Thursday 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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67 Responses to Thursday Open Thread

  1. Tea Party Group To Bachmann: Drop Prez Bid

    Tea party group American Majority has some harsh words for Michele Bachmann: drop out of the presidential race.

    Via CNN, the groups president, Ned Ryun, writes “It’s time for Michele Bachmann to go.”

    Why the harsh treatment? The group’s executive director, Matt Robbins, says Bachmann is a “back-bencher” and “it’s pretty obvious that Michele Bachmann is about Michele Bachmann.”

  2. I am so damn sick of Michael Moore! FASOB!

  3. President Barack Obama talks with Mike Froman, Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs, in the Oval Office, Oct. 27, 2011.

  4. President Obama Takes a Question on Euro Debt Deal

  5. HuffPost Politics:

    Alabama lawmaker: Undocumented immigrants don’t have to go home, but they can’t stay here

  6. Controller who misdirected Michelle Obama’s plane also had near miss last year

    A veteran air traffic controller who directed Michelle Obama’s plane into the potentially dangerous turbulence of a massive military jet this year also made a mistake that nearly caused a midair collision involving a U.S. congressman last year.

    The circumstances of the April 18 incident in which a plane carrying the first lady and Jill Biden, wife of the vice president, came too close to a C-17 while approaching Andrews Air Force Base was outlined Thursday in a report by the National Transportation Safety Board.

    The controller responsible for the mistake, Breen Peck, also was involved in a July 2010 incident when a United Airlines Airbus 319 carrying U.S. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) came within 15 seconds of colliding with a smaller jet while approaching Washington.

    The United pilot could be heard saying “That was close” on the radio. He reported pulling up hard after a cockpit collision warning went off, narrowly missing a 22-seat commuter jet.

    “At the very least, the FAA should have retrained the controller after the incident on June 28, 2010,” Sensenbrenner said, “and then fired the controller after the error that caused the first lady’s flight to abort a landing at Andrews Air Force Base.”

    Peck is in the midst of a comprehensive retraining program that began shortly after the Obama plane incident. He said Thursday that he has been trying to get transferred from the Potomac Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facility in Warrenton, which controls all traffic in and out of the region’s three major airports.

  7. Ryan Lizza Says ‘Leading From Behind’ Quote Came From White House Official

    NEW YORK — When “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno asked President Obama this week about “leading from behind” in Libya, the president pointed out that he never actually said those three words, which have frequently been used to describe his foreign policy strategy. “This was a phrase that the media picked up on,” Obama said, adding the U.S. actually “led from the front” through the United Nations and in NATO.

    It wasn’t just the media that ran with the phrase, originally attributed to an unnamed “adviser” in a May piece by the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza. Several Republican candidates brought the phrase to the stump while trying to depict the administration as weak or taking a backseat on the international stage. In August, HuffPost reported on the “evolution” of this blind quote, which evolved a bit more on Thursday.

    In a USA Today piece about the origins of phrase, National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said that “no one in this White House ever” used it. Vietor pointed out that that Lizza had sourced the phrase to an “adviser” and argued that “there are hundreds of people who could credibly be called an ‘adviser’ to the president, and there are hundreds more who go to D.C. cocktail parties and claim to be one.”

    Lizza responded on Twitter that the phrase came out of the mouth of a White House official, even though that attribution wasn’t in the original piece. HuffPost asked Vietor about his statement to USA Today in light of Lizza’s clarification that the phrase had come out of the White House. He responded in an email:

    My point is this — there’s has been an enormous amount of press attention given to a background quote that didn’t reflect reality then, and I’d argue that with the death of bin Laden, the U.S. leadership of the civilian protection effort in Libya, and our foreign policy record generally, hasn’t worn wear well over time. Until now, despite many conversations with Ryan and others at the New Yorker and months of the line being twisted and used to attack the President, it was always thinly sourced to an ‘adviser.’ Why Ryan decided to change his sourcing is a mystery to me, but that doesn’t change the fact that the President has been leading on foreign policy since his first day in office, and has an impressive record to show for it. I guess I should’ve said ‘no one at the WH who knows how the President actually thinks’ said that, but regardless I hope we can start talking about our actual record and not an article from May.

    • Lizza is a bitch ass lying liar!

      • Indeed, Lizza is a bitch ass lying liar. How are you my dear. I have pretty much been absent. Do a few twitters, but nothing else. I hope things are progressing for you. Has your life somewhat settled down?
        I must say I am very happy to see that you are still working the site. You are still one of my favorite people. Smart, savvy and nasty! hugsdr

      • Well hello there, Dorothy! It’s a pleasure to see u. You brighten my day.
        I’m still taking one day at a time as things are coming along slowly. I am so grateful for the outpouring of love, support and kindness shown to me from my online friends. You all are jewels indeed!

  8. First Lady Michelle Obama escorts John Sexton Elementary School students ,William Porter, left, and Breann Rouse across the tarmac at Tampa International Airport in Tampa, Fla. , Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011. The St. Petersburg, Fla. , school received an award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, one of only five schools to receive the 2010-2011 award and the only school to receive the silver award. Mrs Obama stopped to greet the students on the way to a Democratic fundraiser.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Study Shows Why It’s Hard to Keep Weight Off


    For years, studies of obesity have found that soon after fat people lost weight, their metabolism slowed and they experienced hormonal changes that increased their appetites. Scientists hypothesized that these biological changes could explain why most obese dieters quickly gained back much of what they had so painfully lost.

    But now a group of Australian researchers have taken those investigations a step further to see if the changes persist over a longer time frame. They recruited healthy people who were either overweight or obese and put them on a highly restricted diet that led them to lose at least 10 percent of their body weight. They then kept them on a diet to maintain that weight loss. A year later, the researchers found that the participants’ metabolism and hormone levels had not returned to the levels before the study started.

    The study, being published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine, is small and far from perfect, but confirms their convictions about why it is so hard to lose weight and keep it off, say obesity researchers who were not involved the study.

    They cautioned that the study had only 50 subjects, and 16 of them quit or did not lose the required 10 percent of body weight. And while the hormones studied have a logical connection with weight gain, the researchers did not show that the hormones were causing the subjects to gain back their weight.

    Nonetheless, said Dr. Rudolph Leibel, an obesity researcher at Columbia, while it is no surprise that hormone levels changed shortly after the participants lost weight, “what is impressive is that these changes don’t go away.”

    Dr. Stephen Bloom, an obesity researcher at Hammersmith Hospital in London, said the study needed to be repeated under more rigorous conditions, but added, “It is showing something I believe in deeply — it is very hard to lose weight.” And the reason, he said, is that “your hormones work against you.”

    In the study, Joseph Proietto and his colleagues at the University of Melbourne recruited people who weighed an average of 209 pounds. At the start of the study, his team measured the participants’ hormone levels and assessed their hunger and appetites after they ate a boiled egg, toast, margarine, orange juice and crackers for breakfast. The dieters then spent 10 weeks on a very low calorie regimen of 500 to 550 calories a day intended to makes them lose 10 percent of their body weight. In fact, their weight loss averaged 14 percent, or 29 pounds. As expected, their hormone levels changed in a way that increased their appetites, and indeed they were hungrier than when they started the study.

  10. First Lady Michelle Obama gestures as she talks with students from John Sexton Elementary School Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011, at the Tampa International Airport in Tampa, Fla. The St. Petersburg, Fla. , school received an award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, one of only five schools to receive the 2010-2011 award and the only school to receive the silver award.

  11. First Lady Michelle Obama poses for a group photo with students from John Sexton Elementary School, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011, at the Tampa International Airport in Tampa, Fla. The St. Petersburg, Fla. , school received an award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, one of only five schools to receive the 2010-2011 award and the only school to receive the silver award. Mrs. Obama met with the students before a Democratic fundraiser.

  12. rikyrah says:

    October 27, 2011 3:00 PM

    Boehner’s selective ‘concerns’

    By Steve Benen

    As part of the “We Can’t Wait” campaign, President Obama is pushing as many economic measures as he can using executive branch authority. There are obvious institutional limits, but as we’ve seen this week — on mortgage refinancing, jobs for veterans, reducing student-loan burdens — the White House has some options. They’re not enough to give the economy a major boost, but they’re steps in the right direction.

    Not surprisingly, House Speaker John Boehner isn’t happy.

    House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that he has “great concerns” that President Obama may be exceeding his constitutional authority in ordering his administration to adjust regulations surrounding “underwater” mortgages and student loans, saying, “this idea that you are just going to go around the Congress is … almost laughable.”

