Friday 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.
This entry was posted in Current Events, Music, Open Thread, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

63 Responses to Friday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    this great comment is from zizi:

    October 28, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    I have a slightly different take on this. I think the weakness of the Repug field is strategic hedging by the corporate puppetmasters. Here’s how:

    1) An independently strong Presidential candidate cannot be guaranteed to be 100% malleable by the corporate poobahs, because that candidate will think that they are beholden to the PEOPLE who have made them popular. That candidate, should he win the presidency, will WANT to make concessions in order to maintain the goodwill of the people, and not be totally beholden to the base. That is what I call the Obama paradox. The GOP moneybags are learning their lessons from Pres. Obama’s predicament. Being independently popular means you cannot be controlled by any single entity. The moneybags WANT someone they can control, therefore they need a weak candidate. They will then use their money leverage and shell wingnut institutions to get that candidate into power, then blackmail said candidate into being permanently grateful to the poobahs.

    2) Actually to the Repug party, the Presidency is really just an icing on their wingnut cake. It is not deathly essential at this time to their agenda. They have other potent options. They are using the slate of circus presidential candidates to distract us while they enact almost irreversible poison at the state and local levels. In any case, they are fully fearful of President Obama’s capabilities, and thus cannot guarantee 100% that they’ll get the presidency this time around so why waste good candidates then rue the loss if it happens. What they can guarantee is poisoning our politics and hope that we the 99% throw up our arms in despair and flee the political realm. Aha, they then swoop in and seize the spoils. They are playing a long game of fundamentally changing our society such that our dissent will not matter because the changes will be deeply structural.

    Presidencies come and go but movement conservatism is playing for keeps. And dismantling the commonweal is important step one in their calculation. That is their game.

    Ours is to DISRUPT. DISMANTLE, & DEFEAT them.

  2. President Barack Obama shows students from Johnson College Prep in Chicago, Ill., and their principal, Dr. Garland Thomas, a model of Samuel Morse’s telegraph in the Oval Office, during their visit to the White House, Oct. 28, 2011.

  3. [wpvideo 61tFjJYN]

  4. Obama: Settlement Provides ‘Overdue Relief And Justice’ To Black Farmers

    President Barack Obama called a judge’s approval of a $1.2 billion government settlement with black farmers who for decades had been denied loans and assistance from the Agriculture Department, a step forward in “addressing an unfortunate chapter in USDA’s civil rights history.”

    This is the second round of settlements in a case filed in 1997, which alleged that thousands of black farmers had been discriminated against between 1983 and 1997. This round is directed at farmers who were not awarded payment because of missed filing deadlines. The judge said payments would likely be dispersed in a year or so, after neutral parties reviewed the individual claims.

  5. rikyrah says:

    October 28, 2011 2:05 PM

    A ‘perfectly lubricated weathervane’

    By Steve Benen

    Republican presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman, arguably Mitt Romney’s most effective critic, called the former Massachusetts governor a “perfectly lubricated weathervane” in light of his several dozen flip-flops.

    Right on cue, Romney appeared eager to help prove Huntsman right.

    Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney is trying to cement his status as a skeptic of man-made global warming after coming under fire from conservatives this summer for saying that humans contribute to climate change.

    “My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet,” Romney said during a speech in Pittsburgh Thursday, a clip of which was posted by the liberal blog Think Progress. “And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.”

    Here’s the video, posted by Brad Johnson.

    The problem, of course, is two-fold. First, Romney is completely wrong on the policy. The overwhelming majority of climate scientists have ample evidence pointing to human activities driving climate change, and reducing carbon emission is exactly the right course.

    And second, Romney, who’s never met a debate he wouldn’t take both sides of, is on record believing the opposite of what he said yesterday. “It’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may be significant contributors,” Romney said in June. “I believe the world is getting warmer, and I believe that humans have contributed to that.”

    What’s more, as Johnson noted, as governor, Romney “presided over plans to regulate carbon dioxide as a ‘pollutant,’ and was advised by Dr. John Holdren, now President Obama’s scientific adviser.”

    Over the summer, Rush Limbaugh said of Romney’s approach to climate science, “Bye-bye, nomination.”

    Limbaugh may have underestimated the “perfectly lubricated weathervane” to spin in the other direction.

  6. Halloween at the White House

    • WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 28: Workers put up Halloween decorations on the north lawn of the White House October 28, 2011 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will be hosting guests at the White House to celebrate Halloween.

      • WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 28: Workers put up Halloween decorations on the north lawn of the White House October 28, 2011 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will be hosting guests at the White House to celebrate Halloween.

  7. rikyrah says:

    The Democratic Party should be making this into a pamphlet and passing it out, along with voter registration card ON EVERY CAMPUS IN AMERICA.


    Political AnimalBlog
    October 28, 2011 2:55 PM

    GOP hostility towards student aid intensifies

    By Steve Benen

    Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul wants to eliminate the federal student loan program. Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich believes student loans are a “Ponzi scheme,” which really doesn’t make any sense at all.

    And Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain added his list to the GOP leaders who no longer want the federal government to help young people pay for higher education.

    Speaking by satellite to a New York education forum sponsored by The College Board, a membership association of colleges that administers standardized tests like the SAT, Cain proposed local avenues to replace existing federal tuition aid structure.

    “I believe that if a state wants to help with college education, that they should do that,” he said from Arkansas, where he is on a campaign swing. “Secondly, you have people living within communities within states that are willing to help fund those kinds of programs. So I do not believe that it is the responsibility of the federal government to help fund a college education because herein, our resources are limited and I believe that the best solution is the one closest to the problem. The people within the state, the people within the communities, ultimately, I believe, are the ones who have that responsibility.”

    It’s not just presidential candidates. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) last week told voters the Pell Grant program is “unsustainable” (it’s actually sustainable with some sensible reforms, making Paul’s drive to gut the program unnecessary*) and that he was outraged that the Obama administration “confiscated the private student loan industry” (that never happened).

    As a factual matter, Ryan has no idea what he’s talking about, and Cain’s idea about shifting all college aid responsibilities to states won’t work. But even putting these pesky details aside, why is it Republicans are so eager to make it harder for young people to further their education?

    College tuition costs are soaring to the point of being “out of control.” Young people are entering the workforce shouldering $1 trillion in student-loan debt. Given global competition and the need for the most educated workforce the nation can muster, policymakers should be making every effort to make higher ed more accessible, not less, at costs that are more affordable, not less.

    And yet, here we are, with national Republican figures cutting funding for student loans, pushing for the elimination of student grants, and in the case of some GOP presidential candidates, calling for the end of federal student assistance altogether.

    Talk about losing the future….

  8. rikyrah says:

    October 28, 2011 4:30 PM

    Huntsman’s criticism clinic

    By Steve Benen

    It’s very difficult to imagine the circumstances that would allow Jon Huntsman to seriously compete for the Republican presidential nomination. But given that he’s competing for the same kinds of GOP voters as the party’s frontrunner, Mitt Romney, Huntsman is focusing most of his attacks on the former Massachusetts governor.

    And Huntsman’s campaign is proving to be very good at it.

    Over the summer, for example, Huntsman’s spokesperson said, “You know your job creation record is bad when you brag about leapfrogging a state ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. The reality is Mitt Romney’s record on job creation was abysmal by every standard.” It was an immediate clip-and-save quote.

    This morning, Huntsman used the “perfectly lubricated weathervane” line, which is oddly perfect, and this afternoon, Kombiz flagged this brutal video the Huntsman campaign put together.

    Romney, it would seem, has two main flaws as a candidate. He’s a cowardly and uncontrollable flip-flopper with no core convictions, and he has an atrocious record on job creation. And on both fronts, I’d argue that Huntsman is hitting Romney on both counts more effectively than anyone in either party.

    If Democrats — Obama’s re-election team, the DNC, allied super PACs, etc. — are smart, they’re taking note at what Huntsman is up to. This is content that should probably be used again in 2012.

