Wednesday Open Thread

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Ametia                          Rikyrah                      SG2

Sleigh Ride” is a popular light orchestral piece composed by Leroy Anderson. The composer had the original idea for the piece during a heat wave in July 1946; he finished the work in February 1948. Lyrics, about a person who would like to ride in a sleigh on a winter’s day with another person, were written by Mitchell Parish in 1950. The orchestral version was first recorded in 1949 by Arthur Fiedler and The Boston Pops Orchestra. The song was a hit record on RCA Victor Red Seal 49-0515 (45 rpm) / 10-1484 (78 rpm), and has become the equivalent of a signature song for the orchestra. The 45 rpm version was originally issued on red vinyl. This original mono version has never been available on CD, although the later 1959 re-recording is available in stereo. The orchestra has also recorded the song with John Williams, their conductor from 1979 to 1995, and Keith Lockhart, their current conductor.

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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95 Responses to Wednesday Open Thread

  1. Low-Class Southern Suburban Bigotry

  2. Oldest Woman in Osawatomie: Obama Visit Fulfilled Dream

    OSAWATOMIE, Kansas – Ruth Wench was 2 when Teddy Roosevelt rolled into this rural prairie town in 1910, and she hadn’t seen a president in the flesh in the 100 years since. But today, with President Obama’s visit here, the oldest woman in Osawatomie had her dream fulfilled.

    “It was very important and exciting to me of course to see one alive,” said Wench, a retired African-American school teacher who has spent the past two decades volunteering as a foster grandparent for elementary school children in Osawatomie. (Her great-granddaughter says she’s the oldest foster grandparent in the United States)

    “I’ve seen pictures and TV of course, but to see one who has much interest in middle-class people in little Osawatomie. That God impressed on him to come to Osawatomie and encourage us –” She was speechless.

    Donning a white head-wrap and pink nursing home vest, Wench clutched a soft-cover copy of “Dreams of My Father” – Obama’s memoir – that had been wrapped in a ragged plastic bag as she craned her neck to see the president through the crowd.

    As Obama spoke about fairness and equal opportunity, she nodded in agreement, gingerly applauding with the crowd. And after the speech, she still nodded, slowly and steadily in continued approval.

    “He was very encouraging to me and Osawatomie,” Wench said. “I learned a lot about him and the importance of smaller communities to him and that education and the need for cooperation by all of us to work together.”

    Wench said even though she hasn’t always been a Democrat – “That’s a long time to be of either kind of party” – she does hope to cast a ballot for Obama next fall.

    “If I’m still alive, I will,” she said.

    [wpvideo 16ow4oY9]

  3. T.J. Holmes Signs Contract With BET

    Former CNN host T.J. Holmes signed a multi-platform contract with BET Networks. Deadline Hollywood reported on Wednesday that the former CNN anchor will host a new program and contribute to BET’s website.

    BET did not confirm details of the show but Deadline Hollywood wrote that the program was expected to “feature Holmes’ prospective on current events as well as human interest stories.”

    Holmes announced his departure from CNN on Tuesday. He had been with the network since 2006. He hosted the network’s weekend shows, CNN Saturday Morning and CNN Sunday morning. Holmes was based out of the network’s headquarters in Atlanta.

  4. Secret Service takes guns, handcuffs from Kansas birther threatening Obama

    A Kansas birther, who publicly announced that he was planning a citizen’s arrest of President Barack Obama, was told Monday by the Secret Service that he would be arrested if he came near the president.

    Neil Jednoralski claimed that he contacted Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the Kansas Highway Patrol, and the Saline County Sheriff’s Office to ask for their help in arresting the president for illegally holding office as a foreign citizen, according to KSAL.

    The president was scheduled to speak at Osawatomie High School Tuesday and Jednoralski was planning to be there. He believes Kansas statute 22-2403 gives him the right to arrest Obama — or any other person committing a crime.

    Jednoralski said that a Secret Service agent visited him at his home Monday and confiscated a pair of “high-security handcuffs” that he had planned to use on Obama. The agent also took four guns into custody.

    “I was going to arrest him and drive him Topeka and turn him over to the state attorney general,” Jednoralski told the Salina Journal.

    “I didn’t really want to surrender my firearms because I feel I have the right to have them, and they were never mentioned in the attempted arrest,” he complained.

    “If he comes to Kansas again, I’ll try again. I’ll put it out that I am going to make that attempt.”

  5. “Mitt Through the Ages”

  6. House Passes Bill To Grant Congress Veto Power Over White House Rules

    WASHINGTON — A bill that would give the controlling party of either chamber of Congress veto power over any major new regulation passed the House of Representatives Wednesday.

    The measure, dubbed the Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny — or REINS — Act, would require Congress to sign off on any new rule estimated to cost more than $100 million. It passed 241 to 184, with a handful of Democrats crossing the aisle.

    The REINS Act is only the latest of a slew of bills aimed at peeling back regulations, which House Republicans have pushed for in the name of cutting red tape and freeing up businesses. The GOP sees the regulations as overbearing rulemaking by unelected bureaucrats.

  7. Alleged victim says cries for help from Sandusky basement went unheeded

    One of the new alleged victims in the sexual harassment case against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky told a grand jury that Sandusky’s wife ignored his screams for help while Sandusky raped him in the basement of their home.

    Sandusky rearrested in Pennsylvania

    The young man, identified in the new complaint as Victim No. 9, who is now 18 years old, said in his testimony that Sandusky attempted to rape him at least 16 times, sometimes successfully.

    “I took it at first he was just a nice guy, like he went to church every weekend, his kids come over every once in a while and stuff,” the young man testified. “And after a while, like, he got used to me and stuff and started getting further and further wanting — to touch feely.”

    The presentment says the contacts eventually “escalated to sexual assaults.”

    New grand jury presentment (.pdf — includes graphic details)

  8. Misleading Wisconsin Form Asks Residents For Photo ID To Get A Birth Certificate, Which Is Needed To Get A Photo ID

  9. Chris Matthews ask Jay Carney if President Obama is the head of the Democratic Party! ***Saaaaaaaa>>>>lap***

  10. Black College Student Wins Fight to Display Confederate Flag in Dorm Room

    A black college student has won the fight to keep a Confederate flag in his dorm room after school officials initially told him to take it down.

    The University of South Carolina Beaufort told 19-year-old Byron Thomas on Thursday he could keep the flag up, after the freshman was told two weeks ago to remove it because of student complaints.

    University spokeswoman Candace Brasseur told the Beaufort Gazette Thomas was initially asked to remove the flag because it violates a student code of conduct discouraging bigotry, but the school’s legal counsel ultimately advised the university to allow him to display the flag.

    When he was first told in November to take the flag down, Thomas posted a four-minute video on YouTube saying he views the Confederate flag as a sign of Southern pride, not of racism, and was not going to remove it. The video was re-posted on CNN’s iReport, where it has been viewed more than 70,000 times.

    “It’s not racist for me,” Thomas, a Georgia native, said in the video. “All it is is a symbol that I see as a sign of respect, and people don’t want to see it that way.”

    Before the school relented, Thomas said he felt his First Amendment rights were being violated, and said he considered legal action if he was not allowed to display the flag.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    December 07, 2011 4:25 PM

    A ‘limited understanding of the economy’
    By Steve Benen

    This exchange, from Mitt Romney’s chat with the editorial board of the Washington Examiner, seems like the sort of thing that might come back to haunt the former governor.

    TIM CARNEY: The European Union might be on the verge of an economic meltdown and the U.S. is already getting involved at least indirectly. They opened the Fed window. The IMF, which we heavily fund, is sending money their way. Do you support this Fed and these IMF measures and, if this were still going on when you were inaugurated, what steps — what US aid — would you be willing to provide to Europe?

    ROMNEY: Not much, because Europe is capable of solving Europe’s problems. I actually think that — I mean, I’m not an economist by training, but what limited understanding of the economy I have suggests it’s very difficult to cobble together Greece, Ireland, Italy and Germany with the same monetary policy and highly disparate fiscal policies. I don’t know how they hold it together. [emphasis added]

    In fairness, I didn’t hear the audio* or see the video of the comments. It’s possible this was said in jest (though elsewhere, the transcript points to laughter, and this is not one of those instances).

    Or perhaps he was serious. The larger point is, if Romney is already trying to downplay his familiarity with economic policy, in a campaign in which he points to alleged economic expertise as his main qualification for national office, it’s a quote he might regret making.

    Remember, in the last campaign, Republican nominee John McCain conceded, “I’m going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated.” The senator later admitted, “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should.”

    And now we have Romney saying he has a “limited understanding of the economy”? Given his campaign message and voters’ concerns, that may prove to be a quote that’s tough to live down.


    Washington, D.C. – Congressman Charles Rangel issued the following statement after learning that Mr. Ofield Dukes passed away on December 5, 2011: “As a Member of Congress, I have been blessed to call many wonderful people my friend, but none more than Ofield Dukes. I am extremely saddened by the passing of such great man who had significant impact in not only my life, but that of my Colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus, dating back to its founding. Aside from his many accomplishments in business, politics and his personal life, Ofield was simply a true and kind person who sought to make our country a better place for all. I will forever miss his virtue, justness and sincerity

    . Ofield was the best communications strategist in Washington. He helped organized the first Congressional Black Caucus (CBS) dinner in l971 and served as an advisor to numerous CBC chairpersons. He was a founding member of the CBC Foundation and served on the Foundation Board (CBCF) for 14 years. As the first chairman of the Foundation’s Finance and Fundraising Committee, Ofield was instrumental in developing strategies for fundraising including recruiting business support and active involvement.

    Ofield’s devotion to his craft was esteemed by everyone. In 1988, Ofield was selected by CBC Chairman Julian Dixon to serve as chairman of a historic black-tie dinner in salute of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. When the CBC Chairman Clyburn needed a person to organize and edit the first news letter of the CBC-CBCF, he called Ofield and for seven years he did a superb job in editing the CBC-CBCF newsletter.

