Serenipity SOUL| Wednesday Open Thread

Happy HUMP day, Everyone!

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78 Responses to Serenipity SOUL| Wednesday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    News Alert: Supreme Court denies stay of execution in Ga.
    September 21, 2011 10:37:24 PM

    Decision marks the end of legal challenges for Troy Davis. Davis was scheduled to be executed earlier in the evening for the murder of an off-duty police officer in Georgia in 1989.

    For more information, visit

    • For the love of God, what is wrong with our Justice system? So overwhelming doubt means nothing in America? The country has gone to hell in a handbasket and our Supreme Court is a joke. God help us all!

  2. Ametia says:


    Lawrence Russell Brewer has been executed for his involvement in the murder of James Byrd, who died while being dragged behind a truck in Texas 13 years ago.
    Brewer and two other white men kidnapped the 49-year-old black man on the night of June 7, 1998. They chained him by the ankles to the back of a pickup truck and dragged him for 3½ miles down a country road near Jasper, Texas. Byrd was decapitated.
    During his trial, Brewer tearfully contended that he was a bystander, not a killer.

  3. Ametia says:

    Troy Davis execution, not a stay but a delay.

  4. Ametia says:

    So Russel Brewer has met his maker. Is Troy next? Did they EXECUTE the white man first to justify killing Troy Davis last?

  5. Ametia says:

    I loathe Chris Matthews. Rev. Al and Cynthia Tucker are speaking on Troy Davis.

  6. Ametia says:

    I’ve been quietly observing the Troy Davis and will post on it soon.

  7. Ametia says:

    Media blackout of what’s happening with Wall Street protesters

  8. Ametia says:

    By Rhonda Cook
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Troy Anthony Davis is preparing to die for the fourth time today.

    Davis’ day will run according to a schedule the Department of Corrections follows in the hours leading up to an execution — a final goodbye to family, a last meal, the chance for Davis to make a final statement.

    Then, at 7 p.m., he is scheduled to die by lethal injection for the 1989 shooting death of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail.

    Three previous times Davis has been scheduled to die. In 2007 his execution was called off the day before. . In 2008 he came within 2 1/2 hours of dying when the U.S. Supreme Court stopped it. And again in 2008 the federal court of appeals stopped the execution three days before he was to die.

    This time, however, he has exhausted all his appeals.

    “We’ve been here before. We’re just hoping it will go all the way through this time,” said Mark MacPhail Jr., who was an infant in 1989 when his father and namesake was shot to death in a Savannah Burger King parking lot.

    For the most part, activity today at the Diagnostic and Classification Prison, the home for all Georgia executions, will be as it has been for 28 previous executions.

    According to prison policies, Davis was put on “death watch” days ago, with an officer assigned to watch him at all times to ensure he does not try to take his own life.

    Anonymous members of the prison’s execution team have rehearsed their respective roles. Today, officers — even those not directly assigned to the execution — will remove any badges or patches that identify them. .

    Davis and his family will have six hours together — 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. — in a special visitation room before they say “good-bye.”

    After his family leaves the prison for the last time, that is when officials begin the final preparations for his death.

    Davis will get a physical and clean clothes at 3 p.m., and an hour later his final meal. Davis has asked to have the same thing for dinner that the rest of the 2,100 inmates will have Wednesday – a cheeseburger, potatoes, baked beans, slaw, cookies and a grape drink.

    At 5 p.m. Davis can make a recorded final statement, one that is longer than the one he can make once he is strapped to the gurney in the death chamber.

    He will be allowed to pass the time listening to music, reading, watching television and talking on the telephone. And all the while a prison guard will take meticulous notes of everything he does, how much he eats or doesn’t eat and his mood.

    An hour before he is scheduled to die, Davis will be offered a sedative to calm him.

    That also is the time when five reporters will be loaded into a van and driven to the prison where they will wait, down the hall from other witnesses, until they are taken to the death chamber behind the massive prison.

    One by one, they will be led into the view area – first the witnesses for the state, then Davis’ witness and finally the media witnesses.

    Mark MacPhail Jr. and his uncle, William MacPhail, will be in the death chamber to represent the family. Mark MacPhail said his older sister’s emotions wouldn’t let her witness the execution and his mother and grandmother didn’t want to watch. “I was the only family member willing to,” said the 22-year-old.

    Once the witnesses are seated, Davis will be placed in view with IVs in both arms. The warden will read the death warrant and Davis will be offered a chance for final words. The lethal injection process will begin, injecting a cocktail of drugs in Davis that will kill him within minutes.

  9. rikyrah says:

    September 21, 2011 2:15 PM

    When economic motives come into question

    By Steve Benen

    We talked this morning about the top four congressional Republican leaders writing a joint letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. The plea was pretty straightforward — the GOP leaders have decided to actively lobby Bernanke, pressing him to let the economy stay on its downward trajectory and to not even try to help.

    David Frum, a center-right observer, had a noteworthy response to the Republican correspondence.

    I’m not shocked by much anymore, but I am shocked by this: the leaders of one of the great parties in Congress calling on the Federal Reserve to tighten money in the throes of the most prolonged downturn since the Great Depression. […]

    [T]he GOP leadership is urging that the Federal Reserve make the catastrophe worse? To what end?

    I know what the detractors will say: to the end of defeating President Obama and replacing him with a Republican president. And if you’ve convinced yourself that Obama is the Second Coming of Malcolm X, Trotsky, and the all-conquering Caliph Omar all in one, then perhaps capsizing the US economy and plunging your fellow-citizens deeper into misery will seem a price worth paying to rid the country of him.

    But on any realistic assessment of the problems faced by Americans — and not just would-be Republican office-holders — it’s the recession, not the presidency, that is National Problem #1 and demands the most urgent action…. This is the hour for united action against the economic crisis, not partisan maneuvering.

    Frum doesn’t come right out and say it explicitly, but reading this, it appears Frum believes Republican leaders are — or at least may be — trying to hurt the economy on purpose, as part of a political strategy to undermine President Obama during a crisis.

    In other words, Frum seems to be suggesting that the top GOP officials in Congress, including the entire party leadership, may be involved in some kind of sabotage campaign. That’s no small charge.

    But it is an increasingly common one. Michael Cohen, a senior fellow at American Security Project, apparently following up on a discussion I launched last November, said this afternoon, “We’re far past the point where there is reason to doubt that the GOP is purposely trying to harm” the economy.

    Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), vice chairman of the Senate Democratic Conference, believes “some” Republicans “want the economy to actually fail.” Paul Krugman recently said in his column, “[I]t’s hard to avoid the suspicion that G.O.P. leaders actually want the economy to perform badly.” Eugene Robison, a Pulitzer Prize winner, was recently asked whether it’s possible Republicans would sabotage the economy. “Well, let me be honest,” he said. “It has occurred to me that this is a possibility.” E.J. Dionne Jr. and Dan Gross have raised the same concerns.

    A few months ago, Kevin Drum wondered whether this will ever be “a serious talking point,” adding, “No serious person in a position of real influence really wants to accuse an entire party of cynically trying to tank the economy, after all.”

    Given recent events — the debt-ceiling scandal, the GOP-driven downgrade, the Republican rejection of any efforts to boost the economy, the letter to Bernanke, the repeated threats of government shutdowns — it appears all kinds of serious people are at least entertaining the possibility.

    Update: It looks like Andrew Sullivan is thinking along the same lines, too: “Every time you think the ultras in the current GOP won’t go there, they do. They’ll sabotage economic growth for short term political advantage.”

  10. rikyrah says:

    September 21, 2011 1:15 PM

    Darrell Issa’s clean-energy problem

    By Steve Benen

    Solyndra LLC, a now-bankrupt solar-panel manufacturer, has become the focus of considerable attention from congressional Republicans, who think it proves some kind of larger point. The GOP line keeps running into trouble, and in one new case, the evidence is especially embarrassing for one Republican warrior.

    Solyndra developed a solar technology that offered real promise, and received U.S. loan guarantees through the Department of Energy, but the market shifted, prices dropped, and Solyndra was forced to fold. It’s the price of experimentation and innovation — sometimes these investments work out, sometimes they don’t.

    The GOP is eager to use this as part of a larger indictment against clean-energy programs in general, but they’ve already stepped all over their own message — the same Republicans complaining about the Department of Energy’s loan-guarantees program for clean tech have also fought for funding from the same program for companies in their own states.

    The newest example of this phenomenon may be the worst.

    Republican Representative Darrell Issa, who said government subsidies to specific companies can encourage corruption, sought U.S. help in the past for clean- energy projects in his home state of California.

    Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wrote Energy Secretary Steven Chu to support an Energy Department loan for Aptera Motors Inc., a Carlsbad, California, electric-car maker, according to a letter received by the department Jan. 14, 2010.

    “Awarding this opportunity to Aptera Motors will greatly assist a leading developer of electric vehicles in my district,” Issa wrote in letters obtained yesterday…. Issa also signed a June 22, 2009, letter to Chu promoting battery maker Quallion LLC, based in Sylmar, California. An Energy Department clean-energy grant might create more than 2,300 jobs nationwide, according to the letter, which was signed by Issa and 16 members of California’s delegation.

