Sunday Open Thread

The Boys Choir of Harlem (also known as the Harlem Boys Choir) was a choir located in Harlem, New York City, United States. Its last performance was in 2007 and the group folded shortly thereafter due to several controversies, a large budget deficit, and the death of its founder.

Founded in 1968 by Dr. Walter Turnbull at the Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church in Harlem, the choir grew to be more than just a performing group. Drawn from children in the neighborhood, the majority of the choir’s members were African American or Hispanic. In its early years, Rev. Frederick B. Williams gave them a base at the Church of the Intercession at 155th Street and Broadway.

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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29 Responses to Sunday Open Thread

  1. Cornel West arrested protesting at Supreme Court

    Dr. Cornel West, a well-known author and activist who has recently lent his support to the Occupy Wall Street movement, was one of nineteen people arrested on Sunday while protesting against corporate influence in politics on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, DC.

    According to the Associated Press, West had joined the protesters after attending the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall earlier in the day.

    Daily Kos diarist mimi further explains, “At 2 pm today Dr. Cornel West appeared at Freedom Plaza in Washington DC and gave a spicy, fun and great agitating speech full of love, wit and wisdom. I would say there were around 250 – 300 people in the audience. After the speech he decided spontaneously to march to the Supreme Court. This march was not planned, at least most of the audience had no idea that this would happen.”

  2. Herman Cain Proposes Electrified Border Fence As Immigration Reform, Says He Was Joking.

    Ignorant black ass HN!

  3. Ametia says:

    Traité du Savoir-Vivre for the Occupy Wall Street Generations
    Posted by Al Giordano – October 8, 2011 at 10:22 pm
    By Al Giordano

    Once upon a time, twenty thousand people descended on Wall Street, the capitol of capital, occupied it nonviolently, and won exactly what they demanded.

    This is not a fairy tale. It really happened.

    This is the story of how it happened. And it is also the story of one of those 20,000 occupiers and how immersing himself in those events at a young age changed the direction of his life. These words are dedicated and addressed to people not so unlike him: any and every individual who is currently occupying Wall Street, or anywhere else, or anyone else who is thinking about doing so.

    The truth is that there are two “occupations” going on simultaneously; that which the media is reporting, often badly, which is now a societal spectacle, and the more private and personal occupation by every individual involved. The spectacular protest may not know, or be able to coherently articulate, its own demand or demands as anything other than a shopping list of disembodied causes and issues. But that should not stop any individual involved in it to get to know, embrace and advance upon his and her own more personal demands that brought him and her to occupy Wall Street in the first place.

    Wall Street, ahem, isn’t just in your wallet: It’s in everything you own, rent, use, borrow, find or steal. It’s also in the “identities” and roles we put on and take off in each department of our daily lives. And one should never worry as much about the police on the street – there are time-honored tactics for working around them, developed by pioneers in nonviolence, available to every person who wants to learn them – as much as one should be very concerned about the cop in one’s head. There are also tactics available to make that police force – the invading army in our innermost thoughts and fears that polices our very behavior, officers of the psyche that we all have, through unspoken fears, invited into our brains and hearts – retreat and even disappear.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Young Blacks in MLK’s Shadow
    Young African Americans haven’t squandered King’s legacy; their fight is just different.

    By: Mychal Denzel Smith | Posted: October 13, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    Martin Luther King Jr. is a towering historical figure. For some, he is the greatest American ever to live. Most people in this country, regardless of their political affiliation, consider him to be an inspiration.

    This respect and admiration is quite different from the opposition he faced while he was alive, but it’s this posthumous popularity that has allowed him to become the first non-president to be honored with a monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The 30-foot-tall granite sculpture of a deeply serious-looking King now stands between memorials honoring Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, serving as a large and imposing reminder of the patron saint of black America. He is literally towering over us.

    And as we get set for the memorial’s dedication Oct. 16, originally scheduled to take place on the anniversary of the March on Washington and “I Have a Dream” speech but postponed by Hurricane Irene, it’s important to discuss the generations he left behind to execute his dream. With no grand, history-making movement to define a generation, it might be easy to write off young blacks as having dropped the ball in the fight for justice and equality. But that would be unfair.

    The hip-hop generation, loosely defined as those born between 1965 and 1984, and more so the Millennial generation — generally considered those born after 1981 (myself included) — live in the shadow of those who came of age during the civil rights movement: black America’s “greatest generation.” We are inundated with stories of sit-ins, Freedom Rides, police beatings, fire hoses and attack dogs.

    This is our history, and certainly we should embrace it. However, too often this history is used to guilt us into appreciating freedoms that we may otherwise take for granted or to chastise us for not working hard enough to continue the fight. The message that we — as the sons, daughters and grandchildren of the movement — have received is contradictory to activist desires.

    We were told to walk through the doors that our elders worked so hard to open. What we have done is try to fulfill the dream to the best of our abilities as it has been taught to us. We are steadily incurring more and more debt in the form of student loans to pursue higher education because the message we have received throughout our lives is that education is the key to success.

    It’s what MLK died for, according to every elder black person I have ever come in contact with. That’s not the most exact interpretation of what King lived and died for, to be sure, but it’s what we were raised on. The activism gene has been suppressed.

    And yet we are not a completely apathetic bunch. There have been instances of great organizing and resistance among young people, as evidenced by the large number of college students who worked to protest the Jena 6 case in Louisiana years ago and the murder of Oscar Grant by an Oakland, Calif., police officer.

    I know young activists involved in the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, the organization that puts together the Black August celebration in order to raise money and awareness for political prisoners, as well as a few who have embarked on their own endeavors by heading activist organizations to provide assistance to single mothers and address HIV/AIDS. We are showing up and doing the work.,1&wpisrc=root_lightbox

  5. rikyrah says:

    Rick Perry Needs a Miracle
    Hoping to rescue his troubled campaign, the swaggering governor says he’ll do for America what he did for Texas. Is that a promise or a threat?