    In addition to his work with the CBC & CBCF, Ofield was dedicated to fighting for racial equality. He served for 10 years on the board of the MLK, Jr. Committee for Non-Violent Social Change and as an advisor to Mrs. Coretta Scott King. He also served as an advisor to Dr. Leon Sullivan, organized the first Stevie Wonder March to make Dr. King’s birthday a national holiday and was an advisor to Alex Haley, author of the epic book “Roots” which provided the impetus for the historic TV series.

    Aside from all his public service achievements, Ofield always find time to nurture the next generation of communicators and political minds. As an adjunct professor for 25 years at the Howard University John H. Johnson School of Communication, Ofield is credited with influencing hundreds of students to enter the field of public relations. He also taught public relations at the American University for eight years.

    In politics, Ofield served as a communications consultant to the Democratic National Committee in six presidential campaigns. In 1998, Ofield worked very closely with me in developing the national African American media strategy that helped generate a large black voter turnout that helped Democrats to gain control of the House of Representatives.

  13. On FOX, DNC Chair Responds to RJC Forum, Slams Romney for Business Ties to Iran

  14. goldietaylor:

    By a vote of 395 to 28, the House hit Gingrich with ethics charges in 1997…

  15. rikyrah says:

    The Trump-Rove Rivalry
    Heats up:

    The Donald barks back. Pareene gets out the popcorn:

    Rove, see, is operating from the outmoded idea that the Republican party should attempt to appeal to anyone not currently already old, angry, and skeptical of the president’s citizenship. From Karl Rove’s perspective, a man universally regarded as an unserious ass should not be hosting a major party’s presidential candidates and then selecting one of them, reality show-style, as his endorsee, live on television. For Rove, the fact that polls show associating with Trump is a net negative even among GOP voters is worrying, and not, as it is for the rest of us, hilarious.

  16. rikyrah says:

    The Agony Of Erick Erickson
    RedState’s “Dear Leader” is having a hard time:

    I feel guilty for feeling this way, but I just don’t know that I can support [Gingrich] in the primary. Over Romney? Sure. Newt won’t be nearly as devastating down ballot as Romney if things go wrong for the GOP. But over Bachmann, Huntsman, and Perry in alphabetical order? I hope for a Perry rebound. He’s on his first wife still and has the most consistent record of conservative policies. And we hate the same people and institutions.

    We have the same general world view. But if Perry is not ready, I have to say I may have to seriously reconsider saying I’d never, ever, never vote for Jon Huntsman. He is more consistently conservative than either Newt or Romney, more pro-life than either, and a far more competent executive than either. He and Perry also are very real and sincere family men. Jon Huntsman clearly adores his family and I have concluded, despite my own misgivings about him, that he would govern more consistently to the right of Mitt Romney than even his campaign team would have us believe.

    I’ll support the nominee. Any of the Republicans will be better than Obama, regardless of the number of wives. I’m just not yet at a position where I think I can look myself in the mirror and be comfortable knowing I voted for a guy on his third wife who cheated on the first two. Honestly, it is more the cheating than the number of marriages. And even after moving his letter from the Baptist to the Catholic church, it seems he may have settled down on the marital front, but he’s still cheating on conservatives.

  17. rikyrah says:

    7 Dec 2011 01:16 PM
    Obama Frames The Election

    John Cassidy reacts to Obama’s speech yesterday:

    This isn’t the President saying he deserves to be on Mount Rushmore. This is Obama seeking to define the themes he intends to run on next year, to energize his disillusioned base, and to capitalize on a big change in the political climate. Teddy Roosevelt, whose famous “New Nationalism” speech in 1910 called upon the three branches of the federal government to put the public welfare before the interests of money and property, merely provided a convenient framing device.

    Chait argues along the same lines:

    This is the theme Obama has prepared for his campaign: himself, as champion of the middle class, against Romney, as modern-day robber baron. Of course, Romney happens to be rapidly falling behind Newt Gingrich in the race for the GOP nomination, but a campaign against Gingrich is probably something you hope for rather than plan for.


    I counted 25 mentions of “middle class” in the speech. Finally—maybe, if he keeps it up—the Democrats have a broad and coherent response to trickle-down economics: middle-class economics. It’s ridiculously simple. It’s like a melody in a new pop song that you hear, and it’s so catchy and instantly memorable that you can’t believe that no one has written it until now.

    What I found interesting is what Obama did not say. He made the case for higher taxes on the very wealthy not as an abstract redistributionist principle, but as an element of restoring the common good. Extreme inequality is deeply dangerous for a democracy. When that inequality also leads to buying influence in the Congress, then we are already in very deep.

    I’ve heard many Suskind-style critiques of this president, primarily about his not seizing the moment in early 2009 to break up, nationalize or overhaul the temporarily weakened banking sector. All I can say is that I prefer a president who tackles the most pressing matter at hand first: the potential implosion of our entire financial system. If that meant holding the banks’ hands for a while until things stabilized – and do these people remember what those days were like? – so what? Now is the time, having stabilized the situation, to tackle the deeper problems behind it.

    I’ve been watching a lot of Fox lately to better understand the dynamics of the GOP race. Last night, propagandist Hannity – by far the most shameless of all of them – introduced a tape of Obama with a description of the speech as “class warfare”. And then you heard the clips: about being one nation, built around middle class values, requiring everyone to sacrifice a little, but especially those who have gained so much in the last thirty years. The way Obama has framed this is especially helpful in deflecting the class warfare charge. And, in my view, campaigns that focus on the future rather than the past have an edge.

  18. rikyrah says:

    December 07, 2011 2:30 PM
    Perry hates gays, loves Christmas
    By Steve Benen

    A few days ago, Rick Perry launched a television ad in Iowa based almost entirely on religion. “Some liberals say that faith is a sign of weakness,” he told viewers. “Well, they’re wrong. I think we all need God’s help. America’s greatest leaders have been people of strong faith, strong values.”

    The spot didn’t generate much in the way of attention, so the Texas governor decided to escalate matters in his new ad. Take a look:

    For those who can’t watch videos from your work computers, Perry, talking to the camera, says, “I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know that there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military, but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. As president, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion, and I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again.”

    I suppose it’s possible a message like this might have something to do with Mitt Romney — by emphasizing he’s “not ashamed,” Perry may be drawing a subtle contrast with Mitt Romney, who tends not to make similar boasts about his Mormonism — but it’s more likely the governor just wants Iowans to think of him as the Culture Warrior in Chief.

    And maybe this strategy will pay dividends. Iowa Republicans have developed a reputation for extremism on social issues, so Perry may very connect with a message like this one.

    But that doesn’t make Perry’s tirade any less ridiculous. It also doesn’t change the fact that this bizarre persecution complex is wildly misplaced — there is no “war on religion”; DADT’s end has made America safer and the new policy enjoys broad bipartisan support; millions of children openly celebrate Christmas; voluntary prayer in public schools is already legal; and liberals have no interest in Perry’s religious heritage.

  19. Ametia says:

    Posted at 01:54 PM ET, 12/07/2011
    Jerry Sandusky arrested on new counts of child sexual abuse

    By Cindy Boren

    Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State coach who faces 40 counts of child sexual abuse against eight victims, was arrested today after new allegations of abuse surfaced.

    Sandusky, 67, was removed from his State College, Pa., home in handcuffs and taken for arraignment to a Centre County courthouse. This arrest stems from allegations from two new victims who stepped forward after his Nov. 4 arrest and these new charges will be included in a preliminary hearing on the original charges that was set for Dec. 13

  20. rikyrah says:

    this ad is BRUTAL.

    BRU-TAL against Willard:

  21. Ametia says:

    Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison Wednesday for corruption convictions.

    Blagojevich, a Democrat, was accused of trying to profit as he considered whom to appoint to succeed Barack Obama when the president vacated his Senate seat to move to the White House.

    Blagojevich was convicted of corruption in June after a jury returned 17 guilty verdicts against him.

    During his sentencing hearing, Blagojevich apologized to his state, his family and the judge, saying he is “unbelievably sorry.”

  22. rikyrah says:


    7 Dec 2011 12:55 PM The Limbaugh-Gingrich Alliance
    The second most powerful man in the conservative movement takes a stand:

    George Will, I mentioned this yesterday, George Will has called Newt a Marxist. Fine; he can do whatever he wants. But I don’t recall him ever calling Obama a Marxist. So there’s a huge effort out there today, and it’s not just today; of course it’s been building. It was Herman Cain before Newt. It was Rick Perry when he came out strong. This effort’s been directed at Michele Bachmann. And it is essentially an attack on conservatives. It is conservatives that nobody in the establishment inside the Beltway appears to want. Republicans and Democrats alike really apparently do not want genuine conservatives winning elections at the upper levels of the Republican Party.

    Kornacki gets inside Limbaugh’s head:

    Part of the explanation has to do with Limbaugh’s status as a leading Romney-skeptic. He announced on his show a few months ago that “Romney is not a conservative,” and even when Rick Perry’s poll numbers collapsed earlier this fall and the political world began treating Romney as the inevitable nominee Limbaugh continued urging his listeners to be open to alternatives. He regards himself as a preeminent voice of the anti-establishment Tea Party movement, so in a way the GOP race is a test of Limbaugh’s clout: If he makes it clear he doesn’t want Romney to be the nominee, what will it say if Romney coasts to the nomination?

  23. rikyrah says:

    Will Iowa Kill Romney Again?
    by BooMan
    Wed Dec 7th, 2011 at 11:51:35 AM EST

    Back in late-May, the New York Times reported:

    [Mitt Romney] has told friends that he felt burned by the process in Iowa four years ago. He invested $10 million and finished second in the caucuses to Mr. Huckabee, who spent a sliver of that amount. Mr. Romney also struggled to connect with religious conservatives and often spent more time trying to convince people that his rightward-shifting positions on abortion and gay rights were changes of heart rather than decisions of political expediency.

    At the time, Romney was making his first appearance in Iowa of the year. At the same point in the 2007-08 cycle, Romney had been running television ads for three months and had successfully won the coveted Ames Straw Poll. It’s clear that Romney did not want to make the same mistake twice. Having invested so much in Iowa four years ago only to come away with a disappointing second place loss, his team decided to focus this time on friendlier territory in New Hampshire.

