Sunday Open Thread

O Holy Night  (“Cantique de Noël“) is a well-known Christmas carol composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem “Minuit, chrétiens” (Midnight, Christians) by Placide Cappeau (1808–1877), a wine merchant and poet, who had been asked by a parish priest to write a Christmas poem.[1] Unitarian minister John Sullivan Dwight,[2] editor of Dwight’s Journal of Music, created a singing edition based on Cappeau’s French text in 1855. In both the French original and in the two familiar English versions of the carol, the text reflects on the birth of Jesus and of mankind’s redemption.

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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57 Responses to Sunday Open Thread

    • November 6th 2008

      It is sad to read and hear of all the people who hate the idea that a man can come from some of the most unfavorable of situations to become the president of the U.S. and it so happens that the man is white and black and have african family members who are poor. If this was a white man’s story it would be the rave of the nation and a movie would be in the works. There are some great white Americans still in this country who really don’t see the necessity of color and race, but just the character of an upstanding, educated, happily married man and father who is now the most powerful man in the world. America, why not just embrace our new President and help him to lead our country into brighrter and more prosperous days for all of us. Let go of the bigotry and hatred because it really hurts all of us and lest move on into a brighter tomorrow. America wake up, the old America is gone and a new and better America is here.

  1. rikyrah says:

    Your Political Career is Over When You Are Worse Than the Dark Sith
    4 Dec 2011
    Author: The Christian Progressive Liberal

    Seriously. Even the Dark Sith hasn’t sunk THIS LOW. Former Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL, but replaced with a Real Democrat) won the dubious honor of Daily Kos’ Elections Digest “Air Ball of the Week” Award, and here’s why:

    Yeah, he’s no Hermanator, but what a jerk this guy wound up being. He earns this spot on general principle, though he did earn a special spot this week for a pair of reasons. One was the revelation in the above Politico profile that Davis had dropped cash into Republican coffers in two races: the New Mexico Senate race (where he donated to former Rep. Heather Wilson) and the Mississippi gubernatorial election (where he donated to newly-elected Gov. Phil Bryant).

    You sling your constituency under the bus in favor of ReThug policies when you were in Congress; then expected them to turn out and vote you into the Governor’s Mansion in ‘Bama because you’re African-American. When the African-Americans voted for the White Guy instead of your Black ass, you left Congress mad as hell at the Black folk because they didn’t ignore how you pissed on them, told them to kiss your ass, but they should show the hell up and vote you in as Governor.


    But sense real people who know the deal about Mr. Davis, probably sensed that while he was running for the Governor’s office, AS A DEMOCRAT, he was secretly sending campaign scratch to REPUBLICAN INCUMBENTS to help them out in their election campaigns. W-T-F?

  2. George Will: Herman Cain Used Campaign ‘As A Book Tour’

    George Will offered some choice words for Herman Cain on Sunday.

    Appearing in a roundtable discussion on ABC’s ‘This Week’ with Christiane Amanpour, the conservative columnist called Cain an “entrepreneurial charlatan” and accused him of being an opportunist.

    “Mr. Cain, who used this as a book tour, in a fundamentally disrespectful approach to the selection of presidents,” he said.

    His remarks came in the wake of news that Cain is suspending his presidential campaign. Though the GOP hopeful enjoyed a brief surge in the polls, accusations of sexual harassment and an affair proved insurmountable.

    The GOP candidate also came under fire for his lack of knowledge of foreign affairs.

    [wpvideo NWXCETsr]

  3. rikyrah says:

    Return of the mack
    by DougJ

    Steve M. flags a quote that also caught my eye:

    Gingrich “only has two modes—attack and brag,” explained one veteran GOP strategist.

    For my money, no one else has nailed the feel of this Republican primary the way Steve M. has. He asked of Donald Trump “are we really sure that couldn’t work—winning the nomination, by being the macher, the mack, the big pimp?” Yes, Trump flamed out but he was never in it to win it, and his Big Poppa routine played a lot better than I ever thought it would, however briefly. And the gangster rap comparison was perfect:

    Huntsman is like a rapper who isn’t gangsta, doesn’t want to be gangsta, and knows that some of the people making their name on gangsta don’t want you to know that they have problems with “authenticity.” The problem is, Huntsman is like M.C. Hammer—a family-friendly rapper with mass-market dance moves and baggy pants—and he’s certain that, sooner or later, people are going to get tired of all the songs about gangbanging, and what they’ll want instead is … him and his G-rated rhymes and his dance moves and clown pants. Because that was popular before gangsta.

    Yes, “attack and brag” is 100% perfect for this Republican primary. And no apologizies. Gingrich’s three marriages don’t hurt him much with the Republican base because it’s a slap in the face to all the mythical left-wing prudes the same way that dressing as Jack-and-Marlboro for Halloween is. All those millions he’s made quasi-illegally? Just shows he’s a bad-ass money-maker, the kind that libruls love to hate.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with enjoying music or movies or books that celebrate tough guy attack-and-brag personae. I don’t there’s even anything so awful about liking celebrities who seem to embrace that persona.

    Some kind of line has been crossed when a large portion of the Republican party wants that in the leader of the free world. We saw the beginnings of this with all the “bring ‘em on” faux cowboy bullshit we saw from George W. Bush, but that was in the context of a war, not a presidential debate and it had an “I’ll keep you safe” edge to it. This primary isn’t about keeping anyone safe, it’s about some strange wing-nut form of dick-measurement.

  4. rikyrah says:

    The Year of Lying Decadently
    by John Cole

    I’m afraid Krugman is right:

    Back in 2000, George W. Bush made a discovery of enormous consequence: you could base a whole political campaign on claims that were flatly untrue, like the claim that your big tax cuts for the wealthy went to the middle class, or the claim that diverting Social Security funds into private accounts would strengthen the system’s finances, and reporting would never point this out. That’s when I formulated my doctrine that if Bush said the earth was flat, headlines would read Views Differ on Shape of Planet.

