Monday Open Thread

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Please Come Home for Christmas” is a Christmas song, released in 1960, by the American blues singer and pianist Charles Brown. Hitting Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in December 1961, the tune Brown co-wrote with Gene Redd peaked at position #76. It appeared on the Christmas Singles chart for nine seasons, hitting #1 in 1972.[2] It includes a number of characteristics of Christmas music, such as multiple references in the lyrics to the Christmas season and Christmas traditions, and the use of a Church bell type sound, created using a piano, at the start of the song. It is sometimes referred to as Bells Will Be Ringing.

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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98 Responses to Monday Open Thread

  1. Newt’s war on the poor

    [wpvideo SR0OYdi4]

  2. The Last Word:

    @chucktodd says Karl Rove is pushing the RNC to get involved and put a stop to the Trump debate.

  3. Rick Santorum: Single Moms Are Avoiding Marriage In Order To Collect Welfare

    Former Pennsylvania senator and current GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum has some thoughts about welfare, particularly where single mothers are concerned.

    On Fox News, Santorum told Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt that family is very important to him, as it is to America in general, but, in recent times, we’ve had a federal government that has “undermined the family in a lot of ways.” One example, he says, are regulations relating to welfare benefits:

    I’m sure everybody, a lot of folks listening here tonight, are gonna know people who are… who father and mother are living together, but they’re not married, for the reason they’re not married is so the mother, can receive welfare benefits to help support that child, those children.

  4. House Republicans Push Bill To Ban Abortions Based On The Race Or Sex Of The Fetus

    For House Republicans, this year has been the year of outlandish answers to non-existent problems. And tomorrow, they will offer the magnum opus of their 2011 campaign against a woman’s right to choose: the Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA). The bill seeks to somehow protect the “civil rights” of fetuses by banning physicians from performing abortions based on the fetus’s race or sex. While the woman would be exempt from prosecution, physicians who perform the procedure can be sued for damages.

  5. marabout40:

    Kansas residents sleep out in 30 degree temps to get tixx for President Obama’s Osawatomie

  6. Newt Gingrich vs. Nancy Pelosi: GOP Candidate Fires Back

    Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich fired back on Monday to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s suggestion that she could reveal information about him “when the time is right” because she once served on a committee that investigated him for ethics violations.

    “First of all, I want to thank Speaker Pelosi for what I regard as an early Christmas gift,” he said at a press conference in New York.

    “Well, if she suggested that she’s going to use material that she developed when she was on the ethics committee, that is a fundamental violation of the rules of the House and I would hope that members would immediately file charges against her the second she does it,” he continued. “I think it shows you how capriciously political that committee was when she was on it.”

    Pelosi told Talking Points Memo that she could eventually release information about Gingrich from his time as House Speaker.

    [wpvideo BHQx2Bhf]

  7. Ametia says:

    Ginger White now says Herman Cain is not the only man in her life who gave her money.
    By Melinda Henneberger, Monday, December 5, 3:02 PM

    White, who has said she had a 13-year affair with Herman Cain, on Monday told the Daily Beast’s Leslie Bennetts that “Cain wasn’t the only man who helped her financially; her work history and her sex life have long been intermingled in complex and contradictory ways.’’

  8. December 5th in African American History – Mary McLeod Bethune

    December 5, 1935 Mary McLeod Bethune founded the National Council of Negro Women.

    She founded it as an organization of organizations to represent the national and international concerns of black women. The organization’s mission is to “lead, develop, and advocate for women of African descent as they support their families and communities.”

    They fulfill their mission through research, advocacy, and national and community based health, education, and economic empowerment services programs in the United States and Africa. Today, the NCNW is a council of 39 affiliated national African American women’s organizations connecting nearly 4 million women worldwide.

  9. Ametia says:

    Who really profits big from food stamps?: JPMorgan & Walmart

    Continue reading on Who really profits big from food stamps?: JPMorgan & Walmart – National Political Buzz | Gingrich has recently alleged that food stamp recipients have used their EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) cards to pay for trips to Hawaii.

    While Gingrich has offered no evidence that this claim is true, and in fact the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or food stamp program uses EBT debit cards to minimize fraud, allowing purchases for specific food items only, there are private interests making big money from food stamps.

    JPMorgan Chase, one of the big banks bailed out in the financial crisis of 2008, is a private contractor retained by over half of US state governments to issue EBT cards and manage recipient accounts amounting to billions of taxpayer dollars every month.

    Because of increasing numbers of Americans falling into poverty, and qualifying to receive food stamps, JPMorgan Chase has seen increased profits from its public-sector benefit payments business, in part from punitive fees charged poor Americans using the bank-issued EBT cards.

    Continue reading on

  10. rikyrah says:

    by Kay

    Okay, this first:

    A rift in the Ohio Republican Party became public this weekend, raising questions about GOP unity in one of the nation’s most important presidential swing states.
    During a speech Friday to the state’s Republican Central Committee, state party Chairman Kevin DeWine accused Gov. John Kasich’s political team of recruiting candidates to oust the party’s central committee members, calling those efforts “the elephant in the room.”

    “I’ve spoken with many of you over the last few weeks as the governor’s political team and others have begun aggressively recruiting candidates to challenge those of you in the room. Your emotions range from curiosity to disappointment to annoyance to anger, fear, and disgust,” Mr. DeWine said, according to a transcript of the speech provided by the party. “If we do not address the elephant in the room, then the donkey in the White House will win four more years.”

    My emotions range from curiosity to disappointment to annoyance to anger, fear, and disgust when I look at Governor Kasich too, but I’m dealing. I think it’s good Republicans are meeting and talking through feelings, though.

    Then this:

    In a memo Friday night to the House GOP caucus, Speaker William Batchelder wrote that Ohio Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine exhibited “questionable leadership tactics and poor decision making.”
    In his memo, Batchelder writes that he had been reluctant to publicly discuss frustrations about state party operations. He concludes that “we cannot have a situation where the state party, and the Governor, and the Speaker of the House do not have a trusting and cooperative partnership.”

    And then this response:

    In an email response to Batchelder, DeWine wrote that he is troubled that the speaker decided to criticize him and the state GOP “in a very public manner” instead of discussing their problems privately.
    DeWine said he was not being critical of the governor in his speech Friday, but rather the people surrounding Ohio’s chief executive. “I referenced Governor Kasich’s team because I worry that are not serving him or our party. Whenever an elected official has people around him who are motivated by ego, power, or profit, friends of that elected official owe him the courtesy of a warning that he deserves better counsel.”

    Profit! He just put it right out there.

    Hopefully this public dialogue between the two warring factions will continue, and we’ll learn which people “around” Governor Kasich (but NOT Governor Kasich) are motivated by profit.

  11. DAOWENS44
    The People’s View: Defeated, Health Insurers Cut Lobby Costs, Thank You Obamacare!

  12. BREAKING: CO’s Supreme Court rules in favor of Dem-favored Cong Map

    DENVER — Democrats have prevailed in the year-long fight over Colorado’s congressional district boundaries.
    The state Supreme Court Monday upheld the ruling of Denver District Judge Robert Hyatt, who ruled last month in favor of a Democratic map that, most importantly, made a long-time safe GOP seat — the Sixth C.D. — a toss-up. [emphasis added]

    A written ruling from the state’s highest court has yet to be issued, but Hyatt’s decision has been found to be Constitutionally sound.

