-good movie. Roger Ebert’s declared it “a film that could save your life.” Once you get past the inevitable indictments of our disease-inducing diet, and the stock footage of obese people waddling down the street, you’ll find yourself ultimately uplifted by the vitality the film’s formerly sick and unfit subjects exude as they embrace a plant-based diet.”


      “Unless, of course, your heart’s been hardened by all those artery-clogging animal fats the film implores you to rethink. The premise of Forks Over Knives–that we could save millions of lives and billions of dollars simply by switching to a diet of fruits, whole grains and vegetables–offers a compelling solution to both our financial and physical woes.”


      “The film’s vegan agenda may inflame the meat and dairy industries, but when it comes to inflammation, Forks Over Knives has got nothing on meat and dairy. The film makes effective use of graphics, animations and case studies to illustrate how animal proteins adversely effect our health in multiple ways, from inducing inflammation that appears to spur tumor growth, to blocking our blood flow. And not just the blood flow to our hearts, but to the rest of our bodies as well–which doesn’t bode well for you, whether you think with your brain or other appendages located further south.”

  42. creolechild says:

    What happened to all the rhetoric about being “outsiders who would clean up Washington?” Apparently, it didn’t take too long for them to be tempted by $$$$$ being waved at them….

    “Tea Party-backed candidates swept into office on the wave of anger over the government’s bailout of Wall Street are now bringing in the big bucks from the financial sector at the same time they’re lining up to rewrite financial regulations.”

    Nicole Duran of The Deal reports (sub. req.):

    “That so many Tea Party-backed lawmakers are now pushing pro-Wall Street legislation draws into question their commitment to the populist ethos that has characterized the movement.”

    “The freshmen members of the House Financial Services Committee tapped by Republican leaders to sponsor a host of bills seeking to undo or dilute provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act all received significant industry contributions during their campaigns. After winning and getting their committee assignments, nearly all with significant Tea Party support, they raked in even more, according to campaign finance reports.”

    “The 10 Republican freshmen on the House Financial Services Committee have taken in nearly $600,000 from the financial industry since Election Day, according to the Sunlight Foundation. A spot on the committee gives them “easy access to one of the most generous sectors as it seeks to influence public policy,” Duran reports. Almost all of the 10 GOP freshmen on the committee are from swing districts where they barely won their races in November.”

    “Democrats, for their part, appointed 11 of their most vulnerable members to the committee.”

  43. Ametia says:

    Report: John Edwards set to be indicted

    The Justice Department is set to indict former presidential candidate John Edwards on charges that he violated campaign finance laws trying to cover up an extramarital affair during the last presidential campaign, according to multiple reports.

    A source close to the investigation told ABC News that Edwards is aware of the Justice Department’s plans and could try to arrange a plea deal to avoid a trial.

    The former North Carolina senator had an affair with Rielle Hunter that began after she was hired to produce promotional videos for his campaign. The two had a daughter together.

    The investigation focuses on two wealthy donors, Rachel “Bunny” Mellon and Fred Baron, who the government alleges donated more than $1 million in funds to aid the cover-up of the affair. The government will argue that amounted to illegal campaign contributions.

    According to WRAL, questions exist regarding millions of dollars’ worth of donations from Mellon toward a nonprofit called The Alliance for a New America, which supported Edwards’ campaign. Some of those funds apparently went toward fees to a consultancy agency that no longer exists.

    Before his death from cancer in 2008, Baron admitted to providing support to Hunter and Andrew Young, a former Edwards aide who initially claimed paternity of Hunter’s child, but denied that Edwards knew of the arrangement. But while Young told WRAL in a 2010 interview that Mellon was unaware of how her contributions were being used, he alleges that Edwards was involved in the attempted cover-up.

    Edwards’ estranged wife, Elizabeth, died from breast cancer last year.

    Read more:

  44. creolechild says:

    What do you think about this, ladies?

    “Female Democratic senators are returning to a tactic that served them well when Republicans threatened a government shutdown over federal funding of abortion. They’re making the case that the House GOP budget, and the male Republican legislators who are advocating its policies in debt limit talks with Democrats, are using the deficit as an excuse to pursue an anti-woman agenda.”

