Tuesday Open Thread

The Monkey is a novelty dance, most popular in 1963. The dance was popularized by two R&B records: Major Lance‘s “The Monkey Time“, and The Miracles‘ “Mickey’s Monkey” both Top 10 Pop hits released during the summer of 1963.

The monkey is often referenced on the animated series Johnny Bravo (in every theme song in addition to many times in the actual show), although it may be a completely different dance. The tv series The Simpsons also referenced the dance at least twice (in seasons 4 and 8).[1] The thrash metal band Exodus reference the dance in their song “The Toxic Waltz” (from Fabulous Disaster) with the lyric “Used to do the monkey, but now it’s not cool”. Characters in the anime series Overman King Gainer do the monkey in the opening animation and in the show itself.

The Monkey

  1. Taking a fighter’s crouch, face your partner and stand with feet apart, knees bent. Bend arms and close fists, thumbs up.
  2. Bend forward from waist to the left, raising right arm. As your body bobs, your head also bobs forward on each count. The whole effect is jerky.
  3. Straighten up to original position.
  4. Bend forward from waist toward your partner, facing centre, switching arms as you do so.
  5. Straighten to original position. Hands and head should give impression of monkey holding two bananas.
  6. Bend forward from waist to the right. Straighten to original position.
  7. Bob back to centre, bending at waist and again switching hands.
  8. Repeat entire pattern. Counts are double time, hitting every accent in the music.

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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122 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    16 Aug 2011 05:16 PM
    Perry’s Shady Money

    Kevin Drum flags an L.A. Times story on the people funding the Perry campaign. It’s not pretty:

    Perry has received a total of $37 million over the last decade from just 150 individuals and couples, who are likely to form the backbone of his new effort to win the Republican presidential nomination. The tally represented more than a third of the $102 million he had raised as governor through December, according to data compiled by the watchdog group Texans for Public Justice. Nearly half of those mega-donors received hefty business contracts, tax breaks or appointments under Perry, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis.


  2. rikyrah says:

    16 Aug 2011 04:41 PM
    Romney’s Perry Opportunity?

    A reader makes a keen, if quixotic, argument:

    With Gov. Perry officially entering the race, Romney has a real challenger, and it is bound to be quite a fight over the next few months. But while Perry appears, by far, Romney’s most formidable opponent, he also presents a unique opportunity for Romney to own his signature achievement as Massachusetts governor, and use it to flog his opponent. Texas is the second-most populous state in the nation with over 24 million residents, 26% of whom lack health insurance – the highest rate in a nation with an average uninsured rate of 17%.

    That means that Texas’s uninsured population is greater that the entire population of 33 out of the 50 states, and of the eight smallest states combined. That is truly staggering. For Perry to be the last person standing after the Republican primaries, one would think he will have to answer for that. Since Bachmann is as intent as anyone to dismantle the ACA, that seems to leave Romney to be the one to grill Perry on this. If Romney does decide to own the success of MassCare, he might just wallop Perry on this count.

    Sooner or later, Romney will have to run on his record, because Obama sure won’t let him forget it. Better to embrace it now and defend it rather than look ridiculous by continuing to disown it in the general election as Obama hails the importance of the MassCare model.

    Somehow, I lack confidence in Romney running on this accomplishments in defiance of the Tea Party. He has shown (so far) a great willingness to diminish his own achievements in Massachusetts, or at least deny that they could be duplicated in the nation as a whole. Given this Republican field, I am bound to vote for Obama pretty much no matter what, but for the good of the country I would sure like for him to have a viable opponent.

    However, in a GOP primary hostile to illegal immigrants, this data point could prove useful for Perry in downplaying his state’s healthcare crisis:

    Non-citizens make up about one-quarter of Texas’ uninsured population, according to the Center for Public Policy Priorities’ Texas Health Care Primer. Regardless of immigration status, immigrants tend to have a higher rate of uninsurance than non-immigrants. Of the 1.2 million foreign-born, naturalized U.S. citizens in Texas, for example, 31 percent are uninsured, compared to 22 percent of U.S.-born Texans.


  3. thorsaurusl says:

    Perry will have a hard time justifying attacks on Medicare and Social Security in Florida, defending his criticism of the automotive bailout in Ohio and Indiana and mollifying his bashing of government workers in Virginia (where a great deal of federal workers happen to live). Obama flipped all four of these states to blue in 2008 and they will again be the central playfield in 2012. The three G’s might win a Republican nomination, but the three J’s (Jobs,Jobs,Jobs) will win the White House.

  4. rikyrah says:

    August 16, 2011 2:55 PM

    Santorum’s understanding of ‘freedom’

    By Steve Benen

    I’m genuinely curious, do many conservatives actually think this way, or is this just the odd rant of a strange presidential candidate?

    At a campaign stop in Iowa this weekend, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) doled out a frothy mixture of revisionist history about what it was like to be alive in the late 1700s:

    “Our founders said [our] rights were given to us to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Does anyone here believe that first inalienable right is as whole as it was at the time of our founding? It isn’t. Does anyone believe that our freedom is as whole as it was at the time of our founders? It is not.”

    Now, I enjoy debates about the colonial era as much as the next guy, but I like to think even conservatives wouldn’t find this persuasive. Our freedoms are less “whole” now than they were in the late 18th century? And whose freedoms would those be?

    For all the marvels of that era, African Americans were bought and sold as property and women were at best second-class citizens. Worker rights didn’t exist; gay rights weren’t even in their infancy; religious discrimination was fairly common; and voting rights were severely restricted. This was, incidentally, also an era that tolerated the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

    In no way is pursuing happiness more difficult now than it was 224 years ago. Our freedoms have expanded enormously. If Santorum believes we should turn back the clock on American liberties by more than two centuries, that’s horrifying (or at least would be, if there was even the slightest chance he would ever hold public office again).

    “Does anyone believe that our freedom is as whole as it was at the time of our founders?” Put me down for “our freedom is far more whole now.”

    As Ian Millhiser and Scott Keyes concluded, “[M]aybe before Santorum pretends to know what ‘freedom’ looks like, he should take a moment to actually read about the amendments to the Constitution and then spend just a few minutes learning about what so many of them were put into our founding document.”

    That’s good advice.


  5. creolechild says:

    Perry Reveals Plan For Total U.S. Anarchy: ‘Put A Moratorium On All Regulations’
    By Brad Johnson on Aug 15, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Today, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) issued the first policy position of his presidential campaign by asking the White House to issue a “moratorium on regulations across this country”: We’re calling today on the president of the United States to put a moratorium on regulations across this country, because his regulations, his EPA regulations are killing jobs all across America.

    [Click on link to watch it.]

    Under such a moratorium, the Food and Drug Administration would stop approving new drugs and preventing human experimentation; the USDA would stop checking for food safety; the EPA would stop monitoring for poisons in drinking water; the Library of Congress would stop loaning materials to blind people; the NTSB would stop investigating airplane accidents; HHS would end Medicare payments; no more patents, copyrights, or trademarks would be issued; DHS would stop protecting chemical facilities from terrorist attacks; the Treasury would stop printing currency; financial sanctions on hostile nations like North Korea and Iran would end; and the Federal Reserve System would shut down.

    Perry’s “moratorium on regulations” would mean a literal end to the rules of law in the United States. At least it would also mean that all of President George W. Bush’s midnight regulations favoring polluters and industry abuses would also be lifted.



    • creolechild says:

      Rick Perry’s First Stop In New Hampshire Is Funded By Big Oil
      By Brad Johnson on Aug 15, 2011 at 10:00 am

      On Sunday afternoon, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), the newest entrant in the GOP presidential race, stopped by the New Hampshire Energy Freedom Family Festival in Manchester, NH, an oil-sponsored event attended by about 350 people. The “festival” discussed such topics as “how energy taxes are bad for small business,” “EPA’s burdensome regulations,” and “the importance of using domestic oil and natural gas.” The NH Energy Forum is one of the dozens of state-level Astroturf groups run by the American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry’s lobbying group. The national GOP primary race, in fact, is funded by Big Oil — the Iowa Energy Forum was one of the main sponsors of the Iowa straw poll this weekend.


  6. creolechild says:

    Thank you, Eclectablog and Working America!

    Michiganders Express Buyer’s Remorse, Deliver “Return Ballots” to Rep. Tim Walberg’s Office

    From my friends at Working America: Working America members to hold lawmakers accountable for ignoring jobs crisis. On Thursday August 18th, Working America members and organizers will gather at a “Buyer’s Remorse” booth in Jackson, MI to accept “return” ballots from Michiganders who are disgusted with the broken promises of Rep. Walberg who told voters that he would focus on creating jobs and strengthening the economy while in office.

    The return booth – one of several being installed across the country this month while federal lawmakers are home for an August recess – will provide Michiganders the opportunity to hold Rep. Walberg accountable for ignoring the devastating jobs crisis while focusing on advancing an extreme political agenda that includes voting to protect tax loopholes for the rich, pledging to protect the outsourcing of Michigan jobs and supporting to privatize Medicare.

    WHO: Working America members, organizers and friends

    WHAT: Buyer’s Remorse Booth, “Return” Ballot collection and delivery

    WHEN: Thursday, August 18th at 2PM ET

    WHERE: Representative Tim Walberg’s District Office
    800 West Ganson St. Jackson, MI 49202

    Working America, a community represents 3 million people and is the fastest-growing organization for working people in the country. For more information, go to http://www.workingamerica.org.



  7. creolechild says:

    Thank you, Fierce Advocate!

    “Obviously, you’re not interested in listening.”

    Tea Party Assholes try to bully the President-good luck on that. Of course they’re not interested in listening, Mr. President-they’re interested in BULLYING. And you stood your ground, as you always do. Of course, magical thinking is not limited to the Far Left-the FAR RIGHT does it too. That balanced budget amendment is a trap.


  8. creolechild says:

    London Rioters Will Be Forced To Clean Up Their Mess – Think We Could Get Bankers To Do That Here? – By Susie Madrak

    Are you thinking what I’m thinking – namely, that this British approach to last week’s London rioters might apply here? I wonder what would happen if Jamie Dimond and the rest of the boys had to sit down with the people whose lives they destroyed through their toxic financial games: People convicted of last week’s rioting and looting who are not sent to prison will be forced to do community work in the areas affected by their behaviour, Nick Clegg will announce today.

    The Ministry of Justice is to order the Probation Service to arrange for Community Payback orders to take place on projects associated with the damage caused in the disorder or in the places where it took place. Many will also be forced to meet the shopkeepers, homeowners and businessmen whose property was destroyed in the rioting in an attempt to bring home the consequences of their actions.

    Mr Clegg will today become the last major party leader to contribute to the debate on the causes and consequences of the rioting and will attempt to stamp a Liberal Democrat identity on the Government’s overall response. Aides said the idea was to ensure that first-time offenders did not get “sucked into” repeat offending as a result of taking part in the riots, but had a chance of rehabilitation.

    “Clearly some people are going to go to prison, but this is about ensuring that those who don’t, contribute to the areas where they’ve caused the damage and those communities can see that they’re doing that,” said one senior Liberal Democrat aide. “We also don’t want to create repeat offenders. Meeting victims has proved to be a very effective way of ensuring that people face up to the consequences of their actions and that’s what we want to see happening.”


    • creolechild says:

      DOJ, board officials won’t say if they will seek to get Prosser off case
      By Patrick Marley of the Journal Sentinel

      Madison — State officials won’t say if they will seek to remove Justice David Prosser from a case being argued by an attorney who recently represented Prosser’s campaign. Three experts on legal ethics told the Journal Sentinel that Prosser should step aside in the case because his impartiality could reasonably be questioned in the case. An aide to Prosser has said he will remain on the case. The case is against the state Government Accountability Board and is being represented by Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen’s Department. Officials with both agencies declined Monday to say whether they would seek to remove Prosser from the case.

      Tea party groups and other conservatives sued the board last year over campaign finance regulations it wrote. The groups are represented by Jim Troupis. Troupis this April was retained by Prosser’s campaign to help with a recount after Prosser narrowly won re-election. Recent campaign reports show Troupis’ firm was paid more than $75,000, though Troupis volunteered his own time.

      Stephen Gillers at New York University Law School and two others said Prosser couldn’t stay on such a case because Troupis had so recently worked for him. Agreeing Monday was Gordon Myse, a retired judge who until recently served on the Government Accountability Board. “I think the fact that his lawyer appeared in a case before him is objectively a conflict in almost anybody’s book,” Myse said. Myse, who has known Prosser about 30 years, said he hoped Prosser would decide to step aside without waiting to receive a motion to do so. “I would hope it wouldn’t come to that,” he said. “I would hope David would change his mind.”


  9. creolechild says:

    Texas Apologizes For Unleashing Rick Perry On Us All
    By Jason Easley

    Via YouTube, Texas Democrats have issued a preemptive apology to the rest of the United States for unleashing another Texas Republican on the good people of our nation so soon after George W. Bush.

    Here is the video: [Click on link to view video.]

    I hadn’t thought about it until you brought it up, but you really should apologize. How dare you stick us with the dumber crazier version of George W. Bush? Are you not aware of what W’s two terms of mangled English, bogus wars, faux brush cutting, waterboarding, New Orleans destroying, economy collapsing to depths that made Herbert Hoover say DAMN from his hovel in hell did to us? What in the name of Ann Richards and Molly Ivins are you thinking?

    Rick Perry, this week’s savior of the GOP has a 41% approval rating in Texas. Even his home state doesn’t like him. I guess miracles don’t go as far as they used to. At least Bush was popular in Texas and he seemed like a nice enough guy back in 2000, but we can already tell that this Rick Perry is kind of douche. He is not somebody we really want to spend our time with, and he is definitely not the kind of person we want representing us overseas. We learned from W that a back rub between world leaders is NOT an okay thing. We don’t need any more cowboys and go it alone nonsense. We’ve had our fill, thanks. We don’t need to spend another four years of nights hoping that the president stays healthy because his vice president is a Bond villain. (If you thought Cheney was bad news, wrap your mind around Vice President Bachmann)

    Thanks for the head’s up, Texas Democrats. Message received. We like having an adult in the White House. As a nation we have found that raccoons and religious zealots who hold elective office have one thing in common, they both should stay outside. We have no intention of opening the door to the People’s House and letting the dumber half of Texas Dumb and Dumber move in. Apology accepted, Texas. Now please get your crazy back on his leash and take him back home with you where he belongs..


    • creolechild says:

      Long lines for voting in Kenosha, big turnouts up north
      By Jason Stein of the Journal Sentinel
      Updated: Aug. 16, 2011 2:05 p.m.

      Madison — More workers are being sent out to address long lines at some polls in the city of Kenosha, where one of two Senate recall elections is being held Tuesday. Meanwhile, strong turnouts were being reported in northern Wisconsin, site of the other election. “We’re hearing about long lines in Kenosha, which the clerk is addressing by sending more workers and splitting poll books. There have also been some complaints about electioneering with signs and bumper stickers on cars near the polling place. Local authorities are handling those as well,” said Reid Magney, spokesman for the state Government Accountability Board.

      City of Kenosha clerk Mike Higgins confirmed that he had sent more workers to a few polling places and that the lines were now much shorter. Dick Ginkowski, a prosecutor who handles election issues for the Kenosha County district attorney’s office, confirmed he had received complaints Tuesday about bumper stickers and other signs and said in some cases law authorities were asking people to move the signs and cars away from polling places. State law prohibits electioneering efforts such as campaign signs within 100 feet of a polling place on election day. So far we’ve had no issues of non compliance,” Ginkowski said.



