Thursday Open Thread

Mtume (pronounced em-tu-may) was a funk and soul group that had several R&B hits in the 1980s. Its founder, percussionist James Mtume, previously played with Miles Davis in the 1970s. Other members of the group included Reggie Lucas and Tawatha Agee.

Mtume recorded three albums on the independent label Third Street Records: Kawaida (1973); Alkebu-Lan (1975); and Rebirth Cycle (1977). Not finding pop or R&B chart success, they signed to major label Epic Records in 1978, releasing the albums Kiss This World Goodbye (1978), and In Search of the Rainbow Seekers (1980), which found modest success on the R&B chart. Their 1982 album Juicy Fruit, however, provided Mtume with its biggest hit, when the title song reached number one for eight weeks on the U.S. R&B chart. “Juicy Fruit” would later be sampled for the Notorious B.I.G song “Juicy“, from his 1994 album Ready to Die, as well as the 2004 “Be Your Girl” remix by Teedra Moses and Raphael Saadiq. In 2007 it was sampled for Keyshia Cole‘s single “Let It Go“, which also topped the U.S. R&B chart.

About SouthernGirl2

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

  1. Ametia says:

    Let’s be sure to vote this bastard out of office, real soon now, ya hear!

  2. rikyrah says:

    Operating Instructions
    The Supreme Court shows corporate America how to screw over its customers and employees without breaking the law.
    By Dahlia LithwickPosted Friday, July 1, 2011, at 5:21 PM ET

    Depending on how you count “big cases,” the Supreme Court has just finished off either a great (according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) or spectacularly great (according to a new study by the Constitutional Accountability Center) term for big business. The measure of success here isn’t just the win-loss record of the Chamber of Commerce, although that’s certainly part of the story. Nor is it news that—in keeping with a recent trend—the court is systematically closing the courthouse doors to everyday litigants, though that’s a tale that always bears retelling. The reason the Roberts Court has proven to be Christmas in July for big business is this: Slowly but surely, the Supreme Court is giving corporate America a handbook on how to engage in misconduct. In case after case, it seems big companies are being given the playbook on how to win even bigger the next time.

    Start with one of the most important cases of the term, the recently deceased class-action suit filed by a million and a half women employed by Wal-Mart. The headlines—including mine—contended that the import of the court’s decision lay in the ways class-action suits would be severely limited in the future. But dig a little deeper. In his majority opinion on behalf of the five conservatives on the court, Justice Antonin Scalia found that Wal-Mart could not be held accountable for discrimination in pay and promotions because the plaintiffs lacked “convincing proof of a companywide discriminatory pay and promotion policy.” Then Scalia went one further and offered Wal-Mart, the largest private employer in the country, a virtual guidebook on how to discriminate better: Do it in bulk up and down the chain of command, and make certain to do it at every possible level. As SCOTUSblog’s Lyle Denniston pointed out almost immediately after the decision came down:

    For large companies in general, the ruling in Wal-Mart … offered a second message: the bigger the company, the more varied and decentralized its job practices, the less likely it will have to face a class-action claim. Only workers who have a truly common legal claim may sue as a group, the Court majority made clear—and, even that claim will require rigorous proof that every single worker suffered from exactly the same sort of bias. Sample statistics and anecdotes won’t do.

    The greatest impact of the Wal-Mart decision isn’t the blow dealt to class-action suits. It’s the guidance it provides employers: Immunize yourself from claims of gender discrimination with a written policy that says “we don’t discriminate” and a system of decentralized decision-making. The decision doesn’t discourage future corporate discrimination. It just makes it harder to identify and prove it.

  3. rikyrah says:

    under Kneegrow, Please news:

    Dr. Boyce: Tom Joyner’s Tasteless Assault on Tavis Smiley and Cornel West

    I love Tom Joyner. In case you’re wondering, in “black political speak,” when a commentator mentions that they love someone, that means that they are about to crack a walnut over their forehead. I remember Tavis Smiley telling Al Sharpton that he loved him right before he proceeded to attack him with the ferocity of an angry baby’s mama looking for additional child support.

    My mouth hit the floor this week as Joyner (aka “The Fly Jock”), the man whose work ethic I respect like no other, somehow had the audacity (in a recent article) to compare Tavis Smiley and Cornel West to Mark Halperin, the MSNBC commentator who referred to President Barack Obama as a d*ck on national television. You no longer need to speculate as to whether or not Tom has a personal issue with Tavis Smiley, the cat fighting is now out of the bag.

    While there is certainly room for Tom to disagree with Tavis and Cornel’s critiques of President Obama (it’s ok to criticize the criticizer), Tom’s comparison of Cornel and Tavis with Halperin is entirely off-base. Smiley and West have never, at any point, used such distasteful language and the kind of one-syllable thinking that Halperin used during his insult of President Obama. In fact, even Smiley’s critiques have grown more diplomatic and thoughtful through time, and I still look forward to any of the president’s senior advisors taking the time to explain why Smiley and West are wrong (note: when people can’t debate the facts, they avoid the issues and simply try to discredit you).

    But it is Tom Joyner himself who has joined Halperin in the ideological basement by making comments that would be better suited for a high school locker room:

    “I said I’d wait until something pissed me off so bad that I would have the words harsh enough to express what I was really feeling about him and his side piece – I mean side kick – Cornel West,” said Joyner.

    Now, I don’t know what hood you’re from, but in my city, referring to a man’s friend as his “side piece” is usually a reference to his sexuality. Whether Tom is trying to imply that the relationship between West and Smiley is more than meets the eye, I have no idea. But this kind of remark has no place in print during such a critical point in the history of black American political discourse.

    Joyner goes further on his peculiar tirade by claiming that somehow, Halperin’s vulgar remarks about President Obama were encouraged by the decision of West and Smiley to critique Obama Administration policies:

    “These two have done much worse than what Halperin has done because they set the tone for it, opened the door to it, and must take much of the blame for creating a climate that would make a white, professional journalist feel comfortable verbally and vulgarly attacking the first black president of the United States.”

    OK. So there you have it. If you disagree with Obama Administration policies on dealing with the black unemployment or mass incarceration crisis, you have now given permission to any white man in America to refer to President Obama as a d*ck. So, the only logical solution would be for all black Americans to mute their Democratic voice and remain silent about any policy with which they disagree.

    Tom goes deeper in expressing his personal issues with Tavis by taking us on a trip down memory lane. He explains how Tavis went from being an empowered advocate for black people to becoming the selfish, jealous, tortured soul who was determined to destroy black America by disagreeing with President Obama.

  4. Ametia says:

    Pelosi, Obama to hold White House meeting on Friday
    By Felicia Sonmez

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and President Obama will meet at the White House on Friday morning, according to a Democratic source.

    Meanwhile, Pelosi told Bloomberg TV that the country would reach a deal on raising the debt limit before the Aug. 2 deadline set by Treasury officials.

    “With all due respect to Greece, we are not Greece,” Pelosi said, referring to the recent financial crisis that engulfed that country.

    “I believe, respecting our colleagues on both sides of the aisle, that everybody knows that the full faith and credit of the United States of America must be respected by the Congress of the United States. I have faith and confidence this will happen.”

    Read more:

  5. rikyrah says:

    found this at Balloon Juice:

    Amir_Khalid – July 7, 2011 | 5:48 pm · Link

    OT: The Guardian’s NOTW liveblog has a media lawyer saying that winding up NOTW as a business could give News International legal cover to destroy potentially incriminating evidence — in this case, of cellphone hacking, of bribes paid to cops in return for leaked information, of the paper’s senior ranks approving these and other crimes.

    The sneaky bastards

  6. creolechild says:

    Unfuckingbelievable! WHAT NEXT?

    “An African American woman in Washington state says that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) may have singled her out for a hair search because she’s black. Laura Adiele told King 5 that she had already gone through the full-body scanner when a TSA agent pulled her aside for a pat down.”

  7. creolechild says:

    “Seventeen-year-old Hillary Transue did what lots of 17-year-olds do: Got into mischief. Hillary’s mischief was composing a MySpace page poking fun at the assistant principal of the high school she attended in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Hillary was an honor student who’d never had any trouble with the law before. And her MySpace page stated clearly that the page was a joke. But despite all that, Hilary found herself charged with harassment. She stood before a judge and heard him sentence her to three months in a juvenile detention facility.”

    “What she expected was perhaps a stern lecture. What she got was a perp walk – being led away in handcuffs as her stunned parents stood by helplessly. Hillary told The New York Times, “I felt like I had been thrown into some surreal sort of nightmare. All I wanted to know was how this could be fair and why the judge would do such a thing.”

    “It wasn’t until two years later that she found out why. In Scranton, Pennsylvania, two judges pleaded guilty to operating a kickback scheme involving juvenile offenders. The judges, Mark Ciavarella Jr. and Michael Conahan, took more than $2.6 million in kickbacks from a private prison company to send teenagers to two privately run youth detention centers. Since 2003, Ciaverella had sentenced an estimated 5,000 juveniles. Conahan was accused of setting up the contracts. Many of the youngsters shipped off to the detention centers were first-time offenders.”


    [Read more about the private prison industry, and how it’s flourishing.]

  8. creolechild says:

    “Adam Green sent out an angry e-mail this morning warning President Obama, “If you cut Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits for me, my family, or families like mine, don’t ask for a penny of my money or an hour of my time in 2012. I’m going to focus on electing bold progressive candidates who will fight to protect our Democratic legacy.” Who’s Adam Green? He’s one of the founders of a group called the PCCC, and he’s the snotty critic who often appears on MSNBC to say that Obama has a loser mentality.”

    “Anyone who knows Adam and his organization is already pretty well aware that he wasn’t going to give any pennies or spend any hours electing Obama in 2012. Since President Obama took the office, Adam Green and friends have been nothing but harsh critics. And I mean nothing but, they tend to be very loud about what they don’t like, and nearly silent about how they’d like to get their priorities passed. That pattern repeats itself today, as the screechingly bold progressives harp about what they don’t like and threaten to further weaken Democrats.”

    “Only on the internet is the bold person the one who is collecting signatures (and money) from activists to get them not to fund the most Progressive President in a generation. And the guy who’s working to actually get things done has a loser mentality.”

    “This is just another reason why I’m worried about our political future. The Republicans have outside groups that fundraise and organize to build up power, and we’ve got the opposite. Our groups spread out power, attack our own and do very little work outside the system to make it better. While Conservatives are electing their people to state legislatures and gubernatorial seats, so they can affect the system, we sit back and analyze and throw our own people under the bus. Try asking Adam Green which elected member actually fits his model of a bold progressive. If he even names one, a good followup would be asking why that member supports President Obama. I know it’s a pipedream, but it would be a breath of fresh air if these bold progressive groups would act anything like the members of Congress they claim to support.”

    “As far as this debt proposal goes, we’ll judge it when we see it.”

    Thank you, Curtis Abbey and The Progressive Electorate!

  9. Mercy! Look at this f*ckery!

    Jailed for cashing Chase check at Chase bank

    AUBURN, Wash. – Buying his own home was a big accomplishment for construction worker, Ikenna Njoku, of Auburn. He’s only 28 years old.

    “I was really excited. For the first time, I actually got to buy a lawn mower, mow my lawn and everything,” said Njoku.

    Njoku qualified for the first time home buyer rebate on his tax return.

    “It was really important, I had a vehicle I was looking on paying off,” said. Njoku. And it wasn’t just any vehicle. “It was a 2001 Infinity I-30, silver…just like my favorite car, “he said.

    Njoku signed up to have the rebate deposited directly into his Chase Bank account. But when the IRS rebate arrived, there was a problem. Chase had closed Njoku’s account because of overdrawn checks in the past. The bank deducted $600 to cover what he owed them and mailed him a cashier’s check for the difference–$8,463.21.

    But when Njoku showed up at the Chase branch near his house intending to cash the check, he was in for a nasty surprise.

    The check had Njoku’s name and address on it and was issued by JP Morgan Chase. But the Chase Customer Banker who handles large checks at the Auburn branch was immediately suspicious.

    “I was embarrassed,” Njoku said. “She asked me what I did for a living. Asked me where I got the check from, looked me up and down—like ‘you just bought a house in Auburn, really?’ She didn’t believe that,” he said.

    The Customer Banker said the check looked fake, so she took it, along with Njoku’s driver license and credit card, and called Bank Support.

    After waiting for about 15 minutes, Njoku said he got impatient and told Chase he was leaving to do an important errand. By the time he got back, the bank was closed. Njoku said he called customer service and asked them what he should do. He says they told him to go back to the bank the next day to get his money.

    But when Njoku arrived, it wasn’t the money that was waiting for him.

    “They just threw me in jail; they called the police and said this guy has a fraudulent check,” Njoku said.

    Auburn police arrested him for forgery – a felony crime.

    “I was like – you’re making a mistake, you’re making a mistake, don’t take me to jail, I got work tomorrow. I can’t afford to miss work,” he said.

