Serenipity SOUL | Friday Open Thread

                                                                          ROCKET LOVE

Happy FRY-day, Everybody.

Shout out to Nicole & Derrick on their First Wedding Anniversary; CONGRATULATIONS, my daughter & son-in-law!

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69 Responses to Serenipity SOUL | Friday Open Thread

  1. Hey Ametia, the day–or should I say night?– is just about over, but I’m just getting a chance to comment on that delicious picture you posted upthread of our beautiful First Couple. There’s another similar one that was posted on Thursday night that shows a full body embrace. It’s really, really hawt!

    POTUS & FLOTUS are the only two people I know of (on TV or in my own personal life) who can make a split second of intimate touching look like a burst of hot passion. Although I’m a married woman, I’m just a little bit jealous of First Lady Michelle because President Obama really knows how to touch his lady. I can only imagine what the two of them are like behind closed doors.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Governor’s spokesman granted immunity

    By Daniel Bice of the Journal Sentinel

    Gov. Scott Walker’s chief spokesman has been granted immunity in the ongoing John Doe investigation of the governor’s current and former aides, it was learned Friday.

    Former Appeals Court Judge Neal Nettesheim, who is overseeing the secret criminal probe, said he had granted immunity to three people, including Cullen Werwie, spokesman for Walker, in this part of the case. A railroad lobbyist and low-ranking Republican official were also given immunity.

    Records show Werwie was granted immunity April 14. Werwie joined Walker’s campaign after the September primary and stayed on when Walker took office in January. Werwie earns $61,000 per year.

    “No comment,” Werwie said when reached late Friday.

    The governor was not immediately available for comment.

    Nettesheim said he also granted immunity to Ken Lucht and Rose Ann Dieck.

    Lucht is the manager of community development with Wisconsin & Southern Railroad. His attorney could not be reached late Friday. He received immunity on Jan. 14.

    Dieck, a longtime Republican operative, is listed as the chairwoman of the southwest suburban branch of the Milwaukee County Republican Party. She was granted immunity on Dec. 21.

    She was a Walker supporter who volunteered for Republican Rep. Jeff Stone in his unsuccessful bid for Milwaukee County executive.

    “They’re taking away the rights of those who voted for change,” Dieck said during an interview with WTMJ-TV (Channel 4) during March protests at Stone’s campaign office. “There was an election on November 2nd. The people in the state of Wisconsin said we need change.”

    Dieck’s attorney also was not available Friday afternoon.

    Nettesheim said grants of immunity are the only part of a John Doe investigation conducted in open court.

    “That’s about all I can reveal to you,” Nettesheim said from his home.

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

  3. rikyrah says:

    Adverse Events: Why big Pharma is scared of this startup
    Posted by Linda H on 2:32 AM

    Last week during a Republican debate, as you may have heard, Michele Bachmann claimed that the HPV vaccine Gardasil can cause mental retardation. Prozac and other antidepressants are often linked to suicide. Ambien is rumored to cause amnesia in some patients. Which of these things are true? And how could we ever really know since the list of side effects that comes with medication never gives detailed statistics?

    AdverseEvents, a California-based startup, is pushing the debate out into the open with a centralized database of how many side effects are happening from what drugs and what the patient outcomes are–and according to co-founder Brian Overstreet, “it scares the crap out of the pharmaceutical companies.”

    “The FDA has some of this [side effect] data, but it’s unstructured, not searchable, and not standardized,” explains Overstreet. AdverseEvent’s proprietary algorithm, which took 18 months to build, takes into account data from the FDA, direct patient reporting, and even information from social media sites (AdverseEvents analysts are alerted to side effect discussions on patient discussion boards, for example, and try to extract data).

    AdverseEvents also has an internal alert system, so that the company can track potentially dangerous side effects and alert the FDA if necessary. The result: a clean, easy-to-read database for both health-care professionals and patients. Pictured above is the Prozac top 10 side effect list–and sure enough, suicide is on there. But Gardasil? Mental retardation isn’t on the list, though the most common side effect is “drug exposure during pregnancy. “Pharmaceutical companies are, as you might imagine, not thrilled that AdverseEvents exists; they’re used to controlling side effect information. ” First they freak out about it, then they look in greater depth and say ‘Wow, it’s really interesting and we could see how to use this but we’re not ready.’ And we explain that the data is coming–your customers are going to have it, insurance companies and doctors are going to have it, and you need to be part of the conversation,” says Overstreet. Fast Company contacted Pfizer for comment, but we have not yet heard back.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Is Taraji P. Henson being sidelined on her own show?

    By Ronda Racha Penrice
    9:41 AM on 09/21/2011

    After the high of attending this year’s Emmy Awards on Sunday in support of her nomination for outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or a movie, Taraji P. Henson took to Facebook and Twitter yesterday to express her dismay at not being included in an upcoming TV Guide cover featuring her cast mates Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson for their CBS show Person of Interest, premiering Thursday, September 22.

    “WOW!!!! TV Guide is NOT including me on the cover with my cast memebers [sic]……..I am the female lead of a 3 member cast and I’m not included on the cover!!!!!! Do you see the shit I have to deal with in this business…..I cram to understand!!!!” she wrote.

    But Henson’s beef should also extend to CBS. Previews for Person of Interest include her in the filmed photo of the cast and show her in a clip or two but she only speaks in the behind the scenes one. As is the case with TV Guide, the focus is solidly on multiple Emmy winner Emerson and Caviezel, who respectively play billionaire software tycoon Mr. Finch and ex-CIA agent John Reese as essentially crime stoppers in post 9/11 New York where the average citizen’s privacy has been seriously compromised.

    Oscar nominee Henson plays NYPD detective Carter who has her eye on Reese. Yet commercials for the series don’t even show her delivering any dialogue. In light of that, how can she fault TV Guide for not including her on the cover? At this point, it is only clear that she is in Person of Interest; her importance to the series has not been firmly established.

    When asked about the show and her role in it during an interview at Comic-Con International available on YouTube (2:09 to 2:35), Henson admitted that “Even [in] the first episode, after the pilot, you get to see a little more about Finch and I’m sure they’ll start showing a little more about Carter.”

    Yes, it’s great to work with producer J.J. Abrams, the major mastermind behind several television series including Felicity, Alias, Lost and last year’s short-lived Undercovers starring Boris Kodjoe, and Person of Interest creator Jonathan Nolan, who co-wrote The Dark Knight. But substantial roles are so limited for African-American actors, especially on television, that merely landing a role on such an A-list show becomes a victory in itself.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Perry’s Slump
    He’s declining in the polls:’

    After two debates Texas Governor Rick Perry’s lead over Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination has fallen by a bit over 5 points.

    When Perry entered the race he enjoyed an immediate 15 point net bounce in his polling versus Romney. That moved Perry from 5 points behind Romney to 10 points ahead. This lead remained steady across nine polls prior to the GOP debate on September 7 at the Reagan Library sponsored by NBC and Politico. Following that debate there may have been a slight decline in Perry’s lead, but following the September 12 CNN/Tea Party Express debate in Florida, that lead clearly declined to slightly under 5 percent. That amounts to giving up 1/3 of the sharp gain after Perry entered the race, but still leaves Perry ahead of Romney and in a considerably better position than before he entered the race. After Thursday night’s third debate we will look for new polls to say if this decline continues or not.

    Video via Matt Welch, who quips, “If you can’t slap Mitt Romney silly for being a flip-flopping used car salesman, you can’t win the GOP presidential nomination.”

  6. Ametia says:

    Morgan Freeman Calls Tea Party “Racist”

    Morgan Freeman blasted the Tea Party as “racist” in an interview with Piers Morgan that airs tonight.

    The actor, who played a president in Deep Impact, says on “Piers Morgan Tonight” that the Tea Party’s goal “is to do whatever it takes to see to it that Obama only serves one term…. What underlines that? ‘Screw the country. We’re going to… do whatever we can to get this black man outta here.”

    When the CNN host presses Freeman and asks, “Is that necessarily a racist thing?” rather than a political goal, the Oscar winner says, “It is a racist thing.”

    Check out the video below of the interview, and share your thoughts.

  7. Ametia says:

    The Myth That ’51% of Our Nation Pays No Federal Tax’
    September 23, 2011
    By The Pardu

    American politics has been inundated with slogans, talking points and mantra. Yes, they exist both sides of the political spectrum but it is the right that has advanced them to a science.

    The list of political mantra is inexhaustible. Allow me to list a few from the right:

    * “Liberal Media”. “Liberal Press” (in the Nixon days)

    * “No new Taxes!”

    * “Compassionate Conservatives”

    * “Moral Majority”

    * “Job Creators”

    * “Are you better off now, than…..?”

    * ” Kept us safe”

    * ” Drill, Baby, Drill”

    * “Taking the fight to the Terrorists”

    * “American exceptionalism”

    * “Death Panels”

    * “Class Warfare”

    * “Ponzi Scheme”

    OK, point made. However, in fairness I should list one very popular slogan from the Left.

    * “It’s the economy stupid”

    I think it rather obvious that the majority of ’mantra slinging’ is from the right.

    Here’s another one that’s been going around for the last three years, “51% of Our Nation Pays No Federal Tax”. Of course, the talking point is designed to vilify the poor. My curiosity took me to a recent article from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). I wanted to know if it was true and if it was true, how.

    The CBPP has published volumes of information on the topic. I located so much information, I dare not attempt to summarize or even paste information here. A few bullets and a couple of charts should place the GOP mantra ‘squarely into the realm’ of “True but shaky at best when making their point”. Each bullet, below, is accompanied by specific information that explains the bullet point.


  8. rikyrah says:

    eptember 23, 2011 2:15 PM
    The train wreck

    By Steve Benen

    Last year, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) sought a third term, and his Democratic challenger, former Houston mayor Bill White, looked forward to the debates. Perry, however, simply refused to share a stage with White. It made the governor look like something of a coward, but Perry preferred that to looking like a fool.

    A year later, one of Perry’s obvious weaknesses is catching up with him. The Texan is leading in each of the national polls, but his debate performances are genuinely hard to watch — the guy’s just awful in this format. It’s not just one aspect, either. Perry comes across as ignorant, unprepared, and kind of bored. What’s worse, as John Dickerson noted, “With each successive debate in this campaign, his performance gets worse.”

    And while Perry’s first two debate performances caused whispers from the GOP establishment about whether the governor is ready for prime time, the reaction from Republican voices today is a veritable Texas stampede.
    [C]onservative pundits have been openly dumping on Perry as a candidate — a mere month and a half after he entered the race and rocketed to the top of the polls.

    Bill Kristol published an editorial at the Weekly Standard, stating the magazine’s official reaction to the debate: “Yikes.” Kristol negatively reviewed nearly all the candidates — pining for Chris Christie to save the GOP by entering the race. As for Perry’s performance, Kristol writes: “But no front-runner in a presidential field has ever, we imagine, had as weak a showing as Rick Perry. It was close to a disqualifying two hours for him.”

    Rich Lowry wrote on Fox News: “A few weeks ago, the question was how far and fast he would ascend; now, after his third debate, it’s how much he’ll drop.” he also wrote on National Review: “I really thought Perry would get better, but he hasn’t.”

    RedState’s Erick Erickson wrote late Thursday night: “Rick Perry was a train wreck in this debate.”

    That’s really just a small sampling. If there are Republicans impressed with Perry’s skills as a candidate, they’re hiding well today.

    So, is he screwed? Will Perry join the list of candidates who entered late, caused a stir, and then quickly fizzled? Maybe, but I wouldn’t write him off just yet.

