Serendipity SOUL | Thursday Open Thread | Chaka Khan Week!

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59 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Thursday Open Thread | Chaka Khan Week!

  1. Ametia says:


    The very name of a Washington conservative conference this weekend is the height of subterfuge. It’s called the “Defending the American Dream” conference, which is not about defending the actual American dreams of most Americans (the focus of our own “Take Back the American Dream” conference), sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, which is not an organization that promotes what is needed for broad American prosperity.

    This actually is the latest effort by the billionaire Koch brothers, founders and key funders of Americans for Prosperity, and their corporate and political allies to hijack our democracy and pillage our economy. It’s their attempt to perpetuate an American nightmare of continued income inequality and a government held hostage to the whims of elites. It is thus a perfect target for the latest Occupy-style protest.

  2. Ametia says:

    I want to smack the thin lips and taste out of Chris Matthews mouth. We need a Can do president? WTF does POTUS has been DOING for the last 3 years/

  3. Ametia says:

    There goes the media pushing the meme that if the economy is stalled the rethugs will win the presidency. GTFOH. The GOP are RESPONSIBLE FOR STALLING, BLOCKING, OBSTRUCTING AMERICA’S ECONOMY. So we really want to be sure we vote these FUCKERS back in the White House….

  4. Statement from the President on Senate Republicans Blocking the Infrastructure Bill

    For the third time in recent weeks, every single Republican in the United States Senate has chosen to obstruct a jobs bill that independent economists said would boost our economy and put Americans back to work. At a time when more than a million construction workers are looking for a job, they voted “no” to putting them back to work doing the work America needs done – rebuilding our roads, bridges, airports and transit systems. That makes no sense.

    It makes no sense when you consider that this bill was made up of the same kinds of common-sense proposals that many of these Senators have fought for in the past. It was fully paid for. And even though it was supported by more than 70 percent of the American people – Republicans, Democrats, and independents – 100 percent of Senate Republicans said no. It’s more clear than ever that Republicans in Washington are out of touch with Americans from all ends of the political spectrum.

    The American people deserve to know why their Republican representatives in Washington refuse to put some of the workers hit hardest by the economic downturn back on the job rebuilding America. They deserve an explanation as to why Republicans refuse to step up to the plate and do what’s necessary to create jobs and grow the economy right now. It’s time for Republicans in Congress to put country ahead of party and listen to the people they were elected to serve. It’s time for them to do their job and focus on Americans’ jobs. And until they do, I will continue to do everything in my power to move this country forward.

  5. rikyrah says:

    found this over at POU:

    posted by MONIE

    Have y’all heard about AmericansElect 2012?

    More of this “No labels” bullshit to me that just so happened to prop up after President Obama was elected…you know all these previously partisan folks who all of a sudden became middle of the road…I call it the “Dylan Ratigan Mysterious Enlightenment Syndrome”

    I was over at HuffPo looking at a video and saw a side ad.

    Check this out, according to their website:

    What is Americans Elect?

    Americans Elect is the first nonpartisan nomination. We’re using the Internet to break the gridlock in Washington, open up the political process and give every single voter—Democrat, Republican or independent—the power to nominate a presidential ticket in 2012. Your voice matters. You decide the issues. You choose the candidates. And in a secure, online convention next June, you will make history by putting the Americans Elect ticket on the ballot in every state.

    With Americans Elect, you have the power to choose leadership that puts country before party, and America’s interests before special interests. You have the power to change politics as usual.

    uh huh….

    The founders are nameless however. They are a non-profit that is asking for donations., Uh-huh again.

    you can google them..I’m not adding a link but look up “americans elect 2012”

    something stinks..what have y’all heard about this?



    Political hustling is on a whole ‘nother realm. Mofos is trying to divide and conquer and get paid while at it. And they are banking over the angst of having a Black man at the helm of the presidency that the media criticizes every single day.

    Found this over at HuffPo..who I am sure is getting paid to run their ads

    Americans Elect Wants To Be On Presidential Ballot, But Won’t ID Donors

    Americans Elect, a group trying to launch a third-party presidential ticket, was accused by a prominent campaign watchdog Wednesday of violating tax and campaign finance disclosure laws.

    Fred Wertheimer, head of Democracy 21, said in a statement that the group is posing as a “social welfare group” rather than a political organization in order “to keep secret from the American people the donors supporting its political activities.”

    Social welfare groups don’t have to disclose who underwrites them — but they’re also supposed to stay out of elections.

    Meanwhile, at a kickoff event for Americans Elect at the National Press Club on Tuesday, the group’s leaders described how they intend to put a “nonpartisan presidential ticket” — chosen through an online, open nominating convention — on the ballot in all 50 states. The goal, they said, it to give voters an alternative to the limited choice the two-party system provides.

    Kahlil Byrd, the group’s CEO, said it is operating “completely within the bounds” of the law. He noted that unlike a traditional political group, “Americans Elect has no candidate and has no issue.”

    As for the donors, he said, the reason they want to remain secret is to avoid political payback. “This is a very tough political environment,” he said. “Retribution is real.”

    Byrd also, perhaps contradictorily, described donating to the campaign as “a small act of courage.”

    The group says it has already raised $22 million of its $30 million target. Byrd refused to identify the group’s largest donors. But he did say that contributions from donors who gave more than $100,000 had actually come in the form of loans that the group expects to pay back from future, smaller donations.

    • rikyrah says:

      some more from MONIE:

      Even more:

      The CEO Kahlil Byrd (who is Black by the way) was an adviser Gov. Deval Patick’s campaign back in 2006, but boast on the American elect website that he has worked for Republicans Democrats and in the middle..

      I’ve found so more on this people and like I guessed, it is full of the no-labels types and PUMAS

      check this:

      Third Wheel

      There is a movement afoot in the land, but I don’t mean the one amid the tarps at Zuccotti Park. Instead, it’s a 148-person operation headquartered in a tenth-floor office on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington decorated with sleek posters that proclaim, “Make My Vote Count” and “Open Up The Ballot.” Hanging in the reception area is a framed op-ed column praising the movement, written by the man who is its Marx or Engels: Tom Friedman.

      This is Americans Elect, the latest attempt to challenge the country’s two-party duopoly from the political center. Next summer, the group will hold an online convention to nominate a bipartisan ticket for president and vice president. Scoff at your peril: Americans Elect is more than halfway to the 2.9 million signatures it needs to be on the ballot in all 50 states. And it has money. It was founded by Peter Ackerman, who made his fortune at pre-bankruptcy Drexel Burnham Lambert, where he earned $165 million in 1988 after helping to finance the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco. Boosting the group’s prospects is a 2010 court ruling involving the organization Unity ’08, which tried to create a similar third-party bid during the last campaign. That decision allowed groups like Americans Elect to disregard the $2,500 limit on presidential campaign donations. Thus, it raised two-thirds of the $30 million needed to obtain ballot access largely thanks to the contributions of just 50-odd people giving at least $100,000 each.

      This is enough to cause angst among those seeking the reelection of Barack Obama. Democrats suspect that Americans Elect, with its self-described appeal to the “socially liberal, fiscally conservative” part of the spectrum, will pull more votes from Obama than from the GOP nominee. And they can hardly be reassured by the anti-Obama pedigree of some of those behind Americans Elect, including pollster Douglas Schoen, a so-called “Fox News Democrat,” and Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, who famously dismissed Obama as an “elitist” after the 2008 primaries. Elliot Ackerman, the founder’s son, who is helping manage Americans Elect after several tours with the Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan, did nothing to assuage such concerns when I met with him and the group’s CEO, Kahlil Byrd. Someone, Ackerman said, recently challenged him by saying, “‘Think how much this would hurt President Obama if Hillary Clinton ran with Jon Huntsman.’” Ackerman’s boyish face broke into a grin. “Our reply was, ‘I don’t think that would hurt President Obama. I think that ticket will win.’”

