Serendipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread

This week it’s all about “JOBS—WORK”in the song titles. Today’s feature: The Isley Brother’s Work to Do.”

Wiki: The Isley Brothers ( /ˈaɪzliː/ yz-lee) is a highly influential, successful and long-running American music group consisting of different line-ups of six brothers, and a brother-in-law, Chris Jasper. The founding members were O’Kelly Isley, Jr., Rudolph Isley, Ronald Isley and Vernon Isley.

Starting their careers in the gospel performing circuit in the early 1950s, they eventually crossed over to secular music first finding modest success in doo-wop until the release of their first million-selling hit, “Shout”, in 1959. After several flops resulted in them being dropped from their record label, they found success again with sixties hits such as “Twist and Shout”, later covered successfully by The Beatles and the Motown hit, “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)” in 1962 and 1966 respectively. The group didn’t find success again until the end of the decade when their 1969 single, “It’s Your Thing”, (with Ernie Isley on bass guitar) was released. The song brought them success in the then-fledgling funk genre.

After forming their own label, T-Neck Records, the group found modest success with their own recordings between 1969 and 1972 until revamping the vocal group into a sextet in 1973 with the release of their landmark album, 3 + 3, this time featuring younger brothers Ernie Isley and Marvin Isley and brother-in-law Chris Jasper who brought the musical and songwriting component to the group, making them a self-contained band. The addition of Ernie, Marvin, and Chris led to their most successful period as they successfully mixed their brand of R&B with rock, soul and funk elements. Hits they would have during that period included a revamped version of their 1964 song “That Lady” (featuring Ernie’s characteristic guitar playing), “Fight the Power” (written by Ernie), “For the Love of You” and “Between the Sheets” (written by Chris and Ernie).


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63 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    Clint Eastwood on Chrysler Super Bowl Ad: ‘I am Certainly Not Affiliated With Mr. Obama’
    4:03 PM PST 2/6/2012 by Paul Bond

    As partisans dissect the actor’s Super Bowl commercial, which seems to tout auto-industry bailouts, the actor tells Fox News Channel that he donated his salary to charity.
    Clint Eastwood does not want his patriotic Super Bowl ad to indicate an “affiliation” with the current presidential administration – or any politician or party, for that matter – but that’s not stopping partisans from talking about the Chrysler commercial.our editor recommends.

    Was Chrysler’s Super Bowl Commercial a Nod to Obama? (Analysis)TiVo: Madonna’s Halftime Show More Popular Than Super Bowl Football Game’Star Wars: Episode I’ 3D Trailer Debuts During Super Bowl (Video)“I am certainly not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama,” Eastwood told Fox News Channel on Monday.

    It was meant to be a message,” Eastwood told The O’Reilly Factor producer Ron Mitchell, “just about job growth and the spirit of America. I think all politicians will agree with it. I thought the spirit was OK.”

  2. President Obama’s Grandmother in Car Accident

    NAIROBI – President Obama’s grandmother, Sarah Obama, is home recovering at her home in western Kenya after an accident that, judging by the condition of the vehicle, could have been much worse.

    “God is with me, because if you could have seen the wreckage that we came out of safe, one would wonder,” Sarah Obama said Monday.

    Police in the town of Kisumu say the 91-year-old was traveling to her home in the village of Kogelo Saturday night when the driver lost control, and the vehicle rolled into a ditch.

    All five people in the car, including her two bodyguards, were taken to a hospital for treatment. All were released with minor injuries.

    A hospital spokesperson says Sarah Obama was bruised and in shock when she arrived at the hospital. She was released about two hours later.

    “You can see I was not injured save for this small scar on my right hand and I am not even using a walking stick,” Obama said.

    She said friends from as far away as the United States and the Middle East have been calling to check on her, but she assures them, “Hakuna tabu!” That means ‘no problem’ in Swahili.

