Friday Open Thread

Gregory Anthony Isaacs (15 July 1951 – 25 October 2010)[1] was a Jamaican reggae musician. Milo Miles, writing in the New York Times, described Isaacs as “the most exquisite vocalist in reggae”.[2] His nicknames include Cool Ruler[3] and Lonely Lover.

In his teens, Isaacs became a veteran of the talent contests that regularly took place in Jamaica. In 1968, he made his recording debut with a duet with Winston Sinclair, “Another Heartache”, recorded for producer Byron Lee.[1] The single sold poorly and Isaacs went on to team up with two other vocalists (Penroe and Bramwell) in the short-lived trio The Concords, recording for Rupie Edwards and Prince Buster.[1] The trio split up in 1970 and Isaacs launched his solo career, initially self-producing recordings and also recording further for Edwards.[1] In 1973 he teamed up with another young singer, Errol Dunkley to start the African Museum record label and shop, and soon had a massive hit with “My Only Lover”, credited as the first lovers rock record ever made.[1]

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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59 Responses to Friday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    this video is fierce

  2. Ametia says:

    Amanda Terkel
    Ryan Grim

    Koch Brothers, Allies Pledge $100 Million At Private Meeting To Beat Obama

    First Posted: 02/ 3/2012 3:43 pm Updated: 02/ 3/2012 3:53 pm

    WASHINGTON — At a private three-day retreat in California last weekend, conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch and about 250 to 300 other individuals pledged approximately $100 million to defeat President Obama in the 2012 elections.

    A source who was in the room when the pledges were made told The Huffington Post that, specifically, Charles Koch pledged $40 million and David pledged $20 million.

    The semi-annual, invitation-only meeting attracts wealthy donors, Republican politicians and conservative activists. Last year, hundreds of activists gathered outside the walled-off resort to protest the meeting. This year, however, the conference went off quietly.

    “Conference organizers and their guests successfully slipped in and out of the Coachella Valley without being detected, by buying out nearly all of the 500-plus rooms at the Renaissance Esmeralda resort in Indian Wells,” reported The Desert Sun. “The resort closed its restaurants, locked down the grounds with private security guards and sent many workers home.”

  3. rikyrah says:

    The January jobs report: It’s all good
    Posted by Ezra Klein at 09:06 AM ET, 02/03/2012

    The strangest thing about January’s jobs report is that it’s pretty much all good. The headline numbers are great, of course: payrolls are up by 243,000 jobs. Unemployment is down to 8.3 percent. But the inside numbers are good, too.

    Let’s start with where the jobs were created. Professional and business services added 70,000 positions. Manufacturing added 50,000. Leisure and hospitality was up by 44,000. Health care was up by 33,000. For comparison, in the December jobs report, more than 40,000 of the 200,000 new jobs were “messengers and couriers,” which seemed likely to be seasonal hiring. Not so this month.

    Revisions are positive, too. November goes from 100,000 new jobs to 157,000 new jobs. December goes from 200,000 new jobs to 203,000 new jobs. So the real number for the just-released jobs report is 303,000 jobs: that’s how many we added in January, plus what we just added to the numbers from November and December. Nicely done, economy.

    The report also deals at least a slight blow to the case for economic pessimism. For months, forecasters have been telling us that though the end of 2011 was strong for the economy, the data showed the beginning of 2012 would be weak. That could still prove true. But we’re not seeing a slowdown in January’s payrolls. Just the opposite, actually.

    Which isn’t to say there aren’t some areas of concern. We lost another 14,000 public-sector jobs in January. And though we have now had 23 straight months of job growth, we’re not seeing nearly enough improvement among the long-term unemployed.

    The bottom line is that this isn’t just a good jobs report. It’s a recovery jobs report. It’s showing the sort of numbers that win elections. As my colleague Neil Irwin tweeted, “That sound you hear is champagne corks in the West Wing.”

  4. Ametia says:

    Great clip here:

  5. rikyrah says:

    More Evidence That Mitt Romney Has No Clue How Real Americans Live

    Mitt Romney recently said that he wants to help the 90-95% of America in the struggling middle class, neither very rich nor very poor. This is just one more piece of evidence that he has no clue about the country; he wants power.

    Here is what the country really looks like.

    The Very Rich: There are many ways to define High Net Worth Individuals. Much of the financial industry requires $500,000 liquid investable assets before they will talk to you, so that certainly creates a demarcation. If that is you, you are in the top 5% to 10% of the population

    The Very Poor: There are 49 million people living in poverty–maybe 50 by now, the number has been going up pretty fast. I make that about 1 in 6 (16%) living below the poverty line, the highest we have seen in decades.

