Serenditpity SOUL | Monday Open Thread | John “TRANE” Coltrane Week!

John William Coltrane (also known as “Trane“; September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967[1]) was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the use of modes in jazz and later was at the forefront of free jazz. He was prolific, organizing at least fifty recording sessions as a leader during his recording career, and appeared as a sideman on many other albums, notably with trumpeter Miles Davis and pianist Thelonious Monk.

As his career progressed, Coltrane and his music took on an increasingly spiritual dimension. His second wife was pianist Alice Coltrane, and their son Ravi Coltrane is also a saxophonist. Coltrane influenced innumerable musicians, and remains one of the most significant tenor saxophonists in jazz history. He received many posthumous awards and recognition, including canonization by the African Orthodox Church as Saint John William Coltrane. In 2007, Coltrane was awarded the Pulitzer Prize Special Citation for his “masterful improvisation, supreme musicianship and iconic centrality to the history of jazz.”[2]

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

73 Responses to Serenditpity SOUL | Monday Open Thread | John “TRANE” Coltrane Week!

  1. President Obama visits Gabrielle Giffords right after shooting in January.

  2. rikyrah says:

    November 14, 2011 4:50 PM
    Public backs health care mandate

    By Steve Benen

    When the debate over health care policy began in earnest in 2009, the notion of an individual mandate wasn’t especially controversial. Republican policymakers — who’d come up with the idea in the first place — didn’t attack it, and the idea of Americans being required to carry insurance didn’t seem especially foreign or radical.

    In time, obviously, that changed. What was once an area of bipartisan common ground quickly became the basis for hysterical attacks, and polls showed the mandate going from uncontroversial to widely hated.

    Interestingly enough, as we get further from the hysteria, we also see support for the mandate returning to where it was when the debate began. Here’s a CNN/ORC International Poll released today, for example.

    According to the poll, 52% of Americans favor mandatory health insurance, up from 44% in June. The survey indicates that 47% oppose the health insurance mandate, down from 54% in early summer.

    “The health insurance mandate has gained most support since June among older Americans and among lower-income Americans,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “A majority of independents opposed the measure in June, but 52 percent of them now favor it.”

    The usual caveats still apply, most notably the fact that one shouldn’t draw sweeping observations from one poll.

    But if the CNN results accurately reflect a shift in public attitudes, I think Paul Krugman gets this right: “Since [the mandate is] the core of health reform, this basically means that proponents are slowly winning the argument. If we make it to actual full implementation, this reform will be irreversible.”

    We’ll see what happens at the Supreme Court.

  3. rikyrah says:

    November 14, 2011 4:10 PM
    Cain gets back to bigoted basics

    By Steve Benen

    Before Herman Cain become known for allegedly sexually harassing women and his foolish 9-9-9 plan, the Republican presidential candidate was widely recognized for his bigotry towards Muslims.

    Cain wasn’t even cautious about it. He’d rail against Sharia law; he said American communities could refuse to allow Muslims to build houses of worship; and he vowed to block Muslim Americans from his cabinet, regardless of their qualifications.

    The GOP candidate has since moved on to other issues, but Cain hasn’t completely abandoned his bigotry, telling GQ that “a majority” of Muslim Americans are extremists. He believes this because an anonymous source told him it’s true.

    “I have had one very well-known Muslim voice say to me directly that a majority of Muslims share the extremist views,” Cain said in an interview with GQ.

    Asked if he thought this individual — whom Cain would only identify as “a very prominent voice in the Muslim community” — was right, Cain said that although he found it hard to believe, ultimately he trusted his adviser.

    “Yes, because of the respect that I have for this individual. Because when he told me this, he said he wouldn’t want to be quoted or identified as having said that,” Cain said.

    I’m afraid we’re well past the point of Herman Cain having any credibility on any subject, but let’s note two angles to this. The first is that it’s completely insane to think most Muslim Americans are extremists. Even the most unhinged bigots don’t usually go this far.

    There are roughly 1.8 million Muslims in the United States. In Cain’s strange mind, more than 900,000 of them have been radicalized? Please.

    The other thing that jumps to mind is, have you noticed how often Cain relies on secret sources? In this case, a secret Muslim-American leader told him how extreme Muslim Americans are. Who said this? Cain says it’s a secret.

    But Cain keeps pulling this trick. When evidence surfaced that his campaign apparently violated federal election law, the candidate said he’d hire an unnamed investigator to look into the allegations. Who’d oversee the probe? Cain says it’s a secret. How will the investigation be conducted? Cain says that’s a secret, too.

    And on his 9-9-9 plan, the GOP candidate claims he relied on “well-recognized economists” to develop the policy, but they’re secret economists. Cain added that his campaign had an “independent firm … dynamically score” his plan, but the analysis is secret, too.

    I believe I once had a conversation like this with a five year old, who’d answer “it’s a secret” in response to questions he couldn’t answer.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Report: Scott Brown Bucks GOP, Endorses Cordray CFPB Nominee
    Brian Beutler November 14, 2011, 5:19 PM 1838 31

    Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) is bucking his party and asking for an up-or-down vote for former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to run the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

    “The senator supports the Cordray nomination and believes it deserves an up or down vote on the Senate floor,” his spokesman John Donnelly told the Boston Globe.

    The CFPB was created by the new Wall Street Reform law to protect consumers from dangerous financial products. It’s also the brainchild of Brown’s Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren, who led the agency in its infancy.

    Cordray is well liked by both Democrats and Republicans, but 44 members of the Senate GOP caucus — enough to sustain a filibuster — have vowed to block any designated CFPB director unless the agency is fundamentally weakened. This move helps Brown neutralize one of his liabilities in the campaign, at least in part. But it also slightly undermines the rest of the party’s effort to hamstring the agency — one of the key pieces of President Obama’s legacy — before it truly gets running.

    For the GOP, that’s a small price to pay if it helps them keep that Senate seat. They’re giving Brown a hall pass here.

    Late update: Kevin Franck, spokesman for the Massachusetts Dems, sends over the following statement. “This is nothing more than a meaningless and thinly veiled attempt by Scott Brown to hide his anti-consumer record from Massachusetts voters. Scott Brown never seems to understand that it’s not his words that matter, it’s his actions. It is refreshing, however, to see that Brown has finally seen the light on the virtues of an up-or-down-vote since he has developed a nasty habit of voting to filibuster Democratic plans to create jobs.”

  5. rikyrah says:

    I love it when Rachel Maddow goes all in on her ‘ NEWT IS NOTHING BUT A GRIFTER’ meme. she’s hilarious when she gets on him like this.

  6. Ametia says:

    *******HOLLERING******** Rev. Al called Cain and nem’ “Mr. Softie!” icecream. We need graphics, please

  7. DAOWENS44:

    The Colored Intitute | Rural Southwest Alabama

  8. marabout40:

    Cain got confused with labia and Libya.


  9. Dannie Owens:

    Portraits of Power: African Kings in an Age of Empire – LightBox

  10. Mississippi Governor-Elect: Personhood Amendment Could Resurface In 2012

    Women’s rights activists took heart after Mississippi voters resoundingly rejected the state’s personhood amendment that would effectively ban all abortions, certain forms of birth control, and even in vitro fertilization for couples struggling to have a child. However, Mississippi’s Governor-Elect Phil Bryant (R) is now saying that the personhood proposal or something similar may “resurface in the 2012 legislature.” Bryant — who told a rape victim that “satan wins” if the personhood amendment fails — said the loss illustrates that “a better effort could have been shown to present information on the Constitutional Amendment.”

  11. rikyrah says:

    The Guy Who Actually Saw It, Ctd
    A reader writes:

    I’m surprised that you of all people can’t appreciate the very human failing of Mike McQueary when he witnessed one of Sandusky’s heinous crimes firsthand. I’m with you on the condemnation he deserves for his response afterwards and in the many years since then, but I cannot blame him for failing to intervene in that moment. First, the report says that both Sandusky and the boy saw McQueary see them, so it’s likely that the rape ended at that moment (though we don’t know).

    Second, he’s human. The guy (McQueary) walked into the place (hallowed ground for him) late at night and was suddenly faced with a scene so horrific and so far outside his realm of possibility that it probably took him several seconds to even grasp what he was seeing. When humans are faced with situations like this, many (most?) of us will desperately seek to disappear, or to rationalize, or to reconcile what we’re seeing with the reality we’d been living in right up to then. In that moment, we choke. I agree that it’s critical that we not choke, for the victim, for our own humanity. But we do.

    Another reader:

    As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, at the hands of a family member, and witnessed by another who did not intervene and who said nothing: THANK YOU. What that child most needed in that moment was rescuing, and McQueary turned his back on that. I remember that particular moment so intently; that someone who could have rescued me, whom I trusted, chose not to (and it was a choice). The lasting impact on my life has been a feeling that I was not worth helping.

  12. rikyrah says:

    November 14, 2011 3:25 PM

    ‘Mindless opposition to government’

    By Steve Benen

    Rick Perry’s faulty memory during last week’s debate has, as expected, taken on an almost folklore status. It’s been ridiculed by late-night comedians, parodied on “Saturday Night Live,” and even mocked by Perry himself. And while the “brain freeze” will be remembered, it’s worth appreciating what really matters: the substance behind Perry’s argument.

    E.J. Dionne Jr. had a terrific piece today using the Texas governor’s incident as a reminder about the state of the conservatives’ movement “and the health of their creed.”

    Remember, as far as Perry is concerned, his administration would simply scrap the departments of Commerce, Education, and Energy, though the governor didn’t take the agenda seriously enough to remember it.

    Would Perry end all federal aid to education? Would he do away with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the part of the Commerce Department that, among other things, tracks hurricanes? Energy was the department he forgot. Would he scrap the department’s 17 national labs, including such world-class facilities as Los Alamos, N.M., Oak Ridge, Tenn., or — there’s that primary coming up — Aiken, S.C.?

