Serendipity SOUL | Friday Open Thread

Wiki:  Culture Club are a British rock band formed in the early 1980s and classified as new romantic, whose sound combines British new wave and American soul with Jamaican reggae and also other styles as calypso, salsa or country.[1][2][3] The rock band, also described as pop/rock, consisted of Boy George (lead vocals), Mikey Craig (bass guitar), Roy Hay (guitar and keyboards) and Jon Moss (drums and percussion).[4] They are associated with the Second British Invasion of British new wave groups that became popular in the United States due to the cable music channel MTV.[5] From the time of the band’s first album release in 1981 to its dissolution in 1986, Culture Club had amassed hits in several countries around the world, including ten Top 40 hits in the US, most of which went Top 10. They went on to have subsequent hits in the UK during a reunion period of 1998–2002, where they scored a #4 single and a #25 single.

Happy FRY-day, Everybody!  Go out there and create some good KARMA.

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91 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Friday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

  2. Ametia says:

    Jada Pinkett on CNN Piers Morgan tonight.

  3. Ametia says:

    That whinning brat Dan Choi really knows how to get on tee vee. On the The Last Word. He knows damned well the GOP does NOT support gay anything! FUCK HIM!

    • I second that! I can’t stand looking at that attention seeking mofo! Let them try getting anything from republicans. Bee.itch ass mofos!

      • Punk ass Dan Choi can keep his fk vote. President Obama has made it clear that he supports civil unions and not gay marriage. This mofo is trying to make him change his mind. Did he get all up in Bush’s face? Hell no, otherwise his ass would have been in Gitmo before sundown!

        • Ametia says:

          LMAO @ Gitmo. I loathe these folks; they’re cowards that chose not to give voice to their cause until PBO got elected, and now they expect magic. So done with these weak, whining mofos. Dan Choi can bite my black ass.

      • Ametia says:

        LMAO@ the finger!

  4. Aides To Former Maryland Gov Indicted For Ordering Calls To Suppress Votes

    Two aides to former Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich (R) have been indicted for ordering what officials claim were deceptive robocalls intended to suppress Democratic turnout during Ehrlich’s second run for the office last November.

    Voters in Maryland started getting mysterious phone calls on election day last year, that told them to “relax” and not bother going to the polls because President Barack Obama and Gov. Martin O’Malley “have been successful.”

    “Everything is fine. The only thing left is to watch on TV tonight,” the robocalls said.

    How stupid do they think folks are? Asinine mofos!

  5. Andrew Breitbart Crashes Progressive Conference

    MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart made an appearance at Netroots Nation on Friday, showing up at the progressive activism conference and inciting a minor media frenzy.

    A crowd of reporters gathered around Breitbart to ask him about now-former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), who resigned on Thursday after Breitbart drew attention to his online dalliances, and other issues. Shouting could be heard from the meeting rooms, with attendees rolling their eyes over the fact that Breitbart was taking attention away from progressive issues.

    Breitbart did not appear to answer many questions.

    “Have you ever slept with a prostitute?” a man yelled as he followed him down the hall. “Be careful how you answer. Have you? Just asking.”

    Breitbart is in Minneapolis to attend RightOnline, a conservative conference being held as an alternative to Netroots Nation. He will be speaking at the conference at the Hilton hotel on Friday evening, but came by Netroots briefly in the afternoon.

    He was denied press credentials, and organizers did not allow him into the main hall without a pass.

    A few minutes later, Breitbart left the conference.

    The day is coming when Breitbart’s going to fk with the wrong person and they’re going to kick a mud hole in his ass!

    • Ametia says:

      You know these Netroots nuts should feel honored Briebart showed up, it gave ther Obama bashfest some media attention. He was there to attend a Democratic blogging hatefest. What I want to know is what is the difference in these whinning attackers and the GOp, teabagging, racist, NUTS?

  6. Smokey Robinson, Def Poet “Black American”

  7. Ametia says:

  8. rikyrah says:

    Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 10:20 AM PDT.

    Ohio: Campaign to repeal SB 5 collects over 714,000 signatures, 231,000 required+
    *by Chris Bowers

    The campaign working to repeal the heinous anti-worker bill in Ohio has collected more than three times the required signatures to put a referendum to overturn the bill on the November ballot. Further, they have done so with two weeks to spare before the June 30 deadline for submitting signatures..

    Earlier today, We are Ohio announced on their Facebook page that they had collected 714,137 signatures, way above the 231,000 required. Even at a 60% validation rate for the signatures, which is the worst case scenario for the campaign, it now appears certain that enough signatures will be gathered by the June 30 deadline. In fact, it now appears certain double the required number of signatures will be deemed valid.

    The only public polls released on SB 5 have shown wide majorities of Ohio voter in favor of repeal. A Quinnipiac poll from mid-May showed repeal ahead 54%-36%, while a PPP poll from later in May showed repeal winning 55%-35%.

    This signature gathering campaign does not just force a November referendum on the bill. It actually prevents the bill from going into law until the results of the referendum are certified. As such, if the repeal wins in November, which seems likely, then SB 5 will never become law. This is shaping up to become a total defeat for Ohio Governor John Kasich and his union-busting allies .


    • Ametia says:

      Ohioans are on a roll, and I don’t mean a Kaiser. They can easily get over a millions sigantures by June 30.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Social Security Advocates Deplore AARP Decision To Put Social Security On Chopping Block
    Brian Beutler | June 17, 2011, 1:47PM

    An article in Friday’s Wall Street Journal has Social Security advocates angry and scratching their heads. It suggests that AARP — one of the most powerful interest groups in Washington — has done an about face on the question of cutting retirement benefits for seniors as part of a grand bipartisan bargain on shoring up the programs finances.

    The change in posture, agreed to by AARP’s board, has already sent shock waves through the Beltway’s large and influential entitlement reform community. It’s prompted calls from lawmakers and centrist and conservative groups for Congress to seize the initiative and agree to cut benefits. It’s mobilized Social Security’s strongest advocates against AARP, and it’s prompted AARP to initiate a partial walk back — a statement calling the story “misleading, but reiterating that the group could support Social Security reforms if they don’t cause future retirees too much pain.

    “It has also been a long held position that any changes would be phased in slowly, over time, and would not affect any current or near term beneficiaries,” says AARP CEO A. Barry Rand — in other words, the group could support some cuts, so long as they only impact people many years away from retirement.

    But conversations with insiders suggest the Journal story, while mostly on point, underplays a key part of the story. What AARP decided doesn’t necessarily constitute a change in policy, but rather a major strategic decision to announce their acceptance of those cuts now, while the legislative zeitgeist is about “fiscal responsibility”, instead of later.

    “It’s terrible timing,” says Roger Hickey, Co-Director of the Campaign for America’s Future, and one of DC’s veteran Social Security warriors.

    In a big way, what AARP has decided doesn’t surprise Social Security’s progressive defenders. The two constituencies have had a complicated, sometimes icy relationship. But they have allied recently behind the idea that Social Security should not be dealt with in the current fight over budget deficits. AARP has reopened the rift by making this strategic shift — to blink as a signal to tax-averse conservatives that they’ll play ball on a stand-alone Social Security deal if revenues are on the table.

    The Journal article quotes AARP’s top policy guy, John Rother, supporting the decision. “The ship was sailing. I wanted to be at the wheel when that happens,” he said.

    But multiple sources note that Rother’s long wanted this outcome, and had aligned himself with an influential faction in the White House that supports a deal on Social Security that includes benefit cuts and revenue increases — to make the program more sustainable and to signal to U.S. creditors that the country can manage its budget.

    One of those sources is Eric Kingson, Co-Chair of the Strengthen Social Security Campaign, and Co-Director of the Social Security Works coalition.

    “I think AARP is moving in front of its constituency, I think they’re going to get burned,” he said “The damage has been done, the message has been delivered…. Even if you think you eventually give ground on Social Security, this is terrible timing — a terrible mistake.”

    Top officials at AARP disagree.