    All indications are, however, that Campaign 2012 will make Campaign 2000 look like a model of truthfulness. And all indications are that the press won’t know what to do — or, worse, that they will know what to do, which is act as stenographers and refuse to tell readers and listeners when candidates lie. Because to do otherwise when the parties aren’t equally at fault — and they won’t be — would be “biased”.

    This will be true even of those news organizations specifically charged with fact-checking. Yes, they’ll call out some lies — but they’ll also claim that some perfectly reasonable statements are lies, in order to keep their precious balance. This is already happening: as Igor Volsky points out, one of the finalists for Politifact’s Lie of the Year is a Democratic claim — that Republicans want to abolish Medicare — that happens to be entirely true.

    The Politifact stuff really is amazing, especially for a group that normally does good work. Here’s what is happening:

    America turns off the lights, goes to bed, leaving their Mercedes in the driveway. While we sleep, the Republicans sneak into the car, drive it off, and sell it, but they keep the Mercedes hood ornament. They then split the proceeds between their rich buddies, and go out and find a Ford Pinto up on cinderblocks in a field, with the grass growing through the floorboard. They place that in the driveway, cleverly glue the Mercedes ornament onto the front of the Pinto, and sneak off into the night. The next morning, America and Democrats are screaming- “What the hell happened to my car.” Republicans say- “What are you talking about, there is your Mercedes right there, we just modernized it and fixed it up a bit for long-term financial stability,” and point at the Pinto.

    Then, the rocket scientists at Politifact drive by to take a non-partisan look at things, see the Mercedes symbol on the front of the car, and tell us all we’re lying about the Republicans stealing our Mercedes.

    It’s crazy, really.

  5. Texans Won ….Again! Woot! Woot!

  6. Michele Bachmann: I will “shred Barack Obama in the debates.”

    [wpvideo vwFjPtgk]

  7. rikyrah says:

    After Signaling Support, John Boehner Calls Tax Break For Middle Class ‘Chicken-Shit’
    By Alex Seitz-Wald on Dec 2, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Despite their stated opposition to tax increases, Republican lawmakers have been largely cool or even hostile to a proposed extension of the temporary payroll tax cut, pushed by President Obama and Democrats. Finally, this week, Republicans seemed to relent as GOP congressional leaders publicly urged their caucuses to vote for an extension of the plan. “The fact is that Republicans are doing everything we can to allow American families and small businesses to keep more of what they earn,” Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said this morning of efforts to whip GOP lawmakers to support an extension.

    But in private, Boehner seems to hold a different view. Politico reports that in a closed-door GOP meeting this morning, Boehner referred to an extension of the payroll tax holiday as “chicken-shit,” saying he wanted to tack on unrelated legislation favored by Republicans to make it palatable:

    GOP leadership told its membership at a closed-door meeting Friday morning it would couple with the expiring tax provisions an easing of environmental regulations on boilers, selling broadband spectrum and paving the way for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. […]

    Speaker John Boehner referred to the package he’s putting forward as turning “chicken-sh — into chicken salad,” according to people attending the meeting in the Capitol basement Friday morning.

    Translated, he’s going to pass President Barack Obama’s preferred tax cut, but he wants some skin from Democrats for it.

    So which is it? Does Boehner actually believe in extending the payroll tax holiday for the middle class, or is that “chicken-shit”? An extension of the payroll tax holiday would help 95 percent of working families, but would disproportionately benefit working and middle-class people, as there’s a cap that prevents wealthy people from being taxed on anything they make over about $100,000.

    Last night, Republicans in the Senate killed a Democratic bill that would have extended the middle-class tax holiday while raising taxes slightly on just the wealthiest 0.4 percent of Americans.

  8. rikyrah says:

    GOP Supercommittee Member Admits Bush Tax Cuts Didn’t Create Jobs, Can’t Explain Why
    By Pat Garofalo on Dec 4, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Republicans this week filibustered a Democratic plan to extend a soon-to-expire payroll tax cut, objecting to the fact that the extension was paid for by implementing a small surtax on income in excess of $1 million. To justify their objection to taxing the wealthy, Republicans have revived their false claim that taxing the rich amounts to taxing small business owners and job creators.

    Bloomberg’s Al Hunt asked Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) — who represented the GOP on the fiscal supercommittee that failed to craft a deficit reduction package — to explain this viewpoint, considering that more jobs were created under the Clinton administration and its higher taxes on the rich than were created following the Bush tax cuts. Upton admitted that “I don’t know specifically the answer to that question,” nonsensically pointing to Friday’s jobs report instead of trying to argue the premise of Hunt’s question:

    HUNT: Why under those pre-Bush tax cut tax rates did the economy do so well in the ‘90s? And why under the Bush tax rates, less for the wealthy, to do so poorly in this decade?

    UPTON: Well, a couple things. One, spending went up, Al, the wars. I mean, that’s trillions of dollars. And also there was no change in the entitlements. And we also know –

    HUNT: But that shouldn’t hurt the economy. That shouldn’t hurt economic growth.

    UPTON: Yeah, but that impacts the debt and the deficit.

    HUNT: But I’m asking, why did the economy grow a lot? Why were more jobs created in the previous decade under higher taxes than in this decade under lower taxes?

    UPTON: I don’t know specifically the answer to that question. I can – I can maybe merit a guess. But, I mean, in large part is because our job – we lost jobs. I mean, look at the jobs report that came out this last week, three-hundred- some-thousand people actually stopped looking for jobs.