    “[T]hey have put one thing above anything else: cutting health care for women,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). “Last month they almost shut down the entire federal government in an attempt to cut off funding for health care programs for women and girls.


    “If we end the health care bill, women will pay 30 percent more for insurance than men do,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), the longest-serving female senator, noting that the GOP budget repeals the health care law, which ends gender discrimination by insurance companies.”

    Murray elaborated on this. “Under the Republican budget, insurance companies can go right back to denying care to women because of so-called pre-existing conditions — you know, conditions like being pregnant or being a victim of domestic violence,” she said. “Under the Republican budget, insurance companies can go right back to charging women higher premiums than men, which is especially problematic because the Republican budget would end Medicare as we know it and throw every single American woman into the private market at the mercy of insurance companies.”

    “The majority of people on Medicare are women,” noted Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). And you can tell a similar story about Medicaid beneficiaries, who also stand to lose benefits under the GOP plan. “Two-thirds of [Medicaid dollars] go to seniors in nursing homes, and 77 percent of the people in nursing homes are women.”

    “Ultimately they argued that though all seniors will see their costs rise under the GOP plan, women will end up paying more.”
    “The median income of a senior woman is $14,430 a year,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA). “The health care costs under the Republican budget for that woman would be $12,500. She wouldn’t even have $2,000 for the rest of the needs of her life. … This is really a sick proposal.”

  45. creolechild says:

    “For the first time since he left office, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said that he felt some disappointment in himself for failing to stop the politicized hiring process taking place in the Justice Department’s honors program.”

    “Obviously everyone is smarter in hindsight. In hindsight you wish you would do some things differently and … I feel disappointment in myself,” Gonzales said, according to a transcript of a recent deposition, as first reported by Tony Mauro of the National Law Journal. “I, the attorney general, am ultimately responsible,” Gonzales says.

    “Internal Justice Department reports on the honors program and the summer intern program found that officials at DOJ were biased in their selections. In 2002 for example, 100 “liberals” were nominated by various DOJ offices, but 80 percent of them were “deselected” by the screening committee.”

    • Ametia says:

      Oh really, Alberto? You feel disappointed in yourself? Screw you, dude. How about apologizing to the interns you screwed over by discriminating against them because of their party afiliations. BYE BOY!

    • Alberto Gonzales said that he felt some disappointment in himself for failing to stop the politicized hiring process taking place in the Justice Department’s honors program.


  46. creolechild says:

    Ummm…Newt, about that overdue bill.

    “Tiffany & Co. was actively lobbying the House committee Newt Gingrich’s wife Callista was working for at the time the couple had a $250,000 to $500,000 interest-free revolving charge account with the famed jeweler, SpyTalk blogger Jeff Stein reports.”

    “Newt Gingrich has previously touted his Tiffany’s bill as evidence of his fiscal responsibility because he paid it off in full. Newt Gingrich also claimed the revolving charge account with Tiffany & Co. came interest-free, but the high-end jewelery company doesn’t appear to offer such a deal to your average Joe, the Washington Post reports.”

    “The “diamond and silverware firm was spending big bucks to influence mining policy in Congress and in agencies over which the House Agriculture Committee — where she worked — had jurisdiction,” according to Stein.”

    “Filings by Tiffany’s lobbyist, Cassidy & Co., and other government records show that the firm’s spending on “mining law and mine permitting-related issues” in Congress, as well as the Forest Service, the Interior Department, and Interior’s Bureau of Land Management shot up sharply between during the period when Callista Gingrich was chief clerk at the House Agriculture Committee.”

  47. rikyrah says:

    EEOC Files Nationwide Hiring Discrimination Lawsuit Against Kaplan Higher Education Corp.
    Company’s Use of Job Applicants’ Credit History Discriminates Because of Race, Federal Agency Charges

    CLEVELAND – Kaplan Higher Education Corporation, a nationwide provider of postsecondary education, engaged in a pattern or practice of unlawful discrimination by refusing to hire a class of black job applicants nationwide, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.

    Since at least 2008, Kaplan Higher Education has rejected job applicants based on their credit history. This practice has an unlawful discriminatory impact because of race and is neither job-related nor justified by business necessity, the EEOC charged in its lawsuit.

