Serendipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread | Blues Week

WikiBessie Smith (April 15, 1894 – September 26, 1937) was an American blues singer.

Sometimes referred to as The Empress of the Blues, Smith was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s.[1] She is often regarded as one of the greatest singers of her era and, along with Louis Armstrong, a major influence on subsequent jazz vocalists.[2]

The 1900 census indicates that Bessie Smith was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee in July 1892. However, the 1910 census recorded her birthday as April 15, 1894, a date that appears on all subsequent documents and was observed by the entire Smith family. Census data also contributes to controversy about the size of her family. The 1870 and 1880 censuses report three older half-siblings, while later interviews with Smith’s family and contemporaries did not include these individuals among her siblings.

Stay with 3 CHICS this week as we feature more of Bessie Smith’s saucy, down home, gritty, sultry BLUES.  Enjoy!

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100 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread | Blues Week

  1. Ametia says:

    “I want a piece of your good ole meat; you gotta give me some.” LOL sing it Bessie!

  2. Ametia says:

    MSNBC has Michael Steele, the GOp coon pushing the Bachman for POTUS meme. Leave it to the MSM and a willing coon to prop up “Miss Anne.”

  3. rikyrah says:

    Dane County Sheriff’s Office Investigating Alleged Prosser ‘Chokehold’ Incident

    In the latest development on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, where conservative Justice David Prosser has been accused of physically assaulting liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, the principal investigation of the matter has now been turned over to the Sheriff’s Office in Dane County (Madison).

    The sheriff’s office said in a statement issued Monday:

    Today, at the request of the Wisconsin Capital Police Department, the Dane County Sheriff’s Office opened an investigation into the June 13th incident involving an alleged altercation at the offices of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

    The Dane County Sheriff’s Office recognizes the significance and sensitive nature of this investigation. Beginning today, detectives will work diligently to conduct a thorough and timely investigation. Because this case is in the very early stages, no further information is available at this time.

    The Wisconsin State Journal reports that Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs, whose office had originally received a report of the alleged incident, has instead turned the matter over to the Dane County Sheriff’s office after consulting with members of the Supreme Court itself.

    In addition, the Wisconsin Judicial Commission, which investigates alleged misconduct involving judges, released a statement Monday that it, too, is looking into the alleged incident:

    The Wisconsin Judicial Commission confirms that it received information concerning an incident that occurred at the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The Commission authorized an investigation of the incident at its meeting on Friday, June 24, 2011. The investigation will be conducted without prejudgment in a fair and thorough manner in accord with Commission procedures set forth in Wis.Stats.§§757.81-757.99 and Chapter JC Wisconsin Administrative Code. These statutes and rules may be accessed through the Commission’s website,

    Judicial Commission proceedings are confidential pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 757.93. The above information, however, is provided in accord with Wis. Stat. § 757.93(2).

  4. rikyrah says:

    End Of Blago Case Could Mean House Ethics Probe For Jackson Jr.

    Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich being found guilty on 17 of 20 corruption charges might mean the House Ethics Committee probe into allegations against Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill) could get underway soon.

    Back in November, the House Ethics Committee deferred taking any action in the Jackson matter at the request of the Justice Department. Federal officials had requested House staffers put off the matter until DOJ’s prosecution had wrapped up.

    Jackson had been accused of telling one of his major campaign donors to give money to Blagojevich so the former Illinois governor would appointed Jackson to the Senate seat left empty by President Barack Obama.

    Jackson was called to testify in Blagojevich’s trial, but said he didn’t know anything about the offer his supporters allegedly made to the former governor to appoint Jackson to the seat.

    Representatives of the House Ethics Committee and the Justice Department did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment, nor did a spokesman for Jackson.

  5. Ametia says:

    Waiting for Rachel Maddow to explain herself from her Friday night fuckery.

      • Ametia says:

        So far she’s reporting on nuclear power plants. She got an ass whooping this weekend, and she’s moving right along, now

      • Ametia says:

        that bitch ignored the tweets and emails from the viewers. I said she wouldn’t apologize for her LIES.

        • You called it, Ametia! She didn’t even mention it. How arrogant! I hope she realizes if her rating tank, she won’t have a show.

          • Ametia says:

            LOL Maddow’s ass was put on front street by the blogosphere this past weekend. Her true agenda has been exposed by white liberals and black Democratic/Obamacrats. and while some have said they’re done with Maddow, there are some of us who will be watching her and continue calling out the fuckery. Count 3 Chics as continuing to watch her and calling out her shit.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Changing Chatham: Neighborhood struggles with class divide
    By MARY MITCHELL Sun-Times columnist /
    June 27, 2011 2:02AM

    It used to be that, to live in Chatham, you practically had to know someone. As a mother with no husband — despite having a 9-to-5 — my chances of finding a landlord who’d rent me an apartment in one of Chatham’s immaculate three-flats were slim.

    The landlords there could afford to be picky. Few of them would rent to you just because you told them you were a mom desperate to move to a neighborhood where you didn’t have to worry about gangs and guns.

    That’s another thing that’s different about Chatham these days.

    Looking for the new Chatham, I stopped in at the Chatham Coin Laundry on 83rd near Cottage Grove. There were plenty of single, working-class women there who live in the neighborhood.

    Delores Bell was one of them. She works for United Airlines, in ground services, and moved to Chatham about two years ago, from Logan Square. For her, it was just another place to live. Bell says she didn’t know much at all about Chatham at the time. She still doesn’t.

    “I don’t mingle with the neighbors,” she says. “I keep everything to myself, and I go to work.”

    Louzatie Adedehin moved to a small apartment building in Chatham after getting divorced.

    “It seemed to be a very nice neighborhood, and the block I moved on, it was nice and quiet,” Adedehin says. “But at night, we hear a whole lot of other things going on. People are doing things that they shouldn’t when they think nobody can see what is going on.”

    Back in the day, the higher rents and home prices pretty much kept the riff-raff out. But home values in Chatham have plummeted. In 1990, the median value of a home in Chatham was $99,794. During the housing boom — from 2000 to 2009 — that rose to $182,727. By this year, though, it had sunk to just $69,750, according to the Chicago Association of Realtors.

    When that happens, “The land becomes affordable by a group of folks who couldn’t have afforded it 10 or 15 years earlier,” says William A. Sampson, a sociologist at DePaul University who’s an expert on the black middle class.

    Thumbing through all the news stories about shootings, stabbings, babies getting killed and other crimes, I’m shocked that so many of the perpetrators, as well as the victims, have addresses in Chatham.

    This is exactly what a previous generation feared.

    Twenty-five years ago, the Chicago Sun-Times ran a series called “The Chatham Story.” In one of those stories, a retired factory worker talked about the future he saw then for Chatham.

    “They are coming from the ghetto,” he said. “From down in the slums. And they are not the type of people I like to live with. They don’t care about the neighborhood.”

    Today, longtime Chathamites seem more convinced than ever, from what I kept hearing, that poor people moving in from somewhere else are the ones causing most of the problems. Sampson understands that fear.

    “Middle-income black folks don’t want poor black people living around them,” he says. “They say, ‘Look, I’ve worked my tail off for all these years to get away from that. Now, you are going to put them down the street.’ ”

    According to a recent study by the Chicago Housing Authority, as of 2010, 117 families with housing vouchers had been relocated to Chatham after being displaced by the tearing down of the city’s public housing high-rises. That number represents less than 1 percent of the available housing in Chatham. But as anyone who has ever lived next door to a house where there was gang or drug activity going on knows, it only takes one bad house to ruin a block.

    Maryellen Drake’s parents moved to Chatham in 1957. She was born and raised there. For 20 years, she’s served as vice president of the Chatham Avalon Park Community Council, which has been tackling important community issues for 50 years.

    Today, Drake looks around, and what she sees disgusts her.

    “This is a class issue,” she says of Chatham’s troubles. “It’s not just about income. It’s about the standards that you are accustomed to . . . Barbecue grills on the front lawn. Ten and 12 people piled up on the front porch. Opening fire hydrants instead of going in the backyard and getting in the pool or under a hose.

    “I can’t say they are Section 8. Can’t say they are from the projects. But I know that — by the way they behave — although they look like me, we are very different.”

    Some longtime residents figure it’s up to them to teach the new arrivals the rules.

    Chatham resident Berlean Burris, the wife of former U.S. Sen. Roland Burris, says she reached out to a family who, with the help of Section 8 housing aid, moved in to the house next door while the owner, an investor, tries to find a buyer for the place.

    “When she first moved in, I went over there and talked to her and brought her a basket of things,” she says. “Another neighbor told me she did the same thing. She says a Section 8 resident was barbecuing in the front yard, and she went over there and said: ‘You know we don’t barbecue in the front lawn. You do it in the back.’ And they started barbecuing in the back.”


    I pulled in front of a brick bungalow at the corner of 78th and Eberhart, on the same block where the Burrises once lived. I tried, though it was hard, to imagine what it must have looked like 25 years ago. Now, I saw a Jim Beam liquor bottle someone had tossed on the curb. And there were fast-food containers and other trash. It was the kind of mess I’m used to seeing in poorer neighborhoods. On the corner, there’s also a “hot-spot” police camera.

    But the entryway of the home had marble flooring and a built-in wooden bench over which hung an ornate mirror. It’s a grand home. But it’s stuck in what’s now a bad location.

    The 7800 block of South Eberhart that Roland and Berlean Burris moved away from 40 years ago is just a stroll away from 79th and Cottage Grove, where gang shootings are becoming common.

    Given the violence, it’s little wonder that vacancies are popping up on this block and elsewhere in Chatham. Between 2000 and 2009, the percentage of vacant homes nearly doubled in Chatham. And the percentage of owner-occupied housing dropped by 5 percent.

    In 1990, 10 percent of the 17,234 housing units in the neighborhood were vacant, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2009, the number had grown to 13.5 perent of what were, by then, 18,017 housing units.

    That’s a lot of vacancies, especially when you consider that most born-and-bred Chatham residents had never seen a boarded-up house on their block till not that long ago.


    Block club president Eric Andrews sees the police camera that went up in 2009 at 78th and Eberhart as a symbol.

    “I was devastated when they put up that camera,” he says. “It let me know how bad things had gotten.”

    Andrews was born in the big, brick bungalow at 78th and Eberhart, across from St. Dorothy’s Catholic Church. His father died when Andrews was just a year old. Andrews’ mother, Petra Andrews, worked for the federal government for 41 years and managed to send all of her six children to private school and to college. In 2008, two weeks after she retired, her car got hit by a car driven by a drunken driver, according to the police. Petra Andrews died three months later from her injuries. The family is still waiting for the case to go to trial in Indiana.

    “She had made all of us promise that we would keep this house because she said my dad and her worked extremely hard to get this property,” Eric Andrews says.

    But keeping that promise has been a struggle.

  7. First Lady fever at Regina MundiFirst Lady fever at Regina Mundi

    On June 22, 2011, I walked into the Regina Mundi church in Soweto, after having been searched like a criminal by the American Secret Service, to find myself among thousands who had gathered to hear an address by the US First Lady, Michelle Obama. How lucky was I? Well, I was one of 2 000 “invitations only” guests at the church, that’s how lucky I was!

    Hosted by the American Embassy, the US Ambassador to South Africa, Donald Gips, and his wife Elizabeth, Obama addressed the guests, including members of the Young African Women Leaders’ Forum, on issue of building a solid leadership mindset on the continent.

    The area behind the church pulpit was decorated with flowers that stood on pedestals, while the illuminated stained-glass windows on the left of the church depicted moments of South Africa’s liberation struggle. The atmosphere was tense with excitement as school children and invited guests waited in anticipation for the First Lady; I too was among the excited.

    Slowly the choir rose and began to sing. They were wearing brightly-coloured, traditional Xhosa attire and danced rhythmically to their songs. The audience (myself included) began to sing along, giving the event a warm and welcoming South African feel. It was almost as if I was at my own church.