    Njoku was taken to jail on June 24, 2010, which was a Thursday. The next day, Chase Special Investigations, realized it was a mistake. The check was legitimate. The Investigator called Auburn Police and left a message with the detective handling the case, but it was her day off. So Njoku stayed in jail for the entire weekend. Finally, on Monday, he was released.

    • creolechild says:

      SG2, is this the same person who was then fired from her job…because the bank made a “mistake”? And wasn’t JP Morgan heavily involved in the subprime mortgage mess? WoW!

      • I’m not sure if the woman was fired. But, Chase was soo afraid the black guy was trying to take money from them and f’d up royally. Now Njoku has a chance to TAKE a lot More but LEGALLY! Ka Pow!

    • creolechild says:

      The person who was involved in this incident was fired from his job!

      “Ikenna [Njoku], a 28-year old construction worker, went to deposit a $8,463.21 Chase cashier’s check at his local Chase branch, only for the teller to decide that neither he nor his check looked right and he got tossed in jail for forgery, KING5 reports. The next day, a Friday, the bank realized its mistake and left a message with the detective. But it was her day off, so he spent the entire weekend in jail.”

      “By the time he got out, he had been fired from his job for not showing up to work. His car had been towed as well. It ended up getting sold off at auction because he couldn’t afford to get it out of the pound. He had been relying on that cashier’s check for his money but it was taken as evidence and by the time he got it back it was auctioned off.”

      “All this while the cashier’s check had been issued by the very bank he was trying to cash it at.”

      “Chase didn’t even apologize, not even after a year. A lawyer volunteered to help write a strongly-worded letter requesting damages. After trying hard to get a response, they sent KING 5 a two-sentence reply: “We received the letter and are reviewing the situation. We’ll be reaching out to the customer.”

      “I dunno about you, but I have a sneaking suspicion that if he had been another color, none of this would have happened. Auburn is not a lily-white suburb by any means, but the man’s description of her questions raises all kinds of red flags.”

      “Meanwhile, I just love being at the mercy of the people who run the financial-services sector, don’t you?”

  10. creolechild says:

    “Widespread cheating on Atlanta standardized tests? It seems so, and eerily similar to accusations of cheating in Washington DC public schools while under the management of education “reform” darling Michelle Rhee.”

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

    “Across Atlanta Public Schools, staff worked feverishly in secret to transform testing failures into successes. Area superintendents silenced whistle-blowers and rewarded subordinates who met academic goals by any means possible.”

    “Superintendent Beverly Hall and her top aides ignored, buried, destroyed or altered complaints about misconduct, claimed ignorance of wrongdoing and accused naysayers of failing to believe in poor children’s ability to learn.”

    “For years — as long as a decade — this was how the Atlanta school district produced gains on state curriculum tests. The scores soared so dramatically they brought national acclaim to Hall and the district, according to an investigative report released Tuesday by Gov. Nathan Deal.”

    “My first instinct when reading this was to think that Gov. Deal was working toward the right wing agenda of declaring public schools dead so they could be privatized, but no. It’s real and it’s ugly, and it lands right at the feet of Superintendent Beverly Hall, who held herself out as a Rhee-style reformer for years.”


    • creolechild says:

      “Apparently since this GOP isn’t interested in passing any legislation, they had plenty of time to troll Obama’s Twitter town hall on the economy and jobs. Let’s check out what some of these Republicans has to say.”


      [Click on link to see snapshots/comments made by GOP.]

      “In only a matter of weeks this country is risking economic catastrophe if the debt ceiling is not raised. You would think that these members of Congress and their staffs would have more important things to do than trolling Obama’s Twitter Town Hall with their talking points. Is this really what taxpayers are paying them to sit around and do? If they want to have a serious discussion about the economy, the deficit, and the debt ceiling, why don’t they take the President up on his invitation to come to the White House and talk to him face to face?”

  11. creolechild says:

    “France has become the first country to ban fracking. The drilling technique has come under increased scrutiny due to a rapid increase in its use for the production of shale gas. Bloomberg reports:

    Energy companies that plan to use fracking to produce oil and gas in France will have their permits revoked and its use could lead to fines and prison, according to the law passed by a vote of 176 in favor, 151 against by the senators in Paris. Under the bill approved yesterday, companies with exploration permits will have two months to declare whether they intend to use hydraulic fracturing. If they do, their permits will be revoked.”

    “Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, pumps water, sand and chemicals underneath shale formations to force out trapped gas or oil. The discovery of massive reservoirs around the U.S. has caused a shale gas boom, driving down prices and encouraging additional investment in natural gas infrastructure. While the U.S. and Canada lead the market, Australia, China India and various European countries have also started using the fracking technique for shale gas.”


  12. rikyrah says:

    Thu Jul 07, 2011 at 04:00 PM PDT
    The New Class War: Closing a single hedge fund loophole would earn billions+*

    One of the tax breaks upon which President Obama has focused is a provision that allows hedge fund managers — who make billions annually — to receive a substantial tax break. This particular tax break, known as the carried-interest loophole, allows hedge fund managers to treat the money they receive from investors as capital gains, subject to a 15 percent tax rate. Though this money is a paycheck received for services, just like a movie star receiving a bonus if her movie does well, it’s treated as investment income.

    Since hedge fund managers are some of the richest people in the country, this tax break actually causes a significant loss of revenue. In fact, according to calculation by RJ Eskow, closing this loophole would raise more than $4 billion per year just from the 25 richest hedge fund managers:

    The top 25 hedge fund managers in the United States collectively earned $22 billion last year, and yet they have their own cushy set of tax rules. If they operated under the same rules that apply to other people — police officers, for example, or teachers — the country could cut its national deficit by as much as $44 billion in the next ten years.

    I want to reiterate that, because it’s nearly unbelievable. On Wall Street, a mere 25 wealthy Americans earned $22 billion between them. Last year, during the recession. After the United States government bailed out their entire industry. After their industry augered the entire world economy six feet into the ground.

    Closing this one loophole would raise over $40 billion in a decade. No, strike that: closing this one loophole on just these 25 people would raise that $40 billion: closing it for all hedge fund managers would raise several times more.

    Now, before you start feeling too sorry for these managers, keep in mind that even if we closed their tax loophole, they’d still be taking home 18 freaking billion dollars between them, as of last year, which is enough money to buy and sell the rest of us many times over. We’re talking about a set of people who could flush a half billion dollars down the toilet just to see if the local sewer system could handle a half a billion dollar bills flushed down it. We’re talking about a set of people who could each buy their own private islands with just one year’s salary, and still have enough left over to buy an airplane, a luxury car and a large Pepsi.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 05:00 PM PDT
    Friction and a lot of veto overrides between South Carolina Gov. Haley and legislature+*

    South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) is on a veto binge. And her state’s Republican-controlled legislature is responding with a veto override binge, knocking down 25 out of 34 of her vetoes. The overrides restore funding to education, public television, and the state’s early presidential primary, among other things.

    Haley’s veto of funding for South Carolina Educational Television has produced anger from Republican legislators. House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham, in particular, publicly said that he had worked with Haley’s office on the SCETV issue only to have her break their deal:

    “They did not have the common courtesy and the dignity to call me and tell me what they’re doing,” Bingham said. “The governor was involved at every single step of the way like she asked to be. And I felt like it was important and it was critical that she was.”

    Bingham told House members he got them to agree to a plan “that this governor’s office told me that they wanted.”

    But—as wide-margin veto overrides in the double digits would lead you to expect—it’s not just Bingham who’s willing to go on the record with his frustration:

    “We used to have this problem with Sanford. He’d veto items in the budget that he put in there and asked us to pass,” said GOP state Sen. Larry Grooms. “We’ve had enough of this Sanford-esque discussion that’s going on between the governor and the legislature.”

    The result, said Pickens County GOP chairman Phillip Bowers, is that “most members of the general assembly felt they’d been misled by Haley and her staff.”

    “I’ve talked to a lot of general assembly members in the last few days,” Bowers added. “I can’t find any that trust the administration.”

  14. rikyrah says:

    UPDATED GOP Chooses $120 Million For Military Bands Over Food Assistance For Low-Income Americans

    By Ben Armbruster on Jul 7, 2011 at 11:15 am

    House Democrats recently made a small attempt at trying to find savings in the federal budget by cutting $120 million from the Pentagon’s $320 million budget for military bands. However, House Republicans yesterday approved a measure to strip that provision from the defense appropriations bill.

    Rep. John Carter (R-TX), the measure’s sponsor, said yesterday on the House floor that trimming the band budget was a “tragedy” because military bands “are an integral part to the patriotism that keeps our soldiers hearts beating fast.”

    Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), who sponsored the measure to cut the band funding, and Rep. Jarold Nadler (D-NY) said the money could be used to feed low-income Americans. “I love military bands,” Nadler said, “but people have to eat“:

    McCOLLUM: At a time when we are cutting back on WIC, which is a suppliments for children. At a time when we’re cutting back on education and health care expenses, I kind of felt I had a duty as an appropriator to look at oppporuntiees in which we could cut back on spending. […]

    NADLER: Over the break we just had I went to a food pantry operated by a church in Coney Island. There was a line out the door about 70 or 80 people and they were giving food packets 3 days out of every month. Three days out of every month to try to figure out how to scrounge enough money to give food packets 4 days out of every month and of course we are cutting the budget for women infants and children…we’re cutting the budget for food stamps. We can maintain the military bands and not expand them. We have to keep this in perspective. […] I love military bands, but people have to eat.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Jindal Signs Anti-Choice Bill, Likens Women Who Receive Abortions To Criminals

    By Igor Volsky on Jul 7, 2011 at 9:03 am
    Yesterday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) appeared at the First Baptist Church of West Monroe to sign HB 636, a measure that “requires women to be informed of their specific legal rights and options before they undergo an abortion procedure.” Abortion providers will now have to post signs around their facilities stating that “it is illegal to coerce a woman into getting an abortion, that the child’s father must provide child support, that certain agencies can assist them during and after the pregnancy and that adoptive parents can pay some of the medical costs.” The law also creates a Department of Health and Hospitals website and a mobile platform to deliver information “about public and private pregnancy resources” for avoiding abortions.

    Jindal said he couldn’t understand why anyone would oppose the bill, comparing the new notices to Miranda warnings for women who receive abortions — a constitutionally protected procedure — to criminals:

    “When officers arrest criminals today, they are read their rights,” he said. “Now if we’re giving criminals their basic rights and they have to be informed of those rights, it seems to me only common sense we would have to do the same thing for women before they make the choice about whether to get an abortion.”

    The analogy, however, may be somewhat apt, since Louisiana already has some of the harshest anti-choice laws in the country. According to NARAL, the state still has an unconstitutional and unenforceable measure that prohibits abortion by anyone other than the woman unless necessary to preserve the woman’s life or if the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest. Louisiana outlaws second-trimester abortion procedure with no exception to protect a woman’s health and in 2006 “enacted a near-total ban on abortion, to become effective if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.”

  16. rikyrah says:

    July 07, 2011 4:20 PM

    All about the benefits

    By Steve Benen

    The word of the day is “benefits” — as in, the specific kind of entitlement cuts that Democrats simply cannot tolerate as part of the debt-reduction talks.

    There’s House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.):

    Pelosi, D-California, told reporters later that she wants Obama to “have the room” to reach a deal, and she offered her “full cooperation to do that.” However, she said, House Democrats “do not support cuts in benefits for Social Security or Medicare,” and negotiations on specific reforms to those programs should be separate from a broader deficit reduction deal.

    There’s Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), vice chairman of the Senate Democratic Conference:

    “The vast majority of Democrats, House and Senate, have the view that Medicare benefits should not be cut. There’s also a generally-agreed-to view that there are savings to be wrought out of Medicare in the health care bill through making the system more efficient. Delivery system reform, making sure that when hospitals readmit people because they made a mistake they don’t get double reimbursement, things like that.

    “So, I think we’re pretty united, along with speaker Pelosi that Medicare cuts, actual cuts in the benefits, are not something we would want to entertain.”

    There’s Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee:

    “We will not balance the budget on the backs of Social Security beneficiaries, and we will not support cuts for Medicare beneficiaries. We do believe that there are ways to save additional funds. For example, on Medicare, one way to do that is to get a better deal for the Medicare program for the prescription drug industry. There are ways to generate additional revenues to help the Medicare solvency issue without slashing benefits to Medicare beneficiaries.

    There’s even the AARP:

    “AARP urges all lawmakers to reject any proposals that would cut the benefits seniors have earned through a lifetime of hard work,” said Barry Rand, the organization’s CEO.

    The point, of course, is that not all entitlement cuts are created equal. For Democrats, there have consistently been two lines they’re unwilling cross: (1) privatization is out of the question; and (2) no benefit cuts. For Republicans, the list of demands is far more ambiguous. GOP leaders have said “Medicare cuts” are a necessity, but they haven’t said what kind of cuts they expect.

