Friday Open Thread

Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” is a Christmas song by John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band. It was recorded at Record Plant Studios in New York City in late October 1971, with the help of producer Phil Spector. It features soaring, heavily echoed vocals, and a sing-along chorus. The children singing in the background were from the Harlem Community Choir and are credited on the song’s single. The lyrics were written by Lennon and Ono, while the melody and chord structure were taken from the folk standard known as “Stewball”.[1]

Although the song is a protest song about the Vietnam War, it has become a Christmas standard and has appeared on several Christmas albums.

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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76 Responses to Friday Open Thread

  1. White House rejects Republican payroll tax proposal

    (Reuters) – The White House rejected on Friday the latest proposal from Republicans in Congress on a payroll tax cut, saying its costs needed to be offset in a balanced away and not with budget cuts exempting the rich.

  2. rikyrah says:


    12-09-2011 4:24 PM
    Poll: Gingrich Leads Romney In Michigan
    Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney may have strong ties to Michigan (the GOP Presidential candidate was born and grew up there, his father was Governor) but that hasn’t been enough to stave off the surging Newt Gingrich ahead of the state’s Feb. 28th Republican primary. Gingrich leads there in a new poll of the state conducted by GOP pollster Strategic National.


    Gingrich was the choice of 30.75 percent of likely voters, passing Romney, the choice of 28.74 percent, according to the survey of Michigan voters likely to participate in the open primary, said John Yob, CEO of Strategic National, a Grand Rapids political consulting firm. “If Newt Gingrich wins Michigan, the contest will be over and he’ll win the nomination,” said Yob, who served as national political strategist for John McCain’s come-from-behind primary campaign in 2007 and 2008.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Misleading Wisconsin Form Asks Residents For Photo ID To Get A Birth Certificate, Which Is Needed To Get A Photo ID
    By Scott Keyes on Dec 7, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    When Wisconsin citizens go to the polls next year, they will be asked to provide photo identification for the first time in the state’s history. If they don’t have an acceptable form of photo ID, they will not be allowed to vote.

    Because many residents lack photo IDs, especially poorer and rural citizens, over 3 million people could be disenfranchised in the 2012 election, according to a nonpartisan Brennan Center study. Though Wisconsin offers a “free” photo ID to its residents, a birth certificate is necessary in order to obtain it, copies of which cost at least $20. This requirement creates a major barrier for many citizens, including Ruthelle Frank, an 84-year-old Wisconsin woman who, because of a difficult home birth, doesn’t have an official birth certificate and now must pay as much as $200 to get one simply to satisfy the “free” photo ID requirements.

    However, if Wisconsin residents like Frank go online to print out the birth certificate application, the form asks at the top for “CURRENT VALID PHOTO ID” and “PHOTO ID NUMBER”. In other words, citizens simply looking to vote are led to believe they are caught in a catch-22: you need a birth certificate to get a photo ID, but you need a photo ID to get a birth certificate.

    On the explanatory page attached to the application, it clarifies that a photo ID is indeed not required to get a copy of one’s birth certificate. However, this fact is obscured at the bottom of a long page of text and located far from the original request for photo ID. It is no stretch to imagine that the average Wisconsinite will read the topline demand for a current valid photo ID and, because she lacks one, will assume she is unable to get a birth certificate and unable to vote.

    Wisconsin officials are aware of the problem, yet appear in no hurry to remedy it. On Wisconsin’s, one page includes the following message (bolding is ours):

    IMPORTANT! The form available for download may be out of date or give misinformation, including forms on the Vital Records web site itself. Despite what any form you obtain may state, you do not have to attach a copy of a valid photo ID to obtain a birth certificate by mail. There are many forms out there that have a page of instructions that erroneously require a copy of a photo ID to accompany the application

    Fixing the form and uploading a corrected version could be done in the time it takes to brew the first pot of coffee. Yet a full six months after Wisconsin’s new voter ID law was passed, the misleading form remains on a host of state government websites. As Dane 101 notes, the Election Division of the Government Accountability Board, the Department of Health Services, and the Wisconsin Register of Deeds Association all provide the incorrect application.

    Providing forms riddled with “misinformation,” as Wisconsin has done in this case, is unacceptable. It is unclear how many Wisconsinites have already given up trying to get a birth certificate because the application seemingly required a photo ID.

    This is an entirely preventable problem, yet one that persists six months after Wisconsin enacted stringent new barriers on the right to vote.

    • Ametia says:

      Dirty ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS; this is nothing more than a POLL TAX. Still, for the life of me I can’t help thinking how foolish it was for folks to vote the GOP into office last year. Now their energies are all going to undoing this travesty.


  5. Obama threatens Cordray recess appointment

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 9 (UPI) — U.S. President Barack Obama threatened to appoint his choice to head a new consumer watchdog agency when Congress is away for the holiday and can’t stop him.

    “I will not take any options off the table when it comes to getting Richard Cordray in as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” Obama told reporters Thursday. “The bottom line is, we’re going to look at all of our options. My hope and expectation is Republicans who blocked this nomination will come to their senses.”

    Republican leaders said they intended to combat Obama’s recess-appointment threat by keeping the Senate technically in session throughout the holidays.

    A recess appointment is a temporary appointment allowed under the Constitution when Congress is not in session. Cordray would remain in the position until the end of 2012 unless he is confirmed by the Senate before then.

