Sunday Open Thread

Brooklyn Tabernacle is a large church located in downtown Brooklyn. It has 10,000 members and has existed in Brooklyn for over 40 years, during which it has become a major institution in the borough.

Brooklyn Tabernacle has been pastored by pastor Jim Cymbala for over 25 years.

The church is famous for its Grammy Award-winning Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, which is directed by Carol Cymbala, the wife of Jim Cymbala.[

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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42 Responses to Sunday Open Thread

  1. I’m not a Giants fan but I’ma root for them today. Tired of the Patriots!

    Go Giants! :)

  2. Ametia says:

    LOL That Flava Flav and Elton John commercial was hilarious

  3. Ametia says:

    Obama 2007: Launching his candidacy

    The first time Steve Kroft interviewed then-Senator Barack Obama it was February 2007. Obama was just announcing his candidacy in the presidential race, and so life in the Obama family was markedly different than it is now.;contentBody

  4. rikyrah says:

    Corruption On The Hill: Keystone XL Is Why Power Must Return To The People
    By Rmuse

    Over the past few months, the Keystone XL pipeline project has verified long-standing beliefs that oil industry campaign cash drives Republican energy policy as well as their obstruction of renewable and green energy sources. The more one discovers the amount of influence the oil industry exerts on members of Congress, the more important campaign finance reform becomes necessary to shift power back to the people. There is a school of thought that says there should never be special interests or lobbyists involved in legislator’s decision making and in a perfect political environment, they would be correct; but in politics, like life, there is no such thing as perfect.

    It seems that every instance of reporting Republican malfeasance in creating and voting for favorable oil legislation, there is finger-pointing at Democrats and accusations that “they take oil money too.” It is a valid point, but hardly the end of the story and it brings up two questions whose answers may clarify why taking special interest money or advice from lobbyists is not the same as selling votes or lying to curry support for, or creating, legislation to enrich one specific interest. First, are lobbyists and special interests necessary, and second, does taking donations from lobbies and special interests mean a politician is corrupt?

    There are good reasons special interest groups and lobbyists are necessary for legislators to make good decisions for their constituents and indeed the entire country. Let’s say a congressman from rural Kansas is asked to support a bill that addressed funding to provide special needs students with extra help to guarantee they succeeded in inner-city schools. Because the legislator had never set foot in an inner-city school, or was clueless what a special needs student meant, they would need an expert’s opinion to make an informed decision. In fact, they would need to hear from experts on both sides of the issue to be objective. It would be the same if a bill on nursing safety in the healthcare industry came up for a vote. A legislator would need to understand the needs of nurses, patients, and hospitals to make an informed decision. But, should the special interest expect a legislator to vote according to the amount of campaign cash they handed out? No, but that is not the case with Republicans.

    The answer to the question; does taking special interest or lobbyist’s money necessarily mean a legislator is corrupt is definitively no. The Keystone pipeline example makes it clear that there is a marked difference between Republicans and Democrats who accept big oil money. It is true that nearly all legislators receive oil money, but Republicans certainly receive substantially more than Democrats and perhaps that affects their support for legislation that only benefits big oil. In the Keystone pipeline example, only Republican leaders are deliberately spreading lies and misinformation about the pipeline’s benefits to enrich the oil industry. It is the same with campaign cash from Wall Street and banking industry; both parties rake in huge amounts of cash, but only one side obstructed legislation to hold banks and Wall Street accountable by lying about the detriments of consumer protection laws. In fact, Democrats who took Wall Street money passed banking reforms to protect consumers and prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial meltdown and Republicans are still promising to repeal the Dodd-Frank if they win both houses of Congress and the White House in 2012 to protect Wall Street. There are myriad examples of special interest money polluting the legislative process and it intones a different meaning to “follow the money” than it appears. It is more apropos to say, “follow the rhetoric, misinformation, and voting record” after following the money.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Video- Romney: I Won’t Bribe Voters With Handouts Like Obama Does
    Posted on Sunday, February 5, 2012, 6:30 am by Paddy

    I will not attempt to bribe the voters with promises of new programs, new subsidies, and ever-increasing checks from government. If this election is a bidding war for who can promise the most benefits, then I’m not your President. You have that President today.

  6. President Obama Will Be Vindicated

    As Ryan Lizza writes in the New Yorker: “Obama didn’t remake Washington. But his first two years stand as one of the most successful legislative periods in modern history. Among other achievements, he has saved the economy from depression, passed universal health care, and reformed Wall Street.”