    Quoth Rother: “[S]ome of our members will no doubt be upset by any such effort, but I believe most would welcome a balanced and fair proposal that could strengthen the program for future generations and possibly even improve it for current vulnerable beneficiaries.”

    Here’s how the Journal describes the reforms AARP is willing to accept:

    The group will accept cuts, but won’t champion them, and it is particularly leery of certain concepts such as eliminating benefits for wealthier recipients.
    It wants tax increases to fill most of the program’s financial hole, and it insists that a deal must be crafted apart from broader deficit-reduction negotiations.

    That’s very much in line with the stated view of senior administration officials who have been pushing Social Security reforms for much of President Obama’s first term.

    “The ideal thing is to get more realists to use their enthusiasm for deficit reduction — their professed enthusiasm for deficit reduction — to lock them into the reality that something on revenues has to be part of the solution, and to make sure that nothing’s done on entitlements that’s damaging to our interests without making sure that revenues are on the table in a meaningful way,” noted one senior Treasury official at a background roundtable with reporters several weeks ago.

    At the moment, Social Security is off the table in Congressional negotiations, led by Vice President Joe Biden, to raise the national debt limit, and cut federal spending. That’s because Republicans continue to oppose any new revenues for the program. But there are signs of a last minute push to foist Social Security into the mix — or at least take it on while the going is good.

    At a Capitol press briefing Thursday, retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) introduced a new plan to cut benefits by raising the retirement age and paring back cost of living adjustments.

    “If we all do it together then there’s not going to be the cheap shot stuff like savaging Paul Ryan because he made an attempt on Medicare,” she said. “Someone has to write the first draft, always pity the first draft writer because then everyone jumps in and makes it look like it wasn’t a good draft but it was, starting is good.”

  10. rikyrah says:

    Wearing FBI Wire, Alabama Republican Called Black Casino Customers ‘Aborigines’
    Alabama state Sen. Scott Beason, a cooperating witness in a federal corruption case, called black gambling hall customers “aborigines” when he was wearing an FBI wire and recording conversations with his fellow lawmakers, it was revealed in court this week.

    Beason and two other Republican legislators were joking about economic development in predominantly black Greene County and the customers of the Greenetrack casino, the Associated Press reports.

    “That’s y’all’s Indians,” one Republican said.

    “They’re aborigines, but they’re not Indians,” replied Beason.

    The transcript was read Wednesday in the federal trial of casino owner Milton McGregor.
    The Justice Department indicted eleven defendants, including McGregor, in a massive bingo bribery probe back in October. Feds charged that the four current and former state legislators, three lobbyists and two businessmen with casino interests were part of a conspiracy to influence pro-bribery legislation. Some defendants, including McGregor’s lobbyist, have plead guilty. McGregor’s trial got underway last week.

    In another recorded conversation, Beason — who cooperated with the feds’ investigation and has not been charged — agreed with other Republican legislators who said that there would be a big turnout of black voters if bingo was on the ballot because casino owners would offer free buffets and gambling credits to lure African-American customers and then bus them to the polls.

    Bobby Segall, a defense attorney for indicted casino owner Milton McGregor, pressed Beason on cross examination about his “aborigines” comment. Beason said he did not remember recording the conversation, but didn’t dispute its accuracy, the AP said. It wasn’t clear from press reports when precisely the recordings were made, but they likely came in 2010 ahead of the ballot measure.

  11. rikyrah says:

    June 17, 2011 2:05 PM

    ‘Look what we’re up against’
    By Steve Benen

    House Republicans appear to have a special fondness for spending time on measures they know will fail. I’m not altogether sure why they’d bother — the Senate seems to know better — but for six months, the new GOP majority has enjoyed spinning its wheels on far-right measures that make them feel better about themselves.

    This week, for example, the House Judiciary Committee debated and approved a measure to amend the U.S. Constitution to cap government spending at 18% of GDP. As a substantive matter, the idea is truly insane — it would require brutal cuts to everything the federal government does, force officials to slash Medicare and Social Security, and make it permanently impossible for federal officials to respond to economic downturns.

    You probably didn’t hear much about this, though, because the proposed amendment is doomed to fail. Dana Milbank was nevertheless on hand for the committee vote, and had an interesting account of the proceedings.

    When a congressional committee tries to rewrite the Constitution to include a proposal that would permanently end many of the federal government’s functions, you’d think it would be done with solemnity. Instead, the lawmakers handled it with their usual acrimony — and, on the Republican side, some laughter at the minority complaints.

    The reference to “laughter” was literal. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) said the Republican plan represents “an assault on the middle class and the poor of this country” and an “orchestrated attack” on the weak — particularly children. This led Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Ted Poe (R-Tex.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) to literally laugh at Johnson’s concerns.

    Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) went so far as to argue that if Dems were really concerned about vulnerable children, they’d join him in opposing women’s reproductive rights.

    But this is the part that got me.

    [Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.)], for his part, said Johnson was preventing “an adult conversation.” He added: “I would like to have at least an intelligent discussion.”

    “I’m sorry that I’m not enunciating myself clearly or intelligently,” Johnson replied, bitterly.

    After that exchange, Lungren went over to a colleague on the Republican side and shared a laugh. “We’re having much too much fun here today,” he said privately. “With a dismissive look over at Johnson and his Democratic colleagues, Lungren added, “Look what we’re up against.”

    And that’s infuriating. Dimwitted, right-wing lawmakers wasting their time (and our money) on a ridiculous constitutional amendment shouldn’t get to pretend they’re the bright ones in the room.

    “Look what we’re up against”? Lungren was openly mocking the only people in the room with their heads on straight.

    Is there anything more annoying than not-terribly-bright politicians pretending to be intellectual heavyweights?

  12. rikyrah says:

    June 17, 2011 1:40 PM

    No backsies
    By Steve Benen

    As bipartisan debt-reduction talks continue — and by all accounts, accelerate — participants are apparently down to the most challenging part of the process. Vice President Biden told reporters yesterday, “Now we’re getting down to the real hard stuff: I’ll trade you my bicycle for your golf clubs.”

    The key players on both sides will reportedly start working “around the clock” next week to resolve the differences, with the goal of having a tentative agreement before the 4th of July.

    We don’t yet know what an eventual deal might look like, but conservative Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson let readers know what he’s heard.

    The most consequential recent political debate did not take place in New Hampshire. It is being held at Blair House, where Vice President Biden is convening bipartisan negotiations for an increase in the debt limit. Biden, by most accounts, is conducting those talks fairly. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor describes them as “constructive.” Important, if true.

    For the first time, Senate Republicans describe to me the outlines of a possible deal: a package of immediate and specific budget cuts; budget caps reaching out five years to reassure conservatives that tough budget decisions will be made in the future; Medicare reforms short of the House approach; no tax increases — a Republican red line — but perhaps additional revenue from the elimination of tax expenditures.

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell seems particularly intent on reaching a Medicare agreement different from Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposal. An incremental approach would allow Republican senators to say they confronted the problem, while allowing them to distance themselves from the unpopular House plan.

    As is always the case, the devil will be in the details. Some additional revenue now seems like an inevitability, though it won’t come from literal tax increases, but rather an end to industry breaks and loopholes (see “ethanol, subsidies for”). The talk of caps is enough to make me break out in a cold sweat, though again, the specifics of the policy matter.

    But what I found especially interesting about Gerson’s take was the notion that McConnell wants a Medicare deal that won’t resemble Paul Ryan’s privatization plan. That’s not surprising — the GOP had to know Dems would never, ever go along with this — but what is surprising is McConnell’s sense that his members will somehow get political cover on the issue. As Gerson put it, once Republicans embrace a different Medicare policy, they’ll be able to say they “confronted the problem,” while distancing themselves from the House plan.

    This isn’t much of a strategy. Last month, the House budget plan came to the Senate floor and 40 Republicans voted for it. When Dems run campaign ads against all 40, telling voters these GOP senators voted to “end Medicare,” and replace it with a privatized voucher scheme, those ads will be accurate.

    Even if this bipartisan deal, if it comes together, takes a different route, this vote won’t disappear.