  6. rikyrah says:

    November 03, 2011 2:55 PM

    ‘Super-special status’

    By Steve Benen

    President Obama is on hand for today’s G-20 meeting, giving him a chance to connect with world leaders he’s gotten to know in recent years. This includes Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whom Obama hugged, along with several other heads of state.

    Turkey, however, has been at odds with Israel recently, which according to the Weekly Standard, makes Obama’s hug of Erdogan a problem. Daniel Halper believes the hug is part of some kind of nefarious campaign scheme — don’t ask; I don’t understand it either — while Michael Goldfarb sees the embrace as an example of Obama “hugging enemies, abandoning allies.”

    Dan Drezner is amazed. (via Kevin Drum)

    To be blunt about it, is Israel now America’s ally uber alles? If other countries disagree with Israel, does that mean, in Goldfarb’s eyes, that they no longer qualify as either friend or ally? Are there any other of America’s friends that fall into this super-special status? I really want to know.

    For many on the right, I don’t think there’s much doubt that Israel is, in fact, America’s ally uber alles.

    Consider a recent anecdote that flew largely under the radar. In September, Mitt Romney appeared on a right-wing radio show to discuss the Palestinian bid for United Nations statehood recognition. The Republican candidate said the United States should “reconsider our relationship” with any country that voted with Palestinians at the U.N.

    In practical terms, that means Romney, who stands a reasonably good chance of getting elected president next year, would “reconsider” the United States’ relationship with a variety of longstanding U.S. allies — France, India, South Africa — because of their vote on a U.N. resolution recognizing Palestinians.

    This did not cause a controversy — but Obama’s hug for the prime minister of Turkey generates complaints from conservatives.

    America’s ally uber alles? Apparently so.

  7. Ametia says:

    Good news! LOL Dat you, rikyrah in teh arms of Daniel Craig?

    Nov 3, 11:27 AM EDT
    Craig, Bardem star in new Bond thriller ‘Skyfall’
    Associated Press
    LONDON (AP) — Ah, Mr. Bond, we’ve been waiting for you – and at last 007 is back, several years after his last screen adventure.

    Producers announced Thursday that filming has begun on “Skyfall,” the delayed 23rd film in the series and Daniel Craig’s third outing as the suave British superspy.

    Craig, who has brought a hard edge to his portrayal, told reporters that the movie, directed by Sam Mendes and shot in London, Scotland, Turkey and China, would be “Bond with a capital B.”

    Craig said he was “tremendously excited” to be stepping back into the role for the first time since 2008’s “Quantum of Solace.”

  8. rikyrah says:

    November 03, 2011 3:45 PM

    Two very different approaches to jobs

    By Steve Benen

    On the Senate floor later this afternoon, the Democratic leadership brought forward a sensible jobs bill, which a Republican filibuster promptly killed.

    The Dems’ plan deserved better. It was an infrastructure-investment bill — $50 billion in direct spending on transportation projects, $10 billion to get the National Infrastructure Bank up and running — which according to U.S. Department of Transportation estimates, would have created roughly 800,000 jobs. It was fully paid for — not a penny would have been added to the deficit — with a 0.7% surtax on millionaires and billionaires, representing just 0.2% of the population. Polls show broad, bipartisan support for the proposal.

    But it didn’t matter. A 51-member majority backed the bill today, but that wasn’t enough to overcome a Republican filibuster. Note, GOP members not only blocked the bill, but also blocked the motion to proceed, preventing a debate on the bill. [Update: how many Republicans voted to kill this popular jobs bill? All of them. See below.]

    Today, however, offers a bit of a twist. Instead of just killing popular and worthwhile jobs legislation, Senate Republicans will also get a vote on their alternative jobs package, intended to show that GOP leaders have something constructive to offer when it comes to job creation.

    They apparently haven’t read their proposal if they think this is constructive.

    The GOP’s legislation, in addition to providing some highway funding, would cut $40 billion in discretionary spending and implement a cockamamie House Republican proposal known as the REINS Act. As ThinkProgress Justice editor Ian Millhiser wrote, the REINS Act would cripple the government’s ability to regulate just about anything.

    To call this a jobs bill is an insult to the language. Gutting the EPA is not a serious proposal to lower the unemployment rate.

    The contrast between the two parties’ approaches couldn’t be more obvious. Dems offered a real policy, including provisions that have traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support, and which polls show the American mainstream backing enthusiastically. Republicans offered a joke.

    One party seems to take the jobs crisis seriously, and any media report that says otherwise — be on the lookout for pieces saying the Senate defeated “two jobs bills” today, as they were roughly equivalent — is misleading the public.

    * Here’s the roll call on the Dems’ jobs bill. 47 Republicans, one independent (Lieberman), and one Democrat (Ben Nelson) voted to block the legislation, while 50 Democrats, one independent (Sanders), and no Republicans voted for it.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Too much voting going on, apparently
    by Kay

    Why aren’t our friends on the other side of the aisle democracy enthusiasts?

    County boards of election must stop early in-person voting as of 6 p.m. Friday, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has advised, prompting Democrats to cry foul. This occurs as a number of counties are reporting higher-than-usual absentee mail-in and early in-person voting for an off-year election, perhaps driven by interest in high-profile ballot issues such as Issue 2, which affects collective bargaining.
    The early voting issue was created by a voter referendum effort on a controversial overhaul of state election law, House Bill 194, that had a spillover effect on separate legislation, House Bill 224, containing some similar language. The referendum effort has placed House Bill 194 on hold indefinitely, but the latter law passed unanimously and took effect last week.

    As a result, Mr. Husted, a Republican, issued an advisory to boards of election in mid-October that early voting is prohibited during the last three days before Tuesday’s election. The Lucas County Board of Elections had scheduled business hours for Saturday and Sunday but canceled them to comply with last month’s advisory. Democrats, however, contend Mr. Husted based his advisory on a law dealing primarily with military ballots that had its legs cut out from under it by the referendum on the first law.

    In Lucas County, roughly half of 16,150 absentee ballots requested as of yesterday had been returned. Elections Director Ben Roberts reported the board has received them at the pace of roughly 170 per day, up from an average of 123 at about the same time before the November, 2010, election. “We expect a deluge in the last two days,” he said.

    Briefly, Democrats and allies gathered half a million signatures to delay a voter suppression law passed by the Ohio GOP. Now Republicans are using a different law to shut down early voting in some areas, because Democrats have gotten better at “banking votes”, or, getting our voters out prior to election day so it isn’t as crazy on election day.

    I don’t know if we’re going to defeat John Kasich’s union-busting law, a law that was loudly endorsed last week by each and every GOP candidate for President, but I think this tactic will backfire. People love early voting, and they love convenient hours for voting, because those things make sense.

    One really does have to wonder about a US political party who get all creative with directives and start putting the hammer down when people vote. Too much voting going on here, peons. Cut that out. This must be another brand-new, bed-rock principle of the ever-evolving Conservative Movement.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, November 3, 2011
    The GOP War On Women Rumbles On
    Posted by Zandar

    Republicans never met a vagina they thought they couldn’t control.

    Earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services announced new guidelines requiring insurance companies to cover contraceptive services free of charge.

    But on Wednesday, a House subcommittee opened a hearing into the new guidelines, with Republicans arguing that that mandate does not offer a broad enough opt-out rule for religious groups and others who have a moral objection to providing such services.

    The guidelines require insurance providers to cover women’s preventative services — which includes everything from birth control to breast exams — free of charge starting next August as part of the Affordable Care Act. Health and Human Services already exempted some religious groups from the new rules, but critics contend that the regulations still ensnare others who have a moral disagreement with birth control.

    In opening remarks, Committee Chairman Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) said that the current opt-out clause is too narrow, and that the government was taking, “coercive actions to force people to abandon their religious principles.”