    Literally just yesterday on C-SPAN, Issa, arguably Congress’ most aggressive attack dog targeting the White House, proclaimed, “There’s been this attitude that somehow the government can weigh-in with loan guarantees and money and pick specific company winners and losers. We see that as a backdoor, easy way to end up with corruption in government.”

    So, Issa is against DOE loan guarantees, except when he’s for them, and he believes Obama administration investments can’t create jobs, except when he believes they can create jobs.

    As if this weren’t quite enough, Issa’s oversight committee will hold a hearing tomorrow titled, “How Obama’s Green-Energy Agenda is Killing Jobs.”

    But wait, there’s more. Greg Sargent gets a hold of the original Issa letter and notices that the conservative Republican Californian “also generally endorses the concept of using Federal money to facilitate the shift away from fossil fuels and gas-powered vehicles, towards renewal energy sources. Issa even endorses the idea that this is a good way to create jobs — a position that puts him at odds with many Republicans.”


    Whichever genius thought it’d be wise to make this clown the chairman of the House Oversight Committee clearly didn’t think things through.

  11. rikyrah says:

    21 Sep 2011 11:24 AM
    Reality Check

    This nugget is devastating:

    By a 53 to 28 percent margin, independents say they plan to vote against the president in November 2012.

    And even Palin is now not a universe behind the president in the polls (I note that Carville now thinks she is going to run as well).

    I think the explanation is simple enough: Obama gave the impression that the recovery was happening – and then it stalled. He’s being held responsible for the stalling (even though Fukushima and the Euro implosion were hardly his fault). This is fair enough. What I hope is that voters focus on the future and what we can practically do. Yesterday, the IMF all but endorsed Obama’s sensible embrace of stimulus-now and more debt-reduction later. But the GOP’s total intransigence seems to be paying off politically.

    I think it’s now fair to say that they are even attempting to intensify the slowdown by intimidating the Fed from doing its job. Their logic, as David Frum notes, is from another planet, another time and another set of facts. And their motivation? Purely their own power, regardless of the effect on the American and global economy:

    As is, we’re looking at a continued economic slump, more unemployment, and more deleveraging via continuing catastrophic consumer default on mortgages, car loans, credit cards, and student aid. And now the GOP leadership is urging that the Federal Reserve make the catastrophe worse? To what end?

    I know what the detractors will say: to the end of defeating President Obama and replacing him with a Republican president. And if you’ve convinced yourself that Obama is the Second Coming of Malcolm X, Trotsky, and the all-conquering Caliph Omar all in one, then perhaps capsizing the US economy and plunging your fellow-citizens deeper into misery will seem a price worth paying to rid the country of him

    Every time you think the ultras in the current GOP won’t go there, they do. They’ll sabotage economic growth for short term political advantage. They’ll sabotage their own president in negotiating with allies. They’re happy for the US to default if it means they can damage Obama. Their own plan for immediate, drastic austerity would be catastrophic for the global economy. Their pre-Arab Spring belligerence would shut America out of a critical opportunity to ease tensions with the growing and burgeoning Muslim world. And they have no problem treating the world economy as a partisan plaything.

    If they claw their way back to power this way, our system really will be broken for a long time. And the great possibility of an adult conversation on pragmatic grounds to help the economy will be lost. And this is emphatically not Obama’s fault. He tried. They threw it back in his face again and again. Which means, I believe, that we should double down in backing him, instead of the ear-splitting whine coming from the left.

  12. rikyrah says:

    GOP Leaders To Bernanke: Don’t Try And Improve The Economy Again

    House and Senate GOP leadership are taking fire from all sides for publicly pressuring Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke not to further loosen monetary policy, even if he thinks it will help the economy.

    In a Tuesday letter to Bernanke, leaked to the press, Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ), and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), ostentatiously cautioned Bernanke against providing the economy any further monetary stimulus.

    “[W]e submit that the board should resist further extraordinary intervention in the U.S. economy, particularly without a clear articulation of the goals of such a policy, direction for success, ample data proving a case for economic action and quantifiable benefits to the American people,” the Republicans write.

    Because the Fed’s monetary policy decisions are expressly intended to be immune to political pressures the letter has generated backlash from Democrats and Republicans alike.

    “Even if I agreed with GOP letter (I don’t) I’d still disagree with the effort to put public political pressure on Bernanke,” wrote former George W. Bush spokesman and Treasury Department official Tony Fratto on Twitter. “Twist, shout…whatever…Ben Bernanke should do exactly what he thinks is right to even marginally impact the U.S. economy.”

    “This is a heavyhanded attempt to meddle in the Fed’s independent stewardship of monetary policy,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “It should be ignored by Chairman Bernanke and the Fed’s policymakers.”

    And indeed the Fed is meant to shrug away this sort of political intervention. For months, though, the Fed has been reluctant to address the full employment side of its dual mandate to maintain price stability and keep unemployment low. The intent of the letter is to maintain that reluctance. The message, both to Bernanke and every member of the Federal Open Market Committee — watch your step. The GOP primary contenders have already taken blood oaths against Bernanke and the goal here is to make it clear the GOP will make sure there are political and/or professional repercussions if Bernanke doesn’t desist.

    The Fed is expected to announce its policy on Wednesday afternoon.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Perry’s Backs Greater Israel – With Cowboy Boots On, Ctd

    Will Saletan rightly freaks out:

    By declaring that “as a Christian, I am going to stand with Israel,” [Perry] has vindicated Bin Laden’s narrative. Across the Muslim world, Perry’s policies—starting with his declaration that “it was a mistake to call for an Israeli construction freeze” as a precondition for talks with the Palestinians—would be seen as a Christian-Jewish alliance against Islam.

    In the age of Bin Laden, this kind of sectarian bluster would have been bad enough. In the age of the Arab Spring, it’s catastrophic. Country after country is grappling with Islam, democracy, and anti-Americanism. The last thing we need is a crusading president who turns the Muslim world against us.

  14. rikyrah says:

    September 21, 2011 1:45 PM

    ‘The underlying social contract’

    By Steve Benen

    This clip of Elizabeth Warren on the campaign trail in Massachusetts is making the rounds today, and for good reason. First-time candidates don’t usually articulate a progressive economic message quite this well. (via Thers)

    For those who can’t watch clips online, Warren, after explaining some of the reasons for the nation’s deep fiscal hole, pointed to a more sensible approach to economic policy in general. “I hear all this, you know, ‘Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever,’” she said. “No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody.

    “You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.

    “Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

    I mention this for a few reasons. First, for those wondering why Warren has a strong base of supporters who adore her, this clip offers a big hint. Second, if there are lingering concerns about whether Warren could be an effective speaker on the stump, I think those questions are being answered.

    And third, if more Democrats were able to make the case for the underlying social contract as effectively, our discourse would be vastly less mind-numbing.

  15. rikyrah says:

    GOP Voters: Many Of These Obama Jobs Proposals Are….Good

    GOP voters, they’re no fan of the President. There are relatively few Obama Republicans compared to Reagan Democrats. But when it comes to doing something on unemployment, party matters less at the moment: the President’s jobs plan is enjoying wide support.

    TPM reported on Tuesday about Obama’s messaging pivot on the the economy, splitting off the jobs issue and leaving the deficit mess to the Super Committee. But Gallup data now shows the jobs bill working as a crossover issue on the policy itself. In fact, four of the proposals included in the package (small business tax cuts, more funds to hire teachers, cops, and firefighters, business tax breaks for hiring new workers and more infrastructure spending) all see majority support from Republicans and GOP-leaning Americans.

    And we haven’t even mentioned eliminating tax loopholes for corporations, which 53 percent of Republicans support as well.

    There is still a political tinge to it: only 40 percent of Republicans and leaners think it will help in creating new jobs and a mere 29 percent say it will help improve the overall economy. Democrats think both of those things will happen at rates in the high eighties. The seemingly conflicting results outline a trend on the jobs bill: voters support individual components of it but are so pessimistic on the economy that there remains skepticism on how much it can actually help.

    A Marist/McClatchy poll released on Tuesday showed so much frustration on the economy that voters are blaming everyone and are desperate for some sort of turnaround. The survey shows that 60 percent of registered voters think Obama inherited current the current economic conditions, including 58 percent of independents, but as with other surveys, they strongly disapprove of his handling of the issue. Three quarters still believe we are in a recession and 61 percent think the worst is yet to come.

    But the Marist/McClatchy survey shows that Americans are willing to try the jobs plan as a remedy, even though a full 63 percent doesn’t think the plan goes far enough. Marist pointed out in a memo accompanying the poll that “71% want the Republicans in Congress to either pass the president’s proposed jobs plan or push the bill through with revisions,” including a 9 percent of GOP votes who want it passed as is and 41 percent that wanted it passed with revisions.

