Serendipity SOUL | Saturday Open Thread

Happy Saturday, Everyone!  This week 3 Chics will feature EARTH, WIND, & FIRE

WikiEarth, Wind & Fire is an American R&B and funk band formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1969 by Verdine and Maurice White. Also known as EWF, the band has won six Grammy Awards and four American Music Awards. They have been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.[1][2] Rolling Stone has described them as “innovative, precise yet sensual, calculated yet galvanizing” and has also declared that the band “changed the sound of black pop”.[3] In 1998, they were ranked at number 60 on VH1‘s list of the 100 Greatest Artists of Rock N’ Roll.[4]

The band’s music contains elements of African, Latin American, funk, soul, pop and rock music, jazz and other genres. The band is known for the dynamic sound of their horn section, and the interplay between the contrasting vocals of Philip Bailey‘s falsetto and Maurice White’s tenor.[5] The kalimba (African thumb piano) is played on all of the band’s albums.[6

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33 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Saturday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential campaign was dealt a worrying blow Saturday when he finished a distant second to businessman Herman Cain in a closely watched straw poll in Florida.
    Cain won 37% of the 2,657 votes cast in the straw poll conducted at Presidency 5, a three-day convention sponsored by the Republican Party of Florida. Perry got just 410 votes, or 15.4%. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney finished third with 14%.
    Perry was expected to win the straw poll as the weekend began, but his underwhelming performance at a GOP debate on Thursday night raised questions about his readiness for prime time.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Cliff Notes
    It’s fair game to criticize President Obama’s policies, but lay off Michelle’s jewelry, clothes & appearance

    When we published a little story about three diamond cuff bracelets that Michelle Obama wore to a New York fundraiser, we didn’t expect much of a reaction. But it was a big coup for young Texas designer Katie Decker to have the first lady wear her jewelry and the 23-year-old Texas A&M grad was justifiably proud and honored, so we felt it merited a mention.

    Within a few hours, hundreds of thousands of people clicked on the story, and the majority were mad as hell that the first lady wore the $42,000 bracelets. Many who hide under anonymity left venomous replies with personal attacks on the first couple. (Frankly, many of the responses are frightening and would cause the Secret Service to be alarmed.)

    We have removed comments that are racist and threatening but left the ones that label the first lady as insensitive in a time of recession to wear such pricey accessories, even though they were on loan. At CultureMap, we believe in a spirited discussion, so we’ve been careful to include honest criticisms.

    Some critics maintain that if Laura Bush had dressed in an ostentatious manner, the press would be all over the story. I’m not buying it.

    For one thing, the former first lady was always tastefully dressed in high-priced designer clothing (Oscar de la Renta was a favorite) and no one complained. Michelle Obama has been a big supporter of the American fashion industry and when she wears a dress or piece of jewelry by an American designer she is boosting his or her career into the stratosphere. I’ve never heard Prabal Gurung, Thakoon, Naeem Khan, Barbara Tfank or other lesser known designers complain when she has worn their designs.

    What do her critics want her to wear: Sackcloth and ashes?

    If she dressed down, they would scream that she doesn’t respect the office. (In fact, critics howled when she was photographed in shorts during a Grand Canyon vacation in 2009.) When she dresses up, they carp that she thinks she’s grand. Like every first lady before her, she can’t win, no matter what she does.

    http://houston.culturemap.com/newsdetail/09-22-11-its-fair-game-to-criticize-obamas-policies-but-lay-off-michelle-jewelry-clothes-and-appearance/

  3. rikyrah says:

    LOL

    Cain upsets Perry at Florida straw poll

    Businessman Herman Cain scored a major upset Saturday, winning the Florida straw poll and creating a new set of problems for Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

    The final tally: Cain carried 37% of the vote, Perry 15% and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney 14%. Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum was at 11%, Texas Rep. Ron Paul at 10% and former House speaker Newt Gingrich at 9%. Trailing far behind were former Utah governor Jon Huntsman and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, at 2%.

    http://www.wtsp.com/news/article/212200/36/Cain-upsets-Perry-at-Florida-straw-poll

  4. Ametia says:

    President Obama to Attend the 2011 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Phoenix Award Dinner
    Posted by Kevin Lewis on September 14, 2011 at 05:40 PM EDT

    Below is a message from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation regarding this year’s Phoenix Awards Dinner:

    The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) today announced President Barack Obama is scheduled to attend the Annual Phoenix Awards Dinner Saturday, September 24, 2011. The dinner concludes the Foundation’s 41st Annual Legislative Conference (ALC). President Obama is scheduled to address more than 3,000 expected attendees at the evening’s event.

    Four distinguished individuals will receive the prestigious Phoenix Awards, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson; U.S. Representative and civil rights activist John Lewis; athlete and humanitarian George Edward Foreman, Sr; and civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery. President Obama himself was the recipient of the Phoenix Award in 2008, which recognizes individuals for their efforts and accomplishments that have made significant contributions to society, and symbolizes the immortality of the human spirit and an eternal desire to reach its full potential.

    In addition, the six surviving founders of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) will be honored during the evening, in recognition of the 40th anniversary of CBC. Actor and activist Hill Harper and WJLA veteran evening news anchor Maureen Bunyan will serve as co-emcees.

    Visit the CBCF website to learn more about the Phoenix Awards Dinner.
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/09/14/president-obama-attend-2011-congressional-black-caucus-foundation-phoenix-award-dinn

  5. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 02:41 PM ET, 09/23/2011
    Why Dems aren’t caving (for now) in government shutdown fight
    By Greg Sargent

    As the showdown over continuing to fund the government intensified today, Dem Senator Mary Landrieu made a startling confession. Democrats “grew a backbone,” she said. “We normally cave.”

