Serendipity SOUL | Wednesday Open Thread

Wiki:  The Fugees (pronounced /ˈfuːdʒiːz/) were a Haitian American hip hop group who rose to fame in the mid-1990s. Their repertoire included elements of Hip hop, soul and Caribbean music, particularly reggae. The members of the group were rapper/singer/producer Wyclef Jean, rapper/singer/producer Lauryn Hill, and rapper Pras Michel. Deriving their name from the term refugee, Jean and Pras are Haitian, while Hill is American. The group recorded two albums—one of which, The Score (1996), was a multi-platinum and Grammy-winning success—before disbanding in 1997. Hill and Jean each went on to successful solo recording careers; Michel focused on soundtrack recordings and acting, though he found commercial success with his song “Ghetto Supastar“. In 2007, MTV ranked them the 9th greatest Hip-hop group of all time.[1]

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151 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Wednesday Open Thread

  1. Obama Faring Better Among Dem Voters Than Every Democratic President Since Truman: Gallup

    WASHINGTON — The debt ceiling debate has provided yet another opportunity for Democratic base voters to lament the political choices of the president they helped elect. A Washington Post-ABC poll released this week found that the number of liberal Democrats who strongly supported President Obama’s record on jobs had fallen an astonishing 22 percentage points over the course of a year, from 53 percent to 31 percent. The prioritization of spending cuts over job creation — not rhetorically, but in terms of governance — was likely the primary contributor.

    But as in similar moments in the past, such as the loss of the public option in the health care debate, the failure to end Bush-era tax cuts on high-earning Americans, and last spring’s government shutdown showdown, voters’ disappointments in policy choices are not translating to serious problems for Obama’s reelection campaign.

    President Obama currently enjoys a higher popularity among Democratic voters than every Democratic president dating back to Harry Truman had at similar junctures in their presidencies.

    According to Gallup’s presidential job approval data, Obama had a 78 percent approval rating among Democrats from July 18 to July 24, 2011. Bill Clinton, meanwhile, had a 77 percent approval rating among Democrats from July 20 to July 23, 1995. Before him, Jimmy Carter had a 37 percent approval rating among Democrats from July 13 to July 16, 1979. Before him, Lyndon Johnson had a 63 percent approval rating among Democrats from July 13 to July 18, 1967. Before him, John F. Kennedy had a 77 percent approval rating among Democrats from July 18 to July 23, 1963. And before him, Harry Truman had a 76 percent approval rating percent among Democrats from July 4 to July 9, 1947.

    Obama’s approval ratings compared to former presidents at the same time: July 18-24 (Democrats only)

  2. DNC Press Conference on GOP Tactics in Debt Debate

  3. @stax51170:Pelosi passed 308 laws in 110th & 254 laws in 111th Congress. @johnboehner passed 12 laws 7months.

  4. creolechild says:

    When you’re tempted to SCREAM due to the events that are now unfolding, just remember that Barack Hussein Obama got this! Have a good evening, everyone…

  5. China: U.S. Debt Crisis Is Giving Democracy A Bad Name

    WASHINGTON — The seemingly endless process of resolving America’s debt crisis may be giving America and its democratic form of governance a bad name in China, where much of that debt is held.

    “This is a big issue — what is it about the democratic process that is preventing [America] from getting something done?” said Charles Freeman III, a China policy expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “What I think Chinese officials prize more than anything is stability and predictability. To do that they want to know the way forward, and this kind of activity is completely flabbergasting.”

    No place outside the U.S. has more invested in the outcome of the debt ceiling debate than China: as America’s largest creditor, China currently holds some $1.5 trillion in Treasury securities; about one-third of its currency reserves are in the dollar.

    And yet on Monday, when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in China for the final leg of a ten-day trip across Asia, she spent about as much time justifying to the Chinese the “political wrangling” that has been part of the deliberations as she did reassuring them that she was certain the crisis would soon end.

    “These kinds of debates have been a constant in our political life throughout the history of our republic — and sometimes, they are messy,” she said in a speech in Hong Kong. “But this is how an open and democratic society ultimately comes together to reach the right solutions.”

    Not everyone in China is so convinced.

  6. Ametia says:




    • dannie22 says:

      we got your back Mr President.

    • opulent says:

      Yes they were hitting back hard today.
      Saying POTUS was losing the nation. That his approval numbers had dropped.
      That MI and OH voters were not going to support him because of his wanting to raise taxes.
      They said the POTUS had checked out about debt ceiling.

      I could not believe my ears.

      It is very clear that the corporate media is going to spend this as an Obama loss rather than let the GOP shoulder the blame since the corporate media is the driver behind the GOP meme of preventing Obama from having a second term.

      The corporate money makers backed the GOP teabaggers cause they were scared of Obama ‘socialism’ and now they are the ones with their backs up against the wall as they are held hostage by the loonies they bankrolled into Congress.

      Nevertheless, given that the goal is to make certain Obama is not reelected they are pushing that he has loss and that his approval ratings have dropped.

      I tell you my mouth is just open…and I cannot believe my ears

      • creolechild says:

        That’s strange because …

        President Obama leads in Michigan

        Being against the auto bailout isn’t doing any of the R candidates any good whatsoever, and it’s doubtful if anything came make up for that. PPP-

        A slim majority of voters in Michigan approve of the job Barack Obama’s doing as President and he leads all of his potential opponents for reelection in the state.

        50% approve of the job Obama’s doing to 46% who disapprove. His numbers are holding up decently well because 89% of Democrats remain in his corner. Independents split against him by a 41/53 margin and only 8% of Republicans think he’s doing a good job but the largest number of voters in a Michigan Presidential year electorate are going to be Democrats so if Obama can keep the base in line his numbers are going to be pretty solid overall.

        The only Republican who’s competitive with Obama is Mitt Romney. The President leads him by 5 points at 47-42. This is the third time PPP has looked at an Obama/Romney match up in Michigan and the results have been pretty consistent- in March Obama led by a 48-41 margin and in December it was a 47-43 advantage.

  7. Ametia says:

    THE INFLUENCE GAME: Lobbying On Debt Limit Fight
    by The Associated Press

    WASHINGTON July 27, 2011, 05:14 pm ET Hospital associations, labor groups, tea party supporters and die-hard liberals are plunging into the debt battle between President Barack Obama and Congress as it whirls toward a final showdown. Yet many lobbyists concede that the fight is so intensely political and mutates so fast that it’s been hard to make much of an impact.

    That uncertainty — coupled with a widespread expectation that lawmakers will ultimately agree on a debt limit extension anyway — help explain why lobbying on the issue has been relatively low key. That’s a stark contrast to the high-profile lobbying wars of 2009 and 2010 over Obama’s health care and financial regulation overhauls.

  8. Ametia says:

    The President Has No Authority to Increase the Debt Limit Unilaterally
    July 24th, 2011
    By Dan Miller

    According to an op ed piece in the New York Times linked in this Tatler article, the President can unilaterally increase the national debt limit if the Congress fails to do so. The Tatler article very properly takes issue with the authors of that piece. I should like to take issue with them based on what the Constitution actually says and does not say.

    The learned constitutional scholars cite only one provision of the Constitution, the Fourteenth Amendment, as possibly authorizing the President to raise the debt limit unilaterally; that provision even they characterize as a red herring and further note that

    Commentators pointed out that the language in the 14th Amendment, which commands that the validity of legally authorized public debt shall not be questioned, does not explicitly authorize the president to do anything.

    I attempted to deal with the Fourteenth Amendment argument here and suggested that it makes no sense.

    Here are the relevant provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment:

    Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned….

    Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article. (emphasis added)

    The authors of the op ed piece contend that even without reference to the Fourteenth Amendment, the President would have the inherent power to raise the debt limit unilaterally should the Congress fail to do so. The thrust of their argument seems to be that a President’s gotta do what a President’s gotta do. They contend,

    Our argument is not based on some obscure provision of the 14th amendment, but on the necessities of state, and on the president’s role as the ultimate guardian of the constitutional order, charged with taking care that the laws be faithfully executed.

    Article II of the Constitution defines the powers of the President. The closest it comes to what the authors suggest is in Section I, and it comes not even close: “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” That neither makes the President the ultimate guardian of constitutional order nor authorizes him to take over the functions of the Congress or, for that matter, of the Supreme Court.

    Beyond their “a President’s gotta what a President’s gotta do” thesis, the authors point to nothing in Article II as supportive of their thesis. Article II could have granted the President extraordinary power to raise the debt limit unilaterally; it did not. The Constitution could have been amended to grant him that power; it has not been.

    Nor do the authors mention the explicit provision of Section 8 of Article I (which defines the powers of the Congress) as follows:

    The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States; To borrow Money on the credit of the United States…. (emphasis added)

    An increase in the debt limit is, by definition, an authorization to borrow money, a power given to the Congress to grant and not to the President to create in the absence of legislation authorizing it.

    An outright violation of the Constitution in an effort to “save it” — as the authors appear to suggest would be acceptable — would be a perversion. The President, as the Executive, has defined powers and they include executing the laws. There is no constitutional provision or law requiring that the debt limit be increased and the President cannot fabricate one.

    Among other things, Section 1 of Article II provides,

    Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:—”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” (emphasis added)

    I fail to see how the President can “defend the Constitution” while usurping the powers of the Congress under it to engorge his own. An outright violation of the Constitution in an effort to “save it” would be a perversion.

    (This article was first published at The PJ Tatler.)

    • creolechild says:

      Thanks for that, Metia~ I think people tend to forget, or aren’t aware, that the President is a CONSTITUTIONAL SCHOLAR! So he’s very much aware of what he can, or cannot,, as far as the debt ceiling is concerned. Imo, the Democrats in Congress and everyone else should just kill the noise, CHILL THE F***K OUT, and let this drama play itself out…

      • Ametia says:

        I’m 100% CO-SIGNING with you on chilling the FUCK OUT. Let POTUS handle his business. I trust him 100%

      • dannie22 says:

        These cowardly mofos in congress are killing me!! If they had done their jobs we wouldnt b in this shape! The weekend our President had to show his birth certificate, he went to that nerd prom event event and then got bin laden. Our President is a cool as a cucumber and deserves our respect and support

      • Ametia says:

        I hear and feel you, Dannie. This is the M.O. of the GOP, to try and wear us down. They’re not going to change; so we have to keep EXPOSING these MOFOs.

        We love President; BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA and it’s KILLING them.

      • There was an article on HP last night about the President is losing black voters. Lying liars and the lies they tell. Mofos must be shaking in their boots about a second term for our President. We’re not going anywhere, bitches. Our numbers will be staggering compared to 08.

        • Ametia says:

          BWA HA HA You know that poll was pure bullshit. It probably was conducted by a right winger for white wingers. Or maybe Tavis and Cornell…. Black folks ain’t crazy; I know I’m not. We know better, and the racist, greedy, ignorant, thuggish GOP ain’t noways better than our president.

  9. opulent says:

    Now I see why Reid is out front. He is the primary reason we are in this spot. Damn!
    Got to look back retrospectively to see how this happened.

    “Just about a year ago, prior to Congress breaking up for its August hiatus, the President summoned Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to the White House. Mindful of the fact that 2010 was a Midterm year, and that all of the House and a proportion of the Senate would be on the hustings during the month of October, the President had something important on which he wanted the House and Senate to focus after they returned to Washington in September.

    He thought it important that the Hill tackle the Bush tax cuts before heading out on the campaign trail. The President was erring on the side of caution. There was still a sizeable Democratic majority in the House and a reasonable one in the Senate. Best deal with the Bush tax cuts now, before the campaign season started in earnest. Repeal the tax cuts for the wealthiest, and extend indefinitely those for the middle and working classes. That way, when the politicos were on the campaign trail, the fact that Congress had vouchsafed tax cuts for the neediest people, whilst raising taxes on the wealthy, would be a valuable selling point.

    The Speaker of the House agreed. The Senate Majority Leader demurred. He was locked in a neck-and-neck battle in his home state with Tea Party Queen Sharron Angle, and raising taxes on a particular demographic in his state, unfriendly to his political persuasion anyway, just might tip the balance in Angle’s favour in the election.

    Later, he was backed up in his position by no less than Russ Feingold, who requested a meeting with the President in order to implore him not to pursue this agenda until after the Midterms. Feingold, like Reid, had too much at stake.

    Well, we know what happened. The Democrats lost the House – mostly Blue Dog seats, with the exception of Alan Grayson’s and Tom Perriello’s; the Senate was returned with a smaller majority. Reid retained his position. Feingold lost to a Teabagger. And the Republicans held the Lame Duck session to ransome, refusing to do business until the Bush tax cuts were extended. For everyone.

    Fast forward to December, after the tax cut compromise. The President, again, spoke to the Senate Majority Leader and the outgoing Speaker of the House. As part of the legislation to pursue during the December Lame Duck session, the President suggested that a vote be undertaken then and there to raise and extend the debt ceiling. Best get this out of the way in a clean cut vote, whilst the Democrats were in the last gasps of their majority in both houses. The President foresaw difficulties in the types of people the public had chosen to represent them in the House, and the Democrats’ majority was weakened in the Senate as well. Get this done, dusted and out of the way.

    Once again, Harry Reid demurred. He’d prefer to leave this to the time it came up for debate, at the earliest, in the spring of 2011. Already, the 24/7 talking heads were wondering how a Republican House full of Teabaggers would tackle an increase in the debt ceiling, a situation few of the incipient Freshmen Congressmen seemed to understand. Even some of the incumbents weren’t that certain what the debt ceiling was all about. But Reid insisted. Delaying the vote, he said, would ensure that the Republicans, who were now being called upon to govern, would own part of the responsibility.

    And so we find ourselves on the brink of disaster.”

    • Ametia says:

      Got a link to this, Opulent?

    • creolechild says:

      Reid wasn’t the only one…there were other members of the Democratic Party (as noted in the article) who were also up for election. Long story short, plenty of blame to go around on that count. That said, it’ll be interesting to see if they stand behind the President on this debt ceiling fight…

      As a side note, it’s not clear whether they would have been successful if they had done as the President asked given the Republicans’ tendency to obstruct and block anything and everything…

      • opulent says:

        They still had a majority of Dems in the house at that time…and the probablity was greater.

      • Ametia says:

        Agreed; the Dems were cowards, and did not gully support PBO the first 2 years of his presidency. No matter how much he went out and campaigned for their lame asses and gave them STRONG COGENT, talkingpoints; they would not fully get on board and follow his lead. i’ve been watching them; and i’ll tell you one thing, after 2016, whe PBO’s finished his 2nd term; some of these lackadasical folks they can kiss my black ass. but then we know why SOME of the members of PBO’s own party behave as they do, now don’t we?

      • creolechild says:

        Opulent, the Dems had a majority but go back and look at the use of filibustering bills. Also, there were many Blue Dogs among the ranks who could not be counted because they sometimes crossed the aisle. Interesting though that many of them who distanced themselves from the President during their re-election bids LOST! Joe Lieberman was another factor in the scenario which folks should bear in mind when they say the Dems had a majority. And we were also down one vote because of an older senator (can’t remember his name) who was ill and missed casting some critical votes.

        The way the game is being played now is that legislation is unable to pass with a simple majority, which I believe is two-thirds. Now, it requires 60 votes…thanks to Republicans.

      • opulent says:

        I agree with you CC…but like Ametia said..the Dems did not have POTUS’ back when we had a majority.

        This task was delayed and had a greater probability of passing when we had control of both houses, as we controlled the agenda, and we would have been able to make concessions, with Blue Dogs, that would have enabled them to vote for the deal.

        NOW, we are not controlling the agenda, we don’t determine when a bill hits the floor and we have an intransgient majority running the House.

      • creolechild says:

        Look’s like we’ll have to agree that we disagree, Opulent. I’m not going to rehash the whole argument but believing that we had a Democratic majority with Blue Dogs in the mix, ensuring success is wishful thinking. If that were the case why didn’t the Dream Act pass? Why wasn’t immigration reform tackled? Think back to health care reform and all of Democrats who balked at different portions of the bill…

        The scenario you envision actually works for Republican/Teahadists because they walk in lockstep and do what they’re told–most of the time. Democrats…not so much…and comparable to herding cats. In other words, ours is a much more diverse tent and policy conflicts often arise. Remember the Blue Dogs hailed from conservative districts, which is why they sometimes crossed the aisle and voted with Republicans. That said, since you’ve acknowledged that the Democrats didn’t have the President’s back for the first two years, perhaps you can tell me which specific agenda were they controlling? Just curious… I mean, I know for a fact that the Republicans set a record for filibustering legislation and pulled all kinds of stunts like adding tons of amendments to bills to slow them down. iMO, what was enacted into law during the first two years can be contributed to all parties involved but especially to the leadership of Nancy Pelosi, who got sh*t done, and the President, who is a brilliant long-term strategist. That.Is.All.

