Saturday Open Thread

Lizz Wright (born January 22, 1980) is an American jazz/R&B singer and composer.

Wright was born in the small town of Hahira in the US state of Georgia; one of three children and the daughter of a minister and the musical director[1] of their Church. She started singing gospel music and playing piano in church as a child, and also became interested in jazz and blues. She attended Houston County High School, where she was heavily involved in choral singing, receiving the National Choral Award. She went on to Georgia State University in Atlanta to study singing.[1] Since then she has studied at The New School in New York,[citation needed] and in Vancouver. She currently resides outside Hendersonville, North Carolina.

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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43 Responses to Saturday Open Thread

  1. opulent says:

    DANG!! where is the music??

    CC where you at?

    dull thread without music

  2. rikyrah says:

    The debt ceiling & the individual mandate: how you know GOP negotiators were NEVER serious

    With Mitch McConnell’s declaration earlier this year that his main political goal is ensuring that Barack Obama is a one-term president, everything else that has happened since makes sense. But there’s something that happened in the negotiations between the White House, Congressional Democrats and Congressional Republicans that tells you, beyond a doubt and without any room for argument, that the GOP “leaders” were never serious about reaching a compromise package on raising the debt ceiling and comprehensive deficit reduction.

    From Talking Points Memo:

    But talks broke down along three major differences: the two sides were $400 billion apart on taxes, Obama rejected a last minute demand from the GOP that the deal include a repeal of the individual mandate in healthcare reform, and the two sides were still haggling over a difference of $40 billion in cuts to Medicaid, according to the White House.

    Two of the three sticking points were differences in dollar amounts. That’s normal in these types of negotiations and entirely surmountable if both parties are sincere in wanting to find a final solution. But the third piece, the introduction of the individual mandate, is an entirely different matter.

    More from Sam Stein at the Huffington Post:

    On Thursday, GOP leadership proposed that the penalty for inaction on tax reform be the repeal of the health care law’s individual mandate as well as the newly created Independent Advisory Board, which has been set up to find cost savings in Medicare. The White House balked at the offer.

    “Our view was we are not going to put the individual mandate in a deficit reduction package,” said a senior White House official.

    The individual mandate is the one main thing in health insurance reform that ensures that enough people are in the program to make it financially viable. Any Republican efforts to remove it are simply crass and obvious attempts to ensure its demise. The fact that they added this to the deficit reduction/debt ceiling debate at the 11th hour makes it clear as day that they were never going to say “Yes” to anything and that this has been a charade all along. There is simply no other conclusion that you can draw from this. Period.

  3. rikyrah says:

    The GOP Is Out To Destroy Government, Not Reduce the Deficit

    On Friday evening, the Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner, officially ended negotiations with President Obama over the debt ceiling by walking out of the talks and then refusing to take phone calls from the White House. In a letter released after he walked out of the talks, Boehner claimed that President Obama was refusing to agree to real spending cuts and was asking for too many tax increases. But in reality, President Obama offered more than $1 trillion in cuts to discretionary spending (including military spending), and $650 billion in reductions in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security spending, and asked for $1.2 trillion in increased revenue coming from closing loopholes and subsidies but not increasing tax rates. And this proposal followed others that were similarly tilted toward the conservative position. In fact, the offers being made by President Obama were so tilted that a number of conservative commentators thought it ridiculous that the House GOP was refusing to accept the deal.

    So, what gives? Why is the GOP refusing to accept a deal that is more than favorable to their claimed interest in reducing the deficit? The answer is simple – today’s Republican Party does not actually believe in deficit reduction, but instead is holding our country’s fiscal solvency hostage in order to achieve radical ideological and political goals.

    The ideological motivation for conservatives here is that they think they finally have within their grasp their dream of drowning in the bathtub any portion of government that benefits the middle class, working class, or poor. They have long wanted to destroy Medicare, Social Security, investments in infrastructure and education, and the social safety net, but they know that such steps would be politically disastrous for them. So, Republicans have spent the past 30 years driving up deficits in order to create a situation where voters feel that we “must” destroy government programs in order to restore fiscal sanity.

    That is why the Republicans drove the deficits up during the Reagan and W. Bush Administrations. That is why Rep. Paul Ryan’s Path to Poverty plan devotes all of the “savings” from abolishing Medicare and cutting social programs to further reductions in taxes for the wealthy, rather than to deficit reduction. That is why the GOP opposes President Obama’s to rationalize health care spending, cutting corporate subsidies, or reining in military spending. And that is why the Republicans are opposing a balanced approach to deficit reduction that involves both spending cuts and revenue increases and, instead, pushing for a “Cut, Cap, and Balance” approach that involves $5.5 trillion in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and discretionary social spending, and zero in new revenue. Their priority is destroying government, not reducing the deficit.

    The GOP’s pathological intransigence is also motivated by the cold economic calculation that a bad economy bodes well for their desire to defeat President Obama in 2012. That is why from the day that President Obama took office in January 2009, the Republicans have done everything they can to prevent job creation, including weakening the stimulus bill, filibustering TANF and extended unemployment benefits, refusing to approve non-controversial appointees to important positions in the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve, and opposing tax relief to small businesses and a temporary cut in payroll taxes that they supported before Obama was President. And in 2010, the GOP campaigned on jobs, but they still have yet to propose any legislation that would create actual jobs. And now they are already rattling the economy and the markets by pushing our nation to the brink of having to default on its debt. As Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has made clear, the Republicans’ number one priority is not job creation or economic recovery but, instead, is to try to ensure that President Obama is defeated in 2012. Holding the debt ceiling increase hostage in the name of dismantling our government is a critical part of the GOP’s attempt to achieve that goal.

