Thursday 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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76 Responses to Thursday Open Thread

  1. President Obama speaking live at the Apollo

    http://www.c-span.org/Live-Video/C-SPAN/

  2. rikyrah says:

    POTUS ON C-SPAN RIGHT NOW

  3. rikyrah says:

    Michelle Obama birthday: 48 memorable moments to celebrate the first lady’s 48th year

    By Alexis Garrett Stodghill

    First lady Michelle Obama’s birthday is today, an important milestone in anyone’s life, but certainly a major one for a woman who has come into her prime in the public eye. As a seasoned public administrator before ascending to the White House, Michelle Obama honed her skills as a servant who was always seeking to make her community better while still in Chicago. After becoming first lady at 44, she has taken that previously perfected role of service to even greater heights.

    Using the power of her position to teach children to eat better and helping military families who are struggling are just two of first lady Michelle Obama’s many acts of caring. Over just a few years in the national arena, we have seen the first lady grow into an even stronger leader, not letting the glare of the spotlight or the voices of her opponents stop her from living her best life while uplifting those in need. And to top it off, Michelle Obama has done it all with a personal style that has inspired admirers and boosted the American fashion industry — by billions.

    Michelle Obama’s birthday is the perfect time to remember how far she has come and how much she has accomplished as the nation’s first African-American first lady. Her biography is so inspiring, we invite you to explore the slide show timeline below as the perfect way to celebrate the first lady’s 48th birthday.

    http://www.thegrio.com/specials/life-and-style/michelle-obamas-birthday-48-fun-facts-about-the-first-lady.php

  4. rikyrah says:

    From Rachel Maddow tonight:

    here’s the thing about Willard’s money…

    it’s not down there in the CAYMAN’S to avoid taxes…

    the millions just like the oceanfront view.

    and need the warm weather for their health

  5. rikyrah says:

    TPM2012
    Romney Snaps At Questioner, ‘America’s Right, And You’re Wrong!”

    Mitt Romney isn’t having the best day.

    Turns out he lost a state he thought he’d won (Iowa), Rick Perry dropped out of the race and threw his support behind Newt Gingrich (who’s breathing down his neck in South Carolina), and people keep asking all these pesky questions about his millions (some of which may or may not be stashed in the Caribbean.)

    This terse exchange he had with a questioner on a rope-line had us wondering – is the pressure getting to Romney? You decide.

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/01/romney-snaps-at-questioner-americas-right-and-youre-wrong.php?ref=fpnewsfeed

  6. GM once again top-selling automaker

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/gm-once-again-top-selling-automaker/2012/01/19/gIQAp3b1BQ_story.html

    General Motors and its partners sold 9 million vehicles around the globe in 2011, the company announced Thursday, allowing it to reclaim the title of world’s top-selling automaker.

    Toyota had snatched the crown from General Motors in 2008, as the American automaker nearly crumbled under the weight of its debts and as U.S. sales plummeted with the recession.

  7. David Axelrod, left, former senior advisor to President Barack Obama, listens to a panel discussion, “2012: The Path to the Presidency”, at the University of Chicago in Chicago on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  8. Ametia says:

    LET THE GOP SIDESHOW BEGIN…

  9. Ametia says:

    Two-Thirds Of Small Business Owners Say Citizens United Ruling Hurts Them
    By Marie Diamond on Jan 19, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Tomorrow is the two-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s historic decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which opened the door for unlimited corporate spending to influence the outcome of elections.

    On the eve of the anniversary, a new survey reveals that small business owners overwhelmingly say the ruling hurts their business:

    Two-thirds of American small business leaders believe the controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United v. FEC case handed down two years ago on January 21 hurts small companies.

    In fact, only nine percent of small business leaders thought the ruling positive, according to an independent national survey of 500 small business leaders released today by the American Sustainable Business Council, Main Street Alliance and Small Business Majority.

    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/01/19/406772/two-thirds-of-small-business-owners-say-citizens-united-ruling-hurts-them/

  10. Ametia says:

    Jenny Sanford is a bitter “BECKIE.” She couldn’t keep her marriage intact with her roving husband Mark, and now she’s supporting Newt’s racist dogwhistling in SC about the food stamp president. FUGG HER!

  11. Ametia says:

    The Association of Black Women Historians Says ‘The Help’ is Distorted

    On Tuesday the Association of Black Women Historians (ABWH) published an open statement to the fans of The Help and said the film “distorts, ignores, and trivializes the experiences of black domestic workers.” According to the historians about the only thing that’s true in the film is that working black women in the South often labored as domestic servants in white homes.

    The historians say their statement is meant to provide context for this popular rendition of black life in the Jim Crow South and that it is in no way a criticism of the “stellar performances of the African American actresses in this film.”

    http://colorlines.com/archives/2012/01/association_of_black_women_historians_wants_you_to_know_the_help_is_distorted.html

  12. Weekly Jobless Claims Fall To Almost A Four-Year Low; Biggest Drop Since 2005

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/19/us-jobless-claims-drop-_n_1215694.html

    WASHINGTON, Jan 19 (Reuters) – New U.S. applications for unemployment benefits dropped to a near four-year low last week, a government report on Thursday showed, pointing to continued improvement in the labor market.