  9. Ametia says:

    Priebus also said President Obama “came to this country” WTF? PLEASE, MTP, ENOUGH OF THIS BIRTHER NONSENS!

    December 04, 2011 11:00 AM
    Reince Priebus Refuses to Say Whether GOP Candidates Should Attend Trump Moderated Debate
    By Heather

    On this Sunday’s Meet the Press, David Gregory asked RNC Chairman Reince Priebus whether or not Republican presidential candidates should attend the upcoming debate sponsored by the right wing rag, Newsmax that will be moderated by Donald Trump and Priebus decided to punt, saying he’ll leave that decision to the candidates themselves.

  10. Long line forms overnight to get tickets for Obama’s Osawatomie visit

    More than 200 people lined up overnight and this morning to get a ticket to see President Barack Obama on Tuesday at Osawatomie High School.

    The line began forming early Saturday evening, and people had to brave frigid temperatures overnight. Tickets are being handed out on a first come, first serve basis at noon today. Only one free ticket per person will be distributed.

    The White House on Saturday cleared up some of the mystery surrounding Obama’s trip.

    The point of the trip is, in fact, to give an address on the economy — and specifically, how the president “sees this as a make-or-break moment for the middle class and all those working to join it,” a White House statement said.

    “He’ll lay out the choice we face between a country in which too few do well while too many struggle to get by, and one where we’re all in it together – where everyone engages in fair play, everyone does their fair share, and everyone gets a fair shot,” the statement said.

    One reason Obama picked the Kansas town, situated about 60 miles southwest of Kansas City, was for an historical tie. President Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican, spoke in the town in 1910, a year after he left the presidency. In that address, to a crowd then estimated at 30,000, Roosevelt called for what he called a “New Nationalism where everyone gets a fair chance, a square deal, and an equal opportunity to succeed,” the White House said.

  11. rikyrah says:





    As Gas Riches Remake Plains, Lawmaker Shares in Bounty
    Published: December 3, 2011

    CALUMET, Okla. — Gas money is transforming vast stretches of Oklahoma. Here, 40 miles west of the state capital, crews work through the night drilling new wells deep into the earth, and a small army of laborers rips through just-planted fields of winter wheat to install miles of gas pipeline.

    Across the state in tiny Atoka, a Cadillac and a Jaguar park next to pickups outside the local store that sells cowboy boots and overalls; in nearby Coalgate, the natural gas industry has created six overnight millionaires.

    The spreading wealth from gas fields has also benefited Representative Dan Boren, a Democrat who has deep family ties to the industry — and has acted as one of its best friends on Capitol Hill.

    Mr. Boren’s stepfather is an independent oil and natural gas producer in East Texas, just over the border. His father, David Boren, a former senator and Oklahoma governor, received $350,000 last year in total compensation for serving on the board of Continental Resources, whose stock has surged while it helps lead the exploration of gas reserves nationwide.

    The congressman’s income has jumped in the last six years, thanks to two family businesses he partly owns that have signed more than 300 mineral leases, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many of those deals are with Chesapeake Energy, a top donor to his campaigns.

    Mr. Boren is a champion in Washington of an industry that is experiencing a historic boom but also increasing scrutiny. He argues that the drilling can help solve the nation’s energy problems and dismisses concerns about the potential environmental and health perils posed by the process with which shale gas is extracted, known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

    Serving as co-chairman of the House Natural Gas Caucus, Mr. Boren has worked to block any move by federal regulators to restrain the drilling and efforts by the Obama administration to curtail tax benefits for the gas and oil industries. He has also pushed for federal incentives to increase demand for natural gas. And he sees no problem with entangling his professional advocacy and his self-interest.

    “There’s zero conflict,” Mr. Boren said in an interview. “It’s like if you are living in a timber community and your parents are working for the local mill. You should go and advocate for your local mill, even if you derive some benefit from it.”

  12. Whew, I finally made it fit.

  13. rikyrah says:

    10 Reasons Why Obama Will Win in 2012
    From the GOP foreign-policy debate to Europe’s financial crisis, here’s why Obama will declare victory next year.

    Watching this weekend’s Republican presidential debate on U.S. foreign policy, you might be forgiven if you thought it shed absolutely no light on U.S. foreign policy. After all, by definition … and by God’s good graces … the views expressed represented those of people who will have precious little influence over America’s international course. Only one of these people can be the Republican nominee. And, in part thanks to performances like what we saw on Saturday, even that individual is very likely not going to ever be president of the United States.

    As a consequence the vapidity of Herman Cain is irrelevant. The pro-torture stance of the wing-nuts in the group is irrelevant. The ridiculous zero-based foreign aid formula suggested by Rick Perry is irrelevant. Even the pontificating of Republican non-Romney of the Month, Newt Gingrich is irrelevant. Because these weren’t foreign policy ideas or positions. They were desperate cries for attention.

    Sadly, also irrelevant will be thoughtful views offered by Jon Huntsman, who clearly distinguished himself as the most capable, thoughtful, experienced, and credible of the crew.

    This means that the 30 minutes of the debate that CBS chose not to air will have a virtually identical impact to the 60 minutes of Obama-bashing, fear-mongering, and peacocking that actually were broadcast.

    1. Obama is the incumbent. That matters. And he has become increasingly confident in using the bully pulpit to his advantage, at appearing presidential. The crucial issue is going to be economics.

    2. Despite Europe’s economic mess, a number of other factors suggest that the U.S. economy may begin to tick upward more during the next year. Other parts of the world are likely to be growing from the emerging markets to, in a modest way, Japan. More importantly, the likelihood that the U.S. unemployment rate declines the better part of a point to something closer to 8 percent is pretty good. That ought to be enough to make the case he avoided the abyss and turned things around in much the same way that Ronald Reagan did in 1984.