    As a result of these practices, the company has violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to the lawsuit (Civil Action No. 1:10-cv-02882) filed by the EEOC’s Cleveland Field Office in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. It is a violation of Title VII to use hiring practices that have a discriminatory impact because of race and that are not job-related and justified by business necessity.

    The EEOC attempted to reach a voluntary settlement before filing suit. The EEOC seeks injunctive relief in its lawsuit, as well as lost wages and benefits and offers of employment for people who were not hired because of Kaplan Higher Education’s use of job applicants’ credit history.

    “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was intended to eliminate practices that serve as arbitrary barriers to employment because of a job applicant’s race,” said Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence of the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office, which oversees Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Maryland, and portions of New Jersey and Ohio. “Employers need to be mindful that any hiring practice be job-related and not screen out groups of people, even if it does so unintentionally.”

    Workplace discrimination charge filings with the federal agency nationwide rose to an unprecedented level of 99,922 during fiscal year 2010.

  48. rikyrah says:

    Jobless Discrimination? When Firms Won’t Even Consider Hiring Anyone Unemployed

    When Sony Ericsson needed new workers after it relocated its U.S. headquarters to Atlanta last year, its recruiters told one particular group of applicants not to bother. “No unemployed candidates will be considered at all,” one online job listing said.

    The cell-phone giant later said the listing, which produced a media uproar, had been a mistake. But other companies continue to refuse to even consider the unemployed for jobs — a harsh catch-22 at a time when long-term joblessness is at its highest level in decades.

    Read more:,8599,2073520,00.html#ixzz1NN3AzRC2

  49. rikyrah says:

    The Sad Irony of Radical Elitists Like Chris Hedges

    The radical Right hates Obama because they think he’s a communist. The radical Left hates Obama because they know he isn’t.

    I heard someone say on TV this once, and I have paraphrased it with some modifications.

    Chris Hedges is the Truthdig author who published Cornel West’s racist, antisemitic screed last week. After the liberal and progressive voices were out there took Prof. West to task and summarily condemned the nasty racism and bigotry that Prof. West displayed, Hedges was apparently unhappy that his attempt to hide behind Cornel West’s race baiting to cover his own had been a flop. So in his Truthdig column yesterday, he doubled down, calling West a “prophet” and delving in a self-congratulating pathetic diatribe of bitter, angry and false complaints against the Democratic party and what he calls the “liberal class.”

    Hedge’s argument, in a nutshell, is that you can’t be considered to be on the Left unless all you do is oppose “the state.” He manages to trash every cornerstone of a free and democratic society, along with any organized group that has ever made progress in the long history of this country.

    The pillars of the liberal establishment—the press, the church, culture, the university, labor and the Democratic Party—all honor an unwritten quid pro quo with corporations and the power elite, as well as our masters of war, on whom they depend for money, access and positions of influence

    Oh, irony. Chris Hedges spent all his career in the middle of what he calls the “liberal establishment” – 15 years of it working for the New York Times as a foreign correspondent. His last column, that got taken out for a severe haircut, was about the reaction of a professor from an Ivy League university. And for him to headline an article about how someone is a “prophet” and then in the body of the article lament some perceived connection to “the church” would be rather funny if it weren’t so WTF-inspiring. For someone who blames liberals for war as a foreign policy, Hedges sure doesn’t seem to have any qualms about selling himself (and his books) as the connection of the press to “masters of war”, you know, being a foreign correspondent in the middle east in his own bio! Hedges last article was two super elites talking to themselves trying to tell everybody else how to think. Do the deafening elitism and irony just not register, or is it intentional?

    Hedges can either argue that even as part of this “liberal establishment” press he was able to work without selling his soul, which eviscerates the argument he just made above, or he can argue that the entire “liberal” press is in an unwritten quid pro quo with the corporate power elite and the masters of war, which means he’s admitting to himself being a sellout. But he can’t argue both simultaneously.

    Hedges is now doing two monumentally dumb (and dumbfounding things): (a) irony of ironies, lamenting how horrible this press is (you want to talk about establishment press, you will hardly find a better example than the New York Time) that he worked for and made money in all his life, and (b) spreading the stupendous myth of a liberal bias in our media, educational institutions and – oh, no – culture! Why doesn’t he just say teh gays are trying to recruit your children in our public schools by making them read the Washington Post? With “friends” like Hedges spreading right wing propaganda so freely, who needs the Tea Party?

