Wednesday Open Thread

Dennis Emmanuel Brown (February 1, 1957 – July 1, 1999) was a Jamaican reggae singer. During his prolific career, which began in the late 1960s when he was aged eleven, he recorded more than 75 albums and was one of the major stars of lovers rock, a sub-genre of reggae. Bob Marley cited Brown as his favourite singer,[1]dubbing him “The Crown Prince of Reggae”, and Brown would prove hugely influential on future generations of reggae singers.

Dennis Brown was born on 1 February 1957 at Jubilee Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica.[4] His father Arthur was a scriptwriter, actor, and journalist, and he grew up in a large tenement yard between North Street and King Street in Kingston with his parents, three elder brothers and a sister, although his mother died in the 1960s.[

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.
This entry was posted in Current Events, Music, Open Thread, Politics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to Wednesday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:



  2. Push-ups: Michelle Obama v Ellen DeGeneres

    Hey guys, does our Flotus rock or what? Check out Michelle vs Ellen doing pushups!

  3. rikyrah says:

    ebruary 01, 2012 5:00 PM
    Behind the Veil of the Super-PACs

    By Ed Kilgore

    It nearly got obscured by the Florida primary results and the associated talk, but there’s now pretty extensive coverage of the disclosures made yesterday on the identity of major contributors to Super-PACs, those would-be arbiters of our future so kindly liberated by the U.S. Supreme Court to offer us their long, green political “expressions.”

    Given its impact in Iowa and Florida, Romney’s Super-PAC naturally got the most attention. Here’s the nut of the New York Times’ write-up on these worthies:

    All told, the group, Restore Our Future, raised about $18 million from just 200 donors in the second half of 2011.

    Millions of dollars came from financial industry executives, including Mr. Romney’s former colleagues at Bain Capital, who contributed a total of $750,000; senior executives at Goldman Sachs, who contributed $385,000; and some of the most prominent and politically active Republicans in the hedge fund world, three of whom gave $1 million each: Robert Mercer of Renaissance Technologies; Paul Singer of Elliott Management, and Julian Robertson of Tiger Management.

    Harlan Crow, the Texas construction magnate, gave $300,000 personally and through his company. William Koch, whose brothers Charles and David are among the country’s most prominent backers of conservative causes, gave $1 million personally or through Oxbow Carbon, the energy company he founded. Members of the Walton family, founders of the Walmart chain, gave over $200,000, while Bob Perry — a wealthy home builder who has long been the top patron of Mr. Romney’s erstwhile rival, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas — chipped in $500,000 in early December.

    If you’re keeping score at home, that’s a mixed bag of Bain and Goldman folk; three hedge-fund guys; a Koch; some Waltons; and the original “Swift Boater.” And that’s for the “responsible moderate” in the GOP race.

    Thanks again, Supremes.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney Has No Idea That 50% of Americans Are Poor Or Low Income

    Beyond his latest statement that he doesn’t care about poor people, hides the fact that Mitt Romney has no idea, exactly how many poor and low income people there are in the US.

    Here is the video of Mitt Romney explaining why he doesn’t care about the poor from CNN:

    Romney tried to claim that poor people aren’t struggling because they have the social safety net, which Romney favors dismantling, and rich people aren’t struggling because they are wealthy, so he is worried about everyone else. The problem is that Romney seems to think that only 5%-10% of Americans are poor. He is so out of touch that he has no idea how many poor and low income people there really are in the United States.

    There is some debate over whether the Census data released in December found that the number of Americans who are poor or low income is 50% or 33% depending on the measure that was used. The best case scenario for Mitt Romney is that he underestimated the number of poor and low income Americans by about 30%. The worst case scenario is that Romney had no clue that one in two Americans are struggling right now.

    What the Republican frontrunner said today wasn’t just an isolated gaffe. Mitt Romney’s mouth has fueled a self-portrait of a candidate who is out of touch and uncaring about the struggles of average Americans. Romney has so far on the campaign trail claimed to be unemployed too, said that he has feared getting a pink slip in the past, bet another candidate $10,000, characterized over $374,000 in speaking fees as not very much money, and stated that he likes to fire people. Now, we can add to the list that he is not concerned about poor people.

    Democrats don’t have to work to paint a negative picture of Mitt Romney. He is doing it for them. Mitt Romney has spent his entire life isolated inside a wealth bubble. Romney has never wanted for, or had to work for anything. His background made him the perfect corporate raider because he had no ability to empathize with the people who he was laying off.

    That lack of empathy and understanding of how most Americans are living is alive and well today in presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

    Yes, Romney’s not caring about the poor statement was cold, uncaring, and damning, but the fact that he doesn’t even know how most of the people in the country he wants to lead live makes him completely unsuited for the presidency.

    The absurdity of a man who doesn’t know how many poor and low income Americans there are wanting voters to believe that he is the candidate who can restore economic prosperity is only topped by the fact that the Republican Party is seriously considering nominating this candidate to be their nominee.

    Corporations may be people to Mitt Romney, but it seems that poor and low income Americans aren’t.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Gov Romney and Concern for the Poor

    Feb 01, 2012

    Mitt Romney is getting knocked about a bit today for saying that he is “not concerned about the very poor.” Not quite “let them eat cake” but sounds bad, right?

    Actually, what he seems to have meant, if you look at the context, is that he believes the least-well-off are amply provided for by the safety net. He doesn’t worry about the rich, either—“they’re doing just fine.”

    My first thought was: hey, I’m glad he recognizes the existence of and need for the safety net. My second thought was…um…he’s gonna shred it!

    Though Gov Romney recognized that “…we have food stamps, we have Medicaid, we have housing vouchers…” he neglected to make the following four points:

    1) his budget slashes, and I mean SLASHES, domestic spending outside of defense.

    2) he’s endorsed Rep Paul Ryan’s budget (now the House Republican Budget) which gets two-thirds of its $4.5 trillion in cuts from low-income programs (and uses the cuts to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy).

    3) the Gov’s own tax plan actually raises taxes on those in the bottom fifth of the income scale (by $160 per year; by getting rid of a refundable credit for poor kids and cutting the EITC relative to current policy)—while cutting taxes for the top 0.1% of households (avg inc: $8.3 million) by about $460K/year.

