Thursday Open Thread

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is a modern dance company based in New York, New York. It was founded in 1958 by choreographer and dancer Alvin Ailey. It is made up of 30 dancers as well as artistic director Judith Jamisonand associate artistic director Masazumi Chaya.

Alvin Ailey and a group of young Black modern dancers first performed at New York’s 92nd Street Young Men’s Hebrew Association (92nd Street Y), under the name Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, in March 1958. Following this performance, the company traveled on what were known as the “station wagon tours”; in 1960, the AAADT became a resident company of the 51st Street YWCA‘s Clark Center for the Performing Arts. It was during this period that Ailey choreographed his famous work Revelations. In 1962, the company was chosen to tour the Far East, Southeast Asia and Australia as part of President John F. Kennedy‘s “President’s Special International Program for Cultural Presentations.” Judith Jamison joined the company in 1965.

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 Thursday Open Thread

  1. 2008 Iowa Caucus Victory Speech: Promises Kept

  2. Senior vice president of NAACP decries Santorum and Gingrich

    Hilary Shelton, senior vice president of the NAACP, said Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich utilized stereotypes about African Americans that were “not only offensive, but factually inaccurate.”

    Both candidates linked African Americans to welfare this week. Gingrich suggested Thursday that African Americans would rather collect food stamps than find employment. Santorum said Monday he didn’t want to give welfare to “black people.” Instead, he wanted to “give them the opportunity to go out and earn their money.”

    Shelton noted their comments did not reflect the facts. White Americans account for the largest percentage of welfare payments each month.

    “Taking away that safety net is not only irresponsible but it’s downright dangerous and it’s unfair to the American people,” he added.

    Shelton described the candidates’ comments as unnecessary and ignorant. “If people see this as being truthful, it is downright dangerous.”

  3. Flashback: Iowa!!!!!!

  4. rikyrah says:

    Racist image of Michelle Obama based on Versailles painting

    A baldly racist depiction of First Lady Michelle Obama that appeared Tuesday on a right-wing website is based on a 1775 portrait of Marie Antoinette by Jean-Baptiste André Gautier-Dagoty (1740-1786). The full-length painting hangs outside Paris in the Palace of Versailles.

    The Internet image grafts Obama’s face onto Gautier-Dagoty’s lavish depiction of the French queen, dressed in full regalia. It also replaces the draped left arm of the young monarch, then barely 20, with a muscular black arm and shifts the position of the right hand to place it in front of a world globe.

    The caricature of Obama as a profligate queen relies on the racist stereotype of an “uppity Negro,” which emerged among slave masters in an earlier American era. Obama, born into a working-class Chicago family whose roots are traced to the pre-Civil War South, graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School, prior to holding several high-level positions in the academic and private sectors.

    The racist image appeared Tuesday on the right-wing blog Gateway Pundit; the slur was later called out by Media Matters for America. A post by Gateway blogger Jim Hoft paired the picture with a clip of the first lady’s guest appearance on a forthcoming episode of “iCarly,” a Nickelodeon sit-com. In the script, Obama commends the cast for their support of military families. Responding to a cast member who mistakenly addresses her as “your excellency,” the script has Obama jokingly reply, “I kinda like it.”

    The doctored painting also turned up in August 2010 on the right-wing Instapundit website, where it apparently originated.

    Gautier-Dagoty is not a well-known painter, but the royal portrait at Versailles is probably his most accomplished work. His father was an influential publisher of color graphics in Paris, and Gautier-père’s five sons, including Jean-Baptiste, joined him in various aspects of the business. Ironically, given the Internet caricature, that Paris business was a formative ancestor of modern mass-media.

  5. rikyrah says:

    I love this video. Listen to the tone of the folks as they speak. You can hear it, everytime someone says ‘ MR. PRESIDENT’. The Brotha, who just ‘ happened’ to be standing in the neighborhood with a suit on just makes me smile. You all know, if President Obama showed up on your block, you’d have the same tone in your voice. I shall not lie, I would be pushing Peanut to the front, just at the hope of getting one of those pictures………..LOL

    Obama visits Mr. and Mrs. Eason in Mt Pleasant January 4th, 2012

  6. ThinkProgress:

    Breaking News: Vote counter says Romney given 20 extra votes, Santorum actually won Iowa

  7. rikyrah says:

    January 05, 2012
    On (un)Americanism

    Greg Sargent notes the arm-in-arm callousness race taking place between Romney and Santorum — “Romney has made the insane claim that Obama favors ‘equal outcomes’ and giving everyone the ‘same rewards’ a regular feature of his stump speech. Santorum is employing a similar refrain … but he’s going further still, sneering at the very idea that ‘we have to have something for everybody’ ” — which he characterizes as “not only beneath contempt, but perhaps even vaguely un-American.”

    Or entirely unAmerican. Or profoundly American. Take your pick, based on whatever your prejudices are. Because that’s what American historians have always done in arguing the one or the other, in terms of what defines “Americanism.” I have yet to witness a conservative historian discover much of anything in his or her research other than conservative foundations for the proper interpretation of American history, or a progressive historian discover anything other than progressive foundations for the proper interpretation of American history.

    Which, you know, somewhat attenuates the whole American-unAmerican tussle. It may be that somewhere, swimming amidst all the historical evidence, there is “An Answer,” an absolutely incontrovertible, flatly objective Something-or-other that once and for all times defines America and Americanism. But I must tell you, absolutely incontrovertible evidence means no more to politically prejudiced historians who see the world otherwise than it does to Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, or Dennis Kucinich.

    Which, further, explains why I, in whatever polemics I have to offer, tend to skirt the whole Americanism thing. I’m perfectly aware that what political opinions I have to offer are products of historical prejudices, while my historical opinions tend to be striking products of my political prejudices. This is scarcely some dark or singular secret; we all do it, some of us are simply more confessional than others.

    At any rate, better, then, to argue less about what’s American or unAmerican, than about what’s human, or just plainly humane. Not that we’ll stumble on any fewer prejudices; perhaps, though, we can be less hypocritical about humanity than we are about history.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Were the Recess Appointments Constitutional? The Case for Yes
    Should President Obama use the recess appointment power when Republicans in Congress refuse even to consider his nominees? You better believe it.

    Not only are Republicans blocking Obama’s nominations at a record rate. They are doing so in order to impose their own ideological agenda and, in some cases, to undermine duly passed laws they don’t like but can’t repeal.

    That’s a modern-day form of nullification, as the political scientist Thoman Mann has put it and the Atlantic’s James Fallows has been trying, desperately, to remind people. Obama would be derelict in his duties if he did not use every inch of executive branch authority to overcome it.

