Serendipity SOUL | Wednesday Open Thread

Wikipedia:    Fine Young Cannibals were a British band formed in Birmingham, England, in 1984, by bassist David Steele and guitarist Andy Cox (both formerly of The Beat[1]), and singer Roland Gift (formerly of the Akrylykz). They are best known for their 1989 hit singles “She Drives Me Crazy” and “Good Thing“.[2]

Their name came from the 1960 film All The Fine Young Cannibals starring Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood

The group was formed in 1984 in Birmingham after the dissolution of The Beat, with whom Cox and Steele previously played.[1] The duo of Steel and Cox spent eight months listening to over 500 cassettes of potential singers before settling on Gift. They had difficulty obtaining a record contract but when a video of their song “Johnny Come Home” appeared on a British TV show called “The Tube,” recording contract offers flowed in immediately.[4] The band’s eponymous debut album was released in 1985, spawning two UK hit singles, “Johnny Come Home” and a cover of Elvis Presley‘s “Suspicious Minds” featuring additional vocals by Jimmy Somerville.[2]

Fine Young Cannibals appeared as the house band in a nightclub in the 1987 comedy film Tin Men, set in Baltimore, Maryland, USA in 1963. Steele and Cox released an instrumental house single under the moniker Two Men, a Drum Machine and a Trumpet in 1988, called “Tired Of Getting Pushed Around”, which reached No. 18 in the UK Singles Chart and was popular on the U.S. dance chart. During this time, Gift appeared in the movie Sammy and Rosie Get Laid.

Their highest charting hits were “She Drives Me Crazy” and “Good Thing”, from the 1988 album The Raw and the Cooked.

1980s week continues; 3 Chics hopes you’re enjoying the music.

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81 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Wednesday Open Thread

  1. Pingback: Friday Open Thread - Jack & Jill Politics

  2. Neal Boortz: “We Got Too Damn Many Urban Thugs, Yo … We Need More Dead Thugs” In Atlanta

    BOORTZ: You know what? I, for one, am tired of putting up with this crap. And you want to know why I moved out of Atlanta and only spend a couple of weeks a year in this town? That’s one of the reasons. Carjackings, violence, people getting shot. It’s ridiculous. This city harbors an urban culture of violence. And I want you to look around. You drive into the city. The railroad overpass is on the downtown connector covered with graffiti. And that– That is just an advertisement for everybody coming into this town that we really don’t give a damn about those who would screw up our quality of life around here. We really just don’t care. We don’t care enough to paint over graffiti on the overpasses that come into our city, advertising welcome to Atlanta, here’s some of our finest graffiti, from some of our finest urban thugs and their little gang signs. And pick up the paper tomorrow morning. Read about all the carjackings. Read about the innocent people shot for the pure de-hell of it.

    This town is starting to look like a garbage heap. And we got too damn many urban thugs, yo, ruining the quality of life for everybody. And I’ll tell you what it’s gonna take. You people, you are – you need to have a gun. You need to have training. You need to know how to use that gun. You need to get a permit to carry that gun. And you do in fact need to carry that gun and we need to see some dead thugs littering the landscape in Atlanta. We need to see the next guy that tries to carjack you shot dead right where he stands. We need more dead thugs in this city. And let their — let their mommas — let their mommas say, “He was a good boy. He just fell in with the good crowd.” And then lock her ass up.

    How does this guy get away with inciting violence? He’s calling for people to get a gun and kill people! Are we back to Slavery & Jim Crow? Has white privilege become so bold that the law doesn’t apply to people like him?

  3. White House To Congress: We Don’t Need Your Authorization On Libya

    WASHINGTON — The White House finally made its case to Congress on why it doesn’t need lawmakers’ approval to forge ahead with military operations in Libya: Because we’re not at war.

    Senior administration officials said Wednesday that the fact that the U.S. is only playing a support role in the NATO-led military effort in Libya — that is, no U.S. troops on the ground and no potential for casualties — and only plans to be involved for a short time means Obama doesn’t need congressional authorization per the War Powers Act to proceed.

    “We are confident that we’re operating consistent with the resolution,” an administration official said on a conference call with reporters. “That doesn’t mean that we don’t want the full, ongoing consultation with Congress or authorization as we move forward, but that doesn’t go to our legal position under the statute itself, and we’re confident of that.”

    The call came hours before the White House submitted a detailed, 32-page report to Congress that maps out the administration’s legal justification for Obama continuing to call the shots on Libya without congressional approval.


    • Ametia says:

      Obama Got Osama & he’ll get Qaddafi too! MOFOs, get over yourselves…

      • Ametia says:

        Rethugs care seriously hatin because they THINK the Black President has stolen their thunder on national security. Their fear mongering about terrorist has been thrawted, kaput!

        The GOP are America’s #1 terrorist, with their racist, bigoted, anti gay, anti women, anti education and anti job rhetoric.

  4. Ametia says:

    Hot Damn! Love that new pic of PBO on the sidebar, SG2. :-)

  5. rikyrah says:

    June 15, 2011 4:05 PM

    McKinsey insider: study has no predictive value
    By Steve Benen

    We’ve been keeping a close eye on the controversy surrounding McKinsey & Company and the firm’s report on the Affordable Care Act. To briefly recap, McKinsey published a highly dubious study showing nearly a third of American businesses will stop offering health coverage to their employees as a result of the new reform law.

    House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is touting the results of the survey, and Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) argued this week that the company’s credibility — McKinsey routinely has government contracts — means the report should get the benefit of the doubt.

    At this point, congressional Republicans are the only people in Washington who believe this, and I’m including much of McKinsey’s staff.

    Last week, several McKinsey insiders quietly acknowledged that the firm’s usual methodology was ignored when preparing this report, and sent out word they were troubled by its publication. Today, Jonathan Cohn moves the ball forward a bit more.

    The report is at odds with predictions from more respected authorities, including the Congressional Budget Office, the Rand Corporation, and the Urban Institute. But McKinsey has declined to divulge more details about the report, despite requests from the White House and congressional Democrats, while company spokesmen have declined to answer questions from reporters, including yours truly. Why the silence? One possibility is that the conclusion can’t withstand scrutiny. […]

    McKinsey employees are telling TNR similar things, sometimes in even blunter terms. “Trust me,” says one of the firm’s insiders. “The survey is not a good tool for prediction.”

    Another senior firm employee defends the report’s “quality and rigor,” describing it as an “independent, professionally conducted, extensive survey.” But this employee also says that, notwithstanding the hype, the survey was not designed to produce the sort of reliable forecasts that CBO and other authorities make. “We are not making a point prediction or forecast about employer behavior after the implementation of health reform.”

    Except, of course, that McKinsey’s report is being used exactly that way, and presented its findings to suggest it’s a warning about policy changes to come.

    Keep in mind, McKinsey & Company still refuses to allow an independent analysis of the survey’s methodology, and we still don’t know what the questions were, who wrote them, or who paid for all of this.

    The firm has cited proprietary concerns as the basis for the secrecy, but as Greg Sargent reminded us yesterday, McKinsey claims it did not conduct the survey for an outside client, which means there should be no barriers to subjecting the research to scrutiny.

    And yet, McKinsey continues to refuse all requests for information. For a firm that’s never had a problem with the peer-review process in the past, this is just bizarre, and the story will continue to dog them until they allow an objective evaluation of the report.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Top Republicans Pour Cold Water On Obama’s Last-Ditch Stimulus Plan
    Two leading Republicans say they do not support President Obama’s plan to broaden, deepen, and extend a payroll tax cut to stimulate the economy in the short-term.

    In a briefing with reporters in the Capitol Tuesday, the House and Senate GOP conference chairs said they’re through with short-term stimulus measures, even if they take the form of tax cuts.

    “Well they’ve tried this once, and it hasn’t seemed to be working,” said Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX).

    His Senate counterpart, Lamar Alexander (R-TN) echoed this view.

    “We don’t need short-term gestures, we need long-term strategies that build into our system simpler taxes, lower taxes, fewer mandates, lower costs, more certainty, any changes in the debt structure of tax reform ought to come out of the Vice President’s talks or part of a major tax reform,” Alexander said. “If short-term government programs work, we wouldn’t have 9% unemployment today because the government has tried it. So we’ve proved that doesn’t work, unforutnately.”

    That bodes poorly for Democrats, who are negotiating a broad package of long-term spending cuts and an increase in the national debt limit with the GOP. As part of that plan, Obama and his advisers want to include one more short term injection of demand into the economy. Republicans seem uninterested.

  7. rikyrah says:

    June 15, 2011 3:05 PM

    Romney’s real opponents weren’t on Tuesday’s stage
    By Steve Benen

    As recently as a couple of months ago, it wasn’t entirely clear who the Republican presidential frontrunner was, or if the GOP even had one. That’s clearly no longer the case — with about seven months to go before Iowans make their choice, Mitt Romney is cruising.

    The former governor leads in all the polls; he has the most money; he has the best message; and as of this week, he appears to be the best debater. Romney is doing so well, he’s already talking as if he’ll probably win the presidency next year.