    So when are President Obama’s critics, people like Paul Krugman and Mitt Romney, going to offer President Obama an apology? Both have often loudly predicted that he made the economy worse and was putting America on the wrong economic path. Both are being proved wrong by the economic comeback we are in. I mention them not to pick on Krugman, who I respect or even on Romney (who I regard as a vapid twit bought and paid for by corporate interests) but to make a point: President Obama is going to have the last laugh on his critics, no matter what ideological spectrum they hail from.

    President Obama is succeeding in spite of the fact that he’s been up against a Republican Party willing to destroy the economy in order to destroy him.


  7. rikyrah says:

    Andy Borowitz @BorowitzReport
    Most of the job-killing Obama has done has been to al-Qaeda.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Zero Uplift Man
    by Steve M.
    Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 12:25:19 PM EST

    Until last night, I hadn’t seen one of Mitt Romney’s election-night speeches at full length. What struck me about it — and I gather it’s just his standard speech — is that it’s completely devoid of uplift. The anger at Obama seems sincere, possibly because Obama genuinely annoys him, possibly because annoyance is Romney’s natural mode. Then, at the very end, the effort at an extended bit of patriotic inspiration comes off as too short and utterly pro forma. Overall, the speech is pure sourness, which isn’t going to work in a country that always wants its presidents, not just the current one, to offer hope.

    One reason for Romney’s approach, of course, is that he’s playing to crowds that don’t particularly love America (it’s too full of people who dare to disagree with them). Liberals are much more likely to dream of an idealized America than modern right-wingers; instead, right-wingers dream almost exclusively of vengeance against their enemies. So, midway through the speech, when Romney tries to slip an uplift line into a series of Obama attacks — “We want to restore America to the founding principles that made this country great” — he says it as if he means to add at the end, and we want to do that just to piss Barack Obama off! Watch it, starting at about 4:59:

    I’m sure the plan is to switch Romney’s tone around convention time, with a soft-focus thousand-points-of-light speech a la Poppy Bush in ’88. But there was a part of Poppy Bush’s soul that genuinely did have a sentimental love for America, and I think that’s true of every post-Nixon president we’ve elected. I’m not sure it’s true of Romney. He can recite the lyrics to “America the Beautiful” all he wants, but I’m not sure he can find any sincere cornball feelings about America in his end-of-the-nation-state financier soul.

  9. rikyrah says:

    05-02-2012 09:13 AM
    McDonnell: Economy Improving Thanks To GOP Governors, Not Obama

    Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), a Mitt Romney surrogate, said Sunday that the improving economic situation is thanks to Republican governors, not President Obama.

    “Look, I’m glad the economy is starting to recover but I think it’s because of what Republican governors are doing in their states. Not because of the president,” McDonnell said on CNN’s State of the Union.

    “It’s been a complete failure of leadership,” he said of Obama.

    McDonnell added that Romney is “on a roll” and that the electoral “math is lining up very well for” him after his resounding victory in Saturday’s Nevada GOP contest.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Florida Republican Stripped Of Senate Chairmanship For Opposing Prison Privatization Scheme

    By Marie Diamond on Feb 3, 2012 at 9:50 am

    The biggest critic of a massive prison privatization scheme in Florida was stripped of his chairmanship of the Budget Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriation for opposing Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) plan to outsource prison oversight to the lowest bidder.

    Sen. Mike Fasano (R) is one of ten Senate Republicans who opposes the plan to give private, for-profit vendors control over 26 prisons, but his vocal criticism provoked retribution from one of the bill’s biggest supporters, Senate President Mike Haridopolos (R):

    Amid the mounting tension, Senate President Mike Haridopolos refused to bring up the bill for debate, a sign that it faced defeat. Ten of 28 Senate Republicans have voiced strong reservations or opposition to such a major policy shift, a serious rift in the GOP caucus.

    The drama intensified as Haridopolos stripped Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, of his chairmanship of a budget subcommittee overseeing prisons, saying Fasano “was not rowing in the same direction” as Senate leaders on budget decisions.

    “It’s become clear to me that Sen. Fasano was not willing to make these choices,” Haridopolos said.

    Fasano said Haridopolos told him he was being punished for his anti-privatization comments in an MSNBC interview Monday.

    This week Fasano introduced an amendment that would effectively stop the plan and require further study on its fiscal impact. Critics of the plan say that it will save little if any money and cost thousands of state workers their jobs. The price of paying the displaced prison workers for unused sick leave and vacation could well offset the estimated $16 – $30 million in savings. “It’s really just a gift to the private-prison industry,” David Murrell of the Police Benevolent Association said of the plan.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Friday, February 3, 2012
    What will Republicans run on now?
    Conventional wisdom for the last few months has been that President Obama’s re-election would hinge on the economy. If news like today’s jobs report continues, the Republicans have lost their ability to stall the recovery and blame it on the president.

