Monday Open Thread

The Twist was a dance inspired by rock and roll music. It became the first worldwide dance craze in the early 1960s, enjoying immense popularity among young people and drawing fire from critics who felt it was too provocative. It inspired dances such as the Jerk, the Pony, the Watusi, the Mashed Potato, the Monkey and the Funky Chicken, although none were as popular. The dance was inspired by “The Twist,” B-side of Hank Ballard’s single “Teardrops on your letter” in 1959.

The Twist is performed by standing with the feet approximately shoulder width apart. The torso may be squared to the knees and hips, or turned at an angle so one foot is farther forward than the other. The arms are held out from the body, bent at the elbow. The hips, torso, and legs rotate on the balls of the feet as a single unit, with the arms staying more or less stationary. The feet grind back and forth on the floor, and the dance can be varied in speed, intensity, and vertical height as necessary. Occasionally one leg is lifted off the floor for styling, but generally the dance posture is low and with the feet in contact with the floor with very little vertical motion.

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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103 Responses to Monday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    News Alert: Obama plans to preserve major government role in mortgage market
    August 15, 2011 8:58:53 PM

    President Obama has concluded that the federal government must continue to play a significant role in the nation’s mortgage market, a milestone in the effort to craft a new housing policy from the wreckage of the mortgage meltdown. According to people familiar with the matter, a proposal now being developed by the administration could preserve, though with significant new constraints, mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which some critics say contributed to the financial crisis.

    For more information, visit

  2. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    August 15, 2011 4:40 PM
    When the GOP establishment ponders electability

    By Steve Benen

    Karl Rove seems concerned about his party’s presidential field, telling Fox News this morning:

    “You don’t want these candidates moving so right in the Republican primary that it becomes impossible for them to win the general election, because it will become a self-defeating message in the primary.

    “People want to win. They don’t want somebody who goes so far to the extremes of either party that they lack a chance to carry a victory off in November.”

    I didn’t see the whole appearance, but as best as I can tell, Rove didn’t specifically name the candidate (or candidates) who he feels would make it “impossible” for Republicans to win next year.

    But Rove’s comments come the same morning as a Wall Street Journal editorial that raised similar concerns about the electability of some of the leading Republican candidates, and unlike Rove, the Journal specifically calls out Michele Bachmann and Karl Rove as being potentially problematic.

    The emergence of Mr. Perry and Mrs. Bachmann is nonetheless more evidence that GOP voters continue to have doubts about their candidates. Mitt Romney is a weak front-runner who has money and campaign experience and looks Presidential. But he gives little evidence that he has convictions beyond faith in his own technocratic expertise. […]

    Republicans and independents are desperate to find a candidate who can appeal across the party’s disparate factions and offer a vision of how to constrain a runaway government and revive America’s once-great private economy. If the current field isn’t up to that, perhaps someone still off the field will step in and run. Now would be the time.

    Between Rove and the WSJ, I almost get the sense the Republican establishment still hopes to tell the Republican base, “Well, sure, being right-wing is fun, but you folks aren’t actually going to nominate an extremist for president are you? Are you?”

    The notion that the party establishment may not have the influence it wants over this process has to be pretty scary for Rove & Co.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Rick Perry’s 1st Campaign Video: Obama Caused The S&P Downgrade
    Evan McMorris-Santoro | August 15, 2011, 3:24PM

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry is kicking off his presidential campaign with a bit of creative spin on S&P’s downgrade of the U.S. credit rating: turns out President Obama did it.

    In his first and bio-heavy campaign video of his presidential campaign, Perry places the blame for the downgrade squarely on the shoulders of Obama. This comes despite the fact that S&P itself says the slew of congressional Republicans who were (at best) apathetic about default were responsible for the rating agency’s controversial decision.

    “Record debt and the president’s refusal to control spending led to our nation’s credit rating being downgraded for the first time in history,” the Perry video’s narrator says.

    Most of the video is about how tough the economy is and how great Perry is — both important messages for Perry’s fledgling campaign. But polls have shown voters are turned off by how the GOP handled the whole debt crisis (even if they agree with the credit downgrade it caused.) Perry put himself among the pro-default crowd during the debt ceiling debate, and like most of the Republicans who rejected the dangers of default he’s now blaming Obama for the problem S&P says he and others who share his views caused.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Issa Disputes NYT Report Alleging Ties Between Business Interests And Congressional Record

    The office of Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) is striking back at an extensive piece in the New York Times on reportedly close ties between his congressional priorities and his business interests.

    The Times reports that unlike most members of Congress, the California Republican appears very involved in the day-to-day operations of his multi-million dollar business empire. In Issa’s case, “it is sometimes difficult to separate the business of Congress from the business of Darrell Issa,” writes Times reporter Eric Lichtblau.

    Amongst the charges: Issa arranged for $800,000 in earmarks that will help widen a busy road in front of a medical plaza he bought for $10.3 million. The Times reports “more than two dozen of Mr. Issa’s properties are within five miles of projects he has personally earmarked for road work, sanitation and other improvements.”

    Lichtblau reported that the House Ethics Committee quietly probed Issa’s business interests last year but did not find enough evidence to move forward with an investigation.

    Issa spokesman Frederick Hill told TPM that the congressman “has never been contacted by the Ethics Committee about any potential violation.”

    Issa’s team says the report is nothing more than an attack on the congressman for aggressively pursuing the Obama administration in his position as head of the House Oversight Committee.

    “Beginning with the opening line, the New York Times piece is riddled with factual errors and careless assertions that has resulted in a story predicated on innuendo and not fact,” Issa spokeswoman Becca Glover Watkins said in emails to TPM and other media outlets.

    “It’s disappointing that the so-called ‘paper-of-record’ has decided to publish a story that is nothing more than a compilation of left-wing blog posts that are easily found by a simple google search,” Watkins said. “It’s the same old playbook, every time Darrell Issa starts gaining ground, the left-wing smear machine goes on the attack. If anything, this story validates the work that the Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee is pursuing.”

  5. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 15, 2011 3:30 PM

    What a president ‘looks like’

    By Steve Benen
    In advance of the 2008 presidential campaign, many high-profile figures in the media described Mitt Romney as someone who “looks like a president.” It was as if news outlets were thinking of central casting, and imagining who looked the part. Romney — a handsome, middle-aged white man — fit the bill. The media tended not to describe Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama the same way.

    Four years later, we’re seeing the same phenomenon. This time, not only does Romney “look like a president,” but so too does Rick Perry. Here’s Richard Cohen’s column, for example, pondering what will happen with the Republicans’ top-tier presidential candidates.

    I can think of no reason why anyone who, for some unaccountable reason, supports Michele Bachmann will not move over to Perry. He is her equal in social issues, which is her strength, but he is a much better campaigner — as he showed the other day in Waterloo, Iowa. He retailed a GOP dinner, going from table to table, while Bachmann made a Lady Gaga entrance — rock music, lights, phalanx of security — and just perfunctorily met with the ordinary people she claims both to be and to represent. Perry, who actually looks like a president (also the late Rory Calhoun), will raise far more money and breeze by her. Au revoir, Michele. [emphasis added]

    And why does Perry “look like a president”? Presumably for the same reasons Romney does — he’s a handsome, middle-aged white man.

    I realize perceptions like these become ingrained over the course of many decades, and these media observations are not intended to be racist of misogynistic. Handsome, middle-aged white men have been the presidential norm for generations. I get that.

    But the larger point is this: observers accustomed to the old way are going to have to change their perceptions. I don’t know whether Barack Obama “looks like a president” by the standards of the media establishment, but I do know he is the president, which necessarily changes what it means to look like one. Hillary Clinton may not have been out of central casting, but she very easily could have been elected, too.

    It took too long, but the rulebook for what a president “looks like” has been tossed aside. It’s time for some in the media to catch up.

    • creolechild says:

      HOLD UP! “I can think of no reason why anyone who, for some unaccountable reason, supports Michele Bachmann will not move over to Perry. He is her equal in social issues, which is her strength…”

      What the hell? You mean strength in social issues such as “praying away the gay,” “shutting down the EPA,” “not raising the debt ceiling,” and “re-implementing DADT” and not answering questions she doesn’t like or has an answer for are now being touted as strengths….GTFOH! The media is working really hard to make it seem as though she’s a viable candidate; the same way they did with Palin~

      • Ametia says:

        Nothing gets by you, CC. Break it down.

        BTW, MOFOS, right now, TODAY, our president looks like Barack Hussein Obama.

        Get over BITCHES!

  6. rikyrah says:

    August 15, 2011 2:45 PM

    Top White House aides welcome confrontation

    We talked over the weekend about a much-discussed New York Times piece on the White House considering its next step on the economy. As the NYT characterized it, there’s a debate underway within the West Wing: Bill Daley and David Plouffe have pushed for modest pragmatism intended to appeal to independents; Gene Sperling and others have pushed to be more ambitious and confrontational.

    It didn’t exactly paint an encouraging picture. One approach envisions pleading with Republicans to throw some passable crumbs at the economy; the other would pass nothing but would clear the way to hammer the GOP.

    A White House official told Greg Sargent this afternoon that the NYT piece didn’t tell the whole story.

    According to the official, who wanted anonymity because officials don’t want to be quoted on record discussing internal messaging deliberations, Plouffe and Daley both favor a confrontational rhetorical approach that will blame Republicans for opposing any and all job creation efforts for purely political reasons; both are leading internal boosters of a message that accuses Republicans of putting party before country.

    “Plouffe and Daley have been big proponents of the sort of messaging that you saw from the President’s Country before Party speech in Michigan,” the official says.

    As we discussed last week, the message in Michigan was pretty confrontational. The president still had his gloves on, but at least he was throwing some credible jabs, (accurately) holding Republican responsible for self-inflicted national wounds, undermining the efficacy of the American political system, and caring more about elections than the national interests.

    If Plouffe and Daley, allegedly the ones who are reluctant to be confrontational, are comfortable with this rhetorical line, that’s encouraging, and as Greg noted, it’s also “a bit at odds with the public picture that’s emerged.”

    There’s still one question, though, that remains unanswered. The president’s team is probably on the same page when it comes to relatively aggressive rhetoric, and I’m glad. But we don’t yet know how this will translate into an economic policy agenda — do Obama and his team aim big, rally the base, and dare Republicans to get in the way (and accept the blame), or do they aim lower, and hope to put a few modest wins together in the hopes they’ll make a modest difference?

    Greg hopes “the policies will follow the rhetoric.” So do I.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 10:56 AM PDT.

    Rove: It’s a liability to be too conservative in the GOP primary
    by Jed Lewison .

    Karl Rove, earlier today, making the case it’s a mistake for GOP presidential hopefuls to move to the right because Republican primary voters will reject candidates who are too extreme:
    You don’t want these candidates moving so Right in the Republican primary that it becomes impossible for them to win the general election, because it will become a self-defeating message in the primary.
    People want to win. They don’t want somebody who goes so far to the extremes of either party that they lack a chance to carry a victory off in November.

    If today’s GOP were a sane party, Rove’s comment might make sense, but today’s GOP is anything but sane. Everything we’ve seen over the past couple of years is that nothing is too right wing for the GOP. Even Mitt Romney, despite his past, is now running as a born-again teabagger, at least in substance if not in spirit. Not a single one of them said they’d agree to a deficit reduction deal with a 10-to-1 ratio between spending cuts and tax hikes.

    The only really big domestic policy difference among the candidates during last Thursday’s debate came when Jon Huntsman said he favored civil unions and that he supported Boehner’s debt deal. Other than that, watching the debate was like watching a bunch of inbred red staters throw wingnut confetti on each other.

