Serendipity SOUL | Friday Open Thread } “Trane” Week!

Happy FRY-day, Everyone! Hope y’all enjoyed Coltrane Week.



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89 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Friday Open Thread } “Trane” Week!

  1. rikyrah says:

    Dems Mock Latest GOP Super Committee Offer

    Brian Beutler November 18, 2011, 4:36 PM 8150 79

    After multiple meetings Friday, Democrats publicly excoriated a fall-back offer by Super Committee Republicans to cut 10-year deficits by over $600 billion. And for the first time, Democratic members are publicly casting doubt on the panel’s chances to meet its Wednesday deadline.

    Partisan tempers flared over how Democrats and Republicans describe the offer, which includes a trivial amount of new tax revenue, but doesn’t touch entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.

    Only $3 billion of the total package comes from new tax revenues — ending a tax preferences for owners of corporate jets. The rest came from spending cuts to federal agencies, federal pay, agricultural subsidies, higher fees and spectrum and land sales, and interest saved on the national debt.

    Democratic aides mocked the plan as wildly imbalanced — a 200:1 spending cuts-to-tax revenue offer Republicans never should have made. That counts land and spectrum sales as spending cuts, which they really aren’t.

    Republicans defended the plan as $229 billion in fees and revenues, $316 billion in cuts, 100 of which come from defense. But only a tiny fraction of the $229 billion comes from actual tax revenues — and CBO counts many fees as spending cuts, because they save the federal government money by passing on costs to taxpayers.

    Republicans note that all the proposed savings have been fairly uncontroversial in the past. But even if that’s the case the entire menu is skewed heavily toward GOP preferences, and would make it difficult to reach consensus on future negotiations. Democrats have not foreclosed on the idea of a small, last-ditch package, but only one that culls equally from provisions that Dems and Republicans prefer.

    Specifics aside, Democrats have never sounded less hopeful.

    Dem co-chair Patty Murray said “it does not meet — even come close to coming to meet — the issues we have set out from the beginning: fair and balanced.”

    Sen. John Kerry — who almost always claims to be hopeful for the committee — now says things look pretty grim. “If you’re going to ask every average American who drives a car, goes to work, struggles each day to pay their bill — if they’re going to somehow be part of the solution, to have something on the table that does not ask the wealthiest people in the country to share in it would be unconscionable,” Kerry said. “So this is the divide now. We’re still working. I hope we can get there. But I don’t know at this point.”

  2. rikyrah says:

    Star-studded sendoff for Heavy D

    The Associated Press

    MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. — Heavy D was remembered with laughter and tears Friday during a star-studded funeral service that included Jay-Z and Will Smith, humorous anecdotes from longtime friend Diddy, and words of encouragement for his young daughter, delivered in a letter from President Barack Obama.

    We extend our heartfelt condolences at this difficult time. He will be remembered for his infectious optimism and many contributions to American music. Please know that you and your family will be in our thoughts and prayers,” read the Obama note, according to the Rev. Al Sharpton, who quoted from it during the service.

    Xea Myers, Heavy D’s 11-year-old daughter, also spoke briefly, telling the audience that her father was “still here, not in the flesh, but in the spirit.”

    Grace Baptist Church was filled to capacity for the two-and-half-hour service, which was also streamed live on the Web. It was so crowded, an overflow area was set up. Among those in attendance were Usher, Queen Latifah, Don King, Q-Tip, John Legend and Rosie Perez.

    “Silently he’s been influential in a lot of our careers,” Usher said after the service. “His love still lives on.”

    A large photo of Heavy D sat next to his closed casket.

    Heavy D died last week in Los Angeles at the age of 44. His family said the death was due to complications from pneumonia.

    The self-proclaimed “Overweight Lover” was born in Jamaica but reared in Mount Vernon, which he dubbed “Money Earnin’ Mount Vernon.” It was also the home of Sean “Diddy” Combs. Diddy talked about how Heavy D helped give him his start in the music industry, and how their decades-long friendship continued up until Heavy D’s death.

    “He became my friend. He became my brother, and I’m not talking about friend-brother like we cavalierly use the word, I’m talking about a real friend, a real brother,” Diddy said. “Somebody I shared my dreams and my secrets with, somebody that’s been there for me at my lowest point, my darkest hour when nobody wanted to be beside me.”

    But he also told jokes as he recounted his “bromance” with the rapper, including a recent visit to Miami that was supposed to last for three days, but “turned into three weeks.” He added that Heavy D got to know his chef “very well.”

    Sharpton also drew laughter when he noted that James Brown “made us black and proud; (Heavy D) made us fat and proud.”

  3. DAOWENS44:

    Charity Founded by Sandusky Plans to Fold –

  4. Obama’s Condolences Read Aloud at Heavy D’s Funeral

    A funeral was held on Friday in Mt. Vernon, N.Y., for the departed rapper Heavy D, who died last week at the age of 44, and the service included the reading of a note from President Obama expressing condolences to Heavy D’s daughter, Xea Myers. The Associated Press reports:

    “We extend our heartfelt condolences at this difficult time. He will be remembered for his infectious optimism and many contributions to American music. Please know that you and your family will be in our thoughts and prayers,” read the Obama note, according to the Rev. Al Sharpton, who quoted from it during the service.

    Heavy D & The Boyz came to prominence when Obama was in his late twenties, hitting No. 12 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in 1988 with “Don’t You Know” and following with a handful of hits through the late 1980s and early 1990s.

  5. Capehart: Perry Calling Obama “Privileged” Is “Dog Whistle” To Racists

  6. rikyrah says:

    November 18, 2011 12:40 PM
    The weakest flip-flop defense yet
    By Steve Benen

    Mitt Romney and his campaign team have experimented with different responses to questions about his incessant flip-flopping. At different times, they’ve argued that the reversals don’t really exist, and if they were real, they wouldn’t much matter anyway.

    Today, we see a new one: Team Romney is rolling out the I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I defense.

    Romney’s team lists several examples of Obama’s contradictions. The president promised to fix the economy, and he didn’t. He promised to close Guantanamo Bay, and he didn’t. He promised a White House based on transparency, devoid of the influence of special interests. The unfolding Solyndra scandal, to them, proves that’s not the case.

    I know I’m supposed to think Romney and his advisers are the serious ones, worthy of some modicum of respect, but this silliness is really no better than the kind of nonsense we’d get from Michele Bachmann.

    For one thing, the economy is improving, but if it weren’t, it’d be a policy failure, not a flip-flop.

    For another, President Obama still wants to close Gitmo, and would were it not for Congress. The president’s position hasn’t changed at all, and for Romney to think of this as a “contradiction” suggests the Republican campaign has forgotten what the word means. Want to call it an unfulfilled campaign promise? No problem. But a flip-flop? No.

    Finally, there is no Solyndra “scandal,” and this White House at least as transparent, if not more so, than any American history.

    But the overarching problem is that Romney thinks he can draw some parallel between his own flip-flops and Obama’s. That’s not only wrong, it’s a ridiculous strategy — if the race comes down to which candidate is more consistent in his positions, the president should win re-election with 538 electoral votes.

    Ben Smith makes an effort to point out issues on which the president has changed his mind, and to be sure, there are some legitimate examples. In fact, Smith missed a big one: Obama used to be against the public option, before switching.

    But in each instance, we see Obama making minor moves between the left and the center-left. The president never completely reinvented his entire political worldview; his shifts were subtle and nuanced.

    Is there anyone — outside of Romney’s payroll and/or immediate family — who thinks Obama is in Romney’s league? Of course not. The Republican frontrunner has, after all, taken both sides of the question on whether it’s all right to take both sides of questions. His reputation as a shameless, craven politician who’s flip-flopped like no other American politician in a generation is well deserved.

    Conservative columnist George Will recently slammed Romney as “a recidivist reviser of his principles,” who seems to “lack the courage of his absence of convictions.” As the campaign progresses, we keep getting more examples of this. If Romney’s team seriously wants to compare this record to the president’s, I suspect Obama for America would be delighted.

  7. @Breaking News:

    NCAA to launch investigation of Penn State athletic programs – Penn State, @AP

  8. rikyrah says:

    Watch Out Mitt — Gingrich Running Even In Romney Stronghold Of New Hampshire
    Kyle Leighton November 18, 2011, 11:15 AM

    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is the fourth GOP Presidential candidate to lead a national poll over the last three months, which naturally causes skepticism about how long the Newt surge can last. But here’s something Gingrich has done that other GOP flavors of the month haven’t: he’s nearly matched former Mass Gov. Mitt Romney in a poll of the New Hampshire GOP primary.

    Romney has long enjoyed a huge lead in the state, which abuts the commonwealth he used to govern in Massachusetts. He’s essentially been hovering over forty percent in a crowded GOP field, which showed how solid his support was in the state. But apparently the idea of Gingrich is causing a few Republicans to change their minds, according to a new survey from GOP pollster Magellan Strategies conducted for the New Hampshire Journal.

    Romney clings to a small two point lead in the new survey, coming in at the top with 29 percent of the Republican electorate. Gingrich is second with 27 percent, making it a statistical tie for the lead, with Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) third at 16 and businessman Herman Cain fourth with ten.

    One of the most unbelievable shifts for Gingrich is his favorability rating among New Hampshire Republicans. In August, Magellan’s polling showed that Gingrich was one of the most disliked candidates among the party faithful, with only 29 percent having a favorable view of him versus 60 percent with a negative one. That perception has completely flipped three months later. The former Speaker is now liked by 59 percent of the New Hampshire GOPers polled, versus only 31 percent who retain the negative perspective.

    The survey asked the whole Republican sample why they think that Gingrich is moving up in the polls, and a near majority selected his “depth and knowledge of the issues,” as the key reason. That far outpaced his debate performances and his past experience as Speaker, which both came in at ten percent.—-gingrich-comes-within-two-in-romney-stronghold-of-new-hampshire.php?ref=fpblg_beta

  9. The Raw Story:

    Alleged White House shooter claims he’s actually — wait for it — Jesus.