    • Ametia says:

      “come to their senses” That’s like saying George Wallace will return from the dead and seek repentence for his hateful racists acts.


  6. Hannity: Osama bin Laden is dead ‘thanks to George Bush’

    In Sean Hannity’s world, President George W. Bush succeeded in killing terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.

    The Fox News host on Thursday noted that bin Laden was dead “thanks to George Bush.”

    During a segment on Time magazine’s top 10 news stories of 2011, Democratic consultant Joe Trippi lamented that the death of the al Qaeda leader didn’t make the list.

    “Thanks to George Bush,” Hannity interrupted, ignoring the fact that bin Laden had been killed under President Barack Obama’s watch.

    “You’d give credit to Bush?” he asked Trippi. “Because if Obama had gotten his way we wouldn’t have gotten bin Laden, you know that.”

    “No matter what, Osama bin Laden — getting him is the number one story of the year, I would think,” Trippi replied.

    This isn’t the first time that history has been revised in favor of President George W. Bush on Hannity’s show.

    [wpvideo bLczO4C2]

    • Ametia says:

      Put another way, Barack Hussein Obama is now POTUS because he’s smarter than a fifth grader, likeable, and the majority of Americans want a SMART POTUS.

  7. ThinkProgress:

    Since only Gingrich and Santorum accepted, Trump may scrap his presidential debate

  8. So The Donald is gonna cancel his debate since nobody wants to play. Indeed.

  9. Birther Who Tried To Indict Obama For Treason Arrested For Stealing Court Documents

    A birther in Tennessee, previously seen trying to indict President Obama for treason, was arrested and charged with tampering with government documents for allegedly stealing confidential paperwork from his local courthouse.

    Walter F. Fitzpatrick III, a retired Navy veteran, was arrested by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday for allegedly breaking into the Monroe County Clerk of Court’s office and stealing documents that had personal information about potential grand jury members for the coming year.

    The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that local officials say they have courthouse surveillance video of Fitzpatrick.

    A spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, Jennifer Bledsoe, said in a press release Wednesday that earlier that day she had met with the potential grand jury members, who filled out forms with their personal information. “At the completion of the meeting the papers were in the courtroom,” she said. “The clerk noticed the papers missing and the videotape of the area was reviewed. The video showed an individual positively identified as Fitzpatrick walk over to the desk where the items were and remove the documents.”

    After obtaining an arrest warrant, Bledsoe said, authorities attempted to arrest Fitzpatrick, but he “refused to come to the door” and they had to go in by force.

  10. MSNBC Alex Wagner says President Obama got his swagger back.

    Alex, President Obama has NEVER lost his swagger!

  11. rikyrah says:

    Does Romney Have Time To Go Negative?

    Josh Marshall is unsure:

    Mitt’s got a tight and iffy pivot to make super fast and in a climate where it’s hard to break through and people may not be eager to walk through a campaign charnel house. But he has to make it in the next four weeks to prevent the difficult to imagine possibility that Newt could sweep the opening primaries.

    “Difficult to imagine?” Just look at the polls. First Read likewise thinks that attacking Gingrich will prove difficult:

    Here’s why: the attacks themselves on Gingrich are not easy to sell. Why? Because he has one golden ticket with most conservative Republicans: he did it; he led conservative Republicans out of a 40-year desert. So no ONE thing (Freddie Mac, three marriages, health-care mandate, Pelosi/global warming, criticizing Paul Ryan) will take him down like it could for another politician.

    Nate Silver is on the same page. Mainly because of this:

    Yep, Gingrich has pure partisan cred that Romney cannot come close to. That’s what people remember. What they don’t remember is that within one year of taking over the Speakership, his approval rating was a dismal 31 percent, 63 percent of Americans said he was too extreme, and 60 percent said they could not trust him. In 1995, a full 80 percent of Americans said they would not like Gingrich to run for president.

    It took him a year to implode as a public figure. Can you imagine him gaining on Obama in the next year the more people get to know him or remember the full picture? And recall this: even now, before any of that barrage of negative attacks, Obama beats Gingrich by the same margin he beat McCain.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Full Unconcealed Panic

    That was David Frum’s phrase for what the GOP establishment would be feeling at a Newt Convention. I’d say it’s clearly what they’re thinking already, given the pro-Romney Super-Pac ad above (that was pulled at the last minute). The two grandees of conservative Washington punditry, George Will and Charles Krauthammer, have not minced words. Will:

    “There is almost artistic vulgarity in Gingrich’s unrepented role as a hired larynx for interests profiting from such government follies as ethanol and cheap mortgages.”


    “[Gingrich is] possessed of an unbounded need for grand display that has already led him to unconservative places even he is at a loss to explain, and that as president would leave him in constant search of the out-of-box experience.”


    [Newt] has every negative character trait that conservatives associate with ’60s excess: narcissism, self-righteousness, self-indulgence and intemperance. He just has those traits in Republican form.

    Tom Coburn:

    Gingrich had “one standard for the people that [he’s] leading and a different standard” for himself.


    The real issue for religious conservatives isn’t whether they can trust Gingrich. It’s whether they can afford to be associated with him.

    Coulter FWIW:

    Since Gingrich was forced out of the Speakership, he “occupied himself having an affair, divorcing his second wife and making money by being the consummate Washington insider — trading on access, taking $1.6 million from Freddie Mac and palling around with Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi and Al Sharpton.”

