Serendipity SOUL |Thursday Open Thread

Wiki: “Love Shack” is a single by rock band The B-52’s. Originally released in 1989 from their album Cosmic Thing, the single was the band’s biggest hit song and first million-copy seller.[1] It was also the band’s first song to reach the Billboard Top 40 charts, peaking at number three,[2] also reaching number two on the UK Singles Chart, and was number one for eight weeks in Australia and also number one on the US Modern Rock Tracks chart.

The song’s lyrics describe an impromptu road trip (in a Chrysler “as big as a whale”) to the “Love Shack”, a dive bar in Montgomery, Alabama. on the Atlanta Highway, where guests dance wildly to a jukebox. One of the guests in the video is the entertainer RuPaul.

Produced by Don Was,[3] the song’s inspiration was a cabin around Athens, Georgia, complete with tin roof, where the band conceived “Rock Lobster,” a single from their first album. B-52’s singer Kate Pierson lived in the cabin in the 1970s, and the cabin existed until 2004, when it burned down.[2] “Tin roof…rusted,” wailed by lead singer Cindy Wilson, was originally an outtake added to the track, and is perhaps the song’s most memorable line. It has come to mean many things to different listeners. The song acted as a comeback of sorts following the band’s decline in popularity in the 1980s coupled with the death of their guitarist, Ricky Wilson, in 1985.[4]

Hello, BEAUTIFUL People.  Enjoy your day.

“Hop in my Chrysler; it’s big as a whale, and I’m about to set sail!!  Love it.

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114 Responses to Serendipity SOUL |Thursday Open Thread

  1. Rule #1 of American politics: lie about WMDs and you keep your job, but lie about sexting and you’re through.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Florida governor retreats on worker drug tests

    Florida Governor Rick Scott has suspended an order requiring all state workers undergo drug testing, pending resolution of a lawsuit that called the tests an illegal search of workers’ bodies.

    The Republican governor quietly signed the suspension memo on June 10 but it received little public notice until the American Civil Liberties Union obtained and circulated copies on Thursday.

    The ACLU sued Scott last month in a federal court. It said mandating drug tests for workers who were not suspected of wrongdoing violated their constitutional protection against unreasonable searches and seizure, and robbed them of due process.

    “We are pleased that this new order has delayed subjecting thousands of state employees to demeaning, invasive and illegal tests of their bodily fluids,” Randall Marshall, legal director for the ACLU of Florida, said in a statement.

    “But it does not change our Constitutional challenge. Any government search without suspicion of drug use or not directly related to public safety is a violation of privacy protections and we will vigorously move ahead with our challenge.”

    Scott, who campaigned on a promise of small and limited government, signed an executive order in March requiring state workers to undergo screening for illegal drugs once every three months. It also required pre-employment testing for state job applicants.

    The ACLU characterized the suspension as a massive and embarrassing retreat for Scott and an acknowledgment that his testing order was fatally flawed.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Saw this on another blog:

    Alex Wagner was on Lawrence O’Donnell and dropped this line:

    “Congress is like prison. You get a shiv in the back if you don’t have a gang. Anthony Weiner didn’t have a gang.”


    • Ametia says:


      Weiner took himself down, and has no one to blame but his own shortcomings. I’m just watching as these mofos who’ve been bad-mouthing PBO get their comeuppence. Kucinich & Conyers……. KARMA will collect.

  4. rikyrah says:

    House ready to slash funding for key oil-market regulator

    The Republican-led House of Representatives is poised to pass, as early as Wednesday, a sweeping spending bill that would slash funding for the regulatory agency responsible for policing against excessive speculation and price manipulation in oil markets.

    House members are expected to approve an agriculture spending bill that would deeply cut the annual bill that funds the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which regulates trading in oil, grains and other commodities.

    The House bill would provide $171.9 million for the agency, a decrease of about $30 million from the $202.2 million given to the agency the prior year.

    The Obama administration requested more than $300 million for the fiscal year that ends on Sept. 30, a steep increase because the CFTC gained sweeping new powers under last year’s broad revamp of financial regulation_ short-handed as the Dodd-Frank Act.

    Among those powers is regulating, for the first time, the complex over-the-counter market, where private parties enter into secret bets, called swaps, on movements in the price of oil and other commodities. These so-called dark markets are seven times as large as the regulated futures market, where contracts for future delivery of oil are traded. CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler says he now oversees seven times as much territory as the CFTC did before Dodd-Frank and must have a bigger budget to protect the public from market fraud and manipulation.

    The CFTC has greater support in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The expected cut by House members comes against the backdrop of recent volatility in oil markets that drove the price of the benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude to above $113 a barrel in May.

    Oil prices are now hovering just below $100 a barrel, even as the United States and other developing nations are seeing weak demand for oil because of sluggish economies. This price volatility happened during a period when financial investors reversed a longstanding trend and now make up to 88 percent of all oil trades, pushing end users of oil to the sidelines.

    “We are planting the seeds for the next financial crisis,” Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., said during debate Tuesday, arguing for restoration of full CFTC funding.

    Ohio Democrat Rep. Marcy Kaptur said the legislation would give Wall Street a free hand to run up oil prices.

    “It basically … gives a green light for them to do it to us again,” she said.

    Read more:

  5. Ametia says:

    Go to 2:19:35 or so for Ryan’s support of TARP.

  6. Ametia says:

  7. Ametia says:

    Planned Parenthood defunding spreads
    Posted by:
    Steve Frank – Digital Producer
    Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood says the political battle over abortion puts women’s overall health care at risk.

    Note: Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, will offer an opposing view tonight “In The Arena” @ 8pm ET!

    ( Just saw this segment. Spitzer was on that lying sack of shit, Perkins.) I’m waiting for the clip to post it).

  8. Sign and Tweet this petition

    Nancy Pelosi: call for a congressional hearing on #ClarenceThomas’

    Please continue to carry the torch that Representative Anthony Weiner ignited in pursuing discrepancies in Clarence Thomas’ financial disclosures and conflict of interest between his wife’s activities and those related to rulings, including those of Citizens United and potential future ones regarding the Affordable Health Care Act…

    As outlined by @allanbrauer here [ ], we are reminded of Clarence Thomas’ past improprieties, as well as newer information which has not reached much of the public eye regarding the issues surrounding his initial confirmation. Tack onto that his wife Ginni and her involvement with the Heritage Foundation and Liberty Central, his decision to NOT disclose her income as related to such on tax returns, and you have the makings of a Supreme Cout Justice who cannot be be impartial…

    While, understandably, you may be upset at Congressman Weiner’s conduct, please do not let the scandal surrounding it remove from the hard work that he has put into making this issue one of great import. Thank you for your consideration…

  9. Well waddaya know….Robin Roberts just couldn’t help herself!

    Obama: Anthony Weiner Will ‘Bounce Back’ After Twitter Photo Scandal, Resignation

    President Barack Obama told ABC News’ Robin Roberts that Anthony Weiner will be able to “bounce back” from the sexting scandal that led him to announce his resignation from Congress Thursday.

    “I wish Rep. Weiner and his lovely wife well,” Obama said in an interview scheduled to air on “Good Morning America” Friday. “Obviously, it’s been a tough incident for him, but I’m confident that they’ll refocus and he’ll refocus, and they’ll end up being able to bounce back.”

    • Ametia says:

      Weiner can get on the good foot by keeping his pants on, hands off the tweeting, and support the POTUS and his agenda.

  10. Progressives ‘Break Up’ With Obama

    MINNEAPOLIS — President Barack Obama is decidedly “not [the left’s] boyfriend anymore,” progressive supporters of gay- and immigrant-rights said on Thursday, rebuking the White House for breaking promises to the left while also asking them for money.

    The message to those in the room for “What to Do When the President is Just Not that Into You,” a Netroots Nation panel, was be more demanding, don’t take no for an answer and compromises aren’t good enough.

    Lt. Dan Choi, who was discharged from the military for running afoul of its anti-gay Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, provided a visual when an Organizing for America volunteer stood up and asked him to support Obama in 2012. The man said he did not support gay marriage — “civil unions?” he offered weakly — and Choi promptly ripped up an Organizing for America flyer he had been given and threw it back in the man’s face.

    The four panelists — Choi, immigration reform supporter Felipe Matos, America Blog writer John Aravosis and Fire Dog Lake Founder Jane Hamsher — said they are planning to hold the White House’s collective feet to the fire for its decisions on civil rights, whether it would hurt Obama’s reelection chances or not.

    “I would probably vote for the president in the end, but I’d also do everything that I can to shame him,” said Aravosis, who writes about gay rights issues. “But I don’t think they realize how damaging that is.”

    Although Obama signed a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in December, the panelists decried his failure to take a hard stance for gay marriage.

    “We always say we simply expected what he promised,” Aravosis said “The White House would rather not engage at all — at least with the big stuff. We were told he’d be a fierce advocate, and he’s been not fierce at all and not much of an advocate.”

    Progressiv­es break up with Obama???

    The President is NOT your boyfriend & he’s NOT your man. This is no got d*mn romantic relationsh­ip. He is President of the United States! Progressives better get the fk over themselves. Michelle is his woman and lover! You can’t have this ONE….beyotches!

  11. opulent says:

    Flotus coming on 106 and Park..BET shortly……turn on your set and watch!!

  12. Ametia says:

    Details on today’s opinions
    The Court issued five opinions this morning; we expect more on Monday.

    #3: Justice Sotomayor authored the third opinion, in J.D.B. v. North Carolina. By a vote of five to four, the Court reversed the decision of the North Carolina Supreme Court and remanded the case for further proceedings. It held that a child’s age is a relevant factor to consider in determining whether the child is “in custody” for purposes of Miranda v. Arizona. Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Scalia and Thomas.

    You can read all 5 opinions here:

  13. rikyrah says:

    June 16, 2011 3:20 PM

    What else Romney said
    By Steve Benen

    Mitt Romney chatted with some unemployed people in Tampa this morning, and joked he’s “also unemployed.” I gave him a hard time, but Ezra Klein argues we should cut candidates some slack when it comes to misfired jokes.

    I think the larger context — Romney’s record of laying off thousands of Americans, his off-putting sense of humor, etc. — makes this more interesting, but reasonable people can certainly disagree.

    What’s nearly as interesting, though, is what else Romney said at the same location.

    We have all been distressed by the policies that this administration has put in place over the last two years,” Mr. Romney said. “We have seen the most anti-investment, antigrowth, antijob strategy in America since Jimmy Carter. The result has been it’s harder and harder for people to find work.”

    On this, Ezra and I couldn’t agree more.

    By any measure, this is absurd. Taxes are at a 50-year low. The Dow has staged a roaring recovery. Business profits are near record levels. And the economy has gone from losing 780,000 jobs a month to gaining about 160,000 jobs a month. That is to say, it’s getting easier and easier for people to find work, even if it’s not nearly easy enough.