    In any case, the numbers show that voters are clearly in favor of action to help halt the jobs crisis, rather than a plan of cuts and austerity in the hopes that the economy turns around on its own. Which makes things slightly difficult for Congressional Republicans and presidential candidates, who have been slow to embrace such a plan.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Tax Dodging Corporations Form Coalition To Call For Lower Corporate Taxes
    By Pat Garofalo on Sep 20, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    National Journal reported last night that a new coalition of corporations has formed, with the goal of pushing the fiscal super committee (tasked with finding $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction) to adopt a lower corporate tax rate:

    A group of blue chip companies and business organizations is launching a coalition Tuesday morning to push Congress to lower the corporate tax rate and make it more competitive with America’s trading partners.

    The Reducing America’s Taxes Equitably Coalition includes Altria Client Services, FedEx, Verizon, the Association of American Railroads and Walt Disney

    “In a global economy where capital is highly mobile, it is simply harder to compete from America,” the companies’ executives wrote in a letter. “A lower corporate tax rate will boost investment in the U.S., bringing more American jobs, innovation and growth.”

    But American companies already pay the second lowest taxes in the developed world, once all of the loopholes and deductions in the corporate tax code are accounted for. American corporations are sitting on record amounts of cash, so its unclear why more cash (in the form of tax breaks) would lead to more hiring.

    In addition, as the Nation’s Allison Kilkenny noted, two of the companies involved in the coalition — Verizon and FedEx — are already dodging their share of taxes:

    Both Verizon and FedEx are multibillion-dollar corporations that pay lower tax rates than you do, and the reason Verizon is able to do this is by creatively redirecting profits to their foreign wireless partner, Vodafone.

    Vodafone has been the longtime target of UK Uncut due to its equally unscrupulous tax dodging practices. The company claims a large portion of its revenue should not be subject to British taxation because they reroute the cash through Luxembourg, which has a tax rate of under 10 percent. […] So here we have an exploitative company, Verizon, channeling its income to another corrupt partner in Britain, all in the name of avoiding taxation.

    And then there’s FedEx, a company with a long history of battling the IRS, but which has thus far remained relatively under the radar despite its shady practices. The GAO released a report in 2007 that stated FedEx has twenty-one subsidiaries in jurisdictions listed as tax havens (Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, three in the Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Grenada, two in Hong Kong, three in Ireland, two in Netherland Antilles, Singapore, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Turks and Caicos Islands and the US Virgin Islands).

    Several companies, including Boeing and Cisco, have lobbied for tax breaks while engaging in widespread tax dodging. In fact, a whole slew of companies that pay incredibly low U.S. corporate taxes are lobbying for a specific tax break on overseas profit that, when tried previously, did not cause any of its desired effects.

    • Ametia says:

      The Federal Reserve pulled the trigger Wednesday on a widely anticipated stimulus move, a policy involving the sale of $400 billion in short-term Treasuries in exchange for the same amount of longer term bonds. The goal is to push down interest rates on everything from mortgages to business loans, giving consumers and companies an additional incentive to borrow and spend money. “This program should put downward pressure on long-term interest rates and help make broader financial conditions more accommodative” the Fed said.

  17. rikyrah says:

    The Obstructionists

    The president has proposed several short term measures to help prevent a double-dip. Almost all of them have been supported by Republicans in the past. Lindsey Graham even called Obama’s current proposals the kind of stimulus he had wanted in 2009. And the American public favor all of them, in margins that range from crushing to substantive. Even Republican voters back all of them save two – extending unemployment benefits and a payroll tax cut:

    Gallup concludes:

    This is the second Gallup survey conducted in the last two weeks showing that the American public broadly supports Obama’s jobs plan. A majority of Americans interviewed this past weekend believe the plan would help at least a little to create jobs and improve the economy.

    Many of the proposals embedded in the plan receive majority support, and Americans strongly endorse the idea of paying for the plan by raising taxes on higher-income individual taxpayers and by eliminating tax deductions for some corporations. While Republicans are considerably less positive about the potential efficacy of the plan than are Democrats, a majority of the former favor a number of Obama’s proposals, and also favor eliminating tax deductions for corporations to help fund the plan.

    Something can be done here. And something should be done here. I don’t believe these measures will transform the growth rate, or do much but keep us afloat for a while longer. But they are a test of the GOP establishment. Can they not even agree on these things? If not, why not?

  18. creolechild says:


    Enjoy the rest of your day, 3Chics, and everyone else~

  19. creolechild says:

    Rick Perry Draws Contrast With Obama: I’m ‘An American’ (VIDEO) – Evan McMorris-Santoro September 21, 2011, 9:15 AM

    Rick Perry has signed the guy responsible for Tim Pawlenty’s action movie trailer-style campaign videos. The result? A T-Paw style swelling soundtrack and movie feel, with a Rick Perry style barely-veiled assault on President Obama’s respect for the nation he leads. Also there’s a huge, blaring reminder that Perry is “An American.” Here’s the video, which shifts over to Perry after all the post-apocalyptic Obama stuff:

    [Click on link to watch the video.]

    Catch it? At about 1:08 — right when Perry starts to say, “we don’t need a president who apologizes for America. I believe in America,” comes the reminder that Rick Perry is “An American.” (Next card says “who served for freedom,” which appears to be a reference to Perry’s Air Force service.) Anyway, just in case you were wondering who and who isn’t an American among those running for president, Perry’s new video has got you covered.

  20. creolechild says:

    The GOP/Teahadists are no longer trying to disguise their objectives, they’re just out-and-out bold about what they’re attempting to do… Ain’t that some sh*t?!! Again, the question that remains is whether we’ll let them succeed.~

    Texas GOP Rep On Cuts To Family Planning: ‘Of Course This Is A War On Birth Control’

    By Tanya Somanader on Sep 20, 2011 at 2:40 pmThe GOP’s concerted campaign against women’s health has resulted in about 1,000 anti-abortion bills in state legislatures across the country and numerous federal attempts to eradicate a woman’s right to choose. The extremity of the efforts include attempts to redefine “personhood,” put warning labels on contraception, and criminalize birth control altogether. But while they smother women’s rights with one hand, Republicans insist “we are not attacking women” on the other. “This is not a war against women,” said Republican founder of WomanTrend Kellyanne Conway.

    Texas Rep. Wayne Christian (R), however, begs to differ. With Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) at the helm, Texas Republicans have passed an “emergency” law forcing women to view a sonogram before an abortion, threatened a poor women’s health care program over Planned Parenthood funding, are seeking to restrict hospitals and physicians over abortion procedures, and has cut funding for family planning clinics by two-thirds. When asked whether Texas’s anti-family planning efforts were “a war on birth control,” Christian replied, “Well of course this is a war on birth control and abortions and everything”:


  21. creolechild says:

    Presenting Exhibit A…one of the leading contributors to Americans’ lack of knowledge and misconceptions pertaining to important issues that we face today in this country.

    The Problem of Media Idiocy: Why Do MSM Media Stars Pretend to Be Stupid? – By Eric Alterman

    People in the upper reaches of the US media think that to do their jobs they must behave like idiots in order to be “fair” to the Republicans’ idiotic ideas.

    There is a specter haunting America today. It is the specter of stupidity. A few months ago, I wrote a column I called “The Problem of Republican Idiots.” Believe me, this problem has not gone away. Rick Perry, the Republican Party’s presidential front-runner right now, believes the phenomenon of man-made global warming to be a conspiracy by “a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data.” No less alarming is that this stupidity is apparently contagious. The men and women who inhabit the upper reaches of the US media (and pull down the multimillion-dollar salaries) appear to believe that to do their jobs properly, they must make themselves behave like idiots in order to be “fair” to the Republicans and their idiotic ideas.

    I have in mind two examples, both involving, as it happens, David Gregory, host of NBC’s Meet the Press. Neither one is exactly new, but I picked them because not only is Gregory host of television’s highest-rated Sunday morning news show, by far, but his program is also considered to be the most influential and important of all TV news programs. As the alleged gold standard of television interviewing and discussion, it sets the tone for much of the rest of the week’s reporting. Also, I just can’t get these two examples out of my head, they are so damn stupid. See if you agree.


    Read more:

  22. creolechild says:

    THIS, right here, is pure unadulterated madness!

    Florida company welcomes clients with AK-47 – By Agence France-Presse

    MIAMI — A Florida company is giving new clients a voucher to buy an AK-47 assault rifle to defend themselves from violent crime. Sarasota-based is a business that provides small stores and businesses with cash machines and credit card processing services. Its “No Merchant Victim” program now offers a voucher that can be used to buy a gun such as an AK-47 from a local gun dealer, or upgraded security camera equipment, when clients have had its services for three months.

    “We encourage all merchants to stand their ground against attack with lethal force,” company president Gino Kauzlarich told AFP. “Hence our recommendation they buy a firearm such as a AK-47… (But) what the merchant chooses to do with the voucher payment cash is the merchants choice.” He charged that US federal government plans to increase early releases from prison, particularly in California, will likely fuel violent crime such as assaults on merchants.

