Saturday Open Thread

Ernest Clayton “Clay” Walker Jr. (born August 19, 1969) is an American country music artist. He made his debut in 1993 with the singleWhat’s It to You,” which reached Number One on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks (now Hot Country Songs) charts, as did its follow-up, 1994’s “Live Until I Die.” Both singles were included on Walker’s self-titled debut album, also released in 1993 via Giant Records. He stayed with the label until its 2001 closure, later recording for Warner Bros. Records and RCA Records before joining his current label, Asylum-Curb Records, in 2007.

Walker has released a total of 11 albums, including a greatest hits package and an album of Christmas music. His first four studio albums all achieved platinum certification in the United States, and his greatest hits collection and fifth studio album were each certified gold. In addition, he has charted 30 singles on the country charts, including four more Number One hits for a total of six: “Dreaming with My Eyes Open,” “If I Could Make a Living,” “This Woman and This Man” and “Rumor Has It.”

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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50 Responses to Saturday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Sat Nov 26, 2011 at 02:21 PM PST
    Redstate: Romney “Unelectable” Because of Bain Capital Ties+*

    by ukit

    Over the Thanksgiving holiday, conservative blog Redstate featured not one but two stories on their front page calling out Mitt Romney as unelectable in the general election. What is most surprising is that along with the usual accusations of Romney being a fake conservative, these posts added a new line of attack into the mix: Romney is too closely associated with big money.

    As the diarist writes:

    The above photo features a younger Mitt Romney (in the center, naturally) when he was part of Bain Capital. Get used to seeing it. It will be on busses and billboards across the nation if Romney wins the nomination. And it will be the image people take into the voting booth on Election Day.

    And later in the comments:

    Romney is caught between a rock (his political career) and a hard place (his bankster career) .. and cannot successfully argue his way out of either. He’s literally the worst positioned candidate for this.

    The fact that a conservative blog would reach this conclusion is interesting, and a sign of just how much Occupy Wall Street has already changed the national conversation. However, the diarist actually makes an interesting point. So far, the attacks on Romney have focused on the low-hanging fruit – i.e., Romney’s shameless flip flopping on virtually every issue. In a Bloomberg article, establishment pundit Ramesh Ponnuru argued that the real campaign against Romney would focus on his right-wing views. But in fact, the “sleeper” Bain Capital line of attack has the potential to be much more devastating to Romney than either of those.

    I didn’t realize how devastating until leafing through Josh Kosman’s book The Buyout of America: How Private Equity Will Cause the Next Great Credit Crisis. There is an entire chapter on Mitt Romney and Bain Capital. Kosman describes in detail how Bain and Romney bought up troubled companies, slashed budgets and pensions, and then used the savings to pay huge dividends to themselves, often leaving the company for dead.

    Bain Capital had a business model that was intended to essentially transfer wealth from its holdings to itself,” said current Ampad chief executive Don Meltzer, who was not involved with the business in 1995. “… [They did this] instead of building the wealth of the company that they owned and extracting gains through selling the company.”

  2. rikyrah says:

    Saturday, November 26, 2011
    Worst Case Scenario Time In Europe
    Posted by Zandar
    Not sure how much of this is the Telegraph being all crazy and how much of it is “stiff upper lip, carry on”, but if any of it’s true, it’s a problem.

    As the Italian government struggled to borrow and Spain considered seeking an international bail-out, British ministers privately warned that the break-up of the euro, once almost unthinkable, is now increasingly plausible.
    Diplomats are preparing to help Britons abroad through a banking collapse and even riots arising from the debt crisis.
    The Treasury confirmed earlier this month that contingency planning for a collapse is now under way.
    A senior minister has now revealed the extent of the Government’s concern, saying that Britain is now planning on the basis that a euro collapse is now just a matter of time.
    “It’s in our interests that they keep playing for time because that gives us more time to prepare,” the minister told the Daily Telegraph.

    On the other hand, I have been writing about the worst case scenario repeatedly coming true in the Greek Fire series of posts. It’s another thing entirely to consider Britain actually taking that possible level of disaster seriously enough to make preparations for the inevitable.

    On the other hand, it’s looking like Britain may not be the only ones preparing.

    The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. Even Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) raised his concerns about the NDAA detention provisions during last night’s Republican debate. The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself.

    The worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial provision is in S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which will be on the Senate floor on Monday. The bill was drafted in secret by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and passed in a closed-door committee meeting, without even a single hearing.

    Once again, this is the kind of tinfoil hat stuff you expect to hear during a downturn. More research is needed into both these stories before I’m willing to pass judgment on them. But these stories are now out there, and they need to be looked at.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Friday, November 25, 2011
    Mitt Romney Evil, Incorporated
    Posted by Zandar

    One of Greg Sargent’s readers puts forth an interesting hypothesis about Mitt Romney’s most recent scurrilous campaign ad: that Team Romney’s obviously awful shenanigans are a signal to the GOP base that Romney’s ready to run as nasty a campaign as necessary in order to win.

    This interpretation is practically supported by what the Romney camp itself has said about the ad. Romney advisers have proudly boasted that their dishonesty “worked,” because it secured more media attention for the ad and baited the Obama team into an all-out response, creating the impression of a head-to-head media showdown between Romney and the President. It’s only a tiny leap from there to the conclusion that the Romney camp saw the dishonesty itself as a way to prove to GOP primary voters that Romney will do whatever it takes to beat Obama. And if this is the game, then the Romney camp’s unrepentance in the face of widespread media condemnation only helps, signaling that Romney is willing to employ whatever tactics are necessary to end the Obama presidency even if it means bravely taking a sustained beating from the Obama-worshipping liberal media along the way.

    My view is that all the boasting from Romney’s advisers about their own strategic brilliance is just bluster. If they’re willing to run an ad this dishonest, why would anyone believe anything they say about it? It’s more likely that they lied, got caught, and came up with another set of falsehoods to explain the lie away. But who knows — maybe the above interpretation is true. Maybe the Romney team thinks a deliberate show of dishonesty will carry appeal for GOP primary voters who hate Obama so much that they want a candidate who will throw even the most basic standards of honesty and decency out the window to defeat him. If so, that says a lot about the Romney campaign’s regard for those voters, doesn’t it?

    Actually, it says a lot more about the state of the Republican party machine more than anything else. The GOP Plan for 2012 was always “drain all the oil out of the economic engine of the country and blame Obama”. It’s not novel or even a bit weird, it’s exactly what the base has been conditioned to expect. Right now the defining characteristic of a Republican is blind, inchoate hatred, of President Obama, his wife, his daughters, his party, his fellow Democrats, the people who voted for them, and the people who support them.

    Mitt is simply playing to the base. He has no choice. Assigning Team Romney values that may indicate they are going to feel shame or remorse and run a more positive campaign in the future is ridiculous. The only thing that matters is President Obama has to lose, and the base doesn’t care how or why. Lies about the President and his policies have been the hallmark of the last three years. Why would the 2012 campaign season be any different?