    3. Like Reagan, Obama is liked and seen as trying hard to do the right thing. That, plus some signs of progress goes a long way with the American people.

    4. Furthermore, none of these candidates are a Ronald Reagan. Moreover, none of them are even a George W. Bush, which is saying something. Mitt Romney is the whitest white man in America. He will look more like the establishment than Obama in an anti-establishment year. He will not get any journalistic good bounces because frankly it is hard to spin a narrative about the guy that will grab anyone’s heartstrings. Want evidence, look at how desperately half the Republican party is at looking for alternatives.

    5. That search for alternatives could lead to a third party candidate. If it’s Ron Paul it will eat into Romney’s base. It is highly unlikely the left will pose a similar challenge to Obama. As for the possibility of a centrist third party candidate, appealing as it may be, it will be less so to many if it appears that candidate can’t win and will only increase the likelihood that Mitt Romney will be elected on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ticket.

    6. While external events in the world — like the Iranian detonation of a nuclear device or a terror attack — could hurt Obama, in all likelihood, given his growing comfort with foreign-policy and the tendency of the American people to rally around the president in times of crisis, it would be a mistake to count on such a development being more likely to help the Republican candidate.

    7. The reality is that while foreign policy won’t be central to the election, Obama has already succeeded in doing something remarkable: Taking it off the table. He is hard to criticize given his record with bin Laden, Al Awlaki, Qaddafi, meeting his promise in Iraq, starting to get out of Afghanistan, and restoring America’s international reputation.,1

  14. rikyrah says:

    This is Prometheus6’s take on Herbie’s ‘ Campaign’:

    December 3, 2011 — Prometheus 6

    The curious thing to me is how his campaign seemed to just…proceed, irrespective of what Mr. Cain did or what came out about him. I believe the Koch campaign was essentially funded and operated by Koch operatives as an experiment, that Mr. Cain was the first attempt at creating a truly Corporate Candidate. And I also believe their next attempt will be a third party candidate.


    December 04, 2011 12:00 PM

    A post-retail campaign model?
    By Steve Benen

    We know how presidential candidates get ahead in contests like the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. They’re tests of candidates’ skills at “retail” politics — would-be presidents are expected to spend an inordinate amount of time meeting voters directly. The road to success goes through backyard barbecues, kitchen tables, and Kiwanis Club halls.

    At least, that’s how it has traditionally worked.

    For now, Newt Gingrich is leading the Republican pack in Iowa, despite not having spent a lot of time in the state, not opening a campaign office in the state until a few days ago, and not airing so much as a single commercial. Rick Santorum, meanwhile, has visited literally every county in Iowa, and invested months of effort. What does he have to show for it? Santorum is running seventh of eight GOP candidates.

    Even Mitt Romney, though he’s seen his support steady slip in recent months, has been quite competitive in Iowa, even after ignoring Hawkeye State voters for much of the year.

    The NYT’s Jeff Zeleny reported this week that the nature of retail politics may be “a thing of the past,” as candidates replace in-person visits with media interviews and debate performances.

    At a certain level, one might have expected this shift several decades ago, as modern media reached nearly every household. But it wasn’t until “the Fox effect” began to dominate Republican politics that the larger shift completely took hold.

    Cable networks are staging more debates than ever, obliging candidates to build their fall schedules around preparing for and traveling to the slickly produced televised clashes, and putting a premium on skills different from those of retail campaigning.

    A number of candidates, especially Mr. Gingrich and Herman Cain, have used their campaigns as promotional tours for books, movies and their own personal brands. As a result, they often visit places that are good markets for them rather than going to the traditional early-voting states, enabling them to skirt some of the scrutiny that comes with regular appearances before voters.

    A log compiled by Fox News showed that it had interviewed Mr. Cain 63 times since he announced his candidacy — more than any of his rivals — followed by Mr. Gingrich with 52 television appearances.

    There’s never been an instance in which a national news outlet served as an appendage to a major political party, and we’re witnessing the effects. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R), whose presidential campaign failed after relying on the traditional model, acknowledged, “It’s like a town hall every day on Fox News. You hear people talking back to you what you saw yesterday on Fox. I like Fox, and I’m glad we have an outlet, but it is having a major, major effect on what happens.”

    Those who continue to argue that Iowa and New Hampshire deserve to be the first nominating states push a straightforward line: these are small states with small populations, best able to kick the tires and look under the hood when these candidates show up repeatedly, asking for support. But that rationale falls apart if these same voters get what they need to know from Fox News, just as Republican voters can do in any other state.

    Having said that, there’s a part of me that can’t help but wonder if some of these Republicans will wake up in January, wondering whether they’d have fared even a little better had they spent more time shaking hands, kissing babies, and actually listening to voters in the early nominating states.

    If not, and a guy like Gingrich can excel without relying on a traditional, retail model, Iowans should stop expecting Republican candidates to show up in the future.

  15. rikyrah says:

    December 04, 2011 10:35 AM

    What constitutes a ‘career’ in politics
    By Steve Benen

    I wish Mitt Romney would stop saying things like this.

    Four years as governor does not make me a career politician,” said Romney, who served as Massachusetts governor from 2002 to 2006, but also ran for U.S. Senate in 1994 and for president in 2007. “I’ve spent 25 years in business.”

    If the point Romney hopes to convey is that Newt Gingrich has been involved in politics for more years than he has, fine. That’s clearly true. I’ve never been altogether clear why that’s supposed to be an impressive selling point for a presidential candidate — if Romney wins the GOP nomination, he’ll be the least experienced major-party nominee in a generation — but as a matter of arithmetic, Romney isn’t wrong on this narrow point.

    But this notion that Romney is some kind of political novice is just silly. It’s a talking point Romney is obsessed with repeating, but the facts keep getting in the way.