    I don’t mind bad jokes. What I mind is bad economic analysis.

    I’m inclined to take note of both, but it’s important that folks realize that it’s not just the bad joke that matters. When it comes to what Romney intends to do different about his signature issue, the guy either doesn’t know what he’s talking about or he’s doing an excellent imitation of someone who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

  14. rikyrah says:

    NRCC: ‘Give Us Your Cash, B—tch!’ Web Ad Is A Bit Much, But It Makes A Great Point!
    Republicans say Democratic congressional candidate Janice Hahn has hit “a new low” by alerting supporters to a conservative ad portraying her as a demonic stripper who is sexually assaulted by “gangsters” with automatic weapons.

    Sure, the National Republican Congressional Committee says, the ad is offensive and over the top — its press release calls it a “racist and sexist web ad” — but it makes a good point about the program she supported for gang intervention specialists.

    “Are House Democrats using the disgraceful web ad in an attempt to distract voters from Janice Hahn’s reported ties to LA gang members?” the press release asks, linking to a Fox 11 television report about a gang prevention program she supported.

    “The investigative report of Janice Hahn’s actions on behalf of dangerous gang members is disturbing enough without the gratuitous and inappropriate images that this web ad contains,” NRCC spokesman Tyler Q. Houlton said in a statement.

    Houlton said it was strange for Hahn’s campaign to try to raise money off the “Give us your cash, b–tch!” ad.

    “The web ad is vile, it’s disgusting, so why are they trying to raise money off of it? If it’s that bad, why are they sending it around via email to all their supporters to raise money off of it?” Houlton told TPM.

    Still, Houlton said the allegations about the program didn’t come to the NRCC’s attention until the Turn Right USA ad dropped this week.

    “It kind of got brought to our attention with this,” Houlton said. “Unfortunately the ad that they made is disgusting, but I think when you look at the actual video it’s based off of — there’s a lot of unanswered questions there.”

    “I didn’t even link to the ad, we didn’t send anything out with it, what we’re trying to do is say, look, if this is so bad like you claim it is why are you sending it out and trying to raise money?” Houlton said.

    Separately, Hahn’s campaign has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that Turn Right USA — a “super PAC” based out of a check-cashing store — was colluding with Hahn’s opponent, Republican Craig Huey.–tch-web-ad-is-a-bit-much-but-it-makes-a-great-point.php?ref=tn

    (202) 224-4623
    CALL NOW!!!!
    The above is Vitter’s office. Just call their office and state “I am a Democrat {{ or concerned citizen or whatever}} , after Weiner’s resignation, I respectfully believe that Vitter should resign. ”

    Time to get proactive people! If you really care, make the call and pass this on!!

  16. rikyrah says:

    Baucus Issues Public Call To McKinsey To Come Clean On Controversial HCR Survey
    McKinsey & Co’s public relations fiasco continued Thursday, as one of the most powerful senators on Capitol Hill issued a public call for the influential consulting firm to come clean about a questionable study it published on the impact of the new health care reform law.

    In an accompanying letter to the firm’s managing director, Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) reveals that McKinsey has agreed to meet with members of his staff to discuss the survey — and includes 13 questions on methodology, which he “expect[s McKinsey] to be able to answer completely.”

    “Honest public discourse requires a standard level of transparency — one McKinsey simply has not met,” Baucus said in a prepared statement. “The conclusions McKinsey reached differ sharply from results of other reputable, transparent research on the subject. McKinsey’s findings also counter what actually happened in Massachusetts when similar policies increased employer-sponsored health insurance. We all want the most accurate information and the ability to evaluate its integrity, which is why McKinsey should answer these basic questions.”

    McKinsey stepped, perhaps unintentionally, into politically charged territory last week when it published the results of an in-house study on the impact health care reform will have on the employer-sponsored insurance market. The problem: The materials they used apparently did not meet the standards the firm would normally apply to such an issue — and the results were wildly at odds with numerous other, more rigorous studies. That led to private infighting at McKinsey, and public pressure from the White House and congressional Democrats for their leaders to release the survey materials. Thus far they have declined to do so on the grounds that the survey is proprietary.

    However, one insider told TPM that McKinsey would be loath to make those documents or the methodology public because they would embarrass the firm.

    That doesn’t satisfy Baucus. “The American Association for Public Opinion Research Disclosure Standards make clear that it is standard professional practice to release essential information on the methodology of publicly disclosed surveys,” he writes in the letter. “I urge McKinsey & Company to publicly disclose the methodology behind its survey consistent with these standards.”

  17. Ametia says:

    Last Updated: June 16. 2011 1:57PM .School for young mothers celebrates 2nd chance as charter school
    Jennifer Chambers/ The Detroit News
    Detroit — A protest rally turned into a celebration this afternoon after news that a Detroit Public School that serves pregnant students and teen mothers will stay open — as a charter school.

    Principal G. Asenath Andrews, who was bracing for the Catherine Ferguson Academy to close today, delivered the news just after noon to her staff, her students and more than 250 people gathered outside the school. It’s one of only three in the nation that allows young women to bring their babies with them to get a high school education.

    “There was to be a rally, but it’s just a celebration now,” Andrews said at the school, where students held babies in their arms and pushed children around in strollers. “I want to give credit to everybody. … This school will be available to girls in the future.”

    Students at the school, ranging in age from 15 to 19, clapped and jumped in reaction to the news. Many had not decided what to do if the school had closed for good.

    Breanna Thomas, 17, was pushing a stroller with her 1-year-old son through the front doors of the school when she found out she can return this fall.

    “Oh my God — that is very good news. This school is like a safe haven for all girls. When other schools put us out, we can be here,” the teen said.

    Officials with Detroit Public Schools cited the school’s operating costs — about $2.8 million a year — as the reason for its closure as DPS battles a $327 million deficit.

    Instead, DPS Emergency Manager Roy Roberts announced the school was handed over to charter authorizer Wayne Regional Educational Service Agency. It will be operated by Detroit-based charter operator, Blanche Kelso Bruce Academy.

    The academy, run by chief academic officer Blair Evans, will operate the school at its current site and continue its educational programs.

    Blair said Ferguson’s leadership and core staff will remain, including retaining Andrews.

    “We are here to provide a mechanism for this program to continue and to coordinate and enhance programs,” Blair said.

    Chris Wigent, superintendent of Wayne RESA, said the decision to take over Ferguson was “a no-brainer for us. We are here for all children.”

    Outside the school, which has a working farm and an agri-science program for its students, actor and social activist Danny Glover climbed a hay covered wagon and put his arm around Andrews as the crowd of UAW members, community supporters and girls cheered.

    “We are in the process of rebuilding this community. … We need the courageous voices of these girls. … You are the architects of your own rescue,” Glover said.

    As part of today’s announcement, DPS is closing the Barsamian Preparatory Center and the Hancock Preparatory Center, but those at-risk students will be served by the Blanche Kelso Bruce Academy at one its existing buildings in Detroit.

    At Barsamian, where expelled students could continue high school classes, the building had room for 244 students but had just 53 attending in April, at a cost of $35,636 per child.

    “This morning, are doing two things: First, changing the storyline,” Roberts said. “Detroit Public Schools is in crisis. This crisis is one of finances and academics. My responsibility as emergency manager appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder is to educate 73,000 youth across the city of Detroit and to ensure that we create programs of educational excellence for every one of them. … Secondly, we are pleased to announce that we have found a solution to the issue of retaining services for students at three of our schools while at the same time removing the operational costs to Detroit Public Schools.”

    Several DPS schools were slated for closure as the district announced plans to turn over some schools to charters in a bid to help trim a $327 million deficit.

    Ferguson, which opened in 1986, serves 249 mothers and 120 children under age 6, according to DPS.

    According to the district, each Ferguson student costs $12,619 to educate, compared with an average of $7,600 across the district.

    Science, math and literature are in the curriculum, as are parenting classes for girls who are mothers as young as 12, but more typically ages 15 to 19. Each girl is assigned a job on the farm out back as part of research for a science class. Some milk goats, some collect eggs, others plant crops.

    In April, students, teachers and supporters staged a sit-in at the school. Several who were arrested by police and charged with trespassing made court appearances earlier this week, announcing a rally would be held today at noon to keep the school open.

    Most girls came to the academy because they were pushed out of their previous school by teachers once their pregnancies became obvious and it is the only school at DPS where they can bring their children for early education programs and get their high school diploma at the same time.

    From The Detroit News:

  18. Ametia says:

    CNN these media assholes right here:

    • The Media don’t give a fk about important issues facing Americans. It’s all about the ratings and how they can make that money. No good dirty mofos!

  19. rikyrah says:

    Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 07:50 AM PDT.

    NBC/WSJ poll: Romney leads GOP but public sticks with Obama +
    *by DemFromCT

    In more confirmation of the unusual nature of Obama’s support the new NBC/WSJ poll finds that the public is restive about the economy, but

    Mr. Obama’s generally buoyant political standing reflects his continued personal appeal and the historic nature of the first African-American presidency. His high standing among black and Hispanic voters shatters four decades of data that until now has closely correlated approval of the president with views about whether the country is on the right track, Mr. McInturff said.
    Among all poll respondents, 45% said they would probably vote to re-elect Mr. Obama, while 40% said they would choose a Republican. Against specific GOP contenders, the president’s lead widened. Mr. Obama leads Mr. Romney 49% to 43%; he topped Mr. Pawlenty 50% to 37%.

    It’s for the above observation that we keep reminding folks that what “everyone knows” may not necessarily be so.
    Now, one has to be very careful about saying “this year it’ll be different”. The truth is, year after year, whatever the topic, it’s usually not. But this is a unique kind of situation, where the previous administration is still blamed more than this one.

    Concerted Republican attacks on Mr. Obama have so far failed to fundamentally change public opinion about him. The president still leads GOP White House contenders including Mr. Romney, and 62% said the nation’s economic malaise is one the president inherited, not one he caused.
    “There’s nothing to suggest the public’s really turned on him,” Mr. Hart said.

    The poll does note that amongst some subsets Romney’s message resonates. Suberban voters, and white voters, in particular prefer Romney.
    As for being the front runner,

    Of those who said they were likely to vote in the Republican primaries next year, 30% said they back Mr. Romney, up from 21% last month, when former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and businessman Donald Trump were still possible contenders.

    Interestingly, the GOP voters are not so enamored of their choices.

    But with about eight months until the first GOP nominating contests, less than half of Republican primary voters — 45 percent — say they are satisfied with their current crop of presidential candidates, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
    That’s substantially lower than the 73 percent of Republicans who were satisfied in the summer of 2007 (when the GOP candidates included John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee), as well as the 68 percent who were satisfied in early 1996 (when Bob Dole won the GOP nomination).