    I’m not accusing Perry of wanting to do any of these things because I don’t believe he has given them a moment of thought. And that’s the problem for conservatives. Their movement has been overtaken by a quite literally mindless opposition to government. Perry, correctly, thought he had a winning sound bite, had he managed to blurt it out, because if you just say you want to scrap government departments (and three is a nice, round number), many conservatives will cheer without asking questions.

    This is a long way from the conservatism I used to respect. Although I often disagreed with conservatives, I admired their prudence, their affection for tradition and their understanding that the intricate bonds of community are established with great difficulty over time and not easy to reweave once they are torn asunder. At their best, conservatives forced us to think harder. Now, many in the ranks seem to have decided that hard and nuanced thinking is a telltale sign of liberalism.

    That last point seems especially important, and should give thoughtful conservatives pause. What has become of their ideology? Are they satisfied with the depth of thought and seriousness of purpose when it comes to the right’s approach to public policy? Do they look at the intellectual rigor of conservative politics in 2011 and feel a sense of pride?

    Or do even they realize that the right has descended into knee-jerk, soundbite solutions to every problem?

  13. rikyrah says:

    The Republican Slogan for 2012: Suppress the Vote!

    The next time a Republican says something about listening to the people remember this is the same Republican Party that is doing all it can to silence the people. It’s no coincidence that prior to the shellacking, certain Republicans would suggest calling up friends and those who weren’t going to vote the “right” way should be prevented from voting. If all else fails, they have and will resort to what I affectionately refer to as the Huckabee method.

    Republicans have been busy little bees changing the system to rig it in their favor because 2012 is, in the words of Charles Koch, the mother of all wars.

    One example is seen in Maine’s attempt to eliminate same day registration, which was repealed by the ballot during shellacking Tuesday. Not surprisingly, the Republicans in Maine intend to establish new voter i.d. laws.

    Conservatives will insist that this is about reducing alleged voter fraud, which according to credible studies is negligible. In a study of twelve states, the following conclusions were drawn.

    Mail-in voting in Oregon and same day registration in several states did not facilitate voter fraud.

    Despite hundreds of news stories on alleged voter fraud in Wisconsin during the 2004 presidential election, practically no fraud was proven. In fact, there were only 14 indictments and five convictions or guilty pleas for illegal voting in an election in which over 3 million ballots were cast.

    As noted in Salon, the voter fraud claim is an attempt to suppress voting, rather than rectify a problem.

    “… investigating voter fraud has become a Republican cottage industry over the last 20 years because it justifies questioning the eligibility of thousands of would-be voters — often targeting poor and minority citizens in urban areas that lean Democratic. Playing the role of vigilant watchdog gives GOP bureaucrats a pretext for obstructing the path of marginalized and first-time voters headed for the polls.

  14. rikyrah says:

    November 14, 2011 2:05 PM

    Democrats’ answer on the economy

    By Steve Benen

    We talked earlier about David Gregory’s interview with DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and the host’s willingness to present misleading Republican talking points as facts. But there was one question in particular that warrants a closer look.

    Gregory asked, in reference to President Obama, “Congresswoman, he’s had the job. They have been his policies. You concede Americans are not better off after his leadership?”

    At a fundamental level, the question is wrong. It wasn’t the White House’s “policy” to slash public-sector jobs. It wasn’t the White House’s “policy” to create a debt-ceiling crisis or cause a downgrade. It wasn’t the White House’s “policy” for Europe to push austerity or have a debt crisis. And it certainly wasn’t the White House’s “policy” for congressional Republicans to kill every meaningful effort to create jobs this year.

    But Wasserman Schultz, who should have known a question like this was coming, gave a slightly disjointed response. It was accurate, but it wasn’t exactly persuasive.

    Greg Sargent digs a little deeper.

    While a variety of metrics show that the economy is better now than it was when Obama took office, arguing that things would have been worse without his policies is a delicate case to make while people are still suffering. That’s why you keep hearing Obama taking care to point out that many people are not better off than they were four years ago. […]

    The Obama team, of course, will continue to emphasize that Republicans are blocking Obama jobs creation policies that the American people support, and they will perhaps amplify the charge that Republicans are deliberately trying to tank the recovery in order to take back the White House. But it’s still unclear whether voters not schooled in the realities of filibuster abuse and Senate procedure will care why Obama’s policies aren’t getting passed or why government isn’t acting to fix the crisis.

    Agreed, it’s a mess for the president and his team. As we saw yesterday morning, it certainly doesn’t help when high-profile figures in the media establishment ignore all of the relevant details and falsely suggest the Republican argument is correct.

    The best course, it seems to me, is for Dems to hammer home two key points if they’re going to have a credible shot at success. First, they should stop being so defensive and start talking up the facts: the economy was collapsing, now it’s growing; the country was hemorrhaging jobs, now it’s gaining jobs; the American auto industry was failing, now it’s thriving; the unemployment rate was going up, now it’s going down; the stock market was in a tail spin, now it’s growing.

    Dems don’t try to defend the status quo because the public is so widely unsatisfied with it. But that’s all the more reason to remind voters about how much better off the nation is now than it was in 2008, and make the case that were it not for GOP obstructionism, we’d be doing even better. This is no time to go backwards, and it’s no time to reward those who stand in the way.

    Second, take advantage of Republicans’ unpopularity: ask voters to imagine going back to a Republican Congress working with a Republican White House, taking the nation back to the right-wing agenda that got us in this mess in the first place.

    Ben Smith argued this morning, the “Are you better off?” question “is an incumbent’s most basic question,” and “it’s proving an unusually tricky one” for Democrats right now.

    Perhaps. But it’s not that tricky.

  15. rikyrah says:

    November 14, 2011 12:35 PM

    Spencer Bachus’ alleged insider trading

    By Steve Benen

    CBS’s “60 Minutes” ran an interesting piece last night on the practice of federal lawmakers making investment decisions based on inside information that the public does not have. It’s legal — members of Congress exempted themselves from insider-trading laws — but to put it mildly, the appearance of impropriety is hard to miss.

    The report raised questions about several lawmakers, though the cases against most of them were pretty weak. There was one notable exception: the “60 Minutes” report made Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) look awful.

    In mid September 2008 with the Dow Jones Industrial average still above ten thousand, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke were holding closed door briefings with congressional leaders, and privately warning them that a global financial meltdown could occur within a few days. One of those attending was Alabama Representative Spencer Bachus, then the ranking Republican member on the House Financial Services Committee and now its chairman.

    Hoover Institution fellow Peter Schweizer: These meetings were so sensitive that they would actually confiscate cell phones and Blackberries going into those meetings. What we know is that those meetings were held one day and literally the next day Congressman Bachus would engage in buying stock options based on apocalyptic briefings he had the day before from the Fed chairman and treasury secretary. I mean, talk about a stock tip.

    While Congressman Bachus was publicly trying to keep the economy from cratering, he was privately betting that it would, buying option funds that would go up in value if the market went down. He would make a variety of trades and profited at a time when most Americans were losing their shirts.

    Bachus refused a request for an interview, and his office would only say that the far-right congressman does not do what he appears to have already done.

    But the case against Bachus is just brutal. He was receiving secret briefings on the imminent collapse of the global economy, and then making dozens of options trades that would make him wealthy as the economy deteriorated, relying on information that the rest of us didn’t have.

    This is, by all appearances, legal. It shouldn’t be. Not only is it unfair to give elected officials an investment advantage on an unlevel playing field, but it’s madness to allow an influential lawmaker like Bachus to have a personal financial incentive — putting money in his own pocket — if the nation’s economic conditions worsen while he works on economic legislation.

    For that matter, for the House Republican leadership to learn about Bachus’ trades, and nevertheless allow him to serve as the chairman of the committee that oversees the financial industry, should be a fairly significant scandal in its own right.

  16. rikyrah says:

    November 14, 2011 1:20 PM

    Feel the Newt-mentum

    By Steve Benen

    For months, there have been a couple of constants in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. The first is that Mitt Romney, no matter how obvious his success appeared, would be stuck in the low- to mid-20s. The second is that a non-Romney would break into the top tier, only to be replaced by another, then another, and then another.

    It was a Romney-Pawlenty race. Then Pawlenty faded and it became a Romney-Bachmann race. When she faltered, we saw a Romney-Perry race. This was replaced with a Romney-Cain race.

    And now it appears we have a Romney-Gingrich race. Here’s the new CNN national poll of Republican voters. (In the interests of space, I’m only including candidates with support in the double digits):

    1. Mitt Romney: 24% (down two points since October)
    2. Newt Gingrich: 22% (up 14 points)
    3. Herman Cain: 14% (down nine points)
    4. Rick Perry: 12% (down one point)

    And here’s the new survey from Public Policy Polling, which was also released this afternoon (again, these are the only candidates to reach double digits):

    1. Newt Gingrich: 28% (up 13 points since October)
    2. Herman Cain: 25% (down five points)
    3. Mitt Romney: 18% (down four points)

    And in case anyone’s curious, separate polls from McClatchy and CBS News both show Gingrich’s support on par with Romney’s and/or Cain’s.

    So, what can we take away from all of this? Well, for one thing, it’s probably fair to ask how much of Gingrich’s support is genuine, and how much of it is the result of Republican voters turning to him after trying and rejecting every other non-Romney candidate. Of course, either way, we appear to have a new Republican top tier.

    For another, Cain’s sharp rise has now ended, undermined both by allegations of sexual harassment and his inability to deal with the charges coherently.

    And finally, there’s the fact that Romney, despite being the clear favorite, just can’t figure out how to put some distance between himself and the rest of the Republican field. The Iowa caucuses are seven weeks from tomorrow, and the GOP frontrunner is seeing his support fall a little when he should be consolidating Republican support. Indeed, with Cain embarrassing himself, it stood to reason that some of his up-for-grabs supporters would settle for the former Massachusetts governor. Instead, they moved to the unlikable disgraced former House Speaker.