    In short, the GOP has walked away from the debt ceiling negotiations because their goals are destroying government and defeating President Obama, not because they want to reduce the deficit. It is sad that today’s GOP has put their ideological hatred of government that helps anyone but the rich, and their dislike of our President, ahead of the good of our nation. But the reality is that the GOP has, which makes it necessary for all of us to make sure those folks do not have any significant political power after the 2012 elections. Help rescue America from the Republican hostage takers by “Sharing” this post and by writing a letter to your local newspaper editor.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Sat Jul 23, 2011 at 08:09 AM PDT
    Rise of a New “Confederacy”: Race, Privilege and President Obama (POLL)+*

    by dmitcha

    It is hard to process sometimes the belief that a mixed race, poor kid from a broken family, abandoned by his dad literally, “abandoned” by his mom figuratively (ask some children who have been given to grandparents to raise, even if it is the best choice for them), who was one of few African-Americans at virtually all levels of education, with an international-but-not-European-name, who attended two Ivy Leagues, including graduating from Harvard Law – as the first Black president (corrected from “editor” – thanks, Jose!) of the Law Review, who became a State Senator, a U.S. Senator and then President of the United States before turning 50…

    It is hard to process the condescension towards him, the portrayal of him as naive and, indeed, stupid, the entitlement that insists that despite their considerably lesser education and accomplishments (as evidenced mainly by their writing skills, unshakable opinions that lack or defy research, limited approach to logic and reliance on ad hominem attacks, and sheer statistical likelihood of doing all he has done)…

    It is hard to process their unassailable belief that they are smarter, wiser, savvier, more moral and more visionary than this particular man is.

    What new light can we shine on this old story? More below the curls.

    I read “The Help” a few weeks ago and just re-watched Oprah Winfrey’s “Masterclass” yesterday with young staff members. I wanted to make sure they understood what the ’50s were in this country. What the institutional reality of apartheid here was, and certainly not just in the South. Then other friends in their 40s shared stories about the crumbling institutions but unchanged beliefs we faced in the ’70s and ’80s. I then tasked my young team with calling grandparents and asking pointed questions, requesting explicit anecdotes, sharing that with us next week. I wanted them to be able to contextualize this presidency and the white hot disbelief it triggers.

    Now, in the ’10s…I see still what I’ve sent them to learn. The casual and unchallenged belief so many hold that even as a poor, under-educated and/or unaccomplished person, without far-reaching goals or a game-changing past…the steely belief that they are “better than.” I see, and shake my head at, the incredulity, the often foaming rage, the refusal to explore a bitter, unfortunate, distorted core, when challenged on their behavior. Their knee-jerk refusal to accept why they feel such anger and such superiority. The avoidance of all of that history, all of that internalized training. Of all of that institutional protection from inferiority or lack of motivation that they don’t acknowledge or may not even have been made aware of.

    Whenever the spin, the distortions, the assumptions, the hair on fire, the distractions…the attempts at marginalization begin, I don’t always hear “health care,” “debt ceiling,” “endless war.” Sometimes, all I hear is this:’

    If you cannot see the video, it is a distraught caller to an Australian radio show after the November 2008 election.

    To everyone who reads this and begins the all-American game show of “That’s/I’m/She’s/He’s/We’re Not Racist,” what I describe above is not racism. It is institutional privilege and the unfortunate, unexamined entitlement and sense of superiority that it begets. In our country, privilege was racially coded and is, therefore, inextricable from race. But, as ever, all discussions that involve race do not by default include a charge of racism. If you don’t respect the distinction between discussions of privilege and discussions of racism…in fact, if you believe you “really know” what I mean” or that you, indeed, know better than I do what I really mean, then that is the precise behavior I ask you to examine with this post.

    In that same sense, I ask everyone on the “Obambi” train to examine their unending litany of diaries that purportedly explain what the President really thinks or believes, what “surprises” his silly, naive, banjo-strumming self, etc. NOTE: I have written “banjo-strumming” to illustrate that which you conjure up when you blow so relentlessly on the whistle. We all see the banjo. Some of us roll our eyes and think, here we go again. Others see that banjo and think, oh, thank goodness, I was getting stressed about this whole shift in equality, and now I’m going to hear some lovely music that will remind me of the good old days…

    When you are dramatically less educated, dramatically less accomplished – and this is the President of the U.S. I am discussing, so only a few dozen people in modern history are even remotely as accomplished, when you are clearly less eloquent, less practical, less politically astute or successful, etc., than someone, and that person has overcome hurdles you have never witnessed, experienced, fathomed or, possibly, even heard of, and they have soared past you to unimaginable heights, and yet you, without deeper exploration of what could trigger such a false state, awaken each day to a renewed and deep-seated belief that you are smarter and more clear-sighted and more strategic and more “big picture” than that person, a belief that you then broadcast relentlessly and without any demonstrated foundation, consider the possibility that President Barack Obama is not the deluded character in this play.

    In the event it has been a while since the President’s accomplishments have been reviewed and reflected upon, let’s revisit below, with a final thought-for-the-day at the end. I have removed his name, just so we can all read the list objectively.

    2008 to present President of the United States of America

    2009 Recipient, Nobel Peace Prize

    2005-2008 U.S. Senator, State of Illinois

    2007 Time Magazine: One of the “100 Most Influential People in the World”

    2006 The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, Crown Publishers (NY Times Best-Seller)

    2005 Time Magazine: One of the “100 Most Influential People in the World”

    1997-2004 State Senator, State of Illinois

    1995 Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, Times Books (NY Times best-seller, reprint 2004)

    1993 to 2002 Associate Attorney, Davis, Miner & Barnhill, Chicago, IL

    1992 to 2004 Lecturer/Senior Lecturer, University of Chicago Law School

    1991 J.D., Magna Cum Laude, Harvard Law School,

    1990 President, Harvard Law Review (first African-American)

    1983 B.A., Political Science, Columbia University

    This is why privilege, and its ensuing senses of entitlement (“I want what I want when I want it”) and superiority (“Obambi”, etc.) must be examined. Re-read that partial resume above. Now process that you think YOU are smarter, more politically savvy, more experienced, more astute than this person. Roll it around in your mouth like a rich red wine. Ask yourself…would I receive these credentials differently…would I analyze this background with more respect…if this were a 50-year-old White man I had never met?,-Privilege-and-President-Obama-%28POLL%29

  5. rikyrah says:

    Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 07:22 PM PDT
    None Dare Call It Bullsh*t+*

    by FogCityJohn

    As most of you know, I don’t write many diaries, and when I do, they usually concern issues that touch my life as an HIV+ gay man. But this one will be different. The circus in Washington over the (entirely manufactured) debt ceiling “crisis” seems to me to be further proof of something I’ve thought for a long time now.

