Monday Open Thread

Amel Larrieux (born March 8, 1973) is an American soul and R&B singer-songwriter and keyboardist. Larrieux rose to fame in the mid 1990s as a founding member of the duo Groove Theory along with Bryce Wilson. After leaving the group in 1999, she released her debut solo album Infinite Possibilities the following year on Epic Records. In late 2003, Larrieux founded her own independent label, Blisslife Records, on which she has released three albums so far. Larrieux cites Ella Fitzgerald, Prince, Rickie Lee Jones, Stevie Wonder, Shawn Colvin, Chaka Khan, John Lennon, Patrice Rushen, Jimi Hendrix, and Joni Mitchell as her musical influences.

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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65 Responses to Monday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:


  2. rikyrah says:

    Monday, November 07, 2011
    Culture war battle lines
    by digby

    It doesn’t get any starker than this:

    It looks like the race to watch in Mississippi on Tuesday night will be the state’s proposed ‘Personhood Amendment,’ which would make the state’s laws regarding abortion and birth control the strictest of any state in the country. Right now it looks like it could go either way, with 45% of voters supporting the amendment and 44% opposed.

    Men (48-42), whites (54-37), and Republicans (65-28) support the proposal. But women (42-46), African Americans (26-59), Democrats (23-61), and independents (35-51) oppose it. The good news for those opposed to the amendment is that 11% of voters are undecided and their demographics are 58% women, 54% Democratic, and 42% black- those still on the fence disproportionately belong to voter groups that oppose the amendment. That suggests when those folks make up their minds the proposal could be narrowly defeated.

    Let’s hope so.

    That breakdown is a pretty clear illustration of who the friends of women really are, isn’t it?

  3. rikyrah says:

    when one sells one soul to people telling them that they one of the ‘ Special Negroes’.

    one’s ass better be whiter than snow (metaphorically speaking).

    I’ve been Black in America longer than three days.

    I’ll bet money that the OTHER THREE who claim to have been harassed by Cain were Snowflakes too.

    He’s just mad that he’s about a decade and a half too old. He wanted to do what the likes of Shelby Steele and Ron Christie and Unca Clarence did…..he wanted him a White woman, which, yes, does fit into many a negative stereotype of the Black Male. That, all he lusts for, in his heart, is a White woman.

    if one is going to be a pitiful stereotype in so many other places, then why leave this one out.

    I literally have NO sympathy for him, but I totally love the brutal irony of it all.

    just another Black man brought down for his worship of the White woman.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Poll: Black Americans more optimistic, enthused about 2012

    By Chika Oduah

    5:58 PM on 11/07/2011

    Nearly half of African-Americans remain optimistic, despite a stubbornly high black unemployment rate. And African-Americans are more enthusiastic about voting in 2012 than in previous elections.

    A newly released NBC News/Wall Street Journal/ poll finds that 49 percent of African-Americans feel the country is headed in the right direction, versus 38 percent who say the country is on the wrong track. That’s a sharp contrast from recent polling which shows an overwhelming majority of all Americans who say the country is on the wrong track.

    In addition, despite the negative effects of the recession on black households, half of African-American respondents say Obama’s economic policies have improved the nation’s economic conditions, versus 44 percent who say Obama’s policies haven’t made a difference

    An overwhelming 86 percent of African-Americans said they approve of the president’s handling of the economy. By contrast, 57 percent of overall respondents disapprove of the president’s handling of the economy, versus just 40 percent who approve.

    The one area in which a majority of African-Americans expressed disappointment with Obama’s job performance was in the area of providing proper oversight for Wall Street and the big banks. In that area, 56 percent said the president has fallen short of their expectations versus 33 percent who say he has lived up to them.

    Chicago South Side resident Renee Coats is out of work and living with her older brother and their ailing 84-year-old mother. Coats said she’s struggling to get by.

    “I just got some emergency food stamps last month but I haven’t got anything this month,” she told theGrio.

    “I’m in between a rock and a hard place.”

    The 56-year-old has run out of employment benefits and her job search hasn’t gotten better, despite going back to school to get a bachelor’s degree in business management.

    Nonetheless, she says the country is making economic progress.

    “I think it’s gonna take awhile, but I think it’s headed in the right direction,” Coats said.

    Indeed, the poll found that 62 percent of African-Americans say the country’s economic recession is behind us.

    “Yes, Obama is doing a good job,” Keanna Crawford told theGrio. She doesn’t blame Obama for her 2-year unemployment status–she blames his predecessors.

    “He’s cleaning up someone else’s mess,” she said.

    In fact, 57 percent of African-Americans blamed America’s problems on Republicans in Congress, rather than on Obama.

  5. rikyrah says:

    November 07, 2011 3:35 PM
    GOP frontrunner still can’t consolidate support

    By Steve Benen

    The new national Gallup poll shows where the race for the Republican presidential nomination currently stands.

    1. Mitt Romney: 21% (up one point from October)
    1. Herman Cain: 21% (up three points)
    3. Newt Gingrich: 12% (up five points)
    4. Rick Perry: 11% (down four points)
    5. Ron Paul: 8% (no change)
    6. Michele Bachmann: 3% (down two points)
    7. Rick Santorum: 2% (down one point)
    8. Jon Huntsman: 1% (down one point)

    The development that will get the headlines, obviously, is the fact that Cain has caught up to Romney at the national level, and Gingrich’s recent bump that’s pushed Perry to fourth place.

    But what I still find remarkable is Romney’s inability to put some distance between himself and the rest of the Republican field. The Iowa caucuses are, after all, eight weeks from tomorrow, and the presumptive nominee, the man Democrats simply assume will get the GOP nod, finds himself tied with a strange, inexperienced man, who doesn’t understand government or current events, and who’s facing credible allegations of sexual harassment.

    Remember, in nearly every instance since 1959, by this point in the race, the Republican frontrunner enjoyed support of at least 41% before going on to win the party’s nomination. Romney hasn’t even been able to reach 30% in any Gallup poll this year — and his support is actually lower now than it was over summer.

    He’s running against misfits, clowns, and con men, and Romney’s still stuck at 21%.

    As Jon Chait recently noted, “I don’t see how Republicans could be making this any more plain. They do not want to nominate Mitt Romney.”

    To be sure, the smart money says they’re likely to nominate him anyway, because there’s no one else worthy of the nod. But when was the last time the Republican Party went into a general election with a nominee so much of the party simply didn’t like?

    As for the next tier, I don’t expect Gingrich’s little uptick to last, in large part because he simply lacks the resources, campaign structure, and work ethic to advance. Perry, meanwhile, actually has some money in the bank, and still has a chance to see his support grow.

  6. Ametia says:

    News flash for Tweety Bird Matthews: You got to where you are on MSNBC’s Hardball by:


    President Barack Hussein Obama got elected NOT by luck, but because he worked his BLACK ASS off, through sheer genius, and determination, with a lazer beam focus on acheiving his goals.


  7. Breaking News:

    A verdict expected shortly in the Conrad Murray trial!

  8. rikyrah says:


    Live-Blogging Gloria

    2.16 pm. Absent any more details, all I can say is that, at the very least, Cain needs to respond to this specific allegation. I believe the woman, but I tend to believe most professional women who give credible evidence of abuse of power by bosses.

    2.12 pm. CNN is covering this story by talking over the press conference and switching to the Michael Jackson verdict. MSNBC’s “Breaking News” is that NBC News has been unable to confirm the allegations outlined minutes ago. Now I can’t find any cable news coverage of the press conference. Seriously: Jon Stewart is right. These channels are worthless.

    2.07 pm. Cain has countered with a statement denying any sexual harassment of anyone. So these four women are, according to him, lying. Including the latest who was, at one point, a fervent Cain fan and subsequently attended a recent Tea Party event. It will be hard to turn Bialek into a liberal tool. On the other hand, it wasn’t clear to me if she was actually employed by the NRA when Cain allegedly tried to grope her and force her head down to his dick. It doesn’t make his behavior any the less gross, but it does make it more of an ethical than a legal issue.

    2.01 pm. A pretty ugly physical account: pushing his hand up her leg toward her genitals, and pushing her head down toward his crotch. “You want a job, don’t you?” is a pretty horrifying invitation to have sex. But these details were not conveyed to her boyfriend or second witness, so far as I can tell. From this account, I can only say I find her persuasive. And his alleged attempt to push her head toward his crotch may cast some context on his previous remarks about women being shorter or taller than his wife.

    1.59 pm. Her account underlines her previous admiration of Cain. She called his speech which she witnessed “incredibly inspiring.” She then asked: “When are you running for president?”

    1.57 pm. Allred then gets the wind in her sails, accusing Cain of lying and abusing power, calling him a serial sexual harasser. Allred also has two contemporaneous affidavits of Bialek’s complaints. No details yet, as we await Sharon Bialek.

