Serendipity Soul | Tuesday Open Thread

Happy Tuesday, Everyone!  Hope you enjoyed your Labor Day weekend and summer.  3 Chics is FIRED UP AND READY TO CONTINUE GOING ALL IN FOR PBO.

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53 Responses to Serendipity Soul | Tuesday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    Under Gov. Rick Perry (R) this year, Texas slashed state funding for the volunteer fire departments that protect most of the state from wildfires like the ones that have recently destroyed more than 700 homes.

    Volunteer departments that were already facing financial strain were slated to have their funding cut from $30 million to $7 million, according to KVUE.

    The majority of Texas is protected by volunteer fire departments. There are 879 volunteer fire departments in Texas and only 114 paid fire departments. Another 187 departments are a combination of volunteer and paid.

    For that reason, aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) could be more important than ever to the state where wildfires have recently been raging.

    Read more:… /

  2. Ametia says:

    video from local TX tv station at link.

    From March 2011:

    State funding for volunteer fire departments is taking a big hit. It is going from $30 million to $7 million. Those departments are already facing financial strains.

    The State Firemen’s and Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas represents 21,000 state firefighters. The Association says more than 80 percent of volunteer firefighters are reporting taking a personal hit in the budget crisis. They have started using their own money to help pay for equipment and supplies.

    “We’ve seen budget cuts, but this is the worst time that we’ve ever seen,” said Executive Director Chris Barron. “As far as the budget crisis and the fuel cost stuff for example continues to go up and it doesn’t help us out any whatsoever, so with the rising fuel and the budget cuts from the state it’s taken a great effect. I think the citizens and the public is going to see that.”

  3. rikyrah says:

    “Targeting Bin Laden”- on how they took him out.

    on the History Channel – repeat tonight at 12:01 AM EST

  4. rikyrah says:

    will someone explain the Tar Sands pipeline to me?

    am I wrong – the Tar Sands aren’t even on American soil—they’re in Canada, right?

  5. rikyrah says:

    Did A Top GOP Staffer For Sen. Grassley Cover Up Evidence Of News Corp Hacking In The U.S.?

    By Lee Fang on Sep 6, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    A top investigator for the Senate Finance Committee, working under Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), may have had smoking gun evidence of News Corp’s hacking activity. While News Corp’s British subsidiaries have received the most media attention for systematically hacking the cell phone and personal records of private citizens, the public still has heard little of allegations relating to similar conduct perpetrated by News Corp against its American competitors. ThinkProgress has learned that not only did a sensitive tip come to Grassley’s office about News Corp’s cyber attacks against other American companies, but authorities may have failed to look into the matter partially because a staffer named Nick Podsiadly allegedly never followed through on his promise to the whistleblower.

    In December 2006, Robert Emmel, an account executive in News Corp’s profitable marketing division called News America Marketing, mailed Grassley’s office a 58-page document detailing News Corp’s unfair business practices. News America Marketing had won incredibly lucrative contracts away from a New Jersey-based firm called Floorgraphics not too long after Floorgraphics caught someone with a News Corp I.P. address illegally accessing password-protected information on the company’s computer system. As critics have pointed out, the alleged hacking attempts by News America Marketing seem to mirror information-stealing tactics used by News Corp’s British newspapers, including the now-defunct News of the World tabloid.

    In 2006, Grassley was chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Emmel had gone to the committee looking for help. According to court filings, Grassley investigative staffer Nick Podsiadly had spoken with Emmel and told him that the committee would consider its own inquiry into the matter or he would refer the documents to the Justice Department. Podsiadly was Emmel’s best hope. After he submitted the sensitive information about his employer to the Senate Finance Committee, Emmel signed a non-disclosure agreement with News Corp, and was dismissed from the company the following month. News Corp unleashed a slew of lawyers against Emmel, which eventually forced the man into bankruptcy. As the New York Times has reported, News Corp more or less extinguished allegations of corporate espionage with $655 million in various settlements and buy-outs to competitors. (In-store marketing companies Valassis and Insignia claimed that News Corp had used similar tactics against them.)

    Podsiadly, as it turned out, may have never opened an inquiry or passed along Emmel’s tip to the Department of Justice. A spokeswoman for Grassley explained to the Guardian that ongoing litigation prevented the committee from action:

    A spokeswoman for the finance committee said nothing would be done with any documents sent by Emmel until the litigation over them had ended. Emmel today remains under a court-imposed injunction that forbids him from disclosing anything from these documents. “I cannot comment,” he said.

    Phil Hilder, Emmel’s attorney, is not buying the committee’s excuse for not investigating the matter. “What litigation? I’m not sure at the time there was any litigation that they were referring to.” Hilder explained that to his knowledge the tip was never referred to the Department of Justice either. “I have no idea what if anything Mr. Podsiadly did with the information,” said Hilder, a former federal prosecutor.

    Perhaps Grassley’s spokeswoman was hoping that the Guardian, a London-based paper, would be unaware of standard congressional procedures. Ongoing litigation, or even the threat of litigation, never prohibits a congressional committee from opening an investigation.

    Mort Rosenberg, the author of Investigative Oversight and a number of manuals for conducting congressional inquiries, dismissed the Grassley excuse in an interview with ThinkProgress. “Congress has huge powers over what it decides to investigate,” Rosenberg explained. In some cases, when the Department of Justice is already looking into a criminal matter, Congress will avoid engaging in an investigation. But overall, Rosenberg said outside litigation never prevents a committee from opening an inquiry.

    ThinkProgress spoke to Beth Levine, a spokeswoman for Grassley, who said the documents are not currently under Grassley’s purview because he is no longer the chairman or ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee. Asked if Podsiadly ever referred the whistleblower documents to the Justice Department or began a congressional inquiry into the matter when he received them in 2006, Levine responded, “I don’t know the answer to that question.” Further requests to Podsiadly and Grassley staff for more information have gone unanswered.

    In the United Kingdom, News Corp ducked prosecution for its systematic hacking for years by exploiting the company’s connections to prominent politicians and police authorities. In the United States, FBI agents, after reviewing the “excellent paper trail” left by News Corp while allegedly breaking into the computers of competitor Floorgraphics, contacted the the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey to consider a criminal investigation. At the time, the U.S. attorney was a Bush appointee named Chris Christie — a confidant of News Corporation executive and Fox News chief Roger Ailes and now the Republican governor of New Jersey. As reporter David Carr noted, the FBI case “died a slow death” in Christie’s office.

    News Corp has quieted the alleged American victims of its corporate espionage by buying their silence with over half a billion worth of settlements. The public, however, deserves a fair hearing about the alleged criminal conduct. News Corp is no ordinary company; its vast newspaper and cable news holdings have a responsibility to serve the public interest, so a pattern of corrupt conduct across the company has wide implications. The question remains though why Grassley’s staffer, Podsiadly, may have dropped the ball and thrown News Corp’s whistleblower under the bus. ‘

  6. rikyrah says:

    During Secret Retreat With Billionaires, Koch Lobbyist Admits Tea Party Group ‘Designed’ To Elect Republicans In 2010

    By Lee Fang on Sep 6, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    This morning, blogger Brad Friedman, writing in Mother Jones and BradBlog, revealed a set of audio tapes from the last major donor meeting convened by the billionaire Koch brothers. There are a number of startling revelations from the scoop — but the opening remarks from Kevin Gentry, a Koch Industries executive at the firm’s DC lobbying office, blow the cover off the many Tea Party efforts underwritten by the billionaires in the Koch network of donors.

    Gentry, who doubles as the official responsible for doling out Koch charitable grants, admits privately what ThinkProgress and others have noted for years: Americans for Prosperity, the front group founded by David Koch, orchestrates Tea Party events simply to elect more Republicans. Gentry said he met with Fred Young, a Wisconsin owner of engine manufacturing plants, at an Americans for Prosperity (AFP) event “designed to help in the Congressional races” during one of their “get out the vote tours”:

    KEVIN GENTRY: I’m going to turn it over to a dear friend, Fred Young, for the purposes of an introduction. Fred is a long-time fighter, freedom fighter, in this movement, from Racine, Wisconsin. Former owner of Young Radiator. As part of our efforts last year, in 2010, I was on the road for [TN?] in Wisconsin, here at one of Americans for Prosperity’s last minute kind of get out the vote tours. And I went to an event in Racine, Wisconsin, and met up with Fred. It was sort of a Tea Party AFP event designed to help in the Congressional races. And Fred was kind enough to lend me a sweatshirt because I wasn’t actually prepared for Racine, Wisconsin in November. So Fred, let’s take it away, please.

