Monday Open Thread

Stevland Hardaway Morris (previously Judkins;[1] born May 13, 1950), known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and activist.[2] Blind since shortly after birth,[3] Wonder signed with Motown Records‘ Tamla label at the age of eleven,[2] and continues to perform and record for Motown to this day.

Among Wonder’s best known works are singles such as “Superstition“, “Sir Duke“, “I Wish” and “I Just Called to Say I Love You“. Well known albums also include Talking Book, Innervisions and Songs in the Key of Life.[2] He has recorded more than thirty U.S. top ten hits and received twenty-two Grammy Awards, the most ever awarded to a male solo artist. Wonder is also noted for his work as an activist for political causes, including his 1980 campaign to make Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s birthday a holiday in the United States.

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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95 Responses to Monday Open Thread

  1. Dr Susan Rice checks Rachel Maddow. Rachel better recognize…
    Dr Rice ain’t the one.

    [wpvideo K5cm1WHA]

  2. The White House:

    “We can’t wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do its job. Where they won’t act, I will” -President Obama

  3. Obama Campaign Launches Tumblr Site

    President Obama’s reelection campaign has launched a Tumblr site where supporters can submit a story, photo or video. See the site here.

  4. Herman Cain: ‘If I Make A Mistake, I’m Willing To Admit I Made A Mistake’

    [wpvideo sSZkhx0r]

  5. rikyrah says:

    Maddow is exposing the Koch Brothers/Cain connection tonight

  6. rikyrah says:

    Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 04:55 PM PDT

    No, there is no major news about the three major investigations into multiple phone and computer hacking, bribing police officials, or perverting the course of justice by News International in the the UK. Nor is there any major development in the DOJ investigation into the parent company Newscorp, for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or other examples of systemic criminality (RICO violations) like the Floorgraphics case.

    No, the simple stunning verdict on the Murdoch Dynasty has been delivered by Newscorps Shareholders
    Shareholders Deliver a Damning Verdict on James and Lachlan Murdoch

    As handsomely diaried by Ceebs, last Friday’s Newscorp shareholders meeting, held in high security in LA rather than in New York, was still a tumultuous affair, with many of independent shareholders calling the management to task over issues of corporate governance, probity, possible further legal actions, and of course the underlying complaint that Rupert Murdoch treats the public corporation like a ‘family candy store’.

    Usually as Murdoch’s biographer Michael Wolff explains in a tellingly titled piece: Rupert Murdoch: News Corp’s great dictator on the brink

    Under normal circumstances, Rupert Murdoch doesn’t have much patience for the annual shareholders’ meetings that are required by law of American public companies. He regards them as a farce, because they cannot change the outcome in a company where a voting majority is secure, and as an exercise in liberal corporate law designed to put him personally on the spot.

    This time it was different. This time the voices couldn’t be ignored, and they were joined by the stalwart British Parliamentarian, Tom Watson, initially a victim and now a persistent campaigner against both the industrial scale phone hacking in the UK (among other illegal practices) and the coverup. The vote was supposed to be delivered here last week. Now you can see the reason for the delay.

    Pegasus Corporate Governance has just tweeted the independent votes:

    2011 AGM James Murdoch: For 59,297,033 (19.23%), Against 232,013,203 (75.24%) Abstain 494,831 Non-Votes 16,564,060

    2011 AGM Lachlan Murdoch: For 67,175,479 (21.78%), Against 224,151,616 (72.69%) Abstain 477,972 Non-Votes 16,564,060

    It doesn’t constitute a majority since, though only owning 10 percent of the shares, the Murdoch family have 40 percent of the voting rights. But this is like Thatcher winning the first round of the votes in 1990 – not by a big enough margin. She was holed in the water. The vote of non confidence is resounding.

    As the Guardian puts it:

    James Murdoch’s future at News Corporation looks increasingly precarious as shareholders delivered a damning verdict on his tenure amid widespread criticism of his handling of the hacking scandal.

    Following a contentious meeting in Los Angeles last week News Corporation shareholders lodged a massive protest vote against James and his brother Lachlan Murdoch.

    A majority of independent shareholders voted against the re-election of chairman Rupert Murdoch’s sons James and Lachlan Murdoch. James Murdoch received the largest vote against his re-election at 35%.

    James, 38, faces a second grilling in the Parliament next month over phone-hacking at The News of The World, one of News Corp’s UK newspapers. Some 34% of shareholders voted against Lachlan Murdoch 40.

    After subtracting the shares controlled by Rupert Murdoch, 67% of the votes went against James Murdoch and 64% against Lachlan, said Julie Tanner, assistant director of News Corp investor Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS), who last week called for Rupert Murdoch to step down as chairman after the “extraordinary scandals” at the company. “Shareholders are saying loud and clear that this board has failed as a group,” she said.

  7. rikyrah says:

    TELL IT!!!


    From the Court House, to the State House, to the Halls of Congress, the American People are going to send a very strong message to those who have spent the last 3+ years obstructing our future. We learned well, and we will show you in November with a clear and simple message that is so very clear it cannot possibly be misunderstood:

    “You’re Fired!”

  9. rikyrah says:



    Democratic Congressman-Turned BOA Exec Harold Ford Warns Obama Not To Listen To Occupy Wall Street

    By Lee Fang on Oct 24, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Former Rep. Harold Ford (D-TN) joined Bank of America (via its Merrill Lynch subsidiary) after losing his Senate race. A recent Bank of America conference listed Ford as an “Executive Vice Chairman” of the company.

    Despite his move from public official to bank executive, Ford used his opportunity on NBC’s Meet the Press yesterday to offer President Obama some economic advice. Ford suggested that Obama tone down his supposedly anti-business rhetoric, and instead implement policies like a tax repatriation holiday (a tax holiday for corporations bringing profits made overseas to the United States). Such a bailout to already profitable companies does not even create jobs. Before Ford could go on, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell interrupted him to ask about the growing Occupy Wall Street movement.

    Ford dismissed the movement and told Obama and the Democratic Party to “look beyond Occupy.” In Ford’s world, a tax holiday bailout for super rich corporations like his own is in the “best interest of the country”:

    FORD: But the posture and the language and the rhetoric has been just too overheated. And to, to Mr. Welch’s point, you can’t, you can’t incentivize the type of things that he–that they incentivized in this bill. Two, you have huge balance sheets on the part of corporate America, meaning they’re making money. You got to incentivize them, as the president has asked, to use that money to stimulate job creation. There’s a way to do it, if you have some certainty around regulations and taxes. And two, you’ve got 1.2, maybe 1.3 trillion sitting overseas. Allow that money to come back. But–

    MITCHELL: With Occupy Wall Street, how does he take that posture?

    FORD: He’s the president, Andrea. He’s the president.

    MITCHELL: He’s caught between two polar opposites.

    FORD: We Democrats can’t criticize Republicans for catering to the tea party and not be–and not say to our Democratic Party you got to look beyond Occupy and be willing to do what’s in the best interest of the country.

    Watch it here:

    Like former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) and other former lawmakers who have taken jobs at big banks, Ford speaks in the media using his former title instead of his current job. The Meet the Press segment had a chyron for Ford that read: “FMR. REP. HAROLD FORD JR. (D-TN).” It should have read: “BANK OF AMERICA EXEC HAROLD FORD.”

  10. rikyrah says:



    The Mayor of Medford, New Jersey Totally Isn’t Gay

    by ABL

    He just likes to do gay things.

    Here’s one for the “family values” annals of history:

    A Republican mayor in New Jersey denies that he agreed to pay a California man for sex through the website, and says he doesn’t even know if the pictures posted of him in bright blue underwear are real.

    Medford City Councilman and Mayor Chris Myers, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2008 against Democrat John Adler, is accused of paying the man $500 for sex during a trip to California in October 2010.

    Danielle Camilli of the Burlington County Times reports that a man sent the paper a series of e-mails alleging that Myers agreed to pay him for sex, and promised him a car and a recording studio after the encounter at the Fairmount Hotel in Newport Beach, CA. The man said that Myers said he was a mayor from New Jersey, and showed him identification.

    But, according to the Times, Myers reneged on his promises, so the man contacted the paper and then put up a website — called, which is now defunct — which included compromising pictures of Myers in blue Calvin Klein underwear.

    Another poor victim of the gay agenda goes down.

  11. rikyrah says:

    The Media Is Supposed to Select our President

    by BooMan
    Mon Oct 24th, 2011 at 11:58:14 AM

    Walter Shapiro explains how we’re supposed to pick our presidents:

    This is how presidential vetting traditionally works. The press pack pounces on the logical fallacies in a candidate’s positions and the shakiness of his resume. Party elites and top fundraisers then decide, if they have not already, that any candidate subjected to this kind of non-ideological media assault is unelectable. And eventually voters—especially when the calendar moves beyond activist-dominated Iowa—get the message that they are trying to elect a president and not merely thumbing their noses at the establishment.

    That pretty well explains what happened to Howard Dean, although I don’t think he committed too many logical fallacies. It’s also interesting to see why Shapiro fears that the vetting process won’t work this time and the Republicans might actually nominate a doofus like Herman Cain.

    Aiding Cain—and potentially defying past election cycles—is the fact that Republican voters are highly skeptical of the media: 72 percent of conservative Republicans and 62 percent of all Republicans believe that there is “a lot” of bias in news coverage, according to a national survey by the Pew Research Center.

    In other words, our Establishment Media has little influence over what’s left of the Republican Party. The more they diss a Sarah Palin or a Herman Cain, the more popular those candidates become. At least, that’s the theory. In truth, people came to hate Sarah Palin with a white-hot passion. But the media probably kept her popular for longer than she deserved.

    I’m ambivalent about Shapiro’s worldview. I think the media does effectively vet the candidates, weeding out the lunatics. And that serves a needed function, I guess. But the media does this very, very inefficiently and it tends to obsess about superficial stuff like whether a candidate connects with the people. Too often, the media tries to weed out candidates because they have some unorthodox view rather than that they’re totally unprepared to be president. And the media is actually terrible about vetting the actual nominees. They are too afraid of being biased to fairly arbitrate who is telling the truth.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Get Rich, Become a Black Republican

    By Gregory K. Taylor

    I’ve been entertaining the idea of a get-rich-quick scheme. Forget the Ponzi deception (Bernie Madoff wrecked it for everybody), don’t get bogged down with a pyramid undertaking either–too cumbersome, multi-level marketing—why bother. I have found the mother lode to rapid wealth and success is virtually assured if one follows my three-step blueprint to unimaginable wealth I now offer.

    First, run don’t walk to the nearest GOP office and register yourself with the Republican Party. Better yet, announce yourself as a Tea-Party Republican. Second, attend all Republican events in your area social or otherwise. Third, make wild pronouncements condemning your counterparts in the Democratic Party—I’m sorry, Democrat Party. Repeat parts two and three if necessary until such time sufficient attention has been drawn to you. You will be astonished how quickly you will be taken under the Party’s wing and given a platform to spew your pearls of wisdom on various radio and television talk shows. In fact, if you play your cards right you might end up with your own show.

    Now, you understand your entire value to the GOP is your “Blackness” so don’t forget that fact. It will be exploited for its greatest influence in order to offset those liberal Blacks in the Democrat Party. At first, you may be used as an extra (you know, like a movie extra), for background cattle-call work. You’ve seen the shot of the lone Black at a GOP campaign rally. Not to worry though, the GOP will make it seem like there are several Blacks at the rally by showing you over and over again usually positioned behind and to the left or right of the candidate. This is good practice work for you before you’re hauled out for a speaking part.

    When your speaking opportunity comes you must be ready to take full advantage. It will probably be in the form of an interview. No matter what question is posed to you, your answer must always involve dumping on Black people for the problem. It should sound something like this, “So Mr. so and so, what’s your opinion on the state of car sales in America? “ Your answer must always involve some Black person causing the malady—your mission is always to give aid and comfort to fellow GOP’ers by parroting their biases. It doesn’t always have to be so direct or overt either. Some answers can be effectively couched in code words for Black people. “Now that NASA has shut down the shuttle program what will America’s new frontier be?” Your answer should deal with the welfare entitlement program and how it leeched funds from the space program. Get it?

    Your successful role models should be Black Republicans, such as, Clarence Thomas, Larry Elder, Alan Keyes, and Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson. You should take special note from mentors like Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson who said that President Obama hates white people. I mean, you can’t get any better than that! The only problem with some Blacks not hitting the jackpot is that they have over-exposed themselves and have lost their credibility—so be careful about getting too far out there with your pronouncements.

