Monday Open Thread

Can you shimmy, watusi, do the monkey, jerk, tighten up, mashed potatoes, twist, The Bop, hustle, cabbabe patch, running man, electric slide, Texas two step? Want to learn a few steps of the oldies but goodies? Stay with 3 Chics this week, as we get down with it. don’t hurt yourselves, now!

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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67 Responses to Monday Open Thread

  1. Obama’s Approval Ratings Remain High Among Black Voters

    Is President Obama having a problem with African-American voters? Some pundits worry that he is, and at least one national poll has produced a worrisome number, but the large-sample national tracking surveys show that the level and intensity of Obama’s overall approval rating among blacks remains largely undiminished.

    Obama won the White House in 2008 with the help of record high support and turnout from African-American voters. While black voters have long voted overwhelmingly for Democrats — national exit polls show the Democratic presidential candidate winning between 83 and 90 percent of the black vote between 1980 and 2004 — Obama did even better, winning 95 percent in 2008.

    Moreover, African Americans turned out in record numbers that year. The U.S. Census Current Population Survey found 64.7 percent of blacks said they voted in 2008, falling less than two percentage points shy of the turnout reported by whites (66.1 percent), and all but erasing a persistent voter turnout gap that had been evident in 2004 (7.2 percentage points), 2000 (5.0) and 1996 (7.7).

  2. Ametia says:

    Thanks To HCR BILL Obamacare The Healthcare Industry Added 44,000 Jobs In September
    By Ray Medeiros
    October 10, 2011

    The numbers for employment just came out last week and the American economy added over 100,000 jobs. Now the Republican Party will tell us that the reason job growth in this country is slow is due to regulations, specifically, ObamaCare.

    If this was the case, the industry that is directly regulation should be the first to lose jobs and stop hiring. So let’s look into the healthcare employment numbers.

    Just in the month of September of 2011, the healthcare industry added 44,000 jobs, with 13,000 being in hospitals and 26,000 in ambulatory services.

    Let’s look into the numbers according to the Bureau Of Labor and Statistics

    In April of 2010 when the law was signed the hospitals of America had 4,675,000 employees. Today that numbers stands at 4,774,000 that is an an increase of 100,000 employees in a year and a half. The entire healthcare industry in April of 2010 had 13,739,000 and in September of 2011 it has 14,180,000 which is an an increase of 441,000 employees in a year and a half.

  3. Scott Walker Recall: Effort To Recall Wisconsin Governor To Start Nov. 15

    MADISON, Wis. — An effort to recall Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker over his contentious union rights law will begin Nov. 15, Democrats announced Monday, meaning an election could be held as early as next spring.

    Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said on the party’s website that recall petitions will be circulated starting Nov. 15, giving supporters of the effort until Jan. 13 to collect 540,208 signatures.

    Walker has become a national hero to many Republicans and conservatives and is a hot ticket on the fundraising and speaking circuit. But he is the top target for unions and Democrats as he became the face of the anti-union movement this year with his proposal that took away nearly all collective bargaining rights from most public workers.

    “It has become clearer than ever that the people of Wisconsin – the traditions and institutions of our great state – cannot endure any more of Scott Walker’s abuses. To preserve Wisconsin, we must begin the recall of Walker as soon as possible,” Tate said in a statement on the website.

  4. rikyrah says:

    you are shytting me.

    There’s a fire and folks will be sent AMATEURS.

    you gonna force someone in jail for petty theft to run into burning buildings?


    They might not have a college degree, but I consider firemen PROFESSIONALS.

    I think they’re a little bit crazy, but they’re professionals.

    when I dial 9-1-1, I want someone sent to my house that CHOSE to be a fireman.

    CHOSE to wake up every morning and put their life on the line for his/her fellow citizens.

    I don’t want no fucking convict there killing time to parole.


    Georgia county hopes to save money by having jail inmates staff fire stations
    By Associated Press

    For the AJC

    Camden County officials are considering a money-saving program that would put inmates in fire stations.

    The program would put two inmates in each of three existing firehouses in the south Georgia county, The Florida Times-Union reported.

    Inmates would respond to all emergencies — including residential fires — alongside traditional firefighters, authorities said.

    The inmates would have no guard, but would be monitored by a surveillance system and by the traditional firefighters, who would undergo training to guard the inmates. One traditional firefighter with correctional training can supervise up to three inmates, officials said.

    The inmate firefighter program could save the county more than $500,000 a year by some estimates, authorities said.

    The program would be open to inmates charged with crimes such as drug offenses and thefts. Inmates would also need to have a record of good behavior and pass an interview process.

    The idea has been met with controversy in the county.

    There’s “a lot of contention” among local firefighters about working alongside inmates, Camden County Public Safety Director Dennis Gailey said.

    “If you vote to bring these inmates into our working environment, you jeopardize not only the employees’ well-being, but the safety of our citizens,” firefighter Stuart Sullivan told county commissioners during a recent meeting.

    • Ametia says:

      Sheer INSANITY.. That’s the goal imprison as many Americans as possible in the PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, and make those PROFITS. Cold blooded-murderers can deliver your mail or put out a house fire.

  5. Latino Community Members Share Why They Support President Obama After His American Jobs Act Speech

  6. Obama visits wounded warriors at Walter Reed

    President Obama awarded four Purple Hearts to wounded servicemembers during a visit today to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

    As is practice, Obama did not allow news cameras inside as he spoke with the troops.

    In a statement, the White House said that Obama met with 38 wounded servicemembers — 21 soldiers, 13 Marines, two sailors and two airmen.

    Most of the wounded — 35 — were injured in Afghanistan; the other three troops were hurt in Iraq.

    The president spent two hours and 40 minutes at the medical center in Bethesda, Md.

    This was Obama’s 11th visit to some sort of military hospital, including facilities in Germany and Afghanistan, according to Mark Knoller of CBS News.

  7. Marniesheia Perrymond stated:


    … And furthermore, President Obama ran the tightest campaign technology machine ever seen in the history of government campaigns….darnnit!

  8. rikyrah says:

    October 10, 2011
    Rubin goes ballistic

    Things have got so grotesque at the Republican presidential asylum that their malignancy is now being noticed, with well-advised fear and trembling, by even the asylum’s customarily calm keepers. I submit, for example, the Washington Post’s Nurse Ratched, Jennifer Rubin, who’s coming as unglued as Charles Cheswick.

    Or perhaps she’s more Pogo-like, for Ms. Rubin has indeed met what to her should be a familiar enemy: the inexorable insanity of radicalism, most recently (and only most recently) on public display at the Values Voter Summit. To call this squalid event of ignorance and bigotry a political embarrassment would be to sugarcoat it; it was as raw, as natural, as exemplary of diseased spirits and corrupt souls as incremental crazy can get.

    Rubin does her diagnostic best to sequester the “many conservative leaders” (she names three) of intellectual vigor and virtue from the Summit’s Republican pols, who “demonstrated a shameful lack of moral leadership.” One of the former was — brace yourself — Gary Bauer, yes that Gary Bauer, that prototypical GOP podperson of dubious morality gone wild. Says (realizes) Mr. Bauer now: “Picking a candidate for public office is not the same thing … as selecting a pastor or rabbi. Politics is about picking someone who shares your views on public policy.”

    Another of Rubin’s virtuous voices was — and this clown is even worse than Bauer — the insufferable king of smugness, Bill Bennett, who boldly chastised one of the Summit’s favored zealots: “You did Rick Perry no good sir, in what you had to say.”