    With Medicare, Dems could, for example, cut payments to the pharmaceutical industry, alter reimburse rates, do more to link provider payment to outcomes, etc. Politically, Dems think this shifts the burden back to the GOP: “You said you wanted Medicare cuts or you’d deliberately cause a crisis. Well, here are some Medicare cuts we can accept. Is it a deal or are you really that eager to punish seniors?”

    With Social Security, this is far trickier. Cutting the program without affecting some benefits is practically impossible, so if Dems simply take Social Security benefit cuts off the table, the program itself is probably pretty safe.

    The bottom line, though, remains the same: the more Democrats and seniors’ advocates talk about protecting entitlement programs’ “benefits,” the more it narrows the scope of the negotiations to structural changes.

  17. creolechild says:

    “The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is going after Sen. Orrin Hatch for saying that the poor need to “share some of the responsibility” for shrinking the debt. “The top 10 percent are paying 70 percent of all income taxes. The top 50 percent pay something like 98 percent of all income taxes. Fifty-one percent don’t pay anything,” Hatch said.

    “Democrats say they [the 51 percent] pay payroll taxes. Well, everybody does that because that’s Social Security. They pay about one-third of what they’re going to take out over the years in Social Security,” Hatch said. “Obamacare — a family of four earning over $80,000 a year — gets subsidies. Think about that. That’s what we call the poor?”

    “Republican priorities are completely out of whack and Orrin Hatch’s comments prove that point,” DSCC’s Shripal Shah told TPM.

    “It’s bad enough that Republicans are doing everything they can to protect tax breaks for millionaires and special interests, but the fact that the Republican idea of shared sacrifice means going after the those who are struggling the most is completely reprehensible,” Shah said.

    “On Thursday, Hatch voted against a motion to begin debate on a measure that would have declared the rich should share the pain of debt reduction, the Huffington Post reports. He doubled down on his rhetoric on the floor of the Senate on Thursday afternoon.”

  18. creolechild says:

    “After a contentious White House meeting with President Obama and other Congressional leaders, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) returned to the Capitol and drew an important red line: Members of her caucus won’t vote for a grand bargain to raise the debt limit and reduce future deficits if the final deal includes cuts to Medicare and Social Security benefits — and that means it probably won’t pass.”

    “You [asked], ‘could the changes compromise the vote?'” Pelosi said at a Thursday afternoon briefing near the House chamber. “I said yes.”

    “It’s widely believed that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will need Democratic votes to raise the debt limit. Democratic leaders, including House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) have offered to help him out — but not on Boehner’s terms alone. Pelosi has her own terms.”

    “We have been very clear Democrats are not supporting — House Democrats are not supporting any cuts in benefits for Social Security or Medicare,” she said.

    “Other top Democrats have drawn the same line in the sand, both today and in the recent past. But none with Pelosi’s clout and leverage.”


  19. rikyrah says:

    need help.

    Rev. Al has just an excellent piece on voter suppression right now on tv.

  20. creolechild says:

    Cue the outrage and hysteria. Wait for it…wait for it….

    “A bill to require California public schools to teach the historical accomplishments of gay men and lesbians passed the state Legislature on Tuesday in what supporters call a first for the nation.
    Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, has not said publicly whether he supports the bill, which he has 12 days to sign or veto once it reaches his desk later this month. If he takes no action, the measure would become law automatically.”

    “The bill gained final passage from the state Assembly on a vote of 49-25, without a single Republican supporting it. The measure cleared the state Senate in April. California already requires public schools to teach the contributions made to society by women and by racial and ethnic groups that were historically discriminated against, such as blacks, Latinos and Native Americans.”

    “‘Supporters of the latest bill said it would simply include gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals in that existing requirement, making it part of the curriculum in history and other social studies classes. ‘It’s unfair to leave out or exclude an entire portion of our population from history,’ said Carolyn Laub, executive director of San Francisco-based Gay-Straight Alliance Network.”‘


  21. creolechild says:

    Tsk, tsk, tsk…at it again, eh Michele? Apparently, fear-mongering never gets old…

    “‘Speaking to a packed hotel ballroom at the conservative How to Take Back America Conference, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said that exposes of “criminal tomfoolery” inside of ACORN could kick off a campaign to ‘defund the left.'”

    “Bachmann was introduced warmly by Phyllis Schlafly, the iconic conservative activist whose Eagle Forum was the chief sponsor of the event. “She’s one of our Republican stars,” said Schlafly, “and some of you came here just to see her.” She got a second introduction from Dick Bott, a conservative radio host who briefly broke down talking about Bachmann’s hospitality to foster children.”

    “Taking the stage, Bachmann thanked Schlafly, calling her an inspiration as a mother who transitioned into conservative politics, and said she considered the conference “a farewell party for ACORN!” The community organization group, she said, was the first, not the last, weak link in the liberal establishment.”

    “Defunding the left is going to be so easy,” said Bachmann, “and it’s going to solve so many of our problems.” She praised James O’Keefe III and Hannah Giles, the people behind the ACORN sting. “Hannah and James used Saul Alinsky’s ‘Rules for Radicals’ — that’s the community organizer’s bible — against ACORN! Brilliant!”

    “Bachmann touched on the priorities of Republicans if they retook Congress in 2010, to “pass repealer bill after repealer bill,” to prevent the creation of a one-world currency, and to pull the government back from the “36 percent of private business profits” that she claimed it now controlled. And she said Michigan residents were “depressed enough” without Gitmo prisoners being relocated to state facilities where they could inspire more terrorists.”

    “This is where they learn conversion to Islam!” said Bachmann. “In the prisons!”

    “After the speech, Bachmann had only a few minutes to sign autographs and collect a stack of CDs and books from fans who’d followed her into the lobby. I caught up to her as she headed outside and asked if she had any response to the murder of a Kentucky census worker, having noticed that the Census, a constant target for Bachmann, did not figure into her speech. Bachmann recoiled a little at the question and turned to enter her limo.”

    “Thank you so much!” she said.

  22. creolechild says:

    Hmmm….Senator Demint, the FACTS don’t lie! How about you?

    “It’s an often-repeated talking point among Republicans as Washington debates taxes and spending: “We don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.” It’s recycled, like much of today’s Republican thinking, from President Reagan, but Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) stretched the argument to its breaking point on MSNBC this morning when he said that government revenues are currently at “record” highs:

    DEMINT: Four of the last five years, we’ve had record levels of revenue. And next year we have projected the highest revenue levels in history. We don’t have a revenue problem.

    “The GOP talking point on spending vs. revenue fundamentally un-serious, as both are flip sides of the same balance sheet. But even so, DeMint is just wrong.”

    “DeMint appears to be using nominal dollars to measure revenues, instead of revenue as a percentage of GDP, which is used by all official arbiters on revenue matters, including the Congressional Budget Office. And as a percentage of GDP, government revenue is nowhere near a “record” high. In 2010, it was at its lowest level in more than 60 years, according to data from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), at just at 14.9 percent.”

    “Next year, revenues will still be at just 16.6 percent of GDP, several points below the average rates under every president since Franklin Roosevelt, including Reagan. The record high was 20.6 percent in 2000, which coincided with a balanced budget.”

    “This makes sense — on top of lost revenue from the massive Bush tax cuts, the recession devastated economic output and thus the American tax base.”

    “And DeMint seems to know this, choosing to qualify his statements about revenue with the odd time frame of five years to completely mislead viewers. He’s right that revenues in terms of dollars were at an all time high at one point in the last five years — 2007 — but he seems to intentionally ignore the fact that revenues fell of a cliff in 2009. In terms of actual dollars, in 2010, the government brought in $2.16 trillion dollars — down from $2.56 trillion in 2007.”

  23. WTF is wrong with the Media? They’re now running a story that President Barack Obama’s father told federal immigration officials in 1961 that he planned to put his unborn son up for adoption.


    What does the Media think running this story is going to do? Tomorrow morning Barack Hussein Obama will STILL be President. Nothing is going to change, bee. itches.

  24. creolechild says:

    Will history repeat itself in 2012?

    “A recent poll by the University of Maryland recently found strong evidence that voters were substantially misinformed on many of the key issues of the 2010 midterm election. Such misinformation was correlated with how people voted and their exposure to various news sources. If you’re wondering who those news sources were, just remember that the vast majority of voices on the radio are Republicans and Fox News by far has the highest ratings. I think that narrows a lot of it down.”

    “In spite of a solid consensus of non-partisan government agencies, economists and scientists, voters were still duped by misinformation. Some of the things incorrectly believed by the voting public were:



    Thank you, Andre Michael Eggeletion!

  25. creolechild says:

    “Congress is considering a bill that would issue competitive grants to develop neighborhood-specific programs in economically disadvantaged communities toward improving student school performance and college readiness.”

    “Appearing in both chambers under the same name, the Promise Neighborhoods Act of 2011 is self-styled after the successful Harlem Children’s Zone, which has been a national model in revitalizing troubled areas by improving school, public health and civil engagement through organizational partnerships.”

    “In the Senate, the proposed law was first released by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa); Rep. Donald M. Payne (D-N.J.) introduced the bill in the House. If passed, it would empower the U.S. Dept. of Education Secretary Arne Duncan to consider a community’s proposal on the basis of its plans to address:

    (A) ensuring school readiness, including success in early learning;

    (B) improving academic outcomes, including academic achievement and graduation rates;

    (C) increasing college and career readiness, including rates of enrollment in institutions of higher education; and

    (D) improving the health, mental health, and social and emotional well-being of children.

    “In the bill’s introduction, a litany of facts are used to draw the correlation between poverty and academic performance. Within the scope of poverty, the architects of the bill consider a child’s access to quality meals, books, health access and early education access. A large-scale study at the University of Minnesota found a child’s exposure to pre-K academic instruction increases the likelihood of high graduation, college completion, avoiding incarceration and finding well paying jobs. Separately, An Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report that examined over 20 countries concluded (PDF) socioeconomic factors outside the classroom are the most significant variable in a student’s success.”

    “In a sign the bill would do more to address socioeconomic conditions than the Obama administration’s Race to the Top initiative, which critics say places an unnecessary burden on teacher accountability when the majority of a student’s income is predicated on factors outside the classroom, the Promise Neighborhoods Act would tackle the symptoms of poverty head on.”

    “It would ask grant seekers to provide early learning opportunities for children, beginning prenatally and extending through the third grade. The proposed law also stresses outreach to troubled youths, particularly collaboration with juvenile detention system and support for adjudicated youth. Some portions of the grant will be renewable for up to five years, while others will require a new application after 12 months.”

  26. creolechild says:

    “An Oklahoma lawmaker said on Wednesday he planned to introduce a “Caylee’s law” in his state requiring parents to swiftly report the death or disappearance of a child in the first legislation stemming from the death of the Florida toddler.”

    “A jury found Casey Anthony not guilty on Tuesday of murder in the death of 2-year-old Caylee, whose skeletal remains were found in woods near the Anthony family home with duct tape dangling from her skull.”

    “Casey, who was convicted of lying to police, had initially said Caylee had been kidnapped by a nanny, triggering a nationwide search before her remains were found six months later.”

    “It is unconscionable for a parent to delay notifying the authorities of the death of their child. Most parents would immediately notify authorities if their child had gone missing,” state Rep. Paul Wesselhoft said, adding he planned to introduce the law in Oklahoma’s 2012 legislative session.

    “Any delay could endanger the life of the child and, in the case of a child’s death, make it that much harder to collect evidence. I think the actions of Caylee’s mother were reprehensible,” he added, saying most people he met felt that Casey Anthony “escaped true justice”.


  27. creolechild says:

    “Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh appeared on television on Thursday for the first time since an assassination attempt a month ago and said he was ready to share power within the constitution’s framework.”

    “Saleh, who is recovering in Riyadh after the June 3 bomb attack on his presidential compound, showed signs of severe burns to his face which was covered with white stubble instead of his trademark thick mustache. He had heavily bandaged arms and hands in the appearance on Yemen TV in a pre-recorded interview.”

    “We are not against participation, we are for participation with all political powers, whether they are in opposition or ruling, but in the light of a program which the people agree upon,” Saleh said.

    “Saleh, who flew to neighboring Saudi Arabia for treatment after the attack, has hung on to power despite international pressure and six months of protests against his 33-year rule. In a note of defiance, Saleh said he would “confront a challenge with a challenge,” a phrase he has often used in speeches.”


    “‘Opposition official Sultan al-Atwani said Saleh’s speech did little more than clarify rumors about his injuries: ‘It’s clear that his state is not great. As for his speech, it wasn’t anything new and the participation of which he spoke will not come until a national dialogue after a transfer of power.'”

  28. creolechild says:

    Okay, I got that out of my system, so moving right along…back to the news!

    “The Natural Resources Defense Council says that last weekend’s leak of 42,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River, along with more than 800,000 gallons spilled into the Kalamazoo River last year and a rash of pipeline leaks along the Keystone I pipeline, should convince the State Department to nix the Keystone XL pipeline.”

