Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread

Enjoy your day, Everyone!

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56 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread

  1. Hello everyone!

    I want to thank everyone for your thoughts, prayers, words of encouragement, love and donations during my major crisis. Much love to my darling friends Ametia, RIkyrah, Myth and my 3chics family for your love and support. Ametia, your a very precious gift from God! I am so lucky that God allowed our paths to cross. The same for Myth and Rikyrah as well! I am so grateful to Aquagranny and CC, Dorothy, Dannie, GGail, Majii and others for helping out Ametia while I pull my life together! Thank you guys from the bottom of my heart! RIkyrah, I cannot begin to tell you what a joy it was to hear your sweet voice on my voice mail! RIkyrah has the most soft spoken voice ever! It brings tears to my eyes speaking about the outpouring of love from you wonderful people! I am so lucky to have met you all! It will be awhile before I can get things back on track. To my darling, CC…I am still reminding myself, behind every dark cloud is sunshine! Much love to Ametia and her wonderful husband! I am going to leave you guys with this….The scripture says when you find a friend, you have found a good thing! SG2 have found a good thing! I am so lucky!

  2. Ametia says:

    Prof. Melissa Harris Perry is breaking it ALL.THE.WAY.DOWN on the CBC and PBO.

  3. Ametia says:

    . NEWS
    AUGUST 30, 2011, 7:33 P.M. ET.Government Could Create a Million Jobs, Obama Says


    Separately, Mr. Obama on Wednesday in the Rose Garden will call on Congress to pass an extension of a road-construction bill, according to a White House official. Funding for the road construction bill ends in September and Mr. Obama has said it must be a top priority of Congress because it will protect tens of thousands of jobs.

    The president will also call on Congress to extend funding for aviation projects. A fight over aviation spending this summer led to a partial idled airport construction and left thousands of workers without jobs temporarily. Funding for aviation projects also expires in September.

    The president will be joined in the Rose Garden by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Chief Operation Officer David Chavern and workers who would be affected if Congress doesn’t act, a White House official said.

  4. Ametia says:

    Ouch! Lawrence O’Donnell is fuming with disgust for Rudy Gullianni and his 911 farce.

  5. Ametia says:

    Posted at 04:54 PM ET, 08/30/2011
    Why Obama really should make Fed recess appointments
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    The notes on the most recent Federal Reserve meeting make it sound quite contentious, with a wide range of opinions ranging from finding new and creative ways to boost economic growth to doubling down on fighting inflation, according to Catherine Rampell’s reporting.

    Two obvious questions.

    What would it have done for the discussion to add two voices in favor of growth to fill the two empty chairs around the table – especially if one had the stature that goes with a Nobel Prize in economics.

    And: the Fed seems to be sending every possible signal that the upcoming meeting in September is going to be an important one. Wouldn’t it be a good idea for Barack Obama to fill those empty chairs right now, using recess appointments (and, yes, he almost certainly can), before the Senate return

    I’m not an expert Fed watcher, and I really couldn’t tell you how much of a difference two growth advocates would actually make. But I can say that the Fed’s decisions at their next meeting are probably more important for the economy, and more important for Barack Obama’s political health, than whatever he winds up saying in his big jobs speech next week – and there’s every possibility that monetary policy is going to be more important than whatever actions come out of Obama’s jobs initiatives, putting aside the rhetoric. My guess is that efforts to affect the content of the speech are misdirected; anyone who believes that economic growth should be the priority should be focused on pushing Obama to fill those empty seats

  6. rikyrah says:

    Yeah, We Hate Dick Cheney

    by BooMan
    Tue Aug 30th, 2011 at 02:19:53 PM EST

    Conor Friedersdorf does a great job of explaining why Americans loathe Dick Cheney. He touches all the obvious bases: the lies about Saddam, al-Qaeda, and WMD, Gitmo and indefinite detention, warrantless surveillance, authorizing torture, corrupt and unethical business practices, his theory of the Unitary Executive, and his treasonous relationship with Iranian-agent Ahmed Chalabi. Those are all good reasons to hate Dick Cheney, but it only really scratches the surface.

    Dick Cheney might be the most aggressive politician this country has seen since Lyndon Johnson. That’s irritating in itself, but Cheney is wrong about every single issue facing the country. His record is as bad as any politician I have ever seen. It doesn’t matter that he lies as easily as he breathes, because even his lies only serve misguided goals. No human being in my lifetime has been as aggressively and consequentially wrong as Dick Cheney.

    It’s this unmitigated track-record of non-stop failure that is the true cause of Cheney’s poor standing with the public. Even Bush eventually realized that he needed to stop following Cheney’s advice. The moment Dick’s ally Donald Rumsfeld was replaced by Robert Gates, everything began to improve in our foreign affairs and relations. In retrospect, the change represented the sidelining of Cheney and his neo-con confederates in favor of the realist school of Bush’s father. This didn’t prevent Bush from leaving a smoldering husk of a country to his successor, but it could definitely have been worse if Cheney’s influence had persisted.

    Cheney lacks charm or warmth or any real sense of humor. He was willing to let his good friend and top assistant, Scooter Libby, go to prison for a crime he himself committed. Even his reputation for loyalty to Bush has been shattered by his new book, which makes Bush look bad on several occasions.

    About the only thing there is to like about Cheney is his sheer aggression, if you’re into that kind of thing.

    I think his contempt for the rule of law and the truth and the people far exceeds anything ever displayed by Richard Nixon. And Nixon was an able and competent president in both foreign and domestic affairs. Cheney was anything but able and competent.

  7. Ametia says:

    Bob Herbert used to write for the NYT. He just spent about 10 minutes on PolitcalNaiton with Rev. Al, claiming PBO’s base; AFRICAN AMERICANS are “unhappy.” Young supporters are unhappy, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!!!!

    This is not what I’vve seen or heard from Black folks and young folks that I know


  8. rikyrah says:

    August 30, 2011 4:45 PM It’s amazing Ginsburg is even on the bench

    By Steve Benen
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    Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg believes her nomination would probably be defeated if it came up today. She’s correct.

    Ginsburg said that to practice for her Senate confirmation hearings, White House staffers in mock hearings grilled her on her work for the ACLU. During those mock hearings she told them: “There’s nothing you can do to get me to bad mouth the ACLU.”

    Such grilling, though, did not happen, she said. She was confirmed 96-3.

    “Today, my ACLU connection would probably disqualify me,” she said.

    Ginsburg was the former director of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, which would seem to make her a left-wing radical in the eyes of the Republican Party.

    And yet, in 1993, Ginsburg was confirmed by the Senate on a 96-to-3 vote. That’s not a typo; here’s the roll call. Note that plenty of Republican senators whose names will sound familiar — Chuck Grassley, Kay Bailey Hutchison, John McCain, Mitch McConnell — all voted for her nomination. (Then note that in 2010, Elena Kagan confirmed on a 63-to-37 vote — and Grassley, Hutchison, McCain, and McConnell all voted against her.)

    Indeed, let’s also not forget the historical context. In 1993, then-President Clinton reached out to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a leading senator on the Judiciary Committee, even though Republicans were in the minority. Clinton solicited suggested nominees for a Supreme Court vacancy, and Hatch recommended Ginsburg. Clinton agreed and Ginsburg sailed through.

    This isn’t ancient history; it was just 18 years ago. The radicalization of Republican politics in the years since has been so successful, the scenario itself seems vaguely surreal, if not completely bizarre. I mean, really — a Republican senator, considered conservative by most standards, recommended a Democratic president nominate a liberal ACLU veteran for the Supreme Court? And nearly every Senate Republican went along with this, without any controversy?

    In 2011, if President Obama even considered the former director of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project for a Supreme Court vacancy, Republicans would be apoplectic and many Senate Democrats would likely balk, fearing voter backlash.

    The political center of gravity has moved rather dramatically in a very short period of time.

  9. Ametia says:

    Daryl Hannah Arrested at White House
    Tuesday, Aug 30, 2011 | Updated 2:29 PM EDT

    Much-arrested Hollywood actress Daryl Hannah was taken away from the White House in restraints Tuesday afternoon.

    Hannah was taking part in an ongoing protest against the unbuilt Keystone XL oil pipeline.

    “Sometimes it’s necessary to sacrifice your freedom for a greater freedom,” Hannah said in Lafayette Park before her arrest. “And we want to be free from the horrible death and destruction that fossil fuels cause, and have a clean energy future.”

    With dozens of others, Hannah sat on the sidewalk in front of the White House and refused three requests from the Park Police to move.

    The group organizing the protest, Tar Sands Action, has said the Keystone pipeline — which will stretch from Canada to the Gulf — is among the most important environmental decisions that confront the president.