    But when Obama chose to use the recess appointment power on Tuesday, in order to put Richard Cordray in charge of the new consumer financial protection bureau and to fill three vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board, was he acting within the limits of his constitutional powers? That’s a more complicated issue. Even liberals sympathetic to Obama’s cause aren’t sure: My colleague Tim Noah, for example, argued yesterday that Obama probably exceeded his authority.

    Constitutional limits can be inconvenient but they still matter. And I thought Tim made a pretty good case. But, based on a series of conversations today, I think Obama was within his rights after all.

    Legally, the issue is very simple. If the Senate was not in session on Tuesday, then Obama had authority to make the appointments. That’s the whole point of the recess appointment power – to allow the president to fill positions and staff the executive branch when the Senate cannot perform its “advise and consent” function. But if the Senate was in session, then Obama didn’t have authority to make the recess appointments.

    But figuring out whether the Senate was in session turns out to be not very simple.

    Senate Republicans say that it was in session – very much by design. Aware that Obama might use his recess appointment power, Republicans copied a strategy Senate Democrats developed at the end of the Bush era: They forced the majority party to accept an arrangement under which the Senate was in “pro forma session” at least once every four days. Nothing happened during these pro forma sessions: They lasted just a few moments each. But the effect was to prevent a formal, official recess. (By tradition and past interpretations, a recess doesn’t become official until it’s lasted more than three days.)

    The White House and its allies say these sessions were not real sessions, at least in the constitutional sense, because the Senate was not prepared to do any governing while they were quickly gaveling in and gaveling out. They note that the motion (by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden) to have these pro forma sessions said explicitly that there would be “no business conducted.” If, for example, the White House had sent nominations to the Senate during these periods, administration officials and their supporters say, it would not have acted upon it. Here is how one senior administration official put it to me:

  9. rikyrah says:

    The Ineffable Strangeness Of Mitt Romney

    We’ve been so used to the weirdness of the island of misfit toys that is the GOP primary season that we may have missed the real story: the weirdest man in the whole race might actually be … the one not supposed to be weird. I remember vividly David Brooks’ description of Romney’s 2008 Convention speech as “borderline insane.” His humor is, well, very Disney Channel, which is still better than Huntsman’s, which is Disney Channel trying to be Spike.

    I once noted that Romney made plastic look real. Dana captures one soupcon of that truth in a hilarious dispatch from what looked like an excruciating endorsement from McCain, who checked his watch during Romney’s stump speech:

    [Romney’s] staff applauded dutifully when he got on his plane (a Miami Air 737 named “Diane” on the fuselage but labeled Hair Force One by others), and he went up and down the row congratulating each staff member with a “nice work” and a “thank you.” The grin he wore when he boarded remained throughout the flight — even when he entered and exited the lavatory.

    This is a very weak candidate. Some believe that he has had trouble getting past 25 percent outside New Hampshire because of his flip-floppery or moderation. I suspect many Republican voters just realize he is their John Kerry. Because he is. Without the ideological consistency.

  10. rikyrah says:

    January 05, 2012 3:25 PM

    The GOP’s ‘problems with the Hispanics’

    By Steve Benen

    John McCain talked to Chuck Todd this morning, and acknowledged his party’s “problems” with a certain constituency. (via Jenee Desmond-Harris)

    For those who can’t watch clips online, Todd asked the Republican senator if the state of Arizona is “in play” in 2012. After a lengthy pause, there was this exchange:

    McCain: I think that if not this election cycle, the demographics are that Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, even Texas will all be in play.

    Todd: And if Republicans don’t fix the problem?

    McCain: Yes, yes. We have to fix our problems with the Hispanics.

    Todd: And it starts where?

    McCain: It starts with a way to address the issue of immigration in a humane and caring fashion, at the same time emphasizing the need to secure our borders because of the drug cartels and the people who transport people across our border and treat them terribly.

    This strikes me as odd. For one thing, McCain helped create the Republicans’ “problems with the Hispanics” by abandoning everything he’d ever said about immigration policy during his 2008 presidential campaign.

    For another, the Republican McCain just endorsed, Mitt Romney, has spent much of the year exploiting anti-immigrant animus within the Republican Party’s right-wing base, further alienating the Latino community.

    Lionel Sosa, a Texas strategist who advised George W. Bush John McCain on appealing to Hispanics, recently told the NYT, “[Romney] can make as many trips to Florida and New Mexico and Colorado and other swing states that have a large Latino population, but he can write off the Latino vote. He’s not going to gain it again.”

    McCain wants his party to “fix our problems with the Hispanics”? It sounds like he and his allies are making matters worse, not better.

  11. rikyrah says:

    The top reasons Wall Street and Republicans are scared of Richard Cordray
    By Linette Lopez

    After months of pushback from Republicans in Congress, President Obama has finally decided to go over their heads and appoint former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau without them.

    So who is he?

    We’ve written a lot about him at Business Insider. Partly because, no matter what side of the aisle you’re on, there’s no denying he’s incredibly impressive. Cordray is an undefeated, five-time Jeopardy! champion (he won $45,303), has a masters in economics from Oxford University, and was also editor-in-chief of the University of Chicago Law Review.

    After law school he clerked for Supreme Court for a Reagan appointee, and represented the U.S. government before the Supreme Court there three times — once for George H.W. Bush and twice for Bill Clinton. That was all before running for AG of Ohio (a swing state) as a Democrat.

    So what’s the problem with Cordray? There are two, one is an old Washington problem, and the other is purely Wall Street’s:

    1.Republicans said they would never support anyone to head the CFPB — Period —that is, unless the White House made serious changes to the agency. (Politico)
    2.He doesn’t just go after Wall Street Institutions. He goes after individual executives as well.
    Let’s expand on point 2 with some more examples of how Cordray fought Wall Street as Ohio AG:

    •In 2009, representing several state public pension funds, he reached a settlement with Hank Greenberg and other AIG execs that blew the SECs settlement out of the water. Cordray got $115 million, the SEC got a mere $15 million.
    •The following year he settled another suit against AIG itself (also for Ohio) for $750 million. Some reports said the insurance company would actually be paying out $1 billion.
    •And then there was the Bank of America Merrill Lynch merger. Cordray sued on behalf of Ohio pensions on the grounds that BofAS concealed billions of dollars of Merrill Lynch losses from their clients before the merger. The case settled for $475 million

  12. rikyrah says:

    January 05, 2012 4:30 PM
    Cordray gets to work
    By Steve Benen

    Now that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a director, it can get to work on some long-overdue priorities. For America’s middle class, that’s terrific news.

    The new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday outlined a vigorous oversight and enforcement agenda, saying that companies that take unfair advantage of consumers of financial products will face “real consequences.”

    The director, Richard Cordray, who was appointed to the post Wednesday by President Obama, encouraged consumers to contact the agency with their stories and complaints about banks, payday lenders and other financial institutions that they feel have sold deceptive products or engaged in abusive behavior.