    “When the healthcare law was being debated last Congress, the proponents adamantly refuted claims that this would be a federal government takeover of our healthcare system,” Pitts said. “Now we have the federal Department of Health and Human Services forcing every single person in this country to pay for services that they may morally oppose.”

    I morally oppose paying the salaries of Republicans in Congress on the religious grounds that Zandarism finds Republicans to be completely amoral. As your boss and a taxpayer, I demand that you immediately remit your paychecks to the Treasury to make a dent in the deficit. Thanks.

    What? It makes just as much sense as Pitts there, which is to say “none at all” and that the man shouldn’t be put in charge of a cardboard box for more than 37 seconds unless you wish to see it covered in flames and badly spelled lies about Obama’s country of birth and Pitts immediately asking you to give him another three boxes because Jesus said so, shut up, that’s why.

    On the other hand, the fact that women in the GOP are all for this nonsense probably explains why Herman Cain will get away with this whole harassment thing. Tiny Vagina Governments for all the ladies!

  11. rikyrah says:

    Whoopi On Coulter: I Didn’t Know We Were Anybody’s Blacks! I Thought I Was Free!
    videoby James Crugnale | 12:29 pm, November 3rd, 2011

    Whoopi Goldberg went after Ann Coulter and her provocative statement that “our blacks are better than their blacks” on The View Thursday. “I didn’t know we were anybody’s blacks!” Goldberg exclaimed. “My God, I thought I was free but damn it! I found out again, somebody’s got my behind!”

    “Exactly, it sounds like a slave auction,” co-host Joy Behar cheekily added.

    Goldberg earlier had thought it was amusing that conservatives were initially blaming the “liberal media” for leaking Herman Cain‘s sexual harassment allegations when now it appears it may have originated from a rival campaign.

  12. rikyrah says:

    November 03, 2011 9:30 AM

    Cain’s desperate search for someone to blame

    By Steve Benen

    As Herman Cain’s sexual-harassment controversy enters its fourth day, the Republican campaign seems to be spending less time addressing the questions and more time in a desperate search to find someone to blame.

    First, the accusations were the media’s fault. Then it was liberals’ fault. Then it was racists’ fault. By late yesterday, it was Rick Perry’s fault.

    A defiant Herman Cain accused Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, a Republican rival, of orchestrating a smear campaign to destroy his presidential candidacy, as additional accusations emerged Wednesday that Mr. Cain made unwanted sexual overtures to women while he led the National Restaurant Association more than a decade ago. […]

    He accused a top political adviser to Mr. Perry of leaking details of one allegation, saying the adviser learned of it while working for Mr. Cain’s failed bid for the Senate in 2004.

    The Perry campaign denied being the source of the story (it suggested the Romney camp was responsible) and neither Cain nor his team could offer any proof to substantiate the claim.

    At this point, I’m not even sure why this part of the blame game matters anymore. Politico reported that Cain was accused of sexual harassment, and regardless of who first tipped the reporters off to the allegations, Cain really was accused of sexual harassment. Blaming the media, liberals, racists, and/or Perry doesn’t change the underlying facts, nor does it explain why Cain’s version of events has changed so dramatically over the course of a couple of days.

    Wildly pointing fingers is absurd. If Cain’s accusers are lying, then they’re to blame; if Cain sexually harassed those women, then he’s to blame. He either committed these misdeeds or didn’t. What difference does it make who tipped off Politico?

    Also note, after an off-hand comment made by Cain’s campaign manager, there’s apparently yet another incident in the mix.

    POLITICO has learned that the incident involved a staffer for Steve Deace, an influential conservative talk radio host who hosts a nationally syndicated show in Des Moines. And Deace says he did take offense.

    Deace, who penned an opinion piece critical of Cain earlier this month, told POLITICO in an email that Cain said “awkward” and “inappropriate” things to the staff at his station.

    “Like awkward/inappropriate things he’s said to two females on my staff, that the fact the guy’s wife is never around … that’s almost always a warning flag to me,” Deace wrote.

  13. rikyrah says:

    November 03, 2011 10:45 AM

    At the intersection of ambition and dishonor

    By Steve Benen

    If there are lingering doubts about the validity of the “no core” criticisms against Mitt Romney, one need look no further than what he communicated to Massachusetts voters before becoming a presidential candidate.

    Peter Wallsten and Juliet Eilperin highlight this anecdote, for example, from a meeting Romney had nine years ago with abortion-rights advocates.

    [A]s the meeting drew to a close, [Romney] offered an intriguing suggestion — that he would rise to national prominence in the Republican Party as a victor in a liberal state and could use his influence to soften the GOP’s hard-line opposition to abortion.

    He would be a “good voice in the party” for their cause, and his moderation on the issue would be “widely written about,” he said, according to detailed notes taken by an officer of the group, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts.

    “You need someone like me in Washington,” several participants recalled Romney saying that day in September 2002, an apparent reference to his future ambitions.

    Romney made similar assurances to activists for gay rights and the environment, according to people familiar with the discussions, both as a candidate for governor and then in the early days of his term.

    It’s important to appreciate what, exactly, Romney was saying at the time. His pitch to these center-left advocates was that he, a moderate Republican, could slowly work his way into the national GOP spotlight, and in time become a key player, able to shape the Republican Party’s agenda. And if they supported him, they would help empower Romney to change his party, moving it to the left in the coming years.

    As Jon Chait put it, Romney “was promising behind closed doors to act as essentially a sleeper agent within the Republican Party, adopting liberal stances, rising to national prominence, and thereby legitimizing them and transforming the Party from within.”

    There are a few key takeaways from a story like this. The first is that Mitt Romney has such deep character flaws, I don’t think Americans have seen a politician this craven in a very long time.

    Second, if Romney’s rivals for the GOP nomination don’t immediately pounce on this, they’re guilty of political malpractice on a near-criminal level.

    And third, I suspect there will be some Romney-loving Republicans who read the Post article and think, “Boy, Romney sure did pull a fast one on those liberals activists! It was smart of him to use them to get ahead.”

    But therein lies the rub: how do they know — how does anyone know — which side Romney is lying to? Was he lying to his Massachusetts constituents about helping move the Republican Party to the left, or is he lying to the GOP base now about helping moving the country to the right?

    The fact that no one can say for sure seems pretty important.

  14. rikyrah says:

    November 03, 2011 1:25 PM

    Quote of the Day

    By Steve Benen

    NBC’s Luke Russert had a good question for Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) at his weekly press conference this morning: is Grover Norquist a positive influence on Republicans?

    Boehner, apparently unwilling to answer, replied, “It’s not often I’m asked about some random person.”

    The problem, of course, is that as far as the congressional GOP is concerned, Norquist isn’t some random person at all — he’s the guy who forces nearly every Republican candidate to sign an anti-tax pledge that, in turn, makes bipartisan attempts at governing practically impossible. The GOP can’t even bring itself to consider compromises because of the handcuffs he asked Republicans to put on.

    But as interesting as that was, I actually cared more about an exchange between the Speaker and Dave Weigel at the same press conference.

    I asked Boehner a sort of related question, keying off the one-year anniversary of the GOP’s midterm victory. One year in, what had been the impact of austerity and a spending-cut focus on jobs? The job market was stagnant.

    “Well,” said Boehner, “I think the budget deficit and our debt serves as a wet blanket over our economy, and had investor concerned about whether we’re gonna deal with this problem. And that’s why getting this deficit and debt under control is so important — because it’ll lead to a better environment for job creation in our country.”

    At a weekly presser on the Hill, it’s tough for reporters to seek more in-depth explanations of why leaders believe what they say they believe, but I’d love to see Boehner try to explain his worldview in more detail.

    Why, exactly, does he think the deficit and debt are holding back the economy? That’s not to say it’s impossible — under some economic circumstances, a larger deficit can lead to higher interest rates, for example — but in 2011, Boehner’s argument is just absurd. The nation has a large deficit, but we also have low interest rates, low inflation, and plenty of investors around the world who eager, if not desperate, to loan us money. So how in the world is the budget shortfall “serving as a wet blanket over our economy”?

