Friday Open Thread

Patrice Rushen (born Patrice Louise Rushen, September 30, 1954, Los Angeles, California)[1] is a Grammy Award-winning African American R&B and jazz vocalist, composer and pianist.

Rushen is the elder of two daughters born to the late Allen Rushen and the former Ruth Harris.[1] She demonstrated her musical potential at a young age; she was regarded as a child prodigy. In her teens, she attended south LA’s Locke High and went on to earn a degree in music from the University of Southern California.[2]

Rushen has many ground-breaking achievements. She became the first woman to serve as head composer/musical director for the Grammy Awards and the Emmy Awards, and the first woman to serve as musical director for the NAACP Image Awards’ broadcast, an honor she held for twelve consecutive years.

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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61 Responses to Friday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    uly 8, 2011
    Breaking election fundraising laws is okay in Michigan – If you are a Republican
    Tags: GOPocrisy, Hypocrisy, IOKIYAR, Republican-Fail
    Well, isn’t this special???

    Area Democrats want to know why Gov. Rick Snyder used his staff and local county governments to spread invitations to a Grand Traverse County Republican Party fundraiser.

    Greg Andrews, the governor’s Marquette-based northern Michigan representative, sent an email to local governments that encouraged officials to attend the Governor’s Breakfast on Saturday during the National Cherry Festival.

    The breakfast is a traditional event that acts as a fundraiser for the local Democratic or Republican party before the Cherry Royale Parade.

    The email was referred to Prosecutor Alan Schneider, who said he won’t take action.

    Schneider said a recent state Supreme Court decision determined that the use of even one taxpayer-funded keystroke for political fundraising violates state law, though it has to be a knowing violation.

    So, if you control the local prosecutor’s office and your political party members break the law, that’s totally fine, no problem, go right ahead. Because the prosecutor won’t … you know … prosecute. The dude KNOWS it’s a violation but still won’t prosecute. I’m sure it won’t surprise you to find out that Schneider is a Republican who has donated $810 to the Grand Traverse County Republican Party since 2004.

    Even Snyder’s own spokesperson admits that it was “absolutely not appropriate” and “a very serious lack of judgment”.

    Blatant illegality and the GOP gets away with it. IOKIYAR.

  2. Ametia says:

    Former first lady Betty Ford has died at age 93, says the director of late President Gerald Ford’s library and museum.

    She was the co-founder of the Betty Ford Center for the treatment of addiction, in Rancho Mirage, California.

  3. Ametia says:

    I <3 VAN JONES!

  4. rikyrah says:

    uly 08, 2011 4:50 PM Boehner acknowledges risk

    By Steve Benen

    There are an alarming number of congressional Republicans who believe undermining the full faith and credit of the United States is acceptable, and voluntary national default wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

    Their leader, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), disagrees with them.

    “While some think we can go past August 2nd, I frankly think it puts us in an awful lot of jeopardy, and puts our economy in jeopardy, risking even more jobs,” Boehner told reporters at his weekly Capitol briefing.

    His statement comes as a quiet rebuke to members of his own party who’ve argued that smacking against the ceiling — or even defaulting briefly on the debt — poses no great risk to the economy.

    It also raises the question of why Republicans have refused to raise the borrowing limit without extracting major concessions from Democrats on federal spending. Boehner says he and White House negotiators aren’t narrowing their differences on a comprehensive debt bill very quickly.

    As much as I’m glad to see Boehner acknowledge reality, and take some satisfaction in seeing the House GOP’s own leader shoot down irresponsible rhetoric from his own caucus, it’s that last point that stands out for me.

    The Speaker, as of this morning, believes failing to raise the debt limit puts the nation, to use his words, “in jeopardy.” He conceded that failure would also make unemployment worse.

    What Boehner left unsaid, however, is that he’s proven himself willing to pursue his hostage strategy anyway. In other words, the Speaker knows full well that failing to raise the debt ceiling would put Americans in danger, but he’s choosing to create this risk on purpose anyway. Give Boehner what he and his fellow Republicans demand, or he’ll deliberately “put us in an awful lot of jeopardy.”

    Why this isn’t a national scandal is still a mystery to me. For all the talk about what will or won’t get cut, how this will or won’t affect the economy, whether the agreement will be large or enormous, the strategy itself is often lost in the shuffle. John Boehner and his party are threatening to crash the economy on purpose unless Democrats meet their demands. The Treasury, the Fed, economists, Wall Street, and business leaders have all pleaded with GOP leaders not to do this, but Republicans ignored them all.

    There is no precedent for this, and it shouldn’t be treated as somehow normal. Indeed, it’s often hard to believe policymakers who claim to be patriots would deliberately put us all at risk this way.

    And yet, here we are.

  5. rikyrah says:

    osted at 04:55 PM ET, 07/08/2011
    House liberals launch organizing drive against entitlements cuts
    By Greg Sargent

    House liberals are launching an organizing drive inside the Democatic caucus, in an effort to line up Democrats and get them to commit to opposing any final deficit deal that contains any cuts to entitlements benefits, according to a letter I’ve obtained.

    The two co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus have sent the letter to Nancy Pelosi, pledging to stand behind her insistence that the final deal contain no benefits cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.