    Too many in the media ignored the Koch network’s transparently partisan agenda last year. A few outlets, like the Washington Post, took the group to task for spending $45 million in attack ads against Democrats using an unaccountable, secret money wing of Americans for Prosperity. However, most failed to report on the millions more spent on four different bus tours designed to promote Republicans. These rallies, which required great resources in terms of staff and logistics, were never reported to the Federal Elections Committee as campaign spending, thus evading the few watchdog groups and reporters interested in serious election coverage.

    As ThinkProgress revealed last year, in documents outlining the June, 2010 donor meeting, billionaires like Paul Singer, Ken Griffin, Rich DeVos, and John Childs are regular attendees of these events, which solicit multi-million donations for an elaborate array of right-wing front groups, from Tea Party organizers like Americans for Prosperity to stealth advertising campaigns like “Public Notice.” Unfortunately, many still report on Tea Party groups like Americans for Prosperity as bonafide grassroots organizations.

  7. rikyrah says:

    No formal Republican response planned after Obama’s jobs address
    By Daniel Strauss – 09/06/11 07:23 PM ET

    There will be no formal Republican response to President Obama’s jobs speech on Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) office announced Tuesday.

    “Republicans are, and have been, entirely focused on job creation,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said. “Every Member of Congress, and – more importantly – the American people, will provide a reaction to the president’s address. We trust in the good judgment of the American people, and the president’s proposals will rise or fall on their own merits.”

    On Thursday, in front of a joint session of Congress Obama is set to unveil a new set of plans for job creation.

    Republicans have criticized Obama for waiting until Congress returned from recess to lay out the plan rather than over the summer shortly after the White House announced a new plan was in the works.

    House Minorty Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the absence of a single Republican responding to Obama’s address “disrespectful.”

    “The Republicans’ refusal to respond to the President’s proposal on jobs is not only disrespectful to him, but to the American people,” Pelosi said in a statement.

    “The Republican silence on Thursday evening will speak volumes about their lack of commitment to creating jobs,” Pelosi continued.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Timeline Of A Right-Wing Media Smear: Hoffa’s Call To Vote Became “A Call For Violence”
    September 06, 2011 4:39 pm ET — 10 Comments

    After Fox News aired a doctored version of Teamsters president James Hoffa’s Labor Day speech, the right-wing media pointed to the clearly edited video to accuse Hoffa of encouraging violence against conservatives. In fact, unaltered video — video aired by Fox hours after the clearly edited version had been heavily promoted throughout the conservative media — shows that Hoffa was encouraging the crowd to vote against Republicans in the 2012 election.
    Hoffa Used Labor Day Address To Emphasize The Need To Vote

    Hoffa: “Everybody Here’s Got To Vote … Let’s Take These Son Of A Bitches Out And Give America Back To America Where We Belong.” During a Labor Day event in Detroit, Michigan, Teamsters president James P. Hoffa said [emphasis added]:

    We gotta keep an eye on the battle that we face: the war on workers. And you see it everywhere. It is the tea party. And you know, there is only one way to beat and win that war. The one thing about working people is, we like a good fight. And you know what? They got a war. They got a war with us, and there is only going to be one winner. It’s going to be the workers of Michigan and America. We’re going to win that war.


    President Obama this is your army. We are ready to march. And president Obama we want one thing: jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. That what we’re going to tell him. He’s going to be – and when he sees what we’re doing here he will be inspired. But he needs help and you know what? Everybody here’s got to vote. If we go back and we keep the eye on the prize, let’s take these son of a bitches out and give America back to America where we belong! Thank you very much! [, 9/5/11]

    How Fox News Helped Turn Hoffa’s Call To Vote Into A Violent Threat Against Conservatives

    Drudge: “Jimmy Hoffa: ‘President Obama, This Is Your Army. We Are Ready To March. Let’s Take These Son Of Bitches Out.” At 12:36 p.m. ET on September 5, a Drudge Report headline excised Hoffa’s comments:

    [The Drudge Report, 9/5/11]

    Fox’s Henry: Hoffa “Said Of The Tea Party And Of Republicans, Quote: ‘Let’s Take These Sons Of Bitches Out.’ ” At 1 p.m. ET, September 5, Fox News reported on Hoffa’s comments. Fox News White House correspondent Ed Henry reported:

    HENRY: The Teamsters president, Jimmy Hoffa Jr. [sic], was speaking a couple of moments ago and saying, “We’ll remember in November who’s with the working people.” He was chiding Republicans, specifically named the tea party, and then his language got a lot stronger. And pardon my language as I repeat it, but he said of the tea party and Republicans, quote: “Let’s take these sons of bitches out.” It got some cheers from this crowd here in Detroit. [Fox News, America Live, 9/5/11]

    Fox Then Aired Clearly Edited Video Of Hoffa’s Comments. Approximately 20 minutes after Henry’s initial report on Hoffa’s comments, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly reported that Hoffa had issued “a pretty harsh attack on the tea party and Republicans. Here’s some of that now.” Fox News then aired a clearly edited version of Hoffa’s speech:

    HOFFA: We gotta keep an eye on the battle that we face: a war on workers. And you see it everywhere, it is the Tea Party. And you know, there’s only one way to beat and win that war. The one thing about working people is we like a good fight. And you know what, they got a war, they got a war with us, and there’s only gonna be one winner. It’s gonna be the workers of Michigan and America. We’re gonna win that war.


    HOFFA: President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march.


    HOFFA: Let’s take these son of a bitches out and give America back to America where we belong! Thank you very much! [Fox News, America Live, 9/5/11]

    Blakeman: “I Think It’s Thuggery At Its Best.” After she aired the clearly edited version of Hoffa’s remarks, Kelly asked Republican consultant Brad Blakeman to respond. He said, “I think it’s thuggery at its best” and “these are the kind of remarks you’d expect out of Tony Soprano, not a union president.” Blakeman further said: “When a union president says, ‘let’s take these son of a bitches out,’ it usually means somebody’s legs are going to get broken, somebody’s going to disappear.” [Fox News, America Live, 9/5/11]

    Fox’s Henry: “Full Quote, Jimmy Hoffa Jr: ‘Everybody Here’s Got To Vote. If We Go Back & Keep The Eye On The Prize, Let’s Take These Sons Of Bitches Out.” At 1:26 p.m. ET — approximately the same time Kelly was delivering her report that included the clearly edited video of Hoffa’s comments — Henry posted what he called Hoffa’s full quote on his Twitter feed:

  9. rikyrah says:

    Texas vs Massachusetts

    They are poles apart on the numbers of uninsured. Perry’s Texas has 27.2 percent of its population without health insurance – the worst record in America. Massachusetts has an uninsured rate of 5.2 percent – the best. And yet Romney is still apologizing for this achievement.

    Tell me: is it actually a Republican goal that people cannot have decent access to healthcare? Do they have any proposals to help? So far, the examples seem to be yes and no.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Romney Chart Falsely Blames Obama For Job Losses In 2007, 2008 |

    To accompany his jobs speech in Nevada this afternoon, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) released a packet that laid out his plans. On page 16 of the packet is a chart highlighting statistics from past economic recoveries and is presumably supposed to show how poor Obama’s record compares to past presidents. The chart, however, calls the period of time from 2007-2009 the “Obama recovery,” blaming him for the poor job numbers over that three-year period. As Romney surely knows, however, George W. bush was serving as president in 2007 and 2008, and Obama did not take office until January 2009.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 03:50 PM ET, 09/06/2011
    Romney’s jobs plan is typical. His economic team isn’t.
    By Ezra Klein

    Mitt Romney’s biggest economic-policy announcement today wasn’t his jobs plan. It was his economic team.

    The jobs plan is, well, your standard-issue GOP jobs plan. Big tax cuts tilted towards corporations and investment income. Deregulation. An increase in domestic energy production. A free-trade compact called — I’m not making this up — the “Reagan economic zone.” A promise to keep labor union small and shrinking. If this sort of thing appeals to you, then so will Romney’s plan. If it doesn’t, it probably won’t.

    But campaign plans rarely survive first contact with the Congress. Barack Obama’s campaign health-care plan, for instance, did not include an individual mandate. His stimulus plan was a $75 billion tax cut. His cap-and-trade plan was arguably his boldest proposal. Things change.