  10. rikyrah says:

    August 30, 2011 3:25 PM

    The facts behind the ‘blame game’

    By Steve Benen

    Chris Cillizza believes President Obama played the “Bush Blame Game” this morning.

    In an interview with radio host Tom Joyner on Tuesday morning, President Obama engaged in a bit of blame-game politics.

    Asked by Joyner about the current struggling state of the economy, Obama replied: “George Bush left us a $1 trillion deficit, and so it’s a lot harder to climb out of this hole when we don’t have a lot of money in the federal coffers.”

    The “blame Bush” strategy is one that continues to have somewhat surprising political legs — even two and a half years after the Republican president left the political stage.

    That last point is entirely accurate. There are several national polls that have been released in recent months showing that many — and in some cases, most — Americans hold the failed former president responsible for the national economic and fiscal ills.

    But what’s troubling about reports like Cillizza’s is that they neglect to mention the relevant details — namely, that what Obama said is correct. The president’s comments on the radio this morning may or may not have been part of a “blame Bush strategy”; I can’t say. But I can say that the president’s comments were true.

    Indeed, if anything, Obama understated the case. Bush didn’t leave Obama with a $1 trillion deficit; he left the president with a $1.3 trillion deficit. Bush’s legacy is worse than Obama suggested.

    What I’ve never been able to wrap my head around is how the president is supposed to answer questions like these in a way that will satisfy elements of the media establishment. If Obama is asked about cleaning up the budget mess, and he mentions that he’s not the one who created the mess in the first place, some media figures pounce — there he goes again, blaming Bush.

    But if Bush deserves the blame, and the criticism is accurate, why exactly should Obama be reluctant to say so?

    “George Bush left us a $1 trillion deficit, and so it’s a lot harder to climb out of this hole when we don’t have a lot of money in the federal coffers.”

    Does it not matter that Obama was telling the truth, or does meta-analysis about strategy automatically trump the facts?

    • Ametia says:

      Chris “the LIZARD can go play in heavy traffic with the world’s largest scissors.

      It’s ok to blame PBO for everything to seagulls dropping shit on my head as I stroll along the Jersey boardwalk. These folks won’t tell the complete story, and put things into context. Nope just blame the black guy for everything 24/7.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Rick Perry’s Jeremiah Wright: White People Gave Black People Rights; Civil Rights Leaders Deserve No Credit
    by ABL

    When my head stops exploding, I’ll let you know.

    Rick Perry planned to skip last weekend’s celebration and unveiling of the new MLK memorial in Washington, D.C. (No surprise there.)

    Instead, Perry headed to Fredericksburg, Texas to attend a “call to action” retreat/fundraiser, where he was slated to hobknob with religious nutbag and self-styled historian David Barton.

    From Joy-Ann Reid at The Grio:

    Barton was among a group of Texas conservatives who in 2010 sought to revise that state’s textbooks to promote their view that the notion of a constitutional separation of church and state is a myth, and that students should be taught a version of American history that blends theology with themes of a constant clash of civilizations between Christians and Muslims.

    According to a Washington Monthly article in January 2010, Barton, the former head of the Texas Republican Party, and Peter Marshall, who the article described as “a Massachusetts-based preacher who has argued that California wildfires and Hurricane Katrina were God’s punishment for tolerating gays,” had even more ideas in mind when they testified before the Texas Education Assembly. Per the Washington Monthly:

    Barton and Peter Marshall initially tried to purge the standards of key figures of the civil rights era, such as César Chávez and Thurgood Marshall, though they were forced to back down amid a deafening public uproar. They have since resorted to a more subtle tack; while they concede that people like Martin Luther King Jr. deserve a place in history, they argue that they shouldn’t be given credit for advancing the rights of minorities.

    As Barton put it, “Only majorities can expand political rights in America’s constitutional society.” Ergo, any rights people of color have were handed to them by whites—in his view, mostly white Republican men.

    I watched Joy Reid make an excellent point on Al Sharpton’s show, and that is (in my words): If right-wing nutbags are going to keep pounding the Jeremiah Wright/”Goddamn America!” drum (and you know they will, even though they can’t explain how Barack Obama is simultaneously a secret Muslim and an America-hating Christian), then Democrats need to make sure that Rick Perry is held accountable for the racist and utterly absurd views of his BFF, David Barton.

    This is your Republican party, people.

    Drink it in. Let the crazy wash over you.

    My head is still exploding.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Monday, August 29, 2011, 7:18 am

    How Deep is Your Love?
    We all have plans, schedules and agendas, and our ego – the human side of us – makes us think sometimes that what WE have to do takes precedence over everything else.

    For the past month, my mind has been on two main issues: The MLK Memorial and march led by Rev. Al, and what I could do to get black leadership on the same page regarding re-electing President Obama. The latter issue consumed me. I found myself fixating on the fact that some people that I’ve followed, supported, leaned on and socialized with could not see look beyond their own agendas and look at the big picture. To me, the big picture was Election Day 2012.

    But when first an earthquake hit the D.C./Maryland/Virginia area and then came Hurricane Irene, all of a sudden, the picture changed. Now, we all – no matter who we are or who we support politically – should be turning our minds and hearts toward helping people who suddenly have found their lives in chaos. Like many of us, they also had plans and schedules and agendas that are meaningless now. Just think – somebody last week who is stranded in D.C. was at the mall getting comfortable shoes for the march. Somebody in NYC was deciding on Friday whether they’d go to church Sunday or stay home and watch the football games, and I had the best excuse ever not to volunteer to drive members to the Potter’s House in a church bus (a “TJMS” family inside joke). And this morning, none of those things matter.

    A billion in dollars of damage, thousands left with no power and at least 15 deaths later, we find ourselves once again leaning on each other for help. Six years ago, we witnessed the devastation Hurricane Katrina had on the Gulf Coast. Thankfully, this time around, FEMA appeared to be on its game, and props to first responders and the people who helped make evacuation procedures run as smooth as possible.

    Still, we know, when it rains on America, it pours, floods and blows the roof off Black America.

    The president addressed the United States of America at 5 p.m. Eastern time yesterday, and I hope everyone heard what he said to the citizens of this country. He didn’t address black America personally because that’s not what he was elected to do.

    If you didn’t hear what he said, I’ll paraphrase: “America will be with you in your hour of need.” To the governors of the states hit, he said, “If you need something, we want to know about it.” Then he thanked the citizens of the United States for being “a shining example of how we pull together in need.”

    Barack Obama is the president of the United States, and I and most of those watching looked to him and felt better knowing that he was on the case. On Tuesday, he will address our audience on the “TJMS.”

    And so, to Black America, I just want to remind us that we also need to be a shining example of pulling together, not only in the face of the literal storms that come, but the storms of unemployment, high gas prices, wars and anything else that comes our way. Struggle is not new us; neither is depending on one another to overcome the obstacles.

    In 2012, we will get yet another chance to pull together, but if we wait until November to start, and …..

  13. rikyrah says:

    Tue Aug 30, 2011 at 10:45 AM PDT.

    ProgressOhio suggests Gov. Kasich is funneling state money to supporters+
    *by Laura Clawson

    SB 5, the bill cutting collective bargaining rights for public employees which is on November’s ballot for a citizen veto, probably ranks as the worst thing passed in Ohio under Gov. John Kasich. While there’s a lot of competition for second place, the creation of JobsOhio has to be seen as one of the strong contenders.
    Instead of the Ohio Department of Development continuing its traditional role,

    House Bill 1, which Kasich signed into law in February, created a nonprofit headed by Kasich and eight board members he will appoint. JobsOhio will be responsible for reaching out to existing companies and firms thinking about expanding into Ohio, negotiating economic incentive packages and helping to commercialize research and technologies developed at the state’s universities.
    As a private entity, the group will not be subject to the state’s open meetings and records laws, ethics and conflict of interest rules or other requirements that generally affect state agencies. Instead, JobsOhio will be required to have four public meetings annually and will have to disclose contract information, employee salaries and other details in an annual report.

    As Plunderbund has detailed, the structure of JobsOhio creates the likelihood of kickbacks. Additionally, JobsOhio doesn’t just represent a privatizing of job creation, but state liquor profits were handed over to the new entity, which removes a consistent revenue stream from the state.

    Now, JobsOhio and Kasich’s efforts to defend SB 5 have come together. ProgressOhio is suggesting that state money is going through JobsOhio to private chambers of commerce and development agencies that supported Kasich and other supporters of SB 5, as well as the bill itself:

    Rothenberg said he began a close examination of JobsOhio after Kasich’s surprise announcement that it will rely on Third Frontier money—in addition to hundreds of millions in liquor profits.
    He especially took issue with Kasich’s companion announcement that he has set aside a $24 million pool of Third Frontier funds for distribution to local chambers of commerce and other private, regional economic development agencies. The announcement came after most of the agencies or their partners endorsed SB5, a Kasich-backed law to limit the collective bargaining rights of police, firefighters, teachers and other public employees.