    My thought is simply this — propaganda has disastrous consequences. I’ll explain this a bit more below the curlicue.

    Anyone who’s been reading this site over the last couple of weeks knows that one of the reasons we can’t get a debt ceiling deal is largely because of the intransigence of certain Republican members of Congress, mostly those affiliated with the so-called Tea Party. These people categorically refuse to consider any tax increase to fund essential goverment services. To them, taxes are simply a form of theft that destroys economic activity and entrepreneurship. In their world, the federal government can solve the deficit problem by cutting taxes. You see, to your average Tea Partier, it makes perfect sense to say that decreasing government revenues will result in increasing government revenues. Taking in less money means you take in more money. Tea Partiers will not be swayed by the talk of pointy-headed economists. Indeed, they will not even be swayed by mathematics. Thus, they will not agree to any deal that doesn’t include massive cuts to federal spending (combined, perhaps, with tax cuts), because they consider the idea of authorizing additional borrowing by Uncle Sam to be anathema to their “principles.”

    And therein lies the problem. You see, this is what happens when a country spends over three decades pretending that idiotic right wing ideologies are as valuable as facts. This is the result of the collective decision of the Very Serious People to take seriously right-wing rhetoric about taxes and economics and to treat it as if it were a valid, rational basis for policy. The late Daniel Patrick Moynihan apparently had it all wrong — you can indeed have your own facts. Or perhaps more precisely, in Washington’s bizarro world, an opinion is as good as a fact. Indeed, many of the Very Serious People no longer seem to know the difference between the two. Or if they do, they don’t appear to think the distinction between fact and opinion makes any difference at all. In Washington, pointing out that something is simply false is viewed as very bad form.

    The reason Speaker Boehner can’t get through to the Tea Party members of his caucus is because they (like most Americans) have been fed a steady diet of utterly unrealistic right-wing propaganda for decades. And our “objective” news media has treated this insanity as if it were worthy of respect rather than derision. These people have been told for years that their ideology is as good as truth. They really believe tax cuts reduce the deficit. The claim is demonstrably false, but none dare call it bullshit.

    And that’s just one small drop of the snake oil these people have swallowed. Now, after years of ingesting a steady diet of ideological horse manure, lots of these imbeciles have actually been elected to Congress. John Boehner and Mitch McConnell now have the unenviable task of persuading them that they must vote to raise the debt ceiling, which means copping to the fact that the right’s economic propaganda is just, well, propaganda. Of course, Boehner and McConnell have been spewing this propaganda for years, which is doubtless why their so many of their own members refuse to believe them when they suddenly admit that the emperor of right-wing economic ideology in fact has no clothes.

    But these tea party mouth-breathers have been indoctrinated with the idea that facts are the result of some kind of liberal conspiracy, and they’re not about to give up on their baseless opinions. After all, why should they? They’ve been told for years that right-wing economic ideas that are completely unmoored from reality count for as much as facts. Of course, in the interest of “objectivity,” no one in the news media or in the political class would be so crass as to say, “That’s wrong.”

    So what we are seeing is the inevitable consequence of decades of pretending that the ideas of people like Ronald Reagan, Arthur Laffer, Grover Norquist, Howard Jarvis, and others are somehow grounded in reality. Bush Père offered perhaps the last gasp of sanity when he decried Ronald Reagan’s “voodoo economics.” But he, too, was soon persuaded to toe the party line.

    Our long years of determined denial of reality have taken their toll. The ideology of the so-called Tea Party is the apotheosis of disturbed, right-wing, Randian fantasy. Perhaps the worldwide economic collapse that will follow our default on the debt will lead people back to the world of reality. But me, I’m not holding my breath.*t?via=siderec

  6. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    July 23, 2011 9:25 AM
    GOP could trade one hostage for another

    By Steve Benen

    Late yesterday, a senior Republican aide told the Washington Post that House GOP leaders have “no idea” how to resolve the debt-ceiling crisis they created. Those two words — “no idea” — are the kind of words that may cause some panic.

    But at the risk of beating a dead horse, at least one lawmaker has an easy solution that would resolve the problem in minutes.

    Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) decision to end negotiations with President Obama on a sweeping deficit-reduction package to accompany a debt-ceiling hike was “shocking,” “dangerous” and risks an economic calamity.

    “I want the opportunity to vote straight up” on a clean debt-ceiling bill, Welch said in a phone interview Friday night.

    Welch led the push for a clean bill in May, which was soundly defeated as part of a GOP stunt. But in May, few thought the crisis would intensify to its current point.

    “That was a show vote, intended to try to increase their leverage,” Welch told The Hill last night. “It was not consequential…. This time it would matter. We’re now on the brink of default.”

    Now, I know what Republicans are going to say. Or more specifically, I know what they’ll say after they stop laughing. The GOP will argue they need the debt ceiling for leverage, and passing a clean bill would make it harder to strike a debt-reduction deal, since Republicans would lose their hostage.

    But I’d suggest they simply take a different hostage. They could, first thing Monday morning, take a few minutes to raise the debt ceiling, and then immediately announce they’ll shut down the government in the fall unless Democrats agree to a large debt-reduction package. The fiscal year only goes through September anyway, which isn’t that far off.