    For one thing, not that many regular folks — i.e., those not deeply involved in politics — actually watch these debates. For another, Republicans have nominated plenty of presidential candidates who looked awful when debating, including Reagan and George W. Bush. For all I know, conservative voters find this endearing — the right may not care for “slick.”

    But I’m especially reluctant to write off Perry because, when push comes to shove, it’s a two-person race for the nomination. Rank-and-file Republican voters will have to decide between the guy who looks like an idiot during debates and Willard, the moderate Massachusetts multi-millionaire, best known for flip-flopping, getting rich by laying off American workers, and being part of a religious minority the GOP’s theocratic wings finds offensive.

    Perry didn’t rocket to the front of the pack because voters were wildly impressed with his record and persona; he became the frontrunner because a lot of conservatives were looking for a credible anti-Romney. The cringe-worthy debate performances — and the ensuing coverage — are likely to cost Perry some support, but fundamentally, the forces that put Perry out in front haven’t changed.

  9. rikyrah says:

    September 23, 2011 2:55 PM
    The incentive to lie

    By Steve Benen

    As is the norm when a group of Republican candidates get together for a high-profile event, there was quite a bit of lying in last night’s debate. I don’t mean instances in which candidates fudge some details, tell half-truths, get factual claims wrong, or exaggerate for effect. I’m talking about pure, obvious, unadulterated lies — stuff the candidates know to be false, but say anyway.

    Kevin Drum had a great item today, noting that this is “a real problem for liberals.”

    Sure, we cherry pick evidence, we spin world events, and we impose our worldview when we talk about policy. Everyone does that. But generally speaking, our opinion leaders don’t go on national TV, look straight into the camera, and just outright lie about stuff. Theirs do. And you know, if you’d been told over and over that Obamacare meant getting government permission every time you want to go to the doctor; if you’d been told over and over that the economy is in bad shape because a tidal wave of regulations are strangling American business; and if you’d been told over and over that stimulus spending didn’t create one single job — well, what would you think about Barack Obama’s presidency? Not much, I imagine.

    It’s awfully hard to fight stuff this brazen. Everyone understands that politicians fudge details and engage in partisan hypocrisy. All part of the game. But most of us don’t expect them to flat out lie. So when they do, we figure there must be something to it. It’s a pretty powerful formula, especially when the mainstream press no longer seriously polices this stuff, and isn’t much believed even when it does. The answer remains frustratingly elusive.

    Agreed. I tend to have a pretty sunny disposition, but this is the sort of thing that has me banging my head against my desk.

    That last point Kevin made — about the media — strikes me as especially important. Republicans would probably be less inclined to lie if they thought there would be consequences for their dishonesty. Lacking character and integrity, they need an incentive to be honest.

    Ideally, major news organizations would offer that incentive. Before Mitt Romney lies about President Obama “apologizing for America,” a little voice would echo in his head saying, “If you tell this lie again, voters will hear about it, and no one wants to vote for a known liar.”

    But that doesn’t happen precisely because Romney and his cohorts knows he can lie with impunity. Some news outlets will run fact-check items that most of the public won’t see, and many who do come across these pieces won’t believe them anyway, since they’ve been told that the media is “liberal” and not to be trusted. It’s always been an underlying part of the campaign against media — if the right can discredit the referees, it’s that much easier to get away with wrongdoing.

    Even for well-intentioned members of the public, there’s very likely a sense that the lies might have some truth in them. And through constant repetition and reinforcement from like-minded outlets like Fox News and talk radio, folks start to consider the falsehoods credible simply because they’ve heard them so many times, which creates an incentive to tell even bigger lies.

    What’s to be done when the discourse is broken? I don’t know, but I’m open to suggestion.

  10. rikyrah says:

    September 23, 2011 3:40 PM
    Race to the flip-flop

    By Steve Benen

    One of Mitt Romney’s advantages as a presidential candidate is that he’s done this before. Many of his more dramatic flip-flops occurred four or five years ago, leaving the former governor to be relatively consistent since.

    At least that’s the general idea. Romney, however, is so prolific in his reversals, he keeps breaking new ground. I think videos like these are pretty brutal.

    For those who can’t watch clips online, this one is pretty straightforward: Romney told a Florida audience on Wednesday that he supports many of the provisions in President Obama’s “Race to the Top” education reform policy. Last night, just a day later, Romney denied supporting “any particular program” in the president’s policy. The clip, from American Bridge, highlights the contradicting positions plainly — what Romney was for on Wednesday he was against on Thursday.

    Now, in a national context, most conservatives probably don’t much care about “Race to the Top.” In fact, in Congress, even some Republican lawmakers have offered tepid praise for the policy. The fact that Romney had some positive things to say about Obama’s program probably wouldn’t have caused much of a stir. This generally isn’t an issue that stirs passions for a large percentage of the electorate.

    The point, though, is the ugly habit Romney has of taking one position on an issue and then soon after taking the exact opposite position. In this case, the 180-degree turn on education policy took literally just one day.

    And then Romney has the chutzpah to boast, “I stand by my positions”? Seriously?

    I can vaguely understand how Romney became a leading presidential candidate. How anyone trusts his word, however, remains a mystery to me.

  11. rikyrah says:

    September 23, 2011 4:45 PM
    Real follow through to ‘pass this bill’

    By Steve Benen

    Ben Smith notes today, “In a world of fake ad buys and web videos, it’s often hard to figure out which messages the parties are selling blog readers, and which they’re pushing to the mass public.”

    Quite right. Parties, PACs, and interest groups will often unveil a new “ad” that they never really intend to air anywhere, hoping to get some free airtime out of it. But when it comes to the push on the American Jobs Act, Democratic efforts aren’t just for show.

    The Democratic National Committee unveiled its “14 months” ad last week, and the party is apparently investing about $3.5 million to air the spot in Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, and Iowa. That’s a fairly serious buy. Today, the DNC is following up with this new spot, which will air in the same states, as well as Nevada, New Hampshire, Virginia, and D.C.

    For those who can’t watch clips online, the gist of this commercial is to tout the American Jobs Act’s virtues — infrastructure investments, tax credits to hire new workers, payroll tax break, ending tax breaks for wealthy and closing corporate loopholes.

    It concludes, “Tell Congress: No more games. Pass the plan.”

    It’s not a bad ad, but the larger point, at least to me, is that the DNC is going all in. If there’s going to be any progress on economic policymaking at all, President Obama’s speech to Congress two weeks ago had to be the first step of many, and the party apparatus appears to understand that. In ways that have exceeded my expectations, leading Dems have been fully engaged in making as aggressive a push as possible, as part of a sustained effort.

    I have no idea whether any of this will work, whether the public will actually start demanding congressional action, whether Republicans will be willing to pass anything at all, whether weak congressional Dems would rather cower than fight, etc.

    But efforts like these at least offer the agenda a fighting chance.

  12. Ametia says:

    I loathe this slimy, lying, hypocritcal BASTARD

  13. Ametia says:

    So Ms. piggly wiggly Landrieu stepped away from the oil trough long enough to call out Issa. What’s in it for her?

  14. rikyrah says:

    Cornel West And Tavis Smiley Have Never Supported President Obama!

    As Dr. Cornel West continues his crusade to undermine our President, I keep hearing how he was once a supporter of President Obama. If he did claim to be a supporter, it was just that — a claim.

    I decided to go back in time with the help of Google and find out if he ever REALLY supported Barack Obama and exactly when it was that Dr. West and his sidekick, Tavis Smiley, began their assault on our first black president.

    I typed into the search bar the words “Cornel West Supports Obama” and then proceeded to weed through hundreds of hits about Cornel’s criticism of President Obama, page after page after page of links to stories about “black mascots” and “oligarchs and plutocrats” and “fear of free black men”. There were articles by conservatives and liberals, all using Cornel West to justify their own hatred and dislike for our President.

    I came across one transcript from an interview he did with Amy Goodman about 2 weeks after the election where Dr. West very cautiously applauds the election of President Obama, but you can already begin to see the formulation of his strategy to undermine him.

    I looked at hundreds of results from my Google search and that one transcript was about the extent of the “support” I found for President Obama. I challenge any defenders of West to provide more, besides people saying he supported the president.

    In my attempt to find Cornel’s support of candidate Obama, I did come across what to me is the beginning of Cornel West and Tavis Smiley’s descent into pettiness and self defeatism.

    Joy Reid, now the managing editor of The Grio, had a post on her blog from February of 2008, that quoted a Salon article that was very revealing of West and Smiley’s true feelings about Senator Obama…

    As Obama’s campaign got started, black media juggernaut Tavis Smiley exemplified the black community’s lukewarm response, declaring, “There is not a black groundswell … saying ‘Run, Obama, Run.’” He pinpointed Obama’s lack of common history with other black Americans as part of what made people of color skeptical about him, because he did not have a “long-standing relationship with the black community.” Around the same time, prominent black intellectual Cornel West criticized Obama for beginning his campaign in Springfield, Ill. (which he implied is a predominantly white community), instead of at Smiley’s State of Black America conference. Like Smiley, Debra J. Dickerson, writing in Salon, described Obama as “not black” in part because his biography does not include the legacy of slavery

    I remember that period of time vividly. The media picked up on it very quickly and for several weeks, a meme was created that the black community wasn’t going to support the young Senator because he wasn’t “black enough”. Debra Dickerson and Tavis Smiley helped to spread that meme and Cornel West was enabling them with his rhetoric too. If you haven’t seen the clip of Dick Gregory at the “State of the Black Union” addressing the “not black enough” craziness, go watch it now.

    I found a piece at The Daily Voice from April of 2008 that helped shed some light on the history of Cornel West’s dislike of our President. It stemmed from the fact that Senator Barack Obama did not attend a ceremony on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death.’

    Princeton professor Cornel West was also concerned by Obama’s absence. “I want to say that I’m deeply disappointed that my dear brother Barack Obama decided not to go pay tribute and lay his wreath for the great Martin Luther King, Jr.,” West wrote.

    Although West is an Obama supporter and understands the politics behind the candidate’s decision, he still disagreed with the decision. Dr. King’s message, he said, is not “reducible to political calculations, even for the campaign for presidency” and “can in no way be subject to strategies for access to political power.”

    But for every criticism of Obama by a prominent black public figure, there seems to be some sort of backlash. The reaction to Cornel West was no exception to the rule.

    “My prayer for you Dr. West is that you humble yourself and come down off your judgmental high horse and walk with us common folk who are experiencing a transforming moment in the history of America,” wrote one critic, identified online as Rev. Holmes. “Stop your ego (edging out God) from getting in the way and you will see the bigger picture,” said the writer.

    “Dr. West, I have long admired the brilliant creativity of your thinking for many years, but in my humble opinion you are WAY, WAY, WAY off the mark with this one,” wrote another commenter.

    “So, Dr. West, let me get this straight,” wrote a third critic. “[Y]ou are concerned that a black man who is the Democratic front-runner for the highest office in our country and is promoting change didn’t go back to the site where another high black figure who also promoted change was assassinated?”

    A fourth critic chimed in, “I’d like to share my ‘deep disappointment’ in my ‘dear brother’ Cornel West. It seems that Barack Obama’s successful White House run is making many so-called black leaders and intellectuals go a little insane. This article was completely unnecessary, and woefully short-sighted. not to mention petty as all get-out!”

    The brief two-paragraph post by Cornel West elicited more than 1200 comments on the Huffington Post web site, many of them defending Obama and criticizing West.