    Now, you may be wondering why I haven’t struck it rich by taking my own advice. I must admit that I just don’t have the backbone to dump on my own people for money. I’m not sure what I would sell-out for, but that isn’t one of them. Self-loathing and hatred I just don’t have. And, I really do subscribe, with the exception of people like General Colin Powell, a dying breed of moderate Republicans, to Whoopi Goldberg’s antilogy that a “Black Republican is like a Jew for Jesus.”

  13. Obama ‘can’t wait’ on Congress; will issue an executive order a week

    The president appears to have become fed up.

    From the New York Times:

    WASHINGTON — With his jobs plan stymied in Congress by Republican opposition, President Obama on Monday will begin a series of executive-branch actions to confront housing, education and other economic problems over the coming months, heralded by a new mantra: “We can’t wait” for lawmakers to act.

    According to an administration official, Mr. Obama will kick off his new offensive in Las Vegas, ground zero of the housing bust, by promoting new rules for federally guaranteed mortgages so that more homeowners, those with little or no equity in their homes, can refinance and avert foreclosure.

    And Wednesday in Denver, the official said, Mr. Obama will announce policy changes to ease college graduates’ repayment of federal loans, seeking to alleviate the financial concerns of students considering college at a time when states are raising tuition.

    The president’s announcements will bookend a three-day Western trip during which he also will hold fund-raising events in the two cities — both Nevada and Colorado are election battlegrounds — as well as in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

    The “We can’t wait” campaign is a new phase in Mr. Obama’s so-far unsuccessful effort — punctuated until now by his cries of “Pass this bill!” on the stump — to pressure Republicans to support the job creation package he proposed after Labor Day. It comes after unanimous votes by Senate Republicans in the past week to block the plan; House Republican leaders have refused to put the measure to a vote. …

    And one more thing: Republicans are becoming concerned about their positioning:

    “The only way we can truly attack our economic challenges is with bold, bipartisan action in Congress,” said Dan Pfeiffer, Mr. Obama’s communications director. “The president will continue to pressure Congressional Republicans to put country before party and pass the American Jobs Act, but he believes we cannot wait, so he will act where they won’t.”

    Privately, some Republicans worry that they could suffer from that line of attack. On Sunday the Senate Republican minority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, offered an alternate narrative, saying that Mr. Obama, for all his complaints about Republican opposition, had given little prominence to his signing of three free-trade agreements that won bipartisan approval this month.

  14. Take this, Marco Rubio!

    Graffiti In Tripoli: ‘THANK NATO USA FRANCE ENGLAND’

    The New York Times today placed this photograph of a Libyan at Bab al-Aziziya in Tripoli, the site of Qaddafi’s main palace:

  15. Pat Buchanan Basically Wants a Race War

    Nixonian cretin Patrich Buchanan is such a jolly old coot on MSNBC—he’s even got an adorable Odd Couple routine with lesbian leftie Rachel Maddow—that it’s easy to forget that he’s a White Power proponent who thinks it’s “natural and normal” to prefer members of your own race to black folks. Luckily, he writes virulently racist books now and again to remind us.

    The latest one is called Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?, and Talking Points Memo has already rifled through it for a handy assemblage of breathtakingly, mind-blowingly, avowedly racist on-the-record sentiments. It’s as though after watching MSNBC cashier Don Imus over a casually racist aside, Buchanan felt he needed to re-establish his bona fides as the liberal network’s real in-house racist. It’s one thing to make an unacceptable and hurtful off-the-cuff remark; it’s quite another actually call on white people to join a political movement the aim of which would be to take power and resources from nonwhites. For instance:

    What the above points to is a strategy from which Republicans will recoil, a strategy to increase the GOP share of the white Christian vote and increase the turnout of that vote by specific appeals to social, cultural, and moral issues, and for equal justice for the emerging white minority. If the GOP is not the party of New Haven firefighter Frank Ricci and Cambridge cop James Crowley, it has no future.

  16. Republicans, Conservatives Co-Opt #WeCantWait On Twitter

    Republicans don’t have the White House’s megaphone, but give them credit for creativity.

    They’ve co-opted President Obama’s new jobs mantra, “We Can’t Wait,” and turned it around on Democrats. On Twitter.

    For the most part, Republicans are using the hashtag, #WeCantWait, to pressure Senate Democrats to pass House-passed anti-regulation legislation. They claim those bills will grow the economy, quickly, though most experts disagree.

  17. Romney, Who Called For Housing Crisis To Run Its Course, Accuses Obama Of Doing…That

    Mitt Romney’s campaign sent out a press release on Monday attacking President Obama’s housing policies in Nevada. The release includes a quote from a Democratic Congressman warning that the administration is letting the housing crisis run its course. Oddly enough, Romney recently recommended doing just that in the same state.

    The e-mailed release, entitled “PRESIDENT OBAMA’S BROKEN PROMISES ON HOUSING HAVE DEVASTATED NEVADA.” excerpts the following quote from Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-CA) in bold, among others criticisms from Democratic lawmakers upset with the administration’s housing record:

    “How bad does it have to get before this administration wakes up and seriously tackles this housing catastrophe? Without bold action, millions of more families will lose their homes and our economy will continue to stall. If this administration continues to stick its head in the sand and wait for the housing crisis to run its course, I am afraid the president could end up losing his current residence in 2012.”

    Hold up…

    Strong words, of course. But then this was Romney in Nevada last week talking to the Las Vegas Review Journal:

    “As to what to do for the housing industry specifically — and are there things that you can do to encourage housing? One is, don’t try and stop the foreclosure process,” said Romney. “Let it run its course and hit the bottom, allow investors to buy up homes, put renters in them, fix the homes up, and let it turn around and come back up.”

  18. rikyrah says:

    October 24, 2011 3:35 PM What to expect from a Romney budget
    By Steve Benen

    When Mitt Romney sat down with the Las Vegas Review-Journal last week, he made quite a bit of news. It was in that interview, for example, that Romney announced his opposition to protecting homeowners from foreclosures, and signaled support for Medicare vouchers.
    But there was something else Romney said in that same interview that’s worth noting:
    “There are four or five major acts that would balance the budget. One would be to bring discretionary accounts back to the 2008 level. Two is to end Obamacare; it’s an extra trillion dollars we simply can’t afford. Three is to return Medicaid to the states — as a block grant — and grow it at one to two percent per years and let states craft their own programs for their own poor. Four is to reduce federal employment by about 10 percent, through attrition. And five is to link government pay with that which exists in the private sector…. Those five steps would balance the budget.”

    That’s quite a plan. I don’t know if Romney realizes this or not, but this is a pretty radical approach — which would not balance the budget.
    Let’s put aside the fact that Romney wants to increase military spending and hasn’t said how he’d pay for it. Let’s also put aside the fact that Romney wants to cut even more taxes and hasn’t found a way to pay for that, either. If balancing the budget is his priority, Romney’s campaign promises are already poised to make the problem worse, not better.
    Let’s also put aside the fact that gutting Medicaid like this would save money, but it would be a disaster for those who rely on the program. We’ll also overlook the reality that returning to 2008 spending levels would require massive cuts to education, medical research, law enforcement, etc., which voters might take issue with.
    Ignoring all of this, let’s instead highlight Romney’s belief that he can bring the budget closer to balance by eliminating the entirety of the Affordable Care Act. The non-partisan Government Accountability Office knows better, and as Brian Beutler noted today, “repealing ObamaCare would consign us to swift, ugly fiscal and health care crises.”
    The health care reform law will extend subsidized private health insurance to millions of Americans, paid for with new taxes and Medicare savings. But it also included numerous demonstration projects and reforms intended to reign in the growth of health care costs, and thus Medicare spending. Some of them have great promise — if they can survive.
    If Republicans get their way and repeal this and other provisions — and if Congress keeps passing temporary “doc fixes” to prevent payment cuts to doctors who see Medicare patients — then Medicare costs will continue to soar, and eventually overwhelm the federal budget.

    In other words, one of Romney’s key ideas on how best to make the deficit smaller would actually make the deficit much bigger.
    Anyone who thinks this guy has credibility on these issues just isn’t paying close enough attention.

  19. US President Barack Obama arrives to board Air Force One at the Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on October 24, 2011 to leave for Las Vegas, Nevada, first leg of a three-day visit to West Coast. Obama said the vast majority of Americans would see a tax cut under the bill — a $447 billion proposal aimed at reviving economic growth and curbing 9.1 percent unemployment. The White House has touted the jobs bill as a shot-in-the-arm for the economy, and accused Republicans of playing politics by blocking it.

  20. rikyrah says:

    EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PEEK: See the Cover of Michelle Obama’s First Book! The First Lady has turned her passions about healthy eating into a book about the historic White House Kitchen Garden. See the cover in this iVillage exclusive!

  21. rikyrah says:

    found this over at The Obama Diary:


    donna dem 4 obama
    October 24, 2011 at 11:18 am

    I posted an article up-thread about OFA launching this new initiative to re-engage the youth voter for the 2012 election. That is a group that I honestly feel can or will make the difference next year for this campaign. We need them engaged and active in our communities. Now this is where OWS scares me. I will tell you that I am not against the message of OWS. I know people from Facebook and locally here in the DC area that have joined them in marches and have participated with them at weekend events. I think the awareness that OWS has brought to the forefront about the inequalities in this country are dead on. What I have issue with is that they are creating an awful lot of cynicism among the youth (especially but not exclusively) that all politics is bad and both the Democrats and Republicans are equally bad and neither can be trusted. I think this is an irresponsible meme that is being touted by OWS because their liberal views whether they want to admit it or not lie with the Democratic Party.

    Let me be clear OWS does not tell people not to vote next year but they leave a lot of these kids who spend time with them feeling as though their vote won’t make a difference since “everybody in Washington has been bought”. Ask someone 35 or under about OWS and they can rattle off 3 or 4 things that they know about this group. Then ask them about the President and what he is doing to create jobs and they don’t have the same level of knowledge about him as they do OWS.

    Right now our youth is being mesmerized by the 99 percent movement which is totally apolitical so there is no sense of urgency that voting next year is paramount to their future.

    Look at that Governor in Michigan that basically declared “Financial Marshall Law” giving him full financial authority over his state not accountable to anyone. What on earth do they think a Republican in the WH, A Republican House of Representatives and A Republican Senate will look like?

    I know this sounds extreme but OWS could be looking at fire-hoses being turned on them if the Repubs get complete control.

    By them turning off the youth means we will have to work twice as hard to get them to the polls and volunteering on campaigns. I hope OWS sees the errors of their ways regarding the 2012 election before its too late for all of us.

    This is just my 2 cents based on my own observation and in conversations with Facebook Friends. Others may see it differently.

  22. rikyrah says:

    October 24, 2011 2:40 PM

    Paul Ryan and how to lose the future

    By Steve Benen

    Congressional Republicans have made an aggressive effort this year to slash Pell Grants, and severely restrict eligibility, after the Obama administration boosted the program in 2009 and 2010. At a town-hall meeting in Wisconsin last week, a college student asked House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to explain why he’d hurt “middle- and lower-class people that need it the most.”

    The right-wing lawmaker responded:

    “…Pell Grants have become unsustainable. It’s all borrowed money…. Look, I worked three jobs to pay off my student loans after college. I didn’t get grants, I got loans, and we need to have a system of viable student loans to be able to do this.

    “The second concern I have is, in the health care bill — people don’t know this — for budgetary gimmickry reasons, the administration and Congress at the time, took over the student loan industry. So they had the federal government, the Department of Education, basically confiscate the private student loan industry.”

    Let’s unpack this because I think it’s important.

    When it comes to the student-loan reform measure that was approved in 2010, Ryan is either deeply ignorant or he’s shamelessly lying. The reform measure didn’t “confiscate the private student loan industry”; that’s idiotic. Under Ryan’s preferred model, before reform, the student-loan industry received taxpayer subsidies to provide a service the government could perform for less. Democrats removed the middleman, streamlined the process, saved taxpayers a lot money, and helped more young people get college degrees. No one “confiscated” anything — the “private student loan industry” still exists — and the officials simply stopped giving money to banks for no reason as part of the federal student-loan system.

    If Ryan wants to return to an inefficient and needlessly expensive model, he’s welcome to make the case, but he shouldn’t lie about the existing policy.

    The Budget Committee chairman would also have us believe that the Pell Grant system is “unsustainable” because of growing costs, but that’s misleading, too. As ThinkProgress noted, “[T]he GOP’s budget provides huge tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations which dwarf the cost of preserving the grants.” It’s simply a matter of priorities, and for congressional Republicans, sending kids from working-class families to college isn’t high on the list.

    And that leads to the larger concern: Ryan’s vision for America’s future is just bleak. Given global competition and the need for the most educated workforce the nation can muster, the leading Republican voice on the budget believes the United States will be stronger and better off if we send fewer working-class kids to college. We should, in his mind, make it much more difficult for these young people to get a degree. Let’s discourage these students, Ryan believes, since the alternative might lead to (cue scary music) public investments and slightly higher taxes on people who can afford to pay them.