  9. rikyrah says:

    October 28, 2011 12:35 PM

    Cain’s support is not without limits

    By Steve Benen

    Herman Cain, reason be damned, continues to ride high as a top-tier Republican presidential candidate. Polls show him leading in some states, and despite any campaign organization in any state and a reluctance to show up in early nominating states, Cain is effectively running second nationwide.

    Clearly, a lot of Republicans like Herman Cain, his astounding flaws notwithstanding.

    But it’s worth appreciating the fact that not all support is created equal. Dan Balz, for example, sat in on a focus group in Cincinnati, moderated by pollster Peter Hart for the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Republicans in the group thought Cain was just great.

    Confirming Gallup polls, Cain was viewed as the most likable of the candidates, a people person, a hard-working businessman, a potential problem-solver and someone who many said would be a good neighbor. “He’s Main Street,” said Becky Leighty, a Republican. “He’s not Wall Street, and he’s not a politician.”

    At one point, Hart asked the participants to think back to fifth grade and the types of students they had encountered. From a list that included descriptions such as “teacher’s pet,” “loner,” “hard worker,” “nerd” and “know it all,” Hart asked them to write down which most applied to Cain, to Romney, to Perry and to Obama.

    The majority described Cain as the classmate who was the “hard worker,” with others saying he was the “all-American kid” or “the kid everyone respects.”

    And then we get to the punch-line.

    Toward the end of the evening, Hart sat down at the table and braced the group with perhaps the most telling question of the night for Cain’s candidacy. “Here’s what I don’t get,” he began. He noted that Cain had been described as down to Earth and a good neighbor, but he also recalled how the group had described the country as being in terrible shape and noted that Cain is running a campaign with little staff or infrastructure.

    “Do you think this person could be president of the United States?” he asked. “Is anybody willing to raise your hand and say, ‘I would be comfortable if he became the next president of the United States?’ ”

    Not a hand went up.

    Obviously, this is just one focus group, and it’d be a mistake to draw sweeping conclusions from one relatively small group of voters.

    But I nevertheless think this speaks to a larger truth: Cain may enjoy some support, but when push comes to shove, the notion of this guy actually serving as president of the United States is a concept that’s just hard to swallow — even for people who like him.

  10. rikyrah says:

    On My Ambivalence
    by BooMan
    Fri Oct 28th, 2011 at 01:53:11 PM EST

    This is an excellent piece by Gordon Lafer. And I think it perfectly explains my ambivalence about the Occupy Movement. Mr. Lafer, who spent last year working as a senior staffer on the House Labor Committee, sees things about exactly how I see things. The OWS protests are a direct result of the inability of Washington DC to tackle our biggest problems, but also a sign of exasperation on the left about our ability to ever succeed legislatively. Let’s take a look at two parts of Mr. Lafer’s argument.

    The protests are also in large part a response to the disappointments of the Obama administration. Indeed, almost every policy demand that OWS might possibly voice has already been proposed, debated and defeated—at a time when Democrats controlled all branches of government. Members of Congress considered but declined to enact proposals to impose a tax on Wall Street transactions; to limit executive compensation; to fund a mass WPA-style jobs program; to allow bankruptcy judges to mark underwater mortgages to market; to make it easier for Americans to form unions and bargain for better wages; to eliminate tax benefits for companies that transfer our jobs overseas; and to forswear any more NAFTA-style trade treaties. The OWS refusal to articulate policy demands reflects the conviction that any remedies that fit the scale of the problem are impossible to pass—not only in the current Congress but in any Congress we can realistically imagine.

    In some ways, it’s the White House that pushed people to turn outside the system. The administration has long admonished the left not to expect too much. Former press secretary Robert Gibbs famously declared that “the professional left” needed to understand that things like “Canadian healthcare” are simply “not reality.” The president repeatedly asks that we appreciate his modest achievements as the high-water mark of what can come from such a limited system. For the OWS protesters to be coaxed back into the legislative game, they’d have to believe that Obama is lying when he says this is the best we can expect. The problem is that the protesters believe the president is telling the truth.

    Now, for at least two years I have been almost a prophet of the “this is the best we can expect’ school of thought. The value of this line of argument is that it allows people so see things more clearly and, therefore, to assign blame where blame truly belongs. There are reasons that we cannot get a Canadian-style health care system created in the United States. There are a lot of reasons, actually, all with differing levels of responsibility. But the president’s refusal to push for such a system is not one of them. Similarly, there are several reasons why we haven’t been able to close Gitmo, but the president’s lack of desire to close the prison is not one of those reasons. There are reasons why we were not able to pass a Cap & Trade bill through the Senate, but the blame for that has nothing to do with the administration’s desire for a Cap & Trade bill. People who argue that Obama gets exactly the outcomes he desires are wrong. Likewise, the president would like to do another massive stimulus bill but cannot get one placed on his desk to sign. You should know who to blame for that. You should also know why he doesn’t bother to ask for it.

    The Republicans are the main problem. They’re the ones who are using every procedural trick in the book to block progress on carbon emissions and job production. But they’re not the only problem. After the Citizens United ruling legalized unlimited and unaccountable corporate funding of campaigns, the Democrats are more beholden to Big Business than ever before. Then you have a Senate where Oklahoma has the same power as California and New York, and where you need 60% of the body to agree before anything can happen. On top of that you have a conservative monopoly of political speech on the radio, and a host of corporate funded media outlets and think tanks churning out utter bullshit that pollutes the public discourse and skews it in a conservative direction.

    The result is that we can’t pursue truly progressive solutions through the legislative process. Not in the last Congress, certainly not in this Congress, and not in any foreseeable Congress. That’s what I meant the other day when I said that Mitch McConnell’s plan of complete obstruction was designed to thwart change and kill hope. Yet, he has many allies in that effort.

    The OWS protests are a recognition that the way forward in Washington is blocked. Now, Mr. Lafer argues that OWS must transform itself if it is going to create any real changes.

    OWS is clearly inspired by Tahrir Square. Yet Egyptians succeeded in toppling the Mubarak government not because they occupied the square but because their occupation exerted direct pressure on the country’s most powerful business interests. As SUNY Stonybrook sociologist Michael Schwartz has detailed, by shutting down the tourist industry, disrupting construction projects whose financing had already been committed and initiating general strike actions that threatened to shut the Suez Canal, the occupiers of Tahrir threatened the interests of the economic elite—and that is what brought down the regime.
    Clearly, something similar—nonviolent action that directly challenges the economic elite—is required here if we’re to succeed in making serious change. It’s daunting, but there is a precedent. Before there were civil rights laws, people broke the back of Jim Crow by picketing, boycotting, getting beaten and arrested by the tens of thousands, in direct action against the most powerful forces of their society…

    …This is the nightmare scenario for those at the top, and the promise of a new day for the rest of us. This is something that could get out of hand. This is Shays’ Rebellion without the guns.

    Here’s the rub. Things are bad in our country, but they could be much, much worse. Whatever else happens, the reelection of President Obama is desperately important. And, yet, here we have a movement that is sucking up a huge amount of energy on the left and which, to be effective, must create a “nightmare scenario…that could get out of hand” for our elites.

    How could I not feel ambivalent under these circumstances?

    In the history of our country, left-wing civil disobedience has a tendency to create a reactionary backlash. What we’re banking on here is that the country will react to this unrest like they did in the 1930’s and not how they did in the 1960’s and 1970’s. But with the media dominance of the right and the lack of any meaningful campaign finance laws, is that really a safe bet?

    It also concerns me that all this unrest is taking place in areas of the country that vote Democratic. Most of the country is already suspicious and afraid of what goes on in Oakland and Atlanta and Philadelphia and New York and DC. Yes, that is where our financial elites have their corporate headquarters, but it’s not where we’re getting the most resistance from members of Congress. How much pressure is this putting on suburban politicians?

    I don’t have any easy answers. The one thing I know for certain is that we’re at risk of seeing the Republicans win back the White House, hold the House, and take over the Senate. And, if that happens, all the craziness we’ve been witnessing from Republicans will be weaponized. If that happens, we won’t recognize our country, and we’ll probably never recover.

