Sunday Open Thread

Jennifer Kate Hudson (born September 12, 1981) is an American recording artist, actress and spokesperson.[2] She came to prominence in 2004 as one of the finalists on the third season of American Idol coming in seventh place. She made her film debut in the 2006 film Dreamgirls, which won her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award, an NAACP Image Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

She won a Grammy Award for her eponymous debut album, Jennifer Hudson, which was released in 2008 on Arista Records and was certified gold by the RIAA for selling over 800,000 copies in the US; sales exceeded 1 million copies worldwide. Additionally, it spawned the hit single Spotlight.

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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33 Responses to Sunday Open Thread

  1. Faces of Change: Lilly Ledbetter’s Equal Pay Story

  2. Caroline Kennedy Endorses President Obama

    Four years ago today, I joined my Uncle Teddy and thousands of excited students at American University to endorse Barack Obama as the next president of the United States.

    Barack Obama had stirred something in young people and the young at heart. I saw the passion in my own teenage children, and I heard it from a different generation of people who said they felt like they did when my father ran for president.

    We felt strongly that we needed to elect a president who urged us to believe in ourselves, who could tie that belief to our highest ideals, and who understood that together we can do great things.

    Four years later, as I think about what first inspired me to support Barack Obama, I’m proud we have a president who has fought hard for the values Teddy held dear, and stood up on issues that matter.

    Will you join me by saying what first inspired you to stand with Barack Obama?

  3. rikyrah says:

    remember this?

  4. rikyrah says:

    Four Sun journalists arrested in investigation into police bribery

    Raid at Wapping offices puts evidence given by former Sun editor Rebekah Brooks to parliament under fresh scrutiny

    The role of the former Sun editor Rebekah Brooks is expected to come under fresh scrutiny after four of the paper’s current and former journalists were arrested on Saturday in connection with an investigation into corrupt payments to police.

    Detectives with Operation Elveden, the Metropolitan Police’s investigation into illegal payments to officers, raided the Sun’s offices in Wapping, east London, morning after receiving information from News Corp, the parent company of News International, which owns the paper. A serving police officer in the Met’s Territorial Policing command was also arrested at his place of work and questioned at a police station.

    In a statement, News Corp said: “Metropolitan Police Service officers from Operation Elveden arrested four current and former employees from the Sun newspaper. Searches have also taken place at the homes and offices of those arrested. News Corporation made a commitment last summer that unacceptable news gathering practices by individuals in the past would not be repeated.”

    It is understood that staff and management at the Sun had no warning of the operation. The four Sun journalists arrested were Mike Sullivan, the paper’s crime editor; the former managing editor, Graham Dudman; an executive editor, Fergus Shanahan; and Chris Pharo, a news desk executive. They all worked under Brooks, who edited the Sun from January 2003 to September 2009, when she became chief executive of News International.

    In 2011 Brooks wrote to parliament’s home affairs select committee saying that she had no “knowledge of any specific cases” involving News International reporters paying the police. This was an attempt to clarify comments that she made to the culture, media and sport committee in March 2003 when she declared: “We have paid the police for information in the past.”

    Paul Farrelly MP, a member of the committee, said: “The law must take its course. We have been clear all along that allegations of criminal behaviour involving journalists extend far beyond phone hacking.”

    Elveden was launched on the back of Operation Weeting, the inquiry into phone hacking. The phone hacking scandal led to the closure of the News of the World after 168 years, prompted a major public inquiry, and forced the resignation of the Met’s two most senior police officers.

    Two other journalists, Lucy Panton of the News of the World and Sun district editor, Jamie Pyatt, were arrested in connection with Elveden last year. A Scotland Yard spokesman said that Saturday’s operation was the result of information provided by News Corp. “It relates to suspected payments to police officers and is not about seeking journalists to reveal confidential sources in relation to information that has been obtained legitimately,” the spokesman said.

