Serendipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread

Dang; is it Monday already?  Happy MUN-dane, Everybody!  Enjoy EARTH WIND & FIRE week at 3 Chics.

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84 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Rachel Maddow is the only one who actually played the entire last 2 minutes of the President’s speech to the CBC, and then takes on the Beltway and how they LIED about the speech.

  2. Ametia says:

    Posted at 03:11 PM ET, 09/26/2011 Obama’s populism is about winning independents, too
    By Greg Sargent
    As I and many others have argued, pundits who claim that Obama’s newly aggressive populism is only about winning back the Dem base are flatly misstating the nature of the bet the White House has made. Right or wrong, Obama and his team believe their aggressive pitch for the new jobs plan and for tax hikes on the rich — and the threat to veto any deficit deal without new revenues — is the best route to winning back independents, too.

    Now Mike Tomasky has added another important dimension to this argument, noting that the key thing about independents is that they’re not the monolithic bloc of voters we keep being told about:

    Democrats often make a terrible mistake in thinking that base Democrats and independents have completely opposing interests. Democrats tend to think of independents as Republicans Lite … But independents aren’t that monolithic. Of the 35 or so percent of voters who call themselves independent, according to Democratic pollster Guy Molyneux of Peter Hart Research Associates, about two thirds are basically Democrats or Republicans who just prefer calling themselves independent but whose votes are pretty reliable. That leaves maybe 10 to 15 percent of the electorate that is truly independent — still a big chunk, for sure, and a crucial or perhaps the crucial key to winning most elections. There are two things about these voters, Molyneux says.
    First, they take some conservative positions and some progressive ones … But there’s something else important to them. “They also want someone who can run things, a person who can make things work,” Molyneux says….
    There is, then, a way for Obama to inspire both the base and swing voters, and it’s absurdly simple: he needs to accentuate the items on which the two groups more or less agree and fight hard for them.
    As it happens, the numbers bear this out. A recent Pew poll found that a majority of Dem-leaning independents — their Dem leanings are the key here — want Obama to fight Republicans harder, rather than to be more compromising with them.

    What’s more, other polls suggest that there’s good reason for Obama to try to “accentuate” the items that Dems and independents agree on — and the Obama team is looking at those polls, too. The problem, in a nutshell, is that independents strongly disapprove of Obama’s overall performance on the economy — even as solid majorities of them support the individual provisions in his jobs bill, and solid majorities of them favor hiking taxes on the rich. And so Obama’s team hopes that aggressively accentuating the areas of policy agreement with independents is the way to win them back despite their generalized disapproval of his performance.

    No matter how many times pundits falsely claim otherwise, his new tack is not just about winning back the “base.” It’s also about winning back those independents who are inclined to agree with Obama’s actual policy prescriptions and priorities. Right or wrong, that’s the gamble he’s made.

  3. rikyrah says:

    something I learned today about Rev. Al about Troy Davis. remember last week, when I pointed out that there was nothing the President could do , because Davis was tried on the state level and not the federal level. Rev. Al revealed that it was a 1996 law – THAT BILL CLINTON SIGNED – that limited the federal government’s power to intervene in state cases.

    uh huh.

    uh huh.

    • Ametia says:

      Yes, Bubba, “blow my dick” Clinton really helped out the BLACKS when he was POTUS, didn’t he. State’s rights is another way to maintain SYSTEMATIC RACISM, INEQUALITY, etc. Just depends on who’s running the states now doesn’t it?

  4. rikyrah says:

    Rev. Al was on point, and I enjoyed him calling the CBC out.

    He’s on right now.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Clueless About Race: John Aravosis

    By ABL on September 26th, 2011

    Nobody asked you. Put your hand down.

    I made the mistake of reading John Aravosis’ take on the furor induced by Melissa Harris-Perry’s articles in The Nation. I don’t know why I bothered.

    After all, John Aravosis rarely (if ever) has anything nice to say about Obama; never has a word of understanding to offer; and — on the day that black Americans watched in horror as President Obama “prove to the man” that yes, he is an American citizen born in this country, actually had the temerity to wonder why President Obama “took so long” to release his birth certificate. With that in mind, John Aravosis’ “good show, old girl” post in defense of Joan Walsh is unsurprising:

    Are you disappointed with Obama simply because you’re a white racist and he’s black? Unlikely. Because if we were all white racists, we wouldn’t have supported Barack Obama in the first place. And we did. Far more than we probably should have.

    But there’s an article going around, in the recent edition of the Nation, suggesting that “white” progressives (always informative for someone to judge you racist simply based on the color of your skin) are upset with the president because of a subtle form of racism that expects blacks to achieve more than similarly placed whites. Her comparison: Bill Clinton vs Barack Obama. Clinton was heartily re-elected, Obama is in trouble. Clinton was white. Obama is black.

    To quote the President, “c’mon.”

    Joan Walsh of Salon does a wonderful job deconstructing the argument. I’ll defer to her. Here are a few of the best grafs:


    So yeah, I did expect more of Obama. And probably expected more from him than I expected from Bill Clinton. Under George H.W. Bush I didn’t feel like we were losing our country. Under his son, I did. Under George H.W. Bush, we had a recession. Under his son began the worst economic downturn since the great depression. Circumstances demanded that Obama rise to the occasion far more than Clinton, and I’m not entirely sure he has.

    A president is judged by how well he handles the hand he’s dealt. And if a white president had: proposed a too small stimulus, and then whittled it down even further to appease an angry (and then- irrelevant) GOP; refused to get his hands dirty with the nitty gritty of health care reform for nearly a year, until it was too late (and brokered noxious secret deals with Big Pharma); promised to be a fierce advocate on gay rights and then dawdled far too long; embraced budget cutting mania while the economy was still on life support; and caved time after time to insane Republican demands in order to avoid a fight he might just have been able to win, then yeah, I’d have been ticked at him too.

    And I was ticked at Clinton. I still have that copy of the NYT, buried somewhere, containing a photo of me and Gregg Haifley, from our days at the Children’s Defense Fund, picketing the Clinton White House over welfare reform. And then there was the time during the 1993 (gay) March on Washington when we all put plastic doctors’ gloves atop the points of the White House fence in order to protest the Secret Service’s then-absurd policy on (not) welcoming people with AIDS. So yeah, we annoyed Bill Clinton too (and I’m sure his wife wasn’t very pleased with me either about 3 years ago, and last time I checked, she’s white too).

    And I remember, in the middle of the impeachment, telling a friend that I didn’t want Clinton impeached, but I did want him to just go away. Plus ça change…

    One more thing, since the author of the Nation piece claims that gays were happier with Clinton than we are with Obama, and that this too is allegedly because of our subtle racism. The Obama folks like to claim that Barack Obama has done so much more than Bill Clinton ever did for the gays. But that’s not entirely true. Bill Clinton had the first openly gay person with AIDS, Bob Hattoy, speak during primetime at his convention in 1992. It was a huge deal for our community, and it forced the Republicans to have a PWA speak during their convention as well. Bill Clinton appointed “that damned lesbian” Robert Achtenberg to be an assistant secretary at HUD before it was cool to have an openly gay assistant secretary. Bill Clinton appointed the first openly gay ambassador, the first White House gay liaison (a job that’s been downsized in the Obama White House). Bill Clinton gladly accepted gay money when Dukakis had openly shunned it (“[A] fundraiser for the Dukakis campaign told Mixner that Governor Dukakis would not accept the million dollars Mixner and his friends planned to raise for him”). Yes, Bill Clinton signed DADT and DOMA – and don’t think that the gays didn’t hold him account, one of his then- best friends, David Mixner, repeatedly went on TV to castigate the new President for his botched handling of gays in the military, and even got himself arrested outside the White House fence (torpedoing a quite lucrative consulting practice in the process).

    So, yes, Bill Clinton signed DADT and DOMA, but he also did a hell of a lot of “firsts” for my community in an era in which it wasn’t nearly as easy to be pro-gay as it is today.

    President Obama gets big kudos for the repeal of DADT (though he handled it poorly, and it almost didn’t happen as a result). But other than that, I’m hard pressed to come up with as many examples of President Obama using his limited supply of political chits for the gay community. (Was appointing an openly gay head of OPM really that hard a slog? No, it wasn’t. That doesn’t negate it being a good thing. But it does negate it being a great thing. And it’s not nearly as big a deal, in context, as appointing Achtenberg and Hormel during the 1990s.)

    And that, I think, is a large part of the (more than just gay) dismay with Barack Obama. He doesn’t stick his neck out nearly enough. Clinton did, while Obama plays it safe. Clinton eventually became a fighter. Perhaps Obama can too. And if he does, I’m happy to remember him fondly as well.

    Really, dude? A thousand words to basically, “Yes, huh, I did too criticize Clinton!”

    A thousand words to denigrate President Obama’s advancement of equality for the LGBT community by touting the achievements of Bill Clinton, the man who gave us DADT and DOMA?

    A thousand words from a person who willfully refuses to acknowledge Obama’s incremental approach to equality, but yet championed such an approach in order to justify ignoring the “T” in “LGBT”, and sidelining equality for trans- folks (in an article published on, no less)?

    Oh please.

    Put your hand down, Mr. Aravosis. No one wants to hear it.

  6. Ametia says:

    Source: ABC News

    Sarah Palin’s family attorney John Tiemessen has written a letter to Maya Mavjee, the publisher of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, that Palin may sue her, the company, and the book’s author Joe McGinniss “for knowingly publishing false statements” in his book released last week, “The Rogue,” ABC News has learned.

    The book was widely panned by critics for using unnamed sources to criticize Palin and her family. Tiemessen cites an email they have access to in which McGinniss writes that attorneys from Crown Publishing told him “nothing I can cite other than my own reporting rises above the level of tawdry gossip. The proof is always just around the corner, but that is a corner nobody has been able to turn” and that McGinniss “ran out of time” to sufficiently source the book.

    A source close to the Palins tells ABC News that the “Palins are fighting back and demanding answers from Random House.”

    “Random House is at the top of the food chain and published a book based upon acknowledged unsubstantiated gossip,” the source said. “The revealing email is key as evidence of this defamatory approach to politics through proxies.”

    Read more:… /


    The letter:

  7. Ametia says:

    CNN Breaking News via to textbreakingne.
    show details 6:47 PM (4 minutes ago)

    The Senate reached a bipartisan agreement intended to end a dispute over disaster relief spending that threatened to cause a partial shutdown of the government at the end of the week.
    In two votes, the Senate approved short-term spending measures to fund the government for the start of the new fiscal year that begins Saturday. The deal hinged on FEMA’s new assessment that it has sufficient funding for the rest of the current fiscal year.
    The measures now go to the House, which would need to approve them to ensure the government continues to be funded after Friday.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Jesse Jackson Jr.’s Conflict With Illinois Map Might Draw Challengers

    By Shira Toeplitz
    Roll Call Staff
    Sept. 26, 2011, 7:13 p.m.

    Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) finds himself in political hot water this week after publicly questioning the legal integrity of the state’s new Congressional map.

    Not only are the two other black House Members in the delegation reportedly backing away from Jackson, but sources say two Democrats are now thinking about challenging him in next year’s primary.

    Jackson’s political mess started last week when he told Roll Call that Democratic Reps. Bobby Rush and Danny Davis and he were concerned that the state’s new Congressional map did not comply with the Voting Rights Act. Separately, Davis told Roll Call that he, Jackson and Rush declined to contribute $10,000 from his campaign fund to help Democrats’ legal defense to fight a GOP lawsuit over the map.