    And the reason they change is that situations change, political realities assert themselves, and advisers filter all that information and persuade the president to chart a new course. Which is why Romney’s team of economic advisers is so important. If Romney wins the presidency, he will have to respond to the political economic realities of the moment. And these are the staffers — or at least a guide to the sort of staffers — who will help him do it.

    Romney’s team, which was announced with unusual fanfare for this sort of thing, consists of two decorated conservative economists and two retired conservative politicians. Interestingly for a candidate who is now working hard to sell himself as the only credible businessman in the race, the team doesn’t include anyone from the business world.

    The economists are Harvard’s Greg Mankiw and Columbia Business School’s Glenn Hubbard, both of whom served, at different times, as heads of George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers. They both lean to the right, but they’re serious, respected researchers who are admired in their profession.

    They also have some ideas that are not, at the moment, Republican orthodoxy. Mankiw, for instance, has repeatedly made the case for higher inflation to help us escape from the recession and higher carbon taxes to both raise revenue and aid the environment. Hubbard has advocated a cap-and-trade plan, and argued that there’s a good case for raising taxes by cutting tax expenditures and loopholes.

    I know less about ex-senator Jim Talent and ex-congressman Vin Weber. Talent is currently based at the Heritage Foundation, and most of his recent publications make the case against cuts in defense spending. Weber hangs his hat at Clark Weinstock, and is considered one of Washington’s most influential lobbyists. Like Talent, he’s also been active in military issues and served as a member of the infamous Project for a New American Century, which was one of the strongest voices pushing for an invasion of Iraq.

    So it’s a bit of an odd team. But the presence of Mankiw and Hubbard at least suggests that Romney is interested in regularly consulting serious economists, and that he’s willing to prize, in some cases, expertise over expedience. Unlike his economic plan, that actually is a break with the rest of the Republican field, and one worth noting.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    September 06, 2011 4:10 PM Mutually Assured Destruction
    By Steve Benen

    The fight over the debt ceiling has been over for about a month now, but the implications of the surreal tragedy continue to linger.

    We now about some of the consequences we can clearly identify — the first-ever downgrade of U.S. debt; roiled financial markets; growing uncertainty about the stability of the American system — but there are other considerations below the surface. Republican pollster Bill McInturff made the case last week that the scandal “dealt a devastating body blow to public confidence in the economy and government.” In the Wall Street Journal today, Gerald Seib has a related piece about “the importance of the summer’s debt negotiations” and how they “affected Americans’ confidence.”

    Jon Chait connects the dots.

    The debt ceiling hostage crisis was a political catastrophe for both Obama and Congressional Republicans. He came away looking weak. They came away looking crazy. The episode, though, had more than political ramifications. It had economic ramifications. Confidence in the economy — the number one conservative explanation for economic weakness — took a real and justified plunge.

    The Republicans pursued a strategy that torpedoed the economic recovery, and, indeed, may well bring about a double-dip recession. Voters may punish House Republicans at the polls in 2012, but they’re at least as likely to punish Obama. That Republicans may gain the White House on the shoulders of a Republican-induced recession offers lessons about the incentive structure of our divided system of government that are frightening to contemplate.

    That’s exactly right. Congressional Republicans were fully aware of the risk and catastrophic results of the game they chose to play, but they played it anyway. They even knew the political/electoral threat, but didn’t much care, at least in part because the GOP assumed it would cost President Obama dearly, and it has.

    To use a Cold War metaphor, Republicans were presented with Mutually Assured Destruction, and concluded, “Yep, we can live with that.”

    Indeed, even now, GOP leaders intend to force us to go through the same strategy, over and over again, into the future.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Angry House Dems Request Pre-Speech Meeting With Obama
    Brian Beutler | September 6, 2011, 6:40PM

    The chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and of the three caucuses of black, Hispanic and Asian members of the House would like a word with President Obama before his Thursday jobs address.

    In a Tuesday letter provided by a source, the leaders, who speak for a majority of House Dems, sought to make sure that Obama keeps his eye on the jobs crisis, which has disproportionately hit minority groups.

    “With unemployment at 9.1% nationally– approaching 12% in the Hispanic community, 16.7% in the African American community and with Asian American and Pacific Islanders remaining unemployed for longer periods than any other group– we are in a national crisis. We have learned throughout American history that big, bold action is required to put people back to work and promote economic growth,” the chairs write. “The chairs of the CBC, CAPAC, CPC, and CHC look forward to an opportunity to talk with you about proposals we would like you to consider before you address the nation this week.”

    The letter, which you can read here, hints that they’ll push for actual hiring programs to guarantee job creation. It comes at a time when members of these caucuses are catching an earful from constituents — usually reliable Democratic voters — who have grown frustrated with the party and Obama himself.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Bethenny Frankel
    I NEVER Lied About ‘Skinnygirl’

    Bethenny Frankel insists she NEVER misled the public about the ingredients in her Skinnygirl Margarita cocktail … despite the fact it was recently pulled from Whole Foods.

    Frankel just posted a statement on her website saying, “We would not sell anything that I don’t personally drink. I’m a natural foods chef and health is a top priority for me and my family.”

    She adds, “The Skinnygirl Margarita is made with natural ingredients and its label is consistent with U.S. federal regulations, which is why it is carried in stores nationwide and continues to fly off the shelves.”

    Bethenny concludes, “I built my brand on trust and honesty. I don’t take lightly obvious attempts to put my integrity in question. I will always answer your questions and concerns directly and truthfully.”

    As TMZ previously reported, Whole Foods yanked the product from its shelves recently … claiming the drink contains a preservative that is NOT a natural ingredient.

    Frankel told The Post, “I’m not making wheatgrass here. If I could put an agave plant and some limes on a shelf I would. [The Skinnygirl Margarita] is as close to nature as possible, while still being a shelf-stable product.”

  15. rikyrah says:

    Walsh talks to high school students … and they talk back

    By Lisa Black Tribune reporter

    12:59 p.m. CDT, September 6, 2011
    Congressman Joe Walsh fielded some tough questions this morning from a high school government class in Mundelein, with students asking why he plans to boycott a jobs speech by President Barack Obama and how he’s handling his ex-wife’s lawsuit alleging he owes child support.

    The Tea Party-backed freshman from McHenry told students in the advanced placement class that he plans to read the president’s speech, scheduled Thursday night, but not attend the joint session of Congress. Calling together a joint session should be reserved for “pretty big deals,”; and he doesn’t believe Obama’s proposals meet that threshold, he said.

    “I just don’t want to be used, politically,” Walsh said.

    When asked about the money he allegedly owes in child support, Walsh responded the same way he has in other public venues:

    “It makes me sad that my ex-wife did what she did,” he said. “I am going to fight it because it just isn’t true. … I am going to fight it privately and legally because anything I say can be held against me.”

    His ex-wife, Laura Walsh, is seeking $117,437 in unpaid child support and interest in a case filed in Cook County Circuit Court. The couple has three children and divorced in 2004.

    Walsh said that public officials have no private life and that people can say whatever they want about a politician.

    “Somehow in this country we need to get to a point where we don’t care about this personal stuff because the best Democrats and best Republicans aren’t running for office,” he said.

    Walsh told students that Washington lawmakers should cut spending on federal health care programs such as Medicare, paying for their use only as a “safety net.”

    “We have got to begin to pay for and be more responsible for our own health care costs,” he said.

    When asked about the Tea Party and its beliefs, Walsh first turned the question back to students, asking them what they think when they hear the term “Tea Party.” Students’ responses included: “Republicans,” “reducing taxes” and “Fox News.”

    Self-proclaimed liberal Samuel Cruz, 16, described the Tea Party as “a small group of people who are insane and out of touch with reality.”,0,809198.story

  16. Dorothy Rissman,

    You’re so sweet & so kind! I couldn’t help from crying. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I am so grateful for your outpouring of love & thoughtfulness during this awful time in my life. I am amazed that God would allow me to cross paths with such loving people that I have never met in person. Words can’t express my gratefulness towards everyone who has shown so much love for me. Bless you, Dorothy! And once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart! ***hugs***

  17. rikyrah says:

    As workforce ages, industries struggle to prepare for wave of retirements
    By Jason Alcorn and Jason Tomassini, Published: September 2 | Updated: Saturday, September 3, 9:30 PM
    Within a year of Johnney Pollan’s retirement, Dow Chemical asked him to come back. This time as a contractor.