    “The consumer bureau will make clear that there are real consequences to breaking the law,” Mr. Cordray, who had been in charge of enforcement at the agency, said in remarks prepared for at a speech at the Brookings Institution.

    “We have given informants and whistle-blowers direct access to us,” he said. “We took over a number of investigations from other agencies in July, and we are pursuing some investigations jointly with them. We have also started our own investigations. Some may be resolved through cooperative efforts to correct problems. Others may require enforcement actions to stop illegal behavior.”

    It’s a reminder that, for all the Republican talk about pro-forma sessions and the technical definitions of “recess,” the CFPB is empowered to do some fantastic work on behalf of Americans who need the support.

    And this work couldn’t get underway so long as the Republicans’ 19th-century nullification strategy continued.

    “Many subprime loans during the housing bubble were made by nonbank mortgage brokers,” he added. “Since most of these businesses are not used to any federal oversight, our new supervision program may be a challenge for them. But we must establish clear standards of conduct so that all financial providers play by the rules.”

    Mr. Cordray asked consumers to contact the agency directly through its Web site, “Our team is taking complaints about credit cards and mortgages, with other products to be added as we move forward,” he said. “Our work will support the honest businesses in financial markets against those who deceive consumers or otherwise break the law.”

    I’ll leave it to others to explain why Republicans are siding with predatory lenders and industry excesses, rather than Cordray’s non-partisan work.

    But even putting the politics aside, can we just pause for a moment to note that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a really good idea? Over the last several months, even I got so caught up in the Republican obstructionist tactics, and the desperation with which the GOP tried to weaken the agency, it was easy to lose sight of just how significant it is to have a bureau like this in place.

    President Obama’s political team put together this video a while back for those who might like a refresher on what this initiative is all about.

    I don’t think it’s an exaggeration in the slightest to consider this one of the best and most progressive breakthroughs of the Obama presidency.

  13. Whoo Hoo!

    Haley made the honor roll again! :)

    Reading 92
    Language Arts 94
    Math 92
    Science 95
    Social Studies 97

  14. 2008 flashback: Obama promised to get bin Laden. McCain disagreed. Obama won. And bin Laden is dead.

    A look back at the debate between Barack Obama and John McCain over whether and how to pursue Osama bin Laden:

    The short version of the story: Barack Obama promised to do whatever it took to get Osama bin Laden and defeat the people who attacked us on 9/11 so that we could end the so-called war on terrorism. John McCain said he was naive. Barack Obama won the election and did what he promised. And there’s no doubt if he hadn’t won, things would have turned out differently.

  15. Melissa Harris-Perry becomes only black female to host a political talk show in cable news

    MSNBC has expanded their weekend line-up by adding a new show hosted by regular contributor Melissa Harris-Perry. The Melissa Harris-Perry Show will launch in February and it will be the only politically-themed show hosted by an African-American woman on a cable news network.

    MSNBC Vice President and Executive Editor, Yvette Miley, who is also an African-American, explains how Perry reached this level of success, “Melissa Harris Perry has earned this opportunity not just to participate in the political discussion but to lead the conversation about America’s future and our future.”

    “This is an extraordinary experience,” said Perry, who is currently a political science professor at Tulane University. “[MSNBC President] Phil Griffin and MSNBC are giving me the chance to have a much bigger classroom.”

    The show will debut on MSNBC February 4th and is set to air on Saturdays and Sundays between 10AM-12PM. Griffin made the announcement and explained how he is thrilled to have her join the expanded weekend line-up.

  16. ThinkProgress:

    Two Scott Walker aides arrested in ongoing corruption probe

  17. Republican Candidates’ Consistent Contempt for Black Folks

    Ask yourself: Would you want to be a member of a political party whose members said the following about a racial group to which you belonged?

    “Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works. So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash,’ unless it’s illegal.”

    That’s what a Republican candidate for President said three weeks ago.

    A second Republican candidate said: “I don’t want to make Black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to earn the money and provide for themselves and their families…”

    A third Republican candidate for president published a newsletter in his 50s claiming that “racial violence will fill our cities” because “mostly black welfare recipients will feel justified in stealing from mostly white ‘haves.’”

    A fourth Republican candidate for the presidency signed a pledge claiming that African American children were more likely to grow up in stable families during slavery than in contemporary times.

    A ffith Republican candidate said: “many African Americans have been brainwashed into not being open minded to not even considering a conservative point of view…” two months ago.

    There are 40 million Americans of African descent in the U.S. and the five GOP presidential candidates know every single one of them – you know, having spent all that time in Iowa and all. They have “no habits of working” says one. Blacks are “brainwashed” says another. Perhaps more noteworthy is the silence amongst peers. The left has become use to these comments and the right either agrees or doesn’t care. The result is a long cowardly silence. Perhaps Governors Mitt Romney and John Huntsman have it right as they steadfastly avoid the subjects effecting 40 million Americans entirely.

    That former Sen. Santorum brings up Blacks within the context of poverty is telling. Though 10% of whites in the U.S were in poverty in 2010 you’d never know it listening to Republicans running for President. There are 223,553,265 non-Hispanic whites in the U.S., 10% of whom live in poverty. That’s 22,355,326 people. Yet when poverty comes up in GOP political discussion it’s in the context of Blacks and Blacks only. Blacks are the racial punch-line in the GOP joke of poverty. Though the U.S. is experiencing record poverty with 1 of 7 people living on the financial margins no GOP candidate has offered a single word of policy on the subject.

    • Yet when poverty comes up in GOP political discussion it’s in the context of Blacks and Blacks only. Blacks are the racial punch-line in the GOP joke of poverty. Though the U.S. is experiencing record poverty with 1 of 7 people living on the financial margins no GOP candidate has offered a single word of policy on the subject.


      The GOP candidates have made the election about their contempt for black people and Herman Cain gave them his blessings so they won’t feel guilty.

  18. Talking Points Memo:

    If you’re poor, Romney wants to raise your taxes. If you’re rich, he wants to cut ’em. See how much in this chart

  19. rikyrah says:

    They’re Actually Serious
    by BooMan
    Thu Jan 5th, 2012 at 10:33:16 AM EST

    I think we all understand that politicians will say things while they’re running for president that bear little relationship to reality. Democrats may promise to renegotiate NAFTA, for example, or to create a single-payer health care system. Republicans might promise to completely repeal ObamaCare or to lower taxes so radically that the government would have less revenue than Burkino Faso. In some cases, this is just cynical pandering. In other cases, it represents a sincere desire, but one the candidate will simply never have the power to implement. People claim not to like this dishonesty, but they also seem to reward candidates who stake out hard left or hard right positions. You don’t get much benefit out of telling people that the best policies are not realistic options. You get less credit for telling people that the best solutions require compromises from both major parties. Considering this political truism, we ought to be able to tolerate at least a low-grade level of bullshit in our politicians. It’s our job to educate ourselves enough so that we can distinguish between pandering and real goals.
    The problem is that it’s getting very hard to find that line with Republicans. There are certain things that most of us probably consider to be inviolate. For example, we probably expect that we can watch Sesame Street with our kids without being subjected to a bunch of paid advertising. We might realize that the Supreme Court only needs one more anti-choice Justice to overturn Roe v. Wade, but we probably don’t realize that Rick Santorum opposes Griswold v. Connecticut, the ruling that established a constitutional right not to have the state or federal governments ban access to birth control or punish its use as a crime. We probably think that the country will still expect all children to get an education. It’s becoming less and less clear that the Republicans who are pushing these radical policies aren’t sincere about trying to implement them.