    1.54 pm. So we have a firing without apparent good reason. And then a request from Ms Bialek to Mr Cain to help her find another job. Instead, allegedly, he offered her in the classic Allred phrase: “his own version of a stimulus package.”

    1.51 pm. The first thing to note is that, according to Allred, the accuser is a Republican, an accomplished professional and white.

  9. rikyrah says:

    November 07, 2011 2:50 PM

    And then there were four

    By Steve Benen

    We learned a week ago about two women who worked at the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, who accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment. After several contradictory responses, Cain denied the accuracy of the allegations.

    Soon after, a third woman described behavior from Cain that she considered “aggressive and unwanted,” including a “private invitation to his corporate apartment.”

    But the public did not see or hear from any of these women directly. That changed this afternoon when a fourth alleged victim held a press conference.

    Sharon Bialek, a former employee of the National Restaurant Association’s Education Foundation and a registered Republican, told reporters Monday that Cain treated her inappropriately in 1997 when she was no longer in the organization but was approaching Cain for advice.

    At a press conference hosted by celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, Bialek described an incident after dinner in 1997 in Washington DC when she said Cain reached up her skirt and tried to force her head to his crotch while the pair were in Cain’s car.

    The Republican presidential candidate has denied these allegations, describing them as “false.”

    As Bialek describes the events, Cain said, “You wanted a job, right?” when he made these sexual advances.

    There are lawyers who can speak to this better than I can, but these allegations would seem to go well beyond sexual harassment, and sound more like sexual assault.

    Also note, Bialek said she told her then-boyfriend and another longtime friend about the incident when it occurred, and sworn statements from those men would appear to lend additional credibility to the claim.

    At today’s press conference, Bialek challenged Cain: “Come clean.”

    I’m not in a position to evaluate the merit of the claims against Cain. I would note, however, that (a) the number of accusers matters; (b) it seems unlikely all four are part of a coordinated, 15-year campaign organized by the media, liberals, racists, the D.C. establishment, and Rick Perry.

  10. rikyrah says:

    It’s all in the timing
    Groans as brief nixes Cain accuser
    By JULIE MASON | 11/07/11 2:25 PM

    Monday’s two-minute warning to reporters awaiting the White House daily briefing was met by an unusual chorus of groans and shouts of, “No!”

    Consternation! Usually, White House reporters are impatient for the daily briefing to start, but many were occupied staring at televisions around the press workspace, waiting for Herman Cain’s fourth accuser to appear at a presser in New York.

    Alas for the hassled White House press corps — so used to knowing everything first! — Sharon Bialek came to the microphone after press secretary Jay Carney had already started his briefing in Washington. And hopes the White House might deploy the big screens behind the podium for a live-action split-screen were in vain.

    Asked if he had any response to the Cain story, Carney said, “I do not.”

  11. rikyrah says:

    We Have Always Been the 99%: a personal story of recovery
    Sunday, November 06, 2011 | Posted by Sepiagurl/ChimeraSpeaks at 8:48 AM

    I have not written anything for past couple weeks because my family just literally fell off a financial cliff and we were in crisis. My husband suddenly lost his Consultant job of 18 months and we were officially out in the wilderness. Normally, I love to write but I had to put all of my energy into fighting to save our financial life. They let him go without any severance and we were already struggling. We have always been in the 99%. My husband is a cancer survivor, I am a survivor of Domestic Violence and my brother died of AIDS. A couple of years ago my ex-sister-in-law lost her life to cancer. There have been many moments of despair in our lives but yet we hung on and kept going. We pulled ourselves up by the “bootstraps” and got back into the game kicking and fighting.

    However, when my husband lost his job recently I felt like all of the air had been pumped out of me. I did not want to fight anymore but I looked up and there was my just turned 12 year-old telling my husband that he had to align himself spiritually, emotionally and physically and get into gear because she did not want to move for a 6th time. Her words snapped me back into action because she heard me give that lecture to her many times before. There is nothing like a kid regurgitating your own words back at you. It really whips you back into shape fast.

    Anyway after years of hanging off the edge of a financial cliff with white knuckled hands, it felt as if we had tumbled right off and plunged to the bottom. But hearing our kid’s words bucked us up and we focused our minds and started climbing again. By the end of last week my husband had secured a job with an excellent salary, full-time benefits, long term and short term disability and the works. A health plan that used to be $12,000 a year is now $250-275 a year. He is no longer in Corporate, Finance, Insurance America as the only black man but is in Non-Profit Community Healthcare amongst Asians, Hispanics, Whites, Blacks. His new company observes Veterans Day, Martin Luther Day, Kwanza, all the Jewish Holidays and even Juneteenth.

    He will have 38 days to take as vacation or sick days and we will be able to finally spend quality time together as a family. Some may call this luck but we think it is all the hard work he put in finally paying off; all the racial crap he took day in and day out as the only black male paying off; all of the insinuations of him being an affirmative action case being pushed back. He/we worked damned hard to get here. Yes, he was helped along the way. Yes, Affirmative action played a part in getting him into college but he got out all on his own by working hard to get top grades. Affirmative action did not help him get out of college in good standing: he helped himself.

    When all of his white schoolmates went off to Wall Street to cozy positions he was forced to work in a local book binder shop earning minimum wage even though he graduated with the same Ivy League degree as his Wall Street classmates. However, most of them had help and knew people. He was on his own and knew no one. Today he has no regrets of the path he took because he thinks the road he took prepared him for the conditions of today. He always remembers and frequently quotes his coal miner granddad who told him “all work is noble”.

    Last week he went in to claim one week of unemployment and the unemployment office put him and the other folk through the ringer. Before they could even claim their check they had to come in for an interview and were forced to watch a video about people who tried to rig the system and ended up in jail. My husband said the people were so depressed many left the office without signing off to show they had watched the video. This was a prerequisite in order to get the check. He is worried that many of them will not get their checks. They told him the check will take about 4 weeks before we can get it. We are now wondering about those folk who cannot wait 4 weeks; those folk who have no food to eat; those folk who have no place to sleep. What about their kids? We barely made it through but so many others are left behind. We intend to give back in the coming months now we are getting our act together. The new company works with charitable organizations to help others. As an employer my husband can take time off to help in a soup kitchen or in any other way we can to help others. Sometime, soon we hope, we will be going out as a family to help in some form or the other once we are better placed.

  12. rikyrah says:

    November 07, 2011
    Romney has yet begun to flip-flop

    According to the latest WaPo-ABC News poll, Herman Cain is still thumping Mitt Rommey “2-to-1 (30 percent to 15 percent) among those who describe themselves as very conservative.” What’s more,

    Nearly half of all of the Republicans polled say they are less likely to support Romney because of his work on health care, and the number peaks at 55 percent among the most conservative. Overall, 20 percent are less likely to vote for him because of his religion, but that rises to 32 percent among those who are very conservative.

    Nonetheless, when it comes to mousing the GOP nomination, Romney purrs in the catbird seat. In one respect he’s like Obama: he’s blessed with indescribably maladroit foes — just as Romney himself will, next year, become the expertly hunted, as Obama’s prey.

    A year out, the most captivating unknown variable, it seems to me, is how hard Obama will have to work at it; that is, work at exhausting Romney’s odds of general-election survival. It should go without saying that any electorate willing to re-install a George W. Bush as president or elect a Tea Partying House is also an electorate capable of the dangerously irrational, the wildly irresponsible, the sickeningly ignorant. On the other hand, Barack Obama is no John Kerry. Obama the pol knows how to execute an effective narrative and strategic offensive. And as GOP contenders knock each other out, Obama has yet begun to fight.

    So there’s that, but equally oppressive for Romney, there’s the aforementioned, too. These days (as they say), the redundancy of calling oneself a “very conservative” Republican is virtually a given. As a consequence, Romney’s true ceiling is well below one-third of his own party; and for the destined nominee, that’s a staggering handicap.

    And remember … Today’s Romney is the “very conservative” version chasing, rather unsuccessfully, those very conservative primary votes, just before he must careen once again into moderate, general-election territory. Thus Romney has yet begun to really, really flip-flop — his most vulnerable attribute.

  13. rikyrah says:

    November 07, 2011
    From mere losing to memorable lunacy

    Memo to GOP presidential wannabes: When you trail your competing colleagues as an asterisk, when you find yourself slipping farther from reality and further into despair, when all else — and I mean everything — fails, try the Michele Bachmann method, as redemonstrated in her speech today at the Family Research Council:

    Unfortunately for too many [of my fellow contenders], they also aspire to be frugal socialists. We can’t preserve liberty if the choice is between a frugal socialist and an out-of-control socialist.

    I like that. It has a certain — how shall I say — Nicholson-esque, ‘Shining’ quality to it; an irrefutable, rubber-roomed certifiability; an updated, Pixar look of a raving, living Looney Tune.

