Saturday 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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52 Responses to Saturday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Former Alltel CEO Makes Odd Connection Between Occupy Wall Street and Rwandan Genocide

    by ABL

    Hyperbole much?

    Former Alltell CEO Scott Ford gave a speech to the local Chamber of Commerce in Fort Smith, Arkansas during which he drew a comparison between the 99 percent Movement and the Rwandan genocide:

    Ford was the featured speaker at the event held in downtown Fort Smith at the Holiday Inn City Center. He shared his journey from Alltel, a company he was president of from 1996 to 2001, to Westrock Coffee and the Rwanda Trading Company.

    “There’s a common denominator (with the Occupy Wall Street movement) that I understand. But what they could learn from Rwanda is this: if instead of being angry, they could figure out how the system works and have an economic impact within that system rather than just a political one, they could actually form the world they want to form,” Ford said.


    Ford shared his journey at the event as well as similarities he sees in Rwanda of 1994 and the Occupy movement that has been the subject of national media attention.

    “We’re really not working on solutions right now. We’re working on our political positions. Until we get sick and tired of being sick and tired with our lack of progress, and we get a set of leaders in that will fix it, nothing will be solved. I don’t think we’re sick and tired of ourselves enough yet, but I think we’ll get there in the next five years. I hope we do,” Ford said.

    Ford compared the “We are the 99%” Occupy protest slogan to the turmoil that existed surrounding Rwanda’s 1994 genocide. There, he pointed out, was where 90% of the poorest looked upon the 10%, “who were wealthy enough to own cows,” and said “that we the 90% being the bravest people we know are so poor, and the 10% are so rich, they must be cheating. How can they be making more money than us? They’re less than us,” Ford said.

    Ford continued: “And from there it went to ‘you (the 10%) are subhuman.’ Then, the political leadership and the wife of the (Rwandan) President embraced it. They gathered their children together and held seminars for how to use a machete. From that point, it went from, ‘you are subhuman’ to ‘you are cockroaches and need to be killed.’”

    “In 90 days, they killed a million people by hand,” Ford said.

    Bringing the comparison home, he noted the Occupy movement is “so dangerous economically that you should be putting money in other countries.” He clarified he didn’t see the Occupy movement turning to the violent extremes found in Rwanda, but that “when you start this kind of class warfare, it ends not with people doing better, but worse.”

    This comparison is outright absurd. The sloganeering leading up to and during the genocide in Rwanda ultimately was about ethnic cleansing. Occupy Wall Street is about income inequality. The two have absolutely nothing to do with one another. This sort of rhetoric is desperate and irresponsible.

    • opulent says:

      Sounds inciteful for the 1%!!
      Sounds like it is advocating violence against the 99%, using capitalist power to maime, bully, arrest and incarcerate as well as outright shoot folks down in the streets.

      It sounds like what they did to the Black Panthers, Watts, Detroit and all the other riots in the 60s. Those of us alive then, recall the tanks rolling into our communities and OCCUPYING us, while enforcing martial law.

      Ford is TELLING the powermongers WHAT to DO!!

      This is beyond irresponsible it is out and out advocating violent destruction and mass killings of the masses to abolish democracy and allow the capitalists to rule unimpeded.

  2. rikyrah says:

    October 29, 2011 at 9:59 pm



    When Mitch McConnell and the Republicans decided at the beginning of President Obama’s administration (before he was even sworn in) to block everything he tried to do, they forgot about the fact that they would not be able to block his foreign policy agenda. Fast forward and to their surprise, President Obama’s foreign policy leadership is making previous Republican Presidents look like amateurs – most especially President George W. Bush.

    What this does is set up a very interesting question for the American people and the gasbags on cable and network television. Just imagine what President Obama could have accomplished domestically if he did not have to deal with the obstruction of the Republican Party. it’s a question that deserves some attention and analysis. Think about it. Where would the country be today if President Obama had a congress that he could work with??

    So here’s the question, exactly what platform will the Republican Party presidential candidate run on? What have they offered except the same old tired, worn out devastating policies of the Bush administration. There are no new or original ideas coming from the GOP. With that in mind, I have come up with what I think their platform might be. This is just a partial list.