  10. creolechild says:

    While Obama Tries To Get Vets Jobs, Rick Perry Questions Their Professionalism
    By Rmuse

    There are very few organizations in a country that are as important as the men and women who wear military uniforms and lay their lives on the line for their comrades-in-arms and their country. America is no different and the professionalism our soldiers exude is equal only to their bravery and selflessness. Unlike many third-world countries where the military’s loyalty to a leader wavers depending on the strength and politics of the leader, our military is an all-volunteer force and soldiers often serve under more than one commander-in-chief during their enlistment, but because of their professionalism, their loyalty to the president is the same as to their generals and officers.

    The latest entrant in the Republican field to seek the nation’s highest office and title of commander-in-chief apparently has little regard for the men and women who wear the uniform. Texas Governor and secessionist Rick Perry slandered our soldiers day before yesterday when he was in Iowa to promote himself as god’s anointed choice to lead the country. Perry told an audience that, “One of the reasons that I’m running for president is I want to make sure that every young man and woman who puts on the uniform of the United States respects highly the president of the United States.” For Perry to question the professionalism of our soldiers shows the level of contempt he has for their dedication as well as the level of arrogance from a man who has broken his oath of office on several occasions.

    Perry’s dedication to the Constitution and this country are suspect for his charge that Amendments are mistakes, and his repeated statements that secession is a viable option to following federal laws he disagrees with. It is possible that because Perry has broken his oath of office, he thinks that members of the military are as disloyal to this country as he is. Every soldier takes an oath that is similar to the one Perry has broken when he calls for secession or decries amendments as mistakes. In the oath a soldier takes, they swear to support and defend the Constitution that says in Article 2, Section 2 that “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.”



  11. creolechild says:

    Hundreds of Latinos Protest Record Deportations and Secure Communities Program in Los Angeles
    By David Dayen

    Hundreds of immigrants rights advocates in Los Angeles staged a walkout during a federal task force field hearing about the Secure Communities program, blamed for the deportations of tens of thousands of non-citizens living peacefully in America. Activists implored the members of the task force to resign their post, and recommend that the Obama Administration end Secure Communities, before exiting the meeting to a chant of “we don’t need a hearing, we need to end the program.”


  12. creolechild says:

    Over 53,000 People Pledge $100,000 for Elizabeth Warren
    By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

    Would-be Consumer Protection Agency head/people-power pro Elizabeth Warren hasn’t announced if she will challenge Republican Senator Scott Brown in Massachusetts. But the people have clearly spoken: over 53,000 people have joined the Progressive Campaign Change Committee (PCCC) to draft her. In just a few weeks, over $100,000 was raised for the potential race, and she has amassed thousands of hours of volunteers.

    After being passed over for the CPA position thanks to Republicans vowing to block her, the super-populist, consumer-advocating Warren returned to teach at Harvard. She’s presently speaking with voters around her state and mulling a run, saying she’ll make a decision after Labor Day. And while incumbent Scott Brown has $10 million in his coffers, there’s a lot to be said for Warren’s visibility as one of the few in Washington advocating for the middle and working classes–qualities which, in fact, expedited her demise at the CPA. Until then, PCCC continues its effort to draft her into the primaries.


  13. creolechild says:

    Rick Perry Wants To Frack Iowa
    By Brad Johnson

    At a campaign stop in Iowa, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) claimed that the Obama administration is “trying to scare people” about natural gas fracking. He argued that natural gas drilling with hydraulic fracturing has never damaged groundwater, and expressed concern that Iowans would miss out on the natural gas boom:


    Under President Obama, natural gas drilling has enjoyed a renaissance, so much so that overproduction has led to a collapse in natural gas prices. The heads of the Department of Energy, Department of the Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency have all praised the “important energy resource” of natural gas and have expressed confidence that fracking can be done safely.
    Criticism of the explosion in fracking has primarily come from concerned citizens, who have seen their water catch on fire, their land seized by drillers, their rivers contaminated by spills, and found wells gone dry or poisoned.

    Most of the damage is caused by other steps in the drilling process than the deep, high-pressure injection of a secret mixture of toxic fluids that is fracking, but the EPA documented contamination of groundwater by fracking in 1987, when Ronald Reagan was president. The Obama administration is considering whether to enforce clean air laws at drilling sites, which have blanketed Wyoming with poisonous haze. An industry-friendly panel for the Department of Energy recommended that frackers stop using diesel fuel and that they disclose the ingredients in fracking fluid. Perry might not be aware of the dangers of unregulated fracking, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t real.


  14. creolechild says:

    Hate Crimes Against Latinos Are on the Rise in California
    By Bryan Gerhart | Colorlines

    It’s no secret that the country’s demographics are rapidly changing. And while the shift toward becoming browner and younger is certainly transforming the political landscape, civil rights advocates also believe that it’s creating a dangerous environment for communities of color who they say are becoming the nation’s easiest scapegoats for a lagging economy.

    That reality can be seen clearly in in the increasing number of hate crimes. Racially motivated attacks reached a startling number last year, as hate crimes against Latinos in California increased by nearly 50 percent. According to a recently released report by the state attorney general’s office, hate crimes against Latinos jumped from 81 to 119 between 2009 and 2010.



  15. creolechild says:

    Shell Responsible for 2nd Oil Spill in North Sea in a Week
    By Tara Lohan

    This morning the Guardian reported that a second leak is coming from a relief valve on Shell’s Gannet Alpha oil platform in the North Sea. The first leak came last Wednesday (although it wasn’t publicly disclosed until Friday) and is being called the worst oil spill in 10 years in UK waters. According to the Guardian: Work will continue to dam the small quantities of oil – at up to five barrels a day, a trickle compared with the 1,300 barrels thought to have gushed out in the first days of the leak, but Shell could not say how soon it would be completed. The company has also been so far unable to explain how the leak occurred in the first place. Green campaigners accused the company of complacency and secrecy, as information on the progress of the leak continued to be slowly released. Per Fischer, communications officer at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “It beggars belief that we are still being drip-fed information and that Shell’s initially ‘insignificant’ leak is still causing problems.”

    So, let’s see we’ve got an oil company being accused of negligence, misconduct, secrecy and basic incompetence. Sounds familiar, right? Good thing we’re fast-tracking permits for Shell to begin drilling in the Arctic. In a story published yesterday on AlterNet, Subhankar Banerjee writes: One of the riskiest and most destructive extreme energy oil exploration projects on the planet is moving toward implementation without scientific understanding or technical preparedness — Shell’s oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean of Alaska.



  16. creolechild says:

    10,000 Signatures Delivered to Bank of America: Stop Screwing Homeowners!
    By igardiner | Sourced from Change.Org

    For Vera Johnson, fighting foreclosure isn’t just about keeping her home. It’s about keeping her job. Vera runs a thriving nursery business on her property in Seattle. Recently divorced and raising two kids, Vera needs this job to provide for her family. Last week, Vera was scheduled to have, what she thought would be, a fairly productive meeting with Bank of America to discuss the final steps of her loan modification application. She also planned to deliver 10,000 Change.org signatures to Bank of America representatives. Instead, Vera was met with some rather hostile and just plain over-the-top security measures.

    Take a look: [Click on link to view video.]

    Vera was also escorted to the restroom by security, right before they swiftly moved her out of the building. It doesn’t matter that Vera qualifies for a permanent loan modification, or that she’s tried to work with the bank to get her application for financial hardship submitted for over 18 months—a process that’s been delayed time and time again because the bank keeps losing or misplacing her applications documents. It doesn’t matter that the bank’s customer service and several rounds of ‘missing’ paperwork could end up costing Vera her home and business of 32 years. In Vera’s own words, “We are in a system where we’re all looked at as account numbers, profits, risks, losses—anything but people.”

    Vera is determined to keep the pressure on Bank of America to service her loan responsibly. The morning after delivering your signatures, Vera interviewed with MSNBC Live, drawing even more people to support her cause and sign the petition to save her home. Vera says she appreciates everyone who signed her petition. It has given her great strength and inspiration, and your support could very well determine the outcome of her story. And, although Vera’s future remains uncertain, we know Bank of America–like any corporation–can be forced to do right by the people if we come together to demand it.
    If you haven’t already, please sign the petition, pass it on to your friends and family, and continue stand with homeowners like Vera Johnson.


  17. rikyrah says:

    Senator Ken Cuccinelli? The Plan May Be In The Works
    Tea party mega-star and Virgina Attorney General Ken Cucinelli may be planning to bring his climate change scientist-suing, LGBT worker rights-scrapping and health care law-challenging ways to the United States Senate.

    In a new interview with the Washington Post, Cucinelli says he’s considering taking on Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) in 2014.

    If he does, that would give Virginia two very high-profile Senate races in a row. Next November, former governor and senator George Allen (R) is expected to meet former governor and DNC chair Tim Kaine in a battle royale to fill the seat being vacated by Sen. Jim Webb (D). That race is expected to cost millions and draw national attention.

    There’s little doubt that a Cuccinelli-Warner race would be just as big. Cuccinelli has become a national star on the tea party circuit, popping up all over the place at national conservative conventions and met with applause from big audiences. His particular brand of legal advocacy — using his power as the state’s chief law enforcement officer to enforce an extremely right-wing brand of legal and social policy — is right at home among the national GOP base, and it’s likely he could raise big money if he sought the office.

    He’s already taking Warner on, claiming the first-term Democrat has failed to live up to his promise as a centrist leader on Capitol Hill. Warner is a member of the “Gang of Six” bipartisan group of Senators that often draws fire from both progressives and conservatives. Cuccinelli told the Post that Warner has not emerged as the Senate powerhouse some had suggested he would be when he entered the Senate in 2009, just a couple years after Democrats had urged him to run for President.

    “Warner was given the back of Reid’s hand on this debt thing,” Cuccinelli told the paper. “He was out there playing himself as leader, leader, leader [and Reid said] Mark who?”

    The normal course of action for Virginia AGs is for them to seek the governor’s mansion, but as the Post reports, the term-limited Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has already put his support behind his Lt. Gov. to succeed him in the 2013 race. That potentially limits Cuccinelli’s options, but it also may open the door for him to try for the national stage in the Senate.


  18. rikyrah says:

    Comparing Bush And Perry

    A reader pushes back:

    You keep trying to conflate the two, but at this point in his career Bush was nothing like Perry. Governor Bush worked closely with Lieutenant Gov. Bob Bullock and Speaker Pete Laney, both Democrats. When Bush announced his presidential run, members from both sides of the aisle flocked to endorse him. Granted, he had a hot economy and Democratic majorities to deal with, but he went into it with an attitude of conciliation and compromise.

    Perry, on the other hand, has never worked with the opposition.

    He fully supported the mid-decade redistricting that all but eliminated white male Democratic office holders in 2003, sent the Democratic senators fleeing out of state to avoid a quorum. Twice, in 2003 and 2011, he faced massive deficits which he closed through cuts, eviscerating health and human services and more than doubling college tuition rates across the state in 2003 and cutting $4 billion from public education this year, while refusing to touch a $9 billion rainy day fund the state has in the bank. But he didn’t cut the economic development fund he uses for corporate welfare.

    He is an phenomenal campaigner. His opponents react to him like squirrels to rattlesnakes, completely freezing. He can skip debates with no repercussions. He can brag about public education while forcing the layoffs of 100,000 teachers in a state that ranks 45th in SAT scores and has no vocational education. He brags about creating jobs and gets great credit even though most of them are low paying and we’ve lost jobs in his tenure overall. He allows an innocent man to be executed and brags about it, then fights DNA testing on another death-row inmate that would tell us if he’s guilty or if the real killer is still roaming the streets. The hurricane evacuation during Rita in 2005 was a clusterfuck beyond all belief (only the fact that it veered slightly east at the last minute let us avoid a 5-figure body count) with buses of refugees being sent back to the storm zone. He denied there were any problems and blamed the traffic jams on lack of contra flow.

    Bush was bad for this country, but Perry would be a disaster. His policy is written by the business lobby. Anybody who thinks Perry has any competence at all is just deluding themselves. It’s not his Christianism that’s so scary; it’s his actual performance in office. Even Palin has worked with Dems before and has taken on the entrenched powers, even if it was out of selfish purposes.


  19. rikyrah says:

    Rasmussen Poll: Perry Surges Ahead Of The GOP Field
    Rick Perry has had an eventful four days. On the heels of his official announcement, first appearances as a candidate seeking the GOP nomination and even his first splash with a controversial position, Perry has impressed a lot of Republican voters: a new national Rasmussen survey has him taking the lead in the GOP primary, far outside the margin of error.

    The poll shows that Perry is now the first choice of 29 percent of the GOP voters surveyed, with former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney with 18 percent, and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) in third with 13 percent. As with any nomination process, state polling in the first contests will be of the most importance. But Perry’s surge past the rest of the field is remarkable: by contrast, Bachmann showed more and more strength in national polls as her campaign ramped up, but only overtook Romney in one poll, by a single point.

    As for the rest of the field, Rep. Ron Paul registered 9 percent, businessman Herman Cain got 6 percent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had 5 percent, along with former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. who got 1 percent each.

    Perry has jumped eleven points in the last two weeks, as the previous Rasmussen GOP primary survey had Romney at 22 percent, Perry at 18 percent, and Bachmann at 16 percent, suggesting that he’s drawing supporters away from both of those candidates. Two polls from last week, one from Fox News and another from CNN had shown Romney with a small lead.


  20. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 16, 2011 12:35 PM

    Perry won’t disavow extremist Fed rhetoric

    By Steve Benen
    Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry raised a few eyebrows yesterday with borderline-violent rhetoric about the Federal Reserve and Ben Bernanke. “If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I don’t know what y’all would do to him in Iowa, but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas,” the Texas governor said. “Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous, or treasonous, in my opinion.”

    The comments have drawn bipartisan criticism, but as of this morning, the Perry campaign isn’t backing down.

    A spokesman for Mr. Perry said Tuesday the governor “got passionate” in his remarks about the Federal Reserve, but he did not disavow the comments.

    “He is passionate about getting federal finances under control,” the spokesman, Ray Sullivan, said in an interview here. “They shouldn’t print more money, they should cut spending and move much more rapidly to a balanced budget.”

    The campaign went on to say Perry was “expressing his frustration with the current economic situation and the out of control spending that persists in Washington.”

    No apologies, no regrets, no concessions. A leading presidential candidate raised the specter of violence against the chairman of the Fed and casually threw in a reference to “treason,” but those waiting for contrition will be waiting a very long time. As far as Perry and his team are concerned, yesterday’s rhetoric was acceptable. If the campaign saw the quote as a negative, they’d retract it. Obviously, they don’t.

    At this point, the focus will likely be on the reckless comments and the perception that Rick Perry is a thuggish buffoon. But even if he’d phrased his criticisms in a more responsible way, it’s important to realize that the underlying policy sentiment is itself ridiculous.

    For one thing, the implication of Perry’s remarks is that he believes the Fed could do more to boost the economy, but taking such steps would be “almost treacherous or treasonous.” In other words, if Bernanke were to take steps intended to help the economy, this would, in Perry’s mind, be outrageous.

    For another, Perry’s understanding of monetary policy is pathetic. The governor just doesn’t understand the topic he’s addressing.

    What’s more, Perry actually seems to believe we’ll all benefit if policymakers take money out of the economy and focus, not on job creation, but on a balanced budget. He’s as confused about economic growth as he is about monetary policy.

    And finally, in the bigger picture, those who raise the specter of secession just haven’t earned the right to start accusing anyone of treachery or treason.

    Not since Newt Gingrich’s out-of-the-gate collapse has a candidate humiliated himself so thoroughly, so quickly.