    And you know what else? Tea Partiers believe it. They may have tuned out Michele, but she still speaks for them.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 11/07/2011
    Independents and moderates agree: GOP deliberately sabotaging Obama’s jobs policies
    By Greg Sargent

    Ever since Obama began aggressively calling out the GOP for obstructing his jobs policies, insisting that Republicans are “putting party before country,” pundits have ominously warned that he risks alienating the middle of the country with such a stark, partisan and finger-pointing message.

    But the new Post poll finds that independents and moderates essentially accept Obama’s diagnosis of what’s going on — majorities of both groups agree that Republicans are blocking Obama’s good faith efforts to fix the economy for political reasons.

    As I noted below, the Post poll asks people to choose between two options. This: “President Obama is making a good faith effort to deal with the country’s economic problems, but the Republicans in Congress are playing politics by blocking his proposals and programs.” Or this: “President Obama has not provided leadership on the economy, and he is just blaming the Republicans in Congress as an excuse for not doing his job.”

    The toplines: Americans agree with the first statement over the second one, 50-44. According to numbers sent my way by the Post polling team, this is more pronounced among moderates and independents:

    * Independents favor statement one over statement two by 54-40.

    * Moderates favor statement one over statement two by 57-37.

    The overall number is lower, at 50 percent, because a hilarously meager nine percent of Republicans believe this to be the case.

    I know I’m repeating myself here, but it turns out this voter awareness doesn’t necessarily benefit Obama. Voters who are inclined to believe the worst about Republicans might still conclude that Obama’s failure to get his policies passed shows he’s inffectual. Indeed, in the same Post poll, 53 percent of independents give Obama a negative rating on whether he’s a strong leader!

    Steve Benen put it very well:

    Voters’ understanding of the political process is severely limited, and many Americans likely fail to appreciate the role Congress must play in policymaking. There are no doubt plenty of voters thinking, “Sure, Republicans are sabotaging the economy, but why can’t Obama just go around them?” unaware of the fact that, on a grand scale, this isn’t an option.

    And so, a question. We now know that Americans — particularly the middle of the road ones voters who are supposed to be alienated by this kind of talk — are receptive to the argument that Republicans are blocking Obama’s efforts at fixing the economy for political reasons. For all their very real disapproval of Obama, they think one party is acting in good faith to fix the economy, and the other isn’t. So when is the national political press going to start seriously covering this aspect of the debate?

  15. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:56 PM ET, 11/07/2011
    Sleazy last minute tactics in Ohio labor fight
    By Greg Sargent

    In case you needed another sign of how far right wing groups are willing to go in a last ditch effort to avoid defeat in the Ohio labor fight, check out this tactic.

    A flyer is making the rounds in Ohio (which you can view below) that advertises a “new hotline” designed to fight the “misinformation” being spread about Issue 2, the referendum that would affirm Governor John Kasich’s law rolling back public employee bargaining rights.

    The flyer directs voters to call a phone number, where they can listen to a “short recorded message summarizing the issue” and get “real facts” about it.

    “Please get the word out about this opportunity for voters to understand Issue 2,” the flyer says. “If you have been confused by misleading ads, or know someone who really wants to understand Issue 2, please call.”

    But it turns out the recorded call makes all kinds of lurid claims against a No vote on the referendum — and even advances the argument that a No vote would be bad for public workers and force layoffs of cops and firefighters.

    The flyer is not sourced to any group, aside from saying at the bottom: “Coast,” and “Gocoast on Twitter.” That’s a reference to a group called the “Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes,” which has no listed phone number, but has surfaced on the conservative side of Ohio fights in the past.

    Anyone seeing this flyer would have no immediate idea that this is a partisan message being paid for by a group trying to influence the outcome of this fight.

    When you call the number, you hear this recording (the audio was posted to YouTube by a labor source, and I called the number on the flyer to confirm it):

    The audio argues that a No vote on Issue 2 would imperil public services and would lead automatically to higher taxes and layoffs of public employees. In other words, the implication is that a Yes vote affirming the law rolling back bargaining rights would be better for public workers. It also suggests that Issue 2 would not require any sacrifices from public employees, a claim that was strongly challenged by PolitiFact.

    The call says that it was paid for by the aforementioned Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes.

    Here’s the flyer directing voters to make the call:

  16. rikyrah says:

    KY GOPer Williams: Dem Gov ‘Needs To Treat Christians As Well As He Does Hindus’
    Eric Kleefeld- November 7, 2011, 11:55 AM

    Kentucky Republican gubernatorial nominee David Williams, who is also president of the state Senate, appeared Monday morning in an interview with the local Fox affiliate in Louisville, in an effort to boost his underdog campaign in the home stretch. And of course, the local TV host asked Williams about the continued controversy that Williams kicked up in the campaign in the last week — when he attacked Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear for participating in a Hindu religious ceremony, and subsequently called upon Hindus to come to Jesus.

    “Well, my criticism was not for his attendance,” Williams told host Lindsay Allen (more on that later). “You know, Governor Beshear is the one that’s made a big deal out of him being — his father being a Baptist minister, his grandfather being a Baptist minister. I just think that Governor Beshear needs to treat Christians as well as he does Hindus and other folks.

    “For example, he didn’t want to call the Christmas tree a Christmas tree, he didn’t want to participate in Bell County prayers before schools. But those are diversions. You know, I’ve said publicly and have talked to the national Hindu association that I don’t criticize anyone because of their religion.

    (In fact, Williams’s conversation with the Hindu American Foundation did not go very well.)

    “And Governor Beshear is not Hindu — he says he’s a Baptist. Bottom line of it is, there’s not place in government for anyone that will discriminate against anyone because of their creed or their religion, and I surely won’t.

    “This has been a distraction, because the real issue in this campaign is the creation of jobs, and I have a real plan to create real jobs,” Williams said, touting the achievements of Republican governors such as Mitch Daniels of Indiana, John Kasich of Ohio, and GOP governors throughout the South.

    Allen asked Williams whether he regretted his comments about Hindus.

    “I regret the distraction. I regret the distraction that Governor Beshear and others try to disparage me as being an intolerant person,” said Williams. “Every Christian has the opinion that I do, that they hope people find Christ. That does not mean that we disparage anyone else, or disrespect anyone else. I respect everyone’s right.”

  17. rikyrah says:

    Poll: Ohio Set To Vote Big Against Kasich’s Anti-Union Law
    Kleefeld- November 6, 2011, 10:38 PM

    A new survey from Public Policy Polling (D) shows Ohio Democrats and public employee unions likely to win a big victory on Tuesday in the referendum on Republican Gov. John Kasich’s anti-public union bill, SB-5.

    The poll shows only 36% of Ohioans will vote to support the law, while a decisive 59% oppose the bill and will vote to repeal it.

    Kasich’s own approval mirrors those numbers, with only 33% approval and 57% disapproval. Kasich was elected in the 2010 Republican wave, defeating incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland by a 49%-47% margin. However, when asked if they could vote again, the respondents in this poll chose Strickland by a 55%-37% margin.

    From the pollster’s analysis: “Democrats are almost unanimous in their opposition to SB 5, supporting repeal by an 86-10 margin. Meanwhile there’s division in the Republican ranks- 30% are planning to vote down their Governor’s signature proposal while only 66% are supportive of it. Independents split against it by a 54/39 spread as well.”

    The survey of likely voters was conducted over the weekend, from November 4-6, and has a ±3.1% margin of error.

    The law was passed earlier this year by Kasich and the Republican legislature. However, it never actually went into effect, as the citizen-initiated referendum process — spearheaded by the Dems an the unions — put the law on hold pending Tuesday’s referendum.

    Triggering a repeal referendum required organizers to collect signatures equal to just six percent of the total votes in the last gubernatorial election, with additional requirements that they be sufficiently spread out around the state, with at least three percent of the gubernatorial vote across at least half the counties in the state. That meant the threshold was 231,150 signatures — but organizers fired their opening political salvo by collecting four times as many, thus creating a greater base for the actual campaign.

    Ohio is one of many states where Republicans took over state government in 2010, and proceeded to pass comprehensive legislation to strip away collective bargaining rights for public employee unions. But unlike the high-profile cases of Wisconsin and Michigan, Democrats were able to use the state referendum process to put the law directly on the ballot — thus setting up a top-tier political battle in this major swing state, and a possible resurgence by the state Democratic Party.

  18. rikyrah says:

    November 07, 2011 1:10 PM

    When Republicans literally ignore the economy

    By Steve Benen

    Rep. Robert Dold, a Republican freshman representing part of the north side of Chicago, sent an email message to constituents yesterday. “I want to hear your thoughts on the important issues facing our nation today,” the congressman wrote. “Please particapte [sic] in my survey below so I know what matters to you.”

