Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread

Happy Tuesday, 3 Chics Peeps!   We’re gonna keep on tryin till we reach a Higher Ground.

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50 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Why Obama’s black critics are wrong
    By Randall Kennedy, Special to CNN
    updated 7:28 AM EST, Mon September 19, 2011

    Throughout President Barack Obama’s political career, he has been dogged by insinuations or, indeed, accusations that he is not “black enough” to warrant strong support from African-Americans.

    Rep. Bobby Rush made that assertion when he successfully fended off Obama’s effort to wrest from him his seat in the House of Representatives in the Democratic primary in 2000. Alan Keyes voiced that sentiment in his losing campaign against Obama for the U.S. Senate. When Obama accepted the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party, the celebrity scholar Cornel West groused that the first African-American standard-bearer for a major party had “run from history” by failing to mention explicitly the “black freedom movement.”

    Skepticism regarding Obama’s racial bona fides has continued to surface since he moved into the White House. Rep. Maxine Waters, for instance, has recently chided him for failing to craft policies that would explicitly target black unemployment and for otherwise neglecting, in her view, to evince a proper acknowledgment of the baleful and disproportionate pain being experienced in black communities on account of the economic downturn.
    Randall Kennedy
    Randall Kennedy

    What is one to make of this critique?

    First, it should not be at all surprising. Black America is ideologically diverse, just like other communities. Moreover, as I document in “Sellout: The Politics of Racial Betrayal,” there exists in black America a special anxiety about the loyalties of high achievers, especially when their success is largely dependent on whites and others who are not black. Every prominent black in a predominantly white setting faces, at one time or another, claims from fellow blacks that he or she is “selling out.”
    GOP slams ‘Buffett Rule’ to cut debt
    Obama: America can’t ‘wait 14 months’

    Second, Obama’s black detractors receive a degree of attention in the news media that is far greater than their representativeness of black America or their influence within it.

    The great bulk of black American voters — upward of 90% — supported Obama in 2008 and do so today. They do so because of his party affiliation, his liberal policy preferences, his identification with the African-American community (the offspring of an interracial couple, he calls himself black and married a black woman), his personal attractiveness — he is uncommonly articulate, handsome, knowledgeable and gracious — and the fact that with all of the added burdens attendant to his blackness, he was still able to climb the Mount Everest of American politics.

    Unlike some of Obama’s most vocal detractors, the black rank-and-file have a realistic appreciation of the limits of his authority and the power of the forces arrayed against him, including a large, albeit amorphous, strain of racial resentment. Pained by the economic recession, they refrain from blaming Obama and instead direct their ire at those who not only saddled the first black chief executive with such a harrowing task of cleanup but also obstruct him relentlessly and often with barely disguised contempt.

    Third, even though Obama’s black detractors constitute currently only a small sliver of African-American public opinion, their critique is nonetheless important in practical, electoral terms.

    It is often the case that a vocal, motivated minority can exercise influence that far exceeds their numbers. Enthusiasm matters. A drumbeat of complaint calling into question Obama’s attentiveness to blacks might well diminish the fervency of the support he will need for his re-election effort. Furthermore, certain actions he might take to respond to the racial critique might well alienate other, nonblack, potential supporters.

    The race line will ensnare Obama no matter how he proceeds. It will not necessarily defeat him. His epochal victory in 2008 showed that, unlike previous eras, our own is one in which a black politician can overcome racial barriers to win the highest office in the land. Still, the sobering reality is that race remains an important, persistent force in American life despite the presence of a black family in the White House.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Massachusetts Dems Target Scott Brown On ‘The Buffett Rule’

    Democrats are already mobilizing politically behind President Obama’s debt reduction proposal, which he formally announced earlier on Monday. Massachusetts Democrats quickly sought to make an issue of it for Republican Sen. Scott Brown, who is up for re-election in 2012.

    In a press release titled, “Does Scott Brown Support the Buffett Rule?”:

    “As part of his vision for a balanced approach to reducing our deficit and creating jobs, President Obama today proposed the Buffett Rule to make sure that people who make more than $1 million a year do not pay a smaller portion of their income in taxes than middle class Americans do.”

    “We’re all Americans first and all of us, including millionaires and billionaires, should pay our fair share to help get our nation’s fiscal house in order. There is no reason in the world why Scott Brown should be talking about cutting one dime from Social Security or Medicare without insisting that CEO’s and hedge fund managers step up to the plate.”

  3. Ametia says:

    Poll: Elizabeth Warren leading Scott Brown
    A new poll released on Tuesday shows Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren surging.

    The new survey, conducted by Public Policy Polling, gives Ms. Warren a slight edge over Massaachusetss U.S. Senator Brow, 46 to 44 percent among likely voters. The two-point gap between the candidates falls well within the survey’s 3.5 percent margin of error.

    The launch of Elizabeth Warren’s candidacy has been an undeniable success,” said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling.

    The survey involved 791 Massachusetts voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent, suggesting Ms.Warren and Mr. Brown are in a dead heat. The poll comes just one week after Ms. Warren announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate.

    Read more:… /

  4. rikyrah says:

    September 20, 2011 3:25 PM

    Foreign policy isn’t Perry’s strong suit

    By Steve Benen

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry gave a speech in New York this morning, beginning to offer some hints about his approach to foreign policy. Nearly all of the Republican presidential candidate’s remarks focused on Israel, with a perspective that featured some mainstream and some non-mainstream ideas.

    But if Perry is going to present himself as credible on foreign policy, he has a very long way to go.

    As of this afternoon, Perry’s campaign website still doesn’t include the words “Afghanistan,” “Iraq,” or even “terrorism.” And when the governor does address the issue, he seems hopelessly lost.

    Looking at the Texas governor’s statements on foreign policy over the past month on the campaign trail and in two debates reveals a foreign policy that is inconsistent, muddled, and sometimes contradictory. […]

    Perry made extensive remarks on foreign policy Aug. 29 before the VFW National Convention. There, he spoke out against multilateralism…. But yesterday, Perry seemed to suggest the opposite when he talking about engaging allies. […]

    In his VFW speech, He also has seemed to be for muscular interventionism — “We must renew our commitment to taking the fight to the enemy wherever they are, before they strike at home.”

    But then in the very next sentence, he seemed to be against it — “I do not believe that America should fall subject to a foreign policy of military adventurism. We should only risk shedding American blood and spending American treasure when our vital interests are threatened.”

    Perry distanced himself from military “adventurism,” and then struggled to explain what he thinks that means. Later, he said “it’s time” to withdraw from Afghanistan, only to add that it’s “really important for us to continue to have a presence there.”

    It seems like a safe bet that the 2012 presidential election will be focused far more on the domestic economic than foreign policy and national security, but for voters who take this issue seriously, Perry isn’t even remotely credible. This morning’s take on Israel doesn’t change that.

  5. rikyrah says:

    September 20, 2011 4:05 PM

    ‘I’m prepared to look at that’

    By Steve Benen

    Put aside the bravado and cliches, and Republicans know what the polls say about tax increases. GOP assumptions that the American mainstream agrees with the Republican line — no increases on anyone by any amount at any time — are long gone, and most of the country welcomes the idea of the wealthy shouldering a little more of the burden.

    The question is what GOP lawmakers are prepared to say and/or do about it. Today, ABC posed a question about tax fairness to Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee. I found his response pretty interesting.

    Sessions said he’s willing to consider something that would bring tax equity by ensuring the rich pay as high a percentage in taxes as middle-class taxpayers, but cautioned that such a move could backfire.

    “I’m prepared to look at that,” he said, “but let me tell you about capital gains….”

    What I find noteworthy are these minor cracks in the GOP’s wall of opposition. On Capitol Hill, phrases like “I’m prepared to look at that” are often seen as a signal of potential support, or at least something far short of outright opposition.

    And it comes against the backdrop of related fissures. Freshman Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) told voters last week he’s willing to talk about higher tax rates for millionaires and billionaires.

    What’s more, last month, four far-right House Republicans participated in a joint town-hall meeting in a very conservative area. Three of the four said they’re open to additional revenue, and one said he wouldn’t rule out tax increases on those earning over $700,000 a year.

    A week later, Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) was badgered by constituents at a town-hall meeting on the need to raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations, and reluctantly said he’s open to ending oil-company subsidies and closing tax loopholes. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), confronted by 200 angry constituents the same week, said the same thing.

    Would any of these guys even consider this if the polls were one-sided in the other direction? I really doubt it. This matters, of course, because if Dems are aggressive and united on this — a big “if,” to be sure — and Republicans are “prepared to look at” progressive ideas, it suggests there’s at least a chance of some progress on tax policy.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Reid Drives Wedge Between House, Senate GOP Over Disaster Funds

    Funding for the federal government runs out at the end of the month and Congress is set to adjourn for recess at the end of the week. That means the House and Senate have to come to terms in a matter of days over legislation to keep the lights on.

    There’s just one problem: they disagree about how much to re-up FEMA’s disaster fund. House Republicans want to provide FEMA with $1 billion in emergency funds (fully offset by cutting a program to incentivize the production of hybrid vehicles) and $2.65 billion as a down payment of sorts on FEMA’s annual disaster funding. The Senate passed stand-alone legislation last week to provide FEMA nearly $7 billion.

    On the Senate floor Tuesday morning, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said he will keep pushing the issue.

    “Tomorrow, when the Senate receives the House bill to fund the government for six more weeks, we will amend it with the language of the Senate FEMA legislation,” Reid said. “This year, President Obama has declared disasters in all but two states, and FEMA is quickly running out of money to help American families and communities recover. Of course, I know this amendment will enjoy the support of my Republican colleagues, as it did just last week, when a bipartisan group of Senators agreed that helping communities destroyed by natural disasters was too important to let politics get in the way.”

    The Senate Republicans who voted with Reid last week will have to decide whether to join him again, and hand the funding bill back to House Republicans, or renege, jamming Senate Dems with the House package, but opening themselves to the charge of short-changing disaster victims.

    Some House Democrats have already signaled that the can support the House’s bill, so it’s unclear whether they have the upper hand in the legislative fight. But they’re threatening Republicans with a potent political attack they may not want to face right now. And, of course, if neither side budges, the government shuts down. A key dynamic to watch.

