Serendipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread

This week 3 Chics is featuring the music of Tracy Chapman.



Wiki:  Tracy Chapman (born March 30, 1964) is an American singer-songwriter, best known for her singles “Fast Car“, “Talkin’ ’bout a Revolution“, “Baby Can I Hold You“, “Give Me One Reason” and “Telling Stories“. She is a multi-platinum and four-time Grammy Award-winning artist.[1]

Tracy Chapman was born in Cleveland, Ohio, where she was raised by her mother. Despite not having much money, her mother recognized Tracy’s love of music and bought her a ukulele when Tracy was just three.[2] Tracy Chapman began playing guitar and writing songs at the age of eight. She says that she may have been first inspired to play the guitar by the television show Hee Haw.[3]

Chapman was raised Baptist and went to an Episcopal high school.[3] She was accepted into the program “A Better Chance“, which helps minority students attend private schools. She graduated from Wooster School in Connecticut and subsequently attended Tufts University.[4] She graduated with a B.A. degree in anthropology and African studies.[5]

Happy MUN-dane, Everyone!

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65 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    the CBC had some sort of event today, and here’s some of the comments I found at The Obama Diary on it:

    August 22, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    The craptastic bullshittery going on at the CBC townhall is just freaking unbelievable. the hashtag is #cbctownhall if you want to see what’s being said but the nail in the coffin for me and the CBC is when Maxine Waters demanded that the WH rep (Graves?) say, “tea party” and “black” AS IF the White House is ignoring both. AS IF saying those WORDS gets something done. This is no different than when the GOP called Obama weak on defense because he didn’t say “terrorism” enough. How did that work out? Then Jesse-I-Want-To-Cut-His-Nuts-Off Jackson has the AUDACITY to say that they (CBC, Black Leaders) want to help him win and those close to Prez. Obama want to help him lose. Gee, would those be the elitist know-it-all Jews Cornel West was referring to?

    If after seeing this town hall, no one sees why Prez Obama keeps his distance from these people, then I don’t what will make them see it.

    Oh and they made the WH rep say that he’ll take the CBC legislation to the WH. You get that? Not to Nancy Pelosi or other House leaders. Not to John Boehner but to the WH.

    August 22, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    I am so ashamed at CBC they are all angry at PBO. The guy who represent the administration is basically trashed. They treat him as if he is a kid. They want direct access to PBO. May God help us in 2012.


    August 22, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    The President meets with the CBC regularly and they know it. You can look at past online schedules of his and you will see he meets with all the caucuses regularly. Gobrooklyn is right—they are not in the inner circle and they want the access Rev. Al and Clyburn have had but the President doesn’t trust them. They also complained in the past about not getting invites to a lot of the WH receptions. Bottom line, they don’t have the access they had with the Clintons. Their only weapon to strike back—the media.

    • Ametia says:

      The sooner that these crab in the barrel coon RELICS are voted out the healthier it will be for their black constituents. The CBC is a DISGRACE to our RACE.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Rick Perry Compares Civil Rights Movement To GOP Fight For Lower Corporate Taxes

    By Marie Diamond on Aug 22, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Besides Muammar Qaddafi, Rick Perry may be having the worst day in politics. His extremist belief that everything from consumer protection to Social Security to federal child labor laws is unconstitutional keep dogging him on the campaign trail.

    Now he’s been caught on tape in South Carolina comparing the civil rights movement to the GOP’s fight for lower corporate taxes and deregulation. He could hardly have picked a worse day to fundamentally misunderstand and misrepresent the struggle for civil rights in America. Today marks the opening of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial to commemorate the great civil rights leader who died marching for economic justice for poor communities. In Rock Hill, South Carolina, a reporter pointed out to Perry that this year also marks the 50th anniversary of a historic sit-in in the town:

    QUESTION: And coming to the Old Town Bistro you’re actually visiting a very important place in Rock Hill and the nation’s civil rights history. This year we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Friendship Nine sit-in here. Care to comment on that?

    PERRY: Listen, America’s gone a long way from the standpoint of civil rights and thank God we have. I mean we’ve gone from a country that made great strides in issues of civil rights. I think we all can be proud of that. And as we go forward, America needs to be about freedom. It needs to be about freedom from overtaxation, freedom from over-litigation, freedom from over-regulation. And Americans regardless of what their cultural or ethnic background is they need to know that they can come to America and you got a chance to have any dream come true because the economic climate is gonna be improved.

    To compare the “struggles” of corporations who often pay virtually nothing in taxes to the plight of black Americans in pre-Civil Rights America is remarkably ignorant, even for Perry. Martin Luther King Jr. argued that economic rights for the poor were as essential as political rights, and was a great advocate for unions and the very anti-poverty programs that Perry believes are unconstitutional. While King fought for a living wage and more welfare for the poor, Perry fights for more corporate welfare.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Michele Bachmann’s low-key IRS role belied ambitions

    Article by: TONY KENNEDY , Star Tribune
    Updated: August 20, 2011 – 11:44 PM

    Judicial records and former peers detail her work as a tax attorney.

    In the few seconds Michele Bachmann had to introduce herself at a Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire this summer, she promptly mentioned her credential as “a former federal tax litigation attorney.”

    On her campaign website, too, the Minnesota Republican highlights her first career job as a U.S. tax lawyer in St. Paul, arguing that her experience on “hundreds of civil and criminal cases” triggered her interest in tax simplification and adds to her qualifications for the White House.

    But a review of judicial records from her tenure as an IRS attorney and interviews with some of Bachmann’s former peers produce a more nuanced picture — a set of credentials that is both more and less than Bachmann claims.

    She won the respect of law school classmates at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., and was licensed to practice in Minnesota within seven or eight months of graduation. She went on to get an advanced law degree at the same prestigious Virginia college that Thomas Jefferson attended.

    In her tenure as an IRS attorney in St. Paul, however, it appears that Bachmann seldom entered a courtroom and fully litigated only two cases in four-plus years, according to judicial records. Co-workers from the time describe her as pleasant and professional, but cannot recall one important case or criminal prosecution she handled.

    At the root of Bachmann’s legal career is an even more complex picture — an ambitious young woman steeped in evangelical Christianity, deeply affected by her law school years at Oral Roberts, and fascinated by the intersection of biblical principles and the practice of law.

    Bachmann did not respond to interview requests or written questions about her IRS career for this story. But she has repeatedly cast herself as a former tax litigator without mentioning that her job was to represent the IRS against taxpayers.

    “I went to work in that system because the first rule of war is ‘Know your enemy,”’ she said last week at a campaign stop in Columbia, S.C.

    ‘Very serious’

    Bachmann’s legal career dates to the late 1980s, when in the span of about two years, she passed the bar exam, earned a master’s degree in tax law from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va., and went to work in St. Paul for the chief counsel for the IRS. Records show she worked there from 1988 until early 1993. By her choice, her law license has since lapsed into restricted status (though it is not expired) and she is not currently allowed to practice, Minnesota Judicial Branch records show.

    Bachmann started at the IRS at age 32, while she and her husband, Marcus, who studied counseling at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va., were raising the first two of their five children.

    Two former classmates from the O.W. Coburn School of Law at Oral Roberts said she was an intelligent, energetic student and a forceful debater.

    “I always thought she was a very serious student,” said Dean Burnetti, a personal injury lawyer in Florida who was one of about 70 members of Bachmann’s graduating class in 1986. “She was that type, always on that front row and always attentive.”

    But in her signature job in jurisprudence, Bachmann never rose to any prominence and spent little time as a litigator, even though former colleagues describe it as a busy office where young lawyers had every opportunity to jump into the fray and make their mark with influential cases.

    Five former IRS co-workers, who spoke on the condition they not be named, recall that Bachmann mostly stuck to lower-rung work — settling taxpayer disputes before trial and handling her share of collection matters, refund cases and advisory work in potential criminal matters.

    The co-workers said that, for whatever reason, Bachmann didn’t participate in the most intense work of the office: tangling with corporations and other big taxpayers in precedent-setting disputes tried before a judge in U.S. Tax Court.

    Because Tax Court is itinerant and comes to St. Paul only a few times a year, the dockets would require weeks of frantic preparation, said Tom Brever, a prominent Twin Cities tax lawyer who worked in St. Paul’s IRS District Counsel office from 1978 to 1983.