    An alert reader forwarded me a copy of the survey, which asked voters, “What do you believe are the most important issues facing the federal government today?” Take a look at the options the public has to choose from.

    In case the image is hard to read, the options included, debt and deficit; spending; tax reform, Medicare and Social Security, health care, immigration, protecting the environment, education, foreign affairs, national security, and other.

    Congressional Republicans are often accused of ignoring job creation and economic growth, but we don’t usually see such literal examples of the problem.

    Dold, by the way, won thanks to support from Grover Norquist and Rudy Giuliani in 2010, but is generally considered one of the more vulnerable GOP incumbents in 2012.

    If he keeps making lists of the most important issues Congress should be working on, and forgetting to even mention jobs, Dold’s chances of re-election will likely fade even more.

  19. rikyrah says:

    ok, anyone watching the Cain accuser press conference?

    is she a Snowflake?

    • I’m searching for the photo and or video. But here is what she said:

      2:01 p.m. ET

      Bialek says Cain offered to help her find a job with one of the state restaurant associations.

      “He suddenly reached over and put his hand on my leg, under my skirt and reached for my genitals,” she said. Bialek says Cain tried to pull her head toward his crotch.

      2 p.m. ET

      Bialek describes a situation in 1997, where she met him in the bar at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. She said he helped arrange a “palatial suite” at the hotel for her.

      “I upgraded you,” Bialek says Cain told her.

      1:59 p.m. ET

      Bialek says she reached out to Cain for help in finding a job at the behest of her boyfriend.

      1:58 p.m. ET

      Bialek describes how she sat next to Cain at a dinner during a National Restaurant Association conference. At the time she was employed by the NRA’s educational foundation.

      1:57 p.m. ET

      Allred shows statements from a pediatrician and a businessman who were told by Bialek what happened.

      1:55 p.m. ET

      Allred says Bialek understands she’ll face public scrutiny and chose not to sell her story. “I for one am disgusted at Mr. Cain’s serial sexual harassment of women,” Allred says, adding that the candidate is “actively lying to Americans.”

      1:54 p.m. ET

      Bialek reached out to Cain to find a job, Allred says. Cain instead provided her with “his idea of a stimulus package,” Allred says.

    • Ametia says:

      Gawd; just checking emails and news updates.

      WE KNEW SHE WAS A SNOWFLAKE. Stick a FORK in this COON; he’s oh Soooooooo DONE

  20. rikyrah says:

    Romney On Entitlements

    So we now have a clear Romney plan. It’s essentially the Ryan Plan for Medicare with a hefty dose of reassurance, much vaguer results, and a small twist. In his own words:

    First, Medicare should not change for anyone in the program or soon to be in it. We should honor our commitments to our seniors. Second, as with Social Security, tax hikes are not the solution. We couldn’t tax our way out of unfunded liabilities so large, even if we wanted to. Third, tomorrow’s seniors should have the freedom to choose what their health coverage looks like. Younger Americans today, when they turn 65, should have a choice between traditional Medicare and other private healthcare plans that provide at least the same level of benefits.

    Competition will lower costs and increase the quality of healthcare for tomorrow’s seniors. The federal government will help seniors pay for the option they choose, with a level of support that ensures all can obtain the coverage they need. Those with lower incomes will receive more generous assistance. Beneficiaries can keep the savings from less expensive options, or they can choose to pay more for a costlier plan.

    Ay, there’s the rub. What are the chances that private insurance companies will be able to offer “the coverage seniors need” at lower prices than the government? Private insurance companies are much less efficient than the public sector, and their services costlier. And if the premiums for fee-for-service Medicare will be based on providing “the coverage [seniors] need,” then which senior would pick a cheaper plan with fewer benefits or less personalized care? There’s no there there, unless official Medicare is so ham-strung that private companies can compete. But that seems to push the cost curve in the wrong direction, no? Avik Roy suggests that the private companies can cut costs more easily than Medicare for one reason:

    they are able to set up preferred provider networks, in which they steer their patients to the most cost-efficient hospitals and doctors. Traditional Medicare, on the other hand, is legally required to provide access to any health-care provider who accepts its fee schedule.

    But even Roy acknowledges that the plan as-is cannot work outside urban areas with competitive hospitals and even if it did work, might shave costs by at most around 8 percent. We also don’t have an actual dollar number to put on Romney’s Medicare insurance “premium support,” because what’s guaranteed is not a money amount but a fixed level of care. So the great virtue of Ryan’s plan – its brutal transparency about government’s future liabilities – is erased. Roy concedes:

    We simply don’t know how much we could save from competitive bidding.

    So I remain skeptical about this scheme’s ability to rein in costs, and find the reflexive view that markets can work well with the over 65s and healthcare to be more wishful thinking than reality. A seventy-year-old with faltering memory and a ruined hip is not likely to be the most ruthless consumer – if only because he has no expertise to judge the options for him. I feel lost half the time.

    I’d also like to know how Romney, having repealed Obamacare, would help people with pre-existing conditions get coverage if they once lose it. And how his plans would bring insurance to 45 million currently without it. And how many young adults under 26 would lose coverage when Obamacare is repealed. But those are questions the GOP has just decided are irrelevant. For many of us, that is not an option.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Worst Kasich Scenario
    by Zandar

    The latest polls in Ohio before tomorrow’s election shows GOP Gov. John Kasich’s law to strip collective bargaining rights from public workers is about to go down in epic defeat.

    Public Policy Polling (PPP) found that 59 percent of voters oppose SB 5, while just 36 percent plan to approve it during Tuesday’s election.

    “What might be most remarkable about the 23 point margin in this poll is that it’s exactly identical to what we found the first time we polled on this issue all the way back in March,” PPP’s Tom Jensen noted. “Voters were furious then and that anger has continued all the way to November.”

    Democrats were prepared to vote against the bill 86-10, while Republicans are more divided on the issue. Only 30 percent said they will vote against it.

    If approved, SB 5 would strip most collective bargaining rights from public employees in Ohio. Police officers, firefighters, teachers, and other state employees could still negotiate for some benefits, but not wages. Public employees would also be prohibited from striking.

    Gov. Kasich’s own approval numbers have tanked since he has signed the bill. He was elected by a 55-37 margin over former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, but now only 33 percent of voters approve of the job he’s doing, making him one of the most disliked governors in the nation.

    Things are looking pretty good, but if you’re in Ohio, we still need you to vote tomorrow in order to make this a reality. It’s no sure thing in an off-year election. Both Kasich and the No On Issue 2 folks are running tons of commercials in the state, but in the end I think having Kasich be the face of the pro-Issue 2 folks was a massive mistake, as people hate this bill as much as they hate him right now. National Republicans were smart enough not to cut any commercials in Ohio for this mess.

    I guess Zombie Reagan wasn’t too telegenic. Having said that, let’s not take this for granted. Get out there and vote tomorrow, Ohio.

  22. rikyrah says:

    The humiliation continues. Peter Beinart offers the counterintuitive take here: it’s Romney’s shape-shifting that will require him to be more “conservative” in office. I’m with Peter. In office, Romney would be terrified of offending the far right. He would double down on no revenue increases, appoint Christianists to the Court, and think of GHW Bush as a cautionary tale. His very reputation for convenience will require more ideological rigidity in office. He would have none of Reagan’s or Nixon’s ability to violate core conservative ideas.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Romney Versus an Illusion
    by BooMan
    Mon Nov 7th, 2011 at 10:01:25 AM EST

    It’s true that Mitt Romney, as a candidate, has many of the same vulnerabilities that Hillary Clinton failed to overcome in 2008. For one example, if Democrats were united in their opposition to a war that Clinton had authorized, Republicans are just as united in opposing a health care bill inspired by Mitt Romney. But, it’s really an insult to Hillary Clinton to compare her campaign to Mitt Romney’s. Clinton ran a strong campaign and would have probably won if she hadn’t had some really terrible strategists who were simply out-smarted by the Obama team.

    What made Clinton a strong candidate was her tenacity and her ability to stay on message. She never could erase her Iraq problem, but she didn’t adopt twenty different explanations to try to excuse it. She was also the first obviously qualified serious female candidate for the presidency. That alone gave her candidacy a compelling aura and a ton of energetic support. Her hawkishness and her connections to the Democratic Leadership Council hurt her, but you can’t compare anything in her record to the flip-flops Romney has made on abortion, gay rights, and the environment. A small majority of Democrats wanted a more progressive candidate than Clinton, but few Democrats doubted that Clinton was with them on almost every issue. Clinton had a core, and people could sense it.

    You just can’t say that about Romney. He will change his position on core moral issues whenever it suits him. That makes him impossible to trust. If he faced a challenger with one tenth of Obama’s talent, he’d be crushed. But he has no opposition. He appears to have competition, but it’s an illusion.