    4) he’s said he wants to block grant these low income safety net programs–i.e., instead of the federal program, states run it based on an annual grant, a fixed amount that does not go up or down based on need–and that’s a great way to rip some big holes in the safety net.

    On #1 and #2, see here. Remember those Ryan cuts I warned about above? Well, according to my CBPP colleagues Van de Water and Kogan:

    Governor Romney’s budget proposals would require far deeper cuts in nondefense programs than the House-passed budget resolution authored by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan: $94 billion to $219 billion deeper in 2016 and $303 billion to $819 billion deeper in 2021.”

    Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) would face cumulative cuts of $946 billion through 2021. Repealing the coverage expansions of the 2010 health reform legislation, as Governor Romney has proposed, would achieve more than the necessary savings. But it would leave 34 million people uninsured who would have gained coverage under health reform.

    Cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) would throw 10 million low-income people off the benefit rolls, cut benefits by thousands of dollars a year, or some combination of the two.

  6. rikyrah says:

    ebruary 01, 2012 4:04 PM
    The Koch Brothers Pity Party

    By Ed Kilgore

    Need a quick boost to your blood pressure? If so, I strongly recommend that you read the Wall Street Journal op-ed today penned by former Solicitor General Theodore Olson, who holds a bizarre pity party for his law clients the Brothers Koch.

    Doing everything in his power, short of shaking his jowls and making double V-signs, to evoke memories of Richard Nixon and incongruously attach them to Barack Obama, Olson claims the president and his sinister henchmen have placed Charles and David Koch, innocent “private citizens,” at the top of an “enemies list” of people to be defamed, harassed and destroyed in the pursuit of he president’s re-election. He also compares the Kochs to the victims of McCarthyism in a passage that would have greatly amused the Kochs’ late father, a founder and mainstay of the John Birch Society.

    How could this happen, Olson wonders, to these productive citizens, employers of many thousands, and generous philanthropists? Here’s the thing:

    Their biggest offense, apparently, is that they also contribute generously to nonprofit organizations that promote personal liberty and free enterprise, and some of those organizations oppose policies advocated by the president.

    I bow in admiration to the craftsmanship with which Olsen turns the Kochs’ vast, unprecedented empire of political agitprop, special-interest lobbying, and campaign skullduggery into a wonkish set of policy preferences.

    This is a blog, not an encyclopedia, so I do not have remotely the space for a documented analysis of the scope, reach, power, and sheer viciousness of the Koch’s many political projects, but would refer you as a starting point to the 2010 New Yorker profile by Jane Meyer, and this illustrative quote:

    Charles Lewis, the founder of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said, “The Kochs are on a whole different level. There’s no one else who has spent this much money. The sheer dimension of it is what sets them apart. They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation. I’ve been in Washington since Watergate, and I’ve never seen anything like it. They are the Standard Oil of our times.”

    On issues ranging from climate change to health reform to tax policy to corporate regulation, in venues far and wide from Congress to state legislatures to Tea Party rallies to every foot of nearly every campaign trail, the Kochs have become an omnipresent force in right-wing politics, and a big factor in the polarization of the country. With the collapse of campaign finance rules, their ability to wield influence with little or no accountability is becoming almost unlimited. Even if you agree with them on every conceivable issue, the idea that they are cowering victims of the big-bad-bullies in the White House has to make you just burst out in derisive laughter. If I, God forbid, were a Koch Brother I’d fire Olson instantly for making me look so weak and feckless.

    But that’s how they roll at the opinion pages of the WSJ. It’s just shameless.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Tweety was blistering on Willard and the I don’t care about the poor line. it was a great segment. the ass from politico tried to stick up for WILLARD,but TWEETY was having none of it.

  8. Not Concerned

  9. rikyrah says:

    The Specter Of Bush
    Dreher asks:

    Can you find a single significant point on which Romney, Gingrich, or Santorum differ substantially from George W. Bush? It’s amazing. If Bush were considered a successful president, they would be bringing him up all the time. That they do not, even as they have an incumbent Democrat they deride as a failure, tells you that they know Bush and his legacy are poison. And yet, they may not believe in Bush, but they sure believe in what he stood for. And so does the GOP base, evidently.

    And the way the handle this is denial. The recession was Obama’s fault. Unemployment is all Obama’s fault. The recovery hasn’t happened; the recession has gotten worse. Bush won the war in Iraq, and killed bin Laden because of torture. Tax cuts created a job boom in the 2000s – and the current doldrums are because Obama raised taxes (which, of course, he didn’t). All the debt is Obama’s fault – all of it, if you have the intellectual honesty of Glenn Reynolds.

    We have, in other words, an entire party built on amnesia and untruth. And an inability to understand the difference between the challenges of 1980 and the tectonic shifts of 2012 onward.

    It’s a fundamentalist party that has now found someone who will gladly, willingly repeat these lies without a qualm or a moment of reflection. Hence Romney’s slogan: “Believe In America.” And its corollary: because the president doesn’t.

    Grappling with a changing world is hard. And, for some, terrifying. For them, there is a politics now on offer. Just keep singing “America The Beautiful” and everything will be okay.

  10. U.S. first lady Michelle Obama is hugged by a guest after she spoke at the future site of a Northgate Gonzales Market to highlight progress of the California FreshWorks Fund, a $264 million public-private financing fund that invests in bringing grocery stores and other forms of healthy food retailers to underserved communities in Inglewood, California February 1, 2012. The California FreshWorks Fund has committed $20 million in financing to Northgate for its first three projects. The first lady is on a two-day visit to Southern California and talking about her “Let’s Move!” initiative, which began two years ago to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation.

  11. President Obama Speaks on Helping Homeowners

  12. Romney Sings “America The Beautiful”

  13. Cultural Critic Tricia Rose: “We may have to conclude that Obama didn’t materially transform black life.”

  14. rikyrah says:

    found this in the comments at Balloon Juice:

    149.Rafer Janders – February 1, 2012 | 2:33 pm · Link

    @AA+ Bonds:

    Bush could pull this off even when he did not know how to pronounce the words he was told to say. Bush is a recovering alcoholic, which made him humble. He knew he was fucking stupid.