    In 1994, Romney ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate. In 2002, Romney was elected governor. Two years later, he formed his first political action committee, and two years after that, he became chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

    In 2007, Romney abandoned his entire worldview and launched a presidential campaign, and in 2008, after failing, he created another political action committee. In 2010, Romney traveled extensively in support of midterm Republican candidates, just as he’d done in 2006.

    I’d like to think we’re beyond parsing the meaning of the word “career,” but when someone seeks statewide and national office four times, serves as a governor, heads two different political action committees and a national party’s gubernatorial association, that person has a career in politics.

    Romney’s job, at this point, is to feel some sense of pride in his record, and convince voters of its merit. Pretending that record doesn’t exist is absurd.

  16. Good morning, SG2, Ametia and rikyrah!
    Have a blessed day!

  17. rikyrah says:

    December 04, 2011 9:45 AM

    ‘That’s what makes us exceptional’
    By Steve Benen

    Earlier this year, probably aware of one of the right’s favorite smears, President Obama began emphasizing the principles of “American exceptionalism” rather explicitly, a fact more than a few observers acknowledged, even on the right.

    But some conservatives still weren’t quite satisfied. Kathleen Parker argued at the time that unless Obama uses the word “exceptionalism” literally and repeatedly, the president’s motivations deserve to be held suspect. Conservatives, she said, “long to hear” the word, not just the principles behind the word. Obama, Parker added, “studiously avoided using the word” and asks, “So why won’t Obama just deliver the one word that would prompt arias from his doubters?”

    As it turns out, Obama is the only president in American history to publicly use the magical phrase “American exceptionalism.” And as the AP noted, the president referenced the “e” word again this week.

    The president of the United States is defending his faith in America, confronting GOP efforts to undercut his leadership and raise questions about his patriotism as he seeks re-election.

    In the battle over “American exceptionalism,” Obama used a recent trip to Asia to highlight America’s role as the strongest and most influential nation on earth.

    At an event in New York this week, the president reflected on his trip and said Asian-Pacific people are “looking to us for leadership. They know that America is great not just because we’re powerful, but also because we have a set of values that the world admires; that we don’t just think about what’s good for us, but we’re also thinking about what’s good for the world. That’s what makes us special. That’s what makes us exceptional.”

    It’s hard to overstate how much Republicans have invested in this ugly attack. Mitt Romney, in particular, has based much of his presidential campaign on the notion that Obama sees the country as “just another nation.” It’s wrong and it’s cheap, but it’s an extension of the far-right’s belief that Obama’s patriotism deserves to be attacked.

    I don’t imagine the president’s use of the rhetoric the right wants to hear will make a difference — is that crowd ever swayed by facts or reality? — but don’t be too surprised if Obama, eager to knock down the conservative nonsense, begins using the word more often.

  18. rikyrah says:

    ….Some Asians’ college strategy: Don’t check ‘Asian’

    Lanya Olmstead was born in Florida to a mother who immigrated from Taiwan and an American father of Norwegian ancestry. Ethnically, she considers herself half Taiwanese and half Norwegian. But when applying to Harvard, Olmstead checked only one box for her race: white.

    “I didn’t want to put ‘Asian’ down,” Olmstead says, “because my mom told me there’s discrimination against Asians in the application process.”

    For years, many Asian-Americans have been convinced that it’s harder for them to gain admission to the nation’s top colleges.

    Studies show that Asian-Americans meet these colleges’ admissions standards far out of proportion to their 6 percent representation in the U.S. population, and that they often need test scores hundreds of points higher than applicants from other ethnic groups to have an equal chance of admission. Critics say these numbers, along with the fact that some top colleges with race-blind admissions have double the Asian percentage of Ivy League schools, prove the existence of discrimination.

    The way it works, the critics believe, is that Asian-Americans are evaluated not as individuals, but against the thousands of other ultra-achieving Asians who are stereotyped as boring academic robots.

    Now, an unknown number of students are responding to this concern by declining to identify themselves as Asian on their applications.

    For those with only one Asian parent, whose names don’t give away their heritage, that decision can be relatively easy. Harder are the questions that it raises: What’s behind the admissions difficulties? What, exactly, is an Asian-American — and is being one a choice?

    Olmstead is a freshman at Harvard and a member of HAPA, the Half-Asian People’s Association. In high school she had a perfect 4.0 grade-point average and scored 2150 out of a possible 2400 on the SAT, which she calls “pretty low.”

    College applications ask for parent information, so Olmstead knows that admissions officers could figure out a student’s background that way. She did write in the word “multiracial” on her own application.

    Still, she would advise students with one Asian parent to “check whatever race is not Asian.”

    “Not to really generalize, but a lot of Asians, they have perfect SATs, perfect GPAs, … so it’s hard to let them all in,” Olmstead says.

    Amalia Halikias is a Yale freshman whose mother was born in America to Chinese immigrants; her father is a Greek immigrant. She also checked only the “white” box on her application.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Nevada Files First Foreclosure Process Felony Indictments
    November 19th, 2011

    Econintersect: Nevada has taken the lead in treating robo-signing as a felony. This week Nevada’s attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto filed charges against two Lender Processing Services employees accused of filing tens of thousands of false documents. The two named in a 606 count Clark County grand jury indictment are Gary Trafford and Gerri Sheppard, both from California. They supervised teams of people who turned out tens of thousands of default notices to start foreclosure proceedings that bore the forged signatures of the two supervisors. An American Banker article says that Nevada’s chief deputy attorney general John Kelleher has indicated additional indictments are likely

  20. rikyrah says:

    December 04, 2011 8:55 AM

    Snowe keeps falling
    By Steve Benen

    With time running out, President Obama used his weekly address yesterday to call on Congress to approve an extension of the payroll tax cut. Economists project a significant economic hit if lawmakers fail to act, and the president said, “Now is the time to step on the gas, not slam on the brakes.”