    So in very rough figures, we can say that 1 in 12 is very rich and 2 in 12 are very poor. However, that doesn’t include the soon-to-be poor:

    •The unemployed who are living off their retirement assets before retirement age
    •Parents, friends, and other relatives supporting unemployed adults, thus straining their own financial resources
    •The employed who are making less than they used to and now cannot reach previous retirement goals
    •Middle-aged and older Americans whose retirement accounts were damaged beyond their ability to refund
    •Younger Americans whose school debt will prevent adequate saving for retirement
    •Those losing their homes to foreclosure
    •Anyone who falls through the safety net in the future, especially those hit with medical bills
    How about that middle? Household spending power for the middle has been falling. In 2011, the average household income was $49,500. It has inched up in dollars, but it has not kept ahead of inflation, thus losing spending power

  6. rikyrah says:

    BREAKING NEWS: Komen foundation apologizes to Planned Parenthood. Komen founder Nancy G. Brinker says Komen will restore Planned Parenthood funding.

  7. rikyrah says:

    CPS spends millions on workers for unused sick and vacation days
    Better Government Association
    February 2, 2012 10:28PM

    The cash-strapped Chicago Public Schools system spends tens of millions of dollars annually on a perk that few other employers offer: cash to departing employees for unused time off.

    Since 2006, the district paid a total $265 million to employees for unused sick and vacation days, according to an analysis of payroll and benefit data obtained by the Better Government Association under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

    By far the largest share — $227 million — went to longtime employees for sick days accumulated over two or three decades.

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently ordered a halt on paying unused sick time to non-union employees at City Colleges of Chicago after the BGA found at least $3 million in such payouts to former employees over the last decade. Among the biggest beneficiaries was former Chancellor Wayne Watson, who has received $300,000 of a promised $500,000 payout for 500 unused sick days.

    “This policy is unacceptable to the mayor and not consistent with the city’s sick day policies for its own employees,” said Jennifer Hoyle, a spokeswoman for Emanuel. The mayor also directed other city agencies, including CPS, to halt such payments, review their policies and devise plans to end the practice permanently.

    At CPS, the top payouts went to top brass, including more than 300 longtime principals and administrators, who received more than $100,000 during the six-year period from 2006 to 2011, the BGA found. The highest payment topped $250,000.

    Beneficiaries included former schools CEO Arne Duncan, now U.S. Secretary of Education, who received $50,297 for unused vacation time when he left in January 2009, according to the data. Duncan now believes the policy should be re-evaluated.

    “People should take a good hard look at whether or not that policy makes any sense and whether it should be kept in place in these tight budget times,” Duncan said through a Washington D.C.-based department spokesman.

    • rikyrah says:

      I don’t have an issue with this. To me, it means that people showed up for their job, like my mother. My mother accumulated a lot of days because she always went to work. This came in handy when my father got ill, and my mother spent the about 3 months every afternoon going to my father’s hospital room when he got really sick. Since she had the time accumulated, she could spend the time with Daddy, and not worry about her paycheck.

  8. Ametia says:

    PBO to speak on the economy 11:25 am EDT

    watch it here:

  9. rikyrah says:

    Romney fails the empathy test
    By Eugene Robinson, Published: February 2

    I wish Mitt Romney’s cavalier dismissal of poverty in America could be chalked up as just another gaffe, but it’s much worse than that. The Republican front-runner seems dangerously clueless about the nation he seeks to lead.

    When I first heard the now-famous quote — “I’m not concerned about the very poor” — I thought it might be fodder for a snarky column about the wee little Mr. Monopoly who lives inside Romney’s head and blurts out things like “Corporations are people, my friend,” or “I like being able to fire people.” But I realized that being “very poor” is no laughing matter to millions of Americans

    Putting Romney’s words in their full context makes them worse. Here is what he said on CNN:

    “I’m in this race because I care about Americans. 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 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”

    For my part, I’m concerned about what sounds like shocking ignorance about the extent of poverty in this country and an utter lack of urgency about finding solutions.

    According to a U.S. Census Bureau report released in September, the poverty rate began rising sharply in 2007 as the recession took hold. By 2010, the report says, 15.1 percent of Americans were living below the poverty line — 46.2 million people who apparently do not merit Romney’s attention.

    A substantial plurality of these poor people — about 20 million — are non-Hispanic whites. Roughly 13 million are Hispanic, and nearly 11 million are African American. These figures show that minorities are overrepresented among the poor, but also that poverty is by no means some kind of “minority problem.” It’s an American problem.

    And even these numbers are somewhat misleading, since the official poverty threshold is set at a level that many researchers consider unrealistically low. Imagine supporting a family of four on $22,314 a year — food, shelter, clothing, transportation — and being told you’re not poor.

    A better measure, in my view, is the number of families getting by on incomes that equal the poverty level plus an additional 25 percent. By this standard, fully one-fifth of the nation is poor.

    Romney says that we have a safety net. That’s still true, despite the best efforts of his party to rip it to shreds.

    For the sake of argument, let’s assume the most important support for people living in poverty — the food stamps program — continues more or less unchanged. Let’s also assume that Romney, as president, manages to “fix” Medicaid and Social Security in a way that does not reduce the benefits they provide to poor people and that Romney’s tax plan is altered so it does not raise taxes on the lowest earners, as many analysts say it would.

    In Romney’s worldview, case closed. No need to be “concerned” about poverty as long as people are not starving.

