Thursday Open Thread

Albert Greene (born April 13, 1946),[1] better known as Al Green, is an American gospel and soul music singer. He reached the peak of his popularity in the 1970s, with hit singles such as “You Oughta Be With Me”, “I’m Still In Love With You”, “Love and Happiness”, and “Let’s Stay Together”.[2] In 2005, Rolling Stone named him #65 in their list of the ‘100 Greatest Artists of All Time’. The nomination, written by Justin Timberlake, stated that “people are born to do certain things, and Al was born to make us smile.”[3] The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Green in 1995, referring to him as “one of the most gifted purveyors of soul music.” Green has sold more than 20 million records.[2]

About SouthernGirl2

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

  1. MSNBC Contributor Pat Buchanan’s New Book Includes Chapter Entitled ‘The End of White America’

    http://thinkprogress.org/media/2011/08/04/288580/pat-buchanan-the-end-of-white-america/

    MSNBC contributor and long-standing bigot Pat Buchanan has a new book coming out called: Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? This upbeat future “best-seller” will hit the shelves in October, but this morning, Politico Playbook provided those waiting with race-baited breath a preview of the wisdom within. Chapter 4, entitled “The End of White America,” lauds:

    “[The] radicalization of the working and middle class, such as occurred in the Truman-McCarthy era, during the George Wallace campaigns, and in the anti-amnesty firestorm that killed the Bush-Kennedy-McCain push for a path to citizenship for illegal aliens.”.

    To Buchanan — a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans — these “movements” shared a “populist rage” and a “sense that they are losing their country. And they are right.” George Wallace, of course, was the stauchly pro-segregationist former governor of Alabama and presidental candidate, know for his most famous quote: “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!” Other chapters of Buchanan’s book include, “The Death of Christian America,” which explains President Obama’s “campaign to expel Christianity;” and “Demographic Winter,” which links the West’s downfall to the fact that “children are no longer desirable” here.

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  2. Ametia says:

    BWA HA HA HA Rev. Al’s B-day wishes for PBO

    1. He wishes that Sarah Palin would run for president. “Run Sarah Run!!!!”

    2. He wishes PBO would be allowed to do his job instead of having to negotiate with hostage takers

    3. He wishes Newt Gingrich would reactivate his Tiffany’s account and splurge on presents for PBO

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  3. Why is Rachel bringing up the President’s birth certificate BS again? Who gives a damn what Rush Limbaugh says? The Media is full of shit!

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  4. Ametia says:

    Democrats, It’s Time To Stop Bashing President Obama
    August 4, 2011By Fran Jo

    How about a different strategy like support???

    I don’t believe in bashing President Obama in the media because it only hurts him, the party and the country in the long run. Let your voices be heard but direct them to him and not those who will use it against him. I respect Bill Maher because he says what’s on his mind and he doesn’t care what anyone thinks. But he’s been from the beginning highly critical of Obama and it’s made a big difference in the President’s base of support. One of the major things the GOP, including the Tea Party, has going for them in terms of power is that they stick together no matter what.

    They stuck together even when it meant taking down the world economy. We have a decent, intelligent man of integrity in the White House and he’s often gets criticized for being so. He’s been called weak and too nice and told that he caves all the time. Has anyone ever assessed what he’s truly up against? Has anyone ever wondered what information he has access to that we don’t? It would be enough to be a Democratic president in these difficult times, but to be an African American president has been deemed as something downright evil by the GOP!

    No one has wanted to really address the obvious racism that’s been taking place since the President took office. Everyone downplays it, including President Barack Obama himself. The death threats alone must be awful. My point is, the reason they were able to hold a gun to his head in this congressional made debt crisis is because the DEMS and Independents stayed home at the midterms, or were unenthusiastic about their support or were in hard times struggling and scared so they voted for these Tea Party nutbags and bigots that are now holding our livelihood hostage.

    In our Government, you have the President which is the Executive Branch, the Senate and the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court. The President is not a dictator which is what we’re asking him to be without playing our role in giving him the base and support he needs to get this country out of this hostage situation where the only game in town is to destroy the nation’s middle class and get Obama out of power.

    http://www.politicususa.com/en/stop-obama-bashing

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  5. Ametia says:

    It’s been light posting today. The media is wild with DOOM & GLOOM and POTUS’ is losing, blah, blah, blah!!!!!

    Just wishing President Obama a glorious birthday!

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  6. Ametia says:

    Congressional leaders have reached “a bipartisan compromise between the House and the Senate” to fully fund the Federal Aviation Administration, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says.
    The deal will “put 74,000 transportation and construction workers back to work,” Reid says.
    “This agreement does not resolve the important differences that still remain,” Reid said in a written statement. “But I believe we should keep Americans working while Congress settles its differences.”

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  7. rikyrah says:

    Wonkbook: With debt deal done, Congress to return to not addressing jobs
    By Ezra Klein

    The primary problem the debt deal will solve was a problem Congress had created for itself. But perhaps there was some relief in concocting a crisis we could actually solve. Because now that it’s done and we have almost finished pating ourselves on the back for, as the Onion put it, achieving “the not-so-great things that can happen in Washington when both parties barely come together and agree to not really accomplish anything,” we’re left with the problems we do have, and can’t seem to solve. We’re left with the jobs crisis.

    The White House is promising that the end of the debt debate will mark a “pivot” towards jobs. In a Washington Post op-ed today, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner previewed that message, arguing that “It is not enough for Congress to have prevented a disaster it brought on itself. Lawmakers should return in September prepared to act to strengthen the economy and get more Americans back to work.”

    But few expect serious action from Congress. Geithner brings up the payroll tax cut, extending unemployment benefits and financing a massive investment in infrastructure. But note that the first two aren’t new stimulus: they’re simply a continuation of current policies. If the administration wins those fights, it will have simply succeeded in doing no harm. And though infrastructure is a no-brainer, it’s also not likely to happen unless Democrats can find some way to pay for it that Republicans support. Back in Ronald Reagan’s day, that was the gas tax, which Reagan himself raised to fund further infrastructure investment. Something tells me that’s not going to fly today. Nor is an expansion of the payroll tax cut, further aid to states and cities, or any of the other ideas for a significant boost in economic relief likely to burst onto the agenda.

