Tuesday 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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101 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread

  1. Wikipedia is blacked out.

  2. White House Reportedly Locked Down After ‘Smoking Objects’ Found Near North Portico

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/17/white-house-lock-down_n_1211982.html#comments

    The White House has been locked down due to “smoking objects” found near the North Portico, an agent at the scene told Politico. According to a source from Washington’s WTOP, the incident was a “minor” situation and not an ongoing threat.

    According to the Secret Service, the disruption was caused by an object appearing to be a smoke bomb that someone threw over the White House fence Tuesday night, NBC Washington reports. The incident took place during what witnesses said was an Occupy DC rally outside the White House that consisted of about 1,000 protesters.

    No arrests have been reported.

    President Obama was out to dinner with the First Lady to celebrate her birthday and was not in the White House at the time of the lockdown.

  3. rikyrah says:

    the story about the cruise ship that sunk freaks me out

  4. Obama on Pakistan

  5. White House In Lockdown —Secret Service @nbcwashington bit.ly/x9sro1

  6. Apparent Smoke Bomb Tossed Over White House Fence

    http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Apparent-Smoke-Bomb-Tossed-Over-White-House-Fence-137536273.html

    Someone threw what appeared to be a smoke bomb over the White House fence Tuesday night, according to the Secret Service.

    The incident took place during a rally outside the White House.

    About 1,000 protesters participated in the rally.

    No arrests were reported.

  7. Newt Gingrich: If Mitt Romney Wins South Carolina, It’s Over. http://url2it.com/lhkd

  8. spooney35:

    FACT: Kicking White PPL off FOOD-STAMPS will SAVE more money the kicking black PPL off food-stamps @EDShow @NewtGingrich

  9. rikyrah says:

    Just a Common Man

    by John Cole

    If the Republicans were able to frenchify Kerry simply because his wife was loaded, the Democrats should be able to have all sorts of fun with this clown:

    Under new pressure to release his tax returns, Mitt Romney on Tuesday acknowledged that he pays an effective tax rate of about 15 percent because so much of his fortune comes from past investments.

    “It’s probably closer to the 15 percent rate than anything,” Mr. Romney said. “Because my last 10 years, I’ve — my income comes overwhelmingly from investments made in the past, rather than ordinary income, or rather than earned annual income.”

    The vast majority of the income Mr. Romney reported over 12 months in 2010 and ‘11 was dividends from investments, capital gains on mutual funds and his post-retirement share of profits and investment returns from Bain Capital, the firm he once led. And Mr. Romney also noted that he made hundreds of thousands of dollars from speaking engagements.

    “I got a little bit of income from my book, but I gave that all away,” Mr. Romney told reporters after an event here. “And then I get speakers’ fees from time to time, but not very much.”

    Financial disclosure forms that candidates are required to file annually shows that Mr. Romney earned $374,327.62 in speakers’ fees from February of 2010 to February of 2011, at an average of $41,592 per speech. President Obama paid an effective federal tax rate of just over 26 percent on his 2010 returns, the most recent available.

    At the White House Tuesday, the president’s spokesman said Mr. Romney’s acknowledgement that he pays 15 percent reveals a basic unfairness in the tax code that Mr. Obama is concerned about.

    “This only illuminates what he believes is an issue, which is that everybody who’s working hard ought to pay their fair share,” said the spokesman, Jay Carney. “That includes millionaires who might be paying an effective tax rate of 15 percent when folks making $50,000 or $75,000 or $100,000 a year are paying much more.”

    The thing that kills me about Mittens is how little common sense he has. If he’d just released the damn tax statements, he’d get killed in the press for a few days, but they’d move on to something else. Someone would say Michelle has a fat ass or that Obama hangs out with terrorists and they’d be off in a new direction. Instead, he’s just dribbling this stuff out there, and the sharks smell blood and want more. And trying to downplay it with the old “oh those millions I’m making the past few years is just the shit I have left over from when I was working,” yeah, that’s some smart thinking and is going to resonate at the VFW. Especially after he told everyone he was “unemployed.”

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/01/17/just-a-common-man/

  10. rikyrah says:

    Fire Walker Chronicles: A Million Reasons To Say No

    by Zandar

    Democrats in Wisconsin needed about 540,000 signatures in 60 days to trigger a recall election for Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Today was the deadline, and they posted a seven figure number.

    Democrats and organizers filed petitions Tuesday afternoon with more than a million signatures as they sought to force a recall election against Gov. Scott Walker – a massive number that seems to cement a historic recall election against him for later this year.

    It would mark the first such gubernatorial recall in state history and would be only the third gubernatorial recall election in U.S. history. Organizers Tuesday also handed in 845,000 signatures against Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch as well as petitions against four GOP state senators including Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau.

    The sheer number of signatures being filed against Walker – nearly as many as the total votes cast for the governor in November 2010 and almost twice as many as those needed to trigger a recall election – ensure the election will be held, said officials with the state Democratic Party and United Wisconsin, the group that launched the Walker recall.

    “It is beyond legal challenge,” said Ryan Lawler, vice chairman of United Wisconsin.

    On, Wisconsin! And that’s got to make the Kochs nervous, as they spent millions defending Walker only to see the recall effort succeed mightily…possibly because of their involvement.

    This fight is just beginning.

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/01/17/fire-walker-chronicles-a-million-reasons-to-say-no/

  11. rikyrah says:

    Seems that Sullivan hit a nerve with his Obama article this week:

    17 Jan 2012 04:30 PM
    How Scared Is Fox?

    Fox News is now waging war on the essay. I’m not surprised. Megyn Kelly has declared that I am “not a real journalist.” She has also just said that I have written that Trig is not Sarah Palin’s child. As longtime readers well know, I took great pains never to state that and merely to ask Palin, given her insane story about the birth of her child, to provide some evidence for it, which she said she would but never did. The Beast has asked for a correction. Real journalists do not tell untruths on air without correcting them.

    What I want to know is why they cannot invite the author of an essay to debate it, rather than two random individuals (including Rich “Starbursts” Lowry) to discuss. Surely that’s only fair – unless, of course, I am on a blacklist.

    So this is an open challenge to Fox News. If you want to trash my work, have me on to defend it. Any time, Megyn. Any time. What are you afraid of?

    Apart from the truth, that is.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/01/how-scared-is-fox.html

  12. rikyrah says:

    January 17, 2012 3:10 PM
    Nothing ‘moderate’ about this plan
    By Steve Benen

    We’ve gotten a fairly good look at the kind of policy agenda Mitt Romney will pursue if elected. It’s not terribly ambitious — certainly nothing on par with “saving the soul of America” — and it’s even less creative.

    The basic pitch is straightforward: more tax cuts for the wealthy, free rein for Wall Street, and with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, taking health coverage away from millions.

    But there’s more to it once we factor in the brutal cuts to public spending Romney is promising voters he’d implement. Jonathan Cohn took a closer look at one of my favorite subjects: spending caps. Cohn makes the case that they make Romney’s plan even more offensive that Paul Ryan’s budget plan.


    Romney has vowed that, by 2016, he would cap federal spending at 20 percent of gross domestic product while maintaining defense spending at 4 percent of GDP. That means he would limit all non-defense spending to 16 percent of GDP.

    The latest Congressional Budget Office projection suggests that GDP in 2016 will be $19.1 trillion. Sixteen percent of that is about $3.1 trillion. But, based on CBO figures, non-defense spending will be about $3.6 trillion in 2016. So to meet his goals, Romney would have to cut non-defense federal spending in 2016 by roughly $500 billion. […]

    Taking half a trillion dollars out of $3.6 trillion works out to a 14 percent reduction. (To be precise, it would be 14.1 percent.) Applied equally to all non-defense spending, that would mean approximately $130 billion less for Social Security and about $90 billion less for Medicare, just in 2016 alone.

    If Romney exempts Medicare and Social Security from his budget hatchet — and he might — that would mean at least 25% cuts for literally everything else outside the Pentagon budget. What would that include? You name it — law enforcement, infrastructure, medical research, environmental protections, food stamps, student loans, etc.

    And as Jonathan noted, these brutal cuts would be “in addition to the automatic cuts already set to take effect in January, 2013, now that the deficit super-committee has failed to reach a consensus.”

    There’s a word to describe budget plans like this: “radical.”

    This isn’t a Bush-like agenda; it’s much more right-wing. And for those “banking on the re-flip,” it’s worth remembering, as Jonathan Bernstein explained in the Monthly’s new print edition, presidential candidates tend to pursue the agendas they present to voters during the campaign. If Romney wins, he’ll think he has a mandate to push these crushing cuts to public investments and the safety net.

    As recently as a few days ago, the former governor was assuring voters, “I’m concerned about the poor in this country. We have to make sure the safety net is strong and able to help those who can’t help themselves.” What he neglected to mention was his plan to tear that safety net to shreds.

    Much of the political establishment still considers Romney one of the “moderates” of the Republican presidential field. By general temperament, that might make some degree of sense. But temperament is irrelevant when compared to platforms — and one look at Romney’s budget plan makes clear there’s nothing moderate about this guy’s agenda.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2012_01/nothing_moderate_about_this_pl034810.php

  13. rikyrah says:

    Why is Mitt Romney’s tax rate so low?
    Posted by Suzy Khimm at 11:31 AM ET, 01/17/2012

    For months now, Mitt Romney has been refusing to release his tax returns. But he’s not said why. “Is there some secret?” MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell asked him in December. “People know you’re wealthy.” But Romney was unmoved. “There’s nothing to hide,” he said, but no, he wasn’t planning on releasing the returns.

    Some observers speculated that Romney had a “Buffett rule” problem. The Buffett rule is named for Warren Buffett, who frequently complains that the low marginal tax rate on investment income —15 percent, as compared to a top rate of 35 percent for wage income— leaves him paying a lower rate than his secretary. It was possible that Romney, who also derives much of his income from investments, might also be paying a low rate. And that could be a political problem for Romney. It’s one thing, after all, to be wealthy. It’s another to be wealthy and paying a lower tax rate than people who aren’t wealthy.