  10. McCain erupts: Conservatives are lying to America

    So the debt limit debate has come to this: John McCain, who you may recall was the GOP’s 2008 standard bearer, is now openly accusing conservatives of actively misleading America with their completely unrealistic demands, which he labeled “deceiving” and “bizarro.”

    In a seminal moment in this debate, here’s some video of McCain on the Senate floor today, unleashing an angry tirade at conservatives who are still holding out for a balanced budget amendment as part of any compromise on the debt ceiling. McCain accused them of “deceiving” America into believing such a thing can pass the Senate:

    There are Republicans in both the House and Senate who are still pushing for another vote on the balanced budget amendment, even though “cut cap and balance,” which contains such an amendment, has already failed in the Senate. Tea Party GOP Senators such as Jim DeMint and Rand Paul are calling on colleagues to reject John Boehner’s proposal for a two-tiered debt ceiling increase, and are instead demanding another vote on “cut cap and balance.” Meanwhile, House conservatives such as Mike Pence are also urging another vote on a modified version of a balanced budget amendment.

    To such conservatives, McCain offered a simple answer: You’re in fantasy-land, and you’re doing your constituents a disservice by perpetuating the falsehood that such a thing can ever happen.

    “What is really amazing about this is that some members are believing that we can pass a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution in this body with its present representation — and that is foolish,” McCain said angrily. “That is worse than foolish. That is deceiving many of our constituents.” McCain went on to rip the idea as “bizarro.”

    • Ametia says:

      To late, grandpa Mcdaddy Cain. You took on that ignorant hilbilly from Alaska as a VP mate, so do, don’t try to distance yourself from the extremist now.

      • creolechild says:

        I have issues with many things that John McCain stands for, and says, but in this instance I’m going to give credit where credit is do because he seems to be the ONLY member of his party who is willing to publicly go on record and acknowledge what we all know–namely that the Republican/Teahadists are full of sh*t!

  11. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    July 27, 2011 3:05 PM

    House Dems talk up ‘Constitutional Option’

    By Steve Benen
    When the subject last came up, President Obama didn’t sound at all interested, but the notion of the president resolving the Republican debt-ceiling crisis through the “Constitutional Option” hasn’t disappeared just yet.

    This morning, the leadership of the House Democratic Caucus held a press conference, and three party leaders — House Democratic Caucus Chairman James Larson (Conn.), Assistant Democratic Leader John Clyburn (S.C.), and Caucus Vice Chairman Xavier Becerra (Calif.) — actively called on Obama to break new legal ground by using the 14th Amendment.

    Here’s Clyburn:

    “I would say to the President, that if that’s what lands on his desk — a short term lifting of the ceiling — of the debt ceiling. He should put it on his desk next to an executive order that he will have drawn up. And with the same pen that he vetoes that short term debt ceiling extension, he should sign an executive order invoking the 14th Amendment to this issue. I am convinced that whatever discussions about the legality of that can continue but I believe that something like this will bring calm to the American people, and will bring needed stability to our financial markets.”

    Here’s Becerra:

    “I think a very clear message should be issued to Speaker John Boehner: Mr. Speaker, House Republicans have failed to govern, failure is not an option for our country, and therefore you leave it to the President to take whatever action is within his power, by his right under the Constitution to move this country forward and make sure Americans do not suffer the consequences of your failure.”

    And here’s Larson:

    “I know you all have great, grave concern about that because of the ramifications of what it means for the United States for the first time ever in its history to default on its full faith in credit, which is why Jim Clyburn articulated to the applause of our Caucus that the President ought to have his pen right next to it to sign into effect, invoke the 14th Amendment and make sure that debt is taken care of.”

    I think it’s safe to say these three didn’t just mention this in passing; the point of the press conference seemed to be (a) to urge Obama to raise the debt ceiling through an executive order; and (b) to let the White House know congressional Democrats won’t mind if he does.

    As Larson put it, “What we’re saying is if a small group is really that intent on destroying government and is intent on saying that they don’t believe there is any ramifications for their irresponsibility then we have to have a failsafe mechanism. We believe that fail safe mechanism is the 14th Amendment and the President of the United States.”

    I’ve seen nothing from the White House that suggests it’s even a remote possibility, but the Dem caucus leaders’ appeal raises the visibility of the issue a bit, and some news outlets continue to consider the option.

    As for why Obama is so reluctant to go down this road, Harvard constitutional law professor Lawrence Tribe’s recent piece appears to summarize the president’s perspective. (thanks to F.B. for the tip)

  12. rikyrah says:

    Look, I Told You
    by John Cole

    They are insane. This isn’t some “both sides do it” crap. The Republicans are out of their gourds and think they are revolutionaries:

    BOEHNER: Well, first they want more. And my goodness, I want more too. And secondly, a lot of them believe that if we get passed August the second and we have enough chaos, we could force the Senate and the White House to accept a balanced budget amendment. I’m not sure that that — I don’t think that that strategy works. Because I think the closer we get to August the second, frankly, the less leverage we have vis a vis our colleagues in the Senate and the White House.

    They think they can burn the entire system down and out of the ashes will form Conservatopia. They really do think of themselves as the vanguard of the Galtitariat. The folks sitting on the sideline keeping their powder dry, or the folks saying “They’re just negotiating” simply do not get it. We’re dealing with maniacs and true believers. When you look in Michelle Bachmann’s eyes, you’re not just seeing crazy, you’re seeing the glassy eyed stare of a modern day Manson family. Economic suicide bombers is a better analogy than most people realize.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:15 PM ET, 07/27/2011
    Zero House Dems will vote for Boehner plan, top aide says
    By Greg Sargent
    After aggressively whipping votes, the office of House minority whip Steny Hoyer now believes that not a single Democrat will vote for John Boehner’s debt ceiling plan, delivering a blow to GOP hopes for getting it through the House, a top Democratic aide tells me.

    “Hoyer has been whipping against the Boehner bill very hard,” says the aide, who is close to Hoyer’s whipping operation. “No Democrats will vote for it.”

    If this bears out — and it’s important to emphasize that nothing is ever certain in the alternate universe otherwise known as the United States Congress — it could be a very big deal. It means that House Republicans need all Republican votes to pass the Boehner plan, which would hike the debt ceiling in stages, and significantly reduces the margin of error House GOP vote counters have at their disposal.

    Each Dem vote for the plan means GOP leaders need one less House conservative to support it, and if Dems unanimously vote against the proposal, House Republicans can only afford to lose roughly two dozen GOPers in order to pass it. The latest public whip count has it that some 20 House GOPers are either firm No votes or are leaning in the direction of No, though the private count could be somewhat different, and it’s also important to remember that things could change once GOP leaders release the new version of their proposal in response to the CBO score finding less-than-desired savings.

    If Dems are indeed holding the line against the Boehner plan, it means a couple of things. First, the CBO’s verdict — it found that Harry Reid’s proposal reduces the deficit significantly more than Boehner’s does — is turning the tide against Boehner’s proposal, and leading to a consensus among Dems that they can force the issue that the Reid plan is the true compromise measure.

    Second, it means Dems are determined to maintain total unity against the Boehner plan, because they recognize that defeating it is absolutely key to their endgame strategy. If Boehner’s proposal goes down, Dems can point to Boehner’s inability to pass the plan in order to exert more pressure on Republicans to back Harry Reid’s plan, or a variation of it, as the last remaining way to avert default and economic catastrophe.

    Again, anything can change, and Democrats may be leaking their whip count as a bluff. But if this bears out, it’s very good news for Dems.

    UPDATE: At a preser today, Harry Reid also vowed that no Senate Dems would vote for the Boehner plan, claiming:

    Every Democratic senator will vote against it. Nobody believes the Boehner plan is anything more than a big wet kiss for the right wing
    Dem unity is important for another reason: If Boehner’s plan does pass, but with no Dem votes, it will be easier for Dems to portray it as a sop to the Tea Party that doesn’t have any bipartisan support.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 08:38 AM PDT.

    Paul Ryan accidentally admits GOP has been lying about its budget plan
    by Jed Lewison .

    As you may know, the Democratic debt ceiling plan contains $1 trillion in savings from ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Republicans have called that a gimmick, and Paul Ryan is particularly pissed off because Democrats are pointing out that his own budget plan (the one that ended Medicare) contains the exact same $1 trillion in savings.
    According to Ryan, his plan never included this savings, but that’s a lie, and a document he just released proves it. When Ryan released his plan, he claimed it would cut either $5.8 or $6.2 trillion, depending which baseline fiscal scenario you compared it against. According to his own proposal, his plan would cut “$6.2 trillion in government spending over the next decade compared to the president’s budget, and $5.8 trillion relative to the current-policy baseline.”

    The relevant figure is $5.8 trillion—that’s the number that reflected what Ryan’s plan would cut relative to current actual policy. (The $6.2 trillion number compared Ryan’s budget to an outdated proposal from President Obama that never did and never will become law.)

    If you look at chart S-4 of the document provided by Ryan’s staff, you’ll see that his $5.8 trillion spending cut includes $1 trillion in savings from the global war on terror—ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Because the outdated budget proposed by President Obama already took those savings into account, Ryan’s budget didn’t deliver any additional savings relative.)

    If Paul Ryan and the Republican Party had used the standard they expect Democrats to use now, they’d have claimed $4.8 trillion in savings relative to current policy. Instead, they claimed either $5.8 or $6.2 trillion, depending on the fiscal scenario they used. In both cases, the amount of money spent by the Ryan plan was exactly the same; it was only the comparison that changed.

    Now they not only expect Democrats to play by different rules, they are lying about how they played it the last time around.



    White House Blasts Boehner For Wasting Time: “Why Are We Voting On Legislation That Has No Chance Of Becoming Law”

  16. creolechild says:

    I wanted to post this for two reasons: 1.) to show the extreme intelligence that young black men possess but which is rarely acknowledged due to their lifestyles, 2.) hopefully it will raise questions in people’s minds about some of the ‘creative’ solutions which were offered to combat the problems that black and brown communities face. Actually, it should make you wonder why those who constantly have their faces plastered all over the media criticizing and complaining haven’t been able to devise any type of strategy for addressing issues–never mind acting upon them….

    Listen with an open mind to what TuPac has to say on a wide variety of subjects. If you haven’t seen this before, you will be VERY surprised. That’s all I’ll say…

    • creolechild says:

      There is a concept called Restorative Justice which many countries, and some states in this country are implementing to address legal issues and/or criminal behavior (other than violent crimes and sexual predators). It gives some people the opportunity to make amends without putting them into the system for *minor* offenses–which results in separation from their families, makes it harder for them to find work when they get out because they now have a criminal record, and adds more obstacles to what they may face while trying to get themselves together. I think it’s a much fairer system than what is in place now…and would prevent high rates of incarceration for POC…and could effectively shut down the lucrative prison industry business. It would require hard work to bring this change about, but it would be worth it…to not see more young lives ruined behind some *minor* bullsh*t.

      Restorative Justice

      Restorative justice is a new framework for the criminal justice system that is rapidly gaining acceptance and support by criminal justice professionals and community groups in Minnesota and across the nation. The Minnesota Department of Corrections advocates adoption of restorative justice principles and has established a department unit that supports implementation of restorative justice concepts throughout the state. This statewide effort involves all aspects of the community including schools, churches, courts, corrections and law enforcement agencies, and citizens.


      The restorative justice framework is based on the following assumptions:

      * Crime results in injuries to victims, communities and offenders.
      * All parties should be included in the response to crime including the offender, the community, and the victim if they wish.
      * The victim is central to the process of defining the harm and how it might be repaired.
      * Accountability is based on accepting responsibility and repairing the harm done.
      * Crime is defined as an act against another person and the community, rather than an act against the state. The state has an interest in resolving the problem but is not the primary actor. The offender becomes accountable to the victim and the community, not the state.
      * Restoration or making things right replaces the imposition of punishment for its own sake as the highest priority of the system. Restitution would become common, not the exception.
      * Results in a restorative justice model are measured not by how much punishment was inflicted, but by how much reparation was achieved.
      * Crime control rests primarily with the social system. The criminal justice system can have only a marginal impact on the level of crime because it can only respond to crime after it occurs.


      Read more:

      * Offenders are accountable for their individual choices, but communities are also accountable for the conditions which may exist that contribute to crime.

      • opulent says:

        Very interesting interview CC.

        Isn’t restorative justice the project that was initiated and headed by the new black female State ATTY General in California?

  17. creolechild says:

    $750,000: Amount Health Care Industry Spent Lobbying As Vermont Moved Toward Single-Payer

    “Hospitals, doctors, drug companies, insurers and others with a stake in health care spent more than $750,000 lobbying at the Vermont Statehouse this year as lawmakers debated landmark legislation designed to put Vermont on the road toward universal health insurance,” the Associated Press is reporting, but notes that “exactly how much was spent on the bill itself is impossible to tell.” In May, Vermont “became the first state to lay the groundwork for single-payer health care.”

  18. creolechild says:

    20: Number Of States That Made Health Cuts In 2012 Budgets |

    A new Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) report finds that at least “20 states have made deep, identifiable cuts in health care that will reduce access to care for low-income children, seniors, families and people with disabilities.” According to the report, “Arizona has frozen enrollment in part of its Medicaid program, so that an estimated 100,000 low-income people who previously would have qualified will not be able to enter the program, and another 150,000 will face more stringent rules for retaining eligibility. Washington has frozen enrollment for a state-run health plan serving 60,000 low-income residents, which is expected to reduce the number of participants by 3,000 each year.”

  19. creolechild says:

    Plutocracy: If Corporations and the Rich Paid 1960s-Level Taxes, the Debt Would Vanish

    By feeding the rich and their corporations one massive tax break after another, lawmakers have thrown a monstrous monkey wrench into our national finances. Once upon a time in America, back a century ago, our nation’s rich paid virtually nothing in taxes to the federal government. And that same federal government did virtually nothing to better the lives of average Americans. But those average Americans would do battle, over the next half century, to rein in the rich and the corporations that made them ever richer. And that struggle would prove remarkably successful. By the 1950s, America’s rich and the corporations they ran were paying significant chunks of their annual incomes in taxes — and the federal projects and programs these taxes helped finance were actually improving average American lives.

    America’s wealthy, predictably, counterattacked — and, by the 1980s, they were scoring successes of their own. Today, the rich and their corporations no longer bear anything close to their rightful share of the nation’s tax burden. The federal government, given this revenue shortfall, is having a harder and harder time funding initiatives that help average working families. The result: a “debt crisis.” This “debt crisis” in no way had to happen. No natural disaster, no tsunami, has suddenly pounded the United States out of fiscal balance. We have simply suffered a colossal political failure. Our powers that be, by feeding the rich and their corporations one massive tax break after another, have thrown a monstrous monkey wrench into our national finances.

    Some numbers — from an Institute for Policy Studies report released this past spring — can help us better visualize just how monumental this political failure has been. If corporations and households taking in $1 million or more in income each year were now paying taxes at the same annual rates as they did back in 1961, the IPS researchers found, the federal treasury would be collecting an additional $716 billion a year. In other words, if the federal government started taxing the wealthy and their corporations at the same rates in effect a half-century ago, the federal debt to investors would almost totally vanish over the next decade.


  20. creolechild says:

    Egypt’s Mubarak ‘refuses food, extremely weak’

    Egypt’s ex-president Hosni Mubarak, due to go on trial next week for murder, is refusing food in his hospital detention and has become extremely weak, state media reported on Wednesday.
    Mubarak, 83, has been detained since April on charges of ordering the killings of anti-regime protesters and corruption. He is under arrest in a Red Sea resort hospital, where he receives treatment for a heart condition. His health, the topic of much speculation as critics accuse him of malingering to avoid trial, is “extremely weak,” the official al-Gomhuria newspaper reported, citing a hospital official.

    He “completely abstains from food and intakes only some liquids and juices,” the newspaper quoted Mohammed Fathallah, head of the hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh, as saying. Mubarak is scheduled to stand trial on August 3 with his two sons, his former interior minister Habib al-Adli and six police commanders. The location of the trial has not yet been announced but judicial and security sources say it will probably be held in Sharm el-Sheikh, a popular tourist resort where Mubarak resided after a revolt ousted him in February.

