Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread

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49 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:


    August 23, 2011, 5:37 pm
    Why Another Democrat Wouldn’t Do Better Than Obama in 2012

    You know that a president is having a rough time when you start to see speculation that his party would be better off if it replaced him on the ticket.

    There has been more of this recently: the political scientist Matthew Dickinson argued that Democrats would improve their chances if Hillary Clinton defeated Barack Obama in a primary challenge. The astute Ed Morrissey of the blog Hot Air wondered if Democrats might benefit if Mr. Obama simply declined to run for a second term.

    President Obama’s re-election bid is in quite a lot of trouble, with falling approval numbers and sour economic forecasts. But it’s probably mistaken to assume that those problems would just go away if Democrats replaced him with another candidate.

    The evidence, if anything, points in the opposite direction: Mr. Obama is more popular than his policies, and probably gives the Democrats a better chance of maintaining the White House than another Democrat would. Three pieces of data to consider:

    First, Mr. Obama’s personal favorability ratings — which continue to average about 50 percent — are considerably higher than his approval ratings, which are now around 40 percent. It’s not uncommon for favorability ratings to track a point or two ahead of approval ratings — but this is a particularly large gap. Voters remain reasonably sympathetic to Barack Obama, the person, even if they’re growing less and less thrilled with his performance.

    Can Mr. Obama use that sympathy to persuade hesitant voters to give him another chance? Well, we’ll see. But usually when a party would be better off disposing of its incumbent, it’s because these numbers run in the opposite direction: the candidate has some personal liability that is overshadowing his policy positions.


  2. Ametia says:


    Al Sharpton will host nightly ‘PoliticsNation’ on MSNBC

    After a month of speculation, MSNBC has announced that the Rev. Al Sharpton will permanently host a nightly political show on the network at 6 p.m. Eastern time.

    Titled “PoliticsNation,” the program will feature Sharpton, a Baptist minister, political activist and radio personality, leading “a lively and informed discussion of the top headlines, bringing viewers his take on events in his signature style,” according to a press release.

    In a statement, MSNBC president Phil Griffin billed the forthcoming show as “an incredibly strong kick-off” to the network’s prime-time lineup, which usually finds itself nestled in second place between Fox News and CNN in the cable news ratings.

    “I’ve known Rev. Sharpton for over a decade and have tremendous respect for him,” said Griffin. “He has always been one of our most thoughtful and entertaining guests. I’m thrilled that he’s now reached a point in his career where he’s able to devote himself to hosting a nightly show.”

  3. Ametia says:

    No Reick Perry, it’s MAN, NOT GOD who is to blame. We’ve got FREE WILL.

  4. Ametia says:



  5. rikyrah says:

    No Novels For Obama
    by Zack Beauchamp

    Tevi Troy is upset that the President’s reading list is mostly fiction. Josh Barro takes his colleague to task. Alyssa Rosenberg thinks “condescending” is too nice a descriptor:

    President Obama, and any person who holds that office, consumes vastly more non-fictional material than the average American, and doesn’t even have the benefit of reading it in engagingly-written histories or argumentative volumes. The idea that a novel or two, in the midst of all the briefings and reports, might somehow dilute his concentration is a direct heir to the idea that novels will rot delicate ladies’ brains, and deserves to be taken precisely as seriously.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Wanker of the Day: Kevin D. Williamson
    by BooMan
    Tue Aug 23rd, 2011 at 02:18:12 PM EST

    Kevin D. Williamson is the Deputy Managing Editor of the National Review, but that is about all I can learn about him by surfing the internets. His Wiki is bare other than to tell me he wrote a ridiculous book that can’t distinguish between the policies of the Democratic Party and those of Soviet Russia or the Third Reich. The bio for the NPR Cruise tells me that he’s from Lubbock, Texas, lives in New York City, and is a theatre critic for The New Criterion. Nowhere does he provide the slightest credential for being the deputy managing editor of a magazine. Who sent this man from Texas to Broadway, and why is he being paid to write his drivel for the National Review?
    I ask these things because his article on Rick Perry is a real piece of work. He starts out by telling us that Perry was wrong when he told a young child in New Hampshire that Texas teaches creationism in its schools and that Perry was wrong when he said that Texas reserved the right to secede when they joined the Union. He is more interested, however, in why anyone would care what a politician thinks about evolution or climate change. His reasoning is original. Let’s start with the evolution part of his argument.

    The broader question, however, is: Why would anybody ask a politician about his views on a scientific question? Nobody ever asks what Sarah Palin thinks about dark matter, or what John Boehner thinks about quantum entanglement. (For that matter, I’ve never heard Keith Ellison pressed for his views on evolution.) There are lots of good reasons not to wonder what Rick Perry thinks about scientific questions, foremost amongst them that there are probably fewer than 10,000 people in the United States whose views on disputed questions regarding evolution are worth consulting, and they are not politicians; they are scientists. In reality, of course, the progressive types who want to know politicians’ views on evolution are not asking a scientific question; they are asking a religious and political question, demanding a profession of faith in a particular materialist-secularist worldview.

    Let me start my response to this by giving a parallel example. If I ask a politician if he thinks the Sun generates heat, I am not asking him a scientific question. I’m asking whether he’s fucking crazy. If he shows any doubt whatsoever that the Sun generates heat, I’m not voting for him. The same is true of the evolution question. There are obviously some policy implications that I can reasonably infer from a politician who refuses to believe in evolution, but the primary problem is that their brain is broken. If you want to call this my demand that politicians have faith in a particular materialist-secularist worldview, that’s fine, but I call it having respect for the scientific method and for the near-unanimous consensus of the scientific community. There are plenty of religious politicians who I support wholeheartedly. Last I checked, there was only one avowed atheist in the entire Congress.

    Let’s move on to climate change.

    Take the question of global warming: Jon Huntsman was quick to declare his faith in the scientific consensus on global warming, and Rick Perry has been openly skeptical of it. Again keeping in mind that nobody really ought to care what either Huntsman or Perry thinks about the relevant science, both are making an error, and a grave one, in conceding that the question at hand is scientific at all. It is not; it is political. One might be convinced that anthropogenic global warming is a real and problematic phenomenon, and still not be convinced that the policies being pushed by Al Gore et al. are wise and intelligent.

    Now, if I ask a politician where he stands on the reality of climate change, I am not just asking if he’s crazy. I’m asking if he’s bought and sold by the energy industry. And the reason I care whether or not they’re a lobbyist for Big Oil and Big Gas is because I want us to do something along the lines of what the scientific community suggests to prevent catastrophic climate change. A whore for the big polluters isn’t going to be helpful in that regard. Al Gore has nothing to do with it.