    But before Romney starts measuring the Oval Office drapes, it’s worth noting that electoral dangers loom for the frontrunner. Romney emerged unscathed from the New Hampshire debate, but as the race heats up, the gloves will likely come off. Even if they don’t, Sahil Kapur reports today on the increasingly-organized right-wing campaign that will target the former governor.

    Probably the most prominent group targeting Romney is FreedomWorks, the Dick Armey-led conservative organization. The group has been increasingly vocal about its opposition to the former governor of Massachusetts. “Romney has a record and we don’t really like it that much,” Adam Brandon, FreedomWorks’ communications director, recently told The Huffington Post. Now the group is threatening to unleash part of its $25 million treasure trove in an attempt to sink his candidacy.

    Brendan Steinhauser, the group’s director of federal and state campaigns, tells me the only way Romney might avoid this fate is to start by apologizing unequivocally for “RomneyCare” and make other outreach efforts to conservatives. Otherwise, the group, which boasts over a million members, more than 750,000 fans on Facebook, and an equally large activist email list, is ready to mobilize against him. “The question of whether Romney is acceptable on policy is a huge question, and I don’t think that he is, because of health care in particular, and because of his supplying a bunch of bad ideas,” says Steinhauser. “And we believe we can get a rock-solid fiscal conservative elected president.”

    FreedomWorks is a right-wing powerhouse, but it won’t be acting alone. Alaskan Joe Miller — remember him? — has taken it upon himself to launch a new “Stop Romney” campaign and intends to spend in upwards of $500,000 in New Hampshire to derail Romney’s bid. And the religious right also intends to get involved, with American Right To Life vowing to hammer Romney in Iowa and South Carolina.

    This won’t be easy, of course. If the anti-Romney contingents divide their support among a half-dozen other candidates, he can still cruise to easy primary and caucus wins. With campaign coffers bubbling over, Romney will also be drown out the attack ads with messages of his own.

    But I mention all of this because nominations aren’t won in June. If Super Tuesday were next week, Romney would be in excellent shape, but it’s not. Voters haven’t heard much about Romney’s vulnerabilities, and there are many that can drag his support down.

    The attack ads won’t even have to lie — Romney’s a former pro-choice governor who supported gay rights, gun control, and combating climate change, who distanced himself from Reagan. Romney’s sole accomplishment served as a blueprint for President Obama’s health care policy, considered poison in Republican politics. He doesn’t know anything about national security or foreign policy; his record on jobs is atrocious; and he’s flip-flopped on nearly every issue under the sun.

    If I had to put money on one of the GOP candidates, I guess it’d be on Romney since the rest of the field is so ridiculous. But he’s a weak frontrunner who can be shown to be ideologically unacceptable to the party with minimal effort.

  8. Congressman To Introduce Bill To Protect Male Circumcision Rights

    A new bill aims to cut short a proposed ban on circumcision in San Francisco.

    US. Representative Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) will introduce the Religious and Parental Rights Defense Act of 2011 to prevent S.F. and other municipalities from banning male circumcision, which is religious obligation for Jewish males and is a common Muslim and Christian practice.

    Sherman, who is Jewish, currently has one co-sponsor on the bill, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the first Muslim elected to Congress, JTA reports.

    “The Religious and Parental Rights Defense Act of 2011 ensures that Jewish and Muslim families will continue to be able to enjoy the free exercise of their religious beliefs,” Sherman said in a statement, adding that proponents of a ban have an obligation to provide compelling medical evidence against male circumcision. In fact, he said, the medical literature shows the opposite.

    Announcement of the bill comes as the San Francisco “intactivist” effort heats up. Voters won’t be able to weigh in until November, but the anti-circumcision movement is already gaining support.

    Matt Hess, president of San Diego-based group MGM Bill (MGM stands for “Male Genital Mutilation”), recently raised claims of anti-Semitism after the release of a second issue of his comic, “Foreskin Man,” which featured a sinister Orthodox Jewish villain by the name of Monster Mohel.

    The San Francisco effort would ban circumcision for males under the age of 18, carrying a fine of $1,000 and up to one year in prison.

  9. rikyrah says:

    LEAKED: Secret Report On Jindal’s Privatization Plan
    A confidential report at the center of the debate over Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s push to privatize state employees’ health insurance has been leaked. The so-called “Chaffe report,” published Tuesday by the Baton Rouge Advocate, seeks to “establish the fair market value of the operations” of the state’s Office of Group Benefits (OGB), which provides health care insurance for around 250,000 state workers, retirees and their dependents.

    The Advocate reported that the Chaffe report “concluded that premiums would increase under privatization.” The paper also published the complete report online.

    The administration has said that privatizing OGB will net a big upfront payment, perhaps as much as $150 million, and save millions of dollars a year. Officials have further argued that privatization would only really affect the 62,000 OGB members who participate in the agency’s self-funded and self-administered preferred provider organization (PPO) program. But critics have countered that OGB is well-run overall, and have worried that a private company would raise premiums for members of the PPO. Some have raised questions about the fate of OGB’s $500 million surplus fund.

    In a section laying out privatization scenarios, the report states “in addition” to a planned premium increase instituted by OGB pre-sale, Chaffe’s valuation of the agency assumes that a purchaser will increase premiums to maintain a pre-tax operating margin of 4.5-7%. The premium increase in 2013 would range from 4.8% to 7.6%, depending on the operating margin the private company was seeking, the report’s analysis states.

    The leak to the Advocate has leant ammunition to critics of the administration’s plan.

    “Premiums will rise and coverages will lessen,” state Sen. Butch Gautreaux (D) told TPM in an email. “The cost of doing business will rise by more than 10 per cent and profits will have to include corporate taxes and ROI [return on investment] to stockholders.”

    But the administration strongly disputed the Advocate’s conclusion.

    “It’s a falsehood,” Division of Administration spokesperson Michael DiResto told TPM in an email Tuesday morning. “The Advocate printed a falsehood, and will be requesting a correction.”

    As of press time, the Advocate report had not been altered.

  10. rikyrah says:

    GOP Funding Bill Cuts Assistance To Low-Income Women, While Ensuring Maintenance Of Azalea Collection
    By Pat Garofalo on Jun 13, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    This week, the House plans to vote on the fiscal year 2012 Agriculture appropriations bill, which provides funding to, among other agencies, the Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the nation’s commodities market watchdog). House Republicans have been crowing that this bill cuts agriculture funding by nearly $3 billion from last year’s level, and is coming in $5 billion below President Obama’s 2012 budget request.

    “This legislation reflects hard decisions to cut lower priority programs, reduce spending in programs that can be scaled back, and target funds where they are needed most so that our nation continues on the path to fiscal recovery,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY). Evidently, the House GOP finds nutrition assistance for low-income women and their children to be a “lower priority program,” as the bill cuts the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to such an extent that 325,000 to 475,000 currently eligible women and children will be denied help.

    The bill also cuts funding for the CFTC, despite that agency’s new responsibilities to police derivatives and oil speculation under the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. However, among the GOP priorities in the bill are ensuring that the National Arboretum maintains its azalea collection and calling for regulators to not apply the Animal Welfare Act on movie sets. Here are some of the bill’s highlights:

    – MAINTAINING NATIONAL AZALEA COLLECTION: “The Committee directs the National Arboretum to maintain its National Boxwood Collection and the Glenn Dale Hillside portion of the Azalea Collection. The Committee encourages the National Arboretum to work collaboratively with supporters of the National Arboretum to raise additional funds to ensure the long-term viability of these and other important collections.” [Pg. 13]

    – ENSURING THAT THE ANIMAL WELFARE ACT DOESN’T APPLY TO MOVIE SETS: “While the Animal Welfare Act’s intent is to establish minimally acceptable standards in the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport, and by dealers, the law was not aimed at regulating companion animals used as extras in the background of movies and television productions. The Committee urges the agency to use the Secretary’s discretionary authority to seek alternative means of meeting its statutory mandate, including the option of issuing exemptions or master exhibitor licenses to these pet owners.” [Pg. 19]

    – $4 MILLION INCREASE IN WILDLIFE DAMAGE MANAGEMENT: “Wildlife Damage Management – The Committee provides $72,500,000 for Wildlife Damage Control, approximately $4 million above the President’s request…. Special emphasis should be placed on those areas such as livestock protection…predator control, and other threats to agriculture industries.” [Pg. 20]

    Ensuring that an azalea collection is maintained and giving more funding to wildlife damage management are fine goals, but the GOP is trumpeting this bill — which cuts off hundreds of thousands of women and children from nutrition assistance and prevents regulators from reining in oil speculation that is out of control — as a reflection of their priorities. If that is true, it’s a pretty stark statement as to what House Republicans find important.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Study Finds Philadelphia Anti-Foreclosure Program Very Successful At Keeping Homeowners In Their Homes
    By Pat Garofalo on Jun 15, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    In response to a widespread foreclosure crisis, Philadelphia instituted what’s known as a mortgage mediation program. Under the program, banks are required to meet face-to-face with a borrower before foreclosing, to attempt to come to an agreement that would keep the borrower out of foreclosure. There is no requirement that the two sides come to an agreement, only that they meet.