    • Sarah Obama, second from right, step-grandmother of U.S. President Barack Obama, receives a courtesy call from local police officers following a car accident in which she suffered minor injuries, at her home in Kogelo, western Kenya, Monday, Feb. 6, 2012. President Barack Obama’s 91-year-old step-grandmother suffered bruises and shock after the car she was traveling in rolled over, a relative and a hospital official said Monday. (AP Photo)…

  3. rikyrah says:

    Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 11:45 AM PST
    Paul Ryan to pick budget fight with President Obama over Medicare, defense cuts +*

    by Joan McCarter

    Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) remains convinced that ending Medicare is the right policy solution, politics be damned. He’s got the misguided assistance of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), an assist that’s not likely to convince many comers from the other side of the aisle, or even less Randian Republicans in the House.

    The Ryan-Wyden plan the House budget chairman is pushing has been roundly rejected by the White House and by House and Senate Democrats. It’s a non-starter for them, made even more so by the fact that Mitt Romney has embraced it. Wyden’s going to be in a Democratic wilderness on that one.

    Yet, Ryan is undeterred.

    The first test for Ryan in winning the second round with Obama is to rally the fractious Republican conference.

    On the one hand, some centrists would just like to skip a Medicare debate in an election year.

    “I would hope that it’s a thoughtful budget that focuses on the numbers for the next fiscal year rather than being some ‘roadmap’ for the next 10 years that invites criticism,” said centrist Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio).

    Ryan’s more interested in making political points than policy, so LaTourette, and any other Republican House members who’d just as soon lay low on this front will be disappointed. And Ryan isn’t just aiming to take on Obama over Medicare: he’s going to pick a fight over the automatic defense cuts that Congress agreed to in last August’s debt ceiling deal.

    One step he has already decided upon is to exclude $500 billion in defense cuts that were mandated by last summer’s debt-ceiling deal. […]

    “Using the sequester is a meat-ax approach,” a Ryan aide said. “Cuts to defense have to be made based on an assessment of threats. I think replacing the sequester is where our conference is on this.”

    It’s a bit of a risk, as it could make the GOP look as if it is reneging on the August debt deal. […]

    Indeed, one worried Republican lawmaker who requested anonymity said it would look as if the GOP were changing the rules of a game they helped draw up.

    It would do more than just look as if the GOP was reneging on the August deal. It would be the GOP actually reneging on the August deal. What’s shocking about that is that some House Republicans are actually bothered by that idea.,-defense%C2%A0cuts-?via=blog_1

  4. rikyrah says:

    A tale of two recoveries
    By Steve Benen

    Mon Feb 6, 2012 4:53 PM EST

    As many on the right struggle to respond to encouraging economic news, several Republican officials have crafted yet another talking point to consider: the nascent, fragile recovery isn’t as strong as the one we saw in 1983 and 1984.

    Several [House GOP] members compared the current economic recovery unfavorably to the rebound from recession during the Reagan administration. In January 1984, as Reagan was preparing to run for reelection, the unemployment rate fell to 8 percent, marking an even more marked decline from a jobless rate of 10.4 percent a year earlier.

    Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) said Reagan inherited a “more difficult, deeper recession” than Obama, who has repeatedly called the economic collapse he inherited the most serious since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

    At a certain level, this gives away the store, in much the same way Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) did yesterday — once Republicans argue, “This recovery isn’t as good as the one in the ’80s,” they’re necessarily conceding that the economy has improved under Obama. They are, after all, referencing a “recovery” directly.

    But let’s put that aside for now. Looking at this on the substance, proponents of the “tale of two recoveries” argument deserve credit for creativity, but the GOP talking points on this are deeply misleading, if not ridiculous.

    To McMorris Rodgers’ point, Reagan did not inherit a “more difficult” recession. In the early 1980s, the Fed kept interest rates high to combat inflation, but to suggest that was a “deeper recession” than the more recent crisis is just foolish. In 2008, we experienced a crash of the global financial system — the kind of crisis from which is there is no easy or quick recovery. When we hear the phrase “worst economic conditions since the Great Depression,” it’s not just a platitude; it’s an accurate description of what transpired.

    As a result, we’re looking at two recoveries with key, qualitative differences. In 1983, the Federal Reserve had decided it had held back the economy long enough, and decided to take its foot off the brake. A robust recovery soon followed. The Great Recession that technically began in late 2007, and then intensified greatly in 2008 before bottoming out in 2009, was a far more severe global crisis, and it therefore takes far longer to get back to where we were.