  7. rikyrah says:

    They Tilt the Scales Against the People
    by BooMan
    Tue Sep 20th, 2011 at 01:23:38 PM EST

    Obama says that he wants to raise taxes on the rich, on the top two or three percent income earners, on Big Oil, on executive jets, on capital gains. In other words, not on you. Not on more than 90% of Americans. Republicans respond, “Obama wants to raise your taxes. He’ll raise taxes on your boss and your boss will fire you in retaliation. That guy who was going to offer you a job will change his mind. Tax hikes will kill the economy and you’ll get screwed.”
    Polling that shows that the vast majority of Americans, including moderates and independents, favor taxing the rich to balance the budget do not factor in the fact that people are subjected to a relentless drumbeat of anti-tax rhetoric, even from people like Hillary Clinton’s chief campaign strategist. They cynically (and falsely) claim that Obama is proposing these taxes to fire up his base despite the fact that he’s turning off moderates and independents. The truth is, moderates and independents endorse the president’s proposals in large numbers until they are subjected to people like Mark Penn telling them it is class warfare.

    Barack Obama is careening down the wrong path towards re-election.
    He should be working as a president, not a candidate.

    He should be claiming the vital center, not abandoning it.

    He should be holding down taxes rather than raising them.

    He should be mastering the global economy, not running away from it.

    And most of all, he should be bringing the country together rather than dividing it through class warfare.

    Yes, too bad Obama won and Mark Penn isn’t running the show in the White House. Because Mark Penn is not only a man of the people, but he has his finger on their pulse.

    What kind of pollster is it who doesn’t report what the people want but misreports what they want in order to confuse them and turn them against Democratic policies? He isn’t a Democratic pollster or a Republican pollster. He’s a pollster for the elite. He tries to shape opinion, not measure it. But, he’s not alone. This is the basic dynamic progressives face. The Democratic Party is the only viable vehicle we have. It is certainly the only vehicle we have capable of warding off a right-wing revolution in this country. But the rich have their fingers on the scale off both parties, tilting them away from policies that the people say they want.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Hoyer: House Dems May Jam Boehner Over Disaster Relief

    House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) says Democrats may withhold their support for House legislation to fund the government if Republicans insist on pairing disaster relief with partisan budget cuts.

    If Democrats vote against the funding bill en masse, it could leave House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) shy of the votes needed to pass the legislation, and force him to cut a deal on the Democrats’ terms. Because if the impasse isn’t bridged by the end of the month, the government will shut down.

    “My presumption is they will offer a [funding bill] which has that offset in it and I think Democrats will be loath to support that effort,” Hoyer told reporters at his weekly Capitol briefing.

    The offset in question would nix a $1.5 billion incentive for hybrid vehicle production.

    Recently, the top Democratic appropriator in the House, Norm Dicks (D-WA) said he’d reluctantly support the legislation — known as a continuing resolution — to avoid a government shutdown. But Democrats seem to have identified their leverage.

    “You need to pass a CR, you need to keep the government funded, you don’t need to do it in this manner,” Hoyer said. “We have not yet made a decision on what we’ll do on this. I know Mr. Dicks’ comments and I agree with his comments. But that does not necessarily mean in the end that — the Senate disagrees with that, we agree with the Senate and we may vote that way.”

    Last week, the Senate passed legislation to provide FEMA nearly $7 billion in emergency disaster relief money, sans offsets. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) plans to pit House and Senate Republicans against each other over this issue — force his Republican colleagues to choose between the FEMA bill they helped pass on Thursday and their GOP allies in the House. Hoyer’s suggesting it may never get to that point.

    “[E]ight times under George Bush we responded to hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, other disasters, fires, and we did so by emergency funding,” Hoyer said. “The Republicans supported President Bush’s request for that, we think they ought to support President Obama’s request for that.”

  9. rikyrah says:

    Top Republicans: Government Shutdown Over Disaster Aid Will Fall On Reid’s Shoulders

    The more Republicans and Democrats insist they’re not interested in another government shutdown fight, the more they show themselves to be fighting their impulses.

    Now, two of the top Republicans in the House say the Senate has little choice but to pass their federal funding bill — including its controversial disaster relief provision — or risk a lapse in government services, including for people in need of help from FEMA.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) says he’ll send the funding bill back to the House, with more disaster relief money, and no controversial spending cuts to pay for it unless Republicans back down. They show no signs of doing that.

    Get the day’s best political analysis, news and reporting from the TPM team delivered to your inbox every day with DayBreaker. Sign up here, it takes just a few seconds.

    The consequences, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) told reporters Tuesday, “will be on Leader Reid’s shoulders because he’s the one playing politics with this.”

    “If Reid does what he does, I don’t see the votes on the floor for it,” said House Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). “So he’s holding up the ability for individuals to get the relief.”

    A few things are going on here. Senate Democrats, and nearly a dozen Republicans, want more money for FEMA than the House is offering up. And Democrats in both chambers oppose the offset House Republicans have chosen — a fund meant to spur production of hybrid vehicles.

    All the ingredients are there for gridlock. But there are a number of possible resolutions. House Republicans may not have the votes on to pass their funding bill on their own and would then have to cut a deal with Democrats on disaster relief. If they do, Senate Democrats could ultimately back down, and use GOP intransigence over disaster funding as a political weapon in the 2012 elections. But if both parties dig in, we’ll go down to the wire of a government shutdown again.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Centrist Dems Already Trying To Put The Brakes On Obama’s Tax Increases

    President Obama’s deficit-reduction plan–complete with tax increases on the wealthiest Americans–won high marks from his liberal base encouraged to see Obama back in fighting mode, but the plan is set to hit a brick wall in Congress — even in the Democratically controlled Senate and the bipartisan super committee.

    Moderate Senate Democrats are signaling strong resistance to tax increases in the President’s deficit-reduction plan, and the early disapproval within his own party will no doubt give Republicans on the deficit super committee plenty of cover to block any and all revenue-raising aspects of Obama’s plan.

    Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) told reporters Monday night that he’s put off by all the talk about increasing taxes when he believes the primary and only goal of the deficit super committee should be finding cuts to hack away at the deficit.

    “Tax increases have to come second to cutting,” he said. “I was just home over the weekend and that’s what [my constituents] we’re all talking about.”

    Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), who represents a state whose economy is dependent on energy production, last week said the offset for Obama’s new spending plans, which includes the elimination of oil and gas subsidies, “was not going to fly.”

    “Terrible,” Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) told Politico last week 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.”

    Clearly trying to withhold her opposition — at least for the day, Landrieu ducked into an elevator when reporters tried to stop her Monday night to ask her opinion about the President’s speech.

    Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), a co-chair of the deficit super committee, gave an oblique response when asked Monday night about her response to the President’s speech and how it would affect the super committee’s work, noting that she hopes the panel can take a “fair and balanced” approach.

    Despite high legislative hurdles that could deadlock the super committee, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), a die-hard liberal charged with handling Democratic communications strategy, was energized Monday night.

    “I think he gave a great address and we are drawing distinctions on where we want to go and where Republicans don’t want us to go,” he told TPM.

  11. rikyrah says:

    September 20, 2011 12:45 PM

    Romney’s faith, for now, goes unnoticed

    By Steve Benen

    It may be a matter of perception, but at this point four years ago, there seemed to be a fair amount of discussion about Mitt Romney being a leading presidential candidate and a Mormon. This year, the topic just doesn’t seem to come up nearly as much.

    So when the former governor says he expects this to be a non-issue for his candidacy, it seems like a reasonable prediction.

    Mitt Romney said Friday he does not expect his Mormon faith to become a challenge in this election, and added that he thinks most voters prioritize other issues over religion.

    “I addressed this last time around, had a speech on religion in America. … That’s sort of been put to bed for me,” Romney said on the Kilmeade & Friends show on Fox News Radio.

    I hope that’s right. There are all kinds of problems with Romney’s presidential ambitions, but his personal faith shouldn’t be included on the list.

    But over the weekend, the latest New York Times/CBS News poll included a question related to the subject, without mentioning any candidates’ names: “Do you think most people you know would vote for a presidential candidate who is a Mormon, or not?”

    A 40% plurality said they believe people they know wouldn’t vote for a Mormon candidate, while only 35% said the opposite. (This was posed to all respondents, not just those likely to vote in a Republican primary, where attitudes may be different.) The numbers were roughly the same as a similar poll question four years ago.

    I have no idea if this is going to matter, and I sincerely hope it doesn’t. But a poll result like that raises questions about whether this is an issue that lurks below the surface.

  12. rikyrah says:

    September 20, 2011 1:15 PM
    Bachmann helps bolster Obama’s point
    By Steve Benen

    I find it hard not to enjoy stories like these.

    On her visit to a traffic-signal plant [in Iowa] Monday, Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann called it an example of how President Obama’s policies are “continuing to dig us deeper into the hole toward another recession.”

    Standing before a row of shiny orange trailers carrying portable solar-powered traffic lights, she said her plans for a smaller government with fewer rules and lower spending would help OMJC Signal Inc. “grow, grow, grow, grow, grow.”

    “That’s my goal — to see you succeed wildly,” the Minnesota congresswoman told a gathering of OMJC workers on the plant floor here in the central Iowa town where she grew up.

    So, what’s the problem? As it turns out, OMJC Signal Inc. thrives thanks to government contracts — more than 80% of the company’s revenue comes from government — which allows it provide portable traffic lights, solar-powered bus-stop lights, and traffic cameras for projects nationwide.

    The company’s CEO is a self-identified conservative Republican, who was apparently loath to ruin Bachmann’s appearance, but he conceded to reporters that his company benefited from the kind of projects promoted by President Obama and congressional Democrats.

    Indeed, thanks to efforts like the Recovery Act, OMJC’s business “has been stable,” even when other local companies were forced to scale back.

    Asked for an explanation, Bachmann’s spokesperson complained about health care reform and “excessive spending,” apparently unaware that the response doesn’t make sense under the circumstances.

    Michele Bachmann, in other words, accidentally made Obama’s agenda look pretty good. She went to a plant that would suffer as a result of her policies, and which benefited as a result of Democratic policies. Republicans like to pretend the president’s efforts only help grow government, but here’s a private-sector plant that’s done very well because of government contracts.

    Hell, it’s practically a case study on how stimulus is supposed to work. Democrats put an emphasis on public investments, private businesses received funding, those businesses hired employees, those employees spent in their communities, etc.