    Mitt Romney is a Republican. This is what Republicans are all about.

  4. rikyrah says:

    The Occupy Disconnect

    by BooMan
    Sat Nov 26th, 2011 at 09:59:37 PM EST

    Of the roughly seventy-six members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, thirty-two members are white. The rest are black or Latino or Far Eastern or Pacific Islander or Caribbean or some combination. Another way of looking at it is that 58% of the Progressive Caucus is non-white. If progressives represent the leftward border of the Democratic Party, why then do we see this?

    A few prominent African Americans, such as Cornel West, Russell Simmons, Kanye West and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), have made appearances at Occupy protests. “Occupy the Hood,” a recent offshoot, has tried to get more people of color involved. But the main movement remains overwhelmingly white: A Fast Company survey last month found that African Americans, who are 12.6 percent of the U.S. population, make up only 1.6 percent of Occupy Wall Street.

    One of my commitments is to occasionally remind people in the blogosphere, who are also overwhelmingly white progressives, that the bigger half of the progressive movement is non-white and that this non-white bigger half has distinctly different opinions about the president, the party, and the state of American politics. This is why the blogosphere periodically convinces itself that the president is losing his base of support only to discover that polling data doesn’t back it up.

    It’s probably true that the black community is protective of the first black president in a way that your average white progressive is not. But it’s much deeper than that. Blacks are accustomed to glacial progress. They’re familiar with cutting shitty deals that move the ball a few inches down the field. They’ve never been under the misimpression that the cards aren’t stacked against them. They are no strangers to high unemployment, job insecurity, or grinding undeserved poverty. If there is one defining difference between how the black and brown progressives have reacted to the president and how white progressives have reacted, it has been that black and brown progressives had much more realistic expectations. I think a lot of blacks look at the white people protesting income disparity and think to themselves, “when did you notice?”

    People might expect blacks to leap into the fray, relieved that they have new allies. But the lack of solidarity whites showed them in the boom times helps explain the lack of solidarity now.

    “Occupy Wall Street was started by whites and is about their concern with their plight,” Nathalie Thandiwe, a radio host and producer for WBAI in New York, said in an interview. “Now that capitalism isn’t working for ‘everybody,’ some are protesting.”

    That comment seems to be dripping with sarcasm.

    Here’s another black voice:

    New Jersey comedian John “Alter Negro” Minus says he won’t participate in the Occupy protests because black people are being besieged by so many social injustices, he can’t get behind targeting just the 1 percent.

    Banks’ bad behavior “just gets lost in the sauce, so to speak,” Minus said. “High joblessness and social disenfranchisement is new to most of the Wall Street protesters. It’s been a fact of life for African Americans since the beginning. I actually think black people are better served by staying out of the protests. Civil disobedience will only further the public perception that black people like to cause trouble.”

    There are two distinct points there. But, combined, they say that the Occupy Movement isn’t black people’s fight. Maybe John Minus is wrong about that, but that’s how he feels. And I think he speaks for a lot of other people, too. And despite his risk aversion, it’s not like black people have been historically shy about protesting for their rights. By and large, they’re not motivated by this fight.

    I can’t say that I fully understand why they’re not motivated by it, but I can say that it indicates some massive flaw in the movement. A real progressive movement would encompass the entirety (and certainly the sizable majority) of the progressive spectrum.

    Some will blame the black community and say that they are just being protective of the president. But I think they’re showing a shrewder political understanding and more maturity. The pace of progress may be agonizingly slow, but that’s the same as it ever was…if you’ve been really paying attention. It’s not a shock or a disappointment if you’ve been the one waiting the whole time.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Saturday, November 26, 2011
    A New Scooby Doo Mystery: The Washington Post Asks “Why Aren’t Blacks Embracing Occupy Wall Street?”

    Blacks have historically suffered the income inequality and job scarcity that the Wall Street protesters are now railing against. Perhaps black America’s absence is sending a message to the Occupiers: “We told you so! Nothing will change. We’ve been here already. It’s hopeless.”

    The Scooby Doo mystery that is the relationship between race and the OWS movement continues once more.

    The Washington Post is jumping on the bandwagon with their own version of the game Where is Waldo?, with an opinion piece by Stacey Patton entitled, “Why African Americans Aren’t Embracing Occupy Wall Street.”

    This penetrating essay, written by a memoirist, citing a comedian named “Alter-Negro” as an expert source, offering up a conspiracy between cable, cell phone, cigarette, and liquor companies to depoliticize the black leadership class in the interests of corporate America, commenting on the predatory evils of commercial hip hop, and pondering if the black church has lost all political and moral authority, is a fun read.

    It is not a deep political analysis; nor is Patton particularly insightful as she takes a shotgun approach to the relationship between race and OWS.

    [A question: who gets to determine the minimum threshold for when the Occupy Wall Street Movement is sufficiently “diverse?” Is there a census, a quota, a barometer, do we have to read tea leaves and chicken bones to know when this magical moment has occurred?]

    However, her essay is useful as an entry point for working through why black folks have not flocked to OWS in mass.

    Thus, some working working questions and hypotheses:
    1. Jaded, well-earned, cynicism. Where was OWS, and the white folks who make up its base, when black and brown people were catching hell this last decade? If OWS is so concerned about a broken economy and a general sense of grievance about austerity and government retrenchment, many, if not most, were deaf of ear to the concerns of people of color, specifically, and the poor, more generally, on such issues as police brutality, predatory banking and mortgage practices, wage stagnation, and a broken labor market. Why should black Americans be expected to ally with people who appeared to be none too concerned with these issues, until they, quite literally, hit home?

    2. Exhaustion. Black folks have been either 1) at the forefront of social and political change in this country, or 2) their struggles have served as models for organizing and resistance by other groups. Perhaps, now is the time for white Americans to carry the weight.

    3. Common sense. Black folks don’t want to go to jail, understand that their interests are not served by a racist criminal (in)justice system, and know that they will be treated differently by police, judges, and the State, than the (relatively) privileged white folks who make up the backbone of the OWS movement.

    5. Experience and vision. Black folks have seen this all before. We know that OWS ends with a whimper and not a bang. Thus, given the perils of the economy, a general sense of instability and political malaise, and a wisdom born of experience, many in the black community are getting ready for what comes two or three steps down the road. As Stacy Patton smartly alludes to, since black Americans have long known that the game is rigged, we are not at all surprised by the Great Recession and the new Gilded Age.

    White Americans necessarily bought into a lie as they earned the wages of whiteness. Now, the emptiness of the bargain is exposed. White America simply does not have the political maturity, one born of experience and struggle, that is common to black and brown people in this country. Now they are waking up. Perhaps, White America should put on its critical thinking-political swaddling clothes all by itself? Hope may be born from this experience: White folks may not develop a Blues Sensibility, but maybe, just maybe, they can develop a whee bit of an ear for the sorrow songs.