    The Labor Department said initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 50,000 to 352,000, the lowest level since April 2008 and the biggest drop since September 2005. The prior claims data was revised up to 402,000 from the previously reported 399,000.

  13. rikyrah says:

    GENERAL MOTORS:

    once again the World’s Largest Automaker.

    YES YES YES

    and, once again, I will quote Willard Romney:

    LET DETROIT GO BANKRUPT.

    the ads write themselves.

  14. rikyrah says:

    January 19, 2012 2:15 PM

    Romney’s stashed cash in the Caymans

    Following up on an earlier item, as if there weren’t enough questions involving taxes swirling around Mitt Romney, his offshore accounts make his tax returns that much more important.

    The Romney campaign has pushed back against the reports this morning, arguing that the Republican is not using his offshore strategy to avoid U.S. taxes. The Wall Street Journal reports the campaign’s line is dubious.

    Tax experts said some of the offshore holdings are likely intended to help Mr. Romney avoid paying an obscure but hefty tax of as much as 35% on some of those investments, held in a tax-deferred retirement account.

    As The Wall Street Journal reported in Thursday’s paper, many of Mr. Romney’s offshore investments are held through his individual retirement account, which has grown to between $20.7 million and $101.6 million. IRAs are tax-deferred accounts, in which earnings accrue tax-free until the money is withdrawn during retirement.

    Mr. Romney’s IRA has grown so large, it appears, due to investments in various vehicles managed by Bain Capital, the investment fund he helped found in 1984. His latest financial disclosure report, filed in August, shows that many of the IRAs assets are in Bain-affiliated entities located offshore, including one in the Cayman Islands that the report listed as having a value of between $5 million and $25 million.

    The WSJ report added that if those funds were in the U.S., Romney would likely have been subjected to an obscure levy called the “unrelated business income tax.” By going offshore, Romney is avoiding the tax bill.

    It’s hard to say with confidence exactly what Romney’s up to with these investments since he won’t release his returns and as the AP added, “Neither Romney nor his campaign are providing details, including how much he has invested there, or why, or if any of his money is invested elsewhere outside the United States.”

    But the story itself has the potential to do some real damage to Romney. Even if we assume the typical voter doesn’t know or care about the nuances of offshore banking strategies, I suspect when the American mainstream hears “guy who keeps money in the Caymans,” questions about trust necessarily follow.

    It’s also part of a larger picture. Again, the Republican frontrunner amassed a vast fortune after laying off thousands of American workers, he now pays a lower tax rate than most of the middle class, he wants to give himself another tax cut, he owns multiple luxury homes, and stashes cash in the Caymans — all while pursuing an agenda that would make things tougher on American’s working class.

    And the same guy wants to keep the details from the public and refuses to release his tax returns.

    I know a lot of news outlets are interested in Marianne Gingrich today, but Romney’s offshore accounts seem like a much bigger deal.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/index.php

  15. Michelle Obama To Appear On ‘Tonight Show’

    http://m.deadline.com/2012/01/michelle-obama-to-appear-on-tonight-show/

    It will be Michelle Obama’s late-night debut as the First Lady when she appears on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno on Tuesday, January 31. She originally did a segment in October 2008, just before her husband was elected president. Obama is expected to talk about her “Let’s Move” children’s health campaign among other topics, but her appearance also happens to be the same day as the GOP holds its Florida primary in the crucial state. She will be in town for a fundraiser she is scheduled to attend that day at the home of Nicole Avant and Ted Sarandos. The Tonight Show is a favorite late-night hangout for Michelle’s husband, President Barack Obama, who has visited with Leno twice, most recently in October.

  16. Ametia says:

    Lord, DELIVER US FROM THIS EVIL MAN.

  17. rikyrah says:

    And Gingrich Takes the Lead
    Josh Marshall January 19, 2012, 12:11 PM

    We’ve had a small avalanche of new polls come out of South Carolina this morning. The very latest is one from PPP. They’re doing what I understand is a two night poll. Last night was the first night and they’ve released that data as what amounts to a stand-alone poll, albeit with a pretty small sample size. This poll from just last night has Gingrich ahead of Romney by 6 points. This is one of four polls that were completed only last night — three of four of which have Gingrich in the lead.

    The TPM Poll Average for South Carolina is now Gingrich 32%, Romney 31.5%, Paul 14.6%, Santorum 11.5%.

    In truth, Gingrich’s momentum looks so overwhelming the only thing that could stop him would be a last minute tell-all interview from an ex-wife saying he wanted to have an open marriage.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2012/01/and_gingrich_takes_the_lead.php?ref=fpblg

  18. rikyrah says:

    Why are Obama’s critics so dumb?

  19. Ametia says:

    President Obama, Rick Perry just dropped out of the GOP Presidential race and will endorse Newty Newt Gingrich.

    What are you going to do next?