    The very economic model Bachmann believes can’t work has proven effective at a plant chosen by the Bachmann campaign.

    Update: The estimable Laura Conaway notes that the OMJC in this company’s name is short for “Our Master Jesus Christ.”

  13. rikyrah says:

    Maywood housing scandal reeks of greed


    Last Modified: Sep 20, 2011 02:09AM
    Dang. I tried my best to ignore the Maywood Housing Authority scandal because it never pays to say ugly things about your neighbors.

    But I’m disgusted.

    Recently, the former executive director of the Maywood Housing Authority, Gwendolyn Robinson, was arrested for allegedly stealing more than $400,000 in taxpayer money. Besides the theft allegation, the Better Government Association cites cronyism, conflicts of interest and poor management for turning an agency that was supposed to help low-income residents obtain affordable housing into a golden goose that was allegedly providing perks for friends.

    I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve driven past what looked like an empty office and wondered whom the agency was helping.

    Robinson, a churchgoing sister, has pleaded not-guilty to the criminal charges. However, the agency’s books are in such disarray, HUD’s Illinois public housing office is considering turning it over to another public housing agency.

    That would be another slap in the face. A federal takeover of the Maywood agency would reinforce the negative stereotypes of the village where most of the elected and appointed officials are black.

    But this kind of alleged malfeasance is all too common.

    Recently, the feds indicted Margaret A. Davis, the former program director of the Chicago Chapter of the National Black Nurses Association.

    Davis is accused of diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer funds for her personal use.

    Her indictment is expected to be the tip of the iceberg in a criminal investigation that involves the health department and other state agencies.

    Sun-Times investigative reporters Chris Fusco and Dave McKinney reported the feds have sent four subpoenas seeking information about a range of “faith-based initiatives” and health-outreach programs that were overseen by Dr. Eric Whitaker, President Barack Obama’s vacation buddy.

    Whitaker is not accused of any wrongdoing.

    But Davis is charged with 16 counts of mail fraud and money-laundering.

    Prosecutors allege that of the $1 million in grants Davis received under Whitaker and other state-agency directors, she siphoned off $500,000 for her personal use.

    She has pleaded not guilty, and is set to go on trial in Springfield on Dec. 6.

    It is disheartening to see black professionals, particularly, being accused of cheating the people they are supposed to help.

    Davis would know firsthand how wide the health gap is in low-income communities. She would have a good understanding, for instance, of how scarce the resources are for educating African Americans about HIV-AIDS, healthy eating, high-blood pressure, diabetes, and a host of other diseases that blacks are more likely to die from than any other racial group.

    People like Bill Cosby like to talk about how poor people have let the race down because they have failed to ensure their children get an adequate education.

    But a lot of high wage-earning black folk aren’t any better.

    Despite earning advanced degrees at top-notch schools — an accomplishment that put them in a position to help the disadvantaged, too many of them have the same sickness that took down Bernie Madoff:

    They are greedy.

    It still boggles my mind that Carla Oglesby (remember her) couldn’t be satisfied with dancing into a $120,000 job with the Stroger administration.

    Oglesby was the deputy chief of staff to former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger. She was arrested last year for allegedly doling out $300,000 in taxpayer money for contract work that was never done.

    There are, of course, successful African-American men and women who haven’t forgotten where they come from. Many of them are in the room when charitable grants are awarded, and they are not shy about using their influence to ensure that deserving organizations are funded.

    Greg Hinton, a senior director of U.S. Cellular, and John Rogers, Chairman and CEO of Ariel Investments, come to mind.

    You praying sisters ought to keep people like them lifted up.

    Because when highly placed African-Americans go astray, a lot of people feel the pain.

  14. rikyrah says:

    From The Obama Diary Comments Section:



    Just in case anyone forgot, tomorrow is September 20, 2011, the day DADT is officially over. Is this guy for real or what, he changes the arch of justice and then just goes on about his business quietly. President Obama “gave “Boehner 98% of everything he wanted, which turned out to be ocean front property in Oklahoma. And now Boehner is in a race against time, come November Boehner has to either accept what President Obama gives him or accept what the Super-Committee gives him, which President Obama has already said he will veto if revenues are not included. And this, Professional Lefters, is how it is done.

    *drops microphone, turns around and walks away*

  15. rikyrah says:

    Sap of the Day: David Brooks
    by BooMan
    Tue Sep 20th, 2011 at 10:11:16 AM EST

    Is David Brooks right? Has Obama rejected Obamaism? The irony is that Brooks uses today’s column to repeatedly flagellate himself as a ‘sap’ who is gullible enough to believe in the president’s rhetoric about bipartisanship. For Brooks, the goal has always been bipartisanship. For Obama, bipartisanship was never more than a means. How do you get a bill passed through Congress when you don’t have enough votes to force it through on your terms? You compromise. You incorporate some of the opposition’s ideas. You give credit to those who cooperate with you.
    The only alternative is to try to intimidate the other side into cooperating with you, but that’s hard to do when the other side is more vulnerable to losing in a Tea Party primary challenge than in the general election against a Democrat. It’s naturally somewhat difficult to find the exact line where bipartisanship passes from a goal to a necessity. Obama said he wanted to change how Washington works and work across party lines. That sentiment was rejected by the Republicans before he was even inaugurated.

    Before the health care fight, before the economic stimulus package, before President Obama even took office, Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader, had a strategy for his party: use his extensive knowledge of Senate procedure to slow things down, take advantage of the difficulties Democrats would have in governing and deny Democrats any Republican support on big legislation.

    David Brooks acknowledges this with the following statement:

    The president believes the press corps imposes a false equivalency on American politics. We assign equal blame to both parties for the dysfunctional politics when in reality the Republicans are more rigid and extreme. There’s a lot of truth to that, but at least Republicans respect Americans enough to tell us what they really think.

    When you put those two blockquotes together, it becomes clear that David Brooks belongs in the Justice League of America Hall of Fame for Wanking. His own party precluded the very possibility of true bipartisanship. They have engaged in an absolutely unprecedented level of obstruction. Despite this, the president continued to offer an outstretched hand. To some degree, he didn’t have much of an alternative if he wanted to sign any bills. Yet, he certainly could have taken a tougher line. He could have called the Republicans out for their cynicism, hypocrisy, and dishonesty long before now. He could have thrown bombs and stomped his feet and responded in kind to the over-the-top rhetoric about his socialism and his birth certificate and his Mooslim faith. He didn’t do that. It made most progressives go insane. Why was the president preemptively giving away his negotiating position? Why wasn’t he going after the Republicans the way they were going after him. Was the president a ‘sap’?

    The president offered John Boehner a Grand Bargain, and John Boehner rejected it because it involved some tax hikes on rich people. Brooks responds that the president is abandoning bipartisan approaches.

    Yes, I’m a sap. I believed Obama when he said he wanted to move beyond the stale ideological debates that have paralyzed this country. I always believe that Obama is on the verge of breaking out of the conventional categories and embracing one of the many bipartisan reform packages that are floating around.
    But remember, I’m a sap. The White House has clearly decided that in a town of intransigent Republicans and mean ideologues, it has to be mean and intransigent too. The president was stung by the liberal charge that he was outmaneuvered during the debt-ceiling fight. So the White House has moved away from the Reasonable Man approach or the centrist Clinton approach.

    In a town of intransigent Republicans and mean ideologues, the president accomplished more in three years than any president since LBJ, but it wasn’t helping in the polls and he’d reached the end of what could be accomplished through compromise. The president would love to pass a jobs bill. He’d love to take a big bite out of the budget deficit, even if it involved significant pain for him with his base. But the Republicans won’t play ball, so now it’s a full court press for the American Jobs Act, which at least has the advantage of being wildly popular.

    David Brooks might long for a country where a Democratic president only signs bills that Olympia Snowe thinks are appropriate. Well, we had that for two years, and the results were suboptimal but still praiseworthy. For the last year, however, we have lived in a country where the president can only sign things that the Tea Party thinks are appropriate. That has to change or our country is fucked. Maybe Brooks should focus his energies on that problem instead of the nonexistent problem he wrote about today.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:28 PM ET, 09/20/2011
    Yup, moderates and independents support taxing the rich
    By Greg Sargent
    It’s the meme that won’t die: Obama’s newly aggressive push to raise taxes on the wealthy is about nothing more than playing to the Dem base, and his “class warfare” risks alienating the center.

    David Brooks today complains that Obama’s “populist cries” will “fire up liberals but are designed to enrage moderates.” The Hill insists that Obama’s new posture is merely designed to “shore up or win back his base.” Mark Penn helpfully warns Obama that his “class warfare” is tantamount to “abandoning” the center. Mark Halperin pronounces that analysis ”essential reading.”

    So let’s be clear about this: It’s all utter nonsense. This is not how the White House sees things. While it’s true that Obama’s new posture is partly about firing up his base, he and his advisers also view it as the best way to win back moderates and independents. They may be wrong about this, but that’s how they see things. They believe the way to win back those voters — even as he seeks a deficit reduction deal — is for Obama to be seen as a fighter for jobs.

    To insist that this is only about winning over disaffected Dems is to misstate the nature of the bet the White House is making, which is a bet on where the true center of the country lies. Worse still is the unstated assumption underlying much of the analysis: That there’s no way the middle of the country could possibly embrace Obama’s new approach.

    But as it happens, strong majorities of moderates and independents support tax hikes on the wealthy as the best way to close the deficit. I’ve compiled a half dozen polls showing that to be the case:

    1) This month’s New York Times poll found that 86 percent of moderates, and 74 percent of independents, support deficit reduction through a combination of tax increases and spending cuts. It also found that 65 percent of moderates, and 57 percent of independents, favor taxk hikes on those over $250,000.

    2) Last month’s Marist-McClatchy poll found that 80 percent of moderates, and 68 percent of independents, support dealing with the deficit by raising taxes on income over $250,000.

    3) Last month’s CNN poll found that 74 percent of moderates, and 62 percent of independents, think the deficit supercommittee should raise taxes on businesses and higher-income Americans.

    4) Last month’s Gallup poll found that 64 percent of independents support reducing the Federal debt by hiking taxes on upper-income Americans.

    5) A Washington Post poll in July found that 73 percent of moderates, and 64 percent of independents, favor reducing the deficit through a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts. It also found that 80 percent of moderates, and 73 percent of independents, favor tax hikes on those over $250,000. (WaPo also has a nice chart of other polling on Obama’s jobs positions.)