    President Obama clearly wants to reach a debt-reduction agreement, and both parties would have an incentive to avoid a shutdown in a few months. It would give policymakers time to continue negotiations, without running the risk of a global economic catastrophe (which, Dems could remind Republicans, would likely be blamed on the GOP).

    Wall Street, global markets, the private sector, state and local governments, and consumers would all be thrilled. Democrats would be relieved, and Republicans could wipe their hands of this mess and get ready for the next big showdown.

    What’s more, there’s ample precedent for this. There have been bipartisan debt-reduction packages crafted before, but there’s never been a need to tie the process to the debt ceiling. There’s a good reason for that: playing with the ceiling is too dangerous, as GOP leaders have no doubt noticed by now.

    One effortless vote could make the crisis disappear, while setting the stage for the budget battle royale Republicans want. So why not pass the damn bill and move on?

  7. rikyrah says:

    A Conniption Over Contraception
    The Institute of Medicine has recommended that health plans under the Affordable Care Act cover birth control at no additional cost to the patient. Kay Steiger responds to critics like the Family Research Council whose protest is based on the belief that contraception is a form of abortion:

    I find FRC’s objections to be unreasonable. After all, the way insurance works is that you all pay into a big pool and people get to pay for what they need. The idea that you have a say over subsidizing a procedure or prescription you personally object to has never been a standard for insurance, and rightfully so. If all medical procedures were up for a vote, it might make dealing with insurance even more nightmarish than it already is.

    Pema Levy provides some good background on the controversy:

    During health-care-reform deliberations in December 2009, the Senate approved the Women’s Health Amendment (known as the Mikulski Amendment), which requires private health insurance plans to provide preventative services for women free of charge. But to avoid a political storm over contraception, the law wisely punted the decision of what would be covered off to HHS, which in turn asked for guidance from the IOM. What this has done is take the decision out of the political realm and left it up to medical experts. This not only makes it more likely that contraception will be covered but makes it harder for an anti-abortion, anti-contraception president to come along and strip it from the law.

    That such a maneuver was necessary is a testament to how anti-abortion activists have succeeded in making something as popular as contraception a political lightning rod. Contraception is extremely popular, and polls show broad support for making it affordable. But that hasn’t stopped them for successfully cutting off access. In a stroke of genius, the anti-choice movement has managed to repackage their resistance to contraception by folding it into their opposition to abortion. And what better way to do that than to name-drop Planned Parenthood?

  8. rikyrah says:

    The Washington Post Owes the World an Apology for this Item
    By James Fallows

    Read it and weep. On the Post’s site Jennifer Rubin first quotes the Weekly Standard, in a rushed item about the Norway horror:’

    We don’t know if al Qaeda was directly responsible for today’s events, but in all likelihood the attack was launched by part of the jihadist hydra. Prominent jihadists have already claimed online that the attack is payback for Norway’s involvement in the war in Afghanistan.

    Then she goes on to argue on her own:

    Moreover, there is a specific jihadist connection here: “Just nine days ago, Norwegian authorities filed charges against Mullah Krekar, an infamous al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist who, with help from Osama bin Laden, founded Ansar al Islam – a branch of al Qaeda in northern Iraq – in late 2001.”

    This is a sobering reminder for those who think it’s too expensive to wage a war against jihadists. I spoke to Gary Schmitt of the American Enterprise Institute, who has been critical of proposed cuts in defense and of President Obama’s Afghanistan withdrawal plan. “There has been a lot of talk over the past few months on how we’ve got al-Qaeda on the run and, compared with what it once was, it’s become a rump organization. But as the attack in Oslo reminds us, there are plenty of al-Qaeda allies still operating. No doubt cutting the head off a snake is important; the problem is, we’re dealing with global nest of snakes.”

    No, this is a sobering reminder for those who think it’s too tedious to reserve judgment about horrifying events rather than instantly turning them into talking points for pre-conceived views. On a per capita basis, Norway lost twice as many people today as the U.S. did on 9/11. Imagine the political repercussions through the world if double-9/11-scale damage had been done by an al-Qaeda offshoot. The unbelievably sweeping damage is there in either case. For an example of a sober, dignified, shocked but resolute and democratic way to respond to national tragedy, see the moving and impressive speech by Norway’s Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, here. (Thanks to M. Fullilove.)

    Twenty-four hours after the Post item went up, twenty-three hours after its claims were shown to be false and hysterical, it’s still there, with no correction or apology.

    UPDATE: Incredibly, Jennifer Rubin has had time to do four new posts, all about Obama’s weaknesses, since last night, but not to do anything whatsoever about her initial “al Qaeda did it” rush to judgment.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Bankers say Obama will win
    By BEN WHITE | 07/22/11 7:04 AM
    Updated: 07/22/11 7:07 AM

    From POLITICO’s Morning Money: “M.M. has been making the rounds of banks and private equity shops lately and talking to senior bankers about how they see the 2012 presidential campaign playing out given the perilous state of the economy and the likelihood of 8-percent-plus unemployment next fall. … Somewhat surprisingly, even those who strongly oppose the administration’s policies still think the odds very much favor Obama’s re-election. The main reason cited is the fact that Obama could raise a billion dollars (with or without much Wall Street help) which would wipe out a lot of perceived problems. …

    “Other reasons often cited include the perceived weaknesses of all the leading GOP candidates and fact that Obama’s poll numbers are not much WORSE given the flood of bad economic news. ‘If you’d asked me earlier this year, I would have said no question Obama wins, and probably pretty easy,’ one senior executive who is not a supporter of the President said. ‘I still think he wins, but it’s a lot closer to maybe 55-45 odds.’ ”

  10. rikyrah says:

    Obama Throws His Campaign’s Weight Behind the Wisconsin Recalls
    July 23, 2011

    In the name of workers’ rights, President Obama is throwing the strong, organized ground forces of Organinzing for America, the official Obama re-election campaign, behind the Wisconsin legislative recall fight.