    “As we saw from the BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf, toxins in the oil can take a lethal toll on aquatic life of all kinds. Exposure to these toxins can also cause genetic damage, liver disease, cancer and harm to reproductive and immune systems. Clean up can take a long time. For example, almost at the one year anniversary of a spill of 840,000 gallons of tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, clean efforts are still underway. The full extent of the damage usually takes years to unfold. The herring population collapsed in Prince William Sound, for example, three years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill.”

    “We don’t yet know the extent of the damage from this oil spill – or what it will mean for the people and wildlife that depend on the river system. What we do know is that this type of pipeline spill is not acceptable. Exxon says that the oil is dissipating. I worry that means that Exxon is not able to capture the oil to clean it up with the river running so high and fast. In the same way, TransCanada has characterized the 12 tar sands oil spills in just the first year of its Keystone One pipeline as “business as usual.” Surely, this is not a time to be granting a permit to an even more likely to leak pipeline such as the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline to cross the Yellowstone River in Montana. This is a time to be re-examining our pipeline safety regulations and assessing the safety risks of new proposed pipelines such as TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline that would carry even more corrosive, likely to spill and difficult to clean up substances such as tar sands from Canada.”

    “The Keystone XL pipeline would carry tar sands crude from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast of Texas.”

  29. creolechild says:

    this is all I have to say on this subject: BRING THEM ALL HOME!

    “President Obama announced Wednesday that he had reversed the policy that bars military authorities from sending official condolence letters to the families of service members who commit suicide in a combat zone. The move comes against the backdrop of steadily rising military suicide rates and a major Defense Department effort to turn the disturbing trend around.”

    “[I]n consultation with the Secretary of Defense and the military chain of command, I have decided to reverse [the] long-standing policy,” Obama said in a White House release. “This issue is emotional, painful, and complicated, but these Americans served our nation bravely. They didn’t die because they were weak. And the fact that they didn’t get the help they needed must change. Our men and women in uniform have borne the incredible burden of our wars, and we need to do everything in our power to honor their service, and to help them stay strong for themselves, for their families and for our nation.”

    “Although the suicide rate among U.S. soldiers has historically been lower than it has been among U.S. civilians, the Army reported that that statistic reversed for the first time in 2008 and that it has grown increasingly lopsided ever since.”

    “Roughly 10 of every 100,000 people in the U.S. commit suicide each year. There are approximately 550,000 active U.S. Army personnel and last year 156 of those soldiers killed themselves. Even allowing for fluctuating active duty numbers, that’s more than double the civilian suicide rate– and that’s merely counting active Army soldiers. The rate of suicide among National Guard and Army reservists nearly doubled last year to 145. In the Navy, suicide is now the third highest cause of death. Given the fact that the country is engaged in two wars, it startles to learn that more U.S. service members killed themselves last year than died in combat.”

    It’s a problem the military is determined to address, even though some lawmakers appear not to want to acknowledge there’s any problem at all. When military leaders went to Congress in 2009 to give testimony on the issue, Assistant Marine Commandant General James Amos flatly told lawmakers that the Armed Forces had done an “abysmal” job addressing mental illness and depression among its ranks. Other officers detailed how the long-engrained stigma attached to suicide and suicidal feelings prevented soldiers from seeking help. Yet Republican members of Congress listening to the testimony seemed to resist the information, raising the specter of denial and shame the military has been at pains to spotlight as a main source of the problem.”


    Minnesota Republican John Kline sought to tamp down the general sense of alarm.

    “This isn’t an extraordinary suicide rate,” he said, reflecting on the numbers and noting that he thought the suicide rate mirrored the rate in society as a whole. He was incorrect and, worse, he seemed to be intentionally taking the numbers presented to him out of the context that sees them steadily climbing and doing so in a sustained way for the first time ever.

    South Carolina Republican Joe Wilson was skeptical that the kind of mental health programs the Defense Department is implementing would work. General Amos said they did work as part of an approach that attacks the problem on many fronts simultaneously.

    In the White House release, Obama suggested the change of policy has been in the works for some time.

    “This decision was made after a difficult and exhaustive review of the former policy, and I did not make it lightly,” he said.

    “As Commander in Chief, I am deeply grateful for the service of all our men and women in uniform and grieve for the loss of those who suffer from the wounds of war– seen and unseen.”

  30. creolechild says:

    “House Democrats recently made a small attempt at trying to find savings in the federal budget by cutting $120 million from the Pentagon’s $320 million budget for military bands. However, House Republicans yesterday approved a measure to strip that provision from the defense appropriations bill.”

    “Rep. John Carter (R-TX), the measure’s sponsor, said yesterday on the House floor that trimming the band budget was a “tragedy” because military bands “are an integral part to the patriotism that keeps our soldiers hearts beating fast.”

    “Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), who sponsored the measure to cut the band funding, and Rep. Jarold Nadler (D-NY) said the money could be used to feed low-income Americans. “I love military bands,” Nadler said, “but people have to eat“:

    McCOLLUM: At a time when we are cutting back on WIC, which is a suppliments for children. At a time when we’re cutting back on education and health care expenses, I kind of felt I had a duty as an appropriator to look at oppporuntiees in which we could cut back on spending. […]

    NADLER: Over the break we just had I went to a food pantry operated by a church in Coney Island. There was a line out the door about 70 or 80 people and they were giving food packets 3 days out of every month. Three days out of every month to try to figure out how to scrounge enough money to give food packets 4 days out of every month and of course we are cutting the budget for women infants and children…we’re cutting the budget for food stamps. We can maintain the military bands and not expand them. We have to keep this in perspective. […] I love military bands, but people have to eat.

  31. creolechild says:


    “Dave Brody has quite the scoop. I wonder though, is it retroactive? Do all the infidelities before you signed the pledge not count now? Questions, questions…”

    “‘The Brody File has learned that The Family Leader, an influential pro-family group in Iowa will ask each of the 2012 presidential candidates to sign a marriage pledge that professes everything from marital fidelity to embracing a federal marriage amendment. The document, which has a total of fourteen points is called, ‘The Marriage Vow-A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family’”

    “The Family Leader will hold a press conference on the west steps of the Iowa State Capitol Building on Thursday at 11am to provide more details. The organization’s CEO Bob Vander Plaats, who is a major conservative evangelical leader in Iowa and was Mike Huckabee’s state chair in 2008, told The Brody File that any candidate who declines to sign the document would NOT be receiving the endorsement of The Family Leader.”

  32. creolechild says:

    This SUPERBLY well-written and informative article entitled, The Other American Dream…, was written by Tien Le, whom some of you may know from BWD’s Blackwaterdog site and/or Deaniac’s The People’s View! BRAVO, TIEN LE! (:

    “We’re all familiar with the American Dream: No matter who you are, where you come from or what you believe, if you work hard enough, you can make something of yourself and provide a better future for your family. I grew up believing that more passionately than the religious beliefs of my youth. And unlike those religious beliefs, the American Dream steadfastly withstands even the closest scrutiny. Absolutely nothing I’ve seen, read or encountered in life has done anything to uncouple me from my belief in that foundation of our modern society.”

    “There are many dreams in this country that have been brilliantly articulated over the years. John F. Kennedy taught me to dream of the future. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. worked his magic on my pre-teen soul, dazzling me with his longing for a society that fulfilled the promise of our Founding Fathers. In America we are taught to dream of possibilities.”

    “Quite without my realizing it I have been harboring and nurturing a dream of a different nature. This dream has little to do with ideals or social change or justice. It’s a simple dream really, yet one that is tricky to convey. I dream of an America that works.”

    “When I was growing up nothing captured my imagination more than the freedom of the open road, but for a very different reason than most might imagine. What the Interstate highway system represented to me was something that worked. Cars and freeways to my uneducated eyes seemed to function perfectly. Everything about highways made sense to me. The endless telephone polls along the road, the gas stations and restaurants spaced at convenient intervals, even the cleanliness of the pavement demonstrated for me a sense of order and capability that I found marvelous. It was all so well thought out. Everything was new and vibrant and made me believe that America worked. I think I’ve been trying to recapture that feeling ever since. Well now I think I have my chance.”

    The ground has shifted beneath them

    “We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together…We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories…All this we can do. All this we will do…What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.”

    “It’s as if President Barack Obama knew well in advance exactly how it would be when he delivered that Inauguration speech. What I didn’t know when I was listening to that speech was that our President had developed a work-around to bypass politicians, lobbyists and special interests who would be hell-bent on preventing his Administration from jump-starting a new green economy. It’s been just over two years since the Recovery Act was enacted and I think to this day the Republicans and Big Oil still don’t know what happened to their world while they weren’t looking.”

    What’s old is new again

    “In 1912 there were over 11,000 electric cars on the road. There was even a fleet of electric taxis in New York City. At the time the electric cars had the advantage of not requiring a physical start up and there was no vibration, noise or smoke. They were ideal for urban environments but lacked the speed capability and range that was necessary for traveling the vast distances between urban areas. Interestingly the idea to use an exchangeable battery for vehicles, first proposed in 1896, was implemented between 1910 and 1924. Over 6 million miles were traveled using the system, primarily using electric trucks. A century later, that idea has been revived by the American company called Better Place, and applied successfully to a portion of a taxi fleet in Tokyo as a real world laboratory. The battery switching station operates 20 hours a day to accommodate driving conditions, and in the first 90 days over 25,000 miles were driven using switched batteries as a primary source of energy. Other places where these stations are being deployed are Israel, Denmark, Australia and Canada. And now the battery switch station taxi model has been brought to San Francisco and Hawaii. Venture Point Investment Partners’ motto is ‘bet on the inevitable’. According to them, the electric car is inevitable and they put their money along with others to the tune of $300 million into the Better Place model that includes widespread use of charging stations for plug-in vehicles. That’s a sea change from the attitude that fueled the deliberate sabotage of the electric car industry in the 1990s.”

    The Chicken and the Egg

    “Range Anxiety has always been the fundamental component to holding back global development of the electric car industry. Nowhere is Range Anxiety more prevalent than in Nations such as the United States that are defined by their vast distances. People don’t want to buy electric cars until there is a reliable network of charging stations so they don’t have to worry about running out of electrons before they reach their destination. Governments and business don’t want to invest in charging station networks until the demand justifies the expense. This impasse has suited the oil industry’s agenda just fine.”

    “But a funny thing happened along the road to recovery: the EV Project. 99.8 Million Recovery Act dollars spread across five States that represent every climate and topographic challenge in the country to fund 4,700 Nissan Leaf electric vehicles and 11,210 charging stations. In addition free home charging stations were installed for the owners of the Leafs. That’s one seriously big test run for a system that may one day become part of a nationwide infrastructure.”

    “Three of the five States to receive this funding are Washington, Oregon and California. More than the vast range of topographies and climate conditions (mountains, deserts, coastline, rain forest, sea level to high altitude) played a part in the choices of these States. These States are contiguous and span the distance between two borders. They also have in common the political will and acceptance from the general population to implement the program.”

    My American Dream 2.0

    “The West Coast Green Highway: all the way from the Mexican border to Vancouver, British Columbia: plug-in charging stations every 40 to 60 miles along I-5. Tiny little electrons flowing happily from whence they were generated to vehicles, moving people and goods up and down the coast. Yeah, yeah, I know: Coal! Nuclear! Whatever. It ain’t oil. Let me say that again, (Koch) “IT AIN’T OIL.” (/Koch)”

    “I know I’m not alone in harboring the dream of a sustainable transportation system in this Country. There were more things than politics and money holding back realizing this dream. Until now the technology wasn’t there to support the transformation to homegrown energy. That has all changed and will continue to change at an ever-increasing pace because even if Americans haven’t fully awakened to the finite reality of fossil fuels, people in other countries have. The market will drive the transition to alternative fuel sources as well. It’s my belief that the more people are exposed to the electric car and overcome their Range Anxiety (Is that in the DSM-IV? It should be.), and experience the many advantages of owning them, they will one day begin to dominate the landscape. We might even develop a new psychological disorder: mileage envy.”

    “I think the auto industry at large has come to accept the inevitability of the Electric Vehicle. In the mean time fuel efficiency standards were raised for the first time in over two decades, further reducing consumption of fossil fuel. My American Dream is slowly, quietly and inexorably becoming Big Oil’s worst nightmare.”

    Also, many thanks to O’Train of Thought!

  33. creolechild says:

    I don’t remember hearing about this…did” you?!!

    GOP Votes to End Extended Unemployment As Out-of-Work Americans Face 1 Job Opening for Every 4 Seekers
    Posted on May 11, 2011 by Karina

    “This afternoon, Ways and Means Committee Republicans passed legislation to end this year’s federal guarantee for extended unemployment benefits–threatening unemployment insurance benefits for 4.1 million out-of-work Americans and breaking the negotiated deal they voted for last December when Republicans demanded extending tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans in exchange for extending unemployment benefits.”