    6) An NBC/WSJ poll in July found that 66 percent of moderates, and 54 percent of independents, supported Obama’s approach to reducing the deficit over that of the GOP — including tax hikes on corporations and the wealthy.

    Now, Republicans tend to think such polling isn’t that meaningful. Even if it shows public support for high-end tax cuts, Republicans are happy to target Democrats on the issue, because they can continue to make the general charge that Dems are tax-hikers, furthering the narrative of profligate Big Government liberals running off the spending rails. Republicans believe this narrative is very potent with moderates and independents. And there very well may be something to this.

    But Obama and his advisers look at the same polling and they bet that they can overcome this hurdle. They are betting they can persuade moderates and independents — who are willing to tell pollsters that they want higher taxes on the rich — that they should turn on Republicans for blocking their balanced approach to deficit reduction. Even if Republicans have had past success tarring them as tax and spend liberals, they are betting they can win the argument with middle of the road voters — and that those voters’ instincts suggest they will come to embrace Obama’s balanced vision.

    I don’t know if the White House is right or not. But this is the bet they’re currently making. And it’s unclear how the ubiquitous claim that this new populism is all about just appealing to the base squares with all the polling that demonstrates strong support for raising taxes on the rich — in the middle of the country.

  17. rikyrah says:

    A Two-Man Race?

    Bachmann’s support has collapsed. Perry is in the lead, but Romney continues to appear more electable:

    Romney currently edges out President Barack Obama by 49% to 47% in national registered-voter preferences for the November election, while Perry trails Obama by 45% to 50%. However, neither Romney nor Obama is ahead by a statistically significant margin.

    Allahpundit keeps his eyes on Palin:

    Perry’s window to steamroll the rest of the field is now closed. If he had had two monster debate performances and widened his lead over Romney, you might see more big donors starting to shake loose and fall into his camp as the inevitable nominee. As it is, Palin must be watching his backsliding and Bachmann’s collapse and feeling more encouraged to run than ever. Still plenty of tea-party votes in play, and who knows how much of Perry’s support is owed not to his jobs record or any personal attribute but simply to him being a “true conservative” alternative to Romney.

  18. rikyrah says:

    What The GOP Has Done To David Brooks

    He’s venting at Obama today for finally absorbing the ineluctable fact that the current GOP will never, ever support increasing government revenues, and thereby cannot get to the Grand Bargain so many of us want. But look: Obama has put Medicare on the table before and got nothing for it. He has even cut Medicare and been pilloried by the GOP for it. He has been open to major tax reform: they are uninterested until they regain the White House. He compromised on the extension of the Bush tax cuts … only to be ambushed by the debt ceiling fiasco, which seriously hurt him.

    I agree with David that Obamaism matters; but I don’t think Obama has treated us all like saps for proposing a second stimulus now and less radical ($3 trillion) debt reduction later. Yes, it’s not Bowles-Simpson. Yes, its tax proposals will not radically simplify the system (which is what we need) and are geared for political purposes … but at this point, what’s he seriously supposed to do?

    The only way forward to a Grand Bargain is by calling the GOP bluff on taxes and going to the country on it. Once the Tea Party seized the House, this was always the likeliest scenario. Obama tried extremely hard to avoid it – which is what precipitated the last year of humiliations – which have taken a toll on his ratings and, far more dangerously, wounded his authority as president. And so, he has been forced into political contrast. To blame Obama for this seems absurd to me – and is only in the column because David is leerier of saying what needs to be said: that the current Republican party is a radical, extremist, reckless force that is far more concerned with defeating this president than in reforming the country on bipartisan lines.

    And the political logic of the shift, even if it is a Plan B, is compelling. If Perry is the candidate, the choice in 2012 will be between an incrementalist like Obama who is prepared to put entitlement cuts and tax hikes on the table, and a radical who has called social security a “monstrous lie”, and wants all the fiscal sacrifice to come from the middle class and poor.

    I wish it hadn’t come to this. But Obama, to my mind, has successfully demonstrated he has been willing to compromise, and the GOP has successfully demonstrated they cannot. I think most Americans get that. I think they get that if there has been a sap in all this, it isn’t David Brooks for hoping for bipartisan reform, but Obama for hoping for sanity from today’s GOP.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Monday, September 19, 2011

    Speaker Boehner in a bit of a pickle

    I’d love to hear what Mr. “I got 98% of what I wanted” Boehner is thinking right about now. Today, President Obama handed him a hostage crisis of his own.

    Before we get there – lets review what led up to this.

    As part of the deal to extend the debt limit, Congress formed a “Super Committee” that is tasked with developing a plan to reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion. If they don’t do so by the end of the year, automatic cuts kick in during 2013 with a massive cut to defense spending (half a trillion dollars).

    This morning President Obama unveiled his proposal for the Committee that actually amounts to around $3 trillion in deficit reduction and is heavily weighted towards tax cuts for the wealthy.

    But the President threw in this little gem during the announcement of his proposal:

    I will not support — I will not support — any plan that puts all the burden for closing our deficit on ordinary Americans. And I will veto any bill that changes benefits for those who rely on Medicare but does not raise serious revenues by asking the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to pay their fair share. We are not going to have a one-sided deal that hurts the folks who are most vulnerable.

    So if the Super Committee puts together a plan that doesn’t include tax increases for the wealthiest Americans – the President will veto it. And then the automatic cuts to things like defense go into effect.

    Speaker Boehner is going to have to figure out whether he’ll cause his own political career more damage by agreeing to raise taxes or seeing defense spending gutted.

    Welcome to hostage-town Mr. Speaker.

    And nicely played Mr. President!

  20. Ametia says:

    President Obama speaks at the open government partnership event

  21. rikyrah says:

    Republicans Sought Clean-Energy Money for Home States
    Published: September 19, 2011

    On the Senate floor and the television airwaves, Senator Mitch McConnell has lambasted the Obama administration over what he has described as its failed efforts to stimulate new jobs through clean-energy projects backed with billions of dollars in federal loans or other assistance.

    But Mr. McConnell, of Kentucky, is one of several prominent Republicans who have worked to steer federal money to clean-energy projects in their home states, Energy Department documents show.

    Mr. McConnell made two personal appeals in 2009, asking Energy Secretary Steven Chu to approve as much as $235 million in federal loans for a plant to build electric vehicles in Franklin, Ky.

    “I hope you will realize the importance of such job creation to Kentucky,” Mr. McConnell said in a July 2009 memo supporting an application from Zap Motor Manufacturing.

    Federal lobbying disclosure records show that Mr. McConnell’s support for the project came after Zap Motor hired a Kentucky-based lobbyist, Robert Babbage, who has been a frequent contributor to Mr. McConnell’s campaigns and boasts on his own Internet site about his close ties to Mr. McConnell.

    Mr. Babbage declined to comment on the project. Gary Dodd, chief executive of Zap Motor, said the intervention by Mr. McConnell came after the company asked him to push the Energy Department to approve the loan.

    Mr. McConnell’s office, in a statement, defended his actions, saying, “There was no effort to push the administration to short-circuit its due diligence simply to plan a ribbon-cutting.”

    Mr. McConnell’s high-level advocacy took place despite early struggles for the project, including the financial collapse in 2008 of its first Kentucky business partner, Integrity Manufacturing. Mr. McConnell made no mention of these stumbles as he pushed for federal money, simply saying Zap Motor might create as many as 4,000 jobs in his state.

    Recently, he has joined with other Republicans in criticizing a March 2009 decision by the Obama administration to provide a $535 million government-backed loan to a California solar-panel manufacturer, Solyndra, which recently filed for bankruptcy and is now the subject of inquiries by the F.B.I. and Congress.

    “The White House fact-tracked a half-billion-dollar loan to a politically connected energy firm,” Mr. McConnell said Thursday in remarks on the Senate floor. “This place was supposed to be the poster child of how the original stimulus would create jobs.”

    Another Republican, Representative Lamar Smith of Texas, recently asked Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to appoint an outside investigator to determine how the Department of Energy distributes clean-energy money. But in 2009, Mr. Smith wrote to Mr. Chu asking him to approve loan guarantees from stimulus money for a Texas project proposed by Tessera Solar, documents show.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Republicans Vow Revolution, Blame Obama for ‘Uncertainty’: View

    How exactly, according to Republicans, is President Barack Obama supposed to have caused the current economic malaise and high unemployment?

    You can criticize Obama for running up huge deficits that may wreck the economy in the long run, but in the here and now, even a feckless deficit-spending program can only stimulate the economy and create jobs. However dismal the unemployment rate is now, it would have been worse without the hundreds of billions pumped into the economy by two administrations and the Federal Reserve.

    Once again: This does not necessarily mean that the stimulus was wise, or that we need more of it. Only that its short-term effect on jobs has surely been positive — or, if not, we need an explanation of why not.

    The Republicans have a theory. With remarkable unanimity, Republican leaders in Congress and the party’s presidential candidates have parroted a one-word explanation: “uncertainty.” While many political tropes are abused on a bipartisan basis — the self-exonerating press conference after a sex scandal comes to mind — the “uncertainty” lament is a largely Republican creation.

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says that “job-destroying regulations” have left “a cloud of uncertainty hanging over small and large employers alike,” preventing them from hiring new workers. Representative Michele Bachmann says that small businesses are “scared to invest in new jobs because of economic uncertainty.” Sarah Palin, how would you rescue us? “I’d eliminate the uncertainty in the economy.” Mitt Romney: Obama’s policies “have done the one thing employers can’t deal with … created more uncertainty.” House Speaker John Boehner: “Uncontrolled spending over decades — by both parties — has created an environment of economic uncertainty that is destroying jobs.”

    No Evidence
    There is no doubt that certainty is generally preferable to uncertainty, in the economy as in most aspects of life. A stable currency, for example, makes it easier for businesses to plan ahead, and encourages new investment. But there is no evidence that uncertainty has increased during the Obama presidency, or that, if it has, the president’s policies are responsible for it. Plenty of mystery remains about how health-care reform will turn out, for example, but having a plan — whether it’s a good one or not — surely creates less uncertainty than the intolerable situation employers faced beforehand: a broken system and no plan to fix it.