  10. rikyrah says:

    The GOP’s plan to spare defense, target federal workers
    Posted by Suzy Khimm at 05:11 PM ET, 02/02/2012

    Even before the supercommittee’s demise, John McCain vowed to nullify the cuts to defense spending that would automatically go into effect if the group couldn’t come to a deal. Thursday, McCain took the next step toward making good on that promise.

    Together with five other Republican senators — including minority whip Jon Kyl, a member of the dissolved supercommittee — McCain unveiled a bill to eliminate the triggered defense cuts for a year. The legislation would replace the $109 billion in cuts that are scheduled to happen in 2013 with cuts to the federal workforce instead: It extends the federal employee pay freeze through June 2014 and “restricts federal hiring to only two employees for every three leaving, until the size of the federal government workforce is reduced by five percent,” which is expected to save $127 billion within 10 years.

    That said, even if the bill passed, it would still leave about $491 billion in triggered defense cuts that would begin in 2014. Why undo the cuts for only one year, instead of the full decade? It’s probably that finding an additional $491 billion in offsets would be politically difficult, and proceeding without them would mean increasing the deficit by nearly half a trillion dollars. So eliminating one year of cuts would at least buy them more time.

    Republicans have repeatedly proposed similar cuts to the federal workforce, but they now have a new justification. Earlier this week, the Congressional Budget Office released a study showing that federal employees, on average, were paid about 2 percent more than their private-sector counterparts — and 16 percent more when you factor in benefits, which are 48 percent greater than those for comparable workers in the private sector.

    In their news release for Thursday’s bill, the senators behind the bill — McCain, Kyl, Lindsey Graham, Kelly Ayotte, and Marco Rubio — touted the CBO’s recent findings and concluded that federal workers were overpaid. “During a time of persistent unemployment, stagnant economic growth, and record deficits, it’s inexcusable that federal employees are being compensated so much more than the taxpayers in the private sector who subsidize those federal benefits” they wrote.

    On Wednesday, the House similarly voted to continue the federal workers pay freeze through 2013, though it was unattached to any other legislation. By contrast, President Obama is planning to propose a 0.5 percent increase in federal workers’ pay in his 2013 budget, after the conclusion of a two-year pay freeze he announced in 2010.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Romney vs. Romney vs. Reality
    By Steve Benen – Fri Feb 3, 2012 10:36 AM EST.

    While accepting Donald Trump’s endorsement yesterday, Mitt Romney repeated one of the central arguments of his entire candidacy: “[President Obama is] frequently telling us that he did not cause the recession, and that’s true. But he made it worse.”

    Part of the problem with the claim is that Mitt Romney strongly disagrees with Mitt Romney. The likely Republican presidential nominee has said, consistently and frequently in recent weeks, that the U.S. economy is improving under President Obama. To be sure, the former governor doesn’t believe Obama deserves credit for these developments, but Romney has nevertheless said, over and over again, that the economy is “getting better.”

    He can argue that the economy is better, or he can argue the economy is worse. Even Romney should realize, however, he can’t argue both at the same time.

    The more glaring issue is how wrong Romney — at least yesterday’s version — has the facts wrong.

    Here’s a chart, for example, showing private-sector job totals by month since the start of the Great Recession, with red columns showing the months when George W. Bush was president and the blue columns showing the Obama era.

  12. rikyrah says:

    He didn’t ‘misspeak’
    By Steve Benen – Fri Feb 3, 2012 10:00 AM EST.

    Mitt Romney caused some trouble for himself this week when he told a national television audience, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” He added there’s already a “safety net” for those struggling most, so he’ll focus his attention elsewhere.

    Associated Press
    Yesterday in Nevada, the Republican frontrunner walked it back, telling a reporter, “When you do I don’t know how many thousands of interviews, now and then you may get it wrong, and I misspoke.”

    Expressions of regret are always welcome, but in this case, Romney had it right the first time — he didn’t misspeak on Wednesday morning; he engaged in accidental candor.

    For one thing, Romney’s original comments were not the first time he’d expressed this sentiment. For another, Paul Krugman explained today that Romney’s agenda helps prove just how unconcerned about the very poor he really is.

    [W]e do need to strengthen our safety net. Mr. Romney, however, wants to make the safety net weaker instead.

    Specifically, the candidate has endorsed Representative Paul Ryan’s plan for drastic cuts in federal spending — with almost two-thirds of the proposed spending cuts coming at the expense of low-income Americans. To the extent that Mr. Romney has differentiated his position from the Ryan plan, it is in the direction of even harsher cuts for the poor; his Medicaid proposal appears to involve a 40 percent reduction in financing compared with current law.

    So Mr. Romney’s position seems to be that we need not worry about the poor thanks to programs that he insists, falsely, don’t actually help the needy, and which he intends, in any case, to destroy.

    As a political matter, it makes sense that Romney would walk back his remarks — multi-millionaire candidates who got rich firing people generally don’t win by running on a I-don’t-care-about-the-poor platform.

    But as a policy matter, it’s too late. Romney accidentally told the truth, disgusting both the left and the right simultaneously. His claims about “misspeaking” aren’t persuasive, and won’t make this problem go away.