    That’s very true. But not this time. And their unwillingness to “cave” so far speaks to their new reading of the political landscape, which they think has shifted in their favor after the debt ceiling fight.

    In the Senate today, Dems stood firm in their opposition to funding disaster relief with offsets elsewhere, as Republicans want. Senate Democrats voted down a House GOP-authored measure to temporarily fund the government, intensifying the impasse over the disaster relief funds, even as FEMA is set to run out of money next week.

    At a presser after the vote, Dem leaders vowed they would not blink. Asked if there were any offsets Dems would accept, Harry Reid said: “No.” That seems like a pretty high stakes gamble. As Eric Cantor put it: “I guess Harry Reid will have to bear the burden of denying disaster victims the money they need.”

    But Senate Dems don’t appear worried about bearing the blame in this standoff — they continue to insist they won’t budge, and continue to demand that the House drop its insistence on offsetting the funds. Their argument: Disaster victims need help, period, and they should get it with no political strings attached.

    Dems could revert to type and “cave” at any moment. But why the current firm line? It goes to the heart of the Dems’ new calculus after getting shellacked so badly — and giving up so many concessions — in the debt ceiling fight.

    My read: Dems think the debt ceiling battle has successfully established them as the reasonable party that’s seeking true balance on fiscal issues, having agreed to so many GOP demands on the spending cut front. Dems also believe the debt ceiling fight established public perceptions of the GOP’s pursuit of endless spending cuts as being fundamentally ideological in nature, and not motivated by a desire to craft sensible policy. Dems also believe — or hope — this impression was solidified by the House GOP’s initial failure to pass a funding bill when conservatives decided it didn’t cut spending enough. The House GOP finally passed a bill after John Boehner strongly rebuked conservatives, telling them that if they didn’t get on board, he would have to move to the left to get Dem support, and Dems hope Boehner’s anger will be seen as a sign that he’s lost control of his caucus’s ideological wing.

    “They were trolling for votes for maybe more than 24 hours, to try to get enough votes to satisfy the tea party,” Reid said at the presser today, describing why he thinks the House GOP is in a weak bargaining spot.

    And so, Dems are acting as if they have the upper hand in this fight — even though Republicans are doing what they’ve customarily done, i.e., insist on ever more spending cuts and refuse to blink, even if the consequences could be dire. Do Dems really think the changed landscape means the GOP will ultimately have to blink? I don’t know, but they’re sure acting like it. We’ll see if the Dem posture holds — or whether Landrieu’s diagnosis of the Dems’ tendency to “always cave” remains accurate.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/why-dems-arent-caving-for-now-in-government-shutdown-fight/2011/03/03/gIQAGSk2qK_blog.html

  6. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 04:48 PM ET, 09/23/2011
    America’s mayors to Congress: Fund disaster relief without cutting spending elsewhere
    By Greg Sargent

    With Dems and Republicans hurtling towards a government shutdown over the disaster relief funding fight, the nonpartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors has fired off a letter to GOP and Dem Congressional leaders, urging them to fund disaster relief right away, without offsetting it with spending cuts elsewhere:


    Dear Leader Reid, Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner, and Leader Pelosi:

    I write on behalf of the nation’s mayors to urge you to replenish the Disaster Relief Fund right away and to do so without requiring other programs to be cut. If anything warrants emergency funding, it is disaster assistance. To do otherwise violates our nation’s commitment to its communities and their residents and small businesses to help them recover from disasters — events over which they have no control.

    As a nation we have always considered helping our communities and their residents recover from disasters a key function of government. The Disaster Relief Fund is expected to run out of money next week. Approved projects in communities that had disasters six months or a year ago, or longer, have been placed on hold so that what are considered more urgent needs from the more recent spate of disasters can be met. For the people in the communities with “older” disasters — like Des Moines and Joplin — who have been forced from their homes and workplaces, the needs seem pretty urgent.

    The nation appears on target this year to experience a record number of disasters, with 81 declared thus far. Compounding the problems are the serious economic and unemployment problems we face — problems which have significantly limited the ability of local and state governments to provide their share of the help that is needed. When their revenues are down, other federal funds have been cut, and some have been forced to lay off first responders, this is not the time for the federal government to renege on its responsibilities.

    The nation’s mayors urge you to do the right thing and replenish the Disaster Relief Fund now!

    Sincerely,

    Tom Cochran

    CEO and Executive Director

    The letter comes after Senate Dems voted today to table the House bill that would have funded the government while offsetting the funding to FEMA with spending cuts elsewhere. The showdown is expected to drag through the weekend, with Republicans insisting that unless Harry Reid and Dems agree to the spending cuts the GOP is seeking, they will bear the blame if FEMA runs out of money next week, as it’s scheduled to do.

    It probably won’t do anything to shift the dynamic, but Dems will likely grab on to this letter to argue that public officials outside Congress — who are on the front lines of municipal disaster preparedness — support their vision of disaster relief as something that should be provided by the Federal government with no political strings attached.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/americas-mayors-to-congress-fund-disaster-relief-without-cutting-spending-elsewhere/2011/03/03/gIQAlZpHrK_blog.html

  7. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 04:29 PM ET, 09/22/2011
    Obama to GOP: If this is `class warfare,’ then get ready for a very long fight
    By Greg Sargent

    The other day, Obama threw the charge of “class warfare” back in the GOP’s face, arguing that Republicans were the ones waging class warfare on behalf of the wealthy — the latest in his sharp populist turn as he seeks to frame the contrast between the parties heading into the elections. Liberals saw it as a clear victory for the “professional left,” which has been arguing that the best way to win back disaffected Dems — and to win back independents — is to show fight on jobs and to draw as sharp a contrast as possible with Republicans.