    The charge of “creating uncertainty” is a way to blame Obama for the U.S.’s economic trials without having to explain the connection. In fact, if anyone in the political world is responsible for creating uncertainty, it is the Republicans. Look at last month’s debt-ceiling imbroglio, which left the world wondering whether the United States would even honor its debts — something that was never uncertain before. The decision to turn a routine vote to raise the debt ceiling into a high- stakes game of chicken was made by the Republican House leadership.

    Now, you may feel that irresponsible government spending has imperiled the country’s future to the extent that radical confrontation was a reasonable or even a wise policy. (We don’t feel that way, but you might.) Even so, the Republicans’ debt- ceiling gambit hardly reflected any great fear of “uncertainty.” Indeed, the unsurprising result was increased volatility in global markets and a lower investment grade for U.S. bonds — the result of increased uncertainty about those bonds being paid off.

    Republican Strategy
    Uncertainty is not just a byproduct of Republican strategy: It is central. Throughout the debt-ceiling crisis, Republican behavior seemed to have been informed by classic game-theory analysis, which holds that in a game of chicken, it’s advantageous to be crazy — or at least to be thought to be crazy. Rational political leaders wouldn’t let the government default on its debt just because they didn’t get their way (just as, in a nuclear standoff, no rational country would bring on Armageddon if its demands were not met). But if you can plant a seed of doubt about your own rationality — Who knows what that nut will do? — you can make your threat credible. By appearing willing to damage the economy via default, Republicans won.

    The Republicans complain about uncertainty, then promise revolution. In the campaign to be the party’s presidential nominee, candidates like Texas Governor Rick Perry and Bachmann claim that Social Security is unconstitutional or that vaccines cause mental retardation. Would they really follow through on some of their wilder positions? If any of the top-tier Republican candidates is elected president — even Romney, who promises to repeal health-care reform on day one — we might all look back with longing on the calm, restful environment of the Obama administration.

  23. Ametia says:

    For your entertainment pleasure:

  24. Ametia says:

    Obama’s tax plan is common sense, not class warfare
    By Eugene Robinson, Published: September 19
    “Class warfare!” scream the Republicans, in a voice usually reserved for phrases such as “Run for your lives!”

    Spare us the histrionics. The GOP and its upper-crust patrons have been waging an undeclared but devastating war against middle-class, working-class and poor Americans for decades. Now they scream bloody murder at the notion that long-suffering victims might finally hit back.

    President Obama’s proposal to boost taxes for the wealthy by $1.5 trillion over the next decade is a good first step toward reforming a system in which billionaire hedge-fund executives are taxed at a lower rate than are their chauffeurs and private chefs.

    Republicans whine that, since they oppose raising taxes on the rich — and control the House of Representatives, which can block such legislation — Obama’s proposal should be seen as political, not substantive. This is just a campaign initiative, they say, not a “serious” plan to address the nation’s financial and economic woes.

    But that’s pure solipsism: Whatever does not fit the GOP’s worldview is, by definition, illegitimate. By this standard, Obama could propose only measures that are in the Republican Party’s platform — which obviously would defeat the purpose of being elected president as a progressive Democrat in the first place

  25. rikyrah says:

    September 20, 2011 9:30 AM

    When the right flubs tax policy details

    By Steve Benen

    About two years ago, President Obama argued, “The last thing you want to do is to raise taxes in the middle of a recession, because that would just … take more demand out of the economy and put businesses in a further hole.” It is, of course, a sort of Keynesian argument, which Republicans used to support: if the economy is lacking in demand, put more money in consumers’ pockets, and as they spend, the private sector will have more customers.

    The GOP no longer buys into this sort of thinking — many Republicans are now quite eager to raise middle-class taxes, for example — but the right used to find this approach to tax policy compelling. They still voted against all of the many tax cuts Obama signed into law, of course, but they used to like the underlying point.

    As it turns out, conservatives were quite excited about the president’s two-year-old line yesterday, arguing that it contradicts the White House’s new debt-reduction plan. If Obama said in 2009 tax increases are forbidden during a recession, why is Obama trying to raise taxes on the wealthy now?

    If only the right paid closer attention to policy details.

    For one thing, the economy isn’t contracting, so this “middle of a recession” argument is plainly wrong. For another, even in the event Obama’s proposed tax increases on the rich were to pass, they wouldn’t take effect until 2013. Ezra Klein had a good item setting the record straight.

    [T]he question is whether you think the economy will be in recession in 2013. In the event that it is, I’m sure the Obama administration would agree that 2013 isn’t a very good time to raise taxes, and austerity should wait until the economy strengthens. Either way, it’s Obama’s 2013 tax hike proposal.

    Right now, the Obama administration wants to cut taxes and increase spending on jobs programs. That’s what that whole American Jobs Act thing is about. So there’s nothing inconsistent in the Obama administration’s position — unless, that is, their plan passes, the economy falls into recession in 2013, and they don’t change course.

    As for the Republicans who are happily latching onto Obama’s admonition that now is not the time to “take more demand out of the economy” but are simultaneously arguing for sharp spending cuts and resisting temporary tax cuts, well, they’ve got a bit more ‘splaining to do.

    I’d note a couple of other things for context. First, raising taxes during economic downturns isn’t necessarily an automatic drag on the economy. Reagan raised taxes in 1982 when unemployment was much higher than it is now, and still saw a recovery in 1983. Clinton raised taxes in 1993, when the recovery was still pretty shaky, and the economy still boomed.

    And second, conservatives should try not to embrace and reject Keynesian principles at the same time. If the right believes it would hurt a fragile economy to raise additional tax revenue, why does the right also believe it would help a fragile economy to impose austerity measures that weaken demand and cut spending? This may be too much policy depth for the typical Republican to appreciate, but it sounds like they’re saying boosting demand is both a good idea and a bad idea simultaneously.

  26. rikyrah says:

    CAUTION: Geniuses at work…
    by Dennis G.

    There are a group of people who sell themselves as “progressives” who have proven over the years that they are complete fools. These are folks with a serious strategic thinking problem. Time after time all they do is rack up failure after failure. Worst of all, they provide wingnuts everywhere perfect foils who can be presented as proof that all folks who believe in progressive goals are idiots.

    The damage these clowns do day in and day out is substantial. Like Upper Class Twits from a Monty Python sketch, they just keep walking into the same wall over and over again with gusto. All the while, their comic failure works to make any effort at progress all the more difficult. These fools regularly repeat whatever wingnut talking point they are fed and then think they are having an original thought. Even racist framing is OK if they think it will help them hit the same wall with a little more force. These fools would be worthy only of derisive laughter if they hadn’t proven to be such effective tools for destruction.

    ABL wrote about the latest gathering of these dopes over the weekend. It seems that Ralph Nader, Cornell West and a group of other easily manipulated egos have decided that President Obama MUST face a primary challenge. They are so serious about this that they have sent out a press release!

    Some Emo-bloggers have picked it up, but not many. The effort is so silly that even FDL has yet to jump on the bandwagon (but to be fair, FDL is slow on the uptake, so I guess they’ll get excited about this effort by October). The effort is getting far more attention on wingnut blogs and wingnut media. The Washington Times proclaims:

    President Obama’s smooth path to the Democratic nomination may have gotten rockier Monday, after a group of liberal leaders, including former presidential candidate Ralph Nader, announced plans to challenge the incumbent in primaries next year…

    And Fox News is all over the story as proof that President Obama is a failure.

    This Nader/West effort to marginalize the left is just another example of the progressive death wish. This recent editorial from The Nation is another. I’m 56 years old. I’ve watched the so called leaders of the Left do this dance of self-destruction over and over and over again. The results have never been good.

    Humphrey had to pay a price for LBJ. They had to “punish” Carter to teach him a lesson, even if it gave us Reagan. Gore had to be disciplined for the sins of Clinton and these fools claimed there was no difference between Al and Bush. Kerry never “excited” them and also required election year chastisement. Now it is President Obama who is the target of these strategic geniuses.

    Nader, West and these other fools always function as the reliable Left flank of wingnutopia. Without these useful idiots the GOP and their ideas would always be defeated. With them to serve as comic foils, vote sponges, and advocates of apathy, the GOP can get close enough to steal any election.

    And here they come again, right on cue—ready to compete for the Upper Class Twit 2012 Title. They will talk up anybody as a “progressive” or “populist” alternative to President Obama. Hell, Ralph is already celebrating Palin as a populist diva. I guess they’ll do what damage they can in the Primaries and then support some wingnut assisting 3rd party effort. I’m guessing a Palin/Nader 2012 Third Party ticket would really excite these mental giants.

    What a bag of useless dicks.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Ralph “Obama Might be an Uncle Tom” Nader Chooses Cornel “Obama Fears Free Black Men” West to Lead Democratic Primary Charge
    by ABL

    Ron Paul is waiting in the wings—TRUST.

    Back in January, a little story caught my eye that hasn’t really gotten a lot of attention: the creation of a progressive-libertarian alliance between Ron Paul and Ralph Nader. At the time, I thought (and argued) that our progressive betters would attempt to bleed liberal support from President Obama in favor of Ron Paul and Ralph Nader.

    To disaffected liberals or “emoprogs” (and there are not as many of them as the Professional Left and media would have you believe), Nader is all that’s green and holy and progressive. And while Ron Paul is all that’s libertarian and batshit crazy— and holds positions that are anathema to most progressive ideals, to boot—he is staunchly anti-war, and pro-weed legalization. This, of course, appeals to so-called progresssives.

    When I posted about this unholy progressolibertarian alliance back in January, it seemed to me that there was a problem with this new exercise in “transpartisanship” (to borrow a recently-coined term from Jane Hamsher); a lingering and pesky problem for our Progressive Betters. That problem, of course, is The Blacks™.

    You see, The Blacks™ just love them some POTUS, and how in the hell could any nascent transpartisan progressive-libertarian alliance succeed if upwards of 80 percent of “Afro-Americans” support President Obama?

    There has, of course, been noise of Cornel West becoming the Great Brown Hope for the white progressives. A black” in”, if you will; a way to reach black folks and potentially transfer some black support away from President Obama and to this new Alliance.1 But there was no serious talk of Cornel West joining any such doomed-to-fail effort; and so I waited for the other shoe— the third shoe—to drop.

    Well, today, the third shoe dropped with a resounding “Pffft!“:

    Liberal activists and academics displeased with the Obama administration’s handling of several issues popular with progressives say they are seeking candidates willing to mount a primary challenge against President Obama next year.