  5. Ametia says:

    And, on a more serious note:

    We are reminded on evenings like this that for all our differences, we are bound by something greater. Sometimes we’re going to disagree. We’re going to do battle, politically, from time to time. That’s the nature of our democracy. But let us never forget the extraordinary privilege that we share as Americans, and the responsibility that we all have, as leaders, to the continued success of this country that’s made so many of our stories possible.

  6. Ametia says:

    Posted at 05:30 AM ET, 01/29/2012
    President Obama cracks jokes at elite Alfalfa Club dinner
    By The Reliable Source

    Well, look who decided to come around! President Obama, whose White House years have been marked by a careful avoidance of so many black-tie Beltway traditions, attended the most elite of them all, the annual Alfalfa Club dinner, on Saturday.

    Why? In his remarks at the Capital Hilton, to political and business heavyhitters who’d walked a gantlet of Occupy D.C. protesters to make it to their steak-and-lobster meal, the president explained:

    “You’ve heard it from the pundits: ‘Obama is cloistered in the White House.’ ‘He’s aloof.’ ‘He’s in the bubble.’ ‘He’s not connecting.’ And that’s why one of my big goals this year was to get out and be among everyday, ordinary Americans — like the men and women of the Alfalfa Club.”

    At least my harshest critics can agree I have a promising future — as a Al Green impersonator.

    It is great to see Jeb Bush, who is accepting a nomination for President tonight. I have to say, though, it’s not fair to tease your friends like that.

    And Speaker (John) Boehner, it is good to see you at the head table. I know how badly Eric Cantor wanted your seat. But, John, I want you to know: I am eager to work with members of Congress to be entertaining tonight. But if Congress is unwilling to cooperate, I will be funny without them.

    I’d like to acknowledge a very good friend of mine — Warren Buffet’s secretary’s boss is in the house.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Saturday, January 28, 2012

    Chaffetz Pwned

    by digby

    I’m no fan of Newt Gingrich, but I have to admit that this take down of the obnoxious, Utah Tea Partier, congressman Jason Chaffetz is enjoyable:

    Chaffetz, a Mitt Romney supporter, has been turning up at Gingrich events during the past two days, though he denied in a brief interview with The Hill that he was doing so in order to goad the former Speaker. He said he was merely there to “offer some perspective.”

    But Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond decided it was time to do some goading of his own, as he briefed reporters. Hammond first waved with faux-glee at the Utah congressman and invited him to join the briefing. When Chaffetz ignored him, the spokesman instead marched the press over to where Chaffetz was standing with fellow Romney supporter Bay Buchanan.
    Hammond told Chaffetz that Sen. John McCain, a Romney supporter and former GOP nominee, has expressed distaste for the tactic of having campaign surrogates shadowing an opposing candidate’s events. Chaffetz replied, “I am just here attending.”

    Hammond would not let the matter rest, though, teasing an increasingly uncomfortable Chaffetz that “I didn’t even have to pay at a fundraiser to see you — that’s exciting.”

    Hammond continued for several minutes in a similar vein, asking Chaffetz with fake bonhomie, “Where are you going next? Do you want our schedule for tomorrow? Are you going to join our charter to Tampa?”

    As the barrage continued, an exasperated Chaffetz asked Hammond, “Are you serious?”

    I guess Chaffetz can dish it out but he can’t take it. Newtie and his boys were doing this stuff when young Jason was still drinking sweet liberty tea from his sippy cup. He’s got a long way to go before he can compete with that kind of nasty.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Axelrod: The Question Is Not Whether Romney Played By The Rules

    On Meet the Press, Obama campaign senior strategist David Axelrod explained talked about Romney’s tax returns and the fact that he paid a 13.9% effective tax rate. Asked if Romney broke any rules, Axelrod pushed back. The question is, are the rules right, Axelrod said. And Romney would continue those rules. It’s not right that Romney can me $22 million and pay an effective tax rate as middle income Americans. Just because Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island funds are legal, doesn’t make the tax system right

  9. rikyrah says:

