Serendipity SOUL| Sunday Open Thread

Happy Sunday, Everyone!  President Obama delivered his own very special sermon last night before the Congressional Black Congress.  A Powerful message, indeed.

Photo- Mike Theiler-Reuters


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26 Responses to Serendipity SOUL| Sunday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:


    The First Lady of the United States – Michelle Obama – will be on the Season Premiere of Extreme Makeover:Home Edition, this Sunday, September 25th, at 7 p.m. EST.

  2. rikyrah says:

    from The Obama Diary in the comments:

    September 25, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Whooohooo it’s been a good sunday morning so far. The last few minutes of PBO’s EPIC speech to the CBC has been getting major major airtime on all the news shows and watching it over and over again never takes the shine and vigor out of it. David Plouffe has been making the rounds and he’s fantastic as usual. He’s been pushing hard at the GOP to pass the AJA. Reiterating that it has plans that both democrats and republicans have supported in the past; so those democrats and republicans who’ve been out in the media trying to chop the bill up are being very disingenuous and not acting in the best interest of the American people and the economy. He reiterated that when PBO asks wealthy people to pay their fair share it is most definitely not class warfare. He also reiterated that many economists, for example, Mark Zandy of Moody’s have predicted that the AJA will create at least 1.9 – 2 million jobs and reduce the unemployment rate by about 2% so congress should act and pass the bill now.

    The funniest part of the interview on This Week with Christiane Amanpour was when Amanpour asked Plouffe what he thought about James Carville’s statement that the white house should be panicking and should replace staff and cabinet members. Apparently, Plouffe had previously said that people who say the whitehouse should be panicking and running around like headless chickens are nothing more than BEDWETTERS. BWAHAHAHA :lol: :lol: :lol: So Amanpour asked him if Carville was a bedwetter. Plouffe had this priceless look on his face as if to say that yep Carville is the biggest bedwetter of them all. He then said that PBO isn’t into panicking, he’s not replacing any cabinet member or staff, he’s happy with his team and his team is pumped up for 2012 and they are ready to fight, fight, fight for the middleclass and all Americans. Amanpour also asked him about Clinton’s statement to Newsmax that PBO shouldn’t be raising taxes on the wealthy because it won’t do anything for the economy. Plouffe replied by saying that yes it will. It is a source of revenue and shouldn’t be discounted. He said that PBO played golf with Clinton yesterday and Clinton is 100% behind the AJA.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Help the President Pass His Jobs Bill

    by BooMan
    Sun Sep 25th, 2011 at 11:25:18 AM EST
    Sometime soon, most likely in mid-October, the Senate will take-up the American Jobs Act. As is the case with all contentious Senate business, this will involve a motion to invoke ‘cloture’, which is a fancy word that means that the Senate agrees to end debate over an issue and have an up or down simple-majority vote. The Democratic Caucus has 53 members, which means that, once cloture is successfully invoked, they can pass the bill if they remain united. Of course, the Democrats are not exactly united. Sen. Mary Landrieu if Louisiana opposes any reduction in subsidies for Big Oil. Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia thinks raising taxes on anyone, even several years from now, is a dumb idea. And, even if the Senate were to pass some version of the American Jobs Act, it would still have to be merged with whatever bill John Boehner’s House of Representatives produced (assuming they produced anything at all).

    It”s a very tall order to pass anything through our divided Congress, but the administration is serious about giving it an honest try. And there are some small signs of hope. After the president gave a speech calling for a half trillion dollars in stimulus funded by rich people paying their fair share, Boehner and Cantor said his plan “merits consideration.”

    The Republicans can read the polls, and they know that they exhausted the electorate’s patience during the debate over the debt ceiling. That’s why they stopped obstructing the FAA extension. It’s also why the House Republicans did not attach anti-choice and anti-environment riders to their Continuing Resolution bill. The Republican leadership realizes that the public sees them as unproductive, overly ideological, and thoroughly unreasonable. They are very worried about how the public will react is they simply refuse to produce a jobs bill.

    The American Jobs Act will prevent more teacher lay-offs and it focuses on infrastructure which will put construction workers back to work. Even Rep. Paul Ryan has conceded that infrastructure projects will create jobs. The proposed payroll holiday will give the average family approximately 1,500 extra dollars to spend, and the bill also has provisions for hiring veterans that will be hard to oppose. The bill has been carefully crafted so that includes many provisions that poll very well with the public, and Republican senators will not be very enthusiastic about simply killing the bill with a filibuster. This is especially true because they can pass the buck to the House where Boehner can take the blame for either killing it or stripping out some of its more popular provisions.