    By Joshua Green

    Here is what you need to impress upon your readers,” Rick Perry said, putting down his barbecue to jab a finger at me. “What happened in Texas over the last decade is not a miracle. Miracles are things that happen, and they’re unexplained. Miracles are what God does.” He grinned. “That’s not what we did. What we did happened because of our philosophical refusal to spend money we didn’t have or raise taxes.” He glanced around the table at his aides and cocked another grin. “Now, you’re welcome to call it that,” he said. “But just say that the governor didn’t agree.” Everybody broke up laughing.

    Only Perry wasn’t really joking. He would return to this theme again and again during our September lunch at a Texas-style barbecue restaurant he’d chosen in New York—Perry doesn’t shy from stereotype—because his claim on the White House rests on his record as the three-term governor of Texas. Over the last two years, as the U.S. struggled to emerge from recession, Texas created half the new jobs in the country. Perry’s supporters have dubbed this the “Texas Miracle,” although many other people, including some of the state’s top business leaders, are less rapturous. When the governor got in the race in August, he shot to the top of Republican Presidential polls on his reputation as a potential savior whose know-how and conviction could turn the economy around. That’s Perry’s promise: He’ll do for the country what he’s done for Texas. “I’m the guy who led what many would consider to be the greatest resurgence in America during the 2000s,” he told me. “That’s why I think Americans look at us and go, ‘You’re the guy we want leading America.’ ”

    At the time, Perry was enjoying his fleeting moment as the front-runner. He had not yet collapsed in the polls after struggling to defend tuition breaks for illegal immigrants and mandatory vaccines for schoolgirls, and none but a few rural Texans knew of the “Niggerhead Ranch.”

    His allure was easy to see. Perry swept into the restaurant with a phalanx of Texas Rangers, security men, drivers, and aides—16 in all—dressed identically in dark suits and white shirts, many wearing earpieces. He looked great. Perry has the dark, slightly exaggerated good looks of the villain in a daytime soap opera and puts more effort into personal grooming than most politicians would dare. He wore a fine charcoal suit with pick-stitched lapels, gold Star of Texas cuff links, and a cornflower-blue silk tie that he tucked into his shirt before he ate. His cowboy boots were polished to a high sheen. He oozed self-confidence. It was easy to imagine him convincing some beleaguered CEO, probably in an overregulated hellhole like California, that he’d be richer, happier, and much better off were he to relocate his company to Texas. This is one of Perry’s favorite things to do, and a big part of his success story.

    He hadn’t gotten a chance to talk about that during the Republican debate a few days earlier, and this bothered him. In fact, he’d been knocked around. Michele Bachmann hit him with charges of cronyism. Mitt Romney said he was frightening seniors by calling Social Security a “Ponzi scheme.” Perry has never lost an election and rarely gets challenged at home. He seemed annoyed at even being compared to the likes of Bachmann and Romney. “Every person on that stage is a minor player in the grand scheme of job creation,” he said. Romney, his chief tormenter, was “an abject failure.”

    As lunch progressed, it became clear that his frustration over this lack of recognition extended clear back to Texas. Perry has served longer than any other governor in the state’s history, but until recently he had almost no profile beyond its borders. Even now, when most people think “Texas governor,” they think “George W. Bush.” After just six years as governor—half of Perry’s time in office—Bush had already set himself up for a successful Presidential campaign. I asked Perry if he ever felt overshadowed by Bush. “Listen,” he said. “Nobody ever served 11 years as the governor of the state of Texas. Now the individual who follows me, they’ll be the one living under a shadow.”

  6. rikyrah says:

    To Win Or, You Know…Not
    Friday, October 14, 2011 | Posted by Tien at 11:10 AM

    Before we get too carried away with being convinced that Romney has the Republican nomination in the bag, let’s refresh our collective memory with where the Republican process was this time four years ago: 10/13/2007 Real Clear Politics Average: Giuliani: 30.2, Thompson: 19.5, McCain: 13.0, Romney: 11.2, Huckabee: 6.2Paul: 2.2.

    Compare this to now: 2012 RCP Average 10/13/11: Romney: 22.7, Cain: 20.3, Perry: 13.7, Gingrich: 8.3, Paul: 8.2, Bachman: 4.8, Santorum: 2.0, Huntsman: 1.6.

    Perry is in almost the exact same place McCain was 4 years ago at 13%. Thompson found the rigors of campaigning too taxing and dropped out. Giuliani didn’t win a single primary. McCain was never a good speaker; he bumbled around and looked awkward at times, and was never a great debater. Yet, he went on to win the nomination even though on October 13, 2007 John McCain was saying that climate change was real and that real action needed to be taken.

    What is scary about this is that he actually sounds reasonable, sane and articulate compared to the current crop of candidates.

    I’m thinking that if John McCain can speak in public on this Republican bone of contention (third rail?) and still win the nomination, then there really isn’t any topic that can bar any of the current contenders from the same achievement.

    Romney might be at the top of the current poll, although not by much, but he has easily as much to overcome to win the nod as Perry, or even Cain. The other thing John McCain was saying on October 13, 2011? Romney is not a real Republican. If it’s true that the Tea Party prefer to have someone who can beat President Obama over someone who agrees with their ideology (CNN Poll Sept/2011), then the hardcore ideologues like Perry and Cain present a challenge for them. Cain appears to be a disposable ideologue at this point; he might even be backed by the Koch brothers, perhaps for the sole purpose of providing cover for their first choice of candidate, Rick Perry. Rick Perry is reported to be a shrewd politician with a solid financial and organizational base to back his bid. Update: Perry raised $17 million in the third quarter. Cain only managed several hundred thousand. Mitt raised $14 million.

    Cain strikes me more as the flavor-of-the-month anti-Mitt. One thing is clear, however: Herman Cain has never won an election or held any public office. That’s a bigger deal than most people bother to mention. It’s happened before: George Washington, Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, William Howard Taft and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Four of those Presidents were military men and Taft rode into office on the strength of the popularity of FDR. Cain just doesn’t have the gravitas or experience to pass even a basic electability litmus test. Americans simply are not going to toss out a proven and capable President for a completely inexperienced candidate with zero foreign policy chops and no military experience. As popular as Cain appears to be right now, he can’t make that go away.