    Ryan’s comfortable with these families taking on crushing debts, but student-loan debt nationwide is already nearing the $1 trillion mark — even more than Americans owe on credit cards — which very likely undermines the economy as young workers with disposable income inject less money into the economy are more into banks. It’s also getting worse, not better — consumers are paying down their credit cards and home loans, but outstanding student loan debt has doubled in the past five years.

    Ryan’s plan, in other words, is a recipe for how the country loses the future.

  23. rikyrah says:

    From Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi



    Earlier today, House GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor abruptly canceled an economic speech he was scheduled to give at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania this afternoon after the University refused to limit the attendance of the speech to students and faculty and instead opened the event to accommodate the larger community’s interest:

    …House Majority Leader Eric Cantor canceled a speech on income inequality at the University of Pennsylvania Friday morning, after his office was told that the school opened the speech to the public and it was targeted by protesters – including Occupy Philadelphia. [Politico, 10/21]

    Here are a few questions Mr. Cantor was probably afraid of being confronted with today:

    1. Why has the GOP been in charge of the House for 290 days and still no jobs bills?

    2. Why would the GOP craft bills that would potentially destroy 2 million jobs when Americans here at home need work?

    3. Why has the GOP voted 17 times against Democratic jobs legislation, including China currency legislation that would help create 1 million American jobs?

    4. Why is the GOP hell bent on ending Medicare to protect tax breaks for Big Oil, millionaires and corporations shipping jobs overseas?

    5. Why has the GOP spent all of their time in Washington obstructing the President and refusing to work with Democrats to restore economic stability for middle class families and small businesses?

    6. Do you think it’s fair that millionaires pay less taxes than bus drivers, teachers, first responders and other middle income families?

    7. How does restricting women’s access to essential health services make our economy stronger and create jobs?


  24. rikyrah says:

    October 24, 2011 1:55 PM

    Being ‘bound’ by a Nobel prize

    By Steve Benen

    Over the last couple of years, I’ve seen occasional suggestions, usually from the left, that President Obama should give back his Nobel Peace Prize. The suggestions were generally tied to the 2009 escalation in Afghanistan and U.S. intervention in Libya earlier this year.

    But Pete Hoekstra, the former ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee and currently a U.S. Senate candidate in Michigan, wants the president to return the Nobel Peace Prize because, well, I’m not quite sure what he’s trying to say, exactly.

    What we need now is a move toward a bipartisan foreign policy and recognition that the U.S. standing in the international order knows no political divide — we are all Americans. […]

    One way President Obama can provide a strong demonstration of this new approach is by giving back the Nobel Prize. The Nobel Prize should be awarded for achievement, not on vague notions of “change.” President Obama’s strongest foreign policy successes have come as a result of his continuation of programs started by President Bush — a true indication of those programs bipartisan nature and certainly not what the Nobel Committee had in mind with its premature award. The reality is, however, that every American president, on a bipartisan basis, has to do what is in the best interest of our nation. President Obama cannot and should not be bound by the unrealistic hope that his Nobel represents.

    This is a very odd argument. If someone wants to argue that Obama was an unfortunate choice for the award, fine. The president himself has even questioned whether he truly deserved the honor.

    But that’s not what Hoekstra is saying here. As the Republican sees it, Obama is “bound” by Peace Prize — how, he did not say — and the president is just continuing Bush policies anyway.

    I have no idea what this guy is talking about. If there’s any evidence of Obama allowing the honor to interfere with his foreign policy judgment, it’s hiding well. The president doesn’t seem “bound” by anything but his desire to act in the nation’s best interests.

    As for the argument that Obama is just continuing Bush-era policies in international affairs, I wish Republicans would make up their minds. One the one hand, the right would have us believe the president is signaling weakness abroad. On the other hand, the right insists the president is just an echo of his Republican predecessor. We’re told Obama has no foreign policy successes and we’re told Obama has lots of foreign policy successes, for which Bush deserves credit.

    For the record, the president is having success on the global stage precisely because he isn’t following the Bush/Cheney model. Obama isn’t torturing; he’s put a greater emphasis on counter-proliferation; he’s shifted towards a more responsible model of military intervention; he’s taken a healthier approach to international engagement, which has helped improve the nation’s standing abroad, etc.

    And finally, Hoekstra believes we can “move toward a bipartisan foreign policy” just as soon as the president insults the Nobel committee and gives back their prize two years after the fact. Quick follow-up question: in what universe does this make sense?

  25. rikyrah says:


    October 24, 2011 1:25 PM

    Cain’s preoccupation with numerology

    By Steve Benen

    Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain has managed to become a top tier candidate despite a few noticeable flaws — ignorance about public policy, unfamiliarity with the basics of American politics, a complete absence of experience in public office at any level, etc.

    But Michelle Cottle reported over the weekend on a facet to Cain that’s gone largely overlooked: the Republican’s “peculiar obsession with supernatural signs and signals.” Keep in mind, this isn’t a joke. (via Paul Waldman)

    Raise your hand if you have a favorite number.

    Keep it raised if you believe this number to be your “lucky” number.

    Now keep it up only if you think this number has a literal, meaningful, ongoing impact on your life.

    Finally, if your hand is still up, ask yourself this: If you were running for president and wrote a campaign book, would you devote an entire chapter to this number, explaining how its frequent appearance in your life signals that you are meant to win and explaining that, though you are “not a devout numerologist,” this number clearly keeps popping up “more than coincidentally”?

    If that hand is still raised, it probably means that you are Herman Cain.

    And what, pray tell, is this magical number? If you guessed 42, you’re (a) a Douglas Adams fan; and (b) close. Apparently, Cain is obsessed with the number 45 for its “special” qualities that relate only to him. Not only was he born in 1945, but “45 keeps on popping up as I go about the business of being elected — you guessed it — as the forty-fifth president of the United States of America.”

    Wait, it gets worse.

    In some cases the digits 4 and 5 are only part of a figure, like the times when one of Cain’s weekly commentaries ran to 645 words or when the final leg of a campaign trip took place on Flight 1045 traveling at 45,000 feet. At times the 45 in question is only tangentially related to Cain, as when he cites a Las Vegas campaign event where he met a couple celebrating their 45th anniversary. And in one case, the key moment ultimately doesn’t have anything to do with 45 at all: at an early strategy meeting, Cain and two aides believed they were seated at table 45 in a restaurant, only to be told that there were only 43 tables total. Regardless, it all adds up to something big for Cain.

    Making matters slightly even worse still, Cain isn’t just preoccupied with the “special” significance of random numbers, but also believes he’s confronted with supernatural hints — which only he seems to notice — all the time.

    Karl Rove told Fox News this morning that Cain simply isn’t “up to this task” of seeking the presidency. For once, I think Karl might be onto something.


    Herman Cain’s Lucky Number
    He is fixated on the number 45. Cottle puts this in perspective:

    Remember how much criticism Rick Perry took for suggesting God had called him to run? The ridicule Michele Bachmann has endured for her religious views? Just imagine the abuse that would have been heaped on any other member of the GOP field who spent an entire chapter of his or her campaign book rhapsodizing about the mysterious power of the number 45. If Perry had written that, you can bet Team Romney would be paying people to show up at Rick’s rallies dressed like fortune tellers and waving Magic 8-Balls

  26. rikyrah says:

    Leaving Iraq – Finally

    Frederick Kagan thinks Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq constitutes “abandoning” Iraq. Matt Duss calls him out:

    Interestingly, Kagan doesn’t mention that this “retreat” is being done in accordance with an agreement that the previous administration signed with the Iraqi government. Even more interestingly, when that agreement was signed, Fred Kagan himself hailed it as a great U.S. success.

    The neocons are desperately attempting to leverage withdrawal from Iraq, as promised, as some kind of defeat. Bush won in Iraq, remember? It’s Obama who lost it. I’ve gotten used to this kind of reality-free discourse on the neocon right. But the basic fact is: there was a debate in the administration over how many troops to keep in Iraq, but the Iraqis ended that debate. The election that Kagan touts gave us an elected Iraqi government; and key elements of that government refused to offer US soldiers legal immunity on Iraqi soil. And so we finally got a clean end to this disaster – thanks to the democracy Kagan favors:

    Still burdened by the traumas of this and previous wars, and having watched the revolutions sweeping their region, the Iraqis were unwilling to accept anything that infringed on their sovereignty.

    It’s odd that neocons actually resent a sovereign government’s reluctance to host an occupying army – even one reduced to a 3,000-person training mission. Wasn’t self-determination what the neocons always wanted? Or is it only what they said they wanted?

    And no, if Iraq disintegrates, as I suspect it will, that is not Obama’s fault either. It’s simply another facet of the failure of the surge to resolve those issues it was designed to resolve:

    Twenty months after a national election, the country’s leading political blocs cannot agree on who should run the Defense and Interior Ministries. The Parliament still has not passed legislation about how the country’s oil and gas revenues should be divided — years after the Bush administration set such a law as a benchmark for progress.

    The issue of whether Baghdad or the Kurdish region should hold sway over Kirkuk also remains unresolved.

    Do not be misled. The US was extremely lucky that its troop buildup coincided with exhaustion in Iraq’s civil war, the switching of the Anbar tribes against al Qaeda, and some great military work on the ground. Then we were lucky to get a president intent on getting out, and extra-lucky that the Iraqis refused to let us set up yet another neo-imperial satellite. The idea that this string of great luck should be ignored – let alone gainsaid – seems bizarre to me. If the Iraqis, having secured their sovereignty cleanly, subsequently ask for help in training, we should help. But it is vital that they do so having made their own country whole and under their own rule. Or they will seem to themselves – and others – as a satrapy, not a state. Have the neocons learned nothing from the Arab Spring? Or is the real pint not Arab democracy and self-determination, but US global power?

    Or to put it more bluntly: If Iraq collapses into civil conflict, it will be because the entire project was built on wishful thinking, not reality, from the get-go. Which is a pretty good definition of neoconservatism as a whole.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    October 24, 2011 12:35 PM

    If the villain’s shoe fits…

    By Steve Benen

    As far as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is concerned, the White House has a “storyline” that isn’t true.

    “Their storyline is that there must be some villain out there who’s keeping this administration from succeeding.”

    The comment comes almost exactly a year to the day after McConnell conceded on the record that defeating the president in 2012 is his “top priority,” adding, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president…. Our single biggest political goal is to give our nominee for president the maximum opportunity to be successful.”

    As Jonathan Cohn explained, “I wasn’t that shocked by McConnell’s original statement. Heck, I even appreciated the candor. But if you’re going to make the president’s failure your top goal — and if you’re going to brag about it — you really can’t get upset when the president blames you for it.”

    Greg Sargent added, “[T]here’s simply no longer any doubt that — whether for principled, ideological, or cynical reasons — Senate Republicans are denying Obama support for his policies partly to damage him politically.”

    It’s worth pausing, from time to time, to appreciate just how unambiguous this record is. There “must be some villain out there” undermining the White House’s ability to succeed? There’s no reason to pretend that Mitch McConnell hasn’t earned the label.


    * In March 2010, McConnell explained his decision to try to kill health care reform from the outset, regardless of merit or Democratic compromises, by demanding unanimous Republican opposition: “It was absolutely critical that everybody be together because if the proponents of the bill were able to say it was bipartisan, it tended to convey to the public that this is O.K., they must have figured it out.” It’s a dynamic that made compromise, quite literally, impossible.

    * Soon after, McConnell explained the importance he and the House GOP leadership put on “unify[ing] our members in opposition” to everything Democrats propose, because unanimous Republican disagreement would necessarily make Democratic ideas less popular. “Public opinion can change, but it is affected by what elected officials do,” McConnell conceded. “Our reaction to what [Democrats] were doing had a lot to do with how the public felt about it. Republican unity in the House and Senate has been the major contributing factor to shifting American public opinion.”

    * In August 2010, McConnell said he’ll only consider negotiating with the White House if they agree to accept center-right proposals, with no exceptions, even if there’s a Democratic majority.

    * In October 2010, McConnell conceded on the record that defeating the president in 2012 is his “top priority,” above literally everything else.

    * In June 2011, McConnell said if President Obama asks him to consider an idea Republicans don’t like, it’s evidence of the president acting “in bad faith.”

    * In August 2011, McConnell admitted that he and his Republican colleagues were willing to hold the nation and its economy “hostage,” threatening to destroy the United States’ full faith and credit on purpose.

    * And two weeks ago, McConnell had enough breathtaking chutzpah to blame the White House for Washington gridlock.

