Serendipity SOUL| Thursday Open Thread
















Wikipedia:   Stories was a rock and pop music band, based out of New York in the early 1970s. The band consisted of keyboardist Michael Brown, bassist/vocalist Ian Lloyd, guitarist Steve Love, and drummer Bryan Madey, and had a Number 1 hit with a cover of Hot Chocolate‘s “Brother Louie.”

Lloyd (b. Lloyd Buonconsiglio, 1947, Seattle) and Brown (b. Michael Lookofsky, April 25, 1949, Brooklyn) were introduced by their fathers, two old friends who had worked together for years as session violinists. Lloyd had been singing for years and had attracted local notice recording as Lloyd London. Brown had led, wrote and played with his group The Left Banke, which had made the U.S. charts with “Walk Away Renee” (#5, 1966) and “Pretty Ballerina” (#15, 1967).

The two set about becoming a Beatlesque band. They recruited New Yorkers Love and Madey and located an interested record label in Kama Sutra. A self-titled album and a single – “I’m Coming Home” (#42, 1972) – followed.

Afterward, the band started work on their second LP with producer Eddie Kramer, About Us (1973). After the album’s release, Brown left the band to pursue another project.

About Us did relatively well, but it did not initially include the group’s new single, “Brother Louie.” The song about a black girl and her white boyfriend had been a UK hit for Hot Chocolate earlier that year. Once issued as the Stories’ second single, it became a big hit, reaching No. 1 in the United States.[1] It spent two weeks at No. 1 and remained in the Billboard chart for 18 weeks, with a R.I.A.A. gold disc awarded on 22 August 1973.[1]

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93 Responses to Serendipity SOUL| Thursday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    Good on Rev. Al for speaking on the drug war and how black men who get arrested for crack are disproportionately locked up in the privitized prison systems, while predominately whites who do powder cocaine get slapped and are running the streets. *looking @ Bill Clinton for the 3 strike rule!

  2. Ametia says:

    Nothing but a sea of white faces in NH at that Mittens event. What a corny looking backdrop. Al said Romney has bankrupted a few companies too.

  3. News alert!

    Hey, 3 Chics!

    Rev Al will be hosting The Ed Show! Wow! Tune in, folks!

  4. Obama Rebuffs Democratic Plea To Be More Forceful

    WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats challenged President Barack Obama to more forcefully use his bully pulpit during their White House meeting Thursday, but Obama signaled he would not change course in upcoming battles with Republicans, people who attended the meeting told The Huffington Post.

    The challenge — on behalf of the many Democrats who have long complained that Obama is not making enough use of his White House megaphone — was principally delivered by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), according to the attendees. Waxman, lawmakers said, called for stronger action across the board, rather than on a particular issue.

    But Obama responded that he has to be more careful and more considered than that, and that he is executing an existing plan.

    The president has heard the complaint before. Democrats have accused Obama repeatedly of ceding too much ground to the GOP, especially on health care and the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. But attendees said the critique appeared to rub him the wrong way on Thursday.

    “He was a little testy with the Waxman question. Essentially, Mr. Waxman was urging him to fight more,” one legislator said. “The president reminded folks that he’s the president sitting in that chair and he knows how to negotiate.”

    Obama also told the assembled Democrats not to count on more fiery rhetoric from the Oval Office.

    “He said, ‘There’s a difference between me and a member of Congress,'” another lawmaker said, paraphrasing the president as saying: “When I say something the markets react, all of society reacts, other countries react. I’ve got to be careful with what I say. I can’t just say it for brinkmanship. I’ve got to say it in a way so that I get what I want said, but I don’t upset markets and so on.”

    “He said it like this,” the Democrat elaborated: “‘When Eric Cantor says something, Eric Cantor says something. When I say something, markets and countries and people react in a way where it could cause us more problems than we have now.'”

    • Ametia says:

      Could it be that Barack Hussen Obama is the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and actually knows how to handle the responsiblity that comes with being the leader of the FREE WORLD?

      Why is Waxman and nem holding town halls and hammering the facts to the their constituents about the benefits of medicare/medicaid and why the GOP’s plan isessentially a FINANCIAL AND PHYSICALdeath trap for seniors. Runteldat, Waxman. These Dems get on my last nerve with their sideline coaching. Get the fuck out there and speak to the people! Bottom line, DO YOUR FUCKING JOBS.

      • I concur! They’re acting like fking wimps! They want to hide behind the President. And they have the gall to ask the President to be more forceful. Mofo please! Do your job!

      • Ametia says:

        2016 lets me off the Dem train. I am first and foremost an OBAMACRAT. I’m taking names and watching these Dems who get up on their soapboxes and yell about what President Obama needs to do, yet won’t do shit to support POTUS.


      • rikyrah says:

        you have nailed it…they want to HIDE BEHIND POTUS.

        they really are pathetic.

        glad POTUS told them to go somewhere and sit down.

        • Ametia says:

          They’re cowards, these white boys. They’ve been playing the D.C game for decades and become lackadaisical. Now the Black man’s running circles around everybody in town, and they still tryna tell him high fucking high to jump. GTFOH

  5. rikyrah says:

    Sarah Palin’s Federal Employee-Assisted Vacation

    By Alyssa Rosenberg on Jun 2, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Distaste for government employees has been part of Sarah Palin’s brand since she stepped on to the national political stage in 2008. “She’s fought oil companies and party bosses and do-nothing bureaucrats, and anyone who puts their interests before the interests of the people she swore an oath to serve,” John McCain said when he introduced her as his running mate. In her speech at the Republican National Convention, she complained that Obama would “make government bigger…take more of your money…give you more orders from Washington.” Her “death panels” allegation about President Obama’s health care plan was based on the idea that “faceless bureaucrats” would deny her son Trig care on the grounds that he wasn’t productive. Last fall she blamed a “faceless bureaucrat” for taking environmental protection measures that impacted the San Joaquin Valley fishing industry. More recently, she has said that she’s looking for Republican candidates “who do not believe in big government and that bureaucrats can plan our economy and plan our futures for us”

    All of which makes it simultaneously hilarious and depressing that what’s keeping Palin’s summer vacation/whistle stop campaign tour going smoothly is, in part, federal employees — though maybe when they’re helping her out, they don’t count as “faceless?” The Washington Post noted that the National Park Service (NPS) has been prepared to set up event logistics for Palin even though the family’s staff hasn’t sent out advance itineraries. The National Archives opened early for the Palins. They’ve gotten private tours and gotten to skip lines at NPS facilities. It’s doesn’t seem like Palin’s asked for special treatment (though showing up on a several-hours notice actually seems more inconvenient than sending out a schedule and coordinating weeks in advance), but the Park Service does stuff like this because it’s a courtesy and helps preserve the experience for everyone else.

    The trip is doubly hypocritical given that she’s long been on the conservative bandwagon of targeting federal arts and humanities funding. When she turned down half of the stimulus funding allocated for Alaska in 2009, she cited potential growth in the National Endowment for the Arts as one reason for rejecting the money. In March, she told Sean Hannity that “NPR, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, all those kind of frivolous things that government shouldn’t be in the business of funding with tax dollars — those should all be on the chopping block as we talk about the $14-trillion debt that we’re going to hand to our kids and our grandkids.”

    And of course, historic preservation is part of the mission of both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Those agencies that Palin thinks are so wasteful are part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Save America’s Treasures Program. Among the things the program funded in 2011? Efforts to stabilize the foundation of Robert E. Lee’s Arlington House, the Civil War Battle Flag Collection in Arkansas, and physical plant repairs to the Washington National Cathedral. If Palin wants to argue that visiting America’s historic sites and learning about the country’s past is something everyone ought to be doing, something that might help Americans rediscover the country’s core values, she should acknowledge that federal employees and federal funding are often what keep those landmarks standing and their collections on display.

  6. rikyrah says:

    When Will DC Pundits Acknowledge That The Affordable Care Act Contains Cost Control Efforts?
    By Matthew Yglesias on Jun 1, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    There’s a fair amount not to like about Washington Post editorial writer Ruth Marcus’ imagined dialogue between Barack Obama and Paul Ryan and certainly the imaginary reasonableness she attributes to Rep Ryan grates. But to me the worst thing about the column is a sentence she puts into Barack Obama’s mouth: “The current system can’t go on. I wouldn’t say this publicly, but my party’s wrong to pretend it can.”

    When oh when will Democrats acknowledge the need for some changes to the Medicare status quo?

    This is a great question to ask of the tiny minority of House Democrats who voted no on the Affordable Care Act back during the 111th congress. But it’s a terrible question to ask the vast majority of House Democrats who voted “yes” and also a terrible question to ask the Senate Democrats who all voted for it. The story about Republicans backing savage cuts while Democrats are in denial about the need for restraint is a comfortable one, but it bears no relationship to reality. Not only did the Affordable Care Act include specific cuts in Medicare subsidies to private insurers, it establishes a wide array of mechanisms that its authors believe will reduce the growth rate of health care spending, including in public sector programs. Hospitals were squealing about this just yesterday on the front page of The New York Times.

    Back when the ACA was being debated, these measures were subjected to a lot of doubts and scrutiny from various quarters. Mostly this focused on the question of political sustainability. And that’s a fair concern. But the exact same concern has to be asked about Paul Ryan’s vouchers. You can’t slow the growth in health care spending without slowing the growth in health providers’ incomes. That’s just math and it’s a problem for everyone. But now we seem to have forgotten the sustainability concern when talking about Ryan, and forgotten the entire existence of the most important health reform in decades (except when we’re attributing magic economy-wrecking effects to it) and just pretending that Obama forgot to address the issue.

  7. Ametia says:

    History of Tax Cuts for the Rich & Corporations

    Corporate Media Bull Shit on the Benefit of Tax Cut for the Rich and Corporations

    History doesn’t support the media’s deception pushed by the republicans. What’s missing in this article and in general in the press is the need for high tariffs and higher wages for workers. Tariffs make it easy to buy American goods. Buy America, so your neighbor can work.–jk

    Huffington Post, at

    January 26.2009 by Keith Boykin

    In the past few weeks, I’ve heard lots of Republican talking heads make some pretty damning arguments about “liberal” Democratic economic policies and Barack Obama’s “wasteful” spending plans. The arguments may sound convincing at first blush, but the Republicans aren’t offering any serious alternatives. So I did some research and came up with a quick list of four things Republicans don’t want you to know about the economy.

    1. Tax cuts don’t always work.

    In 1929, Herbert Hoover cut marginal tax rates to the lowest level in modern history (24 percent) and the economy still collapsed. In 1982, Ronald Reagan slashed taxes to the lowest level in 50 years and, in return, unemployment soared to the highest level in 50 years. In 2001 and 2003, George Bush cut taxes twice and yet unemployment rose to 6 percent. And that’s to say nothing of the 2.6 million jobs lost in the final year of the Bush administration.