    Something similar happened to Tavis Smiley when he challenged Sen. Barack Obama for not attending an annual “State of the Black Union” event he moderated in New Orleans two months ago. As a result of his criticism, the talk show host was chastened by African Americans who accused him of hurting Obama’s chances to win the presidency.

    Writing in the Chicago Sun-Times on Monday, columnist Laura Washington accused Smiley of being out of touch after he made a recent comment criticizing Obama for failing to defend Rev. Jeremiah Wright. “This spokesman for black America is edging out onto a precarious limb,” she wrote. “His attacks on Obama are alienating his base. PBS and his multitude of corporate benefactors didn’t hire him to weave conspiracy theories and pick fights with natural allies.”

    Melissa Harris-Perry (Harris-Lacewell at the time) wrote a great piece back in February of 2008 – taking Tavis Smiley to task for his pettiness over candidate Obama’s failure to attend the “State of the Black Union” event, which was organized by Tavis. Melissa tells it like it is…

    Tavis and his guests have every right to criticize Obama if they have substantive disagreements with his policy, his approach to politics or his viability as a general election candidate. They do not have a right to create a false, racial litmus test. All these black leaders who spent the year telling us that Obama is not old enough, not black enough and not angry enough to earn African American votes must have noticed that Obama can deliver the black vote to himself, by himself, with little help from these self-proclaimed racial power brokers.

    I can’t quite figure out what motivates Tavis. At least I understand the old guard Civil Rights leaders. They are genuinely unwilling to cede power, believing that they have an authenticity claim based on their proximity to Martin Luther King, Jr. I also understand the frightened Democratic insiders who rely on the remnants of the Clinton machine for their bread and butter. But Tavis is not in either category. He is a part of a new generation of journalists who have carved out their own constituency. I am actually surprised to see Smiley join a pile-on led by his former boss Bob Johnson, who tried to silence him with such an ungracious termination a decade ago.

    So as you can see, these two gentlemen have been undermining President Obama since before he was even elected. And then Cornel had the gall to complain about candidate Obama not returning his calls or making sure he had tickets to the inauguration. The “audacity” he showed by expecting tickets to the party after spending so much time attacking him personally is simply amazing.

    Cornel West is now joining forces with Ralph Nadar, of all people, to recruit people to primary President Obama and challenge his policies. Angry Black Lady reminded us of Ralph Nadar’s previous statements and wonders how Dr. West squares it with his thinking.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Rick Perry: ‘I Don’t Think The Federal Government Has A Role’ In Education

    By Ian Millhiser and Scott Keyes on Aug 16, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    At a campaign stop in Iowa yesterday, Perry added something else to the long list of things he insists are beyond the federal government’s power — any involvement whatsoever in education:

    QUESTION: I would like to know your position on the federal government’s role in my children’s education.

    PERRY: I don’t think the federal government has a role in your children’s education. . . . I know there’s probably a few of you in here who have not read my book “Fed Up.” But I talk about the intrusion into our lives by the federal government in a host of different areas. Education is one of them.

    Watch it:

    Of course, this is hardly the first time time that Perry took a constitutional swipe at federal education programs. In a recent interview with Glenn Beck, Perry suggested that Texas should not have to comply with any of the conditions associated with the billions of dollars of federal education funds it gladly accepts.

    But Perry’s blanket statement that the federal government doesn’t have any role in education whatsoever goes much further than his previous position that Texas should simply be able to suckle at the federal Department of Education’s teat. If the federal government truly has no role in education, that means millions of college students must lose their Pell Grants and federal student loans overnight, depriving many of them of their ability to pay for higher education altogether. And that’s just the lucky students who are still able to get accepted into college after their public schools lose all federal funding — funding that disproportionately benefits the most needy schools.

    Sadly, federal education programs are hardly the only thing Perry wants to eliminate. For those of you keeping track at home, Perry has also called Social Security, Medicare, the Clean Air Act, Medicaid, SCHIP, federal bank regulation and federal consumer financial protections unconstitutional.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Will Social Security Privatization Save The Affordable Care Act?

    By Ian Millhiser on Sep 23, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    The following report was filed from Washington, DC where the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit just heard a challenge to the Affordable Care Act

    Judge Brett Kavanaugh
    The genius of the constitutional argument attacking the Affordable Care Act is that it has promised conservative judges an opportunity to make a surgical strike on the law that conservatives hate most — the so-called “individual mandate” requiring everyone to either carry health insurance or pay slightly more income taxes.

    Two years ago, the law’s opponents offered a sweeping explanation of why they think this law violates the Constitution: “[t]he federal government does not have the power to regulate Americans simply because they are there.” The problem with this sweeping claim, however, is that it is simply not true. Congress may compel sex offenders to register with local officials after they move into a new jurisdiction. It may conscript unwilling civilians into military service. It may compel individuals to pay taxes. And it may require non-custodial parents to pay child support. President George Washington signed a law requiring freedmen of a certain age to buy firearms. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires lunch counter owners to sell food to African-Americans whether they want to or not. And Congress can force people to sell their land by flexing its power of eminent domain.

    So the law’s opponents added an endless series of caveats to their original rule. Conscription is different because it’s not a financial transaction. Gun mandates are different because the Constitution allows Congress to “provide for calling forth the militia.” Eminent domain is different because — well, no one has every actually explained why eminent domain is different — but one federal judge claimed that it is “obviously distinguishable” and thus he does not have to give a reason.

    This is an embarrassingly bad way to read the Constitution — judges should not be in the business of crafting customized rules that allow them to strike down one and exactly one provision of law — but it also had exactly one virtue. It allowed conservative judges to strike down the Affordable Care Act without thinking that they would also have to strike down something they actually care about.

    That is, of course, until today.

    Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a partisan’s partisan. He was a principal author of Clinton inquisitor Ken Starr’s report on the Monica Lewinsky affair. He served in George W. Bush’s White House. And, as he made clear during today’s oral argument, he is a passionate supporter of Social Security privatization.

    On at least three or four separate occasions, Kavanaugh noted that if Congress cannot require people to buy health insurance in order to prevent a catastrophic collapse of the entire health insurance market, then it is probably also unconstitutional to repeal Social Security and replace it with a program that requires Americans to buy private annuities that will fund their retirement. (Under Kavanaugh’s theory, it would also be unconstitutional to enact the House GOP’s plan to privatize and then phase out Medicare for the exact same reason).

    Based on Kavanaugh’s questions today, it appears very likely that he cares more about preserving Congress’ power to privatize Social Security than he does about undermining one of Barack Obama’s greatest accomplishments, and he appears to be a likely-but-not-certain vote to uphold the law. If a conservative former clerk to Justice Kennedy like Kavanaugh upholds the law, it is very, very difficult to imagine the the Supreme Court will not do the same.

    To be sure, the Department of Justice did not have a completely smooth ride today. DOJ attorney Beth Brinkman outright botched an important and expected question from conservative Judge Laurence Silberman: if the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, can Congress force you to buy anything? Brinkman’s weak answer to this question is particularly unfortunate because there is a very easy answer to this question:

    The Constitution does not simply allow Congress to regulate commercial markets. It establishes that, in Justice Scalia’s words, “where Congress has the authority to enact a regulation of interstate commerce, it possesses every power needed to make that regulation effective.”

    Scalia’s rule is important because the ACA doesn’t just require people to carry insurance, it also eliminates one of the insurance industry’s most abusive practices — denying coverage to patients with pre-existing conditions. This ban cannot function if patients are free to enter and exit the insurance market at will. If patients can wait until they get sick to buy insurance, they will drain all the money out of an insurance plan that they have not previously paid into, leaving nothing left for the rest of the plan’s consumers.

    In this sense, health insurance is unique. The national market for vegetables will not collapse if there is no “broccoli mandate,” and no other federal law depends upon Congress requiring everyone to buy automobiles. Fortunately, the judges appeared to recognize that this is the correct answer to Silberman’s question even though Brinkman stumbled in her own answer. Indeed, Kavanaugh’s very first question to the attorney challenging the law focused on the necessary connection between the coverage requirement and the protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

    The judges also spent a great deal of time worrying that a law called the Tax Anti-Injunction Act strips them of jurisdiction to hear the case. This was the rationale behind the Fourth Circuit’s recent Affordable Care Act decision, and it seems likely that one or more judges will be swayed by it. Should the court reach the merits, however, the ACA had a much better day today than anyone anticipated. Given the conservative makeup of this panel, a decision upholding the law on the merits would all but guarantee that the Supreme Court will uphold the law.

  17. rikyrah says:

    In Just One Hour, Rick Perry Expresses Two Entirely Different Views On Social Security

    By Ian Millhiser on Sep 23, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Rick Perry believes Social Security is unconstitutional. His book Fed Up! says that Social Security exists “at the expense of respect for the Constitution,” and video of him saying Social Security is unconstitutional is available online.

    Yet, in last night’s debate, Perry managed to completely disavow this view and then suddenly re-embrace it again just one hour later. At about 9:30 last night, in response to a question from Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, Perry denied ever saying that Social Security is beyond the federal government’s power and therefore must be handled solely by state governments:

    KELLY: Gov. Perry, Gov. Romney has been hammering you on your idea of turning Social Security back to the states. Repeatedly. Can you explain, specifically, how fifty separate social security systems are supposed to work? […]

    PERRY: Now, it’s not the first time that Mitt’s been wrong on issues before. And the bottom line is that we never said that we were going to move this back to the states.

    Nevertheless, at about 10:30 last night, Perry changed position again — this time insisting that he is retreating “not an inch” from the positions he stated in his book. Watch both of Perry’s contradictory positions:

    It’s clear at this point that Perry wants to create an image of himself that is firm and unwaivering, but that he also doesn’t want his candidacy to be tarred with any of the extremist positions he quite openly and honestly expressed before he decided to run for president. Perry can’t have it both ways, no matter how many times he tries. The bottom line is that Perry either needs to start being honest again about his desire to eliminate Social Security, Medicare, and other essential programs that he believes to be unconstitutional, or he needs to candidly admit that he is reversing his entire stance on the Constitution.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney Declares War On Smaller Class Sizes And The Teachers Unions Who Love Them

    Mitt Romney is turning the discussion to education this week, positing a vision for improving schools that might seem counter-intuitive: the push for smaller class sizes, he says, is basically a scheme by unionized teachers to pad their membership.

    Smaller classes does not make a better education, Romney says. Better teachers and school choice programs like voucher systems do.

    In the debate here Thursday night, Romney brought up the idea during a back-and-forth with Rick Perry.

    “All the talk about we need smaller classroom size, look that’s promoted by the teachers unions to hire more teachers,” he said.

    Back when he was governor of Massachusetts, Romney said, he did a study of class size versus student improvement.

    “We looked in our state, the best thing for education is great teachers. The best and brightest,” he said. “Pay them properly. Make sure that you have school choice.”

    Romney made this argument in his book, No Apology: The Case For American Greatness, as well. You can read the pages about Romney’s Massachusetts study and his belief that smaller classes don’t make better students here.

    In the spin room after the debate, Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom explained Romney’s position to TPM:

    When Gov. Romney was in office in Massachusetts, we could test it. So we were able to look at how individual school districts were performing and we know how much money they were receiving. So we thought to see if theirs a correlation between class size and performance. And what we found was that there was absolutely no correlation whatsoever, that the size of the class did not determine the performance of the students on the test.