    But then a funny thing happened. Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, and Sarah Palin all opted not to run for president. Tim Pawlenty went broke and dropped out. Suddenly, there was no real competition for Iowa and Romney lost his easy excuse for losing there. If he can’t beat Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry in Iowa, then what kind of frontrunner is he?

    The weakness of the field sucked Romney back into Iowa. But no sooner did he rededicate himself to competing in the caucuses than he saw polls numbers like this (pdf):

    With the Iowa caucuses just for weeks away, Newt Gingrich, at 31%, holds a double-digit lead over Mitt Romney (17%) and Ron Paul (16%). Romney and Paul are virtually tied for second.
    Romney may be headed for a third-place finish in Iowa that will wind up costing him his lead in New Hampshire. And then Romney will have to head south to South Carolina and Florida, where Mormons are not always well-regarded by the Southern Baptist base of the GOP.

    It’s still too early to make confident predictions, but we may look back at this contest and conclude that Romney was doomed by a lack of real competition. If had had just one real candidate to lose to in Iowa with a little dignity, his plan might have worked. Instead, we might reflect that he had been destroyed once again in the Hawkeye State, despite his determination not to let that happen.

  24. rikyrah says:

    December 07, 2011 1:00 PM

    What in the world is Romney talking about?
    By Steve Benen

    In presenting a fairly detailed picture of his economic worldview, President Obama explained yesterday that “the free market is the greatest force for economic progress in human history. It’s led to a prosperity and a standard of living unmatched by the rest of the world.”

    And yet, there was Mitt Romney this morning, claiming that the president longs for some kind of dreary, Soviet-style economic oppression for America’s future.

    “[Obama] seeks to replace our merit-based society with an entitlement society. In an entitlement society, everyone receives the same or similar rewards, regardless of education, effort and willingness to take risk. That which is earned by some is redistributed to the others. And the only people to enjoy truly disproportionate rewards are the people who do the redistributing — the government.

    “Entitlement societies are praised in academic circles, far removed from the reality of a competitive world. Opportunity is replaced by the certainty that everyone in an entitlement society will enjoy nearly the same rewards. But there is another certainty: they will be poor.

    “In an entitlement society, the invigorating pursuit of happiness is replaced by the deadening reality that there is no prospect of a better tomorrow.”

    From time to time, political observers get stuck in a debate for which there is no clear answer: are Republicans like Romney liars or fools? I don’t know Romney personally, and I can’t read his mind, so I can’t speak to which of the options is true in this case.

    I can, however, say that if Romney actually believes such idiocy, reports of his competence have been greatly exaggerated.

    There is simply nothing in reality to suggest the president accepts as true the radical beliefs Romney ascribes to him. Indeed, no Democratic official anywhere in the country would accept such an extremist agenda that would promise identical economic circumstances to all people.

    As Jon Chait put it, “This accusation is approximately as accurate as claiming that the Republican Party wants to pass laws forbidding poor people from making more money. Yet this absurd claim is so common nobody even thinks to challenge it anymore.”

    The problem, I suspect, is that Romney lacks the courage and strength necessary to have a credible debate over economic policies. Such a debate requires honesty, an understanding of the basics, and a willingness to be consistent and principled — and given Romney glaring character flaws, he simply lacks the integrity to engage in such a discussion.

    Obama presented an important approach to the economy yesterday, one with a pedigree that rests in giants from both parties over the last century. Americans would benefit from a spirited, substantive response from leading Republican voices, and it’s a genuine shame Romney’s cowardice keeps him from being up to the task.

  25. rikyrah says:

    December 07, 2011 12:25 PM

    ACA delivers big savings for seniors
    By Steve Benen

    Most of the Affordable Care Act won’t take effect for a few years — and if court rulings and the 2012 elections go a certain way, it may not take effect at all — but there’s already evidence that the reform law is working.

    It’s making a big difference in providing coverage for young adults; it’s providing treatment options for women like Spike Dolomite Ward; and it’s slowing the growth in Medicare spending.

    It’s also, as Jonathan Cohn explained, saving seniors quite a bit of money on prescription medication.

    Under the terms of the Affordable Care Act — yes, Obamacare — pharmaceutical companies provide a 50 percent discount on name-brand drugs for seniors who hit the “donut hole.” The donut hole is the gap in coverage that begins once an individual Medicare beneficiary has purchased $2,840 in drugs over the course of a year. At that point, the beneficiary becomes completely responsible for prescription costs — in other words, he or she has to pay for them out of his pocket — until he or she has spent another $3,600.

    It may not sound like a lot of money. But the seniors who hit the donut hole are, by definition, the ones with the most medical problems. Saving a few hundred dollars, on average, makes a real difference. And that’s precisely what’s happening, according to data the administration released today. According to its calculations, 2.65 million seniors hit the donut hole — and then saved an average of $569 each. The data runs through October. More seniors will hit the donut hole through year’s end, so the total number of beneficiaries who take advantage of the discount in 2012 should end up higher.

    In an interview with USA Today, Jonathan Blum, director of the Center for Medicare, added, “We’re very pleased with the numbers. We found the Part D premiums have also stayed constant, despite predictions that they would go up in 2012.”

    Seniors have been some of the biggest skeptics of the Affordable Care Act, but they’ve also seen some of the most direct benefits. Indeed, USAT’s report went on to note that as of the end of November, “more than 24 million people, or about half of those with traditional Medicare, have gone in for a free annual physical or other screening exam since the rules changed this year because of the health care law.”

    If Republicans repeal the law, all of these benefits will simply disappear. It’s something voters may want to keep in mind.

  26. rikyrah says:

    It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it
    by DougJ

    Steve M. takes young Conor apart for believing that Newt’s previous policy positions should hurt him with the the teahadists. It’s a thorough dissection, but I’d make it even simpler: both of the leading Republican contenders supported individual mandates for health insurance, yet opposition to that provision of ACA is one of the bedrock principles of teahadism.

    It’s true that the real wingnuts prefer Gingrich (who has only supported things similar to ACA) to Romney (who actually enacted something similar to ACA), but I doubt that this reality-based analysis explains the preference. Teahadists want the candidate who rocks the hardest. It’s that simple. Rick Perry rocked when he talked about guns and lynching and Ben Bernanke, not so much when he took too many pain-killers before the debates. Cain rocked when he was 999 all the time, not so much when he was singing spirituals at pressers. Romney never rocks, so he’ll never appeal to the hard-core right, no matter how much he contorts his policy positions. (“Electability”, support from the establishment, and the ineptitude of the candidates who can rock may give him the nomination anyway.)

    It’s just plain stupid to think that past policy positions—and maybe even current policy positions—have anything to do with any of this.

  27. Ametia says:

    I’m loving Harry Connick Jr’s Sleigh Ride today.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Sandusky’s Own Grandson Could Be Youngest Victim Yet
    Posted by Cynthia Dermody on November 25, 2011 at 10:36 AM

    Two new young victims have come forward in the Jerry Sandusky scandal — and one of them is said to be his own 5 year old grandson! Five! As much as I hate to say it, it’s disturbing but not the least surprising. Whose thoughts didn’t turn immediately to Jerry Sandusky’s own children and grandchildren when we learned he was a family man? It was one of the first OMG thoughts to cross my mind after the scandal first broke. People with this type of perversion do not usually discriminate across bloodlines (not to mention Sandusky’s six children are adopted).

    That the latest victims are 5 and the other under 18 means this is the first time investigators are aware of abuse by someone who is currently a minor and not an adult, like all the other victims who’ve come forward. Sandusky and his lawyer are of course denying all these new charges — and why wouldn’t they, since they are denying all the previous ones, too.

    Here is what Joseph Amendola, Sandusky’s lawyer, said in response to these disturbing new accusations:

    Even if you buy into the attorney general’s allegations against Jerry — which we vehemently dispute and which we intend to vigorously defend against — these new allegations don’t fit the profile presented by the AG. These new allegations appear to be the result of a very nasty divorce and custody battle.

    The grandchild is said to be the son of Jill Jones, ex-wife of Sandusky’s son Matt, who earlier this month got a court restraining order barring Sandusky from contact with her children, two young daughters and the boy. This is likely the custody battle Amendola refers to.

  29. Alabama Can’t Find Anyone to Fill Undocumented Immigrants’ Old Jobs

    Alabama agriculture officials are stumped over how to keep farms operating now that the state’s draconian new immigration law chased away all of the low paid (however illegal) labor. The latest idea: Hire prisoners. The Associate Press reports:

    The nursery and landscape industry will need as many as 4,000 workers in southern counties early in 2012 to get ready for the growing season, he said, and forestry and farming will require still more laborers. Unable to find legal residents to fill all the employment gaps, [Deputy commissioner with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries Brett] Hall said the Agriculture Department is consulting with the Department of Corrections to determine whether prisoners could do some of the work.

    • Karma…it’s what for dinner, beyotches!

      When evil gets to rockin; Karma comes a knockin!

      • As an Alabamian, I couldn’t agree with you more SG2. Bring on the karma, baby!
        Over the last three decades, Alabama has only had two Democratic governors. Between the mid 1990s and the mid 2000s, for a while it looked like my state might emerge as a symbol of the “New South” under progressive Dem leadership. But in recent years with the return onslaught of Jim Crow politics, Alabama appears to be on the fasttrack to the days of “Driving Miss Daisy.”

    • rikyrah says:


      want someone other than modern day slaves…

      gotta pay better than slave wages

  30. rikyrah says:

    The Christianist Standard
    Serial adultery? Fine. Mormonism? Er …

    Gingrich’s favorable rating among white evangelical likely caucus-goers is 60 percent – compared to just 31 percent for Romney. Only 18 percent hold an unfavorable view of Gingrich, compared to 43 percent for Romney…. More than half of likely Republican caucus-goers (55 percent) say it is at least somewhat important a candidate share their religious beliefs, a figure that rises to 80 percent among white evangelicals. Eighty-five percent overall (including 77 percent of white evangelicals) say they would vote for a Mormon candidate, though just 67 percent say most people they know would vote for a Mormon.