    So there’s not much support coming from Congress. And as Neil Irwin reports, there’s not likely to be that much coming from the Federal Reserve, either. “Anything the Fed does to try to address the weak job market may well cause inflation to rise above its leaders’ comfort level,” he writes. That doesn’t mean the central bank won’t do anything, and there are certainly those who have put forward creative and aggressive plans for further monetary intervention. But the smart money says they won’t do much.

    Which leaves us, well, here. But here isn’t a very good place to be. We live in a moment where the only problems Congress seems able to solve are the problems it creates for us. The problems we actually have, meanwhile, go unsolved, and the people they afflict go on suffering.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/wonkbook-with-debt-deal-done-congress-to-return-to-not-addressing-jobs/2011/08/03/gIQAdDecrI_blog.html?wprss=ezra-klein

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  8. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 03, 2011 3:25 PM

    What passes for a GOP jobs agenda

    By Steve Benen
    Way back in late May, House Republicans unveiled a plan to create jobs. Of course, “plan” was a strong word. It could charitably be described as a bad joke, and not even the most public-relations-savvy GOP leaders made an effort to talk about the agenda. It was unveiled, ignored, and forgotten, pretty much within the span of an afternoon.

    Nearly three months later, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is still arguing that he and his caucus have a “blueprint” to create jobs and even created a new website to promote the agenda. Stephanie Mencimer took a look at what House Republicans have to offer.

    Number one on the list of “pro-growth” policies House Republicans intend to push is reducing “regulatory burdens” on small businesses. The GOP plan highlights a number of regulations that hurt “job creators,” including the EPA’s efforts to regulate greenhouse gasses; the FCC’s net neutrality proposal, which is hated by the nation’s biggest telecom monopolies; and “burdensome pesticide regulation.”

    Next on the list is … lower taxes. House Republicans are promising to lower the tax rate for individuals and businesses to 25 percent, down from the current 35 percent. How that squares with the other GOP proposal to tackle the national debt isn’t laid out in the plan. Presumably the big tax reduction will spur so much growth that the revenue will magically appear in the federal treasury, just the way it did, uh, with the Bush tax cuts. (It didn’t.)

    The GOP’s other ideas include patent reform (which Congress actually passed since the last version of the plan was released) and “expediting” the drug approval process at the FDA. And no GOP jobs plan would be complete without a proposal to drill, baby, drill, to increase domestic energy production.

    The most glaring problem with the GOP jobs agenda is that it won’t work, but nearly as painful is the realization that it’s already been tried, over and over again, to no avail. They either don’t care or can’t understand the famous axiom: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

    The agenda is the agenda: cut taxes, deregulation, cut public investments, drill for oil. Good times and bad, deficit or surplus, war or peace, it just doesn’t matter.

    The intellectual bankruptcy of the Republican Party is just astounding. It has no new ideas, no constructive solutions, no creativity, no depth of thought, no recollection of how and why this same foolish agenda didn’t work before. The GOP just has warmed-over nonsense, to be brought out month after month, year after year.

    President Obama touted a competing jobs agenda yesterday, including an extension of the payroll tax cut, an extension of unemployment benefits, patent reform, trade deals, and most notably infrastructure investments. As he put it, “We have workers who need jobs and a country that needs rebuilding; an infrastructure bank would help us put them together.” Obama would likely prefer to be even more ambitious, but knows Congress isn’t in a job-creating mood.

    Regardless, at least the president’s measures would be a positive step in the right direction, which is more than can be said for the House GOP’s “blueprint.”

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_08/what_passes_for_a_gop_jobs_age031289.php

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  9. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 04, 2011 11:00 AM

    Exposing the ‘Super Committee’ to sunshine

    By Steve Benen
    The 12-member “Super Committee,” created by the debt-ceiling agreement, doesn’t even have members yet, but in the coming months, the panel will be engaged in some heated negotiations.

    And when they do, some Republicans want to be able to see — and want us to be able to see — what the competing members are saying.


    Six Republican senators on Wednesday called on Senate leaders to ensure that a new congressional deficit-reduction committee meets in public and before television cameras.

    The 12-member super committee, comprised of an equal number of Democratic and Republican lawmakers, was created by the debt-limit legislation signed into law Tuesday, and is responsible for identifying $1.2 trillion in spending cuts by Thanksgiving. But the law doesn’t require the committee’s meetings to be open to the public.

    In their letter, Sens. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), John Boozman (Ark.), Dean Heller (Nev.), Ron Johnson (Wisc.), Mike Lee (Utah), and David Vitter (La.) urged Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to make sure members of the public receive advanced notice of meetings, are able to attend them and can watch live broadcasts.

    I find this terribly odd. Do these Republican senators not realize the GOP members of the committee will be pushing a wildly unpopular agenda?

    We don’t know who’ll serve on this panel, but we can guess with confidence what its members will say. Republicans will argue for deep cuts to Medicare and Social Security, will fight tooth and nail to protect tax breaks for the wealthy and the oil industry. Democrats will largely be doing the opposite.

    You don’t have to be a polling expert to know the Democratic approach will enjoy vastly more public support.

    If these six GOP senators seriously believe their party would benefit from a more transparent process, they clearly need to get out more.

    For the record, I tend to think an emphasis on transparency can be, at least in some instances, overrated. Sometimes, officials can produce worthwhile results when they’re allowed to speak candidly and openly, knowing their remarks aren’t being broadcast to anyone. It’s a mistake to necessarily assume that an open process is the ideal process. When I think about the concerns surrounding the “super committee,” the fact that they’ll be meeting behind closed doors isn’t at the top of the list.

    But if this really is a top priority for Republicans, I’d suggest Dems take them up on the request for letting the sunshine in. Under the circumstances, the American mainstream would very likely recoil when confronted with what GOP members put on the table.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_08/exposing_the_super_committee_t031305.php

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  10. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 04, 2011 2:20 PM

    Revising the Ryan Medicare plan

    By Steve Benen
    For much of the Spring, Democrats enjoyed being on the offensive against Republican efforts to end Medicare. It was largely responsible for Dems picking up a “red” House district in a special election, and it created a credible issue House Dems intended to use to try to win back the chamber next year.