    With his pension after 31 years of work and his health-care benefits, he and his wife were living comfortably in East Texas. And he could devote more time to his hobby, archaeology.

    But he answered the call, and his retirement plans have been put on hold — for more than a decade now. Pollan was one of a few hundred people skilled in a propriety language used to run processes at Dow’s plants. Many of them retired at once, and the company was caught in the lurch.

    “A lot of the expertise was going out the door,” said Pollan, 64. “And they found that they really needed it.”

    There’s more to come. Of the 4,200 Dow employees in Freeport, about 40 percent will be eligible for retirement within four years.

    Nationally, similar trends are emerging. Yet human resources experts, workers and executives from a range of industries say businesses are largely unprepared to accommodate an aging workforce or to cope with its eventual retirement.

    “They are oblivious,” said economist Steven Sass of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

    Many industries find themselves in a quandary. They often need older workers for their expertise, yet they also may need to accommodate their physical disabilities and their desire for more flexible schedules. And as workers stay on the job longer, they may need training in new technologies or work procedures.

    In the past decade, the number of seniors in the labor force has grown nearly 60 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By 2018, the number of workers 65 or older is projected to climb to 11 million, from 6.5 million today.

    Baby boomers are fueling the trend. Healthier and better educated than any previous generation, many plan to continue working, at least part time, well past traditional retirement age. Human resources managers say voluntary retirement nearly stopped after the stock market collapse in 2007.

    “When do people choose to retire?” asked Karen Smith, a senior researcher at the Urban Institute. “When they are able to replace their income.”

    So employers face a dual challenge. They have to keep older workers productive and then, when those workers do leave, find qualified people to replace them. In 22 industries — among them engineering, agriculture, real estate and health care — more than three in 10 workers are 50 or older, according to a 2007 study from the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College.

    “Suddenly, there’s this call that the baby boomers are retiring,” said Peter Cappelli, director of the Center for Human Resources at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. “What did you think they were going to do? Stay until they die?”

    “Companies are not very long-term-oriented,” he added. “They don’t spend much time worrying about what might be coming down the pipe in the future.”

  18. rikyrah says:

    September 06, 2011 12:40 PM

    The jobs record Romney doesn’t want to talk about

    By Steve Benen

    I’ve long wondered why more Republican presidential candidates don’t talk about Mitt Romney’s record on jobs. It seems like a campaign-killing issue — in part because his record is so atrocious, and in part because Romney pretends it’s his signature issue — but most of the GOP field has held its fire.

    It’s possible, though, that Romney’s rivals have held back because they’re waiting for the race to heat up — and it’s getting to be about that time.

    At a campaign event in South Carolina over the weekend, for example, Rick Perry told voters at a town-hall meeting, “There’s going to be some that get up and say, ‘Well, I created jobs.’ And that’s true. One in particular that’s created jobs all over the world. But while he was the governor of Massachusetts he didn’t create very many.”

    Jon Huntsman is proving to be even more aggressive on this.

    Jon Huntsman just removed any doubt about who he’ll be gunning for in the POLITICO/NBC debate tomorrow night.

    The former Utah governor’s campaign has produced a video — “#1 vs. #47” is the title — contrasting Huntsman’s jobs record with Mitt Romney’s. Under Huntsman, Utah was first in the nation in job growth, Under Romney, Massachusetts was 47th.

    There’s no mention of Romney by name, but there’s also no question which candidate the video is referring to when it says there’s a Republican with “one of the saddest records” in the country and “sadly similar” to Barack Obama on jobs.

    “Numbers never lie,” the ad says. “As the conservative governor of Utah, Jon Huntsman quietly, thoughtfully led Utah to leading the nation in job creation. Jon Huntsman: Utah, No. 1. About the same time, another governor led Massachusetts. Led them close to the very bottom.”

    Now, Huntsman’s shots at Obama are wrong — if “numbers never lie,” Huntsman knows the Recovery Act stopped the bleeding and created millions of jobs. But the point of the clip is Huntsman going after Romney, and pushing the former Massachusetts governor on one of Romney’s biggest vulnerabilities.

    And why would Huntsman be going after Romney instead of Perry, since Perry is now leading in the polls? Remember, presidential primaries aren’t really as wide open as they might appear — candidates are targeting specific kinds of voters, groups, and constituencies. In this case, Huntsman believes the kind of voters he’s likely to impress are the kind of voters in Romney’s camp. If the former Utah governor can help bring down the former Massachusetts governor, his campaign will excel.

    I’m skeptical this will work, but I am glad to see candidates start to notice Romney’s anti-jobs record. Remember, during Romney’s only service in public office, his state’s record on job creation was “one of the worst in the country.” Massachusetts really did rank 47th out of 50 states in jobs growth on Romney’s watch (and unlike President Obama, Romney didn’t inherit an economic crisis). There was a reason Romney served one term and then quit — he was not at all popular with his constituents and probably would have lost a re-election bid if he’d tried.

    And that’s just his public-sector record. In the private sector, Romney made a living slashing American jobs — a record that’s also starting to gain wider attention and greater salience.

    I know why Romney has decided to build his entire campaign around unemployment — it’s what voters care about most — but it would seem odd for Republicans to nominate the candidate whose weakest issue is jobs.

  19. rikyrah says:

    The GOP Over-Reach

    Ponnuru faces reality. How, for example, does Perry win a general election on the issues he has already firmly attached himself to:

    Texas Governor Rick Perry has suggested that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional and that they should be replaced by state-run programs. There’s a reason no Republican candidate since 1964 has run on a platform anything like this one on entitlements: Both programs are extremely popular.
    Perry has also suggested that he disapproves of the New Deal, seeing it as a moment when the federal government began to exceed the constitutional limits of its power. He hasn’t said he wants to undo the New Deal, but it’s not out of bounds for Democrats to make the charge, given the importance he attaches to constitutionalism.

    Agreed. In Perry, the Dems have someone who hates the whole concept of social security and Medicare. They used to fantasize about such an opponent. And Obama’s current weakness is tempting the GOP to dig even deeper into holes that will be impossible to get out of next year. They really intend to again prevent someone with pre-existing conditions from getting health insurance. They want to abolish the EPA. This is not an electorally viable platform, and yet the signs suggest that only Huntsman understands the gravity of the over-reach.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Voters Just Can’t Quit Obama: Economic Numbers In The Tank, Americans Still Like The President

    The first day back from summer break in Washington brought fresh evidence that the race for 2012 will be a competitive one, and the President is on shaky ground. Three new polls from NBC/Wall Street Journal, ABC/Washington Post and Politico/George Washington University all had one major message: President Obama’s approval ratings are at their lowest levels, but people still like him. And the jury is still out on who can actually beat him.

    NBC trumpeted the headline “President ‘is no longer the favorite to win re-election,’ Democratic pollster says,” and then cited numbers that are similar to many seen in August. Obama’s general approval rating in the NBC/WSJ poll is underwater at 44 percent against 51 percent disapproval. On the economy it’s more bleak, at 37 approval versus 59 percent disapproval. ABC/WaPo showed similar numbers as did Politico/GWU.

    We have also seen similar numbers over the last month, in the Gallup and Rasmussen tracking polls, in CNN surveys and in Quinnipiac. The question at this point is not if the President will see tough challenge, but given the economic numbers, how is it that he is still ahead of his potential GOP rivals?

    The polls all provide an answer: Voters still like President Obama as a person, and indeed support many of his individual policies, and are therefore conflicted about firing him. His favorability ratings across many polls are higher than his approval ratings. Some have made the comparison between Obama and former President Ronald Reagan, who maintained high favorability even though he himself faced challenges on job approval. Reagan had a major dip in approval during his first term, only to win in a landslide in 1984 after the economy sped up.

    But some of the real underlying trouble is in the President’s numbers on other qualities than likeability. NBC/WSJ also rated a number of other attributes on a 1 to 5 scale, 5 being the highest. On “having strong leadership qualities” the President rated a 5 or 4 from 42 percent of respondents, way down from the previous highs of his first two years in office. His rating on “being a good commander-in-chief” also suffered dropping to a 4 or 5 rating from only 41 percent, and on his “ability to handle a crisis” was down 14 points.