    Mediation programs have proven successful all across the country in keeping borrowers from losing their homes, and Philadelphia’s is no exception. According to a report from Ira Goldstein of The Reinvestment Fund, nearly 70 percent of borrowers eligible for meeting with their banks participate and about 85 percent of those who strike a deal with their lender are still in their homes 18 months later:

    In 2007, the year before the program began, 27 percent of homeowners in foreclosure lost their homes. That fell to 14.5 percent in the six months after the program began, then to 5.7 percent thereafter, Goldstein found. In the first year of the program, 5,000 homeowners took advantage of it, according to data released in June 2009. Of agreements reached through June 2009, 733, or 84.6 percent of 866 homeowners, remained in their homes 18 months later.

    “The success is we set the table. And we require the guests to come to the table,” said Judge Annette Rizzo, who set up the program. “Once you get that one-on-one, where the case’s facts come to light, that’s when individual deals come.”

    Programs like this one, as we’ve noted before, could be key to combating the housing crisis, which has continued unabated for years. New data shows that housing prices have suffered a larger plunge in the last few years than they did during the Great Depression, while federal anti-foreclosure programs have fallen flat due to bank intransigence.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Issa Refuses To Let ATF Agents Testify Against ‘Toothless’ Gun Laws (VIDEO)
    Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) wouldn’t let ATF agents testifying before his House Oversight Committee hearing Wednesday on the controversial Project Gunrunner say how weak U.S. gun laws were making it difficult for them to catch criminals smuggling assault weapons to Mexican drug cartels.

    Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) asked one of the agents if weak gun laws made their prosecutions difficult.

    “One of you in your testimonies called these laws to prosecute ‘toothless.’ Could explain to me — why are existing straw purchase laws ‘toothless’?” Maloney asked.

    Issa butted in to say that their ATF agent’s opinions on U.S. gun laws would not be “considered valid testimony.”

    “I want to caution the witnesses that the scope of this, your testimony here is limited, and that it’s not about proposed legislation and the like and under House rules would not fall within the scope of this,” Issa said. “So, anecdotally you can have opinions but ultimately it would not be considered valid testimony.

    Eventually, ATF Special Agent Peter Forcelli gave an answer.

    “My opinion, ma’am, is that with these types of cases, for somebody to testify against members of a cartel where the alternative is seeing a probation officer once a month, they will opt towards not cooperating with the law enforcement authorities,” Forcelli said.

    Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA) also chimed in to encourage witnesses to speak freely.

    “I want to respectfully suggest, however, that I think we urged you to speak freely at some risk, and that means answering questions freely, without interference from any other member of this committee,” Connolly said.

    “We don’t censor content here. The hearing has a scope, but if you feel an answer to a question requires amplification, you don’t need to be mindful of the scope and and an individual member of this committee has a individual right to ask questions, solicit answers without censorship,” Connolly said. “I want you to have that confidence just as we begin this hearing, urging you to speak freely, so you can speak freely and answer questions, including questions by this member.”

  13. rikyrah says:

    A nominee already? Romney skips ahead
    Published Jun 15, 2011 at 3:00 am (Updated Jun 14, 2011)

    Mitt Romney did a good job at Monday night’s Republican presidential debate. But not that good.

    The former Massachusetts governor used his previous presidential campaign experience to come across as polished and presidential in the debate. It helped that his opponents refused to go after him, preferring instead to play nice and criticize President Obama. It’s a lot easier to win a contest when the other side isn’t playing too hard. But Romney apparently let his good night go to his head.

    Like a smart candidate, Romney stayed in New Hampshire and did some retail campaigning on Tuesday. In the morning he stopped at Benson Lumber and Hardware in Derry. There, he chatted with Brad Benson, owner of the company. According to CNN, Romney had this to say to Benson:

    “I will probably be back in four years. Only this time it will be a larger group and I will probably have Secret Service.”

    Governor, you won a debate, not an election.

    Maybe he was kidding. At a stop in Manchester, he projected the more humble demeanor that often characterizes his conversations with voters in New Hampshire. National Review Online reported that someone asked to take a photo with him. His response: “If I win, you can save it, and I’ll sign it. If I lose, just press delete.” Nice. However, at the same event, he told people to vote for him in “November” before realizing his mistake and correcting himself. Hmmm.

    Gov. Romney, the candidate without a necktie, might be forgetting that Granite Staters prefer hard-working and humble to high-falutin’ and haughty. It would serve him well to remember.

    • “I will probably be back in four years. Only this time it will be a larger group and I will probably have Secret Service.”

      He wants it bad! That’s why they’re so envious of President Obama!

    • Ametia says:

      Dear Mittens, I am waiting for the teabagging, racists, and bigots to prove me wrong about supporting and voting for a Mormon.

  14. rikyrah says:

    An Outrageous But Revealing Ad
    by BooMan
    Wed Jun 15th, 2011 at 11:51:12 AM EST

    Zandar calls it “the most spectacularly offensive political ad I’ve seen in recent years.” I wonder if that is an understatement. I can’t think of a political ad that has ever even come close to being as offensive as the one created by Ladd Ehlinger for the special election in California’s 36th District. The advertisement, paid for by Turn Right PAC on behalf of Republican candidate Craig Huey is shocking on every level. It portrays the Democratic candidate, Janice Hahn, as a stripper with dollar bills stuffed into her underwear. It has two black gangster rappers calling Hahn a “bitch” and a “Ho,” and asking her for money as she shakes her rump for the camera. The details don’t matter, but the ad is based entirely on lies.

    It’s kind of fascinating how the Republicans think about black people and black culture. One feature of this ad that is bit different from others is that it is guaranteed to get a lot of attention but probably not that much airplay on television because it is so obscene. To watch it on YouTube you need to sign into your account to verify that you are 18 years-old. It’s not clear whether cable news will be willing to show more than some sanitized clips, since it is so offensive to Ms. Hahn.

    I used to live in what is now California’s 36th District. If you’ve ever been to Venice Beach you can imagine what a poor fit this ad is for the district, which is quite diverse and tolerant. I used to play basketball all the time with the Venice Crips. At the time, they were mainly engaged in selling guns and assault rifles rather than drugs. They were definitely an unsavory group and I was a little hesitant to call fouls on them. But, as far as LA gangs of the early 1990’s went, they were pretty tame and had no problem getting schooled by a white guy. They used to call me “Danny Ainge motherfucker” and “Larry fucking Bird.” In any case, having former gang members or imprisoned gang members talk to the kids and try to steer them away from a life of crime is not a bad thing.

    You know, this ad may be outrageous, but it’s honest. It tells you how one side of our political divide understands the problems people face in our cities. It exposes all their prejudices and their ignorance and their lack of empathy and their refusal to think creatively, and their outright hatred.

    I hope they keep making these ads. They’re like a public service announcement that educates the public about a real threat. It’s just not the threat they intended to warn us about.

  15. rikyrah says:

    they censored the Democrats for TELLING THE TRUTH about their PLAN TO DESTROY MEDICARE.

    From Washington Monthly:
    June 15, 2011 1:30 PM
    GOP censors House Dems’ Medicare message
    By Steve Benen

    The word “censorship” is often misused, but in a case like this, it fits.

    Democratic House Members are lashing out at Republican leadership over rejected mass mailings, saying their messages lambasting the GOP budget plan and its effect on Medicare are being censored.

    They say Republicans on the House franking commission, which screens the content of mass mailings paid for with Congressional funds, have become more sensitive after Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) won a special election May 24 after campaigning against the plan authored by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Five Democrats wrote to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday asking him to intervene.

    Members of Congress are entitled to use public funds to send mailings to their constituents. A franking commission reviews the mailings for potential abuses — lawmakers can’t use these materials for explicit campaign purposes, for example — but it takes quite a bit to have a piece rejected.

    Suddenly, that’s changed.

    House Dems routinely used these mailings to criticize Republican plans to “end” Medicare, but after the Democratic win in upstate New York, the House GOP is now preventing Dems from sending materials with identical language.

    Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), for example, was told his mailing wouldn’t be sent unless he changed the language to say the GOP plan would “change” or “could privatize portions” of Medicare. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) ran into the same problem, except this time, the franking commission prohibited the use of the word “voucher.” They’re not alone.

    Keep in mind, the Dems’ messages were entirely accurate. Republicans, however, are saying the Democratic mailings can’t go out unless Dems use the specific wording the GOP prefers.

    Connolly called this “Orwellian,” adding, “It is the most extreme censorship I have ever encountered.”

    Also note when the policy changed. In April, Dem mailings were approved with the word “end” and “voucher.” Hell, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) had a leaflet with a tombstone emblazoned with “RIP Medicare,” and it was approved to.

    But when Kathy Hochul won, suddenly, the GOP decided it was time to start dictating to Dems which words were permissible, and which weren’t. Republicans just don’t have a leg to stand on here — if certain words were permissible before May 24, there’s no reason to censor those identical words after May 24.

    Since they can’t win fairly, and with LIES, they try to change the rules.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Cummings Says Blacks Will Again Turn Out for Obama
    By John Stanton
    Roll Call Staff
    June 14, 2011, 9:34 a.m.

    Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said he believes President Barack Obama can count on another historic turnout of black voters in 2012, despite flagging enthusiasm for his presidency among some liberal groups.

    Black voters “feel that the president is going up a mountain of ice. They feel that he has done miraculous things under the greatest of opposition,” Cummings said. “They will want him to serve another term. Because I think most of them realize this is probably a once-in-a-lifetime situation,” Cummings said.

    “And to be frank with you, you know, for African-American people, this president, President Obama winning means so much more than most people can even imagine.”

    Since Obama’s inauguration, the black community has begun to see significant transformations, Cummings explained. Prior to his election, the presidency was not something black men and women viewed as an achievable goal for themselves or their children.

    But now, Cummings said, “We notice an interesting thing in Baltimore where the drop-out rate among African-American males has gone down — in other words, it’s much better now. And it’s significantly better, and when I talk to the kids, they now see this guy who looks like them and they are saying, ‘We have no excuses, we can do this.'”

    Black voters have also become significantly more engaged in the political process generally, which should help Obama, Cummings said.

    “You have my mother, who [is] 85, never watched CNN or MSNBC, and she is calling me every other day. ‘Make sure you look out for the president.’ ‘You know you better vote for that thing …’ I didn’t even know my mother watched CNN. Next thing she’ll be reading Roll Call,” he joked.

  17. Gov. Rick Perry Claims He’s a Prophet

  18. Ed Shultz post this jpg on his page!

  19. Lawmakers sue President Obama over Libya

    A bipartisan group of House members announced on Wednesday that it is filing a lawsuit charging that President Obama made an illegal end-run around Congress when he approved U.S military action against Libya.

    “With regard to the war in Libya, we believe that the law was violated. We have asked the courts to move to protect the American people from the results of these illegal policies,” said Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who led the 10-member anti-war coalition with Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.).

  20. Ametia says:

    Posted at 12:41 PM ET, 06/15/2011 Whoops! Boehner a month late on Libya war clock
    By Adam Serwer
    Yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner released a letter slamming the administration for failing to comply with the 90 day time limit in the War Powers Act, which requires the president to acquire authorization from Congress to continue military operations in Libya:

    Since the mission began, the Administration has provided tactical operational briefings to the House of Representatives, but the White House has systematically avoided requesting a formal authorization for its action. It has simultaneously sought, however, to portray that its actions are consistent with the War Powers Resolution. The combination of these actions has left many Members of Congress, as well as the American people, frustrated by the lack of clarity over the Administration’s strategic policies, by a refusal to acknowledge and respect the role of the Congress, and by a refusal to comply with the basic tenets of the War Powers Resolution.

    There’s only one problem: The time limit in the WPA isn’t 90 days. It’s 60 days. As former Bush-era head of the Office of Legal Counsel Jack Goldsmith writes, the extra 30 days are permitted only if the president “determines and certifies to the Congress in writing that unavoidable military necessity respecting the safety of United States Armed Forces requires the continued use of such armed forces in the course of bringing about a prompt removal of such forces.”

    This is an unfortunate error in a letter that charges the President with not paying adequate attention to the WPR. It is also an obvious error. I wonder why the Speaker (or his advisors) made it? Perhaps to distract from the fact that responsible congressional pushback against the President’s Libya intervention under the WPR should have come at least a month earlier

  21. Newt Gingrich: 2012 Campaign Staff Exodus Makes Me ‘Feel Liberated’ (VIDEO)

    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said during an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday night that he feels “liberated” by the mass exodus of staffers from his presidential campaign.

    Last week, news of aides jumping ship from the Gingrich 2012 political operation sent shockwaves across the political spectrum. Campaign manager Rob Johnson and spokesman Rick Tyler were just two of numerous members of the presidential candidate’s team to resign.

    “I frankly feel liberated,” said Gingrich in addressing the campaign upheaval. “With the exception of only one person, all of my original team is still with me. And in every single state where we loss some people, we’ve actually gained new people who are excited by the idea that we could have a genuinely different grassroots campaign to change Washington.”

  22. Ametia says:


    Huntsman Money Made in China Challenges Obama Envoy’s White House Hopes
    By John McCormick – Jun 14, 2011 8:00 PM CT
    An early 1970s photo in a Huntsman Corp. (HUN) annual report shows a smiling young Jon Huntsman Jr. holding a dozen eggs in polystyrene packaging, an innovation that helped make a fortune for the family business.

    The chemical company and Huntsman name would later help the family scion win Utah’s governorship, make him a multimillionaire and position him for White House appointments, including as President Barack Obama’s ambassador to China. The company also is fodder for opponents as Huntsman prepares to formally announce his Republican presidential bid next week.

    Huntsman Corp.’s revenue in China surged 57 percent from 2009 to 2010 during his ambassadorship, almost two decades after its entrance there, data compiled by Bloomberg shows. The company’s expansion in the world’s second-largest economy offers a target for rivals when U.S. unemployment is shaping the 2012 presidential race.

    “China has become a bigger and bigger issue in recent elections, especially exporting jobs to China,” said John Feehery, a Republican strategist in Washington who isn’t working with any of the presidential campaigns. “If I were an opposition researcher, I would have a field day with this.”

    Tepid job creation is poised to be the top issue in the campaign, with the economy struggling to gain strength amid 9.1 percent unemployment following the worst recession since the 1930s. Feehery said that environment could make recent comments by Huntsman’s chief executive officer problematic.

  23. rikyrah says:

    China’s “Born in the USA” Frenzy

    When Liu Li boarded a plane for the United States, she had a little bit of makeup on, was wearing a loose dress, and had her hair up. She tried to hold her handbag in front of her belly in a natural way, just as the middleman had taught her. She was trying to look as calm as any wealthy Chinese lady would look when travelling abroad. But Liu Li couldn’t help feeling terribly nervous: she was six months pregnant when she left for the United States, where she wanted to give birth to an American citizen. (See: “On the Cutting Edge [EM] China’s Extraordinary Buildings”)

    Liu Li knew that going through customs would be a lot easier than obtaining a U.S. visa. In order to obtain the tourist visa that enabled her to go to America for the delivery, she had to carefully choose her clothes, and spend a lot of time practicing her walking and interview techniques. She memorized a host of details about her hotel booking and about famous sight-seeing spots so as to convince the Embassy officer that she was just another Chinese woman going shopping in the States.

    The temptation of a ‘born in the USA’ child

    Giving birth to a child abroad is not a privilege reserved to the stars and the very wealthy. An increasing number of expectant middle-class parents also fancy giving their children passports that they can feel proud of. “The return on investment is higher than robbing a bank,” the consultancy agent tells women such as Liu. When Chinese children are born in America, they automatically become U.S. citizens. Once they reach 21, their parents will be able to apply for green cards and emigrate.

    Those who would prefer a closer destination can go to Hong Kong, whose passport gives access to more than 120 countries without the need of a visa. Advantages include the fact that children will receive bilingual education (which will give them a foothold in the international world), and the fact that they will also enjoy the preferential policies for going to Chinese universities.

    After consulting quite a few agencies for expectant mothers, Liu Li chose a reputable one. Airplane tickets, fees for labor, pre- and post-delivery care cost her roughly 20,000. Since most airlines refuse to accept women passengers who are more than 32 weeks pregnant, Liu Li set off for America when she was six months pregnant and then checked into a Chinese birthing center in California.

    After her arrival, Liu Li realized that the area was full of facilities set up for Chinese women like herself. On the limited occasions when Liu Li goes to the Punete Hill Mall near her birthing center – the facility limits walks outside its premises to three per week, each time for about three hours – Liu Li bumps into lots of pregnant Chinese women. Birthing centers such as Liu Li’s, which are mostly situated in America’s beautiful west coastal areas, operate without a business license, and try to be as discreet as possible. In April, a number of illegally converted maternity centers in Los Angeles were discovered and shut down, which makes Liu Li very nervous. (See: “China Stamps Out Democracy Protests”)

    Incompatible nationalities

    Going to the United States to give birth and taking a foreign born child back to China usually proves relatively easy. The difficult part starts only later, as Song Jingwen is starting to understand. Because her son has a U.S. passport, the law does not allow him to be registered in his mother’s local area, which means that he will not be automatically admitted to Chinese schools. Song will have to register him as a foreigner, and pay an extra fee. His access to education and health care also faces a lot of constraints.

    “Some parents obtain fake birth certificates for their children, or cheat the Chinese Embassy to get them Chinese passports. But then they can’t get visas or go abroad,” Song explains. She is still hesitating on what to do next. If Song gets her son a fake hukou (the Chinese registration system), which would make it easier for him to go to a local school, she fears that all the efforts she has made up to now could be in vain.

    A few years ago, Zhao Yong easily obtained a Shanghai hukou for his American born child. “Every time we want to go to the States, we have to get the Hongkong-Macao permit to go though Chinese customs, go to Hong Kong, then fly to the United States and enter the country with the American passport,” Zhao Yong says. “The trip is a little bit complicated, but if we fly directly from Shanghai to the States, we won’t be able to hide the truth.”