    Kauzlarich also said that with 400,000-500,000 guns robbed annually in the United States, “our goal is to effect a societal expectation shift that every criminal should expect to confront lethal force when they attack our merchants, rather than the criminal justice system protects the criminals well being during the commission of murders, robberies and crimes.”

  23. creolechild says:

    Are you tired and/or angry about the daily drama that unfolds in Washington? Have you thought about simply not bothering to vote? Do you believe that contacting Congress is a waste of time. Well, here’s something else to think about….Think long and hard about how’s it’s going to effect you…because many people don’t believe that it will. Trust me, it WILL get much worse than it is right now!~

    What If the Tea Party Wins? They Have a Plan for the Constitution, and It Isn’t Pretty

    In the Tea Party’s America, families must mortgage their home to pay for their mother’s end-of-life care. Higher education is a luxury reserved almost exclusively to the very rich. Rotten meat ships to supermarkets nationwide without a national agency to inspect it. Fathers compete with their adolescent children for sub-minimum wage jobs. And our national leaders are utterly powerless to do a thing.

    At least, that’s what would happen if the Tea Party succeeds in its effort to reimagine the Constitution as an antigovernment manifesto. While the House of Representatives pushes Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to phase out Medicare, numerous members of Congress, a least one Supreme Court justice, and the governor of America’s second-largest state now proudly declare that most of the progress of the last century violates the Constitution.

    It is difficult to count how many essential laws would simply cease to exist if the Tea Party won its battle to reshape our founding document, but a short list includes:

    Social Security and Medicare
    Medicaid, children’s health insurance, and other health care programs
    All federal education programs
    All federal antipoverty programs
    Federal disaster relief
    Federal food safety inspections and other food safety programs
    Child labor laws, the minimum wage, overtime, and other labor protections
    Federal civil rights laws

    Indeed, as this paper explains, many state lawmakers even embrace a discredited constitutional doctrine that threatens the union itself.


    Read more:

  24. creolechild says:

    A prime example why we should bombarding Congress daily with email, faxes, phone calls, letters, and tweets telling them to PASS THE AMERICAN JOBS BILL ACT NOW!~

    China’s Making Everything in the US From Bridges to Civil Rights Memorials: That’s a Huge Problem and China’s Not to Blame – By David Sirota

    Many economic Nostradamuses have long predicted that the epitaph on America’s tombstone will ultimately read, “Made In China.” But casual observers probably didn’t think the funeral procession would happen this fast. In the last year, though, most have wised up. Thanks to a spate of mind-blowing headlines, we are learning that the Chinese invasion isn’t just a distant possibility — it’s happening right now.

    First, in February, ABC News reported that almost every Americana-themed trinket sold in the Smithsonian Institute is made in China. Then news hit that San Francisco is importing its new bay bridge from China. Then came the New York Times dispatch about the Big Apple awarding Chinese state-subsidized firms huge taxpayer-funded contracts to “renovate the subway system, refurbish the Alexander Hamilton Bridge over the Harlem River and build a new Metro-North train platform near Yankee Stadium.”

    Astounding as all of that is, it was quickly topped by news last week reminding us that the new Martin Luther King monument in Washington was designed by a Chinese government sculptor and assembled by low-wage Chinese workers. The trend is enough to trouble any American. After all, when a memorial for a civil rights leader who deplored “starvation wages” and died supporting a sanitation union’s strike is built by non-union serfs from China, it’s a good sign there’s a big problem.


  25. creolechild says:

    LOL! Not quite so arrogant now…eh Scott Brown?

    Scott Brown melts down over Warren poll gains: report – By Kase Wickman

    Sen. Scott Brown apparently didn’t only lose his lead in the polls for the Massachusetts Senate race Tuesday — he also lost his cool. A tipster told Talking Points Memo that he was walking on the Senate side of the Capitol and caught a very interesting scene. “Just walked passed Senator Brown’s office and in the hallway was the man himself, lamenting into his cell phone, ‘I don’t understand how she can be down 20 points one week and is now up two. What is going on?’,” the tipster wrote. The tipster goes on to say that Brown then looked over his shoulder and saw the tipster and hurried back into his office.

    A poll released Tuesday by Democratic-affiliated Public Policy Polling showed new Democrat challenger Elizabeth Warren holding a very narrow 46-44 lead over Brown. Warren officially entered the race last week, on Sept. 14, after testing the waters with a listening tour around the state.


  26. creolechild says:


    Tea party backs ACLU lawsuit against Florida voting law – By Eric W. Dolan

    Tea party groups in Florida have found themselves in the surprising position of supporting lawsuits brought against the state by the American Civil Liberties Union. The Florida Legislature passed and Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed a law that bans candidates for public office from switching parties. Doug Guetzloe, the head of the Tea Party of Florida, told the Herald Tallahassee Bureau that the bill was a “GOP incumbency protection act.”

    The party registration limit prevents potential candidates who registered with the Independent Party, the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, the Tea Party or another third party from running as a Democrat or Republican in newly drawn districts. The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida filed a lawsuit in June to block implementation of Florida’s new elections laws until it is approved under the Voting Rights Act.

    The ACLU said the laws limit access to early voting, require voters to use provisional ballots when changing their address and restricts access to amending the Constitution. The laws also imposes new rules on third party voter registration groups including fines, registration requirements and time limits on non-partisan civic groups.

  27. creolechild says:

    Mitt Romney Blasts Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac’s ‘Failures’ While Profiting From Them
    By Pat Garofalo on Sep 20, 2011 at 11:50 am

    The Boston Globe noted today that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who has a habit of lambasting the “failures” of government-backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, has been profiting from investments in the two firms: On his financial disclosure statement filed last month, Romney reported owning between $250,001 and $500,000 in a mutual fund that invests in debt notes of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, among other government entities. Over the previous year, he had reported earning between $15,001 and $50,000 in interest from those investments.

    And unlike most of Romney’s financial holdings, which are held in a blind trust that is overseen by a trustee and not known to Romney, this particular investment was among those that would have been known to Romney. The investment was also not on Romney’s 2007 financial disclosure form. A Romney aide said the investments were made in the latter half of 2007, after he had filed the earlier disclosure form. That was around the time that the scale of the housing crisis was coming into focus.

    As Mother Jones’ Andy Kroll noted, this particular fund of Romney’s “also included investments in Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase. If Romney invested in those banks in the second half of 2007, as a campaign aide says he did, then Romney’s investments benefited from the federal bailout of those banks, which received tens of billions of dollars to stay afloat.”


  28. creolechild says:

    11 Things You Can Do to Help the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Movement – By Chaz Valenza

    Editor’s note: Today is the fifth day demonstrators have staged an “occupation” of Wall St. and other parts of lower Manhattan in protest of America’s staggering economic inequality and the influence of big finance on our politics. As of Tuesday night, 16 people had been arrested. There are also reports that law enforcement has confiscated camera equipment. Below, writer Chaz Valenza describes 11 things you can do to help out the protesters.

    These patriot occupiers are fighting for 99 percent of us. Those who are unemployed, uninsured, underemployed and totally insecure in the face of ever increasing social and financial inequities. They are standing up for those who cannot be there right now. Here’s the good news — you can help, right now today — no matter where you are.


    Read more:

  29. creolechild says:

    Yahoo Appears To Be Censoring Email Messages About Wall Street Protests (Updated) – By Lee Fang

    Thinking about e-mailing your friends and neighbors about the protests against Wall Street happening right now? If you have a Yahoo e-mail account, think again. ThinkProgress has reviewed claims that Yahoo is censoring e-mails relating to the protest and found that after several attempts on multiple accounts, we too were prevented from sending messages about the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations.

    Over the weekend, thousands gathered for a “Tahrir Square”-style protest of Wall Street’s domination of American politics. The protesters, organized online and by organizations like Adbusters, have called their effort “Occupy Wall Street” and have set up the website: However, several YouTube users posted videos of themselves trying to email a message inviting their friends to visit the Occupy Wall St campaign website, only to be blocked repeatedly by Yahoo. View a video of ThinkProgress making the attempt with the same blocked message experienced by others (click full screen for a better view of the text):


  30. creolechild says:

    Americans Waste Enough Food to Fill a 90,000-seat Football Stadium Every Day — What Can We Do About It? – By Jonathan Bloom

    Every day, America wastes enough food to fill the Rose Bowl. Yes, that Rose Bowl–the 90,000-seat football stadium in Pasadena, California. Of course, that’s if we had an inclination to truck the nation’s excess food to California for a memorable but messy publicity stunt.

    As a nation, we grow and raise more than 590 billion pounds of food each year. And depending on whom you ask, we squander between a quarter and a half of all the food produced in the United States. Even using the more conservative figure would mean that 160 billion pounds of food are squandered annually–more than enough, that is, to fill the Rose Bowl to the brim. With the high-end estimate, the Rose Bowl would almost be filled twice over.