    SB 5 or no, Kasich appears to be funneling state money to private organizations and businesses that are his ideological allies, and doing so within structures he set up to maximize his control and minimize transparency. The possibility that he’s doing so in part to help underwrite a campaign on a ballot question just highlights how much corruption is possible within the structures he’s set up.


  14. rikyrah says:

    Irene: False Alarm? Ctd
    by Patrick Appel

    A reader writes:

    Irene is labeled a false alarm only because she foolishly did her greatest damage outside the major media markets.

    Virtually every town surrounding Whately, Massachusetts, where I live, was flooded to some degree. My kids, five miles away with their mom, were evacuated. A friend took refuge here as the Deerfield River was flowing at a rate 50-100 times normal, forcing streets to be evacuated and sending a building near her own down river. Significant flooding throughout the Connecticut River Valley in both Massachusetts and Vermont destroyed dozens of roads and bridges. River heights in many places set new records.

    But I guess it doesn’t count if Soledad and her viewers didn’t see it.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Asking And Telling

    by Zack Beauchamp

    In anticipation of the September 20 end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, GQ interviewed gay soldiers from the past 70 years about their experiences. From a Marine on White House duty:

    Since I’m a single officer in the Marine barracks and I’ve got the highest security clearance you can get, I also serve at the White House in close quarters with President Bush and President Obama at social events. Very seldom was the president ever alone, but one time the president had said, ‘Go and get the vice president,’ and all the straphangers went, and the president went in the Blue Room and was just standing there waiting for Biden. And there was no Secret Service around or anything, and I went, ‘Fuck it, I’m going to go and talk to the president about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” ‘ He was looking out south—there’s an incredible view down past the Washington Monument to the Jefferson. And I just stepped in and said, ‘Sir?’ and he turned around and walks to me and I just started: ‘You know, sir, I want to let you know that there are a number of us that work very close to you who appreciate very much what you’re doing on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”—more than you probably realize.’ And he was shaking my hand, he looks up and it’s like…he got it. I said, ‘I want to thank you for this.’ And he goes, ‘No, I want to thank you. Thank you for your service, and thank you for your courage.’ “

  16. rikyrah says:

    August 30, 2011
    Pragmatic audacity
    Eugene Robinson joins the chorus:

    President Obama’s promised jobs plan needs to be unrealistic and unreasonable, at the very least. If he can crank it all the way up to unimaginable, that would be even better…. The unemployment crisis is so deep and self-perpetuating that only a big, surprising, over-the-top jobs initiative could have real impact….

    He needs to demand what’s right, not what the other side is willing to give.

    Which in this instance would be supremely pragmatic.

    In Obama’s first two years his pragmatism dictated the realistic, the reasonable, the imaginable, the rather modest and unsurprising; his judicious balancing acts meant safe and successful arrivals on the other, legislative side. The discretion that marked his pragmatism and defined his victories put him on the road to presidential greatness.

    Yet now an infantile House and filibuster-happy Senate have liberated Obama, even if liberation is not what he sought. The caution that once aided his presidency’s progress is now a crippling agent of perceived befuddlement and trepidation — reversible only through pronounced determination and boldness.

    It makes little difference that the public’s perception might be inaccurate. The pragmatic question is, Is it real? And the inescapable answer is in the affirmative.

    Robinson concludes:

    We know Obama can be rational, realistic and eminently reasonable. Right now, he needs to be anything but.

    I’d quibble with those lines only in the sense that, pragmatically speaking, “right now” Obama must translate the rational, realistic and reasonable into the transcendently audacious, which itself is not necessarily irrational, unrealistic or unreasonable. On occasion, the most audacious maneuver is also the only practical one (short of surrender). This happens to be one of those occasions.

    Sure, in playing it more conservatively Obama could still, odds are, eke by in 2012, especially given the opposition’s seeming determination to run on a platform of near psychotic indifference to the nation’s suffering. FDR faced a similar political choice in 1935. Although he wasn’t burdened by Obama’s Congress, he was hardly free of scathing critics and fierce opposition. Roosevelt’s answer to them — Roosevelt’s choice — was the Second New Deal, a legislative package (including Social Security) bigger than bolder than any before. He opted for presidential greatness.

  17. rikyrah says:

    August 30, 2011
    Comically inept
    From the NY Times, which I referenced on August 14 and just noticed is recited by Jonathan Chait, who, fishing for compromise, manages to get the other side of the argument wrong, too:

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

    This is almost comically inept advice. First, leaving the unemployment needle essentially pegged to “frightful” will scarcely appeal to independent voters, or anyone else. This “strategy” bolsters Obama’s reelection prospects … how? Second, nothing Obama proposes is going to pass the House. Come on, David and Bill, let’s spell it together: n-o-t-h-i-n-g.

    Which leads to observation Number Three. Some loyal Obamians are hustling the fallacy that a small, timid presidential proposal that can’t pass the House is somehow more pragmatic than a big, bold proposal that can’t the House. Here we surpass “almost” and unmistakably reach comical ineptitude’s saturation point. The only political difference between the two — the small and the big — is that a weary, disgusted electorate would yawn at the first but greet the second with enthusiasm. Granted, the degree of public enthusiasm might be less than what’s strategically anticipated, but, on any given day, any enthusiasm beats the hell out of a yawn.

    Plouffe and Daley are plotting a brilliant presidential campaign all right. For 2012, that of 2008’s.

    My advice to Obama? Take theirs at your own peril.

    Chait’s error? He neglects the enormous persuasive power of a stumping Barack Obama, which should be vastly differentiated from George W. Bush’s.

  18. rikyrah says:

    August 30, 2011 2:00 PM

    About that ‘withholding rule’

    By Steve Benen

    The House Republicans’ jobs plan is primarily focused on eliminating various federal safeguards, such as limits on how many toxins incinerator operators can burn into the atmosphere. But deregulation isn’t the only thing on the GOP’s mind; the same agenda touches on — what else? — taxes.

    From the economic plan House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) circulated yesterday:

    3% Withholding Rule Repeal:

    Beginning in 2013, federal, state, and local governments will be required to withhold three percent of all government payments made to contractors in excess of $100 million. While the law has been delayed multiple times, its effect once implemented will be massive — causing accounting burdens on governments and potentially harmful cash flow disruptions for contractors and subcontractors across all sectors. Therefore, we will move quickly this fall to repeal this burdensome requirement and relieve construction contractors, medical providers, manufacturers, farmers, and many others providing goods and services under government contracts of the uncertainty the impending law is creating.

    Cantor has been talking about this quite a bit lately. As he sees it, the withholding rule “serves as an unnecessary tax increase on those who do business with the government.”

    This may seem like inconsequential policy trivia, but given that it’s one of the tax policies Cantor seems to care about most, let’s take a moment to set the record straight.

    Who came up with this “burdensome” withholding rule? House Republicans did.

    What Cantor calls “an unnecessary tax increase” was actually created by the House GOP in 2005 as a way of playing an accounting game. In effect, Republicans wanted to make it look like they were being fiscally responsible, and used this measure to give the appearance of generating revenue while cracking down on tax cheats. It was a provision in a larger bill called the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005.

    Who voted for this “unnecessary tax increase”? As it turns out, 98% of the House Republican caucus did — including Eric Cantor. His memo yesterday says implementation of the measure “has been delayed multiple times”; what the memo neglects to mention is the delays have occurred since the GOP approved the idea in the first place.

    If Republicans are going to keep talking about this, the least they can do is explain why they approved the very idea they’re now so eager to eliminate. And while they’re at it, maybe the House GOP can also explain why a withholding rule that hasn’t been implemented is responsible for holding back job growth.

  19. rikyrah says:

    August 30, 2011 12:30 PM

    The scourge of ‘career politicians’

    By Steve Benen

    Mitt Romney, the apparent frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination as recently as a month ago, has a bit of a problem. Just over the last week, three national polls show him trailing Rick Perry by double digits. The former Massachusetts governor, who’s been content to ignore his GOP rivals, is probably going to go on the offensive against Perry before the race starts to slip away.

    But what’s the best line of attack? In a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention today, Romney has apparently come up with an opening salvo.

    According to excerpts of the speech released by his campaign, Mr. Romney plans to say: “Career politicians got us into this mess, and they simply don’t know how to get us out!”

    It is an argument Mr. Romney has made repeatedly on the campaign trail — that he is not a career politician, and is one of the few candidates, having spent 25 years in the private sector, with the know-how to create jobs — but never in such a pointed contrast to Mr. Perry, who first entered politics in 1984 and has not lost an election since.

