Monday Open Thread

Showtime at the Apollo

The Apollo Theater in New York City is one of the oldest and most famous music halls in the United States, and the most famous club associated almost exclusively with African-American performers. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places,[2] and was the home of Showtime at the Apollo, a nationally syndicated television variety show consisting of new talent.

The theater is located at 253 W. 125th Street in the New York City borough of Manhattan, specifically in Harlem, one of the United States’ most historically significant traditionally African-American neighborhoods.

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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31 Responses to Monday Open Thread

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  2. Ametia says:

    A Salute to Betty White
    Fri, Jan 13, 2012 12:47 PM EST
    January is turning out to be a big month for Betty White. The TV legend was the virtual centerpiece at the People’s Choice Awards earlier this week. Not only did she win for Favorite Cable TV Comedy (“Hot In Cleveland”), practically every celebrity on stage paid tribute to her. And this coming week, White celebrates her 90th birthday. For our own salute, here are some things you might not know about the most beloved star in show business:

  3. US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arrive at the Kennedy Center to attend the ‘Let Freedom Ring Celebration’ in Washington, DC, on January 16, 2012, to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Kansas GOP House Speaker ‘Prays’ That Obama’s ‘Children Be Fatherless And His Wife A Widow’

    By Marie Diamond on Jan 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    ThinkProgress reported last week that Kansas House Speaker Mike O’Neal (R) was forced to apologize to First Lady Michelle Obama after forwarding an email to fellow lawmakers that called her “Mrs. YoMama” and compared her to the Grinch.

    Earlier that same week, the Lawrence Journal-World was sent another email that O’Neal had forwarded to House Republicans that referred to President Obama and a Bible verse that says “Let his days be few” and calls for his children to be without a father and his wife to be widowed.

    Nick Sementelli at Faith in Public Life notes that Psalm 109, which is a prayer for the death of a leader, became a popular conservative meme after Obama’s election. The “tongue-in-cheek” prayer for the president was seen on bumper stickers. The relevant part of the psalm reads:

    Let his days be few; and let another take his office

    May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.

    May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes.

    May a creditor seize all he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.

    May no one extend kindness to him or take pity on his fatherless children.

    O’Neal forwarded the prayer with his own message: “At last — I can honestly voice a Biblical prayer for our president! Look it up — it is word for word! Let us all bow our heads and pray. Brothers and Sisters, can I get an AMEN? AMEN!!!!!!”

    O’Neal’s office refuses to apologize for the email, insisting that the message was only referring to Obama’s days in office. Sementelli notes the response of a Rockford Register Star columnist who explains why this excuse won’t do.

    Speaking to a reader he writes, “You say that verse 8 of Psalm 109, as applied to President Obama, does not suggest a wish for his death. But the first five words of verse 8 are: ‘Let his days be few.’ And verse 9 says: ‘Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.’…You suggest yourself that scripture should not be ‘taken out of context.’ Well, the context of Psalm 109 is a wish for someone’s death.”

  5. rikyrah says:

    If Centrists Are Wrong, They’re No Answer

    by BooMan
    Mon Jan 16th, 2012 at 09:58:50 AM EST

    I think the whole Americans Elect idea is stupid, but I acknowledge that there is an honest desire to move beyond the gridlock in Washington DC. If the Republican and Democratic parties were a married couple, any sane person would tell them to forget about counseling because the rot in their relationship is too deep for reconciliation. The only solution is divorce.

    I can’t really keep this analogy going, but it’s a mistake to think that the politicians who have shown the most inclination to play nice with the other side are better people than the partisans, or that they’d be better leaders, or that they’d produce better policies. The problem in Washington isn’t that there aren’t enough Joe Liebermans or Bob Kerreys. And there’s a reason that people who pay attention to politics do not like Chuck Hagel or Lamar Alexander or Ben Nelson. The best you can say for these folks is that they (very rarely) say something true that other politicians are unwilling to concede.

    Let me try to put this another way. The reason that Joe Lieberman is popular with Republicans and has a reputation for centrism is because he is so aggressively wrong on foreign policy. His dishonest cheerleading of the neo-conservatives is what got him kicked out of the Democratic Party. Unless you think we need to return to neo-conservative foreign policies, Joe Lieberman’s centrism is not only worthless, but incredibly dangerous.