    Notice the 18th-century affectation, “sir.” What next, Bill, dueling at thirty paces?

    Don’t despair, Ms. Rubin; and the same goes for you boys, Messrs. Bauer and Bennett. Rejoice — yes, rejoice instead in these extraordinarily striking demonstrations of the radical right having finally gone completely nuts. And if you’re fortunate in your journey of self-reexamination, perhaps you’ll even rediscover conservatism.

  9. Walter Reed closing..

    [wpvideo 4kHjjxtB]

  10. rikyrah says:

    October 10, 2011 1:45 PM

    Where there’s a Will there’s a wrong

    By Steve Benen

    Most politically engaged folks have probably seen the Elizabeth Warren video that went viral a few weeks ago. In it, she presents an argument for liberalism that many Americans rarely hear and probably never consider: success is predicated on an underlying social contract. It’s an argument that apparently drove George Will batty.

    There’s an interdependency in our society that’s easy to take for granted, and Warren struck a chord by giving it needed attention. “You built a factory out there? Good for you,” she said. “But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.” The point isn’t subtle: a strong American future depends on keeping our commitments and rejecting the right’s calls to shred this social contract.

    Will concedes Warren’s larger point — “all striving occurs in a social context” — before launching into an over-the-top diatribe, accusing Warren of seeking “a collectivist political agenda.” The Democratic Senate candidate, Will argues, envisions “subordination of the bovine many to a regulatory government.”

    Greg Sargent did a fine job responding to this silly — and frankly, cheap — argument last week, but it’s also worth noting E.J. Dionne’s column responding to Will today.

    What Warren has done is to make a proper case for liberalism, which does not happen often enough. Liberals believe that the wealthy should pay more in taxes than “the rest of us” because the well-off have benefited the most from our social arrangements. This has nothing to do with treating citizens as if they were cows incapable of self-government. As for the regulatory state, our free and fully competent citizens have long endorsed a role for government in protecting consumers from dangerous products, including tainted beef.

    Will, the philosopher, knows whereof Warren speaks because he has advanced arguments of his own that complement hers. In his thoughtful 1983 book “Statecraft as Soulcraft,” Will rightly lamented that America’s sense of community had become “thin gruel” and chided fellow conservatives “caught in the web of their careless anti-government rhetoric.” He is also the author of my favorite aphorism about how Americans admire effective government even when they pretend not to. “Americans talk like Jeffersonians,” Will wrote, “but expect to be governed by Hamiltonians.”

    Dionne adds that Will wouldn’t have even bothered with Warren’s vision had it not been so important. In other words, the conservative columnist wouldn’t have felt the need to publish a misleading attack had Warren not struck a nerve with a compelling defense for liberalism in the first place.

    It should serve as a reminder to the Senate candidate that she’s saying what needs to be said.

  11. John Paul Stevens: Bush Appeal To Supreme Court Was ‘Frivolous’

    Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens writes in his new memoir, Five Chiefs, that the George W. Bush campaign’s 2000 appeal to the United States Supreme Court over the Florida recount was “frivolous” and never should have been granted.

    He recalls bumping into Justice Stephen Breyer at a Christmas party and the two having a brief conversation about the Bush application to halt the recount by issuing a stay. “We agreed that the application was frivolous,” he writes. “To secure a stay, a litigant must show that one is necessary to prevent a legally cognizable irreparable injury. Bush’s attorneys had failed to make any such showing.”

    By a five-to-four vote, the court granted the stay. “What I still regard as a frivolous stay application kept the court extremely busy for four days,” he writes. He adds that no justice has ever cited the opinions that provided the basis for their ruling.

    Indeed, the court — unusually — limited its decision “to the present circumstances,” meaning that it did not want it to become a precedent.

    HuffPost’s Mike Sacks recently interviewed the 91-year-old former justice on his views on the death penalty and the Citizens United ruling just before the memoir was published.

  12. rikyrah says:

    October 10, 2011 4:00 PM
    The punditocracy vs. the mainstream

    By Steve Benen

    President Obama has taken a very different posture over the last month or so, adopting a more confrontational pose when dealing with obstinate Republicans, and embracing a more populist economic agenda. Despite predictions that Obama would buckle and cave, he hasn’t — the president has been consistent and aggressive in pushing a strong jobs bill, and urging popular tax measures to pay for it.

    Several pundits are not at all pleased. David Brooks, Mark Penn, and Mark Halperin all weighed in recently, saying the White House’s message doesn’t appeal to centrist and independent voters. Politico recently declared, “Obama sparks middle-of-road rage.” National Journal said last week the president risks “chasing away” independents and disaffected Republicans with economic “populism.”

    Practically all available polling suggests the pundits are mistaken, most notably the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll that showed the president getting a significant boost over Republicans — from Dems and independents alike — when it comes to who in Washington has the edge when it comes to creating jobs.

    It leads Ruy Teixeira to explain today that the “punditocracy” is off track. Obama’s “optimizing strategy” stands to improve his standing in key ways.

    The first is improving the actual economy. Obviously, Republicans have little interest in moving on Obama’s jobs plan, but pressing the issue and mobilizing public opinion is probably the only way to get even parts of it through Congress. And Obama desperately needs improvement in the economy by any means necessary. It is by far his biggest negative, but a negative that can be mitigated by even moderate growth during the election year.

    Second, Obama needs to create as much uncertainty in the minds of voters as possible about who is responsible for current economic conditions. As incumbent, he will inevitably get most of the blame, but there is a lot of difference between most and all. The current strategy is perfectly designed to create that uncertainty by identifying Republicans as the obstacle to jobs growth.

    Third, Obama needs to put issues in play where he is overwhelmingly on the side of public opinion and his opponent has unpopular positions that he cannot wiggle out of. The current strategy does that as well by highlighting GOP refusal to raise taxes on the rich, even in the name of creating jobs. The GOP commitment to protecting the rich can (and will) be fruitfully connected to known GOP commitments like ending Medicare and slashing Social Security.

    Obama doesn’t alienate swing voters by pushing policies that swing voters like. I’m glad the White House is ignoring these pundits, and can only hope officials continue to do so.

  13. rikyrah says:

    I’ll say it again– the only thing that folks are ‘committed’ to when it comes to Willard is..


    that’s it.

    nobody’s straining themselves to support Willard.

    If Not Mitt, Who?

    by BooMan
    Mon Oct 10th, 2011 at 12:56:28 PM EST

    Matt Latimer wonders if Willard Mitt Romney is really the safe choice for the Republicans. Won’t his legendary and soon to be even more infamous flip-flopping doom him in a general election campaign? Isn’t he John Kerry on steroids? Can’t you take almost every position that Romney espouses and find an historical example of him taking the polar opposite position?

    I wonder if the Republicans have any choice about nominating Romney. Rick Perry is currently polling at 4% in New Hampshire, which is even with Jon Huntsman and one point better than Michele Bachmann. The only candidates other than Romney who are polling in double digits are Herman Cain (20%) and Ron Paul (13%). Admittedly, Texans are a hard sell in New England, as George W. Bush learned in the 2000 New Hampshire primaries. But four percent?

    The polling data for Iowa are outdated, but Perry had a lead in August. I imagine his support has collapsed there, too, just like it has nationally. So, who is the alternative to Romney? It can’t possibly be Herman Cain. Ron Paul’s views on foreign policy have some bipartisan appeal, but they don’t sell well in the Republican Party. Besides, he’s 76 years-old.