    The National Education Association, the largest teachers’ union in the country, told TPM their push for smaller class sizes comes from the parents. They say PTAs across the country — including those in Texas and Florida, according to the NEA — have continued to push for smaller class sizes despite tightening budgets. The union points to an oft-cited Tennessee study in the 1980s that showed classes of 13-17 students performed better than classes of 22-26 students to bolster their case.

    But Romney’s not the only one skeptical of the labor position. While some studies have shown major gains from smaller classroom sizes, especially for grade school students, others have found that the benefits are relatively minor compared to the enormous cost of implementing strict statewide limits. Even the Obama administration has suggested reduced class sizes shouldn’t be the main goal of education reform: Arne Duncan has called it a “sacred cow.”

    Matt Chingos, a fellow at the Brookings Institution whose research focuses on class size, argues that policy makers might achieve more dramatic gains by putting their limited resources elsewhere.

    “It’s not a crazy thing to say that we need to think about the quality of the teacher as well,” Chingos told TPM. “For intuitive reasons smaller classes afford students some opportunity to do better. But you have to think about what you could have done that that money instead: higher pay for teachers, more technology, longer school days, more textbooks.”

    Other aspects of Romney’s education rhetoric are even more controversial. He spoke out last night during the debate in favor of the private school voucher system Republicans installed in Washington, DC and kept in place over the objections of the White House as part of the deal to prevent a government shutdown in April.

    At CPAC Florida in Orlando Friday, Romney again talked up letting parents move their children among the schools.

    “What was the answer about improving schools?” Romney said, referring to his Massachusetts tenure. “School choice. Recruiting the best teachers.”

  19. rikyrah says:

    Cantor Claims Victims ‘Need To Know’ Disaster Relief Funds Are ‘There For Them’ After Repeatedly Holding Funds Hostage

    By Travis Waldron on Sep 23, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    House Republicans finally pushed through their continuing resolution early this morning after finding yet another $100 million in spending cuts that satiated the conservatives who wouldn’t approve disaster relief funds without matching offsets. Immediately after it passed, spokespersons for Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) took to Twitter to warn Senate Democrats against blocking funds for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), despite the fact that a bipartisan Senate majority passed a $7 billion FEMA relief package a week ago.

    At a news conference today, Boehner and Cantor themselves joined in those warnings, attempting to blame Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and his Democratic colleagues for blocking disaster relief funds. Cantor, who has repeatedly insisted that the House would not approve disaster relief funds without offsets, blasted Reid for “blocking” funds that victims of multiple natural disasters needed:

    CANTOR: As the Speaker indicated, there are people who are suffering in a big way, and they need to know that FEMA and the disaster relief monies will be there for them.

    Watch it:

    That’s an interesting change of position for Cantor, who was the first Republican to mention exchanging disaster relief funds for spending offsets in the wake of the tornadoes that hit Joplin, Missouri in May. Cantor again insisted on offsets after the East Coast earthquake that was centered in Mineral, Virginia — the heart of his own district. And for good measure, Cantor again noted that offsets were necessary for disaster funds after Hurricane Irene battered states along the East Coast from North Carolina to Vermont.

    Democrats in both the Senate and House have been attempting to approve disaster relief without massive spending offsets to popular programs, including those that once had broad Republican support. And they haven’t been alone in their opposition. Cantor’s actions on disaster relief earned him rebuke from multiple Republican governors and put him out of step with former Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay (TX), who pushed through deficit-financed disaster relief after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Warren Buffett Gave His Tax Return To Charlie Rose Last Month

    \Attention Buffett Birthers on Capitol Hill: Warren Buffett has already made his 2010 tax return public.

    Appearing on Charlie Rose last month, the billionaire investor brought his tax return along to prove his point about the Buffett Rule, which has become the centerpiece of President Obama’s new plan to raise taxes on the super-rich.

    A group of Republicans on Capitol Hill is calling on Buffett to release his tax return to the public, to prove whether or not he actually pays a lower percentage in tax than his secretary. Buffett made no secret of the numbers to Rose, and explained how the income breakdown works.

    From the transcript, posted by CNBC last month:

    BUFFETT: …I’ve got my tax return here.

    ROSE: We’ll take look at them in a moment.

    BUFFETT: And — and they — they get — I get taxed on up to $100,000. And — and — and my super rich friends get taxed up to $100,000. And that tax hits the people in my office very, very hard. Often they have a spouse working, so they get taxed on up to $200,000 that payroll tax. And that’s at — this year we’ve had a waiver of two points but that’s normally at 15.3 percent. That alone is higher than the tax rate on capital gains or dividends.

    ROSE: You point out that the average tax rate for people in your audience — in your — the average rate for people in your office is 36 percent of taxable income.

    BUFFETT: Yes, 36 percent. And nobody’s below 33 percent. And incidentally, the lowest income person in the office is higher than the 33 percent. They don’t have the low rate. So from 33 percent to 41 percent they range and they average 36 percent and I’m in there with a fat 17.4 percent I think it is.

    ROSE: And why is that?

    BUFFETT: Well, taxes — if you make money with money, you get taxed very — at very low rates; 15 percent dividends in capital gains. No payroll tax. If you make money with muscle or hard work or sweat of your brow, you get taxed at rates that move on up. And most of the people, the middle-class gets taxed at rates of either 15 percent or 25 percent on their income tax, but then they get really hit hard on the payroll tax and that’s what brings the rates in our office up to an average of 36 percent if you leave me out.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Analysis: Obama Faces Allies, Foes at CBC Dinner

    Date: Friday, September 23, 2011, 7:37 am
    By: Michael H. Cottman,
    When President Barack Obama takes the stage Saturday at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual awards dinner, he will stand before a friendly audience, but not one without his critics.

    While members of the Congressional Black Caucus are solidly behind Obama as he prepares for a tough re-election campaign in 2012, tension between the caucus and Obama has intensified as several prominent black congressional leaders have criticized Obama for not doing enough to reverse a soaring black unemployment rate that remains at a staggering 16.7 percent.

    Last month, for example, Rep. Maxine Waters of California told a crowd in Detroit that black Americans are impatient and “getting tired” of Obama’s stalled economic initiatives.

    “We’re supportive of the president, but we’re getting tired,” Waters said. “We’re getting tired. And so, what we want to do is, we want to give the president every opportunity to show what he can do and what he’s prepared to lead on. We want to give him every opportunity, but our people are hurting. The unemployment is unconscionable. We don’t know what the strategy is.”

    And here’s a pointed statement from Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), one of Obama’s steadfast supporters.

    “We are totally frustrated, and people need to know that the president feels their pain,” Cummings told CNN. “Almost every African-American person I spoke to said he needs to fight – and fight harder.”

    The visceral feelings about Obama by some members of the Congressional Black Caucus are echoed by many African-Americans who are unemployed and struggling. A recent CNN poll showed that 55 percent of Americans say they do not approve of how Obama is handling his duties in the White House, and the number of Americans who think Obama is a strong leader has dropped to a new low.

    Moreover, the U.S. Census found 46.2 million Americans were living in poverty last year, many of them black. Since the Census began tracking poverty figures in 1959, never have more people been recorded living in poverty, and only once since 1965 — in 1983 — has the poverty rate been recorded higher than 15.1 percent.

    Obama is back on the road these days talking up his American Jobs Act. “It’s a bill that will put people to work rebuilding America – repairing our roads and bridges and airports and schools,” Obama told a crowd in Cincinnati this week.

    The decline of big cities like Detroit and Cincinnati are particularly evident in Cleveland, where jobs for African-Americans are scarce and only one of four adults have a car. Cleveland, where major sections of the city are predominantly black, is also listed as America’s fastest-declining major city not hit by a natural disaster.

    So while hundreds of African-American professionals gathered for the four-day Congressional Black Caucus legislative conference in Washington this week, the talk in workshops, hallways and receptions was about jobs – and Obama.

    Impatient black legislators moved ahead with their own economic enterprise, sponsoring a series of jobs fairs in several urban areas across the country from Los Angeles to Atlanta last month.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Alter: Worried About America? Visit a Boys & Girls Club

    The political world is so toxic that I needed some relief, so I tuned into a reality show more real than anything on television. I wasn’t disappointed. The stories I heard were at once harrowing and inspirational. And they were deeply connected to the future of the country.

    This week, I served as one of five judges in the Boys & Girls Clubs of America National Youth of the Year competition. This is like the Miss America pageant, except that instead of judging contestants by how they look in a ball gown, we were assessing things like “Moral Character,” “Public Speaking” and “Obstacles Overcome.”

    Talk about a man-bites-dog story: The adults in the room — from a senior White House official to an executive with Major League Baseball — stood in awe of 17- and 18-year-olds.

    In a better world, the Youth of the Year competition would be on television; there was plenty of suspense over who the winner would be. Of course, stories of young people doing well and serving their communities wouldn’t make for a juicy series. Or would it? “The Situation” in these kids’ lives is a lot more compelling than getting a tan and going to the gym.

    4.1 Million Kids

    With little notice, the 4,000 Boys & Girls Clubs in impoverished areas of all 50 states have become a vital part of the social safety net. They serve about 4.1 million kids under 18. That’s more than a quarter of the population of so-called at-risk young people, the ones who would end up in jail, on drugs or mired in deep poverty without early intervention.

    Once they realize it’s not uncool to show up, boys, in particular, routinely say that the club saved their lives. In most poor rural and urban areas nowadays, the only social anchors are the church, the school and the Boys & Girls Club. It’s hard to find an Indian reservation or housing project that doesn’t have one.

    This year’s finalists each beat hundreds of others with a daunting combination of essays and recommendations that only hinted at how impressive they are in person. All the judges were blown away by our one-on-one interviews, and again when the students delivered five-minute memorized speeches.

  23. creolechild says:

    Thank you, Norbrook! Have a good weekend everyone~

    Tea Party Republicans: Influencing Enemies and Losing Friends

    The past few weeks have been tough for most of the Northeast. It was a fairly wet August to begin with, when Hurricane Irene came through, followed in short order by the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee. What most people tend to forget, because such storms are measured by their wind speeds, is that it’s not the wind that does the most damage, it’s the water. The Northeast has experienced record floods over the past two weeks, and here in New York, entire communities have been washed away or suffered extreme damage. In my area, we mostly dodged the severe damage. We had some flooding, but nothing like we had this spring. What damage we did have was mainly from trees being blown down.

    Yes, there is a road underneath the trees. Bad as it looks, it was a few days to clear them out, and most of the damage was fairly rapidly repaired. There’s still a lot of clean-up to be done, but the most serious stuff is out of the way. But that’s not the case elsewhere. Tree damage is one thing, water another entirely. In other parts of the state, roads, bridges, dams, farms, and houses all suffered destruction from flood waters. The town of Prattsville has half of the buildings on its Main Street street condemned as unsafe and scheduled for demolition. I talked to a fireman from the area, and he said his department had made what would normally be 1/3rd of their annual responses in a week. He told me of driving the fire engine through 4 feet of water, and having one of the men in the rear call forward and say “look to your right.” There was a house sliding down a hill, and as he said “I never thought I’d see something like that.”

    It’s not just New York that suffered. Vermont suffered heavy damage, as bridges washed out, and entire towns were cut off from outside contact. Pennsylvania and New Jersey suffered major damage, and deaths and damage were reported from North Carolina to Maine. A major disaster affecting multiple states, creating damage beyond the capabilities of local and state governments to fund repairs and recover from it. Which is exactly why we have FEMA.

