Serendipity SOUL| Thursday Open Thread

Happy Birthday to 3 Chics Ametia!

Feel free to drop birthday wishes and tunes.  I appreciate your stopping by.  Thank you!

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66 Responses to Serendipity SOUL| Thursday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    NO Carville, this is what you should have told Hillary Clinton in 2008!

    James Carville: Obama should ‘panic’

    Democratic strategist James Carville has just one word of advice for President Barack Obama: panic.

    In a CNN op-ed, Carville said Tuesday’s two special election results are a warning to the White House – and a sign the president must make drastic changes now to stave off the Republican momentum.

    Read more:

    How is this MOFO “SKELETOR” gonna try and tell PBO what the fuck to do, and when to do it, when he took down the Clinton machinery?

  2. rikyrah says:

    Snyder signs anti-collective bargaining, anti-tenure bills into law
    Posted on 07/19/11 at 5:48pm

    Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law a four-bill package that limits collective bargaining and changes how teachers are evaluated and dismissed in Michigan. Read the full press release sent from the State of Michigan Executive Office on July 19, 2011.

    Under the new laws, formerly known as House Bills 4625-4628, teachers will have to wait five years instead of four to earn tenure. Educators will no longer be allowed to collectively bargain teacher placement and teachers at all levels can now be fired for almost any reason. Teacher evaluations will occur annually and student growth and assessment data will be weighed heavily — in 2013-14, student growth and assessment will account for 25 percent of a teacher or administrator evaluation and by 2015-16, the data will make up 49 percent of the evaluation.

  3. Ametia says:



    Don’t allow this MOFO on any show until he pays his CHILD SUPPORT!!!!

    • rikyrah says:

      you saw it too!

      Lawrence WENT OFF!

      see, I’m still asking the same two questions:
      1. why hasn’t his ass been arrested and thrown in jail like so many countless BLACK MEN
      2. why hasn’t his CHECK BEEN GARNISHED?

      • Ametia says:

        Yes, I saw it. LO is calling on the other networks to not allow this grifting, ignorant loser, deadbeat Joe Waslh on any of their shows, unitl he fulfills his FATHERLY DUTIES.


  4. rikyrah says:

    Lawrence O’Donnell’s going off on Deadbeat Joe Walsh. pretty harsh.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Shutdown Chances Increase Over Disaster Relief, Program Cut Disputes

    Two separate but related Republican efforts are increasing the odds that the government will shut down at the end of September, despite repeated assurances from both GOP and Democratic leaders that neither party has an appetite for another round of brinksmanship.

    In a Thursday letter, over 50 House Republicans, led by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), pushed Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to make steep cuts to discretionary spending in the next fiscal year, reneging on the agreement the parties struck to resolve the debt limit standoff. That legislation set a cap on discretionary spending at $1.043 trillion and both Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) are committed to funding the government at that level for the coming year.

    But many House conservatives want to go lower, and if they defect then House Democrats will have to pitch in to make sure it passes and avert a shut down.

    There’s just one problem.

    The House’s funding legislation (known as a ‘continuing resolution’) provides what Democrats and even some Republicans say is insufficient money for disaster relief. On top of that, the GOP offset that money by slashing over a billion dollars from a program meant to encourage hybrid-vehicle development.

    In the Senate today, Democrats and Republicans passed nearly $7 billion in emergency supplemental funds for FEMA with no offsets. House Republicans could ignore that bill and try to jam Democrats with their spending bill: it’s our way on emergency FEMA funds, or there’s a full government shutdown.

    But they can’t count on playing that kind of hardball if Flake and House conservatives balk at the overall spending level. That’s where House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) comes in.

    At her weekly Capitol briefing Thursday she warned, “I have two concerns about the continuing resolution. One is that we are setting, I think, a dangerous–and I use that word purposefully–a dangerous precedent by saying that our disaster assistance must be offset. This has never been. It would be a dangerous precedent to set. [Second] I am particularly concerned about the particular offset they have because it is about the future…. I think it is a very bad choice, as do my members.”

    So can it pass? “That depends on how many Republican votes it gets,” she said.

    She’ll have to act quickly to rein in her members. In a reluctant statement Wednesday evening, the top Dem on the Appropriations Committee, Norm Dicks (D-WA), said, “Despite my concerns, I will support this.” But if he does, and House Republicans pass their funding bill, Senate Dems and FEMA could easily find themselves shortchanged.

  6. Renita says:

    Happy Birthday Mama! I love you & hope you’re having a splendid day. Rock on!!!

  7. rikyrah says:

    Private Health Care Provider Settles Over Massive Fraud Scheme

    Maxim Healthcare Services agreed to a wide-ranging Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with federal and state authorities on charges that the company participated in a conspiracy to commit health care fraud, the Department of Justice announced this week. The criminal complaint against Maxim details how the company allegedly defrauded Medicaid and Veterans Affairs programs through false billings from 2003 to 2009.

    As a private health care service provider, Maxim primarily provides home health care services and medical staffing to hospitals and assisted living facilities. As part of the DPA, Maxim signed a Statement of Facts agreeing with the allegations made in the complaint – the text of which suggests the extent of the company’s fraud may have affected the quality of care it provided.

    On top of issuing billings for services not rendered, the DoJ says the company’s officers subverted federal quality standards by falsifying documentation pertaining to the supervision, training, and qualifications of caregivers. The investigation also revealed that thirteen of Maxim’s offices – part of national network that numbers in the hundreds – were unlicensed by state or federal authorities. Billings for care provided by these unlicensed offices was routinely funneled through the company’s licensed offices, effectively evading the scrutiny of Medicaid and VA auditors.

    The DPA absolves Maxim’s liability under the Federal False Claims Act for false billings issued to the government programs, on the condition that the company pay $130 million to the federal government and 42 states affected by the fraud.

    While the agreement allows Maxim to avoid conviction on charges of health care fraud, it requires the company to pay out up to $150 million in criminal and civil penalties. The Maryland-based health care provider must also implement a series of internal reforms, including the replacement of its executives, the hiring of a Chief Compliance Officer, and total reform of its compliance system. Maxim must also terminate employment for the eight employees who entered individual plea agreements with the DOJ on felony fraud charges.

    Although the massive fraud scheme goes back to at least 2003, Maxim received accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC) in January, 2008. The ACHC explained its accreditation of Maxim in a press release:

    “Maxim is a full-service healthcare company that has earned the reputation of providing innovative solutions that improve health and enhance the quality of life for its patients. Their dedication to customer service and improving patient care, combined with a commitment to staffing quality healthcare professionals has made Maxim one of the most dependable healthcare companies in the country.”

    The ACHC, a private, not-for-profit organization, has to date not issued a press release regarding its accreditation of Maxim. Who accredits the accreditor is another story. In 2010, the International Organization for Standardization re-certified the ACHC’s Quality Management System.

    Maxim’s malfeasance first came to light after after Richard West, a New Jersey native and Medicaid patient who suffers from muscular dystrophy, filed a whistleblower lawsuit in 2004. According to the Asbury Park Press, in 2003, West attempted to contact New Jersey Medicaid’s hotline after noticing Maxim had overbilled Medicaid by 700 hours. Although West never received a response from the agency, he will be collecting a $15 million “relator award” for his part as a whistleblower.

    Although the U.S. Attorney’s Office did most of the heavy lifting during the multi-year investigation, New Jersey’s Attorney General Paula Dow fired out a press release ahead of the DOJ’s press conference. J. Gilmore Childers, the First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District New Jersey quickly rebuked Dow saying the state “played a limited administrative role in this case.” Childers added, “It is troubling and disappointing that they would take credit for years of tireless work done by federal agents and prosecutors.”

  8. Ametia says:

    House Republicans Seek Auto Industry Cuts To Cover For Disaster Relief Funds
    First Posted: 9/15/11 06:27 PM ET Updated: 9/15/11 06:27 PM ET

    WASHINGTON — House Republicans rolled out their plan to fund disaster relief in Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) district, but at the cost of almost half of remaining loans set aside to help the American auto industry.

    Included in their plan for a continuing resolution to fund the government past Sept. 30 is a provision to cut $1.5 billion of the $3.4 billion in remaining funds for low-cost loans — sometimes referred to as “Section 136 loans.” The money would be reused to pay for aid to states as they clean up after recent natural disasters like Hurricane Irene and the rare east coast earthquake — both of which greatly affected Cantor’s Virginia district. The cost of disaster assistance is usually added to the budget deficit instead of offset with cuts.

    Democrats and an auto industry expert warn the funds Cantor picked to pay for disaster aid is currently supporting a successful program that has pulled manufacturing jobs back from other countries and helped keep the industry alive around the eastern Midwest. Taking the money away would jeopardize that program.

    “We absolutely need to fund disaster recovery assistance in Eric Cantor’s district and all areas affected by Hurricane Irene and the recent earthquake, but that doesn’t make it ok to kill American manufacturing jobs,” Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) said in a statement to The Huffington Post. “The Greater Detroit area that I represent has been hit the hardest by the recession and I strongly oppose the Republican plan to kill our jobs and delay our recovery.”

    Read more:

  9. rikyrah says:

    Vadum: Obama’s Jobs Bill Could Give ‘Un-American’ ACORN $15 Billion To Help Poor People Vote
    Ryan J. Reilly | September 15, 2011, 4:50PM

    A non-existent organization that previously helped poor people “destroy the country” by voting could get up $15 billion in taxpayer money under Obama’s jobs bill, according to conservative columnist Matthew Vadum.

    Vadum, who previously wrote that it was “profoundly antisocial and un-American to empower the nonproductive segments of the population to destroy the country,” writes that a draft version of the jobs bill “makes ACORN, Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA), and a phalanx of leftist groups that regularly feed at the public trough eligible for funding.”

    “Section 261 of the bill provides $15 billion for ‘Project Rebuild.’ Grants would be given to ‘qualified nonprofit organizations, businesses or consortia of eligible entities for the redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed-upon properties and for the stabilization of affected neighborhoods,'” Vadum writes.

    “Radical groups like ACORN won’t get the whole $15 billion, though, because they will have to compete with state and local governments for the money,” he continues.

    This is all, of course, contingent upon the fact that ACORN exists. Which it doesn’t.

  10. rikyrah says:

    A Third-Party Candidate?

    by BooMan
    Thu Sep 15th, 2011 at 02:10:45 PM EST
    Chuck Todd thinks we will see a major third-party/independent presidential campaign if Rick Perry is the Republican nominee.

    Said Todd: “If Perry’s the nominee, I think there’s going to be be a serious effort of some sort of moderate Republican linking up with a conservative Democrat of trying to run in some sort of like, ‘let’s throw all the bums out — let’s crash the party,’ you know, a la Perot.”

    He added: “I just continue to believe that’s what’s coming.”

    Of course, there are only a few people wealthy and crazy enough to finance a campaign to get on the ballot in all fifty states. It’s possible that someone who is relatively unknown could decide to blow a huge chunk of their fortune on a quixotic quest for the White House. It happened in 1992 and 1996, and it benefited the Democrat both times.

    The most obvious candidate for such a mission is Mayor Bloomberg of New York City. But he doesn’t fit Todd’s profile. I could see someone like Joe Lieberman, who is retiring from the Senate, teaming up with similarly hawkish Republican, but that wouldn’t quite be what Todd’s envisioning, either. And, in any case, mere politicians wouldn’t be able to raise the money needed to get ballot access.

    If a ticket did emerge that succeeded in getting on the ballot all across the country, and the candidates were a moderate Republican and a Blue Dog Democrat, it would really hurt the Republicans’ chances. Obama would probably be favored to win in Georgia and maybe even Mississippi, as the white vote would be split three ways, while the black vote would remain mostly unified behind the president.