    It certainly makes sense for Romney to start throwing some rhetorical jabs, but if he thinks “career politician” is going to do some damage, his instincts are way off.

    For one thing, as campaign attacks go, it’s just dull. Is anyone seriously moved by rhetoric like this? “Don’t vote for my opponent; he’s devoted most of his adult life to public service”? It’s weak.

    For another, Romney’s reliance on his private-sector background is itself problematic — he got rich by putting thousands of Americans out of work.

    But even if we put all of that aside, the “career politician” line seems especially odd given Romney’s background. Isn’t this the guy who ran for the Senate in 1994, ran for governor in 2002, ran for president in 2008, and is running for president again in 2012? Indeed, by most measures, he’s been running for the White House continuously for more than four years.

    In other words, wouldn’t Mitt Romney be a career politician, too, if only voters liked him a little more?

  20. rikyrah says:

    August 30, 2011 1:10 PM

    White House disapproves of Cantor’s disaster ploy

    By Steve Benen

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has said Republicans will refuse to approve emergency disaster aid in the wake of Hurricane Irene unless Democrats accept comparable spending cuts. The White House isn’t impressed by Republicans’ reluctance to put Americans first.

    Speaking to reporters on Air Force One, [White House press secretary Jay Carney] said the federal government’s priority should be to respond to the disaster. He also noted pointedly that Cantor hadn’t demanded offsets when the Bush administration rang up “unprecedented bills.”

    “I guess I can’t help but say that I wish that commitment to looking for offsets had been held by the House majority leader and others, say, during the previous administration when they ran up unprecedented bills and never paid for them,” Carney said, according to a White House pool report.

    The White House spokesman said it was premature to make a decision yet on the costs of Hurricane Irene for the federal government.

    As brush-back pitches go, this is pretty mild, but the underlying point seems critical. If Republicans, including Cantor, were simply obsessive about offsets and fiscal responsibility, we could at least have a debate over the wisdom of their policy.

    But their demands are a sham. The Majority Leader and his caucus said wars didn’t have to be paid for, tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires didn’t have to be paid for, Medicare expansion didn’t have to be paid for, No Child Left Behind didn’t have to be paid for, and the Wall Street bailout didn’t have to be paid for.

    More to the point, GOP lawmakers didn’t even care about paying for responses to natural disasters. In 2005, Republicans didn’t pay for the response to Hurricane Katrina, and in 2004, after his area was hit by a tropical storm, Cantor personally pushed for immediate emergency aid from the Bush administration, without regard for comparable cuts.

    But if hurricane victims in 2011 need emergency relief, all of a sudden Eric Cantor can’t possibly support aid without offsets?


    In the meantime, Michael “Heckuva Job” Brownie, the former horse association official who the Bush administration hired to run FEMA, told Fox News this morning that he fully supports congressional Republicans’ decision to block disaster aid until Democrats accept cuts.

    And if there’s one person who has credibility on disaster-relief policy, it’s good ol’ Michael Brown, right? He’s quite an ally for Eric Cantor and House Republicans.

    Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, meanwhile, told reporters this morning, Congress’ principal concern should be “whether we need to protect the safety and security of the people that we are all privileged to represent,” adding, “Congress knows that this is historically the way disaster relief funding has been handled.”

    My sense is that Napolitano knows full well that Republicans aren’t putting “safety and security” first, and couldn’t care less about American norms and traditions, but said this as a way to help establish the basis for debate.

  21. Ametia says:

    Napolitano To Cantor: Back the “FUCK” Off Hurricane Aid-For-Cuts Stance
    by Talking Points Memo | 11:26 am, August 30th, 2011

    With Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) insisting that funding the recovery from Hurricane Irene be offset with spending cuts, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Tuesday that Congress should be focused on providing relief and not get caught up in political gridlock.

    “That should not be the first concern of Congress, and I don’t think it is. I think the first concern of Congress is whether we need to protect the safety and security of the people that we are all privileged to represent,” Napolitano said at roundtable with journalists hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

    “Congress knows that this is historically the way disaster relief funding has been handled,” Napolitano continued. “Appropriators have been kept informed on a regular basis about the status this year.”

    Napolitano cautioned against putting a figure on the cost of Irene, but said the government knows it will be pricey.

    “We know that Irene is going to be a very expensive storm, that’s just the plain fact of it,” Napolitano said.

  22. Ametia says:

    The GOP’s Leading Crank- RON PAUL!

    Ron Paul has attracted widespread support this election cycle. But as Michael Tomasky argues, he’s an out-there extremist who deserves to be rejected by responsible voters.
    by Michael Tomasky (/contributors/michael-tomasky.html) | August 29, 2011 10:38 PM EDT

    It’s that time again—time for Ron Paul (/articles/2011/07/13/ron-paul-2012-campaign-why-the-gop-should-beware.html) ’s admirers to bray that he’s not getting his fair share of press coverage, that the establishment media can’t handle an unorthodox truth teller like him, and so on.

    They may be correct that elements of the mainstream media, owing to certain longstanding conventions of news-story writing, can’t fit Paul into one of their handy shoeboxes. I, on the other hand, have no trouble categorizing him whatsoever. He is an unserious, extremist crank whose appeal among those who ought to know better is one of the bleakest facts of our bleak political life.

    Paul is doing better this time around the track than last, no doubt about it. If you visit his website ( you will see quickly that Paul (so it says) does better against Barack Obama than any other Republican candidate. Rick Perry (/articles/2011/08/13/rick-perry-taking-over-for-george-w-bush-in-the-culture-war.html) and Michele Bachmann (/articles/2011/08/12/michele-bachmann-deflects-submissive-question-at-gop-debate.html) are close, but only Paul, according to the site, is in essentially a dead heat with the president (Obama with 39 percent to Paul’s 38 pecent). He’s hitting double digits in some polls ( of the GOP field. He is, Politico reports, holding town-hall meetings ( for the first time, so as to introduce himself to new voters and not simply rely on that hyperactive network of Pauline disciples who are pure in their devotion and who are known, as you might recall from last time, for goosing the results of every nonscientific Internet survey of the GOP field (for example, in those instant “who won the debate?” polls, where people can vote as many times as they like). So the man is reaching new plateaus.

    There are certain things one would like to like about Paul. His famous “neoconned” speech ( from 2003, which dumped buckets of piss and vinegar all over neoconservative doctrine, was very good; it was a blunter and more direct attack than any prominent Democrats proved themselves capable of at the time. Then there’s … well, actually, there is nothing else. That’s it. But he does deserve a measure of credit for adopting that posture and holding to it in George W. Bush and Dick Cheney’s Republican Party, even if he took matters, as is his way, to an indefensible extreme at the last GOP debate, when he insisted that if Iran wants the bomb, that’s Iran’s business.

    But outside of that and a few other smaller things—like his support for drug legalization ( , a long-held and standard libertarian view—he is a conventional right-wing, out-there extremist, and on both economic and social issues, it’s important to note. It’s not just about abolishing the Federal Reserve. He doesn’t “accept” evolution, as Matthew Yglesias has noted ( , and despite all these protests of his about the government, he very much seems to want the government dictating what a woman can and can’t do when it comes to pregnancy. (He’s called abortion “the most important issue of our age.” And all this time I thought it was Austrian business-cycle theory ( .)

    Some people take comfort in backing candidates who never win. It encases their loserdom in a carapace of purity and righteousness.

  23. Ametia says:

    News Alert: ATF chief is reassigned
    August 30, 2011 12:18:46 PM

    Kenneth Melson, the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, has been reassigned, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

    Melson will become a senior adviser in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy.

    For more information, visit

  24. rikyrah says:

    August 30, 2011 10:05 AM

    Cheney’s bizarre alternate universe

    By Steve Benen

    Former Vice President Dick Cheney is making the rounds, promoting his new book, and on NBC’s “Today” show this morning, rejected the notion that the war in Iraq weakened America’s international standing.

    “I don’t think that it damaged our reputation around the world,” he told Matt Lauer. “I just don’t believe that. I think the critics at home want to argue that. In fact, I think it was sound policy that dealt with a very serious problem and eliminated Saddam Hussein from the kind of problem he presented before.”

    Asked whether the war was worth the costs, Cheney added, “Oh, sure.”

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    Something Chris Hayes said on MSNBC last week continues to ring true:

    “[W]hat’s so troubling about this Cheney publicity lap, is the fact that he has managed to escape not only legal sanction for advocating and overseeing the implementation of the war crime that is torture, but that he also has appeared to manage to escape social sanction as well.

    “Everyone is now going to treat him as just another memoirist with a book to sell, and have his book party and give his interviews and cash his checks as if he were Keith Richards.

