Tuesday Open Thread

Starr was born Charles Edwin Hatcher in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1942. He and his cousins (soul singers Roger and Willie Hatcher) moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where they were raised.

In 1957, Starr formed a doo-wop group, The Future Tones, and began his singing career. Starr lived in Detroit, Michigan, in the 1960s and recorded at first for the small record label Ric-Tic, and later for Motown Records after it absorbed Ric-Tic in 1968.

The song which began his career was “Agent Double’O’Soul” (1965), a reference to the James Bond films popular at the time. Other early hits included “Headline News”, “Back Street”, a cover of The Miracles “Way Over There”, and “S.O.S. (Stop Her On Sight)”. He recorded more soul music for the next three years before having an international hit in “25 Miles” (1968), which peaked at #6 in the United States the following year.

Edwin Starr (January 21, 1942 – April 2, 2003) was an American soul music singer. Starr is most famous for his Norman Whitfield produced singles of the 1970s, most notably the number one hit “War“.

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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58 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Is Rupert in trouble? Real trouble?

    by digby

    Michael Wolfe, the man who literally wrote the book on Rupert Murdoch on the eavesdropping scandal.From what he says it’s a much tighter case than I realized:

    In sum: It is now well-documented that employees of Murdoch’s News of the World British tabloid eavesdropped on the voice mail messages of practically anybody who was anybody in Britain for the better part of the last 10 years—the most recent revelations put Kate Middleton and Tony Blair on this list—including, undoubtedly, some of the people who went to the News Corp. party. Although this might not have seemed like much of a crime while it was being committed by myriad News Corp. reporters, and sanctioned by their bosses—just hacks being hacks—it has since transmuted into a profound breach of the civil trust. And to date, each next domino in the inquest has fallen.

    The informed speculation in U.K. media and political circles is about which present and former members of the top circle of News Corp. management in London will next be frog marched in front of a tribunal. In addition to company chief Rebekah Wade Brooks (who herself appears to have been hacked by reporters) and her predecessor Les Hinton, who now runs The Wall Street Journal<, this might naturally include Rupert’s son, James, who approved the early settlements in the case—settlements so large they could only reasonably be hush-money payoffs.
    And yet the company’s largely American shareholder base remains somehow unaware or in denial about what’s happening. News Corp. faces its greatest peril since it almost went bankrupt in the early ’90s, and yet the share price holds.

    This is partly because of the Rupert effect. Shareholders invest in the company as a bet on Murdoch himself. He has been in many a tight squeeze before, and part of his value is that he gets out of them. And it is partly because the U.S. media is disinclined to pursue Murdoch or to spend much time on foreign business news (in the past, The Wall Street Journal was the one paper that might be counted on to cover such stories).

    First, they did it. Boy, did they do it. And then they tried to cover it up. Oh, and it turns out they documented it, too. And then there is the hard-core, bedrock, long-oppressed, anti-Murdoch faction in the U.K., suddenly armed with a mighty weapon: a scandal, into its third year, that drips out week after week. There doesn’t seem like any going back to an invulnerable Rupert.

    From his lips…

    I think there’s more to the American news blackout than that, however. American media companies just don’t go after each other. When the politicians get angry or their bombastic pundits go after one another, the big boys circle the wagons. It’s very clubby and impenetrable. I don’t think it’s an accident at all that nobody’s talking about this in the American media. They are all afraid of breaking the compact.




  2. rikyrah says:

    methinks Cantor’s been getting more of those late night phone calls saying:



    Cantor: Debt Limit Is A One-Shot Deal

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) says raising the debt limit should be a one-time deal this Congress, exposing a rift between House and Senate GOP leadership, and putting the squeeze on Democrats to agree to vast, unpopular spending cuts within the next two weeks.

    “I don’t see how multiple votes on a debt ceiling increase can help get us to where we want to go,” Cantor told reporters at his weekly Capitol briefing. “It is my preference that we do this thing one time.”

    On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) floated the possibility that debt ceiling negotiations led by Vice President Joe Biden won’t yield spending cuts dramatic enough to satisfy Republicans, and that Congress might respond by modestly raising the borrowing limit — giving Republicans another bite at the apple after the summer.

    Not if Eric Cantor has anything to say about it.

    “It is my preference that we do this thing one time,” he said.



  3. Ametia says:


  4. rikyrah says:

    Wis. GOP Leader: Change The Recall Law!

    Wisconsin is now undergoing a novel summer election season for the state legislature, with six Republican and three Democratic state senators facing recall elections as a result of the political battle over Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union legislation. Indeed, the Republican-controlled state Senate could potentially see a Democratic takeover, depending on how the elections turn out — and after that, the Dems have vowed to wage a recall drive against Walker himself next year.

    So in response, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) says he would like to introduce legislation later this year, making it harder to recall state officials.

    To be clear, this could have no effect on the recalls that have already been certified to go. And what’s more, the state GOP leaders would be unable to simply pass a bill to get rid of recalls in Wisconsin. The right of recall and the procedures involved are very clearly spelled out in the state constitution, and can only be changed via a long and slow amendment process — which would require that the legislatures chosen in two consecutive election cycles both pass an amendment by simple majorities in both houses, and then submit the amendment to a statewide referendum.

    But that doesn’t mean that state GOP leaders wouldn’t like to try. And they’re even publicly speculating that they could get Dems on board for it, though a Democratic leader is saying quite the opposite.

    The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

    Fitzgerald said he believed some Democratic legislators would support a measure changing or weakening the current law.

    “I have never been a fan of recalls (of lawmakers) on either side of the aisle – especially for a vote,” said Fitzgerald, referring to how single votes – such as passing legislation that strips public employees of most of their bargaining rights – can trigger recall efforts.

    He spoke in Milwaukee with editors and reporters of the Journal Sentinel and was joined by Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), co-chairs of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee.

    Both Vos and Darling said it’s premature to take such a drastic step because of legislation that just passed.

    “Let us have time to see if the tools we put in place work,” Vos said.

    State Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D) responded. “I think it’s extremely unlikely that they would get support (from Democrats,)” Barca told the paper. “I don’t think they are going to get any traction on this.”

    Fitzgerald has previously stated his disagreement with Wisconsin’s recall laws, asking rhetorically whether they were “legit.” “Yeah, I mean, I’ve always been a believer that recall probably would be more appropriate if a legislator was involved in some type of, you know, either criminal activity, or something that could be deemed, you know, unethical,” Fitzgerald said in March. “Not related to simply taking a stance on a tough vote. And you know, I think there’s other legislators that feel that way as well.”


  5. rikyrah says:

    Growing Chorus Of Republicans Demand Social Security Cuts In Deficit Deal

    Add Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) to the list of Republican lawmakers unsatisfied with the party’s reluctance to back Social Security cuts.

    The longtime Senator, who will retire at the end of her term in 2012, called on both parties to include the program in debt ceiling talks on Tuesday in a speech at the Heritage Foundation. She’s releasing her own legislation to spur talks, a bill that would raise the retirement age gradually to 69 and reduce benefits by trillions over the next several decades by pegging the annual cost-of-living- adjustment (COLA) to one percent below inflation every year.

    “We could have waited and let things settle after the debt increase vote,” she said. “I’m introducing my legislation because I don’t think we can wait and I do think it should be part of the overall debate on raising the debt limit.”

    Hutchison told the audience that the move was necessary, because without changes to the system, recipients would receive a 23% cut to their core benefits in 2036. But an audience member noted to Hutchison that a 1% cut in benefit increases over a similar period of time could produce comparable decreases. Hutchison responded that a key part of her plan was gradually introducing seniors to lower benefits.