  10. rikyrah says:

    November 18, 2011 2:10 PM

    House easily rejects Balanced Budget Amendment

    By Steve Benen

    One of the top priorities of the House Republican leadership for this Congress was passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. As of this afternoon, we can add another item to the list of GOP failures.

    The House has rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have forced Congress to balance its budget every year as a way to reverse years of deficit spending.

    A majority of House members supported the balanced budget measure, but supporters fell short of achieving the two-thirds majority needed to amend the Constitution.

    Earlier this year, it was largely assumed the House would approve of the amendment and that the real fight would be in the Senate. As it turned out, however, proposal had no chance — it needed 290 votes in the lower chamber, and came up with 261.

    To be sure, the fact that 261 House members said it was a good idea to add this ridiculous amendment to the Constitution isn’t exactly good news, but the fact that the measure died this afternoon is a welcome display of sanity from a chamber where it’s rarely found.

    I’d note for context, by the way, that supporters are moving in the wrong direction. The last time the House voted on the BBA, in 1995, it passed with 300 votes. Today, despite a larger Republican majority, a larger deficit, and a far more right-wing chamber overall, proponents didn’t even come close to the previous total.

    By my count, only four House Republicans voted against it. The majority needed roughly 50 Democrats to break ranks, but ended up with about half the necessary total. [Update: here’s the roll call.]

    The nation dodged a bullet today. This amendment would have devastated the economy and made responses to future crises effectively impossible. Bruce Bartlett, a veteran of the Reagan and Bush administrations, explained this week that this is a “dreadful” idea and the Republican proposal “is, frankly, nuts.”

    And now, thankfully, it’s dead for another Congress.

  11. rikyrah says:

    How low will he go?
    by Kay

    Mitch Daniels is the far-Right Governor who created the template for Walker in Wisconsin and Kasich in Ohio. I know the myth goes that the Tea Party took over the formerly moderate GOP in 2010 and that’s where the coordinated conservative multi-state strategy came from, but the truth is there’s no daylight between Walker and Kasich and Daniels and Daniels has been in office since 2005. The Tea Party Theory never really made any sense.

    Daniels has been putting in place the identical conservative policies and practices that Walker and Kasich espouse, and he’s been doing that unimpeded since 2005. I look to Indiana to see what’s up next on the multi-state, anti-worker agenda.

    Daniels ended public employee unions by executive order shortly after he was elected and he’s conducted a careful, low-key campaign to destroy unions in Indiana since that time.

    Gov. Mitch Daniels says Indiana could see an economic boost from a contentious “right-to-work” proposal, but stopped short of saying he wants state legislators to approve it.
    A legislative study committee voted 5-4 along party lines last week to support a proposal that would prohibit workers from being required to pay union representation fees. A bill on the issue sparked this year’s five-week walkout by House Democrats
    The Republican governor told the Kokomo Tribune’s editorial board on Thursday that a “right-to-work” law would make the state more competitive.
    “We know there is about a quarter of the opportunities that won’t look at us because of the lack of this law,” Daniels said.
    While Daniels hasn’t publicly endorsed the proposal, his state commerce secretary testified in favor of it during a study committee meeting in July.

    Daniels knows this is a politically perilous issue for Republicans- there are a significant number of private sector union members who vote Republican-so he’ll keep some distance between his carefully crafted brand and the policies he supports and actively, if not publicly, promotes. Daniels is a much better politician than Walker or Kasich.

    Daniels is promising jobs (again) if he’s successful in ending private sector collective bargaining in Indiana, which is what he promised when he ended public sector collective bargaining in Indiana, way back in 2005.

    These are the unemployment rates in Indiana and Ohio 8.9 versus 9.1

    Daniels has had years and years to put in the far-Right “jobs” plan he created, and this is where Indiana is when compared to Ohio, in terms of unemployment: 8.9 versus 9.1

    The ever-elusive job creators are apparently holding out for one more concession from Mr. Daniels. Well, not really “from” Mitch Daniels. Job creators are demanding one more concession from the people of Indiana. No jobs for Indiana unless there’s no organized labor in Indiana. Daniels has given them everything they demanded since 2005, and more, and he’s still chasing them down that hill. He just lowered the corporate income tax rate and they’re already back for more goodies. I don’t think there’s anything he wouldn’t give them. They probably know that by now.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Something Even a Banker Can Understand
    by BooMan
    Fri Nov 18th, 2011 at 12:00:13 PM EST

    As Matthew Goldstein and Jennifer Ablan report for Reuters, many of the people who work on Wall Street are in denial or simply befuddled about why they are on the receiving end of so much vitriol. Let’s start with a simple fact.

    In New York City, the average pay for those working in finance is $361,183, more than five times the average salary of $66,106 for all workers in the city, according to the New York State Department of Labor.

    Those making $361,183 a year are in the highest marginal tax bracket. Now, let’s move to another fact.

    [The Bush tax cuts] are a defining issue at the heart of the broad ideological argument between the two parties. They were central during the 2010 elections, and they will again be central in 2012. They are a key cause of our current fiscal problems, and now they’re at the center of the supercommittee’s likely failure to do anything to solve those problems.
    They are at the center of the GOP’s supercommittee’s demands; indeed, keeping them in place is one of the primary motivations driving the current overall conduct of the Republican Party.

    The supercommittee is, of course, charged with trimming $1.2 trillion from the federal budget over the next ten years. As of today, they are going to fail to come to any agreement over those cuts, largely because the Republicans insist that the people in the highest tax bracket not have to share any of the cost or burden of those cuts. Instead, they want people to work longer before they are eligible for Medicare, and the want to reduce the value of people’s Social Security checks by tweaking how the cost of living adjustment is calculated. They want to slash money for Medicaid. And they want to trim money from programs that help people in need.

    These facts alone explain why people are growing angry with the most affluent people in our country. But these facts are only the tip of the iceberg. We haven’t even considered why we need to make such drastic cuts in our budget. The tax cuts are one of the biggest reasons our deficit just exceeded $15 trillion. But we also launched a war in Iraq that wasn’t paid for and that had no justification. We mismanaged the war in Afghanistan, and didn’t pay for it either. We passed a prescription drug benefit for Medicare that was needlessly expensive because it didn’t allow for negotiated prices for bulk purchases. And it wasn’t paid for either. Everything has been getting put on the nation’s credit card and now there is a gigantic bill to pay with lots and lots of interest.

    The revolt is largely over who should pay that bill. Should it be old ladies on a fixed income? Should it be construction workers who have to work two more years of hard labor before qualifying for Medicare? Should it be college students who have less access to college grants and loans? Or should it be the most affluent among us who have not only been growing wealthier as the rest of us grow poorer, but who work in an industry that is responsible for destroying many millions of our jobs and much of the value of our retirement accounts?

    On some level, this debate gets clouded by an argument about how best to create economic growth. The Republicans argue that people in the highest tax brackets are also the people most likely to create new jobs. Let them keep more of their money and they’ll use it to invest and expand their businesses; take more of their money and none of the job creation will occur. It’s a mistake to even engage in that debate. The proper question is “who is responsible for this credit card bill?” Who ought to pay the bill?

    For the last decade, the most affluent people in this country have been enjoying a massive tax break. And they got much richer as a result. They need to pay the bill. And, as long as they use the Republicans’ power to obstruct to avoid paying their fair share, they are going to see the people’s wrath grow and grow and grow.

  13. Ametia says:

    Deconstructing Right-Wing Myths About Socialism, Capitalism, and Who The ‘Job Creators’ Are
    November 17, 2011
    By Silence Dogood

    Conservatives have taken to a new spin on truth, by refashioning definitions of words and terms in order to provoke new connotations. Socialism is now defined as a government take over, Capitalism is now defined as patriotic, and the wealthy are now defined as job creators. But simply redefining these words will not change their true meaning, it is only myth making.

    Socialism does not mean the abolition of a free market society, nor does Socialism call for a government takeover of all industry; that is Communism. Socialists acknowledge the limitation of a free market and believes that some industries should not be run for profit. Police protection, fire protection, prisons, education, health care, parks, electricity, water supplies, waste and sewage removal, and roadways are just a few examples of industries which should not be run for profit. The reasoning behind this belief is when these industries are operating for profit, not only will prices rise, but corresponding services would then be reserved only for those who can afford them. Or more succinctly, no one person should be able to profit over running services, in which everyone benefits from. One excellent example of Socialism in action is demonstrated in our banking industry. While most banks operate for the profits of their CEOs, credit unions are owned and operated by the people.

    Read on:

  14. rikyrah says:

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011
    Bank of America Deathwatch: Moves Risky Derivatives from Holding Company to Taxpayer-Backstopped Depository

    If you have any doubt that Bank of America is in trouble, this development should settle it. I’m late to this important story broken this morning by Bob Ivry of Bloomberg, but both Bill Black (who I interviewed just now) and I see this as a desperate (or at the very best, remarkably inept) move by Bank of America’s management.

    The short form via Bloomberg:

    Bank of America Corp. (BAC), hit by a credit downgrade last month, has moved derivatives from its Merrill Lynch unit to a subsidiary flush with insured deposits, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation…

    Bank of America’s holding company — the parent of both the retail bank and the Merrill Lynch securities unit — held almost $75 trillion of derivatives at the end of June, according to data compiled by the OCC. About $53 trillion, or 71 percent, were within Bank of America NA, according to the data, which represent the notional values of the trades.

    That compares with JPMorgan’s deposit-taking entity, JPMorgan Chase Bank NA, which contained 99 percent of the New York-based firm’s $79 trillion of notional derivatives, the OCC data show.

    Now you would expect this move to be driven by adverse selection, that it, that BofA would move its WORST derivatives, that is, the ones that were riskiest or otherwise had high collateral posting requirements, to the sub. Bill Black confirmed that even though the details were sketchy, this is precisely what took place.

    And remember, as we have indicated, there are some “derivatives” that should be eliminated, period. We’ve written repeatedly about credit default swaps, which have virtually no legitimate economic uses (no one was complaining about the illiquidity of corporate bonds prior to the introduction of CDS; this was not a perceived need among investors). They are an inherently defective product, since there is no way to margin adequately for “jump to default” risk and have the product be viable economically. CDS are systematically underpriced insurance, with insurers guaranteed to go bust periodically, as AIG and the monolines demonstrated.