    That’s the difference between Romney and Bush: Bush knew he was stupid and that others were smarter than he was, and he hated them for it. This gave him a kind of low animal cunning; he knew he couldn’t out-talk or out-think others so he had to work at a gut, lizard brain level.

    Romney thinks he’s smart and others are dumber than he is, and he feels condescension towards them for it. The trouble is, others aren’t as dumb as he thinks they are—in fact, many are far, far smarter than Romney—and so he’s unprepared when they don’t fall for his bullshit.

  15. rikyrah says:

    February 01, 2012 2:26 PM

    House GOP Gives Its Base a Lap Dance

    By Ed Kilgore

    One of the more alarming political phenomena of the last few years has been the very loud return of the “Welfare Queen” meme, back with a vengeance from its apparent burial in the 1990s.

    You’d think with work requirements and vastly reduced welfare caseloads and benefit levels, conservative anger about people on welfare would be a thing of the past. And in truth, until very recently, resentment of the less fortunate has taken slightly different forms, beginning with the very powerful conservative belief that shiftless poor and minority families caused the housing meltdown and the financial crisis, and continuing with the subtext that ObamaCare would take Medicare benefits away from virtuous elderly white folks to provide health coverage for people too lazy to take care of themselves.

    But now something closer to the original “welfare queen” gospel, based on the idea that people on very basic public assistance are fleecing taxpayers while thumbing their noses at their values, is making a big comeback. It probably started with the rash of state legislative proposals for drug testing of “welfare” or even unemployment insurance beneficiaries. It gained fresh momentum when Newt Gingrich excited rank-and-file Republicans to a fever pitch by chewing out an African-American journalist about the poor work ethic of food stamp recipients.

    And now, today, House Republicans are staging a vote to stop people receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families dollars at strip clubs, casinos and liquor stores.


    The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-LA) claims to be responding to widespread reports of TANF money going to various dens of the devil. Best I can tell, the real issue involves distribution of TANF benefits via Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards that have not been properly encrypted to restrict their use; the “abuses” are mainly anecdotal, and can be cured without national legislation—and certainly without a showy vote in the House.

    But no. The whole kerfuffle is highly remiscent of the habit the saintly Ronald Reagan used to indulge of regaling conservative audiences with an apocryphal anecdote about a food stamp recipient getting change in a grocery store line and buying a bottle of vodka.

    As CAP Action Fund’s Melissa Boteach noted in her commentary on the Boustany measure, if the U.S. House has time to worry about richly symbolic instances of taxpayers subsidizing bad behavior, there are better targets:

    If program integrity were the goal, then conservatives would also be calling for votes forbidding corporations that receive taxpayer subsidies and bailouts from having big conferences in Las Vegas, where there is no shortage of casinos, strip clubs, and liquor stores.
    What’s really going on is that House Republicans are treating their base voters to the rhetorical equivalent of a lap dance at taxpayer expense.

  16. Regulators: Small leak of radiation ‘could have’ escaped after reactor at California nuclear plant shut down – @AP

  17. rikyrah says:

    Why I’m Not Worried About Mitt Romney
    You know, I think the conventional wisdom is right in this instance: Mitt Romney is the most electable candidate for the Republicans this year. But what that really means is this: out of their current cadre of nutjobs, he will lose to President Obama the least badly. How can I be so sure of that, given the political media’s dire predictions of a president in peril come November? How can I be so certain, with “Left” outlets whining constantly that Obama isn’t farting enough rainbows for the base?

    Because I live in the real world. And in the real world, there are stories that go beyond the political dogfights of the day. In the real world, there is every reason to be optimistic about four more years for President Obama. Don’t confuse the optimism with complacency – winning in November is going to take all we can give, but give it we must, and we will – which is in and of itself one of the main reasons for my optimism. But let me lay out the reasons why I’m not worried about Mitt Romney.

    Reason: The Current GOP.

    It was barely a year ago that Republicans were basking in the glory of an electoral resurgence on the backs of the extremist Tea Party crowd – taking over the US House, gaining heavily in state governorships and state legislatures. Then, the American people got to see their real governing style – one that focused on eliminating economic opportunities, attacking fundamental rights of workers and women, and holding the well being of this country hostage for political gain. Last year, the American people repudiated at the polls extremist GOP ideological agenda of restricting the rights of voters, dismantling the rights of workers, forcing women to bear the children of rapists, and ending Medicare. The American people also soured on the GOP’s attempts to hold the debt limit hostage in order to extract ideological concessions.

    The GOP, with lightening speed, has proven to the American people that it is not ready to govern. They have proven to be nothing more than petulant children with political power. And even as voters across the country made clear that they did not stand for right wing extremism or big government conservatism, the Republican primary electorate got only more extreme and out of touch with Americans

  18. rikyrah says:

    The Hedge Fund Candidate

    Well at least we now know a bit about who gave Romney the money to carpet-bomb Gingrich in Florida, and Wall Street was high on the list. I love this detail:

    One of the Goldman executives who donated to Restore Our Future, Jim Donovan, is the same person who handles the Romney family’s considerable investments with the firm, which total as much as $36.7 million.

    But the idea of any “coordination” between them is preposterous. Bonus nugget: another Adelson, Sivan Ochshorn, gave to Gingrich. We really have returned to the days when political candidates were run and financed by plutocrats. From the small donors of the Obama campaign in 2008 to the Wall Street financiers of 2012 – all made possible by a Republican majority on the Supreme Court.

    And what do Romney and Gingrich promise? An end to re-regulating Wall Street and a return to the wild days before the Great Recession.

  19. RNC Chair Reince Priebus Tries Soledad O’Brien’s Patience On CNN’s Starting Point

    In an appearance on CNN’s Starting Point Wednesday morning, RNC chairman Reince Priebus tried out a little condescension and confrontation on host Soledad O’Brien, and was met with curt impatience. Asked if the nasty Republican primary race could damage the eventual nominee, Priebus passive-aggressively accused O’Brien of “spinning,” while a visibly annoyed Soledad O’Brien pressed him to get to the point, and later challenged him on his comparison of President Obama to cruise ship villain Captain Francesco Schettino.