    Tax cuts are politically popular, but they are not a panacea for our nation’s economic woes. Cutting corporate tax rates won’t stimulate the economy or create new jobs if there’s no demand for the goods and services that businesses produce. And cutting estate taxes and capital gains taxes will primarily benefit the wealthy. Despite the GOP claims to the contrary, when you give rich people money, there’s no guarantee they will use it in ways that will trickle down to the masses. If we’re going to cut taxes, then tax cuts should be targeted to businesses that hire new workers or invest in infrastructure, or they should go to middle-class Americans, who have been losing their jobs, their homes, their health care, and their savings in the Bush economy.

    2. Higher taxes don’t necessarily hurt.

    Nobody likes to pay taxes, but don’t believe the hype that tax increases on the wealthy will hurt the economy or kill jobs. In 1944, Franklin Roosevelt raised marginal tax rates to an astoundingly high 94 percent and yet we still had almost full employment (1.2 percent unemployment), thanks to the war. Taxes fell after the war, but in 1951, Harry Truman raised taxes again (from 84 to 91 percent) and yet unemployment dropped by 50 percent. In fact, from 1947 to 1973, median family income rose 2.7 percent a year, even while the top marginal tax rate was never lower than 70 percent, twice the current rate.

    Perhaps the best example of the utility of tax increases comes from recent history. In 1993, Bill Clinton defied every single Republican in the House of Representatives and raised marginal tax rates to almost 40 percent. Despite GOP predictions that businesses would go bankrupt and workers would be laid off, the U.S. enjoyed the longest peacetime economic expansion in history.

    That doesn’t mean we need to raise taxes right now in the midst of the recession, but it does mean we shouldn’t be afraid of higher marginal tax rates or of allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire in 2010. Republicans often complain that higher taxes will kill the economy, but there’s not much evidence to support those fears.

    3. Democrats are better at balancing the budget.

    Republicans love to talk about balancing the federal budget…when somebody else is in charge of it. But during eight years of the Bush administration, we hardly heard a whimper from Republicans about balanced budgets, even as Democrats complained about the huge cost of fighting two wars and cutting taxes.

    The truth is that no Republican president in my lifetime has ever balanced the budget. But the Democrats have balanced the budget five times during the same time span. Clinton did it four times and Lyndon Johnson did it once. The last Republican president to balance the budget was Eisenhower.

    Yes we do need to balance the budget eventually, but this is not the right time. To do so would mean cutting government programs that serve those most at-risk in society and it would slow down the chance of recovery as the lack of government spending would contract the economy. But still, if you really want to balance the budget, the Democrats, historically speaking, are far more likely to do it.

    4. Democrats create more jobs.

    Republicans love to crow about the Reagan economy, but it pales in comparison to Bill Clinton’s record. The U.S. economy created 21 million new jobs in the Clinton administration.* That’s more than the last three Republican presidents, including Ronald Reagan, combined. And despite the GOP argument that the Republican Congress deserves credit for the Clinton economy, the truth is that seven million of those jobs were created in the first two years when Democrats, in control of both houses of Congress and the White House, raised taxes with virtually no Republican support.

    But it’s not just Clinton. Despite the well known economic woes the country faced under Jimmy Carter, the U.S. economy added 8 million new jobs from 1977 to 1980. That’s more new jobs under 4 years of Carter than under 12 years of both Bush presidents combined. And for all the right-wing complaints about the failures of LBJ’s “Great Society,” they fail to mention that the economy created 10 million new jobs during Johnson’s tenure, with a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress, while fighting the Vietnam War and authorizing a massive expansion of the welfare state to include Medicare and Medicaid.

    The truth is that nobody has all the answers to our current economic problems. But to believe Republicans lately requires us to forget the successful history of Democratic presidents and to ignore the failure of the most recent Republican president. It was George W. Bush, after all, who squandered the Clinton surpluses, ran up the biggest deficits in history and doubled the national debt.

    While we embrace President Obama’s spirit of bipartisanship and unity, Democrats should not forget their history and must not let the GOP browbeat them into silence and submission.

    * There are three things missing from this discussion. 1) that the neoliberal monetary expansion through loose credit instituted through the federal reserves brought on the job expansion, it also is the cause for the collapse. Clinton and the Congress then is much to blame as Bush for the collapse. The expansion during the Clinton years was just part of the bubble. 2) that economic strength is built upon an increasing wages (real buying power) of the white and blue collar workers (not through increasing credit). 3) This requires tariffs and pro-union laws. Roosevelt knew this.

    Corporate media has a strong bias against item 3.

  8. Ametia says:

    House GOP Cuts To Nutrition Assistance Equal One Week Of Bush Tax Cuts For Millionaires
    By Pat Garofalo on Jun 2, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    House Republicans, as part of their 2012 budget, have proposed dramatic cuts to food assistance programs, including cuts to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) that would prevent hundreds of thousands of eligible women and their children from accessing the program. Late last month, the House Appropriations Committee approved more than $830 million in cuts to WIC and millions more in cuts to the Emergency Food Assistance Program and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program.

    To cut these programs with so many families still feeling the effects of the Great Recession is a travesty. But to do so after spending tens of billions of dollars to extend tax cuts for the richest 2 percent of Americans, as Republicans forced Congress to do back in December, is even worse. CAP’s Melissa Boteach and Seth Hanlon found that the cost of the GOP cut to WIC is equivalent to the cost of extending the Bush tax cuts for millionaires alone for just one week:

    The deal struck last December to extend the tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush gave the average millionaire a tax break of $139,199 for 2011, according to the Tax Policy Center, or nearly $2,700 per week. Given that about 321,000 households reported incomes of more than $1 million in the most recent year for which there are data from the Internal Revenue Service, that means the Bush tax cuts provide millionaires with about $860 million in tax breaks every week—more than enough to stave off the $833 million in proposed cuts to WIC.

    Economists have estimated that every dollar invested in WIC “saves between $1.77 and $3.13 in health care costs in the first 60 days after an infant’s birth by reducing the instance of low-birth-weight babies and improving child immunization rates.”

    The Hill reported today that Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) convinced GOP appropriators to reinstate $147 million of their $833 million in cuts to WIC, but she is not optimistic that the money will ultimately be approved on the House floor. “I don’t think [the Republicans] will let it stand. I think they will attack it on the floor,” DeLauro said.

  9. rikyrah says:

    June 02, 2011
    Boehner’s concession
    Earlier this week the NY Times’ Jackie Calmes wrote with astonishing bluntness about the GOP’s otherworldy threat to the nation’s economic welfare, which ranges from appalling ignorance to even more appalling indifference:

    Many Republicans have … made comments indicating that they do not understand or do not care that an increase in the debt limit is needed not only for new spending but also to cover Social Security checks, military pay and myriad other obligations previously agreed to, as well as for payments to creditors holding Treasury bonds.

    Observes Politico: John Boehner “is not among them. Boehner acknowledges that the debt limit has to be increased at some point.” And yesterday he moved to the potentially untenable position — untenable among his radical freshmen, that is — that “this really needs to be done over the next month if we’re serious about no brinksmanship, no rattling investors.”

    Can you hear Wall Street’s monstrous footsteps behind him? Boehner sure can. He’s caught between his party’s bombthrowing grotesquery and his party’s stability-at-all-costs paymasters, and I’d venture the rather unhazardous guess that the paymasters triumph.

    Don’t you think President Obama thinks what I think John Boehner is thinking? — which puts Boehner at a debilitating disadvantage in budget negotiations? The speaker may yet lose his leadership position over his browbeating by Wall Street, but he possesses only a Hobson’s choice here. Which puts Obama in the catbird seat.

  10. Lord help us..!/mittromney/posts/10150210568851121

    Look what a supporter of Mitt Romney wrote on his facebook page…

    Debbie Cooper: People like that should not be allowed to vote: “i pray for u that u will get elected . obama has moved muslims and black where they have never been . not agaisnt them but where is the jobs . he is surrounding tennessee with muslims and blacks everywhere. he is up to something big and blacks are threatening whites saying they are going to make slaves out of us . and nothing we can do .. i hope you win .”

    Debbie Cooper:anyway u can get on the news about blacks threatening white people , saying there gonna kill us and rape our children and make us slaves . why hasnt that been on the news . whats the cover up . and muslims helping them

    • rikyrah says:

      the stupid BURNS

    • Ametia says:

      Yes it does, and you’d better know that this person speaks for the rest of the white, fearful, racist breed. Their old ways of being are dying off, and they’re threatened by change. Get over it, folks!

  11. rikyrah says:

    Rashad Taylor’s 24-hour journey out of the closet
    6:29 pm June 1, 2011, by jgalloway

    Seven days ago, Rashad Taylor woke up in his temporary Baltimore flat, pulled on a fresh pair of pants, and found a $10 bill in one pocket.

    This is going to be a great day for me,” Taylor thought. From chicken entrails to Internet surveys, omens have always had a place in politics. Most of them have been wrong — as was Taylor’s leftover greenback.

    The hefty, 30-year-old state lawmaker and political operative from Atlanta was about to begin the worst day of his life — 24 hours of personal and political crisis-management that would span three cities and involve much of Atlanta’s political elite.

    Taylor is an up-and-comer. A Washington-born graduate of Morehouse College, Taylor has served as political director for the state Democratic party. He was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 2008, and served as deputy manager of Kasim Reed’s Atlanta mayoral campaign the next year.

    For the last several weeks, Taylor has lived in Baltimore, laying the groundwork that will allow Catherine Pugh, a Maryland state senator, to run for mayor. Last Thursday, still under Alexander-Hamilton’s benign $10 spell, Taylor had just finished a satisfying conference call with pollsters.

    At 1:10 p.m., an email arrived, forwarded from Atlanta. The message was written by a former friend of a friend, and had been sent to many of Taylor’s colleagues at the state Capitol. It contained serious assertions — only one of which was rooted in hard fact. Taylor is gay.

    Ask Don Lemon at CNN. Secrets are hazardous in any occupation. But they are absolute poison in politics. And Taylor’s was doubly dangerous. His secret not only threatened his personal career in Atlanta, but a $1.5 million, chance-of-a-lifetime campaign in Baltimore.

    Personally, Taylor had come to grips with his sexuality three or four years ago. Yet only a few friends in Atlanta knew. Taylor immediately called them for advice. It quickly became clear that he would have to step out of the closet. But there were things to be done first.