  11. Ametia says:

    Barack Obama Has Succeeded in Provoking Paul Ryan
    —By Kevin Drum
    | Wed Oct. 26, 2011 1:35 PM PDT

    Jon Chait has an epic takedown of Paul Ryan’s much-ballyhooed speech today about class warfare (Ryan is against it) and the politics of fear and envy (he’s against that too). It’s worth a read.

    But Ryan’s weak grasp of facts aside, what I’m really curious about is why Ryan gave this speech. You see, it was a fairly nasty speech, and Ryan doesn’t usually give speeches like that. After all, he has a reputation as a policy wonk — the Republican Party’s star policy wonk, in fact — and partisan stemwinders do nothing but undermine that reputation. So why did he do it, instead of giving a milder, numbers-heavy address that said pretty much the same thing?

    My guess: Obama has gotten to him. Back in April, Obama invited Ryan to a speech about the budget and then ambushed him. With Ryan sitting expectantly in the front row, Obama ripped into Ryan’s budget plan and reduced it to shreds. Ryan was stunned. Since then, following a brief respite to fight over the debt ceiling, Obama has kept up his attacks. I think this has rattled Ryan, causing him to lose his famous cool.

    That’s just a guess, of course. But regardless of whether this upsets David Brooks, it suggests that Republicans are finally feeling a little heat, which is forcing them to defend the indefensible a little more loudly and a little more explicitly than they’re really used to. Good.

  12. The Origins Of Rick Perry’s Call To Release Obama’s Grades

    It’s become fashionable among some birthers to shift from calling for President Obama’s birth certificate to instead call for his school records.

    As TPM’s Evan McMorris-Santoro put it this week, making digs about Obama’s grades “is a key component of a less-than-subtle birther conspiracy that Obama got into Harvard for reasons, you know, other than his intelligence.”

    But where did this latest conspiracy theory come from? Tough to say for sure, but it seems likely that like most not-crazy ideas, this one came from a chain e-mail.

  13. Barack Obama Working To Boost Businesses Without The Help Of Congress

    WASHINGTON — Pushing a campaign to act without Congress, President Barack Obama moved unilaterally Friday to boost private business.

    He signed executive orders aimed at spurring economic growth, capping a week in which Obama sought to employ the power of his office as he struggles to make headway on his jobs bill on Capitol Hill.

    Obama’s orders direct government agencies to shorten the time it takes for federal research to turn into commercial products in the marketplace. The goal is to help startup companies and small businesses create jobs and expand their operations more quickly.

    On the other front, Obama called for creation of a centralized online site, to be known as BusinessUSA, for companies to easily find information on federal services. The site, a recommendation of the president’s jobs council, is to be up and running within 90 days and will be designed with input from U.S. businesses.

    Obama announced both steps in presidential memos released Friday morning.

  14. Cain Tells Protesters To ‘Go Home And Get A Job And A Life’

    The former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza made the comments in response to more than a dozen Occupy protesters who were gathered outside the event, according to the Tolbert Report. “Nobody knows what their cause is,” Cain said before telling the activists to go home.

    Cain also had harsh words for the left in general during the campaign stop, saying “the American dream has been hijacked” by liberals, “but we can take it back.”

    This isn’t the first time Cain has blasted the Occupy protests. In a Wall Street Journal interview from early October, Cain said the protesters who don’t have jobs have no one to blame but themselves:

  15. rikyrah says:

    October 28, 2011 10:05 AM

    RNC discovers the safety net

    By Steve Benen

    I’d hoped to be first to the scene on this one, but Yglesias beat me to it. It’s a fun story anyway, though.

    An alert reader passed along the latest fundraising pitch from the Republican National Committee, ostensibly sent by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). The lede is a stunner.

    This is a copy and paste of the image of the actual RNC mailing, with my source’s name and address redacted.

    It may be a little tough to read, but the text says, “America is at a tipping point. 14 million Americans are unemployed and 9.3 million are underemployed. Our debt has grown over $4 trillion in less than three years and will be above $16 trillion before the end of 2012. The safety net for the poor is coming apart at the seams and no one in Washington seems to care.”

    Remember, this is a fundraising appeal sent to Republican donors by the RNC.

    The latter is right to note that there’s a jobs crisis, though it seems pertinent that President Obama has presented a popular and effective jobs plan that congressional Republicans have killed. The letter is also right to note that the deficit is quite high, though it matters that Democrats have unveiled sensible, moderate debt-reduction plans that Republicans have rejected.

    But putting that aside, a Paul Ryan letter sent by the RNC is concerned that “the net for the poor is coming apart at the seams and no one in Washington seems to care”?

    You’ve. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me.

    Ryan is the one swinging the machete at the safety net precisely because he doesn’t care. Put it this way: there’s only one party in Washington trying to slash spending on unemployment aid, student loans, food stamps, and job training, and I’ll give you a hint, it’s not the Democrats.

    That said, if the RNC believes concern for the safety net is likely to appeal to Republican donors, it’s probably safe to say the Occupy movement has already changed the national conversation in rather fundamental ways.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    October 28, 2011 10:45 AM

    Get to know the ‘Personhood’ Amendment

    By Steve Benen

    Opponents of abortion rights have been pushing constitutional amendments — at the federal and state level — for nearly four decades, so at a certain level, the “personhood” proposal on the ballot in Mississippi may not seem extraordinary. After all, as is well known, pro-life activists consider embryos and fetuses to be people.

    But this isn’t just another state initiative.

    A constitutional amendment facing voters in Mississippi on Nov. 8, and similar initiatives brewing in half a dozen other states including Florida and Ohio, would declare a fertilized human egg to be a legal person, effectively branding abortion and some forms of birth control as murder.

    With this far-reaching anti-abortion strategy, the proponents of what they call personhood amendments hope to reshape the national debate.

    “I view it as transformative,” said Brad Prewitt, a lawyer and executive director of the Yes on 26 campaign, which is named for the Mississippi proposition. “Personhood is bigger than just shutting abortion clinics; it’s an opportunity for people to say that we’re made in the image of God.”

    No matter what one thinks of the campaign, the part about this being “bigger than just shutting abortion clinics” is absolutely true. The “personhood” measure would ban every possible form of abortion, but it also goes much further.

    There’s been some great reporting on this lately, including this piece from Kate Sheppard who explained this week that an approved “personhood” amendment would “likely outlaw several types of birth control and possibly make all forms of hormonal contraception illegal.” Irin Carmon had a related piece, noting that the initiative “would almost certainly ban common forms of birth control like the IUD and the morning-after pill, call into question the legality of the common birth-control pill, and even open the door to investigating women who have suffered miscarriages.”

    Michelle Goldberg, meanwhile, added that the “personhood” amendment would also very likely prohibit couples from using in vitro fertilization (IVF) to have children.

    In other words, we’re talking about a very radical proposal. The next question is, do national Republicans support this?

    Mitt Romney was recently asked whether he would have supported a similar measure as governor, and he replied, “Absolutely.” So, does this mean he supports the “personhood” measure in Mississippi? Keith Mason, co-founder of a group supporting the Mississippi’s initiative, Personhood USA, told Politico, “We always seem to get two stories from Romney.”

    Imagine that.

    Last week, Rachel Maddow took Romney to task, and offered a helpful lesson on the sexual-health basics, in case the former governor needed a refresher. Rachel added that Romney “apparently does not understand” the idea that he, as Romney himself put it, “absolutely” endorses.

    If some enterprising campaign reporters could get to the bottom of this, and determine whether Romney supports “personhood” amendments or not, voters would benefit from knowing the answer.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Keeping It Together
    by BooMan
    Fri Oct 28th, 2011 at 10:32:28 AM EST

    I guess my timeline is slightly different from the Speaker’s, because I’d say that it’s been about six weeks since the president made it absolutely clear that he’s done trying to forge compromises with a party that won’t compromise. But let’s take a look at John Boehner’s thinking anyway.