    O’Brien’s question was pegged to a report showing that 92% of the campaign commercials run in the week before the Florida primary were negative ads. Citing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney‘s rising unfavorability rating among independents, she asked Priebus “Isn’t that really, this kind of stuff, a big problem?”

    “I don’t necessarily believe that tough primary competitions carry in the general elections,” Priebus began. “The history there, Soledad, is that it really doesn’t.”

  20. rikyrah says:

    February 01, 2012 9:16 AM

    The Geography of Romney’s Florida Win
    By Ed Kilgore

    Don’t know if you find political geography as fascinating as I do, but it’s worth a look at exactly where Mitt Romney won his solid victory in Florida yesterday.

    A list of the counties where Mitt took 50% or more of the vote is very revealing: Miami-Dade, Broward (Ft. Lauderdale), Palm Beach, Martin (Stuart), Indian River (Vero Beach), Sumter (The Villages), Sarasota, and Collier (Naples). He came close to a majority in Hillsborough (Tampa), Pinellas (St. Petersburg) and Orange (Orlando).

    So Romney Country was basically urban South and Central Florida. Mitt’s banner showing of 61% in Miami-Dade was definitely a testament to the clout of the Cuban-American pols (notably the Diaz-Balart brothers and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen) who not only gave him endorsements but actually turned out the vote.

    Meanwhile, Gingrich was able to hold Romney’s statewide margin down by running slightly ahead of Mitt in NE Florida and the Panhandle. Basically, the more a county resembled GA or AL, the more likely it was that Newt would win, and that, of course, will be part of his rationale for continuing on, at least to states where Crackro-Americans dominate.



  21. rikyrah says:

    Romney rejects concern for the ‘very poor’
    By Steve Benen – Wed Feb 1, 2012 10:08 AM EST.Just two weeks ago, Mitt Romney told voters in South Carolina, “I’m concerned about the poor in this country.” This morning, Romney reversed course and said the exact opposite.

    Associated Press
    “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich, they’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of America, the 90%, 95% of Americans right now who are struggling and I’ll continue to take that message across the nation. […]

    “You can focus on the rich, that’s not my focus. You can focus on the very poor, that’s not my focus. My focus is on middle-income Americans.”

    The Republican frontrunner added, “We will hear from the Democrat Party, the plight of the poor.”

    When Romney’s rivals were hammering him on Bain Capital — and the fact that he got extremely rich by firing American workers and leading a vulture-capitalist firm — he shifted rhetorical gears in order to seem sympathetic towards those struggling most.

    With his new “I’m not concerned about the very poor” line, it appears Romney has abandoned this tack altogether.

    Regardless, as a matter of substance, Romney’s line this morning is just a mess.


    For one thing, it’s tone-deaf to a breathtaking degree. When a hyper-wealthy politician boasts about taking pleasure in firing people, he probably shouldn’t tell national television audiences he’s “not concerned about the very poor.”

    For another, Romney’s candid admission underscores a larger policy problem: he’s not only unconcerned with the plight of the very poor, he also pursuing an agenda that would make their lives considerably more difficult. If elected, a Romney administration intends to slash public investments that benefit working families, while raising taxes on those at the bottom of the income scale.

    Let’s also not forget that while Romney insisted this morning that he’s “not concerned about the very rich,” either, there’s ample evidence to the contrary. Indeed, the presidential hopeful has already presented a plan to give the very wealthy yet another massive tax break.

    And as for Romney’s purported concern for the middle class, what the former governor neglected to mention this morning is that his tax plan largely ignores the middle class. By his own admission, Romney doesn’t plan to do much of anything for middle-income earners.

    Taken together, in one interview, Romney managed to sound callous towards those struggling, lie about his agenda’s focus on the wealthy, and ignore the relevant details of his disregard for the middle class.

    Not bad for a morning’s work.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney, Florida’s Psycho-Killer Superhero of Cash
    By Charles P. Pierce
    at 10:37PM

    At this point, I can take almost anything out of Willard Romney’s perfect mouth, out of the perfect teeth through which he so perfectly lies. He won the Inevitability Primary in Florida out-and-out on Tuesday night, and only had to outspend Newt Gingrich five-to-one to do it. So he gets to crow a little. Over the next couple of days, he’s going to be bathed in loving analysis from the smart kidz about how he “turned it around” after being outcrackered in South Carolina. But I’m not going to sit there and listen to the cosseted plutocrat son of a millionnaire auto dealer — one who is running on a platform that will make himself and everyone like him richer while warning the rest of us, as he did in his victory speech in Tampa, that “If you’re looking for cradle-to-grave help from the government, I’m not your candidate” — go and dragoon into that effort Tom Paine, who would have spat in Willard Romney’s face if he’d ever met him. Mitt Romney is someone whose children have a trust fund totaling $100 million. His great-great-grandchildren are not ever going to have to worry about money from their cradles to their graves. Thomas Paine? I’m sorry, but there are levels of bullshit to which I will not agree to descend.

    Romney won because he had the most money. And because he had the most money, enough of the Tea Party “base,” which was supposed to hate him like gum disease, decided thusly: What the hell? The important thing is to get the Muslim Kenyan Usurper Negro out of the White House, so this is the horse we have to ride. There were something like 13,000 commercials aired in Florida over the past couple of weeks. Ninety-two percent of them were negative, the overwhelming number of which said negative things about N. Leroy Gingrich, Definer of Civilization’s Rules and Leader (Perhaps) of the Civilizing Forces, on behalf of the man who told us on Tuesday night that we should follow him into the old America of hope and joy and not bumper stickers. That is how you win the Inevitability Primary. You buy Inevitability. It doesn’t come cheaply.