    Boehner and Cantor probably know that they can’t simply kill the bill or they will lose the House. So, they’ll probably try to pass something that can be melded with a Senate bill. I should put an emphasis on ‘try’ because the House leadership has only theoretical control over their own caucus.

    Here’s what I do know. The president is going all-in to try to pass a jobs bill. Progressive groups have signed on to help him with the push. He will be traveling the country for the next month to make the case for his bill. He hasn’t put this much effort into anything since the Affordable Care Act. We can sit on the sidelines or we can help the president make his case.

    So, my advice is to get involved. Make the case to your friends and family through your social networks. Go find out what is going on in your community and volunteer to help. The Republicans have no good options on this. They can either get blamed for intransigence or they can give the president a win and actually do something that helps create some jobs. We have to make sure they pay the maximum price if they do the wrong thing.

  4. rikyrah says:

    September 25, 2011 10:40 AM
    The right’s misplaced love of JFK tax cuts

    By Steve Benen

    Bill O’Reilly repeated a familiar refrain to go after President Obama’s plan to increase taxes on the wealthy in 2013, relying on President Kennedy’s tax cuts in 1962 to make a misleading historical point.

    Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly is urging President Obama to follow President John F. Kennedy’s footsteps and propose lowering taxes for the rich to spur economic growth. […]

    “[I]n 1962, President Kennedy proposed a big tax cut for the rich in order to stimulate the economy and encourage investment. And the rates have been moderating ever since.” [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 9/22/11]

    This comes up from time to time. It’s a little game the right plays to make it seem as if tax cuts are, or at least were, a bipartisan approach to economic growth. Given the spectacular failures of the Bush-era tax breaks, it’s tempting to think even the most stubborn Republican hack would give up and move on, but apparently that’s not the case.

    So, let’s set the record straight. When Kennedy cut taxes, he lowered the top marginal tax from 91% to 65%. Many congressional Republicans opposed his plan at the time, citing concerns that the treasury couldn’t afford such a tax break — the Republican Party used to be quite serious about fiscal responsibility, but it’s been a half-century — but Kennedy proceeded anyway because the higher rates, instituted during World War II, were no longer necessary.

    Also at the time, the country had very little debt — Eisenhower, thankfully, kept taxes high throughout the 1950s — almost no deficit. Fiscal conditions, obviously, are far different now.

    Keep in mind, unlike contemporary GOP policy, Kennedy’s plan distributed “peace dividends” broadly across the wage spectrum. As the Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation explained at the time, the bottom 85% of the population received 59% of the benefits of JFK’s tax cut. The top 2.4% received 17.4% of the tax cut, and the top 0.4% received just 6% of it.

    Those on the right who see themselves as descendents of the Kennedy policy are either deeply confused or they assume you won’t bother to learn the truth.

  5. rikyrah says:

    September 25, 2011 9:40 AM
    Perry’s one departure from far-right orthodoxy will cost him

    By Steve Benen

    Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry isn’t exactly a moderate, embracing a far-right line on just about every issue under the sun. Indeed, when his rivals question his “electability,” they’re referring to the limited appeal of such a very conservative candidate.

    But there’s an exception, and apparently, it’s proving to be a doozy.

    With a single phrase implying his opponents are heartless, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas plumbed a profound divide between his views on illegal immigration and those of many grass-roots conservatives, who up to now have been the core of his support for the Republican nomination.

    Mr. Perry summoned the phrase in a debate on Thursday night to justify a Texas law that lets some children of illegal immigrants pay in-state tuition at public colleges. If you oppose it, he said, “I don’t think you have a heart.”

    His remarks were instantly seized upon by rivals, none more so than Mitt Romney, who vetoed a similar bill as Massachusetts governor.

    “I think if you’re opposed to illegal immigration, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a heart,” he said Friday to a group of conservative activists. “It means that you have a heart and a brain.”

    Perry’s rather sensible position on immigration generated hearty boos in Thursday night’s debate, and multiple reports from the straw poll in Florida yesterday mentioned GOP activists who started bailing on the governor after hearing his take on this issue.

    Now, it’s worth noting that, in the 2008 race, John McCain was the lead Republican sponsor on comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act — both of which the GOP base hate — and managed to win the party’s presidential nomination fairly easily anyway. The current race is quite a bit different, though, not only because the party is even more right wing now, but also because McCain shamelessly flip-flopped, abandoning his positions and denouncing the bills he helped write — while Perry is sticking to his guns.