    Citing concerns over the way the six Republican senators failed hard-working families by forcing drastic cuts in funding for seniors, the disabled and schools in order to fund the taxes they cut for Republican campaign contributors, Obama for America is mobilized to defend Wisconsin families. OFA supporters will be showing solidarity with Wisconsin working families by organizing, phone banking and knocking on doors to get the word out. OFA Wisconsin Field Director Michelle Kleppe sent an email out asking supporters to join the fight starting Saturday, starting at 10 AM.

    The recall election for the six Republican senators is scheduled for August 9th and recall election for the remaining two Democrats is set for August 16th. Last week the first Democrat, Dave Hansen of Green Bay, beat back his Republican opponent to keep his seat by a wide margin, however, the results from that election don’t necessarily reflect how Democrats will fare statewide, as his Republican Tea Party opponent had a long history of trouble with the law.

    According to Wisconsin Politics, state GOP Executive Director Stephan Thompson responded to the news that OFA had joined the fight, saying that, “Wisconsin has come impressively far in a few short months, and it’s disappointing that Obama is trying to use his burnt-out star power to turn our state back to the failed tax and spend policies of the past.”

    Contrary to Mr Thompson’s statement, Obama is polling quite well in Wisconsin, better in fact than the senate Republicans and Governor Walker. In direct response to Walker and the Republican legislators attack on collective bargaining, Jason Easley reported for PoliticusUSA:

    62% of those surveyed also felt that Wisconsin was on the wrong track. A deeper look into the numbers uncovers that Scott Walker’s attack on collective bargaining is hurting his approval more than anxiety over the economy.

    Wisconsinites may share a negative perception about the direction of both their state and the country as a whole, but President Obama and Scott Walker’s approval ratings are heading in opposite directions. Wisconsin residents’ approval of the job Obama is doing as president by a 53%-42% margin. The numbers are reversed for Gov. Walker as 53% disapprove and only 43% approve of his job performance. Shockingly among those who disapprove, 45% strongly disapprove of Walker. In contrast only 26% strongly disapprove of Obama.

    Burnt out star power”, indeed.

  11. dannie22 says:

    Good afternoon everyone. Hope all is well. Let us pray for our beloved President

  12. rikyrah says:

    GOP Makes Big Gains among White Voters
    Especially among the Young and Poor

    As the country enters into the 2012 presidential election cycle, the electorate’s partisan affiliations have shifted significantly since Barack Obama won office nearly three years ago. In particular, the Democrats hold a much narrower edge than they did in 2008, particularly when the partisan leanings of independents are taken into account.

    Notably, the GOP gains have occurred only among white voters; a 2-point Republican edge among whites in 2008 (46% to 44%) has widened to a 13-point lead today (52% to 39%). In sharp contrast, the partisan attachments of black and Hispanic voters have remained consistently Democratic.

    While Republican gains in leaned party identification span nearly all subgroups of whites, they are particularly pronounced among the young and poor. A seven-point Democratic advantage among whites under age 30 three years ago has turned into an 11-point GOP advantage today. And a 15-point Democratic advantage among whites earning less than $30,000 annually has swung to a slim four-point Republican edge today.

    Yet, the Republican Party’s growth has been limited in two important ways. First, the steep gains in GOP leaning that helped the party in the 2010 midterms have not continued, as the overall balance of partisan attachments has held steady in the first half of 2011. Second, while more independents say they “lean” toward the Republican Party, the GOP has not gained in actual party affiliation since 2008 – just 28% of registered voters, in both years, call themselves Republicans. Instead, the growth category continues to be political independents, with a record high 34% of registered voters choosing this label in 2011.

    • Thanks for the numbers. I think we have to blame the politicians for that surge. They do and say anything they can to bring down PBO. We know the racism has always been strong, but those asshats have made a point of trying to build hatred and fear towards him.

  13. rikyrah says:

    America’s Cold Civil War

    The Republican refusal to countenance any way to raise revenues to tackle the massive debt incurred largely on their watch and from a recession which started under Obama’s predecessor makes one thing clear. They are not a political party in government; they are a radical faction that refuses to participate meaningfully in the give and take the Founders firmly believed should be at the center of American government. They are not conservatives in this sense. They are anarchists.

    Their fiscal anarchism has now led to their threat to destabilize and possibly upend the American and global economy because they refuse to compromise an inch. They control only one part of the government, and yet they hold all of it hostage. I cannot believe they are prepared to allow the US to default rather than give an inch toward responsibility. Except I should believe it by now. Everything I have written about them leads inexorably to this moment. Opposing overwhelming public opinion on the need for a mixed package of tax hikes and spending cuts, drawing the president into a position far to the right of the right of his party, and posturing absurdly as fiscal conservatives, they are in fact anti-tax and anti-government fanatics, and this is their moment of maximal destruction.

    I read George Will’s retread column from the 1980s today and simply cannot fathom what he is talking about. Except, I fear I can. He is channeling Mitch McConnell. Boehner and McConnell have one goal and it is has nothing to do with the economy. It is destroying this president and this presidency. They are clearly calculating that the economic devastation their vandalism could create will so hurt the economy that it could bring them back to power through the wreckage. And they will use every smear, every lie, every canard possible to advance this goal. The propaganda channel dreamt of by Roger Ailes in the Nixon era will continue to pump poison into the body politic, until they defeat the man whose legitimacy as president they have never truly accepted.

    Coming from abroad, this country seems as if it is beyond dysfunctional. It looks like a banana republic on the verge of economic collapse. Now that Nixon’s dream has come true and the GOP is fundamentally the party of the Confederacy, it was perhaps naive to think they could ever accept the legitimacy of this president, or treat him with respect or act as adults in the governing process.