    The Republicans have been desperate to find an alternative to Romney, but no one wants to run against a seemingly vulnerable incumbent. Originally, Romney wasn’t even going to try to compete in the Iowa Caucuses, but I bet he is rethinking that now. After all, who’s going to beat him there? And that brings up something else.

    How aggressive do the other Republicans want to be about asking which Mitt they’re running against? They could tear him down the way the Democratic Establishment tore Howard Dean down, but who would replace him? What if he won the nomination anyway? At a certain point, if you can’t beat him, you need to tone down the criticism and play the good soldier.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Warren, and Other Races to Support

    by BooMan
    Mon Oct 10th, 2011 at 03:51:27 PM EST

    No politician is a savior, and no single politician can fix the gridlock in DC. But you gotta start somewhere, and Elizabeth Warren’s Senate campaign is as good a place as any. Along with Mazie Hirono’s campaign to take Sen. Daniel Akaka’s seat, and the prospect of replacing Joe Lieberman with an actual Democrat, Warren’s push for Teddy Kennedy’s old seat is a real chance to improve the performance of the Upper Chamber. Warren is off to a great start, surprising everyone with her robust fundraising from small donors.

    Elizabeth Warren raised more than $3 million in a little more than six weeks to fund her Senate bid in Massachusetts, her campaign announced Monday.

    The astounding figure anchors the notion that Warren will be a formidable candidate both in the Democratic primary and — if she wins the primary — against Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.).

    I’ll also note that Rep. Tammy Baldwin would be a significant upgrade over Sen. Herb Kohl who is retiring in Wisconsin.

    The country is basically ungovernable because of the requirement that the Senate Majority Leader have 60 votes to do almost anything. But the problem is not just that there are too many Republicans in the Senate. There are too many crappy Democrats. When you have a chance to replace a lousy Democrat with a decent one, that’s almost as good as knocking out a Republican. The races in Hawaii, Wisconsin, Connecticut, and Massachusetts offer us an opportunity to upgrade in a big way.

    I can’t say I am as excited about other races where we’d be either replacing a lousy Dem with another lousy Dem (Virginia) or a lousy Republican with a lousy Dem (Nevada), but those races are important, too.

    And someone needs to step up in Arizona. We desperately need that seat. If it ain’t gonna be Richard Carmona then we need to know that.

    It’s hard to get excited about electoral politics right now, but there are at least a few races that can get my pulse up. Warren’s race is at the top of the list.

  15. Elizabeth Warren Raises $3.15 Million In Challenge To Scott Brown

    WASHINGTON — Consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren announced in an e-mail to her supporters that she has raised $3.15 million since entering the race to take on Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.).

    Warren’s haul was largely raked in through small-dollar donations. According to her campaign’s e-mail, she received 96 percent of her contributions from donors giving less than $100. More than 11,000 citizens of Massachusetts donated to her campaign. The number of donors from out-of-state was not listed in the campaign e-mail.

    The consumer advocate has been helped by her star status among liberal bloggers and charismatic online videos that have gone viral.

    Prior to announcing her candidacy, Warren was working in the White House as a special advisor helping to set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a government agency first imagined by Warren in an essay for the journal Democracy.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    October 10, 2011 2:25 PM

    Did Jeffrress do Romney a favor?

    By Steve Benen

    Right-wing Texas pastor Robert Jeffress caused quite a stir over the weekend, attacking Mitt Romney’s religion in the hopes of boosting Rick Perry. Dave Weigel makes a good argument that Jeffress has inadvertently done Romney a favor.

    Mitt Romney should send Texas pastor Robert Jeffress a gift…. If the Great Mormon Debate of 2011 had to happen — and it did — the candidate couldn’t ask for a better instigator than a guy with the gravitas of a jug band soloist and the tact of a Laugh Factory heckler. […]

    Before Rick Perry’s big Friday speech to the Values Voter Summit, a Jeffress accomplice scuttled around the press seats, passing out his remarks, in which the pastor from First Baptist Dallas would plead for the nomination of “a genuine follower of Jesus Christ.” After Romney spoke (a fine speech, not that anyone remembers it), Jeffress hung around offstage, available to roving mobs of reporters. He called Romney “a member of a cult” and said “the idea that Mormonism is a cult is not some fringe conservative idea.” The pastor hung out for hours, taking cell phone calls, doing live TV hits, repeating the word “cult” a few times every minute.

    Jeffress used his moment to create a substance heretofore unknown to nature: sympathy for Mitt Romney.

    That’s true. Transparent bigotry towards religious minorities can be problematic in Republican circles — unless those being denigrated are Muslims or atheists — since the GOP still likes to present itself as the “party of faith.” Some fairly high-profile figures were quick to condemn Jeffress’ remarks, and Perry was forced to distance himself from a key ally.

    This, Weigel argues, makes the story a net-positive for Romney. Who doesn’t feel bad someone who’s being picked on for his religious beliefs? For that matter, since Romney was probably going to have to talk about this subject again anyway, no one with faith-related questions will want be associated with the bigot who started the fight.

    Weigel makes a persuasive case, but I’m a little skeptical. Sure, Jeffress is a bigoted buffoon, but by pushing this issue to center-stage, he’s told Republican voters something they may not have known: Mitt Romney is Mormon. This certainly isn’t news to those of us who follow the race closely, but I suspect there’s a significant chunk of the GOP base that wasn’t aware of this. Now they know. In light of polls showing continued discomfort among some voters with Mormon candidates, Romney probably would have preferred not to have this conversation.

    Also, now that the story is in the political world’s bloodstream, I’m not sure what Romney will do if/when voters start asking him about this faith — or how the public will respond to his answers. What will the former governor say if he’s asked whether Jesus came to America? Or about the notion of people getting their own planet? Or about the Garden of Eden being in Missouri?

    If someone was going to go after Romney’s religion, the GOP candidate benefits from having such an ugly attacker. But that doesn’t mean the issue won’t cut against Romney in the coming months.

  17. Ametia says:

    Bitter, bitter, Jonathan…

    Obama: A disaster for civil liberties
    He may prove the most disastrous president in our history in terms of civil liberties
    By Jonathan Turley
    September 29, 2011

    With the 2012 presidential election before us, the country is again caught up in debating national security issues, our ongoing wars and the threat of terrorism. There is one related subject, however, that is rarely mentioned: civil liberties.

    Protecting individual rights and liberties — apart from the right to be tax-free — seems barely relevant to candidates or voters. One man is primarily responsible for the disappearance of civil liberties from the national debate, and he is Barack Obama. While many are reluctant to admit it, Obama has proved a disaster not just for specific civil liberties but the civil liberties cause in the United States.

    Civil libertarians have long had a dysfunctional relationship with the Democratic Party, which treats them as a captive voting bloc with nowhere else to turn in elections. Not even this history, however, prepared civil libertarians for Obama. After the George W. Bush years, they were ready to fight to regain ground lost after Sept. 11. Historically, this country has tended to correct periods of heightened police powers with a pendulum swing back toward greater individual rights. Many were questioning the extreme measures taken by the Bush administration, especially after the disclosure of abuses and illegalities. Candidate Obama capitalized on this swing and portrayed himself as the champion of civil liberties.

