Saturday Open Thread

Chicago is an American rock band formed in 1967 in Chicago, Illinois. The self-described “rock and roll band with horns” began as a politically charged, sometimes experimental, rock band and later moved to a predominantly softer sound, becoming famous for producing a number of hit ballads. They had a steady stream of hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Second only to The Beach Boys in terms of Billboard singles and albums chart success among American bands, Chicago is one of the longest running and most successful pop/rock and roll groups.[2]

Chicago re-teamed with producer Phil Ramone in October 2010 to begin work on a new album.[3][4]

According to Billboard, Chicago was the leading U.S. singles charting group during the 1970s. They have sold over 38 million units in the U.S., with 22 gold, 18 platinum, and 8 multi-platinum albums.[5][6] Over the course of their career they have charted five No. 1 albums, and have had 21 top ten hits.

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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47 Responses to Saturday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Rick Santorum authorized a partial-birth abortion to save the life of his wife.

    It’s different when they do it, I guess.

    Rick Santorum, the guy who said that doctors who perform abortions should be criminally charged and called exceptions to protect the life of the mother phony, had his wife undergo a partial-birth abortion back in 1997.

    In the 19th week of her pregnancy, Karen discovered during a routine exam that the fetus she was carrying had a fatal defect and was going to die inside of her. A long-shot surgery was performed that required cutting directly into the womb. It carried a high risk of infection and was performed not to save the fetus, but to reduce Karen’s complications while she attempted to go full term.

    Two days later, she became severely feverish. She was rushed to the hospital and placed on intravenous antibiotics, which reduced her fever and bought her some time, but could not eliminate the source of infection: the fetus.

    Karen was going to die if her pregnancy was not ended, if the fetus was not removed from her body. So, at 20 weeks, one month before what doctors consider ‘viability’, labor was artificially induced and the infected fetus was delivered. It died shortly thereafter.

    They named it Gabriel Michael Santorum.

    The event is obviously tragic, especially for Karen, who, like her husband, opposes any and all forms of abortion, even when it saves a woman’s life. As her fever subsided, she realized what was happening and asked for drugs to stop the labor, saying, “We’re not inducing labor. That’s abortion. No way.” But it was too late.

    and in light of Santorum’s recent comment about exceptions to save the mother’s life being phony, here’s this.

    Today, hindsight being 20/20, Karen says she would have authorized the procedure after all, justifying the saving of her own life by explaining that her other children would have lost a mother.

    As the article I read states, this procedure is considered by Santroum to be partial-birth abortion. He also personally authorized one to save the life of his wife, who he loves, and that is fine by me. But what really gets me is the stunning hypocrisy here. Rick Santorum is opposed to any and all forms of abortion, even going so far to say that exceptions to save the life of the mother are phony and that doctors who perform abortions should be criminally charged. If he had his way, someone who was in the same situation as he and his wife was, will not be allowed to pursue abortion in order to save the mother and therefore, will have to die.

    This man should be kept as far away as possible from elective office for the rest of his life.

    • rikyrah says:

      considering that this man is in collusion with trying to strip away the rights of women all across the country, I think this needs to be front paged on as many blogs as possible.

      • rikyrah says:

        as you can see on JJP, I’m going back and forth with CPD, trying to split hairs about it, getting all ‘ technical’ about it.

        here’s the bottom line.

        a baby didn’t come to term, which is horrible. and, guess what, they had to have a ‘procedure’. a procedure which saved THE MOTHER’S LIFE.

        guess what?


        there are no ifs, ands or buts about that.


        but, he has all sorts of bullshyt excuses wrapped in religious misogyny as to why I and every other woman in this country, if we find ourselves in that horrible position – SHOULD NOT GET TO HAVE THAT CHOICE.

        fuck him.

        they are going around the country attacking women, and trying to take away women’s rights, yet, when faced with the basics, of the complexities of life – IN THEIR OWN LIVES – they try and bullshyt it away.

  2. rikyrah says:

    slave catching coon……

    some people will do anything for a check


    More Racist Bullshit from Republicans; Reggie “Fauxbama” Brown Cracks Jokes at the Republican Leadership Conference

    by ABL

    With a helping of gay-bashing.

    Reggie Brown, the Barack Impersonator who debated Gary Johnson last Sunday yukked it up for white folks once again, this time at the Republican Leadership Conference.

    From The Washington Post:

    A President Obama impersonator brought down the house Saturday at the Republican Leadership Conference, telling a string of racially themed jokes about the president.

    The impersonator, Reggie Brown, took the stage at the annual presidential cattle call to the Bruce Springsteen song “Born in the USA” — an allusion to the birther controversy.

    A sampling of what followed:

    • On Black History Month: “Michelle celebrates the full month. I celebrate half.”

    • “My mother loved a black man,” but “she was not a Kardashian.”

    • A picture was shown of Obama and the first lady when he took office. The impersonator then showed a picture of what the Obamas will look like when the president leaves office, and it was the characters of Fred Sanford and his sister-in-law, Ethel, from the show “Sanford and Son.”

    Race wasn’t the only subject where the impersonator pushed the envelope.

    • Of Tim Pawlenty’s decision not to criticize Mitt Romney at Monday’s debate: “[CNN’s] John King served him up a ball softer than Barney Frank’s backside.” (Frank is a gay member of Congress from Massachusetts.)

    • Of Newt Gingrich’s approval ratings: Dropping “faster than Anthony Weiner’s pants in an AOL chat room.”

    • There was also one moment where the original Weiner twitpic was shown on the large screens on either side of the impersonator, with no blurring.

    Apparently Brown was interrupted and hastily ushered from the room. Presumably, these assholes are trying to get their story straight regarding whether or not this racist bullshit was pre-approved or whether Brown hopped on stage and started riffing—you know—like off the top of his head.

    Yeah right.

    Blame it on the black guy. It works every time.