    It’s unclear how Ben Nelson, Chuck Hagel, or Lamar Alexanders’ aversion to tax increases make them any different from the radical Republicans who traded a budget surplus for a $15 trillion debt.

    I’m not saying the Democrats are right about everything, but the middle ground between the GOP and the Dems is already a dangerously delusional place that has been proven wrong about just about everything.

    Perhaps most depressingly, that middle ground determines all legislative outcomes, which means you don’t really need a Lierberman-Hagel ticket to wind up with the outcomes they desire. It still matters a great deal who controls the White House and Congress, but that’s mainly for non-legislative reasons or because controlling the congressional calendar can limit the damage done by the other side. If President Lieberman and Vice-President Hagel had sat down to do health care reform in 2009. they probably would have produced something indistinguishable from the Affordable Care Act. That’s not to take credit away from President Obama and Vice-President Biden, it’s just to make clear that the “centrists” in Congress exercise effective veto power already. They don’t need more power.

    I’d be more interested in a campaign to ask why we still have a House of Lords, and why our House of Lords requires 60% to do anything. Without that little snag, we wouldn’t need the parties to cooperate.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Lunatic Quote of the Day
    Posted on 01/16/2012 at 6:45 pm by JM Ashby

    This is some of the craziest shit I’ve seen in recent memory.

    A speaker told a coalition of tea party groups in South Carolina on Monday that the U.S. could save $260 billion on the border fence if they “force these Mexicans to make $5 a day” to build it. […]

    “I proposed a two dual-fence system, multi-tiered wall with a no man’s land — I put a minefield in there, but they said no — intrusion detection systems like we use in detecting tunnels with nitrous and oxygen emission control emitters to detect carbon dioxide upon exhalation of someone digging a tunnel,” he explained. “Then you pump gas in there, — tear gas, nothing lethal. Just make it come out the other side.”

    “But what you do, you take all these incarcerated illegal aliens — even give some of the guys who are U.S. citizens in the U.S. prison system, who make about 27 cents a day doing ridiculous work — kick out the union labor charging $28 an hour, force these Mexicans and these other people to make $5 a day, making more money than they made in Mexico anyway,” Heaton continued. “Put them to work building a security fence under military and local-state law enforcement administration. … Projected budget: $140 billion, which will pay for itself in four years once you get them the hell out of here.”

    Oh! $5 per day is more than they were making in Mexico anyway, so we’ll actually be doing them a favor!

    I’ve seen this logic before. It’s usually contained within columns or wingnut talk-radio rants about how slavery wasn’t so bad because it provided food and shelter to the slaves.

    And how exactly is a border fence going to pay for itself? The state of Alabama, where the nations toughest anti-immigration laws have been implemented, is projected to lose up to $130 million per year in tax revenue because –shock, horror– the overwhelming majority of immigrants pay taxes too! I suppose a border fence will pay for itself in the same way the Iraq war did.

    By the way, prisoners actually make about 75 cents per hour, not 27 cents per day, and I would hardly describe what they do as “ridiculous work.” For many it’s the difference between remaining sane or not.

  7. rikyrah says:

    January 16, 2012 8:35 AM
    Candy Crowley, jobs, and ‘facts’

    By Steve Benen

    There was an interesting exchange on CNN’s “State of the Union” yesterday, when Candy Crowley pressed David Axelrod on one of Mitt Romney’s favorite talking points.

    To establish the context, the Romney campaign released a memo on Saturday, insisting that “nearly 1.7 million jobs have been lost” since President Obama took office. CNN’s Crowley relied on this claim to ask the Obama advisor whether it explains Romney’s lead in polls on the economy. From the network’s transcript:

    CROWLEY: But couldn’t that huge gap, which is a pretty big gap between those who think you could handle the economy as opposed to Mitt Romney — couldn’t it also be that, from the day — from the month the president took office, we still have 1.7 million fewer jobs in the marketplace?

