Serendipity SOUL | Friday Open Thread

Happy FRY-day, Everyone!  Here’s your Barbra Streisand tune to end the week.  You’ve got nothing to be guilty of.


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119 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Friday Open Thread

  1. vettte says:

    Lord bless SouthernGirl2. Keep your armor of protection around her. Give her a peace that surpasses ALL understanding. We will give you the praise and honor for this and all other blessings upon her. In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.

  2. creolechild says:

    Here is some information for people who are interested in starting their own business. Thank you, Pro President Obama Blog! Have a good weekend everyone~

    The President made clear in his State of the Union address that we as a country must commit to winning the future: out-innovating, out-building, and out-educating the rest of the world. After his address, the President asked senior Administration officials to get on the road and host discussions with business leaders across the country.In March, he also launched the “100 Youth Roundtables” Initiative, designed to dialogue directly with young people and move the needle substantively on policy and outreach.

    In July the White House held a the White House welcomed 150 young entrepreneurs and business owners from all around the country for Our Time’s “Buy Young” Initiative. This event allowed young business leaders, who are responsible for the creation of over 7,000 jobs, to share their feedback with the administration about a wide variety of issues including job creation, small business, and youth employment. After a conversation with all the young business owners and administration officials, participants spoke (and the Administration listened) in breakout sessions with the Small Business Administration, the White House Business Council, the White House Council of Economic Advisors and the White House Office of Public Engagement to discuss their ideas.

    As part of the President & SBA’s commitment to Young Entreprenuers and youth in underserved communities, the agency has committed a portion of the National Small Business Week agenda to devoting time and resources to educating and engaging young entrepreneurs. Job creation is crucial to our economic recovery and is the number one priority of the Obama administration.


  3. rikyrah says:

    Here’s what a “New Progressive” just said to me…

    By stopthemadness aka ABL on August 12th, 2011
    In case there’s any remaining doubt as to what these people stand for.

    Remember the New Progressive Alliance? With their find a primary candidate on Craigslist shenanigans, and their help Afro-Americans understand that Obama is Teh Worst?

    go see what this a-hole said to ABL.

  4. rikyrah says:

    I’m driving home. Get to a stoplight, and next to me is one of our Senior Citizens, driving a Chrysler from ‘ Back in the day’. It’s big, huge, convertable, with a trunk the size of a Mini Cooper. Couldn’t tell him anything. I just had to say ‘ go on, my Brotha’, cause nobody could tell him anything in that car of is. He winked at me, smiled and went on his merry way.

    You know how a man and his car just fit?

    the way that man was carrying that car as an extension of him, I just had to smile.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Holtz-Eakin Joins the Recovery Act Champions
    Conservative Economist’s Own Methodology Demonstrates the Success of Stimulus

    Add conservative economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin to the ranks of experts whose work shows that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 operated exactly as intended, growing the economy and creating millions of jobs. It may seem surprising that Holtz-Eakin, the former Congressional Budget Office director, former chief economic advisor to Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, and current president of the conservative American Action Forum, would throw his support behind the stimulus bill. But that’s what he’s done—whether he likes it or not.

    Why? Because the very methodology he repeatedly used to discredit the stimulus actually shows it was a remarkable success.

    You see, for much of last summer, Holtz-Eakin had a favorite graph that he used whenever he got the chance. The graph purported to show that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was utterly ineffective at spurring economic growth. He loved this graph so much that he used it in no less than three different columns during the course of just two months, and even included it as part of his testimony before the Senate Finance Committee. (see chart)

    Here’s what Dr. Holtz-Eakin believed this graph showed:

    The chart … shows actual GDP during 2009. It also shows what would have happened if the trajectory at the start of 2009 had continued the entire year (labeled “Continued Decline”)—that is, the graphical version of “the economy was falling off a cliff.” The shaded area is the difference—the additional GDP from not continuing to decline—and totals $268 billion.

    Stimulus tax cuts and spending in 2009 were roughly $260 billion. Thus, if one attributes all improvement in GDP to the stimulus—no role for the Fed, no role for mortgage relief programs, no role for worldwide economic improvement—then stimulus essentially broke even and provided no multiplier effects.

    In other words, Holtz-Eakin argued that the dollar value difference between what would have happened to U.S. gross domestic product without the stimulus spending and what did happen was almost exactly equal to the cost of the stimulus itself—meaning the stimulus did not stimulate.

    Of course, if an economy is really falling off a cliff, as it was in late 2008, one could be forgiven for pursuing policies that avoid such a disaster, even if they don’t produce any larger ripple effects. But guess what? Even Holtz-Eakin, using this same methodology, would be forced to admit that the Recovery Act did have larger ripple effects.

    In July the Bureau of Economic Analysis updated its estimates of gross domestic product, the largest measure of our economy’s output, which showed that the Great Recession was much deeper even than we thought it was just a few months ago. What happens when we use Holtz-Eakin’s method for evaluating the Recovery Act but employ the latest data? It turns out that, according to Holtz-Eakin, the stimulus was a smashing success.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Editorial, 8/12: Bruning’s words are an embarrassment

    Attorney General Jon Bruning’s comment comparing welfare recipients to raccoons is dumb on every level.

    The words would sound dull-witted if they dropped out of the mouth of the guy on the next stool at the bar.

    It’s almost inconceivable that the remark came from a lawyer who makes his living by adroit use of the English language.

    It’s alarming that they were uttered by someone who wants Nebraska voters to send him to the U.S. Senate in Washington so he can help write laws to govern the country.

    Yet, there Bruning is on YouTube — on a clip available to anyone on the planet with an Internet connection — earnestly making an analogy that ought to make just about anyone cringe.

    Bruning described how biologists trap endangered beetles at road construction sites in five-gallon buckets. He mimed a raccoon, dipping into the bucket to gobble up the insects.

    “The raccoons, they’re not stupid,” Bruning said. “They’re gonna do it the easy way if we make it easy for them, just like the welfare recipients all across America. If we don’t incent ‘em work, they’re gonna take the easy route.”

    Bruning’s campaign quickly apologized for the comment. “It was an inartful statement and one Jon regrets making,” said Trent Fellers, Bruning’s campaign manager. “As attorney general, Jon’s been a strong supporter of welfare reform and giving welfare recipients a hand up and not just a hand out.”

    Bruning apparently was playing to his audience at the Heartland Liberty Fest in Papillion sponsored by the Libertarian Party, Americans for Prosperity and the Nebraska Republican Party. Applause and laughter can be heard in the wake of his remarks.

    Also in the audience was a tracker from American Bridge 21st Century, a Democratic organization that uses high-tech hidden cameras to record gotcha moments.

    The fact that the organization deployed a tracker to Nebraska to follow Republican candidates months in advance of the general election in 2012 is a measure of the fierce struggle for control of Congress.

    There have been recent examples in which video recordings have been selectively edited to mislead viewers.

    There are no cuts on this recording. The words flow without interruption as Bruning speaks and gestures. His meaning is plain.

    Bruning may not have intended for his words to have a wider audience. But in a world in which seemingly almost every cell phone is capable of capturing a video image, candidates have to assume that everything they do in public could show up on the Internet.

    Voters will judge for themselves whether Bruning’s words were merely “inartful,” an unguarded revelation of his true attitudes or a calculated attempt to ingratiate himself with his audience. By any interpretation, they are an embarrassment.

    Read more:

  7. The Media is coddling wannabe secessionist, Rick Perry. Why is that?

  8. creolechild says:

    Wrapping up with the Temprees, singing Love Can Be So Wonderful.

  9. creolechild says:

    Here’s the Rippingtons, performing She Likes To Watch.

  10. creolechild says:

    Here’s Norman Connors, featuring Ms. Jean Carne, singing Dindi.

  11. creolechild says:

    Here’s the O’Jays, singing Give The People.

  12. creolechild says:

    Here’s Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, singing Ooo Baby Baby.

  13. creolechild says:

    Here’s Michael Jackson, singing Remember The Time.

  14. creolechild says:

    Time for music? Here’s Minnie Ripperton, singing Inside My Love.

  15. creolechild says:

    After Triggering Downgrade, Debt Default Skeptics Try To Run From Their Records — But They Can’t – Brian Beutler

    Standard & Poors has a specific justification for downgrading the U.S. bond rating, and it’s deadly for Republicans. It wasn’t just that Congress showed itself to be reckless and dysfunctional, or that the GOP shows no sign of ever ending their anti-tax jihad. It’s that for a period of weeks, some lawmakers (read: Republicans) were quite literally shrugging off the risks of blowing past the August 2 deadline, running out of borrowing authority, and missing payment obligations.
    “[P]eople in the political arena were even talking about a potential default,” said Joydeep Mukherji, senior directior at S&P. “That a country even has such voices, albeit a minority, is something notable,” he added. “This kind of rhetoric is not common amongst AAA sovereigns.”

    This is unambiguous, and leaves little room for obfuscation. S&P’s original, lengthy statement explaining the downgrade cited political dysfunction in Congress quite broadly, but did not mention this specific element of the debate. For weeks, high-profile conservative lawmakers practically welcomed the notion of exhausting the country’s borrowing authority, or even technically defaulting. Others brazenly dismissed the risks of doing so. And for a period of days, in an earlier stage of the debate, Republican leaders said technical default would be an acceptable consequence, if it meant the GOP walked away with massive entitlement cuts in the end.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean the GOP won’t try to sweep the mess they’ve made down the memory hole. Here’s Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), who sponsored legislation that would’ve forced the Treasury to prioritize interest payments on U.S. debt in the event of a lapse in borrowing authority. “No one said that would be acceptable,” he said of a default. “What we said was in the event of a deadlock it was imperative that bondholders retain their confidence that loans made to the United States be repaid on schedule.” That may be true for McClintock. Others were much more relaxed about the consequences of ignoring the August 2 deadline. House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan said if “a bondholder misses a payment for a day or two or three or four,” it’s preferable so long as “you’re putting the government in a materially better position to be able to pay their bonds later on.” (See video below)


  16. creolechild says:

    Thank you, Jesse and dane101~

    Rep. Paul Ryan calls Al Jazeera reporter’s perfectly reasonable questions “rude”
    Post by Jesse Russell

    Al Jazeera recently launched a program called Fault Lines. The half hour long news program analyzes the political and economic “Fault Lines” that “run through the world.” The first two episodes looked at Mexico’s drug war and accusations the government uses it as a pretext for repressing indigenous and campesino communities. A recent episode explores how pharmaceutical companies have been outsourcing drug clinical trials to “poor people in faraway countries.”

    This week they released an episode called “The Top 1%” which explores the growing equality gap in the United States that has expanded by leaps and bounds over the last 30 years. It asks “How did the gap grow so wide, and so quickly? And how are the convictions, campaign contributions and charitable donations of the top 1% impacting the other 99% of Americans?”

    Wisconsin’s very own Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, makes an appearance in the episode when the discussion turns to his budget plan. When the Al Jazeera reporter asks Ryan if his plan is undemocratic “given the fact the majority of American people oppose cuts to so-called entitlement spending” and “why he won’t talk about tax burden for the richest in the country given the fact that wealth is so concentrated?” The reporter said the only answer Ryan gave was the her “questions were rude.” The Congressman makes his appearance starting at the 9 minute 20 second mark in the video below. [Click on link to view video.]

  17. creolechild says:

    Syrian forces fire on protests after Friday prayers
    Khaled Yacoub Oweis

    AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian forces fired live ammunition at protesters coming out of a main mosque after Friday prayers in the besieged city of Deir al-Zor, witnesses said, as demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad resumed elsewhere in the country.
    “Military intelligence directed their AK-47s at the mosque, hitting the main air-conditioning unit, which caught fire. The whole neighborhood is echoing with the sound of bullets,” said one witness, an engineer who lives near Harwil Mosque. “Worshippers are running to take cover in alleyways,” he said by phone.

    A resident of Hama also said protesters came under fire in the central Syrian city. Hama was stormed by the army at the start of the month in an assault which killed more than 100 people, according to activists and rights groups. British-based activist Rami Abdel Rahman also reported clashes in Hama and said tens of thousands of people were protesting in the city of Homs. “We will only kneel to God!” chanted protesters. Syrian authorities have barred most independent media, making it difficult to verify events on the ground in the unrest, among a series of popular revolts against repressive power elites across the Arab world this year.


  18. creolechild says:

    Thousands riot in China’s Guizhou province: Xinhua
    By Agence France-Presse

    BEIJING — Thousands of rioters took to the streets in southwestern China, with some smashing and burning vehicles, after a city official injured a female cyclist, state news agency Xinhua reported on Friday. The riots broke out late Thursday in Guizhou province and carried on all night, with 10 police officers wounded in the violence, the report said. Rioters also blocked the city’s main roads using trucks, the state-run China National Radio reported on its website.

    Xinhua said the riots were set off when “chengguan” officials, responsible for low-level policing on China’s streets, injured a female cyclist while trying to confiscate her bicycle for illegal parking.
    Chengguan officials, widely disliked in China and often accused of using excessive force against civilians, have been behind an increasing number of riots in recent years. Last month, hundreds of people in another southern Chinese city rioted after a chengguan was reported to have beaten up a one-legged fruit seller. The seller, who had apparently protested against the confiscation of his cart for illegal parking, later died of his injuries.

    Comments on the Guizhou riots were blocked on popular Chinese microblogging website Weibo on Friday.

  19. creolechild says:

    It’s Baaaack: ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ Becomes Campaign Issue In Race For Weiner’s Seat
    Jillian Rayfield

    If you thought the controversy over New York City’s Cordoba House Islamic Center was long over, Republican NY-09 candidate Bob Turner wants you to think again. On Thursday Turner released his first TV ad in the special election to replace former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D), who resigned over inappropriate photos sent over Twitter. Turner’s ad references the September 11th attacks, and accuses his Democratic opponent David Weprin of being among those who “want to commemorate the tragedy by building a mosque on Ground Zero.”

    The Cordoba House project, dubbed the “Ground Zero Mosque” by opponents, was an issue in New York — and elsewhere — in the run-up to the 2010 elections. But the fury over the project peaked with anti-Islam blogger Pamela Geller’s rally against it on September 11th, and then largely died out by the time November rolled around. But with the 10th anniversary of the attacks coming up next month, there’s apparently still some life in this controversy.


  20. creolechild says:

    20 Years In Prison For a Rape and Murder Committed By Someone Else — Courts Ignore Exonerating DNA Evidence
    By Sarah Seltzer

    Nine young black men were convicted of two heinous crimes. DNA evidence points to their innocence, but many of the men are still in jail. In the movies or on TV, the crucial piece of DNA or physical evidence that points to another culprit makes the wrongfully accused and their counsel sigh in relief, high five, leave the courtroom free of shackles. They wouldn’t have to wait 20 years to see justice served. In real life, even after so much time, that kind of exonerating DNA evidence may not make things so simple–particularly in a justice system that can be so often unjust toward the disenfranchised.