    In stark contrast, Rick Perry has been Governor for 10+ years and he finished his stint in the Air Force as a Captain. Americans like that kind of record. Republicans like that kind of record. McCain’s military record was flashier, his father was more famous, and his record of public service was thoroughly consistent. McCain’s move away from his rogue status to the middle of the road was much commented on, but ultimately ignored by the Republican voting public. I don’t think it’s a stretch to speculate that Perry’s roughness and lack of oratorical skills could prove just as acceptable, perhaps even preferable to the polished demeanor of our President. Remember, we have no say in which candidate the Republicans choose. That said, the ultimate choice of nominee still has some basic benchmarks to meet to look good in a general election. So far, only Romney and Perry have a realistic chance of hitting those marks. They were both Governors and therefore possess administrative skills. Both have run for office and won. Both have proven fund-raising capabilities. Neither of them knows what is really involved in running for President. Romney announced his ’08 bid for President on June 2nd, 2007 and dropped out on February 7th, 2008. Eight months of campaigning for the nomination to run for President. That isn’t exactly a resounding show of endurance. A woman carrying a child to term works harder than that.

    What did Romney do from February 7th, 2008 to April 11th, 2011? The way I hear it told, that would be exactly nothing. Not one moment was spent in service to the public during that time. He was ‘unemployed’. Plus there’s that annoying 264 Million Dollars in net worth thing. In the current climate of people looking askance at the ultra-wealthy, Mr. Romney could end up with a great big dollar sign hung around his neck like an albatross. His wealth won’t repel the Republican base, but I wouldn’t want him on my fantasy politics team when it came to adding up who has the best chance of getting to redecorate the big neoclassical house on Pennsylvania Avenue.

    For better or worse the Republican establishment has thrown their hat into Romney’s ring. Chris Christie anointed him conditionally, too. That’s what the White Boys want; I get it. I’m still not convinced that Mitt is acceptable now or can be quickly made acceptable to the real base. If he does become ‘acceptable’ it will be in a ‘gruel to a starving street urchin’ kind of way. A lot has to happen to make that gruel seem palatable between now and the Iowa Caucuses a few short months from now, most notably Perry would have to be completely incapable of earning the trust and devotion of the Tea Party in favor of their current shiny toy Cain.

    Something just doesn’t track for me though. If 8 of 10 Tea Party people have as their highest priority unseating the President, then why are only 22% of Republicans favoring Romney this close to the primary season? Name recognition loses its value at this point. Will the once and mighty Tea Party have to essentially throw up their hands in exasperation and accept Mitt Romney, a man they genuinely dislike? Is the Republican establishment that certain of the Tea Party’s ultimate capitulation? I haven’t seen any evidence yet that the establishment has offered even a scrap or a bone, something that would mollify that crowd in exchange for their cooperation. I guess I expected the establishment to at least offer some proof that Romney can beat the President in an election.

    This is shaping up to be a recipe for a massive case of cognitive dissonance for the average Tea Party voter. The only clear choice left to them is between two marginally electable candidates. Either they get the candidate they sort of love, or they get the candidate they pretty much hate. They will vote for the eventual nominee, but boy do they have to swallow a bitter, bitter pill to get there.

  7. rikyrah says:

    GOP insists on Reid’s nuclear disarmament
    By Alexander Bolton – 10/14/11 06:00 AM ET

    Senate Republicans say Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) must undo last week’s “nuclear option” if he wants to defuse their anger and restore peace to the upper chamber.

    They are brushing aside Reid’s efforts to soothe them with private phone calls, offers of meetings and promises to allow amendments to appropriations bills that are scheduled to reach the floor next week.

    None of this is allaying anger over an ambush Reid pulled off last week, using a simple majority vote to nix precedent and deny Republicans the chance to offer amendments.

    Republican senators across the ideological spectrum united in resisting the majority leader’s blandishments.

    “He called me up and said, ‘My door is open anytime you want to come discuss something. I respect you and you respect me,’ which is true,” said a GOP senator, recounting his conversation with Reid.

    But Senate Republicans say that Reid’s efforts to make amends will fall short unless he reverses himself on last week’s sudden change of precedent, which has the force of a rule.

    Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who won her reelection bid last year as an independent, said that if Reid wants to restore peace, he should “reinstate the rule that was changed.”

    Murkowski applauded Reid’s decision to bring three pending trade agreements to the floor Wednesday, move to less controversial appropriations bills in the week ahead and allow GOP amendments on those bills, but said it does not make up for last week.

    “It doesn’t change a rule; it does not reinstate the rights of the minority. It’s one thing to throw a bone to us, but he was going to move on those bills anyway, so there’s not any great trade here,” she said.

    Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said Reid’s change of Senate precedent was “a very, very big thing” and called it “very shocking.”

    “I believe there was a bipartisan understanding that long-settled rules of the Senate should not be played with like that,” he said.

    “He needs to back off,” Sessions added, calling on Reid to reverse course. “I don’t think we’ll have the kind of relationship we ought to have in the Senate if they try to maintain that was legitimate.”

    If Reid doesn’t re-establish the precedent, Republicans say, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will retaliate.

    “McConnell cares about the institution, and he won’t take this lightly,” said a GOP senator.

    Reid’s and McConnell’s offices did not comment for this article.

    Some Democrats are skeptical that McConnell has much recourse, noting that Republicans have maxed out their obstructionist tactics, even going so far as object to minor technical corrections to legislation.

    But the GOP senator, speaking on background, said his leader could do more to derail the agenda.

    “He could use every ounce of his power, just like Reid did when he changed the rule,” said the source.

    Reid deployed a rarely seen tactic to alter Senate precedent with a simple majority vote, catching Republicans and even many members of his own caucus by surprise.