    But this is who they are. I longed for Obama to bridge this gulf in ideology. But he cannot bridge it alone, especially when the GOP is determined to burn the bridge entirely, even when presented with a deal so tilted to the right only true fanatics could possibly walk away from it. And so the very republic is being plunged into crisis and possible depression by a single, implacable, fanatical faction. Until they are defeated, the country remains in more peril than we know.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    July 23, 2011 8:45 AM
    Boehner flubs the ‘existence’ of the debt limit

    By Steve Benen

    House Speaker John Boehner’s Twitter feed was full of chest-thumping posturing last night, with the Ohio Republican whining about “tax increases” and refusing to compromise. It’s not exactly constructive rhetoric.

    But there was one item that stood out.

    Debt limit exists to force Washington to rein in spending, deal with these tough issues. If @WhiteHouse won’t, we will.

    Wait, the Speaker of the House thinks the debt ceiling “exists to force Washington to rein in spending”? Since when?

    In fact, this is more than a little bizarre. In 2002, John Boehner voted to raise the debt limit in a clean bill, with no preconditions, with no attempts to rein in spending, and with no effort to “deal with these tough issues.” In 2003, he did the same thing. And then again in 2004, 2006, and 2007.

    Did Boehner, in all of these votes, simply forget why the debt ceiling “exists”?

    Indeed, has Congress ever understood the purpose of the law the way Boehner does? Since 1939, Congress has raised the debt limit 89 times. The issue has come up 89 times, in 89 instances, Congress passed a clean bill, and policymakers never saw this as part of a process to “force Washington to rein in spending.”

    It’s almost as if the House Speaker is just making up nonsense as he goes along, hoping the public won’t know the difference.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    July 23, 2011 8:00 AM
    With 10 days to go

    By Steve Benen

    For those who saw the basic outline of the “Grand Bargain” and hated it, I have good news. For those who are concerned of an economic catastrophe a week from Tuesday, the news isn’t good at all.

    House Speaker John A. Boehner on Friday abandoned talks with the White House over a landmark deal to reduce the national debt, throwing into chaos efforts to raise the legal limit on government borrowing just 11 days before the U.S. Treasury is due to run out of cash.

    Facing the specter of the government’s first default, President Obama summoned congressional leaders to the White House for an emergency meeting Saturday morning, and Senate leaders rushed to revive a fallback strategy for raising the debt limit before the Aug. 2 deadline.

    “We have now run out of time,” a visibly angry Obama said during an impromptu White House news conference held after Boehner (R-Ohio) called to say he was walking out on the talks for the second time in two weeks — again citing differences over taxes. Now, Obama said, “one of the questions that the Republican Party is going to have to ask itself is: Can they say yes to anything?”

    President Obama went into detail, for the first time publicly, about the offer he put on the table: over $1 trillion in discretionary spending cuts, including defense, and an additional $650 billion in entitlement cuts, in exchange for $1.2 trillion in additional revenue, which is far less than what even the Gang of Six and Simpson/Bowles envisioned.

    The White House also said it would settle for $400 billion less in revenue if Boehner would accept fewer entitlement cuts.

    But the Speaker walked away, leaving the deal on the table. He blamed Obama for the breakdown — the president “insisted on raising taxes,” he said — but the more accurate assessment is that the Speaker just doesn’t have the votes. The House Republican caucus is simply too right-wing, and too opposed to compromise, to approve any deal Boehner negotiates with the president.

    And while last night was dramatic, it’s worth remembering that the breakdown basically brings us back to where we were eight days ago. The Grand Bargain was on the table, them off, then on again, and now apparently off again, never to return. This is where we found ourselves last Thursday.

    The difference is, the clock is now ticking much louder, as the crisis has intensified by several degrees.

    So, now what? The White House will host yet another meeting with congressional leaders in three hours. Boehner has said he intends to have no further negotiations with the administration, but will instead talk to Senate leaders. Speaking of Senate leaders, the McConnell/Reid compromise that was shelved yesterday will be taken off the shelf, dusted off, and gain considerably more attention. (House Republicans still don’t like it, but that was when it was one of several options. As of now, it may be the last option standing.)

    One of the main sticking points to keep an eye on is the thresholds Obama and Boehner are hanging onto. For the president, the deal has to resolve the debt-ceiling issue until after 2012; for the Speaker, the total savings package has to be, dollar for dollar, at least as big as the amount of the debt ceiling increase ($2.5 trillion). One of these two benchmarks will not be met.

    As for the big picture, Obama offered Republicans the sweetest deal they’ll ever see from a Democratic president. In the end, the GOP just wasn’t prepared to compromise, and the House Speaker just wasn’t able to lead.

    And as for this morning, the president said yesterday he expects the Republican leaders “to explain to me how it is that we are going to avoid default.” I suspect they’re going to struggle to answer that question.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Sarah Palin Thinks She Can Win The GOP Nomination Without Fundraising
    July 22, 2011
    By Jason Easley

    Karl Rove was hanging out on Greta Van Sustern’s show when he said that Sarah Palin thinks she can win the 2012 GOP nomination without campaigning in the early states or fundraising.

    Greta Van Sustern asked Rove if Palin could run an unconventional campaign. Rove answered, “Her people think so. They’ve talked with people about it, whom I’ve talked to, and they’ve been very explicit about it — that she doesn’t need to go to Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, press the flesh and go to all these local events in order to cultivate the local leadership. She can talk to people over that. She doesn’t need to cultivate the fundraisers and the bundlers, because her mere presence in the race will generate the cash needed for the campaign. She doesn’t need to do things in a normal way to lay out a message. She can do it on Facebook. She can do it by having a friendly producer release a movie that is seen in theaters, and that’s going to be the interesting thing.”

    Rove then issued a warning about the Palin strategy, “I frankly think that the people in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, there are some of the niceties that you ignore at your own peril. There is a reason why, these people in the early states take it very seriously, and they expect to see you, be able to hear up close, be able to ask you questions, be able to see you multiple times before they make a commitment, and we’ll see if that old rule remains the same.”

    He said that Palin is making it clear that if she runs, she is doing it by her rules. Nobody should be surprised that Sarah Palin wouldn’t want to hit the campaign trail, but the real stunner is that she arrogantly believes that she doesn’t have to fundraise either. She seriously thinks that the day she announces the floodgates are going to open and millions of dollars will pour in.