    Another way to put this is that 23 percent of white evangelicals will not vote for a Mormon, period. They even ranked Gingrich’s personal life higher than Romney’s.

  31. rikyrah says:

    December 07, 2011 11:25 AM
    NFIB vs. GOP talking points
    By Steve Benen

    When it comes to the larger economic debate, Democrats and Republicans agree on basically one point: the status quo isn’t very good. On everything else, the parties part ways.

    This includes the root problems causing the weak economic conditions. For Democrats, liberals, economists, financial analysts, the Fed, the IMF, Treasury officials, the CBO, and even mildly-observant people, the problem has to do with demand: businesses need more customers. For Republicans and other conservatives, demand is largely irrelevant.

    Jamison Foser reports this week that businesses have no use for GOP talking points.

    …A new survey of small business owners conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business finds that not only do more small business owners identify lack of demand as the biggest impediment to growth than any other factor, most of those who identify “uncertainty” as an impediment really mean lack of demand. […]

    It turns out that when small business owners say “uncertainty” is an impediment to growth, they mean economic uncertainty, not political uncertainty. And by economic uncertainty, they mean uncertainty about demand.

    And what about crushing government regulations and oppressive taxes, which Republicans perceive as the root of weak growth? The NFIB survey, not surprisingly, found that these weren’t major concerns for businesses.

    Regrettably, none of this matters to congressional Republicans, who apparently believe they know better than to believe these pesky facts. It’s why the GOP is so eager to undermine demand — resisting a payroll tax break, opposing an extension of unemployment benefits, and demanding spending cuts that take money out of the economy and force more public-sector layoffs.

    It’s why we can’t have nice things.

  32. rikyrah says:

    December 07, 2011
    GOP suicide watch

    Last night, following a self-imposed, three-day moratorium on temporal madness, I tried easing my way back into our political condition’s assorted pathologies by viewing merely a few minutes of “Hardball.” Early indications: no change, no improvement, and little relief from the embedded monotony of what amounts to a rolling, GOP suicide watch.

    Which wasn’t half as painful for me as it is, apparently, for some in the GOP. To wit, former McCain-capo Steve Schmidt’s wailing to Chris Matthews that the Donald’s most recent foray into Republican politics is but another symptom of the latter’s status as “an unhealthy institution.” By that Schmidt meant not only the squalidness of Trump and the complicit, “alternate reality” (said Schmidt) of Newt Gingrich’s now-prominent world, but, by implication, the nearly undifferentiated stench of institutional decay: a party whose unrequited establishment has been left to extol a deeply unprincipled superficiality as the last human outpost of principled conservatism.

    Egads. To be holding a Mitt Romney as one’s ace in the self-dug hole. Even Schmidt couldn’t bring himself to evince enthusiasm for his party’s only plausible nominee. Most operatives simply ignore the more clownish manifestations of their fellow partisans’ silly season, but not Schmidt; he invested his network facetime bemoaning the GOP’s repeal of Moynihan’s political dictum of the right to opinion-creation but not facts.

    One doesn’t normally see that kind of behavior in a major GOP appliance like Schmidt, nonetheless he was having none of the usual, partisan offense-as-defense. If he even mentioned Romney’s floating superiority within the cloaca of Republican presidential politics, I missed it. What I did hear — and what Schmidt, with barely repressed fury, clearly intended as a “You’re goddamn right I know better” warning — was that the Grand Old Party is killing itself.

    Which of course was last week’s political news, too, and will of course be next week’s political news. No news. No change. Same monotony.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    President Obama has always embraced deficit reduction with a populist message

    Some on the left are suggesting that President Obama’s speech yesterday in Osawatomie, KS had a “populist” note that has been missing since he supposedly embraced an “austerity” agenda. You can see a pretty good rundown on Ari Berman’s nonsense about that at The People’s View.

    There is a myth that has developed on the left that President Obama somehow abandoned his Democratic leanings this year and suddenly took up the Republican message about austerity. The trouble is, if you go back to the beginning and look at what he’s said, the need to reduce spending and make government more efficient has always been there. Once again, let’s look at what he said when he accepted the Democratic Party nomination in Denver:

    Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I’ve laid out how I’ll pay for every dime: by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don’t help America grow.

    But I will also go through the federal budget line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less, because we cannot meet 21st-century challenges with a 20th-century bureaucracy.

    Or how about his first State of the Union Address in 2009 (yes, at the height of the Great Recession):

    There is, of course, another responsibility we have to our children. And that is the responsibility to ensure that we do not pass on to them a debt they cannot pay. With the deficit we inherited, the cost of the crisis we face, and the long-term challenges we must meet, it has never been more important to ensure that as our economy recovers, we do what it takes to bring this deficit down.

    In the midst of talking about the need to invest in jobs and this country’s future, President Obama has always included the fact that we need to tackle the issue of deficit reduction over the long term.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Vacation politics: Mitt Romney scolds Obama for Hawaii plans
    by Michael A. Memoli
    December 6, 2011, 3:45 p.m.

    In this political season, even vacations are fodder for political attacks. Mitt Romney on Tuesday blasted President Obama’s planned Christmas holiday trip to his native Hawaii, and the golf games that go with it (see video below).

    During an appearance on Fox News Channel, host Neil Cavuto mentioned reports that Obama is slated to take a three-week trip to Hawaii this time, and asked Romney how long a break he would take if elected president.

    “A lot shorter than that, I tell you that,” he said, pledging to “work my day and night off” to help rebuild the American economy.

    “If I’m lucky enough to be president, I’m not going to be playing, what, 80 or 90 rounds of golf. I’m not going to be going off to Hawaii or any other spot for three weeks.”

    On Monday, Romney had mocked Obama’s fondness for golf, telling supporters: “It’s time to have a president whose idea of being ‘hands on’ doesn’t mean getting a better grip on the golf club.”

    Tentative plans do call for Obama to leave for Hawaii late next week, and stay at his usual rental home on Oahu through New Year’s Day. Last year, the trip included a few rounds of golf, trips for shaved ice with his family, and a luau with friends.

    But the White House, with any trip outside Washington for down time, emphasizes that no president can ever truly be on vacation. One year earlier, Obama’s holiday trip was overtaken by national security concerns after an attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner.

    Romney’s jab at Obama’s Hawaii plans also are notable because the former Massachusetts governor himself vacationed in Maui last Christmas.

    Democrats returned fire quickly.

    “A look at his record as governor paints the picture of someone who frequently vacationed his ‘day and night off’ and spent 212 days of his last year in office out of state campaigning his ‘day and night off’ for president,” the DNC said in an email listing past Romney vacation trips.,0,1818984.story?track=rss

  35. rikyrah says:

    December 07, 2011 9:30 AM

    The right’s problems with children’s entertainment
    By Steve Benen

    You’ve likely heard about Fox News targeting the Muppets, but it’s worth appreciating the extent to which this ties into a larger pattern.

    It’s a glamorous pig, not a communist pig, that the Muppets are best known for. But Miss Piggy, Kermit and the gang have been accused of brainwashing kids with an “anti-corporate message” in their new movie, according to Fox News host Eric Bolling.

    On Fox’s “Follow the Money,” Bolling alleged that the new Disney installment of the “The Muppets” franchise was evidence of a liberal Hollywood conspiracy to brainwash children. The film features an evil oil baron named Tex Richman (Chris Cooper), who wants to raze the Muppets’ old theater to drill for the black gold. The gang reunites to host a major fundraiser to win their theater back.

    Bolling actually went after Muppets twice, first accusing the movie of trying to “brainwash our kids” against capitalism, and then again soon after, insisting the Muppets are “terrible” for “demonizing” capitalism.

    Bolling even invited Dan Gainor of the right-wing Media Research Center on the air, who argued that children have been “indoctrinated,” which is one of the reasons “we’ve got a bunch of Occupy Wall Street people walking all around the country.”

    Obviously, sane people realized this was all terribly silly, and Bolling was apparently embarrassed when his on-air comments generated national attention.

    But what amazes me is how often the right goes after children’s entertainment. Perhaps the quintessential modern example was Jerry Falwell going after Tinky Winky the Teletubby, but that merely started a lengthy, larger campaign. One religious right group went after “Shrek.” Another targeted “Shark Tale.” James Dobson launched a broadside against SpongeBob SquarePants, while Fox News’ Neil Cavuto perceived “Happy Feet” as political propaganda. The “Harry Potter” series has been targeted any number of times by conservatives complaining about witchcraft, and the Christian Coalition targeted Twilight because “it’s just not normal for young people to idolize a vampire.”

    For the record, I’ve never seen or read any of the entertainment these conservatives don’t like, so I’m not really in a position to defend the content. But when far-right Fox personalities perceive secret political messages from the Muppets, it’s a reminder that conservatives sometimes have too much time on their hands.

  36. rikyrah says:

    President Obama at Osawatamie and “Journalism” at The Nation: Ari Berman edition
    Tuesday, December 06, 2011 |

    Posted by rootless_e at 7:13 PM

    President Obama delivered a great speech on the economy and fairness in Osawatamie Kansas today. Osawatamie is the site where John Brown and other supporters of freedom battled pro-slavery terrorists just before the civil war and also where Theodore Roosevelt described the “fair deal”. Ari Berman, writing in The Nation tried to fit this speech into his narrative in which the President is this disappointing puppet like figure:

    It’s become a cliché to say that Occupy Wall Street has changed our country’s political conversation. But if you want to know exactly how the Occupy movement has impacted the debate in Washington, read Barack Obama’s speech in Osawatomie, Kansas, today. For much of 2011, Obama’s speeches were all about the deficit. Today the central theme of his speech was income inequality—and how this mounting problem weakens our economy and our democracy. At long last, the president sounded like he was channeling his inner Elizabeth Warren. Obama’s pivot away from austerity orthodoxy and toward public investment began with his jobs speech in September, but he’s subsequently sharpened his language and focus in recent months in response to pressure from Occupy Wall Street. He’s now tackling issues of basic fairness and attacking the GOP’s brand of “your-on-your-own economics” in a much more direct way. His nod to Teddy Roosevelt, who delivered his “New Nationalism” speech in Osawatomie in 1910, could not have come at a more appropriate time.

