Saturday Open Thread

The Jerk was a popular dance craze from the 1960s. The song “The Jerk”, written by Don Julian, and first recorded in 1964 by his Los Angeles soul vocal group The Larks for the Money label, scored a top-ten chart position.

The Jerk is similar to The Monkey. The arms move and hands move as if conducting a band. The wrists cross in front of the chest and then sweep out in time, or at half time with the music. The hands are up at face level. On count 1, the outward sweep, the hands are quickly pushed out, giving the jerky motion. For a little more style, the fingers are snapped on the two outward movements — the first and third counts of the hand motion.

The Capitols performed a 1966 hit song called “Cool Jerk”, written to capitalize on the Jerk’s popularity. The song has been covered by several bands, including The Go-Go’s. The band Rocket from the Crypt recorded the song “When in Rome, Do the Jerk” in 1998 as a homage to the dance.

Can you shimmy, watusi, do the jerk, tighten up, mashed potatoes, twist, funky chicken, hustle, cabbabe patch, running man, electric slide, Texas two step? Want to learn a few steps of the oldies but goodies? Stay with 3 Chics this week, as we get down with it. don’t hurt yourselves, now!

About SouthernGirl2

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

  1. rikyrah says:

    just finished watching Jumping the Broom again from netflix.

    it has replaced The Best Man as my favorite Black wedding movie.

  2. This is for SG2, ♥ Sweetie. It’s an oldie but I think a goodie and says my heart to your heart and “I am by your side…”

  3. rikyrah says:

    August 14, 2011
    An ideological dialysis

    To say that Jake Tapper’s “This Week” interview of Michele Bachmann was a journalistic abomination would be to understate its abomination. Question asked; scripted, unrelated answer given. Next question. On “State of the Union” Bachmann asserted that raising the debt ceiling meant handing President Obama “an additional $2.4 trillion,” which impelled Candy Crowley not to a clarifying follow-up, but to a political question. To his credit, David Gregory valiantly tried to adjust the focus on Bachmann’s torrential blur on the debt-ceiling issue, but all too soon he segued to her neolunacy on homosexuals in appointed office.

    Hence another Sunday morning of public affairs sounded indistinguishable from my post-coffee bathroom visit just now, although the latter was more rewarding.

    On the other hand, my bathroom visits have failed to be amusing since I was about 13, whereas the morning shows were infinitely so. In listening to them — and them alone — one might gather that Ms. Bachmann possesses some reasonable shot at the GOP nomination, which is about as likely as Rick Perry sweeping the primaries, which is to say, both odds stand rather firmly in frozen Hell territory.

    And that, as they say, is a damn shame. Nothing could be better for the GOP’s long-term interests — and the nation’s — than a raving, tea-partyesque Republican presidential nominee, whose subsequent Goldwateresque implosion would force the Genies of Crazy back in their bottle for years — perhaps forever. The party needs such an ideological dialysis.

    My much greater fear is that Republicans will nominate another John McCain — see Mitt run — after whose loss in the general election the ideologues will bark louder than ever: See? We didn’t nominate a true conservative, and that’s why we miscarried. In short, the madness will likely roll over.

    The Romney-nomination upside? The certifiable crazies would split from the party by 2014 and form their own.

  4. rikyrah says:

    August 14, 2011 12:40 PM White House ponders next step on economy

    By Steve Benen
    Facebook Twitter Digg Reddit StumbleUpon Delicious

    A few days ago, the Washington Post noted that the White House’s allies have been pressuring the West Wing to get far more ambitious when it comes to the economic debate. The article noted the President Obama’s aides generally respond that he feels “a responsibility to explore policies that have a chance of passage, rather than merely making a political statement.”

    For good or ill, this is consistent the president’s m.o. — he doesn’t like picking fights he expects to lose. Obama could immediately launch a bold and ambitious economic agenda, which would have real merit and garner considerable support from the left, but he won’t, not because he’s a secret conservative, but because he’s generally unwilling to invest energy in a plan that can’t pass, regardless of the ancillary political benefits.

    Of course, choosing a more cautious approach carries its own costs, and forfeits an opportunity to draw stark contrasts with far-right Republicans, who are (a) wildly unpopular; and (b) chiefly responsible for blocking any hope at economic progress.

    All of this, apparently, has led to an internal White House debate.

    As the economy worsens, President Obama and his senior aides are considering whether to adopt a more combative approach on economic issues, seeking to highlight substantive differences with Republicans in Congress and on the campaign trail rather than continuing to pursue elusive compromises, advisers to the president say.

    Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Plouffe, and his chief of staff, William M. Daley, want him to maintain a pragmatic strategy of appealing to independent voters by advocating ideas that can pass Congress, even if they may not have much economic impact. These include free trade agreements and improved patent protections for inventors.

    But others, including Gene Sperling, Mr. Obama’s chief economic adviser, say public anger over the debt ceiling debate has weakened Republicans and created an opening for bigger ideas like tax incentives for businesses that hire more workers, according to Congressional Democrats who share that view. Democrats are also pushing the White House to help homeowners facing foreclosure.

    Even if the ideas cannot pass Congress, they say, the president would gain a campaign issue by pushing for them.

    The article notes that White House officials are aware of the economics, but can’t overcome the politics: another round of stimulus would make a positive difference, but it would fail miserably in Congress and most voters strongly disapprove of the idea anyway, merit notwithstanding.

    So what are we left with? An agenda with (a) modest ideas that might make a modest difference if they can overcome Republican opposition; and (b) an eye on deficit reduction, which polls suggest would be popular, even if it offers no tangible benefits at all in the areas of job creation and economic growth.

    Were Republicans less ridiculous, and had the midterms gone the other way, the White House would prefer a stronger policy. But the combination of GOP radicalism and voters’ misjudgment has left West Wing officials thinking that they have limited options.

    For what it’s worth, I’m not unsympathetic to the hurdles, nor am I blind to the fact that Republicans can and will block any idea with merit. I can also appreciate why the president seems reflexively reluctant to deliberately fight a losing battle — no one wants to look inept on the issue that matters more.

    But if it were up to me, I’d go big anyway and start pushing a meaningful economic agenda. Will the GOP kill bold ideas? Of course they will. But having the debate positions Obama as the leader with the right vision, who cares about getting Americans back to work. Picking the fight offers a chance to blame the do-nothing Congress and make Republicans the opponents of a real jobs agenda, dragging down the GOP brand even further in advance of 2012. All the while, there’s value in giving progressives something to fight for.

    Tangible results are obviously more important than rhetoric, plans, and speeches — voters want jobs, not more talk about jobs — but Republicans won’t allow real progress anyway. The more Obama can make them own the results, while positioning himself as the leader fighting the good fight, the better off he’ll be politically.

    So don’t lay down a bunt and hope to maybe get on base; swing for the damn fences.

  5. creolechild says:

    This is for SouthernGirl and Ametia~ Enjoy the remainder of your weekend everyone!

  6. creolechild says:

    Thank you, TEDx for uploading this to Youtube!

    Here’s Joaquin Zihuatan, he’s a schoolteacher…

  7. creolechild says:

    Courtesy of Def Poetry Jam, Alicia Keys, performing POW.

  8. creolechild says:

    Classic Def Poetry Jam featuring Saul Williams, performing Coded Language.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Why Rick Perry Won’t Win

    —By Kevin Drum
    | Sat Aug. 13, 2011 12:21 PM PDT

    A few days ago I rashly said, “For the record, I don’t think Rick Perry can win the Republican nomination, and I know that he can’t beat Obama in a general election.” Unsurprisingly, a lot of people wanted to know just what made me so sure of that. So with Perry now officially in the race, I guess it’s time to explain myself.

    Before I get to that, though, I have a mealymouthed caveat or three. First, if the economy is bad enough, anyone can win. And right now, the odds of the economy being bad enough are a little too close for comfort. Second, in recent years you could lose a lot of money continually underestimating the lemming-like power of the Republican Party to dive off ever-higher cliffs. Third, it’s absolutely true that you can make a pretty good case that none of the current GOP candidates can possibly win the nomination. And yet, someone will.

    And there’s more. Perry is unquestionably a very good, very shrewd politician. He has access to lots of money. And he can deliver a pretty good speech. My beloved wife just finished listening to his announcement speech and told me, “He’s my favorite Republican right now.” When I grimaced, she just gave me a scary look. Scary because it’s the look that means she sees something that’s invisible to a committed partisan like me.

    But enough of that. I’ve covered my ass enough. Here are the top ten reasons why, despite all this, I think Perry is a weaker candidate than he’s being made out to be:

    Everyone looks good before they get into the race. Remember how great Tim Pawlenty was supposed to be? But just wait a few months for Perry to get beat up by his opponents, for the oppo research to kick in, for all the big profiles to start appearing, and for a gaffe or two to get some play. He’ll start to look distinctly more human then.

    He’s too Texan. Sorry. Maybe that’s fair, maybe it’s not. But even in the Republican Party, not everyone is from the South and not everyone is bowled over by a Texas drawl. Perry is, by a fair amount, more Texan than George W. Bush, and an awful lot of people are still suffering from Bush fatigue.

    He’s too mean. He’ll have a hard time pretending he’s any kind of compassionate conservative, and outside of Texas you still need a bit of that. Aside from being politically ruthless and famous for holding grudges, Perry’s the kind of guy who almost certainly executed an innocent man, never pretended to care about it, and brazenly disbanded a commission investigating it. This famously produced the following quote in a 2010 focus group: “It takes balls to execute an innocent man.” In Texas, maybe that works. In the rest of the country, not so much.

    He’s too dumb. Go ahead, call me an elitist. I’m keenly aware that Americans don’t vote for presidents based on their SAT scores, but everything I’ve read about Perry suggests that he’s a genuinely dim kind of guy. Not just incurious or too sure about his gut feelings, like George Bush, but simply not bright enough to handle the demands of the Oval Office. Americans might not care if their presidents are geniuses, but there’s a limit to how doltish they can be too.

    He’s too smarmy. He might be fine one-on-one, but on a national stage Perry looks like a tent revival preacher or a used car salesman. Again: this might play OK in Texas and a few other places, but it will wear thin quickly in most of the country.

    He’s too overtly religious. Even Bush soft pedaled his religious side for the masses during his first campaign and did most of his outreach to the evangelical community quietly. Outside the Bible Belt, Perry’s fire-and-brimstone act is going to be hard to take.

    Policywise, he’s too radical, even for Republicans. “Social Security is a Ponzi scheme” goes over well with a certain segment of the tea party, but not with most of the country. Nor does most of the country want to get rid of Medicare and turn it over the states. Nor do they think global warming is a hoax, and they don’t really think all that kindly of people who muse publicly about seceding from the union. Bush was able to soften his hard Texas edge with a genuine passion for education. I’m not sure Perry can do that.

    Despite conventional wisdom, about half of the GOP rank-and-file aren’t tea party sympathizers (see Question 3G here). Of the half who are, Perry is going to have to compete with Michele Bachmann and possibly with Sarah Palin. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has the non-crazy half of the party almost to himself. Huntsman isn’t going to provide him with any serious competition there, and Pawlenty is rapidly becoming a non-factor too. I think this is an extremely underappreciated dynamic right now.

    Yes, Republican primary voters tend to be more conservative than the party as a whole, but there are still going to be a lot of non-tea partiers who vote, and they don’t have a lot of good choices other than Romney. What’s more, a fair number of tea partiers like Romney too (see Question 19 here). This is a pretty good base to work from.

    Perry’s campaign is going to be heavily based on the “Texas miracle.” But this looks a lot less miraculous once you put it under a microscope — and pretty soon it won’t just be churlish lefties pointing this out. You can be sure that the rest of the Republican field will be hauling out their own microscopes before long.

    Republicans want to beat Obama. They really, really want to beat Obama. Romney is still their best chance, and down deep I think they know it.