    Obviously, a lot has happened since then, and to the relief of Republican leaders, the words “Paul Ryan” and “Medicare privatization” are no longer staples of the American political discourse.

    But it’s not too late to change that


    With Medicare at the top of lawmakers’ fall agenda, Tea Party movement leaders hope to ignite support for Republican plans to transform the popular federal healthcare program for the elderly.

    Thousands of Tea Party movement activists are expected to descend this month on town hall meetings across key battleground states as part of an intensifying campaign ahead of the 2012 presidential and congressional elections.

    Their priority is a plan to slash Medicare costs proposed by House of Representatives Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, which could gain momentum now that a debt-limit deal between President Barack Obama and Congress has made potential Medicare cuts a centerpiece of the deficit debate.

    Really? They see the plan Republican leaders themselves quickly dropped when they sat down for debt-reduction talks possibly gaining “momentum”?

    Tell you what, Tea Partiers, knock yourself out.


    FreedomWorks, which helped found and shape the Tea Party movement, sees its campaign as the opening salvo in a long battle to secure a place for the Ryan plan in the 2012 debate and the legislative session that will begin in January 2013.

    The gambit poses risks for Republicans in swing states including Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio, which FreedomWorks is targeting.

    Ya think?

    I’m skeptical about all of this, in large part because I find it hard to believe Democrats are this lucky. But if Tea Partiers want the GOP plan to end Medicare, and replace it with a privatized voucher scheme, up front and center in 2012, I have a hunch President Obama and the DNC would gladly engage in the fight

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_08/revising_the_ryan_medicare_pla031317.php

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  11. rikyrah says:

    What I Just Wrote to Senator Reid
    by Tom Levenson


    Dear Senator Reid,

    I write to ask you to commit to appointing as members of the so-called “Super Congress” committee on debt reduction only Democrats committed to revenue raising and tax reform as an essential, non-negotiable part of the deal.

    We’ve already heard from your counterparts in the GOP: they will appoint only those who oppose any tax revenue in the final package. That’s both bad (disastrous) policy and bad politics for any Democrat. We need to counter with strength the other side’s scorched-earth approach to every political dispute. Right now, that means a committee composed of people who will not give on what both our country and our party desperately needs: powerful voices defending the idea that when our country needs help, everyone, including (especially) the richest and most fortunate among us must rise to the occasion.

    Don’t treat this as business as it used to be usual, when you could sit down with your counterparts and cut a reasonably equitable deal. If the events of the last few weeks have taught us anything, it’s that those days are gone.

    Act accordingly, or the country and our political fortunes as Democrats in 2012 will suffer terribly.

    I don’t say it’s great prose, but of course, anyone who wants to grab any of it is more than welcome. Reid’s contact page is here. The GOS’s piece on this, from which I got that contact, is here.

    Volume counts, both in decibels and amount. So in your copious spare time, write the notes—to your own senators (Democrats on this issue, of course), representatives, the leadership, the White House, your local newspapers and so on.

    A last thought: several commenters in the thread from last night expressed some variation on the “it-doesn’t-matter because either the two parties are functionally the same, or the Democrats must necessarily cave/lose” theme.

    Maybe so, but if ever there was a self-fulfilling prediction, that is one.

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2011/08/04/what-i-just-wrote-to-senator-reid/

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  12. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 04, 2011 12:35 PM

    Federalism at its most shallow

    By Steve Benen
    It’s hardly breaking news that Republican rhetoric about “federalism” and “states’ rights” lacks consistency and intellectual heft. But Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), a likely presidential hopeful, is pushing the envelope in almost comical ways.

    Michael Scherer had a good piece on this today.


    Texas Governor Rick Perry is not just any federalist. He is the grand poobah of federalists, an alpha-dog federalist, a federalist other federalists dare not challenge. His call for state sovereignty and a limited federal encroachment on “liberty” has been a central plank of his political rise. There is an entire section on his official website paying homage to the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, where he lays out his “Governing Principle”: “States are best positioned to deal with state issues.”

    So Perry did not hesitate when he was asked on July 23 what he thought about New York state legalizing gay marriage. “That is their call,” he said. “If you believe in the 10th Amendment, stay out of their business.” A few days later, there was no quaver in his voice when asked if states should be able to allow abortion. “You either have to believe in the 10th Amendment or you don’t,” Perry said. “You can’t believe in the 10th Amendment for a few issues and then [for] something that doesn’t suit you say, ‘We’d rather not have states decide that.’”

    Crystal clear. Principled. Uncompromising. Except, not really.

    No, not even close. Less than two weeks after staking out purely federalist positions on marriage and reproductive rights, Perry, who no doubt received a stern lecture from party strategists, decided to abandon the philosophy that stood as the core of his national persona.

    Perry said this week that he now supports a constitutional amendment to prevent marriage equality, as well as a constitutional amendment to prohibit abortions, both of which reject the idea that states are capable of addressing the issues on their own. (While we’re at it, the Texas governor also wants to change the constitution to require balanced budgets.)

    Now, I understand why Perry is saying these things. He’s generally a darling of the religious right, which remains influential in some Republican circles, most notably in Iowa, and which cares far more about gays and abortion than some philosophical argument about “states’ rights.”

    But Perry has to realize how ridiculous he looks. For years, federalism has been his raison d’etre. As recently as 12 days ago, the governor was sticking to the federalist line.

    And now these principles have been cast aside in the name of political expediency.

