Thursday Open Thread

Michael Rose (born 11 July 1957) is a Grammy award winning reggae singer from Jamaica. Possessing a wide-ranged voice, Rose would regularly meet in Kingston with singers, musicians, writers, and producers such as Dennis Brown, Big Youth, The Wailers, Gregory Isaacs, Sly and Robbie, and others.

Rose started his recording career as a solo artist for record producers Yabby You and Niney the Observer. He joined Black Uhuru in 1977 after the departure of Don Carlos and Garth Dennis. He led them to international success in the early 1980s, having written most of their popular material. They won the first-ever Grammy Award for reggae in 1985 for the album Anthem,[2] with the hallmark voice of Rose in the forefront.

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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50 Responses to Thursday Open Thread

  1. President Barack Obama holds Arianna Holmes, 3, before taking a departure photo with members of her family in the Oval Office, Feb. 1, 2012. Arianna’s mother, Angela Holmes, is a departing Special Assistant in the International Economic Affairs office of the National Security Staff.

  2. Ametia says:

    OMG L.O is putting the paddle to Trump and Mitt ***HOLLERING***

  3. Mitt Romney And Donald Trump: They Both Like Firing People

  4. rikyrah says:

    A quarter of the money amassed by Romney’s campaign and an allied super PAC has come from just 41 people, each of whom has given more than $100,000, according to a Washington Post analysis of disclosure data. Nearly a dozen of the donors have contributed $1 million or more.

  5. rikyrah says:

    GOP to Bernanke: leave the economy alone
    By Steve Benen – Thu Feb 2, 2012 3:13 PM EST.

    The Federal Reserve is tasked not only with combating inflation, but also with a mandate to keep unemployment low. It’s the latter responsibility that congressional Republicans don’t like.

    Back in November 2010, GOP officials were so concerned that the Fed might try to lower the unemployment rate they called for legislation to change the Federal Reserve’s mandate — the Board of Governors could think about inflation, but would be expected to ignore jobs.

    Nearly a year-and-a-half later, the Republican fear that the Fed might lower unemployment hasn’t gone away.

    Congressional Republicans criticized the Federal Reserve on Thursday for working to reduce unemployment and revive the housing market rather than maintaining a single-minded focus on inflation.

    The Fed’s chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, was sharply questioned by members of a House committee about the Fed’s announcement last week that it plans to hold short-term interest rates near zero until late 2014, a measure that the Fed described as necessary to support a faster pace of economic recovery.

    That’s right, GOP officials have noticed that the Fed is interested in addressing unemployment, and it wants this to stop as soon as possible.

    Republicans aren’t arguing that the Fed is bad at lowering unemployment, and they’re not arguing that the Fed is incapable of lowering unemployment; GOP lawmakers are saying the Fed shouldn’t even try to address the jobless rate in the midst of a jobs crisis.

    What matters, Republicans argued today, is largely non-existent inflation, and the possibility that inflation may become a problem at some point in the future. This fear, GOP officials argued, takes precedence over 8.5% unemployment.

    The last time Republicans demanded the Fed ignore the jobless rate, Steven Pearlstein noted, “It’s not exactly clear how unemployed workers would benefit from the Fed’s benign neglect.”

    The answer, of course, is that unemployed workers wouldn’t benefit at all.

  6. rikyrah says:

    February 02, 2012 2:03 PM

    Obama’s Prayer
    By Ed Kilgore

    So President Obama spoke at this morning’s National Prayer Breakfast, and it’s not just conservative gabbers who are mocking him for allegedly claiming direct divine sanction for his policy proposals. Here’s Politico’s stupid headline: “Obama: Jesus Would Tax the Rich.”

    I personally have little doubt that if Jesus of Nazareth had been in charge of determining how much various people were rendering unto Caesar, he would not have been particularly interested in the pleas of job creators that they need to engorge themselves with riches for the common good. And I’m certainly not alone. For example, the current and past teachings of the Roman Catholic Church (you know, the church that Obama is supposedly persecuting because he does not adequately accept the view that it’s all right to pocket government subsidies for health coverage while denying preventive services for contraceptives that most Catholics and non-Catholics alike utilize) emphatically embrace public policies aimed at economic fairness and social justice.

    But matter of fact, Obama did not claim Jesus as co-author of his policies: He merely suggested that they are influenced by the values taught by Jesus, as he understands them. He went far out of his way to try to make that clear, saying: “Our goal should not be to declare our policies as biblical. It is God who is infallible, not us.”

    This has been a central theme of virtually every major utterance by Barack Obama on the subject of religion and politics, most notably in his famous 2009 commencement address at Notre Dame: a warning against the arrogance of those who presume to speak for the Almighty in pursuit of their highly secular political agendas. It’s an idea that used to be called “the fear of God,” though it is almost entirely lacking among the noisy ranks of Christian Right leaders.

    It’s hardly surprising that these folks are projecting their own usurpation of religion onto the president. Nor, sadly, is it surprising that presumably neutral observers like the headline writers at Politico don’t get it at all.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Lower-Income Republicans Say Government Does Too Little for Poor People

    Mitt Romney’s statement that he is focused solely on the problems of middle class Americans, not the poor, may not sit well with lower-income voters within his own party. Roughly a quarter of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters have annual family incomes under $30,000, and most of them say that the government does not do enough for poor people in this country.

    In a Pew Research Center survey conducted in early October, 57% of lower-income Republican and Republican-leaning voters said the government does too little for poor people. Just 18% said it does too much

    By contrast, higher-income Republicans took the opposite view; by roughly two-to-one (44% to 21%) Republicans with incomes of $75,000 or more said the government does too much, not too little, for poor people.

  8. rikyrah says:

    found this in the comments at Balloon Juice:

    54.Martin – February 2, 2012 | 12:57 am · Link

    Villago Delenda Est:

    Obama’s luck makes Bill Clinton’s look like a guy who bets on a natural, and always rolls snake eyes.

    Not luck. Obama is a scary motherfucker to run against. He’s organized, he’s on message, he’s got basically no skeletons which is why the right has gone to such lengths to invent some. And the GOP has NO idea how to deal with race unless they can turn their opponent into a caricature, which Obama refuses to yield to. That’s why they ran Keyes against him – figured a black guy wouldn’t get into trouble against Obama.