    “There is nothing that has disappointed me more over the last eight weeks than to watch the President of the United States basically give up on the economy, and give up on the American people, decide he’s going to quit governing, and spend his entire next 14 months campaigning,” Boehner said.

    The lead Republican went on to say that the president should try to find more areas of agreement between the two parties. That notion has been one of contention, with the president maintaining that his jobs proposal consisted entirely of ideas previously supported by Republicans.

    “If the president is serious, he ought to be up here working with us to find common ground to solve the issues that the American people want us to solve,” Boehner said.

    What John Boehner means is that the Democratically-controlled U.S. Senate and the president of the United States should capitulate to whatever the House of Representatives wants to do, even if what the House wants to do has no relationship to what the Democrats promised their constituents they would fight for. What I find ironic, though, is that nothing has disappointed me more than how the activist left pushed Obama to stop compromising with the Republicans and take his case to the people, and then six weeks ago when the president decided to do exactly that, the activist left decided to pour all their energy into the Occupy Movement. I’ve discussed this before, and my thinking has been evolving. It feels like that the precise moment the president gave up on working with the Republicans, the activist left gave up on the congressional process. It’s like something snapped after the debt ceiling fiasco. I think it destroyed hope all around. And people are reacting differently to it depending on their situation.

    The one positive thing I am feeling is that I have the sense that the Republican talking points and arguments seem a little more detached from reality and a little more irrelevant or impertinent than they did before the Occupy Movement got started. It’s just a feeling, but if it’s right it might mean that the debate is moving in a more favorable direction. And the movement gives people a way to stay politically involved instead falling into despondency. So, that’s good, too.

    I just worry that the left is splintering at a dangerous time.

    I feel compelled to remind you all again that a key component of the McConnell Plan of total obstruction is to frustrate the left so that it turns on itself.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Who Burned the GOP Brand?

    Aaron Blake and Chris Cillizza describe a new CBS/NYT poll:

    The poll also asked which class voters thought the Obama Administration and Republicans in Congress favored. While people were pretty evenly split on whether the administration favors the middle class, the rich or the poor, they were all but unanimous about which class the Republicans favor; 69 percent said Republicans in Congress favor the rich, while just 9 percent said the middle class and 2 percent said the poor.

    Voters say the darndest things!

    The identification of the GOP as mouthpiece for the selfish interests of the wealthy is a stubborn image, difficult to overcome at the best of times. For three years, however, Republican leaders have been doing their utmost to confirm the stereotype – and to quash and quell any attempt to counter that stereotype. Did we really spend months and months arguing that one of the things most wrong with the US tax code is that the poor and unemployed pay too little tax? Yes we did. Head shake. Face slap.

    Given the terrible economic fundamentals, this reckless self-branding by Republicans may not in the end be enough to save President Obama from himself. But if he does manage to eke it out, the CBS/NYT result is the beginning of wisdom as to how and why.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Yglesias Award Nominee

    “Memo to the Republican field: You’re running for president. Of the United States. Of America. Start acting like it. Stop proposing nonsense tax plans that won’t work. Stop making ridiculous attention-getting ads that might be minimally acceptable if you were running for county supervisor in Oklahoma. Stop saying you’re going to build a US-Mexico border fence you know perfectly well you’re not going to build. Give the GOP electorate and the American people some credit. This country is in terrible shape. They know it. You know it. They want solutions. You’re providing comedy,” – John Podhoretz, in the New York Post.

  20. rikyrah says:

    October 28, 2011 11:25 AM

    Support is one thing, access is another

    By Steve Benen

    For all the scuttlebutt that African-American voters are abandoning President Obama, the New York Times reports that this just isn’t true. “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,” the NYT noted, “interviews and public opinion surveys show that his standing remains remarkably strong among African-Americans.”

    That is, to be sure, interesting and important. But I’d argue that Obama for America should be worried less about whether African-American voters will support them, and more about whether African-American voters will be able to participate in the first place.

    An elderly black woman in Tennessee can’t vote because she can’t produce her marriage certificate. Threatening letters blanket black neighborhoods warning that creditors and police officers will check would-be voters at the polls, or that elections are taking place on the wrong day. Thirty-eight states have instituted new rules prohibiting same-day registration and early voting on Sundays. All of this is happening as part of an effort to eradicate a problem that is statistically rarer than heavy-metal bands with exploding drummers: vote fraud.

    Many commentators have remarked on the unavoidable historical memories these images provoke: They are so clearly reminiscent of the Jim Crow era. So why shouldn’t the proponents of draconian new voting laws have to answer for their ugly history?

    Proponents of reforming the voting process seem blind to the fact that all of these seemingly neutral reforms hit poor and minority voters out of all proportion. (The Brennan Center for Justice estimates that while about 12 percent of Americans don’t have a government-issued photo ID, the figure for African-Americans is closer to 25 percent, and in some Southern states perhaps higher.)

    Risa Goluboff and Dahlia Lithwick added that the Republican efforts to restricting voting rights in 2012 — efforts generally known as the GOP’s “war on voting” — look “an awful lot like methods pioneered by the white supremacists from another era that achieved the similar results.”

    The African-American community still overwhelmingly backs President Obama. If the community is blocked from voting, it won’t matter.

  21. Call up, ring once, hang up the phone
    To let me know you made it home
    Don’t want nothing to be wrong with part-time lover…

  22. Ametia says:

    The study that shows why Occupy Wall Street struck a nerve
    By Eugene Robinson, Published: October 27
    The hard-right conservatives who dominate the Republican Party claim to despise the redistribution of wealth, but secretly they love it — as long as the process involves depriving the poor and middle class to benefit the rich, not the other way around.

    That is precisely what has been happening, as a jaw-dropping new report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office demonstrates. Three decades of trickle-down economic theory, see-no-evil deregulation and tax-cutting fervor have led to massive redistribution. Another word for what’s been happening might be theft.

  23. Michelle Obama Prepares For 2012 ‘Battle’ With A New Speech And Packed Fundraising Schedule

    WASHINGTON — After three years as America’s Mom-In-Chief, First Lady Michelle Obama is ready for a fight.

    The 2012 presidential election is “another battle, and I am looking forward to doing it,” Obama told a packed house of Democratic donors in Chicago on Tuesday. “I’m going to be walking around, running around this country for the next 12 months making sure people understand what’s at stake.”

    Over the coming year, Obama is poised to set a new precedent for American first ladies, doing more than any first lady before her to help ensure that the president is reelected. Armed with a sharper message in recent weeks, Obama bears little resemblance to the reluctant campaigner of early 2008, who was fond of telling donors that initially, she “wasn’t exactly thrilled by the idea” of her husband running for president.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Passing The Political Football
    by Zandar

    Once again my senator Mitch McConnell continues to show America that Republicans are focused like a laser on the most important issue facing the country right now: jobs the economy abortion national security screwing with college football conferences.

    Earlier this week, the Big 12 conference appeared ready to admit West Virginia into the league—a move so certain that university officials began tipping off members of their current conference, the Big East. But on Tuesday, the Big 12 abruptly backed off its overtures to the Mountaineers, leaving school officials in limbo and wondering what had happened.

    On Wednesday, West Virginia received a key clue. The New York Times’ Pete Thamel reported that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had lobbied officials at two Big 12 schools on behalf of his alma mater, the University of Louisville, which also is vying for a spot in the conference.

    Everything Republicans do is about personal gain. That’s the point of political power, one leads to another in a cycle.

    Not surprisingly, McConnell’s alleged lobbying prompted anger among the two senators from West Virginia, Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, who are both Democrats. They have called on the Senate to investigate whether McConnell inappropriately interfered in the football drama.

    “The Big 12 picked WVU on the strength of its program—period. Now the media reports that political games may upend that,” Rockefeller, who is chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee and has jurisdiction over college athletics, told reporters. “That’s just flat wrong. I am doing and will do whatever it takes to get us back to the merits.”

    Manchin, a West Virginia alum, went further, questioning McConnell’s ethics.