    Progressives like to cloak their policy preferences in the mantle of science, but they do not in fact give a fig about science, which for them is only a vehicle to be ridden to the precise extent that it is convenient. This is why they will ask what makes Rick Perry qualified to disagree with the scientific establishment, but never ask the equally relevant question of what makes Jon Huntsman qualified to agree with it. So long as they are getting the policies they want, they don’t care. If you want to see how dedicated a progressive is to dispassionate science, spend two minutes talking about the heritability of intelligence. You’ll be up to your neck in witchcraft and superstition and evasion in no time at all.

    This is some serious bullshit on so many levels. Here is a frontal challenge to progressives’ commitment to science and empiricism. He’s saying that our commitment is only a convenience since we will not readily agree that intelligence and heredity are highly correlated. But the reason we will not readily agree is because, unlike evolution or climate change, hereditary intelligence is a highly contentious issue in the scientific community. But beyond the lack of scientific consensus on the issue, it is (or should be) an entirely different type of question than evolution or climate change. Whether or not to teach evolution, and what to do about climate change are debates about actual policies. Whether you’re more likely to be smart if your parents are smart doesn’t seem to matter much from a policy point of view. Of course, Williamson is transparently appealing to a different question: race and intelligence. Or, in other words, why do blacks (collectively) score worse than Asians and Whites on the IQ and other aptitude tests? The test gap is real, but the scientific community has not reached anything close to a consensus on the cause(s). And, what would the policy implications be if there were a consensus? Because, while scientists have many theories, the one thing they agree about is that genes alone do not contribute to differential racial intelligence. Whether it’s prenatal environment, nutrition, chemical exposure, bad schools, subculture-based, test-bias, stereotype threat, or some combination, most of the policy implications are that we should do more to improve environmental conditions for the black community. If we don’t accept Williamson’s idea that blacks are objectively inferior, then we’re up to “our neck in witchcraft and superstition and evasion.” The only evasion is in our desire to get away from you as quickly as possible.

    Another telling sentence is where he asks us what makes Jon Huntsman qualified to agree with the consensus of the scientific community. But that’s the whole point of having a scientific community. They figure shit out and tell the rest of us how things work. We’re all qualified to accept their reasoning. You have to actually do some work to be qualified to question it.

    Of course, this piece of sophistry wouldn’t be complete without some glaring logical errors. Here he both begs the question and commits a tautological error in the same paragraph.

    Perry is making an error by approaching these questions as though they were scientific disputes and not political ones. The real question about global warming isn’t whether one computer simulation or another is the better indicator of what our climate will be like a century hence, it is whether such policies as envisioned by the environmentalist-anti-capitalist green coalition are wise. They are not.

    He is simply asserting that climate change and evolution are not scientific disputes, which, while not entirely true, is truer than anything else he’s arguing. There are a series of questions here.

    1. Are evolution and climate change scientific or political questions, or both?

    2. Is the scientific community right about these theories?

    3. Should we heed the advice of the scientific community and create policies to address climate change?

    On (1) he uses the premise that it is political question to prove it is a political question (tautological error). He refuses to entertain question (2) in order to beg the question on question (3). What this amounts to is Mr. Williamson telling us that we’re not qualified to have an opinion on scientific matters and that it doesn’t matter what our politicians think about scientific matters and that, therefore, we should not ask politicians questions about scientific matters, nor should we care what their answers might be. But, scientific disputes are really only political disputes, and Mr. Williamson is himself qualified to tell us that the scientists’ prescription for addressing climate change is bad policy.

    Or, in shorter words, we cannot agree to anything that hurts the oil and gas industry. Or, also in shorter words, the scientists agree with the environmentalist-anti-capitalist green coalition, so we must dismiss science!!

    Once again, where did this guy come from? Lubbock?

    I guess that explains it.

  7. rikyrah says:

    quote by figjam

    Commentator, CharlesBlow on Andrea Mitchell saying Obama’s negatives on foreign policy higher than negatives in other areas!


    this is bad omen…we are watching black folks take down this POTUS as more and more folks are talking like Smiley& Tavis.

    This shyt is snowballing and any dumbass blackfolk that think they gonna put this back in the crazy as hell.

    media piling on with relentless negativity from blacks, just like they used Wright


    this is so true

    • Ametia says:

      the clowns, coons, house negroes, crabs in a barrel have joined the white-right wing circus to attack and bring down our POTUS. ALL.WILL.FAIL.

  8. Ametia says:

    A ug 23, 1:44 PM EDT

    Tests show no illegal drugs in Winehouse body
    Associated Press
    LONDON (AP) — Amy Winehouse had no illegal drugs in her system when she died, and it is still unclear what killed the singer, her family said Tuesday.
    The family said in a statement that toxicology tests showed “alcohol was present” in the singer’s body but it hasn’t yet been determined if it contributed to her death.
    The 27-year-old soul diva, who had battled drug and alcohol addiction for years, was found dead in her London home on July 23, and an initial post-mortem failed to determine the cause of death.
    A statement released by spokesman Chris Goodman on the family’s behalf said “toxicology results returned to the Winehouse family by authorities have confirmed that there were no illegal substances in Amy’s system at the time of her death.” The statement did not mention whether any legal drugs were found.
    It said the family awaited the outcome of an inquest that is due to begin in October.
    Winehouse’s father, Mitch, has said his daughter had beaten her drug dependency three years before her death, but he admitted she was still struggling to control her drinking after several weeks of abstinence.
    Mitch Winehouse told mourners at the singer’s July 26 funeral that she had said to him, “`Dad I’ve had enough of drinking, I can’t stand the look on your and the family’s faces anymore.'”
    The Winehouse family announced plans to establish a charitable foundation in the singer’s name to help people struggling with addiction – although Mitch Winehouse has said the plans are on hold because someone else had registered the name Amy Winehouse Foundation.
    In her short lifetime, Winehouse frequently made headlines because of drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, destructive relationships and abortive performances.
    Her health often appeared fragile. In June 2008 and again in April 2010, she was taken to hospital and treated for injuries after fainting and falling at home.
    Her father said she had developed the lung disease emphysema from smoking cigarettes and crack, although her spokeswoman later said Winehouse only had “early signs of what could lead to emphysema.”
    She turned her tumultuous life and personal demons into songs such as “Rehab,” from her Grammy-winning album “Back to Black.”
    Her death prompted an outpouring of emotion from fans – many of whom left flowers and offerings outside her house in north London’s Camden neighborhood – and from fellow musicians.
    Her final recording, a duet with Tony Bennett on “Body and Soul,” is due to released next month as a charity single.
    In Britain, inquests are held to establish the facts whenever someone dies violently or in unexplained circumstances. Winehouse’s inquest is due to begin Oct. 26 in London.