    Actually, what’s “laughable” is that a Congress with a 9% approval rating — the lowest since the dawn of modern polling — refuses to even consider passing jobs bills during a jobs crisis, leaving the president to explore other alternatives. Obama has pleaded with Congress to take its responsibilities seriously, but Republicans refuse to act. Of course the president wants to “go around the Congress”; by refusing to govern, Boehner and his cohorts haven’t left him with much of a choice.

    “I thought we were a nation of laws and that our country was governed by our Constitution,” Boehner said Thursday on the “Laura Ingraham Show.”

    And if Boehner can find any evidence that the president is exceeding his legal authorities, I’m sure we’d all love to see it. In the meantime, if the Speaker would whine less and govern more, this wouldn’t even be an issue.

    But Boehner isn’t just wrong; he’s also hypocritical. Obama is using executive orders, for example, to make some modest advances in various policy areas. Boehner may find this “almost laughable” now, but the Speaker was reading from a very different script when George W. Bush was in office.

    In January 2008, for example, Boehner applauded a Bush executive order on earmarks, traditionally an issue dealt with in the legislative branch. In December 2008, Boehner urged Bush to issue an executive order — going around the Congress — after Congress failed to pass the Safety at Sea Act.

    In June 2007, Boehner was equally thrilled when the Republican president took it upon himself to act on stem-cell policy without input from Congress.

    So the question for the Speaker, then, is why it’s “laughable” when Obama uses his authority to help the economy, but it’s fine when Bush used his authority to act on his priorities?

  13. Scott Walker Developing Plan To Allow Guns In Wisconsin State Capitol

    The administration of Republican Gov. Scott Walker is developing a plan to allow guns in most parts of the Wisconsin State Capitol, reports the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Under the plan, the state Supreme Court hearing room would not allow guns.

    Walker signed a bill allowing the public to carry concealed weapons, provided they pass a four-hour training course and a background check. That law takes effect Nov. 1.

    During the protests over a bill curtailing most collective bargaining rules last February, the administration installed metal detectors at the Capitol but removed them in June.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Poll: In North Carolina, Obama Beats Cain by 80 With Black Voters

    Oh, he’s losing overall, and I’m not trying to hide that with the headline, but the racial crosstab is what really jumps out to me from the new Civitas poll in North Carolina. Civitas polled 600 voters, of whom 126 were black. That’s a decent-sizes sample. Obama easily crushes Cain with those voters, carrying blacks 86 percent to 6 percent. (Only 8 black voters in this sample said they’d vote for Cain.) John McCain only got 5 percent of the black vote here in 2008 — Cain barely improves on it!

    What explains this? When I was writing this piece about Cain and Tea Partiers, I spent some time on black news sites, seeing what was being written about the surprise Republican frontrunner. It was overwhelmingly negative. If you were to get all of your info on Cain from black news sites, you’d mostly learn that the guy didn’t participate in the Civil Rights movement, wasn’t immediately offended by Rick Perry’s “Niggerhead” rock, and wanted the Secret Service to call him “cornbread.” Just yesterday, Toure spat out a remarkable amount of bile in a piece explaining why, as a black voter, he despises Cain.

    Cain is a clown. You see it in the way he constantly mollifies white audiences with self-effacing, racialized comedy that borders on minstrelsy (referring to himself as “black-walnut ice cream” or suggesting that the Secret Service call him “Cornbread”)… Cain is what I long imagined the first Black President would be like: a Republican who many Blacks find unctuous.

  15. rikyrah says:

    October 27, 2011 2:15 PM

    The company Romney keeps

    By Steve Benen

    It can be difficult to know what kind of president a candidate might be if elected. It’s why it’s generally a good idea to consider who the candidate listens to and brings on as advisers, since these are folks who’ll likely have the future president’s ear after the election.

    When it comes to the law and the judiciary, for example, Mitt Romney has brought on extremist Robert Bork as a top adviser. When it comes to foreign policy, “several” of Romney’s advisers were “among the most forceful proponents” of launching the war in Iraq.

    Adam Serwer, meanwhile, reports today on an even more controversial figure who also has the Republican frontrunner’s ear.

    Walid Phares, the recently announced co-chair of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Middle East advisory group, has a long resume. College professor. Author. Political pundit. Counterterrorism expert. But there’s one chapter of his life that you won’t find on his CV: He was a high ranking political official in a sectarian religious militia responsible for massacres during Lebanon’s brutal, 15-year civil war.

    During the 1980s, Phares, a Maronite Christian, trained Lebanese militants in ideological beliefs justifying the war against Lebanon’s Muslim and Druze factions, according to former colleagues. Phares, they say, advocated the hard-line view that Lebanon’s Christians should work toward creating a separate, independent Christian enclave. A photo obtained by Mother Jones shows him conducting a press conference in 1986 for the Lebanese Forces, an umbrella group of Christian militias that has been accused of committing atrocities. He was also a close adviser to Samir Geagea, a Lebanese warlord who rose from leading hit squads to running the Lebanese Forces.

    And now he’s part of the Romney campaign.

    It’s worth noting that Phares has, in recent years, become a prominent voice in far-right circles, having been been a columnist for David Horowitz’s arch-conservative Frontpage magazine and writing two anti-Muslim books endorsed by congressional Republicans. One former U.S. counterterrorism official told Adam he was shocked to learn that Phares was advising Romney. “He’s part of the same movement as Pamela Geller,” the official said.

    Paul Pillar, a 20-year veteran of the CIA and a professor at Georgetown’s Center for Peace and Security Studies, said the advisory role “should raise eyebrows.”

  16. rikyrah says:

    Paul Ryan Is Living in a Fantasy Land Older Than Ayn Rand

    Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you today’s worst paragraph in political rhetoric, courtesy of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Dickens), in an appearance at the Heritage Foundation, which must be like seeing The Beatles at The Cavern in Liverpool, back in the day. Take it away, big guy.

    We’re coming close to a tipping point in America where we might have a net majority of takers versus makers in society and that could become very dangerous if it sets in as a permanent condition. Because what we will end up doing is we will convert our safety net system — which is necessary I believe to help people who can’t themselves, to help people who are down on their luck get back onto their feet — into a hammock that ends up lulling people into lives of dependency and complacency which drains them of their incentive and the will to make the most of their lives.”

    Sentence No. 1: pure Ayn Rand. “Makers vs. takers.” Moochers and leeches. You and Them. But especially Them. But not in a divisive way. Oh, no. The Congressman doesn’t believe in divisive class rhetoric. He said so — “To my great disappointment, it appears that the politics of division are making a big comeback. Many Americans share my disappointment…” — earlier in his remarks. And he is not engaging in the politics of division himself. Oh, no. He’s just sad — mournful, even — that the “conceits of liberalism” are on their way to dividing the country into “makers versus takers.” And you know who you are, don’t you? And who They are. And what They are taking… from You.

    And also, it has apparently escaped the congressman’s notice, probably because he’s so saddened by the politics of division that he sees all around him, and by the fight between makers and takers, which he wishes wasn’t taking place, and wouldn’t be, if it weren’t for those damn liberals over there, but we don’t “make” a helluva lot in this country any more, and the reason that we don’t make much in this country any more is because, 30 years ago, we put our brains in cold storage and started taking crackpot conservative economics seriously. The difference between a maker and a taker in the economy is whether or not the widget plant moved to China, or whether or not the company got broken up and its pension plan pillaged because some deregulated Wall Street ferret created a new way to steal other people’s money. That’s what we “make” now: complicated new financial instruments with which the “makers” can lift our wallets.

    (Let us pause briefly here to point out that anyone who takes Ayn Rand seriously at Paul Ryan’s age desperately needs to get out in the fresh air and sunshine more.)

    Sentence No. 2: an entire K-Tel collection of Golden Oldies. “A Safety net, not a hammock.” “Dependency.” “Complacency.” “The Draining of The Will.” (That last one sounds like a film on penile abscesses directed by Leni Riefenstahl.) Holy god, this stuff was old when Newt Gingrich was peddling it in his previous life. Tell us, congressman, when you were skating for a couple of years on your Social Security survivor’s benefits, and when your family stayed on the government dole for longer that that, “taking” from, among other people, my parents and me, how did you manage not to be “lulled” into a life of “complacency” and “dependency”? How were you not “drained” of your “incentive”? How was your “will to make the most of your life” not drained, as well. What’s the magic number? Two years on the dole? Three? Five? Let us know so we can stop pestering you and find our bootstraps.