    I really don’t know if Hedges thinks he’s making a persuasive argument here or simply lashing out like a wounded animal, but he comes out as a classical anarchist who, just like the Tea Party whackjobs, believes in the Reaganesque idea that the government is useless in solving problems, but it is rather the problem itself. The only difference is that Hedges replaces “problem” with “enemy” and “government” with “the state.” Compare for yourself:

  50. creolechild says:


    “Top Democrats have joined a number of Republicans in challenging President Obama’s policy toward Israel, further exposing rifts that the White House and its allies will seek to mend before next year’s election.”

    “The differences, on display as senior lawmakers addressed a pro-Israel group late Monday and Tuesday, stem from Obama’s calls in recent days for any peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians to be based on boundaries that existed before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, combined with “mutually agreed swaps” of territory.”

    “Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.), House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (Md.) and other Democrats appeared to reject the president’s reference to the 1967 lines in his latest attempt to nudge along peace talks, thinking that he was giving away too much, too soon.”

    “White House officials say Obama’s assertion did not reflect a shift in U.S. policy. But the president’s comments touched a nerve among pro-Israel activists, drew a rare Oval Office rebuke from Is­raeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and instantly became a litmus test in domestic American politics.”

    “Now Obama — whom critics often accuse of employing a play-it-safe governing style in which he waits for others to take the lead — is largely isolated politically in raising the issue of boundaries.”

    • creolechild says:

      Interesting attitudes about some individuals perspective on “liberty, and justice for all.” I guess that doesn’t include Palestinians…

      “Today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke before the U.S. Congress. Despite once again rebuking the long-standing U.S. policy that Israel should withdraw to the 1967 borders with mutally agreed land swaps, Netanyahu was repeatedly applauded by Members of Congress (even moreso than Obama).”

      “One reason the Israeli government has been able to secure such steady support for its policies, even when they conflict with U.S. policies, is due to the efforts of American Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC). AIPAC’s lobbying network is considered one of the nation’s finest, and every year it holds an annual convention in Washington, D.C. that is heavily attended by members of Congress, usually drawing at least half of the members of the Senate, for example.”

      “Over the past few days, ThinkProgress attended the AIPAC conference here in Washington, D.C. We interviewed a number of attendees and asked them what they thought about Netanyahu so publicly rebuking the United States and what they think about progressive Jewish advocates who are more critical of the Israeli government.”

      “Attendees told us that they think it’s best for all Jews to simply back Netanyahu no matter what his policies do to Palestinians or to the state of Israel, that if Israel gave up land it would face genocide like the Native Americans, and some even compared progressive, anti-occupation, pro-Israel Jewish activists to traitors….”

      • creolechild says:

        Wow! The level of cognitive dissonance is amazing…

      • creolechild says:

        “Right wingers in the U.S. and Israel, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, freaked out last week when President Obama said in his Middle East speech that Israel’s 1967 borders, with land swaps, should be the basis for a two-state peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians. It has been well documented that the President was simply putting words to long-standing U.S. policy. Yet Obama’s opponents have tried very hard to paint the President as anti-Israel because of it.”

        “Eliot Spitzer confronted former AIPAC official Steven Rosen with this fact last night on CNN. Yet Rosen was unwilling to accept that the 1967 borders with land swaps has been U.S. policy for years and repeatedly changed the subject or said “it was new” when Spitzer pressed:

        SPITZER: Did the prime minister ignore much of what the president said, President Obama said that was good for Israel? And was he getting upset with the phrasing that actually articulated what U.S. policy has been for a number of years? Quickly give me your view on that.

        ROSEN: Netanyahu thank the president for many of the positive elements in the speech. So I don’t think really there’s any question about that. But the president anticipated Israeli unhappiness. In fact, his advisers were divided. You had the secretary of state on one side and you had the national security adviser, Tom Donilon, on the other side exactly because –

        SPITZER: OK. But that’s not responsive to the question. The question was not whether anybody was upset. […] So Steven, tell me, isn’t that, hasn’t that been the essence regardless of who said it, hasn’t that been the core of the policy for years?

        ROSEN: I think you’re leaving aside that it was the Palestinians who wanted the president to say this and the Israelis who in advance asked him not to.