    So where do they go for a message that will resonate with voters?

    The old tried and true issue for Republicans has usually been to scare Americans about some foreign threat and attempt to paint the Democrats as “weak on defense” (it worked to beat Sen. John Kerry, didn’t it?) Obviously Romney is relying on that old canard when he tries to get people to believe that President Obama is an “appeaser.” But with the American public’s weariness with war and Obama’s demonstrated competence in focusing our efforts to not only get out of Iraq, but to kill bin Laden and defeat al Qaeda, its not working this time. The one tool they’ll try to exploit will be Iran…so watch for MUCH more talk about that in the coming months.

    The other issue Republicans try to make hay with is the federal deficit. But as I’ve mentioned before, with the looming defense cuts agreed to in the debt ceiling deal and the Bush tax cuts set to expire, they’ll have to be focused this year on bills that would actually increase the deficit. So I doubt we’ll be hearing much on that one in the months ahead.

    What President Obama and the Democrats have done over the last couple of years is take away from Republicans three of their standard issues…the economy, foreign policy, and the deficit.

    That’s the good news.

    But the bad news is the question of what they have left…cultural wedge issues and racist dog whistles. Expect the rhetoric to ramp up along those lines.

    As an example, take a look at what Romney posted on his web site today. Is he cheering the drop in the unemployment rate and the fact that the economy is obviously improving? Of course not. He’s warning you that your religious freedom is being threatened because the Obama administration is working to ensure that all women have access to contraception.

    On January 20, 2012, the Obama administration affirmed a rule that would force Roman Catholic hospitals, charities, and universities to purchase health insurance for their employees that includes coverage for contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization, in violation of their religious principles. This is wrong…

    But, now, more than two centuries after the drafting of the Bill of Rights, religious liberty is facing the most serious assault in generations. And the assault is coming from liberalism itself…

    What the Obama administration has done is indefensible. But this is about even more than President Obama denying America’s Catholics their constitutionally protected rights. This is about the preservation of our freedom.

    Make no mistake about it…just as the fight over Civil Rights was framed as an assault on Woolworth’s right to deny African Americans a seat at the lunch counter, Republicans will now side with the Catholic Bishops to deny women access to contraception.

    In case you haven’t heard, this is about the ACA regulation that requires all health care plans to cover contraception. The administration did grant a waiver to churches and religious institutions who primarily cover people of the same faith. But religious universities and hospitals who tend to employ the general public have been given one year to come in to compliance.

    Due to my own personal history, I want to emphasize that this is not just an issue of birth control. Many women like me have also needed some of these medications for other health issues and Romney would side with the Catholic Bishops in denying that access to thousands of women.

    This is likely the kind of battle we’ll be having to fight this election year. While it makes me sad to think that we’ll have to go back to struggles we thought we won in the 60’s and 70’s, I don’t think the Republicans will be successful in “taking our country back” to those days.

    Posted by Smartypants at 10:19 AM

  12. rikyrah says:

    February 05, 2012
    Why we need Newt Gingrich

    That the demagogic Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are both prodigious liars is one of this political era’s most conspicuous truisms. They’re like Isaac Newton and gravity: no mathematical proof of the latter is really needed, for heaven’s sake just look around you and observe; but if one so chooses, the former’s demonstration is there.

    In short, I’m not about to sit here and tediously demonstrate proof of the above Romney-Gingrich proposition, or rather, truism, or political law. Whole collections of Big Lies are the singular substance with which they rev up the base — wrenching irrealities that the base not only doesn’t mind, but welcomes and even demands, since reality conflicts with its cherished prejudices. Any Romney or Gingrich stump speech, chosen at random by the unfortunate observer who asks for proof of this, is empirical proof enough.

    This doesn’t mean that Romney and Gingrich are equals in lying, demagogic ability, however. I confess a logical favorite, and here, I will demonstrate why.

    What makes Mitt Romney such a repugnant demagogue is that he lies like an amateur; he has something plentiful of the bumbler in him, like a Baghdad Bob. Take this snippet, from his victory speech last night: “This president began his presidency by apologizing for America. He should now be apologizing to America.”

    Now what, for the professional demagogue of some refinement and taste and natural ability, is missing from those lines? Yep, you saw it and heard it right away. What’s missing is even a shadow of sincerity, even a whisper of truth. The great demagogues and fantastic liars of the past, from both left and right — your Joe McCarthys, your Huey Longs, your “Pitchfork” Ben Tillmans and your James Michael Curleys — all of them, in a kind of awe-inspiring Mephistophelian way, excelled at weaving at least some semblance of some truth somewhere in their diatribes and denunciations. Not Mitt. His are just laughably, transparently false — and consequently thoroughly repugnant.