    Today, in a surprisingly aggressive appearance at a bridge in John Boehner’s district, Obama took this a step further still, explicitly claiming the role of “warrior” on behalf of the middle class. What’s more — in another move that could have been scripted by the professional left — Obama repeatedly called out John Boehner and Mitch McConnell by name as he demanded action on jobs.

    It’s worth quoting at length (this is a rough transcript):

    The bridge behind us happens to connect the state that is home to the Speaker of the House, with the home state of the Republican leader in the Senate… 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…

    There is no reason for Republicans in Congress to stand in the way of more construction projects. There is 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!

    Now, some folks in Congress have said, `Well, we don’t like how it’s paid for.’ It’s paid for as part of my the larger plan to pay down the debt. That plan makes additional cuts in spending. We already cut a trillion dollars in spending. This makes an additional hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts in spending. But it also asks the wealthiest Americans and the biggest corporations to pay their fair share in taxes…

    There’s a lot of people saying, “this is class warfare.” Well, if saying that billionaires should pay the same share in taxes as a plumber or a teacher is class warfare, then you know what? I’m a warrior for the middle class. I will fight for the middle class…. But the only class warfare I’ve seen is the battle against the middle class.

    For any of you card carrying members of the professional left who had hoped to see Obama barnstorm the country and call out Republicans by name, well, you’ve now seen just that. As for the question of whether we’re going to see more of it, by all indications this is a fight that Obama intends to continue indefinitely. We are now seeing the professional left’s preferred script being put to the test.

    Many pundits and commentators have taken a skeptical view of Obama’s new strategy, claiming it’s about nothing more than pleasing the base and insisting that it risks alienating independents and moderates. You already know my views on that question. But I wanted to point you to a very smart point about this from Michael Cohen, who argues that the virtually unprecedented GOP intransigence on taxes in recent months has weakened the typical GOP narrative about tax and spend liberals while strengthening the Dem case that they are only trying to raise taxes on those who can afford it:


    Republicans have fundamentally weakened the power of their tax narrative by adopting such an extreme position on taxes. As I wrote over the summer, it’s not some form of political hyperbole to accuse Republicans of keeping tax rates low to be their number one priority — it’s a fact. If you look back at the debt limit debate the one issue on which Republicans absolutely refused to bend was tax cuts – even if it meant sending the country into default. Of course, it wasn’t even a 1-1 ratio of spending cuts to tax hikes that they rejected. By some accounts, more than 80 percent of the cuts would have come in spending and the rest in revenue increases. Yet, that was still unacceptable to Republicans.

    As a result it has become much easier for the White House and Democrats to portray Republicans as handmaidens of the plutocratic class; because it actually happens to be true! Democrats now have a handy response to charges that they want to increase taxes on everyone — they only want to raise them on the rich. And while they’ve used such defenses in the past because of the GOP stubbornness on the issue today — and because of the sense that the deficit is a serious national crisis — the Democratic counter-argument resonates far more deeply than it has before.

    Every indication is that this is how Obama’s advisers also read the current landscape. So I don’t think it’s unrealistic to expect lots more like this.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/obama-to-gop-if-this-is-class-warfare-then-get-ready-for-a-very-long-fight/2011/03/03/gIQAmVIRoK_blog.html?wprss=plum-line

  8. rikyrah says:

    Black Professors Win MacArthur Genius Grants
    By: Jenée Desmond-Harris | Posted: September 20, 2011

    This year’s MacArthur fellowships — also known as “genius grants” — were announced this morning, and among the winners are two African-American scholars doing groundbreaking work on issues of race in America. Roland Fryer and Tiya Miles are both university professors whose studies deal with complex questions involving race as it relates to their disciplines. Each of them will receive a stipend of $500,000, paid over five years, for the advancement of their work.

    The grants, which are awarded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, are designed to reward individuals in a wide variety of disciplines who have shown “extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.” Fellows, who don’t apply but receive a surprise phone call informing them of the honor, are chosen for their past achievements and potential for future contributions.

    Fryer, a 34-year-old professor of economics at Harvard, researches the causes of economic disparity due to race and inequality. 
He’s currently focused on analyzing educational data to predict the quality of life that children will have as adults based on test scores. Fryer says the data can be used to make critical changes to education and close the achievement gap. A few years ago, he published a study that found that children with “distinctively black” names fared no worse than other children on several socioeconomic measures, after controlling for circumstances at birth. Another examined whether paying students was an effective way to get them to improve their grades.

    Miles, 41, is a history professor at the University of Michigan whose work focuses on the relationship between African and Cherokee people living and working in Colonial America. She’s already published two books on the subject: Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom in 2005 and The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story in 2010.

    These two may have just been recognized for their genius, but they’ve been doing brilliant and important work for years. We can’t wait to see what they’ll produce in the future with the support of their well-deserved awards.

    http://www.theroot.com/buzz/black-professors-win-macarthur-genius-grants

  9. rikyrah says:

    Romney And Perry Speak In Michigan, Epicenter Of The Auto Industry They Wanted To Let Fail

    By Pat Garofalo on Sep 24, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Both Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) will speak before the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference in Michigan today. Michigan, of course, is the epicenter of the United States automobile industry, which was rescued by the Obama administration.

    At the time, both Perry and Romney opposed rescuing the American auto industry, preferring to watch iconic American companies topple into an uncontrolled bankruptcy, not only destroying themselves, but all of the supplier and contractors that depend on them. In a November 2008 op-ed titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” Romney wrote:

    If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.