    “So while I’m on the phone with my friends trying to assess the situation, I’m essentially racing to Washington, D.C., to have a face-to-face conversation with my mom. What I did not want to do was have this conversation over the phone,” Taylor said.

    And then he ran out of gas. When it rains, it pours.

    He was rescued by his brother-in-law. But the respite was brief. “If I had to make a list of things that I did not want to do in my life, probably below ‘suicide’ would be having that conversation with my mother,” he said.

    But it went well. She chided him for not telling her sooner. He said he didn’t want to be a disappointment. She said he never could be — the only right answer.

    The next essential conversation was between Taylor and his candidate. Which required a late-night trip back to Baltimore — this time with a full tank of gas. The 45-minute return was filled with more phone calls with more Atlanta contacts. After breaking the news to his mother, every conversation became easier.

    “It was just intimidation and harassment. It had to stop. My pastor said the only way to kill rumor and gossip is with the truth. Nobody talks about what everybody knows,” Taylor said. “The only thing [the sender] had was the fact that he knew that I was gay.”

    What Taylor had planned in Atlanta for the next day was unusual.

    Whether in Baltimore or Atlanta, the worst thing a political operative can do is attract attention away from the candidate. “I didn’t want to become a story,” Taylor said. Pugh, the future candidate for mayor of Baltimore, didn’t blink, Taylor said.

    Pugh gave him leave to book a 6 a.m. Friday flight to Atlanta. Taylor bought two tickets — one for his mother, who insisted on coming. Virtually sleepless, he wrote his coming-out speech on the plane.

    Upon landing, it was a shower, a change of clothes and microphones assembled in the downtown Atlanta headquarters of Georgia Equality, the gay and lesbian rights group.

    Behind Taylor was state Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta), who gave Taylor his first job. And state Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan (D-Austell) — Taylor had run her first campaign. A spokesman for the mayor of Atlanta was there, as was Kasim Reed’s ’09 campaign manager.

    “I am a gay man. Though this is not the time or the way I wanted to come out,” Taylor began.

    Based on the reception given two lesbian members of the General Assembly, Taylor said he expects no problems when he returns to the Capitol in August. He doubts we’ll see any change in his policy positions.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, June 2, 2011Sarah Palin and the Compliant Media at the Hyatt Hotel – A Tale of Two Videos, One of Them Re-Created. Also: Palin Still Believes She Can Beat Obama
    By Kathleen

    A very observant reader has alerted us to the fact that the mainstream media may have actually colluded with Sarah Palin to recreate the scene in which Piper is being persuaded to apologise to reporters for “acting up” the day before.

    The first video, which was posted on My Fox, New York, shows Piper walking out, flowers in hand and frowning as her mom shakes everyone’s hands and heads towards the waiting reporters. This video was taken before Sarah Palin was to visit Ellis Island. Clearly Palin wasn’t happy with the sullen Piper.

    A second video has emerged.

    This video was taken after they returned from Ellis Island, and it virtually recreates the scene shown in the My Fox video above. In this second video as Sarah and Piper walk through the hotel doors Piper holds a water bottle and Sarah holds the flowers, which appear to be exactly the same. The video reveals a happy and engaging Piper, acting funny and generally enjoying her interaction with reporters — Palin smiles benevolently and smugly in the background as Piper apologises to the reporters. Part 2 is a charming success. Piper making nice to the reporters being part of her initial apology:

    I am not sure which reporters were waiting for Sarah Palin at the Hyatt Hotel. Any of them? All of them? But one thing is for sure the media appears to be quite happy when it comes to co-operating with Sarah on this fake vacation tour. If Sarah isn’t happy with “Piper apologises take one” then the media is more than happy to play along and recreate the scene that Sarah has played out in her mind. This is manipulation pure and simple and the mainstream media seem quite happy to play the ahhhhhhhh factor

  13. rikyrah says:

    Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 11:15 AM PDT.

    GOP pulls Libya resolution because it might pass. Implications for debt limit brinksmanship?
    by David Waldman

    Open Congress catches a Fox Nutwork report that should raise some eyebrows:

    The House was scheduled to vote this afternoon on a privileged resolution from Rep. Dennis Kucinich [D, OH-10] directing the President, pursuant to the War Powers Act, to remove U.S. armed forces from Libya. But the House leadership has pulled it from the floor because, according to Republican aides who spoke with Fox News, “it became clear that it might succeed.”

    “[Republican leaders] hadn’t seen much of a threat from [the Kucinich bill]. He’s kind of this marginal figure and having his resolution go down narrowly would be no big deal and might even send a message to the administration,” said one of the Republican aides. “But once they saw that there was substantial support, they were like, ‘Whoa.’”

    This has been a long-running problem with the War Powers Resolution. Congress has long been afraid to test its constitutional validity, lest they find out they don’t have the powers they thought they did. Likewise, presidential administrations have feared finding out they don’t have the powers they thought they did. And so the War Powers Resolution has lived in this uncertain gray zone ever since, “surviving” perhaps only because everyone was worried what they’d find if they poked it to see if it was really still alive (or ever was).

    Overlying this, and perhaps becoming clearer now than it ever has before, is the fact that the question of what the Constitution says (at any given moment) is something ultimately decided by fewer than ten people in the country. Nine, to be specific. And even then, what it says might only be enforceable by one person. Though, of course, some combination of 285 out of the 535 voting Members of Congress can always decide to change who that one person is.

    But the Republican leadership’s reaction to the ability of this combination of genuine anti-war sentiment with anti-administration pranksterism to actually create a real-life constitutional and foreign policy crisis, has given rise to a somewhat more immediate and narrower question: Is this a clue as to how they’ll ultimately react in the game of debt ceiling brinksmanship?

    That is, at the last possible moment, if it looks like Republican eagerness to try to punk the administration into default might actually result in default, will their leadership call it off?

    The situations are by no means exactly the same. And there’s more than enough daylight between them to question the parallel. But there’s arguably much less at stake in the Libya question (at least in terms of things Republicans care about, like money), and yet the leadership has gone knock-kneed.

    That’s worth thinking about.

  14. rikyrah says:

    June 02, 2011 12:30 PM

    Someday, Romney will pick a persona and stick with it
    By Steve Benen

    Any minute now, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) will stand on a New Hampshire stage and launch his second presidential campaign, following a third-place finish in 2008. He’ll have a hard-hitting message to share, which we certainly haven’t heard from Romney before.

    According to advance copies of his remarks, Romney will argue that the United States is “only inches away” from abandoning capitalism; we must repeal the federal health care law shaped on his own state plan; and if elected, Romney will “insist” that federal officials “respect the Constitution, including the 10th Amendment.”

    This bears no resemblance to previous iterations of Mitt Romney. NBC’s First Read had a good take on this.

    Four years ago, it was in Michigan (his original home state), where the backdrop consisted of automotive innovations (and where he walked out to Billy Ocean’s “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car”). This time, it’s at a picnic/barbeque in New Hampshire (what’s become an adopted home state). Four years ago, Romney was wearing a suit and a tie. This time, he’ll likely keep his more casual look. And four years ago, the message was heavy on social conservatism (stressing the importance of family, the sanctity of human life, and securing the borders). This time, it will be about his background and Barack Obama.

    Here’s Romney’s biggest question, and it’s bigger than the individual mandate: Who, exactly, is Romney?

    After watching Romney for quite a while, I haven’t the foggiest idea. The best answer I can come up with is Romney’s the guy with no real core beliefs, no unyielding convictions, and a willingness to flip-flop like no other American politician in a generation.

    I’ve almost lost count of Romney’s iterations. Romney 1.0 was an independent who distanced himself from Reagan and H.W. Bush. Romney 2.0 was a moderate Republican who passed health care reform. Romney 3.0 was a social conservative who cared deeply about the culture war. Romney 4.0 hysterically fears the death of capitalism and is excited about the 10th Amendment.

    Who, exactly, is Romney? No one knows, not even Romney. He’s the first modern presidential candidate to change his fundamental identity several times, depending on which way he thinks the political winds are blowing.

    Mitt Romney is like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re going to get.

    That may not, however, derail his candidacy. Indeed, given the rest of the field, Romney is arguably the frontrunner for the GOP nomination. The question is whether he can maintain that status for long.

    In fact, it’s pretty easy to imagine the GOP base turning on him. His Republican rivals — likely to gang up on him from the outset — probably look at Romney like a pinata waiting to get hit.

    After all, we’re talking about a former pro-choice governor who supported gay rights, gun control, comprehensive immigration reform, and combating climate change, who distanced himself from Reagan, who loves health care mandates, and who attended Planned Parenthood fundraisers.

    Worse, his sole gubernatorial accomplishment served as a blueprint for President Obama’s health care policy, a detail the GOP base probably won’t care for when they see it mentioned in attack ads.

    As for job creation, apparently the new focus of his campaign, during Romney’s only service in public office, his state’s record on job creation was “one of the worst in the country.” Adding insult to injury, “By the end of his four years in office, Massachusetts had squeezed out a net gain in payroll jobs of just 1 percent, compared with job growth of 5.3 percent for the nation as a whole.”

    How bad is Romney’s record? During his tenure, Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 states in jobs growth.

    But wait, Romney’s defenders say. Sure, his only experience in public office was a bust, but let’s not forget he was also in the private sector, running Bain Capital. Except, that’s not much of a defense given the frequency with which Bain slashed American jobs.

    All told, I can see why Romney is the arguable favorite — he has high name recognition, a lot of money, and a credible operation — but I can also see why no one in either party is necessarily afraid of him.

  15. rikyrah says:

    ANGRY BLACK LADY breaks it down like a fraction:


    Clarence Thomas – The Original #Weinergate
    By Allan on June 2nd, 2011

    OK, so the right-wing noise machine wants you to talk about Anthony Weiner’s wiener. That’s the ONLY thing they want you to talk about. Not how Wall Street is filling its pants in fear that the Frankenstein monster they’ve created called the 112th Congress will crash the economy because they hate Obama and want him to fail, even if it means we (everybody except the rich Republicans, natch) have to live in cardboard boxes under a freeway overpass and barbecue pigeons over a fire to make that come to pass.

    Not the fact that a district in western New York that has been represented by Republicans since 1970 just sent a woman Democrat to Congress for swearing in today, because everyone in the GOP voted to do away with Medicare and give you a coupon for half-off the early-bird special at the United Health Urgent Care Clinic, and voters think that’s stupid and cruel.

    And definitely not the financial disclosure forms that Clarence Thomas just filed on Friday. Definitely not those.

    What the fuck is up?

    To understand why Andrew Breitbart is obsessing on an erection in some anonymous guy’s underpants, and doing his damndest to inject insinuations into formerly respectable media outlets that Anthony Weiner is sexually harassing an attractive young African American woman, you have to go back in time.