  20. rikyrah says:

    Yes, Romney Could Lose, Ctd

    And so the race is suddenly fluid again, as South Carolina works its usual magic. Palin and Perry have now put their weight behind Gingrich; that might lead to an evangelical surge away from Santorum to Newt. But wait! More drama: Newt’s ex-wife is going on Nightline tonight to say that Gingrich asked her to stay married for public appearances but allow him to keep his relationship with Callista, Super-Catholic, as well. What will Father McCloskey make of that? Jesus:


    Marianne said Gingrich conducted his affair from “my bedroom in our apartment in Washington” and during the time he led the impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton—a time when Marianne defended his ethics. She said Gingrich proceeded with the divorce only months after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, when a doctor had advised she not have any stress. At the time of the divorce, Marianne said Gingrich told her that Callista was “going to help him become president.”

    I have no problem with how people want to arrange their marriages however they want; it’s their business, not mine. And I find Newt’s ex-wife timing on this pretty bitter. Hell hath no fury … I guess. But coming from the man who made a career out of trashing the Clintons’ marriage, it’s a little rich. Will that stop Newt’s surge?As Bubble would note, who can say?

    Meanwhile, the anti-Romney rhetoric is still white-hot. John Hawkins, of Right Wing News, doesn’t hold back:


    If you were trying to come up with the most atrocious candidate imaginable to go toe-to-toe with Barack Obama in 2012, you couldn’t do much better than Mitt Romney. He was an unpopular moderate governor who lost 2 out of the 3 major elections he’s run in and whose signature issue Romneycare is an enormous failure. Moreover, he’s so uninspiring that he makes Bob Dole look like Ronald Reagan and that’s before you consider his incessant flip-flopping that makes it impossible to really know where he stands on any issue. Romney’s candidacy also runs counter to almost every political trend in the book right now. He’s the antithesis of everything the Tea Party stands for — a moderate establishment-endorsed, principle-free Rockefeller Republican. On the other hand, he’s like a bad guy straight out of central casting for the Occupy Wall Street crowd, a conscience-free 1 percenter who makes $10,000 bets and lectures the public about how corporations are people — while hordes of poor and middle class Americans that he fired trail in his wake telling tales of woe about how Romney made their lives into a living hell.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/01/quote-for-the-day-7.html

  21. rikyrah says:

    January 19, 2012 11:25 AM

    ‘Socialist’ used to mean something

    By Steve Benen

    The latest national New York Times/CBS News poll has plenty of interesting tidbits, but reader J.F. flags some numbers I’d overlooked.

    Way into the poll — page 26, question 85 — respondents were asked, “How would you mainly describe the policies Barack Obama has pursued as president — as socialist, liberal, moderate, conservative or libertarian?” As near as I can tell, it’s pretty unusual for a major national poll to give respondents some of these choices.

    Here’s what people had to say:

    Socialist: 26%
    Liberal: 22%
    Moderate: 28%
    Conservative: 6%
    Libertarian: 4%
    DK/NA: 15%

    I suspect for some of President Obama’s critics on the left, the fact that nearly half the country perceives him as either a “liberal” or a “socialist” must be maddening.

    But even putting that aside, it appears we’ve reached the point at which “socialist” has lost any of its meaning. No sane person could believe the president wants public control over the means of production and an end to modern capitalism. The notion that this reflects Obama’s ideology isn’t just wrong; it’s loony-tunes crazy.

    The problem, though, is that Republican candidates and office-holders — who also don’t know what “socialist” means — have decided the “s” word is synonymous with “really liberal,” so they keep repeating the line over and over again. Some even seem to believe their own rhetoric.

    Of course, “really liberal” also doesn’t apply to the president, making this that much more bizarre.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2012_01/socialist_used_to_mean_somethi034851.php

  22. rikyrah says:

    Obama: Weak Job Ratings, But Positive Personal Image
    Michelle Obama’s Popularity Undiminished

    Barack Obama begins his fourth year in office facing a struggling economy, an unhappy public, and a lower job approval rating than most of his recent predecessors at a comparable point in their presidencies. In fact, Obama’s job rating today is a bit more negative than it was in December: 48% disapprove of his performance as president while 44% approve.

    George W. Bush began his reelection year with a 56% job approval rating; Bill Clinton’s approval rating was 50% in January 1996. Obama’s current mark is closer to George H. W. Bush’s in January 1992 (46% approved, 43% disapproved).

    Obama continues to struggle among political independents: Just 37% of independents approve of the way he is handling his job as president while 56% disapprove. George H. W. Bush had a similar approval rating (39%). But Obama’s disapproval rating among independents is higher than Bush’s, and much higher than either Clinton’s or George W. Bush’s.

    Nonetheless, Obama possesses political strengths at the start of his reelection year, notably a positive personal image. Large majorities say Obama stands up for his beliefs (75%), cares about people like them (61%) and is trustworthy (61%). And while perceptions of Obama’s leadership have declined over time, on balance more say he is a strong leader than disagree (52% vs. 45%).

    The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Jan. 11-16 among 1,502 adults, finds that Obama’s personal image is much stronger than GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney’s. Currently, 51% say they have a favorable opinion of Obama while 45% have an unfavorable view. Romney’s favorability with the public stands at just 31%, while his unfavorable rating is as high as Obama’s (45%). (For more on the GOP primary and general election, see “Unpopular Nationally, Romney Holds Solid GOP Lead,” Jan. 18, 2012).