    Romney is running against misfits, clowns, and con men, and Romney still can’t get to 30%. 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.”

    If I had to put money on the race, I’d say Romney get the party’s nod anyway, only because there’s no plausible alternative. 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?

  17. rikyrah says:

    Newt Gingrich’s Second Wife Dishes Hard To Esquire: His Money Woes, His Philandering, His Meltdown

    Megan Carpentier August 11, 2010, 8:42 AM

    In 1999, after refusing to take the seat he won in the 1998 elections, Newt Gingrich left his second wife, Marianne, for a much-younger staffer with whom he’d been having an almost-ignored affair. As in his first marriage, he did so shortly after Marianne was diagnosed with a serious illness; as in his first divorce, he fought Marianne tooth and nail over any financial settlement. And then he had the Atlanta archdiocese inform Marianne that their marriage was invalid in the eyes of his fiancée’s faith; 9 years later, he completed his conversion to Catholicism.

    Given his popularity among Republicans, one would think there is little left to say about Gingrich’s personal foibles that could hurt his political career. But sandwiched in between snippets from his campaign to return to popularity in yesterday’s Esquire profile are tidbits from the still-supportive Marianne that portray Gingrich in a far-from-pleasant light — and hints that his personal foibles took quite a toll on his political fortunes behind the scenes.

    Before marrying Marianne, Gingrich presented his first wife, Jackie Battley, with the terms of their divorce as she lay in a hospital bed recovering from surgery for uterine cancer. Gingrich had pursued Marianne from nearly the moment they met at a January 1980 fundraiser:

    She told him about the local economic decline, he said somebody needed to save the country. She said that he couldn’t do it alone, he asked about her plans for the future. Even then, he was making rash pronouncements that reasonable people made fun of, such as that he would be the next Republican Speaker of the House.
    They kept the conversation going on the phone, often talking late into the night. Although he was still married to Jackie, Gingrich told Marianne they were in counseling and talking about divorce.

    Of course, they weren’t. In April 1980, only one day after Jackie’s surgery, Newt went to her room to present her with the terms of the divorce. That summer, he introduced Marianne to his parents, according to Esquire. By October, he was already refusing to pay alimony or child support. Marianne admits she knew little of that at first.

    At first, she had no idea that the wife he was divorcing was actually his high school geometry teacher, or that he went to the hospital to present her with divorce terms while she was recovering from uterine cancer and then fought the case so hard, Jackie had to get a court order just to pay her utility bills. Gingrich told her the story a little at a time, trusting her with things that nobody else knew — to this day, for example, the official story is that he started dating Jackie when he was eighteen and she was twenty-five. But he was really just sixteen, she says.The divorce was finalized in February 1981; Marianne and Gingrich wed six months later in August. She says now that she probably should have known better. She told Esquire that he asked her to marry him after only a few weeks and before he was divorced, adding, “It’s not so much a compliment to me. It tells you a little bit about him.”

    Esquire goes on to describe the financial pressures faced by the new couple: Gingrich declared keeping a budget “too stressful,” so Marianne took that over, looking to maintain homes in Georgia and D.C., pay Gingrich’s alimony and child support and reduce his massive personal debt. A Vanity Fair article from 1995 indicates that Jackie, too, was in charge of the household finances because of Gingrich’s spendthrift ways: in fact, the debt the couple faced when they married in 1981 wasn’t paid off until 1994.

    In 1997, Gingrich was fined $300,000 by the House for ethics violations related to college courses and a non-profit. He and Marianne didn’t have the money, so he began to write a book. But the book didn’t turn out as anyone expected: it was a dramatic apology that Marianne described as “weird.” With his inner circle, she attempted to edit it into something publishable — but they ended up scrapping the manuscript entirely.

    After the book petered out in 1997, Marianne said that his behavior began to deteriorate.

    After that, Gingrich started to deteriorate. There were times, Marianne says, when he wasn’t functioning. He started yelling at people, which he’d never done before, and he’d get weirdly “overfocused” on getting things done — manic, as if he was running out of time. He took to taking meetings while eating, slurping his food, as if he wasn’t aware or didn’t care how strange it looked. The staff responded with gallows humor: “He’s a sociopath, but he’s our sociopath.”

  18. rikyrah says:

    Four Signs Herman Cain Isn’t Really Running for President
    Ari Melber on November 14, 2011 – 12:26am ET

    Herman Cain is running a pretty strong presidential campaign, depending on whom you ask. The press covers him intensely: In early November, Cain was the “dominant” newsmaker in a whopping 72 percent of all campaign news stories, (according to a Pew report). Cain’s rivals now see him as a threat, attacking him regularly. And Republican voters are following these cues, at least in theory, telling pollsters that they support him. But what about Herman Cain?

    A review of his recent activities, commonly referred to as a presidential campaign, suggest four big reasons why he is not really running for president at all.

    1. Iowa

    The first-in-the-nation Iowa caucus is crucial for every presidential campaign. Since 1980, the Republican who won the caucus usually went on to win the nomination. Iowa is especially critical for underdog and cash-strapped campaigns, because the caucus system relies on grassroots organizing, enabling candidates with time for retail politicking to beat better-funded rivals. So underdogs usually seize on the state. That’s why Rick Santorum has held 198 events in Iowa this year, leading the current field. It’s why during this time in 2007, long-shot candidates like Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama were camped out in the state. (They both went on to win Iowa.)

    Herman Cain, however, can be found just about anywhere but Iowa.

    During the current homestretch, he is on a twenty-eight-day break from the state. His campaign says he will return on November 19—but not to meet with precinct captains or do voter turnout. Cain was lured by the prospect of yet another debate, a “Thanksgiving Family Forum” moderated by celebrity pollster Frank Luntz. All told, Cain has spent only thirty-four days in Iowa, which trails Bachmann, Gingrich and Santorum.

    2. Everywhere else

    Is it possible that Cain is neglecting Iowa, yet building a firewall in other key states?

    Not really. Time magazine recently surveyed Republican officials in key primary states and found that Cain’s actual campaign presence, compared to his rivals, was “infinitesimal.” “There is almost no organization to speak of,” said former New Hampshire GOP chair Fergus Cullen, adding that local Republicans would not know “whom to call” to schedule Cain in the Granite State.

    Beyond the missing field program, which every campaign needs to morph theoretical public support into actual voter turnout, another operative told Time that Cain’s South Carolina operation doesn’t even have a political staff to return calls from US senators:

    “We see nothing to resemble a real campaign,” says another GOP operative, who is based in South Carolina and knows of only one Cain staffer there. [B]oth of South Carolina’s U.S. Senators and one member of its House delegation sought assistance with reaching out to Cain, but the strategist said he’s been unable to get the campaign to respond.

    Either Herman Cain is running the first major presidential campaign without a field program or political department, or he’s not running a presidential campaign at all.

  19. ThinkProgress:

    NEW POLL: Gingrich 28, Cain 25, Romney 18, Perry 6

  20. U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a press conference after the closing plenary session of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit at the J.W. Marriott Hotel on November 13, 2011 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The United States hosted this year’s APEC summit, with leaders from the 21 member economies convening on the island of Oahu.

  21. rikyrah says:

    November 14, 2011 11:25 AM

    Supreme Court sets stage for healthcare showdown

    By Steve Benen

    The Obama administration, for a variety of reasons, wanted the Supreme Court to consider and rule on legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act by next summer. The administration is getting its wish — the high court announced this morning it will hear the case.

    The court’s decision … offered a roadmap toward a ruling that will help define the legacy of the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

    Appeals from three courts had been vying for the justices’ attention, presenting an array of issues beyond the central one of whether Congress has the constitutional power to require people to purchase health insurance or face a penalty through the so-called individual mandate.

    The Supreme Court agreed to hear appeals from just one decision, from the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, the only one so far striking down the mandate. The decision, from a divided three-judge panel, said the mandate overstepped Congressional authority and could not be justified by the constitutional power “to regulate commerce” or “to lay and collect taxes.”

    The appeals court went no further, though, severing the mandate from the rest of the law.

    On Monday, the justices agreed to decide not only whether the mandate is constitutional but also whether, if it is not, how much of the balance of the law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, must fall along with it.

    This morning’s announcement was not unexpected — when appeals courts split on an issue, consideration from the Supreme Court is a near-certainty — but we did know these details about how the case would proceed.

    It appears the justices are being quite selective in what they’re prepared to consider on appeal. The high court will consider: the mandate’s constitutionality, the severability of the mandate, Medicaid expansion, and the question of whether or not the mandate is a “tax.”

    Justices set aside an extraordinary five-and-a-half hours for oral arguments, which some initial reports suggest is the most time ever set aside for a Supreme Court appeal.

    The arguments are expected in March, with a ruling likely to be handed down in June. For more background, Sarah Kliff put together a good FAQ.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Foreign Policy Debate Reax

    Andre Tartar notes that several candidates endorsed torture:

    On subject after subject, the candidates tried to out-hawk each other and the president, with perhaps the most surprising development being that Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and Rick Perry would all like to reinstate waterboarding

    Conor Friedersdorf was wowed by Huntsman’s and Paul’s responses to the waterboarding question:

    Jon Huntsman made the most eloquent case against waterboarding. “This country has values,” he said. “We have a name brand in the world… I’ve been an ambassador for my country three times. I’ve lived overseas and done business. We diminish our standing in the world and the values that we project that include liberty and democracy, human rights and open markets when we torture. We should not torture. Water-boarding is torture. We dilute ourselves down like a whole lot of other countries and we lose our ability to project values that a lot of people in

    Jonathan Bernstein:

    Candidates are strongly inclined to do in office what they promised on the campaign trail. Torture, war with Iran — these aren’t throwaway lines on the campaign trail but what we can reasonably expect if Republicans capture the White House, at least unless Ron Paul or Gary Johnson or Jon Huntsman shocks us all and wins the nomination.