    Graça Machel, wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela, delivered the most beautiful introduction that prefaced Obama’s speech. “We welcome you as a daughter of African heritage, and we can call you the queen of our world,” said Machel. I agree; Michelle Obama may definitely be the current queen of our world!

    Finally, after applause and song, the moment of Obama’s much-anticipated speech had arrived. As she approached the stage, holding clasped hands to her chest while fighting back tears, one could see she was moved by her introduction and welcoming. “I want to start by thanking Graça Machel for that just gracious, kind introduction. It is overwhelming,” she said.

    Her speech drew on the history of Regina Mundi, which means ”queen of the world” in Latin, paying tribute to leaders of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa and the civil rights movement in the US, urging the young women in the audience to follow their example.

    “The young people of this continent – you are the heirs of that blood, sweat, sacrifice and love,” she said.

    At this point in time I was holding back tears.

    Obama spoke out strongly in favour of women’s rights and called for education of women to help uplift them from their “second-class citizens” mentally. She also urged for the end of women abuse, saying that the issue “isn’t just a women’s rights violation – it’s a human rights violation”. Again, I could not agree more. She believes that this generation of young women leaders on the continent could also be the one that overcomes the difficulties associated with HIV/AIDS.

    For 45 minutes Michelle Obama spoke with conviction, passion, elegance and grace that moved me and many other women to tears. Her speech was beautifully inspiring.

    She concluded with the famous slogan from her husband’s 2008 campaign to inspire and urge young women to become proactive members of change for women empowerment in Africa. “If anyone ever tells you that you shouldn’t or you can’t, then I want you to say with one voice – the voice of a generation – you tell them, ‘yes, we can’,” she said.

    Yes, I can too!

    This concluded one of the most inspirationally-moving speeches I have ever heard, and after having had the opportunity to be a part of the event I realised how lucky I am to have been at a once-in-a-lifetime occasion that I would have not missed for the world.

    Ok, I’m crying again! That’s all I can write right now…

  8. Ametia says:

    Obama’s prudent policy on Afghanistan

    By E.J. Dionne Jr., Published: June 26
    Among Dana Carvey’s most brilliant sketches on “Saturday Night Live” were his dead-perfect impersonations of President George H.W. Bush, which made a permanent contribution to America’s political language. “Not gonna do it!” Carvey-as-Bush would say. “Wouldn’t be prudent!”

    What Carvey grasped is that Bush 41 was a conservative not so much by ideology as by temperament. Prudence really was one of his cardinal virtues.

    Prudence went on vacation during the administration of the second President Bush, but it’s back as the hallmark of President Obama’s approach to foreign policy. And it was the underlying theme of Obama’s speech on Afghanistan last week.

    You would think this would be popular. But it turns out that Obama finds himself almost alone in his effort to define a broad new middle ground in international affairs. It’s not that the center isn’t holding. It’s that most politicians don’t seem to want to go near it.

    Here is the most important passage of Obama’s address: “We must chart a more centered course. Like generations before, we must embrace America’s singular role in the course of human events. But we must be as pragmatic as we are passionate; as strategic as we are resolute. When threatened, we must respond with force — but when that force can be targeted, we need not deploy large armies overseas.”

  9. Ametia says:

  10. rikyrah says:

    you can’t make this shyt up


    June 27, 2011 2:55 PM

    Bachmann looks to emulate serial killer

    By Steve Benen

    Rep. Michele Bachmann, the unhinged Republican presidential candidate, desperately wants the public to believe she’s a “serious person,” and not at all a “flake.” She could start by avoiding mistakes like these.

    Rep. Michele Bachmann kicked off her presidential campaign on Monday in Waterloo, Iowa, and in one interview surrounding the official event she promised to mimic the spirit of Waterloo’s own John Wayne.

    The only problem, as one eagle-eyed reader notes: Waterloo’s John Wayne was not the beloved movie star, but rather John Wayne Gacy, the serial killer.

    Yep, here’s the video.

    The right-wing congresswoman told Fox News, “[W]hat I want them to know is, just like John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That’s the kind of spirit that I have, too.”

    John Wayne is from Iowa, but not Waterloo. Bachmann is apparently confusing John Wayne and John Wayne Gacy. The former was a movie star; the latter killed 33 people.

    In September 2009, railing against health care reform, Bachmann told Republican activists, “What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists,” because “something is way crazy out there.”

    If Bachmann has “the spirit” of a serial killer, that quote seems to make more sense than it did at the time.

  11. Michele Bachmann Flops ‘John Wayne’ Reference In Waterloo, Iowa (VIDEO)

    In Waterloo, Iowa on the eve of her official presidential campaign announcement, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) told Fox News that she has “the spirit” of John Wayne.

    The presidential hopeful — who was born and grew up in Waterloo as a child before moving to Minnesota — said, “Well, what I want them to know is just like, John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That’s the kind of spirit that I have, too.”

    The Washington Times points out one slight problem with the Tea Party favorite’s remarks: The John Wayne with roots in Waterloo is John Wayne Gacy, a serial killer who was executed by lethal injection in 1994 after being convicted of 33 murders.

    Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) told Fox News that she has “the spirit” of John Wayne. John Wayne Gacy, a serial killer.



    • Ametia says:

      BWA HA HA HA HA The spirit of a serial killer… Bachman’s a serial LIAR!

    • ROTFLMAO! Double, triple and cube that……

      Not sure but I think the”Duke” was born in Illinois. Just a little piece of AZ history but a lot of the old westerns were filmed here, especially around Tucson and Southern AZ. Years ago, we had a neighbor who worked as an extra and stock handler on some of these films. He was an old retired cowboy, miner and mule skinner. He really liked John Wayne. He said that the “Duke” was always decent to everyone and had a great sense of humor.

      • PS: Google is your friend! John Wayne WAS born in Iowa, (sorry, Illinois) but not where Bachman said and he moved to Palmdale CA when very young and then on to Glendale CA. It’s not where you are born that counts but where you actually grow up, imho.

  12. Breaking News

    Rod Blagojevich found guilty on 17 counts, one count not guilty!

      • Ametia says:

        The jury in Rod Blagojevich’s corruption case finds the former Illinois governor guilty on 17 of the 20 counts against him.
        The jury was hung on two counts and found the former Democratic politician not guilty on a single count.
        The charges included trying to peddle the U.S. Senate seat that Barack Obama held before becoming president.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 10:01 AM PDT.

    Anti-racism: DoJ sues modern-day sundown town in Wisconsin+*

    Courthouse News:

    A Wisconsin city in the most segregated region in the nation buckled to racist pressure and shut down an affordable housing project, federal prosecutors say. New Berlin has no affordable housing for general occupancy or families – just for seniors – and truckled to fears that affordable housing would draw minorities to the city, which is 95 percent white, according to a Fair Housing complaint.
    The city approved a 180-unit project, but “Immediately afterward, and over the next several weeks, city officials received numerous emails, calls, and other communications from residents of New Berlin, the large majority of whom voiced opposition to the … project. Some of the opposition was based in part on fear that the prospective tenants would be African American or minority. The Mayor, Aldermen, Plan Commissioners, and staff at DCD were aware that community opposition was based in part on race,” according to the complaint.

    “The communications they received over several weeks contained express and implied racial terms that were derogatory and based on stereotypes of African American residents. These communications referenced ‘niggers,’ ‘white flight,’ ‘crime,’ ‘drugs,’ ‘gangs,’ ‘families with 10 or 15 kids,’ of needing ‘to get a gun,’ of ‘slums,’ of not wanting New Berlin to turn into ‘Milwaukee,’ of moving to New Berlin ‘to get away from the poor people,’ of not wanting to provide housing to people ‘who work but do not live here.'”
    New Berlin Mayor Jack Chiovatero initially supported the project, but was worn down by being called a “nigger lover,” having his property vandalized and a failed recall effort against him. The pressures upon Chiovatero were revealed in an email he sent to a friend, indicating that he condemned racism, but found himself surrounded by it.

    According to the complaint, Chiovatero wrote: “I am a prisoner in my own home. I have spent several hours a day last week listening and replying to concerned citizens. … I was asked NOT to attend two functions this weekend for fear it would distract and cause havoc by my presence. Our City is filled with prejudice and bigoted people who with very few facts are making this project into something evil and degrading. … New Berlin is not ready, nor may never be, for a project like this. Unfortunately, I will be doing whatever is in my power to end this project, it will result in lawsuits and making New Berlin a community of bigots.”

  14. rikyrah says:

    June 27, 2011 1:40 PM

    The trump card on taxes

    By Steve Benen

    By now, the state of play is painfully obvious. When it comes to the debt-reduction talks, Democrats expect a compromise with some tax increases. Republicans have ruled out the very idea of touching tax rates, but may be open to scrapping some tax incentives and deductions.

    It seems awfully likely that Democrats will be unhappy, to put it mildly, with the end result, since the “deal” will probably feature massive spending cuts, no changes to tax rates, and paltry revenue from so-called “tax expenditures.”

    But there’s one part of this that often gets overlooked: Obama has something of a trump card in his back pocket. Ross Douthat’s item on this late last week sounds right to me.

    [If participants in the debt-reduction talks] do work out a deal — and this is the crucial part — it doesn’t have to include nearly as much in the way of revenue increases as a liberal president would normally prefer, because taxes are already scheduled to go up. Republicans are being intransigent on taxes in these negotiations for ideological reasons, but also because they know that if Obama is re-elected (which is more likely than not), they won’t be able to block tax increases: With a non-stroke of the pen, he can just let the Bush tax cuts expire — for the rich, or even for the middle class as well.

    This is the trump card that liberals carry into all these negotiations. If we just do nothing on taxes except let the “current law baseline” run its course, their preferred vision wins.

    Agreed. The tax deal worked out in December, much to the left’s chagrin, extended all of the Bush-era rates. Obama has said he won’t allow this again — come hell or high water, the president won’t let the wealthy keep the tax breaks they don’t need and the country can’t afford.

    This matters a great deal, of course, in the context of the current talks. Dems want more revenue, Republicans won’t even consider tax increases. But the president can generate all kinds of revenue later, and there’s nothing the GOP can do about it.

    The White House will probably offer Congress a familiar deal: current rates up to $250,000, Clinton-era top rates for those over $250,000. If Republicans agree, taxes on the wealthy go up and the deficit shrinks. If Republicans refuse, demand Bush-era rates for everyone, and reject a deal that shelters the middle class, taxes go up across the board and the deficit shrinks a lot.

    It’s something to keep in mind as the debt talks continue.

  15. rikyrah says:

    June 27, 2011 2:15 PM

    Dream until your dream comes true

    By Steve Benen

    Every year, tens of thousands of young illegal immigrants graduate from American high schools, but are quickly stuck — they can’t qualify for college aid, and they can’t work legally. America is the only home they’ve ever known — in most cases, they were, at a very young age, brought into the country illegally by their parents — but at 18, they have few options.

    The DREAM Act, which has traditionally enjoyed strong bipartisan support, provides a path to citizenship for these young immigrants — graduate from high school, get conditional permanent residency status, go to college or serve in the military, and become eligible for citizenship.

    Last year, the measure had the votes to pass Congress, but not to overcome a Republican filibuster. With a GOP-led House, the proposal is dead on Capitol Hill. But as Suzy Khimm reports today, the Obama administration is using its executive authority “to shape immigration policy in line with the DREAM Act.”

    Since taking office, Obama has prioritized the deportation of undocumented immigrants who have committed serious crimes and threaten public safety. Now his administration has moved to ensure that federal immigration agents and attorneys are following such guidelines in the field — while empowering them to take their focus off certain undocumented immigrants who meet a host of criteria. In a June 17 memo to ICE employees, the agency’s director, John Morton, outlined 19 factors that could warrant the use of “prosecutorial discretion” and prevent certain immigrants from being deported, on a case-by-case basis.

    According to the memo, there is a range of issues that federal agents, attorneys, and other officials should consider in deciding whether to pursue deportation. They include: whether the person is a military veteran; has made “contributions to the community”; acts as a caretaker of the infirm or disabled; or is very young, very old, pregnant, or nursing.