    The survey also finds that Michelle Obama remains broadly popular with the public. Currently 66% say they have a favorable opinion of Michelle Obama while just 21% have an unfavorable view. Favorable opinions of the first lady have declined only modestly – by 10 points – since peaking at 76% early in her first year in the White House. In contrast, Barack Obama’s personal favorability has fallen by 22 points (from 73% to 51%) during this period.

    The public’s views of the legacy of the Obama presidency reflect his mixed job approval ratings. About as many say Obama will be an unsuccessful (32%) as a successful president (27%), with a plurality (39%) saying it is too soon to tell. Similarly, about equal percentages think the failures of the Obama administration will outweigh its accomplishments (44%) as say its accomplishments will outweigh its failures (43%). On both measures, Obama is seen less positively than George W. Bush was at about the same point in his first term.

    http://www.people-press.org/2012/01/19/obama-begins-year-four-with-weak-job-ratings-but-positive-personal-image/

  23. rikyrah says:

    Upon Release of New Poll, Veterans Call on Romney to Release Taxes
    By VoteVets.org | Press Release
    PUBLISHED: January 18, 2012

    Washington, DC – A new poll being released today shows, among other things, that voters in key battleground states care more about raising taxes on the rich to avoid gaps in funding for troops, than they do as a simple matter of fairness. VoteVets.org, which commissioned the poll, is calling on Mitt Romney to release his taxes to satisfy the military, veterans, and those voters, that he is paying his fair share.

    The poll was conducted in 11 battleground states, and found that on many issues – including jobs, Social Security, and taxes – key voters are more moved about concerns of veterans and troops than they are by many traditional messages from politicians. A summary of the poll’s findings can be found here: http://votevets.org/pages/?id=0048

    VoteVets.org said that given the fact that nearly half of the voters in these states care about the rich paying fair taxes to prevent cuts in funding for troops, it is important for Mitt Romney to release his taxes, to prove he has made a fair contribution. VoteVets.org has launched a petition to its over 100,000 members, asking them to join the group’s call in a petition to be delivered to Romney.

    “At a time when our men and women in uniform are putting their lives on the line for America, and paying taxes, we need to know if Mitt Romney is making a fair contribution to America, our troops, and our veterans,” said Jon Soltz, Iraq War Veteran, and Chairman of VoteVets.org. “We need to know if, as a multi-millionaire, he is paying his fair share to provide for our troops in the field, and their care when they come home. It would be extremely disconcerting to have someone running to be Commander in Chief who is paying a lower tax rate than the majority of our troops and military retirees.”

    All indications are that Mitt Romney has no income other than on investments, and only pays taxes on those. On his capital gains, for example, Romney could be paying as little as 15 percent in taxes. That would put his tax rate on par with many enlisted personnel with six years or less of service, meaning he pays a lower rate than most career military members, enlisted and officers. Of course, Romney may have a lot of money off-shore, on which he pays no tax, meaning as a percentage of his total income, he may pay less in taxes than any member of the military.

    In comparison, while he’s been President, President Obama paid 31.3 percent, 31.9 percent and 25.3 percent in taxes in 2008, 2009, and 2010, respectively.

    “These are questions that have to be answered. It isn’t an outrageous request for military members and veterans to make – to ask someone running for President if he or she is paying his fair share to help troops and veterans, or if he or she is paying as little as possible, leading to talk about budget cuts that would hurt troops and veterans,” Soltz concluded.

    Founded in 2006, and backed by over 100,000 members, the mission of VoteVets.org is to use public issue campaigns and direct outreach to lawmakers to ensure that troops abroad have what they need to complete their missions, and receive the care they deserve when they get home. VoteVets.org also recognizes veterans as a vital part of the fabric of our country and will work to protect veterans’ interests in their day-to-day lives. VoteVets.org is committed to the destruction of terror networks around the world – with force when necessary – to protect America. While non-partisan, the group is the largest progressive organization of veterans in America.

    http://votevets.org/news/releases?id=0478

  24. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    January 19, 2012 9:35 AM

    Rick Perry to exit stage right
    By Steve Benen

    In September, Rick Perry entered the Republican presidential race to significant fanfare. Finally, conservatives thought, they had a credible alternative they could trust, and who could save the party from a Mitt Romney nomination. The Texas governor was, as was widely discussed at the time, the “savior candidate” the GOP had been waiting for.

    After rocketing to the front of the pack in the early fall, Perry stumbled badly, and his campaign deteriorated as time went on. With his support in shambles, leading right-wing voices, including Laura Ingraham and Erick Erickson, have been urging the three-time governor to exit the race.

    Today, Perry will follow their advice.

    Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is poised to end his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, according to two Republicans close to Mr. Perry, a decision that comes two days before the South Carolina primary.

    Mr. Perry will not participate in the debate here on Thursday evening, an aide said, and will make the announcement to supporters and contributors in South Carolina at an 11 a.m. press conference. He had been aggressively campaigning across the state, hoping that the first Southern primary would revive his candidacy.