  9. Ametia says:

    August 22, 2011
    Qaddafi’s Final Hours
    For more than 40 years, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi has dominated and terrorized Libya — his image plastered on what seemed like every wall and his goons posted on every corner. Late Monday, with rebel fighters in substantial control of Tripoli, he was nowhere to be found, and his regime seemed to be collapsing.
    There may be more dark moments to come. We are in awe of the courageous Libyans who pressed their fight. The rebels — a ragtag band that overcame incredible odds, battlefield defeats and bitter internal divisions — have showed extraordinary commitment and resilience.
    We urge them to now show restraint in these final hours and respect for all Libyans in the days and months to come. They have promised to build a democratic Libya. They must keep that promise.
    There is little doubt that the rebels would not have gotten this far without NATO’s air campaign and political support from President Obama, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain. When critics in Washington and elsewhere declared Libya a quagmire, these leaders refused to back away.
    The rebel army improved with advice from British, French and Italian special forces and arms from France and Qatar. NATO strikes on Libyan forces and military command centers did real damage. A naval blockade and international sanctions also squeezed the government.
    There were times when the United States and Europe should have committed more assets. But Mr. Obama made the right decision to let Europe take the lead.
    Libya will need even more support — as well as vigilant monitoring and likely frequent goading — in the months ahead. The challenges of building a stable and representative new country cannot be overstated.
    The main rebel leadership group has struggled to secure areas under its control. It must make clear that reprisals against surrendering Qaddafi loyalists will not be tolerated.
    When Colonel Qaddafi is found, he should be sent to the International Criminal Court to face justice.
    A few of the rebel leaders are known, but it is unclear if any of them has the standing or the skill to unite the country. The rebels’ Transitional National Council and the military are both hampered by ethnic and tribal divisions. The council must reach out quickly to all groups and ensure that it represents all Libyans.
    It will also need to move quickly to put together a plan to restore public order as well as electricity and other basic services. It must outline a reasonable timetable for democratic elections.
    As we learned at a very high cost in Iraq, all parties must have a role in building a new political order or those excluded will turn to violence. Decision-making — including how to restart damaged oil wells and share oil revenues — must be transparent.
    World leaders can reinforce these messages by speaking out. President Obama on Monday rightly warned the rebels that “true justice will not come from reprisals and violence.” The release of frozen Libyan assets and the lifting of sanctions must be carefully managed.
    It will be up to the Libyans to build their own future. The rebels’ victory — if followed by the democracy they promise — should inspire others to believe that the battle is worth fighting. And no autocrat, no matter how brutal, is invincible.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Facing Deadline, Kasich Refuses Millions In Unemployment Funds Because Expanding Benefits ‘Makes No Sense’
    By Tanya Somanader on Aug 22, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Today, Ohio faces its final deadline to expand its unemployment benefits program. If state officials choose to do so, the state is eligible for $176 million in unemployment insurance funds made available in the 2009 Recovery Act to states that broaden their unemployment programs.

    However, despite a steadily increasing unemployment rate that is currently at 9 percent, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) has failed to apply for the federal funds. His reasoning? Extending unemployment compensation “makes no sense“:

    Gov. John Kasich says it makes no sense for the state to make long-term changes to a fiscally-damaged system for a one-time payment, spokesman Rob Nichols said. And the jobs department, which administers the state’s unemployment compensation system, is not seeking any changes, department spokesman Ben Johnson said. […]

    To receive the remaining two-thirds, the state would have to choose two options from among several: Allow people seeking part-time work to qualify for benefits, extend benefits to those in approved job training programs, increase the allowance for dependents, and provide benefits to people who leave work for certain family reasons, such as domestic violence or transfer of a spouse.

    State GOP lawmakers, following Kasich’s lead, refused to consider a bill that would allow Ohio to receive the money “by providing benefits to workers who leave their jobs for family reasons and by extending benefits to people in approved job training.” State Senate president Tom Niehaus (R) buried the bill because he too “was concerned that costs of the long-term changes could outweigh the benefits of one-time funding.”

    But like most in his party, Kasich seems dedicated to ignoring the fact that one dollar in unemployment benefits generates two dollars in economic growth, in addition to the piece of mind it would provide for the 529,000 unemployed Ohioans struggling to make ends meet. “We’re going to need the benefits to be extended until we get back on our feet,” said one Ohioan who relies on the benefits to support her four children.

    Kasich might have more cause to reject the federal funding if his own jobs agenda offered promising results. However, as Plunderbund notes, Ohio saw 14 straight months of dropping unemployment before Kasich assumed the helm. After the first full month with his job-crushing budget at work, Ohio is now in its second month of increasing unemployment.

  11. rikyrah says:

    At Town Hall, GOP Rep. Hultgren Can’t Explain How Bush Tax Cuts Created Jobs

    Last week, Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) held a town hall meeting in Geneva, Illinois where he was peppered with questions about the Bush tax cuts. A woman stood up and asked him to explain how the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy created jobs for Americans.

    Hultgren repeatedly avoided answering the question, instead choosing to bash the stimulus or claim Illinois’ economy was hurt by higher taxes. Members of the audience continually asked him “Where’s the evidence?” but he avoided providing any answer:

    WOMAN: When the Bush tax cuts took effect in 2003 the unemployment rate was 6.2 percent. Now, in the ninth year of those cuts, the unemployment rate is 9.2 percent, so where is the evidence that these cuts for the most affluent actually create jobs? […]

    (Audience applauds)

    HULTGREN: I think clearly the evidence, uh, well, let me say this. I get back to the stimulus, which was another thing which –

    MAN: We want the tax cuts?

    WOMAN: Where’s the evidence?

    ANOTHER WOMAN: Where are the jobs?

    HULTGREN: Good question. Let’s keep goin’. We got three minutes.


    HULTGREN: I believe we’ve got a tax system that discourages productivity. We have to adjust that. It has to be flatter. […] Not too long ago we raised taxes in Illinois, just in the past eight months, they already told us they spent all that money. […] My evidence is Illinois being the number one job creator for Indiana, Iowa.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Feingold To Press Dems To Abandon Any Unbalanced Super Committee Deal
    Former Sen. Russ Feingold and his new group Progressives United are petitioning the six House and Senate Democrats serving on the joint deficit Super Committee to walk away if Republicans don’t budge on tax increases, and insist on cutting entitlement benefits.

    “If we don’t get our policy priorities, Democrats need to be ready to walk away from the deal,” Feingold emailed his supporters. “You can guarantee extremists on the other side will continue to push relentlessly to give even more to corporations and put even more of the burden on the middle class. We have to fight harder than they will.”

    He lists the bright lines:

    1. Ensure millionaires, billionaires, and big corporations pay their fair share of debt reduction,
    2. No cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits,
    3. No giveaways to corporate interests,
    4. Or no deal.His concern — which progressives widely share — is that Republicans will refuse to raise a penny of revenue, particularly from wealthy Americans, and leave the Committee’s Democrats to pick between significant entitlement cuts or the trigger penalty, which would fall most heavily on Medicare providers and national defense.

    The effort is aimed at Democrats so that they don’t lose their spine at that key moment. “We can have leverage with the Democrats on the super committee, but we need to build it,” Feingold said.

    Read his entire letter at the link:

  13. rikyrah says:

    The GOP Position on Taxes Gets Worse
    By James Fallows

    Please focus on the boundless cynicism here.