    All that said, I might be wrong. But I’d still advise everyone to take Perry with a few more grains of salt than they have been. It’s easy for us urban liberals to just cynically assume that the tea party-ized GOP will nominate whoever’s the dumbest, toughest, meanest, godliest sonofabitch in the field, but I’m not so sure. Perry may come out of the gate strong, but he might not wear well once the national spotlight is on him.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    August 14, 2011 11:45 AM
    GOP voters’ judgment is a mysterious thing

    By Steve Benen

    Kevin Drum argued a few days ago that Rick Perry probably can’t beat President Obama or even win the Republican nomination. After facing some pushback, Kevin elaborated yesterday, listing 10 reasons the Texas governor’s campaign will falter. It’s an entirely persuasive case, but the tenth bullet point got me thinking: “Republicans want to beat Obama.”

    They really, really want to beat Obama. Romney is still their best chance, and down deep I think they know it.

    My gut tells me this is entirely correct. The rest of me isn’t sure.

    Last year, Republicans really, really wanted to beat Harry Reid. Nevada Republicans knew, down deep, that Sharron Angle was ridiculous, but they nominated her anyway. Republicans really wanted to win Senate races in Delaware and Colorado, too. But they overlooked the better, more electable candidates, and lost.

    To be sure, the parallels are imprecise. Turnout in presidential nominating contests is significantly greater than in off-year Senate primaries, and bring in a larger, more diverse universe of voters. But the larger point is, assuming that Republican voters will exercise sound judgment when backing a candidate — even in a race they’re desperate to win — is often a mistake.

    About a month ago, a national McClatchy-Marist poll asked Republican respondents, “Which one of the following qualities is most important to you in deciding who to support for the Republican presidential nomination, a candidate who shares your values, is closest to you on the issues, can beat President Obama in 2012, or has the experience to govern?” Beating the president came in last; sharing their values was easily the top answer. Maybe that’ll change as the voting draws closer; maybe it won’t.

    As for Romney being the strongest GOP contender, that also rings true. But have you noticed just how little heat Romney is taking from the right? We are, after all, talking about a former pro-choice governor who supported gay rights, gun control, immigration reform, and combating climate change, who distanced himself from Reagan, attended Planned Parenthood fundraisers, has a dreadful record on job creation, and changed his mind about more issues than perhaps any politician in America. There’s also the unfortunate fact his health care reform policy served as a blueprint for the Affordable Care Act, which the GOP base considers demonic.

    How much have Republican voters heard about any of this as this process has unfolded? So far, not much, which suggest to me that Romney’s status as a frontrunner is a bubble that could burst very quickly, electability considerations notwithstanding.

    And if Romney’s record eventually becomes a key factor in the nominating process, I suspect Perry’s odds of becoming the nominee are extremely good.

  11. creolechild says:

    Here’s “What’s Genocide?” by Carlos Andrés Gómez

  12. creolechild says:

    Rush Limbaugh Attacks Fox News GOP Debate: ‘They Want Approval From The Mainstream Media’
    By John Amato

    Rush Limbaugh usually goes to bat for Fox News and defends them from their rank conservative agenda or takes the credit that they use his very own talking points to attack Obama with, but after the debate he had a different opinion entirely. He was really upset that the candidates were tearing themselves apart because Fox wanted them to so they could receive pats on their backs from the MSM. He was also outraged that the moderators and producers took some time to decide what questions to ask the candidates and not letting it be completely spontaneous—kinda like his radio show. He doesn’t bother producing segments. It’s all off the cuff. See, everything on TV is scripted so if the producers of any debate take their time to try and craft a comprehensive show, it’s phony. That’s RushBo logic.

    Limbaugh: “They Want Approval From The Mainstream Media” I guess he felt bad for his pal Newt. Gingrich would rather talk about gutting government regulations rather than answer questions from Chris Wallace about why his staff has been quitting or that his campaign is in debt. Hey, I wanted to know where the Tiffany’s questions were? Don’t fret Rush, he had Hannity run to his rescue afterwards.


    Wallace responded on Fox & Friends to Newt’s continued conservative whine. On Friday, Wallace didn’t mention Hannity’s criticism. He told “Fox and Friends” that he was simply doing his job. “Welcome to the NFL,” he said. “We’re talking about presidential politics. It isn’t beanbag.” Gingrich, he suggested, was just unhappy to be asked a tough question. “I’m sorry Speaker Gingrich was unhappy,” he said. “…I guess it was something about shooting the messenger.”


  13. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    August 14, 2011 10:40 AM
    Bachmann points to far-reaching appeal

    By Steve Benen

    Remember, when Michele Bachman says things like this, she’s not kidding.

    The morning after her win in the Ames straw poll, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) argued that she could appeal to independent and Democratic leaning voters in a general election and dismissed the challenge from new contender Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

    “We had people here yesterday who are independents and Democrats,” Bachmann said on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday.

    Bachmann stressed that her home state, Minnesota, was “not a conservative state” and that her own district was a “swing district” that voted to elect then-Gov. Jesse Ventura. “I’ve been able to attract a lot of people to vote for me,” she said.

    Bachmann is, by any reasonable measure, one of the most deranged presidential contenders in generations, but she’s at least aware of the perceptions about her. If Bachmann is going to remain a top-tier candidate for the presidency — a sentence I’m barely even comfortable typing — she’s going to have to convince a lot of Republicans that she can win a national election and appeal to voters outside the GOP’s radical base.

    But there’s just one problem with this: the very idea is preposterous. Bachmann is stark raving mad, delivering red meat to extremists who savor every morsel, but the notion that her appeal is broad enough to include significant numbers outside Republican activists is simply comical on its face.

    Of course, it doesn’t have to be true; Bachmann just has to convince sympathetic voters it might be true. It’s a test, not only of GOP voters’ judgment, but also of their gullibility.

  14. creolechild says:

    Chris Matthews Needs to Take a Look in the Mirror if He Wants to Know Why We’re Not Seeing Union Protests on TV – By Heather

    Chris Matthews has been on somewhat of a roll over the last week or so, asking why the labor unions in the United States aren’t taking a page from these astroturf tea partiers and showing up in Washington D.C. to protest on the weekends and send President Obama a message that they’re concerned about jobs and getting our economy back on the right track. On this Thursday’s edition of Hardball, The Nation’s John Nichols pushed back at Matthews assertion that there aren’t union members out there hitting the streets and protesting and talked about what’s been going on in Wisconsin for months on end now. What he did not really respond to is why we’re not seeing massive numbers of protesters in our nation’s Capitol. Nor did he ask Chris Matthews why our national media has largely been ignoring the protests that have been going on in Wisconsin and across the country and in our Capitol for weeks and months on end now.

    I wish Nichols had asked Chris Matthews why, when unions and other liberal groups have held rallies in D.C., they’ve been either largely or completely ignored by our national media. The AFL-CIO just held a rally to protest Wal-Mart last week in D.C. in conjunction with some other groups. Did we hear any of these pundits on cable television talking about it? Of course not. But if twenty of these astroturf “tea party” members show up somewhere, we’ve got at times more from the media showing up to cover the events than we’ve got protesters.

    I think Chris Matthews needs to look himself in the mirror if he doesn’t understand why it appears to most people who watch cable television and apparently to himself that there aren’t large numbers of working people and union members taking to the streets and holding rallies and why it’s completely dishonest and disingenuous to compare real grass roots and union protests who don’t have any big money behind them to the astroturf events they love to hype so much.


  15. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    August 14, 2011 9:35 AM
    Pawlenty, facing dwindling odds, quits race

    By Steve Benen

    The first big hint that Tim Pawlenty wasn’t quite ready for the presidential race came in May, when Time’s Michael Crowley asked him how he decided to seek the world’s most powerful office. “I don’t know,” Pawlenty replied. “I wish I had a good answer for you on that.”

    From there, it was one setback after another for the former Minnesota governor. This morning, the first candidate to get into the race became the first candidate to get out.

    Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is dropping out of the Republican presidential contest, after a disappointing third place finish in the Iowa Straw Poll yesterday.

    “We needed to get some lift to continue on and have a pathway forward,” Pawlenty said this morning in an exclusive interview on “This Week.” “That didn’t happen, so I’m announcing this morning on your show that I’m going to be ending my campaign for president.”

    He added in a statement, “Obviously the pathway forward for me doesn’t really exist, and so we’re going to end the campaign.”

    On paper, Pawlenty looked well positioned to be a perfectly credible, top-tier candidate. When Jon Chait argued in the spring that Pawlenty should probably be considered the frontrunner, the case didn’t seem at all silly.

    But the ensuing five months have been less-than kind to the former governor. Pawlenty struggled to raise money, saw his poll numbers evaporate, faltered in debate performances, ran on an electability platform that didn’t resonate, and found himself easily eclipsed by fellow Minnesotan Michele Bachmann, who proved far more effective in generating media attention and enthusiasm from right-wing activists.

    The poor showing in Ames, coupled with Rick Perry’s entrance into the race, left Pawlenty with no realistic shot at the nomination. Rather than pursue a vanity exercise, he wisely chose to cut his losses.

    It’s tempting to ask where Pawlenty’s support will go now that he’s left the race, but in truth, he had so little support, his departure won’t really affect the race in any meaningful way.

    And with that, the graveyard of great-on-paper candidates — Bill Richardson, Phil Gramm, Bob Graham — gets another member.

  16. creolechild says:

    GOP Sunday is back
    Posted on by GottaLaff

    Hey kids! It’s Media Bias Sunday! Let’s take a sneak preview of what’s coming up on tomorrow’s Big Sunday Line-Up, per the L.A. Times, okay? Okay:

    CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Michele Bachmann (R), Herman Cain (R), Rep. Steve King (R)

    Meet the Press: Michele Bachmann (R), Terry Branstad (R), Mike Murphy (R), Eugene Robinson (D), Jonathan Martin, Chuck Todd

    This Week With Christiane Amanpour: Michele Bachmann (R), Tim Pawlenty (R), George Will (R), Matt Dowd (R), Laura Ingraham (R), Kay Henderson, Amy Walter

    Face the Nation: Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D), Michele Bachmann (R)

    Apologies for not knowing the leanings of a few of the journalists, although I could have made a couple of educated guesses. But even if they were all Dems, it wouldn’t matter. For now, just counting the ones I did know, it’s time to do the math…

    Red Rs + Red Rs, carry the pi, divided by D, times Bias… calculating…

    Total: 12 Rs, 2 Ds. Please feel free to check my addition. If I added Ds to those I wasn’t sure of, it will still be a very red Sunday.

    There it is: Your librul media at work.

  17. creolechild says:

    Judge okays Arizona Sen. Russell Pearce’s recall vote
    Posted by GottaLaff

    The recall election against Russell Pearce, the compassionate, reachy-outy guy behind SB 1070 (aka the Papers Please Law), just got the green light. Ohhh yeah:

    PHOENIX — Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Hugh Hegyi threw out nearly all of the lawsuit that alleged flaws in the recall drive against state Senate President Russell Pearce. The lawsuit by Pearce supporter Franklin Bruce Ross sought to have the Nov. 8 election called off on the grounds that recall supporters fell short of the required 7,756 voter signatures from Pearce’s district in Mesa. Election officials say recall backers handed in 10,365 valid signatures. […] Recall organizers have been critical of Pearce’s views on confronting the state’s border woes and say he has failed to focus on protecting public education and ensuring access to health care. Pearce has said he strives to promote schools, job creation, balanced budgets, law enforcement and secure borders.

    Between this election, the ones in Wisconsin, and others to come, the GOP will have just a tad of trouble bragging about that “mandate” they think they have.

  18. creolechild says:

    Here’s dead prez- Happiness.

  19. creolechild says:

    The power of words…

    National Poetry Slam attracts hundreds to Mass.
    By Russell Contreras

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Joseph Andres Romero says he could have easily ended up in a dark place. Growing up in Albuquerque’s Old Town, the 22-year-old writer said he witnessed friends and family turn to crime to survive. His older brother, he said, joined a gang. But this week, Romero was on stage just off the campus of Harvard University sharing his story as part on the annual National Poetry Slam! championship held this year in Boston and Cambridge, Mass. “My brother joined a gang so I didn’t have to,” Romero said in a poem about his brother protecting him from the city’s rough side. The dramatic performance drew loud applause, stomps, yells, even tears.