    I know it’s tempting to credit the GOP with organizational skill and discipline and deride the Dems as being disorganized, but the GOP have nothing on Obama. Honest to god, if there’s one thing that Obama leaves behind in the Democratic party, I hope to hell it’s his organization. It’s really fucking impressive, and everyone should be afraid to run against that.

  9. rikyrah says:

    February 02, 2012 11:52 AM

    Komen, Handel, and the Funhouse Mirror of Anti-Choice Politics
    By Ed Kilgore

    In the growing backlash against the Komen Foundation’s decision to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screening, critics have speculated that Komen’s action might be related to its hiring last year of former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel as its Vice President for Public Policy. Actually, they are not alone in this suspicion; a major RTL web site also gave Handel even more direct “credit” for Komen’s cave-in.

    I have no particular way of knowing what role Handel plays at Komen, or how it reached its unfortunate decision, other than to mock the “investigations” pretext. After all, Planned Parenthood is “under investigation” by congressional Republicans in precisely the same way that the descendents of Jews and Muslims were perpetually “under investigation” by the Spanish Inquisition: as a condition of their existence.

    But I do find it interesting that Handel is in this role, which tells you a lot about how weird the Republican politics of abortion have gotten. During her unsuccessful 2010 gubernatorial campaign (she narrowly lost a Republican runoff to now-governor Nathan Deal after running first in the primary), Handel did just about everything possible to nail down right-wing support. Her signature issue was to boast of her efforts as Secretary of State to push through a highly restrictive voter ID law and otherwise fight non-existent “voter fraud.” She also called for the actual repeal of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. One of her earliest and most avid supporters was the savagely ideological Erick Erickson, proprietor of RedState, who lives in Georgia (and who is currently asking readers to contribute to Komen to say “thanks.”) Like her doppelganger, South Carolina’s Nikki Haley (another big Erickson project), she posed as the right-wing reformer who would clean up the mess created by crypto-Democratic good-old-boys. Like Haley, she benefited from an endorsement by and a personal appearance with Sarah Palin, who blessed her as a fellow Mama Grizzly.

    Despite all those credentials, her most vocal intramural opponent, particularly during the runoff, was the Georgia Right To Life Organization, which attacked her for supporting rape-and-incest exceptions to a total ban on abortions, and also for disagreeing with the group’s efforts to restrict IV fertilization. Interestingly, given the current issue with Komen, part of Handel’s response was to attack Nathan Deal for a congressional vote (back when he was a Democrat) against a funding cutoff for—you guessed it—Planned Parenthood (h/t John Aravosis of AmericaBlog).

    Only in the funhouse mirror of anti-choice politics can somebody like Handel suffer criticism for failing to be militant enough. But whatever it tells you, if anything, about Karen Handel’s views or her alleged effect on Komen, it tells you these are people who will go to extraordinary, unimaginable lengths to achieve their goals. And they are achieving them more often than most of us would like to admit.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 08:49 AM ET, 02/02/2012
    The Morning Plum: Romney’s millionaires and billionaires
    By Greg Sargent
    Let’s get started with this excellent scoop from Dan Eggen and T.W. Farnam:

    One of Mitt Romney’s strongest assets as the GOP presidential front-runner is also a potentially serious liability in the race: his heavy reliance on a small group of millionaires and billionaires for financial support.

    A quarter of the money amassed by Romney’s campaign and an allied super PAC has come from just 41 people, each of whom has given more than $100,000, according to a Washington Post analysis of disclosure data. Nearly a dozen of the donors have contributed $1 million or more.
    Four of the $1 million donors are hedge fund managers, and Dems will surely point to this as evidence that the very rich are fueling Romney’s campaign because his tax policies protect their financial interests. The loophole that Obama’s Buffett Rule would close keeps their tax rates lower than those paid by many middle class taxpayers.

    Exacerbating this picture, of course, is the fact that Romney himself is a member of this class that benefits so handsomely from the unfairness of this tax structure. The Dem strategy is to paint Romney as the walking embodiment of everything that’s unfair about our economy and tax system, and all the ways it’s rigged for the wealthy and against the middle class. The fact that a tiny handful of extremely wealthy individuals who are reaping so much from the current structure — as is Romney himself — are investing so heavily in his candidacy will only strengthen the case.

    This becomes starker still when you consider that Romney (like the other GOP candidates) won’t release the names of its bundlers, and favors doing away with any and all limits on contributions to campaigns.

    No one is denying that big money’s corrosive influence over our politics impacts both parties. But the emerging larger picture on Romney’s side takes this all to another, almost surreal, level. Taken together, it all seems so out of sync with the public mood that it’s hard to know where to begin. And yet here we are — this is who the GOP appears set to nominate at this particular economic and political moment.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Beyond Willard’s Lack of Concern for the Very Poor
    By Charles P. Pierce at 4:12PM

    So in case you missed it, and you probably didn’t, Willard Romney went on CNN this morning, basking in the afterglow of his purchase of the Florida primary, and he immediately tripped over the one foot that wasn’t already in his mouth:

    “I’m not concerned with 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 the America, the 90 percent, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”

    Okay, most of the attention has already been levelled at that first part, which is so absolutely true that it’s a wonder Willard’s tongue didn’t turn to fire as he said it. He’s spent most of the day walking it back. On the other hand, Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog may be right in saying that this is actually a cute ploy by Romney to divide the poor-but-not-destitute from the Really Poor. We’ll see how often he trots it out going forward. But I’d like to draw your attention to another part of what he said to Soledad O’Brien.

    The challenge right now — we will hear from the Democrat party the plight of the poor. And there’s no question it’s not good being poor. And we have a safety net to help those that are very poor, but campaign is focused is on middle-income Americans. My campaign — you can choose where to focus. You can focus on the rich, that’s not my focus. You can focus on the very poor, that’s not my focus.