    Today, at a campaign event in Florence, S.C., Romney confirmed it: He admitted that his effective tax rate is actually 15 percent, aside from some income from book royalties, according to HuffPost’s Sam Stein.

    But that might not be the end of the issue for Romney. It’s likely he also benefited from related tax privileges during his time at Bain. While the lower rate on capital gains and dividend income is supposed to benefit investors, private-equity executives and hedge-fund managers who get paid by taking a share of their firm’s profits rather than a normal salary are also able to classify their income as a capital gain rather than a wage, and so they, too, pay a 15 percent tax rate — even when that money is, effectively, their salary.

    Ultimately, the private-equity tax loophole could become far more controversial than whether private-equity deals destroy or create jobs. Today, even the Wall Street Journal came out against the loophole, arguing that capital gains should benefit those actually receiving a return on an investment rather than labor. “It is difficult to defend the fact that private-equity and hedge-fund executives pay no more than 15% on their share of their partnership’s profits because it is considered a capital gain,” writes Francesco Guerrera, editor of the Journal’s Money & Investing section. “If it looks like income and smells like income, it should be taxed like income—at much higher rates.”

    Interestingly, all this may explain why Romney has moved away from his position in 2007, when he advocated for eliminating the capital gains tax entirely during a Florida GOP dinner. Romney says that he wants to eliminate the tax just for families earning less than $200,000 a year–presumably preserving the 15 percent tax on wealthy earners like himself. This places him to the left of every other major GOP candidate, who’s either campaigned on eliminating the tax or lowering the rate across the board.

    By contrast, President Obama has long campaigned for closing the carried-interest loophole entirely. It was a part of his 2011 platform and House Democrats passed a bill closing it in 2010, which would raise about $25 billion over the next 10 years. Obama also wants to raise the capital gains tax itself.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/why-does-mitt-romney-only-get-taxed-at-15-percent/2012/01/17/gIQA7d8g5P_blog.html?tid=sm_twitter_washingtonpost

  14. rikyrah says:

    Initiative To Address High Number Of Blacks In Special Education
    By Shaun Heasley

    January 17, 2012

    African-American children are traditionally overrepresented in special education. Now, one group is poised to do something about it.

    The National Association for the Education of African American Children with Learning Disabilities is teaming up with federal education officials to train parents across the country to effectively advocate for kids. The goal, they say, is to ensure that students are labeled appropriately by their school districts and receive the services they need.

    Statistics show that African-American children account for about 16.6 percent of students enrolled in the nation’s public schools. But they represent 31 percent of students identified as having intellectual disability and 28 percent of those with emotional disturbance, the association found.

    The initiative will include a partnership with the U.S. Department of Education’s parent training centers and other groups to help disseminate information specifically to assist parents of African-American children. Those behind the effort say they expect to train 20 master teachers who will then reach 900 parent leaders through in-person trainings and another 240 through online sessions.

    “This project will start a movement of parents that are not solely dependent upon the school system for their children’s success but will allow them to discover how to work with schools in order to achieve academic success based on learning style,” said Nancy Tidwell, president of the National Association for the Education of African American Children with Learning Disabilities.

    http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2012/01/17/initiative-blacks-sped/14779/

  15. rikyrah says:

    Life and Style
    Golden Globes fashion: Black stars shine bright at 2012 Golden Globes awards (SLIDESHOW)

    Last night, Octavia Spencer, Idris Elba and Morgan Freeman took home honors at the Golden Globe awards, but they weren’t the only African-American winners in the audience. From a fashion and style perspective black performers shined bright on the red carpet and during the ceremony. Check out the slideshow below to see some of your favorite stars. Who was the best dressed?

    http://www.thegrio.com/specials/life-and-style/golden-globes-fashion-black-stars-shine-bright-at-2012-golden-globes.php

  16. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s Delicate Balancing Act With Controversial Immigration Law Author
    Evan McMorris-Santoro January 17, 2012, 6:11 PM 953 7

    Just how closely do you hug a controversial supporter? Especially a supporter who could be of a lot more help now than in the general election?

    It seems this is a problem Mitt Romney has been pondering ever since he was embraced by the Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach.

    Kobach is perhaps best known as the lead architect of the divisive new immigration laws in Arizona and Alabama. This leaves Romney in a delicate situation: hugging him back now could help wrap up the GOP primary especially since the next hurdle is with the traditionally hardcore conservative base in South Carolina. However, if he doesn’t make some efforts to wriggle out of it before he has to start courting Hispanic votes, then it could become a bear hug.

    It seems we just had a preview of how one goes about squaring that circle.

    On Monday, ThinkProgress picked up on a Friday Hill report that Kobach would be appearing with Romney at a campaign stop.

    The story went wide for a holiday (it was Martin Luther King Day Monday), and that led to some rejoicing/pre-condemning from Latino groups who say Romney’s close connection with Kobach seals his fate with the Latino voter in November.
    Kris Kobach

    On a conference call Monday hosted by immigration reform advocacy group America’s Voice, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) said that Romney was making a big mistake in embracing Kris Kobach’s endorsement because Latino voters would not forget Romney’s association with the “dark lord of the anti-immigration movement,” no matter how many Cuban Republicans in Florida Romney surrounds himself with. America’s Voice president Frank Sharry noted that there were several reports that Kobach would appear with Romney in South Carolina, and that they would “wait and see if they’ve decided to go through with that or not.”

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/01/mitt-romney-stays-close-to-author-of-arizona-immigration-law.php?ref=fpa

  17. PlanetPOV.com:

    White House hopes new website will help create jobs http://www.nextgov.com/nextgov/ng_20120113_7480.php?oref=mostread

  18. Ametia says:

    Posted at 03:20 PM ET, 01/17/2012
    Jeffrey Zients tapped to lead Office of Management and Budget
    By Ed O’Keefe

    President Obama has tapped Jeffrey D. Zients to serve as acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, the White House announced Tuesday.

    This will be Zients’s second turn as acting director of the agency responsible for crafting the White House federal budget proposal and handling various government management concerns. Though Zients has no federal budget-writing experience, he led last year’s review of plans to reorganize federal agencies and the drafting of contingency plans ahead of last year’s threatened government shutdown.

    Zients, 45, takes over for Jacob J. Lew, who was tapped this month to replace departing White House Chief of Staff William Daley. The appointment does not require Senate confirmation.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/post/jeff-zients-tapped-to-lead-office-of-management-and-budget/2012/01/17/gIQAVB395P_blog.html?wpisrc=nl_pmpolitics

  19. Still Dodging

  20. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama laugh after they are presented with jerseys and baseball bats from St. Louis Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III, left, while honoring the 2011 World Series baseball Champion St. Louis Cardinals, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

  21. Now Streaming…

    President Obama and The First Lady Honor the 2011 World Series Champions St. Louis Cardinals

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/live/

  22. Nancy Pelosi: GOP knows Mitt Romney can’t win

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0112/71531.html#.TxXZZ3af79A.twitter

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday launched political grenades at Mitt Romney, arguing that Republicans haven’t coalesced behind the GOP frontrunner because they don’t believe he can beat President Barack Obama in November.

    The House’s top Democrat repeatedly jabbed at the former Massachusetts governor during an hour-long interview hosted by POLITICO and taunted the GOP for a slate of presidential contenders that she said was “not exactly what you would call the first string of the Republican Party.”

  23. BREAKING: Walker Recall Effort Delivers More Than 1 Million Signatures

    http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/01/17/405473/walker-recall-effort-delivers-with-1-million-signatures/

    Activists working to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) filed petitions today with more than 1 million signatures to the state, close to double the almost they needed to begin the recall process and force Walker to stand for reelection in November. If successful, it would be the first gubernatorial recall in Wisconsin history, and only the third in U.S. history. The number of signatures comes close to the 1,128,941 votes Walker received, and was far more than the 540,000 needed.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Tue Jan 17, 2012 at 10:10 AM PST.

    Mitt Romney says he pays just 15% in taxes, but won’t release returns from before 2011
    by Jed Lewison

    So Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s big stumble today was saying that $362,000 is “not very much” money, but it came as he was delivering another piece of news: that while he would probably release his 2011 taxes when he files them in April, he won’t release any tax returns from previous years.
    In a spirited press conference just now in Florence, S.C., Mitt Romney made news on several fronts. Here are the highlights:
    – Romney said he “probably” pays only about 15 percent in federal taxes because most of his earnings come from capital gains, which is taxed at a lower rate than traditional income. This means the super wealthy Romney pays a significantly lower tax rate than most middle income Americans.

    – He sharpened his answer on releasing his tax return in April because, he says, that is the precedent and it will enable him to release the current year return, not earlier years.

    – In other words: Romney plans to release only his 2011 return and will do it after the key primaries are over.

    It’s bad enough that he’s waiting until after the GOP primary … but to only release one year’s worth of returns? If he’s going to release 2011’s, why not release them all? President Obama has released his going back to 2000. If Romney won’t do that, the question is why not? What’s he hiding?

    .http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/01/17/1055596/-Mitt-Romney-says-he-pays-just-15-in-taxes,-but-wont-release-returns-from-before-2011?via=blog_1

  25. rikyrah says:

    17-2012 2:50 PM
    PPP National Poll Shows Obama Beating Romney By 5 Points

    Public Policy Polling’s first national survey shows President Obama leading likely nominee Mitt Romney 49%-44% — Obama’s best number since last May after killing Osama bin Laden. As PPP notes, it’s not that Obama’s popularity is surging, but rather that Romney’s is headed south:

    It’s not as if Obama’s suddenly become popular. He remains under water with 47% of voters approving of him to 50% who disapprove. But Romney’s even less popular, with only 35% rating him favorably while 53% have a negative opinion of him. Over the last month Romney’s seen his negatives with independents rise from 46% to 54%, suggesting that the things he has to say and do to win the Republican nomination aren’t necessarily helping him for the general. Obama’s turned what was a 45-36 deficit with independents a month ago into a 51-41 advantage.