    Reid’s maneuver stripped Republicans of the power to force votes on amendments. It thwarted McConnell’s effort to force Democrats to vote on President Obama’s $447 billion jobs bill as originally drafted.

    Some Democrats opposed the initial plan, and a vote on it could have been embarrassed the White House. The Democrats opposed the White House’s offsets, which would have curbed tax deductions for families earning over $250,000 a year. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said last week that this group counts as middle-class in some parts of the country.

    Reid, through the controversial rules change, was able to protect Obama’s jobs bill from being rejected by most senators. The revised measure attracted 51 votes, which Obama’s reelection campaign has touted as a “clear majority” of the Senate. The motion fell nine votes short of the 60-vote threshold.

    The majority leader said he stripped Republicans of the power to offer amendments after the Senate votes to limit debate on legislation because some of those measures are intended only to cause delays.

    Notwithstanding Reid’s explanation, he seems eager to move on from the floor fight over Obama’s jobs plan.

    McConnell has on several occasions offered to allow an up-or-down vote on the latest version of the plan, which Senate Democrats rewrote to include a surtax on millionaires, but Reid has declined those overtures.

    If the Senate voted on the substance of the legislation — instead of a procedural motion to consider — there would be additional Democratic defectors, including Sens. Jim Webb (D-Va.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Joe Lieberman (Conn.), an Independent who caucuses with Democrats.

    Reid has suggested a joint Democratic-Republican caucus meeting to give lawmakers a chance to clear the air.

    Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine), a centrist Republican who Democrats consider a crucial swing vote, likes the idea of a bipartisan caucus but still wants Reid to reverse the change in Senate precedent.

    “I think actions speak louder than words and I think we need to go back to the regular order of business in the United States Senate,” she said. “I think it’s important that we restore the normal traditions and procedures of the Senate. I think every time we encroach on the rights of the minority, it makes it much more difficult.”

    Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) also says Reid should backtrack on the Senate precedent, arguing that any other effort to make amends would fall short.

    “I think they will; I think they know they really stepped in it,” he said. “I think of their own accord they’ll want to fix it and realize it does tremendous damage to the institution.”

    But Reid has so far shown no sign of backing down. He appeared to cross the point of no return by publishing a forceful defense in The Washington Post.

    “The precedent we set merely returns the Senate to the regular order and only affects the ability of the minority to obstruct and delay after more than 60 senators have voted to end discussion,” Reid wrote in a Monday op-ed. “We restored the balance between individual rights and comity in the rules of the Senate.”

    Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said there would be resistance cooperating on even small matters unless Reid backed down and re-established the minority’s right to offer motions to amend legislation after the Senate has voted to move to final passage.

    “This is really a slap in the face,” he said. “He needs to bring it back up and get 51 votes to change it back.

    “I think we’re at a low point,” he added.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Good Riddance to Wall Street Money

    by BooMan
    Sun Oct 16th, 2011 at 09:58:33 AM EST

    Larry Summers and Tim Geithner never worked at Goldman Sachs, although many people are under the impression that they did. In any case, even if their policies were supposedly friendly to Goldman Sachs, the employees there do not see it that way.

    Employees of Goldman Sachs, who in the 2008 campaign gave Mr. Obama over $1 million — more than donors from any other private employer in the country — have given him about $45,000 this year. Mr. Romney has raised about $350,000 from the firm’s employees.

    It’s a phenomenon that is by no means limited to Goldman Sachs. Wall Street has had a change of heart about the president. And they are slowly throwing in with Mitt Romney. That could be a problem for Romney.

    But anger at big banks — manifested by the growing Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City and elsewhere — is palpable enough that Mr. Romney must avoid being seen as a friend of an industry that many Americans blame for onerous bank fees and underwater mortgages

    Among the other candidates, only Rick Perry and Ron Paul have raised a truly significant amount of cash. Perry actually raised $3 million more than Romney in the last quarter, mostly from his Texas network.

    What’s ironic is that the people who work on Wall Street seem to be angry with the president less for anything he’s actually done than for some rather mild criticisms he’s leveled in their direction. It’s true that the Dodd-Frank reforms limited what the banksters can do, but most people realize that some reforms were necessary. And, honestly, the reforms were only as strong as Sens. Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and Scott Brown would tolerate. The reforms passed in the Senate with the new minimum of 60 votes, and only three Republicans supported them in the House. You’d think that voting against regulating Wall Street after they ruined the economy would be political suicide, but the Republicans didn’t see it that way and they certainly weren’t punished at the ballot box in 2010.

    That only encouraged them to become more intransigent in defense of Wall Street and the nation’s top-earners. This proves that the Tea Party is the ultimate fleece. Supposedly, the Tea Party arose in reaction to the mere prospect of giving loan forgiveness to people whose mortgages had gone bad. In reality, it arose to support the banks keeping every dime owed to them. By exploiting the resentment of people who managed to pay their mortgage bill on time against those who borrowed more than they could afford, the banks (through the Tea Party Movement) made it too politically toxic to for the administration to carry out an effective anti-foreclosure program.

    The end result is a more genuine resentment, seen now with the Occupy Wall Street movement. And Wall Street has convinced itself that Obama gave them a bad deal and a bad rap. In reality, he saved their asses, put the financial industry back on its feet, and merely asked them to pay back the favor by lending money and creating jobs. That’s why people are yelling that Obama bailed out the banks and left everyone else holding the bag. And they’re yelling at the banks because they haven’t kept their end of the deal. Instead, they’ve thrown in with the political opposition that opposes raising any revenues from the richest Americans to pay for the carnage they created.

    So, Wall Street can keep their money, or send it to the Republicans where it belongs. The president is doing just fine raising money without Wall Street’s lucre.

  9. rikyrah says:

    October 16, 2011 11:25 AM
    Leveraging hostility towards Wall Street

    By Steve Benen

    Of all the parts of the Republican agenda, the one that seems the most politically problematic is the plan to let Wall Street have free reign, effectively allowing the financial industry to do whatever it pleases, just three years after the industry nearly collapsed the global economy. It just doesn’t seem like a vote-getter.