    What’s more, whether Boehner can read economic reports or not, the number one reason the private sector has been reluctant to hire and expand is a lack of demand. Indeed, nothing else comes close — when businesses have more customers, then they’re hire more workers. Boehner wants “a better environment for job creation”? Then the Speaker should be doing everything possible to boost demand.

    Except, he’s doing the opposite. Boehner wants to weaken demand — on purpose — while taking money out of the economy and undermining consumer buying power.

    It’s why the larger debate over the economy is so stunted — GOP leaders like Boehner believe strange things and can’t explain why. It’s not exactly conducive to a constructive debate.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    November 03, 2011 2:05 PM

    Pelosi: House majority is ‘in play’

    By Steve Benen

    Might we see the return of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2013? She believes the pieces are in place.

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that Democrats have a shot at taking back the House in 2012.

    The former Speaker touted the diversity of the candidates the Democrats have recruited — “two generals, a colonel … legislators, small business people, mayors, many women and minorities” — and noted that the party, despite being the minority, has outraised the Republicans on the campaign trail this year.

    “We have definitely put the House in play,” she said during her weekly press briefing in the Capitol.

    “From a political standpoint, we’re very proud of the recruitment of candidates — all with the determination to take us off the path that the Republicans have put us on,” she said.

    I’m a firm believer in the notion that predictions a year out are a bad idea, since so many factors can and will change, perhaps more than once. But Pelosi’s comments are more than just a boast; there’s reason to think she’s right.

    House Dems, who need a net gain of 26 seats next year to take back the House (it will be 25 if Dems win the upcoming special election in Oregon), have fared quite well in recent months, finding success both in recruiting and fundraising.

    And then there are the polls. Congress’ approval rating, as is well known, has dropped to a stunning 9% — the lowest since the dawn of modern polling. That, in and of itself, makes electoral volatility rather likely, raising the possibility of the majority and minority swapping roles.

    But Dems also fare well in generic ballots. The latest polls from NBC, Reuters, and National Journal all show Americans preferring a Democratic House majority to a Republican one, in margins ranging from two points to eight. When TPM averaged all of the generic-ballot polls, it found Dems with their first lead in nearly two years.

    What’s more, the House Majority PAC commissioned surveys from Public Policy Polling in 12 vulnerable Republican districts, and also found Dems looking quite strong.

    Like I said, a year is a long time in campaign politics, and there are plenty of variables — retirements, economic conditions, potential scandals, etc. — that are unpredictable. But we know this Congress is extremely unpopular, that Republicans have cast several votes that can come back to haunt (eliminating Medicare, for example), and that Dems have positioned themselves reasonably well to take advantage of the opportunity.

  16. rikyrah says:

    November 03, 2011 11:30 AM

    Proving the 99% right

    By Steve Benen

    The latest study from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy should lend credence to the larger “Occupy” movement

    Many of this country’s biggest companies paid no federal taxes — or even made money through credits and refunds from the government — over the past three years by using an array of loopholes and tax breaks, according to a report released Thursday.

    The authors examined the finances of 280 corporations from 2008 through 2010 and found that 30 paid zero taxes or used loopholes to wind up with negative tax rates. Local utility Pepco Holdings paid the lowest rate of all the firms investigated, clocking in at nearly minus 58 percent.

    Under the federal tax code, corporations are supposed to pay 35 percent of their profits in taxes. But the study found many of the companies used legal tax breaks that allowed them to pay lower rates than ordinary Americans.

    Plenty of politicians complain about the larger 35% corporate tax rate, which is high by international standards. But that assumes corporations are actually paying it — and they’re not.

    As President Obama put it in his State of the Union address, “[O]ver the years, a parade of lobbyists has rigged the tax code to benefit particular companies and industries. Those with accountants or lawyers to work the system can end up paying no taxes at all. But all the rest are hit with one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and it has to change.”

    It’s why the notion of “corporate tax reform” has merit. For the right, the goal is to bring down the 35% rate, but for the left, the goal is to start getting these large, prosperous companies to start paying something.

    The Citizens for Tax Justice’s report added, “[J]ust as workers pay their fair share of taxes on their earnings, so should successful businesses pay their fair share on their success. But today corporate tax loopholes are so out of control that most Americans can rightfully complain, ‘I pay more federal income taxes than General Electric, Boeing, DuPont, Wells Fargo, Verizon, etc., etc., all put together.’ That’s an unacceptable situation.”

  17. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney’s “Ever-evolving ideology”
    By Ron Fournier

    Mitt Romney’s team will dismiss it as old news, but this Washington Post story on the former Massachusetts governor’s “ever-evolving ideology” is a must-read because it underlines his greatest weakness as a presidential candidate.

    Reporters Peter Wallsten and Juliet Eilperin outlined Romney’s moderate views as governor on abortion, gay rights and climate change in a story that acknowledges that some of the details of his conversations with liberal groups were first reported in the Los Angeles Times in 2007.

    When Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, became a presidential candidate in 2008, his views on those issues had shifted dramatically to the right. Raw politics at work: A moderate record suited Romney’s needs in Democratic-leaning Massachusetts and conservative views are a necessity in national GOP primaries.

    Romney’s only hope of dodging the flip-flopping label is that journalists and their readers decide to give him a pass because his position shifts are old news. But they are not old news: That fact that Romney has an odds-on chance to become president in 2013 makes doubts about his core values more relevant than ever.

    Check out these two paragraphs high in the story about his meeting with abortion rights advocates:

    He would be a “good voice in the party” for their cause, and his moderation on the issue would be “widely written about,” (Romney) said, according to detailed notes taken by an officer of the group, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts.

    “You need somebody like me in Washington,” several participants recalled Romney saying that day in September 2002, an apparent reference to his future ambitions.

    Less than a decade later, voters will soon ask themselves whether they want somebody like Romney in Washington. Somebody whose core beliefs are so hard to pin down.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Condoleezza Rice says Gadhafi crush was ‘weird and a bit creepy

    By the CNN Wire Staff
    updated 10:11 AM EST, Thu November 3, 2011

    Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice described Moammar Gadhafi’s crush on her as “weird and a bit creepy,” saying she breathed a sigh of relief when she realized a video he made of her was not raunchy.

    In her new book, “No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington,” Rice said the ruler once played her a video montage of herself set to a tune called “African Flower in the White House.”

    A Libyan composer wrote the song, she said.

    Earlier this year, anti-Gadhafi fighters ransacking his compound in Tripoli found an album of photos of the former top Bush administration official.

    “Quite extraordinary, weird and a bit creepy, ” Rice told CNN’s Piers Morgan on Wednesday night about the scrapbook. “I had actually known that he had this fixation on me.”

    Rice said when Gadhafi showed her the video montage years ago in Libya, she tried to keep the conversation on business.

    Condi Rice denies Cheney claim “My job was to go there and do diplomatic business and get out, so that’s what I did,” she said. “But I have to say I did have that terrible moment when he said that he had the video. I am just glad that it all came out all right.”

  19. rikyrah says:

    Poll: It’s a lead for Obama in PA

    President Barack Obama leads all of his potential Republican challengers in hypothetical 2012 matchups among Pennsylvania adults, according to a new poll.

    The Franklin and Marshall College poll released Thursday in the battleground state, shows Obama ahead of potential rivals Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum, but the results are closest when the president is paired with Romney.

    Obama leads the former Massachusetts governor 35% to 26% and Cain, the former pizza executive, 38% to 24%. He enjoys a 20% lead over Texas Gov. Perry, 40% to 20% and a 13% advantage over former two-term Pennsylvania Sen. Santorum, 38% to 25%.

    But the percentage of those who are still undecided remains high, with between 26% and 30% of individuals in each head-to-head match up unsure of who they will back in November.