    With the occasional exception of Jon Huntsman (and Ron Paul on foreign policy), all of the GOP candidates are already very far to the right, at least in terms of what they say they believe in. Tim Pawlenty just abandoned his campaign because conservative activists didn’t really believe he was one of them. Mitt Romney can’t break out of the 20 percent range because conservative GOP primary voters don’t believe anything he says. Meanwhile, not a single candidate has got in trouble on anything by moving too far to the right…because no matter what Karl Rove may say or believe, in today’s Republican Party, there’s no such thing as too far to the right.


    • Ametia says:

      The Republican Party & Tea Party are one in teh same, batshyt crazy

      • creolechild says:

        You’ve made an interesting point that’s often ignored: The Republican Party & Tea Party are one in the same. If you were to ask the Teahadists about their political affiliation, they say they were Republicans. Although there are some Libertarians in the mix too but the Tea Party Movement was a creative way to distance Republicans from George Bush and shift allegiance to the Koch Brothers and anyone else who had enough money to support their election campaigns. Grassroots my azz~

      • creolechild says:

        S/B: they would say they were Republicans…

  8. rikyrah says:

    WSJ Treats GOP Field Like Dog Food
    by BooMan
    Mon Aug 15th, 2011 at 12:09:58 PM EST

    Interestingly, the Wall Street Journal has tasted what the GOP presidential candidates are offering and has decided to spit it right back out. Perry’s sounds too Texan and his “muscular religiosity” won’t play in the suburbs. Bachmann is too inexperienced, gaffe-prone, and anti-Establishment. Romney provides “little evidence that he has convictions beyond faith in his own technocratic expertise.” Huntsman has no governing philosophy. Ron Paul “has no chance to win the nomination.” The rest of the field (including the undeclared Palin) doesn’t even merit a mention. It’s a frank and brutal assessment of the field, and it concludes with this:

    Republicans and independents are desperate to find a candidate who can appeal across the party’s disparate factions and offer a vision of how to constrain a runaway government and revive America’s once-great private economy. If the current field isn’t up to that, perhaps someone still off the field will step in and run. Now would be the time.

    Translation: the Republican Establishment hates Rick Perry and they aren’t going to line up behind him as many people suspected they would. As for Romney, they don’t like him either, and don’t think he can beat Obama. I don’t know who the Journal thinks they’re talking to. Jeb Bush? Mitch Daniels? Chris Christie? We’ve been down those roads over and over again.

    I think the Journal should worry less about personalities and more about the fact that the Republican Party is now so unhinged that it’s literally applauding a downgrade of our country’s credit rating that it wantonly and recklessly caused. Maybe the financial elites should work on fixing that problem instead of exacerbating it.

  9. rikyrah says:

    The Ten Weirdest Ideas In Rick Perry’s ‘Fed Up’
    By Matthew Yglesias on Aug 15, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Rick Perry’s November 2010 book Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington is not a typical “campaign book” from a political candidate. For starters, its forward is written by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, nominally one of Perry’s rivals for the nomination. For another thing, it’s overall tone much more closely resembles that of a B-list conservative radio host looking to stir up controversy and sell books than of a cautious politician trying out poll-tested lines. Consequently, while the book is by no means a good one, its certainly a lot more interesting than most comparable works. I read it over the weekend, and thus am proud to produce the following list of the Top Ten Weirdest Ideas in Rick Perry’s Fed Up:

    — 10. Social Security Is Evil: According to Perry Social Security is “by far the best example” of a program “violently tossing aside any respect for our founding principles.” (page 48)

    — 9. Private Enterprise Blossomed Under Conscription and Wartime Price Controls: Not only does he argue that the New Deal failed to end the Great Depression, but he asserts “recovery did not come until World War II, when FDR was finally persuaded to unleash private enterprise.” (page 48)

    — 8. Medicare is Too Expensive But Must Never Be Cut: Both establishing Medicare in 1965 and expanding it to include prescription drugs in 2003 are examples of “an irresponsible culture of spending in Washington” (page 63), but establishing “‘councils of experts’ and panels of various sorts” to assess the cost effectiveness of different Medicare-eligible treatments is a “frightening” “scheme” that “undermines freedom” and can be fairly labeled “death panels” (page 81).

    — 7. All Bank Regulation Is Unconstitutional: Criticizing the Security and Exchange Commission’s rulemaking process under the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill, Perry asserts that “if the Constitution were shown the appropriate respect, Washington regulation writers wouldn’t have to worry about underrepresented views, because they wouldn’t have control over them in the first place” (page 94).

    — 6. Consumer Financial Protection Is Unconstitutional: Further reiterates his view that all federal financial regulation is illegitimate, listing the SEC on page 44 as part of a “federal alphabet soup” in which “undemocratic unelected Washington bureaucrats” are “now (dubiously) empowered to dictate their own preferences to the American people.”

    — 5. Almost Everything Is Unconstitutional: Regrets the existence of jurisprudence construing the Commerce Clause to permit “federal laws regulating the environment, regulating guns, protecting civil rights, establishing the massive programs and Medicare and Medicaid, creating national minimum wage laws, [and] establishing national labor laws.” Perry makes a partial exception for laws barring racial discrimination which he says fulfill “the intent behind the passage of the Reconstruction Era amendments.” (page 51)

    — 4. Federal Education Policy Is Unconstitutional: Cites the willingness of Republicans to vote for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as a “perfect example” of “losing sight of the fact that perfectly laudable policy choices at the local level are not appropriate (much less constitutional) at the federal level.” (page 87)

    — 3. Al Gore Is Part Of A Conspiracy To Deny The Existence Of Global Cooling: Jokes that the Social Security Trust Fund “must be somewhere in Al Gore’s lockbox, right next to his notes from inventing the Internet and that global cooling data he doesn’t want anyone to see” (page 60). Argues that moderates oppose curbing greenhouse gas emissions because “they know that we have been experiencing a cooling trend” (page 92).

    — 2. Not Only Is Everything Unconstitutional, Activist Judges Are a Problem: Having called the majority of the duly enacted modern welfare state and federal regulatory apparatus unconstitutional, Perry pivots to the complaint that “the [Supreme] court too often chooses to take it upon itself to govern and to develop policy” (page 114).

    — 1. The Civil War Was Caused By Slaveowners Trampling On Northern States’ Rights: Rather than simply citing chattel slavery as an exemption to his “states’ rights are good” principle, Perry argues that slaveholder activism in the 1850s was an example of big government federal overreach. “In many ways it was was the northern states whose sovereignty was violated in the run-up to the Civil War,” he argues, citing the Fugitive Slave Act and completely ignoring the human rights of the enslaved African-Americans of the south. He says “we can never know what would have happened in the absence of federal involvement,” ignoring again the fact that federalism would have bought peace at the price of continued slavery.

    These stances are well to the right of where Republican candidates have traditionally positioned themselves. Indeed, even Michele Bachmann has not, to my knowledge, deemed Social Security unconstitutional. The propriety of a federal role in regulating the banking industry has been the subject of bipartisan agreement since the Madison administration. All in all, the book should give political reporters plenty of questions to ask Governor Perry as he introduces himself to a non-Texas constituency.

  10. creolechild says:

    Here’s Stevie Wonder, singing Superwoman.

  11. rikyrah says:

    a mofo who was talking about SECESSION has the nerve to question ANYONE’S PATRIOTISM?



    Political AnimalBlog
    August 15, 2011 1:45 PM

    Love it or leave it?

    By Steve Benen

    Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry campaigned in Iowa today, and made a rather provocative comment about President Obama.

    Just minutes earlier, while delivering remarks at the Des Moines Register Soapbox here, Perry focused his fire on President Obama, who will be in a different part of the state later Monday.

    “He says he’s on a listening tour,” Perry said, “so I’m going to talk to him.” … Perry warned that a “big black cloud” hangs over the country.

    “I think you want a president who is passionate about America — that’s in love with America.”

    Perry didn’t explicitly say the president doesn’t love America, but the implication wasn’t exactly subtle.

    I find it rather remarkable, by the way, that the political world threw quite a tizzy when unnamed sources close to the Obama campaign referred to Mitt Romney has “weird,” but Rick Perry challenging the president’s patriotism — in public and on the record — is somehow routine.

    Regardless, of all the lines Perry should feel comfortable pushing, this one should be awfully low on the list. You’ll recall that in early 2009, Perry was so outraged by Democratic efforts to clean up Republican messes, he pushed the rhetorical envelope much further than he should have.

    Specifically, in April ‘09, he denounced the United States government as “oppressive,” arguing that it was “time to draw the line in the sand and tell Washington that no longer are we going to accept their oppressive hand in the state of Texas.” Soon after, he said he doesn’t want to “dissolve” the union of the United States, “But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that.”

    If voters want a president who is “passionate about America” and who is “in love with America,” they may think twice about electing someone who flirted with seceding from America.

    • Ametia says:

      THIS: “Perry warned that a “big black cloud” hangs over the country.”

      More RACIST dogwhislting. Ask Grandpa, country last John McShame how Palin’s racist, terrorist, unamerican rhetoric worked for his presidential run, SECESSIONIST PERRY!

      • “big black cloud?” One of these fools is going to slip and use that “N” word in public. I’m betting on Bachmann but maybe it will be Perry. I’m betting he uses that word plenty in private.

  12. creolechild says:

    Here’s Floetry, singing Feelings.

  13. Ametia says:

    Stop Coddling the Super-Rich

    OUR leaders have asked for “shared sacrifice.” But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.

    While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.

    These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It’s nice to have friends in high places.

    Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.

  14. creolechild says:

    Here’s the Delfonics, singing Hey Love.

  15. creolechild says:

    Here’s Brian Culbertson, playing On My Mind. The band was magnifico….

  16. creolechild says:

    We Aren’t Going Broke
    By: Lawrence Mishel

    Incomes, on average, have grown substantially over the last three decades, both in absolute terms and per person. The good news is that projections show comparable income growth over the next three decades, too. The chart shows the annual levels of per capita income for 1980-2010 and 2010-40. Adjusting for inflation, per capita income was $28,684 in 1980, steadily increased to $47,737 by 2010, and is expected to rise to just over $75,000 by 2040. With this level of past and future income growth, we as a nation are not broke—governments can afford the investments and services we need, and employers can provide rising compensation to employees.

    [Click on link to view graph.]

    And we won’t be broke if we make appropriate choices. The future prosperity of the broad middle class hinges on the economic policies and structures that determine how this future income is generated and shared. For instance, federal and state governments certainly face deficits today, and those deficits are primarily the result of tax policies (Bush-era cuts for the wealthy) and the impact of the Great Recession (which will lessen with time). But with the per capita income growth over the next three decades projected to match that of the past three, we have the means to pay for the government programs we need, and should do so.

  17. creolechild says:

    Grassley Calls S&P Downgrade A ‘Wake-Up Call’ To ‘Reduce Deficit Spending,’ Then Admits He Hasn’t Read The Report – By Scott Keyes and Travis Waldron

    After one of the three credit ratings agencies, S&P, downgraded the United States’ creditworthiness from AAA to AA+ in large part because of extreme GOP intransigence on raising revenue, Republicans were quick to try to deflect blame onto the Democrats. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney singled out the White House, saying “Standard & Poor’s rating downgrade is a deeply troubling indicator of our country’s decline under President Obama.”

    Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) piled on the following day, calling S&P’s move a “wake-up call for Congress and the President to take meaningful action to reduce deficit spending and the resulting debt.”
    ThinkProgress spoke with Grassley at the Iowa State Fair on Thursday to get his further thoughts on S&P’s criticism of Republican stubbornness. However, before we were able to ask the Iowa senator about S&P’s recommendations regarding our nation’s fiscal dilemma, Grassley made a startling revelation: he has not even read the report.


    The report is five pages long. It was released a full week ago. And despite Grassley’s assertion that he was “out here [in Iowa] so I don’t have a copy of the report,” it’s available free on the Internet for anyone to read, Iowans included. Still, Grassley didn’t let the fact that he hadn’t read the report stop him from making broad generalizations about what our plan of action needs to be going forward.