    What is especially delusional is that she still believes this after her PAC only raised $1.6 million in six months. I am sure that her die hard supporters will crack open their piggy banks the day that she makes her announcement, but there aren’t enough of them to fund a presidential campaign. Sarah Palin is not Barack Obama. She will not have 600,000+ donors lined up to give her money.

    It is not a shock that Palin wouldn’t want to campaign, but she really thinks that she can sit back post to Twitter and Facebook and run commercials and win the GOP nomination.

    In short, Sarah Palin is Ron Paul without the actual campaigning. Sarah is about to discover that it is tough to win primaries in individual states, without campaigning in those states.

    Palin has found a way to keep her brand alive. She is going to run for president without actually running for president.

    • She is going to run for president without actually running for president

      The stupid burns…

    • Sarah Palin is a lazy piece of________________fill in the blanks yourselves. I’m trying really hard not to swear in any language. Her ‘campaign’ will fizzle just like that stupid movie that I understand has already gone in the hole because almost no one will pay to see it.

      Campaigning takes work, being President takes work. Palin hates working. That’s why she quit being governor of Alaska. She thinks people will pay her to just breathe. She is a total fool but it would be kind of fun to see her and Bachman in the cat fight of the century. I could have a sweet tooth for that!

      • Get her, Aquagranny! I’m so tired of Palin’s ignorance. It’s just numbing.

      • rikyrah says:

        thank you aquagranny

      • Denn says:

        Obama is not given eugonh credit. No President in history has been faced with so many challenges: two wars, terrible economy, high unemployment, deregulated industries, corporate/political greed, lost of prestige around the world, and personal hate. Now most of the media have been fair with him except of course Fox News. Their bias towards him mostly by those morning show kuckleheads, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and on occasions Bill O”Reilly no matter what he does they can’t find it in them to praise him. He gets $20 billion dollars to ensure people are not left out in the cold by BP and they read it as a power grab. Had George Bush done it they would hail it as him doing what’s best for the people. Then you get to their lame reason like it is unconstituional. As if Sarah Palin did a day in law school, our President taught constituional law!! I would trust him to know his responsibilities as President better than these wanna be Perry Masons. In the end, these people who hate OUR PRESIDENT will regret the day that they didn’t embrace this man of character and fortitude. He is the right man for this job and the only one who could have handled all these challenges and keep his head.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Under Attack for Comments Allen West Digs Himself a Hole
    July 22, 2011
    By Hrafnkell Haraldsson

    Oh the tangled web we weave! Normally after a few days you can expect the dust to settle and to sort out the events under examination. Not so easy here. Allen West has refused to apologized for his misogynistic remarks about Debbie Wasserman Schultz (then claimed he did, then claimed he didn’t). He has claimed in his own defense the old tried-and-true schoolyard routine of saying, “Oh yeah? Well Democrats are racists!” That is what he told FOX News’ Fox & Friends, broadcast July 20, 2011:

    From Crooks and Liars:

    “This is something, once again, the Democrat Party, they put my Social Security number and my wife’s employment identification number in a mail piece,” he said. “This has just been an ongoing thing. I have been called Uncle Tom, a sell-out Oreo. It’s not about Allen West. And so once again, it’s very interesting to me that we continually allow liberals to do whatever they want and attack conservatives, but all of the sudden when a conservative stands up and says enough then people all want to sit back, especially liberals, and play victim. She’s not a victim. She’s been attacking Allen West for quite some time.”

    Of course you can check for yourself and see that Debbie Wasserman Schultz said nothing racist to Allen West, let alone used the terms he claims.

    He has also tried the “I’m just a simple old soldier” routine, saying “there are certain ways we talk in the military. I guess I haven’t learned the DC-insider talk.” Right. This is the same Allen West who lost command of his unit in Iraq for abusing an Iraqi policeman. I’d say his problems go a little deeper than being unfamiliar with “DC-insider talk.” He’s a thug. He was a thug before; he is a thug now.

  18. rikyrah says:

    July 22, 2011 12:00 PM
    The New McCarthyism: Oregon Tea Partiers invade quiet MoveOn picnic, break it up with threats — and boast about it

    By David Neiwert

    Probably the most disturbing aspect of the multifarious effects of Fox News’ right-wing propaganda machine and its Tea Party offspring is the way it has utterly taken over the lives of so many senior citizens, who lap up every word as the gospel truth and have become increasingly radicalized by talking heads like Glenn Beck.

    Even as they project their own intentions onto the likes of the unions, the Fox acolytes and the Tea Partiers have effectively become a brownshirt corps of mean-spirited, vicious thugs. It’s deeply disturbing to watch people in our parents’ generation viciously attacking liberals with increasing venom and violence.

    The latest example took place last weekend in the quiet little retirement town of Roseburg, Oregon. It’s a pretty little burg on the I-5 corridor in western Oregon that is mostly populated with senior citizens of various stripes. Via Carla at Blue Oregon, we happened upon this story in the local paper:

    A small political gathering of about 18 liberal thinkers at River Forks Park Sunday afternoon erupted in conflict when about 35 members of the conservative tea party intruded upon the meeting, waving flags and holding signs accusing the rival group of being communists, Marxists and socialists.

    The liberal group — organized by — decided to leave the park and move its potluck to a nearby home. Members of the conservative group followed, parking at the entrance of a private lane leading to the home to continue their protest.

    Roseburg Democrats Dean and Sara Byers said Monday they told tea party members who followed that they were not welcome to drive down the lane to their home.

    The Byerses said they got out of their car to stop vehicles from entering the driveway and one tea party member almost ran them over.

    Sara Byers said she was so shaken she called 911. She said a Douglas County deputy called about an hour and a half later and said he had been unable to respond because of other incidents. Byers said she was still considering filing a criminal complaint against members of the tea party for harassment.