    I suspect it was because, after you left the family earth-moving business, you eventually went to work on a government paycheck for Senator Bob Kasten, and then you went to work on a government paycheck for Senator Sam Brownback, and then you went briefly into the private sector — as a speechwriter for the late Jack Kemp — before going back on a government paycheck when you were elected to the House, 13 years ago. At which point, you became the pet Big Thinker and point man for a bunch of rich people, including many — Was the wine to your liking, by the way? — of the same folks that crashed the economy in 2008, thereby creating the conditions that, much to your obvious pain and chagrin, are turning so many of your fellow citizens into dependent, complacent, will-lacking slobs, because they’re taking unemployment benefits. That pretty much guaranteed you wouldn’t be paying for your own dinners much any more.

    Stop running away from your constituents, and siccing the cops on them back home while you’re in Hawaii, and ask some guy who got laid off at the Janesville GM plant last spring, if his primary worry is that his unemployment check is turning him complacent and draining him of his incentive to look for a job that probably isn’t there, because unemployment in your district is running in double digits. Is that guy a maker or a taker? Speak up. Your constituents would like to know. If they can afford a ticket, that is.

    Read more:

  17. rikyrah says:

    Rick Perry’s Confederate Symbol Flip-Flop Is Gonna Be A Problem In South Carolina

    Evan McMorris-Santoro

    October 27, 2011, 11:50 AM

    Rick Perry used to stand with those in his party who reject any idea that the Confederate flag is anything but a reminder of the South’s proud heritage. Yesterday he did an about-face, picking up the rhetoric used by Confederate flag opponents who call for its banishment from Southern state houses and license plates to the scrap heap of history.

    The shift is not going to play well in the state that kicked off the Civil War War Between The States 150 years ago, South Carolina Republicans tell TPM.

    At issue is a call in Texas for license plates that bear the stars and bars of the Confederate battle flag. After taking heat from Democrats for sidestepping the controversial proposal Perry commented on the suggested plates for the first time yesterday, and said he opposed them.

    “We don’t need to be scraping old wounds,” he told a Florida TV station.

    It’s that “old wounds” thing that’s going to be trouble in South Carolina, Republicans said. Here’s what Southern Republican politicians usually sound like when it comes to Confederate symbols.

    “I believe that Texans should remember the past and learn from it.” That’s from a 2000 letter Perry wrote to the Sons Of Confederate Veterans during a debate over Confederate symbols in the Lone Star State. The letter, which was published by the AP Wednesday, goes on, “although this is an emotional issue, I want you to know that I oppose efforts to remove Confederate monuments, plaques, and memorials from public property.”

    That’s the general move here for a Republican — tip your hat to the controversy about the flag, but stand behind it as a reminder of Southern history. Perry’s flip was that he embraced those who said the symbols are more about hurt than heritage.

    “That sounds a lot like pandering to me,” South Carolina state Sen. Lee Bright (R) told TPM. He’s unaffiliated in the primary, but said he likes the way Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann “stick to principles.”

    Bright’s very conservative, suggesting earlier this year that the Palmetto State consider minting its own currency to protect it from the collapsing dollar. But he said that when it comes to the Confederate flag, he’s in the Republican mainstream in his state.

    “I don’t think anybody who attacks the Confederate flag in the South is helping themselves,” Bright said. “Instead of answering the question, Perry should have said, ‘why are we talking about this with 10% unemployment?’”

    Bright suggested the issue could cut into a core of Perry’s message — the professed fealty to 10th Amendment he’s been hanging his hat on since he suggested Texas split off from the Union once again. Bright said the new line on the Confederate flag suggests Perry doesn’t get why many in the South still whistle Dixie.

    “As long as the federal government usurps power from the states, you’re going to have Southerners who look fondly upon the time when men took a stand,” Bright said. He said candidates “besmirch those men” at their peril.

    Also, Bright offered up the oft-repeated arguments from Confederate flag supporters about how the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery and that none who support the flag today think slavery was a good idea. It’s an old fight below the Mason-Dixon line.

    But Bright wasn’t the only South Carolinian to say Perry’s in trouble now that he’s flipped on Confederate symbols. One unaffiliated Republican operative, who declined to speak on the record because of the divisive nature of the issue, also said Perry just dug himself a hole.

    “For some people, the wound is still very raw from ‘The War Of Northern Aggression,’” the operative said. “[Perry’s] statement is probably dangerous.”

    The Confederate battle flag still flies at the South Carolina state House. And many voters in the state are still fired up by accusations that embracing the symbol is racist, the operative said. And so the new take may come back to haunt Perry as the Palmetto primary draws near.

    “A smart candidate might make an issue of it,” the operative said.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Occupy the No-Spin Zone
    One of the best things about Occupy Wall Street is the way it confuses and ignores the shrill pundit class.
    By Dahlia Lithwick|
    Posted Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011, at 5:57 PM ET

    I confess to being driven insane this past month by the spectacle of television pundits professing to be baffled by the meaning of Occupy Wall Street. Good grief. Isn’t the ability to read still a job requirement for a career in journalism? And as last week’s inane “What Do They Want?” meme morphs into this week’s craven “They Want Your Stuff” meme, I feel it’s time to explain something: Occupy Wall Street may not have laid out all of its demands in a perfectly cogent one-sentence bumper sticker for you, Mr. Pundit, but it knows precisely what it doesn’t want. It doesn’t want you.

    What the movement clearly doesn’t want is to have to explain itself through corporate television. To which I answer, Hallelujah. You can’t talk down to a movement that won’t talk back to you.

    I don’t purport to speak for anyone but myself here, although I spent time this weekend at Occupy Wall Street and my husband spent much of last week adding his voice to the protesters there. I saw an incredible array of people that defy any simple demographic characterization and a broad range of signs that made—imagine!—more than a single point. But if I may hazard an opinion, it would be this: One of the most fatuous themes of mainstream OWS coverage is the endless loop of media bafflement at this movement that doesn’t have a message. Here’s CNN’s Erin Burnett in a classic put-down of the OWS’ refusal to tailor its message to her. It takes a walloping amount of willful cluelessness to look at a mass of people holding up signs and claim that they have no message.

    Occupy Wall Street is not a movement without a message. It’s a movement that has wisely shunned the one-note, pre-chewed, simple-minded messaging required for cable television as it now exists. It’s a movement that feels no need to explain anything to the powers that be, although it is deftly changing the way we explain ourselves to one another.

    Think, for just a moment, about the irony. We are the most media-saturated 24-hour-cable-soaked culture in the world, and yet around the country, on Facebook and at protests, people are holding up cardboard signs, the way protesters in ancient Sumeria might have done when demonstrating against a rise in the price of figs. And why is that? Because they very wisely don’t trust television cameras and microphones to get it right anymore. Because a media constructed around the illusion of false equivalencies, screaming pundits, and manufactured crises fails to capture who we are and what we value.

    For the past several years, while the mainstream media was dutifully reporting on all things Kardashian or (more recently) a wholly manufactured debt-ceiling crisis, ordinary people were losing their health care, their homes, their jobs, and their savings. Those people have taken that narrative to Facebook and Twitter—just as citizens took to those alternative forms of media throughout the Middle East as part of the Arab Spring. And just to be clear: They aren’t holding up signs that say “I want Bill O’Reilly’s stuff.” They aren’t holding up signs that say “I am animated by toxic levels of envy and entitlement.” They are holding up signs that are perfectly and intrinsically clear: They want accountability for the banks that took their money, they want to end corporate control of government. They want their jobs back. They would like to feed their children. They want—wait, no, we want—to be heard by a media that has devoted four mind-numbing years to channeling and interpreting every word uttered by a member of the Palin family while ignoring the voices of everyone else.

    And there’s this. The mainstream media thrives on simple solutions. It has no idea whatsoever of how to report on a story that isn’t about easy fixes so much as it is about anguished human frustration and fear. The media prides itself on its ability to tell you how to clear your clutter, regrout your shower, or purge your closet of anything that makes you look fat—in 24 minutes or less. It is bound to be flummoxed by a protest that offers up no happy endings. Luckily for us, #OWS doesn’t seem to care.