        “Let me try this once again,” an exasperated Spitzer said. But all Rosen could muster was that it “was a new policy.”

        “Once again, this is not “a new policy.” As Andrew Sullivan pointed out yesterday, Netanyahu himself, along with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, issued a joint statement last November with Clinton iterating the exact same policy Obama talked about last week.”

      • Bush called for pre-1967 Israeli borders

      • creolechild says:

        “Last weekend, Rep. Dan Webster (R-FL) appeared on “Good Life 45,” a televangelist program based near his central-Florida district. At one point during the discussion, which was centered around ways to reduce government spending, Webster recalled that many of his constituents had asked about cutting foreign aid. Webster explained that the government cannot “get rid of all foreign aid” because that would endanger money for Israel.”

        “Rather than making a policy-based argument to back up his firm belief in giving billions in foreign aid to Israel, Webster said the money is necessary to ensure “God’s hand” stays with America. “I love giving money to Israel,” Webster exclaimed. If we end the assistance to Israel, Webster continued, “we lose God’s hand and we’re in big trouble.”

    • creolechild says:

      “The White House is threatening to veto the annual must-pass House Defense Authorization bill over language limiting his ability to transfer detainees overseas or try them in civilian court, among other issues.”

      “In addition, the White House is taking strong exception to language dramatically expanding the president’s power to wage the war on terror indefinitely, among other provisions.”

      “Now that Osama bin Laden is dead, House Republicans, led by Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA), are attempting to update the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force — the legal underpinning of the war on terror — so it doesn’t phase out as the connection between existing terrorist groups and the September 11 attacks themselves becomes more and more tenuous over time.”


      The new language jettisons references to September 11, and instead focuses on the authorization on “armed conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban and associated forces,” though “associated forces” is not defined. It replaces the authority to target “organizations” and “persons” domestically with the power to target “all entities that continue to pose a threat to the United States and its citizens, both domestically and abroad.”

      “Progressive Democrats and anti-war activists argue that the looser language will allow the President to initiate military action even more broadly, and without the consent of Congress — effectively perpetuating the war indefinitely.”

      “The Obama administration rejected the language, saying it would “effectively recharacterize” the scope of the war on terrorism and “would risk creating confusion regarding applicable standards.”

    • Ametia says:

      Change is a son of a bitch, isn’t it? Harry Reid, Steny Hoyer and nem better get with the program.

      • creolechild says:

        I guess it’s not surprising that even some Democrats are reluctant to try something new when dealing with foreign nations and rely upon our ability to engage in endless war as the first option.

        I think the President will have a difficult time shifting this particular dynamic but it may not be that hard if the public gets behind him and signals that we, too, want these wars to end…and NO U.S. president should have unilateral power to declare war.

  51. rikyrah says:

    As Chrysler Pays Up, Democrats Call On Republicans To Say Sorry

    Could Republicans be in for a hard time next year now that the auto industry is struggling back to its feet? Democrats say yes.

    On a Tuesday morning conference call with reporters, former Democratic Govs. Jennifer Granholm (MI) and Ted Strickland (OH) said voters in their states are enjoying thousands of new jobs thanks to the auto industry bailout Republicans (these days, anyway) love to hate.

    And with Chrysler completing its repayment of $7.6 billion in federal loans six years early, Democrats say the Republicans running for president — all of whom slammed the bailout program, they say — have found themselves on the wrong side on what has turned out to be a successful jobs program.

    “Midwestern families would have been left out in the cold: no job, no income, no industry” if Republican bailout foes had their way, Granholm said. “And these voters are not going to forget it.”

    The Democrats on the call had a field day reminiscing about Mitt Romney’s 2008 New York Times op-ed, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” in which the frontrunner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination said American automakers would be on a “suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses” if a bailout plan went ahead.

    “Look where we are today,” Granholm said, pointing to what she said is an industry on the road to health.

    “When Michigan families and communities needed his support the most, Romney saw this debate as an oppurtune moment to earn some conservative cred,” she added.

    Strickland acknowledged that polls don’t yet show a boost for Obama in Ohio, which Strickland governed for four years. But he said that a bailout bump is coming in the important presidential election state.