    Here, on the other and more admirable hand, is a brief passage from Newt Gingrich’s performance last night: “It hadn’t occurred to me that you would have the level of ruthlessness and the level of dishonesty that we saw [from Romney] last week.” Now there’s a demagogic lie of artfulness and beauty. Gingrich himself was of course a mining pioneer in exploring these now familiar depths of political ruthlessness and dishonesty, yet he added a smidgen of truthfulness to his rant: he never expected this sorry-ass frontrunner of a bumbling Baghdad Bob to be so nakedly brazen, as Gingrich once was, and is.

    You hang in there, Newt, just as long as you can. Because after Mitt dispatches you, we’ll have only his gagging amateurism left.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney Goes Palin in Nevada Victory Speech
    February 5, 2012
    By Sarah Jones

    I never thought I’d see Mitt Romney get so ugly so early in the race, but tonight in his Nevada victory speech he showed that he is willing to sell what’s left of his genteel veneer to court the conservative hate mongers. In a speech where the inaccuracies and the lies outweighed any message of reform he might be hiding in the Caymans, Mitt went Palin as he said Obama was not the “American president”.

    The one thing Mitt had going for him was that he was not a hate monger. Sure, he’s stiff except when he’s flip-flopping, he’s the 1% of the 1%, and he’s so entitled and ensconced in privilege that he can’t imagine the life of an average American, but he was not a negative person. You didn’t dislike the guy; he just made you nervous. He’s smarmy and untrustworthy, but you didn’t dislike him.

    Until tonight.

    Boy did Mitt bring the ugly tonight! This proves that he has what it takes to be a conservative hero in words (deed do not matter; he will make up reality and Fox will sell it). Mitt Romney can be a hate-monger and therefor, he can be the Republican nominee.

    If we took the lies out of Mitt’s speech tonight, we’d be left with nothing but hello and god bless America. Mitt claimed he would make our military the best in the world unlike Obama, who is a wimp (Osama? Somali pirates?).

    Our military is already the strongest in the world, but Mitt promised that no one would ever challenge us again when he was President. This didn’t ease my mind, as I recall Bush promising the same thing before he invaded a sovereign nation on a lie and got us mired in a ten year war that we couldn’t win.

    To wild cheers, Mitt announced that he would not give voters the most, so if this is a bidding war, he is not your President. Of course, this may be true, but it depends on who “you” are. If you are a 1%er, this is most certainly a bidding war, as the corporate dollars flowing into Republican coffers prove quite well.

    Mitt meant that he wouldn’t be buying our votes by promising to care about Medicare and Medicaid or Social Security. Of course, technically, he wouldn’t be “buying” votes, since people pay into Social Security with hard work. But his point is duly noted. Do not vote for Mitt if you want a President who thinks you are as entitled as he thinks he and his friends are.

    Mitt said he could fix the economy that Obama ruined. He said the improved unemployment numbers are not real because they just reflect that people stopped looking for work. Pay attention to this one because it’s viral. The truth is that private sector job growth has grown under Obama more than it has since Reagan, and those numbers can’t be gotten around no matter how many times they utter “but no one is looking for work anymore.”

    At any rate, Mitt has no solution for fixing the economy other than assuring us that as businessman (who dismantled companies and shuttled his profits offshore), he knows how to do it. A pause while Americans wonder if they want to be one of Bain’s mom and pops that get taken apart and sold off in bits so that Romney can add another 100 million to his Swiss account.

    Romney went on about Nevada’s troubles and never mentioned that they were a direct result and perfect example of lawless vulture capitalism. He blamed Obama for their unemployment rates and never said a word about why their homes were in foreclosure or who got rich off of their misery. He avoided mentioning the fact that the recession started in 2007 and the housing market collapsed soon after. It’s hard to see how Obama can be blamed for that or how it’s Obama’s fault that Romney stands for the same exact deregulation that created the housing bubble that led to the bubble burst.

    Mitt lied about Solyndra, lied about healthcare reform, promised to repeal “Obama Care”, lied about the economy (was caught earlier saying it was great but now it sucks), lied about the private sector….Mitt lied.

    There’s no gentle way to put it, this was a speech of specious lies and inaccuracies and deliberate distortions. It was a speech meant for the base. And they believe these things to be true.