    The Gods Are Laughing at the SCOTUS

    by BooMan
    Sun Jan 29th, 2012 at 10:39:40 AM EST

    In 2008, as volunteers for the Obama campaign, CabinGirl and I went down to Obama headquarters and got a walk sheet on election day. We were assigned to Coatesville, Pennsylvania, and we went out and knocked on the doors of registered Democrats to make sure they had voted or knew where to vote. While we were doing that, we kept tripping over members of the SEIU who were canvassing the same neighborhoods, and for the same purpose. We were needlessly duplicating our efforts and annoying voters at the same time. The problem was created because the Obama campaign couldn’t coordinate with the unions. This year, Republicans are having the same problem on steroids with the Super PACs. Mitt Romney has a traditional campaign. Ron Paul has a hybrid campaign that resembles an underfunded traditional campaign. Santorum and Gingrich are running Super PAC campaigns.

    The super PAC backing Santorum’s presidential campaign, Red White and Blue Fund, has reported spending more than $340,000 on a phone-banking operation it started during the South Carolina primary. It’s placed 1.5 million so-called “voter identification” calls in Florida, and is also targeting Florida voters with three direct mail pieces, touting him as – among other things – “the right choice for Florida Republicans.” And it’s planning to release a memo this week laying out a path through which Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator who’s trailing Romney and Gingrich in polls, can compete for the nomination — precisely the kind of thing that campaigns often do to try to influence media coverage.

    But the super PAC supporting Gingrich, Winning Our Future, has perhaps the most ambitious organizing plans. While it’s only reported spending about $240,000 on phone banking – a tiny fraction of the $6 million it’s spent mostly on ads attacking Romney – it has trumpeted its intention to build a shadow campaign of sorts to boost the former House Speaker. It plans to set up field operations and hire state directors in Florida, Nevada, Minnesota, Arizona and California, and has begun purchasing voter files and courting the state operations built by the now-aborted presidential campaign of Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

    These Super PACs are moving beyond airing negative advertisements to doing the traditional work of political campaigns, but they are not legally allowed to coordinate with the real political campaigns. When they’re buying ads, they can see from public records where the real campaigns are spending money and then fill in the gaps. But they can’t see where the campaigns are sending direct mail or canvassing. They can’t share feedback from the canvassing campaigns, which would allow them to identify households that should not be visited again.

    Even worse, from a political coordinator’s point of view, these Super PACs can’t attract volunteers, so they have to pay for canvassers. This produces door-knockers who are untrained and have no real commitment to the candidate. It’s not only horribly wasteful and inefficient, it is also as likely to alienate voters as to attract them. Voters are getting too much contact, and it’s not quality contact. It’s probably better than nothing, but only barely so.

    I need to go back and read the majority decision in Citizens United so I can mock their reasoning. I wonder what they think now that they can see a campaign like Gingrich’s which has been outsourced almost completely to an unaccountable Super PAC.

  10. Ametia says:

    Where’s that AZZ-whipping grahpic, SG2?

  11. rikyrah says:

    Saturday, January 28, 2012
    Last Call
    Posted by Bon The Geek

    AT&T is still acting like a spoiled brat over the failed T-Mobile merger. They are still taking shots at the Department of Justice and FCC, and in general bringing about some bad press with their whining and moaning. The truth is, they were stupid to put up the earnest money for the deal, and their display of (over)confidence backfired in a most ugly way.

    So why are they insisting on making it worse?

    AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson spoke of higher rates and more restrictions on data users. The FCC did its job, and protected the market. AT&T got caught being shady a couple of times, and it cost them dearly. The failure was not the FCC’s fault. And it sure as hell isn’t the fault of the customers, who pay for a service and expect to receive what they pay for. Stephenson pretty much said tough luck to the customers, they are going to foot the bill for the failed deal. As contracts expire, T-Mobile may come out a winner after all. When AT&T starts putting the squeeze on aggravated customers, the more affordable T-Mobile will attract many customers. Sprint will win over the power users who can’t bear throttling.

    Like many industry dinosaurs, AT&T may be taking themselves a bit too seriously. With competition ready to snap up customers, they are doing little to improve their service. In fact, they’re pissing people off in large numbers.