    Under Chinese law, double nationality is prohibited. According to the American Embassy, once a child has obtained a Chinese hukou, he is considered to have given up his American nationality. The United States is not the only country with strict regulations. A child born in Hong Kong doesn’t get the Hong Kong resident identity card right away, but has to go back to Hong Kong regularly – every year or two until he is 18 – in order to register as a “returned resident,” and keep his nationality.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Huntsman Money Made in China Challenges Obama Envoy’s White House Hopes
    By John McCormick – Jun 14, 2011 8:00 PM CT

    An early 1970s photo in a Huntsman Corp. (HUN) annual report shows a smiling young Jon Huntsman Jr. holding a dozen eggs in polystyrene packaging, an innovation that helped make a fortune for the family business.

    The chemical company and Huntsman name would later help the family scion win Utah’s governorship, make him a multimillionaire and position him for White House appointments, including as President Barack Obama’s ambassador to China. The company also is fodder for opponents as Huntsman prepares to formally announce his Republican presidential bid next week.

    Huntsman Corp.’s revenue in China surged 57 percent from 2009 to 2010 during his ambassadorship, almost two decades after its entrance there, data compiled by Bloomberg shows. The company’s expansion in the world’s second-largest economy offers a target for rivals when U.S. unemployment is shaping the 2012 presidential race.

    “China has become a bigger and bigger issue in recent elections, especially exporting jobs to China,” said John Feehery, a Republican strategist in Washington who isn’t working with any of the presidential campaigns. “If I were an opposition researcher, I would have a field day with this.”

    Tepid job creation is poised to be the top issue in the campaign, with the economy struggling to gain strength amid 9.1 percent unemployment following the worst recession since the 1930s. Feehery said that environment could make recent comments by Huntsman’s chief executive officer problematic.

    Asia Growth

    “We now employ more people between China and India than we do in North America, which is really quite phenomenal when you consider that about 90 percent of our associates 10 years ago were in North America,” CEO Peter Huntsman, 48, a younger brother of the potential candidate, told an industry conference on June 8.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Maybe imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
    by Kay

    One of the awful things about Obama’s Presidency has been watching the absolute hatred and vitriol directed at First Lady Michelle Obama. It’s puzzling, because Michelle Obama is a completely straightforward person. She is the last person I would suspect of having a hidden agenda. I think what you see with Michelle Obama is what you get.

    Michelle Obama’s life so far is remarkable or odd or unusual only in that’s she’s been successful at everything she’s done, and she’s done a lot. Most people fail at something or other in their personal or professional lives, and she hasn’t. She’s remarkably…admirable. Other than that, she’s blunt and plain-spoken and not at all mysterious or exotic.

    Paid conservative pundits and media personalities, including professional grifter Sarah Palin, have created a wholly fictional Michelle Obama, a malicious monster that no sane and rational person recognizes.

    Which is why I was amused to read that the wives of two Republican midwestern governors have adopted versions of Michelle Obama’s supposedly wildly controversial and Stalinesque health and fitness initiative:

    Tonette Walker’s role as Wisconsin’s first lady has been slow to evolve, overshadowed by the controversy swirling around her husband’s tumultuous months since being sworn in as governor in January. But she emerged from Scott Walker’s shadow this month when she ventured onto the trails of a state park to launch her initiative promoting a healthy lifestyle and the Badger State’s natural beauty. She was motivated to initiate her “Walk with Walker” program because she is a diabetic and therefore knows the importance of exercise.

    Isn’t “Tonette Walker” the perfect name to have when you’re promoting walking for fitness? She gets points for that alone.

    Karen Kasich, wife of Ohio Gov. John Kasich, dribbled a basketball awkwardly by her own admission in a gym full of about 70 children as part of the University of Toledo’s National Youth Sports Program. Mrs. Kasich, who is physically active herself—she ran a marathon last year—talked to the campers about staying healthy and preparing for their futures before hopping onto the court “I’m sure [the children] enjoyed it,” Mrs. Kasich said. “It was probably rather humorous. Basketball is not my sport; I learned a new move.”

    Mrs. Kasich called childhood obesity an epidemic and stressed the importance of exploring new sports that will keep children moving. She also told the children to choose healthful options when eating, and to “just say no” to drugs.

    Let’s be brutally honest, Mrs. Kasich, this is “Let’s Move” without attribution. Would have been generous to give Michelle a little credit, but I suppose that’s politically untenable.

    Why do conservatives object to Michelle Obama promoting health and fitness, yet not object to the wives of two far-Right midwestern governors promoting health and fitness?

    I’ll leave you with paid conservative propogandist and media professional Megyn Kelly, who asked some hard-hitting questions on this issue:

    KELLY: You know, here’s my question for you, this is why I raised it—I understand politics are politics, right? People don’t like who they don’t like. But why so much criticism on the First Lady? Why so much focus on this First Lady?

    KELLY: Is it something about Michelle Obama? Has she been more vocal on policy? Is it those comments that she made during the campaign that were controversial about being proud of her country for the first time that people are holding against her? What do you think it is? Because we didn’t hear this about Laura Bush.

    Good question, Megyn! No, we didn’t hear this about Laura Bush. But you’re directing the question at the wrong person, Megyn. It isn’t Michelle Obama’s job to explain why the entire Right wing media enterprise find her so objectionable. We, and she, don’t know what the hell your problem is with the First Lady. We can’t figure it out.

    Instead, Megyn, conservatives might want to try a thought experiment, and look inward. This poison you’re all spewing is coming from you, not from anything Michelle Obama has done. That’s now completely clear, thanks to the wives of two far-Right governors in the midwest who are both doing exactly what Michelle Obama does. Weirdly, they’re not considered at all controversial.

  26. rikyrah says:

    June 15, 2011 10:45 AM

    Would the GOP balk at a payroll tax cut?
    By Steve Benen

    Ideally, the White House would be pushing an ambitious approach to stimulating economic growth and job creation, but the West Wing isn’t inclined to invest energy in a plan that can’t pass. Instead, there’s growing support, from President Obama and others, for a payroll tax cut, which would at least be a step in the right direction.

    Indeed, the Wall Street Journal reports that White House officials brought up this and related ideas during closed-door debt-reduction talks yesterday, suggesting this is moving beyond the talk-about phase.

    For Dems, this may seem like an attractive option because they don’t have much of a choice. Since the GOP opposes public investment for philosophical reasons, it’s either this or nothing. And with Republicans reflexively supporting every tax cut, this shouldn’t be too tough, right? Wrong.

    [T]he payroll tax idea received a lukewarm response on Capitol Hill. Even Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R.,Utah), a strong past supporter of payroll tax relief, reacted cautiously. “I’d like an independent analysis of its effectiveness,” he said.

    Keep in mind, Hatch has always supported this idea, and has never cared a lick about independent analysis of the efficacy of tax cuts. Is he balking now because President Obama wants the same thing, or is Hatch concerned the idea might work?

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), meanwhile, told Brian Beutler that talk of a payroll cut is “circulating,” but the Republican wouldn’t commit either way.

    Under the circumstances, I suppose the fact that GOP officials haven’t ruled this out entirely is a good sign.

    Meanwhile, the NYT’s David Leonhardt argues this morning that participants in the bipartisan talks “will need to increase the deficit in some modest, targeted ways that could increase hiring … [and] at the same time, negotiators will have to find enough medium-term spending cuts and tax increases to bring down the deficit soon.”

    Doing so, Leonhardt said, “will require some political maturity.”

    I’m afraid that means success is impossible.

  27. rikyrah says:

    June 15, 2011
    Those horrified neo-neoconservatives
    Rarely in the history of newspaper publishing has such a preeminent organ of the fourth estate so cruelly missed the point. From the NY Times:

    The hawkish consensus on national security that has dominated Republican foreign policy for the last decade is giving way to a more nuanced view, with some presidential candidates expressing a desire to withdraw from Afghanistan as quickly as possible and suggesting that the United States has overreached in Libya….

    The array of Republican viewpoints, which have drawn new lines among neo-conservatives, Tea Party supporters, traditional hawks and other elements of the party, were on display during the first major presidential debate on Monday night, as the candidates started to mull the limits of American power at a time when some of the threats to the nation are less clear and its willingness to commit resources of all kinds is being looked at anew.

    There is no GOP mulling “of the limits of American power,” and there sure as hell is no “nuanced view” among its vastly opportunistic, major presidential candidates. Like everything else in Republicans’ dimestore Weltanschauung, there may be shifts, but those shifts are wholly politically motivated and altogether researched and developed for mass-marketing purposes only.

    When Republicans knew they could thump their nationalistic chests and recklessly commit American power overseas and humiliate the political opposition with cries of its “weakness,” they did. Now that President Obama is prosecuting same, without the hubris and recklessness, they claim to be horrified by military commitments and appalled by any political spin ever put on national security.

    Their foreign-policy perspective is as simple, as straightforward, as utterly mindless as: Whatever Obama is doing, we’re against it. That, in seven words, is the entire GOP playbook on how to confront the immeasurably complex mutations of international relations.