    In each of two older cases currently being revisited in Cook County, Illinois, five teenagers were arrested for murder-rapes and confessions were extracted after interrogations. But in each, those confessions were recanted and later DNA evidence pointed directly to other men, known criminals who didn’t appear to be connected to the convicted young men.

    Here’s one case, as described in a story from the Chicago Tribune. Five teenagers were arrested, four convicted: [In the 1990s] the four were convicted of the murder and rape of Nina Glover, 30, largely on the basis of confessions they made to police and prosecutors, even though primitive DNA testing at the time excluded them as the source of semen evidence. But new testing links Johnny Douglas to Glover’s rape and murder, according to court papers filed this week in Cook County Circuit Court. And here’s the other, eerily parallel story, also from the Tribune’s reporter Steve Mills, about five other teenagers, three of whom are still in prison:


    Read more:–_courts_ignore_exonerating_dna_

  21. creolechild says:

    Rush Limbaugh Blames The Democratic Party for London Riots
    By Jason Easley

    Today on his radio show, Rush Limbaugh blamed the Democratic Party and their agenda for the London riots. Limbaugh said, “The Democrat agenda fought desegregation in the Army and everywhere else, but this is, Sneardly, I know it’s getting worse, but it’s only a testament of effectiveness. This is what you have to understand. Take a statement like roll back the Democrat agenda for the last 65 years, everyone with a modicum of understanding means we gotta get rid of the socialism. We’ve got to reduce the size of government. We’ve got to get government out of being the central facet in everyone’s life. We do have to roll. We do have to repeal Obamacare. We do have to fix Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. They’re busted. They’re bankrupt. They don’t work.” [Click on link to listen to audio from Media Matters]

    Rush then tried to blame to blame the Democratic policies for the London riots, “Democrat social programs have led to what happening in London, the same kind of thinking, the same type of mentality. It has led to the paralysis of law enforcement for crying out loud. Liberalism has led to the paralysis of law enforcement. The people committing these crimes are entitled in liberalism, because they have been so put upon. They’re so disadvantaged by whatever socio-economic unfairness that we have to understand their rage, and if they destroy somebody else’s private property we can’t stop them. It’d be racist to try it. Discriminatory to try it. Insensitive, politically incorrect or what have you. The Democratic agenda fought desegregation in the Army and it fought it everywhere else.”

    There are so many things wrong with the statements above. There isn’t a US style Democratic Party in the UK. The current government is conservative. Limbaugh doesn’t seem to understand that part of the fuel for the riots, which started with the Mark Duggan incident, is the austerity and growing economic inequality which is being shepherded in by the Cameron led administration. Law enforcement has not let the riots occur. They have been desperately trying to stop the rioting.


    • Granny would send me to the naughty chair, Mama would light candles, pray and send me to confess my sins but please…..

      I so want that awful man to just drown in his own bile or get his body so inflated that he explodes. You can only blow up a balloon so much before it pops. Please someone stick a pin in that goat figger!

    • …Why don’t Rush Limbaugh go on to hell where he belongs?

  22. creolechild says:

    Yet More Going on the Post Office
    Josh Marshall

    One thing I’ve learned from all the reader email we’ve gotten on this subject this morning is how much UPS for instance relies on the US Postal Service for final delivery of many packages.
    TPM Reader DW explains … I work in online retail, so I know quite a bit about sending packages through different carriers. Here’s some things you might not know…

    1. UPS absolutely does not want to deliver packages to residences. In fact, they’ll up-charge you if you send to a house or even an apartment building.

    2. UPS is completely inflexible if the address you provide for them is not the perfectly standardized address. And if they have to correct your address to put it in the error-free USPS format, they will charge you an extra fee for that as well. And those fees add up quickly. USPS does not charge for address correction.

    3. UPS needs USPS. They will go broke doing residential delivery without them, which is why they’ve set up a product called Mail Innovations, where they take your profitable packages and do 90% of the bulk work of moving it from the business’ location to the local post office of the recipient, where USPS delivers the “last mile” of the package’s journey….

    In essence, UPS kills you on fees, does the easier, less costly (and more profitable) work, then dumps the package at the post office to avoid the costly part of package delivery. I don’t see why FedEx would not do the same if they could. So your USPS retiree/reader is right – the savings from not having UPS and FedEx and USPS trucks all driving the residential neighborhoods would be tremendous, and it isn’t impractical. Also, USPS should probably up their rates for these “last mile” services. UPS will pay them. They have no choice, really. And UPS will pass those costs along to online retailers, who will also pay them – they have no choice, either.

  23. creolechild says:

    CATO Institute Hangs GOP Job Creation Meme With An Under Reported Article
    By Ray Medeiros

    Thursday night in Iowa the GOP candidates debated each other and put forward their tired, old failed plans to jump start our economy. They told America needs to lower taxes, de-regulate and repeal certain programs. They claimed that China is gaining all of our jobs, because we tax business too much. Unfortunately for their tired talking points, the CATO Institute, which is a libertarian publication with a very strong conservative following, thinks differently.

    Back in 2007, CATO published this article, titled “The Global Race for Lower Corporate Tax Rates”. Once you get through the rhetoric and fabricated talking points, they solidified the progressive’s argument without even knowing it. In the second to the last paragraph they wrote:
    China also has some challenges. Canada’s CD Howe Institute estimates that China has the highest effective corporate tax rate of all major economic powers (though the tax rate recently was reduced to 25 percent as part of a reform package, so China’s position presumably will improve when new rankings are released). But that is not the only problem. In an effort to determine which tax systems were easy to obey and which ones made compliance difficult, the World Bank looked at the business tax systems of every significant nation, and ranked China among the ten worst.

    According to CATO, CD Howes Institute in Canada and the World Bank, China has the highest effective tax rate in the world and is among the ten worst countries for business tax systems, yet businesses are still flocking over there by the thousands. America has lost TEN THOUSAND factories to that HIGH TAX country of China. Why would companies go to such a high taxed country, if HIGH TAXATION drove them from the United States? Oh, wages, which is exactly what the PROGRESSIVES HAVE BEEN TELLING AMERICA FOR 30 YEARS.

    So, the Republican party needs to either deal with this reality or start talking about the real reason why business leaves to go to China, and that is wages. The Republican party consistently talk ad nauseam about American exceptionalism, but fail to promote the American exceptional standard of living that is being driven down by their infatuation with low wages, free trade and China. This article, by an institution that promotes the conservative and the Republican agenda, unknowingly just gave the biggest blow to the conservative agenda and they didn’t even know it.

  24. creolechild says:

    After 10 Years of Tax Cuts The GOP’s Job Creators Haven’t Delivered Jobs
    By Rmuse

    Economics is not always an easy subject for most Americans to understand, but if one excludes stocks and bonds that the majority of working people never have the opportunity to trade or invest in, they do understand that simply cutting spending is not going to solve America’s problems. Of course, for Republican supporters whose ignorance embarrasses pea-brained songbirds, the mantra of cutting spending, taxes, and eliminating regulations will create jobs makes perfect sense. Regardless what makes sense to Republican supporters, there is no possibility that spending cuts alone will grow the economy or create jobs.

    The Republicans in Congress have been on a spending cut frenzy since they began their assault on workers and jobs earlier this year, and the economy has not improved or grown like it should have if the GOP’s assertions were correct. At last count, the spending cuts Republicans have proposed will cost Americans nearly 2 million jobs making the GOP the job-killing masters. It is really a twisted concept to understand, but for some unknown reason the Republicans have convinced their supporters that the jobs picture and the economy will improve by enacting spending cuts and maintaining the Bush-era tax cuts. Both spending cuts and the wealthy’s tax cuts will never ever result in job creation and it reinforces the notion that Republicans are not the least bit serious about creating jobs or growing the economy.

    If the Republicans had their way and slashed education, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and all programs that Americans depend on, there will still be bills to pay for the bloated defense budget, oil subsidies, and the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. The savings from severely cutting those programs will still not add revenue, and when those programs are slashed, the millions of jobs lost will result in lost tax revenue that puts the economy in a worse position than it is now. The only difference is there will be millions more Americans living in poverty with no safety nets to sustain them, but of course, that is part of the Republican’s plans over the long term. When President Obama suggested keeping the payroll tax holiday to stimulate spending that does create jobs, Republicans balked because they need the revenue to maintain the military, oil subsidies, and tax cuts for the wealthy. Increasing the payroll tax will not affect the wealthy or the corporations they own so Republicans are happy to see it increase.


  25. creolechild says:

    SEC investigating S&P’s downgrade of U.S. debt: report
    By Reuters

    Reuters) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has asked rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) to disclose which employees knew of its decision to downgrade U.S. debt before it was announced last week, the Financial Times said, citing people familiar with the matter. SEC’s move is part of a preliminary examination into potential insider trading, the FT said.
    The inquiry was made by the SEC’s examination staff, which has oversight of credit rating firms, one person familiar with the matter told the newspaper. However, the securities regulator is not aware of a leak from an S&P insider, nor was it aware of an aberrational trade, the paper said.

    S&P and SEC could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters. The U.S. Senate Banking committee has begun looking into last week’s decision by S&P’s to downgrade the U.S. credit rating, a committee aide told Reuters on Monday.

  26. creolechild says:


    Santorum: Abortions only ‘traumatize’ rape victims
    By David Edwards

    Appearing at the Iowa Republican presidential debate Thursday, Rick Santorum advocated for outlawing abortions even in the case of rape because “one violence is enough.”

    “Would you allow no exceptions for cases of rape on incest?” Fox News host Byron York asked. “Polls have shown that large majorities of Americans support some exceptions for abortion. Are your views too much, even for many conservatives to support?”

    “That child is an innocent victim,” Santorum replied. “To be victimized twice would be a horrible thing. It is an innocent human life, genetically human from the moment of contraception. We in America should be big enough to try to surround ourselves and help women in those terrible situations who have been traumatized already. To put them through another trauma of an abortion, I think is too much to ask. So I would absolutely stand and say that one violence is enough.”


    • Rick Santorum is a crazy mofo! So, in Rick’s mind, cases of rape or incest only traumatize the victims more? Why would that sob want to put that burden to bear a child of incest or rape on a woman? I could throw up! He needs smacking! I don’t believe in abortions but I want the right to decide about my OWN body. STFU, Rick Santorum!

  27. creolechild says:

    Chinese Save Way More Than Americans, Study Finds
    By Ron Dicker

    It isn’t enough that our debt-ridden nation is woozy from the market’s latest roller-coaster ride. Now comes word that we lag behind an economic rival in a key area of personal finance: savings. Many more Chinese families are saving money for emergencies and education than U.S. families, according to a University of Missouri study released Thursday. The numbers paint an unflattering portrait of Americans’ ability to plan ahead: 60% of Chinese households are saving for “precautionary reasons,” compared to only 35% of American households. The gap is even greater for education planning. An impressive 59% of Chinese urban households reported saving for school-related expenses, such as tuition, compared to 19% of U.S. families.

    Recent reforms have put more pressure on Chinese families to subsidize higher learning, while U.S. government aid provides less incentive for Americans to sock it away for the proverbial rainy day, explains Rui Yao, an assistant professor in the university’s personal financial planning department. “In the U.S., unemployment insurance and other welfare programs provide a relatively sound safety net,” she says, “whereas in China, there are no such social-welfare programs. As a result, Chinese households must resort to family support or previous savings in the case of an emergency.”


  28. creolechild says:

    Best Back-to-School Savings Tips From Moms Around the Country
    By Robyn Gearey

    Fall clothes, No. 2 pencils, book bags, magic markers … the back-to-school shopping list can quickly grow out of control and overtake the family budget. So we asked moms around the country for their best money-saving tips on everything from school supplies to brown-bag lunches. We want to hear from you, too! Share your best school-related cost-cutting tips in the comments section below.

    6 Ways to Keep School Clothing Costs Under Control

    “Many schools have used-uniform sales, where thrifty parents can snag gently used uniforms for a bargain. Our preschool is selling their winter sweatsuits right now for $1 — buy one get one free!”
    — Daniele H., mom to a 2.5-year-old

    “Go through to shop with online retailers (including Lands’ End, L.L. Bean, The Children’s Place, Hanna Andersson, Gap (GPS), Old Navy, etc.) and get cash back on your purchases every quarter. I’ve gotten nearly $200 in cash back, in the two years since I joined, on purchases I was already making!”
    — Marisa S., mom to a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old

    “My kids always grow so much over the summer, so when school comes around, we are usually scrambling for long shirts and trousers that fit my oldest. And, of course, this is the worst time of the year to buy new clothing! Instead, I stock up on basics in the next size or two up during end-of-winter clearance sales, so I always have something on hand that will fit.”
    — Siobhan G., mom to a 5-year-old and a 7-year-old

    A few other tips from moms:


    Read more:

  29. creolechild says:

    Study: Overdraft Misery Continues Despite Fed Rules
    By Laura Rowley

    A year after the Federal Reserve enacted new rules to rein in abusive bank overdraft practices, fees remain high and some institutions actually have slapped on additional penalties, according to a new survey of the nation’s 14 largest banks by the Consumer Federation of America. Last year, the Fed prohibited banks from enrolling consumers in overdraft protection programs unless they choose to “opt-in.” Previously, most banks automatically covered payments that exceeded the account balance, charging a fee for each offense, along with additional fees if customers didn’t quickly repay the loan quickly. While the rules have helped, major issues remain, consumer advocates say.

    “The Fed’s rule cut the number of people who participated in these programs, but for the people who do opt in, there’s no limit on the size of fees or the number of overdraft fees (banks) can charge,” says Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director with U.S. PIRG, the federation of state public interest research groups. The median overdraft fee is $35, unchanged from last year, and customers can incur anywhere from three — at JPMorgan Chase (JPM) — to 10 — at Fifth Third Bank (FITB) — of these fees in a single day, according to the study. In the last year, BB&T (BBT) doubled the number of overdraft fees it charges per day to eight, while Regions Financial (RF) raised its daily limit from four to six per day, the survey found. Only TD Bank (TD) reduced the number of fees per day from six to five.

    In addition, the Fed rules don’t prevent “reordering,” in which banks pay the largest checks and debits first in order to trigger additional fees. The practice remains widespread, the survey found. Here’s how it works: A consumer thinks she has $1,200 in her checking, but only has $1,100. She conducts five debit transactions totaling $180 and then pays her rent with a check for $1,000. She has overdrawn the account by $100. Two weeks later, when the consumer deposits her paycheck, the bank gets its money back. When all six transactions arrive at the bank, the bank processes the rent payment first, followed by the biggest debit transaction of $100. Four smaller debits bounce, resulting in four separate fees for $35 each, or $140. Had the rent been paid last, the customer would only have been on the hook for $35.