    Jennifer Rubin, no surprise, calls Perry’s call to re-examine all foreign aid a gaffe:

    [Perry’s] pronounced that “absolutely, every country would start at zero on aid.” Asked specifically, he said that included Israel. Now, they’d probably get a hefty amount, he added. Well, oops. As fast as you could say “damage control,” the Perry campaign was out with an e-mail explaining how he was committed to Israel (which he is). But why treat Israel as any other supplicant? And really, as a budgetary matter, foreign aid is insignificant. Perry no doubt would be a warm friend to Israel, but the gaffe was the sort of rookie mistake one might expect of a governor lacking foreign-policy nuance.

    Bruce Reidel agrees:

    The reality is that military budgets are planned on multiyear cycles. Friends don’t rethink their friendships each fiscal year. The Pentagon and the IDF are tied together ’round the clock with hotlines and early-warning alert centers. I helped set up the hotline from the defense secretary’s Pentagon office to the defense minister’s Tel Aviv headquarters. It conveys the constancy and consistency of the alliance, a special relationship.

    Kevin Drum’s impression of the debate as a whole:

    Herman Cain almost charmingly demonstrated that he simply knows nothing about the outside world, and Rick Perry beat expectations by not imploding spectacularly again. All of the candidates insisted that they’d take a completely different approach to Iran than Barack Obama, but then proposed doing almost exactly what Obama is doing. For the most part, though, as Dan Drezner says, the candidates kept the crazy bottled up fairly well. But not always.

    James Joyner:

    Huntsman is clearly the most seasoned foreign policy hand in the field. He’s trying desperately to capitalize on that, including launching a new ad in the run-up to the debate. But it just doesn’t seem to matter.

    Dan Drezner graded each candidate. His review of Herman Cain:

    The worst debate performance of the night. Slow, rambling, evasive, and contradictory. His answer on torture contradicted itself inside of 30 seconds; his Pakistan response was a total dodge. His solution on Iran — energy independence! — would be like suggesting that the appropriate response to a rising China would be to move all Americans to Mars. Both activities will take the same length of time. Grade: F.

  23. rikyrah says:

    The Guy Who Actually Saw It, Ctd
    A resident of State College writes:

    About Mike McQueary … people outside Happy Valley should understand that Sandusky was not just a former coach of his at Penn State. McQueary grew up in town here, and his parents and the Sandusky family are long-time friends. And so when he walked into that shower scene, he was not just seeing some “random guy” or even a former coach. He was seeing someone he’s known since he was a boy, and we don’t know if there was even perhaps some ‘history’ between the two, or with some of McQueary’s other friends who were in the same environment. At the least, it would have been like seeing his own uncle in there, and talking to his father first doesn’t seem so strange when you think about it that way.

    Yes it fucking does. If you see anyone – even your own father – raping a ten year old in the showers, the first thing you do is stop it yourself. You don’t even call the cops right away. You clock the rapist in the head or drag the boy out of his clutches. I’m so sick of these excuses for the inexcusable. McQueary is as depraved as all the others who stood by and did nothing.

  24. rikyrah says: has the $25 coupons for $2!

  25. rikyrah says:

    Wisconsin Dems Kicking Off Walker Recall Effort Tuesday
    Eric Kleefeld November 14, 2011, 10:42 AM
    This is a big week in Wisconsin — with the state Democrats officially kicking off their effort to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

    Under the Dems’ official game-plan, the effort to recall Walker will begin on Tuesday, November 15. For the last few weeks, the Dems have been holding a series of training events and kickoff rallies, with even more happening today and tomorrow. They will need all that effort and preparation they can muster.

    In order to trigger a recall, the Dems must meet a strong threshold: Signatures of at least 25 percent of the number of voters in the previous gubernatorial election must be collected in a 60-day window. That means the Dems must get over 540,000 signatures — over 9,000 per day, statewide — plus some significant buffer that campaigns routinely collect in order to protect against signatures being disqualified over one imperfection or another.

    Under Wisconsin’s recall law, elected officials must have served at least one year of their current term before being recalled — thus delaying any Dem efforts to recall Walker, and also exempting earlier this year the half of the Senate that was just elected in 2010.

    But now, headed into 2012, that ceiling has been lifted, with Dems gearing up to try to recall both Walker and more Republican state senators.

    Also, as the La Crosse Tribune points out, the Dems do not yet have a candidate of their own. Recalls in Wisconsin do not contain any straight up-or-down vote on the incumbent, but are in effect special elections, in which the incumbent is running to complete their own term against challengers.

    “I believe that we get the signatures, then we get the candidate,” Wisconsin State Employees Union executive director Marty Beil told the paper.

    In addition, Walker got a small headstart on fundraising on November 4, when a supporter filed a fake recall effort with the state — thus making Walker legally a target of a recall, and able to raise money. Under Wisconsin law, the target of a recall effort is able to raise unlimited amounts of money.

    Possible candidates have included retiring Sen. Herb Kohl, Milwaukee Mayor and 2010 gubernatorial nominee Tom Barrett, and former Rep. Dave Obey. Recent polling shows voters narrowly disapproving of Walker, but also show him leading various hypothetical challengers, except for former Sen. Russ Feingold — and Feingold took himself out of the running earlier this year.

    The state has achieved national fame (or infamy) this year for Walker’s legislation stripping public employee unions of most collective bargaining rights, the waves of protests that filled the state Capitol and other locations, and the tens of millions of dollars that were spent on this past summer’s recall campaigns.

    Wisconsin Democrats, faced with a 19-14 Republican majority in the state Senate, attempted to mount a backlash against Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union legislation, by recalling their way to a majority. However, they were also hampered by the fact that the only recall-eligible districts were ones where the incumbent had won their terms in 2008, even during that year’s Democratic wave.

  26. rikyrah says:

    John Boehner’s Greatest Hypocrisy Yet Is His War On The Poor

    In most third world countries, citizens living in abject poverty is as normal as the sun rising in the East. Even developed countries have a segment of the population that barely subsist from day-to-day and America is no different. However, for the richest country in the history of the world to have more than a tiny portion of the population living at or below the poverty level is an outrage the nation’s leaders should work tirelessly to alleviate. Since Republicans took control of the House in January, instead of helping the poor, they have cut programs that feed and house the most destitute Americans at the same time they enrich corporations, the oil industry, and wealthiest 1% of the population. Last week, House Speaker John Boehner took the low road of hypocrisy by claiming it was the government’s responsibility to feed and house low-income Americans.

    Boehner insinuated that efforts to fight poverty was a priority for Congress and that he supported low-income safety-net programs when he said, “No one here in this Congress, Democrat or Republican, wants to do anything about putting holes in the safety net for Americans. There are Americans who are poor, and I think it’s the responsibility of the rest of us to ensure that they have food in their stomachs and they have a roof over their head.” Boehner’s comments reflect a sentiment that is correct on some level; there are some in Congress who are fighting to protect the poor’s safety nets, but they are certainly not Republicans and Boehner knows it.

    For the entire 112th session of Congress, Republicans promoted bills that cut low-income benefits like food stamps, housing subsidies, heating assistance, and Medicaid in their spending cut frenzy. Boehner and Republicans’ actions belie the Speaker’s compassionate sentiments and no amount of warm and fuzzy words will hide the contempt Republicans demonstrate against the citizens of this country; especially the poor. Democratic representative James McGovern (D-Mass) said, “This Congress has continuously attacked poor people. Republicans believe you can cut programs that help poor people and there will be no political consequences.” McGovern succinctly identified the reason Boehner made a hypocritical statement because with 46.2 million Americans living below the poverty level and about 20.5 million living in extreme poverty, Republicans cannot ignore the problem much longer without facing an irate segment of the voting public.

    Americans living in extreme poverty are the poorest of the poor and it means their income is less than $11,157 for a family of four or $5,570 for an individual. The bad news for Republicans is that last year 2.6 million more Americans fell into poverty representing the largest increase since 1959 when the government began recording poverty statistics. The most depressing news is that in many areas of the country, data shows at least 30% of children live with food insecurity and more than 20 million depend on government-funded school meal programs to avoid going hungry. Republicans appear happy to continue and grow those statistics based on their record in dealing with spending cuts.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Obama has kept Iran threat at bay, and U.S. Republicans know it

    Apparently, the Republican candidates for president, led by former Governor Romney, have been so busy talking with each other that they have somehow developed an alternative universe of facts.

    By Mel Levine

    Former U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan coined a famous phrase that “everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not to his own facts.” Apparently, the Republican candidates for president, led by former Governor Romney, have been so busy talking with each other that they have somehow developed an alternative universe of facts, one which both distorts President Obama’s record and disregards their own.

    In a world in which the stakes of our foreign policy are so high, it is dangerous to ignore these distortions.

    Gov. Romney recklessly and inaccurately misrepresents President Obama’s record of leadership in foreign policy in general. His disdain for the President Obama’s foreign policy conveniently ignores the president’s leadership in building international coalitions which have imposed exceptionally stiff sanctions on Iran and which have led to the destruction of the Qaddafi regime in Libya. It seems to forget that it is President Obama who led the effort to kill Osama bin Laden, who is keeping his promise to bring our troops home from Iraq by the end of this year, and who has broadened and deepened U.S.-Israeli defense cooperation so that it is stronger than ever before.

    And, ironically, in terms of inventing his own facts, the core policies Romney advocates have already been accomplished by President Obama. (Perhaps the former Governor has not been paying attention.) For example, Romney argues that current sanctions against Iran are weak and specifically states that “if there ever was a possibility of gaining the Kremlin’s support for tougher sanctions against Tehran … President Obama foreclosed it.” But he fails to recognize that President Obama succeeded, where others had failed, in obtaining both Russian and Chinese support for international sanctions against Iran, sanctions as a result of the president’s leadership are the strongest that have been obtained by any U.S. president.

    Gov. Romney suggests that President Obama failed to support the Green revolution in Iran – despite the fact that President Obama held a press conference to “strongly condemn” the “unjust actions” of the Iranian regime regarding the Iranian protesters.