    Fauxbama or Obama: One of ‘em is to blame—somehow.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Saturday, June 18, 2011

    Bachman’s New Narrative

    by digby

    Bachman came up with a very creative and potentially dangerous new line of attack at the Republican Leadership Conference yesterday and she’s reportedly repeated it in Minneapolis this morning at the Right Online confab:

    Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, the latest candidate to join the Republican presidential campaign, suggested Friday that President Obama secretly wanted Medicare to go bankrupt so retirees would be forced to enroll in the new national health care law.

    “This hasn’t been talked about very much – the president’s plan for senior citizens is Obamacare,” Ms. Bachmann told party activists here. She added, “I think very likely what the president intends is that Medicare will go broke and ultimately that answer will be Obamacare for senior citizens.”

    In a speech to the Republican Leadership Conference, Ms. Bachmann recounted how she attended a closed-door meeting at the White House and said the president was asked three times to produce his plan to address the financial burdens facing the Medicare program. She said the president’s “gift to senior citizens is to steal from them $500 billion out of Medicare.”

    The anecdote, which Ms. Bachmann did not explain in detail or offer additional corroboration, was the latest example of a red-meat, crowd-pleasing declaration that has become a theme of her political rise – whether or not the statements withstand scrutiny. She drew enthusiastic applause as she pledged that her top priority – should she reach the White House – would be repealing the health care law.

    How do you like them apples?

    Needless to say this is an amazing projection since the truth is that Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan much more closely resembles “Obamacare” and the GOPs fondest dream is to force everyone from cradle to grave back into the health insurance system of the early 20th century — i.e, those who are rich enough to afford health care can have it. It’s the liberals who want to turn “Obamacare” into Medicare.

    Still, you have to appreciate the cleverness of her approach here. Where other candidates like Romney and Pawlenty speak in wonk speech, Santorum in the style of a culture warrior and Palin in snarky word salad, Bachman has a way with weaving certain ideas together in a way that speaks to the right’s Fox-addled conspiratorial worldview. It’s hard to know if she’s personally confused or just opportunistic, but when someone weaves together various strands of conservative talking points into a coherent story like this it can be very powerful. And it’s the kind of thing that turns liberals into pretzels trying to rebut.

    She’s going to be influential in this race. It will be interesting to see how the others deal with her.


  4. rikyrah says:

    June 18, 2011 11:35 AM
    With little regard to reality

    By Steve Benen

    In a Time column this week, Fareed Zakaria laments what’s become of contemporary conservatism, and the unfortunate ways it’s “lost touch with reality.” It’s a fairly short piece, but it offers a compelling condemnation of conservatism’s break with its traditions and its adherents wiliness to “espouse ideas drawn from abstract principles with little regard to the realities of America’s present or past.”

    The Republican prescription is to cut taxes and slash government spending — then things will bounce back. Now, I would like to see lower rates in the context of tax simplification and reform, but what is the evidence that tax cuts are the best path to revive the U.S. economy? Taxes — federal and state combined — as a percentage of GDP are at their lowest level since 1950. The U.S. is among the lowest taxed of the big industrial economies. So the case that America is grinding to a halt because of high taxation is not based on facts but is simply a theoretical assertion. The rich countries that are in the best shape right now, with strong growth and low unemployment, are ones like Germany and Denmark, neither one characterized by low taxes.

    Many Republican businessmen have told me that the Obama Administration is the most hostile to business in 50 years. Really? More than that of Richard Nixon, who presided over tax rates that reached 70%, regulations that spanned whole industries, and who actually instituted price and wage controls?

    In fact, right now any discussion of government involvement in the economy — even to build vital infrastructure — is impossible because it is a cardinal tenet of the new conservatism that such involvement is always and forever bad. Meanwhile, across the globe, the world’s fastest-growing economy, China, has managed to use government involvement to create growth and jobs for three decades. From Singapore to South Korea to Germany to Canada, evidence abounds that some strategic actions by the government can act as catalysts for free-market growth.

    The indictment goes on from there. America used to invest in education, science, and innovation, making the U.S. a global leader, but the right now sees these efforts as (cue scary music) government spending, which necessarily makes it unwise. Why? Because their ideology says so.

    Similarly, the right is wedded to demonstrably ridiculous ideas regarding health care policy, and refuses to even acknowledge the fact that other industrialized democracies spent less and get more. Republicans, Zakaria added, “resemble the old Marxists, who refused to look around at actual experience. ‘I know it works in practice,’ the old saw goes, ‘but does it work in theory?’”

    “Conservatives,” he added, “used to be the ones with heads firmly based in reality.” No more.

    None of this, of course, is the least bit surprising. The reason our political debates are so exasperating is that conservatives aren’t just annoyed by reason and empiricism; they act as if they’re allergic to the very ideas. Zakaria noted several worthwhile examples, without even getting to the right’s hostility towards science, affinity for discredited legal gibberish, or dangerous foreign policy.

    But reader M.R. alerted me to this piece from Barry Ritholtz, who seemed unimpressed with Zakaria’s column — not because he disagreed with it, but because the observations are so obvious. “Fareed Zakaria has reached the terribly obvious and long overdue conclusion that the right wing in the US is a fantasy-based denier of reality,” Ritholtz noted. “Whoopee…. For his observation that the earth is round, serious people are showering Zakaria with effusive praise. While the reality based observations are long overdue, it is embarrassing that we feel so compelled to applaud it.”

    Ritholtz’s argument is well taken, but I’m inclined to be far more generous. Zakaria has traditionally been a center-right observer, uncomfortable with sweeping condemnations like these. It took some courage for him to write a column for a high-profile mainstream publication, effectively conceding that The Ideology Has No Clothes.

    It reminds me a bit of Jacob Weisberg’s piece from last month lamenting the Republican belief that “magical thinking trumps rationality.” The Slate editor, hardly a reflexive far-left voice, added that the GOP has “moved to a mental Shangri-La, where unwanted problems (climate change, the need to pay the costs of running the government) can be wished away, prejudice trumps fact (Obama might just be Kenyan-born or a Muslim), expertise is evidence of error, and reality itself comes to be regarded as some kind of elitist plot.”

    There’s a case to be made, I suppose, that these observations are overdue. Given the right’s radicalism, though, I’m more inclined to welcome the criticism and hope it spreads than I am to check the publication date.