    Then there’s Ron Paul’s totally awesome ad. That pretty much covers the bases, doesn’t it? You’ve got Mr Tory, Mr Neocon, Mr Hamiltonian, Mr Tightwad, Mr Theocon, and Miss Thing in rare agreement. But Fox News viewers and many many others in the base want none of it, at least so far. And so we have a fantastically interesting crisis in which the Republican establishment is trying to persuade the base to drop the candidate who now has commanding leads in four of the five first votes.

    I’ll have a large popcorn and a Coke Zero please

  13. African-American Liberals Know How to Love Their President

    Opinions polls continue to show extremely high approval ratings for President Obama among Black Americans. But even the high proportion of Black people who tell pollsters they “approve” of the President doesn’t begin to capture the feelings that go beyond approval and extend to love and admiration (after all, if you think the President is, you guess, doing okay on balance, you say “approve” to a pollster). It’s not hard to see these intense emotions in many African-Americans if you know where to look.

    I recently wrote a piece suggesting that the Obamas should campaign as a couple, which was picked up by some websites with sizable African-American readerships (e.g. Jack and Jill Politics, The Smithian). In that more Black-dominated part of the web, I saw more unreservedly positive comments about the President than I have read in the past year in all of what I suppose are my typically white Internet reading habits. Gone were the usual jibes that Obama is an “Eisenhower Republican” or “plutocratic sellout”. Indeed, many people referred to him (and his wife) as heroes and inspirational leaders, among a number of other cynicism-free superlatives.

    It reminded me of an event I attended last year in the East Room of the White House. As a group of us who had worked on the President’s AIDS strategy awaited Obama’s arrival, an African-American woman asked me to give her my spot near the lectern so that she might shake the President’s hand. She had in her purse a glove which her sister had made her promise to put on immediately after any handshake with Obama. Her sister wanted no one and nothing to touch the hand the President had touched until she herself removed the glove and experienced her hero’s touch, even indirectly. I was so touched by her and her sister’s devotion that I moved myself and a few other people out of the way to give her a chance (she got her precious handshake, and left the White House joyfully gloved).

    can hear a few white liberal noses curling at this account of shameless President-love: how fulsome, how unsophisticated, how jejune. But I would say how human, how bravely committed and how encouraging to a President who needs more than truculent, nose-holding liberal voters behind him to accomplish great things.

    Why Do African-Americans So Love Barack Obama?

    Another story from the White House: Tom McLellan and I were in the White House Mess, taking a new, Asian-American member of the Administration to lunch. The man espied an African-American White House staffer whom he had known years before. They both jumped up in surprise and hugged each other in recognition. And then a second squeeze and loud laughter. As Steinbeck once wrote, I thought I saw the beginning of a tear in their eyes but maybe it was in my own. I knew what that second hug meant: We. Made. It. People of color made it. From slavery and Jim Crow and racial oppression to the West Wing. I will always be grateful to President Obama for making this possible, but as a white person I cannot fully understand experientially what those two fine men and countless other people of color receive in their hearts every time it hits them that the President of the United States is an African-American.


    • Ametia says:

      Damn SKIPPY, we love Barack Hussein Obama & his family!

    • SING IT!

      Latinos love PBO too! They appreciate that “Abuela” Marian plays an important role in the family, that his girls are “modest, polite and respectful” that the Obamas are excellent parents, a devoted couple. This is real “family values” that matters a lot to Latinos. Most believe that PBO cares about us and the things that are important to us.

      I so understand the woman who wanted that “precious hand shake” I would like to have that myself.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Chipsticks over at The Obama Diary has done a rant over the reaction to the Plan B decision by the Obama Administration.

    Me….I’m still in shock, reading over at some other blogs that folks think that there might be something other than a political decision as to why TEENAGERS AND YOUNGER (it was the younger part that really started me to freak out) should be able to purchase a super duper birth control pill (which is what Plan B is), the same way they decide between Robitussan and Nyquil at Walgreens.

    I just don’t get it, and I consider myself strongly pro-choice.


    hey, a rant!
    By Chipsticks

    Okay, so we all know about the decision of Kathleen Sebelius to block the Plan B morning-after pill from being sold over the counter to young teens.

    Today the President was asked if he supported the decision, and he said he did.

    So, everyone has their own position on this – some back the move, some are outraged by it.

    It’s, obviously, a hugely important debate, and once you exclude the voices of the nutjobs whose ultimate fantasy is to control what women do with their bodies, the genuine opinions on both sides are fascinating to hear and read – not least for someone like me who is torn on the issue simply because children are involved. And that’s what, say, 12 or 13-year-old girls are: children. Just because they can have babies at that stage of their lives doesn’t make them adults. When I was a 12 or 13-year-old girl I had significantly less sense than a lump of wood, so, even then, would have laughed at the notion that I was an ‘adult woman’ capable of making big decisions.

    Any way, some of the anger about this decision is coming from genuine people who just think it’s seriously wrong.

    But then there are commentators like Rebecca Traister at Salon.