  30. creolechild says:

    Birth Control Coverage for Everyone? Not So Fast.
    By Maddie Oatman

    The announcement last week that the Obama administration will require health insurance plans to cover preventative health care for women at no additional cost elicited whoops of joy from females all over the country. The idea that contraception will be fully covered was an especially celebrated point; Mother Jones blogger Jen Quraishi heralded the occasion as “a momentous day,” and Jezebel happily noted that it was time to “kiss your co-pay goodbye.”

    Not everyone found the rule change so invigorating. That’s because the new regulations contain a religious refusal clause, also known as a “conscience clause,” exempting “certain religious employers” from having to cover the cost of contraception in employees’ insurance plans if doing so would contradict the employer’s belief system. The proposed conscience clause defines a religious employer as a nonprofit organization that “has inculcation of religious values as its purpose” and primarily employs and serves people who share its religious tenets. Religious groups say that language is far too weak and might force some religious institutions that don’t want to provide birth control to women to do so anyway. Women’s groups, meanwhile, are arguing that the language shouldn’t be there at all.


  31. creolechild says:

    Audience blasts Big Oil tax cuts – By Robert Palmer

    FLORENCE – Thursday’s town hall meeting hosted by U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, reflected the political mood of the country: deeply divided. Speaking to about 100 people at the University of North Alabama, the first-term congressman outlined what he believes are the issues facing the country and the votes he is casting in response to them in the Republican-controlled House. His stances won approval from some in the audience, but most had questions about how to reduce the deficit and lower the debt without eroding entitlement programs that affect a wide spectrum of people. Brooks may have summed matters up best when he said, “We can’t change the law because the public voted for gridlock. We are going to have to decide which way we are going to go” in the 2012 elections.

    Several in the audience criticized tax breaks for big oil, which for years has been raking in record profits while prices at the pump continue to go up. Brooks said ending the breaks, which are designed to encourage domestic oil production, or increasing taxes on the companies would result in higher consumer prices because the additional costs would be passed on. He was challenged on that point, but Brooks stood by his belief that new taxes are not good for the economy.

    He also talked at length on his very conservative political beliefs, which are closely aligned with the tea party. He said taxes inhibit growth and job creation, and that rising debt is eroding national security. He supports a balanced budget amendment. He also voted against the debt ceiling deal last week because he said it did not address growing government spending. While many agreed that the debt must be reduced, they wanted to see taxes increased on the wealthiest Americans and corporations, some of whom pay virtually noting to state and federal governments.


  32. rikyrah says:

    Friday, August 12, 2011
    A Farce Of High Camp
    Posted by Zandar
    Number of people who believe that Rep. Dave Camp, one of the GOP Super Committee guys, will actually leave tax revenues “on the table” please find another blog to read, this one is not for you.

    Representative Dave Camp, head of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee in the House of Representatives, told Reuters in a telephone interview that the deepening global financial crisis would prompt him and other “super committee” members to pull together.

    Asked what sort of pressure the economic turmoil put on the committee, he said: “It does add an importance to what we are trying to do. It makes the stakes even higher.”

    Camp, who was named on Wednesday to the new special deficit reduction panel, voiced optimism that the group of six Republicans and six Democrats would overcome the political divide and reach agreement.

    “I don’t want to rule anything in or out,” Camp said. “I am willing to discuss all issues that might help us reduce our short and long-term debt and grow our economy,” Camp said.

    “Everything is on the table, until we as a group rule it out,” he said. The economy and jobs are priorities, he added.

    “Economic growth and job creation in the private sector — that’s what we need to use as a benchmark about any policy, but particularly tax policy,” Camp said.

    What he means by “leaving tax policy on the table” is “slashing corporate taxes” so even more of them end up with zero corporate income tax burden. Camp is talking the good talk here, but if you remember the so-called “moderate” Republicans talked a good compromise speech during the health care reform debate too.

    We remember how that turned out. What Dave Camp really thinks about taxes has been well-documented. He has said time and time again that he has no intention of raising taxes in “this economy” or any other US economy for that matter, and in fact has proposed to cut taxes on the wealthy and on corporations as part of “tax reform”. As a member of Simpson-Bowles, Camp pushed for capital gains tax cuts as well and opposed reducing tax expenditures and loopholes.

    Camp insisted that the Bush tax cuts had to be extended for the wealthy. He says that people who do not pay income taxes because they earn less than $13,000 or so a year create a “moral hazard” and that they need “skin in the game.” He’s voted against closing loopholes for corporations that send jobs overseas. He wants to repeal “Obamacare”. And of course, above all he wants to slash spending from social programs.

    The people who are telling you Dave Camp is open to tax increases? They need a good swift kick in the ass.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 07:32 AM PDT.

    Rick Perry opposes direct election of United States senators+

    *by Jed Lewison

    Okay, this is just raw, unfiltered insanity:

    ANDREW ROMANO: Let’s talk about some Constitutional issues, which take up a large part of your book. In the book, you argue against the 17th Amendment, which allowed the people to elect their senators directly instead of letting their state legislatures do it for them. This has become a big Tea Party talking point, but I’m not sure I understand the logic behind it. You say that by allowing people to elect their own senators, “the states have handed over a significant chunk of their sovereignty to the federal government.” But wouldn’t we be less free, and the country less democratic, if we didn’t have a say in who was representing us in Washington?

    RICK PERRY: Stand by just a second. [30 seconds of silence.] OK, I’m back with you. I apologize. I’m sorry, I got distracted when you were talking. I think the issue is about consolidating the power in Washington, D.C. The 17th Amendment is one of those where they were making… the states were historically more in control when they decided who those senators were going to be. They took the states out of the process at that particular point in time. So that’s the… uh… the historic concept of checks and balances, when you had the concept of the federal government and the states. The 17th Amendment is when the states started getting out of balance with the federal government, is my belief.

    So…giving the people of a state the right to directly elect their U.S. Senator deprived state legislatures of their freedom? WTF? I mean, freedom is great and all, but isn’t freedom supposed to be for people? Or are state legislatures people too? And even if they were people, shouldn’t all the people have a right to choose their elected officials?

    It’s such a truckload of craziness that I think even Michele Bachmann’s head would be spinning. But I can tell you at least one person that I think just might agree with Rick Perry’s idea: Rod Blagojevich. He’s a firm believer in state’s rights, you know.

  34. creolechild says:

    Hannity: Newt’s Gotcha Question Shows Double Standard
    By karoli

    Debates are fun, but post-debate spins are even more fun especially with Sean Hannity’s tiny pea-brain memory. During last night’s debate, Chris Wallace asked Newt about his campaign staff quitting en masse. Newt was not very happy about the question. Wallace pointed out to Gingrich that, in June, he suffered a huge staff exodus. “How do you respond to people who say that your campaign has been a mess so far?” he asked. Gingrich was highly displeased by the question, and he turned on Wallace.

    “I took seriously Bret’s injunction to put aside the talking points,” he said, referring to a request Wallace’s co-host Bret Baier had made at the outset of the debate. “And I wish you would put aside the gotcha questions…I’d love to see the rest of tonight’s debate asking us about what we would do to lead America…instead of playing Mickey Mouse games.” [h/t Huffington Post]

    And of course, Sean Hannity was appropriately concerned for poor Newt, but evidently that concern obliterated his short-term memory: “You know, I don’t mind hard questions. I think they’re important. As I was watching tonight’s debate, you know what ran through my mind? In all the time that President Obama ran, he didn’t experience one of these moments that I can really think of. So the double standard is clear.”

    Sean, Sean, Sean. Obviously you can’t really think of these moments because you don’t think. Or pay attention. So let’s take a walk down memory lane to April 15, 2008 and the debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in Philadelphia. And let me refresh your memory, courtesy of the divine Ms. Heather who made this wonderful mashup at the time.
    Here are just a few of the questions directed to then-Senator Obama. You should watch the whole mashup for the full impact. It’s five full minutes of fail. Five full minutes of fail in ONE debate. [Click on link to view video.]

    Do you think Rev. Wright loves America as much as you do?

    Voters don’t believe you’re honest or trustworthy. Are you?

    Why don’t you wear a flag pin?

    It was so bad everyone forgot the debate and just went full-tilt after ABC. Here on Crooks and Liars, we had Steve Benen’s roundup of journalists’ horror, and Nicole Belle pointed out that George Stephanopoulis got debate tips and marching orders from — wait for it — Sean Hannity. Seems Sean gave George a few question suggestions on his radio show earlier that day. Like these:

    1) Ask Obama about his relationship with Ayers and WeatherUnderground and Axelrod’s comments, “They’re friendly”

    2) Ask Obama why he attended the Million Man March

    There’s a double standard, all right. Hannity’s.

  35. rikyrah says:

    The GOP Debate
    By James Fallows
    Aug 11 2011, 11:55 PM ET
    I only saw the last 20 minutes, so I have no sense of the overall flow. But that was enough to notice:

    – Michelle Bachmann, even when given a second chance, seemed genuinely to believe that the federal debt ceiling applied to future spending, not payment for bills and tax cuts the Congress had already voted to enact. Not sure which is worse: that she knows better and decided this was an applause line to push, or she really doesn’t know the first thing about the Congressional budgeting process. I bet most Americans also think that holding down the debt ceiling is a forward-looking budgetary step — ie, that it’s like resolving to spend less next month. But they’re still wrong. The real comparison is resolving not to pay a credit card bill when it shows up. For a national candidate not to understand this??? Seriously, this is like discovering that your doctor thinks that your trachea is attached to your spleen.*

    – Jon Huntsman is really going all-in on the “only reasonable man in the room” strategy, with his gay-rights and debt-ceiling answers. (Not so much about EPA “terrorism.”) Hard to see this as a great 2012 plan — but a brilliant VP move? Or 2016? Also, as Andrew Sprung noted, he has developed a weird shakiness in his speaking voice. (Sprung’s hypothesis: “Does Huntsman always sound so trembly? Could it be because he’s surrounded by lunatics?”) Still, a gutsy strategy on his part.

    – This is the best day the beleaguered Barack Obama has had in a while.

    – Others better off than they were three hours ago: Perry, Romney (from ‘I’ve been here before’- style gravitas), and based on what I saw the Fox News questioners, who did a manful job.

    I still say that the upcoming Iowa Straw Poll doesn’t matter, but I consider these to be 20 minutes well spent.

  36. Jose Feliciano – Light my fire

  37. creolechild says:

    (NOTE: Part One was posted earlier in the week.)

    Part Two: FEMA and Disaster: A Look at What Worked and What Didn’t From a FEMA Insider (1993 – 2000) – by: Leo Bosner

    In the fall of 1992, following the debacle of Hurricane Andrew and the election of a new administration, it appeared to many that FEMA’s days were numbered. One newspaper story told of the difficulty of even finding anyone willing to head the agency. The headline read, “What to Do With FEMA?” But barely three years later, in 1996, FEMA’s reputation would grow to the point where the president would elevate FEMA Director James Lee Witt to Cabinet status in recognition of how much the agency had improved. And less than ten years after that, in 2005, FEMA would once again be held up as an object of scorn and ridicule for its many perceived failures in Hurricane Katrina.

    How could a single, small government agency be seen as being so terrible … and then so great … and then so terrible again, all in the span of a few years? When Bill Clinton was elected to the Oval Office in November 1992, the government’s fumbled response to Hurricane Andrew was much too recent – and too embarrassing – to be relegated to the back burner. Clinton had narrowly won a somewhat unexpected electoral victory over the incumbent President, George H.W. Bush. Many people thought that Bush’s defeat was due in part to his administration’s failure in the eyes of the voters to respond effectively after Hurricane Andrew. If so, the new administration would obviously not wish to repeat such an error.

    Clinton decided to keep FEMA and to name as its head a fellow Arkansan, James Lee Witt. Witt had served Governor Clinton as the Arkansas state director of Emergency Management, and now he would follow Clinton to Washington to perform a similar task at the federal level as FEMA director.


  38. rikyrah says:

    How Wisconsin Election Law Saved The GOP, And Why That Changes In 2012
    By Ian Millhiser on Aug 10, 2011 at 9:50 am

    From the moment he took office, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) seized every opportunity to reshape his state’s law to improve the GOP’s chances on election day. Walker stripped state workers of their right to organize in order to weaken a traditionally progressive constituency. He gutted the state’s public financing system, which allows candidates to run effective campaigns without pleading for money from big dollar donors, and used this money to pay for a voter ID law that that disenfranchises numerous elderly voters, young voters, students, minorities and low-income voters.

    Yet it was not these attempts to un-level the playing field that saved Walker’s Senate majority in last night’s recall elections — where Democrats took two of the three seats they needed to flip control of the state senate. Rather, it was a longstanding quirk in Wisconsin law which protects elected officials from recalls during the first year of their term in office:

    (s) No petition for recall of an officer may be offered for filing prior to the expiration of one year after commencement of the term of office for which the officer is elected.

    In 2008, Barack Obama won a landslide victory for Wisconsin’s electoral votes, and Democrats rode a wave that allowed them to capture many elected offices that are typically out of their reach. In 2010, by contrast, economic discontent fueled a backlash against the incumbent party, and Republicans rode their own wave into various elected positions.

    For this reason, all of the Republican state senators who were eligible for recall in yesterday’s elections were Republicans who held on in 2008 despite the fact that they had to stand for election during a Democratic wave. Likewise, all of the Republicans who were elected in 2010 only because they were fortunate enough to run during a Republican wave were immune from recall. Come 2012, however, all of this changes.

  39. rikyrah says:

    Facing Backlash For Disenfranchising Voters, Gov. Walker Reverses Course On Plan To Close Several DMV Offices
    By Marie Diamond on Aug 6, 2011 at 10:00 am

    In a sharp reversal, the state of Wisconsin announced yesterday it will expand Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) services to accommodate the increased demand for photo identification in the wake of a controversial new Voter ID law. As ThinkProgress reported last week, after signing a Voter ID law earlier this year that disenfranchises tens of thousands of Wisconsin voters, Gov. Scott Walker (R) then called for closing as many as 16 DMV offices across the state, making it even more difficult for residents to obtain the ID they needed to regain their electoral voice.

    Walker’s undemocratic plan prompted widespread criticism and has apparently compelled the administration to completely change its position:

    Department of Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb said the expansion leaves all current offices open, increases the total number of offices across the state from 88 to 92 and drastically expands the hours of operation for some 40 counties.

    The change, expected to cost about $6 million the first year and $4 million every year going forward, was called for by Gov. Scott Walker’s 2011-13 budget and was meant to address an increase in demand for photo IDs in the wake of the state’s new law requiring voters to show ID at the polls.[…]

    The plan announced Thursday differed markedly from the one first unveiled last month, which called for closing as many as 16 offices while expanding office hours elsewhere. That proposal was immediately panned by some as unfairly targeting Democratic areas.

    State Rep. Andy Jorgensen (D) is still angry that Walker even considered closing down DMV offices, including one in his district, and accused the governor’s administration of playing politics with necessary services.