    In what’s billed as largest gathering of poets in North America, nearly 400 poets and performance artists from around the country gathered starting Monday for more than 100 events and hours of live performances. The annual “Olympics of performance poetry” attracted slam teams influenced by Langston Hughes and Sylvia Plath — but also maybe Tupac Shakur — who won their own cities’ tournaments and a shot at a national title. It also pulled in scores of poetry fans from California, Texas and New York who sought to enjoy works from diverse performers.

    “They value poets as intellectuals, as dramatic performers,” said the event’s Host City Director, Simone Beaubien, a poet and a paramedic in Boston. “There are so many types of storytellers here with different styles of performing that you always see something new.” Under the rules of the competition, poets from each team perform before an audience, and randomly chosen judges give performers points from one to 10. Sometimes, poets perform works on their own. Other times they perform as a team. Teams with the most points and highest ranking move on to the next level. The final four teams battled Saturday night at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston for the title of 2011 National Poetry Slam! champion before Denver’s Slam Nuba was declared the winner.


  20. rikyrah says:

    August 14, 2011
    Pragmatism doesn’t mean just the possible

    Some inside the the White House are confusing political pragmatism with (narrow) possibilities. From the NY Times:

    Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Plouffe, and his chief of staff, William M. Daley, want him to maintain a pragmatic strategy of appealing to independent voters by advocating ideas that can pass Congress, even if they may not have much economic impact….

    But some others “get it”:

    [O]thers, including Gene Sperling, Mr. Obama’s chief economic adviser, say public anger over the debt ceiling debate has weakened Republicans and created an opening for bigger ideas…. Even if the ideas cannot pass Congress, they say, the president would gain a campaign issue by pushing for them.

    Mr. President: Please take Plouffe and Daley by the ears and show them the door.

    Normally I’d have much more to say on a philosphical topic so dear to my earnest sentiments, but at the moment I must pause to watch Michele Bachmann serially evade questions on the Sunday shows.

  21. rikyrah says:

    August 13, 2011
    Perry’s kitchen-sink announcement

    I was downright misty eyed listening to Rick Perry’s opening just now: his obscure, humble roots; his all-American-boyish heterosexual pursuit and its beaming progeny; his youthful “thrift” and industry; his love of freedom; his growing and keen awareness of American exceptionalism — all contrasted with his pious loathing of wicked, European socialism.

    Yet my eyes stopped misting and my belly started laughing as Mr. Perry moved on to a bit more specific analysis. Mostly there came from Perry some rather interesting economic history, such as that regarding President Obama’s unique accumulation of debt. And looking forward, Perry declared us righteously unwilling to accept “four more years of rising taxes.”

    Into this muddle he threw some GOP-customary, anti-labor demagoguery, and later, thinking globally — as Rick Perry is wont to do — he added the obligatory observation that Obama has “encouraged our enemies.”

    My belly laugh erupted, though, when it seemed rather clear that Perry would omit from all this his special thanks to our “spendthrift” president for having balanced Texas’ budget with his sinister, European-socialist stimulus funds.

    Finally, the two sane residents of my house — the two stationed safely, sanely away from the television, that is — must have thought me mad, mad I tell you, when my laughing volcanically launched into uproariousness as Perry broke into a downhome, poetic musing about real change being on its way from the “wind-swept prairies.”

    Oh, sure, from hardworking, overtaxed farms and factories, too, but that “wind-swept” jazz was what really did it for me.

    Like all common folk, I often wonder if there is a God. Today, my wondering was answered, for unquestionably some much higher power with an even higher sense of humor has given unto us perhaps 15 months of this yapping circus dog.

  22. rikyrah says:

    August 13, 2011
    Anti-intellectualism’s mission creep

    Here’s what Politico pronounces as an “at-length” description of an ideal presidential campaign, straight from an ideal non-candidate:

    They are sick and tired of hearing and suffering through. We want new; we want conviction and passion and candidness.

    Riveting. Incoherent, too, of course — “they” are “hearing through”? — as well as clicheish, which oddly enough is the rhetorical launch for demanding something “new.” Any politico who again bemoans our existential sickness and tiredness should be compelled by the platitude police to roll up his or her sleeves and promptly throw him- or herself under the bus, any bus.

    Doubtless you’ve discerned the speaker — Sarah Palin — who throughout this campaign season has been, as you also know, an impeccable model of political “candidness.” Some might read that as snark. But it’s not. She has absolutely nothing to say of any insightful value about any subject, and no one is more aware of this than the infinitely shallow Sarah Palin: she’s never cracked a briefing book, never retained a thoughtful adviser, never boned up on anything but Todd. Yet she does know that each time she lifts her skirt in a crowd, the media come running. Hence a bit more gas money for SarahPAC and another contractual month with Fox — all of it accomplished with forthright openness.

    What’s more, she thrives on “elitist” criticisms such as those contained in the third paragraph. Palin is just un-shallow enough to intellectually appreciate that George W. Bush proved that no pol can ever be too inarticulate or trite for the unschooled, bromide-prone American electorate. Thus her black hole of banality feeds on all that resists it; what tries to banish her from the public arena only makes her stronger.

    There’s little politically scientific doubt that Palin’s candid anti-intellectualism is but phase two of a linear progression. There was, as noted, in the contemporary beginning, George W., who easily could have been the one to utter what Palin uttered yesterday in Des Moines: “That [ideal presidential] candidate’s not fearing so much what the interpretation is going to be when it comes to the comments and positions you are articulating, but just speaking from the heart.” Which tells us — you got it — absolutely nothing. Palin, however, has ramped up W.’s inarticulate nothingness to once-unthinkable heights; and since 2008 hers has gone on to blight virtually the entire GOP field. As sputtering automatons of rhetorical emptiness, as robotic poster-children of the empirically disprovable, as proud purveyors of supremely untainted buncombe — they’re all ideal candidates, anti-intellectual to their core.

    Michele Bachmann & Co-candidates are now phase three of Palin’s candidly cancerous ignorance. And as of this afternoon, the GOP presidential field enters phase four, in boots and Italian suits. Nothing new, really, just a lot more of it.

  23. creolechild says:

    “Made in China” ranks only 2.7% of U.S. spending
    Posted by GottaLaff

    Debunktion Junction, what’s your function, this time brought to you by the L.A. Times, not Rachel Maddow:

    Goods and services from China accounted for only 2.7% of U.S. personal consumption spending in 2010, according to the report titled “The U.S. Content of ‘Made in China.’ About 88.5% of U.S. spending last year was on American-made products and services. […]

    Services, which account for about two-thirds of spending, are mainly produced locally. Your dry cleaner, accountant, mechanic and manicurist most likely are right in your neighborhood.

    Then there’s groceries and gasoline. Most of the food Americans eat is produced domestically. And although the U.S. imports about half of its petroleum, China is not a major supplier. About 90% of all gasoline sold in the U.S. is refined in the United States. […]

    “On average, of every dollar spent on an item labeled ‘Made in China,’ 55 cents goes for services produced in the United States,” the report said.

    If you recall, the U.S. debt to ourselves is eight times the amount we owe China.

    And that was today’s China Debunktion Juction moment.

  24. creolechild says:

    Thank you… Addicting Info, GottaLaff, and The Political Carnival!

    100 Things You Can Say To Irritate A Republican
    Posted by GottaLaff

    Addicting Info does it again. Last time they came up with If you hate taxes, here are 102 things NOT to do. Even though they graciously gave us permission to cross-post, I’d rather tease you and then send you to their place to give them some well-deserved traffic. This time around, they came up with 100 Things You Can Say To Irritate A Republican. Here are a few, but click on the link for all 100:

    If you want to enrage a conservative, I suggest saying the following:

    1. A Socialist wrote the Pledge of Allegiance.
    2. Jesus healed the sick and helped the poor, for free. […]
    6. The Founding Fathers were liberals.
    7. Fascism is a right-wing trait. […]
    10. Reagan raised taxes eleven times as President.
    11. Reagan legalized abortion as Governor of California.
    12. Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency.
    13. Ronald Reagan supported gun control. […]
    24. Hate is not a Christian virtue. […]
    26. Republicans spend MORE money than Democrats. […]
    29. The Constitution is the law, NOT the Bible.
    30. Sharia law doesn’t exist in America.
    31. The President is NOT a Muslim.
    32. Corporations are NOT people. People are people.
    33. Fox News isn’t real news, it’s just a racist, sexist, hateful, right-wing propaganda machine.
    34. The Federal Reserve was a Republican idea.
    35. Women are equal citizens who deserve equal rights. […]
    37. Abortion is a relevant medical procedure, just ask Rick Santorum.
    38. Please use spell check.
    39. It’s “pundit”, not “pundint”.
    40. Social Security is solvent through 2038. […]
    42. Roe v. Wade was a bipartisan ruling made by a conservative leaning Supreme Court. […]
    45. Barack Obama ordered the killing of Osama Bin Laden. It took him two and half years to do what Bush couldn’t do in eight. […]
    47. 9/11 happened on George W. Bush’s watch, therefore he did NOT keep America safe. […]
    49. Separation of church and state is in the Constitution, it’s called the First Amendment.
    50. Muslims are protected by the Constitution, just as much as Christians. […]
    53. America is a nation of immigrants, therefore we are all anchor babies.
    54. The white race isn’t disappearing, it’s evolving. […]
    56. Evolution is real.
    57. The Earth is 4.54 billion years old, not 6,000.
    58. The Founding Fathers did not free the slaves.
    59. The Revolution was NOT fought over slavery.
    60. Paul Revere warned the Americans, NOT the British.
    61. Federal law trumps state law.
    62. The Civil War was about slavery, NOT state’s rights.
    63. Corporations care more about profits than they do about people.
    64. Getting out of a recession requires government spending.
    65. Glenn Beck is a nut-job. […]
    67. Republicans don’t want to pay for your birth control, but they want you to pay for their Viagra.
    68. Republicans actually NEED Viagra.
    69. Fox News is owned by an Australian and has a Saudi prince as an investor.
    70. Republicans complain about immigrants taking American jobs, then freely give American jobs to foreigners overseas. […]
    72. Labor unions built this country. […]
    77. Republicans only care about children BEFORE they are born. […]
    82. Churches should stay out of politics, or be taxed. […]
    88. The current corporate tax rate is the lowest in 60 years, so stop whining about it being too high. […]
    98. Republicans say teachers are union thugs, then proceed to rape and mug the entire middle class on behalf of corporations.
    99. Republicans think rape isn’t a crime, but miscarriages are.

    Bottom line? If you want to anger a conservative, tell them the truth.

  25. creolechild says:

    Clinton urges boycott of Syrian oil
    By Ben Geman

    The Obama administration sees oil and natural gas a pressure point against the Syrian regime.
    Reuters reports that the U.S. on Friday urged other nations to stop buying the country’s oil and gas “as it sought to build pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to end a brutal crackdown against protesters.”

    From Reuters:

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hinted the United States might be making some headway in persuading European nations, China or India to curtail their energy ties with Syria, saying “stay tuned” when asked what progress Washington had made. Clinton has said the best way to pressure Syria to stop crushing protests against the 41-year Assad regime was by sanctioning its oil-and-gas sector, but that this was largely up to other nations because there is little U.S. involvement.

  26. creolechild says:

    Department of Energy panel backs ‘fracking’ chemicals disclosure
    By Ben Geman

    Energy Department advisers are backing mandatory disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, the controversial natural-gas-drilling method, in a new report that lauds expanded development while calling for several improved environmental safeguards. The wide-ranging report arrives amid a legal and political battle over the method — dubbed “fracking” — that’s enabling a U.S. gas boom but raising fears of water and air pollution.

    The report by the Energy Department panel of outside experts also recommends rigorous air pollution standards; better emissions measurement; improved water management and protection; phase-out of diesel in fracturing operations; a new industry group dedicated to “best practices”; and several other steps. The report is the product of a subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board. The subcommittee, created early this year, is studying the issue as the Obama administration is seeking to show that it backs expanded U.S. energy development while heeding concerns that the growth of fracking presents environmental concerns.