    CNN is reporting the same thing. Politico reports that Perry will also endorse Newt Gingrich.

    There can be no doubt this is the right move for Perry and the right. The Texas governor invested millions in Iowa before coming in a distant fifth; he didn’t even make it to 1% in New Hampshire; and he’s running dead last nationally and in South Carolina. There was simply no scenario in which Perry could recover and win the Republican nomination.

    In fact, his mere presence served to help the one candidate Perry finds most offensive: Romney. As the GOP field now shrinks from five candidates to four, the frontrunner suddenly has a little more to worry about in advance of South Carolina — Perry’s support, though modest, will very likely shift to Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, not Romney.

    As for Perry, I suspect the conventional wisdom will be that it was his debate performances that did him in, most notably his infamous “oops” moment. But I think a closer look at what transpired in September and October will show it was immigration policy — the in-state tuition, followed by the governor’s “have a heart” comment — that largely caused his precipitous decline.

    That said, if it was immigration that pushed Perry down, what kept him from recovering were his flaws: the guy just wasn’t prepared for a presidential campaign, could never quite explain why he should be president, and wasn’t willing to do his homework to ensure he knew what he was talking about.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2012_01/rick_perry_to_exit_stage_right034848.php

  25. Hat tip: Rikyrah

    The Movie Red Tails, about the Tuskegee Airmen opens January 20th.

    http://www.jackandjillpolitics.com/2012/01/thursday-open-thread-182/#disqus_thread

    Here is some history about the Tuskegee Airmen.

    Who we are:

    In spite of adversity and limited opportunities, African Americans have played a significant role in U.S. military history over the past 300 years. They were denied military leadership roles and skilled training because many believed they lacked qualifications for combat duty. Before 1940, African Americans were barred from flying for the U.S. military. Civil rights organizations and the black press exerted pressure that resulted in the formation of an all African-American pursuit squadron based in Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1941. They became known as the Tuskegee Airmen.

    More..

  26. Bain vs. Detroit

  27. President Obama Heads to Disney World to Talk Tourism Jobs http://n360.to/zvz8yM

  28. President Obama: Romney Foreign Policy Attacks Will Wither in ‘Serious Debate’

    http://swampland.time.com/2012/01/18/president-obama-romney-foreign-policy-attacks-will-wither-in-serious-debate/?hpt=hp_t1

    President Obama dismissed Republican rival Mitt Romney’s critiques of his foreign policy credentials Wednesday in an exclusive TIME interview, saying the GOP frontrunner’s attacks are little more than primary posturing that will wither under the glare of “a serious debate.”

    “I think Mr. Romney and the rest of the Republican field are going to be playing to their base until the primary season is over,” Obama told TIME’s Fareed Zakaria during a White House interview that will appear in the next issue of TIME magazine. “Overall, I think it’s going to be pretty hard to argue that we have not executed a strategy over the last three years that has put America in a stronger position than it was than when I came into office.”

  29. It’s Showtime..

  30. Ametia says:

    Jill Biden writes kids’ book, a tribute to troops

    Jill Biden, after years of teaching English to college and high school students, has written a book of her own.
    By HILLEL ITALIE-AP National Writer

    Jill Biden, after years of teaching English to college and high school students, has written a book of her own.

    The wife of Vice President Joe Biden has completed a children’s story, “Don’t Forget, Nana, God Bless Our Troops,” told from the point of view of granddaughter Natalie Biden and a tribute to soldiers and their families. Biden, called Nana by her granddaughter, has met with many military families and said she thought of doing the book as she realized how many people did not understand their experiences. The story is especially personal because son Beau Biden, Delaware’s attorney general and a major in the state’s Army National Guard, spent a year in Iraq.

    “I really feel that you write your best about what you know best,” Jill Biden, who taught in Delaware before moving to Washington, said Tuesday during a brief telephone interview with The Associated Press. “That’s what I teach to my students, so I thought using my own experience would have a little more meaning and a little more heart to it.”

    The book will be published June 5 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and will be illustrated by Raul Colon, who has worked on stories by Frank McCourt and Libba Moore Gray

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/entertainment/2017263021_apusbooksjillbiden.html?syndication=rss

  31. Ametia says:

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry has told supporters he is dropping his Republican presidential bid Thursday, two sources told CNN. Perry’s campaign has scheduled an 11 a.m. ET news conference Thursday in North Charleston, South Carolina.

    Perry entered the Republican race in August and immediately jumped to the top of most polls, but a series of poor performances in debates sent his numbers crashing in subsequent surveys.

    After a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses, Perry announced he was returning to Texas to “reassess” his campaign but decided a few days later to continue and concentrate his efforts on South Carolina, which holds its primary Saturday.

    Perry virtually skipped last week’s New Hampshire primary, where he finished last with 1% of the vote. Most polls in South Carolina show Perry trailing the field, with his poll numbers in single digits.

    Watch complete coverage of Perry’s news conference on CNN.com and on CNN TV with analysis from Wolf B litzer, Candy Crowley, John King, Gloria Borger and Suzanne Malveaux.
    Watch live coverage now on http://CNN.com/Live

  32. rikyrah says:

    Obama campaign taps Stefanie Brown to lead black voter outreach
    The Barack Obama re-election campaign on Wednesday named a 31-year-old former field director for the NAACP to be African-American Vote Director for the campaign’s Operation Vote outreach effort.