    “As Ways and Means Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) explains, “Republicans act like the problem is the unemployed. No. The basic problem is the lack of jobs.”:

    “Calling this a jobs bill is a cruel hoax for the millions of Americans who would see their unemployment benefits disappear under the legislation, while seeing no new job opportunities.

    “This legislation would end the guarantee of federal unemployment insurance for 4 million Americans—just like Republicans want to end the guarantee of Medicare.”

    “Republicans act like the problem is the unemployed. No. The basic problem is the lack of jobs.”

    “Nearly nine million jobs were lost under during this Recession.”

    “We have gained almost 2 million private sector jobs over the last 14 months of the Obama administration, but it is not yet enough to compensate for the damage done.”

    [Click on link to view Chart One.]

    13.7 unemployed workers — but only 3.1 million job vacancies.

    4.4 workers for every job opening.

    “Unemployment Insurance is a lifeline for the unemployed and their families as they seek work during this difficult economy.”

    “And, for those who think it is a life of luxury, consider Chart 2.

    [See Chart. ]

    The average weekly wage is $784 for all American workers.

    The poverty level for a family of four is $429 a week.

    The average unemployment benefit is $300 a week.

    “These benefits are certainly not enough to keep people from taking a job. The Republican plan takes $31 Billion from unemployed workers and throws it to the States.”

    “Allowing them – as Chart 3 illustrates – to cut taxes on businesses, re-pay their loans to the federal government, or fill in other state budget cuts.”

    [See Chart.]

    “Just last December, every Republican Member of this Committee who was in the Congress except one voted to extend the tax cuts on the very wealthiest and to extend federal emergency unemployment insurance for one year. We are not even half way into the year and you are already reneging on that vote.”

    Thank you, Karina and The Gavel!

  34. creolechild says:

    “An aide to Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords made an emotional return to work on Tuesday, nearly six months after he was seriously wounded in the Tucson shooting rampage.
    District director Ron Barber, 65, was shot in the cheek and thigh during the January 8 spree that killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Giffords, who is recovering.”

    “Staff and interns gathered at Giffords’ congressional office in Tucson, and greeted Barber with balloons, a banner that read “welcome back” and a carrot cake with his name spelled out in blueberries as he walked through the door.”

    “I was moved actually to tears when I first walked through because I really love these people, and I was just so pleased to be back with them,” Barber told Reuters, describing the scene of his return to work.

    “The welcome was so warm and so embracing, I was just very pleased,” he added.

    “College dropout Jared Loughner is accused of opening fire with a semiautomatic pistol on Giffords and a crowd of supporters at a “Congress On Your Corner” event outside a Tucson-area grocery store. He pleaded not guilty.”


  35. creolechild says:

    “A group of Orlando activists with the organization Food Not Bombs figured out a clever way to avoid arrest while still feeding the city’s homeless population on public grounds: host their event at City Hall.”

    “Members of the group had previously been arrested during a food sharing event at the picnic area of Lake Eola park, allegedly for violating a statute that criminalizes the feeding of more than 25 people without a permit.”

    “Ben Markeson, the media liaison for Orlando’s Food Not Bombs, told Raw Story in an interview Tuesday that they made the decision to move their event due to the throngs of people who flock to Lake Eola every year on Independence Day — and to remind the mayor of a seemingly forgotten promise.”

    “What happened was, Mayor [Buddy] Dyer was quoted as saying that he offered to let Food Not Bombs gather at City Hall any time they like, and he’d donate some of the peppers he grows on his mayoral balcony to the chili pot,” Markeson said. “So, we wanted to see if he would live up to his word.”

    “Markeson added that while mayor did not make an appearance on Monday, they were not harassed by police and “at least 100″ people turned out for oatmeal, grits, pancakes, potatoes, bread and coffee. He also said that City Hall had not been used in the past because it lacks easy access to basic sanitation facilities, unlike the public park which has running water outdoors.”

  36. creolechild says:

    “The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday ordered the federal government to stop enforcing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the military’s policy of discharging openly gay servicemen and women, citing the government’s recent opposition to policies that discriminate based on sexuality.”

    “A lower court judge had ruled in October that DADT is unconstitutional, but after the government appealed, the Ninth Circuit granted a stay of eliminating the policy until it could rule. On Wednesday the panel lifted the stay.”

    From the San Francisco Chronicle:

    “The court noted that Congress has voted to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” as soon as President Obama and the Pentagon certify that the change will not interfere with military readiness or recruiting. The administration has said most troops should be trained for the new policy change by mid-summer, although it had told the court the law should probably stay in effect for the rest of the year.”

    “n the decision, the panel also cited the Department of Justice’s decision in February to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act because it is unconstitutional. ‘The President has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional,’ Attorney General Eric Holder wrote at the time.'”

    “‘The DOJ also filed a forceful brief last week in support of a female federal court employee who was suing the federal government for denying her access to equal benefits for her wife. In the brief, the DOJ acknowledged that “the federal government has played a significant and regrettable role in the history of discrimination against gay and lesbian individuals ‘and that DOMA “was motivated in substantial part by animus toward gay and lesbian individuals and their intimate relationships.”‘

    “‘In its decision Wednesday, the Ninth Circuit cited that brief. “In the context of the Defense of Marriage Act,” the Ninth Circuit wrote, ‘the United States has recently taken the position that classifications based on sexual orientation should be subjected to heightened scrutiny.'”

    “The circumstances and balance of hardships have changed,” the Ninth Circuit wrote, “and [the government] can no longer satisfy the demanding standard for issuance of a stay.”

  37. creolechild says:

    Good afternoon, Ladies! I hope everyone is enjoying their day.

    “Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee signed into law a bill that would require voters to show identification at the polls in 2012, with a photo required before casting a ballot in 2014, his office announced on Wednesday.”

    “Having reflected a great deal on the issue, I believe that requiring identification at the polling place is a reasonable request to ensure the accuracy and integrity of our elections,” Chafee, an Independent, said in a statement.

    “Notably, I spoke with representatives of our state’s minority communities, and I found their concerns about voter fraud and their support for this bill particularly compelling,” he added.

    “Under the new law, poll workers will ask voters for identification beginning in 2012, and a number of non-photo documents such as a Social Security card or birth certificate will suffice for them to be allowed to vote. In 2014, however, any identification will need to include a photo. The state will provide free photo identification, and provisional ballots will be made available to anyone without the proper documents.”

    “Republican-controlled legislatures around the country have cited fraud as they push for voter ID bills. But in Rhode Island, where Democrats control both legislative chambers, the bill was introduced in the Senate by a Democrat and co-sponsored in the House by members of both parties.”

    “As a minority citizen and a senior citizen I would not support anything that I thought would present obstacles or limit protections,” state Senator Harold Metts, a Democrat, said in a statement after the bill passed.

    “Democratic governors in at least five states — North Carolina, Montana, Missouri, Minnesota and New Hampshire — have vetoed voter ID bills this year.”

  38. rikyrah says:

    found this at another blog about the Murdoch spy case:

    NotW fallout keeps continuing:

    The Guardian now reports that former NotW deputy editor turned David Cameron’s communications director Andy Coulson will be arrested tomorrow. (He went to work for Cameron after he stepped down in one of the first iterations of this long-running drama.)

  39. rikyrah says:

    Still Guessing
    by BooMan
    Thu Jul 7th, 2011 at 03:02:46 PM EST

    I guess it’s just due diligence but it’s good to know that the Treasury Department has been exploring the implications of using the 14th Amendment to declare a congressional debt limit unconstitutional. While the White House has so far been dismissive of the idea, recent rhetoric could be an indication that they’re prepared to make the case to the American people. The argument basically, is this:
    “We put everything on table, including our own sacred cows, including Social Security, and they wouldn’t budge. This administration has a Constitutional obligation to pay our government’s debts. Section 4 of the 14th Amendment states, “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.” Driven by ideology, the Republicans behave as if they have the power question the validity of our public debt. They don’t have that power. I won’t allow our debt to be questioned, nor will I stand by while the Republicans wreck the global economy which is just struggling to get to its feet after eight years of neglect and mismanagement.”

    On the other hand, the Republicans are acting like there is a 50-50 (or better) chance of a deal being struck in the next 48 hours.

    That leaves us with basically nothing to talk about. We’ve heard some nasty rumors about what might be in the deal, but we have almost nothing to go on in terms of what the overall package will be.

    I’m waiting to hear what’s under the Christmas tree, because cuts to Social Security are mighty hard to justify. We should have a huge surplus of cash to pay for Social Security, but rich people stole that money so that we could run up huge deficits while they enjoyed low taxes. It’s those same rich people who should pay that money back now.

  40. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    July 07, 2011 3:20 PM

    Quote of the Day

    By Steve Benen

    Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is perfectly comfortable playing a game of chicken with your financial well-being.

    “What I’m advocating here is, let’s use this as a point of leverage, give the president an increase, but don’t come away without real cuts from real caps and spending, and without a balanced budget,” DeMint said on FOX Business Network.

    “We’re at the point where there would have to be some, you know, some serious disruptions in order not to raise [the debt ceiling],” he said. “I’m willing to do that.”

    How nice of him to admit it. DeMint isn’t one of those guys who thinks default would be consequence-free; he realizes there would be “serious” repercussions. But that’s all right, because he’s “willing” to create those “disruptions” to satisfy his ideological agenda.

    So, if the economy crashes next month because Republicans decided they didn’t want to do their duty or honor their obligations, just remember, Jim DeMint was “willing to do that” to all of us.

    On a related note, DeMint heard a presentation last week from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on the debt limit, but the right-wing senator apparently didn’t understand what Geithner was talking about.

    Remember, Jim DeMint is one of the most influential figures in conservative politics today.

  41. rikyrah says:

    Poor people are generally better off when they have access to basic health care
    by Kay

    I think conservatives have to convene an emergency round table and conduct a thought experiment, immediately, because this Medicaid study is going to be cited a lot:

    When poor people are given medical insurance, they not only find regular doctors and see doctors more often but they also feel better, are less depressed and are better able to maintain financial stability, according to a new, large-scale study that provides the first rigorously controlled assessment of the impact of Medicaid.

    This second paragraph made me laugh:

    While the findings may seem obvious, health economists and policy makers have long questioned whether it would make any difference to provide health insurance to poor people.

    Hah! Maybe policy makers could have asked, I don’t know, some poor people? No. That would be too easy. Instead they asked each other:

    Some said that of course it would help to insure the uninsured. Others said maybe not. There was already a safety net: emergency rooms, charity care, free clinics and the option to go to a doctor and simply not pay the bill. And in any case, the argument goes, if Medicaid coverage is expanded, people will still have trouble seeing a doctor because so few accept that insurance.

    He said/she said. No one knows the answer, and it will forever remain a mystery. But, as it turns out, poor people, when contacted, were happy to help:

    Those with Medicaid were 35 percent more likely to go to a clinic or see a doctor, 15 percent more likely to use prescription drugs and 30 percent more likely to be admitted to a hospital. Researchers were unable to detect a change in emergency room use. Women with insurance were 60 percent more likely to have mammograms, and those with insurance were 20 percent more likely to have their cholesterol checked. They were 70 percent more likely to have a particular clinic or office for medical care and 55 percent more likely to have a doctor whom they usually saw.
    The insured also felt better: the likelihood that they said their health was good or excellent increased by 25 percent, and they were 40 percent less likely to say that their health had worsened in the past year than those without insurance.

    I’m mostly teasing. I’m glad they did the study, and I’m glad the NYTimes printed the story. I’m always pleased and surprised when we bother to study some real live poor people when we’re deciding whether they might benefit from access to basic health care.

    How the study came about is actually pretty interesting:

    The study became possible because of an unusual situation in Oregon. In 2008, the state wanted to expand its Medicaid program to include more uninsured people but could afford to add only 10,000 to its rolls. Yet nearly 90,000 applied. Oregon decided to select the 10,000 by lottery. Economists were electrified. Here was their chance to compare those who got insurance with those who were randomly assigned to go without it. No one had ever done anything like that before, in part because it would be considered unethical to devise a study that would explicitly deny some people coverage while giving it to others.

  42. rikyrah says:

    by John Cole

    The emo crowd is out in full force today, and apparently I am some sort of sociopath for ignoring random bullshit from anonymous sources “close” to the WH unsourced in the Washington Post. I remember when liberals and progressives ignored this sort of shit, calling it out for the nonsense that it is.

    Listen, in case there is any confusion, I think any attempts to tinker with social security by Democrats would be ridiculous, stupid, and politically disastrous. When the Republicans refuse to budge on tax cuts for millionaires or any other revenue, it would be the height of stupidity for any Democrats to vote for reductions in social security. Period. And if Team Obama does something like that, they are being clowns. Social Security is fine.