    Not to be left out, Perry co-authored an op-ed in December 2008 opposing the auto rescue:

    Recent government intervention is doing the opposite — taking capital generated from productive activities and throwing it at enterprises that in many cases need to reorganize their business model.

    Take for example the proposed Big Three auto-maker bailout. We think it’s very telling that each of the three CEO’s flew on their own private jets to Washington to ask for a taxpayer handout. No amount of taxpayer largess could fix a business culture so fundamentally flawed.

    The two Republican frontrunners would have seen the auto industry collapse, taking tens of thousands of jobs with it. Maybe that’s why Romney has since tried to scramble and claim that, when it came to saving the auto industry, he “had the idea first.”

    http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/09/24/327799/perry-romney-michigan-auto-fail/

  10. rikyrah says:

    Secret Conservative Report Reveals Scott Walker as a Dire Fiscal Failure
    September 23, 2011
    By Sarah Jones

    If we don’t make changes today, the future looks grim. Parks will close, bus routes will end and families in distress will not get the help they need. Our Milwaukee will grow smaller and smaller as people and companies leave.”

    Those are the words of a conservative group describing the Milwaukee that then County Executive Scott Walker left behind on his climb to the Governor’s mansion in Wisconsin. This secret report was buried before the 2010 election, and only comes up now in light of new numbers released today that show the average household income in Wisconsin dropping over the past ten years, with Milwaukee dropping severely.

    Republicans are always suggesting that they know how to create jobs and as executives they bring business know-how to mysteriously fix things in ways that economists don’t agree with but are right because their wealth and success are render their opinion unassailable. They claim that they know how to woo companies, but as the above quote illustrates to clearly, these claims are not substantiated by reality.

    Governor Walker has made austerity for the middle class and poor a drum beat of “shared sacrifices” with all of the implied moral superiority suggesting that the lazy and entitled must finally pay the piper, and he has gotten away with this narrative because his record as a job creator and fiscal conservative hasn’t been well examined. As part of his campaign platform, Walker said he would create 250,000 jobs in his first term through tax cuts for businesses that would reduce the cost of labor, which would ultimately promote consumer demand and more job growth, and yet, Wisconsin lost 2,300 jobs in the month of August under Walker.

    Today, new numbers are out for Wisconsin, and in particular, Milwaukee, where Walker was the County Executive from 2002 to 2010 (and a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly from 1993 to 2002). The numbers aren’t good.
    According to the Green Bay Press Gazette:

    The median household income across the state was $49,001 last year, down nearly $1,000 from the previous year.

    The hit was even bigger in the city of Milwaukee, where median household income plunged 22 percent since 1999 to $32,911.

    Beyond the loss of take-home pay, families have weathered cuts in pay, pensions and benefits. Health care deductibles have risen, along with food and utility bills and college tuitions. Money that might have gone toward long-term savings is now being used for day-to-day expenses.

    “Eight to 10 years ago, you didn’t fear for your future. You didn’t fear for the stock market. There was a little talk about Social Security not being there, but you didn’t fear you might not have a house,” said Sheri Hyland of Franklin. “Now, you’re cutting coupons … You say, maybe we won’t drive that truck and we’ll buy a 10-year-old car because gas prices are high.”

    Walker, who dropped out of college after being busted for cheating in an election, hasn’t been questioned enough about his record as a “job creator” or his claimed expertise regarding attracting and keeping business in Wisconsin. These new numbers open the door a bit too late to this line of questioning. What does Walker really know about the economy?

    Walker ran Milwaukee into the ground during his eight years in much the same way as he is running Wisconsin today. This should be alarming. He fought to privatize public services. Cut taxes. Cut county employees by more than 20 percent. Reduced the county’s debt by 10 percent (this is the number they will tout, but an honest fiscal conservative will keep reading). However, “overall county spending … increased 35 percent over his tenure”.

    This takes us to the super secret committee findings that were hidden from the voters prior to the 2010 November elections.

    The conservative-led Greater Milwaukee Committee produced a secret report right before the 2010 November gubernatorial election that they did not release to the public until after the election, which indicated that during Walker’s tenure as county executive the county had come to be, as reported by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “in such dire financial shape that state lawmakers should push through legislation that would allow it and other local governments to file for bankruptcy.”

    In fact, Walker did such a bad job as county executive that the conservative group was recommending doing away with the elected position of county executive all together.

    This is the man now running Wisconsin. And we wonder why things are going so poorly. For all of the talk of shared sacrifices and paying the bills, the report concludes, “The short-term ‘solutions’ and one-time ‘fixes’ have been exhausted. Without real reform, the County will be forced to eliminate whole areas of service to our community.”

    Of course, Walker’s campaign and administration is also currently embroiled in an FBI investigation, among other scandals, wherein one conviction for two felony counts has already been obtained.

    And today we find out that not only did Walker leave Milwaukee in such dire straights that it should have filed for bankruptcy (perhaps this is why Walker took all of the files and even computers from the office when he left?) after increasing spending by 35%, but the people suffered as well, with annual income drops continuing to plummet under Walker during his entire eight year tenure. The original secret report from 2010 that was hidden from the people suggests that people and businesses will keep leaving the county until real change is made.