    – We obstructed President Obama during his first term and sabotaged the economic recovery.
    – We just don’t believe in putting country before party.
    – We used hostage taking as a governing strategy.
    – We did nothing to spur job creation.
    – We were perfectly willing to see the country default on it’s debts.
    – We delayed confirmation hearings for judges, just because.
    – We blocked the appointment of a director to the CFPB. The agency that looks out for consumers with the motto “Know before you owe”.
    – We made no tax pledges to this guy named Grover Norquist.
    – We want to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
    – We want to repeal Dodd-Frank financial reform.
    – We want to dismantle the EPA.
    – We don’t believe in climate change.
    – We are against the DREAM Act.
    – We believe he only way to deal with immigration is to build more fences.
    – We say no taxes for the wealthy ever.
    – We say no regulations ever.
    – We don’t like entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid.
    – We want to turn Social Security into a voucher system.
    – We want a balanced budget amendment for the federal government because it’s worked so well for the states.
    – We are vehemently anti-government when it is convenient for us.
    – We want to overturn Roe v Wade because we are obsessed with the uterus.
    – We want to dismantle unions.
    – We want to disenfranchise African American, Latino and student voters.
    – We don’t have a coherent foreign policy agenda.
    – We don’t want to end the war in Iraq.
    – We have disdain for the American people.
    – We agree totally with the Citizen’s United ruling of the supreme court.
    – We think the OWS crowd are dirty, rotten hippies.
    – We roll with the 1% – they are our peeps.
    – We just don’t like Attorney General Eric Holder.

    VOTE FOR THE GOP (Do Nothing Congress) IN 2012 because …..

    – President Obama did not completely clean up the mess we made during the 8 years of the Bush administration.
    – We just don’t think anyone but a Republican should be in the White House.
    – Donald Trump says there are still questions about President Obama’s birth certificate.

  3. President Obama at National Italian American Foundation Gala

  4. rikyrah says:

    Herman Cain’s Wily Racial Politics
    RightWatch: The Republican candidate validates what white conservatives believe about blacks.

    If there’s one thing I admire about Herman Cain — and truth be told, there is only one thing I admire about Herman Cain — it’s his chutzpah.

    That, as the great Leo Rosten observed, is the kind of gall it takes to murder your parents and then throw yourself on the mercy of the court because you’re an orphan. To borrow a phrase that others have used to demean President Barack Obama, Cain’s is the audacity of hype.

    It’s what makes this previously little-known African-American businessman such a great political con man. He has used it to leap to the top of the Republican presidential heap for several weeks in a row, even though he has no previous electoral experience and few discernible qualifications. When you look beyond the smoke and mirrors of his campaign, it’s simply a scam.

    To start with, although Cain touts his reputation as a problem-solving businessman who turned around the Godfather’s Pizza chain and claims to be a Washington outsider, the truth is anything but. In fact, he first attracted the attention of right-wing political activists during the late 1990s as a savvy lobbyist for the National Restaurant Association, where he fought against such restrictions on American freedom as smoking bans in restaurants, tougher drunk-driving laws and increases in the minimum wage. He was so connected that former Secretary of State Colin Powell once actually stopped his car, jumped out and gave Cain a hug right there on the street. You can’t be more of an insider than that.

    Then there’s the contrast between Cain’s carefully cultivated image as a humble but highly effective manager and the chaos and egomania that reportedly characterize his campaign. According to the New York Times, Cain’s staff was taken aback by an email with this admonishment for when they travel in a car with Cain: “Do not speak to him unless you are spoken to.” How’s that for being aloof? If Cain can’t even run his campaign, how could he hope to manage the nation?

    Even so, Cain’s brand seems to be catching on, at least with his target audience of Tea Party members and other extreme conservatives. I think he’s succeeding because, wittingly or unwittingly, he has tapped into two of America’s greatest traditions of political deception, one black, one white. It’s a great marketing strategy.

    On the black side, Cain employs the age-old habit of telling white folks what they want to hear — especially about other blacks. Cain, like his token fellow black Tea Party favorites Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) and Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), recognized early on that white right-wing populists were eager to publicly embrace African-American candidates to prove that they weren’t a pack of racists.

  5. rikyrah says:

    What the Costumes Reveal

    On Friday, the law firm of Steven J. Baum threw a Halloween party. The firm, which is located near Buffalo, is what is commonly referred to as a “foreclosure mill” firm, meaning it represents banks and mortgage servicers as they attempt to foreclose on homeowners and evict them from their homes. Steven J. Baum is, in fact, the largest such firm in New York; it represents virtually all the giant mortgage lenders, including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

    The party is the firm’s big annual bash. Employees wear Halloween costumes to the office, where they party until around noon, and then return to work, still in costume. I can’t tell you how people dressed for this year’s party, but I can tell you about last year’s.

    That’s because a former employee of Steven J. Baum recently sent me snapshots of last year’s party. In an e-mail, she said that she wanted me to see them because they showed an appalling lack of compassion toward the homeowners — invariably poor and down on their luck — that the Baum firm had brought foreclosure proceedings against.

    When we spoke later, she added that the snapshots are an accurate representation of the firm’s mind-set. “There is this really cavalier attitude,” she said. “It doesn’t matter that people are going to lose their homes.” Nor does the firm try to help people get mortgage modifications; the pressure, always, is to foreclose. I told her I wanted to post the photos on The Times’s Web site so that readers could see them. She agreed, but asked to remain anonymous because she said she fears retaliation.