    Yes, the current recovery isn’t as strong as the one in 1983, but that’s because of the nature of the recessions themselves. The comparison itself borders on silly. It’s like saying a patient who had an appendectomy recovered faster than a patient who’d been hit by a bus — and then saying the latter’s physician must not have been as good a doctor.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    February 06, 2012 5:10 PM
    The Selling of the President 2012
    By Ed Kilgore

    I missed this Philip Rucker report about the “pivot” of the Romney campaign in WaPo yesterday, what with sleep and then church and then heavy Diet Coke stockpiling while most Americans watched the Super Bowl.

    But as Rucker’s campaign sources document, it sure looks like Mitt’s days of exposing himself to situations where he might be tempted to go “off-message” are at an end:

    “You’re safe, you’re steady, you don’t put your candidate in a place where there could be any kind of a pitfall, you stick with the themes that have worked with you so far until you see reason to change them — and I don’t see any reason,” said one Romney adviser who requested anonymity to discuss the campaign’s strategy.

    This kind of approach was pioneered by Richard Nixon back in 1968, in the highly scripted campaign that was the focus of Joe McGinnis’ famous book The Selling of the President 1968. And even though—or perhaps because—Nixon began his march to the presidency that year by croaking the earnest, old-school candidacy of Mitt’s father George—there really is a plausible connection between the campaigns of Tricky Dick and Flip-Flopping Mitt. Both candidacies exemplify the art of self-reinvention, the science of strategic pandering, the attractiveness of flawed but shrewd pols to a party desperate for victory, and the power of an essentially amoral campaign apparatus designed to reveal or disguise the Next President of the United States as circumstances demand. Of course Mitt will now occlude himself as much as possible. What possible reason could he have for behaving otherwise? A desire for authenticity? Too late for that.

  6. rikyrah says:

    If we stopped talking about abortion, we might have to talk about health care, and no one wants to do that
    by Kay

    Good for him:

    Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) pushed back against conservative criticism of new White House rules which would require religious organizations to provide insurance coverage for birth control, calling the attacks “too much hyperventilating.”

    “This is not about abortion,” said O’Malley during an interview on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday. “It’s about covering contraception as part of the healthcare coverage, mandatory basic coverage.”

    The Health and Human Services Department said last month that insurance policies must cover contraception without charging a copay. The rule offers exemption to employers with a primarily religious mission or nature, such as churches. Critics however say that institutions like Catholic universities and hospitals are not covered by the exemption.

    O’Malley, who said he was a Catholic, stressed that the decision was similar to rules already in place in much of the country. “28 states already require this and in Europe,” he added.
    The governor said this was not a case of government dictating to religous organizations.
    “Well there is an exemption for churches themselves,” he said. “An exemption does not necessarily extend to institutions like hospitals, to universities that employ people of all faiths.”

    I can’t be the only woman in this country who is sick to death of how every discussion of women and health care, every single one, revolves exclusively around reproductive issues.

    One really, really starts to wonder if we are capable of discussing health care in this country at all. Abortion, death panels, abortion, broccoli. People will know more about this exemption than they will about the whole rest of the regulatory framework that applies to large businesses.

    It’s such a joy this noted conservative intellectual stayed in the race, isn’t it? He adds so much depth and nuance:

    GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has also attacked the decision, saying in a speech to supporters following Saturday’s Nevada caucuses that the Obama administration had “declared war on religious freedom in this country.”
    “This is a decision so totally outrageous, an illustration of such radical secular ideology,” Gingrich said.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Actual voter fraud
    By Steve Benen – Mon Feb 6, 2012 3:08 PM EST.

    Republican policymakers, at the federal and state level, are often desperate to find real-world, high-profile examples of voter fraud. The good news for the GOP is that a legitimate example has come to public light. The bad news is, the example is from their side of the aisle.

    The top elections official in Indiana was convicted of multiple charges in a voter fraud case on Saturday, bringing uncertainty to one of the state’s most powerful offices.