    Then there was the Republican address, delivered by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).

    Snowe put her emphasis on a Constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget, saying ,”We have no greater duty than to once and for all obligate the government to live within its means and spend no more than what it takes in.”

    Snowe argued that, among other things, the balanced budget amendment would enforce the mandatory spending cuts that are supposed to take effect in 2013 because of the failure of the super committee to reach agreement on an alternative deficit reduction plan.

    “The bottom line is, the real reason many lawmakers don’t want a balanced budget amendment is the exact reason why it’s so essential,” Snowe said. “They don’t want their hands tied; they want to continue to spend without restraint. Their way has been to break budgets and amass more and more debt, all the while promising Congress will one day balance the budget. Well, as we sadly know, the promises were empty, the debt is astronomical and their way hasn’t worked. Now, it’s time for our way.”

    Even for Republicans, this is ridiculous.

    For one thing, the Balanced Budget Amendment is already dead. The House, dominated by far-right Republicans, brought the proposal to the floor two weeks ago, and it failed miserably. Why on earth would the official GOP response tout an already-defeated measure related to the debt when the focus should be on the economy?

    For another, the BBA is a spectacularly bad idea. It would devastate the economy and make responses to future crises effectively impossible. Bruce Bartlett, a veteran of the Reagan and Bush administrations, explained recently that this is a “dreadful” idea and the Republican proposal “is, frankly, nuts.”

    And finally, what has gotten into Olympia Snowe? In October, she partnered with a right-wing Alabama senator to push a plan to make the legislative process even more difficult. A week earlier, she demanded the administration act with “urgency” to address the jobs crisis, only to filibuster a popular jobs bill a day later. The week before that, Snowe prioritized tax cuts for millionaires over job creation. Shortly before that, Snowe tried to argue that government spending is “clearly … the problem” when it comes to the nation’s finances, which is a popular line among conservatives, despite being wrong.

    It’s tempting to think the fear of a primary challenge is pushing Snowe to the far-right, but the truth is, the senator’s GOP opponents next year are barely even trying. She may fear a replay of the Castle-O’Donnell fight that played out in Delaware, but all indications are that Snowe really doesn’t have anything to worry about.

    And yet, she’s become a shell of her former self. It’s rather sad to watch.

    There is some prime real estate in the political landscape for genuine GOP moderates who could have a significant impact. Instead, Congress has Olympia Snowe, who now bears no resemblance to the centrist she used to be.

    If I had to guess, I’d say most mainstream voters in Maine have no idea of the extent to which Snowe has moved to the right, which is a shame. I wonder how those who supported her in the past would even recognize her anymore.

  21. Chris Christie claims Barack Obama “did nothing” to create jobs during his first two years in the White House

    Billions of dollars began pumping through the American economy in 2009 as part of the stimulus program started by President Barack Obama, but somehow Gov. Chris Christie missed that.

    While campaigning on Nov. 9 in New Hampshire for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Christie took to the airwaves and summed up in one word what the president did to spur job growth during the first half of his tenure: nothing.

    “But remember this: (Obama) can complain about Republicans in the House as much as he wants,” Christie said during an interview on the “New Hampshire Today” radio show. “But in the first two years, he had, you know, huge majorities in the House and Senate, and did nothing with them to create jobs in America.”

    Nothing was done to create jobs?

    Research by PolitiFact New Jersey shows that Christie’s statement ignores the impact of a major piece of federal legislation aimed at creating and saving jobs: the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

    Signed into law less than a month into Obama’s presidency, the stimulus bill allocated about $787 billion in federal spending and tax benefits. By Sept. 30 of this year, about $5.5 billion had been awarded to recipients in New Jersey alone.

    According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and other independent economists, the stimulus bill has created or saved jobs. Funding recipients also have reported jobs supported by stimulus dollars.

    The governor’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Rep. Frank likens Republican field to characters from ‘The Wizard of Oz’
    By Peter Schroeder – 12/04/11 10:47 AM ET

    Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) took a trip down the yellow brick road Sunday, equating the GOP presidential field to the characters of “The Wizard of Oz.”

    Frank offered multiple broadsides to several Republican candidates, but said the 1939 film best captured many of the front-runners.

    “Mitt Romney is the tin woodman without the heart, and Rick Perry is the scarecrow,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”

    Perry, who suffered a high profile gaffe in a debate when he forgot the third federal agency he would eliminate as president, was likened by Frank to the character missing a brain.

    “Newt’s the Wizard of Oz,” he added, referring to the fearsome character whose prominent appearance was defused after being revealed as a single man behind a curtain. “There’s nothing there.”

    Frank, who previously said Gingrich as GOP candidate would be a huge boon for Democrats, singled out the former House Speaker for particular criticism, calling him the “anti-candidate.”

    “He would lose heavily and a lot of Democrats would win races in which there would be great fallout,” he said. “I just think he is an obvious weak candidate.”

    In fact, Frank said Gingrich would only headline the GOP ticket if voters turn away from Romney.

    “If he wins the nomination, it will be because Mitt Romney is understandably seen as insufficiently conservative, because the man is insufficiently anything if you look at principles,” he said.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Bishop Eddie Long takes leave from New Birth
    By Christian Boone

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Bishop Eddie Long is taking a sabbatical from the church he transformed into one of the nation’s biggest and most influential, telling congregants at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church Sunday he was going to use the time to heal his family

    “I’m still your pastor. You’ll still receive my direction,” Long said Sunday. “You’ve given me some weeks to take care of some family business.”