    This man, with this horrendous record dripping in scandal, who clearly knows nothing about economics or running a county let alone a state, is now running Wisconsin into the ground with droll, condescending remarks about austerity while he punishing the working class just because he can.

    http://www.politicususa.com/en/secret-report-scott-walker-dire-failure

  11. rikyrah says:

    Republicans Kick Their Obstruction Into Full Throttle In Order To Prevent Job Creation
    September 24, 2011
    By Rmuse

    It is human nature to avoid accepting responsibility for making mistakes whether out of embarrassment or the need to blame another person to evade punishment or retribution. It is a sign of low moral character when adults blame someone else for their blunders, and children often engage in finger-pointing to avoid punishment. Rapists are well-known for blaming their victims to prevent juries from sending them to jail, and their lawyers often succeed in getting an acquittal because they portray the victim as a vindictive accuser. For the past ten years, Republicans have been raping America’s economy and avoided being accountable for their malfeasance; they have blamed President Obama, Democrats, and even Americans to deflect blame away from themselves.

    Republicans began blaming the president for the languishing economy the minute he took office with claims of a socialist agenda and out-of-control spending even though George W. Bush and Republicans devastated the world’s economy by deregulating the financial and banking industry. Now that the economy appears to be stagnating and Americans are losing their jobs due to outsourcing and sluggish consumer spending, Republicans are ramping up their rhetoric that the four-year recession is solely the fault of President Obama. However, Republicans have obstructed job creation and economic recovery since 2009 and they have not attempted to conceal their economic rape regardless of their claims to the contrary, and recently they have resorted to blackmail and hostage taking to guarantee that the economy collapses in time for the 2012 elections.

    During the campaign for the 2010 midterm elections, Republicans promised to make job creation their highest priority and eight months later they have made no effort to create jobs or help the economy. They have made Draconian spending cuts that may cost nearly 2 million American jobs and said reducing the nation’s debt would bolster the economy and encourage businesses to begin hiring, but any half-wit understands that spending cuts and deficit reduction cannot possibly create jobs. Their big job creation plan for the next three months is to deregulate environmental protection agencies that will not create one job, but then again that is not their purpose.

    Their purpose has been to prevent job creation and in the process, keep the economy in recession. Republicans did their best to obstruct the first stimulus that created approximately 3.3 million jobs as well as save the auto industry, and they are at it again with President Obama’s jobs program he proposed last week. The current continuing resolution to keep the government running is being held up because Republicans are using disaster relief to kill jobs for increased fuel efficiency in another hostage situation because the oil industry needs to sell more gasoline for gas guzzling vehicles. On Tuesday, Republican leaders in the House and Senate wrote a letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warning him not to do anything that may help the economy in what is arguably a mafia, godfather type warning.

    On Monday, the Fed wrapped up a critical two-day meeting to discuss whether to take steps that could boost economic growth and reduce unemployment. Many, and probably most mainstream economists think that’s the right thing to do. However, Republicans are not interested in doing the right thing to help create jobs or grow the economy. The last time the Fed intervened, it angered Republicans and prompted presidential hopeful Rick Perry to claim Bernanke’s actions were treasonous. Treasonous? Republicans think helping the American people with jobs and a stronger economy is treasonous? Apparently that is the case because Republicans are not waiting for Bernanke to act, and their letter said that the Fed “should resist further extraordinary intervention in the economy” or that Congress would get involved in monetary decisions and possibly evict Bernanke from his post.

    Nearly all economists agree that having an independent monetary authority without interference from politicians with an agenda is critical, because as economist Mark Thoma says, “History tells us that politicizing monetary policy is a bad idea — giving control of the money supply to politicians generally leads to high inflation.” The bigger problem is not the threat of high inflation, but giving Republicans control of money that they will invariably turn over to the wealthy and corporations. Their record speaks for itself for the past ten years when they have borrowed money from China and the Social Security Trust to fund the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy, oil industry subsidies, and two unnecessary wars. Although it was Republicans who ran up the deficit, they are still blaming President Obama for something they did. They are even blaming the American people who lost their jobs by claiming unemployment benefits and Social Security are entitlements that are responsible for the nation’s debt crisis and sluggish economy. It is a typical case of a rapist blaming the victim, and their pundits and conservative think tanks are playing the role of slimy lawyers discrediting Americans who paid into Social Security and unemployment insurance during their entire working lives.

    Media pundits and commentators are unwilling to accuse Republicans of sabotage or criminal hostage-taking, but this author is not. Republicans have deliberately sabotaged the economy to portray the Obama Administration as ineffective and in the process are destroying what is left of the economy. There is not one instance of Republicans doing anything that will have a positive effect on the economy, but they have done everything to kill jobs. Their Draconian spending cuts and deficit reduction schemes will never create one job and are responsible for millions of Americans losing their jobs. When Democrats sought to restrict outsourcing of American jobs, Republicans blocked the legislation, and they blocked tax incentives for small businesses that hired new employees. The Republicans are undoubtedly making every attempt to send the economy into a full-scale depression by keeping Americans poor and unemployed while raising middle-class’s taxes and giving them to the wealthiest Americans.

    The American people have said they want the rich to pay more in taxes, more stimulus to rebuild America’s decrepit infrastructure, and Social Security and Medicare to be left untouched and yet Republicans are going in the opposite direction. Republicans want more tax cuts for the wealthy, Social Security and Medicare eliminated or privatized, and roads and bridges left in a state of disrepair. There can be no doubt that Republicans want to send the country into a depression because every single economic policy they espouse will result in the economy falling off a cliff; and all the while they blame President Obama and the American people for their economic malfeasance.

    There is no other way to portray the Republicans as anything but economic rapists who blame everyone else for their criminal activity. They held the economy hostage during the debt ceiling negotiations, and as Mitch McConnell promised, they did it again over disaster relief to make sure the oil industry sells more gasoline. Now they have sent a threatening letter to the Fed Chairman warning him not to do anything to boost the economy and help job creation. In any other situation, they would be arrested for sabotage, hostage taking, and extortion just like a mafia boss, but their supporters at the Heritage Foundation, Koch Industries, and the conservative Supreme Court protect them like greasy two-bit defense lawyers without a shred of decency.