    Stefanie Brown, formerly the national field director for the NAACP in Baltimore, Maryland, will direct the campaign’s black voter outreach efforts. Operation Vote is the campaign’s national drive to get black, female, Latino, LGBT, veteran and young voters to the polls. Obama won an overwhelming majority of black votes in 2008, and most experts believe he’ll need a similar groundswell among African-Americans to win in November.

    Brown, a graduate of Howard University, served as both national field director and head of the NAACP’s Youth & College division. As national field director, she is credited with leading an effort that the NAACP says registered more than 200,000 voters for the 2008 and 2010 elections.

    The Ohio native and former program coordinator for an HIV/AIDS prevention program focusing on at-risk black and Hispanic youth in Cleveland, was named one of Essence.com’s “Top 10 Emerging Political Leaders of 2010” and was among Ebony magazine’s “Top 30 Young Leaders under the Age of 30” in 2007.

    “Stefanie has dedicated her life to empowering people of color to organize and advocate for justice and equality in their communities,” Obama campaign Manager Jim Messina said in a statement Wednesday. “She is a natural fit for a campaign who’s fueled by its grassroots strength. Stefanie’s youth, commitment and proven ability to mobilize and energize voters will be an invaluable asset to the campaign.”

    The campaign also released a statement from Brown:

    “Words cannot express how humbled and excited I am to join the Obama For America Campaign to re-elect President Barack Obama. African American voters were among the president’s strongest supporters in 2008 and I am thrilled to help build that fervor again for 2012. The president is going to need our community more than ever this year and I look forward to working together to win a victory on November 6th.”

    http://www.thegrio.com/politics/obama-campaign-taps-31-year-old-to-lead-black-voter-outreach.php

  33. rikyrah says:

    Jobless claims near 4-year low, inflation muted
    The number of Americans filing for new jobless benefits dropped to a near four-year low last week, pointing to some building up of momentum in the labor market and the economy.

    But the upbeat economic outlook was dampened by other data on Thursday showing a drop in new residential construction in December after hefty gains the prior month.

    Initial claims for state unemployment benefits plunged 50,000 to a seasonally adjusted 352,000, the lowest level since April 2008, the Labor Department said.

    That was the largest drop since September 2005 and took claims within spitting distance of the 350,000 mark that economists say would signal strong job growth.

    The four-week moving average of claims, considered to be a better measure of labor market trends, dropped 3,500 to 379,000 last week. Analysts had expected initial claims to fall only to 385,000.

    “We have to see if there are some seasonality issues involved here, but on the surface this number looks to be very positive and is pretty much consistent with other data we’ve seen recently that suggest improvement in underlying fundamentals in the U.S.,” said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/19/us-usa-economy-idUSTRE7BM0AB20120119

  34. rikyrah says:

    What If Voters Just Don’t Like Mitt Romney?

    Benjy Sarlin & Kyle Leighton January 19, 2012, 5:35 AM

    Mitt Romney may be on the verge of securing the nomination, but his campaign is still struggling with a pretty basic problem as it looks towards the general election: people just don’t like him very much.

    Romney’s never been the kind of candidate to draw legions of screaming fans, but new polling over the last week show a troubling trend for him — his personal favorability numbers are taking a hit. On Tuesday Public Policy Polling (D) showed Romney with a favorability split well into the negative, with 35 percent of general election voters seeing him positively and 53 unfavorably. On Wednesday, the Pew Research center released similar numbers: a 33 – 47 split nationally.

    While Republican voters are starting to come around to his candidacy, the rest of the country doesn’t seem too pleased with what they see. Romney’s lost six points on favorability among independent voters since Pew’s last poll in November, leading to a 13 point gap on the metric, 33 – 45. The TPM Poll Average of Romney’s national favorability now shows a 5.8 deficit, and his unfavorability has risen ten points during the last two and half months in our numbers.

    http://pragmaticobotsunite.blogspot.com/2012/01/thursday-open-thread-dr-king-meets.html

  35. rikyrah says:

    We’ll Just Call It A Tie
    by Zandar

    In an example of just how terribly corrupt Republican party officials are, the official, certified results of the Iowa caucus are finally in and Rick Santorum actually won by 23 votes. The Iowa GOP has decided to call it a tie instead. Josh Marshall:


    The rationale for calling this a tie, according to the Des Moines Register, which has the story as an exclusive, is that 8 precincts’ numbers are lost permanently and will never be certified. So in practice it’s a tie, too close to call, etc. That of course probably applies to pretty much all recount type elections — Bush v Gore, maybe Franken v. Coleman, etc. The vagueries of the process itself is too imprecise in some sense to tell you who ‘won’ in some Platonic (the other sense of the word) sense. But in normal elections where the people holding it aren’t deeply invested in not letting one guy win we have a name for that kind of situation — Rick Santorum won.