    Update: Mark Thoma reminds me that Perry’s assertion that the Fed “should cut spending and move much more rapidly to a balanced budget” is itself strikingly ignorant, since the Fed doesn’t have those kinds of powers anyway.


  21. rikyrah says:

    August 16, 2011 2:15 PM

    ‘O that mine enemy would write a book’

    By Steve Benen

    Politicians writing books — or at least putting their name on ghost-written books — has become so common, it’s practically expected. A book is one of those “must haves” for any official/candidate who intends to maintain a national presence. Whether the book is any good is largely immaterial — in fact, they’re almost universally awful — because the point is to use the text as a tool for media outreach, fundraising, etc.

    Indeed, the political figures involved generally aren’t stupid, and know to be exceedingly careful about what goes into the book. There’s no point in putting controversial ideas in your book, handing a potential weapon to future political critics.

    With this in mind, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) published Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington nine months ago, back when he was still certain he wouldn’t be a presidential candidate. Matt Yglesias, an obviously patient man, took the time to read it.

    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, its 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, it’s certainly a lot more interesting than most comparable works.

    “Interesting,” in this context, isn’t necessarily intended as praise. In fact, Matt goes on to list the “Top Ten Weirdest Ideas in Rick Perry’s Fed Up,” and there are some real doozies in there, including Perry writing about his disgust for Social Security and bank regulations, his belief in global “cooling,” and some bizarre ideas about what caused the Civil War. My personal favorite is Perry’s belief that the Great Depression ended during World War II, “when FDR was finally persuaded to unleash private enterprise,” which is practically the exact opposite of what happened.

    Ezra Klein also read the book, and came away with a similar impression: “This is not a boring book. More to the point, it’s not even a book about Rick Perry. It’s a book about Rick Perry’s ideas. And his big idea is that most everything the federal government does is unconstitutional.”

    Perry’s defenders seem to believe “it’s somehow unfair to quote Rick Perry’s views extreme views accurately,” since there are parts of Fed Up! that are perfectly sane. That’s not a great argument.

    Presumably, the Perry campaign will come up with a more coherent way to deal with the governor’s book, but while the aides work on that, Fed Up! is not only going to be a goldmine for Democrats who’ll look forward to quoting the text at length, it also may become the most important pre-election book from a candidate in decades.


  22. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 16, 2011 1:25 PM

    Gingrich forgets GOP line on payroll taxes

    By Steve Benen
    As far as GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich is concerned, congressional Republicans are probably going to have to give in and extend President Obama’s payroll tax break.

    “I think it’s very hard not to keep the payroll tax cut in this economy,” Gingrich said in a presentation at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “I don’t know what Republicans are going to say but I think it’s very hard to say ‘no.’ We’re going to end up in a position where we’re gonna raise taxes on the lowest income Americans the day they go to work and make life harder for small businesses.”

    He’s referring to a stimulative, two percent payroll tax holiday President Obama negotiated when he agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts in December. It’s set to expire at the end of the year, and it’s one of the economic growth proposals President Obama has called on Congress to pass when they return from August recess.

    “I do think that it’s a serious challenge to not extend it,” Gingrich added.

    Quick follow-up question for Newt: have you actually met any congressional Republicans lately?

    Gingrich appears to be analyzing this situation in terms of what makes sense, and in general, that’s a perspective I enjoy. But some GOP leaders have already announced their opposition to Obama’s request for an extension of the tax break.

    Republicans are going to find “it’s very hard to say ‘no’”? Actually, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), just last week, found it very easy to say no, telling Fox News a payroll tax cut extension “would simply exacerbate our debt problems.” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Wis.) has said of the idea, “I’m not in favor of that. I don’t think that’s a good idea.” A month ago, during the debt-ceiling negotiations, President Obama tried to incorporate the payroll break into the deal, and GOP leaders rejected it then, too.

    Keep in mind, the payroll tax break has been, traditionally, a Republican idea. But now that President Obama is championing the idea, the same GOP officials who pushed for this tax cut are now opposed to their own measure.

    As Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) recently argued, “If they oppose even something so suited to their tastes ideologically, it shows that they’re just opposing anything that helps create jobs. It almost makes you wonder if they aren’t trying to slow down the economic recovery for political gain.”

    This is the whole point of the “sabotage” question. The argument isn’t that Republicans have conservative ideas about helping the economy. Questioning their motivations on this alone would be foolish. The point, rather, is that Republicans have begun rejecting their own ideas about helping the economy.

    In the larger context, it’s possible House Republican leaders, in their heart of hearts, actually support an extension of the payroll tax cut, but just aren’t willing to say so. Why not? Because then they lose leverage — GOP officials know the White House wants this, and if they simply agree to pass the measure, they won’t get anything extra out of the deal.

    It’s likely, then, that congressional Republicans will simply hold the payroll tax cut hostage, and demand other goodies from Democrats in exchange for doing what the GOP wants to do anyway. If Dems give in, Republicans get more of what they want. If Dems don’t, Republicans will blame Dems for raising middle-class taxes, even if it’s obviously the GOP’s fault.

    And what kind of ransom would Republicans expect for this? Apparently, they want a tax break for repatriating overseas corporate funds, which didn’t work when it was tried seven years ago, which is fundamentally regressive, and which would worsen the deficit the GOP pretends to care about.

    The 2010 midterms continue to look like the biggest mistake Americans have made in a long while.


  23. rikyrah says:

    3 Points on Rick Perry
    By James Fallows
    Aug 16 2011, 7:25 AM ET

    1) Until I saw clips of him in the past two or three days, I hadn’t realized how much watching and seeing Perry is just like having George W. Bush back in our living rooms. Maybe this will be an ingredient for strong conservative support. I can’t imagine that any sophisticated Republican operative thinks it’s a plus in winning 270 electoral votes. When Republicans ran against the first post-Nixon Democratic president, in 1980, they didn’t try to find someone who looked and sounded like Tricky Dick.

    2) Just after Sarah Palin was nominated three years ago, I argued that anyone who moves all at once from state-level to national-level politics is going to be shocked by the greater intensity of the scrutiny and the broader range of expertise called for. Therefore that person is destined to make mistakes; the question is how bad they will be. For Palin, they showed up in her disastrous first few interviews, especially with Katie Couric. Perry is getting his own introduction to this principle just now.

    3) For the past few months, Democrats have had the suspicion that Republicans are playing a double or even triple-game in opposing the Obama Administration on spending and deficit issues. At the most principled levels, they’re upholding their belief in a smaller government. At the next level down, they’re trying to limit Obama’s operational successes wherever they can. And, most cynical of all, they understand the idea of “the worse, the better.” The surest path toward beating Obama next year is for the economy to stagnate or decline.

    Perry’s comments about Ben Bernanke cut through any such subtlety. If Bernanke “prints money” in the next 15 months, toward the end of forestalling a recession or preserving jobs, Perry would consider that “almost treasonous.” This is the kind of thing you just don’t hear from national-level politicians, and for a reason. (For starters: the punishment for treason is death.)

    Obama looks better the more the Republican field displays its outlook and temperament. Romney looks better the more the anyone-but-Romney alternatives come into full view.


  24. rikyrah says:

    ladies and gentlemen following the Murdoch spying on folks case in England – seems the smoking gun has almost been found


    Clive Goodman’s letter to News International

    Letter from former royal correspondent convicted of phone hacking said practice was ‘widely discussed’ in daily meetings and approved by senior editors


    the letter in question is at the link above

    • opulent says:

      I tell you the more you read about the pervasiveness of the hacking and how it was basically SOP and talked out openly….

      I just know they are doing that hear.
      I always recall how HRC cozied up to Murdoch during the primaries so that she could
      get positive press coverage ..begging him to lay down the ax that he had wielded so vigilantly against Bill.

      Now we have Cameron basically acknowledging that politiicians want good press and that is what leads to the press underming politics and influencing the decisions of the public with the stuff they print.

      But most of all it makes me realize..they do not have shyt on this President.

      He is so squeaky clean..they have nothing they can pummel him with.

      Just think no scandals, no corruptions, no type of ‘obamagate’….this is unheard of in modern day national politics.

      Recall how many they had on the Clintons at this point: Paulagate, troopergate, travelgate, fostergate..on and on.

  25. rikyrah says:

    August 16, 2011
    Rick Perry: Gaffe watch

    If throwing into asinine question the president of the United States’ patriotism is an early indicator of Rick Perry’s campaign artistry to come, then Rick Perry will be toast even sooner than I thought.

    It’s kids’ stuff, juvenile beyond even the puerile Donald Trump and emotionally stunted primary voters. And Mitt Romney, if he’s as clever at Perry-crushing as he is at issue-evading, will bury his freshest opponent in a flurry of forced apologies, course corrections and backpedaling.

    Perry’s too cutesy “You need to ask him” response to a reporter’s inquiry about Obama’s love of country is small-b bush league stuff of the swaggering sort that will wear real thin, real soon.

    Far more than that, however, is that it shows that Perry isn’t the disciplined campaigner he’s purported to be. Only a reckless loudmouth would subsume his key electoral attraction — jobs — to an adolescent taunt about the president’s patriotism.


  26. rikyrah says:

    August 16, 2011
    Nocera’s big idea
    It’s unsettling to recall that this guy was a business columnist for the NY Times before he metamorphosed as an op-ed columnist for the NY Times, which evidently has adopted an old Army motto as its corporate model: “Fuck up and move up.”

    In pronounced conflict with prevailing economic theory and virtually all available empirical facts, today Joe Nocera first asserts that corporate “investment” — not consumer demand — “is what will turn the economy around.” He then exotically flames his column with this utterly pointless fantasy:

    I am coming more and more to think that with the government essentially paralyzed for the foreseeable future, the only way we’re going to get jobs is by turning to actual job creators: business itself. With all their cash, companies shouldn’t be waiting for Congress to give them tax incentives to hire people. They should be trying to jump-start the economy — and fend off another recession — by making investments, and hiring workers, that will lead to renewed prosperity.

    The only way that’s going to happen, however, is if our society implicitly makes the kind of compact that German society makes explicitly: We have to be willing to allow companies to sacrifice short-term profits for the long-term good of the country.

    It’s as though Nocera had this extraordinary idea — We should be more like Germany — so he simply restructures modern economic theory to fit his desired theme, and, what’s worse, he wraps the entire invention in some notional humbug about patriotic capitalism.


  27. creolechild says:

    Here’s the Royalettes, singing It’s Gonna Take A Miracle.

  28. creolechild says:

    Here’s Bobby Taylor, singing Does Your Mother Know About Me.

  29. creolechild says:

    Rick, who is the WE that you’re referring to?!!

    Rick Perry: Tax the Poor!
    by: Ruth Marcus

    “We’re dismayed at the injustice that nearly half of all Americans don’t even pay any income tax.”
    -Texas Gov. Rick Perry, presidential announcement speech, Aug. 13, 2011.

    Washington – Really? Of all the ills in the world, of all the problems with the economy, all the difficulties with the tax code, this is the one that Perry chooses to lament? Perry’s statement conjures visions of America as Slacker Nation, where the overburdened wagon-pullers drag an increasingly heavy burden of freeloaders. His number is correct but, like other conservatives who have seized on the statistic, Perry draws from it a dangerously misleading lesson. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that 46.4 percent of households will owe no federal income tax in 2011. This is, for the most part, not because people have chosen to loaf. It’s because they are working but simply don’t earn enough to owe income taxes, based on the progressive structure of the tax code and provisions designed to help the working poor and lower-income seniors.

    As the Tax Policy Center’s Roberton Williams explains, “a couple with two children earning less than $26,400 will pay no federal income tax this year because their $11,600 standard deduction and four exemptions of $3,700 each reduce their taxable income to zero. The basic structure of the income tax simply exempts subsistence levels of income from tax.” Does Perry truly see this as an “injustice”? Does he believe his “dismay” should be alleviated by raising the tax burden on these households? Consider: Of those households who do not owe income taxes, about a third earn $10,000 a year and a slightly smaller share earn between $10,000 and $20,000. More than three-fourths earn $30,000 or less. In addition, the notion that these households pay no taxes is flat-out wrong. They pay — leaving aside state and local sales, income and property taxes — federal gasoline and other excise taxes and, most significantly, payroll taxes on every dollar they earn. These taxes are regressive.

    Everyone pays the same share, regardless of income, so they hit the poor hardest, and counterbalance the progressivity of the income tax code. Indeed, factoring in payroll taxes alone, the Slacker Nation picture looks very different. Two-thirds of the households that pay no federal income tax still ante up for payroll taxes. Fewer than one in five — 18 percent of all households — pay neither income nor payroll taxes. Nearly all of these are elderly (10 percent) or have incomes below $20,000 (7 percent.)



  30. creolechild says:


    Kansas wants federal funds to promote marriage, refuses AHCA cash
    Posted by Paddy

    Brownback’s team is also declining “to apply for some grants”, including monies to help communities reduce rates of chronic diseases. But getting those single moms married up? Priority.

    While turning down one federal handout last week, the administration of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback was applying for a different one.

    No, thanks: $31.5 million for implementing the new federal health care law.

    Please remit: $6.6 million to promote marriage.

    The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services is seeking $2.2 million a year for three years to pay for counseling that encourages unwed parents to marry. Free marriage licenses would be given to those who do.

    State officials portrayed the grant request as the state’s first major marriage initiative aimed at reducing child poverty.

    In giving up the $31 million, the governor said that every state should prepare for less federal cash, given that so many questions are swirling about government spending.


  31. Ametia says:

    The recall for Wisconsin Democratic Senators is today.

  32. creolechild says:

    We know you’re on summer vacation, John Boehner, but no need to feel rejected…we haven’t forgotten about you!

    John Boehner’s Boys-Only Lobbyist Golfing Buddies —By Andy Kroll

    In 2005, Golf Digest magazine featured John Boehner—then a rising star among House Republicans, today the speaker of the House—as one of Congress’ sharpest shooters on the links. Despite committee leadership positions, Boehner still found time to log 100 or more rounds a year, often mixing politics and the putting green. “If someone I’ve gotten to know on the golf course comes into my office with a good argument,” he said, “I tend to want to listen.”

    A lobbyist looking to twist Boehner’s arm could do worse than the Burning Tree Club outside Washington, DC, a male-only, hyper-exclusive country club that has counted presidents, Supreme Court justices, and powerful lawmakers—including Speaker Boehner—among its members. When it can, Burning Tree closely guards its member list, giving few clues about the men playing with the movers and shakers of Washington. But according to member information obtained by Political Correction, an affiliate of the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters for America, Burning Tree’s regulars include lobbyists for some of the most powerful corporations in America—and that membership gives them access to the most powerful man in Congress.

    In the past decade, more than 70 lobbyists have belonged to Burning Tree, which caps total members at around 600 and charges a $75,000 initiation fee and $6,000 a year in dues. (In your dreams, regular duffers.) According to Political Correction, those lobbyists have represented Goldman Sachs, Koch Industries, the US Chamber of Commerce, RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company, health insurance giant Aetna, Northrop Grumman, Chevron Texaco, and Bank of America, among others. Here’s a snapshot of the Burning Tree’s lobbyist members and the companies they’ve represented:



  33. creolechild says:

    Hmmmm….this can’t be good~

    Pakistan Allowed China to Survey Top-Secret US Helicopter? No Surprise There
    —By Asawin Suebsaeng

    Since the killing of Osama bin Laden, stories have trickled out about various aspects of the May 1 raid, with details ranging from enlightening to confusingly macabre. Headline-ready tidbits—the CIA’s DNA collection operation in Abbottabad, a rejected Al Qaeda plot involving sword-twirling death tractors, or Osama’s porno collection, for example—all appeared to slightly redeem American intelligence services, paint Al Qaeda as incurably vulnerable, and/or humiliate Pakistan and the ISI.