    But now Davis and Rush are thinking twice about their refusal to chip in to the fund, according to local Chicago news reports.

    Davis told the Associated Press on Friday that he’s still undecided about “whether or not I’m going to participate” in the legal defense of the map. On Monday, Rush’s press aide told the Illinois political insider publication Capitol Fax that he also had not made a final decision.

    Jackson’s spokesman, Frank Watkins, declined to comment.

    Meanwhile, there might be major ramifications for Jackson’s electoral future. At least two Democrats are now thinking about challenging Jackson, at least in part because of his comments.

    Former Rep. Debbie Halvorson continues to consider challenging Jackson, her longtime political adversary. A source said she will begin circulating petitions soon to test her support against him in the March primary.

    City Alderman Anthony Beale (D) is also considering running against Jackson, according to two Chicago-area Democratic sources.

    Beale didn’t deny his interest in a Congressional bid in a statement passed on by his spokeswoman Monday.

    “I’m focused on doing the best job I can as Alderman of the 9th ward,” Beale said.

    The Illinois Democratic Congressional delegation is furious with Jackson for bringing up his criticism of the map months after the governor signed it into law.

    Jackson indicated he’s concerned that Chicago’s Hispanic population might merit a second House district. That’s the crux of the GOP argument to overturn the new map in court.

    Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) accosted Jackson on the House floor about his comments late last week. Gutierrez represents a district with a heavy majority Hispanic population, which could change if Republicans win their lawsuit and another Hispanic-majority district has to be carved out.

    “He’s playing with an enormous hornet’s nest here, and he’s inviting a third party into the race,” one Chicago Democratic insider said. “What has brought all this to the forefront is his own doing.”

  9. rikyrah says:

    No Confidence Men: 62 Percent Have Little Or No Confidence In GOP Leaders On Debt

    House Speaker John Boehner said that he got 98 percent of what he wanted in the final debt ceiling deal this summer. But the percentage of Americans that trust the GOP to do what’s right on the deficit is significantly lower than that — nearly three times lower.

    As Americans’ stomachs turn at the possibility of a government shutdown over yet another spending battle, everyone seems to be at fault. On Monday morning Gallup released the news that more people are dissatisfied with the way government is being run than they were after Watergate, a very high (or low) bar that Washington has hit a few times during the last decade or so. Later on Monday the Pew Research Center released some delineations about that sentiment.

    Pew conducted a survey on how Americans feel about political leaders’ ability to handle the deficit, an issue that has been eclipsed as the highest priority by jobs, but is still a major concern. The data showed that only 35 percent of Americans have confidence that GOP congressional leaders will do the right thing on the deficit, 43 percent thought the same about congressional Democrats, but a majority of 52 percent felt that President Obama will do the right thing on the issue.

    This is not to say President Obama enjoys wide support on his ability to handle economic issues. Voters are equally frustrated with Obama because of the stagnant economy, as the TPM Poll Average shows only 33.5 percent approval on his handling of it. But the fractious squabbling in Congress has made that institution plummet further, as even after a miserable summer the House and Senate only resumed their infighting when they returned to Washington and began new work on a bill to keep the government funded, disagreeing on (of all things) disaster aid for those affected by Hurricane Irene.

    Meanwhile, President Obama left Washington to go sell his new jobs bill and talk up proposals that Pew shows to be quite popular: 66 percent in the poll said raising taxes on those $250,000 a year is a good idea, against only 31 percent. Reducing military commitments overseas and limiting corporate tax deductions saw near equal levels of support. Obama may not enjoy high approval on how the economy is doing, but it seems like he’s at least getting some of the politics right at the moment.

    Pew pointed to the fact that the lack of faith in the GOP on the debt is wide ranging. “The drop in confidence in GOP congressional leaders is broad based, even occurring among Republicans themselves,” reads Pew’s report. “The share of Republicans confident in their party’s leaders on this issue has fallen from 76% four months ago to 62% today, with comparable declines among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who agree with the Tea Party and those who do not.”

    Unaffiliated Americans, who have almost completely soured on both parties in Congress, are a little more supportive of the President when it comes to handling the debt, something that should be welcome news: the latest CNN survey shows Obama’s approval among independents down to 42 percent, against 54 percent disapproval. “Independents are equally skeptical of both parties in Congress (35% have at least a fair amount of confidence in Republican leaders, 34% express confidence in Democratic leaders),” says the Pew report. “Nearly half of independents (47%) say they have a great deal or fair amount of confidence in Obama to do the right thing when it comes to dealing with the federal budget deficit.”

    Americans aren’t happy with anyone in Washington, but Republicans are running out of room for error: 35 percent of country having confidence they can do the right thing on the debt looks suspiciously like their base. President Obama isn’t exactly operating from a position of strength on the economy, but in a choice between him and Congressional dysfunction, Americans are moving his way.

  10. rikyrah says:

    September 26, 2011 4:50 PM

    Shutdown odds will hinge in part on Senate vote

    By Steve Benen

    In about 45 minutes or so, the Senate will vote on its stopgap spending bill that would keep the government’s lights on until November. It’s very similar to the bill approved by House Republicans, except for one thing: it treats emergency disaster funding as an emergency — without offsets — the way Congress has always rallied to provide aid for communities in need.

    As far as the Senate Democratic leadership is concerned, this afternoon — and indeed, the whole process — should be pretty straightforward. The clean spending bill will come to the floor, based on the budget framework both parties agreed to in early August. It will pass, then go back to the House for its approval. Once the lower chamber passes it, President Obama will sign it and the shutdown will be averted.

    But the plan probably won’t unfold this way.

    The problem, at least one of them, is the GOP filibuster. Two weeks ago, when the Senate took up FEMA funding without offsets, it passed easily with a bipartisan majority. It was a 62-37 vote, with nine Republicans joining the Democratic majority. If those same GOP senators follow through and vote the same way today, the Senate’s spending measure should pass with relative ease.

    But the odds now seem against it. The measure will get some GOP votes, but Senate sources tell me the likelihood of getting enough votes to overcome Republican obstructionism is poor. For the GOP senators who did the right thing two weeks ago, it’s now better to side with House Republicans than communities in need of disaster aid.

    Keep in mind, the only point of contention here is over disaster relief — Republicans are holding it hostage, and Democrats don’t want to pay the ransom. The GOP list of demands is fairly brief — the right is demanding cuts from clean-energy programs to offset some of the costs to finance FEMA — but Dems aren’t the only ones opposed to the Republican requirements. In fact, just last week, both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Conference of Mayors said the GOP approach would cost jobs.

    At this point, congressional Republicans, in both chambers, don’t seem to care. Imagine that.

    When the vote is held around 5:30 eastern, either the GOP filibuster will kill the bill or it won’t. If the filibuster fails, the clean bill will go back to the House, which will have to act sometime this week. And what if the filibuster succeeds? No one seems to know what will happen, because at that point, Democrats won’t want to pass the pathetic House scheme, and Republicans won’t let the Senate vote on the more responsible Dem version.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Senate Averts Government Shutdown Threat, Funds FEMA
    It looks like the threat of a government shutdown, and the possibility that FEMA will run out of money this week, will be averted.

    On the Senate floor late Monday, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced an agreement by which the Senate (and presumably the House) can dispense with all the sturm und drang about offsetting disaster aid and pass legislation that will keep the government open after September.

    What ultimately broke the impasse was FEMA’s announcement Monday that it won’t run out of funds early this week — a presumption House Republicans had hoped would force Senate Democrats to accept a partisan budget cut, on the threat that disaster victims would otherwise be deprived of assistance for days or even weeks.

    Indeed, according to a Senate Democratic aide, FEMA has assured Congress that they will be flush through the end of the fiscal year on Friday night.

    When the need for emergency funds disappeared, though, so did the GOP’s leverage and at the last minute Reid introduced a compromise: Clean legislation to fund the government — no emergency funds, no offsets.

    Under the terms of the agreement, the Senate will nix all of the plans at the center of last week’s government shutdown fight. In its place, it will vote on legislation to fund the government through mid-November, setting up the possibility of yet more bickering and brinkmanship about the budget in six weeks.

    The Senate will also pass a one-week stop-gap measure to buy House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) some time, in case he needs to call the House back into session and hold provide time to debate the six week bill.

  12. rikyrah says:

    September 26, 2011 3:05 PM
    What passes for moderation

    By Steve Benen

    Objectively speaking, Sen. Susan Collins (R) of Maine is one of Congress’ most moderate Republicans. Alas, that realization is part of a larger problem.

    Today, Collins has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal recommending a moratorium on federal regulations — she calls it a “time out” — that uses all of the same poll-tested phrases her Republican caucus tells its members to repeat. The Mainer express concern about “uncertainty,” “crushing” regulations, and the “big wet blanket on our economy.”

    I’m honestly not sure whether to be annoyed or feel sorry for Collins. If she actually believes this nonsense, it’s the former.

    Matt Finkelstein helps set the record straight.

    House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is predictably cheering Collins’ contribution to the team, but economists and business owners dispute the Collins-Boehner narrative. According to a survey of economists by the Wall Street Journal, “The main reason U.S. companies are reluctant to step up hiring is scant demand, rather than uncertainty over government policies.” The paper has also reported that businesses are “hoarding cash” and waiting for “a burst in demand strong enough to propel hiring.”

    The next time Collins wants to write a column on job creation, she should look for inspiration in her own past statements instead of the GOP message machine.

    Also note, McClatchy recently “reached out to owners of small businesses, many of them mom-and-pop operations, to find out whether they indeed were being choked by regulation.” The news outlet found, “None of the business owners complained about regulation in their particular industries, and most seemed to welcome it.”

    At a certain level, I suspect Collins knows this. But as her party shifts dramatically to the hard right, it appears she’s willing to inch further and further in that direction herself, which is terribly sad to watch.

    Indeed, this comes less than a week after her friend and colleague from Maine, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R), tried to argue that government spending is “clearly … the problem” when it comes to the nation’s finances. That’s a popular line among conservatives, but it’s wrong, too.

    Taken together, what seems obvious is that Congress no longer has actual Republican moderates. What we have are far-right Republicans and not-quite-as-far-to-the-right Republicans.

    Given the larger landscape, there’s room for genuine GOP centrists — in, say, the Mark Hatfield or Lowell Weicker mold — to have a significant impact in Washington. Real Republican moderates, if they existed, would not only generate considerable attention, but could potentially have an instrumental role in shaping policy.

    But that’s not an option. The best of the best — relatively speaking, of course — is now made up of Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, both of whom appear to be reading from a ridiculous script.

  13. rikyrah says:

    An Open Letter to White Liberals: My Frank Opinions on Race

    By asiangrrlMN on May 15th, 2011

    Dear White Liberals,

    Hiya. asiangrrlMN here. It’s time we had a frank discussion about race. My esteemed black overlady, ABL, has been embroiled in some racialistic brouhahas over at the wild, woolly blog known as Balloon Juice. I have stayed out of it for the most part because I’ve given up on race-related threads at Balloon Juice, and that, frankly, is part of the reason I’m writing this post.

    I hate talking about race in mixed company. And, by mixed, I mean with white people I don’t know very well. It’s draining and tiring and it can make me feel crazy. I can do that on my own, thank you very much. I don’t need that from my interactions. But, sometimes, I feel the need to speak out. Now is one of those times. So, grab your favorite beverage and relax because you’re going to be reading for quite some time.