    Very early in the evening, the MSNBC embed with the Romney campaign opined that following Romney around the last couple of days, when it became clear that the election was in the bag, was something like watching an episode of Dexter, the TV show about the charming-as-hell serial killer. Even the kindly Doctor Maddow was taken somewhat aback, and I suspect the kid is in for an interesting morning, both from his bosses and from the Romney campaign, but, dammit, he was dead-on and I wish I’d thought of it first. In addition to being a singularly appalling liar, Mitt Romney also has all the basic qualities of a considerable bully. He ruthlessly shoved aside a hapless but nonetheless incumbent Republican governor in order get himself elected in Massachusetts. You’ve seen him have to rein it in a little on the debate stage. (Believe me, there’s more of that to come.) And you saw it on Tuesday night, when Willard accepted victory, and then launched into his usual litany of lies about the president (the president doesn’t “want to amass record deficits” — honestly, no, he doesn’t) — spiced with just the right amount of upper-crust sneering.

    I was particularly amused by this little aside: “Like his colleagues in the faculty lounge who think they know better, President Obama demonizes and denigrates almost every sector of our economy.”

    Except, one supposes, the auto industry, which Romney suggested we should let fail. But that “faculty lounge” crack is a good one. There was Willard, knocking back a couple at his corner local with the boys, when they said, “You know, you could do as good a job as that smarty-pants up there on the TV.” Jesus, what a foof.

    Read more:

  23. Ametia says:

    U.S. Supreme Court
    Chemerinsky: Civil Rights Cases Will Face New Hurdles
    Posted Feb 1, 2012 8:50 AM CST
    By Erwin Chemerinsky

    In a term filled with likely blockbuster decisions, two civil rights cases decided in January—one decided by an 8-1 vote and the other unanimous—are unlikely to receive much media attention. Each, though, is likely to make it much more difficult for civil rights plaintiffs to succeed. And each reflects a significant, though unstated, change in the law.

    In Minneci v. Pollard, the U.S. Supreme Court held Jan. 10 that prison guards at private prisons contracting with the federal government cannot be sued for constitutional violations where state tort law provides a remedy.

    In 1971’s Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents, the Supreme Court held that federal officers can be sued for money damages based on a cause of action inferred directly from the Constitution. The court emphasized the importance of allowing such a remedy; in the words of Justice John Marshall Harlan II, for those who suffer constitutional violations, it is often money damages or nothing. The court expressly rejected the argument that the availability of state tort remedies against federal officers was a basis for denying a federal cause of action.

    In Minneci, though, the court said that no Bivens claim could be brought by a prisoner who suffered physical injuries and claimed an Eighth Amendment violation because state tort law provided some remedy, even though not the same as would be available in a Bivens action.

    Justice Stephen G. Breyer, writing for the court, said: “Where, as here, a federal prisoner seeks damages from privately employed personnel working at a privately operated federal prison, where the conduct allegedly amounts to a violation of the Eighth Amendment, and where that conduct is of a kind that typically falls within the scope of traditional state tort law (such as the conduct involving improper medical care at issue here), the prisoner must seek a remedy under state tort law. We cannot imply a Bivens remedy in such a case.” Only Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented.

  24. rikyrah says:

    The GOP’s ongoing turnout problem
    By Steve Benen – Wed Feb 1, 2012 8:31 AM EST.

    There can be little doubt that Mitt Romney dominated in Florida’s Republican presidential primary, but there were a few tidbits in the exit polls that stood out, including this one:

    This has to be discouraging for the former governor and his campaign. Romney and his allies spent $16 million in the state, but on the day of the primary, nearly 4 in 10 Florida Republicans still wish someone better would get into the race.

    It might help explain the GOP’s ongoing turnout problem.

    Underneath tonight’s big win for Mitt Romney in the Florida Republican primary, is a statistic that might suggest enthusiasm is flagging among GOP voters in this large and crucial swing state: turnout was actually down significantly from 2008.

    In the 2008 Republican primary in Florida, in which John McCain beat Romney by a margin of 36%-31%, a total of nearly 1.95 million votes were cast.

    But in tonight’s primary, turnout was actually much lower. At time of writing, with 98% of precincts reporting, the total turnout is only about 1.65 million — a drop-off of 15% in terms of the raw number of voters.

    If this sounds familiar, it’s because most of the party’s other January contests showed a similar trend.


    In the Iowa caucuses, GOP turnout fell short of expectations. In the New Hampshire primary, it happened again. Turnout in South Carolina was strong, but after another weak showing in Florida, it’s proving to be the exception.

    This is not at all what Republican leaders anticipated. On the contrary, GOP officials in the states and at the national level assumed the exact opposite would happen.

    Remember, Republican turnout was supposed to soar in these early contests because of the larger circumstances. GOP voters are reportedly eager, if not foaming-at-the-mouth desperate, to fight a crusade against President Obama, and they had plenty of high-profile candidates trying to stoke their enthusiasm.

    This, coupled with the boost from the so-called Tea Party “movement,” suggested energized Republicans would turn out in numbers that far exceeded the totals we saw in 2008, when GOP voters were depressed and it was Democrats who enjoyed the bulk of the excitement.

    But in three of the four contests thus far, that hasn’t happened.

    At this point in the nominating process, the last thing party leaders wanted to see was evidence of a listless, uninspired party, underwhelmed by their field of candidates. Republicans probably won’t fret publicly, but the turnout numbers should give party leaders pause.

  25. Ametia says:


    Democracy On Life Support: How Citizens United Won Florida For Mitt Romney
    January 31, 2012
    By Ray Medeiros

    What an unimaginable election season. With the birth of massive super PACS now flooding states, thanks to the conservative Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, it is hard to predict anything at all. We are in uncharted territory that is for sure.
    The flood of money going into the states, the ads and mailings going to voters homes is definitely impacting elections. The reason why Mitt Romney won in Florida isn’t about substance, positions, messaging or anything like that. It is all about the money. The Wall Street Journal is tracking the Super PACs and not surprisingly, Romney’s Restoring Our Future Super PAC spent millions, including a $5,00,000 dollar media buy on January 24th to attack Gingrich. A grand total of well over $10 million in just attack ads against Newt by Romney’s Super PAC was spent in Florida alone.
    Newt on the other hand only spent $358,000 attacking Romney in Florida according to the WSJ Super PAC project. All total, with the exception of New Hampshire, Romney has been relentless in his attacks on Newt. Florida though was a make or break moment for Mitt, I believe.