    The level of dishonesty in this argument is simply appalling. The President has been talking about social justice and income inequality since the primary elections in 2008. A journalist could have gone to the White House web portal and looked at the President’s speeches,but Mr. Berman is no journalist so I’ll do the work for him. Here is the President in August – before this “pivot” that has become part of the self-serving narrative of the fake-left.

  37. rikyrah says:

    December 07, 2011 10:00 AM

    Conviction in GOP voter-suppression scheme
    By Steve Benen

    Last November, there was a fairly competitive gubernatorial race in Maryland. Late on Election Day, robocalls targeted more than 100,000 Democratic households, telling voters to “relax” and not bother voting because Dems were going to win. It was one of the most blatant examples of GOP voter-suppression tactics in a long while.

    Fortunately, those responsible got caught. Yesterday, a jury convicted the Republican ringleader.

    Paul E. Schurick, the 2010 campaign manager for former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., was convicted Tuesday by a Baltimore jury of four counts stemming from a robocall that prosecutors said was intended to suppress the black vote.

    The call, which Schurick acknowledged authorizing, was placed on Election Day to 112,000 voters in Baltimore and Prince George’s County, the state’s two largest majority-African American jurisdictions. Recipients were told by an unidentified woman that they could “relax” because Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) had been successful.

    Fortunately, other members of the former Republican governor’s team will also stand trial for their role.

    Obviously, there’s a problem when Republican officials believe the best way to win an election is to suppress political participation. But the larger issue here is that GOP officials keep pushing the “war on voting,” putting new hurdles between voters and the ballot box, ostensibly because they fear the scourge of fraud.

    The irony is, the fraud Republicans are worried about is imaginary, while the real-world fraud is coming from their side of the political divide.

  38. rikyrah says:

    Nancy Pelosi Games Out The Long Fight Over Medicare And The Rest Of The Safety Net
    Eight months is a long time in politics, but it will be eight months ago next week that House Republicans voted overwhelmingly for a budget that envisioned a massively scaled-down social safety net — a smaller, privatized health care system for old people, to replace traditional Medicare; Medicaid financially constrained, and handed over to state governments; cuts to various other support programs that benefit the poor, the young, and the elderly.

    That didn’t sit well with voters. And in the months that followed, Republicans tried to contain the fallout by making federal deficits a central political issue while forcing Democrats to agree to real cuts to these programs — all while refusing themselves to raise taxes, even on the very wealthiest Americans.

    This too didn’t go according to plan. The GOP upheld its vow not to raise taxes; Democrats insisted new tax revenue was a criterion for cutting benefits; and Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security avoided the scalpel.

    At least for now.

    The 112th Congress has been an exhibition match over the safety net, pitting conservatives who have been trying for a generation to roll it back, against progressives who want to protect and expand it. But very little has truly been on the line. In the not-too-distant future these adversaries will likely collide again, this time for real — and it will test both the conservative movement’s “starve the beast” strategy for shrinking government, and the left’s appetite for an existential standoff with a more disciplined political movement.

    In an interview last week, TPM asked Nancy Pelosi to take the long view on the ideological divisions that this year’s budget fights exposed. She sought to assure her allies that the social contract is in good hands, but hinted at some outcomes that progressives might not enjoy.

    “I think we’re ready for it all,” Pelosi predicted.

    Pelosi explained that the origins of this fight go back decades.

    “The generation after — the 60s and early 70s, this whole group of very substantially wealthy…conservatives formed these foundations, which I’m sure you’re aware of, that decided that what was happening with the hippies and the peace movement and all the rest of it was threatening to the free-enterprise system and they had to protect it,” Pelosi said. “So what did they do? Formed foundations, bought chairs in universities and this or that, and one of the things that was part of this protecting the free-enterprise system was telling young people ‘Social Security’s not going to be there when you retire’…. So this is what’s coming down the pike for 50 years — 40 years, lets say.”

    This fight has erupted several times over the years. It flared most recently in 2005 when President Bush pursued Social Security privatization, and before that in the 1990s when the Newt Gingrich-led GOP majority pushed a partial Medicare privatization plan that Gingrich believed would allow the program to “wither on the vine.” All of that was before Citizens United opened the floodgates for enormous streams of anonymous money to flood into politics. And Pelosi now believes changing the democratic process is one of the keys to insulating social insurance and other support programs from attack.

    “We’ve got to mobilize the 99 percent,” Pelosi said. “One of the things that we have to do is to increase and strengthen the participation of citizens in the electoral process, both financially and at the polls…. We have to pass the DISCLOSE Act. We want the President to do what he can by executive order, hopefully he will. But nonetheless in this election we have to talk about ending secret, big secret money in campaigns.”

    Separately, though, she argued that Democrats (both today and in the future) will have to be prepared for both bare-knuckled political fights and smart legislating. That means blunt attacks on Republicans who want to unwind the programs, and a clear understanding of both how the programs work and how to change them to make them sustainable…even if those changes aren’t always appealing to their strongest supporters.

    “You have to give the Republicans credit — they act upon their beliefs,” she said. “And they do not believe in a government role in clean air, clean water, food safety, public safety, public education, public health, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. They don’t believe in that. And they act upon that. But they fudge it when they go out to public.”

    Unfudging it, she said, is the Democrats’ job.

    “The thing is is that we have nothing to lose now — I say to members we don’t have anything to lose. Just go out there, go for broke, swing for the fences, because everything is at stake. Everything is at stake.”

  39. rikyrah says:

    December 07, 2011 8:00 AM
    Obama identifies the ‘defining issue of our time’
    By Steve Benen

    Since President Obama began his effort to shift the national economic debate in early September, he’s given plenty of speeches. When he spoke in Kansas yesterday, however, this wasn’t just another speech.

    Obama traveled to Osawatomie, a small town where Teddy Roosevelt delivered his historic New Nationalism speech 101 years ago, and echoed related themes. While presidential speeches surely come and go, and there’s ample evidence that one set of remarks does very little to change the larger political landscape, Obama’s speech presented an economic vision that sets the terms of the 2012 debate. Indeed, yesterday was arguably the unofficial kickoff of the president’s re-election bid.

    There was at least some contemporary news in the remarks. Obama pushed, for example, for Senate confirmation of Richard Cordray to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, so there will be one official responsible for “protecting everyday Americans from being taken advantage of by mortgage lenders or payday lenders or debt collectors.” The president also vowed to veto Republican efforts to weaken Wall Street reform, and in fact called for some additional measures.

    But on the whole, the Osawatomie speech was about thematic arguments and indictments against a failed, misguided conservative visions.

    “[T]here’s been a raging debate over the best way to restore growth and prosperity, restore balance, restore fairness. Throughout the country, it’s sparked protests and political movements — from the tea party to the people who’ve been occupying the streets of New York and other cities. It’s left Washington in a near-constant state of gridlock. It’s been the topic of heated and sometimes colorful discussion among the men and women running for president.

    “But, Osawatomie, this is not just another political debate. This is the defining issue of our time. This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and for all those who are fighting to get into the middle class.”

  40. rikyrah says:

    December 07, 2011 8:45 AM

    Bill addressing imaginary threat advances in House
    By Steve Benen

    There are plenty of actual, real-world problems Congress can and should be working on right now. Unfortunately, House Republicans have decided to invest time in imaginary problems.

    The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to consider a bill by Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from further regulating rural dust.

    The Farm Dust Prevention Act of 2011 passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee on a 33-16 vote.

    The bill would exclude farm dust that is regulated at the state or local level from federal standards.

    The point of the House legislation is to restrict the EPA’s ability “to regulate naturally occurring dust,” and in GOP circles, this has become a fairly big deal. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) recently vowed to “stop excessive federal regulations” of farm dust; House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said one of the top goals of his caucus is “overturning the EPA’s proposed regulations” on farm dust; Mitt Romney has gotten in on the game; and it even came up in a recent debate for presidential candidates.

    There’s just one small problem: Republicans made this up. They’re working on a bill to stop a “proposed regulation” that hasn’t, in reality, been proposed. As Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) tried to explain to his collegaues, “We might as well tell EPA not to regulate fairy dust.”

    As Tim Noah explained this week, “It’s political bullshit. There is no pending farm-dust regulation. What there is, is an attempt by Republicans to persuade everybody that there is a pending farm-dust regulation so they can pass a new law exempting the agricultural industry … from an existing clean-air regulation that hardly ever affects farms (but, when it does, addresses a legitimate health issue).”

    In fact, it’s not just the House. A related bill is pending in the Senate, and it has 26 co-sponsors — including two Democrats whose constituents have been convinced that the threat is real and are demanding action.

    A vote on the House floor may come as early as tomorrow.

    I’m beginning to think Congress’ 9% approval rating is far too high.

  41. rikyrah says:

    Who’s Next? The race is on…
    by Dennis G.

    This Frederick Burr Opper cartoon from an old issue of Puck (The Onion/Daily Show of its day) seemed like a perfect image to describe the GOP race for the White House. It is just one pratfall after another.

    Now, conventional wisdom tells us that it is only a matter of time until Newt takes a fresh pratfall. In fact, waiting for Newt to slip and crash seems to be Romney’s campaign strategy. And this might be a winning plan as Newt has done the “Pan-cake Drop” so many times that you could almost rename the move as the “Gingrich Drop”. OTOH, Newt has taken so many falls that it is hardly newsworthy. The Professor crashes to the ground so often that his supporters just brush it off. They expect him to do pratfalls and could care less when he does.