    Right-wingers have a disturbing habit of nursing their grievances across generations. They’re still convinced the wrong team won the Civil War, even though, back then, they were on the winning team. Yep, the Republicans led the Union, but they grieve for the Confederacy. And the mother of all contemporary right-wing grievances, believe it or not, is yet another battle they won. They love their grievances so much that they even transform their wins into opportunities to stew and burn with white-hot anger. I call them “sore winners”.

    You see, there was this skeezy, low-down damp skidmark of a perv who lied to Congress and got away with it, and was elevated for life to the most unaccountable and untouchable job in the entire federal government, Supreme Court Justice, where he has been, by all accounts, one of the very worst practitioners in the history of that body, where he facilitated the corporate subversion of democracy, filed fraudulent financial disclosure forms, and failed repeatedly to recuse himself in cases where he had known (and sometimes concealed) conflicts of interest. The bad guys won. And they’re still not over it.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I give you — Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, lying sack of shit.

    Let’s Start at the Very Beginning…

    Once upon a time there was a lawyer named Clarence Thomas. He truly was born a poor black child in the American South, and by all accounts worked hard and diligently, gained the best education, and graduated from Yale Law School. But he sensed in his interactions with others that everything he had achieved had been tainted, because everyone presumed he had advanced due to affirmative action and not on his own merits. This was the key to his sore winnerdom. He couldn’t appreciate anything he achieved because of how others viewed him.

    As a Republican, Thomas fulfilled several agendas for others around him as well as for himself. He was the proof, you see, that Republicans are not racists. Oh no, why look here, we’ve got one too. Why, anyone as smart and talented as Clarence here is welcome at our club! And he worked for everything he got, unlike those urban, Democrat “others”. He knew that he was a trophy and a prize pony for the party, and as a young man who had encountered and stood up to incidences of discrimination himself, he had to feel some resentment, and some corresponding sense that his meteoric rise within GOP ranks was also tainted by the role his race played. However, he was also smart enough never to speak out against this specific brand of “affirmative action”, even as his color insulated him and the GOP from charges of racial bias.

    First appointed by Reagan to the Department of Education, then in 1982 made the Chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, he was instrumental in defanging the organization. The focus shifted from class actions based on race to individualized claims, and in 1984 he famously gave an interview in which he excoriated the African American community leaders because all they did was “bitch, bitch, bitch” at Reagan. He blamed African Americans for the social and behavioral problems that he asserted contributed to their lower status. He opposed affirmative action and big government, though he had been a career civil servant himself.

    G.H.W. Bush appointed him to the US Court of Appeals DC district in 1991, and considered him for the Supreme Court vacancy that ultimately went to David Souter, but when Thurgood Marshall retired, Bush nominated Thomas to fill his vacancy.

    FBI investigators started the routine inquiries into Thomas’ background, and when they did, they interviewed a former employee of Thomas’ first at the Department of Education, then at the EEOC. And what she shared was troubling.

  16. rikyrah says:

    I’ll say it again – Issa is fucking crazy and should be treated as such

    Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 06:45 PM PDT.

    Dept. of Projection: Darrell Issa thinks Commerce secretary nominee John Bryson is ‘out of touch’
    by Meteor Blades .

    John Bryson could no doubt learn a thing or two about hot-wiring muscle cars and how to turbo-charge a sound board from Congressman Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. When it comes to energy, however, that’s the end of Issa’s worthwhile advice. But, on Tuesday, in another example of GOP upsidedownism, there was Issa saying that Bryson, President Obama’s nominee for Commerce secretary, is “deeply out-of-touch with our current energy challenge.”
    This from the guy who opposes Environmental Protection Agency regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and vowed last year to add his investigation to the plethora on the subject of the so-called “Climategate” scandal. The actual scandal there was the attack on science and the appallingly twisted media coverage of that attack.
    But this wasn’t what Issa had in mind for the probe that he has since backed away from.

    What spurred him to sneer at Bryson as a “green evangelist” is the fact that the guy has credentials that make him unfriendly to the drill, baby, drill approach espoused by Issa and so many others joined at the hip to the fossil-fuel energy sector.

    Previously CEO of Edison International, chairman of the California State Water Resources Control Board, head of the California Public Utilities Commission, co-chair of the Electric Drive Transportation Association (an electric vehicles trade association and a member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change, Bryson is now chairman of BrightSource Energy, a solar company, and was one of the co-founders of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a leading environmental organization.

    In short: Anathema to our energy overlords.

    On the Oversight committee, one of Issa’s tasks was to keep an eye on the Mineral Management Service. But he failed to uncover MMS’s scandalous and corrupt behavior, including sweetheart deals. All this was exposed by others, although Issa has tried to take credit. The blog Issa Watch points out that, a month before Issa took over as chairman of the Oversight committee last January, he sent a letter to some

    …150 corporate lobbyists, conservative think tanks and industry groups asking them what his committee should investigate. While Issa resisted releasing those letters, CREW assembled a number of them, including the responses from the Independent Petroleum Association of America and the American Petroleum Institute.

  17. Mitt Romney announces bid to be US president in 2012

    Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has entered the race to be the Republican candidate for US president in 2012, saying President Barack Obama has “failed America”.

    Mr Romney blamed Mr Obama for the economic woes frustrating voters, like federal spending and unemployment, in excerpts released ahead of his speech.

    He was announcing his candidacy during a rally in New Hampshire.

    The wealthy businessman is the current frontrunner in the Republican field.

    BBC North America editor Mark Mardell, in New Hampshire, says Mr Romney – a tremendous fund raiser and serious seasoned campaigner – is clearly the man for others to beat.

    But he is yet to convince conservatives he really is one of them and yet to convince the media that he has the flair and panache need to maintain interest and momentum, our correspondent adds.

    “We gave someone new a chance to lead; someone we hadn’t known for very long, who didn’t have much of a record but promised to lead us to a better place,” his speech says. “Now, in the third year of his four-year term, we have more than promises and slogans to go by.”

    Mitt Romney, you’re NOT slick! You’re so fking transparent. I see your he’s not one of us bullshit!

  18. rikyrah says:

    Fake moderate Mitch Daniels loses a round
    by Kay

    You’ll all remember that Mitch Daniels quietly signed draconian legislation limiting access to certain health care providers for certain women, despite his national (and, turns out, completely phony) public call for a “truce” on social issues.

    The timing was amusing for those of us out here in the cheap seats, because Mitch signed the law right about the time national media informed us he was a wonky and rational conservative simply seeking solutions to tough problems, because that’s what he told them he was and he’s an honorable guy. What happens in Indiana stays in Indiana, apparently.

    Federal officials said Wednesday that the new Indiana law cutting Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood violates Medicaid rules—a determination that could cost the state millions and possibly even billions of dollars.

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services informed state officials by letter that it was denying Indiana’s new Medicaid plan because states can’t pick and choose where recipients receive health-care services.

    It’s amazing to me that conservatives are shutting down access to the few affordable clinics that exist in a country where millions of people are already going without access to medical care. That’s just crazy. Commonsense conservatism in action

  19. rikyrah says:

    June 02, 2011 8:40 AM

    On Medicare, public isn’t buying what GOP’s selling
    By Steve Benen

    One of the key messages from House Republicans during their meeting with President Obama yesterday wasn’t about policy; it was about rhetoric. GOP leaders chastised the White House and Democrats in general for saying mean things about Republican plans to privatize Medicare.

    And why does the GOP care so much about Democratic rhetoric? Because it’s working.

    A new national poll indicates that a majority of Americans don’t like what they’ve heard so far about congressional Republicans’ plans to change Medicare.

    According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, a majority also don’t think the GOP has cooperated enough with President Barack Obama and, for the first time since they won back control of the House last November, the number of Americans who say that Republican control of the chamber is good for the country has dropped below the 50 percent mark.

    The poll indicates that 58 percent of the public opposes the Republican plan on Medicare, with 35 percent saying they support the proposal.

    What’s striking is the GOP’s failure to persuade any demographic that ending Medicare and replacing it with a privatized voucher scheme is a good idea. Republicans have tried to sell this to seniors, and yet, 74% of seniors oppose the GOP plan.

    Here’s the kicker: a majority of self-identified conservatives (54%) oppose the Republican proposal and a plurality of self-identified Republicans (50%) oppose the Republican plan. That’s just embarrassing — after months of public relations efforts, and favorable media coverage about the GOP’s courageousness, the Republican Party hasn’t even persuaded its own supporters.

    Though CNN has, for whatever reason, neglected to put the poll’s internals online, the same poll also seems to have found that most Americans want President Obama, and not congressional Republicans, to have more influence over the nation’s direction, and a majority also believe the president, and not congressional Republicans, is taking a responsible approach to bipartisan cooperation.

    The significance of this is, the public hates the idea of Medicare privatization so much, the plan may very well be dragging Republicans down in general.

    Is it any wonder GOP leaders are pleaded with Obama to stop saying mean things about their proposal?

  20. rikyrah says:

    awe….their fee-fees are hurt….



    June 02, 2011 10:00 AM

    The politics of personal grievance

    By Steve Benen

    Based on all of the reports of yesterday’s White House meeting between President Obama and congressional Republicans, it seems one thing is perfectly clear: GOP leaders really want to talk about their feelings.

    ABC’s Jake Tapper’s report went into more detail than most.

    [House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan] then spoke, saying that leaders can either exacerbate the problem of demagoguery or tone it down.

    The House Budget Committee chairman said he thought they were having a year of cooperation with the White House and House Republicans able to work together on preventing the Bush tax cuts from expiring, and a budget for the rest of the year, but President Obama’s GWU speech was the opposite. The president said in that speech that Republicans don’t care about kids with autism and other disabilities, Ryan said.

    Healthcare is the driver of our debt right now, Ryan said. He also described his plan for Medicare reform for the president, saying Democrats were mischaracterizing it. Our program is not a voucher plan, Ryan said, it is premium support — which he then explained.

    Ryan told the president that he is making a sincere attempt to address a problem, and he challenged the president: “Mr. President, the demagoguery only stops if the Leaders stop it.”

    His fellow House Republicans gave him a standing ovation.

    I can’t help but wonder what the weather is like in congressional Republicans’ reality.

    The president’s speech in April really seemed to shock the GOP. Obama presented a vision for $4 trillion in debt reduction, but he also took Republicans to task for a misguided, right-wing approach that he would not accept. The politics of personal grievance was immediate and pronounced — Obama just isn’t supposed to throw elbows at his rivals, and two months later, the GOP still hasn’t quite gotten over the fact that the big bad president said mean things about them in public.