    It’s been a bad year for disasters, and unfortunately, FEMA needed additional funds. Which is when Republicans in Congress decided to show just how caring they are. Representative Eric Cantor demanded that any funding be matched with cuts elsewhere, just as he did with the Joplin, Missouri tornado. This went over like a lead balloon with leaders in the affected states. Even fellow Republicans from the affected area were irate about it, and one representative, Nan Hayworth, who tried to toe the party line, ended up changing her tune after local Republicans had … unprintable things … to say about her statements. When the funding measure came up in the Senate, Jeff Sessions of Alabama blocked it, until a number of other Senators – including 8 from his Party – overrode him. I might note that Senator Sessions had no qualms about asking for FEMA aid when his state was hit by a tornado.

    At no time in the past has disaster aid been subjected to the political games that the Tea Party Republicans are playing. The rule of thumb has has always been “help now, worry about the budget games later.” Many of these representatives are in states which have benefited from that in the past – and I don’t mean the far past, either. Those points haven’t been lost on the people whose lives were affected by this disaster. It’s one thing to be concerned about deficits and federal spending. Many of these areas are “conservative,” in the old sense of the term. Many of them are life-long Republicans, and voted for some of the current members of the House and Senate. They’ve never complained about disaster aid to other areas. They’ve always recognized that sometimes things are just too big for individuals, local government, or even states to handle on their own. So you can imagine their reaction when it’s their disaster. It’s not nice. What they see is a cold-blooded willingness to play stupid political games instead of pitching in to help out. They know they need help, they’ve asked for it, and to see various elected officials get stupid about it in the name of ideology – not practicality – infuriates them.

    Which is going have an impact for Republicans in 2012. The people in those states are still going to be cleaning up the mess next year, and they’ll have a lot of reminders of who played games with that right in front of them. They’re going to remember it, and what happens when you pick someone who chooses ideology over practicality. It’s going to be a rough year for the Tea Party next year, and it couldn’t happen to a better bunch.

  24. rikyrah says:


    PBO is doing an interview with BET on Monday at 7:30 eastern.

  25. creolechild says:

    Wow! Thank you Chris Savage, Eclectablog, and Extreme Liberal!

    President Obama Is A Real Leader That Doesn’t Need Bluster!

    That awesome organizer and blogger Chris Savage at Eclectablog brings us this story that shows what a real leader President Obama is. During the assault on the embassy in Cairo recently, one man – President Obama – quietly avoided what could have been a major setback for any chance of peace in the middle east. President Obama is a real leader and once again, shows that he supports the Israeli people.

    Here is Chris’s intro and some highlights from the linked article that explains what happened.

    An event took place this past week that didn’t get much attention but shows us that a lot happens in the White House that we never hear about. Efraim Halevy, an Israeli intelligence expert and former head of the Mossad spoke in New York about the recent uprisings in Cairo, Egypt. He tells the story of three Israelis who were trapped in the Cairo embassy and, but for the intervention of President Obama, they never would have made it out alive.

    Here are some highlights that detail what happened and why our President is a great leader…one who doesn’t think leadership is talking loud…

    We’ve been talking these days about Turkey and about Egypt. And I would like to say something about the event which took place last Friday evening or through the night in Cairo, which I think to a large extent was a seminal event, not only in the history of the Middle East but also in the history of the relations between Israel and Egypt, and between Israel and the United States of America.

    During that night, as you know, our embassy was surrounded and was on the verge of being stormed. And the Prime Minister went to the special command center in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and from there he actually ran and commanded this operation of trying to extricate our staff from the embassy. And, at the end, there were six people left, six people of the security detail of the embassy.


    But one of the decisions he had to take in the end, he wanted to take, was to find ways of extricating his people, our people, out of that embassy. And he turned to one man, to the President of the United States, and he spoke to him. And the president of the United States, without having much time to consult with Congress, and with the media, and with the analysts and with all of the other people who have to be consulted on major and grave decisions. He took a decision to take up the telephone and get on the line with the powers that be in Egypt, and get them to order the release of these six people, and the detail of the Egyptian commando forces entered and saved them.


    But I believe the leadership that the President of the United States showed on that night was a leadership of historic dimensions. It was he who took the ultimate decision that night which prevented what could have been a sad outcome—instead of six men coming home, the arrival in Israel of six body bags.

    And I want to say to you very openly and very clearly that had there been six body bags, there would have been a much different Israel today than we have been used to seeing over recent years. This would not have been one more incident, one more operation, one event. And the man who brought this about was one man and that was President Barack Hussein Obama.

    That says it all!

  26. creolechild says:

    Please, stay informed about your rights as they pertain to work compensation.~

    Department of Labor expands enforcement of wage violations – By Marcos Restrepo | 09.19.11

    Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today signed an agreement with the IRS and nine state agencies to “improve departmental efforts to end the business practice of misclassifying employees in order to avoid providing employment protections.” A Department of Labor press release adds that “signatory states are Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Utah and Washington. Secretary Solis also announced agreements for the Wage and Hour Division to enter into memorandums of understanding with the state labor agencies of Hawaii, Illinois and Montana, as well as with New York’s attorney general.”

    The Miami Herald reports that “the information will help Labor officials target businesses that improperly label workers as independent contractors or as non-employees to deprive workers of minimum wage and overtime pay. Misclassifying workers also lets companies avoid paying workers compensation, unemployment insurance and federal taxes.”

    The Herald adds that the Department of Labor “has focused on industries where so-called ‘wage theft’ is considered a problem, including the hotel, restaurant, janitorial, health care and day care industries,” adding that “last month, the agency began targeting large U.S. homebuilders to see if they failed to pay workers the minimum wage or overtime.”

    The Florida Independent reported late last month that at least 50 construction workers who had worked 10 hours or more a day on a Broward County affordable housing project had not received their wages for anywhere from three weeks to two months. The general contractor and two companies involved in the project said it was not their responsibility to pay the workers. Cynthia Hernandez, a research associate at the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy at Florida International University, has extensively studied wage theft wrote in an email to the Independent that practices like those alleged by the Sunrise workers is “very common”:

    ” Small contractors to even large corporations like Wal-Mart and Toys-R-Us have used this method to not pay employees. It happens a lot in construction because there are so many different levels of contractors and subs, which make it even harder for the worker to identify ultimately who is responsible for their pay. I have even heard of sub-contractors (employers) who have been stiffed out of their cut by contractors and as a result, have been late or unable to pay their employees. Until we can actually get some enforcement, this will continue to happen.”

    After workers reported the situation to the Independent and sought legal help, about 60 men, after weeks of being stiffed out of their wages, were paid with checks issued by Florida Shell Construction at the worksite.

  27. creolechild says:

    Obama on No Child Left Behind: Congress isn’t acting, ‘so I will’ – By Mikhail Zinshteyn | 09.23.11

    Earlier this morning, President Obama announced a set of criteria for states to opt out of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law following a long period of dissatisfaction with the 9-year-old national education policy. (For a full look at what the White House is asking from states in exchange for issuing waivers from the federal education law, read The American Independent’s breakdown, here.) “Congress has not been able to fix these flaws so far. I’ve urged Congress for a while now, let’s get a bipartisan effort, let’s fix this,” the president said during the indoor media event. ”Our kids only get one shot at a decent education. They cannot afford to wait any longer. So, given that Congress cannot act, I am acting.” The president stood with U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan and various state government and education leaders.

    Underlying the bipartisan collaboration the administration has fostered on the state level, Gov. Bill Haslam (R-Tenn.) introduced Obama, stating he looks forward “to the federal government narrowing its role in education.” Haslam added: “Education decisions are best made at the state and local level. Under the 2002 legislation, students are permitted to transfer to new schools if their current schools fail to meet state proficiency two years in a row. Even more costly, 20 percent of an under-performing school’s federal dollars is redirected to fund tutoring services for low-income students after three years of missing state standards. The build up of high-stakes testing that determine whether the state is meeting proficiency benchmarks — called Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) — was established by the federal law but allowed for states to craft the specifics.

    Though the president’s remarks were light on the details — having his administration staff lay out the terms in a closed session with journalists Thursday — education policy analyst Ulrich Boser of Center for American Progress said the live event demonstrates his commitment to education policy.


  28. creolechild says:

    This news wasn’t covered by the MSM (no surprise there). Although it occurred in June I’m re-posting it because I believe that it’s newsworthy.~

    Federal bill that would tackle poverty to improve student results introduced – By admin

    Congress is considering a bill that would issue competitive grants to develop neighborhood-specific programs in economically disadvantaged communities toward improving student school performance and college readiness. Appearing in both chambers under the same name, the Promise Neighborhoods Act of 2011 is self-styled after the successful Harlem Children’s Zone, which has been a national model in revitalizing troubled areas by improving school, public health and civil engagement through organizational partnerships.

    In the Senate, the proposed law was first released by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa); Rep. Donald M. Payne (D-N.J.) introduced the bill in the House. If passed, it would empower the U.S. Dept. of Education Secretary Arne Duncan to consider a community’s proposal on the basis of its plans to address:

    (A) ensuring school readiness, including success in early learning;

    (B) improving academic outcomes, including academic achievement and graduation rates;

    (C) increasing college and career readiness, including rates of enrollment in institutions of higher education; and

    (D) improving the health, mental health, and social and emotional well-being of children.

    In the bill’s introduction, a litany of facts are used to draw the correlation between poverty and academic performance. Within the scope of poverty, the architects of the bill consider a child’s access to quality meals, books, health access and early education access. A large-scale study at the University of Minnesota found a child’s exposure to pre-K academic instruction increases the likelihood of high graduation, college completion, avoiding incarceration and finding well paying jobs. Separately, An Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report that examined over 20 countries concluded (PDF) socioeconomic factors outside the classroom are the most significant variable in a student’s success.


    Read more:

  29. creolechild says:

    Thank you, Stephen and Addicting Info!

    Rick Perry Wants To Build Afghanistan’s Infrastructure, But Opposes Building America’s – By Stephen D. Foster Jr.

    If Republicans are pro-America, how come they want to build infrastructure in foreign nations, yet oppose building America’s infrastructure? You can add Rick Perry to the long list of Republicans who feel that way. During the last GOP Debate, Perry said we need to stay in Afghanistan to “continue to help them build the infrastructure that they need, whether it’s schools for young women like yourself, or otherwise.”

    Never mind the fact that America’s own infrastructure is crumbling. Perry wants to spend billions of dollars on Afghanistan’s infrastructure, and at the same time, Republicans claim we can’t afford to build our own. President Obama’s plan would put Americans to work rebuilding America, yet Perry dismissed it as wasteful spending “guided by his mistaken belief that we can spend our way to prosperity. Like the president’s earlier $800 billion stimulus program, this proposal offers little hope for millions of Americans who have lost jobs.”

    Here’s the video: [click on link.]

    If you really love something, you take care of it, right? It makes sense that if you love your house or your car, you naturally fix it when it needs repairs. Apparently, that love doesn’t extend to the country. How many times have we heard how much Republicans love America? Apparently, Perry is fine with America spending our way to Afghanistan’s prosperity, but not with spending American dollars on our own people. And he has temerity to call himself an “American patriot”? Perry and the Republican Party don’t know the meaning of those words.

  30. creolechild says:

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

    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.


  31. creolechild says:

    Unions Breathe Easier After GOP Assault On NLRB Fails – By Susan Crabtree

    The AFL-CIO and organized labor in general is breathing a sigh of relief after the Senate Appropriations Committee narrowly defeated — in a tie vote Wednesday night — an effort to gut the National Labor Relations Board and prevent it from filing suits against companies that move operations to right-to-work states. After a furious last-minute AFL-CIO lobbying spree, the Senate Committee, which is split 16 to 15 Democratic voted 15 to 15 to defeat language from being attached to a bill funding the NLRB, as well as the Labor and Health and Human Services Departments.

    Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC), motivated by an attempt to help Boeing, managed to convince Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) to support his efforts to add the anti-NLRB language to the larger spending bill, but in the end, a wavering Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) stuck with the Democratic party line and voted no. A tie vote in committee prevents language from being added. Graham 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.


  32. creolechild says:

    Ohio Becomes First State To Sell Off A Prison, Giving It To Prison Director’s Former Private Employer
    By Scott Keyes

    After John Kasich won the Ohio gubernatorial election last fall, one of his first appointments was Gary Mohr to be the state Director of Rehabilitation and Corrections. Prior to his appointment, Mohr worked as managing director for the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), a company that not only pushes states to build more private prisons, but also lobbies lawmakers to put more people in jail in order to fill the new supply of prison beds. In his first nine months on the job, Mohr has already made one major shift in Ohio correctional policy. This month, Ohio became the first state in the nation to sell off a public prison to a private company:

    A lockup along the shores of Lake Erie has become the first state prison in the nation to be sold to a private company. Lake Erie Correctional Institution in northeastern Ohio’s Ashtabula County is the only one of five state prisons up for sale that will be sold, state officials said Thursday. Corrections Corporation of America will buy it for $72.7 million, more than the $50 million needed from the privatization effort to balance the state’s prison budget. The CCA said it plans to add 304 prison beds to the prison.

    Though Mohr recused himself from the selection process of which corporation would buy the prison, Ohio lobbying records show that the CCA met with Mohr to lobby him just one month into Kasich’s tenure:


  33. creolechild says:

    9 Policies Conservatives Were For Long Before They Were Against Them – By Joshua Holland

    In 2001, the GOP’s budget guru, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, was excited for the opportunity to vote for Bush’s “temporary” tax cuts. “I think we ought to have this income tax cut fast … to make sure we get a good punch into the economy, juice the economy to make sure that we can avoid a hard landing,” he said at a committee hearing. “The economy has soured,” he continued. “And it is my concern that if we keep waiting and seeing we won’t give the economy the boost it needs right now.”

    Fast forward 10 years, to this August. President Obama was poised to call for an extension of a payroll tax break — and an additional break for businesses — and Ryan began singing a very different tune. “Those things are all temporary,” he told Fox News. “They are demand-sided. And they are proven not to work and they still facilitate uncertainty for businesses.” Suddenly, tax cuts — the GOP’s answer to every economic issue of the past four decades — were “proven not to work.” “What’s plaguing our economy today,” he said, is “the amount of uncertainty as to what the future holds for them on regulations, on taxes, on interest rates and all of those things.” He said that the temporary nature of the cuts “exactly exacerbates those problems.”

    Obama had made a point of the fact that the proposals contained in his jobs package had all been embraced by Republicans in the past, but that didn’t prevent them from bashing it, just as they had decried many other erstwhile conservative ideas as so much misguided “socialism” when proposed by Democrats. Before the memory-hole swallows them up, consider nine other ideas that Republicans had long championed, and were then picked up by Democrats and became toxic within the GOP caucus. They tell us not only how serious Republicans are about undermining the administration, but also how far both parties have lurched to the right — the Democrats are offering inherently conservative proposals to deal with the problems we face, and today’s Right considers those policies to be way out in left field.


    Read more:

  34. creolechild says:

    Thank you, Eclectablog and Angry Black Lady!

    Ahhh…so THIS is why they don’t want to tax millionaires – By Eclectablog on September 22nd, 2011

    Say whaaaa–? Hell NO you can’t! It’s because they ARE millionaires. Here is the most-excellent tribute to the Michigan millionaires against the millionaires tax, put out by The Agenda Project’s Patriotic Millionaires: Michigan Millionaires and their powerful national ad:

    Unpatriotic Millionaires
    48 percent of Congress members are millionaires while only 1 percent of all Americans are millionaires

    55 members of Congress have an average wealth of $10 million and 8 members have an average wealth of $100+ million

    During the worst part of the recession 2008-2009, the median wealth of a congressional member rose $125K

    The median wealth of a House member is $700,000+, while the median wealth for a senator was over $2 million

    5 of the 6 Republican members of the new Super Committee for the Budget are millionaires.

    136 members of Congress who are millionaires have voiced opposition to President Obama’s Buffett Rule [Click on link to view PDF list.]


  35. creolechild says:

    Feingold Group To Press Super Committee On Buffett Rule – By Brian Beutler

    Former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold offered enthusiastic praise for President Obama’s deficit plan, and particularly for the so-called “Buffett rule” — a principle holding that people who make more than a million dollars a year should pay at least the same effective tax rate as middle class workers. “I just want to say how pleased I am that the President is taking a strong stand with this Buffett rule,” Feingold said in a Wednesday interview. “What excites me even more, is it’s the only fiscally responsible approach.”

    Feingold’s new advocacy group Progressives United will press the joint Super Committee to adopt the Buffett rule as part of a broader deficit reduction plan. In an email to supporters, Feingold will make it explicit. “[T]he influence of big corporations and the super rich is strong in Congress, and several senators — including Democratic ones — are already opposing this crucial effort,” the solicitation reads. “Tell the super committee how important it is to make millionaires pay their fair share.”


  36. creolechild says:

    Bank of America Death Watch: Moody’s Downgrades B of A Credit, Signals Bailouts Less Likely – By Sarah Jaffe

    The most interesting thing about the credit rating agency’s decision to downgrade Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup wasn’t the downgrade in their credit rating itself: it was the signal, reported by the New York Times, that the federal government is not going to step in and save the big banks from themselves this time:

    The downgrades were driven by Moody’s conclusion that the federal government was less likely to step in and provide support for a faltering big bank the way it did after the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers, when Washington executed a series of actions including capital infusions and credit guarantees to halt the spreading panic. Moody’s had put the banks on notice for a possible downgrade on June 2. While Moody’s said it “believes that the government is likely to continue to provide some level of support to systemically important financial institutions,” the agency added that the government “is also more likely now than during the financial crisis to allow a large bank to fail should it become financially troubled.”

    The banks are rated, Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism pointed out, not only on their own strength but the evidence that government will step in to support them should crisis fall again. And Bank of America in particular is facing plenty of trouble. Moody’s “cut Bank of America’s long-term senior debt to Baa1, three levels above junk.” Though they downgraded Citigroup and Wells Fargo slightly, Bank of America has the worst rating and saw its stock plunge. Bank of America remains troubled by lawsuits and as Smith notes, the 50-state mortgage fraud settlement talks are shaky at best, increasingly unlikely to be resolved to the banks’ liking anytime soon. But the downgrade is meant to serve as a warning to investors that they shouldn’t count on the government to shore up the “too big to fail” banks next time around–as well as, of course, a warning to the bank itself to change its ways.


  37. creolechild says:

    Obama’s Postal Service plan would cut Saturday mail – By Emily Stephenson

    The Obama administration’s plan to rescue the U.S. Postal Service would allow the agency to end Saturday mail delivery and sell non-postal products, according to documents released on Monday. The plan, introduced alongside a deficit-reduction package, also would restructure a massive annual payment to prefund retiree health benefits and refund $6.9 billion the mail carrier says it overpaid into a federal retirement fund. The White House says its plan would save the Postal Service more than $20 billion in the next few years. “The administration recognizes the enormous value of the U.S. Postal Service to the nation’s commerce and communications, as well as the urgent need for reform to ensure its future viability,” the White House document said.

    The Postal Service has watched its core business of delivering mail erode as consumers send email and pay bills online. The agency has said it needs to downsize drastically or it will be unable to deliver mail by the end of next summer. The agency has said it needs to reduce payrolls by about 220,000 by 2015 and is studying thousands of post offices and about 300 processing facilities for possible closure. Analysts have said the move to five-day mail delivery could hurt e-commerce businesses that rely on the Postal Service to carry their products to consumers. Shares of eBay Inc fell more than 6 percent this month on concerns that proposed cuts could raise costs for the site’s small sellers.

    The Postal Service contends that weekend mail traffic is too light to support Saturday delivery.


  38. rikyrah says:

    23 Sep 2011 09:52 AM
    Perry And The Far Right

    In fact, he’s not far right enough. I have a feeling that the in-state tuition subsidy for the kids of illegal aliens effectively ends his candidacy. But if that doesn’t, his inability to sustain the energy and focus for two hours in a debate is fatal. Malkin:

    The cringe-worthiest moment, by a hair, was when Perry botched what should have been his most potent attack on Mitt Romney’s chronic flip-flopping. As I noted on Twitter when it happened, any random high schooler at the CPAC conference in Washington could have done better than this … Perry said he’s in favor of making English the official language of the U.S. Perhaps he should concentrate on mastering it before the next debate.

    Coulter tweets:

    “Governor Perry losing debate with his own tongue.”

    The Palinites:

    Everyone here in Palinville who looks forward to good hard competition will be relieved to know that Gov. Rick Perry was NOT drunk at last night’s debate, all appearances to the contrary. It’s just that before taking the stage he inexplicably chose to receive a Gardasil shot, one of whose known side effects is mental slowness.

    Wingnut Riehl:

    Going in, I saw these last three debates as critical to him, but by no means everything. Unfortunately, instead of seizing upon them as an opportunity, his now obviously very weak debating skills have proved to be disastrous.


    Perry has been coming back to Earth lately, partly on his uneven debate performances. Orlando didn’t do anything to change that dynamic–indeed may have accelerated it.

    If Perry cannot win over these partisans, what chance independents? And the one good moment he had last night – his account of meeting with a woman with cervical cancer that helped him decide in favor of the HPV vaccine – was a lie. He met her after he had already made the decision.


  39. rikyrah says:

    Wanda Sykes Had Breast Cancer and Double Mastectomy
    By Diane Anderson-Minshall

    Wanda Sykes has come out about having breast cancer. She had a double mastectomy earlier this year and will reportedly alk about it during an interview to air Monday Sept. 26 on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. According to People, the cancer was found after she had undergone breast reduction.

    “This was in February. I went for the reduction. I had real big boobs and I just got tired of knocking over stuff. Every time I eat … Oh lord. I’d carry a Tide stick everywhere I go,” she quips. “My back was sore so it was time to have a reduction. It wasn’t until after the reduction that in the lab work, the pathology, that they found that I had DCIS [ductal carcinoma in situ] in my left breast. I was very, very lucky because DCIS is basically stage-zero cancer. So I was very lucky.”

    Sykes, 47, has a history of breast cancer in her family, so she opted to have a bilateral mastectomy.

    “I had both breasts removed … because now I have zero chance of having breast cancer. It sounds scary up front, but what do you want? Do you want to wait and not be as fortunate when it comes back and it’s too late?”

    According to People, Sykes says she waffled on whether to come out about the cancer diagnosis: “I was like, I don’t know, should I talk about it or what? How many things could I have? I’m Black, then Lesbian. I can’t be the poster child for everything.”