    But Sunday’s news story regarding the aftermath of the bin Laden mission kind of reads like the Chinese got the last chuckle. US officials are claiming that, with the blessing of Pakistani officials, Chinese military engineers were permitted to take photos of and extract samples from the abandoned US Black Hawk stealth helicopter that crashed into the Abbottabad compound, according to the Financial Times:



  34. creolechild says:

    LOL! For real? I wasn’t aware that Paul Ryan was into S&M…

    Report: Paul Ryan Thinking About Running For President
    —By Tim Murphy

    Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan is strongly considering a run for president. Ryan, who has been quietly meeting with political strategists to discuss a bid over the past three months, is on vacation in Colorado discussing a prospective run with his family. Ryan’s concerns about the effects of a presidential campaign—and perhaps a presidency—on his family have been his primary focus as he thinks through his political future. “He’s coming around,” says a Republican source close to Ryan, who has been urging the 41-year-old to run. “With Paul, it’a more about obligation than opportunity,” says another Wisconsin Republican. “He is determined to have the 2012 election be about the big things. If that means he has to run, he’s open to it.”

    So is there anything to this? Well, back in June I noted that Ryan delivered a major foreign policy speech focusing on the theme of “American Exceptionalism,” which seemed like an odd move for a Congressman who focuses exclusively on domestic economic policy—unless, that is, he wanted to be something bigger. With Sen. Herb Kohl retiring at the end of this Congress, there’s a job opening in the upper chamber, but Ryan has said that that would be a step down from his perch atop the House budget committee. So that leaves us with president, and given that Ryan’s budget plan has become a sacred text among the current crop of candidates, who better to lead the party forward?



  35. creolechild says:

    Michele should apply for work in Cirque de Soleil given her unique talent for contortion which she uses to avoid questions that she doesn’t want to answer. Sorry, honey, but all questions are valid since you aspire to be the President of the United States. If you can’t run with the Big Dogs, stay on the porch…and bark~

    Michele Bachmann: Gay Families Are Not ‘Families’
    By Zack Ford on Aug 15, 2011 at 10:58 am

    On yesterday’s Meet The Press, host David Gregory challenged Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann on some of her anti-gay views. After grilling her about whether sexual orientation would be a factor she’d consider in making presidential appointments, he asked whether a same-sex couple raising children constitutes a “family.” She doesn’t:

    GREGORY: Can a gay couple who adopt children, in your mind, be considered a “family”?

    BACHMANN: When it comes to marriage, and family, my opinion is that marriage is between a man and a woman. And I think that’s been my view —

    GREGORY: So a gay couple with kids would not be considered a “family” to you?

    BACHMANN: You know, all of these kind of questions really aren’t about what people are concerned about right now.

    Bachmann then tried to downplay the importance of the question, even though, as Gregory pointed out, Bachmann has said that same-sex marriage is a “defining political issue of our time.” Bachmann simply responded, “I think my views are clear.”



  36. creolechild says:


    Rove Slaps Rick Perry: Distancing Yourself From Bush ‘Is Not Smart Politics Strategically Or Tactically’ – By Faiz Shakir

    In his early stages of his presidential campaign, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is already fighting off comparisons to another self-assured, former Texas governor who swaggered into the White House. “Is Rick Perry too George W. Bush-y?” a headline on the Washington Post asks. Joshua Green on The Atlantic similarly wondered, “Is America Ready for ‘George W. Bush on Steroids?‘” Attempting to subtly distance himself from the unpopular Bush, Perry said yesterday, “Our records are quite different. … I went to Texas A&M. He went to Yale.” Even this very mild distancing of Bush was too much for former Bush “architect” Karl Rove. On Fox News this morning, Rove complained that Perry is trying to contrast himself with Bush “in a way that’s dismissive of the former president,” adding “now, why one would do that, I don’t know.” (Bush left office with an approval rating of 22 percent.)

    Rove then argued that Perry and Bush are actually quite close: [In 1998, Bush] moved heaven and earth to get Rick Perry elected as his running mate. … I know from the perspective of the former president that he has a cordial, personal strong friendship of nearly two decades with the governor. I think that’s true of the governor too. But why he falls into this pattern of sounding like he’s being dismissive of the former president is not smart politics strategically or tactically. Host Martha MacCallum observed, “It sounds like you feel like he’s been ungrateful to the Bushes.”

    During the interview, Rove also criticized Rick Perry for his “misstatement” on Ben Bernanke being potentially guilty of treason.

    [Click on link to see video.]


  37. creolechild says:

    Can The Health Care Law Survive Without An Individual Mandate?
    By Igor Volsky

    It can, but policy makers will have to devise some other way of compelling younger healthier applicants to purchase health insurance before they become sick and expensive. In light of Friday’s appeals court ruling against the Affordable Care Act’s individual requirement, below are several alternatives to making the law work without it:

    1. Single Payer or Medicare for all – The constitutionality of using tax dollars to provide health coverage is not in doubt (see: Medicare, Medicaid). But, given the political landscape, this is probably the most improbable solution.

    2. Public option – The court opposed to requiring Americans to buy a private product. By adding a public option you’re possibly eliminating that problem and even lowering premiums (and in turn, government expenditures on subsidies).

    3. Auto enrollment – An individual is automatically enrolled in insurance unless she or he opts out. This obviously would only apply to people with employer coverage and those employers could have an incentive to lower their health care spending by actively discouraging workers to opt of insurance and younger employees would be more prone to go without coverage. Jon Gruber has estimated that approximately 24 million will gain coverage.

    4. Late enrollment penalty – An individual can opt-in to insurance but pay a penalty for enrolling at a later date. But how will this work? Will the government really tell a 30-year-old individual with cancer that they can’t get insurance coverage because they didn’t sign up when they were 27 years old? And of course, if younger people stay out of the risk pool, costs will skyrocket. A similar proposal would allow insurers to charge applicants higher deductibles.

    5. Multi-year waiver – People can opt out of buying insurance, but for a price. They’d have to sign a waiver on their tax return saying they would be ineligible for federal subsidies for a certain period of time, such as five years.

    6. Open enrollment period – Individuals who purchase insurance after a certain pre-determined open period have to pay a lot more for coverage. This option can suffer from the same problem as number 4 (lower participation would lead to higher premiums since healthy people would stay out of the risk pool).

    7. Encourage states to adopt their own mandate – As the Massachusetts example proved, there are no Constitutional objections there. States are well within their right to require people to purchase coverage.

    8. Rewrite the mandate as a tax – What Congress should have done in the first place, since, as the court explained, it wouldn’t have any objection to Congress taxing (rather than penalizing) people without insurance.

    Unfortunately, it is very hard to “score” these alternatives and I’m not aware of any economists (outside of Gruber) who have modeled the coverage and premium rates for these options. One big advantage of the mandate is that it has already succeeded in lowering the number of uninsured (see Massachusetts) and if we go down any other road, we could end up insuring far less people at a higher cost.


  38. creolechild says:

    New Jersey Bill Ensuring Rape Victims Do Not Get Billed For Rape Kits Still Awaiting Christie’s Signature – By Tanya Somanader

    New Jersey state lawmakers are seeking to address a serious lapse in the criminal justice process that unduly burdens victims of sexual assault. Under current federal law, health care providers must be reimbursed for collecting forensic evidence from a sexual assault victim. While all invoices for these services are supposed to go to the appropriate government agencies for review and payment, victims “frequently receive such invoices due to administrative errors or attempts to get payment from a victim’s insurance company.”

    The New Jersey bill, which “overwhelmingly passed” both state chambers, would prohibit health care providers from sending those invoices directly to the victims. Calling it the “right thing to do,” bill sponsor state Rep. Annette Quijano (D) said, “I see no reason why we should add to that suffering by essentially forcing them to pay for the investigation into their own assault.” In a seemingly rare show of bipartisanship, state Sen. Diane Allen (R) — who sponsored the companion bill in the state Senate — agreed that such an “inhumane practice” needed to be prevented:


    The state Senate approved the bill in late March, while the state Assembly passed it in late June. Gov. Chris Christie (R) has yet to sign the bill as it “remains under review by his office.” Christie has yet to personally address the matter, and “it’s not clear when Christie will act on the bill.”


  39. creolechild says:

    Militia in Somalia Bars Food Aid, Rights Group Says
    by: Robyn Dixon,

    Johannesburg, South Africa – As Somalia’s drought and famine worsened in recent months, the Shabab militia in the south seized families’ crops and livestock and imposed taxes that made it almost impossible to survive, according to a report released Monday by Human Rights Watch. The militia banned international humanitarian agencies as “infidels” and told the desperate population to depend on God instead. And it stopped many hungry people from fleeing the country for survival. “I think they wanted the people to die,” one refugee from the Shabab-controlled Sakoh district told researchers with the rights group in an April interview in a refugee camp in neighboring Kenya.

    “The impact of Al Shabab’s total prohibitions on food aid in areas under its control has been devastating for affected communities,” the report says. “No humanitarian aid is accepted by those guys,” said another refugee, identified as DS from Afmadow district in southern Somalia. “They say, ‘These are infidels who are distributing food and we don’t want anything from them.'”

    “They were telling people to just depend on God and forget about depending on the agencies,” said TF, from Bay province, who was interviewed at a Kenyan refugee camp. He fled Somalia after nearly all of his 40 goats and 20 cattle died of starvation. The refugees were identified by their initials for security reasons.



  40. rikyrah says:

    Rick Perry Stands By ‘Passionate’ Rant Against ‘Almost Treasonous’ Bernanke

    Rick Perry is standing by his remarks about Fed Chair Ben Bernanke’s “ugly” reception in Texas should he enact “treasonous” expansionary monetary policies before the election.

    “He is passionate about getting federal finances under control,” Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan told the New York Times in an interview. “They shouldn’t print more money, they should cut spending and move much more rapidly to a balanced budget.”

    Perry has come under fire, even from some fellow Republicans, for his intimidating talk against Bernanke.

    “I know there’s a lot of talk and what have you about if this guy prints more money between now and the election,” Perry said in Iowa on Monday. “I don’t know what y’all would do to him in Iowa, but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas.” He added that it would be “almost treasonous” to print money ahead of the 2012 election to help boost the recovery.

    But as his spokesman’s affirmation suggests, there is political upside as well: a fight over the Fed could be difficult territory for the more Wall Street friendly Mitt Romney.


  41. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 16, 2011 9:35 AM

    Congressional pay-per-view?

    By Steve Benen
    A couple of weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal noted that White House officials are hoping members of Congress will return to work “having heard an earful from voters about jobs and the economy.” Of course, that assumes the American mainstream can talk to their representatives at all.

    It appears that in some cases, Republicans only want to interact with voters willing to pay for the privilege.

    It will cost $15 to ask Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) a question in person during the August congressional recess.

    The House Budget Committee chairman isn’t holding any face-to-face open-to-the-public town hall meetings during the recess, but like several of his colleagues he will speak only for residents willing to open their wallets.

    Ryan, who took substantial criticism from his southeast Wisconsin constituents in April after he introduced the Republicans’ budget proposal, isn’t the only member of congress whose August recess town hall-style meetings are strictly pay-per-view.

    The Politico piece points to similar practices being used by Republican Reps. Ben Quayle (Ariz.) and Chip Cravaack (Minn.).

    In fairness, these far-right politicians aren’t literally selling answers to constituent questions, but the reality isn’t that far off. In practice, Ryan, Quayle, and Cravaack are partnering with private organizers to host pseudo-public events. The members kinda sorta look like they’re making themselves available to voters, but the organizers put a price tag that raises money and discourages potential critics.

    And what about those voters who don’t want to pony up just to talk to their member of Congress or can’t afford a ticket? They’re out of luck. Try sending a letter that will be read by an office assistant who will gladly send you a nice form letter in response.

    “After Republicans voted to gut Medicare, and other vital programs, while protecting tax breaks for millionaires and corporations, it’s not surprising that they would not want to face their constituents in an open forum,” MoveOn.org Executive Director Justin Ruben told Politico. “There seems to be no limit to how much our government is for sale.”

    I can appreciate the temptation for politicians. In this day and age, confrontations with angry voters can be embarrassing — and widely disseminated.

    But hiding behind entrance fees is undemocratic. I’m trying to imagine the outrage if, in August 2009, House Democrats announced they were scrapping open town-hall meetings, and would only talk to those willing to buy tickets.

    I suspect the response would have been less than kind. Shouldn’t this be at least as scandalous, then?


  42. creolechild says:

    DECORAH, Iowa — US President Barack Obama went head-to-head with a prominent conservative Tea Party activist, in a microcosm of a political clash that will play out in the 2012 election. Ryan Rhodes, a leader of the group in Iowa, took on Obama during an open-air town hall meeting, which marked a moment of new intensity in the president’s campaign for a second term. Rhodes shouted out that the president’s calls for more civility in politics had little chance of coming to pass after “your vice president is calling people like me, a Tea Party member, a ‘terrorist.'” His question referred to media reports that Vice President Joe Biden made such a remark in a private meeting with House of Representatives Democrats at the height of a debt showdown earlier this month.

    The clash came as Obama was intent on wrapping up the meeting in the shadow of a red country barn draped with an American flag, as the sun set on a rural corner of Iowa. “I know it’s not going to work, if you stand up, and I asked everybody to raise their hand… I didn’t see you, I wasn’t avoiding you,” the president said, but later circled back to answer Rhodes’s question. “I absolutely agree that everybody needs to try to tone down the rhetoric,” he said, before going on to detail some of the more explosive charges that conservatives have laid against him. “In fairness, since I have been called a socialist who wasn’t born in this country, who is destroying America and taking away its freedoms because I passed a health care bill, I am all for lowering the rhetoric.”



    • Ametia says:

      That lil bagger thought he could roll up in the townhall and cry foul, after he and his ilk have called POTUS everything but a child of GOD.

      As usual, PBO handled folks like Rhodes with respect, grace, and truth, the very qualities these turds are lacking. BYE BOY!

      • opulent says:

        O my..nothing but hate, Hate, HATE!!!

        These folks are mean and acting combative. Did you hear that biddie talking about how 80% of terrorist acts are leftists in this country?
        Unbelieveable how they rationalize their hate.

        That was her response to PBO saying that ‘you would agree that Timothy McVeigh was a terrorist wouldn’t you?” That heffa went on a leftist terrorists rant!

        This campaign is going to be scary..I do believe they are going to literally attack the President.

        We need to have prayer chains daily.

        these folks are angry lunatics focused on embarassing and bringing this presidency down.

  43. Ametia says:

    Race and Beyond: The Race for the White House
    By Sam Fulwood III | August 16, 2011

    Given the confusing and crazy history that we Americans seem incapable of rising above, I suppose it was preordained that nearly every conversation about the first black president would devolve to an examination of its racial elements. From the moment then-candidate Barack Obama declared himself a contender for the White House, the ghost of U.S. race history has hovered over him, trying its best drag him into some otherworldly realm.

    For better or worst, President Obama is what every president before him was—a very good politician. Nobody gets elected president without being so. As such, President Obama must play the political game as deftly as each of his predecessors did, despite having the racial narrative as a backdrop to his remarkable story. That race-is-everything storyline is a distraction to everyone, save the president who seems to ignore it at all costs. For good reason, too; he can’t afford to be distracted by it, if he expects to win—again.