    Of course, it’s unlikely to do Santorum much good at this point. And he probably just was never a good enough, or viable enough, candidate to have truly shifted his fortunes even if it had come out on caucus night. But it’s worth speculating how the news would have affected Romney’s momentum. A win is a win, as the state GOP of Iowa seems to have a hard time now accepting. And even though it was razor close, Romney came out of Iowa with a win. And after a rout in New Hampshire he had two ‘wins’. And together those shifted where the race was pretty decisively by mid-January, finally forcing a lot of Republicans with Mitt-commitment issues to get on board.


    In other words, the call in Iowa then made Mitt all but inevitable now. It’ll be interesting to see how the Republicans react to this on the road. If Mitt wins Saturday, it’s over. But would he have done worse if Santorum had been rightfully declared the winner in Iowa? The Iowa GOP is saying that several precincts lost their votes so there’s no way to know if Santorum’s 23 vote lead is really true:

    Results from eight precincts are missing — any of which could hold an advantage for Mitt Romney — and will never be recovered and certified, Republican Party of Iowa officials told The Des Moines Register on Wednesday.

    We’ll never know. Republicans aren’t terribly interested in facts, just results. Remember that the next time they play the ACORN/UNION THUGS/BLACK PANTHERS card and say Democrats are cheaters.

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/01/19/well-just-call-it-a-tie/

  36. rikyrah says:

    Progressives and Evaluating the President
    Posted on 01/19/2012 at 7:19 am by Bob Cesca

    I am no one’s disciple. However, any attempt at an objective view of both the progressive and broader accomplishments of the Obama administration has been histrionically, unfairly and chronically mislabeled as the blind allegiance of an “Obamabot” or “Obama apologist.” Therefore, because I’ve been attempting to observe the successes and failures of President Obama and peg them according to both historical precedent and modern political reality, I’ve been accordingly mislabeled.

    That said, the goal of this essay isn’t to antagonize or kneejerk in reaction to the most caustic anti-Obama attackers, or to acquiesce to their misguided view of the president and his achievements. In fact, I’ve been struggling recently to come up with a line of reasoning that will facilitate a sort of Progressive Détente. This post is meant to continue and expand that process — perhaps in futility, perhaps not.

    Like Melissa Harris Perry and others before him, Andrew Sullivan is this week’s target of anti-Obama attacks from both flanks of the political debate regarding his cover story for Newsweek in which he makes a case for the successes of the Obama presidency and how critics are missing the big picture — the “long-view.” Far-right fire eaters, in particular Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly and Sarah Palin, have been dismissing Sullivan’s post offhandedly because of Sullivan’s so-called “Trig Truther” questions about whether Palin actually gave birth to Trig (I hasten to note that the Trig issue is Sullivan’s fight and not mine). On the other end of the continuum, anti-Obama progressives have been critical of Sullivan’s omission of things like “secret kill lists” and drone attacks.

    Much like my view of President Obama’s record, I don’t agree with everything Sullivan wrote. Specifically, I disagree with the general point that, according to Sullivan, President Obama is a moderate, centrist president. At the risk of begged an “I knew it!” reaction from conservatives, I firmly believe the president has chiefly governed with the same worldview outlined in his second book, The Audacity of Hope: a center-left agenda pursued with a measured, pragmatic strategy. On a finer point, I also disagree with Sullivan’s assertion that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) codified the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens. It most certainly did not. The NDAA simply didn’t ban it. There’s a difference. Because a procedure isn’t banned doesn’t make it suddenly codified.

    I hate to have to preface anything with qualifiers like this, but, likewise, I disagree with the president on a number of things despite firmly believing that his record has been successful within the frame of progressivism as well as within the frame of the average American voter. Since it’s mandatory to do so in order to be taken seriously these days in certain progressive circles, I vocally spoke out against the debt deal and cautioned that spending cuts would harm economic growth. I argued against anti-gay preacher Rick Warren delivering the invocation at the inauguration. At every mention, I’ve opposed the continuation of the war on terror and, with it, indefinite detention. I opposed the president signing the four-year renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act. The expansion of TSA body scanners is an on-going source of disgust. I can’t get beyond the fact that Joe Biden supported the Bush-era bankruptcy bill. I have repeatedly spoken out against the president repeating the meme that tax cuts create jobs. I wasn’t happy with the signing of the NDAA, though not for all of the reasons anti-Obama critics have (often erroneously) enumerated. Oh, and I once wrote a piece here comparing the president to Marty McFly, for crying out loud. The “fits nicely into 140 characters” reaction that I’m a so-called Obamabot is, at best, inaccurate.

    http://bobcesca.com/blog-archives/2012/01/progressives-and-evaluating-the-president.html

  37. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    January 19, 2012 8:00 AM
    Romney’s offshore accounts draw scrutiny
    By Steve Benen

    With Mitt Romney still refusing to release his tax returns, we can only speculate as to why he’s so afraid of disclosure. The widely held assumption has been that the Republican frontrunner is embarrassed by his “15% problem” — the multi-millionaire takes advantage of existing tax loopholes to pay lower tax rates than millions of middle-class workers.