    One thing that really stands out in this poll is the extent to which Obama has claimed the middle. He’s up 68-27 on Romney with moderates. He also leads by 20 points with voters under 45, a group there’s been some concern about slippage with, and he has a 66-30 advantage with Hispanics.

    http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/updates/4177

  26. rikyrah says:

    Tue Jan 17, 2012 at 11:24 AM PST.

    Wisconsin Democrats to submit one million signatures to recall Scott Walker

    Opponents of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker have about 1 million signatures on a petition to force a recall election, according to a state Democratic Party news release.

    If the state’s Government Accountability Board rules that at least 540,208 signatures are valid and any legal challenges fail, Wisconsin will hold the third gubernatorial ouster vote in U.S. history.

    One million signatures is 185 percent of the minimum threshold. There is no doubt about it: Gov. Scott Walker will face a recall election.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/01/17/1055632/-Wisconsin-Democrats-to-submit-one-million-signatures-to-recall-Scott-Walker?via=blog_1

  27. rikyrah says:

    Republicans Claim Pensions Funds Are Robbing The Rich

    In many countries on Earth, culture dictates the elderly deserve respect and care from younger generations out of reverence for their sacrifice throughout their lives. In most civilized countries, the government provides a pension out of an obligation that has as its basis, common decency and humanity to guarantee seniors are not homeless and starving. America owes a debt of gratitude to those people who, during their lifetimes, toiled and sacrificed to build a nation the entire population benefits from. Republicans do not agree and since the New Deal, have sought various ways to abolish Social Security that successfully prevents elderly Americans from living in destitution and poverty. To hear Republicans tell it, Social Security is welfare that deprives Wall Street from access to a worker’s life’s saving for their retirement income.

    In many states, Republicans are making a concerted effort to demean public employee’s retirement systems by claiming they are the sole reason state budgets face shortfalls. The Republican solution is to gut retirement security millions of middle class workers pay into and take the stolen retirement savings and hand it over to Wall Street investors so they can squander the money in the next economic disaster. There is ample evidence the GOP seeks revisiting rape of private sector employees and retirees’ pensions to include public employees until they finally, once and for all, end the notion of a secure retirement for all Americans.

    When Wall Street investors and corporate banks collapsed the world economy in 2008-2009, most retirement savings were decimated. However, because public pension systems were fully-funded prior to investment bankers’ mismanagement and shady derivative scams, they remained solvent and in many cases earned higher returns in 2011. Without these pensions, millions of retired Americans who taught our children, fought fires, cared for the sick, and enforced the law would be left without the means to provide themselves with basic housing, food, and healthcare in their golden years. If corporate-backed pension opponents have their way, millions of Americans will be penniless so Wall Street can boost their profits. Republicans created a myth that public pension systems are failing and point to state governments’ demise because retired public employees receive on average $19,000 annually from their investment during their entire working lives.

    According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the total shortfall for public pension funds is “less than 0.2% of projected state product during the next 30 years.” In states with the greatest shortfall, the gap is “less than 0.5% during the same period and because pensions are paid out over generations of workers, funding can remain steady over long periods.” Last week, two ultra-conservatives working for corporate-funded propaganda outlets, American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation, argued that guaranteed retirement accounts must end and to force workers to forfeit their entire life savings for their retirement and hand over their pensions to Wall Street in another privatization scam most Americans know as 401(k)s.

    The financial crash of 2008-2009 devoured tens-of-millions of Americans’ 401(k) retirement accounts and during the past two weeks, this author conducted a non-scientific survey to determine the average amount private sector employees lost during Wall Street’s near-collapse. Twenty retired and near-retirement age individuals lost on average 63% of their retirement savings in the 2008-2009 crash. This author lost 79.8% of 38 years’ worth of retirement savings ending the possibility of retiring before age 92. Of the interviewees, only 2 out of 20 expressed confidence they will have an opportunity to retire and most plan on working until they die; or they will starve.

    http://www.politicususa.com/en/republicans-pension-funds

  28. rikyrah says:

    January 17, 2012 1:45 PM
    Who gets the blame for early ‘09?
    By Steve Benen

    Consider a thought experiment. Imagine you could go back to March 1, 2009, when the global economy is on the brink of collapse. The White House’s Recovery Act had just been signed into law, but the investments hadn’t even begun, and President Obama, still unpacking, did not yet have his full economic team in place.

    Then imagine a Republican arguing, “Mr. President, the economy has lost 726,000 jobs on your watch, and we’re blaming you for the losses.”

    Would any serious person find this fair or reasonable? Of course not. And yet, it’s the basis for the Romney campaign’s entire economic critique of the Obama administration.

    As you may have heard, David Axelrod and Eric Fehrnstrom exchanged a series of angry tweets yesterday, debating recent economic trends. The Obama campaign strategist pointed to a chart that will look very familiar to readers of this blog. The Romney aide was unmoved.

    “Sometimes you don’t need a picture to tell a story. The numbers speak for themselves — 1.7 million jobs lost under Obama.”

    Well, for those interested in the truth, numbers don’t always speak for themselves — serious people want a sense of context in order to better understand the meaning of the numbers.

    The argument between Fehrnstrom and Axelrod really comes down to one straightforward question: who deserves the blame for the job losses in the early months of 2009? It’s really as simple as that.

    For Romney and his team, the clock started on Feb. 1, 2009, just 11 days after the Obama inauguration. Every job lost on Feb. 1, 2009, counts against the president, as does every subsequent job loss. Period. Full Stop.

    And when you go by this measure, Obama is in the hole 1.66 million jobs (though that figure has shrunk every month for over a year).

    But then there’s a less ridiculous count. Obama took office when the global financial system was on the brink of collapse, inheriting a recession that began a year before his inauguration, looking at an economy in free-fall. A fair count would say the job losses from early 2009 couldn’t possibly be blamed on Obama, since he’d just gotten there, and the crisis wasn’t his fault.

    Romney and Fehrnstrom say the clock starts on Feb. 1, 2009, but if you move the start date to July 1, 2009 — arguing, in effect, that Obama’s first five months shouldn’t be counted against him since he was dealing with a crisis that was not of his making — the economy has added over 1.4 million jobs. Looking only at the private sector, it’s 1.97 million jobs.

    And if we said Obama shouldn’t be blamed for 2009 at all, the economy has added 2.58 million jobs overall, and over 3 million in the private sector.

    That’s not spin; it’s arithmetic. Those numbers “speak for themselves.”

    So, what it’s going to be, political world? Does Obama get the blame for job losses that occurred before his policies had a chance to take effect? A fair analysis makes this obvious.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2012_01/who_gets_the_blame_for_early_0034808.php

  29. rikyrah says:

    Booing the Anchor Baby?
    by BooMan
    Tue Jan 17th, 2012 at 01:27:11 PM EST

    I’m a little confused about something that happened during the debate last night. It occurred while panelist Juan Williams was asking the following question:

    WILLIAMS: Governor Romney, your father was born in Mexico. You still have family there, yet you have taken the hardest line of anyone on this stage on immigration reform, including opposition to key parts of the DREAM Act, which is supported by 80 percent of Latinos in this country. Are you alienating Latino voters that Republicans will need to win the general election?

    After Williams uttered the word “Mexico” the audience booed. Some people thought that the audience was booing the country, the mere mention of Mexico. But when I was watching it live I thought that the audience was booing Juan Williams for bringing up the Romney family’s Mexican roots. In other words, I interpreted it as the audience thinking it was a cheap shot.

    Now, it’s an interesting thing that Mitt’s father was born in Mexico because he ran for president in 1968. I assume he was ineligible to be president because he was not a natural-born citizen, and his parents weren’t serving the country. They had fled the country so they could continue to have polygamous relationships. The only reason they came back was because there was a backlash against yanquis during the Mexican Revolution. So, Mitt Romney’s father was born in Mexico and therefore was a Mexican. I don’t know if he had proper immigration papers, but I doubt it since his parents weren’t exactly kosher with the federal government, if you know what I mean. Since George Romney was almost certainly an illegal Mexican immigrant, that means that Mitt Romney was an anchor baby.

    No wonder he’s overcompensating by being the biggest jerk in the field about immigration issues.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2012/1/17/122311/377

  30. rikyrah says:

    January 17, 2012 12:35 PM

    Quote of the Day

    By Steve Benen

    The political significance of Mitt Romney’s hidden tax returns almost certainly has to do with his tax rates. The Republican frontrunner has been reluctant to admit he pays much lower tax rates than middle-class workers, despite the vast wealth he made during his vulture-capitalist career.

    It was noteworthy, then, that Romney managed to tell the truth this morning. “What’s the effective rate I’ve been paying? It’s probably closer to the 15% rate than anything,” Romney said. “My last 10 years, I’ve — my income comes overwhelmingly from some investments made in the past.”

    The politics of this are awful for the likely GOP nominee. Working families probably won’t be amused to learn Romney — the guy who got rich laying people off, and has been a professional candidate for the last six years — pays a lower tax rate than they do. They’ll be even less pleased to know Romney, if elected president, will fight to keep it this way, even when he calls for tax increases on those struggling most.

    What’s more, while Romney’s candor was a change of pace this morning, as Paul Krugman and Jamison Foser explained earlier, we still need to see those tax returns.

    But Romney said something else at the same event that’s worth remembering.

    Mr. Romney added: “And then I get speaker’s fees from time to time, but not very much.”

    In fact, in the most recent year, Mr. Romney made $374,327.62 in speaker’s fees, at an average of $41,592 per speech, according to his public financial disclosure reports.

    There’s some dispute about the precise figure from Romney’s disclosure forms, but at a minimum, he earned $362,000 in speaking fees last year.

    In Romney’s mind, that’s “not very much” money.

    For a candidate already accused of being an out-of-touch elitist, unaware and unconcerned about the struggles of working families, this is clearly another “uh oh” moment.

    As American Bridge joked, for most of us, “not very much” refers to money “found in the couch.” For Romney it means over $360,000.

    This is the same guy who recently suggested elected office is only for the rich, thought nothing of dropping $10,000 on a bet during a debate, and considered a $1,500-a-year tax cut for the typical middle-class family to be a meaningless “band aid.”