    Only at the very end of the Times piece did Jeff Zeleny’s reporting even approach the political reality of Republican foreign policy:

    John Ullyot, a former Marine intelligence officer who served as a Republican spokesman on the Senate Armed Services Committee during the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, said Tuesday that the party’s unified approach to foreign policy is steadily shifting.

    “Republicans clearly sense fatigue among voters with our decade-long effort in Afghanistan, particularly after the killing of Bin Laden and the lack of a reliable partner,” Mr. Ullyot said. “There is no stampede yet, but more Republicans are willing to raise tougher questions when it comes to committing our forces and sustaining long-term and costly engagements.”

    In short, they never really meant it. “It” was popular then, so they pushed it. It’s looking unpopular now — with you-know-who at the helm — so they’re agin’ it.

    Integrity, always integrity.

  28. Ametia says:


    Minnesota Prepares For Possible Government Shutdown

    Things are heating up in Minnesota this summer where the state government is facing a $5 billion deficit. If a budget deal isn’t reached by the end of the month, it’s lights out.

    Gov. Mark Dayton (D) is looking to increase taxes on the top 2 percent of wealthy Minnesotans and cut spending, while Republicans propose balancing the budget entirely with spending cuts.

    “We have to use a balanced approach to closing this deficit,” Dayton press secretary Katharine Tinucci told TPM. “People in Minnesota expect a balanced approach.”

    Tinucci said the Republican spending-cuts plan is too “drastic.” “It’s not good for Minnesota,” she said. “It would be too painful.”

    In the event of a possible shutdown, the state is making emergency preparations. On Friday, about 40,000 state employees received layoff notices. Dayton in a statement called it a “grim reminder” of the looming deadline. Employees who are deemed “critical” would be kept on the job for the duration of the shutdown, Minnesota Management & Budget spokesman John Pollard told TPM.

    “Other employees would be recalled once a budget is passed into law,” he said.

    Ultimately it will be up to the courts to decide which services are considered essential for the state. State Attorney General Lori Swanson offered a grave warning on Monday in a petition to the Ramsey County District Court. Dayton is expected to file a supplemental petition Wednesday, as well.

    From the Star Tribune:

    In a petition to Ramsey County District Court, Lori Swanson said that unless a court keeps core services running, sexual predators could be out on the streets, veterans turned out of nursing homes, unemployment checks left languishing, and there would be a “catch-and-release” criminal justice system if no judges were able to preside over hearings.
    “The operations of state government cannot completely shut down,” Swanson told the court.

  29. rikyrah says:

    June 15, 2011
    Romney’s gossamer flings

    I’m not particularly troubled by Mitt Romney’s rather peculiar, public personality of hyper-wholesome inelegance — what Dana Milbank labels this morning as “equal parts ‘Leave It to Beaver’ corniness and social awkwardness” — mostly because I’ve enormous sympathy for anyone who must try to behave as a complete stranger’s best or long-lost friend, just to get his or her vote, which is the quadrennial curse of all early-primary candidates.

    Besides, other chief executives have been endowed with their share of personal weirdness: Tom Jefferson would flop around the White house in slippers and bedrobes and greet diplomatic envoys in such; FDR would mix afternoon cocktails for invited guests and declare his to be “Yummy!”; and Richard Nixon was so frightened by humanity that his forehead lived in a physiological state of permanent beads of sweat. And two of those president are properly ranked “great.”

    So as for Mitt? Let him ply his personal awkwardness. Who cares? What does trouble, though, is Mitt’s apparent cranial vacuum; and what troubles even more is that no one in the press bothers to tenaciously inquire about it.

    To explain: Romney persists in pronouncing Obama’s economic policies to be disastrous, calamitous, yada yada; then he invariably adds that what this country needs is a good, private-sector job-creation plan. Peachy. But what’s the plan?

    Is it that in January, 2013, private employers will recognize that the new U.S. president possesses business experience (chiefly that of laying off thousands of workers) and so will automatically leap to hire by the millions, notwithstanding the economy’s absence of aggregate demand? The latter of which was exacerbated, by the way, by Congressional Republicans having slashed government spending?

    What, will Romney announce that his economic plan is a secret one — like Nixon’s peace plan? — and we’ll just have to wait to be awed?

    Have I missed something from Mitt? Has he itemized any economic plan — any real plan? — other than his abstract catechism of private-sector mumbo-jumbo and free-market hocus-pocus and, naturally, more tax-cutting humbug?

    To the political press: Would you mind, terribly much, asking him?


    Let’s give this “problematic Latino Texas legislators” thing one more go-around; it’s that important. News Taco reported yesterday that a prominent Texas Tea Party activist had single-handedly determined that the problem with Texas’ congress is that there are Latinos in it. She didn’t say that in so many words, but that’s the gist of her revelation.

    Rebecca Forest, founder of the Immigration Reform Coalition of Texas, stood in front of the State Capitol in Austin, spoke into a microphone and said,

    If you want to know why we can’t pass legislation in Texas it’s because we have 37, no 36, Hispanics in the Legislature. All of the states that have passed legislation have a handful and I mean literally, some of them have no Hispanic legislators, well, maybe 3 or 5 or something. So that’s, umm, part of our problem and we need to change those numbers.

    That’s about as toxic a statement as toxic political statements get. Every conservative politician from Amarillo to Brownsville is distancing themselves from it, especially Texas Governor Rick Perry who’s flirting with the Tea Parry about a possible run for the presidency. Perry’s strategy has been to keep the GOP and the media guessing about his candidacy while making speeches and statements that are designed to endear him to the Tea Party faithful. According to the Houston Chronicle Forest’s comment

    was quickly condemned by the Republican leadership, with Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus all issuing statements.

    It’s going to be hard for the Texas Tea Party to shake free from this one. It was a hate filled, racist comment and the Tea Party folks gave Forest the time and the microphone to make her statement.

    The truth is that there are in fact many Latinos in the Texas congress. The Fort Worth Star Telegram reports:

    Texas actually has a higher percentage of Latino lawmakers in its state legislature than nearly every other state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. As of 2009, all but a handful of states had five or fewer Latino state legislators. Texas had 37.

    Your thoughts, Luis Gutierrez?

    • Ametia says:

      “Your thoughts, Luis Gutierrez?’

      Gutierrez is TOO busy making the media rounds bashing the Black POTUS while the crackas are hatin on Latinos.

  31. Christie “100 Percent Certain” on ’12

    Chris Christie said Monday that he understands the argument for why he should run, but remains committed to sitting out the 2012 presidential race.

    The New Jersey governor did not shut the door on a future presidential run during an interview Monday night with CNN’s Piers Morgan, but definitively stated again that he will remain in Trenton.

    “You said, I think, you more likely would commit suicide than to run for president. Can we hold you to that, governor?” Morgan asked Christie, to which the governor responded: “Yes, you can.”

    “I’m 100 percent certain I’m not going to run,” the Republican said, adding that his wife didn’t particularly appreciate the suicide line.

    Conservatives have fallen hard for Christie’s aggressive style in fighting state employee unions in New Jersey and have been calling for him to run in a field that appears to have an opening for him. Christie said the rationale for conservatives pushing him to run are “appropriate and maybe accurate tactical judgments,” but contended his decision has not been driven by the political calculus.

  32. President Obama and The First Lady host Congressional Picnic at the White House
    June 15, 2011 7:00 PM EDT

  33. rikyrah says:

    June 15, 2011 – Santorum Trails Romney, Obama In Pennsylvania, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Casey Runs Strong, But Short Of 50 Percent Mark

    Word format

    Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum trails former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney among Keystone State Republicans and trails President Barack Obama 49 – 38 percent in an early look at the 2012 presidential election, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

    Romney leads the Republican primary pack with 21 percent, followed by Santorum with 16 percent, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with 11 percent and no other candidate above 8 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Another 17 percent of Republicans are undecided.

    In possible presidential election matchups, President Obama tops Romney 47 – 40 percent and leads Santorum 49 – 38 percent. Independent voters back Obama, 41 – 37 percent over Romney and 46 – 35 percent over Santorum.

    Obama gets a split 48 – 48 percent job approval rating in Pennsylvania, compared to a negative 42 – 53 percent April 28, his lowest Quinnipiac University poll number in the Keystone State. Independent voters split 48 – 47 percent, compared to a negative 37 – 57 percent April 28th.

    Voters say 48 – 46 percent that Obama deserves to be reelected, also up from a negative 42 – 52 percent. Again, independent voters go from a negative 37 – 56 percent April 28 to a slightly negative 46 – 49 percent today.

    “Whether it’s still the Osama bin Laden bounce or because voters are taking a closer look at the alternatives, President Barack Obama’s fortunes in Pennsylvania, a critical swing state in presidential elections, has improved – at least for now,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

    “Independent voters, a critical bloc, have shifted dramatically in the six weeks since President Obama suffered his all-time low in Pennsylvania.”

    “Native son Rick Santorum is not feeling the love among Pennsylvania Republicans or among voters in general,” Malloy added. “But Santorum does better in a GOP primary than other more nationally-known candidates such as Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, who gets just 5 percent of the Republican vote.”