    However, President Obama not only retained the controversial Bush policies, he expanded on them. The earliest, and most startling, move came quickly. Soon after his election, various military and political figures reported that Obama reportedly promised Bush officials in private that no one would be investigated or prosecuted for torture. In his first year, Obama made good on that promise, announcing that no CIA employee would be prosecuted for torture. Later, his administration refused to prosecute any of the Bush officials responsible for ordering or justifying the program and embraced the “just following orders” defense for other officials, the very defense rejected by the United States at the Nuremberg trials after World War II.,0,7542436.story

  18. Talking Points Memo

    Koch Bros say they’ll spend at least $200m on Election 2012

  19. U.S. President Barack Obama walks across a landing zone as he arrives to visit wounded service members at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland October 10, 2011.

  20. U.S. President Barack Obama arrives to visit wounded service members at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland October 10, 2011.

  21. U.S. President Barack Obama is saluted as he arrives to visit wounded service members at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland October 10, 2011.

  22. President Barack Obama is saluted upon his arrival on Marine One helicopter at Walter Reed National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Monday, Oct. 10, 2011.

  23. rikyrah says:

    for those who are interested, today is the last day for the sale.

    they’re selling certificates for 70 percent off!!

  24. rikyrah says:

    Congressional Dysfunction Begins To Spook Old Pros

    Congress has always been Washington’s whipping boy, particularly near election time. The antics get sillier, the pace shifts from glacial to gridlock, and the frustrated public gets daily reminders that lawmakers are often too mired in politics to function in the national interest.

    That’s not news.

    What is news is that this time it’s starting to scare the pros.

    The GOP’s hyper-partisan turn after Barack Obama’s victory in 2008 meant 112th Congress was destined to test the limits of dysfunctional governance. But it also happened to coincide with a moment in history when the country needed the government to do better than the bare minimum. Instead, it’s done less. And that’s shaken people who’ve spent their careers steering the ship of state.

    “I do believe that we are now in uncharted waters when it comes to the dysfunction in our political system–and it is no longer a joking matter,” former Defense Secretary Robert Gates told an audience two weeks ago at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, where he received the Liberty Medal for national service. “It appears that as a result of several long-building, polarizing trends in American politics and culture, we have lost the ability to execute even the basic functions of government much less solve the most difficult and divisive problems facing the country. Thus, I am more concerned than I have ever been about the state of American governance.”

    The remarks were first flagged by The Atlantic’s Jim Fallows, who noted the importance not just of the sentiment, but of who said it.

    “I specifically recognize how carefully he has always chosen his public words,” Fallows wrote. “For such a person to say plainly that the American government has lost its basic ability to function, and that he is more concerned than he has ever been about this issue is … well, it’s worth more notice than it’s received so far.”

    Gates led the CIA and the Defense Department under different Republican presidents before Obama reappointed to the latter job. So he’s not some fiery partisan. And he’s also not alone.

  25. rikyrah says:

    October 10, 2011, 8:00 am
    Netflix Abandons Plan to Rent DVDs on Qwikster

    10:22 a.m. | Updated Abandoning a break-up plan it announced last month, Netflix said Monday morning that it had decided to keep its DVD-by-mail and online streaming services together under one name and one Web site.

    The company admitted that it had moved too fast when it tried to spin-off the old-fashioned DVD service into a new company called Qwikster.

    “We underestimated the appeal of the single Web site and a single service,” Steve Swasey, a Netflix spokesman, said in a telephone interview. He quickly added: “We greatly underestimated it.”

    Mr. Swasey said that the Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings declined an interview request. But in a statement, Mr. Hastings said, “Consumers value the simplicity Netflix has always offered and we respect that. There is a difference between moving quickly — which Netflix has done very well for years — and moving too fast, which is what we did in this case.”

    Mr. Swasey declined to comment on any involvement by the Netflix board in the decision to keep the two services together. Initial reaction to the Netflix announcement was largely positive, and the company’s stock rose about 6 percent in early trading.

    In an analysts note, Ingrid Chung of Goldman Sachs credited Netflix management for “listening to its customers (finally) and working to fix its relationship with customers.”

    Richard Greenfield, a media analyst for BTIG Capital, said in an e-mail message that Monday’s announcement was the “necessary reversal of a bad decision.”

    “The key remaining question,” he said, “is why did they make the Qwikster decision in the first place?”

  26. rikyrah says:

    October 10, 2011 10:10 AM
    When a minority faith gets the spotlight

    By Steve Benen

    Three weeks ago, Mitt Romney was asked about the political impact of his religion, and he told Fox News, “I addressed this last time around…. That’s sort of been put to bed for me.” I wrote at the time that Romney’s Mormon faith was going “unnoticed.”

    I guess that period is over.

    The Values Voter Summit in Washington this weekend left no doubt about it: The Mormon issue is back.

    A Texas pastor’s inflammatory remarks here — calling Mormonism a “cult” — thrust Mitt Romney’s faith into the center of a 2012 campaign overwhelmingly focused on the economy. It was a transparent attempt by Baptist minister Robert Jeffress, a Rick Perry supporter, to drive a wedge between Romney and evangelical voters.

    The attack amounted to a test for Romney, forcing him to respond to a rhetorical assault on his faith that flouted the standard rules of American political debate.

    For his part, Romney and his campaign had nothing to say about Jeffress, but the flap has given the media an excuse to start talking about an issue that has, up until now, been largely invisible. On the Sunday shows, for example, several Republican presidential candidates were asked whether they consider Mormonism a part of Christianity. Romney’s rivals didn’t want to talk about it.

    It’s worth noting that, for now, the GOP field isn’t trying to use this issue as a wedge, at least not yet. Four years ago, Mike Huckabee took his campaign in an ugly direction, asking at one point, “Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?” We’ve heard no similar rhetoric this year, at least not from the other candidates, and we can hope it stays that way.

    And while it was probably inevitable that the campaign would spend at least some time on the “Mormon issue,” the larger question is whether voters actually care. A month ago, a New York Times/CBS News poll included a question related to the subject, without mentioning any candidates’ names: “Do you think most people you know would vote for a presidential candidate who is a Mormon, or not?” A 40% plurality said they believe people they know wouldn’t vote for a Mormon candidate.

    Over the summer, Gallup asked voters — not just Republicans, but the public in general — whether they’d be willing to vote for a Mormon presidential candidate. The poll found 22% said they would not, a figure that’s up over the last few years.

    I can think of all kinds of reasons Romney would made an awful president, but his religion is and should be irrelevant. If, however, bigotry is as common as the polls suggest, it’s an issue to keep an eye on.

  27. Obama To Visit Hospitalized U.S. Service Members

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama begins his week by paying tribute to servicemen and women who have been wounded in battle.

    Obama is scheduled to travel to suburban Bethesda, Md., to visit Monday with service members who are being treated at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

    The 10th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan was marked last week, and Obama has announced plans to draw down forces there by next fall. Steps also are under way to end the large-scale deployment of U.S. forces in Iraq. The United States has been involved in military action there since the spring of 2003.

  28. rikyrah says:

    October 10, 2011 10:40 AM
    Has Thomas Friedman met Barack Obama?

    By Steve Benen

    In August, Thomas Friedman presented a policy platform he believes is absent from America’s political discourse, but neglected to mention that it was practically word-for-word the same platform President Obama already supports. In September, Friedman did it again. And over the weekend, the NYT columnist did it once more.

    In this case, Friedman was praising the legacy of Steve Jobs, in part because he “personified so many of the leadership traits we know are missing from our national politics.” Jobs, Friedman argued, was a visionary, and “there isn’t a single national politician today” like him.

    It’s tempting to note the differences between a political leader and a corporate CEO. Imagine, for example, what Apple would be like if Jobs’ board of directors refused to approve any new products and openly admitted that they intended to destroy Jobs’ tenure before the next stock-holders’ meeting. (If you think that’s hyperbole, watch Washington more carefully.)