    But that’s not the only thing Romney’s returns might show. Reuters’ Sam Youngman reported on a related issue:

    His vast fortune is invested in dozens of funds linked to Bain Capital LLC, the powerhouse private equity firm he co-founded and led for 15 years. Several Bain funds have offshore connections and take advantage of tax breaks used only by the U.S. financial elite.

    His tax returns could shed light on how Romney and Bain use offshore strategies to avoid taxes, said Daniel Berman, a former U.S. Treasury deputy international tax counsel and now director of tax at Boston University’s graduate tax program.

    Bain funds in which Romney is invested are scattered from Delaware to the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, Ireland and Hong Kong, according to a Reuters analysis of securities filings

    Greg Sargent followed up with Berman, who added this may help explain Romney’s intention to maybe release one year’s returns, but keep previous years secret.

    “It is interesting that he is offering to release tax returns that have not yet been filed — he may have anticipated this and done some restructuring of his investments in time for them to be reported on the 2011 return,” Berman said.

    “The fact of participating in certain offshore structures would have to be disclosed,” Berman continued. “And it could be that he’s disinclined to release past returns because they very well may disclose that he participated in offshore investment structures.”

    It’s worth clarifying that no one has accused Romney of doing anything illegal. Plenty of very wealthy Americans take advantage of offshore strategies. That’s not a crime.

    For that matter, without more information, we don’t know what kind of tax benefit, if any, Romney enjoyed from offshore accounts.

    But it doesn’t exactly help paint a picture of Romney as a “man of the people,” and it serves as a reminder of the importance of the tax returns the former governor is so eager to keep hidden. It now appears we have a Republican frontrunner who amassed a vast fortune after laying off thousands of American workers, wants to give himself another tax cut, owns multiple luxury homes, and stashes cash in the Caymans — all while pursuing an agenda that would make things tougher on American’s working class.

    It’s not surprising, then, that the National Review wants those returns immediately: “It is critical that Romney release his tax records now, that voters might ‘take a look and decide if we’ve got a flawed candidate. We know that should Romney become the nominee, he will be criticized over the sources of his wealth and will have to effectively respond. Republican primary voters deserve to see whether he can do so before they vote.”

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2012_01/romneys_offshore_accounts_draw034846.php

    • rikyrah says:

      I haven’t seen this asked yet, but W-T-F did Romney think he was gonna do in 2008, if he had won the GOP Nomination? did his arrogant ass really think he wasn’t gonna have to release his tax returns?

      and, he’s been running since 2007…this mofo is actually arrogant enough not to have been planning for this situation?

      • Ametia says:

        Bingo; this mofo is just that arrogant and self-privileged to beleive he can just glide all up into the White House without scrutiny over his aquired wealth.

  38. dannie22 says:

    Good morning!

  39. Rachel Maddow- GOPs (1) southern strategy rises again

  40. AP Source: ABC Interviewed Gingrich Ex-Wife

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/ap-source-abc-interviewed-gingrich-wife-15390315

    ABC News interviewed Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich’s second wife — with whom he’s said he has no relationship — and is likely to air the segment Thursday on “Nightline,” an ABC News executive told The Associated Press.

    That’s two days before the South Carolina primary, where the former House speaker is trying to topple GOP front-runner Mitt Romney by casting himself as the more conservative option.

    The ABC News executive did not indicate what the ex-wife, Marianne Gingrich, said in the interview. The executive spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plans for airing the interview were tentative.

    The interview, should it air before Saturday’s primary, would shine a spotlight on a part of Gingrich’s past that could turn off Republican voters in a state filled with religious and cultural conservatives who may cringe at Gingrich’s two divorces and acknowledged infidelity.

    Marianne Gingrich has said Gingrich proposed to her before the divorce from his first wife was final in 1981, and they were married six months later. Marianne’s marriage to Gingrich ended in divorce in 2000, and Gingrich admitted he’d already taken up with Callista Bisek, a former congressional aide who would become his third wife. The speaker who pilloried President Bill Clinton for his affair with Monica Lewinsky was himself having an affair at the time.

  41. Support For Renominating Obama Reaches An All Time High

    http://www.politicususa.com/en/renominate-obama

    The narrative that Obama is losing the base was debunked by a new CNN poll which found that support for the renomination of the president has tied an all-time high.

    The CNN poll found that overall 81% of those surveyed thought that the Democratic Party should nominate Obama again. Only 18% of respondents thought that the Democratic Party should go with a different candidate. Eighty one percent of both Democratic men and women support Obama running for a second term as the Democratic nominee. Non-white Democrats (84%) supported the president more than white Democrats (78%).

    Those under age 50 supported the renomination of Obama (83%) a bit more than those over 50 (78%). Democrats making less than $50,000 a year support renominating Obama five points less (78%) than those who earn over $50,000 a year (83%). Despite the claims by some who believe that Obama is too moderate, more liberals than moderates believe that he should be nominated again, (91%-76%). By a margin of 84%-16% Democrats believed that Obama should be the Democratic nominee in 2012. Independents also think that Obama should again be at the top of the Democratic ticket, (75%-23%).

  42. Hey, 3Chics!

    Check out Joseph Haskins on Apollo kids. The child can work it out.

    Go, Joseph!

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