    Here’s how they see it in Texas:

    NBC News and the Wall Street Journal released a new poll on Wednesday, and it put Gov. Rick Perry at fourth place among Republican primary voters when asked their choice for the GOP nominee. It went like this: Romney, 30 percent; Palin, 14 percent; Cain, 12 percent; Perry, 8 percent.
    Polls have little use at this point other than to test name ID. But it is interesting that Perry, who has not said whether he’s running, finished higher than announced candidates Pawlenty, Gingrich and Bachmann, among others.

    Yeah, Pawlenty and Huntsman are just catching fire. Burning up the polls. Scorching the opposition. [Hey, bring in that magnifying glass so I can find their poll numbers.]
    So, we’re a long ways away, the country is unhappy aboiut the economy and Obama has plenty of work to do. But correlating the results with any specific number, such as unemployment, or wrong track, is proving to be more difficult than normal with this President. We can speculate why: historic President, unlikeable GOP candidates, blame on Bush… oh, and gas prices dropping doesn’t hurt.

    Are there storm clouds ahead? You betcha. Still, for now, the numbers are what they are

  20. rikyrah says:

    MSNBC: …The GOP honeymoon is over: By now, you’ve probably seen the headlines from the new NBC/WSJ poll … The GOP’s fav/unfav is 30%-44%, compared with the Democratic Party’s 38%-39% score … And the number thinking the GOP proposal to overhaul Medicare is a bad idea has increased nine points since April to 31%; just 22% believe it’s a good idea….

    President Obama is at 50% or higher in every region except the South …. Obama leads Romney by six points (49%-43%) in a hypothetical general-election match up, despite all the grim economic numbers in the poll. But when you look at the Obama-vs.-Romney split by region, you see Obama’s lead over Romney is even stronger when thinking about the Electoral College.

    Obama is at 50% or higher against Romney in the Northeast (54%-36%), Midwest (50%-41%), and West (55%-40%). The one place that’s bolstering Romney’s numbers is in the South, where the Republican leads by a 49%-43% margin. Similarly, Obama’s overall job-approval is above 50% everywhere outside the South.




  21. rikyrah says:

    June 16, 2011 2:10 PM

    Statistic of the Day

    Number of lawmakers in the 112th Congress who’ve resigned: Four.

    Number of jobs bills voted on in the 112th Congress: Zero.

    It’s possible voters had high hopes after last year’s midterm elections. There would be a new House majority with new leaders; there was significant turnover in both chambers; and Washington would get a new chance to focus on issues that matter.

    Six months in, I’m afraid this Congress isn’t working out especially well. We’ve seen gridlock, hostage strategies, threats of government shutdowns, culture-war disputes, and as of this afternoon, four resignations.

    The new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll put Congress’ approval rating at 18%, about a third as high President Obama’s support. Given how little has been, and will be, done in this session, I’m rather surprised it’s as high as it is.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    The Destroy Social Security in Order To Save It Plan

    by digby

    Ok, this is the non-logic driving the debates about “entitlements” that makes me want to bang my head against a wall. Here’s Kay Bailey Hutchinson arguing in favor of her new proposal called the “Defend and Save Social Security Act.”

    Hutchison said that if Congress failed to curb Social Security Costs, retirees’ monthly benefits would be cut by nearly 25 percent beginning in 2036.

    First of all the shortfall won’t be 25%. But that’s not what makes me want to bang my head against the wall — it’s the fetid logic implicit in this idea. Hutchison is saying that because Social Security is heading for a shortfall in 2038 which would result in a cut in benefits, in order to ensure that doesn’t happen we need to cut the benefits. It’s daft.

    I’m not sure how this works. Perhaps they are convinced that if they say Social Security is “broke” or “bankrupt” enough times people will somehow believe that they are “saving” it by cutting it. Or maybe they just figure people are too dumb to realize that they are intentionally ratifying what is now only a projection far into the future. I don’t know. But it is maddening.

    Hutchison is retiring so they’ve tasked her with it since she doesn’t have to face actual humans on the stump anymore. But it is a way of keeping this out there so that they can keep the pressure on the President to agree to some kind of cuts over the course of the next few years. (You should note that Hutchison’s plan doesn’t affect anyone under the age of 58 rather than 55 — a clear sign that this is a negotiating position.) They know that this deficit and economic downturn is a once in a generation opportunity to gut the safety net and they aren’t going to waste it.

    If only the voters weren’t so stubborn about wanting to keep living after they can no longer work this would be a much easier sell.

    Update: This is a good opportunity for the Democrats to brand the Hutchinson’s plan the same way they branded the Ryan plan. Hutchison’s opened the door by making even more people close to retirement suddenly feel vulnerable. The Republicans obviously haven’t learned their lesson.


  23. Some creep asked Weiner during his press conference if he was more than 7 inches! Fk clown!

    • opulent says:

      I hoped he is heckled for the rest of his life. If not, he will be back in public office, cause Weiner has no shame.

      I want him treated like the scumbag he is…he has no respect for women…so I hope they pelt him with tomatoes and rotten eggs every single time he opens his mouth.

      • Well I’m going to have to disagree. Weiner has apologized and said he’s sorry. I’ve been taught when someone ask for forgiveness…you forgive. It’s the Godly thing to do. If we don’t forgive others then neither will God forgive us our sins. And not any of us are without sin!

      • opulent says:

        What did he apologize for? Sending pics?

        Well that was not the transgression. He used the power of his office to abuse females when they would call to praise him for the job he was doing. He turned that into an opportunity to troll for sex online.

        Weiner hasn’t ever apologized for being the nasty pervert he is. All he said he was sorry for was embarrassing his wife/family etc.

        He LIED to everyone and he didn’t apologize for that either.

        In order to receive forgiveness you have to repent and then seek redemption for those transgressions.
        Weiner has not done any of that.

        He is awful.
        A real suckbutt with no remorse other than being caught.

        As a Christian I do not forgive those who think they can mouth an apology about being stupid and embarassing others and not once talking about how what they did was wrong on the basis of character, power and corruption as a public office.

        Weasel still can’t say with ‘certitude’ that he has serious issues with sex, intimacy and basic human respect and dignity for women.

        PHUCK Weiner.

      • Yes he did apologize to the people he hurt. Didn’t you hear him at his first press conference? He admitted he lied.

        As a Christian I do not forgive those who think they can mouth an apology about being stupid and embarassing others and not once talking about how what they did was wrong on the basis of character, power and corruption as a public office.

        With forgiveness…it’s either you forgive or you don’t. There is NO condition. If you make it conditional, then it’s not forgiveness. You’re fooling yourself to think otherwise. If you have done things that are deemed unacceptable in society…would you want folks hanging it over your head for the rest of your life?

        God is an unforgiving God and a God of second chances.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 09:20 AM PDT.

    Medicare cuts would hit Republican congressional districts hardest
    by Joan McCarter

    There was some anecdotal evidence that freshman Republican members of Congress were under fire for their vote on the Republican budget slashing Medicare, Medicaid and providing even more tax cuts to rich people. That’s been clear from the town meetings over the last few months where they have regularly faced constituent ire.
    That’s in part because Republican districts would be most impacted by the Medicare cuts

    Nine of the 10 districts throughout the U.S. with the most people age 45-54 are represented by Republicans, including [Rep. Michael] Fitzpatrick [R-PA], a Bloomberg analysis of census data shows. Those would be among the first Americans to no longer have Medicare as an open-ended entitlement, and instead would be given money to buy private insurance when they’re eligible, under the plan.
    Fitzpatrick, like the other Republicans, said he stands by his position.

    “All the important votes that I cast as their representative that are directed toward putting the country’s fiscal house back in order will be difficult,” the 47-year-old lawmaker said in an interview. “It requires tough choices.”


    Other Republican lawmakers said Democrats should offer their own proposal to reform Medicare….

    “Are there other alternatives out there?” said [Rep. Scott] Garrett [R-NJ], 51. Garrett, who got 65 percent of the vote in 2010, said he doesn’t believe his support for the Ryan plan makes him vulnerable with voters next year.

    That’s wishful thinking if I’ve ever heard it. It’s as wishful as thinking that “it’s not an unpopular plan, we just haven’t messaged it right,” or “the Democrats did it first,” are going to be effective strategies for making voters think that Republicans aren’t throwing them to the wolves.


  25. rikyrah says:

    Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 10:01 AM PDT.

    Anti-union video from Target used union actors
    by Laura Clawson
    for Daily Kos.

    Workers at a Long Island Target store have been attempting to form a union, an effort which comes to a vote on Friday. Target has been waging a pretty standard corporate anti-union campaign—which is to say, lots of intimidation. But now it’s taken a turn for the humorous.
    Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan, who has been doing stellar work focusing on this issue and the realities of working at Target, obtained a copy of an anti-union video shown to all new Target employees.

    But Target’s anti-union stance apparently doesn’t extend to video: the actors in the video are union members:

    As it turns out, the video was filmed under the jurisdiction of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), according to actor (and union member) Ric Reitz, who plays Target spokesman “Doug” in the film.
    “If someone hires me to play a rapist, does it make me a rapist? You take the job, and you’re an actor,” says Reitz, a longtime member of AFTRA and the Screen Actors Guild. “Am I pro-union? Absolutely.”

    So when it comes to convincing their workers not to join unions, Target wants the quality of union actors. But when it comes to staffing their stores, it’s non-union all the way.


  26. rikyrah says:

    ALL Major Cable Nets Cut Away When Pelosi Talks Jobs Over Weiner (VIDEO)

    The DC media’s jaw-dropping obsession with the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal will peter out when the New York congressman officially resigns this afternoon. But there’s no better illustration of how this story came to consume the press than the video below.

    Democrats had been prepared to up the pressure on Weiner to resign Thursday, but not before House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi held her weekly press availability in a large studio in the basement of the Capitol Visitors Center.

    Her conference began minutes after the news of Weiner’s impending resignation leaked, and so reporters and cameras scrambled to what otherwise would have been a fairly routine press event. Indeed, because Dems are in the minority, it’s not uncommon for Pelosi events to be under-attended by members the media. Not this time.

    Unfortunately for them, Pelosi refused to offer a money quote. In a sign that Democrats want to turn the page on the Weiner scandal, she insisted up front that she’d maintain silence on Weiner’s resignation until he announced it himself.

    “As usual we’re here to talk about jobs, about protecting Medicare and protecting the middle class. If you’re here to ask a question about Congressman Weiner, I won’t be answering any.”

    If you thought disappointed news networks decided then to make do with the other items on her agenda, you’d be wrong. All three of the major cable nets — CNN, MSNBC, and Fox — all cut away right then.