    A leader of the tea party group, Rich Raynor of Roseburg, disputed the liberal group’s version of events.

    “They are liars,” said Raynor, director of Douglas County Americans for Prosperity. “That is what communists do.”

    The latter confrontations were not videotaped, but the Tea Partiers themselves proudly posted the video of their invasion of the MoveOn picnic. Moreover, it clearly documents how they effectively broke it up — by threatening the attendees with intimidating speech and making it clear they wanted the group to clear out. What it doesn’t show, of course, is that they followed these folks to someone’s private home and tried to invade the gathering on private property as well.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Obama Gets A Hickory Stick And Takes The GOP To The Woodshed
    July 22, 2011
    By Jason Easley

    After John Boehner quit on the debt ceiling talks, President Obama delivered a lashing to the entire Republican Party that will definitely leave a mark.

    After laying out his plan, Obama launched his first salvo at the Republicans,

    It is hard to understand why Speaker Boehner would walk away from this kind of deal and frankly, if you look at the commentary out there, there are a lot of republicans that are puzzled as to why it couldn’t get done. In fact, there are a lot of Republican voters out there who are puzzled as to why it couldn’t get done. Because the fact of the matter is the vast majority of the American people believe we should have a balanced approach. Now, if you do not have any revenues as the most recent Republican plan that’s been put forward both in House and Senate proposed, if you have no revenues at all, what that means is, more after burden on seniors, more traffic cuts to education, more drastic cuts to research. A bigger burden on services that are going to middle class families all across the country, and it essentially asks nothing of corporate jet owners. It asks nothing of oil and gas companies. It asks nothing from folks like me who have done extremely well, and can afford to do a little bit more. In other words, if you don’t have revenues, the entire thing ends up being tilted on the backs of the poor and middle class families, and the majority of Americans don’t agree on that approach. So here’s what we’re going to do, we have now run out of time. I’ve told Speaker Boehner. I’ve told Nancy Pelosi. I’ve told Harry Reid, and I’ve told Mitch McConnell, i want them here at 11:00 tomorrow. We have run out of time and they are going to have to explain to me how it is that we are going to avoid default, and they can come up with any plans that they want and bring them up here and we will work on them. The only bottom line that i have is that we have to extend this debt ceiling through the next election into 2013.

    President Obama tried to make it clear to the American people who is to blame,

    Up until sometime earlier today when I couldn’t get a phone call returned, my expectation was that Speaker Boehner was going to be willing to go to his caucus and ask them to do the tough thing but right thing. I think it has proven difficult for Speaker Boehner to do that. I’ve been left at the alter now a couple of times, and I think that one of the questions the Republican Party is going to have to ask itself is can they say yes to anything? Can they say yes to anything?

    And it’s accomplished without raising individual tax rates. It’s accomplished in a way that’s compatible with the “no tax” pledge that a whole bunch of these folks signed on to — because we were mindful that they had boxed themselves in and we tried to find a way for them to generate revenues in a way that did not put them in a bad spot.

    And so the question is, what can you say yes to? Now, if their only answer is what they’ve presented, which is a package that would effectively require massive cuts to Social Security, to Medicare, to domestic spending, with no revenues whatsoever, not asking anything from the wealthiest in this country or corporations that have been making record profits — if that’s their only answer, then it’s going to be pretty difficult for us to figure out where to go. Because the fact of the matter is that’s what the American people are looking for, is some compromise, some willingness to put partisanship aside, some willingness to ignore talk radio or ignore activists in our respective bases, and do the right thing.

    President Obama pulled out the big guns and put a face on the impact of a default,

    I’m getting letters from people who write me and say, at the end of every month I have to skip meals. Senior citizens on Social Security who are just hanging on by a thread. Folks who have severe disabilities who are desperate every single month to try to figure out how they’re going to make ends meet. But it’s not just those folks. You’ve got business contractors who are providing services to the federal government, who have to wonder are they going to be able to get paid and what does that do in terms of their payrolls.

    You’ve got just a huge number of people who, in one way or another, interact with the federal government. And even if you don’t, even if you’re not a recipient of Social Security, even if you don’t get veterans’ benefits or disabilities, imagine what that does to the economy when suddenly 70 million checks are put at risk. I mean, if you’re a business out there, that is not going to be good for economic growth. And that’s the number one concern of the American people.

    This was a masterful use of the bully pulpit, by a president who often gets criticized by those on the left and right for not showing enough emotion. At this press conference, Obama showed more than emotion. He revealed where his heart is. This president is trying to protect the most vulnerable members of our society, and those who are hurting in this recession.

    The message was clear and powerful. Republicans want to cut the deficit by hurting those who are most in need of our help. Republicans are more interested in playing politics than reducing the debt. Republicans are cowards who refuse to make the tough decisions. Most importantly, his message to average Americans was I am here working for you. I am willing to make the tough decisions, and take the heat from my own party for uncomfortable compromises.

    Not only did Obama position himself as working for the American people, but he painted the Republicans as Washington politicians who are beholden to their ideology and special interests.

    Republicans could have had trillions of dollars in spending cuts, but as the minutes tick away it is looking more and more like they will have to raise the debt ceiling and get nothing. The GOP now has two options. They can raise the debt ceiling with no spending cuts, or they can allow the country to default and be blamed for another collapse of the American economy.

    Obama has not only won the political battle over the debt ceiling, but he has exposed the GOP as deficit frauds. If Republicans don’t agree to cut spending and increase revenues, they will have given Obama the ability to run for reelection in 2012 as the only candidate who is serious about lowering the deficit.

    Republicans ached for this fight over the debt ceiling, but the thought never occurred to them that President Obama would take them to the woodshed and beat them within an inch of their lives.

    Obama may end up getting everything he wanted and giving up nothing.

    He is the best politician in the country, and this press conference illustrated why even with a bad economy, he leads every potential Republican nominee in the polls.

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