Tuesday Open Thread | President Obama Visits Puerto Rico: First Presidential Visit In 50 Years

Happy Tuesday!

Not since John F. Kennedy has a U.S. president visited Puerto Rico.

NPR segment on President Obama’s pending trip to Pureto Rico

Puerto Rico: Obama Visits a Commonwealth’s Uncommon Problems

It has been 50 years since a U.S. President traveled to Puerto Rico, and that’s indicative of how little Washington ponders America’s Caribbean island commonwealth. Only rarely, like the controversy over the U.S. naval base at Vieques a decade ago, do Americans even remember their ties to Puerto Rico. Even President Obama’s visit to the island on Tuesday, June 14, is being explained by most pundits as a way for him to curry favor with Puerto Rican voters in the U.S. The Miami Herald‘s Frances Robles has an insightful piece today on how Obama is eyeing in particular the burgeoning Puerto Rican community in central Florida, which is less reliably Democratic than more traditional communities like New York’s.

But beneath the superficial political considerations, Puerto Rico – which unlike Haiti is actually our responsibility – has big problems that the U.S. needs to engage. Puerto Rico’s unemployment rate tops 16%; its poverty rate is 44% and its median annual income is $14,400, according to the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington, D.C., which is well below the U.S. poverty line. Its violent crime has gotten so bad that last year Governor Luis Fortuño had to call out the National Guard in a bid to contain it. Little wonder that so many Puerto Ricans are leaving the island that according to Pew, there are more Puerto Rican-origin Latinos living in the U.S. today (4.6 million) than there are living in Puerto Rico (3.7 million).

In the 1990s, then President Bill Clinton formed a White House Task Force on Puerto Rico, whose current members will accompany Obama to San Juan, the capital. Its core directive, aside from addressing the social problems, is to help Puerto Ricans best solve the status issue that has divided the island for decades – and which may well be key to addressing the pressing social problems. The commonwealth designation Puerto has had since the 1950s was meant to give it political and cultural autonomy while keeping it part of the territory of the U.S., which wrested the island from Spain in the Spanish-American War of 1898. (Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens.) But today that quasi-colonial arrangement seems to have set Puerto Rico “in a political and economic twilight zone,” says Angelo Falcón, head of the National Institute for Latino Policy in New York.  Read more:





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67 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread | President Obama Visits Puerto Rico: First Presidential Visit In 50 Years

  1. Ametia says:

  2. Ametia says:

    Supreme Court reinstates collective bargaining law

    Acting with unusual speed, the state Supreme Court on Tuesday reinstated Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to all but end collective bargaining for tens of thousands of public workers.

    The court found a committee of lawmakers was not subject to the state’s open meetings law, and so did not violate that law when they hastily approved the measure and made it possible for the Senate to take it up. In doing so, the Supreme Court overruled a Dane County judge who had struck down the legislation, ending one challenge to the law even as new challenges are likely to emerge.

    The majority opinion was by Justices Michael Gableman, David Prosser, Patience Roggensack and Annette Ziegler. The other three justices – Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and Justices Ann Walsh Bradley and N. Patrick Crooks – concurred in part and dissented in part.

    The opinion voided all orders in the case from the lower court. It came just before 5 p.m., sparing Republicans who control the Legislature from taking up the contentious issue of collective bargaining again.

    Read more: http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/123859034.ht

  3. State of the black church about to start with dr Jeremiah wright live



  4. Ametia says:

    Pinkett Smith credits husband as parent, business partner
    By Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY
    Last season, Will Smith was on the set of Hawthorne most every day offering his unique insight. Heading into Season 3, the husband of the show’s executive producer is in New York shooting Men in Black III.

    But you can bet he remains very hands-on.

    “Everything we’re involved in, we involve each other,” says Jada Pinkett Smith.

    His forte from afar is punching up the script for each show. “We have different strengths. I’m really strong in character, and he’s really strong in story,” she says. “When we come together, it’s a beautiful meld.”

    PHOTOS: Jada Pinkett Smith
    STORY: ‘The family nucleus’
    It’s not always easy. The Karate Kid was a true box-office hit in 2010 ($177 million domestic gross) and a true family affair with Will, 42, and Jada, 39, producing and son Jaden, 12, starring.

    Production in a challenging foreign country took its toll.

    “I would say the most stressed we ever were was during Karate Kid,” says Pinkett Smith, managing a smile. “Us producing that together was hell.”

    She adds with a laugh: “I will never produce a movie with him in China ever again.”

    Though making the movie was tough, it also proved to be a learning experience for the couple, who have been married for a 14 years — staggering by Hollywood standards. Rather than discourage future co-projects, it only made them raise their game.

    “The one great experience we had from Karate Kid is that we know what each other’s strengths are,” she says. “Now we completely allow the other to dominate that area.”

    There are few who dispute their joint parenting domination. Hawthorne star Michael Vartan says he’s impressed and floored at the same time when watching Smith on the set with his children.

    “He’s an awesome dad,” says Vartan, who married Lauren Skaar in April. “I just got married and we’re talking about kids. If I’m half the dad he is, I’ll be good to go.”

    Says Pinkett Smith, beaming: “The one thing I can say I did a good job on, I found a great man to father kids with. It’s like if I didn’t do anything else right in this world, my kids got a good doggone daddy. Shoot.”


  5. rikyrah says:


    Rick Scott struggles to graft national right wing agenda onto Florida
    John Frank has a must-read piece on the Florida governor, whose approval ratings have tanked as he pushes a national, right wing agenda on an unwilling, purple state.

    Frank’s lengthy piece in the American prospect opens with Scott’s failed attempt to get a bill banning automatic payroll deduction for state employee union members, through the Republican-dominated legislature:

    The legislation—and another bill eliminating traditional government pensions—is a top priority for Scott, one of the new hard-charging Republican governors, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and Ohio’s John Kasich among them, who are aggressively pushing a conservative agenda that attacks public-sector workers. But Scott is a stranger even to legislators of his own party, which holds supermajorities in both chambers of the Legislature. A newcomer to politics, he lacks the relationships, political or personal, necessary to secure a deal in the Capitol, and lawmakers say he puts little effort into developing them. State Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla tells Scott after the fruitless visit, “I’m sorry this had to be our first face-to-face meeting—but I think you’re doing a great job.”

    Florida is a diverse state with complicated politics, the nuances of which Scott doesn’t seem to quite understand. Three of the senators he approached represent strong-minded Cuban voters in Miami—voters who consider repression of unions a hallmark of the Castro regime. None of the lawmakers can risk such a comparison. The fourth senator is a former small-town sheriff who worked closely with unionized deputies.

