Serendipity SOUL | Wednesday Open Thread

Happy HUMP day, Everybody!

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56 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Wednesday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Judge tells Rep. Walsh he must prove he paid $100,000 in child support
    By Erika Slife Tribune reporter

    2:35 p.m. CDT, September 14, 2011

    A Cook County judge ruled today that U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh must now prove that he made nearly $100,000 in past child support payments to his ex-wife, Laura, in the pair’s ongoing legal battle over child support for their three children.

    “That’s up to him to prove that now,” said Laura Walsh’s attorney, Jack Coladarci. “He’s got to show that he made all those payments.”

    The congressman’s attorney, Janet Boyle, called the ruling a “legal technicality.”

    “A rule to show cause was issued which makes it clear that the burden is on the congressman as opposed to on Laura at this time,” Boyle said. “The congressman will be filing a pleading within the next couple of weeks that will set forth quite clearly what his position on all of this is.”

    Attorneys for the pair will appear next before domestic relations Judge Raul Vega on Nov. 8 for a status hearing.

    The congressman owes more than $117,437 in child support and interest, according to court papers filed by his ex-wife last December. The congressman earns $174,000 a year as a lawmaker, but takes home less because of a withholding order that deducts $2,134 a month to pay current child support obligations, Coladarci said.

    “I’m certainly pleased with the ruling today,” said Laura Walsh, who appeared in court. “You know, it’s child support. He either paid it or he didn’t.”

    The couple married in 1987 and divorced in 2004. Their three children were 16, 13 and 9 when the Walshes split, and are now 24, 20 and 16.

    She called the child support battle “extremely difficult” for her and the children.

    “We get through one day at a time,” she said.,0,6448930.story

  2. rikyrah says:

    September 14, 2011 3:00 PM
    Cantor discovers he likes compromise after all

    By Steve Benen

    The lack of self-awareness from the oft-confused House Majority Leader is striking.

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Tuesday took a shot at what he called the White House’s “all-or-nothing” approach on President Barack Obama’s jobs plan, saying that method won’t fly in Congress.

    Cantor, a Republican from Virginia, jumped on remarks by strategist David Axelrod, who said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that Obama’s American Jobs Act is “not an a la carte menu,” but rather “a strategy to get this country moving.”

    Obama’s “message — all or nothing, take it or leave it — that’s just not the way I think anything works and certainly not the way Washington works,” Cantor said during a jobs summit sponsored by the American Action Forum. “We’ve been there, done that for the last eight months.”

    When Cantor says “we” have done “that” for the last eight months, I’m curious who and what he’s referring to.

    It’s true that the White House, when it comes to the American Jobs Act, is taking a tougher bargaining position than usual. Indeed, the president and his team appear to be using the same kind of tactics Republicans tend to prefer — present an agenda, argue that the other side should embrace it, reject any public concessions. Rinse and repeat.

    But for several days now, Cantor keeps whining that the mean ol’ White House just isn’t being flexible enough. This is bizarre. For one thing, it’s not as if President Obama is running around threatening to veto any bill that falls short of his ever demand. The West Wing is taking a firm negotiating posture, but no one seriously believes the president would reject a jobs bill that comes close to the one Obama has already sent to the Hill.

    For another, has Cantor paid any attention at all to his own conduct and that of his caucus lately?

    …Republicans have spent eight months in the majority introducing ideological fantasies — bills that don’t include any ideas that Democrats support — and trying to pass them off as compromises.

    …Cantor still only accepts one definition of compromise: giving Republicans what they want.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Domenico Montanaro (MSNBC): President Obama’s base has abandoned him – so goes the conventional Beltway wisdom.

    The problem with this accepted narrative: There’s no data to back this up, according to the most recent NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll.

    The survey included these numbers:

    – By an 81%-14% margin, Democrats approved of his job performance, essentially unchanged from his 82%-14% score in July.

    – Among liberals, it was 74%-21% – exactly the same numbers from July.

    – 92% of black respondents said they approved of Obama’s job with 5% disapproving. That’s actually up from July, when his approval with the group stood at 83%-13%.

    – And among Hispanics, his approval stands at 57%-38%, up from his 45%-48% score in July…..

    • rikyrah says:

      92% of black respondents said they approved of Obama’s job with 5% disapproving. That’s actually up from July, when his approval with the group stood at 83%-13%.

      and this is after the Poverty Tour and after Ms. Wiggie wanted to be ‘ unleashed’ on the President.


  4. rikyrah says:

    The Professor Who Schooled Tavis Smiley
    Harvard’s Randall Kennedy used the TV host’s show to debunk his rants about Obama.

    By: Les Payne | Posted: September 14, 2011 at 12:11 AM

    Bristling in the face of the calm scholar, Tavis Smiley was having none of the lesson that Randall Kennedy was teaching on Smiley’s TV show in early September. So the Harvard law professor contented himself with taking PBS viewers to school on the complex relationship between the first black U.S. president and his African-American constituency.

    Kennedy weighed in with the scholarship of his new book, The Persistence of the Color Line: Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency, noting that President Barack Obama has mastered the dual audience so troubling to black seekers of high office. African-American voters broke for him in the ’08 primary after largely white voters in Iowa favored him over John Edwards and Hillary Clinton.

    Already, Kennedy argued, Obama was overcoming skepticism among grassroots blacks wary about his upbringing by a white mother and her parents. He heaped praise upon Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders and displayed the requisite level of “comfort with black history, black culture, black rhythms, black colloquialisms.”And whereas Obama did not choose his parents, the young politician had chosen a “very distinguished black woman, Michelle Robinson” as his wife.

    None of this swayed host Smiley. Nor did it sway many prominent black political and church leaders at the time, including California Rep. Maxine Waters and half the Congressional Black Caucus, where Obama was a card-carrying member. All favored Sen. Clinton over Obama. Indeed, New York Rep. Charles Rangel, then the most powerful African American in Congress, had projected that one of his top career achievements would be the election of Clinton, who happens to be white, as the first female president of the United States.

    One of the overlooked intrigues of American politics is how securely the Clintons have fastened their ring in the noses of so many key black leaders and how, even now, it seems difficult for some to remove it! Last week Smiley was still defending Clinton’s chances against Obama in the ’08 primary: “Hillary was still ahead of him 2- or 3-to-1 in most polls, until the overwhelming numbers of white voters in Iowa gave him that victory and then said it was OK. What [does] it [say] about black folk along that color line that they didn’t break for Barack Obama until white folk essentially — my words, not yours — gave them permission?”

    The question, of course, could just as glibly have been asked, Why indeed did Tavis Smiley and key black leaders await the white woman’s permission to support a black presidential candidate? Professor Kennedy was too dignified, however, to slide down into the mud with his host. Instead, he answered that the commitment to Obama after Iowa was based upon the grass roots’ perception of the young senator as a “winnable” candidate.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:33 PM ET, 09/14/2011
    GOP games in Pennsylvania are an outrage
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    Pennsylvania is currently perhaps the third most important state in presidential elections. Republicans there are considering a plan to turn it into Rhode Island. That would be terrible for Pennsylvanians, and terrible for American democracy — but it would give a massive short-run advantage to national Republicans.

    Here’s the story. The electoral college is mandated by the Constitution as the way to determine the winner of presidential elections, but it’s up to each state to decide how to apportion their electoral votes. Traditionally, states have chosen a winner-take-all system, because that maximizes the state’s clout. Indeed, that’s why large and close states such as Pennsylvania, Florida, and Ohio are so important in presidential elections.

    But now, as Nick Baumann reports, Republicans who control Pennsylvania government after the 2010 elections are pushing a scheme to apportion electoral votes by Congressional district (as Maine and Nebraska currently do). The effect would be to basically make Pennsylvania a marginal player in the 2012 election. After all, most House districts (including those in the Keystone State) have lopsided partisan majorities, so they wouldn’t be in play, and parties would be unlikely to devote serious resources to try to pick off a couple of electoral votes in the swing districts — and even less unlikely to devote the massive resources it would take to capture the two remaining at-large votes, given that it would be far more efficient to use the money in much smaller states with more (winner-take-all) electoral votes up for grabs.

    As far as the effects of this policy, effectively eliminating Democratic-leaning Pennsylvania from the electoral college would be huge — and if Republican legislatures and governors in Michigan and Wisconsin did the same thing in those Democratic-leaning states, it would combine to establish a large Republican bias in the electoral college (compared to a current situation in which there’s basically either no bias or a very small edge for the Democrats).

    This is entirely consistent, as Kevin Drum points out, with GOP efforts to use their 2010 landslide to secure future electoral advantages. This does appear to be a real difference between the parties these days. Democrats after 2008 certainly moved aggressively to pass their agenda, but they placed a priority on substantive policy such as health care reform, while doing little about campaign finance reform, or card check, or DC statehood, or any of the other things that could give them a future institutional electoral advantage. It’s not always clear that the GOP strategy, by the way, is wiser; after all, there is probably no clear policy victory in the 2003-2006 era of unified GOP government that was as significant as the Democratic achievements in 2009-2010. It’s also consistent with Republican “Constitutional hardball,” in which they exploit ambiguities or areas in which norms are not fully codified to secure short-term advantages (think massive expansions of the filibuster, or impeaching Bill Clinton).

    The result of all this would be that presidential elections lose a great deal of their legitimacy.

    It would be entirely possible for a Republican to win the 2012 presidential election despite losing the popular vote by a solid margin and losing states containing a solid majority of electoral votes. Democrats would likely retaliate the next time they had a chance. Close presidential elections would wind up being decided by all sorts of odd chance events, rather than, you know, who wins the most votes. Yes, the current electoral college system does allow split results such as what happened in 2000, but that’s very different: clear, stable rules make it likely that everyone will accept the results.

    In short, it’s an absolutely outrageous plan, terrible for democracy and terrible for Pennsylvania. But extremely good for the short-term prospects of Republican presidential candidates.

  6. rikyrah says:

    eptember 14, 2011 3:45 PM
    The value of a ‘do-no-harm’ standard

    By Steve Benen

    House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (Conn.) had a terrific idea recently, trying to get the Murray/Hensarling super committee to focus, not only on deficit reduction, but also on job creation. Congressional Republicans, not surprisingly, weren’t fond of the measure.

    But it’s not the only Democratic effort to keep the super committee focused, at least a little, on the genuine national crisis. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) spoke with Greg Sargent this morning about a related idea that would at least make the panel aware of the employment impact of their proposals.