    Morton’s order also instructs federal officials to weigh the circumstances of an undocumented immigrant’s arrival in the US — especially if he or she came as a young child — and whether the individual graduated from high school or college, or is currently pursuing higher education.

    This is not to say certain groups have been shielded from possible deportation altogether, but Obama’s immigration chief wants ICE officials to use discretion before deporting the very people who’d benefit from the DREAM Act.

    Mary Giovagnoli, director for the Immigration Policy Center, told Khimm the Obama administration’s move could help “ameliorate some of the harshest consequences of immigration law.” David Leopold, an immigration attorney and president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, added that the change in emphasis represents “a paradigm shift.”

    Ideally, this wouldn’t be necessary. Republicans who helped write the DREAM Act — I’m looking in your direction, Dick Lugar and Orrin Hatch — should do the right thing, even if their right-wing base doesn’t like it.

    But while we wait, it’s heartening the Obama administration is using its power wisely on this.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Four Ways Justice David Prosser Can Be Removed From Office
    By Ian Millhiser on Jun 25, 2011 at 12:51 pm
    Earlier today, news broke that Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser allegedly grabbed fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley around the neck during argument in her chambers last week. If these allegations prove true, Prosser is guilty of a very serious crime. Under Wisconsin law, “[w]hoever intentionally causes bodily harm or threatens to cause bodily harm to the person or family member of any judge…is guilty of a Class H felony,” except with certain exceptions that don’t apply here.

    Sadly, this is not the first time Prosser stands accused of a sexist attack on one of his fellow justices — although it appears to be the first allegation where he actually laid hands on one of his colleagues. Last year, during an argument with Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, Prosser called her a “bitch” and threatened to “destroy” her.

    Like all accused criminals, Prosser enjoys a presumption of innocence and he should not be condemned until the evidence clearly shows that he is guilty. Should the allegations prove true, however, there are at least four paths to remove Justice Prosser from office:

    1.Resignation: The most obvious solution is that Prosser should immediately step down from his position on the state supreme court. It should be self evident that someone prone to violent outbursts has no business as a judge — much less as a supreme court justice — and if Prosser truely possess the independent judgment he claimed to have in his recent reelection campaign this fact should be clear to him as well
    2.Impeachment: The Wisconsin Constitution permits judges to be removed through an impeachment trial and conviction. As under the U.S. Constitution, this process requires a majority vote in the state assembly to begin impeachment proceedings and a two-thirds vote in the senate to convict. Impeachment could potentially be the quickest way to prevent Prosser from ruling on any more cases until this matter is resolved, as the state constitution provides that “[n]o judicial officer shall exercise his office, after he shall have been impeached, until his acquittal.”
    3.Removal by Address: A supermajority of both houses of the state legislature can also remove Prosser through a process known as “removal by address.” Under this process, “Any justice or judge may be removed from office by address of both houses of the legislature, if two−thirds of all the members elected to each house concur therein.”
    4.Recall: As a last resort, Prosser may be removed by a recall election using the same process that was recently invoked to attempt to recall several state senators. Under Wisconsin law, however, elected officials enjoy a one year grace period during the beginning of their term in office where they are immune from recall. Because Prosser was just recently reelected, this means he could continue to serve as a justice for quite a while before a recall election could take place.
    Wisconsin is obviously caught in some deep ideological battles, including an impending recall election that will determine control of the state senate. If there is one issue that should transcend party lines, however, it is the basic fact that no one is allowed to lay hands on a sitting judge. Should the allegations against Prosser prove true, it is tough to imagine a truer sign that our political system has broken down than if the calls to remove him from office are not unanimous.

  17. rikyrah says:

    EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Murphy Says Thomas’ Actions Call Into Question Whether He ‘Can Continue To Serve As A Justice’
    By Ian Millhiser on Jun 24, 2011 at 9:40 am

    In an exclusive interview with ThinkProgress, Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT) — the lead sponsor of a bill which would strip Supreme Court justices of their immunity from a code of ethical conduct that applies to other federal judges — suggests that an investigation may be necessary to determine whether Justice Clarence Thomas’ many ethics scandals rise to the level where Thomas is no longer fit to serve on the nation’s highest Court:

    QUESTION: Do you think what Thomas has done is as serious as what forced [disgraced former Supreme Court Justice Abe] Fortas off the bench?

    MURPHY: I think our problem is we don’t know the full extent of Justice Thomas’ connections to [leading GOP donor] Harlan Crow, or, frankly, to a further network of right-wing funders. What he’s done is incredibly serious. I think, at the very least, his actions should disqualify him from sitting on any cases in which Crow-affiliated organizations are parties to or have attempted to influence [the Court]. But this is starting to rise to the level where there should start to be some real investigations as to whether Clarence Thomas can continue to serve as a justice on the Supreme Court.

    Justice Thomas has sat on at least 11 cases where a Harlan Crow-affiliated group filed a brief — adopting the group’s preferred outcome in all but one case. Moreover, Thomas has yet to explain the full extent of his connections to Crow, despite news reports that Crow lavished gifts and other expensive favors on Thomas and his family. Nor has Thomas explained how his gifting scandal differs from the very similar gifting scandal that brought down Justice Abe Fortas.

    There is one way, however, in which this scandal is quite different from the Fortas resignation. Fortas was a liberal justice, but many of the clearest calls for his resignation came from progressives such as Sen. (and future Vice President) Walter Mondale (D-MN) and Brown v. Board of Education author Chief Justice Earl Warren. As Murphy explains, however, Thomas’ ethics scandals have been met with “deafening silence from Republicans.” Unlike Mondale and Warren, who understood that the integrity of the judiciary must trump ideology, Murphy suggests Republicans have the opposite values:

    One of the most shocking speeches that a Supreme Court justice has ever made was one that Justice Thomas made just a few months ago to a group of Virginia law students, in which – with his wife in the audience – he admitted, plainly, that his cause on the Supreme Court as a justice was the exact same cause that his wife was pursuing as the chief organizer of one of the nation’s most prominent Tea Party groups.

    Republicans are silent on Thomas for a simple reason. He’s doing their bidding on the Supreme Court today, and they don’t want to do anything that compromises his ability to enforce a political agenda in the United States judicial system.

  18. Top of the morning to you, Chicas!

    I love Bessie Smith! Are we going to get a whole week of her? “Give me a pig foot and a bottle of beer” I first heard that song when I was just a kiddo and for some reason I loved it. There was a cantina that my Papi would visit on occasion. They cooked these pig feet that had been brined in some kind of spicy broth with chilies. Whenever he went there he would bring back these pigs feet as a treat for us children. For some this may sound gross but we children loved them. I can still taste their spicy goodness. Yum!

    Fire report: Some smaller fires are out. The big ones are under control and the air is clear enough that the grandbabies went home yesterday.

  19. rikyrah says:

    June 27, 2011
    They’re ‘the kiss of death’
    Maybe I’m a victim of fanciful thinking, but I can’t help reading more into the story — “2012 contenders shun Hill support” — than Politico explicitly reports. “The chase for congressional backing [by GOP presidential aspirants] has been moving at a snail’s pace this year compared with the previous election cycle,” which is, or so says Politico,

    a reflection of the slowly forming presidential field, concern in Congress about the strength of the candidates and a desire by White House hopefuls to keep their distance from an unpopular Washington.

    The first given reason has nothing to do with the story’s thrust — it is individual candidates shunning the Hill, so the pace of presidential field formation would have little to do with actual endorsement requests; the second excuse is essentially an irrelevant reversal of the story’s theme — it is candidates shunning the Hill, not the Hill shunning the candidates; however in the third excuse we creep perhaps closer to the story — Republican White House hopefuls view Washington as a toxic dump.

    But Politico’s reporting of this all-inclusive dump — “an unpopular Washington” — has a fishy smell to it. For 222 years America’s bumbling, incompetent Emerald City has been unpopular among the virtuous munchkins as a kind of alternating good-natured or ill-tempered sport. If, in this 222nd year, Washington seems more unpopular than ever, then might there be a reportable reason? — and might it lie in the stench and swill of both a partisan and empirical miasma?

    Ah, now we’re getting somewhere (I either know, or fancy). If you’re not quite tracking me yet, then this ambiguous quote from one of Washington’s leading wizards should put you on the unambiguous scent:

    “Given the landscape, would you want to be endorsed by some Washington insider?” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who plans to remain neutral in the race, asked half-jokingly. “It’s the kiss of death.”

    McConnell has seldom encountered a straightforward situation that he couldn’t glibly molest into a crooked half-truth. The elementary trick to reading McConnell is simply to assume the unctuous deception, the devilish partial reality, the malicious misdirection, and to keep in mind that if he seems vague, he’s terrified. Thus “It’s” the kiss of death translates rather easily into “We” — congressional Republicans — are the kiss the death.

    Put yourself in, say, Mitt Romney’s shoes. Would you want Paul Ryan’s endorsement? Or Eric Cantor’s, or John Boehner’s, or the Senate minority leader’s — the guy who led his fellow GOP senators into House Republicans’ Gallipoli?

    Today’s presidential candidates’ “We’ll call you, don’t call us” approach to congressional Republicans is one of judicious distance. McConnell & Co. may want to depict the lay of Capitol Hill as one of generic desolation and universal toxicity, but it was the singular pathogen of the House budget bill — namely, its feckless crime against Medicare — that poisoned relations between presidential candidates and congressional incumbents.

    The latter collectivity is glowing like a cockroach at Alamogordo, the former collectivity knows it, and therein lies the political mortality of both.

  20. rikyrah says:

    June 27, 2011 12:30 PM

    Let the sunshine in

    By Steve Benen

    The next phase of the bipartisan debt-reduction talks gets underway today, with President Obama meeting at the White House with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). As the week progresses, Obama’s hands-on role in the talks will continue, with the hopes that the process can be wrapped up fairly quickly.

    We won’t be able to watch the talks, of course, because they’ll unfold behind closed doors. One Republican senator would prefer a more transparent process.

    The ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee says President Obama needs to bring the negotiations over increasing the debt ceiling out into the open.

    “We might as well stake it out publicly to see what the disagreements are,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said Friday in an interview with The Hill. “I believe Majority Leader [Harry] Reid and the president desperately are working not to have to reveal their vision for the future, financially. Their vision will include, from what glimpses we’ve seen, an advocacy for more taxes and less spending cuts.”

    Sessions said Democrats have been avoiding making public the negotiations and laying out precisely what they want in a debt-limit package because “what they’re advocating for, I don’t think would be popular.”

    To borrow a line from Rupert Giles, I’d like to test that theory.

    Look, Jeff Sessions may be inclined to believe his own press releases, but if he seriously believes the American mainstream prefers the GOP’s far-right line on debt reduction, the Alabama senator needs to get out more.

    This isn’t even close to being a mystery — polls shows the public supports a balanced approach (some spending cuts, some tax increases), supports reductions in military spending, supports ending tax breaks for industries like Big Oil, and supports leaving Social Security and Medicare alone. This just happens to be the Democratic approach.

    Sessions thinks the relevant players “might as well stake it out publicly to see what the disagreements are”? I’d bet money that Republican leaders disagree, but if the GOP senator is serious, Dems might as well accommodate his request. The Republican approach to these talks — protect the wealthy, protect the oil industry, target Medicare and Medicaid, make things harder for the middle class, take money out of a struggling recovery, or the GOP will crash the economy on purpose — is pretty radical. Dems would be lucky if voters were aware of what the parties are bringing to the table.

    Sessions wants to let the sunshine in. That sounds like a great plan.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Kagan: SCOTUS Ruling Against Arizona Public Financing Is ‘Chutzpah’
    The conservative majority of the Supreme Court on Monday struck down an Arizona campaign finance law that offered political candidates facing well-funded opponents a subsidy to “level the playing field” and protect from public corruption.

    Chief Justice John Roberts and the conservative majority agreed with the five conservative politicians and two political action committees who argued that the law stifled free speech, claiming it meant they were punished if they raised too much money because the government would subsidize their opponents.