    “You’re right that as you accumulate the cuts it’s like anything else over time, it does get to be more,” she said. “But if you take it one year at a time, it’s a very small lowering of the increase. I don’t think at any point would you go into core benefits.”

    House Republicans avoided Social Security in their budget, which most of the caucus voted for in the Senate as well, and Hutchison isn’t the only member of her party annoyed at its exclusion. Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Mike Lee (R-UT) have introduced a bill that would means-test benefits while also raising the retirement age. A group of House members led by Pete Sessions (R-TX) recently introduced legislation that would create an optional privatized Social Security program.


  6. rikyrah says:

    June 21, 2011
    Might Hayes replace Uygur?

    “Groomed” is not the word that springs to mind when I think of Cenk Uygur’s intellectually unkempt, nails-on-blackboard performance on MSNBC, nevertheless that’s how the NY Times describes the network’s past cultivation and childrearing of the “progressive” host.

    But there’s hope that the primitive screeching and adolescent pouting of an on-air Uygur may soon be at an end, or at least that’s the way I choose to read the Times’ news that “Now MSNBC is developing a show for Mr. [Christopher] Hayes,” of Nation magazine, who frequently guest-anchors for Lawrence O’Donnell and Rachel Maddow.

    I’ve come to like and respect Hayes, even though he’s trapped in as many doctrinaire bugaboos as Uygur. For example I vaguely recall an exchange on MSNBC between Hayes and then-Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter a few months ago, in which Alter was explaining that FDR managed to achieve some now-renowned progressive jobs programs, such as the Civilian Conservation Corps, only by defying the unions. Hayes sat and listened in visibly ashen horror to Alter’s New Deal heresy; nonetheless he was polite, and he capped the conversation with a charitably brief denouncement of any such contemporary thought.

    Is MSNBC “developing a show” for Hayes in the sense of a Uygur-replacement show? With eager eyes I scoured the Times piece for some hint of MSNBC’s possible mercy unto its audience, but alas, there was none. On the other hand, the story didn’t rule that development out.

    So there’s hope, blessed hope.


  7. rikyrah says:

    Six Ways Jon Huntsman Would Hurt The American Economy

    By Travis Waldron on Jun 21, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Former Utah Gov. and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman (R) announced his candidacy for president this morning, and in doing so, he became the latest candidate to declare that he is running to fix the American economy. Though Huntsman’s polling numbers are rather unimpressive, his sometimes progressive stances on various issues have earned him the “moderate” tag and made him a media darling.

    But a closer look at his past reveals that when it comes to economics, Huntsman is a garden variety conservative who wants to cut taxes, gut popular social welfare programs, and pursue economic policies that would do nothing to restore the American economy. ThinkProgress compiled a list of six positions Huntsman has taken that would actually hurt our economy:

    The state’s budget deficit increased dramatically during his tenure: In fiscal year 2003, two years before Huntsman took over as governor, the state of Utah had a $173 million budget deficit, leading then-Gov. Michael Leavitt (R) to speak to the state legislature about the state’s “budget crisis.” But when Huntsman took office in 2005, he began pursuing policies that reduced state revenues and increased the state’s budget deficit. In fiscal year 2009, Huntsman’s final one before he took the ambassadorship, Utah was forced to rely on rainy day funds and federal stimulus dollars to close a $1 billion budget gap.

    He supports a flat tax, and instituted one in Utah: In 2007, Huntsman signed legislation that transformed Utah’s graduated income tax into a flat tax, with a standard rate of 5 percent. The flat tax sharply reduced taxes on the state’s richest residents and became, as Citizens for Tax Justice called it, a “case study in why states should reject the flat tax.” The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that, while the poorest 20 percent of Utahns paid a 9 percent of their income in taxes, while the richest one percent paid just just 4.9 percent of theirs. CTJ also found that the tax cut blew a hole in Utah’s budget, reducing income tax revenues by $300 million in 2009.

    He supports slashing corporate taxes, and tried to eliminate them completely in Utah: While governor, Huntsman made an unsuccessful attempt to eliminate Utah’s corporate tax rate altogether, an effort that was stymied when lawmakers saw the price tag. The policy would have cost the state at least $200 million in revenue. Huntsman, whose family started and still owns one of the nation’s largest chemical corporations, now supports slashing the federal corporate tax rate.

    He would end Medicare as we know it: Huntsman didn’t hesitate to endorse the House GOP’s budget plan, which would end Medicare as it exists now by turning it into a voucher program. Huntsman embraced the program despite saying that, in years past, it would have (and should have) been “laughed out of the room.” The House plan nearly doubles the cost of health insurance for senior citizens by 2023, increases the nation’s health care costs by trillions of dollars, and relies on mathematical magic. And after all of that, it still doesn’t balance the budget.

    He believes in climate change, but not in doing anything to stop it: Like many of his fellow candidates, Huntsman at one time was an advocate for a cap-and-trade system and signed his state onto the Western Climate Initiative. Huntsman has, however, walked back his support of cap-and-trade, using economic concerns to say that “cap-and-trade ideas aren’t working” and “this isn’t the moment” to address the changing climate because it does not promote growth. In reality, this stance ignores the successes of similar policies in the northeast and in Europe, and the fact that investments in renewable energy create four times as many jobs as investment in oil and gas.

    He supports a radical Balanced Budget Amendment: Huntsman recently announced his support for a Balanced Budget Amendment, a potentially disastrous policy Senate Republicans have used to hold the increase in the debt ceiling hostage. The BBA would prevent the government from running deficits when deficits are necessary, such as during deep recessions. Even former GOP advisers have said the idea “is, quite simply, insane,” as “debt in itself is not harmful,” and have suggested that it would only serve to make recessions worse. The BBA is, in the words of Ezra Klein, the worst idea in Washington, and it’s one Huntsman has openly embraced.


  8. rikyrah says:

    “A Forty-Something Eighth Grader”

    Here’s a lively review of Geoffrey Dunn’s book, “The Lies Of Sarah Palin.” This is the first time I’ve read this devastating assessment of her central flaw from her local paper, The Frontiersman:

    “Wasilla residents have been subject to attempts to unlawfully appoint council members, statements that have been shown to be patently untrue, unrepentant backpedaling, and incessant whining that her only enemies are the press and a few disgruntled supporters of Mayor Stein. Mayor Palin fails to have a firm grasp of something very simple: the truth.”

    This is nicely wrought:

    She may be the first who has put together “a perfect storm” of all of the most dangerous qualities of a demagogue in a single package: she is mean-spirited, inept, vindictive, and lazy, but can play all the emotional chords in the correct keys of the lower octaves of America’s divisive undercurrents.

    That’s why I remain vigilant about her, even as her prospects for electoral success seem to be on the decline. Never under-estimate the power of a demagogue in a recession. Especially one in which the jobs are never coming back.


  9. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    June 21, 2011 1:05 PM Rick Scott has a script for you

    By Steve Benen

    Even for Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), this is just embarrassing.

    For a guy who claims not read newspapers — or care what the polls say or the public thinks — Rick Scott sure is putting a lot of effort into trying to score some good publicity.

    In fact, if regular old rank-and-file Floridians won’t write nice things about him in letters to the editor, Scott has decided to write the words for them.

    One of the newest features on http://www.rickscottforflorida.com is a page where Scott supporters can send pre-written letters of praise for Scott … written by Scott’s campaign team. Just pick the newspaper you want to contact. And then you can add your name.

    Wait, it gets worse. Here’s the message Scott’s team wants Floridians to send to local newspapers:

    When Rick Scott ran for Governor he promised to create jobs and turn our economy around. I voted for Rick because he’s always been a businessman, not a politician. While politicians usually disappoint us and rarely keep their promises, Rick is refreshing because he’s keeping his word.