    Okay, try for the moment to ignore the living definition of the phrase “condescending maladroit” that we have here in the sentence, “And there’s no question it’s not good being poor.” And try for the moment not to remember that “the safety net” is pretty shabby, and that Romney’s economic proposals pretty much would shred what was left. Instead, check out what he said there at the beginning:

    “The challenge right now — we will hear from the Democrat party…”

    Whoa. Stop. Rewind.

    “…the Democrat party…”

    In case you had any remaining doubts, our Willard has gone full wingnut. “Democrat party” is always the giveaway, a sniggering, dumbass rhetorical loogie originally hawked up by Joe McCarthy. It’s the way you send a message to the other, dumber members of the tribe that you’re with them. I heard him say it a couple of times in South Carolina and thought, damn, Willard, you’d dress up like Madame LaFarge and dance the hootchie-koo if you thought it meant five votes from these goons. If he starts winking and saying, “You betcha!”, I’m really off the train.

    Read more:

  12. rikyrah says:

    Now This Is a Very Interesting Development
    By Charles P. Pierce
    at 4:20PM

    No matter what Willard Romney said on Tuesday night, a tough primary can really damage you. If these latest PPP numbers are in any way accurate, the rockfight between Romney and N. Leroy Gingrich, Definer of Civilization’s Rules and Leader (Perhaps) of the Civilizing Forces, has pushed Romney’s unfavorability ratings in Ohio northward toward 60 percent. And I don’t care how much you’re hearing about how Willard will “tack to the middle” once he sews things up; sooner or later, you go so far in one direction that tacking back in the other leaves you only halfway home.

    (I would also note for the record that Rick Santorum polls better than everyone else in Ohio, both in his personal approval ratings and in his potential as a candidate against the president. Yet nobody on that side is planning to vote for him, now or ever. Go figure.)

    This also opens up another topic for discussion. In places like Ohio, and almost everywhere else in the midwest, there is massive voter discontent against rookie Republican governors like John Kasich, Scott Walker in Wisconsin, Rick Snyder in Michigan, and Mitch Daniels in Indiana. These governors, however, had the benefit of rubber-stamp GOP majorities in their state legislatures, which almost universally passed legislation making it harder for all that discontent to express itself at the ballot box. That collision between masses of angry Democrats and new Republican procedural roadblocks almost guarantees a savage campaign on the ground in all these states, and that’s not even to mention the tidal wave of Citizens United money that’s already gathering steam in the distance. (This week, Scott Walker estimated that merely the campaign to recall him is going to be a $100 million election.) It is going to be a very good year to be an election-law lawyer.

    But those Ohio numbers say something else, too. Eighty-four percent of the respondents are white and, even with that, Romney is six points down with a 57 percent disapproval rating. He better tack like hell, is all I’m saying.

    Read more:

  13. Ametia says:

    Look what FLOTUS has inspired. Jason Wu for Target!!!

  14. Ametia says:

    Billionaire Buddies: Adelsons Join Forces With Koch Brothers To Take Down Obama
    By Josh Israel on Feb 2, 2012 at 10:45 am

    In recent years, billionaire oil magnates David and Charles Koch have bankrolled the Tea Party movement, Republican candidates, and efforts to deny the existence global warming. But less noticed have been their series of twice-yearly strategy coordination meetings for wealthy right-wing donors. These secret confabs have attracted Republicans like Govs. Rick Perry (R-TX) and Rick Scott (R-FL), as well as former Fox News Channel talker Glenn Beck, Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, representatives from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and executives from the oil, banking, and health insurance industries.

    The most recent meeting attracted two newcomers: Sheldon and Miriam Adelson. Between them, the Las Vegas casino-owner and his wife have reportedly plowed $10 million into a pro-Newt Gingrich super PAC and have donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republican party committees and candidates already this cycle.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 01:41 PM ET, 02/01/2012
    Romney: Context for me, but not for thee
    By Greg Sargent
    Get this: At a press gaggle just now, Mitt Romney defended his gaffe this morning — in which he said he’s “not concerned about the very poor”— by pleading with reporters to look at the larger context of his remarks:

    “No no no no. I — no, no. You’ve got to take the whole sentence, all right, as opposed to saying, and then change it just a little bit, because then it sounds very different,” said Romney. “I’ve said throughout the campaign my focus, my concern, my energy is gonna be devoted to helping middle income people, all right? We have a safety net for the poor in, and if there are holes in it, I will work to repair that. And if there are people that are falling through the cracks I want to fix that. “

    You’ve got to take the whole sentence? Interesting. That rule did not apply when Romney personally approved an ad attacking Obama that lifted his words out of context in a hilariously dishonest way, implying that Obama said something about himself he’d actually attributed to a McCain adviser. The Romney campaign subsequently boasted about all the media attention the ad’s dishonesty earned.

    Nor did Romney’s call for context apply when he blasted Obama for not believing in American exceptionalism by cherry-picking a line from an Obama speech in which the President actually did proclaim his belief that America is exceptional. Romney has a whole history of decontextualizing remarks.

    By the way, it’s unlikely that Romney’s plea for context will do anything to quiet criticism of the gaffe, which is now being loudly voiced by conservatives, too. Erick Erickson, Jonah Goldberg and others on the right are all arguing that Romney has showcased his political ineptitude by offering Dems a comment that — even if taken out of context — plays perfectly into the Dem strategy of painting Romney as the candidate of the one percent. Not only that, but it’s also worth mentioning that in his comments, Romney confirmed that the Democratic Party does care about the poor.

    Romney wasn’t really saying he doesn’t care about the poor, but the context still doesn’t help much. He seemed to be indicating that the plight of the poor isn’t all that worrisome because the safety net is doing such an adequate job in keeping them out of, well, poverty.

    For all the talk about Romney’s “electability,” this episode shows that in reality, widespread and rampant doubts about his fitness for the general election are seething just below the surface among a surprisingly large number of conservative observers. Romney’s plea for context — in which he‘s basically asking the press to honor a standard of accuracy his own campaign has made a mockery of — won’t do anything to ally those doubts, either.

  16. rikyrah says:

    .Romney’s ‘Let Them Eat Cake’ Moment

    Even Mitt Romney’s defenders admit that he chose his words poorly when, on Wednesday morning, he told CNN that “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” But many of these defenders say the quote is innocuous once you read it in context and realize what Romney was really trying to say.