  18. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 15, 2011 1:05 PM

    There’s nothing ‘puzzling’ about jobless aid

    By Steve Benen
    One of the top stories on Fox Nation this afternoon features this headline: “Amazing White House Discovery: Unemployment Creates Jobs.”

    Readers are told, “President Obama has lately been pushing a number of policies that he says will create jobs, including extending unemployment benefits. This is puzzling, since new benefits obviously will not create jobs for unemployed people, who after all are the ones who need work.”

    It’s troubling how often the right considers this “puzzling.” I know the right has been struggling with the argument for quite a while, but it’s really not that difficult to understand.

    We’ve been over this a few times, but let’s briefly recap for Fox’s benefit. Paul Krugman had a column the Republican network might find helpful.

    When the economy is booming, and lack of sufficient willing workers is limiting growth, generous unemployment benefits may keep employment lower than it would have been otherwise. But as you may have noticed, right now the economy isn’t booming — again, there are five unemployed workers for every job opening. Cutting off benefits to the unemployed will make them even more desperate for work — but they can’t take jobs that aren’t there.

    Wait: there’s more. One main reason there aren’t enough jobs right now is weak consumer demand. Helping the unemployed, by putting money in the pockets of people who badly need it, helps support consumer spending. That’s why the Congressional Budget Office rates aid to the unemployed as a highly cost-effective form of economic stimulus. And unlike, say, large infrastructure projects, aid to the unemployed creates jobs quickly — while allowing that aid to lapse, which is what is happening right now, is a recipe for even weaker job growth, not in the distant future but over the next few months.

    Krugman wrote that a year ago, and fortunately, benefits were extended a few months later. With Fox’s friends now in the House majority, the jobless probably won’t be as fortunate this time.

    The basic concept here is quite simple: unemployment benefits are good for the economy. People who receive the aid aren’t sticking it in a mattress or a money-market fund; they’re spending it and doing so immediately because it’s their main source of income. This injects demand and capital into the economy quickly, helping the beneficiaries and the rest of us.

    Fox finds this “puzzling” — or at least pretends to in order to play a stupid game for voters who don’t know better.

  19. creolechild says:

    Ex-House Candidate Caught Trespassing At Paper He Sued Over His Anti-Racial Integration Essay
    By: Jillian Rayfield

    A former candidate for the House of Representatives was arrested on harassment and trespassing charges after he was caught on the property of The Journal News — a newspaper he sued for defamation for publishing stories about an anti-racial integration essay he wrote in 2001. Jim Russell, who unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Nita Lowey (D) in New York’s 19th District in 2010, was arrested Thursday by the Harrison Police Department after he was found on the News’s property. According to the Journal News, Russell had turned up on the property a few times over the last few weeks, leading the paper to warn him through his lawyer to stay away. Harrison Town Justice Ronald Bianchi released Russell, though he’s been ordered to stay off the property, the News reports.

    In October of last year, Russell filed a lawsuit against members of the Journal News, News 12, Regional News Network, and the state and Westchester Republican parties, for allegedly defaming his character during the election. According to Russell, the news networks defamed him by writing articles about a 2001 essay he wrote for The Occidental Quarterly, a journal that is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In his essay, Russell came out against racial integration and inter-racial marriage. “In the midst of this onslaught against our youth,” Russell wrote, “parents need to be reminded that they have a natural obligation, as essential as providing food and shelter, to instill in their children an acceptance of appropriate ethnic boundaries for socialization and for marriage.”


  20. creolechild says:

    Thank you, Deaniac and The People’s View!

    Why Americans are Fed Up with Armchair Beltway Talking Heads
    Posted by Deaniac83

    It never stops, does it? It seems that the mouthpieces and opinion writers of our national media have a fetish: beating up on President Obama. One example this weekend is Matt Miller – a self-proclaimed representative of the “center-left” tells us why the center-left has supposedly had it with President Obama. Evidently the reason is that they are not getting to write the President’s campaign script or dictate his governing methods. Matt Miller, noted supporter of killing public schools, err, I mean of school-vouchers, had this to say:

    It helps to think like Mitch McConnell… for all the attention it will consume, there is no way the super-committee can deliver… Once Obama sees that this struggle for power ensures no substantive progress in the next 15 months, he has two alternatives. He can campaign small — via Mediscare and fresh taxes on millionaires and billionaires, while demonizing the GOP candidate as “worse” — and hope to squeak across the finish line. Or he can go big — with mega-plans for jobs, education, infrastructure, and research and development, while calling out GOP nihilism as the obstacle. […]

    See, Mr. Armchair Campaign Operative over here is going to give an electoral lecture to the man who defeated two political machines and inherent, institutional political racism to become the first black President of the United States. Also, he is going to presuppose the success or failure of the Congressional committee which has just been formed. Because, you know, Mitch McConnell.

    Frankly, this is why the American people are fed up with the beltway. The reason is people like Matt Miller who have lived in the beltway bubble for so long that they cannot see beyond it. Miller wants the President of the United States, 15 months removed from the election, to focus on coming up with a political message for the election – which, incidentally, Matt Miller will tell him – rather than focusing on real, workable solutions for the American people.

    Hey, Mr. Miller, have you been paying attention? The President and the administration have been laying out a jobs agenda, working on education reform (see Race to the Top and granting waivers to states from Bush’s “No Child Left Behind”), and on research and development. In other words, all the things you want him to do. So what’s your problem again?

    And the president has been calling out the GOP’s nihilism. I didn’t hear you lose your voice last year trying to warn the American people against handing the key back to the Republicans, Mr. Miller. It was President Obama who stood up against the Paul Ryan plan to end Medicare and ended any hope of that surviving. It was President Obama’s call to the nation that jammed Congress’ phone lines and crashed Congress’ web servers during the debt limit heat. What did you do to “call out the GOP nihilism,” Matt Miller?

    The reason the American people are disgusted and that we have a dysfunctional system is that people like Matt Miller believe that we elect Presidents and other elected officials to sit around and ponder how they are going to win the next election rather than lay a foundation for the next generation. We have a dysfunctional system because within the beltway, views like Matt Miller’s that we elect Presidents to give speeches rather than to govern abound and are taken as “conventional wisdom.” And many, if not most, people in Washington DC buy into that garbage, including elected officials. Hence, the self-fulfilling prophecy and the grinding to halt of the American system of government.

    So no, the Left isn’t “fed-up” with President Obama. But the American people are fed up and disgusted for what passes for journalism and conventional wisdom in our nation’s capital. Case in point: Matt Miller. Incumbent presidents are re-elected based on what they are able to accomplish for the American people – or at least, that is the way it should be. That is how this President intends to do that. You don’t have to tell Barack Obama about big ideas, Mr, Miller. Step back from your condescending attitude for a second and realize that this President put more big ideas into practice than you beltway folks can ever dream of.

    Among this president’s big-ideas-that-have-now-happened category: Health care reform (including the largest expansions of Medicaid and SCHIP ever), Wall Street reform, credit card reform, student loan reform, the biggest economic stimulus since FDR, single-handedly rescuing the American auto industry, the first-ever federal consumer protection agency, repealing discrimination against gays in the military, education reform, putting the way government spends your money online for everyone to see and promoting unprecedented transparency, a smart national security policy that is winding down the war even while taking out bin Laden, I could go on and on and on. So please, one more time, stop lecturing Barack Obama about big ideas. You ought to know better.

    Mr. Miller, here’s some advice for you. Go fix your own beltway house first, and drop the condescension and the disrespect of President Obama.. Find out why your colleagues in the beltway media will not seriously cover the GOP’s Jobs Blockade. Instead of giving condescending lectures to the President, try and fix your own trade – the media. That will do you some good.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Is Fannie Mae Pressuring Banks To Foreclose On Troubled Borrowers?
    By Pat Garofalo on Aug 15, 2011 at 11:55 am

    The Detroit Free Press released a blockbuster story yesterday noting that — despite its public assurances to the contrary — mortgage giant Fannie Mae has been pushing banks to put seriously delinquent borrowers into foreclosure, even when the banks are examining those borrowers for mortgage modifications:

    The records cover Fannie Mae’s foreclosure decisions on more than 2,300 properties, a snapshot from among the millions of mortgages Fannie handles nationally. The documents show Fannie Mae has told banks to foreclose on some delinquent homeowners — those more than a year behind — even as the banks were trying to help borrowers save their houses, a violation of Fannie’s own policy.

    The nation’s banks have been awful when it comes to implementing the Obama administration’s signature foreclosure prevention program, the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). One of the principal problems has been that the banks were foreclosing on homeowners who were waiting to see if they qualify for HAMP, in what’s known as “dual tracking.” The government has supposedly ended dual tracking on loans that it owns, but documents obtained by the DFP indicate the Fannie Mae may be doing just that:

    In one instance, from August 2010, Bank of America requested a 45-day delay for a Wisconsin homeowner who owed $124,610 and was 32 months delinquent. The bank said the borrower was applying for a loan modification through HAMP and “it appears that all financial documents have been received and we are waiting for an underwriter to be assigned.”

    Fannie Mae’s response: “Per our new delay initiative, any loan over 12 months deliq must be on an active payment plan with monthly payments coming in. Therefore, this request to postpone is declined. Please proceed to sale.”

    Fannie just wants to clean up its balance sheet and get these loans off the books while taxpayers are eating these losses,” said Valparaiso Prof. Alan White. “And Treasury and the FHFA are letting them get away with it. It’s a huge waste.” Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, added, “It’s rarely in anyone’s best interest to kick out a struggling homeowner who is trying to stay in their home, particularly in cities like Detroit whose housing market is devastated.”

    If Fannie Mae is indeed pushing borrowers into foreclosure whose homes can be saved, it needs to stop. Even if there is something going on here that the Free Press missed, Fannie needs to step forward and to be transparent for its reasons. The foreclosure prevention programs that have been put in place so far have been weak enough, without Fannie Mae undermining them.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 15, 2011 12:30 PM

    Taxpayer-financed campaigning

    By Steve Benen
    The Republican National Committee has been borderline obsessed this morning with President Obama’s bus tour of the Midwest, with the focus on one specific aspect of the visits: they’re taxpayer financed.

    As criticisms go, this seems pretty weak. When the president — any president — travels, it’s going to cost some money. It’s just the nature of the office, and for the RNC to whine incessantly about this seems rather petty. Indeed, it’s practically self-defeating — shouldn’t Republicans have more potent talking points than this right now?

    Regardless, if the RNC really wants to go down this road, fine, let’s talk about it. In fact, let’s remind the RNC about the pernicious practice of asking American taxpayers to foot the bill for a White House’s campaign activities.

    At least seven Cabinet secretaries to President George W. Bush took politically motivated trips at taxpayer expense while aides falsely claimed they were traveling on official business, the independent Office of Special Counsel said Monday night in concluding a three-year probe.

    In a report on allegations that first surfaced before Bush left office, the agency condemned what it depicted as widespread violations of a law restricting political activities by federal workers and illegal use of federal funds to engage in electioneering. […]

    This federally funded travel was organized, approved and closely tracked by Bush’s political office, the Office of Special Counsel found, describing the activity as leading to the illegal diversion of federal funds and workers’ time.

    The report covered multiple areas of wrongdoing related to the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal officials from using their office to influence the electoral process, and found “a systematic misuse of federal resources” on the part of Bush administration officials.

    Taxpayer-financed travel was one of the Bushies’ favorite moves. In one especially relevant example, at this point in 2003, the Bush White House sent three cabinet secretaries on a six-city bus tour — they even used the same luxury bus that Aerosmith used — to promote the administration’s tax cuts. Taxpayers paid for all of this.

    The trips were all coordinated by the Bush/Cheney Office of Political Affairs, which was overseen by Karl Rove, and which was supposed to be prohibited from using public funds for partisan political purposes.