    Although the new plan infringes less on voters’ rights, it also confirms that these new, completely unnecessary Voter ID laws being signed by conservative governors across the country are costing states millions of dollars at a time they can least afford it.

  40. rikyrah says:

    Rick Perry Says Social Security And Medicare Are Unconstitutional
    By Ian Millhiser on Aug 12, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has, to say the least, a very odd understanding of the Constitution. He thinks Texas should be able to opt out of Social Security, and he believes that everything from federal public school programs to clean air laws are unconstitutional. Yet in an interview with the Daily Beast’s Andrew Romano, Perry makes his most outlandish claim to date — Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional:

    The Constitution says that “the Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes… to provide for the… general Welfare of the United States.” But I noticed that when you quoted this section on page 116, you left “general welfare” out and put an ellipsis in its place. Progressives would say that “general welfare” includes things like Social Security or Medicare—that it gives the government the flexibility to tackle more than just the basic responsibilities laid out explicitly in our founding document. What does “general welfare” mean to you?

    [PERRY:] I don’t think our founding fathers when they were putting the term “general welfare” in there were thinking about a federally operated program of pensions nor a federally operated program of health care. What they clearly said was that those were issues that the states need to address. Not the federal government. I stand very clear on that. From my perspective, the states could substantially better operate those programs if that’s what those states decided to do.

    So in your view those things fall outside of general welfare. But what falls inside of it? What did the Founders mean by “general welfare”?

    [PERRY:] I don’t know if I’m going to sit here and parse down to what the Founding Fathers thought general welfare meant.

    But you just said what you thought they didn’t mean by general welfare. So isn’t it fair to ask what they did mean? It’s in the Constitution.


    Perry’s reading of the Constitution raises very serious questions about whether he understands the English language. The Constitution gives Congress the power to “to lay and collect taxes” and to “provide for the…general welfare of the United States.” No plausible interpretation of the words “general welfare” does not include programs that ensure that all Americans can live their entire lives secure in the understanding that retirement will not force them into poverty and untreated sickness.

    Moreover, Perry’s belief that Social Security and Medicare must cease to exist not only puts him well to the right of his fellow Republicans in Congress — who recently voted to gradually phase out Medicare — it also puts him at the rightward fringe of the GOP presidential field. Not even Michele Bachmann has gone on record claiming that America’s two most cherished programs for seniors violate the Constitution, although she did invite a Fox News analyst who shares Perry’s beliefs to lecture her fellow lawmakers on what the Constitution requires.

    When House Budget Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the GOP’s plan to slowly eliminate Medicare, it was the most conservative budget proposal anyone had seriously considered in generations. Perry’s agenda, however, makes Paul Ryan look like Ted Kennedy.

  41. creolechild says:

    WI GOP Recall Challenger Can’t Name One Bill She Supports or Opposes
    —By Andy Kroll

    Wisconsin Republican Kim Simac has encountered plenty of problems in her bid to unseat Democratic State Senator Jim Holperin in one of the Badger’s State final two recall elections on Tuesday. It emerged that she once compared public education in America to Nazism. And her 32-page children’s book, “American Soldier Proud and Free,” a self-published ode to patriotism, turned out to have been published in China.

    But from a policy perspective, those gaffes pale in comparison to what Simac said—or failed to say—earlier this week. As part of a forum hosted by the WJRO radio station, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, Simac was asked what particular legislation she would support or challenge if elected to the State Senate. Amazingly, Simac could not name a single bill. Not one. Here was her response: “Hmm, well, I think that…I guess I would have to say that with all of the things that I’ve been looking at, I think you just stumped me. All the things I’ve been looking at for all the last couple months here trying to get up on board as a new candidate, I’ve been trying to stay up with the issues, but I would have to say that I can’t name you a single one right now.”

    Simac even admits that she can’t name a single bill she would back or oppose; a basic question that even a political neophyte could expect has “stumped” her. Simac’s excuse: she’s been spending all her time talking to voters in Holperin’s northeastern Wisconsin district. What it is that Simac is discussing with them is anyone’s guess.

  42. rikyrah says:

    Rand Paul Rushes To Romney’s Defense: ‘All Of Us Are Corporations’
    During a campaign stop at the Iowa State Fair yesterday, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) vociferously defended tax breaks for corporations by declaring that “corporations are people.” Though Romney’s assertion was widely mocked – corporations cannot vote, cannot be sent to prison, and clearly lack all human anatomy – the former Massachusetts governor has not backed down in the face of withering criticism.

    Now, another GOPer says Romney was actually spot on: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

    ThinkProgress asked Paul about Romney’s comments prior to the Republican presidential debate in Ames. Paul rushed to the former governor’s defense, arguing that Romney was correct in his equivalency between man and mega-company. “I think we’re all corporations,” Paul said. “All of us are corporations.” The Tea Party senator later went on to blur the lines further between corporations and people by declaring, “They’re us. They’re the middle class”:

    KEYES: What did you make of Mitt Romney’s statement today that “corporations are people”?

    PAUL: Corporations are collections of people. I think we’re all corporations. To say we’re going to punish corporations like they’re someone else. All of us are corporations.

    KEYES: Do you think that was basically in line with what he was saying?

    PAUL: You think about, if you own a retirement fund, you have a 401k, everybody who has a 401k has parts of corporations, so in a sense we are.

    KEYES: I think people might argue that corporations can’t be sent to jail.

    PAUL: I think those arguments can be made, but I think the fact that a lot of times people want to vilify corporations, saying they’re someone else, that they’re these other rich people. They’re us. They’re the middle class. We all own parts of corporations.

    It’s unsurprising that Paul would side with corporations. In the past, Paul has expressed his affection for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, was quick to defend BP during its high-profile act of corporate irresponsibility, and during the 2010 campaign, complained that disabilities laws are unfair to the business owner.

    A quick glance at Paul’s campaign fundraising finds major contributions from corporations like Koch Industries, AT&T, and Exxon Mobil. Still, as one of the original Tea Party senators, Paul’s defense of corporations flies in the face of the populist movement he purports to represent.

    Corporate lobbyists have also played a major role in Romney’s presidential campaign. Indeed, a Huffington Post investigation found that thus far in 2011, Romney has received more campaign cash from lobbyists than the rest of the Republican field combined. As Romney barnstorms the country with his message that “corporations are people,” Paul’s busy watching out for Romney’s flank and making sure people understand that people “are corporations” as well.

  43. rikyrah says:

    Health Reform in Action: A Look at Investments in Community Health Centers

    Amidst the zigzag of the stock market and the picking of the members of the Congressional supercommittee to reduce the deficit, I did not want us to miss something that is equally critical: this week is National Health Center Week. On Tuesday, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced a $28.8 million grant under health reform to establish new community health center access points that will serve an additional 286,000 patients in 67 communities. These grants are not to build new CHC’s but to build new access points of existing community centers that already serve underprivileged communities. A full list of awardees is available here.

    The grants will eventually be expanded to 350 new centers and $250 million. The National Association of Community Health Centers pointed out in their press release about these grants that CHCs do not simply provide access to quality health care, but also to jobs for hard-hit communities:

    “We deeply appreciate today’s announcement by HHS, which comes as we celebrate National Health Center Week,” said Tom Van Coverden, President and CEO of the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC)… [T]his announcement does mean that we can continue to bring quality, cost-saving primary care services to more communities that are ready and waiting to serve patients… Additionally, health centers bring valuable jobs to hard-hit communities across the country. Investing in health centers is a good prescription for both our nation’s health and the economy.”
    The NACHC also points out the incredibly good investment that community health centers are both for health care and economically:

    •Health centers bring a unique, comprehensive approach that has delivered proven cost-savings, improved patient health and reduced visits to hospital emergency rooms for over 45 years;

    •Today, health centers generate $24 billion in annual savings to the health care system, and every dollar invested in health centers generates $11.50 in potential savings; and,

    •Health centers employ 190,000 Americans and generate $20 billion in annual economic activity for poor rural and urban communities.
    President Obama issued a proclamation for National Health Center Week, highlighting the investments his administration has made in health centers, both in the Recovery Act and in health reform. Here are a few other highlights of what is happening in community health care thanks to health reform:

    •$727 million in CHC grants for centers across the country to expand services to 745,000 additional underserved patients to 143 locations across the country. October 2010.

    •Secretary Sebelius made $335 million available for community health centers to expand services to provide more comprehensive care in mental health, behavioral health, pharmacy, vision and enabling services (i.e. transportation, financial counseling, language, education, case management services that help patients access care and make sense of the system). October 2010.

    •A $95 million investment in 278 school based health centers, expanding their current capacity of about 800,000 by over 50%, or an additional 440,000. July 2011.
    In addition to the $11 billion that is provided in the Affordable Care Act ($1.5 billion for major construction and renovation projects at existing centers and $9.5 billion for expansion and medical services), the Recovery Act made another $2 billion investment in health centers.

    As I had pointed out on multiple occasions during the health reform debate, the total capacity of community health centers, when health reform is fully implemented, will for the first time ever exceed the total number of uninsured. That has real implications. This means even those who cannot obtain insurance even with health reform will still be able to get health care – all of them. In fact, if you factor this in, it’s the community health centers that will fulfill the age old progressive mission of health care for all. Additionally, the extra capacity will mean that CHC’s will be able to see patients who have the ability to pay and have insurance, thereby setting up direct competition with the for-profit provider industry.

    I simply cannot emphasize the importance of the health centers enough. Presidents after presidents and Congresses after Congresses have talked about providing access to quality health care for everyone. Health reform, with CHCs an integral and essential part, might actually finally get us close to that. This is no small feat.

    Finally, let us all remember something Speaker Pelosi said on the passage of health reform: we could not have been here without the leadership of President Obama. We could not be expanding access to community health centers and building new centers and expanding the range of services they offer without the leadership of President Obama. When everyone wanted to give up – and some wanted to tear down – President Obama insisted that we get it done. Not for political expediency but for the common good. Not for point-scoring but for the lives that community health centers save, for the people who are priced out of the market and for the caring principle that in America, health care is a right.

  44. rikyrah says:

    Iowa Corn Cakes

    by digby

    Chuck Todd just said that if Michele Bachman looks like she might get the nomination, the business will actively try to stop her because of her views on the debt ceiling. If that’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back, they should be mounting a campaign against a whole bunch of Tea Partiers. They nearly got it done.

    Indeed, the fact that sane businessmen and wealthy elites aren’t gathering their forces against this whole field of GOP loonies (so looney that Newt Gingrich appears moderate by comparison)tells you just how far politics has gone off the rails.

    Even right wing expert Adele Stan was taken aback by how crazy they’ve become:

    If there was any doubt that the Republican Party is now firmly in the hands of far-right ideologues, last night’s broadcast surely dispelled that notion. In fact, many of the themes sounded throughout the evening appeared to come right out of the platform of the Constitution Party, the hard-core, theocratic party founded by Christian Reconstructionist Howard Phillips.

    Candidates discussed the right of fetuses conceived in rape to be born, a return to the gold standard as the basis for U.S. currency, and the proposed abolition of the Federal Reserve, all tenets of the Constitution Party platform. Rounding out the Reconstructionist agenda was a question to Bachmann about her adherence to the doctrine of “wifely submission,” advocated by several right-wing Christian sects, which she dodged by saying that the term simply meant mutual respect between husband and wife. (AlterNet’s reporting on the influence of Christian Reconstructionism on Bachmann’s beliefs can be found here, here and here.)

    Read on for a full rundown of the debate.

    I think what struck me the most was how they’ve seamlessly incorporated their extreme social conservatism — even to the point where presidential candidates are now boldly saying that a woman should be forced to bear her rapists child because “it isn’t the fetuses fault” that it was conceived in hideous violence.(The irrelevant gestation vessel apparently must bear her share of the blame however, and accept her just punishment…)This has been commonplace in GOP circles for some time. Warmongering as well, although it was only really discussed with respect to Iran top give the candidates an excuse to show their fealty to US ally Israel. The big change is the full embrace of crackpot wingnut economics, the likes of which you used to only see at those seminars about how to become a sovereign citizens to avoid taxes. These people have officially become economic saboteurs on a level I don’t think we’ve ever seen before. It’s one thing to be against TARP, it’s quite another for presidential candidates to be espousing throwback Christian Reconstructionism in a time of economic crisis.

    Read the Christian Reconstructionist Constitution Party Platform — you’ll find it’s very familiar. With the exception of its position on ending wars — which, for different reasons, neither Party will ever embrace — it is now the defacto GOP platform as well.

  45. rikyrah says:

    Congressional Democrats On The Comeback In The Polls
    It’s been a fractious summer for Congress: the United States came close to the prospect of defaulting on our debt for political reasons instead of economic ones, there’s another looming budget crisis when they return, and Americans hate the legislative body more than ever. So it’s not a huge surprise in this era of lightning quick political reaction that Americans are swinging back to the party they just kicked out of the House, according to new Gallup data released Friday and a PPP(D)/Daily Kos survey from earlier in the week.

    Both polls showed Democrats taking the lead in the Generic Congressional Ballot, a metric showing who voters generally feel they want to control the House and Senate. Gallup consistently measures it, and Democrats held a healthy lead throughout 2007 to the end of 2009, when the GOP started making gains and eventually led. The Republican high water mark was around election time in 2010, but it didn’t last very long: early into 2011 Democrats surpassed them again, the data shows, and have opened up a lead. The newest rating is 51% in favor of a Democratic candidate versus 44% for a Republican one.

    Gallup identified a possible reason for the drop in support for GOPers. From the report:

    Gallup also asked registered voters how a Tea Party endorsement would affect their likelihood of voting for a congressional candidate. The effect is nearly 2-to-1 negative, with 42% saying they would be less likely to vote for such a candidate versus 23% saying they would be more likely. About a third say it would make no difference or are unsure.

    • Ametia says:

      Folks are slowly, but surely wiping the grit out of their eyes about the politcal landscape. They ain’t trna go down with the CRAZIES.

  46. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 12, 2011 1:55 PM

    11th Circuit rules against health care mandate

    By Steve Benen
    Earlier this summer, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Affordable Care Act is perfectly constitutional and the conservative arguments related to the individual mandate are bunk. Today, in keeping with the way this process has unfolded from the beginning, the 11th Circuit reached the opposite conclusion.

    A U.S. appeals court ruled Friday that President Barack Obama’s healthcare law requiring Americans to buy healthcare insurance or face a penalty was unconstitutional, a blow to the White House.

    The U.S. Appeals Court for the 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta, found that Congress exceeded its authority by requiring Americans to buy coverage, but also ruled that the rest of the wide-ranging law could remain in effect

    That last part is of particular interest. The 11th Circuit was hearing an appeal of the ridiculous Vinson ruling, which raised doubts about the “severability” of the mandate provision from the rest of the law. Today’s appeals court ruling (pdf) effectively found that the mandate is a problem, but the rest of the law is fine.