    Let me describe a few of the photos. In one, two Baum employees are dressed like homeless people. One is holding a bottle of liquor. The other has a sign around her neck that reads: “3rd party squatter. I lost my home and I was never served.” My source said that “I was never served” is meant to mock “the typical excuse” of the homeowner trying to evade a foreclosure proceeding.

    A second picture shows a coffin with a picture of a woman whose eyes have been cut out. A sign on the coffin reads: “Rest in Peace. Crazy Susie.” The reference is to Susan Chana Lask, a lawyer who had filed a class-action suit against Steven J. Baum — and had posted a YouTube video denouncing the firm’s foreclosure practices. “She was a thorn in their side,” said my source.

    A third photograph shows a corner of Baum’s office decorated to look like a row of foreclosed homes. Another shows a sign that reads, “Baum Estates” — needless to say, it’s also full of foreclosed houses. Most of the other pictures show either mock homeless camps or mock foreclosure signs — or both. My source told me that not every Baum department used the party to make fun of the troubled homeowners they made their living suing. But some clearly did. The adjective she’d used when she sent them to me — “appalling” — struck me as exactly right.

    These pictures are hardly the first piece of evidence that the Baum firm treats homeowners shabbily — or that it uses dubious legal practices to do so. It is under investigation by the New York attorney general, Eric Schneiderman. It recently agreed to pay $2 million to resolve an investigation by the Department of Justice into whether the firm had “filed misleading pleadings, affidavits, and mortgage assignments in the state and federal courts in New York.” (In the press release announcing the settlement, Baum acknowledged only that “it occasionally made inadvertent errors.”)

    MFY Legal Services, which defends homeowners, and Harwood Feffer, a large class-action firm, have filed a class-action suit claiming that Steven J. Baum has consistently failed to file certain papers that are necessary to allow for a state-mandated settlement conference that can lead to a modification. Judge Arthur Schack of the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn once described Baum’s foreclosure filings as “operating in a parallel mortgage universe, unrelated to the real universe.” (My source told me that one Baum employee dressed up as Judge Schack at a previous Halloween party.)

    I saw the firm operate up close when I wrote several columns about Lilla Roberts, a 73-year-old homeowner who had spent three years in foreclosure hell. Although she had a steady income and was a good candidate for a modification, the Baum firm treated her mercilessly.

    When I called a press spokesman for Steven J. Baum to ask about the photographs, he sent me a statement a few hours later. “It has been suggested that some employees dress in … attire that mocks or attempts to belittle the plight of those who have lost their homes,” the statement read. “Nothing could be further from the truth.” It described this column as “another attempt by The New York Times to attack our firm and our work.”

    I encourage you to look at the photographs with this column on the Web. Then judge for yourself the veracity of Steven J. Baum’s denial.

    • opulent says:

      What horrific callousness..
      Baum should be targeted in anyway possible to shut them down permanently.

      Unbelieveable the greed and cruelly inhumane.

      Someone needs to be certain they feel their own brand of pain, legally.

  6. rikyrah says:

    VIDEO: As Republicans Spread ‘Politics Of Division,’ They Hypocritically Accuse Opponents Of Doing The Same

    By Jeff Spross on Oct 29, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Over the last few weeks, Republicans have begun decrying the “politics of division” supposedly emanating from the White House and Occupy Wall Street, climaxing with Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) speech at the Heritage Foundation on Wednesday. Clearly, these Republicans suffer from some memory loss, or a lack of self-awareness, or both. For some time now, these same people crying about “pitting Americans against Americans” have been enthusiastically labeling various people or groups in American politics as enemies, painting political disagreements as stark divisions over morality and worldview, and describing the Obama administration and Democrats as destructive, tyrannical, and un-American. ThinkProgress has the video report. Watch it:

  7. rikyrah says:

    ‘StudentsFirst’ Spending $70,000 To Support MI GOP Rep. Who Backed Huge Education Cuts

    By Zaid Jilani on Oct 28, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Earlier this week, Michigan’s Flint Journal reported that Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst has been supporting Michigan GOP Rep. Paul Scott against a potential recall election. Altogether, StudentsFirst has spent and owed $70,000 of political spending on behalf of Scott.

    This came as a shock to many, who viewed Rhee’s StudentsFirst as primarily a nonpartisan group dedicated to education reform. By spending tens of thousands of dollars defending Scott, StudentsFirst is drawing a decidedly political line. What’s more, Scott has been a vocal defender of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s (R) economic and education policies, which have lead to significant reductions in the state’s K-12 school aid.

    Included among the budget that Snyder signed earlier this year was a whopping $300 million aid reduction to schools statewide. Additionally, there was a $100 million cut to aid to cities, which also serves to negatively impact schools.