    Democrats hold a tremendous voter registration advantage over Republicans in the Keystone State, which is sure to be a focal point in the next election cycle. Obama won the state with 54.7% of the vote in 2008 and Sen. John Kerry won there with 51% of the vote in 2004. In the 2010 midterm elections, Republicans captured the governor’s office, a Senate seat and five House seats from the Democrats.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Let The Women Speak

    Cain’s decision to blame Perry for the sexual harassment charges seems to me a pivotal moment. The narrative of Cain versus evil-librul-media was, if anything, a plus for the guy. The narrative of Cain reminding people he’s not a political neophyte and is capable of the usual bitter campaign rivalries … not so good for the brand. And without any clarity of what on earth really happened – and specifics are vital to making any kind of judgment – this can only get worse. I think the Cain campaign via the NRA needs to release all the women from a gag order and get this on the table as soon as possible. If it’s trivial, we can move on. If not, we can assess. And I have to repeat my first impression: sexual harassment is almost never a one-off event; it is about abuse of power, always a relevant issue when assessing a possible president; the Clinton years revealed what can happen when politics is frozen by rigid denials of sexual misconduct. We have now learned that the pay-out to a second woman was $45,000. That’s a lot for some mild banter.

    The only way past this for Cain is through it. Let the women speak, if they wish. If they refuse to come forward or detail the accusations, then there’s nothing more to be done. But the golden rule of political scandal applies: disclose everything, apologize for what needs to be apologized, and get it over with. But Cain seems unable to get there. Why?

  21. rikyrah says:

    3 Nov 2011 12:58 PM

    What Would Romney’s Mid-East Policy Look Like?

    If his advisors are any indication, it won’t be pretty. Adam Serwer recently reported on the troubling past of Walid Phares, a Romney foreign policy advisor who has major baggage from the Lebanese civil war. Mario Loyola responded with a half-baked defense of Phares. Serwer fights back. On Phares’ general mindset:

    [I]n Phares’ book Future Jihad, which Loyola describes as an “indispensable contribution,” Phares argues that prior to 9/11, American foreign policy was essentially under the control of Islamic fundamentalists. “[T]he Wahabi influence was so profound and subtle that it made its arms within the State Department, CIA, and information agencies think that they, not the Wahabis, were in control of policy.” It’s hard to find a foreign policy decision Phares disapproves of that isn’t the result of covert Islamist infiltration, from US policy during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to Bill Clinton’s intervention in the Balkans to support for ending Lebanon’s civil war along terms favorable to Syria.

    Ackerman asks how Phares would respond to the Arab Spring:

    If Romney wins, Phares is likely to get a high-level position advising Romney’s Mideast policy. Romney wants to help the Arab Spring succeed, which is a worthy goal. It’s also a goal surely to be set back by any affiliation with Phares. The idea that the Arab world’s democratic forces would embrace a man tied to sectarian massacres of Muslims, and who argued that Christian Arabs are a different ethnic group than Muslim Arabs, doesn’t survive a second’s worth of scrutiny.

    Larison agrees

    This is why the selection of Phares as one of Romney’s advisers matters. It is another hint of the alarmist foreign policy Romney favors, and it tells us that Romney’s judgment in selecting advisers may not be all that good. Given Romney’s tendency to invoke expertise and his willingness to defer to those he considers experts in a field, it matters a great deal that Romney considers Phares a reliable guide to Middle Eastern affairs.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Reality vs. Republicans on Immigration
    by BooMan
    Thu Nov 3rd, 2011 at 12:00:39 PM EST

    It’s basically a waste of time for one chamber of Congress to spend a lot of effort on a bill that has no chance of passing the other chamber. In an ideal world, neither chamber of Congress would bother working on bills that have no chance of becoming law. But politics has its place. Sometimes you just want to highlight the fact that the other party opposes something popular. What makes zero sense, however, is to debate legislation that will never become law that divides your own party. That’s what House Republicans are doing with Rep. Lamar Smith’s (R-TX) E-Verify immigration bill.

    Like it or not, our agriculture sector relies on undocumented workers. When Georgia and Alabama passed strict immigration laws this year, they quickly discovered that without workers to pick the crops farmers lost millions of dollars and food went to waste. Republicans are in complete denial about this. They simply don’t want to acknowledge economic reality. They’re incapable of crafting a solution because they won’t agree on the basic facts.

    Yet, Republicans who represent agriculture-rich districts have to answer to their farmers, and they don’t want an E-Verify system that would be immediately ruinous.

    California Rep. Dan Lungren (R) told The Hill that he supports E-Verify but that “it has to be accompanied by a workable guest worker program for agriculture.”
    “A bill on E-Verify won’t come to the floor unless we address agriculture, I am convinced,” Lungren said.

    The bill is creating some revelations. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports it because the bill would supersede state and local laws making it easier for businesses to comply. Then we have Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA), who made a name for himself as the rapidly anti-Latino mayor of Hazelton, Pennsylvania, saying that he opposes the bill.

    “I have no faith that the federal government is serious about enforcing our immigration laws. They haven’t, I don’t believe they will. And the Supreme Court agrees that the states have the right — why would we come along now and take that away from them? And the United States Chamber gets solidly behind this preemption — which raises all sorts of red flags for me — this is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, this bill,” Barletta said in an interview with The Hill.

    I’m not sure what he’s talking about with the Supreme Court, but Barletta is a classic paranoid freak.

    As i said at the top, this bill is not going to become law. What’s interesting is that it might not even pass the House. Why would the Republicans bring it up then?

    Because John Boehner isn’t very good at his job.

  23. rikyrah says:

    3 Nov 2011 11:16 AM

    Quote For The Day

    “David Axelrod has always been skillful at creeping into your room in the middle of the night and slicing out your heart, somehow without leaving behind a single fingerprint or drop of blood that ties him or his candidate to the crime,” – Obama biographer David Mendell, predicting the Obama campaign’s negative campaign against Romney.

    • Ametia says:

      LOL Love this.. unlike the GOP clowns leaving a mess all over the place like the scene in “The Godfather” of the bloody dead horse’s head in the bed of the dude….

  24. rikyrah says:

    Jon Stewart Turns Donald Trump’s Accusation Into An Indictment Of GOP Racism

    Stewart said, “I’ve taken criticism before. I’ve been called racist, stupid, an a**hole, but this one hurts because of how much I respect Donald Trump. He is a sophisticated man. Did you know he eats pizza with a fork? And as to the charges of whether I was being racist, it turns out Donald Trump is in a unique position to judge me.”

    Stewart played tape of Trump saying, “I have a great relationship with the blacks. I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks.” Stewart continued, “This is a man who has a great relationship with the blacks. Clearly one of the blacks, utilizing this great relationship with Trump, called to complain. Mr. Trump, one of the blacks is on the line. Put them through. Tell Donny Deutsch, I’ll talk to him later. I got a great relationship with these people, the blacks. Put them through. And to Trump’s credit, unlike some people, he doesn’t distinguish what type of the blacks he has a great relationship with. This led in to video of Ann Coulter claiming that “Our blacks are better than their blacks.”

    Jon Stewart showed the mainstream media how they should have treated Trump last spring, and how they should always treat him every time he pops up looking for attention. Jon Stewart treated Donald Trump like the buffoon that he is. By attacking Stewart Trump was trying to get himself back into the headlines, and create a diversion to get the media attention off of Herman Cain. (Trump is one of the numerous Republicans who aren’t impressed with Mitt Romney).

    What Donald Trump apparently didn’t count on was the fact that Jon Stewart would devote less than five minutes of airtime to his attack, and that Jon Stewart would reply to Trump by pulling out the big gun. When Stewart played Trump’s comments about “the blacks” that pretty much ended any potential good publicity that Donald Trump was going to get out of this, and The Daily Show didn’t even have to use the rest of Trump’s comments blaming “the blacks” for Obama’s election.