    Through the artificial debt-ceiling “crisis,” through the Moonie-like spectacle in Iowa of candidates (including Mr. Sanity, Jon Huntsman) raising hands to promise never to accept any tax increase, the Republican field has been absolutist and inflexible about not letting any revenue increase, in any form, be part of dealing with debts and deficits.

    Except, it now turns out, when the taxes are those that (a) weigh most heavily on the people who are already struggling, and (b) would have the most obvious “job-killing” effect if they went up.

    When it comes to those taxes — hell, we’re easy! According to the AP and Business Insider, Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas (at right), the Republican co-chair of the all-powerful budget Super Committee, is dead set against letting the Bush-era tax cuts expire for anyone, including millionaires. But he sees no problem in letting the current cut in payroll-tax rates — you know, the main tax burden for most Americans — run out. As the AP story puts it:

    Many of the same Republicans who fought hammer-and-tong to keep the George W. Bush-era income tax cuts from expiring on schedule are now saying a different “temporary” tax cut should end as planned. By their own definition, that amounts to a tax increase.

    The tax break extension they oppose is sought by President Barack Obama. Unlike proposed changes in the income tax, this policy helps the 46 percent of all Americans who owe no federal income taxes but who pay a “payroll tax” on practically every dime they earn…

    “It’s always a net positive to let taxpayers keep more of what they earn,” says Rep. Jeb Hensarling, “but not all tax relief is created equal for the purposes of helping to get the economy moving again.”

    Not created equal” is exactly right. In fact, payroll-tax cuts are the sort of tax break most likely to “get the economy moving again” during a recession. (Because they put money in the hands of people most likely to spend it and therefore boost other businesses. And on balance they lower the cost of adding new workers.) Income-tax breaks at the top end are least likely to create new demand or jobs. (Because they go to people who have a lower “marginal propensity to spend” and are more likely to park the money in the bank.)

    I had thought that Republican absolutism about taxes, while harmful to the country and out of sync with even the party’s own Reaganesque past, at least had the zealot’s virtue of consistency. Now we see that it can be set aside when it applies to poorer people, and when setting it aside would put maximum drag on the economy as a whole. So this means that its real guiding principle is… ??? You tell me.

    The fine print. Yes, I know that there is a critique of these tax cuts from the left: That by reducing the self-funding nature of Social Security, they could in the long run undermine its legitimacy and support. I am confident that this is not the reason for Rep. Hensarling’s position.

    And, yes, there is a further level to the critique from the right. The problem with this tax cut, according to Republican majority leader Eric Cantor, is precisely that it’s temporary, so businesses can’t base plans on it. Eg, according the AP quote from Cantor’s spokesman, he “has never believed that this type of temporary tax relief is the best way to grow the economy.”

    But as an anti-recession measure, the temporary nature of the cut is its advantage. It gets money into people’s hands when they need it, without building in another permanent revenue hole — like the tax cuts Cantor fights so hard to preserve.

  14. rikyrah says:

    The GOP Hates Taxes – Unless They’re On The Poor
    by Zack Beauchamp

    Fallows gets very angry about GOP super-committee co-chair Jeb Hensarling’s desire to let the payroll tax cut expire:

    Through the artificial debt-ceiling “crisis,” through the Moonie-like spectacle in Iowa of candidates (including Mr. Sanity, Jon Huntsman) raising hands to promise never to accept any tax increase, the Republican field has been absolutist and inflexible about not letting any revenue increase, in any form, be part of dealing with debts and deficits. Except, it now turns out, when the taxes are those (a) that weigh most heavily on the people who are already struggling, and (b) would have the most obvious “job-killing” effect if they went up.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011

    Democrats doing the right thing
    by David Atkins (“thereisnospoon”)

    There is a growing faction of progressives who have indicated that they will not support Barack Obama’s re-election, and refuse to vote for him come election day 2012.

    If for no other reason than control of the Supreme Court, I believe that stance is seriously misguided. And I suspect that many who hold that position today may soften as the reality of the danger the Republican nominee poses comes into clearer focus in the fall of next year.

    But even those who cannot bring themselves to vote for President are making a mistake to throw the entire Democratic Party overboard. Case in point: my own amazing local Assemblymember Das Williams in California’s 35th (actually, now the 37th due to redistricting) Assembly District representing parts of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. Das went through a bruising primary battle and a swath of conservative special interest money to win election in 2010, and has been a tour de force in Sacramento ever since. One of his biggest accomplishments to date has been an anti-privatization of libraries bill, which is rapidly gaining steam despite strident opposition from various interest groups:

    Dozens of librarians from across the state went to the Capitol on Monday to support a bill that would make it more difficult for local governments to contract with private firms to run libraries.

    They rallied as only librarians might, concluding the event with the reading of a homemade, hand-illustrated children’s storybook titled “The Privatization Beast Comes to Our Town” and the appearance of a person dressed in a bright yellow costume playing the role of the fictional beast.

    “We have an undeserved reputation for saying, ‘Shhhh!’ all the time,” said Gina Quesenberry, a librarian at the El Monte Library in Los Angeles County. “People don’t know that we’re fine with a little noise and hubbub.”

    The noise they were making was in support of Assembly Bill 438 by Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, whose district includes Ventura and much of Oxnard.

    The measure, awaiting a vote in the Senate, would place strict conditions on cities contemplating contracting out for library services, including requirements for multiple advance notices of a public hearing, the completion of a study enumerating anticipated savings, open bidding and an assurance that no existing library employees would lose their pay and benefits.

    The bill is strongly opposed by local government officials, who say the proposed restrictions are so severe that the bill would effectively eliminate the option of contracting out.

  16. rikyrah says:

    August 23, 2011 10:10 AM

    The 2012 despair of the right’s intelligentsia

    By Steve Benen

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    For months, the Republican elite has complained incessantly about the quality of the GOP presidential field. With about five months to go before the first nominating contests, the complaints seem to be getting louder.

    It’s a tough time to be a conservative intellectual.

    From the Weekly Standard to the Wall Street Journal, on the pages of policy periodicals and opinion sections, the egghead right’s longing for a presidential candidate of ideas — first Mitch Daniels, then Paul Ryan — has been endless, intense, and unrequited.

    Profoundly dissatisfied with the current field, that dull ache may only grow more acute after Ryan’s decision Monday to take himself out of the running.

    The problem, in shorthand: To many conservative elites, Rick Perry is a dope, Michele Bachmann is a joke, and Mitt Romney is a fraud.

    For a change, it looks like I actually agree with the assessment of conservative elites.

    To clarify, when we talk about the right’s intelligentsia, we’re talking about a fairly small group of folks: the Wall Street Journal editorial page, Bill Kristol and his friends, Charles Krauthammer, the D.C. conservative think tank crowd, etc. These are influential public figures, but they’re not necessarily the party’s mainstream (though the rank-and-file aren’t thrilled with the Republican field, either).