    It’s one thing to stretch the truth, but it’s another to construct a whole new reality, and that’s what Mitt did tonight.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Right Wing Denial and the Legacy of Slavery
    February 5, 2012
    By Deborah Foster

    Slavery ended nearly 150 years ago. It’s over. Nothing left to see here. Except that it’s Black History Month, and those damnable minorities and their liberal allies keep bringing up the past, reminding everyone of that darkest blemish on American history. The only times you hear conservatives talking about it are to revise history as politicians like Ron Paul have been doing by mainstreaming the belief that the Civil War was not primarily fought over slavery. There is no acknowledgement from conservatives that slavery and its aftermath had any consequences that can be observed today. They continue to argue that everyone has an equal chance of success on an equal playing field. While a disproportionately high number of African Americans remain in deep poverty, conservatives bend over backwards to blame them for their circumstances.

    With the way that generations overlap, there are living African Americans who have heard their great-grandparents tell stories of their relatives’ firsthand experiences surviving slavery. During the Great Depression, firsthand accounts by slaves were collected for those who are interested to hear them personally. What kinds of stories would be most relevant to the social circumstances of African Americans today? Certainly, there was the commonplace policy of purposely breaking up families for over 240 years. Ever since the Moynihan Report first identified the struggles of the black family, conservatives have been quick to pounce and attribute the high percentage of single parent families to their moral laxity. They are chronically unable to acknowledge that a systemic decimation of families perpetrated by white people plays a significant role in the instability of male-female relationships to this day. We have no precedent for the recovery time required to overcome this type of assault on a fundamental societal institution.

    Speaking of recovery time, it’s been approximately seven generations since formal slavery ended. But that’s not the whole story; this month on February 13th, PBS will be airing the documentary, Slavery by Another Name, based on the book by Douglas Blackmon of The Wall Street Journal. This documentary will focus on the period from 1865 to World War II when African Americans experienced neo-slavery, a time of legal discrimination, widespread and brutal violence, and rampant criminalization. For example, “black codes,” or laws that were written to arrest and confine African Americans for crimes such as “vagrancy,” resulted in forced labor camps with conditions indistinguishable from slavery. Of note, a black man could be arrested for vagrancy for not having a job in a community that refused to employ him. As Blackmon states,

    “African Americans know this story in their hearts…and so people come up to me and say, ‘Gosh the story that my grandmother used to tell…I never believed it because she would describe that she was still a slave in Georgia after WWII or just before, and it never made sense to me, and now it does’…These are things that connect directly to the lives of people and the shape and pattern and structure of our society today.”

  15. rikyrah says:

    The Hunt For October Surprise
    Posted by Zandar
    If you want to know what the GOP agenda is for 2012, this week was an excellent barometer: the effort to turn Bush-created executive branch programs into impeachable Obama offenses is the only thing congressional Republicans now have left on their dance card.
    Following a recent promise by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) “to do a better job of holding [President Obama] accountable,” the White House was in the GOP’s crosshairs this week on two highly controversial issues: Solyndra and Operation Fast and Furious.

    Two-dozen House Republicans pressed Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday to invalidate a 2011 Energy Department restructuring agreement that ensured private investors who agreed to inject more capitol into failed solar firm Solyndra would be repaid ahead of the taxpayer if the company collapsed.

    The day before, a bevy of GOP lawmakers on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee grilled Holder for four hours over his role in the botched gun tracking operation Fast and Furious, which oversaw the sale of nearly 2,000 guns to known and suspected straw purchasers for Mexican drug cartels in the southwest and may have contributed to the murder of a federal agent.

    The hearings this week come in the aftermath of a speech Boehner delivered to the Republican think tank, the Ripon Society, in which the top House Republican said his majority needs to hold a tougher line when it comes to oversight of the White House.

    “He’s clearly trying to make this about everything other than his own records, so he’s going to beat up on the Congress and do a lot of other things,” said Boehner last week ahead of Obama’s State of the Union address.

    The reason why neither investigation has gotten anywhere after nearly a dozen hearings total over the last 12 months is that both programs that created these “fiascos” were Bush-era holdovers. Three separate “gunwalker” operations were implemented in the Bush DEA/ATF and dozens of alternative energy companies got investments under the Bush Energy Department (including Solyndra) and yes, some of them went under. These same Republicans did nothing then.

    But when these things happen under a Democrat, he’s a “thug”, a “tyrant”, a “criminal”. Holding as many hearings about these two subjects is literally the only thing the House GOP actually plans to do for the rest of the year. It’s not like the economy is still shaky and people are suffering. Nope, time to go after the President.