    State Sen. Dennis Jones, another Republican opposed to the bill and the longest serving lawmaker in the Capitol, says Scott is ignorant about “things that have taken place and commitments that were made long before he even moved to Florida.” (Scott barely met the requirement that a gubernatorial candidate live in Florida for seven years before holding office.) Jones, whose hair is as white as the beaches in his Gulf Coast district, recalls the work it took to get the unions to support Republicans in recent decades. “Over the years, we’ve developed good relationships with the police and firefighters, and when it comes to campaigns, they’ve been good friends and good workers,” he says. “So early on when this bill came out, a lot of us said, ‘You’ve been good to us; we’re not going to get involved in how you do business.’”

    The union-dues bill died that day in the Senate. Later, at a luncheon speech to the conservative Florida Center-Right Coalition, Scott appeared perplexed about why his effort failed. “One of the things that doesn’t make sense to me: paycheck protection,” he said, exasperated. (“Paycheck protection” is conservatives’ term for the abolition of union-dues deductions from paychecks.) “Why would that take any time to pass?”

    Scott’s emphasis on weakening the political clout of the state’s labor movement, however, stumped the unions. Unlike Wisconsin, Florida is a right-to-work state, in which union power has never loomed that large. Only about 6 percent of the state’s workers belong to a union. “We are facing record unemployment, facing major changes, and this guy’s walking the halls on a dues bill,” says Matt Puckett, the deputy executive director of the state’s Police Benevolent Association. “I think he should be embarrassed.”

    Indeed, critics say Scott’s rhetoric and agenda haven’t always seemed germane to Florida’s particularities. Scott, for instance, wanted to require all public employees to pay 5 percent toward their retirement and put new employees in defined-contribution 401(k) plans—a proposal similar to measures in many states. But in Florida, the retirement fund is not threatened with collapse, as critics claim is the case in other states. “They decided to tax public workers to balance the budget,” says Ron Meyer, a lobbyist for the Florida Education Association, the state teachers’ union. Combined with the union-dues bill, Meyer suggests, the proposal shows how state Republicans are following the playbook of the national GOP and groups such as the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council. “Instead of looking at Florida’s needs, they decided to carry out their dogma,” he adds.
    Read the whole thing here.

    Scott’s extremism is already costing Republicans the support of the Police Benevolent Association in Broward County, and not a day goes by that you don’t hear about angry police officers, firefighters and teachers who used to be Republicans, but are now vowing never to vote for another Republican again. Clearly, Scott’s lack of knowledge of the state, combined with an almost robotic, ideological zeal, is costing him, and his party, in Florida. And his team, from my reading of them, seems almost oblivious to it.

    Democrats on the other hand, see it, and are loving it.

    • Scott and so many like him can only hear the voices in their own heads. They live in some alternate reality that does not include their own constituents. It’s really too bad that Florida doesn’t have a recall process for its Govs, then they could just dump that skunk.

    • Ametia says:

      Get your white boards and markers ready, Democrats.


  6. rikyrah says:

    June 14, 2011
    Soft-padded Pawlenty
    It seems to me that there isn’t much mystery behind Tim Palwenty’s remarkable poltroonery last night. He has quietly conceded the race, and is already looking forward to Mitt Romney’s call about the Number Two slot. Meanwhile he’ll be a good, obedient little puppy dog on the campaign trail.

    Damn, that was fast.

    But maybe I’m wrong and Pawlenty will soon stop licking them and grow some new and bigger ones instead.


  7. rikyrah says:

    What Was Pawlenty Thinking?

    P.M. Carpenter’s guess:

    [Pawlenty] has quietly conceded the race, and is already looking forward to Mitt Romney’s call about the Number Two slot. Meanwhile he’ll be a good, obedient little puppy dog on the campaign trail.

    A reader adds to this post:

    At the end of the debate last night, something kept gnawing at me. I’m a Republican voter who was pretty content with the ’08 field (I backed McCain; please don’t mention Palin, it still smarts). This year’s crop just seemed so formulaic, so full of GOP bromides. The missing element, I think, is the McCain/Huckabee factor.

    I’m certainly no fan of Huckabee’s theocratic tendencies, but he and McCain performed the task of reminding the other candidates that in their collective and admirable desire to cut government, secure the borders, etc., actual – and frequently innocent – human lives are caught in the balance.

    I’ll cop to tearing up when McCain reminded his colleagues – which much disappointment evident in his voice – that Mexican immigrants are God’s children too, and worthy of our consideration and respect. Huckabee, likewise, cautioned the candidates that in the process of affecting immigration reform, we needn’t grind our heels in the faces of innocent children. This perspective, this sensitivity to the suffering of others, was absent from the stage yesterday. McCain and Huckabee are flawed men and were flawed candidates, but they were brave enough to expose themselves to at least a bit of political risk in order to ask for some kindness for the less fortunate. To my great disappointment, I don’t see that willingness in the ’12 crowd.


    • Yeah well, too bad McCain is a lying sack of ….and sold what may have been left of his soul to get the Repub nod for a Presidential run. That was a good sound byte but he sure voted against DREAM and stands now against PBO’s efforts for real immigration reform.

      Candidates can SAY anything but show me what they actually DO, then I will support them.

  8. rikyrah says:

    June 14, 2011 2:05 PM

    The wrong ‘totem of credibility’
    By Steve Benen

    In last night’s debate for Republican presidential candidates, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s name came up literally 10 times. Jon Chait noted that the right-wing Wisconsinite has “personally become a totem — a sort of mini-Reagan figure, frequently cited as credible by others and never attacked.”

    And Paul Krugman notes how “weird” that is, given Ryan’s complete lack of credibility: “His plan was junk, full of magic asterisks, containing absurd projections for future spending, and directing us to a ridiculous Heritage analysis for support. He’s been peddling completely false budget claims. This is a totem of credibility?”

    The problem, I’m afraid, is that Ryan’s reckless dishonesty is a well-kept secret. He has a Fox News piece today on economic policy, for example, that’s almost comically deceptive. Kate Conway calls it a “Misinformation Tour De Force.”

    Ignoring that Obama inherited the worst recession since the Great Depression — and that his Recovery Act helped prevent an even greater economic downturn — Ryan asserted that the Recovery Act has “failed to create jobs.” To this end, Ryan also deceptively cited lackluster May jobs numbers and a report that preceded Obama’s inauguration.

    Ryan also attacked the president’s signature policies, including financial and health care reform, baselessly asserting that they didn’t fix “the problems they were intended to address.” He touted his own plan to ‘save Medicare’ (even though the GOP budget plan would dismantle the Medicare system) and falsely claimed that President Obama doesn’t have any plan to address the program.

    He threw around meaningless catch words like “uncertainty” to attack Obama’s tax policy, and misleadingly stated that the U.S.’s corporate tax rate is the highest in the developed world, when in fact the effective tax rate is lower than many other developed countries. And despite the numerous tax cuts Obama and Democrats passed over Republican objections, Ryan attacked the president for tax hikes on job creators.