    Merkley … is calling on both parties to agree to submit every proposal offered by the supercommittee to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, to be evaluated for the impact it will have — on jobs.

    He doesn’t want the CBO to evaluate the proposals just for their budgetary impact. Rather, he wants the CBO to reach a conclusion on the impact the proposals will have on unemployment, whether positive, negative, or neutral.

    We need to have a ‘no-harm’ standard,” Merkley told Greg. “At a minimum, people on both sides of the aisle should be able to agree that the proposals do no harm to jobs.”

    This seems like such a no-brainer, I’ll look forward to the creativity Republicans will draw upon to oppose it.

    Generally, when we talk about CBO reports, we’re talking about scores that let lawmakers know what bills cost and how plans will affect the deficit, if at all. But a CBO score generally only tells part of the story: how a proposal impacts the budget, not how it impacts unemployment.

    Merkley wants policymakers to have both pieces of information. As we know all too well, we have two large problems when it comes to fiscal and economic policy: a jobs crisis and a large deficit. Given the larger economic circumstances, addressing one tends to have a negative impact the other — if we invest heavily in creating jobs, the deficit can get worse; if we shrink the deficit in a hurry, the economy and unemployment will suffer.

    Congressional Republicans — who, incidentally, created the budget mess during the Bush era when the decided it was “standard practice not to pay for things” — want the super committee focused on the deficit and debt. Merkley simply wants to add a key piece of data to the process: letting committee members know how many jobs will be gained or lost as a result of a proposal.

    What’s the rationale against this? Who wants to make the case in support of less information and more ignorance?

    If I had to guess, I’d say Republicans will argue that the CBO can’t be trusted to prepare jobs analyses based on the GOP’s “unique” approach to arithmetic. Republicans would probably rather see the analysis done by … oh, I don’t know … the Heritage Foundation or Sean Hannity’s producers.

    But Merkley’s idea deserves support and if Republicans oppose it, they should be pressed to explain why independent information on job creation doesn’t matter.

    President Obama, though the introduction of the American Jobs Act, has had some success in changing the nature of the larger conversation. The constant preoccupation with the deficit has begun to shift, at least a little, to questions about how (not whether) Congress will emphasize bringing down unemployment. Merkley’s idea is independent of the AJA, but it fits in well with the larger White House frame.

    The difference is, Republicans should have a much tougher time opposing Merkley’s measure.

  7. Ametia says:




  8. Ametia says:

    Chris Matthews what the fuck are you talking about, it looks bad for POTUS’ GTFOH

    Take a look at NC, OH, and VA crowds, folks. THESE ARE THE REAL VOTERS.

  9. Ametia says:

    I wish a MOFO would try and primary President Obama. BRING.IT!

  10. Ametia says:

    FBI seizes items at home of former top aide to Gov. Walker
    By Jason Stein, Patrick Marley and Steve Schultze of the Journal Sentinel
    Updated: Sept. 14, 2011 3:46 p.m. |(882) Comments

    Madison – About a dozen law enforcement officers, including FBI agents, visited the home of a former top aide to Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday as part of a growing John Doe investigation.

    The home on Dunning St. on Madison’s east side is listed in property records as belonging to Cynthia A. Archer, who was until recently deputy administration secretary to the Republican governor.

    “We’re doing a law enforcement action,” one of the FBI agents told a reporter.

    He didn’t identify himself or provide further comment but confirmed that he and three others were with the FBI and that sheriff’s deputies were also involved.

    The raid on Archer’s home coincides with a John Doe investigation in Milwaukee County, started last year after the disclosure that another Walker staffer at the county had posted political commentary on websites while on her job in the county executive’s office. As part of the investigation, authorities earlier seized the work computers of two former Walker staffers and executed a search warrant of one of their homes.

    Archer said in an email Friday to the Journal Sentinel that she was “not involved in any way in the John Doe investigation.”

    John Doe investigations are secret proceedings in which witnesses can be subpoenaed and compelled to testify under oath about potential criminal matters and are forbidden from talking publicly about the case.

    The governor’s campaign retained former U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic after it received a subpoena for campaign email shortly before last year’s November election. His campaign has paid nearly $60,000 to Biskupic’s firm, Michael Best & Friedrich, in the first half of the year.

    Archer’s neighbors said about a dozen law enforcement officers arrived Wednesday sometime before 7 a.m. One agent took photos of the house, and others wore jackets that said they were responsible for gathering evidence.

    Around 9 a.m., a reporter saw four FBI agents – two of them wearing latex gloves – talking in Archer’s backyard before going into her house. Later, one removed a large box and put it in the trunk of an FBI car. They left about 10 a.m.

    When a reporter rang the doorbell shortly after the FBI left, no one answered the door.

    At least one of the agents came from the FBI’s Milwaukee office, according to a card left with one of her neighbors, Dale Riechers.

    Archer didn’t immediately return a message left on her personal cellphone or an email sent to her personal account. Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said he had no comment and that the governor would not take questions on the issue Wednesday.

    Walker has previously said he has not been contacted personally by prosecutors. He said officials asked his campaign last year for emails and information apparently related to the staffer who was posting pro-Walker messages on websites during work time.

    Officials at the U.S. attorney offices in the eastern and western districts of Wisconsin declined to comment on the search. Leonard Peace, spokesman for the Milwaukee office of the FBI, referred questions about the search to the Milwaukee County district attorney’s office.

    Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm also declined to comment.

    A Dane County sheriff’s deputy provided perimeter control during the visit to Archer’s house but was not involved with the search itself, according to sheriff’s spokeswoman Elise Schaffer.

    Sources indicated Wednesday that Chisholm’s office continues to take the lead in the case of Walker’s former county staffers, with federal authorities providing assistance with computers and other digital technology.

    Milwaukee County prosecutors launched the probe at about the same time Darlene Wink quit her county job as Walker’s constituent services coordinator in May 2010 after admitting that she was frequently posting online comments on Journal Sentinel stories and blogs while on the county clock. Nearly all of her posts praised Walker or criticized his opponents.

    Authorities later took her work computer and that of Tim Russell, a former Walker campaign staffer who was then working as county housing director, and executed a search warrant of Wink’s home.

    Neither Wink nor Russell landed a job at the statehouse when Walker took office in January. Wink did not seek a state job, said her attorney, Christopher Wiesmueller.

    Asked Wednesday about the John Doe, Russell’s attorney refused comment. “I don’t have anything I can discuss,” Michael Maistelman said.

    Sources have said the investigation has increasingly focused on the activities of Archer and Tom Nardelli, Walker’s former county chief of staff.

    Archer and Nardelli were Walker’s top two lieutenants for the last three years of his eight-year tenure as county executive, including the busy months leading up to the November election.

    Archer, who abruptly left her top post with Walker’s administration last month for “personal family matters,” had another politically appointed job under the governor already lined up.

    She took a $25,000 pay cut in moving to a position at the Department of Children and Families, but the nearly $100,000 salary in that job is still tens of thousands of dollars more than the pay of others who have had the job.

    State officials have said Archer remained on leave. Department spokeswoman Stephanie Hayden has not answered whether Archer was being paid while on leave, saying that was confidential.

    Archer, 52, followed Walker to Madison from Milwaukee County after the former county executive won the governor’s race in November. She had held the county’s top staff position under Walker.

    Before she abruptly quit on Aug. 19, she was making $124,000 as deputy secretary in the state Department of Administration, the agency that oversees state contracts, the state budget, the state workforce and other key government functions. At the time, state officials said only that Archer had taken a personal leave of absence, giving no details on reasons for the leave, how soon she’d come back or what her duties would be.

    Archer, in her resignation letter emailed to Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch, said simply that she was done with her job that same day.

    But documents provided by the state show she actually was already hired a day earlier, on Aug. 18, to the $99,449-a-year job in the Department of Children and Families, as the department’s legislative liaison. That’s according to a letter released Friday from Eloise Anderson, who heads the department. Archer’s appointment to the new job was effective Aug. 20.

    Anderson said Monday that Archer has a higher salary than her predecessor because of Archer’s extensive background in state and local government and higher educational attainment.

    On Aug. 25, Archer said by email that she would leave any announcement about her leave of absence or eventual return to a state job to the governor’s office. Walker’s office has deflected questions on Archer to the department she left and to the one to which she is now assigned.

    Nardelli, another former county employee who took a state job with Walker, quit his state job as administrator for the Division of Environmental and Regulatory Services in July. That was three days after he had accepted the job, a transfer from another state administrative position. Nardelli was Walker’s chief of staff in the county executive’s office.

    Nardelli said Wednesday he knew nothing about the reason for the FBI visit to Archer’s home. Nardelli said no law enforcement had visited his home.

  11. Ametia says:

    Why new health group Enroll America matters
    Posted by Sarah Kliff at 02:19 PM ET, 09/14/2011

    Keep an eye on a new health industry coalition launching today: Enroll America. The 42-member coalition, which includes health heavyweights like the American Hospital Association and Aetna, has been in the works for over a year now. Today, it launches with a single goal: getting millions of Americans, newly-eligible for affordable insurance under the health overhaul law, actually signed up. And if it succeeds, the health law could end up covering many more of the uninsured than the law’s authors — or its detractors — ever thought.


    The CBO estimates that the health-reform law will cover 32 million more Americans in 2019. But it also predicts that 23 million Americans will remain uninsured. About a third of those will be illegal immigrants, who aren’t eligible for the reform law’s insurance subsidies. That still leaves about 16 million Americans, many of whom may be eligible for public programs, uninsured. The CBO, for example, expects that nearly 6 million of those newly-eligible for Medicaid just won’t sign up for the program.

    This leaves open a pretty wide playing field for a group like Enroll America. If it does its job really well, the number of Americans who gain health insurance may soar far above 32 million. If it doesn’t, the number who sign up may be much lower than what the CBO expects.

    Enroll America has spent just over a year now laying the foundation to do its job really well. The group brought in consultants from McKinsey and Company (on loan from Blue Cross Blue Shield Association) to draft up its business plan. It’s raised $6 million in financing so far, largely from its private industry members, and plans to accrue much more as it runs an “eight-figure” advertising campaign about two years from now, in 2013. Enroll America is already in preliminary talks with the National Football League about having some players appear in its ad spots.