    Remember when Rachel Maddow compared Romney to Thurston Howell III? It was well grounded.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2012_01/quote_of_the_day_30034807.php

  31. Happy Birthday, First Lady Michelle Obama!!!!!!

  32. Ametia says:

    The Scott Walker recall petition tally report is due today.

  33. Obama to Betty White: Your birth certificate?

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/click/2012/01/obama-to-betty-white-your-birth-certificate-111104.html

    President Obama joked about a controversial topic in a birthday tribute to actress Betty White that aired on NBC Monday night.

    In a taped message, Obama penned a note to White, writing:

    “Dear Betty, You look so fantastic and full of energy, I can’t believe you’re 90 years old. In fact, I don’t believe it. That’s why I’m writing to ask if you will be willing to produce a copy of your long-form birth certificate. Thanks. Happy Birthday, no matter how old you are.”

    After signing the birthday card, the president placed a framed photo of White prominently on a table in his office, put in some earphones and started nodding along to the “Golden Girls” theme song.

    [wpvideo WKabkRjO]

  34. rikyrah says:

    Moderate Mitt? Have You Looked at His Budget?

    Has Mitt Romney committed himself to severe cuts in government spending, undermining programs on which not just poor but also middle class Americans depend? That question has been the subject of debate lately, with smart people like Ross Douthat asserting that Romney’s position is less extreme, and less conservative, than liberal critics like me have assumed.

    I respectfully disagree. And the single best piece of proof may be a proposal that’s gotten virtually no attention: Romney’s proposal to cap federal spending, which would result in harsher cuts to domestic spending than even Paul Ryan has embraced.

    How can that be? Start with some budget math. Romney he has vowed that, by 2016, he would cap federal spending at 20 percent of gross domestic product while maintaining defense spending at 4 percent of GDP. That means he would limit all non-defense spending to 16 percent of GDP.

    The latest Congressional Budget Office projection suggests that GDP in 2016 will be $19.1 trillion. Sixteen percent of that is about $3.1 trillion. But, based on CBO figures, non-defense spending will be about $3.6 trillion in 2016. So to meet his goals, Romney would have to cut non-defense federal spending in 2016 by roughly $500 billion.

    Romney doesn’t deny this. On the contrary, he’s been refreshingly honest on this subject. In the Washington D.C., speech where he laid out his budget vision, he said “we’ll need to find almost $500 billion in savings a year in 2016.” But Romney has not given many details on what that would entail. (Nor did his campaign respond to questions about this from TNR.) Perhaps that’s because the impact of these cuts would scare the bejeezus out of some people.

    Taking half a trillion dollars out of $3.6 trillion works out to a 14 percent reduction. (To be precise, it would be 14.1 percent.) Applied equally to all non-defense spending, that would mean approximately $130 billion less for Social Security and about $90 billion less for Medicare, just in 2016 alone. To give you a sense of context, the Medicare cuts in the Affordable Care Act amount to around $50 billion a year in 2016. And those cuts, unlike Romney’s, are largely offset by expanded spending on Medicaid and subsidies for private health insurance, thereby cushioning the blow on the health care system.

    Of course, Romney could decide to exempt Medicare and Social Security. But then the cuts for other programs would have to be much higher: 25 percent, on average. And when I say “other programs,” I mean every other non-defense thing the government does: Education, transportation, environmental protection, safety net programs, law enforcement…you get the idea. Can we afford to spend a quarter less on highways? How about the Centers for Disease Control and the FBI? Or Head Start, food stamps, and Pell Grants?

    If that doesn’t get your attention, maybe this will: These cuts would be in addition to the automatic cuts already set to take effect in January, 2013, now that the deficit super-committee has failed to reach a consensus. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently wrote that, in 2021, non-defense discretionary programs will be cut by 17 percent from last year’s baseline levels by the caps and sequestrations enacted in 2011. So Romney’s figures imply cuts of 14 percent or 25 percent (if Romney exempts Social Security and Medicare from these cuts) to non-defense discretionary programs on top of the substantial cut that is already set to take place.

    http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-cohn/99613/romney-conservative-impact-of-capping-federal-spending-20-percent

  35. Turkey Responds to Rick Perry

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2012/01/turkey_responds_to_rick_perry.php

    The Turkish Ambassador to the United States, Namik Tan, has issued a statement in response to Rick Perry’s suggestion at last night’s debate that Turkey’s government is run by “Islamic terrorists”.

    Full statement after the jump …

    Namik Tan, Turkey’s Ambassador to the United States, issued this statement in response to comments about Turkey during the January 16 Republican presidential candidates’ debate in South Carolina:

    “I am disappointed and concerned that Turkey and its time-tested ties of alliance, partnership and friendship with the United States became the object of misplaced and ill-advised criticism during last night’s Republican candidates’ debate. Needless to say, the Turkey described in the debate simply does not exist.

    More…

  36. Mitt Romney Downplays $362,000 In Speaking Fees As ‘Not Very Much’

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/17/mitt-romney-not-much-definition-speaking-fees_n_1210522.html#comments

    WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney has a new definition of “not much”: $362,000.

    On Tuesday, the Republican presidential candidate finally admitted that the effective tax rate he has been paying for the last several years is likely below that of middle-class workers, which would also include military servicemembers.

    In Greenville, S.C., Romney was asked directly what his effective tax rate is. It was a hot topic of discussion at Monday night’s debate, at which Romney repeatedly declined to fully commit to release his tax returns.

  37. rikyrah says:

    January 17, 2012 10:30 AM

    Follow the moving goal posts
    By Steve Benen

    Mitt Romney’s private-equity firm never tried to create jobs; it simply wasn’t the point of Bain Capital’s work. The goal was to generate wealth for Romney’s investors, not create jobs. Indeed, as Romney often found, the way to maximize profit was to frequently engage in mass layoffs.

    But Romney is stuck. Voters consider jobs the nation’s top issue, and Romney can’t point to his failures in Massachusetts, so he’s betting his entire campaign on one claim: he was a private-sector job-creator. If that means turning his former firm into something it’s not, so be it.

    The awkwardness, and fundamental dishonesty, behind the claim leads Romney to keep changing his story. How many jobs did he “create” at Bain? It depends on when you ask him.

    In October, it was “tens of thousands of jobs.”

    On Jan. 3, it was “over 100,000 new jobs.”

    On Jan. 11, it was back “tens of thousands jobs.”

    On Jan. 13, it was down to “thousands of jobs.”

    And last night, Romney started throwing around a whole new number.

    You look at places like Staples, Bright Horizons, that steel company I talked about, the Sports Authority. They alone added 120,000 jobs as of today.”

    This is wildly misleading. For one thing, Romney is only counting success stories, and simply choosing to ignore all of the mass layoffs. 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 recently 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.”

    For another, Romney is counting jobs “as of today.” He left his vulture-capitalist firm in 1999. By Romney’s reasoning, if my local Staples hires a clerk this morning, it’s evidence of his success as a “job creator,” thanks to his work more than a decade ago.

    And while we’re at it, let’s also note that some of Romney’s successes came as a result of taxpayer subsidies Romney now claims to oppose, and in some instances, Bain Capital wasn’t the only private-equity firm involved with the enterprises.

    I realize the dubious claims are at the very heart of Romney’s entire campaign, but there’s simply no reason for anyone to take them seriously

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2012_01/follow_the_moving_goal_posts034796.php

  38. rikyrah says:

    Romney Rule’: Mitt Says He Pays 15% Tax Rate

    share close StumbleUpon Instapaper digg Benjy Sarlin- January 17, 2012, 12:11 PM 1911Mitt Romney hasn’t yet released his tax returns, but on Tuesday he confirmed the biggest nugget that Democrats have been salivating over: he pays an effective tax rate of just 15%.

    “It’s probably closer to the 15 percent rate than anything,” Romney told reporters, noting that his income “comes overwhelmingly from some investments made in the past, rather than ordinary income or earned annual income.”

    He added that he expects to release his tax returns in the spring — although it remains unclear which year of income he’ll actually release.

    As TPM has reported, Romney’s admission is hardly unexpected. As he indicated on Tuesday, he’s made most of his fortune, estimated at upwards of $250 million, from investment income, which is taxed at a lower rate than salary. The result is that he pays a lower tax rate than many middle income Americans.

    Unfortunately for Romney, President Obama and national Democrats have made fixing this discrepancy a huge component of their economic message heading into the election. They call it the ‘Buffett Rule,” a reference to Warren Buffett’s complaint that the tax code is broken because despite being one of the world’s richest men, he still pays a lower tax rate than his own secretary. The White House is pitching the principle that a reformed tax code should find a way to close the gap.

    Democratic strategists have long been giddy at the prospect of making Romney the face of this message. Paul Begala, an adviser to Democratic Super PAC Priorities USA who coined the phrase ‘Romney Rule’ last year to describe Romney’s opposition to raising tax rates for the rich, told TPM on Tuesday that the latest news confirmed that the issue had legs.

    “The Romney Rule is going to be a major issue if Romney is the GOP nominee,” he said. “Republicans win the tax debate when the middle class feels they’re paying too much. But Democrats win it when the middle class believes the wealthy are paying too little. It’s bad enough than Mitt made millions by laying off middle class workers. Now he’s making middle class workers shoulder his share of the tax burden.”

    Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt also name-checked the Buffett Rule on Twitter Tuesday, noting that President Obama “has called for the loophole that allows the wealthiest to pay lower income taxes than [the middle class] to be closed. Romney opposes.”

    So how does Romney’s rate compare to the average American? The recent recession means that the average American’s effective tax rate has been lowered, mostly because the government has instituted a series of temporary tax cuts to help stimulate the economy. In 2010, American households in the middle fifth of the income spectrum, paid an effective tax rate of 14.3%, according to the Center for Budget And Policy and Priorities. So Romney seems to be at about the same spot even though he makes vastly more money.

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/01/romney-rule-mitt-says-he-pays-15-tax-rate.php

  39. rikyrah says:

  40. rikyrah says:

    TPM2012
    New Batch Of Ron Paul Newsletters Just As Racist As The First

    A brand new batch of Ron Paul newsletters raises questions for the libertarian Republican — as well as a host of embarrassing fresh passages to go along with such classics as “the coming race war” and “the federal-homosexual cover up on AIDS” from earlier reports.