    Today the GOP-controlled [New Hampshire] Senate passed HB 542, which effectively ends compulsory education for New Hampshire students. Their House colleagues approved the measure earlier last year.

    The measure is so extreme that even the conservative Union-Leader editorial board denounced it in April.

    Passing such a bill through both houses of Congress certainly appears to be a sincere effort to implement the policy. Call me crazy, but we’re not playing the same old game. We’ve already seen attacks on public service unions. Republicans want Indiana to become a right-to-work state. The GOP is not about tinkering. They’re about fundamentally changing things about our country that most people take for granted. You thought we wouldn’t torture people, didn’t you? Did you think home schoolers could get a bill passed in New Hampshire to end compulsory education?

    It’s time to pay closer attention to the Republicans’ heated campaign rhetoric. They’re closer to really fucking things up than you may realize. And they’re serious. You thought you could rely on Medicare, but they want to voucherize it. You thought you could rely on Social Security, but they want to slash the benefits. You thought you had a right to privacy. You thought your family planning decisions were your own business. You thought we all agreed that every child needs an education. You thought PBS was here to stay in its current public/private form. There’s really nothing on the Republicans’ agenda that I would consider an improvement. Absolutely nothing. But there’s a lot of stuff they want to change about America that doesn’t need changing.

  20. rikyrah says:

    January 05, 2012 2:50 PM

    George Will’s descent
    By Steve Benen

    George Will has struggled for quite some time when dealing with climate policy, but his latest piece, arguing that global warming is part of an elaborate collectivist plot, is really out there.

    Because progressivism exists to justify a few people bossing around most people and because progressives believe that only government’s energy should flow unimpeded, they crave energy scarcities as an excuse for rationing — by them — that produces ever-more-minute government supervision of Americans’ behavior. […]

    An all-purpose rationale for rationing in its many permutations has been the progressives’ preferred apocalypse, the fear of climate change.

    Jon Chait explains that Will happens to be “out of his gourd.”

    Will is not arguing that liberals are misguided, or even that climate science is wrong. He thinks liberals were sitting around looking for ways to reduce peoples’ standard of living in order to enrich themselves, and global warming is the rationale they concocted. Along with virtually all the climate scientists.

    Of course, by Will’s theory, liberals could just as easily have decided to start claiming that wheat is scarce or that cotton is scarce and started a big campaign to pass laws restricting them. This would have been just as effective a way to justify new bureaucracies charged with bossing around Americans. Somehow that didn’t happen.

    What this immediately reminded me of was a similar George Will harangue against high-speed rail last year, which was argued along similar lines. The columnist didn’t address the policy or the substance of the debate, but rather, insisted HSR is part of a progressive conspiracy. “[T]he real reason for progressives’ passion for trains is their goal of diminishing Americans’ individualism in order to make them more amenable to collectivism,” Will wrote.

    One of the nation’s most widely-read political columnists believes liberals support high-speed rail is part of some elaborate, freedom-crushing, Ayn-Rand-inspired conspiracy. And now he believes all of climate science is the result of a similar conspiracy.

    Adding insult to injury, Media Matters has a report today, documenting the fact that a powerful, conservative foundation pays George Will $43,500 a year, and Will consistently relies on “experts” whose work is financed by the same foundation. The conflict has never been disclosed to Will in his columns.

    Maybe it’s time for the Post’s editors to have a chat with the conservative columnist?

  21. rikyrah says:

    January 05, 2012 10:50 AM

    Meet Donny Box
    By Steve Benen

    When it comes to Mitt Romney’s background at Bain Capital, we tend to think about the layoffs in the abstract. Romney orchestrated leveraged buyouts, flipping companies quickly for large profits, at the expense of thousands of workers who were considered collateral damage.

    But the story has a greater impact when we shift away from the thousands and towards the individual victims. Randy Johnson, for example, who lost his job in the ’90s when Romney took over American Pad & Paper (Ampad), has been an active critic of the Republican. Johnson told reporters this week, “I really feel that he didn’t care about the workers. It was all about profit over people.”

    But Johnson isn’t the only one. released a new ad this morning featuring steel worker and Army veteran Donny Box, who lost his job of 32 years at Kansas City’s GST after Romney’s firm took it over.

    “We lost our jobs, they made millions,” Box says in the ad. Box concludes, “Mitt Romney wants to call himself a ‘job creator’? Mitt Romney doesn’t care about jobs. He cares about money.”

    The spot will run in New Hampshire starting tomorrow and running through Tuesday’s Republican presidential primary.

    For its part, the Romney campaign recently began arguing that critics of Bain Capital’s layoffs are borderline communists, trying to “put free enterprise on trial.” Who knows, maybe that’ll work.

    But it strikes me as a pretty potent area of criticism. Between this and Romney’s larger agenda — take away health care coverage from millions, tax breaks for the wealthy, free rein for Wall Street, more foreclosures — it would appear Romney may struggle to reconcile his message/background and the public’s economic anxieties.

    Remember, Romney has been haunted by his victims before, and in his 1994 campaign, this mattered. Many of Romney’s victims drove to Massachusetts to protest the Republican’s campaign, and Democrats put together a half-dozen ads featuring laid-off workers who said they suffered while Romney lined his pockets at their expense.

    When the general election phase gets under way, I suspect we’ll be seeing and hearing a lot more about this.

  22. rikyrah says:

    January 05, 2012 12:40 PM

    Setting the standards for the jobs debate
    By Steve Benen

    It has quickly become a standard talking point for Mitt Romney: during his tenure at Bain Capital, he created “over 100,000 new jobs.” Campaign officials have been reluctant to back up the claim, and fact-checkers haven’t been able to substantiate the claim in any way.

    But that changed this week, when Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom presented his argument to the Washington Post’s Glenn Kesler

    Fehrnstrom says the 100,000 figure stems from the growth in jobs from three companies that Romney helped to start or grow while at Bain Capital: Staples (a gain of 89,000 jobs), The Sports Authority (15,000 jobs), and Domino’s (7,900 jobs).

    This tally obviously does not include job losses from other companies with which Bain Capital was involved — and are based on current employment figures, not the period when Romney worked at Bain.