    I don’t see Todd’s prediction coming true, but I do think Perry is unacceptable to a big part of the Republican Establishment, which is what Todd is picking up on and reacting to. A lot of Republicans would prefer a second-term for Obama than the prospect of two-terms from Perry. For some, that’s because they’re focused on 2016, and don’t want to deal with a Republican incumbent that they don’t support. For others, it’s because they’re totally uncomfortable with Perry’s wacky anti-science and weird religious views.

    There ought to be more room in the middle for a third candidate, but, Republican rhetoric aside, the president does a good job of reflecting the values of most people in the middle. The Bloomberg Poll that came out today shows that the president’s actual policies poll very well, even if people aren’t too optimistic about them. With very few exceptions, the people prefer the administration’s proposals to the Republicans’. They also like the president better than any other political leader in the country, and by a substantial margin. To me, that indicates that Obama has successfully occupied the middle, leaving little space for the kind of third party challenge that Todd is predicting.

    Now, I believe H. Ross Perot ran for president for one reason. He was so pissed at Poppy Bush over the Vietnam POW/MIA issue that he wanted to make sure he lost the presidency. If someone on the right hates Perry as much as Perot hated Poppy, then maybe we’ll see a repeat performance.

  11. rikyrah says:

    September 15, 2011 4:30 PM
    A politically smart road trip

    By Steve Benen

    I like it when the White House makes smart decisions.

    President Obama will promote his jobs bill at a bridge important to House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) district next week, the White House announced Thursday.

    The White House said that Obama would visit the Brent Spence Bridge in Ohio on Sept. 22 in order to highlight the “urgent need” for infrastructure improvements, one of the ideas included in his bill.

    Although the bridge is located very near Boehner’s district, Obama has not spoken to the Speaker since he gave his speech introducing the bill to a joint session of Congress last week, and White House press secretary Jay Carney did not know Thursday whether Boehner had been notified.

    Carney said the bridge was chosen because it is “relatively easy to get to from Washington.”

    Carney was being coy, and that’s fine. There’s no great mystery about the political angle of the president’s appearance.

    And, really, there shouldn’t be. The Brent Spence Bridge is a double-decker inter-state bridge that spans the Ohio River between Ohio and Kentucky. Officials in both states consider the bridge “functionally obsolete,” and believe the Brent Spence Bridge should either be replaced or bolstered with significant repairs. If the president is eager to talk about worthwhile infrastructure priorities, this certainly fits the bill.

    Then there’s the political symbolism — that the bridge starts in Ohio’s 8th congressional district (home to House Speaker John Boehner) and ends in Kentucky (home to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell) makes it a nearly perfect example. By making infrastructure investments — investments that used to enjoy bipartisan support before the GOP slipped into madness — the Obama administration can repair the Brent Spence Bridge, putting locals back to work, and improving local transportation and commercial needs.

    Both Boehner and McConnell are against such investments because, well, I’m not entirely sure why. It seems to have something to do with a child-like understanding of economics (“spending = bad”) and a knee-jerk opposition to anything the president considers a good idea.

    That Obama will travel directly to Boehner’s district to help drive this point home takes a little chutzpah. Good for him.

    On a related note, we’ve also been keeping an eye on the Sherman Minton Bridge, which links Kentucky and Indiana. Cracks in the bridge has forced its closure last week, diverting tens of thousands of cars onto a nearby bridge, which also wasn’t designed to accommodate that kind of traffic. A solution, under the best of circumstances, is still months away.

    But there’s Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, who doesn’t see the need for infrastructure investments.

  12. Ametia says:

    How Conservatives and Big Oil are Using a Phony Scandal to Undermine Obama, Clean Energy, and Government Itself

    Here is some information to help you push back on the latest whipped-up, anti-green, anti-government, anti-Obama “scandal.”
    September 14, 2011 |

    TAKE|Get Widget|Start an Online Petition � Well here’s a surprise: conservatives and oil interests are pushing deceptive and destructive stories about President Obama and clean energy. Imagine that! Their intent (as always) is to turn people against President Obama, clean energy, national energy policy, stimulus to help the economy, and government in general.It’s what they do. Here is some information to help you push back on the latest whipped-up, anti-green, anti-government, anti-Obama “scandal.”


    Solyndra was a startup solar-power equipment manufacturer based in Fremont, California that went bankrupt at the end of August. The company’s solar collectors used a special tubular internal design that let it collect light from all directions, and were made with a copper-indium-gallium-diselenide (CIGS) thin film that avoided using then-expensive silicon. It was one of several companies that received assistance from the government, in an attempt to push back on China’s strategic targeting of green-energy manufacturing.

    The company, partly backed by the conservative Walton family had received a loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. The loan, which was originally pushed by the Bush administration, was 1.3% of the DOE portfolio.

    The economy tanked and cut demand, and at the same time Solyndra could not compete with subsidized companies located in China as they rapidly scaled up. So Solyndra ran out of money. Conservatives and oil interests are using the bankruptcy as a platform to attack green energy and the idea of green jobs in general, solar power in particular, President Obama as always, stimulus funding and the idea of developing a national strategic industrial policy to push back on China and others who have their own national policies to win this key industry of the future.

  13. Ametia says:

    So MSNBC has on former SF mayor Willie Brown. SSDD Obama’s not fighting, Obama should do this, Obama should do that. *sigh* these negroes are sickening.

  14. Ametia says:

    Governor Scott Walker Lawyers Up for Growing Corruption Investigation
    It’s Coming Around…

    by Chad Nance
    September 15, 2011

    It is beginning to look like Walkergate (I know… too easy and not creative at all) not only has legs as a story- it is up, walking around, and stretching out for a pleasant jog. As we reported yesterday the FBI has been conducting searches on Walker staffers and now the word from Wisconsin is that Scott “recall” Walker has obtained an attorney for himself.

    Wednesday’s raid is the latest carried out by federal authorities on several of Governor Scott Walker’s top staffers, all state employees who recently resigned their high-paying Walker gigs. Some, like Cynthia Archer, under circumstances that at best could be described as, “political”. Archer was one of Governor Walker’s most trusted allies–until last month, when she abruptly resigned her $124,000-a-year job as deputy secretary of the agency that oversees state contracts. Archer had followed Walker to the governor’s office last November after she was his top county staffer in Milwaukee. Walker’s Milwaukee chief of staff Tom Nardelli also followed to the capitol and like Archer also quit his $90,000 new state job this summer.

    In spite of the fact that the search warrant was executed on Archer’s home in the state capital of Madison, the agents were out of the FBI’s Milwaukee office making it appear that the federal investigation concerns Governor Walker’s time as Milwaukee county executive.

    “Saw about two or three more, four or five, then I saw agents getting out of the car and putting on their jackets, that’s what identified it, FBI on the back of the jackets,” Madison resident Dale Reichers told reporters. Reichers says he saw the law enforcement teams show up at his neighbor’s house before 7 a.m. His neighbor is Cynthia Archer.

  15. Ametia says:

    Hat tip Tally @ TOD

  16. Ametia says:

    Boehner says no new taxes for debt panel
    By Rosalind S. Helderman

    House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) rejected Thursday any increase in tax revenue and instead said that a special committee seeking long-term debt reduction should find $1.5 trillion in savings entirely from cutting federal agency spending and slashing popular entitlement programs.

    Laying out his party’s economic agenda, one week after President Obama offered a $447 billion program of tax cuts and new spending to jumpstart a struggling economy, Boehner supported a plan to reform the tax code.

    “When it comes to producing savings to reach its $1.5 trillion deficit reduction target, the Joint Select Committee has only one option: spending cuts and entitlement reform,” Boeher said, according to prepared remarks in an address to the Economic Club of Washington.

    Thursday’s address by the House speaker to the Economic Club of Washington was the first time that he has firmly declared that the deficit reduction supercommittee cannot raise taxes as part of any compromise to lower the debt.

    Just as his early May address before the Economic Club of New York kicked off the debate over raising the country’s debt ceiling over the summer, Boehner’s remarks were meant to set the stage for the current negotiations with the White House over the handling of the debt and unemployment crises. Boehner did not issue a sweeping jobs plan in the same manner that Obama did last week, but many of the proposals were repackaged from similar offerings made in recent years.

    But he did say that if the supercommittee did its work properly and was able to rein in federal spending and lance the government debt, then the economy would rebound.

    “The joint committee is a jobs committee,” Boehner said.

    In a far-ranging question-and-answer session after his speech, Boehner threw cold water on the idea of resuming one-on-one negotiations with Obama aimed at reaching a “grand bargain” on the debt.

  17. Ametia says:

    Posted at 04:13 PM ET, 09/15/2011
    White House seeks to reassure Senate Democrats on jobs plan
    By Rosalind S. Helderman and Paul Kane

    The White House sought to reassure nervous Democrats about President Obama’s $447 billion jobs package Thursday, sending senior officials to brief the party’s Senate caucus about the proposal.

    Afterward, lawmakers, administration officials and others present said the huddle went better than expected, given the resistance some Democrats have shown to the plan, and Tuesday’s losses in House special elections after GOP candidates won with anti-Obama campaigns.

    Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), the member of the Democratic leadership who has most frequently jousted with the White House, complimented senior Obama officials for taking 100 minutes of questions from the Senate Democrats.

    “It was informative, we’re on the same page, we’re on the same team,” Schumer said. He acknowledged that senators “brought up their concerns” with the proposal but said they exited the meeting “unified.”

    Senators heard presentations at a closed door briefing from Gene Sperling and senior advisor David Plouffe, who outlined the key points of the package of targeted tax cuts and infrastructure spending, members said.

    “I think the key thing is we’re off to a great start in terms of getting excitement for the American Jobs Act,” Plouffe told reporters afterward. “The vast majority of our party is committed to showing that we’re going to act on jobs.”

    Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) called the meeting “very positive.”

    “It was going through the package and the need for the package,” he said.

    Even as Obama has been delivering a series of campaign-style speeches in support of his proposal, calling on the public to pressure Congress to pass the bill, some Democrats in Washington have been expressing reservations with the package.

    Liberal members have fretted over the president’s proposal to cut the payroll tax, fearful of diverting money from the Social Security Trust fund. They say more direct government spending on infrastructure and salaries is needed to get the economy moving.

    “I have been very unequivocal,” Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.) told reporters Wednesday. “No more tax cuts. We have the economy that tax cuts gave us. And it’s pretty pathetic, isn’t it?”

    Some conservative Democrats have said they support the tax cuts, but oppose spending billions on teacher salaries and to build schools and roads, as the president has proposed, when Congress is working to reduce the deficit.

    “If spending money could fix our jobs problem, it would have been solved long ago — because we’ve sure done our share of spending,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a frequent critic of the president.

    Obama’s suggestions for how to pay for the package have not been universally popular with Democrats either.

    Democrats have previously rejected proposals from the White House to limit tax deductions to those making more than $250,000 a year. Opposition has not faded now that Obama has advanced the idea again to pay for the bulk of jobs plan.

    “We’ve had mixed signals from the White House about the willingness to break apart the package. But I think for sure the pay-for has to be considered separately from the merits of the bill itself,” said Rep. Gerald E. Connnolly (D-Va.), who represents a wealthy Northern Virginia district and has long opposed such proposals.

    Republicans spent Thursday gleefully pointing to the voices of Democratic dissent as a sign that the president’s bill does not have support of even his own party.

    But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) insisted Thursday that the criticism is minor. She noted that Democrats joined on the steps of the Capitol on Wednesday to rally in support of the measure.

    “There may be somebody that’s told you or spoken out about this, but our caucus is very unified in support of the American Jobs Act and the fact that it is paid for,” she said. “They may differ with some of provisions within it or the paid fors, but they do not differ in the fact that we must get behind it, we must pass it.”

  18. rikyrah says:

    How The Pro Life Movement Gave Us Citizens United
    Since the day Roe V. Wade was decided, the pro life movement has attached themselves to the Republican Party, who promised to overturn Roe V Wade and make abortion illegal in the country.