    The reason that commentators like Chris Whalen were relatively sanguine about Bank of America likely becoming insolvent as a result of eventual mortgage and other litigation losses is that it would be a holding company bankruptcy. The operating units, most importantly, the banks, would not be affected and could be spun out to a new entity or sold. Shareholders would be wiped out and holding company creditors (most important, bondholders) would take a hit by having their debt haircut and partly converted to equity.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Leverage: Obama Gained It, GOP Lost It, Sanctimonious Left Never Got It
    One of the things that President Obama’s detractors on the sanctimonious Left have always failed to understand is the concept of leverage. Or rather, they have always misconstrued that concept. It’s been equated with podium pounding, “pushing hard”, and totally, absolutely, and completely an abhorrence against compromise. As if leverage meant that the president was an elected dictator and he could do anything he wanted simply by wishing hard enough.

    But leverage in politics and legislating is not about what you can do to convince your own side. It’s about what you can do convince the other side or if not convince them, put them in a bind so they have to acquiesce to your demands. That kind of leverage was not available to the president – Republicans (and some Democrats) had no incentive to cooperate with the President on health reform, financial reform, student loan reform, credit card reform, and so on. Actually, as the professional, sanctimonious Left joined the chaos of the radical Right to try to stop these reforms on the excuse of not-good-enough-ism, they helped reduce any leverage the president did have.

    So what is leverage? This is leverage:

    Hensarling looked for help from President Obama, who is traveling in Australia. He noted that he told the president in a phone call last Friday that he wanted Obama to clarify or rescind a veto threat he issued to Congress back in September, when he said he would reject any plan to overhaul entitlement programs without asking the wealthy to pay more in taxes.

    That veto threat has shaken the Republicans to the core. I think that’s when they first began to realize that Obama is playing hardball, and that he has now successfully forced an internal GOP fight between the anti-tax religionists and the defense hawks. They have to pick either Grover Norquist or Lockheed Martin, and face the wrath of the other.

    Suddenly, the GOP co-chair of the supercommittee is walking back his comments that a measly $250 billion revenue raiser is their final offer. Suddenly he is looking to save face. Suddenly the Republicans are so scared that the Defense and medical industries (largely Republican benefactors) will suffer from cuts – and as a consequence dry up their own campaign funds – they are talking about compromise. Compromise with Barack Obama – the man they have spent so much time and effort convincing their base is the anti-Christ, the Devil, Hitler and every other evil character ever known to man – fictional or real.

    But how did the president even get to have this leverage? I hate to sound like a broken record, but he made the Republicans in Congress hand him this leverage on a silver platter while John Boehner was too busy dancing around saying how he got 98% of what he wanted from the debt limit deal (and Markos Moulitsas was lapping John Boehner’s words right up). The debt limit deal’s automatic cuts in defense and Medicare provider and insurance company payments, while taking off the table Medicare benefits, social security and other programs for the needy, put the Republicans in a rut. And for once, Congressional Democrats seem to be playing their hands right on this one. Pelosi, Reid and other Democrats have signaled that if the Republicans don’t cave on taxing the rich, they will block GOP attempts to spare the defense industry from the cuts. Here’s Leader Pelosi:

    “The sequester is what it is,” Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol, referring to the $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts that would be triggered if the supercommittee fails to agree to that amount in deficit reduction over the next decade.

    “There are some who think or have suggested that the oath to Mr. Norquist is more important than other oaths that members take.”

    And here’s Harry Reid:

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that Democrats will block Republican efforts to torpedo cuts to the Pentagon should the supercommittee on deficit reduction fail…

    “If the committee fails to act, sequestration is going to go forward. Democrats are not going to take an unfair, unrealistic load directed toward domestic discretionary spending … and take it away from the military,” Reid said.

    That’s leverage. While everyone thought that the president “caved” during the debt deal by not getting any revenue raisers up front, those who actually read and studied the damn thing saw this day coming clear as daylight. And don’t think for a second that the White House is not behind this newfound resistance on the Democratic side against the GOP attempts to restore the Defense spending that would be cut if the supercommittee fails.

    Why? Because President Obama and Leaders Reid and Pelosi fundamentally understand what the Republicans are actually trying to do here: they know they handed the leverage to the President and Democrats on a silver platter, and this attempt to restore the Defense spending is in reality an attempt to nullify that leverage and instead gain an upper hand as the leverage goes to the domestic spending side (advantage GOP). That’s why the Democrats are not about to let it happen.

    • Ametia says:

      SmartyPants has a great piece on this as well

      How Obama and the Democrats outsmarted Republicans on the debt ceiling deal

      Just a few months ago as the debt ceiling crisis created by Republicans mounted, tensions were high. Most economists (and otherwise sane people) knew that if the US faulted on its debt it would likely create a global financial crisis. And yet the Republicans seemed willing to let that happen if their demands weren’t met. President Obama had crafted a “Grand Bargain” that would cut the deficit by $4 trillion in a balanced way – cutting spending and raising revenues. But Republicans would have none of it.

      At that point, President Obama and the Democrats had three choices:

      1. Let the economy collapse (unthinkable)
      2. Send the country into a constitutional crisis by invoking the 14th amendment – thereby probably contributing to an economic collapse
      3. Outsmart the Republicans in creating a deal

      We all know that they chose #3 – but too many folks didn’t think through the strategy of the deal and simply bought into Speaker Boehner’s bluster when he said he’d gotten 98% of what he wanted. Some of us actually took a moment to analyze it and noticed how well the Democrats had done. But with an assist from the MSM and the poutragers, the meme of “weak Democrats” prevailed once again.

  16. Ametia says:

    The Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show, 11/18/11
    Posted on 11/18/2011 at 7:00 am by Bob Cesca

    Herman Cain’s Brain Fart; Other Cain Nonsense; Newt Gingrich Skyrockets to the Top; John Boehner Has A Serious Crying Problem; The Protect IP Act Will Kill the Internet; NBC Hires Chelsea Clinton and Anyone With A Famous Name; and much more! Brought to you by Bubble Genius!

  17. Ametia says:

    Does Capitalism = Systemic Racism?
    By Joe.
    Over at the Village Voice website the provocative African American critical theorist and savvy analyst of U.S. society, Greg Tate, offers “Top 10 Reasons Why So Few Black Folk Appear Down To Occupy Wall Street,” a humorous and sarcastic take on this issue. (See other comments on Tate’s piece here and here.) Most of the Occupy movements do appear to have been disproportionately white.

    One barbed reason Tate offers is that African Americans want to see the OWS movement stay alive. If it got to be known as a “Black Thing,” then white officials like

    Mike Bloomberg and Ray Kelly would feel compelled to set more upon the movement than decrepit desk sergeants with pepper spray.

    Another point is that African Americans already have a “radical heart,” which has been shown many times. They are certainly not afraid to participate:

    Protest history shows our folk couldn’t be turned around by deputized terrorists armed with dynamite, firebombs, C4, tanks, AKs, machine guns, fixed bayonets, billy clubs, K-9 corps, truncheons, or water hoses. Stop-and-frisk has prepped most brothers to anticipate a cell block visit just for being Slewfoot While Black.

    That is, African Americans have never shown they were scared of fighting societal oppression.

    Two of his reasons get seriously at the core issue of the relationships of contemporary capitalism and systemic racism. One more reason is that African Americans have long ago realized something that the OWS folks seem to be late in coming to understand–that is,

    that American elites never signed the social contract and will sell the people out for a fat cat’s dime—hey, no news flash over here. Black folk got wise to the game back in 1865 when we realized neither 40 acres nor a mule would be forthcoming.

    Then Tate’s number one reason gets even deeper into this issue. Capitalism, as usually framed in OWS discussion, is often of less immediate concern to black Americans than systemic racism:

    Experience shows that racism can trump even greed in Amerikkka—especially in the workplace. White dudes with prison records get hired over more qualified bloods with not even jaywalking citations. You don’t have to be as high up the food chain as banker-scum to benefit from white supremacy or profit sideways from the mass povertization of the Negro.

    Tate’s points about the need to consider the relationships of actual capitalism and racism brought to my mind just how Western capitalism got its first huge surges of capital and wealth, in the process Karl Marx called “primitive accumulation.” Recall this famous passage from Das Kapital:

    The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signalised the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief moments of primitive accumulation. . . . [They all] depend in part on brute force, e.g., the colonial system. But, they all employ the power of the State, the concentrated and organised force of society, to hasten, hot-house fashion, the process of transformation of the feudal mode of production into the capitalist mode . . . . [C]apital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt.

    Western capitalistic wealth and production thus began with the violent looting of resources and forcible enslavement of numerous populations. All these chief moments of early capitalistic wealth accumulation involve non-Europeans–indigenous peoples, Africans, Asians, and Latin Americans—those racialized as “not white” in the dominant racial framing of white Americans ever since. Capitalism is so intertwined with systemic racism in its distant historical origins and contemporary history that it has been a mistake for analysts and activists to try to separate them. To the present day. Capital today still often comes “dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt.”

  18. Ametia says:

    Supreme Court Likely to Uphold Obamacare as Constitutional
    Wendell Potter
    Published: Friday 18 November 2011

    “So while the justices farthest to the right undoubtedly will vote to strike down the law for ideological reasons, the more pragmatic Justice Kennedy will recognize that the future of the free-market health insurance system rests completely on his shoulders.”

    Opponents of the Affordable Care Act who believe the Supreme Court will declare the law unconstitutional are going to be disappointed next year when a majority of the nine justices vote to uphold it. It will likely be a 5-4 decision, but moderate conservative Anthony Kennedy will, I’m confident, recognize that without the law, the free-market system of health insurance, so highly valued by conservatives, will implode, sooner rather than later.

    The high court announced earlier this week that it will hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of the law next March. A decision is expected in June, just a few weeks before the parties hold their conventions. Regardless of which way the justices go, the decision will ensure that health care reform will be as contentious a campaign issue as it was in 2008.