    If those numbers don’t hit home, consider that the average American creates almost 5 pounds of trash per day. Since, on average, 12 percent of what we throw away is or once was edible, we can estimate that each one of us discards half a pound of food per day. That adds up to an annual total of 197 pounds of food per person. Ominously, Americans’ per capita food waste has increased by 50 percent since 1974.


  31. creolechild says:

    Here we go again! Some people just can’t admit that they were wrong…(sigh)~

    36% of South Carolina Republicans believe Obama not born in U.S. – By Eric W. Dolan

    Despite the release of his long-form birth certificate, 36 percent of Republicans in South Carolina believe President Barack Obama “probably” or “definitely” was born in another country, according to the latest Winthrop Poll. That number is down 5.2 percent since April. Many so-called “birthers” believe there is persuasive evidence that Obama was born in Kenya in 1961 and that his birth certificate was faked in order to make him eligible to be president. The conspiracy was first conceived during the 2008 campaign.

    On April 27, Obama released his long-form birth certificate, which confirmed that the president was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 4, 1961. “I know that there’s going to be a segment of people for which, no matter what we put out, this issue will not be put to rest,” Obama said at the time.

    Approximately 30 percent of South Carolina Republicans also think the president is a Muslim, and about 75 percent think the word “socialist” describes the president “very well” or “well.” Only about 23 percent think the word “honest” describes Obama “very well” or “well,” but 78 percent of Republicans think the word “intelligent” does.

    The Winthrop Poll was taken between September 11-18 and interviewed 1552 registered voters from South Carolina.


    • Ametia says:

      LMBAO This is getting old, folks in South Carolina REFUSE TO ACCEPT the FACT that the majority of AMERICANS elected Barack Hussein Obama PRESIDENT. HE’S BLACKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!

  32. creolechild says:

    Welcome to Boston, Mr. Rumsfeld. You Are Under Arrest – By: Ralph Lopez, War Is a Crime | Op-Ed

    Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been stripped of legal immunity for acts of torture against US citizens authorized while he was in office. The 7th Circuit made the ruling in the case of two American contractors who were tortured by the US military in Iraq after uncovering a smuggling ring within an Iraqi security company. The company was under contract to the Department of Defense. The company was assisting Iraqi insurgent groups in the “mass acquisition” of American weapons. The ruling comes as Rumsfeld begins his book tour with a visit to Boston on Wednesday, and as new, uncensored photos of Abu Ghraib spark fresh outrage across Internet. Awareness is growing that Bush-era crimes went far beyond mere waterboarding.


  33. creolechild says:

    Real Class War Is Working to Keep Those Below You Down – By Joshua Holland

    That conservatives are greeting the deficit reduction package Barack Obama presented on Monday – one that includes a new minimum tax on millionaires – with howls of ‘class warfare’ is as predictable as the sun rising in the east. It’s a poll-tested talking point, after all. But it obscures a far more pernicious form of “class warfare” being waged from above – a war of attrition against the upward economic mobility of ordinary working people.

    We live in a country where most people believe their opportunities are limited only by their innate talents and appetite for hard work, but over the last four decades, while decrying a wholly imaginary class war from below, conservative policies have undermined many of the ladders by which working people once achieved a middle-class lifestyle. Taking pot-shots at another class isn’t war, nor is imposing a modest tax increase on those who have been showered with tax cuts for the last decade. Genuine class warfare is those at the very top working to keep everyone else far beneath them.


    Read more:

  34. creolechild says:

    Iran says U.S. hikers to be freed after bail paid – By Agence France-Presse

    Iran’s judiciary said Wednesday two US hikers convicted of espionage and illegal entry would be released from a Tehran jail after bail is posted, which their lawyer said would be done later in the day. “Following the request of their lawyer, their detention order was converted to bail of five billion rials ($400,000) and they will be released until the final verdict,” the judiciary statement said, as reported by Iranian media.

    The lawyer for the hikers, Masoud Shafii, said earlier he would post bail later Wednesday and he expected the pair to be handed to the Swiss embassy in Tehran, which handles US interests in the Islamic republic.

    • Ametia says:

      IMMA DINNERJACKET is making a killing off these hikers who casually slip into Iran, and then when caught say I’OIN’T KNOW NOTHING ‘BOUT SPYING ON IRAN…..

  35. creolechild says:

    Obama Defies Republicans: I’m A ‘Warrior for the Middle Class’ – By David September 21, 2011

    At a fundraiser in New York City Tuesday, President Barack Obama fired back at Republicans who have called his plan to raise taxes on the wealthy “class warfare.” “You already hear the Republicans in Congress dusting off the old talking points,” the president told a crowd of 400 supporters at Gotham Hall. “You can write their press releases. Class warfare, they say.” “You know what? If asking a billionaire to pay the same rate as a plumber or a teacher makes me a warrior for the middle class, I wear that charge as a badge of honor.”

    Conservative MSNBC host Joe Scarborough praised the president’s line of attack Wednesday. “I think that’s a good line,” he opined. “The Republicans are just not very smart allowing him to get these body blows in on them. They need to dive in a support tax reform.” “How much do you think everybody at GE wishes they would have paid a little bit of taxes last year? No, I’m serious. Whatever money they saved — this a great lesson for corporations — whatever money they saved, they lost in good will. This is a nightmare for General Electric’s PR people… But since GE owns 40 percent of this company, I suspect I’m the only one to expound on it.”


  36. Ametia says:

    Peace by peace
    Obama seeks Mideast ‘compromise’
    By MATT NEGRIN | 09/21/11 11:59 AM
    Here are some highlights from President Obama’s speech at the United Nations on Wednesday:

    — Of the Israeli-Palestinian struggle for peace, he said, “Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians, not us, who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them.” A deal, he said, “depends on compromise.”

    — Obama urged the U.N. Security Council to sanction Syria. “There’s no excuse for inaction,” he said.

    — Obama welcomed new revolutions around the world, particularly in Arab countries, and said that while “dictators are on notice,” the progress can be reversed.

    — Referring to the fighting in Iraq and in Afghanistan, Obama said that “the tide of war is receding.”

    — He also plugged his jobs bill: “I have announced a plan to put Americans back to work and jumpstart our economy, at the same time that I’m committed to substantially reducing our deficits over time.”

  37. creolechild says:

    Middle Class Death Watch — 33 Frightening Economic Developments – By David DeGraw

    “The promise of the American dream has given many hope that they themselves could one day rise up the economic ladder. But according to a study released those already in financially-stable circumstances should fear falling down a few rungs too. The study… found that nearly a third of Americans who were part of the middle class as teenagers in the 1970s have fallen out of it as adults… its findings suggest the relative ease with which people in the U.S. can end up in low-income, low-opportunity lifestyles — even if they started out with a number of advantages. Though the American middle class has been repeatedly invoked as a key factor in any economic turnaround, numerous reports have suggested that the middle class enjoys less existential security than it did a generation ago, thanks to stagnating incomes and the decline of the industrial sector.”


    Read more:–_33_frightening_economic_developments/

  38. creolechild says:

    States join suit against AT&T takeover of T-Mobile – By Agence France-Presse

    Seven US states threw their support on Friday behind the Department of Justice lawsuit seeking to block AT&T’s $39 billion takover of T-Mobile. The Justice Department said the attorney generals of California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington had joined the suit filed in US District Court here last month. The move is another setback for AT&T as it seeks to salvage the proposed takeover of T-Mobile USA, the US unit of Deutsche Telekom.

    “We have had an excellent working relationship with a number of state attorneys general and they have provided invaluable assistance throughout our investigation,” the Justice Department said in a statement. We are pleased that these states have joined the department in its lawsuit,” it said. “Together, we will seek to protect consumers from the anti-competitive harm that would result from this proposed transaction.”


  39. creolechild says:

    Georgia Dems call for prison strike to block execution of Troy Davis – By Stephen C. Webster
    Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

    With the final hope of clemency now lost, Georgia death-row inmate Troy Davis faces execution tomorrow night — unless, of course, prison staff refuse to carry out his sentence. That’s precisely what State Senator Vincent Fort (D) and U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) want to see. “I am calling for a general strike or sick-out by all but a skeleton staff of the Georgia Diagnostic Prison on September 21st, 2011,” Sen. Fort said in a prepared statement. “I say to the prison staff: If you work on that day, you will enable the prison to carry out the execution of a possibly innocent man.”

    In an exclusive interview with Raw Story, Sen. Fort elaborated on his call for civil disobedience. “When someone is executed by the state, when someone is in effect murdered by the state, it is done in the name of all citizens,” the Atlanta Democrat told Raw Story. “We don’t want Troy Davis killed in the name of all citizens of the state of Georgia. What I have called for today is an extension of that.


  40. rikyrah says:

    September 21, 2011 9:25 AM

    ‘Ponzi scheme’ rhetoric becoming GOP standard

    By Steve Benen

    Last week, during a debate for the Republican presidential candidates, Mitt Romney tried his best to make Rick Perry look far outside the American mainstream. Specifically on Social Security policy, Romney seized on the frontrunner’s rhetoric, arguing, “[T]he term ‘Ponzi scheme’ I think is over the top and unnecessary and frightful to many people.”