    Read the entire piece here:

  6. rikyrah says:

    Will demographic shifts save Obama in 2012?
    By Dan Balz, Saturday, November 26, 12:24 PM

    The 2008 election was a reminder of the demographic forces that are changing America and potentially the political balance in the country. The most diverse electorate in the nation’s history added to the favorable winds that pushed President Obama to victory. He will need the assistance of those shifts even more in 2012 if he is to avoid defeat.

    Much has been made of the president’s unusual coalition in 2008 — huge turnout and overwhelming support from African Americans, the backing of Latinos, the energy of younger voters, the help from college-educated Americans and the role played by unmarried women. Part of Obama’s success was due to the excitement his candidacy generated among these groups four years ago, but part too owed simply to the realities of a nation changing in ways that are favorable to the Democrats.

    The tension Obama and his advisers will confront next year is how much those inexorable demographic changes are able to overcome the effects of the economy on many of the voters who elected him four years ago and the backlash to his policies among many voters. Whatever the effect of campaign ads, candidate appearances and unforeseen events, the clash of these two underlying forces will be as important in determining who occupies the Oval Office in 2013.

    Two analysts from the progressive Center for American Progress, Ruy Teixeira and John Halpin, have provided the most comprehensive examination to date of how those factors could affect the vote in 2012. The analysis is called “The Path to 270: Demographics versus Economics in the 2012 Presidential Election.”

    The study examines whether the electorate in 2012 will be shaped more by the demographic changes coursing through the population, or by Republican enthusiasm to defeat the president coupled with Democratic apathy of voters hard hit by the economy and let down by Obama’s leadership.

    “The stage is set for a showdown of demographics versus economics in the 2012 election,” they write. “Each side has clear strengths but also very serious weaknesses as they move into this showdown. Victory will likely go to the side most willing to acknowledge their weaknesses and attack them boldly. This will be no election for the faint-hearted.”

    The 2008 electorate was 74 percent white and 26 percent minority. Given population shifts, the percentage of minorities is likely to be somewhat larger in 2012 — a key advantage for the president. Growth in the minority population, with Hispanics by far the fastest growing group in the country, was responsible for nearly all of the overall population growth in the country over the past decade, according to the 2010 Census.

    As a result, Teixeira and Halpin estimate that minorities will account for at least two more percentage points in the 2012 electorate than they did in 2008. The question is whether Obama can maintain his roughly 80 percent support of minorities.

    His advisers say they are confident that African American voters will continue to support him overwhelmingly and that they will again turn out to vote in very high numbers. Their confidence is backed up by much current polling.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Democrats post big fundraising numbers for 2012 House races
    By T.W. Farnam and Paul Kane, Saturday, November 26, 6:07 PM

    Democratic leaders raising money to be spent on the most competitive House races in next year’s elections are doing something remarkable: outraising their Republican counterparts, despite a historic drubbing a year ago that left Democrats in the minority.

    House Democrats have raised $52.1 million to the Republicans’ $48.7 million. The difference is small, but it’s significant given that no minority party has been able to get such an edge in fundraising since the 1994 election cycle.

    Reports released this week show that the National Republican Congressional Committee edged out the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in fundraising for October: the NRCC took in $4.5 million compared with the DCCC’s $4.1 million, not nearly enough to make up for the DCCC’s advantage. The month before, Democrats raised $6.6 million compared with $3.8 million by Republicans.

    What makes the Democratic surge in fundraising so unusual is that political money tends to flow to those in power and those with momentum. In the fall of 2007, for example, a year after Republicans were kicked out of their 12-year reign in the majority, the NRCC had a negative cash balance and had raised just $40.7 million — a roughly 30 percent drop from two years earlier. Not even a year into their new power, the DCCC had pulled in nearly $57 million and had a cash balance over $27 million by the end of October 2007.

    Back then, that large cash advantage for the Democrats foretold another defeat for Republicans in 2008. Now, despite winning a larger percentage of checks from K Street titans and corporate power brokers, House Republicans have not capitalized on their new majority among the grass-roots class of donors. While most political analysts predict the GOP to continue holding power after the 2012 elections, the political cash shortfall could suggest a tougher road ahead than many observers had envisioned.

    The reason for the imbalance appears to be excitement in the Democratic base and an inability of the NRCC to capitalize on its return to power. The NRCC raised $27.3 million from individual donors through October, just over half the amount from the same period in 2005, when Republicans last held the House. Individual donations are coming in at a slower pace than 2007 when the party was in the minority.

    The NRCC’s fundraising is up overall from the previous two cycles when the GOP was in the minority. And the committee still leads Democrats in the amount of money they’ve put in the bank for next year. Paul Lindsay, the NRCC communications director, said the committee is in a strong financial position.

    “With more than three times the cash on hand that we had at this point last election cycle,” Lindsay said, “we are very confident in our ability to continue defeating House Democrats and ensuring that Nancy Pelosi never becomes speaker again.”

    Republican interest groups, including major “super PACs,” appear to have a big head start on their Democratic counterparts and will probably tip the balance in spending to the favor of Republicans. Also, Republican candidates are raising 42 percent more for their campaigns than Democrats on average, meaning they’ll need less help from the party.

    The big gains that Republicans made during 2010 election mean that the GOP will be on the defensive with the seats held by its 87 freshman lawmakers, many in districts won by President Obama and 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry.

    The NRCC’s problem appears to be in small- and medium-size donors. The party’s major donor program is healthy: donors giving more than $10,000 at a time have contributed more so far this cycle than in the start of the previous two combined.

  8. rikyrah says:

    David Frum explains it all: the GOP has lost touch with reality

    David Frum writes a comprehensive, revealing essay that identifies the core problems of the modern Republican Party — which has been overrun by talk radio showmen, radical ideas and the loss of the Grand Old Party’s tether to reality. Frum lays it out so brilliantly, it’s today’s must-read.

    With a big hat tip to Alternet for dropping this in my in-box today, here’s a clip:

    America desperately needs a responsible and compassionate alternative to the Obama administration’s path of bigger government at higher cost. And yet: This past summer, the GOP nearly forced America to the verge of default just to score a point in a budget debate. In the throes of the worst economic crisis since the Depression, Republican politicians demand massive budget cuts and shrug off the concerns of the unemployed. In the face of evidence of dwindling upward mobility and long-stagnating middle-class wages, my party’s economic ideas sometimes seem to have shrunk to just one: more tax cuts for the very highest earners. When I entered Republican politics, during an earlier period of malaise, in the late seventies and early eighties, the movement got most of the big questions—crime, inflation, the Cold War—right. This time, the party is getting the big questions disastrously wrong.

    It was not so long ago that Texas governor Bush denounced attempts to cut the earned-income tax credit as “balancing the budget on the backs of the poor.” By 2011, Republican commentators were noisily complaining that the poorer half of society are “lucky duckies” because the EITC offsets their federal tax obligations—or because the recession had left them with such meager incomes that they had no tax to pay in the first place. In 2000, candidate Bush routinely invoked “churches, synagogues, and mosques.” By 2010, prominent Republicans were denouncing the construction of a mosque in lower Manhattan as an outrageous insult. In 2003, President Bush and a Republican majority in Congress enacted a new ­prescription-drug program in Medicare.