  27. creolechild says:

    Marcus Bachmann Can’t Cure The Gay Or The Rage
    By Sarah Jones

    So this is how they do it. This is how Tea Party candidates roll. They have a throng of violent “protectors” like Joe Miller’s brownshirts who abuse reporters in the name of “securing” their candidate. Or like Rand Paul’s “supporters” who beat up a young, small woman, stomping on her head because she carried a protest sign. Now we have Michele Bachmann’s camp, for the second time in less than a month, shoving and elbowing reporters. I believe these are the same folks who call union members (teachers, firefighters, police, etc) “thugs”.

    Try not to let the projection cause you to laugh in their face; I hear laughter is the first sign of you threatening their “candidate”. You are no longer allowed to ask polite questions of Tea Party candidates. We can thank John McCain’s people for starting this with their “Sarah Palin won’t be taking any questions until the media shows her deference” duck and cover for their VP candidate’s incompetence and inability to answer questions. What to do when you can’t handle your job? Well, if you’re a Tea Party candidate, you blame the media for “gotcha” questions and then have your brownshirts attack the reporters. This not only gets you out of answering any questions, but teaches reporters not to mess with you in the future. Nothing says democracy like intimidating and accosting the free press.

    CNN anchor Don Lemon explains how he got elbowed and pushed by Bachmann’s people AND her husband. Yes, Marcus Bachmann, the “therapist” who cures the gay, apparently can’t cure the rage. Perhaps he ought to look into anger management classes. Oh, but anger is the entire shtick, so that wouldn’t leave them with much. At one point, Lemon was pushed into a cart where he hit his head. Now, clearly he deserved that for having the temerity to ask a question of the Chosen Bachmann. And here you were worried about the justice system if Bachmann or one of her counterparts gets their way and turns this into a Christian nation ruled by their version of the Old Testament. Only the BAD PEOPLE will bite it. See?

    Here’s the Bachmann camp being persecuted for assault (they are allowed to elbow you, but you are not allowed to ask them questions. Hello, justice and liberty!): [Click on link to view video.]

  28. creolechild says:


    Bachmann says she can win independents in general election
    By Meghashyam Mali – 08/14/11 09:32 AM ET

    The morning after her win in the Ames straw poll, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) argued that she could appeal to independent and Democratic leaning voters in a general election and dismissed the challenge from new contender Texas Gov. Rick Perry. “We had people here yesterday who are independents and Democrats,” Bachmann said on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday. “There isn’t an event that I have where I don’t have somebody who comes up to me and says, Michele, I am a Democrat. I voted for Barack Obama. I’m not going to vote for him, I’m going to vote for you.”

    Bachmann’s victory in Saturday’s influential straw poll solidifies her position as an early frontrunner for the February Iowa caucuses. Bachmann won the Ames straw poll with about 29 percent of the vote — 4,823 votes out of a total of 16,892 ballots cast. Bachmann stressed that her home state, Minnesota, was “not a conservative state” and that her own district was a “swing district” that voted to elect then-Gov. Jesse Ventura. “I come from Minnesota. It’s not a conservative state. It’s more of a liberal state,” said Bachmann. “I have been able to attract get a lot of people to vote for me who are Democrats and independents,” she said.


  29. creolechild says:

    Texas raids fund for poor to keep taxes low
    By Muriel Kane

    Texas utility customers pay a little extra on their bills that is supposed to go into a fund to help the poor cover their own utility payments. But in a year of record heat, less than half the fund is being paid out, forcing people to do without air conditioning in triple-digit temperatures. CBS reports that the Texas legislature has repeatedly approved raiding the fund in order to balance its budget without raising taxes. By 2013, there will be $900 million sitting unspent, with no plans to ever pay it out. And not only are the poor being shortchanged, but members of the middle class who pay utility bills are being charged that extra fee which does nothing but subsidize keeping taxes low on the wealthy.

    [Click on link to watch video from CBS News, posted August 12, 2011.]

  30. creolechild says:

    Perry: ‘I promise to make Washington inconsequential in your lives’
    By Andrew Jones

    After weeks and months of speculation, Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) made it official Saturday afternoon, announcing his bid for the Republican nomination for President. In Charleston, South Carolina, Perry focused on the usual characteristics of both his and Republican ideology, and unsurprisingly targeted President Barack Obama and the left to the delight of his crowd. “The liberals out there are saying we need to pay more (in taxes),” Perry said, before a loud yell of “No” from the audience. “We are indignant about leaders who won’t listen, and the people are not subjects of the government, the government is subject to the people.”

    “It is up to us to take a stand for freedom, to send a message to Washington, we’re taking our future back,” he added. “It’s time to limit and simplify our taxes in this country.” “And we will repeal this President’s misguided, ‘one sized fits all’ government health care plan immediately.”

    “I’ll work to try to make DC as inconsequential in your life as I can.”

  31. creolechild says:


    Pawlenty Drops Out of Republican Race
    By: Jeff Zeleny – Sunday 14 August 2011

    Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota, told supporters on a conference call Sunday morning that he is ending his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination after a disappointing third-place finish at the Iowa straw poll. Mr. Pawlenty thanked his supporters in an early-morning call, two participants said, but acknowledged that he had decided overnight that his candidacy could not proceed.

    Mr. Pawlenty, who had been weighing a presidential campaign for years, had developed a robust plan to win the party’s nomination. But his strategy did not take into account the rising popularity of a fellow Minnesotan, Representative Michele Bachmann, whose candidacy had overshadowed Mr. Pawlenty’s. He had staked his entire campaign around a strong finish at the Iowa straw poll, which he did not achieve. Ms. Bachmann topped the straw poll on Saturday, edging out Representative Ron Paul of Texas. Mr. Pawlenty was a distant third.


  32. creolechild says:

    Somalia wants troops to guard food aid convoys
    By Reuters

    MOGADISHU (Reuters) – Somalia called Saturday for the creation of a humanitarian force to protect food aid convoys and camps in the famine-hit Horn of Africa country. Islamist rebels mostly retreated from the capital Mogadishu last weekend but the threat of guerrilla-style attacks such as suicide bombings remains despite their battlefield defeat. The government and a 9,000-strong African peacekeeping force admit they do not control all of the capital even after the rebel withdrawal, placing thousands of Somali refugees who are streaming into Mogadishu searching for food in danger.

    The pullout by the al Qaeda-affiliated al Shabaab insurgents has raised hopes that humanitarian groups will be able to step up aid deliveries after years of obstruction by the militant group. Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali held a joint news conference with Valerie Amos, U.N. emergency relief coordinator, visiting the capital. “We met today with Valerie Amos … we have discussed the current humanitarian situation in Somalia and the best way that we can assist with humanitarian aid to the people,” Ali said. “We have also raised the issue of creating a special humanitarian force, which has dual purposes. First to secure and protect the food aid convoy, and to protect the camps and stabilize the city and fight banditry and looting.” Earlier this month, government troops fired shots and fought among themselves as some looted food meant for famine victims provided by the World Food Program at the Badbaado camp near the city.


  33. creolechild says:

    Why Rick Perry Won’t Win
    —By Kevin Drum

    A few days ago I rashly said, “For the record, I don’t think Rick Perry can win the Republican nomination, and I know that he can’t beat Obama in a general election.” Unsurprisingly, a lot of people wanted to know just what made me so sure of that. So with Perry now officially in the race, I guess it’s time to explain myself. Before I get to that, though, I have a mealymouthed caveat or three. First, if the economy is bad enough, anyone can win. And right now, the odds of the economy being bad enough are a little too close for comfort. Second, in recent years you could lose a lot of money continually underestimating the lemming-like power of the Republican Party to dive off ever-higher cliffs. Third, it’s absolutely true that you can make a pretty good case that none of the current GOP candidates can possibly win the nomination. And yet, someone will.

    And there’s more. Perry is unquestionably a very good, very shrewd politician. He has access to lots of money. And he can deliver a pretty good speech. My beloved wife just finished listening to his announcement speech and told me, “He’s my favorite Republican right now.” When I grimaced, she just gave me a scary look. Scary because it’s the look that means she sees something that’s invisible to a committed partisan like me.

    But enough of that. I’ve covered my ass enough. Here are the top ten reasons why, despite all this, I think Perry is a weaker candidate than he’s being made out to be:


    All that said, I might be wrong. But I’d still advise everyone to take Perry with a few more grains of salt than they have been. It’s easy for us urban liberals to just cynically assume that the tea party-ized GOP will nominate whoever’s the dumbest, toughest, meanest, godliest sonofabitch in the field, but I’m not so sure. Perry may come out of the gate strong, but he might not wear well once the national spotlight is on him.

  34. creolechild says:

    Courtesy of Def Poetry, here’s Big Poppa E, performing Propers.

  35. creolechild says:

    Pathway to Acceptance Panel: Supportive Families Help Build Healthy Communities
    By Sharon Groves

    We’re on the ground in Salt Lake City as part of the “On the Road to Equality” tour. HRC and Utah Price Center partnered on a panel discussion today, called Pathways to Acceptance. It is a conversation about the difference acceptance makes in the lives of our kids. It is a family oriented discussion that asks how members of the community can help make acceptance a core family value, one that is encouraged and strengthened in our churches, in our schools, and in our homes. This conversation offers a fresh approach that moves us beyond the worn out and unproductive religious frame that puts God on one side and LGBT people on another. This is not the conversation we need to be having at a time when the number of homeless kids in Utah who identify as LGBT is over 40% and suicide is the leading cause of death for adolescent males between the ages of 15 and 19– nearly double the national average with many of these young men identifying as LGBT.

    But homelessness, depression, and suicidal behavior does not have to be a rite of passage for LGBT youth in Utah. This is where Dr. Caitlin Ryan and her work at the Family Acceptance Project comes in. Dr. Ryan starts with the premise that we all love our kids. Whether fundamentalist or Unitarian, parents by and large are keenly concerned that their children develop into happy, healthy adults.

    Dr. Ryan doesn’t place moral judgments on the choices parents have made about raising LGBT kids. She understands that the impulse to refuse to talk about sexuality in the home, or to forbid kids from associating with other LGBT friends is often an attempt to protect kids from the brutality of our culture. Yet her research clearly shows that increased levels of acceptance overwhelmingly decrease risky behavior in young adults. She doesn’t shake her fist at parents, but offers them strategies for acceptance. Seemingly simple things like inviting your kid’s gay friend over to dinner can go an enormous way in helping kids transition through adolescence into well adjusted, vibrant adults.

    Thanks to the great work of the Utah Pride Center and organizations like Volunteers for America that work directly with homelessness youth in Utah of all sexual orientations and gender identities, Dr. Ryan’s work is having an impact throughout the state. We at HRC are proud to partner with these great groups as they get the word out about the power of acceptance in changing lives.

  36. creolechild says:

    Thank you, Jill and Feministe!

    “I’m sick of the race card”
    by Jill on 8.10.2011

    This story has gotten a fair amount of press: A group of white teenagers went out hunting for a black person to harass and beat. They found James Anderson, who was leaving his job at an automobile plant. They beat him, screamed “White power,” and then ran him over with a pick-up truck and left him to die. The driver of the truck, Deryl Demond, has been indicted for murder. Another one of the teens, John Rice, was charged with murder, and then saw the charges downgraded to assault.

    But the big problem, of course, isn’t that a man is dead because a bunch of white racists decided to go hunting for human beings. The problem is The Race Card.

    “He is not a racist or a murderer,” Lisa Smith Seale Erwin, [Rice’s] great-aunt, posted on the page. “If anything, he is being tried by the media, suffering from reverse racism and placed in jail without bond. I am sick of the race card.”

    Yes, a videotape of a bunch of white people beating a black man before running him over with their car and screaming “white power” while they do it is definitely playing the race card. Holding them accountable for their actions is definitely reverse racism.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Rep. Barney Frank: NPR cut me off because they didn’t like my argument
    After three decades in Congress, it’s understandable that Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) has a lot to say — too much to say, according to NPR.

    Frank gave an interview to Morning Edition Tuesday morning, and host Steve Inskeep had to interrupt Frank, he said, to cut back to local stations. Frank told Raw Story in a phone interview Thursday that he had been cut short because he was advocating for cutting military spending and advocating for saving entitlement programs.

    “It wasn’t just that it got short that was the issue,” Frank said. “It was when it got cut short.”

    Frank, known for being talkative, said that he’s been abruptly cut off in interviews before.