    I can’t find any evidence of the RNC complaining about any of this.

    For the record, I’m not suggesting Obama’s bus tour is inappropriate, but justified in a both-sides-do-it sort of way. I actually believe the opposite: the president is well justified in using public resources to talk to voters about the economy, but the Bushies almost certainly broke the law when they misused tax dollars to finance the politically-motivated travel of Bush cabinet secretaries.

  23. creolechild says:

    Latest nonsense from Cruella de Vil~

    Bachmann: I ‘Probably Would’ Reinstate DADT Because It ‘Has Worked Very Well’
    By Jeff Spross

    This morning on CNN, contender for the GOP nomination and Iowa straw poll winner Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) told host Candy Crowley that DADT “has worked very well,” and if she were president she would “probably” reinstate it.

    CROWLEY: If you became president, would you reinstitute the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy in the military, which said that gays could not serve openly in the military.

    BACHMANN: The Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy has worked very well. And I think…

    CROWLEY: Would you reinstitute it then? Because it’s been set aside.

    BACHMANN: It worked very well. And I would be in consultation with our commanders. But I think yes, I probably would.

  24. creolechild says:

    Thank you, Marion and Planet POV!

    Correction: Hillary Was Never a Progressive, but Johnny Reid Was…
    By: Marion

    As more and more unreconstructed PUMAs and Clintonistas emerge from the woodwork, to whine,cry and generally stir cack over the fact that they really, really, really, really, really don’t like having a black man at the helm, they seem to have taken advantage of the mental historical shallowness that lies comfortably in the minds of most Americans – you know, the region of the mind that’s directly circuited to Fox News (if you’re coming at us from the Right) or MSNBC or even Current TV, from the other direction.

    This region of the mind used to be the place which enabled you to think critically, but now it’s been taken over by Keith or Cenk or Ed or Moanie Joanie or Katrina-the-Poor-Little-Rich-Girl or Her Serene Highness Queen Rafucker Omnipotent of Medialand accompanied by her pet gnome, Little Boy Bill. They do your thinking for you, and they’re quick to remind you that what you seem to recall, even about modern history, even about events which occurred a mere few months ago, is just danged wrong.

    Like, for example, who remembers that the President actually wanted the debt ceiling hike to be worked out well ahead of when it was due to be discussed in the spring. Actually, he wanted the increase as part and parcel of the Lame Duck session, and it was tabled as part of the tax cut negotiations, but Harry Reid didn’t want to go with it. He wanted the debt ceiling to be raised in 2011, when it was due to be raised, so the newly-minted Teabagging Republican House could prove its maturity and “own” part of the responsibility. That strategy worked well, didn’t it? Oh, forgot … we’re supposed to blame the President. Silly me.


    Read more:

  25. rikyrah says:

    Will Perry Torpedo Bachmann?
    They are both anti-secular Christianists with far-right cred and celebrity appeal, but only one has substantial experience, as Doug Mataconis notes:

    Perry has his own vulnerabilities, as I pointed out yesterday. Nonetheless, just looking at these two candidates on paper there really doesn’t seem to be any comparison. Perry has served in Executive positions (Agriculture Commissioner, Lt. Governer, Governor) for twenty years. Bachmann has been a Congresswoman from a central Minnesota Congressional District since 2006, and before that served in the Minnesota State Senate for six years. During her time in Congress, she has no significant legislative accomplishments to put on her resume, and has essentially earned her reputation as a backbench bomb thrower. If you’re a voter in Iowa looking for a conservative who is actually qualified to sit in the Oval Office, the choice is rather obvious I think.

    rum also finds Perry the more formidable challenger to Romney:

    For the first time, Romney has a rival on his right with the ability to raise the resources to make a contest. True, Perry’s liabilities remain real and large. (Rule 1 of American faith-based politics: if you organize a prayer event, you’d better not exclude Catholics.) But unlike all the other non-Romneys to date, Perry also has strengths, including a proven ability to raise money by the barrel-load.

    igel suggests that Perry has a good shot even in Bachmann’s native Iowa:

    S]he is running a very un-Iowa celebrity campaign. What do I mean? The classic Iowa campaign, especially if we’re talking about an underdog candidate like Bachmann still is, is extremely personal. The candidate shows up, gives a speech, and leaves after every voter leaves. Bachmann’s “Meet Me in Ames” tour was more like the blitz you see before an election. … Perry won’t have to change much to be more accessible than Bachmann is, and it would be unusual for her to change and become more accessible.

    Ed Morrissey reinforces that view:

    The lighting had to be changed before Bachmann spoke, apparently at the campaign’s insistence, which delayed her entrance and interfered with the timing of her entrance announcement. But more puzzlingly, Bachmann didn’t arrive to mix with the crowd before the event started, waiting until she was scheduled to speak to enter the Electric Ballroom. Perry arrived early and greeted every table, the kind of retail politics that Iowa usually rewards — and that Iowans expect. Whether the attendees were off-put by the snub or not, Bachmann received less enthusiastic response than Perry did for his speech.

    I remain a bit of a skeptic about Perry. His massive vulnerability in a general election is that he will seem like George W. Bush running as Sarah Palin. But that may be magic in the primaries.

  26. rikyrah says:

    “Think Of It Like Political Islamism”

    Michelle Goldberg diagnoses the core philosophy of Perry and Bachmann: the most radical theocratic politics in the West. And if you haven’t read Ryan Lizza’s extraordinary piece on Bachmann’s explicitly celebrated theological worldview, please do. Money quote:

    For believers in Dominionism, rule by non-Christians is a sort of sacrilege—which explains, in part, the theological fury that has accompanied the election of our last two Democratic presidents. “Christians have an obligation, a mandate, a commission, a holy responsibility to reclaim the land for Jesus Christ—to have dominion in civil structures, just as in every other aspect of life and godliness,” wrote George Grant, the former executive director of Coral Ridge Ministries, which has since changed its name to Truth in Action Ministries. “But it is dominion we are after. Not just a voice … It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time … World conquest.”

    But both Clinton and Obama are Christians. My own view is that it is the very sincerity and clarity of Obama’s Christianity – laid bare most pellucidly in his Neiburhian Nobel speech – that drives the Christianists nuts. It is so alien to them that they have to believe he is a Muslim.

  27. creolechild says:

    Business Booms in the Executive Protection Industry

    A rising number of celebrities, corporate executives and other people with great wealth and status are paying big bucks for personal protection forces. Almost 80 percent of executives polled by members of the security industry expressed an increased need for bodyguards in the current economic recession, with some protection firms reporting 30 to 50 percent increases in revenue in 2009. There is reason to fear the social consequences of a small but growing population of personal mercenaries.

    Recent neurological research, including the famous study of the brains of London taxi drivers, has demonstrated that what one learns and does on a regular basis for long periods of time structures the mind. As a friend of this writer familiar with such studies said after reading the article below: “A job in which one must be on alert for eight or more hours daily for passers-by, amblers and loafers who look (in the mind’s eye) suspicious cannot but reshape one’s mental structure, gradually and implacably making one more and more immune to other and more sociable human feelings, thoughts and activities.” —ARK

    Mother Jones: There are no reliable numbers on the growth of executive protection (EP), but the experts I spoke with say it has expanded at a rapid clip since the 1980s, with dozens of new players breaking into the game. That happens to be the same period during which the top 1 percent of US earners nearly tripled their annual income (PDF). More than a few of them, it seems, have felt compelled to hire men with guns.


    Read more:|+Ear+to+the+Ground

  28. rikyrah says:

    August 15, 2011 11:15 AM

    From coaxing to cudgeling

    By Steve Benen

    The New York Times noted yesterday that the White House still has a lengthy list of economic measures it wants Congress to approve, but President Obama’s strategy “no longer turns on coaxing Republican leaders.” He will instead focus on “his ability to leverage public opinion.”

    In theory, this certainly sounds encouraging. When it comes to persuading GOP lawmakers to do the right thing, no one seems to have any influence. It’s tempting to think Ronald Reagan could delivered a message to congressional Republicans from The Great Beyond, and maybe that would get their attention, but we already know that’s not true — Democrats touted Reagan’s line on the debt ceiling and the GOP couldn’t care less.

    Which means Obama and his team are left with no other choice: it’s time to reach out to the electorate. This includes, as we saw over the weekend, the president pushing voters to lobby Congress, and as E.J. Dionne Jr. noted today, it also means a president rediscovering his fighting spirit, now that the threat of default is off the table for a while.

    [N]o sane human being (and sanity is still an Obama hallmark) can pretend anymore that today’s Republicans remain the party of Bob Dole or Howard Baker…. Obama knows he’s reaching the end of the line on negotiating. Now he has to win. This brings out his competitive side. The rules of an election are similar to those of the sporting contests Obama so enjoys. Candidates are expected to be tough, to go after their opponents, to push and shove and throw them off balance. If you doubt Obama can do this, ask Hillary Clinton or John McCain.

    The president’s speech last Thursday in Holland, Mich., was the first sign that the competitive Obama is reemerging. His target, like Harry Truman’s in 1948, was an obstructionist Republican Congress. He condemned “the refusal of some folks in Congress to put the country ahead of party” and urged that it “start passing some bills that we all know will help our economy right now.”

    With Obama, there is always the danger of a relapse into the passive, we’re-all-reasonable-people style. The fighting Obama has briefly appeared before, only to go back into hibernation. This time, the evidence suggests he’ll stick with it — and, in truth, he has no other choice.

    This all sounds pretty heartening to me, at least insofar as we’re likely to see a feisty president ready to take his case to the public and the fight to his rivals. This strikes me as a very good idea.

    What I’m less sure about is what, precisely, this will mean in policy terms. The economy still stinks, the public is still feeling a lot of anxiety, Congress is still dysfunctional, and Republicans are still being ridiculous. It’d be nice if millions of engaged citizens started demanding the GOP start taking governing seriously, but Republicans are well aware of their deteriorating public support and don’t seem to care.

    My point is, I’d welcome a fired-up president ready to throw a few punches. But then what? What happens after he smacks Republicans around for a while and they still won’t extend the payroll tax cut, won’t extend unemployment benefits, won’t invest in infrastructure, and generally won’t lift a finger to improve the economy at all?

  29. creolechild says:

    Why the tail wags the dog

    ON JULY 29th government number-crunchers revised downwards America’s real GDP figures for the past few years. It now turns out that the country’s output in the second quarter was still below its level at the end of 2007. The story is similar in many other rich countries. In contrast, emerging economies’ total output has jumped by almost 20% over the same period. The rich world’s woes have clearly hastened the shift in global economic power towards the emerging markets. But exactly how big are emerging economies compared with the developed world?
    To track the rise of the emerging economies’ economic clout over time, see our daily chart

    Different organisations draw the boundary between emerging and developed economies differently. The IMF, for example, now includes 11 former emerging markets, among them Hong Kong, South Korea, the Czech Republic and Estonia, in its list of developed economies. Such divisions are more than a tad arbitrary: Estonia’s GDP per person is only $15,000, whereas the emerging economies of UAE and Qatar have average incomes of $60,000 or so. And if successful emerging economies are promoted to the developed league, the economic weight of the developing world is steadily eroded, understating their rising importance. To appreciate the true shift in global economic power, we have looked at the numbers using the IMF’s pre-1997 classification. The developed world consists of the original members of the OECD excluding Turkey*; all other countries, including newly industrialised Asian economies such as South Korea, count as “emerging”.


  30. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 15, 2011 10:40 AM

    Perry’s principles vs. Perry’s pandering

    By Steve Benen
    As recently as last month, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry (R) was sticking to his 10th Amendment guns, taking a “federalist” line on marriage and abortion rights: what the states want to do is up to them. Then, suddenly, the Texas governor discovered he no longer cared for his own principles, and endorsed constitutional amendments that would ensure states can’t make these decisions on their own.