    It seems odd that an organization that says its goal is to “build a national movement to defend the interests of children in public education and pursue transformative reform, so that America has the best education system in the world” would spend so much money to defend a right-wing Republican who loyally helped his right-wing Republican governor take an axe to the statewide school budet.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Rep. Moore On The ‘No Exceptions’ Abortion Stance: ‘You Shouldn’t Have To Die To Bring A Child Into The World’

    By Tanya Somanader on Oct 28, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    Anti-choice activists are driving an increasingly radical and successful attack against a woman’s constitutional right to choose. Be it through “personhood” measures or anti-contraception bills, Republican lawmakers are trying to ban abortions under any circumstances, including rape, incest, or even when the mother’s life is in danger.

    Following anti-choice activists down this radical road, GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain recently declared, “I am pro-life from conception. [No] abortions, no exceptions.” Cain’s campaign has since insisted that he in fact does support exceptions. Yesterday on Capitol Hill, Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) bemoaned Cain and Republicans increasing extremism on abortion. Noting that most Americans agree “that you shouldn’t have to die in order to bring a child into the world” and that “it was OK to have birth control,” she blasted the GOP for “branding themselves” as anti-government intrusion while trampling a woman’s privacy as obviously “hypocritical”:

    MOORE: I think that people have overreached. This is a debate where really good decent people on either side of a woman’s right to choose can disagree. And I think where people had gotten to, people at least decided that you had the right to terminate a pregnancy if your life was in danger. That you shouldn’t have to die in order to bring a child into the world, I think people had gotten to that point. I think people had gotten to a point that if you were a victim of a traumatic rape or incest or some unusual circumstances like that that you deserved to have an abortion. […]

    And I think we’re seeing a defiance here, that really overrides the majority of American opinion, that this is something that is a private issue between a woman and her family, her doctor, and certainly an issue between a woman and her relationship with God. So Republicans who like to brand themselves as being independent of government control and regulations certainly are hypocritical with respect to this issue.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Herman Cain Speaks Of ‘The So-Called Palestinian People’

    Thomas Lane October 29, 2011, 10:45 AM 6429 81

    Herman Cain’s lack of foreign policy knowledge has had him in hot water before. Since he hit frontrunner status he’s been dinged for mocking “Uzbeki-beki-beki-stan” and suggesting he might free every prisoner in Guantanamo Bay in exchange for one U.S. soldier.

    Earlier in the campaign, before he had frontrunner status and its resulting scrutiny, the former CEO was asked about the Israel-Palestine “right of return” issue. This is one of the red lines in mid-east diplomacy, with the Israeli stance being that the prospect of opening the door to Palestinians displaced in the 1947-48 fighting should not even be negotiated. Cain rather put his foot in it when he was quizzed about the issue on Fox News and – clearly unfamiliar with the subject – he tried to dodge it by saying, “that should be an issue for negotiation.”

    Cain’s clearly been swotting up on his mid-east knowledge since then, and a recent choice of words suggests he may have been dipping into some fairly controversial sources.

    Cain gave an interview to Israel Hayom that was released Friday. It’s fairly boilerplate except for the part where he addresses the Palestinians’ recent push for full UN membership:

    “I think that the so-called Palestinian people have this urge for unilateral recognition because they see this president as weak.”

    It’s that “so-called” that’s striking. This is still pretty controversial territory, though it did admittedly find its most notorious expression in the words of the former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. She famously said, “There is no such thing as the Palestinians.”

    What she meant by that, and what Cain is tapping into, is that the notion of a Palestinian people only arose after the foundation of Israel, and that this was a convenient way of harnessing the disparate resentments of various Arab groups who had been dislodged during the tumult of 1947-48.

    This is something most serious commentators tend to hold back from claiming. Around the time the statehood push chatter was reaching its peak, a National Review editorial led with the line: “There is no such thing as a Palestinian state, and the United Nations can’t conjure one into existence.” However, their contention was very different from the idea that the Palestinian identity was simply invented so the Arabs could have a convenient stick with which to beat Israel in international institutions. Their argument rested on the far more common contention that the Palestinians – riven between Hamas and Fatah-controlled territories, lacking a Weberian “monopoly on violence,” and without strong political institutions – are not yet ready to have a definite political entity that could credibly be called a “state.” But though the editorial writers denied the Palestinians the concept of statehood, they held back from denying nationhood.

    The only people willing to go that far tend to be the more hardline publications such as World Net Daily. That publication’s editor, Joseph Farah, has several articles arguing that “Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians (another recent invention), Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc.”