    I know, I know, it’s ridiculous to give any thought to a post that appears on Salon these days, it’s a long, long time since you could take the site seriously. This, after all, is the home of my most loved comedian, the increasingly hysterical Greenwald creature, who has just become a caricature of a caricature of a caricature of himself, “OMG! I SO TOTALLY HATE OBAMA” the gist of what he writes all day, every day. Cutting edge journalism. And then there’s the embarrassment that is Arianna Huffington-wannabe Joan Walsh, not to mention Gene Lyons who so stylishly compared Melissa Harris-Perry to the KKK.

    If they just renamed the place The Anti-Obama Diary they might get a few more hits. Crikey, at least us ‘Obots’ are honest about our affections, but Salon still bills itself as progressively righteous. As the young people say: LOL.

    Any way, Rebecca Traister posted a fairly extraordinary article on Salon in response to the Plan B decision, which was a whole lot more about releasing some of her pent-up loathing of the President than it was about the actual issue.

    The headline: “Obama’s woman problem – The president shamefully uses his daughters to justify limiting the healthcare options of America’s young women.”


    “When will Barack Obama learn how to talk thoughtfully about women, women’s health and women’s rights?”

    (Funny, I thought he spoke pretty thoughtfully about women’s rights as early as his first month in office when he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. But, never mind. Maybe Rebecca was still recovering from the pain of seeing him inaugurated, so missed the historic occasion? And she probably skipped his appointments of Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court too, that level of woman-hating was way too much to take.)

    “Obama pooh-poohed the findings of the FDA, which had concluded that Plan B pills posed no medical hazard.”


  15. rikyrah says:

    December 09, 2011 8:00 AM

    ‘It’s going to be pointless’
    By Steve Benen

    The way the fight over the payroll tax break is going, lawmakers, their aides, White House staffers, and reporters should probably start revisiting their holiday travel plans. At this point, there are really only two points of agreement: (1) policymakers need to succeed by the end of the month; and (2) they’re nowhere close to an agreement.

    Senate Republicans have now voted down four tax-cut bills in two weeks. In the House, matters are arguably worse.

    Pivoting to challenge President Obama and Senate Democrats, House Republicans said Thursday that they would forge ahead with a payroll tax holiday bill that includes an oil pipeline opposed by the president and that looks to changes in social programs to pay for the tax cut and added unemployment benefits.

    In a sharp answer to several failed bills produced by Senate Democrats that would cut an employee’s share of the payroll tax and impose a new surcharge on income over $1 million, the House Republican bill would pay for the extension through a mix of changes to entitlement programs and a pay freeze for federal workers.

    House GOP lawmakers are so against extending a middle-class tax cut, they’re insisting on all kinds of goodies for themselves — adding that if their rewards are taken away, they’ll kill the overall proposal, no matter the consequences for the nation’s economy.

    Indeed, the ransom note is starting to look like a spoiled kid’s list for Santa: Republicans want the Keystone XL pipeline and weaker toxic-air safeguards and a ban on future EPA standards on toxic-air pollutants and a premium increase for wealthier Medicare beneficiaries and a federal employees pay freeze and a reduction in the federal workforce and a sharp reduction in the maximum duration of jobless benefits.

    And if they don’t get all of this, 160 million Americans will have less money in their paychecks starting on Jan. 1.

    Could this House bill pass the Senate and earn President Obama’s signature? Of course not. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), literally the only Republican on Capitol Hill who’s been reasonable on this issue, said yesterday, “It’s going to be pointless if the House sends over bills that the Senate cannot or will not pass.”

    The House GOP is a big fan of “pointless.”

    Nine days ago, after the Republican leadership in both chambers endorsed a payroll-cut extension, the Wall Street Journal said the announcement “virtually assures that American wage-earners will continue to receive the benefit next year.” Let this be a reminder: when sensible policymaking is dependent on congressional Republicans being responsible, premature optimism is never wise.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Why Do So Few Blacks Study the Civil War?

    By Ta-Nehisi Coates

    In my seventh-grade year, my school took a bus trip from our native Baltimore to Gettys­burg, Pennsylvania, the sanctified epicenter of American tragedy. It was the mid-’80s, when educators in our inner cities, confronted by the onslaught of crack, Saturday Night Specials, and teen pregnancy, were calling on all hands for help—even the hands of the departed.

    Preposterous notions abounded. Black people talked openly of covert plots evidenced by skyrocketing murder rates and the plague of HIV. Conscious people were quick to glean, from the cascade of children murdered over Air Jordans, something still darker—the work of warlocks who would extinguish all hope for our race. The stratagem of these shadow forces was said to be amnesia: they would have us see no past greatness in ourselves, and thus no future glory. And so it was thought that a true history, populated by a sable nobility and punctuated by an ensemble of Negro “firsts,” might be the curative for black youth who had no aspirations beyond the corner.

    The attempt was gallant. It enlisted every field, from the arts (Phillis Wheatley) to the sciences (Charles Drew). Each February—known since 1976 as Black History Month­—trivia contests rewarded those who could recall the inventions of Garrett A. Morgan, the words of Sojourner Truth, or the wizard hands of Daniel Hale Williams. At my middle school, classes were grouped into teams, each of them named for a hero (or a “shero,” in the jargon of the time) of our long-suffering, yet magnificent, race. I was on the (Thurgood) Marshall team. Even our field trips felt invested with meaning—the favored destination was Baltimore’s National Great Blacks in Wax Museum, where our pantheon was rendered lifelike by the disciples of Marie Tussaud.