    For much of the country, that’s probably true. For the Republican mainstream, Romney’s warnings aren’t resonating at all.

    The Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee on Tuesday drew fire from the Democrats for backing Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s description of Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme.”

    Social Security fits the technical definition of a Ponzi scheme, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told conservative Laura Ingraham on her radio show.

    “It’s not a criminal enterprise, but it’s a pay-as-you-go system, where earlier investors — or say, taxpayers — get a positive rate of return, and the most recent investors — or taxpayers — get a negative rate of return,” he said. “That is how those schemes work.”

    DCCC spokesman Jesse Ferguson said in a statement, “Ryan’s belief that Social Security works like a Ponzi scheme proves — once and for all — that House Republicans have really declared a war on seniors. A Ponzi scheme is Bernie Madoff ripping off Americans — not Social Security benefits that seniors earned and depend on during retirement.”

    That’s true, but Republicans don’t seem to care. References to “Ponzi schemes” have gone from borderline extremism to GOP conventional wisdom in about a week. Perry seems to have gotten the ball rolling, but his line has now been endorsed by Paul Ryan, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R), and other GOP lawmakers.

    Romney thinks this kind of talk is “over the top and unnecessary and frightful to many people”? For millions of voters, probably. For his party? Apparently not.

  41. rikyrah says:

    I Got Mine. Screw The Rest Of You.
    Posted on 09/20/2011 at 6:20 pm by JM Ashby
    Where in Fox News hosts Bill O The Clown and Brit Hume don’t even pretend to give a shit about income inequality in the United States.

    Bill O’Reilly isn’t buying President Obama’s push for the wealthiest Americans to pay their “fair share.” In fact, “it’s really starting to annoy” him.

    “I just think the whole thing is bogus,” O’Reilly said on his show Monday. And worse, Democrats just want to “take from people who have,” he said. “They believe that’s moral and that’s right.”

    Fox News analyst Brit Hume agrees, saying that Democrats want to close the income inequality gap in order to create a more “just society.”

    “Sometimes it can appear that the Democrats — some Democrats — would rather have everyone equally poor than unequally rich,” Hume said. “That’s obviously an exageration on my part, but you do that get that sense because of their obsession with this question of inequality. If (income) inequality is at a very much higher level, who cares?”

    Democrats want to create a more “just society?”

    The audacity! The hubris! The… wait, what?

    How is creating a more just society a bad thing? Wouldn’t it be the patriotic thing to do to care that the United States is behind all of Europe and even some African countries in income inequality? Or would you rather just stick your fingers in your ears and say “na na na I can’t hear you America FUCK YEAH!”

    This is a classic example of “I got mine. Screw the rest of you.” And it’s a classic example of the disconnect between the political class in America and the average American.

    O’Reilly and Hume are both millionaires and they report to you in a manner that benefits millionaires. Many hosts and analysts on CNN and MSNBC also have a conflict of interest when it comes to reporting the news, because they’re all millionaires, but at Fox News they don’t even try to appear to care about the little people. Doing so would be an affront to their strict editorial policy of kicking people who are already down and may even garner them an accusation of turning liberal.

    With that said, I’m perfectly okay with being accused of wanting a more “just society.” They can accuse President Obama of wanting to take from the haves and give to the have-nots all they way. Shout it from the rooftops, please. The polls clearly demonstrate the majority of Americans are ready for that. They want tax hikes on the rich.

  42. rikyrah says:

    September 21, 2011
    President Obama: No more Mr. Passive
    Yesterday I mourned the intellectual skids and accentuated gamesmanship of David Brooks. His hair’s on fire because President Obama — now concluding his ninth month of uniform Republican hostility to all things reasonable — has commenced, out of abject frustration and a belated ability to accurately read polling data, a liberal presidency.

    The horror.

    The Post’s Greg Sargent similarly mourned Brooks yesterday, while noting other self-wounded casualties: “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.’ ”

    This morning, Politico’s Glenn Thrush assesses the Beltway’s collective hysteria:

    The moderate elite isn’t, by definition, an angry bunch but President Barack Obama’s pivot from calibrated centrism to soak-the-rich liberal populism has tapped a vein of middle-of-the-road rage and centrist angst.

    Perhaps I’m reading something between Thrush’s lines that really isn’t there, but methinks he pokes fun at the Beltway pack, which, like all of us these days, is tightening its belt — only, around its head.

    Sargent was more direct: “[L]et’s be clear about this: It’s all utter nonsense.” He then proffered an observation that has seemed nakedly manifest to this writer for some time:

    To insist that [Obama’s leftward turn] 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 [my emphasis].

    Obama didn’t swing the pendulum. Right-wingers did; Republicans overreached, and thereby have incited a popular backlash to the left of center.

    The winds-shifting polling has been there for months: the public’s despair over the debt-ceiling fraud; the public’s turn to Obama’s side by the end of said fraud; the public’s support of higher taxes (on those financially above them, of course); the public’s disgust at fat-cat loopholes in the tax code; the public’s howling for jobs, even at government’s expense.

    Till now, Obama has mostly chaperoned the shift. His political staff misread the nation’s mutating temperament and misperceived independents as monolithic center-righters. The debt-ceiling debacle was the ideal opportunity to break the right’s back — Obama was gaining majority support for his balanced position with astonishing speed — but, what the hell. We all screw up; the White House merely managed to do so magnificently.

    At any rate, President Obama is now pushing the popular shift, rather than being pulled by it.

  43. rikyrah says:

    Donor accused of funneling money to senator’s campaign
    By Dan Eggen
    Tuesday, Sep 20, 2011

    A major donor to Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) is accused of stealing more than $3.6 million in federal grant money and illegally funneling foreign cash to Graham’s campaign, according to federal charges announced this week.

    Jian-Yun “John” Dong of Mount Pleasant, S.C., is accused of fraud, making illegal campaign contributions and dozens of other crimes in a pair of indictments brought by a U.S. grand jury in South Carolina. Dong’s wife, Danher Wang, is also charged in the case, according to court records.

    Prosecutors and Graham’s office say the senator had no knowledge of the alleged wrongdoing. Graham spokesman Kevin Bishop said any questionable donations will be handed over to the U.S. Treasury.

    “Senator Graham believes those who receive taxpayer dollars have both a legal and moral obligation to use the funding in an appropriate manner,” Bishop said. “If an individual violates that trust, there should be serious consequences.”

    U.S. Attorney William N. Nettles said of Graham’s office: “As the indictment states, they have cooperated fully and there is no evidence that they had any information that anything illegal was happening.”

    The indictments point to the connections between Dong’s biotechnology company, GenPhar, and Graham, who championed nearly $20 million in federal earmarks for the firm’s vaccine research.

  44. rikyrah says:

    Graham Attempting to Force Feed Senate Anti-NLRB Bill

    Labor Unions are furiously trying to quash a stealthy maneuver aimed at preventing the National Labor Relations Board from pursuing its suit against Boeing for moving a production line from Washington state to South Carolina.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has been leading the charge against the NLRB ever since the agency slapped Boeing with a suit earlier this year charging the defense giant with illegally retaliating against union workers in Washington state by moving a factory to South Carolina, a right-to-work state.

    During a Wednesday Appropriations Committee hearing, the South Carolina senator will attempt to add language to a bill funding the NLRB that would stop the suit against Boeing dead in its attracts, according to a report in Politico.

    Normally senators can move to strip out unwanted riders when bills reach the floor, but with so little time left on the legislative calendar this year, individual appropriations aren’t expected to reach the floor, and the Senate will be forced to consider one massive omnibus spending bill chock full of riders.

    The Democrats control the majority in the Senate so normally this advantage would prevent this type of move, but the Appropriations Committee is narrowly divided 16-14, and already one Democrat, Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), has publicly said he is leaning towards supporting the measure.

    The language drafted by Graham obviously targets Boeing but is written in a more generic way that would impact the agency’s ability to take action against companies who move production lines or other aspects of their businesses from one state to another.

    Union forces became aware of Graham’s plans early Tuesday evening and began a lobbying blitz against it. The House last week voted 238-196 in favor of a similar anti-NLRB measure with eight Democrats supporting it.

  45. rikyrah says:

    September 21, 2011 8:40 AM

    Inching a little closer to a shutdown next week

    By Steve Benen

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters yesterday, “There will not be a government shutdown.” His confidence was reassuring, but it’s not at all clear he’s correct.

    Republicans and Democrats plunged into another round of brinksmanship on Tuesday as a fight over disaster aid brought the renewed threat of a government shutdown.

    With the House prepared to vote on a bill to keep the government running past Sept. 30, when current funding expires, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the upper chamber would send the bill back if House Republicans did not increase money for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

    Reid warned that the government could shutter at the end of the month if the dispute was not resolved. “We are not going to cave on this,” he told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

    This, predictably, led to a new round of House Republican leaders blaming Senate Democratic leaders for not going along with the GOP’s plan, insisting that Reid should get the blame if there’s a shutdown.