    But Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, writing a dissent on behalf of the minority of the court, said that there was a major problem with the decision by her colleagues — Arizona’s matching funds provision “does not restrict, but instead subsidizes, speech.”

    The plaintiffs who brought the case, Kagan wrote, “are making a novel argument: that Arizona violated their First Amendment rights by disbursing funds to other speakers even though they could have received (but chose to spurn) the same financial assistance. Some people might call that chutzpah.”

    “Pretend you are financing your campaign through private donations,” Kagan wrote. “Would you prefer that your opponent receive a guaranteed, upfront payment of $150,000, or that he receive only $50,000, with the possibility — a possibility that you mostly get to control — of collecting another $100,000 somewhere down the road? Me too.”

    “Robust campaigns leading to the election of representatives not beholden to the few, but accountable to the many. The people of Arizona might have expected a decent respect for those objectives. Today, they do not get it,” Kagan wrote.

    “Arizonans deserve better. Like citizens across this country, Arizonans deserve a government that represents and serves them all. And no less, Arizonans deserve the chance to reform their electoral system so as to attain that most American of goals,” Kagan wrote. “Truly, democracy is not a game.”

    Common Cause President Bob Edgar said the ruling “is not the death knell of public financing.”

    “This ruling affects only one mechanism of public financing, and there are numerous ways to fix it,” Edgar said. “Today, in the wake of Citizens United, it is more critical than ever that we change the way we pay for our elections by moving to a small donor system that gives the public a voice back in our government. Nothing short of our democracy is at stake.”

    Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer said in a statement that the “reform movement to create new public financing systems nationally and at the state and local level will go forward without interruption.”

    • Thank you to all the pendejos in SCOTUS who just violated our AZ citizen voted for “Clean Elections Law” One of the reasons this law was put into place was to prevent big outside money from financing elections here which happened more than once. Outsiders, carpetbaggers, pig politicians have moved here from other places so they can use their money to buy elections. It’s been an ongoing battle here. They don’t know us, our cares or issues. They only seek election here to some office for their own ambition.

      I wish we could impeach at least two of supreme court. They are bought and paid for by big money! If ever we needed a reason to GOTV for PBO and Dems, it is to keep any more of these thugs and unpersons being appointed to the Supreme Court.

      Sorry for the rant so early on a Monday.

  22. Ametia says:

    Keep your eye on teh cable networks meme:OBAMA looses 2012 the numbers are 9 & 5

    5 = $5/GALLON | GASOINE

    Really, who gets to set this as the criteria for Americans to not vote for President Obama? MSNBC, CNBC fake business reporters.

    • QUE!??! We have had some of the highest gas prices in the country here and they have been steadily going down for the last ten days or so to under 3.50 at some places.

      Also, I read today that here in AZ despite everything our Repugnants are doing to f*ck the economy that we have some actual job growth for this quarter. This state has been one of the hardest hit because so much of our employment was tied to the so called “housing bubble” and rampant, out of control construction. The majority of people laid off or unemployed here were in construction and related jobs. Things are getting better, even here, despite our Repug legislature trying to halt solar and green energy progress which is employing people laid off from construction industry.

      Trying not to get too pissed off here…….but failing miserably!

      YES WE CAN……DO MORE TOGETHER to reelect PBO and get some good Dems in office who will actually listen to the people and do the job.

      F*CK the MSM and their Repugnant overlords who would ruin us all for $$$ and ratings points!

      • Ametia says:

        Morning Murderer Joey Scar and nem bring on all the “Debbie downers” to provide their crystal ball readings of gloom and doom for POTUS. GTFOH

  23. rikyrah says:

    June 26, 2011 9:35 AM

    Clarence Thomas controversy percolates

    By Steve Benen

    We’ve been keeping an eye on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ recent ethics controversies, which appear to be generating at least a little more interest of late.

    The New York Times reported a week ago that the right-wing jurist maintains an “ethically sensitive friendship” with Dallas real estate magnate and GOP financier Harlan Crow. Despite the fact that Crow’s company has multiple cases in the federal court system, he’s apparently showered Thomas with lucrative gifts, including a massive check to the justice’s wife to start her lobbying organization, and a multimillion-dollar deal in which Crow created a museum at a cannery where Thomas’ mother worked.

    Much of this would seem to run afoul of the code of conduct for federal judges, which Supreme Court justices are not bound to follow, but which justices have said they would voluntarily adhere to.

    Though most major news organizations haven’t shown significant interest, at least not yet, I was glad to see a good report on this from Rachel Maddow the other night.

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    As for Capitol Hill, Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) appears to be taking the lead in shining a light on the matter, and explained this week that if a member of Congress were caught in a similar controversy, “there would be calls from across this country for them to resign, and, frankly, they would have violated the laws of this nation.”

  24. rikyrah says:

    another thing from DAILYKOS:


    Okay ya’ll, I know that nobody likes to deal with the Daily Chaos, but something has been going on over there within the past couple of days.

    Here’s a post that I just read, I will not link to it because my clicking over there has given them enough traffic, but the tides are turning. More and more rational and sane people are coming out of the woodwork and are tired of the crap.

    Joan Walsh Says Vicious Obama Supporters Are Paid GOP Trolls

    Sometime around about April Fools’ Day, Joan Walsh jumped the shark. Since then, she’s got caught out and called out in remarks that were just the teensy-weensiest bit racist, although Joan, being Joan and a bona fide bastion of the Progressive Left abjectly and vociferously denied that she was racist in anyway, whilst at the same time just as vociferously resenting any claim that African Americans could have to being part and parcel of the base whom Joan declares the President has abandoned so callously.

    One thing led to another, and Joan got more than a bit rude with several people who disagreed with her point of view on certain things – most notably the fact that since the President declared his intent to run for re-election in 2012, Joan’s been on a massive downer and appears to be suffering from DODS – Delayed Obama Derangement Syndrome.

    In her last blog, usually written after an appearance on Chris Matthews’s Hardball, she admitted that Obama appeared to have a “mirage” of support – which means that he might have the appearance of support amongst his base (whoever and whatever his base may be), but it really isn’t support as such.

    That confused me. Does that mean people will say they’ll support him and then vote the Republican ticket? Or that they’ll say they voted but in reality they stayed at home? Who knows? Still, that didn’t confuse me as much as her next assertion, made in a Twitter exchange on June 23rd:-

    @dpleasant @LaurieInQueens I’m convinced some of the most vicious pro-Obama people are paid by GOP

    Mouths closed yet? Chins picked up off the floor?

    Yep, you read right. Joan thinks that some of the most “vicious” Obama supporters are paid GOP trolls. She was most likely referring to me, in our last direct exchange, when she accused me of working for Breitbart, simply because I disagreed with her gratuitous criticism. More apt were my accusations that she was climbing on the Obama-bashing bandwagon to prove her own relevancy and to fit in more as an “esteemed” (but unpaid, according to Joanie – yeah, sure) political contributor for MSNBC.

    (If you think all those “political contributors” just sit around the table shooting the breeze with Joe and Cenk and Chris and Larry and newly-minted lyin’ liar Rachel just for a cuppa Starbucks and a camera in their face for nothing, you seriously need to get out more.)

    I know Joan’s recently read “Nixonland” and I know the GOP are famous for their infiltration tactics as a part of their ratfucking techniques, but gone are the days of Donald Segretti. Instead, if Joan bothered to open her eyes and ears, she’d find that there are a lot of pretty intelligent, normal, hard-working, everyday people who see exactly what the President has done, how he’s done it and – above all – why he’s had to do things the way he has. Such people are these that they understand how government works, they know the President doesn’t legislate, and, furthermore, they know that in a democracy, one discusses, debates and compromises.

    These people know that change that lasts is often incremental. Some of us might remember when FDR implemented Social Security and how it covered a fraction of the people it covers today. Others might remember Jim Crow, still more might remember when a female teacher got paid considerably less than a male counterpart.

    These people are the ones who remember that the President has always said that change comes from the bottom up, which is a euphemism for the aristocratic FDR’s direct command of “make me.”

    And these are the people who listened to Candidate Obama’s speeches and realised, if not from their content than from reading his work, The Audacity of Hope, that the man presented himself as nothing more than a Left of Centre pragmatist in the mold of his hero, Abraham Lincoln.

    If these people are now vociferous to the point of vicious in their support of the President, it’s simply because we’re effing mad at the trust fund kids from the Progressive end of the political spectrum slamming the President on everything he does and doesn’t do to their specification. We’re sick and tired of being called Obamabots and derided on sites like Daily Kos, which was allegedly founded as a Democratic website and has turned into a den of hatred for people specialising in pissing on the President and pushing the meme that he’s done nothing, yet all the while proclaiming that this criticism is constructive and it’s purely done in the name of political policy.

    My blue Democratic ass.

    The Right walk around with signs of the President dressed like witch doctor with a bone through his nose, and the Firebaggers at FDL get a pass when they refer to him as “boogalu Bush.”

    The Right accuse him of being a Kenyan mau-mau, while Progressives openly refer to him as the “Affirmative Action President.”

    Joan would do well to remember that it was a fellow PUMA who started the birther myth in earnest, and she would do well not to forget the PUMA woman who stridently declared she would support no other than John McCain, when Hillary dropped out of the race, because she simply couldn’t understand why Democrats would set aside a well-qualified white woman in favour of a black man.

    The Right assert that the President is a weak leader, and Joan obliges by pushing the same meme. The Right treat him with open disrespect, while the Left act like Miss Scarlett about to smack Prissy from sheer frustration.

    His supporters are sick and tired of being referred to as sycophants for “Dear Leaders” and called “Obama-Lovers” by her newest pet blogger, Glenn Greenwald, who appears to be the tail wagging Salon’s dog to such a degree that Joan has to slavishly echo his critique.

    In short, our “vicious” support of the President is simply nothing more than a reaction to an irresponsible, lazy, assumptive and downright untrustworthy media who like to think that the majority of Americans are totally incapable of thinking for themselves and need political action explained to them, but always with a spin. And if you’re canny enough to disagree, you’re deserving of the rudness thrown in your direction.

    So, sorry, Joan, “vicious” supporters of the President aren’t paid GOP trolls, but whiners, whingers, moaners, and relentless fault-finders and criticizers such as you and the mean girls and guys around you are the underminers taking the corporate penny of people whose agenda is to see the President fail.

    Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the ratfucker after all?

  25. rikyrah says:

    found this at another blog:


    Here’s another…
    Progressives win if Obama loses in 2012

    Barack Obama has failed progressives in every arena. Although it’d be preferable to
    unseat Obama with a primary challenger in time for 2012, because none has stepped forward (tic toc…), it would be beneficial to the progressive movement in the long term for Obama to lose the Presidency in 2012.

    This way, if not a radicalized Tea Party President (e.g., Romney), then one certainly beholden to such a radicalized Congress will take power, and will surely inflict so much pain and suffering on the American people, they will return power to liberal Democrats in a 2014 wave election. By controlling Congress in 2014, progressives will control the budget, spending, and National dialog. Progressives will then win the Presidency in 2016, led by a “True Progressive” leader to be named later, and with control of both houses of Congress, a new progressive era will dawn.

    And Republicans will wander in the wilderness for 20 years. This time for real.

    Or so a mythology espoused by some of the activist left goes.

    The Myth
    Bob Brigham Tweets on June 22nd:

    If Gore really cares about climate(1), he almost has to run. If Obama wins, GOP will wins 2016, making 2020 earliest for problem solver in WH.
    Now Bob “Payola” Brigham is not the most reputable “activist” on the left. He’s been on Jane Hamsher’s Payroll, and as so eloquently pointed out by Dana Houle, Richard M. Nixon kept company with a whole bunch of people like Jane Hamsher back in the day. Donald Segretti called them ratfuckers. No, Bob Brigham is an obsessive tweeter, making him easy to quote, and he usually links to reputable liberal activists who harbor similar, albeit moderated, sentiments. It was following Bob Brigham that led me to an article by Glenn Hurowitz in the the Grist.