  12. rikyrah says:

    January 29, 2012 8:00 AM
    The End of the South Carolina Firewall?

    By Elon Green

    In politics, it’s awfully risky to write off or underestimate the relevance of a person or movement. After President Obama was elected, the CW was that the Republican Party would need to moderate itself or face marginalization. Even Paul Krugman, who has a better track record than anyone on earth, warned several weeks before Obama’s inauguration that Republicans “will discover that they need to get in touch with the real ‘real America,’ a country that is more diverse, more tolerant, and more demanding of effective government than is dreamt of in their political philosophy.”

    It turns out that Mr. Krugman was insufficiently cynical, as the GOP neither needed nor wanted to do anything of the kind, choosing instead to exacerbate its myopia in 2010, electing, among others, Rand Paul and Rick Scott. As for tolerance and diversity, the GOP has almost no outreach to the gay community, save for an organization aligned with noted civil rights activist Ann Coulter, and its efforts to bring Hispanics into the fold have been laughable. Effective government? Mitt Romney — considered by the conservative base to be a crypto liberal — brags that as President he’ll immediately repeal the ACA and replace it with…nothing.

    This is a long way of saying that, though political predictions are a tough racket, I’ll happily offer one of my own: When Mitt Romney wins Florida, and subsequently the nomination, South Carolina, long known as “The Firewall”, will cease to be an electorally pivotal station of the cross in the GOP’s nominating process.

    As Michael Scherer put it a few years ago:

    From its inception, the South Carolina Republican primary was meant to disrupt and destroy the flames of political passion. Lee Atwater, the party’s onetime strategic wizard, designed the thing to give conservative southerners a say in the presidential process and offer churchgoers a power line to the White House.

    That’s not what happened this year: by all accounts, conservative southerners had their say with a vengeance when they handed Newt Gingrich a thirteen point win. But that may be as good as it gets: the Palmetto State, rather than being, in Scherer’s words, “the ideal spot for the party establishment to kill an insurgent candidate’s momentum,” will instead be known as host to the insurgents’ last gasp — a slight setback on the road to a massive, establishment-fueled victory.

    This is pie-in-the-sky, sure, but maybe if South Carolina is no longer seen as a must-win for the GOP, its candidates might be less inclined to brutalize each other?

  13. rikyrah says:

    Sun Jan 29, 2012 at 08:00 AM PST
    Mitt Romney’s in between a rock and hard place on taxes+*

    It may be too soon to speculate about the parameters over which the general election campaign will be fought. The Republicans have not yet chosen a nominee. The state of the economy, while improving, is uncertain. There are any number of unknown events that could change the the contours of the campaign on a dime. That being said, events to date have provided a general outline of what the voters can expect. President Obama’s recent speeches aid in providing context. So does the primary election battle between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney his remaining competitors. With all that in mind, considering the most likely scenario presented below, the Republican nominee (most likely Romney) will have found himself by autumn in an untenable political position on a major issue.

    The issue is taxes. Mitt Romney has staked out a position in compliance with the Republican fundamental ideology: taxes must never be raised on anybody, ever, under any circumstances except perhaps the poor. Rather, Romney has adopted the position that taxes are too high and must be lowered, especially for the wealthy. Romney has opposed closing the carried-interest loophole:

    With regard to carried interest associated with venture capital, real estate, private equity, I do not believe in raising taxes. And it is a capital gain because those individuals do make an investment, it’s a small investment, but they make an investment of their own capital and I would treat capital gains as capital gains instead of trying to re-categorize them as normal income.

    Now consider President Obama’s position. The president has staked out territory that defines the tax issue in terms of fairness. His position is that the tax system is unfair and favors the wealthy. He proposes raising taxes on the rich, closing the carried-interest loophole, while keeping middle and working class taxes at current levels.