    “If a United States senator has done anything inappropriate or unethical to interfere with a decision that the Big 12 had already made—then I believe that there should be an investigation in the U.S. Senate, and I will fight to get to the truth,” Manchin said in a statement. “West Virginians and the American people deserve to know exactly what is going on and whether politics is interfering with our college sports.”

    So yes, it seems now that while the country is busy having a gut check over the direction of the country, over social equality, economic fairness, over the role of government in America and the true power of the wealthy, the most august deliberative body in the world is out back behind the outhouse fighting over the size of each others’ “conferences” and Republicans are abusing their power because they can. Meanwhile, the one thing that gets Joe Manchin pissed off enough to fight back isn’t the economy or Republican intransigence on jobs but the fact that Mitch is messing with the Mountaineers.

    Can we just Occupy Congress already?

  25. rikyrah says:

    House Votes To Trim Some Health Benefits

    The House has voted to make it harder for hundreds of thousands of people to qualify for Medicaid under the president’s health care overhaul.

    Lawmakers voted 262-157 to include Social Security and railroad retirement benefits in the formula that determines whether people qualify for the aid.

    The Congressional Budget Office says that would knock 500,000 to 1 million people off coverage by the federal insurance program for the poor — though some would qualify to buy coverage under new insurance exchanges.

    The budget office has estimated the change would save about $13 billion over the next decade.

    The House wants to use those savings to pay for the repeal of a law that pressures government contactors to fully pay their taxes.

    The Senate hasn’t voted yet on the health measure.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Friday, October 28, 2011
    Michele M. Bachmann Will You Please Go Now?
    Posted by Zandar

    The party’s over for the Bachmanniac as the floundering Republicans eat their own ahead of January’s primaries.

    It’s time for Michelle [sic] Bachmann to go,” reads the first line of a statement from American Majority President Ned Ryun. His group operates in seven states, trains thousands of tea party supporters and is “liked” by over 371,000 people on Facebook.

    “Bachmann, the leader of the so-called tea party caucus in the House and the most vocal about her affiliation with the Tea Party than any other Presidential candidate, has consistently presented herself as a champion of the movement and its values,” Ryun’s statement continued.

    “Bachmann has ridden her tea party credentials from obscurity to a national platform like no other.”
    Bachmann campaign manager Keith Nahigian responded in a statement.

    “The strength of the Tea Party is all individual’s opinions are valued but the no single leader speaks for it. Mr. Ryun, who supports Texas Gov. Rick Perry, is entitled to his own opinion. And that’s exactly what he is expressing. Michele Bachmann enjoys strong support from Americans across party lines and that certainly includes the Tea Party. She will continue to be a strong advocate for the values and principles reflected by the Tea Party as works toward a victory in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses as she seeks to win the Republican nomination.”

    Ryun denies he supports Perry, telling CNN: “I liked his plan that he came out with earlier in the week. And I said as much in a blog post. But I have not, and neither has American Majority endorsed anybody.”

    American Majority’s rebuke of Bachmann marks the first time a well-known tea party group has turned on one of its own in the presidential race – a candidate who so frequently pushes tea party values it’s become a key underpinning of her White House bid.

    Republicans are quickly realizing that the media smokescreen about the “conventional wisdom that President Obama is doomed” is so much bullpucky, and that the President’s numbers remain steady while the Republicans are falling on their faces. President Obama continues to lead head to head match-ups with any Republican, time and time again.

    Bachmann’s own numbers have dropped off a cliff. Republicans are clearing the decks of the crazies because they’re realizing if one of them is allowed to win the primary, they lose to Obama. The problem of course is all of them are crazy.

  27. rikyrah says:

    October 28, 2011 8:40 AM

    Perry joins the Tax Fairy Fan Club

    By Steve Benen

    Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry released his tax plan this week, and it’s a doozy. The Texas governor wants a flat tax, the elimination of the Estate Tax, and the elimination of the capital-gains tax. All of these measures, of course, would cost an enormous amount of money, and all of them would exclusively benefit the very wealthy.

    At the same time, though, Perry believes he can slash taxes on the rich while also eliminating the deficit and balancing the budget. I seem to recall another dimwitted Texas governor making the same promise about a decade ago.

    And how, pray tell, does Perry intend to collect more revenue by collecting less revenue? The governor’s campaign provided Suzy Khimm with an explanation. From the Perry camp:

    “The purpose of this bold tax proposal is to give the economy the jumpstart it needs to get people back to work. The flat tax system has been designed to raise total federal revenues equal to 18 percent of GDP, the 50-year historical average for tax revenue in the U.S. Gov. Perry is confident that the economic growth that results from this plan will generate the necessary revenue to balance the budget by 2020.”

    Yes, Perry is apparently a member of the Tax Fairy Fan Club. If you cut taxes, the argument goes, the economy will soar, more people will get better jobs, they’ll start paying taxes on their income, and voila, more revenue enters the treasury. As far as the governor’s campaign is concerned, they’re “confident” that massive tax giveaways to millionaires and billionaires will simply pay for themselves.

    And if the oft-confused Texas governor is confident, who are we to question him?

    Look, this truly absurd argument comes up fairly regularly, but it’s deeply foolish. Earlier this year, Amanda Terkel noted that actual economists, even conservative ones, have no use for this nonsense.

    Federal revenue is lower today than it would have been without the tax cuts. There’s really no dispute among economists about that,” said Alan D. Viard, a former White House economist under George W. Bush, in a 2006 Washington Post article.

    Robert Carroll, deputy assistant Treasury secretary for tax analysis, also said that no one in the administration believes tax cuts created a surge in revenue. “As a matter of principle, we do not think tax cuts pay for themselves,” Carroll said.

    Bruce Bartlett, a Reagan economist who became a strong critic of the Bush administration’s policies, used data from the Office of Management and Budget in a blog post last year to illustrate how “the Bush tax cuts reduced revenue rather significantly.”

    Republicans like Perry aren’t just wrong about this; they’re pathologically confused. The evidence isn’t ambiguous in the slightest. The idea is just crazy.

  28. rikyrah says:

    The Origins Of Rick Perry’s Call To Release Obama’s Grades

    Jillian Rayfield October 28, 2011, 6:00 AM 229015It’s become fashionable among some birthers to shift from calling for President Obama’s birth certificate to instead call for his school records.

    As TPM’s Evan McMorris-Santoro put it this week, making digs about Obama’s grades “is a key component of a less-than-subtle birther conspiracy that Obama got into Harvard for reasons, you know, other than his intelligence.”

    But where did this latest conspiracy theory come from? Tough to say for sure, but it seems likely that like most not-crazy ideas, this one came from a chain e-mail.

    Back in June 2009, World Net Daily, the birther-est of birther sites, claimed that many of Obama’s school records — from Kindergarten in Hawaii through his time at Occidental College, and then on to Columbia undergraduate and Harvard Law School — are missing. The argument was summed up by WND columnist Jack Cashill who said, “If Obama’s LSAT scores merited admission (to Harvard), we would know about them. We don’t. The Obama camp guards those scores, like his SAT scores, more tightly that Iran does its nuclear secrets.”

    Fast forward to this week, when Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry dabbled in traditional birtherism, and then made the leap to the school records question. Perry started off by saying that he doesn’t “have any idea” if Obama’s long-form birth certificate is real. But he told CNBC’s John Harwood: “I’m really not worried about the president’s birth certificate [but] it’s fun to poke at him a little bit and say ‘hey, how about let’s see your grades and your birth certificate.’”

    Back when he was teasing the media with the idea of a presidential run, Donald Trump took the release of Obama’s long-form birth certificate in stride, instead pivoting to the grades theory: “The word is,” Trump said at the time, Obama “was a terrible student when he went to Occidental [College]. He then gets to Columbia. He then gets to Harvard.”

    “I don’t know why he doesn’t release his records,” Trump said. “Why doesn’t he release his Occidental records?”

    Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips had similar concerns after the release of the long-form birth certificate, but he touched on something else: “I have found it very disturbing that president Obama has not released all his records,” he told TPM in April, adding that there’s a “rumor that Obama attended Occidental [College] on a scholarship reserved for foreign students.”

  29. rikyrah says:

    October 28, 2011 8:00 AM

    What ‘giving up’ on governing looks like

    By Steve Benen

    House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) generated a little news yesterday, complaining on Laura Ingraham’s radio show about President Obama taking unilateral steps to boost the economy. But there was something else he said that also stood out for me.

    “There is nothing that has disappointed me more over the last eight weeks than to watch the President of the United States basically give up on the economy, and give up on the American people, decide he’s going to quit governing, and spend his entire next 14 months campaigning,” Boehner said. […]

    “If the president is serious, he ought to be up here working with us to find common ground to solve the issues that the American people want us to solve,” Boehner said.

    The Speaker’s interest in what “the American people want” is touching, isn’t it? Polls show overwhelming, bipartisan support for saving public-sector jobs, investing in infrastructure, and asking millionaires and billionaires to pay a little more in taxes — ideas that Boehner refuses to even consider — but he nevertheless feels comfortable claiming the moral high ground on respecting the public’s wishes. This from a Speaker who’s brought more anti-abortion bills to the House floor than jobs bills.

    It’s almost amusing.

    But I’m especially interested in this notion that it’s the president who’s decided to “quit governing.” The last time I checked, Obama has been taking his case directly to the electorate, urging Americans to contact Congress and push lawmakers to act, because as the new White House mantra notes, “we can’t wait.” Indeed, the president’s speech invariably notes that the next election is still more than a year away, and the nation needs action now.

    That doesn’t sound like someone who’s chosen to “give up on the American people.” It actually sounds like the opposite. As Alan Pyke put it, “If anything, Obama’s giving up on Boehner.”

    Meanwhile, Markos Moulitsas posted the work schedule the Speaker’s office released for the House of Representatives in the coming year. In January, for example, the House will work a grand total of six days. By April, that total will soar to eight days of work. Every month in 2012, the House will get at least one week off, and in many cases, two. (In both August and October, House members will get four weeks off.)

    The goal of the House GOP leadership, apparently, is to make this an almost-literal do-nothing Congress.

    So, remind me, Mr. Speaker. Who’s decided to “quit governing”?

  30. rikyrah says:

    October 26, 2011
    Paul Ryan: technocratic whiz kid

    Paul Ryan self-promotes as a kind of technocratic whiz kid of the modern medievalism known as the Republican Party. His ideological compatriots love to propagate the whiz myth, hence political monasteries of the very right kind of thinking, such as the Heritage Foundation, originally financed by Rocky Mountain suds money and partially directed by unholy scandalmongers such as Richard Mellon Scaife, also love to host this unctuous ass of a U.S. representative.

    And Ryan gets unctuous-er every day, or morning, as the case may be, which it was today, in a speech, yep, at Heritage. There, this Wisconsin (wouldn’t you know it) Republican accused President Obama of “sowing social unrest and class resentment … [and] preying on the emotions of fear, envy and resentment.” How? By advocating a jobs program, in the midst of nearly unprecedented joblessness. Oh my.

    Who knows? Did it occur to Ryan that in accusing the president of sowing all that undesirable stuff, in addition to fear-mongering, that he himself was sowing some rather nasty business and doing a bit of fear-mongering, too? I’d like to think so, but only because I like my whiz kids to possess at least half a wit. But to watch Ryan in action, one wonders.

    I don’t mean to suggest he’s stupid. Not at all. He is, however, stunningly obvious in his arguments — and that sort of thing tends, in my book, to subtract from one’s proper reputation for whiz kiddism.

    Obama “is going from town to town,” charged Ryan, “impugning the motives of Republicans, setting up straw men and scapegoats, and engaging in intellectually lazy arguments, as he tries to build support for punitive tax hikes on job creators.” Well, there you go: a script as intellectually lazy and scapegoating as a political script can get. In said midst of said joblessness, the president is pressuring Congress to aggressively penalize job creators?

    To me, what’s most frightening about ideological twits like Ryan is not, in fact, their frightening ideology. It is, rather, their seeming disloyalty to any authentic ideology and their extravagant randiness instead to simply say anything that they think will politically harm Obama. These boys have no core, no — egads, sorry for the cliche — “authenticity,” no soul.

  31. rikyrah says:

    October 27, 2011
    The ultimate, right-wing cop-out

    OK, now we understand. We finally comprehend why the GOP presidential field is sated with clueless ideologues, unschooled blowhards, professional quacks, vocational swindlers, buffoons, halfwits and irremediable mossbacks.


    It’s Obama’s fault.

    No, really. Here’s WaPo’s Jennifer Rubin to explain:

    There is a certain hubris to run for president when you lack virtually every qualification other than age and citizenship. Alas, after Barack Obama the notion of preparedness went out of potential candidates’ decision-making process.

    Of course, there’s an alternative explanation as to why so many unprepared, pseudoconservative egotists are running for president. Alas, after George W. Bush the notion of having to confront an intellectually demanding conservative press went out of potential candidates’ decision-making process.

  32. rikyrah says:

    October 27, 2011
    The magic that is Mitt

    The accelerating simplicity of President Obama’s reelection strategy, as phrased by a “Democratic operative”:

    The thing that is unique about Romney … is that if you close your eyes and have somebody read the attacks on Romney it would be impossible to know if it’s coming from Perry, [Rick] Santorum, the DNC, [Democratic strategist Bill] Burton or [Obama spokesman Ben] LaBolt: that he doesn’t believe anything, that you can’t trust him, that he’s a flip-flopping weasel.

    In other words, the Obama campaign is unburdened by most presidential campaigns’ foremost, and most formidable, challenge: defining the opposition early, simply, and negatively. For as the operative added:

    The fight [Romney’s] having in the primary is the fight he’s gonna have in the general.

    Mitt will be exhausted by next summer, while Obama’s prep-work and framing are being done for him — by the former governor’s Republican opponents.

    Meanwhile, Romney can rely on the exceptionally charmless policies and downright ghoulish personalities of Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and Eric Cantor to further depress the Republican brand generically. My guess is that the Romney staff is frantically calling the GOP’s congressional conference and leaving the message, “Put a fucking sock in it”; but, well, boys will be boys. Especially these boys.

    I tell you, I almost feel sorry for Romney. He’s willing to be blue, be red, be a McGovern or Eisenhower, be a progressive or pseudoconservative — to be anything and everything he can be — and yet he’s blocked at every turn. And God knows he makes a lot of those.

  33. rikyrah says:

    uh oh

    and FYI, Tonight’s newscast: Blago’s brother wrote to EACH congressman (that would be 10) serving on the ethics committee about Jackson and his willingness to testify against Jackson.



    Rob Blagojevich wants to speak to ethics panel about Rep. Jackson

    Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s brother has personally written to 10 members of Congress with an offer to testify before an ethics committee that last week re-launched its investigation of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.).

    Robert Blagojevich said Thursday that he sent letters to all the members of the U.S. House Committee on Ethics because: “I believe I have information I think will help them find the truth” on Jackson.

    He offered his testimony or to be interviewed about Jackson’s effort to secure an appointment by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich in late 2008 to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant with the election of President Barack Obama.

    “Based on what I know, I believe Jesse Jackson Jr. has a lot of unanswered questions that he needs to answer,” Robert Blagojevich said. “There are a lot of unanswered questions he should be required to answer.”

    Robert Blagojevich suggested he might have more details to share that did not yet come out. Tried with his brother in federal court last year, Robert Blagojevich testified in his own defense, telling jurors he was approached by two Jackson supporters on separate occasions in 2008 with an offer: Get his brother to give Jackson the Senate appointment, and Jackson would give the governor campaign cash. Robert Blagojevich was heading his brother’s campaign fund at the time.