    AXLEROD: Candy, let’s have — you know what, I’m happy to have that discussion. Do you know that, when he was campaigning for president in 2007 and 2008, Governor Romney had nothing but praise for the economic policies that were in place at that time, as America was sliding into the worst recession since the Great Depression, after eight years in which we…

    CROWLEY: But this isn’t Romney. This is a fact.

    Well, not exactly. Crowley has embraced the Romney campaign’s line without scrutiny, and the result is a “fact” that misleads the public.

    Consider this: in the first six months of 2009, the U.S. economy lost 3.89 million jobs. That’s not an exaggeration — from January ‘09 to June ‘09, 3.89 million American jobs vanished. That’s jaw-dropping, of course, and it’s evidence of an economy that was facing an extraordinary crisis with no modern precedent.

    For Candy Crowley and Mitt Romney, President Obama deserves to be blamed for those losses, even though he’d just taken office, even though his policies hadn’t taken effect, even though his economic team was not yet in place. Obama took office when the global financial system was on the brink of collapse, inheriting a recession that began a year before his inauguration, but for Republicans and the establishment media, it makes sense to count the job losses from Obama’s first six months in office against him. (This even includes January 2009, and Obama didn’t take the oath until the month was two-thirds over.)

    By any fair standard, this is ridiculous. Indeed, even in early 2009, no sane person thought this way. It was simply understood three years ago that the president had walked into a catastrophe that was not of his making. Blaming him for the job losses of early ‘09 simply doesn’t make any sense.

    And guess what? If one excludes those first six months of 2009, when the nation was hemorrhaging jobs due to a crisis the president wasn’t responsible for, Barack Obama has overseen a net gain of 1.4 million jobs. In the private sector, it’s 1.97 million jobs.

    Those are just facts — and they’re part of a context Republicans and many in the media prefer to ignore.

    Media professionals have to know better. As Greg Sargent, who first flagged Crowley’s misleading claims, explained yesterday:

    There’s no denying that Obama’s policies have not engineered the recovery as fast as we would have hoped, and by all means, Obama advisers should be pressed on that. But the Romney campaign’s ongoing use of this figure in this way is just absurd. Journalists like Crowley really should be pressing the Romney campaign on why their “net” job loss figure proves Obama’s policies failed, when the metric it uses includes so many jobs lost before those policies kicked in. This claim, which has become central to Romney’s whole argument, deserves scrutiny, not uncritical amplification. You can bet that Romney aides broke out high fives when Crowley echoed it on national television.

    It’s time for journalists to pick up their game. Romney, who’s already demonstrated a commitment to post-truth politics, is going to try to spin a lot of reporters over the next 10 months. There’s no reason for media professionals to allow themselves to be played for fools.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Monday, January 16, 2012
    Attorney General Eric Holder’s speech in Columbia, South Carolina

    As I mentioned yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder stepped into the heart of the fire to give a speech about voting rights in Columbia, South Carolina on this day celebrating the life and work of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    He began by reminding us of the tenacity of the one we honor today

    Throughout his life, Dr. King spoke often of the “fierce urgency of now.” When he saw injustice in the world, he felt a need to act – and to do so immediately, purposefully, and collaboratively. When he looked upon his nation, he saw – not only great challenges, but also extraordinary opportunities. He saw infinite possibilities. And he saw – clearly – that for every individual to be free, and for our founding ideals to be realized, our entire society had to be transformed.

    Despite the odds against him, he was undeterred. Despite the obstacles before him, he kept his faith. And despite those who tried to stand in his way, he proved that – here in America – large-scale, sweeping, righteous change is not impossible. It is not too audacious. It is not too ambitious. And it is not the province of God alone. Dr. King proved that a single person, willing to act, has the power to improve the world. And I believe that each one of us has a responsibility to try to do exactly that.

    Of course, this is not easy work. And history has shown us that our most noble pursuits may be inspired by frustration just as often as by faith. But one of the most important lessons that Dr. King left to us is that it is acceptable to be frustrated. It is fine to be impatient. And, when progress does not come quickly or fully, it is only natural to be dissatisfied. In fact, being frustrated, impatient and dissatisfied is fine – but only if those feelings compel us to take action.