    The Court heard oral arguments last Thursday after Republicans appealed Hyatt’s October ruling and had until Dec. 6 to issue a ruling.

    Now, county clerks can set about adjusting voter rolls ahead of next November’s 2012 election.


    Rev. Al Sharpton & Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson Call On Donald Trump To Retract Comments He Made On The Today Show That There Are No Positive African-American Role Models & Offer To Take Trump and Gingrich On A Tour of Any City To Show Them Positive Black Role Models.

    According to Rev. Sharpton: “I have known Donald Trump for many years and will not let the negligent statement he made on the Today Show go unchallenged. He needs to retract his comments immediately or we will organize direct action against him.” According to Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson: ”I am appalled that a man in his position would make such an irresponsible and ignorant comment on a national forum and ignore the contrary fact that there is a plethora of Black role models in this country. His insensitivity is what fosters negative imagery and the perpetuation of racism in this country.”

    • Matt Lauer is a POS! He allowed Trump to get away with that blatant lie that there are no African American role models! Lauer needs kicking to the moon. Racist garbage!

      [wpvideo k6HKHmWf]

      • Ametia says:

        NBC is helping this racist pig peddle his book because he has a contract for NBC’s Apprentice. Boycott the station. He’s back for more; PBO cold-cocked his azz at the WH Correspondence Dinner, and he went away licking his wounds and back for another azz whooping.

      • rikyrah says:

        We have the best role models residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue…

        President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

      • That’s what they hate. They know it but don’t want to acknowledge it.

  14. rikyrah says:

    A GOP reality-show race, thanks to the Tea Party
    By E.J. Dionne Jr., Published: December 4
    The contest for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination has been described as a reality show and a circus. But what’s happening inside the GOP is quite rational and easily explained.

    The obvious Republican nominee was Texas Gov. Rick Perry — obvious because his government-bashing, ideology-mongering, secessionist-flirting persona was a perfect fit for a Republican primary electorate that has shifted far to the right of Ronald Reagan.

    The yearning for someone like Perry was inevitable. He combined the right views — actually, very right views — with experience as a chief executive that made him seem like somebody who was ready to be president.

    Consider that even before he had gotten into the race, mere word that he might run sent Republican voters scrambling his way. He already had 18 percent to Romney’s 23 percent in a late July Gallup poll. Michele Bachmann was next at 13 percent. At that point, Newt Gingrich was at 6 percent and Herman Cain was at 4 percent.

    After Perry announced his candidacy, he soared. The Aug. 17-21 Gallup survey had him at 29 percent, Romney at 17 percent, Bachmann down to 10 percent and Gingrich and Cain both at 4 percent. (Ron Paul, holding aloft the libertarian banner, holds his core voters no matter what’s happening around him. Paul was at 10 percent in July, 13 percent in August.) Another survey at the time by Public Policy Polling put Perry at 33 percent to 20 percent for Romney.

    This nomination was Perry’s to lose, and lose it he appears to have done. This opened the way for the relatively short-lived, if entertaining, Herman Cain show, which finally closed on Saturday.

    Yet Romney still can’t take off, and a lot of ink and online pixels have been spent trying to explain why. I see four factors holding Romney back. That he is a flip-flopper is no longer a charge by his opponents; it is taken as a given. His refusal to repudiate his Massachusetts health-care plan goes down badly with conservatives. His public personality is, well, stiff and patrician enough that the Internet is now full of videos of Romney’s awkwardness. And he is a Mormon, a problem for some conservative evangelicals.

    It’s outrageous that Romney’s religion is an issue, and anyone analyzing its impact has a moral obligation to say so. Alas, that does not mean it has no effect. And Romney ought to be proud of his health initiative — although it’s disingenuous of him to deny the strong links between what he did and what President Obama fought to get enacted.

    But what’s going on is not just a Romney problem. The Republican Party’s core electorate has changed radically since 2008 — and even then John McCain won the nomination against the wishes of many on the Republican right because the opposition to him was splintered.

    A party that lived by the tea crowd in 2010 is being severely hobbled by it now. The Republican right wants the kind of purity that led it to take candidates such as Cain and Bachmann with great seriousness for a while. The same folks took Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell and Joe Miller seriously in the 2010 Senate primaries, too. None of them got elected.

  15. rikyrah says:

    December 5, 2011, 1:07 am
    The Reinvention of Political Morality
    Struggling to justify a recent television spot that reached new heights of deception, a top operative in Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign put it plainly, while insisting on anonymity

    “First of all, ads are propaganda by definition. We are in the persuasion business, the propaganda business…. Ads are agitprop…. Ads are about hyperbole, they are about editing. It’s ludicrous for them to say that an ad is taking something out of context…. All ads do that. They are manipulative pieces of persuasive art.”

    The back story: On October 16, 2008, campaigning in Londonderry, New Hampshire, Obama cast his opponent, John McCain, as out of touch with the problems facing the country – a month after the financial collapse that saw the American economy crater. Obama was expressing his incredulity at McCain’s lack of understanding of the full import of the world-engulfing fiscal crisis: “Senator McCain’s campaign actually said, and I quote, ‘If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.’ ”

    Fast forward to 2011. Two weeks ago, the Romney campaign, perhaps banking on the arcane nature of its deception, instigated a new epoch in aggressive messaging and took Obama’s 2008 Londonderry remarks and obliterated the fact that Obama was at that time quoting the words of a McCain staffer. Obama’s statement was cut to “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose” — with the erroneous implication that the “we” referred not to McCain’s 2008 effort but to the current Obama campaign.

    The non-partisan web site Politifact, which evaluates the accuracy of political ads, said that the Romney spot was “ridiculously misleading,” and gave the ad its worst rating, “pants on fire.”

    The significance of the spot lies in its explicit distortion of an opponent’s remark, but the spot’s direct duplicity is also the latest step in the transgression by political operatives of formerly agreed-upon ethical boundaries. What was once considered sleazy becomes the norm.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Smelling Blood In The Water Team Obama Goes In For The Kill On Mitt Romney
    The Obama campaign’s David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs both hit the Sunday morning talk shows to use Mitt Romney’s recent EPA flip-flop to go for a kill shot on the weakened GOP frontrunner.

    Here is Robert Gibbs on Face The Nation:

    Gibbs hits Romney hard, “I think the reason that Mitt Romney people don’t like him and why he hasn’t caught fire is if you hear what he says today it’s likely to change tomorrow. I think there’s great skepticism. He’s a political gymnast of the highest order. He will say virtually anything to get elected to any office. Just last night he was in New York on a Mike Huckabee show disavowing climate change and the Environmental Protection Agency despite the fact that just a few years ago he was bragging in Massachusetts about all the steps they were taking to combat climate change. The one thing that is certain in this Republican primary: If you don’t like where Mitt Romney is today, just wait until tomorrow.”

    Gibbs also said that Newt Gingrich’s surge is real, “I think a lot of people inside the Beltway and outside the Beltway woke up today to a very different political environment – and one in which Newt Gingrich is very much for real.”