    In all sincerity, it’s difficult to find anything in his Fox News column that isn’t misleading.

    After this remarkably dishonest piece from Ryan, it’s tempting to think, “Well, that’s certainly a credibility killer. Who’s going to believe the right-wing congressman after he’s been caught spewing such falsehoods in a print piece?”

    Except that never happens. Republicans will continue to hold Paul Ryan out as the ultimate arbiter of budgets and arithmetic, and pundits like Ruth Marcus and David Brooks will keep telling us that Paul Ryan is an honest wonk liberals should spend more time listening to.

    It’s rather frustrating given what a hack the guy is.


    Obama’s Former Ambassador Launches Presidential Campaign


    Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman is running for president and is expected to formally announce his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination next week, the AP reports.

    The Republican hopeful will officially launch his campaign one week from today in Liberty State Park, New Jersey with Lady Liberty in the background.

    The AP reports:

    The officials familiar with Huntsman’s thinking disclosed the plans to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the schedule was not yet public.

    Huntsman resigned as President Barack Obama’s U.S. ambassador to China earlier this year. The former governor’s decision to step down from the post generated speculation that he could run for president in 2012.

    The AP relays background on Huntsman’s record and political views:

    Conservatives who dominate the Republican presidential nomination contests will applaud parts of Jon Huntsman’s five-year record as Utah governor: a statewide flat tax, business incentives and private school vouchers.

    They’re likely to cringe at others, including his support of cap and trade as a response to climate change, his backing of civil unions for gay couples, and his support for in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.

    • Ametia says:

      Good luck Huntsman. What a coward fro not announcing earlier, but then he probably knew he’d be lumped in with the rest of the wingnuts at last night’s debacle

  10. rikyrah says:

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011
    13 Ways that the New Hampshire Republican Presidential Debate was a Monster’s Ball

    They say that great trees–like great republics–rot not from outside, but fall apart from within. How did the United States arrive at a place where policy positions held by the lunatic, late night, talk radio crowd of the Right-wing could catapult into a televised debate, espoused by “serious” candidates?

    The 2011 Republican debate in New Hampshire was a car wreck where all seemed to crawl out with vitals intact. Nevertheless, it was a freak show where opinions once held as anathema to normal politics were casually given voice by the Tea Party GOP candidates. Here are the top 13 ways of how this night was a Monster’s Ball in the worst sense of the American political tradition.


    1. Ayn Rand inspired wet dream. The Tea Party GOP wants to make her dystopian vision of unregulated free markets and a further maldistribution of wealth upward into America’s salvation. In total (and despite three decades of evidence to the contrary), the Great Recession will be cured by less regulation and not more, where the State gives more resources to those with the most with the hope that they will somehow “trickle down” to the rest of us. Please don’t pee on my head and tell me that it is raining.

    And oh yeah, if Ron Paul is to be taken seriously, don’t be a person who is sick and in need of emergency health care because you will need to wait for the free market and charity hospitals to develop a fix for what ails as you lay dying on the floor.

    2. The American Theocracy is real. God. Family. 23 adopted kids. God. Family. Faith. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. According to the 2012 Republican candidates one must be a person of “faith,” i.e. a Judeo-Christian of some stripe, in order to be a “moral” person.

    Insert finger into throat and induce vomiting.

    Question: if God supposedly wants all of the 2012 Tea Party GOP candidates to win, what will happen when they lose? Moreover, which God was correct in its whisperings in the 2012 Republican candidate’s individual ears? Which of these “Gods” was lying? How would we know? Will there be a holy war over this issue? Will fatwas be issued by the losing candidates?

    3. The Constitution wept once when the Tea Party GOP candidates–a group who supposedly worship America’s founding document as a fetish or totem that should be judged by the magical, divinely inspired intent of the “founders”–gave lip service to the notion of repealing birthright citizenship in order to solve America’s immigration problems.

    4. The Constitution wept a second time when the Tea Party GOP candidates repeated the spurious and willful lie that America was founded as a quasi theocracy, where Jefferson’s “thick wall” between church and state was intended only to protect the former from the latter. The establishment clause apparently does not apply, as America was founded as a Christian republic. Perhaps, the Right-wing Tea Party GOP Glenn Beck crowd is reading too much of that pseudo-historian Danid Barton’s nonsense histories?

    5. The Constitution wept a third time when the Tea Party GOP candidates led by Herman Cain supported the argument that there ought to be a loyalty oath to the Constitution that is exclusive to Muslim Americans. Never mind that the Constitution prohibits such tests of religious faith as qualifiers for holding public office. Not content to let Herman Cain grab the theocratic zealot vote, Newt Gingrich doubled down on stupid by connecting American Muslims to Nazis and Communist infiltrators. Uncle Joe McCarthy would indeed be proud.

    6. The government is bad. The government is always the problem and never the solution. As America witnessed in the death of a great American city during Hurricane Katrina, all of our contemporary problems at the nadir of empire can be cured by rolling back citizens’ expectations of the State that it should act in the interest of the Common Good. In fact, the State’s failure should be expected as citizens should never have any sense that the government will act in the collective interest, or for the protection of the weakest and most vulnerable.


    • Ametia says:

      I couldn’t have broken down that disatrous trainwreck more succinctly. Thanks We Respectable Negroes!

    • How did the United States arrive at a place where policy positions held by the lunatic, late night, talk radio crowd of the Right-wing could catapult into a televised debate, espoused by “serious” candidates?

      SARAH PALIN & MSM = The dumbing down of America

    • “Beanie has a question….” (line from the movie Patch Adams)

      If Bachmann has 23 adopted children, how does she have time or energy to devote to politics? I only had four children and I could not do what she does. Is she a superior woman or does she have lots of house hold help?

      Last question. If those children were just fosters, did anyone question just why so many rotated in and out of her house? Inquiring minds want to know……

      • More questions…..

        Why did she need so many children? Were they required for labor on the farm lands she doesn’t actually farm but gets several million in subsidies for annually? Was their labor outsourced to foreign contractors?

        I would certainly wish to know the whereabouts and status of each of these children. I would certainly want to interview them about their time and experience with her. Let us hope she runs. Not all these children can be in total thrall to Bachmann. Some one will talk. Some one will spill the beans…..

  11. President Barack Obama arrives at an airport hanger at Muniz Air National Guard Base, Tuesday, June 14, 2011, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Fox Business host apologizes for using ‘language interpreted’ as racist: ‘We did go a bit too far’

    Eric Bolling, host of the Fox Business Network show “Follow the Money,” apologized to viewers on Monday for using racist language during a segment that aired last week.