    It was the first of several related moves Perry is making, as his beliefs “evolve” to reflect his national campaign.

    For years, Gov. Rick Perry has taken flak for his 2007 attempt to require girls to be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus, the most commonly sexually transmitted disease and the principal cause of cervical cancer. At the risk of angering fellow conservatives, Perry has always insisted he did the right thing.

    That unapologetic approach changed this weekend.

    A few hours after unveiling his campaign for president, Perry began walking back from one of the most controversial decisions of his more-than-10-year reign as Texas governor. Speaking to voters at a backyard party in New Hampshire, Perry said he was ill-informed when he issued his executive order, in February 2007, mandating the HPV vaccine for all girls entering sixth grade, unless their parents completed a conscientious-objection affidavit form.

    The list of admirable positions Perry has taken as governor is quite brief, which makes it that much more discouraging when he reverses course on his best decisions.

    Social conservatives have long been opposed to initiatives to combat the human papillomavirus (HPV), which increases a woman’s chances of developing cervical cancer. Merck developed a vaccine that immunizes against HPV infection, and it was approved by the FDA, which led the religious right to fight for restrictions. As the Family Research Council said a while back, the vaccine “could be potentially harmful” to women “because they may see it as a license to engage in premarital sex.”

    Let that one roll around in your brain for a moment. A vaccine that prevents deadly diseases is, among some on the right, more harmful because sex is, you know, bad.

    Perry, at least in 2007, knew better. Indeed, the governor was refreshingly sensible on the matter: “Providing the HPV vaccine doesn’t promote sexual promiscuity any more than the hepatitis B vaccine promotes drug use,” Perry said at the time. “If the medical community developed a vaccine for lung cancer, would the same critics oppose it, claiming it would encourage smoking?”

    That was four years ago. Now he wants to be president, so those principles have been thrown out the window.

    It’s genuinely sad to see what becomes of those who run in Republican primaries, isn’t it?

    • rikyrah says:

      I think Benen is totally wrong here.

      I don’t even follow Governor Good Hair all that much, and even I know that this had nothing to do with women’s health, and everything to do with his former, what, CHIEF OF STAFF, now working for the company that made the vaccine?

      – if this were really about the women, he would have made it financially helpful. as is, he was putting in a requirement for folks to take their daughters to see the doctor SEVERAL TIMES, without, in a state with HIGH UNINSURED, a way to help them pay.

      • Ametia says:

        Agreed with you on this, rikyrah. Governor good hair is not looking out for the general welfare of anyone, especially women and their daughters. GTFOH

  31. rikyrah says:

    he’s a crook whose ass should be IN JAIL.

    I know I sound like a broken record, but I can’t help myself with this crazy azz mofo.


    August 15, 2011 10:00 AM

    The ‘overlap’ among Darrell Issa’s interests

    By Steve Benen

    Earlier this year, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, insisted that President Obama is “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.” He didn’t even try to defend the absurd claim, and looked pretty ridiculous making it.

    What may not have been fully appreciated at the time was the extent to which Issa was engaged in projection.

    Looking back at Issa’s past, we see a politician who appears to have spent a fair amount of his adult life as an alleged criminal, with one run-in with the law after another, including arrests, indictments, and civil suits.

    And looking at Issa’s present, we see a politician — whose power includes leading a committee committed to rooting out government corruption — with a disturbing amount of “overlap” between his public responsibilities and private enterprises. As the NYT’s Eric Lichtblau reports today, Issa routinely blurs the line between federal funding and the congressman’s “growing financial empire.”

    Most wealthy members of Congress push their financial activities to the side, with many even placing them in blind trusts to avoid appearances of conflicts of interest. But Mr. Issa, one of Washington’s richest lawmakers, may be alone in the hands-on role he has played in overseeing a remarkable array of outside business interests since his election in 2000.

    Even as he has built a reputation as a forceful Congressional advocate for business, Mr. Issa has bought up office buildings, split a holding company into separate multibillion-dollar businesses, started an insurance company, traded hundreds of millions of dollars in securities, invested in overseas funds, retained an interest in his auto-alarm company and built up a family foundation.

    As his private wealth and public power have grown, so too has the overlap between his private and business lives, with at least some of the congressman’s government actions helping to make a rich man even richer and raising the potential for conflicts.

    The whole piece is well worth checking out — it’s as much an indictment as an article — to appreciate the scope of the allegations. Ultimately, though, what we see is a lawmaker whose public and private interests are intertwined in ways we just don’t find very often.

    The government funding Issa seeks for his district, at first blush, wouldn’t even be especially interesting. A congressman lining up public-works investments for his constituents seems vaguely hypocritical for a far-right Republican who claims to hate government spending, but that’s routine enough to be uninteresting.

    With Issa, however, these spending measures take on a whole new level of significance given that the investments happen to also boost his own considerable wealth. When he pushed for a thoroughfare earmark, Issa also coincidentally improved the property value for one of his business ventures. When he pushes for looser regulatory measures, Issa is also making matters easier for his own private-sector enterprises.

    It is sometimes difficult, Lichtblau noted, “to separate the business of Congress from the business of Darrell Issa.” Congress has seen plenty of wealthy lawmakers with extensive business interests, but those members nearly always “lower their business profiles considerably and limit their active dealings to avoid potential conflicts of interest.”

    Issa has done largely the opposite.

    That House Republican leaders tapped this guy to be chairman of the House Oversight Committee is among the most laughable decisions Boehner & Co. have made this year — and given what we’ve seen in 2011, that’s no small feat.

  32. Ametia says:

    Well lookie here; no surprises with Rendel the snake.

    Ed Rendell: Hillary Clinton can’t resist White House run

    SNIP: It’s not a question of being dissatisfied with Obama, it’s just that there’s going to be a race in 2016,” Rendell said. “We believed she deserved to be president in ‘08, but it’s our belief and not hers. We’re constantly cajoling her.”

    Read more:

    • creolechild says:

      So much for that often-repeated theory that those who supported Hillary in the 2008 elections threw their “wholehearted” support behind Barack Obama…

      • Ametia says:

        Bingo! these are sore-losing PUMAs who can’t let go of the fantasy of Hillary. Hillary has moved on, Rendel and nem, not so much.

    • creolechild says:

      You know what, let me get this off my chest. It’s not like I really WANT this to happen but on days like this I wish President Obama would call a press conference. It would be very brief where he would say:

      “With the exception of those who understand what I’m trying to accomplish, and what I’ve been up against, but have remained supportive of the policies that I’ve TRIED to enact, FUCK ALL Y’ALL! Michelle, Sasha, Malia and I are moving to Hawaii. Good luck with the Teahadists, bitchez~ THAT. IS. ALL.

      • Ametia says:


        You know, I’m so with you on this script, creolechild, but PBO knew what he’d b up against. I believe he and his fam had the tough heart-heart, and they all knew the shit would be slung at them.

        Barack Obama is a FIGHTER, not a quitter. He might not exhibit the kind of fighting folks think he should display, but he knows the stakes involved, and he will continue presiding over this country in a way it has NEVER been done before. This is the 21st century, folks can either move forward with him or remain in the pits of 18th/19th century oblivion.

      • creolechild says:

        Girl, I hope you’re right but NEVER underestimate the stupidity of people in large groups. Look at how many people don’t even have a BASIC understanding of how US government operates and believes whatever they’re told. This doesn’t leave me feeling very confident that they’re able to separate fact from fiction…(sigh)

      • creolechild says:

        No better example of white privilege and an entitlement mentality than this: “We believed she deserved to be president in ‘08, but it’s our belief and not hers.”

        What the hell has she EVER done that she “deserves” to be the president of this country. And, NO, being white and a female does not count. Last I heard, elections are about which candidates makes their case to the American public and garners the most votes.

  33. creolechild says:

    Canada’s PR work for tar sands: dirty, crude and oily
    By: Martin Lukacs

    Another climate-related record will soon be broken, but it’s not like those you’ve been hearing about: the heat waves, droughts and torrential floods setting calamitous precedents everywhere. For a change, mark down this next one as a sign of hope. It’s that Washington will play host to the largest act of civil disobedience for the climate in US history. From 20 August to 3 September, a wildly diverse range of protesters – Nebraskan ranchers and teachers from Wisconsin, Texan landowners and indigenous leaders in Canada, some of the country’s top scientists and a few celebrities – will descend on the White House for a series of enormous sit-ins. Their demand: that President Obama deny a permit for a pipeline that would further hook the United States to the Albertan tar sands, the world’s dirtiest oil.

    TransCanada’s 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline will carry as many as 1.1m barrels of crude a day to the Gulf of Mexico. It will cut through the sensitive heartland of the country. It will massively enrich big corporations. And it is certain to spill: the only question is when and how often and with what kind of human and environmental toll. If that were not enough, the pipeline is also a surefire recipe to overcook the planet. World-renowned climate scientist James Hansen has concluded only drastic measures will prevent a catastrophic rise in temperature: phasing out coal over the next 20 years, and immediately ending the use of unconventional fossil fuels like tar sands. Burn the murky and gigantic pool of Canadian carbon, and it is “essentially game over” for the climate. The decision for the pipeline’s go-ahead ultimately and fortuitously rests with Obama alone – and thus, so too the power to begin rewriting this ecological horror story. Organisers are hoping persuasion with their bodies will help: already, 1,500 have signed on to risk arrest.


  34. creolechild says:

    Alabama Bishops Condemn Immigration Law

    A broad and controversial immigration enforcement law in Alabama has even religious leaders in the state uneasy because many of them believe the law stands in their way of being good Christians. Saying the law criminalizes their efforts to be good Samaritans, three Christian bishops recently joined a growing number of groups who are challenging the law in court, including the American Civil Liberties Union, a number of teachers’ unions, the U.S. Justice Department and even 16 foreign countries.

    The statute not only makes it legal for law enforcement officers to attempt to determine the immigration status of people they pull over for traffic violations, but also makes it a crime to “transport, harbor or rent property to people who are known to be in the country illegally.” Furthermore, the law makes void any contracts with illegal immigrants. The situation here is a bit out of the norm for liberal politics, with the left in this case citing biblical principles to support its stance, but hey, the more challengers to such a discriminatory law, the merrier! —BF


    Read more:

  35. creolechild says:

    Franken Calls for Oversight of Ratings Agencies
    By Joe Conason

    With world markets suddenly sagging under the weight of Standard & Poor’s Aug. 5 downgrade of Treasury bonds, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., is disturbed by the monopolistic power of the ratings agencies—and still determined to curb their abuses, as he tried to do last year with an amendment to the Dodd-Frank banking reform bill. In an exclusive Monday interview for The National Memo, the Minnesota Democrat said that the misconduct of the ratings agencies led directly to the economic catastrophe that S&P’s rating decision has made even worse. Franken wondered aloud why his proposed reforms of the ratings industry should still be subject to “study” rather than action by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    By setting up an independent federal board to assign ratings jobs to the agencies—rather than letting them be paid by those who issue the securities they grade—his proposal would have severed the industry’s gross conflicts of interest. Known as the “issuer pays” model, that traditional relationship let the banks reward S&P and Moody’s for awarding rubber-stamp AAA ratings to worthless mortgage-backed securities (as they did for years before the housing bubble burst). It was those abuses, Franken said, that left taxpayers, workers and government “holding the bag” while the bankers and ratings firms walked away with huge profits. “What I was trying to do was open this business to more competition,” he said. “And then ultimately, as time went on, the track record of accuracy would be the thing that determined who got what (contract) and who got to grade (which securities).