  27. rikyrah says:

    from Juan Cole:

    Ret’d. CIA Official Alleges Bush White House Used Agency to “Get” Cole
    Posted on 06/16/2011 by Juan

    Low actually wrote up a brief attempt in this direction and submitted it to the White House but Carle says he intercepted it. Carle later discovered that yet another young analyst had been tasked with looking into me.

    It seems to me clear that the Bush White House was upset by my blogging of the Iraq War, in which I was using Arabic and other primary sources, and which contradicted the propaganda efforts of the administration attempting to make the enterprise look like a wild shining success.

    Carle’s revelations come as a visceral shock. You had thought that with all the shennanigans of the CIA against anti-Vietnam war protesters and then Nixon’s use of the agency against critics like Daniel Ellsberg, that the Company and successive White Houses would have learned that the agency had no business spying on American citizens.

    I believe Carle’s insider account and discount the glib denials of people like Low. Carle is taking a substantial risk in making all this public. I hope that the Senate and House Intelligence Committees will immediately launch an investigation of this clear violation of the law by the Bush White House and by the CIA officials concerned. Like Mr. Carle, I am dismayed at how easy it seems to have been for corrupt WH officials to suborn CIA personnel into activities that had nothing to do with national security abroad and everything to do with silencing domestic critics. This effort was yet another attempt to gut the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution, in this case as part of an effort to gut the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

    I should point out that my blog was begun in 2002 with an eye toward analyzing open source information on the struggle against al-Qaeda. In 2003 I also began reporting on the unfolding Iraq War. My goal was to help inform the public and to present sources and analysis on the basis of my expertise as a Middle East and South Asia expert. In 2003-2005 and after I on a few occasions was asked to speak to military and intelligence professionals, most often as part of an inter-agency audience, and I presented to them in person distillations of my research. I never had a direct contract with the CIA, but some of the think tanks that every once in a while asked me to speak were clearly letting analysts and field officers know about the presentations (which were most often academic panels of a sort that would be mounted at any academic conference), and they attended. I should underline that these presentations involved small travel expenses and a small honorarium, and that I wasn’t a high-paid consultant but clearly was expected to speak my views and share my conclusions frankly. It was not a regular gig. Apparently one of the purposes of spying on me to discredit me, from the point of view of the Bush White House, was ironically to discourage Washington think tanks from inviting me to speak to the analysts, not only of the CIA but also the State Department Intelligence and Research and other officials concerned with counter-terrorism and with Iraq.

    It seemed likely to some colleagues, according to what they told me, that the Bush administration had in fact succeeded in having me blackballed, since the invitations rather dropped off, and panels of a sort I had earlier participated in were being held without my presence. I do not know if smear tactics were used to produce this result, behind the scenes and within the government. It was all the same to me– I continued to provide what I believe was an important service to the Republic at my blog and I know for a fact that not only intelligence analysts but members of the Bush team continued to read some of what I wrote.

    What alarms me most of all in the nakedly illegal deployment of the CIA against an academic for the explicit purpose of destroying his reputation for political purposes is that I know I am a relatively small fish and it seems to me rather likely that I was not the only target of the baleful team at the White House. After the Valerie Plame affair, it seemed clear that there was nothing those people wouldn’t stoop to. You wonder how many critics were effectively “destroyed.” It is sad that a politics of personal destruction was the response by the Bush White House to an attempt of a citizen to reason in public about a matter of great public interest. They have brought great shame upon the traditions of the White House, which go back to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, who had hoped that checks and balances would forestall such abuses of power.

  28. opulent says:

    Well looks like HRC told Huma who told Weiner…resign.

    He is out.

    Anyone wanna place bets that he runs for his seat in 2012?
    Weiner has chuztpah and hubris like no other, not to mention he has no credentials to do anything else.

    I bet his district re-elects him.
    Before they do though, Weiner will probably attack POTUS during the campaign and be just the subversive tool the Clintons need to deny POTUS a second term.

    • Ametia says:

      Exactly, Opulent. That rat BASTARD, Weiner let his dick pics drag out for weeks and killed the MEDICARE MOMENTUM the Dems had going against the GOP.

    • rikyrah says:

      you are probably right on all accounts

    • rikyrah says:

      I’ll be honest…I never got it…his wife is beautiful, smart, got her own thing going on…nothing but a plus all the way around.

      I just don’t get some men.

      • Ametia says:

        It’s about POWER. They feel even more empowered when they cheat and think they can get away with it. The danger of possibly getting caught, gets them even more pumped.

      • I just don’t get some men

        Some are just low down dirty dogs. They cannot be faithful.

      • opulent says:

        Huma has nothing to do with Weiner.

        Weiner is a an arrested development teenager. His perversion of sex and his completely fragile ego knows no other way to pump it up other than his tumescent penis!!

        Weiner is a dyck.
        Huma is an idiot if she stays with him.

        The world now knows what colossal bad judgment Weiner has and they will be one of the most heckled couples at any social event they attend. Folks will laugh at her and make all types of weiner jokes as they snicker about them endless.

        I mean the whole thing is just absurd, men respect men who at least get sex, weiner is such a weasel that all he can do is talk about it, and try to pump his ego with nude photos while he imagines someone gagging on him?!!


        Huma is a fool to remain with him!

        Even women will see her and start gagging!! Knowing that is his perpetual fantasy..and they will think she crawls for him as well, cause all his sexual needs have been texted!!!

  29. rikyrah says:

    June 16, 2011 12:35 PM

    Romney jokes about being ‘unemployed’
    By Steve Benen

    For a guy whose awkward sense of humor keeps raising eyebrows, this incident in Florida this morning probably won’t help Mitt Romney’s reputation.

    Mitt Romney sat at the head of the table at a coffee shop [in Tampa] on Thursday, listening to a group of unemployed Floridians explain the challenges of looking for work. When they finished, he weighed in with a predicament of his own.

    “I should tell my story,” Mr. Romney said. “I’m also unemployed.”

    I don’t want to sound humorless about this, and I’m sure Romney was just trying to be charming. Indeed, comments like these may very well be a deliberate self-deprecating strategy because Romney strutted around New Hampshire on Tuesday as if he’d already won the presidency, and no one likes an overconfident jerk.

    But when an extremely wealthy person jokes to people who are actually struggling about being “unemployed,” it rankles. Indeed, Mitt Romney became extremely wealthy in a way that seems relevant to this discussion.

    “You see, Romney made a Mittload of cash using what’s known as a leveraged buyout. He’d buy a company with ‘money borrowed against their assets, groomed them to be sold off and in the interim collect huge management fees.’ Once Mitt had control of the company, he’d cut frivolous spending like jobs, workers, employees, and jobs. […]

    “Because Mitt Romney knows just how to trim the fat. He rescued businesses like Dade Behring, Stage Stories, American Pad and Paper, and GS Industries, then his company sold them for a profit of $578 million after which all of those firms declared bankruptcy. Which sounds bad, but don’t worry, almost no one worked there anymore.

    “Besides, a businessman can’t be weighed down with a bleeding heart. As one former Bain employee put it, ‘It was very clinical…. Like a doctor. When the patient is dead, you just move on to the next patient.’”

    Does Mitt Romney really want to joke about being “unemployed”?

    To be fair, there’s at least a kernel of truth to it. Mitt Romney hasn’t worked a day in over five years — he can afford to kick back for a half-decade without breaking a sweat — but if memory serves, Romney had a job. During his brief tenure, he struggled with his duties, received poor performance evaluations, and his employers were ultimately relieved to see him quit.

    Maybe Romney should mention this at his next diner stop

  30. rikyrah says:

    Robin Roberts to Interview President Obama on ‘Good Morning America’ Friday

    By Alex Weprin on June 15, 2011 1:51 PM

    ABC’s “Good Morning America” is the latest network morning show to snag an interview with President Obama. Robin Roberts will interview the President, with the discussion airing on Friday’s installment of the program. Additional excerpts will run that evening on “ABC World News” and on “This Week with Christiane Amanpour.”

    The topic of discussion will be Father’s Day, which is this Sunday. The President will discuss the relationship with his own father, as well as being a dad to two young daughters. He will also answer questions from regular dads across the country.

    • Ametia says:

      I certainly hopeRobin Roberts isn’t as obtuse and obnoxious during the interview as Ann Curry was.

      • opulent says:

        I do too. Although, I did not get to see the Curry interview, I know she asked about Weiner…which is all I suppose I need to know, that the top story was that question.

        I want Roberts to skip over this tawdry mess, but Roberts has shown in the interview with ChrisBrown she is going to ask the provocative contemporary question of the moment.

        POTUS needs a media friendly interview BAD!!

        • Ametia says:

          Curry was almost defiant and kept her arms crossed most of the interivew. Her body language reeked of contempt. Bank on Roberts will going thereabout Weiner with POTUS, even after that prick has resigned. ABC is no better than FOX. They were in cohoots with Briebart and the photos from day one.

      • I hope POTUS shuts Roberts down if she ask anything about Weiner. He has resigned and the media only want to keep the sound bites to drum up ratings. Enough already!

        • Ametia says:

          Roberts has been given her talking points. Ratings & $$ comes first, remember.


          Roberts: Hello Mr. President and welcome.

          PBO: Thank you Robin; it’s a pleasure to be here.

          Roberts: What are your thoughts about Anthony Weiner’s resigning yesterday. You told Ann Curry Monday that you would resign if you were caught tweeting your “package.”

          PBO: We’re working hard on jobs inovation. Americans want to get back to work, Robin. They want affordable healthcare, a decent home, and good education for their children.

          Roberts: Your approval ratings are steady, do you suppose that has anything to do with Anthony Weiner’s weiner scandal?

          PBO: The debt ceiling and medicare issues are pressing now. We”re tying to work this out with the House GOp, but they’re holding the debt ceiling ransom by threatening to decimate medicare/social security, and planned parenthood.

          Roberts: Do you think Mr. Weiner should run in his district next year, and do you think he and Huma should remain married?


          PBO: FACEPALMS

      • @ Ametia: LMAO… You’re spot on!

      • opulent says:

        OK Ametia and SG there was no reply button on those posts.

        But, that transcript was on it Ametia!!

        FACE PALM!!!!


  31. rikyrah says:

    Boehner Hints At Defunding Libya Operation
    Brian Beutler | June 16, 2011, 11:20AM

    House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) isn’t buying the White House’s “Libya War isn’t really a war” explanation of why they’re not in violation of the War Powers Act.

    Next week, he says, the House may be prepared to take action to block the administration’s intervention — and one option he’s looking at is cutting off funds.

    “[T]he ultimate option is the House in fact — the Congress has the power of the purse,” Boehner told reporters at a Capitol press briefing. “And certainly that is an option as well.”