    If McConnell didn’t want to leave his caucus on the hook for supporting Medicare privatization, he should have thought of that before May 25. Deal or no deal, this vote will remain an albatross around the GOP’s neck.

  13. rikyrah says:

    June 17, 2011
    Bombs away!
    At ‘Netroots Nation’ yesterday,

    four panelists — [gay-activist Lt. Dan] 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’m sorry, I don’t mean to chuckle. I realize these are serious issues, and in no way do I diminish their importance. But being threatened by the adolescent malcontents of the utterly insignificant, whining teapot-tempests of Americablog and FireDogLake is like being under fire from the Italian infantry, circa 1943. One scarcely notices.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Rick Perry: Why He’s Not the Man to Save the GOP
    With the first major 2012 Republican presidential candidates’ debate over with, and the Iowa State GOP Straw Poll less than two months away, the window for additional candidates to emerge and strengthen a shallow field is rapidly narrowing. But there’s still one proto-candidate, due to announce a decision by the end of the month, who’s piquing the interest of many a Republican: the ever-colorful, if somewhat erratic, governor of Texas, Rick Perry.

    On paper, Perry’s got a lot of plus-marks for a Republican Party that currently values three qualities that are difficult to combine: extensive executive experience, an economic success story to tell, and anti-Washington Tea Party cred. He’s also gives good (if not terribly substantive) speeches, loves to campaign, and has access to deep pockets via his Texas background and his Republican Governors’ Association rolodex. And as an ally of the hard-core Christian Right, he would become immediately viable in Iowa, as well as having a step up in South Carolina.

    Moreover, Perry’s peculiar credentials make him a problematic rival for virtually everyone already in the field. Texas’ strong economy (whether or not he had much to do with it) gives him economic and fiscal talking points easily rivaling Romney’s. He’s as popular in both Tea Party and Christian Right circles as Bachmann or Cain. And he would immediately double the number of electable-true-conservative-alternatives-to-Romney in the race, which isn’t good news for the other one, Tim Pawlenty.

    So what’s not to like? In short, every one of the enigmatic governor’s supposed strengths turns out to be yoked to a big, potentially damaging weakness.

    To begin, Texas’ economy may have done well during most of his ten-year-plus tenure as governor, but it’s done so at the price of very low levels of public services, high rates of poverty, and a long line of sweetheart corporate deals, not all of them successful, between Perry and some of his friends and allies, which could prove to be an opposition researcher’s playground. (His pet plan for a privately operated mega-highway through the state, the Trans-Texas Corridor, which has never reached fruition, is a good example). Moreover, his budgetary record has also depended on some questionable accounting measures (e.g., temporarily delayed payments to schools) and a willingness to rely on the federal government he purports to loath (stimulus dollars played a big role in propping up the most recent Texas budget).

    Second, while Perry has become a Tea Party favorite, he has done so in part by making inflammatory statements that may trouble even a healthy number of Republican primary voters, the most famous of which was his suggestion that secession might be on the table for Texas. In addition, he’s also made threats to withdraw the state from the Medicaid program—with only the vaguest suggestion of how or whether poor families would receive medical treatment—and even sought the power to opt Texas out of Social Security, a rather egregious stomping on the third rail of politics.

    And finally, Perry is close to the Christian Right, but the fact of the matter is that he hasn’t chosen the most seemly of allies in that camp. As a follow-on to his famous “Pray for Rain” rally in April, he’s now planning an evangelical hoedown in August, called “The Response,” that features a sort of who’s who of radical theocrats, including John Hagee, the Christian Zionist leader whose support John McCain felt constrained to repudiate in 2008 after Hagee called Adolf Hitler an agent of God’s plans to return the Jews to their biblical homeland. The expressed purpose of the upcoming event is to seek divine intervention to fix America, apparently via the propitiation of an angry God by the abandonment of such abominations as legalized abortion, same-sex relationships, and church-state separation. If the Texas governor is by then running for president, it won’t be much of a mystery who might be called upon by the assembled divines to restore righteousness in Washington: Perry himself, once again in the right place at the right time.

    On top of it all, persistent doubts about Perry’s competence (and in some quarters, honesty) have made him less than a political powerhouse in his home state of Texas, even as the state’s powerful Republican trend in the last decade, along with an energy-industry-boom, have given him enormous advantages. In 2006, for instance, he only won 39 percent of the general election vote in a peculiar, four-way gubernatorial race (with one independent candidate, the comedic musician and novelist Kinky Friedman, probably taking most of his double-digit-percentage vote from Perry’s Democratic opponent). In 2010, meanwhile, he won by solid margins against his primary challenger, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, and his general election opponent, Houston Mayor Bill White—but this was right at the peak of the Tea Party uprising, which Perry very successfully exploited, and the fact remains that he was vulnerable enough to draw these legitimate challenges in the first place. His relationship with Texas Republicans, moreover, has always been somewhat shaky, as evidenced by the revolt of GOP legislators against a business tax plan Perry pushed through a few years ago, and his rumored frosty relations with his great benefactors, the Bush family. And even his friends in the social conservative wing of the Texas GOP were appalled by his 2007 proposal to require that every sixth-grade girl in Texas be vaccinated for the HPV virus.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Obama Thinks Blue In Texas As His Lone Star Approval Rating Hits 51%
    June 16, 2011
    By Jason Easley
    new poll released by the non-profit non-partisan group Texas Lyceum found that President Obama is almost as popular as Gov. Rick Perry in the Lone Star State.

    The poll found that President Barack Obama’s 51% Texas approval rating is only 3 points behind that of Governor Rick Perry (54%). Texas Republicans aren’t thrilled with any of their choices in the GOP primary. Mitt Romney leads Sarah Palin, 16%-14%. Ron Paul is third at 10%, and Rick Perry is fourth at 9%. Herman Cain and Tim Pawlenty were fifth and sixth at 8% and 7% respectively.

    Interestingly, the combined support of Paul and Perry if rallied behind one home state candidate would be enough to be leading Mitt Romney by 3 points, 19%-16%. When asked if they would vote for Obama or the Republican candidate in 2012, the GOP candidate led Obama 44%-35%.

    In 2008 McCain beat Obama by 10 points in Texas, but where the Obama campaign sees hope for 2012 is in the fact that the President got 63% of the Latino vote in 2008, and 1.5 million more Spanish speaking voters will be eligible to go to the polls in 2012.

    As Politico reported, “The spike in voting-eligible Hispanics offers a tantalizing prospect for Democratic strategists who have yearned to flip Texas ever since John Judis and Ruy Teixeira published their landmark book, “The Emerging Democratic Majority,” which predicted just such a shift nine years ago.”

  16. rikyrah says:

    June 17, 2011 11:25 AM

    Actual election crimes
    By Steve Benen

    Last November, there was a fairly competitive gubernatorial race in Maryland. Late on Election Day, robocalls targeted more than Democratic 100,000 households, telling voters to “relax” and no bother voting because Dems were going to win. It was one of the most blatant examples of GOP voter-suppression in a long while.

    Fortunately, those responsible got caught. (via Oliver Willis

    A senior aide and a consultant hired by former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) were indicted Thursday in a case stemming from thousands of anonymous robocalls placed on election night last year that suggested voters could stay home even though the polls were still open.

    Paul Schurick, 54, Ehrlich’s de facto campaign manager, and Julius Henson, 62, a consultant paid by the campaign, were both charged with three counts of conspiracy to violate election laws, one count of influencing votes through fraud and one count of failing to identify the sponsor of the calls. In addition, Schurick was charged on one count of obstruction of justice.

    In a statement, the Office of the Maryland State Prosecutor, which obtained the indictments from a Baltimore grand jury, said its investigation is continuing. All but one of the charges handed down Thursday carry maximum prison sentences of five years.

    There’s a problem when Republican officials believe the best way to win an election is to suppress political participation.

    Of course, while the Maryland scheme appears to have been criminal, this year, the more pressing problem is the fact that GOP state lawmakers aren’t resorting to robocall schemes; they’re just rigging the game before Election Day even comes.