    The letter will be used next week to gather signatures from House Dems, in an effort to maximize for Democrats by developing a unified front behind a refusal to support any cuts to those programs that reduce benefits or eligibility. The letter — which was sent my way by a source and is signed by Dem Reps Raul Grijalva and Keith Ellison — reads as follows:

    We write in strong agreement with your unwavering defense of the Democratic programs that form the bedrock of America’s middle and working classes, and which are overwhelmingly popular.

    On July 7, you made very clear that “We are not going to balance the budget on the backs of America’s seniors, women and people with disabilities” and that “we do not support cuts in benefits” for vitalsafety-net programs. We agree completely.

    Especially in these tough economic times, we should not be cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits that millions of our constituents paid into and depend on. Such benefit cuts should be off the table in current debt discussions.

    Our Republican colleagues should be embarrassed by their insistence that unless Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits are cut, the nation will default on its debts. Middle-class families have sacrificed enough, and a deal that pushes the American Dream further out of reach, in order to pay for extending tax breaks for the rich and corporations, is simply unacceptable.

    We are united as Democrats in saying that it’s time to stand up to the Republican hostage-taking. We will not be forced to vote for a “final agreement” that we do not agree to — and that the American people do not agree to.

    We stand united with you in insisting that benefit cuts for working families, our seniors, children, and people with disabilities must be off the table, and we stand united with you in fighting for millions of Americans who need Democrats to be firmly on their side.

    In another development that indicates rising opposition among Democrats, Sam Stein reports that DCCC chair Steve Israel told members at a private meeting that entitlements cuts would be damaging politically to the party, and could even hurt candidate recruitment.

    To be sure, Dems have been known in the past to lay down firm markers only to let them dissolve once Obama and party leaders asked them to support a final deal that jettisoned their core priorities. But this debate is a bit different from health care. Obama and John Boehner are likely to need a sizable bloc of Dems to get the final deficit compromise through the House. Obama himself has said Democrats and Republicans must back the compromise in significant numbers. And Pelosi and other Dem party leaders also seem united against benefits cuts.

    So it’s not inconceivable that a unified Dem front might be able to exert at least some leverage and have some kind of impact on the final deal. The more Dems who sign the letter, the more likely this will become — they’ll have to hurry, because we may have a deal as soon as Sunday evening — so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of numbers organizers can corral behind this effort.

  6. Bradlee Dean Rants: Michele Bachmann’s Preacher’s Bigoted Tirades (VIDEO)

    WASHINGTON — If you thought evangelical preaching needed longer hair, tattoos, nu-metal drumming, and a ton of hate speech directed at gays, then Bradlee Dean is your guy.

    He’s very much Rep. Michele Bachmann’s guy. Bachmann, whose district covers Dean’s suburban Minnesota headquarters, didn’t just endorse Dean, but has prayed for him and his ministry, You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International, in a clip highlighted recently by City Pages.

    “Would you keep them from evil?” Bachmann prays. “Would you keep them from pain?” Finally she begs the All Mighty to “pour a triple blessing on this ministry” and expand it ten fold.

    Bachmann may come to regret her superfandom for Dean. One news outlet has already suggested that Dean might be her Jeremiah Wright. It’s easy to make such a comparison. Dean has amassed quite a video log on YouTube of ultra right wing conspiracy theories about New World Orders and made bigoted remarks directed at the LGBT community, Muslims and President Barack Obama. In Dean’s world Hitler was gay and Obama is, of course, equal to Osama bin Laden.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:04 PM ET, 07/08/2011
    GOP allies hatching sleazy dirty tricks in Wisconsin recall wars
    By Greg Sargent

    It looks like allies of Wisconsin Republicans are growing so desperate that they’re resorting to sleazy dirty tricks in their last-ditch bid to help the GOP hang on to the state senate.

    This is deep in the weeds, but bear with me. As you know, Wisconsin GOP state officials have hatched a scheme to run fake Democrats in Dem primary elections against the Democratic recall candidates, in order to delay the general recall election between Dems and the GOP state senators they’re targeting. As the labor-backed We Are Wisconsin warned recently, this could have major ramifications: Because Wisconsin law allows cross-party voting, Republican voters can vote in Dem primaries and vote for the fake Dem candidate in order to keep the real Dem out of the general election.

    Now there’s been a new twist to this tale.

    Allies of one of the top GOP targets in the recalls, state senator Randy Hopper, are circulating flyers in his district trying to get out the vote for the fake Dem in the Democratic primary against his Dem opponent.

    You can view the flyer, which was found and passed along by We Are Wisconsin, right here. It urges voters to go out to the polls to vote for one John Buckstaff against the real Democrat, Oshkosh deputy mayor Jessica King, a strong candidate against the vulnerable Hopper.

    The flyer is the work of a group that calls itself “Patriot Advisors,” which is registered as an opponent of the real Dem, Jessica King, and an ally of the fake Dem candidate, John Buckstaff, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board tells me.

    Buckstaff, even though he’s running in a Dem primary, is an 81 year old Republican and donor to … GOP state senator Randy Hopper.

    And here’s the real rub — the flyer is geared towards getting Republican voters to go out and vote in the Dem primary. It does this by claiming that real Dem Jessica King is a union stooge and that Buckstaff will “roll up his sleeves and work with Governor Walker to eliminate special privileges for government unions.” This, in a Dem primary!

    For Wisconsin GOP allies, this takes tampering in Dem primaries to a whole new level.