    Ron Paul claims “probably ten sentences out of 10,000 pages” were objectionable in his long-published newsletter series, even as he denies having ever written the content in question (or even having seen most of it). But, as TPM has reported and a new collection of Ron Paul newsletters posted by The New Republic confirms, racism, homophobia, and fringe conspiracy theories seem more like the newsletters’ raison d’etre than a rare aberration. In fact, even short promotional letters for the publication name-checked many of the most toxic passages.

    Once again, contempt for African Americans and warnings of a “race war” are central themes in the most recently released materials. One issue warned “every honest American should be armed” to prepare for the coming violence.

    “Today, gangs of young blacks bust into a bank lobby firing rounds at the ceiling,” one issue read, continuing: “We don’t think a child of 13 should be held as responsible as a man of 23. That’s true for most people, but black males age 13 who have been raised on the streets and who have joined criminal gangs are as big, strong, tough, scary and culpable as any adult, and should be treated as such.”

    Another issue from 1993 defended Marge Schott, who used to own the Cincinatti Reds, after she notoriously referred to her players as “million-dollar niggers.”

    “Remember the thought crimes from the novels of Orwell and Huxley?” the article reads. “It’s not fiction in America if the case of Cincinatti Reds owner Marge Schott is any evidence.”

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/01/new-batch-of-ron-paul-newsletters-just-as-racist-as-the-first.php?ref=fpa

  41. rikyrah says:

    January 17, 2012 11:30 AM

    ‘Work requirement’ for unemployment aid?
    By Steve Benen

    When it comes to extending unemployment benefits, congressional Republicans have become increasingly aggressive in demanding a series of “reforms.” GOP officials are eyeing a new system that would cut eligibility, require high-school degrees, and allow drug tests. By most measures, the ideas are misguided, offensive, and in some cases, both.

    But in last night’s debate, Rick Santorum went a step further, arguing that jobless Americans should be cut off from aid faster, and adding this head-scratcher:

    What we should do, is have it just like welfare. Give it to the states, put a time limit. In the case of welfare, it was 40 weeks. Give flexibility to the states to operate those programs and even in unemployment, I mean, you can have as we did on welfare, have some sort of either work requirement or job training required as a condition. We’re not doing people any favors by keeping them on unemployment insurance for a long period of time.” [emphasis added]

    So, in Santorum’s mind, it makes sense to require the unemployed to be employed before receiving unemployment benefits?

    If you don’t have a job, you’ll be forced to get one before you’d be eligible to receive benefits that go to those without jobs?

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2012_01/work_requirement_for_unemploym034800.php

  42. rikyrah says:

    What’s at Stake in This Election?
    Posted on 01/17/2012 at 9:16 am by Bob Cesca
    Ezra Klein cuts to the chase:


    If Romney wins the presidency and the economy begins to rebound, Republicans will argue, and America’s experience will seem to show, that they were right all along: The stimulus was useless and the regulatory uncertainty the Obama administration created with its health-care plan and its talk of cap-and-trade and all the rest kept businesses from investing. Of course, if Obama keeps the office, that argument will be largely discredited, and he’ll be able to make the case that he and his party steered the country through incredible choppy waters despite relentless obstructionism from the Republicans — oh, and in 2014, he’ll also give 32 million Americans health-care insurance, just another little side project he got done while saving the economy.

    President Obama is slowly rolling back the doctrine of Reaganomics. The long-term goal of the administration is to reverse this highly entrenched policy mindset. It’s a doctrine that mandates deregulation, “government is the problem,” lower taxes for the rich, a suffocation of the middle class and so forth. If Romney wins, that’s the end of that. Romney will be able to ride the progress of the Obama recovery and claim credit for it while simultaneously repealing and rolling back everything the president accomplished.

    http://bobcesca.com/blog-archives/2012/01/whats-at-stake-in-this-election.html

  43. rikyrah says:

    January 17, 2012 9:55 AM
    Why Gingrich was cheered
    By Steve Benen

    Most pundits seem to agree that Newt Gingrich was the winner of last night’s debate on Fox News, and he was certainly the only candidate on the stage to get a standing ovation from the South Carolina crowd. It’s worth highlighting what garnered all the support.

    Juan Williams noted that the disgraced former House Speaker has talked quite a bit about African Americans moving away from food stamps and urging black children to work as janitors. The Fox News pundit asked whether Gingrich could see why some might find this insulting. The candidate, who recently denounced child-labor laws as “truly stupid,” dismissed the charge out of hand.


    “New York City pays their janitors an absurd amount of money because of the union. You could take one janitor and hire 30-some kids to work in the school for the price of one janitor, and those 30 kids would be a lot less likely to drop out. They would actually have money in their pocket. They’d learn to show up for work. They could do light janitorial duty. They could work in the cafeteria. They could work in the front office. They could work in the library. They’d be getting money, which is a good thing if you’re poor. Only the elites despise earning money.”

    I’m starting to think Gingrich’s antipathy towards child-labor laws is primarily driven by his hatred of unions.

    Keep in mind, in Gingrich’s model, children would start earning outside income as early as age 9. And nothing wins over voters more than the idea of firing janitors and having 9-year-old kids scrubbing school toilets.

    As for the other part of the question, Gingrich added:

    “…Juan, the fact is that more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history. Now, I know among the politically correct, you’re not supposed to use facts that are uncomfortable.”

    Even if we put aside the racial subtext, Gingrich is playing a dumb game and hoping voters won’t know the difference.

    The implication is that President Obama loves food stamps and wants more Americans to rely on them to “maximize dependency.” That’s ridiculous. The number of people on food stamps did go up in recent years, but that’s because there was an economic crash shortly before Obama was inaugurated. When the economy is devastated, more American families struggle and become eligible for benefits. And since the nation wants to help these families eat, the benefits are automatic. For that matter, food stamp participation was rising before Obama took office, in part because the Bush/Cheney administration “encouraged low-income people to seek aid for which they were eligible.”

    If Gingrich believes food-stamp beneficiaries — nearly half of whom are children — should have less food, he should simply make the case.

    Instead, he relied on cheap rhetoric, which the audience apparently loved.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2012_01/why_gingrich_was_cheered034795.php

  44. rikyrah says:

    – – –
    Obama Will Accept Nomination at Stadium – – —

    — – –On the final night of this year’s Democratic National Convention, President Obama will deliver his acceptance speech at Bank of America stadium, the Charlotte Observer reports.

    “The move to the Carolina Panthers’ 74,000-seat stadium would replicate the 2008 convention, where Obama accepted the nomination at a packed Invesco Field in Denver. The move, which would open the speech to the public, is designed to help mobilize voters in North Carolina, a key swing state.”

  45. Ametia says:

    I’m TOTALLY diggin the Apollo series this week, SG2. Thank you. Jamia, what a precious lil cutie.

  46. rikyrah says:

    Race, Class, and Conservative Objections to the Social Safety Net
    By NCrissie B

    I didn’t think of health care reform as a racial issue. Based on my own experience and the stories I saw – purely anecdotal evidence – the demographics of health care failure seemed to match the demographics of our nation as a whole. But Glenn Beck saw it differently:

    Barack Obama is setting up universal healthcare, universal college, green jobs as stealth reparations. That way the victim status is maintained. And he also brings back back‑door reparations.

    By February of 2010, Rush Limbaugh was also calling health care reform “reparations” for slavery. Researchers at Stanford and U.Cal-Irvine found that people who scored higher on a racial prejudice exercise were more likely to oppose health care reform. Even more intriguing, in a subsequent test such people were more likely to support the health care reform bill if told it had been proposed by President Clinton in 1993 than if told it was proposed by President Obama.

    I haven’t seen statistics, but it seems reasonable that health care failures – lack of insurance, denial, rescission, bankruptcy due to medical bills – correlate to household income. The lower your household income, the more likely you can’t afford good insurance and can’t afford to see a doctor without insurance. If so, the racial disparity in household income would be indeed mirrored in health care failures. In that respect, increased eligibility for Medicaid, increased funding for public health centers, and health insurance premium subsidies probably would help proportionally more persons of color.

    But as I see it, the racial issue is not the Affordable Care Act that tries to help the people who need help. Likewise with Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, food stamp and school lunch programs, Head Start, SCHIP, LIHEAP, Pell Grants, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and other programs that help people who need help. The racial issue in those programs is the income disparity … that persons of color are more likely to qualify for help because they are more likely to need it.

    Nonwhite Government

    Yet as Ian Haney-López writes in a law review article titled “Freedom, Mass Incarceration, and Racism in the Age of Obama,” conservatives have for the past forty years used that racial income disparity to paint a dark face on the social safety net and government itself:


    Here I want to start using a term that was first introduced by Michael Omi and Howard Winant. They refer to the “racial state.” They use the term to emphasize that the state does not stand above the racial fray, but is itself thoroughly immersed in racial contests. There is, though, another way of seeing the state as racial: disputants may present the state itself as having a racial identity. Consider in this vein the backlash against the Civil Rights Movement and against state efforts to promote social welfare. Rather than seeing the state as immersed in racial conflicts, conservatives depicted the state (and certainly the Democratic Party) as captured by nonwhites. The state became a racial state in the sense of being by and for blacks. It supposedly coddled persons of color through civil rights laws. It refused to hold them accountable out of tender regard for the rights of criminals. It spent massively on their welfare, education, and other needs. And it hired and promoted incompetent nonwhites under the guise of affirmative action. Caricatures of the local welfare office – with persons of color not only standing before but also sitting behind the counter, outnumbering and displacing whites – became the image of the dysfunctional state promoted by racial reactionaries.

    Picture again the taxpayer, government clerk, and person applying for food stamps. Did the taxpayer have light skin? Did the clerk and person applying for food stamps have dark skin?