    This is truly bizarre, even for Republicans. Do GOP leaders really want to get into a debate about excessive rhetoric and political demagoguery?

    Obama reminded his guests yesterday, “I’m the death-panel-supporting, socialist, may-not-have-been-born-here president,” as a way of reminding Republicans that he’s not exactly a stranger to caricatures.

    But really, that’s barely scratching the surface. Shortly before going to the White House to denounce demagoguery, Paul Ryan appeared on Fox News to say Democrats are trying to end Medicare and empower “unelected bureaucrats” to “ration Medicare for current seniors.”

    It was the same morning. Ryan went from patently ridiculous demagoguery on a Republican cable news network to a White House meeting in which he lectured the president about demagoguery.

    Indeed, Paul Ryan has been as shameless a demagogue as any member of Congress in recent years.

    This is not to say Ryan and Dems are equally culpable; they’re not. Ryan has been much worse — his rhetorical excesses have been deliberately deceptive, whereas the Democratic rhetoric he’s now whining about happens to true.

    And all of this is just about style over substance anyway. At the White House meeting, participants didn’t even get to specific policy discussions, because GOP officials wanted to whine incessantly about rhetoric. The politics of personal grievance has twisted Republican priorities in unhelpful ways.

  21. rikyrah says:


    uh huh


    Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 09:00 AM PDT.

    Rand Paul: Imprison people who attend radical political speeches. Well, Muslims, anyway.
    by Hunter

    Rand Paul, libertarianesque freedom-lover, makes me sad…

    PAUL: I’m not for profiling people on the color of their skin, or on their religion, but I would take into account where they’ve been traveling and perhaps, you might have to indirectly take into account whether or not they’ve been going to radical political speeches by religious leaders. It wouldn’t be that they are Islamic. But if someone is attending speeches from someone who is promoting the violent overthrow of our government, that’s really an offense that we should be going after — they should be deported or put in prison.

    Like all good freedom-loving conservatives and libertarians, Rand Paul knows that sometimes, you just have to throw people in jail for saying things… well, not for saying things, but for being present while other people say things. This is known as the “unless we don’t like you” subclause of the First Amendment, written in lemon juice and visible only during a full moon.

    Should you be able to imprison someone for “attending speeches”? Not making a speech, mind you, but attending a speech? That seems rather far afield from the Founder’s original intent, but more to the point, I wonder if Rand Paul would really be comfortable applying his proposed rule of imprisonment-for-listening-to-violent-rhetoric across the board.,-Muslims,-anyway?via=blog_1

    • if someone is attending speeches from someone who is promoting the violent overthrow of our government, that’s really an offense that we should be going after — they should be deported or put in prison.

      Rand Paul is a damn fool.

    • Ametia says:

      Rand Paul is an idiot and needs to be imprisoned for his IDIOCY.

  22. rikyrah says:

    June 02, 2011 10:40 AM

    Creating a new strategic standard

    By Steve Benen

    As the Republican hostage strategy regarding the debt ceiling becomes more explicit, Jon Chait asks the right to consider an analogy.

    Let me put it this way to conservatives. Suppose we had a Republican president and a Democratic House. And suppose Democrats decided they would block any debt ceiling increase unless the president agreed to a credible plan to slow greenhouse gas emissions. Would you object to such a demand?

    The hack Republican answer is that spending cuts and the debt ceiling are linked, because the debt ceiling is Obama’s fault. But of course the debt ceiling has to get raised under every president, and it would have to be raised even if Obama signed the Paul Ryan budget. The debt ceiling has nothing to do with any particular policy choices — it’s just a routine vote that used to be an opportunity for the minority party to embarrass the president, which Republicans are turning into a hostage opportunity.

    Exactly. There have been a few instances over the years in which Congress has given various administrations some heartburn over the debt ceiling. There’s a reason Reagan declared in 1983, “The full consequences of a default — or even the serious prospect of default — by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate. Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and the value of the dollar.” Reagan wasn’t just pontificating at the time; he was urging Congress not to screw around.

    But we’ve never seen anything quite like the GOP’s antics of 2011, and it’s probably safe to assume a new strategic standard is being set before our eyes. Unless lawmakers agree to change the debt-limit law itself — a highly unlikely scenario that hasn’t even been floated as a possibility — Republicans have now effectively created a new rule that says parties can and should expect enormous ransoms in order to do their duty and protect the full faith and credit of the United States.

    The debt ceiling is now a powerful bargaining chip. The Treasury, the Fed, economists, Wall Street, and business leaders all pleaded with GOP leaders not to make it one, but Republicans ignored them.

    The next time there’s a Republican president and Democrats control either chamber of Congress, the Dems’ wish list need not be modest. Thanks to the new GOP model, any policy can be tied to a debt-ceiling fight, and no list of demands can be deemed excessive.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 07:40 AM PDT.

    House Republican admits Boehner playing ‘dangerous’ game of brinksmanship with default

    by Jed Lewison

    Finally, a House Republican agrees with the The New York Times editorial board on something. On the same morning that The Times runs runs an editorial arguing that Republicans are “playing with matches on the debt,” a House Republican conceded to Politico that John Boehner was playing a “dangerous” game with debt limit:

    “Of course, it’s dangerous,” a House Republican close to Boehner said of the politics of a government default. “But it’s dangerous for everybody, especially the president. At the end of the day, [Obama] will have to give in.”

    Of course, the difference is that The Times thinks playing with fire is a bad idea when the stakes are so high, but Republicans think its a wonderful idea. After all, in their view, the worst thing that could happen is that their brinskmanship sends the economy into another nosedive, paving the way for a Republican presidential victory in 2012. And what could possibly be wrong with that?

  24. rikyrah says:

    The Goodwin Liu nomination: Impaired judgment
    His derailed judicial appointment sends a chilling message.
    By Ian Millhiser

    June 1, 2011

    How times have changed. In 2005, when Democrats balked at confirming some of then-President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees, Senate Republicans widely declared that filibustering a judicial nominee violates the Constitution. Late last month, however, Senate Republicans embraced the tactic, almost unanimously joining a filibuster of professor Goodwin Liu’s nomination to a federal appeals court. And sadly, it worked: Last week, Liu asked President Obama to withdraw his nomination.

    Republicans justified their apparent belief that what’s unacceptable in a Republican administration is perfectly fine in a Democratic administration by demonizing Liu, insisting he would rewrite the Constitution to achieve liberal ends. Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) accused Liu of wanting to make America more like “communist-run China.” Other senators fixated on a pair of Liu’s law review articles, claiming that they proved Liu would wield a judgeship to create all kinds of new welfare programs and somehow seize control of America’s schools.

    The claims are ludicrous, but they highlight an unfortunate new reality for prolific legal scholars such as Liu. Once upon a time, senators examined a nominee’s record only to find if there was a compelling reason to keep the nominee off the federal bench. In this instance, Senate Republicans seemed intent on finding things in Liu’s scholarship that could be distorted to paint him as a radical. And because Liu has been a very prolific scholar, there was a lot of material that could be distorted.

    Consider Liu’s discussion of welfare rights. In the 1960s and ’70s, a legal scholar named Frank Michelman published a series of articles calling for courts to take a very aggressive role in expanding anti-poverty programs. Michelman’s writings remain influential among liberal law professors today.

    Liu published a lengthy response to this aggressive vision of judicially created welfare rights. In it, he takes on Michelman’s vision, saying it would give judges far too much power to overrule democratically elected officials. Liu calls for “legislative supremacy” in defining the scope of welfare rights, and he explains that it would have been utterly inappropriate for the courts to second-guess Congress’ decision to roll back welfare rights in its 1996 welfare reform law. It doesn’t sound like something a conservative would object to, right?

    Yet Senate Republicans managed to distort this cry for judicial restraint into proof that Liu would create massive new welfare programs by judicial fiat. In doing so, they focused on one aspect of his analysis, in which he concluded that the courts sometimes have a constitutional obligation to ensure fair and equal access to the welfare programs that elected officials create. Liu’s critics seemed to ignore the fact that conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia embraces a similar role for the judiciary. Scalia joined the Supreme Court’s decision in Saenz vs. Roe, which struck down a state law that denied some California residents a portion of their welfare benefits. If Liu’s stance on constitutional welfare rights disqualifies him from the federal bench, it also disqualifies Scalia.

    There’s some evidence that Republicans targeted Liu to exact payback for his testimony during Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s confirmation hearing. In that proceeding, Liu testified about Alito’s record on criminal justice, highlighting some embarrassing details from his past — including a memorandum in which Alito argued that cops should be allowed to shoot a purse-snatcher in the back to prevent him from getting away with 10 stolen dollars. Every single word of Liu’s critique of Alito was scrupulously accurate, and leading conservatives such as Clinton inquisitor Kenneth Starr and torture memo author John Yoo — both of whom supported Liu’s nomination — found nothing in Liu’s testimony that should keep him off the bench. Nevertheless, numerous GOP senators cited Liu’s Alito testimony to explain their vote against him.

    Two lessons emerge from this debacle. Future presidents of both parties will learn that if they nominate someone with a body of published work — no matter how moderate — that work will inevitably contain out-of-context statements that can be used to embarrass the nominee and the White House. Thus, the lesson for presidents is clear: Don’t nominate anyone who actually has had something to say about the Constitution.

    Brilliant young lawyers will learn equally harsh lessons: Keep your mouth shut, don’t write anything down and never, ever say anything critical of a powerful official, even if the criticism is true. Because presidents will no longer nominate anyone who speaks out, the brightest, most promising legal minds will learn to keep silent.

    In the end, the American people will be much poorer because the Goodwin Lius of the future will be silenced. Democracy depends on an informed electorate, and it is better-informed when brilliant voices share their expertise. Congress depends on these same voices to advise them on confirmation votes and other important matters. But the Senate’s vote on Liu sends a clear message to any of the nation’s brightest constitutional thinkers who hope to someday be able to serve on the federal bench: stop talking.,0,1271691.story?track=rss

  25. rikyrah says:

    I keep on telling you with this dude…it’s strictly AMATEUR HOUR with this clown.


    Herman Cain’s Bankruptcy Rant Shows Bankrupt Understanding Of The Constitution
    By Ian Millhiser and Zaid Jilani on May 31, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Herman Cain kicked off his campaign last week by lecturing the country on its need to “reread the Constitution” — even though Cain himself couldn’t tell the difference between the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Sadly, this does not appear to be an isolated incident. Last October on his radio show, Cain launched into a impassioned rant about how federal bankruptcy law violates the Constitution:

    All of the talk about a national foreclosure freeze . . . all they’re trying to do is appeal to people’s emotions. You see, the United States federal government, folks, has no jurisdiction over bankruptcy law. States do!