  16. rikyrah says:

    February 05, 2012 07:00 AM
    SuperPAC Super Payday: How Rich Donors Could Get Billions from Taxpayers
    By Jon Perr

    Federal Election Commission filings released this week showed that conservatives groups are amassing an ocean of cash for the 2012 presidential campaign. Thanks to the likes of the Koch brothers, the Walton clan and other of the usual suspects on the right, in 2011 conservative SuperPAC’s outraised their liberal counterparts by more than seven to one. But if they win, rich Republican donors could more than get back the millions they invested. As it turns, just one law they are trying to buy – the elimination of the estate tax – could put billions of dollars back into their families’ bank accounts. Of course, that gaping hole would have to be filled by all other American taxpayers.

    As Mother Jones reported, as of December 31, 2011 conservative SuperPAC’s reaped $60 million of now-unlimited contributions, compared to just $8 million for liberal groups. That tidal wave of corporate cash and play money from the wealthy has filled the coffers of Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, Mitt Romney’s Restore the Future, Newt Gingrich’s Winning the Future and a litany of other right-wing SuperPACs. And as Amanda Terkel detailed, at a secret conclave last week, the Koch brothers pledged to raise much more to defeat President Obama:

    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.

  17. rikyrah says:

    February 5, 2012, 10:35 am
    Lies, Damned Lies, and Politics

    Recent facts have not been kind to the political right. A better-than-expected jobs report; a renewed focus on inequality, driven both by CBO research and by the gift of Mitt Romney’s candidacy. What to do?

    The answer is to throw a bunch of bogus numbers at the issues, in the hope that something sticks, or at least that the discussion becomes confused.

    First, about that jobs report: all the usual suspects have jumped on the routine BLS population adjustment to claim that the numbers were cooked. The real story here is that the BLS estimates unemployment based on a monthly survey; this tells us what fraction of workers are unemployed. To turn that into a number of unemployed, the BLS estimates total working-age population; but it updates those estimates only once a year. So there’s usually a step up or down in the totals each January, signifying nothing.

    Back in the Bush years there were a lot of bogus claims of huge job growth reflecting a step up in the population numbers. Now we have Rush Limbaugh, Fox, etc., claiming that a step down somehow implies fake calculations. Still not true. And the thing that makes this so tiring is that they keep trotting out the same old bogosity, no matter how many times it has been refuted.

    Next up, inequality denial. The Census Gini figure hasn’t moved much since the early 1990s — but as Jon Chait says, we know perfectly well why: it’s because Census numbers are top-coded, that is, cut off at high income levels, and the big gains have come way up the scale.

    How do we know that? Partly, just look around: walk around New York’s pricier neighborhoods and tell me that inequality hasn’t increased. But also, income tax data. Here’s what the IRS tells us about income shares at the top:

  18. rikyrah says:

    Viola Davis looks WONDERFUL in this LA Times spread

  19. rikyrah says:

    The Myth of the American Political Intelligence Gap
    By Tom Junod
    at 4:10PM

    Liberals don’t hate conservatives. They just think they’re stupid.

    Conservatives hate liberals, because they know that liberals think they’re smarter than them.

    Liberals know that conservatives hate them and can’t figure out why, because they don’t hate conservatives in return.

    Conservatives believe that liberals hate them, because it’s easier to feel despised than patronized. And so in addition to hating liberals, they think liberals are liars.

    This is the unspoken dynamic of American politics. It pervades blogs on both left and the right, accounting for the fantasies of victimization underlying most conservative discourse and for the strange liberal habit of offending while trying to appease. It explains why conservatives aren’t lying when they say they have no problem with Barack Obama being black; their real problem is with Barack Obama being black and smart.

    We live in an undereducated country; at the same time, we’re told, again and again, that we’re entering an age in which intellectual capital will be the only capital that matters. It is no wonder that intelligence has become not just a source of insecurity but a stealth political issue that shows up every time a wealthy Republican candidate for president gets cheers for attacking “elites.” Just last week, left-leaning news feeds gleefully distributed the news that a researcher in Canada had established a link “between low intelligence and social conservatism”; just yesterday morning, the Times quoted the Southern Baptist Convention’s Richard Land in a story that attempted to explain Newt Gingrich’s appeal to conservatives in terms of his vaunted intelligence.

    “They would love to see a false smarty pants decapitated by a real intellectual,” Land said, speaking of conservatives’ wish to see Newt Gingrich debate the President. “He would tear Obama’s head off.”

    Read more:

  20. rikyrah says:

    Where the GOP race stands
    By Steve Benen

    Sun Feb 5, 2012 9:30 AM EST


    Polling the Nevada caucuses is notoriously difficult, but this week, the survey results tended to be pretty accurate. With most of the precincts reporting, Mitt Romney, as expected, cruised to an easy, double-digit win in the Silver State, beating Newt Gingrich by 25 points, 47.6% to 22.7%.

    Gingrich tried to assign an asterisk to the results, reminding reporters that Nevada is a “very heavily Mormon state,” but exit polls showed Romney would have won by 17 points even excluding LDS voters.