    Before we get started, I have to clarify something. In talking about race, I find that roughly ninety percent* of the white liberals** engaged in the discussion can understand some of what I’m saying or are at least willing to discuss it with an open mind. A sizably-smaller portion of that ninety percent really get it. However, that leaves about ten percent of white liberal people who are clueless at best when it comes to race–hateful and/or malicious at worst. Yes, liberals. The big-tent party. The party of tolerance and openness and whatnot. I say that with tongue firmly in cheek because while I believe the ideals of the Democratic Party are in line with that kind of thinking, sadly, I often find the reality to be much less savory.

    How do you know if you fit into that ten percent? I’ll give you some pointers. If you think we’re past racism in this country or that we are post-racial because hey, we elected a black man, that’s a flag of at least cluelessness. Other indicators are the thought that people of color are too vocal about racism, that we see racism everywhere, that we should be past it, that it wasn’t meant, that, that, that….In other words, too much explaining and excusing going on. Voting for Obama does not make one not racist or racially-insensitive or whatnot. In fact, starting a sentence with I’m not racist, but, or some of my best friends are black, Asian, Latino, pretty much guarantees that the next words coming out of your mouth are going to be viewed with suspicion by the person whom you are addressing.

    I must digress a bit and say that this differs from privilege. Let me again take the example of Balloon Juice since I’ve been commenting there for awhile, but with less and less frequency as time goes on. One thing I’ve noticed in my time over at BJ is how a certain segment of the commenters fairly bristly with self-importance. Most of them male, and almost all of them white. Again, I stress that this is a small subset of the actual commentariat, but it’s persistently obnoxious and grating. This kind of commentator insists that the front pagers need to address a certain topic–let’s say, torture. This person will go into every thread and say we MUST talk about torture. Why are we talking about cats or the election or whatever other trivial thing is being discussed? TORTURE or nothing. In addition, Joe Shmoe doesn’t like Jack the front-pager. Why does Cole have Jack on the front page? Jack is too libertarian or too dull or too hyperbolic or writes too much or links too much or or or or!

    It takes my breath away to see someone go on a free blog and demand that the blog cater to his every whim. The fact that some of these people will go into every damn thread of one front-pager to repeat their disgust of said front-pager baffles me.

  14. rikyrah says:

    I love it when Rev. Al calls Mittens -‘ Willard’.

    cracks me up everytime.

  15. Ametia says:

    News Alert: Senate leaders reach deal to keep government funded
    September 26, 2011 6:40:48 PM

    Senate leaders announced a bipartisan agreement Monday evening that would keep government agencies funded until Nov. 18, potentially ending a contentious dispute on how to pay for disaster funds. The Senate is expected to approve its version of the temporary spending bill Monday evening.

    The House is likely to approve a very brief extension of funding by a voice vote later this week and, when it returns to session next week, hold a vote on the stop-gap bill funding the government till Nov. 18.

    For more information, visit

  16. Ametia says:

    I love this woman.

  17. Ametia says:

    Had to post the video of this amazing woman. A first for Africa, just like Barack Hussein Obama, our first African American president!

  18. rikyrah says:

    Perry: Obama’s climate jab ‘outrageous’
    By Ben Geman – 09/26/11 09:38 AM ET

    Texas governor and GOP White House hopeful Rick Perry isn’t taking kindly to President Obama’s decision to mention the Lone Star State’s recent wildfires in attacking Perry’s climate change skepticism.

    Obama, at a California fundraiser Sunday night, took aim at the GOP field and Perry in particular, noting, “You’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change.”

    Perry spokesman Mark Miner shoots back: “It’s outrageous President Obama would use the burning of 1,500 homes, the worst fires in state history, as a political attack.”

  19. rikyrah says:

    FEMA Extends Disaster Funds By Days, Strengthening Dems’ Hand In Shutdown Fight

    A key reason Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) delayed a vote on legislation to fund the government and re-up FEMA’s disaster relief account until Monday is that, as of last week, FEMA was set to run out of funds late Monday or Tuesday. Schedule a vote so close to the deadline, and it focuses peoples’ minds (Republicans, specifically) on just how reckless their political tactics are.

    But it turns out FEMA’s got a bit more money than expected, and may be able to hold out until Thursday or Friday, according to a Department of Homeland Security aide. And that changes both the policy urgency of the ongoing government shutdown fight, and legislative politics more broadly on Capitol Hill.

    As of today, FEMA has $114 million in its disaster relief account. Divide that by the agency’s daily burn rate, and it looks like FEMA will be in the black until Thursday.

    But, according to the aide, that doesn’t account for surprises — a new, unexpected disaster, for example, or an uptick of people registering for individual FEMA aid. To blunt those risks, the agency’s also taking steps to pad its account, by reclaiming unused funds for disaster projects that wrap up under-budget, and potentially by performing a bit of budgetary triage to stretch the funds out as long as possible.

    And if the impasse isn’t broken soon, the stakes remain very high. “If Congress does allow the balance of the Disaster Relief Fund to reach zero, there are laws that govern federal agency operations in the absence of funding,” said FEMA spokesperson Rachel Racusen. “Under law, FEMA would be forced to temporarily shut down disaster recovery and assistance operations, including financial assistance to individuals until Congress appropriated more funds. This would include all past and current FEMA recovery operations.”

    But for Reid, the brief reprieve changes things a bit. Monday’s vote is expected to fail. Before this most recent development Democrats were going to have to decide among themselves whether to hold firm to the principle that disaster aid should not be held hostage by either party to force budget cuts — risking a lapse in FEMA’s disaster funding, and, on Friday at midnight, a government shutdown — or to cave.

    Now that FEMA’s got a bit more time, so too does Reid — to build political pressure on Republicans to come back to the negotiating table and deal in good faith, and to make it clear that Republican intransigence could lead not just to a lapse in FEMA funds, but to the halting of nearly all government services. And if FEMA can make things last through the end of the week (which is also the end of the fiscal year) the whole debate changes because the GOP’s legislation offset money that won’t have to be spent anyhow. House Republicans skipped town on Friday, flipping the bird to Democrats whom, they reasoned, would be forced to pass their spending bill wholesale. It includes a partisan cut to a successful vehicle manufacturing program meant to offset part of the cost of disaster aid — and Democrats are furious about it.

    But the GOP calculation doesn’t look so solid anymore. If Democrats hold firm, as they insist they will, it will touch off a spin war in the media over who’s at fault. The Democrats have the better of the argument. But if Republicans are out of town, there’s only one party in D.C. with ready made access the national bully pulpit.

  20. rikyrah says:

    News From South Carolina
    A flavor of the GOP base from a new poll:

    Among Republicans/Republican leaners, 74.7% feel the term “socialist” describes President Obama very well or well.

    Among Republicans/Republican leaners, almost 30% believe President Obama is a Muslim. Among Republicans/Republican leaners, 36% continue to believe the president was either probably, or definitely, born in another country.

    Even though a long-form birth certificate for the president was produced between the Winthrop April 2011 Poll and now—showing he was born in Hawaii—just 5.2% fewer respondents now believe Obama was born outside the country than those back in April (36% now vs. 41.2 % in April).

    More interesting to me is how even among this nutjob electorate, Perry is only slightly edging Romney, 30.5 to 27.3 percent.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Perry Follows In Palin’s Footsteps
    The parallels:

    [Perry] muffed his attack lines because he hadn’t bothered to study them. He wasn’t prepared for the tuition fight because he figured that he could just repeat the same old explanations and flash his thousand-watt smile at the audience. He didn’t know what to say about Pakistan because he figured any sort of good ol’ boy BS would do. It always has before, after all. So he’s apparently spent the past month doing….nothing.

    That’s just way too Palinesque for the political pros.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Super Committee Members Raked In $41M From Wall Street

    Members of the deficit-reduction super committee have received a combined total of $41 million from the financial and real estate sectors during their time in Congress, according to a new report from Public Campaign and National People’s Action.

    The report also found that at least 27 current or former aides for members of the super committee have traveled through the revolving door between K Street and Capitol Hill and have lobbied on behalf of financial firms.

    “Wall Street bought the deregulation that led to our economic collapse and the American public has paid the price,” Nick Nyhart, president of Public Campaign said in a release. “The super committee should not give Wall Street and big banks another free ride because of their campaign cash.”

    The government reform groups are pushing several tax reforms that Wall Street strong opposes, such as closing hedge-fund loophole and instituting a financial-speculation tax, both of which could generate more than a trillion dollars and offset costs for several components of Obama’s jobs bill, including rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, extending unemployment benefits and providing tax incentives for hiring veterans.

    “Wall Street and the big banks are trying to buy their way out of paying their fair share,” George Goehl, executive director of National People’s Action said in a release. “We know where the money is to rebuild our economy and it’s not in the pockets of school children or in Grandma’s pension – it’s on Wall Street.”

    Other highlights of the report:

    Super committee members have received nearly $900,000 from three of the top American banks: JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo.

    Since 2000, the financial sector has spent more than $4 billion lobbying elected officials.

    In August, Public Campaign and National People’s Action joined two-dozen watchdog organizations in signing a letter urging the super committee members to give up fundraising and provide complete transparency of their meetings with lobbyists, donors, and corporate CEOs. So far, five members of the committee have announced that they would slow or curtail fundraising, including: Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT), John Kerry (D-MA), Rob Portman (R-OH), as well as Reps. Dave Camp (R-MI) and Fred Upton (R-MI).

    Beginning this week, community, faith and labor activists around the country plan to visit the district offices of super committee members while they are at home on recess. The groups will be delivering a petition signed by thousands of concerned citizens calling on the super committee to make Wall Street pay their fair share.

  23. rikyrah says:

    26 Sep 2011 02:13 PM

    Romney’s Big Lie
    Steve Benen sees the “apology tour” lie as central to Romney’s candidacy:

    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.

    Yes, it’s U-G-L-Y ugly. And dumb. The last thing we need as America faces what could be a deep historical shift away from being the undisputed global hegemon is a president unable to see flaws in his own country’s politics or economics or history … in order to correct them. And the reason for Obama’s attempt to acknowledge some faults in America’s recent past was a simple one: the catastrophe of the Bush-Cheney foreign policy legacy. Rebuilding soft power is not unpatriotic. Regurgitating complacency with a hint of McCarthyism is.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Romney More of a Threat Than Perry
    by BooMan
    Mon Sep 26th, 2011 at 12:55:12 PM EST

    I enjoyed reading Frank Rich’s long rant in New York Magazine, and I agree with about 99% of what he wrote. I do have a couple of disagreements, however. For starters, I don’t share his belief that Rick Perry is a more dangerous opponent than Mitt Romney. I laughed when Rich approvingly quoted Jonah Goldberg, who said, “Romney has an authentic inauthenticity problem. There are some animals that just seem fake when you see them in real life for the first time; sharks and alligators come to mind.”

    The idea here isn’t that Romney is more dangerous than he appears but that he’s so phony that he doesn’t even look real. I don’t dispute that Romney looks and acts disturbingly like a Ken Doll. But I think his anodyne presence is precisely what makes him a formidable general election candidate. After all, if he doesn’t believe in anything, he doesn’t believe in anything all that threatening. And if he has no passion, he won’t passionately pursue a program to screw you and me and everyone who isn’t an executive officer of hedge-fund manager. If the problem the country faces is that the Republican Party has become so conservative that it no longer wants to be a partner in running the federal government, then why not elect a guy who is only pretending to be that conservative? It’s not like the Republicans will agree to work with Obama, but maybe they’ll respond to a president from their own party.