    Public opinion on this matter is strikingly clear. A December CBS News poll indicated 60 percent of the general public favors raising taxes on the rich. An older Gallup Poll indicated 66 percent agree with raising taxes on the wealthy. An even older CNN poll notes that 63 percent agree with this position. Read as many polls as you like from any time period over the past three years and you will always see the same result: Better than 60 percent of Americans favor raising taxes on the wealthy.

    This puts a person like Mitt Romney in a very, very difficult position in the general election. Taxes are one of the fundamental issues over which elections are fought. Traditionally, Republican nominees have argued that lowering taxes on the rich will produce robust economic growth and job creation, and they have won elections on that message. But Mitt Romney has a problem: Unlike previous Republican nominees, he himself will be a significant, almost outrageous beneficiary of his own tax policy. Additionally, Romney cannot point to any jobs directly created as result of his 2010 tax return. Because Romney does not earn money through work of any sort, he faces the prospect of having to convince better than 60 percent of the public that they are wrong on taxes. He’s also going to have to convince them that he has no personal interest in being right. He will offer a rather striking contrast to President Obama, who agrees with better than 60 percent of the public and consistently offers to pay more without complaint. It will be a political miracle of the first order if Mitt Romney can bring that better than 60 percent number down to 49 percent, considering how solid and consistent it has been over the past three years. Furthermore, recent polling shows that number is firming up, with a clear majority of Americans feeling the wealthy are not paying their fair share. This is particularly true of the carried-interest loophole, which even Rupert Murdoch believes is politically indefensible. Mitt Romney acquired almost all his vast wealth from carried-interest, which means he was taxed on investments other people made as if he had made them himself. This is a very hard place for someone like Mitt Romney, who pays a 14 percent rate of taxation despite millions of dollars in unearned income, to be.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Romney would be among richest presidents ever
    By Connie Cass
    Associated Press
    Posted: 01/28/2012 12:01:00 AM CST
    Updated 11 hours ago

    WASHINGTON – Just how rich is Mitt Romney? Add up the wealth of the last eight presidents, from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama. Then double that number. Now you’re in Romney territory.

    He would be among the richest presidents in American history if elected – probably in the top four.

    He couldn’t top George Washington who, with nearly 60,000 acres and more than 300 slaves, is considered the big daddy of presidential wealth. After that, it gets complicated, depending how you rate Thomas Jefferson’s plantation, Herbert Hoover’s millions from mining or John F. Kennedy’s share of the vast family fortune, as well as the finer points of factors like inflation adjustment.

    But it’s safe to say the Roosevelts had nothing on Romney, and the Bushes are nowhere close.

    The former Massachusetts governor has disclosed only the broad outlines of his wealth, putting it somewhere from $190 million to $250 million. That easily could make him 50 times richer than Obama, who falls in the still-impressive-to-most-of-us range of $2.2 million to $7.5 million.

    “I think it’s almost hard to conceptualize what $250 million means,” said Shamus Khan, a Columbia University sociologist who studies the wealthy. “People say Romney made $50,000 a day while not working last year. What do you do with all that money? I can’t even imagine spending it. Well, maybe …”

    Of course, an unbelievable boatload of bucks is just one way to think of Romney’s net worth, and the 44 U.S. presidents

  15. rikyrah says:

    Jan Brewer tarmac tiff touches nerve in black community, some commentators say

    1/28/12 8:02 AM EST

    Reaction to the Jan Brewer encounter is still bubbling, with some black commentators now suggesting the image of the Arizona governor wagging her finger at the President of the United States has touched a nerve in the African American community.

    On MSNBC Thursday, Al Sharpton posited that Brewer’s treatment of President Obama was another example of disrespect in a list of many for the nation’s first black president. His guest, Sirius XM host Joe Madison, said such incidents show that there are people “who cannot stand the fact that this is an African-American who is now one of the most powerful individuals on the planet,” Mediaite reported.

    An NAACP official went a few steps further in an interview with POLITICO Friday, saying the tiff played on age-old and discriminatory stereotypes of whites being superior to blacks. Hilary O. Shelton, senior vice president for advocacy and policy at the NAACP, said he was particularly disturbed by Brewer telling reporters afterward that she “felt a bit threatened if you will, in the attitude that he had.”