    It’s not quite as ridiculous as Mitt Romney’s series of radical ideological transformations, but it’s close.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_08/federalism_at_its_most_shallow031313.php

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  13. rikyrah says:

    Get Used to Being a Hostage
    by BooMan
    Thu Aug 4th, 2011 at 10:12:36 AM EST

    The White House is demanding that Congress come back from their vacations and pass a bill that will keep the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) operating through August. They sent Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood out on the morning news programs to make their points. Yet, this is but one hostage situation of many that are about to come down the pike. In this case, it’s more complicated than a simple kidnapping of the FAA’s budget. The Republicans are destroying unprofitable rural airports that rely on federal subsidies to survive, and they’re doing it in Majority Leader Harry Reid and Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee chairman Jay Rockefeller’s home states. They aren’t offering to fund those airports if the Democrats do something. They’re saying that the FAA will stay closed in August unless Reid and Rockefeller’s airports are destroyed. That’s their demand on the short-term extension. For a permanent reauthorization, their demand is that Delta Airlines be able to count employees who don’t vote in any unionization election as ‘no’ votes. So, you know, regardless of price never fly on Delta Airlines.
    Once this frustrating and ridiculous fight over the FAA is resolved, we’ll have to deal with a bunch of outrageous riders the House Republicans are going to put in all their appropriations bills: banning money for Planned Parenthood, gutting public broadcasting, etc. Then we’ll have the showdown on the SuperCommittee: will they raise taxes, or will the triggers get pulled?

    If the SuperCommittee manages to agree to sweeping tax reform, the debate over the Bush tax cuts will go away, but if it does not, we’ll have another hostage situation next year. Will the Republicans agree to rewrite the tax code or will Obama let all of Bush’s tax cuts expire, raising taxes on everyone who pays income tax?

    So, get used to having the Republicans make everything a hostage situation. It’s easy for them to do because they don’t care about anything but screwing people. The more people hate them, the more they hate government, too. Ironically, this works for them.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2011/8/4/101236/3133

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  14. rikyrah says:

    .Bloomberg to Use Own Funds in Plan to Aid Minority Youth
    By MICHAEL BARBARO and FERNANDA SANTOS
    Published: August 3, 2011

    The administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, in a blunt acknowledgment that thousands of young black and Latino men are cut off from New York’s civic, educational and economic life, plans to spend nearly $130 million on far-reaching measures to improve their circumstances.

    The program, the most ambitious policy push of Mr. Bloomberg’s third term, would overhaul how the government interacts with a population of about 315,000 New Yorkers who are disproportionately undereducated, incarcerated and unemployed.

    To pay for the endeavor in a time of fiscal austerity, the city is relying on an unusual source: Mr. Bloomberg himself, who intends to use his personal fortune to cover about a quarter of the cost, city officials said. A $30 million contribution from Mr. Bloomberg’s foundation would be matched by that of a fellow billionaire, George Soros, a hedge fund manager, with the remainder being paid for by the city.

    Starting this fall, the administration said it would place job-recruitment centers in public-housing complexes where many young black and Latino men live, retrain probation officers in an effort to reduce recidivism, establish new fatherhood classes and assess schools on the academic progress of male black and Latino students.

    Mr. Bloomberg plans to announce the three-year program in a speech on Thursday morning in Manhattan, in which he will declare that “blacks and Latinos are not fully sharing in the promise of American freedom.”

    Even as crime has fallen and graduation rates have risen in New York over the past decade, city officials said that black and Latino men, especially those between ages 16 and 24, remained in crisis by nearly every measure, including rates of arrest, school suspension and poverty.

    Although the populations of young white, black and Latino men in New York are roughly the same size, 84 percent of those in the city’s detention facilities and nearly all of those admitted to children’s and family services facilities are black and Latino youth, according to data from the Bloomberg administration. “The magnitude of the disparities is stunning,” said Linda I. Gibbs, the deputy mayor for health and human services. “It’s tragic.”

    Mr. Bloomberg has put the weight of city government behind large-scale social change before, with public-health campaigns against smoking, sugary beverages and fatty foods.

    But now, he is confronting a problem whose intractability and deep-seated causes have bedeviled policy makers for decades. And by focusing so heavily on a subset of city residents, he risks angering those unlikely to be helped by the new resources.

    “The success rate, in general, is not that promising,” said Elijah Anderson, a professor of sociology at Yale, who has written extensively about urban issues.

    The challenge, Professor Anderson said, will be persuading New York’s businesses to embrace these young men and offer them permanent employment after the city’s work is completed. “Companies have to be much more receptive to these young people and meet people like Bloomberg halfway,” he said.

    The administration’s plan, developed after a year of study and debate, spans much of the city’s bureaucracy and multiple stages in the lives of the men it is trying to reach, beginning in middle school and ending with career counseling.

    In interviews, aides to the mayor said the new measures emphasized the practical needs of the city’s most impoverished black and Latino men, many of whom are unable or unwilling to enroll in time-consuming education and training programs unless they are compensated, according to the officials.

    So to promote remedial math and literacy classes in the morning, for example, the city would link them with paid internships in the afternoon. The internships would pay $7.25 an hour, but students would be paid only if they participated in the class.

    “Working is a big motivator for these kids,” said Kristin Morse, the director of programs and evaluation at the city’s Center for Economic Opportunity.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/04/nyregion/new-york-plan-will-aim-to-lift-minority-youth.html?_r=1&hp=&pagewanted=all

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  15. rikyrah says:

    August 04, 2011
    Prepare for some rapid back-pedaling (I hope)
    Perhaps the most preposterous debate to rage across cable networks and various, usually factional Web sites is that regarding President Obama’s liberal base: Has he lost it? Is he losing it? Will he lose it? The answers are simple enough: No, no, and no. The odds of the final no morphing to maybe or yes are roughly the same as those of Princeton University awarding Michele Bachmann an honorary degree in American history on the same day her husband comes out of the closet, so that particular toiling and troubling question should be laid aside. Given Obama’s mobilizing electricity as a campaigner and his essentially progressive record in office, in addition to the inescapable odds of an ideologically knuckle-dragging GOP opponent, his liberal base and, more broadly, his party will be there in November, 2012.

    That’s never been the pertinent question, which instead revolves almost entirely around independents. (Forgive me; I know you probably already know this, but for unfathomable reasons it must be repeated to others.) This should satisfactorily explain to the activist left why liberal presidents can’t govern through unabashed liberalism, while conservative presidents can govern pretty much eponymously: independents are generally adrift in the middle of this conservative nation, and if they trend, they tend to trend vaguely center-right. True, the explanation is clearly satisfactory, although its activist leftie recipients seem rather opaque. Well, that’s another story.