    When conservatives talk about “freedom” and “government interference,” Haney-López argues, they mean a nonwhite government interfering with white people’s freedom. Consider what Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said about the Civil Rights Act last week:


    There are things that people were concerned about that were unintended consequences [of the Civil Rights Act], for example, people who believe very fervently in people having equal protection under the law, and are against segregation and all that, still worried about the loss of property rights … for example, I can’t have a cigar bar any more, and you say, “well, that has nothing to do with race” — the idea of whether or not you control your property, it also tells you, come in here I want to know the calorie count on that, and the calorie Nazis come in here and tell me. […] The point is that its not all about that. It’s not all about race relations, it’s about controlling property, ultimately.

    http://www.winningprogressive.org/race-class-and-conservative-objections-to-the-social-safety-net

  47. rikyrah says:

    Meet Barbara Lee – the invisible congresswoman

    Can you see this woman in the photo to the left? If you answered “no” you may be a member of the false-left. There was exactly one member of Congress with the courage to vote against the war in Afghanistan and it was not Ron Paul. Here’s how Congresswoman Lee explained her vote against the authorization of military force (AUMF).


    It was a blank check to the president to attack anyone involved in the Sept. 11 events — anywhere, in any country, without regard to our nation’s long-term foreign policy, economic and national security interests, and without time limit. In granting these overly broad powers, the Congress failed its responsibility to understand the dimensions of its declaration. I could not support such a grant of war-making authority to the president; I believe it would put more innocent lives at risk.[SFGATE]

    This stand earned Congresswoman Lee a wave of attacks and death threats against herself and her family – she had to get police protection against the jingoists. Read her explanation of her vote not to rush to give nearly-unlimited power to George W. Bush. It looks pretty damn smart right now. At the same time, the famous Ron Paul not only voted for the AUMF but also wanted to give President Bush authority to charter Blackwater mercenaries as unregulated world wide assassination teams. That would have been, no doubt, a treat for all concerned.

    Although Congresswoman Lee was a strong supporter of President Obama’s election, she has not moderated her criticism of the wars since he took office far from it – she has continued to call for rapid withdrawal, to propose legislation forcing the US out of Afghanistan, to propose significant cuts in the DOD budget, to urge greater US humanitarian aid as a replacement for military efforts, and even opposed the Obama administrations intervention in Libya. Congresswoman Lee has been chair of the Black Congressional Caucus and co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus – she’s high profile and an eloquent, powerful speaker. Barbara Lee is the critic from the left that so many in the false left claim to be. So of course, our self-appointed guardians of left-orthodoxy and principle have completely ignored her. Instead they keep whining that Racist Kook Ron Paul is being attacked for standing up for principle.

    The self-pitying Freddie de Boer, a favorite blogger of Glenn Greenwald writes “I have to value his [Ron Pauls] voice in the national debate because almost no other national political figures will raise these issues at all.” and goes on to mention Kucinich and Sanders, but not the invisible Congresswoman Lee. I wonder why that is. Of course it doesn’t help that Congresswoman Lee is a black woman, but if she was willing to hum along with the disappointment choir, she’d be featured in Mr. Greenwald’s essays and invited to appear on corporate TV. She’s in favor of single payer, against corporate welfare, a strong voice for civil liberties and she’s even against the drug war. But, Congresswoman Lee is unacceptable to the false left on principle. Here’s what she said about the Iraq withdrawal.


    I am extremely pleased with the decision by President Obama to follow through on his commitment to execute a safe, responsible, and complete withdrawal of the troops in Iraq. This move will save tens of billions of dollars, reduce regional instability, and enhance our standing throughout the world.”

    Note – she’s not crediting George Bush with getting the troops out of Iraq. When the GOP tries to block the EPA from doing its job, she said:


    “Today, House Republicans passed the TRAIN Act, a bill to undermine the Clean Air Act’s ability to crack down on pollution in our communities and endangers public health. This dangerous proposal threatens the quality of life for our children, our families and our communities.
    “It is shameful that Republicans are pushing their anti-environmental agenda under the guise of job creation. This bill blocks EPA’s ability to move forward with two long overdue Clean Air Act rules – the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard and the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule – which will reduce harmful air pollution that threatens public health, especially the health of vulnerable populations, including children and seniors.

    ……………………

    No. Barbara Lee will not do as a progressive icon because she’s actually a principled left-liberal Democrat, not a libertarian scold or a self-promoting left pundit-wannabe. And she’s unacceptable to many of them because she’s not part of the campaign to restore the White House to the Republicans in the name of purity.

    http://www.thepeoplesview.net/2012/01/mett-barbara-lee-invisible.html

  48. rikyrah says:

    January 17, 2012 8:30 AM

    The most glaring lie of the night
    By Steve Benen

    It’s hard not to marvel at just how dishonest Mitt Romney is prepared to be in order to win. The notion of politicians misleading the public to advance their ambitions isn’t exactly a new phenomenon, but Romney acts as if he doesn’t even care about getting caught, leading to blatant and obvious falsehoods.

    This one, from last night’s debate, was just shameless.

    “We’ve got a president in office three years, and he does not have a jobs plan yet. I’ve got one out there already and I’m not even president, yet.”

    Look, I realize Romney’s busy, and keeping up on current events may be difficult, but Obama delivered a speech to a joint session of Congress just four months ago, and at the time, presented a jobs plan. The whole thing has been online ever since. It’s been scrutinized, analyzed, and subjected to CBO scoring. It’s been debated; it’s been the subject of advertising; and it’s been voted on in the Senate.

    Did Romney miss all of this?

    Hell, Romney has even endorsed several of the provisions within the president’s jobs plan.

    And now Romney would have voters believe Obama “does not have a jobs plan yet”?

    In all likelihood, of course, Romney knows full well that the president has presented a detailed and credible jobs plan, but prefers to say otherwise because he (a) assumes voters are easily fooled; and (b) expects the media to give him a pass. He may well be right.

    But that doesn’t make Romney’s dishonesty any less brazen.

    Postscript: Incidentally, the former governor with an abysmal jobs record added, as part of his comment, that he’s “got [a jobs plan] out there already.” He really doesn’t. Romney has a plan for cutting taxes on the wealthy and giving Wall Street free rein to do as it pleases, but this does not a jobs plan make.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2012_01/the_most_glaring_lie_of_the_ni034793.php

  49. rikyrah says:

    January 17, 2012 8:00 AM
    Romney stumbles on hidden tax returns
    By Steve Benen

    Mitt Romney tends to shine in Republican presidential debates in large part because he generally seems prepared. Putting aside whether his answers are truthful or sensible, the former governor’s answers are generally polished — he gives the appearance of someone who at least tried to do their homework.

    It was bizarre, then, to see Romney stumble so badly when the issue of his hidden tax returns was raised during Fox News’ debate last night. Did he not realize the subject might come up?
    The Wall Street Journals Kelly Evans said, “Governor Romney, Speaker Gingrich, Senator Santorum and now vocally tonight Governor Perry are calling for you to release your tax records. The Obama campaign is asking for the same thing. Governor, will you release your income tax records?” Here’s his response:

    “You know, I looked at what has been done in campaigns in the past with Senator McCain and President George W. Bush and others. They have tended to release tax records in April or tax season. I hadn’t planned on releasing tax records because the law requires us to release all of our assets, all the things we own. That I have already released. It’s a pretty full disclosure. But, you know, if that’s been the tradition and I’m not opposed to doing that, time will tell. But I anticipate that most likely I am going to get asked to do that around the April time period and I’ll keep that open.”

    Evans followed up, asking if that means the tax records will be released around April. Romney added:

    “I think I’ve heard enough from folks saying, look, let’s see your tax records. I have nothing in them that suggests there’s any problem and I’m happy to do so. I sort of feel like we are showing a lot of exposure at this point. And if I become our nominee, and what’s happened in history is people have released them in about April of the coming year and that’s probably what I would do.”

    The transcript doesn’t do it justice. Romney appeared to be dissembling badly, and it wasn’t long before the DNC was using it against him, releasing this video overnight:

    On the substance, Romney has said previously he would not release the tax returns. Last night seemed to offer a different answer, though it was hard to tell exactly what the frontrunner is now prepared to do. I think the bottom line is that Romney won’t rule it out, but won’t disclose anything until after GOP voters give him the party’s presidential nomination.

    We can only speculate as to exactly why the former governor is so reluctant, but it’s a pretty safe bet that Romney doesn’t want the public to know he pays a lower tax rate than middle-class workers. Because Romney still collects seven-figure checks from his vulture-capitalist firm, he benefits from the “carried interest” loophole, which taxes private equity and venture capital income at a lower, 15% rate, as compared to 35% on ordinary income.

    As we recently discussed, it creates a dynamic that Romney would prefer to downplay:
    1. Mitt Romney is worth $250 million.
    2. He got rich by laying off American workers.
    3. He pays a lower tax rate than you and the rest of the middle class.
    4. He wants to be president so he can keep it this way.

    If last night was any indication, it’s a subject that makes Romney uncomfortable, but it’s not going away.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2012_01/romney_stumbles_on_hidden_tax034792.php

  50. rikyrah says:

    Race, Romney and what Jimmy Williams and I actually said about South Carolina
    January 16, 2012 · Posted in 2012, Mitt Romney, Politics, Republicans

    Today’s discussion on “NOW With Alex Wagner” about Mitt Romney, race, religion and the South Carolina primary sparked all kinds of debate online. Some of it was even wildly inaccurate. For starters, here’s the segment in which Democratic strategist Jimmy Williams told it like it is, about his home state of South Carolina:

    That of course caused the inartful fabricators at News Busters to tweet and post complete fabrications about what Jimmy does for a living (no, Ken Shepherd, he’s not a lobbyist) and about what he said (and no, Ken, Jimmy didn’t say all South Carolinians are racist. He spoke about the reality that there are still racists in South Carolina and in southern politics, that they exist in both parties — the anecdotes he talked about involved Democrats, not Republicans — and that race is one factor that will cause some South Carolina conservatives to “hold their nose” and vote for Mitt Romney, simply out of distaste for Barack Obama. And yes, some of that animus has to do with Obama being black. If you doubt the reality of any of that, you’re not living in the real world.)