    And then he spoke to a specific challenge we face today.

    As [NAACP] President Jealous and others have discussed today – despite our nation’s record of progress, and long tradition of extending voting rights – today, a growing number of citizens are worried about the same disparities, divisions, and problems that Dr. King fought throughout his life to address and overcome. In recent months, in my travels across this country – and here in South Carolina – I’ve heard a consistent drumbeat of concern from citizens, who – often for the first time in their lives – now have reason to believe that we are failing to live up to one of our nation’s most noble ideals; and that some of the achievements that defined the civil rights movement now hang in the balance.

    Let me assure you: for today’s Department of Justice, our commitment to strengthening – and to fulfilling – our nation’s promise of equal opportunity and equal justice has never been stronger.

    Nowhere is this clearer than in current efforts to expand access to, and prevent discrimination in, our election systems…

    We need – and the American people deserve – election systems that are free from discrimination, free from partisan influence, and free from fraud. And we must do everything within our power to make certain that these systems are more, not less, accessible to the citizens of this country… But we can’t do it alone.

    Protecting the right to vote, ensuring meaningful access, and combating discrimination must be viewed, not only as a legal issue – but as a moral imperative. And ensuring that every eligible citizen has the right to vote must become our common cause…

    So let us seize this moment. Let us keep faith with Dr. King and rise to the challenges of our time. Let us act – with optimism and without delay; in honor of the men and women on whose shoulders we stand, and on behalf of the generations who will follow in our steps. And, in the spirit of Dr. King, let us signal to the world that – in America today – the pursuit of a more perfect union lives on, the march toward the Promised Land goes on, and the belief – not merely that we shall overcome, but that, as a nation, we will come together – continues to push us forward.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    January 16, 2012 2:50 PM
    By Steve Benen

    The Romney campaign released an odd memo over the weekend, which was largely forgettable, except for the conclusion, which stood out for me.

    When Barack Obama ran for the presidency, he promised to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” Sadly, he is succeeding. He is pushing America toward a European-style entitlement society that would have been unrecognizable to our parents’ generation — let alone the Founders’ — with diminishing economic opportunity and ever-growing government programs and regulations.

    Most of this is cheap, boilerplate nonsense — the “Europe” stuff is already pretty tiresome — but I’m fascinated by this notion that American public life has become, or is about to become, “unrecognizable.”

    The Romney memo references the “Founders,” which is amusing at a certain level. Would Thomas Jefferson and James Madison recognize 21st century America? Well, no, of course not. They lived in an 18th-century agrarian society with a fairly small population. I imagine they’d have quite a few questions if they were transported through time. “There are 50 states?” “The U.S. is the global super power?’ “Women are allowed to vote?” “There’s a black president?”

    What I don’t know is why we’re supposed to find this so troubling.

    But we don’t even have to go back that far. Romney’s memo believes our parents’ generation would be equally outraged by our trajectory. The memo wasn’t specific about what “programs and regulations” should be deemed offensive, but does Romney realize what kind of policies were in place for much of the 20th century?

    Taxes used to be much higher, as were union membership rates. The Republican Party had lots of moderates who endorsed all kinds of progressive ideas, including massive spending projects and a living wage. The economy was heavily regulated — to the point that airlines didn’t even set their own prices; “bureaucrats” did.

    I’m reminded of a column Harold Meyerson wrote a while back.

    When the Tea Partyers get around to identifying how America has changed and to whose benefit, however, they get it almost all wrong. In the worldview of the American right — and the polling shows conclusively that that’s who the Tea Party is — the nation, misled by President Obama, has gone down the path to socialism. In fact, far from venturing down that road, we’ve been stuck on the road to hyper-capitalism for three decades now.

    The Tea Partyers are right to be wary of income redistribution, but if they had even the slightest openness to empiricism, they’d see that the redistribution of the past 30 years has all been upward — radically upward. From 1950 through 1980, the share of all income in America going to the bottom 90 percent of Americans — effectively, all but the rich — increased from 64 percent to 65 percent, according to an analysis of tax data by economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez. Because the nation’s economy was growing handsomely, that means that the average income of Americans in the bottom 90 percent was growing, too — from $17,719 in 1950 to $30,941 in 1980 — a 75 percent increase in income in constant 2008 dollars.