    The “best” years to over turn the Supreme Court decision were the Bush years. In 2005 and 2006 President Bush appointed pro life justices to the Supreme Court. The composition at the time was in favor of overturning Roe V. Wade as it still stands today.

    The Republican Party has consistently told pro life conservatives that if they support the party, they will appoint the justices needed to overturn the law. Has it happened, well no, for one simple reason, elections.

    The Republicans will consistently use this issue to get their social conservative base out and support them. In the past, the religious bloc of voters were relatively split or inactive. There were those who felt getting involved in politics was not their “thing.” They felt that they didn’t belong, and these are the people that the GOP went after.

    They now have a purpose and Republican Party is using abortion to make sure that the religious middle class person votes against their own financial interest and supports the GOP.

    The other “conservatives” that I spoke about voted favorably toward the Democratic Party based on the need for programs that fought against poverty and sickness, a core of Christian values. But those who once voted for these core issues turned have away and focused specifically on the abortion issue.

    Now I don’t want to get into whether abortion is right or wrong, but the point is, it’s the law of the land. I am pointing to how the Republican Party has manipulated good folks, who care about people, to vote against their self interests and other people interests based on this one issue.

    What has the United States received in exchange for electing pro life politicians who promise to get rid of Roe V. Wade? We have the highest income inequality in a generation, we have deregulated businesses to the point where the financial sector is running wild and loose, and of course we also have the Citizens United decision, which gave multinational corporations a right to “free speech” that can influence our elections with unlimited, unaccounted, secret money.

    You see, this was the game plan all along. They used an innocent bloc of people, gave them a reason to support the Republican Party and now they have instituted an ideological group of neo conservatives, who are hell bent on destroying the infrastructure and soul of our country. They promised to erase the evil of abortions, but instead are spreading their evil intentions of eliminating Social Security through privatization, voucherizing Medicare, so our elderly have to purchase their own health insurance, while hoping they are covered, and in some cases eliminating public education.

    There really is no other reason why the conservatives in power have not overturned Roe V Wade. Especially after many states have made it almost impossible to have an abortion, and hoping it becomes a lawsuit and rises up to the Supreme Court.

    The Christians that truly care about this country need to realize that they are pawns who are being used and abused for political gain.

  19. rikyrah says:

    September 15, 2011 1:45 PM

    Affordable Care Act is already working, Part III

    By Steve Benen

    Most of the provisions in the Affordable Care Act don’t kick in for a few years, but in the meantime, we’re already seeing indications that the law is working as intended.

    We talked yesterday about the fact that the number of young adults — those between the ages of 19 and 25 — with health care coverage has gone up considerably, thanks to the new law’s consumer protection reforms. It comes on the heels of reports that the Affordable Care Act is 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.

    It turns out these aren’t the only signs of progress. Among the many arguments Republicans pushed during the health care debate was the notion that the ACA would crush Medicare Advantage. We can now add this to the (extremely long) list of arguments the GOP got wrong.

    Medicare Advantage is the program that gives seniors the option of enrolling in private insurance rather than the traditional, government-run program. The government pays the insurers a flat fee, per enrollee; in return, the insurers provide coverage, sometimes including benefits that traditional Medicare does not. Overall, about one in four seniors belongs to such plans.

    The policy rationale for Medicare Advantage is two-fold: To give seniors more options and to introduce some private-sector competition. The idea is that private insurers might be able to be more innovative or offer certain combinations of services that some seniors would prefer. But, for much of its history, the program (formerly known as Medicare-plus-choice) was also a form of corporate welfare. Non-partisan studies, by the likes of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, suggested that the government was paying the insurers too much.

    The architects of the Affordable Care Act decided, quite sensibly, to reduce those extra subsidies and use the money to offset part of the law’s cost. That’s when the Republicans, and their allies, pounced. Taking money away from the insurers, they claimed, would force insurers to charge more, limit their offerings, or pull out of the market altogether.

    As of this morning, it looks like Republicans flubbed this one, too. After reviewing new data from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which found premiums going down and enrollment going up, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters, “On average, Medicare Advantage premiums will go down next year and seniors will enjoy more free benefits and cheaper prescription drugs.”

    We were paying too much for Medicare Advantage, so we’ve cut costs. The program is, however, still profitable and attractive for private insurers.

    In fairness, we’ll need more time to see if this trend holds. It may not. What’s more, not all of the news regarding the law has been positive, as evidenced by an AP report today on cost concerns about the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program (CLASS).

    But overall, most of the initial evidence — on expanding access and coverage, on keeping costs down, etc. — suggests the Affordable Care Act is working. The right doesn’t want to hear that, but it’s true.

  20. rikyrah says:

    September 15, 2011 2:25 PM

    Bolstering anti-intellectual credentials
    By Steve Benen

    For eight years, just about every time George W. Bush was in the same room as someone with a post-graduate degree, the failed former president would tell the same joke: “I remind people that, like when I’m with Condi I say, she’s the Ph.D. and I’m the C-student, and just look at who’s the president and who’s the advisor.”

    Republican crowds always cheered the line, reinforcing the anti-intellectual attitudes that too often dominate conservative thought. The man who succeeded Bush in Austin, and hopes to succeed Bush as the next Republican president, is cut from the same cloth.

    As a child, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas was dead set on being a veterinarian. “That was my heart’s content. It’s what I always wanted to do,” he said.

    Then came a day of reckoning, during the second semester of his sophomore year at Texas A&M University, when he went to see the dean of the veterinary school. His advice: switch to an easier major.

    “He said, `Son, I’m looking at your transcript,’” Mr. Perry said. “‘You want to be an animal science major.’”

    Perry made the joke during a speech yesterday at Liberty University, a school founded by crazed televangelist Jerry Falwell. The Texas governor didn’t say much about politics, but he spent a fair amount of time talking about what a lousy student he was.

    Perry noted, for example, that at his small high school, “I graduated in the top 10 of my graduating class — of 13.” The crowd laughed and applauded.

    Jennifer Rubin, a conservative writer at the Washington Post, said Perry’s speech “was, at least in part, a celebration of ignorance.” She added, “Yes, he was trying to be self-deprecating, but it’s disturbing to see that he thinks being a rotten student and a know-nothing gives one street cred in the GOP.”

    I don’t agree with Rubin on much of anything, but on this, I think she’s on the right track. In Republican politics, there is an anti-intellectual streak. Perry expected to get laughter and applause for doing poorly in school — just as Bush did — and his audience didn’t disappoint.

    If this were only a matter of politicians with bad grades decades earlier, it would hardly be worth mentioning. It doesn’t exactly set a good example for young people — “don’t worry too much about working hard in school; you can still reach powerful leadership positions thanks to fundraising, consultants, and attack ads” — but I really don’t much care about Perry’s transcripts.

    What matters is what this tells us about anti-intellectualism in Republican politics today, and the fact that the Perry and Bush jokes always generate applause from conservative audiences.

    Three years ago, Paul Krugman wrote a memorable column identifying the GOP as “the party of stupid.” The columnist explained, “What I mean … is that know-nothingism — the insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there’s something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise — has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party’s de facto slogan has become: ‘Real men don’t think things through.’”

    That was in August 2008. Is there any doubt that the criticism seems even truer today? We see it constantly from congressional Republicans, who seem to have an allergy to reason and evidence, and we’re seeing it more and more at the presidential level. Indeed, Perry isn’t just celebrating anti-intellectualism; he’s living it. He doesn’t care what biologists, climate scientists, economists, historians, or dictionaries have to offer; Perry already has all the information he needs.

    The fact that so many millions of voters find this appealing is disconcerting, isn’t it?

  21. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    September 15, 2011 12:35 PM

    Walker’s new mess in Madison

    By Steve Benen

    There’s an interesting story brewing in Wisconsin, where top aides to Gov. Scott Walker (R) are abruptly resigning and finding FBI agents going through their homes.

    About a dozen law enforcement officers, including FBI agents, raided the home of a former top aide to Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday as part of a growing investigation into whether county employees did political work while at their jobs.

    The home on Madison’s east side is owned by Cynthia A. Archer, who until recently was deputy administration secretary to the Republican governor. Archer, 52, now holds a different state job but is on paid sick leave, records show.

    The probe is reportedly reviewing corruption allegations in which top Walker aides have been accused of using public resources for partisan political gain.

    Archer, described as one of Walker’s “most trusted allies,” quit unexpectedly last month from her well-paid job overseeing state contracts. It came on the heels of another abrupt resignation from Tom Nardelli, Walker’s former chief of staff.

    There’s also this tidbit of news.

    There was no comment Wednesday from Governor Walker, who has retained legal counsel, although he claims not to have been personally contacted by federal agents.

    Now, there may be nothing to this, but when a sitting governor retains outside counsel as part of a growing corruption investigation, and FBI agents are paying visits to his former top aides, it would appear Scott Walker has a bit of a problem.

    It’s worth emphasizing that the allegations, according to local media accounts, are focused on potential misdeeds committed before Walker became governor — the accusations focus on whether county staffers did political work for Walker when they were supposed to be doing official work for the public — but the controversy can still do some real damage.

    Walker, best known for picking a huge fight over stripping state workers of their collective bargaining rights, is already unpopular in his home state, and the threat of a recall election still looms on the horizon. It makes this story something to keep an eye on.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Conservative Democrats Strike Again (Updated)
    If you’ve read this blog lately, you’ve read a lot of criticism of Republicans for talking economic nonsense, placing their political fortunes ahead of the country’s good, or some combination of the two. But sometimes Democrats, particularly conservative Democrats, do the same things. And now is one of those times.

    Mary Landrieu and Jim Webb – I’m looking at you

    An article by Manu Raju, in Politico, quotes the three senators criticizing Obama’s jobs proposal. Part of the problem is the offsets: In order to pay for the school maintenance, tax breaks, and other efforts at stimulating the economy, Obama has proposed to raise taxes on the wealthy, starting in January 2016, or to have the new congressional super-committee propose an alternative. Apparently this is unacceptable to Landrieu and Webb, who fancy themselves fiscal conservatives but can’t stomach the idea of slightly higher taxes for the very wealthiest Americans.

    From the Politico article:

    Terrible,” Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) told POLITICO when asked about the president’s ideas for how to pay for the $450 billion price tag. “We shouldn’t increase taxes on ordinary income. … There are other ways to get there.”
    “That offset is not going to fly, and he should know that,” said Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu from the energy-producing Louisiana, referring to Obama’s elimination of oil and gas subsidies. “Maybe it’s just for his election, which I hope isn’t the case.”

    Landrieu represents Louisiana, a very conservative state, and plans to seek reelection – so there’s some political logic to her position. Webb is another story: He’s retiring. The feeling seems to be genuine. And, as Brian Beutler reports, plenty of other conservative Democrats seem to have similar feelings.

    For what it’s worth, the substantive case for this point of view is exceptionally weak. Most mainstream economists would say what Doug Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, and Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, have been saying: Deficit spending now, to boost the economy, combined with deficit reduction later, to make federal budgets sustainable, is pretty much the ideal policy.

    But put that aside. Go back and read those quotes closely: Can you imagine Republicans speaking out against their leadership, on such a top priority, in such brazen terms? Matt Yglesias can’t:

    Conservative states sometimes elect wishy-washy moderate Democratic senators, but when North Dakota or Alabama sends a Republican to Washington, they send a solid conservative. And while your Scott Browns and Olympia Snowes sometimes don’t vote with the party leadership, they rarely attack the leadership in quasi-personal terms. They don’t suggest that Mitch McConnell has “terrible” ideas that he’s pursuing for low political reasons.

    Fellow liberals criticize to flay President Obama for avoiding fights – and, sometimes, they are right. But they also underestimate the obstacles Obama faces because of the divided Democratic caucus.

    It’s not just that conservative Democrats wield an effective veto in Congress; it’s that they are constantly, almost compulsively, disagreeing with the president and undermining the party’s message discipline.