    Romney never tires in asserting his false claims that U.S. support for Israel under President Obama is inadequate. In his OpEd last week in the Wall Street Journal, Romney says he would “increase military assistance to Israel,” but neglects to note that Israel’s Minister of Defense and Prime Minister have thanked President Obama for the U.S.’s “unprecedented” military assistance and security cooperation, which is closer now than ever before.

    Yet, this same candidate (never worrying about saying something different from one speech to the next), in a Republican candidates debate on November 12, 2011 — two days after his op-ed, took the opposite tack and joined Texas Governor Perry in asserting that foreign aid to all countries, including Israel, should begin at “ZERO.” Is this his idea of how the U.S. should increase needed support for Israel?

    Romney’s inaccurate assertions are sufficiently irresponsible standing alone – but are also contrary to the historic and cherished American notion that politics stops at the water’s edge. Yet they come from a man who, when asked whether he would need Congressional consent for a military raid on Iran, said that he would first have to ask his lawyers! Specifically, he said, “You sit down with your attorneys and they tell you what you have to do.” Even the Wall Street Journal editorialized that it would be “dangerous” that a Chief Executive would feel he needed to defer to his lawyers about whether he could use force to defend the country.

    And, for someone who claims to be so tough on Iran – and so supportive of continued sanctions – why has he allowed his charitable foundation to invest in companies who do hundreds of millions of dollars of business with Iran? Though Romney has rhetorically expressed his strong hostility to Iran and China, it was reported that his charity purchased and sold investment shares in more than a dozen … companies that have conducted dealings with Iran, China or stem cell research, according to the Associated Press on August 12, 2011. The AP also reported that, as recently as 2009, “Romney’s charity purchased shares in Petroleo Brasilia, which invested $100 million to develop Iranian oil and natural gas reserves.”

  28. rikyrah says:

    ANOTHER reason why the MSM has a sad…..

    RASMUSSEN has POTUS at 50%

    RASMUSSEN, people.

    no wonder they were crazy this morning.

  29. Hey Ametia,

    I’m loving the music. Good choice!

  30. rikyrah says:

    The Obamas

    by Jodi Kantor
    Back to Book Detail

    Full Description

    When Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election, he also won a long-running debate with his wife Michelle. Contrary to her fears, politics now seemed like a worthwhile, even noble pursuit. Together they planned a White House life that would be as normal and sane as possible.

    Then they moved in.

    In the Obamas, Jodi Kantor takes us deep inside the White House as they try to grapple with their new roles, change the country, raise children, maintain friendships, and figure out what it means to be the first black President and First Lady. Filled with riveting detail and insight into their partnership, emotions and personalities, and written with a keen eye for the ironies of public life, THE OBAMAS is an intimate portrait that will surprise even readers who thought they knew the President and First Lady.

  31. Romney on Foreign Aid to Israel and Other Countries: Start “Everything” at Zero

  32. rikyrah says:

    November 14, 2011 10:30 AM

    A candidate can only fake it for so long

    By Steve Benen

    There was a BBC reality show I used to find interesting called, “Faking It.” The idea was, the show would have someone take a crash course in a professional field that is not their own, try to master it, and then hope to fool a panel of experts. The contestants would often do pretty well.

    I think of that show every time I watch Mitt Romney tackle foreign and national security policy. It’s clear the former one-term governor is dealing with a subject outside of his comfort zone — it’s equally clear he’s out of his depth — but Romney appears to have been given a crash course in the hopes he can fool people into thinking he’s competent.

    For those who care about international affairs, Romney isn’t doing a very good job. Trusted reader F.B. flagged this segment from today’s “Morning Joe,” where a panel literally laughed at some of Romney’s saber-rattling towards Iran.

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    Note, in particular, that the BBC’s Katty Kay said she was “disappointed” by Romney’s remarks on Iran, because she thought he’d have “a more sophisticated understanding” of the issue.

    That, in a nutshell, is one of Romney’s key rhetorical problems — he can fake it when it comes to giving the appearance of competence, which raises expectations, but the facade falls apart when anyone stops to consider the details.

    Indeed, Saturday night’s debate was a disaster for Romney, at least for those who gave his answers meaningful scrutiny. The former Massachusetts governor effectively called for a trade war with China, which is hopelessly insane, and is based on Romney’s confused understanding of what’s procedurally possible at the WTO. He also called for U.S. support for “the insurgents” in Iran, apparently unaware of the fact that there are no such insurgents.

    Romney went on to say he would never negotiate with the Taliban in Afghanistan, which is naive and at odds with the assessments of all U.S. military leaders, and added that he’s both for and against withdrawal timetables.

    For all the jokes about the clowns that make up this year’s Republican presidential field, the conventional wisdom is flawed. Romney, we’re told, is the “serious” one, in large part because he speaks in complete sentences, and isn’t bad at pretending to be credible. Ultimately, though, Romney’s efforts don’t change the fact that he’s faking it — and those who understand the issues beyond a surface-level understanding surely realize the GOP frontrunner just doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    Worse, Romney keeps failing these tests. Remember the time Romney told ABC News he would “set a deadline for bringing the troops home” from Iraq — but only if it’s a secret deadline? How about the time Romney, more than four years into the war in Iraq, said it’s “entirely possible” that Saddam Hussein hid weapons of mass destruction in Syria prior to the 2003 invasion? Or the time Romney pretended “Hezbollah and Hamas and al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood” were all the same thing? How about my personal favorite: the time Romney made the bizarre assertion that IAEA weapons inspectors were not allowed entry into Saddam Hussein’s Iraq?

    More recently, Romney tried to trash the New START nuclear treaty in an op-ed, prompting Fred Kaplan to respond, “In 35 years of following debates over nuclear arms control, I have never seen anything quite as shabby, misleading and — let’s not mince words — thoroughly ignorant as Mitt Romney’s attack on the New START treaty.”

    None of this may matter much to voters, whose attention is focused on the economy, but for voters who take foreign policy seriously, Mitt Romney is a bit of a joke.

  33. rikyrah says:

    November 14, 2011 10:00 AM

    It’s not the government regulations, stupid

    By Steve Benen

    Ask congressional Republicans what’s wrong with the economy, and they’ll point to federal regulations. I don’t imagine there’s anything that can change the GOP’s mind on this.

    That said, several major media outlets deserve credit for fact-checking the claim and making clear just how wrong the argument is. Recent analyses from CNN, the New York Times, the AP, the Economic Policy Institute, the Wall Street Journal, and McClatchy newspapers — relying on, among other things, BLS data, surveys from the National Federation of Independent Business, and Brookings Institution scholarship — all said the same thing: government regulations are not responsible for holding back the economy.

    Over the weekend, the Washington Post’s Jia Lynn Yang had a pretty thorough review of the evidence, and reached the right conclusion: the government regulations the right complains about just don’t have much of an impact.

    Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that very few layoffs are caused principally by tougher rules. Whenever a firm lays off workers, the bureau asks executives the biggest reason for the job cuts.

    In 2010, 0.3 percent of the people who lost their jobs in layoffs were let go because of “government regulations/intervention.” By comparison, 25 percent were laid off because of a drop in business demand. […]

    Economists who have studied the matter say that there is little evidence that regulations cause massive job loss in the economy, and that rolling them back would not lead to a boom in job creation. […]

    “Based on the available literature, there’s not much evidence that EPA regulations are causing major job losses or major job gains,” said Richard Morgenstern, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan think tank Resources for the Future who worked at the EPA starting under the Reagan administration and continuing into President Bill Clinton’s first term.

    GOP officials simply refuse to believe this, because their ideology tells them otherwise, but supply and demand still matter. Businesses aren’t hiring more because they need more customers, not fewer regulations. Republicans are confronted with these pesky details and respond with an agenda that undermines demand and targets regulations anyway.

    Indeed, what must seem truly incomprehensible to the right is the notion that these regulations were put in place for a reason, and serve a valuable purpose: “The critique of regulations fits into a broader conservative narrative about government overreach. But it also comes after a string of disasters in recent years that were tied to government regulators falling short, including the financial crisis of 2008, the BP oil spill and the West Virginia mining accident last year.”

    Conservatives will protest, but the facts are there for anyone who wants them.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Watching the Detectives
    by mistermix

    Tom Watson, MP, the committee member who asked the best questions at the Murdoch inquiry, says:

    Roy Greenslade has just revealed that six months ago, members of the DCMS Select Committee were the targets of covert surveillance by private investigators and journalists working for News International. This revelation became the third occasion that I know of in which I was a target of covert surveillance News Corp in the UK.

    Watson is skipping a conference to consult with the Speaker and other members of his committee to see what he’s going to do.

    Greenslade writes for the Guardian, but I can’t find the specific piece Watson is referring to. The Guardian’s story on Watson quotes Tory MP Louise Mensch as saying that the members of the inquiry committee had been tailed a number of times in the past.

    Maybe those of you who are following this more closely can tell us whether this is a big deal or not, but it does show that Rupert’s troubles aren’t going away.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Jordan’s king calls on Syria’s Assad to step down
    14 November 11 09:51 ET

    Jordan’s king has become the first Arab leader to openly say Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should stand down.

    King Abdullah told the BBC that if he were in Mr Assad’s position, he would make sure “whoever comes behind me has the ability to change the status quo”.

    He urged President Assad to launch dialogue with the opposition to effect an orderly transition.

    Arab leaders have increasingly criticised the crackdown in Syria after months of violence.

    Both the Saudi and Qatari ambassadors left Damascus in protest at the repression. The Arab League voted on Saturday to suspend Syria’s membership.

    However King Abdullah went further than other Arab leaders in his exclusive interview with BBC World News television.

    “If Bashar has the interest of his country, he would step down, but he would also create an ability to reach out and start a new phase of Syrian political life,” he said.