    Yet, voters are not ready to blame the President directly for what happened with the debt deal, which has brought about historic ire from Americans toward Washington. In the same NBC/WSJ poll, respondents identified a clear villan in the debt ceiling debacle: Congressional Republicans. 30 percent thought they were to blame versus 13 who pointed to Obama. Even Congressional Democrats actually got more blame than the President, at 15 percent, which was the same percentage who blamed everyone involved. So despite a drop in a perception of the President’s leadership qualities, data from the same poll shows that people aren’t ready to believe those qualities have been the issue in Washington’s problems.

  21. rikyrah says:

    September 06, 2011 1:55 PM

    The GOP still doesn’t like the unemployed

    By Steve Benen

    Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) told CNN yesterday that he’s visited with a lot of business people lately, and he’s learned they’re “actually afraid to hire people” because they’re “afraid of what the government will do to them.”

    That’s awfully dumb — when Republicans find evidence of government punishing employers for hiring workers, they should let everyone know — but it was the next part of the interview that really stood out.

    “I have talked to a lot of businesses in South Carolina who can’t get employees to come back to work because they are getting unemployment and they’re getting food stamps and they say, ‘Call me when unemployment runs out.’ […]

    “There are a lot of people who desperately need it and we need to make sure that we have that safety net in place, but we also have to realize there are a lot of people gaming the system right now.”

    I’m not sure which of DeMint’s talking points were supposed to believe — are employers afraid to hire or are they struggling with lazy people who won’t apply for openings? — but the rhetoric is a reminder that Republicans just don’t seem to like the unemployed.

    In DeMint’s mind, the jobless are living it up on meager unemployed benefits, and don’t want to seek gainful employment. In reality, the number of job openings outnumbers the number of applicants by about a six-to-one margin, and the private sector isn’t hiring as much because of a lack in demand — a problem DeMint intends to make worse through an austerity agenda.

    I have to admit, given the number of Americans struggling with unemployment and underemployment, I’m a little surprised by the number of Republicans who’ve shown outright hostility towards those who’ve lost their jobs.

    A few months ago, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) equated the unemployed with alcoholics and drug addicts, while Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) compared the unemployed to “hobos.” All kinds of GOP officeholders have said the unemployed choose not to work because of jobless benefits, while a few want to impose mandatory drug testing for the jobless — because if you can’t find work, you’re not only to blame, you’re also a suspected addict.

    I realize there’s some evidence to suggest benefits, in a healthy economy, can delay workers reentering the workforce, but this is (a) far harder to believe when the job market is already terribly weak; and (b) hardly an excuse for so many GOP officials to take personal shots at those who are already struggling.

    • GrannyStandingforTruth says:

      DeMint is LYING and those long, long lines of people standing in unemployment lines applying for jobs proves it. So where are those fictional lazy people at? All Senator DeMint’s comment proves is that the GOP is capable of lying in their quest to make President Obama a one term President.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    September 06, 2011 10:45 AM

    Radical, socialist infrastructure reaches Texas

    By Steve Benen

    If Republican rhetoric is to be believed, this is exactly the sort of public investment the GOP opposes and finds offensive. (via Jed Lewison)

    U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has joined with Texas officials and railroad industry leaders to announce nearly $50 million in rail investments to bolster both passenger and freight service through the state, and jumpstart planning for high-speed rail between Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth.

    A $34 million TIGER II grant will fund major rail improvements on the Tower 55 project in Fort Worth, TX, and reduce traffic delays by 100,000 hours per year. […]

    In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation also announced a $15 million high speed rail grant for Texas that will jumpstart engineering and environmental work on a high speed rail corridor linking two of the largest metro areas in the U.S., Dallas-Fort Worth to Houston.

    We are, of course, supposed to believe this is an awful development. Public spending, infrastructure investment, using government to create jobs — the right believes these kinds of efforts aren’t just wrong, but also constitute some kind of nefarious socialist plot.

    Notice, however, that GOP officials seem entirely pleased with the rail developments in Texas. Rick Perry’s administration appears to welcome the funding, and both Republican Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn praised the infrastructure projects. Cornyn said, “These improvements will help ensure our state remains the economic leader it is while improving the safety and commute times of those within Fort Worth.”

    A congresswoman in the area, Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) praised the partnership between federal, state, and local officials, and said the rail investments “will create hundreds of jobs.” Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), a member of the Tea Party Caucus, said the projects will benefit the whole country.

    Is that so.

    Kevin Drum had an item last week, arguing that “hypocrisy allegations” lobbed at Republicans who accept money from federal programs they oppose “are pretty shoddy.” Once a spending measure passes and funds are available, even if a GOP official disagrees with the investments, “it would be serious malfeasance not to make sure your state gets its share of the goodies.”

    That certainly makes sense. But my concern isn’t just the hypocrisy of Republicans decrying spending bills and then trying to direct that spending to their states and districts. My beef has more to do with their ideology: these same Republicans insist public investments can’t create jobs and are bad for the economy, and then also say public investments can create jobs and are good for the economy.

    And that’s a problem, not of hypocrisy necessarily, but of an incoherent approach to governing.

    I can fully appreciate the importance of fighting for a slice of a pie; after all, their taxpaying constituents are paying for these investments whether they like it or not. What gets me are the ideological arguments that are as wrong as they are cynical — public spending will undermine the economy, unless it’s in my area, in which case it will be good for the economy.

  23. rikyrah says:

    As Ohio GOPers Cut Public Union Salaries, Records Show Republican Staffers Received Pay Raises Up To 37 Percent
    By Scott Keyes on Sep 6, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Earlier this year, Ohio state legislators passed a controversial bill limiting the collective bargaining rights of public employees unions. Included in the SB5 legislation is a provision to eliminate small automatic pay increases for state workers, including teachers, cops, and firefighters.

    Ohio Republicans justified the move by arguing that state needed to shrink the size of government and save money in public employee contracts. However, when it comes to the salaries of Republican staffers, Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus (R) was not nearly as concerned with fiscal discipline.

    A new investigation by the preeminent Ohio blog Plunderbund shows that rather than leading by example and asking his own employees to tighten their belts like they did public employees with SB5, Niehaus has been giving major retroactive pay increases to his staff. Those raises were as high as 37 percent:

    Plunderbund research reveals that GOP Senate President Tom Niehaus, leader of the brain trust behind a bill to strip benefits from rank and file public employees, and champion of a budget that makes painful cuts to nearly every program in the state, has now committed the ultimate act of hypocrisy. […]

    Now, in the most recent move, quietly, effective with the first paycheck of the new fiscal year, Niehaus has followed the lead of the Governor by rewarding his top staff with enormous taxpayer-funded pay increases. His Chief of Staff, Assistant Chief of Staff, Finance Director and Senate Clerk all received a $15,000 yearly pay increase. The Deputy Finance Directory received a whopping $23,005 increase. […]

    Furthermore, the increases were retroactive, such that on July 16, these same staffers each took home checks containing 26 weeks of back pay at the higher rate, as if their raises had been in place since January. […]

    So, after passing SB5 which eliminates automatic 3% pay increases for state workers, the Senate handed their own staff raises ranging from 12 to 37%.

    After SB5 was signed into law, one consequence has been that public workers are retiring in droves in order to avoid the new legislation’s onerous pension reforms.

    Still, many in the Buckeye State are fighting back. A major opposition effort emerged, gathering nearly 1.3 million signatures to get a repeal referendum on the November ballot – one million signature more than necessary to hold a vote. A poll in May found 54 percent of Ohioans want to repeal the law, outpacing supporters by 18 points. Even Gov. John Kasich (R) has recognized SB5′s unpopularity and offered to sit down and negotiate the bill with labor organizers in advance of of November’s repeal vote.

    Of course, all public employees should receive adequate compensation for the important work they do, not just Republican Senate staffers. For Niehaus to cut firefighter’s pay while giving major raises to his own staff isn’t just unfair; it reeks of hypocrisy.

  24. rikyrah says:

    It’s Important That We Win Next Year
    by BooMan
    Tue Sep 6th, 2011 at 12:44:00 PM EST

    The 2010 elections were not only a disaster on the federal level. The Republicans gained supermajorities on the state level in places like Alabama and Texas. Republican-majority governments in states like Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Arizona, and Florida have been passing radical legislation, much of it unconstitutional on its face. The assault on abortion rights has been unprecedented, as has been the efforts to destroy public-sector unions, and to disenfranchise Democratic constituencies like racial minorities, college students, and the elderly who survive on fixed-incomes. In many cases, the courts have done what the Democrats were too weak to accomplish, and have blocked or overturned Republican legislation. But there is no guarantee that this dam will hold. The judiciary, on the state level, is growing more conservative, and the Supreme Court still has a conservative majority. The takeover of the judiciary is nearing completion, and the effort to starve the federal treasury of funds is making Grover Norquist’s dream of shrinking the government enough to drown it in a bathtub a real possibility.