    “We got a little fast and loose with the language,” Bolling said, “and we know it’s being interpreted as disrespectful, and for that I’m sorry.”

    In a segment that aired on Friday, Bolling referred to the White House as the “Hizzouse” and “Hizzy,” and President Obama’s guests–including Gabon President Ali Bongo–as “hoods.”

    “We did go a bit too far,” Bolling admitted.


  13. rikyrah says:

    In 5-4 Vote, Supreme Court Limits Securities Fraud Suits
    Published: June 13, 2011

    The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that a mutual fund’s investment adviser may not be sued for securities fraud over misstatements in fund prospectuses.

    The 5-to-4 decision split along ideological lines. Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the majority, said that only the fund itself could be held liable for violating a Securities and Exchange Commission rule that makes it unlawful for “any person, directly or indirectly” to “make any untrue statement of material fact” in connection with buying or selling securities.

    As is typical in the mutual fund industry, the fund and its adviser were closely linked. A public company, the Janus Capital Group, created the fund, Janus Investment Fund. The fund then hired Janus Capital Management, a wholly owned subsidiary of the company, to handle investment, management and administrative services.

    The plaintiffs in Janus Capital Group v. First Derivative Traders, No. 09-525, contended that the fund’s disclosure documents falsely indicated that the adviser would put in place policies to curb trading strategies based on delays in fund valuations. After New York’s attorney general sued the adviser in 2003 over such market-timing strategies, investors sued the adviser for securities fraud.

    The question in the case was whether the adviser could be said to have made misleading statements addressed by the S.E.C. rule. Relying in large part on dictionary definitions of the word “make,” Justice Thomas answered no. The adviser may have written the words in question, he said, but it was the fund that issued them.

    “One who prepares or publishes a statement on behalf of another is not its maker,” Justice Thomas wrote. “Even when a speechwriter drafts a speech, the content is entirely within the control of the person who delivers it.”

    Justice Thomas acknowledged that the plaintiffs “persuasively argue that investment advisers exercise significant influence over their client funds.” But, he went on, “corporate formalities were observed” and the fund and its adviser “remain legally separate entities.”

    Though the decision concerned investment advisers, its logic applies to bankers, lawyers, accountants and others who help prepare disclosure documents.

    In dissent, Justice Stephen G. Breyer rejected the majority’s interpretation of the word “make.”

    “Nothing in the English language,” he wrote, “prevents one from saying that several different individuals, separately or together, ‘make’ a statement that each has a hand in producing.”

    Justice Breyer added that the majority had left a gap in the law, which he called “the 13th stroke of the new rule’s clock.”

    “What is to happen when guilty management writes a prospectus (for the board) containing materially false statements and fools both board and public into believing they are true?” Justice Breyer asked. “Apparently under the majority’s rule, in such circumstances no one could be found to have ‘made’ a materially false statement.”

    Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy and Samuel A. Alito Jr. joined the majority opinion in the case, Janus Capital Group v. First Derivative Traders, No. 09-525. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined the dissent.


    • Ametia says:

      This ruling is this ALL KINDS OF WRONG, and especially the NEGRO Clarence Thomas writing for the majority, with his WIFE GINNI THOMAS’ FINANCIAL shenanigans, and his not disclosing her income!

  14. rikyrah says:

    June 14, 2011 10:05 AM


    Gates eyes formal end of DADT, GOPers aren’t so sure
    By Steve Benen

    Six months after completing the legislative repeal process for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the outgoing Pentagon chief is just about ready to certify the formal end of the discriminatory policy.

    Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates says he sees no barriers to ending the ban on gays in the military and would endorse ending it before he leaves the Pentagon later this month if top military service chiefs say troops are ready for the change.

    The policy known as “don’t ask, don’t tell” will be repealed once President Obama certifies — in consultation with Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen — that the military is ready to lift the ban.

    “I think people are pretty satisfied with the way this process is going forward,” Gates said in an interview with the Associated Press on Monday. “I think people have been mildly and pleasantly surprised at the lack of pushback in the training.”

    That’s good to hear, though it was far less encouraging last night when the subject came up during the debate for the Republican presidential candidates.

    CNN’s John King wanted to know if the White House hopefuls, if elected, would bring DADT back, leave Obama’s policy intact, or pursue some other alternative. Here were the answers in the order they were delivered:

    * Herman Cain: opposed DADT repeal, but said it would be a “distraction” to try to bring it back.

    * Tim Pawlenty: dodged the question, vowed to “pay deference to our military commanders.”

    * Ron Paul: would leave Obama’s policy in place, but rejects the notion of “gay rights.”

    * Mitt Romney: dodged the question, said he opposed DADT repeal.

    * Newt Gingrich: dodged the question, said he would bring DADT back if commanders asked him to.

    * Michele Bachmann: dodged the question, vowed to “confer with our commanders-in-chief” if she’s elected president.

    * Rick Santorum: the only candidate to explicitly vow to bring DADT back.

    I’d just remind the GOP field that the political fight really is over, and reason won. Implementation continues apace; polls show Americans supporting the DADT policy’s demise, and there’s nothing Republicans can do to bring the old policy from coming back.

    • Ametia says:

      There was a whole lot of dodging on issues last night. These fools have NOTHING to offer Americans, NOTHING, but talk and their WHITENESS. Sorry Herman Cain, you can buck, shuck, jive and slide the coded racial fears and smears all you want, YOU’RE STILL be a NIGGA to these folks.

  15. Ametia says:

    You can watch President Obama’s trip to Puerto Rico here: http://www.telemundopr.com/visitapresidencial/index.html

    Thank you, BWD!

  16. Ametia says:

  17. Ametia says:

  18. rikyrah says:

    Big Opening for Rick Perry
    by BooMan
    Tue Jun 14th, 2011 at 09:54:15 AM EST

    I agree with Nate Silver’s analysis of last night’s debate. It’s pretty clear that Bachmann’s strength and Pawlenty’s weakness closed a door for Sarah Palin and opened one for Texas Governor Rick Perry. If Perry was watching the debate, it’s hard to believe that he wasn’t thinking to himself that he could immediately get slotted into second place if he chose to run. And, as Nate noted, William Buckley always said that the Republicans should nominate the most conservative candidate who can win the general election. In that regard, Perry would have a better argument than Romney.
    Unlike Pawlenty, Perry doesn’t come off as the kind of Beta Dog that will let other men take off with his wife. And that’s the one area where I differ from Nate. Pawlenty didn’t miss an opportunity to attack Romney; he missed an opportunity to show a degree of spine and toughness. Even the way the ObamneyCare question was posed was a challenge to his manhood. After Pawlenty took a pass at the first effort to get him to discuss his use of the term (the day before), CNN’s moderator John King pressed him twice more:

    KING: And you don’t want to address why you called Governor Romney’s Obamneycare?
    PAWLENTY: Well, the issue that was raised in a question from a reporter was, what are the similarities between the two? And I just cited President Obama’s own words that he looked to Massachusetts as a blueprint or a guide when he designed Obamacare.