    As Rich correctly notes at the beginning of his piece, Rick Perry “might have been computer-generated to check every box in a shrill liberal fund-raising letter.” Facing Perry, Obama will have no problem shoring up his base. With the exception of some small signs of tolerance for Latinos, Perry is more threatening than Romney on every single issue facing the country. And Perry’s positions may have their passionate supporters but they’re not popular with the electorate as a whole. People don’t want to dismantle Social Security and hand it off to the states. They don’t want to executive the innocent. They’e still pro-choice. They aren’t climate change-deniers. They don’t like talk of secession.

    Independent voters may respond to Perry’s self-confidence and swagger. They may reject Romney’s epicene demeanor. But the president needs an opponent who he can fairly brand as totally unacceptable. With unemployment high and Congress unmanageable, the president could lose to a milquetoast candidate. It’s highly unlikely that he would lose to Rick Perry.

    And, even though Rich is wise to warn against the kind of complacency Washington felt after Barry Goldwater was crushed, I will take a repeat of 1964 in a heartbeat. Another massive repudiation of conservative overreach won’t make conservatives go away or moderate their positions, but it’s the only thing that can break the deadlock in Washington and allow us to move forward on our nation’s many pressing issues.

  25. rikyrah says:

    read over at The Obama Diary that Rev. Al is on fire. will catch the rebroadcast tonight.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Chris Christie – Should A Bully Be Given The Bully Pulpit?

    [This was a post I did a while back that I think is timely now that there is talk of Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey jumping into the Presidential race.]

    In a poll of New Jersey voters released on April 20, 2011, the people were asked for a word to describe their Governor, Chris Christie. Overwhelmingly the voters chose the word “Bully” to best describe him (140 people). Coming in a distant second was “Arrogant” (41 people), which was tied with “Good”. So 181 people referred to him as either a bully or arrogant. My first introduction to the Bully Governor was on Morning Joe on MSNBC, they love them some Gov. Christie on that show. My impression of him was that he was trying way too hard to be a blunt, straight talker, turning trite phrases and clever word plays and topping them off with a little smirk, because he is so proud of himself. I also noticed that it was ALL words, no substance to what he was saying, just platitudes and clever rhetoric. It wore thin on me within a few seconds, but I could see how those with little brain matter would fall for it.

    Let’s travel back in time a bit and look at this man’s history of bullying, lying and going on the offensive whenever challenged on his “straight talk”. There is definitely a pattern with this man and god I hope he gets in the presidential race, because I would like nothing more than to see President Obama chew him up and spit him out with disgust. We might just as well start with a blatant example of his bullying, from The Ed Show…

    The gentleman who was shouted down was Ed Buck, a retired multi-millionaire who simply wanted to ask Meg Whitman a question when the misogynistic Gov. Christie had to step in for the poor helpless woman (snark), even saying “You wanna yell, yell at me.” Because we wouldn’t want a mere woman running for governor of the largest state in the union to be subjected to someone “yelling”, which was really someone asking a tough question of a candidate who had been dodging them. The yelling part may have been due to him not having a microphone. Here is an exchange between Ed Schultz and Ed Buck, from Politicususa, that gets to the heart of Christie’s tactics…(emphasis mine)

    ED SCHULTZ: Mr. Buck, what was your reaction when Mr. Christie, the governor of New Jersey, told you that you were the problem in this country? People that stand up and paraphrasing now, that’s pretty much what he said to you, isn’t it?

    BUCK: Well, yeah you know, it’s very hypocritical of a man who wants to espouse this whole free speech, and that to say that we need to have a dialogue, but not have it with me. As soon as he doesn’t agree with my speech here, cuts me off. As long as I’m saying apple pie and waving the American flag, he’s okay with that. but if I begin to ask a critical question, Chris Christie becomes a school yard bully.

  27. rikyrah says:

    September 26, 2011 2:20 PM

    The House GOP’s big plans for October

    By Steve Benen

    It’s as if some in Congress are actually getting dumber.

    House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R., Mich.) told a conference of Republican Party activists on Mackinac Island, Mich., that the House leadership intends to push for a vote on a federal balanced budget amendment in October.

    Responding to a pointed question from the audience, challenging Mr. Upton and other members of Michigan’s Republican House delegation for supporting a debt ceiling deal that didn’t include a firm balanced budget requirement, Mr. Upton said House GOP leaders are committed to acting on a balanced budget proposal soon.

    Mr. Upton said House leaders met regularly to map out their agenda, and “October is balanced budget. We’re going to have votes on the balanced budget amendment.”

    Those who continue to argue that House Republicans deserve to be taken seriously on public policy probably don’t fully appreciate how very wrong they are.

    We’re in the midst of a jobs crisis; economic growth is anemic, and Americans are desperate for policymakers to take this crisis seriously. And yet, this is what’s on the mind of the congressional GOP.

    Keep in mind, in early August, House Republican leaders told their members that “the best thing they could do during the August recess” was to sell their constituents on the idea of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. Apparently, the next wave is on the way.

    This is just madness. Even if we put aside the fact that there are real problems that require immediate attention, and even if we ignore the proposal’s legislative prospects, the Republicans’ Balanced Budget Amendment is one of the worst ideas in the history of bad ideas. That congressional Republicans managed to create a BBA this year that was even worse than the previous version is a testament to their creativity, but it also reflects a degree of economic illiteracy that should disqualify them from any adult conversation on public policy.

    What sensible policymakers should be doing is dismissing this “pathetic joke” of a proposal as quickly as possible.

    That this is at the top of the priority list for congressional Republicans is a reminder of just how far gone they really are.

  28. rikyrah says:

    September 26, 2011 1:35 PM

    It’s called ‘The Democratic Party’

    By Steve Benen

    Every few weeks, a well-intentioned, high-profile pundit argues that what American politics really needs is a third party, one which will presumably tend to the needs of centrists and the American mainstream. And every few weeks, these pundits make the same mistake.

    Today, it’s Matt Miller, a contributing editor here at the Washington Monthly, arguing that “neither party trusts us enough to lay out the facts and explain the steps we need to take to truly fix things.”

    As always in a democracy, better leadership starts with better followership. New groups such as Americans Elect and No Labels are showing the way, building the infrastructure and local networks for a new politics of problem-solving. But we’ll never mobilize the “far center” without an agenda around which people can rally. To move this ball forward, I’ve taken a crack at a policy-heavy version of the third-party stump speech we need, to suggest what it would sound like if an independent candidate called seriously for a “decade of renewal.”

    Here’s that third-party stump speech Miller has in mind. I give him credit for being fairly specific — too often, third-party proponents don’t bother — and there’s plenty to like in Miller’s vision. This platform for the imaginary independent candidate includes noteworthy details, but the general sketch would include: bold spending on job creation, raising teacher salaries, responsible “hawkishness” on foreign policy, guaranteeing health care coverage for the uninsured, raising taxes (especially on the wealthy) as part of a larger tax reform initiative, reforming entitlement programs with their long-term fiscal stability in mind, and adding new layers of accountability for Wall Street.

    This, Miller says, would be “different’ from Democrats and Republicans. He’s half-right — it’s “different” from what one of the major parties has in mind.

    Look, I realize much of the American mainstream is inclined to throw up its arms in disgust, denounce both parties, and find the idea of a new alternative appealing. But pretending that the Democratic Party’s agenda and President Obama’s vision simply don’t exist isn’t helpful. There are structural, electoral, and procedural hurdles between what Dems want and what Dems can get, but the fact remains that nearly everything Miller wants to see from an independent candidate is already being offered by the current occupant of the Oval Office.

    Miller’s pieces seem to acknowledge this, but argue that the Democratic agenda needs to go even further down the road they’re already on. But as Greg Sargent explained very well, this is an overly-convenient dodge these pundits rely on too heavily.

    Given this inconvenient overlap between the Democratic Party and the positions these commentators imagine for their fabled third party, they are constantly forced to find ways in which the Democratic Party has not gone far enough in adopting those positions…. But you can forever continue raising the bar in this fashion.

    Indeed, even if you concede the existence of such failings on the part of Dems, it’s still fair to ask why these commentators are so reluctant to acknowledge the vast overlap that does exist between Dems and their imagined third party — and to explain why we need a third party despite that massive overlap. Let’s face it: At bottom, the calls for a third party are founded on a dodge — a refusal to acknowledge that the Democratic Party is far closer than the GOP to the fabled ideological middle that they themselves have defined as the space that only a third party can claim.

    This becomes all the more frustrating when one considers the frequency with which it comes up.

    Thomas Friedman recently presented a platform he believes is absent from the discourse, but neglected to mention that it was practically word-for-word the same platform Obama already supports. Inexplicably, Friedman did it again last week.

    In June, David Brooks longed for some bold candidate to step up and present a “Hamiltonian/National Greatness” agenda, and then presented a wish list that might as well have been copy-and-pasted from an Obama speech. Also note, more than 100 business leaders have rallied behind Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s pledge to stop making campaign contributions unless policymakers adopt a series of economic measures, apparently unaware that the White House already wants all of those same measures.

    Paul Krugman summarized the problem nicely: “I know that admitting that Barack Obama is already the candidate of centrists’ dreams would be awkward, would make it hard to adopt the stance that both sides are equally at fault. But that is the truth.”

  29. rikyrah says:

    Can the GOP use the Black Caucus against Obama?
    By Edward Wyckoff Williams

    8:56 AM on 09/26/2011

    The Congressional Black Caucus held its 41st Annual Legislative Conference last week, culminating in an elegant gala with some of the best and brightest within the African-American community in attendance. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle arrived ahead of the special Phoenix Awards being given to four honorees: the World Champion Boxer and Humanitarian George Foreman; Lisa Jackson, the first African-American Director of the Environmental Protection Agency; civil rights activist Dr. Joseph E. Lowery; and legendary Congressman John Lewis.

    By all accounts, it was a night to celebrate the African-American journey. President Obama’s speech reaffirmed his commitment to the black community and called for CBC support as he embarks upon his latest legislative jobs proposal, addressing systemic unemployment and economic malaise. Yet somehow, the mainstream press coverage told a different story.

    The leading Associated Press report transcribed the president’s speech in such a way, as to translate his words into Ebonics. Headlines read: “Obama Tells Blacks: Stop Complain’, Stop Grumblin’, Stop Cryin’.” It appears the spell-check function at major journalistic organizations have failed alongside consumer confidence in the financial markets. As the gridlock brought to Congress by the Republican majority last November inches toward the possibility of another government shutdown, it appears the Tea Party insurgents aren’t the only enemy behind the line.

    A recent video advert released by Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, reveals how it easy it for the GOP, their allies and even like-minded conservative journalists, to manipulate images of African-Americans for their own political ends. The rewrite of Obama’s speech is only the latest example of shrewd, false advertising.

    And as the race for the White House heats up, we can surely expect to see the CBC used as a pawn in the hands of Republican opportunists, intent upon undermining Obama’s legacy and limiting his chances: revising history and twisting positive stories of black empowerment into tall tales of a broken and divided community.

    To be fair, some prominent members of the Congressional Black Caucus have been critical of the president’s approach to his Republican opposition. Most liberals, regardless of race, have felt disillusioned by what appeared to be Obama’s willingness to compromise, instead of waging fights in support of the Democratic agenda.

    This began with the White House abandoning the public option during the health care reform negotiations, continued with the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, and worsened during the debt ceiling debacle. In recent months, as unemployment continued to soar in the black community, the Congressional Black Caucus responded by organizing national job fairs aimed specifically at addressing black joblessness.