    Disaster relief funding continues to be at the heart of the dispute. The Senate approved resources for FEMA and treated the funding the way Congress always has: as an emergency, without offsets. The House GOP wants fewer resources for FEMA, and says relief must come with strings attached: offsets that include cuts to a job-creating clean-energy program the right doesn’t like.

    House Republican leaders insist they won’t even consider the Senate’s FEMA measure — indeed, they say the votes for passing it simply won’t materialize — while Reid, perhaps concerned about setting a new precedent regarding disaster aid, is vowing to stand firm.

    The deadline is Sept. 30, which is a week from Friday. Congress is supposed to be out next week, which may complicate the process.

    I’m not prepared to make any predictions just yet, but I’ll just say this: Congress has a 12% approval rating. The institution has never been popular, but the legislative branch of government hasn’t seen public disgust this intense since the dawn of modern polling.

    If Republicans shut down the government because they don’t want to fund disaster relief without cuts, public revulsion is bound to get significantly worse.

  46. rikyrah says:

    Disabled Advocates Take To D.C. To Protest Medicaid Cuts (VIDEO)
    About 175 mostly wheelchair-bound protesters took to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to protest cuts to Medicaid in deficit reduction proposals.

    The protest, organized by the disability group ADAPT, started in the Hart Senate Office Building and proceeded down Constitution Ave. to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

    The GOP proposal would reduce federal spending on Medicaid by $1.4 trillion from 2012 to 2021. Obama’s plan would reduce federal Medicaid spending $66 billion.

    Advocates picked the Hart building because that’s where Sens. Jon Kyl and Pat Toomey, members of the Super Committee charged with bringing down the deficit, are based.

    “We want them to reduce the cuts that they’re making on Medicaid, because we have a lot of folks in our group and a lot of folks all across the country who depend on Medicaid for services and support so they can live in the community,” David Wittie, who was leading the procession down Constitution Ave., told TPM.

    “The language we’ve been hearing is that they’re going to take a lot of that money from Medicaid and other services,” Wittie said. “That’s wrong because we know that people depend on that, we know that peoples’ lives are in danger if their services are in danger. People can die because of these cuts.”

    Ian Engle came from Colorado to protest cuts to home and community-based services. “It will make it so that folks like us can live in the community, maintain jobs, contribute to the community, pay taxes. It’s not only morally irresponsible to house people in congregate facilities, it’s fiscally irresponsible because it just costs more,” Engle said.

  47. rikyrah says:

    Perry Struggles To Make His Foreign Policy All That Different From Obama’s

    Mitt Romney and Rick Perry’s positions on Israel are clear enough — they’re for it! But when it comes to Afghanistan, it’s become increasingly difficult to discern which direction the two GOP frontrunners would take the nation.

    Romney’s campaign went after Perry last week for playing both rhetorical sides of the Afghanistan issue in their recent debate.

    “I think the entire conversation about, how do we deliver our aid to those countries, and is it best spent with 100,000 military who have the target on their back in Afghanistan, I don’t think so at this particular point in time,” Perry said at the time, calling for a transition to Afghan forces.

    But the next day, after criticism from the hawkish Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), an unnamed adviser told Foreign Policy that Perry had gotten caught up in the “dynamic of the debate,” which featured more anti-war candidates like Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul, and that “a precipitous withdrawal is not what he’s recommending.” But the same adviser also mentioned that Perry might entertain using only 40,000 troops in Afghanistan — far below numbers either Obama or his generals have suggested is doable so far.

    It wasn’t the first time Perry’s foreign policy statements have been parsed. Previously he had been called out for condemning “military adventurism” while also urging Americans to “renew our commitment to taking the fight to the enemy wherever they are before they strike at home,” employing two loaded and contradictory phrases associated with the Bush administration’s foreign policy.

    A feature in Foreign Policy dubbed Perry’s approach “hawk internationalist” after interviewing his advisers, which include a who’s who of Bush-era neoconservatives, most notably Doug Feith, who was the administration’s point man on intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq war. Perry’s reportedly turned to Donald Rumsfeld to help set up meetings with experts. So it might come as a surprise to see his public statements are — at times at least — less than gung-ho on American intervention abroad.

    With the economy front and center, it’s not surprising the candidates aren’t getting too bogged down in foreign policy. But their shifting rhetoric, a stark contrast to the unambiguously pro-intervention leaders of the Bush-era GOP, isn’t a coincidence. The Republican party is considerably more isolationist these days, concerned about the wars’ impact on the deficit and skeptical of progress in Afghanistan.

    And it’s not as if Perry is the only one whose been accused of waffling on Afghanistan. Mitt Romney came under fire from Sens. Graham and John McCain (R-AZ) after declaring in a June debate that “One lesson we’ve learned in Afghanistan is that Americans cannot fight another nation’s war of independence.” He quickly followed up by indicating that he would first consult with generals on the ground before coming up with any timetable for withdrawal. Later that month, he criticized President Obama for planning to reduce troop numbers, more firmly planting his flag in the hawk camp.

    Stephen Biddle, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said in an interview that the politics of the moment put the candidates in a difficult, if not impossible, bind. They don’t want to seem too pro-war or too isolationist, but they also want to differentiate themselves from President Obama, who’s essentially outlined the same relatively ambiguous position — we’ll withdraw whenever we can withdraw — that they have.

    “The actual policy preferences of either of these candidates is extremely ambiguous right now,” Biddle told TPM. “They’re both finding it hard to reach that middle ground that meets all those constraints at the same time, so they’re flopping around trying to find something.”

  48. rikyrah says:

    Light Bulb Saga Illuminates New Republicans: Margaret Carlson

    How many Republicans does it take to screw in an energy-efficient light bulb? The answer to that riddle tells us much about the state of the Republican Party in 2011.

    The light bulb ban has become a rallying cry on the right. Rush Limbaugh called it an alarming advance of “statism.” Minnesota Representative and Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann promised that “President Bachmann will allow you to buy any light bulb you want in the United States of America.”

    The fact that there is no light bulb ban should in no way spoil the fun, of course, but the issue does have some history. Congress passed a bipartisan bill in 2007 requiring a phase-in of more efficient lighting. Under the law, which was drafted with industry input, a 100-watt incandescent bulb would have to use only 72 watts of energy starting in 2012. Consumers, who would save a considerable amount in energy costs, wouldn’t be required to switch to the even more energy-efficient and cost- saving fluorescent bulbs; they could keep using the traditional incandescent variety, provided those met the new standards.

    The law passed the House with 95 Republican votes and was signed by President George W. Bush. There were no riots in the streets. Yet by the time Republicans took over the House in January 2011, this previously uncontroversial legislation had become the basis of an ideological war. Between 2007 and 2011, energy waste and pollution seem to have become inviolable conservative principles.

    A Party Unmoored
    The Republican congressman who was co-author of the 2007 bill, Representative Fred Upton of Michigan, renounced his own work. Republican Representative Joe Barton, who had previously claimed the spotlight to apologize to BP Plc (BP) for all the fuss about its little oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, introduced a bill repealing most of Upton’s energy-efficiency provisions. (Bachmann called her version of repeal the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act, arguably her crowning legislative achievement.)

    A radical reversal on light bulbs won’t shake the foundations of the republic, but it’s indicative of a party that is unmoored from both philosophy and substantive politics. Republicans today are defined not by what they are for but almost exclusively by what they are against. And they are against just about everything — including many things they used to be for. Like a code-red transplant patient, Republicans increasingly reject the tissue of their own proposals and their own reasonable history.

    The individual mandate was once a pet Republican idea for forcing free riders to pay for their share of society’s health- care costs, a way to enlarge the risk pool so that a system of private insurance could continue to function without bankrupting individuals or the nation. Conservatives didn’t rage against the idea when former Governor Mitt Romney introduced it in Massachusetts. Now it’s tantamount to death by socialism.

    Cap-and-trade experienced a similar fate. Having been successfully deployed by President George H.W. Bush to dramatically reduce acid rain, this market-based approach to reducing carbon emissions fell out of favor when Republicans decided that science and those who practice it are ideological enemies, and objective facts, evidence and reality are all tools of the political opposition.

  49. rikyrah says:

    Harry Reid: Tea Party would be to blame for government shutdown
    The State Column | Staff | Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid warned Tuesday that the possibility of a government shutdown may loom in the future, blaming the “tea party-driven House of Representatives.”

    “If they want to stay into next week, that’s fine, we can do that…we can work all next week. The government doesn’t shut down until I think it’s a week from Saturday,” Mr. Reid told reporters. “Senator McConnell said there will be no shutdown. I’m not that sure. I’m not that sure. Because the Tea Party-driven House of Representatives has been so unreasonable in the past I don’t know why they should suddenly be reasonable.”

    Read more:

  50. rikyrah says:

    Cherokee Nation restores citizenship for black freedmen

    Black Cherokees in Kansas City were ecstatic Tuesday after learning that the tribal citizenship they’d been fighting years for has been restored.