  13. dannie22 says:

    hello everyone

  14. rikyrah says:

    House GOP Denies The Deficit Exists
    Posted on 02/02/2012 at 6:30 pm by JM Ashby

    According to House Republicans the Bush Tax Cuts, the single largest contributor to our national deficit, didn’t actually add anything to the deficit. Or something.

    Every House Republican voted Thursday to reject the proposition that the Bush tax cuts added to the deficit.

    Joined by just a handful of Democrats, the full Republican conference rejected a measure that would have affirmed what nearly all budget experts and economists recognized: President George W. Bush’s debt-financed tax cuts blew up the budget in the last decade, leaving the country in a hole that sank into a chasm after the 2008 financial crisis.

    The final tally was 174-244. If it had passed, it would have amended a GOP-backed bill that would have changed the way neutral budget score-keepers analyze the effects of taxation — to make it appear as if unpaid-for tax cuts don’t deepen deficits.

    Because tax cuts pay for themselves, right?

  15. rikyrah says:

    February 02, 2012
    Mitt Romney’s oyster
    Just as Fareed Zakaria ends his public letter to Mitt Romney, “you can call this new century whatever you like, but it won’t change reality,” we should note that though Zakaria’s preceding logic does indeed devastate Romney’s, that won’t change his advertised, neoconservative irreality

    By and large, you have ridiculed [President Obama’s] approach to foreign policy, arguing that you would instead expand the military, act unilaterally and talk unapologetically [writes Zakaria]. That might appeal to Republican primary voters, but chest-thumping triumphalism won’t help you secure America’s interests or ideals in a world populated by powerful new players.

    This, more likely than not, Romney already knows. I’d bet dollars to dingbats that he no more believes in the hormonal Kristolesque vision of tentacled American power than does Dennis Kucinich. Yet, there’s the bloodthirsty base with which Romney must reckon. Let them eat raw meat. What does Mitt care? I mean, it’s not like the man has any actual principles worth defending, and certainly none worth losing a Republican primary over.

    To wit, as Peter Beinart observed in early January

    At the New Hampshire debate … Mitt Romney denounc[ed] Barack Obama’s efforts to cut the defense budget (without, of course, suggesting how he’d reduce the deficit without touching defense and homeland security, which together constitute more than half of all discretionary spending).

    Yeah? Your point, Peter, being? Romney and his triumphalist base positively revel in this sort of irreality. In fact, the farther removed from elementary logic, the more powerful is Romney’s appeal. This gelatinous panderer could promise to double, triple, quadruple defense spending, cut taxes, balance the budget, and increase Medicare benefits for card-carrying tea partiers only — and scarcely one of the latter would pause to protest that perhaps it doesn’t add up.

    For you see, Messrs. Zakaria and Beinart, the world is but Mitt Romney’s oyster, whose shell is but right wingers’ own little insane asylum.

  16. Ametia says:

    Romney fails the empathy test
    By Eugene Robinson,

    I wish Mitt Romney’s cavalier dismissal of poverty in America could be chalked up as just another gaffe, but it’s much worse than that. The Republican front-runner seems dangerously clueless about the nation he seeks to lead.

    When I first heard the now-famous quote — “I’m not concerned about the very poor” — I thought it might be fodder for a snarky column about the wee little Mr. Monopoly who lives inside Romney’s head and blurts out things like “Corporations are people, my friend,” or “I like being able to fire people.” But I realized that being “very poor” is no laughing matter to millions of Americans.

  17. Ametia says:

    Soaking the Poor, State by State
    —By Kevin Drum
    | Fri Feb. 3, 2012 3:00 AM PST

    You have heard, perhaps, that rich people in America are egregiously overtaxed. And the poor? They’re the lucky duckies! Why, 47 percent of Americans pay no taxes at all!

    (This is not true, of course. Many poor and elderly Americans pay no federal income tax, but they pay plenty of other taxes.)

    Still and all, it’s true that the federal income tax is indeed progressive. Conservatives are right about that—though it’s not as progressive as it used to be, back before top marginal rates were lowered and capital gains taxes were slashed in half. But conservatives are a little less excited to talk about other kinds of taxes. Payroll taxes aren’t progressive, for example. In fact, they’re actively regressive, with the poor and middle classes paying higher rates than the rich.

    And then there are state taxes. Those include state income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, and fees of various kinds. How progressive are state taxes?

    Answer: They aren’t. The Corporation for Enterprise Development recently released a scorecard for all 50 states, and it has boatloads of useful information. That includes overall tax rates, where CFED’s number crunchers conclude that in the median state (Mississippi, as it turns out) the poorest 20 percent pay twice the tax rate of the top 1 percent. In the worst states, the poorest 20 percent pay five to six times the rate of the richest 1 percent. Lucky duckies indeed. There’s not one single state with a tax system that’s progressive. Click the link to see how your state scores.

    Read on:

  18. rikyrah says:

    An Unholy Mess
    by BooMan
    Fri Feb 3rd, 2012 at 08:15:24 AM EST

    I quote from Politico because I care.

    With no nominee yet to spell out the party’s agenda, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is locked in a behind-the-scenes debate with other Republicans over their strategy for winning back power.