    “It was very, very stressful and a tremendous amount of work, but if you were a young, aggressive lawyer, you would seek opportunities to get the larger cases,” Brever said.

    Bachmann appears to have represented the IRS only twice in cases tried in U.S. Tax Court — both small cases — according to a search of judicial records by attorney Melissa Wexler, a research expert at Westlaw, a major provider of computerized records.

  4. Ametia says:



  5. rikyrah says:

    Barack Who? GOP 2012 Candidates Respond To Qaddafi’s Fall By Writing Obama Out Of History

    The main GOP presidential candidates’ responses to events in Libya were strikingly diverse. However, one factor they had in common was the lack of any mention of one person: the President who actually committed US forces to the conflict.

    The exception to this was former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. “Ridding the world of the likes of Gadhafi is a good thing,” he wrote. “But this indecisive President had little to do with this triumph.”

    That was in line with a rather churlish press release put out Sunday night by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), which bemoaned that Qaddafi’s fall took “so long” because a certain someone wouldn’t “employ the full weight of our airpower.”

    Still, at least this line of approach gave Obama a look-in. For the other candidates (repeating their tactics after the death of bin Laden) the President may as well have not existed.

    Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who condemned the Libya action from the start, issued a statement acknowledging this disagreement:

    “I opposed U.S. military involvement in Libya and I am hopeful that our intervention there is about to end. I also hope the progress of events in Libya will ultimately lead to a government that honors the rule of law, respects the people of Libya and their yearning for freedom, and one that will be a good partner to the United States and the international community.”

    Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman had also opposed getting involved in the conflict. His press release failed to mention either that or the President:

    “The impending fall of Colonel Gaddafi is one chapter in the developing story of a nation in turmoil. Gaddafi has been a longtime opponent of freedom, and I am hopeful — as the whole world should be — that his defeat is a step toward openness, democracy and human rights for a people who greatly deserve it.”

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry strove for a far-sighted, statesmanlike tone:

    “The crumbling of Muammar Ghadafi’s reign, a violent, repressive dictatorship with a history of terrorism, is cause for cautious celebration. The lasting impact of events in Libya will depend on ensuring rebel factions form a unified, civil government that guarantees personal freedoms, and builds a new relationship with the West where we are allies instead of adversaries.”

    The most substantive response was perhaps that of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, as befits the man who is still the GOP’s frontrunner. He turned attention back to the still-oozing wound of the Lockerbie bomber, and demanded the new government extradite him (presumably to America since the Scottish government has already — controversially — freed him).

    Still, that too contained no mention of President Obama. Just as the partisan approach to the death of bin Laden seems to be to claim the root cause (and thus praise) goes back to President George W. Bush, one wonders whether a similar thing is happening here… and just how long it will be before we’re told Qaddafi’s fall is all the result of the prior President’s ingenious long-term thinking.

    • Ametia says:

      LOL Try as these MOFOs might, they can’t change history by traveling down that river in Egypt called DENIAL. Losers the lot of them. Who would vote these MOFSs into the WH when they aren’t even living in the same universe.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Monday, August 22, 2011
    Late Entries and Parties
    Nate Silver has a fun piece up this morning about potential late entries in the Republican WH 2012 field, and how they might fit into the current group.

    I’m not sure how helpful it really is, however. Mainly, I’m not at all convinced that Silver’s central conceit of a two by two grid with an ideological axis and an establishment/insurgent axis is a useful way of thinking about the nomination process. On the ideological side, it’s not clear how many important individuals and groups within the party are thinking in terms of left/right (or, I suppose, right/very right) rather than about specific policy areas of concern. That is, what really matters isn’t so much whether a candidate is too moderate, but whether the abortion people, the tax people, and so on find the candidate acceptable or not.

    I’m also not convinced that an establishment/insurgent vocabulary really captures the relationship of the various groups within the GOP, or the appeal of the candidates. What exactly is an establishment-friendly or insurgent candidacy? If it’s just rhetoric, then we’re probably talking about appeal to larger electorates in next year’s primaries, but no candidate is going to get there without considerable support from organized groups within the party. If it’s appeal to particular groups, I don’t think the groups really exist on an establishment/insurgent spectrum. Indeed, if you’re talking about groups, it’s probably just better to think about groups, specifically and in general, without worrying about whether they are “establishment” or their ideological placement.

    Not sure if I’m being clear here…what I mean is that it’s not so important how conservative, say, Rudy Giuliani is; what matters is that social conservatives certainly would strongly oppose him, and that those groups have an effective veto on the nomination. Similarly, what matters is whether those groups would attempt to veto Mitt Romney, or if they find him acceptable. And then to remember that there are multiple specific groups (within the broad category of social conservatives) and they might disagree with one another, and that the nomination fight might be, in part, a fight between those groups for who gets to speak for that particular GOP constituency. A fight which might or might not be usefully characterized as establishment/insurgent, and might or might not have any relationship at all to similar fights within, say, anti-tax GOP organizations and individuals.

  7. I just caught this. As soon as you have a Pay Pal account for SG2, let me know. We can donate a few $$. She will need all the help she can get. Will they be able to rebuild? I think of her and her family every day and send healing.

  8. rikyrah says:

    August 22, 2011 4:10 PM

    Paul Ryan is (still) not running for president

    By Steve Benen

    For quite a while, there’s been some clamoring in Republican circles for better presidential candidates. The existing field is underwhelming and unimpressive, and party leaders have made no secret of the fact that they’d love to recruit some more compelling candidates.

    About a week ago, they seemed to get their wish when Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) threw his hat in the ring. But after his third day as a candidate, when he suggest Ben Bernanke would be guilty of treason if he tried to boost the economy, many Republicans were again asking, “So, um, who else is out there?”

    Most of the rumors have circulated about House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Sure, most of those rumors seem to be coming from the offices of The Weekly Standard, but the magazine has been effective in causing a minor stir about the right-wing Wisconsinite’s possible interest.

    Today, Ryan once again made it categorically clear he isn’t running.

    After much speculation and some pressure from fellow Republicans, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin and the House Budget Committee Chairman, says he is NOT running for President.

    “I sincerely appreciate the support from those eager to chart a brighter future for the next generation. While humbled by the encouragement, I have not changed my mind, and therefore I am not seeking our party’s nomination for President. I remain hopeful that our party will nominate a candidate committed to a pro-growth agenda of reform that restores the promise and prosperity of our exceptional nation. I remain grateful to those I serve in Southern Wisconsin for the unique opportunity to advance this effort in Congress.”

    I say “once again” because, as careful observers probably recall, Ryan has already ruled out a national campaign, repeatedly.

    But the whispers never went away, and conservative leaders hoped that constant encouragement might prompt Paul to reconsider. Nevertheless, today’s statement may have caused audible sobbing from The Weekly Standard’s offices, but it should mark the end of the Ryan-related scuttlebutt, at least until 2016.

    As for Republicans still waiting for other saviors to come swooping in to make the presidential field more impressive, the only other names that are still in the mix are Sarah Palin, George Pataki, and Rudy Giuliani. None of the three strikes fear into the hearts of Democrats, or generates any enthusiasm from the worried GOP establishment.

  9. rikyrah says:

    August 22, 2011 3:30 PM

    Beware of horse-race polls 15 months out

    By Steve Benen

    I don’t doubt this new Gallup poll will get plenty of attention, and will be circulated aggressively by Republicans, but I find it interesting for very different reasons.

    President Barack Obama is closely matched against each of four possible Republican opponents when registered voters are asked whom they would support if the 2012 presidential election were held today. Mitt Romney leads Obama by two percentage points, 48% to 46%, Rick Perry and Obama are tied at 47%, and Obama edges out Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann by two and four points, respectively.

    The president tends to fare better among all adults, but among registered voters, Obama appears to be in a tight race against any of the leading Republicans. Most observers, regardless of preferences or ideology, seem to agree that the 2012 race appears likely to be close, and the new Gallup data certainly points in that direction.

    That said, there are two angles I’d encourage folks to keep in mind.