    Given this near-totemic reverence for black history, my trip to Gettys­burg—the site of the ultimate battle in a failed war to protect and extend slavery—should cut like a lighthouse beam across the sea of memory. But when I look back on those years when black history was seen as tangible, as an antidote for the ills of the street, and when I think on my first visit to America’s original hallowed ground, all is fog.

    I remember riding in a beautiful coach bus, as opposed to the hated yellow cheese. I remember stopping at Hardee’s for lunch, and savoring the res­pite from my vegetarian father’s lima beans and tofu. I remember cannons, and a display of guns. But as for any connections to the very history I was regularly baptized in, there is nothing. In fact, when I recall all the attempts to inculcate my classmates with some sense of legacy and history, the gaping hole of Gettys­burg opens into the chasm of the Civil War.

    We knew, of course, about Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman. But our general sense of the war was that a horrible tragedy somehow had the magical effect of getting us free. Its legacy belonged not to us, but to those who reveled in the costume and technology of a time when we were property.

    Our alienation was neither achieved in independence, nor stumbled upon by accident, but produced by American design. The belief that the Civil War wasn’t for us was the result of the country’s long search for a narrative that could reconcile white people with each other, one that avoided what professional historians now know to be true: that one group of Americans attempted to raise a country wholly premised on property in Negroes, and that another group of Americans, including many Negroes, stopped them. In the popular mind, that demonstrable truth has been evaded in favor of a more comforting story of tragedy, failed compromise, and individual gallantry. For that more ennobling narrative, as for so much of American history, the fact of black people is a problem.

  17. rikyrah says:

    December 09, 2011 9:20 AM

    ‘A mad solution to an imaginary problem’

    By Steve Benen

    Following up on an item from the other day, House Republicans are still hard at work, tackling imaginary concerns.

    The House on Thursday approved legislation Republicans said was aimed at ensuring the EPA cannot regulate so-called “farm dust.”

    The House on Thursday afternoon approved legislation Republicans said was aimed at ensuring that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cannot regulate so-called “farm dust.”

    The Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act, H.R. 1633, which would prevent the EPA from issuing any new rule over the next year that regulates coarse particulate matter, or “nuisance dust,” passed in a 268-150 vote.

    Here’s the final roll call — the bill enjoyed unanimous Republican support, as well as the votes of 33 House Democrats.

    Just to refresh some memories, the legislation intends to stop proposed regulation that hasn’t, in reality, been proposed.

    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 other words, with plenty real-world solutions in need for policymakers’ attention, the House yesterday approved legislation to address a problem that doesn’t exist.

    Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) did a nice job explaining to her colleagues what an absurd waste of time this was. “This session of Congress has felt to many of us like a trip into Alice’s Wonderland,” she said. “While our nation struggles with a devastating economy, we do nothing about jobs or getting Americans back to work. Instead, we repeatedly fall down the rabbit hole of extreme legislation, and now with this [bill] … it seems that we’re even having tea with the Cheshire cat. To paraphrase our friend the Cheshire Cat, ‘We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad. You must be mad, or you wouldn’t have come here.’ … [The bill] is a mad solution to an imaginary problem.”

  18. rikyrah says:

    December 09, 2011 8:40 AM

    Desperate Romney PAC panics, unloads on Newt
    By Steve Benen

    It’s probably safe to say the gloves have finally come off.

    Late yesterday, Mitt Romney’s Super PAC, Restore Our Future, unveiled a new ad blasting Newt Gingrich on a wide variety of fronts. It’s arguably the most brutal spot of the campaign to date, and it reflects the panic setting in among Romney and his team.

    The ad was removed from YouTube soon after it was posted, and PAC officials said the “unfinished” commercial was unveiled prematurely by mistake. (This is probably untrue. It’s more likely the PAC leaked this, hoped to generate buzz for free, and then pretended it was an accident.)

    But what I found truly remarkable was the message Romney’s allies put together. Consider the areas of attack: foreclosures, flip-flops, immigration “amnesty,” climate change, and finally, “Newt supported a health care mandate … the centerpiece of ‘Obamacare.’” The spot then relies on a George Will column.

    This is just astounding. Does Mitt Romney’s Super PAC know anything about Mitt Romney? He supports foreclosures; he’s the most shameless flip-flopper in a generation; he’s too big a coward to take a stand on immigration; he used to believe in climate change and supported cap and trade; and George Will thinks Romney is “a recidivist reviser of his principles,” who seems to “lack the courage of his absence of convictions.”

    As for supporting a health care mandate, Romney has not only championed the idea and included it in his own health care reform law, Romney has also been among the most articulate defenders of health care mandates.

    If Gingrich’s support for mandates is a disqualifier in Republican primaries, Romney should have dropped out of the race months ago.

    Indeed, the entire ad is so lacking in self-awareness, it should be nothing short of humiliating for Romney. It’s the kind of attack that should lead sensible voters to point and laugh at the ridiculousness.