    Families USA director Ron Pollack, a driving force behind Enroll America, recruited one of the oddest-bedfellow coalitions that exists in the health industry right now, which will increase its reach. Some members, like the American Hospital Association, aggressively support the Affordable Care Act. Others aggressively oppose it. The National Association of Health Underwriters, a member group that lobbies for health insurance brokers, has endorsed health reform repeal legislation.

    But if the law stands, they all have a common interest: getting uninsured Americans covered. Insurers want more customers. Hospitals are sick of providing uncompensated care. Health brokers make commissions off enrollment. The past year has been spent putting together a business plan and recruiting health industry groups to join the effort. “Even though various groups involved in health care have different perspectives on the directions we should head in health policy, we all have a real joint, undivided interest in making sure everyone becomes enrolled,” says Pollack.

    Enroll America is taking on a challenging issue on in a big way. The majority of uninsured Americans don’t think the health reform law will help them, the most recent Kaiser Family Foundation report found. As the Hill’s Sam Baker smartly pointed out, polling data seems to show Americans forgetting what the reform law does as we move further away from its passage. “Our biggest hurdle is most people don’t even know this is coming,” says Rachel Klein, director of Enroll America. How much a multi-million campaign can change that will be a key factor to watch in the health law’s success.

  12. Ametia says:

    Elizabeth Warren; IN HER OWN WORDS:

  13. Ametia says:

    Troy Davis And The Politics of Death
    By Amy Goodman

    Death brings cheers these days in America. In the most recent Republican presidential debate in Tampa, Fla., when CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked, hypothetically, if a man who chose to carry no medical insurance, then was stricken with a grave illness, should be left to die, cheers of “Yeah!” filled the hall. When, in the prior debate, Gov. Rick Perry was asked about his enthusiastic use of the death penalty in Texas, the crowd erupted into sustained applause and cheers. The reaction from the audience prompted debate moderator Brian Williams of NBC News to follow up with the question, “What do you make of that dynamic that just happened here, the mention of the execution of 234 people drew applause?”

    That “dynamic” is why challenging the death sentence to be carried out against Troy Davis by the state of Georgia on Sept. 21 is so important. Davis has been on Georgia’s death row for close to 20 years after being convicted of killing off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail in Savannah. Since his conviction, seven of the nine nonpolice witnesses have recanted their testimony, alleging police coercion and intimidation in obtaining the testimony. There is no physical evidence linking Davis to the murder.

    Last March, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Davis should receive an evidentiary hearing, to make his case for innocence. Several witnesses have identified one of the remaining witnesses who has not recanted, Sylvester “Redd” Coles, as the shooter. U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr. refused, on a technicality, to allow the testimony of witnesses who claimed that, after Davis had been convicted, Coles admitted to shooting MacPhail. In his August court order, Moore summarized, “Mr. Davis is not innocent.”

    One of the jurors, Brenda Forrest, disagrees. She told CNN in 2009, recalling the trial of Davis, “All of the witnesses—they were able to ID him as the person who actually did it.” Since the seven witnesses recanted, she says: “If I knew then what I know now, Troy Davis would not be on death row. The verdict would be not guilty.”

    Troy Davis has three major strikes against him. First, he is an African-American man. Second, he was charged with killing a white police officer. And third, he is in Georgia.

    More than a century ago, the legendary muckraking journalist Ida B. Wells risked her life when she began reporting on the epidemic of lynchings in the Deep South. She published “Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases” in 1892 and followed up with “The Red Record” in 1895, detailing hundreds of lynchings. She wrote: “In Brooks County, Ga., Dec. 23, while this Christian country was preparing for Christmas celebration, seven Negroes were lynched in twenty-four hours because they refused, or were unable to tell the whereabouts of a colored man named Pike, who killed a white man … Georgia heads the list of lynching states.”

    The planned execution of Davis will not be at the hands of an unruly mob, but in the sterile, fluorescently lit confines of Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Butts County, near the town of Jackson.

    The state doesn’t intend to hang Troy Davis from a tree with a rope or a chain, to hang, as Billie Holiday sang, like a strange fruit: “Southern trees bear a strange fruit/Blood on the leaves and blood at the root/Black body swinging in the Southern breeze/Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.” The state of Georgia, unless its Board of Pardons and Paroles intervenes, will administer a lethal dose of pentobarbital. Georgia is using this new execution drug because the federal Drug Enforcement Administration seized its supply of sodium thiopental last March, accusing the state of illegally importing the poison.

    “This is our justice system at its very worst,” said Ben Jealous, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Amnesty International has called on the State Board of Pardons and Paroles to commute Davis’ sentence. “The Board stayed Davis’ execution in 2007, stating that capital punishment was not an option when doubts about guilt remained,” said Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “Since then two more execution dates have come and gone, and there is still little clarity, much less proof, that Davis committed any crime. Amnesty International respectfully asks the Board to commute Davis’ sentence to life and prevent Georgia from making a catastrophic mistake.”

    But it’s not just the human rights groups the parole board should listen to. Pope Benedict XVI and Nobel Peace Prize laureates President Jimmy Carter and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, among others, also have called for clemency. Or the board can listen to mobs who cheer for death.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Texas Paper Claims Anita Perry’s Salary Indirectly Financed By Political Donors

    Josh Petri- September 14, 2011, 9:11 AM
    An article published Tuesday night by the Austin American-Statesman alleges that much of Texas first lady Anita Perry’s $60k-a-year salary at a nonprofit comes indirectly from Gov. Perry’s political donors, large state contractors, and companies with business before the state legislature. An investigation by the paper found that of the 37 major donors to the Texas Association Against Sexual Abuse during the first lady’s tenure as a fundraiser for the organization “only three have no ties to the governor or state business.”

    As an employee of the TAASA, Mrs. Perry is paid of out the same pool of money that she was responsible for raising. In addition to private funding, the group also receives state grants from state agencies, including the governor’s office.

    The American-Statesman writes that “donating to the [TAASA] has become just one more legal way for those with an interest in state government to get close to Texas’ first family.”

    The fundraising for the TAASA increased dramatically after Mrs. Perry was hired. In 2003, before the first lady began working, the group reported to the IRS that it had received no donations of $5,000 or more, which is the minimum amount required to be disclosed in public IRS filings. In 2004, major donations jumped to $100,000; all of which came from donors connected to the governor. In all, more than 70% of the large donations given to the group between 2004 and 2009 came from businesses or individuals with ties to the governor.

    This is not the first time that Mrs. Perry has held a job that has raised questions about the potential for conflicts of interest. Before her husband was elected to statewide office, she was a registered nurse and an administrator. Yet after the pair moved to Austin, she began working on health care issues for a P.R. firm owned by lobbyist Bill Miller, earning $50,000 in annual salary. She later earned $66,000 a year working for the Perryman Group. The firm’s namesake, Ray Perryman, is an economist who produced reports designed to influence the Legislature while working for the tobacco industry, Dell, and the Texas Farm Bureau.

    A spokeswoman for the Perrys argued yesterday that there is no conflict of interest in Anita Perry working for the nonprofit.

    Mrs. Perry herself has said that she took the job in November 2003 because her children no longer needed her at home and the family needed the extra income.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Unpopular Gov. Rick Scott Wants To ‘Make Sure Florida Is The Model For The Country’ (VIDEO)

    Highly unpopular Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) sat down with the folks of Morning Joe on Wednesday to discuss the Republican presidential candidates’ chances in Florida as well as some of his state’s own issues.

    Asked how Mitt Romney and Rick Perry would do in Florida, Scott said he thinks either candidate could win in a general election. And Scott doesn’t think Perry will be in much trouble for calling Social Security a “monstrous lie” and a “ponzi scheme.”

    “I don’t think it’s a problem,” Scott said. “I think everybody realizes it’s an issue that we have to deal with. … I don’t think that’s going to decide who’s the nominee.”

    After talking national politics, Scott moved onto Florida issues, including drug screening suspicion-less welfare applicants and going after “job-killing” regulations, a move the Florida Supreme Court recently ruled took the executive office’s authority a step too far.

    Scott attributes his low approval rating to a “tough” race. “They’re pretty mean-spirited races,” he said.

    On top of that, Scott said he’s just willing to make touch choices, saying, “I want to make sure Florida’s the model for the country.”

  16. rikyrah says:

    The Poll Paradox For Perry: Obama A ‘Socialist’ But Ending Social Programs Would Be Terrible

    Kyle Leighton- September 14, 2011, 1:50 PM
    Rick Perry, meet your base.

    A PPP poll out on Wednesday illustrates a clear contradiction within the GOP electorate: overwhelming majorities of voters who deride President Obama as a socialist, but who also love actual real social welfare programs — Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid — and don’t want to see them cut.

    For a candidate like Rick Perry, that cognitive dissonance could present real problems. He’s rocketed to the front of the pack on the strength of his appeal to the Tea Party, where the Obama-as-socialist rhetoric runs red hot. He’s also pretty much declared war on Social Security.

    71 percent of Republicans in the poll agree that President Obama is a socialist. But 75 percent of them don’t think that the government should end Social Security. 78 percent think that ending Medicare would be a bad idea. And 61 percent say the same about Medicaid (health care for the poor).

    The poll also shows what others have: Texas Gov. Rick Perry is far ahead of the field, with 31 percent of the vote.

    Perry’s famously stated that Social Security is a “ponzi sceme,” and has consistently defended that assessment. But only 33 percent of those polled thought was an accurate description of the program, versus 53 percent who didn’t. That means there is significant group, a 16 percent gap, between people who agree the program is a crime (ponzi sceme) but support eliminating it, which was the position of only 17 percent. In other words, despite the fact that Social Security is a federal offense, we should keep it anyway.

    But the numbers also suggest that Perry’s yet to pay a political price — at least among the GOP base — for his position on Social Security. Perry picks up an extra 9 percent among those who do think that Social Security is a ponzi scheme.

    Elsewhere in the poll, on the fight between the science and anti-science sets of the Republican party, 27 percent think that global warming exists, but 27 percent also believe that natural disasters are caused by God, as Michele Bachmann “joked” at a campaign apparence. So it’s either global warming, or God, or maybe global warming is caused by God? No follow up question on that.

    Perry picks up an extra 7 percent among the global warming skeptics, and an extra 5 from those who doubt evolution.

    So it appears Rick Perry isn’t yet suffering the slings and arrows of the central contradictions within the Republican base. But he’s also only just started to take punches from his opponents, who are all of course fighting for their own share of the pie. Thus a useful reminder in the form of this poll that a label, no matter how divorced from the truth, can be a useful political tool, and one commonly deployed in a political primary.