    Boehner was unsatisfied by the explanation the White House offered in a report to CongressWednesday, explaining their compliance with the law.

    The U.S. involvement in the Libyan conflict has ensued for longer than the statute allows, but the White House argues that its operations there aren’t significant enough to fall under War Power authority.

    That conclusion isn’t sitting well with a bipartisan group of administration critics led by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) who on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the president for taking military action in Libya without Congressional approval. However, in a Wednesday press conference, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she’s “satisfied” that Obama has the authority he requires in Libya — though that would change, she noted, if troops were deployed into the country.

    “The administration gave its opinion on the War Powers Resolution, but didn’t answer the question in my letter as whether the Office of Legal Counsel agrees with them,” Boehner said. “So I’m looking forward to an answer on this by tomorrow.”

    Even that might not be enough, though. With the U.S. participating in drone attacks and spending millions a day in Libya, Boehner said it, “doesn’t pass the straight face test to me that we’re not in the midst of hostilities.”

  32. rikyrah says:

    Lamar Alexander On Blocking Nominations: That’s What Nominations Are For!
    Presidential nominations: What are they good for? Absolutely nothing! Except being blocked in the Senate.

    At least that’s Sen. Lamar Alexander’s (R-TN) understanding.

    “That’s what nominations are for,” he quipped to reporters Wednesday after a Capitol briefing on GOP tax and regulatory proposals. “When I was nominated to be Education Secretary, Senator [Howard] Metzenbaum held me up for three months.

    At the time he wasn’t pleased, but since becoming a senator, his prerogatives have changed. Though he helped broker a modest truce between the parties over obstructive tactics at the beginning of the year, he still supports a senators right to use advise and consent powers to block nominations and extract policy concessions.

    That, he says, extends to extraordinary exercises of power such as the GOP’s stated intention not to confirm a director to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau unless the agency is fundamentally weakened.

    “We strongly object to the consumer finance administration [sic],” Alexander said.

    It’s unaccountable to the people, its funded by money from the Federal Reserve every year, so it really creates a Czarina, or a Czar, who can affect mainstream transactions all over America every year without any elected representative in the House or the Senate having to say anything about it, so there’s another example of where you want to use the advise and consent power of the senate to do what we can do to stop it.The CFPB was created as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform law to police fraudulent or dangerous financial products. Republicans have hated it from the outset, and now 44 Republicans, including some who voted for the law reform legislation, say they’ll filibuster any person of any political stripe nominated to head the Bureau unless its regulatory powers are diminished by statute. Thus, President Obama will either have to use a recess appointment to put a director in place by the July deadline, or delay its full launch indefinitely.

  33. rikyrah says:

    June 16, 2011 10:00 AM

    The military’s ‘astonishingly liberal ethos’
    By Steve Benen

    If we were to ask the typical congressional Republican where we could find a governmental model that features universal, government-run health care, emphasizes educational opportunity, offers public housing, and prioritizes curbing income inequality, we’d probably hear a response about Europe.

    Nicholas Kristof explains today that the same description happens to apply to the United States military and its “astonishingly liberal” — and effective — ethos.

    The military helped lead the way in racial desegregation, and even today it does more to provide equal opportunity to working-class families — especially to blacks — than just about any social program. It has been an escalator of social mobility in American society because it invests in soldiers and gives them skills and opportunities.

    The United States armed forces knit together whites, blacks, Asians and Hispanics from diverse backgrounds, invests in their education and training, provides them with excellent health care and child care. And it does all this with minimal income gaps: A senior general earns about 10 times what a private makes, while, by my calculation, C.E.O.’s at major companies earn about 300 times as much as those cleaning their offices. That’s right: the military ethos can sound pretty lefty.

    “It’s the purest application of socialism there is,” Wesley Clark, the retired four-star general and former supreme allied commander of NATO forces in Europe, told me. And he was only partly joking.

    “It’s a really fair system, and a lot of thought has been put into it, and people respond to it really well,” he added. The country can learn from that sense of mission, he said, from that emphasis on long-term strategic thinking.

    This subject has long been an area of interest for us at the Monthly, going back at least to our groundbreaking 2005 cover story on the quality of health care in the socialized, government run VA system. Indeed, I’d note that the Annals of Internal Medicine found the military’s socialized care system is the most effective in the country — and has the lowest costs.

    But Kristof’s point goes beyond just universal health care. He describes a system of affordable day care for working parents and top-notch institutions of higher education.

    He concluded, “[A]s we as a country grope for new directions in a difficult economic environment, the tendency has been to move toward a corporatist model that sees investments in people as woolly-minded sentimentalism or as unaffordable luxuries. That’s not the only model out there.”

    I won’t ask conservatives to denounce the entire social infrastructure of the U.S. military — I’d hate to force the right to confront its cognitive dissonance — but I will note that it’s a fine model for Americans to follow. That it helps disprove so many Republican assumptions is just gravy.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Spying on Bloggers
    by BooMan
    Thu Jun 16th, 2011 at 11:31:25 AM EST

    I remember back in 2006 having the distinct impression that people in the Bush administration were looking to discredit their critics, including the new army of citizen-journalists and opinion writers in the blogosphere who were just destroying them over the war in Iraq. I often wondered how far they were willing to go and how far down the food-chain they were willing to reach. I figured I was too small-fry to merit attention, but I could never be sure, especially with former intel-guys like Larry Johnson and Pat Lang contributing to the site. Now it is confirmed that the administration used the CIA to gather dirt on Juan Cole. But that’s just the one case we know about. Should we assume they didn’t seek dirt on Markos or Atrios? I wouldn’t.

  35. rikyrah says:

    June 16, 2011 9:25 AM

    Playing the blame game
    By Steve Benen

    Dave Weigel noted in passing yesterday that President Obama’s approval rating, while down from the bump it received in May, “still seems insanely high considering how unhappy voters are about the economy.”

    I agree. It’s not that Obama’s support is insanely high; it’s clearly not. The point is we would expect it to be much lower given public anger and frustration. In general, folks are widely dissatisfied with just about everything, and yet, the president’s support remains in the high 40s.

    There are competing explanations for this, but something in the NBC/WSJ poll (pdf) stood out for me. Respondents were asked a good question:

    “How responsible is President Obama and his administration’s policies for the country’s current economic conditions?”

    Just 10% said Obama is “solely responsible,” and 24% said he’s “mainly responsible.” Nearly half the country (48%) believes the president is “only somewhat responsible,” while 16% consider him not responsible for economic conditions at all. These results are roughly the same as they were last fall, before the midterms.

    In contrast, the same poll asked how responsible George W. Bush is for the economy. Nearly half the country (47%) believe Bush is either mainly or solely responsible, well more than blame Obama. In fact, more people hold Bush responsible now than they did last fall.

    The point is, people are frustrated and pessimistic, but they don’t necessarily see President Obama as the culprit. Indeed, the poll asked, “When you think about the current economic conditions, do you feel that this is a situation that Barack Obama has inherited or is this a situation his policies are mostly responsible for?” A large 62% majority said he inherited the mess.

    This may not keep up, but it may help explain why Obama’s approval rating hasn’t completely tanked.

    The same poll, by the way, also asked about the debt ceiling. A 39% plurality said the limit shouldn’t be raised, 31% said they don’t know enough to answer, and just 28% said it should be raised. Then the poll told respondents that “some” people believe failing to raise the ceiling “could stop the government from meeting its obligations, including payments to those on Social Security and in the military, and cause a shock to the economy.”

    Suddenly, support for doing the right thing went from a 28% minority to a 46% plurality.

    • opulent says:

      It is heartening to know that despite all the incessant negative drumbeat about the administration, everyday folks STILL see through all this mess.

      Can you imagine how much folks would be supportive if they ever heard half of what the POTUS is doing positively? Like the auto industry, and health care reform and how the stimulus was an unmitigated success.


      Alas, that is probably why they do not, the GOP would be nothing but roadkill if there was any longer a thing such as balanced and fair coverage.

    • Ametia says:

      Now the Dems can get back to the business at hand, like going to bat for keeping MEDICARE/SOCIAL SECURITY, and pressing GOP to support JOB CREATION!

  36. rikyrah says:

    Shirley Sherrod…
    By Ta-Nehisi Coates
    Jun 16 2011, 9:21 AM ET

    will not go away:

    Sherrod was rudely ousted by USDA officials in July after blogger Andrew Brietbart — back in the news recently for his role in Rep. Anthony Weiner’s lewd-texting scandal — released excerpts of a Sherrod speech. The video, which had been edited, made it appear she had withheld funds from a white farmer because of his race.

    Department of Agriculture officials fired her instantly. A day later, it became clear that Sherrod was actually talking about the importance of overcoming prejudice. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack publicly apologized and offered her another job, which she declined. President Obama called her to express his regret and try to patch over the mess. But the mess has not been patched over.

    Sherrod’s story is regularly invoked — by civil right groups, academics and members of the Congressional Black Caucus — as proof of the challenge of discussing race honestly in the Obama era. “Is she a gadfly to the Obama administration? I don’t know her motivations, but the reality of it is that they screwed up,” said Andra Gillespie, an Emory University professor who studies politics and race.

    “They apologized, but the decision to fire her is the kind of knee-jerk reaction that people get concerned about with de-racialized candidates, such as Obama. The administration overacted in the Shirley Sherrod case to prove that they don’t always side with the minorities, but they were wrong.”

    USDA officials now say they are hoping Sherrod will come back as a consultant to help them address inequities facing black farmers. But the administration has once again upset her, offering a $35,000 consulting contract. The figure, she said, is a “slap in the face,” given the amount of work the job would require.

    I think, given how the Civil Rights movement is viewed, and given that love and forgiveness were its hallmarks, it’s really, really, really easy to paper over the real anger stewing among a great many black folks of that generation. I don’t mean bitterness. I don’t mean unjustified pique. I mean natural human anger at injustice both personal and collective.

    I mean growing up under a systemic and literal white supremacy, whose endorsement by virtually every sector of society (government, private enterprise, church etc.) was near total. I mean having your father murdered by white racists, and watching the killer going unpunished. I mean watching the Klan harass your now widowed mother.

    I mean growing up with all of that, learning to forgive, and doing the painful work of not becoming a racist yourself. I mean taking that message of forgiveness and humanism so much to heart, that you come be known for your fundamental fairness. I mean preaching that gospel of love, introspection and broad toleration, to other wounded black people. I mean being fired for preaching that gospel by the agents of the first black president of the United States who, were it not for your individual efforts, and the efforts of your compatriots would enjoy no such power.