    Sure, far-right audiences tend to applaud when Republican presidential candidates attack Dodd-Frank, but how much public clamoring is there, really, for politicians who promise to serve as champions of hedge fund managers and the Wall Street elite? Which voters are supposed to respond well to candidates who boast, “Vote for me: banking lobbyists have my cell phone on speed dial”?

    In the context of the presidential race, literally all of the Republican candidates — the ones invited to the debates, anyway — want to eliminate all of the safeguards approved in 2010, but this seems to pose an even more acute problem for Mitt Romney. He not only wants to lift any measure of accountability for the financial industry, he’s also from that industry — Romney got very wealthy heading up a vulture capitalist fund, which made money by breaking up companies and firing their American workers.

    It appears these details have not eluded the attention of President Obama’s team.

    President Obama and his team have decided to turn public anger at Wall Street into a central tenet of their reelection strategy.

    The move comes as the Occupy Wall Street protests gain momentum across the country and as polls show deep public distrust of the nation’s major financial institutions.

    And it sets up what strategists see as a potent line of attack against Republican front-runner Mitt Romney, a former investment executive whom Obama aides plan to portray as a wealthy Wall Street sympathizer.

    In theory, it should be political suicide for any national candidate to run a platform that vows to go easy on Wall Street. The industry was wildly unpopular even before the OWS protests, and the demonstrations have only served to reinforce the anger that much of the American mainstream still has towards those who brought down the economy.

    But when it comes to Republican presidential nominating contests, “federal regulations” are about as popular in GOP circles as gay Mexican abortion doctors, so every candidate, even Jon Huntsman, is vowing to eliminate the entirety of last year’s reform legislation, the most sweeping since the New Deal.

    That puts the entire field on record: a vote for the Republican presidential ticket is a vote for fewer industry safeguards, and a return to the conditions that allowed the 2008 crash to happen in the first place. Add in Romney’s background at Bain Capital, the fact that Wall Street is delivering massive donations to Romney by the truckload, and astounding photographs like this one, and you have the makings of a “GOP = Wall Street” cycle in 2012.

    By most measures, Romney is the strongest Republican candidate, but if voters are basing their decision in part on frustrations with Wall Street, a Romney nomination could very well be a gift to the Democratic Party.

    To be sure, the Dems’ strategy is not without flaws. Plenty of OWS protesters have no use for Democratic candidates, including the president, who is seen by some on the left as overly cozy with the industry, even though Wall Street hates him intensely. Some have even recommending giving up on voting, even if that means more power in the hands of those who’ll do more to help those they’re protesting against.

    The opportunity, though, remains the same. The White House has already begun embracing economic populism more enthusiastically recently, and GOP vows to help protect Wall Street from those big bad Democrats and pesky safeguards only makes things easier for Obama’s team.

    “We intend to make it one of the central elements of the campaign next year,” Obama senior adviser David Plouffe told the Washington Post. “One of the main elements of the contrast will be that the president passed Wall Street reform and our opponent and the other party want to repeal it…. I’m pretty confident 12 months from now, as people make the decision about who to go vote for, the gut check is going to be about, ‘Who would make decisions more about helping my life than Wall Street?’”

    I’ve heard of far worse strategies.

  10. rikyrah says:

    October 16, 2011 9:45 AM
    What passes for moderation

    By Steve Benen

    As Occupy demonstrations reached Maine this week, some activists want to know why their “moderate” Republican senators didn’t hesitate to kill a credible jobs bill this week, despite its inclusion of popular, bipartisan provisions. Jamison Foser noted that Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) has already explained her position, though I don’t imagine protesters will find it especially satisfying.

    In her five-paragraph statement about her vote against the jobs bill, Snowe indicated an objection to only one of the bill’s provisions: the surcharge on adjusted gross income in excess of one million dollars a year, which would affect only one-tenth of one percent of Maine residents.

    So it’s pretty clear what side Snowe is on: She sides with the richest one-tenth of one percent of Mainers, and against 99.9 percent of her constituents. It really doesn’t get much clearer than that. But just to drive the point home, Snowe spoke to group of businessmen [Friday] morning, where she courageously told them their taxes are too high and they are over-regulated.

    Also remember, this comes just a few weeks after Snowe tried to argue that government spending is “clearly … the problem” when it comes to the nation’s finances, which is a popular line among conservatives, despite being wrong.

    To reiterative a point from last month, there’s some prime real estate in the political landscape for genuine GOP centrists who could have a significant impact. Real Republican moderates, if they existed, would not only generate considerable attention, but could potentially have an instrumental role in shaping policy and helping Congress actually function for a change.

    But that’s not an option. The best of the best — relatively speaking, of course — is Olympia Snowe, and she’s so terrified of a primary challenge and breaking ranks with her party, she’d rather kill a jobs bill without a debate during a jobs crisis than ask millionaires and billionaires to pay just a little more.

    Where have you gone, Mark Hatfield; a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

  11. rikyrah says:

    October 16, 2011 9:00 AM
    Reality-based governing

    By Steve Benen

    Concerns about implementation of health reform’s Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act — better known as the CLASS Act — aren’t exactly new. The costs and structure of the program have been lingering for quite a while.

    It was not, then, a huge surprise when the Obama administration announced a couple of days ago that the CLASS Act was being scrapped. As Sarah Kliff explained the other day:

    There has always been concern about the CLASS program’s long-term stability. The long-term insurance program relies on voluntary enrollment. If only a small group of unhealthy people — those who anticipate using the services — sign up, the program could quickly destabilize.

    An actuarial review that Health and Human Services has just released confirms those fears: The administration could not design a long-term care program that would both hew to the health reform law — which requires that CLASS beneficiaries receive a minimum of $50 in benefits per day — and make the program actuarially sound.

    For the right, this is cause to rejoice. Not only do conservatives get to gloat — some of the questions about the CLASS Act’s structural viability were raised by Republicans — but they also get to see a bunch of headlines about the elimination of part of the Affordable Care Act.