    By Greg Sargent | 12:04 PM ET, 07/08/2011

  8. rikyrah says:

    The Guardian: James Murdoch could face criminal charges on both sides of the Atlantic
    Posted on Friday, July 8, 2011 by GottaLaff

    Now that News of the World is toast, and Andy Coulson has been arrested for phone-hacking allegations, we’re all waiting for the next shoe(s) to drop.

    Wait.. what’s that I hear?


    Yep, that was a shoe. Via The Guardian:

    James Murdoch and News Corp could face corporate legal battles on both sides of the Atlantic that involve criminal charges, fines and forfeiture of assets as the escalating phone-hacking scandal risks damaging his chances of taking control of Rupert Murdoch’s US-based media empire.

    All together now, in unison: Awwww.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Obama Administration to Wall Street Executives: Do Your Job or Lose Two Years’ Pay

    Yesterday, the FDIC Board unanimously approved a “clawback rule” that will allow it to reach into the deep pockets of Wall Street executives and recoup their pay in case of such liquidation. For all the hooting and hollering from the Professional Left about how the Administration is not beating up on Wall Street enough, yesterday’s action by the FDIC is among the most important in a series of serious attempts by the Administration to put safeguards in place to avoid a repeat of the calamities of 2008. The GTLE Blog has a great summary of what the new rule would mean:

    Provides a negligence standard (in contrast to the gross negligence standard under many state laws), under which the FDIC will deem an executive or director “substantially responsible” for the company’s failed condition if he or she “failed to conduct his or her responsibilities with the degree of skill and care an ordinarily prudent person in a like position would exercise under similar circumstances.”

    Creates a presumption of culpability, placing the burden upon certain senior executives and directors (e.g. high level executives or anyone who “had responsibility for the strategic, policy making, or company wide operational decisions”) to demonstrate that they exercised the requisite standard of care or, if unable to do so, to prove that their conduct did not “individually or collectively” result in a loss that materially contributed to the company’s failure.

    Authorizes the FDIC to recoup “any” compensation received by the senior executive or director (current or former) in the past two years, including not only salary and bonuses but also other forms of compensation. In the case of fraud, no time limit applies.

    While the critics, the cynics and the sensationalized media are too busy crying, whining and screaming, the real work of reform continues. The the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law signed by President Obama last year grants regulators significant power over banks, especially those that pose a threat to the financial system at large. One such power is the power to liquidate financial institutions before they have a chance to cause systemwide panic, which is the authority FDIC used to issue the new rule. A few things I want to point out here: first, this targets both the Boards of Directors as well as executive management of financial institutions. This is significant given that Boards often exist to rubber stamp bank CEOs rather than to provide oversight. This is meant to force the Board to do its job.

    Most news reports you will read or see on TV will simply call this a clawback rule, which is without a doubt a very major part of it, but just as important is how that rule is applied. It wouldn’t make any sense to say that the FDIC could recoup costs from executive compensation if the standards to meet to collect those fees were nearly impossible. The point of the rule was to make sure that Wall Street executives, you know, did their job and were invested in the institutions they were responsible for, rather than simply serving self enrichment purposes.

    It’s with an eye towards that ultimate goal that the FDIC crafted measures that have teeth and can work as a true deterrent. Gross negligence, which is the current standards – practiced under state laws no less – is monumentally difficult to prove. Moreover, a financial executive should not be negligent at all; I believe what they should be is diligent instead. In essence, the negligence standard under FDIC tells executives that they better stop looking at simply covering their bottoms and actually do their jobs. If these awesome “talents” on Wall Street are good at anything other than self-enrichment, well, it’s time to put up or shut up.

    The part of the rules that puts the presumption culpability on the executives could be easily described as the “buck stops here” rule. After all, if your business fails, do you get to go around blaming everyone but yourself? It shouldn’t be any different for Wall Street tycoons either. If a whole financial institution is going under, its management must take responsibility. That is all the FDIC is saying.

    Lastly, the administration has caught onto the fact that Wall Street fatcats pay themselves in much more than salaries. Bonuses, stock options, preferred stock options, loan forgiveness, you name it. It’s not at all unusual for executives to make less than half of their total compensation in salaries. So the regulators left no loopholes. If the executive made it from the bank or financial institution, it is on the line. Two years worth of your pay. And if you commit fraud? The FDIC can recoup your compensation going back as long as they want.

  10. Ametia says:


    • Ametia says:

      Looks like Ed spent most of his show last night, basically telling folks not to vote for PBO again, if he “caves” on medicare/social security

      • WTF? Here we go again! Didn’t this fucker do enough damage in the 2010 elections by telling folks not to vote and send a message to the President? And we know happened there! Wisconsin is having the fight of their lives! Ed Shultz is DINO! He is not a true Democrat!

      • Ametia says:

        lOL These folks are unfreakingbelievable. They want to dictate how, when and what POTUS does.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Debbi Morgan Joins ‘The Young and the Restless’

    *With “All My Children” now moving to the Internet, one of its most beloved stars will not make the move to cyberspace along with it.

    Instead, Debbi Morgan, who plays Dr. Angie Hubbard on “AMC,” is jumping over to the CBS soap “The Young and the Restless.”

    According to TV Guide, “Y&R’s” coup happened Thursday after weeks of speculation and rumor that she’d be making the move. A show rep tells TV Guide Magazine that the Emmy-winning actress will begin filming in September after “AMC” has ended production.