    But I refuse to get my panties in a bunch by a piece of thinly sourced crap in Fred Hiatt’s fishwrap. I’m not angry or attempting to police discourse, I’m not fluffing Obama, I’m not convinced it is some sort of 11 Dimensional Chess, and I’m not engaging in some morally bankrupt posturing to defend Obama. If they screw with Social Security, even minutely, it would be politically idiotic. Any messing with SS makes it easier for folks to do something worse at a later date, and it will be a Democratic administration that gets the blame for it because they opened the door. Not to mention, SOCIAL SECURITY IS NOT A PROBLEM.

    Having said all that, I still recognize this for what it is:

    “Obviously, there will be some Democrats who don’t believe we need to do entitlement reform. But there seems to be some hunger to do something of some significance,” said a Democratic official familiar with the administration’s thinking. “These moments come along at most once a decade. And it would be a real mistake if we let it pass us by.”

    For all we know, that Democratic official could be Harold Ford or some other asshole. I’m just not going to freak out over what unnamed folks say.

  43. rikyrah says:

    Strange Movement in Debt Limit Talks
    by BooMan
    Thu Jul 7th, 2011 at 10:45:38 AM EST

    Things are getting a bit interesting in the debt limit negotiations. On the eve of a big meeting to discuss a grand deal in the White House, the administration was able to produce pieces in the Washington Post and the New York Times that tout their willingness to put everything on the table.

    As part of his pitch, Obama is proposing significant reductions in Medicare spending and for the first time is offering to tackle the rising cost of Social Security, according to people in both parties with knowledge of the proposal.
    Mr. Obama, who is to meet at the White House with the bipartisan leadership of Congress in an effort to work out an agreement to raise the federal debt limit, wants to move well beyond the $2 trillion in savings sought in earlier negotiations and seek perhaps twice as much over the next decade, Democratic officials briefed on the negotiations said Wednesday.

    For whatever reason, this is what the administration wanted people talking about when they sat down this morning with their Republican counterparts. This is how they wanted to control the political environment. Naturally, rumors that the president wants to cut entitlement programs, including Social Security, are going to make Democrats foam at the mouth with rage. But that’s apparently something the president doesn’t mind because he thinks he’ll get something valuable in return.

    Leaving aside the prospect that the president might actually sign a bill with cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, he wants to leave that impression this morning. He wants his base angry and calling for his head.

    And, I think, the only reason for him to do that is to shame the Republican leadership for their cowardice. Now, is this something that the administration sprung on Boehner at the last minute, or an announcement culminating from their private negotiations?

    I can’t say. So, I won’t overreact.

    What I know for certain is that the Republican are getting wobbly on their anti-tax pledge, and this will make it even harder for them to maintain their position.

    What’s missing is a ton of detail. Most importantly, what unannounced goodies would come with such a package? How would it be sweetened for Democrats? And what’s the long-game and short-game?

    There’s too much we simply don’t know.

  44. rikyrah says:

    Sources: House Dems Stunned By White House Debt Proposal, Read Obama The Riot Act
    Multiple senior House Democratic aides tell TPM that caucus members were caught off guard by news stories about President Obama’s push for deeper deficit and spending reductions — and particularly about the White House’s willingness to cut Social Security as part of a grand bargain to raise the debt limit.

    At a private caucus meeting Thursday morning, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told her members that if Obama’s serious about putting Social Security on the chopping block, he’d left her in the dark about it. And after an at-times-contentious meeting about how open Dems should be to significant entitlement cuts, leaders departed to the White House to read Obama the riot act.

    According to one top aide, both Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) intended to “deliver a message from the caucus that we definitely want to see revenues included in any package.”

    Additionally, “any changes to Medicare have to be things that strengthens the program, not just a bank for tax cuts for millionaires,” and the party is broadly opposed to cutting Social Security as a means of balancing the budget.

    Back at the Capitol, House progressives aligned to warn Obama and Republicans not to go too far, or they’ll lack the support to pass the plan through the House.

    “Without overwhelming support from our caucus I think it will be a hard deal to pass,” said Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Raul Grijalva (D-AZ).

    Obama addressed the media after the meeting and announced that staff and members will reconvene at the White House Sunday, after working through the weekend, hopefully with a framework in hand for a bill to reduce deficits and raise the national borrowing limit.

  45. rikyrah says:

    Kwame Kilpatrick Tell-All Blames ‘Enemies’ For His ‘Political Saga Of Epic Proportions’
    Beleaguered former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has written a tell-all book, describing how he wound up in jail and blaming many of his troubles on a number of “enemies” who were threatened by his election. “Their bottom lines for me, then, became simple. Get rid of me. And they’re not finished,” he writes.

    “Like any political saga of epic proportions, there are no simple explanations for the direction in which my career went. But there are two sides to the story and probably three. The world has heard the press’ side for almost 10 years, and it’s caused a tidal wave of sentiment against me,” Kilpatrick writes in the memoir, according to excerpts published by the Detroit Free Press.

    In January 2008, a series of steamy text messages between Kilpatrick and his Chief of Staff Christine Beatty contradicted both of their testimonies under oath that they had not had an affair. Kilpatrick did jail time after pleading guilty to perjury and obstruction of justice, and then for violating the terms of his parole. In December of last year he was indicted on federal corruption charges under RICO, regarding an alleged plot to extort millions from city contractors. Kilpatrick pleaded not guilty in January.

    In “Surrendered! The Rise, Fall and Revelation of Kwame Kilpatrick,” due out in August, Kilpatrick claims that he only lied under oath to cover up his affair — but the rest of his troubles were the result of a cabal of forces in Michigan, rooting for him to fail. Via the AP, he writes that “when I perjured myself, I gave my enemies a lane. And they turned that lane into a highway.”

    “My intent entering office was to empower Detroiters,” Kilpatrick writes, “and my actions heading into my second term suggested that we had the ability to do it. And that threatened too many people’s bottom line. Their bottom lines for me, then, became simple. Get rid of me. And they’re not finished.”

  46. Ametia says:

    ‘Maybe 50-50’ Chance of a Debt Deal Reached Within 48 Hours
    National Journal

    House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, informed fellow House Republicans on Thursday that the chances of congressional leaders and President Obama reaching a tentative debt-ceiling deal within 48 hours are “maybe 50-50.”

    That prognosis from Boehner was relayed by several House Republicans as they left a morning briefing with the speaker — and later confirmed by a GOP leadership aide. Boehner and other Republican and Democratic congressional leaders are set to continue negotiations at the White House on Thursday on a deal to raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.

    “I get the impression that it’s better than 50-50,” said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. “It will be agreed upon in the next 48 hours; if not, it won’t be for a long time.”

    Read more:

  47. Orrin Hatch: The ‘Poor’ Should Do More To Cut Nation’s Debt

    WASHINGTON — Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) voted against beginning debate on a measure that would have the Senate declare the rich should share the pain of debt reduction Thursday, a day after arguing that it’s the poor and middle class who need to do more.

    “I hear how they’re so caring for the poor and so forth,” Hatch said in remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday, in reference to Democrats. “The poor need jobs! And they also need to share some of the responsibility.”

    Hatch’s comments were aimed at a motion that passed 74 to 22 to start debating a non-binding resolution that says millionaires and billionaires should play a more meaningful role in reducing the nation’s debt.

    Just one Democrat, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), voted against having the debate. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who had previously called the resolution “rather pathetic,” nevertheless voted to move ahead on it.

    But it was Hatch whose remarks Wednesday raised the idea that the wealthy are already doing too much, even as the nation’s effective tax rates are at modern lows since the Bush administration slashed rates in 2001 and 2003. In his view, it seems, the middle class and poor should be picking up the slack.

    “The top 1 percent of the so-called wealthy pay 38 percent of all income tax. The top 10 percent are paying 70 percent of all income tax,” hatch said. “The top 50 percent pay somewhere near 98 percent of all income taxes. 51 percent don’t pay anything,” Hatch said, suggesting the payroll taxes that the poor and middle classes pay towards Social Security yields them an especially generous benefit.

    “Democrats say they [the 51 percent] pay payroll taxes. Well, everybody does that because that’s Social Security. They pay about one-third of what they’re going to take out over the years in social security,” Hatch railed. “Obamacare — a family of four earning over $80,000 a year — gets subsidies. Think about that. That’s what we call the poor?”

    • Oh come on, Orrin Hatch is just wants the poor to do MORE & pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and if you don’t have bootstraps… got dammit make some and then pull yourself up. If only poor would just stop eating for a day or 2 and give that money to help cut the nation’s debt? /snark!

      Phuck Orrin Hatch! Phuck him hard & deep! Greedy selfish bastard! Vote his ass out of office.

    • Ametia says:

      Dear Mr. Hatch oil companies get millions of $$$$$$ in taxpayer subsidies; that’s what we call poor? GTFOH


  48. White House Pushes Back Against Claim That Obama Will Cut Social Security

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is pushing back against a Wednesday night report that the president is prepared to offer cuts to Social Security as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling.

    “The story overshoots the runway,” said a senior administration official. “The President said in the State of the Union that he wanted a bipartisan process to strengthen Social Security in a balanced way that preserves the promise of the program and doesn’t slash benefits.”

    “While it is definitely not a driver of the deficit,” the official added, “it does need to be strengthened.”

    The response, sent via email to The Huffington Post, provides a measure of assurance to Democrats who were taken aback by the abrupt news, broken by the Washington Post, that Social Security reform was now on the debt-ceiling table. Still, the devil is in the details, and the idea of “strengthening” the entitlement program remains the vague standard for reform.

  49. rikyrah says:

    July 07, 2011 10:40 AM

    When ‘flexibility’ is not what it appears to be

    By Steve Benen

    Reuters caused a stir late yesterday when it reported, “Republicans have tentatively agreed to between $150 billion and $200 billion in increased revenues in budget talks, Republican Senator Jon Kyl said on Wednesday.” Around the same time, the Washington Post said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has signaled “flexibility on tax loopholes” as part of debt-reduction talks.

    Reader M.J. alerted me to this Associated Press piece with an almost comical headline: “As GOP shows flexibility, Obama adopts hard tone.” (It’s this kind of ridiculous thinking that leads Mark Halperin to call the president a “dick” on national television.)

    What in the world are these media outlets talking about? Well, it appears some reporters are a little confused, or at a minimum, taken in too easily by misleading rhetoric without paying attention to the details.

    The “flexibility” that the media was impressed with yesterday was really just Republicans talking about trading some tax subsidies for other tax cuts. That’s all. Democrats want to end wasteful tax breaks and apply the new revenue to deficit reduction. GOP officials, including Cantor, only said yesterday that they’re willing to apply savings to “offsetting tax cuts somewhere else.”

    As Brian Beutler explained well, the official Republican line, at least of yesterday afternoon, is that the party opposes ending tax breaks to lower the deficit.

    In other words, zero new revenues. But the Associated Press and other outlets nonetheless interpreted this as a major concession — a storyline Cantor’s office happily blasted out to reporters.

    And as Reuters reported Wednesday, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) made a point of emphasizing that Republicans had in fact agreed to new “revenue.” But he didn’t mean tax revenue.

    “If the government sells something and gets revenue from it, that’s revenue. If there is a user fee of some kind and we want to raise that to keep up with the times, that’s revenue. And if you add up all of the revenues that we Republicans have agreed to, it’s between $150 billion and $200 billion,” Kyl said on the Senate floor.

    But again, that’s not new tax revenue.

    Republicans are playing a little game, and hoping media outlets won’t notice the difference. By saying they’re open to ending some tax subsidies, as debt-reduction talks continue, GOP leaders manage to trick reporters into connecting the two — Republicans, the misleading reporting tells the public, are showing flexibility in response to Democratic requests.

    But in order for this to make sense, the GOP would have to be willing to raise revenue in order to lower the deficit. If you pay careful attention to the Republicans’ rhetoric yesterday, they’re still not.

    It’s important for reporters to get the details right. Those who praised new-found GOP “flexibility” yesterday got the details wrong, and allowed dishonest Republicans to play them for fools.

  50. rikyrah says:

    July 07, 2011 9:55 AM

    GOP freak-out over ‘14th Amendment Option’ begins

    By Steve Benen

    Extending the debt limit is necessary to pay the bills the country already owes. As Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley argued before there was a Democratic president, “Raising the debt limit is necessary to preserve the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government. We cannot as a Congress pass spending bills and tax bills and then refuse to pay our bills. Refusing to raise the debt limit is like refusing to pay your credit card bill — after you’ve used your credit card.”

    Now, of course, Republicans want to rewrite the rules and not pay our bills. There’s a credible debate underway as to whether the GOP even has a choice in the matter.

    The 14th Amendment to the Constitution seems to prevent the United States from refusing to pay its bills. The language reads, “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law … shall not be questioned.” This constitutional provision, according to some legal scholars, offers President Obama a way out if congressional Republican decide they’d rather shoot the hostage: he can pursue the “14th Amendment Option” and simply pay our obligations anyway, debt ceiling be damned.

    The subject came up briefly during yesterday’s White House Twitter Town Hall, with President Obama saying, “I don’t think we should even get to the constitutional issue. Congress has a responsibility to make sure we pay our bills.”