    Since 1980, it’s been a very different story. The economy has continued to grow handsomely, but for the bottom 90 percent of Americans, it’s been a time of stagnation and loss. Since 1980, the share of all income in America going to the bottom 90 percent has declined from 65 percent to 52 percent. In actual dollars, the average income of Americans in the bottom 90 percent flat-lined — going from the $30,941 of 1980 to $31,244 in 2008.

    In short, the economic life and prospects for Americans since the Reagan Revolution have grown dim, while the lives of the rich — the super-rich in particular — have never been brighter. The share of income accruing to America’s wealthiest 1 percent rose from 9 percent in 1974 to a tidy 23.5 percent in 2007.

    The Republican campaign’s memo is hackish and deceptive, but at a certain level, it should be taken seriously because it warrants follow-up. What is it, exactly, that Romney believes is so “unrecognizable” about today’s national trajectory?

    As near as I can tell, generations gone by would find the country “unrecognizable” because of how far to the right we’ve gone

  10. rikyrah says:

    January 16, 2012 4:15 PM
    Misguided boasts about a new ceiling

    By Steve Benen

    Republican consultant/pundit Mike Murphy got in an interesting dig this morning at the conventional wisdom surrounding Mitt Romney. In particular, Murphy noted a Fox News poll showing Romney leading the GOP pack with 40% support nationally.

    But wait, I’ve been hearing about Mitt’s ‘25% cap’ from media pundits for a year!”

    At first blush, this seems compelling. Romney spent a year with Republican support stuck in the low-to-mid 20s, so it stands to reason that some of his supporters would gloat now that there’s one poll (and only one poll) showing the frontrunner reaching a new plateau — and the first digit is 4, not 2.

    But let’s not look past some of the relevant details here. Pundits mocked Romney’s 25% ceiling for months because, well, he kept running into a 25% ceiling. The argument wasn’t that he’d be literally incapable of ever generating more support; the argument was that Romney would have broken past this ceiling months ago if he were a better, more appealing candidate.

    Consider an interesting tidbit: in nearly every instance since 1959, by the October before the primaries, the Republican frontrunner enjoyed support of at least 41% of the party in national Gallup polls and then went on to win their party’s nomination. How many national Gallup polls showed Romney reaching 30% among Republicans at any point in 2011? Zero.

    Sure, Romney is no longer Mr. 25%. Congratulations to him. The field is shrinking; he’s destroyed his main rivals in a weak field; and the cap is rising accordingly. For those of us who assumed Romney’s nomination was inevitable anyway, none of this is the least bit surprising. When the GOP field shrinks a little more, he’ll almost certainly get to 50%, which he should given that he’ll be the party’s presidential nominee.

    But what pundits should keep in mind is this: the new ceiling isn’t the result of a surge in Romney support; it’s the result of Republican voters resigned to their fate after waiting in vain for someone better to come along. “Fine,” the party is saying. “I guess we’re stuck with that guy.”

    And that is nothing to brag about.

  11. rikyrah says:

    On MLK Day, Romney Campaigning With Anti-Immigrant Official Tied To Hate Groups

    By Amanda Peterson Beadle on Jan 16, 2012 at 8:00 am

    On a day set aside to honor civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr., Mitt Romney plans to tout his extreme immigration positions during a campaign stop in South Carolina today — with Kris Kobach, the author of Arizona’s and Alabama’s immigration laws, at his side. He will attack his competitors Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry for their softer immigration stances, which could resonate with South Carolina voters who support that state’s harmful immigration law.