    “That’s the only way I would see it work and I don’t think people are asking that question,” he added.

  36. rikyrah says:

    GOPers Promise you War on Iran & Torture & Poverty
    Saturday’s Republican debate, sponsored by CBS and the National Journal, revealed a Republican field that is promising war on Iran and a revival of the use of torture, as well as horrible relations with the new governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya (according to Herman Cain, they have gotten “out of hand,” and he and Gingrich want to deal with them by supporting a muscular Christianity).

    Dear Herman Cain: In revolutions, things typically get “out of hand.”

    The only adults in the room were John Huntsman and Ron Paul, who have no realistic chance of being the standard-bearer. They denounced water-boarding as torture and generally punctured the warmongering of the others. But it is shameful that potential US presidents are even talking about torturing people and launching wars of aggression.

    Herman Cain said he would deal with Iran 1) by funding the opposition Green Movement and 2) by lowering the price of petroleum dramatically through producing more petroleum in the United States.

    Cain then added that although he would not give military aid to the Iranian opposition,

    And then there’s one other thing that we could do. We could deploy our ballistic missile defense capable (UNINTEL) war ships strategically in that part of the world. We have the biggest fleet of those warships in the world. And we could use them strategically in the event that they were able to fire a ballistic missile.”

    Problems with Cain’s talking points: 1) Any such attempt at gunboat diplomacy would raise the potential for military conflict with Iran enormously, a possibility of which Cain seems blithely unaware.

    2) The Green Movement would not take his money, and the people in the opposition who would take his money don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of coming to power in Iran. To be fair, when asked if he would give military aid to the opposition, he demurred.

    3) The price of petroleum is determined by both supply and demand. North America has 3% of the world’s proven petroleum reserves and it just is never going to be able to pump enough again to have a significant impact on world prices. Moreover, increased supply would be gobbled up by massive increased demand from Asia, including not just China but also India and many others. There is no prospect of a significant fall in Iran’s income from energy exports short of a Chinese economic crash, which would hurt the US as well. Even if the world can switch to solar in short order (which Cain opposes), Iran is well placed to produce a lot of solar energy, as well. Indeed, Iranian solar electricity generation would be impossible to boycott.

    Then Mitt Romney said he could have done a better job in deterring Iran’s nuclear enrichment program than has Obama. But you will note that the Bush administration could not do anything about it, and there is absolutely no reason to think that Romney could, either. General James Cartwright testified last year that only an invasion and occupation of Iran could stop the program. Romney thinks he could have forced Russia to cooperate with sanctions on Iran, but it is all just hot air. Russia has substantial economic relations with Iran that it is not going to sacrifice to make Mitt Romney happy

  37. rikyrah says:

    Obama Surges Nationally and in Ohio, Making 2012 Victory More Likely
    by Articleman 11/10/2011 – 11:39 pm | Politics

    President Obama’s re-election is becoming more likely. While the President’s approval rating recently hit an all-time low of 38%, which was lower than most Presidents at this time in their first term, two realities are converging: (1) his approval has risen in key states, and also five points nationally since then; and (2) approval ratings are not presently as predictive of next November’s vote as they used to be.

    Obama’s Boomlet in National Polls and Ohio Polls

    The first point, the recent surge in national numbers, is striking. The national trend has flipped Obama’s way in the last six weeks. From late September to late October, per Quinnipiac, Obama went from trailing Romney 46-42 nationally to leading 47-42. From early October to early November, NBC News/WSJ showed him moving from 46-44 up on Romney to 49-43. Gallup, my favorite source, showed Obama moving from down 50-42 to the Generic Republican in early October to up 48-45, an outcome that suggests Gallup would show him leading Romney by roughly six points. Gallup is very fond of noting that Presidential re-election is well-predicted by Presidential standing in the twelfth and thirteenth quarters of a first term, and Obama is in the middle of his twelfth quarter.

    The national trend is reinforced by positive state outcomes that have surprised me, given the fairly stagnant approval numbers with which the President has been working. Obama has led Romney in the last three polls of Ohio, 45-41, per Quinnipiac, then 50-41 per PPP, then 45-42 per Quinnipiac. A Rocky Mountain poll showed Obama ahead of Romney 45-40 in Arizona. Rasmussen has Obama even with Romney in Virginia. A loss of any of these states would likely be fatal to Romney, assuming he is the nominee. (And if he’s not, Obama is plastering the rest of the GOP field in Ohio, and even Florida.)

    The Double-Negative Voter Steps Up

    The second point I mentioned up top — that approval ratings don’t predict eventual votes as well as they used to — flows from understanding the double-negative voter. Obama’s recent surge highlights a point I have been making for a while, which is that voters who disapprove of both Obama and his Republican opposition (who I call double-negative voters) will likely decide the election. In PPP’s 50-41 domination in Ohio by Obama, Obama’s approval rating is net-negative, at 41/49. Juxtaposing those numbers should scare anyone who wants the President to lose. Likewise, while putting Obama up three points in Ohio, Quinnipiac has his approval rating net-negative at 44/50.

    This is an angry electorate that disapproves partly of Obama but also of politics generally, and that feels failed not by one leader but by the system in general. And Mitt Romney looks like a worse option to enough of them that Obama is in the catbird’s seat in Ohio if his approval rating hangs not at 50% but rather, in the low 40s. Think of that the next time a Scaife or Murdoch outlet pushes the meme that Obama is doomed because his approval is 42% or so and the electorate is angry about the economy.

    The rise of the double-negative voter was foretold in 2004, when George W. Bush won 50.7% of the popular vote and the Presidential election while his approval rating languished in the forties. Voting is a binary choice among two potential Presidents, not the answer to a poll of approval of one (the referendum paradigm Nate Silver has spoken of lately). Nate has also written that the folk wisdom that Presidents must be sitting at a 50% approval rating to win re-election is overstated, and he is right. Obama is at 43%, and Congress is at 9%. And yet someone is going to be elected. With unemployment at 16% (including discouraged workers), an approval rating in the low 40s is deceptively strong.

    Other Factors Tend To Predict a Further Obama Surge

    There are several factors that cut in favor of Obama at this point. One is that the trend in his numbers is upward (his Gallup approval hit 44 earlier this week, well up from 38). Another is that, if polling is to be believed, he would lacerate any nonRomney Republican (such as Cain, Gingrich, or Unelectable Rick Perry), and Romney shows no sign of being able to put this race away. Indeed, if Cain would just drop out of the race, Gingrich’s odds of winning the nomination would approach 50%. More on that soon. It may also be the case that the foibles of Cain and the lack of a true antiRomney are taking their toll on the GOP and how it is perceived in this race. Finally, Romney is a great salve for Obama in Ohio. While he hasn’t connected as well with blue-collar Ohio as he has with, say, Michigan or even Wisconsin, billionaire hedge-funder Romney (“let [the market] hit bottom”) is an almost ideally bad candidate for recession-battered Buckeyes. Ohio is down on John Kasich, as this week’s decisive vote for unionism demonstrated, and as polls also show. That will buoy Obama in 2012, much as the Arizona poll above reflects anger at the kind of extremism that got Russell Pearce, the Republican state Senate leader, recalled. Independents turn from that kind of thing. The Democratic left is more energized through Occupy, and class issues are coming to the fore, from the bottom up. This is also happening while the President is mounting a huge organizational and fundraising effort that should give him a marginal advantage, and in a polling environment where polls statewide races in 2010 overstated Republican performance.

  38. rikyrah says:

    A Global Catastrophe in the Making – Invasion Iran 2013
    The cat is out of the bag: vote Republican in 2012 and get war with Iran. It’s not a new song they’re singing: Sarah Palin claimed this spring that Iran wanted to destroy the United States, about as absurd a proposition as you can imagine. And Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) proposed attacking Iran in November 2010. But the stakes are higher now as we move toward the 2012 endgame. The most recent debate reveals that fear and loathing of Iran is real and relevant for Republicans, raising the fearful specter of war – and not only war but an unholy crusade – before 2013 is over

    We have already attacked Iraq and nearly got our asses handed to us. We have attacked the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and toppled it, then nearly threw a bloodless victory away and got bogged down in a war that has gone on longer than the Vietnam War, and which still shows no signs of ending. The United States has spent one trillion dollars on these wars and has seen about 5,000 of its young men and women die in addition to nearly a million dead Iraqi and Afghan civilians – over 1.7 million casualties all told, and millions of refugees who have lost everything.

    Is the world better off as a result? Is the United States better off? Americans have a right to be concerned. The rhetoric about Iran sounds a lot like the rhetoric that surrounded Iraq in 2001 – alleged weapons of mass destruction Saddam said he didn’t have (he didn’t) and which Iran says they don’t have. Do we want to trust the Republicans twice? And perhaps most worrisome of all, Israel comes into play and with it, fundamentalist Christian end-time scenarios that are as mythical as Homer’s Odyssey to many voters.

    Should the United States go to war to satisfy the crazed apocalyptic millennialist yearnings of a minority of fundamentalist voters concerned about the return of a god who hasn’t returned in 2000 years of waiting? These yearnings were in part responsible for the carnage of the First Crusade which did untold damage and caused untold loss of life, including the murder of the entire Muslim population of Jerusalem. Now we are being told that to save Israel we must murder an entire country. It makes you wonder: is this the 21st century or the 11th? Forget the 2003 debacle in Iraq and the nearly decade-long war that followed for a moment: Should we pretend a thousand years of history and all its concomitant horrors has not taken place and double down on already failed policies inspired by religious extremism?

    If you want to focus on Iraq over the lessons of medieval history, think about this: We became an international pariah – and justifiably so – after our attack on Iraq. Sure, we had excuses, just like Hitler had excuses to attack Poland, and they were just as dishonest and self-serving; if Poland was Hitler’s War, Iraq was most certainly Bush’s War. There was literally no difference between the two – both were illegal as hell by any reckoning.