    “His policies are helping to attract businesses to our state and get people back to work. Some of the special interests are attacking the Governor for making tough decisions, showing leadership, and doing what he told us he would do.

    “Rick Scott deserves our unwavering and enthusiastic support. How can we expect to elect leaders who will keep their word and do what’s right for our state if we don’t stand up for those with the courage to set priorities, make difficult choices, and actually deliver on their promises made?” [emphasis added]

    That’s right, Rick Scott’s staff believes Rick Scott “deserves” Floridians’ “unwavering and enthusiastic support.” Wow.

    I have to wonder, did the governor’s office not realize that the media would see the pre-scripted letters, mock them, and not publish them?

    Update: On a more substantive note, Scott is also this week “rejecting millions in federal health aid for senior citizens, children, and the disabled,” inspired solely by partisan spite.

    Electing a right-wing criminal to the governor’s office really wasn’t a good idea.


  10. rikyrah says:

    June 21, 2011 4:35 PM
    Bachmann looks to our Northern neighbors

    By Steve Benen

    In general, conservative Republicans don’t consider Canada a model worth emulating. Our Northern neighbors are, in their minds, something of North American Europe, complete with socialized medicine, a heavy investment in domestic priorities, minimal right-wing activism in mainstream politics, etc.

    But occasionally, just as the right wants to emulate Western Europe when it comes to austerity, conservatives find something to like about Canada, too. Take Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann, who thinks we can learn valuable lessons from Canadians when it comes to responding to an economic downturn. The “lesson in economic recovery,” she said yesterday, is to follow Canada’s example — even without any “stimulus,” it has lower unemployment than the U.S.

    While Canada’s unemployment rate is, in fact, lower than ours, Bachmann forgot to check the relevant facts before making stuff up. Canada, it turns out, approved a major stimulus, even under Conservative Party leadership.

    [T]he absolute fact of the matter is that Canada undertook a thorough stimulus program under Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party — one that was relatively smaller than the one here, but given the apples and oranges situation of having different economic needs, it was still a very considerable one. […]

    As Bloomberg reported in January 2009, this stimulus was CAN$40 billion, equal in then-current exchange rates to US$32.6 billion, over two years (a similar period as Obama’s US$787 billion stimulus). If we make further adjustments, using IMF data for each country from the year 2008 for purchasing-power parity, per-capita GDP, and the much larger population of the United States, this would work out as very roughly equal to a stimulus of over US$360 billion if it were done here.

    So, when Bachmann boasts that Canada had “no stimulus” at all, she clearly doesn’t have the foggiest idea what she’s talking about.

    Indeed, while Bachmann’s underlying claim is itself a demonstrable lie, the comparison itself is kind of silly. Canada and the United States have very different economies, with very different populations, and radically different financial systems. The effects of the Great Recession hit Americans much harder than it did Canadians, and the hole we’re climbing out of significantly deeper.

    And why was Canada largely shielded from the worst of the global crisis? Because it has strict banking regulations that prevented reckless and irresponsible policies.

    Indeed, Bachmann may have inadvertently stumbled upon the more salient point. If Canada’s unemployment rate, which nearly two full points lower than ours, establishes a model that the U.S. should emulate, it isn’t to avoid stimulus spending — since Canada actually approved one — it’s to create a regulatory framework that prevents crises in the first place.

    Bachmann will, of course, pay no penalty for her ridiculous screw-up, in part because her followers don’t much care about reality, and in part because news coverage of the campaign tends to overlook this sort of ignorance.


  11. rikyrah says:

    Earth to the Left: Obama Is Into You
    By Michael Grunwald Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    There was a telling confrontation at last week’s Netroots Nation gathering of progressive activists, interrupting a panel discussion on “What to Do When the President Is Just Not That Into You.” A bisexual volunteer for President Obama reelection campaign approached the stage to hand a flyer to Dan Choi, a gay former Army lieutenant and a leading crusader for the repeal of don’t-ask-don’t-tell. Choi dramatically ripped up the flyer and declared that he wouldn’t support Obama.

    And why should he? What has Obama ever done to help gays serve openly in the military? Other than repeal don’t-ask-don’t-tell, so that gays can serve openly in the military? Ah, “the professional left,” never happy unless it’s unhappy.

    When White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer tried to explain during a later panel that Obama is the most progressive president ever on gay rights, the Daily Kos blogger who was moderating cut him off: “That’s a pretty low bar.”

    With friends like these, who needs Republicans? If the primary theme of the Obama era is the insanity of the right—attacking government-run health care and Medicare cuts simultaneously, demanding deficit reduction through deficit-busting tax cuts, denying climate science—the secondary theme is the ingratitude of the left. And the latter infuriates the White House far more than the former, the way a rebellious teenage son causes far more angst than a crazy old neighbor.

    It’s true that President Obama is not as liberal as some Daily Kos bloggers would like him to be. (Although he has blogged at Daily Kos.) He continued some of President Bush’s national security policies. (Although he did end the war in Iraq.) He ignored left-wing calls to nationalize troubled banks. (Which turned out to be the right call.) He’s pushed for middle-class tax cuts and public-employee wage freezes that his base dislikes, and he’s outsourced most of the Republican-bashing that his base craves. (Which may be why he’s way more popular than his party.) None of this should have been a surprise; in The Audacity of Hope, he made it clear that he’s a market-oriented, consensus-seeking pragmatist, and he repeatedly criticized knee-jerk paleoliberals who don’t appreciate the dynamism of capitalism or the limits of government.

    Somehow, though, the disillusionment addicts of the left have concocted a narrative of Obama-as-sellout that bears little resemblance to his actual presidency. Democratic infighting is usually described as a “circular firing squad,” but this is more like soldiers fragging their commander in battle because he isn’t screaming loud enough.

    This narrative begins, as usual, with Obama’s stimulus package. After his election, hundreds of left-of-center economists called for a stimulus of $300-$400 billion. They specifically requested aid to states, unemployment insurance, infrastructure projects and green energy incentives. Less than a month into his presidency, Obama produced a stimulus with everything they asked for in unprecedented amounts—along with unprecedented spending on food stamps, Pell grants, high-speed rail, high-speed Internet and other liberal priorities. And the price tag came to $787 billion, twice the size of the entire New Deal in inflation-adjusted dollars. Obama had pushed for even more, but it was trimmed at the last minute to meet the demands of three Republican senators whose votes were needed to pass it.

    But for much of the left, the moral of the story is that the stimulus was too small and Obama lacked the guts to fight for something bigger.

    It was a similar story in the epic fight over health care reform. Obama finally achieved the eternal progressive dream of universal coverage, overruling aides who wanted to settle for incremental improvements. But the left was mad because his plan didn’t include a “public option,” a brand-new progressive dream. Earth to the left: He didn’t have the votes for a public option. There was nothing he could have said or done to get the votes for a public option. He’s a politician, not a magician.

    Then Obama didn’t fight hard enough for cap-and-trade, because he didn’t care about climate change. Or maybe, just maybe, because once again he didn’t have the votes. After all, his stimulus included an unheard-of $90 billion for clean energy, including record spending on efficiency, renewables, advanced biorefineries, electric vehicles, the smart grid, and factories to build all that green stuff in the U.S.

    But when you’re convinced the president just isn’t that into you, the facts are irrelevant. He failed to pass immigration reform or the Employee Free Choice Act; if he truly cared he would have found the votes! He passed strict financial reforms—including a consumer protection agency that liberals had clamored for—but not strict enough. He didn’t push hard enough for a second stimulus, which was disastrous, until he got a second stimulus, which was also disastrous, because he agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts to get Republicans to go along. He prevented a second depression, but he has yet to create a liberal utopia of full employment.