    First, as I like to point out from time to time, horse-race polls 15 months before an election have very little predictive value. Indeed, they tend to look ridiculous a year and a half later. In August 1999, Bush led Gore by 14 points in a Gallup poll, and Gore went on to win the popular vote (and if all the ballots had been counted in Florida, the electoral college). In August 1996, Gallup showed Dole leading Clinton by two points (a NYT/CBS poll had Dole over Clinton by six). In August 1983, Gallup showed Reagan leading Mondale by one (other polls showed Mondale ahead).

    At this point in 1991, Clinton hadn’t even announced, and H.W. Bush looked unbeatable.

    Again, the point isn’t that Obama will persevere because Clinton and Reagan fared well despite trailing at this stage in their respective races. Rather, the point is that horse-race polls a year and a half before an election just don’t tell us much. The larger economic conditions are vastly more important, and we don’t know what the near future holds. Over the next year and a half, an improving economy will bolster Obama’s standing and make him a safer bet for a second term. A deteriorating economy will put the president’s career in jeopardy. This isn’t rocket science.

    The other angle probably seems foolish, but I’m going to put it out there anyway: isn’t Obama doing better than expected?

    Clearly, an incumbent president trailing his most likely challenger at this point isn’t good news, but consider the bigger picture: his approval rating is down to 40%; the overwhelming majority of the public believes the country is on the wrong track and conditions are getting worse; unemployment is extremely high; while most presidents enjoy at least some support from the other party, rank-and-file Republicans overwhelmingly hate Obama; and the liberal base isn’t even close to satisfied.

    It’s against this backdrop that the president, against a credible Republican challenger, only trails by two points? I’d expect him to be faring much worse given the larger circumstances.

  10. Ametia says:

    Kate Winslet among 20 party guests forced to flee Richard Branson’s blazing Necker Island home after it is hit by lightning

    Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet was among guests forced to flee after a fire sparked by a lightning strike swept through Richard Branson’s opulent home on the tycoon’s private Caribbean island.
    Sir Richard said about 20 people were staying in the eight-bedroom Great House on Necker, his private isle in the British Virgin Islands. The fire is still raging in the building.
    Sir Richard’s daughter, Holly, who is due to marry shipbroker Freddie Andrews on the island later this year, and his 90-year-old mother, Eve, were also among guests forced to evacuate.

  11. rikyrah says:

    August 22, 2011 10:45 AM

    You wrote it; you own it

    By Steve Benen

    While so many books from politicians are dull, awful, and immediately forgettable, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) actually put together an interesting book last year: Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington. It was published just nine months ago, well before Perry expected to be a leading presidential candidate.

    The book offers a surprisingly helpful look at Perry’s ideology and worldview, including 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.

    But this was nine months ago. Now, Perry the presidential candidate doesn’t much care for the book written by Perry the governor.

    His communications director, Ray Sullivan, said Thursday that … “Fed Up!” is not meant to reflect the governor’s current views on how to fix [Social Security]. […]

    In an interview, Mr. Sullivan acknowledged that many passages in Mr. Perry’s “Fed Up!” could dog his presidential campaign. The book, Mr. Sullivan said, “is a look back, not a path forward.” It was written “as a review and critique of 50 years of federal excesses, not in any way as a 2012 campaign blueprint or manifesto,” Mr. Sullivan said.

    The campaign’s disavowal of “Fed Up!” is itself very new. On Sunday evening, at Mr. Perry’s first campaign stop in Iowa, a questioner asked the governor to talk about how he would fix the country’s rickety entitlement programs. Mr. Perry shot back: “Have you read my book, ‘Fed Up!’ Get a copy and read it.”

    This just won’t do. Perry not only supported the ideas in his own book when he wrote it nine months ago, he was still touting it eight days ago. His campaign doesn’t get to simply sweep an entire book under the rug.

    As Ian Millhiser put it, “Fed Up is not some 20-year-old graduate school thesis that Perry wrote before he served in elected office. It is a substantial, nationally published manifesto that Perry was proudly signing at book tours just a few months ago.”

    I can appreciate why Perry’s embarrassed by his published radicalism now, but that hardly justifies pretending the governor doesn’t agree with his own book now.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 22, 2011 12:35 PM

    Cantor puts his confusion in writing

    By Steve Benen

    Because House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) will play a leading role in blocking all job-creation measures in Congress, it’s important to appreciate how he approaches economic policy. Here he is, for example, making his case in a Washington Post op-ed today.

    [T]he Obama administration’s anti-business, hyper-regulatory, pro-tax agenda has fueled economic uncertainty and sent the message from the administration that “we want to make it harder to create jobs.” There is no other conclusion….

    Cantor, of course, made up that quote, as part of a ridiculous argument. In effect, the dimwitted Majority Leader — who opposes job-creation measures he used to support, and has vowed to kill any proposal to boost the economy — believes the White House is deliberately against lowering unemployment. Given the frequency with which the Republican “sabotage” question comes up, Cantor’s attack is as ironic as it absurd.

    The op-ed went on to say:

    Unfortunately, we have found President Obama to be an unwilling partner when it comes to getting America’s fiscal house in order. Since taking office, he has added trillions to the debt, ignored the recommendations of his own fiscal commission and put forth a budget that failed to address the drivers of our debt. Then we had to drag him to the table to make even the modest spending cuts that Standard & Poor’s says don’t go far enough.

    Who’s an “unwilling partner” on fiscal issues? If memory serves, it was just a month ago that President Obama, much to the dismay of his own party, was willing to make sweeping entitlement changes as part of a package of $4 trillion in debt reduction. And it was Cantor and his GOP allies who refused to even consider the offer.

    As for Standard & Poor’s, Cantor said our “nation’s credit downgrade” came as a result of a large debt. Maybe Cantor hasn’t read the S&P analyses yet — he’s not much of a reader — but he should probably take the time to learn what he’s talking about before writing an op-ed for a major newspaper.

    The ratings 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. For Cantor to blame Obama for Republicans’ borderline-criminal misconduct, hoping that we won’t remember the events of July and August, is pathetic.

    I’d also note that Cantor’s piece repeatedly referenced tax increases as part of that rascally president’s agenda. It’s worth realizing that (a) Obama has cut taxes repeatedly; (b) Obama even agreed to keep Bush’s failed tax policies in place beyond their expiration date; and (c) the only folks who actively want to raise taxes immediately are congressional Republicans.

    Cantor may find reality inconvenient, but that’s no excuse for pretending it doesn’t exist.

    • Ametia says:

      When is this slimy creature going to get his comeuppance?

    • It is totally against my spiritual beliefs to wish destruction, dismemberment and possibly large boils to grow on anyone’s ass but Cantor is taxing me to the limits.

      Can’t it just be discovered that he is not a man but a mutant turnip brain, abducted by aliens and given a sex change? Maybe he would then be forced to resign because if he just got caught cheating on his wife or wagging his weenie on Twitter, the Repugs would have him anointed for sainthood. No, it would have to be something worse…

      I so wish he would just go away! Who votes for this irritating little twerp anyway?

  13. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 22, 2011 1:30 PM

    The awkward GOP line on Libya

    By Steve Benen

    With the Gaddafi regime facing its demise in Libya, the question for Republican presidential candidates is not an altogether pleasant one: how do they express some satisfaction with the likely results without praising President Obama and/or contradicting their earlier positions?

    Now that Qadhafi appears all but ousted, the challenge for Republicans is to figure out how to respond to what looks — at least for now — like a victory for the United States.

    For some of Obama’s challengers — Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, and Tim Pawlenty before he exited the race — one of the key criticisms of the Libya action was that it wasn’t muscular enough to succeed. Romney, for example, said that he supported the intervention, but was concerned about Obama’s “inability to have a clear and convincing foreign policy.”

    The task for those candidates will be to cheer Qadhafi’s downfall, while noting that the removal process was imperfect, without looking peevish and small.

    For an example of the “peevish and small” contingent, consider John McCain and Lindsey Graham as Exhibit A.

    It’s worth noting that among Republican presidential candidates, there are two distinct groups, with very different challenges. One group, which includes Bachmann, Huntsman, and Paul, opposed U.S. intervention in Libya from the outset. For them, like many critics of the policy on the left, the question is fairly straightforward: does the apparent outcome change their mind or do they make the case that the mission was a mistake, regardless of Gaddafi’s downfall? (In case this isn’t obvious, I do not believe in the slightest that the dictator’s ouster would necessarily prove critics of the policy wrong.)