    But how this happened matters. Kevin Drum had a sharp post on this yesterday, explaining that the process that led officials to scrap the program is an example of government working “exactly the way it ought to.”

    The CLASS Act was passed in a fog of rosy estimates and emotional appeals (it was one of Ted Kennedy’s longstanding priorities), and the Department of Health and Human Services immediately began the detailed work of writing the implementing regulations to get it up and running. And guess what? They did their work honestly and conscientiously. Even though it was a liberal program promoted by a longtime liberal icon, HHS analysts eventually concluded that its conservative critics were right and the program as passed was flawed. So they killed it. And most of the liberal healthcare wonks that I read seem to agree that, unfortunately, HHS was right.

    This is how we all want government to work. And it turns out that Obama agrees. This is apparently how he wants government to work too, and it’s a pretty clear demonstration that Obama isn’t the kind of hyperpartisan extreme lefty that conservatives like to paint him as.

    Good point. The administration didn’t cook the books and tweak the numbers to mold reality into something more ideologically-pleasing; officials took a good-faith look at the figures and decided the CLASS Act just wasn’t going to work. They didn’t play games or rewrite reports to fit a political agenda; they didn’t think about how this would play in the media; they identified a problematic program and eliminated it.

    Republican governance has a model: start with the answer and work backwards to ensure a partisan result. The review process that led to the CLASS Act’s demise seems like a smarter and more responsible way to go.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    October 16, 2011 8:10 AM
    Limbaugh just can’t help himself

    By Steve Benen

    Reasonable people can disagree about whether President Obama was right to send 100 special operations forces into Uganda to address the crisis caused by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Reasonable people should agree, however, that Rush Limbaugh’s criticism of the decision is disgusting.

    The right-wing radio host went after the president on this issue on Friday, running this headline on his website: “Obama Invades Uganda, Targets Christians.” Limbaugh told his listeners:

    “Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians. They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan. And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them. […]

    “Lord’s Resistance Army objectives. I have them here. ‘To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people.’ Now, again Lord’s Resistance Army is who Obama sent troops to help nations wipe out. The objectives of the Lord’s Resistance Army, what they’re trying to accomplish with their military action in these countries is the following: ‘To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people; to fight for the immediate restoration of the competitive multiparty democracy in Uganda; to see an end to gross violation of human rights and dignity of Ugandans; to ensure the restoration of peace and security in Uganda, to ensure unity, sovereignty, and economic prosperity beneficial to all Ugandans, and to bring to an end the repressive policy of deliberate marginalization of groups of people who may not agree with the LRA ideology.’ Those are the objectives of the group that we are fighting, or who are being fought and we are joining in the effort to remove them from the battlefield.”

    The LRA is best described as a death cult. It invades villages, slaughters the adults, and kidnaps children. These terrorists have been known to go on killing sprees with machetes and axes, and leave trails of dead bodies when their kidnapped victims don’t walk quickly enough with the rest of the cult.

    The cult’s leaders claim some loose affinity for Christianity, but as Blake Hounshell reported yesterday, “To call the LRA ‘Christians’ is to abase the English language. As the Atlantic’s Graeme Wood put it in a profile of [LRA leader Joseph Kony] last year, ‘An American diplomat in Bangui compared the group to the Manson family, but given that the LRA has killed 12,000 people, the comparison is self-evidently unfair to Manson.’”

    Limbaugh, meanwhile, is so blinded by hatred for America’s president that he’s siding with terrorists on the air, hoping to convince his suckers audience that Obama is targeting Ugandan Christians. Limbaugh even felt comfortable broadcasting LRA propaganda to a national American audience, as if it were legitimate.

    I don’t care that Limbaugh is a professional liar; I do care when he sides with a depraved, roving band of mass murderers, solely because he hates the U.S. president. There are some things Americans simply shouldn’t do, and some lines that shouldn’t be crossed.

    There need not be anything partisan about this. When Congress passed the LRA Disarmament & Northern Uganda Recovery Act, authorizing U.S. military support against the LRA, it was approved unanimously in both chambers — everyone from the most conservative Republican to the most liberal Democrat supported it.

    And yet, there’s Limbaugh, who is simply beneath contempt.

    Here’s an idea: given that Limbaugh is one of the nation’s most prominent Republican leaders, perhaps the GOP presidential candidates can be asked for their opinion on this. Does Mitt Romney agree with Limbaugh? Will Limbaugh’s embrace of the LRA and his broadcast of terrorist propaganda stop the candidates from appearing on Limbaugh’s show?

  13. rikyrah says:

    October 15, 2011 11:10 AM
    ‘The basic functions of government’

    By Steve Benen

    Robert Gates, a respected elder statesman of the political establishment, recently delivered some provocative remarks on the health, or lack thereof, of the American political system. Brian Beutler had a good item on this the other day, noting the increasing frequency with which prominent voices, not prone to hyperbole or alarmism, are raising awkward questions.

    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.”

    James Fallows noted the same remarks, emphasizing Gates’ demeanor. “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.”

    I often think of a column E.J. Dionne Jr. wrote a while back, in which he asked, “Can a nation remain a superpower if its internal politics are incorrigibly stupid?”

    I’m a chronic optimist about America. But we are letting stupid politics, irrational ideas on fiscal policy and an antiquated political structure undermine our power.

    We need a new conservatism in our country that is worthy of the name. We need liberals willing to speak out on the threat our daft politics poses to our influence in the world. We need moderates who do more than stick their fingers in the wind to calculate the halfway point between two political poles.

    And, yes, we need to reform a Senate that has become an embarrassment to our democratic claims.

    And, I’d argue, we need well-intentioned Republicans who care about the national interest to realize something has gone fundamentally wrong with their party, and to work to help bring back.

    Dionne wrote that column, by the way, in July 2010. There’s ample evidence conditions have deteriorated since and the incorrigible stupidity is more pronounced. Some have even begun suggesting it’s part of a larger effort on the part of the radicalized right to deliberately undermine confidence in America’s public institutions and create conditions in which voters give up on government altogether.