    Long’s wife, Vanessa, filed for divorce late Thursday afternoon. She said Friday morning she had changed her mind but by day’s end announced the divorce was on.

    “Vanessa is, and has always been, a loving, dedicated and committed wife and mother,” Bishop Long said in a statement Friday night. “My love for her is deep and unwavering. It remains our sincere desire to continue working together in seeking God’s will in these circumstances.”

    Long, his two children with Vanessa Long standing by his side, said Sunday he’s “still here,” adding he’s “stepped up and hasn’t stepped down.”

    “This is your church. We’re a family,” he said.

    Long was sued in September 2010 lawsuit by former New Birth members Anthony Flagg, Spencer LeGrande, Jamal Parris and Maurice Robinson, who alleged the bishop used his influence, trips, gifts and jobs to coerce them into sexual relationships.

    The suit was settled in May after months of mediation

  24. rikyrah says:

    December 04, 2011 8:00 AM

    With the Iowa caucuses just a month away
    By Steve Benen

    As we discussed in late October, some polls matter more than others. In Iowa, the Des Moines Register’s Iowa Poll is widely considered the gold standard for Hawkeye State polling, and
    therefore gets considerably more attention than other surveys in the state.

    And with that in mind, with just 30 days until the Iowa caucuses, here’s what the race for the Republican presidential nomination looks like the Hawkeye State:

    1. Newt Gingrich: 25% (up 18 points since late October)
    2. Ron Paul: 18% (up 6 points)
    3. Mitt Romney: 16% (down 6 points)
    4. Herman Cain: 8% (down 15 points)
    5. Michele Bachmann: 8% (no change)
    6. Rick Perry: 6% (down 1 point)
    7. Rick Santorum: 6% (up 1 point)
    8. Jon Huntsman: 2% (up 1 point)

    The poll, of course, was conducted before Cain’s announcement that he’s suspending his campaign.

    Five weeks ago, Romney and Cain were effectively tied atop the Iowa Poll. Now, one is out of the race and the other has slipped to third. That should be especially discouraging to Romney, who has seen his support slip in Iowa while he makes more of an effort to win the state. In other words, Romney was doing better among Iowa Republicans when they saw less of him.

    As for Gingrich, who has seen his support among Iowans nearly quadruple in recent months, he does not appear to have reached his ceiling. The Register’s analysis this morning noted that “more respondents choose Gingrich as their second choice than any other candidate,” and that the former Speaker “will likely benefit” from picking up Cain supporters.

    But before anyone starts penciling Gingrich in as the likely victor in Iowa, it’s worth keeping in mind that winning the caucuses requires an excellent ground game — and Gingrich’s operation is awful. Those who’ve wanted to volunteer in support of Newt’s campaign haven’t been able to do so because there was nowhere for them to go. Gingrich, who hasn’t run a single ad in the state, didn’t even have a campaign office in Iowa until a few days ago.

    The Iowa Poll suggests Gingrich has a remarkable opportunity to win the Iowa caucuses in four weeks. Whether he’ll have the operation to pull it off, however, is very much in doubt.

  25. rikyrah says:



    December 4, 2011 at 9:38 am
    Good morning everyone. Yesterday I registered voters for OFA Detroit at a yearly holiday event called Noel Night. I registered 18 voters over a 4 hour period about half of whom were 17 but would be 18 by Election Day. I was hoping for many more but I can tell you the reason there weren’t more is because everyone was registered and seemed ready to vote, like yesterday. While it was a mixed crowd, it was majority AAs and I sensed a resolve and a steely determination to see PBO re-elected. I could tell there was a seething anger about the way PBO has been treated and how Republicans are passing laws to prevent us from voting in large numbers. These folks emphatically responded, “Yes I’m registered…Yes everything is up to date…Yes, we’ve got to help PBO…and Yes, we must stop those Republicans. I felt very encouraged and inspired by the postive energy about PBO. I even registered a brand new citizen yesterday who will be voting for the first time. So even though the numbers were small, they were small for a good reason. Folks are paying attention and they are Fired up and ready to go!

    December 4, 2011 at 12:13 pm
    Thanks everyone for your comments in response to my voter registration activities in the last thread. I did, however, forget to share this one story that I thought was really great. I asked these two women if either of them needed to update their voter registration. Apparently, they were related and one of them replied, “Of course we’re registered to vote. We vote as a family. She further explained that, “Whenever a member of their family turns 18 they all go to the Secretary of State’s office together to register that family member to vote and then they celebrate it as a momentous event. She said they make sure to vote as a family particularly when there’s a new voter in the family and said they began the tradition in honor of her 103-year-old grandmother.

    Can you imagine that? What if every parent did that with their 18 year-old child. We could come close to full voter participation one day.

  26. rikyrah says:

    remember, he gave his largely uninsured district the middle finger when he voted against healthcare not ONCE


    and thought that bullshyt would be alright with his constituents. WELL, on election day, they returned the favor by giving him the middle finger.

    Negro didn’t even win his LOCAL POLLING PLACE.

    he got EXACTLY what he deserved.


    Artur Davis: From Dem star to exile
    By: Alex Isenstadt
    December 1, 2011 11:37 PM EST

    The future once seemed limitless for Artur Davis.

    Not so long ago, he was viewed as one of the Democratic Party’s rising stars, routinely evoking comparisons to Barack Obama. A smart, ambitious Harvard Law School graduate like Obama, Davis appeared to be on a trajectory to make history as Alabama’s first black governor. Some saw the youthful congressman as a future attorney general.

    Today, all that is gone.

    Less than a year after leaving Congress after a failed bid for governor, he is persona non grata in his party, another K Street lawyer living in the northern Virginia suburbs.