    As we talked about last week, there is a concerted national effort on the part of many Republican policymakers to make it harder for traditional Democratic voters to participate in the 2012 elections. Under the auspices of rooting out “voter fraud” — a problem that appears to exist largely in the over-active imaginations of GOP activists — Republicans are passing voter-ID measures, approving new laws restricting voter-registration drives, and closing early-voting windows.

    If all goes according to plan, going forward, they won’t even need ridiculous schemes like the one in Maryland.

  17. rikyrah says:

    June 17, 2011 10:30 AM

    ‘Government should do more’
    By Steve Benen

    NBC/Wall Street Journal polls always ask an interesting question that doesn’t pop up much elsewhere:

    “I’m going to read you two statements about the role of government, and I’d like to know which one comes closer to your point of view: ‘Government should do more to solve problems and help meet the needs of people’ or ‘government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals.’”

    The conventional wisdom would suggest the latter should win easily. After all, if we’re a “center-right” nation that loathes and distrusts government, the notion that the state “does too much” should be extremely popular.

    And at various times in recent history, that’s certainly been the case. But in the newest results (pdf), released this week, 51% said “government should do more,” while 46% said “government is doing too many things.” The 51% majority is tied for the most support government activism has seen in three years.

    It may be a little hard to see, but the lighter purple line shows the percentage of Americans who believe the government is doing too much, while the darker blue line shows the percentage of the public who wants more government activism. Back in the mid-90s, anti-government sentiment was much stronger, and clear majorities wanted to see Washington doing less. That’s clearly changed.

    Reports of the ascendancy of the far-right Tea Party message may have been exaggerated. For an overreaching, radicalized GOP, this isn’t good news.

    • Ametia says:

      The US Government could do more for its citizens, if it had less sociopathic elected GOVERNMENT officials who continually scream about how bad the government is.

  18. rikyrah says:

    awe Timmy,

    when you had the chance to grow a pair, you handed over whatever comprised the family jewels to WILLARD.

    once one is exposed as a punk-ass-bitch,

    that’s it, Son.


    June 17, 2011 10:00 AM

    Pawlenty rediscovers health care issue
    By Steve Benen

    Republican presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty now appears to realize he missed an important opportunity during Monday’s debate. He had a chance to press Republican rival Mitt Romney on health care policy, but Pawlenty blinked, and has been taking heat ever since.

    Pawlenty now seems eager to go in a more aggressive direction. It’s a strategy with two important downsides.

    Yesterday, the former governor turned to Twitter to go after Romney on health care. Later in the day, he turned up the heat on Fox News.

    Just 72 hours after backing down from a confrontation with Mitt Romney over health care, Tim Pawlenty made clear Thursday night he won’t miss his moment again.

    “I should have been much more clear during the debate,” Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor, acknowledged in an interview with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity. “I don’t think we can have a nominee that was involved in the development and construction of Obamacare and then continues to defend it.”

    Later, Pawlenty added: “I don’t think you can prosecute the political case against President Obama if you are a co-conspirator in one of the main charges against the president on a political level.”

    Rhetorically, that’s not bad, and it’s certainly more of what observers were expecting to hear on Monday night.

    So, what are the downsides? The first is that Pawlenty looks a little foolish if he’s only willing to go on the offensive against Romney when Romney isn’t in his immediate presence. It reeks of weakness. (He’ll get another chance in the next debate, which is scheduled for July 10.)

    But the more important problem here is that Pawlenty, by focusing on this issue, is tackling a policy on which Romney has had considerable success — and Pawlenty hasn’t.

    Indeed, Romney’s policy has worked quite well and is very popular with his former constituents. Pawlenty believes he has a superior story to tell, but the facts show otherwise — the Minnesota plan didn’t improve the number of uninsured (the rate in Minnesota went from 7.7% to 9% after Pawlenty’s “reform”), didn’t reduce costs, and isn’t especially popular with conservative ideologues anyway.

    It makes sense for Pawlenty to at least pretend to get tougher on Romney, but the Minnesotan is going to have to hope no one looks too closely at the relevant policy details, because his record on this is awfully weak.

    • Ametia says:

      LOL Pawlenty would never win going toe-toe with PBO. He’ll call this punk a punk to his face, and he wouldn’t even recognize he’d been called a punk ass beyotch!

  19. Ametia says:

    Maddow on Weiner take down. Your thoughts?


    • Ametia says:

      Weiner could have ended this debacle from day one. He’s the lone wolf here of his own choosing.

      You can’t tell me that his peers didn’t ask him to end the nonsense stat by admitting what he did, what he was going to do about it, take some time off and regroup, nope, he let it play out for weeks, with the media happy to oblige him.
      Anthony Weiner was a complete DISTRACTION for the Democrats who had the GOP by the balls on the sham of RyanCare/medicare.

      No sympathy for Weiner. NEXT!

  20. rikyrah says:

    UH, RUSS…

    you need to start living in the REAL WORLD, son.

    the REAL WORLD.

    June 17, 2011 9:25 AM
    Feingold vs. Super PACs
    By Steve Benen

    Former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), a longtime champion of campaign-finance reform, spoke to Netroots Nation last night, and focused heavily on “super” political action committees, which he’s urging Democrats to reject.

    “I empathize with the desire to fight fire with fire, but Democrats should just never be in the business of taking unlimited corporate contributions,” Feingold told the audience of liberal activists and bloggers gathered here for the Netroots Nation convention, eliciting cheers. “It’s dancing with the devil, and it’s a game that we will never win.”

    The Wisconsin Democrat specifically went after Priorities USA, a Democratic Super PAC run by two former White House aides, Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney. The group already has been active in the 2012 presidential race, and several other Democratic groups have formed to mimic the massive campaign spending deployed by GOP groups such as American Crossroads in 2010.

    “Creating those kind of Super PACs for Democrats is wrong,” Feingold said.

    The former senator hammered the points he’s been making for quite a while, insisting that the party is in danger of “losing its soul” if it embraces Super PACs, and giving voters the impression that Dems are “Corporate Lite.”

    As much as I respect Feingold’s work on this issue, I continue to believe he’s mistaken.

    Priorities USA will include two arms, one will disclose its donors, the other won’t. If the model sounds familiar, there’s a good reason for that — it’s basically the same setup Karl Rove helped put together with Crossroads GPS. Just as with Rove’s operation, Priorities USA will benefit from unlimited, secret donations, including funds from lobbyists and political action committees whose checks President Obama won’t accept.

    The problem, though, has to do with changes Democrats didn’t want, but are nevertheless stuck with. We’re talking about Democrats and their allies simply playing by the rules — rules they don’t like, rules they wish were different, rules they’d gladly change, but the rules nevertheless.

    Feingold is arguing, in effect, that Republicans can go ahead and play by the rules if they want to, but Democrats should impose tougher rules on themselves, on purpose, even if it makes GOP victories more likely, just on principle.

    The progressive Wisconsinite is confident that voters will respect and reward the Democratic approach if the party plays by the older, tougher rules. As much as I want to believe that, I’ve seen no evidence that large numbers of Americans are aware of the campaign-finance process at this level. Voters know what they see and hear in advertising; there’s no reason to think they care about or even understand the nuances of political action committee financing.

    It was conservatives on the Supreme Court created this new landscape. Democrats would prefer this legal environment didn’t exist, but it’s not up to them. Dems are therefore left with a choice: stick to principle, refuse to play by the new rules, and make defeat far more likely, or level the playing field and (to mix metaphors) fight fire with fire.

    I’m inclined to think the latter is the smarter move. National campaigns in which Republicans, the Koch brothers, and Karl Rove are held to one standard, while Democrats voluntarily abide by a more difficult standard is a recipe for failure.

    The national discourse doesn’t benefit from these new rules. But the discourse also suffers when only one side follows the rules to get its message out to voters.

    As Paul Begala explained in April, “We strongly support reform. We support new laws to require transparency of all donations. We support repealing the wrongheaded Citizens United ruling. But, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, you go to war with the laws you have, not the laws you wish you had. Mr. Rove, the billionaire Koch brothers, the Chamber of Commerce, the NRA, the American Action Network, FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity, the Club for Growth, and other right-wing groups are projected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to advance an extreme agenda which would hammer the middle class. We will not let their attacks go unanswered.”