    One thing is certain, if Americans continue supporting Republicans and their criminal economic rape, then they are no longer rape victims; they are willing accomplices who are as culpable as the Republican rapists and they cannot blame anyone except themselves. In this one case, Republican supporters who are victimized by their gods in the conservative movement are indeed criminals themselves for aiding and abetting serial economic rapists and they deserve to suffer. Unfortunately, decent Americans are also suffering and the GOP criminals have no intention of stopping. It is what happens when criminals go unpunished and shift the blame to the victims; the American people.

    http://www.politicususa.com/en/gop-job-obstruction

  12. rikyrah says:

    Reid: Obama Will Call House Back From Recess If Necessary Over Shutdown Fight

    Harry Reid has an offer for John Boehner and Senate Republicans to keep FEMA’s disaster relief efforts funded and avoid a government shutdown. It goes like this: Democrats will accept the House GOP’s lower funding total disaster aid, if Republicans drop the extraordinary demand that funding recovery from natural disasters be offset with partisan budget cuts.

    Republicans now say the only way to keep the entire government funded after September 30 is if Democrats agree to slash a successful manufacturing program to pay for disaster aid included in the House’s federal funding bill.

    Speaking for his caucus at a Friday press conference, Reid categorically rejected the idea disaster aid should be offset. After the Senate rejected that proposal on a bipartisan basis, Reid urged Boehner to sit down with himself, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to review his offer, in the hope of avoiding a government shutdown. And he said if House Republicans continue intransigently to demand that the Senate swallow their bill, President Obama will call the House back into session from its week-long recess.

    “The President of course will do that if necessary, and I don’t think that will be necessary,” Reid said in response to TPM’s question. “I would have to think that the vote Monday — that all eyes will be upon them, including the Speaker’s and Leader Cantor…. They were trolling for votes for maybe more than 24 hours, to try to get enough votes to satisfy the Tea Party.”

    TPM has a request for comment in to the White House and will post their response if and when it comes.

    Reid and the Democrats have calculated that the public understands which party’s the reasonable party, and which one’s prone to picking ideological fights with far-reaching consequences. House Republicans have skipped town and left Senate Democrats holding the ball with a single piece of legislation that funds the government, but only if Democrats accept cuts to a successful manufacturing program as the cost of offsetting disaster relief.

    But there are plenty of other options, if Republicans are willing to sit down and negotiate. Democrats’ only bright line in those negotiations is to avoid a precedent that disaster funds must be offset with cuts to federal programs — particularly successful and popular ones.

    Asked if any potential offsets would satisfy him, Reid said, bluntly, “No.”

    House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said he’s hopeful GOP leadership will accept realize that the consequences of inaction are too dire, and strike a deal — one that could be passed immediately in the House without having to call members back from their districts mid-week.

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/09/reid-obama-will-call-house-back-from-recess-if-necessary-over-shutdown-fight.php

  13. rikyrah says:

    Walsh uses race to distract GOP base from wealth gap

    By Imani Gandy

    6:06 AM on 09/24/2011

    In an interview with Brent Bozell of the conservative Media Research Center this week, Congressman Joe Walsh (Republican of Illinois) invoked President Obama’s race in an attempt to explain what he views as the media’s refusal to expose the “dishonesty” in President Obama’s deficit reduction plan; the dishonesty being, of course, the president’s recently-stated policy — the so-called “Buffett Rule” that millionaires should not pay a lower tax rate than those in the middle class.

    Walsh has a history of disrespectful behavior toward, and of making insensitive racial remarks about, President Obama. He recently claimed that Obama was elected only because he was an articulate black man and appeased “white liberal guilt.”

    While the above statement is pernicious because of the racism alone, Walsh’s latest claim, that the “liberal media is vested in protecting our first black president” is more damaging. Not only is it racist, but it also encourages a complete disregard of facts in favor of debunked Republican myths about job creation and trickle-down economics, which have the US economy teetering on the brink of ruin.

    During the interview, Bozell cavalierly states that President Obama is engaged in class warfare — as if such a statement were indisputable fact — and asks Walsh why the media is aiding and abetting the dishonesty. Walsh’s response is jaw-droppingly stupid:

    “This guy pushed every one of the media’s buttons. He was liberal, he was different, he was new, he was black. Oh my God, it was the potpourri of everything. They are so vested in our first black president not being a failure that it’s going to be amazing to watch the lengths they go to protect him. They [the media], I believe, will spout this racist line if some of their colleagues up here aren’t doing it aggressively enough. There is going to be a real desperation.”

    As an initial matter, Walsh’s statement that the media is vested in President Obama not being a failure because he is black is eye-opening. We — as Americans — should all be vested in the success of our government, irrespective of party. The success of a president determines the success of this nation, and while we may not agree with the policies of a sitting president at any give n time, rooting for the failure of that president is rooting for the failure of the United States.

    Accordingly, the fact that Walsh couches his response to Bozell’s question in terms of the “success” or “failure” of President Obama not only exposes Walsh as racist, but also raises questions as to whether Walsh is so driven by racism that he stands among those Norquist-beholden Republicans who seem willing to push the economy over a cliff all in an effort to make Obama a one-term president.

    More importantly, however, Walsh’s claim is spurious.

    http://www.thegrio.com/politics/walsh-uses-race-to-distract-gop-base-from-the-growing-wealth-gap.php

  14. rikyrah says:

    September 24, 2011 10:00 AM
    Who ‘decided to pick a fight’?