    Maybe that’s necessary for their political survival and maybe it isn’t. Greg Sargent makes a good case today that Obama’s bill is actually popular with independents. And even Max Baucus, hardly a bleeding heart, supports higher taxes on the wealthy.

    Either way, it does put Obama, and his allies, at a distinct disadvantage.

    Update: My original item also discussed Delaware Senator Tom Carper, whom the Politico story quotes as saying “I think the best jobs bill that can be passed is a comprehensive long-term deficit-reduction plan. … That’s better than everything else the president is talking about — combined.”

    But Carper staffers contacted me shortly after the item went live, arguing that their boss was far more enthusiastic about the Obama bill than the article suggested — that Carper supports the proposal.

    To make their case, they pointed to other statements Carper has made. After Obama’s speech, for example, Carper told the Delaware News-Journal that “From cutting taxes for small businesses to creating more job growth, the American Jobs Act is a strong package that merits bipartisan and bicameral support.”

  23. rikyrah says:

    Republicans reborn: The rise of Rick Perry
    By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

    We may be witnessing a very important shift in the character of the Republican Party. For decades now, it has tended to nominate very established names for president. The party nominated Richard Nixon to its presidential ticket five times in 30 years. Over the last 20 years, there has been a Bush or a Dole on the ticket for all but this last presidential election. The Republican presidential nominee is almost always the front-runner, the established candidate, the guy who’s waited his turn: McCain, Dole, Bush Sr., Nixon.

    The Democratic Party, by contrast, tends to nominate the outsider: Obama, Clinton, Carter and Kennedy. If history is the guide, this means the Republican Party will nominate Mitt Romney for president. He is the establishment candidate; he has run before; he is the most mainstream figure in the party. But I get the sense that the Republican Party is changing.

    Power has shifted to the South and West. The energy of the Republican Party has moved away from the coasts and the big cities. Power has also shifted away from the proverbial smoke-filled rooms to the grassroots. The forces that represented the establishment in the Republican Party – the big corporations and the banks – are much weaker. The forces that are strong today are Christian conservatives, libertarian activists and other more diverse, populist groups. These groups have always existed but before now they were directed by the coastal elites. Not anymore. The tea party represents the dramatic acceleration of these forces. That’s why all the Republican presidential candidates are trying to take up the mantle of the tea party.

    These forces are elevating Rick Perry such that we may end up with a situation where all the energy, enthusiasm and numbers are behind him. It would not matter that the Republican establishment was behind Romney because that establishment no longer controls much. What matters is the entrepreneurial game of getting people and money. Perry seems to be doing pretty well at that.

    If Rick Perry does emerge as the front-runner, it is not just the story of one guy doing well; it is the story of a very different Republican Party than the one we have been familiar with for the last 30 or 40 years.

    It would result in a Republican Party with greater energy, enthusiasm and street cred, but also one that is more extreme, uncompromising and much less concerned with being dismissed by the mainstream media or characterized as irresponsible by people like me. It will make for a more difficult political system because these are the forces that have been very reluctant to compromise. We may find that the debt showdown was just the beginning.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Texas Justice
    By Ta-Nehisi Coates
    Sep 15 2011, 2:00 PM ET

    The state prepares to execute a man–over the objections of one of the prosecuting attorneys–because being black makes him more dangerous. No seriously:

    A Texas inmate sentenced to death–in a racially charged case that now-Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said was inappropriately decided–has petitioned Gov. Rick Perry and his state parole board for clemency, giving the GOP presidential candidate two days to decide whether to commute the sentence or grant a temporary stay of execution. Last week, one of the Harris County prosecutors who helped secure Buck’s conviction wrote a letter to Perry urging him to grant a retrial. In 10 years as governor, Perry has presided over 234 executions, more than any other governor in modern history; only once has he granted clemency in a case where the Supreme Court hasn’t already mandated it. Now, just as he steps onto the national stage, Perry will have to make what looks like a tough call–with GOP primary voters watching. The inmate, Duane Edward Buck, is set to be executed by lethal injection on September 15 for murdering two people at the home of his ex-girlfriend in 1995.

    The issue at hand isn’t Buck’s innocence, but the means by which his death sentence was obtained. Prosecutors firmly established Buck’s guilt, but to secure a capital punishment conviction in Texas they needed to prove “future dangerousness”–that is, provide compelling evidence that Buck posed a serious threat to society if he were ever to walk free. They did so in part with the testimony of a psychologist, Dr. Walter Quijano, who testified that Buck’s race (he’s African American) made him more likely to commit crimes in the future. (Quijano answered in the affirmative to the question of whether “the race factor, [being] black, increases the future dangerousness for various complicated reasons.”)

    Read the whole thing.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Rick Perry Supported by Republicans in Poll Showing Plurality Reject Views
    By John McCormick – Sep 15, 2011 Republicans give Rick Perry frontrunner status in their party’s presidential primary race even as warning signs flash over his ability to win support in the general election.

    The Texas governor is the preferred choice of 26 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents in a Bloomberg National Poll conducted Sept. 9-12. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney places second at 22 percent, while all of the other Republican candidates get less than 10 percent.

    In a hypothetical general election matchup, Perry trails President Barack Obama among the poll’s entire sample, 49 percent to 40 percent, about twice the deficit for Romney. Perry also confronts negative reactions from Americans disinclined to vote for a candidate expressing the skepticism he has about the viability of Social Security, evolution science and whether humans contribute to climate change.

    “Science is an integral part of our culture,” said Danyelle Lowers, 27, a student at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, who considers herself an independent voter. “To have such a general disregard for the sciences is rather terrifying.”

    Still, positions and statements that could hurt Perry in a faceoff with Obama work to his advantage with his most immediate audience — Republican primary voters.

    “Perry leads in the primary contest in part because some of his most famous stands don’t turn off the primary electorate all that much,” said J. Ann Selzer, president of Des Moines, Iowa-based Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll. “In the general election, these issues will matter more.”

    Favorability Ratings
    Perry, 61, who joined the Republican field last month, starts the race viewed unfavorably by 41 percent of Americans and favorably by 32 percent. More than a quarter haven’t yet formed an opinion.

    The most publicized campaign issue focusing on Perry — his characterization of Social Security as a “Ponzi Scheme” — has Americans divided. Among all respondents, 46 percent said they agree with the remark, while 50 percent said they disagree.

    Among Republicans, 65 percent agree with Perry’s statements about Social Security, while 33 percent disagree. Independents are nearly equally split.

    Poll participant Annie Baker, 30, a homemaker who lives in Crestwood, Kentucky, and said she leans Republican in most elections, called Perry’s terminology “strong verbiage,” even as she agreed with his assessment of the federal retirement program.

    Independent Voters
    “I don’t see how it’s self-sustaining at all,” she said of Social Security. “It doesn’t seem like something that is going to be able to give us back the returns that we are giving. You ask yourself if you are ever going to see this money again.”

    Some of the other positions Perry has taken could also present difficulties for him in a general election when independent voters are the key to winning.

    Forty-five percent of Americans say they’d be less inclined to support a candidate who says science isn’t settled on whether human activity contributes to global warming, while 25 percent said it would make them more likely to back that candidate. Half said they would be turned off by a candidate who says evolution remains an unproven theory, with 20 percent saying they’d be more inclined to support someone who holds that view.

    Women Split
    Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, men are more often drawn to Perry over Romney, while women are equally split between the two. Younger Republicans more often prefer Romney to Perry, with Romney holding an advantage of 24 percent to 13 percent among those under 35.

    Perry’s polling strengths include Tea Party supporters and those who describe themselves as “born again” or fundamentalist Christians. He leads Romney 31 percent to 21 percent among Tea Party supporters, and has the backing of 29 percent among those self-described Christians, compared with 15 percent for Romney.

    Romney, 64, led in most national polls of Republicans until Perry entered the race Aug. 13. Romney’s numbers in the Bloomberg poll are almost the mirror image of Perry’s — he is stronger in the general election than in the primary contest.

    A proposal from Romney, the co-founder of Boston-based private-equity firm Bain Capital LLC, to eliminate taxes on capital gains, dividends and interest income for individuals making $200,000 or less per year is supported by 60 percent of Americans. Even among Democrats, 43 percent say it’s a good idea.

    Romney was the only Republican tested in the poll who was viewed more favorably than unfavorably by all respondents.

    Obama Match-Up
    Also among the entire sample, Obama leads Romney in a hypothetical match-up, 48 percent to 43 percent. Among respondents who said they are likely to vote in 2012, a group that is hard to discern 14 months before the election, Romney leads Obama, 48 percent to 45 percent.

    The poll of 997 adults has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points and plus or minus 3.6 points for likely general election voters. Among the Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, the error margin is 4.2 percentage points.

    Republicans with the highest unfavorable ratings are former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who has said she may reveal her presidential ambitions before the end of this month, and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia, whose presidential campaign has struggled to gain traction. Palin is viewed negatively by 66 percent of Americans, while Gingrich is disliked by 55 percent.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Liberal Sorcery
    By Ta-Nehisi Coates
    Sep 15 2011, 10:00 AM ET
    I want to double (or triple) down on these three posts by Yglesias. They’re all somewhat themed around the president’s job plan. As Matt rightly notes, this obsession with the president’s want of liberalism really needs to confront the hard facts of Senators and congressmen who say things like this:

    As he demands Congress quickly approve his ambitious proposal aimed at reviving the sagging economy, many Democrats on Capitol Hill appear far from sold that the president has the right antidote to spur major job growth and turn around their party’s political fortunes.

    “Terrible,” Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) told POLITICO when asked about the president’s ideas for how to pay for the $450 billion price tag. “We shouldn’t increase taxes on ordinary income. … There are other ways to get there.”

    “That offset is not going to fly, and he should know that,” said Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu from the energy-producing Louisiana, referring to Obama’s elimination of oil and gas subsidies. “Maybe it’s just for his election, which I hope isn’t the case.”

    “I think the best jobs bill that can be passed is a comprehensive long-term deficit-reduction plan,” said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), discussing proposals to slash the debt by $4 trillion by overhauling entitlement programs and raising revenue through tax reforms. “That’s better than everything else the president is talking about — combined.”


    A few things to note about this, which speak to the depth of the structural issue here. One is that Delaware is not a conservative state. Nor is it a swing state. The Democratic presidential candidate won there in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008. President Obama got 62 percent of the vote there. And even so, Carper is attacking the president’s jobs agenda from the right. What’s more, I think the most plausible possible account of this is that Carper genuinely believes that the best jobs bill that can be passed is a comprehensive long-term deficit-reduction plan because if he’s not expressing a sincerely held belief, it’s a bit hard to see the political angle here.

    Now on to Webb and Landrieu, what strikes me about their remarks is that they’re being mean. Webb isn’t respectfully disagreeing with the administration’s proposed offsets, he’s calling them “terrible.” Landrieu is calling the sincerity of the president’s motives into question. For me, it’s difficult to imagine parallel behavior on the other side. Conservative states sometimes elect wishy-washy moderate Democratic senators, but when North Dakota or Alabama sends a Republican to Washington, they send a solid conservative. And while your Scott Browns and Olympia Snowes sometimes don’t vote with the party leadership, they rarely attack the leadership in quasi-personal terms. They don’t suggest that Mitch McConnell has “terrible” ideas that he’s pursuing for low political reasons.

    The other day Tavis Smiley made the point that president’s job plan didn’t go far enough. I’d bet a lot of progressives concur and I think pushing the point is healthy, legitimate, essential and fair. But it’s also healthy, legitimate, essential and fair to then ask, “What would make more progressive legislation possible?” That line of thinking has to confront the kind of statements and action by Democratic Senators who evidently feel little or no pressure from their progressive base.