    For a party to go into a heated campaign cycle with one arm tied behind its back, just on principle, just doesn’t seem like a good idea. Put it this way: how happy do you suppose Rove and the Koch brothers would be if Dems took Feingold’s advice? And what does that tell us about the idea’s merit?

    • Ametia says:

      Russ Feingold is a slacker who rode the coattails of PBO in 2008, dissed him in 2010 and lost. Your’e a LOSER, Russ. Bye boy!

      • Even after he dissed the President, he had the gall to ask Michelle to campaign for him.

      • Ametia says:

        FLOTUS campaigned for him; that’s how gracious she is. PBO knew what was coming down the pike with rethugs taking over WI. Feingold did nothing but pander to the likes of whining tv hungry PLs, instead of his TRUE constituency, and he LOST.

  21. Ametia says:

    Any Ferris Bueller fans here? I am! Love Ferris Bueller…. :-)

    Posted at 02:15 PM ET, 06/10/2011
    ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ and its 25 contributions to pop culture lore
    By Jen Chaney

    On June 11, 1986, a smart alecky teen in a sweater vest encouraged kids across America to rebel against authority and seize the perfect sunny school day.

    His name was Bueller — Ferris Bueller — and his movie, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” was released 25 years ago this weekend.

    Videos of some classic scenes:


  22. Christie: ‘None of your business’ why my kids are in private school

    June 17: Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., appeared on the PBS program Thursday night, and he fielded questions from New Jersey residents. He had a tough time swallowing a question on why he sends his children to private school…

    • Ametia says:

      LOL GET’EM Gail. That tub of lard Chris Christie didn’t answer ther question. Why are you taking money from PUBLIC SCHOOLS, Gov. Christie and giving it to private schools?

      You can pay $30,000 a year for your kids, what about families that cannot afford private schools, yet monies are pouring in to these schools and away from public schools.


    • Excuse me while I pop a blood vessel. What any politician does anywhere in his life and in his work is the “business” of everyone of his constituents. What an arrogant asshole! Repugnant mantra: “I got mine and f*ck the rest of you.”

  23. rikyrah says:

    June 17, 2011 8:30 AM

    House GOP targets food safety, WIC, nutrition aid

    By Steve Benen

    In December, Americans who eat food received some very good news. A sweeping overhaul of the nation’s food-safety system, approved by both chambers with large, bipartisan majorities, cleared Congress, and was quickly signed into law by President Obama.

    The long-overdue law expands the FDA’s ability to recall tainted foods, increases inspections, demands accountability from food companies, and oversees farming — all in the hopes of cracking down on unsafe food before consumers get sick. This was the first time Congress has approved an overhaul of food-safety laws in more than 70 years.

    Yesterday, House Republicans voted to turn back the clock — and threw in some bad news for low-income families while they were at it.

    Arguing that the U.S. food supply is 99 percent safe, House Republicans cut millions of dollars Thursday from the Food and Drug Administration’s budget, denying the agency money to implement landmark food safety laws approved by the last Congress.

    Saying the cuts were needed to lower the national deficit, the House also reduced funding to the Agriculture Department’s food safety inspection service, which oversees meat, poultry and some egg products. And lawmakers chopped $832 million from an emergency feeding program for poor mothers, infants and children. Hunger groups said that change would deny emergency nutrition to about 325,000 mothers and children.

    Just so we’re clear, House Republicans believe we can afford tax cuts for the wealthy, and we can afford even larger military budgets, but there’s just not enough money for food safety or nutrition aid for low-income children.

    Also keep in mind, the GOP cuts aren’t just nibbling around the edges. Erik Olson, director of food and consumer product safety programs at the Pew Health Group, part of a coalition of public health advocates and food makers, recently explained, “These cuts could seriously harm our ability to protect the food supply.”

    Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), chairman of the House subcommittee that wrote the agriculture appropriations bill, argued on the House floor yesterday that businesses should simply be trusted to sell safe products. The “private sector,” he said, “self-polices,” so we need not worry too much about safeguards to protect the public.

    As John Cole recently joked, “If these guys were comic book villains, no one would buy it because it’s just too over the top.”

    The final vote, by the way, was 217 to 203. No Democrats, not even the Blue Dogs, voted for this, and 19 Republicans broke ranks to join with the Dem minority.

    The spending bill now heads to the Senate, where it’s unlikely to be well received.

    • “Business should be trusted to sell safe products?” Que!?! Tell that big one to all the people who got poisoned with salmonella from the nasty peanut products knowingly sold by a company two years ago.
      Tell that to the people whose children suffered and those who had a child die from this.

      I had salmonella once. I was so sick and the pain was incredible. I was an adult. I couldn’t even imagine how horrible this was for children who consume most of our peanut butter products.

      I try every day not to hate these people, not to wish huge personal suffering on them.

  24. Ametia says:

    Danny Glover supported the school. Kudos to you, Mr. Glover

    Protesters cheer final-hour reprieve of Catherine Ferguson Academy for pregnant and parenting teens

    12:42 AM, Jun. 17, 2011

    Tiffani Baldwin stood in a courtroom earlier this week waiting to be arraigned on charges from an April sit-in at her former school, Catherine Ferguson Academy for pregnant teens and teen parents.

    On Thursday, the civil disobedience — and that of two current students and a teacher — paid off.

    After weeks of local and national outcry, Detroit Public Schools announced that Ferguson — and two alternative schools that teach expelled students — will become part of an existing charter school company.

    Ferguson will keep its name and current location. Students from the other two schools will be absorbed into current charter schools and the alternative schools will lose their names.

  25. rikyrah says:

    June 17, 2011 8:00 AM

    The Senate, ethanol, and baby steps
    By Steve Benen

    On Tuesday, the Senate failed to end a series of tax subsidies to the ethanol industry, but the vote was notable anyway because most Republicans voted for it. For much of the right, voting to end a tax break counts as a tax increase, making GOP support a welcome development.

    The measure didn’t pass, however, because of procedural concerns from Senate Democrats. Yesterday, with those concerns address, a separate measure passed easily.

    The Senate on Thursday approved an amendment that would end tax credits for ethanol that refiners blend into motor fuel in a vote closely watched as a sign of whether Congress can muster consensus on tax issues in the face of massive deficits.

    In a 73-to-27 vote, the Senate backed an amendment by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) that would abruptly eliminate the tax credits, which cost the federal government about $6 billion a year, on July 1. In addition to ending a 45- cent-a-gallon subsidy, the amendment would eliminate the 54-cent-a-gallon protective tariff that discourages imports.

    The good news is, the vote wasn’t even close. It now appears that a large number of Senate Republicans are prepared to accept the idea that ending needless industry giveaways is ideologically permissible.

    Indeed, right-wing uber-activist Grover Norquist, whose “pledge” is intended to forbid Republicans from even thinking about such steps, was livid. He was pushed to the point of hysterics, saying that voting to end the ethanol subsidy was evidence that Republicans had “popped” their “cherry” when it comes to taxes. Norquist called the GOP members who voted for this “sluts.”

    Stay classy, Grover.

    The bad news is, yesterday’s vote is likely to be symbolic. The measure is an amendment to a larger bill that’s expected to fail; it leaves many other ethanol breaks intact; and there’s little evidence House Republicans are willing to be equally constructive.

    Still, baby steps in the direction of progress are better than nothing. Ideally, this will even influence the bipartisan debt-reduction talks — if Republicans are willing to accept additional sources of revenue, the likelihood of a less-insane compromise increases.

    To follow up on a point from earlier in the week, though, it’s still remarkable the center of gravity has shifted so far to the right. For years, the assumption was that debt-reduction talks would always involve a combination of less spending and more revenue, with the parties arguing over the ratio. With the radicalization of the Republican Party, it’s considered a minor miracle when Dems can get the GOP to even consider both sides of the budget ledger.

    What’s now seen as a major, newsworthy concession used to be a routine matter of governance.