    KING: But you chose — you say you were asked a question, which is fair enough, but you chose those words. And so one of my questions is, why would you chose those — choose those words maybe in the comfort of a Sunday show studio? Your rival is standing right there. If it was Obamneycare on “Fox News Sunday,” why isn’t it not Obamneycare standing here with the governor right there?

    PAWLENTY: It — President Obama is — is the person who I quoted in saying he looked to Massachusetts for designing his program. He’s the one who said it’s a blueprint and that he merged the two programs. And so using the term “Obamneycare” was a reflection of the president’s comments that he designed Obamacare on the Massachusetts health care plan.

    KING: All right.

    It was the equivalent of John King telling Pawlenty that that man over there with the perfect hair is flirting with his wife, and Pawlenty decided to pretend it wasn’t happening and moved on to the hors d’oeuvres table.

    This impression that Pawlenty just radiates is by far his biggest problem and he made it much worse by confirming it in what was really a first impression situation.

    He’s the kind of man who will talk a lot of smack behind your back and then act like he’s your best friend to your face. And it’s not because he’s clever; it’s because he’s a coward.

    This is the kind of character flaw that you can’t correct without seeming phony. It doesn’t help that Romney is taller, better-looking, more experienced as a campaigner, better on his feet, and a more accomplished debater.

    If there’s a saving grace for Pawlenty it is that Romney is a bit of a pretty-boy who has all the same kinds of elitist tendencies of a John Kerry. In other words, he’s not exactly connecting with the working men and women of the GOP. Pawlenty’s other hope is that he’s still the only alternative to Romney that has the kind of experience and temperament that people expect in a presidential candidate. But that could change if Rick Perry gets in. And I believe Pawlenty just gave Perry a giant invitation to do just that.


  19. rikyrah says:

    NU Innocence Project professor to retireUpdated at 07:20 AM today
    A renowned Northwestern University journalism professor whose students helped free wrongfully convicted prison inmates but whose methods have been under scrutiny will retire this year, the school announced Monday.

    The retirement of David Protess is effective Aug. 31, according to a university statement. Northwestern offered no details and Protess only said that he was retiring to run an investigative journalism nonprofit group.

    Protess and investigative reporting students with the Medill Innocence Project have helped free more than 10 innocent men from prison, including death row, since 1996. Their work also is credited with prompting then-Gov. George Ryan to empty Illinois’ death row in 2003, re-igniting a national debate on the death penalty and leading to the end of capital punishment in the state eight years later.

    But in 2009, the methods of Protess’ students were first questioned as Cook County prosecutors alleged that students paid off a witness an effort to prove a man was wrongly convicted. Prosecutors, who also alleged students misrepresented themselves, later subpoenaed documents including Protess’ records, student memos and grades, suggesting that students may have received better grades from Protess for uncovering evidence.

    Protess, who has been on leave from his classes, and his students have vigorously denied the allegations, calling them a “smear campaign” by the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

    Earlier this year Northwestern announced Protess would not be teaching investigative journalism for the upcoming quarter. The university publicly scrutinized Protess, saying he had “knowingly misrepresented the facts and his actions” to Northwestern, its lawyers and the dean of the journalism school.

    In an email Monday to The Associated Press, Protess said that he retired to become president of the Chicago Innocence Project, an investigative journalism non-profit. He said offices for the organization opened in downtown Chicago Monday.

    He declined to comment further.

    Protess joined the Northwestern faculty in 1981 and held several teaching titles until he was promoted to professor in 1992, university officials said.

    University officials did not release details about Protess’ retirement.


  20. rikyrah says:

    First Lady Michelle Obama, Pasadena, June 13

    : ….. “let me tell you something about your President … when he returns home after a long day traveling around the country …. he always tells me not about how hard the day was but about the people he’s met along the way.

    And I see in those quiet moments late at night, after we’ve put the girls to bed, and he’s hunched over his desk, and he’s reading everything – letters people have sent him. That’s what keeps him motivated. He reads those letters. A letter from the woman dying of cancer whose health insurance wouldn’t cover her care. Those are the letters he’s reading …

    And I see the sadness and the worry that’s creasing his face. And I hear the passion and the determination in his voice. He says, “You know, Mich, you won’t believe what these folks are going through.” He says, “It’s not right. Still not right. And we’ve got to fix this. We have to do more.”

    …..when it comes to the people he meets and the stories he hears, he has a memory like a steel trap …. if he’s had a few minutes and a decent conversation, he will never forget your story. It becomes imprinted on his heart. And that is what he carries with him every day – that collection of hopes, and dreams, and struggles.

    …. Starting first thing in the morning and going late into the night, hunched over every briefing, he reads every word of every memo so that he is more prepared than the people briefing him, writing notes, asking questions. That is who your President is. That’s who you elected, because all those wins and losses, trust me, are not wins and losses for him. They’re wins and losses for the folks whose stories he carries with him, the folks he worries about and prays about before he goes to bed at night.

    ….here’s the thing about Barack – and this is something I’d appreciate even if he hadn’t shown the good judgment to marry me. (Laughter and applause.) But even in the toughest moments …. when it seems like all is lost, and we’re all wringing our hands, and I’ve done it to him, too – what’s going to happen, are we going to be okay – (laughter) – Barack Obama never loses sight of the end goal. He is always an end-goal game player. He’s not looking right here. He’s looking way down the road. (Applause.) And he never lets himself get distracted by the chatter and the noise. It doesn’t faze him. He just keeps moving forward, step by step. That’s how change happens. (Applause.)

    And in those moments when we’re all sweating it, when we’re worried that that bill won’t pass, or the negotiations might fall through, Barack always reminds me that we’re playing a long game here. That’s how he reassures me. It’s not about today. It’s about our future. It’s about these kids. It’s not about us.

    He reminds me that change is slow. Nothing worth having happens in an instant. He reminds me that change does not happen all at once. It never does. Never has. But he tells me that if we keep showing up, right, if we keep fighting the good fight, and doing what we know is right, then eventually we will get there, because we always have. When you think about it, we always have gotten to the right place in this country.

    And that’s what he needs from you. All of you.


  21. rikyrah says:

    Wis GOP Prepared To Reintroduce Collective Bargaining Bill In Budget Negotiations
    Wisconsin GOP leaders are gearing up to pass the state’s controversial anti-union law again, after it was struck down in court thanks to the way it was passed. Or to be exact, they are now declaring that could pass it in the state budget process beginning Tuesday — if the state Supreme Court doesn’t rule in their favor and restore the law first.