    The 11th Circuit is generally considered one of the nation’s most conservative, and today’s ruling was split, two juges to one.

    For those keeping score at home, there were five federal district courts to rule on the ACA on the merits, three sided with the law’s constitutionality and two sided against it. There are now two federal appeals court rulings, and they’re split one to one.

    With the 6th and 11th circuits in conflict, there is now no real doubt that the Supreme Court will have to hear the case. We can probably expect a ruling next June — about five months before the presidential election.

  47. rikyrah says:

    August 12, 2011
    The GOP debate
    First, it should be fairly noted that Fox News and the Washington Examiner fielded a surprisingly aggressive panel. (And Chris Wallace’s question was admissable, no matter how abrasively his former Fox colleague, Newt Gingrich, decided to play it with a “gotcha” response, for a “gotcha”-eager audience.)

    If you missed the big show, then you missed lots of fun. The only real substance — if their failure to comprehend such can be labeled substantive — came in the photo-album moment of all eight of these imitative imbeciles raising their hands in express disapproval of an even 10:1 deal on spending cuts and tax increases. Anticommunism was once the glue that held the Republican Party’s ideological factions together; now it’s Grover Norquist. Thus the narrowness, the pettiness, the virtual otherworldliness that characterize the contemporary GOP.

    One minor correction. There was indeed another substantive moment: Rick Santorum feels the pain of Iranian gays. What that was all about, no one knows, but I also doubt anyone actually cares.

    Again, if you missed the show, the NY Times has nicely summarized its two hours of frolicking emptiness:

    Mr. Pawlenty tore after Mrs. Bachmann.
    Newt Gingrich went after the news media.
    Ron Paul … joined in the fight.
    Herman Cain … dismissed all of his rivals as career politicians.
    Rick Santorum … went after nearly all of his rivals.
    Michele Bachmann … batted away the criticism, smiling at times and swinging at others.
    Jon M. Huntsman Jr. … struggled to be heard.
    Mr. Romney … seemed to relish in steering clear of the fight.

    The Washington Post’s Fact Checker had this to temporarily observe:

    Romney’s statement that the United States is “inches away” from a free economy is rhetorical nonsense.
    Huntsman … sugar-coat[ed] his rhetoric on Obama’s stimulus bill.
    Bachmann does not play a leadership role in Congress and … once again mischaracterize[d] what S&P said.
    Under no definition is the United States “bankrupt” [per Ron Paul].
    [Pawlenty was] funny but factually incorrect [on Obama’s lack of policy specificity].

    Santorum, Cain and Gingrich were, in Fact Checker’s momentary opinion, not worth correcting.

    Romney won. No one laid an injurious hand on him all evening, and he brilliantly reaffirmed his status as a first-class direct-question evader. He dodged the panel’s follow-up grenades like Audie Murphy and brushed aside what little rhetorical artillery there was from his co-belligerents. If you like your pols sleazy, crafty, and utterly centerless, Mitt Romney’s your man.

    Bachmann heard footsteps all night, but they weren’t coming from the Ames, Iowa stage. They were coming from Texas. Pawlenty will now be lucky to raise so much as bus fare. He’s toast. And Ron Paul’s shtick, though sporadically insightful, was generally incoherent.

    As for Huntsman, the only thing his performance lacked was Adm. Stockdale’s 1992 vice-presidential debate opening: “Why am I here?” We never did learn the answer to that, really; but that was OK, since Huntsman isn’t really running. Not in this cycle.

    Following Fact Checker’s lead: the others aren’t worth further mention.

  48. TheRoot247:

    BREAKING: Serial killer Anthony Sowell sentenced to death for killing 11 black women.

  49. BREAKING NEWS: Appeals court rules part of President Obama’s health care law unconstitutional. Developing.

    • Ametia says:


      News Alert: Appeals court strikes down health-care law’s insurance requirement
      August 12, 2011 1:55:50 PM

      A federal appeals court has struck down the requirement in President Obama’s health care overhaul package that virtually all Americans must carry health insurance or face penalties.

      A divided three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday struck down the so-called individual mandate, siding with 26 states that had sued to block the law.

      For more information, visit

  50. rikyrah says:

    Now they want to talk
    by Kay

    Is this an apology?

    Ohio is about to tear itself apart. No matter which side wins the impending war over State Issue 2, the state will suffer deep and long-lasting wounds that will threaten its already fragile economy. At a minimum, labor-management relations will be set back years.The referendum to keep or reject Ohio Senate Bill 5, the collective-bargaining-reform effort, will become a historic study in a avoidable tragedy.That is why, while there still is time, the wiser and cooler heads in the opposing camps owe this state a serious effort to determine if compromise is possible. State law allows a campaign committee to withdraw an issue already qualified for the ballot, until 70 days before the election. This year, the deadline is Aug. 30.

    No mention of compromise during the full year of conservative and media demonization of state workers and public and private-sector unions. No worries then about Ohio “tearing itself apart”. Strangely, now that it looks like Kasich’s law may go down to defeat, Kasich-promoting media outlets are all about compromise.

    Everyone predicted labor-management relations would be set back years. Everyone knew the union-busting law was part of a national conservative strategy intended to silence labor’s political voice. Everyone knew the law had little or nothing to do with this state, or the people of this state. All they had to do was read it. All of these are facts that could have been reported honestly. Instead we got he said/she said garbage intended to protect Republicans and promote a conservative agenda.

    Here’s the Cleveland contingent of Kasich’s media promoters, belatedly realizing that most of the people in this state don’t actually believe that cops, firemen and teachers are their mortal enemies, and begging Republicans to come up with a better strategy to sell this dog:

    The repeal effort will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot as State Issue 2. Both public and private polls show a sizable majority in favor of repeal. But the lead isn’t yet insurmountable. Supporters of SB 5 have a message that will close the gap. Nevertheless, some astute Republicans here privately concede that their odds of prevailing are diminishing. In fact, some Kasich loyalists already are downplaying how a defeat on Issue 2 would impact the governor’s political standing—a telltale sign that they fear the worst.

    My heart bleeds for Kasich’s media promoters, who have done their level best to protect their chosen Governor, but it’s a little late to rescue him. All they had to do was tell the truth. They enabled this lunacy.

    Working on this is, for me, as much about beating national and state media figures who relentlessly promoted this coordinated campaign against middle class workers as it is about beating Kasich, the GOP and the Chamber of Commerce. I hope like hell they all go down together.

  51. rikyrah says:

    August 12, 2011 12:40 PM

    Enumerated powers

    By Steve Benen

    Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry chatted with The Daily Beast yesterday, and was asked about his understanding of “general welfare” under the Constitution. The left, the Texas governor was told, would defend Social Security and Medicare as constitutional under this clause, and asked Perry to explain his own approach. He replied:

    “I don’t think our founding fathers, when they were putting the term ‘general welfare’ in there, were thinking about a federally operated program of pensions nor a federally operated program of health care. What they clearly said was that those were issues that the states need to address. Not the federal government. I stand very clear on that. From my perspective, the states could substantially better operate those programs if that’s what those states decided to do.”

    It’s worth pausing to appreciate the radicalism of this position. When congressional Republicans, for example, push to end Medicare and replace it with a privatized voucher scheme, they make a fiscal argument — the GOP prefers to push the costs away from the government and onto individuals and families as a way of reducing the deficit.

    But Perry is arguing programs like Medicare and Social Security aren’t just too expensive; he’s also saying they shouldn’t exist in the first place because he perceives them as unconstitutional. Indeed, when pressed on what “general welfare” might include if Medicare and Social Security don’t make the cut, the Texas governor literally didn’t say a word.

    Now, this far-right extremism may not come as too big a surprise to those familiar with Perry’s worldview. He’s rather obsessed with the 10th Amendment — unless we’re talking about gays or abortion — and George Will recently touted him as a “10th Amendment conservative.” Perry’s radicalism is largely expected.

    It’s worth noting, then, that Mitt Romney seems to be in a similar boat. He was asked in last night’s debate about his hard-to-describe approach to health care policy, and the extent to which his state-based law served as a model for the Affordable Care Act. Romney argued:

    “There are some similarities between what we did in Massachusetts and what President Obama did, but there are some big differences. And one is, I believe in the 10th Amendment of the Constitution. And that says that powers not specifically granted to the federal government are reserved by the states and the people.”

    What I’d really like to know is whether Romney means this, and if so, how much. Because if he’s serious about this interpretation of the law, and he intends to govern under the assumption that powers not specifically granted to the federal government are reserved by the states and the people, then a Romney administration would be every bit as radical as a Perry administration.

    After all, the power to extend health care coverage to seniors obviously isn’t a power specifically granted to the federal government, so by Romney’s reasoning, like Perry’s, Medicare shouldn’t exist. Neither should Social Security, the Civil Rights Act, the Clean Air Act, student loans, FEMA, or many other benchmarks of modern American life.

    And if Romney doesn’t believe this, and he’s comfortable with Medicare’s constitutionality, maybe he could explain why the federal government has the constitutional authority to bring health care coverage to a 65-year-old American, but not a 64-year-old American.

    • These people are disgusting! “General welfare” of the people means taking care of ALL the people and seeing that their ‘needs’ are being met. Why do the Repugs always run back to mind read the “founding fathers” a bunch of mostly privileged white guys who actually had some sense of supporting the ‘community’ and the covenant they created? Even if their own lives were not “perfect” they did seek to form a “more perfect union” in their time and for all future times.

      The founders of our nation had no clue what 300 hundred years would bring but they were smart enough to give us the resources we would need to keep “promoting the general welfare” of our people.” Our constitution is a “living document” which means it can adapt to protect, nourish and support ALL the people.

      Repugnants want to reinterpret that important document, prompted by the voices in their own heads channeling the ghosts of our founders. Perhaps they should all check in with the “Ghost whisperer” to get the real message.

      OK, rant over!

      • PS: Ok, rant not quite over. This BS “States Rights” caca goes right back to pre and post Civil War. It’s a dog whistle for bigots and racists. When I read of Perry wanting to secede Texas from the Union. My first thought was: QUE! Does he want to give Texas back to Mexico? Go back to what 1820? My Texas history is hazy so I could have gotten that date wrong but what is this fig headed jerk thinking?

        He thinks he can run for Prez. My head is whirling, I’m dizzy and……I wish I could laugh but the crazy seems to be given credence now. I can only hope and pray that saner heads prevail.

      • Aquagranny,

        It’s just stunning Rick Perry is taken seriously as a candidate for President of the United States. This is the person who voiced of seceding from the Union and now he wants to be President? What is wrong with the Media propping up this POS?

        • Ametia says:



      • Ametia says:

        SG2, please add a additional check box for me too!

      • You got it, Ametia!

        Check Mark

      • SG2, It’s not just “stunning” but so totally insane that anyone would take Perry seriously that it shows just how ugly the pervasive racism is in this country.

        All I can think is some people say:

        “Give us the guano crazy white guy over the black guy who is trying his heart out to make it better for ALL the people.” THEY ARE RACISTS!

        Please deliver us from evil, AMEN!

  52. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 12, 2011 10:00 AM

    Blame the people who get eaten by bears

    By Steve Benen
    As the Republicans’ debt-ceiling hostage strategy dragged on, there was a noticeable split among GOP officials. Most congressional Republicans, including the leadership in both chambers, agreed that the debt limit had to be raised, though they would refuse to go along — deliberately crashing the economy — unless Democrats paid a steep ransom.

    But there was also a painfully large contingent that approved of the hostage strategy, but didn’t necessarily fear the consequences. For these GOP lawmakers, raising the debt ceiling wasn’t a high priority because failure wouldn’t do any damage anyway — so they welcomed default. In one memorable example, a right-wing Republican from Alabama proudly proclaimed the nation’s credit rating “should be improved by not raising the debt ceiling.”

    A senior administration official said those who simply choose not to believe any of the warnings, “These are the kinds of people who get eaten by bears.”

    As it turns out, these are also the kinds of people who get our credit rating lowered.

    A Standard & Poor’s director said for the first time Thursday that one reason the United States lost its triple-A credit rating was that several lawmakers expressed skepticism about the serious consequences of a credit default — a position put forth by some Republicans.

    Without specifically mentioning Republicans, S&P senior director Joydeep Mukherji said the stability and effectiveness of American political institutions were undermined by the fact that “people in the political arena were even talking about a potential default,” Mukherji said.

    “That a country even has such voices, albeit a minority, is something notable,” he added. “This kind of rhetoric is not common amongst AAA sovereigns.”

    No, perhaps not. Some voters in the United States, for reasons that trouble me, are comfortable in electing lunatics to Congress. Apparently, the ratings agencies noticed.

    Now, there’s a compelling case to be made that Standard & Poor’s has a job to do, and it doesn’t include pretending to be political scientists. It’s a ratings agency, not a group of pundits, and downgrading a nation’s debt because some wild-eyed yahoos in Congress said crazy things is a terrible mistake. Capitol Hill’s most glaring idiots, after all, lost, an agreement was reached, and the debt ceiling was raised.

    But even if we put all of that aside, shouldn’t the S&P comments yesterday put to rest, once and for all, who’s responsible for the downgrade? Republicans talked up default; Republicans refused to compromise; Republicans won’t accept revenue; and Republicans deliberately played a radical game with the full faith and credit of the United States. S&P didn’t leave much doubt about which side of the aisle the agency considers responsible for undermining global confidence in the American system.

    So can the political world stop pretending there’s an open question about culpability here?

  53. rikyrah says:

    August 12, 2011 11:25 AM

    All that glitters is not gold

    By Steve Benen
    As exchanges from last night’s debate go, this one certainly wasn’t the most important, but it did strike me as vaguely bizarre.

    Q: Senator Santorum, I’ve got one for you. You said that you were, quote, the Tea Party before there was a Tea Party. But a top Tea Party goal, particularly in Iowa, is to revert back to the gold standard, something you oppose. How do you consider yourself in line with the Tea Party without agreeing on this major issue?

    SANTORUM: Well first off, I didn’t say that; the Washington Post said it. I simply commented on what they said. I don’t take the claim, the Tea Party organization is flat and it should stay that way. It should support ideas not candidates. And people who stand up and say they lead it, well, I think most of the Tea Party people think their leadership is among the people not anybody is a member of congress or anywhere else.

    What I’ve said is that I agree with Newt — I think there’s some reforms we can do at the Fed. And I agree we need to audit the Fed. Disagree with most of what Ron Paul said. Just because he’s mostly wrong, doesn’t mean he’s always wrong.

    Just so we’re clear, in the 21st century, we have a major-party candidate for the presidency being asked in a nationally-televised debate why he doesn’t support the gold standard.

    Worse, when Santorum conceded that he doesn’t support the gold standard, he heard quite a few boos from the audience.

    Is it me, or is the fact that this exchange happened at all rather surreal?