    Well, I’ve read the quote in context and have a pretty good idea what Romney was trying to say. I would hardly describe it as innocuous.


    To give Romney his due, he clearly wasn’t saying that he was indifferent to the very poor. And I assume that, deep in his heart, he is not. Instead, Romney was saying that, as president, he wouldn’t make the very poor a top priority, because they are doing well enough, at least relative to the middle class.

    But where on earth did Romney get that idea? The statistics tell a rather different story. Last year, for example, more than half of all children in poor households experienced a major hardship such as hunger or living in overcrowded living conditions, according to an analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. And if statistics like that are too abstract for Romney, perhaps he should spend some time in a clinic for the uninsured or a soup kitchen. If he did, he’d discover that life for the very poor is still very hard. They struggle just to pay for food and heat, let alone rent. Most of these people get by – people almost always find a way to get by – but it’s not a life that Romney or anybody else would want for themselves or their loved ones.

    Romney is correct that a safety net exists for these people: Food stamps, and housing vouchers, and public health insurance save countless Americans from even worse hardship and, in the best of cases, help lift them into the middle class, where they stay. But the programs are not generous enough, or expansive enough, to do the job adequately. In most states, for example, only mothers and children are eligible for basic health insurance under Medicaid. Housing vouchers and subsidized child care, frequently essential for mothers who want to work, typically have long waiting lists. The value and reach of cash assistance (welfare) has actually declined in relative terms.

    And while Romney vowed “to repair” holes in the safety net, the policies he has proposed would have the very opposite effect. Romney has vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, effectively taking subsidized health insurance away from about 30 million people slated to get it starting in 2014. Romney has also pledged to reduce non-defense spending to 16 percent of gross domestic product. That target would, by Romney’s own admission, require half a trillion dollar in cuts in 2016, above and beyond cuts already scheduled to take place next year.

    There’s a legitimate conservative argument in favor of reforming safety net programs and, in the process, realizing efficiencies that would make them less expensive. (John McCormack gives a version of it in the Weekly Standard.) And while I don’t usually find that argument convincing, I believe well-intentioned people can disagree about its merits. Romney’s plan, however, would require cuts that go well beyond any realistic expectation of savings from efficiency. As noted here and by the Center on Budget, there’s simply no way to take that much money out of social services, in such a short time span, without reducing the assistance that people get and very much need.

    But all of this misses the real problem with Romney’s statements: His suggestion that the safety net matters to only the a small class of people, constituting less than 10 percent of the population, who have the problems he associates with the “very poor.” Hardship is actually a lot more widespread than that. According to the latest Census figures, 15 percent of Americans and 22 percent of children live below the poverty line. Keep in mind that the poverty line in 2011 was around $22,000 in annual income for a family of four. That doesn’t go very far.

    Actually, even twice the poverty level, or about $44,000 a year in 2011, doesn’t go very far. And, according to the same census figures, nearly half of all American households have incomes below that level. These people depend on public programs, too, as do quite a few people making even more money but who are still a long ways from being rich. These people need government to provide college loans, public schools, and Medicare and Medicaid, just to name a few well-known services. (If you don’t think Medicaid helps the middle class, go visit a nursing home and ask how many residents have children in the middle class, who, if not for Medicaid, would be paying for their parents’ care out of their own pockets.)

    Romney’s political strategy here seems clear to me: He’s trying to drive a wedge between the poor and the middle class, convincing the latter that they lose out to the former when Democrats are in charge. And the strategy may work. It’s certainly helped Republicans before. But the big beneficiary of Romney’s plan to reorder fiscal priorities is not the middle class. It’s the very wealthy, who would get substantial tax benefits and who will usually be fine with weakened public services.

    So maybe Romney’s quote is misleading after all. It suggests that only the poor would be afterthoughts in a Romney presidency, when even many non-poor Americans would be forgotten, too.


  17. rikyrah says:

    February 02, 2012 10:09 AM

    LDS Power in Nevada

    Speaking of casinos and campaigning, we are on the brink of Nevada’s caucuses, being held on February 4 after ricocheting around the calendar last year in the usual game of musical chairs among “early” states. And from the very beginning of the “invisible primary” last year, Nevada has been generally conceded to Mitt Romney, no matter how he has been doing elsewhere or nationally.

    A new poll conducted by UNLV for local Las Vegas media explains why. Although they represent only 7% of Nevada’s population, LDS members are expected to make up one-fourth of caucus-goers, with 86% saying they will vote for their co-religionist. That’s almost exactly what happened in 2008, when 26% of caucus-goers were Mormons, and 95% voted for Mitt. With that sort of hard-core base, it’s no surprise Romney leads the current poll with 45% of likely caucus-goers, with Newt Gingrich at 25%, Rick Santorum at 11%, and Ron Paul at 9%.

    Gingrich has little chance of winning Nevada, but is getting some circus-like buzz in the state thanks to his impending endorsement from the freakishly omnipresent Donald Trump, which presumably pulls a few Birther votes, and his close (one might say feudal) relationship with another casino owner, Sheldon Adelson, who will have the opportunity to vote for Newt on Saturday at a special separate evening caucus for Orthodox Jews and Seventh-Day Adventists held in a center named for his family (though he denies any involvement with setting it up, since he’s not Orthodox).

    For all the talk of Romney’s religion hurting him because of a “backlash” from evangelicals, there’s no question he benefits from a “frontlash” of LDS voters expressing solidarity with him, just as Catholic voters did for JFK in 1960 when he sought to become that group’s first president. They matter a lot in NV, and will also matter on February 28 in Arizona (6% LDS), and in later caucuses in Idaho (27% LDS) and Wyoming (11% LDS), right down to heavily-Mormon Utah, which ends the whole nominating process on June 26.

  18. Ametia says:


  19. rikyrah says:

    February 02, 2012 8:56 AM

    DeMint to Romney: Love the Poor By Shredding the Safety Net
    By Ed Kilgore

    Mitt Romney’s dilemma in reconciling his nomination and general election strategies has been nicely illustrated by the controversy he invited yesterday in telling Soledad O’Brien he was “not concerned about the very poor.” To most casual listeners, the remark seemed rather callous, particularly coming from a man of Romney’s vast wealth, who is seeking to lead a party devoted to the proposition that Americans must sacrifice to keep wealthy “job creators” from taking their capital and going home. Many Republicans thought it showed a characteristic clumsiness by a politician who doesn’t exactly have the common touch.