    You’d be rewarded for accuracy instead of bribery. Put those alongside each other—bribery, accuracy. Accuracy, bribery, hmm.” He laughed. “Which method do you think will probably yield a better product, a more transparent product?” He recalled, “The problem wasn’t just that (the ratings agencies) gave these AAA ratings to subprime mortgage securities. It’s that after the banks ran out of subprime mortgages to securitize, they then gave AAA ratings to bets on subprime. They created an entire other ‘market’ based on so-called derivatives that allowed the banks to bet on (or against) the future value of those assets.


  36. rikyrah says:

    Sunday, August 14, 2011
    Finally Choosing To Fight
    Posted by Zandar
    The NY Times floats a trial balloon that the White House may finally be ready to go after Republicans on blocking any and every measure to improve the economy and create jobs.

    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 president’s team puts a premium on being above the partisan fray, which is usually the right strategy,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate. “But on this issue, when he knows what the right thing to do is, and when a rather small group on one side is blocking any progress, you have to be willing to call that group out if you want to get anything done.”

    Chuck Schumer is correct. The lame duck session tax fight and especially the debt ceiling fight proved that there is no compromise with the GOP in 2011. It’s simply not possible. President Obama bent over backwards and the terms were still unacceptable to the GOP. The deal that had to be worked out in order to stave off default still resulted in Republicans getting the country’s credit rating downgraded due to childish petulance.

    This is absolutely the right thing to do. The White House needs to put concrete measures on the table, and Democrats in the House and Senate need to back these measures. If the Republicans block them and in fact refuse to let them even come up for a vote in the House like they have been, then it’s time to call them out for doing so.

    Republican popularity is in the low 30’s right now, far lower than the Dems and the President (both in the mid-40s). This is a fight the Democrats need to have, and need to win on.

    Too bad I don’t believe it will happen.

    But there is little support for such an approach inside the administration. A series of departures has left few economists among Mr. Obama’s senior advisers. Several of his political advisers are skeptical about the merits of stimulus spending, and they are certain about the politics: voters do not like it.

    Mr. Plouffe and Mr. Daley share the view that a focus on deficit reduction is an economic and political imperative, according to people who have spoken with them. Voters believe that paying down the debt will help the economy, and the White House agrees, although it wants to avoid cutting too much spending while the economy remains weak.

    As part of this appeal to centrist voters, the president intends to continue his push for a so-called grand bargain on deficit reduction — a deal with Republicans to make even larger spending cuts, including to the social safety net, in exchange for some revenue increases — despite the strong opposition of Congressional Democrats who want to use the issue to draw contrasts with Republicans.

    This is what the White House has been doing for the last year or so…and it’s failed miserably. Voters care far more about jobs than deficit reduction and here the NY Times is basically lying. That’s because as I explained yesterday, the Village has their own agenda and that agenda is to sell SS and Medicare cuts.

    The President would be better served by going along with his party here. I’m hoping he still has a choice. I don’t believe he’ll be given one.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Diagnosing the Real Problem
    by BooMan
    Mon Aug 15th, 2011 at 01:30:06 AM EST

    I’m losing my patience for reading these pieces about how America is self-polarizing itself. You want to know why Washington has changed and Republicans no longer sit down to break bread with Democrats? It’s simple. Up until the 1990’s, the Democratic Party was split between pork-addicted Jim Crow Democrats who generally supported the New Deal and the Great Society, and all the people you see in the Democratic Party today: union workers, Jews, racial minorities, and the intelligentsia. What happened is that all the pork-addicted Jim Crow Democrats have become Republicans. And that means that virtually every asshole in the country is now a Republican. It’s true. It used to be true that religious nut-jobs had no real preference when it came to political parties. Roe v. Wade changed that. Today, nearly every religious nut-job in the county is a Republican.
    So, basically, every time I read a story that sobs about the loss of the good old days when the Dems and Republicans got along so well, I think to myself that the author wants us to bring all the racists and fundamentalists back into the fold of the Democratic Party for the good of the country.

    The problem this country faces is not complicated. We have way, way too many assholes living here. Someone should come up with a whole legislative program aimed at reducing the levels of assholery.

    Now, I don’t think the level in increasing, except maybe in response to economic difficulties. In the 1960’s, this country’s attitude about almost everything was worse than it is today. But Congress had just as many asshole country club Republicans as it had white supremacist Democrats. We spread it around. Now it’s all lop-sided.

    One party has absorbed nearly 100% of the greedhead, religious wacko, and racist vote. The problem isn’t that the parties don’t talk nice to each other. The problem is that one party encompasses almost all of our worst instincts. And civilized people, decent people, don’t want to deal with them. And they do what greedy, magical-thinking, assholes do. They break things, steal everything that isn’t nailed down, and act like jerks on principle.

  38. creolechild says:

    Since it’s chilly, dark, and raining right now where I am, I thought I’d break up the routine momentarily to take a look back at some of my favorite athletes. Let’s start with one of my favorite gymnasts, Ms. Dominique Dawes–who at the age of 15, was the FIRST black female to represent the US in women’s gymnastics at an Olympic Game and has earned several medals over the course of time.

  39. rikyrah says:

    Judge OKs Recall Election Against Author Of AZ Immigration Law
    An Arizona judge has given the go-ahead for a recall election of state Sen. Russell Pearce (R), who authored the state’s controversial immigration law.

    On Friday, Superior Court Judge Hugh Hegyi rejected a challenge of the recall by Pearce’s attorney Lisa Hauser, who argued that a number of the signatures didn’t meet state requirements.

    From The Arizona Republic:

    Hauser’s legal challenge alleged several problems with the signatures, including that none of the petition forms complied with state requirements that a petition gatherer sign an oath that the signatures are “genuine” and that the recall statement was misleading and did not clearly explain that signing the petition would support a recall election.”As the Supreme Court has stated, recall petitions are ‘not a judicial (proceeding) but political in nature,'” Hegyi wrote. “The voters may recall a public official for any reason or no reason at all.”

    Hauser needs to get over 2,609 of the 10,365 signatures thrown out in order to stop the recall election. She says she will appeal to the state Supreme Court.

    Citizens for a Better Arizona filed the petition with Arizona’s Secretary of State in June, citing the immigration law, Pearce’s occasional forays into birtherism, and his opposition to the 14th Amendment, among other things, as reasons for the recall.

    The election is scheduled for November 8.

  40. Ametia says:

    Love this woman….

  41. rikyrah says:

    I’m Not Angry; I’m Indignant
    by BooMan
    Mon Aug 15th, 2011 at 10:09:45 AM EST

    Below the fold I’ve embedded a YouTube of Texas Governor Rick Perry on the stump. His opening message is that he and the Tea Party are not angry, they’re indignant. He then lists all the things they’re indignant about. I don’t know how you can be indignant without being angry, but I guess there’s a sliver of difference there. I also guess Perry is feeling a little defensive about the fact that the Tea Party has never been more unpopular. He wants the support of the Tea Party wing of the GOP but he doesn’t want to come off like Grandpa Simpson.
    Watching Perry, he’s uncomfortably similar to Bush is style, accent, and swagger. What’s frightening is that he doesn’t lose.

  42. Ametia says:

    Why Bottled Water Companies Target Blacks and Latinos
    —By Jaeah Lee
    | Mon Aug. 15, 2011 2:30 AM PDT.Over at Forbes, Nadia Arumugam writes that bottled water companies have been actively marketing their products to minority groups, with ads targeting black and Latino mothers, and endorsements from celebrities like TLC’s Chilli and Hispanic TV host Cristina Saralegui.

    Judging from a new study published by the American Medical Association, the PR push is working. Researchers from the Medical College of Wisconsin found that Latino and African Americans are more likely to give bottled water to their children, and spend up to twice as much of their household income on bottled water as do whites. After surveying some 640 people they found that Latino and African Americans are more likely to consume bottled water largely because they view tap water as a health risk. From the study:

    Beliefs about tap water safety and cleanliness, preference for bottled water taste, and perceived bottled water convenience had the strongest association with the use of bottled water. Obtaining information about tap water from environmental organizations was also associated with greater odds of bottled water use.

    Latinos and African Americans, the survey found, spent up to 12 and 16.7 percent of their household income on bottled water, respectively, while white Americans spent up to 6 percent. The racial/ethnic gap in bottled water consumption could be explained by “actual differences in current tap water quality,” the study notes, and survey responses supported this notion, finding that “prior experience is related to water choices.”

    VIDEO Below, Chilli talks about making the Dasani ad with her son:

  43. rikyrah says:

    August 15, 2011 8:00 AM

    Bachmann isn’t even an effective lawmaker

    By Steve Benen

    When making the case against Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann, her critics tend to focus on her policy positions and agenda: she’s an oft-confused extremist on so many issues, Bachmann has few rivals in Washington.

    But what sometimes goes overlooked is the fact that Bachmann, after six years as a state legislator and five years as a congresswoman, just isn’t good at her job. Matt Taibbi recently explained, “[G]etting herself elected is pretty much the only thing she has accomplished in politics. That’s not an exaggeration: As both a state senator and a congresswoman, Michele Bachmann has never passed a piece of meaningful legislation.”

    With that in mind, CNN’s Candy Crowley, to her credit, asked a question that Bachmann hasn’t heard nearly enough: “What do you consider your greatest legislative accomplishment? I know you blocked things, and been at the head of the spear for stopping things, but when you look at your legislative accomplishments, what is what you brag about most?” Bachmann struggled to answer.

    Well, what I brag about most, I think, is what we were able to accomplish when I was in Minnesota. We had education reform. That’s where I cut my teeth in politics. We were actually able to change the system in Minnesota with education reform.

    “In Washington, D.C., Nancy Pelosi has been the Speaker of the House for the bulk of the time that I have been in the House. She wasn’t interested in my pro-growth agenda. So I couldn’t get that through the Congress.”

    So, after nearly 12 years as a lawmaker, Bachmann’s biggest “accomplishment” was an education bill in a state legislature — which wasn’t even her bill.

    As for her congressional career, it’s true that about two-thirds of her tenure occurred under a Democratic majority, but (a) she could have been willing to compromise and play a constructive role, even under Speaker Pelosi; and (b) it doesn’t change the fact that her pre-presidential-candidate career is accomplishment-free.

    Indeed, Politico recently noted, “Bachmann has never had a bill or resolution she’s sponsored signed into law, and she’s never wielded a committee gavel, either at the full or subcommittee level. Bachmann’s amendments and bills have rarely been considered by any committee, even with the House under GOP control.”

    Those who follow DC closely know why this is: Bachmann is widely considered a loon — even by her own Republican colleagues who fought like hell to prevent her from joining the House GOP leadership. She’s chosen a specific role on Capitol Hill, and it’s the role of a partisan, right-wing bomb-thrower, not a policymaker.

    It’s likely Bachmann’s supporters won’t care about this at all, but as the radical Minnesotan solidifies her position as a top-tier presidential candidate, the fact that she has more experience crouching in bushes spying on gay-rights activists than actually passing legislation probably deserves some additional media scrutiny.

  44. rikyrah says:

    anyone else seen this Youtube series?

    | The Misadventures of AWKWARD Black Girl

  45. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 15, 2011 9:25 AM

    Buffett’s good advice

    By Steve Benen
    Warren Buffett, the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, is spectacularly wealthy. Yesterday, he took to the New York Times to complain that Washington is a little too preoccupied with “protecting” him and those like him, and pleaded with policymakers to be responsible and raise his taxes.

    Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent. […]

    Back in the 1980s and 1990s, tax rates for the rich were far higher, and my percentage rate was in the middle of the pack. According to a theory I sometimes hear, I should have thrown a fit and refused to invest because of the elevated tax rates on capital gains and dividends.

    I didn’t refuse, nor did others. I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off. And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what’s happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation.

    Millionaires and billionaires, Buffett concluded, “have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.”

    Remember, as far as congressional Republicans are concerned, what Buffett recommends is tantamount to radical socialism. Any proposal to increase taxes on anyone by any amount — even on the wealthiest of the wealthiest of the wealthy — is an automatic deal-breaker in GOP circles. Indeed, under House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s plan, widely endorsed by Republicans everywhere, what the rich really need is another tax break.