    Jon Stewart treated Trump like the joke that he is. Instead of being put on defensive by The Donald’s nonsensical rant, Stewart used it as opening to highlight the racism of the same people who are trying to defend Herman Cain by labeling anyone who dares to critically think about Cain’s ever changing sexual harassment story, a racist.

    Stewart turned the tables on Donald Trump, Ann Coulter, and rest of the Cain apologists who are crying liberal racism. Once again, it takes a comedian on a fake news show to point out to the American people what is really going on.

  25. rikyrah says:

    November 03, 2011 12:35 PM

    Romney struggles with his own tax plan

    By Steve Benen

    A few months ago, soon after the “corporations are people” flap, Mitt Romney made an effort to appear moderate on tax policy. “I don’t want to waste time trying to get tax cuts for wealthy people because frankly, wealthy people are doing just fine,” the Republican presidential candidate said at the time.

    Yesterday, he pushed this line again in an interview with a local TV interview in Tampa. “The policies I put forward are tax cuts for the middle class,” Romney said. “I’m proposing no tax cuts for the rich.”

    I can understand why Romney would make the claim; more tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires isn’t exactly a winning issue when the vast majority of American voters want the exact opposite.

    The problem, of course, is that Romney is either lying or he’s not familiar with his own proposals. Pat Garofalo said the candidate’s claim is “simply absurd on its face.”

    His tax plan consists of $6.6 trillion in tax cuts, the vast majority of which goes to the wealthy and corporations. In fact, Romney dedicates an entire section of his economic plan to discussing elimination of the estate tax, which only the very richest households in the country ever have to pay (since, right now, an estate must be worth more than $5 million to pay any estate tax at all). Currently, more than half of the estate tax is paid by the richest 0.1 percent of households.

    Meanwhile, Romney’s claim that his tax plan cuts taxes for the middle-class has little basis in reality. A ThinkProgress analysis found that the vast majority of middle-class households would get no benefit from Romney’s tax plan, since it’s based on a capital gains tax cut when most middle-class families have no capital gains.

    That’s true, and we can go a little further. While Romney’s pitch is focused on “tax cuts for the middle class,” Romney has also said — repeatedly — that he considers it a “problem” that so many working families are not currently eligible to pay federal income taxes. Indeed, he recently told voters, “I think it’s a real problem when you have half of Americans, almost half of Americans, that are not paying income tax.” It’s a problem Romney intends to fix by raising taxes on those least able to afford it, while cutting taxes on those at the top.

  26. rikyrah says:

    they think somebody’s playing with them.

    NOBODY is playing with them.

    they know, after 90% NEGATIVE COVERAGE – we have a study that proves it, that POTUS numbers aren’t that bad. in fact, they are a miracle


    they know that POTUS hasn’t even BEGUN to fight.

    Black folks haven’t abandoned POTUS.

    The Latinos have clearly woken up.

    Their silver bullet for the Latinos has been exposed as the FRAUD that he is.

    POTUS’ fundraising has been coming in, hand over fist.

    ‘fights dirty?’

    against mofos that collaborate with those that have called him everything but a child of GOD?


    G-T-F-O-H with that bull!


    found this comment over at POU:


    So, did you all see Ben Smith’s story today at POLITICO about POTUS and how he fights dirty but seems clean cut All-American?

    I’ve been thinking on this. Hillary Clinton and her team did the same play in ’08; complaining that President Obama’s team was running dirty tricks too. And now, the day after Romney’s Ponzi-scheme story comes to light we have POLITICO talking about how Axelrod is a killer politico and leaves no finger-prints and POTUS gets his minions to stick in the shiv so he stays clean. And it ends with a Republican saying the “no core” attack on Romney is personal and POTUS has no message to run on.

    The Republicans are SCARED.

    They have no jobs plan.

    They have no plan for the middle-class.

    They are seen as the party FOR the rich and they’re about to nominate a crazy person or a rich crazy Republican flip-flopper.

    So, what can they do?

    They can work the refs and make every attack seem personal and the truth shouldn’t be told.

    Whatever. The media, IMO, is clearly looking for a President Romney. I STILL remember Heillmann telling a story about asking Rev. Jackson in Iowa (after he saw Jackson and Romney talking) how it felt to talk to the next President of the United States. And in today’s POLITICO playbook crap; they call team Romney looking for website developers and IT folks: ROMNEY CREATES JOBS. Forget the fact that Team Obama has been filling similar positions for months.

    This is going to be a wild ride; but I have faith and hope that POTUS is going to pull out this election IN SPITE of the obstacles. But damn, sometimes you gotta shake your head at the shit that gets thrown like today’s crap in GOPolitico.

  27. GOP Congressman Defends ‘In God We Trust’ Vote: Must ‘Remind’ Obama

    Senate Republicans prepare to block a Democratic bill to create jobs because it is paid for with a small tax increase on the top 0.1 percent of earners, their colleagues in the House have devoted time to debating America’s motto — again. As the Washington Post pointed out, the vote Tuesday to reaffirm “in God we trust” is a “remake of a remake” as Congress affirmed the motto in 1956 and again in 2002. “You’ve been debating a commemorative coin for baseball,” President Obama quipped of the vote yesterday. “That’s not putting people back to work.” Nonetheless, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), the fifth ranking Republican in the House, defended to vote on Fox News today, saying it’s important to “remind” Obama about the country’s motto.

  28. Presidential Job Approval

    Obama Job Approval Showing Modest Improvement, Now 43%

    President Obama’s job approval rating has shown modest improvement over the past week, and is up to 43% after generally being at or below 40% in the prior week

  29. U.S. Unemployment Improves in October

    PRINCETON, NJ — Unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, is at 8.4% at the end of October, down from 8.7% in September and 9.2% in August. Unemployment was at 8.3% in mid-October — its lowest level since Gallup began continuous monitoring in January 2010. Gallup’s unemployment measure is also now much lower compared with a year ago — it stood at 9.4% at the end of October 2010.

  30. rikyrah says:

    November 02, 2011
    Obama’s reelection: safer by the day

    “President Barack Obama has received a [6-point] boost in the polls over the last month,” according to Quinnipiac. And, as he has consistently, Obama leads “Republican challengers by five to 16 percentage points in head-to-head matchups.”

    A political rule of thumb: any national lead of 8 points or more translates into a virtually unbeatable electoral college total (i.e., a presidential candidate simply cannot rack up those percentages without leading in the correspondingly necessary states).

    That said, in politics November of 2011 is to November of 2012 what Jerry Lewis was to comedy. It was the NY Times’ John Harwood, I believe, who earlier today said on MSNBC that Obama is unquestionably doing better in the polls, but he’s not yet “safe for reelection.” That’s why I listen to professional, political color commentary on cable news. One cannot find that incisive level of in-depth analysis just anywhere.

    To repeat the bloody obvious, Harwood-style, it’s a long and unpredictable road to Election Day. Yet given Obama’s rather undeviating leads over Mitt Romney in the neighborhood of 5 points (and probably counting) — during the worst economy in three-quarters of a century — his reelection is morphing safer by the day.

  31. rikyrah says:

    November 03, 2011
    Analyzing This and That

    The GOP presidential race is beginning to resemble an elaborately scripted mob movie.

    Cain shifted his blame from the news media to the Perry campaign … as additional accusations emerged … [and as] he accused [by now, pretty much everyone] … [while the accused] called the suggestion ‘reckless and false,’ and denied [pretty much everything] …

    And so it goes, or something like “it,” pretty much hourly.

    We’ve got rats, stool pigeons, informers, finger-pointers, slippery capos, inarticulate button men, political perjury flying everywhere, changing stories, creative alibis, countless investigations, apoplectic reporting (poor Chris Matthews, he’s nearly breathless), legal mouthpieces, verbal hits, botched whacks, betrayals, misguided loyalties, expensive shiny suits (Billy Crystal: “What’s this made of: chrome?”) — and, of course, not one whit of this chaotic thuggishness has anything to do with the nation’s future or welfare.