    At a certain level, I can appreciate why the elite is frustrated. Their preferred candidates — Paul Ryan, Mitch Daniels, Jeb Bush, maybe Chris Christie — just aren’t interested and have shrugged off outreach efforts. But now would probably be a good time for the conservative intelligentsia probably to suck it up and realize they’re stuck with the joke, the dope, and the fraud.

    For one thing, there’s no one else. There are handful of folks still weighing their options — Palin, Pataki, Giuliani — but none is going to be the breakthrough candidate the elite have been waiting for. For another, this should be a reminder to Kristol, Krauthammer, & Co. that the Republican Party’s bench is painfully weak when it comes to candidates who can speak in complete sentences and at least give the appearance of caring about public policy.

    But it’s also worth emphasizing that these folks also need to realize that they’re not chiefly responsible for choosing their party’s nominee; the GOP’s radicalized base is. There’s ample evidence that base isn’t looking for substance; these voters care about red meat and emotional satisfaction. Indeed, the disconnect matters — Krauthammer told Politico the party shouldn’t nominate a candidate who believes creationism “is the equivalent of evolution,” but the overwhelming majority of Iowa Republican caucusgoers are convinced creationism is superior to science.

    Given all of this, when the conservative elite look at the Republican field and ask, “Is this the best we can do?” it’s time they realize the answer is, “Apparently, yes.”

  17. rikyrah says:

    First family takes in Vineyard bike ride

    August 23, 2011Under sunny skies, the First Family this morning rode bikes in Manuel F. Correllus State Forest near the Martha’s Vineyard Airport.

    The presidential motorcade left the family’s Blue Heron Farm vacation estate at 10:16 this morning. The family also biked in the state forest during last year’s vacation.

    Reporters saw Michelle Obama and daughter Sasha, both wearing white T-shirts, as they rode near them on the bike trail, according to dispatches from reporters covering the president. Then President Barack Obama and daughter Malia – he dressed in black polo shirt and a pair of dark jeans, she in purple shorts and a pink top – rode by.

    Obama greeted reporters and about two dozen spectators with a quick “Hello everybody.”

    “Any word on Qadhafi’s whereabouts?” yelled the Associated Press’ Mark Smith, but the president did not respond.

    The first family was joined on the bike path by some heavy-duty security not typically found on bike paths on the Cape and Islands.

    Shortly before Michelle and Sasha Obama arrived, two trucks carrying Secret Service agents rode along the same narrow path usually reserved for bikers and walkers, pool reporter Carrie Budoff Brown of Politico wrote in her press pool dispatch this morning.

    A rolling caravan of agents and staff followed on bikes ahead of the president and Malia, who were then followed by several more SUVs full of agent, she wrote.

    “Can you imagine living like that?” one female biker asked her fellow onlookers.

    Just before noon, the bike ride ended and the presidential motorcade was again on the road. After a quick stop back at Blue Heron Farm, the Obamas departed their vacation home at 11:48 a.m. and arrived 10 minutes later at a private beach in the Pohoganot Road area of Edgartown.

    This is the same beach the Obamas visited Sunday, spending about three hours there.

  18. rikyrah says:

    August 23, 2011 12:30 PM

    Rick Perry and ‘The 5,000 Year Leap’

    By Steve Benen

    Facebook Twitter Digg Reddit StumbleUpon Delicious

    There’s been a fair amount of interest lately in the book Rick Perry wrote less than a year ago. There’s good reason for this — the Texas governor’s book helps make clear just how radical Perry’s political worldview really is.

    But it’s also worth paying attention to what Perry reads, as well as what he writes.

    Two years ago, the Republican candidate traveled to a major religious right gathering in D.C. and told attendees what was on his reading list.

    Lately,” said Perry, “I’ve found myself going back to a book that’s titled ‘The 5,000 Year Leap.’”

    There were head nods and noises of approval from many members of the audience. That book, written by the late ultra-conservative scholar-cum-conspiracy theorists Cleon Skousen, had been rescued from 28 years of obscurity by Glenn Beck. Perry gave an accurate summary of its content, telling the audiences that Skousen “shares his views of the foundational elements of our nation, placing a special emphasis in faith in God — I think undeniably a source of America’s remarkable success. He asserts that natural law, God’s law, is the basis of our nation’s laws.”

    I suspect that Skousen’s name isn’t familiar to most Americans, but his work has captured the imaginations of some prominent right-wing voices in recent years. That Perry reads, espouses, and apparently agrees with Skousen’s work should matter to voters and the larger political world.

    Alexander Zaitchick explained that Skousen “was too extreme even for the conservative activists of the Goldwater era.”

    “Leap” argues that the U.S. Constitution is a godly document above all else, based on natural law, and owes more to the Old and New Testaments than to the secular and radical spirit of the Enlightenment. It lists 28 fundamental beliefs — based on the sayings and writings of Moses, Jesus, Cicero, John Locke, Montesquieu and Adam Smith — that Skousen says have resulted in more God-directed progress than was achieved in the previous 5,000 years of every other civilization combined. The book reads exactly like what it was until Glenn Beck dragged it out of Mormon obscurity: a textbook full of aggressively selective quotations intended for conservative religious schools.

    Skousen, a fringe activist considered dangerous by the FBI, was a leading defender of the John Birch Society, and believed America was “being plunged into socialist tyranny by the Eisenhower administration.” Even the National Review referred to him as an “all-around nutjob.”

    If Skousen and his book sound rather nutty, that’s certainly a fair assessment. But remember, Rick Perry not only reads Skousen, he boasts publicly about it, and apparently agrees with the conspiracy theorist’s “views.”

    Maybe some enterprising campaign reporter can ask Perry if he still impressed with Skousen’s work.

  19. Ametia says:

    News Alert: Libyan rebels say they have captured Gaddafi’s compound
    August 23, 2011 12:46:52 PM

    Libyan rebels stormed the main Tripoli stronghold of Moammar Gaddafi on Tuesday and claimed to have captured it after fighting pitched battles with loyalist forces in various parts of the capital.

    For more information, visit

  20. dannie22 says:

    Good afternoon all!!! Hope everyone’s day is going well

    • Ametia says:

      Hi Dannie. We’e doing ok. did you hear about SouthernGirl? Her house burned down 8/12. She lost everything but the clothes on her back and a cell phone. No one was injured. thank God!

      • dannie22 says:

        No I did not hear about that!! Im sorry to hear that. God is good cause he kept her and her family from harm. I’ll pray for her

        • Ametia says:

          Thank you, Dannie. She and her sister escaped unharmed. Her grandkids left half hour before the fire. God is indeed good. I will tell her you are lifting her and her family up in prayer.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 23, 2011 9:25 AM

    ‘The great milestone on the road to serfdom’

    By Steve Benen

    In recent years, conservative Republicans have become surprisingly aggressive in shaping an agenda to change the U.S. Constitution. In 2010, we heard from a variety of far-right candidates, many of whom won, who talked about scrapping the 17th Amendment, getting rid of at least one part of the 14th Amendment, “restoring” the “original” 13th Amendment, and proposing dozens of new amendments.