    The divide within the party is sharp. McConnell and other influential senators believe the party should avoid putting out a detailed platform and focus squarely on Obama’s record, while a range of junior senators — and some veterans like Sen. John McCain — think the conference should lay out a Contract with America-type agenda. Others, such as Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, want to more aggressively push House Republican bills in the Senate in order to speak with one voice coming out of Congress.

    But the strategies all carry great risk. If the GOP rolls out an agenda, it will be picked apart and take the focus off Obama. If the party doesn’t bother, it risks giving the president more opportunities to slap the “do-nothing” label on Congress. And all of this is coming to a head now because the nominating contest involving Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum is showing no signs of ending, with Gingrich even warning that he’d take the race “all the way to the convention” in late August.

    The ongoing debate has prompted Senate Republican leaders to schedule a special meeting next Wednesday to discuss election-year tactics, allowing the 47-member conference to continue talks it was unable to conclude at a daylong retreat at George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate last week.

    Let me lay this out with more pungent language. The Republicans came up with an economic plan. It was created by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. At the core of Ryan’s plan was a proposal to end Medicare as a guaranteed benefit and replace it with private insurance, with insufficient subsidies to pay for that coverage. The Democrats reacted with glee and ran against the Republicans’ plan to end Medicare as we know it. It was a perfect example of a party putting its own most unpopular ideas to the test and discovering that people don’t like to eat dog chow. The Democrats, including the president, would like nothing better than to run against Paul Ryan’s budget plan. They will likely win House seats they haven’t held in living memory. And, yet, the Republican candidates are afraid to run away from Ryan’s budget. Gingrich tried, a long time ago, but the whole party came down on him so hard that he had to get in line. As a result, the Republicans’ economic policy (at least in its legislative form) is so toxic that it’s like trying to sell Native Americans blankets contaminated with yellow fever.

    Another option is lay low and wait for the Republican nominee to lay out their vision, and then to get behind that vision. There are several problems with this. First, Obama will be running against a do-nothing Congress. The way to combat that is to actually work on a few areas of agreement and pass some bills that the president can sign. The STOCK Act was a good start. When that bill gets to the president’s desk, the Republican leaders should all show up in the Rose Garden to celebrate the historic reforms and praise themselves for their ability to get things done. They should identify two or three more significant bills that they can put on the president’s desk that he will sign. But the Republicans don’t want to make the president look effective or like someone they can work with, and they’re too divided to produce much that the Democrats are interested in making into law. And that’s also why the congressional Republicans won’t get much mileage out of passing partisan bills in the House. They’ll go nowhere in the Senate, and so they’ll do nothing to blunt the do-nothing charge. This will be true whether the House bills are passed willy-nilly or as part of some new “Contract on America.” Finally, pushing a Contract package of legislation won’t help the Republicans if it isn’t consistent with the eventual nominee’s campaign. It could wind up undermining their message or contradicting their positions.

    Finally, waiting for the nominee to provide some guidance is problematic because the nominee hasn’t been decided and may not be decided for a couple of months. That would leave Congress no time to push any agenda. Moreover, the likeliest nominee, Mitt Romney, is going to want to pivot far to the left of the median Republican member of Congress. If they wait for him, they probably won’t like what he asks them to do (or not do).

    The bottom line is that the GOP is an unholy mess.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Job growth picks up steam, reaches 2-year high
    By Steve Benen – Fri Feb 3, 2012 8:54 AM EST.

    Expectations for today’s new jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics were modest, at best. The most optimistic forecasts projected growth of about 155,000.

    The nation did much better than that, adding 243,000 jobs in January, as the overall unemployment rate dropped to 8.3%. The job totals are the best we’ve seen in two years, and the jobless rate has reached its lowest level in three years.

    As is always the case, there was a gap between the private and public sectors. Businesses added 257,000 jobs last month, while budget cuts forced the public sector to shed another 14,000 jobs.

    Nevertheless, it’s hard not to feel good about the surprising strength of this new report. After years of jobs reports that were only considered encouraging when compared to where we’ve been, January’s total is objectively good news. Indeed, this is one of the best — if not the very best — jobs reports since the recession began four years ago.

    In terms of revisions, the job numbers for November and December were better than previously reported. Today, the BLS also released revised totals for every month in the previous calendar year, and those revisions are reflected below.

    We now know, in 2011, the economy added 1.8 million jobs, which obviously isn’t good enough, but it was still the strongest year for job creation since 2006. We’ve also seen the economy add over 900,000 jobs in just the last five months.

    And with that, here’s the homemade chart I run on the first Friday of every month, showing monthly job losses since the start of the Great Recession. The image makes a distinction — red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush administration, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, February 2, 2012
    Crossing The Rubin Con On Romney
    Posted by Zandar
    Oh, Jennifer Rubin. You really are a terrible hack, and why the Kaplan machine keeps inflicting you upon the populace, I’ll never know.