    By contrast, Willard “Mitt” Romney fears the peel—and with good reason. His recent disaster of an interview on Fox News showed that whenever he leaves his Mitt-buble-of-protection he finds himself doing the “Dude Kick”, “Vanderbilt Slide” and “Langtry Twist” with ease. And yet, the Gingrich surge is forcing him to do just that. After almost two years, Willard “Mitt” Romney will finally go on one of the Sunday News shows. Sure it’s Fox News, but even Chris Wallace will be tossing banana peels at Mitt’s feet (and I’ve heard rumors that Willard might even feel forced to grant some non-Fox interviews and even take questions from the press). Also, too, the Des Moines Register debate on the 10th and another Fox News debate on the 15th will litter Willard’s pathway to January with pratfall peril.

    The race is on to see which potential GOP candidate will crash and burn next. Newt is the odds on favorite for that roll. I expect that he will have regular slips and that his supporters will not care, but he could have a massive fall that takes him out. And then again, it could be Mittens who implodes. He really has not been tested in this cycle and has barely left his bubble. Newt needs a massive screw-up to get knocked out of the race while a much smaller fuck-up by Romney might take him out.

    As for the rest of the field, I expect them to matter very little in the near term. Bachmann and Perry are comic relief. They fall with such regularity that that is all folks expected out of them. Ron Paul is good at avoiding implosion, but the GOP power brokers hate him so much that the only way he’ll be on the ballot in November is as a Libertarian. And that leaves Santorum and Huntsman who hope if they stay in the shadows long enough they’ll be the last two standing come March or April—and then their pratfalls will be noticed (until then, nobody really cares what they do).

    The coming weeks should be quite entertaining.


  42. rikyrah says:

    Teddy’s Good, But Don’t Forget Franklin
    by BooMan
    Tue Dec 6th, 2011 at 10:45:26 PM EST

    The president gave a speech today that was supposed to be reminiscent of a speech Teddy Roosevelt gave in 1910. I’ll probably have something to say about the speech tomorrow. But I want to introduce parts of Franklin Roosevelt’s acceptance speech from 1932. Let’s remember that the stock market had crashed almost three years earlier and that the Republicans had been unable to repair the damage. It’s as if the stock market had crashed in 2008 but we had to live with four more years of Republican rule. In that sense, FDR’s 1932 speech is similar to Obama’s speech today.

    It’s similar because three years have passed. It’s dissimilar because Obama has been in charge for the last three years and so he has to take a measure of responsibility for the state of the economy. On the other hand, unprecedented Republican obstruction has limited his options. The Republicans created the mess and then resisted all efforts to fix things. And they’ve largely reverted to making the same flawed arguments that led us into a ditch. Let’s see if any of this seems shockingly familiar.

    I cannot take up all the problems today. I want to touch on a few that are vital. Let us look a little at the recent history and the simple economics, the kind of economics that you and I and the average man and woman talk.
    In the years before 1929 we know that this country had completed a vast cycle of building and inflation; for ten years we expanded on the theory of repairing the wastes of the War, but actually expanding far beyond that, and also beyond our natural and normal growth. Now it is worth remembering, and the cold figures of finance prove it, that during that time there was little or no drop in the prices that the consumer had to pay, although those same figures proved that the cost of production fell very greatly; corporate profit resulting from this period was enormous; at the same time little of that profit was devoted to the reduction of prices. The consumer was forgotten. Very little of it went into increased wages; the worker was forgotten, and by no means an adequate proportion was even paid out in dividends–the stockholder was forgotten.

    And, incidentally, very little of it was taken by taxation to the beneficent Government of those years.

    What was the result? Enormous corporate surpluses piled up– the most stupendous in history. Where, under the spell of delirious speculation, did those surpluses go? Let us talk economics that the figures prove and that we can understand. Why, they went chiefly in two directions: first, into new and unnecessary plants which now stand stark and idle; and second, into the call-money market of Wall Street, either directly by the corporations, or indirectly through the banks. Those are the facts. Why blink at them?

    Then came the crash. You know the story. Surpluses invested in unnecessary plants became idle. Men lost their jobs; purchasing power dried up; banks became frightened and started calling loans. Those who had money were afraid to part with it. Credit contracted. Industry stopped. Commerce declined, and unemployment mounted.

    And there we are today.

    The stock market crash of 1929 caused the Great Depression, but not because the prices of stocks fell. What happened is that banks had begun to loan people money to invest in stocks while, at the same time, accepting stock portfolios as collateral for the loans. So, when the stock market crashed, people couldn’t pay back their loans and their collateral was worth a small fraction of what had been expected. This caused the banks to fail. Credit seized up. Jobs were destroyed. And life’s savings were wiped out. Similarly, in 2008, when the housing bubble burst, the securities people had invested in as a hedge turned out to be worth a small fraction of what had been expected. And the cycle of destruction repeated itself. Things didn’t get quite as bad as they had in the 1930’s, largely because we had mechanisms in place to stop the bleeding. But I don’t think you can read the above cited portion of FDR’s speech and not hear a remarkable loud echo. They thought the stock market would always go up; we thought the housing market would always go up. They overbuilt; we overbuilt. They engaged in irresponsible lending; we engaged in irresponsible lending. It’s all the same. As they say, history doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes.

    Now, let’s go to another part of FDR’s speech and see if it calls to mind the Too Big to Fail problem, and the problem of bailing out the rich while everyone else suffers.

    Never in history have the interests of all the people been so united in a single economic problem. Picture to yourself, for instance, the great groups of property owned by millions of our citizens, represented by credits issued in the form of bonds and mortgages–Government bonds of all kinds, Federal, State, county, municipal; bonds of industrial companies, of utility companies; mortgages on real estate in farms and cities, and finally the vast investments of the Nation in the railroads. What is the measure of the security of each of those groups? We know well that in our complicated, interrelated credit structure if any one of these credit groups collapses they may all collapse. Danger to one is danger to all.
    How, I ask, has the present Administration in Washington treated the interrelationship of these credit groups? The answer is clear: It has not recognized that interrelationship existed at all. Why, the Nation asks, has Washington failed to understand that all of these groups, each and every one, the top of the pyramid and the bottom of the pyramid, must be considered together, that each and every one of them is dependent on every other; each and every one of them affecting the whole financial fabric?

    Statesmanship and vision, my friends, require relief to all at the same time.

    FDR was elected. We won the argument. But thirty-one years ago we lost the argument and now we are back where we started. We’ve made some good progress over the last three years, but we have’t broken the back of the idiots who led us here.

    Today, the president evoked the legacy and example of Teddy Roosevelt. It was an excellent speech. But I want to evoke the legacy and example of Franklin Roosevelt. We need to remember both Roosevelts if we’re going to break out of this impasse and build the kind of country our parents enjoyed.

  43. rikyrah says:

    Republican Hatred For Obama Overrides Their No Tax Increase Philosophy

    In the past, Americans assumed their elected politicians worked for the entire population and although there are always special interest groups who pay for special favors, it was generally accepted that, despite political affiliation, Congressional representatives cared about all Americans. Throughout the past year, it has become glaringly obvious that Republicans have no interest in the poor and middle class and instead, serve religious fanatics and the wealthiest 2% of Americans. It appears that Republicans are out to punish working-class Americans by spending all their time rewarding the wealthy and their corporations, and when they find an opportunity to cause more harm to struggling Americans; they vigorously assault the people they were elected to serve.

    Many Americans are beginning to ask Republicans why they are giving advantages to the wealthy when 99% of the population struggles to survive, and their reply is always drivel about rewarding the wealthy so they will create jobs. This past week, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “I don’t know what the middle class ever did to the Republicans that they’re so out to get them. But whether it’s job creation, economic growth, the tax code and the rest – the deck is getting stacked against the middle class.” Pelosi has been in Congress long enough to know that Republicans are out to get the middle class because they have tax dollars Republicans want to hand over to the wealthy, and they hate Americans.

    The payroll tax cut extension that Democrats and President Obama are fighting to get through Congress before they expire on December 31 has engendered opposition from Republicans because the President proposed paying for the middle-class tax cuts with a paltry tax increase on income over $1 million. Speaker John Boehner publicly said he knows the payroll tax cut helped the economy and commented that “The fact is that Republicans are doing everything we can to allow American families and small businesses to keep more of what they earn.” It appeared that Boehner was finally showing concern for working Americans, but privately, he revealed what Republicans really think about any legislation that helps the middle class.

    It was reported that behind closed doors at a GOP caucus meeting, Boehner said that extending the payroll tax cut for the middle class was “chickenshit” that Republicans would turn into chicken salad by rewarding corporations and the oil industry by “easing environmental regulations and paving the way for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.” It is not surprising that Boehner is willing to hold the middle class tax cuts hostage for concessions that benefit corporations and the oil industry, but it is his attitude toward working Americans that defines the level of contempt the Republican Party has for the people that is inexcusable

  44. rikyrah says:

    The Hispanic Vote Can’t Save Gingrich
    Douthat dissects a talking point:

    George W. Bush won a larger-than-average share of the Hispanic vote because he campaigned as a center-right figure in general, not because of his particular focus on amnesty for illegal immigrants. John McCain won a smaller-than-average share because the Republican brand was tarnished in 2008 in general, not because the failure of comprehensive immigration reform had poisoned the well with Hispanic voters. And in 2012, there’s no reason to think that a more polarizing candidate like Gingrich will be able to compensate for turning off swing voters by cleaning up among Hispanics: If he can’t win white independents and white conservative Democrats, he probably won’t be able to win Latino independents either.

  45. rikyrah says:

    Karl Rove Tries To Sabotage Newt’s Iowa Surge

    Karl Rove isn’t officially affiliated with any of the GOP candidates, but if you listen to him, it’s becoming increasingly clear he has a favorite. We’re not the first to notice, but Karl Rove seems firmly in the Mitt Romney camp. What’s more, he’s goes on TV a lot to lob attacks at just about every other candidate.