    And then there’s the 16th Amendment, ratified in 1913, which made the federal income tax possible. This, too, is high on the far-right list of targets, and has drawn the ire of a certain Texas governor. Greg Sargent had a good piece on this yesterday

    If I were one of the reporters covering Rick Perry’s campaign travels, I’d try to make some news by asking: Do you still stand by your proposal in your book to repeal the 16th Amendment and replace the income tax with an alternative tax system? Do you still believe your book’s claim that 16th Amendment is “the great milestone on the road to serfdom?” […]

    Perry clearly states [in his book] that “we should restrict the unlimited source of revenue that the federal government has used to grow beyond its constitutionally prescribed powers.” How? Here’s what Perry suggests, in addition to scrapping the current tax code:

    “Another option would be to repeal the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution (providing the power for the income tax) altogether, and then pursue an alternative model of taxation such as a national sales tax or the Fair Tax.”

    The Perry campaign apparently doesn’t want to talk to Greg about this, and the candidate who allegedly never backs down suddenly no longer stands behind the book he published just nine months ago.

    But the Republican presidential candidate can’t avoid these questions indefinitely — or at least, shouldn’t be allowed to by reporters covering his campaign. Indeed, the problem isn’t just Perry’s willingness to scrap the 16th Amendment, it’s also the policy radicalism behind his preferred alternative. As Brian Beutler explained this morning, the so-called “Fair Tax” plan would impose a regressive national sales tax that would necessarily “slash revenues by hundreds of billions of dollars.” Which is, of course, the point — Perry believes most of the federal government is unconstitutional and wants to see it eliminated.

    David Savage has more along these lines today, outlining Perry’s constitutional worldview, which casts doubt on the legality of everything from Social Security to the minimum wage to child-labor laws.

  22. rikyrah says:

    August 23, 2011 10:40 AM

    What ‘every economist’ thinks

    By Steve Benen

    Any chance the debt-reduction “super committee” will consider measures to create jobs? No, House Speaker John Boehner’s office said yesterday.

    The response: Deficit reduction will spur job creation and, therefore, the supercommittee does not need to take on an additional mission.

    “As every economist and every rating agency has made clear, getting our deficit under control is the first step to help get our economy growing again and to create jobs,” said Michael Steel, spokesman for Boehner.

    Now, Steel’s assessment is almost comically ridiculous, but it’s a lie that’s ridiculous in important ways. As Jamison Foser explained, the line from Boehner’s office is “almost perfect in its wrongness. Not only because the very idea of “every economist” agreeing on the color of the sky, much less the best way to cause the economy to grow, is laugh-out-loud funny, but because of the widespread belief among economists that Steel’s formula is exactly backwards — that, in fact, the best way to get the deficit under control is to create jobs and fix the economy.”

    I especially liked Steel’s line about rating agencies, since S&P blamed Republicans for the downgrade, in part because — you guessed it — Republicans won’t consider new revenue.

    But if the Speaker’s office is sincerely interested in what “every economist” thinks, I’d recommend Boehner and his aides read this recent piece on the scope of the opposition to the Republican economic agenda.

    The boasts of Congressional Republicans about their cost-cutting victories are ringing hollow to some well-known economists, financial analysts and corporate leaders, including some Republicans, who are expressing increasing alarm over Washington’s new austerity and antitax orthodoxy.

    Their critiques have grown sharper since last week, when President Obama signed his deficit reduction deal with Republicans and, a few days later, when Standard & Poor’s downgraded the credit rating of the United States.

    But even before that, macroeconomists and private sector forecasters were warning that the direction in which the new House Republican majority had pushed the White House and Congress this year — for immediate spending cuts, no further stimulus measures and no tax increases, ever — was wrong for addressing the nation’s two main ills, a weak economy now and projections of unsustainably high federal debt in coming years.

    Instead, these critics say, Washington should be focusing on stimulating the economy in the near term to induce people to spend money and create jobs, while settling on a long-term plan for spending cuts and tax increases to take effect only after the economy recovers.

    But Republicans in Congress and on the presidential campaign trail refuse to back down.

    If the “every economist” line from Boehner’s office isn’t nominated for Lie of the Year, I’ll be very disappointed.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Perry Backs Radical National Sales Tax Plan To Starve Federal Government
    Rick Perry’s recent political manifesto Fed Up doesn’t just hint that Social Security should be privatized. It also advocates for a farther-reaching overhaul of the tax code than most conservatives support.

    Perry says that government’s access to new sources of revenue should be fundamentally limited — either self-imposed by Congress, or by the Constitution itself. “One option would be to totally scrap the current tax code in favor of a flat tax, and thereby make taxation much simpler, easier to follow, and harder to manipulate,” Perry writes.

    Another option would be to repeal the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution (providing the power for the income tax) altogether, and then pursue an alternative model of taxation such as a national sales tax or the Fair Tax. The time has come to stop talking about fixing the broken and burdensome tax code and to take bold action to replace it with one that is not a burden for the taxpayer and that provides only the modest revenue needed to perform the basic constitutional functions of the federal government.”

    Most Republicans advocate for flattening and simplifying the code. Few call for a single-rate income tax.

    But the Fair Tax is a zombie policy that refuses to die in some quarters of the right. It was advocated most famously and persistently by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

    A Perry spokesman did not return a request for comment on whether Perry had a substantive or political preference for either policy. Fair Tax is a version of a national retail sales tax of 30 percent, though using sleight-of-hand its supporters claim the rate would be 23 percent. If implemented as envisioned it would eliminate individual and corporate federal income taxes, the estate tax, and the payroll tax.

    National sales taxes are highly regressive, so the Fair Tax compensates by tracking monthly household income and disbursing partial rebate checks to the poor and middle class. On paper, it takes in about as much revenue as the federal government does now, but that’s because it doesn’t subtract this rebate or other associated expenditures from that figure. For instance, as Bruce Bartlett once explained, the Fair Tax applies to government purchases — in other words, it juices revenue figures by making the government pay a 30 percent surtax on all of its purchases. That higher spending isn’t factored in to the Fair Tax.

    At 60 percent it might work. At 30 percent (or 23 percent, to grant advocates their premise) it would slash revenues by hundreds of billions of dollars.

    But for Perry, that’s the point — it’s what he means when he writes about “the basic constitutional functions of the federal government.” He envisions a federal government that’s highly circumscribed. The book is a root-and-branch critique of post-New Deal America, from which Perry calls for a “renaissance” — to a government that eschews direct services like Medicare and Social Security (programs he says are Constitutionally dubious) and provides mainly for the national defense.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Linger on your pale blue eyes
    by Big Baby DougJ

    “Conservative intellectuals” are very sad that Paul Ryan isn’t running for president:

    The 41-year-old House Budget Committee chairman wasn’t just the right’s beau ideal because he authored the “Roadmap,” the controversial entitlement and spending reform plan — it’s also because his political roots are in the think tank world. Ryan worked for Jack Kemp and William Bennett at Empower America as a 20-something and even now he’s closer to conservative thinkers than he is to the typical GOP lobbyists and strategists that surround ambitious pols.

