Serendipity SOUL | Saturday Open Thread

Happy Saturday, Everyone!  First Lady Michelle Obama Graces the cover of  the October issure of ESSENCE Magazine.  Got my copy last night.

                                                                ISN’T SHE LOVELY


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16 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Saturday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    House GOP rejects Obama jobs proposals

    WASHINGTON — House Republican leaders say they are rejecting President Barack Obama’s jobs proposals to rebuild schools and blighted neighborhoods, and help keep state and local employees on the job.

    In a memo to GOP lawmakers that was also issued publicly and reprinted in The New York Times, House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and other Republican leaders also objected to the president’s proposal for a temporary reduction in payroll taxes, in order to boost consumer spending and increase demand.

    The GOP leaders say such a temporary reduction means taxes will go up later when the reduction expires in 2013.
    “While employees would see an additional temporary benefit from this proposal in 2012,” they wrote, “they would experience a larger effective tax increase 12 months later when the payroll tax reverted back to its full level.

    The memo says Mr. Obama’s proposal to spend $50 billion to repair and improve infrastructure and to create a $10 billion national infrastructure bank is “adding more money to the same broken system,” and is “more likely to produce waste and inefficiency than meaningful results.”

    Read more:

  2. Ametia says:

    US protesters rally to occupy Wall Street

    Building on the momentum of the Arab Spring movements, protesters in the US are gathering in New York City’s financial district in a bid to show mass resistance against the dominance of the country’s financial system.

    Read more:


    Go get ’em!

    This action in New York was organized through the magazine AdBusters. Much respect to these protestors.

    A tweet on the streaming section of the article (which may or may not still be there) said:


  3. rikyrah says:

    Romney: I Don’t Say Obama Is A ‘Socialist’ (VIDEO)
    Eric Kleefeld September 16, 2011, 2:22 PM

    Mitt Romney took an interesting step in his ongoing efforts to marginalize Rick Perry as too right-wing to be elected. During an appearance Thursday on CNN, Romney disagreed with Perry calling President Obama a “socialist” — the dreaded label that countless Republicans have used ever since the 2008 election.

    Wolf Blitzer played an audio clip of Perry saying the Obama administration policies were, “on its face, socialism,” and asked Romney whether he agreed with that.

    “Well, you know, words have a lot of unintended meanings,” said Romney. “And calling people socialists probably goes beyond the fact that — it is true that President Obama’s team, and the president himself, seem to believe that government has a better approach to our economy than does the private sector.

    And I disagree with that approach. I believe that we have to have a government that is a partner — that is encouraging the private sector, encouraging freedom, encouraging free people. What they’ve done instead is add regulation, add taxation, add burdens to the free-enterprise system, which does tend to make us more European. And Europe isn’t working in Europe; Europe is not going to work here in this country.

    So I don’t use the word socialist — or I haven’t so far. But I do agree that the president’s approach is government-heavy, government-intensive, and it’s not working.

  4. rikyrah says:

    ‘Ponzi’ Is Back! Perry Doubles Down On Social Security Attacks In Iowa (VIDEO)
    Evan McMorris-Santoro September 16, 2011, 7:01 PM

    Earlier this week, it seemed Rick Perry was going to put the Ponzi scheme away forever. But have no fear, America: it’s back in Perry’s repertoire.

    After taking a hammering from Mitt Romney and his rivals for using the metaphor to describe Social Security, Perry dialed things back a bit in a USA Today op-ed. The words “Ponzi scheme” didn’t appear, and Perry focused his attention on promising the retired and retiring that he’s not out to touch their entitlement. (The rest of us are not so lucky, however. Perry has talked about raising the retirement age to as high as 70 for workers 45 years old and younger, and/or scrapping the current system entirely in favor of state-run retirement schemes.)

    Polls show the Ponzi stuff could be hurting Perry’s perceived electability among Republicans and it seems to turn-off independents. So it might make sense if he left the rhetoric on the cutting room floor.

    Not happening. Here’s Perry in Iowa on Friday, both using “Ponzi Scheme” again and claiming his plan for Social Security is just part of the same discussion of entitlements started by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and his Medicare-eliminating (in favor of a vouchers) Republican budget plan:

    But our young workers in particular, know that they’re going to have some options. Is it a private type of an option, do they want to allow the government to run the program? That should be their call. But we are and we will fix this program. I talked to Paul Ryan today, I told him, I said I thank you, for having the courage to stand up and talking about this and I said I’m proud to join you in this discussion with America. For clearly calling the social security program, that we have in place today, broken. It is broken. Kids know that paying into something that’s not going to be there into the future is called a Ponzi scheme.

  5. rikyrah says:

    eptember 17, 2011 9:05 AM
    MoveOn to GOP: ‘Answer the question’

    By Steve Benen

    Oddly enough, one of the more memorable moments of the race for the Republican presidential nomination came this week, and it wasn’t something a candidate said or did.