    Romney as the nominee will be flyspecked and criticized over every word. He needs to avoid actual gaffes. But he can’t keep the media from editing out all the inconvenient parts of every sentence, paragraph and interview. He’ll need to work on talking directly to voters, making his case in ads and debates. The good news for him, at least in the primary, is that the media that are predisposed to pounce on every (other) word and offer the most negative interpretation of his every statement and performance appear to have zero influence among voters. Perhaps a less crazed approach to covering Romney would restore their credibility.

    To recap, the woman that used her position at the Washington Post to push silly Holocaust denial garbage, who “apologized” for blaming last year’s deadly terrorist shooting in Norway on Muslims before the information was in by saying Muslims are all terrorists anyway (and this after howling that the Left jumped to conclusions on the Giffords shooting), who accused the President of losing the war in Iraq the second he agreed to send our troops home and called the move the “worst error” of his presidency, barely pulled up from fully accusing the President of being an anti-Semite, and who has enough strikes against her to, in a sane world, never have been hired at the Post in the first place, is now worried about the journalistic credibility of “the anti-Romney right” and “the anti-Romney left.” Effing really?

    Jennifer Rubin probably deserves to have a dump truck full of her “credibility” deposited on her front lawn. It’s a level of sheer, overwhelming absurdity that would drive Beckett and Pinter to sit around in their underwear all day reading Lolcats and drinking moonshine because they couldn’t deal with trying to process it. The woman has credibility the same way a moldered cinder block in a New jersey landfill has a fascinating appreciation of the political ramifications of the Dutch Tulip Bubble. Why is she still employed other than to give every other journalist in the country a reference point of just how awful they can be without being fired?

    That she’s hitched her wagon to the Least Interesting Man In The World is significant in ways I could only apparently try to grasp if I were actively killing brain cells with alcohol and laughing at pictures of kittens conquering cardboard boxes in a manner befitting Alexander the Great

  21. rikyrah says:

    February 03, 2012 8:00 AM

    The Confirmation of a Stereotype
    By Ed Kilgore

    I do not often agree with Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, but he nicely sums up why Mitt Romney’s “not concerned about the very poor” remark has become more than a one-day story:

    There are few things more powerful in politics than the confirmation of a stereotype, which is Romney’s main political risk. A wealthy man can prove that he empathizes with average people — see the examples of aristocrats such as Teddy or Franklin Roosevelt. But Romney has yet to prove it.

    But then Gerson offers Romney some advice he is very unlikely to take:

    He could start by making the economic advancement of the very poor a central concern of his campaign.

    That would be nice, not to mention surprising, but the problem is that the ascendent view in the GOP, as expressed yesterday by Sen. Jim DeMint, is that the “economic advancement of the very poor” requires eliminating their “dependency” on the very “safety net” that Romney originally said made concern for these folks unnecessary. If Romney goes around saying nice things about the socialist imprisonment of the poor via the looting of the virtuous middle-class and heroic upper-crust “job creators,” it will enrage his party base. But if he makes a habit of announcing he favors the tough-love of helping the very poor by kicking them to the curb and offering them character-building incentives to compete for non-existent jobs and/or depress wages even more, then the assumption that the very poor don’t often vote may turn out to be wrong.

    Quite a blind alley, eh? But that’s what happens when a politician says something many in his party actually believe that confirms what others suspected from the beginning. It’s part of Politics 101, and you’d think a guy like Mitt would know this by now.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Komen starts changing its story
    By Steve Benen – Fri Feb 3, 2012 8:00 AM EST.

    If Komen for the Cure hoped its Planned Parenthood controversy would be a one-day story, it has to be terribly disappointed. If anything, the furor is intensifying.

    One of yesterday’s more striking developments came when Komen officials changed their story when explaining why they cut off funding for Planned Parenthood.

    Komen had said the decision was the result of newly adopted criteria barring grants to organizations under investigation — affecting Planned Parenthood because of an inquiry by a Republican congressman.

    On Thursday, Komen President Elizabeth Thompson told reporters that the funding decision was unrelated to the investigation into whether Planned Parenthood was illegally using federal funds to pay for abortions.

    Komen founder Nancy Brinker said the organization wants to support groups that directly provide breast health services, such as mammograms. She noted that Planned Parenthood was providing only mammogram referrals.

    As a rule, when an organization is struggling to keep its story straight, it’s not a good sign.

    In the case of Komen’s shifting rationales, critics weren’t exactly persuaded. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), said the new explanation was tantamount to “revisionist history,” adding, “This new reason is so obviously fake that you’d have to be born today to believe it.”

    Incoherence, however, is only part of Komen’s troubles at this point.


    The Planned Parenthood decision has caused widespread dissension within the organization, causing all seven Komen Race for the Cure Foundation affiliates in California to denounce the national group’s move. Some additional foundation officials are also resigning in protest.

    The controversy has also captured the attention of the Senate Democratic caucus, with 26 senators, led by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) co-authoring a letter to the foundation, urging Komen to reconsider. The caucus has been surprisingly aggressive on this — Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) even tweeted Komen’s phone number, urging allies to “call Komen” and ask the foundation “to reverse their damaging and misguided decision.”

    The New York Times added a strong editorial on the issue today, calling Komen’s move “a painful betrayal.”