    If the public considers this unacceptable, they’re going to have to say so.

    This week, in the midst of a jobs crisis and intense public demand for congressional action, Republicans killed a credible jobs bill for no apparent reason. Most Americans support the American Jobs Act’s provisions; it enjoys strong support from economists; it includes ideas from both parties; and the CBO found it will even lower the deficit over the next decade.

    And despite all of this, literally every Republican in the Senate — including the alleged “moderates” — not only rejected the popular jobs bill, they refused to even let the chamber vote on it at all. This happened, at least in part, because GOP officials didn’t want to “give [Obama] a win.”

    As Gates put it, “It is no longer a joking matter.”

  14. rikyrah says:

    Long ties to Koch brothers key to Cain’s campaign
    By RYAN J. FOLEY – Associated Press | AP – 10 mins ago

    Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain has cast himself as the outsider, the pizza magnate with real-world experience who will bring fresh ideas to the nation’s capital. But Cain’s economic ideas, support and organization have close ties to two billionaire brothers who bankroll right-leaning causes through their group Americans for Prosperity.

    Cain’s campaign manager and a number of aides have worked for Americans for Prosperity, or AFP, the advocacy group founded with support from billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, which lobbies for lower taxes and less government regulation and spending. Cain credits a businessman who served on an AFP advisory board with helping devise his “9-9-9” plan to rewrite the nation’s tax code. And his years of speaking at AFP events have given the businessman and radio host a network of loyal grassroots fans.

    The once little-known businessman’s political activities are getting fresh scrutiny these days since he soared to the top of some national polls.

    His links to the Koch brothers could undercut his outsider, non-political image among people who detest politics as usual and candidates connected with the party machine.

    AFP tapped Cain as the public face of its “Prosperity Expansion Project,” and he traveled the country in 2005 and 2006 speaking to activists who were starting state-based AFP chapters from Wisconsin to Virginia. Through his AFP work he met Mark Block, a longtime Wisconsin Republican operative hired to lead that state’s AFP chapter in 2005 as he rebounded from an earlier campaign scandal that derailed his career.

    Block and Cain sometimes traveled together as they built up AFP: Cain was the charismatic speaker preaching the ills of big government; Block was the operative helping with nuts and bolts.

    When President Barack Obama’s election helped spawn the tea party, Cain was positioned to take advantage. He became a draw at growing AFP-backed rallies, impressing activists with a mix of humor and hard-hitting rhetoric against Obama’s stimulus, health care and budget policies.

    Block is now Cain’s campaign manager. Other aides who had done AFP work were also brought on board.

    Cain’s spokeswoman Ellen Carmichael, who recently left the campaign, was an AFP coordinator in Louisiana. His campaign’s outside law firm is representing AFP in a case challenging Wisconsin campaign finance regulations. At least six other current and former paid employees and consultants for Cain’s campaign have worked for AFP in various capacities.

    And Cain has credited Rich Lowrie, a Cleveland businessman who served on AFP’s board of advisors from 2005 to 2008, with being a key economic adviser and with helping to develop his plan to cut the corporate tax rate to 9 percent, impose a national sales tax of 9 percent and set a flat income tax rate of 9 percent

    “He’s got a national network now that perhaps he wouldn’t have had 15 or 20 years ago because of his work with AFP,” said Republican Party of Wisconsin Vice Chair Brian Schimming, who has introduced Cain at events in Wisconsin. “For a presidential candidate, that’s obviously helpful to have.”

    He said Cain was smart to hire Block.

    Cain’s recent victories in straw polls in Florida and Minnesota highlight the importance of organizing supporters and Block, who has a deep network in the tea party, “gets that side of it,” Schimming said.

    But Block has had his problems as well. He settled a suit in 2001 accusing him of illegally coordinating a Wisconsin Supreme Court justice’s re-election with an outside group. Block agreed to pay $15,000 and sit out of politics for three years.

    While Cain is quick to promote his career at the helm of the Godfather’s Pizza chain, his ties to AFP aren’t something the candidate appears eager to highlight.

    His campaign did not respond to inquiries seeking comment, and Cain does not include his AFP work on his biography on his website.

    But Cain continues to work with the group.

  15. Ametia says:

    2011 ALCS Game 6: Texas Rangers swamp Detroit Tigers to clinch World Series berth; Nelson Cruz is MVP

    By Adam Kilgore, Published: October 15

    ARLINGTON, Tex. — The baseball world may have paused Saturday night at 10:40 Central time to gaze upon Rangers Ballpark, where in the middle of the diamond the Texas Rangers celebrated their arrival as the sport’s newest superpower. They are smarter, better and soon to be richer than just about any rival. The moment that cemented their coming reign came as they seized their second straight American League pennant, their second straight trip to the World Series.

    The Rangers unleashed the full fury of their powerful lineup in a 15-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers, which included a merciless, nine-run assault in the third inning. They concluded a classic AL Championship Series before a crowd 51,508 with a blowout victory over the valiant Tigers, who pushed the series to six games despite a roster devastated by injuries. In the end, the Tigers met the same fate as the rest of the league — they were no match for the talent assembled in North Texas.

  16. Ametia says:

    Romney Beating Obama in a Fight for Wall St. CashBy NICHOLAS CONFESSORE and GRIFF PALMER
    Published: October 15, 2011

    It is no secret that the relationship between President Obama and Wall Street has chilled. A striking measure of that is the latest campaign finance reports.

    It is no secret that the relationship between President Obama and Wall Street has chilled. A striking measure of that is the latest campaign finance reports.

    Mitt Romney has raised far more money than Mr. Obama this year from the firms that have been among Wall Street’s top sources of donations for the two candidates.

    That gap underscores the growing alienation from Mr. Obama among many rank-and-file financial professionals and Mr. Romney’s aggressive and successful efforts to woo them.