    So, if some states decide that they want to investigate some of these phony or incomplete foreclosures, it’s up to the states. This is not even under the jurisdiction of the federal government! But it sounds good. It really sounds good, though.

    Once again, Cain really should try reading our founding document before he lectures others about it. According to Article I of the Constitution, “[t]he Congress shall have power . . . [t]o establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States.” So the Constitution actually says the exact opposite of what Cain claims it says, because Congress power to make “uniform” bankruptcy laws prevents the states from creating their own rules for bankruptcy.

    Or, to put it another way, claiming that helping foreclosure victims is unconstitutional may “sound good” to Cain’s right-wing supporters, but it has no basis whatsoever in the actual Constitution.

  26. rikyrah says:

    First Lady Announces Food Pyramid Replacement
    First Lady Michelle Obama has revealed a new plate icon which will be replacing the food pyramid as a general guide for nutritious eating.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Christie refuses to reimburse N.J. for traveling by helicopter to see son’s baseball game
    Published: Wednesday, June 01, 2011, 8:24 PM

    Facing broad criticism for flying by helicopter to watch his son’s high school baseball game in Bergen County, Gov. Chris Christie refused today to refund the state for Tuesday’s $2,500-an-hour flight.

    “The governor does not reimburse for security and travel,” a spokesman for the governor, Kevin Roberts, said in an e-mail message. “The use of air travel has been extremely limited and appropriate.”

    The State Police said the flight taken by Christie and his wife, Mary Pat, had presented “no additional cost to taxpayers.”

    That didn’t stop a horde of Democratic legislators — and even some conservative commentators — from denouncing the use of the helicopter by a governor who has become widely admired for his insistence on fiscal austerity.

    Christie flew from downtown Trenton to Montvale, where his son Andrew was playing baseball for Delbarton, his high school team. He stayed five innings before getting back into the helicopter, accompanied by his wife. From there they flew to Princeton, the police said, for a dinner at Drumthwacket, the governor’s mansion, with a group of wealthy Republican donors from Iowa who were in New Jersey to try to persuade Christie to run for president.

    Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) chided the governor today for what she called his “do as I say, not as I do” attitude.

    “I can’t remember how many times I had to skip political events because my children had games or school activities,” Vainieri Huttle said. “Leaving in the fifth inning to meet with wealthy Iowa political donors says something about the governor’s priorities. Perhaps his presidential courters can help him foot the bill so our taxpayers aren’t on the hook for such perks when he is calling for sacrifice.”

  28. Mitt Romney: Obama failed America

    Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is preparing to start swinging at the president Thursday as he officially launches his presidential campaign from the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire.
    Romney plans tell the country’s voters that “Barack Obama failed America,” according to his widely disseminated prepared remarks.
    “We gave someone new a chance to lead; someone we hadn’t known for very long, who didn’t have much of a record but promised to lead us to a better place,” his speech says. “Now, in the third year of his four-year term, we have more than promises and slogans to go by.” Romney plans to highlight the growth of government under Obama, as well as the country’s ongoing economic struggles.
    Romney is one of the best-known potential candidates in the 2012 race, owing in part to his failed 2008 campaign for president.

    Mittens, you’re a joke!

    bye Pictures, Images and Photos

  29. rikyrah says:

    Education Department Increases Its Regulation of For-Profit Colleges
    Published: June 2, 2011

    The Department of Education on Wednesday tightened its regulation of for-profit colleges and other vocational programs that get billions of dollars in federal aid but leave many students with crushing debt and credentials worth little on the job market.

    Under the new rules, programs would lose their eligibility to dispense federal student aid — and as a practical matter, be shut down — if, over the next four years, their graduates fail to meet new benchmarks for loan repayment and ratio of debt to income. But amid intense lobbying by the for-profit college industry and pressure from Republican lawmakers, the department significantly eased the rules from an earlier draft: officials said, for example, that no program would lose eligibility until 2015.

    “We believe that very few programs will be forcibly closed by our standards,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “We want to give people a chance to reform. As a country, we need this sector to succeed. This is not about ‘gotcha.’ ”

    These rules, which try to define how such programs prepare students for “gainful employment,” have been the hardest-fought issue in the debate over exploitive and fraudulent practices in the industry. The colleges and their allies spent $12 million lobbying against the rules since the start of 2010, and this spring, the House passed a budget amendment that would have blocked the department’s work on them. The rules were supposed to be issued last summer, but were delayed after the Education Department received a record 90,000 comments on its draft proposal.

    The colleges contend the rules are unnecessary and illegal, and would limit educational opportunities for the low-income and minority students who make up most of their enrollment. An industry spokesman said litigation or a new legislative challenge to block the rules were possibilities.

    “It still has the same basic framework, so we’re still going to be looking at their statutory authority to create these metrics,” Harris Miller, president of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, said Wednesday night. “But there’s no doubt that they have taken into account our concerns about issues such as time and giving schools an opportunity to make some changes.”

    In the last year, Senate hearings and news reports about abuses in the for-profit education industry have documented how millions of low-income students borrow heavily for training programs that often do not help them land good jobs. Students at for-profit colleges make up 12 percent of those in higher education, but almost half of those who default on student loans.

    Although the new rules are a particular threat to for-profit schools, which charge high tuition for vocational programs, they apply broadly to career education, including certificate programs at public and nonprofit colleges, which the Higher Education Act requires to “prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.”

    On Wednesday, department officials estimated that 5 percent of the 13,155 for-profit programs covered by the rules, and 1 percent of the 42,290 public and nonprofit programs, would lose their eligibility for student aid.

    A program would lose eligibility for federal aid only if: fewer than 35 percent of its graduates are repaying principal on their student loans three years out, and, for the typical graduate, loan payments exceed 30 percent of discretionary income as well as 12 percent of total earnings.

    “We’re asking companies that get up to 90 percent of their profits from taxpayer dollars to be at least 35 percent effective,” Mr. Duncan said.

  30. Ametia says:

    Why Paul Ryan is losing the Medicare argument
    By E.J. Dionne Jr., Published: June 1
    It always gets back to health care.

    That’s why 2009 and 2010 were so consumed by President Obama’s push for health-care reform and why Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare proposals are at the center of politics in 2011. Our long-term budget problem is primarily about two things: a shortage of revenue and rising health-care costs.

    The revenue and health-cost issues are intertwined. The whole debate comes down to whether we want government to absorb a significant part of the risk of insuring us against illness, which means we’ll have to pay somewhat higher taxes, or whether we want to throw more and more of that risk onto individuals.

    So let’s welcome Ryan’s call for considering his proposals on their merits. Yes, Republicans who invented “death panels” out of whole cloth and insisted, falsely, that Obama’s health proposal was nothing but a “government takeover” have a lot of nerve complaining about the “demagoguery” against Ryan.

    But in this case, turning the other cheek is practical advice. Ryan is not losing this argument because of what his opponents are saying, or because voters don’t “understand” what he’s up to. He’s losing because Americans are alarmed that they are paying ever more for coverage, co-pays and deductibles. And they’re weary of battling over health bills with insurance-company bureaucrats.

    Americans may not trust government, but they don’t trust insurance companies much, either. So it should surprise no one that they are skeptical of any proposal likely to reduce the insurance guarantees the government already provides them. In particular, they don’t want government to back away from its existing health-care commitments if part of the purpose of retreating is to protect the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy.

    Among Ryan’s critics, everyone acknowledges that rising health-care costs are a problem. One of the central purposes of the Affordable Care Act was to contain those costs. The reform cut Medicare spending by a half a trillion dollars over a decade — spending reductions that Republicans freely demagogued in last year’s election campaign.

    Here’s the basic difference before us: Conservatives want government to play less of a role in paying for health insurance. Progressives believe that government will inevitably play a growing role in the provision of health insurance because if it doesn’t, more Americans will lose their coverage.

  31. Ametia says:

    The Resurgence of the American Automotive Industry
    Posted by Erin Lindsay on June 01, 2011 at 03:16 PM EDT

    Two years ago, on June 1, 2009, General Motors filed for bankruptcy, backed by $30 billion in support from the federal government. The same day, in the same New York courthouse, a judge approved Chrysler’s plan to forge an alliance with Fiat and emerge from bankruptcy as a restructured business with an uncertain future.

    Two years later the American auto industry is mounting a comeback.

    Today, the White House released a report that highlights the resurgence of the American auto industry. The report discusses the jobs created in the sector, the turnaround of the companies that are now turning a profit, and how entire communities have been revitalized by a strengthened auto industry.

    In the year before GM and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy, the auto industry shed over 400,000 jobs. Had President Obama failed to intervene, conservative estimates suggest that it would have cost at least an additional one million jobs and devastated vast parts of our nation’s industrial heartland. Since GM and Chrysler Group emerged from bankruptcy in June 2009, the auto industry has added 115,000 jobs – the fastest pace of job growth in the auto industry since 1998.

  32. Ametia says:

    Equal Access to Transportation: A Right for All Americans
    Posted by Secretary Ray LaHood on June 01, 2011 at 04:09 PM EDT

    Transportation is about a lot more than just getting around. Our roadways, runways, and railways connect people with all of the things that make life worth living: family, education, job opportunities, and recreation. That’s why we here at DOT–and the entire Obama Administration–are laser-focused on improving access to transportation for all Americans.

    Last week, I joined the White House monthly disability call with the Special Assistant to President Obama on Disability Policy, Kareem Dale, to discuss with hundreds of stakeholders everything we’re doing at DOT to improve transportation access for people with disabilities. In the twenty years since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, there’s no doubt we’ve made significant strides forward. But we won’t rest until everyone has equal access to all forms of transportation.

    In the last year, DOT announced the first federal rule to specifically provide ADA protections to people with disabilities who travel on boats and ships. And we’re finalizing a regulation to improve accessibility at rail stations so that people with disabilities can get on the same rail cars that everyone else uses.

    We’re also committed to improving the flying experience for people with disabilities. We’ve proposed new rules that would:

    •Require airports to provide lifts for boarding and disembarking passengers;
    •Make it easier for people to fly with service animals; and
    •Improve access to airline websites, check-in kiosks, in-flight entertainment centers, audio-visual displays, medical oxygen, and airplane bathrooms.
    And as we prepare to mark the 25th anniversary of the Air Carrier Access Act this year, we’re stepping up enforcement efforts to make sure airlines respect the rights of air travelers with disabilities. In the last year, our Aviation Enforcement Office assessed civil penalties ranging from $125,000 to $2 million against a number of U.S. carriers.

    Access to transportation is one of the most fundamental of American rights. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made, but remain committed to achieving even more so that all Americans have the same opportunities for living, learning, and earning.