    It must be painful for the pundits at Fox News. The more they demand that OWS explain itself in simple, Fox-like terms, the more cheerfully they are ignored by the occupiers around the country. As efforts to ridicule the protesters fail, attempts to repurpose the good old days of enemies lists falter; and efforts to demonize the occupiers backfire, polls continue to show that Americans support the protesters and share their goals. The rest of us quickly cottoned on to the fact that the only people who are scared of the “violent mobs” at Occupy Wall Street are the people being paid to call them violent mobs.

  19. rikyrah says:

    10-27-2011 12:34 PM

    Massachusetts GOP Doubles Down On Warren Attacks

    The Massachusetts Republican Party is ramping up their attacks on likely Democratic Senate nominee Elizabeth Warren.

    In a new web video released on Thursday morning, titled ‘Matriarch Of Mayhem’, the state GOP attacks Warren for embracing the Occupy Wall Street movement.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011
    Last Call
    Posted by Zandar

    McClatchy’s Steven Thomma notes the much larger picture with all the GOP Clown Car Kids and their nifty tax plans: every single one of them would shift the federal tax burder to the middle and lower class, cut taxes for the wealthy, and destroy revenues, necessitating more cuts in social programs when Americans need them more than ever.

    The flat tax — so called because it offers one flat rate for taxpayers in all income groups while taking away many or all deductions — would simplify taxes. It also would almost certainly give big tax cuts to wealthy Americans. Republicans believe that cutting taxes, especially on the wealthy, helps to spur investment, economic growth and hiring.

    At the same time, most of the Republican candidates are proposing other changes that also would mean big tax cuts for high-income Americans, such as eliminating taxes on dividend income or capital gains, and eliminating the estate tax, called the death tax by Republicans.

    Their push comes at the same time that Democratic President Barack Obama is pushing to raise taxes on higher-income Americans. He’s proposed raising taxes on those making more than $200,000 and has endorsed a push by Senate Democrats to raise taxes on incomes above $1 million.

    The debate comes as new data show that the very wealthiest Americans have greatly increased their share of U.S. income in recent decades. The richest 1 percent claimed 17 percent of American income in 2007, more than double their 8 percent share in 1979, according to a report this week from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. Protest over growing income inequality is also among the motive issues driving the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations around the country.

    Polls show that a solid majority of Americans favor raising taxes on the wealthy. But that’s anathema in the Republican Party, where tax cuts, particularly for higher incomes, are popular. Seven in 10 Americans say that policies of Republicans in Congress favor the rich, according to a New York Times poll published Wednesday.

    There’s little doubt the Republican presidential candidates’ proposals would cut taxes on the wealthy.

    And now even Mittens is lining up to join the Flat Tax flatheads. Herman Cain’s real purpose was to get Republicans excited about voting against their self-interests, with now all of the major candidates in the GOP offering different ways to destroy Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid and transfer even more wealth and income to the super rich at the expense of everyone else.
    But then again, that’s the point of the entire GOP, isn’t it?

  21. rikyrah says:

    My response to this headline is…



    Fox Poll: 29 Percent Would Be ‘Scared’ If Obama Was Re-Elected

    Kyle Leighton October 27, 2011, 1:15 PM

    Republican efforts to paint President Obama as a liberal bogeyman have long been operational — he’s been the biggest spender in a storied history of Democratic big spenders, he’s instituting death panels, and of course, he wasn’t even born in America.

    So Fox News thought they’d really drive the point home by asking the following question about all the major Presidential candidates in their new poll: What would your reaction be if [insert candidate here] were to become the next president? Possible answers: enthusiastic, pleased, neutral, displeased, and scared.

    Well, surprise, surprise, some people are a little frightened. Twenty-nine percent of those polled by Fox said they would be “scared” if Obama were re-elected, 21 said the same about Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 18 for businessman Herman Cain and 14 for former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney.

    But not everyone is so afraid. A combined 37 percent said they would be “enthusiastic” and “pleased” if the president were to get a second term, while Romney only saw 21 percent in that group, Cain 23 and Perry 17.

    There were a few odd questions in the Fox poll. One asked “Now that Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi has been killed, how confident are you that the people who removed him will cooperate and work with the United States?” Another asked “Considering both the full slate of Republican contenders and Democrat Barack Obama, do you think you or one of your close friends are more qualified to be president than anyone running right now, or not?” to which one fifth of the respondents literally said that a friend of theirs is more qualified than any of the current candidates.

  22. Why don’t Glen Beck just go on to hell where he belongs? This Marine served his country and has to come home to such disrespect, mockery and dishonor from the likes of Glen Beck. Just let Beck go to bottomless pit of hell immediatel­y.

  23. rikyrah says:

    If Perry Can’t Debate, How Can He Govern?
    Rick Perry is thinking about sitting out some of the debates. Ed Morrissey is perplexed:

    Perry needs some serious face time to re-energize his campaign, and he’s not going to get that by pulling a Jon Huntsman and staying off the stage. If he wants to make a point about protesting the number of debates that have been scheduled, that might be worth protesting — except that he’s attended fewer debates than almost everyone else on stage at this point, and his campaign isn’t making that case, at least not at the moment.

    But when you can bypass any forum like this and sell yourself directly in carefully controlled ads and speeches, that’s a pretty big temptation. Remember you-know-who? Friedersdorf thinks this shows that Perry isn’t fit to be president:

    This announcement is an admission that the Texas governor doesn’t even expect he can improve over time.

    Of course, it isn’t actually essential that a president be a good debater, but it is essential that he has a deep grasp of numerous issues, is a quick study, and can use the bully pulpit to good effect. As it happens, these are the very things at which Perry is failing miserably. Would you send him to meet with world leaders? To address the press corps of foreign nations on trips? To quickly understand the issues at play in a complex and unexpected crisis? To do Town Hall meetings where he persuades the American people to rally behind his policy initiatives? The guy isn’t even quick enough on his feet to get off a one liner about Mitt Romney’s tendency to flip flop. How would he handle a matter for which he wasn’t prepared?

    Kevin Drum pokes fun:

    Perry’s not hiding from anything. He’s just choosing to stay off national TV because it makes his dimness a little too painfully obvious to voters who are trying to choose a leader of the free world. Better to focus instead on what he’s best at: attack ads and laughably flimsy policy proposals

  24. rikyrah says:

    Has There Ever Been A Candidate Like Herman Cain?

    We’re begining to see some signs of gravity: chaos in the campaign, an obvious strategy to run for president as a money-making proposition through book sales and vastly increased speaker fees, staggering policy ignorance, meta and campy web ads that appeal to twentysomething ironists but not exactly the Christianists he needs … and yet, there is no sign yet that Cain is about to implode. In the last two days, both the NYT and the Fox News polls have Cain as the front-runner, with a quarter of the votes. Romney in both is several points behind, and Perry is now behind Gingrich. More to the point:

    Cain is particularly popular among Republican primary voters who identify as being a part of the Tea Party: he captures 32 percent to Romney’s 8 percent among this group. Cain also has a wide 15 percentage-point advantage over both Romney and Gingrich among white evangelicals.

    Nate Silver can’t find a historical parallel:

    Not only do I not know how I would go about estimating the likelihood that Mr. Cain will win the Republican nomination —I’m not sure that there is a good way to do so at all. But I do know what an analyst should not do: he should not use terms like “never” and “no chance” when applied to Mr. Cain’s chances of winning the nomination, as many analysts have.

    There is simply no precedent for a candidate like Mr. Cain, one with such strong polling but such weak fundamentals.

    My own take on this is that Cain is a great performer – he makes a living as a motivational speaker, after all – and the rest of the field is hobbled by one glaring problem respectively, while Cain isn’t. Perry is simply too dumb and lazy to be president. Romney too transparently opportunist for a purist party. Paul is disqualified because of foreign policy. Bachmann is a programmed bonkers-bot. Santorum is a frothy substance whose views of the world are frozen in place sometime around 1986. Gingrich is an asshole who could never win the presidency, and even those who like his permanent smirk/snarl understand that. Huntsman might as well be Al Sharpton, because of his views on climate change, gays and because of his working for Satan. No wonder Cain has a shot, given the debates. He is likable and brilliant at simple, effective presentation. He has the skills of an actor, and a roguish shamelessness that reminds me a little of Clinton. Even though you know he’s a total charlatan, you still kinda like the guy.

    He’s black too, and one cannot help but feel that some of his support is really a way of expressing hatred for Obama, and proving that the Tea Party is not racist.