    Sherrod’s firing didn’t have much to do with policy. Still I don’t think the Obama administration was ever more wrong, more weak, and more ungracious, then when it ordered Shirley Sherrod off the highway to tender her resignation by blackberry. The symbolism of that moment, a year later, is stunning.

    Actual people died for Barack Obama to be president. I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but he owed more to his elders than that. Let me not speak for Sherrod. I can only say that, having went through all of that, I would be nursing some serious, serious anger.

    • Ametia says:

      **SIGH** Sorry Coates, I’m not buying the blame the ungrateful POTUS owes his black ancestors nonsense in regards to Shriey Sherod.

      Shirley, get a life, will you.

      • opulent says:

        ICAM Ametia,

        It was definitely a tragic and unjustified moment the way Vilsack fired Sherrod.

        However, I do not hold Obama accountably for it, given the heavily politicized atmosphere.

        The question I have is what recompense does Sherrod want? I agree that contract was pathetic.

        I want the administration to reach out to her and rectify the situation or set it to rights with Sherrod.
        Whether that means Vilsack bringing Sherrod in and apologizing to her publically awarding her a humanitarian recognition with a ceremony for her efforts and historical forebearance than so be it.
        Along with financial compensation that is at minimum equivalent to what she was earning.

        This is Vilsack’s job and he needs to get out the mop and start cleaning up this mess!!

  37. rikyrah says:

    North Carolina Votes To Defund Planned Parenthood
    The North Carolina legislature voted Wednesday to override Gov. Bev Perdue’s (D) veto of the state budget, which includes provisions to strip Planned Parenthood of its federal funds.

    The state Senate voted 31-19 to override the veto Wednesday afternoon, after the House passed a similar measure late Tuesday night in a vote of 73-46, according to the News and Observer.

    The budget prevents any state or federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood facilities, which Planned Parenthood officials say amounts to about $400,000 in funds, and will go into effect on July 1st.

    The provision was added to the budget by abortion opponents who don’t want any federal funds going to entities that perform abortions. As Planned Parenthood officials are quick to point out, federal law already bars any federal funds from being used to provide abortions. The federal dollars that go to Planned Parenthood are used to provide other health care services to women.

    Indiana and Kansas have also passed similar laws stripping state Planned Parenthood facilities of their funds — though Indiana’s is being contested by the federal government, which argues that it illegally blocks Medicaid recipients from receiving health services from Planned Parenthood. North Carolina’s law doesn’t block the funds from going to Medicaid recipients.

  38. rikyrah says:

    Really, John Conyers?
    So John Conyers, who as the then-chairman of the House Judiciary Committed shrank in holy terror from the notion of holding impeachment hearings over George W. Bush’s lies to Congress and the American people in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, not to mention the chance to hold serious hearings on the wiretapping of Americans, torture, and the Bushies’ general mayhem, now joins a group of 10 congressmen suing President Obama for working with NATO in Libya.
    The Libya 10: liberal issue ambulance chaser Dennis Kucinich of Ohio (until a fresh seat pops up elsewhere, and can an urgent fundraising appeal be far behind???), fellow Democrat Michael Capuano of Massachusetts and Republican Reps, Walter Jones and Howard Coble of North Carolina, Tim Johnson and Dan Burton of Indiana, Jimmy Duncan of Tennessee, Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland and Ron Paul of Texas are joining Conyers in suing the president, along with SecDef Bob Gates, for allegedly violating the Constitution “in bypassing Congress and using international organizations like the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to authorize military force” against the Muommar Qaddafi regime.

    They want a judge to halt the U.S. military action, cuz, you know … Congress doesn’t hold the purse strings or the constitutional power or anything…

  39. Love Shack baby! Love Shack bay-bee!
    Love Shack…Love Shack…


  40. rikyrah says:

    “It Worked In Texas” Ctd
    A reader writes:

    Contra Massie, “It worked in Massachusetts” could be a decent narrative for Mitt Romney, if he was appealing to more than the Republican base. Take a look at the map you posted earlier today; Massachusetts has some of the highest GDP growth in the country. The state has been relatively lightly hit by the housing crisis. Unemployment is still rather high, but under 8%. And something staggeringly high, like 95-98% of the state, is covered by health insurance. This is a problem for Mitt, because, apparently, amongst Republican primary voters, the fewer people covered by insurance, the better.

    But come general election time, this could be a problem for Perry. Texas has one of the highest percentages of people uncovered by health insurance, at 26%. Massachusetts is #1. Texas is #51.

    (For adults, 19-64, the percentages are 33% vs 6%; for children it’s 18% vs 3%.) That could be a pretty big hammer for the Democrats: “How is Rick Perry going to solve (arguably) the biggest problem in our generation when a quarter of his own state didn’t have insurance?!”

    And how does Texas (otherwise) work pretty well? Oil and gas. Again, that plays really well in the primaries, but maybe not so well in the general. Of course, Perry plays better in the GE than, say, Palin, Bachmann or Cain.

    Another targets another vulnerability for Perry:

    We now know that prior to his last reelection, the reality of the dire economy in Texas was hidden. Now the state’s huge deficit has been exposed! Don’t let lines like “Texas is working” go unchecked. It was all smoke and mirrors, and Perry will have to be held accountable for that!

    Another goes into more detail:

    The argument has always been that low taxes, small government and less regulation would grow the economy so the deficit could be avoided, if not kept at a minimum. That fiscal “responsibility” has left Texas with a deficit the size of California and New York – with all of their unions and social programs. So Texas doesn’t have the same service or protections as the other two states, or the costs associated with those issues, and still has the same size deficit. Now that Perry will take credit for balancing the budget, which has to happen by law (As Chris Rock says, “You don’t get credit for things you are supposed to do”), but it is difficult to argue that the “Texas Approach” is working. Perry will also take credit for adding jobs, which is nice, but the unemployment rate in Texas is similar to the unemployment rate in New York (though better than California), and has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation.

    So if your model is huge deficits, draconian cuts in services, positive job growth, but lots of poverty and high unemployment, then yeah, “Texas is working.”

  41. rikyrah says:

    On Alpha Dogs and Beta Dogs
    by BooMan
    Thu Jun 16th, 2011 at 09:19:00 AM EST

    I’m amused that The Hill decided to grapple with the ‘wimp factor’ as it applies to Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty. People might think this is a hyped issue, but I think it is extremely important to understanding how voters will behave.

    Republican presidential candidates have long enjoyed an advantage among white male voters. There is no single reason for this. But the GOP’s success at portraying its candidates as more assertive, decisive and outright macho than their opponents is clearly part of the mix.
    Those who don’t fit the template, like Bush Sr., can often pay a political price.

    Jack Pitney, a professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College, worked on Bush’s 1988 campaign. But even he admits the candidate had problems with projecting a robust image.

    “As vice president, he came across as servile,” Pitney acknowledged. “And his whole package of mannerisms just didn’t come across as being those of an alpha male.”

    America is not a tribal society. In some ways it is affirmatively anti-tribal in its values and culture. But we’re still a pack of human beings who come together every four years to choose our leader. And any time human beings select a leader, they are going to select an alpha dog. Beta dogs may do fairly well in elections for lower office, but they do not do well when running to be commander in chief.

    Most Democrats seem kind of blind to this, letting their idealism or their interest in policy cloud their judgment about which candidates are likely to appeal to the general public. For example, a lot of Democrats thought Bill Clinton was finished after his infidelities were revealed during the 1992 primaries. What they didn’t realize is that Clinton’s carousing nature had an alpha dog appeal that Paul Tsongas and Jerry Brown couldn’t match. It helped him win the primaries and it helped him project as a more plausible leader than Poppy Bush (the original wimp) or H. Ross Perot.

    People aren’t looking for an unfaithful man. That’s not what I’m saying. But they are looking for someone who is a natural leader, and that means that they exude confidence, make friends easily, seem trustworthy…have charisma. These type of leaders make you want to follow them. You feel safe in following them.

    If you lack these characteristics, like, say, Michael Dukakis, you are going to have a hard time winning a presidential election based on your superior argument on the issues or your advertising or your debate performance. How did George W. Bush do so well in the polls after his debates with Al Gore? It wasn’t related to anything that was actually said in the debates. It wasn’t, as is often said, about who people wanted to have a beer with. It isn’t a likability thing. It’s an alpha dog thing.

    People pick natural leaders to lead them

  42. rikyrah says:

    In Africa, Michelle Obama to honor Nelson Mandela
    Michelle Obama will honor the legacy of Nelson Mandela and the struggle against apartheid during an official visit to southern Africa next week.

    For her second solo international trip, the first lady has scheduled stops in South Africa and Botswana, two growing democracies, where she’ll continue her work encouraging young people to get involved in national affairs

    • Ametia says:

      I can barely contain myself with FLOTUS’ upcoming trip to Africa. :-)

    • Aquagranny911 says:

      Me three. My SIL is over the moon about her visit to Botswana. He has relatives in Botswana and South Africa. They all plan to somehow be there to greet her in person. Botswana has been a stable democracy for many years. “Z” my SIL, is so very proud of this. I hope we will get tons of video and pictures of this visit.

      I’m very excited myself and having spent a lot of time in both countries I just want to call and tell her all the things she should see and do while she is there. The poverty in some areas of SA will touch her heart to the bone I think. I hope she will visit the townships and see what the women are doing to build craft guilds to help themselves and their children.

      Sorry, I am running on too much….

      • Thanks for sharing, Aquagranny! I’m so looking forward to this trip and seeing the First Daughters go as well. I can imagine your SIL’s excitement about the First Lady visiting. I hope his relatives have a most enjoyable time in greeting FLOTUS in person. This trip is going to be a fantastic trip for FLOTUS and the girls.

      • Ametia says:

        Hi Aquagranny. Do run ON! We appreciate your sharing, and 3 Chics will post whatever photos and videos of FLOTUS’ trip that we can find.

  43. rikyrah says:

    Sick kids on Medicaid wait much longer for care
    Sick children covered by Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) must wait twice as long as youngsters with private insurance to get an appointment with a specialist — if they can get one at all, according to a new study.

    Although past research has shown a disparity in care for people covered by public versus private health insurance, this is the first study to take a comprehensive look at specialty care for children, said co-author Dr. Karin Rhodes of the University of Pennsylvania.

    “We had an idea this was a problem, but we didn’t know the magnitude of it,” she told Reuters Health.

    The study looked at a few hundred specialty clinics in Illinois and was reported in the June 16 edition of New England Journal of Medicine. It represents “clear and convincing evidence” that children with public insurance are treated differently and “it’s across the system,” said Rhodes.

    Federal law says Medicaid recipients must have the same access to care as the general population.

    During the first five months of 2010, female callers posed as mothers whose child was in need of specialty care for a serious condition such as severe depression, diabetes or seizures.