    By 2011, all but four Republicans in the House and five in the Senate were voting to withdraw the Medicare guarantee from everybody under age 55. Today, the Fed’s pushing down interest rates in hopes of igniting economic growth is close to treason, according to Governor Rick Perry, coyly seconded by TheWall Street Journal. In 2000, the same policy qualified Alan Greenspan as the “greatest central banker in the history of the world,” according to Perry’s mentor, Senator Phil Gramm. Today, health reform that combines regulation of private insurance, individual mandates, and subsidies for those who need them is considered unconstitutional and an open invitation to “death panels.” A dozen years ago, a very similar reform was the Senate Republican alternative to Hillarycare. Today, stimulative fiscal policy that includes tax cuts for almost every American is “socialism.” In 2001, stimulative fiscal policy that included tax cuts for rather fewer Americans was an economic­-recovery program.

    And one more:

    Some liberals suspect that the conservative changes of mind since 2008 are opportunistic and cynical. It’s true that cynicism is never entirely absent from politics: I won’t soon forget the lupine smile that played about the lips of the leader of one prominent conservative institution as he told me, “Our donors truly think the apocalypse has arrived.” Yet conscious cynicism is much rarer than you might suppose. Few of us have the self-knowledge and emotional discipline to say one thing while meaning another. If we say something often enough, we come to believe it. We don’t usually delude others until after we have first deluded ourselves. Some of the smartest and most sophisticated people I know—canny investors, erudite authors—sincerely and passionately believe that President Barack Obama has gone far beyond conventional American liberalism and is willfully and relentlessly driving the United States down the road to socialism. No counterevidence will dissuade them from this belief: not record-high corporate profits, not almost 500,000 job losses in the public sector, not the lowest tax rates since the Truman administration. It is not easy to fit this belief alongside the equally strongly held belief that the president is a pitiful, bumbling amateur, dazed and overwhelmed by a job too big for him—and yet that is done too.

    Conservatives have been driven to these fevered anxieties as much by their own trauma as by external events. In the aughts, Republicans held more power for longer than at any time since the twenties, yet the result was the weakest and least broadly shared economic expansion since World War II, followed by an economic crash and prolonged slump. Along the way, the GOP suffered two severe election defeats in 2006 and 2008. Imagine yourself a rank-and-file Republican in 2009: If you have not lost your job or your home, your savings have been sliced and your children cannot find work. Your retirement prospects have dimmed. Most of all, your neighbors blame you for all that has gone wrong in the country. There’s one thing you know for sure: None of this is your fault! And when the new president fails to deliver rapid recovery, he can be designated the target for everyone’s accumulated disappointment and rage. In the midst of economic wreckage, what relief to thrust all blame upon Barack Obama as the wrecker-in-chief.

    The Bush years cannot be repudiated, but the memory of them can be discarded to make way for a new and more radical ideology, assembled from bits of the old GOP platform that were once sublimated by the party elites but now roam the land freely: ultralibertarianism, crank monetary theories, populist fury, and paranoid visions of a Democratic Party controlled by ACORN and the New Black Panthers. For the past three years, the media have praised the enthusiasm and energy the tea party has brought to the GOP. Yet it’s telling that that movement has failed time and again to produce even a remotely credible candidate for president. Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich: The list of tea-party candidates reads like the early history of the U.S. space program, a series of humiliating fizzles and explosions that never achieved liftoff. A political movement that never took governing seriously was exploited by a succession of political entrepreneurs uninterested in governing—but all too interested in merchandising. Much as viewers tune in to American Idol to laugh at the inept, borderline dysfunctional early auditions, these tea-party champions provide a ghoulish type of news entertainment each time they reveal that they know nothing about public affairs and have never attempted to learn. But Cain’s gaffe on Libya or Perry’s brain freeze on the Department of Energy are not only indicators of bad leadership. They are indicators of a crisis of followership. The tea party never demanded knowledge or concern for governance, and so of course it never got them.

    Read the whole thing. It’s long, by Internet standards, but trust me, you’ll be illuminated by it.

  9. rikyrah says:

    November 26, 2011 11:00 AM

    The looming GOP tax hike

    Following up on the last item, all six of the Republican members of the super-committee wrote a joint op-ed for the Washington Post today, trying to avoid blame for the panel’s failure. There’s a lot of nonsense in the piece, but the gist is about what you’d expect: Democrats wanted the GOP to accept some tax increases as part of a balanced compromise, and Republicans refused.

    There was, however, one tidbit in the op-ed that stood out for me. From the piece:

    The 2001 and 2003 changes to the tax code reduced marginal rates for all taxpayers as well as the rates for capital gains, dividends and the death tax. For technical reasons, all of these provisions expire at the end of next year — meaning that if Congress does not act, Americans will face the largest tax increase in our history.

    This prospect has put a wet blanket over job creation and economic recovery. It would be the wrong medicine for our ailing economy. As President Obama has famously said, “You don’t raise taxes in a recession.”

    The six Republican co-authors of the piece are playing fast and loose with several key details, hoping the public won’t know the difference. For example, the mere possibility of tax increases in 2013 is not holding back the economy in 2011. That’s ridiculous.

    But let’s put that aside for now and look at the argument at face value: these six powerful and influential Republican lawmakers are saying they’re against a tax increase in the short term, and believe such an increase would hurt the economy.

    And that leads to a different question: doesn’t this mean these same Republican lawmakers will have to agree with President Obama’s call for an extension of the payroll tax cut, which is set to expire next month?

    The White House is eager, if not desperate, for the payroll break to go through 2012, with projections showing weaker economic growth next year without it. Republicans have balked and said they want taxes to go up on practically all American workers in January because, well, they haven’t exactly explained why they want this. (To see how much your taxes would go up if Republicans succeed, the White House has put together an online calculator.)

    And that leaves GOP lawmakers in an interesting position. On the one hand, they’re killing a super-committee deal because they refuse to raise taxes on the wealthy in 2013. On the other hand — indeed, at the exact same time — the identical Republicans have no qualms about supporting a tax increase on practically every American who earns a paycheck, which would kick in on Jan. 1, which is just six weeks away.

    You see the problem. Republicans are afraid a tax increase affecting a small sliver of the population over a year from now is awful for the economy, but they’re comfortable with a tax increase affecting practically everyone a month from now.

    The GOP message machine is an impressive operation, able to convince millions of people to not only believe nonsense, but oppose their own interests. But I’ll look forward to this message machine spinning Republican support for a major tax increase on working families nationwide during a jobs crisis and a weak economy.

  10. rikyrah says:

    ovember 26, 2011 10:20 AM

    Pick a wet blanket

    By Steve Benen

    The six Republicans from the failed super-committee, in an op-ed today:

    The 2001 and 2003 changes to the tax code reduced marginal rates for all taxpayers as well as the rates for capital gains, dividends and the death tax. For technical reasons, all of these provisions expire at the end of next year — meaning that if Congress does not act, Americans will face the largest tax increase in our history. This prospect has put a wet blanket over job creation and economic recovery.