    By Steve Benen

    Whenever there’s any kind of dispute, “he/she started it” invariably sounds childish. It’s especially true in politics, in which a lot of voters just don’t much care.

    But I’m of the opinion that accountability matters, and when the media gives the public the wrong impression, it’s worth setting the record straight. Here’s the Washington Post’s report this morning on the spending standoff that may lead to a government shutdown in six days.


    Congress left town for the weekend without resolving the latest spat over spending, an almost accidental dispute that set the parties bickering over $1.6 billion in budget cuts — an amount that equals just 0.04 percent of the federal budget. As a result, Washington once again finds itself a week away from a potential government shutdown, a possibility that was supposed to have been averted as part of last month’s deal to end an epic battle over the federal debt ceiling.

    That agreement was still largely intact Friday. But Democrats decided to pick a fight over a side issue: an insistence by the GOP to pay for more disaster relief funding by cutting a popular auto-industry loan program. Republicans refused to back down. [emphasis added]

    That second paragraph is puzzling. If Republicans insisted on specific demands and refused to back down, how is it, exactly, that Democrats picked a fight?

    If assigning responsibility matters, then the details are worth paying attention to. A basic framework was in place for a stopgap spending measure, and officials from both parties were fairly confident the deal would hold together. Then Republicans decided to play a couple of games.

    The first was a decision to change the rules when it came to emergency disaster relief — Republicans said they wouldn’t approve the aid unless Democrats accepted cuts to a successful clean-energy program. The Senate and the White House said this wouldn’t do, but the House GOP went ahead anyway.

    The second was a decision to make the spending bill a little more attractive to far-right members on Thursday, with the leadership buying some GOP votes by cutting $100 million from a Department of Energy loan program the GOP loved until a few weeks ago. The Senate and the White House again urged Republicans to be more sensible, but the House GOP again proceeded anyway.

    “Democrats decided to pick a fight over a side issue”? No. Republicans went with some cheap stunts and Senate Dems said they wouldn’t play along this time. (I emphasize “this time” because they traditionally give. Sen. Mary Landrieu, a conservative Dem from Louisiana, said yesterday Dems “grew a backbone…. We normally cave.”)

    Blaming Dems for this mess strikes me as pretty silly.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_09/who_decided_to_pick_a_fight032412.php

  15. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    Blog
    September 24, 2011 10:45 AM
    A 14-month-long ‘holding pattern’

    By Steve Benen

    President Obama has a line he’s been using for the last two weeks that he’s especially fond. It’s about the “luxury” of time — something he believes the country and our economy simply do not have.

    Here, for example, is some of the rhetoric from the president’s speech in Cincinnati this week, at a bridge connecting Ohio and Kentucky, while promoting the American Jobs Act.

    “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, [Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell] said that his ‘top priority’ — #1 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.”

    Now, no one in Congress is likely to come right out and admit they intend to just kill time until the 2012 elections, but some are willing to more or less predict that outcome. Take Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), for example.


    Blunt said he has long believed that “the country is essentially in almost a holding pattern” until November 2012, when voters will have to decide what direction they want government policy to take. Until then, he said, “I’m not overwhelmingly optimistic” that Congress will be able to get much done.

    In fairness to Blunt, the quote doesn’t necessarily reflect a preference. I didn’t hear the full context, but the wording makes it sound more like an observation about a perceived political reality — the senator apparently thinks a 14-month-long “holding pattern” is unavoidable.

    It’s important to realize, though, just how wrong this is, or at least should be.

    Indeed, note the rest of Blunt’s take: voters will have to decide the nation’s direction. I can appreciate the underlying point — voters elected mainstream Democrats to lead the White House and Senate, and then elected right-wing Republicans to lead the House — but does anyone seriously believe the electorate wants and expects 14 months of dysfunction and inaction? By Blunt’s reasoning, any time an election cycle produces power-sharing between the parties, policymakers should simply stop working and wait for voters to pick one-party rule the next time.

    But that’s ridiculous. In recent generations, there have been plenty of instances in which one party controlled one side of Pennsylvania Avenue, and the other party was in power at the other side. Indeed, in the modern era, this has been more common than the alternative. Somehow, policymakers were able to function, more or less, without decades of “holding patterns,” waiting for voters to break the tie.

    For that matter, public opinion can often be nuanced and complicated, but it’ not that inscrutable. We actually have a pretty good sense of what the American mainstream wants policymakers to do right now — polls show strong, bipartisan support for investing in infrastructure, preventing public-sector layoffs, and tax credits for new hires.

    “Voters will have to decide what direction they want government policy to take”? We already know what direction they want government policy to take. So why wait in a “holding pattern” when there’s a bipartisan plan to address the nation’s most pressing needs sitting on the table, waiting for Congress to act?

    If Americans aren’t satisfied with this, they’re going to have to say so.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_09/a_14monthlong_holding_pattern032413.php

  16. rikyrah says:

    September 24, 2011 8:00 AM
    Santorum condemns boos; Romney and Perry don’t

    By Steve Benen

    It was one of the more jarring moments in Thursday night’s debate. Stephen Hill, a U.S. Army soldier serving in Iraq, asked whether he, as a gay American, would be able to continue serving if one of these Republican candidates won. Some in the audience booed, and Rick Santorum slammed the Obama administration for giving gay and lesbian troops “a special privilege,” which would end under a Santorum presidency.

    The former senator did not, however, have anything to say during the debate about the ugly audience reaction. Yesterday, in a Fox News interview, Santorum was willing to do the right thing.


    “I condemn the people who booed that gay soldier. That soldier is serving our country. I thank him for his service to our country. I’m sure he’s doing an excellent job. I hope he’s safe and I hope he returns safely and does his mission well.