    Next up, the fallout from our discussion about Mitt Romney’s $50 gift to a black South Carolina woman, along with another $150 or so from his state finance director, to pay her light bill. The gift nauseated me and other members of the panel (which I wrote about on the NOW blog here) and it touched off yet another torrent of untruths. Nowhere in my discussion (pinged here by Mediaite) or in that blog post, did I call Mitt Romney a racist for giving Ruth Williams that money. I said the gesture infantalized Ms. Williams, and played into an ugly stereotype of black people as childlike and dependent on white people — it’s the Newt Gingrich/Rick Santorum vision of black Americans as constantly in search of “other people’s money,” rather than good old fashioned work. And it plays into a very prevalent conservative meme — that in an ideal world, government wouldn’t intervene to help those in need — that such things would be left to individual, voluntary charity. That’s what the right is pushing for (Ron Paul included) when they seek to defund and neuter programs like Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. That’s the future they have in mind.

    And if you don’t believe it, just listen to the Republican candidates, lately, to include Mitt Romney.

    http://blog.reidreport.com/2012/01/race-romney-and-reality-in-south-carolina/

  51. rikyrah says:

    5 Reasons To Be Glad You Didn’t Watch The South Carolina Republican Debate
    Republicans want to make the unemployed get a job before they receive unemployment benefits, and four other reasons to be glad you didn’t watch the Fox News Republican Debate.

    1). Mitt Romney Now Claims He Created 120,000 Jobs At Bain

    Within 10 minutes of the beginning of the Fox News GOP South Carolina debate, Mitt Romney uncorked his first lie. Instead of clarifying that he didn’t really create 100,000 jobs at Bain, Romney upped the ante and claimed that four companies that Bain invested in created 120,000 jobs. Romney continued to take credit for creating jobs at Staples and The Sports Authority.

    The AP has already debunked Romney’s claims, “”Romney has never substantiated his frequent claim that he was a creator of more than 100,000 jobs while leading the Bain Capital private equity company. His campaign merely cites success stories without laying out the other side of the ledger — jobs lost at Bain-acquired or Bain-supported firms that closed, trimmed their workforce or shifted employment overseas. Moreover, his campaign bases its claims on recent employment figures at three companies — Staples, Domino’s and Sports Authority — even though Romney’s involvement with them ceased years ago. … Staples, now with close to 90,000 employees, and Sports Authority, with about 15,000, were start-ups supported by Romney. The direct work force at Domino’s has grown by nearly 8,000 since Romney’s intervention. But Romney got out of the game in 1999, which has not stopped his campaign from crediting him with jobs created at those companies since then.”

    2). Rick Santorum Sets Up Mitt Romney On Felons Voting

    Rick Santorum brought up a Romney Super PAC ad that attacked him for letting felons vote. Santorum asked Romney if felons should be allowed to vote. Romney said no, then Santorum said that while governor of Massachusetts, Romney’s state was more liberal in allowing felons to vote than the bill Santorum voted on. Rick Santorum set Mitt Romney up, knocked him down, and left Romney spinning in circles.

    3). Republicans Want To Attach A Work Requirement To Unemployment Insurance

    Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum said that unemployment insurance should not be extended unless the unemployed help themselves by working. Gingrich and Santorum’s model was the failed 1990s welfare reform. This is what the Republican Party has come to. The Republican candidates for president think that attaching a work requirement to unemployment benefits is a good idea. Do these candidates understand that the unemployed would not need unemployment insurance if they could get work? Unemployment insurance exists in order to help people when there aren’t enough jobs available. The Republican position is based on the moral judgment that unemployed people are lazy. Only Ron Paul suggested that we cut military spending instead of throwing people off unemployment insurance.

    4). The GOP Debate Audience Cheers Child Labor

    Juan Williams asked Newt Gingrich if he could see that it was insulting to people especially African Americans that he thinks poor kids should work as janitors. Newt Gingrich said no, and said that for the cost on one union janitor schools could hire 37 poor children. Gingrich said that giving poor people money for work is a good thing. When Williams suggested that Gingrich was trying to belittle the poor and minorities, and the white South Carolina debate crowd booed. In summary, Gingrich suggested that child labor is actually a good thing because it makes money for the wealthy, and denies the poor educational opportunities, which they apparently don’t deserve according to Republicans because they are poor.

    5). Rick Perry Uses The Beheading Of Daniel Pearl To Justify Marines Urinating On Corpses

    Rick Perry continued to stand up for military behavior that will make the United States the most hated nation in the world. Perry actually used the horrible beheading of Daniel Pearl in order to justify the bad behavior of the four Marines who urinated on dead Taliban fighters. If any of these Republicans are elected into the White House, they will make the behavior of the Bush administration look angelically humanitarian.

    Bonus: Mitt Romney Wants All Campaign Finance Laws Abolished

    Mitt Romney said that not only does he want to get rid of Super PACs, he wants to get rid of all campaign finance laws. Romney argued that people should be able to give as much as they want, and campaigns should be able to run any ad they want. Romney was arguing for Citizens United on steroids, because in Mitt Romney’s mind, “Corporations are people, my friend.” Mitt Romney’s vision for America includes total and completely legal corporate campaign finance

    http://www.politicususa.com/en/south-carolina-republican-debate

  52. rikyrah says:

    Monday, January 16, 2012
    Incarceration, Incorporated
    Posted by Zandar
    Florida state Republicans are eying a bill that would privatize prisons in 18 counties, which makes sense since the second biggest private prison outfit in the country spent nearly a million bucks in 2010 donating to the campaigns of Gov. Rick Scott and his fellow GOP lawmakers. Gotta love payback, especially when the people making the laws are the ones playing the game.

    “We’ve been saying all along that these proposed prison closures are about turning Florida’s prisons over to for-profit corporations,” Ken Wood, Acting President of Teamsters Local 2011, said. “This is payback to the powerful prison corporations that spend millions on lobbyists and political donations.”

    “Both the privatization bill and these closures are being rushed through without any public input and zero transparency. We have no evidence that privatizing prisons would save money and plenty of evidence that it won’t. Closing and privatizing prisons would devastate the dedicated correctional officers, their families and nearby small businesses.

    For-profit prisons are associated with heightened levels of violence toward prisoners and have limited incentives to reduce future crime, according to a report by the American Civil Liberties Union.

    “The perverse incentives to maximize profits and cut corners — even at the expense of safety and decent conditions — may contribute to an unacceptable level of danger in private prisons,” the report stated.

    And private prisons are a growing industry in the US. The best part? Prisons still run by the state, with unionized state employees, are the ones being slated for closure by Scott and friends.
    The head of the union representing Florida’s corrections officers is calling on state lawmakers to hold community hearings on Gov. Rick Scott’s plan to close seven prisons and four work camps.

    Ken Wood says the planned closures will put prison workers out of jobs and also hurt local vendors who do business with the prison in their county. Wood is acting president of Teamsters Local 2011.

    Corrections Secretary Kenneth S. Tucker says he would try to transfer as many workers as possible to other facilities. He also will ask other state agencies and county sheriffs to hire the displaced. About 1,300 jobs are affected by the closings.

    The closings could save the state at least $75 million. Wood complained that none of Florida’s private prisons were slated for closure.

    Gosh, I wonder why that is? You mean Scott’s bagging all the union boys in the state and leaving the private prisons untouched…and making more private prisons, costing thousands more union jobs in the state?

    Who’s the thug here?

    http://zandarvts.blogspot.com/2012/01/incarceration-incorporated.html

  53. rikyrah says:

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012
    The Big GOP Debate Thread: Know Your Role And Shut Your Mouth
    Posted by Zandar
    What struck me most about last night’s GOP debate in South Carolina was not Mitt’s awful, terrified scrambling to defend not releasing his tax returns or Rick Perry declaring war on Pakistan and the talk of the state’s infamy at Fort Sumter, but on a day where the country celebrates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we had Newt Gingrich and FOX’s Juan Williams have this exchange:


    “I have to tell you my Twitter account has been inundated by all races, who are asking if your comments are not intended to belittle the poor and racial minorities. You saw some of this reaction dug your visit to a black church in South Carolina. We saw some of this during your visit to a church in South Carolina where a woman dad’s asked you why you referred to President Obama as the food stamp president. It sounds as if you are seeking to belittle people.”

    Williams was loudly and angrily booed for even asking this, and Newt got huge cheers for his response:

    “Well, first of all, Juan, the fact is that more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history. I know among the politically correct you are not supposed to use facts that are uncomfortable.”

    Massive applause, all this after earlier in the night where Gingrich got loud cheers when told Williams that he didn’t see how telling inner city kids they need to work as janitors could possibly be considered insensitive or insulting. Because in South Carolina, apparently, you should be lucky if you’re African-American and cleaning toilets as a kid.

    This, ladies and gentlemen, is the real Republican legacy on MLK Day, where 40 plus years after his death, a crowd of white Republicans are madly cheering a privileged white Republican putting a black man asking an honest question in his place. I’ve got little sympathy for Williams hitching his wagon to FOX and trying to be the voice of reason, but if anyone on Earth is still wondering why black people like me don’t vote Republican, here you are.

    http://zandarvts.blogspot.com/2012/01/big-gop-debate-thread-know-your-role.html

  54. Ametia says:

    KARMA BITCHES

    Kip Smith, Sponsor Of Georgia Bill Requiring Drug Testing For Welfare Recipients, Arrested For DUI

    Kip Smith, a Republican state congressman from Georgia and sponsor of a bill that would have submitted all welfare recipients to random drug testing, was arrested Friday night for driving under the influence of alcohol.

    Smith was pulled over after running a red light on his way home from a restaurant, Atlanta’s Channel 2 Action News reports:

    The officer said when he walked up to Smith’s car he could smell the odor of alcohol coming from the car and then started asking Smith some questions.
    Smith told the officer he was at Hal’s restaurant where he [had] a single beer and it had been 45 minutes since he had the last drink.