    Ray LaHood is the Secretary of the Department of Transportation

  33. rikyrah says:

    The Problem Of Mitt Romney
    By Ta-Nehisi Coates
    Jun 2 2011, 10:00 AM ET

    To read Ryan Lizza’s recounting of Mitt Romney’s stewardship of health care reform in Massachusetts, and his now awkward about face, you have to pay and go behind the curtain. It goes without saying that I think you should do this. Lizza talks to the behind the scene wonks who helped make Romeny’s health care reforms happen in the state, and chronicles the crucial support of the Bush administration.

    I think the most depressing aspect of the reporting is that it’s clear that, with the notable exception of the GOP’s libertarian wing, the flip on an individual mandate is largely based on the fact that Democrats embraced it.

    From the end of Lizza’s piece:

    As the Boston Phoenix pointed out, when “No Apology” was issued in paperback, in February, Romney made a notable change from the original version. In the hardcover, publish in early 2010, Romney, after reviewing the success of health care in Massachusetts, wrote, “We can accomplish the same for everyone in the country.” In the paperback, the had been deleted.

    The piece also took me back to an old criticism of Barack Obama as a negotiator. Obama seemed to believe, at least early in his presidency, that the content of conservative and liberal ideas were as important as the labeling. I’m not sure it occurred to him that claiming sensible conservative ideological real estate would not result in hosannas for his bipartisanship. Instead those formerly conservative ideas would be recast as a liberal government takeover.

    Some portion of politics is just tribal. I think back to Joe Lieberman not supporting the Medicare buy in, and then flipping after he heard Anthony Weiner say something positive about it.

  34. Ametia says:

    June 1, 2011
    Google Says Hackers in China Stole Gmail PasswordsBy JOHN MARKOFF and DAVID BARBOZA

    SAN FRANCISCO — Google said Wednesday that hundreds of users of Gmail, its e-mail service, had been the targets of clandestine attacks apparently originating in China that were aimed at stealing their passwords and monitoring their e-mail.

    In a blog post, the company said the victims included senior government officials in the United States, Chinese political activists, officials in several Asian countries, military personnel and journalists.

    It is the second time Google has pointed to an area of China as the source of an Internet intrusion. Its latest announcement is likely to further ratchet up the tension between the company and Chinese authorities.

    On Thursday, the Chinese government rejected suggestions that it was linked to the attack.

    Last year, Google said it had traced a sophisticated invasion of its computer systems to people based in China. The accusation led to a rupture of the company’s relationship with China and a decision by Google not to cooperate with China’s censorship demands. As a result, Google decided to base its Chinese search engine in Hong Kong.

    The more recent attacks were not as technically advanced, relying on a common technique known as phishing to trick users into handing over their passwords. But Google’s announcement was unusual in that it put a spotlight on the scale, apparent origins and carefully selected targets of a coordinated campaign to hijack e-mail accounts.

    Google said that once the intruders had logged into the accounts, they could change settings for mail forwarding so that copies of messages would be sent to another address. The company said it had “disrupted” the campaign and had notified the victims as well as government agencies. Executives at Google declined to comment beyond the blog post. The company recommended that Gmail users take additional security steps, like using a Google service known as two-step verification, to make it more difficult to compromise their e-mail accounts. But it emphasized that the password thefts were not the result of a general security problem with Gmail.

    The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Thursday that the government had no involvement in any such attacks, declaring that it “consistently opposes any criminal activities that damage the Internet and computer networks including hacking and cracks down these activities according to law.”

    “Hacking is an international issue, and China is also a victim of hacking,” according to an official transcript of a Foreign Ministry spokesman’s remarks. “The claim that China supports hacking is completely created out of nothing, and is out of ulterior motives.”

    The official Chinese news agency’s report on the episode repeatedly cast doubt on Google’s own credibility and past practices, saying that it “arbitrarily pointed its finger at China” with “baseless complaints.”

    Google acknowledged that it had been alerted to the problem in part by Mila Parkour, a security researcher in Washington who posted evidence of a type of phishing attack on her blog in February. She documented examples of what has recently been described as a “man-in-the-mailbox” attack, in which the intruder uses the account of one victim and his e-mail contacts to gain the trust of a new victim.

    Ms. Parkour wrote that the method used in this attack “is far from being new or sophisticated,” but that she was posting information about it because of “the particularly invasive approach of the attack.”

    She highlighted a fake document titled “Draft US-China Joint Statement” that was circulated among people with e-mail accounts at the State Department, the Defense Department, the Defense Intelligence Agency and Gmail. Clicking to download the document directed users instead to a fake Gmail log-in page that captured their passwords.

    Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said the White House was looking into the matter.

    “We have no reason to believe that any official U.S. government e-mail accounts were accessed,” Ms. Hayden said in an e-mail.

    Google said the attacks apparently originated in Jinan, a provincial capital in eastern China. The city is a regional command center for the Chinese military, one of seven in the country. It is also home to the Lanxiang Vocational School, which was founded with military support. Last year, investigators looking into the attack on Google’s systems said they had traced some of the hacking activity back to the school.

    At the time, government and school officials strongly denied any connection with the attack, and China’s foreign ministry said linking the Chinese authorities to such attacks was “baseless, highly irresponsible and hype with ulterior motives.”

    That earlier attack appeared to be aimed at gathering information on human rights activists who were involved in political campaigns aimed at China. It was part of a wave of attacks that hit a range of American companies beginning in mid-2009 and that was first publicly disclosed by Google in January 2010.

    Chinese government media officials were not immediately available to comment on Google’s latest announcement.

    Rafal Rohozinski, a network security specialist at the SecDev Group in Ottawa, said it was impossible to lay blame for the campaign on the Chinese government with any certainty. Because of the borderless nature of the Internet, it is easy for intruders to connect through a series of countries to mask their identities. “The fact that someone is harvesting Gmail credentials is not surprising,” Mr. Rohozinski said.

    This year, the Chinese government has stepped up its controls over the Internet within the country, with increased scrutiny of news and blog sites, particularly in the wake of political upheaval in North Africa and the Middle East.

    The government has also apparently crippled some virtual private network services, or VPNs, which have been used by Chinese and expatriates to gain access to corporate e-mail or get around controls that block many Web sites from being entered in China, like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

    Security specialists said the Google warning to users was an indication that efforts to place the responsibility for Internet security on individuals was failing.

    “I think this is impossible to solve by going to one user at a time and trying to teach them how to behave on the Internet,” said Nir Zuck, founder and chief technology officer of Palo Alto Networks. “It doesn’t matter how much education you put into it — you will always have end users that will make a mistake.”

  35. rikyrah says:

    The Fringe Could Win
    Larison wonders when pundits will admit it:

    At what point are we going to start acknowledging that the national and local polls are telling us that it is Pawlenty and Huntsman that are the clearly marginal candidates, and Paul, Bachmann, Cain, and even the ridiculous Gingrich are the competitive ones?

  36. rikyrah says:

    Yes, She Can
    Win the nomination, that is. Mark Blumenthal looks at the polls:

    Palin has a relatively large base of enthusiastic supporters. Twenty-four percent may not be enough to win a nomination, but a base that size is a strong start towards a potential victory in crucial early states like Iowa or South Carolina, where the winner may receive only 30 to 40 percent of the vote. Second, nearly three out of four Republican survey respondents remain at least open to the possibility of supporting Palin. That means her hardcore opposition is not yet large enough to pose an absolute barrier to winning over a majority of Republican primary voters.

    Given her negatives, it’s still unlikely. But we should not rule it out, as the Washington Village has. My own scenario for her emergence: an economy losing steam in the next eighteen months, a possibility given new and alarmng life by recent economic data. If the number is going in the wrong direction on election day, Obama’s in trouble. Notice too the resilience of the “wrong track” numbers. Not good for an incumbent.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Wednesday, June 01, 2011

    “Hey, I’m that Ryan guy”

    by digby

    Somebody’s getting a very, very big head …

    Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, got a standing ovation from his colleagues during the meeting.

    “Hey, I’m that Ryan guy,” Ryan said at the start of his remarks at the meeting, according to a Republican aide.

    Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) told reporters after the meeting that Ryan told Obama “we’re not going to make progress on reforming Medicare unless we cut through the demagoguery on the issue.”

    In reply, Obama “spelled out his differences and responded with the thought that if everyone would follow that, certainly he would,” Goodlatte added. “Paul’s point was that as president of the United States, he can take the lead in cutting through that and having a serious discussion.”

    Later, speaking to reporters, Ryan was asked if he had told Obama that he hadn’t shown leadership on budget issues.

    “That’s not exactly what I said,” he responded. “I said we’ve got to take on this debt and if we demagogue each other at the leadership level, then we’re never going to take on our debt.”

    Ryan went on to say that Obama has “mischaracterized” his Medicare plan when talking publicly about it. So he said he explained to Obama how the plan works, in the hopes that “in the future he won’t mischaracterize it.”

    I’m sure the president was very grateful for the correction from “that Ryan guy.”

    I can’t help but note that the president is at least a little bit responsible for creating this monster — he’s the one who publicly characterized Ryan as a “serious guy.” (I assume he didn’t know that he was a juvenile Randroid at the time.) Now the monster is making demands. Of the president.

    The other two members of the GOP mean Girls club had something to say as well:

    The president talked about a need for us to continue to — quote-unquote — invest. And to a lot of us that’s code for more government spending –something we can’t afford right now,” said Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House majority leader.

    Asked about the purpose of the meeting, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said: “It was an opportunity for our members to communicate directly with the president about our ideas about how to get the economy going again — how to create jobs and solve the debt problem facing our country.

    “I told the president one more time: This is the moment. This is the window of opportunity where we can deal with this on our terms. We can work together and solve this problem. We know what the problems are. Let’s not kick the can down the road one more time.”

    Yeah, whatever. They continue to conflate “creating jobs” with “fixing the deficit”, (but so far it doesn’t seem to be working.) Still, if there’s one thing they can do it’s stay on message until people get so sick of it they accept it just to shut them up.

    Some Republicans were enthusiastic:

    “What I heard from this president is he wanted to sit down and find real cuts now,” Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said after the meeting. “He said there needed to be entitlement reform. And we will work with him to those ends.”

    Let’s keep our fingers crossed that this is just cynical GOP spin or that the president was just placating them with empty promises because with this economy, serious cutting is the last thing we should do.


  38. rikyrah says:

    June 02, 2011

    George Will’s payback

    Poor George Will. He’s got a huge boehner in his boxers for Jon Huntsman, but he can’t — try and fantasize as he might — see a path for his chosen love to the White House.