    It’s easy for activists to complain about imperfect achievements like the stimulus or Obamacare, especially when they’re not among the 3 million Americans who would’ve been unemployed without the stimulus or the 50 million Americans who would’ve been uninsured without Obamacare. Complaining is what activists do. And bloggers are right that Obama hasn’t made a consistent case for liberal politics or Keynesian economics, allowing anti-government Republicans to hijack the national debate. But making a case is what bloggers are supposed to do.

    Presidents, on the other hand, are supposed to make progress, whether progressives like it or not.

    Read more: http://swampland.time.com/2011/06/21/earth-to-the-left-obama-is-into-you/#ixzz1PxLYAphW

  12. rikyrah says:

    A Marine Sgt. Major On Gays In The Military

    This is what social progress looks like:

    Sgt. Maj. Barrett also tackled questions on the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the military’s ban on gays serving openly in uniform. The Department of Defense is preparing to implement repeal, and Sgt. Maj. Barrett addressed that issue directly.

    “Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution is pretty simple,” he told a group of Marines at a base in South Korea. “It says, ‘Raise an army.’ It says absolutely nothing about race, color, creed, sexual orientation.

    “You all joined for a reason: to serve,” he continued. “To protect our nation, right?”

    “Yes, sergeant major,” Marines replied.

    “How dare we, then, exclude a group of people who want to do the same thing you do right now, something that is honorable and noble?” Sgt. Maj. Barrett continued, raising his voice just a notch. “Right?”

    Sgt. Maj. Barrett then described conversations with U.K. troops, who saw a similar ban lifted a decade ago, with little disruption. And to drive the point home, he produced a pocket copy of the Constitution.

    “Get over it,” he said. “We’re magnificent, we’re going to continue to be. … Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines.”


  13. rikyrah says:

    Model Liya Kebede Is the New Face of L’Oreal Paris
    Date Monday, June 20, 2011 at 10:38AM

    Despite the handicap of being one of those allegedly unattractive black women nobody wants, breath-takingly gorgeous Ethiopian-born fashion model and humanitarian, Liya Kebede is the new face of L’Oreal Paris. Kebede started modeling at 18 for the likes of Tom Ford and is just your regular super model stunner in print, film and on the runways. She joins J. Lo, Gwen Stefani and Freida Pinto as past faces of L’Oreal Paris. While this is exciting news for Kebede, fashion fans and all us horrible, unloved, yet incredibly hot black women out there, this is a smart move for L’Oreal who has some questionable race relation issues. In 2009, L’Oreal Paris was found guilty of racial discrimination due to the cosmetic house’s pursuit of an “all-white sales staff” to promote their Garnier Fructis Style hair care products. Then, proving that being “light” and “bright” doesn’t count unless, you too, are “almost white,” L’Oreal was accused in 2008 of lightening the already honey-kissed Beyonce Knowles in her promotions for their hair coloring products.


  14. rikyrah says:

    Fake Obama Gives RNC Real Problems
    DateMonday, June 20, 2011 at 9:09AM

    His jokes about only celebrating half of Black History Month and his mother not being a Kardashian (despite her obvious love of a black man) “killed” at the Republican Leadership Conference on Saturday, but Reggie Brown’s fake Obama got the GOP equivalent of the Sandman coming for him once the jokes starting flying at the RNC’s expense.

    Brown’s jokes, which started with a mish-mash of racial humor poking fun at the President’s biracial background (which Brown shares), got a lot of laughs at the conference when they involved showing a clip from Sanford & Son as a time-lapsed photo of what “he and Michelle” would look like at the end of their first term. But once he ventured into jokes about Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann the crowd got a little restless.

    From Politico:

    As Brown was preparing to make a Michele Bachmann joke, one of the conference’s officials came out to the lectern and told the comedian to leave the stage.

    It was a remarkable display and came just one day after two high-profile Republicans —- Haley Barbour and Bobby Jindal — urged activists to focus only on going after Obama on policy and not engage in personal attacks.

    On CNN this morning, Brown said he wasn’t prepped on what he could or couldn’t say at the conference and that his joke set was pretty standard. So, when he was “nicely escorted off the stage” he was told he ran over his time on the joke set. He said he told CNN he believed he both was over time and that the organizers may have been “getting uncomfortable with where it was going.”

    It was one of those cases where the optics just looked bad. Corny racial jokes about the President? Knee-slappers. Puns at the expense of the GOP field? Oh noes! Get that scary Negro off the stage!

    From Gawker:

    “Wonder why many minorities have problems with G.O.P.?” Republican strategist Doug Heye asked on Twitter later. “Our own fault.” Brown was later removed from the stage, though at that point he had started in on a routine about Republican presidential candidates, something about how “spinal transplants” are covered under “Obamneycare.” It’s good to know that—regardless of racial politics—the GOP is still the party of lame zingers.

    To be honest, the GOP just needs to stop inviting all Obamas, real and imagined, to speak to them at all gatherings and conferences as the results seem to almost always end in either controversy or the drinking of their proverbial milkshakes, as actual President Obama verbally slays them in their own house.

    Stick to fighting straw men, GOPers. They can’t hit back.


  15. rikyrah says:

    Crowd for Huntsman Candidacy Announcement Dwarfed by Announcement Crowd for … Herman Cain
    by SteveM

    So who’s a “serious” candidate? Politico this morning:

    Jon Huntsman formally launched his presidential campaign on Tuesday….

    “I don’t think you need to run down anyone’s reputation to run for president,” Huntsman told the crowd of 100 gathered at a pavilion jutting out into the Hudson River….

    AP, May 21, 2011:

    Herman Cain has run a pizza chain, hosted a talk radio show and sparred with Bill Clinton over health care. He’s never held elected office. Now the tea party favorite wants to be president.

    “In case you accidentally listen to a skeptic or doubting Thomas out there, just to be clear … I’m running for president of the United States, and I’m not running for second,” he told a crowd at Centennial Olympic Park on Saturday. Chants of “Herman” erupted from the crowd of thousands in downtown Atlanta….

    Ah, but Huntsman almost certainly had more reporters in tow, so that’s all that matters, right? What do you think this is—a democracy?

    You can actually hear the wingnuts cheering Cain lustily about 50 seconds into the video of his announcement:

    By contrast, here’s the Huntsman announcement video, which reveals the emperor’s-clothes fact about Huntsman that no one seems to want to talk about: he’s an extremely boring, uncharismatic speaker.
    It’s as if his features are just so goshdarn chiseled that the press can’t quite reconcile his hunkiness with dullness. (There was a little of that about a decade ago with Bill Bradley. He was an ex-jock! How could someone who was an ex-jock possibly not inspire a crush or a man-crush in everyone? But, in fact, he was a wonky, uncharismatic bore.) Huntsman is basically Tim Pawlenty with more money, slicker handlers, and better bone structure. That’s still not good enough, and wouldn’t be good enough even if there weren’t that little problem of candidacy-killing apostasies.

    Speaking of which, what’s all this about?

    “We are about to pass down to the next generation a country that is less powerful, less compassionate, less competitive and less confident than the one we got. This is totally unacceptable and totally un-American,” Huntsman said.

    “Less compassionate”? He wants to be the GOP nominee for president and he used that freighted word?


  16. rikyrah says:

    une 21, 2011 10:25 AM

    Huntsman throws his hat into the ring

    By Steve Benen

    Jon Huntsman Jr., who launched his Republican presidential campaign this morning, recently spoke to reporters in New Hampshire. The New York Times noted the candidate’s interesting choice of words to describe his ideology.