    “I think in this case it was compounded by the fact that he didn’t like what I was saying,” Frank said. “This is a big establishment era, and I’m on a major crusade to say, ‘wait a minute, don’t tell me that we have bases in western Europe defending Germany and France from who knows what, but I have to tell some old lady that she’s going to have to wait to get Medicare.”

    The Morning Edition interview was allotted five minutes, which is relatively long for a radio interview, and with a minute left, Inskeep brought up entitlement spending versus military spending, a point that Frank resisted.

    “The military budget is larger than Medicare. So demonizing entitlements and saying that – in fact, here’s the deal —” Frank said, before Inskeep cut him off.

    “Congressman, I really have to cut you off there. But I do…”

    “Well, I wish you wouldn’t ask me complicated questions with five seconds to go,” Frank shot back.

  38. creolechild says:

    9/11 News Corp newspapers probe
    By Agence France-Presse

    US and British investigators have not found any evidence that papers owned by Rupert Murdoch’s media empire hacked the phones of 9/11 victims, the Wall Street Journal has reported. The paper, one of several owned by Murdoch’s News Corporation, cited people close to the investigations as saying there were apparently no numbers of victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks among those targeted by the disgraced and now-shuttered British weekly the News of the World.

    Following shocking revelations that the paper had hacked the phones of celebrities, politicians and a murder victim, the FBI said in July it was investigating whether they had done the same to Americans.
    The allegation concerning the 9/11 victims first surfaced in an article in Britain’s Daily Mirror citing unnamed sources, and was one of the most serious charges to be leveled against Murdoch’s media empire. The Journal said investigators were still looking into the 9/11 allegations, and were also exploring whether there may be a “broader pattern of more recent misconduct” at News Corporation’s US operations.


  39. creolechild says:

    Apple, publishers ‘sued for price fixing’
    By Agence France-Presse

    Five book publishers and computer manufacturer Apple have been sued for allegedly colluding to drive up the price of e-books, lawyers for the plaintiffs said. The class-action suit, filed in the US District Court here, claims HarperCollins, Hachette, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster had worked with Apple to break Internet retailer[‘]s discount pricing strategy and help Apple[‘]s iPad compete with the Kindle marketed by Amazon.

    According to the suit, the publishers believed that Amazon[‘s] popular Kindle e-reader device and the company[‘]s discounted pricing for e-books would increase the adoption of e-books, and feared Amazon[‘]s discounted pricing structure would permanently set consumer expectations for lower prices, even for other e-reader devices. “Fortunately for the publishers, they had a co-conspirator as terrified as they were over Amazon[‘]s popularity and pricing structure, and that was Apple,” said Steve Berman, an attorney representing consumers.

    “We intend to prove that Apple needed a way to neutralize Amazon[‘]s Kindle before its popularity could challenge the upcoming introduction of the iPad, a device Apple intended to compete as an e-reader,” Berman added. The complaint claims that the five publishing houses forced Amazon to abandon its discount pricing and adhere to a new agency model, in which publishers set prices and extinguished competition so that retailers such as Amazon could no longer offer lower prices for e-books. If Amazon attempted to sell e-books below the publisher-set levels, the publishers would simply deny Amazon access to the title, the complaint claims. The defendant publishers control 85 percent of the most popular fiction and non-fiction titles.


  40. rikyrah says:

    My GOP candidate isn’t doing that well. I’m concerned.

    by Kay

    I think Mitt Romney is going to be the GOP nominee, despite his poor showing in Iowa. While I’m aware that he’s claiming he didn’t compete there, I do think the results show in Iowa show a certain lack of enthusiasm for Mitt, but I’m sticking with him. This is complete uninformed punditry on my part: in other words, a guess. If it’s Perry, please feel free to jeer at me. I’m hoping for Bachmann, but I know I won’t get that lucky.

    That’s why I think this PPP poll is interesting. I thought Romney would be stronger in Colorado than he appears to be:

    Barack Obama isn’t terribly popular in Colorado. But he has healthy leads over all of his potential Republican opponents there anyway and this is looking like one of the states he flipped in 2008 that’s most likely to remain in his column for 2012.

    In spite of that Obama still has solid leads over all of his potential Republican opponents. Only Mitt Romney improves on John McCain’s 9 point margin of defeat in the state, trailing Obama by 7 points at 48-41. That’s almost identical to the 47-41 lead we found for Obama in February, interesting considering the drop in his approval numbers since that time. Against the rest of the GOP field Obama holds a double digit advantage: he’s up 12 on Michele Bachmann at 51-39, 13 on Rick Perry at 51-38, and 16 on both Herman Cain and Sarah Palin at 51-35 and 54-38 respectively.

    How can Obama be doing so well despite his own lack of popularity in Colorado? Voters may not like him but they like him a heck of a lot more than any of the Republican candidates. Cain’s net favorability is -10 at 20/30, Perry’s is -14 at 24/38, Romney’s is -21 at 30/51, Bachmann’s is -22 at 28/50, and Palin’s is -27 at 33/60. Obama’s definitely benefiting from a ‘lesser of two evils’ mindset.

    I think the most telling stat about the weakness of the GOP candidate field is this- despite Obama’s 38/56 approval with independents he still has the upper hand against every Republican with them- a 2 point lead over Romney, 12 point advantage over Perry, 14 over Bachmann, 17 against Palin, and 19 against Cain. They’re down on Obama but they’re not buying the alternatives either. The last few weeks have been some of the darkest ones of the Obama administration and for all that he still has a 7 point lead over his strongest potential opponent in Colorado.

    If you’re in or know Colorado, do you know why people there don’t like Romney? Besides the fact that people in general don’t seem to like Romney, because Romney swings wildly between whining and pleading and belligerent nonsensical strings of fighting words. I don’t know a thing about Colorado. Was I just wrong to think he might do okay there?

  41. creolechild says:

    Hamas announces ‘deal’ with US on aid to Gaza
    By Agence France-Presse

    The Palestinian movement Hamas and the US Agency for International Development have reached a compromise to maintain the flow of aid, a senior Hamas official said Saturday. “We’ve reached a compromise with USAID through the United Nations” to allow the continuation of aid, which was suspended by Washington on Friday, the official of the Islamist movement controlling the Palestinian enclave told AFP.

    Hamas, as a result of the agreement, renounces for a “three-month period” its demand to verify the accounts of NGOs financed by the US Agency for International Development in the Palestinian territories, he said. “We are keen on the continuation of the international institutions’ work and their services to our people,” he said. The Hamas official, who participated in the mediated talks, said the sides were working towards an agreement on mechanisms that ensure “transparency and internal accountability of these international organisations.” There will be “no control over their work,” he added.


  42. creolechild says:

    The ACA Mandate Isn’t “Unprecedented”
    By Adam Serwer

    The latest health care ruling from the 11th Circuit, striking down the individual mandate, uses the word “unprecedented” to describe the mandate more than a dozen times*. The opinion concludes that “It cannot be denied that the individual mandate is an unprecedented exercise of congressional power.” The 2-1 ruling is significant in that it marks the first Democratic appointee to vote to strike down the mandate, and the second Republican to vote to uphold it. It also upheld the rest of the law, striking down only the mandate.

    The thing is that the individual mandate is um, quite “precedented.” The opinion rationalizes the precedent set in Wickard that Congress has the authority to regulate activity that has “substantial economic effect on interstate commerce.” The 11th Circuit judges, like the other opinions before them, argue that people not purchasing health insurance “have not made a voluntary choice to enter the stream of commerce,” which is an odd argument, both because not buying health insurance ultimately impacts everyone else when the individual ultimately does need medical care, and because the farmer in Wickard wasn’t trying to enter the stream of “interstate” commerce either.

    Likewise in Raich, the medical marijuana case in which Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that Congress can regulate “noneconomic activity closely connected to the intended market,” and “where Congress has the authority to enact a regulation of interstate commerce, it possesses every power needed to make that regulation effective.” The individual was growing medical marijuana for personal use, they weren’t trying to “enter the stream of commerce” in any sense, local or intrastate. It’s an absurdity to suggest that the Commerce Clause regulates noneconomic activity, but not a spurious definition of economic “inactivity.”


  43. creolechild says:

    Army suicides set record in July
    By Greg Jaffe

    The U.S. Army suffered a record 32 suicides in July, the most since it began releasing monthly figures in 2009. The high number of deaths represents a setback for the Army, which has put a heavy focus on reducing suicides in recent years. The number includes 22 active-duty soldiers and 10 reservists. The previous record was 31, from June 2010. Army officials cautioned that investigations are underway in most of the deaths to confirm the exact cause. “Every suicide represents a tragic loss,” Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the vice chief of staff of the Army, said in a written statement. “While the high number of potential suicides in July is discouraging, we are confident our efforts . . . are having a positive impact.”

    Over the past several years, the Army has launched a major effort to institute new training to improve soldiers’ ability to bounce back from stress, and setbacks in combat and in their personal lives. It has hired hundreds of mental health and substance abuse counselors and has launched a push to convince soldiers that seeking help for mental health problems will not have a negative impact on their careers. The service also has tapped the National Institute of Mental Health to conduct a five-year, $50 million study and statistical analysis of suicide in the Army, an effort that includes surveys, data mining and medical testing.

    Chiarelli, meanwhile, has devoted hundreds of hours to studying the suicide problem and its possible links to post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries caused by battlefield explosions. So far, the efforts have not resulted in a significant change in the suicide rate in the Army. Over the first seven months of 2011, about 160 active-duty and reserve soldiers have committed suicide, which is about on par with the number of troops taking their own lives during the same months in 2009 and 2010.


  44. creolechild says:

    Rep. Barney Frank: NPR cut me off because they didn’t like my argument
    By Kase Wickman

    After three decades in Congress, it’s understandable that Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) has a lot to say — too much to say, according to NPR. Frank gave an interview to Morning Edition Tuesday morning, and host Steve Inskeep had to interrupt Frank, he said, to cut back to local stations. Frank told Raw Story in a phone interview Thursday that he had been cut short because he was advocating for cutting military spending and advocating for saving entitlement programs. “It wasn’t just that it got short that was the issue,” Frank said. “It was when it got cut short.”

    Frank, known for being talkative, said that he’s been abruptly cut off in interviews before. “I think in this case it was compounded by the fact that he didn’t like what I was saying,” Frank said. “This is a big establishment era, and I’m on a major crusade to say, ‘wait a minute, don’t tell me that we have bases in western Europe defending Germany and France from who knows what, but I have to tell some old lady that she’s going to have to wait to get Medicare.” The Morning Edition interview was allotted five minutes, which is relatively long for a radio interview, and with a minute left, Inskeep brought up entitlement spending versus military spending, a point that Frank resisted.


  45. creolechild says:

    Texas Rep. Mac Thornberry Says ‘Prayer For Rain’ Better Solution To Texas Drought Than ‘Flawed’ Climate Science – By Brad Johnson

    Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) believes that prayer is a better policy response to heat waves and drought than managing greenhouse pollution. In a USA Today op-ed, Thornberry reflected upon the “devastating” and “historic” Texas drought — “the most severe one-year drought on record.” “My family has been ranching in northern Texas for more than 120 years, and we have never seen or felt anything like it,” He then worried that this clear sign of a changing climate might lead people to support policies based on “flawed” climate science:

    Any decisions we make should be based on sound science rather than political, social or personal profit agendas. No computer model yet has correctly predicted the Earth’s actual temperatures. We simply do not understand enough about the causes and effects related to our weather. Yet, some in Washington continue to push for new regulations and added taxes based upon those flawed models. Their policies would cost us jobs as the economy continues to struggle.

    “There will always be those who want to exploit hardship to push their agenda, but my part of the country cannot afford the taxes and regulations they want to impose on us,” Thornberry concluded. He then joined Govs. Rick Perry (R-TX) and Mary Fallin (R-OK) in arguing that the best response to the climate disasters is to pray for help instead. “A prayer for rain, however, would be appreciated.”


  46. creolechild says:

    SouthernGirl~ please know that our thoughts are with you in this very difficult time that you’re experiencing. Ametia~ thank you for letting us know about SouthernGirl’s situation. And BRAVO to both of you in your efforts to make sure that the public is aware of the issues we face!