    But Cain is a function, I think, of a deeper Republican reality. It has become a wing of the entertainment industry, and in that media-industrial complex, the money to be made is immense. You do not make that money or become a star in conservative circles by actually governing, by the process of compromise and negotiation with one’s opponents, or by detailed policy knowledge. In the universe where conservatism is defined by Levin and Malkin and Limbaugh and Hannity, you have to be a great polemicist, you have to be partisan above all, you need to be outrageous at times, and you have to appeal to the gut, rather than the brain.

    This is an entertainment company based around a religious identity politics and masquerading as a political party. Once you grasp that, you can see why a Mitch Daniels or a Richard Lugar or a Jon Huntsman are asterisks. They know things; they want to govern, not perform; and they are not in a permanent mode of marginalized and angry opposition.

    I’m beginning to wonder if the GOP is heading for a defeat they don’t see coming – even in an economic environment which should make the presidency theirs’ for the taking. I hope it is. Something needs to wake them up from their increasing detachment from the reality of governance.

  25. Artur Davis, New Voter ID Convert, Donates To Republicans

    Throwing his support behind his state’s voter ID law isn’t former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis’ only new hobby. He’s also started giving to Republicans.

    The Daily Caller flags two donations Davis recently made to Republicans: one to Senate candidate Heather Wilson in New Mexico and another to Mississippi gubernatorial hopeful Phil Bryant.

    News of Davis’ donations came less that 24 hours after Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) told Roll Call that there “are some people [who] believe he’s getting ready to switch parties.”

    Davis shot back at Cleaver’s criticism in an email to Roll Call.

    “I have heard many Democrats criticize Republicans for imposing litmus tests on their membership,” Davis wrote. “I certainly hope that Congressman Cleaver and others are not suggesting that if a Democrat does not hold a certain position that he is no longer fit to be a Democrat.”

    Davis has declined to name any specific instances in which he claims to have witnessed attempted voter fraud, writing that he “choose not to play that game.”

  26. [wpvideo di36kA4r]

  27. rikyrah says:

    Rove Unleashed?

    Cottle pulls together all of Turd Blossom’s brutal assessments of all the GOP candidates save Romney. I have to say, though, that I don’t believe Rove has changed. This is about winning the general election. Cain is right: Rove obviously wants Romney, as any sane Republican at this point surely would. The rest is noise. Rove is as much a creature of the entertainment machine as Cain. But like an old sit-com up against a new reality show, he is in danger of being eclipsed.

  28. rikyrah says:

    October 27, 2011 10:45 AM

    Taking aim at the ‘Republican Congress’

    By Steve Benen

    President Obama sat down with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos a few weeks ago, and acknowledged “the relations between myself and the Republican Congress have not been good over the last several months, but it’s not for lack of effort.” The problem, Obama added, is that “they’ve made a decision to follow what is a pretty extreme approach to governance.”

    The reference to “the Republican Congress” didn’t make waves at the time, but the president’s phrase was technically wrong — there’s a Republican House, but Congress is divided thanks to a narrow Democratic majority in the Senate.

    But the dubious phrase is probably worth keeping an eye on.

    President Obama and Democrats on Capitol Hill are increasingly referring to the Congress as “Republican” even though their party controls one-half of the unpopular institution.

    Obama and his allies have started to deploy the phrase “Republican Congress” in what some experts see as a clear attempt to gain a political advantage. […]

    “I’m sure the president would like it to be creating jobs more quickly. And if the members of the do-nothing Republican Congress would actually put a couple of oars in the water and help us, [we could] do these things like [Mississippi] Gov. [Haley] Barbour mentioned that make so much sense,” Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” earlier this month.

    I have no idea if this is part of a deliberate strategy, but if it is, it’s a pretty smart one.

    Public revulsion towards Congress has reached levels unseen since the dawn of modern polling. Of course the parties are going to want voters to think the other side is in charge. It’s exactly why Republican John Boehner has said — several thousand times (literally) — that Democrats “run Washington,” even though he’s the Speaker of the House.

    But in the case of the “Republican Congress,” Dems have at least have a plausible case to make. There’s obviously a large GOP majority in the House, and thanks to Republican obstructionism and abuses, the Senate has effectively become a 60-vote chamber — and the Democratic caucus has 53 members.

    Dems are in the majority only to the extent that they have the luxury of picking which bills Republicans will kill and which nominees Republicans will block.

    It’s why Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) had no qualms the other day saying about Congress, “Democrats aren’t in charge.”

    The message to voters isn’t subtle: if you’re not happy with Capitol Hill, vote Democratic because it’s a Republican Congress. In fact, I’d expect to hear this quite a bit.

  29. rikyrah says:

    CHART: ‘Life Without Stimulus’ — The U.S. vs. The U.K. |

    At, Martin Sullivan rebuts those who claim that the 2009 Recovery Act (i.e. the stimulus) did nothing to boost the economy. “Republicans constantly remind us that the Obama stimulus — the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — did not work. They voted against it. In the United Kingdom the government is led by Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron. His government did not adopt stimulus,” Sullivan noted. “After three and a half years, U.S. GDP is just about returning to the pre-recession peak. That’s awful. But it’s far better than the U.K. where GDP is still five percent ($750 billion in US terms) below its pre-recession peak.”

  30. rikyrah says:

    October 27, 2011 10:15 AM

    ‘Squishy’ is not a compliment

    By Steve Benen

    Mitt Romney was in damage-control mode yesterday, stressing his support for the anti-union measure in Ohio just a day after enraging many on the right by refusing to take a position on it. His defense was dishonest, but it seemed to effectively end the media’s pushback.

    The damage, however, already appears to have been done. On Fox News last night, Karl Rove called Romney out for his “problematic” mistake.

    “Who didn’t think about this issue when they knew they were going to Ohio and going to a phone bank where they were calling people on behalf of proposition five?

    “This happens in a campaign, but it’s problematic, because it adds to the narrative that he is not strong. The good news is, so far, he’s stronger than the rest of the pack.”

    Rove added that Romney made himself look “squishy.” That’s not a word leading presidential candidates generally want to hear.

    And with that in mind, American Bridge 21st Century released this video last night, not only showing Romney’s reversal, but also presenting media coverage from Ohio that looks pretty brutal.

    It’s tempting to think Romney will have to be more careful next time, but therein lies the problem: his overly-cautious instincts are what got him into trouble in the first place. He could be even more robotic in calculating the political implications of every sentence, but that’s unlikely to help his authenticity problem.

    I’d encourage Romney to just be himself for a while, but by all indications, he doesn’t know who that is anymore.

  31. ThinkProgress:

    BREAKING: Oakland Mayor backs down, says she supports 99% movement and will minimize police presence

  32. rikyrah says:

    October 27, 2011 9:40 AM

    Perry debates the value of debates

    By Steve Benen

    Rick Perry was the clear frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, right up until he started participating in debates. Soon after, his support evaporated, and the Texas governor has slipped from first to third.

    So, if debate performances undermined Perry’s chances, the governor seems to think the absence of debate performances might boost his chances.

    A spokesman for Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, raised the possibility on Wednesday that Mr. Perry might not participate in all of the contest’s upcoming debates.

    “We will look at each debate individually and then make a decision,” Mark Miner, the spokesman for Mr. Perry, said. He earlier told Politico that the governor will participate in the next debate, in Michigan, but that future ones are not assured.

    “I think all the campaigns are expressing frustration right now,” Mr. Miner said. “We said we would do Michigan but the primaries are around the corner and you have to use your time accordingly.”

    Perry told Fox News the other night that it was “probably” a mistake agreeing to participate in the debates in the first place.

    But in practical terms, what will the new strategy mean? There are 11 more debates — and counting — already scheduled through the end of January. If the nominee is not yet obvious by Feb. 1, it stands to reason there will be many more debates lined up. Indeed, the television networks will be eager to schedule as many as possible, since the ratings for these events tend to be quite good.

    Exactly how long does Perry think he can run and hide?

    As governor, he found these exercises optional, and chose not to bother. Last year, seeking a third term, Perry simply refused to debate his Democratic challenger, even if it made him look cowardly. The governor took a gamble, and assumed Texas was a “red” enough state that voters would back him anyway. He was right.

    But that was in a race in which a conservative populace had to choose between a Republican governor and a Democratic challenger in a GOP-friendly year. In the presidential race, Perry is running against a large Republican field, and GOP voters have plenty of choices. If Perry doesn’t show up, he not only signals his weakness, he runs the risk of being forgotten about.