  21. creolechild says:

    House Committee Votes To Reinstate And Expand Global Gag Rule Against Abortion Funding

    Earlier today, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed an amendment that would restore and expand the so-called global gag rule, a provision that would prohibit foreign organizations receiving U.S. development assistance from using their own funds to perform abortions or provide women with information and referrals for the procedure. The rule, which unlike past variations does not even make exceptions for HIV/AIDS programs, was approved in a vote of 25-17, after the committee rejected an amendment by Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) stripping the language:

    “The provision included in this bill is far more extreme than the Global Gag Rule policy that was implemented under Presidents Reagan, George Bush, or George W. Bush,” said Berman. “It bars ALL assistance to local health care providers in poor countries – including HIV/AIDS funding, water and sanitation, child survival, and education. In the name of ‘right to life,’ the majority is cutting off funds that are literally saving hundreds of thousands of lives.”

    The gag rule was initially instituted by President Ronald Reagan in Mexico City in 1984, lifted by President Bill Clinton on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in 1993, reinstated by President George W. Bush on his first working day in office in 2001 and then lifted again by President Barack Obama.


  22. creolechild says:

    Public Opposition To Medicare, Medicaid Cuts In Debt Ceiling Deal Leads To Local Protests

    A group of protesters delivered petitions with 1,600 doctors’ signatures to John Boehner’s district office yesterday, asking the House Speaker to reject additional cuts to Medicare and Medicaid as part of any debt ceiling deal. “Let’s not dismantle it, let’s try to innovate, but do not amputate this wonderful program,” Don Nguyen, the state director of Doctors for America, said to Boehner’s representative.

    Throughout the debt ceiling talks, Republicans have offered a series of proposals — from Ryan’s budget, to Cut, Cap and Balance, to Boehner’s latest deficit proposal — that would significantly lower Medicare and Medicaid spending. Democrats had also reportedly endorsed a series of entitlement cuts in exchange for revenue increases, although Sen. Harry Reid’s latest plan does not include any of these reductions.

    Still, Americans are deeply opposed to cutting social safety net program and have been protesting such Congressional proposals throughout the country. Below is a sampling of recent actions:

    – MICHIGAN: Seniors, parents, workers, and advocates called on Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) to reject any deal to raise the debt ceiling that includes cuts in Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. [7/21/2011]

    – WISCONSIN: Seniors delivered a return receipt to Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) District office in Racine, WI calling on him to return his government insurance. [7/19/2011]

    – NEW MEXICO: Seniors and health advocates held a press conference in front of Rep. Steve Pearce’s (R-NM) district office calling on him to return his government insurance.” [7/14/2011]

    – WISCONSIN: Advocates asked the five Wisconsin Congressmen to return their government-funded health insurance coverage for voting in favor of Paul Ryan’s plan. [7/13/2011]

    – FLORIDA: Local representatives and senior groups asked members who voted for the Paul Ryan plan to return their government-sponsored insurance. [7/12/2011]

    The latest July 14-17 Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 72 percent of Americans oppose cutting Medicaid spending — including 59 percent of self-identified Republicans — and 54 percent are against raising the Medicare eligibility age.


  23. rikyrah says:

    Orange you glad he’s Speaker, or not?
    by Ol’ Dirty DougJ

    When the first teatard revolution occurred, in 1994, it was led by a teatard type and that teatard type became Speaker. Boehner is not a teatard type and I don’t think Gingrich ever would have ever talked about his caucus in the way that Boehner did in the article John linked to.

    How would things be different right now with a teatard speaker? Would he have more credibility with the loons and therefore be better able to push something through the House? Or would he be one with the loons, pushing the country towards default? What would be happening, for example, if Michele Bachmann were speaker right now?

    I’m asking in part because I’ve long believed that a president Bachmann or Palin would be less dangerous than a president Pawlenty, because Bachmann and Palin wouldn’t be taken seriously by much of anyone, not even by other Republicans in Washington. Now I’m beginning to wonder if that’s wrong, if the Congressional caucus, at least in the House, would go along with Pray The Gay Away Day and a moose-backed currency and the rest.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Get Over It: This Is Who Obama Is
    From his community organizing days to the Illinois State Senate, Barack Obama has always put pragmatic deal-making above ideology, even when it angered allies

    As President Obama is pilloried by the left, including by bloggers and editorial writers, for supposedly selling them out during debt ceiling negotiations, a reality check is desperately needed.

    Get over it, guys and gals, and remember whom you’re fuming over: a deal-making community organizer.

    Recognize this man? In a showdown with ideological enemies, he fashioned compromises which made some Democratic allies apoplectic. Republicans weren’t happy, either, with what he wrought but grudgingly realized there were few alternatives.
    Throughout he exhibited a preternatural calm, always seeking some common ground among disparate interests as if compromise was a goal in and of itself, not any diminution of principle as some Democrats thought.

    Yes, that’s our president, the man at the center of the improbable Debt Debate of 2011. But it was also State Senator Barack Obama a decade ago. The equally rancorous issue back then was the death penalty and the setting was the Illinois legislature. Not much about him has changed.

    “His ideological inclinations are liberal but, as far as being a politician, he’s about getting things done. He was always pragmatic and about getting things done,” said Peter Baroni, a Republican attorney-law professor-lobbyist in Chicago who had a bird’s eye view of Obama while serving as legal counsel to Republicans in the Illinois Senate and to its Judiciary Committee.

    The death penalty was a big and tough matter in Illinois, especially amid mountainous evidence of men sitting on Death Row for crimes they did not commit. It was also a typical example of the Obama modus operandi during a period in which Illinois had at times the same sort of divided government he now faces on Capitol Hill.

    Obama shepherded key proposed changes in the state’s criminal law, including the sensitive matter of taping interrogations of homicide suspects, all the while having cozy late-night poker games with legislative buddies, including conservative Republicans. He wanted to pass a bill and, to do so, couldn’t alienate too many Republicans and their law enforcement allies. Prosecutors and cops were dubious, if not downright opposed initially, to much of what he sought, notably the taping of interrogations to cut down on forced confessions and even alleged outright brutality by cops.

    His ideological allies at the American Civil Liberties Union wanted the videotaping of all homicide interrogations of suspects and a blanket exclusionary rule. That meant that any evidence obtained from an interview that wasn’t videotaped would be excluded. Prosecutors and cops said no.

    After many dozens of meetings in which “the guy never broke a sweat,” said Baroni, the end result was agreement to record interrogations, either by video or audio means. But the final deal had a litany of exceptions, including one allowing admission of a statement by a homicide suspect that wasn’t recorded if it was voluntarily given. Those exceptions were the counterpart of today’s proposed spending cuts driving some Democrats batty.

    His M.O. was very much the same when it came to an important racial profiling bill he successfully steered, too. It required police to note the race of every driver they stop. They weren’t happy but Obama got it through and, wouldn’t you know, the percentage of African-Americans who are stopped has declined.

    For sure, as now, he had a clear left-leaning ideology, at least in theory. But he was more committed to doing deals. Declaring his philosophical druthers did not deter him from taking what he could get, much in the fashion of the centrist Democratic impulses personified by Chicago political icons such as former longtime mayor Richard M. Daley and the late congressional power, former U.S. Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, a legendary chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.

    Many Obama allies thought he’d sold them out on the death penalty. In retrospect, he had not. Perhaps more than any participant, he cold-bloodedly believed that his interrogation law would alter police behavior, while also protecting them from unfair charges of coercion in extracting confessions. Many participants did not see that long-term result as he did. All these years later, he’s been proven correct. You don’t hear grousing about it these days. It’s worked.

    Of course, he wasn’t getting the microscopic attention he is as president. His issues didn’t even attract much interest in Illinois and he was desperately grateful for whatever notice he received — or even a returned phone call from a reporter.

    There weren’t reporters and columnists chiding him for any air of condescension, as the New York Times’ David Brooks and others have done during his dueling with House Speaker John Boehner. Sitting in the Other America, out in the Heartland, I can’t point to one conversation of late where such an image of scold has been mentioned.

    Perhaps the Beltway media sharpies are smarter than the rest of us. For now, I’ll rely on unscientific, anecdotal evidence to conclude that he’ll come off as the adult in the room once this mess is resolved.

    And, as you watch him, be reminded of his informative pre-law school days as a community organizer in Chicago. Recall how they inspired both Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin to openly mock the term “community organizer” at the 2008 Republican National Convention, with the former New York mayor unable to contain derisive giggling as he openly wondered what the term stood for.

    Well, it stands for giving power to the powerless. But, for Obama, it also meant a strategic set of notions about finding mutual agreement among people with the most divergent of motivations, according to Obama mentors whom I know from back then and David Maraniss, the journalist-author now working on an Obama biography.

    Then, as now, he was also about seeking resolutions, not just bashing the rich. It was intellectual empiricism and street-wise practicality all at play. It was about doing a deal and moving on.

    • creolechild says:

      This is an excellent article, rikyrah. It describes the efforts of Barack Obama as senator and what he did to protect POC against police abuse. Of course, many people aren’t aware of these facts because they haven’t bothered to look. I suppose it’s easier to just listen to what other people say and accept that as “gospel.”

  25. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    July 27, 2011 2:20 PM

    The ‘cause’ of the crisis

    By Steve Benen
    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had a fairly long harangue on the Senate floor this morning, not only touting House Speaker John Boehner’s (R) budget proposal, but identifying what he considers the “cause” of the current crisis. As McConnell sees it, “the debt crisis” has “brought us to this point.”

    “The crisis our nation faces at this moment has a very simple cause: Washington spends a lot more money every year than it takes in. […]

    “Right now the president is asking Congress to raise the debt ceiling by more than it’s ever been raised before, even as the nation is teetering on the edge of a crisis caused by debt. Let me repeat: our nation is facing a crisis because of the size of our debt.”

    I have no idea if McConnell believes a word of this. It’s possible the Senate Minority Leader just isn’t an intelligent person, who struggles to keep up with current events, and it’s also possible McConnell is playing a cheap game, throwing around false claims and hoping no one knows the difference.

    But in case there’s any confusion here, I’m delighted McConnell believes we’re in the midst of a crisis. Some Republicans seem to think there’s no real threat here, but the Minority Leader, to his credit, kept using the “c” word, suggesting he’s not completely oblivious to the seriousness of the situation.

    The problem is, McConnell knows there’s a crisis, but he doesn’t know what it is.

    The confused Kentuckian’s rhetoric is just gibberish. To hear him tell it, the deficit and debt have reached crisis levels. If only McConnell could take the next step and explain why he believes this. After all, the United States has a manageable debt, low interest rates, low inflation, and the ability to borrow on the cheap. We’re not even seeing the debt crowd out private investment. If the United States were in the midst of a debt crisis, the interest rate on 10-year bonds would be soaring. Instead, the rates are at all-time lows.

    McConnell, in the other words, isn’t quite sharp enough to realize why we’re in the midst of a crisis. He knows something’s wrong, but he’s identified the wrong problem.

    In Grown-Up Land, the crisis we’re struggling to contain has been manufactured entirely by McConnell and his fellow congressional Republicans. They’re refusing to raise the debt ceiling, which is threatening the economy, stability, and credibility of the United States in ways unseen in our history. If McConnell and Boehner want to resolve the crisis, it’s within their power to do so today — they can raise the debt ceiling.

    But they don’t want to, even after Democrats have made overly-generous offers. That’s the “very simple cause” of the crisis.

    If McConnell doesn’t understand this, he should ask someone to explain it to him, not lie about it on the Senate floor.

    • Ametia says:

      THIS: “If McConnell and Boehner want to resolve the crisis, it’s within their power to do so today — they can raise the debt ceiling.”

  26. rikyrah says:

    July 27, 2011 12:35 PM

    Counting heads in the House

    By Steve Benen

    The best possible scenario for Democrats tomorrow would be for House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) budget proposal to lose, clearing the way for a less-ridiculous compromise. To help ensure that outcome, Dem leaders want to ensure no conservative Democrats help the GOP leadership get a majority.

    As of this morning, Greg Sargent reports, Boehner should count on zero Democratic votes.

    After aggressively whipping votes, the office of House minority whip Steny Hoyer now believes that not a single Democrat will vote for John Boehner’s debt ceiling plan, delivering a blow to GOP hopes for getting it through the House, a top Democratic aide tells me.

    “Hoyer has been whipping against the Boehner bill very hard,” says the aide, who is close to Hoyer’s whipping operation. “No Democrats will vote for it.”

    This matters for a couple of reasons. One is political: Boehner would love to say his right-wing plan enjoys “bipartisan” support, and if even one Blue Dog breaks ranks and votes with the GOP, he will.

    The other is more practical: zero Democratic votes will make it just a little tougher for the Republican leadership to pass the bill. There are 240 House GOP members, and it’ll take 217 to pass Boehner’s plan. With no Dem support, GOP leaders can lose no more than 23 members.

    So, will they? As of this afternoon, the momentum appears to be moving in Boehner’s direction. The Speaker told his caucus this morning, “Get your ass in line,” and by some accounts, House Republicans are doing just that.

    House Republicans seem to be rallying behind Speaker John Boehner’s plan for lifting the U.S. borrowing cap.

    Several Republicans said they were warming to Boehner’s plan for linking about $1 trillion in budget cuts as the price for raising the debt limit — even though they would like to cut further.

    Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers said “we’re moving in his direction in a big way today” as he left a closed-door House meeting.

    Whether this is legitimate movement, or the result of an effective p.r. strategy to give the appearance of the House GOP coming together, is unclear. There were, however, a couple of firm Republican “no” votes who conceded to reporters this morning that they’re beginning to buckle to party pressure.

    For more on what happens if the House approves Boehner’s proposal, check out our post from this morning.

  27. rikyrah says:

    27 Jul 2011 11:20 AM

    Advantage: Reid
    The CBO awards him more deficit reduction than Boehner! The key issue is whether the proposed winding down of the $4 trillion wars in Afghanistan and Iraq should be counted. Some are saying it’s a gimmick for the Dems, but Paul Ryan relied on it. I have to say that putting massively expensive wars off-budget seems more gimmicky than putting them on-budget. They have to be paid for, after all. And peace dividends are real – as we saw in the 1990s.

    Of course, Reid’s proposal, in most known parts of the universe, is a conservative’s dream: all spending cuts and no tax increases, with a combined savings of something like $2.2 trillion over the next decade. And so one faces an interesting dilemma: can the GOP declare victory if Reid’s plan is the most viable? Or are they truly the foam-flecked fanatics they appear to be? Are they in this for substance or merely for destroying this president, whatever it takes?

  28. rikyrah says:

    Bill Kristol’s Mindset
    Every now and again, the mask slips and we see what the neocon scion really cares about. Fiscal responsibility? Debt reduction? This was a man who barely mentioned the debt or spending under the fiscally ruinous Bush-Cheney years, and mocked those who did. And the reason is simple: this is a writer concerned solely about partisanship and power. The latest exhibit:

    To vote against John Boehner on the House floor this week in the biggest showdown of the current Congress is to choose to vote with Nancy Pelosi. To vote against Boehner is to choose to support Barack Obama. It is to choose to increase the chances that worse legislation than Boehner’s passes. And it is to choose to increase the chances that Obama emerges from this showdown politically stronger…

    Don’t get me wrong. The Boehner bill isn’t great. But it does check Obama’s spending for the remainder of his first term. And it lays the groundwork for denying him a second. Success for Boehner now—whatever mistakes he and others have made in recent weeks and months—makes more likely the defeat of Obama in 2012. This in turn will make possible the repeal of Obamacare and fundamental conservative budget and policy reforms with a new president in 2013.

    They can’t even bother to disguise their rank cynicism and partisan tribalism any more. Their core objective in this Congress: what Mitch McConnell said.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Heckuva Job, Boehner
    by BooMan
    Wed Jul 27th, 2011 at 01:22:32 PM EST

    I’ve noted this before but it seems to me that the Republican Party as it has developed since the Great Depression is much more comfortable with being in the minority than the majority. They don’t want to get things done or expand the role of government in any way, so actually governing is a burden to them. Yes, they console themselves by looting the treasury for their rich benefactors, but they seem to enjoy standing on the sidelines more. Speaker Boehner is not enjoying himself. I am almost certain that he’d enjoy life much more if he could return to his role as Minority Leader. I just don’t think the conservative mind is capable of taking care of the duties of governance in any kind of competent way. What we’re witnessing from the House is no different than what we witnessed during Hurricane Katrina. Boehner is doing basically nothing to address the debt limit crisis, and what he is doing, he’s doing wrong.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Study: Union decline accounts for much of the rise in wage inequality
    WASHINGTON, DC, July 21, 2011 — Union membership in America has declined significantly since the early 1970s, and that plunge explains approximately a fifth of the increase in hourly wage inequality among women and about a third among men, according to a new study in the August issue of the American Sociological Review.