    The story of the talented, youthful politician-who-fell-to-earth is a familiar one, but Davis’s fate is singular.

    Many of his former Democratic colleagues now view him as something of a traitor, and Davis himself has emerged as a vigorous critic of the party and President Barack Obama. He’s even taking to supporting GOP candidates. Friends and allies who helped guide his ascent say they no longer talk to the congressman — and some Democrats believe he will leave the party altogether.

    “I have been chairman for a year and no one in this office has been contacted by Artur or members of his staff. That tells me he’s left the party behind,” said Alabama Democratic Party Chairman Mark Kennedy, a former state Supreme Court justice and an influential player on the state’s political scene. “I’m sure we won’t have a conversation at this point. I’d be very surprised if he calls me.”

    For all his talent and promise, Davis always had something of a strained relationship with his party, dating back to his defeat of Rep. Earl Hilliard in a 2002 primary that left him on the outs with the Congressional Black Caucus, whose members publicly supported Hilliard and resented Davis for taking down their friend.

    Those long-simmering tensions came to a boil in last year’s Alabama gubernatorial race, a contest in which Davis — with an eye toward currying favor with the Republican voters who dominate the conservative state — sought to bypass Alabama’s Democratic power structure to claim the nomination.

    He refused to seek the support of the state’s two dominant black Democratic organizations, the Alabama Democratic Conference and the New South Coalition, and, in a poke in the eye of party faithful, was the only CBC member to vote against the president’s health care bill.

    Joe Reed, the ADC chairman and an influential Alabama Democratic power broker, rallied support for Davis’s white primary opponent, then-Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks, who won in a stunning — and, for Davis, humiliating — landslide.

    For Davis, the loss signaled a devastating rejection in a race he had long been expected to win. He offered a few complimentary words for Sparks in his election night concession speech, but later, rather than endorsing Sparks and uniting the party behind the nominee, Davis publicly declared that he didn’t think Sparks would win the general election and all but vanished from the governor’s contest.

  27. Anderson Cooper: Ed Schultz Is ‘Silly’ For Attacking Me Over GQ Article

    [wpvideo a4doeS9y]

  28. Former Republican Senator: The GOP Presidential Field Is ‘Embarrassing’

    Republican John Danforth, who served as a senator from Missouri for nearly 20 years and later as George W. Bush’s ambassador the United Nations, is not happy with the slate of Republican presidential candidates. “I’ve been watching some of these Republican debates and they’re just terrible. Terrible,” he told KTRS in St. Louis yesterday. “It’s embarrassing for me as a Republican to watch this stuff,” he added, calling out audiences for applauding the candidates’ morbid boastings.

    DANFORTH: What have been the big applause lines in these debates? Well, a statement that the governor of Texas is responsible for killing 234 people on death row. Or that we favor torture. Or that we’re creating a fence on the Mexican border that electrocutes people when they try to cross it. Or when people show up at the emergency room at hospitals and they’re not insured don’t treat them. And that, I mean these are the big applause lines, people just hoop and holler when they hear all that. […]

    It doesn’t have anything to do with the republican party that I was a part of. This is just totally different. And all of these people who are saying this, y’know, and claiming that, y’know, they’re for all this stuff, they also sort of ostentatiously say, “Oh, we’re very religious people. We really, we’re just very pious, Christian people.” They were for torture, and electrocution of the people on along the border and all of that. That doesn’t have anything to do with, is contrary to the Christianity that I understand.

  29. John McCain: Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico Could Be ‘Up For Grabs’ In 2012

    WASHINGTON — Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Sunday that Republicans should tread carefully on the issue of immigration so they do not alienate Latino voters, adding that the party may be able to win in key southwestern states if they can appeal to Latinos.

    “I think that the Republican party needs to discuss that issue in as humane a way as possible,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

    McCain acknowledged that the issue of immigration is important to many Latino candidates, which has been borne out by recent polling on the issue. Latino voters largely support some type of path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, according to a November poll from Univision and Latino Decisions.

  30. The Washington Post:

    Rubin: “Gingrich every day gives Republicans further reason to conclude there is no ‘New Newt'”

  31. Ametia says:

    ProPublica review of pardons in past decade shows process heavily favored whites
    By Dafna Linzer and Jennifer LaFleur, Published: December 3

    White criminals seeking presidential pardons over the past decade have been nearly four times as likely to succeed as minorities, a ProPublica examination has found.

    Blacks have had the poorest chance of receiving the president’s ultimate act of mercy, according to an analysis of previously unreleased records and related data.

  32. Newt Gingrich’s Rise Continues, Ron Paul Second, Romney Third In Iowa: Des Moines Register Poll

    WASHINGTON — Eighteen years after he led Republicans to an unexpected takeover of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich looks increasingly poised to engineer yet another improbable election win.

    The former House Speaker, whose presidential campaign was left for dead a few months ago amidst heavy debt and a staff exodus, sits atop the new Des Moines Register poll, at 25 percent. In the last Register poll — released in late October — he was at seven percent.

    The poll was conducted Nov. 27-30 among 401 likely Republican caucus-goers, and has a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.

    • realpolitic:

      Well, GOP voters may want someone who can drag Obama throw the mud during debates and they feel Romney is too gentlemanl­y to do that. Newt, on the other hand, will throw one thing after another at Obama blaming him for all the evils under the sun. However, Republican­s underestim­ate Obama. The president will calmly and intelligen­tly take apart all of Newt’s exaggerate­d claims and hyperbole. Then he will set the story straight throwing the responsibi­lity for failed policies right back at the GOP and by extension at Newt’s feet. Newt’s Contract With America is the tome responsibl­e, after all, for the aggressive partisansh­ip of the last ten years.

  33. Good Morning, Everyone! Happy Sunday! myspace graphic comments

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