    Here’s the reality. The provision of Obamacare at the heart of the constitutional challenge — the requirement that all Americans will have to buy health insurance if they’re not eligible for a public plan like Medicare or Medicaid — is a “must have” for the nation’s health insurance industry.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Bloomberg Getting Nervous
    by BooMan
    Fri Nov 18th, 2011 at 09:40:39 AM EST

    The corporate media is doing a good job of mischaracterizing the Occupy protesters, as can be seen even in the most balanced of Big Apple newspapers, the New York Times. They seize on and magnify every misdeed of individuals, while reporting whatever the police say as Gospel. Pretty much all the news outlets are reporting that protesters clashed with police yesterday, when the opposite would be closer to the truth. But the important stuff doesn’t take place in elite-serving newspapers; it takes place in Midtown boardrooms.

    At a Midtown gathering of business leaders on Thursday, Mr. Bloomberg said that the protests were a dire sign of the public’s economic fears.
    “The public is getting scared,” he said. “They don’t know what to do, and they’re going to strike out.” He added, “They just know the system isn’t working, and they don’t want to wait around.”

    The last time Mayor Bloomberg made a dire warning, the Occupy protests began the next day. If Bloomberg is rattled, it’s because his system of media control and police brutality isn’t working. Of course, it is at work, but it’s not having the desired impact. He should check with Silvio Berlusconi to see how his model turned out.

    The disconnect between what people are reading on Twitter, Facebook, and blogs, and seeing on livestreams, and what they are reading in the newspapers and seeing on the teevee is opening a lot of eyes. The sham is getting exposed like never before.

    Meanwhile, the aristocracy is holed up in Midtown wondering why all this is happening and why talking points about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac aren’t fooling anyone.

    The banks got bailed out but Congress wants the bill to be payed by the neediest and most vulnerable. The Republicans absolutely insist upon this.

    If our elites want to save their necks, they ought to crack a history book, read about the French Revolution, and take some preemptive measures. And I don’t mean that they should increase the repression.

  20. My President!

    US President Barack Obama lands in Canberra, Australia November 2011 aboard Air Force One

  21. Boeing, Lion Air Strike Deal

  22. rikyrah says:

    The Public Option Myth
    by BooMan
    Thu Nov 17th, 2011 at 07:03:52 PM EST

    Jonathan Bernstein is right that the president never made a secret deal to scrap the public option. But he doesn’t do a very good job of explaining what actually happened. The administration realized very early on that they didn’t have the votes to get a public option. And even the support they thought they had for it started to drift away over the summer of 2009. It wasn’t too hard to predict that a public option would not be in the bill, and the administration made that point in negotiations with some stakeholders.
    It wasn’t something that was traded away, but its likely absence from the bill was part of the conversation. I’m sure the administration sought to exact some advantage from the situation by noting, for example, that they weren’t going to get everything they wanted and were going to make concessions. In the meantime, the administration did nothing to discourage its allies from pushing for a public option. Four of the five congressional committees that worked on the Affordable Care Act passed some version of a public option (the exception was Sen. Max Baucus’s Finance Committee). Ultimately, Harry Reid introduced the bill with a public option.

    The problem was that we never had 60 votes in favor of a public option. That was true in January 2009 and it was still true in March 2010.

  23. rikyrah says:

    I will remind people that this clown didn’t know what ‘ right of return’ meant in terms of the Israel/Palestine situation. I told you THEN that he was an amateur clown, out of his depth.

    just think about that, when you read THIS about the Koch Brothers’ Minstrel.


    Friday, November 18, 2011
    Cuban Stupidity Crisis
    Posted by Bon The Geek

    (CNN) – While campaigning in Miami on Wednesday, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, who’s taken heat over his knowledge of foreign policy, dodged questions on issues related to Cuba.
    Asked by a reporter if he supported the “wet-foot, dry-foot policy,” which allows Cuban immigrants to stay in the United States once they get in, Cain responded: “Wet-foot, dry-foot policy?”

    The Miami Herald reports that Cain’s handlers then intercepted the questioning and rushed Cain away from the press. When he came back later, Cain didn’t answer another question about the topic, instead saying, “Gotta run, gentleman,” the newspaper reported.

    In a speech earlier in the day, Cain seemed to outline his approach to Cuba without going into specifics.

    “One of my principles is: Go to the source closest to the problem,” Cain said. “I want to get from Cuban leaders [in South Florida] a solution of what we should do.”

    Cain, whose campaign surge kicked off in Florida about seven weeks ago when he won a closely-watched straw poll in the state, drew enthusiastic crowds throughout the day at different stops.

    Later at Versailles Restaurant, located in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, a reporter asked about President Barack Obama’s decision to scale back some travel restrictions to Cuba, to which Cain reportedly said that was a “gotcha question.”

    Surrounded by much fanfare, Cain enjoyed a pastry at the restaurant’s bakery, asking at one point with his mouth full, “How do you say ‘delicious’ in Cuban?”

    A supporter quickly answered back: “Delicioso.” The word is in Spanish, as there is no “Cuban” language.

    “Delicioso,” Cain repeated, while still chewing. “Delicioso.”

    The depth of his stupidity knows no bounds. Neither does his ego. His vision of a president doesn’t even include knowing what is going on regarding foreign policy. He tells the poor it’s their fault for being poor, and is backed by Donald Trump.

    At this point, I can’t even think of a single positive thing to say about this man. Begone from my headlines, sir!

  24. rikyrah says:

    November 18, 2011 10:00 AM

    Those elusive Romney hard drives

    By Steve Benen

    Shortly before Mitt Romney departed the governor’s office, 11 of his top aides purchased 17 state-issued hard drives, purging the Romney administration’s email records in advance of his presidential campaign. In retrospect, the move seems rather odd, especially for a Republican candidate who likes to talk about transparency.

    Maybe this was a standard practice for modern Massachusetts governors? Apparently not.

    Top aides to the three Massachusetts governors who preceded Mitt Romney – all of them Republicans – said yesterday they know of no instance when state employees purchased their computer hard drive as they left the administration, as 11 of Romney’s aides did in 2006 as he was laying the groundwork for his first presidential campaign.

    The aides from the administrations of William F. Weld, Paul Cellucci, and Jane Swift all said they were not aware of such purchases being made previously.

    “I don’t remember anybody buying their hard drives. I don’t remember anybody buying anything,” said Stephen P. Crosby, who worked for Romney’s two predecessors and handled the transition between Jane Swift’s outgoing administration and Romney’s incoming one, and who was also co-chairman of Governor Deval Patrick’s budget and finance transition team. “I can’t even remember anybody discussing it. It certainly wasn’t [standard operating procedure] in any way. That’s almost unthinkable. It seems inherently a bad idea. You almost think you’d want to have a record of everything going on for the public.”

    Yes, you would almost think that, wouldn’t you.

    I’m trying to imagine how to give Romney and his team the benefit of the doubt. I can imagine, for example, someone working in a government office for several years and growing attached to, say, a desk chair. Maybe the chair offered great back support, was really comfortable, and was just the right height, and as the governor’s term was wrapping up, that person may have offered to pay to take that chair home. That seems vaguely plausible.

    But Romney would have us believe his entire team grew attached to 17 hard drives — not the computer, not the monitor, not the keyboard, just the hard drive. This allowed them to eliminate untold thousands of email messages — a move with no precedent. What’s more, Romney’s team insists the officials “complied with the law,” but can’t explain why the purchases were made in the first place.

    At an apparent at ironic humor, Romney’s team also issued a memo yesterday attacking the Obama White House for having “turned its back on his campaign promises of openness and transparency.”

    Nice timing, gang.

    The DNC’s Brad Woodhouse joked this morning, “Just imagine if Richard Nixon had been able to buy the White House taping system and walk out with it.”

  25. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, November 17, 2011
    The Dems’ Job Strategy Is Working, Part 3
    Posted by Zandar

    House Republicans are beginning to crack under the 9% approval rating of Congress and the numbers showing a majority of Americans believe the Republicans are blocking jobs legislation in order to hurt the President. Now all of a sudden, House Republicans are more than happy to pass tax incentives for government contractors and hiring veterans in a unanimous move.

    “Veterans of every working-age generation are finding themselves unemployed or seriously underemployed due to the economic downturn,” Representative Jeff Miller, Republican of Florida and chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said in support of the bill, which passed. 422 to 0, under a fast-tracked process on the House floor.

    The vote followed overwhelming Senate approval and represented a rare bipartisan consensus on elements in the package assembled by the White House in its effort to spur hiring. Republicans have rejected or blocked other pieces of the legislation, including proposals for capital works and money for the hiring of emergency workers and public school teachers.

    After the vote, the president said in a statement that he wanted to “congratulate Republicans and Democrats in Congress for coming together to pass these tax credits that will encourage businesses to hire America’s veterans. No veteran who fought for our country should have to fight for a job when they come home.”

    He also said approval of the measure was a “only a step. Congress needs to pass the rest of my American Jobs Act so that we can create jobs and put money in the pockets of the middle class.”

    At the same time, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, urged the president to hold a public signing ceremony of the legislation to illustrate the bipartisan nature of the bill — a challenge to the president to share some of the credit with Republicans.

    Why, you’d almost think that House Republicans were terrified of losing control of the chamber next November and were desperate for accomplishments to show off to counter the notion that they were sabotaging the economy on purpose in order to gain politically. And of course, the Village is expecting the President to be magnanimous and allow the Republicans to save face here, to make sure that Republicans are rewarded for their “good” behavior.

    That’s hysterical stuff, frankly. But it also means that the Dems’ piecemeal approach to passing elements of the American Jobs Act is not only assuring the issue stays in the news, but also dominates the legislative calendar as well…as the issue of jobs should be doing right now.

    Keep up the pressure, guys.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Democrats’ ‘Satan sandwich’ starts tasting pretty good
    By Molly K. Hooper – 11/18/11 06:00 AM ET

    The bipartisan debt-limit deal, famously called a “Satan sandwich” by a prominent Democrat this summer, is looking more heavenly to the left.