    Sen. Bob Casey, Jr.

    Pennsylvania voters approve 47 – 26 percent of the job Sen. Bob Casey, Jr., is doing, with 27 percent undecided. Republicans are split 37 – 38 percent, with 24 percent undecided.

    Voters say 47 – 31 percent, including 46 – 34 percent among independent voters, that Casey deserves to be reelected in 2012.

    Running against an unnamed Republican challenger, Casey wins 47 – 32 percent, including 44 – 26 percent among independent voters.

    “You can’t beat somebody with nobody and right now nobody is emerging as a possible Republican challenger to Sen. Bob Casey, Jr.,” Malloy said.

    “Pennsylvania voters like their senior senator, but more than one-in-four are undecided. And in three measures, job approval, deserves reelection and Casey v. nobody, Casey is short of that magic 50 percent mark that allows incumbents to sleep more comfortably at night.”

  34. rikyrah says:

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    Who could have ever predicted …

    by digby

    … that when the Chamber of Commerce president Thomas Donohue was asked if Congress was going to raise the debt ceiling, he would say:

    Yes, it will be raised, Donohue answered, mainly because the country can not afford to not pay its bills. To those newly-elected representatives who say they aren’t going to raise the debt ceiling and will shut down government, Donohue said the U.S. Chamber has its own message: “We’ll get rid of you.”

    He then went on to praise U.S. House Speaker John Boehner for his Congressional leadership.

    “He’s growing into his shorts,” Donohue said. “He’s put on his big boy pants.”

    The Big Money Boyz were never going to let the tea party muck around with things they consider to be above their pay grade. (In that respect, democracy itself is the big kabuki game.) I’m sure they’ve sent the same message to the Democrats who are dutifully putting on their “big boy pants” too and it’s very likely that Obama will get a nice, tidy bipartisan vote on the debt ceiling.

    Brad DeLong thinks this means they will also get a clean vote which would actually be the best possible outcome and I fervently hope that’s what happens. But if I had to guess, I’d say that both sides will get what they wanted out of these “negotiations.” The Republicans wanted cuts, we know that. What the Democrats wanted out of this remains a mystery. But seeing as this raising of the debt limit has always been a foregone conclusion, we’ll know what it is when we see the “deal.”

    The Big Money Boyz just freed the hostages.


    • Ametia says:

      THIS: ” It’s very likely that Obama will get a nice, tidy bipartisan vote on the debt ceiling.”

      GOP= grandstanding, until the big $$ fat cats bring down the hammer.

  35. rikyrah says:

    It’s Not About Race: Obama Trounces Cain With African American Voters
    June 13, 2011
    By Jason Easley

    Ahead of tonight’s Republican debate some conservatives might be thinking that Herman Cain could bring in some African American voters, but according to PPP survey of South Carolina, Obama destroys Cain with African American voters, 93%-4%.

    PPP tested the idea that Herman Cain would be popular with African-Americans in their latest South Carolina poll. The pollster found that Cain had only a 12% approval rating with African Americans and a 52% disapproval rating.

    Overall, Cain is a relative unknown in the state. He has a 26% favorable rating, a 35% unfavorable rating, and 39% were not sure. Obama beats Cain 43%-40% head to head, but it is clear that most of that support is coming from white male Republicans. (Cain’s favorability with women in the state is only 21%).

    Since Obama was elected in 2008, the constant conservative assumption has been that African Americans support Obama because he is black. It is this belief that makes some Republicans think that Herman Cain is a viable candidate for 2012, which is just like how they assumed that women would vote for Sarah Palin because she is a woman in 2008. In case you don’t remember how that one turned out, women voted 56%-43%, and unmarried women, 70%-29% for Obama.

    Republicans like to comfort themselves with the thought that Obama’s 2008 victory was a novelty based on race, but just like women, African Americans aren’t stupid. All Americans minority or not look for a candidate that speaks to them about the issues that they care most about. If Republicans want African-Americans to support them, instead of floating a gimmick like Herman Cain, they should be talking about the issues that are most important to African American voters.

    Barack Obama was elected because he was trying to talk to all Americans, but Republicans would rather support novelty candidates like Cain and Palin than have a discussion outside of their older, white, male base.

    It doesn’t matter what race the Republican nominee is if they are not talking to voters about their top issue. Herman Cain has shown himself to be more than willing to carry the Republican message. For example’s his comments published on Bloomberg today that,

    “Barack Obama is more of an international,” Cain said. “I think he’s out of the mainstream and always has been. Look, he was raised in Kenya, his mother was white from Kansas and her family had an influence on him, it’s true, but his dad was Kenyan, and when he was going to school he got a lot of fellowships, scholarships, he stayed in the academic environment for a long time. He spent most of his career as an intellectual.”

    It is not about race. African Americans and millions of other voters support Obama because of his politics, not his skin color. Some on the right have been delegitimizing Obama for so long that they have convinced themselves that he was elected because he is black. They cynically believe that putting another minority on the ballot against Obama is their path to victory, but as the South Carolina poll illustrated African America voters aren’t going to be fooled by camouflaging the same old Republican message in a different color.

    Barack Obama beat John McCain 95%-4% with African American voters in 2008, and Herman Cain got the same percentage with African Americans in 2011.

    If the GOP wants the support of African American voters they should stop trying to trick them, and actually talk to them.

    • Ametia says:

      Black Americans KNOW a SLAVE-CATCHING COON when they see one. ; and Herman Cain’s is the face under the word in the urban dictionary.

    • It is not about race. African Americans and millions of other voters support Obama because of his politics, not his skin color.

      When will they learn?

      • Ametia says:

        Do they want to LEARN? Personally, I appreciate and support President Obama because of his skin color TOO. Being BRILLIANTLY INTELLIGENT, loving father, and husband comes with the BLACKNESS. I’m not rying to seperate him from his blackness.

        There are millions of Americans who oppose him because of his skin color. I, for one EMBRACE him because of it. WITH NO APOLOGIES!

  36. rikyrah says:

    June 14, 2011 2:55 PM

    Bernanke urges GOP to stop playing games
    By Steve Benen

    Several months ago, realizing what congressional Republicans were likely to do, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned the GOP not to “play around with” the debt ceiling, adding that lawmakers shouldn’t view the debt ceiling as a “bargaining chip.”

    Obviously, Republicans didn’t care for that advice, and did the exact opposite, explicitly threatening President Obama. Indeed, Republicans have made no effort to hide the nature of their hostage strategy: either Dems accept sweeping cuts or the GOP will crash the economy on purpose.

    Today, the Republican Fed chairman tried again to get GOP lawmakers to understand.

    Ben Bernanke renewed his calls to Congress to stop holding the debt ceiling hostage.

    “I fully understand the desire to use the debt limit deadline to force some necessary and difficult fiscal policy adjustments, but the debt limit is the wrong tool for that important job,” the Federal Reserve chairman said at the annual conference for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget in D.C. on Tuesday. […]

    “Failing to raise the debt ceiling in a timely way would be self-defeating if the objective is to chart a course toward a better fiscal situation for our nation,” he said.

    That “self-defeating” point is of particular interest. Republicans claim to be deeply concerned about a debt crisis, but if they refuse to raise the ceiling — if, in other words, they shoot the proverbial hostage — the national debt would likely go up a lot.

    Also note, Bernanke also said the large federal budget deficit “mostly reflected the automatic cyclical response of revenues and spending to a weak economy as well as the fiscal actions taken to ease the recession and aid the recovery.”

    In other words, Bernanke isn’t going along with Republican talking points on this, either.

    And while we’re at it, we should also keep in mind that the Fed chairman argued just last week that “a sharp fiscal consolidation focused on the very near term could be self-defeating,” and would likely “undercut the still-fragile recovery.”

    Only congressional Republicans could possibly make Ben Bernanke look like a big liberal.

  37. rikyrah says:

    June 15, 2011 8:00 AM

    Why Grover Norquist’s bad day matters
    By Steve Benen

    At first blush, the proceedings on the Senate floor yesterday afternoon may have seemed rather routine. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) pushed a measure to end nearly $6 billion a year in tax subsidies for ethanol, and as expected, the effort came up far short. Coburn’s proposal needed 60 votes, and it got 40.

    But there’s a much larger significance to this that’s worth appreciating. Under the rules of Republican politics, as dictated by Grover Norquist and his anti-tax “pledge,” voting to end industry tax subsidies counts as support for a tax increase — a step GOP lawmakers are supposed to never take under any circumstances. And yet, yesterday, 34 Republicans voted to cut ethanol breaks anyway.

    Ryan Grim and Elise Foley said the move “is likely to have significant repercussions on the debate over spending, revenue and the federal deficit.”

    T]he break with [Norquist] has major implications for the debt ceiling negotiations going on just off the Senate floor Tuesday with Vice President Joe Biden. Republicans are insisting that any measure that increases revenue be off the table. But ending ethanol subsidies is a way of increasing revenue….