    The group, led by consumer advocate Ralph Nader and scholar Cornel West, said it faults Obama for the escalation of military campaigns in Afghanistan and Pakistan, for extending tax cuts first enacted by George W. Bush and for his actions during the recent debt ceiling negotiations.

    The group said Saturday it is seeking six “recognizable, articulate” candidates who would not mount serious challenges to Obama, but “rigorously debate his policy stands” on issues related to labor, poverty, foreign policy, civil rights and consumer protections.

    The group’s efforts come as Democrats are growing increasingly pessimistic about the country’s direction. Fewer than three-quarters of Democrats approve of Obama’s job performance, and less than a third believe the nation is headed in the right direction, according to the most recent Washington Post-ABC News poll.

    But Obama is building a formidable reelection campaign that is easily exceeding quarterly fundraising goals and is on course to raise more than $1 billion. Campaign aides last week defended the president’s slipping approval numbers by noting that more than a year before the election, he is attracting thousands of volunteers and small-dollar donors.

    Nader said Saturday it is “very unlikely” he would challenge Obama, and that he is gauging the interest of former lawmakers and governors, academics, authors and labor leaders.

    Sure, Ralph. I’m sure you’re out there pounding the pavement looking for a potential candidate. I’m sure you have no plans to swoop in and “take one for the team” by offering yourself up as a candidate to primary President Obama, on the off-chance that you find no one else up to snuff.


    Tell me true, Ralph. What does Mr. West think of the following statements which you made about President Obama?

  28. rikyrah says:

    I Told You So: President Obama to Use Veto Pen to Force Congress’ Hand on Revenue
    When on August 1, I wrote that the debt limit deal was an unvarnished win for the President and called out Paul Krugman for being a political rookie, TPV got acclaims good and ill – Stephanie Miller picked up and read the piece live on her radio show approvingly, Huff-and-Puff Post and Keith Olbermann were very upset at our establishment of the phrase “firebagger Lefty blogosphere” to describe the knee-jerk pretend-Leftists, and ABC News did a rather factual story about the controversy.

    At that time, I told you that the president, by taking social security, programs for the poor and students, and Medicare and Medicaid benefits off the table, would force the ‘supercommittee’ to come up with revenue increases; with the threat of the Bush tax cuts expiring at the end of 2012. I told you at the time that the president would use his veto pen to force Congress’ hands.

    Well, guess what just happened…

    President Obama called on Monday for Congress to adopt his “balanced” plan combining entitlement cuts, tax increases and war savings to reduce the federal deficit by more than $3 trillion over the next 10 years, and said he would veto any approach that relied solely on spending reductions to address the fiscal shortfall.

    “I will not support any plan that puts all the burden for closing our deficit on ordinary Americans,” he said. “And I will veto any bill that changes benefits for those who rely on Medicare but does not raise serious revenues by asking the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share.

    Here’s the Presidents speech today at the Rose Garden outlining the plan:

    I feel like going to the Firebagger Lefty Blogsphere and doing the “told you so” dance. But first, I will wear my nerdy wonk hat and see what the president is actually proposing in his plan to both reduce the budget deficit and pay for the American Jobs Act. President Obama is proposing about $3 trillion in deficit reductions (far above and beyond the Congressional supercommittee’s mandate of $1.5 trillion) over the next decade:

    •$1.5 trillion in tax revenue increases.
    •$1.1 trillion in savings from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    •$580 billion in savings to entitlements, including Medicaid, Medicare, the VA and other health and entitlement programs (there are no benefit cuts).
    There are a lot of other savings, which I will cover in a detailed post later. Of the $1.5 trillion in tax revenue increases, $800 billion would come from letting the high-end Bush tax cuts expire and $700 billion from limiting itemized deductions for that same tax bracket (top 2% of income earners) and closing down corporate and individual tax loopholes that riddle the tax code and serve as a welfare system for the uber-rich. It would also include something called the Buffet-rule, imposing a minimum tax rate on millionaires, ensuring they pay at least the same tax rate as the middle class, which we all know today they don’t.

    Before anyone on the Left freaks out about the Medicare savings, the detailed plan from the president lays out no cuts in benefits, nor does it raise the Medicare eligibility age. So where do the savings come from? $224 billion over 10 years from by providing payment incentives based on quality of care rather than number of scans for patients, $24 billion from reducing subsidies to wealthy beneficiaries and $20 billion from raising part B and D premiums on the same group, cutting $20 billion in subsidies to hospitals, several other structural, patient-centric reforms as well as cutting waste, fraud and abuse. Essentially, it follows pretty closely with the reform outlines I pointed out in an earlier article over the Medicare freakouts from the Left.

    The president’s move is both substantively productive and politically genius. The President is going to get tax revenue increases, one way or another. Either Congress follows his plan, or reforms the tax code as a whole, making it fairer. Or, the president vetoes the bill (IF it can get out of both houses), and the additional cuts included in the debt deal ensue in 2013, the same time as the Bush tax cuts expire (yes, for everyone). Republicans can force this to be an election issue, but if they do, they will lose. President Obama will hold up a choice to voters: re-elect him and elect a Democratic Congress, who will prevent the middle class tax raisers (and some of the cuts) and replace it with revenue in the next Congress, or elect the Republicans who will devastate our social compact.

    John Boehner must be breaking into tears right about now. During the debt ceiling talks, the President offered him $4 trillion in deficit reductions, ranging from a 3:1 to a 60:40 ratio of cuts vs revenue increases. Look at it now, and the actual ratio of cuts vs. revenue increases that the president is offering is about 1:3, given that the wars would wind down anyway. Even if you include the $1 trillion in cuts made in the debt limit bill, the ratio is still half and half cuts and tax revenue raisers. On top of it, Boehner’s got a veto threat from the president, which, if materialized, would mean over a half a trillion cut from the Republican darling program of Defense (ahem, actually, probably defense contracting) and from other programs including the provider side of Medicare, who, as I noted in my piece in August, donate mostly to Republicans. Can you imagine the lobbyist pressure on Boehner right now? Poor bastard.

    Republicans are going to have a choice. Do they want to face the wrath of the VA and the Pentagon by forcing cuts, or do they brush off the Tea Party and do what is right and include revenue raisers? As the president said, it’s not class warfare; it’s math.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Grover Norquist: Obama’s Basically Stalin
    Although he did so in a slightly tongue-in-cheek way, tax-hater extraordinaire Grover Norquist amped the “class warfare” rhetoric against President Obama’s “Buffett Tax” all the way to eleven.

    Shortly after the President announced his plans to adjust tax formulas and make the hyper-wealthy “pay their fair share,” Americans For Tax Reform president Norquist tweeted, “Obamas [sic] “new” strategy to divide America: Get the Kulaks.”

    You’ll remember from your high school history lessons that the Kulaks were the “wealthy peasants” Stalin scapegoated in the late 1920s and early 1930s, as the Soviet regime stumbled through agricultural and economic chaos. With catchy slogans such as “We must eliminate the Kulaks as a class,” Stalin rallied the masses against this alleged enemy within.

    The Kulaks largely operated outside the collective farm system, and given the vaguely capitalist inducements available to them they tended to fare slightly better than their communitarian counterparts. The Soviet authorities responded by accusing them of hoarding food and provoking famine. The vicious campaign against them only just avoids being termed a genocide because the Russians insisted on a UN definition that bases the crime on race and religion, but not on class.

    To use today’s jargon, one might say the Kulaks were the “wealth creators” of their age. However, despite their demonization, they were also fairly small scale, and their minor successes really did little to shake the Soviet state.

  30. rikyrah says:

    September 20, 2011 8:00 AM

    Satisfying the left (but not just the left)

    By Steve Benen

    When the White House announced a few weeks ago that President Obama would present a new economic agenda — featuring both a jobs plan and a deficit — few were as nervous about the details as the left. Through a likely combination of satisfaction and relief, liberals seem to be feeling a lot better now.

    As Dana Milbank put it, Obama “has given his side a reason to fight.”

    Let us begin by stipulating that President Obama’s new budget plan is unrealistic, highly partisan and a non-starter on Capitol Hill.

    That’s what’s so good about it.

    At last, the president hasn’t conceded the race before the starter’s gun, hasn’t opened the bidding with his bottom line, hasn’t begun a game of strip poker in his boxer shorts. Whichever metaphor you choose, it was refreshing to see the president in the Rose Garden on Monday morning delivering a speech that, for once, appealed to the heart rather than the cerebrum

    It’d be a stretch to say support from the left has been universal, but as the Huffington Post noted, the new agenda has, for now, “managed to placate a community of progressive activists, Democratic operatives and congressional offices.” Among those praising the president yesterday were Howard Dean and James Carville, neither of whom are steadfast Obama allies. For that matter, when both and Third Way are responding positively, it’s safe to assume much of the Democratic mainstream is on board.

    Politico added that Obama has “finally gave his liberal critics exactly what they wanted,” by making a pivot “from appeasement to partisanship.”

    His tough opening bid on deficit reduction and his feisty, defiant speech from the White House Monday were greeted with almost incredulous joy by progressives who have urged Obama to take this kind of hard line with Republicans since the day he was elected. […]

    He called for $1.5 trillion in new taxes on the wealthy. He protected Social Security. And he declined to include a conciliatory offer to raise the Medicare eligibility age — a decision that thrilled “the professional left,” as his aides have long derided them, whose advice on policy and strategy was often ignored by a White House deeply committed to the legislative middle road.

    I think this analysis is accurate, and when it comes to both policy and politics, I think the White House has made a smart move. I’d add just two other angles to keep in mind.

    First, if the president and his team are looking at this as an opening bid for talks with congressional Republicans, it’s likely that a completed deal — in the unlikely event a completed deal ever comes together — would include measures the left will find disappointing. (Of course, if there is no agreement, the president will run throughout 2012 on the GOP’s failure to do the right thing.)

    Second, while the fact that much of the left is feeling satisfied with the White House for a change, it’s important to realize that Obama isn’t just “playing to his base” with this economic agenda. National polls show the American mainstream — including plenty of moderates and independents — support the ideas in the American Jobs Act and support higher taxes on the wealthy as part of a debt-reduction plan. Indeed, it’s not even close.