    But let’s put that aside for now, and consider Friedman’s case.

    Neither party is saying: Here is the world we are living in; here are the big trends; here is our long-term plan for rolling up our sleeves to ensure that America thrives in this world because it is not going to come easy; nothing important ever does.

    What is John Boehner’s vision? I laugh just thinking about the question. What is President Obama’s vision? I cry just thinking about the question. The Republican Party has been taken over by an antitax cult, and Obama just seems lost. Obama supporters complain that the G.O.P. has tried to block him at every turn. That is true. But why have they gotten away with it?

    Maybe because of columns like these, which cast a pox on both houses, when only one deserves it?

    “What is President Obama’s vision?” Tom, it’s the same vision you’ve already endorsed.

    I saw Friedman on “The Daily Show” last week, presenting the “formula for success” that the nation has traditionally embraced: investments in education, investments in infrastructure, safeguards against financial industry recklessness, sensible immigration policies, and expansive government-funded research. Who supports all of these identical priorities? The president Friedman condemns as “lost” and lacking vision.

    If Friedman disapproves of Obama’s (and his own) vision, that’s fine; he can make the case against it and offer an alternative. If he wants policymakers to be responsible and act on the president’s forward-thinking agenda, that’d made a good column, too.

    But this columnist has a bad habit of presenting sound, sensible ideas, but pretending that the White House isn’t already on his side. It’s more than bizarre; it does a disserve to readers who would benefit from a more complete picture.

  29. rikyrah says:

    October 10, 2011 12:35 PM
    Aiming the arrows at the frontrunner

    By Steve Benen

    Remember when Tim Pawlenty’s presidential campaign unveiled those overdramatic videos that looked like they’d been directed by Michael Bay? It turns out, with Pawlenty having quit, the same filmmaker has moved over to Rick Perry’s team, and he’s producing “striking” videos like this one, going after Perry’s main rival, Mitt Romney.

    For those who can’t watch clips online, the video connects Romney’s health care law in Massachusetts to President Obama’s Affordable Care — at one point, we see Obama looking in the mirror and seeing Romney — including a quote from the president himself saying he agrees with Romney on health care policy. It also says Jimmy Carter backs Romney in the race for the Republican nomination.

    The same video touches on Romney’s “flip-flopping,” and adopts a line the former Massachusetts governor likes to use himself: “Nice try.”

    I have to admit, when I saw Pawlenty’s Bay-like videos, I tended to just roll my eyes. This spot, however, strikes me as pretty effective — it’s far more accurate than what we’re used to seeing in a GOP attack ad, and it hits Romney on one of his key vulnerabilities, combining his approach to health care to his lack of trustworthiness.

    Perry’s video comes the same day as a new DNC project called, “Which Mitt?” that helps document the fact that Romney has been for and against nearly every major public idea on the policy landscape. In a strange-bedfellows twist, the right-wing FreedomWorks is touting the DNC’s site, in the hopes it will undermine Romney’s chances.

    Romney has faced almost no serious pushback in recent months, en route to becoming the Republican frontrunner. With the Iowa caucuses coming 12 weeks from tomorrow, it appears the campaign is about to experience a noticeable shift.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    October 10, 2011 8:30 AM

    Romney targets non-existent defense cuts

    By Steve Benen
    In a speech on Friday, Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney made an important vow:

    “As President, on Day One, I will focus on rebuilding America’s economy. I will reverse President Obama’s massive defense cuts. Time and again, we have seen that attempts to balance the budget by weakening our military only lead to a far higher price, not only in treasure, but in blood.” [emphasis added]

    In fact, Romney, whose ignorance about national security and foreign policy has often been rather amusing, wants the Pentagon budget to get even bigger.

    Standing among retired airplanes on the U.S.S. Yorktown, a decommissioned World War II aircraft carrier, Mitt Romney told a small group of veterans on Thursday that given the global threats to America’s interests, the nation’s defense spending should be increased instead of cut.

    Let’s take these one at a time. First, Romney believes President Obama has approved “massive defense cuts.” Here, however, are the Pentagon budgets over the last six years, with the red columns showing defense spending under Bush, and the blue columns showing defense spending under Obama.

    I realize Romney can be a little slow on the uptake, but when the Pentagon gets more money — in some cases, even money it didn’t ask for — that’s not a “cut.” If Romney wants to be taken seriously on these issues, he should probably take the time to brush up on these pesky details. The guy’s been running for president non-stop for five years, so the fact that he’s still confused about this isn’t encouraging.

    Second, Romney, who claims to be concerned about deficit reduction, wants to increase defense spending? The United States spends nearly as much on its military as every other country on the planet combined, and the former Massachusetts governor believes officials looking to cut the federal budget should look elsewhere?

    Here are two simple questions for Romney, should any enterprising campaign reporters want to follow-up on this:

    1. If defense spending shouldn’t be cut, where will Romney find savings to bring the budget closer to balance?

    2. If defense spending should be increased, how will Romney pay for it?

  31. rikyrah says:

    October 10, 2011 8:00 AM
    The causes of ‘social unrest’

    By Steve Benen

    Republican condemnations of Occupy Wall Street and related protests are increasingly common — “un-American” appears to have become a standard talking point fairly quickly — but I heard a new phrase yesterday that stood out: “social unrest.”

    The right-wing chairman of the House Budget Committee, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), appeared on “Meet the Press” yesterday, connecting the demonstrations to President Obama’s agenda and rhetoric. Consider this exchange:

    PAUL RYAN: I think this divisive rhetoric is fairly — is divisive. I think it’s troubling. Sowing class envy and social unrest is not what we do in America.

    DAVID GREGORY: You think that’s what the president’s doing.

    PAUL RYAN: I think the president is doing that. I think he’s preying on the emotions of fear, envy, and anger, and that is not constructive to unifying America.

    The condemnation was eerily similar to the attacks the right made against FDR after the launch of the New Deal, which suggests Obama is probably on the right track.

    But I’m fascinated by the notion that the president is generating class-based “social unrest,” an apparent reference to Occupy Wall Street, which is engaged in lawful protests against economic injustices. Eric Cantor raised the prospect of the activists representing a “mob” last week, and now we’ve apparently seen the transition to “social unrest.”

    What I wish Paul Ryan could understand, however, are the socio-economic conditions that exist in the real world. A growing chasm between rich and poor contributes to social unrest. Rising poverty contributes to social unrest. A lengthy jobs crisis contributes to social unrest. Falling middle-class incomes contribute to social unrest.

    In Ryan’s mind, however, what really contributes to social unrest is President Obama — who’s already cut taxes more than Bush/Cheney did, and whose rhetoric mirrors that of Ronald Reagan — simply talking about the wealthy paying a little more in taxes. This kind of presidential leadership, which polls show enjoys public support, Ryan tells us, is somehow dangerous and “not constructive to unifying America.”

    And what, pray tell, would be? Presumably that would be Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which would eliminate Medicare, scrap investments that benefit the middle class, and lavishing even more tax cuts on the very wealthy.

    It’s an agenda based on a rather twisted worldview.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Boehner vows continued fight against abortion
    By Sofia Resnick | 10.09.11 | 5:14 am

    House Speaker John Boehner told a crowd of thousands at the sixth annual Values Voter Summit in Washington D.C., that giving birth to 12 boys and girls probably was not convenient for his mother. But she did it, one at a time.