    “Y&R” has yet to confirm Morgan’s character on the show.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Rick Perry Doubled Texas’ Debt, Then Balanced Budget Through Accounting Gimmicks

    By Marie Diamond on Jul 6, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    exas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and Republican lawmakers completely failed to keep their promise not to “kick the can” down the road when it came to solving the largest budget shortfall in the state’s history. That’s according to a new Associated Press report, which concludes that Perry and the GOP legislature largely balanced the state’s budget through flimsy accounting gimmicks that do nothing to secure Texas’ financial footing.

    The self-professed fiscal conservatives resorted to tactics like delaying a $2.3 billion payment to schools by one day to technically push it into the next fiscal year and keep it off the books of this budget. They also “found” $800 million by ordering the state’s accountants to forecast a faster increase in land values to show more property tax income:

    Gov. Rick Perry signed a budget that was balanced only through accounting maneuvers, rewriting school funding laws, ignoring a growing population and delaying payments on bills coming due in 2013.

    It accomplishes, however, what the Republican majority wanted most: It did not raise taxes, took little from the Rainy Day Fund and shifted any future deficits onto the next Legislature.

    The new budget also preposterously assumes there will be no growth in the number of school children in Texas, even though it is one of the fastest-growing states in the nation. Experts predict this trick alone will shortchange school districts by $2 billion.

    Texas lawmakers had to close an enormous $27 billion budget deficit this year. Amazingly, only about a third of it was caused by the economic downturn. The state has had a chronic shortage of revenue after years of slashing property and business taxes and creating numerous tax breaks and exemptions. Conservative governors have slashed state services to the bone, so there was no more fat to cut from the budget.

    As governor for over a decade, Perry’s “fiscal conservatism” has doubled the state’s debt from $13.7 billion in 2001 to $34.08 billion in 2009. He’s refused to raise taxes on the wealthy and brags about not dipping into the state’s substantial Rainy Day Fund. (However, Perry’s fellow Texas Republicans claim Perry has appropriated nearly all the money in the Rainy Day Fund, and have asked him to stop claiming that he preserved it.)

    Democrats have fought back against the GOP claim that it was truly a balanced budget. “It’s all smoke and mirrors and misdirection,” said state Rep. Garnett Coleman (D).

  13. rikyrah says:

    Santorum Calls For Reductions In Federal Support For Higher Education

    By Travis Waldron on Jul 8, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Presidential candidate and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) called for reductions in federal funding for higher education Wednesday, saying that support should be transferred to states instead. The Daily Iowan, the University of Iowa’s student newspaper, reports:

    Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said Wednesday that the federal government should reduce higher-education funding and leave that support to states.

    Speaking to Kirkwood Community College officials and eastern Iowa business leaders on the Kirkwood campus on the fourth day of a tour around the state, the GOP presidential nomination-hopeful said colleges ought to partner with local businesses to prep grads for the workforce.

    Santorum is apparently ignoring the reality facing many states, which have reduced funding for state colleges and universities in the face of growing budget deficits. In California, for example, legislators slashed millions of dollars from the University of California and California State systems, forcing those schools to raise tuition. As Washington Monthly noted today, public universities in 11 states saw their states reduce support by more than 5 percent this year.

    While Santorum wants federal benefit reductions, tuition is skyrocketing across the country, and the amount of student debt accrued during a four-year degree program continues to increase. At Penn State University, Santorum’s alma mater, the average graduate in the class of 2007 left the university with more than $26,000 in debt.

    Cutting federal support for public colleges and universities may sound like a good idea in Santorum’s small government world, but those cuts will inevitably get passed down to states — and, more importantly, to students — who are already falling behind an increasingly expensive higher education system.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Ivy League Liberals Losing Faith in the Time Machine

    Here’s Professor Paul Krugman explaining that he’s losing faith.

    But let’s be frank. It’s getting harder and harder to trust Mr. Obama’s motives in the budget fight, given the way his economic rhetoric has veered to the right. In fact, if all you did was listen to his speeches, you might conclude that he basically shares the G.O.P.’s diagnosis of what ails our economy and what should be done to fix it.
    [..]One striking example of this rightward shift came in last weekend’s presidential address .. [New York Times July 8 2011 ]

    Professor Krugman, of course, was once one of the faithful believers in the President: in December 2007.

    I’ve been getting a lot of mail from people insisting that I must be giving Obama a hard time because I want a Cabinet job in the next Clinton administration. It couldn’t be that I really care about getting a progressive agenda through, and that I’m worried by the way he keeps echoing conservative talking points

    So let’s be frank. Professor Krugman “losing trust” in the President is like the drunk under the bar saying he’s thinking about maybe having one drink. Here are the President’s “rightwing” words from that speech:

    And nothing can be off limits, including spending in the tax code, particularly the loopholes that benefit very few individuals and corporations.

    Now, it would be nice if we could keep every tax break, but we can’t afford them. Because if we choose to keep those tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, or for hedge fund managers and corporate jet owners, or for oil and gas companies pulling in huge profits without our help – then we’ll have to make even deeper cuts somewhere else. We’ve got to say to a student, ‘You don’t get a college scholarship.’ We have to say to a medical researcher, ‘You can’t do that cancer research.’ We might have to tell seniors, ‘You have to pay more for Medicare.’

    That isn’t right, and it isn’t smart. We’ve got to cut the deficit, but we can do that while making investments in education, research, and technology that actually create jobs. We can live within our means while still investing in our future. That’s what we have to do.