    But Romney is also taking flak from conservatives who thought his comments about the “very poor”—and particularly his efforts to defend himself by pointing out that the “very poor” do benefit from “safety net” programs—showed too much interest in helping those most in need.

    Here’s what Sen. Jim DeMint chose to say to Roll Call:

    I would say I’m worried about the poor because many are trapped in dependency, they need a good job; they don’t need to be on social welfare programs….
    I think all of this is a teachable moment for America. I think Bain Capital was, and I think he finally turned that around and showed some confidence in his success, and we need to do that here. We do worry about the poor when they’re trapped in government dependency programs and the education system’s not producing the skills [and] character for them to succeed, and I think it is an important thing for him to backtrack on that. I don’t think anyone thinks he doesn’t care about the poor, but I think he’s trying to say they’re taken care of right now with these programs. Those are the programs that are hurting, not just the poor, but our country. We need to address it at every level.

    A few years ago, remarks like this from DeMint would be laughed off by many as the ravings of a lonely crank, but nowadays, you could make the case he is the single most influential politician in the GOP, an excellent barometer of the conservative zeitgeist, and certainly someone Mitt Romney has to listen to closely. So every time he opens his mouth, he has to think about how his words will resonate with regular people, but also people like DeMint who think the country is far too generous to the very poor, and figures they mainly need the moral rigor of being left on their own.

    Romney’s indeed in a chronic jam. It’s tough to be a serial flip-flopper under such cross-cutting pressures. When does he flip and when does he flop?

    • Ametia says:


      We don’t have it TWISTED, dude.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Commentary: Big business courts undocumented workers for a reason

    All of us benefited from the work and toil of Luis Martinez, until the day they called the cops on him and he found himself in a New Mexico jail facing deportation.

    His 34-year-old life of family and industry was shattered, everything he had worked for gone.
    But let’s state something clearly right away. Martinez is undocumented. He came from Mexico to Sacramento in 1993 as an impoverished teenager who didn’t have the money to pay for a visa or the years to wait for one to be granted to him.

    Once here, Martinez washed dishes. He worked his way up to short order cook and then supervised other kitchen workers. He married, had American-born children, bought a house, paid his income taxes, property taxes and sales taxes.

    His employers benefited from his sweat, toil and the low wages paid in the restaurant industry, which depends on cheap labor just as the hotel industry, agricultural industry and many other industries do.

    Martinez would have loved to have traded on his hard work for a chance to establish legal residency in the U.S., but without immigration reform, there is no way to do that without returning to Mexico.

    Who cares, right? That’s how many Americans feel about the undocumented.
    But consider this:

    The case of Martinez illustrates why immigration flows continue, despite all the people angry at law-breaking immigrants who don’t “play by the rules.”

    Big business is getting paid off the backs of immigrants like Martinez.
    Major banks actively encourage business with immigrant communities and design rules requiring immigrants only to show identification from their native land to open accounts.

    Since 2002, for example, Bank of America has allowed Mexican immigrants to do some business with the bank while showing only identification obtained from Mexican consulates.
    “Reports have stated that in some cases, illegal immigrants are able to sign up for the bank’s products and services. These reports are true,” Ken Lewis, BofA’s former chief executive officer, said in a 2007 Wall Street Journal commentary.

    Why do business with these folks if some might be illegal?
    Fox News reported in 2010 that more than $21 billion was sent from the U.S. to Mexico. That’s billion with a “B.”
    Martinez had been a Bank of America customer since 1996. One day 11 months ago, he got a call to go to his branch in Marysville, where he now lives after residing for years in Sacramento, to discuss his accounts.

  21. rikyrah says:

    this is nasty on so many levels.


    Wealthy Fla. man adopts adult girlfriend as his daughter

    A wealthy polo club owner in Florida has legally adopted his longtime adult girlfriend as his daughter in a legal maneuver that critics say is an attempt to shield his assets ahead of a civil lawsuit over a deadly car crash, The Palm Beach Post reports.

    John Goodman, 48, is being sued by the parents of 23-year-old Scott Patrick Wilson, who was killed in a traffic accident last February. The newspaper, quoting a sheriff’s report, says Goodman ran a stop sign and hit Wilson’s car in Wellington, Fla.

    Wilson’s parents have sued Goodman. The trial is set for March 27.

    The newspaper says Goodman also faces a criminal trial on March 6 on charges of DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a crash. He could face up to 30 years in prison, the Post says.

    Goodman, founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach, legally adopted Laruso Hutchins, 42, as his daughter on Oct. 13 in Miami-Dade County, according to court documents, the Post reports.

    West Palm Beach Judge Glenn Kelley wrote in a court order that the legal twists in the case “border on the surreal and take the Court into a legal twilight zone.”

    In a previous ruling, Kelley said a trust set up for Goodman’s two minor children could not be considered as part of his financial worth if a jury awarded damages to the Wilsons. According to the adoption papers, Hutchins is immediately entitled to at least a third of the trust’s assets as his legal daughter since she is over the age of 35, the Post reports.

    Attorneys for Wilsons tell the Post that the adoption is an attempt by Goodman to shield assets from potential lawsuit damages.

    Dan Bachi, Goodman’s civil attorney, says the adoption was done to ensure the future stability of his children and family investments and has nothing to do with the lawsuit.

  22. Ametia says:

    Famed boxing trainer Angelo Dundee dies
    By Lateef Mungin, CNN
    February 2, 2012 — Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)

    Read more about this story from CNN affiliate WFTS.