  5. rikyrah says:

    House GOP Slashes Food Safety Funding Because ‘The Private Sector Self-Polices’

    By Pat Garofalo on Jun 17, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Last year, a bi-partisan majority in Congress approved a new food safety law, the first significant upgrade of the nation’s food safety system since 1938. The bill was so non-controversial that it was approved by unanimous consent in the Senate. But House Republicans have been threatening to defund the new law through the appropriations process.

    Following through on that threat, House Republicans approved a bill yesterday that would cut $87 million from the Food and Drug Administration, as well as $35 million from the USDA’s food safety and inspection service. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) explained that the House GOP is okay cutting food safety funding because the food industry “self-polices”:

    “Do we believe that McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken and Safeway and Kraft Food and any brand name that you think of, that these people aren’t concerned about food safety?” Kingston said on the House floor. “The food supply in America is very safe because the private sector self-polices, because they have the highest motivation. They don’t want to be sued, they don’t want to go broke. They want their customers to be healthy and happy.”

    Just this week, four people, including two children, were sickened by E. Coli in Washington state. But even without some of the high-profile food recalls of last year — including those of salmonella-contaminated eggs and E. coli-contaminated spinach — there is a significant public health justification for upgrading the nation’s food safety system. Currently, one out of six Americans suffers from a foodborne illness every year, with 128,000 of those resulting in hospitalization. Ultimately, 3,000 people die from foodborne illness each year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

    The new food safety law gives the FDA the ability to force recalls, which it currently is barred from doing, and do more to inspect food coming into the country. At the moment, just one percent of imported food coming to U.S. ports is inspected.

    Finally, the bill will actually save taxpayers money in the long-run. “The costs of failing to overhaul the food-safety system would ultimately exceed the legislation’s implementation costs,” said Erik Olson, director of food programs at the Pew Health Group. According to Georgetown University’s Produce Safety Project, foodborne illness costs the U.S. $152 billion annually.

  6. rikyrah says:

    40 Percent Of The Benefits Of Pawlenty’s Tax Plan Go To The Richest One Percent Of Americans

    By Guest Blogger on Jun 17, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Recently, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty (R) proposed a set of huge new tax cuts that would cost more than three times as much as the Bush tax cuts. His plan to reduce the top individual income tax to the lowest rate in post-war history, cut the corporate tax rate by more than half, and completely abolish taxes on capital gains, dividends, and massive estates would mainly benefit the extremely wealthy. In fact, these tax changes would be even more skewed towards the rich than the Bush tax cuts were.

    Using analysis from the Tax Policy Center, we put together the accompanying chart showing just how tilted the Pawlenty tax cuts would be. Nearly 40 percent of the entire benefit of Pawlenty’s plan would go to the richest 1 percent of Americans. The next richest 9 percent would enjoy 25 percent of the total benefit. In other words, under the Pawlenty plan, the richest 10 percent of Americans would reap significantly more than the bottom 90 percent combined:

    This distribution is even more slanted toward the very top and away from the middle than the Bush tax cuts were. While the Bush tax cuts delivered 27 percent of their total value to the richest 1 percent, Pawlenty’s plan would give them about 40 percent. The middle 60 percent of Americans got about one-third of the total value of the Bush tax cuts, and would get less than one-fourth of the value of Pawlenty’s.

    The Bush tax cuts were an utter failure at promoting economic growth, job creation, or shared prosperity. They succeeded only in turning a budget surplus into a huge deficit. You might think that after such a colossal failure, conservatives would be forced to admit that tax cuts for the rich aren’t a magic economic elixir. Perhaps they’d even start coming up with some new ideas for boosting the economy. But if Pawlenty’s plan is any indication, conservatives seem intent on repeating the mistakes of the past – only bigger.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Supreme Court Gives Juveniles Protection in Police Interrogations
    June 16, 2011 by John Kelly

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today in a 5-4 decision that said a police officer must take a child’s age into consideration when determining whether to issue a Miranda warning to a juvenile suspect.

    The case, J.D.B.v. North Carolina is the latest in a string of cases in which the high court has applied protection to certain groups of juveniles. The court banned the juvenile death penalty in the 2005 Roper v. Simmons case, and last year ruled in Graham v. Florida that life without parole sentences were unconstitutional for juveniles convicted of any crime other than homicide.

    “This represents the court’s settled commitment to its view that kids are different,” said Marsha Levick, deputy director and co-founder of the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center. “It’s just a further shoring up of that direction they’ve been moving in for last several years.”

    Justice Sonia Sotomayor, writing for the majority, said, “So long as the child’s age was known to the officer, or would have been objectively apparent to a reasonable officer,” law enforcement and the courts must factor age into a decision to give a Miranda warning to a juvenile suspect.

    “Neither officers nor courts can reasonably evaluate the effect of objective circumstances that, by their nature, are specific to children without accounting for the age of the child subjected to those circumstances,” wrote Sotomayor, joined in her opinion by Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan.

    “This does not mean that a child’s age will be a determinative, or even a significant, factor in every case, but it is a reality that courts cannot ignore.”

    Dissenters in the case – Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas – expressed fear that the decision would be the first of many to obscure Miranda guidelines past their usefulness.

    The justices heard oral arguments in March in the case, which involved a 13-year-old boy who was questioned by police at his school in connection with two home burglaries. The teen was questioned in a closed (but not locked) room, in the presence of a police investigator, a police officer who was assigned to the school and an assistant principal.

    J.D.B. initially denied being involved in the break-ins, and was advised by his assistant principal to “do the right thing.” J.D.B. was then told by the investigator that the case would be going to court, and that he might be detained before trial, at which point the boy confessed to the crimes.

    The investigator then told J.D.B. that he did not have to answer further questions and was free to leave. The teen continued to answer questions until the end of the school day, and then went home.

    It is the first time since the Miranda v. Arizona ruling established the current custody analysis in 1966 that the high court has mandated the consideration of a factor specific to the individual in question. The Miranda process historically only requires officers (and courts upon review) to consider specific circumstances such as where questioning occurred, how long it lasted or whether any physical restrain was used to keep a suspect in a certain place.