    Besides, I think it’s the wrong diagnosis anyway. Debates in which Perry appeared incoherent have been a problem, but the governor’s support evaporated when the Republican base heard about in-state tuition for children of undocumented immigrants and the HPV vaccine. The debate performances didn’t help, but they weren’t necessarily the driving factor, either.

    Ultimately, though, the question for Perry is straightforward: which makes him look worse? Hiding from the stage or showing up and looking foolish?

    • Ametia says:

      Perry’s brain is the size of a pea. He can’t function and debate, therefore debates have no value for him or anyone who subjects themselves to the GOP clown acts.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney, accidental truth-teller
    by Kay

    TPM has a piece up about why Mitt Romney’s crazed rambling on Issue Two in Ohio matters, and it’s fine as far as it goes, for the GOP primary race. Mitt Romney doesn’t have any real positions or convictions and that’s (supposedly) a problem for the GOP base.

    But what Romney’s inane babbling means to me is this: they’re finally telling the truth about this law. Issue Two was never about belt-tightening or the budget. It was about destroying organized labor in Ohio. Public sector unions were an easy target, low-hanging fruit, but the next step after public sector union employees are sufficiently demonized and loathed is to move directly to targeting private sector union workers. We’re seeing the same thing play out in Michigan, and we saw it in Indiana.

    I don’t have to go far to find this out, either. I can simply listen to national conservative leaders:

    John Kasich:

    “I believe in unions. I believe they have a place,” Kasich said, standing on stage with Toledo Mayor Mike Bell.

    John Kasich’s national conservative supporters, Mr. Huntsman and Mr. Perry:

    Here’s a shocker: Romney flip/flopped on supporting Gov. Kasich’s union-busting laws. From being in solidarity in June to unable to take a position in October. To put it mildly, most conservatives are a little upset.

    “Mitt Romney’s finger-in-the-wind politics continued today when he refused to support right-to-work reforms signed by Ohio Governor John Kasich – reforms Romney supported in June.

    Right to work? Union busting? How can this be? John Kasich and his media allies have been telling us for months this has nothing to do with collective bargaining or their ideological opposition to organized labor and was simply a budgetary matter. This was presented as the ordinary, run-of-the-mill “shared sacrifice” without the “shared” part that media and conservatives have been demanding we accept since the finance sector took down the economy.

    It was always a lie, and I’m grateful to Romney for blundering into forcing them to tell the truth. This morning on the way in I heard a local (wingnut) radio personality refer to Issue Two as the “anti-union law”. Nice that they’re finally admitting it, two weeks out. This would have been a much more straight-forward and honest debate had they told the truth right from the start.

  34. rikyrah says:

    October 27, 2011 8:00 AM

    GOP inflexibility stalls super-committee

    By Steve Benen

    For the better part of the year, congressional Republicans have insisted that debt reduction must be policymakers’ top priority. They don’t, however, really mean it.

    In July, President Obama offered GOP officials a $4 trillion debt-reduction package, which was tilted heavily in their direction. Republicans rejected it. In September, the White House presented an even more sensible plan, cutting the debt by more than $3 trillion, only to see the GOP reject it, too.

    And this week, Democrats on the so-called super-committee crafted a debt-reduction offer of their own. Care to guess how it was received?

    A majority of the 6 Democrats on the 12-member panel threw their support behind a plan that they said incorporated some ideas discussed over the summer by President Obama and Speaker John A. Boehner.

    The committee is charged with cutting budget deficits by a total of at least $1.2 trillion over 10 years. The Democratic plan would trim much more, a total of $2.5 trillion to $3 trillion, through cuts in the growth of federal entitlement programs, including Medicare, and more than $1 trillion in new tax revenues.

    Congressional Republicans immediately dismissed the proposal out of hand, deeming it a non-starter. This, in turn, prompted Dems to leak word of their plan to the press — presenting Democrats as the ones committed to playing a constructive role, and Republicans as the ones who aren’t willing to compromise.

    It’s worth noting, of course, that the “compromise” being offered by the panel’s Dems doesn’t look especially encouraging. In fact, it’s largely shaped on the Grand Bargain that the GOP refused to consider over the summer, trading entitlement cuts for tax revenue. The devil is always in the details, and the specific structure of the Dems’ offer hasn’t been released, but those Medicare cuts appear at first blush to be pretty deep.

    That said, Democrats were smart to incorporate what really matters into their plan: by aiming for a larger debt-reduction target, Dems are also demanding economic stimulus as part of the package.

    Ultimately, though, the entire exercise is pointless so long as Republicans refuse to consider additional tax revenue. There’s simply no way around this. Dems are willing to trade entitlements for tax revenue, while Republicans aren’t willing to trade anything for anything. It’s why the super-committee was doomed at the outset — GOP officials don’t want to cut the deficit; they want to shrink government. The panel’s Republican members have been tasked with a goal they have no sincere desire to reach.

    The super-committee’s final recommendations are due Nov. 23, which is roughly five weeks away. At that point, assuming the panel fails, talk will turn to how best to deal with the “triggers” that would be due to take effect in January 2013.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Marco Rubio on national ticket could be risky bet for Republican Party

    By Peter Wallsten, Published: October 26
    Republicans who are eager to repair the party’s battered image among Hispanic voters and unseat President Obama next year have long promoted a single-barrel solution to their two-pronged problem: putting Sen. Marco Rubio on the national ticket.

    The charismatic Cuban American lawmaker from Florida, the theory goes, could prompt Hispanics to consider supporting the GOP ticket — even after a primary contest in which dust-ups over illegal immigration have left some conservative Hispanics uneasy.

    But Rubio’s role in recent controversies, including a dispute with the country’s biggest Spanish-language television network and new revelations that he had mischaracterized his family’s immigrant story, shows that any GOP bet on his national appeal could be risky.

    Democrats had already questioned whether a Cuban American who has voiced conservative views on immigration and opposed the historic Supreme Court nomination of Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina justice, could appeal to a national Hispanic electorate of which Cubans are just a tiny fraction but have special immigration status. And Rubio’s support in Florida among non-Cuban Hispanics has been far less pronounced than among his fellow Cubans.

    That ethnic calculus was further complicated by records, reported by The Washington Post last week, showing that Rubio had incorrectly portrayed his parents as exiles who fled Cuba after the rise of Fidel Castro. In fact, their experience more closely resembles that of millions of non-Cuban immigrants: They entered the United States 21 / 2 years before Castro’s ascent for apparent economic reasons.

    Rubio made the exile story a central theme of his political biography, telling one audience during his Senate campaign, “Nothing against immigrants, but my parents are exiles.” A video, apparently produced for the conservative site, shows black-and-white footage of Castro as Rubio speaks.

    Even after the new reports of his parents’ entry, Rubio has said he remains the “son of exiles,” saying his parents had hoped to return to the island but did not because of the rise of a communist state.

    But in elevating exile roots over the apparent reality of his parents’ more conventional exodus, Rubio risks setting up a tension point with the country’s Hispanic voters — most of whom are Mexican American and have immigrant friends or ancestors who did not have access to the virtually instant legal status now granted to Cubans who make it into the United States.

    “If he does take that mantle, there’ll be a lot of clarification that he’ll have to make on a whole lot of issues,” said Lionel Sosa, a longtime GOP strategist.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Why Romney’s Waffle On Ohio’s Anti-Union Law Mattered
    The most contentious issue in the fundamental swing state of Ohio, and Mitt Romney. What could possibly go wrong?

    The former Mass. Gov.’s rapid turnabout on SB 5, the anti-union legislation currently facing a repeal referendum in Ohio, is not notable in a vaccum. Romney has faced the flip-flop charge during his whole national political career. But on Tuesday morning when he stepped into a call center full of conservative volunteers pushing back against the unpopular bill’s downfall, he was expected to say one thing: “I support SB 5.” It wasn’t until the following morning before he uttered those words.

    Romney’s SB 5 flip-flop could come back to hurt him. Here’s why:

    This is Ohio, for Pete’s sake

    Hard to think of a state where it would be more disadvantageous to simultaneously enrage one’s base and then very publicly tie one’s self to an issue independent voters are against (and polls have showed indies breaking away from SB 5, hard).

    Romney is in a very, very good position in the state were he to be the GOP’s nominee. Citing their fresh data from mid-October, Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling even went as far to say that if the general election were tomorrow, Romney would take the state. Quinnipiac released a poll Wednesday before Romney walked back his non-position on SB 5 that showed him within striking distance in Ohio. But now, what will the next round of polling say?