    Left unsaid is what the president is prepared to do if Congress ignores its responsibility and refuses to pay our bills.

    Constitutional experts can speak to this dispute with far more authority than I can, but it’s worth noting that the mere possibility is starting to cause a minor freak-out in Republican circles.

    Later today, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) will introduce a ‘sense of the Senate’ resolution that says the president does not have the authority to sidestep the debt ceiling, which is set to expire in August.

    “I strongly disagree with those who suggest the president has the unilateral authority to put the American people in even great levels of debt,” Graham says in a statement. “Every time the debt ceiling has been raised it has been through an act of collaboration between the president and Congress. That is not only the right policy decision to make, but the correct political decision as well. We have a president, not a king. Our resolution puts the Senate on record that any debt-limit increase, today or in the future, should be passed by the Congress and signed by the President.”

    Graham isn’t lying when he says, in the past, debt-ceiling increases have always been “an act of collaboration between the president and Congress.” What he neglected to mention, though, is that we’ve never had a party prepared to pursue default, on purpose, and jeopardize the full faith and credit of the United States before now.

    It is, in other words, a new ballgame, which may require a new solution to prevent a deliberate, avoidable catastrophe.

    What’s more, note that Senate Republicans aren’t the only ones feeling antsy — a House Republican this week raised the specter of presidential impeachment if Obama goes down this road.

    In case this isn’t already obvious, it’s worth acknowledging why the GOP is panicking, and it has nothing to do with constitutional principles or separation of powers. The issue is one of leverage — if the “14th Amendment Option” (or, “Constitutional Option”) is legitimate, the Republican hostage strategy starts to crumble. There would be a built-in safety valve in the event talks collapse and the GOP decides to go through with the party’s threats.

    In other words, right now, Republican leaders are saying, “Meet our demands or we’ll shoot the hostage.” If this constitutional work-around is a viable alternative, the president can say, “Never mind, I’ve found a way to save the hostage without you.”

    • Ametia says:

      In a NUTSHELL GOP thinks the constitution is just for them to manipulate for their own nefarious purposes. PBO’s a constitutional scholar; go ahead and double dare him to access it to serve the American people.

  51. rikyrah says:

    HUD to pay $62 million to La. homeowners to settle Road Home lawsuit

    By Michael A. Fletcher, Published: July 6
    The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said Wednesday that it will pay as much as $62 million to 1,300 Louisiana homeowners to settle a lawsuit alleging that a program that awarded federal grants to rebuild after hurricanes Katrina and Rita discriminated against African Americans.

    The lawsuit was filed by two civil rights groups and five homeowners, who maintained that the $9.8 billion Road Home program — called the largest housing recovery program in the nation’s history — relied on a formula that discriminated against thousands of African American homeowners
    The formula for the federally funded Louisiana program awarded rebuilding grants up to $150,000 based on a home’s pre-storm value, rather than the cost of rebuilding from the storm damage. The suit argued that those rules hurt black homeowners, whose properties typically had lower values than whites.

    The settlement builds on changes the Obama administration and state of Louisiana made in the program nearly two years ago that allowed more than 13,300 low- and moderate-income homeowners to receive $470 million in grants to supplement the initial rewards they received from the rebuilding program.

    The vast majority of the money contemplated in the settlement will be awarded to homeowners who are rebuilding in Orleans Parish. Homeowners in Cameron, Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes also will be eligible for the grants.

    “Regrettably, the Road Home became a roadblock for many,” said James Perry, executive director of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, which brought the suit along with the National Fair Housing Alliance. “This settlement is a step in the right direction toward getting more hurricane-affected homeowners back into their homes and making good on America’s promise to rebuild a better New Orleans.”

    Nearly six years after Hurricane Katrina leveled the Gulf Coast and overwhelmed the levies protecting New Orleans, causing catastrophic flooding, the rebuilding job remains a work in progress.

    While some New Orleans neighborhoods are mostly recovered, others — particularly low-income parts of the city — still appear battered by the devastation. Advocates say that is at least in part because homeowners there did not get enough money to rebuild after the storm.

    The agreement announced Wednesday will allow additional grant money to flow to homeowners who have been unable to rebuild because their original Road Home grants fell far below the average for their parishes.

    “This agreement is a huge help to families who clearly want to get back into their homes but continue to struggle to make the needed repairs to their properties,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “While this additional compensation goes a long way to helping folks complete their recovery, we’re also going to make sure that those who left their blighted properties behind are held accountable.”

  52. rikyrah says:

    Attack on Obama is insult to all
    David Squires

    Urban Affairs

    7:44 p.m. EDT, July 6, 2011
    In 2008, much of America — and many parts of the world — celebrated the election of our nation’s first black president. Others cringed.

    The big question was whether America — black America in particular — was ready to weather the low-down dirty name-calling that would come President Barack Obama’s way as he struggled to fix a long list of inherited problems.

    Supporters have complained since the campaign days that Obama was getting an unfair beating from the media and unfair attacks from his critics who have stooped even lower than the folks who used to routinely portray and criticize President George W. Bush as ignorant

    Perhaps a new low in presidential ridicule was reached last week when Time magazine analyst Mark Halperin said that Obama “acted like a [d-word].” Halperin thought he was on a seven-second delay during MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” news talk show, thinking he was telling a semi-private joke.

    Halperin, who immediately apologized for the remark, was suspended indefinitely by MSNBC. Most national media — always awkward and uncomfortable on the subject of race — have tried to move away from the controversy. However, Richard Prince remarked in his Journal-isms column that black journalists took the insult more seriously than did white journalists.

    Speaking about black journalists’ reactions, Prince said: “In social media, in conversation and among the few who have access to opinion columns, the Halperin remark is seen as nothing less than part of a continuing pattern of disrespect of the nation’s first black president and further evidence of an old (white) boys’ network that controls the plum jobs in the news media.”

    The issue has also stirred some local talk.

    Gaylene Kanoyton, a prominent Hampton Democrat, said: “It’s unfortunate that people feel the need to disrespect the Office of the President.”

    The fact is the problem is much bigger than what Halperin said, and the real villain is the same old group of people waiting for the Obama presidency to bring them a reward while they sit on their inactive butts, waiting around for the 2012 elections.

    The comment might be the eye-opener for African-Americans and other Obama supporters, who have been lukewarm in their support of him and who have sat idly by as the president of the United States has been called everything short of a … [insert your favorite insult here].

    Bill Thomas, a local activist, who has been associated with Republicans and independents, said comments such as Halperin’s are indications that “we don’t respect ourselves.”

    “Both Republicans and liberals have discounted” Obama, Thomas said. “They say ‘He’s not going to do anything except what we tell him to.’ They say ‘Why would I respect a black man even if he is president of the United States – because we [African-Americans] don’t have the dignity to stop calling ourselves the N-word?'”

    The comment also brought a strong reaction from nationally syndicated radio commentator Tom Joyner, who criticized scholar Cornel West and commentator Tavis Smiley. Both have grown distant from Joyner over their differing views over Obama.

    “While I am appalled at Halperin’s statement,” Joyner said in a commentary, “I’m even more disgusted with Smiley and West, two brothers who I did have expectations of — and thought I knew. These two have done much worse than what Halperin has done because they set the tone for it, opened the door to it, and must take much of the blame for creating a climate that would make a white, professional journalist feel comfortable verbally and vulgarly attacking the first black president of the United States.”

    This tumult of an Obama presidency couldn’t have been better scripted by Willie Lynch, the fictitious slavery-era figure characterized in a letter that purported to train slave owners on how to control their slaves — how to sort the House Negroes from the Field Negroes.

    A new level of fear was injected into the mix Sunday when hackers sent out tweets from Fox News saying that President Obama had been assassinated.

    Maybe the comment and resulting hostile climate will awaken the slumber of the so-called successful African-Americans who have used the Obama White House merely as an opportunity to say their children can be president too.

    Or does it expose African-Americans as a people with fractured psyches who are definitely not ready for this black man in the White House?,0,5676280.column

  53. rikyrah says:

    112th Congress is one of the least productive in years
    Fervent partisanship and the standoff over the debt limit are partly to blame for lack of action in the Senate and House.
    By Kathleen Hennessey, Washington Bureau

    Tribune staff reporter

    7:43 p.m. CDT, July 3, 2011
    Reporting from Washington— Freshman Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte is often asked what surprises her most about serving in the esteemed upper chamber of Congress. The earnest, 43-year-old conservative from New Hampshire has come up with an uncomplicated reply:

    “I thought that we would vote on a lot more bills.”

    She most recently offered this answer from her Senate office at 3:45 on a Thursday afternoon. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had just announced that the Senate was done voting for the week. Senators wouldn’t be needed until the following Tuesday.

    In the lobby outside Ayotte’s office, a television tuned to C-SPAN was showing an empty Senate chamber. In offices up and down the hallway, aides were booking flights home.

    So it goes these days on Capitol Hill, a place of many headlines and much drama but not a whole lot of legislating.

    The 112th Congress is on pace to be one of the least productive in recent memory — as measured by votes taken, bills made into laws, nominees approved. By most of those metrics, this crowd is underperforming even the “do-nothing Congress” of 1948, as Harry Truman dubbed it. The hot-temper era of Clinton impeachment in the 1990s saw more bills become law.

    There is no shortage of explanations for the apparent lack of legislative success. Political observers see hyperpartisanship and perpetual campaigning that makes once-routine steps politically perilous.

    Experts cite the rise of a brand of conservatism that aims for a government that governs least. Historians note that it’s not unusual for Congress to take a breather after a period of hyperactivity like the one Washington completed last year.

    Lawmakers have a long list of politically tinged reasons: Republicans who control the House blame Democratic leaders in the Senate for refusing to hold votes that might prove problematic for members up for election next year; Democratic leaders in the Senate blame Republicans in both chambers for not working with them on legislation that has a shot of winning a presidential signature.

    Perhaps the only group seeing a bright side is the Democratic minority in the House, which supports virtually none of the bills voted on in that chamber but doesn’t have to worry about them ever becoming law.

    President Obama called out Congress when he argued last week that members have to “be here” to make progress on its top priority: negotiating a deal on the debt that can pass the Republican-led House and Democratic-led Senate.,0,7933342.story

  54. rikyrah says:

    Bondholders May Compete With Farmers If U.S. Forced to Choose in Default
    Failure to reach a deal to raise the U.S. debt limit may force President Barack Obama to choose between paying Chinese bondholders or American soldiers, and between Iowa farmers or elderly Social Security recipients.

    Those are among the dilemmas Obama may confront should talks with Republicans founder and the government falls short of funds needed to pay its bills. Other choices would include whether to sell at cut-rate prices financial assets such as gold in Fort Knox or loan portfolios acquired through the bank bailout, to avoid default and keep government services going.

    Even if full payments are made to bondholders, interest rates on U.S. debt may still rise, setting off ripples through the financial world that would drive up costs for other borrowers and impede economic growth, said bond traders.

    “Stopgap measures such as picking and choosing which programs to support would almost be as bad as default itself,” said Christian Cooper, head of U.S. dollar derivatives trading in New York at Jefferies Group Inc., one of 20 primary dealers that trades with the Federal Reserve.

    While House Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans say the U.S. Treasury’s Aug. 2 deadline for when its borrowing authority will reach its limit is artificial, economists and former government officials say those are the types of questions the Obama administration will face if no accord is reached.

    “It’s a real deadline,” said Jay Powell, a former Treasury undersecretary for President George H.W. Bush. “Could you live through that for a month? Theoretically, you could. It would be very chaotic. It would hurt the economy.”

  55. rikyrah says:

    Immigrant rights groups call for boycott of MLB All-Star game in Phoenix
    By Nicolas Mendoza | 07.07.11 | 5:11 am

    Multiple groups are calling for a boycott of the Major League Baseball All-Star game in Phoenix, Ariz., on July 12 in protest of the immigration law SB 1070. The groups include the Arizona-based human rights groups Puente and Somos America. The Phoenix New Times reports:

    Raul Cordero, a member of Puente, says that hurting Arizona’s economy sends a message of dissatisfaction about Arizona’s controversial anti-immigration statute. “This boycott is to avoid money getting to racist governments who promote hatred,” Cordero proclaimed. “The revenue put into the system is what gives force to this racist state.”

    An indirect response to the groups protesting the game, Maricopa, Ariz. sheriff Joe Arpaio, a man who has come to symbolize the aggressive immigration enforcement tactics championed by Arizona Republicans, announced he would be using his chain gang of female prisoners to clean up trash at the All-Star game. Arpaio told the New Times¸ “If [protesters] can be there, why can’t my female chain gang be there as a public service.”

    According to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, 27 percent of MLB players are Latino, compared to 16 percent of the general population. Since its passage, SB 1070 has been condemned by civil right groups because they say it would lead to racial discrimination against Hispanics by police, who under the law are required to request identification from anyone that they have a “reasonable suspicion” is an undocumented immigrant. A federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction blocking this part of the law from going into effect.