    The officer said Smith first refused to take a breathalyzer test, but once it was explained to him that he would be arrested he started the sobriety test, which he had trouble completing.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/16/kip-smith-dui-arrest_n_1209365.html?1326762933

  55. rikyrah says:

    Live-Blogging The Fox SC Debate

    10.58 pm. I’m not sure what to say about this evening, except I want to take a shower. I’ve rarely been repulsed by the atmosphere of a debate as I was tonight. But this is the Republican core of South Carolina. One of the biggest applause lines was about waging war on the federal government. I suspect that if any Latinos or African-Americans were watching this, Obama’s support just jumped.

    From my perspective, Romney was cringe-inducing, shudder-worthy, and plastic beyond measure. I suspect he’s going to try and rig this year’s tax returns to hide his far lower rate of taxation and far, far, far higher income than 99.999 percent of the population. It was a weak answer.

    We also had a strong endorsement of child labor, largely for African-Americans. I suspect that Santorum helped himself tonight, as did Perry a mite. Gingrich also showed his ability to reach the Southern vote, and Romney tried to fake it. Gingrich’s diatribe about blacks getting paychecks rather than food stamps earned him a standing ovation.

    I still have some strange feeling that Romney is in trouble in this state. I’d be a fool to analyze this debate or its impact in South Carolina. But Newt’s solid racial dog whistles and constant support for violence and hatred of “elites” may well help him a lot.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/01/live-blogging-the-fox-sc-debate.html

  56. Ametia says:

    Reexamining the myth of no-fault capitalism
    By Eugene Robinson, Published: January 16

    From all evidence, the issue of economic justice isn’t going away. Break the news gently to Mitt Romney, who seems apoplectic that the whole “rich get richer, poor get poorer” thing is being discussed out loud. In front of the children, for goodness’ sake.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/reexamining-the-myth-of-no-fault-capitalism/2012/01/16/gIQAvKO13P_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions

  57. rikyrah says:

    16 Jan 2012 11:29 PM
    South Carolina Debate Reax

    K-Lo claims that the clip above “will get watched and rewatched.” Jeffrey Lord seems to agree:

    Tonight in South Carolina, Newt Gingrich began hitting them out of the park. Answering questions from Juan Williams on poverty, jobs for poor kids, Obama as the food stamp president… this was the Newt Gingrich so many missed when he was smacking back at Romney by going after Bain Capital.

    Allahpundit echoes:

    Between this, the exchange with Ron Paul on Bin Laden, and the zinger about 99 weeks being an associate degree, I’m thinking he might have turned South Carolina from a solid Romney lead into a nailbiter. Has any candidate at any debate had the crowd more riled up than this?

    Rod Dreher is more reality-based:

    There goes Gingrich with the food stamp thing again, blaming Obama for “putting more people on food stamps than any president in American history.” It wasn’t Obama that did it, Gingrich, it was the depression recession. This is food we’re talking about. This is people struggling to feed their families in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. And Gingrich is playing racial and cultural politics with it. To listen to Gingrich, you’d think that Obama signed up all those layabouts for food stamps just so he could throw government money at them.

    Josh Marshall feels the base was eating out of the palm of Gingrich’s hand:

    Newt’s really on fire tonight. Really not sure that it’s going to matter much. But he’s back into that mode of serving up perfect red meat for the Republican primary electorate.

    Will Wilkinson thinks Mitt had a bad night:

    This was Romney’s worst debate. He was often flummoxed and seemed incredibly greasy, even for him, in his wriggling answer about disclosing his income taxes. His attempt to pin Bain’s creative destruction on insidious Chinese trade practices was pathetic.

    So does Pete Spiliakos:

    The low point was when Santorum asked Romney if Romney believed that felons who had completed their sentence should be allowed to vote. Romney froze and tried to change the subject since apparently Romney didn’t know what he was supposed to pretend to believe.

    Taegan Goddard focuses on Mitt’s tax return answer:

    The most interesting moment of the debate was Romney’s reluctant statement that he would release his tax returns around the April 15th deadline. It’s very possible the issue of his effective tax rate will be an even bigger in the general election than his record as head of Bain Capital.

    Dave Weigel adds important details:

    No, you cannot diagram what Romney actually said about his tax returns. He will release them in April, because “he’s heard” that it’s in line with what people seem to want. And sure, releasing them in April would probably prevent them from coming out until the primary was wrapped up.

    Matt Welch takes Mitt to task for non-answers:

    You know, I go on TV sometimes. I am asked questions. Sometimes you slip off the hook a bit so you can use the very small window to make the point you want to make instead of giving a literal answer. I mention this because OH MY GOD DOES MITT ROMNEY NOT ANSWER QUESTIONS. He’s got the wriggle-on-your-record-and-turn-it-back-to-Obama thing down PAT. It’s totally offensive, and yet it’s like America is just too weary to care.

    And P.M. Carpenter can hardly believe that Romney is the favorite:

    Unlike some of his earlier appearances in previous grillings and third-degrees, his demeanor is utterly imperturbable; there stands a man who knows he’s getting away with a magnificent fraud — himself.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/01/south-carolina-debate-reax.html

  58. Ametia says:

    Betty White’s 15 Funniest Moments
    Jan 17, 2010 4:45 AM EST

    Betty White celebrates her 90th birthday today. From The Golden Girls to Saturday Night Live, The Mary Tyler Moore Show to her music-video debut, watch clips of America’s favorite nonagenarian.

    Great videos; check them out here:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2010/03/11/betty-whites-11-funniest-moments.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=cheatsheet_morning&cid=newsletter%3Bemail%3Bcheatsheet_morning&utm_term=Cheat%20Sheet

  59. rikyrah says:

    January 16, 2012
    The GOP debate

    Mitt Romney is grinning his way through this desperate crucible like a guilty suspect with a flawless alibi and no real material evidence against him. Unlike some of his earlier appearances in previous grillings and third-degrees, his demeanor is utterly imperturbable; there stands a man who knows he’s getting away with a magnificent fraud — himself.

    This South Carolina audience is an amusing little bunch of rowdy imbeciles. They’re ready to storm the Bastille on behalf of their oppressors. (When will Jesus bring the armbands?)

    I’ve never seen Newt Gingrich any demagogically finer. He’s acing his final, driveling on about our “food-stamp president” and the singularly Republican virtue of “work” and he’s spitting jingoisms like a pez dispenser. Poor Ron Paul, he’s swamped by local hostility, while Rick Santorum should have stayed home; he’s falling flat.

    And what in God’s name is Rick Perry doing up there? Oh, I forgot. Mitt asked him to hang in, just a little while longer.

    What a farce.

    http://pmcarpenter.blogs.com/p_m_carpenters_commentary/2012/01/the-gop-debate-1.html

  60. Jackson: GOP trying to return to racist past

    http://www.thestate.com/2012/01/17/2116676/jackson-gop-trying-to-return-to.html

    The Rev. Jesse Jackson invoked Martin Luther King Jr.’s hopes for a new South, urging a packed hall Monday night in Charleston to fight Republican-led voter ID and immigration laws that he says hearken back to the old South’s racist past.

    More than 400 people crowded into the International Longshoremen’s Association Hall to see and hear Jackson, who at 70, remains the nation’s most famous civil rights activist.

    In a rousing speech that was at once a history lesson and a rally cry, Jackson said King’s work helped the South grow while GOP “voter suppression schemes” are putting South Carolina on backward path.

    “You couldn’t have Boeing behind the cotton curtain; you couldn’t have Michelin tires behind the cotton curtain,” he said. “When the walls came down, the South could grow. We are not going back to the old South.”

  61. Racism ‘happens’: Inexplicable events haunt GOP primary
    Although several Republican presidential candidates have made racist remarks, none will admit or condemn the statements.

    http://url2it.com/lhfl

    • Valentino Massimo

      Anyone who understands America – certainly already knew this – There will always be the rule, not the exception for “enslavement” for black people by any means necessary both in this country and around the world – Like MLK, M.J. Malcom X, and today President Obama – “All” white people – chew on their guts when they see a black man that has more power than they do. Racism is deeply, deeply embedded into the DNA of white people – that sense of a God Complex – slavers, Warmongers – Thieves, and Genocidal destroyers of the all of the world around us. Whether it be Europeans, Russians, British, Norwegians or French. White people believe they are divinely mandated by God to do what ever they want to whom ever they want – No other culture in the world dare be so bold as to portray Jesus – An Aramaic Arab – as a white man with blond hair and blue eyes.

  62. Newt Gingrich Seeks South Carolina Boost From Racially Charged Exchange With Juan Williams

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/17/newt-gingrich-juan-williams_n_1209657.html

    MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — It was telling that as soon as the Republican presidential debate ended here Monday night, Newt Gingrich made a beeline to talk to reporters.

    Gingrich, the recently embattled, always controversial and irascible former speaker of the House from Georgia, had just watched a massive crowd inside the convention center respond to him with a passionate standing ovation after his confrontation with one of the debate’s moderators.

    The exchange lit a fire underneath the crowd, and in so doing seemed to increase his chances of gathering momentum ahead of Saturday’s primary in South Carolina.

    “It’s the only time I’ve ever seen a standing ovation, certainly in the debates I’ve been involved,” Gingrich told reporters after the debate in an area set aside for the press. “There was a spontaneous sense that somebody finally had the courage to just tell the truth about how we’ve got to go about helping people, and the fact that I was very clear.”

    He was referring to his unapologetic and provocative dispute with debate moderator Juan Williams, after Williams confronted him over his comments earlier this winter that poor children in low-income neighborhoods should be given janitorial work in local schools.

    “Can’t you see that this is viewed at a minimum as insulting to all Americans, but particularly to black Americans?” asked Williams.

    Gingrich replied flatly: “No, I don’t see that.” The crowd erupted approvingly

  63. [wpvideo 7upyVfNZ]

    • “Whenever the government provides opportunities and privileges for white people and rich people they call it ‘subsidies.’ When they do it for Negro and poor people they call it ‘welfare.’ The fact is that everybody in this country lives on welfare. Suburbia was built with federally subsidized credit. And highways that take our white brothers out to the suburbs were built with federally subsidized money to the tune of ninety percent. Everybody is on welfare in this country. The problem is that we all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free enterprise capitalism for the poor. That’s the problem.”

      –Martin Luther King Jr. Miami, FL

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