    “Our study underscores the role of unions as an equalizing force in the labor market,” said study author Bruce Western, a professor of sociology at Harvard University. “Most researchers studying wage inequality have focused on the effects of educational stratification—pay differences based on level of education—and have generally under-emphasized the impact of unions.”

    From 1973 to 2007, wage inequality in the private sector increased by more than 40 percent among men, and by about 50 percent among women. In their study, Western and co-author Jake Rosenfeld, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington, examine the effects of union decline on both between-group inequality and within-group inequality. Between-group compares people from different demographics and industries, while within-group looks at people from the same demographics and industries.

    Focusing on full-time, private sector workers, Western and Rosenfeld find that deunionization—the decline in the percentage of the labor force that is unionized—and educational stratification each explain about 33 percent of the rise in within-group wage inequality among men. Among women, deunionization explains about 20 percent of the increase in wage inequality, whereas education explains more than 40 percent.

    Part of the reason for this gender discrepancy is that men have experienced a much larger decline in private sector union membership—from 34 percent in 1973 to 8 percent in 2007—than women (who went from 16 percent to 6 percent during the same period).

    “For generations, unions were the core institution advocating for more equitable wage distribution,” said Rosenfeld. “Today, when unions—at least in the private sector—have largely disappeared, that means that this voice for equity has faded dramatically. People now have very different ideas about what’s acceptable in terms of pay distribution.”

    Interestingly, the study finds that union decline explains little of the rise in between-group inequality.

    “Unions standardize wages so that people with similar characteristics—if they’re union members—tend to have similar wages,” Western said. “So, it makes sense that deunionization has little impact on between-group inequality, which, by definition, exists between groups of people that are different.”

    While the purpose of unions is to standardize wages for their members, Western and Rosenfeld find that even nonunion workers, if they’re in highly unionized industries, tend to have fairly equal wages, partly because nonunion employers will raise wages to the union level to discourage unionization.

    In terms of policy implications, Western and Rosenfeld think their study could help reignite the dialogue on labor unions, which they believe has disappeared from economic debates in recent years.

    “In the early 1970s, unions were important for delivering middle class incomes to working class families, and they enlivened politics by speaking out against inequality,” said Western. “These days, there just aren’t big institutional actors who are making the case for greater economic equality in America.”

    The study relies on data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) from 1973 to 2007. A monthly survey conducted by the Bureau of Census, the CPS provides data from about 60,000 U.S. households representative of the U.S. population as a whole.

  31. rikyrah says:

    July 27, 2011
    Pseudoconservatism’s third partyness in the making
    When even the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board sees dangerous weirdness to its right, it’s time to press Armageddon’s pause-button and at least for a moment savor the procreation of pseudoconservatism’s third partyness. The WSJ:

    Strangely, some Republicans and conservative activists are condemning [Boehner’s proposal] as a fiscal sellout….

    The idea seems to be that if the House GOP refuses to raise the debt ceiling, a default crisis or gradual government shutdown will ensue, and the public will turn en masse against … Barack Obama. The Republican House that failed to raise the debt ceiling would somehow escape all blame. Then Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced-budget amendment and reform entitlements, and the tea-party Hobbits could return to Middle Earth having defeated Mordor.

    This is the kind of crack political thinking that turned Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell into GOP Senate nominees.

    he likes of whom, along with the Bachmanns and Palins and Perrys, will be running again but as wholly irrelevant third-Tea-Party children, draining GOP votes but on the upside liberating that party from its present madness.

    Behold, a return to two-party sanity, just as soon as our colossal nervous breakdown is over and the tea-party brats have been sent to their own sandbox.

  32. rikyrah says:

    House Conservatives Close Ranks Around Boehner Debt Limit Bill
    On Tuesday, conservative Republican Study Committee chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) predicted defeat for House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) plan to raise the debt limit.

    “I am confident as of this morning that there are not 218 Republicans in support of the plan,” he said.

    He was counting on the opposition of dozens of House conservatives who have in the past pledged not to raise the debt limit on terms that compromising with Democrats would require.

    Twenty-four hours later, after taking a beating from the GOP establishment and party leadership, and after watching Democrats grow more and more confident in their ability to split the Republican coalition, those conservatives are reconsidering their rebellion.

    “I think Jordan was probably counting me originally, but I’ve moved a little bit,” Rep. Blake Fahrenthold (R-TX), a freshman conservative, told reporters in response to a question from TPM.

    Fahrenthold joined the GOP caucus for a morning meeting Wednesday, after which several undecided members, and opponents of Boehner’s bill, streamed out to tell reporters they’re undergoing a change of heart.

    “The risk of sending this country into uncharted territory with a default is really concerning me,” Fahrenthold said.

    “A number of members have indicated that they think it’s very important that we get the cuts that we can get and address the debt limit problem and not default on our obligations, and this is the alternative that accomplishes that,” said Rep. Bob Godlatte (R-VA). “There is no other alternative out there that we think can pass the House…. Members are realizing that if we want to move forward on cutting government spending…this is the only vehicle available to do that.”

    Rep. Allen West (R-FL), a conservative who announced his support for the Boehner plan earlier this week, said he’d bet his retirement savings that the legislation will pass the House Thursday.

    House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said support for Boehner’s plan is “growing everyday,” and that Jordan’s scaling back his opposition. “I think Jim is always laying out where he sees he thinks the bill can be better and we’re always working on issues.”

    That’s not to say that Boehner’s bill is a shoe-in. Plenty of conservatives in the House remain opposed.

    “I’m a beat up no,” Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said as he walked briskly past reporters in the Capitol basement.

    But despite the deep divisions in the conservative movement over the plan, and despite yesterday’s hiccup over the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the plan, its prospects look much better today than yesterday.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    July 27, 2011 1:05 PM

    Quote of the Day

    By Steve Benen
    House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is obviously scrambling to secure as much Republican support for his budget plan as possible, and took his sales pitch to Laura Ingraham’s radio show this morning. One line in particular stood out:

    A large number of conservative Republicans are opposing Boehner’s proposal, arguing it does not go far enough in reducing government spending.

    But Boehner said he couldn’t understand why any Republicans would position themselves with Democrats opposing his plan.

    “Barack Obama hates it, Harry Reid hates it, Nancy Pelosi hates it,” he said, naming off the Democratic leadership.

    Now, at a certain level, it makes sense that the House Speaker would try to rally his side by leveraging partisan feelings. Boehner probably figures Republicans will be more likely to support a plan that Democrats “hate.”

    But let’s not lose sight of the larger context here. The United States is in the midst of a crisis of Republicans’ making, and a potentially catastrophic deadline is just days away. We have a Republican-led House, a Democratic-led Senate, and a Democratic White House, so the nation will need a solution that can generate approval from all three institutions.

    Speaker Boehner, meanwhile, isn’t just abandoning the search for a bipartisan solution; he’s publicly bragging about pushing a plan he knows isn’t a bipartisan solution.

    I support this leads to two questions some enterprising reporter may want to ask the Speaker:

    1. If you know the Senate leadership and the White House hate your plan, why are you intent on pushing it six days before Aug. 2?

    2. On Monday night, you used the word “bipartisan” five times. If bipartisanship is important, why are you bragging about Democratic opposition to your plan?

    Say hello to Boehner Brand Bipartisanship: the kind where one side gets what it wants, and the other should expect to be blamed for wanting a compromise.

  34. Palin: American Ideals Are Foreign To Obama Because Of His Background

    • Palin has got to be the dumbest bee.itch. on the planet.

    • rikyrah says:

      bitch, please

    • creolechild says:

      Really, Sarah? Let’s examine YOUR “background,” and your husband’s, a bit more thoroughly. OOPS! Looks like you’ve got some ‘splainin to do! After that you can go sit down somewhere and STFU!

      Meet Sarah Palin’s radical right-wing pals
      Friday, Oct 10, 2008 06:18 ET


      ….Chryson belongs to a fringe political party, one that advocates the secession of Alaska from the Union, and that organizes with other like-minded secessionist movements from Canada to the Deep South, he is not without peculiar influence in state politics, especially the rise of Sarah Palin. An obscure figure outside of Alaska, Chryson has been a political fixture in the hometown of the Republican vice-presidential nominee for over a decade. During the 1990s, when Chryson directed the AIP, he and another radical right-winger, Steve Stoll, played a quiet but pivotal role in electing Palin as mayor of Wasilla and shaping her political agenda afterward. Both Stoll and Chryson not only contributed to Palin’s campaign financially, they played major behind-the-scenes roles in the Palin camp before, during and after her victory.

      Palin backed Chryson as he successfully advanced a host of anti-tax, pro-gun initiatives, including one that altered the state Constitution’s language to better facilitate the formation of anti-government militias. She joined in their vendetta against several local officials they disliked, and listened to their advice about hiring. She attempted to name Stoll, a John Birch Society activist known in the Mat-Su Valley as “Black Helicopter Steve,” to an empty Wasilla City Council seat. “Every time I showed up her door was open,” said Chryson. “And that policy continued when she became governor.”

      When Chryson first met Sarah Palin, however, he didn’t really trust her politically. It was the early 1990s, when he was a member of a local libertarian pressure group called SAGE, or Standing Against Government Excess. (SAGE’s founder, Tammy McGraw, was Palin’s birth coach.) Palin was a leader in a pro-sales-tax citizens group called WOW, or Watch Over Wasilla, earning a political credential before her 1992 campaign for City Council. Though he was impressed by her interpersonal skills, Chryson greeted Palin’s election warily, thinking she was too close to the Democrats on the council and too pro-tax. But soon, Palin and Chryson discovered they could be useful to each other. Palin would be running for mayor, while Chryson was about to take over the chairmanship of the Alaska Independence Party, which at its peak in 1990 had managed to elect a governor.


      Hickel’s subsequent failure as governor to press for a vote on Alaskan independence rankled Old Joe. With sponsorship from the Islamic Republic of Iran, Vogler was scheduled to present his case for Alaskan secession before the United Nations General Assembly in the late spring of 1993. But before he could, Old Joe’s long, strange political career ended tragically that May when he was murdered by a fellow secessionist.


      After intense evangelizing by Chryson and his allies, they claimed Palin as a convert. “When she started taking her job seriously,” Chryson said, “the people who put her in as the rubber stamp found out the hard way that she was not going to go their way.” In 1994, Sarah Palin attended the AIP’s statewide convention. In 1995, her husband, Todd, changed his voter registration to AIP. Except for an interruption of a few months, he would remain registered was an AIP member until 2002, when he changed his registration to undeclared.


      Read more:


    WASHINGTON — House Democratic leaders emerged from a Wednesday Caucus meeting with a message for President Barack Obama: Invoke the Constitution to resolve the debt standoff.

    If Congress can’t reach a deal on a long-term debt limit increase by August 2, Obama should “sign an executive order invoking the 14th Amendment,” said Assistant Minority Leader James Cyburn (D-S.C.).

    “I am convinced that whatever discussions about the legality of that can continue,” Clyburn said. “But I believe that something like this will bring calm to the American people and will bring needed stability to our financial markets.”

    House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (D-Conn.) acknowledged that Obama has previously expressed doubts about his legal authority to unilaterally raise the debt limit. But circumstances have changed, Larson said, and “we just want to let him know that his Caucus is prepared to stand behind him” if Congress fails to pass a long-term deal.

    “We have to have a fail-safe mechanism,” Larson said. “We believe that fail-safe mechanism is the 14th Amendment and the president of the United States.”

    Section 4 of the 14th Amendment states: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payments of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.” Essentially, Democrats are arguing that since the “public debt” cannot be questioned, then the debt ceiling itself is unconstitutional.

    Democratic Senators have been eying this option since late June. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), an attorney, predicted at that time the the constitutional option may get “a pretty strong second look as a way of saying, ‘Is there some way to save us from ourselves?'”

    • Ametia says:

      I think Dems need to cool their jets and let CONGRESS do ITS job. It’s too convienent for folks to just let PBO invoke the 14th; let the GOP work to avert the disaster they’ve created.

  36. creolechild says:

    I think we could use a jolt of energy to shake off that mid-day slump. Remember this? Go lil’ shorties…LOL!

  37. creolechild says:

    Bennet Asks Sebelius To Accept IOM’s Recommendations On Preventive Care |

    Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D) is urging HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to “follow the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation that insurers offer no-cost preventative services for women,” Inside Health Policy’s Amy Lotven reports. Sebelius is under pressure from Democrats to adopt the Institute’s recommendations, while a small group of conservative organizations is opposing the measure on the basis that greater access to contraception would increase unwanted pregnancies and could lead to more abortions. HHS is expected to make a decision on the recommendations by Aug. 1.

  38. creolechild says:

    The fictional version of an apocalyptic future often has as its catalyst an alien invasion, or ravenous zombies, but in reality, the most likely cause would be shortsightedness. I just read something really scary: “The State of America’s Children,” the 2011 report from the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF). The problems it cites aren’t new, but too often we don’t address them because our focus isn’t what’s best for the kids. Two recent stories come to mind, a report on the atrocious disciplinary rate in Texas public schools, and rampant cheating on standardized tests in Atlanta public schools. In both cases, adults focused more on their own needs than on the needs of children.

    The CDF report summarized the problems millions of children face:

    “Millions of poor children of color are at increased risk of dying before their first birthday, living in poverty and extreme poverty, being uninsured and in poor health, lagging behind in early childhood development, lacking a quality education, dropping out of school and being excluded by zero-tolerance school discipline policies, being stuck in foster care without permanent families, ending up in the juvenile and criminal justice systems, being caught in the high-school and college completion gap, being unemployed or being killed by guns. A Cradle to Prison Pipeline haunts them from birth to adulthood.”

    We know the problems exist, and even know some ways to address them, but few of us have the patience for the complex solutions required to deal with complicated problems. When I wrote last week about the killing of a teenager by another teenager in Seattle, one reader asked: What do you expect us white people to do? We’ve already built jails and prisons (for young black people).
    Most people weren’t as thoughtless. But people too often reach for the quick fix rather than digging down to make real change.


    Read more:

  39. creolechild says:

    Ohio Gathers Enough Signatures To Vote On Constitutional Amendment Against ACA

    In an attempt to abolish the Affordable Care Act’s provision mandating all Americans acquire health insurance, Ohio groups have gathered enough signatures from voters to add a constitutional amendment to the Nov. 8 ballot. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today certified over 425,000 signatures in favor of the constitutional amendment – -around 40,000 over what the state’s election law required. One liberal watchdog has already taken issue with about 20 percent of the petitions, however, hinting that signature-authenticity challenges could lower that total. The Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment, if passed by voters, would prohibit any local, state, or federal law that would “compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in a health care system.” –Sarah Bufkin

  40. creolechild says:

    Ground broken for $11.8M wind energy center
    By Anonymous

    A vacant patch of land in the shadow of Akron-Canton Airport will become the shaft that spins the Timken Co.’s research and development of wind-turbine bearings. “There’s only so much coal, oil and gas to go around,” Timken Chairman Tim Timken told a crowd of 100 politicians, civic and business leaders and others Tuesday afternoon during a ceremony to break ground on its $11.8 million wind energy center. The project is a partnership between Timken and Stark State College, which owns the 15-acre site on the northeast corner of Shuffel Drive and Frank Ave. NW. The school envisions the area as a high-tech campus focused on emerging technologies, such as wind energy. The 18,000 square-foot building will open next year, said Doug Smith, senior vice president of technology and quality.

    The center will secure 65 jobs directly, while creating research opportunities and a technical certification program for Stark State students. They will be able to acquire experience conducting research, development and testing of various large wind turbine bearing systems. The facility, Timken said, is the first of its kind in the Americas. Announced last year, the project is funded by more than $6 million from Timken; $2.1 million from Ohio’s Third Frontier Commission; and a $1.5 million loan from the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority.


    Thank you, Anonymous!

  41. creolechild says:

    Tropical Storm Batters Philippines

    Rescuers carry children to safety as floodwaters rise to chest level during a deadly storm battering the central Philippines. According to local officials, 10 people have died and five fishermen are missing after tropical storm Nock-Ten hit the island of Luzon, closing schools and grounding domestic flights and ferries. Seven of the casualties are from Albay province, where the governor says more rain has fallen in the last 24 hours than during the rest of the month, triggering landslides as well as floods. Residents of a nearby province say flood waters have been rising since Monday night, and complain that rescue boats did not arrive in time, and even temporary shelters are flooded.