    One of the reasons why I’ve harped on the “flying while brownish” series is because I think liberals are much more comfortable attacking whoever seems to hold the most power, and much less comfortable examining the power of the “weak,” as well as the power that they, themselves, wield. Power confers responsibility. In evading the notion that citizenship in a democracy confers power, you also evade the notion that it confers responsibility. It’s comforting to believe in a narrative of liberal “betrayal,” to argue that the game is rigged in such a way that the Hippie-punchers always win.

    It’s also pretty cynical.

    Tom Carper mouthing off from the comfortable environs of blue Delaware is a failure of Team Commie to be regarded as serious political force. People who talk of primarying Obama need to pick smaller targets–and thus elicit bigger results.

    But being taken seriously involves actual work. It means a poverty tour that doesn’t just bark (Obama the black mascot) but bites (voter registration in swing districts.) If you don’t like the current iteration of America, you need to remember that you are America. The failure to build a more progressive America isn’t merely a testimony to dastardly evil, it’s a testimony to the failure of progressives.

    Matt again:

    If you’re a progressive and you feel that the political system isn’t doing what you want, it’s misguided to look at this as a personal failure of elected officials. It’s, if anything, a personal failure of you and people like you. Justice and equality doesn’t just happen because it’s nice, people need to make it happen. If it’s not happening, then its advocates are failing.

    Somehow we got in our head that the Civil Rights movement happened because Martin Luther King was a really nice guy. We don’t really talk about the movement as an actual force, as applying force. We don’t think about what SNCC was really trying to do when they were risking their lives to register voters in the delta. When we think about people trying to kill them we think about evil, but we should think about power and fear.

    Matt offers two suggestions on tangible steps forward. Someone in his comment thread noted that people should list more. I’d like to be presumptuous and follow that advice here. It’s not like we don’t have success in our recent past. It’s generally taken as true that gay marriage is coming to America. How did that happen? Is there anything to be learned there? What can be done beyond thin complaints about Obama’s tone?

  27. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, September 15, 2011When the right wing gets the story the left missed (update)
    Every now and then it can be fascinating to read what the right wing extremists are reporting on the Obama administration. That’s because many times they get stories the left (yes, I’m looking at you poutragers) miss completely.

    As those who read here regularly know, I’m very interested in what Attorney General Eric Holder is doing to reform the Department of Justice after the havoc wreaked by the Bush administration. And in particular, the excellent work of Tom Perez in running the Civil Rights Division. The poutragers are so busy vilifying Holder for not prosecuting Bush and Cheney for torture, they are completely missing a HUGE story for progressives on this front.

    So where did I find more amazing news about what’s going on? None other than the right wing extremist rag known as Pajamas Media. They went to the trouble of obtaining and analyzing the resumes of 106 lawyers hired to work in the Civil Rights Division of DOJ. And of course, I had the opposite reaction they did to what they found. Overall, here’s how they reported the results:

    A scoring update is in order. So far, PJMedia has profiled 106 new career attorneys hired into the Civil Rights Division during the Obama administration. The results:

    Leftist lawyers hired: 106

    Moderate, non-ideological, or conservative lawyers hired: 0.

    Any lawyer who has actual experience in dealing with civil rights is, by definition, considered “leftist” by them. Only those with experience going after so-called “reverse discrimination” are considered to be “moderate, non-ideological or conservative.” So keep that in mind.

    But look at some of the examples they found (I’ll edit here for brevity):

    Chiraag Bains

    Meanwhile, as an undergraduate, he interned at the liberal Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, where he co-wrote a guide to assist convicted felons in gaining the right to vote. He also worked with the SEIU local chapter, and was an active member of Amnesty International. Little wonder that he won a Soros Fellowship for New Americans, upon which he described his dream of pursuing a career in “human rights and distributive justice.”

    Tona Boyd

    While serving as an editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, she wrote an article titled “Confronting Racial Disparity: Legislative Responses to the School-to-Prison Pipeline,” in which she argued that tough law enforcement policies against violent youth should be abandoned, because they tend to “cast too wide a net, failing to differentiate between gangs and other group criminal activity, and could exacerbate the problem of disproportionate minority contact.”

    Cindy Chung

    …her service as managing editor of the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, which describes its mission as “publish[ing] interdisciplinary works related to feminism and gender-related issues with the aim of promoting dialogue, debate, and awareness around an expansive view of feminism embracing women and men of different colors, classes, sexual orientations, and cultures.”

    Fara Gold

    During her undergraduate days, she worked as a counselor at a rape crisis center in Georgia and vowed thereafter to spend her life helping victims. She writes that she contemplated going into social work but ultimately felt that she could assist victims more effectively as a prosecutor.

    Carroll McCabe

    Ms. McCabe was hired into the Section after spending her entire career as a personal injury and criminal defense attorney, concentrating the bulk of her time representing murderers facing the death penalty…her membership in both the American Trial Lawyers Association and the Organization of Hispanics and Latin Americans of Anne Arundel County on her resume served as the ticket to admission.

    Saeed Mody

    While a law student at the University of Texas-Austin, he served as vice-president of the Muslim Student Lawyers Association and worked in the criminal defense clinic. He also clerked for the Texas Civil Rights Project, where he assisted the NAACP in suing the Austin Police Department for alleged brutality.

    Ryan Murgula

    Most prominently, he headed the Illinois chapter of Young Latino Professionals for Obama in 2008. He also received scholarships from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) as well as the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

    Nicole Ndumele

    During law school — where she was named an NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund Scholar — she co-founded the Multi-Racial Law Students Association and served on the Executive Board of the Black Law Students Association.

    Christine Siscaretti

    But Civil Rights Division officials were surely impressed by her service on the Third World Law Journal at Boston College Law School. This journal characterizes its mission as providing “a forum for discussing legal issues affecting people, cultures, and institutions that share a common history of colonialism, oppression, under-representation, and marginalization in the political and economic processes.”

    WOW, pretty impressive bunch, huh?

    Of course, Pajama’s Media doesn’t specifically mention the race of these individuals. But they send out enough dog whistles that you get the point, right?

    It’s too bad the left isn’t paying as much attention to this sort of thing that the right is. I’m not happy – believe me – for any clicks I might give or send to a publication like that. But that’s because we’re missing the story here and they’re not. I’m afraid that happens too often.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Friends With Benefits: Rick Perry’s Biggest Donors
    By Massimo Calabresi

    The most important insight into the state of the Republican presidential race won’t come from the continuing series of GOP debates, but from fund raising figures that will be released at the end of September. All the candidates want to show they can build up cash by the Sept. 30 third-quarter disclosure deadline, especially the late-starting Texas Governor Rick Perry. But Perry has an advantage that the other top candidates lack: As a sitting governor, he has a fresh record of delivering for his big donors.
    A quick look at the list of Perry’s high-dollar donors shows that those who’ve given generously to the Texas governor have received generous rewards in return. Here’s the list of the top ten donors, compiled by Texans for Public Justice:

    $4,000,000 Republican Governors Association PAC

    $2,531,799 Bob & Doylene Perry Perry Homes Houston

    $1,120,000 Harold C. Simmons Contran Corp. Dallas

    $750,000 Republican National State Elections Committee Washington

    $715,308 Thomas Dan Friedkin Friedkin Companies Inc. Houston

    $705,000 Kenny & Lisa Troutt Mt. Vernon Investments LLC Dallas

    $612,000 Friends of Phil Gramm PAC Friends of Phil Gramm PAC Helotes

    $563,334 George Brint & Amanda Ryan Ryan & Co. P.C. Dallas

    $537,740 Peter & Julianna Hawn Holt Holt Companies/San Antonio Spurs Blanco

    $506,740 AT&T, Inc. PAC AT&T Austin
    Bob Perry and his wife, Doylene, have contributed a total of $2.5 million to Rick Perry since 2001, the second-largest amount after $4 million in donations from the Republican Governors Association PAC. Bob Perry, who founded Perry Homes and is no relation to the governor, benefited from policies the governor advanced. According to the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Bob Perry drove the creation of a commission home builders wanted to help defuse consumer disputes. Perry Homes legal counsel, John Krugh, helped write the legislation Rick Perry passed into law creating the commission, according to the paper.

    “His [Bob Perry’s] fingerprints are all over it,” said Alex Winslow, executive director of Texas Watch, a citizen advocacy group.

    But Bill Miller of the Austin-based HillCo Partners lobbying firm, which represents the home builder, said there was nothing improper behind Bob Perry’s efforts involving the commission. “It’s not a bit unlike trial lawyers trying to pass tort law,” said Miller. “Paying attention to your business is just smart business.”
    Since 2001, Texas waste management billionaire, Harold Simmons, has given $1,120,000 to Rick Perry. In late 2007, Simmons was granted a permit to build a nuclear waste dump over the objections of local environment officials from both parties. Reports Bloomberg:

    “Everybody was aware that this was an important item for the people that were seeking the license as well as for the governor’s office,” said Larry Soward, a Perry-appointed, Republican member of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality at the time of Simmons’s permit application.

    Simmons, who has donated more than $1.2 million to Perry’s campaigns, was granted the permit over the objections of some TCEQ staffers concerned the site threatened the Ogallala Aquifer, a water source for much of the plains.

    At least three commission employees resigned in protest and Soward voted against the permit. Meanwhile, a state employee who advanced the permit became a lobbyist for the company a month after it was approved.
    Most recently, Perry’s third largest individual donor, Thomas Friedkin, got a more direct benefit from Perry. Friedkin has donated over $715,000 to Perry over the years. In August, Perry appointed him to head the Texas Parks and Wildlife commission, which makes influential decisions on conservation issues. He replaces Perry’s sixth-ranked individual donor, Peter Holt.

    Perry spokesman Mark Miner denied any impropriety in the appointment, per the Texas Tribune:

    “The governor appoints people based on their qualifications, and just like other governors have done in the past, he has the responsibility to appoint people to boards and commissions,” Miner says. “He appoints people that are qualified to serve.”
    Quid pro quo or not, it’s clear that top individual donors made out well under Perry.

    Read more:

  29. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, September 15, 2011
    Our next Great Communicator

    Having made something of a study of our current President’s rhetoric, I owe some attention to that of the man perhaps likeliest to be our next President, Rick Perry. Time’s Richard Stengel and Mark Halperin just posted an interview with Perry. Below, some thoughts on responses revel much about Perry’s approach to policy, politics, and the rules and purposes of political discourse.

    Now that you’ve been in the race for while, do you feel pressure to temper some of your rhetoric, like calling the Obama administration socialist?

    No, I still believe they are socialist. Their policies prove that almost daily. Look, when all the answers emanate from Washington D.C., one size fits all, whether it’s education policy or whether it’s healthcare policy, that is, on its face, socialism.

    Let’s grant Perry his definition of socialism — he does have one — and look at his signature method of characterizing opponents’ policies. The Obama administration’s education policy is embodied in Race to the Top, which invites states to compete for extra federal funding by submitting their own plans to raise performance according to standards that they propose. As for healthcare policy: the Affordable Care Act does create a template for states to achieve near-universal coverage by two means: expanded Medicaid, 80-90% financed by the Federal government, and healthcare exchanges composed of private plans that meet minimum coverage standards, made available to citizens via premium subsidies provided by the federal government. But it also grants waivers to the states to design their own plans, as long as they meet basic coverage standards, and Obama has proposed moving up the date for granting such waivers. In neither case do “all the answers emanate from Washington.” A candidate minimally concerned with veracity would not “temper” the socialism charge with socialism thus defined — he would eschew it. But that of course implies a by-now-Utopian reality standard for any GOP candidate. Let’s move on to Perry’s more specific m.o.

    But you know there’s concern that you use controversial rhetoric, like calling Social Security a “Ponzi scheme.”

    There may be someone who is an established Republican who circulates in the cocktail circuit that would find some of my rhetoric to be inflammatory or what have you, but I’m really talking to the American citizen out there. I think American citizens are just tired of this political correctness and politicians who are tiptoeing around important issues. They want a decisive leader. I’m comfortable that the rhetoric I have used was both descriptive and spot on. Calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme has been used for years. I don’t think people should be surprised that terminology would be used.