    Republicans crowed after striking the agreement with President Obama, while congressional Democrats cried foul. Despite the White House’s endorsement of the bill, 95 House Democrats voted against it.

    Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the Budget Committee, subsequently said Republicans called Obama’s bluff. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he got 98 percent of what he wanted in the deal.

    Three months later, members of both parties are looking at the deal much differently.

    A GOP lawmaker who requested anonymity told The Hill that “it’s the 2 percent that’s killing [Boehner] … I’ve never understood why we thought 12 people could come up with a solution any better than we could.”

    With the supercommittee deadlocked, the sequestration cuts of $1.2 trillion are now likely to be triggered. Those reductions would hit national security programs, but not call for structural reforms to Medicare, Medicaid and/or Social Security.

    Republicans on the House and Senate Armed Services committees were wary of putting defense cuts in the trigger, but Democrats essentially said the GOP would have to choose between tax increases or cuts to the military. Republicans opted for the latter, despite major concerns expressed by House Armed Service Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.).

    Now, in sharp contrast to this summer, Democrats say they are in the driver’s seat. They note that Republicans are already vowing to torpedo the sequestration cuts to the Defense Department, something Democrats say they will not go along with.

    Many Democrats would prefer the sequestration cuts over a deal that would make major reforms to entitlement programs.

    Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who voted against the debt deal on Aug. 1, is openly rooting for the super-panel to fall short.

    “I hope that they cannot reach an agreement,” Nadler told Capital New York.

    Nadler favors major cuts to the military — which could happen in 2013 if Congress cannot pass a deficit-reduction bill.

    Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), who dubbed the debt deal a “Satan sandwich,” has tempered his critique.

    He, along with dozens of congressional Democrats and Republicans, has called for the supercommittee to “go big” and find deficit savings in the $3 trillion to $4 trillion range. Part of that savings, Cleaver has made clear, should come from the expiration of the Bush tax rates.

  27. rikyrah says:

    7-year-old writes book on struggle with obesity
    By Amber Leon

    10:09 AM on 11/18/2011

    While most kids her age are playing with toys, 7-year-old LaNiyah Bailey is writing books about obesity and preaching advocacy of anti-bullying. Her mantra is: “I am beautiful. I am loved. I will not let what others say define me. Bullying is not cool.” In an effort to share this courageous mindset, LaNiyah created a children’s storybook, Not Fat Because I Wanna Be, about a little girl, Jessica, who is teased by her peers for being overweight.

    Written in the first person, LaNiyah’s inspiration comes from her own personal experiences of being “different”. Even before little LaNiyah was consuming solid food she had feeding issues but it wasn’t until the age of 3 that it became noticeable.

    As her weight gain grew excessive, LaNiyah’s parents took her to a pediatrician and put her on a strict diet. “The pictures of inside my stomach showed that my colon was really swollen,” LaNiyah writes.

    Despite consistent efforts to eat healthy and exercise, LaNiyah still battles obesity weighing over 100 pounds. She is currently undergoing endocrine/pubertal tests to diagnose her weight disparity.

    “In preschool, the other kids teased me about being fat,” LaNiyah writes in the book.

    At an early age LaNiyah found out first hand that words could be very hurtful. She was made fun of because of her weight at daycare and in school. After spending many days secretly crying, LaNiyah decided to stand up against bullying and fight back with her own words.

    This book and her recent coloring activity book, Stand up! Bully Busters Coming To Town, are right on time because both bullying and obesity are prevalent amongst youth. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. Also most recently, countless accounts of bullying have ended fatally.

    LaNiyah’s book has been used as a teaching aid to create awareness in schools and was recognized as a leading contributor in President Obama’s anti-bullying initiative.

    LaNiyah says, “I just wish this book can help other kids like me… and I wish it can help people see that [even though] you might be big

  28. rikyrah says:

    How Texas’ War On Voting Will Undercut Legal Immigrants And People With Disabilities
    By Scott Keyes on Nov 18, 2011 at 9:50 am

    New restrictions on voting rights this year aren’t confined to photo ID requirements at the polls. In a number of states, the hydra-headed war on voting is targeting people who want to help register others to vote as well.

    Nowhere is this more true than the state of Texas. In a bill deemed by the Gov. Rick Perry (R) to be “emergency legislation,” the Texas legislature altered the state’s election law to not only require photo ID at the ballot box, but also place major new restrictions on groups and individuals conducting voter registration drives.

    The new law – which is currently pending review by the Justice Department to determine if it satisfies Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act – forbids anyone from becoming a volunteer deputy registrar and helping register others to vote if that person is not an eligible Texas voter himself.

    ThinkProgress spoke with a number of groups in Texas about what the changes will mean for voters. Luis Figueroa, an attorney at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, pointed out that the new law would bar permanent legal residents who are in the process of becoming citizens from engaging in the political process by registering others. Similarly, Jessica Gomez of Disability Rights Texas observed that a number of people with disabilities have a “full guardianship” – a term for those whose have a mental incapacity that restricts them from voting. As a result, they are not eligible Texas voters and would be forbidden from registering others.

    Gomez noted one individual in particular who for years carried around voter registration forms in his wheelchair because even though he couldn’t vote, registering others made him feel more a part of the community.

    Figueroa and Gomez both agreed that by banning certain people from helping register others, a large number of would-be voters will fall through the cracks of the political process.

    Watch their interviews:

    A major study by the Brennan Center for Justice found that in 2008 alone, over 5 percent of all new registered voters – 26,000 individuals – did so via a registration drive. If the Justice Department allows the new Texas law to go into effect, that number could drop significantly in 2012.

  29. Ametia says:

    FDA says Avastin should no longer be used for breast cancer, citing no proof it extends life
    By Associated Press, Updated: Friday, November 18, 9:52 AM

    WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration has declared the blockbuster drug Avastin should no longer be used in breast cancer patients because there’s no proof it extends their lives — and it is causing dangerous side effects.

    Friday’s ruling was long expected, but is sure to disappoint women who say they’ve run out of other options.

  30. Ametia says:


  31. Ametia says:

    Republicans make room on the table for tax increases after all
    By Ruth Marcus, Published: November 17

    The debt-reduction supercommittee may well fail in its assignment to find at least $1.2 trillion in savings. The anticipatory finger-pointing has already begun. Yet as the clock ticks, I find myself uncharacteristically optimistic, for two reasons.

    In the short term, nothing concentrates the mind like a sequester — especially one that hits defense spending. Even more important, because the planned cuts would not take effect for a year and could be undone, nothing concentrates the political mind like an election — and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle seem truly worried about the electoral implications of failure. The public is already disposed to throw the bums out, and if the bums can’t even manage a down payment on debt reduction, the risk they will suffer that fate becomes even greater.

  32. Ametia says:

    Oklahoma State University women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant women’s basketball coach Miranda Serna have been killed in a plane crash in Arkansas, the university confirmed Friday.
    Two others — including the pilot — were also killed in Thursday night’s crash. Those victims were not affiliated with the university, and there were no survivors.
    Budke and Serna were on a recruiting trip, the university said in a statement.

  33. Ametia says:


  34. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    November 18, 2011 8:00 AM

    Court blocks Arizona impeachment crusade

    By Steve Benen

    Most objective observers seemed to believe Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s (R) impeachment crusade against the state’s redistricting chair was indefensible. Yesterday, the state’s highest court agreed.

    The Arizona Supreme Court on Thursday evening handed Gov. Jan Brewer a stinging defeat, overturning her removal of the chairwoman of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission and reinstating Colleen Mathis as the panel’s leader.

    The ruling came less than three hours after the court heard arguments on the case, which revolved around the extent to which the commission is free of outside political interference.
    The court decided the governor did not demonstrate substantial grounds for removing Mathis from the head of the redistricting panel, and it ordered Mathis returned to her duties.

    The law requires that the governor justify impeachment by pointing to “substantial neglect of duty, gross misconduct in office or inability to discharge the duties of office.” Brewer couldn’t offer a coherent explanation during interviews, and it appears her lawyers couldn’t offer a coherent explanation to the Arizona Supreme Court.

    For those who haven’t been following this story, let’s quickly review the background. When it comes to post-Census redistricting, Arizona has an Independent Redistricting Commission, made up of two Democrats, two Republicans, and one registered Independent. The system was adopted by Arizona voters more than a decade ago, and was intended to take partisan agendas out of the redistricting process.

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

    This did not sit well with Republicans, who were so outraged that Brewer and the GOP-dominated state Senate went after the commission’s chair. Yesterday, the state Supreme Court reversed the Republicans’ stunt.

    Now what happens? The commission will apparently get back to work, though the governor may simply start over, this time with a new argument to justify impeachment.

    In the meantime, as David Nir noted, the court’s ruling is “a massively humiliating turn of events” for Arizona’s Republican governor.

    When the GOP effort began, John Avlon argued: “If Brewer gets away with this power grab, it will suddenly appear on the menu of every other governor looking to artificially preserve his or her party’s hold on power, Republican or Democrat. It is nothing less than an attempt to hijack representative democracy.”

    Yesterday, that power grab came to abrupt end.

  35. rikyrah says:

    November 18, 2011 9:30 AM

    Bachmann’s giant lie

    By Steve Benen

    When it comes to making up wild-eyed nonsense about the Affordable Care Act, Michele Bachmann is in a league of her own. It’s become more entertaining than annoying — I’m generally left wondering what kind of unhinged nuttiness the Republican presidential candidate may come up with next.

    True to form, Bachmann doesn’t disappoint.

    Michele Bachmann prides herself for pressing Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but during an appearance at Webster City, Iowa Wednesday night, the Minnesota congresswoman proved that she’s also leading the charge in developing outrageous new attacks against the legislation.

    At the town hall, Bachmann complained that undocumented immigrants are exempt from paying for the law, claimed that a seven-foot doctor told her the IRS had to approve medical procedures.

    This may sound like a joke, but Bachmann was entirely serious. She told this group of Iowa voters, “One man stood up, he was over 7-feet tall. He was a physician in the community. And he said, ‘I had a little lady in my office and because of Obamacare, I had to call the IRS and I had to get a number to put on a form before I could see her.’”