    This is a mistake from which Komen will not soon recover.

  23. rikyrah says:

    I’ll say it: GOOD RIDDANCE


    February 02, 2012 4:52 PM

    Heath Shuler Retires

    By Ed Kilgore

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    Outside the House Blue Dog Caucus, and the embattled ranks of North Carolina Democrats, the announcement today that Rep. Heath Shuler was retiring at the end of this term is being met with bipartisan huzzahs. Republicans, of course, figure they’ll pick up another House seat in a year when they need it. Many, perhaps most, progressive Democrats wish him a not-so-fond adieu as one of the most regular renegades from party discipline, and as an active force for evil on abortion policy.

    Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of intra-party litmus tests or the various “framing” theories that suggest Democrats would win a decisive majority if we spoke without a single discordant voice. The only unimpeachable authorities on who is a “true Democrat” in the 11th congressional district of North Carolina—or anywhere else—are the Democratic voters of that area. And no, I don’t think it can be confidently assumed, these days at least, that a Republican replacement could not do worse.

    But Shuler, like Joe Lieberman in the Senate (though for somewhat different reasons) is probably the exception who proves the rule. With the sole exception of his vote for Obama’s climate change legislation, Shuler broke with his party and its president on just about everything that mattered since 2008. He even voted for the abominable “Cut, Cap and Balance” resolution that if implemented would inevitably lead to the destruction of every progressive accomplishment since the 1930s. While that’s still not grounds for being expelled from the Caucus, it sure would justify, if I were in charge, denying him any perks and privileges associated with Caucus membership, up to and including men’s room keys in the Cannon Building. If that sounds petty, too bad; after all, a guy like Shuler would probably use these insults to burnish his reputation as someone who’ll stand up to the godless liberals.

    Ah, but it doesn’t matter now. What should matter now for Democrats is an effort, not just in the 11th district of North Carolina, but in every tough or even hostile district, to find candidates who can manage to reflect their constituents’ values and preferences, even if they are far from the progressive mainstream, while maintaining some respect for the traditions of their party and its collective interests as an agency for governing. If that’s impossible, well, you can’t win them all—but you can stop holding out a hand to a “colleague” for the sole purpose of having it slapped away.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Romney Isn’t Concerned
    Published: February 2, 2012

    If you’re an American down on your luck, Mitt Romney has a message for you: He doesn’t feel your pain. Earlier this week, Mr. Romney told a startled CNN interviewer, “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there.”

    Faced with criticism, the candidate has claimed that he didn’t mean what he seemed to mean, and that his words were taken out of context. But he quite clearly did mean what he said. And the more context you give to his statement, the worse it gets.

    First of all, just a few days ago, Mr. Romney was denying that the very programs he now says take care of the poor actually provide any significant help. On Jan. 22, he asserted that safety-net programs — yes, he specifically used that term — have “massive overhead,” and that because of the cost of a huge bureaucracy “very little of the money that’s actually needed by those that really need help, those that can’t care for themselves, actually reaches them.”

    This claim, like much of what Mr. Romney says, was completely false: U.S. poverty programs have nothing like as much bureaucracy and overhead as, say, private health insurance companies. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has documented, between 90 percent and 99 percent of the dollars allocated to safety-net programs do, in fact, reach the beneficiaries. But the dishonesty of his initial claim aside, how could a candidate declare that safety-net programs do no good and declare only 10 days later that those programs take such good care of the poor that he feels no concern for their welfare?

    Also, given this whopper about how safety-net programs actually work, how credible was Mr. Romney’s assertion, after expressing his lack of concern about the poor, that if the safety net needs a repair, “I’ll fix it”?

    Now, the truth is that the safety net does need repair. It provides a lot of help to the poor, but not enough. Medicaid, for example, provides essential health care to millions of unlucky citizens, children especially, but many people still fall through the cracks: among Americans with annual incomes under $25,000, more than a quarter — 28.7 percent — don’t have any kind of health insurance. And, no, they can’t make up for that lack of coverage by going to emergency rooms.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Friday, February 3, 2012
    Mitch Turtles Up, Part 3
    Posted by Zandar

    So, as a registered and voting constituent of Sen. Mitch McConnell, I’m shocked I tell you — shocked! — that his 2010 promise to limit President Obama to one term was indeed the entirety of not only his legislative agenda so far but if he has his way, the entirety of his party’s 2012 campaign platform as well.

    With no nominee yet to spell out the party’s agenda, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is locked in a behind-the-scenes debate with other Republicans over their strategy for winning back power.

    The divide within the party is sharp. McConnell and other influential senators believe the party should avoid putting out a detailed platform and focus squarely on Obama’s record, while a range of junior senators — and some veterans like Sen. John McCain — think the conference should lay out a “Contract with America” type agenda. Others like Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) want to more aggressively push House Republican bills in order to speak with one voice coming out of Congress.

    In other words, the guy in charge of the Republican filibuster machine in the Senate is not only freely admitting his party exists right now to block the President’s agenda, but that the American people will simply go along with that as the party’s platform. Vote for the Republicans! You don’t really give a good goddamn about your country or the people running it, as long as it’s not Melanin McKenyanmuslim.