    And yet, Romney’s team just doesn’t seem to care. Why is that? They’ve already told us why: because to Romney and his boosters, the truth is largely irrelevant, campaign messages necessarily constitute “propaganda” that need not be accurate, televised ads are little more than “manipulative pieces of persuasive art,” and there’s nothing especially wrong with sociopathic standards for honesty in the public discourse.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, December 8, 2011
    The Smartest Man In The Room And They Hate Him For It
    Posted by Zandar

    Watched AG Eric Holder speak at this morning’s House Judiciary Committee meeting on “Operation Fast and Furious”, and the first question Holder gets from Republican Chairman Lamar Smith was about why Elena Kagan hasn’t recused herself from the individual mandate SCOTUS deliberations. Darrell Issa had brought props from Kinko’s with Holder’s face on them and could barely contain his haterade, and Jim Sensenbrenner basically said “OK so these thousands of documents you sent us don’t have a smoking gun so YOU LIED! HEADS MUST ROLL!” and brought up actual, honest-to-god impeachment.

    It was a long and gruesome affair as Eric Holder was having none of it and meticulously laid down what actually happened, and the Republicans kept playing with their butterfly knives the whole time while trying not to hurt themselves. They knew they had nothing, they knew it’s theater, and they knew Eric Holder is the smartest cat in the room.

    And they despised him for it. They can barely hold it in. Instead, we’re treated to trenchant observations like this from the likes of John Hinderaker at Power Line:

    If the Obama administration did arrange for the shipment of arms to Mexican drug gangs, not for any legitimate public purpose but in order to advance a left-wing political agenda, and those guns were used to murder hundreds of Mexicans and at least one American border agent–which they were–then we are looking at a scandal that dwarfs any in modern American history. I think one would have to go back to James Buchanan, who ordered the shipment of federal armaments to the South so that they could be commandeered by secessionists when disunion came, to find a worse scandal. And one could argue that even that act by Buchanan, generally considered the worst President in American history, was motivated by principle and not politics, and therefore was not as craven as Obama’s gun walker scandal. But such a judgment would be premature. A great deal more investigation needs to be done before we can conclude that Fast and Furious was the worst scandal since pre-Civil War days.

    Because of course, falsifying intelligence on Iraq and laying down propaganda in order to lead America into a bloody war that killed thousands of troops and hundreds of thosands of civilians over nine years doesn’t hold a candle to the continuation of a Bush ATF program that ended up leading to a dead border agent.

    Ann Althouse, on Hinderaker’s statement:

    We really do need an explanation. If Hinderaker’s conclusion seems extreme, consider that it could be easily refuted by a clear statement from the Obama administration disclosing the true and legitimate purpose. The absence of such a statement propels us toward the extreme conclusion.

    Such idiocy should be shunned as a national duty. If either one had been listening, Holder today laid that out: that this BUSH ERA PROGRAM was a terrible way to track criminals and guns used in crimes, that the program should have been discontinued, and that there’s an ongoing investigation as to why it existed in the first place. Holder stopped short of saying it was politicized Bush-era welfare for border state gun shops, but if there’s any “true and legitimate purpose” to this, that was it.

    Every condemnation of Holder skips over the fact that none of these fools raised a peep when these gunwalker programs were started under Bush. And for this to be “the worst scandal since the Civil War?” Really? Such absolute stupidity deserves to be ridiculed.

    • Rep. James Sensenbrenner : “Tell me what’s the difference between lying and misleading Congress, in this context?” Holder’s response is a bit Clintonian.

      Eric Holder:“Well, if you want to have this legal conversation, it all has to do with your state of mind and whether or not you had the requisite intent to come up with something that would be considered perjury or a lie,” Holder said. “The information that was provided by the February 4th letter was gleaned by the people who drafted the letter after they interacted with people who they thought were in the best position to have the information.”

  20. rikyrah says:

    For Republicans, It’s Time to Panic
    by BooMan
    Thu Dec 8th, 2011 at 10:28:00 PM EST

    At this point it is no surprise that David Frum is bad-mouthing Newt Gingrich. Frum has gone over to the professionally disgruntled and alienated. But Michael Gerson is also talking in awfully harsh tones. This is the kind of stuff you can’t take back later if Gingrich actually winds up being the nominee.

    Gingrich’s language is often intemperate. He is seized by temporary enthusiasms. He combines absolute certainty in any given moment with continual reinvention over time.
    These traits are suited to a provocateur, an author, a commentator, a consultant. They are not the normal makings of a chief executive.

    Everyone deserves forgiveness for the failures of their past. But the grant of absolution does not require the suspension of critical judgment. Gingrich’s problem is not the weakness of a moment, it is the pattern of lifetime.

    It’s understandable that all the people who both dislike Gingrich and have a big megaphone are going to speak up over the next four weeks and try to help some other candidate. But there are different ways to go about that. You can explain why Romney or Paul or Perry or Bachmann are more conservative or more electable or have better temperaments. But you don’t have to say Gingrich is totally unfit to be president. You don’t have to provide ammunition for the Democrats. Yet, Frum is probably right:

    That weakness in Gingrich will not now abruptly change. The chaos that surrounded him as Speaker, the chaos that engulfed his presidential campaign earlier this year – that chaos will replicate itself again. But when? It’s less than 5 weeks to the New Hampshire primary. Perhaps Gingrich can behave himself till then, in which case Mitt Romney has a big problem on his hands. But it’s more than 8 full months to the Republican convention in Tampa.
    Prediction: if Gingrich has emerged as the nominee by then, the mood of that convention will be full unconcealed panic.

    So, in other words, knowledgable Republican commentators should panic now.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Friday, December 9, 2011
    Turn On The Lights, Watch The Roaches Scatter Part 82
    Posted by Zandar
    The banks are now in full panic mode over the combination of Massachusetts leading the charge to sue the mortgage banks and Occupy Wall Street destroying the bank’s public relations efforts.