    Axelrod said, “Let me make this point about what happened last night. Last night Governor Romney said that the EPA was the president’s tool to crush the private enterprise system. When he was governor of Massachusetts, he boasted that he had the toughest rules against CO2 emissions from plants that he had the toughest rules when it comes to climate change, and greenhouse gas emissions, and now it’s like that never happened. Now, he’s — now he’s on the other side of it. This is the reason I suppose why he and his aides absconded with the hard drives from their computers when they left the governor’s office, because they think they can just erase the past, that what you said before doesn’t matter now. And so yes, when it comes to husband public character, he — he doesn’t have a core. It has nothing to do with his personal life. i honor his personal life. I respect his personal life, but this is about how you behave in the public.”

    Mitt Romney is not only fading the polls, but he has put in two disastrous national television appearances on Fox News this week. It is obvious that Romney is fading fast, and unless Gingrich implodes between now and Iowa, there is a good chance that he may not be the GOP nominee. What Axelrod and Gibbs were both trying to accomplish was to keep planting that seed of doubt into the minds of Republican primary voters about Romney, and they are also setting up their narrative for the General Election.

    The EPA flip flop that they used today was aimed at Republican primary voters, not Democrats or Independents. In a very subtle way, the Obama campaign is massaging the GOP race to help select the Republican nominee. The attacks that both Axelrod and Gibbs used against Romney today could apply to the General Election, but they also strike at the heart of the concerns that Republican primary voters have about Mitt Romney. They are feeding the doubts that primary voters have about Romney and are gently nudging voters toward Newt Gingrich.

  17. rikyrah says:

    White House makes its case to black voters

    By JOSEPH WILLIAMS | 12/5/11 4:34 AM EST
    Stung by summertime allegations that they neglected their bedrock African-American constituency, the White House and President Barack Obama’s reelection team have cranked up their outreach to black voters, selling the president’s first-term achievements as accomplishments that will pay long-term dividends for the black community.

    Top administration aides and Cabinet officials have fanned out to black communities, touting those accomplishments — including health care reform, unemployment insurance extensions, public-education overhauls and programs encouraging minority entrepreneurship — and last month, they hosted a summit on African-American issues.

    As part of making its case, the White House prepared a 44-page report summarizing the president’s agenda for black America and has launched an electronic newsletter aimed at black lawmakers and staff in Congress, along with a companion link on the White House Web page.

    “We’ve been working so hard on our accomplishments,” senior adviser Valerie Jarrett told POLITICO in an interview last week. “Now is the time to tell our story.”

    Outside the Beltway, word about White House accomplishments is being spread by officials like Michael Strautmanis, deputy assistant to the president and administration counselor for strategic engagement. In October, Strautmanis chaired a business roundtable in Atlanta with former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young to discuss what Obama’s policies have done for black business owners and to sell the president’s American Jobs Act.

    Read more:

  18. rikyrah says:

    Republicans caught between a tax break and a hard place
    GOP leaders in Congress see political peril in ending one for workers, but they’re having trouble convincing the rank and file.

    By Lisa Mascaro, Washington Bureau

    December 4, 2011, 7:55 p.m.
    Reporting from Washington— When President Obama called for extending the payroll tax cut for workers during an address to Congress three months ago, only a few Republicans stood to applaud.

    The head of the House GOP campaign arm called the tax breaks a “horrible idea.” Conservatives likened it to “robbing Peter to pay Paul” and piling onto the national debt.

    Now, with American workers facing an average $1,000 tax increase on Jan. 1, GOP leaders in Congress are engaged in a message makeover. They are struggling to convince their rank-and-file lawmakers that blocking Obama’s proposed tax break would be politically toxic, not to mention a breach of the party’s decades-old commitment to cutting taxes.

    The prospect of a split within the party’s ranks, so soon after Republican-led efforts to preserve tax breaks for wealthier Americans last year, has presented an opening that Democrats are trying to exploit for maximum political gain.

    “Republicans are giving themselves whiplash on the issue of taxes: Republicans have one position on taxes for the wealthy and another position when it comes to everyone else,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), a chief campaign strategist for Democrats. “Republicans have had the advantage on tax issues over Democrats, but that is changing.”

    The narrative has left GOP lawmakers bristling when confronted with the story line that Democrats, not Republicans, are fighting the good fight over tax breaks for working Americans.

    “That’s certainly false,” said Rep. Frank Guinta, a Republican freshman from New Hampshire who wants to continue the payroll tax break if it is paid for with budget cuts elsewhere. “Democrats have made a pretty good argument for that, but that’s their opinion.”

    Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), a leading House conservative, barely hid his displeasure with the theme.

    “They’re gaining some ground with the less informed,” Franks said. Does this drive him nuts? “It does.”,0,6931958.story

  19. rikyrah says:

    Obama Uses Fight Over Consumer Chief to Push Populist Message
    President Barack Obama is setting up to campaign as a populist defender of the middle class, using the fight over his nominee to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the extension of a payroll tax cut.

    The president will be “aggressively” campaigning for Richard Cordray’s confirmation ahead of a likely Dec. 8 Senate vote, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters yesterday.

    That follows Obama’s travel in recent weeks to battleground states such as Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, where he accused Republicans of hypocrisy for refusing to let Bush-era tax cuts expire while blocking extension and expansion of a payroll tax cut that the president has said would save the typical family more than $1,000 a year next year.

    “From nominations to economic proposals, the point right now is for the administration to show that they’re looking for economic solutions and that Republicans are looking to obstruct them,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University in New Jersey.

    In July, Obama nominated Cordray, who was Ohio’s Attorney General from 2009 to 2011. He rose to national prominence when he sued GMAC Mortgage LLC and its corporate parent, Ally Financial Inc., accusing them of using fraudulent affidavits in court cases over foreclosures in the state. He also managed litigation against financial firms including American International Group (AIG) and Bank of America Corp.

    Nomination Blocked
    Forty-five Senate Republicans have signed a letter sent to Obama in May saying they will oppose any nominee for the consumer agency in part, they said, because the bureau should be run by a board instead of a single director.

  20. rikyrah says:

    A closer look at Mitt Romney’s job creation record

    The Republican presidential contender says he learned about expanding employment during his time heading a private equity firm. But under his leadership, Bain Capital often maximized profits in part by firing workers.

    By Tom Hamburger, Melanie Mason and Matea Gold, Washington Bureau

    December 3, 2011, 7:23 p.m.
    Reporting from Washington—

    Shortly after Mitt Romney resigned from Bain Capital in 1999 to run the Olympics in Salt Lake City, potential investors received a prospectus touting the extraordinary profits earned by the private equity firm that Romney controlled for 15 years.

    During that time, Boston-based Bain acquired more than 115 companies, according to the prospectus. Bain’s estimated annual returns were more than five times that of the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the same period.

    Now a front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, Romney says his Bain experience shows he knows how to create jobs. He often cites Bain’s investment in a little-known office supply store called Staples, which now employs more than 90,000 worldwide.

    But a closer examination of the prospectus paints a different picture of Bain’s operation. Under Romney’s leadership, Bain became one of the nation’s top leveraged-buyout firms, helping lead a trend in which companies were acquired using debt often pledged against their own assets or earnings.

    Bain expanded many of the companies it acquired. But like other leveraged-buyout firms, Romney and his team also maximized returns by firing workers, seeking government subsidies, and flipping companies quickly for large profits. Sometimes Bain investors gained even when companies slid into bankruptcy.

    Romney himself became wealthy at Bain. He is now worth between $190 million and $250 million, much of it derived from his time running the investment firm, his campaign staffers have said.