    (CNN) — Legendary cornerman Angelo Dundee, the man who helped motivate Muhammad Ali and many other boxing champs, died Wednesday, a source close to Ali said.
    He was 90. Dundee died Wednesday in Florida from natural causes, Dundee’s son Jimmy Dundee told CNN affiliate WFTS.
    Dundee, known for being a supreme motivator, was inducted in the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992. His biography on its website reads like a who’s who list of boxing royalty.
    He was hired to be Ali’s trainer and cornerman in 1960 back when the brash-talking, quick-jabbing boxer went by the name Cassius Clay. Dundee was there through Ali’s historic name change, his brawls with George Foreman, “Smokin” Joe Frazier, Ken Norton and Leon Spinks.

  23. rikyrah says:

    February 02, 2012 8:17 AM

    Indiana Smites Unions
    By Ed Kilgore

    Yesterday, with Gov. Mitch Daniels’ signature, Indiana became the 23d state, and the very first (other than Indiana itself during a brief period ending in 1965) in the industrial northeast and midwest, to enact “right-to-work” legislation—or as folk in the labor movement call it, a “right to work for less” law.

    Politically, it could reflect a shift of conservative and Republican anti-labor strategy from a focus on reducing the strength of public-sector unions (rationalized by alleged budget savings to be achieved by reducing wages and benefits for public employees) to a broader and more open attack on organizing and collective bargaining rights.

    As Abby Rapoport explains at The American Prospect, Indiana’s action is significant historically because it represents the use of right-to-work laws to dismantle, not prevent, unions:

    “Right-to-work laws weaken labor for sure,” says [labor historian Jefferson] Cowie. “But they were passed in states where labor was already weak.” States throughout the South and West soon passed such legislation, and used the laws to prevent unions from gaining a foothold or gaining significant power. The laws never actually dismantled a strong union presence, but instead kept unions out for fear they would upset racial and class structures.

    While conservatives will cheer Indiana’s action, you can expect the most common reaction on the Right to stray from the traditional line that other states should emulate it. Despite the renewed popularity of states’ rights rhetoric, anti-labor ideologues have recently begun demanding a national “right-to-work” law, as was reflected when Rick Santorum got beaten up by his rivals in a SC candidates’ debate for having voted against such a measure.

    “States’ rights,” of course, is not the only conservative principle anti-labor zealots are willing to sacrifice in the pursuit of greater workplace power for “job-creators;” the very essence of right-to-work laws, federal or state, is to outlaw freedom of contract, since employers and unions are prohibited from signing agreements that require payment of dues in exchange for legally required collective bargaining representation.

    Most supporters of “right-to-work” laws don’t even both to get into their pros and cons, just taking it for granted that unions are a bad thing and that workers struggling under their yoke would give anything to regain the right to flex their muscles in individual negotiations with their employers (joke!).

    But as someone who grew up in the right-to-work Deep South, I can assure Indianans that from a psychological point of view they are about to enter a brave new world where an ever-neurotic desire to keep corporations happy always seems to trump any consideration of fair play or workers’ rights. Welcome to the Old South, Hoosiers! Misery loves company.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Romney Caught in Another Lie Re: Finances
    by Steven D
    Thu Feb 2nd, 2012 at 08:59:50 AM EST

    In my opinion, when a man promises to do something and then does the exact opposite that makes him a Liar (and I make no apology for the Capital L). In 2007, Mitt Romney promised that his family trusts that hold his stock portfolio (you now the ones that make him able to claim he’s unemployed while raking in millions of dollars a year) would be divested of any shares in companies that conflicted with his party’s positions regarding China, Iran, stem cell research, etc. However, he never followed through on that pledge, and kept buying shares in companies and investments that conflicted with his promise as late as 2010, just before he launched his current Presidential run.

    Now I don’t really care if some rich bastard that got that way by being a bastard and running companies into the ground for profit continues to be a bastard, because it’s difficult to change one’s essential nature. However, RMoney is running for the office of President of the United States, so if he makes a promise, one he could have easily kept, and then refuses to follow through on that promise until he needs to cover-up his failure to do so — well, most politicians lie at one time or another but Mittens seems to make a career out of it:

    During his presidential campaign in 2007, Republican candidate Mitt Romney promised that a trust overseeing his financial portfolio would shed any investments that conflicted with GOP positions toward Iran, China, stem cell research and other issues. But Romney’s family trusts kept some of those stocks and repeatedly bought new investments in similar holdings as recently as 2010, when they were sold in advance of his latest White House campaign, a detailed review of Romney’s financial records by The Associated Press shows.
    Recently disclosed 2010 tax returns for three family trust funds for Romney, his wife, Ann, and their adult children show scores of trades in such investments, worth more than $3 million when the holdings were all sold in 2010.

    Now RMoney’s spokes-reptiles claim he had no idea what his “trusts were doing” and that, of course he had no control over them, and blah, blah, blah, various other “it’s not my job” excuses for not living up to his pledge, but if you believe that horsepuckey, well as the proverbial saying goes, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you (or Mitt’s family trusts do). Seriously, divesting yourself of certain investments is not a difficult thing to do, even for a vulture capitalist and inveterate coupon-clipper (no, not the Supermarket coupons, the other ones). All he had to do was give express orders to his trustees to sell off those investments and not buy any more. But Mitt apparently was either so incompetent or so deceitful (I opt for the latter) that he couldn’t manage to accomplish even that:

    “Financially, these would seem to be completely legitimate investments,” said Thomas B. Cooke, a professor of business law at Georgetown University and former president of the National Society of Tax Professionals. “But for someone running for president, there’s also a smell test.”

    Yes, and the stink just keeps getting worse with each passing day. Imagine this guy in the White House. My guess is that he would make Dubya look like a piker when it comes to corruption and financial scandals, and that’s not an easy trick to pull off. Well, unless you are RMoney, that is. Then it’s just business as usual.


  25. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney Isn’t Too Perfect—He’s Too Phony
    February 1, 2012 RSS Feed Print Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker has a theory: Former Gov. Mitt Romney doesn’t have a problem connecting with people; rather, people have trouble connecting with him.

    Why? Because he’s too perfect:

    [H]andsome, rich and successful, he is happily married to a beautiful wife, father to five strapping sons and grandfather to many. At the end of a long day of campaigning, his hair hasn’t moved. His shirt is still unwrinkled and neatly tucked into pressed jeans. He goes to bed the same way he woke up—sober, uncaffeinated, seamless and smiling in spite of the invectives hurled in his direction.