    I’d argue the second group arguably has a tougher task. Mitt Romney, in particular, argued repeatedly that he supported U.S. intervention in Libya, but believed President Obama was going about this all wrong. For the former Massachusetts governor, who routinely struggles to pretend to understand national security and foreign policy, the problem wasn’t with the mission, so much as Obama’s ability to execute the mission effectively.

    And that’s tougher to address now. If Bachmann and Huntsman want to make the case that the mission drove Gaddafi from power, but the effort wasn’t worth the costs, fine. It’s clearly a legitimate area of debate. But Romney’s line — in effect, Obama’s going to screw this up — leads to inconvenient questions for the inexperienced former governor now that it appears the president’s approach worked out the way the administration had hoped.

    As Adam Serwer explained, “GOP partisanship demands that they not acknowledge the president’s role in assembling the global coalition that aided the rebels. Indeed, with the Republican Party wedded to a contradictory image of the president as foreign policy weakling and iron-fisted domestic dictator, we’re going to see a lot of bizarre rationalizing of what happened in an attempt to preserve this narrative of the Obama presidency.”

  14. rikyrah says:


    22 Aug 2011 01:38 PM The GOP’s Problem With Paul Ryan

    by Maisie Allison

    Byron York captures the dilemma:

    On election night 2010, Republican strategists conducted a poll that asked GOP voters…which issue had been most important in deciding their vote. Fifty-four percent said jobs and the economy, versus 10 percent who said the deficit and federal spending. This month, after months of fights over budgets, continuing resolutions, and the debt ceiling, the Republican pollsters asked another simple question: “Which is more important — reducing government spending or creating jobs?” Sixty-five percent said creating jobs, versus 30 percent who said reducing spending.

    Ryan is perhaps the single Republican most associated with the cause of reducing government spending. Until now, most Republican presidential candidates have been hesitant to fully embrace Ryan’s budget plan, which among its many proposals calls for a voucherlike program to reform Medicare. If Ryan were in the race, there would be one candidate running wholeheartedly on the budget; if he were the nominee, the Ryan plan would be the Republican Party platform.

    Jim Antle insists it’s not worth the risk. Allahpundit is enthusiastic, but likewise doesn’t see a path to victory. Reminding us of the political radioactivity of entitlement reform, Larison continues to pour cold water. Taking on conservative skeptics, John McCormack downplays Ryan’s liabilities. Chait, who has been on the case for months, concludes:

    If you think the substantive radicalism of Ryan’s agenda is more of a liability than the on-the-surface craziness of a Rick Perry, you have a much higher estimation of the electorate than I do.

    And naturally, Douthat explains why Chris Christie would make a better candidate.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Rick Perry Throws Rick Perry Under Bus
    by Patrick Appel

    Rick Perry is walking away from unpopular parts of his book, Fed Up, which was published under a year ago. Ezra Klein suspects this won’t work:

    There is no chance that the Perry campaign is going to convince anyone that his book is not a useful guide to his thinking. What will happen if they try is that they will draw attention to its most radical passages, make their candidate look insincere, and signal to the other campaigns and to Republican elites that even Perry’s advisers think Perry’s book makes him vulnerable. Fed up with ‘Fed Up!’ as they may be, they’re stuck with it.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Exhausted Into Action

    by Chris Bodenner

    Neal Freeman notices an increased activism from military families against the “global agenda” of neoconservatism:

    It includes not just active-duty spouses and retired military personnel, and not just their families, friends and base-neighbors. It includes also a vast number of Americans who love the military, honor them and see in them a unique restorative capability in a society gone soft and commonsense-less. For the first time in my reporting experience, this extended military family has become fully engaged in the political process: you see them at gatherings everywhere, from Republican and Tea Party to independent and goo-goo. And they’re no longer sitting in the back taking notes. They are moving up front and taking leadership roles.

    William Deresiewicz’s essay on the empty sentimentalism toward the military is worth invoking

    The greater the sacrifice that has fallen on one small group of people, the members of the military and their families, the more we have gone from supporting our troops to putting them on a pedestal. In the Second World War, everybody fought. Soldiers were not remote figures to most of us; they were us. Now, instead of sharing the burden, we sentimentalize it. It’s a lot easier to idealize the people who are fighting than it is to send your kid to join them. This is also a form of service, I suppose: lip service.

    How many more years in Iraq and Afghanistan will it take for neocons to see that “supporting the troops” is sapping the troops? Deresiewicz also eloquently touches upon a recent thread on the Dish:

    [S]ervice members feel uneasy when strangers approach them to — as the well-meaning but oddly impersonal ritual goes — thank them for their service, thereby turning them into paradoxically anonymous celebrities. It was wrong to demonize our service members in Vietnam; to canonize them now is wrong as well. Both distortions make us forget that what they are are human beings.

  17. rikyrah says:

    August 22, 2011 11:30 AM

    Revisiting ‘leading from behind’

    Several months ago, an unnamed Obama administration official referred to U.S. policy in Libya as “leading from behind.” The point was to describe and defend a controversial policy: American forces were playing a leading role in preventing Gaddafi’s mass slaughters, but the U.S. was also prepared to have coalition partners play an even more active military role. This was especially true of European countries, most notably France, which have a longer history with Libya.

    The right relentlessly mocked the phrase. Steve Kornacki notes this morning that the apparent demise of the Gaddafi regime casts the larger strategy in a new, more positive light.

    In terms of making [the right’s] case, it certainly helped the right that the NATO-led operation to which Obama committed American support didn’t immediately dislodge Gadhafi, and that it appeared throughout the spring and into the summer that the civil war would continue along indefinitely as a stalemate. It was during this window that Rick Santorum, Romney’s fellow candidate, opined that Libya was “a morass.”

    But then, all of a sudden, came the past few days and a series of dramatic advances by the rebels, culminating in their move into Tripoli and the arrest of two of Gadhafi’s sons. […]

    [This appears to] be the outcome that hawks on the right have been saying they wanted all along. That it is now on the brink of being achieved five months after the implementation of the no fly zone would seem to suggest that, just maybe, there was actually some wisdom to “leading from behind.”

    The right has invested enormous energy for several years in pushing a caricature of Obama — he’s not tough enough; he’s too prone to concessions; he’s not strong enough to follow through.

    At least when it comes to national security, military policy, and counter-terrorism, this is a president who’s made the GOP’s caricature look awfully foolish.

    • Ametia says:

      What did Fanny Lou Hammer say?

      White Americans today don’t know what in the world to do because when they put us behind them, that’s where they made their mistake. . . . they put us behind them, and we watched every move they made.

  18. Happy Monday, Chicas! I love Tracy Chapman.

    • Ametia says:

      What’s happening, aquagranny! :-) So glad you love Chapman. Any favorites? We’re featuring her all week. Let us know, and we’ll post it.

  19. treetop45 says:

    Happy Week to you all. Still HOT in Texas…Keeping our eyes on the tropics, though. Maybe we will get a BREEZE. Better than the HOT AIR we are getting from PERRY. HAHA.

    Love your post. Tracy Chapman is the best. Thanks for sharing.

    • Ametia says:

      Hi treetop45. LOL Good to see you. Keep cool. Glad you’re digging Chapman. Got any favorites of hers. Let us know and we’ll post. Thank you.

    • Ametia, I just wanted to check in and see how SouthernGirl is?

      I also thank you for the Tracy Chapman tapes. I have totally adored her since her first release. I never get tired of her music, and she has the most incredible voice. dr

      • Ametia says:

        Hi Dorothy. SouthernGirl’s pressin’ on. You know she has faith. Thanks so much for asking. :-) We’re going to set up Pay Pal for folks who want to assist her with the fire loss.

  20. rikyrah says:

    The GOP’s True Colors
    by BooMan
    Mon Aug 22nd, 2011 at 10:00:00 AM EST

    There are certain ‘teaching moments’ when the Republicans do something so transparently hostile to average people and so obviously in the service of wealthy people (at everyone else’s expense), that you can actually use them as an example that can be quite convincing in recruiting people away from the party.
    This article provides one of those moments. The issue is taxation. Specifically, the issue is a proposed extension of the payroll tax holiday. I’ll let the article do the talking.