    • “Surreal?” To me it seems like a “Twilight” episode. I mean the old TV show with Rod Serling, not that teenage vampire series. Every time I read or hear what some of these folks say, the theme song from “Twilight Zone” starts to play in my head, my eyes start to rotate and I feel dizzy……

  54. rikyrah says:

    After Triggering Downgrade, Debt Default Skeptics Try To Run From Their Records — But They Can’t
    Standard & Poors has a specific justification for downgrading the U.S. bond rating, and it’s deadly for Republicans. It wasn’t just that Congress showed itself to be reckless and dysfunctional, or that the GOP shows no sign of ever ending their anti-tax jihad. It’s that for a period of weeks, some lawmakers (read: Republicans) were quite literally shrugging off the risks of blowing past the August 2 deadline, running out of borrowing authority, and missing payment obligations.

    “[P]eople in the political arena were even talking about a potential default,” said Joydeep Mukherji, senior directior at S&P. “That a country even has such voices, albeit a minority, is something notable,” he added. “This kind of rhetoric is not common amongst AAA sovereigns.”

    This is unambiguous, and leaves little room for obfuscation. S&P’s original, lengthy statement explaining the downgrade cited political dysfunction in Congress quite broadly, but did not mention this specific element of the debate. For weeks, high-profile conservative lawmakers practically welcomed the notion of exhausting the country’s borrowing authority, or even technically defaulting. Others brazenly dismissed the risks of doing so. And for a period of days, in an earlier stage of the debate, Republican leaders said technical default would be an acceptable consequence, if it meant the GOP walked away with massive entitlement cuts in the end.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean the GOP won’t try to sweep the mess they’ve made down the memory hole. Here’s Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), who sponsored legislation that would’ve forced the Treasury to prioritize interest payments on U.S. debt in the event of a lapse in borrowing authority. “No one said that would be acceptable,” he said of a default. “What we said was in the event of a deadlock it was imperative that bondholders retain their confidence that loans made to the United States be repaid on schedule.”

    That may be true for McClintock. Others were much more relaxed about the consequences of ignoring the August 2 deadline.

    House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan said if “a bondholder misses a payment for a day or two or three or four,” it’s preferable so long as “you’re putting the government in a materially better position to be able to pay their bonds later on.” (Video below)

    Ryan and others, including Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), were echoing hedge-fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller, who was quoted in a widely cited Wall Street Journal article. Here’s Toomey: “The most high-profile advocate for this was Stanley Druckenmiller … one of the world’s most successful hedge-fund managers, extraordinarily wealthy from his knowledge of the markets, a big money manager now, and a big holder of Treasury securities — and he has said that he would actually accept even a delay in interest payments on the Treasuries that he holds. And he would prefer that if it meant that the Congress would right this ship.”

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) warned against default, but for a time was willing to go past August 2.

    “The markets are not fooled by some date imposed to say that that is the trigger for the collapse,” he said at a Virginia jobs forum in May. “I think the markets are looking to see that there is real reform.”

    Others, on the conservative wing of the GOP claimed loudly that President Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner were being dishonest about the consequences of blowing past August 2, and refused to vote to raise the debt limit unless Democrats agreed to truly radical conditions.

    When Speaker John Boehner acknowledged that missing the August 2 deadline would put the country in “an awful lot of jeopardy, Rep. Louie Gohmert reacted by saying, “[t]he problem with the Speaker, and him saying that, is he believes the President. And I would encourage the Speaker not to believe the President anymore when the President says things like that.”

    This was a fairly common view among conservative Republicans, particularly in the House.

    A number of other them tried to defuse the political time bomb they’d set under themselves by demanding that the White House prioritize not just creditors, but entitlement beneficiaries and the military as well, which would have left no money for just about any government services.

    This extended beyond the halls of Congress, too. Taking their cues from the right, GOP Presidential candidates stood opposed to raising the debt limit. In response to a question from TPM, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty said he wasn’t sure a temporary U.S. default would have calamitous consequences. “Maybe not. We don’t know,” he said.

    Nebraska GOP Senate candidate Jon Bruning, who, if he wins, will be faced with a debt limit vote in early 2013 said, “[Default] may be something that has to happen to make the fundamental changes that are necessary in the American governmental system. We have to shrink it. And, if the Democratic Party that controls the White House and the Senate doesn’t understand it, default may be necessary.”

    It’s worth noting as well that a protracted lapse in borrowing authority would have massive economic consequences even if the Treasury department prioritized U.S. debt, which would reduce incoming revenue, and likely lead to a debt default anyhow. So the notion that the U.S. could meet all of its obligations to bondholders indefinitely doesn’t hold water either.

    Republicans will try to sidestep Mukherji’s claim that they were welcoming, or at least toying with the idea of, in his words, “potential default.” But they most certainly were.—-but-they-cant.php

  55. rikyrah says:

    Anti-Gay Marriage State Rep. Accused Of Offering Young Male Money ‘For A Really Good Time’
    An Indiana state Representative, who recently voted for a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage, has been accused of using Craigslist to offer an 18-year old male $80 for “a couple hours of your time tonight” plus a tip “for a really good time.”

    The Indianapolis Star obtained e-mails sent from Rep. Phillip Hinkle’s (R) publicly listed personal address, responding to a Craigslist posting by Kameryn Gibson that said “I need a sugga daddy.” Gibson told the Star that the post was in the “Casual Encounters” section under m4m, or men for men. He used his sister Megan’s e-mail address — and she later sent the e-mails to the Star.

    “Cannot be a long time sugar daddy,” says the e-mail response from what is allegedly Hinkle’s address, “but can for tonight. Would you be interested in keeping me company for a while tonight?”

    “I am an in shape married professional, 5’8″, fit 170 lbs, and love getting and staying naked,” the e-mail says.

    Another e-mail says: “If u want to consider spending night u might tell ur sis so she won’t worry. Would have u back before 11 tomorrow. No extra cash just free breakfast and maybe late night snack.”

    The Star reports:

    The young man told The Star that they met, but that he tried to leave after the man told him he was a state lawmaker. He said the lawmaker at first told him he could not leave, grabbed him in the rear, exposed himself to the young man and then later gave him an iPad, BlackBerry cellphone and $100 cash to keep quiet.Gibson had his sister pick him up, who says that she then received a number of calls, and one was from a woman who claimed she is Hinkle’s wife. “I was like, ‘Your husband is gay,'” Megan Gibson said. “And then she was like, ‘You have the wrong person.'” When Gibson reportedly read back the e-mail address used for the Craigslist ad, the woman asked her not to call the police.

  56. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 12, 2011 10:45 AM

    A campaign theme takes shape

    By Steve Benen
    President Obama spoke yesterday in Holland, Michigan, at a Johnson Controls plant, and delivered a noteworthy speech that was largely drowned out by other political developments. Of particular interest was the subtle emergence of a campaign theme.

    The president noted that the economy looked to be improving in 2010, until it ran into “events beyond our control”: unrest in the Middle East sent oil prices soaring; European debt crises rattled global markets; tragedies in Japan, etc. All of this is (a) true, and (b) intended to reinforce the fact that Obama shouldn’t get the blame for developments he can’t affect.

    And then there’s Washington.

    “Now, challenges like these — earthquakes, revolutions — those are things we can’t control. But what we can control is our response to these challenges. What we can control is what happens in Washington. Unfortunately, what we’ve seen in Washington the last few months has been the worst kind of partisanship, the worst kind of gridlock — and that gridlock has undermined public confidence and impeded our efforts to take the steps we need for our economy. It’s made things worse instead of better.

    “So what I want to say to you, Johnson Controls, is: There is nothing wrong with our country. There is something wrong with our politics. There’s something wrong with our politics that we need to fix.”

    The president is in the process of re-diagnosing what ails us, which is challenging but interesting. In this model, the economy is struggling badly, but that’s a symptom of a larger disease — policymakers are fully capable of addressing this and other problems if our politics weren’t so badly broken.

    The unstated point is redirecting blame: don’t blame one person or one piece of legislation for what frustrates you; blame those who won’t cooperate, won’t work in good faith, won’t try to solve problems. And given the most recent polls, Americans making this judgment will blame the wildly unpopular Republican Party.

    With this in mind, Obama went on to note we’ve seen officials who act as it “winning the next election is more important than fulfilling our responsibilities to you and to our country”; we’ve seen a downgrade coming as the result of “Washington” lacking “the capacity to come together and get things done”; we’ve seen good ideas languish on Capitol Hill because of “the refusal of some folks in Congress to put the country ahead of party. There are some in Congress right now who would rather see their opponents lose than see America win — and that has to stop.”

    I especially enjoyed hearing this advice for Congress: “Stop sending out press releases. Start passing some bills that we all know will help our economy right now.” (Speaker Boehner responded by sending out a press release.)

    Obama concluded:

    “You know, America voted for divided government. And that makes it tough. You got one party controlling the House of Representatives, another party controlling the Senate. So you voted for divided government. But you didn’t vote for dysfunctional government. You didn’t vote for a do-nothing government. You didn’t vote for a government where folks are just looking out for special interests. You didn’t vote for a government that is beholden to lobbyists.

    “We’ve got a lot of work to do, and the only way we will get it done is if everybody, Democrats and Republicans, find a way to put country ahead of party. That’s what I’m fighting for. I’m here to enlist you in that fight. You’ve got to hold everybody accountable, because if we can come together and find common ground, there is no stopping the United States of America. There is no holding us back. We can strengthen this economy, and we can put our nation back to work. And we can lead the world in growing industries. And we will make it through these economic storms and reach calmer waters stronger than we were before.”

    And if we don’t, we’ll know to blame those who pushed for dysfunctional, do-nothing government and refused to put country ahead of party.

    It’s not a bad message, and I suspect we’ll be hearing more of it as the leading GOP presidential candidates push the nation’s needs ever lower on their priority list.

  57. Ametia says:

    LOL Wonder if Ms. Streisand gave permission for the DNC to use her song.

  58. Ametia says:

    Warren takes first steps toward Senate run
    08/11/2011 7:09 PM

    WASHINGTON – Elizabeth Warren, the architect of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, sent her clearest signal yet yesterday that she is considering a challenge to Republican Senator Scott P. Brown.

    In a posting on a website supportive of the Democratic Party, Warren tells the tale of her Aunt Bee and Aunt Bert. Her father’s heart attack and the family’s struggle to pay its bills. Her battle scars from Washington, her empathy with middle class families in Massachusetts, and lastly, her entreaties for idea on fixing “a badly broken political system.”

    “If the question is ‘will she run,’ I think she’s putting her track shoes on,” said Tufts University political science professor James M. Glazer. “It’s pretty clear.”

    There has been widespread speculation that Warren might challenge Brown for the seat that he won in a special election early last year after the death of Ted Kennedy. Until yesterday, Warren not tipped her hand, but some Democrats have urged her to add her name to the field that already includes seven Brown opponents, including Newton Mayor Setti Warren and City Year founder Alan Khazei.

    Though Warren’s posting does not definitively say she’s running, it dispels any uncertainty about her interest. And she has enlisted the assistance of two Democratic operatives with a track record: Governor Deval Patrick’s former campaign manager, Doug Rubin, and Patrick’s former communications manager, Kyle Sullivan.

    Sullivan, reached yesterday, declined to comment beyond what was in the blog posting.

    The posting, titled “Coming Home,” contains some of the language of a campaign kickoff, including folksy details on her family history and her observations on how Washington is broken.

    “It is time for me to think hard about what role I can play next to help rebuild a middle class that has been hacked at, chipped at, and pulled at for more than a generation—and that that is under greater strain every day,” Warren wrote.

    Most tellingly, it includes her entreaty for Massachusetts residents to offer their ideas “about how we can fix what all of us – regardless of party – know is a badly broken political system.”

    “I want to hear your thoughts about how we can make sure that our voices –our families, our friends, and our neighbors — are heard again,” she wrote.

    What may be most notable about the post is what it does not contain: any mention of Harvard University, where she has returned to teach this fall after setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as interim director. She had been on leave from Harvard.

    The Harvard professor had been considered the top nominee as chief of the agency, which was her idea in the aftermath of the 2008 financial collapse. But her populist attacks on banking institutions for their policies and opaque business practices spawned across-the-board opposition from Republicans in Congress and the Obama administration officially never nominated her.

    • Can I say I am gloating just a little? McCain had people challenge and boo him at a town hall here. He got really pissed and left early. PBO was right in saying let congress take their vac and listen to their constituents. What do you bet that these fools will soon be running for the “border” and hiding out till September!?!

  59. Suit Alleges Trusted Blacks Drew Minorities to High-Rate Loans

    As the housing market began booming in the mid-2000s, Wells Fargo & Co. teamed up with prominent African American commentator and PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley and financial author Kelvin Boston, the host of “Moneywise,” a multicultural financial affairs show, to host something called “Wealth Building” seminars in black neighborhoods.

    Smiley was the keynote speaker, and the big draw, according to Boston and Keith Corbett, executive vice president of the Center for Responsible Lending, who attended two of the seminars. Smiley would charge up the audience — and rattle the Wells Fargo executives in attendance — by launching into a story about how he hated banks, and how they used to refuse to lend him money for his real estate projects in Compton, Calif., and elsewhere. After Hurricane Katrina, Smiley also emphasized the importance of building assets and wealth, saying those who had done so were able to leave New Orleans, while people with nothing had to stay behind, Boston said.

    “My spiel was the financial planning process, how you want to be able to save and invest for the future, and to have a plan of action,” Boston said. “Then Tavis talked about his experiences with the banks, and how people should be thinking about some real estate.”

    The seminars in some cities drew standing room only crowds, with numerous Wells Fargo representatives on hand, seated at carrels to meet one-on-one with potential borrowers who lined up after the speeches, which were usually held in hotels. The free, day-long events were heavily advertised in the black media, and launched in eight cities, including Baltimore, Chicago, Richmond, Va., and San Francisco.

    But what appeared on the surface as a way to help black borrowers build wealth was actually just the opposite, according to a little-noticed explanation of the “Wealth Building” seminar strategy, contained in a lawsuit recently filed by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

    Wells’ plan for the seminars all along was to target black borrowers for higher-cost subprime mortgages, not for wealth-building, the suit charged. And the seminars were a part of the bank’s overall illegal and discriminatory practice of steering black and Hispanic borrowers into riskier and more expensive loans, the suit said.

    “According to a former Wells Fargo Home Mortgage employee, one of these ‘Wealth Building’ seminars held in Maryland was planned for an audience that would be virtually all African American,” the suit said. “The plan for the seminar was for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage employees to talk about subprime mortgages, although they were directed by Wells Fargo Home Mortgage to use the term ‘alternative lending’ when marketing these products.”

    The former employee, who is white, was scheduled to speak at the seminar, but was told by a manager that she was “too white,” and that only black employees could make presentations, the suit said.

    Wells Fargo, one of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders and a recipient of $25 billion in government bailout money, has denied all the charges in the Illinois suit, as well as other allegations of unfair lending. The bank did not respond to requests for comment on the seminars. Smiley, an author and advocate who hosts the late night talk show, “Tavis Smiley,” and who organizes the State of the Black Union symposiums each year, also declined comment.