    “What would someone in power have to do to put themselves outside the bounds of polite society? When powerful people are not held to account when they have no worry about their reputations, it creates a moral hazard. Not unlike what’s happened with the banks. Anti-social behavior is rewarded. Failure is also rewarded. And we are trapped inside a system of perverse incentives.”

  25. rikyrah says:

    August 30, 2011 10:40 AM

    Mitt Romney and the ‘surrender to terror’

    By Steve Benen

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    We talked over the weekend about al Qaeda’s losing streak and U.S. forces killing Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, the terrorist network’s #2 leader. It comes on the heels of U.S. forces killing Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda financial chief Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri, and al Qaeda spiritual leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, among others.

    This got me thinking about something Mitt Romney said a few years ago.

    In February 2008, Romney delivered a speech announcing his withdrawal from the presidential race. He explained his rationale for quitting this way:

    “If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and frankly I’d be making it easier for Senator Clinton or Obama to win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.”

    For those who may have forgotten it, Jon Stewart had a compelling reaction to the remarks at the time.

    But more than three years later, I’m curious: does Romney think he was right? Barack Obama became president, and has proven far more successful in combating terrorism than his Republican predecessor. Does Romney stand by his belief that electing Obama president was part of “a surrender to terror”?

    Or does Romney regret making the charge in 2008, and realize now he was wrong?

  26. rikyrah says:

    Black leaders turn up the heat on President Obama

    By GLENN THRUSH & JOSEPH WILLIAMS | 8/30/11 4:35 AM EDT Updated: 8/30/11 11:14 AM EDT
    If there’s anything close to a political certainty in 2012, it’s that Barack Obama will get more than 90 percent of the African-American vote.

    But that doesn’t mean every black Obama supporter will vote for him happily — nor does it guarantee that turnout will approach the stratospheric levels of 2008, even though Obama needs a huge showing from his base to offset the expected loss of swing voters in states like North Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

    With that in mind, prominent black leaders — fearing Obama is not only taking them for granted but avoiding them in public — have turned up the heat on the nation’s first African-American president, transforming all-in-the-family concerns into open criticism of the president at a time when they had hoped the completion of a monument to Martin Luther King Jr. near the National Mall would bring a moment of unity.

    The leaders are tired, they say, of Obama dog-whistling his support for a broad black agenda rather than explicitly embracing the kind of war on racism, poverty and economic segregation embodied by King.

    “You can spend a lot of time trying to win over white independents, but if you don’t pay attention to your base, African-Americans, if you have not locked up your base yet, you’ve got a serious problem,” said CNN contributor Roland Martin.

    “African-Americans will vote for him again, 88, 92, 95 percent. The question is what’s the turnout? I’ll vote for you. But will I bring ten other people along, like I did in 2008? That’s the danger here for him. He doesn’t have the historical factor to lean on as much in 2012 as he did in 2008. … And the first step is that he has to be willing to speak to this audience, black people.”

    In a striking turnabout for a president who has rewritten American racial history, Obama finds himself the target of criticism from the black cultural and political elite that has, for the most part, been leery of airing its disappointment.

    The president is reportedly angry that African-American leaders aren’t crediting him for his hard-bought achievements that will especially help communities of color, including health care reform, aid to cities, student aid and protecting Medicaid.

    “The whole thing is bull——. … We have met with [black leaders] more than any other group, and we are increasing our outreach,” said a person close to Obama.

    Read more:

  27. rikyrah says:

    August 30, 2011 11:20 AM

    The End of College Admissions As We Know It

    By Steve Benen

    It’s been a while since I was in a classroom as a student, and the Internet was still pretty bare bones by the time I got my post-grad degree in 1996. I more or less assumed that universities had made good use of online innovations in the years since, especially when it came to processes like college admissions.

    Those assumptions were wrong, and schools haven’t kept up at all. In a story in the new print edition of the Washington Monthly, however, Kevin Carey reports on how and why the status quo will see some overdue change.

    The editors’ summary of the cover story helps set the stage for a really interesting piece:

    In America circa 2011, if you’re looking for antiques, jobs, or dates, chances are you’ll go to EBay,, and — Web-based electronic marketplaces that use powerful, data-driven algorithms to quickly and efficiently match supply and demand. If you’re a student looking for a college, by contrast, you’re stuck with an archaic system that still relies on chintzy brochures, college fairs, campus tours, and the physical transmission of paper. The system is not only slow and inefficient, but deeply unjust: smart lower-income students whose families don’t know how to work the system wind up going to the least-challenging schools, leaving affluent kids to dominate the elite, selective ones.

    But that’s about to change. As Kevin Carey explains in a ground-breaking new article in the Washington Monthly, the college admissions market is about to be digitized. A Boston-based firm called ConnectEDU is rolling out a Facebook-like networking platform that radically simplifies the task of students finding and applying to colleges and of colleges finding and recruiting students. If the software works as advertised, students across the academic spectrum will be better matched to colleges where they can succeed. And slots in America’s most elite colleges will be even harder to come by, as brilliant but isolated students, boxed out by the current system, find a clearer path to the Ivy League. The higher education system, in other words, will become more like the meritocracy it has long pretended to be

    Read “The End of College Admissions As We Know It.”

  28. rikyrah says:

    August 30, 2011 9:20 AM

    If only pollution could create jobs

    By Steve Benen

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    White House officials are still in the process of completing their new economic agenda, to be unveiled next week, but House Republicans are apparently done with their new plan. Nearly eight months into the new Congress, the GOP hasn’t even brought any jobs bills to the floor, but now they seem to have settled on a new vision on how to create jobs.

    Well, perhaps “new” is overstating matters.

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Monday laid out an ambitious anti-tax and anti-regulations agenda for the fall.

    In a memo to rank-and-file Republicans, Cantor said the House will target 10 major regulations for elimination, and will also seek to enact one major tax cut for businesses.

    Cantor sees an economy lacking demand, a public sector shedding jobs, workers with stagnant wages, and anemic growth, and has apparently concluded, “What we really need right now is deregulation.”

    And what kind of regulations are being targeted? High on Cantor’s list are measures that limit the amount of mercury and other toxins that boiler and incinerator operators can burn into the atmosphere.

    In case this isn’t obvious, Cantor’s plan is a poor jobs agenda. Indeed, it’s not really an agenda in any meaningful sense at all. Republicans have been pushing for deregulation efforts like these for decades — Cantor isn’t responding to a changing economic landscape and new demand-driven challenges with a tailored package of policy solutions; Cantor is just listing a bunch of safeguards Republicans want to scrap anyway.

    There’s just no depth of thought here. The GOP leadership believes businesses might hire more if, for example, they were allowed to pollute more, while Democrats believe business might hire more if they had more customers.

    Not that it much matters. As Cantor surely realizes, the Senate and the White House won’t try to create jobs by weakening clean air safeguards.

    But I think it’s at least mildly helpful anyway in letting the public know where the two parties stand. Next week, President Obama will present one vision, likely built around investing in infrastructure and school construction, which can then be compared against the House Republican vision, built around looser pollution controls. I have a hunch the American mainstream will prefer the former over the latter, if the debate actually reaches any of the public.

  29. Ametia says:

    President Obama Talks Jobs, King on the ‘TJMS’


    Date: Tuesday, August 30, 2011, 8:01 am

    The following is a transcript of “The Tom Joyner Morning Show’s” interview with President Barack Obama, aired Tuesday morning.

    —Read the entire script here:

    TOM JOYNER: On the line right now is the president of the United States, Barack Obama. Good morning, Big Chief.

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Tom Joyner, how are you, my friend?

    TOM JOYNER: I’m good. I’m good. I heard you’re busy.

    Well, obviously we spent the weekend dealing with this hurricane situation. And as I was mentioning, it obviously is heartbreaking for families who lost loved ones, people who are seeing their homes flooded out. But it could have been a lot worse. So, thanks to the great preparations done at the state, local and federal levels, it looks like we’re going to have some clean-up to do, but we averted what could have been a real tragedy.

    TOM JOYNER: You got a price tag yet?

    No, don’t have a price tag yet – a lot of assessments still being done. There’s still a lot of flooding going on up in the Northeast – states like Vermont are getting very hard hit. But we’ll be able to dig our way out of this thing. And it was a testament, though, to the outstanding work that a lot of public officials did in terms of making sure that the preparations were there. Right now, we’re probably going to be dealing with a lot of power outages, a lot of road clean-up, transit, things like that.

    SYBIL WILKES: How about your girls, sir? Did they sustain any damage at your vacation spot?

    No. Look, it was fine in Massachusetts up through the time that we left, and so they spent yesterday inside pondering the fact that they need to go back to school. (Laughter) So the fun and games are over. Mom said it’s time to start turning off the TV and hitting the books.

    TOM JOYNER: Yes, it is that time, huh?