    House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), three weeks ago:

    “I think the budget deficit and our debt serves as a wet blanket over our economy.

    Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), in late September:

    Business owners are reluctant to create jobs today when they’re going to need to pay more tomorrow to comply with onerous new regulations. That’s what employers mean when they say that uncertainty generated by Washington is a big wet blanket on our economy.”

    Former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), seeking a comeback, in mid September:

    ” [T]ax hikes that President Obama has been pushing since he was elected and they will put a heavy, wet blanket on an economy.

    So, to review, Republicans believe the possibility of potential tax increases, regulations, the debt, the deficit, and uncertainty are all a “wet blanket.” I can only assume some focus group somewhere told pollsters they like this metaphor, which is why it’s being used so incessantly.

    Let’s make this plain, shall we? The laws of supply and demand are not subject to a Republican filibuster. The economy is struggling because businesses don’t have enough customers. We have high unemployment and depressed wages, which lead to less demand, slower growth, and fewer new jobs. It’s really not that complicated.

    Republicans, who should be able to understand these basics, are eager to make matters worse, undermining demand when we should be doing the opposite. And that’s the real wet blanket we should be talking about.

  11. rikyrah says:

    November 26, 2011 9:55 AM
    GOP still fighting its own idea

    By Steve Benen

    As part of the debt-reduction agreement initiated by congressional Republicans over the summer, the Pentagon was already preparing to cut $450 billion over the next decade. In addition, Republicans offered over $500 billion in automatic Pentagon cuts as part of the super-committee process.

    The result is one of the year’s sillier GOP attacks

    …Republicans see an opening with the $500 billion in automatic cuts that would hit the defense budget beginning in January 2013, and several candidates seized on the issue in the last GOP debate. […]

    Since the cuts don’t take effect until January 2013, Congress will have plenty of time to change them, and the GOP will have plenty of opportunities to beat up Obama over the issue.The question that matters is why Republicans would beat up President Obama over their own idea.

    Before reality slips completely down the memory hole, let’s recap how we got here. Congressional Republicans, in a move without precedent in American history, were holding the economy and the full faith and credit of the United States hostage. Democrats, fearful that the GOP wasn’t bluffing and that the nation would pay a severe price, was willing to cut a bad deal: $900 billion in debt reduction, on top of another $1.2 trillion agreement to be worked out by a so-called super-committee.

    But Dems weren’t completely willing to roll over — they wanted to create an incentive for Republicans to work in good faith on the $1.2 trillion in savings. Democrats proposed the threat of automatic tax increases to push GOP officials to be responsible, but Republicans refused and offered an alternative: if the committee failed, the GOP would accept $600 billion in defense cuts and Dems would accept $600 billion in non-defense domestic cuts.

    Remember, the point was to create an incentive that the parties would be desperate to avoid. Pentagon cuts were Republicans’ contribution to the process. These cuts were their idea. They struck a deal and agreed to accept these consequences.

    Now, however, they’ve decided (a) they don’t like their idea anymore; (b) no longer want to hold up their end of the bargain; (c) want to increase government spending, no matter what it does to the debt; and (d) President Obama is to blame for the Republicans’ own proposal.

    And yet, what you’re likely to hear, over and over again in the coming months, is that Republicans are fighting to prevent dangerous defense cuts, and are meeting resistance from Democrats.

    There’s no reason for the media to play along. News outlets will do so anyway, but there’s no reason for it. Republicans started this fight demanding debt reduction, then offered massive spending cuts to a part of the government they care about. They’re now demanding less debt reduction and more government spending — and if Democrats balk, these same Republicans will spend an election year accusing them of being anti-military.

    Every GOP official and/or candidate whining about this should be asked two simple questions: (1) why are you blaming Democrats for a Republican proposal; and (2) if you’re against this idea now, why didn’t you say anything in August?

  12. rikyrah says:

    November 26, 2011 9:15 AM
    A decimated terrorist network

    By Steve Benen

    It’s hard to overstate how much success the United States has had over the last few years against al Qaeda. The terrorist network isn’t dead, but it’s close.

    The leadership ranks of the main al-Qaeda terrorist network, once expansive enough to supervise the plot for Sept. 11, 2001, have been reduced to just two figures whose demise would mean the group’s defeat, U.S. counterterrorism and intelligence officials said.

    Ayman al-Zawahiri and his second in command, Abu Yahya al-Libi, are the last remaining “high-value” targets of the CIA’s drone campaign against al-Qaeda in Pakistan, U.S. officials said, although lower-level fighters and other insurgent groups remain a focus of Predator surveillance and strikes. […]

    “We have rendered the organization that brought us 9/11 operationally ineffective,” a senior U.S. counterterrorism official said. Asked what exists of al-Qaeda’s leadership group beyond the top two positions, the official said: “Not very much. Not any of the world-class terrorists they once had.”

    This would have been hard to predict as recently as five years ago. At that point, evidence suggested al Qaeda was growing in size and strength, with increased fundraising, and recruiting boosts resulting from the war in Iraq and the Abu Ghraib scandal.

    Now, however, the network has been all but crushed. Remember a few years ago, before the 2008 elections, when Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) proclaimed on Fox News that al Qaeda members would be “dancing in the streets” if Barack Obama were elected president? Well, that turned out to be backwards.

    Given all of this, can we pretty much wrap up the whole “war on terror” thing? Apparently not. The same piece that reported on al Qaeda’s dismantling also tells us that the terrorist network could regroup if we move on, and that its Yemen-based spin-off group — al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula — remains a key international threat.

    But in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s demise, the fact remains that al Qaeda, whatever its intentions for the future, has been reduced to a largely defeated force.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Peanut and I watched the latest Winnie the Pooh movie yesterday. She liked it, and later was far more receptive to me reading to her from the Winnie the Pooh Storybook collection that I’ve had for awhile. :)

  14. rikyrah says:

    November 26, 2011 8:00 AM
    ‘Taking the heat’ on immigration

    By Steve Benen

    Newt Gingrich took a fairly significant risk on Tuesday night, talking about his “red card” approach to immigration during a debate. “The party that says it’s the party of the family is going to adopt an immigration policy which destroys families that have been here a quarter century?” he said. “I’m prepared to take the heat for saying, ‘Let’s be humane in enforcing the law.’”

    Try to imagine Mitt Romney telling Republicans what they don’t want to hear — on literally any subject — and saying, “I’m prepared to take the heat.” It’s hard to fathom, isn’t it?

    In any case, as expected, Gingrich has been the target of significant pushback on this, and campaigning in Florida yesterday, the disgraced former House Speaker fleshed out what a “humane” policy might look like in a Gingrich administration.