    They contacted 273 specialty clinics in Cook County, Illinois, asking for an appointment. At one point they said they had private insurance; at another, they offered an identical scenario but said the child had Medicaid or CHIP coverage.

    While care was denied at only 11 percent of the clinics when private insurance coverage was offered, the denial rate was 66 percent when the clinic was told the child was covered by public insurance.

    In cases where Medicaid-CHIP insurance was accepted, the children were told they would have to wait, on average, 22 days longer than peers covered by private insurance.

    The typical wait for an appointment was 20 days in the private coverage group and 42 days for Medicaid-CHIP.

    That trend was seen across all seven specialties tested — orthopedics, psychiatry, asthma, neurology, endocrinology, otolaryngology and dermatology.

    Rhodes and co-author Joanna Bisgaier, also of the University of Pennsylvania, selected conditions that were “very common and where there’s evidence that specialty intervention can make a difference in long-term outcome,” Rhodes said.

    One woman who called seeking treatment for a child’s newly-diagnosed type 1 diabetes was told the wait would be one year.

    Even for children with private insurance — who could get an appointment, on average, after 20 days — “just having to wait three weeks with a kid with a new onset seizure, or diabetes, or poorly controlled asthma, or a fracture, is disturbing in itself,” Rhodes said.

    “You add an extra 22 days on to that, and what you’ve got is disparities, discrimination that is purely based on insurance,” she said.

  44. Ametia says:

    Embattled Democratic New York Rep. Anthony Weiner will resign his seat in the House of Representatives, a senior Democratic source says.
    Weiner, who represented New York’s 9th District since 1998, admitted earlier this month that he had sent lewd images and messages over the Internet to six women and more illicit relationships had emerged since then. The congressman had taken a two-week leave of absence “to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person,” his spokeswoman said.

  45. Ametia says:

    I see MSNBC is pumping up John Huntsman. Last night with Maddow, this morning with” Morning Murderer’s show. Joey Scar and Mika weren’t on. Tom Brokaw and the frat boys were making the case for Huntsman. They need their “GREAT WHITE HOPE.”

    • rikyrah says:

      yes, their GREAT WHITE HOPE.

      I’m still asking folks to explain how he gets past being a MORMON with the evangelical bigots

      • Ametia says:

        Yes, he and Romney; how do they get past the bigots? Like I said, Nine Tony Awards for “The Book of Mormons” isn’t going to convince them.

  46. rikyrah says:

    Today in Decompensation
    by mistermix

    At this point in the process, the Republican Presidential race is a bit like an unwanted pregnancy—it’s going to take 9 months until we find out who’s going to emerge from the bloody mess, and in the meantime, everyone involved going a little crazy.

    Mitt, for example, seems to be crumbling around the edges. The other day, he pretended that a waitress in New Hampshire grabbed his ass at a photo-op (warning: creepy video), and then told a local businessman in New Hampshire, “I will probably be back in four years. Only this time it will be a larger group and I will probably have Secret Service.”

    Crazy Shelley is already nuts. For example, she thinks teh ghey is going to kidnap her:

    A few dozen people showed up at the town hall for the April 9 event, and Bachmann greeted them warmly. But when, during the question and answer session, the topic turned to gay marriage, Bachmann ended the meeting 20 minutes early and rushed to the bathroom. Hoping to speak to her, Arnold and another middle-aged woman, a former nun, followed her. As Bachmann washed her hands and Arnold looked on, the ex-nun tried to talk to her about theology. Suddenly, after less than a minute, Bachmann let out a shriek. “Help!” she screamed. “Help! I’m being held against my will!”

    Arnold, who is just over 5 feet tall, was stunned, and hurried to open the door. Bachmann bolted out and fled, crying, to an SUV outside. Then she called the police, saying, according to the police report, that she was “absolutely terrified and has never been that terrorized before as she had no idea what those two women were going to do to her.” The Washington County attorney, however, declined to press charges, writing in a memo, “It seems clear from the statements given by both women that they simply wanted to discuss certain issues further with Ms. Bachmann.”

  47. rikyrah says:

    June 15, 2011

    The year of Democratic samizdat?

    Welcome to House Republicans’ version of American exceptionalism, which means whatever they take exception to, is unAmerican. I guess if mere, second-generation Orwellian Luntzism fails to sufficiently deceive the electorate, then one should try one’s hand at outright censorship.

    From The Hill, quoting Democratic Rep. John Yarmouth:

    The Republican-controlled Franking Commission, which controls content of mailings from congressional offices, is now dictating that any reference to the end of Medicare be cut out from correspondence. Whenever the word “end” is used, they say we have to use the word “change.”

    Rep. Gerry Connolly called it “blatant and transparent censorship.”

    I’m not allowed to refer to changing Medicare to a voucher system [said Connolly], even though Mr. Ryan himself referred to it as a voucher system. I must now call it a premium support system. This censorship would make former Soviet censors blush.

    Five Democratic Members have written to Speaker Boehner, complaining that they have “surmise[d] that there is a deliberate, strategic attempt to censor any Member communication that echoes the widespread public criticism of the Republican Plan for Medicare.”

    What next for the Dems? A 2012 campaign of samizdat? Secret, forested communities of liberals who memorize the collected works of John Kenneth Galbraith? ‘Radio Free Democrats’ broadcasting from the Antilles?

    How many times must Theodor Adorno’s Authoritarian Personality be validated, vindicated and confirmed? The right detests free and open debate, and it loves the iron fist.

  48. rikyrah says:

    The Incredible Shrinking Newt: Gingrich’s Support Crumbling In Polls
    Newt Gingrich has found one issue Americans of all political stripes can come together over: their mutual dislike of him.

    When the race to 2012 first started to gain steam early this year, Gingrich was seen as a viable contender, a big-name Republican with a strong brand and the cash to back a White House bid. But after a bungled rollout marred by gaffes and controversies, the always polarizing Gingrich has alienated not just Democrats, but his own party as well.

    Over the past few months — essentially, shortly after he made his campaign official — Gingrich’s favorability rating has plummeted with Republicans.

    In an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Wednesday evening, 32% of Republican adults said they had a favorable opinion of the former Speaker, though slightly more, 34%, had an unfavorable opinion of him. Two months prior, 50% of Republicans had said they liked Gingrich, while just 13% said they did not.

    A PPP survey of Republican registered voters also released on Wednesday showed Gingrich’s GOP support undergoing the same dramatic swing.

    In the latest poll, 49% of GOPers had an unfavorable opinion of Gingrich, while 36% viewed him favorably. But back on May 10, PPP released a survey showing that 54% of Republican voters had a favorable opinion of Gingrich, compared to 30% who said the opposite.

    Gingrich formally launched his campaign on May 11.

    As his support has eroded, so too has his standing in polls of the Republican primary. Most notably, Gingrich slid to sixth place in the latest Gallup release, falling behind largely unknown candidates like Tim Pawlenty and Herman Cain. In that poll, Gingrich came in with just 5% of the vote, tying him with Michele Bachmann.

    A Fairleigh Dickinson University survey completed June 7 also pegged Gingrich’s support at 5%, placing him fifth out of eight candidates.

  49. rikyrah says:

    June 16, 2011 8:00 AM

    For GOP, even a little stimulus is too much
    By Steve Benen

    President Obama and congressional Democrats see no point in proposing an ambitious job-creation agenda because they know full well that Republicans wouldn’t even consider it. Instead, they’re left with looking for ways to give the economy a modest boost in a way the GOP might find ideologically acceptable.

    That effectively leaves Dems with one option: a cut in payroll taxes. It’s not much, but it’d likely be a step in the right direction.

    As of yesterday, however, some leading Republicans announced that they’ve finally found a tax cut they don’t like.

    Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, and Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, who both hold GOP leadership positions, told reporters that the current high unemployment rate is proof that short-term stimulus programs, like the payroll tax reduction, don’t work.

    “I don’t sense how this move will install the confidence that small businesses in east Texas and Fortune 50 companies are going to need to take care of the Obama employment gap,” Hensarling said.

    “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, lower energy costs, more certainty,” Alexander said.

    This is all manner of wrong.

    Hensarling, whose conspicuous confusion is reminiscent of someone who’s recently suffered head trauma, is still throwing around the “confidence” canard. It was wrong when GOP pollsters came up with it two years ago, and it’s just tiresome now.

    Alexander rejects “short-term gestures,” but I’d remind the conservative Tennessean that the economy is in trouble right now. The unemployment rate is above 9% today. A “short-term gesture” that economists believe would quickly help with job creation isn’t something to scoff at given that the economy is in need of an urgent boost.

    Alexander added that Republicans have “proved” that “short-term government programs … don’t work.” But that’s just ridiculous — a short-term government program stopped the economy from hemorrhaging jobs and stopped the economy from contracting.

    But in the bigger picture, GOP lawmakers who’ve always said they never saw a tax they didn’t want to cut have suddenly decided they oppose a tax-cut plan from the Obama White House. It leads to two questions. First, do they oppose cutting taxes because President Obama wants them to? And second, are they rejecting the Dems’ proposal because they don’t think it’ll work, or they’re afraid it might?

  50. rikyrah says:

    June 16, 2011 8:35 AM

    Caps and triggers and talks … oh my
    By Steve Benen

    The bipartisan debt-reduction talks led by Vice President Biden continued yesterday, with two hours of discussions on Capitol Hill. By all accounts, there’s been at least some steady progress. Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the assistant Democratic leader, said yesterday, “We’re getting there.”

    That’s good to hear, I suppose, but as the talks turn to “structural” ideas, it’s critically important Democrats realize that spending caps would be nothing short of devastating.

    Wednesday’s meeting centered on deficit reduction caps and triggers, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) told reporters. Republicans want caps that are tied exclusively to spending as a percentage of the gross domestic product, while Democrats are pushing to link any caps to the broader goal of deficit reduction, in which both spending cuts and tax increases could be used to rein in future deficits.

    Van Hollen said the negotiators “had a useful discussion about different perspectives, and we’re going to continue to work on it.”

    He said that while there was broad support for some form of a cap or trigger, differences remained. “We did not get them resolved,” he said.

    You don’t say.

    When it comes to lines in the sand, we’ve heard leaders from both parties highlight some deal-breakers. Republicans, of course, have said tax increases will never be acceptable (but increased revenue remains a possibility). Democrats have ruled out any cuts to Medicare benefits (though Dems are open to savings elsewhere in the program).

    But when it comes to structural changes, Dems have to realize that rigid, arbitrary spending caps have to be off the table, too. It’s been a while since we talked about this, but the kind of caps Republicans are eyeing would impose insane, statutory spending restrictions on Congress, with the goal of automatically slashing public investments in practically everything. It is, without a doubt, one of the worst ideas in recent memory.