    “Their storyline is that there must be some villain out there who’s keeping this administration from succeeding.” The storyline appears to be accurate and the identity of the villain appears obvious.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Twelve Pretty Racist Or Just Crazy Quotes From Pat Buchanan’s New Book

    Pundit and MSNBC contributor Pat Buchanan’s new book, “Suicide Of A Superpower,” is a veritable treasure trove of eye-popping assertions about the decline of America at the hand of increased diversity and multiculturalism.
    TPM went through and picked out some highlights, so that you really really don’t have to.
    From the Preface:
    When the faith dies, the culture dies, the civilization dies, the people die. That is the progression. And as the faith that gave birth to the West is dying in the West, peoples of European descent from the steppes of Russia to the coast of California have begun to die out, as the Third World treks north to claim the estate. The last decade provided corroborating if not conclusive proof that we are in the Indian summer of our civilization.
    From the chapter, “The Death Of Christian America”:
    Obama’s White House thus enlisted in the long and successful campaign to expel Christianity from the public square, diminish its presence in our public life, and reduce its role to that of just another religion.
    From the chapter, “The End Of White America”:
    The white population will begin to shrink and, should present birth rates persist, slowly disappear. Hispanics already comprise 42 percent of New Mexico’s population, 37 percent of California’s, 38 percent of Texas’s, and over half the population of Arizona under the age of twenty. ……. Mexico is moving north. Ethnically, linguistically, and culturally, the verdict of 1848 is being overturned. Will this Mexican nation within a nation advance the goals of the Constitution—to “insure domestic tranquility” and “make us a more perfect union”? Or has our passivity in the face of this invasion imperiled our union?
    On the group UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc. pushing for more diversity in journalism:
    Half a century after Martin Luther King envisioned a day when his children would be judged ‘not by the color of their skin, but the content of their character,’ journalists of color are demanding the hiring and promotion of journalists based on the color of their skin. Jim Crow is back. Only the color of the beneficiaries and the color of the victims have been reversed.
    Also from the chapter, “The End Of White America”:
    Those who believe the rise to power of an Obama rainbow coalition of peoples of color means the whites who helped to engineer it will steer it are deluding themselves. The whites may discover what it is like to ride in the back of the bus.
    From the chapter, “Equality or Freedom?”:
    Not until the 1960s did courts begin to use the Fourteenth Amendment to impose a concept of equality that the authors of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, The Federalist Papers, and the Gettysburg Address never believed in. Before the 1960s, equality meant every citizen enjoyed the same constitutional rights and the equal protection of existing laws. Nothing in the Constitution or federal law mandated social, racial, or gender equality.
    From the chapter “The Diversity Cult”:
    Americans who seek stricter immigration control have been charged with many social sins: racism, xenophobia, nativism. Yet none has sought to expel any fellow American based on color or creed. We have only sought to preserve the country we grew up in. Do not people everywhere do that, without being reviled? What motivates people who insist that America’s doors be held open wide until the European majority has disappeared?
    What is their grudge against the old America that eats at their heart?
    On crime:
    If [conservative political commentator Heather] Mac Donald’s statistics are accurate, 49 of every 50 muggings and murders in New York are the work of minorities. That might explain why black folks have trouble getting a cab. Every New York cabby must know the odds, should he pick up a man of color at night.
    From the chapter “‘The White Party’”:
    What the above points to is a strategy from which Republicans will recoil, a strategy to increase the GOP share of the white Christian vote and increase the turnout of that vote by specific appeals to social, cultural, and moral issues, and for equal justice for the emerging white minority. If the GOP is not the party of New Haven firefighter Frank Ricci and Cambridge cop James Crowley, it has no future. And although Howard Dean disparages the Republicans as the “white party,” why should Republicans be ashamed to represent the progeny of the men who founded, built, and defended America since her birth as a nation?
    From the chapter “The Last Chance”:
    Our intellectual, cultural, and political elites are today engaged in one of the most audacious and ambitious experiments in history. They are trying to transform a Western Christian republic into an egalitarian democracy made up of all the tribes, races, creeds, and cultures of planet Earth. They have dethroned our God, purged our cradle faith from public life, and repudiated the Judeo-Christian moral code by which previous generations sought to live.
    From the same chapter:
    For the Left to concede that white anger is a legitimate response to racial injustices done to white people would be to concede that the Left is guilty of the very sin of which it accuses the right.
    On the segregation era:
    Perhaps some of us misremember the past. But the racial, religious, cultural, social, political, and economic divides today seem greater than they seemed even in the segregation cities some of us grew up in.
    Back then, black and white lived apart, went to different schools and churches, played on different playgrounds, and went to different restaurants, bars, theaters, and soda fountains. But we shared a country and a culture. We were one nation. We were Americans.

  29. rikyrah says:

    NPR’s Michele Norris Temporarily Steps Down As ‘All Things Considered’ Co-Host

    NPR’s David Folkenflik reports that Michele Norris is temporarily stepping down as co-host of All Things Considered, as her husband accepts a senior position on President Obama’s campaign team.

    “Given the nature of Broderick’s position with the campaign and the impact that it will most certainly have on our family life, I will temporarily step away from my hosting duties until after the 2012 elections,” Norris wrote in a memo to colleagues.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Romney Tries To Ban Romneycare In Ohio

    As part of his public campaign to repeal President Obama’s health care law, Mitt Romney is pushing “Issue 3” in Ohio this week, a referendum banning mandates. But in addition to trying to block Democrats’ health care law, the proposal would also outlaw the very same kind of state-level health care law that Romney considers one of his proudest achievements in Massachusetts.

    If passed, the referendum would add an amendment to the state’s Constitution stating that “no federal, state or local law or rule shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer or health care provider to participate in a health care system.”

    The move is billed by supporters as a protest against the Affordable Care Act, but the legality of a federal mandate is in the Supreme Court’s hands, not Ohio’s. State mandates are another story, however, and Issue 3 would legally prevent the Ohio legislature from passing anything resembling Massachusetts’ health care law, which included a requirement that individuals purchase insurance.

    “Ultimately, the bill that we passed was a bill that said either have insurance or we’re going to charge you for the cost of the fact that the state is going to have to cover you if you get seriously ill,” Romney said in a speech explaining the law’s use of a mandate in May.

    A spokesman for Romney did not immediately return a request for comment.

    Ohio Republicans seem happy enough to accept his support in blocking Massachusetts-style health care.

    “We’re glad to have Gov. Romney’s help,” state GOP chairman Kevin DeWine told the Cincinnati Enquirer on Sunday. “Our volunteers have been working very hard on these issues, and the governor is coming to thank them.”

  31. rikyrah says:

    President Barack Obama this week will announce a series of actions to help the economy that will not require congressional approval, including an initiative to make it easier for homeowners to refinance their mortgages, according to a White House official.

    The actions come as Obama is facing resistance from Republicans to a $447 billion jobs package he has urged Congress to pass.

    The first of the initiatives will be unveiled during Obama’s three-day trip to western states beginning Monday.

    He will discuss the changes in mortgage rules at a stop in Nevada, which has one of the hardest-hit housing markets in the country.

    The Obama administration has been working with the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to find ways to make it easier for borrowers to switch to cheaper loans even if they have little to no equity in their homes.

    The FHFA intends to loosen the terms of the two-year-old Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), which helps borrowers who have been making mortgage payments on time but who have not been able to refinance as their home values have dropped.

    The Wall Street Journal reported that the changes should boost refinancing because they will let banks avoid the risk of any “buy-back” on a HARP mortgage as long as borrowers have made their last six mortgage payments and they prove that they have a job or another source of passive income.

    They are also set to reduce loan fees that Fannie and Freddie charge and waive fees on borrowers that refinance into loans with shorter terms, the Journal said.

    Pricing details won’t be published until mid-November, and lenders could begin refinancing loans under the retooled program as soon as December 1, the newspaper reported, citing federal officials. Loans that exceed the current limit of 125 percent of the property’s value won’t be able to participate until early next year, the report said.

    In Denver Wednesday, Obama will announce a student loan initiative.

    “The only way we can truly attack our economic challenges is with bold, bipartisan action in Congress,” White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer told The New York Times.

    “The president will continue to pressure Congressional Republicans to put country before party and pass the American Jobs Act, but he believes we cannot wait, so he will act where they won’t.”

  32. rikyrah says:

    Obama ‘can’t wait’ on Congress; will issue an executive order a week

    The president appears to have become fed up.
    From the New York Times:

    WASHINGTON — With his jobs plan stymied in Congress by Republican opposition, President Obama on Monday will begin a series of executive-branch actions to confront housing, education and other economic problems over the coming months, heralded by a new mantra: “We can’t wait” for lawmakers to act.

    According to an administration official, Mr. Obama will kick off his new offensive in Las Vegas, ground zero of the housing bust, by promoting new rules for federally guaranteed mortgages so that more homeowners, those with little or no equity in their homes, can refinance and avert foreclosure.

    And Wednesday in Denver, the official said, Mr. Obama will announce policy changes to ease college graduates’ repayment of federal loans, seeking to alleviate the financial concerns of students considering college at a time when states are raising tuition.

    The president’s announcements will bookend a three-day Western trip during which he also will hold fund-raising events in the two cities — both Nevada and Colorado are election battlegrounds — as well as in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

    The “We can’t wait” campaign is a new phase in Mr. Obama’s so-far unsuccessful effort — punctuated until now by his cries of “Pass this bill!” on the stump — to pressure Republicans to support the job creation package he proposed after Labor Day. It comes after unanimous votes by Senate Republicans in the past week to block the plan; House Republican leaders have refused to put the measure to a vote. …

    And one more thing: Republicans are becoming concerned about their positioning:

    “The only way we can truly attack our economic challenges is with bold, bipartisan action in Congress,” said Dan Pfeiffer, Mr. Obama’s communications director. “The president will continue to pressure Congressional Republicans to put country before party and pass the American Jobs Act, but he believes we cannot wait, so he will act where they won’t.”

    Privately, some Republicans worry that they could suffer from that line of attack. On Sunday the Senate Republican minority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, offered an alternate narrative, saying that Mr. Obama, for all his complaints about Republican opposition, had given little prominence to his signing of three free-trade agreements that won bipartisan approval this month.

  33. rikyrah says:

    October 20, 2011
    Herman Cain and the Kochs
    Posted by Jane Mayer

    The Associated Press broke an interesting story recently noting that Herman Cain, who has portrayed himself as an outsider to politics, has in fact worked closely since 2005 with Americans for Prosperity, a corporate front group organized and funded in large part by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, long-time financiers of America’s conservative movement. (I wrote about the Kochs for The New Yorker last year.) The historically publicity-shy Kochs have stepped out of the shadows recently, vowing that Americans for Prosperity will spend some $200 million in the 2012 Presidential campaign in hopes of defeating President Obama. In light of this, it seems fair to ask exactly how Cain fits into this larger project, and how dependent he is on the Kochs.

    The AP story described a tangle of ties between Cain’s top campaign advisers and Americans for Prosperity. It also said that in 2005 and 2006 Cain himself travelled the country, speaking on behalf of the pro-corporate, anti-government group. But it stopped short of revealing any past or current financial ties between Cain and the Koch Brothers’ political organization.

    Earlier this week, I asked J. D. Gordon, communications director for Cain’s campaign, whether Cain was an employee of Americans for Prosperity. “No,” he said, “He’s not an employee.” I noted that I’d seen Cain speak at an Americans For Prosperity event in Austin, Texas in July 2010. He had the audience laughing and cheering as he said, “Our government has been hijacked by liberals…. Stupid people are running this country! … Don’t buy this malarky that all black people support Obama.” “Did he do it for free?” I asked. Other such speakers have reportedly been well-compensated for appearing at the group’s events. According to Adele Stan of AlterNet, for instance, Stephen Moore, a member of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board, has earned upwards of $135,000 for speaking at eighteen A.F.P. events in since 2006.

    Gordon acknowledged that Cain had received “speaking fees” from Americans for Prosperity. He said he would have to get back to me with details. Meanwhile, I called Levi Russell, the communications director for the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, to ask if he could confirm whether or not the ostensibly non-partisan, non-profit, independent political advocacy group had been paying Cain. He said that the organization’s relationship with speakers prevented it from disclosing how much they paid Cain. He added, “Over the years, Herman Cain has spoken at our events sometimes without charge, and other times we might pick up travel expenses or give a modest honorarium. But I can tell you that since Herman Cain announced he was running for President he has not been paid for any appearances.”