  17. MLK’s Last Speech

    The speech is so powerful! After 40 + years, it still brings me to tears…

    • we will be the participants in a great building process that will make America a new nation. And we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. This is our challenge. This is the way we must grapple with this dilemma, and we will be a great people.

      And let us have faith in the future — I know it’s dark sometimes. And I know all of us begin to ask, “How long will we have to live with this system?” I know all of us are asking, “How long will prejudice blind the visions of men and darken their understanding and drive bright-eyed wisdom from her sacred throne? When will wounded justice lying prostrate on the streets of our cities be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men? Yes, when will the radiant star of hope be plunged against the nocturnal bosom of this lonely night and plucked from weary souls the manacles of death and the chains of fear? How long will justice be crucified and truth buried? How long?”

      I can only answer this evening, “Not long.”

      ― Martin Luther King Jr.

  18. rikyrah says:

    False Equivalence’ Reaches Onionesque Heights, but in a Real Paper
    By James Fallows

    Oct 15 2011, 3:11 PM ET

    I’ve heard angrily from a number of reporters in the last few days. They are objecting to my claims that mainstream journalism is “enabling” Senate dysfunction by describing it as dysfunction plain and simple, rather than as the result of deliberate and extremely effective Republican strategy. That strategy, over the past four-plus years, has been to apply the once-rare threat of a filibuster to virtually everything the Administration proposes. This means that when the Democrats can’t get 60 votes for something, which they almost never can, they can’t get nominations confirmed, bills enacted, or most of what they want done.

    You can consider this strategy brilliant and nation-saving, if you are a Republican. You can consider it destructive and nation-wrecking, if you are a Democrat. You can view it as just what the Founders had in mind, as Justice Scalia asserted recently at an Atlantic forum. You can view it as another step down the road to collapse, since the Democrats would have no reason not to turn the same nihilist approach against the next Republican administration. Obviously I think it does more harm than good. You can even argue that it’s stimulated or justified by various tactics that Democrats have used.

    But you shouldn’t pretend that it doesn’t exist. That was my objection to a recent big Washington Post story on what is wrong with the Senate, which did not contain the word “filibuster.” And there is an example again this very day. I wish to Heaven that the item had appeared somewhere else, but it happens that it’s also in the Post. A story on what happened to Obama’s jobs-bill proposal in the Senate concentrates on the two Plains States Democrats, Ben Nelson and Jon Tester, who defected during the cloture vote — and not on the 100% Republican opposition to even bringing this bill up for consideration.


    You should read the whole story to savor it, but I will point out these features:

    – Like the previous one, it manages not to use the word “filibuster” while describing why the Administration’s programs have not gotten through a Senate that the Democrats “control.” The Democrats would actually “control” the Senate if a 51-vote majority were enough to pass most measures. But they don’t control it, with 53 Dem+Indep seats, when the 60-vote standard becomes routine. This is too important a fact to be left out of accounts of what is happening in the Senate.

    – It reflects so thorough an absorption of the idea that the filibuster-threat is normal business that it describes the latest cloture vote as a vote on the bill itself: “Democratic Sens. Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Jon Tester (Mont.), who are both up for reelection next year, took to the Senate floor and delivered a sizeable blow to the bill’s prospects by voting against it.” No, they voted against the cloture measure, which they knew had zero chance of getting the necessary 60 votes. Several other Democrats with doubts about the bill itself nonetheless were persuaded to vote for cloture, so that it would end up with a symbolic but ineffective 51-vote majority.

    – And the story has this virtuoso suggestion that Democratic wavering really explains why the Republicans don’t vote for Administration proposals. Emphasis added:

    But if incumbent Democrats in Montana and Nebraska don’t see the bill as a viable vote for their political futures, then it should come as no surprise that neither do many – or possibly any, considering Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown’s ‘no’ vote on the jobs bill – Republicans.

    With Nelson’s and Tester’s votes opposition to the bill, Republicans who may have been concerned about its popularity suddenly have an escape hatch. Because if these Democrats think a ‘yes’ vote is a bad move, how could it be smart for a Republican with an even more conservative constituency to support the same legislation?… GOP members of Congress will now feel a little safer about voting ‘no” on a bill that is polling quite well.

    “Escape hatch”? “Feel a little safer”? How “could it be smart” to support an Obama plan? It should “come as no surprise” that all the Republicans end up voting against the bill, because that is the Republican strategy. You don’t have to present this as some inside-dope subtle game-theory problem, with wavering Republicans watching Nelson and Tester for cues. The explanation is simpler: Mitch McConnell’s Senate Republicans have been rock-ribbed in enforcing their strategic choice that opposing the Administration makes policy and political sense.

    To anticipate the next round of notes from mainstream reporters: No, I am not suggesting that the polarization and obstruction would go away if reporters began describing it more clearly. At root this is a political problem. But it’s a media failure too, and the political problem is all the harder to solve if the media act as if it doesn’t exist.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Keeping Track of the Promises

    by BooMan
    Sun Oct 16th, 2011 at 12:34:38 AM EST

    It’s looking increasingly likely that when President Obama faces the voters in November 2012, he will have kept his promise to get us the fuck out of Iraq. And I don’t mean that we’ll be pretending to have left Iraq. It looks like we’ll have really left. Yes, we have a massive embassy in Baghdad and it will need protecting. And we’ll apparently have some presence in the cities of Basra, Irbil and Kirkuk, and those compounds will need protection, too. But that’s not really any different from any other country where we have consulates. The Iraqis aren’t going to give our troops immunity from prosecution, so we’re not going to keep a heavy presence there to help them maintain order, run their airports, or tamp down on any insurgencies against the central government.

    I am sure that that our relationship will not end. I am sure that the CIA will continue to work with the Iraqi government, and that we’ll work out some contracts for military training on the equipment we’ll be selling them. But the war is going to end.

    If true, this will fulfill the promise that mattered to me the most. I really, really wanted a health care bill. I got that. But I wanted out of Iraq more. Third on my list is getting the hell out of Afghanistan. That’s a work in progress.

  20. If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

    ― Martin Luther King Jr.

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