    Storm alert levels have been raised across the northern and central Philippines as Nock-Ten gains strength, bringing heavy rains and wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour. The weather bureau says the storm was expected to make landfall early on Wednesday, and has warned of further flooding and landslides.

  42. creolechild says:

    Syria Allows Political Parties Amid Continuing Unrest

    On Monday the Syrian cabinet approved a law that allows for political parties other than the ruling Baath party but they must adhere to “democratic principles.” Meanwhile, video continues to be uploaded to social media sites, indicating that widespread protests are still taking place. Reporting and access has been restricted by the Syrian authorities and the contents of these videos cannot be verified. Amateur videoes posted on social media websites on Sunday claims to show hundreds of protesters in Hama chanting, “down with Assad, tell the Shabbiha that Syria is a fighter.” Witness reports from activists and right groups operating in Syria suggest the popular upheaval is growing bolder.

    Another video shows a large funeral procession in the outskirts of Damascus with marchers chanting “God is great.” In a separate video posted on social media websites on Thursday, a minaret of a mosque called Al Zaafaran in Homs can be seen being targeted by gunfire, and residents can be heard shouting against Assad. Some Syria-watchers say the protest movement is driven mainly by youths and includes rural Sunni tribes, nationalists, leftists, secularists and also Islamists, united in their goal of overthrowing an autocratic and corrupt government.

    Geographically, the protests have spread since March to many rural and tribal regions, cities such as Hama and Homs, and even to Damascus, although not on a huge scale in the capital.
    Syrian human rights groups say at least 1,400 have been killed since protests started.
    Authorities blame “armed terrorist groups” with Islamic links for the current unrest and say at least 500 policemen and soldiers have been killed. The Baath party, which has banned opposition groups since a l963 military coup, has been under pressure to abandon its monopoly on power during the four-month uprising that has called for the toppling of President Bashar al-Assad.

    Ben Affleck Reacts To House GOP Using Clip From His Film In Debt Debate

    WASHINGTON — Heads turned a bit on Tuesday night when the Washington Post reported that House Republicans were using a scene from the movie “The Town” as a motivational vignette to encourage members to back Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) debt ceiling plan.

    In a conference meeting on Tuesday, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) showed a scene from the film in which Doug MacRay, a bank robber played by Ben Affleck, asks his friend to participate in a violent revenge attack. It was an odd note to sound during a debt ceiling debate — and more than that, it was an unusual way of fostering unity among the ranks.

    On Wednesday, Affleck — who wrote and directed “The Town” — said that he too found the whole scenario a touch bizarre. And in a statement his spokesperson provided to The Huffington Post, he suggested that Republicans use a different one of his movies next time they need to whip votes.

    “I don’t know if this is a compliment or the ultimate repudiation,” said the actor, who is currently in Turkey directing and starring in “Argo,” an adaptation of the Tehran hostage crisis. “But if they’re going to be watching movies, I think “The Company Men” is more appropriate.”

    That latter Affleck flick focuses on the plight of middle age men who have been laid off during the recession. (One of them, depressed about being unemployed, later kills himself.) Whether that message would resonate in the GOP caucus is anyone’s guess. But the likelihood is that McCarthy knows his members a bit better than Affleck. According to the Post, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla), one of the most intransigent Tea Party members of the Freshmen class, was won over by the gambit.

    House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the party’s vote counter, began his talk by showing a clip from the movie, “The Town”, trying to forge a sense of unity among the independent-minded caucus.
    One character asks his friend: “I need your help. I can’t tell you what it is. You can never ask me about it later.”

    “Whose car are we gonna take,” the character says.

    After showing the clip, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), one of the most outspoken critics of leadership among the 87 freshmen, stood up to speak, according to GOP aides.

    “I’m ready to drive the car,” West replied, surprising many Republicans by giving his full -throated support for the plan.

  44. creolechild says:

    Thank you, Karoli and Crooks and Liars!

    Lives of the anonymous rich: No wonder they don’t want private jets taxed

    In Maine, it’s a burgeoning industry. I’m beginning to understand the whole private jet/private plane protection racket a little better now. You see, we can’t have the little darlings take a bus to camp, or drive, now can we?

    Gov. Paul LePage of Maine happened to be waiting for his flight at Augusta State Airport on a recent Saturday when the weekend crush began. A turboprop Pilatus PC-12 carrying Melissa Thomas, her daughter, her daughter’s friend and a pile of lacrosse equipment took off for their home in Connecticut, following the girls’ three-week stay at Camp All-Star in nearby Kents Hill, Me.

    Shortly after, a Cessna Citation Excel arrived, and a mother, a father and their 13-year-old daughter emerged carrying a pink sleeping bag and two large duffel bags, all headed to Camp Vega in Fayette. “Love it, love it, love it,” Mr. LePage said of the private-plane traffic generated by summer camps. “I wish they’d stay a week while they’re here. This is a big business.”

    For decades, parents in the Northeast who sent their children to summer camp faced the same arduous logistics of traveling long distances to remote towns in Maine, New Hampshire and upstate New York to pick up their children or to attend parents’ visiting day. Awww, but fear not. Now those same parents can send little Janie and Johnny off to camp on a private plane, while nattering with each other about how bourgeois those who drive are.

    But some parents have already tired of this private-plane status infiltrating the simpler world of summer camp. Nancy Chemtob, a divorce lawyer, made several summer trips to Maine in the past decade, where her children attended camp. She once managed to get on a charter plane from the airport in East Hampton, N.Y., for $750 (her husband had hung a sign in the airport seeking a ride). After listening to enough banter among parents about “who is flying, who is flying private, who they can get a lift home with,” she decided she “was done with Maine and the planes and all of the people.”

    “It’s a crazy world out there,” she added. She now sends her children to camp in Europe. Welcome to the lives of the anonymous, nouveau riche living in banal-land. God forbid they’d have to fork over any more taxes. What would happen to little Janie and Johnny?

  45. Violent movie clip is played to fire up House Republicans for Boehner’s debt ceiling bill

    It’s no secret that Republicans aren’t enamored with Rep. John Boehner’s debt ceiling bill. The Tea Party has come out strongly against it too. What is Boehner going to do? Apparently, they want to go out and beat up some Democrats, or something like that.

    TPM’s Brian Beutler writes a great piece about how the Republicans in the HOUSE used a gangster movie clip to try and rally the troops with none other that Rep. Allen West leading the charge.

    I get that reporters are hungry for color and that members of Congress and their staffs sometimes err when they decide what to reveal. But it’s hard to imagine who was thinking what when House aides leaked to the Washington Post this eye-popping anecdote about a House GOP caucus meeting today in which leadership got their troops pumped up to support the Boehner debt bill with a scene from a gangster film where loyalty trumps morality and justifies brutal assault.

  46. creolechild says:

    Please share this video with as many people as possible. It’s a good indication of what will become the norm as people try to get ID so that they’re able to vote in 2012…

    As if it’s not bad enough that Republicans are wrecking what little financial stability we have left with their ridiculous debt-ceiling chicken dance, they’re also working hard in the states to disenfranchise voters. In Wisconsin, the preferred method is to require voters to present valid photo identification at the polls. The Voter ID law passed under Scott Walker’s watchful eye earlier this year, with all due credit to ALEC for their helpful drafting of the legislation for lazy lawmakers.

    One Wisconsin Now explains how that impacts voters: Wisconsin’s population is substantially less likely to have a state-issued identification. Those without state-issued photo identification and who would need to obtain one under the Wisconsin Voter ID bill include:

    * 23 percent of all elderly Wisconsinites over the age of 65
    * 17 percent of white men and women
    * 55 percent of all African American males and 49 percent of African American women
    * 46 percent of Hispanic men and 59% of Hispanic women
    * 78 percent of African American males age 18-24 and 66 percent of African American women age 18-24

    Yes, the bill as written does have a provision to provide free identification for some Wisconsinites. Each and every one of these people would have to take the time off (in many cases unpaid) from work or family obligations to flock to Wisconsin DMVs. However, access to the DMV is a problem in Wisconsin; Indiana provides its residents exponentially more access to its Department of Motor Vehicles offices to obtain identification. That post was written in January. It’s now July, and guess what? Governor Scott Walker, citing budget squeezes, is closing 10 DMV offices throughout the state. But these aren’t just any old DMV offices, no. They’re conveniently located in Democratic districts.


  47. rikyrah says:

    July 26, 2011
    George Will finds his inner Pegler
    I’ll say one thing for the debt-ceiling crisis. It has produced some of the best conservative ravings since Joe McCarthy and Westbrook Pegler.

    Case in laughable point is George Will’s column today, which reads like one of the borderline psychotic fulminations so commonly drooled onto the comments section of Michelle Malkin’s Web site. A complete autopsy of Will’s diatribe would be too tedious and gruesome, so let’s zoom in on merely one of his gangrenous manifestations.

    He praises the Constitutional separation of powers for having

    rescued the nation from Obama’s preference for a “clean” debt-ceiling increase that would ignore the onrushing debt tsunami. There are 87 reasons for Obama’s temporary conversion of convenience to the cause of spending restraint — the 87 House Republican freshmen. Their inflexibility astonishes and scandalizes Washington because it reflects the rarity of serene fidelity to campaign promises.

    How a clean vote would in any way stay or reverse the nation’s fiscal encumbrances which Congress has racked up over the years is beyond anyone dwelling in the real world’s spacetime continuum, but let us pass on that. Let us instead zoom in further on Will’s praise for the Tea Party’s “rarity of serene fidelity to campaign promises” — yes, yes, praiseworthy indeed, even if it means utter national, and possibly global, destruction.

    At the moment I am rather understandably imagining Mr. Will sitting at a typewriter, ca. 1939, giddily praising Herr Hitler for his impeccable fidelity shown to the promises made in Mein Kampf. Refreshing political behavior, was it not? Never mind its apocalyptic substance.

    One just doesn’t find fuehers leaders like that anymore, except …

  48. creolechild says:

    TSA Scanners Start Moving From Naked Bodies to Stick-Figure Outlines

    The TSA announced today that it will be rolling out new software on its millimeter wave bodyscanners, which replaces the nude images created by the current machines with generic outlines of the human form. Instead of a human security screener scrutinizing an image of your nude body, a computer will process that image and highlight areas of the body where any “anomalies” are found. Here is an image provided by the TSA: [Click on link to view image.]

    This technology represents a significant improvement for privacy over the scanners that reveal naked images to human screeners. That is a very good thing. It shows that the outcry against these scanners by the public, and by the ACLU and our allies, has had an effect, and that the TSA has been forced to respond and implement a less invasive system – one that they should have deployed at the outset, rather than wasting an enormous amount of energy deploying and defending the full naked scanners. But it’s a good thing that they finally did respond.

    If you sent a letter or email or filed a complaint, stop for a moment and pat yourself on the back. Hundreds of thousands of people took action on this issue and it made a difference. That is no small thing. That said, the system does not “eliminate” privacy concerns as the TSA stated today. For example:


  49. rikyrah says:

    Romney Avoids Taking A Position On Boehner Plan With Same Weasel Words He Used For Ryan Plan
    By Travis Waldron on Jul 26, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    The 2012 presidential candidates have been slow to take a stand on House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) debt plan. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) announced his support yesterday, while Minnestoa Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) told ThinkProgress today she would not support the plan.

    Then there’s former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), who “applaud[ed]” Boehner’s effort in a statement to the National Review but refused to take a firm stand:

    “Governor Romney thinks President Obama’s leadership has been an historic failure. He applauds Speaker Boehner for standing firm against raising taxes when our nation can least afford them,” says Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Romney, in a statement to National Review Online.

    In April, Romney used almost identical language in dodging a question about the Medicare-ending budget proposal released by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI):

    “I applaud Rep. Paul Ryan for recognizing the looming financial crisis that faces our nation and for the creative and bold thinking that he brings to the debate. He is setting the right tone for finally getting spending and entitlements under control. Anyone who has read my book knows that we are on the same page.”

    It seems Romney, who has battled allegations of flip-flopping for most of his political career, has decided that “applauding” the efforts of other elected officials is the easiest way to avoid taking a set position on any tough issue.

  50. rikyrah says:

    After Enthusiastically Using Filibuster, GOP Begs Democrats Not To Filibuster Cut, Cap, And Balance Plan
    By Travis Waldron on Jul 26, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Since 2009, Senate Republicans have forced virtually every bill to pass the 60-vote cloture threshold before it could come to the floor for actual debate. This unprecedented obstruction forced Senate Democrats to find 60 supporting votes — as opposed to a simple majority of 51 — to pass health care reform, financial regulatory reform, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the economic stimulus package, and nearly every other bill they considered, and killed critical legislation like a climate change bill, immigration reform, and the DREAM Act. In addition, Republicans have successfully filibustered an unheard-of number of judicial and cabinet-level nominees, hindering the efficacy of both branches.

    But after they failed to get 60 votes for their Cut, Cap, and Balance plan last week, a group of Senate Republicans is urging Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to bring it to the floor for debate, thus allowing it to pass with only 51 votes. The senators sent Reid a letter today, obtained by Slate’s Dave Weigel:

    We urge Senate Majority Leader Reid to reconsider the tabled bill and let the Senate debate it fully, in full view of the American people — so that it may garner the four or five votes that it needs to pass — and to agree that it should pass without invoking the 60 vote cloture threshold in recognition of the urgency of the matter.

    Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) made the same argument on Fox News this afternoon, saying the bill was only tabled, not defeated, and Reid should bring it to the floor for debate.

    The Republican approach ignores numerous obstacles for the bill. If Reid brought it to the floor, it would need to gain five more votes to pass the Senate with just a simple majority. Even if it passed, President Obama has promised to veto it. And even if Obama signed it into law, it would still need approval from two-thirds of both houses of Congress to send the actual Balanced Budget Amendment to the states for ratification. The House passed the bill, but would need roughly 57 more votes to approve the amendment, while the Senate would need to find 21 more votes.

    Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), continue to cling to the notion that their radical Balanced Budget Amendment — which would force draconian spending cuts and exacerbate the pain of future recessions — is a serious plan in the search for a debt deal. Even less serious than the actual plan, however, is asking Democrats not to use the very rules that have allowed Republicans to grind the Senate to a halt for the last three years.

  51. rikyrah says:

    July 26, 2011
    Not since Lincoln
    David Frum makes a curious argument:

    whether it was health care or the deficit or now the debt ceiling, direct encounters between Obama and his Republican opposite numbers have always ended badly for the president.

    Why do I choose the modifier of “curious”? Because on the first issue — health care — Frum has tirelessly and rather courageously admonished his fellow conservatives for losing, by not playing. Now, suddenly, it has “ended badly for the president.” And any verdict on the next two issues — the deficit and debt ceiling — is obviously premature.

    So where does that leave Frum’s argument? Contradictory, for starters; otherwise, presumptuous.

    Even more interesting is Andrew Sullivan’s assessment of Frum’s:

    I agree, I’m afraid. I know Obama wants to get things done and also believes that taking a strong stand in advance of legislation can prevent that. But without the clarity of rhetorical leadership, you end up in the miasma of legislative minutiae that leaves the impression that Washington has not changed at all. The result, of course, is that it hasn’t.

    Yet Sullivan’s conclusion is, of course, demonstrably untrue. Washington has changed radically, in both general senses of the word.

    Not since Abe Lincoln took office has a president’s political opposition been so ruthlessly determined to oppose — even to the point of national disloyalty, which is precisely what the GOP’s treacherous machinations over the debt limit represent. It is futile to look back on Obama’s first two years and speculate that he should have done this, or that he should have done that, and then this or that might have proceeded better; it is futile because whatever path Obama might have chosen, his opposition was acrobatically hellbent on obstructing it.

    If Obama is to be properly faulted, then his fault lies in the rather incongruent criticism of excessive rationality. No one, least of all a chief executive of profound intellect and with a corresponding belief in the great and unifying power of Reason, could have predicted in January 2009 that the spiritually broken Grand Old Party would redouble its preceding madness, and then double that, and double even that again. No one could have predicted the right’s absolutely surreal hypocrisy on debt and spending, its Obama-as-Hitler posters, its “death panel” frenzies and its birther lunacy and its Socialist Dictator! dementias. Neither could anyone have predicted the activist left’s infantile behavior and ceaseless crankiness.

    No one could have, and no one did.