    Now, I can’t say whether there was actually a 7-foot-tall doctor or whether the congresswoman imagined all of this. If there was a tall doctor who claimed he was forced to call the IRS, this physician is badly confused — there’s nothing in the Affordable Care Act that makes this requirement.

    Bachmann, who claims to understand the health care law, should know this.

    I’ll give the right-wing credit for one thing, though: she doesn’t tell small lies that fudge the truth; she tells huge whoppers that have no connection to reality at all. Bachmann has no business serving in public office, but she’d probably write fine fiction.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, November 17, 2011
    Last Call
    Posted by Zandar
    With Rick Perry fading fast in the national spotlight and his fundrasing cash starting to dry up as the GOP looks for the next Anyone But Romney, the Texas Governor continues to blow a merry little pied piper tune on the racial dog whistle to play for alms from the Tea Party faithful he’ll need to gain ground. TPM’s Benjy Sarlin

    Rick Perry says President Obama, the son of a teen mother who frequently was absent from his life and often was stretched financially, grew up the easy way. It’s the latest in a series of winks at conspiracy-minded conservatives deeply suspicious about the president’s background.

    Perry’s comments came as he discussed his new ad attacking Obama for saying US policymakers have grown “lazy” about honing America’s competitive edge, a comment that Republicans have inaccurately suggested was aimed at American workers. Asked by FOX News host Sean Hannity about the spot, Perry launched into a highly personal attack on Obama.

    “It reveals to me that he grew up in a privileged way,” he said. “He never had to really work for anything.”

    Ding ding ding! And here Perry plays directly to Birther audience, the folks that gleefully pirouette around racial overtones of a man who “never had to really work” to end up President (who just happens to be black.) The implications that he’s undeserving, unintelligent, lazy, shiftless, one of them is no accident. Perry knows his audience and he’s going full blast on that whistle. Sarlin ends with this insight:

    From a strategic perspective, there’s some sense to these tactics as a last-ditch gambit to turn around the Texas governor’s toxic poll numbers. If Perry can bait Democratic critics into accusing him of racially tinged attacks on Obama, he can cast himself as a victim and rally conservative media and Tea Party activists behind him. So far it hasn’t worked, but it certainly isn’t for lack of trying.

    It’s an interesting theory and most likely correct. Certainly the President is staying above the fray…but the point is these are racially tinged attacks and they need to be called out.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Boehner: War drawdown savings can’t go to jobs
    Speaker: ‘I’ve made it pretty clear…’
    Updated: Thursday, 17 Nov 2011, 2:17 PM EST
    Published : Thursday, 17 Nov 2011, 1:21 PM EST

    ANDREW TAYLOR,Associated Press
    WASHINGTON (AP) — With a special deficit-reduction supercommittee floundering, the top Republican in Congress warned Thursday that he won’t permit savings from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to pay for President Barack Obama’s jobs spending agenda.

    Democrats on the deficit panel proposed last week to use war savings to pay for a $300 billion jobs program along the lines President Barack Obama wants, plus take steps to protect the upper middle class from the alternative minimum tax and extend financing for doctors who treat Medicare patients.

    “I’ve made it pretty clear that those savings that are coming to us as a result of the wind down of the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan should be banked, should not be used to offset other spending,” said House Speaker John Boehner. But the Ohio Republican did not address whether war savings could be used to extend expiring tax cuts such as popular business tax breaks or Obama’s expensive proposal to renew payroll tax cuts that expire at the end of December.

    Boehner also said he’s frustrated that all six supercommittee Democrats have yet to unite around a specific plan, even though there’s now less than a week before the panel’s official deadline.

    “They’ve never really put paper on the table. It’s very frustrating,” Boehner said.

    By all accounts, the deficit panel is at a stalemate.

    Despite small steps in recent weeks toward addressing core solutions to the nation’s intractable deficit problem, such as new taxes and curbs on the growth of enormously expensive government benefit programs, both sides said further progress had come to a halt.

    Less than a week remains before a Thanksgiving deadline for the panel to vote on a plan cutting deficits by at least $1.2 trillion over a decade. Whatever remaining hope there was appeared to have washed away Wednesday after both Democrats and Republicans on the 12-member panel traded rhetorical salvos about whether the other side was negotiating in good faith.

    “We need to find out whether our Republican colleagues want to continue to negotiate or whether they’ve drawn a hard line in the sand,” supercommittee Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said. “The question is whether they’ve kind of said, ‘Take it or leave it.'”

  38. rikyrah says:

    November 18, 2011 8:30 AM

    House readies vote on Balanced Budget Amend.

    By Steve Benen

    House Republicans don’t have time to address the jobs crisis, but they do have time for proposed constitutional amendments that would make the jobs crisis worse.

    The lower chamber will vote today on a constitutional amendment to require balanced budgets — a proposal better known as one of the worst ideas in the history of bad ideas — the first time lawmakers have considered the measure since 1995. To move on to the Senate, the amendment will need 290 votes today, translating to roughly every Republican and about 50 House Democrats.

    The good news is, GOP support is not unanimous. Yesterday, a key House Republican announced his opposition to the constitutional monstrosity. (thanks to Glenn Sugameli for the tip)

    House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) said he would vote against the balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution later this week, a high-profile Republican defection that will make it one vote harder for the GOP to find the 290 votes needed to pass their amendment on Friday.

    Speaking on the House floor, Dreier said that while he supported an amendment in 1995, he has changed his mind, and now believes that Congress does not need to amend the Constitution in order to balance the budget. He said his 1995 vote was based on the belief that an amendment was the only way to balance the budget.

    “I was wrong,” Dreier said. “Two short years later, we balanced the federal budget. We balanced the federal budget and that went on for several years.

    “What I found … is that we were able to balance the federal budget without touching that inspired document, the U.S. Constitution,” said Dreier, a 16-term congressman and member of the GOP leadership who might be serving his final term.

    “I’ve always been troubled by some who argue that the level of your commitment to a public policy issue is based only on your willingness to amend the Constitution to implement it,” Dreier added. “Well, I think that’s silly. I think that’s ridiculous.”

    I honestly can’t remember the last time I agreed so enthusiastically with something a House Republican said.

    At this point, it’s not clear exactly how many, if any, GOP lawmakers may agree with Dreier’s wisdom — I haven’t seen any solid vote counts — and nearly every Blue Dog Dem is expected to ignore party leaders and the White House to support the amendment.

    I can only assume that BBA proponents have no interest in evidence, reason, history, or economics, but there can be no doubt that if this amendment is approved, it would be a tragedy from which the country would likely never recover.

    A Balanced Budget Amendment would devastate the economy and make responses to future crises effectively impossible. Bruce Bartlett, a veteran of the Reagan and Bush administrations, explained this week that this is a “dreadful” idea and the Republican proposal that will get a vote today “is, frankly, nuts.” We’re talking about a proposal with no redeeming qualities.

    In addition to all of the usual reasons a BBA is a tragic mistake, I’d just remind on-the-fence lawmakers of a couple of related points.

    First, the whole idea of the BBA is a cheap cop-out. Policymakers who want to balance the budget can put together a plan to balance the budget. It’s hard work, of course, and would require sacrifice and compromise, but those who take this goal seriously can put in the effort and craft a plan.

    Backers of this amendment really don’t want to. Instead of drafting a plan to balance the budget, BBA proponents want a constitutional gimmick that will mandate a policy goal they can’t figure out how to accomplish on their own. That’s not responsible policymaking; that’s the opposite.

    And in case this isn’t already obvious, even the point of this endeavor is misguided. Sometimes, running deficits is the smart, responsible thing to do, and to assume that the budget should always be balanced is fundamentally misguided. It’s not even about left vs. right, since conservative priorities would be crushed, too. The entire Reagan agenda would have been unconstitutional in the 1980s, and Paul Ryan’s budget plan couldn’t even be considered if a BBA were ratified.

    What sensible policymakers should be doing is dismissing this “pathetic joke” of a proposal as quickly as possible. It’s policy madness.

  39. rikyrah says:

    November 18, 2011
    The talk-radio clowns are about to get even funnier

    Even talk-radio frother Laura Ingraham just cain’t take it no more, saying on her show Wednesday:

    What happens when Godfather’s Pizza doesn’t deliver? You get Newt Gingrich in 30 minutes or less!

    Which, reportedly, is the equivalent of intellectual audacity in the profane annals of right-wing radio. Audacious, and unique:

    [T]he danger for Cain, GOP strategists say, isn’t that Limbaugh and other talkers will turn on Cain publicly. It’s that they will simply stop talking about him – triggering a silent run on his political stock.

    They — “Limbaugh and [most, it should be inserted] other talkers” — have no slicker alternative to a quiet, Stalinesque air-brushing. To turn on Cain publicly would be to admit their error in judgment, and that of course is out of bounds to the all-knowing Mouths. So they’ll neglect and abandon Cain into obscurity.

    Yet, as entertaining as this marooning process will be, and indeed probably already is, it’s a mere trifle of cowardice compared to the fun that awaits us when the GOP presidential field has finally been narrowed to one. Yeah, that one.

    How will the Limbaughs and Levins negotiate neglect then? Sure, the vaster portions of their broadcasts will be devoted to garden-variety Obama-bashing. But their every ferocious assault against the sitting president will in turn represent an unspoken endorsement of the mandating, yep-it’s-man-made-global-warming, pro-choicing challenger — the very last man they wish to ever see in the White House; not to mention that unseating Obama would be bad — exceptionally bad — for the paranoid, right-wing bullshit business.

    To finesse this dilemma would violate talk radio’s absolutism. Limbaugh et al can no more be a little bit pro-Romney than, as the cliche goes, they can be a little bit pregnant. Nevertheless, in their inescapability of factitious anti-Obamaism, they’ll be stuck with a stammering brand of implied pro-Romneyism (unless, that is, a third, tea party erupts) which will be a hilarious phenomenon to witness.