    Their citizenship is regained through an agreement made in federal court between the Cherokee Nation and black Cherokees known as freedmen, an attorney said Tuesday.

    “This is not temporary, where the Cherokee Nation gives freedmen citizenship until after the election and then tries to change it,” said Jon Velie, who was in court Tuesday on behalf of the freedmen.

    The agreement came during a hearing in federal court in Washington. The parties have until this morning to submit a written agreement to the judge.

    The agreement gives 2,800 freedmen all the benefits available to the Cherokee tribe, including tribal voting rights. And it extends the voting period for the upcoming election for principal chief to Oct. 8. Before Tuesday, that election was to take place this week.

    “We have been vindicated,” said Willadine Johnson, whose ancestors, like other freedmen, were held as slaves by Cherokees. After the Civil War, Cherokees signed a treaty freeing its slaves and granting them full Cherokee citizenship.

    “This is the way it always should have been,” Johnson said. “You can’t take my citizenship from me.”

    In 2007 the nation stripped freedmen of their citizenship and suffrage rights, saying bloodline determined citizenship.

    Read more:

  51. rikyrah says:

    did you see that video of the soldier ‘coming out’ to his father in Alabama?

    I cried like a baby when I saw it.

  52. rikyrah says:

    Poll woes don’t slow Obama’s campaign money train
    President Barack Obama is raising millions of dollars for his re-election campaign, keeping the support of big and small donors despite the sputtering economy and slumping opinion poll numbers.

    Amid high unemployment and fears of a second recession, Obama has faced withering criticism from within his own party for seeming to give in too easily to Republicans in Congress and not taking a firmer stand on issues such as protecting the environment.

    His approval ratings have been hovering at about 43 percent and polls show he would face a tough fight to defeat Texas Governor Rick Perry or former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the two top contenders for the Republican presidential nomination to oppose Obama in November 2012.

    His campaign has indicated that fund-raising slipped in the June-September quarter. And there has been discontent among some 2008 donors, with some Wall Street cash shifting to Romney, co-founder of buyout firm Bain Capital, a sign of business unease with Obama’s tenure.

    But if Obama lacks the rock-star status he had four years ago, his events are still selling out and his fund-raising machine is outstripping 2008. Donors said the Obama camp is worried about the country’s finances, not the campaign’s.

    “I haven’t heard anyone outwardly worried. It seems like they are on track to hit their goals,” said a top fund-raiser close to the campaign, requesting anonymity to speak freely.

    “Put it this way: it is not money that they are worried about. They would trade all the money for better economic data,” he said.

    The Democratic president still attracts the army of low-dollar givers who helped push him to the White House in 2008, and the loyalty of enough big contributors that analysts anticipate he will amass a $1 billion campaign warchest.

    “Some of these people may still be disappointed, but they’re not going to be ready to write Barack Obama off,” said Stuart Rothenberg, an independent political analyst in Washington.

  53. rikyrah says:

    Marines Hit the Ground Running in Seeking Recruits at Gay Center

    Master Sgt. Anthony Henry, a top Marine recruiting trainer for the southwestern United States, pulled up to Tulsa’s biggest gay community center on Tuesday morning and left his Chevy where he could make a fast getaway. “I have an exit strategy,” he said. “I know where my choke points are, I’ve strategically parked my car right on the curbside, I have an out.”

    But as it happened, one of the strangest days in the history of the United States Marine Corps unfolded without the protests and insults that Sergeant Henry had feared. Sergeant Henry, who had been invited to set up a recruiting booth on the first day of the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” at the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center in downtown Tulsa, instead spent it in quiet conversation with a trickle of gay women who came in to ask about joining the Marines.

    “It’s your business and you don’t have to share it,” Sergeant Henry told Ariel Pratt, 20, who asked whether she would face discrimination in the military as a lesbian serving openly. “But you’re also free to be at the mall with your girlfriend.”

    Ms. Pratt, 20, asked Sergeant Henry what he liked about the Marines.

    “It’s like a little family,” he said. “We get mad at each other, we joke with each other, but we don’t let anybody else make fun of us.”

    “That’s pretty cool,” she said.

    The Marines were the service most opposed to ending the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, but they were the only one of five invited branches of the military to turn up with their recruiting table and chin-up bar at the center Tuesday morning. Although Marines pride themselves on being the most testosterone-fueled of the services, they also ferociously promote their view of themselves as the best. With the law now changed, the Marines appear determined to prove that they will be better than the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard in recruiting gay, lesbian and bisexual service members.

    Still, judging by the traffic at the gay rights center on Tuesday, there will not be an immediate flood of gay and lesbian Marine applicants. By 3 p.m., more than four hours after the Marines had set up their booth opposite the center’s AIDS quilt, only three women had wandered in, none ideal recruits. The local television crews who had come to watch the action — or inaction, as it turned out — easily outnumbered them.

    The first potential recruit, First Lt. Misty McConahy of the Oklahoma National Guard, asked if the Marines had openings for any behavioral health officers, her specialty in the guard. She was told no, the Marines use the Navy for medical care. (Later, Sergeant Henry said that he should have sent her to a recruiter for Marine Corps officers, given her rank.)

    “It’s a lot of courage for her to come out like that,” Sergeant Henry said, after watching Lieutenant McConahy surrounded by reporters. “Her commander is probably going to see that on TV tonight.”

    The second potential recruit, Ms. Pratt, the niece of a late benefactor of the gay rights center, had scars up her left arm from cutting herself in high school — an almost certain medical disqualification for the Marines. “I’ve been recruiting for a very long time,” Sergeant Henry told her, gently. “Those are very tough to deal with.” He took her name and number and said he would make some calls to see what he could do.

  54. Ametia says:


  55. rikyrah says:

    September 21, 2011 8:00 AM

    GOP leaders to Fed: Let America suffer

    By Steve Benen

    There are widespread expectations that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will today unveil the latest initiative intended to give the economy a boost. Action is likely to come in the form of shifting funds into longer-term holdings, with the intention of lowering Treasury yields and reducing rates on mortgages and other loans. Industry insiders apparently call it “Operation Twist.”

    But while we wait for word from the Fed, congressional Republicans aren’t just sitting around — they’re actively lobbying Bernanke, pressing him to let the economy stay on its downward trajectory and to not even try to help.

    Even though the financial markets have been counting on the Federal Reserve to take action, Republican Congressional leadership sent a letter to the Federal Reserve chairman on Tuesday evening urging it not to engage in further stimulus.

    The letter was sent in the midst of a two-day meeting in which Fed officials are widely expected to undertake policies to lower long-term interest rates. That move would be intended to loosen up credit in hopes of promoting growth. The meeting ends Wednesday, and the Fed is expected to release a statement Wednesday at 2:15 p.m.

    “We have serious concerns that further intervention by the Federal Reserve could exacerbate current problems or further harm the U.S. economy,” said the letter, signed by four of the top Republicans in Congress: Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Republican leader; Jon Kyl of Arizona, the Senate Republican whip; House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia.

    If this seems at all familiar, it’s because Republican leaders also wrote a letter to Bernanke last November, expressing “concerns” about the Fed’s efforts to boost economic growth.

    There’s no shortage of problems with this. For one thing, the Federal Reserve is supposed to be an independent agency. This kind of partisan lobbying from congressional leaders is unseemly.

    But given the larger circumstances, Republicans’ disregard for political norms is the least of the nation’s troubles. More pressing is the fact that the leaders of a major political party appear eager, if not desperate, to prevent steps that may improve the economy. The top four GOP members of Congress, including the Speaker of the House, practically demanded yesterday that no steps be taken at all as our anemic growth stalls and the job crisis intensifies.

    The “sabotage” question comes up from time to time, and this certainly won’t help. As things stand, Republican leaders, some of whom have admitted that defeating President Obama is their single highest priority, now want the Fed to sit on its hands, want to strip the American Jobs Act of its most effective measures, and want to raise middle-class taxes. Oh, and they’re threatening to shut down the government, too. These are just the positions they’ve talked up over the last week.

    Voters backed Republicans in last year’s elections because they wanted to see a healthier economy. The irony is rich.

  56. Ametia says:

    Survey finds significant drop in uninsured young adults; Obama’s health overhaul credited

    By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, September 21, 2:08 AM
    WASHINGTON — The number of young adults without health insurance has dropped significantly, a new survey finds, thanks to a provision of President Barack Obama’s health care law allowing them to stay on their parents’ plans.

    The new Gallup poll findings translate to about 1 million more young adults with health insurance.

    While the bleak economy has made it hard for young people trying to enter the workforce, fewer are being forced to also go without medical care.

    A Gallup survey released Wednesday finds that the share of adults ages 18-25 without health insurance dropped from 28 percent starting last fall to 24.2 percent in the second quarter of this year. That defies the disheartening trend of rising numbers of working-age Americans without coverage.

    “While we did not see a drop-off in any other age group, we did see a drop in this age group,” said Frank Newport, Gallup’s polling director.

  57. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

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