    This is just fascinating. The Romney campaign is not only taking credit for jobs created at these companies after Romney left his firm, the campaign is also choosing to ignore all layoffs when coming up with the figure. Romney and his team are only counting hits, not misses.

    This is a bit like a coach saying his team is undefeated, just so long as you overlook the team’s losses. Or as Paul Krugman put it, “By that standard, everyone who’s spent a lot of time with slot machines is a big winner, since only the pluses count.”

    But wait, it gets better. Greg Sargent noted that the Romney campaign is also using one standard for counting jobs when it comes to Bain and a completely different standard when it comes to the Obama presidency.

    Romney is only counting jobs gained at companies restructured at Bain during and after his years there — and is not factoring in jobs lost — in claiming he created over 100,000 jobs.

    Meanwhile, as the Romney camp concedes to Kessler, in making the claim Obama is a job destroyer, Romney is factoring in the jobs that were lost during Obama’s presidency — before Obama’s policies went into effect. In other words, Romney is calculating a “net” number for Obama, and isn’t calculating a net number for himself. Just wow.

    It’s remarkable, to be sure, but let’s take this one step further. Let’s agree to play by Romney’s rules, let’s only count his hits, and let’s even allow him to take credit for jobs created at Bain-owned enterprises after Romney had left the firm. And then let’s allow President Obama to do the same thing when examining his jobs record.

    According to the Romney campaign, the Republican created 111,900 jobs at Bain, only counting his successes. And if we look back over the last three years, and only count the months in which the economy added jobs, President Obama created 2.79 million jobs overall (the figure is higher if we only look at the private sector).

    Here it is in chart form:

    Remember, this isn’t playing by my rules, or even Obama’s rules. This is how the comparison would shape up applying Romney’s own standards to both.

    Update: There may be some confusion here. Brian Beutler argues, “It’s absurd to compare a President’s and a private equity fund manager’s fake ‘job creation’ accolades.” I’ve some related criticisms this afternoon.

    Folks may be missing the point here. Romney has said repeatedly that he created more jobs at Bain and in Massachusetts than Obama has created in three years as president. It’s a standard talking point from Romney and his campaign.

    My point isn’t to compare a country to a private equity firm, but rather, to show how foolish it is to accept the jobs debate on Romney’s terms. He’s playing fast and loose with the details in the hopes voters won’t know the difference. It’s absurd and the chart is intended to highlight that absurdity.

  23. rikyrah says:

    A Possible Nightmare Scenario for America in 2012

    Forget Mayan prophecies. Forget the world ending in 2012. We may have a bigger problem, Houston.

    Dissatisfaction with the American political process is no secret. Many people feel the deeply entrenched, if unofficial (the Founding Fathers detested the very idea of political parties), two party system is inadequate and that the Democrats and Republicans between them lock out any possibility of a third party candidate having a chance on Election Day. Some people like to lump Republicans and Democrats together, arguing that there is no difference between them and an open-minded observer can see why they might feel that way, whether we agree with them or not. But for better or worse, the two-party system is superior to multi-party systems other countries – Italy for example – have to deal with. If you want real gridlock, perpetual gridlock, go that route. Too many choices can be as bad as too few.

    One group in this country has hit upon a very modern and novel approach to the problem, turning to the Internet to provide a forum for candidates from outside the normal political process. Calling itself Americans Elect it promises, “Americans Elect lets you choose a leader that puts country before party.” Saying that 80 percent of voters would “consider an alternative presidential ticket in the coming campaign” they have collected almost two-and-a-half million signatures, “over half,” they brag, “what’s needed to put the Americans Elect ticket on the ballot nationwide.” In other words, they have solved the two-party dilemma by bypassing the powers that be.

    Americans Elect promises “an equal vote for every voter” and a nonpartisan ticket, because each finalist must choose a VP “from a party other than their own.” To be blunt, this isn’t strictly speaking a nonpartisan ticket, since the VP is largely a cipher, but it’s a nice (if superficial) gesture toward conciliation and compromise. In these days of raging partisanship, that’s something, at least. The group makes clear they are not a third party. According to Ileana Wachtel, a spokesperson:

  24. rikyrah says:

    The Truth About Iran

    Fareed Zakaria has an important column today in the Washington Post, an antidote to the dangerous silliness about Iran that is being peddled by the Republican presidential candidates. Iran is faltering, not gaining strength, Fareed writes. The sanctions regime that the Obama Administration patiently negotiated with Russia and China is having a major impact. Iran’s major ally in the region, Syria, is at the point of collapse. But the most important point Zakaria makes is about the difference between Iran’s militant rhetoric and military reality.
    Various powerless Iranian figures have been threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, the vital maritime superhighway for oil exports. But that’s silly bluster, designed–the Iranians aren’t unsophisticated–to provoke American politicians (like Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney) into silly bluster of their own. As Zakaria points out, if Iran closed the Strait, it would also be closing off the path for its own oil to exported, thereby collapsing its economy.

    Fareed is also skeptical about the danger of Iran’s nuclear program. I’ve written about this multiple times here: Iran will probably have the capability to build some sort of weapon soon, but it would only use such a weapon as a deterrent against Israel and Pakistan, which already have nuclear arsenals. And, as Zakaria points out, everyone in Iran, including the leaders of the Green Movement, wants to see the nuclear project move forward. (When I interviewed Mir Hussein Mousavi on the eve of the election in 2009–the last time he spoke with a western reporter–he held out the possibility of negotiating the nuclear issue with the west; none of the other “reform” leaders I spoke with agreed with him.)

    We’re at a dangerous moment with Iran, but also at a promising one. There are signs that, given their economic problems, the Iranians may finally be willing to talk. This would be very hard politically for the Obama Administration right now–unless the Iranians make an upfront concession to start the talks. Unfortunately, the current regime is inept when it comes to haggling (Iranians have many charms, but they also have an exaggerated sense of their bazaari negotiating skills–just ask the Chinese, the Indians or any of Iran’s other trading partners).

    Certainly, the reality in Iran has absolutely nothing to do with the way the issue is being discussed by the Republicans on the campaign trail. Iran is not the most dangerous foreign policy issue facing our country. Pakistan–with a nuclear arsenal and the very real possibility of an Islamist Army coup–is.

    Read more:

  25. rikyrah says:

    Shit White Girls Say…to Black Girls

  26. rikyrah says:

    Why Voters Won’t Buy The Republican Lies About Obama In 2012

    America’s two-party political system provides voters with a relatively easy choice of the direction they think the country should take to move forward. Although, the conservatives in the Republican Party never believe in moving forward, but rather, actively seek ways to drive the country back to the mid-nineteenth century. If there is one lesson to take away from Tuesday’s Iowa caucus voting, it is that among conservatives, there are at least three factions jockeying for supremacy to define the party in time for the general election in November and the three top finishers represent a party that is out of touch with mainstream America.