    If such a vote were taken, it would likely have two main effects: 1) Shutting off the current litigation that has revolved around the procedural manner under which the law was passed the first time; and 2) Provide a new political kickoff for the wave of state Senate recalls throughout the state.

    The Wisconsin State Journal reports:

    “If need be, we are going to have to pass collective bargaining again because it is such an integral part of not having those services slashed and those people laid off,” Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, R-Horicon, said of the provisions, currently held up in court.

    Fitzgerald said he expects the state Assembly to take up the two-year budget plan in an extraordinary session and may add collective bargaining as a floor amendment as soon as Tuesday afternoon.

    He said lawmakers would only do so if the Wisconsin Supreme Court does not act by Tuesday afternoon. The court last week heard oral arguments on whether a legislative conference committee violated the state’s open meetings law when it rushed passage of the provision in March.

    “I’m an optimist. I still think they might rule yet,” Fitzgerald said. “They still have some time,”To be clear, Republicans have always had the option of re-passing the law, but have resisted doing so. In recent weeks, however, Gov. Scott Walker and legislative Republicans have begun to talk up the idea, as the court actions dragged on.

    The legal matter revolves around a key conference committee used to advance the bill — and to get around the state Senate Dems’ walkout from the state — and whether it violated the state’s Open-Meetings law by failing to give proper 24-hours notice. Therefore, it is a ruling on procedural grounds, rather than on the substance of the bill itself.


  22. rikyrah says:

    House Progressives Plan Big Summer Tour To Wrest The Jobs Debate From GOP
    Republicans have pulled off a neat trick since taking over the House back in January — they’ve repeatedly attacked President Obama on the languishing job market while shifting government focus away from job creation and toward the deficit and debt.

    Now, the House Progressive Caucus is planning to turn the government’s attention back toward eliminating unemployment. Starting Wednesday, caucus members will fan out across the country on a summer tour that will attempt to push the focus away from spending reduction and toward using government resources to create jobs.

    “The media and the right wing and, of course, some Democrats have been talking about intangibles like the debt ceiling or the job picture,” Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) told TPM in an interview previewing the announcement. “We wanted to do a tour that really talks about what matters to people.”

    To Grijalva and the CPC that means discussing a government that makes “a commitment to the middle class” and pushes for an economic package that focuses on middle and working class people — “not just the wealthy and not just the CEOs,” Grijalva said.

    Earlier this year, the CPC put forward their own federal budget proposal that raises taxes on the rich and corporations (as well as ends the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) and plows the increased revenues into new education, health care and other middle class-focused domestic spending.

    That’s the kind of government Americans want, Grijalva said. He faulted the White House and other Democrats for veering away from the kind of solutions the CPC intends to highlight on the tour and driving the national agenda headlong into the Republican-friendly territory of tax decreases and spending cuts.

    “I think it comes from being timid,” he said. “It really does. Part of job creation, historically how we’ve gotten the economy back on its feet is that the federal government stepped in and supplemented job creation…and here we’re sitting around, still talking about the possibility of job creation in some amorphous way.”

    Tuesday, members of the CPC will kickoff the tour with press conference on Capitol Hill. The first stop on the tour will come at the annual Netroots Nation conference this weekend in Minneapolis. Future stops will take the tour to major cities spanning the country, from New York to Detroit to Oakland, CA.


  23. rikyrah says:

    Pawlenty Confirms My Initial Impression
    by BooMan
    Mon Jun 13th, 2011 at 11:39:04 PM EST

    It’s kind of simplistic and it might seem a little sexist, but I firmly believe that people will not vote for a man if they sense that he won’t stick up for and defend the honor of his wife. Almost anything else is forgivable, and voters don’t expect all male candidates to be oozing testosterone. But there’s a baseline of masculinity that a male candidate cannot fall below and survive. The wife issue is usually what I use because it’s very clear cut. But it’s really just a marker. People can sense a lack of balls on almost any issue and consign a candidate to oblivion. Regular readers of Booman Tribune may be confused about my position on Tim Pawlenty’s chances. At first, I pegged him as the typical won’t-stick-up-for-his-wife type of candidate. You can frame this any way you want. For example, is anyone gonna believe that Pawlenty will be more of a bad-ass about terrorism than the Bin Laden-slayer in the White House?
    Yet, more recently, I have been talking up Pawlenty’s chances in the primaries because I cannot see Romney surviving the debates and the advertising campaigns. And when I look at the alternatives to Romney, Pawlenty seems like the only plausible alternative. Yet, in tonight’s debate the moderator basically begged Pawlenty to attack Romney’s health care plan and he wouldn’t do it. Nothing could be more devastating to Pawlenty than to show a lack of courage to say in person what he says behind someone’s back.

    Romney won the debate tonight because the candidates evidentially wanted to make a good first impression and therefore wanted to avoid being too negative or attack-doggish. In the big picture, this debate doesn’t matter and Romney still has a huge problem. The other candidates will get around to ripping him to shreds. But Pawlenty confirmed my initial impression of him. He’s the kind of guy who would let me insult his wife in public and not do a thing about it.

    Americans don’t elect men like that.


    • Ametia says:

      “He’s the kind of guy who would let me insult his wife in public and not do a thing about it.’

      Pawlenty’s also the kind of guy who left Minnesota with a $5 billion DEFICIT.

      Check out the photo of PBO & FLOTUS on your right of this blog> This here’s an AMERICAN COUPLE.

      • rikyrah says:

        the thing is, I remember when BooMan first posted it. I thought he was right on point then, and it cracks me up that it’s so obvious now.

  24. rikyrah says:

    June 13, 2011
    “Our rivers are full of fish”
    What a numbing experience — a panel of virtually indistinguishable ideologues and their relentless pounding on government as a universally negative force. Numbing, exhausting, and infinitely depressing. All would effectively preside over the closing of the federal government. They had little of interest and nothing of value to say.

    Pawlenty was tonight’s big loser: he was flat, dazed, unenergized, stiff, unimaginative and shockingly unassertive. He even failed to punch Romney on ‘Obamneycare.’

    Romney, Bachmann and Santorum all misrepresented the unqualified success of Obama’s auto rescue; Gingrich opened by declaring that what we’re suffering through economically is “Obama’s depression.” Oh, and I believe I heard Gingrich return to opposing Ryan’s Medicare plan, since, sans sufficient public support, it moves too fast and too comprehensively. Points for Gingrich’s political independence here (which was the only exception to my earlier pronouncement of nothing of value presented) — and triple points awarded for what must be, by now, a quadruple flip-flop. Otherwise Gingrich was his old, vintage attack machine, proclaiming that the current president, who naturally desires reelection, is “anti-jobs, anti-business, and anti-American.”