  40. rikyrah says:

    Locals Watching G.O.P. War on Voting Rights .
    By Chris Levister –

    Ninety-seven-year-old Emma Lee Green balances an armload of old books and yellowing papers around the stacks of musty files in her San Bernardino attic. She remembers well the days of Jim Crow, poll taxes and literacy tests that barred many African-American citizens from the voting booth.

    She witnessed first-hand the valiant struggle to ensure that all American citizens could raise their voices on Election Day.

    Like she has done for nearly 65 years, last week Emma went to the polls to vote in the local elections.

    But one year from now, mill ions of Black Americans like Emma could find themselves shut out of that essential democratic right.

    This year, thirty-four state legislatures introduced bills requiring photo identification in order to vote. This rash of legislation classifies several previously accepted IDs as unacceptable, and will affect roughly 21 million Americans if they are passed.

    With the election season on the horizon a new report is warning the legal disenfranchisement of voters threatens to play a decisive role in next year’s vote. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, a non partisan policy institute change to voting laws could strip the voting rights of more than 5 million people, a higher number than the margin of victory in two of the last three presidential elections.

    It’s findings show that new laws regarding photo identification requirements for voting, eliminating same day voter registration in several states, requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote, changing requirements for voter registration drives, reducing early voting days and restoring the right to vote for convicted felons will make voting harder and swing the 1964 Voting Rights pendulum backward.

    The report predicts the new curbs will have a major impact on those inclined to vote for Democratic candidates saying “these new restrictions fall most heavily on young, minority and low income voters as well as on voters with disabilities.”

    Emma insists the new wave of voting restrictions amount to a modern-day poll tax.

    “You see this (referring to a 1959 receipt for poll taxes) the book ain’t closed on keeping us from voting,” she said angrily.

    “Requiring a photo ID is really just a way to reduce the number of black and brown voters. That’s what the Democrats did after 1898 …,” she said.

    The term poll tax has a contemptuous history in the United States. It was used in the South during and after Reconstruction as a means of circumventing the 14th Amendment and denying civil rights to Blacks. This form of taxation gradually fell out of favor in the South in the mid-20th century, but it was not until the adoption of the 24th Amendment that poll taxes were made illegal as a prerequisite for voting in federal elections. That same prohibition was later extended to all elections.

    The poll tax argument has been renewed with the national push by secretive right-wing groups, such as the American Legislative Exchange Council, to pass voter suppression laws such as Wisconsin’s voter ID bill.

    According to Brennan researchers, African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to register to vote during voter registration drives in Florida, and new photo I.D. requirements in Texas do not include forms of identification heavily used by minorities.

    Several other states including Florida and Michigan are looking at various photo identification requirements, with Mississippi holding a referendum in November regarding a proposal and Missouri slated to vote on a state constitutional amendment in 2012.

    “For anyone who thought legal disenfranchisement was a thing of the past, think again.”

  41. rikyrah says:

    Black voters give Obama advantage in Virginia
    By NBC’s Domenico Montanaro

    When President Obama won Virginia in 2008, he was the first Democrat to do so since 1964.

    But with his approval rating now in the low- to mid-40s, there’s a school of thought that battleground states like Virginia (which he won by almost seven percentage points, 53 percent-46 percent) could be an uphill climb in his reelection bid in 2012. It certainly is likely to be much closer than in 2008.

    One reason not to count him out in Virginia is his strength and support among black voters.

    “For a Caucasian Democrat in Virginia and North Carolina, it is an uphill struggle, because while they can get their fair share of African-American votes, it is unlikely they could turn out the African-American vote the way in which Barack Obama can,” said Peter D. Hart, the Democratic pollster who conducts the NBC-Wall Street Journal poll with Republican Bill McInturff.

    “For a Democratic presidential candidate, in a competitive race, Barack Obama has a better chance than any Democrat — current or past — to be able to carry a state like Virginia or North Carolina, due to his strength in the African-American community and their willingness to turn out in large numbers.”

    Obama, the first black president, won 95 percent of the African-American vote in 2008 nationally. That was mirrored in Virginia, where black voters make up one-in-five voters and went for Obama by a 92 percent-8 percent margin. That was an improvement over John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, who won 88 percent of black voters nationally and 87 percent in Virginia. Kerry lost Virginia 54 percent-45 percent.

    And the criticism from some high-profile African Americans, like Cornell West and Tavis Smiley, does not appear to be a widely held view among black voters.

    The latest NBC-Wall Street Journal poll, for example, shows 91percent of African Americans approve of the job President Obama is doing.

    Adding to Obama’s overall margin of victory in Virginia, Obama did better with white voters than Kerry. And while polling suggests problems for the president with independent white voters now, because of that solid African-American support, there remains a path for president to win a narrow victory in Virginia.

  42. rikyrah says:

    Scott Brown Breaks With GOP, Endorses Consumer Protection Agency Nominee
    By Pat Garofalo on Nov 15, 2011 at 9:25 am

    44 Senate Republicans have pledged to block any nominee to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the new agency created by the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. President Obama has nominated former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to be the agency’s first director, but he has yet to receive a vote due to the GOP’s intransigence.

    Senate Republicans are blocking Cordray’s nomination because they oppose the very idea of a regulator focused solely on protecting consumers from Wall Street excess. But one Republican is breaking ranks with his party and supporting Cordray’s nomination — Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA):

    Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts yesterday became the first Republican to back the nomination of Richard Cordray to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — whose chief architect, Elizabeth Warren, is challenging Brown in his reelection bid next fall.

    The decision is a break from Republican leaders, GOP candidates for president, and rank-and-file members, who have denounced both the structure of the bureau and the overarching Dodd-Frank regime of government regulations on Wall Street…“The senator supports the Cordray nomination and believes it deserves an up or down vote on the Senate floor,’’ spokesman John Donnelly said yesterday.

    Of course, Brown’s sudden support for Cordray likely has to do with the fact that he’s facing a strong challenge from Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren, who not only came up with the idea for the Consumer Protection Bureau, but led it from its creation to its official opening.

    Brown has tried to walk the fine line between favoring necessary Wall Street reforms and not earning the wrath of the financial sector. He voted for the Dodd-Frank law, but not before forcing its authors to significantly weaken a key regulation aimed at cutting back on the biggest banks’ risky trading.

    As he was weakening Dodd-Frank, Brown was showered with financial sector cash. He then tried to claim the mantle of a Wall Street reformer, saying, “I worked very hard to make sure that banks didn’t act like casinos with our money.” Now, facing a challenge from a true Wall Street reformer, Brown is trying to distance himself even further from the GOP’s cozy embrace of the banks.

  43. rikyrah says:

    Gov. Scott Walker’s Latest ‘Jobs’ Proposal: Abstinence-Only Sex Education
    By Marie Diamond on Nov 17, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is one of many Republican politicians swept into office last year promising to focus on job creation. Many of those Republicans, Walker included, have instead relentlessly pushed a conservative social agenda and policies that destroy jobs.

    After months of union-busting and eliminating public sector jobs, Walker is now focused on his latest “jobs” idea: forcing public schools to teach abstinence-only sex education, Mother Jones reports:

    [W]alker and the GOP-led Legislature have a plan: First, they curtailed collective-bargaining rights and threatened to lay off government workers, including teachers, cops, and firefighters. Then Walker called a special jobs-focused session of the Legislature, which he dubbed “Back to Work Wisconsin,” to pass even more “job-creating” laws. At the top of the jobs agenda? Gutting the state’s sex ed standards and replacing them with abstinence-only education.

    A bill launched during Walker’s jobs session and nearing passage in the Legislature would repeal significant portions of the state law that requires schools to provide comprehensive, scientifically accurate, and age-appropriate sex ed. […]

    Republicans hold big majorities on the education committee and the Assembly overall, so the bill is expected to pass easily.

    Multiple studies have confirmed that abstinence-only education does not decrease sexual activity among teens, but alarmingly reduces the number of teens who have safe sex. Virginity pledge programs increase pledge-takers’ risk for sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancy. Yet social conservatives continue to insist it’s the only morally acceptable sex curriculum. Abstinence-only programs jeopardize public health, and substitute religious dogma for science and sound policy.

    The Healthy Youth Act just took effect this school year, and has been hailed as “an incredible public health victory in the state,” in the words of Sara Finger, executive director of the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health. Yet Wisconsin Republicans want to remove requirements that schools teach about “the health benefits, side effects, and proper use of contraceptives.” The repeal legislation also nixes the recommendation that schools teach about “puberty, pregnancy, parenting, body image, and gender stereotypes.”

    The new law would require instructors to “identify the skills necessary to remain abstinent” for their students. It does not specify what those “skills” might be, but Tamara Grigsby, the Democratic assemblywoman who wrote the Healthy Youth Act, puts it bluntly: teenagers are “having sex, whether we like it or not. I would hope that a responsible public policy would be to give them comprehensive and accurate information about how to protect themselves rather than pretending it’s not happening.”

    Kate Sheppard notes that at a Wisconsin Right to Life convention, Walker praised a district attorney who claimed that teachers who taught the new curriculum were promoting the “sexualization—and sexual assault—of our children.” The DA also threatened those teachers with criminal charges.

  44. rikyrah says:

    Sen. Jeff Sessions Launches Yet Another Recusal Witchhunt Against Justice Kagan
    By Ian Millhiser on Nov 17, 2011 at 9:57 am

    In a desperate effort to rig the Supreme Court in order to strike down the Affordable Care Act, conservatives spent the last year generating increasingly more and more ridiculous arguments for why Justice Kagan should recuse herself from the Affordable Care Act cases. First, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) suggested that Kagan perjured herself at her confirmation hearing when she testified that she did no legal work whatsoever on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act — a claim he was forced to walk back after he was criticized for effectively calling a Supreme Court justice a felon without any evidence supporting this libelous claim.

    After Hatch embarrassed himself, health reform’s opponents shifted tactics — filing a Freedom of Information Act request seeking evidence that Kagan did indeed work as an attorney defending the ACA. Unfortunately for them, this also proved to be a dry well. Even National Review writer Carrie Severino, a former law clerk to Justice Thomas, was forced to conclude that the documents contain no evidence requiring Justice Kagan’s recusal.