    When Romney and other Republicans attack on this issue — Perry backed a measure to allow children of undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition for higher education — they’re telling the truth. The best the Texas governor can do, at least so far, is to claim to have compassion, which only seems to enrage the GOP base even more, since it’s a line they’re accustomed to hearing from the left.

    The result is the right-wing governor who thinks Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional has been deemed too moderate because of a single issue conservatives care about.

    If the Perry campaign were on top of its game, the response to this would be fairly obvious: at least Perry has been consistent, which is more than can be said about Romney, the one claiming the far-right high ground. After all, six years ago, Romney endorsed an immigration reform policy conservatives now consider “amnesty,” only to abandon that position after one of his many metamorphoses.

    Why the Perry camp is proving to be so inept in punching back is a mystery.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    September 25, 2011 8:45 AM
    Teleprompter jokes from a teleprompter

    By Steve Benen

    For reasons I’ve never fully understood, Republicans love teleprompter jokes, and yesterday’s GOP gathering in Florida featured one tired line after another. But as Evan McMorris-Santoro noted, Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), a horrible public speaker, took the joke “a little meta.”

    The first-term Gov. Scott (not known for his public speaking skills, to be sure) started reading his speech off a set of prompters at the podium. As he started talking, the state GOP sent reporters the prepared version of his remarks.

    You know where this is going.

    From the prepared remarks (complete with what appear to be prompter directions to emphasize the joke):

    “Good afternoon, and welcome to Presidency 5!

    “I have to admit, I was a little nervous when I looked out here. I saw all the TV cameras and a teleprompter. I figured President Obama must be here – giving another speech about raising taxes!“[emphasis in the original]

    Most reasonable people should be able to accept a simple rule: if you’re telling teleprompter jokes from a teleprompter, you’re doing it wrong. If you’re telling bad teleprompter jokes from a teleprompter, it’s time to think of a new bit.

  7. rikyrah says:

    september 25, 2011 8:00 AM
    Perry flops in Florida (again)

    By Steve Benen

    Rick Perry had a credible plan for the weekend. Following a disastrous debate performance in Orlando on Thursday night, and the ensuing blowback from party leaders and activists, the Texas governor needed something to boost confidence in his suddenly-flailing campaign.

    That something was the Republican Party of Florida’s “Presidency 5” straw poll. Though officially downplaying its significance, the Perry campaign went all out to win the contest, and hoped to use a victory here to bounce back quickly, starting a new narrative.

    Instead, Perry’s P5 failure has had the opposite effect.

    Herman Cain, the former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza, won the Florida straw poll [Saturday], defeating second-place Rick Perry after the Texas governor worked the crowd of activists with a breakfast speech Saturday morning.

    Mr. Cain won nearly 40 percent of the 2,657 people who voted, more than doubling Mr. Perry’s total and that of Mitt Romney, who came in a close third.

    All of the candidates spoke to the crowd of Florida Republicans who gathered here for the Faith and Freedom Coalition and Conservative Political Action Conference meetings.

    The usual caveats certainly apply to a contest like this, most notably the fact that it’s a relatively small group of activists who had to pay to participate.

    But presidential straw polls tend to have more significance if top-tier candidates give them significance. And in this case, Perry made a real effort to win — he reached out to delegates personally over the course of several days — but got trounced anyway.

    The poor showing suggests Perry’s fumbling debate performance carries some consequences. For a Republican establishment unsure if the Texas governor is truly ready for prime time, these two high-profile Florida failures — first the debate, then the straw poll — only serve to strengthen doubts.

    Here, by the way, were the official results, as released by the state GOP:

    1. Herman Cain, 37.1%
    2. Rick Perry, 15.4%
    3. Mitt Romney, 14%
    4. Rick Santorum, 10.9%
    5. Ron Paul, 10.4%
    6. Newt Gingrich, 8.4%
    7. Jon Huntsman, 2.3%
    8. Michele Bachmann, 1.5%

    Romney didn’t make much of an effort — he left Florida on early Friday, effectively ceding the straw poll — so his campaign is probably satisfied with a third-place showing. Jon Huntsman has characterized Florida one of his strongest states, though yesterday’s results suggest otherwise.

    Bachmann, meanwhile, appears to be moving quickly in the wrong direction.