    “Mitt Romney stands apart from the others. He’s the only one who’s taken a strong across-the-board position on immigration,” Kobach said, and he told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto that Romney was much farther to the right on illegal immigration than his fellow presidential candidates. Watch:

  12. Donna Brazile:

    Honor Dr King by preserving voting rights. In South Carolina, attorney general says voting rights at risk via

  13. rikyrah says:

    Even Republicans Who Endorse Mitt Romney Don’t Think He Can Beat Obama

    Jon Huntsman is about to become the latest Republican to endorse Mitt Romney who doesn’t think he can defeat Obama

    On The Kudlow Report last Monday, Huntsman declared Romney completely unelectable after the GOP frontrunner said that he liked to fire people. Huntsman also shared his opinion that Romney would get chewed up by the Obama campaign, “Words and statements matter . . . when you are in a heated campaign. I just want to make sure we can get somebody who can go up against Barack Obama and not be chewed up by the political machine that’s going to have a billion dollars to spend on it…In order for someone to beat Barack Obama this year, they’re going to actually have to convince people who supported Barack Obama last time to support them. If you can’t come out of New Hampshire or any other primary state with the Republicans and also a whole lot of independents, than we’re not going to have an electable candidate at the end of the exercise.”

    Jon Huntsman was arguing for his own candidacy at the time, but his candid remarks offered a great deal of insight into just how little faith Republicans have that Romney can beat Obama. Huntsman is about to go from telling the world that Romney can’t beat Obama to endorsing him. It would be one thing for Huntsman to be questioning Romney’s electability in the midst of heated primary campaign or at the end of a long primary cycle, but the former Utah governor made these remarks before the second contest on the calendar.

    Jon Huntsman really believes that Romney can’t beat President Obama, which means that sometime this week he is going to have to share a stage with Romney and lie through his teeth about the GOP frontrunner’s electability.

    The never was GOP contender turned insincere Romney endorser is not the only one with big doubts about Mittens. There is a noticeable lack of enthusiasm surrounding Mitt Romney’s candidacy. The Internet is not buzzing with pro-Romney chatter. A recent Gallup poll found that GOP enthusiasm is on the decline. Republicans and Democrats are almost even as we head into 2012.

    The 2012 election is turning into a carbon copy of 2008, which looked an awful lot like 1996. Republicans are lining up behind Mitt Romney because good party soldiers always get with the program. The truth is that Huntsman is just like every other Republican. The GOP seems to be coming to the realization that they have to nominate somebody, so it might as well be Mitt Romney.

    However, nothing is more telling than the fact that Mitt Romney’s next big endorsement will come from someone who doesn’t think he can win. A never was endorsing a never will be is a fitting description for the freak circus that has been the race for the Republican nomination

  14. rikyrah says:

    Andrew Sullivan: How Obama’s Long Game Will Outsmart His Critics
    Jan 16, 2012 12:00 AM EST

    The right calls him a socialist, the left says he sucks up to Wall Street, and independents think he’s a wimp. Andrew Sullivan on how the president may just end up outsmarting them all.

    You hear it everywhere. Democrats are disappointed in the president. Independents have soured even more. Republicans have worked themselves up into an apocalyptic fervor. And, yes, this is not exactly unusual.

    A president in the last year of his first term will always get attacked mercilessly by his partisan opponents, and also, often, by the feistier members of his base. And when unemployment is at remarkably high levels, and with the national debt setting records, the criticism will—and should be—even fiercer. But this time, with this president, something different has happened. It’s not that I don’t understand the critiques of Barack Obama from the enraged right and the demoralized left. It’s that I don’t even recognize their description of Obama’s first term in any way. The attacks from both the right and the left on the man and his policies aren’t out of bounds. They’re simply—empirically—wrong.
    A caveat: I write this as an unabashed supporter of Obama from early 2007 on. I did so not as a liberal, but as a conservative-minded independent appalled by the Bush administration’s record of war, debt, spending, and torture. I did not expect, or want, a messiah. I have one already, thank you very much. And there have been many times when I have disagreed with decisions Obama has made—to drop the Bowles-Simpson debt commission, to ignore the war crimes of the recent past, and to launch a war in Libya without Congress’s sanction, to cite three. But given the enormity of what he inherited, and given what he explicitly promised, it remains simply a fact that Obama has delivered in a way that the unhinged right and purist left have yet to understand or absorb. Their short-term outbursts have missed Obama’s long game—and why his reelection remains, in my view, as essential for this country’s future as his original election in 2008.