    Maxine Waters and CBC Chairman Emanuel Cleaver became more vocal in their call for presidential action: demanding that Obama specifically address the economic ills disproportionately affecting African-Americans.

    As with most matters in political economy, there has been varying degrees of disagreement: with most blacks sympathetic to the president’s position: fully recognizing the burden he inherited with the weakened economy, as well as the challenge of being responsible for all communities, despite his obvious connection to the black community.

  30. rikyrah says:

    The New Obama

    As if liberated by the knowledge that they will never compromise on anything in the next fourteen months, Obama is beginning to call the far right bluff:

    “I mean has anybody been watching the debates lately? You’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change. It’s true. You’ve got audiences cheering at the prospect of somebody dying because they don’t have healthcare. And booing a service member in Iraq because they’re gay.”

    I suspect one reason that some former Obama supporters have drifted away is because for the last eighteen months, the far right has dominated the terms of debate in this country without any strong pushback. You knew this had gone completely over the top when mere assertions that we have to have higher revenues from the wealthy to tackle the debt – a mathematical certainty without throwing out much of the Great Society and some of the New Deal – were dubbed “class warfare”.

    At some point, reality has to assert itself. As does a president who needs to win back the confidence of his supporters.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Winning by Losing
    by BooMan
    Mon Sep 26th, 2011 at 09:53:21 AM EST

    You can see how the Republicans win by losing if you examine some findings from Gallup’s latest polling. People hate the Republicans, but in the bigger picture they are beginning to hate the federal government in general, which benefits the GOP.

    82% of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job.
    69% say they have little or no confidence in the legislative branch of government, an all-time high and up from 63% in 2010.

    57% have little or no confidence in the federal government to solve domestic problems, exceeding the previous high of 53% recorded in 2010 and well exceeding the 43% who have little or no confidence in the government to solve international problems.

    53% have little or no confidence in the men and women who seek or hold elected office.

    Americans believe, on average, that the federal government wastes 51 cents of every tax dollar, similar to a year ago, but up significantly from 46 cents a decade ago and from an average 43 cents three decades ago.

    49% of Americans believe the federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. In 2003, less than a third (30%) believed this.

    This is most strikingly demonstrated by looking at the trend lines on how the people rate the legislative branch of the federal government. When George W. Bush took office in 2001, roughly 68% of the people expressed confidence in Congress. Today, the numbers are flipped, with 69% expressing a lack of confidence in Congress. The number steadily eroded during Bush’s two terms in office. Sometime around 2007, the people reached parity (50%-50%) in their opinion of Congress. The financial shock of 2008 is what turned things in a decisively negative direction. The midterm elections of 2010 reflected this new dissatisfaction, but things have gotten much worse since then.

    Despite the damage conservatives have done to the country and to the reputation of Congress, and despite the fact that people really do blame the Republicans for our problems more than they blame the president or the Democrats, the people are also increasingly sympathetic to the argument that the government is too big and cannot be trusted to solve our problems.

    By making people hate the government, the Republicans are winning even if they wind up losing in the short-term.

  32. rikyrah says:

    September 26, 2011 10:40 AM

    President Pugilist

    By Steve Benen

    When it comes to campaign politics and partisan rhetoric, President Obama tends to remain above the fray. Once in a while, though, the fray suits him just fine.

    President Obama on Sunday criticized not only the Republicans vying to defeat him but also their party’s conservative base — symbolized by the audiences at recent candidate debates — in a busy day of four West Coast fund-raisers to collect money and rally dispirited Democratic donors.

    In Woodside, Calif., an affluent community between San Francisco and San Jose, Mr. Obama hit his stump-speech theme that the 2012 election will be “a contest of values,” and then suggested that some in his audience might well be former Republicans “puzzled by what’s happening to that party.”

    I haven’t seen any transcripts of the remarks, but it sounds like the president was fairly combative.

    * On Rick Perry: “[H]as anybody been watching the debates lately? You’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change.”

    * On Republican debate audiences: “You’ve got audiences cheering at the prospect of somebody dying because they don’t have health care and booing a service member in Iraq because they’re gay. That’s not reflective of who we are.”

    * On the GOP’s agenda: It’s an “approach to government that would fundamentally cripple America in meeting the challenges of the 21st century.”

    * On Republican rhetoric: “If asking a billionaire to pay the same tax rate as a janitor makes me a warrior for the working class, I wear that with a badge of honor.”

    To be sure, Obama’s rhetoric at fundraisers has generally been more pointed than at other events, a trend that’s been consistent throughout his presidency.

    But given the tone and targets of Obama’s remarks, it’s fair to say those waiting for a more confrontational president have gotten their wish.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Texas Doctor On Perrycare: ‘This Kind Of Thing Happens In Somalia’
    By Igor Volsky on Sep 26, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) blames the federal government’s inflexibility in granting Medicaid waiver for his state’s high uninsured rate and boasts that the Lone Star State still has the best health care system in the world. “The fact is, people continue to move to the state of Texas, some of the highest rates in the country because we’ve created a state where opportunity is very much the word of the day there, if you will, for finding work and what have you,” he said during the GOP presidential debate on Thursday. “Our health care is part of that. Our education is part of that. We are proud of what we put together in the state of Texas.”

    But as the Tracy Jan details in today’s Boston Globe, many working Texans who don’t have an offer of employer based insurance or qualify for Medicaid, are falling through the gaps of the state’s patchwork health care system, relying on a complex web of community health care centers and charity care for basic health care services. The results are often deadly:

    Dr. Katherine Yudeh King, a pediatrician at Ben Taub General Hospital, which serves a large uninsured population, said one of her patients, a 15-month-old boy, died from dehydration due to diarrhea because his family brought him to the hospital too late, assuming they could not afford care.

    “This is the type of thing that happens in Somalia and other developing nations, not something that should happen in Houston,’’ said King, one of the founding members of Doctors for Change, a group that advocates for universal health care in Harris County.

    Bellow are nine other indicators of the state’s dilapidated health care system:

    1) Texas has the highest rate of uninsured people in the country – 24.6 percent – and the number of uninsured that has grown by 35 percent during Governor Rick Perry’s 11-year tenure.

    2) Overall health care quality for Texas is poorer than in every other state, especially when it comes to preventive, acute, and chronic care, as well as care for diabetes.

    3) Texas places 39th among the states in the percentage of adults over 50 who receive recommended screenings such as mammograms and colonoscopies.

    4) A fifth of Texas’ pregnant women receive no prenatal care in their first trimester.

    5) 16.8 percent of children are uninsured, more than all but one other state, and only half of Texas children have a medical provider who knows them and coordinates their care. More than a third of them have not received recommended medical and preventive care within the year, and immunization rates are low as well.

    6) Texas also ranks last in the country in the percent of children who receive needed mental health care.

    7) The state cut two-thirds of the funding for women’s health clinics and underfunded Medicaid by almost $4 billion, in addition to cutting hospital reimbursements.

    8) Perry vetoed a bill in 2001 that would have expanded Medicaid services and added cancer screenings such as Pap smears to women’s health services. In 2003, Texas tightened the eligibility requirements for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and as a result, 237,000 children were kicked off its rolls, said Garnet Coleman, a Democratic state representative from Houston who has served in the Texas Legislature for 20 years and is a member of the House Public Health Committee.

  34. rikyrah says:


    September 26, 2011 at 9:35 am

    I saw Maxine with the rat on her head that she passes off as human hair on the CBS Early Show this morning and she was at it again. Saying the CBC was the one who got PBO into the whitehouse. That he had better be listening to them and their complaints and he should be providing jobs for African-Americans on the double. She said that when PBO told the CBC to stop whining, stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying; that he sure as heck wasn’t talking to her and she didn’t appreciate that tone; the only thing she appreciated was that she was proud the CBC had lit a fire under him so he would finally start fighting for them. She’s such a bitch. She was so rude and condescending towards PBO. Sureeeeeeeeee the CBC got PBO into office. It had nothing to do with grassroots supporters who put in blood, sweat, and tears. It had nothing to do with PBO, FLOTUS, and their teams who worked night and day and overcame so many obstacles. The CBC NEVER had his back. They were in the fox hole with Hillary Clinton. They never wanted PBO to win. She’s such a scumbag.

    • Ametia says:

      MAXINE WATERS is GULTY AS CHARGED. And hopefully her days are numbered.

    • Maxine is at again! She’s hitting the cable news telling out-right lies! The CBC is NOT the black community and the CBC did NOT put President Obama in the White House. Who does she think she’s fooling? Hell, the CBC didn’t even endorse our President in the beginning. Sheila Jackson Lee endorsed Hillary while her constituents went for Barack Obama 90/10 & they were mad as hell with Sheila about it. It’s why they booed her ass off the stage at the Convention in Texas. Maxine act like we don’t remember? I see her! She knows we’re on her ass like white on rice for pretending President Obama was speaking down to blacks. Stop your lies, Maxine! Stop acting like you don’t know what that slap on the podium meant? Get your behind in gear and stop the BS!

      • Ametia says:

        Is she on MSNBC; i know Tweety and nem just love the drama of the house niggas. Maxine Waters, PBO was talking directly to YOU and Emmanuel Cleaver, specifically. Seh knows it and that’s why she’s on the war path today. A hit dog will holler. He smacked that wig off and she’s mad. tough titty, lady, you’re being shown for the DO-NOTHING, TALKIN LOUD, SAYING NOTHING house negro.

  35. rikyrah says:

    September 26, 2011 10:05 AM

    Mitt Romney, Fair Harvard
    By Steve Benen

    Mitt Romney continues to struggle with which persona he’s going to wear. He’s an independent! No, wait, he’s moderate Republican! Scratch that, he’s a conservative culture warrior! Hold on, now he’s a small businessman!

    While the former governor experiments with his personality, Romney seems to sometimes overlook his own background.

    Mitt Romney once again criticized President Obama for taking his advice from the “Harvard faculty lounge” in a speech in Florida on Thursday. He’s repeated the line on the campaign trail….

    In a major address on foreign policy last month, Romney used the school as a punchline to decry Obama as overly weak in dealing with dictators. “That may be what they think in that Harvard faculty lounge,” he said, “but it’s not what they know on the battlefield!”

    This is no doubt part of Romney’s efforts to appear like a “regular guy” — go ahead, Mitt, tweet again about flying commercial — and Republican audiences seem to like the line. But there are a few problems with his anti-Ivy-League rhetoric.

    First, Romney has two post-grad degrees from Harvard.

    Second, Romney has three sons who earned post-grad degrees from Harvard.

    Third, several of Romney’s top policy aides are either Harvard alums, Harvard professors, or both. (If he’s going to talk about how awful it is to get advice from the “Harvard faculty lounge,” but it’d help if Romney weren’t getting advice from the “Harvard faculty lounge.”)

    I realize anti-intellectualism sells in Republican circles, and Romney is counting on GOP voters paying no attention to anything the former said or did before 2007. But Romney’s relentless Harvard-bashing is pretty ridiculous, even for him.

    Post script: Romney, by the way, has also never been “on the battlefield.”

  36. rikyrah says:

    September 26, 2011 9:30 AM

    Mark Warner asks a good question

    By Steve Benen

    In general, Sen. Mark Warner (D) of Virginia is not exactly a reflexive partisan. The Democrat who helped launch the “Gang of Six” talks late last year, Warner tends to be pretty moderate and uncomfortable with ideological fights.

    This realization made his comments on CNN yesterday that much more interesting.