  26. Ametia says:

    The Tea Party Plan to Save Scott Walker

    Tea partiers are gung-ho to help the Wisconsin governor fend off a recall vote—and their fate may well be tied to his.
    —By Andy Kroll| Tue Jan. 31, 2012 3:00 AM PST

    As soon as April, millions of Wisconsinites will vote on whether to oust Gov. Scott Walker—a rising Republican star and arguably the most polarizing governor in politics today—just two years into his first term in office. Walker’s recall election is a referendum on his hardline conservative agenda, including curbing collective bargaining rights for state workers and slashing education funding. For Walker himself it’s a pivotal moment in his young political career.

    The recall fight is also a crucial test for the tea party, the populist movement that helped elect Walker in 2010, vigorously defended him during last winter’s protests over his anti-union “budget repair” bill, and has been organizing to prevent his ouster. The movement’s support is flagging, its clout dwindling, its buzz mostly gone. But now, tea partiers at the state and national levels are rallying around Walker’s recall defense, hoping a victory could bolster the movement in a critical election year. A defeat, on the other hand, would give ammo to liberals and conservatives alike who say the tea party is all but dead.

  27. Newt Gingrich Backer Rick Tyler Blames Democrats for Failing Black Community on Abortion, Education and Poverty

    The racial politics continues to emanate from Newt Gingrich’s sputtering campaign. Nothing like picking on blacks to rouse whites. Rick Tyler, a senior strategist for pro-Gingrich Winning Our Future Super PAC, accused MSNBC Tuesday night of race-baiting and blamed Democrats for failing the black community on the issues of abortion, education and poverty. Tyler said, “The Democrats have failed in the public schools with the African-Americans, they abort their babies, they’ve done nothing to lift them out of poverty. I hear all the time the Democrats have these great intentions, but their policies fail.” Rev. Al Sharpton was on the panel and I know he was foaming at the mouth to hear that mess. So, let me get this straight, whites work and lift themselves up by the bootstraps, but blacks are so dependent on entitlements to get ahead. That’s the picture they want to paint to scare whites into voting for Newt Gingrich.

  28. Ametia says:


    Soul Train’ founder Don Cornelius found shot to death in Los Angeles, according to coroner.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s Pyrrhic Victory
    Posted by Al Giordano – January 31, 2012 at 12:08 pm
    By Al Giordano

    While tea leaves point to a likely Florida primary victory for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney tonight, the former Massachusetts governor will emerge only marginally ahead in the delegate count with 46 of the 50 states yet to cast a vote.

    But the costs of this victory to Romney go far beyond the $17 million in attack ads he and his Super PACs deployed to stop – now for the second time in a young campaign – the rise of rival Newt Gingrich. Hell hath no wrath like a Gingrich scorched. The former House Speaker is the Keith Richards of US politics: no matter what debauchery he passes through he never dies. Newt is the zombie candidate. Burn him, bomb him, poison him, hack him into a thousand pieces and he quickly reassembles and gets back up again, madder than before and coming right back at ya’.

    The story out of Florida isn’t Romney’s win (and if, as some late polls suggest, it ends up thinner than double digits, even that will be questioned). It is that Romney has failed, again, to eliminate his nemesis. But that’s not even the worst that happened to Mitt in Florida. Ten days ago, general election polls showed him in a tie with President Barack Obama in this must-win swing state. Then Romney had to debate Gingrich and the other candidates and make bold statements to prove his fealty to the far right GOP base that are far outside of mainstream public opinion, especially the views of independent swing voters. The new general election numbers in Florida are Obama 49 percent to 41 for Romney; a dramatic turnabout for the president in a matter of days. (All the Republican candidates have been wounded for the general election by their adventures in pander-to-the-base wingnuttery, the poll also shows: Obama 50, Paul 36; Obama 50, Santorum 35; Obama 52, Gingrich 35.) The survey was taken January 25 to 27 and has a 2.6 margin of error.

    This, without the Obama campaign spending a cent on advertising in Florida: Given, his State of the Union address clearly boosted the president’s popularity there and nationwide with those independent swing voters who decide elections. And his campaign has cleverly used each primary and caucus so far to reignite the trained community organizers of his field organization, state by state, that took him to the White House four years ago. One Field Hand reports “huge turnout” at the events this week opening Obama campaign headquarters throughout the Sunshine State. And the Republican candidates’ own statements and behavior has frightened even Democrats who, only weeks ago, were angry and disillusioned with their president enough to say so publicly. Today, many of those same people have gone from declarations of “I’m not voting” to posting “I’ve got his back” messages to their social network pages.

    So while the Field projects Romney to win tonight’s Florida primary, it’s clear that the real winner of the contest is Barack Obama. Romney’s victory came at a cost that will haunt him for months to come as Zombie Gingrich keeps rising from the tomb.

    We’ve now watched three Republican primary and one caucus vote. And each time the pundits of the press corps have declared those contests to have been deciders of the nomination. Not so fast, kids! The Unbearable Lightness of Romney will continue to make him victim to the whims of a fickle Republican electorate that remains unhappy with its crop of candidates. Each time one of them seems to gather steam – Santorum in Iowa, Romney in New Hampshire, Gingrich in South Carolina – the momentum turns against that guy in the next contest. The moment somebody looks like the virtual nominee, buyer’s remorse sets in and the tables turn anew.

    What’s more is that relatively few delegates will be at stake in the coming weeks, most of them in caucus states (Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota and Maine between February 4 and 11), giving Ron Paul a chance to emerge here or there as an underdog winner on more libertarian friendly ground, and giving Gingrich the breathing room he needs to regroup and assemble the minimal resources to come back and fight again. Gingrich will pick a state to reenter sprinting. Will it be Arizona on February 28? (Romney is expected to handily win Michigan, where his father was once governor, on that same date.) Or will it be Super Tuesday on March 6, where some states – Massachusetts, Vermont and Virginia (where only Romney and Paul are on the ballot) – give home field advantage to Romney, but others – Georgia, Tennessee, perhaps Oklahoma – will be friendlier to Gingrich? And the big one on Super Tuesday – Ohio – will be set up by the media as probably the most telling battleground that day, which is still five weeks away. A week after that Gingrich gets to play in Alabama and Mississippi, and the back-and-forth ping pong game of victories and defeats between the two leading Republican candidates will keep going, perhaps all the way to a brokered convention. At least that’s what the party establishment fears.