    I mention this because these “Obama makes liberals happy” stories are accurate, but incomplete. It’s true that progressives feel good about the president’s direction, but as Greg Sargent explained very well yesterday, if the media misses the fact that the White House’s approach enjoys broad national support, it’s missing the context that matters. The agenda that Obama has proposed, Andrew Sullivan added, “is simply where the American people are at.”

  31. rikyrah says:

    Polls Suggest Voters Supportive Of Obama’s Jobs Pivot
    Hey, he had to do something.

    Coming up on three years as President, the unemployment rate remains stubbornly high, and the American public is fretting about a double-dip recession. It’s taken a real toll on President Obama’s approval on the economy, which has been locked in the mid to low thirties: the TPM Poll Average is at 33.6 percent approval versus 60.7 percent disapproval, down from slightly higher approval earlier in the year.

    The post-summer solution? Pivot to the issue voters care about the most — jobs.

    The President introduced his jobs plan in a speech 12 days ago, and followed up with a deficit reduction package and the “Buffett rule,” a proposal that carries both a well-respected name and a tax on millionaires — something voters are supportive of. The media has followed the President’s lead, as the jobs issue has taken up the much of the ink and cable TV time over the last weeks. For the moment, everyone is talking about how to create more jobs, an issue Republicans also said they wanted to turn to. But the Buffett rule has made the GOP play immediate defense by trotting out the “class warfare” charge, reserved for those moments when populist arguments bump up against the business friendly core of the Republican Party. The President responded with a viral quote in an address on Monday: “It’s not class warfare, it’s math.”

    So will a change of subject lead to a boost in the President’s economic numbers ahead of the 2012 season?

    The jobs plan the President has touted is on solid ground in the polls: Gallup showed that a 45 percent plurality of Americans support it, as did a 43 percent plurality in a recent CNN/ORC survey. Within that jobs plan there are popular individual proposals — a CBS/New York Times poll on Friday showed majorities supported all the components tested. It has the feeling of a brick-by-brick strategy: the President can build his standing on the economy by singling out issues that are popular on their own.

    But it’s still not a substitute for a recovery. In an email to TPM, one senior Democratic strategist said that there are really two components of a president’s economic rating. There’s the action a chief executive takes, and there’s how people are feeling. So even if Obama pulls out all the stops on job creation, it may not help his approval much unless there’s a tangible increase in voters’ disposable income or the unemployment rate goes down. In that case, you make the election about a choice. As in, who’s got better ideas for the economy? “Obama has retaken the reins of the debate outside Washington and shown he’s on the side of middle class voters,” the strategist said. “But now its up to Republicans to do something besides say ‘No.'”

  32. rikyrah says:

    September 20, 2011 8:45 AM

    Don’t blame Charlie Brown for learning Lucy’s lesson

    By Steve Benen

    About 24 hours ago, shortly before President Obama presented an ambitious debt-reduction plan, the headline on MSNBC’s homepage read, “Abandoning consensus, Obama takes a populist path.” It wasn’t an unfair assessment — President Obama and his team are adopting a new posture when it comes to dealing with congressional Republicans.

    I obviously can’t read minds, but if I had to guess, I’d say this road wasn’t the president’s first choice, and his instincts likely push him in a different direction. For all the complaints that people prefer Candidate Obama to President Obama, he told us in 2007 and 2008 exactly what he wanted to do — move past bitter partisanship, strive for common ground, accept compromises as part of incremental progress, make a sincere effort to bring people together.

    Love the president or hate him, he’s done what he said he would do. Obama has reached out to Republicans, even when he didn’t have to; he embraced Republican ideas as much as he could; he’s given plenty of administration posts to Republicans officials; and he’s demonstrated, to a fault, a willingness to compromise with his opponents.

    And how did Republicans respond to a conciliatory president’s outstretched hand? By slapping it away. GOP officials have rejected every idea the president has ever suggested, even occasionally rejecting their own ideas after Obama accepted them. Republicans have not only forcefully abandoned the very idea of compromise, over the summer, they pushed the nation to the brink of an economic catastrophe, on purpose, rather than work in good faith with the White House.

    Obama has banged his head against a wall for nearly three years, managing to do more harm to himself than the wall. And now it appears he’s done trying to appease those who refuse to even consider putting country above party.

    David Brooks has seen all of these events unfold in recent years, and today uses his column to lambaste the president anyway. Apparently, Brooks believes Charlie Brown has an obligation to keep trying to kick the ball, even if he knows Lucy will pull it away.

    The White House has decided to wage the campaign as fighting liberals. I guess I understand the choice, but I still believe in the governing style Obama talked about in 2008. I may be the last one. I’m a sap.

    I think Brooks has reached the appropriate assessment of himself, but for all the wrong reasons.

    What the columnist refuses to understand is that Obama still believes in the governing style Obama talked about in 2008. But I desperately want Brooks to answer one question: what happens when the president is the only one willing to adopt this posture, and his ostensible partners in governing — congressional Republicans — refuse to even consider compromise? In all sincerity, what choice has the GOP left for Obama?

    Brooks seems genuinely disgusted that the president and his team aren’t sticking to a failed script: preemptive concessions, starting in the middle and working to the right, and a deliberately weak negotiating position built around the notion of making insatiable Republicans happy. And to be sure, the White House has tried this in the past, to no avail.

    The NYT columnist apparently wants Obama to keep trying anyway, making the same mistake, regardless of Republicans’ recklessness or immaturity. The president’s willingness to ignore Brooks’ bad advice is heartening.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011
    The Three Million Pound Elephant In The Room
    Posted by Zandar
    The News Corp phone hacking scandal? Why yes, it’s still an issue. Maybe that’s why the Murdochs are so eager to bury it.

    News International is expected to pay about three million pounds($4.7 million) to settle hacking claims by the family of murder victim Milly Dowler against the now defunct News of the World newspaper, sources close to the case told Reuters on Monday.

    The settlement is likely to involve close to a two million pound payment to the murdered schoolgirl’s family and a donation of at least one million pounds to charity.

    News International and Mark Lewis, lawyer for the family, declined to comment.

    If we’re down to the “throw money to make it go away” stage this early, then the real meat of this story can’t be too far off. Keep an eye on this one

  34. rikyrah says:

    Not Quite that Dumb
    by mistermix

    This is from the Chait piece John linked yesterday:

    This last summer, President Obama had an epiphany: Republicans are not going to negotiate with him. One might say that this realization came a little late.

    It doesn’t take a blind Obotic follower to point out that the White House probably had some inkling that the Tea Party caucus was not going to compromise after the 2010 election. If you’re faced with an opponent like that, and a media environment where pretty much any crazy utterance from that opponent is taken as an expression of gravitas, one strategy is to simply go through the motions of seeking compromise. Obama could have spent the first part of 2011 escalating the anti-Tea Party rhetoric, or he could have done what he did, which was to try to seek compromise at every turn. By doing the latter, he appeared to be the reasonable person in the room, and now he has the benefit that his new, harder-edged rhetoric is placed in the context of his earlier, softer approach.

    So, it’s hard for his opponents to credibly claim that Obama is being his usual uncompromising self. I’m sure the 27 percenters will buy that, but they’ll buy anything. The question is what the soft Republicans and independents will buy, since they’re the ones he’s trying to convince.

    This approach does have some pitfalls (for example, you look weak doing it). But I don’t think that it came entirely out of naivete, which appears to be the conventional wisdom. Obama has a history of reacting too slowly for his allies’ taste, and maybe that will be judged as a weakness in hindsight, but I think he’s pursuing a strategy, not being a bumpkin.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Ga. Board Denies Clemency for Troy Davis
    By Greg Bluestein Associated Press
    ATLANTA September 20, 2011 (AP)

    Georgia’s pardons board has rejected clemency for Troy Davis despite high-profile support for his claim that he was wrongly convicted of killing a police officer in 1989.

    Steve Hayes, spokesman for the Board of Pardons and Paroles, said Tuesday the panel decided to rejected Davis’ request for clemency after hearing hours of testimony from his supporters and prosecutors.

    Georgia corrections officials have scheduled a Sept. 21, 2011, execution date for Davis, for the 1989 murder of Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail. Davis, now 42, insists he’s innocent and his lawyers, arguing they could prove it, have managed to spare him from three execution dates in the last four years. (AP Photo/Georgia Department of Corrections, File) CloseDavis is set to die on Wednesday for the killing of off-duty Savannah officer Mark MacPhail, who was slain while rushing to help a homeless man being attacked. It is the fourth time in four years his execution has been scheduled by Georgia officials.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s Plan Is The Opposite Of Paul Ryan’s Plan — For Good Reason
    President Obama’s first term has been marked by a tendency to take the liberal policy consensus on any issue, move five clicks to the right, and begin negotiations having already conceded quite a bit to conservatives.

    His new push to pass a $447 billion jobs plan, and reduce out year deficits in large measure by raising taxes on the rich marks a significant departure from the status quo ante. And it sets Obama up for a risky, but important and necessary fight with Republicans over the country’s future.

    Put it all together and his plan would juice the economy in the near-term, and pursue a vision for the country that’s just about the opposite of the GOP’s. In effect, it serves as a rebuke to House Republicans — and particularly House Speaker John Boehner — who walked away from an equally far-reaching plan that would have been much friendlier to conservative interests.

    The House-passed GOP budget would have achieved medium and long-term budget sustainability almost entirely by slashing deeply into Medicaid spending, and unloading the huge cost of Medicare on to seniors by turning it into a subsidized private insurance system. It raised no tax revenue, and likely would have resulted in much lower revenues than under current policy.

    Obama’s plan works in a diametrically different direction. It would result in at least $1.5 trillion in new tax revenue over the next 10 years exclusively from the wealthiest percent or two of Americans. It would find modest concrete savings from Medicare and Medicaid to extend the life of the program and at the same time strengthen a new government panel tasked with bringing Medicare spending growth down to a manageable level. Make health care leaner first so that federal health care programs don’t have to be slashed to the core, or lose their single-payer nature.

    It’s a dichotomy Obama’s is already taking to voters. In his Rose Garden address Monday he put it like this:

    “Either we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share in taxes, or we’re going to have to ask seniors to pay more for Medicare,” Obama said. “We can’t afford to do both.”—-for-good-reason.php

  37. rikyrah says:

    Nikki Haley Can’t Back Up Drug Testing Claim

    Oops! South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) on Monday said she can’t back up a claim she made about job seekers’ drug use in her state.