    With spokesmen not exactly jumping at the chance to explain the financial ties between Cain and the Kochs, all that was left were public documents. As a charitable organization, Americans for Prosperity Foundation has to file public tax forms, known as 990’s, listing significant expenses. And as a Presidential candidate, Cain has to file a financial disclosure report with the Federal Elections Commission revealing his sources of income. But Cain’s federal campaign disclosure makes no mention of A.F.P., and A.F.P.’s I.R.S. report has no mention of Cain. From reading these documents, which are meant to inform the public of any potential conflicts or questionable entanglements, one would never guess that these two entities have any financial relationship.

    A little further reporting, however, reveals how the financial ties between Cain and A.F.P. were hidden. On the bottom of page eight of the A.F.P.’s 2010 I.R.S. tax form, in tiny type, is a line item reporting payment to Washington Speakers Bureau of $127,794. The Washington Speakers Bureau lists Herman Cain as one of its speakers, noting that his “fees vary.” Gordon confirmed that Cain is represented by the Washington Speakers Bureau, and that this may be how he was paid.

    Yet, mysteriously, Cain discloses no payments from the Washington Speakers Bureau on his federal forms. Instead, on his 2011 F.E.C. form, he lists unspecified payments of between $50,000-$100,000 to his company, the New Voice, which he describes as a “public speaking” and “publishing” entity.

    “There’s no record of payments from Americans for Prosperity to Herman Cain on his financial disclosures or the organization’s 990,” Bill Allison, editorial director of the Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit group favoring government transparency, said. “It defeats the purpose of public disclosure if a candidate’s businesses and speakers’ bureaus obscure the relationships between moneyed interests and candidates.

    Read more

  34. ABC News Politics:

    Watch: Obama Builds Army of Campaign Volunteers

    [wpvideo 0bW1FWyq]

  35. Mitch McConnell Blames Obama For The GOP’s Refusal To Create Jobs

    In every country there is an element of the population that has callous disregard for other people, and they are usually found spending the rest of their lives in penitentiaries or sitting on death row awaiting execution. Since 2009, some of America’s most callous individuals can be found in the Republican Party and there are none quite as vicious as Senator Mitch McConnell. For the past two years and nine months, McConnell has made no effort to help the economy or create jobs and has in fact done everything possible to cause damage to the country and the people he purports to represent. McConnell’s innate ability to lie to protect his wealthy contributors and their corporations has, at times, gone above and beyond the norm for Republicans, but he continues unabated because his stated goal of limiting President Obama to one term in office inspires him to spout fallacious drivel.

    On Sunday, McConnell commented on the Senate Republicans blockage of part of the President’s jobs bill that saved or created jobs for teachers, firefighters, and police officers that would cost $35 billion and help every state in the Union. The Kentucky Republican said that it was not the role of the federal government to help fund first responders and educators in the states. McConnell also said that Republicans blocked the bill because of the surtax on millionaires and billionaires that were responsible for all the hiring they have done over the past two-and-a-half years. Well, he did not actually say that, but the insinuation was that small businesses would be prohibited from hiring if the bill had passed.

    The interviewer, CNN’s Candy Crowley reminded McConnell of a recent Gallup/USA Today poll that found that 75 percent of Americans supported President Barack Obama’s plan to provide additional money for teachers, police and firefighters. Crowley asked McConnell how he justified Republican opposition to the will of the people and their support for the President’s jobs plan and he said that he was sure Americans do support Obama’s plan but questioned whether the federal government “ought to be raising taxes in order to send money down to bail out states for whom firefighters and police work. They’re local and state employees. The question is whether the federal government can afford to be bailing out states. I think the answer is no.” Interesting sentiment from a vile Republican who supported bailing out banks when George W. Bush was president or giving welfare to oil companies, corporations, Israel, and 2% of the wealthiest Americans.

  36. Ugandan Woman sets Rush Straight!

    (CNN) — What does a 22-year-old see when she looks at herself in the mirror?

    Evelyn Apoko sees a face marred by war, one that is jarring to others. Even she can’t stand to look sometimes.

    Doctors reconstructed her jaw, removed scars and balanced her lips. In the coming days, she will get a new jaw implant, a bone graft and a set of upper teeth.

    “I see me,” she says, after pausing to think about how she might describe her reflection. “I look into my eyes and I know there is something there.”

    That something came from three harrowing years of captivity and the inner fortitude that fueled her desire to survive, so that she could live to tell about the ugliness she saw.

    One summer night in 2001, Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) guerrillas snatched Apoko from a community center near her home in Gulu district, Uganda. Notorious for their cold-blooded cruelty, the LRA beat her, tortured her.

    She chooses not to discuss all the details but says this: if she didn’t do what the LRA told her, she knew she would die.

    Apoko’s tale, sadly, is not uncommon. She is among thousands of children abducted by the LRA…

  37. GGail says:

    Good morning (west coast time) 3Chics! Looking forward to the great Stevie Wonder selections this week.

  38. Condoleezza Rice During Katrina: ‘We Clearly Have A Race Problem’

    Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said President George W. Bush had a “race problem” during Hurricane Katrina, but she defended him against his critics who, she said, tried to use the “race card” against him, according to excerpts from her upcoming memoir, No Higher Honor, published in Newsweek.

    In the book, Rice recounted how she went shopping at the expensive Ferragamo shoe store in New York and returned to her hotel:

    The airwaves were filled with devastating pictures from New Orleans. And the faces of most of the people in distress were black. I knew right away that I should never have left Washington. I called my chief of staff, Brian Gunderson. “I’m coming home,” I said.
    “Yeah. You’d better do that,” he answered.

    Then I called the President. “Mr. President, I’m coming back. I don’t know how much I can do, but we clearly have a race problem,” I said.

    Rice, who grew up in racially segregated Birmingham, Ala., said in September 2005 that race and poverty came together “in a very ugly way” in the “Old South.”

    However, in the memoir, she defended Bush against some who used the “explosive ‘race card’ to paint the President as a prejudiced, uncaring man.” “It was so unfair, cynical, and irresponsible,” she wrote.

    It’s not the first time she has defended Bush’s handling of Katrina. In a 2009 appearance on “The View,” she said, “What really did make me angry was the implication that some people made that President Bush allowed this to happen because these people were black.”

    Rice has expressed regret for the New York City trip before Katrina, especially for shopping at an expensive shoe store. She again wrote about the trip to New York, where she saw the show “Spamalot” and the Drudge Report noticed. “I wasn’t just the secretary of state with responsibility for foreign affairs; I was the highest ranking black in the administration and a key advisor to the President. What had I been thinking?”

  39. President Obama Speaks on the American Jobs Act
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    October 24, 2011 5:30 PM EDT

  40. Dan Poignon:

    ‘We can’t wait’: Obama to use executive authority to boost economy as Republicans dither on jobs

  41. rikyrah says:

    November/ December 2011

    Scandal in the Age of Obama

    Why Washington feeding frenzies aren’t what they used to be.

    By Jonathan Alter

    Barack Obama was not in office for more than a couple of minutes, it seemed, before conservatives began trying to cover him in muck. Yet for almost three years, the administration has been scandal-less, not scandalous. In a capital culture that over generations has become practiced at the art of flinging mud pies, Republicans and a few reporters have been tossing charges against a Teflon wall.

    First there was the pathetic charge that Obama was born in Kenya and therefore ineligible to be president. The story was heavily stoked by the conservative media, aided by the non-denial denials of GOP leaders, and gave Donald Trump his fifteen minutes of presidential contender fame. It was never taken seriously by the mainstream press, but the president ended the story in April of this year by taking the unprecedented step of releasing his birth certificate, a tacit acknowledgment that the desperate effort to smear him had become a political distraction.

    This came after two years in which Fox News and congressional Republicans tried to make the case that Obama had abused his power by hiring unaccountable “policy czars.” Though the agitation lead to the ouster of a low-level White House policy aide, the broader charge never passed the Washington laugh test—policy czars have been fixtures in every administration since Richard Nixon’s.

    During the 2010 campaign, Representative Darrell Issa, who would later become chairman of a key congressional investigative panel, called Obama “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.” He then walked the charge back for lack of evidence. Since taking over the committee, Issa has launched a series of investigations into alleged political malfeasance—including, for instance, that DNC fundraisers held in the White House violated the Hatch Act—that have so far yielded nothing.

    Conservatives had especially high hopes about allegations that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was illegally doling out waivers to the Affordable Care Act mandates to politically connected businesses and insurers. The conservative columnist Michael Barone called the health waivers part of Obama’s “gangster government.” But when the House Republicans demanded a GAO investigation, the GAO came back with bupkes.

    Finally, at the end of August, the collapse of the solar energy company Solyndra into bankruptcy after a half-billion-dollar loan guarantee from the Department of Energy seemed to offer the Republicans the answer to their prayers. For several weeks, the creaky machinery of scandal in the press and on Capitol Hill revved up, with stories detailing how Solyndra executives had been in close contact with White House officials and how some of the company’s investors were high-profile political donors, having raised funds for Obama’s 2008 campaign. It certainly did not help that the president and vice president both touted Solyndra as a stimulus and clean energy success story, Obama doing so in a speech at the company’s factory last May.

    But complications soon emerged. Though approved under Obama, the process to secure the loan guarantee had, in fact, begun in 2007 under President Bush. George Kaiser, an Obama fund-raiser initially implicated as the main influence peddler, was only one of the key investors in the firm—so were members of the Walton family, of Wal-Mart fame, and they had given generously to Bush. And some claims in the initial press reports—for example, that the Bush administration Department of Energy had rejected Solyndra’s loan application in its final days in office—later turned out to be flat out wrong (the committee responsible for vetting the project delayed approval by two months, raising some concerns but also suggesting that “the project appears to have merit”).

    As these wrinkles started to appear, Republicans did not help their cause when, predictably, they started overreaching. Instead of keeping a narrow focus on the events surrounding how the company obtained funding and then went bankrupt despite red flags, they began to use Solyndra’s failure to implicate the entire loan guarantee program as a socialist Obama boondoggle. But it soon came to light that many of the loudest GOP critics, such as Senator Jim DeMint, had actually voted to establish the loan guarantee program back in 2005.

    Investigations are ongoing and questions remain—for instance, what pressure, if any, did the White House exert on the Department of Energy to approve and maintain the company’s loan guarantee—so it’s possible that “Solyndra-gate” could explode into a full category 5 scandal. But on the strength of the evidence so far, that seems highly unlikely.

    Obama’s presidency is nearly three years old. It has been nearly four years since the furor over Reverend Jeremiah Wright. During this period, Obama has been reviled by conservatives to a degree matched only by the venom directed at Franklin Roosevelt and, later, Bill Clinton. But the vituperation, distortions, and outright lies have been mostly about policies, alleged policies, conspiracy theories, and ludicrous fantasies.

    In all that time—a record span, according to scholars—there has been no major Obama scandal to speak of. Some potential scandals—like Tom Daschle’s back taxes—have been nipped in the bud. (Two weeks after the inauguration, Daschle asked that his nomination to be HHS secretary not be sent to the Senate.) Other stories that might have paralyzed earlier administrations just fizzled.

    The question is why.

  42. rikyrah says:

    Karl Rove: Herman Cain May Not Be ‘Up To The Task’ |

    GOP political guru Karl Rove trotted out his trademark whiteboard today to raise doubts about presidential contender Herman Cain’s fitness for office, ticking through six moments in which Cain has demonstrated an embarrassing lack of understanding about key issues. “The whole effect of this is to not create an image, I think, of him as being a flip-flopper, I think it is to create an image of him as not being up to the task,” Rove said, “and that’s really deadly for a presidential campaign.” Watch it:

  43. rikyrah says:

    White House defends its record on poverty

    By Krissah Thompson, Published: October 21

    Top officials in the Obama administration are defending the president from criticism that he has not done enough to help the poor.

    In a wide-ranging conversation hosted Thursday by, Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to the president, and Melody Barnes, the president’s domestic policy adviser, said the administration’s policies have helped to keep millions of Americans from sliding into poverty.

    This president has told us to take a holistic approach when it comes to poverty,” said Barnes, who will leave her White House post at the end of the year. She specifically cited parts of the economic stimulus, such as a program that provided summer jobs for poor youth, and an increase in Pell grant funding for college students.

    The White House also released a 44-page report this month on poverty, which is rarely discussed by politicians. The study discusses everything from expanded support for small business to the reach of the food stamp program.

    Obama has taken stiff criticism from some progressives, who say he has not done enough to help the poor. This summer Princeton Professor Cornel West and television host Tavis Smiley toured the country in an “Anti-Poverty Tour,” pressed Obama to say the word “poor,” and accused him of being allied with Wall Street titans. The Occupy Wall Street protestors have also denounced a political system that they see as tied to the rich.

    Both said the administration’s new report was not a response to specific critics but an answer to the question: What has Obama done for poor people?