    Glenn Hurowitz wonders if [President] Obama has lost environmental voters? And (wait for it) whether environmentalists would really be worse off under a Romney Presidency.

    The Obama Effect
    As an aside, I have been trying to come up with a Greek fable to describe the political life of Barack Obama. The tired meme of Obama losing support among a key constituent group is most certainly Sisyphean in nature, wherein his detractors are perpetually on the verge of being able to demonstrate that President Obama has lost support, only to have their hopes dashed in a rockslide each and every time. No, a more apt fable would be of a hero whose detractors constantly assert that he is in danger of losing something different and important to him each and every day, except that he doesn’t. Such a story doesn’t exist, nor does it really need to: we already have the legend of the Bradley Effect, although notably challenged as a legitimate phenomenon. The fear of the Bradley Effect was repeatedly raised throughout the 2008 Presidential campaign. Political memes never die, even if negated by demonstrable fact (id est, one President Obama). They just step ever so slightly out of the debunction crater to lead a new life. This time, President Obama won’t lose support among voters on election day. He is losing support now among key liberal groups. Note to Glenn: President Obama’s support among liberal democrats was rock solid and steady at 86% last week.

    Unfortunately, the Weekly Standard already coined the term ‘Obama Effect’ on October 27, 2008 to refer to the inevitable coming of the McCain Presidency despite Barack Obama’s poll numbers. Perhaps that’s why he’s always on Meet the Press? But since that neocon rag just makes shit up and is the laughing stock of media, I think it is safe for us to steal the name from them and redefine it.

    Obama Effect (n.) The unsubstantiated claim by media that President Obama is losing support among a key liberal demographic based an action or omission.

    What prompted Glenn Hurowitz to make his assertion? Apparently it was not carefully reading Al Gore’s essay entitled “Climate of Denial” in Rolling Stone Magazine. Anyone who has not read the essay should take the time to do so.
    In the 4000 word essay, President Gore happened to use the words ‘Obama’ and ‘fail’ in close proximity. That’s all the evidence the MSM needs to sound the Democrats Divided gong, so as to simultaneously a) obfuscate the important message Al Gore was attempting to convey and b) turn Democrats against their elected leaders. But the MSM behavior was predictable. dKos user Vyan has an excellent diary up on the rec list detailing how the MSM will cram any perceived criticism of President Obama from the left, real or imaginary, into the rubric of Democrats Divided. The Democrats Divided meme is decades old, and stems from a kernel of truth: the Democrats are diverse, and sometimes a polyglot. What was alarming was that activists and liberal bloggers seized upon the same story to champion the Obama Effect. The Huffington Post giddily plastered Obama’s “failure” across the front page. Relegated to Column 3 in the Green section on the same day? GOP Presidential candidates pledge to strip EPA of authority. Why? Why would the Huffington Post ignore Al Gore’s larger message and attack President Obama? And as for Glenn Hurowitz, why strain Al Gore’s words to invoke the Obama Effect? And why kid yourself that Democrats would be better off under a Republican President?

    But will the Republicans’ presidential nominee really have any similarity to a Tea Party Republican? Certainly, it’s possible that a climate-denying, EPA-repealing extremist like Michele Bachmann could turn the Republican primary into a clownish right-wing race to the bottom. But we shouldn’t forget that Republican primary voters want to win, usually choose establishment-backed candidates, and, like all Americans, have deep concerns about the economy. That could hand the nomination to someone like Mitt Romney or (less likely) Jon Huntsman—people who are building their campaign not around fealty to an agenda contrived by the far right, but around the notion that they are best positioned to put America back to work.
    Indeed, it’s notable that Al Gore (sort of) praised Romney just a week ago for “sticking to his guns in the face of the anti-science wing of the Republican Party.” And Romney has left himself room for climate action—endorsing a transition to clean energy, but ruling out international agreements that don’t require emerging countries like China to take action as well, exactly the position of the Obama administration…

    You can read the conflict in Hurowitz’s writing (Maybe a President Romney wouldn’t be so bad…) Wanna bet? Regardless of the pace of progress, what would lead an environmentalist like Hurowitz to even entertain the notion of a Presidency determined to undo it? In my opinion, it’s personal.

    The Anti-Activist President

    I firmly believe President Obama’s leadership style is at the heart of the conflict. Activists, by their nature, are ideological. They can be rigid and unyielding, vigorous and vociferous. They may be emotional, irascible, intense, fiery, and impassioned. President Obama is none of these things. And because nobody apparently read Audacity of Hope, conflict ensues.
    All of us have tremendous difficulty explaining complex and conflicted emotions, and we tend to resort to simple schemes when confounded. In my opinion, challenges to the President’s Leadership are often an exasperation with his leadership style. I confess that I often find his style infuriating. But disagreements over complex issues of leadership style have been allowed to degenerate on the left into false dichotomies. Revisionism then takes hold, and some on the left espouse a meme of Obama as a Capitulator-in-Chief; in essence, the anti-activist who stands for nothing, accomplishes nothing, and caves for everything. Crossroads GPS sincerely thanks us.

    But we’re talking about the man, after all, who not only resurrected Healthcare Reform from the political grave after Sen. Scott Brown’s victory, at a huge political cost to him and his party, but then staked a Presidency on a risky commando mission in the Middle East. Why? Because millions of people are victimized by insurance companies every day. Because the entire world was safer the moment Osama bin Laden left it. That is cold, hard Leadership, even if executed in a style that grates our nerves and does not achieve all our end desires.

    And Barack Obama would not be the first anti-activist President. It is said that he has a fondness for President Lincoln, another President whose opinion on a matter of civil rights famously “evolved” at a glacial pace for the day, who could be pensive, cold, rational, and detached.

    “I feel utterly disgusted with Lincoln — upon him do I throw all the blame — He is in my opinion a paltry coward.” — Franklin A. Dick, unionist and anti-slave­ry activist, Missouri, 1862, over frustratio­n with Lincoln’s lack of progress in ending slavery.
    And you thought Netroots Nation 2011 was a rough crowd. Abolitionists were the activists of the day, and they put the netroots to shame in terms of passion murder.
    In fact, it is safe to say Presidents in general are notoriously anti-activist. the last President was a notable exception. Armando touched on the theme of Presidential motives in a diary read by too few earlier today. Simply put, the President is primarily occupied with legislative accomplishments and election. To ascribe ulterior motives is pointless, and the occupation of activism often conflicts with one or both of those goals. This is why, historically speaking, movements lead Presidents, Presidents don’t lead movements. The Civil War came after abolitionism. The New Deal came after the progressive populist movement. It would be ahistorical for an activist President, which is why conflict so often ensues between the activists and the President.

    This conflict can drive activists to behave badly. When New York passed Equal Marriage on Friday night, much to my astonishment, my heroine Rachel Maddow is reported to have said that “President Obama is against what just happened”. Not cool, Rachel, and also not true. But I don’t blame Rachel Maddow for her anger, as the President espouses a vexing and indecipherable opinion clearly in contrast with what is in his heart meant to keep support amongst a key base demographic(2). Everyone’s favorite Keynesian Paul Krugman called the President of the United States a “fraud” and a “chump”. This level of disrespect for The Office is something we would reserve for a Rush Limbaugh. And lastly, Lt. Dan Choi, in a seminar at Netroots Nation 2011 entitled “What to Do When the President Is Just Not That Into You”, famously declared he would no longer support President Obama and tore up a flier handed to him by an volunteer. As Michael Grunwald so excellently states:

    “And why should [Lt. Dan Choi support Obama]? 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?”
    Michael Grunwald’s article may describe the frustration between the activists and President Obama, but his snark also belays a growing frustration between Democrats and liberal activists that is equally deleterious to our common goals.

    What to do?

    I don’t believe it’s any coincidence the issue of President Obama’s leadership style resurfaced this past week. President Obama is about to face the greatest test of his Presidency: the debt ceiling. His predecessor, George W. Bush, was atypically activist. Members on both side of the aisle referred to it with praise and disdain as cowboy activism. After the ruin of such leadership, America deliberately chose a classic anti-activist.
    But America is fickle. It’s no surprise that Chris Christie has been receiving an over-sized portion of media attention. America, in eternal amnesia, begins to crave what it just jettisoned. Despite being an unpopular ass, Christie represents a stark contrast to President Obama’s leadership style. This is why you have to see him on the Sunday Morning Talk Shows. It’s what America wants right now in crisis. The good news? Everybody will be utterly bored with Christie come 2016.

    I theorize that many on the left have become so trapped in their own belief of Obama as the anti-activist, they presume complete capitulation. That may still happen. I make no guarantees, as President Obama is on extraordinarily difficult political terrain, and Democratic negotiating tactics have been, well, sub par. But being cool, pragmatic, and rational do not necessarily ensure such a calamity. The two are unrelated. And the activist left needs to channel that anxiety into constructive means. If Obama goes to the wall on the debt ceiling limit showdown like he did for Osama bin Laden, we all will be singing a very different tune come two months.

    In the meantime, let the activists remember that they have the burden, and more importantly, the privilege of leading, with or without Washington in tow. Don’t ever forget who’s in charge of the movement. Hold the friendly fire, and no more Al Gore attacking President Obama for failing to do Al Gore’s Job. It is, after all, Al Gore’s (really, the climate activist’s) fault, not President Obama’s, that more and more people do not believe in global warming. That trend started well before President Obama took office. On the other hand, supposed betrayals, such as the White House missing the deadline to install solar panels on the roof as called out by Glenn Hurowitz in his article, may seem like crying over not getting that frosting flower on your slice of cake, but they speak to the very real pain of pragmatic decisions(3).

    And let us never go so far down the trail of leadership style antipathy that we begin to ponder Republican leadership as a viable long term strategy just to escape. Progressives won’t be better off. And neither will America. One need look no further than WI, OH, MI, and FL. And if you think those Governors are guaranteed losses in 2014, you have another thing coming. The irony in Hurowitz’s article is that he is citing disaffection from Al Gore, who lost the White House because progressives of the day decided that there was “no difference” between Al Gore and George W. Bush. How’d that work out, America?

    (1) Read this first phase by itself. If Al Gore really cared about climate change? So by not mounting a primary challenge, Al Gore doesn’t care about climate change?
    (2) It’s ugly, but true.
    (3) The White House is still afraid of Jimmy Carter.

    Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 7:51 AM PT: Thank you all so much for all the recommendations. Not in my wildest dreams did I expect this to make the Recommended List, nor receive as little hate mail as I did. I also appreciate all who took the time to read the whole thing. The sentiments expressed have been building for weeks. I understand this is a difficult and stressful time for the left, as we’re simultaneously getting the worst pragmatism from our elected leaders, and the opposition has the greatest leverage.

  26. rikyrah says:

    June 27, 2011 10:45 AM

    A case study in context

    By Steve Benen

    If you read conservative blogs, you may have read over the weekend that First Lady Michelle Obama told CNN, “[F]ortunately we have help from the media.” This, naturally, generated some apoplexy from Drudge and others, using the phrase as proof of a “liberal” media.

    And since this seemed to make the rounds fairly quickly, and will probably be used as the basis for a chain email arriving in your inbox soon, it’s probably worth taking a moment to set the record straight. Chelsea Rudman highlighted the context of the Obama quote, which should effectively end the issue.

    ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The long view, obviously, the bigger picture is what you’re talking about. You’re going on safari here. When you go back home, you’re going to walk into also a pretty dangerous environment, a political presidential campaign, a new presidential campaign. How is the family ready for this? It’s going to be quite vicious, isn’t it? How do you prepare for that?

    M. OBAMA: You know, it’s — we’re — we’re ready. You know, our children, you know, could care less about what we’re doing. We work hard to do that. And…

    CURNOW: How do you do it?

    M. OBAMA: Well, we — fortunately we have help from the media. And I — I have to say this, that I’m very grateful for the support and kindness that we’ve gotten, and people have respected their privacy. And in that way, I think, you know, no matter what people may feel about my husband’s policies or what have you, they care about children. And that’s been good — good to see.