  17. rikyrah says:

    If Perry Falters …

    There’s a real chance that the HPV vaccine, the in-state tuition fees for illegal immigrants, and the generic charge of “crony capitalism” could hurt him with the Tea Party base. Let’s assume his poll numbers decline a little. You have a narrative of yet another front-runner fading out of the gate. Which leads to a pretty obvious scenario. Paul Burka, a man who knows more than most people can forget about Texas politics, notes the remarkable Palin break from Perry and draws the obvious conclusion:

    She’s going to have to time her entry into the race perfectly. But I think she’s the only Republican who doesn’t have to build an organization. It’s there, waiting for her, in Iowa, in New Hampshire, in every state. About those polls that say she can’t win: Many Republicans believe that the country is turning away from Obama, that he will not be electable come November of 2012, and whoever gets the GOP nomination wins. They may be right. I think Palin is playing her cards very smartly. She has the biggest following of any Republican, by far. She has 100% name identification. She is a free agent. I think she’s intent upon running, and I think Rick Perry had better watch out

  18. rikyrah says:

    14 Sep 2011 01:16 PM
    Would Obama Beat Perry?
    I’ve written that Obama is likely to best Perry should the Texas governor be the GOP’s nominee. Larison counters:

    [I]f the economy is in “steep recession” next year, the Republican nominee will almost certainly win. When the incumbent or his party is held responsible for poor economic performance, the electorate tends to be more willing to overlook things that might otherwise be considered a significant liability. In any case, unless he is trying to fail, Perry is not going to campaign for the abolition of Social Security or anything like it.

    Point taken. I’d merely argue that Perry’s “solutions” sound a lot like warmed over Bushism to me, with an even heavier Texas twang. His style is very regional. I can’t see Catholics being comfortable with him. He’s a potential gaffe machine. He is nowhere near as likable as Obama. And there are two electoral responses in very bad economic times. One is to throw the incumbent out; the other is to be so afraid of the unknown that you back the devil you know. It’s far too early to predict anything that solid at this point, but these are the considerations I’d put on the table.

    Then there’s what empirical data we now have:

    Barack Obama would beat Rick Perry by 11 percentage points in a head-to-head match up, while Romney would hold the president to a four-point lead, according to a poll released Tuesday by Public Policy Polling.

    More to the point:

    Obama has widened his lead since PPP’s last poll three weeks ago. Then, Obama led Perry by just 49 percent to 43 percent, and Romney and Obama tied at 45 percent.

    The longer the public has gotten to know Perry, the wider Obama’s lead has grown. And all the negatives against Obama are baked into the cake. Perry has yet to face a national assault.

  19. rikyrah says:

    September 14, 2011 2:15 PM

    Remember ‘deficits don’t matter’? Cheney doesn’t

    By Steve Benen

    Dick Cheney chatted with Rush Limbaugh this week, and wouldn’t you know it, the disgraced former vice president has decided that deficits matter after all.

    Former Vice President Dick Cheney was “embarrassed” when the U.S. credit rating was downgraded in August, and he hopes that the development will compel lawmakers to continue to work to address the deficit. […]

    “Now, these last few months have been pretty messy,” said Cheney. “I think like a lot of people I was embarrassed when they lowered our credit rating from AAA to AA. I literally felt embarrassed for my country.”

    “But I also think that the fact that we’ve gotten to this point where we are faced with a crisis in terms of the debt problem, that that’s going to give those of us who want to address that issue and fix it the leverage that we haven’t had up until now, in terms of insisting on the kinds of policies that will be painful, but in the long run are necessary if we’re going to restore full faith and credit in the United States government.”

    Oh, I see. Now he’s concerned about “the debt problem.” Remember that guy who declared “deficits don’t matter”? That was the old Dick Cheney. The new Dick Cheney wants President Obama to act faster to clean up the mess he and George W. Bush left behind.

    For lack of a better word, this is … funny. Cheney pushed massive tax breaks for the wealthy, and didn’t even try to pay for them. He pushed for multiple wars, and didn’t even try to pay for them, either. He supported Medicare expansion and No Child Left Behind, and like the rest of his agenda, Cheney just threw the costs onto the national credit card, running up a bill for some future president to pay.

    But now he’s worried about the deficit.

    Let’s note a few details that Dick Cheney may not be aware of. For example, Cheney inherited a large surplus and turned it into a massive deficit. Cheney took a budget that was on track to eliminate the national debt altogether and instead added nearly $5 trillion to it in just eight years. The day Barack Obama took the oath of office, he found a $1.3 trillion deficit sitting on his desk — a little gift from Cheney and his team.

    Maybe someone can explain this chart to Cheney.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    September 14, 2011 10:45 AM

    Betting on Boehner?

    By Steve Benen

    Watching President Obama campaign in support of the American Jobs Act, I get the impression he’s more than just serious about the plan — he seems to think the plan has a shot at passage. If the president were just going through the motions, putting on a show for the sake of appearances, he and his team probably wouldn’t be going to so much trouble. The White House actually seems to think Congress can/should/might send a credible jobs bill to the Oval Office.

    And why in the world would the president, who’s well aware of what’s become of Congress, sincerely believe this? Because Obama thinks Republicans, especially in the Speaker’s office, have an incentive to cooperate.

    President Barack Obama needs House Speaker John Boehner’s help to muscle a jobs bill through Congress, but he’s betting that Boehner needs the win just as badly.

    The White House strategy rests on the risky assumption that Obama can sell Boehner on a new political reality: With voters desperate for jobs, neither leader can afford to do nothing.

    It’s a twist on the conventional wisdom that Republicans can ignore a weakened Obama. His approval ratings are low, but Congress is worse off, senior administration officials said Tuesday. House Republicans hold a 48-seat majority, but more than 60 of them will run in districts that Obama won in 2008 — and will contest heavily next year, the officials said. And while the tea party may loathe Obama’s plan, the coveted independent vote does not, they added. […]

    The White House expects the Republican rank and file to fight the president’s plan, but it predicts that Boehner will eventually realize that his party would benefit from a bipartisan deal just as much as Democrats.

    I understand the logic, and at a certain level, it makes sense.

    But there are unavoidable political realities to contend with. For example, congressional Republicans would gladly hurt the country if it meant undermining the president during a time of crisis. Occasionally, they’re willing to admit this. For that matter, they can’t be convinced on policy grounds, because GOP lawmakers no longer recognize reality — they believe the economy will improve if they weaken demand and force more public-sector layoffs.

    Also note, since so much of the public holds the president directly responsible for the health of the economy, Republicans don’t believe they have an interest in cooperating, even on popular measures the GOP used to support.

    And even in the fanciful dream world that says Congress might actually want to approve jobs legislation, it’s impossible to imagine an agreement over financing since Republicans refuse to accept new revenues.

    What’s more, also keep in mind that Republicans want to undermine Americans’ confidence in public institutions, so by rejecting efforts to boost job creation, the GOP is advancing a larger goal by pushing voters to give up on Washington altogether.

    The most likely scenario, then, is for House Republicans to push a plan that guts environmental protections and worker safeguards, while slashing taxes on the wealthy, and wait for it to die in the Senate. GOP leaders will say, “Well, we passed a jobs bill but Democrats didn’t like it. That’s not our fault.”

    I’ve been pretty impressed over the last week with the White House’s jobs plan, the campaign to generate support for the plan, and the general reluctance to make preemptive concessions. But barring an enormous outpouring of public support, I still don’t see the path between introduction and success.

  21. rikyrah says:

    I’ve been saying this for awhile- the ads write themselves.

    opening picture- people all across the country WORKING. working in construction jobs.

    the voiceover –

    ad 1 – these Americans are building a high speed rail for their state. this could be YOU, but Governor (insert GOP GOVERNOR) turned down (insert dollar amount) of federal funds that would have provided [insert job number] of jobs for your state. The Republican state legislature went along with it.


    ad 2- these Americans are working because of President Obama’s American Jobs Act,
    This could be YOU, but..

    Governor (insert GOP GOVERNOR) turned down (insert dollar amount) of federal funds that would have provided [insert job number] of jobs for your state. The Republican state legislature went along with it.




    September 14, 2011 11:25 AM

    Florida leaders intent on punishing Floridians

    By Steve Benen

    The odds are clearly against congressional passage of the Americans Jobs Act, but even if it were to pass, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) and his allies are already inclined to reject efforts to help the state’s struggling economy.

    Gov. Rick Scott and top Florida Republicans are sending early signals they could reject the billions in federal aid that could flow to the state under President Barack Obama’s jobs proposal.

    Florida has a 10.7 percent unemployment rate that is higher than the national average. But Scott and GOP legislative leaders said the plan outlined by President Barack Obama was too similar to the nearly $800 billion stimulus package that was approved by Congress back in 2009.

    “It sounds like President Obama still doesn’t get it,” House Speaker Dean Cannon said Friday. “The answer to the current economic problems is not spending more money.”

    I’m sure Dean Cannon can offer a brilliant explanation on why he “gets it,” and why spending less money and forcing more workers into unemployment will be good for Florida’s economy.

    Indeed, as Marie Diamond noted, under Scott’s gubernatorial administration, “1,700 state workers have been laid off and at least 2,500 more layoffs are expected. Deep education cuts will cost many teachers and school employees their jobs. Scott also rejected $2.4 billion in federal money for a high-speed rail project that supporters say would have created 24,000 jobs.”

    According to a state-by-state analysis prepared by the Obama administration, the American Jobs Act would direct more than $7.5 billion to Florida in job-creating public investments, and support more than 60,000 in-state public-sector jobs, including teachers, firefighters, and police officers.

    But Rick Scott, leading a state with a 10.7% unemployment rate, would rather not accept federal assistance — which may not pass anyway — preferring to move forward with plans for more layoffs.

    Between this and some of Scott’s other recent failures, I’m beginning to think Floridians elected a governor who just doesn’t like them. Maybe electing a criminal to be the chief executive of a large state wasn’t such a good idea after all.

  22. rikyrah says:

    September 14, 2011 1:25 PM

    Pennsylvania GOP cooks up ugly electoral scheme

    By Steve Benen

    It’s not surprising that Pennsylvania Republicans would start to get a little frustrated when it comes to presidential politics. It’s a key swing state that’s generally pretty competitive, but in each of the last five cycles, Pennsylvanians have backed the Democratic candidate.