    In the end, nothing is decided by Florida. Not until November, anyway…

  30. rikyrah says:

    Arizona GOP: I Spit On Your Union Grave
    by Zandar

    If GOP Gov. John Kasich got an ugly bloody nose from public unions last year and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and his GOP pals wanted to leave public unions bleeding in the street (only to now face the wrath of the state’s voters), Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is by comparison sending wreaths and dry cleaning her little black dress for the occasion.

    With a sweeping series of bills introduced Monday night in the state Senate, Republicans in Arizona hoped to make Wisconsin’s battle against public unions last year look like a lightweight sparring match.

    The bills include a total ban on collective bargaining for Arizona’s public employees, including at the city and county levels. The move would outpace even the tough bargaining restrictions enacted in Wisconsin in 2011 that led to massive union protests and a Democratic effort to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

    “At first glance, it looks like an all out assault on the right of workers to organize,” Senate Minority Leader David Schapira (D) told TPM on Tuesday. “And to me, that’s a serious problem.”

    Not in Arizona it’s not. Not yet, anyway. It gets worse, however.

    Beyond a ban on collective bargaining, the bills would also prohibit state and local government workers from deducting money from their paychecks to pay union dues.

    They would ban state and local governments from paying anyone to spend time doing union work, a practice known as “release time.”

    And in another break from the Wisconsin model, the restrictions would affect every type of public union, including police and firefighters.

    Arizona is a right-to-work state, which gives unions a much smaller role there than in states like Wisconsin. But laws still currently give labor groups a place at the bargaining table to negotiate pay and other benefits for their members. All of that would change under the proposed rules.

    Schapira, who is also running for Congress this year, said he expects the laws to easily pass unless something major happens. Democrats in the Senate are outnumbered 21-9, so he said there isn’t much they can do to stop the bills on their own.

    Right about now I’m thinking Arizona’s various police and firefighter unions are going to have something to say about this. As are Arizona’s voters.

    And I don’t think Gov. Brewer and the GOP are going to like it. Insert language about awaking a sleeping giant here.

    The GOP’s lasting contribution over the last ten years is making us try to hate teachers, firefighters, cops, scientists, actors, journalists (the actual ones), public safety officials, local government employees, and factory workers. There’s something all of those professions tend to have in common, traditionally. And it explains Arizona Republicans making this move

  31. rikyrah says:

    Komen’s House of Cards
    by mistermix

    As someone who lives in a house surrounded by a bunch of pink-ribbon-branded Komen paraphernalia, I am beyond pissed about the Komen foundation’s decision to end a program that paid for 170,000 breast exams and 6,400 mammogram referrals. My sister-in-law died of breast cancer after an ugly 7-year ordeal, and during her fight and since then we’ve spent a fair amount of money and time, most of it through the Komen Foundation, to try to fight that awful disease. It’s a tragedy and waste that Komen chose to elevate some politically-minded hack to a position where she would be able to pursue an anti-Planned Parenthood agenda instead of doing what the Komen Foundation was founded to do: fight breast cancer. There is no immediate replacement for Planned Parenthood’s sliding-scale services in the areas it serves. So it is no exaggeration to say that, unless the Komen funding is replaced, more women will die of breast cancer because of this decision.

    That said, I’m confident that Komen’s funding will be replaced, and also that Komen will be a pale pink shadow of its former self unless it reverses this stupid decision and fires the people responsible. Check out list after list after list of Komen’s corporate sponsors. Do you think New Balance, Ford and Georgia-Pacific signed on for a public fight over Planned Parenthood? When Yoplait put a pink lid on its yogurt, did they do it to make it easier to boycott their products? Because that’s what’s going to happen. Unlike most boycotts, it’s easy to figure out which products you shouldn’t buy: anything that displays a pink ribbon with the Komen name.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 03:58 PM ET, 12/21/2011
    Did Mitt Romney just come out for unlimited campaign contributions?
    By Greg Sargent

    This seems to have passed mostly unnoticed, but if Mitt Romney meant what he said on MSNBC’s Daily Rundown this morning, it’s a very big deal. In an interview with Chuck Todd, he seemed to say that he thinks there should be no limits of any kind on the amount of money people can contribute to political campaigns

    The context: Earlier this week, Romney said he opposed the existence of so-called Super PACs, which can raise and spend unlimited amounts in contributions of any size, and spend all the money on behalf of a candidate, provided there’s no coordination between the candidate and the PAC. Pressed further on this by Todd, who asked him for his views on Citizens United and the landscape of PACs it has created, Romney answered:

    “I think the Supreme Court’s decision was following their interpretation of the campaign finance laws that were written by Congress. My own view is now we tried a lot of efforts to try and restrict what can be given to campaigns, we’d be a lot wiser to say you can give what you’d like to a campaign. They must report it immediately. And the creation of these independent expenditure committees that have to be separate from the candidate, that’s just a bad idea.”
    If this is really Romney’s position, it’s very significant. (A Romney spokesperson didn’t immediately return an email asking for clarification.) A longer version of the video is right here; in it Romney goes on to criticize Congress for “passing a law that limits what campaigns can receive and opens the door to these Super PACs.”

    Romney’s comments are bit confused, but it seems clear he is saying that we should do away with Super PACs, which can receive contributions of any size, and allow such unlimited contributions to be funneled straight to the campaigns themselves. Under this scenario, that billionaire casino magnate who was recently mulling whether to give $20 million to a Super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich could simply hand that sum or more directly to his campaign.

    It’s unclear whether Romney thinks corporations should also have this right — he should be asked for clarification on this point — but either way, what Romney seems to be proposing would enhance the influence of the wealthy to an untold degree. As Ian Millhiser, who first caught this exchange, points out, it could also open the door to a kind of system fueled by what might be termed legalized bribery.

    “This is more radical than Citizens United,” David Donnelly of Public Campaign Action Fund told me when I asked for his reaction. “It means that if he is president he will appoint Supreme Court justices that will eviscerate any ability to regulate campaign finance.”