  40. rikyrah says:

    The Anger Builds

    I have become used to hearing gay people and our lives either ignored or stigmatized or demonized in Republican debates. It is a function of a political party becoming a religion. And so my skin is pretty thick at this point, and my outrage button eroded by two decades of learning to ignore this stuff and focus on the positive arguments we have to make. It’s not that I didn’t react at the time:

    10.18 pm. Santorum claims bizarrely that repealing DADT means permission for sexual activity for gays in the military. This is a lie. The same rules of sexual misconduct apply to gays and straights alike. And a gay servicemember is booed by this foul crowd. Santorum keeps saying “sex is not an issue.” But that’s the current policy! This has nothing to do with sex, as Santorum surely knows. And again, the crowd reveals itself as hateful – even when it comes to those serving their country in uniform. This is one core reason why I cannot be a Republican. So many are bigots – and no one – no one – stands up against them. They’re a bunch of bullies congratulating themselves on rooting out the queers.

    But as I went to bed last night, the scattered boos for an American soldier in the field at any debate began to sink in. And Santorum’s despicable lie in response – that repealing DADT somehow means license of gay sexual misconduct in the armed services – was intended to reduce that soldier, his life and work, to Santorum’s obsession: the intrinsic evil of gay sex. Again, this is usual. Gays are used to being reduced to sexual acts rather than being seen as full human beings, like straight people, with sexuality sure, but a whole lot of other things as well.

    But somehow the fact that these indignities were heaped on a man risking his life to serve this country, a man ballsy enough to make that video, a man in the uniform of the United States … well, it tells me a couple of things. It tells me that these Republicans don’t actually deep down care for the troops, if that means gay troops. Their constant posturing military patriotism has its limits.

    The shocking silence on the stage – the fact that no one challenged this outrage – also tells me that this kind of slur is not regarded as a big deal. When it came to it, even Santorum couldn’t sanction firing all those servicemembers who are now proudly out. But that’s because he was forced to focus not on his own Thomist abstractions, but on an actual person. Throughout Republican debates, gays are discussed as if we are never in the audience, never actually part of the society, never fully part of families, never worthy of even a scintilla of respect. When you boo a servicemember solely because he’s gay, you are saying he is beneath contempt, that nothing he does or has done can counterweigh the vileness of his sexual orientation.

    And then I think of all those gay servicemembers who have died for this country, or been wounded in battle, or been on tours year after year … and the fury builds. Even GOProud, the two gay guys who love Ann Coulter, issued this statement:

    “Tonight, Rick Santorum disrespected our brave men and women in uniform, and he owes Stephen Hill, the gay soldier who asked him the question about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal, an immediate apology. That brave gay soldier is doing something Rick Santorum has never done – put his life on the line to defend our freedoms and our way of life. It is telling that Rick Santorum is so blinded by his anti-gay bigotry that he couldn’t even bring himself to thank that gay soldier for his service.

    Stephen Hill is serving our country in Iraq, fighting a war Senator Santorum says he supports. How can Senator Santorum claim to support this war if he doesn’t support the brave men and women who are fighting it?”

    He can’t. Apologize, Santorum.

  41. rikyrah says:

    At Ohio River bridge, Obama calls out McConnell, Boehner on jobs
    Standing before an aging bridge that links the home turfs of top Republicans in Congress, President Barack Obama touted his $447 billion jobs bill Thursday as a way to help repair the nation’s infrastructure.

    Obama called out by name Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, as he spoke near the Brent Spence Bridge that carries Interstates 75 and 71 over the Ohio River.

    “Mr. Boehner, Mr. McConnell, help us rebuild this bridge,” Obama said. “Help us rebuild America. Help us put this country back to work. Pass this jobs bill right away.”

    It amounted to one of Obama’s most direct and defiant challenges to leaders of the opposition party. And the incursion into the Republicans’ territory illustrated a new White House aggression and a desire by the president’s advisers to distinguish him from Republicans and to get them to share some of the blame for the struggling economy.

    Obama joked that it was “just coincidental” that he came to the bridge in the back yards of McConnell and Boehner.

    He noted that one of four bridges in Boehner’s district is substandard and that McConnell has called for better infrastructure, but they have refused to endorse his plan.

    McConnell made a floor speech Thursday that dismissed Obama’s trip as “political theater” and decried Obama’s jobs bill as a second stimulus package that would be no more successful than the first.

    “If a bridge needs fixing, by all means, let’s fix it,” McConnell said. “But don’t tell us we need to pass a half-a-trillion-dollar stimulus bill and accept job-killing tax hikes to do it.”

    During his speech, Obama recalled that McConnell has said his “No. 1 priority” is to make sure Obama is not re-elected next year. That election is 14 months away, and there will be plenty of time to “tangle,” Obama said, adding that many Americans want to see jobs created now.

    But McConnell aide Robert Steuer said the Brent Spence Bridge was not “shovel ready” and would not create jobs immediately.

    The president also contended that his bill would put teachers back to work and close unfair tax loopholes.

    Speaking of the Brent Spence Bridge, Obama said the 48-year-old structure was “functionally obsolete.”

    Local leaders have worked for more than 10 years to replace or repair the bridge. Current plans have a $2.4 billion price tag because they involve a 7.8-mile stretch of I-75 in the two states.

    The bridge is a linchpin along the nation’s busiest freight corridor. About 4 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product — or about $400 billion in goods — travels across it each year. But it was designed to carry 80,000 vehicles a day. Today, it carries about 170,000, Obama said.

    Read more:

  42. creolechild says:

    Park 51 Islamic Community Center Maligned As ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ Opens Without Controversy – By Zaid Jilani

    Last year, Islamophobic activists, allied with a number of right-wing politicians, attacked the construction of the Park 51 Islamic community center, maligning the project as a “Ground Zero Mosque” being built blocks away from the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City. Yet despite all the heated rhetoric from opponents of Park 51 in the recent past, the cultural and community center opened its doors in lower Manhattan yesterday with an official ribbon cutting ceremony that faced no protests or public controversy:

    There was no sign of protest at the Park51 community center last night. It opened its doors to the public in lower Manhattan Wednesday, without the opposition that had surrounded the project for a year. The center was crowded for most of the evening — with visitors who said they came to see the new photography exhibition and others who were interested in the place itself. Brooklyn’s Jean Stevens said she’s not surprised the event went off without a hitch. “It seems like there’s not much of huge response to this reception or to the mosque anymore, and so I wonder whether if people have forgotten it now that its not such a hot topic.”

    Joyce Oliver, who works at a bank nearby, dismissed any thoughts of protesting the location of Park 51, noting that its attendees are no more controversial than anyone else in the area: “They come, they pray, nothing has happened, so I don’t see what the issue should be. It’s historical building so let it be use[d].”
    The opening event for the center was a photo “exhibit of Danny Goldfield’s NYChildren project, which aims to photograph a child from every country in the world living in New York City.” Goldfield “started his photography project in 2003 after meeting Rana Sodhi, a Sikh whose brother was murdered in a hate crime four days after 9/11. During their chance meeting at an Arizona gas station, Goldfield was inspired by Sodhi’s description of his efforts to reach out to his neighbors, taking proactive steps toward eliminating people’s prejudices and fears.”

  43. rikyrah says:

    Don’t Believe Ron Suskind
    His book about Obama is as spurious as the ones he wrote about Bush.
    By Jacob WeisbergPosted Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011, at 6:54 PM ET

    As an editor, you develop a B.S. meter—an internal warning system that signals caution about journalism that doesn’t feel trustworthy. Sometimes it’s a quote or incident that’s too perfect —a feeling I always had when reading stories by Stephen Glass in the New Republic. Sometimes it’s too many errors of fact, the overuse of anonymous sources, or signs that a reporter hasn’t dealt fairly with people or evidence. And sometimes it’s a combination of flaws that produces a ring of falsity, the whiff of a bad egg. There’s no journalist who sets off my bullshit alarm like Ron Suskind.

    Issues of accuracy, fairness, and integrity come up nearly every time Suskind publishes something. Key sources claim they’ve been misrepresented and misquoted, that basic facts are wrong, and that the Pulitzer-winning reporter has misconstrued the larger story as well. One discounts such complaints to some extent, of course. Good journalism often makes its subjects unhappy, and the kind of Bob Woodward-style White House reconstructions Suskind has come to specialize in inevitably favor those who pay the implicit blackmail of cooperation in exchange for sympathetic treatment. But Woodward is meticulous within the limitations of his method, and you seldom hear his subjects complain that he’s gotten the details wrong or misrepresented their views by manipulating quotes.

    If you wrote about the Bush Administration, as I did, you soon learned to avoid relying on Suskind’s reporting absent strong independent corroboration. What his three books had in common was the way they grabbed onto some interesting nugget and hyped it into something that, while bait for the news cycle and the bestseller lists, was fundamentally untrue. The first of these, The Price of Loyalty (2004), focused on Paul O’Neill’s unhappy experience as Bush’s first treasury secretary. Like all of Suskind’s work, the story is told in purple prose littered with passages of such blurriness that it’s hard to imagine a professional editor letting them past. But the real problem was the conceit at the heart of the book, that the inept, self-regarding O’Neill was a skilled and brilliant hero victimized at every turn by the political hacks across the street. Where Woodward favors his sources, Suskind flatters them histrionically. His version of the Bush White House was its own distorted reality.

    Suskind’s next two books—The One Percent Doctrine (2006) and The Way of the World (2008)—were much worse. The first advanced a series of dubious theories about counterterrorism, including the claim that al-Qaida would have carried out a cyanide gas attack on the New York City subway in 2003 if Ayman al-Zawahiri, the al-Qaida leader, hadn’t called it off at the last minute because it wasn’t going to be as spectacular as Sept. 11. Suffice it to say that government officials and terrorism experts scoffed at the claim, regarding the intelligence as uncorroborated and the idea of such a plot being pulled off by al-Qaida sleeper agents as implausible. The second book leveled the charge that the Bush White House had asked the CIA to fabricate evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the 9/11 attacks. Suskind’s major sources contradicted the book’s assertions, and the CIA itself was moved to issue a rare —and persuasive—official denial.

  44. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    September 23, 2011 10:40 AM
    ‘A warrior for the middle class’

    By Steve Benen

    It was a busy news day for the political world yesterday, and President Obama’s speech in Cincinnati was largely overlooked. That’s a shame — the remarks were actually an example of the White House message coming together in ways we haven’t heard before.

    The president spoke with the Brent Spence Bridge in the background, a main connecting point for Ohio and Kentucky. Obama joked that it was “purely accidental” that he picked a locale relevant to the constituents of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), but it was obviously not a coincidence — the president is presenting infrastructure investments as the centerpiece of his economic agenda, and that the fact that the Brent Spence Bridge has been deemed “functionally obsolete” — like John Boehner, one audience member shouted out — helps underscore the larger point.

    But the speech didn’t just make an effective case for creating jobs by improving bridges, roads, highways, rails, and airports. He also did so by naming names and calling out “Republicans.”

    “So my question is, what’s Congress waiting for? Why is it taking so long? … Part of the reason I came here is because Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell, those are the two most powerful Republicans in government. They can either kill this jobs bill, or they can help pass this jobs bill…. I know that when Senator McConnell visited the closed bridge in Kentucky, he said that, ‘Roads and bridges are not partisan in Washington.’ That’s great. I know that Paul Ryan, the Republican in charge of the budget process, recently said that ‘you can’t deny that infrastructure does creates jobs.’ That’s what he said.

    “Well, if that’s the case, there’s no reason for Republicans in Congress to stand in the way of more construction projects. There’s no reason to stand in the way of more jobs. Mr. Boehner, Mr. McConnell, help us rebuild this bridge. Help us rebuild America. Help us put construction workers back to work. Pass this bill.”