    Anyway, that’s where the decisive votes are. And plotting them state by possible state, therein lies the problematic challenge for Obama:


    Absent the president’s ability to defy political gravity, one Obama adviser conceded [to Politico], “The numbers add up to defeat.”

    They do so — yes, yes, perhaps just for the moment, all the usual disclaimers apply — because he’s hemorrhaging independents. And that’s why I went ballistic over the debt deal: Some saw it as classic Obamian pragmatism, whereas I saw it as enormously unpragmatic, and erosive of the independent vote.

    Obama had brilliantly persuaded independents (and even a majority of Republicans) that the preferable method of resolving future deficits is in part through revenue increases. He then promptly nullified his own winning argument by schmoozing with Mitch and vaporizing “balance,” even though there were practical alternatives (staring the GOP down until midnight, and then, if needed, either riding out the GOP-induced catastrophe or going the Constitutional route). But it’s worse than that. He has tied his own hands, leaving him to insincerely articulate the macroeconomically incoherent, as he did moments after the debt deal passed the Senate:

    Growing the economy isn’t just about cutting spending…. We’re going to have to do more than that.

    You mean, Mr. President, like increase spending?

    Now naturally the odds of that, in this Congress, were, are, and shall remain the same as Michele’s honorary degree. Yet Obama was poised to sign legislation that guaranteed we’d do nothing but cut spending, from today through the next ten years.

    Which of course oppresses the necessary refashioning of his economic message throughout the campaign. Team Obama well knows it cannot persist in hurling unintelligibilities such as an “infrastructure bank” and utter insignificances such as “patent reform” at the independent electorate; it’s going to have to go bigger and bolder, as the economy goes slimmer and more fearful — and the debt deal was a largely self-inflicted inhibitor of that message.

    So be it. Obama will scarcely be the first president to sign legislation of one kind of message and campaign on another. And that’s precisely what he’ll have to do to re-attract the independent vote, which above all of its amorphous, tenderly conservative ideology wants jobs and economic expansion, which at this miserable point only government spending can compel.

    The upside is that independents can be persuaded, as Obama vividly showed in the “balance” debate. They’re also more than willing to forgive political hypocrisy, if they like what they’re hearing at the moment.

    http://pmcarpenter.blogs.com/p_m_carpenters_commentary/2011/08/prepare-for-some-rapid-back-pedaling-i-hope.html

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  16. rikyrah says:

    Organizing in Barbershops and Beauty Salons
    Posted by Byron Wellman, South Carolina Field Director on August 03, 2011
    Supporters, volunteers, and staff have been hard at work this summer building our organization in South Carolina. State Field Director Byron Wellman catches us up on what’s been happening since April.

    It’s been a really great few months for the campaign here in South Carolina. This year’s Summer Organizer Program has been the most successful we’ve ever had. We’ve recruited some incredible volunteer leaders, and the folks we’ve been speaking to are really excited to be a part of this–they’re with us all the way to 2012.

    A big part of our efforts has been our barbershop and beauty salons program. We’ve been reaching out to owners and managers in towns across the state, talking to them about the campaign and leaving “I’m In” cards and voter registration forms for their customers to pick up and fill out while they’re getting their hair done. It’s been a great exercise in spreading the campaign’s message through word of mouth.

    Our summer organizers have been a key part of setting up the barbershop and beauty salons program and building out the organization across the state. They’ve really helped to rejuvenate our efforts by making phone calls, holding one-on-ones, and organizing in communities we wouldn’t otherwise have reached. One of our summer organizers, John, has turf that’s very rural and sparsely populated, and thanks to his work with this program the campaign has taken off there in a way we never imagined possible.

    Although the Summer Organizer Program is coming to an end, it’s not farewell. Many of these new organizers are staying on as neighborhood team leaders or volunteers, continuing to put their newfound skills to good use. And we’re looking forward to training a whole new group of rookie organizers when the fall fellows start in September.

    There’s always more to do, more people to call, more supporters to meet, more events to organize. If you’re in South Carolina, we’d love for you to get involved. Just call the campaign HQ at 803-799-7798, and one of us will get back to you
    http://www.barackobama.com/news/organizing-in-barbershops-and-beauty-salons

    Like

  17. rikyrah says:

    now THIS is some shady ass shyt

    ………………………

    Firm gives $1 million to pro-Romney group, then dissolves
    Records offer no clues who was behind mystery company that donated to ‘super PAC’

    A mystery company that pumped $1 million into a political committee backing Mitt Romney has been dissolved just months after it was formed, leaving few clues as to who was behind one of the biggest contributions yet of the 2012 presidential campaign.

    The existence of the million-dollar donation — as gleaned from campaign and corporate records obtained by NBC News — provides a vivid example of how secret campaign cash is being funneled in ever more circuitous ways into the political system.

    The company, W Spann LLC, was formed in March by a Boston lawyer who specializes in estate tax planning for “high net worth individuals,” according to corporate records and the lawyer’s bio on her firm’s website.

    The corporate records provide no information about the owner of the firm, its address or its type of business.

    Six weeks later, W Spann LLC made its million-dollar donation to Restore Our Future — a new so-called “super PAC” started by a group of former Romney political aides to boost the former Massachusetts governor’s presidential bid. It listed its address as being in a midtown Manhattan office building that has no record of such a tenant.

    The Boston lawyer, Cameron Casey, dissolved the company on July 12 — two weeks before Restore Our Future made its first campaign filing of the year reporting the donation from the now-nonexistent company, the corporate records show.

    “I don’t see how you can do this,” said Lawrence Noble, the former general counsel of the Federal Election Commission, when asked about the contribution from the now defunct company.

    If the only purpose of W Spann’s formation was to contribute to the pro-Romney group, “There is a real issue of it being just a subterfuge” and that could raise a “serious” legal issue, Noble said. Even if that is not the case, he added, “What you have here is a roadmap for how people can hide their identities” when making political contributions.