    At issue is a tax that the vast majority of workers pay, but many don’t recognize because they don’t read, or don’t understand their pay stubs. Workers normally pay 6.2 percent of their wages toward a tax designated for Social Security. Their employer pays an equal amount, for a total of 12.4 percent per worker.
    As part of a bipartisan spending deal last December, Congress approved Obama’s request to reduce the workers’ share to 4.2 percent for one year; employers’ rate did not change. Obama wants Congress to extend the reduction for an additional year. If not, the rate will return to 6.2 percent on Jan. 1.

    This is a relatively modest tax cut. For starters, we only pay this payroll tax on the first $106,800 of our income, so no one can get more than a $2,136 break. But it helps everybody who has an on-the-table job. The idea is that it helps the 46% of Americans who make too little to pay federal income taxes. When the government spends money to stimulate the economy, it wants that money to be spent and spent very quickly, and this is one of the best ways to do that because people who don’t make enough to pay federal income taxes are probably struggling to pay their bills and get school supplies and clothes for their kids. They will spend any extra money that they get to keep in their paycheck.

    You would think that the anti-tax Republicans would support a tax cut that helps people keep ‘their own money.’ You would be completely wrong. They hate everything about this tax cut. First, they hate that the people get a cut but the businesses that employ them do not.

    Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney did not flatly rule out an extra year for the payroll tax cut, but he “would prefer to see the payroll tax cut on the employer side” to spur job growth, his campaign said.

    In fairness to Romney, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says that cutting the payroll tax on the business side would do more to help hiring, so at least he has some empirical support for his position. But that kind of cut wouldn’t help working people at all. It would only help the unemployed in a slightly more efficient way. It turns out, for Republicans, tax cuts to help working people are no good. Watch them compare a temporary payroll tax holiday to the ‘temporary’ Bush income tax cuts that created a windfall for the rich and a smoking crater for our fiscal health:

    Republicans cite key differences between the two “temporary” taxes, starting with the fact that the Bush measure had a 10-year life from the start. To stimulate job growth, these lawmakers say, it’s better to reduce income tax rates for people and for companies than to extend the payroll tax break.
    “We don’t need short-term gestures. We need long-term fundamental changes in our tax structure and our regulatory structure that people who create jobs can rely on,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., when asked about the payroll tax matter.

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., “has never believed that this type of temporary tax relief is the best way to grow the economy,” said spokesman Brad Dayspring.

    Notice Sen. Lamar Alexander’s (R-TN) focus on “people who create jobs.” Those are the only people who deserve tax cuts. If anyone else gets them, it should be restricted to those who pay federal income taxes, and then probably only as a concession to win the political support needed for the “job creators'” tax cuts.

    Remember how the Republicans always insist, contrary to all available evidence, that cutting taxes will grow the economy and raise revenue for the government’s coffers? Well, not when the tax cuts help the poor and working class.

    The 12-month tax reduction will cost the government about $120 billion this year, and a similar amount next year if it’s renewed.
    That worries Rep. David Camp, R-Mich., chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, and a member of the House-Senate supercommittee tasked with finding new deficit cuts. Tax reductions, “no matter how well-intended,” will push the deficit higher, making the panel’s task that much harder, Camp’s office said.

    This is exactly backwards. The GOP is right that some tax cuts can help grow the economy, but most tax cuts do exactly what they seem to do…the government collects less in taxes and therefore has less revenue and bigger deficits. The logical conclusion is that most tax cuts cost the government more than they can recoup from stronger economic growth. That’s what happened under Reagan and that’s what happened under Bush and that is what has happened under Obama, who has not so far been able to end Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthiest 3% of Americans. It was Clinton’s presidency, where taxes were increased on the wealthy, that saw us balance the budget and start paying down the debt. When that happened, the Republicans said the government obviously was taxing us too much if they had so much money that they could pay our bills off.

    The reason tax cuts for the rich don’t pay for themselves is not that complicated. First, a four percent cut on a billion dollar income is far more money than can be made up for by reinvestment, even if that investment creates a few jobs. Second, very rich people are already spending at about the levels they want to spend, so a tax cut isn’t going to spur much consumption and create jobs through increased demand. And, even if they do spend a little more, giving someone a $400 million tax cut will not improve the coffers just because they then buy an extra yacht, home, or private plane.

    On the other hand, unemployed people are expensive. Creating tax incentives to spur hiring (as acknowledged above) can actually help the treasury’s bottom line. Giving people money that they will quickly spend can spur demand and lead to lower unemployment.

    But the Republicans don’t care about sensible tax policy, which is why we go broke whenever they have power. We go broke. The CEO’s and other ‘job creators’ do fabulously well.

    So, spread the news around. The Republicans have shown their true colors. Any idiot can see what they’re about.

  21. rikyrah says:

    .In Which I Try To Restrain My Nasty Impulses, With Limited Success

    I have a bit of a weakness for insulting people’s intelligence. I recognize this and try to restrain myself. When I read Stephen Moore’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today, I thought that I would give restraint a try. There’s simply no way to honestly analyze this piece without commenting on the author’s intelligence. I suppose, to be charitable, I should refine that to mean Moore’s analytic intelligence; there are many kinds of intelligence, and perhaps Moore is gifted with great social intelligence, or artistic intelligence. And yet the relevant point is that Moore is the lead economic editorial writer for the country’s leading economic newspaper and yet he lacks even a rudimentary understanding of economics.

    What makes this point especially hard to resist is that Moore’s lack of understanding of rudimentary economics is the subject of his op-ed. Here is his thesis:

    Christina Romer, the University of California at Berkeley economics professor and President Obama’s first chief economist, once relayed the old joke that “there are two kinds of students: those who hate economics and those who really hate economics.” She doesn’t believe that, but it’s true. I’m surprised how many students tell me economics is their least favorite subject. Why? Because too often economic theories defy common sense. Alas, the policies of this administration haven’t boosted the profession’s reputation.

    Moore believes the entire economics field is composed of idiots who fail to grasp obvious realities. Their theories defy “common sense,” which is to say Moore doesn’t understand them, which is to say they must all be wrong. For instance:

    Mr. Carney explained that unemployment insurance “is one of the most direct ways to infuse money into the economy because people who are unemployed and obviously aren’t earning a paycheck are going to spend the money that they get . . . and that creates growth and income for businesses that then lead them to making decisions about jobs—more hiring.”
    That’s a perfect Keynesian answer, and also perfectly nonsensical. What the White House is telling us is that the more unemployed people we can pay for not working, the more people will work. Only someone with a Ph.D. in economics from an elite university would believe this.

    Right. The theory holds that a lack of demand is creating a high level of unemployment. Unemployed people have a high marginal propensity to consume — which is to say, they’re generally desperate to pay the bills. If you let them keep drawing uninsurance claims, they will spend that money on things like repairing their car and buying clothes, creating more employment in the fields of auto repair and clothing retailers. Moore seems to think either that unemployment benefits can only have the effect of discouraging people from working — that apparently, our economy suffers from a surplus of jobs that have gone unfilled because applicants would prefer to stay on unemployment. I suppose you could argue that this is the case, and that this effect overwhelms the demand-side boost from maintaining consumption for the unemployed who would not otherwise be obtaining work.

    But Moore doesn’t make that case. He just thinks it’s obviously dumb to think that unemployment benefits could have an effect other than to discourage work. I have not omitted from his op-ed any portion where he makes this case.


    • majii says:

      Why didn’t Moore just keep it short and say that understanding economics is beyond his intellectual level. I don’t think you’re wrong at all, rikyrah, to question his intelligence in this instance. IMO, he shouldn’t be writing about topics he doesn’t understand. I took many, many graduate level economics courses when I was working on my first post graduate degree, and I loved them all! The major reason so many Americans, including many in Congress, don’t have a clue about what is needed to speed up economic recovery, is due to their lack of knowledge and understanding of economics. When someone like Rick Perry speaks so cavalierly of qualitative easing and Ben Bernanke being treasonous, it’s embarrassing to those of us who have actually studied economics. I’m also always embarrassed when the rw goes into it’s spiel on how cutting taxes, deregulation, and providing subsidies to Big Oil and Big Business are the “solutions” to our deficit problems. Instead of the teapublicans and GOP wasting tax money on “reading” the Constitution at the beginning of this session of Congress, they should have been taking some economics classes.