    With this in mind, Buffett’s advice will probably be ignored on Capitol Hill, especially among GOP members of the Murray/Hensarling “super committee,” which will begin its work soon. But I’m glad the Berkshire Hathaway CEO is making the case anyway, if only to reinforce the extent to which congressional Republicans are being ridiculous.

  46. creolechild says:

    Tropical Storm Gert nears Bermuda

    HAMILTON, Bermuda -People in Bermuda hauled their boats onto beaches and shuttered their homes as Tropical Storm Gert neared the wealthy British archipelago on Monday. A tropical storm warning was is in effect for Bermuda, though the National Hurricane Center in Miami forecast only 1 to 3 inches of rainfall for the isolated island chain. Gert, the seventh tropical storm of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season, was moving north at 14 mph (22 kph) and had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph). The storm, which formed Sunday afternoon, is expected near or just east of Bermuda on Monday.

    Gert was centered about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southeast of Bermuda around 8 a.m. EDT Monday. It is projected to remain well away from the U.S. East Coast. “We’re gearing up for a windy night and perhaps some showers, but we should fare pretty well up here,” said Jeff Torgerson, a meteorologist with the Bermuda Weather Service.


    Bermuda requires newly built houses to withstand sustained winds of 110 mph (177 kph). It also has a sturdy infrastructure with many of its power and phone lines underground. Below Gert, a trough of low pressure located some 425 miles (684 kilometer) north-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands is generating some showers and thunderstorms. U.S. forecasters said Sunday afternoon that this system has about a 30 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone during the next two days. It was moving west-northwest at about 15 mph (24 kph), according to the Hurricane Center.—

  47. creolechild says:

    Target Comes Under Fire Around the World
    By Michelle Chen

    The retail giant Target is under fire from all sides, for union-busting at home and labor violations overseas. The reports that have come out in the past several weeks highlight a continuum of cruelty in the global supply chain. Though WalMart has long served as labor’s arch nemesis, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) has lately zeroed in on Target as a new battlefield—with its hundreds of thousands of employees and recent expansion into the supermarket sector. Although UFCW Local 1500 recently lost a vote to unionize a branch in Valley Stream, New York, their campaign deftly exposed Target’s arsenal of intimidation and smear tactics, which ranged from anti-union websites to leaflets warning that a yes vote might ruin the company and force the store to close.

    Now plastered across the blogosphere, the propaganda campaign has steeled the outrage at the company’s resistance to unions. Organizers have announced they will keep up the fight: Target’s honeymoon is over, the national attention from the election at Valley Stream showed the American public the type of company they really are, one who has little respect for the hard working people who make their company so successful. Target still has the opportunity to change, and they should start by respecting their employees. UFCW still aims to unionize all Target stores in the New York area, the AP reported in July. And Target’s “victory” over UFCW ironically has become an inspiration for organizers (reflecting perhaps labor’s desperate state as well as yearning for fresh motivation):


    Read more:

  48. creolechild says:


    EPI’s 2009 book, Immigration for Shared Prosperity, by former U.S. Labor Secretary Ray Marshall, proposed a framework for reform that would preserve the country’s long tradition of welcoming immigrants while also meeting the shifting needs of the labor market, partly by establishing a Foreign Worker Adjustment Commission to track trends in the U.S. labor market and adjust the number of visas accordingly. In addition, EPI recently expanded its immigration program with the hiring of Policy Analyst Daniel Costa, who focuses on employment-based immigration.

    Immigrants provide tremendous benefit to the United States. They work hard and have a higher labor force participation rate than native-born workers. They consume goods and services, which increases demand in the economy and creates jobs. They also pay taxes and contribute to Social Security. Although many immigrant workers do not have high school degrees, many others are highly educated.
    Last year, more than 1 million people became lawful permanent residents of the United States, or “legal” immigrants. And in terms of those who are here illegally, almost half of them originally came to the country legally, but overstayed their visas.

    A relatively small portion of immigration to the United States is employment-based, while roughly 70% is motivated by family reunification. When EPI calls for legalization of undocumented workers, we believe that they should also be able to bring in their immediate family members. If you separate families, you encourage them to reunify illegally. And, because many immigrants who come to the U.S. for family reunification will eventually work, it would be useful to have a better sense of where they might fit into the labor market. A Foreign Worker Adjustment Commission would be useful to track the occupations and skills of the two-thirds of immigrants who come to the United States for family reunification.


    Read more:

  49. creolechild says:

    Lack of jobs, not lack of skills, explains underemployment rate
    Andrew Green/Josh Bivens

    Some have suggested that part of the reason the unemployment rate remains stubbornly high is that too many American workers lack the skills and education currently demanded by employers. This so-called “skills mismatch” theory for today’s high unemployment, however, does not fit well with some basic labor market facts, particularly the growth trends in underemployment across all education levels.

    [Click on link to view graph.]

    The underemployment rate is a more comprehensive measure of labor market slack than the unemployment rate because it includes not just the officially unemployed but also jobless workers who have given up looking for work and people who want full-time jobs but have had to settle for part-time work. As the chart shows, there was a very large increase in underemployment even among workers with a bachelor’s degree or more education, growing from 3.9% in December 2007 to 8.4% in March 2011. In fact, the percentage increase in this underemployment rate was greater for workers with a bachelor’s degree or more than for all other education categories.

    The fact that the economy’s best-educated workers have seen a more than doubling in their underemployment rate is just one of many pieces of evidence suggesting that the anemic recovery reflects a general lack of job growth rather than a deficit of skills or education among its workers.

    • Ametia says:

      This article hit nails it. All the educated Americans who went into debt taking out college loans, because they’ve been told if you go to school, get good grades, you can get a good job that pays good money. Well GOODNESS gracious! WHERE ARE THE JOBS?!!!

  50. creolechild says:

    Social Security provides the majority of income for three-fifths of Americans age 65+
    Kathryn Anne Edwards/Arin Karimian

    The average annual Social Security retirement benefit in 2009 was $13,406.40, slightly above the $10,289 federal poverty line for individuals age 65 and older, but less than the minimum wage. While modest in size, Social Security benefits comprise a substantial share of household income for most elderly recipients. Originally designed to complement savings and retirement income, Social Security has instead become the primary source of income among this group.

    According to 2008 data, for the poorest 40 percent of 65-and-older households, Social Security payouts constitute more than four-fifths of total income. Even retirement-age middle- and upper-middle-class households rely heavily on Social Security, with benefits making up nearly two-thirds of middle-class household incomes and more than two-fifths of upper-middle-class household incomes. The highest income group relies less on Social Security, but that is largely due to the fact that almost half of their income comes from earnings, meaning that they are still working.

    Social Security benefits are not a windfall, but a lifeline. With benefits so modest, Congress should be focused on raising them, not cutting them by reducing the cost-of-living adjustment or raising the retirement age.

  51. creolechild says:

    Thank you, Smartypants!

    Out Tea Partying the Tea Party

    I’m going to do something here that might be a mistake; I’m going to link to an article at Huffington Post. But when something is this good – what can you say? Congratulations to Jonathan Bines for basically capturing the poutragers strategy in a nutshell. LOL

    In the wake of the Debt Ceiling Debacle of 2011, it has become abundantly clear that progressives must change tactics if they are to achieve their policy aims. No longer can we cling to the outmoded strategy of proposing policies we actually support, and pursuing these policies by means of reasoned discussion and analysis. Only by adopting extreme, absurdist positions and abandoning all rationality in their defense can we hope to achieve our ends. I therefore call upon all those who believe in a progressive America to join me in the formation of a new party that will boldly press for policies that are as vital to our national well-being as they are completely insane….

    You can read the whole pledge at the link…HIGHlarious!!!!!


    What more can I say? Lately I’ve been thinking about writing a post about why progressives shouldn’t mirror the Tea Party. You hear poutragers make the comparison so often. But mine would have been earnest and sincere. Irony and humor are MUCH better tools. Way to go Jonathan!

  52. creolechild says:

    London rioters point to poverty and prejudice
    By Mohammed Abbas and Kate Holton

    With five bedrooms, three bathrooms and its own coach house, the elegant property has been put up for sale with an asking price of 1.7 million pounds. The main attraction, according to the advert, is the sought-after location. Many residents of the diverse borough of Hackney said it was this ever widening and very visible gap between the rich and poor that has exacerbated tension in recent years, especially as government cuts to welfare payments have started to bite. Britain, one of the world’s major economies, has a bigger gap between rich and poor than more than three-quarters of other Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, according to a 2008 report. Charities in Britain say that inequality is most keenly felt in London.

    “It’s us versus them, the police, the system,” said an unemployed man of Kurdish origin in his early 20s, sitting at the entrance to a Hackney housing estate with four Afro-Caribbean friends who nodded in agreement. “They call it looting and criminality. It’s not that. There’s a real hatred against the system,” he added, listing what he saw as the police prejudice, discrimination and lack of opportunity that led him and his friends to loot shops, torch bins and hurl missiles at police Monday. “There’s two worlds in this borough. More and more middle classes are coming and we’re being pushed out. The shops are pricing stuff like it’s the West End, we can’t afford the rents. We’re the outcasts, we’re not wanted any more. “There’s nothing for us.”


  53. rikyrah says:

    August 14, 2011
    An ‘inconsequential’ job-creator

    Yesterday Rick Perry said he wanted to make Washington “inconsequential” in our lives. Tonight, speaking in Waterloo, Iowa, he said we need a president who will create jobs.

    This clown has the potential to make Mitt Romney look like a model of consistency.

  54. creolechild says:

    Bachmann Refuses To Say What Spending She Would Cut If Her Plan To Not Raise The Debt Ceiling Were Followed – By Pat Garofalo

    Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) — who last won the Ames, Iowa Republican presidential primary straw poll — has been trying to spin S&P’s downgrade of U.S. credit as something other than a “blast at Republicans.” Though S&P cited GOP intransigence on taxes, the use of the debt ceiling as a political football, and the very existence of “default deniers” (of which Bachmann is one) as reasons for the downgrade, Bachmann has claimed that S&P “essentially proved me right.”

    Today, ABC’s Jake Tapper asked Bachmann what government spending she would have cut if her plan to simply not raise the debt ceiling were adopted. (Failing to raise the debt ceiling would have forced the government to cut 40 percent of its spending overnight.) Bachmann refused to answer, instead laying out the things she wouldn’t have cut, including military spending and Social Security:


  55. creolechild says:

    Exxon Seeks Legal Immunity For Corporate-Sponsored Torture
    By Ian Millhiser

    Last month, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reinstated a lawsuit alleging that that members of the Indonesian military hired by Exxon to guard one of its natural gas facilities committed numerous atrocities under Exxon’s employ:

    In addition to extrajudicial killings of some of the plaintiffs-appellants’ husbands as part of a “systematic campaign of extermination of the people of Aceh by [d]efendants’ [Indonesian] security forces,” the plaintiffs-appellants were “beaten, burned, shocked with cattle prods, kicked and subjected to other forms of brutality and cruelty” amounting to torture, as well as forcibly removed and detained for lengthy periods of time.

    Needless to say, Exxon is very upset that they might be forced to endure slightly lower profit margins over something as minor as widespread human rights violations, so they’ve now asked the full Court of Appeals to immunize them from this lawsuit. And, sadly, Exxon has a good chance of prevailing despite the existence of a federal law that allows private parties to be sued for many of the most atrocious violations of international law.