    What’s wrong with this guy? Nada. Which is precisely the problem. …

    For most everyday Americans, life is less tidy. Half have been or will be divorced. Someone in the family is an alcoholic or a drug user. Most can barely pay their bills, and there’s not much to look forward to. When most Americans of Romney’s vintage look in the mirror, they see an overweight person they don’t recognize.

    Great Odin’s raven, I thought I’d heard it all!

    I’m not omniscient enough to plumb the psyches of millions of “everyday Americans” and imagine what they see in the mirror. I’ll take my cues from the diverse handful of men who’ve seen up Romney up close. Sen. John McCain, former Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Sen. Fred Thompson campaigned against him in 2008. To varying degrees, each of these men quickly learned to despise Romney.

    It’s clear that former Speaker Newt Gingrich and Gov. Rick Perry (and probably Herman Cain) also despise Romney. In the latter pair’s case, one could argue it’s sour grapes. But not in ’08, when Romney flopped badly.

    My question to Parker and Jennifer Rubin and David Frum and all the others who are elbowing for room inside the Romney Tank is this: Why do these men fundamentally dislike Mitt Romney? Isn’t it because, on the matter of intellectual honesty, they find Romney all too human? According to John Heilemann and Mark Halperin’s Game Change, an insider’s chronicle of the ’08 campaign, McCain said at one point that he preferred former Rep. Tom Tancredo—”because at least he believes the things he says.”

    Sure, McCain, Giuliani and Huckabee (as well as former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Rep. Michele Bachmann) have come out in favor of Romney in this campaign, but they’re doing so out of partisan unity or professional positioning.

    [Read the U.S. News debate: Can Anything Stop Mitt Romney?]

    Lack of charisma or relatability is not an insurmountable obstacle in American politics. Even former Vice President Al Gore managed to win the popular vote, after all. Romney’s principal problem isn’t a lack of personal connection with people. It’s that he irritates people. He’s a transparent phony who, unlike President Bill Clinton, isn’t even particularly good at being phony.

  26. rikyrah says:

    February 01, 2012
    They confessed what?
    Again from Dionne, another exit-poll gem — this one perhaps the most glittering, and unquestionably the most astonishing, of them all:

    [V]oters who said campaign advertising was important to their decision voted for Romney by better than 2 to 1.

    This reference lacks mention of what percentage of voters actually confessed to interviewers that “campaign advertising was important to their decision.” So, notwithstanding the imbalanced 2 to 1 statistic, the overall number of confessing and apparently unembarrassed voters may have been rather small. Still, that a quantifiable number could have been so unaware of the two more prominent campaigns’ utter butchery of truth in their advertising offensives says something about this electorate’s raw obliviousness to political news in print and public affairs programming on the tube.

    These people are the propagandist’s dream, and the small-r republican’s nightmare.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Is Romney Just Too Perfect?

    Michael Brendan Dougherty made the case last week:

    Most Americans would get a beer with Clinton. And thus they’d vote for him. But they’d rather have had Romney date their young daughter. And that’s a problem for Romney. … Romney is too distinguished by his success, by his good looks, his clean living, and picture-perfect family to be the vehicle through which a mass of today’s Americans express themselves in politics. We can forgive riches (George W. Bush), or a little vice (Clinton), or a good family life (Obama), so long as there is a little tinge of the frathouse or at least a cigarette habit to offset it. In a society that assumes equality–that we’re all basically the same–Mitt Romney just stands a little too tall and straight.

    Similarly, Kathleen Parker argues that people have a hard time connecting with the “near-perfect” Romney, and not the other way around. Scott Galupo is indignant:

    Romney’s principal problem isn’t a lack of personal connection with people. It’s that he irritates people. He’s a transparent phony who, unlike President Bill Clinton, isn’t even particularly good at being phony. … [He’s] a rancid impostor.

  28. President Obama Speaks at the National Prayer Breakfast
    Washington, DC

    February 02, 2012 8:00 AM EST

    Live streaming

  29. rikyrah says:

    did Puxtawny Phil see his shadow?

  30. rikyrah says:

    ‘What’s wrong with this guy?’
    By Steve Benen – Thu Feb 2, 2012 8:00 AM EST

    .Mitt Romney suffered another self-inflicted wound yesterday, telling a national television audience, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” As First Read noted, everyone makes gaffes, “but in politics, what becomes damaging is when a verbal gaffe fits a pre-existing narrative.”

    Associated Press
    This one certainly fit the bill. In seven words, Romney reinforced doubts about his candidacy — he comes across as an out-of-touch elitist; his agenda is heavily stacked to help the wealthy; he’s indifferent towards Americans struggling most — in the clumsiest way possible.

    What was especially interesting about yesterday, however, was that Romney didn’t just face criticism from the left; the right seemed dumbfounded, too. The Weekly Standard’s John McCormack called the former governor’s comment “the most stunningly stupid remark of his campaign.”

    It’s obvious that Romney’s statement that he’s “not concerned about the very poor” is incredibly tone-deaf. A candidate can say he’s “focused” on the middle class without saying he’s “not concerned” about the very poor, just as a candidate can say he’s “focused” on the economy without saying he’s “not concerned” about national security or even less vital issues like education.

    But Romney’s remark isn’t merely tone-deaf, it’s also un-conservative. The standard conservative argument is that a conservative economic agenda will help everyone…. Had Mitt Romney picked up his conservatism sooner, perhaps he would know these arguments by heart.

    McCormack wasn’t alone. Michelle Malkin was dismayed, as was The American Spectator and Rush Limbaugh. One conservative joked that Romney came across as “a really bad Stephen Colbert parody of a Republican,” while Jonah Goldberg simply asked, “What is wrong with this guy?”

    It’s probably not what the Romney campaign wanted to see the morning after its big win in Florida.


    For his part, the former governor insisted the quote wasn’t as ridiculous if it’s considered in context. That’s problematic in a couple of ways: for one thing the context really doesn’t help, and for another, Romney is the same candidate who’s argued that context is irrelevant.

    Perhaps the overarching point to keep in mind is that this wasn’t Romney’s first gaffe — which in turn, makes the right understandably uncomfortable when it comes to the general election.