    Huntsman refused to make any sweeping or personal criticisms of the president he used to serve; the furthest he would go, pressed by reporters at a news conference in a living room in Hancock, was to suggest that Obama pursued some policies he might not have, like sending the military into Libya. At that same news conference, he also refused, bizarrely, to describe himself as a conservative. Huntsman said he didn’t like political labels, but if he had to pick one, he considered himself a “pragmatic problem-solver.” [emphasis added]

    It’s almost hard to believe. In 2011, with the radicalization of the Republican Party reaching levels unseen in generations, a GOP presidential candidate doesn’t even want to call himself a conservative.

    And he expects to win.

    I can appreciate all of the reasons to take Huntsman seriously as a candidate, at least in theory. He’s the only Republican with any foreign policy experience; his many center-left views might make him appealing to swing voters; he’s been adopted by the ‘08 McCain staff; and the media loves Huntsman to such an embarrassing extent I half-expect editors to start drawing little hearts around pictures of him before publication.

    But Huntsman is a moderate in an era when Republicans don’t like moderates.

    Huntsman believes “health care is a right,” and Republicans believe the opposite. He believes climate change is real and endorsed a cap-and-trade plan to address is, and Republicans believe the opposite. He supported an individual mandate as part of health care reform, and Republicans believe the opposite. Huntsman wanted a bigger stimulus in 2009 with fewer tax cuts, expressed support for the Affordable Care Act, and has endorsed civil unions, TARP, and a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who entered the country illegally. Republicans are on the opposite side of all of these issues.

    Oh, and he’s also a former member of the Obama administration who called President Obama a “remarkable leader.”

    The Republican base has gone to great lengths to target so-called RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) in all kinds of down-ballot primaries across the country. We’re to believe this same base will tolerate a moderate as their presidential nominee?

    Sure, Huntsman will start engaging in Romney-like flip-flops and try to reinvent himself. And sure, the media’s sycophantic adulation will give the guy a boost his rivals probably won’t enjoy.

    But when push comes to shove, what are the chances Republican voters will nominate a former member of Obama’s team who doesn’t even want to describe himself as conservative? Strange things happen, but I’m hard pressed to imagine how anything this strange happens.


  17. rikyrah says:

    I’ll say it…



    Obama has failed blacks, says Bachmann as African-American unemployment hits 16%

    Barack Obama has failed black Americans as unemployment soars to depression-era levels, a Republican presidential hopeful has claimed.

    Michele Bachmann said that unemployment among the black community has rocketed to 16 per cent during Obama’s term.

    Shockingly, the African-American unemployment levels are the same as the depression era in 129 and up from 12.7 per cent when Obama was inaugurated in January 2009.

    Ms Bachmann singled out the figures during a scathing attack on the first black U.S. president at a talk in New Orleans over the weekend.

    ‘Mr. President, the status quo is not working for Americans,’ she said at the Republican Leadership Conference.

    ‘This president has failed the Hispanic community. He has failed the African-American community. He has failed us all when it comes to jobs.’

    Ms Bachmann, who hopes to be the Republican presidential candidate, spoke at the event alongside the other current contenders Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Herman Cain. Her figures were backed up by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2006247/Obama-failed-blacks-says-Michele-Benchmann-African-American-unemployment-hits-16.html#ixzz1PwUGwOby

    • This president has failed the Hispanic community. He has failed the African-American community. He has failed us all when it comes to jobs.

      I’ll help you to say it….. bitch, please!

  18. rikyrah says:

    June 21, 2011
    Huntsman launches his 2016 campaign
    The Hill’s opening description of Jon Huntsman’s presidential candidacy announcement this morning inadvertently showcased his manifest unseriousness for 2012:

    Former Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman (R) launched his presidential campaign Tuesday with an emphasis on leadership, and a post-partisan message [the latter, my emphasis].

    An unmistakable declaration for 2016. Huntsman himself almost comically disclosed his intentions:

    [Obama] and I have a difference of opinion on how to help the country we both love. But the question each of us wants the voters to answer is who will be the better president; not who’s the better American.

    Jon, that may be the question you want to ask voters, but it sure as hell isn’t the question most Republican primary voters want to be asked. They’re uninterested in questions and answers. They want blood, they want to see it and they want to hear the rhetorical knife going in, over and over.

    They’re temperamentally indisposed to hearing any unfashionable nonsense about Obama’s love of country: He is, after all, a conspicuously European-socialist hater of America, a biracial joker in America’s deck of doom who must be discarded with vicious haste.

    But Huntsman knows that, just as he knows that Obama is unbeatable. For now, he’ll just build some name ID and a comfort level with the GOP’s vestigial sanity.


  19. rikyrah says:

    June 21, 2011
    The inevitability of a (third) Tea Party
    Undeniable was my sense last night that Lawrence O’Donnell’s once mildly mocking confidence in Tim Pawlenty’s inevitability has been reduced to a mildly confident mock. Or maybe I’m just projecting, since I seemed to be the only political observer who ever concurred with O’Donnell’s initial analysis of Pawlenty’s inevitability — nonetheless having watched the latter’s inexpressibly lackluster performance at the last GOP presidential debate, I too now sense that Pawlenty himself never believed in any personal political future but that of Vice President Pawlenty.

    Whatever. For what remains politically immutable is that it makes little difference … the Republican nominee, that is. The GOP can continue hamstringing the economic recovery and gyrate with wild abandon in freshly fraudulent and characteristically insincere critiques of President Obama’s foreign policy, but its odds of capturing the White House shall persist as roughly equivalent to those of Sarah Palin winning a MacArthur Genius Award.

    Because for the GOP, the 2012 presidential election will be a kind of ultimate conservative Rorschach Test, essentially a 2016 Republican primary and effectively a civil war of irreconcilable factions — establishment vs. tea party — wherein a singular supremacy shall at last be resolved. When I wrote, just now, that the choice of the 2012 Republican nominee will make little difference, I meant that, surely enough, in terms of Obama’s inevitability. But I also meant that the nominee will make little difference as to the inevitability of the party’s civil war.

    Let’s say Mitt Romney, or some Romneyesque candidate, manages to duck all the incoming fire and seize the objective. November’s result: Tea partiers stay home and promptly blame the Republican Party’s loss on its failure to nominate a true conservative. Or, let’s say Michele Bachmann, or a Bachmannesque candidate, manages to seize the objective. November’s result: The establishment-inclined stay home and promptly blame the Republican Party’s loss on its failure to nominate a true conservative moderate.

    Either way, no reasonable observer would envision a subsequent, four-year perpetuation of the GOP’s internally profound contradiction. It is quite literally a party divided. As Politico reminds us this morning, “In last week’s NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, a half-dozen activist-friendly conservatives – Palin, Cain, Perry, Gingrich, Santorum and Bachmann – captured a combined 47 percent of the national primary vote.” Gallup’s polling has revealed a roughly similar 50-50 state of establishment-vs.-tea-party warfare.

    Other odds, I’d wager, favor a Romney or Romney-like nominee in 2012, and that, in turn, would serve up titanic odds of a formal Tea Party by 2016, led by the GOP’s disgruntled and by-then defrocked Bachmanns and Cains and Perrys, etc.

    Because factionally, the GOP is inherently and prodigiously dissimilar to the bigger-tent Democratic Party, with its internally squabbling triumvirate of conservatives, moderates and progressives. Among the Dems’ base, progressives are unquestionably the loudest, but they’re also the smallest in numbers — a mere 5 percent of the American electorate self-identifies as “very liberal” — and their pathetic history of third-party divergence (from Debsian Socialist to Wallace-like Progressive parties) is but bracing, empirical proof that, however unhappy they may be, there’s no place like home. As for the Dems’ conservatives and moderates, well, their ideological distinction is scarcely noteworthy. Hence one big party they all can be.