    Still, that doesn’t stop others from throwing down the race card whenever they attempt to discuss whatever he does. It becomes a facile argument, one that provides a simple-minded explanation for a sore-spot subject that most Americans prefer not to think about very deeply. By offering up a race-based explanation to any and all discussion of the president, the illogic of U.S. attitudes toward black and other ethnic success stories can be discharged without much comprehension or reason. After all, there can be no denying that he is, ahem, black.


  44. rikyrah says:

    With Government Job Losses Slowing The Recovery, Romney Promises To Lay Off Even More
    By Travis Waldron on Aug 16, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) continued to paint himself as the Republican Party’s best “jobs candidate” today in New Hampshire, telling crowds that President Obama’s policies have stalled economic recovery and that he had the experience necessary to create jobs and turn the economy around.

    In doing so, however, he outlined a policy that would have — and is having — the opposite effect. Romney promised that, as president, he would cut federal workers’ pay and slash the number of federal government jobs:

    ROMNEY: Federal employees, we’ve got too many of them, and they’re paid too much. In many cases, they do a good job, we respect the work that they do, it’s important work that they do. We just have too many.

    Government workers make for politically expedient targets, particularly in rough economic times. But Romney’s argument that federal workers are paid more than private sector workers distorts the facts. At the top end of the pay scale, federal workers are often paid less than their private sector counterparts, so much so that the government has “found it increasingly more difficult to attract and retain high-skill workers.” If Romney wanted to bring federal pay in line with the private sector as he suggested, he’d have to provide many government workers a raise.

    Romney’s claims that there are “too many” government jobs, meanwhile, ignores the state of the American jobs crisis. While the private sector continues to grow (albeit slowly), federal, state, and local governments have shed more than 500,000 jobs in the last two years, negating the positive effects of private sector growth and dragging down the economic recovery. If public sector employment was at its 2009 level, the unemployment rate would be 8.4 percent, considerably lower than the 9.1 percent it stands at now.

    Romney, who constantly reminds voters of his private sector experience, may not view government workers as participants in what he calls the “real economy.” But as Matt Yglesias notes, the effects of government job losses mirror those of private sector losses, as “the sharply reduced incomes of the former teachers and whatnot lead to them spending less in their local communities,” thus slowing economic growth


  45. creolechild says:

    Snyder leads freshman GOP govs in approval decline
    By Ed Brayton

    A number of freshman Republican governors were swept into office last November and all of them have seen dramatic drops in public support in the first part of their terms. But Gov. Rick Snyder leads them all in the magnitude of that drop in public support.

    Talking Points Memo cites research by Bill Schneider’s Inside Politics Newsletter, which compared the percentage of the vote each governor got in November with their approval ratings in recent polling for eight GOP governors: Rick Scott of Florida, Mitch Daniels of Indiana, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, John Kasich of Ohio, Nathan Deal of Georgia, Jan Brewer of Arizona, and Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania.

    Gov. Scott has the lowest approval ratings of all the governors at this point at only 29 percent, but that’s only a 19 percent drop from the 49 percent he received in the election last November. Rick Snyder, on the other hand, got 58 percent of the vote last year and is now at only 33 percent support among his Michigan constituents, a drop of 25 percent.


  46. rikyrah says:

    Breaking Up With Boyfriend Barack
    He’s not our friend or our lover. He’s our president. It’s time for a more professional relationship.
    By: Michael Arceneaux | Posted: August 16, 2011 at 12:51 AM

    It’s not surprising that so many people get defensive over President Barack Obama.

    In many cases, it’s completely understandable. When you hear that a Republican congressman referred to the nation’s first black president as a “tar baby,” you’re rightfully infuriated. The same can be said when condescending Wall Street Journal writers question his intelligence. Worse is when two high-profile black men are willing to assail the president with angst that appears to be fueled by largely petty reasons.

    Yet for every bigot, idiot or diva with an ax to grind, there are actual, legitimate issues for which to criticize President Obama. Here’s a message to some of his more zealous devotees: Settle down. You’re a little too emotionally invested in Barack. Or, as Bill Maher put it on the season finale of Real Time, “He’s your president, not your boyfriend.”

    I find myself increasingly shying away from Obama-related conversations with certain people out of fear that they will break into song and croon in my face, “Don’t mess with my man, I’mma be the one to bring it to you!” (Word to Nivea.)

    Gallup’s most recent approval polls show that, while Obama has a 41 percent overall rating, approval among African Americans is still at a high 85 percent. And yet the black unemployment rate is at 15.9 percent — double the 8.1 percent rate for whites. In light of those numbers, it’s troubling that some still act as if the man doesn’t deserve constructive criticism.

    Yes, there are political reasons that Obama can’t directly address black joblessness, and no, I’d never suggest that he do anything to validate some trite and delusional right-wing narrative that he’s in office only to aid blacks. Even if agreeing to that austerity-inspired debt-ceiling deal — which will do little to generate growth or really chip away at our debts — was a political necessity, it was another example of the president giving off the impression that he’s not fighting hard enough for those in greatest need of assistance.

    That’s essentially the gist of Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West’s argument on their poorly named “Poverty Tour.” Smiley was right to point out: “If this president is going to be a great president, not just one we celebrate symbolically, if he’s going to be a transformative president, somebody — lovingly and respectfully and committed to some core set of principles — has to help push him.”


    • Ametia says:

      More nonsense to chide Obama supporters and to divide. There is NOTHING remotely lovingly or respectful about what Tavis and Cornel have been doing. GTFOH

    • creolechild says:

      Must we continue to rebut articles that incorporate admonitions from people who quote Bill Maher, Cornel West, and Tavis Smiley as being “reasonable” or “legitimate” critics because, in fact, it has been demonstrated that their “assertions” are anything but…

      As to high unemployment for POC, ONCE AGAIN, that problem existed long before Barack
      Obama was elected to office and won’t be solved overnight or any time soon, especially in this economy. That’s not an excuse, it’s a FACT!

      This asinine statement: “Even if agreeing to that austerity-inspired debt-ceiling deal — which will do little to generate growth or really chip away at our debts — was a political necessity, it was another example of the president giving off the impression that he’s not fighting hard enough for those in greatest need of assistance” merely goes to show that the author should spend a little more time doing research on actual policies which have been enacted by the president to address the problems facing communities of color before making unsubstantiated claims. And I can back up my statement with data and hard facts, can he say the same? Furthermore, I’d prefer a president who handled his business and got stuff done–without worrying about “impressions” and “posturing”–which is exactly what President Obama is doing!

      GTFOH with that nonsense…..

      • Ametia says:

        CHECKMATE!!! Whycome we can support EVERY OTHER Democratic PRESIDENT and not get chided or painted as simple-minded black folks blindly supporting EVERY OTHER president, but now Barack Hussein Obama, we got to check ourselves, before we wreck ourselves?

        AGAIN; Get the fuck out of here with that NONSENSE

  47. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 16, 2011 10:50 AM

    Right rejects Buffett’s good advice

    By Steve Benen
    Over the weekend, Warren Buffett, the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, made a powerful case to raise taxes on him and those like him who enjoy enormous wealth. He noted, among other things, that he has a lower tax burden, as a percentage of his income, than anyone in his office. Millionaires and billionaires, Buffett said, “have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.”

    President Obama twice cited Buffett’s op-ed yesterday to bolster the White House line. The right, apparently, was less impressed. Here’s Fox News’ Eric Bolling on the air yesterday:

    Warren Buffett wrote an op-ed in the New York Times today, he said we should be, I think you mentioned it earlier, we should be taxed more. What is this? Is he completely a socialist and he’s playing into Mr. Obama’s hands of, you know, tax anyone who makes money, give it to people who don’t work?”

    Got that? Asking millionaires and billionaires to pay just a little more — going back to, say, the same rates they paid in the 1990s, when the economy soared — is evidence of being “completely a socialist.” Indeed, as Bolling sees it, asking the wealthy to sacrifice is necessarily part of an agenda to give money “to people who don’t work.”

    Also remember, Buffett is one of America’s wealthiest people, and is the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.”Completely a socialist”?

    Why do Fox News viewers seem so terribly confused? In part because they rely on guys like Bolling to help them make sense of current events.

    Mitt Romney also rejected the Buffett line, arguing yesterday, Look, “I know there are some who say “let’s just tax the rich.” Let’s raise the taxes on the rich…. If we raise taxes on wealthy people, that means businesses see their taxes go up. I don’t want to raise taxes on employers.”

    Pat Garofalo explained how very wrong this.
    As we’ve noted over and over again, during both the 2008 and 2010 tax debates, raising taxes on the rich will have little effect on small businesses. Fewer than 2 percent of small businesses owners make more than $250,000, never mind the $1 million level, at which Buffett is advocating a tax increase. Far more small businesses (14 percent) claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is only available to low-income workers.


  48. creolechild says:

    Federal grants awarded for health insurance exchanges
    By Noam N. Levey| August 12, 2011, 4:56 p.m.

    The Obama administration has awarded more than $185 million in grants to 13 states and the District of Columbia to help establish new state-based health insurance marketplaces where consumers can shop for insurance starting in 2014, a key benefit of the new healthcare law. These Internet-based exchanges, designed to help Americans who don’t receive health benefits through their employer, are intended to make buying health insurance akin to comparison shopping online for an airline ticket or a hotel room.

    The exchanges will provide basic information about health plans, including premiums and covered benefits. By 2019, the exchanges are expected to provide insurance for an estimated 24 million Americans, most of whom will receive subsidies to help them buy a health plan because they are expected to earn too little to bear the full cost. Employers with fewer than 100 workers will also be able to use the exchanges, which will have to offer plans with a minimum level of coverage. No plans will be able to deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions.

    The grants were announced Friday just as a key component in President Obama’s healthcare law, requiring all Americans to buy insurance, was ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals court in Atlanta. The issue is likely headed to the Supreme Court. Leaders in 26 states challenged the law in court last year. Obama administration officials have been racing to get states to set up exchanges because they are central to the coverage expansion envisioned by the new law. That effort has been embraced by some state leaders and resisted by others critical of the law.



  49. creolechild says:

    Obama’s Gallup numbers show 12 states in play in 2012
    By David Lauter

    Twelve states constitute the likely battlegrounds for the 2012 election, based on Gallup’s state-by-state ratings of President Obama’s approval level. The ratings, which aggregate Gallup polling done from January through June, came out just as Gallup was releasing its latest tracking poll showing Obama’s approval nationwide at 39%, the lowest in his presidency. If Obama’s national approval remains stuck at that level — or even in the low 40s – then state-by-state assessments probably won’t matter much. Historically, presidents don’t win re-election with that sort of approval rating.

    But assuming Obama can move his national numbers back upward, then the 16 states plus the District of Columbia in which he had approval of 50% or better this spring can reasonably be considered his electoral base. They have 215 electoral votes. At the other end of the scale, there were 22 states where Obama’s approval was below 43% during the spring. Those states, plus Mississippi, where his approval was 45%, but which he stands virtually no chance of carrying, constitute the GOP base, with 168 electoral votes. (Mississippi is a special case because of the racial polarization in its voting; Obama is extremely popular among blacks, who make up almost 40% of the state’s electorate, and very unpopular among whites in the state).

    There are 12 states in between. Not all of them will end up being in play – some are likely to prove out of Obama’s reach early on. And although some states may drop off the list, it’s unlikely that many will move onto it. One exception could be New Hampshire – a state that Obama carried in 2008 but in which he is currently quite unpopular. It could become competitive again, depending on the GOP nominee. There are also a few states in Obama’s base that moved sharply toward the GOP in the 2010 election, notably Wisconsin and Minnesota, which the White House still has to worry about.

    For now, however, the battleground dozen in the middle of Gallup’s rankings have 155 electoral votes, and to win, Obama would have to capture 55 of those while holding his base. The battlegrounds, which also appear on lists drawn up by strategists in both parties, are three perennial swing states, Florida (29), Ohio (18) and Pennsylvania (20); Iowa (6); three in the South, Virginia (13), North Carolina (15) and Georgia (16); and five states in the West, Oregon (7) plus a grouping in the interior West made up of Nevada (6), Arizona (11), New Mexico (5) and Colorado (9). For those states, Obama would have to depend on a large Latino turnout. The Southern states would require a heavy turnout among blacks plus support from moderate-to-liberal suburban whites.


  50. creolechild says:

    War Budget Cuts Are Possible if We Counter Contractors’ Multimillion-Dollar Campaign Spending
    by: Robert Greenwald and Derrick Crowe, War Costs Blog

    The deal worked out to allow a rise in the debt ceiling gives us our first real chance in more than a decade to make significant cuts to our country’s out-of-control war budget, but we are going to have to fight for them. The war industry is already deploying their favorite kind of stealth weapon on Capitol Hill to protect their profits: money and influence. Members of the newly-announced deficit committee have together taken around $1 million in campaign and PAC contributions from military contractors since 2007, and these companies plan to “cash in” on these donations to stop real cuts to big war contracts. That’s why Brave New Foundation is moving quickly to launch a new campaign, War Costs, to counter their profit-protection strategy, and we need you with us.

    The first way the war industry is working to influence the politics of the debt ceiling debate is through the mainstream media. Since the outlines of the debt ceiling deal were announced, various proxies for military contractor companies have been screaming in the media about the supposed dangers of modest cuts to our outrageously excessive war spending ($1 trillion over a 10-year period). These folks are not exactly impartial. In fact, the pundits given the most prominent billing in the press have deep ties to the war industry, and they need to be exposed. For example:



  51. creolechild says:

    In on-air interview, congressman says he is willing to compromise on FAA bill
    By Virginia Chamlee | 08.15.11

    In a recent radio interview, Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park, says he is willing to compromise on a funding measure for the Federal Aviation Administration. While Mica — who heads the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee — has faced criticism for his role in the recent FAA shutdown. Democrats have blamed him by arguing that his failure to support a provision in the FAA reauthorization bill to make it easier for airport employees to unionize was largely to blame for the shutdown.

    Mica supported a provision that would cut funding for small airports in Nevada and West Virginia, which he said was a bargaining “tool,” of sorts, to gain the support of Senate Democrats. Instead of compromise, the largely party-line dispute led to the temporary FAA shutdown. At the time, Mica was quoted as saying that he had “no idea” when the FAA shutdown would come to an end, and seemed staunch in his refusal to back down. Recently, a union representing flight attendants staged protests at Mica’s Florida offices over the lack of a permanent funding measure for the FAA. The temporary funding measure eventually approved will expire on Sept. 16.

    But according to WMFE news, which recently interviewed Mica, the Florida congressman now says he is willing to compromise on union issues and “rural air service funding along with the number of flights moving in and out of Washington, D.C.’s airports.” WMFE will air its full interview with Mica on Tuesday morning. A portion can be heard here:

    [Click on link to listen to audio.]



  52. creolechild says:

    One of 2012′s most anticipated races is well under way
    By Ashley Lopez

    The fight for Florida’s 22nd congressional district is shaping up to be one of the most closely watched and expensive elections in the country. Again. District 22 covers a long strip along South Florida’s eastern shoreline. Most of this swing district runs from the northern edge of Palm Beach County (which is Democrat-dominated) down to just north of Hollywood in Broward County, which also leans Democratic. Overall, Democrats hold a slight voter registration advantage. However, tentacle-like portions of the district reach inland to pick up GOP-leaning areas, such as Parkland and Palm Beach Gardens. It was those areas that turned out heavily in 2010 to elect tea party favorite Allen West.