    No one gets confused about the point I was making, that we have a system that is now broken. We need to make sure that those on Social Security today — and those approaching it — know without a doubt it will be in place. It will not go away. We’ll have a transitional period for those in mid-career as they’re planning for their retirement. And our young people should be given some options. I don’t know what all of those options need to be yet, but they know instinctively that the program that is there today is not going to be there for them unless there are changes made.

    I don’t get particularly concerned that I need to back off from my factual statement that Social Security, as it is structured today, is broken. If you want to call it a Ponzi scheme, if you want to say it’s a criminal enterprise, if you just want to say it’s broken –they all get to the same point. We need, as a country, to have an adult conversation. Don’t try to scare the senior citizens and those who are on Social Security that it’s somehow going to go away with the mean, old heartless Republican.

    Let’s unpack the assumptions here. 1) A tag like “Ponzi Scheme” for a program that’s provided its promised benefits for 70 years is justified primarily because it’s “been used for years.” 2) If Social Security needs to be reformed in some way, i.e., if it’s moderately underfunded under current contribution and benefit formulas, then calling it a Ponzi scheme, a criminal enterprise, or broken are all equally valid — and characterizing it by such slurs is the basis for an “adult conversation.” 3) Republicans who don’t share this accuracy standard are confined to the “cocktail circuit” and are outside the circle of “the American citizen,” who is presumably perfectly okay with name-calling as a basis for “adult conversation.” 4) Those who like to call social security a “criminal enterprise” are not scaring seniors. Those who hold up users of such rhetoric as a danger to Social Security are scaring seniors

    How would you change Social Security? Would you consider private accounts or raising the retirement age?

    We are having a national discussion now about a lot of different options: raising the [retirement] age, doing it in a structured way for the younger worker, some options from the standpoint of private accounts — all of those ought to be on the table. The idea that we’re going to write a Social Security reform plan today is a bit of a stretch from my perspective. I have accomplished one of the things that I wanted to do by talking about it. Americans are paying attention.

    Assumptions: If a candidate considers a current program in need of reform, smearing it constitutes his whole duty prior to election. Actual reform plans are for the cocktail circuit — “the American citizen” needs to know only that the current system is “a criminal enterprise.”


    I’d like to continue, but I think I’ve reached the limits of “fair use” vis-a-vis Time’s Swampland. To sum up, Perry’s rules of rhetorical engagement boil down to 1) constantly impugn your opponents’ motives by insinuation; 2) shamelessly misrepresent their policies; 3) tag existing federal programs and functions with inflammatory and manifestly inaccurate labels; 4) eschew presenting any specific reform programs for “broken” programs; and 5) when you do offer policy prescriptions, ignore any likely obstacles to their success.
    A democracy that allows such a candidate to get anywhere near consideration for its highest office is in danger of not remaining a democracy for long.

  30. Just a quick pop in to say hola to you Chicas and…..


    Also I have news! My 12th grandchild decided to pop out of the oven a bit early yesterday, so wee Elena Maria is still a bit squeshey in the middle. She was no due till 9/30. Mom and baby had a bit of a rough time of it but Doc’s are saying to be optimistic. The pics my SIL sent show her to be beautiful even with tubes and such.

    I know Frontier Airlines will be taking lots of flack for that piece of racial profiling on 9/11 between Denver and Detroit but I got to say they have been wonderful to me. My ticket to fly to my daughter was for 9/30 but they have changed it for me to go sooner and did not charge me extra for that.

    Take care you all.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Rick Perry Doubles Down
    And Jennifer Rubin takes him to task after a Wednesday appearance at the nation’s biggest evangelical university:

    Perry, apparently deciding to make ads for the Obama campaign, came out with a series of “See how dumb I am?” one-liners. He observed that he needed to pull out a dictionary to see what “convocation” meant … And then the real howler: He was in the top 10 in a high school class of 13. …[W]hat Perry is doing here is telling moderate Republicans and those voters genuinely concerned about his electability to buzz off. He doesn’t need them, and he doesn’t intend to make it easy for them to vote for him. He’s telling them he is happily impervious to mainstream sensibilities. It’s the sort of thing that a Texas pol, not a presidential candidate, would do.

    I can’t see him winning a general election, but he’s doing just fine with Virginia Republicans.

  32. Ametia says:

    The Republican Party is split down the middle between tea party supporters and those who don’t support the movement, a new CNN/ORC International poll suggests.
    Forty-nine percent of Republicans and independents who lean Republican say they support the tea party movement or are active members; 51% say that they have no feelings one way or another about the movement or that they oppose it.
    Demographically, tea party Republicans are more likely to be male, older and college-educated; non-tea party Republicans are younger, less-educated, women and less likely to say they are born-again Christians or evangelicals.
    On many issues, the two wings of the GOP are in accord, but they aren’t in agreement on issues such as the deficit, global warming, evolution, abortion, same-sex marriage, the Federal Reserve, the Department of Education or Social Security.

  33. rikyrah says:

    September 15, 2011 11:20 AM

    Food stamps as stimulus

    By Steve Benen

    Rick Perry brought his Republican presidential campaign to Virginia yesterday, and continued to take aim at the Obama administration’s economic policies.

    I know Americans don’t view food stamps as stimulus,” Perry said. “This administration calls food stamps an economic stimulus. I think food stamps are a symptom of the problem. They’re not the solution.”

    Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), around the same time, appeared on Fox Business with the same message: “You don’t hand people more food stamps and think it stimulates the economy. That’s the FDR/Keynesian/Obama economics approach.”

    Perry seems certain the public doesn’t “view food stamps as stimulus” — how he knows this is unclear — but I’m more concerned with reality than public perceptions. And in this case, even he and King should be able to understand that food stamps are an excellent stimulus.

    When it comes to bang for the buck — the amount of economic activity generated for every public dollar spent — the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program is arguably one of the single most effective forms of government stimulus available, and is vastly more beneficial than tax cuts.

    This isn’t just some pie-in-the-sky liberal rhetoric; this has been repeatedly documented. A March analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explained, “SNAP benefits are one of the fastest, most effective forms of economic stimulus because they get money into the economy quickly.” The director of the Congressional Budget Office agrees.

    It just requires a little thought. People who receive food stamps aren’t sticking the money in a mattress or a money-market fund; they’re spending it and doing so immediately because — you guessed it — they want to eat. This injects demand and capital into the economy quickly, helping the beneficiaries and stimulating the economy.

    As for Perry’s assertion that food stamps are “a symptom of the problem,” I couldn’t agree more. The “problem,” in this case, is chronic and widespread poverty.

  34. rikyrah says:

    September 15, 2011 10:35 AM

    PA electoral scheme runs into GOP opposition

    By Steve Benen

    Pennsylvania’s Republican governor, Tom Corbett, and GOP leaders in the state legislature have cooked up an ugly election scheme, hoping to help rig the 2012 presidential election. As Keystone State Republicans see it, if they change how Pennsylvania doles out electoral votes — awarding by district, rather than winner-take-all — they can conceivably deny President Obama at least 10 electoral votes next year.

    Yesterday, however, as the Pennsylvania plan became more controversial, an unexpected group of opponents emerged: other in-state Republicans.

    [T]o several Republicans in marginal [congressional] districts, the plan has a catch: they’re worried that Democrats will move dollars and ground troops from solid blue districts to battlegrounds in pursuit of electoral votes — and in the process, knock off the Republicans currently in the seats.

    Suburban Philadelphia Reps. Jim Gerlach, Pat Meehan and Mike Fitzpatrick have the most at stake, since all represent districts Democrats won in the last two presidential elections. They and the rest of the Republicans in the delegation are joining with National Republican Congressional Committee officials to respond and mobilize against the change. […]

    State GOP chairman Rob Gleason is also opposed to the plan.

    “We would no longer be a battleground state with all the benefits that come with that,” he said. “It would affect us all the way down ticket. We’re gonna win the presidency here anyway, so why we would do this now when we’re at the top of the heap is beyond me.”

    At this point, Pennsylvania Republicans, including the governor, don’t seem to care whether congressional Republicans like the idea or not. We’ll see soon enough whether that changes.

    In the meantime, with voters giving Republicans the state House, the state Senate, and the governor’s office in Pennsylvania, there’s not much Democrats can do.

    As Dave Weigel explained, “Democrats who want to stop this must place their hopes in other Republicans … who oppose this for picayune local political reasons, or are willing to bet it all on Republicans winning the state for the first time since they crushed Dukakis. If Democrats find six Republican to oppose it in the Senate, or 11 in the House, they can stop it. Otherwise, it’s splitsville.”

    If the 2012 presidential race is close, as it’s very likely to be, the outcome of this fight may very well have a huge impact on who takes the oath office on Inauguration Day 2013.

  35. rikyrah says:

    September 15, 2011 9:55 AM

    Red scare

    By Steve Benen

    In far-right circles, it’s practically a verbal tic — policies conservatives consider liberal are immediately and reflexively labeled “socialist.” It doesn’t matter if this is incoherent; it’s simply standard GOP rhetoric.

    Republican presidential frontrunner Rick Perry, for example, sat down with Time magazine for this week’s cover story. This exchange, in particular, stood out for me.

    TIME: Now that you’ve been in the race for while, do you feel pressure to temper some of your rhetoric, like calling the Obama administration socialist?

    PERRY: No, I still believe they are socialist. Their policies prove that almost daily. Look, when all the answers emanate from Washington D.C., one size fits all, whether it’s education policy or whether it’s healthcare policy, that is, on its face, socialism.

    I realize that the Texas governor’s intellectual capacities are, shall we say, limited, but his comments here are strikingly dumb.

    As a substantive matter, the Obama administration isn’t pushing top-down, one-size-fits-all policies in education or health care — Perry seems to have just made that up — but even if we put that aside, the more significant problem is that the GOP’s presidential frontrunner has no idea what “socialism” is.

    It’s frustrating that, in many interviews, politicians are asked what they think, rather than why they think it, but the obvious follow-up is, “Governor, what do you think the word ‘socialism’ means?” When Democrats in Washington start talking about public ownership over the means of production, I’ll gladly concede the point. Until then, this is just idiocy.

    “Socialism” is not a synonym for “stuff Republicans don’t like.”

    Aside from Obama’s advances on gay rights and reproductive rights, there’s just not much in this White House’s agenda that moderate Republicans wouldn’t have found tolerable a decade or two ago. The Affordable Care Act largely relies on private insurers, rather than socialized medicine. Cap and trade was a Republican idea. Keynesian stimulus has been the basis for U.S. economic policy for both parties for eight decades. Investments in infrastructure and education have traditionally been bipartisan priorities.

    So what on earth is Rick Perry talking about? By his reasoning, nearly every liberal democracy on the planet — in East Asia, in Europe, in North America, etc. — are fallen dominoes, overtaken by socialists. Presidential candidates, especially those likely to win, shouldn’t be quite this unintelligent.

    Also note the rhetorical transition. Exactly two years ago this week, then-House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) appeared on “Meet the Press,” soon after the RNC condemned Democrats of a “socialist power grab,” which caused a bit of a stir at the time. Host David Gregory asked the future Speaker, “Do you think the President is a socialist?” Boehner replied, “No!” as if the question were somehow foolish. Gregory said, “Okay, because the head of the Republican Party is calling him that.” Boehner added, “Listen, I didn’t call him that, and I’m not going to call him that.”

    Two years later, the Republican presidential frontrunner is engaged in a red scare, throwing around ridiculous rhetoric as if it were somehow routine.

  36. rikyrah says:

    September 15, 2011 9:25 AM

    GOP’s Social Security animus not limited to Perry

    By Steve Benen

    Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is pretty invested in going after Rick Perry over Social Security. The Texas governor has been scathing in his criticism of the landmark program — he thinks it’s an unconstitutional “Ponzi scheme” — and the former Massachusetts governor wants GOP voters to believe that’s a disqualifier in a general election.