    Round three was particularly clever. House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) sent a letter to DOJ demanding that they turn over a pile of documents that included obviously privileged internal communications about how the Justice Department’s lawyers planned to defend health reform. When DOJ did not leap to comply with this ridiculous request, the law’s opponents’ feigned outrage.

    Now we’ve reached round four, with Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) playing the role of supreme inquisitor:

    Administration emails recently obtained by the conservative through a Freedom of Information Act request show Kagan telling a former colleague “I hear they have the votes, Larry!! Simply amazing,” regarding the reform bill. The emails have rekindled calls for Kagan to recuse herself from ruling on the healthcare reform law next year because of a provision of the U.S. code that calls on justices to disqualify themselves when they have “expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy” while in government service. . . .

    “I am deeply disturbed by these developments and believe that the Justice Department should have provided these documents to the Senate Judiciary Committee during Justice Kagan’s confirmation hearing,” Sessions wrote to Holder in a series of questions for the record. “The Department’s failure to provide this information to Congress and to comply with FOIA requests, as well as your apparent inattention to these matters, is unacceptable.”

    Once again, health reform’s opponents are so desperate to stack the Court against the Affordable Care Act that they have forgotten to pay attention to what the law actually requires Kagan to do. The law does indeed require a judge to recuse “[w]here he has served in governmental employment and in such capacity participated . . . expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy,” but Kagan’s statement that the vote on the Affordable Care Act is “simply amazing” is in no way a statement “concerning the merits” of a particular lawsuit. Kagan did not say “this is amazing and the law is constitutional,” she just said that a particular whip count is “amazing.” Nothing in the law requires her to recuse.

  45. rikyrah says:

    Watch Gloria Cain’s Priceless Expression When Asked if Herman would be a Good President

    When Herman Cain’s wife Gloria was interviewed by Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren recently, she was asked by the host of “On the Record“ if her husband would be a good president.

    Her affirmative answer of course is not all that surprising … if you only it in print. However if you watch her response it’s a whole different matter … not exactly a ringing endorsement of Herman.

  46. rikyrah says:

    BREAKING: Arizona Supreme Court Reverses Brewer-Led Impeachment, Reinstates Redistricting Commission Chair
    By Scott Keyes on Nov 17, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    In a stunning reversal, the Arizona Supreme Court tonight reversed an attempted power grab by Gov. Jan Brewer (R) and her Republican colleagues in the state legislature.

    Last month, the state Senate took up Brewer’s push to impeach Colleen Mathis, the chairwoman of Arizona’s independent bipartisan redistricting commission. Even Brewer herself couldn’t explain how Mathis had exhibited “neglect of duty and gross misconduct,” the only grounds for impeachment in Arizona. Indeed, Mathis’ only real “crime” appears to be that she led a commission which drew a new congressional map with more competitive districts than had existed previously.

    However, justice prevailed tonight as the Arizona Supreme Court rebuffed Brewer and decided to reinstate Mathis to lead the commission:

    The Arizona Supreme Court Thursday evening reinstated the chairwoman of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, rebuffing Gov. Jan Brewer’s unprecedented action earlier this month.

    The ruling came less than three hours after the court heard arguments on the case, which revolved around the extent to which the commission is free of outside political interference.

    The court decided the governor’s Nov. 1 removal letter to Colleen Coyle Mathis did not demonstrate “substantial neglect of duty, gross misconduct in office or inability to discharge the duties of office.”

    Now Mathis and the commission will resume their duty to finalize Arizona’s new congressional district maps. As Daily Kos notes, the group “published draft congressional and legislative maps last month, and since then, the commissioners have been hearing public feedback and have indicated that they plan to make changes to the maps in response.”

    Barring any more unconstitutional power grabs from Brewer, the commission will then be able to finalize the map in advance of next year’s election.

  47. rikyrah says:

    Feds: Illegal Donations From Fiesta Bowl Employee Went To Arizona Republicans
    Ryan J. Reilly November 17, 2011, 11:00 AM

    A federal grand jury returned a nine-count indictment this week against former Fiesta Bowl employee Natalie Wisneski for allegedly making illegal campaign contributions to Arizona Republicans in the name of others.

    The feds say Wisneski, 47, also filed false tax returns as an officer and “high-paid employee” of the Fiesta Bowl. They say she solicited campaign contributions from Fiesta Bowl employees for federal, state and local candidates while agreeing to reimburse the employees for their contributions with Fiesta Bowl money.

    Wisneski resigned from her job in March. An investigation into former Fiesta Bowl chief executive officer John Junker is ongoing, as the Associated Press reports:

    A 276-page report of an investigation conducted by Fiesta Bowl board members and a retired Arizona state Supreme Court justice found the ”apparent scheme” to reimburse at least $46,539 for employees’ political contributions.
    The probe also found ”an apparent conspiracy to conceal the reimbursement scheme from the bowl’s Board of Directors and state officials,” according to the news release accompanying the report.[…]

    The report also uncovered spending of $33,000 for a birthday bash for Junker in Pebble Beach, Calif., $13,000 for the wedding of one of his aides and a $1,200 tab at a Phoenix strip club. The report outlined junkets and free football tickets for many Arizona legislators who had not revealed the gifts as required by state law.

    One part of the indictment alleges that in early Oct. 2006, an employee of “Lobbyist D” exchanged emails with a Fiesta Bowl employee about a fundraiser for J.D. Hayworth. At the end of the email string, Officer A wrote to the Fiesta Bowl employee: “DO NOT send any emails frm office. U and I will discuss shortly.” The AP says that “Officer A” is likely Junker.

    While the Fiesta Bowl asked politicians who received the money, like Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl, to return the contributions, they instead gave them to charity.

  48. Hey guys,

    I’m uploading some pics of the President at the ASEAN Summit and 3 year old Jay comes over and says that’s “President Obama” and after I clicked on another photo, Jay says..”there he is again” LOL

  49. House Set To Vote On Balanced Budget Amendment

    WASHINGTON — The House is voting on a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget, a step some see as the only way to fix a Congress deeply divided over how to put its fiscal affairs in order.

    The vote Friday would be the first by the House on a balanced budget amendment since 1995, when a similar proposal passed with the support of the then-new Republican majority and 72 Democrats.

  50. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, ALL! :-)

  51. Jon Huntsman is on Morning Joe saying Obama care has to go and our President has failed.

    Who the fk is Jon Huntsman?

    • Ametia says:

      I saw Huntsman. What else are these fools going to say; PBO’s a success, and that’s why we want him to FAIL?

      What did Coop10 say? He’s been sitting back watching and waiting for the rest of the GOP clowns to crash and burn. Now it’s time for him to make his move and the media is going to give him all the air time he needs to show his ass just like the rest of them.

  52. Hillary Clinton To Visit Myanmar; First Secretary Of State To Travel To Long-Shunned Nation In Over 50 Years

    BALI, Indonesia — Seizing an opportunity for historic progress in repressive Myanmar, President Barack Obama is dispatching Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to the long-isolated nation next month in an attempt to accelerate fledgling reforms.

    The move is the most dramatic sign yet of an evolving relationship between the United States and Myanmar, also known as Burma, which has suffered under brutal military rule for decades. Obama said Friday there had been “flickers of progress” since new civilian leadership took power in March.

    “If Burma continues to travel down the road of democratic reform, it can forge a new relationship with the United States of America,” Obama said as he announced Clinton’s trip while on a diplomatic mission to southeast Asia.

  53. rikyrah says:

    This Is Not Your Fucking Movement; This Is Our Fucking Movement:

    Let’s be honest here: the march this morning to shut down Wall Street was useless if its goal was to, well, shut down Wall Street. The New York Stock Exchange is, more or less, a show. Multi-million dollar financial transactions are not done by crazy, sweaty guys on a loud, chaotic floor. They’re done digitally. So whether or not the secretaries and junior fuckbag executives and janitors got into work didn’t stop a single transfer of funds from one rich asshole to another. It pissed off some people and got the cops more overtime.

    But, as ever, as ever, since it’s started, everyone, from The Daily Show to Diane Rehm, right, left, and middle, has insisted that Occupy Wall Street conform to some readily defined paradigm of what a protest movement needs to be. Essentially, they are echoing something that Karl Rove drooled out the other day when he asked protesters at a speech he giving at Johns Hopkins University, “Who gave you the right to occupy America?” The real question is “Who took that right away?”

    We are just two months into this. Two fucking months after sucking up the shit given to us from the right for years. Two fucking months after being part of the movement that propelled Obama into the presidency, only to see that movement dissolved and dissipated. Two fucking months after watching two years of Tea Party bullshit being flaunted in our faces as if it represented anything but the height of corporate and conservative cynicism and manipulation.

    We are two months into this and everyone in the media is clamoring for closure. It took years for the civil rights movement to get laws changed. It took years for the anti-Vietnam War movement to get through the thick skulls of the majority of Americans. This is just starting. Welcome to the real occupation.

    Right now, the whole Occupy Wall Street narrative arc is following a well-worn script: defiance of authority followed by a crackdown by the agents of the authority. The corrupt, illegal power of the police and the governments of New York, Oakland, and elsewhere has been on display, with the raid on Zuccotti Park and on encampments around the country, as well as attacks on media members from the right, left, and middle.

    The march this morning wasn’t going to do anything, despite the hopeful rumors that the stock market opening bell had been delayed (it wasn’t). No, the point was, like the rallies for Obama before them, that there is power in numbers. And that power needs to be exhibited and enacted.

    When the Supreme Court, in the Citizens United decision, said that corporations are people with First Amendment rights and affirmed that money is the equivalent of speech, it essentially was saying that some people have more speech than others. The wealthy and the corporations can never be matched in terms of the speech effect of their dollars. But they can be matched and overcome by the sheer volume of people. That’s why we say we are the 99%.

  54. rikyrah says:

    I was thinking about the Secret Service for Minstrel Cain. I hate to be cynical, but don’t you think part of it was to ensure that he DOESN’T get out of the race? With his clown ass ego, he’s loving it…being im-PO-tent enough to get Secret Service protection. He’s NOT GOING ANYWHERE NOW…..LOL

  55. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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