    Speaking of Gingrich, his campaign announced earlier in the day that the former Speaker would host a press conference after the caucus — rather than delivering a speech — which led to speculation that he might end his campaign. “All of you can relax,” Gingrich told reporters. “I’m not going to withdraw. I’m actually pretty happy where we are.” He added that he still fully expects to take the race all the way to the Republican convention in August.

    Ron Paul, meanwhile, put quite a bit of effort into competing in Nevada, and suggested yesterday he could come in second. Though his 18% showing yesterday was quite good given Paul’s relative standing in the party, the Texas congressman nevertheless finished four point behind Gingrich, and 29 points behind Romney.

    What happens now? The Gingrich campaign will have a few opportunities to get back on track in February, but in general, he doesn’t have a whole lot to look forward to in the coming weeks.

    Feb. 7: Minnesota caucuses: A recent Public Policy Polling survey showed Gingrich with a big lead over Romney, suggesting it’s the next contest that can help the former Speaker keep pace with the frontrunner.

    Feb. 7: Colorado caucuses: Romney easily won this state four years ago, and is generally expected to do so again.

    Feb. 7: Missouri nonbinding primary: As Nate Silver explained recently, Missouri “will hold a primary on Feb. 7, but it has no direct or indirect effect on delegate allocation, which will instead be determined in its March caucuses.” Romney shouldn’t have too much trouble — Gingrich didn’t qualify for the ballot.

    Feb. 11: Maine caucuses: Maine holds a week-long process, and while Ron Paul has been making an effort in the state, Romney’s regional advantage is expected to give him the edge.

    Feb. 28: Arizona primary: At least some polling suggests the state will be competitive, but at this point, it’s hard to predict.

    Feb. 28: Michigan primary: Arguably the most interesting contest in February, Michigan should be an easy one for Romney — he’s from the state and his father was governor — but there’s ample evidence that he struggles with the kind of working-class voters who will dominate the primary.

    As for upcoming debates, which Gingrich would love to use to put himself back in contention, there are no debates scheduled again until Feb. 22.

    The result is a landscape that appears to favor the frontrunner.

  21. rikyrah says:

    February 05, 2012 9:53 AM
    Sheldon Adelson is no Fool—and he always bets against the union

    By Rich Yeselson

    Sheldon Adelson didn’t amass a $20 billion fortune by making dumb investments—or, at least, by continuing to make dumb investments. The Timesreports that Adelson, who has known and liked Romney for years, is prepared to contribute substantial money to the Romney cause, and recognizes that his other friend, Newt, may not make it.

    Adelson clearly loves both Romney and Gingrich’s fealty to the policies of Israel’s hard right government. But it’s also important to note that Adelson hates unions about as much as Ahab hated that white whale (except Adelson is sort of the white whale, too…never mind). Over 90% of the rooms on the Las Vegas Strip are unionized. The union, Culinary 226, is, arguably, the most powerful local union in the country, beloved by its membership, primarily, of housekeepers, and tolerated by the large game companies that dominate the strip.

    Except for Adelson, who has rabidly fought the union’s effort to organize his properties. Oddly, the New York Times profile of Adelson didn’t mention this important part of his business career the other day (although a New Yorker Profile from a couple of years ago did). I mention all of this because both Gingrich and Romney share Adelson’s anti-union animus as they do his program for the Middle East. It’s no accident that Romney managed to trash the NLRB in his victory speech last night, and has adopted the old right insult, “union stooges”, to describe the members of the board.

    You can sure that Adelson was listening—and smiling.

  22. rikyrah says:

    February 04, 2012 1:33 PM
    Romney’s Truth that tells a Lie
    By Rich Yeselson

    So, no surprise, Mitt wins big last night in Nevada. He carries 91% of the 26% of the caucus goers who are Mormons, so that helps him carry overlapping categories like “extremely conservative” and “strong tea party supporter” too. But he also carries Evangelicals, so its pretty much a clean sweep for him of the extreme right of an extremely right wing Nevada Republican electorate.

    More interesting were his victory remarks. You see him trying out Pavlovian culture war phrases for the Revanchist base, e.g. references to Obama’s “colleagues in the faculty lounge.” He’s not good at that—he doesn’t have the sheer ferocity required for it.

    They key move he made in the speech, however, as Jonathan Chait predicted the other day, is a doubling down on hyping bad economic news and hoping that it stays bad. Last night—knowing that a decline to 8.3% unemployment was, while not good, clearly an improvement—he shifted his gaze to what economists call the u6 employment rate. The u6 is the measure, not only of the unemployed, but of those who have stopped looking for work, and those who want full time work, but who are working part time hours. It’s certainly an important metric, and, by definition, it’s always substantially higher than the unemployment rate proper.