    But there’s no reason to translate that frustration into an ugly scheme like this one.

    A new proposal is pushing the often-forgotten Electoral College into the spotlight as Pennsylvania officials ponder the state’s role in next year’s presidential race.

    Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi is trying to gather support to change the state’s “winner-takes-all” approach for awarding electoral votes. Instead, he’s suggesting that Pennsylvania dole them out based on which candidate wins each of the 18 congressional districts, with the final two going to the contender with the most votes statewide.

    So far, the idea has received support from colleagues of the Delaware County Republican in the state House and from Republican Gov. Tom Corbett.

    There’s no great mystery here. Barack Obama easily won Pennsylvania in 2008, and if he wins the state again next year, that’s 20 electoral votes — a significant prize. If Republicans can rig the game in advance of the election, and split up the state’s electoral votes by district, they can ensure at least half of Pennsylvania’s electoral votes will go to the GOP ticket, even if most of the state votes Democratic.

    In a close national race, an obnoxious scheme like this can alter the entire presidential election, all because Republicans are afraid to fight on a level playing field. The appropriate response from the GOP should be to nominate a strong candidate and present a worthwhile agenda, not to shamelessly rig an election.

    As Republicans have become increasingly radicalized, the “war on voting” has become far more intense. We see this in the voter-ID laws and restrictions on voter-registration drives, not to mention GOP efforts to undermine labor unions. But divvying up “blue” states’ electoral votes, while leaving “red” states as winner-take-all, is fundamentally offensive to how our democracy is supposed to operate.

    And in case this weren’t quite offensive enough, Nick Baumann reports that Republican officials are also running things in Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin, and may follow Pennsylvania’s lead.

    Kevin Drum added, “As recently as a couple of decades ago this would have been a bridge too far for most of the party’s mandarins: conservative pundits and senior GOP officials would have sounded off against it because it was just too raw a deal even for flinty political pros. But now we live in the era of Lee Atwater and Karl Rove and Tom DeLay and Fox News. There’s really no one left who might object to this merely out of a decent respect for institutional integrity and fairmindedness.”

    Republicans are simply out of control. They know no limits; they have no shame.

  23. rikyrah says:

    September 14, 2011 12:35 PM

    Affordable Care Act already having positive effect

    By Steve Benen

    Most of the Affordable Care Act won’t take effect for a few years — and if court rulings and the 2012 elections go a certain way, it may not take effect at all — but there’s already evidence that the reform law is working.

    The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Bob Greenstein, for example, scrutinized the latest Census Bureau data yesterday, and noticed that as poverty gets worse, the number of Americans without health insurance continues to climb. But there’s a silver lining:

    [T]he new data suggest that the health reform law may already be having a positive effect on coverage; the requirement that health insurers cover adult dependent children up to age 26 likely contributed to the significant reduction in the number and percentage of young adults age 19-25 without health insurance between 2009 and 2010. This is the only age group of non-elderly adults for which the percentage without insurance declined between 2009 and 2010.

    This is no small development. As economic conditions remain weak, more and more Americans are losing health care coverage, but for one group of people — young adults between 19 and 25 — access is suddenly improving. Coverage got worse for everyone, but got better for these younger Americans.

    The direct cause is unclear, but it certainly appears that this shift isn’t a coincidence. The Affordable Care Act, over Republican objections, mandates that young adults can stay on their family plans until their 26th birthday. It’s one of the key measures that took effect almost immediately, and as the Census Bureau’s report strongly suggests, it’s already having a positive effect.

    For most reasonable people, this is pretty terrific news.

    What’s more, let’s also not forget that this isn’t the first sign of Affordable Care Act efficacy. A few weeks ago, we learned that the health care reform law is also having a positive impact on slowing the growth in Medicare spending — a priority Republicans pretend to care about — as hospitals transition to a greater focus on value and efficiency, required under the ACA.

    And just yesterday, CBO Director Doug Elmendorf agreed that new law is slowing down Medicare costs, and went on to explain to lawmakers that reform won’t cause private employers to drop coverage for its employees once implemented.

    I know the right doesn’t want to hear this, but all available evidence suggests the Affordable Care Act is already working.

  24. rikyrah says:

    September 14, 2011 9:35 AM

    Exploiting accidental GOP candor

    By Steve Benen

    This week, Politico quoted a senior House Republican aide who confirmed what many have suspected about GOP motives for a long while. Commenting on why Republicans should reflexively oppose the American Jobs Act, the senior staffer said, “Obama is on the ropes; why do we appear ready to hand him a win?”

    It was an unusually candid concession. The quote certainly made it sound as if Republicans aren’t concerned about what’s best for the country; their principal goal is undermining the president at a time of crisis.

    The quote did not go unnoticed at the White House. Here’s President Obama yesterday, touting his jobs agenda outside an Ohio high school.

    For those who can’t watch clips online, Obama said:

    Already, yesterday there were some Republicans quoted in Washington saying that even if they agree with the proposals in the American Jobs Act, they shouldn’t pass it because it would give me a win.

    “That’s the kind of games-playing we’ve gotten used to in Washington. Think about that. They supported this stuff in the past, but they’re thinking maybe they don’t do it this time because ‘Obama is promoting it.’ Give me a win? This isn’t about giving me a win. This isn’t about giving Democrats or Republicans a win. It’s about giving the American people a win. It’s about giving Ohio a win. It’s about your jobs and your lives and your futures, and giving our kids a win.

    “Maybe there’s some people in Congress who’d rather settle our differences at the ballot box than work together right now. But I’ve got news for them: The next election is 14 months away. And the American people don’t have the luxury of waiting that long. You’ve got folks who are living week to week, paycheck to paycheck. They need action, and they need it now.”

    Note that Obama also made use of the same quote at a Rose Garden event on Monday.

    What’s more, the president seizing on this has also not gone unnoticed by Republicans. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) office sent an email to more than 60 top GOP aides urging them to “be very careful on our tone when it comes to jobs/ the president.”

    Too late.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Are You Paying Attention – Public Policy Polling: Obama leads Romney by 4, Perry by 11 nationally
    Tuesday, September 13, 2011 |
    Posted by TiMT at 3:41 PM

    So you ask how President Obama is doing? Well, I got news for all the relentlessness smack down this President gets from the Professional Left and Teabagging Right, while the real Democratic “base” and moderate independents are with him and know who the right person is for the job of the Presidency

    Obama tops Romney, 49-45, up from a 45-all tie in PPP’s August national poll. He leads Rick Perry, 52-41 (49-43 in August); Newt Gingrich, 53-41; and Michele Bachmann, 53-39 (50-42). Were voters given the choice to reconsider the 2008 election, they would still elect Obama, but by only five points (51-46), when he actually won by seven, indicating some voters have changed their minds, but that not just any GOP nominee will do. The president’s more solid standing in the Perry and Romney horseraces comes from consolidating his party support. He was losing 13% of Democrats to each candidate in August, but only 11% to Romney and 9% to Perry now. Obama has meanwhile upped his own crossover support, from 5% to 9% of Republicans versus Romney and 10% to 11% against Perry. The president leads Perry by ten points with independents, but Romney tops Obama by two with them. Americans are at odds with the Republican candidates on some of their controversial statements. 54% believe in global warming, and 51% in evolution. Only 37% do not believe in each. Only 10% would support eliminating Social Security, while 82% would not. Only 20% agree with Perry that the program is a “Ponzi scheme,” and 70% do not. Even Republicans disagree on that, 39-49. “In just three weeks Barack Obama has nearly doubled his lead over Rick Perry,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “That would seem to be an indication that Perry’s comments about Social Security are giving him trouble with swing voters.”

    So you know what progressives must continue to say about Rick Perry right? “Ponzi scheme” and drill it home today, tomorrow, the next day, next week, next month and the months after next. We must continue to make sure his legs won’t heal. From Public Policy Polling: Social Security hurting Perry?

    Americans strongly disagree with the statements Rick Perry made about Social Security in last week’s Republican Presidential debate, and Barack Obama has nearly doubled his lead over Perry nationally in the span of just 3 weeks. Only 20% of voters agree with Perry that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme to 70% who dissent from that statement. Democrats (4/87) and independents (20/69) are pretty universal in their disagreement with Perry and even Republicans (39/49) don’t stand with him on this one. When it comes to the possibility of actually ending Social Security voters are even more unanimous- 82% oppose taking that step to only 10% who would be supportive of it. If Perry ends up as the Republican nominee and Democrats can effectively convince the electorate that he does want to end Social Security it could be an extremely damaging issue for him.

    When Frank Schaeffer spoke about President Obama and the fact we have a great President laying out all the obstacles he went through in the last two and half years, how much he has achieved and how his second term will change America for good, I recall saying after reading his article, Obama Is Now and Will Be a Great President, I am going to make damn sure to do every thing in my power to get President Obama re-elected. Mr. Schaeffer noted:

    President Obama wasn’t able to walk on water! And he has made mistakes! But he has his feet firmly planted on the ground and understands the reality of what America has become and just where he must function, which is more than his critics can claim. President Obama also keeps proving that compared to the talking-heads he knows how to get things done that actually change lives and matter– health care reform, gay rights (instead of mere slogans), actual education reform, ending a war, restoring America’s image worldwide. We Americans are very lucky people. A sane and compassionate president is in charge. Over an 8 year period he will change American history for the better. Only president Obama’s dimwitted and/or hate-filled opponents are unlucky: they are betting against a political genius who also happens to be a very good human being.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Wanna Tear Apart the Country?
    by BooMan
    Wed Sep 14th, 2011 at 10:04:26 AM EST

    Forty-eight states allocate their Electoral College votes on a winner-take-all basis (the exceptions are Maine and Nebraska). That’s quite likely to change, especially in my home state of Pennsylvania. Each state’s share of the Electoral College is based on their two senators and however many members of the House of Representatives they happen to have. In Maine and Nebraska, the winner of the popular vote automatically wins the two Senate delegates. The rest of the delegates are allocated according to the winner of each congressional district. In 2008, Obama lost Nebraska but won in one of its congressional districts. As a result, he was awarded one delegate from Nebraska.
    There was nothing illegal or unconstitutional about that, and the same will hold true if Pennsylvania (or Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, or Florida) changes their delegate-assignment system.