    In just seven months in office, West has become a magnet for controversy. He earned national criticism for an aggressive email he sent to a colleague, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Pembroke Pines. In his message, he called Wasserman Schultz — the current chair of the Democratic National Committee — “vile, unprofessional, and despicable,” “a coward,” “characterless” and “not a Lady.” He demanded that she “shut the heck up.” Comments like that — combined with rumors of waning support from West’s tea party base because of his recent vote to raise the debt ceiling, as well as possible changes to West’s district that could come when the state Legislature convenes next year — mean West will have to campaign aggressively against the two Democratic candidates already angling to take his seat.

    The retired lieutenant colonel, however, is no stranger to tough campaigns. West’s ugly (and expensive) fight in 2010 against his Democratic opponent, incumbent Ron Klein, was considered one of the most heated elections in the country. During the race, the candidates exchanged personal insults and even threatened violence. West eventually beat Klein in 2010 by 10 percent. As West gears up for his first reelection campaign, he is by far the most well-funded candidate. In the second quarter of this year, West raised $1.5 million — more than both his Democratic opponents combined. Businessman Patrick Murphy raised an impressive $450,000 this past quarter; former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel followed closely behind by adding $440,000 to her war chest.


    Read more: http://floridaindependent.com/42713/one-of-2012s-most-anticipated-races-is-well-underway

    • opulent says:

      Wow. That is like the money that poured into WI…one district that woman had $2M..most ever…and now West has 1.5M?

      2012 is going to be a dogfight in a jungle.

  53. rikyrah says:

    Rick Perry Thinks ‘Printing More Money’ Is ‘Almost Treason’ Because It Would Help The Economy And Thus Obama

    Texas governor, and freshly minted GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry will have to explain what he meant when he said “we would treat [Fed chairman Ben Bernanke] pretty ugly down in Texas” if he prints money — or, more charitably, printing more money than usual. Likewise, he’ll have to explain why he thinks printing money — or printing more money than usual — would be “almost treasonous,” at least as compared to, say, secession.

    But what’s gone completely unnoticed in the wake of candidate Perry’s first big flap is his rationale for opposing a looser fed policy in this depressed economy: specifically that it would work, boost the economy, and thus make it harder for the GOP to defeat President Obama.

    “If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I don’t know what y’all would do to him in Iowa but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous — or treasonous — in my opinion.”

    Emphasis added. There are plenty of people on the right, even some very influential members of the Republican party, who’ve come out against more so-called quantitative easing, because they claim it would “debase the currency” — i.e. lead to inflation. Inflation is not currently a risk at all, and in fact is lower than it was under Ronald Reagan whose support for tight money policies likely played a part in the current anti-inflation mania gripping the right. But that’s not what Perry’s saying.

    Crucially, Rick Perry appears to be saying that a new round of quantitative easing “between now and the election” would improve the economy. That, he holds, would not be a good thing, but a crime. Because it would tilt the political balance in a way that harms Rick Perry’s chances of defeating the incumbent President.


  54. creolechild says:

    Today: The Last Two Wisconsin Recalls (For Now)
    By: Eric Kleefeld

    Today will be the end of the great Wisconsin recall saga – at least for 2011 – with Democratic incumbents Jim Holperin and Robert Wirch facing the voters, though after last week, majority control of the chamber is not at stake. Wisconsin Democrats, faced with a 19-14 Republican majority in the state Senate, attempted to mount a backlash against Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union legislation, by recalling their way to a majority. However, they were also hampered by the fact that the only recall-eligible districts were ones where the incumbent had won their terms in 2008, even during that year’s Democratic wave. Last Tuesday, when six Republicans were on the ballot, the Dems picked up two seats, just short of the magic three.

    Democrats still hope to go for the big target next year, of recalling Walker himself. For now, it remains to be seen whether they will be able to sustain the kind of political momentum and enthusiasm necessary for that task. Obviously, these remaining races may not carry quite the same drama as last week’s contests, with it no longer being possible that majority control could flip. But today, Dems will have to consolidate even those gains, for a new Republican majority of just 17-16, or be busted back down to the 19-14 margin that existed at the start of the year before they went for the massive, tens-of-millions of dollars effort to try to win the Senate.



  55. creolechild says:

    ‘Rogue’ reporter’s letter alleges cover-up

    Former News of the World royals reporter Clive Goodman — aka the “rogue reporter” — wrote a letter four years ago alleging that phone hacking was “widely discussed” at editorial meetings and that the company offered to let him keep his job if he kept quiet about it. The letter was part of a trove of often jaw-dropping phone-hacking documents released by a British parliamentary committee this morning, as my colleague Reid Epstein reports.

    Goodman’s letter, as well as documents by the law firm Harbottle & Lewis, cast serious doubts on the testimony that Rupert and James Murdoch gave before the committee last month, and mean it is likely that James, in particular, will be invited back. The Guardian reports that they may be joined by Les Hinton, the CEO of News International at the time of the hacking who stepped down as publisher of Dow Jones last month amid the scandal. In his farewell statement, Hinton maintained his ignorance of the extent of the phone hacking, but The Guardian explains why this position may be hard to defend:

    Goodman’s claims also raise serious questions about Rupert Murdoch’s close friend and adviser, Les Hinton, who was sent a copy of the letter but failed to pass it to police and who then led a cast of senior Murdoch personnel in telling parliament that they believed [then-News of the World Editor] Coulson knew nothing about the interception of the voicemail of public figures and that Goodman was the only journalist involved.


  56. rikyrah says:

    August 16, 2011 10:10 AM

    Revisionist history — two weeks later

    By Steve Benen
    Ordinarily, when Republicans try to rewrite history, they tend to point to events that happened quite a while ago, which makes it easier to play on short memories. Rewriting the events of two weeks ago seems more brazen.

    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.

    As the buffoonish governor sees it, “the president’s refusal to control spending” led to the downgrade.

    Perry may believe this, but if he does, it reinforces fears he wasn’t burdened with an overabundance of intelligence.

    There’s an important debate as to whether S&P made the right call, but if we put that aside for now, there’s no great mystery as to how and why S&P arrived at its conclusion. The agency hasn’t exactly kept the reasoning secret: congressional Republican expressed skepticism about the serious consequences of a credit default; they undermined confidence in the American political system; refused to compromise; they ruled out additional revenue; and they deliberately played a radical game with the full faith and credit of the United States. S&P didn’t leave much doubt about which side of the aisle the agency considers responsible.

    This isn’t ancient history. This just happened and should still be fresh in everyone’s memory.

    Perry’s attack, by the way, comes the same day as the governor downplaying the threat of default. The irony is astounding: S&P downgrades our debt because far-right Republicans didn’t take default seriously; Perry announces he agrees with those far-right Republicans; Perry then holds Obama responsible for the S&P decision.

    I’ve seen plenty of reports the past couple of days insisting Democrats would be foolish to underestimate Perry as a candidate. As far as electoral consideration are concerned, there’s probably some truth to that. But it’s also true that anyone who thinks this clown knows what he’s talking about is also making a mistake.


  57. rikyrah says:

    Perry’s Fed Fight Dangerous Territory For Romney

    Rick Perry’s tough words for Ben Bernanke Monday weren’t just idle talk. By going after the Federal Reserve, he immediately brings to the forefront one of the few major policy distinctions between him and Mitt Romney.

    A successful investor who is well-versed in monetary policy, Romney has been extremely wary about joining in on the Republican party’s populist revolt against the Federal Reserve over the last two years. Perry, by contrast, is clearly all too happy to ride the anti-Fed tide, perhaps making a play for some of the Bernanke haters more naturally drawn to Ron Paul.

    As recently as April of this year, well after Tea Partiers had taken to vilifying Bernanke as the face of the 2008 bailout, Romney defended the Fed Chair in an interview with CNBC’s Larry Kudlow after being repeatedly pressed to criticize him for “depreciating the dollar.”

    “Well, you know, I think Ben Bernanke is a student of monetary policy,” Romney said. “He’s doing as good a job as he thinks he can do in the–in the Federal Reserve. But, look, I’m not going to spend my time going after Ben Bernanke. I’m not going to take my effort and focus on the Federal Reserve. I’m going to focus my effort on the administration.”

    Romney faced another tough set of questions on Bernanke from Piers Morgan on CNN in June, but he declined to attack the Fed chair, only saying that he would likely appoint someone new in the post when his term was up and did not agree with every decision by the Federal Reserve. Meanwhile, even more mainstream candidates like Tim Pawlenty enthusiastically bashed Bernanke

    Harvard economic professor Greg Mankiw, an adviser to Mitt Romney for both his presidential campaigns, went much further into the pro-Fed camp this July, penning a stirring defense of Bernanke’s policies in the New York Times from critics on the left and right alike.

    “Mr. Bernanke has worked tirelessly to shepherd the economy through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and yet, for all his efforts, seems vastly underappreciated,” Mankiw wrote.

    If Perry pushes the issue, he could force Romney into the awkward position of defending Bernanke and the Fed on the stump, an unpopular move with many Republicans that also highlights the cultural differences between the two candidates by playing up Romney’s Wall Street ties against Perry’s modest West Texas roots. It could also bring the discussion back to TARP, which Bernanke is closely associated with, a debate that Perry used to great effect to defeat Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) in 2010, whom he labeled “Kay Bailout.” While Perry’s opposition to TARP wasn’t ironclad at the time, Romney’s past statements of support and close ties to finance make it a difficult fight for him to win.


  58. creolechild says:

    Wolf Blitzer to interview President Obama
    August 15, 2011

    CNN’s Wolf Blitzer will sit down with the president in Peosta, Iowa, tomorrow to discuss “a variety of topics from domestic economic and international issues to 2012 politcs,” according to CNN. “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” will be broadcasting live from Iowa today, and the interview will run on the show tomorrow.

    This is Blitzer’s first sitdown with Obama as president, tough he’s interviewed a slew of former presidents, including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford.


  59. creolechild says:

    Pure Michigan campaign credited with creating 10,000 jobs
    By Eartha Jane Melzer

    A U.S. Travel Association commissioned study of the Pure Michigan ad campaign found that tourists from out of state spent $6.4 billion in Michigan last year, creating thousands of jobs. After inconsistent promotion efforts for decades, the Pure Michigan® state promotion campaign began regionally in 2006 and went national in 2009. The powerful and non-traditional storytelling of Pure Michigan® has stimulated 7.2 million trips to Michigan by out-of-state visitors. Those visitors spent $2 billion at Michigan businesses and generated $138 million in new tax revenue for Michigan – more than three times the cost of the advertising itself.

    In 2010, the second year of national Pure Michigan® advertising, spending by out-of-state leisure visitors jumped 21%, from 2009 to $6.4 billion. At the same time, Michigan tourism-related employment rose by 10,000 jobs. While facing a large deficit and forcing significant cuts to entitlement programs, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder nonetheless added $10 million in additional funding to the Pure Michigan® campaign in 2011, stating: “It brought in more tax revenue than it has cost our state.”

    Michigan’s recreational value should be marketed like other branded commodities, said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association said. “This study proves that destinations must operate like Nike, Apple and similar businesses that have followed the marketing path to success.” The state government has been criticized for funding ads touting the state’s natural resources while defunding environmental enforcement, and the relentlessly positive and kitschy Pure Michigan campaign has inspired parody.


  60. creolechild says:

    Deadbeat Dad Joe Walsh: Children Should Be Raised In A Household With A Father And A Mother
    By Igor Volsky

    Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) — who has been embroiled in a personal scandal surrounding late child support payments — suggested that gay people don’t make for good parents during a recent town hall in Crystal Lake, Illinois. The Tea Party congressman said he believes in “traditional marriage” and that children do best when raised in a home with a mother and a father:

    Roberts’ wife, Dayle, brought up the topic of gay marriage and the rights for those involved in those unions.

    Walsh is a supporter of traditional marriage between a man and a woman for economic reasons. He also stated that studies have shown it is more beneficial for a child to be raised in a home where a mother and father are present rather than in same-sex households. The congressman, however, said he was open to further information and research that might disprove that.

    Setting the irony of Walsh’s own situation aside, studies haven’t shown that children do worse in households headed by two parents of the same sex or that sexual orientation is related to parenting ability. Conservatives like to site a government study — which found better health outcomes among children in nuclear families — as proof that gay couples should be prohibited from adopting children, but as Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) explained during the recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, that study included same-sex couples in its definition of family.



  61. creolechild says:

    The Destructive Conservative Myth That Keeps Our Economy in Tatters: We are guided by our superstitions. The newest one? We can grow the economy by shrinking it.
    By David Morris

    Throughout human history societies have been informed and instructed by the superstitions of their age. For thousands of years we believed a single person—a king, a pharaoh, a high priest— should have life and death power over us. Any other social structure was unthinkable. We believed the gods that brought drought could be appeased only by animal and, sometimes, human sacrifice. Today these superstitions seem ridiculous. How could thinking people ever have believed such preposterous notions?

    But here we are. August 2011. And the zeitgeist has given birth to a new superstition. One that will bewilder future generations as much as the belief in the absolute power of pharaohs or drought reflecting the anger of the gods does ours. What is this new superstition? The belief that we can grow the economy by shrinking it. The idea defies common sense. And yet in just two short years it has become the fundamental guiding principle of public policy. The story begins with the financial and economic collapse of 2008. Housing starts ground to a halt. By early 2009 unemployment was in the process of doubling. The economy was all but dead in the water.

    With private investment having all but dried up, the government stepped in. The three year stimulus bill, passed in early 2009 was too modest, a result of President Obama’s mistaken belief that if he asked for less and made tax credits to business almost as large as the direct job creation component Republicans would be supportive. Many thought the stimulus was too small. Some thought it too large. But conservatives offered a nonsensical bizarre proposition. The additional spending was useless. Rick Scott, the Republican candidate for governor in Florida, accused his Democrat opponent of having “backed the failed stimulus bill, which created debt, not jobs.” The Koch brother-funded group Americans for Prosperity launched a series of ads that claimed the “$787 billion stimulus … failed to save and create jobs.” Presidential candidate Michelle Bachman recently declared, “had the President done nothing we would have seen 288,000 jobs created this week. Instead, we’re losing jobs.”


    Read more:http://www.alternet.org/economy/151959/the_destructive_conservative_myth_that_keeps_our_economy_in_tatters/

  62. creolechild says:

    Employees Bid Farewell to Corporate America
    By: Elizabeth Alterman,

    With the U.S. unemployment rate at 9.1 percent as of July 31 and a fragile economic recovery underway, many workers feel they are left with no choice but to take their careers into their own hands.
    Employees are bidding farewell to corporate America in the hope of finding a more secure, or at least fulfilling, future. They are reinventing themselves by starting their own companies or by pursuing long-put-off dreams that include creative or charitable endeavors. While it might seem like a bold move, countless workers believe the abundance of uncertainty in today’s job market mitigates the fear factor.

    When self-proclaimed “cubicle monkey” Charlie Avallone, a technical writer in the investment field, realized his superior was planning to stick around for at least another 20 years, the 37-year-old from Los Angeles felt he was running out of options. Underwhelmed by his lateral move choices and faced with a shortage of other opportunities in the marketplace, Avallone decided to opt out. Taking a home equity loan to cover health care and day-to-day living expenses, Avallone started his own consulting business. “It was very satisfying to leave my job and support myself and be able to think that I was my own boss,” says Avallone. In a challenging economy, the freelancer took on as many assignments as he could handle, often not knowing where his next job would come from. After a three-year “time out,” Avallone was able to re-enter the corporate world at a level above the one he left. “It was a leap of faith,” Avallone says. “But for me it worked out. It’s great knowing that if I had to do it on my own again, I could.”