    The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Paul Van de Water recently explained to the Senate Finance Committee, “Imposing an arbitrary limit on federal spending would risk tipping faltering economies into recession, make recessions deeper, and make recovery from a recession more difficult.”

    Heather McGhee also did a nice job summarizing the case against the CAP Act, calling it what it is: “a depression maker.”

    And if programs like Medicare remain a top priority, the GOP’s proposed caps would necessarily lead to deep cuts to the health care program, as well as Medicaid, Social Security, and every other domestic priority.

    It appears that Dems realize this, but party leaders must recognize this as a deal-breaker.

  51. rikyrah says:

    Democrats beat back further cuts to food aid

    By MARY CLARE JALONICK, Associated Press Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press – Wed Jun 15, 11:32 pm ET
    WASHINGTON – House Democrats have beaten back efforts by their conservative colleagues to deepen already-stringent cuts to domestic and foreign food aid — and even breastfeeding assistance — in an annual spending bill.

    The Republican spending bill that pays for the nation’s food and farm programs would cut the Women, Infants and Children program, which offers food aid and educational support for low-income mothers and their children, by $868 million, a 13 percent from current spending. It would also cut an international food assistance program that provides emergency aid and agricultural development by more than $450 million, or a third of the program’s budget.

    Conservatives sought to deepen those cuts already in the House bill by offering amendments that would further slash the food aid, scale back efforts to promote U.S. exports abroad and cut in half agricultural research and statistics programs. The chamber rejected 12 separate GOP amendments proposing the cuts.

    One of the rejected amendments was by Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., and would have cut $82.5 million for breastfeeding assistance for low-income mothers — aid that is part of the Women, Infants and Children program. Foxx said that though she believes the benefits of breastfeeding are proven, “coaching women on breastfeeding is not the role of Washington.”

    Showing the strains of budget-cutting, Republicans in charge of the debate struggled to keep their colleagues from decimating what they said were important programs paid for in the bill while also praising them for trying to cut the deficit. At one point, Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston, the chairman of the House subcommittee that wrote the bill, called the legislation a “card house” and said making sure the cuts did not go too far was a delicate balance.

    [ For complete coverage of politics and policy, go to Yahoo! Politics ]

    Republicans have so far been unwilling to offer up farm subsidy cuts to help reduce spending. On Wednesday, the GOP ditched up to $167 million in cuts to farm subsidies in the bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee two weeks ago. Rep. Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, the Republican chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, won an agreement from party leaders earlier this week to strike the cuts in subsidies known as direct payments if just one member objected on the floor. The cuts were dropped from the bill after Lucas objected Wednesday

    Farm-state Republicans have said they will look at farm subsidy cuts when they consider a new five-year farm bill next year.

    The House also adopted an amendment to the bill that would prohibit the Food and Drug Administration from approving genetically modified salmon for human consumption. The FDA is set to decide this year whether to approve the engineered fish, which grows twice as fast as the natural variety. An advisory panel said last year that the fish appears to be safe to eat but more studies may be needed before it is served on the nation’s dinner tables.

    If the salmon is approved, it would be the first time the government allowed such modified animals to be marketed for human consumption.

    The amendment by Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young was approved by voice vote. Young argued that the modified fish would compete with wild salmon in his state.

    The agriculture measure is the third of 12 annual spending bills funding the day-to-day operations of the government for the budget year beginning Oct. 1. Republicans have promised to cut tens of billions of dollars this year as they tackle the annual budget process, in addition to trillions in cuts they hope to make across the government.

  52. rikyrah says:

    Debts and Horseracing Purses Among Items Disclosed By Lawmakers
    By Jonathan D. Salant – Jun 15, 2011 11:00 PM CT

    U.S. Representative Alcee Hastings is still paying for his impeachment and conviction as a federal judge, a case that began three decades ago.

    Hastings, a Florida Democrat, owes between $2.1 million and $7.4 million in legal fees incurred between 1981 and 1989, according to his personal financial disclosure statement released yesterday.

    The annual financial disclosure reports allow lawmakers to list their income and liabilities in broad ranges, making it impossible to determine their exact amounts. The documents do provide a glimpse into the range of wealth among members of Congress, the ways some supplement their government checks, and debts that some incur.

    Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, reported a more than $75 million business line of credit, all secured with personal funds. Issa also had assets valued at more than $200 million.

    Freshman Republican Representative Rick Berg of North Dakota reported business and real estate loans of between $1.5 million and $6 million.

    Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican elected last year, reported owing $100,000 to $250,000 in student loans. Representative John Carter, a Texas Republican, reported debts of between $230,004 and $600,000, including a bank loan incurred more than 25 years ago, student loans from around 1998, and credit card debts from around 1990.

    Other Debts
    Senator Maria Cantwell, a Washington state Democrat, carried loans of between $1 million and $5 million from her 2000 campaign. Laura Richardson, a California Democrat, reported owing between $150,000 and $350,000 in legal fees. The House Ethics Committee last year dismissed allegations that she got special treatment from Washington Mutual Inc. in regards to some property in Sacramento.

    Hastings, 74, was named as a U.S. District Court judge in 1979 in Florida and was indicted two years later for conspiring to solicit bribes. Acquitted by a jury in 1983, he was impeached by the House in 1988 and convicted and removed from office by the Senate the following year. Hastings appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in an unsuccessful attempt to overturn the verdict. He won his House seat in 1992.

    Track Winner
    The reports disclose ways House members and senators, who have base salaries of $174,000, supplement their income. Representative Dennis Cardoza, a California Democrat, collected purses between $56,007 and $177,500 from his racehorses, including one named Unanimous Consent.

    Representative Frank Pallone, a New Jersey Democrat, won $24,835.33 in his state’s lottery. Julie Reichert, wife of Representative Dave Reichert, a Washington state Republican, won between $201 and $1,000 at a casino. Representative Paul Tonko, a New York Democrat, won $2,052 in gift cards at a raffle benefitting a regional food bank in his home state.

    Senator Scott Brown, the Massachusetts Republican who won the late Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy’s seat in a special election last year, reported receiving a $700,000 book advance for his autobiography published earlier this year.

  53. rikyrah says:

    Wells Fargo Lures Rich With Private Bank
    By Dakin Campbell – Jun 15, 2011 11:00 PM CT

    Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), the U.S. lender with the largest branch network, is aiming to build its private bank in New York by attracting affluent customers neglected by some other competitors.

    Wells Fargo may increase the number of private bankers to 77 from 67 in the New York area to manage money for clients with at least $5 million in investable assets, according to Jennifer Lee, a regional managing director. More established rivals like Citigroup Inc. (C), based in New York, target private-banking services to most clients with more than $25 million in assets, according to Robert Testa, senior analyst at Boston-based Cerulli Associates.

    “Since the credit crisis, high-net-worth clients have come to value the services of a private bank more,” Testa said. “Wells Fargo will definitely compete with the JPMorgans and Citigroups, but since those guys have such higher minimums, they will be serving this other population.”

    Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf, 57, who called the wealth, brokerage and retirement business “sub-optimized” in December, is seeking assets in a region where Wells Fargo had little or no presence before its 2008 purchase of Wachovia Corp. and recent rebranding of those offices. High-net-worth individuals have $6.2 trillion in investable assets, the San Francisco-based lender estimated in a May 2010 presentation.

    Mark Costiglio, a spokesman for Citigroup, confirmed the bank’s targeting of clients with $25 million. Doug Morris, a spokesman for New York-based JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), said the lender has historically sought ultra-high-net-worth clients but in recent years has offered private-banking services for a wider range of customers.

    Brand Building
    “When you are a national firm as we are now, having a meaningful presence in New York City is incredibly important,” Lee said in a phone interview. “If you overlay opportunity with relative newness to the market, it’s incredibly important for us to have the right team here and build the brand.”

    Wells Fargo recently hired Thomas Belden from Bank of America Corp. (BAC), Susan Bennett from Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (BK), and Belkis Knudsvig from Barclays Plc (BARC), for the New York region, Vince Scanlon, a Wells Fargo spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement.

    Wells Fargo’s goal is to increase the number of wealth- management clients by 6 percent each year, Jay Welker, who heads the unit, said in the May 2010 presentation. The private bank managed $210 billion in client assets at the end of March, Scanlon said in a separate e-mail.

  54. rikyrah says:

    Perry/AFA event denounced by Houston Clergy Council, attracts new controversial supporters
    Dave Welch, David Barton, Kelly Shackelford offer official endorsements of prayer/fast
    By Mary Tuma | 06.15.11 | 3:13 pm

    In the latest show of disapproval for Gov. Rick Perry’s prayer and fasting rally, the Houston Clergy Council (HCC) has penned a letter expressing its opposition to the early August event, set to take place at Houston’s Reliant Stadium. The group is concerned with the event’s lack of inclusiveness toward other faiths, failure to represent the religious diversity of Houston and overstepping of church and state separation boundaries. Yet, the clergy say they are most troubled by Perry’s affiliation with the controversial American Family Association.

    HCC writes:

    “Our deepest concern, however, lies in the fact that funding for this event appears to come from the American Family Association, an organization labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The American Family Association and its leadership have a long track record of anti-gay speech and have actively worked to discriminate against the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. The American Family Association and its leadership have also been stridently anti-Muslim, going so far as to question the rights of Muslim Americans to freely organize and practice their faith. We believe it is inappropriate for our governor to organize a religious event funded by a group known for its discriminatory stances.”

    The clergy requests Perry leave the ministry to them and refocus his energy on governing the state. The letter is signed by two-dozen progressive religious leaders, including many from the Unitarian Universalist Church. The concerns echo those of a number of national, state and local faith-based, activist and LGBT-rights organizations. The Interfaith Alliance, the Secular Coalition for America and the Houston GLBT Political Caucus are among the groups condemning the event’s religious exclusiveness and/or its main sponsor, AFA, as the Texas Independent has reported.

    While HCC may schedule a pro-tolerance speaker as counter-programming to the Perry event, Houston’s largest evangelical ‘megachurches’ – Lakewood Church, Second Baptist and Houston’s First Baptist – have applauded Perry’s efforts to host a day of prayer, reports the Houston Chronicle’s Believe It or Not Blog.

    A protest is scheduled to take place across the street from the Stadium on the day of the event. The number of attendees ballooned from 70 one week ago to more than 300 today, according to the protest’s Facebook page.

    Recently, more controversial figures have signed on to endorse Perry’s prayer/fast, including Dave Welch, executive director of the Texas Pastor Council. Welch was interviewed for his thoughts on the religious aspect of the Texas House Speaker race on late-night comedy program The Daily Show this February, at which time he said it didn’t matter what religious denomination the Speaker is, just as long as he’s not Muslim, the Texas Independent previously reported.

  55. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

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