    Bain managers said their mission was clear. “I never thought of what I do for a living as job creation,” said Marc B. Walpow, a former managing partner at Bain who worked closely with Romney for nine years before forming his own firm. “The primary goal of private equity is to create wealth for your investors.”,0,1945560,full.story

  21. Ametia says:

    Call your congressman/congresswomen and tell CONGRESS TO PASS THE PAYROLL TAX CUTS!

  22. Ametia says:

    Remember this classic from LO
    Reince Preibus needs his ass cold-cocked too, for his birther dogwhistling

  23. Ametia says:

    Posted at 12:52 PM ET, 12/05/2011
    FAA head Randy Babbitt charged with drunk driving in Fairfax
    By Mary Pat Flaherty and Ashley Halsey III

    The head of the Federal Aviation Administration is on administrative leave after being charged with drunk driving Saturday night by Fairfax City police, according to the Department of Transportation.

  24. Christmas Time is Here

  25. Ametia says:

    The Media Wakes Up And Realizes Obama Is The Favorite To Win In 2012
    December 4, 2011

    By Jason Easley
    Along with a declining unemployment rate, new polling suggests that President Obama is gaining steam and the media narrative is now shifting towards Obama being favored to win reelection in 2012.
    Here is how MSNBC wrote up Obama and their latest NBC/Marist polls:
    Turning to the general election in Iowa and New Hampshire, President Barack Obama’s approval rating remains underwater in both states. Forty-three percent of registered voters in Iowa approve of his job performance, which is up one point from October. In New Hampshire, 40 percent of registered voters approve of his job performance, up two points.
    Yet — with one exception — he leads all GOP challengers in hypothetical match-ups in the Hawkeye State. He’s ahead of Romney by seven points among registered voters (46 percent to 39 percent), Gingrich by 10 points (47 percent to 37 percent) and Perry by 11 points (48 percent to 37 percent).The one exception: Paul ties him at 42 percent for each. In New Hampshire, Romney leads Obama by three points (46 percent to 43 percent), although that’s down from Romney’s nine-point advantage in October. But Obama leads all other Republicans in the state — Paul (by two points), Gingrich (by 10) and Perry (by 15).

  26. Ametia says:

    Memory Lane… “Anderson; you’re NOT my BOO”

  27. President Barack Obama shows military officials the White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room following a meeting, Dec. 1, 2011. The 18-foot-6 inch balsam fir is decorated with holiday cards created by military children and ornaments featuring medals, badges, and patches from all of the military branches.

  28. Talking Points Memo:

    Obama to make statement on payroll tax cut extension at 1:30 p.m. ET:

  29. National Journal:

    The Obama administration just announced the largest-ever purchase of biofuels for use in the Navy

  30. US Senate declares the entire USA to be a “Battleground”.

    A bill passed late last night (93-7 votes) that declares the entire United States of America a battleground. What this means is that the U.S. Military can now operate with impunity, and grant the U.S. Military the unchecked power to arrest, detain, interrogate, and even assassinate United States citizens with impunity.

    What this means is the United States is basically declaring war with itself. We need to shed light on this and make sure it does not become a law, otherwise we should just say good bye to the Bill of Rights and everything America used to stand for.

    Here is the link to the bill in question.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Newt and Mitt: Reverse Hockey Sticks

    Charles Franklin studies Romney’s decline:

    With a lot of attention focused on the collapse of the Herman Cain campaign and the sudden rise of Newt Gingrich I think we’ve missed an important downturn in Mitt Romney’s standing in the first four states. Since mid-September he has experienced significant downturns in all four states that will vote in January. Romney is down about 10 in Iowa, 5 in New Hampshire, 10 in South Carolina and 14 in Florida. His recent increase in effort in Iowa may have less to do with trying to win than with attempting to shore up weakening support there

  32. rikyrah says:

    December 05, 2011 11:15 AM
    Fox targets Obama’s vacation
    By Steve Benen

    During George W. Bush’s two terms as president, he spent all or part of 977 days at Camp David or at a ranch in Texas. That’s the equivalent of more than two and a half years, and it set a modern record — no president has taken more time off than Bush since records started keeping track of such things.

    With that in mind, it’s amazing to see Fox News whine about President Obama taking two weeks off around the holidays.

    For those who can’t watch clips online, the cast of “Fox & Friends” spent some time this morning complaining about the president planning to take some time off at the end of the month. Dana Perino, Bush’s former press secretary, found Obama’s vacation plans — 17 days off — so ridiculous, she thought the reporters were a joke. She added that the trip has something to do with the drop in unemployment, and was announced on Friday afternoon (when Bush’s White House released all news it found politically inconvenient).

    Steve Doocy said Obama deserves to take more heat than his predecessor because Bush “never had a surfboard.”

    Is it any wonder Fox News viewing warps news consumers’ understanding of current events?

    Gretchen Carlson, meanwhile, suggested the presidential vacation is problematic because the country is facing so many challenges. I’d reminder her that Bush took 216 days off in his first 18 months — a period that included the attacks of 9/11 and the launch of a war in Afghanistan. Hell, a terrorist tried to blow up an American passenger jet in December 2001, and Bush not only stayed on vacation, he didn’t even mention the incident for nearly a week.

    There have to be more interesting lines of attack for the GOP. This is mind-numbing.

  33. ThinkProgress:
    AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio failed to investigate over 400 sex crimes, including molestations of undocumented children

  34. rikyrah says:

    What Putin Was Reduced To

    Two cheers for moderate democracy! Putin decided it was unwise to stuff the parliamentary ballots so crudely that he might capsize his own presidential “election” next Russia – but still United Russia saw its vote collapse. The rigging was still there, of course, it’s just that the loss was so big it couldn’t be thoroughly disguised:

    Petros Efthymiou, who led the short-term O.S.C.E. observer mission, said the elections “proved that the Russian people can form the future of this country by expressing their will despite many obstacles.” “However, changes are needed for the will of the people to be respected,” Mr. Efthymiou said. “I particularly noticed the interference of the state in all levels of political life, the lack of necessary conditions for fair competition and no independence of the media.”

    Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini, who headed the mission of the O.S.C.E.’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, compared the elections to “a game in which only some players are allowed on the pitch, and then the field is tilted in favor of one of the players.”

  35. rikyrah says:

    Gingrich’s Pitch: The Old America

    And it’s by far his best cultural message, designed to aim directly at seniors and all those somewhat discombobulated by a multicultural America and a biracial president:

  36. HuffPost Politics:

    Nancy Pelosi: “I know a lot about” Gingrich. I served on committee that investigated him.

  37. rikyrah says:

    December 05, 2011 10:30 AM

    Indifference to the truth

    By Steve Benen

    The controversy over Mitt Romney’s first television ad — the one that shamelessly wrenched a President Obama quote from context, misleading the public — has largely come and gone. But the Romney campaign’s blatant dishonesty left a bad taste in the political world’s mouth, made worse by the campaign’s failure to come up with a coherent defense.

    By way of an explanation, a top Romney operative told the NYT that the manipulation of facts in campaign commercials is fine because ads are “propaganda” and “agitprop.” Referencing Democrats, the unnamed member of the Romney campaign added, “It’s ludicrous for them to say that an ad is taking something out of context … All ads do that. They are manipulative pieces of persuasive art.”

    Greg Sargent wasn’t persuaded by this.