  26. rikyrah says:

    June 16, 2011
    The GOP’s war
    From The Hill, rumblings of an uncivil war:

    A series of policy battles that have broken out among House Republicans poses a significant challenge to Speaker John Boehner’s effort to unify his troops on a bill raising the nation’s debt ceiling.

    A “series” is understatement. The battles resemble a deluge, ranging from a payroll tax holiday, agency regulations, agricultural subsidies, “homeland” (God, how I detest that term) security spending, the Afghanistan war, the Medicare debacle, the House budget, and, of all things, patent reform.

    These collective clowns couldn’t ideologically agree on the color of the sky; the prospect of Establishment vs. Revolutionaries has always loomed, and now the division is taking material form.

    Every day I feel more confident in predicting that within five years, or three, or one or two, the Tea Partiers will formally split from the Republican party and form a third. As it stands, Republicans are more internally splintered than Democrats — and that, gentle reader, is, as you know, a lethal fragmentation.

    The GOP development represents a thunderous contradiction, to be sure, since this is the party that voted nearly uniformly for Ryan’s Medicare-killing budget plan; yet the cracks were always there, just waiting for political realities — especially those in swing districts — to expose them.

  27. rikyrah says:

    may I have a dancing graphic..


    you come and gooooooooooooooo

    you come and goooooooooo

    I loved me some Culture Club

  28. GOP cuts hurt the needy

    Republicans are cutting food assistance programs that would be paid for by ending just one day of tax breaks for millionaires…

  29. Ametia says:

    The 7-2 lineup in a Supreme Court opinion today siding with the prosecution in an exclusionary rule case is raising some eyebrows.

    Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan were part of a majority decision holding that evidence may be used at trial when it is obtained in a search conducted in reasonable reliance on precedent that is later overturned. Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were the dissenters.

    SCOTUSblog noticed that the newest justices were in the majority. “The fact that the court’s two newest members do not dissent,” SCOTUSblog said, “is a pretty striking shift” from the likely positions of their predecessors, Justices John Paul Stevens and David H. Souter.

    The case involved an appeal by automobile passenger Willie Davis, who owned a jacket with a gun tucked in the pocket that police found in a search of the car in which he was riding. The driver had been charged with driving while intoxicated. Davis was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm. While his appeal was pending, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Arizona v. Gant, which narrowed a prior ruling on the permissible scope of car searches incident to arrest.

    In an opinion (PDF) by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., the Supreme Court said the evidence used to convicted Davis should not be excluded because police had followed appeals court precedent “to the letter” and their behavior was not wrongful. “Unless the exclusionary rule is to become a strict-liability regime, it can have no application in this case,” Alito wrote. “About all that exclusion would deter in this case is conscientious police work. … That is not the kind of deterrence the exclusionary rule seeks to foster.”

    “It is one thing for the criminal ‘to go free because the constable has blundered,’” Alito wrote, quoting the famous appeals opinion. “It is quite another to set the criminal free because the constable has scrupulously adhered to governing law.”

    Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a separate concurrence pointing out that the case “does not present the markedly different question whether the exclusionary rule applies when the law governing the constitutionality of a particular search is unsettled.”

  30. Ametia says:

    • Ametia says:

      Has anyone watched the video West Wing Week? It’s worth a watch, especially the end with the baby…. Check it out.

  31. rikyrah says:

    June 16, 2011
    The magic of certitude
    Bruce Bartlett, formerly of the Reagan and H.W. Bush administrations, restates reality in the face of Tim Pawlenty’s fantasty-driven economic plan:

    Pawlenty would cut the top individual income tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, cut the corporate rate from 35 percent to 15 percent, and eliminate completely all taxation of capital gains, interest and dividends…. Implausibly, Pawlenty asserted that despite reducing revenues by some $8 trillion over the next 10 years … his plan would balance the budget. I could find no data or analysis of how Pawlenty’s plan would actually achieve this goal….

    What is holding back business investment is not taxes, but poor economic prospects. For some time, members of the National Federation of Independent Business have listed “poor sales” as their number one problem. Businesses are not going to invest, no matter how low the tax rate is, if there is no demand for their output.

    Now if only there were a GOP demand for reason and empirical evidence.

    I divulge this yearning notwithstanding the fascinating NY Times article yesterday, “Reason Seen More as Weapon Than Path to Truth,” in which it is noted that

    some [cognitive science] researchers are suggesting that reason evolved for a completely different purpose [than ‘the search for truth’]: to win arguments. Rationality, by this yardstick … is nothing more or less than a servant of the hard-wired compulsion to triumph in the debating arena. According to this view, bias, lack of logic and other supposed flaws that pollute the stream of reason are instead social adaptations that enable one group to persuade (and defeat) another. Certitude works, however sharply it may depart from the truth.

    Hence the modern GOP’s key political insight: Never let them see you sweat; which is another way of saying, just blather with towering confidence about whatever is easier for the gaping masses to comprehend. While Democrats convulse over yet another Keynesian analysis of federal spending’s multiplier effect, Republicans scream “Cut the budget!” and from this will come “jobs!”

    A simple thought experiment. Imagine yourself at a diner, in which you overhear three seated people. One asks the other two, “I wonder how we can reduce unemployment in this country?” The second begins to mumble about some guy “by the name of J.M. Keynes who confronted this very issue back in the early 20th century and what he econometrically determined through keen …”; while the third person blurts with stentorian certainty, “The goddamn government needs to stop spending so goddamn much money so we can all get back to goddamn work!”

    Whom do you think the innocent inquirer is more likely to believe?

    “Certitude works, however sharply it may depart from the truth.”

  32. Obama Talks Malia’s 13th Birthday, Daughters’ Dating, Not Having Any More Kids (VIDEO)

    President Barack Obama sat down with Robin Roberts of “Good Morning America” to talk, among other things, about fatherhood.

    In just a couple of weeks, Malia will turn 13, but her dad seems totally at ease, saying:

    Malia and Sasha, for whatever reasons, and I think Michelle gets the lion’s share of the credit, they’re smart, they’re funny, but most importantly, they’re kind, they’re respectful, they’re responsible, they’re well-behaved. I could not ask for better kids. I’m not anticipating complete mayhem for the next four or five years, but, I understand teenage-hood is complicated. I should also point out that I have men with guns that surround them, often. And a great incentive for running for reelection is that means they never get in a car with a boy who had a beer. And that’s a pretty good thing.

    On what might happen if a potential suitor for Malia came knocking:

    It’s a little intimidating. I might invite him over to the Oval Office, ask him for his GPA, find out what his intentions are in terms of career. (Laughs) Malia and Sasha, if you’re watching this, I’m just joking.

    What if the president had two sons instead of two daughters?

    I’ve got friends with boys. It is absolutely true boys are different from girls. Not all of them, but, generally speaking, girls are just much more social, whereas my friends with boys, suddenly they’re fighting for a second, then next thing you know they’re laughing and off playing. You know, they’re like tiger cubs or something. I’m sure there are pleasures for parents of either. I don’t mind having girls, though.

    Has he ever considered having a son?

    You know, you act as though this is a decision of mine. This really isn’t. As Michelle points out, I did not carry ten pounds in my belly. I think Michelle’s general view is, we’re done.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Sunday, June 12, 2011
    The Republican I voted for takes on Pawlenty
    In 1990, the Minnesota Governor’s race was between incumbent Democrat Rudy Perpich and Republican Arne Carlson. Perpich had been behaving pretty erratically and Carlson was a sane moderate Republican. It was the only time I can remember ever going into a voting booth not knowing who to vote for. In the end, as I stood there trying to decide, I thought about the fact that Perpich was pro-life and Carlson was pro-choice. Because the MN legislature had a pro-life majority, I pulled the lever for Carlson. He won and wound up serving two terms. There were times I disagreed with what he did, but what he’s done in his retirement from elected office confirms for me that I made the right choice.

    As the Republican Party began its decent to the right, Carlson has been a voice of reason and found himself increasingly alienated. In 2008, he endorsed Barack Obama for President saying “Obama represented the best hope for an America facing an economic crisis and criticizing Republicans for waging a mean-spirited campaign that has ‘been going down all these side roads.'” Then in 2010, he endorsed a third party candidate for MN Governor instead of the Tea Party candidate and was banished from the party.