    A Hamilton County jury found Charlie White, the Indiana secretary of state, guilty of six of seven felony charges: two counts of perjury and one each of false registration, voting in another precinct, submitting a false ballot and theft. He was acquitted of one fraud charge. […]

    It was not immediately clear what would happen in the state office. Mr. White has resisted calls to resign by Democrats and fellow Republicans, including Gov. Mitch Daniels, but state law bars anyone convicted of a felony from remaining in office.

    Commenting on the controversy, Kay at Balloon Juice recently noted, “Besides the obvious embarrassment of the state official who is in charge of elections being indicted on charges of voter registration fraud, it’s just perfect that this happened in Indiana, because Indiana paved the way for the voter suppression laws we’re seeing all over the country…. Indiana has one of the most restrictive voter ID laws in the country, and that didn’t stop their top elections official from registering and voting in the wrong place. That’s because voter ID laws target the imaginary problem of voter impersonation fraud, while doing next to nothing to address the fraud that actually occurs.”

    Just to rub a little salt on the wound, it’s also worth noting that White, while seeking the office, listed election integrity as one of his top concerns, and promised to “protect and defend Indiana’s Voter ID law to ensure our elections are fair and protect the most basic and precious right and responsibility of our democracy-voting.”

    As part of the “war on voting,” conservative officials keep putting new hurdles between voters and the ballot box, ostensibly because they fear the scourge of fraud. The irony is, the deceit much of the right fears is imaginary, while the real-world fraud seem to be coming from their side of the political divide.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:42 AM ET, 02/06/2012
    Is Obama winning back blue collar whites?
    By Greg Sargent

    For some time now, I’ve been tracking the polling numbers among blue collar whites, a key swing consistuency. After Obama did reasonably well in 2008 among them for a Democratic presidential candidate, Dems lost them in huge numbers in 2010 — and Obama needs to repair relations with them in order to win reelection. As Ronald Brownstein put it recently: “it would be a mistake for Democrats to underestimate the depth of white blue-collar alienation from the president.”

    That’s true, and the attacks on Mitt Romney’s corporate background, low tax rates and offshoring are all about rendering him an unacceptable alternative to Obama among this key consistuency.

    Today’s Post poll finds that Obama’s approval numbers among overall Americans are rising.

    And so, I asked the Post polling team for a breakdown of Obama’s approval rating among non-college whites, and it appears he may be making some headway in winning them back:

    For a larger version, click here. As the chart illustrates, Obama’s approval rating among these voters is 43-54. While those numbers don’t appear too good at first glance, things are trending Obama’s way. This is his best level among non-college whites since early last year (excluding the post-Bin Laden bump), and they are far better than they were at their lowest point in 2010, when Democrats suffered massive desertions among this constituency. This uptick coincides with signs that the recovery is strengthening, as well as with Obama’s new populist emphasis on tax fairness, inequality, and all the ways the economy is rigged against the middle class.

    According to a recent report by the Center for American Progress, Obama only has to limit his losses among this group to win reelection. If can win white college graduates at roughly his 2008 levels, he can still win reelection with a big deficit among blue collar whites; if he can hold his losses among both groups to around John Kerry’s 2004 levels, he can also win.

    (Caveat: In the Post poll, Obama’s numbers among blue collar whites on the economy in particular are still terrible, at 30-68, though his overall approval is rising.)

    Also: Impressions of Romney’s wealth and whether his corporate work created or cut jobs are almost exactly split among blue collar whites. With large blocs of them undecided, the battle to define Romney’s past among these votes will be absolutely crucial.

    But a big majority of blue collar whites, 67 percent, says that Romney’s not paying his fair share in taxes, suggesting Obama’s emphasis on tax fairness may be helping him make some headway in winning them back

  9. Ametia says:

    Posted at 11:04 AM ET, 02/06/2012
    Rick Santorum starts to get Newt Gingrich treatment from Mitt Romney

    By Philip Rucker

    LAS VEGAS — Rick Santorum is starting to receive the Newt Gingrich treatment.