    “They made Paul Ryan into a heartthrob,” said National Review senior editor Ramesh Ponnuru of his fellow right-leaning thinkers.

    And he seemed a man for a wonky moment.

    “It’s in some ways [the current field is] less satisfying because this is a particularly policy-heavy moment and the most wonky of the wonky issues are front and center,” said Yuval Levin, the Hertog Fellow at the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center. “We feel the absence of policy intellectuals more.”

    I feel very relieved that there aren’t any “conservative intellectuals” running for president. “Conservative intellectuals” dreamed up supply-side economics and neoconservatism and vouchercare. They held a dim-witted frat boy on a tight leash from 2001-2005, but praise-be-to-Bieber, they weren’t able to talk him into invading Iran during his second term. As bad as things were under Bush, they would have been that much worse under a president Bolton or Wolfowitz.

    Michele Bachmann didn’t scare me that much until she started talking about von Mises.

  25. rikyrah says:

    A Dope, a Joke, and a Fraud
    by BooMan
    Tue Aug 23rd, 2011 at 10:48:54 AM EST

    It’s simultaneously hilarious, depressing, and frightening to read this Politico piece by Jonathan Martin and Ben Stein. I found myself resisting the predicate of the whole piece, which is that there is an actual conservative intelligentsia. Let’s consider the intellectuals who are quoted in the piece: William Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, the Wall Street Jounal editorial board, Yuval Levin, Ross Douthat, Danielle Pletka, and Ramesh Ponnuru. These people are well-educated, I guess, and they know how to write. But they occupy a narrow intellectual spectrum spanning from diabolically well-paid liars to the terminally obtuse. The idea that Ramesh Ponnuru is serious about policy is risible. The idea that Kristol and Krauthammer are wonks is impossible to accept. You might as well tell me that James Carville, Paul Begala, and Terry McAuliffe are intellectuals.
    The truth, at best, is that this list of prominent Beltway conservatives is looking to support someone who is serious about policy. Carville, Begala, and McAuliffe saw in Bill Clinton someone who had the intellectual chops to be a good president, but that didn’t make them, by themselves, intellectuals. They were political operatives.

    True wonkinshness on the right seems to be extinct. Why would a young thoughtful person get into the business of thinking about policy when the Republicans have no interest in changing things through reforms, but only through repeals? How long does it take to think of the right way to devolve Social Security and Medicare to the states, or to privatize some other function of government? If you don’t want the federal government to do anything, then why even have a wonk-shop? All your aims can only be achieved through the acquisition of more power, or through the steady destruction of the treasury until your opponents are compelled to go along with your budget cuts.

    For Republicans, the only domestic priorities emanating from the executive branch are to keep deficits high (and revenues low) and to continue to work on taking over the judiciary. There are no conservatives thinking about how to better serve the Native American community or how to improve the Veteran’s Health Administration. They’re thinking about how to gain access to mineral wealth, or how to game the financial sector.

    Part of their solution over the past thirty years has been to cultivate the yahoos and religious freaks by pandering to their cultural conservatism and their propensity to fear and hate intellectuals. So, now they have the following dilemma:

    rom the Weekly Standard to the Wall Street Journal, on the pages of policy periodicals and opinion sections, the egghead right’s longing for a presidential candidate of ideas — first Mitch Daniels, then Paul Ryan – has been endless, intense, and unrequited.
    Profoundly dissatisfied with the current field, that dull ache may only grow more acute after Ryan’s decision Monday to take himself out of the running.

    The problem, in shorthand: To many conservative elites, Rick Perry is a dope, Michele Bachmann is a joke, and Mitt Romney is a fraud.

    They don’t publicly express their judgments in such harsh terms but the low regard is obvious: The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board, the bible of conservative intellectual orthodoxy, pretty much excommunicated Romney from the movement in May for his health care sins. Then, last week, the editorial board suggested that Bachmann and Perry couldn’t be elected, and that “now would be the time” for “someone still off the field to step up.”

    The editorial spoke, as it said, for “desperate” voters — but they could have been talking about themselves.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 23, 2011 11:25 AM

    Romney steps on his own message

    By Steve Benen

    Following up on an item from the weekend, there are clearly more important political stories that Mitt Romney’s many luxurious homes, but I can appreciate why this continues to generate some attention.

    Mitt Romney has never claimed to be a middle-class man of the people.

    But the news that he is planning to quadruple the size of his $12 million oceanfront property in the La Jolla section of San Diego, first reported by The San Diego Union-Tribune on Saturday evening, came at a particularly awkward time. Mr. Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, had spent much of the previous week on the campaign trail criticizing President Obama for vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard when many Americans are still out of work.

    The Union-Tribune’s Christopher Cadelago reported that Mr. Romney, who was expected to attend several fund-raisers in San Diego this weekend, recently filed an application to bulldoze his 3,009-square-foot, three-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bathroom home and replace it with an 11,062-square-foot, two-story residence.

    Romney made an enormous amount of money breaking up companies and laying off thousands of American workers, so it stands to reason that he’ll have the resources to purchase a luxurious residence (or in his case, several). I don’t begrudge him for doing so. Indeed, the fact that Romney is investing heavily in a home renovation project should probably be encouraged — it’s good for the economy.

    But there is a political context to all of this. In effect, Romney is arguing, “The president is out of touch with the public’s needs during these difficult economic times. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go look at the plans to quadruple the size of beach-front mansion in Southern California, before I leave for some Martha’s Vineyard fundraisers. Oh, and did you hear my joke about being unemployed?”

    It’s all kind of … what’s the word … weird.

    In case anyone’s curious, in addition to the $12 million oceanfront residence, Romney also has a $10 million home in New Hampshire and a townhouse in Belmont, Mass. There’s also the nearby mansion, where one of Romney’s sons lives, and where Romney was registered to vote as recently as last year.

    There was also the $5 million ski-house in an exclusive area in Utah, but he sold it last year.

  27. opulent says:


    “When a president goes ‘on vacation,’ here’s what happens: 1) He or she is spared the ceremonial parts of the job: the state dinners, the meetings with the girl who sold the most Girl Scout cookies that year, that kind of thing; 2) The other members of the first family are liberated from living inside the White House, aptly described by Harry Truman as ‘the crown jewel of the federal prison system.'”

  28. Ametia says:

    The FOX News Mainstream Media Hypocrisy
    August 23, 2011
    By Hrafnkell Haraldsson

    Sean Hannity is among a multitude of conservatives upset about the way Rick Perry is supposedly being treated by the “mainstream media” (aka liberal media elite) even though the mainstream media isn’t treating Perry very harshly at all. In fact, the mainstream media has for the most part declined to mention Perry’s involvement with Christian dominionists. Completely absent is any mention of their presence at The Response on August 6, instead treating him like a main-stream candidate who will appeal to mainstream voters.