    The “help from the media” was in reference to protecting the Obama children. Responsible media outlets have considered the girls off limits — as news organizations did with other recent First Families — and Michelle Obama seems to appreciate it.

    That’s the whole story.

    When your annoying uncle announces at the 4th of July family get-together that the First Lady “admitted” that the media “helps” the Obamas, gently remind him that’s not even close to what happened.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Bachmann Slams Romneycare: The Mandate Is Unconstitutional At The State Level, Too! (VIDEO)
    During her appearance Sunday on Face The Nation, Michele Bachmann staked out what might be the toughest line in the Republican field against Mitt Romney on health care: That the individual mandate is not only unconstitutional at the federal level — but the mandate is unconstitutional at the state level, too, as Romney passed it in Massachusetts.

    Romney has tried to massage the issue, by arguing that health care reform is largely a state matter, and a conservative would respect states’ rights on the mandate while allowing other states to come up with their own solutions. But not Bachmann — she rejects the states’ rights notion on this one.

    During the interview, Bob Schieffer asked Bachmann whether Romney’s Massachusetts health care reform should be held against him.

    “I firmly am against the individual mandate. I think it is unconstitutional, whether it’s put into place at the state level by a state legislature or whether it’s put into place at the federal level. I think it’s unconstitutional,” said Bachmann.

    “I also think that to deliver the highest quality health care to the greatest number of people at the most reasonable possible cost, you don’t give it to government to do the job, whether it’s the state government or whether it’s the federal government. I believe in the free market. I want to bring free-market policies back to health care. And that will give our people in this country better care.”

    Schieffer then asked Bachmann whether she would say anything like this when she is on stage with Romney at a debate (a possible reference to how Bachmann’s fellow Minnesotan, Tim Pawlenty, famously choked on the same question at the last debate).

    “Well, I suppose it depends on who’s asking the questions — usually we aren’t able to just go on our own,” said Bachmann. “But I’m sure undoubtedly, we’ll be bringing up this issue of health care, because it’s been the signature issue for President Obama. People are not happy with it. The President needed to focus on the economy, and what this will be is one of the largest spending projects that the federal government has ever taken on. And we simply can’t afford it right now. So I– undoubtedly, this is something we’ll talk about.”

  28. rikyrah says:

    June 27, 2011 11:10 AM

    That train don’t stop here anymore

    By Steve Benen

    High-speed rail in China is not without challenges, including pricey fares and allegations of corruption in the construction of parts of the bullet-train service.

    But in the larger context, the system — the most advanced fast-rail system on the planet — is expanding economic benefits and opportunities for the country that could, but won’t, happen in the United States.

    Just as building the interstate highway system a half-century ago made modern, national commerce more feasible in the United States, China’s ambitious rail rollout is helping integrate the economy of this sprawling, populous nation — though on a much faster construction timetable and at significantly higher travel speeds than anything envisioned by the Eisenhower administration.

    Work crews of as many as 100,000 people per line have built about half of the 10,000-mile network in just six years, in many cases ahead of schedule — including the Beijing-to-Shanghai line that was not originally expected to open until next year. The entire system is on course to be completed by 2020.

    For the United States and Europe, the implications go beyond marveling at the pace of Communist-style civil engineering. China’s manufacturing might and global export machine are likely to grow more powerful as 200-mile-an-hour trains link cities and provinces that were previously as much as 24 hours by road or rail from the entrepreneurial seacoast.

    Americans watching these developments tend to look at China’s successes from two angles. From the left, it’s envy — the U.S. could make a similar commitment, and reap the benefits, but Republicans won’t allow it. From the right, it’s disdain — China is spending money to improve its infrastructure, spending is bad; ergo the most advanced fast-rail system on the planet is nothing to emulate.

    Of course, the question that’s rarely asked if what the right’s counter-proposal is. The left sees high-speed rail as a way to boost economic development, create a lot of jobs, foster innovation, relieve crowded roads, and even reduce emissions. How would conservatives prefer to boost economic development, create a lot of jobs, foster innovation, relieve crowded roads, and even reduce emissions? Apparently, the plan is to cut taxes for the wealthy and wait for good things to happen.

    It’s not that we lack the ability to tackle major challenges; it’s that Republicans don’t even want to try.

  29. rikyrah says:

    No. No. And A Thousand Times, No.
    by John Cole


    On Thursday night, when same-sex marriage in New York State was teetering on a razor’s edge, President Obama had a perfect opportunity to show the results of his supposed evolution on gay marriage.

    Unfortunately, he did not take it, keeping his own views in the shadows. The next night the Republican-led New York State Senate, of all places, proved itself more forward-thinking than the president on one of the last great civil-rights debates in this nation’s history.

    Speaking to the Democratic Party’s LGBT Leadership Council at a fund-raiser in New York, Mr. Obama ran through the many efforts he has made on behalf of gay rights, including his decision to end the government’s legal support of the Defense of Marriage Act, which forbids federal recognition of same-sex marriage. The act should be repealed, he said, since marriage is defined by the states.

    Mr. Obama’s legal formula suggests he is fine with the six states that now permit same-sex marriage, and fine with the more than three dozen other states that ban it. By refusing to say whether he supports it (as he did in 1996) or opposes it (as he did in 2008), he remained in a straddle that will soon strain public patience. For now, all Mr. Obama promised was a gauzy new “chapter” in the story if he is re-elected, and his views remain officially “evolving.”

    Who writes this nonsense? Seriously?

    Cuomo and the NY politicians were very carefully advancing the issue in a delicate manner, allowing this to be a vote of conscience for the Senators, free from the usual heightened levels of partisan rancor. Things were proceeding nicely, everything pointed to a win for gay rights the next night, and Obama didn’t need to do anything to “lead.” In fact, if Obama had gone up there and delivered what these clowns wanted, and gave a rousing speech claiming he had changed his mind, it would have done nothing but blown up the current negotiations. How many Republicans who were supporting the vote would have backed away, simply because Republicans could not give Obama a “win.” The vote of conscience would be gone, and it would become a partisan battle and the vote would probably have failed.

    I swear, it is almost like these idiots don’t understand politics, don’t understand risk and reward, and do not understand strategic thinking. The vote was going to pass- why would Obama do anything to insert himself into the issue and possibly blow things up? Hell, I was worried that just him appearing at the fundraiser would blow things up.

    It’s almost like they just want to cheer and feel good about themselves rather than have good legislation pass.

  30. rikyrah says:

    ‘Most Restrictive’ Voter ID Law In The Country Loses Support Of Republican Secretary Of State
    Ryan J. Reilly | June 27, 2011, 5:45AM

    The Ohio state Senate was set to consider this week what critics are calling the most restrictive voter identification law in the country. The push for restrictive voter ID measures in the Buckeye state is part of a trend of similar legislation sweeping Republican-controlled legislatures across the country.

    But Ohio’s measure is so restrictive — it requires the photo IDs to be issued by the state, so voters couldn’t identify themselves with their full Social Security numbers — that it lost the support of Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted.

    “I want to be perfectly clear, when I began working with the General Assembly to improve Ohio’s elections system it was never my intent to reject valid votes,” Husted said in a short statement posted on his official website.

    “I would rather have no bill than one with a rigid photo identification provision that does little to protect against fraud and excludes legally registered voters’ ballots from counting,” Husted said.

    GOP leaders put the election bill on temporary hold to make sure that they were comfortable considering the other changes the bill would impose, including limiting the number of early voting days, the AP reported. They stripped the voter ID measure out of the larger election bill last week, but a separate bill to require voter IDs is still pending, and is expected to be taken up before the end of the month.

    “I do not believe this is in any way a voter suppression issue,” said Tom Niehaus, the Republican President of the Senate. “This is about maintaining the integrity of the voting process.”

    Democrats, Voting rights groups and liberal organizations have lined up in opposition against Ohio’s bill, which would require a state-issued photo ID to vote. In a press release, Ohio House Democratic Leader Armond Budish called it a modern day poll tax.

    Six states — Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee and Wisconsin — have passed photo voter ID legislation this year alone. Similar measures have been considered in 33 states this year already.

    “When looking at the facts, this legislation is politically motivated and treads on the most fundamental rights of Ohioans,” Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga said in a statement.

    The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said last week it would sue over the measure.

    “The passage of House Bill 194 makes Ohio’s voter identification law the most restrictive in the nation,” ACLU of Ohio Legal Director James L. Hardiman said.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Boehner’s Up a Creek
    by BooMan
    Mon Jun 27th, 2011 at 11:08:55 AM EST

    When I combine the news over the weekend that Minority Leader Pelosi has insisted on a seat at the budget negotiations’ table with the following from her Washington Post profile, I get a comforting picture:

    Instead of having to defend Democratic seats in Republican territory, her party will be playing offense, Pelosi argued, zeroing in on the 60 GOP members who represent districts that Obama carried in 2008.
    And in the GOP efforts to revamp the program that provides health benefits to the elderly, Pelosi thinks she has been handed a gift. “Our three most important issues: Medicare, Medicare and Medicare,” she said.

    It doesn’t seem to me like Pelosi is going to allow any weakening of Medicare because she plans to use the issue to win back the Speakership. Now, it’s true that the Minority Leader of the House has little power. That’s why John Boehner couldn’t prevent passage of the Affordable Care Act or much of anything else in the last Congress. But Pelosi has leverage because Speaker Boehner cannot round up enough votes to raise the debt ceiling without counting on Democrats.

    As frustrating as this whole process is, it’s really Boehner who has painted himself into a box. I don’t know how he gets out of it with his leadership job, frankly. The president has vowed not to extend the Bush tax cuts again. And Pelosi is fairly clear:

    On Sunday, Pelosi indicated in an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Republicans shouldn’t count on support from her caucus for the legislation — which must pass by early August to avoid a default on the nation’s debt — unless they are willing to consider boosting taxes as well as cutting spending.
    “We’ve all said we would vote for the full faith and credit of the United States to be honored by voting for this increase in the debt ceiling,” the Democratic leader said. “If they don’t want to do taxes, maybe they don’t want to do anything.”

    So, where does that leave Boehner? If he caves on taxes, even a little, he’ll probably have to rely almost exclusively on Democratic votes to raise the ceiling. And if he does that, he probably won’t be Speaker for very long. So, maybe he just lets us default?

  32. President Obama welcomes the MLS Champion Colorado Rapids to the White House
    June 27, 2011 1:35 PM EDT

  33. Michelle Obama gets fashionistas talking

    Michelle Obama has had fashionistas talking this week.This is what some of them had to say:

    ■Designer Gugu Msomi from Gugulam:

    “What I like about her most of all is how she has put her own stamp of fashion on the White House. She is beautiful and has a great figure – she knows how to show it off. I imagine that we will be talking about her for many years to come.

    “She clearly does not follow the trends but sets her own. On becoming a first lady, she chose clothes by new designers, setting careers for new people.

    “She reminds me of the late Princess Diana, who was always dressed appropriately for every event. When the occasion calls for a more laid-back look, Michelle looks the part; when meeting with heads of state, she looks just as good and appropriate.

    ■Lucilla Booyzen, director of South African Fashion Week:

    “Style is the total combination of the way you dress, talk, move your body. Simply put, it’s how we express our inner being outwardly. This includes all of our thoughts, emotions, interests and values.

    “Everything on the outside is merely a reflection of what’s on the inside.
    “Michelle Obama wears fashion with ease; she looks comfortable in everything she wears.
    “Pearls on, pearls off; belt on, belt off; jersey, skirt, pants, jackets, she can do it all – and in the way she wants to do it. Fashion is a tool and blessed are those who have the natural ability to use it skilfully and to their advantage.”

    ■Sandiso Ngubane, fashion journalist and blogger said that when Obama stepped off the plane on Monday, “I was itching to find out who the designer of that black jacket with orange prints was. The next day, I was delighted to find that it was British-based Nigerian designer Duro Olowu.