    The deep ideological divide between Republicans struggling to find one identity and candidate to garner support to defeat President Obama is centered around corporatism, religion, and no government. The fact that Willard “Mitt” Romney won the caucus by only 8 votes over Rick Santorum after spending millions of dollars reveals that Republicans are still searching for a post-Bush identity even though the combination of Romney, Santorum, and Paul is all George W. Bush. More than anything though, lacking an idealistic conservative standard bearer to tap into traditional anti-government conservative values means the GOP will remain divided; the beneficiaries are the American people who get to hear the extremism within the Republican Party throughout the primary season and they will realize how divisive and dangerous Republicans are.

    Ron Paul has support from Republicans who are anti-government and anti-taxes, but other than that demographic, he loses the war-mongers in the party who are panting to start another war to kill Muslims. The truth is that on some level, although extremely dangerous, Paul represents the opposite of mainstream Republicans who love big government spending on the wealthy and corporations and traditionally increase the size of government despite their claims to the contrary. At best, Mr. Paul will serve as a foil to Romney and Santorum who advocate for more government control of Americans’ lives with the threat of a constitutional amendment to define marriage, as well as attempts to ban contraceptive use. Traditional Republicans will not tolerate a candidate who thinks government already plays too important a role in everyday Americans’ lives.

  27. Heads Up, 3 Chics! Please Please read and take note. Our lives and future are at stake!

    What If Obama Loses?
    Imagining the consequences of a GOP victory.

    It’s a common complaint—we’ve certainly made it over the years—that too much political campaign coverage focuses on the horse race. The packed debate schedule in the current GOP nomination battle has put a bit more focus than usual on the substance of what the candidates are saying, which is good. But even so, most of this coverage has wound up being about whether a given policy position might help or hurt a candidate’s chances of winning. What’s most important has been left largely unexamined: if one of these candidates actually becomes president and advances his or her policies, what would be the consequences for the nation?

    Part of the reason this question is seldom addressed is that it’s genuinely hard to do; it requires thinking three steps ahead and accounting for numerous variables. But there’s also a widespread assumption that extreme positions taken in the primaries will fade in the general election as candidates “move to the center,” and will disappear entirely once the serious business of governing begins. Surely President Newt Gingrich would not get rid of child labor laws. Surely President Perry would not seek to eliminate three cabinet departments.

    We don’t think that this year, with this GOP, those assumptions are warranted. And so we asked a distinguished group of reporters and scholars to think through the hitherto unthinkable: What if one of these people actually wins?

    Campaign Promises
    What they say is how they’ll govern. By Jonathan Bernstein

    The Tea Party
    Picking the candidates and writing the agenda. By Dave Weigel

    The good news is… no more gridlock. By Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein

    The Courts
    The conservative takeover will be complete. By Dahlia Lithwick

    Foreign Affairs
    The “more enemies, fewer friends” doctrine. By James Traub

    The Environment
    The end of the EPA as we know it. By David Roberts

    Financial Regulation
    Back to the good ol’ days of 2008. By Michael Konczal

    It’s toast. By Harold Pollack

    Get Registered and Occupy The Voting Booth

  28. Mark Knoller:

    Carney says Pres Obama wants to work with Congress but doesnt expect to hold hands, sit around the campfire & sing Kumbaya.

  29. President Obama Speaks on the Defense Strategic Review

  30. Here we go, folks! Welcome to the most racist volatile election season since Jim Crow.

    Newt: African Americans Should Get Off Food Stamps, Demand Paychecks

    Campaigning in New Hampshire today, Newt promised potential voters at a town hall that he would personally pay a visit to the NAACP and explain to the organization why African Americans need to ditch food stamps.

    “I will go to the NAACP convention, and explain to the African-American community why they should demand paychecks instead of food stamps,” said Gingrich

  31. The Democrats:

    President Obama announces nearly 180,000 job opportunities for American youth: #wecantwait

  32. Ametia says:

    Car removed from Californian roof after crash landing


  33. Rick Santorum Denies Making ‘Black People’ Remarks, Claims To Be ‘Bigger Player’ In 2012 Primary Race

    Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum denied recently making comments about “black people’s lives” after receiving criticism for the remarks.

    Santorum took heat after saying, “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.” During an appearance on FOX News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” he denied ever making the comments, saying the remark was the result of “a little bit of a blurred word.”

    “I looked at that, and I didn’t say that,” Santorum told O’Reilly. “If you look at it, what I started to say is a word and then sort of changed and it sort of — blah — came out. And people said I said ‘black.’ I didn’t.”

  34. NBC Politics:

    A Kennedy explores run for Barney Frank’s seat

    • Ametia says:

      Interesting, we’ll be watching this unfold.

      Joe Kennedy III, grandson of Robert Kennedy, announced today that he is leaving his job at the Middlesex District Attorney’s office to start an exploratory committee for a possible run for Rep. Barney Frank’s Massachusetts Congressional seat.

      I’d love to see other candidates come forward. It would be great to have other folks besides another Kennedy. IMHO.

  35. Ametia says:

    OH OH!

    Rift Between Olbermann and Current TV Deepens: ‘Everybody Is Replaceable’
    Published: January 04, 2012 @ 7:28 pm

    Keith Olbermann returned to the airwaves Wednesday night, but the rift between the bad boy anchor and his superiors at Current TV has not dissipated a day after he refused to lead the network’s coverage of the Iowa caucus, TheWrap has learned.

    The newsman has tapped high-powered lawyer Patricia Glaser to “determine his rights” in his five-year contract, an individual close to him told TheWrap.

    Meanwhile, executives at Current TV said that relations – especially those with Current CEO Joel Hyatt – were at a breaking point after deteriorating over the past several months.

    “I hope Keith is part of our future, but it’s up to Keith,” an executive with Current who declined to be identified told TheWrap. “Keith set us in the right direction and we’re on that path now … and as I’ve learned over the years, everybody is replaceable.”

  36. Pres Obama says US turning page on a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  37. President Obama Speaks on the Defense Strategic Review
    The Pentagon, Washington, DC

    Live streaming now

  38. Ametia says:

    January 4, 2012 6:02 PM
    CBS This Morning” debuts Monday, Jan. 9th

    CBS This Morning,” a new program anchored by Charlie Rose, Gayle King and Erica Hill will debut Monday, January 9th, 2012. The broadcast, will air from 7:00-9:00 a.m. EST

    Watch excerpt of video here:

  39. The Washington Post:

    LIVE VIDEO: President Obama speech at Pentagon on Defense changes

  40. Melissa Harris-Perry:

    I’ve got big news. Starting Feb 4th I’m hosting a weekend show on MSNBC!
    Saturdays and Sundays 10Am-noon.