    The majority cited a number of previous cases to bolster its argument that age is a factor worthy of distinguishing from other potential considerations about an individual.

    “A child’s age differs from other personal characteristics that, even when known to police, have no objectively discernible relationship to a reasonable person’s understanding of his freedom of action,” Sotomayor wrote.

    Sotomayor’s opinion cited Haley v. Ohio’s finding that in the specific context of police interrogation, events that “would leave a man cold and unimpressed can overawe and overwhelm a” teen, and quotes from the Roper v. Simmons case that ended the juvenile death penalty: juveniles “are more vulnerable or susceptible to . . . outside pressures” than adults.

  8. rikyrah says:

    For Want of a Word, Arizona’s Jobless Lose Checks
    Published: June 17, 2011

    One word, just one little word

    That’s all that Frank Ballesteros, a 62-year-old desperate for work, needs to stay afloat. The word is not “hope” or “God” or “patience.” It is, improbably, “three.”

    Arizona’s legislature has resisted making a small word change, from “two” to “three,” in its statutes. Only if it does will Mr. Ballesteros continue to receive jobless benefits through November, allowing him to pay his mortgage and medical bills.

    Otherwise, his checks stop next week.

    “It is almost 100 degrees out there, and I am walking door to door handing out résumés,” said Mr. Ballesteros, who worked for 21 years at a nonprofit group in Tucson before getting laid off when funding dried up. “Now Arizona decided to kill the benefits extension from the federal government because some legislator decided we’re just sitting around on our butts waiting for a check.”

    That last extension of unemployment benefits — typically received in weeks 80 through 99 of unemployment — is paid for entirely with federal money and does not affect state budgets. But because of ideological opposition and other legislative priorities, Arizona and a handful of other states, like Wisconsin and Alaska, have not made the one-word change necessary to keep the program going.

    Right now about 640,000 jobless Americans are receiving this last tier of benefits, according to the National Employment Law Project. The money, appropriated in the 2009 federal stimulus package, was initially intended for states with jobless rates higher than they were two years earlier. Since the recovery has been much slower than predicted, though, Congress decided last December to allow states to continue receiving the money if their unemployment rates were higher than they were three years earlier. States simply needed to change “two” to “three” in the relevant state law.

    Some economists say that cutting off the long-term unemployed from extended federal assistance could backfire by putting further strain on state economies instead. Indeed, most states were quick to make the one-word change, counting on the federal money not only to support ailing families but also to serve as a strong stimulus (jobless benefits are normally spent more quickly than, say, tax refunds). Nearly every state — Arizona included — had opted into the extended benefits program when it was introduced.

    But now Arizona is reluctant. When Gov. Jan Brewer called a special session to address the issue last week, legislators didn’t introduce a bill. Republican legislators said they would consider the change only if it were packaged with other provisions, including tax cuts and stricter rules for receiving unemployment benefits in the first place.

    “We prefer to look for long-term solutions so when the Obama administration money runs out Arizonans will have jobs,” said Andy Tobin, the Republican speaker of the house.

    Some Arizona lawmakers expressed discomfort with the prospect of accepting more federal money.

    “This is not free money,” said Al Melvin, a Republican state senator representing Tucson. “This is America’s money. We have a $14 trillion debt that has to be paid, and we need to stop spending money we don’t have.”

    The last tier of federal benefits injects about $2.3 million a week into Arizona, and Mr. Melvin says he believes “every dollar’s important.”

  9. rikyrah says:

    S Africa Chinese ‘become black’

    The High Court in South Africa has ruled that Chinese South Africans are to be reclassified as black people.

    It made the order so that ethnic Chinese can benefit from government policies aimed at ending white domination in the private sector.

    The Chinese Association of South Africa took the government to court, saying its members had been discriminated against.

    An estimated 200,000 ethnic Chinese live in South Africa.

    The association said their members often failed to qualify for business contracts and job promotions because they were regarded as whites.

    The association said Chinese South Africans had faced widespread discrimination during the years of apartheid when they had been classified as people of mixed race.

    The BBC’s Mpho Lakaje in Johannesburg says the Broad-Based Economic Empowerment and the Employment Equity Acts were designed to eradicate the legacy of apartheid which left many black people impoverished.

    The laws give people classed as blacks, Indians and coloureds (mixed-race) employment and other economic benefits over other racial groups.

    The Black Economic Employment concept was initiated by the governing ANC to help previously disadvantaged individuals – to start their own businesses or become part of existing companies – thus redressing the country’s historic inequalities.

    Whites still on top

    Our correspondent says the ruling provides clarity for corporations in South Africa on the rights of their Chinese staff – who were declared “coloured” under apartheid but are generally regarded as white today.

    An example cited in court papers includes an oil company that disqualified Chinese citizens from getting a slice of its biggest empowerment transaction to date.

    The company says the group is not catered for in the Black Economic Empowerment codes.

    Another example includes a Chinese national who was refused an opportunity to buy shares from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange two years ago.

    None of the three government departments cited as respondents in the court case opposed the application.

    A study released last month revealed that white South Africans still earn around 450% more than their black counterparts, 14 years after the end of apartheid.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Judge Gives Hard-Luck Mom Free Pass
    Mother left her two kids in a hot car to give blood for money

    A Broward County judge gave a penniless mother a priceless gift this week: freedom.

    Angel Smith, 41, had been arrested for leaving her two children in a hot car for two hours while she gave blood to earn money to feed them, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

    She was paid around $30 for giving blood, but when she left the center, cops were waiting.

    A security guard at the blood donation clinic saw the children – ages 4 and 7 – alone in the car and called police, who arrested Smith on child neglect charges. The children were unharmed and are in the custody of the Department of Children and Families.

    But Judge John Hurley said that life had given the desperate mother enough hard times and that she didn’t deserve to serve hard time. Smith was living out of a hotel and had just been laid off.

    Smith told Hurley she had $28 in the bank.