    Yet now we encounter the magnificent bounty of hindsight. And it’s pointless. Because the right was always determined to sabotage Obama’s presidency — if “unusually extreme and intransigent” methods, as Frum grants, proved insufficient, then what the hell; economic treason might do the trick — and with each passing day, it doubles down on its determination.

    Again … not since Lincoln.

    • Not since Abe Lincoln took office has a president’s political opposition been so ruthlessly determined to oppose — even to the point of national disloyalty, which is precisely what the GOP’s treacherous machinations over the debt limit represent. It is futile to look back on Obama’s first two years and speculate that he should have done this, or that he should have done that, and then this or that might have proceeded better; it is futile because whatever path Obama might have chosen, his opposition was acrobatically hellbent on obstructing it.

  52. I read this on Twitter. Hilarious!

    Obama may have to cancel his 50th birthday party because of the debt limit crisis. The #GOP won’t even let him raise his age.

  53. rikyrah says:

    July 27, 2011 9:55 AM

    CBO: Reid plan produces huge savings

    By Steve Benen

    The Congressional Budget Office disappointed House Republican leaders at a key moment yesterday, releasing an analysis that found Speaker John Boehner’s (R) budget proposal saves less than advertised. It sent Republican leaders scrambling, and delayed a vote in the House by at least a day.

    The non-partisan CBO has also taken a look at the deal offered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D), and come to a more favorable conclusion (favorable, that is, if one’s goal is significant debt reduction).

    In the battle of budget scores, the Senate Democrats deficit reduction bill is the clear winner thus far over an alternative by Speaker John Boehner, which had to be pulled back from a floor Tuesday night for retooling.

    The Congressional Budget Office released a report Wednesday morning that credits the Senate bill with reducing budget deficits by about $2.2 trillion through 2012, nearly three times the $850 billion credited to the Boehner bill on Tuesday.

    Part of the disparity is owed to the fact that the House bill takes a two-step approach to raising the debt ceiling and therefore postpones actions on major entitlement savings until November and December. A second factor is the Senate’s willingness to take advantage of CBO baseline rules and claim large savings from winding down US military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Reid had said his plan would produce $2.7 trillion in savings over the next decade, $500 billion more than the CBO’s findings. That said, the report is otherwise good news for Reid, especially as far as the politics are concerned.

    After all, there are, in effect, two main proposals under consideration with less than a week remaining. There’s Reid’s plan, which enjoys quite a bit of Democratic backing, which offers $2.2 trillion in debt reduction and takes default off the table through the end of next year. Then there’s Boehner’s plan, which is struggling to get a House majority, which offers $850 billion in debt reduction and forces policymakers to have another debt-ceiling fight in six months.

    Worse, multiple reports suggest Boehner’s plan would increase the likelihood of a credit-rating downgrade, while Reid’s would not.

    Reason hasn’t played much of a role in the debate thus far, but this morning’s CBO score will make it that much more difficult for Republicans to argue an economic catastrophe is preferable to Reid’s revenue-free compromise.

  54. creolechild says:

    Palestinian leaders meet to endorse UN bid

    The PLO Central Council was on Wednesday expected to endorse a decision by the Palestinian leadership to seek full membership in the United Nations in September. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas was to address council members at the meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, which got under way late morning, officials said. In his speech, Abbas was expected to lay out details of the mechanism by which the Palestinians will approach the world body, which it is hoping to join as a full member. The Central Council is the PLO’s most important decision-making body in absence of the Palestinian National Council, the parliament-in-exile which rarely meets.

    The Ramallah session comes five days after Abbas convened a gathering of Palestinian diplomats in Istanbul in a bid to finalise their strategy of seeking support for statehood when the UN General Assembly meets in September. Officials say they are not planning on unilaterally proclaiming a state as they did in Algiers in 1988, nor will they seek recognition from the UN as a whole. Instead, they will continue to work for endorsement on a state-by-state basis, while applying for membership in the global body. Approaching the Security Council would be the only way for the Palestinians to gain full membership in the UN, although backing in the General Assembly would enable them to upgrade their current status from an observer body to a non-member state. Such an upgrade would allow the Palestinians to join all the UN agencies, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), the child welfare agency UNICEF and the world heritage body, UNESCO.


  55. rikyrah says:

    July 27, 2011
    The demonic Rick Warren
    Straight from Christ’s tweeting evangelical vicar, Rick Warren:

    HALF of America pays NO taxes. Zero. So they’re happy for tax rates to be raised on the other half that DOES pay taxes.

    Unfortunately all too many of the first half DO — to emulate the capitalizing Warren — pay taxes, and I don’t mean just payroll or sales taxes.

    No, they witlessly pay a soul tax, euphemistically called a “tithe,” to squalid religious demagogues like Warren, in the delusional belief that some god gives a good goddamn whether or not they’ve financially ponied up on Earth.

    So keep tweeting and alienating the meek and poor, “Pastor” Rick, and perhaps thereby you’ll reduce the sum or religious mega-ignorance.

  56. SC Tea Party Leader who claims Obama’s birth cert is phony gets arrested for selling pirated software

    When evil gets to rockin; Karma comes a knockin!

    • creolechild says:

      Hmmm…guess his involvement with phony merchandise led him to believe he was an expert in other areas, i.e. the President’s birth certificate. Too bad his expertise wasn’t good enough to prevent him from doing the perp walk straight to jail. Clowns!

  57. rikyrah says:

    CBO: Reid Debt Limit Bill Saves $2.2 Trillion
    Compared to House Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is a happy man right now.

    The Congressional Budget Office says his debt limit bill will reduce deficits relative to the current baseline by about $2.2 trillion over 10 years — much more than House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) bill, which scored such small savings Tuesday evening that he pulled it to include more spending cuts at the last minute.

    But it’s not all good news for Reid. First, Republicans are already dismissing the big numbers because they rely heavily on savings from winding down wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those savings are what you call “budget gimmickry,” when the other party relies on them, so the GOP says they shouldn’t count.

    More subtly, though, the GOP has been insisting that the debt limit bill meet an arbitrary standard: new borrowing authority must be matched or exceeded by the amount by which the legislation will reduce the deficit. Democrats want a $2.4 trillion increase in the debt limit, to get Congress through 2012 before this fight plays out again. It’s unclear how far $2.2 trillion in new borrowing authority would the government, but if it’s before November 2012, Democrats won’t be pleased, and the parties will really have to reckon with this standard.

    Now, too, we know why the White House is defending House Republicans’ use of an out-dated budget baseline in this debate. They make both the GOP bill and the Democratic bill look like they contain slightly deeper cuts — and they could really use that little kick right now.

  58. creolechild says:

    Anti-gay heavy metal preacher files lawsuit against Rachel Maddow

    Attorney Larry Klayman, the founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch, has filed a lawsuit against Rachel Maddow and MSNBC on behalf of Bradlee Dean, head of the religious ministry You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International. The lawsuit seeks in excess of $50 million in damages for false accusations and defamation. Dean claims that Maddow accused him on her MSNBC show of supporting the killing of homosexuals, which harmed the “fine reputation” of himself and his ministry. “This case is filed as a matter of principle,” Klayman said. “We need more Bradlee Deans in the world and hateful left wing television commentators must be made to respect not only his mission but the law.”

    On her show, Maddow played a clip of Dean saying Muslim nations that execute gays are more moral than American Christians. “Muslims are calling for the executions of homosexuals in America,” he said on AM 1280 the Patriot. “This just shows you they themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible of the Judeo-Christian God, but they seem to be more moral than even the American Christians do, because these people are livid about enforcing their laws. They know homosexuality is an abomination.”

    Dean says that Maddow ignored a “very clear disclaimer” on his ministry’s site that he does not support killing homosexuals. But after playing the clip Maddow noted that Dean “later clarified that he didn’t really mean to sanction murder of gay people, he said, quote, ‘We have never and will never call for the execution of homosexuals.” She also played a clip of Dean saying on the radio that, “On average, they [homosexuals] molest 117 people before they’re found out.”


  59. creolechild says:

    Here we go again…

    Maine GOP Chair: Students Who Vote And Pay Out-Of-State Tuition Are Committing Voter Fraud

    Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster is claiming that college students who pay out-of-state tuition rates and vote in state are committing voter fraud. At a press conference at the Maine State House, Webster gave the media a list of over 200 students — their names redacted — who paid out-of-state tuition rates but were registered to vote in the state. Webster said he came up with the list because of opposition from voter rights groups to a law passed by the Republican-led legislature in June which banned voter registration on Election Day. A coalition of groups have launched a petition drive to overturn the law.

    One problem. The University of Maine only allows individuals who previously lived in Maine — those who aren’t just living into the state to attend school — to pay a discounted in-state tuition rate. And Webster provided absolutely zero evidence that the students — the vast majority of whom were born in the late 80s and early 90s, based on Webster’s list — voted both in their home state and in Maine. As the Sun Journal reported:

    According to Maine state law, students are eligible to register to vote in the municipality in which they attend school, as long as they have established residency there. There is not a period of time required for a person to establish residency. The University of Maine System has different guidelines to establish student residency. A student may only be granted in-state tuition if he or she has proven that she has established residency for reasons other than academic, regardless of the length of time that he or she has lived in Maine.


  60. creolechild says:

    Russia faces crisis if Putin returns: Kremlin advisers

    Russia faces a massive crisis including economic collapse and social tensions if Vladimir Putin rather than Dmitry Medvedev stands in presidential polls, two Kremlin advisers warned on Wednesday. In the most vocal call yet for Medvedev to seek a second mandate in 2012 elections, the advisers from the Institute of Contemporary Development (INSOR) painted a bleak picture of a future Russia with Putin again in the Kremlin. Medvedev and Putin — who left the presidency in 2008 after two mandates to become prime minister — have not yet made clear who will stand in the March polls other than insisting they will not run against each other.

    “The sheer fact of the current president deciding not to continue his mandate will cause a major crisis in the country,” INSOR chief Igor Yurgens and board member Yevgeny Gontmakher wrote in an article for daily Vedomosti. Their institute was set up by Medvedev when he took over the presidency to advise on economic policy. It is seen as one of the most radical supporters of his trademark modernisation policy within the Russian establishment. If Medvedev decides not to run, they forecast a sharp fall in the Russian markets and a rapid worsening of two of the country’s biggest existing problems — capital flight and immigration abroad. Social problems and right-wing extremism could also rise, they wrote.


  61. creolechild says:

    Fannie Mae and the Housing Bubble

    A few weeks ago I criticized a David Brooks column that tried to pin the blame for the housing bubble and its subsequent collapse on Fannie Mae. Afterwards, though, I felt a twinge of guilt. The column was based largely on Reckless Endangerment, by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner, and I hadn’t read the book. Maybe there was more to this than I thought. So I read the book. And it was…..weird. The first hundred pages or so were about Fannie Mae in the 90s, when Jim Johnson turned a formerly low-key quasi-governmental utility into a full-blown Wall Street firm obsessed with growth, market share, and executive compensation. Johnson essentially used his political connections with Congress to parlay Fannie’s low cost of funds (a consequence of its implicit government guarantee) into a steady stream of ever-growing profits and higher pay. This part of the book is pretty good.

    Then the book morphs into something different. Fannie largely disappears from the scene, to be replaced by a couple hundred pages about the subprime mortgage market of the aughts. This part of the book was OK, but not great. Joe Nocera and Bethany McLean told the story a lot better in All the Devils are Here. But there was also a third strand woven throughout the book, one that tried to blame Fannie Mae (and, to a lesser extent, Freddie Mac) for the Great Collapse of 2008. And this piece of the book just didn’t hold up. Morgenson and Rosner’s basic argument is a little hard to pin down precisely, but basically they suggest that Johnson’s go-go management of Fannie in the 90s somehow gave the green light to Wall Street to go crazy in the aughts. Here’s a typical passage, about bank lobbying to keep capital standards low in the late 90s:


    The book is studded with passages like this that try to imply that Wall Street might have remained sober and prudent throughout the aughts if only Fannie Mae had set a better example. Robert Kuttner gives this the treatment it deserves in the American Prospect this month: As Morgenson and Rosner obliquely acknowledge elsewhere in the book, other Wall Street firms created the subprime bubble precisely because Fannie would not buy those loans. Morgenson and Rosner admit this contradiction when they write of the Wall Street-financed boom in poor-quality loans that took off circa 2001: “Because higher-quality borrowers were still at this time the domain of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Wall Street could not hope to compete in this area. So the big investment firms stepped up their interest in alternative mortgage products offered to sub-prime or near-prime borrowers.” In other words, Wall Street went where Fannie prudently feared to tread.

    Read more:

  62. HuffPostPol:
    Judge dismisses lawsuit challenging Obama administration on funding for embryonic stem cell research:

  63. creolechild says:

    Wells Fargo Target of Justice Department Investigation

    Nationwide, USA – The Department of Justice is preparing a lawsuit against Wells Fargo, the nation’s largest home mortgage lender, for allegedly preying upon African American borrowers during the housing bubble and steering them into high-cost subprime loans, according to three people with direct knowledge of the probe. The company, the fourth-largest U.S. bank by assets, is currently embroiled in pre-lawsuit negotiations with the Justice Department in hopes it will settle the accusations and avoid a public lawsuit, these people said.

    The allegations mirror those in public actions taken by the Federal Reserve and a separate lawsuit filed by the city of Baltimore. Last week, the Fed said that perhaps more than 10,000 borrowers were inappropriately steered into subprime mortgage loans or had their loan documents falsified by bank personnel. Wells Fargo agreed to pay $85 million to settle the civil charges. It did not admit wrongdoing.

    Read more >>>

    • Ametia says:


    • creolechild says:

      Wells Fargo can keep on refusing to admit any wrongdoing but former employees have come forward and given sworn depositions indicating otherwise…

      Former Wells Fargo Subprime Loan Officer: Bank Targeted Black Churches as Part of Predatory Subprime Lending Scheme – August 28, 2009

      Up until two years ago, Elizabeth Jacobson was the top producing loan officer in the subprime division at Wells Fargo. Today she is speaking out against the practices of her former company. Earlier this summer, she filed a sworn affidavit with a federal court in support of the city of Baltimore’s lawsuit against Wells Fargo for pushing high-interest, subprime loans onto African Americans in Baltimore and the Maryland suburbs, leading hundreds into foreclosure.

      ELIZABETH JACOBSON: I was at Wells Fargo for nine years, and I originated loans. Wells Fargo had two separate divisions: the prime division and the subprime division. And you could not originate prime loans if you were in the subprime division. So that’s what I did for nine years at Wells Fargo, is originate the subprime loans.

      In the beginning years at Wells Fargo when I started, there was no filter system. So, if you had somebody come into your office and you could sell them a subprime loan, even if they qualified for a prime loan, that’s what you did. The compensation worked out that you had a huge incentive to put people into a subprime loan. Even the prime loan officers would make as much money on a prime loan — or on a subprime loan, referring it over to the subprime division, that they would make doing a prime loan. So there was an incentive for the prime loan officers to refer the business to the subprime side.

      And as a company, Wells Fargo pushed the subprime loans, because it was their goal to have the subprime division pay for the fixed costs of the whole company. So there were quotas to be met. People — Wells Fargo puts out this projection that when somebody walked into a Wells Fargo office, they got put in the loan that was best suited for them. What happened was, whoever happened to be the loan officer at that time would put them in the loan they felt was best for them, and usually that meant how much money they could make off of the loan.

      JUAN GONZALEZ: And what were the differences in the incentives for employees, in terms of putting someone in a subprime versus a prime loan?

      ELIZABETH JACOBSON: Well, just based on the commission, you would make sometimes three to four times as much in commission if you put somebody into a subprime loan. And you’d probably be thinking, well, why would somebody that perhaps had a really good credit score that could go prime end up in subprime?

      So, when you looked at the initial rate, the teaser rate, on a 228 on a two-year arm, at that point the going rate may have been six, six-and-a-half percent, and that would be comparable to what was on the prime side. So when you got into the subprime loan, you’d have a similar rate, a similar payment. But in two years, that rate was going to adjust, and the first adjustment, it could increase by three percent up to nine percent, and then it could adjust by another three percent in another six months. So you’ve gone from six percent to 12 percent.

      In addition, there was points on the loan. There could be two origination and two discount points. Generally, on a prime loan, the only reason you’d pay points is if you’re going to buy your rate down. But they were just selling payment. You just talked about what the payment was. And there were some loan officers out there that were just selling principal and interest payment, because on these subprime loans you did not have to escrow for taxes and insurance. Obviously, those payments had to be made, but the loan officer would get away with saying, “OK, this is your payment.”