    So here you have it: The Romney camp’s standard for accuracy and fairness seems to be that there is no need for any such standard, because all ads are by definition “manipulative” and “propaganda.”

    But come on: You can make an assertion or depiction designed to persuade that also happens to be … true. […]

    Between this new quote and their boast that the ad’s mangling of context was strategically brilliant because it won reams of media attention, it almost seems as if Romney advisers are trying to persuade political reporters and commentators to abandon any standards they might use to judge tactics and rhetoric throughout this campaign.

    I suspect this is very much a part of the Romney campaign’s strategy. Ever since the ad generated pushback, a wide variety of officials on the Romney team — including the candidate himself — have all effectively said the same thing: people shouldn’t get so hung up on what is and isn’t true.

    It gets back to something we discussed a couple of weeks ago. Philosopher Harry Frankfurt wrote a fascinating book several years ago called “On Bullshit,” drawing a distinction between b.s. and lies. The key difference is considering the truth irrelevant.

    A liar makes false claims. A b.s. artist doesn’t much care what’s true or false, because facts are extraneous details that have no bearing on the person’s larger agenda. Liars care what’s true and deliberately say the opposite; b.s. artists are indifferent to what’s true and tend to see facts as inconveniences that simply get in the way.

    In this case, the Republican campaign has been quite candid about it perspective on this, and has repeatedly said that the dishonest ad “worked” and was “effective” because it generated attention and an angry response.

    So, Romney and his team lied. Then they got caught. Then they were pleased.

    Truth, facts, evidence, reason, decency, fairness — for Romney and his team, none of this matters. It’s not that they’re considering whether to be honorable; they’ve convinced themselves that the question itself is irrelevant. Their messages to voters, after all, are “manipulative pieces of persuasive art.”

    Usually, professionals are slightly embarrassed when they get caught lying, but the embarrassment is motivated by a sense of shame — the truth is good, being good is worthwhile, deliberately ignoring the truth is bad, and no one wants to be bad.

    But there is no embarrassment when such moral niceties are thrown out the window.

  38. rikyrah says:

    December 04, 2011 12:00 PM
    Gates Foundation Grants ALEC A Hefty Sum For ‘Education Reform’
    By karoli

    This is exactly why I’ve always been suspicious of Bill Gates’ “philanthropy.” Yes, I understand that he’s done wonderful things in Africa, but the United States is where we live and there is a very real and lasting battle going on over the future of public education.

    While union-busting is certainly one goal of the privatization monsters, profit is the primary goal. Education for profit is lucrative and alluring, especially to people with large sums of money parked and waiting for investment in big-profit items. So when Bill Gates claims to stand for education reform in this country, I place him squarely in the category of those who stand to profit from privatized education.

    Now we have this grant from the Gates Foundation to ALEC, of all things. It isn’t a small grant, by any stretch. $376,635 to be paid over a period of 22 months. That’s about $17,000 per month dropping into the coffers of one of the most evil organizations in the country. The grant description reads as follows:

    Purpose: to educate and engage its membership on more efficient state budget approaches to drive greater student outcomes, as well as educate them on beneficial ways to recruit, retain, evaluate and compensate effective teaching based upon merit and achievement

    Wow, Michelle Rhee must be doing a happy dance right about now. I’ve tried to turn this around and imagine ways that this money could be used to counter the usual right-wing memes about the wonders of privatization, but I just can’t seem to find any way to do that. I can only conclude that Mr. Gates and his fellow trustees fully embrace the notion of killing public education one state at a time.

    Lee Fang wrote a tremendous article for The Nation a couple of weeks ago about online education and how profitable it is, at the expense of public education. In it, he describes a talk lobbyist Patricia Levesque gave to philanthropists. Among those listening were representatives from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Among her suggestions:

    Levesque noted that reform efforts had failed because the opposition had time to organize. Next year, Levesque advised, reformers should “spread” the unions thin “by playing offense” with decoy legislation. Levesque said she planned to sponsor a series of statewide reforms, like allowing taxpayer dollars to go to religious schools by overturning the so-called Blaine Amendment, “even if it doesn’t pass…to keep them busy on that front.” She also advised paycheck protection, a unionbusting scheme, as well as a state-provided insurance program to encourage teachers to leave the union and a transparency law to force teachers unions to show additional information to the public. Needling the labor unions with all these bills, Levesque said, allows certain charter bills to fly “under the radar.”

  39. rikyrah says:

    December 05, 2011 9:55 AM

    The wrong spokesperson for ‘bipartisanship’

    By Steve Benen

    Newt Gingrich, believe it or not, is comfortable presenting himself as someone who could forge bipartisan solutions in Washington. “There are a thousand small things that create bipartisanship even if you disagree about big things,” Gingrich said over the weekend. “And it’s really important to remember that, all the little human things that a good leader can do to get the city of Washington to work again.”

    Kevin Drum was gobsmacked, and highlighted some examples to bolster the fact that Gingrich is largely and personally responsible “for the poisonous state of partisan politics in America today.”

    1978, speaking to a group of College Republicans: “I think that one of the great problems we have in the Republican Party is that we don’t encourage you to be nasty.”

    1989, speaking about the Democratic leadership in Congress: “These people are sick….They are so consumed by their own power, by a Mussolini-like ego, that their willingness to run over normal human beings and to destroy honest institutions is unending.”

    2011, speaking about the current Democratic president: “Obama is the most serious radical threat to traditional America ever to occupy the White House.”

    Those are, to be sure, three gems, and we could probably put together a list of hundreds of related examples, each as jarring as the last. But the one example that stands out for me came in 1994.

    Just a few days before the ‘94 midterm elections — the cycle that would represent the “Republican Revolution” — a deranged woman named Susan Smith drowned her two young sons in South Carolina. It was a horrifying crime that captured significant national attention.

    In his desperation to exploit literally any opportunity for partisan gain, Gingrich quickly made infanticide a campaign issue and publicly equated Smith’s murders with the values of the Democratic Party. Gingrich told the AP at the time, “The mother killing her two children in South Carolina vividly reminds every American how sick the society is getting and how much we have to have change. I think people want to change and the only way you get change is to vote Republican.”

    That someone would think this is offensive. That someone would say it out loud, on the record, is just twisted.

    Calling Gingrich “one of the nastiest, most malignant pieces of work ever to grace American politics,” Kevin concluded, “Newt Gingrich extolling the virtues of bipartisanship is like Hannibal Lecter promoting the value of good nutrition.”

    That’s a terrific line that happens to be true.

  40. Ametia says:

    December 4, 2011 7:31 PM PrintText
    6M young U.S. adults live with their parents
    By Russ Mitchell

    CBS News) While Friday’s jobs report showed overall unemployment dropping to 8.6 percent last month, the rate for young people is 14.2 percent.

    CBS News correspondent Russ Mitchell reports many new college graduates are among the jobless, and can be called “boomerang kids.”

    When the disco ball lights up at Joe’s Crab Shack near Philadelphia, Kim Young joins the rest of the waiters in a dance routine. It’s the restaurant’s gimmick, but these days, Young doesn’t feel much like dancing.

    “I honestly thought right away I was going to get something in my field” after graduating college, Young says.

    Young graduated from college in 2010. Since then she says she’s explored at least 150 job leads in her field – graphic design – with no luck. She works at the restaurant to try to make money – but its only $65 per week.

    “It’s almost like my soul is being sucked out,” Young says.