    With polls showing Santorum the more serious threat in two states voting on Tuesday, Minnesota and Missouri, Mitt Romney’s campaign on Monday unloaded on the former Pennsylvania senator the way it did on Gingrich in the run-up to last month’s Florida primary.

  10. rikyrah says:

    For some black women, economy and willingness to aid family strains finances
    By Ylan Q. Mui and Chris L. Jenkins, Published: February 5

    The Great Recession carried special pain for black women like Jane Ladson.

    She had always been the one her family turned to when they needed help, and she didn’t hesitate to give it. She helped pay for weddings and rent. She made room for her nephew when her brother died of AIDS. And even now in her 50s, she took in a baby that wasn’t her own.

    But help was easier to give when the economy was booming and Ladson was bringing home $4,000 a month as a mechanic at Amtrak. Even an injury on the job turned into a blessing in disguise when she collected a $700,000 settlement that allowed her to build her dream home in Clinton and help her longtime partner start her own hair salon.

    Then the recession hit, and fate twisted the other way. A slip on the stairs of her home has kept her out of work since the spring. The hair salon struggled to keep customers. Ladson was forced to sell her car and fell behind on her mortgage. Foreclosure notices began replacing dinner invitations.

    And yet, like so many other black women, Ladson continues to shoulder the burden of supporting her extended family of siblings, cousins, nephews and grandkids.

    Across the country, black women are bearing a heavier responsibility for family and friends than their white counterparts, even as they struggle to emerge from an economic downturn that has hit them harder.

    A survey by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation reveals that black women have more trouble paying their bills or getting a loan than white women. And they are trying to regain their footing in a world where more than half feel as though they do not have the skills and education to compete for a job.

    The Post-Kaiser poll of more than 800 black women is the most extensive exploration of the lives and views of African American women in decades. In nearly 20 extended interviews with women who participated in the survey, a picture of frustration and resilience emerged.

    Nearly half of the women surveyed said they help out elderly relatives, and more than a third regularly assist friends or family with child care — outpacing white women in both cases.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Wonkbook: Obama’s fresh lead remains vulnerable to Europe’s woes
    Posted by Ezra Klein at 06:32 AM ET, 02/06/2012

    The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll shows President Obama’s approval rating has risen to 50 percent and he’s opened up a six-point lead against Mitt Romney. In part, that’s because the primary is hurting Romney. A majority of Americans who are closely following the campaign say they disapprove of what they’re hearing among the Republicans, and by 2 to 1, Americans say that the more they learn about Romney, the less they like him. But in part, that’s because a rebounding economy is helping Obama. Which is why all eyes in the West Wing will be on Greece this week, where a deal that could keep Europe stable and the recovery going is in danger of falling apart.

    Remember when the question was simply “whether” Greece would default? Good times. Now the question is how Greece will default. And there are two options: “orderly” and “disorderly.” Orderly isn’t great, but at least the markets are expecting it. Disorderly, however, could be quite bad. Josef Ackermann, chief executive of Deutsche Bank, tells the FT it could open “a new Pandora’s box” in the Eurozone crisis. And disorderly is starting to look likelier.

    The problem, put simply, is that “the Troika” — the IMF, the EU, and the European Central Bank — want more concessions than the Greek political system seems to be capable of making. They want the minimum wage cut by 25 percent. They want supplementary pensions cut by 35 percent. They want to close 100 state-run organizations that will cost thousands of jobs. And they want all this done voluntarily by the politicians in a country that has gone, in a few short years, from 7.5 percent unemployment to 18.8 percent unemployment. And if it’s not done, the next bailout won’t come through, and Greece’s default will become disorderly — with untold, but clearly disastrous, consequences for both Europe and the United States.

  12. Ametia says:

    Karl Rove ‘offended’ by Clint Eastwood’s Chrysler ad
    Posted by Rachel Weinerat 12:52 PM ET, 02/06/2012

    Chrysler ad aired during the Super Bowl Sunday night has inspired ire among some Republicans and admiration among some Democrats — with both sides seeing a political message that boosts President Obama.
    In an ad touting the resurgence of the American auto industry, Clint Eastwood declared that it’s “halftime in America and our second half’s about to begin,” which could be interpreted as a reference to Obama’s second term. 
    The ad’s themes seem to echo Obama’s own argument that his administration brought the auto industry back from the brink of disaster.
    “They almost lost everything,” Eastwood says of Detroit. “But we all pulled together. Now Motor City is fighting again.”