    In addition to a general boycott, the groups are also calling on prominent Latino and foreign-born players in particular to not attend the game if they are chosen to play, including the Boston Red Sox’s Adrian Gonzalez, who is Mexican-American. Gonzalez had previously said that he would “probably” not attend the game, but now says he will follow the lead of the Major League Baseball Players Association. The MLBPA has said that they oppose the law, but Nation columnist Dave Zirin says it appears that they “have no plans to call for any kind of a boycott.”

    MLB commissioner Bud Selig was also chastised by AP sports columnist Jim Litke

  56. rikyrah says:

    …..Will the GOP Topple Warren?
    By Michael Tomasky | The Daily Beast – 15 hrs ago
    ..Republicans have hatched a plan to scuttle the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Michael Tomasky talks with Elizabeth Warren, the woman tapped to be its interim director.

    A visitor hopping off the elevator on the fifth floor of the nondescript office building at 18th and L streets in Washington, D.C. can’t help but notice the large sign on the easel: “Thank you for all your hard work and dedication! 23 days until our mission becomes a reality.” That would be 23 days between my visit on June 28 and July 21, when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the first major financial regulatory agency created by the U.S. government in decades, “stands up,” in bureaucratic parlance, to become an official agency of the government.

    It’s a day for believers in regulation and government protection to celebrate, but the rejoicings will likely be muted. Unless three or four kinds of lightning strike between now and then, the agency will open its doors with no director, and with power over only some of the lending institutions the famous Dodd-Frank law gave it the authority to oversee.

    The march to create the CFPB has developed into yet another intensely partisan hurricane whipped into being by a frothing Republican opposition. And sitting in its eye, trying to hire staff, put systems in place, and keep a forceful hand on the rudder, is Elizabeth Warren. One of the country’s leading experts on the slew of issues that affect families and their money, Warren ran the oversight panel that monitored the success of the TARP bailout. The CFPB—an agency designed to protect consumers from financial fraud on mortgages, credit cards, and other loans—was her idea in the first place, and when lo and behold the final version of the Dodd-Frank bill actually included it (a touch-and-go drama for months), she was the natural choice to head it. Which is why Barack Obama named her the interim chief.

    But she wasn’t a natural to everybody. Banks and lending institutions of all stripes—national, regional, community, you name it—believe she’s drawn a target on their backs and will cost them and their customers money. Republicans, of course, agree. She’s even hit potholes within the administration: As TARP overseer

  57. rikyrah says:

    Lehman Borrowed $18 Billion From Undisclosed Fed Program During ’08 Crisis
    By Linda Sandler and Bob Ivry – Jul 6, 2011 11:01 PM CT

    Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (LEHMQ)’s brokerage borrowed as much as $18 billion in four separate loans from a previously secret program of the U.S. Federal Reserve in June 2008, three months before its parent filed the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history.

    The program, which peaked at $80 billion in loans outstanding, was known as the Fed’s single-tranche open-market operations, or ST OMO. It made 28-day loans to units of 19 banks from March 7, 2008, to Dec. 30, 2008. Bloomberg reported on ST OMO in May, after the Fed released incomplete records on the program. In response to a subsequent Freedom of Information Act request for details, the central bank disclosed borrower names, amounts borrowed and interest rates.

    The Lehman brokerage, Lehman Brothers Inc., tapped the ST OMO program for as much as $5 billion in short term funding in March 2008, and lower amounts at other times during the month. It took as much as $10 billion in June as the credit crisis worsened, according to Fed data. The maximum outstanding for any period was $18 billion

  58. rikyrah says:

    Read More: President Obama, Senator Orrin Hatch

    Sen. Orrin Hatch to President Obama: It was a ‘temper tantrum’

    Utah U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch said Wednesday that a press conference held by President Obama was little more than a ‘temper tantrum.’

    “I wish I could report that Washington is serious about addressing this spending problem, but in the last week we seem to have hit a new low,” Mr. Hatch said.

    Read more:

  59. rikyrah says:

    July 07, 2011
    The White House scenario?
    We have only the proposal’s outlines from last night’s Washington Post report, so it remains premature to pronounce judgment on a deficit-reduction deal that includes Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid spending cuts largely in exchange, perhaps, for upper-bracket tax hikes, already scheduled to expire. Such a deal might contain some policy prescriptions deemed wonkishly necessary over time, but the politics of it would stink like an ill-managed slaughterhouse: it would open a path for the serpentine GOP to slither its way out of a minefield, and render congressional Democrats’ otherwise planned offensive essentially impotent.

    And thereupon hang my optimistic hopes. The White House has to know that any such deal along any such outlines is not only a long-term political loser, but a strong, short-term political improbability. The uppermost image it has most commonly wished to project is that of President Obama not as a Great Communicator, but as the Grand Compromiser. And though few compromises have ever been grander in scope than this reported proposal, even fewer have been as politically weak. Hence Obama could get electoral credit for merely proposing, while all along deeply suspecting — indeed praying — that it’s going nowhere.

    For if somehow legislatively successful, this compromise would prove as roughly valuable as another Grand Compromise: that of 1850, whose principal achievement was merely to postpone an inexorable civil war by a decade. A politically bloody, virtually apocalyptic showdown is coming between today’s Democrats and Republicans, just as the North — sooner or later, no way around it — was destined to clash with the South. In my prodigiously uninfluential opinion, now is preferable to later; the White House and congressional Dems have eye-popping public opinion behind them on protecting Social Security etc. and going instead for the upper-income gold, while the GOP lies wounded and popularly besieged.

    As noted, somewhat needlessly, the White House knows this. The Senate is likely a surmountable obstacle in the way of this compromise, but the president would need vast numbers of House Democrats to align with rather significant numbers of moderate(!) Republicans — and aye, there’s the beautiful rub. Maybe, just maybe the White House is relying on the GOP to do precisely again what it does so well: take any White House suggestion and heave it with outraged protests over unAmerican Obama’s malevolently socialistic and irreconcilable ways.

    Therefore comes the debt crisis, and with it goes the GOP. In a matter of days. If the body politic still requires a tutorial in just how vigorously the contemporary GOP of goons, gangsters, demagogues and Bible-hoisting racketeers should be crushed, pulverized and blown away, it need only wait until the White House begins announcing just which obligations the U.S. government will honor, and which it will not, cannot. That should do it.

    Again, some such showdown is coming, this year or next or within a very few. And a more favorable Democratic environment is unimaginable. The above scenario may seem too obvious, too conspicuously Machiavellian (excuse the contradiction), but it just might be, or so I can hope, the White House scenario.

  60. rikyrah says:

    I’m going to be honest.

    I would not vote for a Mormon. I would never vote for anyone whose RELIGION HAD MY BLACK ASS GOING TO HELL CAUSE I’M BLACK – IN MY LIFETIME.

    Maybe my future kids will believe differently, but I have a hard time believing that anyone grown now, who grew up Mormon (Reid converted), doesn’t harbor ill will towards my Black behind.

    PLus Mittens has an actual public record when it comes to Black folks – and it’s as ugly as I thought it would be from a Mormon.

    So, no, at this current time, I’ll not vote for a Mormon.


    Musings on Mormonism and the 2012 Race
    by BooMan
    Wed Jul 6th, 2011 at 11:23:09 PM EST

    I shy away from talking about how weird Mormonism is, at least in my political work, because I really do believe that political parties and politicians should not promote or denigrate anyone’s religion. But it is a pretty strange set of beliefs, and a huge number of people have trouble understanding why they should trust someone who subscribes to those beliefs. To some degree the same can be said of any religion other than Christianity and Judaism. And, of course, this country was founded in a way that took account of the religious differences within Christianity. Our federalist system gives a lot of power to the states partly out of economic differences that existed in the late 18th-Century, but mainly because the colonies were founded and dominated by different sects. Congregationalists in Massachusetts didn’t want to be discriminated against by Anglicans in Virginia or Quakers in Pennsylvania, or Catholics in Maryland, or Baptists in the Carolinas. We couldn’t have created a country of united states without assuring all people could participate in our federal government regardless of their personal religious beliefs. It’s an extremely important principle, and I won’t ever disrespect it.
    These days, every state has considerable religious diversity, as well as lots of people who aren’t religious at all. So, it’s not like religious people feel like they should choose a state to live in based on the religious history of that state. Atheists (and to some extent Jews) might want to stick to big cities or the coastal states if they don’t want to feel ostracized. And Mormons probably feel most comfortable in Utah and the surrounding Mountain States where people are used to their religion, or it is the norm.

    Harry Reid is the most powerful Mormon in the country, and it doesn’t seem to present much a liability for him. His religion is rarely invoked, and even more rarely with any kind of negative connotation. But it would be hard to know that Reid is a Mormon by merely observing him go about his business. He doesn’t wear his religion on his sleeve and he seems like a fairly ordinary guy.

    Of course, religious differences are less important in Democratic politics because the party is inclusive and officially secular. I don’t mean secular in the mean and nasty way that Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck use the word. The party doesn’t promote secularism. But it operates with the secular principles of the Founding Fathers. All faiths and no faiths are welcome.

    Now, I mention all this because it’s part of the puzzle in trying to figure out what is going to happen in the Republican primaries. Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are Mormons. Most Mormons are Republicans, both because of their social conservatism and because a high percentage of Mormons operate small businesses. But most Republican primary voters are not Mormons. In fact, a huge percentage of Republican primary voters are evangelical protestants who belong to churches that do missionary work in direct competition with Mormons. This segment of the GOP is extremely hostile to Mormonism and will not vote for a Mormon in the primaries. Some of them won’t vote for a Mormon in the general, even against someone like Barack Obama.

    This makes it harder for Mitt Romney to win the nomination. He can do really well in the Mountain States, but they have relatively small populations. He can do well on the coasts and in New England where people just aren’t that interested in religion in a political context. He can compete in most of the Midwest; his father was the governor of Michigan in the 1960’s. But he’s dead in the water in the South, which is (ironically) the home base of the Republican Party.

    The interesting thing is that the Establishment of the GOP, which is based in Washington DC and New York City, is fine with Mitt Romney. In fact, they have been unable to come up with a back-up plan in case Romney doesn’t do well in the primaries. Given that Romney has already given up on the first contest in Iowa and is bleeding support to Michele Bachmann in New Hampshire, it’s looking pretty grim for Establishment Republicans.

    But I think that main thing is not Romney’s Mormonism. I think he’s a shitty candidate. His flip-flop-flipping dwarfs anything that could be hung around John Kerry’s neck. David Plouffe, who ran Obama’s campaign in 2008 and will be running it again in 2012, has called Romney “a world-class political contortionist.” You can expect that label to stick.

    Considering that Romney created a health care system for Massachusetts that became the model for ObamaCare, it’s surprising that Romney is ahead in the polls and has raised the most money among Republican candidates. Yet, his fundraising has been anemic. Maybe that is partly because the GOP plans on taking advantage of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling to fund Super PACs. But, still, it seems like there is a decided lack of enthusiasm for Romney’s candidacy.

    But if not Romney, then who? Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is getting no traction and raising little money. And the only other candidate with a resume is also a Mormon and also compromised by association with the Obama administration. That would be former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who served as the president’s ambassador to China.

    Personally, I don’t want to be overconfident, but the GOP is failing to field a credible opponent. The last time this happened was in 1972. And I have all the respect in the world for George McGovern, but he was never going to beat Nixon. Mondale and Dukakis had far better shots.

    If Romney wins the nomination he has a chance to do at least as well as McCain. But if someone other than Romney, Huntsman, or Pawlenty wins it?

    In that case, we could be seeing Obama win in more than 40 states.

  61. Ametia says:

    Stop searching for an Obama Doctrine
    By Fareed Zakaria, Published: July 6

    Every few months, commentators find a new grand strategy that animates Barack Obama. First he was the antiwar candidate, because his rise in the Democratic primaries had much to do with his early and consistent opposition to the Iraq war. But even some on the right, including Robert Kagan, pointed out that he was interventionist on other issues, such as Afghanistan. Some criticized his multilateralism, pointing to his offers of engagement to all comers, from Iran to Russia to China. More recently, watching his vigorous outreach to Asian countries threatened by China, the scholar Daniel Drezner concluded that the new grand strategy was one of “counterpunching.”

    So what is the Obama Doctrine?

    In fact, the search itself is misguided. The doctrinal approach to foreign policy doesn’t make much sense anymore. Every American foreign policy “doctrine” but one was formulated during the Cold War, for a bipolar world, when American policy toward one country — the Soviet Union — dominated all U.S. strategy and was the defining aspect of global affairs. (The Monroe Doctrine is the exception.) In today’s multipolar, multilayered world, there is no central hinge upon which all American foreign policy rests. Policymaking looks more varied, and inconsistent, as regions require approaches that don’t necessarily apply elsewhere.

  62. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

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