    The D.C. Circuit is one of the most conservative courts in the nation, and it includes several of America’s most ideological judges. Judge Janice Rogers Brown once compared liberalism to “slavery” and Social Security to a “socialist revolution.” Judge Douglas Ginsburg is an avowed tenther who is most famous for suggesting that the Depression Era vision of the Constitution that struck down everything from the minimum wage to child labor laws is a “Constitution in exile” that should be revived. And Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who dissented from the panel’s decision, believes that Exxon should not be held accountable for atrocities because Exxon is a corporation, and corporations enjoy complete immunity from the international legal norms forbidding such barbaric behavior.


  56. creolechild says:

    Romney’s Fortune More Than $190 Million
    Benjy Sarlin

    Mitt Romney is worth between $190 million and $250 million, according to a financial disclosure report released on Friday. As is common with politicians, Romney has put his holdings in a blind trust to prevent any conflict of interest. Brad Malt of the law firm Ropes & Gray handles his account, according to a Romney spokeswoman. The updated numbers make clear that Romney, who made his fortune in finance, successfully weathered the 2008 crisis. He disclosed a similar range on his wealth during his last presidential run four years. The former Massachusetts governor spent $45 million of his own money during that campaign, but has elected to finance his 2012 effort with donor cash alone so far.

    Among Romney’s assets are at least $3 million in funds run by Bain Capital, the company he co-founded.

    The disclosures show that Romney was a sought-after speaker on the lecture circuit. He collected a high of $68,000 from the International Franchise Association for a speech and the same amount from Goldentree Asset Managemet. All told his speaking fees earned him at least $362,000. Romney earned another $113,880 from the Marriott International hotel chain for sitting on their board. According to the campaign, Romney donated all profits from his book No Apology to a mix of nine charities.


  57. creolechild says:

    Meet the Global Financial Elites Controlling $46 Trillion In Wealth
    By David DeGraw

    [The following is an adapted excerpt from David DeGraw’s new report on the financial destruction of the United States. The full report can be read here: Analysis of Financial Terrorism in America.]

    While 68.3 million Americans struggle to get enough food to eat and wages are declining for 90 percent of the population, US millionaire household wealth has reached an unprecedented level. According to an extensive study by auditing and financial advisory firm Deloitte, US millionaire households now have $38.6 trillion in wealth. On top of the $38.6 trillion this study reveals, they have an estimated $6.3 trillion hidden in offshore accounts. In total, US millionaire households have at least $45.9 trillion in wealth, the majority of this wealth is held within the upper one-tenth of one percent of the population.

    If all this isn’t obscene enough, to further demonstrate how the global economy has now been completely rigged, Deloitte’s analysis predicated, based on current trends, that US millionaire households will see a 225 percent increase in wealth to $87.1 trillion by 2020. Accounting for wealth hidden in offshore accounts, they are projected to have over $100 trillion in total within the next decade.

    Most people cannot even comprehend how much $1 trillion is, let alone $46 trillion. One trillion is equal to 1000 billion, or $1,000,000,000,000. To put it in perspective, last year the entire cost of feeding all 40 million Americans on food stamps was $65 billion. Now consider, according to the latest IRS data, only 0.076 percent of the population, less than one-tenth of one percent, earned over $1 million in 2009.

    The graph below, based on data from the Tax Policy Center, shows how much income is earned by a household at any given percentile in income distribution:


  58. creolechild says:

    6 So-Called “Job Creators” Who Won’t Hire The Unemployed
    By Nathan Birnbaum

    As President Obama hits the road on his jobs agenda bus tour, millions of individuals trying to re-enter the job market, seeking to eke out a modest living so that they too can live the American Dream – or what’s left of it anyway – are stuck in a rut. They write hundreds of cover letters, perfect their interview techniques and network like crazy, but sometimes the barriers are too high. What some may not know is that a number of employers, including household-name companies, have taken the position that the unemployed should forget about obtaining a job altogether.

    Log on to any jobs site, do a quick search and the results may surprise you: slews of job ads are essentially warning the out-of-work that they worthless and disposable. Welcome to 21st Century, post-Recession hiring discrimination: where you must be an “employed or recently employed” person to get a job. Yes, for those individuals who make up the 9.1 percent unemployed in the United States, many laid off through no fault of their own, misfortune is a disqualifier. Numerous employers, staffing agencies and online job posting firms have adopted policies that explicitly deny employment to the unemployed. And they don’t even try to cover up their intent. The language in the qualification requirement sections of the ads leave nothing to the imagination: “currently employed,” “must be currently employed,” “currently employed on a permanent basis,” “must be currently or recently employed” etc. If you are none of the above, as 14 million Americans are, you’re out of luck.


    Read more:

  59. creolechild says:

    Bored Sarah Palin to Play Candidate Game – By Juli Weiner

    Layabout multi-millionaire Sarah Palin has decided to resume her truncated secret publicity tour. In the near future—Politico’s source says Friday—the former Alaska governor will appear Des Moines, at the Iowa state fair. On a related note: many unattractive and less interesting politicians, many of whom have even declared their candidacy blah blah blah, will also be in Iowa this weekend for the Ames Straw Poll. And speaking of Iowa: Sarah Palin.

    Unlike Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann, the owner of the world’s most socialist-realist tour bus is not scheduled to speak at the state fair, though this does not mean that she will not speak next to the state fair, or catty-corner to it, or from a car double-parked just in front of the state fair. Recall: back in June, Palin threw an impromptu look-at-me clambake in New Hampshire on the very day poor Mitt Romney, speaking just down the street, announced his bid for president.

    The nihilistic Iowa vacation promises to be at least more caloric, if not more courteous. “I’m also excited to try some of that famous fried butter-on-a-stick, fried cheesecake-on-a-stick, fried Twinkies, etc,” Palin told her supporters in an e-mail, according to Politico. “I’ll enjoy them in honor of those who’d rather make us just ‘eat our peas.’”

    Hundreds of thousands of acres in the United States are used to farm peas, and many agricultural jobs depend on the sale of such food. Is this even a “gaffe,” though, if there are no stakes?

  60. creolechild says:

    Rick Perry’s Vaccine Push Sparked Backlash From Left And Right Alike
    Benjy Sarlin

    Rick Perry’s officially joined the cast of the 2012 Republican primary, which means it’s time for national audiences to start reading up on his decade-plus tenure as Texas’ longest serving governor. One word you’re going to be hearing a lot about in the early running: Gardasil. As in Gardasil, the vaccine developed several years ago to treat against HPV, a virus that can eventually lead to cervical cancer. An effort to introduce the drug into Texas schools turned into one of Perry’s greatest defeats, an exceptional episode in that it pitted the governor, renowned for his ability to closely read his base, strongly against the religious right….

    In January 2007, Gardasil’s manufacturer, Merck, lobbied state governments to require schoolchildren to be vaccinated with the newly approved treatment. They quickly found an ally in Perry, who offered a relatively straightforward argument: why not reduce Texan girls’ exposure to cancer? But before the legislature could take up the issue, Perry signed an executive order mandating that sixth-grade girls receive the drug before entering middle school, with an opt-out for parents who objected. Lawmakers revolted almost immediately over being cut out of the process, demanding that he rescind the requirement until they could review it first.

    The most notable early criticisms of Perry’s plan came from social conservatives, some of whom fretted that protecting children from HPV — a sexually transmitted disease — could encourage promiscuity. Perry sought to address these questions up front in his State of the State address only days after the Gardasil order.


  61. creolechild says:

    Thank you, theangryliberal and xtreme Liberal!

    Meme’s in Your Head: Why You Mad Tho? The Struggle to Develop Universal Health Care Policy, 1912 – 2009
    Guest Blogger: theangryliberal

    There have been six times in the past to deliver major legislation restructuring of the provision of hospital and medical services: 1913- 17, 1937-39, 1943-46, 1964-65, 1969-75 and 1993-94. Each previous attempt collapsed usually generating a series of legislation crafted to assuage the legislators who fought so hard ultimately to achieve so little (Danielson and Mazer 161). In 2009, after nearly 100 years, Democrats with Nancy Pelosi in the lead, took that ball and finally passed legislation that would guarantee access to health care. The rest is history, but it did not come without a fight. No doubt, every time the efforts failed, more policy was developed and negotiated for the inevitable, because it was inevitable that some form of Universal Coverage would pass Congress and be signed by a President from the Democratic Party.

    To be perfectly honest, there was no public option in the policy that was eventually developed and finally passed through congress some parts have already been implemented and other parts are waiting for funding in this fiscal year. Although I had been somewhat involved in Comprehensive Health Care Policy research at our local committee level for this blog I thought some extra research would be in order. I ran across an interesting excerpt of a column originally published in the Washington Post by Don Coburn one of their staff writers. I found the excerpt in the British Medical Journal Summer, 1986, and lo and behold, I found a copy of this on-line at the National Institute of Health.

    This is the first universal health insurance plan in the United States, and Governor Dukakis hails it as a model for the whole country. “Forty years after Harry Truman first proposed it we are finally on the road to basic health security for the citizens of this state,” he said. “It’s something which is long overdue for Massachusetts and long overdue for the country.’

    However, the real issue before us is in understanding how we got to today, and taking some personal responsibility for the failures of the past, and some joy in the huge accomplishment of 2009. Because, in all honesty, we should have some pride in finally being able to move on from those who continue to say this will destroy us, to defending the bill, and keeping Republicans from further demonizing what is a huge accomplishments by Democrats in office. My particular thanks to Nancy Pelosi and her deft handling of her caucuses to get this bill passed. She ultimately will go down in history as one of the greatest speakers of all time. There is an excellent interactive time line of the history of Health Reform in America at the NY Times.


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  62. creolechild says:

    Tea Party Movement Getting Americans Steamed
    Kyle Leighton

    The debt ceiling fight turned out to be a damper on the American economy, and for the approval ratings of political leaders in Washington. But it’s starting to consume the same political entity that decided to make raising it a major issue: the Tea Party. Last week saw the release of three separate polls that showed Americans are not just more skeptical of their movement, but growing tired of their role in the political process, which builds on previous evidence that the Tea Party is being pushed away by independent voters.

    The Tea Party movement, as an idea, was originally about anger at the way things turned out after 2008. Congress had been taken over by Democrats, and President Obama came into office after a change election with high approval ratings and the political capital to make that change. Then, surprisingly, those Democrats didn’t work to enact Republican policies, they proposed and passed a few of their own. This was not how government is supposed to work, according to some very conservative Americans.

    So they got some signs and some bags of tea and a few video cameras followed. They protested what they called an oncoming wave of socialism perpetrated by the Democrats who controlled the legislative and executive branches of government. Then they went to some town halls and yelled about the possible reforms to the American health care system. When that passed, they started supporting candidates for Congress that not only advocated the policies they wanted but also held the same contempt for the government process that they did. Then some of those candidates won, and they had to govern. That’s really when more Americans started to have a more formed opinion on the Tea Party, and over the last few months that opinion has been turning increasingly sour.


  63. creolechild says:

    While Pushing Corporate Tax Cuts, Bachmann Rejects Extending Jobless Benefits: ‘We Don’t Have The Money’ – By Tanya Somanader

    Right now, 14 million unemployed Americans are struggling to make ends meet. 44.4 percent of these Americans have been struggling without a job for six months or more. While Republican lawmakers continually put off their “jobs” agenda, many of these Americans receive much needed financial support from the federal unemployment benefits program. These benefits, unfortunately, will expire at the end of 2011.

    GOP presidential frontrunner Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has been touting a “jobs” candidacy and emphatically insists that she could spur some economic recovery within the first three months of her presidency, if “not the whole turnaround.” Her powerhouse plan? Fire Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, repeal “Obamacare,” and cut taxes for the wealthy. Indeed, today on NBC’s Meet The Press, Bachmann reiterated that, to ensure “job creation,” Congress needs to cut the coporate tax rate from 34 percent to “something that is far more competitive.” But when asked whether extending the much-needed jobless benefits is part of her jobs agenda, Bachmann flatly rejected the idea. “Frankly we don’t have the money,” she said:


  64. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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