    I think the Republicans have pushed the ball far enough down the field that they will be in position to radically change this country if they win the White House next year. They’ll almost certainly be able to attain a majority on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe, which will then allow all these extreme abortion laws in the states to go into effect. They’ll probably be allowed to get away with severely limiting voting rights without any challenge from the Department of Justice. Public-sector unions will be gone. The EPA will be rendered toothless. Entitlements will be gutted. Everything that isn’t tied down will be privatized and corrupted.

    There won’t be anything compassionate about the triumph of conservatism. And it will be really hard to fix.

    I don’t think this is hyperbole. Do you?

  25. rikyrah says:

    September 06, 2011 11:30 AM

    Hoffa and the fainting couch

    By Steve Benen

    It appears that one of the day’s biggest political stories yesterday, at least on the right, had to do with a Labor Day speech Teamsters President James Hoffa Jr. delivered in Detroit. This has “manufactured outrage” written all over it, but given all the attention it received, let’s take a moment to highlight reality.

    Here’s the quote from the speech that conservatives pushed aggressively:

    “Let’s take these son of a bitches out and give America back to America where we belong! Thank you very much!”

    And here’s the context of the quote:

    “Everybody here’s got to vote. If we go back and keep the eye on the prize, let’s take these son of a bitches out and give America back to America where we belong! Thank you very much!”

    In other words, he was talking about voting. This was not a call to violence — Hoffa wants to take the far-right politicians out of office, not out of existence.

    The right almost certainly realizes this, and is making a fuss just to make a fuss. Fox News, in particular, just about threw a fit over the notion that Hoffa was recommending violence against Tea Partiers. A paid CNN analyst, meanwhile, said that if President Obama “doesn’t condemn” the comments, “he is sanctioning violence.”

    This is all pretty silly. If the right is comfortable with Rick Perry’s comments about Ben Bernanke, and Sarah Palin’s “reload” cliche, and Mitt Romney talking about “hanging” Obama, I think conservatives can probably stop clutching the pearls over Hoffa’s line about voting.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Bachmann’s Campaign Team Quits
    by BooMan
    Tue Sep 6th, 2011 at 10:07:40 AM EST

    Ed Rollins is the only Republican operative in the country who I kind of like. It’s probably his blue-collar roots and his history as a boxer that makes him seem like a regular dude. He’s a mercenary, like almost all the other great American campaign managers. But he also has a tendency to offer some blunt criticism of his own party. His 1984 “Morning in America” effort set the standard for great campaigns until David Plouffe came along in 2008.
    I was a little bit disgusted with Rollins when he accepted Michele Bachmann’s offer to run her campaign. He doesn’t need the money and he knows better than to think she’d be an acceptable president. Rollins quit as H. Ross Perot’s campaign manager when he figured out that Perot had a screw loose. So, why was he going to help Bachmann?

    Maybe he does need the money. He took the job and led Bachmann to victory in the Ames Straw Poll. I guess that was the extent of his plan for Bachmann, because he just stepped down as Bachmann’s campaign manager. Perhaps Rick Perry’s decision to announce his candidacy the same day as the Ames Straw Poll was successful in preventing Bachmann from gaining any positive momentum, and now Rollins’s whole plan has blown up. Yesterday, he told the Washington Post that it is a battle between Perry and Romney, which is not the kind of thing you’d expect a Bachmann advocate to say. Of course, he’s creating a facade that he’s resigning for health reasons and will remain a senior adviser, but that doesn’t explain why his assistant is leaving the campaign.

    Mrs. Bachmann’s campaign cited health reasons for the abrupt change in the role Mr. Rollins, 68, will play in the presidential campaign.
    “Ed is moving away from the demanding day-to-day operations of the campaign and into a senior adviser role,” said the spokeswoman, Alice Stewart. “He is fantastic and will continue to be invaluable on the campaign.”

    Politico reported the change in Mr. Rollins’s role. The Web site also reported on Monday night that Mr. Rollins’s deputy, David Polyansky, would leave the campaign. “I wish Michele nothing but the best, and anyone who underestimates her as a candidate does so at their own peril,” Mr. Polyansky told Politico.

    It sounds to me like Rollins had a plan and things went according to plan, and yet it still didn’t work. So, he and his team are cutting their losses. It’s unlikely that Bachmann will regain her former numbers. She’s already peaked.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Poll: Scott Brown Ahead But Under 50 Percent Against Elizabeth Warren
    A new poll in Massachusetts find that Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) remains ahead in his race for re-election in 2012 — but is well under 50 percent against former White House adviser Elizabeth Warren, a precarious spot for a Republican in this usually deep-blue state.

    The new survey was sponsored by Boston’s NPR station, and conducted by polling firm MassINC. The numbers: Brown 44%, Warren 35%. In match-ups against other Democrats, Brown led City Year co-founder Alan Khazei by 45%-30%, led Dem activist Bob Massie by 45%-29%, and led Newton Mayor Seti Warren 46%-28%.

    In a positive sign for Brown, his favorable rating is a solid 54%, to only 25% unfavorable. On the other hand, Elizabeth Warren is at only 17%-13% favorable, with 24% undecided and a 44% plurality having never heard of her — and Brown is nevertheless unable to reach 50% support in this Dem state.

  28. rikyrah says:

    At Strategy Seminar, Koch Refers To Obama As ‘Saddam Hussein’ To Be Defeated In ‘Mother Of All Wars’
    By Zaid Jilani on Sep 6, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Today, Bradblog’s Brad Friedman reports for Mother Jones about a secret meeting that the right-wing oil billionaire Koch brothers held at a Colorado resort in June with hundreds of wealthy donors who plotted to finance right-wing causes and elect conservative politicians.

    Friedman reports that audio he obtained from the conference reveals that Charles Koch alarmingly referred to President Obama as “Saddam Hussein,” saying that the right had to fight the “mother of all wars.” He rallied his guests to donate millions of dollars to help defeat Obama and boost other right-wing causes. Listen to audio of these remarks obtained by Friedman:

    Koch also read off a list of 32 donors who gave a million dollars or more to his efforts to build up far-right infrastructure. Mother Jones’s Gavin Aronsen notes that this list was largely corroborated by ThinkProgress research published in 2010. The list includes financiers such as Charles Schwab of the Charles Schwab Corporation and John Templeton, Jr. of the powerful John Templeton Foundation.

  29. rikyrah says:

    CNN fails to post video of Rick Perry floating idea of raising Medicare age to “69 or 70″
    Posted on Monday, September 5, 2011, 5:10 pm
    by GottaLaff

    This morning I watched as the moderator lobbed softballs at Rick Perry at a town hall meeting in Conway, South Carolina that CNN televised. I couldn’t wait to share the video with you, and have been refreshing CNN’s video page all day, hoping they’d post segments.

    Here’s what what they ended up posting. One video, less than a minute and a half long (not counting the 30 second AT&T ad) of Perry bragging about his “job creation.”

    They failed to so much as mention Perry claiming outright that President Obama lied about illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border sinking to record low levels. I guess the L.A. Times recent report about that was a lie too, huh Ricky? Hey CNN, did you correct the record? No, you didn’t.

    They also failed to so much as mention Ricky’s little bombshell in which he floated the idea of raising the Medicare eligibility age to “69 or 70.” The New York Times at least hinted at it:

    On Medicare, which he once again called a Ponzi scheme, Mr. Perry offered no specifics other than to say that the age minimum for receiving benefits ought to be raised. “That’s a good conversation to have,” he said.

    The Houston Chronicle came closer, printing this quote, but still omitted the specifics about the ages Perry mentioned:

    “No matter where you are in America, if you’re already getting your Social Security or are approaching that age, you’ve made a lot of decisions about retirement. … You have no worries at all about your current Social Security. What we do need to have a conversation about is kids my children’s age. … We shouldn’t lie to them and tell them that system we have in place today will be there for them.”

    I heard these things, saw Rick Perry say these things, but nobody is reporting these things. CNN, you should be ashamed for not posting the entire video so that Americans can be informed and choose their candidates wisely.

    Instead, once again, the media chose to dumb down voters and slant their stories to suit their own corporate needs.