    “I realize it’s difficult for you, I’m not trying to be hard on you. I knew when I read this (affidavit), life is not easy for you,” Hurley said before choking up and nearly crying on the bench. “I don’t look at you as a criminal, all right, but at the same token, ma’am, you can’t leave your children in the car, that length of time, unattended.”

    Smith was released from jail with no bond, but her charges currently still stand.

    “You think you have it tough,” Hurley told attorneys in his courtroom. “This woman has to donate her plasma to try and support her kids.”

  11. rikyrah says:

    June 18, 2011 8:50 AM
    Bachmann’s latest conspiracy theory is a doozy
    By Steve Benen

    Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-Minn.) creativity is unrivaled in contemporary politics. Consider her remarks yesterday to a gathering of the Republican Leadership Conference.

    Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, the latest candidate to join the Republican presidential campaign, suggested Friday that President Obama secretly wanted Medicare to go bankrupt so retirees would be forced to enroll in the new national health care law.

    “This hasn’t been talked about very much — the president’s plan for senior citizens is Obamacare,” Ms. Bachmann told party activists here. She added, “I think very likely what the president intends is that Medicare will go broke and ultimately that answer will be Obamacare for senior citizens.”

    Bachmann’s principal problem is that she combines the worst of two important traits: she’s strikingly ignorant about public policy and she’s paranoid to the point of delusion.

    It’s these qualities that lead Bachmann to come up with such odd theories. In this case, the unhinged Minnesotan believes President Obama is secretly trying to eliminate Medicare, forcing seniors into the Affordable Care Act. Is there any evidence at all to support this? Of course not, but that’s not important right now.

    In practical terms, Bachmann apparently thinks the president is secretly right-wing — she believes Obama wants to end the existing system of socialized medicine for seniors, and force these millions of seniors into the private insurance market.

    Of course, there is a group of people who actually support such an approach. They’re called “House Republicans.” Indeed, the House GOP budget plan — written by Paul Ryan and endorsed by none other than Michele Bachmann — seeks to end Medicare and convert the program into an ACA-style system. Bachmann’s conspiracy theory is that Obama secretly agrees with her far-right colleagues.

    This isn’t just wrong; it’s mad-as-a-hatter crazy.

    Bachmann’s ability to come up with remarkable conspiracy theories has always impressed me. Remember the time the right-wing presidential candidate argued that the U.S. Census may lead to “internment camps”? How about when she warned of a “one-world currency” because she got confused about what a global reserve currency is? Or maybe the time she thought the “Lion King” was secretly gay propaganda? How about the time she said a bipartisan national service bill could lead to “re-education camps”?

    This new one, though, is probably my favorite to date. Anytime a right-wing lawmaker talks to a right-wing audience and thinks it’s wise to attack President Obama as secretly on their side, it deserves some kind of award.

  12. rikyrah says:

    When reality bites back
    By Heather “Digby” Parton – 06/14/11 05:52 PM ET

    Did the GOP con the Democrats into buying into deficit fever so they could run against them from the left?

    It was just a week ago that Republican leaders like Reps. Paul Ryan (Wis.) and Ron Paul (Texas) were cavalierly dismissing the ramifications of default, with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) demanding trillions in immediate cuts or else. But a funny thing happened on the way to the deficit showdown: The housing numbers came in very grim, unemployment ticked back up over 9 percent and little tremors were felt in the financial markets. Suddenly the hard-line deficit hawks were sounding a little bit anxious about allowing the country to default if they didn’t get every last thing they wanted. On Monday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) warned that the need to come to an agreement was urgent, saying, “We don’t want the markets to make this decision for us.”

    It’s always hard to know what the truth is during a negotiation. Everyone’s posturing, drawing imaginary lines in the sand that are designed to psych out the other side. However, in this case, the ground seems to have shifted overnight, from an arrogant promise to burn down the house to a slightly more reasonable position in the face of a sputtering economy that desperately needs more stimulus. Reality, it seems, does bite.

    But perhaps there’s more to this than meets the eye. The motley crew of Republican presidential candidates is now yammering nonstop about nothing but jobs, jobs, jobs, issuing lugubrious paeans to the plight of the workingman and attacking the president for his incompetence and lack of compassion (that last charge given life by an unforced Obama error in characterizing the unemployment numbers as “a bump in the road”). Considering their party’s obstructive tactics and stated desire to do anything to prevent a second Obama term, including preventing a robust recovery, it’s a richly hypocritical charge. But you can’t fault them for their strategic instincts. After spending the last two years haranguing the president about the deficits caused by his predecessor’s malfeasance and Wall Street greed, they are now blaming him for failing to defy them. That takes nerve.

    Now, one cannot absolve the administration and Democratic leaders of their responsibility here. Recent reports have made it clear that they placed far too much faith in the markets to somehow solve these problems and failed to understand, once again, just how quickly the GOP could turn from Deficit Hawks to Compassionate Conservatives (and probably back again). When you let people who have retired the concept of hypocrisy set the agenda, you should probably be prepared to get batted around like a political pinball.

    It’s too much to believe that this was a master plan. Predicting the ups and downs of this economy has stumped the best market players in the world. But to be able to corner a Democratic president into focusing on deficits in the middle of the worst employment crisis since the Great Depression, and then pivot and run against him from the left, is a dazzling political move. It helps if you are completely unmoored from any kind of accountability for your former statements — as proven by front-runner Mitt Romney — but you just can’t help but be impressed by the sheer chutzpah of it all. Well played, GOP.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Cable worried about poverty, not Netflix
    For all the talk about competitive threats from the likes of Netflix Inc or Apple Inc, it is rising poverty among households that TV executives say is their biggest source of concern.

    Executives from News Corp, Comcast Corp and Time Warner Inc, speaking at the annual Cable Show industry event, made clear the industry needed a stronger housing market and better jobs picture to win new customers and keep existing ones.

    “We have to be sensitive in making sure we have a product that consumers can afford,” said Pat Esser, president of privately held Cox Communications, speaking at the industry’s biggest yearly event.