    During the debate on CNN, Wolf Blitzer posed a hypothetical scenario to Ron Paul, asking about a young man who makes a good living, but decides to forgo health insurance. Then, tragedy strikes and he needs care. Paul stuck to the libertarian line. “But congressman,” the moderator said, “are you saying that society should just let him die?”

    And at that point, some in the audience shouted, “Yeah,” and applauded.

    Yesterday, turned the moment into a powerful video, challenging the GOP presidential field.

    The woman in the video is Susan Grigsby, who lost her brother to cancer after he was laid off and no longer had health insurance.

    “What really horrified me about that debate wasn’t the poorly phrased question, it wasn’t Dr. Paul’s answer, and it wasn’t even the scream after Wolf Blitzer asked ‘would you let him die?’ and somebody in the audience yelled ‘yeah’?,” Grigsby said in the ad. “That wasn’t as horrifying as the silence from the stage.”

    Grigsby said that her brother Steve “was too young for Medicare and he was too male for Medicaid.” Grigsby said that her brother had soon, “slowly, painfully” died from cancer five months after he lost his job.

    “That’s what it means to let someone die,” Grigsby continued.

    Grigsby then says if she could ask the Republican field one question, it would be if they really believed a person should be allowed to die because they don’t have insurance.

    The on-screen text reads, “Dear GOP candidates: Answer the question.”

    It’s a powerful video. I wouldn’t expect to see it on television anytime soon — it’s two minutes long, and commercials are generally 30 seconds — but it’s a way of keeping the story going, at least online and through word of mouth.

    Jonathan Cohn had a related piece yesterday, explaining why common decency demands that our society not let people die based on the status of their health insurance.

  6. rikyrah says:

    September 17, 2011 9:40 AM
    When the parts are more popular than the whole

    By Steve Benen

    The New York Times/CBS News poll, released in full last night, has plenty of results you’d probably expect to see. President Obama’s support continues to slip; Congress’ support has fallen off a cliff; Dems are slightly more popular than Republicans (though both are unpopular); and an increasingly pessimistic public wants policymakers to work on jobs and the economy, not deficit reduction.

    But we knew all of that. What I found far more interesting are the specific economic policies the American mainstream supports.

    On President Obama’s American Jobs Act, for example, the public is lukewarm — a plurality are “somewhat” confident the agenda will “create jobs and improve the economy,” but support is hardly one-sided. Notice, however, what happens when respondents are asked about individual provisions:

    Cut payroll taxes
    Good idea 56%, bad idea 30%

    State aid to prevent public-sector layoffs
    Good idea 52%, bad idea 40%

    Infrastructure investments
    Good idea 80%, bad idea 16%

    Small business tax cuts
    Good idea 81%, bad idea 14%

    Also note, a 71% majority believes any deficit reduction plan should include a combination of both tax increases and spending cuts — an approach rejected at a fundamental level by the GOP.

    A CNN poll this week found similar results — the public generally approved of the American Jobs Act, but really approved of what’s in the Americans Jobs Act.

    This may seem counter-intuitive — if people like the parts, they should like the whole — but it makes a lot of sense. Indeed, we saw the exact same thing during the fight over health care reform when Americans said they didn’t like the Affordable Care Act, but strongly supported all of the ideas in the proposal. The problem is one of political perceptions — the president is struggling, so when folks are asked about his plan, the question becomes a referendum on him. But when asked about specific ideas, it turns out most Americans agree with Obama and his plan. (Likewise, during health care, folks were misled by attack ads and lousy media coverage, and came to think poorly of the proposal, but they actually liked what’s in the plan.)

    Taken together, Republicans aren’t just unpopular as a party, but they also stand strongly against with what the American mainstream wants. Some of the most popular ideas to give the economy a boost are also some of the ideas Republicans refuse to even consider.

    Indeed, we now four recent polls — NYT, CNN, National Journal, and NBC — that have all found roughly the same dynamic: “[D]espite all the disapproval and pessimism, Americans approve of the actual fiscal policies Obama is proposing.”

  7. rikyrah says:

    September 16, 2011 02:00 PM
    New GOP Talking Point: Obama is a Member of the Tea Party and Will Destroy Medicare
    By John Amato

    OK, so most of our readers know about the loss of Wiener’s old NY-26 seat in a special election to a tea party candidate named Bob Turner. But what you may not know is that a new tactic is emerging that will surely be used against Obama and the Democratic Party in the run-up to the 2012 election unless the President puts out the flames of the fire he has started with his grand bargain scheme—which includes reforms to our social safety nets.

    I caught this via Digby:

    That race in NY this week featured a lot of talk about Israel and a whole lot of analysis about ethnicity and demographics. But one thing very few have noticed was an important piece of standard 2010 messaging.

    Dave Weigel did:

    In two robocalls, Koch promised voters that Turner wouldn’t cut Medicare or Social Security. The weekend before the election, Hikind said the same thing, and bolstered his case by saying Democrats were risking the programs:

    Dave Weigel:

    Actually, this disastrous election gave the Democrats a few hints. The party tried, and failed, to wound Turner by telling voters he’d provide one more Republican vote to weaken entitlements. That worked in New York’s 26th district, where Democrat Kathy Hochul tore pages out of the Ryan plan and made her Republican opponent eat them. In the 9th, Turner and his surrogates tried to neutralize the entitlement issue by promising not to cut entitlements. In two robocalls, Koch promised voters that Turner wouldn’t cut Medicare or Social Security. The weekend before the election, Hikind said the same thing, and bolstered his case by saying Democrats were risking the programs.