    So Romney correctly told the crowd that the “real” unemployment rate is “over 15%.” And he’s right. It’s 15.1% which is very high. Over 15% obviously sounds a lot worse than 8.3%, and suddenly introducing it into a discussion with regular voters enables Romney to play the unlikely role of “truth teller.” And talking about a “real” anything is always a nice touch for Republicans when referencing Obama because it implies that somehow Obama and the Democrats have been giving the country cooked figures or something. “Real? The guy faked his own birth certificate—he’s going to tell the country what the “real” unemployment numbers are??!”

    But, as you can see in this chart, the u6 almost always perfectly tracks the conventional (u3) unemployment measure. It’s dropped from a high of 17.4%, at the height of the recession in 2009, and, like the u3, it also declined this month from last month’s 15.2%. So, as you would expect during a slow, sluggish, but continued recovery, it just keeps going down, just like the typical unemployment rate.

    And that’s shows the limits of the “hype the bad news” Romney strategy. Now that he’s told the country about the u6 and started his baseline at “over 15%”, any decline below that number is going to look, by comparison, like a hoped for improvement. Than what does he do?

    Nope, even the most clever rhetoric won’t work. What Romney really needs is the the unlikely duo of Merkel and Netanyahu to really wreck the world’s economy. Keep you fingers crossed, Mitt!

  23. rikyrah says:

    They Fucking Hate You

    by John Cole

    I wanted to spoon DougJ in a gay love blogospheric circle jerk when he wrote this:

    In light of all of this, I just don’t see why it’s sad that liberals and conservatives give to different charities, listen to different music, patronize different restaurants, etc. The two groups don’t agree on much and don’t like each other. That’s life. If people disagree with me about everything and dream of tasing/beating/shooting me, then why would they and I want to be part of the same organizations?

    I don’t suck dick, but I might give a reach around when I read shit like that, because so many people just don’t get it at all. I was a winger for years, and we can discuss that particular psychosis at a later date, but what I can explain to you right now is that they fucking hate you.

    They just do.

    They hate you because you respect gay people as normal human beings.

    They hate you because you respect African-Americans as normal human beings.

    They hate you because you respect Asians, Latinos, and everyone else who isn’t a straight white male.

    They hate you because you respect a woman’s right to choose.

    They hate you because you respect the right of people to be with who they love.

    They hate you because you respect the right of anyone to adopt a child.

    They hate you because you respect international law.

    They hate you because you believe in economic and tax fairness.

    They hate you because you respect the right of anyone to worship any way they want.

    They hate you because you respect scientists and their collective knowledge.

    They hate you because you respect teachers and the work they do educating Americans.

    They hate you because you respect the human dignity of every American.

    They hate you because you respect the rights of people over corporations.

    They hate you because you respect nature and think we have a duty to take care of the environment.

    They hate you because you respect your right to vote, and they don’t think you deserve it.

    They hate you because you respect the constitution and the rule of law.

    They hate you because you respect laws against torture.

    In short, they hate you. Period.

    They masquerade their bullshit in the words of Jesus and the all-knowing free market, but it is transparent what motivates them. Not love for their fellow man, not love for their fellow citizen, not love for country- what motivates them is hate for the other.


    They fucking hate you. They want you, and everyone who speaks for you, and every institution that represents your values, whether it be Planned Parenthood or food banks or ACORN- you name it. They want it destroyed.

    I just do not understand why more people do not recognize this. The Republicans have declared total war on America, and people are responding like this is politics as usual. It isn’t. It really isn’t. It’s really all or nothing at this point. We put the birchers/tea party/conservatives back in their place and destroy the current GOP, or we deal with this shit for the next forty-sixty years.

    I know I am Godwining this post, but we are at the point where we know who is going to set the Reichstag fire. Are we up to stopping them?

  24. dannie22 says:

    Happy Sunday!


    LAS VEGAS — Newt Gingrich’s increasingly quixotic quest for the Republican presidential nomination will go on, even after he received a drubbing in Saturday night’s Nevada caucuses.

    The former House speaker sought to dispel rumors that he would be dropping out of the race in a press conference that, befitting its location — the Palazzo hotel on the Las Vegas strip — was heavy on pompousness and show.

    “Every primary day or caucus day,” a defiant Gingrich declared, “the Romney headquarters in Boston sends out the rumor that they believe I will withdraw, which is of course their greatest fantasy.”

  26. Good Morning, 3 Chics!

    Holy is the Lord…God Almighty! The Earth is filled with His Glory!

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