    Investors and analysts, with a few exceptions, can often be heard worrying more about how the cable industry will cope with cheaper entertainment packages from rivals such as Netflix, Inc or Google Inc.

    Time Warner Cable Chief Executive Glenn Britt, however, was one of the executives focusing on the hazards of a bad economy.

    “There clearly is a growing underclass of people who clearly can’t afford it,” he said. “It would serve us well to worry about that group.”

    Even with the economy on shaky footing, Viacom CEO Phillipe Dauman and Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes remained particularly bullish about cable’s prospects.

    Dauman said it was “remarkable” that cable was one of the last things that customers cut off during the recession and was a testament to the value that cable offered.

    Bernstein Research analyst Craig Moffett, one of the analysts who has written extensively about the poverty issue, said the cable business was a “rigged game” that allowed programing fee hikes to be passed on by operators to consumers with impunity.

    “That has been a wonderfully attractive model for a generation, but the danger, of course, is that eventually the video product will be priced into irrelevance for lower income consumers,” said Moffett. “I don’t know when it will happen, but I suspect we’re already perilously close.”

    Still, questions about Netflix and other newcomers couldn’t be escaped at this year’s conference. Netflix has more than 20 million customers, making it the second largest video subscription service in the United States.

  14. rikyrah says:

    GOP, Dems Square Off Over NLRB Case Against Boeing

    Republicans and Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee repeatedly clashed Friday over the politically charged National Labor Relations Board complaint against Boeing Co. and its decision to locate a nonunion plant in South Carolina.

    Even before the field hearing in Charleston, S.C., got underway, Democrats were accusing Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) of trying to intimidate the NLRB by hauling the agency’s top lawyer, Lafe Soloman, before the panel.

    Soloman reluctantly agreed to testify under threat of a subpoena, and Democrats on the panel complained throughout the lengthy hearing that Issa was attempting to pressure the NLRB amid an ongoing enforcement case.

    DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) was particularly annoyed and testy throughout the hearing, arguing that forcing Soloman to testify was an unprecedented act by the committee and would “taint the legal proceeding.”

    Issa maintained his right to scrutinize the NLRB’s activities — even during an active legal proceeding. An administrative law judge has urged the Chicago-based company and the Machinists union to settle their differences in a hearing that began in Seattle June 14.

    In April, the NRLB filed a complaint against Boeing’s decision to build an assembly plant for the new 787 Dreamliner in North Charleston, S.C., alleging that the move amounted to retaliation for union strikes at its Seattle-area manufacturing hub. Republicans, lead by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and the GOP South Carolina delegation, have decried the legal action as a political move by the Obama administration in favor of union supporters over job-creating private business decisions.

    “The disastrous consequences that the effort to penalize Boeing will have on the economy of South Carolina, and the collateral damage that this unprecedented action will have on other right-to-work states, warrants scrutiny,” Issa said in his opening statement.

    If successful, Soloman’s complaint could force Boeing to pull out of the state of South Carolina or at the very least build an additional assembly line in Washington state as a remedy.

    During Friday’s hearing, Soloman said he regrets the fear the dispute has caused South Carolina workers about the viability of their jobs and several times reminded lawmakers that his calls for a return to Seattle is a standard beginning negotiation stance, implying that the NLRB and Boeing would likely reach a settlement that would avoid displacing South Carolina workers.

    “These are difficult economic times, and I truly regret the anxiety this case has caused them and their families,” Soloman said during prepared testimony before the panel. “The issuance of the complaint was not intended to harm the workers of South Carolina but rather to protect the rights of workers.”

    The case has become an early flashpoint in the 2012 campaign with Republicans charging the Obama administration with penalizing a major U.S. aerospace company and creating more incentives for U.S. companies to relocate or send jobs overseas when the No. 1 priority in the country should be creating jobs and recharging the flagging economy.

    South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) lambasted Obama and the NLRB during the hearing. She and 15 other governors wrote Soloman on Thursday in an attempt to convince him to dismiss the complaint, which they said hamstrings governors who are trying to create jobs.

    “I never thought the President and his appointees at the NRLB would be the greatest opponents we have” in trying to attract jobs to South Carolina, she said. “All you are doing is incentivizing these companies to go overseas. … It’s an attack on states that continue to have a pro-business environment. …”

    Graham has vowed to block Soloman’s nomination in the Senate, and Issa has implied that the complaint was simply an attempt to rally Obama’s big labor base.

    “You are no more independent than [Homeland Security Secretary] Janet Napolitano or any other appointee of the President,” Issa told Soloman.

    “I would argue differently,” Soloman retorted.

    Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), a senior member of the Oversight panel, bitterly complained during the hearing about Issa’s decision to demand testimony from Soloman without requiring Boeing officials to show up and face hostile questions from Democrats.

    “Having the NLRB here without Boeing, is that intimidation or just downright unfair?” she angrily asked Issa.

    “We didn’t believe it was appropriate to have employees and Boeing here at the same time, but if you wanted Boeing to be here, that could have been your choice” for a witness, Issa responded.

    Graham and other Republicans have complained that the complaint against Boeing is particularly egregious considering that William Daley, Obama’s relatively new chief of staff, and John Bryson, Obama’s new choice for Commerce secretary, served on Boeing’s board when the decision was made to open the South Carolina plant.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Fifth Circuit Suggests Undocumented Immigrants Have No Fourth Amendment Rights

    By Ian Millhiser on Jun 15, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Several constitutional amendments refer to rights that belong to “the people.” The Second Amendment refers to “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms.” The Fourth Amendment provides that “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.” According to a sharply divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, this choice of words means that undocumented immigrants have no Second Amendment rights and may also not be able to invoke the Fourth Amendment’s shield against illegal searches and arrests:

    [T]he Court’s language does provide some guidance as to the meaning of the term “the people” as it is used in the Second Amendment. The Court held the Second Amendment “surely elevates above all other interests the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home.” Furthermore, the Court noted that “in all six other provisions of the Constitution that mention ‘the people,’ the term unambiguously refers to all members of the political community, not an unspecified subset.” […] Illegal aliens are not “law-abiding citizens” or “members of the political community,” and aliens who enter or remain in this country illegally and without authorization are not Americans as that word is commonly understood.