    The only question is, will Romney win the nomination or will the Republicans nominate someone who never really had any intention of winning. Because, other than Rick Perry, none of Romney’s opponents are really serious about becoming president. And, so far, Perry’s potential as a candidate has proven illusory.

  24. rikyrah says:

    November 07, 2011 9:35 AM

    Huntsman remains a leading anti-Romney voice

    By Steve Benen

    For all of his weaknesses as a candidate, Jon Huntsman continues to be as effective an anti-Romney voice as anyone in politics. I wouldn’t be surprised to see portions from this exchange, from yesterday’s “Meet the Press,” in campaign ads over the next year.

    HUNTSMAN: I think there is an, an issue on the flip-flops as it relates to trust. I don’t know that he can go on to beat President Obama, given, given his record. I mean, when there is a question about whether you’re running for the White House or running for the waffle house, you’ve got a real problem with the American people.

    GREGORY: And his big flip-flop to you is what?

    MR. HUNTSMAN: Well, I think there’s a range of them. But when you have something as central as life that you flip-flop on, when you have a Second Amendment, when you have health care, you have a range of issues that — on taxes, for example, that he’s been on both sides of. And I think that what the American people want today more than anything else is a level of consistency. They want trust. They want a level of trust in their elected officials.

    The implication isn’t exactly subtle: a prominent Republican presidential candidate believes Americans just can’t trust Mitt Romney.

    The on-air comments come on the heels of this new video from the Huntsman camp.

    And this comes on the heels of the brutal flipping-toy-monkey flip-flop video, which was soon followed by the weathervane video.

    It’s not just the frequency with which Jon Huntsman’s campaign goes after Mitt Romney that’s interesting; it’s how good Huntsman is at doing it.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Through the Iowa Glass, Darkly
    by BooMan
    Mon Nov 7th, 2011 at 12:43:41 PM EST

    Another poll has come out showing Newt Gingrich on the rise. This one shows him in second place in Iowa, behind Herman Cain and ahead of Mitt Romney. If you’ve been reading this blog lately, you know that I’ve been predicting that Gingrich would make a move. He’s really the last flavor left for Republicans to sample before they bite the bullet and nominate Multiple-Choice Mitt. It’s getting late enough in the game now that we can begin to make some rational predictions.
    The Republican primary calendar has taken shape, and the Iowa Caucuses are now scheduled for Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012. That is only eight weeks away. In the We Ask America automated poll, Rick Perry did not manage to get a single vote from anyone in the 18-24 or 35-44 age categories, even though 864 Republican voters were surveyed. That’s a degree of weakness that is almost unfathomable. Overall, he received the support of a mere 4% of voters. That places him in Rick Santorum (3%) and Jon Huntsman (2%) territory. I’m finding it hard to believe that Perry is doing this badly, but it appears that his campaign is just dead as a doornail.

    And, if that’s the case, then we should not expect him to come in first, second, or third place in the Iowa Caucuses. While it’s not that important to win the Iowa Caucuses, it’s devastating to get blown out (at least, if you’ve actually campaigned there). Perry’s weakness has tempted Romney into the contest. That is in itself an interesting development because it was Romney’s loss to Huckabee in the 2008 Iowa Caucuses that threw him off stride and ultimately doomed his campaign. One of the first decisions Romney made for the 2012 cycle was that he would not make the same mistake twice. Until recently, he had no intention of contesting Iowa and he went a full year with only two visits to the Hawkeye State. The problem is that he’s polling well enough that he has no excuse for writing it off.

    It remains to be seen if Herman Cain can weather the storm over his creepy history of sexual harassment, especially with news that one of his victims is coming forward. If he doesn’t implode, he looks almost assured of a top three finish in Iowa. In fact, it looks very likely that the top three will be some iteration of Cain-Romney-Gingrich. If Cain falters badly, his support will have to go somewhere, and most of that support will not go to Romney. It may go to the only candidate who looks like he has a chance: Gingrich.

    In a knockdown-dragout battle between Romney and Gingrich, I think Romney would prevail in short order. Gingrich is too flawed as a human being to withstand the glare. But he can definitely win Iowa if the cards fall right for him. What’s really uncertain is if Perry can stick around long enough, especially after getting pummeled in Iowa and New Hampshire, to give the Republicans one last chance to derail the nomination of a candidate they collectively hate.

  26. Victims speak out about North Carolina sterilization program, which targeted women, young girls and blacks

    Elaine Riddick was 13 years old when she got pregnant after being raped by a neighbor in Winfall, N.C., in 1967. The state ordered that immediately after giving birth, she should be sterilized. Doctors cut and tied off her fallopian tubes.

    “I have to carry these scars with me. I have to live with this for the rest of my life,” she said.

    Riddick was never told what was happening. “Got to the hospital and they put me in a room and that’s all I remember, that’s all I remember,” she said. “When I woke up, I woke up with bandages on my stomach.”

    Riddick’s records reveal that a five-person state eugenics board in Raleigh had approved a recommendation that she be sterilized. The records label Riddick as “feebleminded” and “promiscuous.” They said her schoolwork was poor and that she “does not get along well with others.”

    “I was raped by a perpetrator [who was never charged] and then I was raped by the state of North Carolina. They took something from me both times,” she said. “The state of North Carolina, they took something so dearly from me, something that was God given”.

    [wpvideo vlDSbuMh]

    • OMFG! This is fking atrocious! North Carolina, you have no fking excuse for what you did to these women! Wicked ignorant sobs!

      Pay these victims for their sufferings, North Carolina! Pay them Now!

  27. rikyrah says:

    November 07, 2011 10:05 AM

    The growing acceptance of the ‘sabotage’ question

    By Steve Benen

    The New York Times editorial board had a piece today on the importance of unemployment benefits, and made an observation in passing that stood out for me.

    “Tragically,” the editorial said, “the more entrenched the jobs shortage becomes, the more paralyzed Congress becomes, with Republicans committed to doing nothing in the hopes that the faltering economy will cost President Obama his job in 2012.”

    The point was made in passing, but it’s nevertheless striking. As far as the editorial board of the nation’s most important newspaper is concerned, it’s simply accepted as fact that congressional Republicans want to hold back the economy, on purpose, to undermine the Obama presidency.

    Does the American public accept this as easily? Greg Sargent flagged the results of a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, that asked a related question.

    “Which of the following statements comes closest to your point of view? Statement A: (President Obama is making a good faith effort to deal with the country’s economic problems, but the Republicans in Congress are playing politics by blocking his proposals and programs.) Or Statement B: (President Obama has not provided leadership on the economy, and he is just blaming the Republicans in Congress as an excuse for not doing his job.)”

    Obama making a good effort: 50%

    Obama has not provided leadership: 44%

    This comes less than a week after a poll in Florida found that 49% of voters statewide believe congressional Republicans “are intentionally hindering efforts to boost the economy so that President Barack Obama will not be reelected.” The WaPo/ABC poll is, as best as I can tell, the first national poll to consider the same issue.

    To be sure, the wording of this new poll isn’t ideal, and is far less direct than the poll conducted in Florida. But the takeaway is still pretty clear: half the country is inclined to believe GOP officials are killing efforts to boost the economy for purely political reasons.

    Though in theory, it should, this won’t necessarily give President Obama a boost. The degree of national cynicism is so intense, many Americans may simply assume Republicans are sabotaging the national economy, but take their frustrations out on the president anyway. As Greg noted, “The number who see Obama as a strong leader is now upside down (48-51), suggesting yet again that even if Americans understand that Republicans are deliberately blocking Obama’s policies, they may conclude that his failure to get around them just shows he’s weak or ineffectual.”

    Voters’ understanding of the political process is severely limited, and many Americans likely fail to appreciate the role Congress must play in policymaking. There are no doubt plenty of voters thinking, “Sure, Republicans are sabotaging the economy, but why can’t Obama just go around them?” unaware of the fact that, on a grand scale, this isn’t an option.

    It’s easy to imagine the sabotage question undermining Republican support in 2012, but it’s clearly not automatic. The more Democrats push the question into the public bloodstream, and get voters thinking about the impact of GOP tactics, the better it will be for Dems’ electoral efforts.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Sunday, November 6, 2011
    Running The Numbers Wrong, Part 2
    Posted by Zandar
    On Thursday I pointed out the weird subjective holes in Nate Silver’s usually solid objective logic where he declared President Obama’s re-election chances to be 50-50 at best, and basically doomed even against Rick Perry unless the economy picks back up.

    I’m glad to see I wasn’t the only one who noted that particular incongruity in Silver’s work as Jon Chait picked up on that later on Thursday in NY Mag as he points out Bush 43 was in the same approval ratings boat in 2004 and still won (barely and because of seriously messy voting problems in Ohio, but that’s another story) after attacking John Kerry.