    “Cool, I thought, although it would have been great for her to track down a local designer, but at least it is still an African. Okay, maybe I’m being cynical, but this is probably beside the point.

    “Michelle Obama is without doubt a stylish woman and her influence on fashion is evident in how she launched designer Jason Wu to global acclaim by wearing his designs.

    “She has a minimalist elegance – clean tailoring and unexaggerated regal flare on ball gowns.

    “As she tours South Africa, the American blogosphere is documenting her every outfit. Little wonder then that her every sartorial move is not only about fashion but politics as well as economics.”

  34. Michelle Obama Leaves Southern Africa Charmed

    From AFP: “The Sunday Times [in South Africa] played a front-page photo of the Obamas in an open-air, four-wheel drive vehicle in South Africa’s Madikwe Game Reserve near the Botswana border. They had spotted an elephant, but it dashed off after scenting a gathering place for the travelling press. ‘Kristina, the press scared the elephant away,’ Obama told her communications director, Kristina Schake.”

    The article continues: “Besides the elephant, most others who crossed Obama’s path seemed charmed by her presence. ‘Michelle Obama brings out the best in southern Africa,’ the Sunday Independent declared, over a photo of her kicking a soccer ball at Cape Town Stadium. In Botswana she met President Ian Khama, but also painted a mural with AIDS orphans and then stunned villagers when she stopped at a roadside village restaurant for food. ‘When we were told to expect a visitor, I never imagined that it was Michelle Obama. I am still in shock,’ a shop assistant told AFP.”

    More: “Throughout her travels, Obama drew parallels between the struggle for liberation in Africa and the American civil rights movement, and on a more personal level, between her own modest upbringing and the challenges facing young African women. The tactic won over crowds and dignitaries, even in South Africa where the government has been critical or even defiant of American policy in countries from Libya to Haiti. ‘We are welcoming you as a daughter of African heritage, and we can call you the queen of our world,’ enthused Graca Machel, [former South African president Nelson] Mandela’s wife, as she introduced Obama to a crowd of 2,000 at an historic church in Johannesburg’s Soweto township.”

    • Oh, I love this so much. Flotus is indeed the Queen of Our World! It brings tears to my eyes seeing how much people love her. This trip was divine. She’s represents US beautifully. Michelle is beautiful, smart, stylish, & athletic. She has it going on all points! As I watched the children in Botswana dance & welcome her, I couldnot stop the tears. It was so beautiful. I absolutely adore our lovely First Lady!

    • rikyrah says:

      she absolutely rocks

    • Michelle did a stellar job in Africa. My SIL got a bunch of emails this weekend from his family praising the “Gracious Lady Obama” His “Auntie Godmother” also admired the beauty and “deportment” of the Obama daughters but cautioned that “soon the parents must seek out a suitable husband for Malia.” Auntie was surprised when SIL told her that Malia was way too young because Auntie thought Malia at least 16. Auntie’s response was: “Then they must guard her well. She is a jewel.” Auntie is 82 and somewhat old fashioned in her views but she recognizes gems when she sees them, lol.

      • I loved every minute of watching her journey through Africa. The people loved her and felt she is genuine. Some of the moments there moved me to tears.

  35. Michelle Obama hits her stride as first lady

    After more than two years as America’s first lady, Michelle Obama won’t say she’s hit her stride.

    Her performance on a goodwill mission to South Africa and Botswana, including an emotionally rousing speech about youth leadership and a packed itinerary that rivalled her husband’s travelling schedules, said otherwise.

    On her second overseas business trip without the president, she was warmly received everywhere she went, often with song and to the point of almost being moved to tears.

    She spoke passionately about her causes, tickled and danced with some of the youngest Africans, and sat with presidents and first ladies, including former SA president Nelson Mandela.

    She held 20 public events in five days, landed on newspaper front pages and was fashionably dressed, as usual, including outfits with an African connection.

    In between all that, Mrs Obama squeezed in dinner with gal-pal Oprah Winfrey, who was in South Africa for unrelated business.

    It was the first lady’s biggest moment on the world stage.

    She was reluctant to grade herself, telling reporters that it embarrasses her to “talk about my stride and being on my game”. But she does realise her power as first lady and says it’s a time-stamped opportunity that she doesn’t want to waste.

    “I have the advantage of really being able to set my own agenda and not having to deal with the day-to-day challenges that … just keep coming at you,” she said, speaking of President Barack Obama. “That’s a privilege and there is real opportunity there.”

    Her signature issue — both in the US and around the world — is encouraging young people to become the next generation of leaders and problem-solvers. It’s a major reason why she spent a week visiting the model democracies of South Africa and Botswana, her first visits to those countries. In Africa alone, nearly two-thirds of its population is younger than 25.

    Mrs Obama also promoted education and uses the story of her upbringing by working-class parents in Chicago to inspire high school students to dream big.

    She lately has taken to arranging for groups of students, particularly those who aren’t from the best backgrounds but who have shown academic promise, to spend a day at a top university. She held such as session at the University of Cape Town for 50 South African high school students, following up on one last month at the University of Oxford in London.

    “I want to make sure that you all see the promise in yourselves,” the first lady told the youngsters. “It’s so clear to me and so many others. The challenge is to make sure you see it in yourselves.”

    Mrs Obama’s message resonated with women in Africa.

    “She gives hope not just to women of colour, but to women everywhere,” said Kiri Maponya, a member of one of Soweto’s leading families who now lives in the US.

    Before the youth leadership speech, Mandela’s wife, Graça Machel, gave Mrs Obama a rousing introduction that nearly moved the first lady to tears.

    “We welcome you as a daughter of African heritage and we can call you the queen of our world,” Machel said.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Pelosi: Strong Women Don’t Quit
    by Anne Laurie

    Good piece on “Nancy Pelosi’s Big Comeback” in the Washington Post:

    … In the corridor where the House minority leader greets visitors hangs but one decoration: a photo of her at the front of the House chamber, lifting the gavel in triumph, on Jan. 5, 2007. That was the day she was sworn in as the nation’s first female speaker, arguably the most powerful post any woman has held in the nation’s history.

    The fact that the pale-yellow walls remain bare suggests that Pelosi has no intention of getting settled in her new offices. What drives her these days is the realization that, with the party’s upset victory in last month’s special election in a heavily Republican Upstate New York district, Democrats need just two dozen seats to take back their majority.

    “I feel comfortable about our ability to win it back,” Pelosi said in an interview, as she approached the six-month mark of being in the minority again. “I have a sense of responsibility to win it back, a plan to do so, and a confidence that it is very much possible to do so.” […]

    The speakership used to be a post with job security. But that is no longer true in an era in which voters are more restive and the political culture is rougher on those who hold power. In the past 21 years, five speakers have been forced out, either by scandal or by political upheaval.

    What makes Pelosi different is not that she lost that cherished gavel — but that she didn’t head for the exit when she did. Pelosi is the first former speaker since Sam Rayburn, more than half a century ago, to remain in the House as the head of her party and to fight to get her majority back.

    She calls it her “faith-based initiative,” and it is indeed an endeavor to make her fellow Democrats believe again. […]

    “I have absolutely no problem with my relations with the White House,” she said. “I have complete access on any subject that I want to talk to them about. I understand why they have to do certain things, and they understand why I have to do certain things. We give each other room.”

    The main reason she stayed as leader, Pelosi said, was to protect her caucus’s accomplishments — chiefly, the passage of health-care overhaul — from Republican efforts to dismantle them. But Pelosi was also mindful of the signal it might have sent to other women if she had quit.

    “It’s important to me that women young in politics — they’re coming out of the kitchen as I did — are not deterred because of sexism or chauvinism [or the idea that] you can say or do anything about a woman and people will believe it,” she said.

    The truism is that DC is a company town where the product is politics. But there are two sides to “politics”: the show-business, vote-for-me, winning-the-morning part, and the dull bureaucratic side where people must assemble blocks of legislation and votes like legos in order for the legislative company (and the country at large) to keep grinding along. I think this article is an indicator that Pelosi may be winning the bureaucratic war, or at least the sympathy of those bureaucrats whose lives have been made so much more tedious by the grandstanding of the current crop of Republican authoritarians, fundamentalists, and economic freebooters—all the showboaters more interested in posturing for media face time, and dollars, than in the gritty work of getting stuff done. Unlike a lot of her Senate peers, Pelosi very obviously isn’t looking for a cushy Fox News gig or a soft berth as a K Street ‘consultant’. More power to her!

  37. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    June 27, 2011 8:20 AM

    What ‘putting aside talking points’ looks like

    By Steve Benen

    On ABC’s “This Week” yesterday, host Christiane Amanpour asked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) an important debt-related question. “So putting aside the tax hikes, basic raw tax hikes,” she said, “are you willing — this is a negotiation after all — to talk about any kind of revenue raising? For instance, ethanol subsidies. For instance, tax breaks for oil and gas corporations or corporate jets. Is there anywhere where revenue raising can happen without you saying it’s a tax hike?”

    The Republican senator wouldn’t answer the question directly, but McConnell did say, “Well, I think we’ve gotten to the point where we ought to put aside our talking points.” As if this wasn’t clear enough, he said again a few minutes later, “We are past the point where we trade talking points.”

    Good for McConnell. That sure sounds great, doesn’t it? After all the posturing and chest-thumping, here’s one of Congress’ most important Republicans arguing that it’s time for policymakers to approach the process with more substance and detail. Talking points may have helped set the stage, but that time has passed.

    And what, pray tell, does this post-talking-point phase look like, as far as Mitch McConnell is concerned? Well, let’s take a look at what else the Minority Leader said in the same interview.

    * “We need to quit borrowing, quit spending, and get us our trajectory heading in the right direction.”

    * “We have a spending problem. We don’t have a problem because we tax too little.”

    * “We need to cut spending now. We need to cap spending in the future.”

    * “Obamacare cut Medicare about half trillion dollars.”

    * “Passing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution … would be an important step in the right direction particularly looking out to the future.”

    * “We think it’s important to take advantage of this opportunity to do something really important to move the country in a different direction.”

    What a relief Mitch McConnell finally wants to “put aside our talking points.”

    Honestly, is the Minority Leader even capable of speaking without tired and inane talking points? If the relevant players “put aside our talking points,” wouldn’t that render McConnell effectively mute?

  38. rikyrah says:

    Recalling First Black Appointed to New York Police Dept.


    His parents were among the last generation born into Southern slavery, and his own birth in 1883 was notable for another benchmark: At 16 pounds, he was the biggest baby ever recorded in North Carolina.

    “I guess I’ve always wanted to be large, and I have been large,” Samuel Jesse Battle recalled decades later.

    But his personal growth was threatened when, as a teenager, he was caught pilfering cash from a safe belonging to his boss, R. H. Smith, a landlord who predicted that within a year, the young man would be in prison.

    “That was the turning point of my life,” said Battle, who avoided prosecution because the boss was a friend of his father, a Methodist minister. “I said, ‘From this day on, I shall always be honest and honorable, and I’m going to make Mr. Smith out a liar.’ ”

    On June 28, 1911, a century ago Tuesday, Samuel Battle largely delivered on his resolutions. Having grown to 6-foot-3 and 285 pounds, he became the first black person appointed to the New York City police force. He would go on to become the first black sergeant, in 1926; the first black lieutenant, in 1935; and the city’s first black parole commissioner, in 1941.

    In 1911, the city’s population was about 2 percent black, and a number of black officers were already on patrol in Brooklyn, including Battle’s brother-in-law and mentor, Moses Cobb, but they had been hired by the City of Brooklyn before it merged with New York in 1898. The Police Department considers Wiley G. Overton, sworn in by Brooklyn in 1891, as the city’s pioneer black officer.

    But Battle was the first black person appointed to New York’s combined 10,000-member force, ranking 199th of 638 applicants on the police test. The department will mark his appointment on Tuesday during Cadet Corps graduation ceremonies.