    Maybe that is conservative, if so sign me up. For sure, I have no more patience for “progressives” who want to tell the President and the rest of us us what to say and how to talk – and that’s the underlying substance of Professor Krugman’s critique, the failure of the President to stick the script that the progressives have written. The President, however, is not Mr. Krugman’s graduate assistant and he’s not the errand boy.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Viola Davis: Called ‘Hypnotic’ by ‘Help’ Costar; Covers August Essence

    *Viola Davis, the cover girl for Essence magazine’s August issue, touches on a number of topics in her cover story, including coming to grips with a culture that seldom makes dark-skinned women feel like “the chosen one.”

    The Oscar-nominated actress says she feels more like a “princess” now than ever before. As she anticipates the release of her new movie, “The Help,” Davis shares her story of growth and acceptance with writer Essence writer Lola Ogunnaike.

    “As Black women, we’re always given these seemingly devastating experiences—experiences that could absolutely break us,” Davis says in the article. “But what the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly. What we do as Black women is take the worst situations and create from that point…”

    The entire article is available in the August issue of Essence, on newsstands July 12.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Pelosi Statement on June Jobs Report
    July 08, 2011

    Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today after the Department of Labor reported that the economy added 18,000 jobs in June and unemployment rose to 9.2 percent. With 57,000 jobs added by private businesses, this marks the 16th consecutive month of private sector job growth:

    “Today’s jobs report makes it clear: more must be done to create jobs and strengthen our middle class. Republicans must join Democrats to focus squarely on Americans’ top priority – putting people back to work.

    “In the six months since Republicans have been in charge of the House, they have failed to bring a single jobs bill to the floor or offer a clear jobs plan. Democrats have forced ten votes on job-creation measures in this Congress – and Republicans have voted ‘no’ each time.

    “Democrats know that creating jobs must be job number one for this Congress, yet Republicans continue to push their plan to end Medicare in order to give billions in tax breaks to Big Oil and corporations that ship American jobs overseas. And now, they are putting our entire economy at risk – by threatening to let our nation default for the first time, injecting uncertainty into the economy, and demanding we balance our budget on the backs of seniors and the middle class.

    “We are ready to work together on a balanced, bipartisan approach to bring down our debt, while creating jobs, strengthening the middle class, and growing our economy.”

  17. Ametia says:

    Love the comments: “Agreed. This is a GAME CHANGER, and almost as good as Kerry’s yacht and Barney Frank’s Fannie job for his boyfriend.”

    Rep. Ryan Tastes The Grapes Of Wrath
    Susan Crabtree | July 8, 2011, 2:30PM

    Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), a leading advocate of shrinking entitlement spending and the architect of the plan to privatize Medicare, spent Wednesday evening sipping $350 wine with two like-minded conservative economists at the swanky Capitol Hill eatery Bistro Bis.

    It was the same night reports started trickling out about President Obama pressing Congressional leaders to consider changes to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for GOP support for targeted tax increases.

    The pomp and circumstance surrounding the waiter’s presentation, uncorking and decanting of the pricey Pinot Noir caught the attention of another diner who had already recognized Ryan sitting with two other men nearby.

    Susan Feinberg, an associate business professor at Rutgers, was at Bistro Bis celebrating her birthday with her husband that night. When she saw the label on the bottle of Jayer-Gilles 2004 Echezeaux Grand Cru Ryan’s table had ordered, she quickly looked it up on the wine list and saw that it sold for an eye-popping $350, the most expensive wine in the house along with one other with the same pricetag.

    Feinberg, an economist by training, was even more appalled when the table ordered a second bottle. She quickly did the math and figured out that the $700 in wine the trio consumed over the course of 90 minutes amounted to more than the entire weekly income of a couple making minimum wage.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Committee Republicans Go For The Social Security Jugular
    Following recent reports that President Obama and congressional Democrats are considering some sort of changes to entitlements as part of a broader debt-limit deal, House Republicans have decided to go for the jugular by again pressing for further cuts in order to “strengthen” – or cut – Social Security, a program forecast to stay solvent until at least 2036.

    At a Friday hearing called in response to a delayed Government Accountability Office statement on future Social Security benefit payments, Republicans used the opportunity to whack the Social Security pinata once more, highlighting their unease with its financing even though it doesn’t contribute to the deficit at all.

    “You can’t pay benefits in bonds – Social Security needs cash,” said Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), chairman of the subcommittee on Social Security. “In times of this deficit the treasury needs to borrow…much of it from the Chinese.”

    To which ranking member Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) interrupted by presenting a $20 dollar bill, noting that it too, like the treasury bonds that hold up the Social Security program, is held up by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government – one held increasingly at risk if the debt limit isn’t raised.

    Though Republicans never quite cited the impending debt crisis between lawmakers and the White House as grounds to cut Social Security benefits per se, they did try and pin the program’s future shortfall in 2036 as another reason to start altering benefits and raising the retirement age now – without any mention of revenue increases.

    “Why are we in this debt crisis right now today? We’re in it because we’ve got a $14.3 trillion debt, we don’t have any more money,” said Rep. Rick Berg (R-ND). “I’m not here to say we want to say Social Security [should] fund our deficit, but quite frankly it’s got to be fixed, I mean we’re spending more than we’re taking in.”

    In an interesting exchange between committee Republicans and Bacerra, Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) further criticized the delayed GAO statement, comparing it to a “Ponzi scheme” and calling on the ranking Democrat to recognize the problem.

    “Mr. Schock I realize the problem but I realize it’s not Social Security,” retorted Becerra, in response to continued Republican efforts to paint it as insolvent.