    SB 5 is the only ballgame in Ohio right now

    In an interview with TPM, Ohio Democratic Party Communications Director Seth Bringman pointed to the fact that SB 5 has become a flashpoint in the state’s politics. Repeatedly calling it the “quintessential” issue in the state, he maintained that what pols do now is going to deeply effect what happens in the state in the general election. “I think he’s [Romney] missing the point on how much this is going to matter in 2012,” Bringman said. “For someone who wants to win the state a year for now, to show such disregard for the most important issue facing Ohio right now is insulting.”

    Conservatives in the state are working against it, in an off year

    Of course that sentiment is not just relegated to the party whose job it is to beat Romney should he be the GOP nominee. In an interview directly after Romney waffled on SB 5, Brendan Steinhauser, the Federal and State Campaigns Director at FreedomWorks who is running an anti-repeal effort in Ohio, told TPM that conservative activists in the state would not forget Romney’s non-support. While Romney later changed course, the whole affair seems only to confirm the deepest concern that Republican faithful have about him — that he’ll change his positions to fit the politics of a given situation.

    SB 5 is probably going down

    Despite efforts by conservatives to keep the law from being scuttled, all public polling on the issue shows it being repealed by a huge margin. The morning Romney showed up at the call center, Quinnpiac released numbers showing repeal forces up by 25 points, and a week before PPP had shown a twenty point lead. If it is the issue that drives Ohio politics in 2012 as the Democrats argue, then November 8th’s referedum vote isn’t going to be pretty for supporters of SB 5.

    Now Gov. Romney is one of them, and there’s video.

    Stumbling on SB 5 not only gave Perry an opening, it took out a window

    Romney had finally fought off what was considered to be his best competition for the GOP nod in Texas Gov. Rick Perry, expelling him though a series of excellent debate performances and jamming him on Social Security. The former Bay state Gov. seemed prepared to set his sites on the current GOP flavor of the month, businessman Herman Cain, another step in the process of realizing his inevitable status as the GOP candidate.

    So what does Romney do? He gives Perry, who is polling all the way down in the mid single digits (read: has nothing to lose right now) still has 17 million in the bank (read: can easily make this a fight again) a chance to hit his softest target — flip flopping. Predictably, Perry didn’t miss. “Mitt Romney may have set a new record in the amount of time it has taken him to flip-flop on an issue,” wrote Perry camp spokesman Mark Miner in an email to TPM. “And it’s still early in the day.”

    There are of course bad days on the campaign trail. But for the campaign with a rep for being the most proficient in the Republican primary, it was a remarkably undisciplined 24 hours.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Black Voters’ Support for Obama Is Steady and Strong

    Published: October 26, 2011

    Abdul Malik seems the prototype of a disenchanted Barack Obama voter.

    Mr. Malik, 48, lost his job as a grading and landscape worker a year and a half ago, another victim of the housing bust. Since then, he has been searching for something, anything, to help make ends meet.

    Yet, Mr. Malik, who is black, says he has every intention of again voting for President Obama next year. So does Bobby Hart, 46, a former construction worker here. And Dorothy Artis of Greensboro, N.C., who is looking for a job to help support her grandchildren while her daughter is deployed in Kuwait. And Larry Bennett, who worked for 27 years at Cooper Industries before he lost his job when his division moved out of state.

    “I don’t blame Obama,” said Mr. Malik, who had never voted before 2008. “I don’t blame him at all.”

    Despite a school of thought in Washington that Mr. Obama’s support among blacks has weakened because of the poor economy and a sense of unmet expectations, interviews and public opinion surveys show that his standing remains remarkably strong among African-Americans.

    The question now for the Obama campaign is whether it can energize those voters — many of whom were drawn to the polls for the first time in 2008 by the historic nature of his candidacy coupled with an aggressive registration program — even with a rate of joblessness among blacks that far exceeds national figures.

    The president himself, at a high-end Los Angeles fund-raiser Monday after a visit to an ethnically mixed neighborhood, warned donors like the actor Will Smith and Magic Johnson that the coming presidential election “will not be as sexy as the first one,” suggesting it might lack the electricity that motivated many black voters in 2008.

    “The challenge is going to be for the people who were completely inspired by him in 2008 who were atypical voters — to get those people to come back out and vote for him in 2012,” said Jamal Simmons, a Democratic strategist who worked with the Gore campaign in 2000 and the Obama campaign in 2008.

    Obama campaign officials say they recognize the difficulty of renewing the enthusiasm that spurred black turnout, but they also say there are still new black voters to be reached. Democratic campaign strategists say they also expect African-Americans to be motivated to vote by Republican attacks on the president and the desire to make certain that Mr. Obama’s historic tenure in the White House extends beyond one term. They are already building staffs in swing states with significant black populations, like Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, for an intensive effort called Operation Vote, which will focus on African-Americans, women and Hispanics.

  38. rikyrah says:

    Why the Left Won’t Accept Success
    October 25, 2011
    Exclusive: A curious feature of the American Left is its resistance to recognize its own successes. So, even as President Barack Obama is bringing the eight-year U.S. occupation of Iraq to an end, some on the Left refuse to celebrate, as Robert Parry reports.

    By Robert Parry

    Last Friday, President Barack Obama announced that the United States would complete the withdrawal of its troops from Iraq by Christmas, a development that you might have thought the anti-war Left would cheer.

    But that’s not been the case for some activists, at least based on a sampling of the writings that I’ve been sent. Instead of celebrating the success of the anti-war movement in bringing this war to an end, I’ve been reading commentaries either insisting that it’s all a trick or giving the credit to President George W. Bush.

    It appears that some don’t want to accept that the anti-war movement has won a hard-fought victory and that Obama’s election was a factor. It’s almost as if the fact that something has been achieved through the deeply flawed U.S. political system threatens a preferred political analysis, which holds that nothing good can happen.

    So, instead of giving credit to the many Americans who protested the war or who found ways to explain its injustice to the public, some activists are stressing the negative, noting that security contractors will remain to protect the U.S. Embassy or that U.S. corporations will still try to sell weapons systems and exploit Iraq’s oil reserves.

    Others observe that the Iraqi government negotiated the “status of forces agreement” setting the timetable for a drawdown of U.S. troops with President Bush in late 2008 – and thus President Obama should get no credit. He should just be denounced for not ending the war sooner.

    But these arguments largely miss the point. This final withdrawal of U.S. troops at the insistence of the Iraqi government – and with Obama’s acquiescence – is a very big deal. Oddly, it is being acknowledged more by the Right than the Left, with prominent Republicans condemning Obama’s announcement as an admission of U.S. defeat.

    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich declared, “The president has announced what will be seen by historians as a decisive defeat for the U.S. in Iraq.”

    The neocons are furious because they saw Bush’s SOFA as only a holding action and expected that the U.S. government would twist the arms of the Iraqis to get them to accept a permanent U.S. military presence in Iraq. The neocons are now condemning Obama for not doing so.

    After all, Bush would not have made the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad the largest in the world, along with over-sized consulates in other Iraqi cities, if the neocons did not expect to turn Iraq into something of an American colony, a home for U.S. military bases to threaten other countries in the region, such as Iran and Syria.

    Now, with the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops, the neocon dream of U.S.-controlled bases in Iraq has been dashed and the diplomatic outposts are already being downsized. The gargantuan embassy complex in Baghdad may well be viewed in the future as more a monument to American hubris than a hub of U.S. intervention

  39. rikyrah says:

    October 26, 2011 6:44 PM

    Who will benefit from Obama’s student loan plan?

    A week after USA Today reported that outstanding student loans would reach $1 trillion before the end of the year, President Obama on Wednesday announced a series of new measures aimed at easing the burden of debt on students struggling to repay their federal college loans.

    Speaking to a crowd of college students in Denver, Colorado, the president outlined a new “Pay As You Earn” plan. The proposal would expedite the timeline for an already-approved loan repayment plan that would lower monthly federal student loan payments for Americans whose burden of debt is disproportionate to their earning abilities.

    According to the original plan, which Congress approved in 2010, borrowers would be able to reduce their monthly payments from 15 to ten percent of their discretionary income as of 2014. Additionally, that plan dictated that the balance of borrowers’ debt would be forgiven after 20 years of payments rather than in 25 years. On Wednesday, the president said he would use an executive order to make those benefits available to borrowers as early as 2012.