  8. rikyrah says:




    Saudi king: Women given right to vote for first time in 2015 nationwide local elections
    By Associated Press, Updated: Sunday, September 25, 9:58 AM

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi King Abdullah announced Sunday that the nation’s women will gain the right to vote and run as candidates in local elections to be held in 2015 in a major advancement for the rights of women in the deeply conservative Muslim kingdom.

    In an annual speech before his advisory assembly, or Shura Council, the Saudi monarch said he ordered the step after consulting with the nation’s top religious clerics, whose advice carries great weight in the kingdom.

    We refuse to marginalize the role of women in Saudi society and in every aspect, within the rules of Sharia,” Abdullah said, referring to the Islamic law that governs many aspects of life in the kingdom.

    The right to vote is by far the biggest change introduced by Abdullah, considered a reformer, since he became the country’s de facto ruler in 1995 during the illness of King Fahd. Abdullah formally ascended to the throne upon Fahd’s death in August 2005.

    The kingdom’s great oil wealth and generous handouts to citizens have largely insulated it from the unrest sweeping the Arab world. But the king has taken steps to quiet rumblings of discontent that largely centered on the eastern oil-producing region populated by the country’s Shiite Muslim minority.

    Mindful of the unrest, which reached Saudi Arabia’s doorstep with street protests and a deadly crackdown in neighboring Bahrain, King Abdullah pledged roughly $93 billion in financial support to boost jobs and services for Saudis in March.

    Seizing on the season of protest in the Arab world, Saudi women’s groups have also staged public defiance of the kingdom’s ban on female driving. Saudi authorities went relatively easy on the women, who took to the roads earlier this year and gained worldwide attention through social media.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Republicans vow to keep health law waiver controversy alive
    By Julian Pecquet – 09/25/11 06:15 AM ET

    GOP lawmakers want to make sure that health law waivers remain the gift that keeps on giving.

    Obama administration officials hope their decision to end controversial exemptions for businesses and unions this past week will mute the barrage of monthly criticism they’ve been getting for the past year. Don’t hold your breath, Republicans say.

    “There is no end to the frustration and embarrassment that’s going to come their way,” said Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas). “I don’t know that they’ve stopped the hemorrhaging from the waivers. I suspect that’s going to continue to be litigated in legislation on the floor.”

    The waivers concern a single provision of the healthcare reform law that requires plans to offer a minimum level of benefits per year – $750,000 for FY 2011, and rising gradually after that – before cutting consumers off. Organizations that offer healthcare plans have been applying for, and often receiving, waivers on that provision.

    Republicans have assailed the waivers as proof that the law doesn’t work and that administration allies such as unions are getting preferential treatment. The administration denies the latter allegation – and Republicans have offered little proof – while pointing out that the waived plans cover fewer than 2 percent of all Americans with private insurance.

    The Department of Health and Human Services had been granting new batches of waivers every month, but changed the rules in June to give businesses and unions a one-time chance to apply for a waiver valid through the end of 2013, when health exchanges and subsidies start and the waivers become moot. The deadline to apply was Sept. 22, this past Thursday.

    Burgess told The Hill he’s going to recommend that the Energy and Commerce Committee hold a hearing after the department makes public the final list of approved and rejected applications. As of last month, HHS had approved 1,472 one-year waivers and 106 three-year waivers representing about 3.4 million Americans.

    The administration has said the new rules make sense because businesses that can’t meet the $750,000 limit in 2011 most likely won’t be able to meet even higher standards in the future. Officials flatly deny that their decision was guided by a desire to avoid monthly embarrassment as reporters track the latest batch of waivers.

    “This was the course that we mapped out a year ago,” Steve Larsen, the director of the office overseeing implementation of the new law, said in June when the end of the program was announced.

    Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), one of the law’s most vocal critics, said he would closely track the last batch of waivers and lambast them on the floor as he pushes his legislation to allow anyone to apply for a waiver going forward – including new businesses created after Thursday’s waiver deadline.

    “Up until now there’s been a monthly outrage about waivers,” Barrasso told The Hill. “Now that monthly outrage is going to be replaced by daily outrage by people who create jobs and can’t cover their employees because they’ve missed the deadline.”

    Administration officials, he predicted, “are going to hear a lot about waivers. This is far from over.”

  10. Ametia,

    When you get time, would you post the video “Holy Is The Lord” by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir? Please boo?

  11. Ametia says:


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

    Happy Sunday!

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