    “It seems like all our witnesses realize that Social Security is the problem,” added Chairman Johnson, nodding to the fact that almost all of the witnesses at the hearing had recommended some form of benefit cut or age raise.

    Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stated earlier this week that Social Security benefit cuts are firmly off the table in debt limit negotiations, leaving all eyes turned to Sunday as lawmakers meet with the president at the White House once more.—social-security-and-all.php?ref=dcblt

  19. rikyrah says:



    Sen. Mike Lee, Ex-Huntsman Aide, Says Former Governor Is ‘Unknown Quantity’ In Utah
    Utah’s elected officials are rallying around Mitt Romney instead of former Governor Jon Huntsman because Huntsman is an “unknown quantity” even in his own state, according to Senator Mike Lee (R-UT).

    Lee, who worked as Huntsman’s chief counsel, told TPM that even he wasn’t sure yet where his former boss stood on the big issues as a presidential contender.

    “He’s such a new entry that a lot of people — including me — have not yet had an opportunity to review his platform,” he said. “He’s something of an unknown quantity as a presidential candidate.”

    Romney snagged a mass endorsement from dozens of Utah officials earlier this week, including the state’s senior Senator, Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and its Lt. Governor, Greg Bell. But the true prize for Romney was Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who made his name as Huntsman’s campaign manager and chief of staff before running for Congress. The announcement was a tough blow to Huntsman, who is coming off a weak fundraising quarter and has yet to make much of an impact in the polls.

    Lee noted that the two presidential candidates were both very popular figures in Utah, but credited Romney’s experience on the national stage with swinging the early balance in his favor.

  20. Ametia says:

    Again, the POTUS is saying that jobs bills are pending in congress with BIPARTISAN support and can be passed RIGHT NOW. CONGRESS DO YOUR FUCKING JOBS AND PASS THESE BILLS

    • opulent says:


      I wish the Dem party would start playing divide and conquer.

      President Clinton gave them a jumpstart with the voter issue.

      And Pelosi gave a jumpstart for white ‘working’ middle class with jobs issue and bills not being on the floor.

  21. Ametia says:

    GOP hopes the economy sinks and unemployment remains high to win 2012 and further destroy AMERICA

  22. Ametia says:

    POTUS to speak on job numbers 10:35 a.m. EDT

    Watch it live here:

    • Ametia says:

      Still waiting for POTUS to appear outside the WH to address the job numbers…..

      • Ametia says:

        The POTUS is addressing the job numbers. I’d like to hear him tell America that the GOP GOVERNORS are gutting jobs in their states. MN is losing $$ from the shutdown; it’s costing money, not saving any.

      • Ametia says:


      • Wake up folks, the GOP is trying their best to destroy the economy in order to get re-elected. It’s their main goal. They don’t give a damn about the American people. It’s all about them!

  23. Ametia says:

    Oh well, here’s some GOOD news for the soap fans.

    ‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life to Live’ are spared and will move to Web

    By Lisa de Moraes, Published: July 7
    Like the phoenix rising from the ashes — or the cockroaches you just cannot kill, depending on your perspective — ABC’s long-running, destined-for-cancellation soap operas “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” turn out not to be terminal after all.

    ABC announced Thursday that it had sold online rights to the two soaps to a Hollywood production company that wants to keep them going as Web series.

  24. rikyrah says:

    By Chipsticks 100 Comments

    There’s so much more, but just a line or two on the Professional Left’s heroes:

    Glenn Greenwald (founding member of the ‘OMG! Obama is a Torturer!’ fan club): A Libertarian, a supporter of GOP/Libertarian 2012 candidate Gary Johnson (who wants to end child labor laws and reckons President Obama’s election signaled the end of racism in America), also a paid Cato Institute contributor, his checks quite possibly signed by Cato’s co-founder Charles Koch.

    Jane Hamsher (Queen of the Firebaggers): Her CommonSense Media company works with Republicans in their efforts to defeat Democrats, and did online advertising for BP in the aftermath the Gulf oil disaster.

    Arianna Huffington (Tiresome twat): Where do you start? A hardcore supporter of conservative causes such as Newt Gingrich’s ‘Republican Revolution’ and Bob Dole’s 1996 candidacy for president.

    Ed Shultz (Good grief): A former Republican, he admitted to being “far right” until the late 1990s, the ‘homeless’ often the target of his right-wing rage.

    John Aravosis (King of Hysteria): A leading gay rights campaigner and scathing critic of President Obama’s record on gay rights, Aravosis worked as a foreign policy adviser for corrupt Alaskan Republican senator Ted Stevens (who voted for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and against a bill adding sexual orientation to the definition of hate crimes).

    Cenk Uygur (Yawn): A former Republican, and self-confessed Reagan fan, he admitted to voting for the first George Bush and …. Bob Dole. “I was so conservative judicially I went to Federalist Society meetings.” He dismissed President Obama’s Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which guaranteed equal pay for women, as “a minor bill”.

    Markos Moulitsas (DK mogul!): A former member of the Republican Party. During the 1988 presidential election, he served as a Republican precinct captain and assisted with the re-election campaign of Illinois Congressman Henry Hyde – the same Henry Hyde who, as a member of the congressional panel investigating the Iran-Contra affair, vigorously defended the Reagan administration, and a number of the participants who had been accused of various crimes, particularly Oliver North.