      • Ametia says:

        Moore, Perry and the rest of these right wing clowns are an embarrassment and ugly stain on America’s democracy. Moore’s understanding of economics is his own selfish reliance and exploitation of real issues affecting Americans. Moore rolls up in the joint with a mic and camera man, splice the footage, repackage i,t and labesl it a searing documentary.

        It gets audiences riled up, they go home, and do absoulutely nothing to change their own circumstances. Meanwhile, Mr. Moore’s sitting back eating fat juicy steaks, patting the goose that laid the golden egg$.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Will Clarence and Virginia Thomas succeed in killing Obama’s health-care plan?
    by Jeffrey Toobin

    It has been, in certain respects, a difficult year for Clarence Thomas. In January, he was compelled to amend several years of the financial-disclosure forms that Supreme Court Justices must file each year. The document requires the Justices to disclose the source of all income earned by their spouses, and Thomas had failed to note that his wife, Virginia, who is known as Ginni, worked as a representative for a Michigan college and at the Heritage Foundation. The following month, seventy-four members of Congress called on Thomas to recuse himself from any legal challenges to President Obama’s health-care reform, because his wife has been an outspoken opponent of the law. At around the same time, Court observers noted the fifth anniversary of the last time that Thomas had asked a question during an oral argument. The confluence of these events produced the kind of public criticism, and even mockery, that Thomas had largely managed to avoid since his tumultuous arrival on the Court, twenty years ago this fall.

    These tempests obscure a larger truth about Thomas: that this year has also been, for him, a moment of triumph. In several of the most important areas of constitutional law, Thomas has emerged as an intellectual leader of the Supreme Court. Since the arrival of Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., in 2005, and Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., in 2006, the Court has moved to the right when it comes to the free-speech rights of corporations, the rights of gun owners, and, potentially, the powers of the federal government; in each of these areas, the majority has followed where Thomas has been leading for a decade or more. Rarely has a Supreme Court Justice enjoyed such broad or significant vindication.

    The conventional view of Thomas takes his lack of participation at oral argument as a kind of metaphor. The silent Justice is said to be an intellectual nonentity, a cipher for his similarly conservative colleague, Antonin Scalia. But those who follow the Court closely find this stereotype wrong in every particular. Thomas has long been a favorite of conservatives, but they admire the Justice for how he gives voice to their cause, not just because he votes their way. “Of the nine Justices presently on the Court, he is the one whose opinions I enjoy reading the most,” Steve Calabresi, a professor at the Northwestern University School of Law and a co-founder of the Federalist Society, said. “They are very scholarly, with lots of historical sources, and his views are the most principled, even among the conservatives. He has staked out some bold positions, and then the Court has set out and moved in his direction.”

    Thomas’s intellect and his influence have also been recognized by those who generally disagree with his views. According to Akhil Reed Amar, a professor at Yale Law School, Thomas’s career resembles that of Hugo Black, the former Alabama senator who served from 1937 to 1971 and is today universally regarded as a major figure in the Court’s history. “Both were Southerners who came to the Court young and with very little judicial experience,” Amar said. (Thomas is from Georgia.) “Early in their careers, they were often in dissent, sometimes by themselves, but they were content to go their own way. But once Earl Warren became Chief Justice the Court started to come to Black. It’s the same with Thomas and the Roberts Court. Thomas’s views are now being followed by a majority of the Court in case after case.”

    The implications of Thomas’s leadership for the Court, and for the country, are profound. Thomas is probably the most conservative Justice to serve on the Court since the nineteen-thirties. More than virtually any of his colleagues, he has a fully wrought judicial philosophy that, if realized, would transform much of American government and society. Thomas’s views both reflect and inspire the Tea Party movement, which his wife has helped lead almost since its inception. The Tea Party is a diffuse operation, and it can be difficult to pin down its stand on any given issue. Still, the Tea Party is unusual among American political movements in its commitment to a specific view of the Constitution—one that accords, with great precision, with Thomas’s own approach. For decades, various branches of the conservative movement have called for a reduction in the size of the federal government, but for the Tea Party, and for Thomas, small government is a constitutional command.

    In his jurisprudence, Thomas may be best known for his belief in a “color-blind Constitution”; that is, one that forbids any form of racial preference or affirmative action. But color blind, for Thomas, is not blind to race. Thomas finds a racial angle on a broad array of issues, including those which appear to be scarcely related to traditional civil rights, like campaign finance or gun control. In Thomas’s view, the Constitution imposes an ideal of racial self-sufficiency, an extreme version of the philosophy associated with Booker T. Washington, whose portrait hangs in his chambers. (This personal gallery also includes Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher.)

    Read more

  23. opulent says:

    Wondering what is happening at WSY saw a notice of ‘maintenance’ at Obama Diary..thing is it said technical difficulties…but then said check back in 29 days? Hmmmm

    I had noticed lately there was in fighting on threads between some of those on board that is listed.
    Seemed like the poster Webb was the target of the attacks.

    I wonder if the ‘technical difficulties’ are really in-fighting and they are reorganizing. Interesting.

  24. rikyrah says:

    August 22, 2011 8:40 AM

    The ‘thank America last’ crowd

    By Steve Benen

    Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) issued a joint statement last night on the developments in Libya. It’s worth taking a look at the first paragraph.

    “The end of the Qadaffi regime in Libya is a victory for the Libyan people and for the broader cause of freedom in the Middle East and throughout the world. This achievement was made possible first and foremost by the struggle and sacrifice of countless Libyans, whose courage and perseverance we applaud.

    “We also commend our British, French, and other allies, as well as our Arab partners, especially Qatar and the UAE, for their leadership in this conflict. Americans can be proud of the role our country has played in helping to defeat Qaddafi, but we regret that this success was so long in coming due to the failure of the United States to employ the full weight of our airpower.”

    Remember hearing about the “blame America first” crowd? Well, say hello to the “thank America last” crowd.

    McCain and Graham “commend” everyone except the United States military, and then, even while applauding the developments, take yet another shot at the Obama administration.

    These two just can’t bring themselves put aside petty partisan sniping, even when they’re thrilled by the fall of a dictator.

    There’s obviously a legitimate question as to whether the international offensive in Libya was a wise decision. But as the Gaddafi regime crumbles, do the conflict’s two biggest congressional cheerleaders really feel the need to complain, “Yeah, but we’re not happy with the speed with which Obama got the job done”?

    Here are three things I’d encourage McCain and Graham to keep in mind. First, complaining about getting the outcome they wanted is just cheap. When the fear of Obama getting some credit for success is stronger than the satisfaction that comes with a tyrant’s fall, there’s a problem.

    Second, the fact of the matter is, the efforts of U.S. forces in are being cited as “a major factor in helping to tilt the balance after months of steady erosion of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s military.”

    And third, if McCain and Graham really want to complain about why “this success was so long in coming,” maybe they can talk more about their trip to Tripoli two years ago, when both McCain and Graham cozied up to Gaddafi, even visiting with him at the dictator’s home, discussing delivery of American military equipment to the Libyan regime. Both senators shook Gaddafi’s hand; McCain even bowed a little.

    I’m curious if McCain and Graham have simply forgotten about this, or if they’re just hoping everyone else has.

    • Ametia says:

      Would expect NOTHING less from Mr. John McShame -Put our country at risk- with Palin Pick -COUNTRY LAST. And Ms. Lindsey Graham; nough said.

    • I haven’t forgotten. I keep a close eye on everything McCain does and says. He was also a big howler about the Prez’s decision to join with NATO and prevent a blood bath of innocent people in Libya. Of course, now he has to flip and criticize PBO for not doing more. McCain hates “that one” and will never say anything good about him.

      • Ametia says:

        McShame like the rest of the HATERS want to play Monday morning quarterbackers.

        and you’re ABSOLUTELY right about him. Grandpa McShame will NEVER get over losing the WH to “THAT ONE!

  25. rikyrah says:

    How PPP Became The ‘It’ Democratic Pollster
    Just a few short years ago, Public Policy Polling was an obscure Democratic outfit, mostly focused on local polling in Raleigh, North Carolina. Now, ten years after its founding, PPP is driving national coverage with an unmatched supply of polls on everything from the Republican primaries to God’s approval rating. Since their automated polls are so cheap to conduct, they’ve been able to flood the zone in early polling on federal races, and they’ve notched up an impressive record on special elections, which are notoriously hard to predict. So where did they come from?