    The right’s core case is that Obama has governed as a radical leftist attempting a “fundamental transformation” of the American way of life. Mitt Romney accuses the president of making the recession worse, of wanting to turn America into a European welfare state, of not believing in opportunity or free enterprise, of having no understanding of the real economy, and of apologizing for America and appeasing our enemies. According to Romney, Obama is a mortal threat to “the soul” of America and an empty suit who couldn’t run a business, let alone a country.

    Leave aside the internal incoherence—how could such an incompetent be a threat to anyone? None of this is even faintly connected to reality—and the record proves it. On the economy, the facts are these. When Obama took office, the United States was losing around 750,000 jobs a month. The last quarter of 2008 saw an annualized drop in growth approaching 9 percent. This was the most serious downturn since the 1930s, there was a real chance of a systemic collapse of the entire global financial system, and unemployment and debt—lagging indicators—were about to soar even further. No fair person can blame Obama for the wreckage of the next 12 months, as the financial crisis cut a swath through employment. Economies take time to shift course.

    But Obama did several things at once: he continued the bank bailout begun by George W. Bush, he initiated a bailout of the auto industry, and he worked to pass a huge stimulus package of $787 billion.

    All these decisions deserve scrutiny. And in retrospect, they were far more successful than anyone has yet fully given Obama the credit for. The job collapse bottomed out at the beginning of 2010, as the stimulus took effect. Since then, the U.S. has added 2.4 million jobs. That’s not enough, but it’s far better than what Romney would have you believe, and more than the net jobs created under the entire Bush administration. In 2011 alone, 1.9 million private-sector jobs were created, while a net 280,000 government jobs were lost. Overall government employment has declined 2.6 percent over the past 3 years. (That compares with a drop of 2.2 percent during the early years of the Reagan administration.) To listen to current Republican rhetoric about Obama’s big-government socialist ways, you would imagine that the reverse was true. It isn’t.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Candidate Turns ‘Home Ec’ Into ‘Economics’ Degree
    Missouri contender caught fudging educational background

    Tiny note to political candidates: “Economics” and “home economics” aren’t quite the same thing. Missouri gubernatorial contender Dave Spence quickly updated his website this week after reporters discovered that his touted “degree in Economics” was actually a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Home Economics, TPM Muckraker reports. The AP also found Spence campaign fliers that claim he studied at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Business, a school he never attended.

    “I have said all along that I will not or do not lie,” said the Republican candidate. “A lot of this is overblown, as I was not aware of any place that said business school.” He later added: “I will take responsibility for this. I did not catch the mistake on early campaign literature.” A state Democratic Party spokeswoman seems unconvinced: “Missourians shouldn’t believe a word that comes out of his mouth,” she said. “This guy is just shameless.”

  16. rikyrah says:

    Team Obama Dishes Out More Bain Pain To Mitt Romney
    On CNN today Obama reelection strategist David Axelrod spread more Bain pain for Mitt Romney by pointing out that the GOP frontrunner made millions by bankrupting a dozen companies

    Axelrod brought up a good point, and despite Candy Crowley’s best efforts to try to turn Romney’s record into an attack on Obama, the message was clear as a bell. Mitt Romney made millions by killing jobs. In business there is a huge difference between making cuts to keep the company alive and those who buy companies to strip them of their assets and leave them for dead. Mitt Romney made his money by gutting companies and killing jobs.

    Romney still hasn’t figured out how to effectively explain away what he did at Bain, and he most likely won’t be able to. As has been pointed out previously, the Obama auto bailout created ten times more jobs than Mitt Romney did while he was at Bain. What Axelrod gave the Romney campaign was a little taste of what is going to be waiting for them in the fall. If the Romney people think Bain is no big deal because that line of attack hasn’t been effective in the Republican primary, they had better think again.

    Obama has been positioning himself for months as the defender of working people and the middle class. The contrast that the Obama campaign is going to emphasize is the difference between a president who will fight for working people and the middle class, and a challenger who made his fortune by killing the very same jobs that Obama is trying to create.