    A national effort to reclaim vacant properties has one of the country’s largest lenders scrambling.

    The financial website Zero Hedge has allegedly obtained a memo from Bank of America’s field services operation warning, “We need to make sure we are all prepared.”

    Vocal New York organizer Sean Barry told Raw Story Tuesday that an action known as “Occupy Our Homes” would place foreclosed and homeless families in otherwise-vacant homes. That effort began Tuesday with over 40 events in more than 20 cities.

    “On Tuesday December 6th there is a potential nationwide protest planned that could impact our industry,” BofA employee Leonard Pavlov reportedly wrote to BAC Field Services. “We believe the protests will likely take place tomorrow at auction sites, homes that are being foreclosed, homes in the eviction stage and vacant homes.”

    Indeed, the Occupy Our Homes movement is hitting the banks right where they hurt, by squatting in foreclosed homes in order to take them back from the banks.

    Nick Espinosa, one of the organizers of Occupy Minneapolis, which officially launched Oct. 7, said Minnesota’s cold makes it difficult for people to spend the winter outdoors, where the temperature is forecasted to reach a low of two degrees on Thursday just as Hennepin County authorities removed unattended tarps and chairs at the plaza outside the Minneapolis government center, the Associated Press reported.

    The numbers at the plaza fluctuate, but they are “dwindling,” Espinosa said.

    “It makes sense to be indoors but really this is a larger issue,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for a way to bring what is happening on Wall Street to back to Main Street and to communities most affected by this crisis.”

    The Occupy folks get out of the cold, and into where the real battle is taking place: America’s residential real estate market. It’s a maneuver than makes it much harder to evict Occupy volunteers for a number of reasons, and it provides shelter for folks this winter. It’s a smart move…and one that has the banks sweating bullets.

  22. rikyrah says:

    How Far The Revolution Has Spread”

    An anonymous dispatch from Syria touches on the mood in Damascus, the capital city:

    [T]here is widespread feeling of amazement that the revolt has lasted this long – and that it continues—and touches so many. Older men chastise themselves for having silently put up with this regime for four decades until taught by their sons and daughters that enough was enough. “I’m embarassed,” a middle-aged professional in Damascus confided. “We focussed on navigating our own lives and now our children are paying the price.” One man told me he has not yet been to register his newly-born daughter with the authorities. “I am waiting for after—after—so I can call her Thawra, Arabic for revolution.”

  23. rikyrah says:

    A February Surprise?
    Rhodes Cook thinks that “another establishment Republican could enter the race in early February and still compete directly in states with at least 1,200 of the 2,282 or so GOP delegates.” Bill Kristol salivates at the thought. Jonathan Tobin blows up his fantasy:

    It’s fair to ask why if Paul Ryan or Marco Rubio or Mr. or Ms. Unknown chose not to run back in the summer when they could have entered every primary (the filing dates for many states has already passed), they would do so now? Let’s just say if they had really wanted to run, they already would have. … As crazy and unpredictable as this race has been, the idea of a Valentine’s Day surprise says more about the unfulfilled hopes of GOP activists for a better candidate with which to oppose President Obama than it does about the actual chances of another Republican getting into the race.

  24. rikyrah says:

    We all need to thank little Newton Leroy for his surge.

    It has forced WILLARD to claim ownership of Goober Ryan’s Vouchercare program…something the MSM let him weasel out of for months…

    but, now, he’s all on board…


  25. dannie22 says:

    good morning all!

  26. rikyrah says:

    Obama Defeats Romney, Shows Republican Weakness: Poll
    Global investors, skeptical about President Barack Obama’s ability to turn around the economy, nonetheless aren’t enamored with the Republican alternatives.

    While a plurality of investors said Obama’s re-election would be a bad thing for U.S. markets, 57 percent said in a Bloomberg Global Poll that the current contenders for the Republican presidential nomination aren’t offering good ideas to lessen U.S. economic woes.

    Globally, Obama ran slightly ahead of Republican Mitt Romney in a hypothetical matchup, 39 percent to 35 percent, when investors were asked whose presidency would be better for the world economy. That’s a reversal from the last poll, in September, in which Romney led Obama, 37 percent to 34 percent.

    In the latest poll, Obama beats Republican Newt Gingrich more decisively on the global economy question, 45 percent to 29 percent.

    Obama’s advantage is driven by non-U.S. investors. American investors expressed a clear preference for either Republican — favoring Romney over the president 65 percent to 24 percent, and backing Gingrich 52 percent to 33 percent.

    The quarterly poll, conducted Dec. 5-6, surveyed 1,097 investors, traders and analysts who are Bloomberg subscribers, including 419 in the U.S.

    “I can imagine re-election of Barack Obama could be a disappointment for U.S. markets in the short term, but his policy could support the global economy,” said Michael Fuxa, 41, a poll respondent and head of investments for uniVersa Life Insurance Co. in Nuremberg, Germany.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Gingrich Uses Fog of Words to Cloud Our Memory: Jonathan Alter
    Newt Gingrich is back in contention for the Republican presidential nomination partly because he understands the power of words, the pervasiveness of amnesia, and the dark art of making them work together.