    If that’s correct then Obama has a chance to have his approval rating rise simply by drawing a sharp contrast against the Republican nominee. In other words, incumbent approval rating isn’t something that’s independent of the opposing candidate. Voters may shape their view of the incumbent by making a comparison.

    I don’t want to overstate this. It may be wrong. (Or, as a great man once put it, “I don’t have the facts to back this up.”) But I think that we have to be a little cautious about interpreting the importance of Obama’s mediocre approval ratings in the face of a polarized electorate and a still-discredited opposition party.

    In turn, Steve Benen took Silver to task as well as he finds Chait’s number were indeed correct.

    And why did Bush’s support grow from the mid-40s to the low-50s? Chait argued, persuasively, that voters starting seeing the president “within the context of a partisan choice,” and decided they liked him more after taking a look at the wealthy Massachusetts challenger with an awkward personality and who was often accused of flip-flopping.


    Republican-leaning voters who weren’t sold on Bush — weak economy, awful job growth, etc. — became more inclined to support him after evaluating the alternative. Could that happen again with Democratic-leaning voters and Obama? Of course it can. As Chait put it, the president “has a chance to have his approval rating rise simply by drawing a sharp contrast against the Republican nominee. In other words, incumbent approval rating isn’t something that’s independent of the opposing candidate. Voters may shape their view of the incumbent by making a comparison.”

    If Republicans were a popular party with a popular agenda, this would be a very different story. Likewise, if Obama were a poor campaigner facing a charismatic GOP frontrunner, I’d have a different set of expectations. But I’ve seen a lot of Obama political obituaries, and at this point, none of them have proven persuasive to me.

    Michael Stickings over at The Reaction also disputes Silver’s supposition.

    Simply put, “Obama: Yes or No” is much different than “Obama or Romney/Perry.” In the latter case, that is, in the election, the president will have an enormous advantage given the unpopularity of the Republican Party and its extremism and the lack of strong appeal of the Republican candidate to any constituency outside a certain part of the GOP — for Perry, the right-wing base; for Romney, the somewhat more moderate but still deeply conservative establishment.
    As well, Obama is an outstanding campaigner. He will draw sharp distinctions between himself and his Republican challenger, shaping the election’s dominant narratives, and will likely energize voters much as he did in ’08 — perhaps not to that degree, but I suspect more than his detractors expect. He’s got appeal that no one on the Republican side can even approach.

    And that’s the basic issue there. An incumbent’s approval ratings aren’t equivalent to re-election polling of the incumbent against specific candidates. Nate did everything to draw the correlation between the two but in order to bridge the gap, he filled the blanks in with some really silly Village “conventional wisdom” that liberals are disillusioned with the President enough that they will turn the White House over to the Republicans.

    There are plenty of people who aren’t happy with all of President Obama’s policies. I’m one of them, specifically he’s dropped the ball on some economic and a lot of civil liberties issues in order to triage the country for the first two years, and I accept that. I’m still going to vote for him over any of the specific Republicans in the race right now based on policy. I suspect a whole hell of a lot of other people are out there in my situation as well.

    More importantly, as more people begin to see the list of the President’s accomplishments despite the GOP saying “Hell no you can’t” to everything, they are starting to come around. Hell, watch five minutes of any of the GOP debates and you’d want to vote for Obama too.

  29. rikyrah says:

    November 07, 2011 10:50 AM

    Obama weighs ‘name and shame’ strategy

    By Steve Benen

    It’s extremely common for members of Congress, from both parties, to send letters to executive-branch agencies, seeking funding for one project or another. It’s generally considered a shortcut around earmarks — lawmakers don’t put the requests in the bill, but they press the administration afterwards.

    These letters from the Hill are hardly ever seen by the public; they’re generally just considered bureaucratic, behind-the-scenes correspondence. The White House, however, is reportedly weighing a new “name and shame” strategy.

    In a move that could escalate hostilities with Congress, President Obama may be planning to use his executive authority to publicize special funding requests that lawmakers make for pet projects.

    A memo that the White House has floated on Capitol Hill would require executive branch agencies to make public any letter from a member of Congress seeking special consideration for any project or organization vying for government funding. National Journal obtained a draft copy of the executive memo.

    As the White House sees it, the move would address the earmark work-around, while promoting government transparency. It would also, in theory, lead to better spending decisions — money would go to projects based on merit, not which congressional offices lobbied the most effectively.

    But what I like about the idea is promoting what those letters usually say. For all the Republican rhetoric about public spending failing to create jobs, these letters from GOP offices invariably argue that money for their preferred projects would boost the economy in their state and/or district. Publicizing the special funding requests would help prove that Republican lawmakers don’t believe their own talking points when it comes to the connection between government investments and jobs.

    That said, Congress clearly won’t appreciate the move, if the White House goes through with it. Can the animosity between the two institutions manage to get worse? We may soon find out.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Monday, November 7, 2011
    Orange Julius, Defender Of Our Most Precious Resource
    Posted by Zandar

    America’s really, really rich people? Rest assured that you have exactly the tireless defender of your wealth that you deserve in Speaker John Boehner.

    “You look at Occupy Wall Street, I think you said you understand their frustrations,” ABC’s Christian Amanpour told Boehner. “People such as, let’s say Eric Cantor, called them a mob not so long ago. Do you agree with that? Are they a mob?”

    “Listen, I understand people’s frustrations,” Boehner replied. “I understand their concerns. And I, frankly, understand that we have differences in America. We are not going to engage in class warfare. The president is out there doing it every day.”

    “It’s not so much that redistribution of income the president is talking about,” Amanpour noted. “It’s a shared and much fairer sense of sacrifice. And there doesn’t seem to be the sense among people here that the sacrifice is being shared. Because they point to taxes and tax cuts and who it benefits and who it doesn’t.”

    “Come on,” Boehner protested. “The top 1 percent pay 38 percent of the income taxes in America. You know, how much more do you want them to pay? Let’s take all the money the rich have, it won’t even put a dent in our current budget deficit, much less our debt.”

    Yeah, back when the rich were paying 39.6% instead of 35% top marginal tax rates, all we did was balance the budget and run a surplus for a few years. Won’t make a dent! Well, that is before Republicans decided to spend trillions on wars and then the housing bubble and then banks. But they’re the party of fiscal responsibility and all.

    Under Boehner’s logic, why tax the rich at all?

    Oh wait.

  31. rikyrah says:

    November 07, 2011 11:20 AM

    Solar power and the culture war

    by Steve Benen

    In his column today, Paul Krugman shines a light, so to speak, on advances in solar technology.

    These days, mention solar power and you’ll probably hear cries of “Solyndra!” Republicans have tried to make the failed solar panel company both a symbol of government waste — although claims of a major scandal are nonsense — and a stick with which to beat renewable energy.

    But Solyndra’s failure was actually caused by technological success: the price of solar panels is dropping fast, and Solyndra couldn’t keep up with the competition. In fact, progress in solar panels has been so dramatic and sustained that, as a blog post at Scientific American put it, “there’s now frequent talk of a ‘Moore’s law’ in solar energy,” with prices adjusted for inflation falling around 7 percent a year.

    This has already led to rapid growth in solar installations, but even more change may be just around the corner. If the downward trend continues — and if anything it seems to be accelerating — we’re just a few years from the point at which electricity from solar panels becomes cheaper than electricity generated by burning coal.

    That kind of breakthrough isn’t exactly imminent, but it’s nevertheless evidence of exciting advancements. Krugman added, though, that our political system may well delay the energy transformation because “a large part of our political class, including essentially the entire G.O.P., is deeply invested in an energy sector dominated by fossil fuels, and actively hostile to alternatives.”

    That’s clearly true. It manifests itself in policymaking — Republicans fight for oil industry subsidies, while killing investments in alternatives — as well as the larger political environment. Dave Roberts recently had a terrific piece on this.

    So you’d think this would be a home run, right? At a time when jobs are at the top of every politician’s mind, surely a bit of low-cost economic stimulus that doesn’t increase the deficit and leverages tons of private capital and creates tens of thousands of jobs can serve as the rare locus of bipartisan cooperation. Right?

    Except the industry in question is the solar industry. And because this industry involves clean energy rather than, I dunno, tractor parts, it has been sucked into conservatives’ endless culture war. Rather than lining up to support the recession’s rare economic success story, Republicans are trying to use the failure of a single company — Solyndra — as a wedge to crush support for the whole industry.