    The statehood push is a thorny diplomatic issue, and people on both sides of the matter have some fairly nuanced positions. However, it would seem that Cain has avoided these and has moved instead to one of the furthest edges available in this debate.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Obama pushes bite-size initiatives ahead of 2012 election

    Anne E. Kornblut
    Friday, Oct 28, 2011

    The series of economic initiatives announced by President Obama in recent days reflects a strategic and tactical shift that White House officials hope will guide the president’s governing and political agenda in the months ahead.

    The new effort, carried out through unilateral executive actions, was agreed upon weeks ago and is strongly reminiscent of a successful campaign deployed by Bill Clinton in the run-up to his 1996 reelection.

    Almost every day this week, Obama rolled out a program aimed at some troubled sector of the economy: mortgage relief for homeowners Monday, tax credits to spur job growth for veterans Tuesday, college loan relief for students Wednesday, regulatory and information shortcuts for small businesses Friday.

    The plan-a-day strategy is an approach designed to portray Obama as decisive as the White House complains about Congress’s failure to pass his jobs bill. Senior administration aides said they expected the effort to continue as long as Congress balks at his proposals.

    House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) predicted that the president’s effort will fail, saying that the economy will need more help to recover than can be accomplished through unilateral White House action.

  11. rikyrah says:

    October 29, 2011 10:10 AM

    Richard Muller and science the right didn’t want to see

    By Steve Benen

    I’ve been meaning all week to mention the climate science research from Richard Muller, which has generated as much attention as the trumped-up “Climategate” nonsense, but which deserves far more.

    The “Climategate” story, you’ll recall, relied on stolen emails to allege that climate scientists fudged research to produce results pointing to global warming. Several international investigations followed, and all found the charges baseless.

    But the resolution of the so-called “controversy” wasn’t nearly as entertaining as Muller’s research, which looked into the same data that the right alleged had been manipulated.

    Back in 2010, Richard Muller, a Berkeley physicist and self-proclaimed climate skeptic, decided to launch the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project to review the temperature data that underpinned global-warming claims. […]

    Muller’s stated aims were simple. He and his team would scour and re-analyze the climate data, putting all their calculations and methods online. Skeptics cheered the effort. “I’m prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong,” wrote Anthony Watts, a blogger who has criticized the quality of the weather stations in the United Statse that provide temperature data. The Charles G. Koch Foundation even gave Muller’s project $150,000 — and the Koch brothers, recall, are hardly fans of mainstream climate science.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that the Koch brothers funded the research because they thought they were buying proof that climate change is a fraud.

    Except, they ended up financing the opposite. Muller and his team conducted a thorough review of all of the available information and discovered — wouldn’t you know it — that the scientific consensus is accurate. “Global warming,” Muller concluded, “is real.”

    Remember, this research intended to prove the opposite. Muller and his team even took the most common arguments raised by climate deniers, putting them to the test to see if skeptics’ claims had merit.

    But they still found that the scientists are right and the skeptics are wrong. “Our biggest surprise was that the new results agreed so closely with the warming values published previously by other teams in the US and the UK,” Muller and his team said.

    The right, not surprisingly, isn’t pleased, especially after so many conservatives agreed to accept the results of Muller’s research.

    But reality is stubborn, and doesn’t much care about the right’s preferences.

  12. rikyrah says:

    OCTOBER 28, 2011
    Joe Biden rips GOP – including Rick Scott and Marco Rubio

    LAKE BUENA VISTA – Vice President Joe Biden fired up Florida Democrats Friday night, decrying Republicans obstructing the president’s economic agenda and ridiculing their foreign policy agenda.

    “Name me one major initiative on taxes, on jobs, on Wall Street, on foreclosures, on promoting innovation, on infrastructure that is ay different than in the eight years that they controlled the presidency. I cannot find one,’’ Biden told more than 1,000 party activists gathered at Disney World for the state party’s 2011 convention.

    Drawing a rousing reception, Biden scoffed at Republican presidential candidates suggesting American troops for remain longer in Iraq and noted that Texas Gov. Rick Perry once suggested he’d consider troops into Mexico to deal with the drug war.

    “Folks, I know this election is not going to be about foreign policy,’’ said Biden. “But let me remind you, there’s a minimum threshold any man or woman has to cross on national security and foreign policy for the American people to think you’re remotely eligible to be president. And these guys have a long way to go.”

    The three-day convention at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, part state party fundraiser – about $600,000 raised Friday night – and part pep rally, kicks off what stands to be a tough campaign year for Democrats hoping to deliver Florida’s 29 electoral votes to Obama, to re-elect Sen. Bill Nelson, and to rise from virtual irrelevance in Tallahassee.

    “There are those who have been talking about an energy gap. I’m here to tell you that the energy gap is gone. Florida is ready. We can’t wait until 2012,” said state Democratic chairman Rod Smith, who devoted part of the evening to honoring giants of the party’s past: former Gov. Reubin

    Askew, who made a rare appearance at a partisan event; former Attorney General Janet Reno; and former state party chairman Charlie Whitehead.