    Earlier, Haley claimed that about half of the applicants at a nuclear site in South Carolina failed a drug test — evidence she used to justify the need to drug screen applicants for unemployment benefits. But it turns out that less than 1 percent of applicants failed the drug test, the Associated Press reports.

    “I’ve never felt like I had to back up what people tell me,” Haley told the Associated Press. “You assume that you’re given good information. And now I’m learning through you guys that I have to be careful before I say something.”

    “I’m not going to say it anymore,” she added.

    Haley said she was at the Savannah River Site nuclear reservation and heard the drug testing claim from people there, a comment that “had a huge impact” on her.

    “It is the reason you’re hearing me look into whether we can do drug testing,” she said. “It’s the reason you hear me focus so much on job training. Somebody can’t say that and it not stick you in the gut.”

    Despite the evidence against it, Haley is still seeking drug tests tied to applicants for unemployment benefits, according to the report.

  38. rikyrah says:

    Four cops punished for tossing around football with young boy at Bronx housing project

    Even before the NYPD was embroiled in a dustup over dirty dancing, four cops got caught up in a Fourth of July football-throwing fiasco, the Daily News has learned.

    Two of the officers are fighting the discipline raps they received for tossing around a football with a young boy at a Bronx housing project – charging oversensitivity from police brass jeopardizes community relations.

    “I don’t think throwing a football to a 7-year-old boy is misconduct,” said Officer Catherine Guzman, a 17-year veteran of the force. “It was the Fourth of July, it was 96 degrees out and we were interacting with the community.

    “Everybody was happy,” she added.

    That is, everybody except Deputy Chief James McNamara, the commanding officer of the Bronx Housing Bureau. He witnessed the football tossing and gave the cops a dressing-down worthy of Vince Lombardi.

    “He was irate and berated us in front of everyone,” Guzman recalled. “He said, ‘What are you doing? Do you realize you are on overtime?'”

    News of the football caper comes on the heels of controversy over cops videotaped dancing and gyrating during the annual West Indian American Day Carnival Parade. Police officials are reviewing the tape of the Labor Day weekend incident, which shows cops happily grinding their hips into the backsides of scantily clad dancers at the Brooklyn parade.

    The four officers involved in the 2010 football-throwing incident at the Webster Houses were slapped with command disciplines, and two accepted a penalty of two vacation days.

    But Guzman and Officer Mariana Diaz are appealing the ruling and taking their case to the department trial room.

  39. rikyrah says:

    DOJ: Rick Perry’s Texas Congressional Redistricting Map Violates Voting Rights Act
    The Justice Department said Monday that Texas’ state House and congressional redistricting plans didn’t comply with Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), indicating they thought the maps approved by Gov. Rick Perry (R) gave too little voting power to the growing Latino population in the state.

    Officials with DOJ’s Civil Rights Division said the proposed redistricting plan for the State Board of Education (SBOE) and the state Senate complied with the Voting Rights Act, but indicated they had concerns with the state House plan and the plan for congressional redistricting.

    The federal government “[denied] that the proposed Congressional plan, as compared with the benchmark, maintains or increases the ability of minority voters to elect their candidate of choice in each district protected by Section 5,” DOJ lawyers write in a filing. “Defendants deny that the proposed Congressional plan complies with Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.”

    Texas is picking up four new seats in the House of Representatives next year because of its expanding Latino population. Their population went up over 90 percent in the period between the 2000 and 2010 censuses. But civil rights groups have taken issue with the redistricting process, signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry, because they say it puts Latino voters at a disadvantage.

    Texas Republicans were certainly worried about the feds raising concerns that the redistricting plan didn’t do enough to strengthen the voting power of Latino residents of the state, according to emails they sent to one another.

    A special three-judge panel in Washington, D.C. will ultimately decide whether the redistricting plan for the state violates the VRA. That’s because the state of Texas chose to skip the cheaper pre-clearance process, which would have put the decision in the hands of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. A hearing is set for Wednesday.

    And DOJ’s position on the SBOE and state Senate redistricting plan still doesn’t grant Texas preclearance because the state chose to go through the court; it merely lays out the Justice Department’s position in the ongoing litigation. Regardless of DOJ’s position, the court can still potentially find that the SBOE and state Senate maps aren’t in compliance with the VRA.

    Talking Points Memo on FacebookDOJ veteran and redistricting expert J. Gerald Hebert saw the Justice Department’s filing as a “good sign” for the Civil Rights Division, which had undergone politicization during the Bush administration.

  40. rikyrah says:



    Charlie Rangel Crashes Secret Rick Perry Event In New York

    One of the biggest personalities in New York politics wasn’t going to let one of the biggest names in Republican politics show up in his neighborhood without stealing a little of the limelight.

    Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) crashed a hush-hush visit between Rick Perry and some Hispanic Republicans in New York, Ben Smith reports.

    Perry was in town to meet with “Hispanic leaders in Inwood, including 100 business leaders from the Inwood and Washington Heights sections,” NYC AM news station 1010 WINS reported Monday.

    The meeting was not supposed to make headlines.

    “[I]t’s something that I kept pretty quiet, because I just wanted it to happen,” Fernando Mateo, head of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, told the station. “I don’t know how 1010 WINS got a hold of the information, but you did, and I’m not going to deny it.”

    The meeting happened to be in Rangel’s district, and the brash Democrat decided to make an appearance. From Smith:

    [A] few minutes before Perry’s arrival, local Rep. Charlie Rangel stepped smilingly out of his sedan to tell reporters that “the Republicans have a problem with their candidates,” but that nonetheless he planned to crash the private event at Papasito Mexican Grill and Agave Bar.Perry has the potential to make some inroads with the Hispanic Republican community. He’s taken heat from the tea party for some of his Texas stances, including supporting a version of the DREAM act in the state. On the national level, he’s said he supports giving illegal immigrants who serve in the military a path to citizenship. Still, it seems he didn’t want anyone to make a big deal of out of his meeting with the Hispanic group in New York.

    But it seems he didn’t count on Rangel, who is something of a walking big deal.

  41. rikyrah says:

    Tavis Smiley and Cornel West: The Reign of Fools is Over
    While I clearly understand that I’m at severe risk of beating a dead horse, I’m still being emailed by a few diehard Cornel West supporters who have been so captivated by his performances over the years that they can’t see why he’s under such intense criticism. So for their benefit, I thought I’d take the time to do the Mr. Rogers version of current events:

    The first thing that needs to be made clear is that the current uproar is not in reprisal to West’s criticism of President Obama. Every politician bears watching, and that includes Obama. The firestorm against Dr. West was ignited by two factors. First, many resent the totally disrespectful and hypocritical tone of his criticism. The implication seemed to have been, “Who does that jigaboo think he is?” And secondly, other critics took offense at the blatantly transparent and self-serving motivation behind West’s remarks.

    Carnel West, along with his buddy, Tavis Smiley, have been using the umbrella approach in criticizing President Obama. Instead of criticizing specific policies when needed, they’ve been attaking his overall character, and thereby, his fitness to be president as a whole. It must also be understood that long before Obama even became president, Smiley and West suggested that the Black community ask him “how much do you love your people,” suggesting, thereby, that he didn’t.

    They’ve been at this since the day Obama made the mistake of announcing his candidacy for president on the same day that Tavis threw his annual State of the Black Union soirée. In their eyes, what the impudent young Senator Obama did was unforgivable. You see, he engaged in a serious breach of protocol. He was supposed to come kiss Tavis’ ring, and get Tavis’ blessing as the self-appointed grand potentate of the Black community before he presumed to run for President. How dare he embark on such an ambitious endeavor without paying homage to the Grand Poobah? So of course, he had to pay a price for these serious breaches of protocol, and President Obama has been under the gun of these two self-appointed icons of the Black community every since.

    So who are these two iconic giants of the Blackness who see themselves as so important that they can dictate policy to the President of the United States?

    Tavis Smiley is a television dicjockey with a genius for self-promotion. He specializes in promoting corporate influence in the Black community in exchange for corporate sponsored tours to promote his books on political accountability.
    Dr. Cornel West is a self-described “Socratic scholar” with a doctorate that embraces the proposition that Moses parted the Red Sea. He’s also renowned for trying to be the coolest person in the room, and taking a long time not to say much. He specializes in telling anyone who will listen, or who happens to have a camera, a mic and an extension cord on hand, about his deep disdain for the oligarchs and corporate plutocrats. He also has a fondness for the syncopated rhythms of multi syllabic words – he thinks it makes him sound like King Pleasure, so it enhances his street creds. They also serve to mask the vacuous content of his message.

    So these two impressive personages have now come together as best friends. They co-host a radio show together, and have declared themselves the self-proclaimed, and hip hop inspired, saviors of the poor, middle class, and minorities. They’re sorta like the Dynamic Duo of the hood, or Mutt and Jeff, as it were.

    But there’s only one chink in their armor (and as you know, all superheroes have a chink – Superman’s was Kryptonite). While Tavis is suppose to be fighting for accountability, and Cornel is suppose to be protecting us from the oligarchs and plutocrats, they’re both irretrievably wedded to the very same people they’re suppose to be protecting us from. So they’re like Batman and Robin with a crack habit. You see, Tavis is one of the most pronounced corporate shills in the Black community. He has a tremendous jones for Walmart, Nationwide Insurance, and various other corporate entities.

    Do you really believe that Nationwide is on the side of the Black community, or the poor, or the middle class? Somehow, I don’t think so. So these two superheroes have about as much credibility as a man ranting in the street against fascism after just having lunch with Mussolini.

    There’s a photo on my site of West suckin’ up to Obama after the election – and this, after he and Tavis had been doggin’ Obama all during the campaign. I haven’t seen that kind of skinnin’-n- grinnin’ since they took Amos n’ Andy off the air. But the look that Obama is giving West says it all. It speaks volumes, and clearly shows that Obama has had West’s number for some time. So one has to wonder how West could even have expected tickets to the inaugural or returned phone calls when he’d been jumping back and forth over the fence depending on which way the wind was blowing.

  42. Ametia says:

    DADT is HISTORY. and what does the cable networks cover this morning a book of Suskind full of les, distortions, and garbage, with no reliable SOURCE. JUST another DISTRACTION by the GOP WTER-DARYING MEDIA.

  43. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

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