    Roberts added, “This. Is. Insane.” He’s right — the solar industry offers so much promise, it’s truly ridiculous to think U.S. policymakers would turn their back on these advancements and rewards, simply because Republican politics have gone stark raving mad.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Now: Alienate Women
    Tracking the spread of sexual-harassment denialism beyond the Derb, Dahlia Lithwick worries that the Cain contremps reveals fundamental hostility to women in the GOP:

    The real lies here are the claims of millions of frivolous suits in which jurors award liars with pots of money and television contracts. The legal standard for proving a hostile work environment is high and usually requires showing a pattern of bad behavior. If anything, experts say that the current system under-punishes as opposed to over-punishes, and that most victims of sexual harassment on the job will never come forward at all…[T]o claim that they must be false because all women lie and all harassers are just joking is a terrifying proposition. Even more than the outright antagonism of so many conservative pundits, what’s worrying to me is the indifference of so many Republican voters: New poll results show that 70 percent of Republicans say the sexual harassment scandal makes no difference in their vote. It’s no longer just a Republican war on women. It’s a war on the idea that any woman might ever tell the truth.

    It’s particularly odd since so many of them spent so much time in the 1990s piously reminding the rest of us that Paula Jones had a case (she did), and that a president could be impeached for it (completely bonkers). At some point, between the “illegals” and the gays and the women, the GOP is going to run out of large segments of the society to fear and/or despise. It’s a strange strategy for a wannabe majority party.

  33. Barack Obama:

    President Obama speaks about the American Jobs Act:

  34. ThinkProgress:

    POLL: Independents and moderates believe GOP is deliberately sabotaging Obama’s (good) economic ideas

  35. 4th Woman Reportedly Makes Sexual Harassment Charges Against Cain

    A fourth woman is making sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain, claiming that the Republican presidential candidate exhibited inappropriate behavior when he was serving as head of the National Restaurant Association more than a decade ago, according to Michael van Poppel at BNO News.

    The woman reportedly making the accusations will hold a press conference with her attorney Gloria Allred on Monday.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Sunday, November 6, 2011
    Last Call
    Posted by Zandar

    If you actually thought o’l Boss Hogg down in Mississippi was really going to vote against the state’s odious and rabidly unconstitutional “personhood” amendment on Tuesday’s ballot in the state, then you haven’t been paying attention to the GOP for the last decade.

    Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour offered his support Friday for an amendment to the state constitution that would define life as beginning at the moment of conception, saying he cast his absentee ballot for the measure despite struggling with its implications.

    “I have some concerns about it,” he said in a statement issued Friday, a day after casting his ballot. “But I think all in all, I believe life begins at conception, so I think the right thing to do was to vote for it.”

    On Wednesday, Barbour, a Republican, said that he was still undecided and that the measure was “too ambiguous.”

    Initiative 26 would define personhood as “every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.”

    Though the text of the amendment is simple, the implications if it passes couldn’t be more complex. If approved by Mississippi voters on Tuesday, it would make it impossible to get an abortion and hamper the ability to get some forms of birth control.

    Of course he grudgingly supports ignoring Roe v. Wade and decades of judicial precedent, not to mention removing the right for women to determine their own bodies. The only problem he has with the measure is that it’s not law already. Part of the problem is that Initiative 26 takes the oxygen out of the room for discussing Initiative 27, which would immediately disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters in the state.

    Mississippi lawmakers argued about voter ID for more than 15 years before Republican Sen. Joey Fillingane of Sumrall started the petition drive that put Initiative 27 on the ballot. Supporters say requiring ID would protect the integrity of elections. Opponents say there’s been little proof that people are trying to vote under others’ names, and that requiring ID be a way to intimidate older black voters who were once subject to Jim Crow laws.

    The National Conference of State Legislatures says 30 states require all voters to show ID at the polls, many of them in the Deep South. Fourteen of the 30 require photo ID.

    Nsombi Lambright, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi, said that in poor, rural areas, many people might lack any form of government-issued photo ID. She also worries a voter ID law would be applied unevenly, and perhaps unfairly, by poll workers who might not be well trained.

    “Voter ID is one of those unnecessary barriers to the voting booth,” Lambright said. “We believe it’s going to represent a strong deterrent for communities of color, for the elderly and for poor folks to go to the ballot box.”

    Don’t get me wrong, Initiative 26 is awful. But it’s a smokescreen to get Initiative 27 passed with a minimum of fanfare, and yet another red state will be able to throw up economic and social barriers to voting. That’s just as big an issue in the Magnolia State and across the US.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Iowa Is A Must-Win For … Romney?
    Pivoting off John Heilemann, Ed Kilgore makes the case:

    [A] long primary season is a very bad thing for the Republican Party. At this point, Barack Obama’s best, and perhaps only, strategy for re-election is to make this a “two futures” choice, in which the extremism of the GOP gets as much attention as the current state of the economy. Nothing will play into this strategy quite like months of Republican candidates barnstorming through Tea Party-dominated state primaries accusing each other of being reasonable instead of right. The “quick-kill” scenario may be the only way out of this trap, and only Mitt Romney can trigger it by hunkering down for an intense holiday-season drive through the right-to-life fundraising banquets and local-supporter potluck dinners of Iowa. We’ll soon know whether he has the stomach for it.

  38. rikyrah says:

    November 06, 2011
    Huntsman on MTP

    For broadly inexplicable reasons Jon Huntsman is maintaining the fiction, in self-debasing ways, that he’s running for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. On “The the Press,” he just told David Gregory:

    People should not confuse a moderate attitude with a moderate record.

    In other words, Huntsman is fabricating a far-right-wing image to please … whom, exactly? He hasn’t a chance — any chance — in 2012, not even as Romney’s veep choice, because of the cult-religion double-whammy thing. And the aforementioned fabricated image will haunt him via videotape when he does actually run for the GOP nomination, in 2016 — well subsequent to what today’s rational population fervently prays is the GOP’s group-therapeutic recovery.

    My only guess (and that’s all it is) is that Huntsman is accepting bum staff advice. He’s squandering his moderate image in exchange for maybe a 2 percent base-preference over his current zero to 1 percent, precisely when he should be magnifying that image in preparation for a more realistic run down the road.

    If my guess is valid, his is a short-sighted gambit for a profitless return — and by embracing it, one that throws into question Huntsman’s overall judgment.

  39. rikyrah says:

    November 07, 2011
    The utopian void of the useless “should”
    E.J. Dionne:

    We all have to ask ourselves whether what we claim to be hearing as the voice of faith (or of God) may in fact be nothing more than the voice of our ideology or political party.

    We should, but there’s no must, because clearly, we don’t, and probably won’t.

    I, for one, have little need for such a question, since I possess such a magnificently irresolute “faith” (mostly just the usual, unanswerable questions about the inexpressibly unknowable) and absolutely none, it follows, in any doctrinaire way. And if I were ever to join some religion — an exceedingly doubtful prospect — I would already know that my secular beliefs had informed and indeed dictated my officially spiritual choice.

    I would perhaps be more inclined to organized religion if it weren’t for devout religionists. To me, listening to a fundamentalist Christian or Orthodox Jew or righteous Muslim is like hearing a prerecorded slice from the Dark Ages. Some are more graciously mute about my soul’s destination than others — which I vastly appreciate — yet I always sense the unspoken verdict of their theological jurisprudence: You’re doomed, you poor bastard.

    However my point about Dionne’s point, just to get back to the point, is that his advised targets — those of religious faith who labor as rulers and subjects in electoral politics — are precisely the ones least likely to ever engage in self-examination; even if Dionne, always the gentleman, tenderly inquires rather than dogmatically declares:

    We should also ask whether candidates are merely exploiting religion to rally some part of the electorate to their side.

    Permit some dogmatism. In contemporary Republican circles — all nine of them — political promotion and religious exploitation are, of course, indistinguishable. To ask the question is to answer it, yet no Republican pol would ever publicly concede his or her exploitation, just as no Republican dupe would ever confess his or her exploited-ness.

    Thus Dionne’s exhortation plunges into the utopian void of the sadly unuseful “should” — which, given humans’ determined imperfectibility, is the preferred depository of most ethical quandaries.

  40. rikyrah says:

    Pious racial indignation over Cain’s offenses
    By Leonard Pitts Jr. The Miami Herald

    Do you think it gives Clarence Thomas a warm, fuzzy feeling to know he is one of Ann Coulter’s blacks?

    That is how Coulter put it on Fox “News” while defending Herman Cain against sexual harassment charges that threatened to engulf his campaign last week. Liberals, she said, detest black conservatives, but the truth is, “our blacks are so much better than their blacks.”

    “Our” blacks? Really?

    Social conservative pundits tend to be astonishingly obtuse when discussing race (See Exhibit A above), so it is good they rarely do so. Last week was an unfortunate exception, as one of “their” blacks struggled to frame a coherent response to allegations that he harassed female colleagues in the 1990s when he headed the National Restaurant Association. Though accusations of sexual impropriety have beset a bipartisan Who’s Who of black and white politicians, the right wing came out in force to argue that people are only questioning Cain because he is a black conservative.

    This would be the same Cain who not so long ago said racism was no longer a significant obstacle for African Americans. This would be the same right wing that is conspicuous by its silence, its hostility or its complicity when the injustice system imposes mass incarceration on young black men, when the number of hate groups in this country spikes to over a thousand, when the black unemployment rate stands at twice the national average, when the president is called “uppity” and “boy.”