    The topic at hand was the threat of a government shutdown and the way in which House Republicans have picked a fight over financing disaster relief — the GOP is holding the funding and the larger process hostage, demanding clean-energy offsets in exchange for emergency aid and keeping the government’s lights on. Warner fleshed out the perspective of his caucus quite well.

    The Senate is saying … ‘Why should we in effect rebuild schools in Iraq on the credit card, but expect that rebuilding schools in Joplin, Missouri, at this moment in time have to be paid for in a way that has never been in any of the previous disaster assistance that we’ve put out before?’”

    That’s a good question. Why would Republicans have a weaker standard for foreign spending than they do domestic spending?

    For many years now, congressional Republicans have been willing to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, and never sought a dime of spending offsets. Now, with a weak economy and American communities hit by natural disasters, GOP officials decide foreign spending doesn’t need comparable cuts but spending in the U.S. does?

    Maybe some enterprising Capitol Hill reporter can pose Warner’s question to the Republican leadership.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Poll: No confidence in GOP front-runners

    — Rick Perry’s debate performance could be indicative of an overall weak group of Republican hopefuls in the 2012 U.S. presidential race, analysts said Sunday.

    Saturday’s Florida straw poll had businessman Herman Cain coming in first with 37 percent, Perry, the governor of Texas, second with 15 percent and Mitt Romney third after the Fox/Google Republican presidential candidate debate Friday “Fox News Sunday” reported.

    Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, won Sunday’s Michigan straw poll in the state where he was born.

    “Seventy percent [in Florida] voted against the two front-runners. It was a vote of no confidence. And Perry, I think, because of his really poor debate performance, but also Mitt Romney, who spent a lot of time in Florida over the last five years, to get 14 percent isn’t very strong. So I think these are very weak front-runners,” said Bill Kristol of “The Weekly Standard.”

    Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume said that even Cain’s success in the poll might be short-lived.

    “[Cain] tried hard in this. He gave a stem-winder speech. He’s a marvelous stump speaker, and it seems to me he gets a moment out of this, but I cant imagine that it’s going to last very long,” Hume said.

    Hume said that while Perry has a chance to recover from Friday, he has some improvements to make in his debate performance.

    “I think Rick Perry’s position on allowing graduates at Texas high schools, even if they’re illegal immigrants, to go to college with in-state [tuition] is defensible. The problem is, he didn’t defend it,” he said.

  38. rikyrah says:

    Catholic priorities
    by Freddie deBoer

    Ross Douthat, devout Catholic, wrote an essay about Troy Davis that ran in the Times today which is about everything but Troy Davis. It isn’t about Catholicism, either, or the meaning of American morality, two subjects Douthat holds dear and which he invokes when he considers subjects like all that dirty, nasty, hot hot sex he doesn’t want anybody else having, or why women shouldn’t have the right to have an abortion. Douthat allows his Catholicism to dictate his stance against gay marriage, when he expresses that stance at all. His general tack is to engage in a bizarre mysterianism, writing obliquely about gay marriage while rarely expressing his opposition to it. When pressed by Mother Jones, the best Douthat could offer was “’You either intuitively believe certain things about cultural change or you don’t…. And it may just be I intuitively believe those things’—that marriage is between a man and a woman—’because they dovetail with my own theological premises about the nature of sex.’”

    Well, I couldn’t begin to wade into the miasma of Douthat’s confused and confusing peek-a-boo attitude towards gay marriage. He says that he doesn’t comment on the issue often out of respect for his gay friends. I can think of a better way to respect them, but oh well. The question is what is keeping him from expressing a Catholic’s resistance to the death penalty (his theological premises about the nature of execution) in this piece. After all, the Catholic Church that Douthat so showily reveres has condemned the death penalty as a corruption and sin for Douthat’s entire life. Why would Douthat’s theological premises about gay marriage be determinative but his theological premises about execution be irrelevant? Far be it from me to define the priorities of a god I don’t believe in, but the story of Jesus’s execution is a much bigger deal in the Bible than anything about homosexuality. Take it from Pope John Paul, a man Douthat has written about very admiringly: “I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary…. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform.” Pretty straightforward, and totally different from Douthat’s piece, which dances around on the head of a pin while he considers state sanctioned murder.

    Douthat admiringly cites Pascal Emmanuel-Gobry and his argument that it would actually have been worse for Troy Davis to have endured life in prison than to be swiftly executed, given the horrors of American prison life. This is a novel argument, and the kind which earns you plaudits from the professional punditocracy, which prizes ideas that are counter intuitive more than those that are intelligent, righteous, well-expressed, compassionate, or humane. Unfortunately for Douthat and Gobry, there’s a rather glaring data point against this argument; Troy Davis was desperately trying to avoid the outcome that they are suggesting would be better for him. (My conservative friends tell me that we should let people decide for themselves what is best for their lives.) Perhaps one day Douthat and Gobry will find themselves in the position that Davis was in and will be able to tell us if they prefer life in prison or death. As it happens, the man is dead. To invoke what was best for him after the execution neither Douthat nor Gobry bothered to organize against strikes me as an absolutely sickening act. Don’t purport to speak for what was best for someone whose death you did nothing to avert, especially when he made his resistance to that death so profoundly public and explicit.

    What strikes me, more than anything, about Douthat and Gobry’s writing is how little of Troy Davis is actually there. There’s armchair sociology. There’s argument through assumption. There’s the convenient highlighting of American opinion about the death penalty that they haven’t bothered to try and prove or locate in context. There is navel gazing and there’s posturing and there’s splitting of extremely thin hairs. There’s almost none of Troy Davis, of the person, or of the insistent, harsh reality of his preventable death. Here is the central fact of the Troy Davis case: a man who very well could have been innocent, and certainly was not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, was put to death by the state of Georgia. That this is non-negotiably condemned by the Catholic Church that does so much to dictate Douthat’s morality is hardly worth mentioning. Petty hypocrisy is the blood that flows through the veins of the conservative movement. But have the guts, intellectual and moral, to actually confront the issue you are considering.

    This is Troy Davis.

    He was a real person. He was really alive. He was desperate to remain alive. He was strapped to a gurney and poisoned to death by the state, in an action that prevented no future crimes and healed no prior ones. I have a list of flaws longer than your arm, but let the day I write about someone’s death and treat it as an afterthought be the day I die. I won’t take broad stabs at the kind of self-aggrandizing “centrism” that is the staple of our pathetic pundit class, the kind that has earned Douthat endless plaudits from his brethren and a life of privilege and prominence: I am opposed to the death penalty, in all forms, and in all cases. I think it is a grotesque failure of the public conscience. I think a time will come when it is looked at as the ugly aberration it is. But whatever my own relationship to the deliberate taking of human life, I would hope that I would always have the courage to look the issue in the eye. Here is a man. He was alive. Now he’s dead. Innocent or guilty, attention must be paid. To deny that attention while you rationalize and justify the act is a cowardice I can hardly imagine.

  39. rikyrah says:




    Newsweek: Tim Pawlenty Sought Fox Gig, Was Rebuffed By Ailes

    McMorris-Santoro September 26, 2011, 9:08 AM 1040Howard Kurtz is up with a big piece on the near-future of Fox News. Short version: Less Glenn Beck-style rhetoric more of what Kurtz calls “edging back toward the mainstream.”

    It seems there wasn’t room for a high-profile backer of a man running for the Republicans’ mainstream vote however. Kurtz reports that former presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty, now a prominent Mitt Romney booster, sought out a paid gig on Fox News. But network chief Roger Ailes wasn’t buying.

    Three weeks after dropping out of the race, Tim Pawlenty showed up to ask for a gig at Fox. But there was a complication: Pawlenty was on the verge of endorsing Romney. “I’m not sure I want to sign you as a paid spokesman for Romney,” Ailes said.Good thing Romney says he’s willing to pay off Pawlenty’s remaining campaign debt.

  40. rikyrah says:

    Sunday, September 25, 2011

    There’s more to GOP disarray than “we just can’t find the right candidate”

    Its been interesting to watch the implosion in Republican ranks since their latest hero – Gov. Perry – took a nosedive in the last debate and then proceeded to loose the Florida straw poll to Herman Cain. The line that keeps emerging is that if only they could find the right candidate – they’d sail to victory against President Obama. If you don’t mind traveling into strange waters, this post at Red State titled I Need a Hero pretty well sums it up. That particular author seems to think his wish for a hero would be fulfilled if Sarah Palin would actually get in the race. And we know that Bill Kristol (speaking for establishment Republicans) sees Gov. Christie as the GOP savior.

    But don’t you get flashbacks to when everyone thought Gov. Perry would be the savior when you hear this kind of thing? Remember when Bachmann was all the rage? Or perhaps when Donald Trump was generating all of the excitement amongst the tea partiers? The Republicans are chewing up and spitting out every front-runner that seems to emerge. There’s a pattern here.

    It all starts with the fact that Republican primary voters have demonstrated that they’re not interested in sanity…hence Jon Huntsman at 1-2%. Other than his last name – there’s a reason why Jeb Bush decided to sit this one out. And when Perry gets slammed for his moderate take on in-state tuition for those who are undocumented, perhaps Christie should take note before heeding Kristol’s call. How long would it take for these folks to seize on things like the fact that he believes global warming is real and actually likes FEMA?

    The fact of the matter is that these folks have demonstrated that they embrace teh crazy. And when you do that – you get things like people who accuse vaccine’s of causing mental retardation and go after birth certificates and think Social Security is unconstitutional. In that sense, perhaps Palin is the answer since we have already plumbed the depths of her insanity.

    Trouble is, there are also enough Republicans who know that not one of these candidates has a prayer of a chance in a general election. And I suspect that haunts them. And so they keep looking for a hero that doesn’t exist…unless perhaps its the guy who will say anything the crowd wants to hear in order to get elected.

  41. rikyrah says:

    Romney, Harvard Grad With Harvard Advisers, Rips ‘Harvard Faculty Lounge’
    Mitt Romney once again criticized President Obama for taking his advice from the “Harvard faculty lounge” in a speech in Florida on Thursday. He’s repeated the line on the campaign trail despite being a Harvard alum himself and counting Harvard faculty among his own top advisers.

    In a major address on foreign policy last month, Romney used the school as a punchline to decry Obama as overly weak in dealing with dictators. “That may be what they think in that Harvard faculty lounge,” he said, “but it’s not what they know on the battlefield!”

    Romney has never served on the battlefield, but he does hold degrees from Harvard in business and law. That’s one more than Obama, who has a law degree from the school and headed the Harvard Law Review. And it’s not just Romney who has Crimson ties: The Boston Globe notes that three of his children have attended Harvard Business School.

    But, hey, at least he’s not taking his advice from the faculty lounge, right? Actually Romney relies on their expertise plenty. Meghan O’Sullivan, a former Bush aide, teaches international affairs at Harvard and reportedly advises him on foreign policy. His economic adviser for 2008 and 2012, Greg Mankiw, is a star professor there whose textbook is used at colleges around the country.

  42. rikyrah says:

    Maxine Waters is at it again. Funny how she wasn’t this vocal during the Clinton years:

    Here’s Waters’ comments on CBS Early Show:

    “I don’t know who he was talking to, because we’re certainly not complaining,” said Waters, who has been critical of Obama in the past. “We are working. We support him and we are protecting that base because we want people to be enthusiastic about him when that election rolls around.”


    Waters said she found some of the language Obama used “not appropriate” and said it “surprised me a little bit.”

    “I found that language a bit curious because the president spoke to the Hispanic Caucus and certainly they are pushing him on immigration and despite the fact that he is appointed [Justice Sonia] Sotomayor to the Supreme Court,” she said.