    Hmm….. lots of people start out in life with right wing views and have the good sense to become liberals. It’s just curious how many of the professional left’s Gods have similar political backgrounds.

  25. rikyrah says:

    July 08, 2011
    The debt crisis is no legal problem
    Last night I listened to law professor Jeffrey Rosen on “Hardball” interpret President Obama’s 14th Amendment option as “uninterpretable.” There’s just no question that the president has the Constitutional right to invoke the Amendent’s Section 4 to avert a debt crisis, testified the George Washington University legal scholar.

    And there’s the twist: legal scholar — which means that Rosen’s scholarly uninterpretability is about as genuinely uninterpretable as an economic theory is to a roomful of economists. In other words, what Rosen meant by “uninterpretable” is that that is his interpretation.

    It was only to be expected that right-wing “legal scholars” would instantly hurl themselves into frenzied denunciations of the Constitutional option — perhaps it was they whom the Dickensian Mr. Bumble had in mind when he observed that “the law is a ass” — but now comes Obama’s former Harvard law professor, Laurence Tribe, to delight the right and inconvenience Rosen with the Constitution’s Article I, Section 8: Only “The Congress shall have Power … To borrow money on the credit of the United States.”

    Which lies in indirect conflict with the 14th Amendment’s now singularly faddish Section 4: that Obama can exercise final presidential authority in averting a debt crisis, since “the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law … shall not be questioned.” Why a conflict? Explains Tribe:

    Nothing in the 14th Amendment or in any other constitutional provision suggests that the president may usurp legislative power to prevent a violation of the Constitution.

    Tribe then expands on his Constitutional objection with a practical consideration:

    [E]ven if [the 14th Amendment arguments] were persuasive, they would not resolve the crisis. Once the debt ceiling is breached, a legal cloud would hang over any newly issued bonds, because of the risk that the government might refuse to honor those debts as legitimate. This risk, in turn, would result in a steep increase in interest rates because investors would lose confidence.

    In the end, Tribe transcends his own profession by reminding us that the debt issue’s resolution lies fundamentally not in a Supreme Court ruling (God help us), but in political pragmatism (and here, strikingly, one sees Tribe’s intellectual influence on Obama): Forget the legalisms, advises Tribe, for this is a matter that properly lies on “the political drawing board.”

    The manner in which Tribe elaborated on this concept is virtually identical to the way Obama described it at his “Twitter conference.” Tribe:

    Only political courage and compromise, coupled with adherence to traditions that call upon Congress to fulfill its unique constitutional duty, can avert an impending crisis.

    Of course none of this compels the conclusion that Obama would reject the 14th Amendment option; after all, he’s had his Treasury secretary floating the idea since May. It does, however, seem to darken the prospects of Obama’s ever deploying it. And I’m with Tribe, and likely Obama: This is a political, not a legal, question — and in the political arena it must be resolved.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Murdoch you crazy fool
    by DougJ in Damascus

    On this side of the pond, it’s an article of faith among most media types that Rupert Murdoch is a genius whose every move is brilliant. Felix Salmon argues that, in fact, Murdoch has handled the hacking scandal very stupidly so far (I agree):

    The News of the World hacking scandal was broken by the Guardian two years ago, and has been getting worse for him ever since; he’s had all the time in the world to do what every crisis-management professional has at the very top of their list: get out in front of the story, take full control of the situation and full responsibility for all mistakes made, and demonstrate in as public and visible a manner as possible that such things can and will never happen again.


    The moral of this story, for anybody observing from the outside, is that it’s very, very bad idea for a company to circle the wagons and try to protect its senior executives when they get into trouble. If a handful of senior heads had rolled two years ago, and if News International had volunteered information about how far over the line the NotW had transgressed, then the newspaper would still be a cash cow for Murdoch. Instead, the closing of the NotW, plus the inevitable launch of the Sun on Sunday, is surely going to cost him a significant nine-figure sum.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    July 08, 2011 8:50 AM

    Wake up, Washington, jobs landscape is deteriorating

    By Steve Benen
    The first several months of 2011 showed steady and strong improvements to the nation’s employment picture, and there were reasons for optimism for the near future.

    That optimism is now long gone. If May’s job numbers were a punch to the gut, June’s job numbers felt like getting kicked while already on the ground.

    Expectations were that the job numbers would tick higher after an awful May, but the opposite happened — in June, the economy created even fewer jobs, totaling just 18,000 for the month. The unemployment rate also went up, reaching 9.2%.

    All told, the private sector gained 57,000 jobs, while the public sector lost 39,000 jobs, due entirely to budget cuts at the state and local level.

    Yes, the economy is still adding jobs, but it’s hard to overstate how dreadful this recent turn of events is. Just to keep up with population growth, the economy should be adding over 150,000 jobs a month. To bring down the unemployment rate quickly, we’d look for 300,000 jobs a month or more. A report showing 18,000 jobs created in the month is just terrible.

    Making matters even worse, the totals from April and May were also revised downwards, adding insult to injury.

    If our political system were sane in the slightest, elected leaders would look at these numbers and conclude that the economy desperately needs a boost. Job creation should be the first, and arguably one, priority on the minds of policymakers. Instead, the only topic of discussion allowed in Washington is about debt reduction — which takes money out of the economy and makes unemployment worse.

    This jobs report is a flashing red light. It’s a wake-up call. It’s a screaming siren. Pick your metaphor — the point is, we have a jobs crisis, not a debt crisis. The longer we’re stuck in the wrong conversation, the longer it will be until conditions improve.