    “The president of the United States is now a member of the tea party!” said Hikind. “He said, in his own words, that there won’t be Medicare and Social Security for my children and your children and my grandchildren unless we address Medicare!”

    That’s not really a wedge issue – it’s the slow death of a wedge issue. It’s the start of a problem for Democrats, who have gone from attacking the Ryan plans for entitlement reform to vouching support for some undefined “everything on the table” entitlement reform. There might not be any way for Democrats to dodge this, and there’s no sign that they want to. And that leaves all of them in the position of Democrats in New York’s 9th. Their traditional base, weary of the recession, not sure what Democrats have to offer any more, are ready to be wedged.

    “This message will resound for a full year,” said Turner in his victory speech. “It will resound into 2012.”

    And Digby correctly writes: There are zero reasons to believe they won’t use this — to good effect — against Democrats and the president in 2012. Why would they? It’s working.

    This is incredible. Republicans and any ghost of Zell “Spitball” Miller that arises with an agenda of their own will have no problem using Medicare and Social Security to their advantage. I’ve loathed that Obama and his advisers have brought up reforming our social safety nets in these troubled times to appease the deficit hawks even if benefit cuts aren’t included. And now it can be used against them. It doesn’t matter how dishonestly it’s done.

    It’s not too late though. The President has not come forward and uttered the words to America that could unseat not only himself, but many other Democratic politicians in 2012.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Leaked Documents Name Names: Hedge Funds, Wall St., Koch Brothers, Big Banks And Oil Companies Were Behind 2008 Oil Price Shock
    By Susie Madrak

    Lee Fang at ThinkProgress follows up on the Sen. Bernie Sanders’ leak of oil speculator names. Major players include the Koch brothers and the Wall Street banks:

    Last month, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) leaked confidential data about oil speculation to a number of media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal. Ordinarily, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the regulatory body that oversees futures trading, does not provide identities of speculators to the public. However, the data leaked by Sanders provides a rare snapshot into the trading volumes by major speculators right before the oil price spike in the summer of 2008.

    As experts from Stanford University, Rice University, the University of Massachusetts, andauthorities have concluded, rampant oil speculation was the prime driver of the record highprices for crude oil three years ago.

    To view a copy of the data, click here for documents leaked by Sanders. To view an organized spreadsheet, click here.

    Notably, the top speculators are noncommercial players, meaning they are companies that simply and buy and sell crude contracts with no interest in actually refining and selling the product. Each contract in the list represents 1,000 barrels of oil. The documents show the total volume of trades made on one specific day shortly before the record high price of $148 per barrel.

    The data, though revealing, still does not give a complete picture of trading strategies. Speculators invest in multiple private exchanges, and trading tactics can shift from day to day. Moreover physical plays, such as buying up large quantities of actual oil and storing it on tankers or in large containers, are still largely hidden from public view.

    Tyson Slocum, an oil speculation expert at Public Citizen, reviewed the documents and spoke with ThinkProgress. He said that this data is important because it shows who the “big players are” and underscores the need for transparency and regulation in these so-called dark markets:

    SLOCUM: What this tells us is who the big players are, because volume equates market share in a way, if you are driving volume, and if your volume is at a significant enough amount you become a price setter or at least a price trender where you’re going to have the effect of unilaterally influencing prices and that’s very significant. And you’ve got sort of a cascading effect, and the smaller traders are going to follow Goldman Sach and others will chase the leader, which is why Dodd Frank said Congress shall set position limits in these markets. Position limits would limit the market share, limit the positions banks could take. Dodd Frank recognizes the danger that one or two traders can have when they dominate the positions in a given market.

    Professor Michael Greenberger, a former CFTC official, told ThinkProgress that the “short” positions outlined by the document might cause confusion because in many cases banks act simply as intermediaries for their clients. Critics will note the net short positions and assume incorrectly that many of these players were simply betting on prices to go down, not up. Greenberger explained that if you look closer at the data, the trading shows banks and other speculators were actually pushing the price up:

    GREENBERGER: When you look at it carefully, the speculative money has all been heavily weighted in the favor of buying in the direction of the price going up. […] They go in and buy long in the regular futures market, which sends a long signal to the market, that there’s a supply problem that really doesn’t exist. To keep their long bets in place, they have to do something called the “Goldman Roll,” which is these contracts don’t go on forever. They expire. So what they have to do is sell short to get out of the contract when the expiration takes place, then roll around and buy long again to keep the long bet on the books. So the long bets are predicated on intermediate short bets, that are canceled out within three or four days of each other.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Our FLOTUS is so lovely!!

    We are so lucky to have her.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone at 3CHICS!!

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