    The problem, as we discussed last week, is that there are competing audiences to consider. Perry is saying what rank-and-file conservatives want to hear, while Romney is telling them to think about what the American mainstream wants to hear. There’s not a lot of overlap.

    It’s a tough pitch when so many Republicans agree with Perry, not Romney, on the substance. Consider the new Bloomberg National Poll.

    The most publicized campaign issue focusing on Perry — his characterization of Social Security as a “Ponzi Scheme” — has Americans divided. Among all respondents, 46 percent said they agree with the remark, while 50 percent said they disagree.

    Among Republicans, 65 percent agree with Perry’s statements about Social Security, while 33 percent disagree. Independents are nearly equally split.

    It’s only one poll, of course, but if these numbers are accurate, it’s obviously a problem for Romney. Nearly two-thirds of self-identified Republicans agree with Perry about Social Security? That’s pretty one-sided.

    At this week’s debate for GOP presidential candidates, Romney told Perry, “[T]he term ‘Ponzi scheme’ I think is over the top.” To the general public, that’s probably true.

    But does Romney fully appreciate just how right-wing Republican voters really are?

  37. rikyrah says:

    September 15, 2011 8:40 AM

    The kind of ‘news’ only far-right bloggers can provide

    By Steve Benen

    If you read conservative bloggers regularly, you know many high-profile, far-right sites are pretty worked up this week about one of the dumbest flaps I’ve ever seen.

    Before today, when the right-wing media made up quotations to attack progressives, they at least had some audio to misinterpret. But now, they are reduced to lip-reading.

    The Washington Times’ senior editorial writer for foreign affairs James Robbins and right-wing bloggers are claiming that Michelle Obama likely disparaged the American flag during a ceremony commemorating the 9/11 attacks.

    There’s a video of the First Lady whispering briefly in President Obama’s ear during the ceremony. We see the president turn a little, smile, and nod in agreement. What did Michelle Obama say? I haven’t the foggiest idea; there’s no audio. But a whole lot of far-right bloggers believe they can read the First Lady’s lips — even though the video shows her mouth partially obscured behind a partition.

    No matter, the right says. They know Michelle Obama took this precise moment, during a ceremony commemorating the 9/11 attacks, to condemn the American flag.

    And these bloggers aren’t kidding.

    Enough conservatives threw a fit that Kristina Schake, the communications director for Michelle Obama, issued a statement explaining, “The words, meaning and context in these claims are all wildly off the mark. The First Lady was commenting to the President on how moving and powerful it always is to watch all that America’s firefighters and police officers do to honor the flag. It was an emotional moment on a powerful day and she was awed by the ceremony and all that the flag symbolizes.”

    I mention this for two reasons, other than the general amazement about just how deranged the Obamas’ detractors really are. First, the right should probably remember the story about the boy who cried wolf. If conservatives were a little more selective, and a little more grounded, when they raise a point of concern about the White House, it’d be easier to take it seriously. But if they get hysterical over nothing, they just look like loons.

    Second, just two years ago, editors at the Washington Post and the New York Times agreed that major media outlets should make an effort to take right-wing blog content seriously. If these conservative writers/activists are pushing a story — ACORN, Van Jones, etc. — establishment media should take heed and follow up on these “bubbling controversies.”

    This garbage about the First Lady offers a reminder: taking these bloggers seriously is a mistake.

    Steve M. concluded, “This is the GOP base. This is the heart of the modern Republican Party…. Kill one crackpot theory — birtherism — and they will breed a hundred more. And you’ll never persuade them that what they believe is delusional.”

  38. rikyrah says:

    Pennsylvania GOP Plan To Split State’s Electoral Votes Could Endanger…Republicans?

    proposal by Pennsylvania Republicans to split the state’s electoral votes by Congressional districts — which could give the 2012 GOP nominee roughly 10 electoral votes even if they didn’t carry the state — isn’t just causing concern among national and Pennsylvania Democrats. It’s making some state Republicans nervous as well.

    The Allentown Morning Call reports that some of the state’s Republican members of Congress in swing districts could in fact be endangered by the proposal.

    A major reason? As things stand now in presidential elections, Democrats focus their get-out-the-vote efforts heavily in the urban stronghold of Philadelphia. But if the state’s presidential race changed from a one-person/one-vote system to one-district/one-vote, the impact of large numbers of Democratic voters in Philadelphia would become much less potent — and thus Dem GOTV energies would likely swift to suburban swing districts.

    “I’m probably a little reluctant to be supportive of it…on political grounds,” Rep. Charlie Dent told the paper.

    Another Republican from a swing district, Rep. Jim Gerlach, is on the fence for now. “I’d like to learn a little more about why they think that’s a good idea for the commonwealth,” Gerlach told the paper. “We’re going to talk about it as a delegation this week to get some sense of our members, what we think the pros and cons of that might be.”

    “If I’m Jim Gerlach or Mike Fitzpatrick, I’m telling my allies in Harrisburg to push back against this with leadership,” said an unnamed Pennsylvania GOP consultant with ties to all four of the state’s southeast Republican congressmen, according to PoliticsPA.

    In addition, the state news site Capitol Wire reports (paid subscription required), leading Republicans in the state, including state party chairman Rob Gleason (who has not publicly commented on the proposal) are pushing back against the bill — out of a belief that the Republicans could potentially carry the state in 2012, only to take electoral votes away from their own nominee.

    Erik Arneson, spokesman for state Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R), told TPM that the bill will be formally introduced by the end of next week, and a public hearing by the Senate State Government Committee is expected for early October.

    “You know, this is an idea that Senator Pileggi believes is a fair way to move forward,” said Arneson. “But yes, we have heard concerns raised from both sides of the aisle.”

    When asked about objections by Democrats that the bill amounted to a partisan power-grab, Arneson said the bill was about making the election process fairer.

    “First of all, Senator Pileggi’s focus is not on trying to predict the future in any way. It is on trying to give a voice to those voters in Pennsylvania who feel like that their choice for president has no impact at all, to more closely align electoral votes with the popular vote,” said Arneson.

    “In terms of the 2012 election, you know, look, there’s no shortage of people who are predicting that a Republican candidate — and obviously it would depend on who that candidate is, how that campaign is run, and a million other variables we can’t begin to know — there’s no shortage of people who think a Republican candidate can, or is even likely, to win Pennsylvania in 2012. So Senator Pileggi’s goal is not to have a partisan impact here, but his goal is to align the electoral vote more closely to the popular vote.”

    Would Pileggi recommend, TPM asked, that other states such as Texas, Georgia or Tennessee (which all vote Republican in presidential elections, but do have Democratic pockets) adopt a similar reform?

    “I don’t believe he would presume that his perspective would have any influence other than in Pennsylvania,” Arneson replied.

    Pennsylvania has voted Democratic in every presidential election since 1992, and voted for Barack Obama by 55%-44% in 2008. Indeed, over the past 50 years it has only voted Republican in presidential landslides for the GOP: 1972, 1980, 1984, and finally 1988. The last time Pennsylvania voted Republican during a close national race was 1948, when it picked Tom Dewey over the victorious Harry Truman.

    While the results have sometimes been narrow for the Dems, it is a state that can be expected to vote Democratic for president in the context of a close national campaign, such as its votes for Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004.

    Had this proposed system been in place in 2008, when Obama won the state by a ten-point margin, he in fact would have only taken 11 out of the state’s 21 electoral votes at the time — due to a combination of past Republican-led redistricting efforts to maximize their district strength, and Obama’s votes being especially concentrated within urban areas.—-would-be-targeted-more-by-dems.php?ref=fpa

  39. rikyrah says:

    Alliance Defense Fund Attacks Law Banning Churches from Politicking

    Alliance Defense Fund, operating out of Scottsdale, Arizona, hates gays and lesbians. Well, let’s be perfectly frank: they hate everybody who isn’t like them. But they especially hate gays and lesbians. They testified as witnesses at the same DOMA hearing in which Al Franken (D-MN) eviscerated Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family

    Alliance Defense Fund says they’re “a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the Truth.” And they have lots of money to spend toward that end -$32 million in 2010, according to the Kansas City Star.

    Notice the capital-T “Truth” used there. Don’t be confused: the Truth, with a capital-T, is not mundane fact, the sort of truth you find in the observable universe through experimentation or your five senses or through interactions with the natural world. The capital-T Truth is a “higher” truth, a truth free of the bonds of evidence and science and even honesty. Capital-T Truth is Truth set free, a truth you can lie, deceive, and cheat for, and still get to heaven, an end-Truth that justifies the means.

    This capital-T Truth is what Thomas Jefferson said made “one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites.”[1]

    Alliance Defense Fund calls their religious freedom – not yours – “Our First Liberty”. It goes without saying their liberty trumps yours, if you are to get any at all. And that’s what ADF is really all about: stripping the Other of liberty. Another way of looking at it is “accrual of liberty at the expense of others.”

    To that end, ADF, decided that not everybody should be able to get married, and involved themselves in the Proposition 8 litigation in California (Perry v. Schwarzenegger). ADF didn’t acquit itself too well there, losing the case for Proposition 8 according to Liberty Council. But they want to double down on the hate now by pushing for the IRS to put an end to regulations that bar religious institutions from involving themselves in politics.

    It’s just wrong, says ADF. Writing in The Church Report ADF’s senior legal counsel, Erik Stanley, writes:

    “Pastors and churches shouldn’t live in fear of being punished or penalized by the government. Keeping the gospel central to what is preached is not in conflict with addressing the subject of political candidates when warranted. These results show that the desire to keep the gospel central does not mean that pastors want the IRS to regulate their sermons under the threat of revoking their church’s tax-​exempt status.”

    The Kansas City Star reports that the ADF,

    [I]s challenging a 1954 tax code amendment that prohibits pastors, as leaders of tax-exempt organizations, from supporting or opposing candidates from the pulpit. The fund sponsors Pulpit Freedom Sunday, in which it offers free legal representation to churches whose pastors preach about political candidates and are then audited by the Internal Revenue Service. (So far, no IRS investigations have been triggered.)

    According to the article in The Church Report, “86 percent of pastors say government shouldn’t regulate sermons.”

    That’s one way of looking at it, I suppose. But pastors are free to speak their minds, and even to involve themselves in politics. They just have to be willing to pay taxes then. Don’t they have the courage of their convictions? Apparently there are some, and as has been observed by many, nobody is doing anything about it. The Kansas City Star cites the elections in Ohio, Florida, Iowa, Virginia, and Colorado, as states where pastors “have already helped unleash and army of voters.” And, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State, they will be unleashed in those states again in 2012.

    Yet The Church Report presses the old persecution myth:

    “Unfortunately, there are groups out there who try to scare pastors into censoring themselves,” said Kelly Shackelford, president of the Texas-based Liberty Institute, a legal defense group, who said he’s been increasingly fielding calls on the topic from preachers. “My encouragement is, ‘Don’t be intimidated from fulfilling what God is calling you to do.’ “

    It doesn’t sound as though there is a lot of intimidation going on, if that’s what they call obedience to the law. Yes, it’s illegal. But they’re doing it anyway and nobody is stopping them. In a sense, overturning the 1954 law would simply be punctuating the fact of church interference in politics. As AU puts the case,

    Every time Americans United raises this issue, critics carp that we’re trying to stop conservative evangelicals from taking part in politics.

    It’s not true. We acknowledge that everyone has the right to participate in politics. But, when theocratic groups use big bucks from shadowy donors and far-right fat cats to forge churches into a partisan political machine with the aim of enacting legislation to make a narrow form of fundamentalism the law of the land, people deserve to know about that.

    Secondly, some of the activities being undertaken here may be illegal. Houses of worship are free to speak out on political and social issues, but – as tax-exempt organizations — they are not permitted to become political action committees that seek to elect (or defeat) certain candidates. Under federal tax law, no non-profit organization can do that.