    “He has an office for excellence in Hispanic education in the White House and he certainly didn’t tell them to stop complaining and he never would say that to the gay and lesbian community who really pushed him on don’t ask don’t tell or even in a speech to AIPAC. He would never say to the Jewish community stop complaining about Israel.”

  43. rikyrah says:

    Political Racism Alive and Well in the U.S.A.

    We in the U.S. like to think that racism is a thing of the past, but there’s been plenty of proof lately that racism is alive and well inside of our political system.

    The most recent example of institutional racism occurred just this week, when the Department of Justice announced the results of its preliminary investigation into a congressional redistricting map in Texas, which was signed into law by Governor (and presidential candidate) Rick Perry. According to the DOJ, it appears that the redistricting map was “adopted, at least in part, for the purpose of diminishing the ability of citizens of the United States, on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group, to elect their preferred candidates of choice to Congress.”

    In other words, the Republicans rigged the map in their favor at the expense of minorities.

    Another institutional example of racism stems from the controversial voter ID law passed in Wisconsin earlier this year, which requires that a photo identification be required in order to vote. Photo ID requirements typically disenfranchise the poor and minorities at a higher rate than other groups since those individuals are less likely to have photo IDs.

    This, of course, also favors Republicans since minorities and the poor tend to vote for Democrats instead of Republicans.

    Adding to the controversy, it was released early this month that a high-ranking official in the Wisconsin Department of Transportation instructed employees to not offer a free version of the voter ID, which is required by law to prevent there being a voter tax, unless it was specifically asked for.

    Finally, it’s easy to argue that the Georgia execution of convicted murderer and African-American Troy Davis is yet another example of institutional racism. Davis’ appeal for a stay of execution was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court despite widespread doubt about his guilt.

    The more-than-reasonable doubt about Davis’ guilt stems from the fact that all but two of the non-police witnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimony in a case in which guilt was based on witness testimony, not physical evidence.

    Can you imagine the outpouring of support in a case like that if it had been a white, wealthy man instead of an African-American? It’s hard to imagine that a stay of execution, or at least a retrial would not have been granted.

    The Supreme Court does not issue the breakdown of decisions in cases like this, but who would bet against the vote having been along party lines?

  44. rikyrah says:

    How Do You Build a Campaign on Nothing?
    by mistermix

    Reading the latest on the possibility of yet another government shutdown, and the pretty good chance that the Supercommittee isn’t going to get anything done, I’m wondering just how an incumbent Republican Member of Congress in a swing district is going to run for election.

    In the long-ago, pre-TP days, no matter how little Congress got accomplished, the Republican gameplan was a simple 1-2-3:

    1.Early in the campaign, before your lesser-known and less well-financed opponent gears up, lay down a smokescreen of innocuous-sounding positions, so you sound like the reasonable guy in the room at the local Kiwanis or Rotary.
    2.Bring home a ton of pork, and get it written up in the local paper.
    3.In the last month or so of the campaign, use your financial advantage to run a barrage of scare attack ads, focusing on how your opponent will either raise taxes or cut Social Security.

    It really used to be about that simple. If you hadn’t fucked anything you shouldn’t, and avoided saying anything monumentally stupid, incumbency was an incredible advantage. Your opponent had to squander a good portion of his precious TV budget on 30-second, soft-focus intro ads showcasing his or her lovely family, which didn’t leave a whole lot in the bank to rebut your attack ads. He or she wouldn’t have brought home millions for a bridge or a high-tech incubator at the local college, so his or her theoretical claims about helping the district had to be stacked up against the millions of real government dollars you brought home.

    Incumbency is still an advantage, and maybe there’s a plan B, but the average tea-curious Republican has already defined himself with hard-edged positions, denied himself the real benefit of earmarks, and is in a bind with Social Security and cutting taxes on the middle class. That would probably be OK if Congress had done anything, but every incumbents’ voting record is full of votes for stagnation rather than progress. I’m sure the RNCC is working its latest bullshit gameplan, but it sure isn’t going to be the tried-and-true recipe that worked pretty well in the past.

  45. rikyrah says:

    September 26, 2011 8:35 AM

    The lessons behind the incessant Christie scuttlebutt
    By Steve Benen

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has said, over and over again, he won’t run for president in 2012. He’s said on national television that he’s “not ready” to serve as president, and he’s told reporters, “Short of suicide, I don’t really know what I’d have to do to convince you people that I’m not running.”

    And yet, talk in Republican circles about recruiting Christie into the race not only continues, it’s getting much louder. While the scuttlebutt has generally been limited to a handful of conservative reporters, over the weekend, the rumors gained new salience when Politico reported that the governor is “reconsidering” his decision and “has indicated he is listening to big-money backers and Republican influence-makers.” Time’s Mark Halperin added that Christie “has had recent conversations that have indicated an openness to a run.”

    I haven’t the foggiest idea whether to take these rumors seriously. I can, however, make some larger observations about the fact that the rumors persist despite the governor’s forceful denials.

    First, if Christie is serious (and I rather doubt he is), it’s worth reemphasizing that jumping into a national race at this late stage is extremely, probably prohibitively, difficult. The Iowa caucuses are less than five months away, and it takes time, not only for a candidate to get prepared, but to create a national campaign framework. Christie may like to bully voters, but he can’t bully the calendar.

    Second, and probably more important, is the fact that this incessant scuttlebutt is a reminder of just how weak the Republicans’ 2012 field really is. Yes, given the larger economic conditions, one of these candidates may end up winning next year, but the fact that so many GOP officials, fundraisers, powerbrokers, and pundits are still desperately looking for a savior reinforces a simple truth: this is a pretty awful group of candidates that leaves many Republicans underwhelmed, uninspired, and apparently a little panicky.

    I can’t say I blame them. If I were a major GOP insider asked to choose between the unlikable flip-flopper, the dimwitted governor, the wild-eyed conspiracy theorist, the disgraced former Speaker, the guy who ran a pizza company, the radical libertarian, and the former Obama administration official, I too might be asking myself, “Who else can we reach out to?”

    Finally, the Wall Street Journal reports today that the Christie speculation is still a waste of time.

    Mr. Christie’s aides say the governor hasn’t budged from his months-long insistence that he won’t enter the presidential fray, despite what one described as a “relentless” stream of calls over the last week from prominent Republicans urging him to run.

    “None of that triggers any new thinking on his part,” said one Christie adviser. “He’s very polite to these people: ‘Thank you for calling. That’s very flattering. I’ll let you know.’ And I think they interpret that, ‘Ah-ha! A rethinking.’ “

    I don’t imagine this will end the speculation, but if it does, we’ll probably just see another round of reports asking, “What’s Jeb Bush up to?”

  46. rikyrah says:

    Monday, September 26, 2011
    Shutdown Countdown: Here We Go Again, Part 4
    Posted by Zandar

    And the threatened GOP shutdown of the government over the 2012 budget this week continues to be an issue as FEMA could run out of money for disaster relief operations as early as tonight. Brian Beutler spells it out this morning:

    It’s not just that Democrats are tired of being kicked around, although that’s part of it. Democrats reject in principle the notion of tying disaster assistance to a partisan budget process — particularly when Republicans won’t even consider raising a penny of new revenue and demand that everything be offset with semi-arbitrary cuts. They specifically reject the offsets House Republicans settled on, particularly one that would nix a successful loan program to encourage production of hybrid vehicles. And they believe that the GOP’s demand represents a violation of the agreement the parties reached during the debt limit fight.

    That agreement set discretionary spending levels for the coming fiscal year at $1.043 trillion. Republicans are thus far respecting that part of the deal. But it also left Congress with some breathing room in the event of a disaster — $11 billion in spending over the cap in the event of emergencies.

    Well, there are plenty of those, and Republicans are well aware of it. Nearly a dozen of them joined Senate Democrats in passing stand-alone legislation to top off FEMA’s account without any offsets almost two weeks ago. Now they’re lining up in support of the proposition that FEMA can only be refueled if Democrats swallow unpalatable budget cuts.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has scheduled a vote for 5:30 p.m. tonight on legislation that mirrors the House spending bill, minus the disaster aid offset. If it fails as Republicans have signaled it will, then FEMA will have to freeze its operations, and we’ll be well on our way to a government shutdown.

    Imagine that, Republicans reneging on their deal with Dems in order to try to cause damage to the President’s reelection chances. Nobody could have predicted the top priority of the GOP was to make sure President Obama was a one-term leader by any means necessary, etc.

    And now it gets serious. Americans will be denied disaster relief operations and there are ongoing efforts in the northeast after Hurricane Irene as well as in Texas after wildfires and drought that will have to be mothballed. If there are any other disasters this week, well sorry America, FEMA can’t help you because the Republicans are too busy being assholes.

    This gets real as of tonight, folks.

  47. rikyrah says:

    Monday, September 26, 2011
    Moving Forward At Your Own Perry-il, Part 8
    Posted by Zandar
    It’s one thing for me to light up Governor Goodhair for his ridiculous “reboot of George W. Bush” act (as Bob Cesca says brilliantly) but another thing entirely for the FOX News folks to pick up the flamethrower and set it on “haterade”.

    “Perry really did throw up on himself in the debate at a time when he needed to raise his game,” Fox News’ Brit Hume told Chris Wallace. “Perry is about one half a step away from almost total collapse as a candidate.”

    “This is a much more closed straw poll than the one in Ames, and these are discerning voters, very loyal Republican, they’ve been paying attention to this process all along,” The Hill’s A.B. Stoddard noted. “It was a real slap towards Perry and Mitt Romney. And you really got a sense when I spoke to Republicans on Friday — as many as I could after the debate — the sense was not only that Perry had given a dismal performance and, of course, Romney had won, but that they don’t like their choices at all.”

    The truth is of course that President Obama, despite having what nutcase Bachmann says is “the lowest approval ratings in modern history” or something, handily continues to defeat all Republican challengers in head to head matchups. Only Mitt Romney is even moderately close on a consistent basis.

    Little wonder then that the FOX crew wants Perry out of the race. Make no mistake, FOX wants millionaire Romney as President. They want to win, and ROmney has the best chance at doing so.

    They won’t bother to sell Romney to FOX viewers however, they’ll just trash everyone else.

  48. rikyrah says:

    September 26, 2011 8:00 AM

    Brit Hume’s right questions, wrong answers

    By Steve Benen

    We’re about five days away from yet another government-shutdown deadline, and funding for FEMA is set to run out even sooner. There were some hopes late last week that congressional leaders would connect over the weekend and make progress towards some resolution, but by all accounts, “there was no progress toward a compromise.”

    While lawmakers were supposed to be out this week, the Senate will return to work today, and will likely vote this afternoon on a cleaned-up version of the House bill (emergency disaster funding without offsets). Whether Senate Republicans will use a filibuster to kill the bill, and whether the House GOP will pass the measure if it’s approved in the Senate, remains to be seen.

    In the meantime, some media coverage of the standoff continues to be deeply misleading. Here’s what Fox News’ Brit Hume told viewers yesterday.

    “Let’s just take look at this latest skirmish. You need a continuing resolution to keep the government open and there’s a need for some relief funding because it’s almost been exhausted. So the Republicans pass a bill that has the disaster relief funding in it, to the tune of several billion dollars and they pay for it with cuts in green jobs funding. […]

    “They sent it to the Senate. What does the Senate do? The Senate blocks it and then does, so far, nothing. Now, it may be that with the media coverage and the political statements that will be made about this, that if the government shuts down the Republicans will get the blame. But I ask you in this: who’s being responsible? And who’s playing politics?”