    “One of our challenges is getting information out,” Jarrett said. “Part of what we have to do is just be better messengers.”

    Barnes added, “We’ve been trying to address [poverty] from day one. … People were asking what have you done, and we knew we have been doing quite a bit over the last couple of years.”

    Barnes pointed out that the struggles of low income families are not new and part of the work the administration has done is to focus on the education system and support existing safety-net programs.

    “So many people were struggling long before our employment rates went up,” she said. “We know that there are a range of different problems that affect those individuals.”

  44. Michele Norris Steps Down From NPR: Host To Take Break As Husband Joins Obama Campaign

    Michele Norris, a co-host of the popular NPR program, “All Things Considered” is to temporarily step down from her hosting duties, as her husband has accepted a position with the Obama 2012 campaign.

    According to NPR, Norris sent an email to staff:

    I need to share some news and I wanted to make sure my NPR family heard this first. Last week, I told news management that my husband, Broderick Johnson, has just accepted a senior adviser position with the Obama Campaign. After careful consideration, we decided that Broderick’s new role could make it difficult for me to continue hosting ATC. Given the nature of Broderick’s position with the campaign and the impact that it will most certainly have on our family life, I will temporarily step away from my hosting duties until after the 2012 elections. I will be leaving the host chair at the end of this week, but I’m not going far. I will be wearing a different hat for a while, producing signature segments and features and working on new reporting projects. While I will of course recuse myself from all election coverage, there’s still an awful lot of ground that I can till in this interim role.

  45. Talking Points Memo:

    U.S. pulls ambassador from Syria:

  46. rikyrah says:

    October 24, 2011 10:05 AM

    ‘Focusing on the wrong problem’

    By Steve Benen

    Ask congressional Republicans what’s wrong with the economy, and they’ll point to federal regulations. Recent analyses from CNN, the New York Times, the AP, the Economic Policy Institute, the Wall Street Journal, and McClatchy newspapers — relying on, among other things, BLS data, surveys from the National Federation of Independent Business, and Brookings Institution scholarship — all said the same thing: government regulations are not responsible for holding back the economy.

    CNN’s Candy Crowley pressed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to explain the gap between Republican rhetoric and all available evidence, asking, “Are you focusing on the wrong problem?” He replied:

    “Well, you know why people aren’t buying. They’re unemployed. I mean, the private sector is not going to get going here until the government gets its foot off the throat and lets people who know how to create jobs and grow businesses do that.

    “Look, Candy, all of these people are not making this up. I don’t think people who are running companies are making it up. They realize what is making it difficult for them to grow and expand.”

    Maybe McConnell didn’t understand the question. Crowley had just cited a survey from the National Federation of Independent Businesses, asking business owners what’s holding the economy back. The most frequent response was poor sales, not government regulation.

    Confronted with this information, McConnell is comfortable pretending he’s still right, and that the private sector agrees with him, reality be damned.

    As for that first part of his answer, McConnell’s correct that unemployment undermines economic demand, but let’s not forget that McConnell (a) is making a Keynesian argument that he disagrees with; and (b) wants to make unemployment worse on purpose by laying off hundreds of thousands of additional public-sector workers (because they’re public-sector workers).

    In other words, confronted with reality, and asked to defend his number one economic talking point, the top Senate Republican is quickly reduced to incoherence.

    When the political world wonders why a sensible debate over economic policy seems literally impossible, I hope McConnell’s responses yesterday will come to mind.

  47. rikyrah says:

    DNC Chairwoman Says Party Takes Black Vote for Granted

    Wasserman says asking for the black vote last minute is ‘disrespectful’
    Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) has a hard task over the next 13 months. Obama’s road to re-election won’t be a smooth one with voter suppression threatening to keep thousands of voters away from the polls, high unemployment rates and the Occupy movement growing. Either way, Wasserman Schultz knows the black vote is highly coveted by Republican and Democrat parties, but she urges that minorities shouldn’t be taken advantage of.

    “We spend many, many months taking for granted that the Black community is going to be there, all we have to do is flip the switch,” she said. “The Black community leadership all across the country, my colleagues, just get rightfully frustrated with the fact that too often [Democrats] show-up at the last minute in the Black community.”

    Wasserman Schultz feels it’s time to end the habit of reaching out to minorities at the last minute. “We show up at the last minute in the Black community,” she said. “I think it’s disrespectful. Politicians from each party should pay close attention to getting to know the community they serve instead of just soliciting an invitation to support a campaign.”

    Three years in, Obama’s detractors have include people from both sides of the isle and all races. Some black leaders have jumped on the bandwagon to say the president has failed. Black activists Cornel West and Tavis Smiley led a poverty tour, which targeted Obama’s policies they said failed poor people. Rep. Maxine Waters, (D-Calif.) criticized Obama for failing to help blacks in the recession, and responded to Obama’s message to CBC members to “stop grumbling” and said: “I don’t know who he was talking to. ” At this point, Rev. Al Sharpton may be Obama’s strongest backer as he called the president’s critics “hypocrites. ”

    When it comes to policies, Wasserman Schultz said she fully supports Obama. When negative statements are made about he president, the DNC Chair believes that people have to be reminded of one thing: “This is a president that’s inherited the most problems at once. ”

    Wasserman Schultz knows that Obama and the DNC will have a hard time getting “the Black community fired up about defending the Affordable Care Act.” She also said people must be educated on what the president has done during his term to help his re-election.

    When it comes to Hispanic population, Wasserman Schultz says policies under Obama is a “plus and a boom” for the community. The DNC Chair called Republicans approach to issues affecting Hispanics, such as immigration, a “slash and burn” approach that is unacceptable.

    “It’s disrespectful to think that Hispanics would automatically support a Hispanic candidate,” says Wasserman Schultz.

    The Florida representative admitted that Democrats have done a poor job in the past of sending clear messages during campaign season, but this time around, she said that will change.

    “People want us to be more clear and direct,” she said. “2008 was historic, 2012 is personal.”

  48. rikyrah says:

    October 24, 2011 10:40 AM

    What ‘Romneycare’ offers undocumented immigrants

    By Steve Benen

    Arguably no issue has done more to undermine Rick Perry’s presidential campaign than a Texas policy that offers in-state tuition to the children of undocumented immigrants. And no candidate has done more to exploit this revelation that the Republican frontrunner, Mitt Romney, who’s relentlessly attacked the very idea of public aid to those he derisively labels “illegals.”

    What goes around comes around, Mitt


    The Massachusetts healthcare law that then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed in 2006 includes a program known as the Health Safety Net, which allows undocumented immigrants to get needed medical care along with others who lack insurance.

    Uninsured, poor immigrants can walk into a health clinic or hospital in the state and get publicly subsidized care at virtually no cost to them, regardless of their immigration status.

    The program, widely supported in Massachusetts, drew little attention when Romney signed the trailblazing healthcare law. But now it could prove problematic for the Republican presidential hopeful, who has been attacking Texas Gov. Rick Perry for supporting educational aid for children of undocumented immigrants in Texas.

    “We have to turn off the magnet of extraordinary government benefits,” Romney said at the recent Fox News-Google debate in Florida.


    Now, just to be clear about this, I happen to agree with Romney — at the least the 2006 version of him — about this, and I support the Massachusetts policy.

    But in a political context, it would appear the former governor has a problem. After a month of condemning programs that provide state aid to undocumented immigrants, even blaming the aid for increasing illegal immigration, this new report shows that Romney’s health-care reform law — his only meaningful accomplishment in public office — provides at least some limited, taxpayer-subsidized health care assistance to these same undocumented workers.

    The same state health care program covers abortion services, and served as the blueprint for President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

    Romney’s willingness to hire undocumented workers to tend to his lawn has caused him some headaches. These new revelations appear to be much worse.

  49. rikyrah says:

    October 24, 2011 9:30 AM

    From ‘Pass this bill’ to ‘We can’t wait’

    By Steve Benen

    To the surprise of no one, congressional Republicans aren’t at all fond of President Obama’s jobs agenda. They killed the overall American Jobs Act two weeks ago; they killed the teachers/first responders jobs bill last week; and they’ll kill the infrastructure jobs bill fairly soon. The GOP doesn’t have a job-creating alternative, and the party can’t explain exactly what they find to offensive about the Democratic plans, but that doesn’t seem to matter.

    So, what’s the White House going to do now? While Senate Dems continue to force votes on components of the White House jobs agenda, the president and his team are moving forward with the next phase of their own plan.

    With his jobs plan stymied in Congress by Republican opposition, President Obama on Monday will begin a series of executive-branch actions to confront housing, education and other economic problems over the coming months, heralded by a new mantra: “We can’t wait” for lawmakers to act.

    According to an administration official, Mr. Obama will kick off his new offensive in Las Vegas, ground zero of the housing bust, by promoting new rules for federally guaranteed mortgages so that more homeowners, those with little or no equity in their homes, can refinance and avert foreclosure.

    And Wednesday in Denver, the official said, Mr. Obama will announce policy changes to ease college graduates’ repayment of federal loans, seeking to alleviate the financial concerns of students considering college at a time when states are raising tuition.

    Remember all of those public events in which Obama led the crowd in chants of “pass this bill”? Well, congressional Republicans responded, “No.” That clears the way for a new mantra: “We can’t wait.”

    The phrase doesn’t mean, “We can’t wait for the next election; Congress needs to act now.” Rather, the point is, “Congress won’t act, so Obama is going to have to work on his own because we can’t wait.”

    To that end, the president intends to announce “at least one initiative each week through the rest of the year, including steps to help returning veterans and small businesses,” relying almost exclusively on executive orders, regulatory moves, and executive-branch agency actions.

    The steps will very likely be worthwhile, but let’s be clear: these actions will include modest efforts. It will help demonstrate that one end of Pennsylvania Avenue is actually working and trying to address public needs, but the administration acting unilaterally cannot fix the economy, or even give it a significant boost.

    That would require Congress, which can’t — and apparently doesn’t want to — help

  50. Ametia says:

    Wal-Mart will drop health insurance benefits for its part-time workers, the New York Times reports this morning. “Over the last few years, we’ve seen our health care rates increase and it’s probably not a surprise that this year will be no different,” spokesman Greg Rossiter told the Times. “We made the difficult decision to raise rates that will affect our associates’ medical costs. The decisions made were not easy, but they strike a balance between managing costs and providing quality care and coverage.”

    Wal-Mart didn’t blame the health reform law for the decision; rather, the company pointed a finger at the steadily rising cost of health care. But, it turns out, the health reform law won’t do much to encourage Wal-Mart to provide coverage for these employees either.

  51. Ametia says:

    Where are the Clinton and Bush apologies for our budget crisis?
    By Robert J. Samuelson

    Here’s a fantasy of mine that might help solve the long-term budget problem. Retired presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush would tour the country together and apologize. They would apologize for not tackling Social Security and Medicare when they had the chance. They would say things that would offend their political bases: Bush would concede that we’ll ultimately need higher taxes to balance the budget; Clinton would support real Social Security and Medicare cuts to minimize draconian reductions in other government programs and steep tax increases.

  52. Marked Man: Obama Campaign Drops The Coy Routine And Steps Up Direct Attacks On Mitt Romney

    The first Republican primary elections may not begin for more than two months, but President Obama’s re-election campaign is already engaging its likely opponents — especially Mitt Romney — with tougher and more frequent attacks.

    Obama’s team is concerned that the GOP candidates will get a pass during the primary campaign if it doesn’t aggressively intervene and begin to shape the general election battlefield, according to Ben LaBolt, communications director for Obama’s re-election team.

    “According to a Pew Study out last week, the President has received the critical media scrutiny you’d expect comes with the job, but the Republican candidates have thus far received largely fawning coverage as the horse race is covered much more closely than the policy positions they’ve laid out which would have very bad implications for middle class families,” LaBolt told TPM. “Until someone steps up to fill that void it’s our responsibility to do so.”

    Early this month, the campaign issued a strategy memo laying out plans to paint Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Romney as pro-Wall Street Republicans captured by special interests while playing up Obama’s populism.

  53. rikyrah says:

    Mocking Anti-War People
    by BooMan
    Mon Oct 24th, 2011 at 09:24:08 AM EST

    It’s easy to mock Michele Bachmann’s position on Libya because in greater context she has opposed every element of the Arab Spring. She is clearly wetting her pants at the prospect that average Arab citizens will have some actual say in the policies of their governments. She has explicitly said that America was better off when we could control Arab countries by cozying up to repressive dictators. She reminds me of a hard-line Soviet watching the breakup of the Eastern Bloc.
    Yet, we ought to be a little more humble. I am seeing a lot the same attitude on the left that I saw on the right after we invaded Iraq and toppled the statue of Saddam Hussein. Anyone who questioned the wisdom of the war was laughed out of town. “Are you saying we were better off with Saddam in power?” they asked. “Look at how few casualties we had,” they boasted. “They Iraqi people have been liberated,” they predicted.