  41. rikyrah says:

    December 05, 2011 9:20 AM

    Al Hunt asks a good question

    By Steve Benen

    Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and one of three House Republicans on the so-called super-committee, appeared on Bloomberg TV over the weekend, and fielded a very good question from Al Hunt. Pat Garofalo has the video and ran this transcript:

    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.

    Well, no, of course he doesn’t. There’s a perfectly sensible response — tax breaks that largely benefit the wealthy, contra GOP dogma, don’t improve the economy or create jobs — but Upton can’t admit this out loud. Well, he could, but the Republican congressman knows he punishment for such honesty would be severe.

    I was especially fond of Upton, scrambling, trying to say wars and public spending somehow slowed down the economy. First, Upton voted for those wars and the public spending throughout the Bush era. Second, there’s literally nothing to suggest the wars and the spending undermined job growth. And as for the notion that Republican policies “impacted the debt and the deficit,” that’s true, but again, there’s nothing to connect this to the failure of the GOP agenda to create jobs.

    Kudos to Hunt for posing the question. I wish more Republicans would hear this more often. Reagan raised taxes and the economy improved; Clinton raised taxes and the economy improved; Bush slashed taxes and the economy was awful. How does the GOP explain this?

    Indeed, Garofalo flagged this report from the Center for American Progress’ Michael Linden, who found “in the past 60 years, job growth has actually been greater in years when the top income tax rate was much higher than it is now.”

    As far as Republicans are concerned, this reality should be impossible.

  42. rikyrah says:

    Back To The Middle And Around Again
    by Zandar

    As the Occupy movement struggles to stay in place with winter and multiple pepper spray fronts lashing the countryside, the Right screams that the dirty, criminal hippies deserve to be kicked out of “private property” unlike the law-abiding owners of Zuccotti Park. Oh wait.

    It turns out that the owners of Zuccotti Park — the historic site of Occupy Wall Street — have been engaged in some of the very same tax-dodging that many of the protesters were enraged about. The “city Finance Department says park owner Brookfield Properties and its parent company, Brookfield US Corp., currently owe the city more than $139,000 in unpaid business taxes from 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.”

    Never you mind that unpaid tax bill thing and dating the Mayor. Them hippies need a-punchin’, so a-punchin’s gonna git done.

  43. rikyrah says:

    Send in the Clueless
    Published: December 4, 2011

    There are two crucial things you need to understand about the current state of American politics. First, given the still dire economic situation, 2012 should be a year of Republican triumph. Second, the G.O.P. may nonetheless snatch defeat from the jaws of victory — because Herman Cain was not an accident.

    Think about what it takes to be a viable Republican candidate today. You have to denounce Big Government and high taxes without alienating the older voters who were the key to G.O.P. victories last year — and who, even as they declare their hatred of government, will balk at any hint of cuts to Social Security and Medicare (death panels!).

    And you also have to denounce President Obama, who enacted a Republican-designed health reform and killed Osama bin Laden, as a radical socialist who is undermining American security.

    So what kind of politician can meet these basic G.O.P. requirements? There are only two ways to make the cut: to be totally cynical or to be totally clueless.

    Mitt Romney embodies the first option. He’s not a stupid man; he knows perfectly well, to take a not incidental example, that the Obama health reform is identical in all important respects to the reform he himself introduced in Massachusetts — but that doesn’t stop him from denouncing the Obama plan as a vast government takeover that is nothing like what he did. He presumably knows how to read a budget, which means that he must know that defense spending has continued to rise under the current administration, but this doesn’t stop him from pledging to reverse Mr. Obama’s “massive defense cuts.”

    Mr. Romney’s strategy, in short, is to pretend that he shares the ignorance and misconceptions of the Republican base. He isn’t a stupid man — but he seems to play one on TV.

    Unfortunately from his point of view, however, his acting skills leave something to be desired, and his insincerity shines through. So the base still hungers for someone who really, truly believes what every candidate for the party’s nomination must pretend to believe. Yet as I said, the only way to actually believe the modern G.O.P. catechism is to be completely clueless.

    And that’s why the Republican primary has taken the form it has, in which a candidate nobody likes and nobody trusts has faced a series of clueless challengers, each of whom has briefly soared before imploding under the pressure of his or her own cluelessness. Think in particular of Rick Perry, a conservative true believer who seemingly had everything it took to clinch the nomination — until he opened his mouth.

    So will Newt Gingrich suffer the same fate? Not necessarily.

    Many observers seem surprised that Mr. Gingrich’s, well, colorful personal history isn’t causing him more problems, but they shouldn’t be. If hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue, conservatives often seem inclined to accept that tribute, voting for candidates who publicly espouse conservative moral principles whatever their personal behavior. Did I mention that David Vitter is still in the Senate?

    And Mr. Gingrich has some advantages none of the previous challengers had. He is by no means the deep thinker he imagines himself to be, but he’s a glib speaker, even when he has no idea what he’s talking about. And my sense is that he’s also very good at doublethink — that even when he knows what he’s saying isn’t true, he manages to believe it while he’s saying it. So he may not implode like his predecessors.

    The larger point, however, is that whoever finally gets the Republican nomination will be a deeply flawed candidate. And these flaws won’t be an accident, the result of bad luck regarding who chose to make a run this time around; the fact that the party is committed to demonstrably false beliefs means that only fakers or the befuddled can get through the selection process.

  44. rikyrah says:

    If I Go There Will Be Trouble, If I Stay It Will Be Double
    by mistermix

    The Trump/Newsmax debate and Newt Gingrich are putting Mitt Romney in a really fascinating bind. When sure losers Huntsman and Paul declined and made noises about the dignity of the Presidency, it looked for a minute like the whole thing was off. But Newt came in to save the day when he cheerfully accepted, saying, “How could you turn down The Donald?” and that he’s going for the “sheer entertainment value”.

    Now Mitt is in a real double bind. First, Newt just signaled that a genuine smile and a sense of humor are going to be required, and Romney has neither. He’s one of the stiffest and most humor-deprived politicians we’ve seen since maybe John Kerry or even Richard Nixon. There’s a real possibility that a little ribbing by Trump and Gingrich will give America an opportunity to get a good look at the stick rammed firmly up Mitt’s ass. We had a tiny glimpse of it during last week’s Fox News interview, and it wasn’t pretty.

    Second, his whole strategy is based on attracting Republicans who are disgusted with the Tea Party but don’t want to vote for Obama, while at the same time pandering just enough to be a palatable choice for 27 percenters who know in their hearts that Bachmann or Gingrich just can’t win. The former don’t want Mitt in the same part of the country when the Trump debate is happening. The latter will consider it a condescending snub and evidence of high-hatting if Mitt blows off Trump.

    I really can’t predict what Romney will do. My guess is that he’ll manufacture some kind of scheduling conflict, and promise a Trump/Romney event sometime next year. But the latest ugly polls showing Newt crushing him might just cause the ever-calculating Mitt to throw caution to the wind, accept the invitation, and try to memorize a few jokes. Either way, it’s going to be fun to watch.

  45. rikyrah says:

    December 05, 2011 8:30 AM

    The nature of GOP tax-cut demands
    By Steve Benen

    About a week ago, the conventional wisdom was that extending the payroll tax cut through 2012, as President Obama wants, wouldn’t pose too tough a challenge. The party leadership in both parties and both chambers had endorsed the goal, and the debate was over how to pay for the policy, not whether the policy was worthwhile.