    VIDEO ; This was Hannity a few days ago:

  29. rikyrah says:

    August 23, 2011
    One would think these grapes would be so sour they’d choke on them. But it ain’t the case. Aside from — but sitting with — the Senate twins, here, in the National Review, is the laughable Elliott Abrams:

    Had the White House acted sooner and more resolutely Qaddafi could have been brought down sooner, and with fewer Libyan deaths. Moreover, the lingering damage to NATO could have been avoided.

    Hence the necessary invention of the word, “gobsmacking.”

  30. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 23, 2011 8:35 AM

    Understanding the politics of the debt

    By Steve Benen

    CBS News went to some effort yesterday to promote this piece from CBS White House correspondent Mark Knoller: “National debt has increased $4 trillion under Obama.” That’s a shame; the piece is woefully devoid of context and meaningful details.

    The latest posting by the Treasury Department shows the national debt has now increased $4 trillion on President Obama’s watch.

    The debt was $10.626 trillion on the day Mr. Obama took office. The latest calculation from Treasury shows the debt has now hit $14.639 trillion.

    It’s the most rapid increase in the debt under any U.S. president.

    When adjusted for inflation, and when looking at the deficit as a percentage of the larger economy, that’s not quite right.

    But, really, that’s just the start of the problem with Knoller’s analysis. The piece doesn’t mention, for example, that the debt increase “on President Obama’s watch” includes a $1.3 trillion deficit that was sitting on his desk the day he took office, left there by Bush/Cheney.

    Knoller tells readers that the White House “blames policies inherited from his predecessor’s administration for the soaring debt,” but doesn’t tell readers whether the White House’s claims are true or false — Knoller just passes them along without any scrutiny or context.

    In this case, when the White House blames policies Obama inherited, the White House happens to be telling the truth. Information from an image like this one offers a more complete picture for the public:

    For that matter, it also matters which administration’s policies are driving the debt. Here’s another image that provides context Knoller’s piece did not.

    And even after we take all of these facts under consideration, there’s another angle that often goes overlooked: must this additional debt necessarily be deemed a bad thing?

    Looking back over the last several years, we can say definitively that Republicans were entirely responsible for the nation’s fiscal mess. But given the larger circumstances, we can also say with confidence that it makes a lot of sense for the Obama administration to run large deficits: he inherited a brutal recession that required expensive federal intervention and led to low revenues, as well as two ongoing foreign wars, which his predecessor never even tried to pay for. Of course the president is running large deficits; trying to eliminate them now would make an economic catastrophe even worse.

    Knoller’s piece doesn’t provide any of this information. It’s a bit of a mess.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Peaked? Polling Shows Bachmann Support Withering After Perry’s Debut
    Evan McMorris-Santoro & Kyle Leighton | August 23, 2011, 6:30AM

    There have been several chapters in the still-extremely-early 2012 presidential race. There was the time that Newt Gingrich’s smarts and policy chops was going to shake up the contest. That ended. There was the time Herman Cain’s business acumen and tea party ties were going to be a real factor in the race. That didn’t work out. Then, of course, there was Donald Trump. Remember him?

    Now, it appears, Michele Bachmann’s moment has come and gone.

    When Bachmann jumped in the presidential fight, more than a few pundits predicted she had a real shot at the nomination thanks to their view of a Republican Party more likely to pull another Christine O’Donnell next year than pick a real threat to President Obama.

    Those pundits may still prove prescient, but the numbers show it’s becoming less and less likely. The reason? Texas Gov. Rick Perry. His entrance into the race — and his brand of tea party friendly politics and executive experience — seems to be Bachmann’s problem.

    Polls have shown a sharp decline for Bachmann, despite being the frontrunner in the Ames Straw Poll and eventually winning it. And the one major reason is the entrance of Perry. Nationally, Bachmann’s presence is being displaced by Perry, who jumped ahead of the field in the latest Rasmussen survey, the first choice of nearly a third of respondents, with Bachmann only registering 13 percent.

    Even Iowa, absolutely essential to her campaign, is turning sour. In a We Ask America poll conducted on August 16, Perry registered 29 percent, with Bachmann in second with 17 percent. In a PPP poll that will be released later today, Bachmann comes in third in a GOP Primary trial heat, her unfavorability numbers having jumped nearly twenty points from a previous PPP survey in June.

    There may be more to it than polling. On the ground in South Carolina last week, more than one unaffiliated professional Republican said that Bachmann’s crowds were still of the more extreme activist variety, leaving her with a narrow slice of the primary electorate. Bachmann’s pitching a relatively extreme message on the trail as well, despite the Ames win that raised her profile beyond the tea party where her popularity is never in doubt.

    Perry, on the other hand, is actively rounding over his sharper policy edges, allowing him to still exist in the tea party sphere while leveraging his office for maximum electability.

    Bachmann, on the other hand, is still talking about shutting down the Department of Education and standing by her refusal to vote for an increase in the debt ceiling under any circumstances (not to mention her social views, which she mentions often.) That definitely makes some in the GOP very happy, but it also makes her a tougher sell to Republicans hoping for a candidate with a reasonable shot at the White House in 2012.

    Try as she might — and impressive as her campaign has been so far — Bachmann has not been able to shake off her reputation as an extremist who says silly things. When she was the fresh and new alternative to Mitt Romney, those problems seemed to be less important. But now that she’s running alongside two former governors with big national bases, the issues she came into the campaign with seem to be pushing her back onto the sidelines.

  32. Pingback: Libya – How Come the GOP Doesn’t Include the PRESIDENT When Discussing It? - Jack & Jill Politics

  33. Ametia says:

    The GOP is fed up with its choices
    By Eugene Robinson, Published: August 22
    In theory, Democrats should be nervous about Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s decision to enter the presidential race. In practice, though, it’s Republicans who have zoomed up the anxiety ladder into freak-out mode.

    To clarify, not all Republicans are reaching for the Xanax, just those who believe the party has to appeal to centrist independents if it hopes to defeat President Obama next year. Also, those who believe that calling Social Security “ an illegal Ponzi scheme ” and suggesting that Medicare is unconstitutional might not be the best way to win the votes of senior citizens.

    These and other wild-eyed views are set out in Perry’s book “Fed Up!” His campaign has already begun trying to distance the governor from his words, with communications director Ray Sullivan saying last week that the book “is a look back, not a path forward” — that “Fed Up!” was intended “as a review and critique of 50 years of federal excesses, not in any way as a 2012 campaign blueprint or manifesto.”

    One problem with this attempted explanation is that the book was published way back in . . . the fall of 2010. It’s reasonable to assume that if Perry held a bunch of radical, loony views less than a year ago, he holds them today.

  34. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

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