    At the eccentric rate things are going, by next week Cain will be roaming the streets of D.C. in a bathroom and slippers, building an insanity defense; his accompanying, incoherent rambling began months ago. Perry will again show up, somewhere, publicly plastered.

    Gingrich will propose an Apalachin summit of the GOP crime-family bosses, touting it as a new and Big idea. Bachmann will continue to lay low, quietly scamming the government through her and her hubby’s assorted “front” operations. Santorum will be nabbed for leading a gay-prostitution ring. Paul will recommend another St. Valentine’s Day housecleaning. The Republican syndicate’s calculating, thoughtful and rather peaceful Meyer Lansky, Huntsman, will shake his head and bemoan the cost of all this unnecessary blood.

    And if Romney testifies on its behalf today, he’ll testify against it tomorrow.

    The GOP presidential race: either a Martin Scorcese or Blake Edwards production.

  32. rikyrah says:

    November 03, 2011 8:00 AM

    A slight crack in the anti-tax wall?

    By Steve Benen

    As the so-called super-committee continues to sputter, the problem is a familiar one: to achieve a debt-reduction deal, Democrats are willing to make concessions on entitlement “reforms,” if Republicans are willing to make concessions on tax increases on the wealthy. GOP officials, meanwhile, aren’t willing to make any concessions, no matter what Dems offer.

    There are two sides to the balance sheet: revenue (money coming into the treasury from taxes) and expenditures (money the government spends). Democrats want a “balanced” approach between the two; Republicans insist the revenue side of the balance sheet be ignored altogether.

    Well, most Republicans, anyway. There appear to be some slight cracks emerging in the anti-tax wall.

    A group of 40 House Republicans for the first time Wednesday encouraged Congress’s deficit reduction committee to explore new revenue as part of a broad deal that would make a major dent in the nation’s debt, joining 60 Democrats in a rare bipartisan effort to urge the “supercommittee” to reach a big deal that could also include entitlement cuts.

    The letter they sent represents a rare cross-party effort for the rancorous House, and its organizers said they hoped it would help nudge the 12-member panel to reach a deal that would far exceed the committee’s $1.5 trillion mandate.

    Among those who signed were several dozen Republicans who had previously signed a pledge promising they would not support a net tax increase. Among the Democratic signers were some of the House’s most liberal members who have opposed entitlement cuts.

    This group of 100 members didn’t go into too many details, other than to say $4 trillion in debt reduction is a worthwhile goal, and that “all options for mandatory and discretionary spending and revenues must be on the table.”

    It’s worth emphasizing that the Republican signatories did not explicitly endorse any tax increases on anyone, only going so far as to say they’re open to additional “revenue.” Presumably, some of the 40 GOP lawmakers are only eyeing closing some tax loopholes and scrapping some tax expenditures, and might very well oppose an agreement that called for even modest sacrifices from millionaires and billionaires.

    That said, I’m still inclined to consider this progress — modest, incremental, barely-discernable progress. The fact that 40 House Republicans are willing to say publicly that both sides of the budget ledger “must be on the table” is, for all the caveats, a minor breakthrough.

    In fact, I’ve been keeping a fairly close eye on this, and yesterday’s 100-member letter is a piece in a larger picture. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), for example, recently said “prepared to look at” the Buffett rule. Freshman Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) told voters in September he’s willing to talk about higher tax rates for millionaires and billionaires. In August, four far-right House Republicans participated in a joint town-hall meeting in a very conservative area, and three of the four said they’re open to additional revenue, while one said he wouldn’t rule out tax increases on those earning over $700,000 a year.

    A week later, Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) was badgered by constituents at a town-hall meeting on the need to raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations, and reluctantly said he’s open to ending oil-company subsidies and closing tax loopholes. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), confronted by 200 angry constituents the same week, said the same thing.

    Maybe this is the result of overwhelming public support for increased taxes on the rich; maybe it’s the result of a sincere desire to cut the debt; and maybe some members want to give Congress’ 9% approval rating a boost. Whatever the motivation, it’s probably a step in the right direction.

  33. rikyrah says:

    anyone else watching Revenge?

    1. I don’t believe Tyler was ever rich.

    2. I loved Declan telling them all off at dinner.

    3. Frank, you were too smart for your own good.

    4. the REAL Emily Thorne is there?


    and, I still love Nolan, with his borderline creepyness.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011
    Last Call
    Posted by Zandar

    Want to know why nothing is happening on President Obama’s jobs bills? Because the Village assures that the GOP will never take any political damage over it. McClatchy’s David Lightman plays both sides:

    Democrats want higher taxes on millionaires to pay for the infrastructure plan. Republicans don’t. Republicans in the House of Representatives have led the way in passing a series of bills to provide private-sector initiatives aimed at creating jobs. Democrats vow to keep pushing the Obama package.

    There was little evidence that the two sides are taking serious steps to reach consensus on efforts to bring down the nation’s 9.1 percent unemployment rate.

    And so the unanimous filibustering of any measure in the Senate by Republicans magically becomes”it’s the Democrats’ fault” because the House GOP is “leading the way” on job creating bills. Republicans pass their bills, Dems can’t because of the filibuster, ergo it’s the Dems’ problem for not reaching “consensus” with the GOP.

    And as long as the narrative continues to be reported in this fashion, nothing will improve. Republican intransigence will continue, unabated, forever.

  35. rikyrah says:

    November 03, 2011 8:30 AM

    Polling the ‘sabotage’ question

    By Steve Benen

    To one degree or another, the “sabotage” question has been generating some debate for about a year now. It is, admittedly, a provocative subject: are Republicans trying to hurt the nation’s economy on purpose, simply to undermine the Obama presidency?

    Over the last few months, the charge has become more common and more mainstream, with the question being raised by leading officials in President Obama’s re-election team, Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill, and a growing number of pundits and political observers.

    What we’ve lacked, however, is polling data. Are Americans actually prepared to believe that Republican officials care more about politics than the nation’s well being? Have we really reached the point at which voters see GOP leaders as willing to sabotage the country?

    As best as I can tell, pollsters haven’t even asked. But reader R.B. passed along this new Suffolk University poll of registered voters in Florida, which put the question to respondents. The results were fascinating.

    With 51 percent of voters saying that jobs and the economy are the most pressing issues in the nation today, 49 percent said they believe that the Republicans are intentionally hindering efforts to boost the economy so that President Barack Obama will not be reelected. Thirty-nine percent disagreed. As expected, most registered Democrats (70 percent) agreed that Republicans are intentionally hindering the economy and hurting Obama, but independents (52 percent) and even some Republicans (24 percent) also agreed. [emphasis added

    To be sure, this wasn’t a national poll; it only asked voters in one state. But it’s a large, diverse swing state that both parties take very seriously.

    And in Florida, nearly half of voters — and a majority of Dems and independents — believe Republicans are so craven, so devoid of a sense of duty to their country, that they’re holding back the economy on purpose because they hate Obama more than the care about the rest of us. Nearly one-in-four Republicans believe this to be true.

    I guess this isn’t a fringe idea after all.

    Here’s a suggestion for other pollsters: given these results in one of the nation’s largest states, and the fact that the charge has been made by so many prominent political voices, perhaps it’s time to start putting the question to a national audience?

  36. Ametia says:

    Are you IN?
    America’s 30 Fittest Cities

    On Sunday, more than 45,000 spandex-clad, bib-wearing athletes will take to the streets of New York City to paticipate in the world’s largest marathon. A feat of fitness and endurance, the marathon is one of the most revered events in mainstream competitive sports today. Last year, some half a million runners crossed a marathon finish line.