    And with that, here’s the homemade chart I run on the first Friday of every month, showing monthly job losses since the start of the Great Recession. The image makes a distinction — red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush administration, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration. (The chart is now smaller to fit the redesigned website. Also note, some of the numbers from early 2008 have been revised slightly.)

  28. rikyrah says:

    Cameron’s Connections
    by Chris Bodenner

    Charlie Cook sums up the scandal’s implications for Downing Street:

    The revelations will serve a serious blow to Prime Minister David Cameron, who will find it hard to avoid being personally tainted by the scandal. Cameron’s reputation took a hit back in February of this year, when his former press secretary, Andy Coulson, who is a former editor of the paper, was forced to resign over continuing allegations that hacking occurred during his time at the helm. (He strenuously denies this.) Cameron refused to agree to a public investigation into the matter, despite considerable pressure, a move that may come back to bite him.

    The Labour party has frequently taunted the government over its close ties to News International, whose newspapers overwhelmingly endorsed the Conservatives at the election in June of last year. The challenge for David Cameron now will be to distance himself from the suspicion that his close relationship with editor Rebekah Brooks pushed him into giving the paper a soft ride. There is no doubt, especially now that public opinion has turned against the paper, thus inuring him from the wrath of the Murdoch empire, that the leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband, will try and tie the prime minister’s fate to that of the News of the World.

    Coulson is likely to be arrested today. William Underhill has more on the Brooks-Cameron connection:

    [T]he prime minister has exposed himself to charges of mixing politics with personal friendship through his ties to senior figures in the Murdoch empire. In particular, attention has focused on Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News International, who is a neighbor of the Camerons in the Oxfordshire countryside and is said to go riding with the prime minister. Fueling the criticism, it’s known that Cameron attended a dinner party at Christmas hosted by Brooks, where guests included James Murdoch. At the time, News Corp. was proposing the politically contentious takeover of British Sky Broadcasting. Accurate or not, the perception of a too-close relationship will dent the prime minister’s image as an assured political operator.

    The Economist calls for a full judicial inquiry:

    Within News International anyone implicated directly in any aspect of this saga—not just the apparent phone hacking at the News of the World but the obfuscations since—should immediately stand down, pending a proper police investigation. Then there needs to be a judicial inquiry, with the power to call witnesses, including police officers, under oath. That should cover all newspapers, not just Mr Murdoch’s, and ferret out other dodgy activities, such as obtaining private medical records and credit-card transactions. If the result of such an inquiry is a bloodbath in Fleet Street and Scotland Yard, so be it. Mr Cameron’s refusal to push ahead with this forcefully is incredibly cowardly and shortsighted.

  29. rikyrah says:

    July 08, 2011 8:00 AM

    Where things stand

    By Steve Benen

    President Obama, Vice President Biden, and the eight most powerful members of Congress talked at some length yesterday about how to craft a debt-reduction deal. Participants were pretty tight-lipped afterwards, but we have enough information to piece together where things stand as of this morning.

    President Obama, for example, explained at the outset “that he would not accept any package that did not extend the debt limit through the 2012 elections.” That’s a sensible move — if this is going to be done, it’s crazy to think about doing it again next year in the heat of a national campaign.

    At that point, Obama presented the so-called “Gang of 10” with three broad options about the eventual size of the agreement and which of the three the participants should try to reach: a more modest series of cuts ($2 trillion), a larger package in line with the Biden-led talks ($3 trillion to $3.5 trillion), or the more ambitious approach leaked by the White House on Wednesday night (roughly $4 trillion).

    Each member was asked to express a preference. Most backed the largest, boldest option, but it’s important to note who dissented and why.

    When it comes to targets, Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) appear to share a goal, if not a means to reach that goal.

    Boehner enthusiastically endorsed Obama’s call for a far-reaching plan. Later at the Capitol, Boehner made his own pitch to reluctant Senate Republicans, arguing in a closed-door luncheon that securing the nation’s economic future requires bold action.

    According to the NYT account, Boehner reportedly declared that he took the job of speaker to get things accomplished, not just to latch on to the title.

    All of the Democratic leaders, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), also backed the most ambitious approach.

    But two of the participants balked.

    Six of the eight expressed their support for the biggest deal, the aides said. But Representative Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, and Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, favored the midrange $2 trillion, voicing doubts about how they could sell a $4 trillion deal to their rank and file, officials said, since it would involve tax increases.

    This is critically important, because Cantor’s and Kyl’s opposition would mean the bold approach almost certainly can’t happen. They’re well aware of a fact that generally goes unsaid: rank-and-file Republicans claim to be concerned about the debt and deficit, and even claim it’s a “crisis,” but don’t really want to address the budget shortfall if it would mean additional revenue.

    Regardless, if Cantor and Kyl had said they want to aim for the $4 trillion package, I’d still say it’s a long shot. If they’re not willing to even to try to reach the goal, I’d say this practically impossible.

    Looking ahead, Harry Reid said a deal “must be sealed by the end of next week to give congressional leaders enough time to draft the legislation, submit it to congressional budget analysts and marshal the votes before the Aug. 2 deadline.” The president will reconvene the members at 1 p.m. on Sunday, and Obama told then to dress casually because “they are going to be there a while.”

    Given the scope of the work, and the skepticism from leading Republicans, how anyone expects this to come together in the next few days is a mystery.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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