    Well, according to founder Dean Debnam, the whole operation began largely out of spite. In the 1990s, conservative nonprofits backed by a wealthy retail executive, Art Pope, dubbed a “one man Republican equalizer” in the press, dominated polling in the Raleigh area. Debnam, a proud Democrat whose wife was active in education advocacy and ran for mayor of Raleigh in 1999, fretted that the questions were slanted to produce more right-leaning results. “They were putting out polls to push their agenda,” he said. “I was fed up with reading basically BS in the local paper as if it was fact.”

    But with polling an expensive proposition for small-city politicians, there was no easy way to get a second opinion out there. So in 2001, he decided to create one on his own. Debnam didn’t have any professional experience in polling or politics, but his flagship business, which contracted with companies to handle their employees’ benefits, did have a lot of phone lines. He bought up a bunch of automatic dialers, hired a political scientist to run the show, and started using the machines to conduct automated polls and make robocalls as a side project.

    John Hood, president of the conservative John Locke Foundation that Debnam credited with inspiring him to found his liberal counterweight, told TPM he took the origin story in stride.

    “I don’t doubt he probably got annoyed with some of the findings,” he said. “And truthfully, he’s right the wording of questions does have an influence on what opinions you find. But there’s nothing nefarious about that. As anyone who knows anything about polling recognizes, wording questions is an art rather than a science.”

    Debnam focused on North Carolina, especially Raleigh, at first. PPP scored a coup in 2007 by discovering early on that then-Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), who had yet to draw a Democratic challenge, was much more vulnerable then widely believed. She ended up losing to Kay Hagan.

    Talking Points Memo on FacebookTheir real “coming out party” was during the 2008 Democratic primaries. They were one of the only polling outfits to spot Hillary Clinton’s late momentum in New Hampshire, where she staved off an early knockout punch from a surging Barack Obama. In South Carolina, they predicted a 20-point victory for Obama, a greater margin than any other public poll — he ended up winning by 29. They had their share of misses, too: Jensen tried out a new technique for sampling minority voters in the Pennsylvania primary only to find he had overestimate Obama’s strength in finding him with a lead — Clinton ended up wining easily.

    Automated polling has a reputation for being less accurate than live questioning, but Jensen found he was able to account for some of its natural biases by dialing each person on their call list at several different times, cutting down on variables like different working hours for different demographics. They emerged at the end of the 2008 cycle with one of the best records in swing states of any pollster, according to a Wall Street Journal study.

    Starting in 2009, however, PPP undertook a new role in addition to their horserace numbers: chronicling the GOP’s takeover by the Tea Party. Debnam giddily commissioned his own polls on a litany of outrageous conspiracy theories and misinformation prevalent among the conservative base — much to the horror of Republicans. This is why America now knows exactly what percentage of Republican voters believe Obama wouldn’t be called to heaven in the Rapture (44%) and how many Sarah Palin fans consider Obama the Anti-Christ (21%). That’s the same Palin who would lose the independent vote to Charlie Sheen in a general election matchup.

    Not everyone finds these questions funny. Bill O’Reilly for one, who recently accused PPP of helping Democrats “marginalize” Republican voters as “nuts.” But it’s not only conservatives: polling guru Nate Silver, who has rated PPP highly for their unbiased horse race numbers, told TPM he found their penchant for wacky polls was somewhat grating. “I’m not saying polling always has to be deadly serious, but some of the questions seem to reflect a lack of respect for the people they’re getting on the phone,” he said, adding that it was hard to gauge their reliability given that many respondents’ probably didn’t even take the questions seriously.

  26. rikyrah says:

    A Left Wing Hierarchy

    My focus in politics is electoral, not ideological or issue related. The time I devote to politics focuses on elections, voter education and messaging. Since President Obama first started campaigning for the office, volumes have been written about the people who oppose him from the Left. What is rarely explored is what chance, if any, is there to ‘change the minds’ of his Left Wing non-supporters about anything concerning politics. What are the best ways to cope with these people in an electoral environment? I’ve developed a rating system for the categories of non-supporters that I have thus far identified. With this rating system I hope to help people, either online or in the real world, interact with or at the very least emotionally cope with different levels of opposition.

    The Narcissist

    In brief the Narcissist suffers from a pathological need for attention; hypersensitivity to insults and criticism; an over-inflated sense of self-importance; unrealistic expectations and a preoccupation with success and power. It’s been fairly well established which particular ‘activists’ who claim the Far Left as their territory fit this description. These people live for the fight. Everything they do and say with regard to politics is about opposition. The more driven among them have developed strategies for making money from this opposition. These people have no allegiance to either Party. Their allegiance is to themselves and feeding the never-ending necessity for attention and staying relevant. They go wherever there is an opening. Their belief system is composed entirely of being against whatever “The President” believes in.

    •Prospect for convincing them to support the current President: Non-existent.
    •Strategy for coping with their behavior: Never make it personal. Always focus on what they do, not what they say or who they are.


    The Anarchist

    Anarchists and Narcissists have a symbiotic relationship. They both thrive on opposition and many of the Narcissist’s followers hail from the ranks the modern American Anarchists. The very nature of anarchy pretty much makes defining them impossible because there are almost as many variations of anarchy belief systems as there are people who subscribe to them. In general they fall into a few sub-groups who can be generalized as wanting to either seriously limit government or do away with government entirely. Anti-capitalism (anti-corporatist) seems to be more appealing to the Left; where profit motivated privatization characterizes the Right.

    A friend once told me that Republicans don’t trust government and Democrats don’t trust corporations. I frequently encounter people spouting anti-corporation rhetoric in my neck of the woods. Bandying about words like corporatist and fascist is as common and accepted as talking about the weather. For this crowd corporations are governments and possess power that now exceed governments. Their opposition to our President, any President really, stems from the perception that the American government exists to protect corporations and to that end readily override the will of the people. If President Obama isn’t seen as actively working to disrupt corporations, then he is complicit in all that corporations do. He then is dismissed as being a corporatist and deserving of their lack of support.

    •Prospect for convincing them to support the current President: Online: None. In the Real World: Marginal.
    •Strategy for coping with their behavior: Engaging the Anarchist online can only result in defensive posturing. In the Real World what matters most is the ability to gauge the level of commitment to the anti-government stance. Theoretically the true anarchist is so against government that supporting any office holder is out of the question. Very few people, even the youthful vandals are that extreme. Even still, the amount of energy required to move someone who is hard-core anti-government into the supporter camp isn’t a wise investment. That energy can be better spent with swing voters. A time-saving tip: find out if the anti-government individual you’re trying to engage is even registered to vote. If not, move on.


    The Elitist

    At the core of an elitist’s mindset is ego. Self-described intellectuals for the most part who believe their evaluation of politics is superior to that of others around them. Elitists tend to concern themselves more with policy than electoral politics. I’m not as willing as some to write these people off because in more cases than a few, people who behave in an elitist fashion are often engaged in actual policy making. More than once I’ve seen, in the real world any way, that at times they are right. Their presentation lacks grace and can be characterized as condescending, which is off-putting to most people who don’t hail from their ranks. Unfortunately these people and people who pretend to be their peers frequently devolve into antagonistic adolescents once their fingers come into contact with a keyboard and a connection to the Internet. There is a strong parallel with computer geeks who look down on people who aren’t as good as they are with computers and code, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know what they’re talking about. They just lack social skills. Elitists tend to lack actual political skills. It is the ego and condescension that prevents them from identifying, and therefore communicating effectively, with regular people.

    •Prospect for convincing them to support the current President: Online: Remote but not impossible; In the Real World: Achievable.

  27. rikyrah says:

    What Was I Thinking
    by mistermix

    Last night I had a few minutes to catch up with an old friend. She’s a stay-at-home mom who went back to work as a Special Ed teacher a few years ago. We don’t talk politics much—she had told me she was “pretty conservative” and a Republican a few years back, but she did vote for Obama in 2008. After she’d detailed some of the hassles that are coming down the road for teachers, even in relatively liberal New York, and her hopes that the teachers’ union would be able to push back on some of the more ridiculous stuff, I asked her if she was still a Republican. She said she was still registered as one, but “What was I thinking?” She was clearly done with the Republican Party, and I was a bit surprised, because she is moderate-to-conservative and a good fit for New York’s Republican party. But she’s also a good, and proud, teacher, and you can’t fuck with people’s livelihood and pride and expect any loyalty in return.