    It is, absolutely.

    TOM JOYNER: Okay. Let’s talk about, first of all, the MLK dedication. They’re going to reschedule it. You don’t have a time or date yet?

    We don’t have a date yet. But those who’ve had a chance to see the monument, it is a moving and powerful thing. When you think about how this is a man who didn’t have a title, didn’t have a rank in the military, but just led a nation in rediscovering its ideals and its values, and to have him staring out across the water towards the Jefferson Monument is a reminder of what’s possible in this country. So I know those who’ve already seen it have just been moved to tears by its presence, and it’s going to be an extraordinary legacy for this country for many years to come.

    But obviously what I hope it reminds us of is how much more work we still have to do. Dr. King helped to catalyze, along with that entire generation of heroes, the progress that allowed me to be sitting in this Oval Office right now. But I think it’s always important to remember that when Dr. King gave the “I Have a Dream” speech, that was a march for jobs and justice, not just justice. And in the last part of his life, when he went down to Memphis, that was all about sanitation workers saying, “I am a man,” and looking for economic justice and dealing with poverty. And so it’s not enough for us to just remember the sanitized versions of what Dr. King stood for; he made a real call for

  30. Ametia says:

    Hope Solo, Nancy Grace among 2011 DWTS cast
    AP) LOS ANGELES – The new cast of “Dancing With the Stars” has been revealed.

    ABC says the 13th season of the hit show will feature a mix of actors, athletes and TV personalities. Set to tango and quickstep with professional dance partners will be basketball star Ron Artest; World Cup soccer player Hope Solo; reality stars Robert Kardashian, Kristin Cavallari and Chaz Bono; TV personalities Nancy Grace, Carson Kressley and Ricki Lake; singer-actress Chynna Phillips; actors David Arquette and J.R. Martinez; and Italian actress Elisabetta Canalis, who may be better known in the United States for being George Clooney’s ex-girlfriend.

    The new cast members will perform their first dance routines on the season premiere on Sept. 19. The first celebrity contestant will be eliminated on Sept. 20.

      • Ametia says:

        Honey Boy’ Edwards, at 96; brought Delta blues to world
        By Caryn Rousseau
        Associated Press / August 30, 2011

        CHICAGO – Grammy-winning blues musician David “Honey Boy’’ Edwards, whose roots stretched back to blues legend Robert Johnson, died early yesterday in his Chicago home, his manager said. He was 96.

        Mr. Edwards, believed to be the oldest surviving Delta bluesman, had a weak heart and his health seriously declined in May, when the guitarist had to cancel concerts scheduled through November, said his longtime manager, Michael Frank of Earwig Music Company.

        Born in 1915 in Shaw, Miss., Mr. Edwards started playing guitar professionally at age 17 in Memphis.

        He came to Chicago in the 1940s and played on Maxwell Street, small clubs, and street corners. By the 1950s, Mr. Edwards had played with almost every bluesman of note, including Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Charlie Patton, and Muddy Waters. Among Mr. Edwards’s hit songs were “Long Tall Woman Blues,’’ “Gamblin’ Man,’’ and “Just Like Jesse James.’’

        Mr. Edwards played his last shows in April at the Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, Miss., Frank said.

        Mr. Edwards won a 2008 Grammy for traditional blues album and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award in 2010. His death represents the loss of the last direct link to the first generation of Mississippi blues musicians, Frank said.

        “That piece of the history from that generation, people have to read about it from now on,’’ Frank said.
        “They won’t be able to experience the way the early guys played it, except from somebody who’s learned it off of a record.’’

        Mr. Edwards was known for being an oral historian of the genre and would tell biographical stories between songs at his shows, Frank said. He was recorded for the Library of Congress in 1942.

        “He had photographic memory of every fine detail of his entire life,’’ Frank said. “All the way up until he died. He had so much history that so many other musicians didn’t have and he was able to tell it.’’

        Mr. Edwards gathered those stories in the 1997 book “The World Don’t Owe Me Nothing: The Life and Times of Delta Bluesman Honeyboy Edwards.’’ He wrote in the book that his father bought a guitar for $8 from a sharecropper and Mr. Edwards learned to play it in 1929
        “I watched my daddy play that guitar, and whenever I could I would pick it up and strum on it,’’ Mr. Edwards wrote.

        Mr. Edwards was known for his far-ranging travels and played internationally. In his 90s, he was still playing about 70 shows a year. Mr. Edwards would visit with the audience after every show, pose for pictures, sign autographs, and talk with fans, Frank said.

        Mr. Edwards earned his nickname from his sister, who told his mother to “look at honey boy’’ when he stumbled as he learned to walk as a toddler. He leaves his daughter, Betty Washington, and stepdaughter, Dolly McGinister.

        “He had his own unique style,’’ Frank said. “But it was a 75-year-old style and it was a synthesis of the people before him and in his time.’’

  31. rikyrah says:

    Clouds On The Horizon? Rick Perry Faces Barrage Of Negative Headlines
    The polls show Texas Gov. Rick Perry is the clear frontrunner at the moment when it comes to Republican support in the presidential nomination fight. But as he treads further into the center stage, Perry’s facing down growing media scrutiny — especially over his own past statements.

    How he plays this next phase of his campaign will be key to his viability over the long haul — if Perry ignores the growing questions about his record, he risks damaging the electability quotient that has helped rocket him ahead of Michele Bachmann by appealing more to Republicans beyond the Tea Party. But if he bows too much to critics, shifting his stances to be more in line with a mainstream electorate, he risks alienating those Tea Partiers who are still the voters Republicans running for president are afraid of.

    So far, it seems that Perry is sticking with the Tea Party and letting the attacks fall where they will.

    Here’s an example: when his campaign attempted to back away from his book Fed Up! — which contains attacks on Social Security that might make mainstream voters skittish — Perry publicly rejected it, doubling-down on his claim that the popular program is a Ponzi scheme and maybe unconstitutional.

    Democrats certainly seem to think talk like this is playing into their hands.

    “For Rick Perry, the way he matches up with [Republican] voters has proven to be at least a short-term political bonanza for him,” Bill Burton, the former White House spokesperson and head of Priorities USA Action told reporters in an email over the weekend. “But in the long-term, his ideology could have devastating consequences for our country. Especially the middle class.”

  32. rikyrah says:

    Open Thread: Lonestar Blowback
    by Anne Laurie

    In today’s roundup of buyer’s remorse from the Media Village, the LA Times has a nice succinct editorial summing up “The Problem with Perry“:

    Given the depth of his loathing for the federal government, it’s a little surprising that Texas Gov. Rick Perry wants to preside over it. Indeed, in the preface to his book “Fed Up!”, Perry writes: “Now, cynics will say that I decided to write this book because I seek higher office. They are wrong: I already have the greatest job in America.”

    Apparently not…

    The Washington Post investigates why it’s important that “Perry’s travel, security costs will stay secret until after 2012“:

    Since Rick Perry joined the presidential race this month, his campaign entourage has included not just the standard array of political advisers and aides, but a squad of Texas law enforcement agents.

    The security forces scout and secure locations days in advance. Well before the governor’s visit to Tommy’s Country Ham House in Greenville, S.C., the weekend of Aug. 20, more than a half-dozen suited and armed agents were giving orders to the crowd of more than 400.

    How much is this ever-present phalanx of state policemen costing the taxpayers of Texas? They won’t know at least until after next year’s presidential election, thanks to a provision, tucked into a school finance bill in July, that will keep the governor’s travel records sealed for 18 months.

    Although security around public officials has been tightened considerably since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the secrecy that surrounds Perry’s travels is unique, according to Ken Bunting, executive director of the Missouri-based National Freedom of Information Coalition.

    And the governor’s critics contend that it has as much to do with politics as safety — especially after the embarrassment for Perry when taxpayers learned that they had been paying for scuba gear and golf cart rentals for officers who accompanied Perry and his wife to the Bahamas in 2004…

    And the coastal elitists at New York Magazine’s “Daily Intel” blog report that “Politico Asks an Impolite Question About Rick Perry“:

    Whether he’s dumb. It’s probably not a good sign when a reporter needs to devote four pages and talk to multiple sources to answer that one. Of course, it’s also not a great sign that the question was posed at all, or phrased that way. Even “Is Rick Perry smart?” would have been slightly less damaging…

    Perry prefers a different description for his brain, though.

    “If Karl Rove hadn’t been my consultant, I would not have been agriculture commissioner today,” Perry told the Dallas Morning News in 1994, adding: “My brain is like a chicken pot pie. His is like a refrigerator that is all very organized — pickles here, salad there.”