    “I think the president’s going to do well in Ohio,” Strickland said. “Not only because of the saving of the auto industry, but the fact that our state’s economy is on the rebound.”

    “People are starting to understand that we are where we are today because of the decisions that were made by this president during the most trying of times,” Strickland added.

    Democrats clearly see a big fat win in the Chrysler news. Not only was Obama’s bailout of General Motors and Chrysler fairly unpopular at the time, the decision to spend billions keeping the massive and at time time failing corporations up and running gave Republicans plenty of populist rhetorical opportunities.

    • Ametia says:

      I doubt if Dems are calling on the Repubs to say sorry. What the Dems should be doing is showcasing the GM/Chrysler success story 24/7 straight through the 2012 elections. They don’t need the Repubs to give them a nod, because they’re NOT!

  52. creolechild says:

    Good news this morning!

    “Tonight, Democrat Kathy Hochul defeated Republican state Assemblywoman Jane Corwin in New York’s special election to replace former Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY). Despite the $2.36 million spent by groups like Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to keep the district red and the $60 per vote Corwin spent herself, Hochul secured a clear victory in a traditionally Republican district:”

    Kathy Hochul has won the special election in the 26th Congressional race, holding a six percent lead with 87% of precincts reporting.

    Republican Jane Corwin has conceded.

    “Viewed as a referendum on House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s plan to end Medicare, Hochul’s victory exemplifies the American public’s overwhelming disgust with the GOP push to force seniors to bear the burden of increasing health costs. Expecting a loss, several Republicans — including Corwin herself — tried to assert the election had nothing to do with Ryan’s Medicare plan. But DCCC chairman Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) outlined the three reasons that Corwin lost the election: “[I]n alphabetical order, Medicare, Medicare and Medicare.”

    • creolechild says:

      “Sen. Roy Blunt threw down a subtle challenge to his former deputy, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) Tuesday, suggesting the Virginia lawmaker should help identify other budget cuts if he wants to offset aid to tornado-ravaged Missouri. In the House, Blunt represented Joplin, which was devastated Sunday evening. Blunt commented from Joplin on Tuesday.”


      “Blunt avoided criticizing his old ally in a statement provided to POLITICO Tuesday afternoon. But he made clear that he believes Congress should act to help his state and that Cantor should help find the money if he’s insisting on offsetting budget cuts. “We need to prioritize spending, and this needs to be a priority,” Blunt said. “I’m sure Eric will help find the necessary off-sets.”

      “The House Appropriations Committee approved $1 billion to replenish disaster relief funds — not specific to Missouri — on Tuesday. The money is offset.”

    • creolechild says:

      “Ditching the popular spin on the right that third party challenger Jack Davis cost Republicans the NY-26 race, conservative Super PAC American Crossroads warned its supporters on Tuesday that the election is a “wake-up” call for the right.”

      “Republican Jane Corwin gave it her all in a very tough special election today,” spokesman Jonathan Collegio said in a statement. “The debate over whether Medicare mattered more than a third-party candidate who split the Republican vote is mostly a partisan Rorschach Test. What is clear is that this election is a wake-up call for anyone who thinks that 2012 will be just like 2010. It’s going to be a tougher environment, Democrats will be more competitive, and we need to play at the top of our game to win big next year.”

  53. Ametia says:

    President Barack Obama’s UK visit

    Live feed here:

    • creolechild says:

      “New YORK (CNNMoney) — Federal regulators charged five oil speculators Tuesday with manipulating the price of crude and making a $50 million profit from the scheme. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission alleges the speculators bought enormous amounts of actual crude oil for sale in Cushing, Okla, during the early months of 2008.”

      “This created a perceived shortage of oil in Cushing — a major point for oil delivery — and drove the price of oil futures contracts higher. The speculators then bet the price of oil would fall by selling so-called “short” contracts to other investors. When the speculators sold their actual oil holdings in Cushing en mass, the price of oil did fall, netting the group a hefty profit.”

  54. Ametia says:

    Tornadoes Hit Joplin Again
    by Terry Greene

    Tornadoes tore once again through the central U.S. on Tuesday night, killing nine people in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas. Five of the deaths took place near Oklahoma City, where a weather-monitoring station recorded 151 mile-per-hour winds. The storm also blew through Joplin, Missouri, where residents, still digging out from Sunday’s record twister that killed 124, had to take cover.