    But Republicans quickly discovered a problem. In the Senate, most of the GOP caucus was so reluctant to approve the tax break, they voted against their own party’s plan. In the House, the gap between the leadership and the rank-and-file members was surprisingly wide.

    Deep rifts among House Republicans over a payroll tax break became evident Friday as rank-and-file members of the caucus told their leaders that they did not want to extend the cut in Social Security taxes for another year, as demanded by President Obama.

    Given the effort Democrats are making to capitalize on the issue, Speaker John A. Boehner warned Republicans they would run political risks and could be accused of allowing a tax increase if they blocked the continuation of payroll tax relief set to expire at the end of the year. Lawmakers coming out of the caucus meeting Friday said they had had a spirited debate.

    “Most people standing up to speak were troubled” by legislation to extend the payroll tax cut, said Representative Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona. “There was a divide between the rank and file and the leadership. There was a lot of disquiet in that room.”

    The political world has come to accept a basic truism: the Republican Party is, above all else, an anti-tax party. GOP officials always want to cut taxes, regardless of merit or circumstances.

    The maxim is incomplete — Republicans love tax cuts, but their affection is limited to cuts for the very wealthy. An extension of the payroll break largely benefits the middle class, and that immediately gives the GOP pause.

    Indeed, the very debate has tied Republicans in knots. They want to cut taxes, except for these taxes. They don’t believe tax cuts should be paid for, except these tax cuts must be paid for. They believe tax breaks always work to benefit the economy, except these tax breaks don’t do much of anything, no matter what economists say. They believe letting tax cuts expire counts as a tax increase, except these tax cuts, which don’t.

    As of Friday, we’re looking at a new, almost-amusing scenario in which Republican lawmakers want some kind of sweetener to vote for a tax cut.

    And what, pray tell, does the GOP want as a ransom? Republican leaders are apparently asking for “proposals easing air pollution standards for industrial boilers and clearing the way for construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to refineries along the Gulf Coast of Texas.” If Dems balk, the payroll break expires, and the economy likely gets worse.

    For their part, Senate Democratic leaders are reportedly crafting a compromise plan — which, presumably, would not include a surtax on millionaires and billionaires — to be presented today.

  46. rikyrah says:

    Democrats Gleeful At Prospect Of Running Against Gingrich
    Brian Beutler December 5, 2011, 5:05 AM

    There’s no better illustration of how ecstatic Democrats are about Newt Gingrich leading the GOP primary pack than Nancy Pelosi’s strategic silence.

    Pelosi knows more about Gingrich than perhaps any other major national political figure. She was a senior Democrat when Gingrich was House Speaker, served on the ethics committee that investigated Gingrich for tax cheating and campaign finance violations, and even cut a 2008 ad with him on the importance of addressing global climate change.

    But when TPM asked her to talk a bit about his recent ascent and the possibility that he’ll be the GOP nominee, she mostly demurred.

    “I like Barney Frank’s quote the best, where he said ‘I never thought I’d live such a good life that I would see Newt Gingrich be the nominee of the Republican party,’” Pelosi said in an exclusive interview Friday. “That quote I think spoke for a lot of us.”

    Pelosi didn’t go into detail about Gingrich’s past transgressions, but she tipped her hand. “One of these days we’ll have a conversation about Newt Gingrich,” Pelosi said. “I know a lot about him. I served on the investigative committee that investigated him, four of us locked in a room in an undisclosed location for a year. A thousand pages of his stuff.”

    Pressed for more detail she wouldn’t go further.

    “Not right here,” Pelosi joked. “When the time’s right.”

    Which is to say that if Gingrich somehow clinches the nomination, there’s one hell of an oppo dump coming.

  47. rikyrah says:

    December 05, 2011 8:00 AM

    The press doesn’t like being ignored
    By Steve Benen

    Six of the major Republican presidential candidates stopped by Fox News on Saturday night to field questions from Mike Huckabee and some GOP state attorneys general. The exchanges weren’t terribly newsworthy, but something transpired behind the scenes that spoke to a larger trend.

    Fox News allowed a New York Times reporter to roam around before, during, after the interviews, covering how the candidates and their teams operated. One campaign “stood out by going into defensive mode immediately, insisting that the reporter stay far away.”

    [Mitt] Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, was the last to arrive at the Fox News offices in Midtown Manhattan. He came in with his wife, Ann, and a smattering of aides and travel staff, and they quickly settled into a small conference room near the 12th-floor studio.

    Spotting the reporter, Mr. Romney’s aides sprang into action, questioning where he worked and what he was doing there, and then insisting that he not physically approach Mr. Romney before or after he was questioned on television by the attorneys general and Mr. Huckabee.

    The request was reiterated to executives at Fox News.

    Romney’s aversion to media professionals is making the transition from an oddity to a problem. Indeed, the political press will put up with quite a bit, but it really doesn’t like being ignored, and Romney has apparently invited a backlash.

    Romney is inaccessible even by the tightly scripted standards of the contemporary campaign bubble: Not only is the candidate kept at arms length from reporters, the campaign typically responds to the news media only when it feels it is in its interest. Inconvenient questions are met with silence. […]

    “This is a very poor media operation,” one political director for a leading cable news network complained to POLITICO. “The lack of response to any media request is very frustrating. At least you should acknowledge calls and emails — in their case, it’s like a black hole.”

    Romney and his team have were “completely accessible” in 2008, when the candidate was eager to raise his national profile, but this year, they’ve gone to the other extreme. Romney felt like he could get away with it — Republican voters already knew him; his rivals were incompetent, and his media-blackout strategy didn’t derail his frontrunner status.

    But as the race intensifies, Romney’s don’t-bother-me-with-questions approach is looking far less sound. He’s suddenly in a tough race with Newt Gingrich, and even like-minded media outlets like Fox are pushing back against his refusal to speak to them.

    “I think the zeitgeist moment that you’re seeing this week is Romney’s strategy beginning to backfire on him,” Joe Klein told Politico.

  48. rikyrah says:

    Makeup artist Derrick Rutledge makes over Michelle Obama, Oprah — and himself
    By Keith L. Alexander, Published: November 10

    Chaka Khan is more than angry.

    Instead of getting to rest before her show at the Louisiana Superdome, the R&B star has been booked for two speaking engagements. She’s holed up in her hotel suite, fuming. Outside, her assistants are waiting for her to open the door.

    Her makeup artist, Derrick Rutledge, is waiting, too. He just flew in to do her after working on Michelle Obama in the East Wing. After New Orleans, he’s scheduled to fly out to do Oprah Winfrey before returning home to Washington.

    But first Rutledge has to persuade Khan to open the door. Finally, after 15 minutes, she does, and Rutledge distracts her by talking about two of her favorite subjects: tennis and shopping.

    Within 30 minutes, Khan emerges, reddish mane flowing, lips sensuous in burgundy, looking glorious in a lace dress and carrying a hand fan.

    “It wasn’t a good day,” Khan later admits. “I was nervous about speaking, but he calms me. He knows what to say to me.”

    Rutledge has worked for Khan for 15 years. He knows what his client and close friend needs: a hug and some orange juice. “I’m more than just makeup,” he says. “I’m there for support as well.”