  47. rikyrah says:

    Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 01:45 PM PDT
    I’m sad. Our First Black President is Being Ripped To Shreds

    by therehastobeaway

    I don’t even have time to write this, but I have to. I have to get this off my chest, and I suspect it’s something that weighs heavily in some of your hearts here too.

    This is something that, every so often—when I see a certain kind of headline; when I hear a certain meme repeated—makes me slightly tearful. Not in the sense that I feel utter despair or despondency, but in that “sad scene in a movie” sort of way; the realization that reality is an ugly, convoluted mess of human nature.

    I’m going to go ahead and say it. Our first black President is being ripped to shreds. He’s systematically being minced by the right, and by the left, and I don’t even know who started it, if it even matters. And I know none of us can prove how much of a role his race plays in the severe antipathy projected onto him. But our first Black president is most certainly being dismantled before our eyes. It makes mine water.

    Barely after Obama was inaugurated, Rush Limbaugh openly declared he hoped Obama would fail. He and his contemporaries spent years peddling the idea that Obama wasn’t actually born in the United States, an idea as disruptive as it was distracting to our nation. To quell the issue, the President of the United States eventually had to ask Hawaii for special permission to produce an official birth certificate that many no doubt continue to believe remains dubious.

    Senators and Congresspeople like Michelle Bachmann openly pride themselves as running against everything Obama—that’s their platform; that’s what gets them up every morning (they want to destroy our government, actually, but they’re using their hatred of Obama to get there). She calls him Anti-American; she calls himfoolish, but also has the gall to say Obama has failed African-Americans. Screw her; I doubt she’s ever done even a fraction of what he has done for black Americans or Americans of color generally, and I’d defend that idea to my death.

    Republicans didn’t say, “Let’s work with this guy. He won the election, and even though we disagree on a whole bunch of stuff, let’s make the next four years count for the American people.”

    They said, “Let’s not work with this guy. He won the election, but even though we might agree on some stuff, let’s spend the next four years dismantling him so that he doesn’t spend another four years with the American people.”

    And then some of us helped them.

    That’s what kills me inside, knowing that we, be we democrats or independents, but all progressives to the bone, spent all this time propagating the very memes that would damage him the most. While Sarah Palin went on to use her star power to be the shiny object that could (distract), and while Rush and Beck and the rest of Fox injected their talking-points-ready bile for two years straight, and while Republicans EVERYWHERE set out to obstruct, reject, and vilify our President, many of us here descended into petty fights and arguments about small drops in the long-term liberal bucket of change. And even with all that, he did do something. In three years, Obama actually did his job. Yes, I know a lot of you think you could have done better. Whatever.

    So here’s the net impact of these past three years:

    From the UK’s ‘The Telegraph’: Democrats doubt Barack Obama’s reelection chances

    President Barack Obama is facing mounting doubts within his own party about his re-election prospects, with fellow Democrats beginning to ask if Hillary Clinton would have made a better president

    Read that article for yourself, but let me dissect the memes for you, many of which have been aggressively pushed by the liberal blogosphere as well. All the bold is mine:

    Mr Obama’s capitulation to Republicans

    That’s the opening sentence. “Obama is a capitulator.”

    latest in a series of blows to the liberal agenda

    “Obama doesn’t care about liberals”

    Democratic strategists and commentators are privately agreeing with Republicans

    Good to know who’s team you guys are on…

    …and comparing Mr Obama to Jimmy Carter, another Democrat who remains the post-war benchmark for a failed president

    “Obama is a failure. He’s like or worse than Jimmy Carter” Really? How about George Bush being the worst president?

    “He is a do-gooder at heart,” said Morris Reid, a Washington consultant and former Clinton official. “He thinks everyone has the same agenda to do the right thing, but other people don’t have the same agenda.

    “Obama means well but he’s naive”. This doubles as patronization.

    Bill Clinton woke up every day relishing this kind of fight, and Hillary is just a tougher person.

    “Obama is not a fighter.”

    some Democrats were feeling “buyer’s remorse” for selecting the president in his epic battle with Mrs Clinton

    “Obama was a mistake.”

    will he be a one-term president’,” he said.

    “Obama is a one-term president.”

    “Democrats are worried. He looks weak

    “Obama is weak.”

    A 2012 primary challenge by Mrs Clinton is currently regarded as unlikely, but growing number of party activists and old hands are hoping that she changes her mind.

    “Obama doesn’t deserve to be re-elected.”

    On his nightly television show, liberal host Bill Maher dismissed Mr Obama as a Republican, and asked his panel if Mrs Clinton would have made a better president.

    “Obama is a Republican”

    …asked his panel if Mrs Clinton would have made a better president.
    “Yes,” replied astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, an African American astrophysicist and broadcaster

    “Even black people think Obama is a bad president.”

    For those that don’t know what white privilege is, there’s another example—notice how they specified the astrophysicist’s race. Have you ever heard the words, “…So-and-So, a white such-and-such” specified in that context? No? That’s white privilege.

    summarised the dismay at Mr Obama’s performance and was rapidly circulated online by liberals.

    “Liberals are dismayed by Obama and agree with criticisms of him”. And, need I say, case in point.

    …chose to ignore some disquieting aspects of his biography: that he had accomplished very little before he ran for president,” he wrote.

    “Obama was inexperienced, and now we see what that got us.”

    So there you have it, folks. In a single piece, in an international newspaper, 13 true-blue, bonafide Republican memes, many of which have been propagated by those of us on the left here on dKos.

    Now THAT’S how you dismantle a president!

  48. rikyrah says:

    Leaked AT&T Letter Demolishes Case For T-Mobile Merger
    Lawyer Accidentally Decimates AT&T’s #1 Talking Point
    by Karl Bode

    Yesterday a partially-redacted document briefly appeared on the FCC website –accidentally posted by a law firm working for AT&T on the $39 billion T-Mobile deal (somewhere there’s a paralegal looking for work today). While AT&T engaged in damage control telling reporters that the document contained no new information — our review of the doc shows that’s simply not true. Data in the letter undermines AT&T’s primary justification for the massive deal, while highlighting how AT&T is willing to pay a huge premium simply to reduce competition and keep T-Mobile out of Sprint’s hands.

    We’ve previously discussed how AT&T’s claims of job gains and network investment gained by the deal aren’t true, with overall network investment actually being reduced with the elimination of T-Mobile. While AT&T and the CWA are busy telling regulators the deal will increase network investment by $8 billion, out of the other side of their mouth AT&T has been telling investors the deal will reduce investment by $10 billion over 6 years. Based on historical averages T-Mobile would have invested $18 billion during that time frame, which means an overall reduction in investment.

    Yet to get the deal approved, AT&T’s key talking point to regulators and the press has been the claim that they need T-Mobile to increase LTE network coverage from 80% to 97% of the population. Except it has grown increasingly clear that AT&T doesn’t need T-Mobile to accomplish much of anything, and likely would have arrived at 97% simply to keep pace with Verizon. AT&T, who has fewer customers and more spectrum than Verizon (or any other company for that matter), has all the resources and spectrum they need for uniform LTE coverage without this deal.

    Click for full size
    For the first time the letter pegs the cost of bringing AT&T’s LTE coverage from 80% to 97% at $3.8 billion — quite a cost difference from the $39 billion price tag on the T-Mobile deal. The push for 97% coverage apparently came from AT&T marketing, who was well aware that leaving LTE investment at 80% would leave them at a competitive disadvantage to Verizon. Marketing likely didn’t want a repeat of the Luke Wilson map fiasco of a few years back, when Verizon made AT&T look foolish for poor 3G coverage.

    The letter also notes that AT&T’s supposed decision to “not” build out LTE to 97% was cemented during the first week of January, yet public documents (pdf) indicate that at the same time AT&T was already considering buying T-Mobile, having proposed the deal to Deutsche Telekom on January 15. In the letter, AT&T tries to make it seem like the decision to hold off on that 17% LTE expansion was based on costs. Yet the fact the company was willing to shell out $39 billion one week later, combined with AT&T’s track record with these kinds of tactics, suggests AT&T executives knew that 80-97% expansion promise would be a useful carrot on a stick for politicians.

    While the $39 billion price certainly delivers AT&T customers, equipment, employees, and spectrum, most of T-Mobile’s network replicates AT&T’s existing resources in major markets, and T-Mobile’s network is significantly less robust in rural markets where AT&T would want to expand. While the deal provides AT&T with a shortcut to sluggish tower builds in a few select markets, by and large AT&T will be faced with terminating many redundant positions and decommissioning a lot of duplicative equipment. They’ll also have to close a large number of retail operations and independent retailers.

    Again, the reality appears to be that AT&T is giving Deutsche Telekom $39 billion primarily to reduce market competition. That price tag eliminates T-Mobile entirely — and makes Sprint (and by proxy new LTE partner LightSquared and current partner Clearwire) more susceptible to failure in the face of 80% AT&T/Verizon market domination. How much do you think wireless broadband market dominance is worth to AT&T over the next decade? After all, AT&T will be first to tell you there’s a wireless data “tsunami” coming, with AT&T and Verizon on the shore eagerly billing users up to $10 per gigabyte.

    Regardless of the motivation behind rejecting 97% LTE deployment, the letter proves AT&T’s claim they need T-Mobile to improve LTE coverage from 80-97% simply isn’t true. That’s a huge problem for AT&T, since nearly every politician and non-profit that has voiced support for the merger did so based largely on this buildout promise. It’s also a problem when it comes to the DOJ review, since proof that AT&T could complete their LTE build for far less than the cost of this deal means the deal doesn’t meet the DOJ’s standard for merger-specific benefits.

  49. rikyrah says:

    Perry’s Entitlement Problem
    Rick Perry kicks off his campaign tomorrow, but is he electable? In an interview last fall, the Texas governor advocated dismantling Medicare and Social Security.
    By Andrew Romano

    For months, Republicans have complained about their choices in the 2012 presidential race. Mitt Romney seems unprincipled, they’ve said. Michele Bachmann is too flimsy. Tim Pawlenty looks fine on paper, but in person, not so much. And Newt Gingrich is just plain erratic.

    But now disaffected conservatives think they’ve found their man. His name? Rick Perry. This weekend, while most of the field focuses on the Ames, Iowa straw poll, the three-plus-term Texas governor will launch his bid for the GOP nomination at the Red State conference in Charleston, S.C.—and significant swaths of the Republican base will heave a collective sigh of relief. As The New Republic’s Ed Kilgore puts it, “Rick Perry seems to perfectly embody the Republican zeitgeist of the moment, appealing equally to the GOP’s Tea Party, Christian Right, and establishment factions while exemplifying the militant anti-Obama attitude that holds it all together.”

    The only problem? Perry has almost no chance—unlike, say, Romney, Pawlenty, or even Jon Huntsman—of beating Barack Obama in the general election.

    This isn’t because he “sounds too much like” George W. Bush, as almost every pundit in Washington has been repeating, ad nauseam, since Perry first hinted in May that he might run. And it’s not because he’s “too religious”, either.

    The real reason Perry will find it nearly impossible to win a general election is, believe it or not, substance. He holds three positions that vast majorities of the American public, Republicans included, will simply refuse to stomach—that America would be better off without the federal programs known as Social Security and Medicare, and that the government should do nothing (zero, zilch, nada) to counteract an economic crash.

    Despite all the hoopla surrounding Perry’s candidacy, few people have asked yet what the Texas governor actually believes—and what sort of president he would be. Fortunately, I spent the better part of an hour talking to Perry about his political philosophy and policy prescriptions back in the fall, right before he released Fed Up!, his first policy book. At the time, Newsweek chose to print only a short excerpt from our interview; few readers knew who Perry was, or cared. But now that he’s running for president, it makes sense to publish a longer version of the conversation, which reveals a lot about Perry’s politics. (For the full transcript, click through.)

    In the interview, Perry hints that he would do more to limit the power of the federal government—or at least attempt to do more—than any president since Calvin Coolidge. His argument is basically that we should dismantle most of the last 75 years of national policy and relinquish even Washington’s least controversial responsibilities to the states.