    These factional circumstances vastly differ from the GOP’s. As the aforementioned polling indicates, there are, manifestly and indisputably, two Republican parties today of approximately equal numerical stature — and intense irreconcilability. To be sure, for pragmatic electoral reasons the establishment would be content to tolerate in perpetuity the intolerably voluble tea partiers’ impeccable crackpotism, but there is, simply, no way that tea partiers will tolerate for long a compromising, and compromised, GOP establishment. God gave us political crackpots so that we could amuse ourselves with third-party spectatorship; and to third-party status is precisely where the crackpotism of Tea is headed. So suit up, Michele, and Sarah, and Herman, et al.

    Well that, anyway, is the way I read it. But do keep in mind, as I do, that along with Mr. O’Donnell, I also thought Tim Pawlenty would be the GOP’s nominee.


  20. rikyrah says:

    Obama Up in Tennessee?
    by BooMan
    Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 12:00:53 PM EST

    Following up on yesterday’s discussion of surprising Democratic strength in Utah, a new poll shows the president beating all comers in Tennessee. It’s one poll, and I don’t want to suggest that I have confidence that the Dems can win a Senate seat in Utah or the president will win the Volunteer State’s electoral votes, but these are early signs that we could be gearing up for one hell of an ass-kicking. I certainly hope so.

    If Obama wins Tennessee, he’s going to win almost everywhere. Outside of the Deep South, Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho, I’d put Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia as the president’s toughest states to win. If he wins Tennessee, he’s probably going to win the Dakotas and maybe even Nebraska and Kansas.

    I would love to have a breakthrough from this red/blue divide that has grown so tiresome.


  21. rikyrah says:

    Poll: Gov. Christie’s Approval Rating Slumps To Record Low

    Troubled by Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) deep cuts to education spending and his push to cut state employees’ benefits, a plurality of voters in the Garden State now disapprove of the the governor’s job performance, according to a Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday.

    That finding comes as Christie and his allies in the state legislature are pushing through sweeping changes to public workers’ benefits, including a big increase in the amount of money employees must directly pay toward pension and health programs. Those proposed changes prompted hundreds of people to protest outside the State House in recent weeks, and now, it seems they’ve also dragged down the approval rating of a governor who was once quite popular with his constituents.

    In the poll, 47% of registered voters said they disapproved of Christie’s job performance, compared to 44% who said they approved of it. Though Christie’s approval rating is barely underwater, it’s still the worst showing he’s ever posted in Quinnipiac’s surveys, continuing a downward trend that began most markedly at the start of this year when Christie began to push for deep budget cuts and sweeping changes to public employees’ benefits.

    According to the TPM Poll Average, 45.5% of Christie’s constituents approve of his job performance, while 47.5% disapprove.

    On Monday, the state Senate passed a measure that would drastically up the amount of money the state’s approximately 500,000 employees have to pay into their pension and health benefit programs — in some cases doubling or even tripling the amount of money workers must pay out of their salaries. The bill, which Christie and his legislative allies have been working on for months, also raises the retirement age from 62 to 65, and eliminates automatic cost of living increases for pension plans.

    Christie has staunchly supported unpopular legislation in the past. He rose to national prominence largely for his willingness to take on teachers unions, and particularly when footage of his frank, oftentimes stern responses in town hall forums went viral on the Internet.

    However, Christie’s tough stance toward education funding may be what’s dragging his approval rating down the most. In the poll, 55% of voters disapproved of how Christie has handled education in the state, versus 41% who approved, the worst marks Christie scored on any issue.


  22. rikyrah says:

    PIMCO Founder To Deficit-Obsessed Congress: Get Back To Reality

    One of the most influential investors in the world of finance has a message for lawmakers — particularly conservative lawmakers — on Capitol Hill: rejoin the real world.

    In a prospectus for clients, Bill Gross, a co-founder of investment management giant PIMCO, says members’ of Congress incessant focus on deficit — and in particular, the manner in which they obsess about deficits — is foolhardy, and a recipe for disaster. What the country needs, Gross said, is real stimulus now, and a measured return toward fiscal balance in the years ahead.

    “Solutions from policymakers on the right or left, however, seem focused almost exclusively on rectifying or reducing our budget deficit as a panacea,” Gross writes. “While Democrats favor tax increases and mild adjustments to entitlements, Republicans pound the table for trillions of dollars of spending cuts and an axing of Obamacare. Both, however, somewhat mystifyingly, believe that balancing the budget will magically produce 20 million jobs over the next 10 years. President Obama’s long-term budget makes just such a claim and Republican alternatives go many steps further. Former Governor Pawlenty of Minnesota might be the Republicans’ extreme example, but his claim of 5% real growth based on tax cuts and entitlement reductions comes out of left field or perhaps the field of dreams. The United States has not had a sustained period of 5% real growth for nearly 60 years.”

    Both parties, in fact, are moving to anti-Keynesian policy orientations, which deny additional stimulus and make rather awkward and unsubstantiated claims that if you balance the budget, “they will come.” It is envisioned that corporations or investors will somehow overnight be attracted to the revived competitiveness of the U.S. labor market: Politicians feel that fiscal conservatism equates to job growth. It’s difficult to believe, however, that an American-based corporation, with profits as its primary focus, can somehow be wooed back to American soil with a feeble and historically unjustified assurance that Social Security will be now secure or that medical care inflation will disinflate. Admittedly, those are long-term requirements for a stable and healthy economy, but fiscal balance alone will not likely produce 20 million jobs over the next decade. The move towards it, in fact, if implemented too quickly, could stultify economic growth. Fed Chairman Bernanke has said as much, suggesting the urgency of a congressional medium-term plan to reduce the deficit but that immediate cuts are self-defeating if they were to undercut the still-fragile economy.Emphasis added. Gross recommends a swift, deficit-financed investment in infrastructure. “[G]overnment must take a leading role in job creation,” Gross said. “Conservative or even liberal agendas that cede responsibility for job creation to the private sector over the next few years are simply dazed or perhaps crazed…. In the near term, then, we should not rely solely on job or corporate-directed payroll tax credits because corporations may not take enough of that bait, and they’re sitting pretty as it is. Government must step up to the plate, as it should have in early 2009. An infrastructure bank to fund badly needed reconstruction projects is a commonly accepted idea, despite the limitations of the original “shovel-ready” stimulus program in 2009.”


  23. rikyrah says:

    Now, if I was one to believe in omens..



    Huntsman Campaign Launch Begins Day with Misspelling of His Own Name
    June 21, 2011 10:12 AM

    Every detail of Jon Huntsman’s long-awaited campaign launch was meticulously planned, except of course for one minor detail: the misspelling of the candidate’s name.

    Members of the media were handed a press pass that read “John Huntsman for President” — adding an unnecessary H in the candidate’s first name.

    Huntsman’s staffers promptly scrambled to remove the passes from reporters before they caught the snafu. Today’s campaign kickoff at Liberty State Park is a nod to Ronald Reagan, who used the Statue of Liberty backdrop to launch his 1980 general election campaign.


  24. Ametia says:

    Jon Huntsman Announces Candidacy: “This Is The Hour When We Choose Our Future”
    by Josh Feldman | 12:44 pm, June 21st, 2011

    Former Utah Governor and U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman officially announced his presidential candidacy in Liberty State Park, New Jersey this morning, the same place Ronald Reagan kicked off his 1980 presidential campaign.

    As he stood outside to make his candidacy official, Huntsman credited the late president, saying “I stand in his shadow.” Most of his speech contained the same rhetoric Reagan used about the greatness of America and the economic challenges the country faces.