    Rutledge is the man behind the look of some of the world’s most famous names. A leading makeup artist, he gets as much as $15,000 for a day’s work and boasts a coveted client list, including two of the nation’s most photographed faces, Michelle Obama and Oprah, as well as singers such as Patti LaBelle, Shirley Caesar and CeCe Winans. Just last month, his work was on the covers of Essence and AARP, which featured Obama, and O, which featured, obviously, Oprah.

    A makeup artist does intimate work. More intimate than a hairdresser or personal assistant. Like an artist caressing a canvas, Rutledge touches and transforms faces, erasing flaws and reshaping contours. He brings out beauty, confidence, the sheen of stardom.

    At a little after 9 p.m., with the audience roaring, Chaka Khan takes the Superdome stage. She’s a vision of wild beauty. Her boundless alto soars across the adoring, raving fans.

    From backstage, Rutledge watches her on a monitor. “Yessss. Work, Chaka,” he cheers.–and-himself/2011/09/11/gIQA8G9E9M_story.html

  49. rikyrah says:

    Former Romney Business Partner: ‘I Never Thought Of What I Do For A Living As Job Creation’
    By Pat Garofalo on Dec 4, 2011 at 10:44 am

    2012 GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has been pinning his campaign to his economic record, claiming that his time as an investment executive gives him the necessary experience to boost the nation’s moribund job creation.

    “I think to create jobs it helps to have had a job. I have,” Romney constantly says, adding “I spent my career in the private sector. I think that’s what the country needs right now.”

    When Romney mentions his private sector experience, he’s referencing his time with Bain Capital, the private equity firm that earned Romney his millions. Bain’s model for creating profit was to buy up companies and, as the Los Angeles Times put it yesterday, maximize profits “by firing workers, seeking government subsidies, and flipping companies quickly for large profits.” In fact, one of Romney’s former partners at the firm said that he never saw his role as that of a job creator, undermining one of Romney’s top selling points:
    Bain managers said their mission was clear. “I never thought of what I do for a living as job creation,” said Marc B. Walpow, a former managing partner at Bain who worked closely with Romney for nine years before forming his own firm. “The primary goal of private equity is to create wealth for your investors.”

    Plenty of the former employees of companies that Bain bought would certainly agree with that assessment. For instance, Bain Capital formed GS Industries by snapping up steel companies. GSI went bankrupt, and “more than 700 workers were fired, losing not only their jobs but health insurance, severance and a chunk of their pension benefits. GSI retirees also lost their health insurance and other benefits.” However, “Bain partners received about $50 million on their initial investment, a 100% gain.”

    Over the years, Bain caused several corporate bankruptcies and thousands of layoffs, enriching investors at the expense of workers at firms like American Pad & Paper, Dade International, and LIVE Entertainment. And while Romney is trying to spin this record into something giving him job creation expertise, even his former colleagues are evidently not buying it.

  50. rikyrah says:

    Putin’s United Russia party suffers poll setback
    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party has seen a sharp drop in support in parliamentary elections.

    With 96% of votes counted, electoral officials said United Russia had just under 50%, down from 64% in 2007.

    The vote is being seen as a popularity test of Mr Putin, who is running for the presidency in March.

    European observers cited procedural violations and apparent manipulation, including ballot box stuffing.

    Reading a communique, an official from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said the election was in general “well organised” but there were severe problems with the counting process.

    “The contest was also slanted in favour of the ruling party, the election administration lacked independence, most media were partial and state authorities interfered unduly at different levels,” said Petros Efthymiou.

    Opposition parties have also complained of violations of election laws.

    Russia’s only independent monitoring group, Golos, says it has logged 5,300 complaints alleging violations.

    ‘Violations and fraud’

    Electoral Commission head Vladimir Churov said United Russia should have a slim majority, with 238 seats out of 450.

    This would mean the party had lost its current two-thirds majority which allowed it to change the constitution unchallenged.

    Mr Churov said the Communist Party was in second place with 19.2% of the vote, giving it 92 seats.

    A Just Russia was in third place with 13.2% and 64 seats, and the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) had 11.7% and 56, he added.

    “We have received thousands of calls from regional offices, confirming massive violations and fraud,” said Communist Party deputy head Ivan Melnikov on the party website.

    “Throughout the day, it was like receiving reports from a war zone.”

    The BBC’s Steve Rosenberg, in Moscow, says if confirmed, the result will be a significant embarrassment to Mr Putin, three months before he is scheduled to run again for the Russian presidency.

    He says opposition parties are alleging widespread fraud, including the stuffing of ballot boxes and voters being offered money.

    Mr Putin served as president from 2000 to 2008 but was prohibited by the constitution from running for a third consecutive term.

    Golos, whose monitors are not affiliated with any party, said its website suffered a cyber-attack. Ekho Moskvy, a liberal radio station, said its website had also been attacked.

    Golos – which means “voice” or “vote” – is funded largely by the US and EU.

    Prime Minister Putin has accused foreign powers of meddling in election preparations, while Duma members have questioned why a foreign-funded organisation is allowed to monitor Russian elections.

    Moscow police said more than 100 people were arrested at an opposition demonstration in the city centre on Sunday.

  51. Ametia says:

    By E.J. Dionne Jr., Published: December 4
    The contest for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination has been described as a reality show and a circus. But what’s happening inside the GOP is quite rational and easily explained.

    The obvious Republican nominee was Texas Gov. Rick Perry — obvious because his government-bashing, ideology-mongering, secessionist-flirting persona was a perfect fit for a Republican primary electorate that has shifted far to the right of Ronald Reagan.

  52. Ametia says:

    Obama invites college presidents to White House meeting 11 am

    WASHINGTON — President Obama has invited the presidents of about 10 colleges and universities to a meeting at the White House on Monday to discuss affordability and productivity in higher education. While many White House events feature various presidents of colleges, a private meeting — called on short notice, with the president himself in attendance — is highly unusual.

  53. Holiday Tweetup at the White House
    December 05, 2011 9:00 AM EST

    The White House

  54. Your Political Career is Over When You Are Worse Than the Dark Sith

    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?

  55. Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church: Kentucky Congregation Overturns Ban On Interracial Couples

    PIKEVILLE, Ky. — An eastern Kentucky church under a firestorm of criticism since members voted to bar mixed-race couples from joining the congregation overturned that decision Sunday, saying it welcomes all believers.

    Stacy Stepp, pastor of the Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church in Pike County, told The Associated Press that the vote by nine people last week was declared null and void after it was determined that new bylaws can’t run contrary to local, state or national laws. He said the proposal was discriminatory, therefore it couldn’t be adopted.

    Stepp said about 30 people who attended church services voted on a new resolution that welcomes “believers into our fellowship regardless of race, creed or color.”

  56. NAACP targets tougher voter qualifications

    The NAACP and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, two separate organizations, will release a report that finds the laws tend to suppress minority voting — a trend the report says emerged after unprecedented minority turnout in the 2008 election and Census figures that show people of color gaining a larger share of the population.

    The groups will send the document to congressional leaders, state attorneys general, secretaries of state and the Department of Justice in hopes of prompting legislation to roll back laws requiring government-issued identification at the polls and reducing the number of early-voting days and other measures they say could disenfranchise as many as 5 million voters. The NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, will lead a march to United Nations headquarter in New York on Saturday to draw attention to the issue.

  57. Good Morning, beautiful people! Have a most wonderful Monday! myspace graphic comments

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