    But where are all these super-athletes living? To rank the fitness level of American cities, we turned to two of the most trusted sources on the topic. The American College of Sports Medicine’s American Fitness Index is produced annually with the WellPoint Foundation to scientifically assess the health, fitness, and quality of life of metro areas across the country. From its research, we included the percentage of residents who were physically active in the last month, the percentage who are considered to be in very good or excellent health, and the percentage who are categorized as obese. In addition, we considered where each city ranked on the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which analyzes the health of the American population in the categories of physical well-being and healthy behavior.

    Each of the five factors was weighted equally.

  37. rikyrah says:

    The Midwestern Madoff
    Mariah Blake digs deep into the mega-crimes of Tom Petters and his political connections:

    At the time, the Petters Ponzi scheme—which, all told, brought in more than $36 billion—was vastly larger than any known Ponzi scheme in U.S. history (although it was soon eclipsed by Bernie Madoff’s). … The fallout from the scam moved through the Twin Cities like a slow-motion tsunami.

    Businesses went bankrupt. Charities slashed staff and walked away from half-built offices. Among them was Minnesota Teen Challenge, which lost $5.7 million and had to lay off 22 employees. Countless people also lost their homes or watched their retirement savings dry up. The tight-knit evangelical circles in which Vennes moved were among the most devastated. “If only a few had gotten hit, the faith community could have stepped in to help them,” explains Carolyn Anderson, the attorney representing evangelical investors. “But everybody got hit. The safety net was ripped out.”

    One of the top fundraisers for the Ponzi scheme, Frank Vennes, a convicted money launderer and cocaine dealer turned evangelical Christian, was a major donor to Michele Bachmann. Minnesota blogger Karl Bremer has more on the Bachmann connection. Scott Lemieux zooms out:

    Among many other things, the Petters tale is an object lesson of the value inherent in being a responsible looking white guy in a suit. While Maddoff’s Ponzi scheme at least grew out of a legitimate operation, Petters was never anything but a con artist. And in the beginning, not a very sophisticated one — his basic strategy was to sell things he didn’t own and keep the money. And, yet he was able to get away with a more elaborate and lucrative fraud for more than two decades, while accruing many of the markers of social respectability up to and including many powerful friends. There are too many examples of our fundamental regulatory failures to count, but this one is a doozy.

  38. Ametia says:

    Obama to G-20 summit: Yes we Cannes
    By Ian Swanson – 11/03/11 05:15 AM ET

    Greece’s decision to hold a referendum on the European debt deal has cast a shadow over President Obama’s trip to sunny Cannes, France, for a G-20 meeting.

    It is also creating new doubts about an economic recovery that would be crucial for Obama’s reelection bid.

    Obama’s trip looked like it would be filled with celebratory backslapping with Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy after the German and French leaders helped broker a rescue plan to bail out Greece.

    But hopes for a collegial session were dashed when Greek Prime Minister George Papendreou announced he’d seek a referendum that would allow his country to reject the bailout plan.

  39. Ametia says:

    Greek lawmakers break with PM over bailout

    Finance minister: The use of the euro ‘cannot depend on a referendum’
    Michael Birnbaum 6:26 AM ET

    If PM George Papandreou loses a confidence vote Friday, his proposed referendum that has caused concern among world leaders likely would not happen.

    Leaders signal that preparations are underway if Greece abandons the euro

  40. Ametia says:

    A Conversation About Greece
    —By Kevin Drum
    | Tue Nov. 1, 2011 5:49 PM PDT

    Here’s a cleaned-up version of a conversation I just had about Greece’s sudden U-turn on the rescue deal negotiated last week. Enjoy.

    Are the Greeks crazy?

    No, they’re just at the end of their tether. Europe is asking them to adopt more austerity than they’re willing to bear.

    Okay, but they’re spending too much money. Surely they know they have to cut back?

    Sure, but the deals on offer are pretty unattractive. Europe wants to forgive half of Greece’s debt and put them on a brutal austerity plan. The problem is that this is unrealistic. Greece would be broke even if all its debt were forgiven, and if their economy tanks they’ll be even broker.

    But that’s the prospect they’re being offered: a little bit of debt forgiveness and a lot of austerity.

  41. rikyrah says:

    It is said that passing someone on a staircase can bring bad luck.

    But it seemed as though Republican presidential contender Herman Cain was well into the throes of misfortune Wednesday when he tried to elude a passel of reporters hectoring him about sexual harassment allegations when he arrived on Capitol Hill for conversations with lawmakers.

    In an effort to ditch the journalists, Cain tried to escape down a stairwell in the Rayburn House Office Building after a meeting with the Congressional Health Care Caucus.

    Dealing with the scandal is bad enough for Cain.

    It’s an altogether different issue for one of the leading GOP presidential contenders to bolt down the staircase and not realize that the man scaling the stairs directly toward him is Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

    Complete with entourage and security detail.

    Still, Cain never even noticed as he descended the stairs in the opposite direction, practically rubbing shoulders with Geithner, the journalistic covey in hot pursuit.

    The “9-9-9” plan is the touchstone of Cain’s presidential bid. At its essence, Cain’s blueprint is focused on reforming the tax code. It would implement a nine percent flat tax for businesses, a nine percent flat tax for individuals and impose a nine percent national sales tax.

    “The 9-9-9 Plan gets Washington, DC out of the business of picking winners and losers, using the tax code to dole out favors and dividing the country with class warfare,” boasts Cain’s website.

    Allegations of sexual misconduct have bludgeoned Cain’s campaign the past few days. That’s allowed Cain’s critics and the media to land haymaker upon haymaker. This has addled Cain as he struggles to dispatch the distraction and return the narrative to tax policy. And then Cain is presented with one of those rare, cardinal moments on the campaign trail which candidates can’t prepare for. Approaching Cain on the stairs is the man charged with governing the nation’s tax system: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. And trailing Cain is an entire company of reporters, photographers and TV camera operators.

    Carpe diem.

    You want to get the press off your back about what happened at the National Restaurant Association? Knock the story off its axis and engage President Obama’s Treasury Secretary in an impromptu “stairwell debate” on tax policy with half of the Washington press corps in tow. If then-Vice President Richard Nixon can verbally spar with Soviet General Secretary Nikita Khrushchev in the “Kitchen Debates” of 1959, then Cain had the opportunity to spontaneously match wits with Geithner on a flight of steps.

    Such a move had the potential to metamorphose a harrowing press day into one for the ages.

    But that never happened. Cain dashed that opportunity the moment he walked right by Geithner. The candidate simply never realized that the man he passed on the staircase was the man whose tax policies he’s railing against.

    To be sure, Geithner was just as surprised to see the throng barreling down the stairs after Cain. Geithner only gave a wry smile and looked back over his shoulder once a reporter asked him if he had anything to say to Cain.

    And so the press continued haranguing Cain about sexual harassment as he made it to the bottom of the flight of stairs, navigated a first floor hallway and piled into an SUV sporting a bumper sticker promoting Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA).

    But perhaps it’s no surprise that Cain wouldn’t notice Geithner in the hallway. After all, Cain employs a burly muscleman who seems to double as a road grader, even in the marble corridors of Congress.

    As Cain moved through the hallways, the hulking guard, who would dwarf some NFL defensive tackles, shoved several reporters out of the way and fired elbows and forearms as U.S. Capitol Police looked on. When Cain arrived for the health care meeting, the guard began barking orders to the uniformed officers, despite his lack of standing or jurisdiction in the people’s House.

    Kasie Hunt of the Associated Press tried to buttonhole Cain as he walked down the hallway.

    “Will you please stop her? Please stop her! Please stop her!” the guard implored the police officers.

    Like sheep, the officers obeyed the commands of Cain’s henchmen. Almost immediately, one officer had Hunt backpedaling.

    “And here’s another one. Press,” snarled the guard contemptuously, pointing at yours truly.

    Never mind the hall in the Rayburn House Office Building is open to all so they can watch their government in action and meet with their lawmakers. And that’s to say nothing of the official Capitol Hill credentials that the House and Senate grant to reporters so they can report on Congress.

  42. Ametia says:


  43. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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