    It’s not just that McConnell is apparently admitting that the GOP has no ideas for government, it’s that government doesn’t have to have ideas at all. All he’s offering is reactionary bilge. All that matters is NOBAMA. That’s it. That’s the entire McConnell plan. Obama Derangement Syndrome.

    If I wasn’t dedicated to his defeat in 2014 before, brother…am I ever now.

  26. rikyrah says:

    February 02, 2012 4:10 PM

    Test of Hawkishness
    By Ed Kilgore

    With the sound of another shoe dropping, a small group of Republican Senators (McCain, Graham, Kyl, Cornyn, Ayotte, and Rubio) have announced a proposal to cancel next year’s automatic cuts in defense appropriations and instead wring equivalent savings (over ten years) by freezing pay for federal workers and reducing their numbers by 5% via attrition.

    The proposal isn’t going anywhere, if only because Democratic support is extremely limited, and the president has already promised to veto any cancellation of the “sequestrations” called for in last year’s deficit agreement unless it’s replaced with a “grand bargain” involving tax increases on the wealthy.

    But it’s mainly interesting as a measure of the residual strength of maximum defense hawks—or from a more philosophical perspective, the neocons who once walked so tall in Washington—in a Republican Party whose ardor for dismantling the New Deal and Great Society and making the tax code even more regressive is matched by a continued passion for federal activism in keeping America armed to the teeth, independent of any alliances (other than with Israel), and hyper-aggressive towards real or imagined foes.

    It is, after all, one of the sillier parts of the Tea Party myth that “libertarians” uninterested in foreign policy adventurism have taken over the GOP. Aside, of course, from Ron Paul (and occasionally his senatorial son), you’d never know this was the case given the extraordinary support for truculence towards Iran among Republicans, and the continued determination of many to stay in Afghanistan indefinitely. Indeed, the likely GOP presidential nominee is one Republican who has yet to indicate that he would pursue a foreign policy significantly different from that of the Bush administration. And most of his top national security advisors would look entirely at home taking turns at the podium in an appreciation dinner for Dick Cheney.

    What he, and other Republican opinion-leaders have to say about the senatorial save-the-Pentagon initiative will tell us a lot about the relative priority they assign to the various passions of the conservative movement. Don’t bet against guns trumping butter, ever.

  27. rikyrah says:

    I’ve been hoping folks would post this.

    Mr. ‘I don’t care about the poor’ has given his sons 100 million bucks – TAX FREE.

    here’s the segment from Lawrence O’Donnell:

  28. rikyrah says:

    UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: – – – -DOWN to – — 8.3%; – — –243,000 JOBS ADDED in JANUARY!! –

    1. the GOP has a collective sad.

    2. imagine what the Unemployment rate would be if they hadn’t gotten rid of all those public sector jobs at the state level

  29. R&B singer David Peaston dies at age 54

    ST. LOUIS (AP) — Singer David Peaston, who had a string of R&B hits in the late 1980s and early 1990s, has died, his family said Thursday.

    Peaston, 54, died Wednesday of complications from diabetes, his niece, Neuka Mitchell said.

    Peaston was born into a St. Louis family with deep musical roots. His mother, gospel singer Martha Bass, was one of the Clara Ward Singers. His older sister, Fontella Bass, is a noted singer whose single “Rescue Me” reached No. 1 on R&B charts and No. 4 on pop single charts in 1965.

    Peaston’s highest-charting song was “Two Wrongs (Don’t Make It Right),” which reached No. 3 on the Billboard R&B chart in 1989. “Can I?” got to No. 14 on the R&B chart that year, and “We’re All in This Together” reached No. 11 on R&B chart and No. 45 on the dance chart in 1990. His first album, “Introducing … David Peaston,” reached No. 7 on the Billboard R&B albums chart in 1989. At the height of his career, he toured with Gladys Knight.

    Peaston earned a degree in elementary education and taught in his hometown of St. Louis before moving to New York to pursue a career as a singer. He began doing session gospel and R&B work. His career got a big boost after winning several competitions on the “Showtime at the Apollo” television show in the late 1980s, winning over fans and the judges with his powerful rendition of “God Bless the Child.”

  30. Jan Brewer Recall Possible As Arizona Collective Bargaining Has Democrats, Unions Planning Protests

    Arizona could become the next Wisconsin as plans for protests, Capitol sit-ins and a potential effort to recall the governor get underway in an effort by progressives to block the passage of sweeping legislation to ban collective bargaining.

    State Democrats and union leaders said that plans are in place to launch Wisconsin-style measures in an effort to block the collective bargaining ban measures currently headed to a vote in the Republican-dominated Senate. Among the plans being considered are rallying large groups of public employees around the Capitol complex in Phoenix, lobbying moderate Republican legislators and potentially exploring a recall campaign against Gov. Jan Brewer (R). With Republicans’ large majorities in both legislative chambers, Democrats believe rallies and public pressure may be the only way to block the passage of the bills.

  31. Love Me Love Me With Feeling…


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