    “For me, the right to life has never been political,” Boehner said.

    Boehner, the first political leader to take the stage at the three-day conservative Christian conference, began speaking about jobs and the economy, telling the room of flag-T-shirt-wearers that it is time to “liberate our economy from the shackles of this government.”

    But he switched gears to abortion politics soon after, eliciting strong reactions from the crowd when he accused the administration of using taxpayer dollars to fund elective abortions, a policy that is prohibited by the longstanding Hyde Amendment. Still Boehner called for the end of publicly funding abortions and said the House GOP was working on a bill to make permanent the Hyde Amendment.

    “Beyond the life issue, we must defend the Defense of Marriage Act,” Boehner said, censuring the president for ignoring the “law of the land” and promising to take money away from the Department of Justice for refusing to defend DOMA.

    This week, Boehner’s office announced it is raising a $750,000 spending cap to $1.5 million to former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, who is defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

    Senate Minority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) speech followed the same blueprint as Boehner’s – jobs, abortion, same-sex marriage. He announced that a bill would be introduced next week to Congress that would “ensure no taxpayer dollars to abortion” and that would broaden so-called “conscience rights” to health care workers and pharmacists, to allow them to refuse abortion services and emergency contraception to women based on religious objections.

    But what ultimately won Cantor a standing ovation was a proposal to “eliminate government funding for any and all organizations that perform abortions.” This effort – largely aimed at defunding Planned Parenthood, which receives more than $300 million annually for its family planning and reproductive health services – has already begun with the House’s recent introduction of a controversial Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill (PDF).

    Abortion has already proved to be a star in this year’s summit, with every speaker addressing it in some form. Members of Susan B Anthony List are stationed throughout the Omni Shoreham Hotel handing out a joint voter guide introduced Friday by the SBA List and the National Organization for Marriage that list the anti-abortion/anti-same-sex marriage rights of the presidential hopefuls based on pledges they have signed.

    Boehner and Cantor followed Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council Action, the lead sponsor of the Values Voter Summit. In his speech, Perkins introduced a theme that is likely to pervade the conference and how presidential candidates campaign for the support of the Christian voters in attendance.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Pelosi Calls Out Cantor’s Hypocrisy For Smearing Occupy Wall Street |

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called out Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) for calling the 99 percent movement a “growing mob” after having supported the Tea Party movement. “I didn’t hear him say anything when the tea party was out demonstrating, actually spitting on members of Congress right here in the Capitol,” Pelosi said ABC’s “This Week” yesterday. “And he and his colleagues were putting signs in the windows encouraging them.” Watch it, via Politico:

  34. rikyrah says:

    Journalists Funded By ‘Vulture Capitalist’ Paul Singer Campaign To Smear Wall Street Protests

    By Lee Fang on Oct 10, 2011 at 10:30 am

    The campaign the marginalize and destroy the growing 99 Percent Movement is in full swing, with many in the media attempting to smear the people participating in the “occupation” protests across the country. However, several of the so-called journalists deriding, and in some cases sabotaging the movement, have paychecks thanks to a billionaire whose business practices have been scorned as among the worst of the financial elite.

    As the New York Times has documented, Paul Singer, a Republican activist and hedge fund manager worth over $900 million, has emerged as one of the most important power brokers within the GOP. Now, it appears that the reporters financed by Singer are at the forefront of efforts to tarnish the reputation of 99 Percent Movement demonstrators:

    Journalist Who Admitted To Infiltrating Protests To ‘Mock And Undermine’ The Movement Works For A Singer-Supported Right-Wing Magazine. In a column posted last night, reporter Patrick Howley admitted that he had surreptitiously joined an anti-war spin-off group from the OccupyDC protests that planned to demonstrate at a military drone exhibit at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space museum. Howley wrote that he “infiltrated” the action and sprinted into the police along with a few protesters in order to “mock and undermine” the movement. Singer is a major donor the Spectator, a right-wing magazine known for its role in the “Arkansas Project,” a well-funded effort to invent stories with the goal of eventually impeaching President Clinton.

    Journalist Pushing To Discredit Occupy Wall Street Is Funded By Singer’s Think Tank. Josh Barro, a journalist who has attacked the 99 Percent Movement in the National Review and the New York Daily News, draws a salary from the Wriston Fellowship at the Manhattan Institute, a big business advocacy think tank in New York. Barro makes the same tired arguments, that anti-Wall Street protesters are too inarticulate and “extreme” to be taken seriously. Singer is the chairman of the Manhattan Institute, and even oversees the Wriston annual fundraiser.

    As Singer-funded journalists make their best effort to diminish the Occupy Wall Street protesters as confused idiots unable to articulate a clear goal, it so happens that these journalists are funded by a man who epitomizes the crony capitalist behavior of the greedy one percent.

    Singer, manager of a $17 billion hedge fund, earned the moniker “vulture capitalist” for buying the debt of Third World countries for pennies on the dollar, then using his political and legal connections to extract massive judgements to force collection — even from nations suffering from starvation and violent conflicts. Singer and his partners have used such tactics in Panama, Ecuador, Poland, Cote d’Ivoire, Turkmenistan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In addition to squeezing impoverished countries with sovereign debt schemes, Singer speculates in the oil markets, a practice which can lead to gasoline price hikes here in the United States. The revelation that Singer engages in oil speculation, and also funds Republican lawmakers opposed to oil speculation regulations, was exposed by ThinkProgress using leaked government documents.

    Singer’s political philanthropy is tied to his business interests. As Greg Palast has reported, Singer purchased near-bankrupt asbestos companies before his allies in Congress changed an asbestoas-liability law to make his investment incredibly profitable (at the expense, critics allege, of sickened workers). More recently, Singer has forged close financial ties to Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), a little-known lawmaker at the forefront of efforts to repeal Dodd-Frank financial regulations on hedge funds like Elliott Associates, Singer’s firm.

    The rise of Singer’s political profile can be traced to his work as a top donor to pro-Bush character-assasination groups like the “Swift Boat Veterans.” In recent years, he has quietly worked with the right-wing billionaire industrialist Koch brothers and Republican strategist Karl Rove to finance a fleet of anti-Obama organizations, including the shady attack ad nonprofit, “Crossroads GPS.” Singer also led a controversial group of Republican moneymen in a bid to recruit Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) into the presidential race, but shifted to endorsing Mitt Romney. Singer and Romney are already close; Singer’s hedge fund actually manages at least $1 million of the former governor’s personal investments.

    Singer’s influence even extends to the Supreme Court. As ThinkProgress reported, Singer hosted Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito to speak at his $5,000-$25,000 a plate dinners.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Is Romney the Next Kerry?
    Oct 9, 2011 10:00 AM EDT
    He’s the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, but can the GOP stomach a guy who, by some measures, was once more liberal than Ted Kennedy—then flip-flopped?
    By Matt Latimer

    Mitt Romney was more likable as a liberal. That, at least, was my conclusion after watching a devastating video put together by the Democratic Party’s best (and maybe only) strategist: comedian Jon Stewart. Before my eyes was an early Rombot model, circa 1994, that we’ve not seen since: emotional, passionate, lively. He sneered derisively at the “Reagan-Bush” years, bragged about being a political independent, and indignantly defended his “consistent” support of abortion rights. Romney was so proud of his pro-choice pedigree that he even tweaked his Senate opponent, Democrat Ted Kennedy, for equivocation. A few years later, when he ran for governor and was asked about support he’d received from a pro-life organization, he squirmed more uncomfortably than if he’d been forced to watch a marathon of “Mike and Molly.”