    Corbett pointed out that Wells’ outreach to the minority community through the seminars wasn’t unusual. Lenders sponsoring financial literacy sessions, holding wealth building seminars, or contributing to local minority advocacy organizations, became a common marketing strategy as the subprime market grew. Some of the efforts were genuine, aimed at finding new customers in minority neighborhoods once deprived of credit. But sometimes they were used instead as a cover to push predatory loans, Corbett said.

    “The wealth building seminars are certainly needed,” Corbett said. “But, if, in fact, Wells was selling bad products out of them, it was totally wrong.”

    Boston, for his part, described himself as the small player in the seminars, giving an opening talk before Smiley went on. Boston said he spoke in general terms about the need to save money and to invest. Neither he nor Smiley ever mentioned or discussed subprime loans, he said.

    • Tavis Smiley….scamming his own people! What a dirty POS!

      • This caca went on here too. My own son almost got sucked in to this kind of scheme but he talked to us and bought a house much more within his means which they have managed to hold on to even after he got laid off in 2009 and didn’t get another job until January this year.

        They were doing all kinds of stuff here in AZ to suck minorities and young people into houses they couldn’t really afford. Income was inflated, people were fleeced of the small savings they were building to get “that piece of America’s dream, owning your own house.” Mortgages were written on ARMS that started out with minimal down payment, (sometimes as little as $500 here) low interest that ballooned every three months so people could not budget and were soon in over their heads. Disgusting scum here really took advantage of people not fluent in English with complicated and unreadable paperwork.

        If Karma really does bite, I hope it bites some of these evil people really HARD!

  60. David Axelrod: Republican candidates are “pledging allegiance to the Tea Party”

    • Ametia says:


    • “I pledge allegiance to the Tea Party, and Grover Norquist for which I stand, one asshole, indivisible, with poverty, heartache and devastation for all”

      Will this be the new ‘pledge of allegiance’ for that scum? They better remove those flag pins and replace them with the Koch logo!

      • BWA HA HA HA HA

      • I think I should change that “asshole” part. Any suggestions? Because I think I will be faxing, tweeting and emailing this everywhere I can.

        Seriously, please give me another ‘acceptable’ replacement for “asshole”. I’ve decided to make this go as viral as I can. This is exactly the “pledge” these toads have made and the more we put this out, the more people will get the message.

  61. rikyrah says:

    The Next Labor Vs. GOP Fight: Ohio
    Following Democrats’ and organized labor’s near-miss in the Wisconsin state Senate recalls, in which they fell just short of picking up the magic number of seats that would have flipped control of the chamber, the political world will now turn to a new battle: Ohio.

    The Wisconsin fight was triggered due to newly-elected Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union legislation, which eliminated most collective bargaining rights that unions had previously enjoyed for decades.

    Over in Ohio, where Gov. John Kasich passed similar legislation, labor and other liberal groups have pursued a different tack under that state’s election procedures: Triggering a referendum for this November, in which voters will be able to strike down the legislation directly, and which has in fact placed the very law itself on hold pending their decision.

    Melissa Fazekas, spokeswoman for the group heading up the referendum campaign, We Are Ohio (similarly named to We Are Wisconsin, the labor-backed campaign group in that state), told TPM that the two states’ contests were not the same.

    “It’s really difficult to compare the two, just because Wisconsin was focused on specific senators, and the recalls in specific districts,” said Fazekas. “And in Ohio, our referendum is on the entire bill, and it’s a statewide referendum.

    In an e-mail to the state GOP’s supporter list, chairman Kevin DeWine boasted of the success that their Wisconsin co-partisans achieved in turning back the Dems.

    “Taxpayers and American job creators won a victory over politically partisan union bosses and Obama Democrats in Wisconsin Tuesday night,” DeWine wrote. “Wisconsin voters reaffirmed their support of Republican leadership in their state and rejected the job-crushing spending habits of liberal Democrats. Here in Ohio we’re witnessing the same thing as our reform agenda continues to gain support and momentum.”

    The state GOP did not return TPM’s requests for comment.

    Organizers turned in nearly 1.3 million signatures this past spring, which was several times more than the relatively small required minimum.

    Normally, triggering a repeal referendum required organizers to collect signatures equal to just six percent of the total votes in the last gubernatorial election, with additional requirements that they be sufficiently spread out with at least three percent of the gubernatorial vote across at least half the counties in the state. That meant the threshold was only 231,150 signatures — but organizers fired their opening political salvo by collecting far more than that, thus creating a greater base for the actual campaign.

    Last week, the state Ballot Board officially decided on the wording of the referendum, with the question corresponding to passage of the legislation itself — a “Yes” vote will be to uphold the bill, while a “No” vote will be to repeal it.

    As the Associated Press reported, this wording provides an advantage to the anti-Kasich forces:

    It echoes years of Ohio ballot tradition, but also counts as a victory for the law’s opponents. Voters against or confused by an issue tend to vote against it.

    Proponents of the law signed by Gov. John Kasich in late March wanted a “yes” to favor repeal of the controversial Senate Bill 5 and a “no” vote to oppose repeal. They argued the committee fighting the law has spent more than $4 million making clear it is a repeal question.

  62. rikyrah says:

    Post Debate Reactions
    by John Cole

    That debate was really depressing, because it really proved how absolutely crazy the entire GOP has become. There were brief moments of sanity from Huntsman, Paul, and even Gingrich made sense once or twice despite the fact that I loathe him, but the rest of the debate it was like watching a bunch of circus geeks trying to out do each other. Romney and T-Paw are both so transparently phony it pains me to listen to them. And as phony as Pawlenty and Romney are, Santorum and Michele Bachmann are crazy believers. And I honestly have no idea what Herman Cain is trying to accomplish, and after listening to him, I am not sure he does either.

    And if all of that was not crazy and depressing enough, remember that Perry and Palin are still on the sidelines. This is going to worse before it gets better, assuming it does.

  63. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 12, 2011 8:00 AM

    Ten-to-one isn’t good enough for the GOP

    By Steve Benen
    I’m still working my way through the transcript of last night’s debate for Republican presidential candidates, but there was one moment that clearly stood out for its significance. It wasn’t a zinger or an attack; it was a response all of the candidates offered by raising their hands.

    About midway through the event, Byron York asked Rick Santorum about the next phase of the debt-reduction process, as the Murray/Hensarling panel (the “super committee”) begins its work. “Democrats will demand that savings come from a combination of spending cuts and tax increases, maybe $3 in cuts for every $1 in higher taxes,” York noted. “Is there any ratio of cuts to taxes that you would accept? Three to one? Four to one? Or even 10 to one?”

    Santorum replied, “No. The answer is no.” He conceded that revenues are down, but argued that was a positive development.

    Fox News’ Bret Baier opened the question up to all eight of the candidates on the stage. Take a look at the video:

    For those who can’t watch clips online, Baier phrased it this way: “I’m going to ask a question to everyone here on the stage. Say you had a deal, a real spending cuts deal, 10-to-1, as Byron said, spending cuts to tax increases…. Who on this stage would walk away from that deal? Can you raise your hand if you feel so strongly about not raising taxes, you’d walk away on the 10-to-1 deal?”

    All eight candidates raised their hand. Literally all of them, if offered a debt-reduction deal that’s 10-to-1 in their favor, would simply refuse.

    Let’s note for context that in March — just five months ago — Republicans on the Joint Economic Committee released a report on deficit reduction. In it, House GOP officials outlined their ideal cuts-to-revenue ratio, and concluded that “successful” attempts at deficit reduction meet this goal: “85% spending cuts and 15% revenue increases.” Roughly speaking, that’s about a 5-to-1 ratio in Republicans’ favor — and this is what GOP officials characterized as their ideal earlier this year.

    And yet, as of last night, every Republican running for president believes a 10-to-1 ratio simply isn’t good enough. What’s more, as the video shows, the crowd of Iowa Republicans roared with approval.

    As a policy matter, if a 10-to-1 cuts-to-revenue ratio is considered far too liberal for the Republican Party in the 21st century, we can say with certainty the GOP is obviously not serious about debt reduction. We can also say with certainty Republican leaders haven’t the foggiest idea how to shape a coherent approach to fiscal sanity. But last night wasn’t about coherence or sanity; it was about impressing unhinged activists whose connection to reality is tenuous at best.

    Regardless, this moment is a keeper. Anyone wanting to know why compromise has been deemed impossible in 2011 need look no further than these eight clowns raising their hand to reject a debt-reduction deal that’s overwhelmingly tilted in their favor.

  64. rikyrah says:

    August 11, 2011
    Pivot Number One
    Speaking in Michigan this afternoon, President Obama took his first major and inevitable leap from deficit reduction to Keynesian expansion. He repeated his call for infrastructure renewal and an extension of payroll tax cuts and promised more spending proposals in the coming weeks.

    So one essential presidential “pivot” is now in place: the abandonment of near-term budget-cutting obsessions for the adoption of New Deal-like stimulus.

    It was sweet music for the unemployed, the underemployed, the strapped, the neglected, the financially oppressed — and naturally the music will stop when it hits the political ears of the exceedingly unpleasant GOP. If Republicans have proved anything at all to this country in the last seven months, it’s that they’re willing to destroy it. I don’t write that as an ideologue or a partisan or a fuzzy Democrat, but merely as one among tens of millions who can read the goddamn newspapers and sort out facts of political life from political fiction.

    Hence the next and second major pivot that Obama must make, for there are tens of millions of others who aren’t quite clear on that yet.

    Obama’s problem isn’t “Congress” and the “folks” in Congress. It’s Republicans in Congress. It’s not “partisanship.” It’s Republican partisanship. It’s not gridlock. It’s Republican gridlock. And all of it, together, is not, in general terms, a “do-nothing” Congress; it’s do-nothing Republican senators and representatives.

    And that, as stated, is the essential Pivot Number Two.

  65. rikyrah says:

    Congressman declines to clarify impeachment remarks

    The national profile of U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess rose this week after his comment at a Tea Party meeting regarding possible efforts to impeach President Barack Obama, though his remarks after the event are drawing more questions.

    Burgess, R-Lewisville, spoke at an NE Tarrant Tea Party event Monday evening in Keller. An attendee drew applause when he asked Burgess’ opinion about Congress attempting to impeach Obama to prevent him from getting anything else done. Burgess was receptive to the idea: “It needs to happen.”

    Within hours, the news drew attention from national media outlets and scorn from liberal pundits.

    On his show on Current TV, Keith Olbermann named Burgess his “Worst Person” on Tuesday. And on MSNBC, Chris Matthews dismissed Burgess’ remarks: “This is a new kind of flippancy where we throw out, not even to impeach on grounds like high crimes and misdemeanors, but as a way to tie things up. [It’s] another sort of filibuster technique.”

    On Tuesday, Burgess made conflicting remarks to North Texas newspapers seeking further comment.

    Speaking to a Star-Telegram editorial writer, Burgess maintained that he supported the idea of using the impeachment process against Obama to “tie things up.”

    But Burgess told a Dallas Morning News reporter that day that he will not advocate for impeaching Obama. The article quoted Burgess as describing his remarks at the Tea Party event as “trying to honestly answer [the attendee’s] question.”

    Burgess’ office did not respond to repeated calls Wednesday and Thursday for further comment.

    Reached on his cellphone Thursday, Burgess said he didn’t have time to speak because he was about to get on a plane to Kuwait.

    He said he will be unavailable for several days.

    Read more:

  66. rikyrah says:

    Rachel Maddow Outs MSMs Downplay of Rick Perry’s Extremist Supporters
    Last night, Rachel Maddow took on the mainstream media’s “soft” coverage of Rick Perry’s prayer orgy in Houston on August 6. As Maddow points out, Perry is anything but a “mainstream” candidate, just as his supporters are anything but “mainstream” Christians. She exposes for a national audience the horrifying reality of the people behind the governor, the people who have chosen the governor to be their front-man for imposing an extremist Christian theocracy on America.

    Maddow paved the way by discussing the irrelevance of the Iowa caucuses and straw poll, especially to Perry, who has other plans:

    The most interesting thing in presidential politics right now is Governor Rick Perry of Texas. The first presidential nominating process is, of course, the Iowa caucuses, which were held in January last time around. They are set for February this time around. And the Iowa caucuses are designed to capitalize, literally to capitalize – to make money, sorry, Iowa politics in order to capitalize to make money off all the candidates’ early attention to Iowa, also hold the Ames, Iowa, straw poll- a fake, very unscientific poll that they encourage candidates to spend a ton of money to try to win, to supposedly give those candidates momentum heading into the caucuses, to supposedly give the momentum heading into the rest of the primaries.

    It’s a racket, frankly, particularly the straw poll, but even the whole idea of Iowa’s out-sized influence and whether or not their caucus is all that important. It’s not that important most years, just ask President Huckabee who won the Iowa Republican caucuses last time around or President Romney, who won the straw poll last time around. In Republican politics, Iowa just doesn’t matter that much anymore, but the beltway thinks it does. And so, the Beltway is all excited about the straw poll this weekend. And like a snake eating its own tails, the Beltway’s interest gives it whatever interest it does have, which justifies the Beltway’s interest which – and so on and so on….

    But this year, there is a problem in Iowa coverage, which is that the front runner for the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney, is not doing any campaigning for the straw poll. He’s not really trying to win it, which means him losing the straw poll wouldn’t really mean anything because he didn’t try to win it, and him winning the straw poll wouldn’t really mean anything either since he’s the frontrunner anywhere. Also, to the extent that the Republican race right now is about who can beat Mitt Romney, about who has any chance of being the nominee other than him, well, Texas governor Rick Perry just screwed dup Iowa coverage for this weekend too. Governor Rick Perry is not technically running for president yet, and he’s not one of the candidates in the straw poll. But nationally, he is polling second to Mitt Romney in some polls. That was true last month in polling from Gallup and it’s true this month in a brand new poll from McClatchy/Marist.

    When nearly every other candidate in the race will be working for a good showing at the straw poll on Saturday, and some hope that they could win Iowa and some coverage thereof – Rick Perry has chosen the day of the straw poll as the day he’ll start his unofficial campaign with speeches and appearances that day in South Carolina and in New Hampshire, and then another round of “I’m running for president” events on Sunday, the following day, in Iowa. It has seemed like Rick Perry was about to get into this race for awhile now – why is he finally doing it? Why is he finally getting in?

    Her answer to that question is one the MSM has proven all too uninterested in:

    MADDOW: Part of it maybe the opportunity to stick it to all the other wannabe Romney challengers who really need good news coverage of their campaigns in Iowa in order to become contenders – news coverage that Rick Perry has an opportunity to block frankly by jumping in this weekend and stealing all the headlines. But the other may have cleared Rick Perry’s campaign for takeoff here is that it is only this week that Rick Perry has successfully put behind him his big stadium prayer event in Texas. This past Saturday in Houston, Governor Perry less than half-filled Reliant Stadium for a prayer rally – a Christians-only prayer rally event – to ask God to take over projects like fixing the economy.

    GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: I’m all too aware of government’s limitations when it comes to fixin’ things that are spiritual in nature. That’s where prayer comes in, and we need it more than ever. With the economy in trouble, communities in crisis, and people adrift in a sea of moral relativism, we need God’s help.

    This makes you wonder if Perry thinks droughts are spiritual in nature. If so, doesn’t that make the droughts he tried – unsuccessfully – to pray away, a sign of God’s disapproval of Texas?

  67. rikyrah says:

    Who Is The Real Candidate for President – Marcus or Michele Bachmann?
    An obvious area of concern for Americans where Michele Bachmann is concerned is, well…that she’s a woman. This isn’t a problem for Hilary Clinton, who has proven she is her own woman, or, for that matter, most any other woman you can think of who isn’t a fundamentalist Christian – which brings us back to Bachmann.

    According to Bachmann herself, she must be submissive to her husband. This is what she told a crowd back in 2006 and there is no reason to believe she does not hold to this still: “The Lord says be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands.”

    Great. That’s between her and her husband. None of my business, none of my concern, however much I think the “Lord” says nothing of the kind. But she’s not just a housewife. She’s running for president. The nature of her “submissiveness” to her husband suddenly is my business – and my concern. Because I don’t know Marcus Bachmann from (If you’ll pardon a Heathen saying this) Adam.

    Her spiritual mentor – a man of course, since a woman cannot instruct a man – John Eidsmoe – says the same thing in his book God and Caesar. Right Wing Watch discusses some of Eidsmoe’s pearls of wisdom:

    For Eidsmoe, the role of a woman is chiefly second class to her husband: “God’s Word gives women respect and respectability which they had never enjoyed in any other culture, and we must do what we can to preserve biblical standards. But it establishes the man as the head of the house” (p. 125). He writes:

    Humans cannot function without leadership, at least not when they must live and work together. And the basic unit of authority in human society is the family. The husband is the head of the wife (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:23), and children are to obey their parents (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:2).

    Husbands are to instruct their wives in things of the Lord (1 Corinthians 14:35), and parents are to instruct their children (ps. 115-116).

    He goes on to condemn the rise of feminism and criticize feminist scholars, saying that they “violate the normal order” God put in place: “I personally believe there would be no women’s liberation movement today, were it not for the weakness of men. But that is the exception, not the rule. The normal order of God’s institution in the family with the husband and father as its head” (p. 126).

    Eidsmoe especially attacks feminists for what he believes is their disrespectful attitudes towards housewives, lamenting that husbands now have to deal with wives who want to have careers of their own:

    Many had planned all their lives to become housewives and mothers, believing such a calling would bring meaning and fulfillment to their lives. Now they are told by the feminists that it is ‘demeaning’ and ‘unfulfilling’ to be a housewife, and they don’t know what to believe. They are frustrated as housewives and feel guilty for not being ‘more,’ but don’t feel any inclination for anything else. And the husband, who planned all this life to be a traditional husband and father and thought he was marrying a traditional wife, feels threatened, insecure, and resentful about these changes in his wife. If the wife goes to work, he may resent sharing housework; that wasn’t what he bargained for when he entered the marriage (p. 124).

    You see where the problem is for American voters. If Bachmann is submissive to her husband in actuality, assuming she is not simply toeing some fundamentalist line for votes, then if she is elected president, she will not in truth be the president – her husband will. In other words, a vote for Michele Bachmann is a vote for Marcus Bachmann, a virtual unknown, outside of his avowed belief that gays can be “rehabilitated” into heterosexuals, a practice Marcus lied about for years.

    But Michele Bachmann says her husband is off limits to the press:

    “I’m running for the presidency of the United States. My husband is not running for the presidency. Neither are my children. Neither is our business.”

    But that’s simply not true, unless she is lying about her commitment to her role as a submissive woman. Either way, she is lying – about being submissive or about her husband not running for president. By her own admission in 2006 and through the words of her mentor in his book, she is not her own woman.

    Nor is she Hilary Clinton; we cannot treat her like she is Hilary Clinton. There were those who wondered, if Clinton were elected in 2008, how much of her own woman she would be with an ex-president First Husband. How much worse should our concerns be for a candidate who openly says her husband “is the boss of me”?

    Obviously, both Bachmann’s 2006 remarks and Eidsmoe’s book are problematic, and Bachmann cannot simply wish the issue away or refuse to address it

  68. rikyrah says:

    August 12, 2011 8:45 AM

    Bachmann’s alternate universe

    By Steve Benen

    Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann is the quintessential model for the enduring question the left has about the right: are these folks liars or fools?

    It’s tempting to hope for the former. When dealing with public officials in positions of authority, one wants to believe they’re competent and in touch with reality, and when they say ridiculous things, it’s just politics. They know the difference between fact and fiction, but they have voters to impress, elections to win, etc.

    But Bachmann sure does seem to believe her own rhetoric. Here’s what she had to say in last night’s debate about raising the debt ceiling.

    “[W]e should not have increased the debt ceiling. In the last two months, I was leading on the issue of not increasing the debt ceiling. That turned out to be the right answer.”

    Fox News’ Bret Baier followed up, asking, “[W]hat do you say to the analysts who say that the markets would have fallen through the basement?” Bachmann replied:

    “I think we just heard from Standard & Poor’s. When they dropped our credit rating, what they said is, we don’t have an ability to repay our debt. That’s what the final word was from them.”

    This isn’t even close to reality. Bachmann has been working on this issue for months, and has touted her opposition to raising the debt limit in every campaign appearance she’s made, but she still has a child-like understanding of the basics, and seems to have manufactured her own alternative universe.

    S&P did not, under circumstances, say that the United States lacks the ability to repay our debt. The voices in Bachmann’s head may say that, but S&P actually said the opposite: the nation has more than enough resources to repay our debts, but the rating agency is concerned our political process is so badly broken, we may lack the will to repay our debts.

    In our reality, nothing contributed more to the downgrade than the approach adopted by Michele Bachmann and people who share her truly ridiculous worldview.

    This morning, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, reflecting on Bachmann’s debate performance, said anyone who believes Bachmann has a legitimate shot at the presidency is “too stupid to prognosticate and too stupid to run Slurpee machines,” adding, “Michele Bachmann is a joke…. Her candidacy is a joke.” Scarborough then delivered a message to Iowa: “If you let her win, you prove your irrelevance once again.”

    Around the same time as Scarborough’s well-justified rant, the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake and Chris Cillizza told readers, “Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) faced her first major test as the Iowa frontrunner at Thursday’s debate, and with just two days to go before the Ames Straw Poll, she came out of it with some battle scars but still retaining her frontrunner status.”

    Because in a Republican nominating contest, sanity is optional.

  69. rikyrah says:

    Obama: Something is wrong with country’s politics

    Aligning himself with a public fed up with economic uncertainty and Washington gridlock, President Barack Obama declared Thursday: “There is nothing wrong with our country. There is something wrong with our politics.”

    His toughly worded message — he said there was frustration in his voice, in case anyone missed the point — came amid a series of polls showing that people are disgusted with political dysfunction and are dispensing blame all around, including on Obama.

    Obama aired his frustration with the ways of Washington at an event in Michigan before pivoting to his re-election campaign and a pair of big-money fundraisers in New York City.

    He delivered a condensed version of that message at a fundraiser at the lower Manhattan home of movie producer Harvey Weinstein, where celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow and Jimmy Fallon, were among the approximately 50 guests who paid $35,800 each to attend.

    Obama said he told his Michigan audience that it deserves better than what it’s been getting from Washington.

    “They look at what’s happening in Washington and they think these folks are really from outer space because they don’t seem to understand how critical it is for us all to work together, Republicans, Democrats, independents, in order to move this country forward,” Obama said.

    He added that the country is realizing the need to get involved.

    “We’re going to have to get engaged and we’re going to have to speak out,” Obama said. “We’re going to have to register the fact that we expect more and we expect better.”

    Obama’s visit Thursday to Holland, Mich., and New York, was his first official trip outside Washington after spending more than a month in the nation’s capital dealing with the debt debate. Obama said Americans were right to be worried about the country’s 9.1 percent unemployment rate and fluctuations in the stock market. The contentious and partisan debt debate in Washington, he said, has done little to help.

    “Unfortunately what we’ve seen in Washington in the last few months has been the worst kind of partisanship, the worst kind of gridlock, and that gridlock has undermined public confidence and impeded our efforts to take the steps we need for our economy,” Obama said after touring a Michigan factory that makes advanced batteries for alternative-fuel vehicles.

    A Washington Post poll released this week showed widespread and deep discontent with Washington. Nearly 80 percent said they were dissatisfied with the way the country’s political system works, compared with 60 percent in November 2009. Seventy-one percent said the federal government is mostly focused on the wrong things, up from 55 percent in October 2010.

    Both Obama and congressional Republicans were targets of unhappiness, with only 19 percent of people polled saying that Obama had made progress in solving the country’s major problems, and just 10 percent saying that about Republicans. At the same time, 28 percent said Obama had made things worse, while 35 percent said congressional Republicans had done that.

    Obama sought to channel the public’s anger in order to avoid being sunk by it himself. He urged the public to tell Washington lawmakers they’d had enough with the bickering and stalemates.

    “You’ve got to tell them you’ve had enough of the theatrics, you’ve had enough of the politics, stop sending out press releases. Start passing some bills that we all know will help the economy right now,” he said. “That’s what they need to do. They’ve got to hear from you.”

  70. rikyrah says:

    Nativist Former Rep. Tom Tancredo Slams Rick Perry As Insufficiently Cruel To Immigrants
    Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is like something the Tea Party grew in a vat. He flirted with ending Medicaid in Texas. Believes his state should be able to opt out of Social Security. He embraces outlandish claims that everything from federal public school programs to clean air laws are unconstitutional. And he even once claimed that Texas might secede from the union unless the federal government does exactly what he wants it to do.

    Yet for all his eagerness to spearhead America’s march back to the 19th Century, there is one blemish on Perry’s conservative credentials — he lacks a long record of irrational hatred for immigrants. Übernativist and former Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) isn’t happy:

    When I ran for president in 2008, I tried to pressure the Republican candidates to take a hard line against illegal immigration. For this, Perry called me a racist.

    When he first took office as governor in 2001, Perry went to Mexico and bragged about his law that granted “the children of undocumented workers” special in-state tuition at Texas colleges, the first state in the nation to do so.

    “The message is simple,” Perry concluded, “educacion es el futuro, y si se puede.” Education is the future, and (echoing Cesar Chavez’s slogan) yes we can. […]

    Perry opposed Arizona’s tough anti-illegal immigration law SB 1070. “I have concerns,” he explained, “with portions of the law passed in Arizona and believe it would not be the right direction for Texas.”

    He spoke out last year against using E-Verify to prevent illegal immigrants from getting jobs as state employees, who get their paychecks from the taxpayers. He insisted it “would not make a hill of beans’ difference.”

    Numbers USA, a group that supports immigration control, gives Perry a “D-“ for his positions supporting amnesty, open borders, and opposing border security.

    In other words, Rick Perry dreams of an America where the children of white citizens and the children of undocumented Mexican immigrants can both have a place together in crumbling classrooms led by an underpaid teacher. He has a dream where immigrants and native-born Americans can someday toil together in minimum wage jobs that barely allow them to feed their families. He has a dream that one day the sons of immigrants and the sons of native-born citizens will be able to sit down together in an overcrowded emergency room and wait hours for inadequate care.

    And yet, Rick Perry’s dream may not be harsh enough to please the American right.

    There is little to love in Tancredo’s nativist assault on one of the few humane aspects of Perry’s record, but he closes his op-ed with the best description anyone has ever made of Rick Perry’s stance on immigration. “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.”

  71. rikyrah says:

    DNC Mocks Romney’s ‘Corporations Are People’ Claim With Streisand-Scored Video
    Benjy Sarlin | August 11, 2011, 8:52PM

    Well, that was quick. Several hours after Mitt Romney told an Iowa heckler that “corporations are people, my friend” the DNC is up with a video lampooning the quote. Featuring the smooth sounds of Barbara Streisand’s “People,” no less.


  72. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s 14th Amendment Stand Counters Critics’ ’Wimp’ Factor Claims: View
    Many of President Barack Obama’s friends on the left are disappointed with his performance during the debt-ceiling negotiations. In fact, they are starting to lose their enthusiasm for his re-election.

    To be blunt, liberals are becoming convinced that Obama is a wimp. The best evidence of his wimpiness is said to be his failure to use his presidential power under the 14th Amendment to override or simply ignore the debt-limit law. But about this particular matter, Obama’s liberal critics are wrong. Regarding the Constitution, this was Obama’s finest hour.

    The 14th Amendment has been around since 1868 and is probably the most heavily litigated provision in the Constitution. Debt-ceiling battles have been going on since at least World War II. Is it possible that, until a few months ago, this extraordinary presidential power to ignore a law passed by both houses of Congress and signed by himself or one of his predecessors just sat there, unnoticed?

    Yes, it’s possible. But is it likely? The precise words are: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law … shall not be questioned.” Clear meaning doesn’t exactly leap from that phrase. In the history of the Supreme Court, it has been cited exactly once, in 1935. Bill Clinton said at the peak of the recent debt debate that, as president, he had considered using the power of the 14th Amendment twice, but didn’t need to because the Republicans caved. He also apparently didn’t feel the need to mention it in public. Nor had anyone else involved in debt-ceiling politics (which got worse, but didn’t start, this year), until suspiciously recently.

    Obama, asked about asserting a 14th Amendment right to raise the debt limit unilaterally — or at least threatening to do so — said: “I’ve talked to my lawyers. They are not persuaded that this is a winning argument.” And that was that.

    Obama’s reluctance to use a power he felt he wasn’t entitled to was impressive, even if the former constitutional lawyer was wrong in his interpretation. When was the last time a president voluntarily gave up power for no better reason than obeying the Constitution (which, just incidentally, he has sworn an oath to defend)? If it had been a Republican president and his supporters in the legislature were making such a case for an imperial presidency, liberals would be having fits.

    Obama’s stand on principle is especially noble because he might well have been able to use the public debt clause to have his way, even if his interpretation of it was wrong. First, he could have threatened to use it, even knowing in his heart that he would not. And second, there’s a good chance the Supreme Court would not take such a case.

    We are accustomed to having the court settle our big questions and tend to forget that judicial review is not in the Constitution: It’s just because, procedurally, the Supreme Court decides last that its view carries the day. But the court tends to stay away from arguments between the other two branches. Also, there is the question of standing: Who would have the right to bring a suit for the court to rule on? Maybe no one.

  73. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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