    As we’ve discussed many times, some Republicans are willing to parse the meaning of the word “revenue.” GOP officials are demanding a deal to address the debt they created, and they’re demanding that tax rates remain exactly as they are now. But many Republicans haven’t ruled out the possibility of additional revenue as part of a compromise, and the notion of ending some subsidies is on the table. Uber-activist Norquist thinks it counts as a tax increase, but the GOP increasingly disagrees, which is evidence of at least some progress.

    And if Republicans accept additional revenue as part of a debt-reduction deal, the likelihood of a less-insane compromise increases. The more the GOP stops taking orders from Norquist and his ilk, the more constructive the process becomes.

    So, that’s the good news. The bad news is, it only looks like good news because the radicalism of the Republican position has become so commonplace. As Ezra noted this morning, “Instead of revenues being an assumed part of a deficit deal, with the only question being how much of the deal they make up, the question has become whether Republicans will accept any revenues at all in the deficit deal. Including any new revenues at all has been framed as a major concession for the Republicans, which means it’s easier for Republicans to include far less revenue in total. And no matter how you look at it, that’s a win for Grover Norquist.”

  38. rikyrah says:

    June 15, 2011 8:35 AM

    So much for the Great Waiver Scandal
    By Steve Benen

    For several weeks, Republicans have insisted there’s a burgeoning scandal related to the Affordable Care Act. The details of the alleged controversy have never fully come together, but apparently the GOP, Fox News, and their allies want us to believe the Obama administration is issuing waivers to political allies based on nefarious partisan schemes. The argument was even the basis for a strikingly dishonest attack ad from Karl Rove’s American Crossroads.

    Hoping to push this even further, House Republicans requested an investigation from the Government Accountability Office into the waivers. And how’d that work out for them? Not well — the allegations were a bust.

    A much anticipated audit of the waivers to Democrats’ healthcare reform law landed with a whimper on Tuesday despite the GOP’s hopes that it would further embarrass the administration. […]

    “We found that [the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight] granted waivers mostly for applications that projected the annual limit restriction would result in a significant premium increase of more than 10 percent, in addition to a significant decrease in access to benefits,” the report said. “Conversely, most of the denied applications projected a premium increase of 6 percent or less.”

    Democrats immediately embraced the audit.

    “The GAO report finds that (the administration) is implementing this provision — and the temporary waiver provisions — in a fair and unbiased manner to ensure a smooth transition until the full array of reforms are in place,” Energy and Commerce ranking member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said in a statement. “The GAO report confirms that the Republican attacks on (the administration’s) implementation have no basis in fact.”

    What a surprise.

    Fox News has been obsessed with the waivers “issue” for weeks, but as best as I can tell, the network made no reference to the GAO’s findings on the air yesterday. It’s almost as if the revelations had to be ignored because they didn’t fit into the agreed upon Republican narrative.

    Of course, in fairness, it’s also worth noting that Fox wasn’t the only outlet to ignore the news — nearly all mainstream outlets blew off the GAO’s findings, too. I wonder if the coverage might have been different had the GAO’s investigation found hints of wrongdoing.

  39. rikyrah says:

    The Donor Battle
    Mike Murphy suspects that last night’s debate damaged Pawlenty’s fundraising operation:

    Right now there is a fierce underground battle being waged over high dollar campaign donors. If you can’t raise money now, before the voters care, you will not have the resources you need to communicate with them when they do tune in. … For lesser known candidates like Tim Pawlenty this can create a cruel feedback loop; you need money to buy your way up in the polls, yet without good poll numbers it is very hard to raise money. Early debates are important because if you get good media reviews, you can aggressively peddle those to old and new donors to raise money.

  40. rikyrah says:

    June 14, 2011
    A pundit’s vastly imperfect protest

    David Brooks dreams of a new Hamiltonian Party with a “reinvigoration agenda” of entitlement reform, “early childhood education, technical education, community colleges, an infrastructure bank, asset distribution to help people start businesses, a new wave industrial policy,” a simplification of the tax code and a “streamlining” of business regulations and “lower corporate rates, a sane visa policy for skilled immigrants, a sane patent and permitting system, more money for research.”

    Why a new party? Because, contends Brooks, “the two parties contesting this election are unusually pathetic.”

    Republican politicians don’t design policies to meet specific needs, or even to help their own working-class voters. They use policies as signaling devices — as ways to reassure the base that they are 100 percent orthodox and rigidly loyal…. The Republican growth agenda — tax cuts and nothing else — is stupefyingly boring, fiscally irresponsible and politically impossible.

    As for the Democrats, they offer practically nothing…. They still have these grand spending ideas, but there is no longer any money to pay for them and there won’t be for decades…. [T]hey too are trapped in a bygone era. Mentally, they are living in the era of affluence, but, actually, they are living in the era of austerity.

    Brooks’ marked implication is that the two parties shoulder equal culpability for grinding this country to a fiscal pulp and then inflaming us with unrealistic expectations erected on impossible foundations. “[T]he two parties have grown more rigid,” writes Brooks, so “Voters are in the market for new movements and new combinations.”

    I resist the cliche of “false equivalency.” Nevertheless I’ll use it this morning, because Brooks has discovered its Platonic Ideal.

    For decades, Republicans have practiced the political skulduggery of Machiavellian fiscal murder most foul, and they finally have the Dems where they want them, which is in a chasmic hole from which the country may never crawl out. For decades they borrowed and spent and borrowed some more and spent some more and then they borrowed yet more and spent yet more with pornographic abandon, knowing all along they weren’t trying to merely starve the beast of government, but essentially kill it — to confine it in debtors prison and straitjacket our future.

    This the traditionally conservative GOP accomplished by bamboozling a moderately conservative electorate into thinking that its fiscal policies were — what else? — traditional conservative policies, when in reality they were pseudoconservative humbug strategically designed to eviscerate the federal government, to gut New Deal and Great Society entitlements, to slash huge holes in our social safety nets, to maroon us forever on an inhospitable isle of grim austerity.

    Did Democrats fail to sound the alarms? Did they cravenly duck under the GOP’s demagogic fire? Did they cede philosophical territory, inch by inevitably destructive inch? Rhetorical questions all, but to now equate Democratic transgressions of cowardice with Republicans’ sins of aggression, as David Brooks seems to do, is both harsh and unjustifiably harsh. And blind.

    Democrats aided and to some extent abetted, but there is only one indictable villain here — and it is ethically incumbent on authentic conservatives of public intellectualism to unseal that indictment and reveal the culprit’s identity to the rank-and-file, conservative electorate.

    Democratic ideas for a better future can go nowhere because of … Republican crimes; as well, and somewhat ironically, Brooks’ own ideas for a “reinvigoration agenda” under a fanciful Hamiltonian Party can go nowhere because of … Republican crimes. At the hands of a narrow minority of grotesquely reactionary ideologues we have, collectively, been hogtied, cheated, lied to, fettered, hobbled, and now stampeded into a quite possibly inescapable pit of national decline.

    There is a path out, but it must begin with honest conservatives being honest about who, principally, got us here, and why, and how.

  41. rikyrah says:

    June 14, 2011
    A first-rate abyss
    That the question should be asked — is “Michele Bachmann a first-tier candidate” for the presidency of the United States? — is unquestionably the preeminent sign of abysmal direction on the desolate road of the GOP’s intellectual wasteland.

    The woman knows less about her own country’s history than a chronically fidgety, inattentive fifth grader, and her witless McCarthyite proclivities make Joe look like a card-carrying ACLUer. The political “philosophy” in which she’s steeped could be expatiated on one side of a tea bag, and “complexity” is a concept she has yet to encounter in this endlessly complex world.

    That I exaggerate not, or at least not much, is perhaps the saddest comment of them all.

  42. rikyrah says:

    June 14, 2011
    Mitch McConnell: “[We] crazy Republicans”
    The National Journal’s lede contains what first strikes the reader as oozing sarcasm …

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has some advice for President Obama as high-stakes debt and deficit talks intensify this week: Give Republicans all they want in spending cuts and don’t raise taxes

    … until one reads the lubricious quote:

    “I can say pretty confidently, as the speaker has, that we are not going to raise taxes in this agreement,” McConnell told National Journal during a lengthy interview in his Capitol office. “And what the president ought to say to his own political left is, ‘Those crazy Republicans won’t let me raise taxes, but we need to do this for the country.’ “

    There inheres in those lines a complex tangle of arrogance, ignorance, fanaticism and infantilism, clarified chiefly through the profoundly Freudian humor of creeping self-awareness: “[We] crazy Republicans.” Evidently — to us, if not entirely to Sen. McConnell — projecting an image of emotional instability and intellectual deficiency, as one enters negotiations upon which the nation’s precarious future hangs, is now the political image of GOP choice.

    Gone is any preposterous show of solemnity, that burdensome quality of character that once weighed down the serious likes of a Lincoln or Teddy Roosevelt. It made a rough go of governing by whimsy and leading from the hip; better to just confess one’s inner absurdity and let the policy cowchips fall where they may.

    What the hell, it is only, as stated, the nation’s future.

  43. Ametia says:

  44. Ametia says:

  45. Ametia says:

    Disaster relief is immoral according to Mittens, Bachman and nem…

  46. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everybody. Happy HUMP day! :-)

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