    As America’s biggest battleground state and a must-win for Republicans hoping to recapture the White House, Florida is sure to see loads of attention from both parties over the next year.

    The state GOP welcomed Biden to Disney World by declaring the Democrats were turning “the happiest place on Earth into the Land of Sour Grapes.”

    “In one year and just a few days, we will give the American people a president who believes that the people – not omnipotent government – are not soft or lacking imagination,” said Florida Republican Chairman Lenny Curry. “The American people are ready. All we need is a true leader.”

    Biden, 68, drew boos when he mentioned Gov. Rick Scott, noting that he cut education funding, embraced an Arizona-style immigration law, rejected $2.4-billion in stimulus funding for high speed rail between Tampa and Orlando, and restricted voting and voter registration. The national GOP wants to a similar approach for the whole country, the vice president said.

    Sounding incredulous, Biden said that after Muammar Gaddafi’s death in Libya, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio thanked French and British troops for the leadership and barely acknowledged the role of American forces in the air.

    “This is not your father’s Republican party,” Biden said, explaining that the White House was done trying to break through “obstructionist” Republican leaders in Congress.

    “We’ve got to try to go above their heads,” Biden said. “We’ve got to go to the people. We can’t wait. The American people can’t wait.”

    Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, a member of congress from south Florida, sounded a similar note, suggesting Republicans are more focused on the election than passing jobs legislation proposed by Obama. She did not mention that the jobs package failed to win enough senate Democratic votes.

    “I’m not saying that Republicans don’t have a jobs agenda,” she said. “It’s just that they’re only focused on one job- Barack Obama’s.”

  13. rikyrah says:

    October 29, 2011 11:15 AM
    Good advice

    By Steve Benen

    In his weekly address this morning, President Obama continued to press a case that apparently makes some folks in the political establishment nervous.

    For example, the president referenced the latest data showing “the middle class has lost ground while the wealthiest few have become even wealthier” over the last three decades, and he called for “rebuilding an economy where everyone has the chance to succeed.” How? By passing measures like the president’s jobs agenda and paying for it by asking millionaires and billionaires “to contribute a little more in taxes.”

    Instead of just blaming “some in Washington,” Obama was more direct: “Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress aren’t paying attention. They’re not getting the message.”

    While polls show most Americans agree with the president’s message, plenty of establishment types are advising Obama to change direction. David Brooks, for example, believes the president would be better off focusing on deficit reduction and appealing to independents, partly by abandoning plans to boost job creation through government action. The American mainstream, the argument goes, is turned off by economic populism.

    Brookings’ Thomas Mann and AEI’s Norm Ornstein this week offered the White House far more sensible advice.

    [T]he ideological imbalance in American politics today has nothing to do with Obama abandoning his post-partisan promises and picking up the mantle of big government. Instead, it’s almost entirely a consequence of the rightward shift of the Republican Party. […]

    Maneuvering tirelessly to stake out some elusive political center, in other words, won’t help Obama win over swing voters. It’ll just set him up for another year of looking weak and ineffectual…. It was perfectly understandable for Obama to try to deliver on his promise of a post-partisan Washington, even if he was naive at best, disingenuous at worst. But by doing so he paid a tremendous political price, among his supporters, but also with swing voters, who were not much taken with his effort to work with Republicans to stave off a totally unnecessary threat of default — and who viewed him as weak when the process looked so dysfunctional in the end that the U.S got downgraded by Standard and Poor’s. […]

    Moreover, if there is any hope of achieving bipartisan policy success, it will come from Republicans believing that blocking the president’s initiatives or offers will cause them political harm. Mitch McConnell admitted as much when he acceded to a deal on the debt limit—not because it would avert economic chaos, not because a conciliatory president offered it to him, but because, in his own words, the failure to do so would damage “the Republican brand.” In other words, Obama’s new approach of turning up the heat — by calling out Republicans for their obstruction and their opposition even to ideas they have previously embraced, like a continuing payroll tax cut — actually has more chance of achieving the policy outcomes Brooks wants than his conciliatory approach.

    Obama, at the center of today’s political spectrum, should therefore be explicit and forceful in communicating the stark differences between the parties and the source of inaction and gridlock in Washington. To do anything less would be a disservice to the public, his party, and his hopes for a constructive and consequential presidency.

    I’m not sure why this perspective isn’t obvious to mainstream pundits, but perhaps the reminder from Mann and Ornstein will help set them straight.

    Let’s also note the larger context here: Mann and Ornstein are, by most measures, about as centrist establishment as the centrist establishment gets. And even they are pushing President Obama to ignore Brooks’ advice, pursue economic populism, and highlight the differences between the parties.

    Here’s hoping the Mann/Ornstein piece did not go unnoticed at the White House.