    While it’s true that Romney wants donors disclosed, this doesn’t constitute regulation; it just means the public would be aware of who is giving unregulated sums in huge amounts to campaigns.

    “This would set up a pipeline from Wall Street directly to campaigns,” Donnelly concluded. “This is the one percent’s wet dream.”

  33. rikyrah says:

    Romney ‘I’m not concerned with the very poor’

  34. rikyrah says:

    in case you missed it, one of Newton Leroy’s flacks thought he was gonna roll up on MSNBC while Rev. Al WAS SITTING THERE, and spout of racist bullshyt. Rev. Al, of course, was having none of it.

    here’s the video:

  35. rikyrah says:

    TPC Exclusive: What it’s like to be an African American Democrat at a GOP presidential debate
    I have a friend who is a well-known Democratic political consultant/operative who attended the CNN Republican presidential debate in Jacksonville, Florida. It’s important to note that he has worked– successfully– with both GOP and Democratic clients.

    He agreed to give me a blow-by-blow description of his experience, and some of what he told me is eye-popping, yet at the same time, sadly unsurprising.

    Here is his account, nearly verbatim, on what it was like to be an African American Democrat at a GOP presidential debate. My first question was simply, “How did you feel?” He takes it from there:

    I felt totally out of place.

    Then he took me through the evening from beginning to end, starting at the entrance to the university:

    Coming in, at the entrance to the University of North Florida, I saw 400-500 Ron Paul supporters with banners, flags, waving. It was interesting because every car ignored them, they wanted to get away from them. I met them, spoke to them, most were about 18-30 years old. I shook their hands, took pictures. It was pretty cool.

    Then I went to the parking lot, there was really tight security, and I had to show them my letter from CNN in order to get in. As I went to the auditorium, I heard chants, I saw steel barricades, then I saw the Occupy protesters. Nobody stopped to talk to them, I was the only one. I was the only on who spoke to either group, the Occupy people and the Paul supporters.

    North East Florida is for Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney, there were not many Rick Santorum supporters, except after the debate, there were more because he did pretty well. Romney was on his game, I think it was his best performance.

    We had to submit our questions ahead of time. Mine was, “What would you do to get the Latino vote, and would you support DREAM Act?” But instead, they gave me topics to choose from. They wouldn’t let me change my question unless I stuck to one of two topics given to me: Jobs, or the space program. I wanted to change my question to, “Why do you disrespect to office of president? You never say “President Obama, only “Obama” or “Barack Obama.” They wouldn’t let me, so I didn’t submit anything else.

    [Laffy Note: We discussed this at length, and it clearly bothered my friend and became a theme throughout our conversation. I didn’t include every detail here, but it is a major issue for both of us. In fact, it bothered him so much, this happened:]

    I tweeted to the candidates during the debate, “It’s PRESIDENT Obama.”

    I chatted with Former State Attorney General Bill McCollum, J.C. Watts, others, including all of the former mayoral candidates in Jacksonville. I knew a lot of people, I’d worked with many of them.

    I asked what it was like to be an African American in this particular venue:

    There were not even a dozen minorities, maybe half of the minorities that were there were Hispanics, six maybe.

    I’m in a suit, I was getting looks, like, “Hey who is this guy? Why is he here?” I heard some people ask ushers if they knew who I was.

    Describe the looks you got:

    They snubbed their nose up at me. I wasn’t offended, I’ve dealt with it my entire life. I’m always the one black guy surrounded by white folks in the arena of politics. More like, “Yeah, you guys are curious now, aren’t you?”

    I was interviewed by the University paper, and they asked if I was a Democrat or a Republican. I said, “Democrat.” They said, “What are you doing HERE?”

    Then he switched gears, his emotions went from, “I’m used to that” to “I’m pissed”:

    I blew a gasket, I lost it, I had to move from downstairs [preferred seating] to upstairs, I couldn’t stomach it!

    Everyone was sitting down, and the mayor of Jacksonville, a friend of mine, Alvin Brown, and I were talking… he was sitting a couple of rows ahead of me.

    A CNN producer comes over, he was telling us when to applaud, gave us the two minute warning just before the debate started, he introduced the president of University of North Florida, the former Jacksonville mayor, a Republican, John Delaney, who was a Democrat, but switched to GOP before he got elected.

    He thanks sponsors, everyone, talks about how Jacksonville was in the spotlight, and says, “I’m going to introduce Jacksonville’s own chairman of the Republican party in Florida, Lenny Curry.” Curry comes on, to applause, and he says, “We’re here for the debate, we’re gonna take Obama out, and make him a one term president.”

    That’s not the part that got me so mad.

    Then he goes on to say, “I’d like to introduce local dignitaries… Congressmen, a senator, a few other state Senators, but NOT Mayor of Jacksonville! He ignores the Mayor of that city, his city!! The mayor, Alvin Brown, my friend, had to sign off on this debate. He’s an African American Democratic mayor, the first in the history of Jacksonville… !!! And he doesn’t introduce him, he doesn’t acknowledge him, that he’s even present!

    So I got up, that’s it, are you kidding me?! The MAYOR of this city. What is it that you don’t like? The fact that he’s a Democrat, or black, or both? That’s what made me mad. I got out of my seat and went upstairs.

    On the way up, the debate had started, had to wait eight minutes for a break to sit down.

    I saw one seat at the top, and I started to sit by a lady who looks up and says the seat is taken. There were no other seats I could take without climbing over people, so I stood and watched for about 30 minutes, including commercial breaks, and still nobody sat in that seat. So I finally sat there, no problem. The lady said, “I guess he’s not coming.”

  36. Reggae pioneer King Stitt died

    KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — King Stitt, a pioneer in rap reggae, died Tuesday in his Caribbean homeland of Jamaica. He was 72.

    Stitt died at his home in the capital of Kingston after a long fight with prostate cancer and diabetes, said Jamaican musicologist Bunny Goodison, who was a close friend to the performer for more than 50 years. Stitt had recently been discharged from a public hospital.

    The entertainer known offstage as Winston Sparks started his musical career in the late 1950s on Kingston’s circuit of sound systems, a sort of portable disco.

  37. President Obama Announces the 2012 Launch of African Americans for Obama

Leave a Reply