    Cain proved himself an idiot. Enough said on that. Paul rambled predictably about the wickedly destructive Fed and the need for economic “corrections,” meaning endless and repetitive pain for 95 percent of the population. Pawlenty thanks and supports our troops, and he’d kill the bad guys. Bachmann — poll-tested alert — was horrified that Obama would “defer to France” on Libya. Santorum perceived Obama’s “failure of leadership”; the president has also “embraced our enemies.”

    I lost count of the number of times Gingrich said “fundamentally.”

    Not one of the candidates mentioned the federal deficit’s contributions from George W. Bush’s two unfunded tax cuts, two unfunded wars and a gigantic entitlement program, also unfunded. The deficit is Obama’s fault, because Obama is pro-big-government, as are all Democrats, case closed.

    These candidates, and their friendly auditors, are living in an altogether unidentifiable universe.

    Bachmann likes human life. Gingrich dislikes “political elites.” Romney likes the idea of energy independence. Pawlenty dislikes Pepsi.

    All of which reminded me of the infamous 1948 (Louisville, Kentucky) Courier Journal editorial that observed of GOP presidential candidate Tom Dewey: his campaign could be “boiled down to these historic four sentences: Agriculture is important. Our rivers are full of fish. You cannot have freedom without liberty. The future lies ahead.”


    • Ametia says:

      That carnival show of a debate was maddening. Pmcarpenter nailed it. It was all about ” big government,” while in the same breath these idiots are or want to be IN GOVERNMENT.

  25. rikyrah says:

    June 14, 2011 8:00 AM

    The GOP debate: the gloves stay on
    By Steve Benen

    Barring extraordinary developments, it’s pretty difficult to win or lose a presidential campaign on a Monday night in June, more than seven months before Iowans weigh in. So what’s the point of the debates like the one we saw last night? As Nate Silver noted, the events serve “mostly to influence elite opinion — including partisan strategists, the news media, local party leaders, major donors and bundlers and the candidates and their staffs.”

    And as the dust settles on the New Hampshire gathering, elite opinion appears to have reevaluated the conventional wisdom a bit and reached some new conclusions.

    First among them, Tim Pawlenty needs to get ready for prime time, because he’s clearly not there yet.

    CNN’s John King brought up the fact that, just a day earlier, Pawlenty went on the offensive against Mitt Romney on health care policy, calling the Affordable Care Act “Obamneycare.” The moderator pressed Pawlenty to explain the criticism, asking, “[W]hy ‘Obamneycare’?”

    PAWLENTY: Yeah, so we — this is another example of [President Obama] breaking his promise, and he has to be held accountable. And in order to prosecute the case against President Obama, you have to be able to show that you’ve got a better plan and a different plan. We took a different approach in Minnesota. We didn’t use top-down government mandates and individual requirements from government. We created market alternatives and empowered consumers. I think that’s the way to fix health care in the United States of America.

    KING: And you don’t want to address why you called Governor Romney’s Obamneycare?

    PAWLENTY: Well, the issue that was raised in a question from a reporter was, what are the similarities between the two? And I just cited President Obama’s own words that he looked to Massachusetts as a blueprint or a guide when he designed Obamacare.

    KING: But you chose — you say you were asked a question, which is fair enough, but you chose those words. And so one of my questions is, why would you chose those — choose those words maybe in the comfort of a Sunday show studio? Your rival is standing right there. If it was Obamneycare on “Fox News Sunday,” why isn’t it not Obamneycare standing here with the governor right there?

    Pawlenty couldn’t, or at least wouldn’t, answer. King put the ball on a tee, handed Pawlenty a bat, and encouraged him to swing, but Pawlenty just didn’t want to.

    It was arguably the most newsworthy moment of the two-hour debate. Pawlenty may not realize this, but when a top-tier challenger is trailing the frontrunner by double digits, it’s important to draw contrasts and exploit the frontrunner’s vulnerabilities. Instead, given an opportunity, Pawlenty blinked.

    If this race is supposed to be a two-person contest between Romney and Pawlenty, it appears only one of the two is ready to compete in the big leagues.

    In fairness, Pawlenty wasn’t the only one pulling punches. Rick Santorum was offered a similar opportunity, asked about the fact that Romney used to be pro-choice. Santorum didn’t take the bait, either.

    It’s possible that the candidates have made a conscious decision not to go on the offensive, working under the assumption that there will be time to be aggressive later, when more voters are engaged. But (a) narratives are established at this phase that tend to stick; (b) candidates who aren’t the frontrunner need to impress party leaders and influential voices to generate some momentum; and (c) keeping the gloves on makes for a very dull two-hour event for the poor souls stuck watching it.

    The other key bit of news last night was Michele Bachmann.

    The right-wing Minnesota congresswoman kicked off her campaign during the debate, which necessarily made it newsworthy, and then proceeded to surprise a lot of people with a strong performance. Dana Milbank made the case that she “stole the show” last night.

    Based on Monday night alone, Bachmann was the one who emerged as the anti-Romney from the otherwise drab field. That is supposed to delight Romney’s advisers, who see her as less viable than the more accomplished Pawlenty. But while Pawlenty on Monday was canned and meek … Bachmann displayed a powerful appeal to the Tea-Party types who dominate Republican primaries.

    She served Tea Partyers all their favorites: “I want to announce tonight President Obama is a one-term president…. I will not rest until I repeal Obamacare…. There is no other agency like the EPA. It should really be renamed the job-killing organization of America…. I fought behind closed doors against my own party on TARP.”

    Is Bachmann stark raving mad? Of course she is. But last night, she was also confident and prepared, positioning herself as the candidate ready to carry the banner for the crazy wing of the Republican Party.
    As a consequence, she’ll likely get a boost out of this, earning media interest and getting major party fundraisers to give her a second look.

    As for the rest of the stage, Ron Paul did what Ron Paul always does; Newt Gingrich spent two hours looking fairly annoyed; and Rick Santorum struggled to stand out.

    And what of Herman Cain, who dazzled Republicans with his debate performance last month in South Carolina? He quickly fizzled, struggling with a question about federal food-safety inspections, and explaining that he would only discriminate as president against Muslims who are “trying to kill us.”

    Two other quick general observations. First, it was hard not to notice that foreign policy and national security played almost no role whatsoever in the debate. It stands in stark contrast to four years ago.

    And finally, watching the stage last night, I was reminded that if these candidates are the very best national leaders the Republican Party has to offer Americans, it’s a sad state of affairs for the GOP.