  63. creolechild says:

    90 Days Past Due Date, Ohio Senate Candidate Fails To File Personal Financial Disclosure Form
    By: Tanya Somanader

    Ohio’s current Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) is challenging Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) for his seat in 2012. Running on the “tested and trusted” tagline, Mandel is failing the basic test of transparency. On April 6, Mandel filed paperwork for his Senate campaign with the Federal Elections Commission. According to federal law, a candidate’s personal financial disclosure must be filed within 30 days of declaring or after raising $5,000. But 90 days later, after both declaring his candidacy and raising $2.3 million for his race, Mandel has still failed to disclose. Indeed, the Secretary of the Senate’s office confirmed to ThinkProgress that no forms have been filed. By law, he is subject to a $200 fine. Mandel also faces a FEC investigation for violating another federal election law by using resources from the Treasurer’s office to support his candidacy.


  64. creolechild says:

    FDA, Industry Reach Generic Drug Fee Agreement
    By: Reuters

    U.S. regulators and generic drugmakers have reached a compromise agreement for a user-fee program that would require the companies to pay some $299 million in the first year to accelerate drug approvals. The Food and Drug Administration has been in negotiations with the generic drug industry since February to establish a user-fee program similar to one in place for brand-name drugs and medical devices. Through the program, companies would pay fees to give the FDA extra money to hire more staff and improve support systems in its drug review process. Some of the fees would pay for bulking up FDA inspection of U.S. and foreign manufacturing facilities.

    The FDA and several industry groups met three times in July, according to meeting notes posted on the FDA’s website, and agreed the industry would fund the user-fee program in full starting in the first year.
    That would amount to $299 million a year or more, if adjusted for inflation, with some of the first-year money coming from a one-time payment by those companies whose drugs are pending review in FDA’s application backlog. More than two-thirds of all U.S. prescriptions are filled with generic drugs. They have become a formidable rival to brand-name drugs that are facing expiring patents. With bigger revenue, the generic drug industry is becoming more willing to pay for faster approval of its products. It is also eager for the FDA to improve its inspections to avoid such scandals as the 2008 recall of blood-thinning drug heparin after at least 149 people died from tainted ingredients tracked to China.



  65. creolechild says:


    Who’s Really Responsible For U.S. Debt Downgrade
    By: Brian Beutler

    [This article was updated at 8:20pm Eastern on August 15, 2011 to include additional names pointed out by TPM readers.]

    Now that Standard & Poors has confirmed that the chorus of default doubters in the GOP was part of what spooked them into downgrading the U.S. credit rating, Republicans will do all they can to pretend that they never questioned the risk of missing payment obligations, or allowing borrowing authority to lapse. But they sure did! Here’s a long, partial timeline of influential Republicans either vouchsafing default, or downplaying the consequences of passing the August 2 deadline without raising the debt limit.

    Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), May 17, 2011: “You want to make sure that the bondholder has confidence that the government’s going to be able to pay them…. That’s what I’m hearing from most people, which is if a bondholder misses a payment for a day or two or three or four what is more important that you’re putting the government in a materially better position to be able to pay their bonds later on.”

    Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), May 18, 2011: “What I think is that the markets are looking to see credible progress on changing the fiscal trajectory in Washington. The markets are not fooled by some date imposed to say that that is the trigger for the collapse. I think the markets are looking to see that there is real reform.”

    Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), May 19, 2011: “The government is not to be trusted with more of your money, so I will refuse to allow them to borrow more. Now is it a good idea to default? No! But this is a false claim being promoted by big-government advocates. We can simply spend what we take in!”

    Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), June 24, 2011 on administration warnings of “catastrophic consequences” of not raising debt limit: “I don’t believe them, it’s not true.”

    Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), May 18, 2011: “This problem is so urgent that there is — an alternative school of thought has emerged recently,” Toomey said. “The most high-profile advocate for this was Stanley Druckenmiller … one of the world’s most successful hedge-fund managers, extraordinarily wealthy from his knowledge of the markets, a big money manager now, and a big holder of Treasury securities — and he has said that he would actually accept even a delay in interest payments on the Treasuries that he holds. And he would prefer that if it meant that the Congress would right this ship.”

    Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), July 13, 2011: “To get a balanced budget amendment in this environment…we’d have to make the serious, credible, earnest threat that if you want to raise [the debt ceiling] and you want to have any Republicans voting for raising it, you’re going to have to assist us: You give us 20 votes to adopt the balanced budget amendment in the Senate and we’ll make sure you get the votes you need to raise the debt limit.”
    Talking Points Memo on Facebook

    Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), June 26, 2011: “It isn’t true that the government would default on its debt,” Bachmann told CBS’ Bob Schieffer. “Because, very simply, the Treasury Secretary can pay the interest on the debt first, and then, from there, we have to just prioritize our spending….I have no intention of voting to raise the debt ceiling.”

    Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), June 27, 2011: Bankruptcy “absolutely” could be the best solution to U.S. debt.

    Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), July 13, 2011 on catastrophic consequences of not raising the debt ceiling: “I would encourage the Speaker not to believe the President anymore when the President says things like that.”

    Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), May 16, 2011: “Keeping the debt ceiling at its current level would force Congress to prioritize spending, but it would not force a default on our debt.”

    Presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty, July 15, 2011, asked if not raising debt limit would trigger calamitous consequences: “Maybe not. We don’t know.”

    Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), July 18, 2011: “I am a little bit cynical about the scare mongering and putting America’s back up against this Aug. 2 deadline just to get an increase in the American credit card.”

    Nebraska Senate candidate Jon Bruning, July 29, 2011: “It may be something that has to happen to make the fundamental changes that are necessary in the American governmental system. We have to shrink it. And, if the Democratic Party that controls the White House and the Senate doesn’t understand it, default may be necessary.”

    Some helpful readers also pointed out the following:

    Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), July 24, 2011: “The media gets off on excitement and potential controversy and ‘Oh! Things could collapse!’ and so they’re pushing this whole notion of, ‘Oh, my god! At midnight on August 2nd that one light switch that turns out all the lights in the country: it’s going off. They love to push that story. It’s hooey. It’s absolute hooey.”

    Rep. Steve King (R-IA), July 19, 2011: “America is not going to default. We’re just trying to scare people into being stampeded into a debt-ceiling increase. But we would hold our full faith in credit together regardless, unless the president had decided to punish America by refusing to pay our bills… I think the American people understand what I’ve said: It’s not default. They’ve been calling it default to try to stampede people into taking a bad deal here in this Congress… The American people understand this. They understand at least intuitively that it would be the president who would willfully default if there’s to be a default.”

    Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), July 23, 2011: “[T]here’s a law that empowers Geithner, excuse me, Secretary Geithner to pay the interest on the debt and prevent a default on August 3rd and well beyond that. And, again, just as importantly, there’s plenty of money coming in with which to pay the debt as it comes due and pay the interest on that debt. So, there’s no need for a default, there’s no need for Social Security checks not to go out. So, to a certain extent I do think, yeah, there’s a good bit of politics driving the brinkmanship here…. I think the deadline is very soft. I’ve been very clear with people that if we do not lift the debt limit there will be pain; there is no question about it. Government contracts will not be paid, government workers will not be paid. But it is not accurate to say that we will automatically default on the debt nor is it accurate to say we cannot make the Social Security payments on August 3rd.

    Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), July 14, 2011: “I don’t buy all this Armageddon stuff”

    Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), August 6, 2011: [From an article in The Washington Post] – “Chaffetz, who voted against both Boehner’s first proposal and the final bill, said he was well aware of how the leadership had used his and others’ willingness to let a default happen as a negotiating chip, and said he didn’t mind at all. “We weren’t kidding around, either,” he said. “We would have taken it down.””

    Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO), [From a July 27, 2011 article in the Durango Herald]: “Tipton, however, argued that Obama overstated the consequences and that enough revenue would be coming in so that most of the United States’ bills, including to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, would be paid. “We do have the ability to meet those obligations,” he said.”


  66. rikyrah says:

    August 16, 2011 8:00 AM

    Perry makes quite a first impression

    By Steve Benen

    Though Rick Perry’s name has been in the political mix for a while, yesterday was the Texas governor’s first weekday as a candidate for national office. The New York Times noted his “confident” swagger had the effect of “injecting a shot of vigor into the contest.”

    He certainly injected something into the race, but “vigor” isn’t the first word that comes to mind.

    This, for example, might very well be the single craziest thing uttered by a presidential candidate so far this year.

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry, making his maiden campaign swing in Iowa after jumping into the race for the Republican presidential nomination, suggested Monday night that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would be committing an act of treason by printing more money between now and November 2012.

    Responding to a question about the Federal Reserve at a campaign event in Cedar Rapids, Perry said: “If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I don’t know what y’all would do to him in Iowa, but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous, or treasonous, in my opinion.”

    ThinkProgress has the video.

    As a matter of policy, this is plainly idiotic. As a matter of decency, listening to a governor who raised the specter of secession accuse the Fed chairman of “treason” is just appalling.

    Even Tony Fratto, a former spokesperson for George W. Bush, called Perry’s remarks “inappropriate and unpresidential.”

    Also yesterday, Perry went after President Obama’s patriotism again. Asked if the governor had suggested Obama doesn’t love the United States, Perry replied, “I dunno, you need to ask him.”

    And if that wasn’t quite enough, Perry also told Iowans yesterday, “If this shirt has a few wrinkles in it, it’s not my wife’s fault.”

    I argued the other day that so-called “savior candidates,” who jump into the presidential race late, tend to do very poorly, at least in part because they don’t have the luxury of working out the kinks away from the spotlight. Every candidate needs time to get better — on the stump, in interviews, in debates, in engaging with diverse national voters directly — but so-called saviors are forced to be polished and proficient immediately.

    And yet, here’s Perry, suggesting a Fed chairman doing his job is acting in a treasonous way, attacking the president’s patriotism, and suggesting that ironing is women’s work — all on his first weekday as a candidate.

    It’s certainly possible that Republican voters will swoon and find Perry’s nonsense endearing, but at this point, the Texas governor has only reinforced fears he’s little more than a thuggish buffoon.


  67. creolechild says:

    Pawlenty’s Top NH Aide Joins Huntsman
    By: Benjy Sarlin

    Tim Pawlenty’s exit leaves behind a whole campaign’s worth of free agents ready to be scooped up by the remaining candidates. And the process is already beginning: according to the New Hampshire Union Leader, Pawlenty’s NH state director, Sarah Crawford Stewart, is joining up with Jon Huntsman.

    “Governor Huntsman is committed to winning the New Hampshire primary, and I look forward to helping him and his team do just that,” Stewart told the paper. “I viewed Gov. Huntsman as somebody with exceptional governing experience. And I viewed him as someone who would be the strongest competitor against President Obama in a general election.”

    Huntsman has yet to make much of an impact in the race despite his impressive credentials as a former governor of Utah and ambassador to China.


  68. creolechild says:

    Prosser Raised Big Money For Spring Recount
    By: Eric Kleefeld

    Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser was able to raise very large amounts of money during the recount that followed his very close re-election victory this past spring, the Wisconsin State Journal reports. And what’s more, one of his key lawyers from that contest has pending business before the court. Due to quirk of state election laws, the candidates were able to raise unlimited donations from individuals for the recount. Prosser raised over $270,000 in all, though in fact he still has some debt to pay off. (The largest donations were $50,000 each from Pennisylvania conservative activist John Templeton Jr., and his wife.)

    None of the big donors have any cases pending before the court — but if they do come to the court in the future, Prosser would not be required to recuse himself. In a contentious case in 2009, the court’s 4-3 conservative majority adopted ethics rules stating that campaign contributions alone are not enough to force a judge from a case. More interesting, though, is that Prosser’s bills included $75,000 to the law firm headed up by Prosser’s recount lawyer Jim Troupis — who does have a case pending before the court, challenging state regulations of political speech, which will be argued on September 16. And for that case, Prosser will not be recusing himself.



  69. creolechild says:

    Verizon Strike Turns Away Customers and Confronts Injunctions
    by: Mischa Gaus, Labor Notes

    Verizon’s strike in the Northeast is into Day Five, and big picket lines are turning away customers at Verizon’s wireless stores. Injunctions could threaten one of the union’s most effective tactics, mass picketing at stores. But another—mobile picketing—is causing havoc for the company. Techs are chasing scab managers through the field, making them cross their very own personal picket line at the bottom of a pole or while they try to work in a manhole.

    The strike covers 45,000 members of the Communications Workers and Electrical Workers (IBEW) from Massachusetts to Virginia. Verizon wants to eliminate pensions, as well as limit raises and force big health care costs onto current workers and retirees. The concessions would take $1 billion from workers, at a company which made almost $20 billion during the last four years.


    Read more: http://www.truth-out.org/verizon-strike-turns-away-customers-and-confronts-injunctions/1313429297

  70. creolechild says:

    The Tea Party and the John Birch Society – By Ed Brayton

    The Institute for Research and Education and Human Rights has a report on the Tea Party group FreedomWorks, led by Dick Armey, and their increasing association with the John Birch Society.
    The article notes that FreedomWorks had, for a while, avoided some of the crazier Tea Party ideas and groups: As noted in Tea Party Nationalism, of all the national Tea Party factions, FreedomWorks had been the organization least entangled with overt bigotry. For instance, FreedomWorks was the only faction who did not have a “birther” as a national staff member. It was the only group that had not jumped on to the nativist bandwagon and supported Arizona’s controversial SB 1070. It had steered clear of most of the outlandish conspiracy theories and far-right machinations that have consumed other Tea Party groups. Now, that has changed.

    And it mentions one example from Michigan along with dozens of other examples of the two groups being increasingly entangled:

    But after making a big push for new members, they are more and more pushing for involvement with the John Birch Society: Dick Armey need look no further than the front-page of his FreedomConnector site to see John Birch Society (JBS) activism in Tea Party ranks. Numerous JBS events have shown up in “Latest Activities” section on homepage of FreedomConnector. Most notably, the FreedomWorks staff has been busy promoting the Birchers on their social networking site.



  71. creolechild says:

    Rick Perry Is Big Oil’s $11 Million Man – By Brad Johnson

    Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), even before establishing super PACs to rake in unlimited contributions from Texas billionaires in his presidential run, has been one of the best funded politicians in history. Since his 1998 candidacy to be George W. Bush’s lieutenant governor, Perry has raked in $117,091,642 in campaign contributions, with the oil and gas industry the top contributor. Big oil has fueled Rick Perry’s career, the top industry contributor at $11,189,103, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics:

    [Click on link to view graph.]

    Top oil company contributions include $189,188 from Exxon Mobil, $147,895 from Valero Energy, and $116,000 from Koch Industries.


  72. rikyrah says:

    Extremism in the Defense of Corporate Interests is No Vice
    by mistermix

    Rick Perry says a lot of crazy shit, but the most interesting piece of Perry stupidity that I’ve seen is what he tried to do with the HPV vaccine in Texas. Perry mandated that all sixth grade girls in Texas be vaccinated with Merck’s Gardasil vaccine in 2007, a decision that he’s only now walking back.

    Providing HPV vaccine for those who can’t afford it, and educating parents and children about the benefits of the vaccine are both positive, progressive policy steps. Mandating vaccination for a disease that can only be sexually transmitted is certainly something any real conservative wouldn’t support. But when Perry’s friends at Merck told him to jump, he jumped as high as he possibly could, and was only stopped when the state legislature voted overwhelmingly to overturn his executive order.

    This, rather than the aw-shucks, gun-toting bullshit, is the real similarity between Bush and Perry. Perry’s HPV vaccine extremism is of a piece with Bush’s Medicare Part D extremism. Providing a drug benefit to the elderly is something liberal and moderate policymakers could support. Doing it by creating a market with hundreds of different, confusing plans, and not using government buying power to buy drugs more cheaply in volume were just another kiss for big pharma. The cherry on top was that there was no plan in place to pay for Part D—Bush and the Republicans completely abandoned any pretense of fiscal discipline when they rammed Part D through during a midnight, arm-twisting vote.