  14. rikyrah says:

    found this over at The Obama Diary:

    October 29, 2011 at 4:58 pm



    I am not a fan of Bill Maher but this segment of the 10/21/11 show is just terrific. The guests were Tom Friedman, Rachel Maddow, and Josh Green. Some of the good points that flowed from the conversation are as follows…..

    1) Tom Friedman opines on the Republican Party trying to demean the term “leading from behind”. As Tom states, they conveniently use that term to disparage President Obama. The problem is that they don’t complete the sentence. It’s LEADING FROM BEHIND THE SCENES. Anyone with a couple of grey cells knows that it was President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Ambassador Susan Rice and the U.S diplomats that led on the Libya mission.

    2) There was a comment that Mitt “Who Am I This Time” Romney has has 5 DIFFERENT POSITIONS ON LIBYA. As you said Fred, that is leading from so far behind that you can’t see Mitt at all. He’s incoherent on the issue of Libya.

    3) Mitt “Who Am I This Time” Romney gave a big foreign policy speech where he mentions Iraq once and says if he becomes president he will commission a study on Afghanistan. And of course, he will follow the advice of the military and the generals. Now that’s leadership for ya. Way to go Mittens.

    4) Bill Maher asks a very pertinent question. When you consider President Obama’s foreign policy successes you realize that he was able to do it because the Republicans could not interfere or filibuster his agenda. Bill asks – Just imagine what President Obama would be able to do if he did not have the obstruction of the Republican Party on his domestic agenda. That is the question that the American voters need to ask themselves right now. The question answers itself. Throw the GOP bums out. They are the biggest threat to getting anything done for the good of the country.

    5) Tom Friedman says regarding the Iraq war, what ever happens in Iraq WE PAID TOO MUCH FOR IT.

    6) Rachel Maddow opines on the drone strikes as warfare. She had concerns about the American people being disconnected from this approach.

  15. rikyrah says:

    found this comment over at THE OBAMA DIARY:

    Ralph Cerchione
    October 29, 2011 at 2:50 am

    First, an aside. Normally I do not comment in public forums on any President’s strategy, regardless of my opinion of that President or their plans, to avoid putting out information that could be used to affect or counter their efforts. (Which would of course have political, diplomatic and/or military implications.) Having said that, I feel some characteristics of the Obama Administration are worth reflecting on, not only for the insights they provide into current affairs, but as an example of an immense intelligence at work — not only the mind of the President, but of the aggregate intelligence of his entire core team and all the people they work with in turn.

    So, further to the President’s strategy…

    To return to the apparent Stuxnet delay in Iran’s nuclear-weapons program — which Ralph Langner, at least, has attributed to the U.S. ( ) — whatever the origin of this cyberweapon, I think the strategy behind it is analagous to one aspect of the Administration’s modus operandi.

    To sum up — the thing to ask when in violent conflict with the Administration, or moving towards such a conflict is not so much, “How will the President deal with this?” so much as it is “Really, how have I already lost?”

    For those who haven’t watched the linked talk from Langner, above, what we appear to know about Stuxnet is that its original intent was not obvious, it was created by people who probably knew Siemen’s SCADA systems and the Natanz site’s software inside-out, it was far more complex and powerful than anything seen before, and it’s most dangerous known effect was… particularly revealing.

    Producing weapons-grade uranium requires a host of centrifuges spinning at precisely controlled supersonic speeds. The Stuxnet evidently altered the speeds of those centrifuges ever-so-slightly, while causing their sensors to continue sending back an unchanging, “all-is-well” message to the infected system and its human overseers. And so a large number of Natanz’s centrifuges began steadily tearing themselves apart.

    There is more to the Stuxnet operation, of course, but the above details come across as an eerily precise metaphor for one of the Administration’s other strategies.

    Let us say there were people and organizations with strong political viewpoints, thoroughly opposed to the President’s policies. As part of their efforts to come up with effective (if somewhat destructive) weapons against him, let us say they frequently engaged in… “spin.” Indeed, let us say they have been, in fact, practically spinning at supersonic speeds.

    Now, this “spin” has refined and purified a number of weapons-grade fuels against the Administration, but owing to their slightly unstable nature and radical changes in the narrative environment, most of these fuels, especially the lesser ones, have already blown up in their creators’ faces. “Weak on Terrorism/Secret Terrorist/One Of THEM” has exploded most spectacularly, arguably several times, but in particular with the death of bin Laden, the Arab Spring, the fall of Qaddafi and Qaddafi’s subsequent death. Other fuels have been sabotaged by their own primary creators, sometimes at the President’s very modest prompting, sometimes prompted by their own shifting internal motivations.

    “The Deficit Crisis,” “The President Needs to Compromise,” “The President Needs to Fight/Confront/*Lead*,” “The President Is Weak,” “The President Can’t Get Congress to Help with Jobs,” etc, etc.