    With the Statue of Liberty and two American flags behind him, Huntsman announced, “Today, I’m a candidate for the office of President of the United States of America.” When the applause died down, he immediately quipped, “My kids can’t believe I said that.”

    He called for stronger, more trustworthy leadership “that looks to local solutions from our cities, towns, and states.” As Huntsman told the crowd of his experience in state government, he said one thing he learned was that “for most American families, there is nothing more important that a job.”

    Really Jon? our cities, towns, and states are undergoing massive pilaging and thievery by your GOP governors.

    Huntsman laid out the challenges he would have to take on if he defeated President Obama in the election.

    “We must make hard decisions that are necessary to avert disaster. If we don’t, in less than a decade, every dollar in federal revenue will go to cover the costs of Medicare, Social Security, and interest payments on our debt. Meanwhile, we’ll sink deeper into debt for everything else from national security to disaster relief. Our country will fall behind the productivity of other countries; our influence in the world will wane. Our security will grow ever more precarious, and the 21st century will then be known as the end of the American century. We can’t accept this and we won’t.”

    Jon, give it up will you. You don’t think seniors and the rest of us HARD WORKING Americans are buying into your and Paul Ryans nonsense about medicare/social security, do you?

  25. Breaking News:

    Top fundraiser for Newt Gingrich’s campaign has quit!

  26. Ametia says:

  27. Ametia says:

    FDA reveals bigger, graphic warning labels for cigarette packagesBy Saundra Young, CNN
    June 21, 2011 — Updated 1359 GMT (2159 HKT)

    Washington (CNN) — Nine new graphic cigarette warning labels were unveiled Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration, part of the agency’s sweeping new powers to regulate tobacco and tobacco products.

    Cigarette packages will now carry one vivid color image and one of these warnings about the consequences of smoking: “Cigarettes are addictive”; “Tobacco smoke can harm your children”; “Cigarettes cause fatal lung disease”; “Cigarettes cause cancer”; “Cigarettes cause strokes and heart disease”; “Smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby”; “Smoking can kill you”; “Tobacco smoke causes fatal lung disease in nonsmokers”; and “Quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risks to your health.”

    The warnings will cover the upper portion of the pack both front and back. Fifty percent of the package must be covered. The warnings must also cover at least 20% of a cigarette ad.

    Small ads less than 12 inches don’t have to cover as much, but must still have a warning. Each warning will also have a phone number — 1-800-QUIT-NOW — that smokers can call to get help if they want to quit.

    President Obama is committed to protecting our nation’s children and the American people from the dangers of tobacco use. These labels are frank, honest and powerful depictions of the health risks of smoking and they will help,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in an FDA statement. “These labels will encourage smokers to quit and prevent children from smoking. President Obama wants to make tobacco-related death and disease part of the nation’s past, and not our future.”

    The new packaging and ads must be in place by September 2012.

    ****Watch for this move to go before the SCOUTUS. We’re talking the TOBACCO INDUSTRY here.****

    See all the new labels


  28. First lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Sasha, second right, and Malia, visit the Emthonjeni Community Center in Zandspruit Township, Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, June 21, 2011

  29. First lady Michelle Obama meets with children during a visits the Emthonjeni Community Center in Zandspruit Township, Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, June 21, 2011.

  30. Ametia says:

  31. Ametia says:

  32. Ametia says:

    I got to keep on WALKIN’ Loving Edwin Starr, SG2.

  33. Ametia says:


  34. U.S. first lady Michelle Obama walks with Nelson Mandela’s wife Graca Machel as she visits the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, June 21, 2011.

  35. Ametia says:

    Breaking News Alert: Huntsman joins GOP presidential field
    June 21, 2011 10:12:09 AM

    Jon Huntsman Jr., a former U.S. envoy to China and governor of Utah, announced Tuesday morning that he will seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.


    For more information, visit washingtonpost.com

  36. Ametia says:

    What is the significance of writing an article such as this?

    Presidential contenders who look the part
    June 21, 2011 7:00 AM

    For a political party that talks so much about “American exceptionalism,” Republicans don’t feel that their crop of presidential candidates is. In a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 45 percent of Republicans said they are unhappy with the field. This is not unusual for political parties out of power. It was true in 1991, 1995, 2003 and 2007.

    Republicans have reason to celebrate, though. In at least one way, the field of candidates is exceptional. The current GOP field has more B-movie presidential lookalikes than at any time in modern history. Mitt Romney, John Huntsman, and Rick Perry have movie-star looks–and not just any movie star, but those guys who play the president in the movies that run in endless loops on cable. The B-movie president is a very specific type: He is not the hero. He is the actor in front of whom the hero dives to stop the bullet. He is essentially a stock character, and he must look like the stock photo of a president. In short, he is the guy who comes from central casting when the director sends word he needs someone to play the part of the president.

    Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20072701-503544.html#ixzz1Pv0BMRgs

  37. Ametia says:

    The nation’s largest physician’s group has affirmed its support for a key part of President Obama’s health care overhaul.

    June 20, 2011 11:00 PM PrintText Doctors org. backs health insurance mandate

    At its annual meeting in Chicago, the American Medical Association (AMA) voted to maintain its official position in favor of the “individual mandate,” which requires nearly all Americans to purchase health insurance. The AMA prefers the term “individual responsibility.”

    “The AMA has strong policy in support of covering the uninsured, and we have renewed our commitment to achieving this through individual responsibility for health insurance with assistance for those who need it,” Dr. Cecil Wilson, president of the AMA, said in a statement. “The AMA’s policy supporting individual responsibility has bipartisan roots, helps Americans get the care they need when they need it and ends cost shifting from those who are uninsured to those who are insured.”

    Boehner: 2012 elections will say “a lot” about health care system
    Report: Prescription meds misuse rampant, deadly
    Mitt Romney refuses to apologize for Massachusetts health care plan

    The decision was made by some 500 members of the House of Delegates, which sets policy for the AMA. The vote followed intense discussions, according to delegates who took part.

    “It was very emotional and it was very heated,” said Dr. Bruce Malone, president of the Texas Medical Association, which opposes the mandate. “These are a large number of very intelligent people who can certainly have a democratic debate, and they did.”

    “I think it was very civil and I think very thoughtful,” said Dr. Roland Goertz, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, which supports the AMA position.

    The individual mandate is the most controversial element of the Affordable Care Act, which became law last year but is now facing numerous legal challenges. In the most high profile case, now before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, the law is being challenged by Republican governors and attorneys general from more than two dozen states.

    Malone said he is disappointed by the outcome of the vote and worries that the lack of consensus on the mandate will weaken the AMA. “Some people who strongly support the idea of ‘no mandate’ may drop their membership with the American Medical Association,” he said.

    This debate over the past two years has coincided with about a 5 percent decline in membership in the AMA, though it’s not clear if support for the mandate is the reason 12,000 members quit the organization.

    The outcome of the vote is an affirmation of the influence within the AMA of primary care physicians, who tend to support the mandate, over specialists, who tend to oppose it, according to Heritage Foundation health care expert Edmund Haislmaier.

    Now, however, that view is not universally held.

    “I do not think this is a family practice versus specialty issue,” said Malone. “This is an issue of broad diversity in the ‘house of medicine.'”

    Goertz, a family physician in Waco, Texas, said the outcome in favor of the mandate is the right one.

    “This has been debated so extensively, from every view point,” he said. “If health care is going to be an important issue for Americans and the proof and the evidence shows coverage means better access, means better health decisions and better health for the public, that’s what’s driven our position.”

    Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20072800-503544.html#ixzz1PuzakSel

  38. rikyrah says:

    June 21, 2011 8:35 AM

    Signing statements and hypocrisy

    By Steve Benen

    We talked yesterday about new efforts from congressional Republicans to limit the powers of President Obama’s office. In particular, the GOP push includes three main tactics: an indefinite suspension of recesses in order to prevent recess appointments, a new measure intended to prevent the president from issuing “signing statements,” and a roadblock in the Senate on confirmation votes, leaving key administration posts empty.

    A surprising number of conservatives were outraged by my piece, not because it’s wrong, but because they think they’ve found evidence of hypocrisy. At RedState, for example, Dan McLaughlin had this piece:

    xpecting consistency from left-wing political activists is folly, but rarely does one get such a glaring example as the Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen on presidential “signing statements.” Watch, and your head will spin.

    McLaughlin then notes a series of posts that I wrote over the course of several years criticizing the Bush administration’s use of signing statements. He then notes yesterday’s post when I wrote: “Also note, the same day as this letter about recesses, House Republicans also began pushing a measure to prevent the president from issuing ‘signing statements’ — another power presidents have been using for generations.”

    This proved fascinating to all kinds of conservatives, who saw it as obvious proof that I opposed key presidential powers during the Bush era, only to support them now.

    As much as I appreciate the interest, I really wish McLaughlin and others who loved his post had thought this through a little more.

    Signing statements are not a new presidential tool, and while usage has varied throughout administrations, the statements are nearly as old as the presidency itself.

    I criticized George W. Bush’s use of signing statements, not because he created the instrument of presidential power, but because he abused it in ways unseen in American history. I never argued against the existence of signing statements; I argued against Bush’s misuse of the power. And if President Obama abuses this power in the same way, I’ll criticize him, too.

    And therein lies the point. McLaughlin’s take is purely surface-level analysis: Bush issued signing statements; I ran criticism; Obama issues signing statements; I don’t think Congress should take that power away. Ergo, hypocrisy.

    What’s needed here is just a little depth of thought. Consider the two presidencies:

    Under Bush: The president took an existing power, abused it, and congressional Republicans expressed no concerns at all.

    Under Obama: The president has the same power, isn’t abusing it, and congressional Republicans want to take that power away.

    Criticizing Bush then, and congressional Republicans now, isn’t hypocrisy. If this makes “your head spin,” maybe it should be screwed on just a little tighter.


  39. rikyrah says:

    June 21, 2011 8:00 AM

    Wal-Mart v. Dukes

    By Steve Benen

    More than 1.5 million American women who’ve worked for Wal-Mart in recent years joined together to file a class-action lawsuit against the behemoth company. The case certainly appeared credible: the women had evidence that Wal-Mart favored men over women when it came to compensation and promotions, and filed suit to end the discrimination and recover lost wages.

    The case has been in the courts for years, but has never been heard on the merits. Rather, the company’s lawyers have argued that the women shouldn’t even be able to join together to file the lawsuit in the first place. Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in.

    Dahlia Lithwick, who said the Wal-Mart v. Dukes case is likely “the most consequential” of the term, explained why the high court’s five conservatives sided against the plaintiffs.

    Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest private employer, seems to have figured out that the key to low-cost discrimination lies in discriminating on a massive scale. […]

    The red meat of the Wal-Mart decision lies in the fight between Scalia and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg over a much more fundamental question: Was there a single question of law or fact common to all the women in the suit? The federal district court and 9th Circuit believed that there was. The five justices in the majority disagreed.

    Scalia concludes that (even in advance of a lawsuit) the women could not show that Wal-Mart “operated under a general policy of discrimination.” That’s partly because “Wal-Mart’s announced policy forbid sex discrimination” and partly because he rejects the plaintiffs’ claim that Wal-Mart’s “policy” of allowing discretion by local supervisors over employment matters constitutes a policy at all. As Scalia sees it, in giving local managers so much leeway in making personnel decisions, Wal-Mart actually established “a policy against having uniform employment practices.” It’s not Wal-Mart discriminating against women. It’s just all these men doing it, and God knows men don’t have unconscious biases and prejudices against women.

    Making matters worse, the 5-4 ruling did more than just shield Wal-Mart. The court’s conservatives rejected the women’s class-action case and then went further, making it more difficult for others to file class-action suits in the future. As the NYT editorial board explained:

    For 45 years, since Congress approved the criteria for class actions, the threshold for certification of a class has been low, with good reason because certification is merely the first step in a suit. Members of a potential class have had to show that they were numerous, had questions of law or fact in common and had representatives with typical claims who would protect the interests of the class.

    Justice Scalia significantly raised the threshold of certification, writing that there must be “glue” holding together the claims of a would-be class. Now, without saying what the actual standard of proof is, the majority requires that potential members of a class show that they are likely to prevail at trial when they seek initial certification. In this change, the court has made fact-finding a major part of certification, increasing the cost and the stakes of starting a class action.

    This was not a good day at the Supreme Court.


    • Ametia says:

      It has NOT been a GOOD day at the Supreme Court, since Justice Thurgood Marshall served and left.

  40. rikyrah says:

    Michelle Obama kicks off SA tour
    Sanelisiwe Maliza | 21 June, 2011 13:04

    US First Lady Michelle Obama kicked off her visit to South Africa with the Young African Women Forum on Tuesday morning, where the US Embassy is hosting 75 leading young women in Africa.
    The forum, which runs for three days until 23 June, is hosted by the US Embassy in Pretoria.

    The embassy invited 30 South African women, including Democratic Alliance national spokesperson Lindiwe Mazibuko and 5FM radio DJ Anele Mdoda.

    Television personality, who also attended the forum, Precious Kofi tweeted her excitement about the forum and meeting Obama.

    “From kings to ministers and then myself, Mrs Obama gave each individual her undivided attention,” Kofi tweeted.

    The forum provides a platform for women to network and discuss issues that affect women on the continent. Spokesperson for the embassy, Elizabeth Trudeau said some of the issues that will be covered during the forum include women empowerment and the advancement of the community.

    The Young Africans Women’s Forum is a follow-up to the Young African Leaders Forum hosted by US president Barack Obama at the White House in Washington last year.

    The White House website said the First Lady’s visit to South Africa “will amplify the president’s support for democracy, development and economic opportunity across Africa”.


  41. Ametia says:

    Obama to announce troop drawdown
    By Sam Youngman – 06/20/11 06:18 PM ET

    President Obama on Wednesday will announce the number of troops he is withdrawing from Afghanistan beginning in July, according to a White House official.

    Obama will make the announcement in a speech before traveling to New York on Thursday to visit troops at Fort Drum before attending fundraisers in New York City.

    Obama will not only announce how many troops he is planning to start bringing home, but he will also lay out a schedule for bringing the rest of the troops home as the U.S. and allied forces transition security responsibilities to the Afghanistan government by 2014.

    The president has met recently with his national security team and received visits from Gen. David Petraeus and outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

    White House press secretary Jay Carney said earlier Monday that Obama had not yet come to a decision on how many troops he would draw down.

    “I know for a fact, having been in a room where this was discussed, that the president has not yet even made a decision to announce,” Carney said.

    This story was updated at 6:57 p.m.


  42. Ametia says:

    :Now what are the GOP going to make noise about. PBO’s plan has always been to withdraw troop. Not when folks think he should, but when it is the right time. There’s a method to this operation. The circus candidates have been calling for tropp withddrawl, knowing full well this has been the plan all along. They have nothing, no plans.


    President Obama is expected to announce the approval of a plan that would result in the 30,000 U.S. “surge” forces being withdrawn completely from Afghanistan by the end of 2012, an administration official told CNN.


  43. opulent says:

    I loved SOS..played it endlessly!

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