    Think about the one trillion dollars spent and the prospect of another trillion dollars to be spent on Iran when Republicans are crying about the stimulus, which, according to the Congressional Budget Office, (August 2010) will total $814 billion for the period between February 2009 and the year 2019. It is apparently okay to spend a trillion on wars but not under a trillion on the economy, and then throw another trillion at still more wars. How will it be paid for? It won’t reduce the debt but will add to it at a time when it can be afforded least

  39. rikyrah says:

    found this news over at The Obama Diary this morning:

    New Poll this morning from Politico
    Obama leads Romney 49 – 43%
    Leads Romney with Independents 47-34%.
    Obama lost Seniors by 8 pts. but leads Romney 47-45%.
    Obama favorability 74%, job approval 44%.
    …..simply amazing.

  40. Chelsea Clinton To Become NBC Correspondent

    Chelsea Clinton, the 31-year-old daughter of former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, is stepping into her own spotlight.

    According to The New York Times, NBC has hired Clinton to become a full-time special correspondent for NBC News. Her feature stories will reportedly be used in the “Making a Difference” series, which runs on “NBC Nightly News.” The segments spotlight people who volunteer to improve the lives of others in their communities.

    When Bill Clinton won the presidency in 1992, the first lady asked the press to keep Chelsea out of the public eye. As a young adult, Chelsea continued to avoid media attention in order to attend college and quietly enter the business world. Once her mother decided to run for the presidency in 2007, however, Chelsea made hundreds of public appearances, mostly on college campuses, to support the campaign. More recently, she has worked for New York University and promoted her father’s latest book. She is currently pursuing a doctorate at Oxford.

    Clinton is the second daughter of a president hired by NBC News; Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of former President George W. Bush, works as a correspondent for NBC’s “Today” show.

  41. rikyrah says:

    Sunday, November 13, 2011
    Not So Fast, Holder’s Furious
    Posted by Zandar

    It looks like AG Eric Holder has finally realized that the GOP won’t stop flogging his continuation of Bush’s “Gunwalker” program until he’s gone, so now Holder is fighting back. Hard.

    But amid dozens of calls for his resignation and a series of heated comments —one Republican implied that he’s an accessory to murder — Holder has stepped up his approach.

    “I’d like to correct some of the inaccurate, and frankly, irresponsible accusations surrounding Fast and Furious,” Holder announced at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this week.

    The hearing was Holder’s first before the committee since internal DOJ memos raised questions about whether he misled the House Judiciary Committee in May when he testified that he had first learned about Fast and Furious “over the last few weeks.”

    The memos launched a spate of Republican calls for his resignation as lawmakers debated whether Holder lied to Congress under oath and questioned whether he was fit to hold office.

    At Tuesday’s hearing Holder immediately clarified his remarks from his House testimony in May, saying that he first learned about Fast and Furious and its gun-walking tactics after news reports emerged based on the concerns of whistleblowers. He said he immediately asked for an IG investigation.

    And what the bigger issue here remains is the fact these programs were created and implemented by the Bush administration, continued by the staff inherited by Holder, and only questioned once whistleblowers came forward to point out that A) this Bush program was still going on and B) it was a stupid idea.

    The GOP wants to pin all of the blame on Holder and have been trying to do so for nearly six months now, but nobody’s buying it. Remember, these are the same Republicans who approved the Bush torture regime without blinking but are now accusing Holder of being an accessory to murder.

    Excellent to see Holder fight back on this

  42. rikyrah says:

    Despite Packed Agenda, Congress Returns To Radical Balanced Budget Amendment
    Congress is busy. It has to extend federal funding for all federal agencies before November 18, or else the government will shut down, and the deficit Super Committee has to recommend a big package of budget cuts to the House and Senate by November 23, or set in motion dramatic automatic spending cuts to defense programs and Medicare providers. But it’s still suffering a hangover from the debt limit fight. And so this week House GOP leaders will fulfill one of the terms of the debt limit law, and appease some conservatives, by holding a vote on a Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment.

    There’s a bit of a strife among Republicans — and even among some Democrats — over the details of such an amendment. But almost any version would constitute a radical policy shift for the country, and threaten key safety net programs as the country ages and the cost of health care soars. It would lead to dramatic swings in U.S. fiscal policy, and at a time of high unemployment, would cost the economy dearly.

    Don’t believe me, here’s what analysts at Macroeconomic Advisers said about it.

    “If actually enforced in fiscal year (FY) 2012, a BBA would quickly destroy millions of jobs while creating enormous economic and social upheaval,” reads an October commentary. “However, we believe no responsible policymaker would push the implementation of a BBA when the projected federal deficit is $1 trillion and the Fed is unable to offset much fiscal drag.”

    The principle underlying all BBAs is that Congress shouldn’t be able to spend more than it collects in tax dollars. This makes for excellent politics. And conservatives love the it both because of those politics, but also because they see it as a way to force the government to shrink, whether the country wants it to or not. But even if you ignore the ideological undercurrents here, the policy risks are severe. If it were ratified tomorrow, the government would have to raise taxes and cut spending by a total of about $1 trillion right away. And even if it were ratified during boom times, with the government running surpluses, it would make crucial economic stabilizers like unemployment insurance unconstitutional, exacerbating even small recessions.

    But the terms of the debt limit law hold that both the House and Senate must vote on a version of it. That’s a heavy lift — especially because in recent weeks, supporters of different version of the BBA have been fighting amongst themselves over which to bring to the floor.

    There are three main species:

    The right’s fantasy BBA contains provisions that would force government spending down to near-historic lows, and make it functionally impossible for Congress to ever raise taxes. This would serve in essence as a way to make social insurance and other key government functions unconstitutional — even if the economy grew and tax revenues climbed on their own, the government couldn’t use the money.
    The old-fashioned BBA would make it unconstitutional for outlays, not including interest payments on the debt, to exceed revenues in any given fiscal year — unless three-fifths of the members of both the House and Senate agreed. Conservatives aren’t fond of this version because it doesn’t explicitly limit taxing and spending. But it appeals to Republicans politically because a similar version passed the House — and nearly passed the Senate — in 1995 with the help of plenty of Democrats, some of whom are still in Congress. That’s why House GOP leaders will bring it to the floor this week. Those will put some Dems in a tough spot, but Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told reporters recently “At this point in time I would not support it.”
    BBA-lite would get substantial Democratic support, but alienate a lot of Republicans. It contains exemptions for Social Security and national emergencies, as well as provisions targeting wealthy Americans that the GOP hates. A version along these lines will likely come to a vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate after Thanksgiving.
    Deep down, Republicans know the the policy danger BBA’s pose — it was never a priority for them when they ran Washington under George W. Bush, and only became their marquee issue when Obama and the Dems came to power. But now they see it as a political win-win: if by some miracle it passes Congress and gets ratified by the states, both parties will share the consequences. If it fails, Republicans can blame Democratic opposition.

    That sort of logic underlay the debt limit fight and most key legislating on Capitol Hill in the first half of this year. But those politics proved disastrous with voters, and now that the country’s more clearly focused on unemployment and economic inequality there’s likely much less upside for the GOP.

  43. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    November 14, 2011 8:40 AM

    If it’s Sunday, it’s ‘Meet the GOP Talking Points’

    By Steve Benen

    “Meet the Press” host David Gregory spoke with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, and the interview was pretty tough to watch. (via Upper West)

    The host initially push the notion that polls are what matter, and Americans aren’t satisfied with economic conditions under President Obama. The DNC chair pointed to real-world improvements — more jobs, stronger growth — which led Gregory to again rely on more polls. It was a reminder that, for the media establishment, polls trump facts every time.

    When attention turned to debt-reduction efforts, Gregory said, simply as a matter of fact, that Republicans on the super-committee “did agree for tax increases that Democrats have not accepted this week,” and then tried to change the subject. The host wanted to leave viewers with the impression that GOP officials were making a good-faith offer, when in reality they offered some modest revenue in exchange for more tax breaks for the very wealthy. Gregory ignored all of these details, simply passing along the Republican talking point as if it were fact, when it’s not.

    He then asked Wasserman Schultz:

    On the debt, how irresponsible is it that this president has allowed America’s national debt to increase by 41 percent over his term of office?”

    What Gregory failed miserably to offer viewers was context and any of the relevant details. The president inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit, plus a global economic collapse, plus two wars Republicans never even tried to pay for, plus GOP lawmakers who fought to kill every deficit-reduction measure proposed by the White House. The question presupposes that Obama was fiscally “irresponsible,” which is ridiculous, and presupposes that Obama’s priority should have been the debt, rather than the economy, which is insane.

    I expect this on Fox News. “Meet the Press” is supposed to have higher standards.

    And to top it off, the host inexplicably showed a clip of Obama from July 2008 talking about his desire to lower the deficit if elected. July 2008 — before the crash, before TARP, before the need for the Recovery Act, before Republicans demanded an extension of Bush-era tax breaks that they refused to pay for.

    Gregory pointed to Obama’s July 2008 comments and asked, “Should it not be turned on him now?” If a Mitt Romney aide had been asking the questions, they wouldn’t have been much different.

    It was one of the worst interviews I’ve ever seen on “Meet the Press.”

  44. rikyrah says:

    See Me, Feel Me
    by John Cole

    This is a flawed analysis:

    Televised debates have had an outsize impact on this year’s Republican presidential race. But the demands of the debating schedule — Saturday’s event in South Carolina was the eleventh major clash — is taking its toll on the candidates, who find themselves constantly preparing for primetime.

    The frequency of the debates cuts back on the time available for retail politicking in Iowa and other early-voting states. Even seasoned campaign veterans are now beginning to ask: How many debates are too many?

    “Debates are good, but we’re reaching overload,” Ed Rollins told The Hill. Rollins, who was the campaign manager for Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) before stepping down in September, added that under the current schedule “there are going to be 20-plus debates in this primary process. That is way too many.”