    Under the Republican plan, if the GOP presidential nominee carries the GOP-leaning districts but Obama carries the state, the GOP nominee would get 12 electoral votes out of Pennsylvania, but Obama would only get eight—six for winning the blue districts, and two (representing the state’s two senators) for carrying the state. This would have an effect equivalent to flipping a small winner-take-all state—say, Nevada, which has six electoral votes—from blue to red. And Republicans wouldn’t even have to do any extra campaigning or spend any extra advertising dollars to do it.

    What we might see is a real effort by the Republican Party to take advantage of their control of state governments to change the rules in a way that the Democrats will be unable to match. Retaliation is not possible because the Dems do not have total control of the government in any red states other than West Virginia and Arkansas. How many congressional districts is Obama likely to win in those two states? Left unsaid in the above excerpt, is that making such a move would reduce Pennsylvania’s importance down to roughly the level of New Hampshire. The award for winning the state would only be two Electoral Votes, and the fight beyond that would be over only two or three swing districts. Maybe Obama could carry eight congressional district instead of six, and wind up splitting the delegates 10-10. Either way, the Republican would have pocketed ten to twelve delegates they would have otherwise lost. Repeat that in several other sizable states and suddenly it becomes quite likely that a Republican candidate could win the presidency while getting absolutely thumped in the popular vote.

    It’s a recipe for civil war, but I guess that’s where we’re headed anyway, right?

  27. rikyrah says:

    POTUS Pulls Another Rabbit Out Of His Hat
    Posted on 09/13/2011 at 4:45 pm by JM Ashby
    The Republicans are growing a little worried about the mission they mandated to the “Super Committee” because the Obama Administration is now seeking to use that committee to pass the president’s jobs proposal.

    By asking the Joint Select Committee to increase the $1.5 trillion target to cover the full cost of his plan, the president is essentially tasking a committee designed to reduce the deficit to pay for yet another round of stimulus,” the committee’s co-chair, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) said in a statement last week. “This proposal would make the already-arduous challenge of finding bipartisan agreement on deficit reduction nearly impossible.”

    On the contrary, what the president is asking the committee to do is to agree to even more deficit reduction, and just when I thought this administration couldn’t impress me any more with their deviousness, they pull another rabbit out of their hat.

    Many Republicans are resistant to the idea of using the joint committee as a vehicle to pass or pay for Obama’s jobs bill, a significant chunk of which they oppose. But the legislation is written in such a way that — if it passes — it will count any extra savings that the committee finds toward the cost of its bill. And at a Tuesday press conference House Speaker John Boehner encouraged the committee to go well beyond its statutory requirement of finding $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction.

    In case you don’t understand — the Congressional Budget Office has scored the president’s jobs proposal as deficit-reducing beginning in 2013. This is accomplished by accounting for the closure of tax-loopholes and the revenue that will be generated by a wave of new jobs. This mean’s the “Super Committee” can include the president’s jobs proposal in their mandated mission to find over a trillion in savings over the next 10 years.

    This is why the Republicans are now downplaying their expectations of the Super Committee and suggesting the committee should go small. Not big.

    They’re playing catch-up to President Obama, and opposing a jobs bill and more deficit reduction at the same time may be beyond the vast, obstructionist powers of the Republicans. Their only remaining option may be to stall and do nothing.

    Ironically, the debt-limit fight has already set us on a path to a more fair economy even if congress does nothing between now and the 2012 election. Under the CBO-scored, deem-and-pass 2012 budget, which John Boehner tricked his caucus into signing off on, the Bush Tax Cuts have a baked-in expiration date.

    I think it’s time to resurrect an old meme, as this is how I’m feeling right now.

  28. Ametia says:

    Tyler Perry tops ‘Forbes’ list of the highest-paid men in entertainment over the past year
    by Aly Semigran
    Madea Goes to the Bank. Okay, so that probably won’t be the title for the next installment of the wildly popular film series, but it could be considering Tyler Perry’s titular character has definitely helped him rake in the cash. This week, Forbes released their list of the highest-paid men in Hollywood (not to be mistaken with their list from last month of the highest-earning actors) and the multi-faceted Perry, who has taken on writing, directing, acting, and producing duties in film and television, topped them all with an intake of an estimated $130 from May 2010-2011.

    Perry, who was behind four movies from 2010 to 2011 (including Madea’s Big Happy Family and For Colored Girls) and his hit TBS sitcom Meet the Browns, likely won’t be falling far on the list either, as he’s already extended his partnership with Lionsgate with a multi-year deal and took over for Idris Elba’s role in the anticipated I, Alex Cross.

    Perry edged out, by a fairly substantial margin, the man responsible for The Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who earned a reported $113 million over the course of the year. They were followed closely by Steven Spielberg at No. 3 with $107 million, Elton John at No. 4 with $100 million, and Simon Cowell at No. 5 with $90 million. Rounding out the top 10, in order, were James Patterson ($84 million), Dr. Phil McGraw ($80 million), highest-paid actor Leonardo DiCaprio ($77 million), Howard Stern ($76 million), and, finally — controversy and endorsement losses be damned — Tiger Woods ($75 million).

    Who are you most surprised to see on Forbes’ list for the highest-paid men in entertainment, PopWatchers? Does it seem like the more markets you reach (television, movies, books), the more money you’ll make or is it simply by having one or two massive hits over the course of the year that can take you very far? Do you think these fellas are worth what they’re making? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

  29. rikyrah says:

    September 13, 2011
    The Tea Party ‘spirit’
    In the perhaps flawed belief that, however tentatively, I should begin reconnecting with the world, I struggled through the Tea Party presidential debate last night.

    You no doubt instantly see the flaw in that line.

    “The world” and “the Tea Party” are discrete elements, as utterly foreign to each other as are I and advanced astrophysics. To select an encounter of political elites ingratiating themselves with the Tea Party asylumites as my reintroduction to reality was an enormous cognitive error. Fortunately, my acute grief subdued both laughter and outrage at the pseudoconservative nincompoopism I heard from the Tampa stage; I lay in bed, gazing half-mindedly at the television screen, trying my best to comprehend how these presumably social animals could be so strikingly, even proudly indifferent to human needs.

    Rick Perry, you won’t be surprised to learn, puzzled me the most. His peculiar antagonism toward Social Security I find unfathomable. Because of my dear wife’s passing, my daughter, age 12, will soon be receiving survivor benefits through this magnificently successful program of collective caring. For some time to come — a long story, part of which is my own health — her benefits may be our only income. Our gratitude to, and our sense of salvation from, virtually all of our fellow Americans — who, after all, are the Social Security “system” — are boundless and inexpressible. Without those benefits, she and I would be, to put it in the vernacular, in quite a fix.

    Yet it is over this very method of caring that Gov. Perry seems to lose sleep, as do so many in his cheering section. I’m baffled. I was baffled last night, I’m baffled today, and I’ll remain baffled, even as my general bafflement clears. I simply do not comprehend the inhumanity of the Tea Party “spirit.”

    • Ametia says:

      Dear PM, my prayers are with you as you and your family grieve and journey through your wife’s death. Your story is one that needs to be out there, in the media, around the country in front of millions, so they can hear and feel what it is like to experience death of a loved one, what it is like to know that a system where you have paid into all your life is now able to repay you said benefits.

  30. rikyrah says:

    CNN Poll: More Americans trust Obama on economy over Republicans in Congress
    By: CNN Political Unit

    Washington (CNN) – President Obama’s disapproval ratings may be at an all-time high, but in a new CNN/ORC International poll, more Americans say they trust him on economic matters more than they do Republicans in Congress.

    The survey released on Wednesday shows that although a lot of Americans are still unsure what’s in the president’s new jobs bill, they like most of the major proposals offered in the plan that was sent to Congress Monday.

    “By a 43-35 percent margin, a plurality of Americans approve of the economic program Obama outlined in his speech to Congress last week, but more than one in five don’t have any view at all of the jobs bill,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

    The president will travel to North Carolina Wednesday as he continues to try to sell his $447 billion dollar plan to encourage job growth to the public.

    And most of the nation agree that stimulating employment is important right now.

    Two-thirds believe that creating jobs should take precedence over the federal budget deficit and only 29 percent say reducing the deficit should be more important that reducing unemployment.

    In the wake of recent natural disasters, Americans also prioritize disaster relief over the deficit. Six in 10 want federal aid to the victims of recent hurricanes and wildfires even if that amount of money is not cut from other government programs.

    When President Obama’s bill is broken down, more Americans like most of the proposals in it – two-thirds like the idea of cutting the payroll tax for workers and the same number like greater spending on infrastructure projects. Three quarters approve of sending federal money to states to hire more teachers and first responders.

    But overall, the public is in a foul mood over conditions in the nation today. Most say they are not better off than they were three years ago and large majorities say they are angry and scared about how things are going in the country today.

    The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International from September 9-11 by among 1,038 adults questioned by telephone. It has an overall sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

    • Ametia says:

      The POTUS knows that the media will not fully review the AJA and report the news fairly. Anmy good journalist would do their fucking homework, and research the jobs bill and report the FACTS in the bill. NOOOOOOOOOOO, jthey are ust paid stooges made up to sit in front of a camera and spew what their puppet masters write for them.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Obama and the Republican Clergy
    by Geov Parrish
    Wed Sep 14th, 2011 at 12:31:06 AM EST

    I think Andrew Sullivan is right when he follows on Mike Lofgren’s essay by again directly pegging modern Republicanism as a religious movement, and considers what that means:

    …this political deadlock conceals a religious war at its heart. Why after all should one abandon or compromise sacred truths? And for those whose Christianity can only be sustained by denial of modern complexity, of scientific knowledge, and of what scholarly studies of the Bible’s origins have revealed, this fusion of political and spiritual lives into one seamless sensibility and culture, is irresistible.
    …[The current GOP] can only think in doctrines, because the alternative is living in a complicated, global, modern world they both do not understand and also despise. Taxes are therefore always bad. Government is never good. Foreign enemies must be pre-emptively attacked. Islam is not a religion. Climate change is an elite conspiracy to impoverish America. Terror suspects are terrorists. When Americans torture, it is not torture. When Christians murder, they are not Christians. And if you change your mind on any of these issues, you are a liberal, an apostate, and will be attacked.

    It’s one thing, of course, to describe the beast, and quite another to consider how one responds to it:

    And the zealous never compromise. They don’t even listen. Think of Michele Bachmann’s wide-eyed, Stepford stare as she waits for a questioner to finish before providing another pre-cooked doctrinal nugget. My fear… is that once one party becomes a church with unchangeable doctrines, and once it has supplanted respect for institutions and civility with the radical pursuit of timeless doctrines and hatred of governing institutions, then our democracy is in grave danger.