    That, of course, is not the Mitt Romney running for president today. In fact the Republican’s encyclopedia-sized list of policy reversals makes 2004’s whipping boy, John “I voted for it before I voted against it” Kerry, look like an exemplar of political consistency. All of which raises a haunting question for the GOP as the clock ticks down to the Iowa caucuses: in a party whose potential nominees include Gary Johnson and Ron Paul, could the GOP’s “safe” choice actually be its most reckless gamble?

    In 1994, Romney ran for the United States Senate as a “William Weld moderate” because that is what he believed it took to get elected in Massachusetts. On nearly every issue he was boldly to the left of the Republican mainstream. He labeled Newt Gingrich’s “Contract With America” too partisan, opposed capital-gains-tax cuts, vowed to encourage banks to give home loans to poor families, and, as The Washington Post put it, “stressed his support for universal health insurance and abortion rights.” At a debate with Kennedy in Boston, the paper noted, Romney “was more outspoken than Kennedy in arguing that the Boy Scouts should not exclude homosexual youths.” Romney once bragged that he voted for a Democrat, Paul Tsongas, in the 1992 presidential primaries, though he later tried to change his story and his rationale. Stewart pointed out that then-Governor Romney vowed to close “corporate loopholes” in the language now used by President Obama. And Romney’s ever-evolving position on his health-care proposal—which he once called a model for the nation—is notorious.


    Though Romney’s curious political conversion was well known to political operatives during his previous run for the White House, it was never fully examined. That’s because he was fortunate in his political opponents: his main rival, John McCain, was a notorious flip-flopper, and nobody ever paid much attention to anything Mike Huckabee said. This time, Romney won’t be so lucky. Already, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is reminding voters of Romney’s former Massachusetts-friendly views on the environment. And if Romney is the GOP nominee, the Obama campaign would be even more hapless than it already is expected to be if it doesn’t turn to the same strategy.

    It’s not clear if there is an easy solution for Romney. Perhaps his best bet is to find something to become passionate or emotional about, to find opportunities to demonstrate that his political views are principled, on issues that are hard or even unpopular. Otherwise, voters will find themselves preoccupied with another question: do they really know the man named Willard, then Billy, then Mitt who came from Michigan, then Utah, then Massachusetts? The real trouble for the Romney campaign is that it’s not entirely clear if the candidate has a firm answer to that question himself.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Barack Obama supporters stage Harlem Tea Party in support of president’s re-election bid

    BY Jennifer H. Cunningham

    Dozens of people rallied at a “Harlem Tea Party” Sunday in support of President Obama’s reelection bid – and called for a more civil tone in the presidential race.

    “This is a Harlem tea party,” said Chet Whye, director of Harlem 4 Obama. “This is about ‘civilitea.’ But don’t let the smooth taste fool you.”

    Members of Harlem 4 Obama, which helped register thousands of voters during Obama’s 2008 election campaign, passed out cups of iced tea as demonstrators held signs that read: “Increased Funding for Violence Against Women,” and “This Election is About You! Are You in?”

    “Our premise is that we have allowed the Tea Party to shape the debate,” Whye said. “We’re going to take back the definition of tea party. They wanted to define us, we’re redefining them.”

    Whye said Harlem 4 Obama members would heed the example of those who peacefully demonstrated during the Civil Rights Movement.

    “In their quiet dignity, they went up against dogs and firehouses in Selma,” Whye said. “They came back with the moral authority.”

    Oscar Carter, 65, of Harlem, told the crowd: “President Obama, we want you to know, Harlem has your back!”

    Tekima Berlack, a retired social worker who was born and reared in Harlem, said, in some instances, racism has fueled the vitriolic criticism of the president.

    “I think it’s racism,” said Berlack, who held up a sign that read “Expand Pell Grants for Low Income Students.”

    “I think anything the man does – they work against him,” Berlack added. “The man is trying to save the country. They have an agenda, and I’m out here because we need an agenda. It’s critical that we elect Obama in 2012.”

    Marva Allen, owner of Harlem’s famed Hue-Man Bookstore, said Obama has weathered some of the worst crises to ever face a sitting president “with dignity, pride and strong morality.”

    “If that’s not the American Dream, I don’t know what is,” Allen said. “We have no doubt the right person is in the White House.”

    Allen then reminded protesters that Obama wasn’t responsible for the failed economic policies that were in place before he took office.

    “What has happened in America is not because of him,” Allen said. “It started 40 years ago, at the beginning of the age of greed. Don’t be bamboozled by what’s happening. Listen to your heart. Listen to your head.”

    Steve Leser, a political blogger and pundit, told the crowd that he’d spent time at the Occupy Wall Street protests over the weekend. He said Obama’s proposals – like tax increases for millionaires and the American Jobs Act – would help “the 99%.”

    Korkie Moore-Bruno, an activist and housewife from northern Westchester County, said she was here to support Obama and his proposed American Jobs Bill.

    Moore-Bruno held up a sign that was attached to a U.S. flag: “Tell Congress to Pass the Jobs Bill Now,” and “Four more for 44.”

    “I’m specifically here for [Obama’s] reelection and to bring the jobs bill to the public’s attention,” Moore-Bruno said. “We need to pass this bill for all Americans, not just Harlem.”

    Read more:

  37. rikyrah says:

    HEADS UP: Senate vote for the American Jobs Act is TOMORROW TUESDAY!!

    @BarackObama Tweets:

    // Tomorrow, the Senate votes on the American Jobs Act—make sure your Republican legislator knows you support it: //

  38. metaquest

    Yet another wake-up call: 76% disapprove of Repub handling of economy; 54% strongly disapprove

  39. Muslim Woman: Airline Booted Me After Flight Attendant Falsely Thought I Said ‘It’s A Go’ On The Phone

    A Muslim woman is suing Southwest Airlines for being kicked off her flight after a flight attendant reported hearing her say “it’s a go” into her phone — though according to the suit, she was just saying “I’ve got to go” as the plane was preparing to take off.

    Irum Abbassi alleges that on March 13, Southwest Airlines employees unlawfully removed her from a flight from San Diego to San Jose, where she was headed to finish research for her Master’s thesis.

    According to the complaint, Abbassi “was readily identifiable as Muslim by what she wore: a long shirt, pants, sweater and hijab, or Islamic headscarf.” She was detained at security for a second screening, but was allowed to board.

    When boarding, Abbassi says she was on the phone with a Verizon representative in order to activate her smartphone. When the plane was getting ready to depart, Abbassi alleges she told the representative “I’ve got to go.”

    Soon after, there was an announcement that an “administrative delay” would hold up the flight, at which point a TSA agent came on board and asked Abbassi to get off.

  40. Ametia says:

    Americans Sargent, Sims share Nobel economics prize for cause-and-effect theories

    By Associated Press, Updated: Monday, October 10, 7:04 AM

    STOCKHOLM — Americans Thomas Sargent and Christopher Sims won the Nobel economics prize on Monday for research that sheds light on the cause-and-effect relationship between the economy and policy instruments such as interest rates and government spending.

    Sargent and Sims — both 68 — carried out their research independently in the 1970s and ‘80s, but it is highly relevant today as world governments and central banks seek ways to steer their economies away from another recession.

  41. Ametia says:

    From Elizabeth Warren, the proper case for liberalism
    By E.J. Dionne Jr., Published: October 9
    It’s not often that a sound bite from a Democratic candidate gets so under the skin of my distinguished colleague George F. Will that he feels moved to quote it in full and then devote an entire column to refuting it. This is instructive.