    Curiously, some of these have exploded not so much because of a subtle shift in the centrifuges, as a sudden wrenching, in which someone suddenly tries to completely change what kind of fuel is being produced to something radically different and often the exact opposite of the previous material, almost overnight.

    The above is all very interesting, of course, but one consequence of having a weapons program based mainly on these “spin cycles,” is that you have invested considerable resources and credibility into promoting ideas that may not be to your ultimate benefit.

    Just as promoting the idea that we need a strong protector against terrorists and violent dictators — that such protection should be, indeed, our highest priority — has not worked well as President Obama has emerged as by far the most successful such figure in decades, many of these spin cycles are driving narratives which may actually work in the Administration’s favor, to devastating effect.

    Consider the last major, functional fuel being generated, the “Jobs and Economy” argument. This one has begun to fall apart as various actors have increasingly appeared to be standing against the President’s efforts to create jobs. But here we may be missing the forest for the trees.

    Owing to the destruction of the other fuels, President Obama’s most vociferous opponents have placed almost all of their remaining resources into making this particular bet — that the economy and employment situation will still be terrible by November of next year. Leaving aside the question of what happens if those opponents are blamed for being perceived as encouraging this predicament…

    What happens if the economy dramatically reverses, and is growing rapidly by late 2012?

    Whatever your opinion of this President, it is clear his Administration has dealt with a huge number of crises over the last 2 years and nine months, so this option is far from improbable. Indeed, depending on what tools they are planning on rolling out over the next several months, they may be counting on it.

    What options does that leave the fuel-makers? Decidedly few. Remember, one reason many of these operations have blown up to a greater or lesser degree is because of that attempt to make a wrenching shift or reversal of an existing narrative. By making this all about the economy, there is little time for anyone to reverse themselves, even assuming they had the opportunity to do so. And admitting the President was doing a great job in economic terms, assuming it came to that, would leave your average election about… what, exactly?

    The deepest irony of this entire strategy is a simple fact — the real error may have been the ultimate decision… to make the whole debate, one way or another, about the President. He is in a perfect position to defend himself and his record, and by coming at him directly, it may already be far, far too late to manage an effective retreat.

    As some would say, “Your in deep *now,* laddie.”

    The above, of course, are merely observations. But they illustrate a larger point about advanced thinking and strategy I will discuss later in this series.

  16. Ametia says:

    cocke-eyed Ron Christie on Real time. Part 1 Watch all 4 parts or go to HBO

  17. Ametia says:


  18. Ametia says:

    Sorry bout thos Texas Rangers, SG2!

    October 28, 2011, 7:17 pm
    World Series Game 7: Final: Cardinals 6, Rangers 2

    ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Cardinals, who were a strike away from losing the World Series on Thursday night, won it on Friday by beating the Texas Rangers, 6-2, in Game 7 at Busch Stadium.

    David Murphy flied out to left fielder Allen Craig off closer Jason Motte for the final out, and the Cardinals players hugged and piled onto one another in small groups in the infield as red, white and blue confetti filled the air. It was the Cardinals’ 11th World Series title, and the team’s first since 2006.

  19. President Barack Obama to deliver keynote address at National Italian American Foundation Gala

    In keeping with our tradition of hosting the President of the United States, the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is proud to announce that President Barack Obama will deliver the keynote address at the 36th Anniversary Awards Gala on Saturday, October 29, 2011, at the Washington Hilton. The black-tie event begins with a 5 p.m. reception followed by dinner and an awards ceremony. Hon. Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Leader of the United States House of Representatives, will introduce President Obama to the more than 2,000 guests gathered to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Italian Americans.

  20. Talking Points Memo:

    Herman Cain Speaks Of ‘The So-Called Palestinian People’

  21. Obama Jobs Bill: President Cites Income Gap To Push Stalled Legislation

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is banking on a new report detailing the income disparity in the country as further evidence of the need for his $447 billion jobs bill.

    A report this past week by the Congressional Budget Office found that average after-tax income for the top 1 percent of U.S. households had increased by 275 percent over the past three decades. Middle-income households saw just a 40 percent rise. For those at the bottom of the economic scale, the jump was 18 percent.

    Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday that he would pay for his jobs plan with an added tax on people who make at least $1 million a year.

    Senate Republicans have blocked action on the bill, which mixes tax breaks for businesses and public works spending, because they oppose much of the increased spending and the tax on millionaires.

  22. justoneblackman:

    Audio: Texas Store Refuses to Sell Guns to Muslims, Socialists.

  23. John Boehner: Do the honorable thing and resign

    [wpvideo 2fz777Ue]

  24. rikyrah says:

    YEAH, my absolute favorite Stevie Wonder song

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