    Obama also responded to the most common GOP talking point

    “Now, the Republicans, when I talked about this earlier in the week, they said, well, this is class warfare. You know what, if asking a billionaire to pay their fair share of taxes, to pay the same tax rate as a plumber or a teacher is class warfare, then you know what, I’m a warrior for the middle class. I’m happy to fight for the middle class. I’m happy to fight for working people. Because the only warfare I’ve seen is the battle against the middle class over the last 10, 15 years.”

    And he specifically called out McConnell’s misguided priorities.

    “Maybe some of the people in Congress would rather settle their differences at the ballot box than work together right now. In fact, a while back, Senator McConnell said that his ‘top priority’ — number-one priority — was ‘to defeat the President.’ That was his top priority.

    “Not jobs, not putting people back to work, not rebuilding America. Beating me. Well, I’ve got news for him, and every other member of Congress who feels the same way. The next election is 14 months away, and I’ll be happy to tangle sometime down the road. But the American people right now don’t have the luxury of waiting to solve our problems for another 14 months. A lot of folks are living paycheck to paycheck. A lot of folks are just barely getting by. They need us to get to work right now. They need us to pass this bill.”

    It’s awfully difficult to have any optimism at all about the political process, especially with House Republicans poised to force another shutdown crisis. But there’s little doubt that the White House is very serious about the American Jobs Act, and is going all in, investing time, energy, and resources into this effort. Those hoping for real follow through from Obama are getting their wish.

    And nearly as important, the president and his team are also sharpening their message — “I’m a warrior for the middle class” is a great, overdue line — and taking the fight to Republicans, directly and aggressively.

    As a practical matter, a speech delivered at 3 p.m. on a weekday in Southwestern Ohio is going to have a limited audience. But that’s all the more reason for the White House to keep the pressure on, bringing the message to even more audiences.

  45. creolechild says:

    Ain’t this some *ish*?!!

    Massachusetts GOP Urges Harvard Not To Pay Elizabeth Warren’s Salary – By Marie Diamond

    Popular consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren has been a favorite target of Republican lawmakers since she built President Obama’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from the ground up. For two years, they stymied her bid to lead the agency she created. Since Warren announced her intention to challenge Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) in the 2012 election, Republicans have sought to paint her as an Ivy League elitist for teaching at Harvard Law School. Now the Massachusetts GOP is trying another tactic altogether — directly lobbying Harvard not to pay Warren’s salary while she is running for the Senate:


  46. rikyrah says:

    September 23, 2011 12:35 PM
    Building a campaign message around a lie

    By Steve Benen

    At a certain point, I realize there’s very little point in pushing back against a lie. Once it’s been told over and over again, and people either believe it or they don’t, the value of the fact-check is greatly diminished.

    But I like to do it anyway, because it makes me feel better.

    Here’s the line from last night’s debate that Mitt Romney simply loves to tell:

    “The president went about this all wrong. He went around the world and apologized for America.”

    If someone makes a bogus claim, he or she is merely wrong. When someone repeats the bogus claim after learning the truth, they’re lying. When someone builds a national campaign message around the obvious falsehood, they’re shamelessly lying.

    Glenn Kessler notes reality (again).

    Regarding the supposed apology, we have repeatedly called this out as a Four-Pinocchio falsehood. A careful review of all of Obama’s overseas statements found that they had been taken out of context or had been misquoted.

    Romney surely knows this. He’s not an idiot.

    But this plainly dishonest claim is at the core of Romney’s entire campaign message — it’s in every speech; it’s in every debate; it’s even in the title of his book. And the underlying point of the lie isn’t just over some routine policy dispute — Romney desperately wants Americans to question the president’s love of country. The “apology” claim is a lie, but it’s also an ugly smear.

    The fact that Romney repeats this incessantly says a great deal about his character, or in this case, the lack thereof.

    Greg Sargent noted this morning, “Nobody seems to care, but the continuing claim that Obama apologized for America is, you know, not actually true.”

    The fact that Romney is rarely called out for the lie only encourages him to repeat it.

  47. rikyrah says:

    September 23, 2011 1:20 PM
    Start the government shutdown clock

    By Steve Benen

    Senate Democrats told House Republicans in no uncertain terms: if you approve the spending bill that plays games to emergency disaster, it will fail. With a pressing deadline, wasting time on a partisan ploy is pointless.

    GOP leaders pressed their luck anyway and passed their little stunt overnight, daring Dems to defeat it. They did.

    The Senate voted Friday morning to reject the House’s stopgap spending bill, less than twelve hours after the House’s Republican leaders had forced it through on their second try.

    The Senate vote was 59 to 36 to table the House bill, effectively killing it. Some conservative Republicans joined in rejecting the measure.

    The plan may change, but as I understand it, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will amend the House version, pass it, and then send it back to the lower chamber. Specifically, the “fix” will be to increase the funding for disaster aid and remove the offset targeting clean-energy programs. That vote will apparently come Monday.

    Whether the House will be there to consider the bill is unclear. Remember, both chambers are scheduled to be out next week. It was key to Speaker Boehner’s (R-Ohio) “jamming” strategy — he’d pass the bill he liked and then leave town. The message to the Senate wasn’t exactly subtle: pass the spending measure my way or the government will shut down.

    As one senior House Republican aide put it, “There is no other option than for the Senate to pass our bill. That’s it. That’s all. There is no next step.”

    Remember when Boehner decried “my way or the highway” thinking last week? Apparently, he’s forgotten it. Indeed, his caucus also seems to have forgotten there’s another chamber, led by a different party, that’s not in the mood to pay another GOP ransom.

    It’s important to keep one key detail in mind. House Republican leaders are saying this afternoon that their bill is important to provide aid to disaster victims, and it’s Dems who are standing in the way. That’s dishonest garbage — Senate Dems already approved more FEMA aid, with bipartisan support, and pleaded with the House GOP not to play games with the funding. Republicans, playing the role of ill-tempered children, couldn’t help themselves.

    To put it mildly, the clock is ticking. Not only is the deadline for a government shutdown one week away, but FEMA will run out of funding, apparently as early as Monday — three days from today.

    There will be talks over the weekend to try to resolve the differences. House Republican members are still threatening to leave town today, apparently unwilling to do their jobs.

  48. rikyrah says:

    September 23, 2011 8:00 AM
    House GOP pushes for another shutdown crisis

    By Steve Benen

    When the House Republicans’ temporary spending measure (or CR, for “continuing resolution”) failed on Wednesday night, the GOP leadership effectively had two broad options. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) could move to the middle, stop playing games with emergency disaster relief, pick up Democratic votes, and resolve the dispute. The threat of a government shutdown would disappear, and lawmakers could enjoy a week off.

    Or Boehner and Republican leaders could move to the right, make the spending bill worse, pass a plan they know will be rejected, and invite another government shutdown crisis.

    Which course did the GOP leadership choose? Take a wild guess.

    Washington lurched toward another potential government shutdown crisis Friday, as the House approved a Republican-authored short-term funding measure designed to keep government running through Nov. 18 that Democrats in the Senate immediately vowed to reject.

    In an after-midnight roll call, House Republican leaders persuaded conservatives early Friday morning to support a stop-gap bill nearly identical to one they had rejected just 30 hours earlier.

    “Nearly identical,” but not entirely. Boehner and Republican leaders followed through on their threat to hold disaster aid hostage, but bought off some far-right votes by adding $100 million in cuts to a Department of Energy loan program the GOP loved until a few weeks ago.

    So, instead of trying to reach a sensible compromise, the Speaker and his team deliberately chose to invite yet another standoff that threatens to shut down the government. Indeed, GOP officials told reporters last night they would promptly leave town today to make the threat more explicit — either the Senate approves the House bill or the government shuts down in seven days, because House members won’t be around to even try to reach a deal.

    Of course, Senate leaders are saying exactly what they’ve been saying all along: they’re not going to pass the House bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will kill the House version today, and will probably urge House leaders to stick around and do their jobs rather than leave town.

    All of this, by the way, is just to keep the government’s lights on until November. Americans, for whatever reason, have elected ill-tempered, right-wing children to run the House of Representatives, and the result is not only one crisis followed by another, but a government that struggles badly to even complete the most basic of tasks. Indeed, yesterday, GOP leaders could have very easily chosen a more responsible course and ended the burgeoning fiasco, but they made matters worse on purpose.

    If House Republicans do promptly flee to the airport today, and the Senate rejects the House measure as expected, President Obama will likely call members back to Washington early next week. The shutdown deadline is Friday, Sept. 30, at midnight.

  49. Ametia says:

    News Alert: Senate defeats short-term measure to fund government
    September 23, 2011 12:51:47 PM

    Early Friday afternoon, the Senate defeated, 59 to 36, a spending bill to fund the government through Nov. 18.

    With both chambers scheduled to begin a week-long recess later Friday, the next step on the funding resolution remains unclear. The Federal Emergency Management Agency could run out of funding as early as Monday, and the resolution currently keeping the federal government open is set to expire on Sept. 30.

    The House had passed the bill, 219 to 203, in the early hours on Friday morning after an earlier failure.

    For more information, visit

  50. Ametia says:

    With the death penalty, ‘probably’ isn’t good enough

    By Eugene Robinson, Published: September 22
    The death penalty is a barbaric anachronism, a crude instrument not of justice but of revenge. Most countries banished it long ago. This country should banish it now.

    The state of Georgia was wrong to execute convicted murderer Troy Anthony Davis as protesters and journalists kept a ghoulish vigil Wednesday night — just as the state of Texas was wrong, hours earlier, to execute racist killer Lawrence Russell Brewer.

    That’s hard for me to write, because if anyone deserved a syringe full of lethal poison it was Brewer. He was an avowed white supremacist who had been convicted, along with two accomplices, of the 1998 hate-crime murder of a black man, James Byrd Jr. They offered Byrd a ride, beat him up and then killed him by chaining his ankles to the back of their pickup and dragging him for more than two miles. When police found Byrd’s body, it was dismembered and decapitated.

    “I have no regrets,” Brewer said in an interview with Beaumont, Tex., television station KFDM this year. “I’d do it all over again, to tell you the truth.”

    Sweet guy, huh? Still, I can’t applaud his death at the hands of the well-practiced Texas executioners. It’s not that I believe his life had any redeeming value, just that the state was wrong to snuff it out.

    The Davis case drew worldwide attention because of questions about the evidence of his guilt. Davis was found guilty of killing a Savannah, Ga., police officer, Mark MacPhail, in 1989. The conviction was based almost entirely on eyewitness testimony, and in the two decades since that trial, seven of nine witnesses have at least partially recanted.

  51. Congrats Derrick & Nicole on your first wedding anniversary!

    Life bestows love’s blessing
    On a very special few
    And I believe it happened
    When life encountered you

    You are a perfect couple
    In a marriage that is blessed
    May your love shine like a beacon
    A guide for all the rest

  52. Ametia says:

    House approves spending measure opposed by Senate; shutdown possible

    By Rosalind S. Helderman and Paul Kane, Washington lurched toward another potential government shutdown crisis Friday, as the House approved a Republican-authored short-term funding measure designed to keep government running through Nov. 18 that Democrats in the Senate immediately vowed to reject.

    In an after-midnight roll call, House Republican leaders persuaded conservatives early Friday morning to support a stop-gap bill nearly identical to one they had rejected just 30 hours earlier.

  53. Ametia says:

    Lawrence O’Donnel on The Last Word- Rewriting the American death penlty.

  54. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everybody. HAPPY FRY-day! :-) Hope y’all enjoyed Stevie this week.

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