    “What were you afraid he would do, steal your purse?” Shelton said.

    Brewer has said she was taken aback when the president brought up the way she wrote about him in a recent book. She said when she met Obama on the tarmac, she asked for a meeting and he responded that she hadn’t treated him very cordially in the book, in which she wrote that the president was “patronizing” during a White House meeting.

    In any case, the topic does not appear poised to disappear any time soon. Shelton will be discussing it on TV One’s Washington Watch with Roland Martin Sunday. Also joining the discussion will be American Urban Radio Networks White House Correspondent and Washington Bureau Chief April Ryan.

  16. rikyrah says:

    January 28, 2012 06:30 PM
    Martin Bashir Exposes The Great Republican Hoax
    By karoli

    Martin Bashir may be the most underrated show host on cable television. His show is consistently smart, loaded with facts and good discussion without the incessant screaming and fireworks of other cable news shows. His interview of Rep. Joe Walsh was masterful and yet, polite. Which is why when Bashir closes his Thursday show with a three-minute comment where he’s clearly a bit angry, it gets my attention.

    Mr. Bashir is frustrated with the constant drumbeat from Republicans about President Obama allegedly turning the US government into a “European-style government” and so he delivers an excellent argument for why they are wrong, and why the ones who are trying to point the United States in the direction of European-style governance are…Republicans.

    Bashir targets the Republican fetish for austerity and spending cuts as evidence that they, not Democrats, are trying to transform the United States. At the end, he offers the results of Republican-style austerity measures in Europe, and what they haven’t accomplished.

    Well done, Mr. Bashir.

    Transcript below the fold.

    BASHIR: And if the Republican candidates carry on with their usual practice, then tonight at the CNN debate, they will continue to peddle a massive hoax, an incredible myth upon the American people. And what is that myth? That President Obama wants to transform America into Europe.


    ROMNEY: President Obama has been building a European-style welfare state.

    GINGRICH: Give the American people a chance to decide permanently whether we want to remain the historic America or whether, in fact, we prefer to become a brand-new secular European style bureaucratic socialist state.

    (END CLIP)

    BASHIR: Now, it may be that since I was born in Europe I’m a little more sensitive to these things, but in reality this is a massive hoax. Or to use Newt Gingrich’s favorite word, the biggest pile of baloney that’s ever been served.

    Because far from the President wanting to follow Europe, it’s actually the Republicans, both those running for President and those already elected to the House who desperately want to follow that continent.

    How so? Well, as we know, the global recession which began in 2008, has forced countries to respond in different ways. The President has attempted to stimulate the economy. But others, particularly European nations, have stuck firmly to their believe that austerity is the way to go. And so, they’ve set about cutting services, demolishing government, reducing the safety net.

    And it’s this model, as practiced by several European nations, that Republicans like John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney want America to follow.

    ROMNEY: As President, I will cut spending —
    GINGRICH: — cut spending –
    BOEHNER: — They elected us to cut spending…
    ROMNEY: — cut spending —
    (END CLIP)

    BASHIR: So, just to be clear, Republicans accuse the President of wanting to copy Europe, when in fact it’s the Republicans that want to follow the European lead in terms of the economy.

    So now that we’ve put the facts straight, how’s it all going in Europe with those pro-Republican approaches to austerity?

    Well, in Ireland, they responded to their debt with a savage series of austerity measures and unemployment is now at 14 percent.

    Across the Irish Sea in Britain, the latest figures are out for economic activity. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any. The economy didn’t grow at all. It shrank, by naught point two percent for the last three months of last year.

    And in Spain, where a series of brutal austerity measures were applied, youth unemployment is getting ever closer to fifty — yes, fifty — percent.

    These are the indisputable facts. It’s one thing for Republicans to misrepresent the President. We expect that. But it’s completely shameless in the very next breath to support those nations that they’ve accused the President of following.

    No wonder people say Republicans have problems with irony.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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