  41. Ametia says:

    Divining with Alvin Ailey Dance Co. What a delightfully DIVINE way to start the day. Thank you for this series, SG2.

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

  42. Mark Knoller:

    A spokeswoman says Richard Cordray was sworn in last night as CFPB Director and is on the job today. Gives speeech at 11am on new agency.

  43. Hat tip: Pate Tate

    A Real Texas Cowboy

  44. rikyrah says:

    Here’s What Romney’s Unreleased Tax Returns Almost Certainly Hide
    Brian Beutler January 5, 2012, 5:32 AM 9361104Mitt Romney still says he’s unlikely to publicly release his tax information, even if he clinches the Republican presidential nomination, and Democrats have a pretty good idea why.

    Romney is a privileged poster child for the “Buffett Rule” — President Obama’s principle that the tax code should make it impossible for a person of great wealth to pay a lower share of their income in taxes as than ordinary people. The DNC knows it, policy wonks know it, Romney certainly knows it. But the reasons why are technical and illustrate just how different Romney is from the vast majority of Americans who will cast votes for him — in either the GOP primary or the general election.

    One tax expert told TPM of “fairly sophisticated tax strategies” that would be “not available to ordinary tax payers.” A technique that puts you in a position that’s “like having an unlimited 401k account” sounds very attractive. But maybe not if you’re running for office, for Pete’s sake.

    When Romney jokes that he’s been unemployed for years, he’s obscuring the fact that he’s still collecting millions of dollars of investment income, which is taxed at a much lower rate than it would be if he, like most taxpayers, took home a regular paycheck. He’s also obscuring the fact a great deal of that same income is only vaguely connected to his own underlying investments, and yet benefits from a key loophole in the tax code that allows him and other wealthy finance veterans to more than halve their effective tax rate.

    In private equity, fund managers are typically compensated with both a fee (two percent of assets) and substantial share (20 percent) of the fund’s profits. Those profits are called “carried interest” and they’re classified as long-term capital gains, which are taxed at 15 percent — much lower than wage income, on which the top marginal rate is 35 percent. But unlike the fund’s main investors, the manager typically doesn’t put up more than a nominal share of the fund’s actual capital. In other words, this so-called “carried interest loophole” allows private equity fund managers to treat the money they make in exchange for their labor as if it was a return on an investment — even though they haven’t made any such an investment at all.

    “They’re performing services to these funds, they’re not putting in their own money except to a nominal extent,” says Vic Fleishcer, a tax law professor at the University of Colorado. “When Mitt Romney was working at Bain he received a share of the profits from the Bain funds and continues to do so today and that’s all being taxed at the long-term capital gains rate.”

    Among fund managers, “the capital interest is typically very small compared to their stake in the profit,” says one tax expert in Washington who represents private-equity clients. In other words, a fund manager might have a tiny stake in the investment he’s managing, but nonetheless recoup a great deal of its profit, and then pay very little in taxes on that profit. This loophole puts huge downward pressure on the the effective tax rate people like Romney pay.

    Until recently, too, they were allowed to set up offshore corporations in places like the Cayman Islands, which allowed them to avoid paying U.S. taxes until they return the profits home.

    “That allowed Romney to defer his income taxes until he repatriated his income to the U.S.,” Fleischer said. “It [was] like having an unlimited 401k account…. These kinds of techniques are not available to ordinary tax payers. Because of the nature of his work he’s able to take advantage of some fairly sophisticated tax strategies and that highlights how different he is from your normal tax payer.”

    There’s nothing illegal here — it’s all on the level, and the tax code doesn’t technically reserve these benefits for rich people alone. But in practice, high net-worth tax payers are the only ones who can really avail themselves of them.

    “Very high income people have lots of investible income and we have a tax system that is preferential to investment income,” says Clint Stretch, a top tax lawyer at Deloitte. “If you have capital gains or dividends, under current law they have a 15 percent rate, it’s going to be very hard to get your effective tax rate up as high as a comparably wealthy wage earner…. If you layer on a group of high-income people who have tax exempt income — municipal bonds and so forth — it gets harder.”

    In practice this means wealthy Americans can reduce their tax liabilities, and a lucky few in the investor class can really limit theirs.

  45. rikyrah says:

    January 05, 2012 9:20 AM

    Big Bird’s boss weighs in

    Last week, Mitt Romney relied on a standard conservative talking point to make a point about the budget: he’s eyeing changes to public television.

    “I like PBS,” the Republican said. “We subsidize PBS. Look, I’m going to stop that. I’m going to say, ‘PBS is going to have to have advertisements.’ We’re not going to kill Big Bird, but Big Bird’s going to have advertisements, all right?”

    Well, no, perhaps it’s not all right. This week, PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger weighed in.

    Kerger says PBS understands that these are hard economic times and tough decisions have to be made. But PBS, she says, has always had bipartisan support in large part because it is an “effective public/private partnership.” “I think that what we hope to do is to make it clear that we have broad support from the American public.”

    It’s also, she says, cost-effective support. PBS only gets, in aggregate, 15 percent of its budget from the federal government — but it’s a percentage that is vital to smaller, poorer, mostly rural stations. “That money cannot be made up. We try to leverage it very carefully.”

    As for Romney’s suggestion that the service run ads, Kerger points out that PBS couldn’t do that even if it wanted to — it would violate FCC regulations. But even more, she says, changing PBS to an ad-supported network would inevitably change what it airs because the network would be forced to show programs that attract advertiser-friendly crowds.

    Perhaps Romney didn’t think this one through. More likely, he just doesn’t care, and he knows the far-right has some odd hang up about public television.

    But what I found even more interesting than his Big Bird comments was the larger context.

    Romney wasn’t asked about public television; his comments came during a town-hall event in Iowa when he was talking about balancing the federal budget. In other words, when addressing how he’d reduce the deficit, the very first substantive idea Romney raised had nothing to do with taxes, entitlements, or the Pentagon budget, but rather, “Big Bird is going to have advertisements.”

    Unless Romney envisions PBS charging hundreds of billions of dollars for commercials, this is the kind of comment that reinforces concerns over his willingness to be serious about public policy.

  46. rikyrah says:

    January 04, 2012 1:30 PM

    Conservatives to gather, look for ‘consensus’
    By Steve Benen

    For Republicans hoping to deny Mitt Romney the party’s presidential nomination, the problem has never been their numbers. The former governor has consistently run into a modest ceiling precisely because so many in the GOP neither like nor trust him.

    The problem, rather, has been their splintering. It’s never been enough to simply oppose Romney; in a seven-candidate field, these opponents need to pick someone else.

    Remember the “Not Mitt Romney” initiative launched two months ago by some fairly prominent right-wing voices? It wasn’t a bad idea, except for the fact that these folks never settled on an alternative. The task for Romney’s Republican detractors can’t be to simply highlight his flaws; it’s to elect someone else. “Not Mitt Romney” isn’t, and can’t be, the goal; nominating one of his rivals is.