    What a difference a century makes. Today, blacks are 23 percent of the city’s population, and 18 percent of all police officers. Black, Hispanic and Asian New Yorkers make up nearly 48 percent among all ranks, and among police officers they have been a majority since 2006.

    Among higher-ranking officers, promoted on the basis of competitive civil service tests, minority officers constitute 39 percent of sergeants, up from 19 percent a decade ago; 25 percent of lieutenants, up from 13 percent; and 17 percent of captains, up from 5 percent. Of the 43 blacks who have passed the test for captain since then, nearly half have been promoted to higher ranks.

  39. rikyrah says:

    June 27, 2011 8:35 AM

    Wallace to Bachmann: ‘Are you a flake?’

    By Steve Benen

    On “Fox News Sunday,” Chris Wallace interviewed Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann, and towards the very end of the discussion, the host broached a subject that much of the media establishment generally prefers to ignore.

    Wallace noted that “the rap” on Bachmann is that she has “a history of questionable statements.” After noting just a couple of recent examples, Wallace paused, thought about how best to phrase the question, and asked the right-wing congresswoman, “Are you a flake?”

    As you can see in the clip, Bachmann said she found the question “insulting” because she claims to be “a serious person.”

    Wallace quickly clarified that this is what others might be saying about her. Bachmann responded by making the case for why she’s not crazy: she’s married, she has lots of children, she’s a lawyer, and she’s been a lawmaker.

    The host added, “[D]o you recognize that now that you’re in the spotlight, in a way that you weren’t before, that you have to be careful and not say what some regard as flaky things?”

    Bachmann replied, “Well, of course, a person has to be careful what statements that they make. I think that’s true. And I think now, there will be an opportunity to be able to speak fully on the issues. I look forward to that.”

    Wallace apparently faced some criticism from the right over this, and he apologized, telling Fox News viewers, “I messed up. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean any disrespect.” Bachmann is apparently still offended, adding yesterday afternoon, “I think that it’s insulting to insinuate that a candidate for president is less than serious.”

    It’s a shame Wallace felt the need to apologize for this, because he accidentally asked a good question, even if he regrets it now. Societal norms apparently dictate that unhinged candidates who have no business running for president be shielded from such unpleasantness, but Michele Bachmann is arguably the most ridiculous person in Washington. She proudly embraces bizarre conspiracy theories; she routinely says crazy things on national television; she pretends to grasp public policies she doesn’t understand; and her worldview is comparable to someone who’s suffered a serious head trauma. Even as the Republican Party leaps off a right-wing cliff, Bachmann stands out for unique brand of madness.

    Given this, of course response hosts should ask whether she’s a serious person. Bachmann doesn’t deserve deference; she deserves ridicule. I thought “are you a flake” was actually a rather polite way of asking a legitimate question about an unqualified candidate.

  40. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    June 26, 2011 11:10 AM

    Reminding voters what they didn’t like about the GOP

    By Steve Benen
    A fascinating poll out of Florida was released a couple of days ago. It didn’t just show Gov. Rick Scott (R) as unpopular — a detail we already knew — it also showed that Floridians hate the right-wing chief executive so much, it might influence their 2012 decision.

    Specifically, Public Policy Polling found that 40% of Florida voters said Scott’s failures have made them less likely to support a Republican in the presidential election. What’s more, nearly one in five of voters who disapprove of President Obama’s job performance are part of this group — they’re unsatisfied with the president thus far, but Scott has soured them on the GOP.

    The next question, then, is considering just how widespread this is.

    Third Way, a centrist Democratic group, this week published an interesting chart, showing the declining popularity of Republican governors in key 2012 battleground states. Some of these governors are very unpopular, with approval ratings in the low-to-mid 30s. (click the image for a larger view)

    So, after the 2010 wave that swept a massive number of Republicans into office, has the American mainstream suddenly been reminded of what it was they didn’t like about the GOP in the first place? Will the buyers’ remorse affecting the electorate still resonate a year from now?

    Norman Ornstein argued recently that “the deep and growing unpopularity of the Republican governors and state legislatures” may very well boost President Obama’s chances “in the key swing states that will determine the 2012 electoral majority.”

    Ornstein added, “[T]he huge Republican victories in the states in 2010, along with the immense hubris they brought to the winning governors, has had a serious down side, there to be exploited to the hilt by Obama’s reelection campaign.”

    Matt Yglesias isn’t buying it. He argued, “My baseline view is simply that everything matters less for presidential elections than people would have you believe…. Polling from 2007 indicated that about a third of the population couldn’t even name their governor and elections tend to be swung by people with relatively low levels of political information. Meanwhile, I can’t off the top of my head think of any examples of this kind of ‘unpopular governor effect’ swinging a state in a presidential election.”

    I have mixed feelings about this, so I thought I’d open it up to some discussion. Will the wildly unpopular right-wing governors boost Obama’s chances next year or not?

  41. rikyrah says:

    GOP Governors Will Help Obama
    by BooMan
    Sun Jun 26th, 2011 at 07:22:58 PM EST

    My answer to Steve Benen is ‘yes.’ ‘Yes’ the incredible unpopularity of Republican governors will help President Obama’s reelection prospects. These governors are not just a little bit unpopular. They’re unpopular like sexually-transmitted diseases are unpopular. And they will only get more unpopular as they make more progress in attacking regular folks like teachers, nurses, police officers, bureaucrats, poor people, women, blacks, Latinos, and academia. Whatever Yglesias might think he knows from history, these are not ordinary times. The left and center-left and formerly apolitical in Wisconsin are massively engaged at a time in our political cycle when they are normally asleep.
    Yes, it hurts to have a Republican governor suppressing votes and naming election officials (see Florida 2000, Ohio 2004). But, overall, I’d rather have Rick Scott in charge of Florida than Alex Sink. I doubt that the Republican nominee will even consent to be seen with Rick Scott. And Nathan Deal, who resigned from Congress in disgrace before winning the Georgia gubernatorial election, is such a goddamned disaster that the crops are rotting in the fields. People hate John Kasich of Ohio. They’ve soured on Corbett here in Pennsylvania. Chris Christie is rapidly out-wearing his welcome.

    Meanwhile, people love Andrew Cuomo.

    With a weak economy, people might be inclined to blame the president. These governors are the best advertisement for the president that can be imagined. They’re a godsend. People loathe them.

  42. rikyrah says:

    Alarmed Observation
    by BooMan
    Mon Jun 27th, 2011 at 08:43:13 AM EST

    The War on Women isn’t just devastating to women. It’s devastating to whole families. And no one has confidence anymore that the Supreme Court won’t join the battle on the side of darkness. So, for now, these new “fetal pain” laws that create a near-absolute ban on abortions past twenty weeks are going unchallenged even though they have zero scientific validity and are already threatening the lives of otherwise healthy women.

  43. rikyrah says:

    President Obama, Mitch McConnell square off on debt

    By DAVID ROGERS | 6/26/11 5:22 PM EDT
    Monday’s White House meeting between President Barack Obama and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is an important first test for both men, each trying to draw out the other in the face of August’s debt ceiling deadline.

    Before the Republican walkout last Thursday, budget negotiations led by Vice President Joe Biden had made significant progress toward a package promising savings in the range of $1.6 trillion to $1.7 trillion over 10 years, not counting reduced interest charges.

    Democrats argue simple arithmetic dictates that revenues must be added to help fill the gap and get to the $2 trillion-plus target. But having established a foundation, the bigger question is whether both sides should push ahead for a much larger deal encompassing more Medicare reforms and tax revenues.

    Among GOP leaders, McConnell has been most insistent that the president play a larger role. But the senator from Kentucky is under pressure to spell out more where he stands after leaving the heavy lifting to House Republicans and Speaker John Boehner of Ohio.

    Thus far, McConnell has been the consummately cautious, smart, partisan realist whose instincts are to think small, protect himself from tea party critics and use the 2012 elections to consolidate power and possibly win back control of the Senate.

    He has ruled out tax revenues — including closing loopholes or ending tax subsidies — to get a deal, then promised to punish Senate Democrats by forcing them to raise the debt ceiling alone this summer if no deal is reached. And to the annoyance of House GOP leaders, McConnell has promoted a more incremental approach — one that would avert default in August but also require at least a second round of floor votes on the debt ceiling before the 2012 elections.

    This scenario allows him to sidestep taxes and put Senate Democrats through the debt ceiling wringer again. But it spells trouble for House Republicans, and the great irony is that Boehner may find he has more in common with Obama in wanting a larger deal — especially if it helps defuse the Medicare issue eating at the House GOP.

    McConnell’s appearance Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” stayed true to form.

    “We’ve gotten to the point where we ought to put [aside] our talking points and get down to what can actually pass,” he said. “The whole business of raising taxes — regardless of how you go about it — is something that this Congress is not likely to do. … We need to talk about what can pass.”

    But within his own Senate conference, there are clearly Republicans longing for a larger deficit reduction deal, and Obama’s challenge is to play to that audience in hopes of bringing McConnell around.

    Read more:

  44. Ametia says:

    Obama shifts from consensus to instincts on key calls

    The Obama administration’s top national security officials were gathered around the polished wooden table of the White House Situation Room to hear Army Gen. David H. Petraeus argue for a slow drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

    The military needed time, he said, to secure the eastern part of the country as it had done in the south.

    President Obama quickly made clear his disagreement. More important, he said, was the administration’s goal of shifting responsibility for the country’s security to the Afghan government, which would let him bring home troops.

    In the first two years of Obama’s presidency, his top aides had grown accustomed to a process in which Obama drew out and explored the views of his full team and searched for a consensus — decision by ballot, some called it.

    Increasingly, however, that process has changed, according to a wide group of Obama’s personal friends, informal advisors and top aides interviewed during the spring. In recent months, they say, the president has been relying more heavily on his own instincts and feeling less impelled to seek accord among advisors.

    The success of the Bin Laden raid reinforced Obama’s security in his own judgments, aides said.

    “I think he reached a point where he had to trust his instincts, and there was nothing left to inform his decision except to do that,” said one advisor who is intimately familiar with the president’s thinking on foreign policy matters and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

    Read more:

    • opulent says:

      Well of course POTUS is making his own decisions, he always did.

      Those advisors just thought he was letting them influence or persuade his decision making process when he was using them as a resource to elucidate data and include issues for his own analysis.

      Now, that he knows the advisors, how they operate he simply listens less to their pontifications but the truth is he never did find what they had to say all that compelling he just wanted to draw them out.

      He now knows the players and he is clearly letting them know he runs the game.

      Be prepared for a backlash in the news, cause folks are clearly becoming aware that he is not the puppet they thought he was and now he is showing bold leadership they cannot deter!

      Go Obama…right this nation.

  45. Ametia says:

    Obama Targets $72 Billion Business Tax Break
    By Heidi Przybyla – Jun 26, 2011 11:00 PM CT

    Barack Obama’s proposal to end a business tax break worth $72 billion is among the tensions the president may confront as he meets today with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in an effort to revive bipartisan talks over reducing the debt, three persons familiar with the issue say.

    Ending the so-called last-in-first-out, or LIFO, provision, a method of accounting for inventory costs, was among options offered by White House officials for raising $400 billion in revenue over 10 years during seven weeks of negotiations led by Vice President Joe Biden, the people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to comment publicly.

    Republicans want a multitrillion-dollar debt-reduction package as part of a vote to increase the nation’s $14.3 trillion borrowing limit by Aug. 2. The LIFO provision was among possible revenue increases that Republicans opposed when the Biden talks, which included two Republicans and four Democrats, collapsed last week. Biden criticized Republicans for trying to keep President George W. Bush-era tax breaks while advocating cuts in Medicare.

    “We’re never going to solve our debt problem if we ask only those who are struggling in this economy to bear the burden and let the most fortunate among us off the hook,” Biden said at the Ohio Democratic Party’s annual dinner at the Greater Columbus Convention Center June 25. “Not only is it unfair to do what they’re calling for, but I think it borders on being immoral.”

  46. Ametia says:

    Happy MUN-dane, everyone! :-)

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