    This is unacceptable, but this is what we’re stuck with unless we the people start speaking out loudly and clearly, calling out this kind of shoddy reporting and blatant media bias.

  30. rikyrah says:

    EXCLUSIVE! Beeryblog Obtains Letter White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley (should have) Sent to Boehner Re: Thursday Speech

    My Dearest Speaker Boehner,

    The President reluctantly accepts your request that he address a Joint Session of Congress on Thursday. He’s very busy on Thursday, as that is the day he has scheduled to whack al Qaeda’s third- and fourth-ranking operatives, but he will try to squeeze you in between cleaning up George W. Bush’s fiscal legacy and trying to repair our international reputation as the world’s leader in science and human rights.

    I note that you have penciled the President in for a 7 pm slot, and we do appreciate your extraordinary willingness to defer your daily bender into the twilight hours (but I should say that if you need just a nip or two to settle the shakes before the President begins speaking, your open secret is safe with me).

    As the Teabaggers in your caucus approach their ‘terrible twos,’ please see to it that they are well behaved and please have adult proctors manning highly visible and conspicuous posts. The Secret Service proposed to seat over 60 of your members at a ‘kiddie table,’ but the President stepped in to suggest that, with obvious reservations, he remains hopeful that Joe Wilson and his special-needs colleagues can be tamed with the promise of a ‘Secret-Service Solution’ hanging in the air.

    While the President is willing to accommodate your invitation, certain protocols that have been taken for granted up until this time will have to be amended given the recent behavior of you and your caucus. To wit, you will have to leave your over-sized gavel outside the chamber while the President is present therein, and spitball-proof partitions will be erected between the Republican side of the aisle and the President.

    Furthermore, the introduction of the Sergeant at Arms will be amended; when Mr. Obama enters the chamber, the Sergeant at Arms will proclaim, Mister Speaker, the patriotic, natural-born, and duly elected first but probably not last African-American President of the United States! Any Republican member who faints, collapses, or begins to froth at the mouth during or immediately after this introduction will be carried or escorted out of the chamber as circumstances require.

    Finally, please note that the President will likely address your members about jobs. To that end, be advised that he might propose legislation. Please be sure that your members are up to speed on the basic functions and powers of Congress, such as Congress’ authority to regulate the economy and the efficacy of the practice—should Congress wish to address any of the nation’s problems—of actually voting on documents called bills that Congress may present to the President for his signature in the event members of Congress want those bills to become laws. The enclosed short video might be instructive for your members:

  31. rikyrah says:

    September 06, 2011 9:25 AM

    Voters still side with Dems’ economic agenda

    By Steve Benen

    Facebook Twitter Digg Reddit StumbleUpon Delicious

    There are three new national polls out this morning — Washington Post/ABC, NBC/Wall Street Journal, and Politico/GW — and they largely point in the same direction. President Obama’s approval rating continues to fall, and is now in the low-to-mid 40s; Republicans are even more unpopular; and the American mainstream is deeply frustrated and pessimistic.

    But since all of that’s rather predictable, let’s instead look at something a little more interesting: public attitudes on policy agendas.

    The NBC/WSJ poll (pdf) was of particular interest on this front, asking respondents:

    President Obama is expected to outline a jobs plan in the coming weeks. I’m going to read some different proposals that could be considered by the president. For each one please tell me if you think this proposal is a good idea, a bad idea, or do you not know enough about it to have an opinion.”

    The most popular idea was having the government pay for unemployed workers to train at private companies. Funding a new road construction bill also enjoyed strong support. Though the polls weren’t quite as one sided, pluralities also backed an extension of unemployment benefits and the payroll tax cut.

    Politico’s poll asked a similar question about “a large scale federally subsidized nationwide construction program putting Americans back to work building roads, bridges, schools, and hospitals.” A 51% majority favored the idea, while only 21% opposed it.

    When President Obama presents his jobs agenda on Thursday, it’s likely those who tune in will approve of his ideas.

    At the same time, the NBC/WSJ poll also asked about various approaches to deficit reduction, with similar results. Ending Bush-era tax breaks for the wealthy enjoyed strong support; cutting spending without new revenue was very unpopular. The idea with the least amount of support? Cutting Medicare.

    For all the talk about the center-right nation, and for all of the president’s troubles in the polls, most of the public is still on board with what Democrats are proposing, and have no use for what the GOP is selling.

    Of course, the challenge is capitalizing on this — Republicans to date haven’t much cared whether their tactics are popular or not.

  32. treetop45 says:

    May God Bless you, honey, I know you are suffering. Have been there in my 66 years! Hopefully, you will get some relief SOON! Take good care.
    My best and my prayers,

  33. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    September 06, 2011 8:40 AM

    The significance of Bachmann’s staff shake-up

    By Steve Benen

    Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign was already moving in the wrong direction. A major staff shake-up makes matters much worse.

    Rep. Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign is undergoing significant staffing changes, with campaign manager Ed Rollins taking on a reduced role and deputy campaign manager David Polyansky departing.

    Alice Stewart, a spokeswoman for Bachmann (R-Minn.), confirmed the departures late Monday. Rollins, whose decision was first reported by Politico, told The Washington Post he was too old to deal with the campaign grind. […]

    Polyansky’s departure will raise questions about whether the changes represent a strategic shake-up for a campaign that has taken a back seat in the race since Texas Gov. Rick Perry entered and Bachmann won the Ames straw poll three weeks ago.

    It didn’t help that Rollins candidly conceded, “The Perry-Romney race is now the story, with us the third candidate.”

    Looking back at recent cycles, campaign shake-ups do not always spell doom. In early 2003, Howard Dean changed campaign managers, and several months later, his campaign caught fire. In early 2007, John McCain lost many top aides, and he went on to win the Republican nomination.

    But the context matters. For one thing, Bachmann has long been seen as an unelectable nut pretending to be a major presidential candidate. Having a top-tier campaign staff lent her effort an air of credibility — she couldn’t be too ridiculous, the argument went, if Ed Rollins signed on with her — but with Bachmann’s top two aides now departing unexpectedly, that standing is vanishing.

    For another, while candidates like Dean and McCain recovered from staff shake-ups, their changes happened earlier in the cycle. The Iowa caucuses are in five months — a contest Bachmann intended to win — and it’s not at all a good time to lose a campaign manager and deputy campaign manager.

    The Republican establishment has already relegated Bachmann to afterthought status, and the loss of her top two staffers will reinforce the impression she’s flailing.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Here’s Why Black Unemployment Has Gone Through The Roof

    Last month’s disturbingly high black unemployment rate is evidence that African Americans have been disproportionately affected by the shrinking public-sector.

    The public sector is the most important source of employment for African Americans and a key source of high-paying jobs, especially for black women, according to a study by the U.C. Berkeley Department of Labor. African Americans are 30% more likely to hold government jobs than other workers; from 2008-2010, 21.2% of black workers were employed in the public sector, compared to just 16.3% of non-black workers.

    The numbers explain why African Americans have been hit so much harder by government budget cuts and layoffs than their non-white counterparts. The black unemployment rate was a staggering 16.7% in August — double the 8% unemployment rate for whites. The white unemployment rate has actually fallen, down from 8.7% last year, while the black unemployment rate has risen from 16%.

    At the same time, the public sector continues to eliminate jobs, including 17,000 in August alone. Overall, government employment has dropped by roughly 600,000 since 2008.

    The ongoing contraction of state and local governments suggests that the black unemployment trends aren’t likely to reverse any time soon. The prospect is perhaps most alarming for black youth, 46.5% of whom are now unemployed.

    Read more:

  35. rikyrah says:

    Open Letter to the Congressional Black Caucus: Where is your jobs bill?

    George Cook
    Let me start off by stating that I have the utmost respect for all who serve as members of the US Congress and that I appreciate the hard job that each and everyone of you do.

    Recently there has been more news coverage of criticism by the CBC against President Obama when it comes to jobs and unemployment in the African American Community.

    This being the United States of course all and any members of the CBC have the right to question and or criticize the president.

    Those same rights give me the right to ask , “Where is the CBC’s job plan?”

    Not just the CBC but has any member of the CBC recently introduced or at least penned legislation that would help with black unemployment? As much as many want to blame President Obama as president he does not write legislation, members of congress do.

    If there is a plan and or legislation from the CBC or any one of it’s members please let the public know. We have that right especially when a president many of us voted for is being criticized and unfairly so in my opinion.