    Casey, the Boston lawyer, did not respond to requests for comment. Tim Larimer, a spokesman for her law firm, Ropes & Gray, said he couldn’t discuss who was behind W Spann LLC or any other matters relating to the campaign contribution. “The firm won’t be making any comment on this matter at this time,” he said in an email.

    ‘Not something we normally ask’
    Restore Our Future also declined to answer any questions about the W Spann LLC donation, one of only a handful of seven-figure donations the group has received this year.

    That’s not something that we normally ask a contributor for (and nor does any other political organization that I’m aware of),” Charles Spies, the committee’s campaign treasurer, said in an email response to a query about the owners of the firm and the limited information on its corporate registration. … “Restore Our Future has fully complied with, and will continue to comply with, all FEC disclosure requirements.”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44011308/&3#.Tjp_hhx8MpI

    Like

  18. rikyrah says:

    Tennessee schools dispute pits ‘haves’ against ‘have-nots’
    Memphis district aims to disband to force wealthier suburban system to absorb its students

    School districts around the nation are being buffeted by turmoil and uncertainty, but nowhere are those forces more powerful than in this Mississippi River city.

    At the heart of it, the turbulence is about dollars and cents and the quality of education. Fearing possible threats to its funding, the failing inner-city Memphis City Schools, with 209 schools and 108,000 students, decided to force a merger with its smaller, more affluent neighbor — Shelby County Schools.

    To accomplish that, the district’s board surrendered its charter in November. That unprecedented move, essentially undoing the creation of the Memphis district in 1869, was subsequently approved by the City Council and by the city’s voters in a referendum in March.

    But while the move might make sense economically, it has triggered a heated debate about the fairness of merging two districts with different levels of academic achievement. It has even stirred the ghosts of the city’s legacy of busing students to alleviate racial inequities in the school system.

    Residents of suburban Shelby County — in which the city is located — did not have a vote, and the county Board of Education sued to block the merger. Its chairman, David Pickler, refers to the unfolding events as part of a “hostile surrender” of his 47,000-student, 52-school district. A federal judge is expected to soon decide whether the merger will go forward and, if so, whether it would take place immediately or in the 2013 school year.

    “It seems like there is a lot of distrust and a lot of fear on both sides, and of course the fear of the unknown,” said Talarescia Gillenwaters, a 41-year-old who attended Memphis schools and has two daughters in Shelby County Schools. She has conflicting feelings about the merger. “Until we really know what’s going to happen, I don’t know what we’ll do. We’re going to base our decision on what’s best for our daughters.”

    The city district voted to disband after determining that a new Republican majority in the state Legislature could pass legislation long sought by Shelby County Schools to create a special school district, said Martavius Jones, president of the Memphis City Schools Board of Commissioners.

    Such a district could create its own tax zone and potentially try to end its tax liability to the inner-city schools, he said.

    That would have a disastrous impact on the Memphis district, Jones said, noting that the suburbs contribute about 49 percent of the county’s residential property tax base — which helps fund both school districts — while accounting for some 28 percent of the population.

    Pickler denied Shelby would take such action or that equitable county funding for the districts would be jeopardized, adding that winning the special status was not part of the district’s legislative agenda this past year.

    Jones said city dwellers helped fund the county’s growth over the decades by paying for schools and other infrastructure, allowing suburbanites to “prosper and enjoy their standard of living.”

    “I feel that we have just as much right to the schools that happen to be outside the city limits of Memphis because our funds built those schools, too,” he said, noting that it would be a “selfish act” for those in the county “to try to live in a walled environment.”

    The two districts can have a fresh start, Jones noted: “We can be a shining example of how to do public education right.”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43970084/ns/us_news-education/

    Like

  19. Breaking News:

    Lockdown on the campus of Virginia Tech

    Like

  20. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 04, 2011 8:00 AM

    Cantor intends to break America’s promises

    By Steve Benen
    Remember the Promise Keepers? Say hello to the Promise Breakers.


    U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) on Wednesday suggested that Republicans will continue a push to overhaul programs such as Medicare, saying in an interview that “promises have been made that frankly are not going to be kept for many” and that younger Americans will have to adjust.

    “What we have to be, I think, focused on is truth in budgeting here,” Cantor told The Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal. He said “the better way” for Americans is to “get the fiscal house in order” and “come to grips with the fact that promises have been made that frankly are not going to be kept for many.”

    He added that younger Americans will have “ample time to try and plan our lives so that we can adjust” to the post-Medicare society.

    As Cantor sees it, the existing Medicare program simply must be eliminated for fiscal reasons, replaced with a privatized system. In other words, the Paul Ryan plan that was soundly rejected by voters and policy experts alike is still the preferred model for the House Republican leadership.

    As a matter of policy, this is still hopelessly ridiculous, for all the reasons we talked about in the Spring. But on a political level, this is just as misguided. The more Cantor and his allies base their agenda on ending Medicare, the happier Democrats are.

    Also note the rhetoric the oft-confused House Majority Leader uses: the United States has made promises to the public, and as far as Eric Cantor is concerned, “many” Americans will simply have to accept that those promises “are not going to be kept.”

    Why not? Because Republicans say so. Promises to Grover Norquist are sacrosanct, but promises to senior citizens are not.

    This is, to put it mildly, a gift for Democrats. I’ll look forward to the DNC running ads in, say, Florida, telling voters that the leading House Republican believes the United States committed to the Medicare program, but now believes those promises “are not going to be kept.”

    And in an ideal political environment, the Republican presidential hopefuls would spend the next few weeks responding to a straightforward question: “Do you agree with Eric Cantor that America’s promises to Medicare beneficiaries should be broken?”

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_08/cantor_intends_to_break_americ031301.php

    Like

  21. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 04, 2011 8:40 AM

    Political efficacy in the Obama era

    By Steve Benen
    Dave Roberts posited an interesting discussion topic yesterday: “Mitch McConnell is the most effective politician in the Obama era.”