    But they scream in pious racial indignation when Cain is asked questions he doesn’t want to answer.

    A “high tech lynching,” said blogger Brent Bozell.

    “Racially stereotypical,” sniffed Rush Limbaugh.

    “I believe the answer is yes,” said Cain himself when asked on Fox if race was the cause of his woes, adding honestly, if hilariously, that he has no evidence whatsoever to back that up.

    If you didn’t know better, you’d think Cain was some hybrid of Emmett Till and Kunta Kinte. Nobody knows de trouble he’s seen.

    The candidate has spoken of how he left the Democratic “plantation,” the implication being that more blacks should vote Republican. It would seem on the surface to make sense. As a 2008 Gallup Poll proved — and simple observation reiterates — African Americans tend to be as conservative as your average Republican on some key moral issues and are more religious than the average Republican, to boot.

    So why don’t blacks vote Republican? The answer is simple. Black people are not crazy. Being not crazy, they understand a simple truth about conservatives: They have never stood with, or up for, black people. Never.

    Forget modern controversies like mass incarceration. Social conservatives, then based largely in the Democratic Party of the early to mid 20th century, opposed the Voting Rights Act. They opposed the Civil Rights Act. They opposed school integration. They opposed the Montgomery Bus Boycott. They opposed a law to crack down on lynching.

    These are the people for whom African Americans are now supposed to vote? To make the argument is to betray a stunning contempt for the intelligence — and memory — of black voters.

    Read more:

  41. rikyrah says:

    November 06, 2011
    O’Malley: Obama faces ‘obstructionist’ GOP

    Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said Sunday that President Barack Obama’s efforts to create jobs are constantly being blocked by an “obstructionist wing of the Republican Party.”

    “What’s becoming clear over time as the president puts forward proposals [is] we have a very obstructionist wing of the Republican Party who’s been very successful at keeping the president from accelerating this jobs recovery as quickly as he would like,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

    “You cannot ignore the fact that we have in this tea party Republican Congress people who have taken an oath to be an obstructionist,” O’Malley added.

    The chairman of the Democratic Governors Association singled out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as one such a Republican.

    “I was referring more to Mitch McConnell’s very direct statement that he has one priority … putting the president out of a job,” O’Malley said

  42. rikyrah says:

    Bill Kristol Predicts Victory for the President
    Posted on 11/06/2011 at 1:43 pm by Bob Cesca

    He was seriously hoping for a 1980 Reagan-style sweep? That’s hilarious. Of course it’s not going to happen.

    In a column at the Weekly Standard website, former New York Times columnist Bill Kristol opines that “assuming that presidential field remains as it is” for the GOP, “2012 won’t be a repeat of 1980″. He is referring to the election of Ronald Reagan after Jimmy Carter’s single term in the White House.

    The column itself is a semi-rhapsodic invocation of what is apparently to Kristol a sacred date, “November 4, 1980, the instant when we knew Ronald Reagan, the man who gave the speech in the lost cause of 1964, leader of the movement since 1966, derided by liberal elites and despised by the Republican establishment, the moment when we knew—he’d won, we’d won, the impossible dream was possible, the desperate gamble of modern conservatism might pay off, conservatism had a chance, America had a chance”.

    Once again, too many serious people are operating under the assumption that this president is a failure when, in fact, his approval rating would be 15 points higher were it not for 9.0 percent unemployment. And by this time next year, any remaining economic stress is going to be mostly blamed on Republican obstruction.

    Either way, 2012 is more likely to be 1984 with President Obama on the Reagan side of the metaphor.

  43. rikyrah says:

    November 07, 2011 8:40 AM

    There’s nothing ‘good’ about losing jobs

    By Steve Benen

    On ABC’s “This Week,” George Will said there were “two bits of good news” in the monthly jobs report released Friday. “The 80,000 [jobs gained] is a net number,” the conservative columnist noted. “The private sector created 104,000 jobs. The public sector happily shrank by 24,000 jobs. Both of that’s good.”

    No, actually it’s not.

    For the left, the economic goals are inherently pragmatic — creating jobs is the top priority. When more Americans are working, they’re not only helping themselves and their family, but they’re boosting the economy and helping lower the deficit. For the right, as Will reminds us, the economic goals are philosophical — creating jobs is nice, but the real priority is shrinking government. Maybe, they argue, the economy will improve when more teachers, police officers, and firefighters are unemployed and unable to spend and invest.

    Reality suggests Will and conservatives have it backwards, and the severe public-sector job losses are a major drag on the economy, effectively serving as a counter-stimulus. David Leonhardt recently described this as “an unforced economic error” — the federal government can prevent these layoffs, keep these workers on the job, and help the larger economy, but Republicans refuse. With all of the problems we can’t control, this is one problem we know exactly how to prevent, but choose not to, because, as Will put it, it’s “good” when thousands of public-sector employees are forced into unemployment during a jobs crisis.

    Media Matters Action Network posted this chart the other day, which helped drive the point home. (In case it’s hard to read, the blue line shows private-sector growth, while the red line shows public-sector deterioration.)

    The challenge for the right is explaining why the economy is better off with that red line continuing its downward trajectory. So far, conservatives can explain it in anything but ideological terms, and unfortunately for hundreds of thousands of unemployed Americans, Republican philosophy won’t pay any bills.

  44. Ametia says:

    Romney, seen as most electable, still struggles to break out of pack, poll shows
    By Jon Cohen and Dan Balz, Published: November 6

    Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has a significant advantage over his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination in only one area — electability — and will approach the next round of candidate debates with several potential liabilities, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

    Often described as the candidate to beat in the GOP race, Romney remains stuck in place in national polls — he is at 24 percent in the Post-ABC survey — despite the fact that one of his main challengers, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, has stumbled and several high-profile potential candidates decided not to enter the race to challenge President Obama.

  45. Ametia says:

    Robert De Niro to star as Bernie Madoff

    Robert De Niro is to star as convicted fraudster Bernie Madoff in the first major film about his financial scam.

    HBO have bought the recently published book “Truth and Consequences: Life Inside the Madoff Family” which was written with the co-operation of Madoff’s son Andrew and other family members.

    Both Andrew and his mother Ruth helped promote the book with rare TV appearances including an in-depth interview on “60 Minutes”.

    De Niro, 68, will star as Madoff, the former Wall St financial expert who swindled investors out of an estimated $50bn with a Ponzi scheme.

    Madoff was jailed for 150 years and has since been disowned by his family following the suicide of his eldest son Mark in December 2010 who could not live with the shame of the misery caused to thousands of investors.

    The biography will act as source material for the film which is being produced by De Niro and his partner Jane Rosenthal from his company Tribeca Productions.

  46. History-Making facts attributed to President Obama so far.!/notes/ramo-tringo/history-making-facts-attributed-to-president-obama-so-far/198540256850123

    (1) First Black President in US history.

    (2) Biggest election victory of the century.

    (3) Received the largest budget deficit ever.

    (4) First President to enact Healthcare Law to cover all Americans.

    (5) First President to allow Gays to serve openly in the Military.

    (6) First President to receive a Nobel Peace Prize in his first year in office.

    (7) First President to be born in Hawaii.

    (8) First President to be directly responsible for the formation of a hate-filled group of Americans who call themselves Teabaggers.

    (9) First President fit and healthy enough to play basketball regularly.

    (10) Made the most speeches and public appearances so far.

    (11) Only President with an American mother and African father.

    (12) Only President and first Black student to be elected President of the Harvard Law Review.

    (13) First President who was an actual Law Professor.

    (14) Only President to command so much disrespect that a member of Congress thought it was normal and acceptable to shout out “YOU LIE” while he’s addressing Congress.

    (15) First President to receive two active wars.

    (16) Only President to be forced to produce his Birth Certificate to prove that he’s actually an American citizen.

    (17) Saved GM, the US car industry and hundreds of supporting companies from bankruptcy, along with millions of jobs.

    (18) Exterminated the world’s most wanted terrorist/American-hater Osama Bin Laden, after his predecessor spent seven years, wasted $trillions and couldn’t locate him.

    (19) First President to receive unwarranted opposition and a manufactured crisis in his efforts to raise the debt ceiling.

    (20) First President who has had millions of Americans commit the most disgusting, unpatriotic act, of wishing that an intelligent US President actually fails at his job!

    ( 21) First Black President to serve two terms. ……. (I’m confident I won’t have to delete this entry on Nov 07, 2012. ……. Democrats, let’s make it happen!).

  47. Note to the Supreme Court:

    The well-known Republican nailed it in a report to Congress in 1906.

  48. Good Morning, Ametia, Rikyrah, 3 Chics, Friends & Visitors!

    Rose Pictures, Images and Photos

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