  26. rikyrah says:

    Muslims, Medicare, And Mandates: The Top 5 Moments From The GOP Debate
    OK, so the fireworks weren’t quite there on Monday. The candidates seemed more concerned with introducing their dozens of grandchildren and out-doing each other’s attacks on President Obama than in directly addressing each other. But the GOP debate produced some illuminating moments, from Tim Pawlenty’s awkward avoidance of a confrontation with Mitt Romney to Herman Cain’s plan to root out “violent” Muslims. Without further ado, here are the top five highlights:

    1. Tim Pawlenty Wusses Out

    Expectations were high going into the debate that Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney would lock horns early and often over health care given the Minnesota governor’s recent digs at Romney. But Pawlenty threw his shot when moderator John King brought up the issue, declining to restate his claim that the White House’s health care law was “Obamneycare.”

    “I just cited President Obama’s own words that he looked to Massachusetts as a blueprint or a guide when he designed ObamaCare,” Pawlenty said when asked by the moderator about the phrase. “Using the term ObamneyCare was a reflection of the President’s comments that he designed ObamaCare on the Massachusetts health care plan.”

    2. Michele Bachmann Makes Her Big Announcement

    Michele Bachmann stole the show early in the debate by officially announcing her run for president, telling the audience she had filed her papers that morning. By the end of the debate, her campaign website and Twitter feed were online with a quick video introduction.

    3. Herman Cain Still Not Sure About Those Muslims

    Asked to account for his past claim that he wouldn’t appoint any Muslims to his White House cabinet out of fears they would impose Shariah law, Herman Cain said he only was worried about some Muslims. And much like Kurt Russell in The Thing, Cain said he was merely searching for the right test to discover which ones are infiltrators trying to kill us.

    “I would ask certain questions,” he said. “It’s not a litmus test. It’s making sure we have people committed to the constitution first in order for them to work effectively in the administration.”

    4. Newt Gingrich Back To Bashing The Ryan Plan

    Newt Gingrich, whose senior staff quit in a mass protest last week, offered perhaps his toughest critique of Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan since he labeled it “right wing social engineering” on Meet The Press. Asked about those comments, Newt said that the GOP should be very careful about imposing any proposal that is not popular with the American public, comparing such a move to the dreaded Obamacare. “If you can’t convince the American people it’s a good idea, maybe its not a good idea,” he said.

    5. Tim Pawlenty Floats His Medicare Plan

    Bachmann wasn’t the only one who broke some news at the debate. Pawlenty offered up the most detailed description of his still unreleased Medicare plan thus far.

    “I’m going to have my own plan…that will feature some differences from Congressman Ryan’s plan,” Pawlenty said. “It’ll feature performance pay rather than just volume pay to hospitals and clinics and providers, it will allow Medicare to continue as an option, but it will be priced against other options that we’re gonna offer people as well.”


  27. rikyrah says:

    June 14, 2011 8:35 AM

    Romney can’t keep his auto policy straight
    By Steve Benen

    One of the more substantive moments of last night’s debate for the Republican presidential candidates came when Mitt Romney was asked about the rescue of the American auto industry. It’s been a problematic issue for the former governor — he drew protestors in Michigan last week — and his comments last night are worth considering in more detail.

    The questioner noted that General Motors and Chrysler “have rebounded” following the Obama administration’s rescue plan, and Romney was specifically asked, “Would you say the bailout program was a success?” He replied:

    “The bailout program was not a success because the bailout program wasted a lot of money. About $17 billion was used unnecessarily. […]

    “[T]he Bush administration and the Obama administration wrote checks to the auto industry. Ultimately, they went through the very bankruptcy process that I suggested from the beginning.”

    CNN’s John King reminded Romney of his predictions when the industry was near collapse, when he said we could “kiss the American automotive industry goodbye” if were bailed out. King suggested this certainly looks mistaken now, but Romney continued to defend himself.

    “No, I wasn’t wrong, because if you read the rest of the op-ed piece, it says what they need to do is go through a bankruptcy process to shed unnecessary costs. If they just get paid checks after checks from the federal government, they’re going to be locked in with high UAW costs, legacy costs. They’ll never be able to get on their feet. They have to go through bankruptcy.

    “And it turned out that that’s finally what they did. And the head of the UAW, he wrote an op-ed piece saying, Romney’s wrong, the government has to step in and give them a check. That’s the wrong way to go. Use the process of law. Use the process of American ingenuity. Don’t have government try and guide this economy.”

    So, let’s review. Two years ago, Romney was against Obama’s policy and predicted it would fail. Romney got it wrong, and the president got it right.

    Three weeks ago, Romney said Obama’s policy was actually Romney’s idea in the first place.

    And last night, Romney was simply incoherent, mixing all of his critiques together. Romney said the policy did and didn’t work; he said he opposed and came up with the solution; and he said President Obama did and didn’t follow Romney’s preferred course of action.

    This doesn’t make any sense at all


  28. Ametia says:

    PRESIDENT Obama: It’s ‘nonsense’ I’m calm about state of economy

    In an exclusive TODAY interview, the president talks about the challenges of job creation

    In an exclusive interview with TODAY’s Ann Curry that aired Tuesday, President Barack Obama addressed the notion that he is unemotional about the human toll that the economic crisis has taken.

    “I think ordinary folks understand I spend all my time thinking about this stuff, because I’m talking to these folks every single day,’’ he said. “When I see them at meetings, and they start crying, the notion, somehow, that I’m calm about that, is nonsense. But what is true is that as president, my job is to make sure that I am finding every good idea that we can to move the country forward.’’

    That was one of many economy-related topics that the president discussed with Curry, along with his opinions on embattled congressman Anthony Weiner and potentially increasing the debt ceiling. Curry interviewed the president in Durham, N.C., where he was meeting with the Jobs and Competitiveness Council at the corporate and U.S. manufacturing headquarters of Cree, a manufacturer of energy-efficient LED lighting.

    When it comes to the psychological pain that joblessness, bankruptcy, hunger and homelessness have taken on the citizenry, Obama said he understood the emotional component and that he will be ultimately be judged on whether concrete strides are made in correcting the situation.

    The success of investments in clean energy, better job training at the college level, tax cuts for small businesses and the elimination of outdated regulations are all programs that will go toward determining whether the administration is successful in combating the economic crisis, he said.

    “You know, if what we do works, and people see progress and feel a sense that it’s making a difference, then they are going to respond, and they’re going to feel more confident,’’ he said. “But until they actually see some difference in their lives, they’re going to continue to be frustrated, and so am I.’’

    Curry pressed the president on the issue of corporations enjoying record profits while the unemployment rate remains at 9.1 percent. Instead of hiring more people, businesses have spent 26 percent more in equipment, according to a recent New York Times report. The question remains whether there has been a structural shift that allows companies to produce record profits by employing smaller work forces.

    I don’t think it’s a matter of me being unable to convince them to hire more people,’’ Obama said. “You know, they’re not making decisions based on what I say to them. They’re making decisions based on what they think will be good for their companies.’’


  29. Ametia says:

    Good Morning Everyone! :-)

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