    Perry believes, for example, that the national Social Security system, which he calls a “failure” that “we have been forced to accept for more than 70 years now,” should be scrapped and that each state should be allowed to create, or not create, its own pension system. “I would suggest a legitimate conversation about let[ting] the states keep their money and implement the programs,” he says.

    Perry also includes Medicare in his list of programs “the states could substantially better operate,” suggesting that each governor should be “given the freedom from the federal government to come up with his own innovative ways [of] working with his legislature to deliver his own health-care innovations to his citizens.”

    And Perry thinks TARP was a total mistake—along with all subsequent efforts to backstop or stimulate the economy. Instead, he prefers an entirely laissez-faire approach to job-destroying financial crises. “I think you allow the market to work its way through it,” he says. “I don’t understand why the TARP bill exists. Let the processes find their way.”

    No Social Security. No federal health-care program for seniors. And no Beltway involvement—at all—during a crash or recession. These views will undoubtedly endear Perry to the Tea Party faithful. But they would alienate nearly every other voter in the country.

  50. rikyrah says:

    Cherokee GOP wants a new litmus test: Charter schools

    11:02 am August 13, 2011, by jgalloway

    The past 30 years have seen the creation of a long list of litmus tests for Republicans.

    A license to practice as an orthodox conservative in Georgia now mandates opposition to abortion and gay marriage, a firm belief in tax cuts as the driver of economic growth, and an antipathy toward federal regulation.

    But days ago, the Cherokee County GOP nominated still another test. It passed a resolution that demanded four county school board members reconsider their opposition to the local funding of charter schools or “renounce their affiliation with the Republican Party.”

    School choice, the local party declared, is no longer a negotiable issue.

    Pay attention to this. This clash between the philosophical and the practical could be headed the way of your school board very soon. And it will have many of you wondering whether you truly are the conservative you think you are.

    This is what Mike Chapman, a Canton businessman, would tell you. He’s been active in the local Chamber of Commerce, served on the board of the area technical college and — for the past 10 years — occupied a seat on the all-GOP Cherokee County Board of Education.

    Chapman considers himself the picture of a civic-minded, cut-don’t-tax Republican. At least he did until, with three of his colleagues, he was read out of his party. “As a conservative, where do I go when the Republican Party has left the building?” Chapman said. “Locally, I mean. I’m not talking about anywhere else.”

    The spat is an outgrowth of this spring’s decision by the Georgia Supreme Court, which ruled that the state-issued licenses of 16 charter public schools were unconstitutional because they stepped on the prerogatives of local systems.

    The 16 schools were advised to go back to their nearest local boards of education, where they could attempt to negotiate a place in each school system. Among those schools was Cherokee Charter Academy, which had already been turned down twice by the Cherokee County school board.

    In June, after heated debate and a 4-3 vote, the school board rejected the academy a third time. Chapman was joined by Janet Read, Robert Wofford and Chairman Rick Steiner.

    It’s important to note that, last month, Gov. Nathan Deal found a spare $10 million to assure that Cherokee Charter Academy and seven other orphaned charter schools could keep their doors open — at least this year. Cherokee Charter’s students will begin classes Monday.

    The state funding didn’t stop the Cherokee GOP, which had backed acceptance — and funding — by the local school board. The resolution was unanimous. “As a party, we came down on the side of freedom,” said Brian Laurens, the first vice president of the Cherokee GOP.

    The fight may really be about one’s definition of local control. For Laurens and his Cherokee Republican brethren, that means power in the hands of parents who act as the charter school’s governing board. To Chapman, local control — and responsibility — falls to a duly elected school board.

    But we are now in an era replete with suspicion of government at any level. “I’ve come to realize that that attitude is now transcending all the way to the lowest, local level — which would be your school board,” Chapman said.

  51. rikyrah says:

    Jacksonville charter school options expand, offer specialized focus
    Additional schools have unique characteristics in different areas of town.

    By Mary Kelli Palka

    Duval County is adding five more charter schools this year, giving parents more options throughout the county, from Baymeadows to the Westside to Arlington.

    Now the county will have 18 charter schools, including an all-girls school and a charter that’s converting from a private Christian school.

    Charters are independent, public schools that are approved by the School Board, receive funding from the state and offer tuition-free education to students. Students in charters must take Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests each year they’re required, just like their peers do in traditional public schools.

    One of the most unique new offerings this year is Waverly Academy on the Westside, an option for families seeking a girls-only school concentrating on science, technology, engineering and math.

    In Arlington, Seacoast Charter Academy is switching from a private Christian school to a charter. The K-5 school is on a separate campus from the still-religious Seacoast Christian Academy, which served grades 6-12 and is run separately. Seacoast Charter describes itself as offering an “arts integrated, hands-on curriculum,” but the religious aspects to the school, such as weekly chapel, are gone.

    Parents in the Baymeadows area have historically had to travel across town if they wanted a charter school option. But now Charter Schools USA is opening Duval Charter School at Baymeadows for K-8 students, and Duval Charter High School at Baymeadows for ninth graders this year. The high school will eventually add grades 10-12. But the two schools share one campus and focus on giving each child specialized attention.

    And Murray Hill High School is opening for students who are behind in school, at risk for dropping out or who have already dropped out.

    The new charters will vary in size, from about 100 students expected at Waverly in its first year to about 800 expected at the Duval Charter K-8 in Baymeadows.

    Charters are becoming more popular across the country, and Florida is no exception. The state first authorized charters in 1996. While there are still only two charters for school-age students in the other five Northeast Florida counties, charters in Duval have continued to grow.

    Last year, about 3,200 students were enrolled in Duval’s charter schools. That was a 70 percent enrollment increase from the previous year and came at a time when the county saw a slight drop in students enrolled in traditional public schools.


  52. rikyrah says:

    Team Obama Welcomes Rick Perry To 2012 With An Epic Beat Down

    After Rick Perry announced that he is officially running for president, Team Obama put out a statement that slew Perry’s claims of a Texas Miracle, and tied him to the unpopular congressional Republicans.

    During his announcement Perry said,

    Listen, we just got to get back to the basic truths of economic success. As Governor, I’ve had to deal with the consequences of this national recession. In 2003, and again this year, my state faced billions of dollars in budget shortfalls. But we worked hard, we made tough decisions, we balanced our budget. Not by raising taxes, but by setting priorities and cutting government spending. It can and it must be done in Washington, DC.

    Dr. Schwertner (State Representative, R-Williamson County, TX), we have led Texas based on some just really pretty simple guiding principles. One is don’t spend all of the money. Two is keeping the taxes low and under control. Three is you have your regulatory climate fair and predictable. Four is reform the legal system so frivolous lawsuits don’t paralyze employers that are trying to create jobs.

    Over the years, we have followed this recipe to produce the strongest economy in the nation. Since June of 2009, Texas is responsible for more than 40 percent of all of the new jobs created in America. Now think about that. We’re home to less than 10 percent of the population in America, but forty percent of all the new jobs were created in that state. I’ve cut taxes. I have delivered historic property tax reductions. I was the first governor since World War II to cut general revenue spending in our state budget. We passed lawsuit reform, including just this last session a “loser pays” law to stop the frivolous lawsuits that were happening.

    Obama For America hit back hard against Perry’s claims,

    Governor Perry’s economic policies are a carbon copy of the economic policies of Washington Republicans. He pledged to support the cut cap and balance plan that would preserve subsidies for oil and gas companies and tax cuts for the wealthiest while ending Medicare as we know it, eroding Social Security, eliminating hundreds of thousands of jobs and erasing investments in education and research and development. That’s the same approach he took in Texas, where middle class families know his economic record is no miracle – it’s a tall tale. Governor Perry allowed special interests to write their own rules, hired corporate lobbyists to oversee corporations, and cut funding for programs that would create opportunity for middle class families. In a Republican field that has already pledged allegiance to the Tea Party and failed to present any plan that will benefit the middle class or create the jobs America needs to win the future, Governor Perry offers more of the same.

    That was pretty brutal, and a little bit of fact checking reveals that it is all true.

    Paul Krugman has written about the myth of Rick Perry’s Texas miracle. Krugman noted that Perry’s policies have left the state facing a $25 billion shortfall in each of the next two years, and that Texas’ fast booming economy is more due to high oil prices than any sort of conservative ideology tax cut miracle. Texas ranks 49th out of 50 states in per capita tax burden. The problem the state faces is that there is no more room to cut taxes, so the only option left is to gut the few social services that remain.

  53. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s ‘Corporations Are People’ Comments Prompt A Second Attack Ad

    The Democratic National Committee has put out a second ad slamming GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney for saying “Corporations are people, my friend,” in response to a heckler on Thursday.

    The moment those words were out of his mouth, it was just a matter of time till they made their way into an attack ad. The first was out in a matter of hours, and made creative use of the Barbara Streisand song, “People.”

    This new ad lacks Streisand’s dulcet tones, but shows the type of 30 second-style attack ads we can expect if Romney winds up getting the Republican nomination. Opening with the comment, “Mitt Romney stands with the Tea Party,” it then goes on to air the controversial comments before closing with the slogan, “Mitt Romney: Putting Corporations First.”

    The DNC is airing the ad in the Des Moines area from Saturday through mid-week.

    Watch the video below the jump:

  54. rikyrah says:

    Texas raids fund for poor to keep taxes low
    Texas utility customers pay a little extra on their bills that is supposed to go into a fund to help the poor cover their own utility payments. But in a year of record heat, less than half the fund is being paid out, forcing people to do without air conditioning in triple-digit temperatures.

    CBS reports that the Texas legislature has repeatedly approved raiding the fund in order to balance its budget without raising taxes. By 2013, there will be $900 million sitting unspent, with no plans to ever pay it out.

    And not only are the poor being shortchanged, but members of the middle class who pay utility bills are being charged that extra fee which does nothing but subsidize keeping taxes low on the wealthy.

    This video is from CBS News, posted August 12, 2011.

  55. rikyrah says:

    Found this at Obama Diary

    . It is absolutely horrifying. 1% of children insured? Read it and weep for Texans.

    Here are a trove of statistics from TX by a Legislative committee that expose how Perry has destroyed the social infrastructure of TX:

    Texas standings against all 50 states on a variety of issues (1st means highest ranking, 50th means lowest ranking).

    • State Aid Per Pupil in Average Daily Attendance – 47th
    • Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) Scores – 45th
    • % of Population 25 and Older with High School Diploma – 50th
    • High School Graduation Rate – 43rd
    • Per Capita State Spending on State Arts Agencies – 43rd
    • Birth Rate – 2nd
    • Percent of Uninsured Children – 1st
    • Percent of Children Living in Poverty – 4th
    • Percent of Population Uninsured – 1st
    • Percent of Non-Elderly Uninsured – 1st
    • Percent of Low Income Population Covered by Medicaid – 49th
    • Percent of Population with Employer-Based Health Insurance – 48th
    • Total Health Expenditures as % of the Gross State Product – 43rd
    • Per Capita State Spending on Mental Health – 50th
    • Per Capita State Spending on Medicaid – 49th
    • Health Care Expenditures per Capita – 44th
    • Physicians per Capita – 42nd
    • Registered Nurses per Capita – 44th
    • Average Monthly Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) Benefits per Person – 47th
    • Percent of Population Who Visit the Dentist – 46th
    • Overall Birth Rate – 2nd
    • Teenage Birth Rate – 7th
    • Births to Unmarried Mothers – 17th
    • Percent of Women with Pre-Term Birth – 9th
    • Percent of Non-Elderly Women with Health Insurance – 50th
    • Rate of Women Aged 40+ Who Receive Mammograms – 40th
    • Cervical Cancer Rate – 11th
    • Percent of Women with High Blood Pressure – 16th
    • Percent of Pregnant Women Receiving Prenatal Care in First Trimester – 50th
    • Women’s Voter Registration – 45th
    • Women’s Voter Turnout – 49th
    • Percent of Women Living in Poverty – 6th
    • Mortgage Debt as Percent of Home Value – 47th
    • Foreclosure Rates – 10th
    • Median Net Worth of Households – 47th
    • Average Credit Score – 49th
    • Retirement Plan Participation – 47th
    • Amount of Carbon Dioxide Emissions – 1st
    • Amount of Volatile Organic Compounds Released into Air – 1st
    • Amount of Toxic Chemicals Released into Water – 1st
    • Amount of Recognized Cancer-Causing Carcinogens Released into Air – 1st
    • Amount of Hazardous Waste Generated – 1st
    • Amount of Toxic Chemicals Released into Air – 5th
    • Amount of Recognized Cancer-Causing Carcinogens Released into Water – 7th
    • Number of Hazardous Waste Sites on National Priority List – 7th
    • Consumption of Energy per Capita – 5th
    • Workers’ Compensation Coverage – 50th
    • Income Inequality Between the Rich and the Poor – 9th
    • Income Inequality Between the Rich and the Middle Class – 5th
    • Homeowner’s Insurance Affordability – 46th
    • Number of Executions – 1st

  56. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    August 13, 2011 10:55 AM
    The poor track record of savior candidates
    By Steve Benen

    We’ve seen this dynamic before. Months into a presidential nominating contest, the party’s base and establishment have gotten a good look at their candidates, and find themselves underwhelmed, if not dismayed. They suddenly realize they don’t much care for the field, start to feel antsy, and wonder if there’s a savior candidate available to rescue the party before it’s too late.