    The reason for Will’s frustration is quite simple. His party, the once grand old one, has been hijacked by the petty young thing of profound unseriousness: a seething, tempestuous horde of geezers and bigots and thumpers and temperamental medievalists and Hayekian hayseeds who prefer to soar blissfully on the goofweed of ideological purity than swoon over a candidate’s dignified record of accomplishment.

    It’s the latter, of course, that has blighted Mitt Romney’s nomination prospects. Watching him run from his singular success as Massachusetts governor is painful for everyone, not just the GOP base. Now Huntsman must run a similar gauntlet of suppressing public-policy knowledge and radiate, instead, a simpleminded slavishness to contemporary Republican doctrine.

    When I read Will’s description of those whom Huntsman faces in the GOP primaries I couldn’t help but feel a certain amount of pity for both candidate and writer. The columnist makes little effort to conceal his contempt for his own:

    Nominating electorates make up in intensity what they lack in size. They pay close attention to presidential politics early, and participate in cold-weather events, because they have a heat fueled by ideology. Cool-hand Huntsman, with his polished persona and the complementary fluencies of a governor and a diplomat, might find those virtues are, if not defects, of secondary importance in the competition to enkindle Republicans eager to feast on rhetorical red meat.

    In Will’s throat-clearing summary comes more of Will’s distress. Having scribbled a hagiography largely on Huntsman’s foreign policy preferences — he was anti-invasion on Libya and is pro-withdrawal in Afghanistan and is hot for a meaner, leaner military — Will seems resigned to Huntsman’s dark destiny:

    [I]t is difficult to chart Huntsman’s path to the Republicans’ Tampa convention through a nominating electorate that is understandably furious about Obama’s demonstrably imprudent and constitutionally dubious domestic policies. Even if that electorate approves Huntsman’s un-Obamalike health-care reforms in Utah and forgives his flirtation with a fanciful climate-change regime among Western states, he faces the worthy but daunting challenge of bringing Tea Party Republicans — disproportionately important in the nominating process — to a boil about foreign policy.

    In short, the party’s most cerebral, most reasonable, most electable candidate in the general has no party appeal, because the party’s primary electorate is meshuga.

    Yet Will is only getting what he deserves. Other conservative public intellectuals have for two years belittled and warned against the GOP’s turn toward tea-party mania — one thinks of, most notably, Andrew Sullivan and David Brooks — while Will has smugly tolerated and at times even stoked its injudicious rise. Welcome to your own future, George.

  39. rikyrah says:

    Dealing With Republicans

    by BooMan

    Wed Jun 1st, 2011 at 04:06:25 PM EST

    It doesn’t matter what Jared Bernstein says. It doesn’t matter what Paul Krugman says. Or the president. They aren’t listening. They are not going to listen. They are going to crash the car into the ditch. And, you know, like it or not, we’re all in the car.
    Some of them believe their own bullshit about supply-side economics. Most of the rest are well-paid to pretend they believe it. A small remainder know better but are afraid to counter the party’s position.

    We can use all the statistics in the world, appeal to every historical parallel, bring out every expert, cite every non-partisan study, and it isn’t going to matter. We will not convince them that their way lies destruction.

    And there is no stopping them. When Reagan’s tax cuts ballooned the deficit, they forgot it happened. When Poppy’s tax hike fixed the problem, they were happy to see him go. The success of Bill Clinton’s economic recovery act did not impress them. They learned nothing from Dubya’s destruction of the global economy. They didn’t change their beliefs or behavior after getting drubbed two straight times in 2006 and 2008. They just doubled-down on the obstruction and the propaganda and the poison, and repeated a now well-worn pattern of exploding the debt only to turn around and blame the Democrats and social programs for the deficit.

    They can’t be taught through reason nor through electoral defeat. They will not argue or negotiate in good faith. Science means nothing to them. College education is suspect and institutions of higher learning are teeming with un-American disloyalists, socialists, and atheists.

    Minorities and gays are eating away at the fabric of our society. Food Stamps are consuming our entire budget. The Muslims are coming to impose Shariah Law.

    Do you have a solution for dealing with these people? Because, I don’t.

  40. rikyrah says:

    Hostages Usually Require Ransom

    by mistermix

    As has been aptly demonstrated by every poster and almost every commenter on this blog, the Ryan plan is a political fuckup of the first order, with 58% opposition from a fairly unengaged electorate. But Republicans can’t back down—in this respect, they’re like the habitually philandering, verbally abusive, binge-drinking husband who wants to keep his long-suffering wife from heading out the door. Deep down, they know that they deserve the heartbreak that’s coming, but they’re desperately casting around for a way to keep the little woman in the kitchen where she belongs.

    Enter the debt ceiling. Yesterday’s vote was telegraphed to the markets as a joke, but, like the philandering husband cleaning his guns on the kitchen table, it’s a preview of coming attractions. Republicans showed Democrats that they have a united caucus, and that half of the House Democrats will vote the way that Fox News scares them into voting.

    So what will happen next is pretty dreary and predictable. Republicans will attach some kind of Medicare “reform” to the debt ceiling bill. They’ll pass it at the last possible minute, probably a week after Tim Geithner is hospitalized for nervous exhaustion, and a day or two after Paul Krugman is put under mental hygiene arrest. It will be carefully calibrated to be the worst thing that the Senate can pass and Obama can sign. And, just in the same way that the wife always goes back to her jackass husband for the sake of the kids, Obama will then sign it, for the sake of the country.

    Once this grand bipartisan consensus is achieved, Republicans will call the bill that they passed the “Ryan plan”, tell their base that they won, and argue that the fuss over the original, real Ryan plan was just histrionics from the lieberal media. Their claims will be accompanied by a hosannah chorus from the usual DC media suspects, who will hail its bracing realism and shared sacrifice. By this time next year, the plan to replace Medicare with vouchers will be firmly ensconced in the memory hole, and the Bachmann/Cain ticket will be blaming Obama for the double-dip recession.

  41. rikyrah says:

    Hey Indiana, You Can’t Do That

    by BooMan

    Wed Jun 1st, 2011 at 11:58:29 PM EST

    I’d like to enjoy this slapdown the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) delivered to the Indiana legislature and Governor Mitch Daniels, but I worry that it will just instigate another holy war in Congress, complete with hostages. Indiana banned Planned Parenthood from its Medicaid program. You can’t do that. It’s against the law to ban a legitimate medical provider from the system just because you don’t like their scope of services. Indiana has to comply with the law or they’ll face penalties, possibly including the rescinding of all the money they receive from the Federal Government to cover Family Planning. Yet, since they only receive $4 million for Family Planning, most Republican legislators may prefer to just pass on the money. Women shouldn’t take contraceptives anyway, as it gives them a false sense of freedom and let’s them let down their guard of their naughty parts.

    I’m beginning to think that Democrats, progressives, women, reasonable people need to take back the Don’t Tread on Me flag from the wackos.

    Also, too, do you think a Republican-run HHS would issue such a ruling?

  42. Ametia, I’m loving Brother Louie this morning!

    She was black as the night
    Louie was whiter than white
    Danger, danger when you taste brown sugar
    Louie fell in love overnight


  43. Ametia says:

    Updated at 7:56 a.m. ET

    SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Residents in tornado-damaged parts of western and central Massachusetts are being urged to stay off roads, schools are closed and state workers have the day off as officials assess damage and begin the daunting task of cleaning up.

    At least two late-afternoon tornadoes on Wednesday shocked the region more accustomed to dealing with snow than funnel clouds. Four people were killed and dozens injured.

    In the state’s third largest city, Springfield, up to 1,000 National Guardsmen are patrolling streets to discourage looting and a state of emergency has been called. Power is still out for tens of thousands.

    Gov. Deval Patrick told CBS’ “The Early Show” Thursday that it’s “remarkable” the death toll wasn’t higher.

    “We got very little warning,” Patrick told “Early Show” co-anchor Erica Hill. “The mayor told me yesterday when I spoke with him, the mayor of Springfield, that they had about 10 minutes warning before the first and most powerful of the tornadoes hit. So it’s remarkable, frankly, that we didn’t have more widespread personal injuries than we have had. Although it is early days and we’re still checking on all.”

    Video: Tornado touches down in western Massachusetts
    Pictures: Tornadoes strike Massachusetts

    Read more:

  44. Ametia says:

    JUNE 2, 2011
    Bidder Emerges for Borders Bookstores
    As a Potential Liquidation Looms, Gores Group Comes Forward, Interested in About 200 of 405 Stores


    Private-equity firm Gores Group is in discussions to purchase more than half of Borders Group Inc.’s remaining stores out of bankruptcy, said people familiar with the matter, in a deal that would keep the bookstore chain operating as a going concern.

    Borders, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February, has been soliciting offers for the company amid mounting losses and tense discussions with publishers that ship books to the chain.

    Gores, based in Los Angeles, is known as a distressed investor, scooping up stakes in ailing companies and trying to rehabilitate them. It currently owns stakes in companies …

  45. Ametia says:

  46. Ametia says:

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011
    Minnesota Miscellaneous

    -Voters in Minnesota are not terribly into home state politicians Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann running for President next year. Only 28% think Pawlenty should seek the White House to 17% who think he should run for the Senate and 45% who think he shouldn’t run for anything. There’s even less interest in a Bachmann Presidential run- 14% think she should seek that office to 23% who think she should run for the Senate, 10% who think she should run for reelection to her House seat, and 47% who just want her to go away.

    Pawlenty at least has some level of interest in his running for President from the party base- 57% of Republicans think he should run. GOP voters though would much rather Bachmann ran for the Senate (43% think she should do that) than President (which only 26% think she should aim for.) We’ll have numbers looking at how Pawlenty and Bachmann would do when matched against Amy Klobuchar and Barack Obama in the state over the next two days.

  47. Ametia says:

    The media meme is Obama’s in trouble, jobs and the economy. Gloom & doom, and that PBO is beatable in 2012. **looks at you Ed Rendell**

    How about reporting on the GOP and their obstruction, lies, and attempts to destroy our social safety nets, unions,…

  48. Ametia says:

    By Brad Friedman on 6/1/2011 6:31pm
    Exclusive: My Live KPFK Interview with now-former WI Supreme Court Candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg

    On my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show today (heard on Wednesdays at 3:30pm PT in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Diego & around the world on I spoke live with WI Asst. Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg. It was her first interview since conceding the highly-contentious and incredibly close WI Supreme Court election and “recount” yesterday to incumbent Justice David Prosser.

    Given the state media’s shamefully bad coverage of the disastrous “recount”, the interview may well be the only one, as short as it was, in which she was able to address accountability for the “cascade of widespread irregularities”, as she described them during her concession speech, which plagued the state’s certified results.

    Listen here:

  49. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

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