    The declaration heard ’round the Internet world came from Elizabeth Warren, the consumer champion running for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts. Warren argued that “there is nobody in this country who got rich on his own,” that thriving entrepreneurs move their goods “on the roads the rest of us paid for” and hire workers “the rest of us paid to educate.” Police and firefighters, also paid for by “the rest of us,” protect the factory owner’s property. As a result, our “underlying social contract” requires this hardworking but fortunate soul to “take a hunk” of his profits “and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

    In other words, there are no self-made people because we are all part of society. Accomplished people benefit from advantages created by earlier generations (of parents whom we didn’t choose and taxpayers whom we’ve never met) and by the simple fact that they live in a country that provides opportunities that are not available everywhere. The successful thus owe quite a lot to the government and social structure that made their success possible.

  42. rikyrah says:

    Cain Still Unable: It’s All In My Head

    By Zandar on October 9th, 2011

    Herman Cain is now saying the fact that he exists means racism isn’t holding minorities back. It’s all in your head.

    When asked by CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley if he thought African Americans had a level playing field, Cain said he thought most of them did, using his own experience in corporations as an example.

    “Many of them do have a level playing field,” Cain said. “I absolutely believe that. Not only because of the businesses that I have run, which has had the combination of whites, blacks, Hispanics – you know, we had a total diversity. But also because of the corporations whose board I’ve served on for the last 20 years. I have seen blacks in middle management move up to top management in some of the biggest corporations in America.”

    As for African Americans who remain economically disadvantaged, Cain said they often only had themselves to blame.

    “They weren’t held back because of racism,” Cain said. “People sometimes hold themselves back because they want to use racism as an excuse for them not being able to achieve what they want to achieve.”

    I didn’t honestly think Herman Cain could be any more repugnant, but saying that racism is all in the heads of African-Americans is just ludicrous to the point of self-parody involving what people think about black CEOs running for the GOP White House ticket.

    The cognitive dissonance is staggering to me. Herman Cain was in college during the civil rights era in the 60′s. When federal civil rights laws were codified, Cain benefited from them on the way to his lofty perch as Godfather’s Pizza CEO. At no point have I ever heard of Cain saying he was going to pass up civil rights programs or not take advantage of them because he thought the playing field was level. He admits in the interview that educational and economic disparity still exists, and then blames poor minorities for it. How does one escape a hell like that, you wonder? Through a college scholarship, perhaps?

    Hell, look at the racism that spewed out when candidate Obama entered the race in 2007. It’s only gotten worse since then, and Cain honestly believes there’s a level playing field? Is he blind to all the assistance he received? Did he ever turn down a position because a company had an affirmative action policy in place? How the hell is he so damn sure that he received zero assistance from any of the civil rights measures that followed on his way to CEO?

    Of course, Crowley asked none of that. But I sure as hell want to know.

  43. rikyrah says:

    Corrupt Justice: Investigate, Impeach, and Remove Clarence Thomas
    October 9, 2011
    By Rmuse

    Politicians are often held in low esteem for wavering on issues and being easily influenced by lobbyists and special interest groups who pressure them into supporting policies that favor corporations, banks, or elite investors over their constituents. Members of the judicial system usually fare a little better than politicians because if they are not elected by the voters, after being nominated for a particular court, they go through a confirmation process that exposes a predilection for a cause, political party, or constitutional issue that disqualifies them from serving. In most cases, politicians are easily replaced in two, four, or six years if the public is aware of their malfeasance and it is why transparency is crucial in a representative democracy. However, removing a judge is not easy and if the judge sits on the nation’s highest court, it is nearly impossible because they serve until they die or resign.

    This past week, 46 House Democrats mobilized and asked the Judiciary Committee to investigate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for ethics violations. The Democrats’ complaint contends that Thomas’ actions, including those related to his wife’s political activism, raised concerns over potential conflicts of interest in decisions made in cases before the Supreme Court. Led by Earl Blumenaur (D-Ore) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY), the Democrats claimed in a letter that, “Public records clearly demonstrate that Justice Thomas has failed to accurately disclose information concerning the income and employment status of his wife, as required by law.” They also questioned whether Justice Thomas accurately reported gifts and inappropriately solicited donations.

    According to Common Cause, Mrs. Thomas earned approximately $1.6 million between 1997 and 2011, and Justice Thomas did not report her earnings during that same time span. Clarence said he inadvertently failed to file the information “due to a misunderstanding of the filing instructions.” However, Thomas did file correctly completed reports in prior years making his alleged “misunderstanding” a blatant lie. Kathy Arberg, a Supreme Court spokeswoman said that Justices are not required to disclose the amounts earned by their spouses, but they do have to report the source of the income. Common Cause reported that most of Mrs. Thomas’s undisclosed income came from the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation. Mrs. Thomas stepped down from Liberty Central, a conservative advocacy group she founded because she claimed her celebrity was causing distractions; although it is more plausible that exposure of her work gave the impression that the potential for conflict of interest charges were impending.

    Although it is about time Democrats called for an investigation of Thomas, it will hardly gain any traction in the Republican-controlled House. It is also good there is seemingly irrefutable evidence that Thomas deliberately withheld his wife’s income sources, but there is another reason to investigate, and ultimately impeach and remove Thomas from the Supreme Court. The real outrage is Thomas and Justice Antonin Scalia’s attendance at Koch Industries secret policy meeting prior to hearing the Citizens United case that has unleashed unlimited corporate campaign financing for conservative politicians and causes that have decimated the middle class and environmental regulations. If Thomas and Scalia had attended a Koch policy meeting, there would be reason to raise questions, but they attended the meeting and then directly decided, with the rest of the conservative court, that corporations deserved the same free speech rights under the provisions of the 1st Amendment that individual citizens are afforded.

    It is not clear if Thomas or Scalia took direction from the Kochs or their wealthy industrialist compatriots on how to rule on Citizens United, but the appearance is that they discussed the case, decided the possible merits and benefits to conservatives, and then heard arguments and decided to help corporations. Of course, it is not necessarily the case that either Thomas or Scalia received directions or special “gifts” for their vote to give corporations special privileges in buying elections and influencing legislation, but it is incredibly suspicious nonetheless. As far as Thomas not reporting his wife’s source of income because he misunderstood the filing requirements, his filings prior to her employment by conservative groups certainly proves he deliberately withheld the information for 13 years.

    The Democratic request for an investigation into Thomas is too little too late, because Republicans will never investigate a Supreme Court Justice who has ties to the Heritage foundation, Koch Industries, and the tea party. The time to begin an investigation was immediately after the Citizens United case ruling, and after it was revealed that Thomas and Scalia attended the Koch instructional meeting. The only benefit now is that the public may be aware of the devastating effects of the conservative court’s Citizens United decision if the media does their job. Regardless the Republicans’ reticence to investigate their meal ticket on the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia need to either resign, revisit their decision, or be impeached for having the temerity to attend a meeting hosted by the people most likely to benefit from their favorable vote. Clarence Thomas is a crooked judge for deliberately concealing his wife’s source of income and expecting the people to believe his filthy lie that he misunderstood filing requirements. The only thing Thomas misunderstands is that a judge, especially a United States Supreme Court Justice, is supposed to be honest, impartial, and above suspicion. Thomas is none of those things and if appearances and evidence are any indication, he is a dirty crook and does not deserve to judge a dog show much less cases before the Supreme Court.

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