    Prior to its decision in Heller, the Supreme Court interpreted the meaning of the phrase “the people” in the context of the Fourth Amendment and indicated that the same analysis would extend to the text of the Second Amendment…but neither this court nor the Supreme Court has held that the Fourth Amendment extends to a native and citizen of another nation who entered and remained in the United States illegally.

    The court’s suggestion that the Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply to undocumented immigrants is obviously wrong. Even if such immigrants don’t count as part of “the people,” the Supreme Court held in Mapp v. Ohio that the Constitution’s guarantee that no “person” may be denied liberty without due process of law includes the right to be free from illegal searches and seizures. And, in light of the Supreme Court’s bizarre conclusion that corporations count as “persons,” it would be quite a stretch to claim that actual human beings who happen to have entered the United States illegally are somehow not persons.

    It’s also worth noting that at least one of the Fifth Circuit judges who decided this case is an unusually radical member of an unusually radical court. Judge Emilio Garza, who was briefly floated as a possible George W. Bush nominee to the Supreme Court, is best known for being one of five Fifth Circuit judges who held that a death row defendant whose lawyer slept through much of his trial was not denied his constitutional right to counsel.

    While Garza’s view was ultimately deemed too radical by a majority of his colleagues, such restraint is rare in the Fifth Circuit. Last year, the Fifth Circuit sanctioned a former high school cheerleader because she brought a lawsuit claiming that she shouldn’t be required to cheer for her alleged rapist. More recently, the House GOP attempted to shift several key oil drilling cases to the Fifth Circuit after the court’s judges made it clear that they would give the oil industry favorable treatment.

    Two Fifth Circuit judges, Jerry Smith and Eugene Davis, even ruled in favor of the oil industry in a major drilling moratorium case despite the fact that they both attended expense-paid “junkets for judges” sponsored by an oil-industry funded organization. A third Fifth Circuit judge, Edith Clement, serves on the board of this organization, despite an opinion from the federal judiciary’s ethics committee saying that Clement violates her ethical obligations by remaining on this board.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Pawlenty Promises To Appoint ‘Conservative Justices’ Who Will Ignore The 14th Amendment

    By Ian Millhiser on Jun 14, 2011 at 9:13 am

    The Constitution guarantees that all persons born in the United States are U.S. citizens with only a handful of very rare exceptions. Nevertheless, in last night’s GOP candidate’s debate, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty criticized the Supreme Court for following the Constitution’s unambiguous language and promised to appoint justices who would strip many Americans of their citizenship:

    This issue of birthright citizenship, again, brings up the importance of appointing conservative justices. That result is because the U.S. Supreme Court determined that that right exists, notwithstanding language in the Constitution. I’m the only one up here — I believe I’m the only one up here — whose appointed solidly, reliably conservative appointees to the court.

    Pawlenty would do well to actually pick up a copy of the Constitution before he pretends to know what it says. Under the 14th Amendment, “[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” This language is unambiguous; it grants citizenship to all persons born in the US unless they are not subject to American “jurisdiction” — a very narrow exception that applies only to children of foreign diplomats and a handful of other people.

    Moreover, the first Supreme Court decision recognizing birthright citizenship was hardly the product of excessive liberalism. The Court first acknowledged this right in an 1898 decision called U.S. v Wong Kim Ark. Three of the justices who joined the majority in Wong Kim Ark also voted with the majority in Lochner v. New York, an infamous Supreme Court decision holding that essential laws protecting workers from exploitation violate the Constitution. Five of the justices in the majority in Wong Kim Ark also voted to uphold Jim Crow in Plessy v Ferguson. So when Pawlenty promises to appoint justices who are more conservative than the ones in Wong Kim Ark, he is essentially calling for a Supreme Court that will immunize sweatshops from the law and uphold segregation.

    Sadly, Pawlenty was not the only person on the stage to come out against the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. When asked whether he thinks the children of undocumented immigrants “should be considered a citizen of the United States,” former pizza executive Herman Cain replied, “I don’t believe so.”

  17. rikyrah says:

    Huntsman and New Hampshire

    by BooMan
    Fri Jun 17th, 2011 at 10:33:45 PM EST

    Matt Bai makes some good points about Jon Huntsman, and an even better point about New Hampshire. One thing people forget is that independents can vote in the New Hampshire primary simply by showing up and declaring for one party or the other. In some years, like 2000, there are compelling contests in both parties and independents have to decide which race they want to weigh in on. For example, you may have been kind of a fan of Bill Bradley but have been most concerned that the airhead George W. Bush not win the Republican nomination. In that case, you might have opted to vote for McCain even though you’d probably not vote for him in the general election. In other years, like 2004, there is no contest for one party’s nomination, and independents are free to make mischief for the party they like the least. Maybe you were conservative-leaning and wanted the Democrats to field a weak candidate. So, you voted for the candidate that seemed the weakest. If McCain hadn’t been so strong in 2000, Bradley probably would have won New Hampshire. And who knows if Kerry would have won in 2004 if there had been a contested primary on the other side.

    We know that Obama is going to have no more than token opposition, if any at all. So, that frees up Democrats to re-register as Republicans and for all independents, regardless of their lean, to weigh in on the Republican contest. This creates much, much more room for a moderate Republican to win the New Hampshire primary than would be the case in other years.

    Jon Hunstman can’t compete in a closed Republican primary, but he has a puncher’s chance in a wide-open one. If Romney is seen as too wishy-washy, Huntsman might catch on as a better alternative than Tim Pawlenty.

    Unfortunately, under the new Republican rules, whoever wins New Hampshire will only walk away with a few delegates more than their closest rival. The only winner-take-all contests will take place at the end. So, winning New Hampshire can’t even begin to deliver a knock-out blow. It can provide momentum and media adoration. It will keep the money flowing. But it can’t transform Huntsman into a front-runner. At best, it can make him a serious contender.