    I can certainly appreciate the underlying point. McConnell, despite being the leader of the Senate minority, spent the first two years of the Obama presidency keeping his caucus largely united, creating institutional dysfunction on an unprecedented level. McConnell will build on this record in this Congress, leveraging a series of hostage strategies to make policy gains he wouldn’t achieve through the legislative process.

    But as Kevin Drum explained in a very smart post, the problem with the argument is that McConnell actually has “the easiest job” in Washington. By simply abusing inadequate Senate rules and norms, McConnell takes the role of Senate Obstructionist Leader. This takes a certain level of callousness, but it’s hardly evidence of an adroit politician.

    So who is the most effective politician in the Obama era? Kevin argues it’s the president himself, and I’m very much inclined to agree.


    On the specific issue of the debt ceiling, the obvious thing Obama could have done differently was to insist that it be included as part of the lame duck deal last year. But for all the grief he’s gotten over this, it’s worth keeping in mind that Obama got a helluva lot out of that deal. In the end, he got a food safety bill, passage of the START treaty, a stimulus package, repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and a 9/11 first responders bill. Maybe it would have been worth risking all that over inclusion of a debt ceiling increase, but that’s hardly an open-and-shut case.

    What’s more, Obama also won passage during his first two years of a stimulus bill, a landmark healthcare bill that Democrats had been trying to pass for the better part of a century, a financial reform bill, and much needed reform of student loans. And more: a firm end to the Bush torture regime, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a hate crimes bill, a successful rescue of the American car industry, and resuscitation of the NLRB. Oh, and he killed Osama bin Laden too.

    I might also throw in new regulation of the credit card industry, new regulation of the tobacco industry, a national service bill, expanded stem-cell research, the most sweeping land-protection act in 15 years, and the confirmation of two Supreme Court justices.

    This isn’t to say there weren’t plenty of missteps, and I haven’t agreed with every decision. For that matter, there’s a lengthy to-do list in need of attention, and unless the electoral winds shift over the next year, Obama’s list of meaningful accomplishments may be frozen indefinitely.

    But as Kevin concluded, “[I]n two years Obama has done more to enact a liberal agenda than George Bush did for the conservative agenda in eight. That’s not bad, folks. All things considered, I’d say Obama is the most effective politician of the Obama era. And the Bush era too.”

    I’d go just a little further and say Obama is the most effective politician since Reagan, and depending on the day, perhaps even the most effective politician since LBJ.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_08/political_efficacy_in_the_obam031302.php

    Like

  22. rikyrah says:

    Open Thread: Another Job for the “Little SF Grandma”
    by Anne Laurie

    David Corn, at Mother Jones, on “How Pelosi Saved Boehner’s You-Know-What“:


    When the voting began on the controversial—and ugly—debt ceiling bill in the House of Representatives on Monday, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the Democratic leader, did not know how many votes House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) had for the measure that had been crafted by President Barack Obama and the Republicans. Boehner had not reached out to her to make certain that the crucial legislation designed to prevent a potentially disastrous US default would be approved. When Boehner “went to the table”—brought the bill to a vote—he “had no idea” how many votes he had, Pelosi says.

    The speaker, as it turned out, did not have enough Republican votes to pass the bill—only 174—and he had made no arrangement to guarantee its success. When there were minutes left for the vote, and it became apparent that Boehner would fall far short of the 216 votes necessary for passage, Pelosi’s Democrats began voting in favor of the measure. “We were not going to let it go down,” she told a small group of journalists on Wednesday morning.

    In past years, a House speaker and the leader of the opposition would probably confer before such a crucial vote and figure out how to move the legislation through the chamber. (Boehner and Pelosi both were supporting this bill, albeit Pelosi quite reluctantly.)… Yet when the final dramatic vote arrived, Pelosi was surprised that Boehner was so short of the magic 216. “When they didn’t come to us for votes,” Pelosi recalls, “we thought they had the votes on their own.”

    But Boehner didn’t. So the Democrats, having waited to see how many Republicans would back the measure, started filling in the gap. Pelosi didn’t have to send any signal. Her Democrats, she says, are a “sophisticated” group, and they could see that without Democratic support the bill would fail…

    So to prevent default, Pelosi held her nose and halfheartedly encouraged fellow Democrats to vote for legislation that she insists will “deter economic growth.” This fight, she adds, was not propelled by Republican concern for deficit reduction; it was “about destroying the public space”—that is, the tea party’s desire to weaken government. And this battle, she concedes, has reinforced the Republicans’ economic message: “Debt is everything.” It has demonstrated that the tea party has succeeded, as she puts it, in changing the “arena.”…

    To channel my inner Betty Friedan: Isn’t it just like a man to blithely assume that, however careless your behavior, some woman will come along to clean up after you?

    I bet Pelosi wishes that she’d brought his oversized ceremonial gavel down on Orange John’s… hand. With force. And brio.

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2011/08/04/open-thread-another-job-for-the-little-sf-grandma/

    Like

  23. rikyrah says:

    Monday, August 1, 2011So, how’d it play in Peoria?
    Pretty good!

    Just came from five plus hours talking to Democrats (and some Independents and Republicans) and thought I’d do a brief recap for Smartypants.

    No one I spoke to was upset by the budget deal. That’s a true statement.

    The details of timing escaped most (the November 23, 2011 deadline for Super Congress’ recommendation for legislation) (which is great public relations, the day before Thanksgiving, think of the conversations!) and Congress’ vote on the legislation on December 23, 2011 (the day before Christmas Eve, think of the conversations!), but the fact that there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare Beneficiaries and to Pell Grants seeped through the noise. The Peoria I talked to got it. The budget wasn’t balanced on their backs, their parent’s backs, their college kid’s back.

    One woman said she didn’t care if she watched a big screen tv the next time she was in the hospital. ‘Tell the providers that,’ she said. ‘They can cut their costs right there.’