    No one talks about the initial stages of the Iraq war anymore. Everything that matters happened after Hussein was driven out of power.

    What’s disturbing about Bachmann’s position is that she opposes our intervention in Libya for all the wrong reasons. She opposes democracy in Arab countries because she doesn’t like Arab public opinion. She doesn’t care about Libyans. Her opposition isn’t based in any humanitarian concern about the risks of creating a power vacuum in a highly tribal oil-rich state with no democratic institutions or history. She isn’t concerned about our responsibility for flooding the country with weapons that are now in the hands of militias that do not answer to any central authority.

    She’s predictably wrong about everything. But it’s way too early to be mocking people who thought the U.S. should stay out of the Libyan uprising. And if Libya turns out a lot better than Iraq did, part of the reason why will be that the president was smart about limiting our risks and responsibilities.

  54. rikyrah says:

    #OccupyPolice will be a Force to be Reckoned With

    The cataclysmic force of #OccupyMarines was United States Marine Corps. Sergeant Shamar
    Thomas after boldly denouncing the abusive actions of the NYPD in an emotional plea which
    can be seen in a video gone viral, viewed by over 2,215,000 people worldwide, as reported

    Thomas’ plea was the inspiration behind Occupy Marines and now the movement is reaching
    out to the police force while touting one as a hero.

    We are looking for this man, please help us find him. We don’t know much but what we do
    know is, he’s an officer somewhere in the UK, and out of all the officers there, he is a lone hero in the crowd, we wanna lend him our support, any info please comment below or contact us at:

    Using Sgt. Thomas-style tactics the movement is extending the Solidarity branch in form of
    a website while social site activists partake in helping effort along utilizing
    Facebook and Twitter’s hashtag #OccupyPolice.

    Occupy_Police tweeted:

    “Tired of the mass arrests, we’ve created a website for Police who support the 99 #OWS will
    move forward with Police support #OccupyTogether”

    It doesn’t take an economic analyst to comprehend what category our men and women in blue
    fall in – they are the 99%.

    “It’s been 24 hours since the launch of the Occupy Police Movement and we’re off to a good
    start! We have some announcements regarding the upcoming week. The first is that we’re
    going to hold a live online General Assembly on Monday from 8pm-9pm est. We’ll be fielding
    questions and taking in, all of your input as to the direction of Occupy Police. This is the peoples movement and the course it runs is in your hands. We encourage officers from around the US to get involved.”

    There is a clear distinction in the NYPD’s tactics; the White shirted officers were/are the
    antagonists, pepper spraying peaceful protesters randomly while the Blue shirted officers look on, some of them in dismay. Anthony Balongna, the White shirted police commander who
    blasted peaceful protesting females with pepper spray said he, “would do things the same
    way” if given a second chance. Balogna may be a supervising officer but I doubt that will deter officers who do not outrank him from joining this spectacular grassroots movement representing the working middle class, which includes the police.

    During the protests in Wisconsin the Police did not give in to their authoritarian Governor’s outrageous requests. Instead of bowing to Walker, they stood in solidarity with protesters who were demanding collective bargaining rights remain intact. Police were told to remove them but instead of kicking them out of the building the protesters ‘occupied,’ the police remained at night with them.

    “We have been ordered by the legislature to kick you all out at 4:00 today. But we know what’s right from wrong. We will not be kicking anyone out, in fact, we will be sleeping here with you!”

    ‘We the People’ are represented in this nonpartisan movement and the strategy is to avoid
    ostracizing the police but instead request that they join them in solidarity much like the
    Wisconsin police did.

    Thomas’ background speaks volumes on patriotism:

    “Thomas comes from a long line of people who sacrifice for their country: Mother, Army Veteran (Iraq), Step father, Army, active duty (Afghanistan), Grand father, Air Force veteran (Vietnam), Great Grand Father Navy veteran (World War II).”

    Go on, call this patriot a ‘dirty hippie’ but just do it to his face.

    Fox News:

    “There’s no political movement there. There’s no thirst for any kind of a political movement there. They wouldn’t have the backing of the American public.”

    The movement has grown exponentially since that statement was made but Fox has remained
    consistent in their denial.

    On the 17th of September when I marched with the Occupiers, I ran into a young officer and
    spoke with him, mostly in a joking manner. As I left I said, “Something tells me you would rather be protesting then to be policing the people”. He smiled, laughed, then nodded his head in agreement.

    It’s only a matter of time that the good cops wake up because We the People are witnessing

  55. rikyrah says:

    ‘Miracle’ tornado survivor denied workers’ comp
    By JIM SALTER Associated Press The Associated Press
    Sunday, October 23, 2011 9:09 PM EDT

    By all accounts, Mark Lindquist is a hero, an underpaid social worker who nearly gave his life trying to save three developmentally disabled adults from the Joplin tornado. Both houses of the Missouri legislature honored Lindquist, the Senate resolution calling him “a true hero and inspiration to others.”

    But heroism doesn’t pay the bills. The tornado’s 200 mph winds tossed Lindquist nearly a block, broke every rib, obliterated his shoulder, knocked out most of his teeth and put him in a coma for about two months.

    Lindquist, 51, ran up medical expenses that exceed $2.5 million, and the bills keep coming. He requires 11 daily prescriptions and will need more surgery.

    But he has no medical insurance. Lindquist couldn’t afford it on a job paying barely above minimum wage. He assumed workers’ compensation would cover his bills, but his claim was denied “based on the fact that there was no greater risk than the general public at the time you were involved in the Joplin tornado,” according to a letter to Lindquist from Accident Fund Insurance Company of America, his company’s workers’ comp provider.

    That reasoning has angered Lindquist’s family, employer, even lawmakers.

    “I think they need to take another look at the circumstances and revisit the claim,” state Rep. Bill Lant, R-Joplin, said. “What he did went beyond heroics.”

    Lindquist watched the skies darken on the evening of May 22 while on his way to the group home occupied by Mark Farmer, Rick Fox and Tripp Miller, three middle-aged men with Down syndrome. Soon after he arrived, a tornado siren began to blare.

    Lindquist’s employer, Community Support Services, had recently put workers through a tornado drill, so Lindquist and co-worker Ryan Tackett knew what to do. Because there was no basement or shelter and the residents moved too slowly to relocate, Lindquist and Tackett placed mattresses over the men for protection, then climbed atop the mattresses for added weight.

    It seemed like little more than a precaution until Lindquist heard the unmistakable roar of the twister. “I told Ryan, `If you’ve ever prayed before, now is the time to do it,'” he said.

  56. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    October 24, 2011 8:00 AM

    How far Perry is willing to go

    By Steve Benen

    It’s been about five months since the White House took the extraordinary step of unveiling President Obama’s long-form birth certificate, ending the “Birther” conspiracy theory once and for all. With the questions answered, unhinged conservatives were forced to move on to other areas of nonsense.

    Well, most of them, anyway.

    New comments by Rick Perry in Parade magazine have revived the issue of whether the Texas governor believes that President Obama was born in the United States.

    In the interview, Mr. Perry was asked if Mr. Obama was born in the United States, and he replied, “I have no reason to think otherwise.” When pressed, he said, “Well, I don’t have a definitive answer.”

    As part of the interview, Perry said the president hadn’t seen his birth certificate. When Parade said the governor had seen Obama’s, Perry replied, “I don’t know. Have I?”

    Pressed further on whether he questions the legitimacy of the documents, Perry said, “I had dinner with Donald Trump the other night…. He doesn’t think it’s real.” Asked if he believes the materials are real, Perry said, “I don’t have any idea,” before concluding that the issue is “distractive.”

    Not distractive enough to avoid discussing in an interview, apparently.

    My first instinct is to consider the strategy behind comments like these. Does Perry have polling that suggests there’s still a lot of Birthers who, for example, are likely to participate in the Iowa caucuses? Is this part of the governor’s strategy to reconnect with the GOP’s right-wing base? Maybe Perry believes questioning the president’s legitimacy will move the campaign discussion away from some of his recent setbacks?

    But on second thought, these questions very likely give the governor too much credit. Rick Perry is not exactly what one might call a “strategic thinker.” I suspect all of this should, in fact, be taken at face value — he had dinner with a nutty conspiracy theorist; they chatted about Trump’s silly ideas; Perry found the nonsense persuasive; and when asked about it, the governor said what he was thinking.

    There’s no 11-dimensional chess here; Perry just isn’t terribly bright.

  57. rikyrah says:

    Sunday, October 23, 2011
    Kenneth, Still The Governor
    Posted by Zandar

    It’s beginning to sink in that post-Katrina Louisiana is now among the reddest of red states and will remain so for the foreseeable future as Gov. Bobby Jindal won re-election easily and took two-thirds of the vote in the state’s Saturday runoff election.

    With more than 99 percent of precincts reporting, Jindal carried 66 percent of the vote with his nearest challenger, Democratic school teacher Tara Hollis, taking 18 percent. None of the remaining eight candidates moved out of single digits.

    Jindal, whose vote count allowed him to bypass a November runoff, has been viewed as a potential vice presidential contender. But he has said he would serve out his term as governor if re-elected.

    “I will use every day, every hour of these next four years to make Louisiana the best it can be,” he said.

    Once seen as a possible presidential contender himself, Jindal has since endorsed Texas Governor Rick Perry for the Republican nomination.

    “Jindal doesn’t aim low,” said Bernie Pinsonat, a Baton Rouge political analyst and pollster. “I don’t think anybody in Louisiana thinks that Bobby Jindal doesn’t have ambitions to be president,” he said.

    Pinsonat said the key to what Jindal did next was the 2012 presidential election. “If (Democrat) Barack Obama is re-elected, Jindal will throw himself 100 percent into running for president in 2016,” Pinsonat said.

    Jindal has no chance of course. Well, not any more of a chance than Perry, Bachmann, Cain, or Ron Paul does now, anyway. The more important story is that the massive remaking of Louisiana’s population after Hurricane Katrina has now cemented the Bayou State as blood red. It’s an important lesson in demographics that has not been lost on other Republican leaders in other states or at the national level either: when you remove minorities from the voting equation, Republicans win.

    Despite Louisiana’s economy crashing during his tenure, Jindal still got 2/3rds of the vote. Ask yourself why he was rewarded with four more years when the economy and jobs are the most important single issue among voters and just last year the state’s coastline was ravaged by the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and farmers this year were flooded out of their lands when Jindal gave the green light to do so in order to spare the wealthier parts of New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

    Jindal should have been run out of town on a rail yesterday. Instead he won overwhelmingly. Think about what allowed that to happen.

  58. rikyrah says:

    October 24, 2011 8:35 AM

    McConnell’s pro-unemployment argument

    By Steve Benen

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) last week kept his caucus united and killed a popular jobs bill during a jobs crisis. The plan — 400,000 jobs for teachers, police officers, and firefighters, paid for with a 0.5% surtax on millionaires and billionaires — was wildly popular with the public, but McConnell and his Senate Republicans killed it anyway.

    Yesterday on CNN, Candy Crowley asked him why. The GOP leader replied:

    “Well, Candy, I’m sure that Americans do, I certainly do approve of firefighters and police. The question is whether the federal government ought to be raising taxes on 300,000 small businesses in order to send money down to bail out states for whom firefighters and police work. They are local and state employees.

    “Look, we have a debt the size of our economy. That alone makes us look a lot like Greece. The question is whether the federal government can afford to be bailing out states. I think the answer is no…. Look, we are not going to get this economy going by continuing to shower money on the public sector.”

    By way of a fact-check, let’s note a couple of the glaring errors here. The first is that the financing relied on a small tax increase on millionaires and billionaires, not small businesses. The number of businesses affected is ridiculously small, making McConnell’s claim patently dishonest. The second is that anyone who compares America’s debt issues to Greece’s is a fool.

    But the larger issue here is McConnell’s entire approach to government. Jobs for teachers and first responders, in his mind, are (a) a “local” problem, and (b) related to the public sector. They’re ultimately two sides of the same coin — McConnell cares first about ideology, not problem-solving.

    It’s true that the vast majority of teachers, cops, and firefighters are hired by state and local governments, but here’s the thing: state and local governments can’t afford these jobs right now, and they can’t afford to take on debt to keep these hundreds of thousands of workers providing an extremely important public service. The federal government can afford to keep these Americans on the job, can afford to take on additional debt at practically no additional cost, and simply has to choose to do so.