    “I have to admit, I seriously did not hear those boos. Had I heard them, I certainly would have commented on them, but, as you know, when you’re in that sort of environment, you’re sort of focused on the question and formulating your answer. I just didn’t hear those couple of boos that were out there, but certainly had I, I would have said, ‘Don’t do that. This man is serving our country and we are to thank him for his service.’”

    That’s a perfectly good answer. It may not be entirely truthful — other candidates said they heard the boos — and it doesn’t make up for Santorum’s awful substantive response to the question, but I’m glad he’s at least willing to condemn those booing a serviceman who’s putting his life on the line for the United States. It is, quite literally, the least he should do.

    But what about the rest of the Republican field? Yesterday, Jon Huntsman and Gary Johnson, to their credit, also denounced those who booed Hill, albeit a day late. Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, however, refused requests for comment.

    I don’t expect much from guys like Romney and Perry, and neither are likely to ever get a Profile in Courage award nomination any time soon, but if leading presidential candidates aren’t willing to stand up for an Army soldier serving honorably in Iraq, who will they stand up for?

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_09/santorum_condemns_boos_romney032409.php

  17. rikyrah says:

    Is Rick Perry Really So Bad?

    by BooMan
    Sat Sep 24th, 2011 at 12:24:48 PM EST

    I turned off the Fox News/Google Debate after about 40 minutes because I was in kind of a bad mood and I just couldn’t take any more lunacy. I had not noticed that Governor Rick Perry was having a particularly bad night. However, Perry seems to fade in the latter half of debates, and he apparently had a rather disastrous second hour. For me, it’s hard to tell who is doing well in Republican debates and who is not. I noticed that Michele Bachmann said that we are all entitled to 100% of the money we earn. For me, that’s so ridiculous that a giant hook should have come out and yanked her off the stage and into a paddy wagon. But for an audience that boos active-duty soldiers and cheers executions, it could have been the best line of the night. I am not a crazy asshole, so who am I to say?

    However, it appears that Rick Perry’s biggest sin was to defend in-state tuition for the children of undocumented workers.


    “If you say that we should not educate children who come into our state for no other reason than that they’ve been brought there through no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart,” Perry said. “We need to be educating these children because they will become a drag on our society. I think that’s what Texans wanted to do. Out of 181 members of the Texas legislature when this issue came up [there were] only four dissenting votes. This was a state issue. Texas voted on it. And I still support it today.”

    The next day, Romney came out swinging:


    “My friend Governor Perry said that if you don’t agree with his position on giving that in-state tuition to illegals, then you don’t have a heart,” Romney said. “I think if you’re opposed to illegal immigration, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a heart; it means that you have a heart and a brain.”

    But Romney could have kept his mouth shut because practically every conservative commentator in the country panned Perry’s response and his overall performance.

    That Perry’s biggest problem was his position on in-state tuition for immigrants was clear in Frank Luntz’s post-debate focus group, but he got no love for the rest of his performance either.

    Famed lunatic John Podhoretz of the New York Post noted, “Just awful. After the first half hour, he seemed unable to speak a coherent sentence, even when he was carefully prepared — and he made a cringe-inducing bungle of a rehearsed soundbite about Romney’s flip-flopping. It was one of the worst moments I can remember.” Michelle Malkin said, ““any random high schooler at the CPAC conference in Washington could have done better than this.” Erick Erickson panned the whole field. “Good Lord,” Erickson wrote, “this was the worst debate I think I’ve ever watched.” Bill Kristol penned a column entitled ‘Yikes’ that begged New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to come to the rescue.

    Now, if I were a conservative I wouldn’t be happy with the field of candidates either. I would be unimpressed with Rick Perry’s oratorical and debating skills, too. I’d be less excited about Mitt Romney than I am discussing wallpaper glue. I totally get this element of the criticism. But Rick Perry continues to get hammered for the very few decent things he has ever done in his life. In the last debate, he was lambasted for providing a HPV vaccine to the girls of Texas so that they won’t die of cervical cancer later on in life. Yeah, I know that his decision was probably more about lining his pockets with Merck-money than any true compassion, but he did do the right thing. The crazy Texas legislature freaked out and overruled him, so cervical cancer is safe for now, at least in the Lone Star State.

    And, now, in this debate he’s getting killed for showing some basic human decency and not punishing children for the sins of their parents. According to Perry, there were only four dissenting votes when he passed the in-state tuition bill. If that’s true, what does it say about the national Republican Party that they hate Latinos immeasurably more than the Texas GOP?

    We’re talking about a guy who executed an innocent man and then abused the power of his office to cover it up. And he’s too liberal and decent to be the Republican nominee for president?

    Folks, this is beyond ridiculous. It’s downright scary.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2011/9/24/122448/739

  18. Ametia says:

    Wisconsin Gov Scott Walkers spokesman granted immunity during federal investigation

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) spokesman, plus two supporters, have now been granted immunity in the ongoing campaign finance investigation of former aides to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), from Walker’s time as Milwaukee County Executive.

    WisPolitics reports:

    The spokesman, Cullen Werwie, also served as deputy communications director for Walker’s gubernatorial campaign.

    Rose Ann Dieck, a retired teacher and Milwaukee County Republican party activist, and Kenneth Lucht, a lobbyist for the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad, have also been granted immunity in matters “still under inquiry” through the secret probe, according to the judge overseeing the case.

    The judge stressed that a grant of immunity “does not necessarily mean, imply or infer that those witnesses are suspected of, or guilty of, any criminal wrongdoing.”

    Read more: http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/09/walke

  19. Good Morning, 3 Chics, Friends, & Visitors!

    Happy Saturday!

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