    The Daily Beast’s Terry Greene Sterling reports from Joplin on the search for survivors days after the rare EF-5 tornado ravaged the city. Plus, the 20 most tornado-prone states below and shocking photos and tweets from Joplin.

    On Sunday night, when one of the most ferocious tornados in American history descended on Joplin, MO. Randy Turner wrapped himself in an old blanket. He pulled a pillow over his head. He lay on the bedroom floor in his Joplin apartment and prayed.

    But the murderous twister stayed clear of Turner’s neighborhood. Instead, the storm, with its 200-mile-per-hour winds, killed at least 124 people, injured 750, and turned stretches of Joplin into a wasteland reminiscent of a Cormac MacCarthy novel.

    • creolechild says:

      No words for this, at least none that would be nice!

      “After the devastating tornado we saw hit Joplin Missouri this week with who knows how many more coming before the week is over, who does Fox’s Neil Cavuto think is the person to bring in to discuss President Obama’s response to the disaster? I kid you not, none other than Mr. Heck-of-a-Job Brownie, Michael Brown.”

      “And of course Brown was critical of President Obama spending the last couple of days over in Ireland and England instead of coming home for a photo-op like we saw Bush give after Hurricane Katrina.”

      “I hate to break it to them, but I think the last thing any of those people are worried about is whether the President swooped right in there to shake some hands and have his picture taken. What they care about is whether there’s a prompt response and how quickly the disaster relief is getting to them.”

      “I would imagine they’d also be a lot more concerned about the remarks from Eric Cantor who decided to do some more hostage taking with their disaster relief, but of course that subject didn’t come up during the course of their conversation.”

      • Ametia says:

        The media hacks never miss an opportunity to decry PBO’s trip, especially when Michelle or the girls accompany him. The fact is, they can’t stand it, that the BLACK family is jetsetting, as they call it across the globe on tax payers dole.

        Utter nonsense, of course every presidents travel abroad to conduct foreign business, but somehow, the Obamas are labeled jetsetters or PBO’s hiding out to avoid domestic issues and crisis. Just total ridiculousness!

      • creolechild says:

        Hmmm…this article was posted in June 2010.

        “The tall tales about Barack Obama keep getting taller everyday on Fox News. Tonight on The O’Reilly Factor guest Monica Crowley who claimed that, “Obama is taking a vacation every five minutes…Bush took two vacations a year in August and at Christmastime that was it.”


        “Monica Crowley claimed that, “He actually shoehorning the job of the presidency into his busy schedule of going on vacation, listening to the comic stylings of George Lopez, swaying to Paul McCartney, playing golf, shooting hoops, taking smokes. What else is this guy doing? Is he ever working?”

        “O’Reilly pointed out that people said the same the thing about Bush, and asked what the difference is between Bush and Obama, and Crowley told a boldfaced lie, “Obama is taking a vacation every five minutes. He’s blowing off steam almost every day….he is got partying going on. He’s at the Nationals game. Bush took two vacations a year in August and at Christmastime that was it.”

        “Crowley is lying. Bush spent 1,020 days of his presidency on vacation. To put this into context, John F. Kennedy spent fewer days in office, 1000, than George W. Bush spent on vacation.

        “Bush spent 487 days at Camp David, 490 days at his Crawford ranch, and 43 days in Kennebunkport. George W. Bush spent 69 days in Crawford during his first year in office.
        “In contrast, according to, Obama spent all, or part of, 26 days of his first year in office on vacation. This was less than all three previous Republican presidents, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush, but more than the two previous Democratic presidents, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.”

        “In Fox News revisionist GOP history, George W. Bush was a hard worker who was always at his desk doing the work of the American people, while Obama is just another party animal Democrat, who doesn’t take his job seriously. Crowley’s applied a strange definition of vacation to Obama. Since when is shooting hoops, playing golf, or even having a smoke, a vacation? I do believe that Lopez and McCartney came to the White House. Obama did not go see them. No president has ever been as lazy as the man who spent 1/3 of his time in the White House on vacation, George W. Bush, and it is laughable that Crowley would even try to float such a ridiculous lie.”

      • creolechild says:

        Ooops… forgot the link.

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