    Rove has taken a stab at just about every candidate other than Romney, and on Tuesday it was Newt Gingrich’s turn. With multiple polls showing Newt Gingrich surging in Iowa, Rove took to Fox News, to undermined the former speaker:

    “If in the polls newt is leading by 10 or 11 or 12 points going into the Iowa caucuses and doesn’t win by that margin people are going to say, well, he didn’t meet his mark. That is a challenge for somebody who has not built organization.”Basically, Rove is framing the Iowa caucuses in such a way that, even if Newt wins, a victory by less than 10 points is interpreted as a loss. Rove’s point is that Gingrich has “momentum” but no “organization,” which means he is likely to underperform relative to his poll numbers, and thus that he’s all fluff. If Newt does win Iowa on January 3, expect Rove back on TV making the same argument.

    Add Tuesday’s appearance to a long list of attacks against everyone but Mitt that TPM has been tracking for months now. As each candidate rises and falls, Rove is there to swat them away.

    Since Newt’s rise, Rove has dedicated the last week or so to naming Newt’s flaws. Way back in October, and well before the infamous Libya flub, he questioned whether Herman Cain was “up to the task.” And when Rick Perry was considered a serious threat to Romney, Rove was quick to point out that Perry’s position on Social Security, which he called a Ponzi scheme, was politically “toxic.” (Rove would know, seeing as he was an adviser to Bush when he tried to privatize Social Security, but that’s beside the point). Perry was up-and-coming, and Rove tried to scare supporters away.

    It’s one thing for Donald Trump to play Republican king-maker, but Rove’s approval comes with a lot of cash. Rove runs the super PAC American Crossroads, which shares a board member with Romney’s own super PAC, Restore Our Future — a connection that both Crossroads and Romney’s camp has denied is meaningful. Either way, the Rove primary is an important one to win, and while Gingrich may be surging in Iowa and South Carolina, it seems he’s got a long way to go on this one.

  46. rikyrah says:

    Romney: I’ll Be On Fox A Lot More, Because You Guys Matter

    On Tuesday afternoon Mitt Romney spoke to Neil Cavuto of Fox News. Romney noted that he would be up with more ads because it’s time to “make my closing argument to the American people.” He also noted you’d see a lot more of him in the “early primary states” and on TV, “including Fox.”

    “I’ll be on Fox a lot,” he said. “Because you guys matter when it comes to early primary voters.”

  47. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney — Not “Mr. Inevitable” Anymore
    The Newt-mentous march to the top of the Republican field has led to many head scratching conclusions. Don’t Tea Party Republicans, who have been searching for a candidate to call their own, want a Washington outsider to carry the mantle? How has a candidate whose organization literally got its first phone line in their Iowa office this week become the leader there by a huge margin? What happened to Mr. Inevitable, Mitt Romney?

    The last few days have seen a deluge of polling on the Hawkeye state. The topline results all say one thing: Gingrich is ahead, by a lot. His margins have increased as the previous frontrunner, businessman Herman Cain bowed out, suspending his campaign. The data shows Gingrich pushing above thirty percent while former Mass Gov. Mitt Romney is relegated to fighting with Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) for second place, a battle that pits a motivated group of Paul supporters against the lukewarm love of Romney folks.

    But the real news in the latest round of Iowa polling is not that Gingrich is doing well — Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Cain have done as much already. It’s that Gingrich is sapping support thanks to the exit of Cain — and taking it from many of the other candidates as well, in a possible coalescing of support behind his candidacy.

    “We may have come to the end of the flavor of the month candidates,” said Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, who just released a major poll on the state for NBC news. “What we’re struck by is that Romney is the second choice of the Gingrich people and Gingrich the second of the Romney people.” Mirigoff said that the main takeaway from the latest polling was twofold: yes, Gingrich is up. But Romney is also falling, something that wasn’t as stark during other GOP candidate surges.

    The most surprising well of support for Gingrich, a longtime Washington pol with decades of experience, is the Tea Party. He increased his support among strong Tea Party voters literally thirteen times over in the NBC/Marist poll of Iowa, going from a measly three percent in October to 39 percent now. With those who simply support the conservative movement, he went from four percent to 27. He even went from six percent to 21 among those GOPers who don’t support the Tea Party, showing just show broad his support has become over the last few weeks.

    Much of that improvement seems thanks to Cain’s collapse and ultimate departure. But Bachmann’s Tea Party support has also dissipated, as has Perry’s. Romney himself also gave some ground. The only other candidate who has gained with Tea Partiers since the Cain collapse has been Paul. That trend also showed in a recent Public Policy Polling (D) survey, which found Gingrich soaking up the strongly conservative support while Romney remained with his combination of somewhat conservative voters and moderates. But as we’ve known all along, it looks like nabbing the middle of the Republican Party isn’t enough to come out on top.

    The key turn is what Republicans think Gingrich offers as a candidate. He’s more serious, because he combines the main reason for choosing Romney with the fact that he’s not Mitt Romney.

  48. rikyrah says:

    Romney: I’m Not A Career Politician… Because I Kept Losing

    Mitt Romney’s taking questions from the press, and it’s being carried live on CNN. He’s asked about the recent attack ads that call him a “career politician” and cast him as a Washington insider. Romney replies, “Well, I ran for office, but I didn’t win.” He says that losing those races means he’s not been a career politician as he’s gone back into business (and, indeed, the Massachusetts governorship) in between. He concludes about that line of attack: “Had I won we wouldn’t be having this argument; I’d be President of the United States.”

    Romney ran for the MA Senate in 1994, and lost. He then ran for the MA governorship in 2002 and won. He previously ran for President in 2008.

  49. rikyrah says:

    Democratic Attacks Draw Blood From Romney

    President Barack Obama and Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney
    Benjy Sarlin & Evan McMorris-Santoro-
    December 7, 2011, 5:02 AM

    Never mind Newt Gingrich. It’s Democrats who have been giving Mitt Romney the most trouble lately.

    The DNC and the Obama campaign have relentlessly harassed him for weeks, forcing him to battle two fronts as he struggles to secure the nomination. Their efforts have constituted a kind of trial run for the general election as they’ve ignored other Republican candidates and aimed their full fire on Romney.

    And they’ve had some successes recently. The DNC went after Romney over and over for his refusal to support to extending the payroll tax cut for example, highlighting an October quote in which he referred to the move as a “little band aid” substitute for broader reform. On Monday, Romney came out for the extension, saying it was necessary because “working families are really feeling the pinch right now.”

    After a Romney ad in New Hampshire last month used a misleadingly clipped Obama quote to suggest a Republican strategist’s words were his own, the DNC unleashed an all-out effort to draw attention to the distortion that gained significant traction in the press, including the local networks in key primary states. The Romney campaign has since had to defend the spot repeatedly. As recently as this week, an unnamed Romney aide was still being pressed by the New York Times’ Thomas Edsall over the 30-second spot, justifying it as typical campaign “propaganda.”

    But nowhere have they had more impact than with their efforts to resurrect the old “flip flop” attack against Romney. Despite it being a well known vulnerability, Republican rivals had little luck using it against Romney for most of the campaign. Now, a steady stream of Democratic web videos, press releases, and ads have helped return it to the national discussion — much to the annoyance of Romney, who appeared surprised to get questions on the topic in an widely panned interview with FOX News’ Bret Baier.

    “While other Republicans have been hesitant to go there with Romney straight-up publicly, the DNC is doing all this stuff explicitly with their name attached,” one GOP strategist at a rival presidential campaign told TPM. “That helps get media to cover what are some really significant negatives about Romney. And as Romney knows from last time around, if a bad media meme develops around you, it impacts your candidacy.”

    The Democratic attacks do have some upside for Romney’s campaign in that they single him out as the most plausible general election nominee and distracting from rival candidates’ messages. After the DNC briefly ran in ad in several swing states on his flip flops, for example, Romney’s aides organized a dozen press calls with top supporters in swing states to argue that the spot show President Obama is most worried about facing Romney. They also looked to make Democrats pay a price for going negative so early, accusing Democrats of dodging a discussion of the economy in favor of personal attacks.

  50. rikyrah says:

    O’Reilly: Will President Obama’s African-American Outreach Include A Cameo On Soul Train?
    videoby Frances Martel | 8:42 pm, December 6th, 2011

    President Obama is launching a new outreach program to African-American voters, a strategy that temporarily left Bill O’Reilly asking questions on his program today. What kind of events would African-American outreach entail, he asked guest Marc Lamont Hill, “is he going to be on Soul Train?” Hill, taken a bit by surprise, then had to explain that Soul Train was not an accurate understanding of black culture in 2011, adding “you know you’re going to be on Media Matters for that one.”

    The discussion on tonight’s Factor began far from the world of early disco music, with discussion of a column Hill wrote on the Republican infatuation, as he saw it, with candidates who appeared anti-intellectual. “There’s always a smart candidate,” he argued, beginning with Newt Gingrich as the paradigm, but “Republicans don’t pick the smart candidate.” He continued to explain that Republicans “beat up on guys like [Sen.] John Kerry for speaking French,” which O’Reilly found to be an insufficient article, using President George W. Bush as a counter-example, as a graduate from Ivy League schools. “His grades were two standard deviations below the norm,” Hill replied.

    O’Reilly then shifted gears to President Obama’s African American outreach initiative, asking, “what does that entail, going on Soul Train?” Hill, laughing, replied “you know you’re going to be on Media Matters for that!” an objection to which O’Reilly replied that it was a “popular show” that he “really liked,” since The O’Jays were “one of my favorite groups.” “No, it’s not!” Hill corrected (in O’Reilly’s defense, Soul Train was on until 2006, but probably stopped being relevant a decade or two before that, since Don Cornelius wasn’t even around at some point). Hill then explained what actual outreach in the black community means, which includes “going into communities, talking to everyday people… making sure people are registered to vote,” as well as holding meetings with certain leaders in the community.

  51. rikyrah says:

    Under Pressure From Anti-Choice Groups, Gingrich Flips To Anti-Birth Control Position
    By Ian Millhiser on Dec 5, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Although GOP presidential frontrunner Newt Gingrich previously took the view that “personhood begins at conception,” on Friday, Gingrich told ABC’s Jake Tapper that life begins at the “successful implantation” of a fertilized egg in a woman’s uterus. This position would effectively lead to a ban on all abortions while still maintaining women’s access to most forms of birth control. Unfortunately for Gingrich, however, this position proved insufficiently radical to his anti-choice base, and he flipped back to an even more right-wing stance just one day later:

    Newt Gingrich has moved quickly to repair any potential fallout from his remarks last Friday to ABC’s Jake Tapper in which he said that life begins at the “successful implantation” of a fertilized egg, rather than at conception.