    This is why I think Rick Perry has had the upper hand thus far in the Republican “debates,” because the entire Republican field has not been engaging in debates of issues in any secular sense. The debates have instead been proving grounds for demonstrating piety to a rigorously enforced doctrine with almost no grounding in the real world. Michele Bachmann is a true believer, but Perry is a preacher. Logic and facts need not apply.
    Obama’s response thus far has been to offer compromises to a movement that does not compromise, and to argue facts with a movement that hates facts. Between now and November 2012, however, Obama’s audience isn’t that movement; it’s American voters. In a year when economic distress should doom his reelection chances, Obama’s best shot is to cast the election not as a choice between two competing visions of governance, but as a choice between democracy and theocracy. And a particularly nasty theocracy at that.

    He won’t use that framing, of course. But Obama has given Republicans every opportunity to demonstrate that they cannot compromise, because no deviance from dogma is tolerable, and that they cannot even accept yes for an answer, because they don’t negotiate with antichrists.

    While I am sympathetic to the critiques of Obama’s record that litter the progressive blogosphere, and I’m all for pressuring him to perform better in those areas where he can have an impact, that’s not really germane to what’s at stake in 2012. We’re not arguing better or worse policies here. We’re at war with a movement that wants to eradicate any of us who do not belong in their vision of a mythical, white, straight, individualist, evangelical Christian, never-was America.

    Ironically, as Sullivan notes, Obama is the most visibly Christian president since Carter. But he is not the right type of Christian for what is in fact a very narrowly defined movement, one that excludes most Christians (Obama has no chance; it also excludes all blacks, all Democrats, all people with advanced degrees, and all people with funny names). If Republicans had regrouped in a more rational way after the disaster of the Dubya presidency, Obama would almost certainly be a one-term president just because of the economic damage he inherited. Instead, they started casting out apostates and doubling down whenever their factually challenged dogma was questioned.

    The results were on painful display Monday night’s Tea Party debate. Our task for the next year is to remind Americans at every turn that almost all of us are not pure enough to have any place in the theocratic vision of the United States on display there. The Republican nominee, whomever he or she is, will almost certain espouse such views for the next six or eights months in order to win the nomination. That’s plenty enough material for making the relentless case: A vote for Obama will be a vote against theocracy.

    For the alternative, I’ll close with Sullivan again:

    If they defeat [Obama], I fear we will no longer be participating in a civil conversation, however fraught, but in a civil war.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Bush to blame for U.S. debt crisis, S.C. Rep. Clyburn says

    House Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn blamed President George W. Bush on Tuesday for the mountain of federal debt the S.C. lawmaker said accumulated through two unfunded wars and tax cuts for the wealthy.

    Clyburn, of Columbia, and other members of the deficit-reduction “super committee” received a sobering assessment of the daunting task ahead as they seek to close the spending gap by $1.5 trillion by Thanksgiving.

    “The nation cannot continue to sustain the spending programs and policies of the past with the tax revenues it has been accustomed to paying,” Douglas Elmendorf, head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, told the panel.

    “Citizens will either have to pay more for their government, accept less in government services and benefits, or both,” he said.

    Clyburn began his questioning of Elmendorf with a pointed history lesson that started with President Clinton’s last year in office.

    “In 2000, we had a $236 billion surplus and had begun paying down our national debt,” Clyburn said. “The economy was booming for all Americans. Unemployment was at 4 percent and the poverty rate dipped to its lowest level since 1979.”

    Clyburn then pivoted to Bush’s tenure without mentioning him by name.

    “Instead of building on the policies that served us so well, we embarked upon two wars, one of which was dubious at best,” Clyburn said.

    “Using credit cards, we instituted two tax cuts totaling $554 billion, which were tilted in favor of millionaires and billionaires,” he said. “We created a new prescription-drug benefit program which CBO estimates would cost $967 billion over the next 10 years allowed mortgage lenders to gamble away the economic prosperity of millions of American families.”

    Read more:

  33. rikyrah says:

    Obama Proposes To Limit Tax Breaks, Loopholes for Wealthy
    QBy Richard Rubin, Steven Sloan and Margaret Talev – Sep 13, 2011 1:12 PM CT

    President Barack Obama asked lawmakers to again consider increasing taxes for high earners, private equity managers and oil and gas companies to pay for his $447 billion job-creation package, running into Republican resistance along the way.

    The bill Obama sent to Capitol Hill yesterday included previously proposed revenue-raising provisions, such as a cap on deductions for upper-income taxpayers, which have failed to advance in Congress in recent years. The administration also proposed new ideas that would change longstanding tax policy. Obama wants to curb the amount of interest from municipal bonds that top earners could exclude from their income and require those taxpayers to count some of their employer-provided health insurance as taxable income.

    Obama has proposed raising $18 billion by taxing the carried interest, or profits-based compensation, of private equity managers, real estate investors and venture capitalists as ordinary income, instead of more lightly taxed capital gains. That would affect companies including Blackstone Group LP (BX) and KKR & Co.

    The release of the plan sets up a political fight with Republicans in Congress that will frame Obama’s strategy for a re-election campaign next year.

    Revenue Raisers
    Obama would use the revenue in part to offset the cost of cutting the payroll tax for employers and middle-class taxpayers along with infrastructure programs. Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, have signaled they may be willing to support some of the tax cuts while expressing skepticism about Obama’s spending and tax increase proposals.

    “If the president is truly interested in growing the economy and putting Americans back to work, then he’ll leave the temporary proposals and the half-measures — and the tax hikes – – aside,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said on the Senate floor today.

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Republicans won’t accept tax increases as part of a plan for economic growth.

    “My sense is that we need to work very hard to try and peel off the things that we can actually agree on,” the Virginia Republican told reporters today.

    Obama would sign a bill even if it contained only some provisions of his proposal, White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

    If Congress were to “send a portion of the American Jobs Act, the president would of course not veto it,” Carney told reporters traveling with Obama to an event to promote it in Ohio. “He would sign it and then he would return to press the Congress to get the job done.”

    Deduction Cap
    The biggest revenue-raising proposal in the jobs package — about $400 billion — would cap at 28 percent itemized deductions and some exclusions for individuals earning more than $200,000 a year and married couples earning more than $250,000.

    Andrew Schulz, vice president for legal and public policy at the Council on Foundations in Arlington, Virginia, drew a distinction between charitable contributions that don’t directly benefit a taxpayer and deductions for items such as mortgage interest.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Obama Tax Plan Attacks Top Earners Health Insurance in Redux of 2010 Fight

    President Barack Obama is asking lawmakers to tax the health insurance benefits of top earners, stirring opposition from congressional Democrats who fought a similar proposal in the 2010 health-care law.

    The proposal, tucked deep inside the 155-page jobs legislation Obama submitted to Congress on Sept. 12, would make plans provided by employers partially taxable for couples earning more than $250,000 a year and individuals earning more than $200,000.

    For these taxpayers, the proposal is a dramatic departure from their current tax treatment, in which all of their health benefits are exempt from taxation. It also revives a debate among Democrats over whether taxing health insurance plans for the wealthy sets the stage for one day expanding the tax to lower-income brackets.

    “I didn’t support taxing health-care plans when we debated the health-care bill,” said Representative Bill Pascrell, a New Jersey Democrat who sits on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. “If it was up today, I wouldn’t vote for it.”

    The resistance from Obama’s fellow Democrats indicates the president’s plan may not survive intact, as leaders of the Republican-controlled House already have said they oppose other tax provisions intended to offset the cost of cutting payroll tax rates and spending on infrastructure, schools and aid to states.

    Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, the chamber’s No. 2 Democrat, said the caucus isn’t yet united behind all of Obama’s proposals to cover the bill’s $447 billion cost. Some Democrats would again oppose taxing some health plans, he said.

    Earlier Debate
    House Democrats last year forced revisions to a tax on high-value insurance plans that was included in the health-care law. Labor unions, which have fought to increase benefits for members as companies resisted wage increases, objected to the levy and pushed successfully to increase the threshold and delay implementation.

    Starting in 2018, a 40 percent tax will be levied on plans worth more than $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families. The tax will be paid by insurance companies, though opponents argue costs will be passed on to consumers.

    The insurance proposal included in the jobs package would affect taxpayers in the top brackets starting in 2013. That year, under the administration’s assumption that lower tax rates for high earners passed under President George W. Bush are allowed to expire, someone in the 36 percent bracket with a $10,000 health insurance policy would be required to pay an additional $800. Someone in the 39.6 percent bracket with a $20,000 policy would pay an extra $2,320.

    Little Notice

  35. rikyrah says:

    The GOP’s unremarkable special election stunner

    By Steve Kornacki

    Maybe you remember the much-discussed map that the New York Times ran in November 2008, just after Barack Obama racked up a bigger share of the national popular vote than any Democrat had in 44 years. It really was the perfect election for Democrats, with just about everything breaking their way, and yet the Times showed that in a few pockets of America, Obama had somehow fared worse than his party’s previous (losing) nominee.

    This phenomenon was mostly centered in Appalachia, but there were exceptions — like the Brooklyn/Queens-based 9th District of New York, where Obama performed one point worse than John Kerry had in 2004 and 12 points worse than Al Gore had in 2000.

    This may be the most important piece of information to keep in mind now that the voters of that same 9th District have just handed national Republicans a dream talking point, using a special election to replace Anthony Weiner to send a Republican to the U.S. House. It marks the first time since 1990 that a New York City district not mainly based on Staten Island has voted Republican, and the timing couldn’t be much better for the national GOP, which is now free to crow that President Obama is so unpopular that he’s costing his party elections in one of the country’s bluest cities.

    That’s how politics works, obviously, and Democrats would surely do the same thing if the roles were reversed. But if you can get beyond the fact that it technically played out within the confines of New York City, there really isn’t much that’s remarkable about the victory that Republican Bob Turner achieved on Tuesday night.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Rick Perry and HPV vaccine-maker have deep financial ties
    By Dan Eggen, Published: September 13
    Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whose bid for the White House depends heavily on support from religious conservatives, finds himself confronting an issue that is a flash point for that part of his base: his attempt to order schoolgirls to receive a vaccine that would protect them against a sexually transmitted virus.

    The uproar over the Gardasil vaccine — manufactured by ­Merck, a major Perry campaign donor — knocked the candidate off-stride during a Republican debate Monday night.