    Apparently, this realization is starting to sink in, at least among some.

    A group of movement conservatives has called an emergency meeting in Texas next weekend to find a “consensus” Republican presidential hopeful, POLITICO has learned.

    “You and your spouse are cordially invited to a private meeting with national conservative leaders of faith at the ranch of Paul and Nancy Pressler near Brenham, Texas, with the purpose of attempting to unite and to come to a consensus on which Republican presidential candidate or candidates to support, or which not to support,” read an invitation that is making its way into in-boxes Wednesday morning.

    The meeting is being hosted by such prominent conservative figures as James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family; Don Wildmon, onetime chairman of the American Family Association; and Gary Bauer, himself a former presidential candidate.

    It’s worth keeping in mind that the anti-Romney constituencies within the Republican Party are pretty varied. This meeting will feature heavyweights from the religious right movement, but there’s not a lot of overlap between these GOP players and, for example, the folks behind the “Not Mitt Romney” campaign.

    I mention this because even if this emergency meeting helps identify a “consensus” candidate, it doesn’t necessarily mean their choice will be the choice for all the anti-Romney forces within the party.

    But it will be a step that seems long overdue. Politico’s report added that the meetings participants will effectively choose between Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, which from a theological perspective, creates a bizarre dynamic: evangelical Christian leaders will be selecting among two Roman Catholic candidates.

    As for who has the edge, Gingrich has never gotten along with Dobson, so don’t be too surprised if by next week, the religious right starts coming out in force in support of Santorum.

  47. rikyrah says:

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012
    Last Call
    Posted by Zandar
    As expected, Johnny Volcano welcomed Mitt Romney to New Hampshire and the crowd responded with the thunderous sound of “meh.”

    At a Manchester high school, Romney entered the stage for a town hall with new supporter John McCain, who won New Hampshire’s primary in 2000 and 2008. After brief speeches in which McCain called on New Hampshire to “catapult [Romney] to victory” with a big showing, they opened up the floor to questions. First up? A self-proclaimed “Occupy Boston” and “Occupy New Hampshire” activist, who challenged Romney to defend his famous “corporations are people” line.

    Clearly used to it at this point, Romney launched into a lengthy, detailed, and impressively delivered explanation of how he views corporations as “collections of people that are trying to have good jobs for themselves” rather than just “buildings.” He even mixed it up on a follow up question about whether retained earnings that corporations sit on rather than invest are still productive.

    “When a business has profit it can do good things,” he replied.

    One woman asked why he favored increasing health care costs, (“I don’t think anyone is in favor of seeing rising health care costs”). A Chinese-American immigrant said she felt his China-bashing rhetoric was “degrading” to Asians.

    “I hope I haven’t put any Asians down,” he said, adding he supported legal immigration of all kinds.

    Trying to out-conservatives the conservatives may play in Iowa, but New Hampshire Republicans would be Democrats in any other state (they’re the opposite of Kentucky Democrats, who would be Teabaggers in any other state.) The discriminating Granite State voter is not stupid. They pay attention to Romney’s sea change on social policies and his anti-Occupy rhetoric, and they’re not thrilled with him at all.

    They’ll still hold their nose and vote for him. But it’s entirely possible he’s not the dead sure lock he was last night to win the state going away.

    Oh, and in that “lengthy, detailed, and impressively delivered explanation” of Republinomics, Romney asked that Occupy New Hampshire activist to name a country with a higher per capita than the US. Turns out there’s several.

    Driving home today, I heard a segment on NPR (couldn’t find it online) reporting on Romney facing a tough crowd in New Hampshire. One of the exchanges that caught my attention was Romney’s response to a question from a voter dissatisfied with “trickle down” economics. Romney fired back with a dare to “name one country with the same GDP per capita” as the US—implying that the US economy was (relatively?) successful because it was the richest in the world.

    There’s two problems with that statement: The first is that it’s not true. The second is that GDP per capita is not the best metric.

    To answer Romney’s challenge, I can name at least six countries with GDP per capita (using purchasing power parity) higher than the US:

    •Qatar ($88,222)
    •Luxembourg ($81,466)
    •Singapore ($56,694)
    •Norway ($51,959)
    •Brunei ($48,333)
    •United Arab Emirates ($47,439)
    The above figures come from the IMF which ranks the US seventh, with a GDP per capita of $46,860 (see full list). Of course, other institutions use different measures. For example, our very own CIA ranks the US ninth (the other countries that sneak into the top ranks are Kuwait and Liechtenstein).

    So please, I want to see Mitt use this claim again in a debate soon, and someone to slam his crank in the door when he does.

  48. rikyrah says:

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012
    Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion
    Posted by Zandar

    The Birthers will never, ever go away, and the legal efforts involving the “Obama birth certificate” nonsense will be the stain of modern racism on this country the way Jim Crow laws were two generations ago and “young bucks with t-bones and welfare queens driving Cadillacs” were when I was a kid.

    A group of Republican lawmakers in New Hampshire asked the state’s attorney general on Tuesday to launch an investigation into President Barack Obama’s citizenship, The Associated Press reported.

    The effort was being staged in hopes that they may be able to knock Obama’s name off the New Hampshire primary ballot.

    The group, led by state Rep. Laurence Rappaport (R), has not been told whether the investigation will proceed. Rappaport has long been attached to the so-called “birthers” in New Hampshire, and he helped former dentist Orly Taitz pursue a “birther” complaint with the state’s Ballot Law Commission in November.

    Other Republicans who helped Taitz, who’s been repeatedly rebuked by the courts, included Republican state Reps. Harry Accornero, Lucien Vita and Carol Vita.

    All of them have alleged that the long-form birth certificate presented by the White House last April was a forgery, but the Ballot Law Commission rejected their claims.

    “There’s sufficient controversy that I want it investigated,” Rappaport said in November, according to The Concord Monitor. “Every time this is brought up… we get a lot of flak, but we’ve never gotten an answer.”

    No answer will ever satisfy them. And should Barack Obama be re-elected, I honestly believe we’ll see either an impeachment effort or a Supreme Court case involving this utter idiocy, which will drive a non-trivial percentage of the populace to vote against him in November just to shut these assholes up, as awful as that is. It will happen. You know people right now who will vote for whatever crazy-ass Republican who makes it to the nomination for the sole reason that they believe it will make the Republicans stop destroying the country and the middle-class and that the Tea Party will magically disband on November 7th.

    But what pains me the most is that 50 years from now, there will still be Americans on their deathbeds who will swear on their last breath that Barack Obama was never legally President of “their” United States of America. Odds are very good that you know these people right now, too.

  49. Obama unveils new KMBA re-election strategy

    KMBA…Kiss My Black Ass


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