    McConnell is offering a philosophical response to a practical problem. It gets back to what we discussed last week — the right simply cannot fathom a pragmatic approach to governing. Democrats see a jobs crisis, want to save hundreds of thousands of jobs, craft a plan that works, and find a straightforward way to pay for it. Republicans see a jobs crisis and ask, “Are those public-sector jobs? What does our ideology tell us about aid to states? Unemployment, schlumemploymet — how does this affect the size of government?”

    The GOP line doesn’t address the underlying problem because, as McConnell explained yesterday, Republicans don’t care about the underlying problem. What matters is the integrity of conservative ideology, not keeping teachers and cops on the job.

    Notice, McConnell didn’t say the Democratic jobs bill would be ineffective. He knows — everyone knows — the measure would keep those Americans working, which would not only help the workers and their families, but also the local economies and those who benefit from their services. But for the Senate Minority Leader, whether the legislation would be effective or not is irrelevant.

    Bringing down unemployment isn’t McConnell’s priority. Winning a philosophical argument is.

  59. rikyrah says:

    Monday, October 24, 2011
    Jobs Are Not My Job, Says Mitch
    Posted by Zandar
    Ah, my senator Mitch McConnell once again showed a keen grasp on Sunday of what his constituents want from a Washington politician.

    CNN’s Candy Crowley reminded the Kentucky Republican that a recent Gallup/USA Today poll found that 75 percent of Americans supported President Barack Obama’s plan to provide additional money for teachers, police and firefighters.

    “Republicans helped not break a filibuster, if you will, in a procedural vote,” Crowley explained. “You basically got rid of that jobs bill which would have given money to the states, designed to hire or retain fireman, policeman and teachers. When we look at the polling, 75 percent of Americans supported that and yet, the Republicans were against it. So, how do you justify that in your mind?”

    “Well, Candy, I’m sure that Americans do,” McConnell remarked. “I certainly do approve of firefighters and police. The question is whether the federal government ought to be raising taxes on 300,000 small businesses in order to send money down to bail out states for whom firefighters and police work. They’re local and state employees.”

    “The question is whether the federal government can afford to be bailing out states. I think the answer is no.”

    Sorry unemployed Kentuckians, your senator says we can’t afford to lift a finger to rehire teachers and firefighters, or to in fact do ANYTHING. But we sure could afford a war in Iraq and to give the banks trillions, yes? Unemployed here in the Bluegrass State? Sorry, we’re broke. Jobs are not Mitch McConnell’s job, you see.

    And we’re broke because we can never, ever raise taxes on our precious job creators…only that’s not what the bill would have done, anyway.

    “Yeah, these bills are designed on purpose not to pass,” McConnell asserted. “I mean, the president is deliberately trying to create an issue here. Look, the American people don’t think, I’m sure, that it’s a good idea. Four out of five of the so-called millionaires are business owners, over 300,000 small businesses in our country that hire people. I don’t think the American people think that raising taxes on business, small business in the middle of this economic situation we find ourselves in is a particularly good idea.”

    On the contrary Mitch, they think it’s a great idea.

  60. rikyrah says:

    October 24, 2011
    An optionless president

    Regardless of how cosmetic, political, self-aggrandizing or futile the president’s unilateral maneuvers prove to be, they are but symptomatic of how utterly dysfunctional Congress has become. From the NY Times:

    With his jobs plan stymied in Congress by Republican opposition, President Obama on Monday will begin a series of executive-branch actions to confront housing, education and other economic problems over the coming months, heralded by a new mantra: “We can’t wait” for lawmakers to act.

    That heaving feeling in the pit of one’s stomach is alternately inspired by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell or Speaker Boehner and sidekicks. Their sadistic indifference to the immense distress across working-class America provides Obama’s propulsion toward the kind of benign, executive dictatorship which Republicans will, no doubt, now indignantly assail.

    Here’s McConnell, yesterday, on CNN’s “State of the Union”:

    [The White House’s] story line is that there must be some villain out there who’s keeping this administration from succeeding.

    Earthworms crawl no deeper in the slime. It is perhaps a “story line” but certainly no fable that barring Republican intransigence in Congress, the nation’s economy would be faring much better. The Times’ story continues:

    The “We can’t wait” campaign … comes after unanimous votes by Senate Republicans in the past week to block the [president’s jobs] plan; House Republican leaders have refused to put the measure to a vote.

    And Senate and House Republicans have done this … why? Because of their superior jobs plan? The Washington Post’s ‘Fact Checker,’ Glenn Kessler, labels that little item “ludicrous”; “mostly a mish-mash of previous offered bills, such as that hardy perennial — a balanced budget amendment to the constitution,” which would throw the economy even farther in reverse. Because supply-side economics rendered the past 30 years so splendidly worthier for working Americans than its 30-year antecedent of Keynesianism? Check any graph of general economic performance, ca. 1950-2010; there’s a million of them, each depicting a decided slide.

    Or maybe its only because of conservatives’ noble adherence to some traditional ideology? Absolute rot. Contemporary conservatives haven’t so much as even brushed against authentic conservatism for years. Today’s crowd is hopelessly unimpressed by the political equivalent of the caring, protectively prudent oath: “First, do no harm.”

    No, conservatism today means only cheap shots, cheap politics, cheap obstructionism. Thus, out of frustration, Obama is forced into a strain of imperial presidentialism — executive orders over congressional lawmaking — that Republicanism, in its prototypical form of Whiggism, once rather democratically denounced. Doubtless, Republicans will make a grand show of repeating their principled outrage, notwithstanding that they’ve proffered Obama no choice.

  61. rikyrah says:

    from one Ace Boon Coon to another:

    Thomas Sowell: Herman Cain More Black Than Barack Obama
    “My gosh, he is certainly one of us far more so than Barack Obama. Raised in Hawaii and going to a private school, an expensive private school,” economist Thomas Sowell said on FOX Business.

  62. rikyrah says:

    Kin of Missing Black Girl Pleads for Attention

    Date: Friday, October 21, 2011, 4:31 am
    By: Amanda Lee Myers, Associated Press

    The grandmother of an Arizona girl missing for more than a week pleaded Thursday for more attention from police investigators and the national media, saying that the case of her granddaughter’s disappearance hasn’t been made a priority because she is black.

    Jahessye (JES’-ee) Shockley was last seen Oct. 11 by her three older siblings at their Glendale apartment in suburban Phoenix while their mother was out running an errand.

    Glendale police believe Jahessye left the home through the front door but don’t know what happened next. They have no suspects, evidence or promising leads despite search efforts that included more than 100 officers and volunteers canvassing the area within three miles of the girl’s home.

    Jahessye’s grandmother, Shirley Johnson, and about a dozen of her friends and neighbors went to the state capitol in Phoenix on Thursday to draw more attention to the case in hopes of finding the girl alive.

    “The Glendale Police Department has not brought this to the forefront. They botched this investigation,” Johnson told reporters. “I believe it’s because she’s a little black girl.”

    Glendale police Sgt. Brent Coombs said that he can’t say strongly enough how the girl’s race does not matter to investigators.

    “What matters is there’s a five-year-old girl missing,” he said. “It’s the department’s No. 1 priority. There’s so much mystery around it and we’ve got an obligation to get to the bottom of it and try our best to bring her back safely or find out where she’s at.”

    Nine days after Jahessye went missing, the department still had dozens of investigators assigned to the case Thursday. They were combing over all the information they’ve collected and following up on more than 100 leads that have come into the department so far.

    The department is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for anyone who leads them to a break in the case, on top of the $5,000 offered by the girl’s family and the $1,000 offered by Arizona’s Silent Witness tip line.

    “It’s still as important as it was the first day that we were working the case,” Coombs said. “We’re never going to stop.”

    Authorities say that if the girl had some type of accident, they would have found a sign of her by now. They say the fact that they haven’t points to a possible kidnapping.

    “It is our belief that if she would have just simply walked away and not been interacted with by anybody that might have had the wrong intention, we would have found her by now,” Coombs said.

    Police say they have no reason to suspect anyone in Jahessye’s family in her disappearance, including her mother, Jerice Hunter, who is eight months pregnant.

    State Child Protective Services removed Hunter’s three other children from the home after Jahessye disappeared but have not said why.

    Hunter declined to speak about her other children earlier this week but told The Associated Press that she just wants Jahessye back home.

    “If you have my child, please take her to a safe place, a public place where she can be located,” she said. “The family will not be the same until the child is returned, and I will be relentless in my search.”

    Johnson said Thursday that she feels that she has to take matters into her own hands, saying her granddaughter’s disappearance hasn’t gotten the attention that it deserves.

    “People in California have barely even heard what’s going on,” she said. “Somehow, somebody’s suppressing something because the local media is keeping it local, and with all due respect to the media, it’s not getting out. … This is about my grandbaby.”

    Johnson wore a purple T-shirt that said “Grandma won’t stop!”

    • Ametia says:


      All the media cares about is folks like casey anthony, amanda knox and nem.

      EVEN white suspected female criminals get national spotlight to garner sympathy from their white bretheren.

  63. rikyrah says:

    Finally a News Story Explains why the President is Struggling at Home
    Sunday, October 23, 2011 |
    Posted by Sepiagurl/ChimeraSpeaks at 2:04 PM

    I have been waiting for someone to clearly come out and state the obvious especially in light of the President’s winning streak this week. I noticed that the MSM were complimentary about his Foreign Policy successes this week especially after Friday’s announcement about Iraq but just scrolling through the LA Times I finally found someone who wrote something fair and positive about the President and all that he has achieved.

    Why is Barack Obama’s presidency a tale of two situations? On the foreign-policy front, the administration has had a string of successes: Osama bin Laden killed; major Al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen killed; and this week, of course, Moammar Kadafi killed. And on Friday, the president announced that all U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by year’s end. An unpopular war will be officially over for us soon. Terrorists and terrorist groups that threaten us are dead or on the run. Libya’s longtime strongman has been overthrown, thanks in part to Obama’s policy that had the U.S. and NATO working together. But here’s a question: If Obama has been so successful in foreign policy, why has he been so unsuccessful on domestic issues? Sure, unemployment fell in California last month, but it’s nothing to write home about. Joblessness, foreclosures, poverty -– you know the numbers, and they’re not pretty. Even his signature domestic achievement, healthcare reform, remains under attack by Republicans. They vow to undo it as soon as they control the White House again. So what’s the deal? It isn’t that he’s escaped criticism on foreign policy. Republicans — heck, even some Democrats — have been critical of Obama’s moves. But what he’s done has, in the main, worked. No, domestically the problem is that Obama’s opponents have turned criticism into obstructionism. Unlike his foreign policies, Obama’s efforts to fix the economy have been thwarted at every turn by Republicans…

    Cross-posted from Yes! Finally! I think the ice is beginning to crack. If it was not clear before it has become quite clear what is going on. When the President is allowed to lead he leads. Damn, he even leads with all the disrespect they give him. Imagine what he would do if he was freed up of all the crap they throw in front of and on top of him? Our fortunes in this country would be much better if we did not have a national party that is invested in the failure of President Obama. They are so caught up in their hate syndrome against this man that they are bringing down the entire system.

    I wonder sometimes if the understand that they are a part of the system. Somehow they seem to think they are separate from it all and that the failure of this President will have no effect on them. They are just so blinded by irrational and unreasonable rage against this man that that they are imploding and do not even know it. What a shame. It will be interesting to see how they handle the next few months when the troops start returning home and President Obama starts demanding that they pass the part of his jobs bill that will give these brave veterans jobs to take care of themselves and their families. Will they let the Veterans come home to joblessness or will some of the peel away and join the Democrats to provide them with jobs? Once upon a time I would have said yes definitely, but today I have my doubts. Somehow they believe the tactic they have deployed is working even though the polls show it is not and that people want the jobs bill. Yet, they keep on with the lemming behavior. Why? Do they truly hate this man so much? Where is this coming from? I know the answer but sometimes I still have to ask. What a shame.

  64. Obama to unveil housing plan on campaign swing

    (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will unveil new measures to help struggling homeowners on Monday in the first leg of a campaign-style swing through western states that may be crucial to his re-election in 2012.

    Stymied by Republican resistance to his $447 billion jobs package and tapping into public displeasure with Congress, Obama will propose actions that do not require congressional approval to help the economy, a White House official said.

    They include an initiative to help homeowners refinance their mortgages, which Obama will discuss in Nevada, a state hit hard by the housing crisis.

  65. People say “grow some balls”. Balls are weak and sensitive. Wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.

    Betty White

  66. Bodies of Gaddafi loyalists found at Sirte hotel after apparently being executed, Human Rights Watch says – @BBCWorld

  67. Breaking News:

    Libya’s interim leader orders investigation into Gadhafi’s death – AP

  68. Rise and Shine, 3 Chics, Friends & Visitors!

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