    “I am not for amnesty for anyone. I am not for a path to citizenship for anybody who got here illegally,” Gingrich told the crowd of roughly 750 people, many of whom were forced to stand in the hallway. “But I am for a path to legality for those people whose ties are so deeply into America that it would truly be tragic to try and rip their family apart.” […]

    Gingrich wants to model his immigration plan for illegals already in the country on the WWII model of the Selective Service System program, which allowed local communities to decide who would be drafted for war. He noted that the program “really tried to take general policy and give it a human face.”

    “I think the vast majority [of illegal immigrants] will go home and should go home and then should reapply. I do not think anybody should be eligible for citizenship,” the former speaker said to loud applause in Southwest Florida with his wife, Callista, sitting in the front row of the audience. “I am suggesting a certification of legality with no right to vote and no right to become an American citizen unless they go home and apply through the regular procedures back home and get in line behind everybody else who has obeyed the law and stayed back there.”

    Gingrich hasn’t walked back his position from Tuesday night, but these finer details clarify his position in ways that matter a great deal. In this case, a “humane” immigration policy would establish local community boards — who would sit on the panels is unclear — who would apparently scrutinize the lives of undocumented immigrants and their families, and determine who would and wouldn’t be allowed to legally stay in the country.

    To put it mildly, this isn’t a good plan, and it’s not even close to “amnesty.”

    On a related note, Romney’s team has been using this against Gingrich since Tuesday night, but Gingrich has been quick to remind folks of a 2007 interview in which Romney said undocumented immigrants currently in the United States should “be able to stay, sign up for permanent residency or citizenship.”

    Of course, Romney has been through some metamorphoses since 2007.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Don’t Expect Much Diversity from “President” Romney

    By The Admin on November 26, 2011

    Earl Ofari Hutchinson

    Sooner or later presumptive GOP presidential nominee frontrunner Mitt Romney will have to publicly answer which Romney will show up on the issue of race and diversity if he indeed gets the GOP nomination and snatches the White House in 2012. Will it be the Romney that claimed in an interview on Meet the Press in 2007 that he got teary eyed when he heard that his Mormon church’s ruling elders publicly declared that blacks would no longer be barred from the Mormon priesthood. Romney didn’t directly say it but he strongly hinted that the moment stirred strong emotions in him because he never went along with his church’s decade’s old racial bar.

    “I was anxious to see a change in my church.”My faith has always told me that and I had no question that African Americans and blacks generally would have every right and every benefit in the hereafter that anyone else had and that God is no respecter of persons.”

    Now contrast that with the Romney that former GOP congressman J.C. Watts, a staunch black conservative, recently ripped for having a virtually lily white campaign staff. Romney was unmoved by the knock and flatly said that he hires the best persons that he can find. He underscored that with the rhetorical emphasis “What’s the charge? Is there something wrong with that?”

    Nothing, nothing that is if Romney’s political ambitions didn’t extend any further than seeking to win a GOP seat in a GOP friendly congressional district in the GOP’s hard core voter geographic vote base in the Heartland and the Deep South. The presidency is a far different matter. The teary eyed Romney that chaffs at racial bigotry can’t trump the Romney that glibly condones it in picking his campaign staff.

    Romney’s record on diversity as Massachusetts governorgives a strong hint of what his White House would look like. When it came to appointing minorities and women to judicial posts his record was atrocious. The Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association repeatedly lambasted him for his near exclusive white male state house. Romney partly in response to the public pounding, and partly with an eye on a presidential run where he knew his state record on diversity would be closely scrutinized made a slew of appointments of minorities and women to the state bench in his last year in office.

    Romney’s successor Deval Patrick, a Democrat, and the state’s first African-American governor, wasted no time in knocking Romney for his blatant race and gender blind spot on appointments. In his inaugural address he made it clear that he would make diversity and inclusion a huge part of his administration. Romney, not surprisingly, did not attend Patrick’s inaugural.

    Late night comedian-talk show host Jay Leno was bothered enough by Romney’s blind spot on diversity to ask him point blank in an interview during the 2008 GOP presidential primary campaign what he thought about diversity. Romney gave the GOP formula answer and said that he supported it in government and corporations. Leno wasn’t satisfied and pressed him on what his administration would do to promote diversity. Romney wouldn’t budge from the stock retort that discrimination is wrong. That’s even less than the bare minimum response to racial bigotry that any candidate for public office is required to give.

    The embarrassing litany of Romney race tinged gaffes that include the metaphorical reference to hanging Obama, a joke about Obama’s birth certificate, using the racially offensive word “tar baby” to describe a public works project, and an animal reference in a pose with an African-American doesn’t tag Romney as a racist. He apologized or pleaded ignorance in every case. But it does touch off warning bells on race.

    The loudest bell is what Romney will have to do, or more particularly who he’ll have to satisfy, to seal the GOP nomination. Romney will have to do a massive sell job to Christian evangelicals, ultra-conservatives and Tea Party leaders that he’s really at heart one of them. To appease them, he has little wiggle room on race. The mere mention of race, let alone diversity, emblazons red flags among conservative hardliners. They relentlessly bait him as a flip-flopper and closet moderate who will not dump conservative principles at the drop of a hat. There’s no likelihood that Romney would pick the nettlesome Watts as his VP running mate as the influential ultra conservative blog dared him to do in 2007 when Romney was fighting hard for presidential nomination. The Watts for VP call though was done more to needle Obama than any serious interest in promoting diversity in a GOP White House.

    Romney’s actions, not tears about Mormon Church bigotry and protestations against discrimination, tell much about what to expect with a Romney in the White House. And that’s not much.

  16. rikyrah says:


    So The New Yorker – that’s a pretty serious magazine, right? – took to the street and found eight random OWS protesters and asked them five questions.

    Maybe they asked the wrong people the wrong questions, but what came across is that the two older people totally get the President of the United States and appreciate what he’s trying to do, whilst the six who are under thirty, do not. They so do not understand or appreciate this President to such an extent that I wonder what planet they’re on, ne’mind what country. I also wonder if they understand how our government is supposed to work – how Congress relates to the President in terms of power and how the Supreme Court can hold sway over the other two sections. I wonder if they are familiar with the Constitution, other than to know that the First Amendment grants freedom of speech and that the Second Amendment is all about guns.

    Too many people like this garner their ideas from the Professional Left, amongst whom many of the more knowledgeable have proven that they don’t understand a lot of government procedure at all, as Jonathan Chait recently indicated in his seminal essay which has a lot of sniffy Professional Lefters chewing nails and pissing rust.

    If the twentysomethings The New Yorker found are indicative of the driving force behind OWS, it deserves to fail; because they came across as entitled, sulky, spoiled and entirely clueless – especially about the President. Scariest of all is their propensity to cling to the candidacy of Ron Paul, which proves they know absolutely, positively nothing about politics or critical thinking. Let’s look at them.

    First up is Paul Lemaire.

    Paul is twenty, and it says he’s from Brooklyn, but Paul says he came from France in August and applied to go to school in January. However, he says he’s not going to go. Instead, he’s going to “dedicate himself to the movement,” but he’s running low on money and needs to find a part-time job so he can work part time and hang out with “the movement” the rest.