    I think it’s more realistic to think of Huntsman as a candidate for vice-president. If the nominee is sufficiently conservative to motivate the mouth-breathers and worry every one else, then picking a moderate guy who is a good debater with excellent foreign policy chops could be a smart move. But, first, Hunstman would have to show some strength at the polls. Winning New Hampshire would demonstrate that Hunstman has some appeal with moderate voters.

    Of course, if someone like Bachmann were to miraculously win the nomination, she couldn’t pick Huntsman as her running-mate or we’d all be wondering why the ticket wasn’t flipped. So, even a run for vice-president seems like a long shot. On the other hand, the field is so incredibly weak that anyone halfway sane and competent has to be considered a definite possibility.

  18. Buenos Dias, Chicas! “I came for the politics but stayed”…. for the music (just a little joke) Chicago, so great. Can I ask how old you are SG2? I think we both grooved to a lot of the same music when were younger. I will soon be 67, although I already celebrated my BD this year since I don’t do it on 9/11 anymore. I love the music you share here. Do you have interest in any of the African groups like Lady Smith Black Mambazo? I went to a concert of theirs here last year. I also was so privileged to hear Miriam Mekeba, (Mama Africa) once in concert in Joburg. There are some wonderful musicians in Africa. I have so many CD’s I got there. Sorry, carried away with the music….

    Somehow I can’t wrap my head around politics today. Nor can I think anymore about our fires which we seem to be getting under some kind of control. The Grandkiddos “want to go home, Granny” but they got to stay here until all the smoke clears. Their parents are on the way, so seeing them may help. Winds are moving the smoke but some rain would really help to clear the air. These babies have asthma so bad, they just can’t be breathing smoke. Enough of my stuff…

    Happy week end to all.

    • Ametia says:

      AquaGranny, always a pleasure to see you and read your words of humor, wisdom and truths. y’all stay safe in AZ and look out for the younguns.

      Is your birthday 9/11? If so, Woman, claim your BIRTHDATE. The world and people are what it is. I’m sure it’s a little bit brighter because you were born. CLAIM YOUR BIRTHDATE.

      I’ll answer for 3 Chics on the age. We’re boomers of the 50’s, and have an affinity for the ECLECTIC in music and culture. PERIOD. SG2 can give her age if she wishes; I’m 55.

      So glad you enjoy the music, AG. Do you have a favorite Chicago tune. We’ll drop a link to it, or if you want, please feel free to drop one or two..

    • Hola Aquagranny!

      I love love Chicago! I’m 52 and I have a birthday coming up next week…. Crying and blowing nose

      I’m a huge fan of Miriam Makeba’s music. Love Love it. She was such a beautiful woman both inside and outside.

      I’m sure you’re going to miss the grandkids. They bring such pleasure. I have Haley and Jay today and we’re gonna get out of the house and have some fun in a few. Little Jay has asthma and if he gets the sniffles or a cold, he has to use the breathing machine. It’s scary too. I love my little munchkins!

      Here is a treat for you. I hope you like it as much as I do.

      • Miriam Makeba – African Sunset

        The music is so beautiful. It’s soothing to my soul. She lives on in the beauty of her music.
        RIP Mama Africa!

      • Isn’t she just beautiful! I love the “clicks” in the Xhosa language. I’ve tried so hard to get that sound right but I never will. At her concert I attended people were dancing and singing long after it was over. Someone later told me that it went on all night. She is truly a beloved icon.

        Here’s link to a song that’s real special to our family. This song was played for the first dance at my daughter’s wedding. Now we are just praying for some ‘rains down in Arizona.’

        PS: I can’t pick any favorite of Chicago. I enjoy all their music. They did stuff for USA for Africa, too.

  19. STEALING AMERICA Vote by Vote

    STEALING AMERICA: Vote by Vote brings together behind-the-scenes perspectives from the U.S. presidential election of 2004 – plus startling stories from key races in 1996, 2000, 2002 and 2006. Unbiased and nonpartisan, the film sheds light on a decade of vote counts that don’t match votes cast – uncounted ballots, vote switching, under-votes and many other examples of election totals that warrant serious investigation.

    Throughout STEALING AMERICA, we hear from voters who experienced a wide range of problems, including those whose votes flipped from one candidate to another and those whose polls didn’t have enough machines to serve the number of voters. Investigative journalists describe how their reportage on election fraud was sidelined. First-person citizen testimonies speak of waiting in line nine hours to vote. We hear how polling experts’ requests for essential information –
    such as precinct voting data necessary to examine irregularities – had been rejected, while ballots were being systematically destroyed, making audits impossible.

  20. Searching
    Don’t you know I’m hell yeah
    For an answer
    To the question
    Oh yeah
    For our minds
    Baby it’s true
    It’s only natural
    It’s only natural baby, yeah
    Good things
    In life
    Take a long time
    Yeah yeah

  21. Ametia says:

  22. Ametia says:

  23. Ametia says:

    • Ametia says:

      And the sex ring taht Pervert Tony Perkins was talking about is a freaking HOAX!

      Sex Ring Was A Hoax; Live Action Posts Video Targeting Planned Parenthood
      Rachel Slajda | February 1, 2011, 2:22PM

      When a man showed up at eight Planned Parenthood clinics in five states within five days, claiming that he ran an underage sex trafficking ring, Planned Parenthood reported it to the FBI. They also figured it was probably a “hoax” in which anti-abortion types were trying to catch clinic employees saying something damning on tape.

      Planned Parenthood was right. Today, Live Action, an anti-abortion group run by James O’Keefe associate Lila Rose, posted a video it claims shows a Planned Parenthood employee in New Jersey instructing a “pimp” on how to get his underage and illegal immigrant sex workers STD testing and abortions.

      According to Live Action, the man and a female companion are posing as a pimp and a prostitute. They ask the clinic employee about the legality of bringing 14- and 15-year-olds in for sexually transmitted disease testing and abortions. In the video, she apparently tells them that any sexual activity concerning a 14-year-old would have to be reported, and she told them where to go to get an abortion for someone that young without it being reported.

    • Tony Perkins= Lying liars and they lies they tell!

  24. Ametia says:

  25. Ametia says:

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