    The administration’s plan would also enable recent graduates to consolidate their loans and achieve lower interest rates, and set up a program aimed at helping students better understand their options when taking out loans.

    While outlining the “Pay As You Earn” plan on Wednesday, the president spoke of his own struggles with student debt.

    I know you’re hearing stories from friends and classmates and siblings who are struggling to find work, and you’re wondering what’s in store for your future. And I know that can be scary,” Mr. Obama told the crowd at the Colorado University – Denver. “This is something Michelle and I know about firsthand. I’ve been in your shoes.”

    The president recalled that when he and First Lady Michelle Obama were married, they had about $120,000 combined in student debt. “We combined and got poorer together,” he quipped.

    Emphasizing his belief in the importance of higher education as a means to achieving economic growth, the president told his audience that “we want you in school. But we shouldn’t saddle you with debt when you’re starting off.”

    According to a new study by the College Board, the increase in average tuition and fees at public four-year institutions has outpaced increases at private nonprofit institutions for the fifth year in a row. The increases exceed inflation rates, the study indicates, and at public and community colleges, costs rose more than eight percent for the 2011 academic year.

    Meanwhile, student debt in America has surpassed credit card debt – and students are increasingly hurtling toward default.

    “Over the past three decades, the cost of college has nearly tripled,” said Mr. Obama. “And that is forcing you, forcing students, to take out more loans and rack up more debt. Last year, graduates who took out loans left college owing an average of $24,000. Student loan debt has now surpassed credit card debt, for the first time ever. Living with that kind of debt means making some pretty tough choices when you’re first starting out.”

    In an interview with Hotsheet, Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., lauded Mr. Obama for his plan and said the president was “right to give these students a way to pay these loans off quicker.”

    “These loans can be phenomenally expensive,” he said, and argued that borrowers who get buried in debt “never get their foot out of the bucket.”

    “That’s not a fair way to get started,” he said.

    Robert Shireman, former Deputy Undersecretary at the Department of Education and a chief consultant at the education-oriented California Competes program, said the administration’s plan would increase confidence among students about their post-graduate prospects.

    “It means people can go to college and use federal loans and have confidence that it’s not going to drive them to bad personal situations,” he said.

    The Obama administration has said that 1.6 million Americans will benefit from the lower monthly payments, and upwards of 6 million can take advantage of the loan consolidations, which will lower interest rates by up to 0.5 percent. Most of those affected will be current students or recent borrowers whose income is sufficiently low upon entering the workforce that monthly payments are a significant financial burden.

    According to a White House fact sheet, a teacher $25,000 in debt and earning $30,000 a year will see their payments reduced to about $114 a month.

  40. rikyrah says:

    Populism is Obama’s path to victory
    Critics berate the president for taking his inspiring new progressive message to the American people. But it’s the critics who ought to be ashamed
    posted on October 27, 2011, at 6:20 AM

    The president must be doing something right. He’s now getting advice (from all the wrong quarters) that he ought to stop standing up for the people, not the privileged. Of course, such arguments largely rest on pre-cast assumptions and self-serving calculations.

    First out of the triangulating box was Clinton pollster Mark Penn, who wrote a remarkably data-free piece urging the president to draw back from dividing lines and retreat to formulaic centrism. In effect, Penn recommended a replay of the 1996 Clinton re-election campaign — when, in a pre-Monica time of rising prosperity and job growth, the incumbent still couldn’t manage 50 percent of the popular vote, and was left without a serious mandate for his second term. It was this same approach, cautious and at times almost contentless, that doomed Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primaries. Voters were instead drawn to the cause and candidate of change. (She could have been that candidate, but it was too late when she finally embraced the populism Penn had disdained in the early contests.)

    Now come the real Republicans to second and amplify Penn’s message to Obama.

    In a speech at the Heritage Foundation, the Medicare-shredding Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) denounced the president’s “divisive message that pits one group against another” with “fear, envy, and the politics of division.” Predictably, Ryan railed against “class-warfare” — the tired phrase ritually trotted out from the right-wing’s Orwellian dictionary to smear any call for economic justice and tax fairness.

    Ryan knows a thing or two about class warfare. His proposed budget, supported by almost every Republican in the House, would wage war against the poor, against the education and health care of the middle class, and against the security of seniors, with Medicare voucherized and recipients forced to pay an additional $6,000 a year. The wealthy, and this is no surprise, would benefit from huge tax cuts paid for by the sacrifices of everyone else. No wonder Ryan doesn’t want the president to confront this by campaigning for ideals of equity and the interests of hard-working and out-of-work Americans.

    No matter who emerges from the substandard ranks of GOP presidential candidates — the choice ranges narrowly from the inauthentic to the incredible — is Obama supposed to forswear telling the truth on tax plans that would cosset the comfortable and slam the vast majority, even as budget cuts shred everything from college aid to workplace safety? To Republicans, drawing the contrast is class warfare. Thus they revile Occupy Wall Street — because they’re eager to roll back financial regulation and reopen the casino of unbridled Wall Street speculation.

    The president increasingly seems to understand that the differences here must be stated and debated and resolved — that here is a fundamental dividing line in our politics and 2012 is the time for Americans to decide.

  41. Ametia says:

    U.S. economy grew nearly twice as fast
    Associated Press 7:41 AM ET
    The Commerce Department says the economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.5 percent over the summer, lifted by stronger consumer spending and greater business investment.

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy grew modestly over the summer after nearly stalling in the first six months of the year, lifted by stronger consumer spending and greater business investment.

    The Commerce Department said Thursday that the economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in the July-September quarter. That’s nearly double the 1.3 percent growth in the April-June quarter, and a vast improvement over the anemic 0.9 percent growth for the entire first half of the year.

    While 2.5 percent growth is enough to ease recession fears, it’s far below what’s needed to lower painfully high unemployment. Analysts project similar growth for the October-December quarter.

    Consumers spent at an annual rate of 2.4 percent — more than triple the rate in the spring. They bought more cars and furniture, spent more on clothing and health care, and ran the air conditioner longer to help combat an unseasonably hot summer.

  42. Ametia says:

    D.C. Transit Police Say This Man Fell Out of his Wheelchair
    By Hrafnkell Haraldsson
    October 27, 2011

    We’ve seen a lot of ugly behavior by police officers since the Occupy Wall Street movement began. But why is it permissible, and when did it become permissible, for police officers to throw a man out of his wheelchair? This incident did not take place during a demonstration. As you can see on the video below, the incident took place on a quiet street.

    Is it really necessary to take a disabled person out of their wheelchair to arrest them? How likely is it that the wheelchair-bound suspect is going to get up and run away, or out-race healthy young officers who have full use of their legs?

  43. Marco Rubio = a lying fraud!

    [wpvideo m7ZoXdTv]

    • I’m going to let Rikyrah inform you why he is a lying fraud…

      So, it seems as if Senator Marco ‘Grifting Anchor Baby’ Rubio’s ‘ American Dream’ Story isn’t quite what it was made out to be.

      In actuality, it’s nothing but a lie.

      His parents weren’t poor patriots, run out of Cuba by the evil Fidel Castro.

      He truly is nothing but an Anchor Baby, plain and simple.

      1. he is, by definition that the right -wing, which tried to push this clown, while at the same time, talking birtherism bullshyt about the President – an ANCHOR BABY

      2. not only is he an Anchor Baby, but he has the NERVE to NOT be the sponsor of the DREAM ACT in the Senate. …go so far as to say ‘ it doesn’t concern him.’


      For me, as a Black person, looking at this clown, the equivalent would be to have a Black Senator during the time of the Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights Act, telling Black folks that ‘ it wasn’t his concern’.

      Black folk would have been, ‘ Nigra, what the —- are you talking about?’

      Maybe he has it today, but until recently Senator Grifting Anchor Baby Rubio didn’t even have a section on his website for IMMIGRATION.

      I’ll say it again: he’s nothing but a Grifting (check the stories in the Florida press about how he made money while in public office) Anchor Baby.

      And, if he hadn’t of come to prominence while kissing the ass of folks who peddled in birtherism and the ‘ What about if you ain’t White, don’t you understand’ Laws, then we could leave Senator Anchor Baby alone. As is, when you push yourself up, and won’t help the folks that you will later try and pimp yourself to in order to get votes for the GOP, well…

      Black folks know what to call folks like Senator Anchor Baby….maybe the Latino community is more ‘ understanding’ of folks like Senator Anchor Baby.

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