    It’s still hard to imagine Gingrich as president. He’s likely to blow himself up before next November. But the scary thing for Democrats is that Gingrich grasps these subtextual forces better than they do. It makes him a less predictable and possibly more dangerous opponent than Mitt Romney in the general election.

    Gingrich helped Republicans seize control of the House of Representatives in 1994 with the help of “key words” tested by pollster Frank Luntz, who designed the “Contract with America.”

    In 1990, Gingrich’s political action committee, GOPAC, put out an audio cassette with advice for Republican candidates. Gingrich followed up with a famous memo to Republicans called “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control”:

    “As the tapes have been used in training sessions across the country and mailed to candidates we have heard a plaintive plea: ‘I wish I could speak like Newt.’ That takes years of practice. But, we believe that you could have a significant impact on your campaign and the way you communicate if we help a little.”

    Gingrich’s list of “Optimistic, Positive Governing Words” included “common sense,” “courage,” “liberty,” “strength” and “vision.”

    The list of what the congressman called “Contrasting Words” included “bosses,” “greed,” “lie,” “pathetic” and, of course, “taxes.”

    An Orwellian Approach
    The party internalized Gingrich’s message and for two decades has run linguistic circles around Democrats, turning inheritance taxes into “death taxes” and efforts to advise seniors on living wills into “death panels.” When it comes to demonizing the other side, nothing works like the Grim Reaper.

    As critic and law professor Stanley Fish has pointed out, Republicans are also expert at stealing phrases like “individual rights” and “color blind” from the civil-rights movement and using them to win arguments on racial issues.

    I’m not suggesting that Democrats ape the Republicans’ Orwellian approach and begin twisting words to imply the opposite of the truth, as Karl Rove did this week with an ad making it seem as if Elizabeth Warren favored bank bailouts that hurt the middle class. But the president could bring up his language game.

    At a recent Bloomberg View lunch with David Axelrod of the Obama campaign, a group of journalists got a glimpse of the yawning language gap between the parties.

    Hendrik Hertzberg of the New Yorker pointed out that it was a Democrat in the Carter administration, Donna Shalala, who in 1979 first began calling Social Security and Medicare “entitlements” instead of “insurance,” the term favored by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Talk about a self-inflicted wound for Democrats. For all the years since, these programs have sounded like something for spoiled seniors.

    When asked why the Obama administration continued to use the word, Axelrod didn’t have an answer. Nor could he explain why Democrats keep using the arid and unconvincing word “infrastructure.”

    The day before, President Barack Obama had delivered an important speech in Kansas on the middle class where he at last laid out a progressive philosophy of governance. Linking his economic philosophy to Theodore Roosevelt, a great Republican president also once derided as a socialist, was smart politics.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Israel Says Republican Payroll Tax Position Will Help Democrats
    QBy Heidi Przybyla – Dec 9, 2011 5:00 AM CT

    Representative Steve Israel, leading Democrats’ campaign to win back control of the U.S. House, assailed Republicans’ position on extending the payroll tax break, saying it will backfire politically and help Democrats.

    House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio wants to tie approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline to the extension of the payroll tax cut and to ease restrictions on some industrial emissions.

    “Only the House Republicans would decide to load a middle- class tax cut with pork,” Israel said in an interview for Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt” airing this weekend. Democrats need to pick up 25 seats in order to win back control of the chamber.

    “We have seats in play that we didn’t anticipate would be in play, and it’s because of this extremism, this assault against the middle class,” said Israel, of New York.

    “The more they pursue this extremist agenda and try and hurt the pocketbooks of the middle class in order to reward their special-interest friends, the more Republican seats will be in play,” Israel said.

    President Barack Obama has said he would reject efforts to tie approval of the pipeline to the extension of the payroll tax cut. Boehner said it should be included because development of the pipeline will create jobs.

    The proposed TransCanada Corp. (TRP) pipeline would carry oil from Canada to the U.S. The Obama administration, citing environmental concerns, put off a decision on it until 2013.

  29. rikyrah says:

    New Perry ad disables the ‘dislike’ button on YouTube
    Rick Perry’s last campaign ad reignited the old “culture wars” — bashing gays in the military and decrying what he called President Obama’s “War on Religion.”

    The public reaction: More than 250,000 “dislikes” on YouTube — and counting.

    Perry’s campaign team learned something from that national controversy.

    On their latest ad, they’ve disabled the “like” and “dislike” buttons that viewers can use to rate YouTube videos.

    In Perry’s newest ad, the Texas governor is reining the hate down on President Obama’s universal health insurance legislation, taking down anyone remotely related to federal mandates.

    “I won’t let the big-government liberals ruin this country,” Perry says in the ad. “I”m an outsider who will repeal Obamacare.”

    Who’s on Perry’s conservative chopping block? Newt Gingrich, for one, a “supporter of health care mandates,” according to a Forbes op-ed from earlier this year. Don’t forget former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt “I like mandates” Romney who also makes an indirect cameo in the clip.

    But Perry aims the big guns at Obama, attacking the president on the individual mandate that he “forced on the entire nation,” the narrator chimes.

    Prior to Perry posting this latest ad, negative comments railing against his anti-gay undertones dominated his Facebook page. Stung by the backlash, the Texas governor appealed to his friends and followers to a take a (slightly) more positive angle.

    “Can we get 7,000 LIKES to repeal Obamacare?!” Perry posted

  30. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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