    There was no sense that Democrats’ “caved.” There was a sense that someone finally stood up to the crazies (people I talk to, ranging to upper 80’s, routinely use the word ‘crazy’ to describe the current Republican Party). Oh yeah, one woman wanted to know if we could support Olympia Snow, because she wasn’t one of “them,” but i digress. :-)

    One gent put it well, here’s what he said (as close as I can remember), “We didn’t get the Bush Tax Cuts this time, but we will, and it will happen automatically.” Bravo, gent. “Automatically” is the word.

    The Bush Tax Cuts are now separated from the pack, one stand-alone, vulnerable frame, no longer protected by the brilliant frames-within-frames messaging the Republicans have spent decades honing. We watched those frames splintered and used for toothpicks via President Obama’s press conferences. Who is going to stand up for the Bush Tax Cuts now that somewhere around 80% of Americans want to see a balanced (revenues plus spending cuts) approach to their country’s budget? One or two percent of Americans and the Republican Tea Party, who, by the way, won’t have a vote on whether the Bush Tax Cuts expire on 1.1.2013. They are going to expire. Automatically.

    I hope the revenue from the Bush Tax Cuts fund Stimulus II.

    This is going to be a dicey campaign season? Oh yeah. The ultimate gamble: we vote President Obama for another term or all-but guarantee those tax cuts will continue; we vote for a Democratic House, or waste another two years dithering with the Tea Party; we vote for a Democrat Senate, or we lose our firewall around the President; we help the Democrats who are running for Governor, or we see more state take-overs by the Tea Party.

    I talked to one woman whose business relied on government contracts. She was really happy today.

    That’s it. No links, no science, no math and just a broad percentage in the above. But I ain’t making this up. I’m talking to the base.

    GOTV
    Posted by sige at 3:18

    http://immasmartypants.blogspot.com/2011/08/so-howd-it-play-in-peoria.html

    Like

  24. rikyrah says:

    A yes vote means we approve the law, a no vote means we reject the law
    by Kay

    Quick update on the Ohio effort to repeal SB5, the union-busting law promoted by former Fox news personality Governor Kasich:


    COLUMBUS – Today We Are Ohio released the following statement regarding the decision by the Ohio Ballot Board to make a “no” vote on Issue 2 a vote to repeal SB 5, the unfair attack on employee rights and worker safety.

    “We Are Ohio is pleased that Ohio Secretary of State Husted and the Ohio Ballot Board chose to follow the Ohio constitution and legal precedent by making a ‘no’ vote on Issue 2 a vote to repeal SB 5,” said Melissa Fazekas, spokeswoman for We Are Ohio. “While our opposition may try to play political tricks to confuse voters, today’s decision by the Ohio Ballot Board will make that harder. Now that another hurdle has been cleared, We Are Ohio is focused on making sure our more than 1.3 million supporters know to vote ‘no’ on Issue 2 in November.”

    We Are Ohio is a citizen-driven, community-based, bipartisan coalition that has come together to repeal SB 5, the unfair attack on employee rights and worker safety. We Are Ohio includes public and private sector workers and employees, police officers, firefighters, teachers, nurses, pastors, small business owners, Republicans and Democrats, local elected officials and business leaders, students, Moms, Dads, family members, and your neighbors.

    Proposed ballot language:

    SHALL THE LAW BE APPROVED?

    YES (To approve the law)

    NO (to reject the law)

    So now it’s “vote no on issue 2

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2011/08/04/a-yes-vote-means-we-approve-the-law-a-no-vote-means-we-reject-the-law/

    Like

  25. rikyrah says:

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011We ate our peas.
    Are you getting this?

    Democrats ate their peas.
    Republicans did not.

    We’ve taken all the hits we’re going to take from now until Election Day.

    Republicans threw one too many tantrums in the public square; and we’re going to be blessed with daily public tantrums for the next for the next four to five months. Republicans aren’t just little brats behind closed doors, they’re little brats in the wide open.

    And there is no other negative Democrat frame left in the shop. The frames are all broken. We’re stripped of the wimpy baggage the Republican framesters have worked so long and spent so much money to wrap around us. Why? Because we ate our peas, and they did not.

    It’s clear sailing frame-wise, folks. We’ve got to hold the Super Committee Democrats’ feet to our fire and we’ve got to start now and not stop pounding the pavement until Tuesday, November 6, 2012. Certainly the grassroots and the netroots can together apply pressure to ensure that block votes solid to protect the American people.

    And for those of us who’ve been fighting these kiddie thugs for years, shouting, “The Emperor has no clothes! The Emperor has no clothes!” this is a moment of righteous determination. Let’s capitalize on it.

    Or as one woman told me today:
    “I’m an old lady.
    I’m disabled.
    And I’m going to volunteer for President Obama.”

    Posted by sige at 6:02 PM

    http://immasmartypants.blogspot.com/2011/08/we-ate-our-peas.html

    Like

  26. Ametia says:

    Why defense spending should be cut
    By Fareed Zakaria, Published: August 3

    The scary aspect of the debt deal meant to force all of Washington to its senses is the threatened cut to defense spending. If the congressional “super-committee” cannot agree on cutbacks of $1.5 trillion, the guillotine will fall and half of those cuts will have to come from expenditures on national security. As with so much Washington accounting, there is lots of ambiguity in baselines and terms (for instance, what is covered under “national security”?). Most experts estimate that the defense budget would lose $600 billion to $700 billion over the next 10 years. If so, let the guillotine fall. It would be a much-needed adjustment to an out-of-control military-industrial complex.

    First, some history. The Pentagon’s budget has risen for 13 years, which is unprecedented. Between 2001 and 2009, overall spending on defense rose from $412 billion to $699 billion, a 70 percent increase, which is larger than in any comparable period since the Korean War. Including the supplementary spending on Iraq and Afghanistan, we spent $250 billion more than average U.S. defense expenditures during the Cold War — a time when the Soviet, Chinese and Eastern European militaries were arrayed against the United States and its allies. Over the past decade, when we had no serious national adversaries, U.S. defense spending has gone from about a third of total worldwide defense spending to 50 percent. In other words, we spend more on defense than the planet’s remaining countries put together.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-defense-spending-should-be-cut/2011/08/03/gIQAsRuqsI_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions

    Like

  27. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everybody! :-)

    Like

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