    To be sure, when compared against his GOP rivals, Romney seems pretty slick. After nearly 18 years as a politician, and more than five years as a near-constant presidential candidate, the former governor is clearly smoother and better prepared than his Republican opponents.

    But that only tells us that he’s clearing a low bar.

    Romney recently said making over $374,000 in speaking fees is “not very much” money. It followed Romney suggesting elected office is only for the rich, clumsily talking about his fondness for being able to fire people, demanding that talk of economic justice be limited to “quiet rooms,” accusing those who care about income inequality of “envy,” daring Rick Perry to accept a $10,000 bet, joking about being “unemployed,” arguing that those who slip into poverty are still middle class, and suggesting that Americans should somehow feel sorry for poor banks.

    There was also that “corporations are people, my friend” classic.

    As Jon Chait recently put it, the Republican frontrunner “has come to be defined, through a recurring series of off-the-cuff gaffes, as a callous, out-of-touch rich man.”

    Jon wrote that two weeks ago. Romney keeps making it worse.

  31. Ametia says:

    For Romney and Paul, a strategic alliance between establishment and outsider
    By Amy Gardner, Published: February 1
    RENO, NEV. — The remaining candidates in the winnowed Republican presidential field are attacking one another with abandon, each day bringing fresh headlines of accusations and outrage.

    But Mitt Romney and Ron Paul haven’t laid a hand on each other.
    They never do.

    Despite deep differences on a range of issues, Romney and Paul became friends in 2008, the last time both ran for president. So did their wives, Ann Romney and Carol Paul. The former Massachusetts governor compliments the Texas congressman during debates, praising Paul’s religious faith during the last one, in Jacksonville, Fla. Immediately afterward, as is often the case, the Pauls and the Romneys gravitated toward one another to say hello.

    The Romney-Paul alliance is more than a curious connection. It is a strategic partnership: for Paul, an opportunity to gain a seat at the table if his long-shot bid for the presidency fails; for Romney, a chance to gain support from one of the most vibrant subgroups within the Republican Party.

  32. In Rediscovered Letter From 1865, Former Slave Tells Old Master To Shove It

    In the summer of 1865, a former slave by the name of Jourdan Anderson sent a letter to his former master. And 147 years later, the document reads as richly as it must have back then.

    The roughly 800-word letter, which has resurfaced via various blogs, websites, Twitter and Facebook, is a response to a missive from Colonel P.H. Anderson, Jourdan’s former master back in Big Spring, Tennessee. Apparently, Col. Anderson had written Jourdan asking him to come on back to the big house to work.

    • Here’s the letter..

      Dayton, Ohio,
      August 7, 1865

      To My Old Master, Colonel P.H. Anderson, Big Spring, Tennessee

      Sir: I got your letter, and was glad to find that you had not forgotten Jourdon, and that you wanted me to come back and live with you again, promising to do better for me than anybody else can. I have often felt uneasy about you. I thought the Yankees would have hung you long before this, for harboring Rebs they found at your house. I suppose they never heard about your going to Colonel Martin’s to kill the Union soldier that was left by his company in their stable. Although you shot at me twice before I left you, I did not want to hear of your being hurt, and am glad you are still living. It would do me good to go back to the dear old home again, and see Miss Mary and Miss Martha and Allen, Esther, Green, and Lee. Give my love to them all, and tell them I hope we will meet in the better world, if not in this. I would have gone back to see you all when I was working in the Nashville Hospital, but one of the neighbors told me that Henry intended to shoot me if he ever got a chance.

      I want to know particularly what the good chance is you propose to give me. I am doing tolerably well here. I get twenty-five dollars a month, with victuals and clothing; have a comfortable home for Mandy,—the folks call her Mrs. Anderson,—and the children—Milly, Jane, and Grundy—go to school and are learning well. The teacher says Grundy has a head for a preacher. They go to Sunday school, and Mandy and me attend church regularly. We are kindly treated. Sometimes we overhear others saying, “Them colored people were slaves” down in Tennessee. The children feel hurt when they hear such remarks; but I tell them it was no disgrace in Tennessee to belong to Colonel Anderson. Many darkeys would have been proud, as I used to be, to call you master. Now if you will write and say what wages you will give me, I will be better able to decide whether it would be to my advantage to move back again.

      As to my freedom, which you say I can have, there is nothing to be gained on that score, as I got my free papers in 1864 from the Provost-Marshal-General of the Department of Nashville. Mandy says she would be afraid to go back without some proof that you were disposed to treat us justly and kindly; and we have concluded to test your sincerity by asking you to send us our wages for the time we served you. This will make us forget and forgive old scores, and rely on your justice and friendship in the future. I served you faithfully for thirty-two years, and Mandy twenty years. At twenty-five dollars a month for me, and two dollars a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to eleven thousand six hundred and eighty dollars. Add to this the interest for the time our wages have been kept back, and deduct what you paid for our clothing, and three doctor’s visits to me, and pulling a tooth for Mandy, and the balance will show what we are in justice entitled to. Please send the money by Adams’s Express, in care of V. Winters, Esq., Dayton, Ohio. If you fail to pay us for faithful labors in the past, we can have little faith in your promises in the future. We trust the good Maker has opened your eyes to the wrongs which you and your fathers have done to me and my fathers, in making us toil for you for generations without recompense. Here I draw my wages every Saturday night; but in Tennessee there was never any pay-day for the negroes any more than for the horses and cows. Surely there will be a day of reckoning for those who defraud the laborer of his hire.

      In answering this letter, please state if there would be any safety for my Milly and Jane, who are now grown up, and both good-looking girls. You know how it was with poor Matilda and Catherine. I would rather stay here and starve—and die, if it come to that—than have my girls brought to shame by the violence and wickedness of their young masters. You will also please state if there has been any schools opened for the colored children in your neighborhood. The great desire of my life now is to give my children an education, and have them form virtuous habits.

      Say howdy to George Carter, and thank him for taking the pistol from you when you were shooting at me.

      From your old servant,

      Jourdon Anderson.

  33. I so love Michael Rose. I’m addicted to him! ;)

    Natty Dreadlocks!!!

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