      And so, they’d be comparing it with other good-faith estimates of perhaps a prime loan, and they would actually think they were getting a better deal. In reality, they were not. And what would happen, as soon as they got to the table, things would switch. They might have thought they were in a thirty-year fixed, then all of a sudden they found out they were in a two-year arm.


      Read more:

  64. creolechild says:

    Entrepreneurship 101: A Guide for New College Grads Looking to Fly Solo

    Combine a challenging job market with youthful creative spirit and you get a crop of recent college graduates contemplating the entrepreneurial life. Some experimented with self-employment while in college. According to the Youth Entrepreneurship Study by the Young Entrepreneur Council and Buzz Marketing Group of more than 1,000 college students and recent grads, more than a third of them (36%) were side-preneurs — they started businesses while getting their degrees, and about 1 in 5 (21%) started businesses after college because they couldn’t find a job.

    Many, however, go into it essentially relying on instinct. According to the study, 73% of those surveyed did not take classes in entrepreneurship, and 70% of those who did called their classes “inadequate.” So the educated, but unschooled on matters of building and running a business, venture forth with more moxie than money or wisdom. But that’s not to say that they can’t still find success. Here’s what every just out of college, would-be entrepreneur needs to know.


    See full article from DailyFinance:

  65. Think Progress:

    BREAKING: Jim Clyburn calls for Obama to use 14th Amendment to circumvent debt ceiling

  66. creolechild says:

    The United States is getting left further and further behind in terms of renewable energy sources because of the Teahadists in Congress who want to take us back to the Stone Age. We can’t compete if we don’t spend money for research, new technology, and continue to cut funding for education!

    Renewable Energy Revolution Sweeps Into Bolivia

    Rural residents like the indigenous Aymara community in Batallas face blistering winds, long dry spells, and intense sun without power or running water. But a program brought forward by the Country Academics unit of the San Pablo Bolivian Catholic University is working to harness those very winds and the harsh sun. Residents now have a source of renewable energy with which they can sustain themselves. Technicians from the university have come to Batallas and other rural communities to teach the residents how to use the equipment and exploit the power of renewable energy sources.

    One of the first things they brought was a water pump system that uses solar panels to power rechargeable batteries that then power the pump. The water pulled from deep in the ground is then used for animals to drink and in irrigation projects in the high plains which are in a state of almost constant drought which has worsened in recent years. But solar power is just the beginning says San Pablo Bolivian Catholic University engineer, Ricardo Ruis.


    The technicians are training the locals to run the systems themselves. Residents from other settlements in the area come, pad and pencil in hand, to gather the knowhow to help their communities live a more comfortable livelihood in a green and sustainable way. And the knowledge is already being applied. The water pulled from the solar water pump sustains a flourishing vegetable plot housed inside a solar tent that protects the plants from the harsh dry weather outside. When the vegetables mature, community members wash and package them to sell in nearby markets.

    Newly trained energy technician Vicente Laura says the systems will have far-reaching benefits. Vicente Laura, Aymara Community Technician: “It is going to change the lives of the people living in the country. They will no longer use [kerosene] lanterns and other energy [sources] that contaminate the environment.” Solar energy is also being used in Batallas to heat water used to ferment cheese in a cheese factory. Once the cheese matures it is stored in a solar powered refrigeration system before being sold in cities along with the vegetables. Residents hope the next step will be solar-powered consumer goods like stereos and televisions.


    Read more:

  67. creolechild says:

    Thank you, GottaLaff and Taegan!

    Michele Bachmann too busy for House votes

    Michele OBachmann’s got things to do, people to see, hands to shake, naps to take, money to rake in, gaffes to make. What was that they were saying about then-Senator Obama?

    Via Taegan:

    Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) “has missed nearly 40% of votes in the House since she formally launched her presidential campaign,” The Hill reports. Bachmann’s absentee rate is significantly higher than the two other House members running for president, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI).

    • creolechild says:

      Here’s some context for the previous entry:

      CNN reported on Obama’s missed Senate votes, but ignored McCain’s
      November 02, 2007 7:38 pm ET

      During the November 2 edition of CNN’s The Situation Room, CNN congressional correspondent Jessica Yellin reported on the voting records of Democratic presidential candidates who are also current U.S. senators. Yellin stated that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) has missed “nearly 80 percent [of Senate roll-call votes] since September” and that Sens. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (DE), Chris Dodd (CT), and Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY) “don’t have great voting records, either.” She added that “the Obama campaign points out that if you consider the entire year of voting, it is not Obama who’s missed the most, but Senator Biden, then Dodd, and Obama comes in third.” However, Yellin left out the fact that Sen. John McCain (AZ) — the only current Republican presidential candidate who is a sitting U.S. senator — has missed more votes than any other senator since Congress convened in January, with the exception of Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), who spent months recuperating from a brain hemorrhage.

      According to’s U.S. Congress Votes Database, Obama has missed 74 out of 93 roll-call votes (79.6%) since the end of the August congressional recess. McCain has missed 63 out of 93 roll-call votes (67.8%) since the end of the August congressional recess. But for the entire year, McCain has missed 79 more votes than Obama; since January, McCain has missed 212 out of 403 (52.6%) roll-call votes in the 110th Congress, while Obama has missed 133 out of 403 (33.0%) roll-call votes.


  68. creolechild says:

    Flooding in Bangladesh: Big Pics

    July 26, 2011 — Monsoon rains have led to floods in Bangladesh this month. The Associated Press reported that several people had been killed, and about 10,000 people had been displaced by July 22. [Click on link to view images.]

    The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired the image above on July 25, 2011, and the one below on May 26, 2011. Both images use a combination of visible and infrared light to increase contrast between water and land. Water ranges from electric blue to navy. Vegetation is green. Clouds are pale blue-green. The image from late May shows northeastern Bangladesh before the rainy season, which typically starts in June. The Brahmaputra River flows through a braided channel in eastern India and Bangladesh. The image from July 2011 shows that the river’s multiple channels have coalesced, as have the water bodies in easternmost Bangladesh.

    As of late July 2011, the Associated Press reported, days of heavy rain had inundated about 200 villages in Bangladesh. Each rainy season, monsoon rains typically flood large parts of the country, and many residents are forced to live on and farm such flood-prone areas, according to the CIA World Factbook.

  69. creolechild says:

    FLASHBACK: Republicans Never Voted On A Balanced Budget Amendment When They Controlled Congress Under Bush

    House Republicans last week insisted on passing their radical “cut, cap, and balance” plan, which would allow the federal debt ceiling to be raised only if a balanced budget amendment (complete with a federal spending cap and a supermajority requirement for tax increases) is approved by Congress and sent to the states. The Senate tabled the bill by a vote of 51-46.

    Despite their plan failing to receive even a majority in the Senate — far less than the two-thirds required for a constitutional amendment — Republicans have continued to demand, as they have for months, that a balanced budget amendment be a part of any deal to raise the debt ceiling. And the GOP is framing its BBA push as some kind of favor for the next generation. For instance, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, who chairs the House Republican Conference, said today that the balanced budget amendment is “not about the next election. It’s about the next generation.” Watch it:

    However, when the Republicans held both chambers of Congress from 2003 to 2006, and had a Republican in the White House, they not only didn’t approve a balanced budget amendment, they never even held a vote on it. In fact, the last vote on a BBA was in 1997, when Bill Clinton was president; the Senate defeated it by a single vote. As we’ve extensively discussed, a balanced budget amendment is one of the worst ideas in Washington. It would force the government to make economic downturns worse by actively slashing spending in the face of falling revenue. Republicans are now claiming, in the name of the next generation of Americans, that enacting a balanced budget amendment is the price of averting economic catastrophe, but their utter indifference to the idea when they actually had the power to advance it shows that it’s nothing more than a political ploy.

  70. creolechild says:

    Massive Blast Rocks Cyprus, President Calls it “Dark Day”
    2011-07-12 08:34

    Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias said he was shocked by a massive blast at a military base in which at least twelve people died on Monday. The blast also injured over 60 people and caused extensive damage to the island’s largest power station.

    [Click on link to hear remarks of Dimitris Christofias, Cypriot President.]

    The explosion shut down the island’s largest power station. The intensity of the explosion was felt for miles around the area, a picturesque region dotted with olive groves and farming communities. Windows and doors of houses in in Mari village – which is separated from the navy base by a small hill – had been blown out by the impact. The explosion was thought to have occurred in a munitions dump storing 98 shipping containers of confiscated Iranian weapons at the navy base on the south coast. Two of the containers are said to have caught fire for unknown reasons.

  71. creolechild says:

    FOX is Second Only to North Korea in Peddling Propaganda

    Oh it’s been one sweet ride. The GOP found itself to be the sugar daddy of all sugar daddies, who not only had money, and plenty of it, but controlled a growing media empire. He personified everything the GOP had come to believe about the supremacy of capitalism and the evil, rules-crippling nature of governance. For Republicans, Rupert Murdoch was Jesus Christ in pinstripes. And Lord Rupert saw that it was good, and created FOX News, and said unto them, “Go forth now my children and spread the word; I, Lord Rupert, can turn truth into lies, lies into truth, science into superstition, confidence into fear and loathing.” And so it came to pass that FOX News became to the GOP a 24/7/365 propaganda horn of all things far-right and far-out.

    But recently the bottom fell out and the lid came off. It began in the UK where the slime simply got to be too much to contain, and burst out into the open. Ever since conservative pols with proper British accents have been running for cover. Now the Murdoch slime is beginning to leak out here in the US, as well. Republicans, currently consumed and trying to protect the fortunes of America’s most pampered class, are getting nervous. Their sugar daddy threatens to become a tar baby. As the political bodies pile up in the House of Commons — and Scotland Yard — the US Dept. of Justice has decided to take a (belated) look here.

    Of course, for me, FOX is the real tumor on this side of the pond. Second only to North Korea, the world has seldom seen a more obvious but determined propaganda tool for an authoritarian political persuasion.

  72. creolechild says:

    NAACP calls for an end to the war on drugs

    The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is officially calling on the U.S. government to end the war on drugs. A majority of NAACP delegates at their annual convention in Los Angeles Tuesday voted to pass a resolution titled: “A Call to End the War on Drugs, Allocate Funding to Investigate Substance Abuse Treatment, Education, and Opportunities in Communities of Color for A Better Tomorrow.”

    “Today the NAACP has taken a major step towards equity, justice and effective law enforcement,” NAACP president and CEO Benjamin Jealous said in a press advisory. “These flawed drug policies that have been mostly enforced in African American communities must be stopped and replaced with evidenced-based practices that address the root causes of drug use and abuse in America.” The resolution noted that African Americans are 13 times more likely to be sentenced to jail than whites facing the same drug charges. “Studies show that all racial groups abuse drugs at similar rates, but the numbers also show that African Americans, Hispanics and other people of color are stopped, searched, arrested, charged, convicted, and sent to prison for drug-related charges at a much higher rate,” California State Conference of the NAACP president Alice Huffman said.

    “This dual system of drug law enforcement that serves to keep African-Americans and other minorities under lock and key and in prison must be exposed and eradiated.” More than 1200 NAACP units across the country will be encouraged to advocate for an end to the drug war once the resolution is ratified in October. President Barack Obama said last week that he was not willing to “pursue a decriminalization strategy.”

  73. creolechild says:

    GE Healthcare Transferring Global HQ to Beijing

    GE Healthcare—of the General Electric Company—is transferring its headquarters from the United States to China. Their aim is to make products specifically for China and other emerging markets. A manufacturer of diagnostic imaging equipment, GE Healthcare plans to develop 20 new products in China over the next two years. The products are mainly for primary care and include ultrasound, patient monitoring, and anesthesia machines.

    GE Healthcare Global X-Ray Vice President and General Manager Anne LeGrand said on Monday the move will be done by end of August. President and Chief Executive of GE Healthcare China Rachel Duan says this is the first time a global product company moves its headquarters to China. The decision to move comes after GE announced last year its plan to invest two billion US dollars, including $500-million for six research centers in China.

  74. creolechild says:

    Goodwin Liu Nominated To California Supreme Court

    California Gov. Jerry Brown just nominated Berkeley Law Professor and former Ninth Circuit nominee Goodwin Liu to a seat on the California Supreme Court. Liu, a former law clerk to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and one of the nation’s leading constitutional scholars, was the subject of a blistering smear campaign by conservatives determined to prevent Obama’s youngest and one of his most talented nominees from becoming a judge:


    Brown’s nomination of Liu will almost certainly receive the same drummed-up outrage from the right that his nomination to the federal bench triggered, but conservatives will likely be unable to obstruct Liu from taking a seat on the state supreme court. Under the California Constitution, Liu’s nomination must be confirmed by a Commission on Judicial Appointments that includes the Chief Justice, the Attorney General and a sitting court of appeals judge. Given Liu’s sterling legal credentials, this commission will have a tough time finding objectionable in Liu’s record.

    It’s worth noting, however, that Liu’s appointment is only temporary unless it is confirmed by the electorate in the next general election. So there is a very real risk that wealthy right-wing interest
    groups will try to buy Liu’s seat on the state Supreme Court with attack ads and other campaign funding just like they dumped money into similar efforts in Wisconsin and Iowa.

  75. creolechild says:

    Egypt women demand equal rights in new constitution

    CAIRO — Fifteen Egyptian groups called on Tuesday for women’s rights to be guaranteed in the new constitution, after a popular uprising that toppled the regime paved the way for a new charter.
    “We are not proposing a new constitution, but we want women’s rights to be included,” Amina ElBendary, a professor of Arab and Islamic Civilisation at the American University in Cairo, and one of the signatories, told a news conference. “We have simply put forward some suggestions of clauses which could be included in the next constitution,” she said.

    After eight weeks of research in various parts of Egypt, the 15 groups are calling for a women’s quota in parliament and in local councils, as well as equal rights for women at work and in education. “The women we have met are very concerned about their rights, they want the law to protect them,” said Azza Soleiman, a long-time women’s rights activist. “The women are not questioning the sharia,” the Islamic law on which personal status laws are based, “but they want the law clearly defined because the interpretations can vary,” she said. “We don’t want Egypt to adopt the same interpretation as in Saudi Arabia,” said Soleiman.

    The statement comes as Egyptians await a new constitution, after the previous one was suspended by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) which took power when president Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February. The SCAF has said parliamentary elections would take place before the end of the year, after which a new constitution would be drafted and a presidential election would be set. But a debate has raged over whether elections or a new constitution should come first. It is expected that early elections would benefit the well-entrenched Muslim Brotherhood, and many have called for a constitution first so as not to give Islamists too much power in drafting it….

  76. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    July 27, 2011 8:45 AM

    Waiting for Big Business to lower the boom

    By Steve Benen
    About three months ago, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) reached out to financial industry leaders, asking how much time he has to screw around with the debt ceiling before doing serious, lasting damage to the economy. He was told that “even pushing close to the deadline — or talking about it — could have grave consequences in the marketplace,” and top Wall Street executives and lobbyists quickly urged Republicans to steer clear of such reckless nonsense.

    That was in April. Boehner and his caucus ignored the warnings, and next week, the United States, by Republican design, is expected to exhaust its ability to pay its bills.

    Josh Marshall noted late yesterday that we may well reach a point at which “Wall Street/business interests,” among others, “come off the sidelines” to tell Republicans, especially in the House, that the game is up.

    On a personal level, this has long been my hope. For quite a while, the only thing that’s stopped me from panicking over the Republicans’ debt-ceiling fiasco is the likelihood that some very wealthy, very powerful people, who hire very effective lobbyists and write very big campaign checks, would pick the phone and deliver a very clear message to the GOP: Enough. Raise the debt ceiling. Now.

    That hasn’t happened, at least not in large numbers. While some in the private sector have weighed in carefully, most Big Business leaders are afraid to get dragged into a partisan fight. Others simply assumed their intervention wasn’t necessary. But with a ticking financial time-bomb set to go off, more are coming off the sidelines.

    Wall Street has tried to ignore the threat posed by Washington failing to raise the debt ceiling. No more.

    Business executives stepped up appeals this week for political action, worried that the nation faced a crisis, and prepared contingency plans in case the stalemate persists. […]

    The potential consequences give business leaders a responsibility to warn Washington policymakers about the real-life implications of failing to raise the debt ceiling, said Larry Zimpleman, chief executive of Principal Financial Group.

    By all accounts, business leaders don’t much care which solution is approved. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce threw its support to the Boehner plan yesterday, then added that it could also support other rival plans, too.