    That is heresy to the pro-life movement, and had the potential to complicate Gingrich’s rise in the Republican presidential polls, especially in crucial states like Iowa and South Carolina, whose early caucuses and primary are dominated by conservative Christian voters.

    “As I have stated many times throughout the course of my public life, I believe that human life begins at conception,” Gingrich said in a statement posted Saturday on his campaign’s website and sent to Joshua Mercer at, a conservative political site that had first called attention to — and sharply criticized — Gingrich’s statement.

    Gingrich’s current stance closely maps the views of radical “personhood” advocates who don’t just want to ban abortion, but who also intend to ban many common forms of contraception. Because birth control bills and IUDs prevent fertilized eggs from implanting, Gingrich’s Friday position suggested that he wanted to preserve women’s right to use these forms of contraception. His sudden switch, however, appears to abandon this view in favor of the much more radical belief that women should not be allowed to use the pill.

    Of course, Gingrich’s view runs headlong into the Constitution — the Supreme Court held several decades ago that laws prohibiting contraception are unconstitutional. Sadly, however, the fact that banning birth control is unconstitutional won’t matter one bit to Gingrich if he decides to ban it. Gingrich recently pledged to openly defy Supreme Court decisions he disagrees with, and he even endorsed a radical proposal to have Congress thumb its nose at the Constitution and simply declare that fertilized eggs enjoy the exact same rights as people.

  52. rikyrah says:

    Commentary: American TV’s obsession with missing white women

    Let the first word be one of compassion.

    For anyone who has a loved one missing, Godspeed the day of that person’s safe return. Or failing that, Godspeed the bitter satisfaction of knowing his or her fate. To have someone you love vanish is, one imagines, a special kind of hell.

    That said, let the second word be one of exasperation.

    Another white woman has turned up missing. And, as predictably happens in such cases, television news has gone into overdrive, CNN, ABC, NBC providing breathless updates of Michelle Parker’s disappearance, how she was last seen the day she appeared on The People’s Court, suing her former fiancé, who is now the prime suspect in her kidnapping.

    This story unfolds in the wake of similar media fixations on Laci Peterson, Elizabeth Smart, JonBenet Ramsey, Jennifer “Runaway Bride” Wilbanks, Chandra Levy, Lori Hacking, Robyn Gardner, Natalee Holloway, all of them young, female, white, pretty — and imperiled. There is, should it need saying, a naked bias in the media’s obsession with white women in danger to the exclusion of pretty much every other cohort of the American demographic.

    If all you had to go by was NBC or CNN, you’d never know that over 335,000 men and boys went missing last year or about 230,000 African Americans. You will see no coverage of them on national news. Nor, for that matter, of older people or less attractive ones.

    While the effect of this bias is to deny the worth of anyone who is not a pretty young white woman, a case can be made that it does pretty young white women no favors, either. The driving force of that bias, after all, is a narrative that depicts them as damsels in perpetual distress, helpless little things under constant threat from the harsh vicissitudes of a big, mean world. With apologies to a certain Oscar-winning song, it’s hard out here for a white woman.

    Or so TV news routinely suggests.

    To imply it is somehow more important, more heart-rending, when a young white woman is in danger is, at best, a backhanded compliment. The implication is laced with a certain condescending paternalism that finds echoes throughout history, from assurances that women ought not trouble their pretty little heads with voting to debates over whether they belong in the workplace.

    When we recall how white men once routinely lynched black ones who were thought to have cast so much as a stray glance at white women, our attention rivets, rightly, on the victims of the violence. But no one ever notes the corollary injustice: the fact that those white men felt they had an absolute, unquestioned right to police the sexuality of “their” women.

    This idea of white women as communal property, hothouse flowers in need of constant, vigilant protection, has taken different forms, then, throughout the years. In 2011, it takes the form of breathless reports on missing white women to the exclusion of everyone else.

    We should all decry this, but no one should do so more loudly than white women. It is, after all, their competence, independence and self-sufficiency that are being tacitly demeaned.

    Somebody should tell them: a backhanded compliment is just an insult by another name.

    Read more:

  53. rikyrah says:

    Santorum Claims Nobody Dies Because They Are Uninsured, They Die Due To ‘Poor Decisions’
    By Igor Volsky on Dec 6, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Of all the GOP presidential candidates, Rick Santorum is arguably responsible for the most outrageous claims about health care policy. The former Pennsylvania senator has told people who can’t afford health care to stop whining about the high costs of medical treatments and medications and spend less on non essentials like cable and cell phone bills and even suggested that insurers should deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

    Yesterday, during a campaign event in Dordt College, in Sioux Center, Iowa, Santorum seemed taken a back when a student asked him “about health care and the Christian responsibility of caring for the poor” and took exception to the suggestion that the uninsured die at a higher rate than the insured population. ABC News’ Shushannah Walshe has this report:

    The student said he didn’t “think God appreciates the fact that we have 50 to 100,000 uninsured Americans dying due to a lack of healthcare every year,” citing a 2009 study out of Harvard University.

    “Dying?” Santorum answered before going back and forth about the validity of the study.

    “The answer is not what can we do to prevent deaths because of a lack of health insurance. There’s — I reject that number completely, that people die in America because of lack of health insurance,” Santorum said to a crowd of 100.

    “People die in America because people die in America. And people make poor decisions with respect to their health and their healthcare. And they don’t go to the emergency room or they don’t go to the doctor when they need to,” he said. “And it’s not the fault of the government for not providing some sort of universal benefit.”

    While the number of people dying due to lack of health insurance may be in some dispute — one recent 2009 study found that 45,000 die in the United States each year because they don’t have access to care, a 2002 study put the number at 18,000 a year, and a 1993 analysis concluded that the uninsured had a 25 percent greater risk of death — it’s hard to deny that forgoing needed treatments or putting off expensive could lead to death. Unfortunately, rather than addressing that problem and expanding coverage, Santorum would rather blame the individuals for their own demise.

  54. rikyrah says:

    Rep. Pence Claims Abortion Is The Leading Cause Of Death In The Black Community
    By Marie Diamond on Dec 6, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) joined several of his Republican colleagues today in touting proposed legislation that would ban physicians from performing abortions based on the fetus’s race or sex. Like most of the bill’s white male sponsors, Pence has suddenly developed a sense of outrage at discrimination against minorities — but only if those minorities are fetuses.

    During the Judiciary subcommittee hearing on the bill, Pence claimed, “I say with a heavy heart that abortion is now the leading cause of death in the black community,” and equated abortion with slavery and the legislation with the struggle for civil rights and women’s equality:

    The loftily-named Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) purports to somehow protect the “civil rights” of fetuses. In reality, it’s an opportunity for Republicans to denigrate the “family values” and character of communities of color that typically have higher abortion rates because of inadequate health insurance and poor sex education, among other reasons.

    Pretending that terminated pregnancies cause more death and suffering than illness or violence is to be willfully ignorant of those ravages on the black community. The actual leading causes of death among African Americans include heart disease, cancer, stroke, homicide, and HIV/AIDS. According to the CDC, there are striking health disparities between blacks and other racial groups because of discrimination and lack of access to health care.

  55. rikyrah says:

    Did Newt Gingrich Violate Campaign Finance Laws?
    presidential candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at a press conference before a tea party rally at the Hilton Garden Inn in Staten Island, New York on December 3, 2011.
    Ryan J. Reilly- December 6, 2011, 4:03 PM

    A campaign finance lawyer flags this part of the Washington Post’s story on Newt Gingrich’s massive $1.2 million campaign debt:

    One of the campaign’s biggest creditors is Gingrich himself, who billed the campaign more than $125,000 for a mailing list and travel expenses, about half of which remained unpaid at the end of last quarter.
    Hammond said that about $42,000 of the debt owed to Gingrich in the second quarter was for the cost of the candidate’s personal mailing list, which he sold to the campaign. Hammond said Gingrich was paid for the list in the third quarter. The payment does not appear to be disclosed as required on Federal Election Commission reports, something Hammond said might have been an oversight.

    Other than the fact that it looks like Gingrich put paying himself ahead of paying the other people his campaign owes money for expenses like private jets, not reporting the fact that the campaign paid Gingrich $42,000 is a clear violation of disclosure laws enforced by the Federal Election Commission. His campaign owed him $69,846.87 as of their last report, according to FEC records.

    We’ve reached out to Gingrich’s spokesman to ask when his campaign records will reflect a $42,000 payment to Gingrich and will update if we hear back.

  56. T.J. Holmes Out At CNN

    CNN Newsroom weekend edition anchor T.J. Holmes announced on Tuesday that he is leaving the network.

    The news was first reported by Richard Prince in his column. TVNewser obtained a copy of the internal memo sent to CNN staffers announcing Holmes’ departure.

    Holmes has not yet announced his next position. He started at CNN in 2006 and was based out of the network’s Atlanta headquarters.

    He was placed on The Root’s 100 List in October. The magazine named him the 42nd most influential African American in the Media in 2010.

    From: Rodriguez, Janelle
    Sent: Tuesday, December 06, 2011 3:24 PM

    Subject: Staff Announcement

    Please join me in congratulating TJ Holmes who will be leaving the company at the end of the year to pursue other opportunities. Since 2006, we’ve had pleasure to work alongside him as he anchored CNN Newsroom and reported stories from throughout the world. We wish him well in his future endeavors.

  57. The Most Important Economic Speech of His Presidency

    The president’s speech Tuesday in Osawatomie, Kansas — where Teddy Roosevelt gave his “New Nationalism” speech in 1910 — is the most important economic speech of his presidency in terms of connecting the dots, laying out the reasons behind our economic and political crises, and asserting a willingness to take on the powerful and the privileged that have gamed the system to their advantage.

  58. Come on in and help yourself!

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