    Robert Blagojevich said Rajinder Bedi, a state official, met with him in late October 2008, offering more than $1 million for the seat on Jackson’s behalf. Bedi testified as a prosecution witness that he had met with Jackson earlier on the same day that he met with Robert Blagojevich and that both fund-raising and the Senate seat were discussed in Jackson’s presence. Bedi also testified that, when he passed along the offer, Robert Blagojevich turned it down.

    The second approach, according to Robert Blagojevich’s testimony, came on Oct. 31, 2008. Jackson friend Raghu Nayak approached him with a $6 million offer — $1 million up front and Jackson would raise another $5 million for the governor once Jackson was appointed to the Senate, he said. He said he again turned it down.

    “I very definitely got the impression that they were representing Jackson,” Robert Blagojevich said.

  34. rikyrah says:

    October 27, 2011
    ‘A series of missteps’
    The inelegant understatements of the week, nicely bundled in one short passage by the NY Times:

    Mr. Cain’s campaign may have undermined itself with questionable decisions and a series of missteps, which have led to the impression that the candidate lacks focus and preparation.

    May have, questionable, missteps, the impression, lacks.

    Is the Times reporter, Susan Saulny, a political journalist or a Foreign Service applicant?

    Among the very few incontrovertible facts of our political scene, the one that sits at the absolute apex of supreme incontrovertibility is that Herman Cain has indeed undermined his campaign — mostly because he never thought he’d make it this far; ergo, there was always so little for him to undermine.

    Now, why is that so hard for a political reporter to simply, plainly, clearly report? There is no “may have,” only a has; there’ve been no “missteps,” only colossal imbecilities; and we’re countless parsecs beyond any mere “impression” of Cain’s mental sloth and ill-preparedness.

    So, Ms. Saulny & Editor, please just say so.

  35. rikyrah says:

    October 27, 2011

    No Rick, live, and lips mumbling?

    Staying abreast of every developing GOP-presidential-candidate nincompoopism has become an impossible task. It’s torrential. It rains down upon us in buckets. We scoop, bail, and heave, but more comes — more and more and more — relentlessly, from morning through night, in newspapers, on cable TV, and in blogs like this one.

    These candidates have no mercy, and we’re reaching our limit.

    The latest: Gov. Rick Perry, he of plunging poll numbers and skyrocketing electoral doubts, is thinking about skipping future debates. Now, it is axiomatic in politics that only two types of candidates are permitted to do so — the Mitt Romneys and the Jon Huntsmans; the clear leaders (who don’t care to open themselves to public blunders) and the hopelessly obscure (I repeat, Jon Huntsman). If you’ve any chance at all of overcoming the frontrunner, you debate. Period. This is axiomatic for excellent reason.

    Steve Schmidt, John McCain’s presidential campaign manager (yeah, I know, but Schmidt is nevertheless a real professional), had this to say of the non-debate non-option:

    It’s like skipping the third quarter of a football game. It’s not practical. Plus it’s a stipulation he can’t make an argument and is unprepared on the issues.

    Or, rather, a re-stipulation. Whatever.

    At any rate, the larger point remains, How much more can we take? We’ve months more of this amateurish twaddle.

  36. rikyrah says:

    It’s Time for Bachmann to Go
    by BooMan
    Fri Oct 28th, 2011 at 08:12:46 AM EST

    I’ve been busy with doctor appointments and other chores, but I thought you’d enjoy reading about this. Michele Bachmann never was a true tea partier, and now they’re asking her to get out of the presidential race.

    In Bachmann’s case, it is clear that the campaign has become less about reform and more about her personal effort to stay relevant and sell books; a harsh commentary, but true. It’s not about tea party values or championing real plans to solve real problems. While other campaigns are diving into the substance, the supposed tea party candidate Bachmann is sticking to thin talking points and hanging on for dear life.

    Every day the campaign flounders, it risks hurting the credibility of the movement. If she really is about the tea party, and making it successful, it’s time for the Congresswoman to move on. The Tea Party doesn’t have a spokesperson, and it’s certainly not Michele Bachmann.


  37. rikyrah says:

    October 27, 2011 3:35 PM
    Why debt-reduction talks always fail

    By Steve Benen

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Republicans demand debt reduction; Democrats present a moderate plan intended to garner bipartisan support; Republicans reject it and present a partisan plan as an alternative. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    This week, Democrats on the so-called super-committee crafted a $3 trillion debt-reduction package, far exceeding the panel’s mandated target. Though the details of the plan are a little sketchy, Dems were apparently offering a two-to-one deal to the GOP: Democrats would accept $2 trillion in spending cuts (including entitlement cuts Dems don’t like) in exchange for $1 trillion in tax revenue. The package also included funds for immediate job creation, the top Democratic priority.

    It was intended as a constructive proposal that requires sacrifice and compromise on both sides. Republicans didn’t see it that way, and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) this morning rejected the moderate Dem plan as unacceptable.

    And that, of course, led to the counteroffer.

    Republicans on the deficit supercommittee have presented a counteroffer to Democrats that would reduce the deficit by $2.2 trillion over a decade.

    The GOP plan includes no tax increases, but does include up to $640 billion in new revenue. Some of this revenue is from increased fees, and some is from expected gains in tax revenue from an economy the GOP expects will improve from its plan.

    Spending cuts in the proposal include $600 billion in changes to Medicare and other healthcare entitlements, and $250 billion in discretionary spending cuts.

    Please. No money for job creation, no tax increases on anyone, and revenue that will magically appear just as soon as Republicans take money out of the economy through spending cuts. This, GOP officials argue, should be enough to lead Dems to accept cuts to Medicare.

    Remember, Republicans said the Democratic plan is “unserious.”

    One Democratic aide told The Hill, “Their offer is a joke. Democrats came to the table with an offer that had serious skin in the game for both parties. Rather than offering real solutions, Republicans are just doing more of the same posturing they do every time they walk away from efforts to constructively tackle this crisis.”

    In other words, it’s just another day for the most ridiculous congressional caucus in modern American history.

  38. rikyrah says:

    October 27, 2011 4:15 PM
    Brewer’s ‘nuclear option’ in Arizona

    By Steve Benen

    Different states take different approaches to post-Census redistricting, but Arizona has an Independent Redistricting Commission, made up of two Democrats, two Republicans, and one registered Independent. The system, was adopted by Arizona voters a decade ago, and was intended to take partisan agendas out of the redistricting process.

    The tripartisan panel recently unveiled a draft proposal that would, as a practical matter, create two safe Democratic seats, four safe Republican seats, and create three competitive districts, all the while improving the voting influence of the state’s growing Latino population.

    To put it mildly, Arizona Republicans are apoplectic, so much so that Gov. Jan Brewer (R), best known for her anti-immigrant work, may impeach the commission’s members for producing a map she doesn’t like.

    Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has taken the first step today in what had been previously called “the nuclear option” in seeking a more Republican-friendly redistricting map.

    The GOP governor began the impeachment process for removing members from the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission by submitting a letter outlining her grievances to commission Chairwoman Colleen Mathis. […]

    Arizona Democratic Party Executive Director Luis Heredia described the governor as “drunk with power,” calling the move “a brazen power grab that would rival any in Arizona history.”

    It’s worth noting that the governor can only replace the commission’s volunteer members — she intends to impeach all five panelists — with the support of two-thirds of the Arizona state Senate. And wouldn’t you know it, Republicans have a 21-9 majority in the chamber.

    Currently, a Republican-dominated Joint Legislative Committee on Redistricting is reviewing the commission’s proposed map, and is expected to, in effect, tell the commission to replace their work with a GOP-friendly version.

    If the commission stands by its own work, Republicans apparently intend to pursue impeachment.

    Whether this is saber-rattling, intended to pressure commission members, or a sincere effort, is unclear, but if GOP officials impeach the state’s tripartisan commission for doing its job in an even-handed way, it would mark a new low, even by Republican standards.