    As AU says, “Yet that is exactly what’s happening in some churches.”

    In 2010, several Iowa churches openly organized campaigns to remove the Iowa Supreme Court justices from office. Every fall, the Alliance Defense Fund, a Religious Right legal group, prods pastors to flagrantly violate the law by using their pulpits to endorse or oppose candidates.

    We shouldn’t be surprised that theocrats want to destroy the line that separates religion from politics. Theocracy is, after all, politicized religion or theologized politics – rule by religious leaders supposedly acting in God’s name. We shouldn’t be surprised but we should oppose it, because the First Amendment and the U.S. Constitution itself are the ultimate targets here of the ADF and other groups, not a 1954 tax code

  40. rikyrah says:

    Does Sarah Palin’s “Black Fetish” Explain Her Obsession with Barack Obama?

    A fetish for black men, snorting cocaine off of an oil barrel, a fling with an NBA star and an extra-marital affair with her husband’s business partner… Are you ready to meet your next President? I kid, but if I were in the development biz for TV, I’d pitch a game show about the 2012 Republican candidates with that as my logline.

    I am, of course, referring to the Tea Party Queen, abstinence-only true believer, Sarah Palin, whose rather disturbing obsession with Barack Obama suddenly makes a heck of a lot more sense. She who was anointed by her Special God to lead this fine nation into its final solution for democracy.

    The latest Palin scandal might not go over well with Sarah Palin’s Tea Party base, whose polling shows a marked strain of racism. It is alleged today that less than a year before she eloped with her husband Todd, Sarah Palin had an affair in 1987 with Glen Rice, of Miami Heat fame. Rice was a junior at the University of Michigan at the time, and the Wolverines were playing in the Great Alaska Shootout.

    Rice happens to be black. It gets worse for the Tea Party; it’s alleged that the young Sarah Heath (Palin) had a “fetish” for black men.

    The National Enquirer, which obtained an advance copy of Joe McGinniss’s investigative book about Sarah Palin, (yes, the Enquirer but do remember the John Edwards scandal) reports:

    A publishing source told The ENQUIRER that McGinniss claims Sarah had a “fetish” for black men at the time and he quotes a friend as saying Sarah had “hauled (Rice’s) ass down.”

    A source unrelated to the book told The ENQUIRER, Todd was very much in the picture at the time and the couple married just nine months later.

    In the book, McGinniss quotes Rice as confirming the one-night stand.

    According to the publishing source, McGinniss confirms an ENQUIRER exclusive – published in our Oct. 6, 2008 print issue – that Sarah carried on an extramarital affair with Todd’s business partner Brad Hanson, and Todd dissolved their snowmobile dealership after he learned about the affair. McGinniss writes in the book that the affair lasted six months and he fuels rumors that the couple’s marriage has been on the rocks for decades.

    In his book “The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin,” Joe McGinness confirmed the Brad Hanson affair story that was duly ignored by the media as Palin bloodied up the trail on her thankfully foiled climb to the White House in 2008. So according to McGinniss, we have a family values Christian who gets it on with her husband’s business partner and prior to marriage, had a fetish for black men.

    The affair will no doubt be non-issue among Palin’s “Constitutional Christian” base, after all, look at God’s chosen in the Republican Party. Breaking your marriage vow is nothing, especially when God forgives you. But I’m not so sure how the “fetish” for black men is going to go over with the Tea Party, regardless of its pre-marital timing.

    You might be saying to yourself, surely the lamestream media has better things to report on than Sarah Palin’s rather hectic sex life. Sure, but this is the person the Republicans accused liberals of “attacking” unfairly for almost three years. You’ll pardon me if I am interested in the public downfall of the “more experienced than a community organizer” “pro-life” “real American”, since this failure is tied directly the duplicity and cynicism of the modern day Republican Party and should indicate to thinking people that the party has a problem much deeper than Sarah Palin. Of course, just about everything is deeper than Sarah Palin.

    Well, get a snort full of this crazy white girl action, “….(B)efore Palin became Alaska governor she was seen snorting cocaine off an overturned 55-gallon oil drum while snowmobiling with pals.” Kinda takes me back to the oil industry regulation department under Bush. When you see crazy white girls, oil, and a Bible, you know you’re at a Republican party.

    But if Palin did have a “black fetish”, that sure goes a long way toward explaining Palin’s rather embarrassing and disturbingly transparent obsession with the President. Jason Easley of noted in May of this year after Palin called Obama the “temporary President”, “It is laughable that Sarah Palin is trapped in her own delusion to such a degree that she thinks she will be able to beat Obama, but Palin has been obsessed with this president since she and John McCain lost in 2008. Sarah Palin is Obama’s right wing stalker. Everything Palin has done has been about keeping her celebrity at a high level, so that she can run for president.” And it’s hardly a stretch to suggest that Palin may be acting out her emotional attraction like a middle school student, taunting and mocking in hopes of catching the eye of the prize. She’s not known for her emotional maturity

  41. rikyrah says:

    GOP wants to give Congress veto on national monuments

    Citing state sovereignty and economic hardship, Republican lawmakers said Tuesday that they wanted to give Congress the authority to veto presidents’ national monument designations, a power used by nearly every executive since Theodore Roosevelt.

    The Antiquities Act of 1906 has led to the designations of 136 national monuments, a list that includes the Grand Canyon and the Petrified Forest in Arizona and the Statue of Liberty in New York.

    But the act has long has been a flash point in Western states, where some residents and officials resent the federal government’s level of involvement in land management.

    “I don’t oppose public lands,” Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, said Tuesday at a House of Representatives Natural Resources subcommittee hearing. “I simply oppose efforts by an out-of-touch administration to forcibly lock up public lands without congressional oversight.”

    Bills by Labrador, Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, and Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., would “prohibit the further extension or establishment of national monuments” in those states, “except by express authorization of Congress.”

    Rep. Wally Herger, a Republican whose Northern California district contains a “significant amount” of federal land, made the economic argument for his bill, which would require congressional approval of a national monument in any state.

    “In the face of severe economic challenges, we need to reform crippling government policies and regulations so that local communities can utilize their natural resources and prosper,” he said.

    Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., said her bill was about limiting the size and reach of government. Her legislation would require the approval of state legislatures and governors for the president to designate a national monument.

    “Considering the size of the federal government’s existing real estate portfolio, there is no need to continue unilaterally acquiring new lands without any regard to states’ rights or economies,” Foxx said.

    Environmentalists said the effort was a one-sided conversation focused on exploiting natural resources.

    “We’re only talking about resource extraction, we’re not talking about conservation,” said Bobby McEnaney, a land policy analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council, a New York-based environmental group. “I think we can respect the idea that Westerners have a say in these lands, but that’s not what these bills do. They favor one use of the land over other uses.”

    McEnaney, an Idaho native, said that while mining, timber, oil and gas might generate jobs in the short term, people moved to Western states “for their natural beauty, not for oil rigs.”

    “There’s a lot of angst about the Antiquities Act,” he said. “But every time monuments have been declared, the long-term impacts have proved quite positive.”

    McEnaney cited the nearly 2 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah as a success. President Bill Clinton designated the area a national monument 15 years ago, fearing the impact of a large coal-mining operation. While the move might have helped boost the tourism industry, some said it closed off economic opportunities.

    “The state had no warning that this was coming, and once it was done we had no recourse,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, told the House panel Tuesday. “With the stroke of a pen, 500 high-paying jobs in a rural Utah county disappeared.”

    The act originally was intended to preserve lands with cultural or scientific value, and the Interior Department cited that purpose in its opposition to efforts to weaken the law.

    “Though some national monuments have been established amidst controversy, who among us today would dam the Grand Canyon or turn Muir Woods over to development?” the department said in a statement submitted to the House panel. “These sites are much-cherished landscapes which help to define the American spirit.”

    Read more:

  42. rikyrah says:

    Republicans Get Most Blame for Ineffective Governing in National U.S. Poll

    A majority of Americans are angry and frustrated with elected officials, and more than four in 10 have given up hope in Washington’s ability to help them get through the economic slump.

    “It’s the bickering that I can’t stand, and they’re constantly beating their chests and saying, ‘I’m not budging — you better’,” said Rose Hutchinson, 40, a technical analyst from Antioch, Illinois. “They’ve lost sight of what’s really the issue. It’s not about Democrats and Republicans. It’s about Americans not having jobs.”

    More than a third of Americans say they “wish” President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans would compromise, while 28 percent say they are frustrated by the political fighting, according to a Bloomberg National Poll conducted Sept. 9-12. More than a quarter say they are “angry and want to throw them all out.”

    The findings highlight the depths of public ire directed at Washington after months of gridlock and brinksmanship between Obama and House Republicans, a dynamic that could harm both sides in next year’s elections. Only 8 percent said they thought elected officials were doing the best they could.

  43. Ametia says:

    So, I heard James Carville was on Fox Lite aka CNN telling POTUS what he should be doing and how he should be doing it. I’ll never forget how “SKELETOR” was downin Lousiana during the BP oil spill yelling” the president betta get down HEEE-YA!” UGGGH

  44. rikyrah says:

    September 15, 2011 8:00 AM

    With friends like these…

    By Steve Benen

    When it comes to advancing a jobs agenda, the White House seemed to be doing nearly everything right. President Obama delivered a very effective speech to a joint session of Congress; the DNC got involved with a coordinated message; and the president hit the road and was well received in key battleground states. Polls show the American Jobs Act is off to a fairly strong start and congressional Republicans have not yet formed an opposition strategy.

    So what’s the problem? Near the top of the list, apparently, is congressional Democrats.

    President Obama anticipated Republican resistance to his jobs program, but he is now meeting increasing pushback from his own party. Many Congressional Democrats, smarting from the fallout over the 2009 stimulus bill, say there is little chance they will be able to support the bill as a single entity, citing an array of elements they cannot abide.

    Some Democratic lawmakers think the bill is too big; some think it’s too small. Some don’t like the financing; some don’t like the spending. Some are afraid of the word “stimulus,” and some are upset the plan includes tax cuts.

    I don’t want to overstate the intensity of the Democratic hand-wringing. At a certain level, this is just what Democrats do whenever any idea is put on the table — they start complaining. This has happened before, even under this president, as something akin to a throat-clearing exercise. Democratic lawmakers responded quite well to Obama’s speech last week, and it’d be a mistake to assume Dems “oppose” the Americans Jobs Act.

    That said, there are three things congressional Democrats should keep in mind.

    First, party unity matters. Obama is tackling the single most important issue on the minds of the American mainstream, and Republicans are feeling a little antsy. For Dems on the Hill to give the GOP cover by whining about an ambitious White House jobs bill, undermining the president on the issue voters care about most, is political suicide.

    Second, Republican lawmakers hardly ever treat Republican presidents this way.

    And third, whether congressional Dems realize this or not, their fate is tied to Obama’s fate. He remains the most popular elected official in Washington — by a wide margin — and the better he does, the better his party will do. The more Obama falters, the more congressional Democrats will suffer, too.

    Especially after this week’s special elections in New York and Nevada, plenty of Dems are feeling nervous. That’s understandable. But undermining their own leader and helping defeat a popular jobs bill in the midst of a jobs crisis will not improve their odds of electoral survival.

    As for the left in general, let this be the latest in a series of reminders — it’s easy to get frustrated with President Obama at times, but he’d be in a far better position if he had more reliable congressional allies to partner with.

    • Ametia says:

      After PBO’s 2nd term as POTUS, i’m sooooo doen with the MOFO Dems. D.O.N.E. They have never gotten on board with him from jump, and they aren’t even trying to hide it anymoe. Good get it all out, mofos. I’m done with them. 2016

      Ameita, PROUD OBAMACRAT!!!!

  45. rikyrah says:


    may it be full of peace, love and family.

  46. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everbyody! :-0

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