    It’s entirely reasonable to ask who’s “being responsible.” Unfortunately, Hume doesn’t seem to understand the developments well enough to answer the question effectively.

    Let’s quickly go over this again. Hume believes the Senate has, “so far,” done “nothing” to advance “disaster relief funding.” That’s plainly false. With bipartisan support, the Senate approved FEMA funding 11 days ago. It was a pretty important step; even Fox News reported on it.

    Hume also suggests that it’s House Republicans who’ve been “responsible.” That, too, is demonstrably wrong. GOP leaders first decided 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.

    House Republicans then decided to make the spending bill a little more attractive to far-right members, 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, rejecting talk of compromise, and using this little stunt to make right-wing ideologues happy.

    Hume really wants to know who’s “playing politics”? Please.

    I know it’s Fox, but it’d be awfully nice if these guys paid a little closer attention to current events.

  49. rikyrah says:

    Bush Look-a-like Rick Perry Is Now Channeling Sarah Palin

    Non-answers are a sort of Republican staple these days. These guys – and gals – don’t like questions and they sure don’t like having to answer them, so they don’t. If they don’t beat you up, they just change the subject or act as confused as they really seem to be. Rick Perry, after a fast start, has come under close scrutiny after his debate appearances. And people are starting to take notice – even Republicans – and the mainstream media.

    Look at Salon’s analysis of the Republican response:

    After last night’s debate, Bill Kristol’s Weekly Standard opined that “no front-runner in a presidential field has ever, we imagine, had as weak a showing as Rick Perry” and called it “close to a disqualifying two hours for him.” Michelle Malkin ridiculed him for his inability to formulate intelligible responses. David Limbaugh pronounced himself ”concerned” that Perry is in “deep trouble.” Erick Erickson called his performance ”a train wreck.” And on and on.

    Former Bush White House press secretary Dana Perino’s assessment was a ball-buster. She tweeted, “This was like a 3rd date with Perry – where you decide if you’ll go on a 4th…would you?” Ann Coulter turned her turned her acerbic wit on a fellow conservative for a change by tweeting, “Governor Perry losing debate with his own tongue.”

    Even the conservative media elite has taken notice

    For example, Time Magazine’s Battleland blog, “Where military intelligence is not a contradiction in terms .” In a post entitled, “Of Stupid Answers and Arms Sales” on September 23, Mark Thompson took on Rick Perry’s gibberish at the most recent Republican debate. The topic was Pakistan.

    Thompson wrote that “We don’t dip our toes into domestic politics too much here on Battleland — that’s why TIME has Swampland. But sometimes we just can’t resist. In Thursday night’s debate, a questioner asked Texas Governor Rick Perry what he would do if he got a 3 a.m. phone call saying Pakistan’s nukes had fallen into the hands of the Taliban. His answer, in toto:”

    Well, obviously before you ever get to that point, you have to build a relationship in that region. That’s one of the things that this administration has not done. Just yesterday, we found out through Admiral Mullen that Haqqani has been involved with, and that’s a terrorist group, directly associated with the Pakistani country. To have a relationship with India, to make sure that India knows that they are an ally of the United States. For instance, when we had the opportunity to sell India the upgraded F-16s, we chose not to do that. We did the same thing with Taiwan. The point is, our allies need to understand clearly that we are their friends, we will be standing by there with them. Today, we don’t have those allies in that region that can assist us if that situation that you talked about were to become a reality.

    Parse this response if you can. It’s rather amusing to hear Perry call Romney “slick” at a Florida Republican gathering when you consider that Romney is actually very well spoken, in contrast to Perry. Romney has yet to spit out a mess like this. And Perry’s own sincerity is open to question along with his command of the English language.

  50. rikyrah says:

    September 25, 2011
    The GOP really, really needs Rick Perry
    With Perry sinking like the Dow, a less desirable outcome’s odds are rising. Rick Perry would have been the ideal nominee to sober up and thereby sever the contemporary GOP — permanently.

    If Mitt Romney wins the nomination, as is now likely, the far right, also known as the Tea Party, will scream that the party’s candidate lost to President Obama only because the party failed to nominate a true conservative (which in reality Tea Partiers wouldn’t know from a Bolshevik). This disgruntlement over what they’ll interpret as a lost opportunity will motivate the extremists to remain in the two-party system and work to further radicalize the Republican Party, especially for 2016. Some will splinter off in 2013, if not before, yet enough could easily remain entrenched in the GOP to hold the party line farther to the right.

    A Perry nomination, on the other hand, would serve up all the far-right radicalism the radicals could ever want. The above excuse-making would be invalidated. And in the bloody aftermath of a Perry-led GOP’s crushing defeat to Obama, the party’s moderates — and they are out there — would coalesce to brutally oust the extremists. Thus the creation of a more structurally cohesive Tea Party of the formal third-party species. In other words, political irrelevance and permanent obscurity.

    Either route, however, poses a long-term danger to the Democratic Party. The party would weaken in the absence of a strong, unified opposition, as American political history has repeatedly shown. It will take time for the GOP to reorganize and resettle itself as a respectable party of authentic conservative grounding; and in that time the Democratic Party, too, will further splinter.

    It’s as plain as reading a road map.

  51. rikyrah says:

    Wanker of the Day: Michael Kazin
    by Geov Parrish
    Mon Sep 26th, 2011 at 02:06:43 AM EST

    Michael Kazin is a professor of history at Georgetown University, a co-editor of Dissent Magazine, and, no doubt, fancies himself a great champion of The People. In Sunday’s NYT Review section, he spends nearly a full page stroking his chin and asking the question, “Whatever Happened to the American Left?” Here’s how he frames the question:

    merica’s economic miseries continue, with unemployment still high and home sales stagnant or dropping. The gap between the wealthiest Americans and their fellow citizens is wider than it has been since the 1920s.
    And yet, except for the demonstrations and energetic recall campaigns that roiled Wisconsin this year, unionists and other stern critics of corporate power and government cutbacks have failed to organize a serious movement against the people and policies that bungled the United States into recession.

    Instead, the Tea Party rebellion — led by veteran conservative activists and bankrolled by billionaires — has compelled politicians from both parties to slash federal spending and defeat proposals to tax the rich and hold financiers accountable for their misdeeds.

    Kazin, as a historian, recalls the left-populist response to the Great Depression (particularly union organizing) in the ’30s, and poses the question: why, in the face of economic distress, is the most influential grass roots populism today coming from the right and not the left?

    It’s a useful question to ask, particularly in the pages of a corporate outlet like the Times which is disinclined to pay much attention to left organizing, and whose readers may have occasionally noted its absence. But Kazin’s essay has two rather glaring problems: first, he seems to assume that because it is not influencing public policy, there isn’t any meaningful activism on the left these days. Secondly, even within that flawed premise, he never bothers to answer his own question.

    According to Kazin, the roots of today’s left ennui lie in post-war prosperity, and identity politics:

    The quarter century of growth and low unemployment that followed World War II understandably muted appeals for class justice on the left. Liberals focused on rights for minority groups and women more than addressing continuing inequalities of wealth.

    Let’s set aside Kazin’s rather insulting assumption that there was (and is) no economic component to the struggle for equal rights for women and non-whites. He pivots into tracing the rise of the right instead, and describes it like this:

    One reason for the growth of the right was that most of those in charge of the government from the mid-1960s through the 2000s — whether Democrats or Republicans — failed to carry out their biggest promises. Lyndon Johnson failed to defeat the Viet Cong or abolish poverty; Jimmy Carter was unable to tame inflation or free the hostages in Iran; George W. Bush neither accomplished his mission in Iraq nor controlled the deficit.
    …Conservatives built an impressive set of institutions to develop and disseminate their ideas. Their think tanks, legal societies, lobbyists, talk radio and best-selling manifestos have trained, educated and financed two generations of writers and organizers. Conservative Christian colleges, both Protestant and Catholic, provide students with a more coherent worldview than do the more prestigious schools led by liberals. More recently, conservatives marshaled media outlets like Fox News and the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal to their cause.

    The Tea Party is thus just the latest version of a movement that has been evolving for over half a century…[The] argument about the evils of big government has, by and large, carried the day.

    I’ll pass on the temptation to nitpick here (since when is a worldview predicated on denying objective reality “more coherent”?), because there are some really serious omissions from this retelling of history. They’re the same omissions Kazin leaves out when he gets to his inevitable advice for reviving the left:

  52. rikyrah says:

    President Obama courting black people again
    By Courtland Milloy, Published: September 25
    Yippee! It’s our turn.

    Now that the presidential campaign season has begun, it’s okay for President Obama to openly court black people again. He even used the b-word recently.

    Pass this jobs bill,” Obama said at the Congressional Black Caucus annual awards dinner Saturday, “and every small-business owner in America, including 100,000 black-owned businesses, will get a tax cut.”

    An electrified audience bolted to its feet in applause. The nation’s first black president had actually said “black.”

    For most of his term, Obama has studiously avoided any public mention of race. He’s even been hard-pressed to acknowledge the disparate impact that the recession is having on black people. To show his concern for the nation’s suffering, Obama will take a helicopter from the White House and swoop right over depressed black neighborhoods in the District. Then he’ll catch a jet out of Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George’s County and roar away from the tens of thousands of foreclosed properties that pockmark the predominately black Washington suburb.

    A couple of hours later, he’ll land in some swing state to comfort a largely white crowd whose votes he dare not take for granted.

    But, oh, happy day, it’s our turn.

    “I need your help,” Obama said at the CBC dinner, referring to his proposed American Jobs Act, which everybody knows is not really a jobs bill but one heck of a political manifesto.

    With his job approval rating tanking — especially among white independents — Obama needs a bigger black voter turnout in 2012 than he got in the 2008 election. His reelection team recently announced “Operation Vote,” a program to woo what it calls “ethnic minorities.” (Hint: That’s us.)

    Plus, Obama will be spending more time schmoozing with black journalists (not all, of course) and has scheduled a one-on-one interview with Black Entertainment Television, giving BET the kind of special treatment that he usually reserves for, say, “60 Minutes.”

    Still, it’s likely that Obama will have to do much more to win the black vote this time. He’s been trying to curry favor with white voters for so long — not to mention extreme right-wing tea party Republicans in Congress — that he appears to have forgotten how to sweet-talk black folks.

    “Shake it off. Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying,” Obama preached during his dinner speech. “We are going to press on. We’ve got work to do, CBC.”

  53. 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.

  54. Ametia says:

    Kenya’s Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai dies aged 71
    26 September 2011 Last updated at 01:20

    The BBC’s Will Ross said Ms Maathai was seen as a source of inspiration
    Continue reading the main story

    Nobel winner tear-gassed in Kenya
    Kenya’s Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai has died in Nairobi while undergoing cancer treatment. She was 71.

    She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for promoting conservation, women’s rights and transparent government – the first African woman to get the award.

    She was elected as an MP in 2002 and served as a minister in the Kenyan government for a time.

    Ms Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, which has planted 20-30 million trees in Africa.

    ‘Role model and heroine’

    “It is with great sadness that the family of Professor Wangari Maathai announces her passing away on 25 September, 2011, at the Nairobi Hospital, after a prolonged and bravely borne struggle with cancer,” the Green Belt Movement said in a statement.

    “Her loved ones were with her at the time.

  55. Ametia says:

    Happy MUN-dane, Everyone! :-)

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