  39. rikyrah says:

    After the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision opened the floodgates to unlimited corporate money in American elections, the decision’s defenders claimed this wasn’t such a big deal because unions could also take advantage of the decision. A new report by three leading voting rights and judicial independence groups gives the lie to this claim. According to the report, just three corporate interest groups — The Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Business Council of Alabama, and the Illinois Civil Justice League spent more than 13 times as much trying to influence state supreme court elections as the entire labor movement:

    The report focuses on the 2009-10 cycle, so it does not include the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court race where incumbent Justice David Prosser narrowly defeated a progressive challenger after corporate front groups rode to his rescue with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of funds.

  40. rikyrah says:

    Under Gov. Walker’s Proposal, Guns Will Be Allowed In The State Capitol But Cameras Are Forbidden

    | Under direction from Gov. Scott Walker (R), Wisconsin’s GOP-led legislature is drawing up rules to allow the public to carry guns into the state Capitol. As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, the Assembly plans to allow guns onto the Assembly floor and into the viewing galleries and are meeting today to set the rules. Those toting guns into the galleries would still have to follow existing rules, “including one that bars the use of still cameras and video cameras.” Walker is allowed to issue these rules after he signed a law “making Wisconsin the 49th state to allow people to carry concealed weapons,” a law that takes effect next Tuesday. State Republicans are more than open to the new rules: “People who carry concealed can come in my office, I don’t care,” said state Rep. Robin Vos (R). But Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller (D) offered a more sober view: “I don’t think there should be weapons in the Capitol,” he said. “There’s children who come in the building, for Pete’s sake.”

  41. rikyrah says:

    ANALYSIS: Warren Buffett Would Pay As Little As 0.2 Percent Tax Rate Under Rick Perry’s Tax Plan

    By Guest Blogger on Oct 27, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    ur guest blogger is Seth Hanlon, director of fiscal reform for the Doing What Works project at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

    Billionaire investor Warren Buffett would pay barely any taxes under Perry’s ‘flat tax.’

    Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry released a tax plan this week that he and many media reports called a “20 percent flat tax.” But Perry’s new alternative tax scheme is hardly “flat.”

    Leaving aside the fact that it is layered on top of the existing tax code, it establishes not one but two different tax rates: 20 percent for wages, and zero percent for investment income. Because capital gains and dividends would be sheltered from taxes under Perry’s plan, some of the wealthiest Americans would wind up paying nowhere near 20 percent overall.

    In fact, billionaire Warren Buffett, who has lamented the fact that he currently pays only 11 percent of his adjusted gross income in federal income taxes, would pay as little as 0.2 percent under Perry’s plan.

    Perry’s campaign has helpfully released a sample of the tax form that wealthy people would use under his plan. We’ve taken the liberty of filling out this form for four high-income Americans whose tax information is public: Buffett, Dick Cheney, Barack Obama, and Perry himself. By computing their tax bill using Perry’s sample tax form and the income reported on their most recent actual tax returns, we can calculate just how big a tax cut Perry is proposing to give them.

    Here are the results [CLICK ON THE FORMS FOR A LARGER IMAGE]:

    BUFFETT: Since the legendary investor receives most of his income from capital gains and dividends, Perry’s plan wipes out most of his already-low tax bill. Buffett reported $62,855,038 in income on last year’s tax return while receiving only $600,000 in compensation from Berkshire Hathaway and the Washington Post Co. (where he is a director). If, aside from that $600,000, all of his other income is from capital gains and dividends, Buffett’s effective federal income tax rate under the Perry plan would be a microscopic 0.2 percent. Buffett’s tax bill would be slashed from the $6.9 million he actually paid in 2010 to $120,000. (Even if Buffett had two-thirds of his income in the form of capital gains and dividends, the average for the richest 400 people in the country, he’d get a $2.7 million tax cut and pay a 6.8 percent effective rate.)

    CHENEY: Former Vice President and Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney fares almost as well under Perry’s tax plan. Cheney reported $3.1 million in income on his 2007 tax return (the most recent available), including $2.1 million in dividends and capital gains. Since he’d only pay Perry’s 20 percent tax on his other income, his tax bill would be reduced by about two-thirds — a $387,000 cut. Cheney’s effective rate, which was 19.1 percent in 2007, would be 6.4 percent under Perry’s plan. Of course, this is probably fine with Cheney, since he believes that deficits don’t matter.

    OBAMA: Even though President Obama has said that “people like me don’t need another tax cut,” Perry’s plan would give him a big one. The Obamas reported relatively little investment income on their most recent tax return. Still, they would get a $60,000 tax cut from Perry’s plan because they paid more than 20 percent on their other income ($1.8 million from the President’s salary, book sales, and other items). President Obama has proposed the polar opposite of Perry’s plan by suggesting the “Buffett rule,” which would ensure that millionaires can’t pay lower taxes than middle-class families.

    PERRY: Perry himself would receive a tax cut of $6,310, based on the income reported on his most recent tax return. That would drop his effective rate from 18.6 percent to 15.8 percent. (If Perry has another large capital gain like he did from selling land in 2007, he’d benefit even more. Had his tax plan been in effect that year, the Perrys would have saved more than $150,000 in taxes on $1.1 million of income and paid a minuscule 3.8 percent effective rate.)

    The bottom line: It’s pretty clear from crunching some numbers on his proposed tax form that Perry is not proposing a 20 percent flat tax (nor would a flat tax be a good idea in any event). Far from flat, Perry is proposing an upside-down tax that delivers more tax cuts for the wealthy on top of the ones they’ve already received in recent years — exploding the deficit and shifting a greater share of the tax burden onto the middle class.

  42. rikyrah says:

    REPORT: House GOP’s ‘Job Creating’ Spending Cuts Destroyed 370,000 Jobs

    By Travis Waldron on Oct 27, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    House Republicans took the government to the brink of shutdown last spring by demanding across-the-board budget cuts to many vital programs. Instead of focusing on job creation, as Americans wanted them to, the GOP turned its attention to slashing funds for programs that funded assistance for women and children, local law enforcement, the social safety net, environmental protections, and many other programs they deemed as either too expensive or unnecessary. Worse, when challenged on why they hadn’t made the effort to tackle high unemployment, Republicans insisted that their slash-and-burn budget cuts were meant to create jobs.

    Not all of those cuts made it through, but the GOP succeeded in passing massive spending reductions as part of a continuing resolution that kept the government operating. According to a new report from the Center for American Progress’ Scott Lilly, those cuts didn’t result in the job creating boon Republicans insisted would follow. Instead, it has done just the opposite, as those cuts will result in the destruction of roughly 370,000 jobs.

    Lilly’s report focuses on three major areas where Republicans insisted on spending cuts: funding for local law enforcement, environmental cleanup of sites where nuclear weapons were disabled and destroyed, and investments into construction, repair, and maintenance of government buildings. Cuts to just those three areas will result in the loss of 90,000 jobs, the report found — 60,000 from direct cuts, and 30,000 additional jobs lost from the secondary impacts of job losses in each community.

    And according to Lilly, those three areas weren’t among the worst budget cuts forced through by the Republican House:

    “Similar stories could be told about many other budget cuts made in this bill—cuts that resulted in further job losses,” said Scott Lilly, author of the report and Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. “All of the various 250 program reductions in the fiscal year 2011 Continuing Resolution probably eliminated more than 370,000 American jobs. The three areas selected for discussion in this paper are in my judgment neither the worst cuts made by the committee from a policy standpoint nor the best. But without a doubt they demonstrate the consequences of slashing government spending in a weak economy.”

    According to the report, the $2.5 billion cut to local law enforcement funding could have prevented 36,000 police layoffs nationwide, and similar cuts made to grant programs could have prevented the loss of other state and local government jobs. Crunched by the recession and budget cuts, state and local governments shed more than 200,000 jobs in 2010 alone. Republicans not only cut such funding this spring but have now opposed the American Jobs Act — which included grants to state and local governments for the hiring of teachers, police officers, and firefighters.

  43. rikyrah says:

    I have LOVED this series on Stevie Wonder!!!

  44. Good Morning, 3 Chics, Friends & Visitors!

    Rose Pictures
    Rose Scraps, Rose Day Graphics, Rose Day Comments and Glitter Graphics

Leave a Reply