    The point is, the resolution of the crisis is what matters. Big Business doesn’t care how Congress raises the debt ceiling; the industry just wants it done.

    “Right now, at this moment, there’s nothing more important for financial stability than coming to an agreement that will both lift the debt ceiling and put us on a sound fiscal path,” Rob Nichols, president of the Financial Services Forum, a trade association of the chief executives of Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and other large financial firms, told the LA Times.

    A New York Times report added, “The chamber and other business groups have pressed with increasing urgency for Congress to raise the maximum amount that the government can borrow. They have cataloged the consequences of default at meetings, parties and dinners and over drinks.”

    So far, Republicans don’t care — or at a minimum, care more what the right-wing base believes than what the “job creators” believe. With business leaders apparently stepping up more aggressively now, it’ll be worth watching to see if Republican attitudes shift at all. Our economy may depend on it.

  77. rikyrah says:

    Republican Rep. warns of Obama impeachment if GOP forces debt default
    A Republican member of the House of Representatives declared today that President Barack Obama could be impeached if the U.S. defaults on its debts.

    The comment is from Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who told his followers on Twitter that they should “stop talking about” a potential U.S. default.

    “The 1st dime of each $1 of revenue services debt,” he wrote. “Obama would be impeached if he blocked debt payments.”

    The comment is ironic in that Republicans have played the largest role in pushing the U.S. government to the brink of defaulting on some debts by refusing to lift the nation’s debt ceiling.

    Congressional Republicans raised the ceiling nine times during the Bush administration, adding over $4 trillion to the nation’s debts. President Obama, as a freshman Senator from Illinois, voted in 2006 against raising the debt ceiling, but has since called his decision a mistake of inexperience.

    Today the president and Treasury are warning that if the debt limit is not raised before August 2, the government will be forced to default on some of its debts. President Obama even warned that Social Security checks might not arrive on time, or at all, if Congress cannot secure a deal.

    Republicans have repeatedly sidelined talks, insisting that tax increases for the wealthiest Americans and corporations are unacceptable, as are cuts to national defense. They’ve instead focused on plans that would eliminate Medicare, dip into the Social Security fund and dramatically reduce the government’s workforce.

    With his remarks Monday, King became the second House Republican to suggest the president could be impeached over the debt ceiling debacle. Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) previously claimed that if President Obama simply declared the debt ceiling to be unconstitutional based upon a provision of the 14th Amendment that validates the nation’s debts, he’d be impeached for it.

    That’s precisely the route former President Bill Clinton said he’d take, were he in President Obama’s shoes. Clinton told The National Memo in an interview earlier this month that he’d override the debt limit based upon the 14th Amendment and “force the courts to stop me.”

  78. rikyrah says:

    CIVIL WAR: GOP Coalition Splinters Into Open Conflict Over Debt Ceiling
    The Republican leadership’s efforts to avert a debt ceiling crisis with a two-tiered set of cuts is turning into the most divisive wedge issue the party has confronted since President Obama took over in 2009.

    House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) may have thought his face-saving plan, which he hoped to bring to the floor Wednesday, offered a path to victory. However, since treading upon it he’s been beset from all sides. It’s not just that the President is threatening to veto the bill, should it ever make it past the Senate; it’s that Boehner’s fellow conservatives are sniping at him with (not so) friendly fire. Now the vote he’d hoped to bring triumphantly to the floor Wednesday looks delayed until at least Thursday, and even then the outcome is uncertain.

    That’s because the GOP is teetering on the brink of a debt-based civil war. More traditional Republicans and big business types are desperate to avoid a recovery-crushing default. But their Tea Party colleagues are leading a rebellion of epic – perhaps even galactic – proportions. Cue the John Williams music and find out who stands where in this stand-off between the Establishment’s storm-troopers and the Rebel Alliance.

  79. rikyrah says:

    July 27, 2011 8:00 AM

    With six days to go

    By Steve Benen

    House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) didn’t have an especially good day yesterday.

    The embattled Speaker hoped to spend Tuesday shoring up support for his right-wing budget proposal, ignoring opposition from Senate Democrats and a veto threat from President Obama. Boehner scheduled a vote for today, and with sufficient support from his own caucus, the Ohio Republican could dare Dems to reject his ridiculous plan.

    But Boehner’s plans quickly unraveled. Fourteen House Republicans announced their opposition, and many more said they were leaning in that direction. Powerhouse far-right activist groups — including the Club for Growth, the Heritage Foundation, the Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity, and the “Cut, Cap, and Balance Coalition” — also pressured GOP lawmakers to reject the Speaker’s measure.

    Late yesterday, things went from bad to worse after the Congressional Budget Office announced that Boehner’s numbers didn’t quite add up, and the projected savings weren’t in line the Speaker’s office’s claims.

    Less than 24 hours after presenting his plan, Boehner was forced to retreat.

    House Republican leaders were forced on Tuesday night to delay a vote scheduled on their plan to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, as conservative lawmakers expressed skepticism and Congressional budget officials said the plan did not deliver the promised savings. […]

    Mr. Boehner was forced to quickly retreat from the bill. Republican leaders said they would probably rework it to in a way that would reflect the decreased savings by raising the debt limit by less than $850 billion. Such a change would mean that the Obama administration would need to make another request for an increase in a matter of months, making the deal even less palatable to Democrats.

    That last part is of particular interest. After Boehner’s staff finishes rewriting the plan they thought was finished, the proposal that intended to force yet another debt-ceiling fight early next year would instead face us to go through all of this again later this year.

    And this will lead Senate Democrats and the White House to hate the plan even more.

    There may be a temptation on the part of some to point and laugh and Boehner’s incompetence and mismanagement. Yesterday’s developments made him look quite foolish, and it’s only natural to ask the GOP leadership, “Can’t anybody here play this game?”

    But I don’t see any of this as good news. Last week, House Republicans wasted time on a radical budget plan that they knew couldn’t pass, but which made them feel better about themselves. This week, House Republicans are wasting more time on another radical budget plan that they’ve been told can’t pass.

    The problem, of course, is that there just isn’t enough time to bother with these games. Boehner intended to bring his measure to the floor today, at which point it would have either failed or moved to the Senate to be killed. But after yesterday’s failures, we’ll hopefully see a House vote tomorrow, leaving the Senate far less time to defeat Boehner’s plan, overcome GOP obstructionist tactics, pass a more sensible alternative, and send it back to the House.

    Boehner’s failures yesterday only serve to restrict an unforgiving calendar in ways that make a catastrophe that much more likely.

  80. rikyrah says:

    The Great Unmasking: ABL Attends the South Central Tea Party Rally
    by ABL

    So, hi there. It’s me. You may know me as ABL. Or, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing, you may know me as Angry Black Lady. I also go by stopthemadness. (Why? Who can remember. It made sense at the time.)

    Some of you may just reference me as “Ugh. Her.” In any event, my name is Imani Gandy and, after four years, I am coming out of the blogging closet. It was cramped in there, and I was getting hungry.

    Of course this shift in my life has startled my personalities—they are all verrah confused—and I haven’t quite figured out which one of them will reign supreme.

    While they duke it out, I’m going to call myself “stopthemadness aka ABL” over here; “ABL” over at Balloon Juice, and “Imani Gandy” over at The Grio.

    Why? I don’t know. It makes sense at this time.

    Moving on!

    The purpose of this post is three-fold: (1) to announce that my inaugural non-pseudonymous post—“Black reverend preaches stereotypes to mostly white ‘South Central’ Tea Partiers”—over at has been published; (2) to share some of the photos from my coverage of the South Central Tea Party rally; and (3) to share this outstanding comment on my post with you:

    Clearly this writer Gandy, is no journalist. He/She couldn’t understand “context” if it were a condom over his/her head. 1st Patterson is absolutely correct in stating that the NAACP is no better than the KKK. Instead of hoods they hide behind lies and demagoguery. Instead of a noose they choke out black families by advocating that blacks remain poor, subjugated to the government. They brainwash blacks by telling them that education is only good and recognized if you are liberal. Gandy apparently can’t bring himself/herself to concede to Mr. Pattersons point regarding Planned Parenthood and abortion. The killing of 1500 babies a day in the black community via abortion is not a problem with Gandy… but lets not forget about the “wide range of health and family planning services” now that is something to write home about. That thinking is like saying Hitlers concentration camps weren’t so bad when you consider how well the German army was fed and dressed.
    You social activist who hate America just can’t stand to watch Black Americans who actually love their country, who actually articulate conservative values, who actually dismiss the democrats plantation party and who actually believe in market economy and fiscal sanity. Gandy like, many others writing opinions here, are leftist white hating racists who want this country to be brought down to its knees and to be like every other third world country on the planet that their ancestors have proudly led. They are proud card carrying members of the NAACP. show less

    Looks like I’ve maaaaaade it!

    Yeah, that just happened, and I don’t know why because the lyrics are not appropriate at all. But, it’s the first thing that popped into my head, and if you know anything about me at all, it’s that I have little self-restraint.

    It’s in my head and now it’s in yours.

    You’re welcome.

  81. rikyrah says:



    Sarah Palin documentary goes to DVD after mediocre box office returns

    Ticket sales for Sarah Palin’s bio-doc The Undefeated slump 60% in second week, producers announce early DVD release

    The box office fate of Sarah Palin’s bio-documentary The Undefeated has uncannily mimicked the political fortunes of its subject: after a bright start, much publicity and high hopes the film has fizzled out to disappointing reviews and waning popularity.

    An opening weekend on limited release saw The Undefeated bring in $63,000 from 10 screens. But despite showing on 14 cinemas the following weekend of 22-24 July, box office takings slumped 60% to just $24,664.

    It turns out that The Undefeated was more like the unattended.

    According to – which dubbed The Undefeated “deflated” – in 10 days the film grossed just over $100,000 from 13,000 ticket sales and estimated that average audience size was just 15 customers per screening during its second weekend in theatres.

    Undetered, the movie’s producers announced that the documentary following Palin’s political career would soon be available on pay-per-view and video on demand from 1 September, followed by DVD release in October, because of what director Stephen Bannon described as “overwhelming demand”.

    For Palin fans, Walmart will also sell an exclusive “special edition” DVD with additional content.

  82. rikyrah says:

    Michele Bachmann shells out $4,700 for hair and makeup

    Republican presidential candidate and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann reportedly spent nearly $5,000 on hair and makeup in the early weeks of her presidential campaign, according to campaign finance filings uncovered Tuesday by Mother Jones magazine.

    The Minnesota Republican, who has made fiscal conservatism a key point of her 2012 campaign, spent $4,700 on hair and makeup services, making three payments of $1,715, $250, and $2,704. Mother Jones noted the payments were made to a Maryland-based stylist named Tamara Robertson.

    The Minnesota Republican, who continues to lead in national polls, has struggled with a number of campaign hurdles in recent weeks. The Minnesota Republican faced media criticism after reports examined her husband’s role in a group charged with anti-gay political agenda.

    Ms. Bachmann spent Tuesday slamming House Speaker John Boehner’s debt plan, saying Republican lawmakers should vote against raising the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling. The three-term House member says blocking the increase will force Congress to cut spending.

    “This Republican will not vote to raise the debt ceiling,” Bachmann said. “My colleagues will have to come to their own conclusion.”

    “The premise is wrong,” Ms. Bachmann added. Mr. Boehner’s plan, which would tie $1.2 trillion in spending cuts to an immediate increase of $1 trillion in the debt ceiling, is facing a challenge from his Republican base and President Obama has vowed to veto the measure.

    A Bachmann campaign spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

    Read more:

  83. rikyrah says:

    Meetings Indicate British Officials’ Links to Murdochs
    Published: July 26, 2011

    as the phone hacking scandal struck the heart of British politics in recent weeks, one figure has been notably silent: the chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, who, by several accounts, played a decisive role in bringing the former News of the World editor Andy Coulson into 10 Downing Street as a senior adviser. That move has deeply embarrassed the British government.

    Pressure on Mr. Osborne mounted Tuesday as details of his extensive meetings with the Murdochs and leaders of the News Corporation’s British subsidiary, News International, were released.

    A diary posted on the official Web site of the Exchequer showed that his encounters continued even after a new police inquiry into hacking had begun, and as the government neared a crucial decision on the Murdochs’ $12 billion bid, subsequently abandoned, to take complete control of British Sky Broadcasting, the country’s dominant satellite broadcaster.

    The political significance of what appeared to be Mr. Osborne’s husbanding of the government’s ties with the Murdoch empire lay in large part in his role as the chief architect of Prime Minister David Cameron’s contentious program of harsh austerity measures. Those measures have made Mr. Osborne, 40, one of the most divisive figures in British politics. Any hint that he is politically vulnerable in the hacking scandal could affect the government’s declared resolve to hold unwaveringly to its economic policies, which combine steep spending cuts with tax increases.

    The release on Tuesday of new data showing that the economy grew only 0.2 percent in the second quarter, well short of the economic acceleration the government had hoped to show, added to the pressure on Mr. Osborne.

    The figures prompted new criticism from the Labour Party and economists opposed to the austerity program, with Labour’s chief economic spokesman, Ed Balls, calling Mr. Osborne “breathtakingly complacent,” and demanding immediate measures to stimulate the economy.

    But Mr. Osborne stuck to his guns. “We are traveling a difficult road, but it is the only road that leads to a lasting private sector recovery, and to the jobs we all want to see,” he said.

    Mr. Osborne has also drawn criticism from within the Conservative Party for his role in hiring Mr. Coulson. According to two party insiders, Mr. Osborne had pushed for Mr. Coulson, partly out of a belief that it would help cement Rupert Murdoch’s support in the national elections.

    The posting of Mr. Osborne’s meetings with News Corporation executives followed Mr. Cameron’s disclosure that he had 26 meetings and social engagements with Rupert Murdoch, his son James and their lieutenants since taking office in May 2010. The Labour leader, Ed Miliband, has released his own list, showing 15 meetings or social contacts with News International executives over the same period.

    According to the Exchequer’s listing, which did not include interviews with journalists, Mr. Osborne met 10 times with the two Murdochs and their former lieutenant, Rebekah Brooks. These were among 16 meetings or social occasions Mr. Osborne attended at which News International executives were present — representing a third of all meetings he had with senior figures from all of Britain’s media organizations. Mr. Coulson and Ms. Brooks, who resigned this month as chief executive of News International, are among a group of people who worked for News International and The News of the World who have been arrested in connection with the phone hacking case.

    Ms. Brooks is among those who have said publicly that it was Mr. Osborne’s idea to appoint Mr. Coulson as the Conservative Party’s chief media adviser in 2007, a post that carried him into Downing Street after the election. Mr. Coulson resigned from his government post in January, citing “distractions” from the phone hacking scandal.

    Scrutiny of Mr. Osborne’s encounters with the Murdochs and their top British executives seemed likely to focus on a meeting in April with James Murdoch and Ms. Brooks for what was described in the document as a “general discussion.” That meeting occurred as a reinvigorated police inquiry began to gain pace with the arrest of senior News of the World journalists. Another occasion on the list, with Rupert Murdoch in December, occurred two weeks before the government was to rule on his proposed takeover of the remaining shares of British Sky Broadcasting.

    A spokesman for Mr. Osborne, referring to the April meeting, said Mr. Osborne had explained to James Murdoch and Ms. Brooks that he could not discuss the takeover bid, which was being handled, on Mr. Cameron’s orders, by another official.

    The spokesman added that “the topic was not raised at any other discussion” with the Murdoch executives. But Tom Watson, a Labour member of Parliament, called the frequency of Mr. Osborne’s meetings “absolutely remarkable,” and he called on the chancellor to disclose what was discussed at those meetings.

  84. Ametia says:


  85. Ametia says:

    The GOP’s state-by-state crusade to disenfranchise voters
    By Katrina vanden Heuvel, Published: July 26
    With only a week left before the United States of America could default on its debt, it’s easy to look at the federal government and wonder how we ever made it this far. Who would have guessed that a committed gang of extremists could bring down the economy? And yet, that’s where we find ourselves today, cornered by a manufactured crisis and running out of time. As Larry Sabato rightly tweeted over the weekend, “For anybody who teaches the American system and believes in it, this has been an extremely discouraging week.”

    Unfortunately, the assault on our democracy is not confined to Congress or the standoff over the debt ceiling. It is also seeping into the states, where voting rights — the fundamental underpinning of any democracy — are being curbed and crippled.

  86. Ametia says:

    Happy HUMP day. Everybody! :-)

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