    I provide all of that background because recently, Carlson has gotten some attention for calling out the failures of Tim Pawlenty as governor. As a Minnesotan, I have to laugh at the people who so often call Pawlenty a “serious candidate” or want to pretend he is somehow a “moderate” choice. What I’ve noticed since he was first elected is that he has a way of talking that makes him sound moderate. But behind all of the fancy language is someone who is steely in his adherence to the ideological extremes of the Republican Party.

    As a true fiscal conservative, Carlson focuses his critique in that arena and calls Pawlenty out for policies that increased property taxes in this state by 250%. But then he goes on:

    Further evidence of this can be seen in the fact that from 2003 to today, Minnesota has been rolling from deficit to deficit and in spite of warnings from Moody’s concerning the folly of short-term fixes, Governor Pawlenty continued to achieve budget balance by employing the following:

    ➢ Borrowing over $1 billion from the tobacco settlement – money designated for health care.
    ➢ Taking over $2 billion from the federal stimulus funds.
    ➢ Borrowing over $1.4 billion from K-12 education funding.
    ➢ Borrowing over $400 million from the Healthcare Access Fund for low-income families.
    ➢ Accelerating tax payments.
    ➢ Delaying bill payments.
    ➢ Engaging in accounting shifts.

    In the process, Moody’s lowered Minnesota’s bond rating.

    And, much of this activity preceded the recession of 2007 and no borrowed monies have been paid back thereby leaving Minnesota with a $5.1 billion deficit – the 7th most severe in the United States.

    We Minnesotan’s are going to be paying the price for Pawlenty’s time as governor for years to come. Today, with a Democratic Governor (Mark Dayton) and Republican legislature, we’re facing a government shut-down in a couple of weeks because the parties can’t agree about how to fix this mess.

    It comes as no surprise to any of us that Pawlenty is proposing a chimerical economic plan to give the richest a $11.6 trillion tax cut – all while using google to find alternatives to government programs.

    If Republicans are as deeply concerned about the 13.9 million out-of-work people as they claim to be, they might have offered ideas of their own that have some possibility of creating jobs. Instead, they have been chanting the same tired and discredited mantras the party has offered since the 1980s: huge tax cuts, huge cuts in safety-net spending, the clear-cutting of regulations, and the inevitable balanced-budget amendment.

    The latest example is the chimerical economic plan put forward on Tuesday by Tim Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor, who at least until this speech was considered one of the more reasonable of the suitors for the Republican presidential nomination. Mr. Pawlenty went much further right in proposing to slash government than even the House Republicans or most of the other candidates. The danger is that the race becomes a Bunyan-esque contest between tax cutters, with the public lulled by the false belief that the current tax rates (already low) are somehow inhibiting hiring…

    The shallowness of his ideas is best illustrated by a proposal to cut government services by finding similar private enterprises on Google. Private security firms advertise on the Internet, so can we shutter the Pentagon? That would save a lot of money right there.

    So the New York Times editorial board has finally woken up to the idea that there’s not that much daylight between the lunacies of a candidate like Pawlenty and Bachmann. If they’d asked a few of us here in Minnesota – like Arne Carlson – who actually know his record, we could have told them that a long time ago.

    If you’re ready to dismiss all of this and tell me that Pawlenty is down in the polls and therefore not a real contender, I’d suggest you take a look at what BooMan said yesterday.

    Speaking of the next election, it is looking increasingly likely to me that Tim Pawlenty will emerge as the only possible alternative to Mitt Romney. And, since the Republican base in almost infinitely less likely to accept Romney as their ordained front-runner than the Democratic base was willing to accept Hillary Clinton in that role, it looks to me like Pawlenty is close to a lock to win the nomination.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Boosting Diversity in U.S. Law Schools


    While a student at Harvard Law School, Reginald F. Lewis took a life-changing trip to Paris.

    Being abroad “expanded his mind,” says Loida Lewis, Mr. Lewis’s widow and the chairwoman of the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation.

    The experience served Mr. Lewis well in his career as a lawyer, financier and as chairman of TLC Beatrice International Holdings Corp., a company of international food businesses. At one time, Mr. Lewis and his family lived in Paris, too.

    Before his death in 1993, Mr. Lewis gave Harvard Law School a $3 million gift that established an International Law Center, which houses a library and serves as a home for visiting scholars and lawyers.

    In addition, the gift created a fellowship targeted to people of color who are intending to become law school professors. Many of those fellows take time to travel abroad to enhance their studies. Mrs. Lewis says that the fellowship was created so that “those going to law school in the United States, not necessarily Harvard, will be able to be taught by people of color so that they can have an identification. That was the concept.”

    The New York-based Lewis Foundation is now making an additional gift of $1.5 million to continue the fellowship program that will help to enhance diversity in the field of legal educators.

    Mrs. Lewis says that her husband’s original motivation for endowing the fellowships remains true. He wanted “black students to walk a little taller and work a little harder.”

    She adds that “funding these two projects is absolutely crucial so that students inside Harvard and outside Harvard know that there is an African-American who cared enough for his people and people of color that his legacy at the school is being continued.”

    “The gift to Harvard is just one that bears Mr. Lewis’s name. With a recent gift of $1.5 million, the business school at Virginia State University, his undergraduate alma mater, was renamed in his honor.

    The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture in Baltimore is one of the gifts where Mrs. Lewis says that she knows her husband was “working overtime up there.”

    Before his death, he said that he wanted $5 million to be set aside for a museum on African-American history. More than a decade after his death, when the museum was in the planning stages, the state sought private donors to help fund the museum’s education programs. Mrs. Lewis says that she approached the museum, committed $5 million and asked, “What do we get for the contribution?” In return, the museum was named for Mr. Lewis.

    “I like to tell people, ‘See, a leveraged buyout even after he died,'” jokes Mrs. Lewis.

    In the foundation’s work, Mrs. Lewis says that she often feels her late husband’s guidance in the decisions made by the organization. “He remains with us in spirit,” she says, “in a way, it’s like channeling him.”

  35. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    Pricking The Perry Bubble

    by digby

    The beltway press is all aquiver to start pounding the story line that Rick Perry is a job creating hunkorama. The fact that his state is about to fiscally implode will have no effect and neither will the fact that he is an even doofier George W. Bush with better hair.(Let’s not forget that he served under Junior for six years as Lieutenant Governor.) What they are looking for is “proof” that hardcore GOP economic dogma works so they can pretend that we have a serious ideological duel and Perry’s phony hagiography will provide it.

    However, it isn’t true. Think Progress points out:

    As the Austin American-Statesman noted, “while the national unemployment rate is 9.1 percent and the Texas unemployment rate is 8 percent, some 23 states, including New York, have lower unemployment rates.” …

    Between 2008 and 2010, jobs actually grew at a faster pace in Massachusetts than they did in Texas, and “Texas has done worse than the rest of the country since the peak of national unemployment in October 2009.” But as it turns out, Texas is leading the nation in one employment metric — the number and percentage of minimum wage jobs:

    Additionally, Texas has by far the largest number of employees working at or below the federal minimum wage ($7.25 per hour in 2010) compared to any state, according to a BLS report. In 2010, about 550,000 Texans were working at or below minimum wage, or about 9.5 percent of all workers paid by the hour in the state. Texas tied with Mississippi for the greatest percentage of minimum wage workers…From 2007 to 2010, the number of minimum wage workers in Texas rose from 221,000 to 550,000, an increase of nearly 150 percent.

    If they could get rid of that pesky minimum wage I’d bet they could create even more of those fabulous low wage jobs.

    Texas is basically a banana republic racing to destroy its middle class entirely. And that is the true GOP vision for America, no doubt about it.The question is whether or not the political media is going to go all goo-goo eyed over the haircut and the accent and forget to tell the people the truth.


  36. rikyrah says:

    On Fooling People
    by mistermix

    Steve Benen on a recent NBC/WSJ poll:

    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.