    Political professionals note that debates — the preparation, the logistics, the debate itself and the post-event ‘spinning‘ — take up an enormous amount of time. It is plausible that some of that time could be better spent building up the grassroots in Iowa and New Hampshire.

    The problem for the Republican candidates isn’t that they could be better spending the time elsewhere, the problem is that these people are disgusting, and the more time out of the micromanaged shell of a campaign, people see how repugnant and repelling they all are. There is a reason the biggest beneficiary of the ridiculous debate schedule has been President Obama- the more these sociopaths talk, the more America, including Republicans, hate them.

    Palin’s staff in 2008 knew this- that is why they hid her.

  45. rikyrah says:

    Monday, November 14, 2011
    Big Men (And Women) Off Campus
    Posted by Zandar
    The confluence of exploding college room and board and California’s housing collapse has resulted in one heck of a set of digs for some smart university kids: renting huge mansions for chump change for the semester.

    Here in Merced, a city in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley and one of the country’s hardest hit by home foreclosures, the downturn in the real estate market has presented an unusual housing opportunity for thousands of college students. Facing a shortage of dorm space, they are moving into hundreds of luxurious homes in overbuilt planned communities.

    Forget the off-to-college checklist of yesteryear (bedside lamp, laundry bag, under-the-bed storage trays). This is “Animal House” 2011.

    Double-height Great Room? Check.

    Five bedrooms? Check.

    Chandeliers? Check.

    Then there are the three-car garages, wall-to-wall carpeting, whirlpool baths, granite kitchen countertops, walk-in closets and inviting gas fireplaces.

    “I mean, I have it all!” said Patricia Dugan, a senior majoring in management, who was reading Dario Fo’s “Accidental Death of an Anarchist” in her light-filled living room while soaking a silk caftan in one of two master bathroom sinks.

    The finances of subdivision life are compelling: the university estimates yearly on-campus room and board at $13,720 a year, compared with roughly $7,000 off-campus. Sprawl rats sharing a McMansion — with each getting a bedroom and often a private bath — pay $200 to $350 a month each, depending on the amenities.

    Smart. I expect we’ll see a lot more of this across the country, but especially in California and Nevada where the housing market disintegrated the fastest. That is if we don’t suffer another financial collapse, and the way Europe is going right now that’s a distinct possibility.

  46. rikyrah says:

    George Lucas Film Pays Homage to Black Fliers
    In Double Victory, a documentary companion to the upcoming Red Tails film, Tuskegee Airmen tell their story.
    By: Jozen Cummings | Posted: November 8, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    The story of the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II has an odd place in history. The achievements of the first-ever group of African-American aviators in the United States military have been well-documented in books and in various World War II films. But as much as has been told about the members of the 332nd Fighter Group and the 447th Bombardment Group, their story has always been put on the periphery. When it has taken center stage, such as in the 1995 HBO movie The Tuskegee Airmen, the acclaim has been relatively quiet.

    Expect this to change soon with not one, but two proper treatments of the Tuskegee Airmen’s incredible story. The first and better-known version is the highly anticipated feature film Red Tails. Directed and produced by George Lucas, the film will hit theaters in January 2012.

    But while Red Tails is billed as “based on true events,” Lucas, ever the consummate storyteller, has paired the Hollywood feature — starring Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr. — with the excellent and touching documentary Double Victory. Though it will soon come to television, the doc is currently on a tour of special screenings throughout the country. Monday night, Double Victory was shown at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City.

    Narrated by Gooding, Double Victory does what no Hollywood movie can do, and a good documentary should do: It lets the people who lived to tell the tale do so. Interspersed with the words of living Tuskegee Airmen, the documentary also shows original wartime footage and photos of deceased leaders. But most important, Double Victory, as implied in the title, tells the tale of the men’s efforts not only to end fascism in Europe but also to end the racism they endured in the United States.

    With so much ground to cover, from the soldiers’ own anecdotes to those passed down throughout history, Double Victory finds a way to deliver facts without the burden of fitting them into a narrative, though there is an arc to make the information easily digestible for those who want to see a good story. Nuggets like the fact that admission into the cadet-training program required at least two years of college — at a time when less than 1 percent of African Americans had a college degree — add an extra level of gravitas to the Tuskegee Airmen’s story.

    Then there are the war stories. Capt. Roscoe C. Brown Jr. recounts a mission over Berlin, during which the Airmen went face to face with the Nazis’ brand new jet fighters — far superior to America’s planes. Brown’s story is told while footage is played back, and concludes in a huge explosion that got a rousing applause from the people in the audience. But the other war stories — the ones that took place on the ground among fellow white soldiers — elicited a different response from the audience.

    Sighs were audible when soldiers discussed their experience with the Freeman Field Mutiny, in which members of the 477th Bombardment Group attempted to integrate an all-white officers’ club on the military base in Seymour, Ind. To hear the men tell their stories of victory and valor overseas, only to watch them recount what it felt like to be told they were not welcome in an officers’ club on American soil — where they were treated worse than German prisoners — will send anyone who watches Double Victory into an emotional tailspin.

    For anyone thinking of buying a ticket to see Red Tails in January, be sure to add Double Victory to the watch list as well.

  47. rikyrah says:

    Silicon Valley’s Invisible Blacks
    CNN’s Black in America 4 ignores the history of African Americans in technology. Here’s what it missed.
    By: Joel Dreyfuss | Posted: November 11, 2011 at 12:51 AM

    Soledad O’Brien’s latest chapter in her Black in America series has caused a huge uproar even before the episode airs on Nov. 13. In her continuing exploration of the nooks and crannies of African-American life, O’Brien has taken on Silicon Valley, which sees itself as a model of meritocracy.

    The episode, “The New Promised Land: Silicon Valley,” follows a group of African-American entrepreneurs who join an “incubator” called NewMe, led by BlackWeb 2.0 founder Angela Benton (a Root 100 2010 honoree), and spend nine weeks living in a house in Silicon Valley, preparing to present their Internet startups to potential investors. (It will air Sunday, November 13 at 8 p.m. ET, and The Root will live stream a panel discussion about it hosted by Mario Armstrong, “Innovation Nation: Startup Success,” from 9-10 p.m. ET). In the process, O’Brien asks why so few black entrepreneurs have emerged from America’s tech bastion.

    The controversy has largely been triggered by comments in the documentary by Michael Arrington, founder of the influential startup showcase TechCrunch, who declares that he doesn’t know a single black entrepreneur in Silicon Valley and adds that if he found one, he’d give him a platform without regard to the merits of his company. Previews of his comments set off a spirited — and often racially tinged — debate about whether Silicon Valley is as colorblind as it likes to think it is.

    The rarity of blacks in current tech startups is indisputable, but both Arrington and O’Brien’s documentary leave you with the inaccurate impression that there are no black tech entrepreneurs at all in the Valley. In fact, while the total number of African Americans working at tech companies is small today, blacks have had a long and consistent presence in Silicon Valley, even playing key roles at critical times. Today a number of companies founded by blacks are thriving, despite Arrington’s ignorance.

    The elder statesman of black entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley is Roy Clay Sr., chairman of Rod-L, a company that makes electronic testing equipment. Clay came to the Valley in the 1950s with a degree in mathematics from St. Louis University. He led the team at Hewlett-Packard that created the company’s first computer in 1966.

    Clay was later a consultant for the premier venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins as it considered investments in startup companies such as Tandem Computers, Compaq and Intel Corp. He has been a City Council member and vice mayor of Palo Alto, Calif. Clay was inducted into Silicon Valley’s Engineering Hall of Fame in 2003.

  48. rikyrah says:

    November 14, 2011 8:00 AM

    Super-committee’s time running out

    Created in August to craft a bipartisan debt reduction plan, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction — the so-called super-committee — is now inching closer to its own deadline. In just 10 days, the panel’s members are supposed to present a plan that reduces the debt by at least $1.2 trillion over the next decade, sending it to the House and Senate for up-or-down votes.

    No one seems to think that’s possible. Democrats are pushing a balanced approach that demands entitlement reforms, new revenue, and measures to boost the economy. Republicans are willing to accept some new revenue, but only if they get more tax breaks for the wealthy.

    In other words, despite occasional talk of “breakthroughs,” policymakers are effectively where they were when the process began.

    The latest talk is over a new plan that would kick the revenue can down the road (again).

    With a little over a week left to reach a deal, members of the Congressional deficit reduction panel are looking for an escape hatch that would let them strike an accord on revenue levels but delay until next year tough decisions about exactly how to raise taxes.

    Under this approach, the panel would decide on the amount of new revenue to be raised but would leave it to the tax-writing committees of Congress to fill in details next year, well beyond the Nov. 23 deadline for the panel itself to reach an agreement. That would put off painful political decisions but ensure that the debate over deficit reduction stretched into the election year.

    The details of such an approach have not yet come together, but the super-committee, instead of working out a compromise on revenue, would make spending changes now and then tell the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee to work out revenue details next year.

    As if it’ll be any easier to work out a tax-raising deal in an election year.

    Even if super-committee members agreed to push off the revenue question until 2012, that’s not much an escape hatch — the panel would be expected to give the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee instructions on how much revenue to raise, and wouldn’t you know it, Democrats and Republicans can’t agree on this, either.

    For that matter, there’s absolutely no reason to believe this delayed effort will succeed, either, since GOP officials have said they would use the opportunity to once again push for lower rates for the very wealthy, while Democrats (reflecting the will of the clear majority of Americans) push for the opposite.

    And what of the “trigger”? The whole point of the mechanism, also adopted in August, was to create an incentive for policymakers to strike a deal — if they failed, automatic cuts would kick in that both sides would find offensive. With the super-committee likely to fail, lawmakers are — you guessed it — taking a look at changing the triggers. The Washington Post called it an effort to “de-trigger” the automatic cuts.

    Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a Republican policy adviser, said, “It’s a pretty ugly moment.” On this, we agree.

  49. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone. Happy MUN-dane! :-)

Leave a Reply