    Just as with Bush, the raw evidence of anti-conservative corporatism will be ignored by true believers and the DC mancrush media because Perry talks a good game, looks good in a suit, and occasionally shoots a gun.


  73. creolechild says:

    Marcus Bachmann Backtracks: Denies Using ‘Ex-Gay’ Therapy, Claims He Never Called Gays ‘Barbarians’ – By Igor Volsky

    Iowa State University Professor Warren Blumenfeld ran into Marcus Bachmann at the Iowa State Fair this weekend and cornered Michele’s husband about his claims that gay people are “barbarians” in need of “discipline” and allegations that the couple’s Christian counseling clinics practice “pray away the gay” reparative therapy. Remarkably, Bachmann denied both charges, despite abundant audio and video footage to the contrary:

    BACHMANN: The word barbarian was never, ever…there is a myth out there that I don’t accept the homosexual community… I have never called the homosexual community barbarians and that’s a myth…I have never rejected…people can decide for themselves what they want and who they are, that I don’t have a problem with.

    BLUMENFELD: But your mode of therapy is trying to convert them …trying to make people what they’re not. You’re trying to convert them to this dominant heterosexual…

    BACHMANN: That’s absolutely not true. I do not use reparative therapy. None of our clinic therapists do. What we do is we counsel, we talk to them about whatever what they want to talk about. There is not a [inaudible] there is not a motivation to use anything close that comes to reparative therapy.



  74. creolechild says:

    Challenge to juvenile life without parole advances in federal court
    By: Eartha Jane Melzer

    A federal judge has ruled that an American Civil Liberties Union suit that challenges Michigan’s juvenile life without parole sentences may proceed. Children as young as 14 can be tried as adults and sentenced to life without parole in Michigan. The ACLU argues that such sentences constitute cruel and unusual punishment and are unlawful and the group challenged Michigan’s law on behalf of 13 people who are serving life without parole for crimes committed as juveniles.

    In an order issued Tuesday U.S. District Court Judge John Corbett O’Meara said that 12 of the plaintiffs had exceeded a three year statute of limitations and could not challenge their sentences. He allowed the case to proceed with one plaintiff, Keith Maxey, who was sentenced to life without parole at 16 for his role in a 2007 robbery. Last year in Graham v. Florida the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that life without parole sentences are unconstitutional when applied to juveniles convicted of crimes other than homicide.

    The ACLU argues that all juvenile convicts should have the possibility of parole. “Today’s ruling allows us to prove what many already know – sentencing children to die in prison without giving them an opportunity for parole is inhumane, unfair and unconstitutional,” said Deborah Labelle, attorney with the ACLU of Michigan’s Juvenile Life Without Parole Initiative. “By ignoring a child’s potential for rehabilitation and denying judges and juries any discretion, the state doles out unforgiving sentences that violate basic fairness and human rights principles. This decision is the first step toward correcting this fundamental injustice.”


  75. creolechild says:

    $20,000 not enough to educate governor’s child: Public schools spend about half as much per pupil
    By: Todd A. Heywood

    As the debate over deep cuts to the state’s per pupil allowance in education funding continues, Greenhills School in Ann Arbor has released a fundraising video in which school officials say the $20,000 per year tuition per student is not enough to keep the school running. The video features students and faculty from the school, where Gov. Rick Snyder sends his daughter, reading from a script and saying that money raised from an annual auction was necessary to keep the school going. One student, who is not identified, says, “Tuition alone does not cover the costs of a Greenhills education.”
    The video asks viewers to consider a donation of “$10,000, $500 or $50″ to help the school defray the school’s operational costs.

    At the same time that the school to which Snyder sends his own child can’t make ends meet with funding of $20,000 per pupil, the governor recently pushed through and signed legislation that cuts per pupil public school funding by $370 per student, bringing state funding to $6,846 per student. Some schools could qualify for an additional $100 per student if they adopt what Snyder and GOP lawmakers call “best practices.” Those practices include reducing employee costs by forcing an increase in insurance cost sharing and privatizing or consolidating some services.

    The state funding is not the only source of public school funds, of course. In the 2009-2010 school year, districts saw total per pupil funding anywhere between $11,439 at the high end and $8,080 on the low end of funding, a spreadsheet from the Michigan Education Association shows. The numbers were pulled from state of Michigan documents, said Don Noble, appropriations lobbyist for the MEA.



  76. creolechild says:

    Poverty’s Not Just for Cities: America’s 10 Poorest Suburbs
    By 24/7 Wall St.

    While high poverty in some urban areas comes as no surprise, the growing poverty rates in a few suburban areas have been more unexpected. In an attempt to better understand this trend, 24/7 Wall St. analyzed the 10 metropolitan areas with the highest rates of poverty in their suburbs, as ranked by the Brookings Institute. The trend toward suburban poverty has been under way for nearly a decade. And iIn some metropolitan areas, the poverty rates in the suburbs are higher than in the cities they surround.

    “Between 2000 and 2008, suburbs in the country’s largest metro areas had their poor populations grow by 25% — almost five times faster than the cities themselves…”, the Brookings Institute recently reported. Additionally, “large suburbs saw the fastest growing low-income populations across community types and the greatest uptick in the share of the population living under 200% of poverty.” That means they earn less than twice the poverty level, or less than $44,700 annually for a family of four, according to the 2011 guidelines.

    With this in mind, 24/7 Wall St. looked at the 10 metropolitan areas with the largest rates of poverty in their suburbs, ranked by the Brookings Institute. We then compared the suburban poverty rate with that of the metropolitan areas’ primary cities and analyzed the situations that created this poverty.



  77. creolechild says:

    Romney Rejects Buffett’s Call To Tax The Rich, Falsely Claims It Would Hurt Small Businesses
    By Pat Garofalo

    In a New York Times op-ed today, billionaire investor Warrenn Buffett renewed his oft-made call for tax increases on the ultra-wealthy. “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,” he wrote. “My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.”

    Today, 2012 GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney — who has a personal net worth between $190 million and $250 million — rejected that argument. Reprising a version of his “corporations are people” argument from last week, Romney claims that Buffett’s taxes are higher than he says they are because he, as a business owner, bears the burden of the corporate income tax. (This argument comes from a piece by the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore, who explicitly believes that the poor need to pay higher taxes to finance tax cuts for the rich.) Romney went on to claim that raising taxes on the wealthy would actually be a tax increase on small businesses.



  78. rikyrah says:

    How Handsome?
    by BooMan
    Mon Aug 15th, 2011 at 11:34:30 PM EST

    I don’t know. If you’re honest, how many U.S presidents have been handsome. I mean, I’m a heterosexual guy, so I am not the best judge. But I think both the winners and losers of presidential elections have never been the best looking lot. Clinton, Reagan, and Kennedy weren’t too hard on the eyes. I think Obama is fairly handsome, although you have to get past the ears. But, beyond that? Name me a president (or presidential runner-up) better-looking than the average person in line at the Division of Motor Vehicles.


  79. rikyrah says:

    this is a sad thing for Chicago


    Moo & Oink may be on the auction block.

    The 150-year-old company has three stores in predominantly minority areas: 7158 S. Stony Island, 4848 W. Madison, and 8201 S. Racine. A fourth store is in Hazel Crest.

    Last week, the Austin Weekly News reported that the company “could be forced to liquidate its assets as soon as reasonably possible.”

    I reached out to one of the chain’s owners, Barry Levy, but the person answering the phone said the company had “no comment.” Steven Nerger, identified as the “trustee” for the company, did not return phone calls.

    But Norman Light, an attorney listed as the company’s agent with the Illinois secretary of state, acknowledged that Moo & Oink is “looking for somebody to buy the company.”

    If you don’t live in a predominantly black neighborhood, you may have no idea what a Moo & Oink is or why anyone cares.

    Frankly, Moo & Oink is a hoot.

    Anyone who has listened to black radio has likely heard the hilarious “moooooooooo and oink” jingle. The lively announcement of sale items, rattled off in a country dialect, helped turn this chain into one of the most recognizable brands in the black community.

    But is Moo & Oink about to go the way of the neighborhood rib joints? Although the grocery store has branched out into groceries, it is primarily thought of as a meat market.

    No one goes to Moo & Oink to save money on laundry detergent.

    Unfortunately for the Levy brothers, because of health concerns, more African Americans — the chain’s customer base — are taking a pass on the chitlins, bacon, fried chicken wings, ribs and pork chops.

    For instance, family members who suffer from high blood pressure are quick to remind me that they don’t want pork. A lot of pigs have been spared because high blood pressure is rampant in the black community.

    So far the owners of Moo & Oink are mum about future plans.

    But the stores’ employees are “furious,” said a source who asked that I not use his name.

    “It is a day-to-day operation. When people come to shop, they don’t see any of the things they want to buy,” he said.

    If you’re one of those people who’ve always wanted to know what it was like inside a Moo & Oink, now might be a good time to satisfy your curiosity.


  80. rikyrah says:

    Sherri Shepherd’s ‘View’ co-stars are wedding no-shows
    Stella’s column WITH STELLA FOSTER sfoster@suntimes.com
    August 15, 2011 10:20PM

    I UNDERSTAND that folks at the wedding ceremony of ABC’S “The View” Sherri Shepherd were shocked that Shepherd’s other “View” co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg, Barbara Walters and Joy Behar were conspicuously absent. Shepherd married her sweetie, TV writer Lamar “Sal” Sally, at the Fairmont Hotel in Chi-Town on Saturday and looked absolutely gorgeous.

    A wedding source said, “I assumed that they would be there as did all of the wedding party and guests, or they should have at least sent a video of congratulations as well as expressing why they regret they could not attend or to show they were at least there for Sal & Sherry in spirit.”

    Short of being in the hospital , the Whoopster and Barbara-wa-wa should have been there. New York is only a short plane ride. And some insiders

    are asking why did co-host Joy Behar, who has been saying for over 30 years that she and her longtime lover, Steve Janowitz, would never marry, decide to privately wed in New York the Thursday before Sherri’s wedding?

    The bridal party, after their official rehearsal Friday night at the hotel, were seen celebrating with the couple over dinner at the downtown P.F. Chang’s. The group included co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck and husband, Tim Hasselbeck, former NFL star now with ESPN; actress Niecy (“Clean House”) Nash and new hubby, Jay Tucker; actress Yvette (“Community”) Nicole Brown and comedienne Kym Whitley. Chang’s president Lane Cardwell was in the house to greet them all. The eatery presented them with a special red velvet cake, the bride’s favorite. One of Sherri’s adoring fans happened to be celebrating her birthday at the eatery, and Sherri graciously took pictures and the fan told her how “skinny she looked.” Local music retailer George Daniels was among the many wedding guests and was seen dancing with Hasselbeck at the reception. (Were they steppin’?)

    Before the wedding, the couple posed for pictures on top of a Chicago double decker tour bus. On Sunday morning, they hosted a breakfast/brunch for their wedding party and out-of-town guests and that evening, they dined alone at Gibsons Steakhouse.


  81. rikyrah says:

    Rahm Emanuel says he’s ‘working toward’ settling Burge torture cases

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Monday he is “working towards” settling outstanding police torture allegations against convicted former Area 2 Cmdr. Jon Burge because it’s “time we end” one of the ugliest chapters in the history of the Chicago Police Department.

    “We have a future to build — not a past to settle. That’s what I look at,” the mayor said in an exclusive interview with the Chicago Sun-Times.

    “How old is this now — 30 years old? … It is time we end it.”

    Emanuel talked about the possibility of compensating Michael Tillman and other victims of police torture, even as he defended his decision to provide a legal defense for former Mayor Richard M. Daley for his role in the case.

    Daley has received notice to appear for a Sept. 8 deposition, now that U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer has ruled that the former mayor can be sued as a defendant.

    If the case is settled, the deposition will be avoided. Daley will not have to answer questions from attorneys representing alleged victims, all African-American, who charge their abuse came at the hands of a small band of predominantly white police officers under Burge’s Area 2 command.

    “I know we can settle — and we’re working towards that. … Settlement is a possibility,” the mayor said.

    “But, in the case itself right now, I don’t have a choice. … As it relates to the former mayor’s legal expenses, it is an ordinance of the city and it’s required. I don’t relish this. It’s what’s required. I’ve got to do it.”

    Last week the Chicago Sun-Times disclosed that Pallmeyer had ruled that Daley can be sued as a defendant against allegations that he helped engineer a citywide conspiracy to cover up the torture allegations.

    Emanuel responded by walking a political tightrope on the never-ending Burge controversy. He argued that Burge should be denied a city pension, but that Daley must be provided with a legal defense for his role in the case.

    “I answered one question. Some people say, ‘This pulls Rahm into it.’ … That’s wrong. … This is like the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” the mayor said Monday.

    “This is the law. He’s allowed to have the cost of his legal defense … That’s it. I’m not part of it.”

    Burge was convicted last summer of perjury and obstruction of justice for lying in a civil court case when asked if he knew of the torture that went on under his watch. He is currently serving a four-and-a-half year sentence in federal prison.

    The Burge case has already cost Chicago taxpayers more than $43 million in settlements and outside legal fees.

    Civil rights attorney Flint Taylor has urged Emanuel to enter into settlement negotiations to make a clean break with an ugly past that has undermined police-community relations in African-American neighborhoods.

    “What’s happening now is the city is throwing good money after bad by defending the indefensible. It’s totally established that Burge tortured these people, yet the defense goes on,” Taylor told the Sun-Times last week.

    “Not only should he resolve these cases so taxpayers can compensate the victims rather than the torturers. He should apologize to the African-American community and to the victims for this pattern of torture.”

    In 2008, the City Council approved a $19.8 million settlement with four alleged torture victims, but Tillman’s case and others remain unsettled.

    Tillman spent 23 1/2 years in the penitentiary based on a tortured confession. He has now been declared innocent by the chief judge of Criminal Cour


  82. Ametia says:

    The straw poll winner: Barack Obama

    By Eugene Robinson, Published: August 15
    AMES, Iowa

    Strolling through the pageant of unhealthful food and unsound ideology that is the Iowa straw poll, amid the good-natured Republicans who swept Michele Bachmann to an impressive victory, I couldn’t help but reflect that this quadrennial exercise is one crazy way to pick a major-party candidate for president.

    You’ll note that I used the words “Michele Bachmann” and “president” in the same sentence. That someone with views as extreme as Bachmann’s could win — and that Ron Paul, who seems to inhabit his own little reality, could finish second — would seem to rob the straw poll of all but comic value, making it analogous to the opening joke a speaker might tell to warm up a stone-faced audience. But the ritual is serious business, as poor Tim Pawlenty found out. Less than 24 hours after he finished a distant third in the straw poll, “former candidate” became his new honorific.

    Long before the results were tallied, it seemed clear that Pawlenty was in trouble. Like the other candidates who participated Saturday, he had a big tent on the grounds of the Iowa State University coliseum where voters could enjoy free food and entertainment. People were happy to line up for the Famous Dave’s barbecue that Pawlenty was serving, but they didn’t stay long — and when they walked away, they weren’t wearing the green Pawlenty T-shirts that signaled support. By mid-afternoon, volunteers were glum.


  83. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  84. thorsaurus says:

    I love Johnny Bravo. But I have a question. It say above that you are a native Texan. What is up with this Rick Perry guy? So arrogant.

    • Ametia says:

      Good Morning, thorsaurus. Glad you’re enjoying the music this morning. Perry is a prime example of what is not exceptional about America.

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