    So … I don’t get this. Is he a French student here on a visa? If so, doesn’t he kinda hafta sorta go to school?

    When the reporters asked him what his specific demands were, Paul replied:-

    I don’t have a specific demand. I want to cut the crap. If I were to have a demand of how we can change things, I want more democracy and to cut the corporate influence on politics.

    So, Paul doesn’t really have a demand. He just wants to “cut the crap.” What crap? Be specific. Well, when he’s specific, he pulls out the standard soundbyte of wanting “more democracy” and “wanting to cut the corporate influence on politics.”

    Then Paul’s asked how President Obama is doing and we get this interpretation of his Presidency:-

    I don’t know how he’s doing. For what I thought he was in the beginning, he’s terrible. He’s not delivered on any of his policies. He’s consolidating the destruction of democracy.

    So … let me get this straight. The President has been terrible for America. He’s “consolidating the destruction of democracy.” Were I the reporter, I’d want to know how. Press this smarmy, little bastard. DADT is repealed. That would never happen with a Republican. The US has the start of what eventually will be universal health coverage. OK, it’s not ideal, but if Paul would care to get out a history book – you know, facts – and read it, he’d find that Social Security, initially, would have been unrecogniseable today. It’s a foundation upon which one builds, but since Paul’s obviously had everything handed to him on a plate and has had enough of his old man’s money to live off OWS for the past two months, I’d say he’s suffering from terminal instant gratification. He wants his Maypo, and because he’s not getting any of what he wants, the President hasn’t delivered on any of Democratic policies. Again, were I the reporter, I’d have asked him to specify, or maybe the gist of the article is to show the utter ignorance of these people who want to defend what’s increasingly becoming the right to camp out.


    Next up is Melinda Kashi from Staten Island. She’s twenty-nine, almost thirty, but she hasn’t learned much.

    She’s a student, but she finds it difficult to go back and forth to school because “student loans are killing her.” But her demands are just as vacuous as Paul’s, and she’s almost a decade older.

    My demand is to change the way corporations are working. I like to create change and I can’t do it by myself. That’s why I’m here, to have a positive effect on the world. I want people to realize that the world isn’t right.

    Uh … yeah, right. In case Melinda didn’t know, the President actually signed a couple of laws which do change the way corporations work – one was the Dodd-Frank Act, which slaps regulations back onto Wall Street – not enough, mind, but, again, it’s a start. When the President spoke a couple of months ago in response for various people demanding that Wall Street fat cats have their day in court, he pointed out that what the bulk of these people had done was immoral, but it was not illegal. Melinda should, like Paul, read some history, and she’d learn that in the past thirty years, literally all of the Wall Street restraints and regulations imposed by Franklin Roosevelt had been deconstructed by Ronald Reagan and William Jefferson Clinton, a Democrat.

    The rest of her demands are just tripe. The President pointed to all of us and said that change begins with us, but Melinda whines that she can’t do it alone, and she’s there to have a positive effect on the world.

    I’d say to Melinda, “You’re twenty-nine, love. Time to grow up.

  17. President Barack Obama, left, chats with First Lady Michelle Obama in the first half of an NCAA basketball game between Oregon State and Towson in Towson, Md., Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011.

  18. US President Barack Obama (L-back) watches the Oregon State vs Towson basketball game in Towson, Maryland, on November 26, 2011.

  19. Ametia says:

    36 Watch LIVE Oregon St. vs Towson Online Stream USA NCAA Basketball on Saturday, November 26, 2011

    Watch Live Oregon St. vs Towson online stream USA NCAA Basketball – Internet TV – Sport: Basketball – Oregon St. vs Towson schedule: NCAA Basketball started on Saturday, November 26, 2011 at 2:00 pm ET Enjoy with the Oregon St. vs Towson live score, preview, recaps and highlights here.

    • President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk towards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011, in Washington en route to the Oregon State vs. Towson college basketball game in Towson, Md.

  20. President Obama Shops For Books With Daughters Sasha And Malia At Kramerbooks & Afterwords In Washington, DC

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has pitched in to help small businesses get into the holiday shopping season.

    The president took his daughters, Malia and Sasha, along on a shopping run to a bookstore a few blocks from the White House.

    He says he made the visit because it’s “small business Saturday” and he wanted to support a small business.

    The retail industry is encouraging shoppers to patronize mom-and-pop businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It’s a counterpoint to Black Friday and the sales and special deals offered by department stores and other large retailers.

    The Obamas walked out with a selection of books including “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever” and “Descent into Chaos: The U.S. and the Disaster in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia.”

  21. Pomegranat­es!

    Get in my belly! I love love Pomegranat­es. It’s my favorite fruit. Yum Yum!

    Our 13 Best Recipes For Pomegranates

    Pomegranates have been savored in the Middle East for centuries, and today they’re finally getting their due in the West. It’s no wonder the secret’s out: the ruby-colored fruits have a distinctively tart flavor that pops in both sweet and savory dishes. (Plus, they’re good for you, brimming with healthy antioxidants, vitamins, potassium, folic acid and even iron.)

    • Pomegranate Mimosas Blood Orange

      3 cups chilled blood orange juice (see Tips)
      3 cups chilled pomegranate juice
      1 750-ml bottle chilled sparkling wine, such as Prosecco
      1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (see Tips)

      1. Combine blood orange and pomegranate juices in a pitcher. Divide among 10 glasses. Top each with Prosecco. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.
      Tips: Look for blood orange juice near other refrigerated or shelf-stable specialty fruit juices in well-stocked supermarkets. Or squeeze your own juice from fresh blood oranges. If you can’t find either, regular orange juice will work too.
      To seed a pomegranate, fill a large bowl with water. Lightly score the fruit into quarters from crown to stem end, cutting through the skin but not into the interior of the fruit. Hold the fruit under water, break it apart and use your hands to gently separate the plump seeds (arils) from the outer skin and white pith. The seeds will drop to the bottom of the bowl and the pith will float to the surface. Discard the pith. Pour the seeds into a colander. Rinse and pat dry. Seeds can be frozen for up to 3 months.

      • Sparkling Pomegranate Punch

        3 tablespoon(s) sugar
        1 cup(s) pomegranate juice
        2 750-milliliter bottles sparkling wine, chilled
        3/4 cup(s) late-harvest white wine, such as late-harvest Riesling chilled
        2 oranges, thinly sliced crosswise
        1 cup(s) diced fresh pineapple, 1/2 inch
        1/4 cup(s) pomegranate seeds
        Ice cubes, for serving

        1. In a punch bowl, dissolve the sugar in the pomegranate juice, stirring vigorously. Add the sparkling wine and late-harvest white wine, then add the orange slices, diced pineapple and pomegranate seeds. Serve the sparkling pomegranate punch over ice cubes.

      • Ametia says:

        Sounds and looks delicious. I’ll have a virgin Pomegranite drink.

      • Ametia says:

        Merci, Gracias, Thank you!

  22. Ametia says:

    When Did Liberals Become So Unreasonable?
    By Jonathan Chait Published Nov 20, 2011

    If every Democratic president disappoints, maybe there’s something wrong with our expectations. Tough love from a fellow traveler.