    One of the common frustrations a lot of us have with Obama is his reluctance to mention the Bush-era mistakes that led to our current economic situation. But if people already believe that, why waste some of their limited attention span to tell them something they already know?

    We spend a lot of time here dissecting the latest emanations from the noise machine. It’s good to remember that some truths are so self-evident that the noise machine isn’t making as big a dent as we might think.

  37. rikyrah says:

    The Formula

    by digby

    It’s sadly ironic that on the same day Anthony Weiner finally acquiesced to the demands of his party leadership that he step down for having embarrassed them with icky pictures, the GAO released this report:

    A report issued today by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds little to support the charges that led to the demise of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a grassroots consumer advocacy organization driven out of existence by Congressional critics.

    The GAO found that monitoring of awards to ACORN by government agencies generally consisted of reviewing progress reports and making site visits. Of 22 investigations of alleged election and voter registration fraud, most were closed without prosecution, the report found.

    One of eight investigations of alleged voter registration fraud resulted in guilty pleas and seven were closed without action due to lack of evidence.

    The Federal Election Commission (FEC) reported five closed matters – one resolved, one dismissed and the others dropped after FEC “found no reason to believe the violations occurred.”

    […] In 2009, conservative activists released selectively edited videos claiming to show ACORN employees giving advice on hiding prostitution activities and avoiding taxes.

    The videos created a nationwide controversy that resulting in Congress passing laws that prohibited federal funds from being awarded to ACORN. The group disbanded in March 2010 In December 2009, New York U.S. District Court Judge Nina Gershon ruled that Congress had violated the Constitution by singling out ACORN and banning it from receiving federal funds but the ruling was overturned by a federal appeals court, which found that federal funds amounted to only 10 percent of ACORN’s funding and therefore Congress’ action did not amount to punishment, even though it may have been unjustified.

    The GAO report identified about $48 million in federal grants and contracts that had been awarded to ACORN and its affiliates from 2005 to 2009.

    The ACORN and Weiner scandals, different as they are (although the common thread is the sexy, obviously) have a similar lesson in them for all Democrats inside and outside the beltway: it doesn’t matter if you committed a crime or broke any rules or even were the victim of a hoax — once you’ve embarrassed the Democratic political class, you will be cut loose.

    I’m sure Breitbart’s got his next set of victims all lined up. And remember, it won’t do you any good to just be “smarter” or “more moral” than anyone else because it doesn’t even have to be true.


  38. rikyrah says:

    People Still Blame Bush
    by BooMan
    Thu Jun 16th, 2011 at 02:10:54 PM EST

    Common wisdom says that a sitting president can only blame his predecessor for the state of the union for a brief period of time. After a year or two at the helm, a president has to take ownership of the condition of the country. This is partly because people are forgetful, but also because we expect our leaders to be accountable and get results. So, it’s interesting that people are still more inclined to blame Bush than Obama for the economy. And it’s really surprising that people are more inclined to blame Bush today than they were a year ago. I don’t know what explains this phenomenon, but it’s definitely helping Obama maintain some pretty decent approval numbers despite a deeply grumpy and pessimistic electorate.
    I think the main thing is that people really don’t like Republicans. Obama is still crushing all comers in pretty much every poll that I’ve seen. I think McCain’s former adviser John Weaver is on to something:

    For Weaver and the rest of the team, [Jon] Huntsman’s intelligence and foreign-policy experience, combined with his strong record of fiscal conservatism and social semimoderation (he supports civil unions for gay couples and believes climate change is an urgent issue), made him the ideal candidate to shake up a Republican field that Weaver calls “the weakest since 1940.”
    “There’s a simple reason our party is nowhere near being a national governing party,” Weaver told Esquire. “No one wants to be around a bunch of cranks.”

    Weaver sees Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and the presumed front-runner, as a man afraid to take a stand — or, more accurately, as a man unafraid of taking every stand. “What version are we on now?” Weaver said. “Mitt 5.0? 6.0?”

    And in former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, another leading candidate, Weaver sees what he considers the worst tendencies of his party — pandering to the GOP’s hard-right margins at the risk of falling out of serious presidential contention.

    “Tim’s a nice guy,” Weaver said, “and there’s nothing worse than seeing a nice guy pretend that he’s angry. Is that really what we want to be? Is that how we’re going to define ourselves? When’s the last time an angry man ever solved a problem without using a gun?”

    Both Huntsman and Weaver think they have the best chance to take on the president next year. “The frustrating thing is that Obama’s beatable,” Weaver told Esquire. “But to beat Obama you have to be bigger than Obama. That’s how we save our party.”

    It doesn’t look like Hunstman has a chance, but if he is going to run and not pander to the cranks, at least we’ll have one adult in the room during these debates.

    Do you think this is the worst Republican field since 1940?

  39. Sarah Palin: Anthony Weiner Has Been ‘Rendered Impotent’ (VIDEO)

    During an appearance on Fox Business Network on Thursday night, Sarah Palin weighed in on news of embattled Congressman Anthony Weiner’s (D-N.Y.) decision to resign after becoming embroiled in an online sexual scandal.

    “From henceforth after his personal indiscretions were disclosed, he was going to be rendered impotent basically in Congress and he wasn’t going to be effective,” said the former Alaska governor when asked if she thought Weiner could have fulfilled his political responsibilities despite the controversy. “Obviously it was the right thing to do. Day late dollar short though, I think he should have resigned when all of this came to light.”

  40. Man In Suspicious Vehicle Arrested Near Pentagon

    ARLINGTON, Va. — Authorities say one person has been taken into custody in connection with an investigation into a suspicious vehicle near the Pentagon.

    Pentagon police spokesman Chris Layman says the person was taken into custody early Friday and that one or two other people may be involved. Layman says the car is in bushes near the Pentagon’s north parking lot.

    No other details about the investigation were immediately available.

    The investigation has caused road closures near the Pentagon.

    In another incident earlier this week, a motorist found with a gun and what appeared to be a suspicious package near the Pentagon was taken into custody.

  41. Ametia says:

    Ryan’s Shrewd Budget Payday
    Exclusive: The congressman stands to make money from his stakes in four businesses that lease land to energy companies which would benefit from $45 billion in tax breaks and subsidies in his proposed budget.

    Daniel Stone reports.
    June 17, 2011 12:09 AM EDT

    When House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan unveiled the GOP blueprint for cutting government spending, he asked Americans to make sacrifices on everything from Medicare to education, while preserving lucrative tax subsidies for the booming oil, mining and energy industries.

    It turns out a constituency within his own personal investments stood to benefit from those tax breaks, Newsweek and The Daily Beast have learned.

    The financial disclosure report Ryan filed with Congress last month and made public this week shows he and his wife, Janna, own stakes in four family companies that lease land in Texas and Oklahoma to the very energy companies that benefit from the tax subsidies in Ryan's budget plan.

    Ryan’s father-in-law, Daniel Little, who runs the companies, told Newsweek and The Daily Beast that the family companies are currently leasing the land for mining and drilling to energy giants such as Chesapeake Energy, Devon, and XTO Energy, a recently acquired subsidiary of ExxonMobil.

    Some of these firms would be eligible for portions of the $45 billion in energy tax breaks and subsidies over 10 years protected in the Wisconsin lawmaker’s proposed budget. “Those [energy developing companies] benefit a lot from these subsidies,” explained Russ Harding, an energy policy analyst with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, when presented with the situation, without reference to Ryan. “Without those, they’re going to be less profitable.”

    To ethics watchdogs, Ryan’s effort to extend the tax breaks creates the potential appearance of a conflict of interest$0xzB8by7dGP

  42. Ametia says:

    Spitzer scolds Planned Parenthood critic
    Posted by:Steve Frank – Digital Producer

    CNN’s Eliot Spitzer confronts Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council when he links Planned Parenthood with child prostitution and sex trafficking “In The Arena.”


  43. Ametia says:

    BWA HA HA HA Pawlenty joins Newt in the GLITTER CLUB!

  44. Ametia says:

    Happy FRY-day, Everyone! :-)

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