    The vaccine is aimed at shielding girls from human papillomavirus (HPV), a common sexual infection that can lead to cervical cancer. Federal health officials say they are confident that the vaccine is safe, noting that more than 35 million doses have been administered in the United States with no pattern of serious side effects.

    Perry bristled Monday night at accusations from his chief rival for tea party voters, Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), that he had pushed the vaccine in 2007 at the bidding of Merck, which employed a former aide to the governor as a lobbyist.

    “It was a $5,000 contribution that I had received from them,” Perry said. “I raise about $30 million. And if you’re saying that I can be bought for $5,000, I’m offended.”

    But campaign disclosure records portray a much deeper financial connection with Merck than Perry’s remarks suggest.

    His gubernatorial campaigns, for example, have received nearly $30,000 from the drugmaker since 2000, most of that before he issued his vaccine mandate, which was overturned by the Texas legislature.

    Merck and its subsidiaries have also given more than $380,000 to the Republican Governors Association (RGA) since 2006, the year that Perry began to play a prominent role in the Washington-based group, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

    Perry served as chairman of the RGA in 2008 and again this year, until he decided to run for president. The group ranks among the governor’s biggest donors, giving his campaign at least $4 million over the past five years, according to Texans for Public Justice, a watchdog group.

    “It’s very clear that crony capitalism could likely have been the cause” of Perry’s decision to issue the vaccine order, Bachmann said Tuesday on NBC’s “Today” show, alleging that the drug may be “dangerous” for young girls. Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who until now has been generally supportive of Perry in public remarks, joined in the criticism.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011
    The Mighty, Misses: Zip
    Posted by Zandar

    Leave it to the Brits at the Guardian to explain what Republicans in Mississippi are trying to do with their state constitutional referendum on “personhood” at conception means from a legal standpoint: not only would it immediately criminalize all abortions as murder, but it would criminalize most forms of contraception and miscarriages as well as making in-vitro fertilization a legal minefield. These Personhood USA guys have just declared war on your uterus.

    Brian Atwood, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union, said if passed the amendment could “severely limit women’s access to birth control, in vitro fertilisation and life-saving medical procedures.”

    Parenthood USA aims eventually to amend the US constitution, effectively outlawing abortion across the country almost 40 years after it was guaranteed by the landmark Roe vs Wade Supreme Court verdict.

    The group claims that the medical understanding of maternity when the decision was made in 1973 was “a far cry from what is known today” because ultrasound and DNA testing were not yet in use.

    It is seeking to exploit the verdict’s so-called “Blackmun Hole”, supposedly opened when Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote the verdict, said a foetus’s right to life would be guaranteed if its “personhood” were established.

    Women’s rights groups reject that any of this alters a woman’s right to an abortion under the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees privacy.

    They also say that the amendment would see a ban on the contraceptive pill, because it prevents fertilised eggs being implanted in the womb, and also outlaw contraception for rape victims.

    Tara Broderick, the head of Planned Parenthood in Ohio, said the planned measure was “dangerous and deceptive.”

    “If it passes, it changes the state constitution and puts the government smack in the middle of personal, private medical decisions between women and their doctors,” she said.

    And here’s the absolute best part of this movement:

    Personhood USA, which claims to “serve Jesus by being an advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves”, is aiming to hold a dozen such referendums across the country on election day 2012.

    Now let’s imagine it’s November 2012, at least one of these personhood referendums pass, and President Perry is waiting in the White House to make sure SCOTUS gets this “momentous” decision right.

    Still think saying home in 2012 is a good idea?

  38. Ametia says:


  39. rikyrah says:

    Republicans Hate People
    by Steven D
    Wed Sep 14th, 2011 at 07:44:07 AM EST

    You think my title is a lie? Explain this story then:

    A package of disaster relief funding worth $7 billion was blocked from coming up for a vote by Senate Republicans on Monday, drawing sharp condemnation from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) who lambasted the conservative party for abandoning Americans in need.
    “Last night, Democrats tried to move forward on a measure that would have granted the Federal Emergency Management Agency additional funding to help communities devastated by natural disasters,” Sen. Reid said in an advisory.

    “This ought to be the least political issue going – whether to reach out a helping hand to our friends and neighbors in their time of need,” he continued. “They have lost friends and loved ones. Their homes, businesses and livelihoods have been destroyed by acts of god. Their communities are under water or reduced to rubble.

    “It’s in our power to help them. But last night Republicans overwhelmingly voted to prevent us from coming to their aid. They prevented us from getting disaster aid to American families and businesses that need it now.”

    The vote was 53-33, with Republicans uniting against measure that would have brought the aid package to a vote and put a rush on some emergency funds. A 60-vote majority was required to pass it.

    “They don’t need help next week or next month,” Reid railed. “They need it now. They need it today.”

    I’d love to hear an explanation for why Republicans refuse to aid the victims of natural disasters. Because you know what? They have no good reason to do this except to make President Obama look bad. I can’t recall the Democrats ever refusing to vote for disaster relief requested by a Republican president, can you? Not even George W. Bush. This is simply a cruel, nasty raw political power play by people who are wicked. Sorry, but that’s how I see it.

    Update [2011-9-14 7:52:24 by Steven D]: Well, I guess Republican Senators in states effected by the recent floods and hurricanes changed their mind and abandoned their party to pass a bill in the Senate to provide the necessary relief funds last night. Guess they heard from their constituents. My only question is why they voted the way they did the first time? They knew the people in their states were in desperate straits. As for the rest of the bastards who continued to vote against disaster relief they can all go to that special place in Hell Dante reserved fro corrupt and greedy officials.

    Ps. This still has to pass the House, where Republicans are trying to push through a smaller disaster relief bill. Question for all you Republican voters suffering through tornadoes, extreme storms, droughts, wildfires and floods in your states this year? Do you really want to play politics with disaster relief that also benefits you and your neighbors. “Acts of God” are not limited to “liberal” parts of the country if you hadn’t noticed.

  40. rikyrah says:

    September 14, 2011 8:40 AM

    How the parties handle setbacks

    By Steve Benen

    The headline on the Washington Post’s “The Fix” column from Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake this morning reads, “The New York special election: Will Democrats panic?” The piece tells readers:

    In the wake of Rep.-elect Bob Turner’s (R) upset victory in the special election in New York’s 9th district on Tuesday night, the prevailing question among Democrats will almost certainly be: Is it time to push the panic button?

    About four months ago, when Democrats won a special election in upstate New York in a district long held by Republicans, Cillizza and Blake told readers:

    One special election almost 18 months before the next general election does not a trend make, but it’s hard to imagine that House GOPers who voted for the Ryan budget didn’t wake up a little more nervous today than they did yesterday.

    Right. Dems lose a race they expected to win, and the question is whether they’ll “push the panic button.” Republicans lose a race they expected to win, and House GOP members probably feel “a little more nervous.”

    I’m not quite sure what it would look like if congressional Democrats did “push the panic button.” They’re already open to compromise and already eager to work on the issues voters care about most. How would panic translate into action? They’d stop trying to pass a jobs bill?

    Regardless, the difference between how the parties handle setbacks continues to fascinate me. Consider some recent history.

    * In 1998, voters were unimpressed, to put it mildly, with the Republican crusade against Bill Clinton. In the midterms, voters sent a message — in a historical rarity, the party that controlled the White House gained congressional seats in the sixth year of a presidency. It was a stinging rebuke of the GOP and its excesses. Did Republicans “push the panic button”? No, they impeached the president anyway during the lame-duck session.

    * In 2006, voters were widely dissatisfied with the war in Iraq, and wanted to see a withdrawal. In the midterms, the Republican majority didn’t just suffer setbacks; they lost both the House and Senate. It was an overwhelming rejection of GOP rule. Did congressional Republicans “push the panic button”? No, they didn’t change strategies at all.

    * In May 2008, Democrats won U.S. House special elections in Louisiana and Mississippi, two of the nation’s “reddest” states. Did Republicans “push the panic button”? No, they didn’t change strategies at all.

    * In 2008, Democrats took the White House and expanded their congressional majorities to heights unseen in a generation. After years of witnessing abject failure, the electorate wanted nothing to do with the GOP. Did Republicans “push the panic button”? No, they changed literally nothing about their agenda, ideas, ideology, rhetoric, tone, attitude, or approach to politics.

    * Between March 2009 to May 2010, Democrats won seven consecutive U.S. House special elections, including flipping one district Republicans had held for more than a century. Did Republicans “push the panic button”? No, they didn’t change strategies at all.

    The difference in the way the two parties handle setbacks is hard to miss. Nothing conveys weakness like running for the hills at the first sign of trouble.

    • Ametia says:

      THIS: Nothing conveys weakness like running for the hills at the first sign of trouble.”

      Which is what whining progressives an handwringing Dems do when they can’t take the heat.

  41. rikyrah says:

    .Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 04:39 AM PDT.

    While reporting on a black lady, CNN plays a song with the N-Word+
    *by LaurenMonica

    This will be a short diary because the clip is so sickening that I don’t even have the heart to write something long.

    It’s no secret that CNN is trying hard to appeal to the far right. First they hired racists like Dana Loesch and Erick Erickson and make no apology for it. Then on monday, they hosted the first ever Tea Party debate. Even people were wonder on twitter if CNN is planning next to host the first ever KKK debate on live television. So what’s in this clip shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

    In the clip, CNN’s Anchor Kyra Phillips started reporting on an one hundred and three years old woman (who happened to be black) who still drives her car despite her age. At this point nothing to see here. Then the music came in. Guess what song CNN producers thought it would be more appropriate for the topic? A rap song repeating the N-Word.

    Thanks Freshwater Dan; here TPM’s clip

    Kyra Phillips later apologized for the mistake. Still not enough, they should fire someone plain and simple.

    Someone sent the link to CNN’s Roland Martin who had no clue.

    5:13 AM PT: Via TPM

    The audio cut to “Fantastic Voyage” by Coolio — specifically, a part of the song with the words “punk ass nigga” — over footage of the woman climbing into her car.
    The chorus of that song begins, “Come along and ride on a fantastic voyage”

    About 25 minutes later, Phillips acknowledged the mistake and apologized.

    Yeah 25 minutes later.

    5:19 AM PT: If you want to call and complain to CNN:

    Phone Number 404-827-2600

  42. Ametia says:

    President Obama will be in North Carolina today.

  43. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone. :-) Happy HUMP day1

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