    If Mitt Romney thought the primary attacks have been bad, wait until he gets a load of the Bain pain that Obama is going to unleash on him this fall.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Required Reading, MLK Day edition
    by Tom Levenson

    I’m ashamed to say, that until Charlie Pierce in his own, powerful essay on MLK day pointed me to it, I had never actually read Lyndon B. Johnson’s speech to Congress urging—almost ordering—the legislators before him to pass the Voting Rghts Act.

    Here’s a sample:

    But even if we pass this bill, the battle will not be over. What happened in Selma is part of a far larger movement which reaches into every section and State of America. It is the effort of American Negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of American life.

    Their cause must be our cause too. Because it is not just Negroes, but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice.

    And we shall overcome.

    As a man whose roots go deeply into Southern soil I know how agonizing racial feelings are. I know how difficult it is to reshape the attitudes and the structure of our society.

    But a century has passed, more than a hundred years, since the Negro was freed. And he is not fully free tonight.

    It was more than a hundred years ago that Abraham Lincoln, a great President of another party, signed the Emancipation Proclamation, but emancipation is a proclamation and not a fact.

    A century has passed, more than a hundred years, since equality was promised. And yet the Negro is not equal.

    A century has passed since the day of promise. And the promise is unkept.

    The time of justice has now come. I tell you that I believe sincerely that no force can hold it back. It is right in the eyes of man and God that it should come. And when it does, I think that day will brighten the lives of every American.

    For Negroes are not the only victims. How many white children have gone uneducated, how many white families have lived in stark poverty, how many white lives have been scarred by fear, because we have wasted our energy and our substance to maintain the barriers of hatred and terror?

    So I say to all of you here, and to all in the Nation tonight, that those who appeal to you to hold on to the past do so at the cost of denying you your future.

    This great, rich, restless country can offer opportunity and education and hope to all: black and white, North and South, sharecropper and city dweller. These are the enemies: poverty, ignorance, disease. They are the enemies and not our fellow man, not our neighbor. And these enemies too, poverty, disease and ignorance, we shall overcome.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Well, I spent the day with Peanut yesterday. And, she watched The Lion King for the first time – it was one of the movies I bought her for Christmas..

    She liked it :)

    I had forgotten just how good it was. I still remembered all the songs. She looked at me like I was a little off as I sang all the songs…LOL

  19. Update

    Amazon Best Seller in Books

    70………..9 days in the top 100

    The Obamas
    by Jodi Kantor
    2.9 out of 5 stars (18)
    List Price: $29.99

    Price: $16.57

    You Save: $13.42 (45%)

    38 used & new from $16.57

    • Reviews:

      By Jay

      Kantor’s books is a farce, it’s a complete waste of money. There’s no person to person interviews with the Obamas in the book, all her information comes from second hand gossip.

      When you start thinking you can read other peoples minds, or know what they’re feeling, without speaking a single word to them, you’ve got a serious problem.

      The only good place for Ms Kantors book is the trash bin, & that’s where it’s gone.

      • By PB “Stat Chick”

        Jodi Kantor’s “unauthorized” biography about the Obamas was a superficial political book. I was expecting something written with more quality, but let’s face it, she’s no Bob Woodward.

        This was a “quick buck”, high school “oh no he/she didn’t!” type of book. It was written in haste with little historical or political context. It offers pretty much the same as Mark Halperin and John Heilman’s book, “Game Change” – a lot of gossip and 3rd party innuendo. The fact that she based this book without interviewing the Obamas makes her conclusions and commentary ridiculous.

        But what can you expect from a society that is crazy about reality TV and cares more about Kim Kardashian vs what’s really important to know. Its authors like Jodi Kantor, who go for the superficial, which contributes to what’s wrong with our society. If you’re into Access Hollywood or have a limited attention span, then this might be for you.

        The more discerning reader should stick to thoughtful books written by compelling and knowledgeable writers such as David McCulloch, Stephen Ambrose, or Howard Zinn etc.

        I wish I could demand my money back.

  20. Good Morning, Everyone!

    Happy Monday!

    Rose Pictures, Images and Photos

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