    Sometimes I read or watch things like Huntsman’s performance yesterday and think that a candidate like him has a chance to galvanize moderate Republicans, and inspire them to take back their party. When I have thoughts like that in the future, I’m going to remember my friend, and realize that most of Huntsman’s potential audience has already left the GOP and has no intention of coming back.

  28. rikyrah says:

    August 22, 2011 8:00 AM

    Gaddafi regime crumbles in Libya

    By Steve Benen

    Facebook Twitter Digg Reddit StumbleUpon Delicious

    For months, it looked as if the long-feared stalemate in Libya would last indefinitely. Late last week, however, developments shifted with surprising speed, and as I type, the fall of the Gaddafi regime appears imminent.

    The first real indication of a dramatic shift came Thursday, when rebel fighters easily overtook government soldiers at an oil refinery in Zawiyah, just outside Tripoli. This was followed by some high-profile defections of Gaddafi loyalists, who apparently saw the writing on the wall.

    And over the weekend, the Gaddafi regime appeared to quickly fall apart.

    Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s grip on power dissolved with astonishing speed on Monday as rebels marched into the capital and arrested two of his sons, while residents raucously celebrated the prospective end of his four-decade-old rule. Colonel Qaddafi’s precise whereabouts remained unknown and news reports said loyalist forces still held pockets of the city, stubbornly resisting the rebel advance.

    In the central Green Square, the site of many manufactured rallies in support of Colonel Qaddafi, jubilant Libyans tore down posters of him and stomped on them. The rebel leadership announced that the elite presidential guard protecting the Libyan leader had surrendered and that their forces controlled many parts of the city, but not Colonel Qaddafi’s leadership compound.

    By all accounts, the Gaddafi regime has not yet collapsed; the whereabouts of the bizarre leader are unknown; and forces loyal to the dictator still control portions of Tripoli. Fighting continues this morning.

    But everyone involved appears to be preparing for the transition to a post-Gaddafi Libya. President Obama issued a statement late last night, saying, “Tonight, the momentum against the Qadhafi regime has reached a tipping point. Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant. The Qadhafi regime is showing signs of collapsing. The people of Libya are showing that the universal pursuit of dignity and freedom is far stronger than the iron fist of a dictator…. The future of Libya is now in the hands of the Libyan people.”

    There are, to be sure, significant hurdles ahead. Not only are there still clashes in the capital, but rebels do not yet have a clear leader who can represent multiple factions. What’s more, Gaddafi would not exactly leave behind strong structures of a civil society.

    But it’s hard not to feel a sense of satisfaction by the weekend’s developments. The reign of a brutal dictator is nearing its end, and his downfall is welcome news.

    NBC News’ Richard Engel noted this morning that this is nothing like the fall of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad — there, it was U.S. forces who took the capital, while Iraqis began looting. In Tripoli, its Libyans who are taking Tripoli.

  29. rikyrah says:

    August 20, 2011
    An astounding cavalierness
    NY Times guest columnist Kurt Andersen is troubled:

    [T]he most troubling thing about Perry (and Michele Bachmann and so many more), what’s new and strange and epidemic in mainstream politics, is the degree to which people inhabit their own Manichaean make-believe worlds. They totally believe their vivid fictions.

    True enough, and troubling enough. When the governor isn’t reinventing Texas history or refining the science of climatology in ways that only an ignorant racketeer could, the Minnesota congresswoman is shuffling and redealing decades of U.S. history and altering its Revolutionary geography.

    All of that, however, is not what I find most troubling in mainstream politics. That superlative I reserve for what passes for professional analysis these days — for those who are paid some pretty good dough to help us navigate the complexities of the national political scene.

    For example a few days ago I watched Charlie Cook, of The Cook Political Report, dismiss on MSNBC one of Bachmann’s whoppers (I forget which one) as merely popcorn for her base — he wasn’t the least bit interested in correcting what she had grossly misrepresented; and last night, on Hardball, “MSNBC analyst” Michael Steele delivered an encore Cook performance with respect to Rick Perry — Oh, come on, Chris, said Steele, he’s just playing to the base, his fictional facts are of no significance whatsoever.

    Both “analysts” accepted, with an astounding cavalierness, the GOP norm of transcendent unreality. Both implicitly argued that abject fantasies are not only the defining platform of modern Republicanism — as Landonian anti-New Dealism or Taftian isolationism once was — but that they’re so entirely central to contemporary conservatism, they’re not even worthy of comment or correction.

    In short, it is redundant — if not rather “uncool” of hip professionals — to bother noting that contemporary conservatism is delusional. Its self-aware lies, its insidious distortions, its amateur science, its counterfactual economics, its faith-based history — most or all of it simply made up for the benefit of an ideologically coddled, otherworldly base. And utterly unremarkable.

    Yeah … so what? That, it seems — what’s really newest and strangest and most epidemic in mainstream politics — is the political media’s profoundly unserious attitude, as frivolous hacks and jaded gurus swamp all semblances of journalistic rigor.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Whose policy?
    Speaking yesterday in South Carolina,

    Perry didn’t back away from his statement that the Fed’s quantitative easing policy was nearly “treasonous,” responding: “I’m passionate about the Obama administration’s monetary policy.”

    Texas-pol specialist James C. Moore recently opined that Gov. Perry “barely has a sixth grader’s understanding of economics.”

    So here, in this contrast, we find an educational marker: Not until the seventh grade (at least in Texas) do pupils begin learning who directs monetary policy in the United States.

  31. rikyrah says:

    August 21, 2011
    Fighting the last war

    David, uh, Axelrod just appeared on, uh, uh, ABC’s “This Week” and he, uh, rehustled the political fiction that, uh, having congressional do-nothingers at home during the town-hall month of August would, uh, enlighten their minds and soften their hearts and open the door to big doings in September.

    Moments later Axelrod conceded that a spokesman for Speaker Boehner has already announced that nothing beyond controversial trade deals and uninspiring patent reform will be welcomed by the GOP House upon its regularly scheduled return.

    So the presidential “product” to be rolled out in September will be the squabbling and pettiness and intransigence and obstructionism and legislative inaction which the White House postponed in August — at the interim, executive cost of appearing indecisive, indifferent, leaderless and planless.

    And this benefits Team Obama … how?

    This is not the 2008 election, in which candidate Obama’s “reserve” was an incontrovertible net plus. Until November, 2012, every month that expires in the absence of President Obama’s energetic slamming of demonstrably do-nothing Republicans will be a month unexploited, to the GOP’s benefit.

    One senses that his political team is suffering from what military strategists deride as “legacy-thinking” — idiomatically, fighting the last war.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

    • Ametia says:

      Happy Monday mornin’ rikyrah & Everyone! :-)

      • Ametia says:

        August 23, 2011 1:21 am

        Sharma to step down as S&P president
        By David Gelles and John McDermott in New York
        Deven Sharma is stepping down as president of Standard & Poor’s only weeks after the rating agency issued an unprecedented downgrade of the credit of the US, according to people familiar with the matter.

        Mr Sharma will remain as an adviser to S&P’s owner, McGraw-Hill, for four months and leave the company at the end of the year, they said.

        Please respect’s ts&cs and copyright policy which allow you to: share links; copy content for personal use; & redistribute limited extracts. Email to buy additional rights or use this link to reference the article –

        Mr Sharma will be replaced as S&P president by Douglas Peterson, chief operating officer of Citibank, the banking unit of Citigroup, they said.

        The downgrade of US credit on August 5 led to the worst single day fall in US equity prices since the depths of the financial crisis, and triggered weeks of global market volatility.

        People familiar with the matter said Mr Sharma’s departure was unrelated to the downgrade or reports that S&P is being investigated by the justice department in connection with its ratings of dozens of mortgage securities in the years leading up to the financial crisis.

        The McGraw-Hill board made the decision to replace Mr Sharma at a meeting on Monday, where it also discussed an ongoing strategic review.

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