    If we trace liberal disappointment with President Obama to its origins, to try to pinpoint the moment when his crestfallen supporters realized that this was Not Change They Could Believe In, the souring probably began on December 17, 2008, when Obama announced that conservative Evangelical pastor Rick Warren would speak at his inauguration. “Abominable,” fumed John Aravosis on AmericaBlog. “Obama’s ‘inclusiveness’ mantra always seems to head only in one direction—an excuse to scorn progressives and embrace the Right,” seethed Salon’s Glenn Greenwald. On MSNBC, Rachel Maddow rode the story almost nightly: “I think the problem is getting larger for Barack Obama.” Negative 34 days into the start of the Obama presidency, the honeymoon was over.

    Since then, the liberal gloom has only deepened, as Obama compromise alternated with Obama failure. Liberals speak of Obama in unceasingly despairing terms. “I’m exhausted [from] defending you,” one supporter confessed to Obama at a town-hall meeting last year.

    We are all incredibly frustrated,” Justin Ruben, MoveOn’s executive director, told the Washington Post in September. “I’m disappointed in Obama,” complained Steve Jobs, according to Walter Isaacson’s new biography. The assessments appear equally morose among the most left-wing and the most moderate of Obama’s supporters, among opinion leaders and rank-and-file voters. In early 2004, Democrats, by a 25-point margin, described themselves as “more enthusiastic than usual about voting.” At the beginning of 2008, the margin had shot up to over 60 percentage points. Now as many Democrats say they’re less enthusiastic about voting as say they’re more enthusiastic.

  23. Green Friday, and Andrew Sullivan wants to bring back the Bell Curve.

    Finally, I used to respect the writings of blogger Andrew Sullivan; he was one of the few conservative writers in A-merry-ca who I considered relevant. So imagine my shock when I read what Jason Johnson penned over at Politc365 about Sullivan’s contribution to the Bell Curve debate. At first I thought that Johnson’s take on what Sullivan wrote might have been misguided, but then I read Sullivan’s post for myself and I….well, read it for yourself:

    “Two points: research is not about helping people; it’s about finding out stuff. And I have long opposed the political chilling of free inquiry into any area of legitimate curiosity or research. I’m not going to stop now. Secondly, I agree that there would be very little, if any, use for this data in our society, apart from the existence of affirmative action. But when public policy holds that all racial difference in, say, college degrees, are due to racism, a truth claim has already been made. So the p.c. egalitarians have made this a public and social issue by a statement of fact they subsequently do not want to see debated or challenged using the data. That’s an illiberal position, in my view.

    I remain gob-smacked by the resilience of IQ differences between broad racial groups, controlling for much other data. Maybe if we understood what was going on – which particular and subtle combination of genetics, culture and generation makes this the result – we could help increase equality of opportunity. Maybe racial categories themselves have become so fluid and opaque the whole area is now moot. Maybe we should accept that differences in outcomes among racial groups have some element of irreducibility to them. Maybe the answer is to abolish racial affirmative action and replace it by class-based forms. Maybe the answer is to abolish affirmative action altogether (my preferred outcome). But all these questions depend on a thriving research culture which has been chilled by politics. That’s what saddens me.” [Source]

    Holy s^%*! Johnson was right! A big WTF? for my British friend.

    I have more of an appreciation now of how Johnson ended his post:

    “Because everyone’s work proves that their people are the smartest. In fact, even when Roland Fryer, a brilliant academic at Harvard showed what a farce IQ tests are, his work was largely ignored. Less than 4 years ago Dr. Fryer’s research showed that IQ levels, which are supposed to be immutable, are equal for African American and White children but differences only show up on tests once they’ve been in public schools for 2 years proving that the impact of racism and schooling is muting IQ scores more than actually assessing them.

    Of course, his research was largely ignored by the press and pundit mags because it didn’t support the sexy self-aggrandizing narrative that people like Andrew Sullivan live by: Whites are smarter than Blacks, but it is their extreme benevolence that leads them to allow us to play house in the societies ‘they’ve’ created.”

    • Of course, his research was largely ignored by the press and pundit mags because it didn’t support the sexy self-aggrandizing narrative that people like Andrew Sullivan live by: Whites are smarter than Blacks, but it is their extreme benevolence that leads them to allow us to play house in the societies ‘they’ve’ created.”

      Andrew Sullivan! I can’t say I’m surprised.

      Fuck You Smiley

  24. Texas Redistricting: Court Won’t Block Map Challenged By GOP Attorney General Greg Abbott

    AUSTIN, Texas — A federal court refused late Friday to block a congressional redistricting map it drew up for Texas, rejecting a request from the state’s attorney general just hours after the Republican accused the court of “undermining the democratic process.”

    Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott had asked the San Antonio-based court to stay the implementation of its interim map, which the court drafted when minority groups challenged the original plan passed by the Republican-dominated state Legislature.

    The court-drawn map would ensure minorities made up the majority in three additional Texas congressional districts. If the 2012 elections were held under the court’s map, Democrats would have an advantage as they try to win back the U.S. House.

    Abbott said he would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court-ordered map will remain in place until the legal fights are resolved.

    The court drew the maps after minority groups filed a lawsuit, claiming a redistricting plan devised by Republican lawmakers didn’t reflect growth in the state’s Hispanic and black populations.

  25. Daily Kos: DOJ: Perry’s Texas redistricting plan intentionally discriminates

    The Justice Department said late Friday that based on their preliminary investigation, a congressional redistricting map signed into law by Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry appears to have been “adopted, at least in part, for the purpose of diminishing the ability of citizens of the United States, on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group, to elect their preferred candidates of choice to Congress.”

    DOJ’s Civil Rights Division is specifically contesting the changes made to Texas Districts 23 and 27, which they say would not provide Hispanic citizens with the ability to elect candidates of their choice.

    Ordinarily, you might say a presidential candidate wouldn’t want to be accused of violating minority rights … but with Mitt Romney lambasting Rick Perry for allowing the sons and daughters of undocumented immigrants to attend Texas colleges and universities, maybe this is just the thing he needs to convince the Republican base that he hates brown people as much as they do.


  26. Clarence Thomas, Elena Kagan Asked To Sit Out Supreme Court Health Care Case

    WASHINGTON — Conservative interest groups and Republican lawmakers want Justice Elena Kagan off the health care case. Liberals and Democrats in Congress say it’s Justice Clarence Thomas who should sit it out.

    Neither justice is budging – the right decision, according to many ethicists and legal experts.

    None of the parties in the case has asked the justices to excuse themselves. But underlying the calls on both sides is their belief that the conservative Thomas is a sure vote to strike down President Barack Obama’s health care law and that the liberal Kagan is certain to uphold the main domestic achievement of the man who appointed her.

    • Ametia says:

      The court is rigged; always has been. Thomas the Uncle Tom is a total toady and a disgrace. He really needs to step aside, but you know he won’t.

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