    That’s actually a very sophisticated metaphor! With great economy, Perry indicated that he finds Rove cold, briney, and unsatisfying…

    Chicken pot pie—dubious leftovers, inadequate for a full meal, thriftily disguised with a schmaltz-and-cornstarch gravy and baked in a golden crust of dough. Now there’s a campaign metaphor… for Perry’s opponents.

  33. rikyrah says:

    August 30, 2011 8:00 AM

    Crafting the White House jobs agenda

    By Steve Benen

    At a White House event yesterday, President Obama noted his speech next week on job creation, in which he’ll lay out “a series of steps that Congress can take immediately” that would “help to grow this economy.” Without going into any details, the president added, “These are bipartisan ideas that ought to be the kind of proposals that everybody can get behind, no matter what your political affiliation might be. So my hope and expectation is that we can put country before party and get something done for the American people.”

    So, what’s in the plan? At this point, there really isn’t one — the Washington Post reports that officials are still scrambling to finalize “a new jobs initiative.” An internal debate continues, apparently, over whether the White House will pursue “narrower ideas with a realistic chance of passing the Republican-led House or more sweeping stimulus proposals that would excite his liberal base and draw contrasts with the GOP.”

    The smarter course seems obvious to me, but while the debate continues, we’re at least getting a sense of what’s on the table.

    According to administration officials and others familiar with the matter, Obama is considering a tax cut that would directly reward companies for hiring new workers, new spending for environmentally friendly construction and for rehabilitating schools, and clean-energy tax cuts.

    He is also developing programs to target long-term unemployment, potentially including a version of a Georgia unemployment insurance program that pays employers to hire workers who have been unemployed and provides funding for training.

    At the same time, Obama may announce new programs to lift the housing market, such as a refinancing initiative that could pump tens of billions of dollars into the economy.

    Obama also is likely to renew calls for renewing — and potentially expanding — ongoing efforts, such as a two-percentage-point cut in the payroll tax.

    While these provisions come together, the encouraging news is that the administration is at least pointing in the right direction. The discussion in the West Wing isn’t how best to cut the deficit; the discussion is over how ambitious to be when proposing a job creation/economic growth agenda. We’ll learn next week whether the White House came up with the right answers, but for now, I take some comfort in knowing they’re asking the right questions.

    That said, as the internal deliberations continue, I hope officials will take Eugene Robinson’s suggestion to heart: “President Obama’s promised jobs plan needs to be unrealistic and unreasonable, at the very least. If he can crank it all the way up to unimaginable, that would be even better…. It is hard to overstate how apprehensive most Americans are about the future. Boldness from the president may or may not get the nation’s mojo working again. Timidity surely won’t.”

    Obviously, we know Republicans will say what they always say: “No jobs, no way.” But if this realization leads the White House to aim lower, in the hopes that maybe the GOP would be more conciliatory, recent history tells us what a mistake this would be.

    It’s far better for the president to be bold, present popular ideas that would work, give the public a plan to rally around, and make it clear to the nation exactly where both sides stand. If the right is going to reject every idea anyway, there’s no reason for Obama to settle for a weak plan from the outset.

  34. rikyrah says:

    August 30, 2011 8:30 AM

    ‘Big Government finally got one right’

    By Steve Benen

    Hurricane Irene is gone, but its affects are still being felt. As of this morning, the death toll had climbed to 40.

    And while relief efforts continue, there are already some preliminary evaluations on how officials prepared and responded to the storm. Dana Milbank explains today, “Don’t expect anybody to throw a tea party, but Big Government finally got one right.”

    The Irene government would seem to have its benefits. Before the storm struck, 18 FEMA teams deployed from Florida to Maine, repositioning as the emphasis moved to New England. Food, water, generators and tarps were in place along the storm’s path. In Vermont, when the storm forced evacuation of the state emergency operations center, the workers relocated to a FEMA facility. In North Carolina, FEMA provided in-the-dark local authorities with generator power. And everywhere, FEMA, given new authority by Congress after Katrina, didn’t have to wait for states to request help.

    “We have to go fast; we have to base it upon the potential impacts,” [FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate] said Monday, describing the Irene response. “That’s why we look at these forecasts we get from the hurricane center, and we make the decisions based upon what the potential impacts could be. If you wait till you know how bad it is, it becomes harder to change the outcome.”

    That’s one model. The other model is to have a weak federal government, without the funds to forecast storms or to launch a robust emergency response in time to do any good. You might call that the Tea Party model.

    That Tea Party model, by the way, isn’t a hypothetical scenario — congressional Republicans are not only unwilling to provide emergency disaster relief without offsetting spending cuts, they’re also eager to cut the resources NOAA needs to track storms, while also slashing the FEMA budget.

    This week, federal agencies are winning generally rave reviews, but if the public expects equally competent disaster response efforts in the future, Americans will have to hope the GOP agenda is rejected.

    Let’s also note, by the way, that it’s not just federal agencies that were on the ball when it came to this hurricane. Politico noted today, “If this was a test, the collection of East Coast governors known for their national ambitions passed.” The article added that these governors “have gotten kudos for doing everything they could to limit casualties and chaos in the face of the uncontrollable.”

    And let’s also not forget President Obama. It seems presidents are generally in a no-win scenario when dealing with a natural disaster — they only get attention if their administration fails the test — but I’m struck by the extent to which Obama has been all over this storm.

    Over the last week, we’ve seen the president host multiple teleconferences with his emergency response teams, receiving updates before, during, and after the storm, in addition to a series of preparedness discussions with regional governors. Cutting his vacation short, Obama delivered a public address on Friday, urging Americans in targeted areas to get prepared; he went to FEMA headquarters on Saturday; and he delivered another public address on Sunday, giving Americans a status check. Obama also, of course, dispatched response teams up and down the East coast.

    This was a president fully engaged in the topic at hand, and it reinforced Milbank’s assertion that the government got this one just right.

    • Ametia says:

      The government gets a lot right, but the glaring narrative is to paint it wrong. It’s the people who are elected that are wrong for government, folks like the obstructionist GOB who rail against government, yet want to work in it.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Scott Brown Adviser Admits He’s Behind Dem-Mocking Twitter Feed, Refuses To Apology
    Evan McMorris-Santoro | August 24, 2011, 6:12PM

    Eric Fehrnstrom, the adviser to Scott Brown and Mitt Romney under fire from Democrats today, admitted to the Boston Globe that he is in fact the man behind the anonymous Twitter feed that’s been mocking Democratic Senate candidate Alan Khazei.

    But despite the calls from Khazei camp for an apology, Fehrnstrom is showing no remorse.

    “Sometimes we take our politics too seriously and this was my way of lightening things up,” he told the paper. “As they say in politics, if you can’t stand the tweet, get out of the kitchen.”

    Earlier Wednesday, Team Khazei called on Fehrnstrom’s boss, Sen. Scott Brown, to condemn the anonymous negative campaigning.

    “Sen. Brown should denounce these tactics, immediately close the fake Twitter account and apologize to the citizens of Massachusetts,” Khazei Chief of Staff Emily Cherniack said in a statement.

    Brown’s campaign has yet to weigh in on the controversy. Nor has Fehrnstrom’s other boss, Romney.

    Globe columnist Rob Anderson writes that Fehrnstrom’s outing as the man behind the anonymous tweets could be a problem for Romney.

    “If Mitt Romney is elected President, Eric Fehrnstrom will likely continue his role as one of Romney’s closest aides,” Anderson wrote. “He would be the successor to Karl Rove and David Axelrod in the West Wing of the White House. It would be quite disconcerting if the President was relying on the advice of someone dumb enough to do something like setting up a fake Twitter account.”

  36. rikyrah says:

    Blunt can go somewhere and sit down. He needs to open up his damn mouth to ERIC CANTOR


    Missouri Senators angry that FEMA cutbacks affect Joplin tornado repairs

    One of the first jobs facing Congress when it returns to work will be finding billions of dollars to pay for damage caused by a summer of natural disasters stretching from Joplin to the Jersey Shore.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency is suspending payments for some projects in tornado-ravaged Joplin because of immediate disaster needs along the East Coast after Hurricane Irene. Some spending for other storm-related and flood-related damage in other parts of the country also has been delayed.

    A FEMA spokesman said Monday that the agency’s disaster fund has dipped well below $1 billion.

    As a result, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said Monday the agency will not consider any new applications for what it calls permanent repair work in pre-Irene disasters.

    “Any projects that have not come in for approval, we’re not going to be able to fund those as this point. We’re going to postpone those,” Fugate said. “Our goal is to keep this disruption as short as possible, but it was prudent.”

    Temporary housing and debris removal, however, are not affected.

    But Missouri’s two U.S. senators are still angry over cutbacks facing Joplin.

    “Recovery from hurricane damage on the East Coast must not come at the expense of Missouri’s rebuilding efforts,” said a statement from Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican. “If FEMA can’t fulfill its promise to our state because we have other disasters, that’s unacceptable.”

    Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, said she will work to make sure Joplin’s repairs are fully funded.

    “FEMA should be prepared for all types of disasters and have the resources to respond rapidly and stay until the work is done,” her statement said.

    The money being sent to the East Coast typically would have been used to rebuild roads and infrastructure. It also could have been used to repair or rebuild public buildings such as schools.

    In Joplin, the May 22 tornado destroyed the high school, two grade schools, two middle schools and a school technology center. High school students are meeting in a converted department store.

    Washington is expected eventually to come up with the money to pay for repairs and reconstruction in Joplin and across the country.

    But there is a dispute over how to pay the bills. Some in Congress want to cut spending in other programs to provide the funds for ongoing damage relief. Others have said disaster funding should be an addition to the federal budget.

    Read more:

  37. rikyrah says:

    Baseball loses allure for African-Americans
    Terry Foster/ The Detroit News
    The Eagle Sports Club runs a vibrant baseball program for approximately 600 boys and girls, 90 percent of whom are African-American.

    Throughout the week, the youths fill the fields at Balduck Park, enjoying the sport and competing with friends.

    Unfortunately, in Detroit and other inner cities, the excitement generated for baseball by the Eagle Sports Club is the exception, not the rule.

    Interest in playing and watching baseball has seen an alarming decline in African-American communities. Experts blame the economy, the decline of the African-American family structure, the sparse marketing of current players and even video games.

    The result is evident on every Major League Baseball team including the Tigers, where center fielder Austin Jackson and newly acquired Delmon Young are the only black players.

    Only 8.5 percent of Major League players are African-American. That’s down from 10 percent in 2010 and the lowest number since 2007, according to Richard Lapchick’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports at the University of Central Florida.

    In 1997, during the 50-year anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier, league rosters were 17 percent African-American.

    “I don’t know what is going on,” said former Tigers outfielder Gates Brown, who played for the 1968 world champions. “You drive around the city and you see all those empty ball fields. When I was coming through, you saw kids on every lot. I don’t understand it.”

    The numbers are so alarming to former Tigers slugger Willie Horton and his son Deryl that they met with MLB and Tigers officials at Comerica Park this summer. That was followed by a roundtable discussion at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, where ideas were thrown around to revive baseball in Detroit.

    One shining light is MLB’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program, which began 22 years ago. More than 1 million youths across the country have gone through the program, including 171,000 in 2010. MLB teams have drafted 171 RBI players, including Carl Crawford, Dontrelle Willis and Justin Upton.

    About 47 percent of participants are African-American. Detroit has two RBI leagues and Warren, Benton Harbor, Comstock Park and Flint also run RBI programs.

    “It’s not just a problem; it’s a crisis,” New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia told the Associated Press about the lack of blacks in baseball.

    The Horton family wants to build a baseball academy in Detroit through the Willie Horton Foundation. They are hoping to secure a building that will include batting cages, video rooms and tutoring on nutrition and weight training. The goal is to have inner-city kids learn the fundamentals of the game while also improving their academic skills.

    “I am going to get it done, and I hope it is up and running this time next year,” said Deryl Horton, 50, who was drafted by the A’s.

    From The Detroit News:

  38. rikyrah says:

    Republicans to Unveil Bill to Force Major Changes at the UN

    House Republicans are planning to introduce today legislation that seeks to force major changes at the United Nations, using as leverage the U.S.’s 22 percent contribution to the world body’s operating budget.

    The bill by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Republican chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, would require the UN to adopt a voluntary budget model in which countries selectively fund UN agencies rather than according to a set formula. It would end funding for Palestinian refugees, limit use of U.S. funds to only purposes outlined by Congress and stop contributions to peacekeeping operations until management changes are made.

    The legislation represents the leading edge of Republican moves against the world body at a time when the Obama administration is increasingly building its foreign policy around multilateral institutions, making the alliance-based approach central to its stance on Libya. The bill may advance in the Republican-controlled House but is likely to hit opposition in the Senate and from President Barack Obama.

    Ros-Lehtinen had UN reform on her agenda even before the Florida congresswoman gained leadership of the committee in January, calling the New York-based body a “stew of corruption, mismanagement and negligence” in July 2010.

    The U.S. pays 22 percent of the UN’s regular operations budget and is assessed 27 percent of the peacekeeping budget. The U.S. payments totaled $3.35 billion in 2010, of which $2.67 billion was dedicated to the 16 peacekeeping operations worldwide, from South Sudan to Haiti.

    ‘More Effective Performance’
    Ros-Lehtinen’s aim in shifting the UN budget to a voluntary system is to encourage competition for funds and therefore elicit more effective performance from UN agencies, said a House aide familiar with the legislation. He wasn’t authorized to speak on the record.

    The bill’s timing runs counter to the emergence of the administration’s “Obama Doctrine” of working with others to address international issues, particularly those that don’t pose an immediate security threat to the U.S., said Jeffrey Laurenti, a UN analyst at the Century Foundation, a New York-based economic, political and social research foundation.

    “After two years of the closest and most productive cooperation in decades at the UN between Washington and the rest of the international community, it is hard to understand why Republicans in the House of Representatives are determined to poison the well,” Laurenti wrote in a blog post yesterday.

  39. Ametia says:

    On jobs, time to be bold
    By Eugene Robinson
    Published: August 29

    President Obama’s promised jobs plan needs to be unrealistic and unreasonable, at the very least. If he can crank it all the way up to unimaginable, that would be even better.

    This is a moment for the president to suppress his reflex for preemptive compromise. The unemployment crisis is so deep and self-perpetuating that only a big, surprising, over-the-top jobs initiative could have real impact. Boldness will serve the nation well — and, coincidentally, boost Obama’s reelection prospects.

    The political calculus is pretty simple. If voters base their decision on the state of the economy on Election Day, Obama is in trouble. Even the most optimistic scenarios predict that unemployment will still be above 8 percent next fall. These rosy projections envision month after month of painfully slow growth, the kind that is barely discernible. Pessimists see another dip into recession.

    Note that I said this would mean Obama is in trouble, not that he’s toast. Pay no attention to the sage analysts who furrow their brows and note that no president since World War II has been reelected with unemployment above 7.2 percent. This figure is arbitrary and meaningless. Before Ronald Reagan won his second term in 1984, those same analysts would have sniffed that no postwar president had been reelected with the unemployment rate above 6 percent. Reagan won 49 states.

  40. Ametia says:

    Eagles’ Vick comes full circle with $100M deal
    Philadelphia Eagles |

    At least in spurts last season, Michael Vick played like one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks. Now, he’s going to be paid like one.

    Vick agreed to a whopping six-year, $100 million contract with the Eagles on Monday, with $40 million guaranteed. The 31-year-old Vick could now be in Philadelphia through the 2016 season.

    He was set to play out this season as the Eagles’ designated franchise player, which would have paid him just shy of $16 million for 2011. Instead, he’ll earn $16.7 million. Vick eased his way back into the NFL in 2009, seeing limited action with the Eagles. He took over as the starter last season, throwing for 3,018 yards in 12 games and rushing for an additional 676.

    It’s the latter stat that still makes Vick the dangerous weapon he is. Few players in the NFL, let alone quarterbacks, bring as much athleticism and elusiveness to the table as he does. But it’s also Vick’s propensity for trying to make things happen with his feet that could make this a risky deal.

    Remember, Vick missed four games in 2010 after suffering a rib cartilage injury against the Redskins, when he took a hit while scrambling. Taking into account the two seasons he lost due to being incarcerated and Vick hasn’t played a full NFL season since 2006 with Atlanta.

  41. Ametia says:

    Why don’t scholars have access to Rosa Parks’s archives?
    By Julian Bond and Jeanne Theoharis, Published: August 29

    Rosa Parks gave the first installment of her papers to Wayne State University’sWalter Reuther Library in 1976, explaining, “I do hope that my contribution can be made use of.”

    Thirty-five years later, nobody is making use of the rest of her papers. After her death in 2005, all of her effects and the rights to license her name became the subject of a dispute between Parks’s nieces and nephews and the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development, which she co-founded in 1987 with longtime friend Elaine Steele. In 2007, a Michigan probate court awarded custody of Parks’s possessions to Guernsey’s Auctioneers and instructed that the collection be sold in its entirety to a single buyer, with the proceeds from the sale divided, in an undisclosed settlement, between the litigating parties. All of the materials — political documents, letters and photos, along with Parks’s clothes, awards and other personal items — were collected, inventoried and taken to New York for auction. Last month, Steele challenged the court’s actions before the Michigan Supreme Court, landing the auction back in the news.

  42. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everybody! :-)

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