    I believe it’s not right to criticize some one’s else’s job if you are not doing yours. If the CBC and it’s members are only talking about but not helping with the issue of black unemployment then they are part of the problem not the solution.

    Yes let’s hold the president accountable. But then again members of the CBC should also hold themselves accountable and be able to produce legislation to help their constituents not just point fingers at the president.

    But then again better yet it would be great if everyone just worked together

  36. rikyrah says:

    Obama can’t create many jobs without Congress’ help

    President Barack Obama’s own job may be on the line as he presents his plan for job creation next week, with the nation’s unemployment rate mired at 9.1 percent and his popularity at a record low.

    He’ll call on Congress to back him on a package of proposals that the White House says will put Americans back to work. Earlier this summer he tried to rally public pressure on Congress to do as he wished, and he may do so again, exercising his power of “the bully pulpit.” This week he threatened to bash Republicans on the campaign trail if they fail to follow his lead.

    But Republicans in Congress are dead set against any big new spending program, and they control the House of Representatives, so the prospect of no big new jobs program rolling out of Washington before 2013 looms large.

    In light of that, is there anything else Obama can do on his own to spur job creation?

    Probably nothing significant.

    The White House says there are some steps the executive branch can take without congressional approval, but independent analysts — even those who are pressing Obama to make an ambitious case in his address next Thursday for a sweeping job-creation package — say the magnitude of the nation’s problems is so large that it’s beyond anything the executive branch can do on its own.

    “I know it’s tempting to look for a man-on-a-white-horse response to this situation as a way out of the gridlock between the two parties … but we have to solve this as a country,” said William Galston, a former policy adviser to President Bill Clinton and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a center-left policy research center.

    Galston said presidents had executive power they could use to “speed things up or slow things down” within existing programs, “but if you try to do things that go beyond what Congress has authorized, particularly right now with the partisan polarization so intense, I don’t think it would get very far.”

    The Constitution gives Congress primary power over taxes and spending. Congress gives money to the executive branch designated for specific purposes. The president isn’t empowered to take money appropriated for, say, the Pentagon, and spend it instead on a new jobs program of his own design. When past presidents have tried to exert economic powers beyond what’s given to them by Congress and the Constitution, they’ve gotten slapped down.

    President Harry Truman tried to take over the steel industry, citing a national emergency, but the Supreme Court ruled the action unconstitutional, Galston noted. Richard Nixon tried to “impound” money that Congress had appropriated rather than spend it as intended, but Congress struck back with a budget act that constrained him and effectively denied him the power.

    Galston suggested that 90 to 95 percent of what Obama will recommend next week “will require someone else’s consent,” namely Congress.

    Republicans say there’s plenty Obama could do, beginning with embracing tax cuts, revoking federal regulations that they say handcuff business — and abandoning any push for more federal spending to spark job creation.

    House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Friday blamed sluggish private-sector job growth on the “triple threat of higher taxes, more failed ‘stimulus’ spending and excessive federal regulations.

    “Together, these Washington policies have created a fog of uncertainty that’s left small businesses unable to hire and American families worried about the future.”

    Read more:

    • Ametia says:

      The same old tired meme from GOP and media are pushing

      no job growth because taxes, stimulus, spending, regulations.. small busienss, blah, blah, blah. BULLSHIT!

      These are the reasons why, not enough stimulus, no regulations that caused out of control charges from banks, credit card companies, etc. Tax cuts for RICH, that’s all the GOP STANDS FOR. FUCK’EM!

  37. rikyrah says:

    September 06, 2011
    Good riddance?
    From The Note:

    In an interview [Sunday] morning in Columbia, SC, Jim DeMint told [ABC News’ Jonathan Karl] he’ll probably skip President Obama’s speech to joint session of Congress on Thursday.

    Which, it seems, is the latest in GOP fashion. Last week I heard the idiot Joe Walsh (there really is no more accurate way to describe the Illinois congressman) tell MSNBC’s Martin Bashir that he would definitely skip President Obama’s speech.

    My guess: these two clowns will soon be followed by like(simple)minded partisans. Explaining to the home-rubes why attendence is regarded as at least a show of respect to the Office of President could be a Tea Party kiss of death.

    Shows of respect, common courtesy, that sort of thing — old hat, in their minds; yes, the ones that lay the firmest claim to noble American traditions.

    • treetop45 says:

      KUDOS, Idiots is the ONLY word for these two. Thanks for sharing all of your notes this AM.
      And here I thought I would have a quiet morning…:) You have me hopping to send my comments. Keep up the GREAT work.

  38. rikyrah says:

    Robert Gates Says Israel Is an Ungrateful Ally: Jeffrey Goldberg
    By Jeffrey Goldberg Sep 5, 2011 7:00 PM CT 23 Comments

    It was an extraordinary scene: President Barack Obama, sitting impassively in the Oval Office in May as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lectured him, at considerable length and at times condescendingly, on Jewish history, Arab perfidy and the existential challenges facing his country.

    What was extraordinary wasn’t the message — it was not an untypical Netanyahu sermon. What was notable was that Netanyahu was lecturing the president live on television, during a photo opportunity staged so that the two leaders could issue platitudes about the enduring bonds between their nations.

    That display of impudence left the president and his team feeling unusually angry. Shortly afterward, Obama’s chief of staff, William Daley, called the Israeli ambassador in Washington, Michael Oren, to communicate the displeasure of the White House in a reportedly heated way. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who watched her husband battle Netanyahu in the late 1990s, also expressed anger and frustration about the prime minister within the administration.

    Nothing in Return
    But it was Robert M. Gates, the now-retired secretary of defense, who seemed most upset with Netanyahu. In a meeting of the National Security Council Principals Committee held not long before his retirement this summer, Gates coldly laid out the many steps the administration has taken to guarantee Israel’s security — access to top- quality weapons, assistance developing missile-defense systems, high-level intelligence sharing — and then stated bluntly that the U.S. has received nothing in return, particularly with regard to the peace process.

    Senior administration officials told me that Gates argued to the president directly that Netanyahu is not only ungrateful, but also endangering his country by refusing to grapple with Israel’s growing isolation and with the demographic challenges it faces if it keeps control of the West Bank. According to these sources, Gates’s analysis met with no resistance from other members of the committee.

    Frustration and Resentment
    Gates has expressed his frustration with Netanyahu’s government before. Last year, when Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel was marred by an announcement of plans to build new housing units for Jews in East Jerusalem, Gates told several people that if he had been Biden, he would have returned to Washington immediately and told the prime minister to call Obama when he was serious about negotiations.

    Gates’s frustration also stems from squabbling with Netanyahu over U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other Arab allies. In an encounter in Israel in March, according to U.S. and Israeli sources, Netanyahu lectured Gates at length on the possible dangers posed to Israel by such sales, as well as by Turkey and other regional U.S. allies. Gates, a veteran intelligence officer, resented Netanyahu’s tone, and reminded him that the sales were organized in consultation with Israel and pro-Israel members of Congress.

  39. rikyrah says:

    Rick Perry Accused of Distorting Congressional Map as Texas Trial Begins
    QBy Laurel Brubaker Calkins – Sep 6, 2011 7:30 AM CT

    Texas governor and U.S. presidential candidate Rick Perry faces allegations in a trial today that he intentionally distorted congressional districts with the help of Republican lawmakers to prevent Latinos from winning office in the state.

    Texas gained four seats in Congress after adding almost 4.3 million new residents since 2000, according to the 2010 U.S. census. Hispanics, who have historically voted more often for Democrats, accounted for about 65 percent of the increase. Republicans hold 23 of Texas’s current 32 congressional seats.

    State lawmakers “employed gerrymandering techniques such as packing and cracking of minority communities” to limit the odds that Latinos would win the new seats, according to criticism summarized in a ruling last week by the three-judge panel that will hear the nonjury trial in San Antonio.

    Perry, 61, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, signed the bill with the new election map created by state legislators in June. Texas officials presented the map for administrative “pre-clearance” under the Voting Rights Act by the Obama Administration, a step required of all states with a history of violating voting rights.

    Congressional representatives whose jobs are threatened by the redistricting plan sued Perry and the state to block approval of the map, as did Travis County, which includes the capital, Austin, and where Democrat Barack Obama outpolled Republican John McCain 64 percent to 34 percent in the 2008 presidential election.

    City and County

  40. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, EVERYONE :)

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