    With Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) launching his presidential campaign this weekend, we have the latest in the series of savior candidates. As Josh Green recently noted, however, the track record for these presidential hopefuls is poor.

    In the past, notable figures — from actor and former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson to General Wesley Clark to the late Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy — all aroused the same rapturous excitement and outsized expectations that Rick Perry is awakening now. But none of them remotely lived up to the hype.

    That’s the paradox of the last-minute savior. The attention and enthusiasm are alluring, the possibilities are enticing, the path to the nomination tantalizingly clear. But each time, the lesson has proved the same: latecomers always lose.

    As Perry’s effort gets underway, it’s worth pausing to ponder two questions: why do latecomers always lose and will Perry be any different?

    The first question is easier. Savior candidates invariably falter because running for president is infinitely more difficult than it looks. When one’s rivals have months of lead time, it’s not just a matter of catching up in polls and fundraising; it’s also a matter of immediately reaching mid-season form. The other candidates, in other words, have had more practice being candidates.

    Consider an example. In April, Mitt Romney spoke at a cattle call in New Hampshire, hosted by the Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity. It was billed as Romney’s unofficial debut as a 2012 candidate — and he was awful. His speech was weak, his Q&A was awkward, and his message was disjointed. Romney was, objectively, a bit of a mess, even joking about “hanging” President Obama before quickly walking it back.

    How is this relevant? Because few even remember this appearance now. It happened away from the spotlight, without the intense glare of a national campaign in full swing, when Romney had the luxury of slipping up before sharpening his message.

    And that’s a luxury latecomers never have. Every candidate needs time to get better — on the stump, in interviews, in debates, in engaging with diverse national voters directly — but so-called saviors are forced to be polished and proficient immediately. They don’t have time to work the kinks out, and when they slip up, as everyone does, it garners significantly more attention, and does far more damage.

    Will Perry run into the same trouble? We’ll obviously find out soon enough, but I’d argue the Texas governor is probably better suited than the other modern latecomers. Clark had never sought elected office and it showed; Kennedy couldn’t say why he was running; and Thompson was just incredibly lazy. Perry, meanwhile, is a sitting governor of a large state who’s won three statewide races in the last nine years, and appears to understand what’s expected of a national candidate.

    He’ll have to be very good, very quickly, to avoid the other savior candidates’ fate, but I wouldn’t write Perry off just because he’s late to the game. The current GOP field really is weak, and Perry may very well prove to be the one candidate who can appeal to all of the party’s key constituencies.

    If he can avoid rookie screw-ups, I suspect it’ll be a three-person contest for the nomination: Romney, Bachmann, and Perry.

  57. rikyrah says:

    Judge allows cuts to Arizona’s Medicaid program

    A Maricopa County Superior Court judge on Wednesday refused to block cuts to the state Medicaid program, saying a voter-approved law requiring health coverage for Arizonans below the poverty level doesn’t force the Legislature to pay for it.

    Judge Mark Brain’s ruling means an enrollment cap for childless adults will remain in place, eliminating an estimated 110,000 people from the rolls in the coming year and freezing out an untold number of low-income Arizonans.

    Lawyers representing people who have been denied health care since the freeze was imposed July 8 argued that it violated state law, passed by voters in 2000, and the state Constitution, which voters amended in 1998 to prevent legislative meddling with ballot measures.

    But Brain said the constitutional protection didn’t apply. It prohibits the Legislature from doing things – such as amending or repealing voter-approved laws or diverting funds – but does not require lawmakers to do things, he said.

    “The Voter Protection Act does not impose an enforceable duty on the Legislature to fund Proposition 204,” he wrote in his seven-page ruling. “Simply put, the court lacks the authority to make the Legislature fund Proposition 204.”

    State lawmakers and Gov. Jan Brewer cut Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state’s Medicaid program, by more than $500 million to help balance the budget. AHCCCS won federal approval last month to cap enrollment for adults without dependent children, for savings estimated at $190 million.

    Anne Ronan, an attorney with the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, said the judge’s ruling dilutes the initiative process and effectively repeals the law that voters approved.

    She said they will appeal the decision. In the meantime, she said, low-income, chronically ill Arizonans are at risk.

    “People are calling us every day who are being denied, with very serious health problems,” Ronan said.

    Prop. 204 initially relied on tobacco settlement dollars as the primary source of funding but required that it “shall be supplemented, as necessary, by any other available sources.”

    Attorneys for Brewer and AHCCCS argued that the reference to “available sources” gave them authority to cut AHCCCS, which serves 1.3 million people and has seen dramatic growth since the recession took hold. The state’s financial crisis meant there was no money “available,” lawmakers argued, and freezing programs beyond minimal federal requirements was the only way to keep the rest of the AHCCCS intact.

    They also argued that the judicial branch had no business telling the Legislature how to appropriate state funds. “Arizona’s Medicaid program was unsustainable,” Brewer said in a statement. “This ruling ensures that elected officials maintain their authority to make difficult financial decisions on behalf of the state of Arizona.”

    Thousands of people fall off the AHCCCS rolls every month. Community groups, including Don’t Get Dropped, say phone calls and anxiety levels are increasing.

    “People are asking, ‘What am I going to do?’ ” said Allen Gjersvig, executive director of the Keogh Health Foundation, which is spearheading Don’t Get Dropped. “There aren’t a lot of good choices.”

    Among those who are losing coverage are parents whose children reach maturity or who lose custody. Gjersvig said some people also are having trouble getting through to the state Department of Economic Security to complete their re-enrollment paperwork and required phone interview. The agency handles AHCCCS eligibility.

    Roughly 250,000 people are covered under Prop. 204, including about 6,100 people with serious mental illness, 1,200 with HIV/AIDS and 1,500 young adults poised to age out of Medicaid coverage for children. Those three groups are largely exempted from the freeze.

    Read more:

  58. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    August 13, 2011 1:40 PM
    Today in Ames

    By Steve Benen

    I’d prefer to think the Ames Straw Poll is a pointless publicity stunt, made important by bored reporters. We’re talking about an event that’s little more than a fundraiser, and this year, several candidates aren’t even participating, at least not officially. The media seems eager to give today’s gathering and results significance just for the sake of doing so, sort of like giving attention to a celebrity who’s famous for being famous.

    And yet, today’s event in Iowa probably matters anyway.

    Chris Cillizza explained that the Ames Straw Poll “has become a sort of proving ground for wanna-be Republican candidates, an early test of organizational heft and buzz.” That sounds about right. But as Nate Silver noted, Ames’s predictive track record also offers a reminder about why the political world cares as much as it does.

    Since the event began in 1979, the candidate winning the Iowa caucus has placed first or second in the straw poll every time. Two successes in particular stand out. In 1979, George H.W. Bush won Ames despite polling at just 1 percent in a Des Moines Register survey — he went on to win the Iowa caucus. And in 2007 Mike Huckabee, in the low single digits in both state and national polls, finished second in the straw poll, the first tangible indicator of his upside in Iowa.

    There have also been a couple of failures. Phil Gramm tied for first in Ames with Bob Dole in 1995, surprising Mr. Dole who had led Mr. Gramm in a Des Moines Register poll 57 percent to 11 percent. But Mr. Gramm’s candidacy flopped. And in 2007, the third- and fourth-place finishers in Ames, Sam Brownback and Tom Tancredo, dropped out before the Iowa caucuses.

    But Ames does better than other indicators. Since 1979, its results have the predictive power to explain 58 percent of voting in the Iowa caucuses. This compares favorably to the most recent Des Moines Register poll conducted before the straw poll, which explains 39 percent of caucus results.

    The sample size of the analysis is obviously limited, since the straw poll itself hasn’t been around that long. But the political takeaways from the straw poll become self-fulfilling — and the candidates know it.

    It’s why Tim Pawlenty conceded this week that he’ll have to “reassess” the direction of his campaign if he fares poorly in Ames, while Rick Santorum suggested he might just quit if he’s not “in the top five” today.

    So, who’ll come out on top? The scuttlebutt suggests the top contenders today are Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, and Tim Pawlenty. We can expect results to be read sometime after 6 p.m. eastern.

  59. CareyCarey says:

    C’mon now, if a person couldn’t do the jerk, he or she was a jerk or a white guy from the hills of West Virgina :-). but check this… you left out the camel walk. What… you don’t know nothin’ about the camel walk? Shiiiiiit, I remember a day I busted out the camel walk (it was a James Brown dance) and lord have mercy, everybody stopped dancing and formed a circle around me and my partner. We were doing the damn thang. We were the big stars on the night. Forget about John Travolta and Saturday Night Fever, it was Carey & Debbie at Mr HIckman’s community center.

    And what about the slop, do y’all know anything about THAT? Don’t make me have to post a video of my dance moves. But my best-est, my most superfantasmodelicious move, and my favorite of all time is… the slow grind *lol*. Are you kidding me, forget about it, that’s when I knew a woman really cared about me. I’m not going to go into all the finer details but when I was moving my hips slow and easy, and she was pushing back, I knew we were about to make fine music together. And then, when I laid down my magic in her ear and she said, “yes daddy”, I knew she was the one for me. Well, at least for that one night :-(

    But really, who can forget those sweaty check to check moments with grease running from the sistah’s hair? Blue Magic and Royal Crown baby. And sometime good ol’ Vaseline petroleum jelly kept the hair greased and ready to go. But y’all probably don’t know nothing about that.

    • CareyCarey says:

      Here. the camel walk and many others. It’s called “there was a time”..

    • CareyCarey says:

      Now I’m sitting here thinking that my old school vernacular must have, possibly-maybe-chould have pissed off some folks. I mean, I wonder if the words slow grind should have been replaced with “slow dance”?. I mean, after second thought, although that’s what we called it, I doubt if I ever went up to a lady and said, “hey girl, can I get this slow grind”. instead of “this dance”.

      Oh well, anyway, tell SG2 that her voice is missed and stay in the fight with gratefulness and gratitude leading the way. Nobody knows all our sorrows and nobody knows all our pain, but I know there’s a way to find bits of peace in our day.

  60. Alright! This should be fun. Dance, baby, dance. Probably my most favorite thing to do when I have free time. xo

    • Ametia says:

      Hi Dorothy. Go ahead and get your groove on. Say, can you send up prayers for SG2. She’s in the middle of a major crisis right noew. Thank you!

      • OMG! Sending healing energy right now. SG2 is in Texas? I do better with my energy if I know where to aim it, so unless I’m told different I’m aiming it there! Bless her sweet heart. And I’m praying too!

      • Ametia says:

        Hi aquagranny. Thank you for your prayers. I’ll let SG2 know she is in your prayers. It’s going to be slow and easy here at 2 Chics for a while. Please feel free to stop by and comment; We appreciate you!

  61. Ametia says:

    Good Afternoon Everybody.

    • rikyrah says:

      Hi all.

      went to a wedding today. non-traditional, the bride wore green. it was a fun time. good to see two people take the plunge whether traditionally or non-traditionally.

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