    I was, frankly, offended by it,” said Karl Rove on Fox News Monday. “I’m a huge fan of Clint Eastwood, I thought it was an extremely well-done ad, but it is a sign of what happens when you have Chicago-style politics, and the president of the United States and his political minions are, in essence, using our tax dollars to buy corporate advertising.”

    And we should care because?

  13. rikyrah says:

    Romney campaign tries to throw cold water on poll showing Obama beating Romney

    By NBC’s Domenico Montanaro

    The Mitt Romney campaign is pushing back against a new Washington Post/ABC poll out today, showing President Obama ahead of Romney 51%-45% because of what its pollster sees as a questionnaire design flaw.

    “Well, there’s a good reason why,” Romney pollster Neil Newhouse writes in a campaign-released memo about why Obama is over 50%. “The poll introduced specific negative information about Governor Romney immediately prior to asking the ballot match-up against President Obama.”

    Newhouse continues, “So, immediately prior to the President ballot test, this poll introduced information regarding Romney’s background and suggested ‘he cut jobs,’ ‘he benefited from opportunities that are not available to other people,’ ‘he is not paying his fair share of taxes,’ and that his Mormon religion might be a factor not to support himm.’ While I certainly understand the difficulty of designing a questionnaire to learn as much information as possible about a campaign, and the compromises that sometimes have to be made, the questionnaire design used by the Post/ABC Poll in this case is seriously flawed.”

    Mark Blumenthall of tweeted: “Newhouse has a point: Odd choice to ask about candidate negs before vote, but they did ask 2 each about Romney, Gingrich & Obama.”

    *** UPDATE *** Washington Post pollster Jon Cohen offers this response: “We take question writing and ordering seriously, as both can make differences. We also welcome discussion on these, but note the movement on the horse race numbers under scrutiny is in sync with the trend on answers throughout the poll. The result is also in line with other publicly released polls. That said, we publish our full questionnaires – with exact question wording – for just such scrutiny.”

    • rikyrah says:

      found this in the comments:

      If national polls aren’t scaring Republicans yet, how about the electoral college vote?

      Currently President Obama leads in the following states.

      WA, OR, CA, NV, CO, NM, MN, WI, IL, MI, OH, PA, NY, VT, NH, ME, MA, RI, CT, NJ, DE, MD, DC, and HI.

      284 total electoral votes is 14 more votes than needed to win the Presidency.

      Obama was only statistically tied in VA, NC, FL, IA, and gets two votes from NE which splits it’s electoral votes. This was before the good news on the economy and the bad news Romney generated.

      This would bring Obama’s total to 349.

      And MO, AZ, and GA are within striking distance for Obama’s campaign.

      This would bring Obama’s total to 386.

      Not to mention that all we’ve been listening to is the GOP candidates negative ads and debates pounding the President since the last election. As Obama said, once the GOP votes the losers off the island the campaign will begin in earnest. But where will the GOP get their electoral votes from???

      Fantasy Island….

  14. rikyrah says:

    Deep Freeze Spreads Across Europe
    Feb 6, 2012 | 4

    The frigid weather that plagued Eastern Europe much of last week spread westward over the weekend, grounding flights, snarling traffic, and causing hundreds of deaths. While the subzero temperatures and heavy snowfalls have brought hardship, residents of some areas were able to take advantage of the conditions for skating, sledding, kite surfing, and other winter pastimes. Meteorologists warn that more blizzards may be hitting the region, and state officials, shelters, and aid organizations are preparing to help even more people in need. Gathered here are images of frozen Europe from the past several days.

    click on the link to take a look at the pictures:

  15. rikyrah says:

    What Romney’s Selling on the Road Ahead
    By Charles P. Pierce at 12:21PM

    Let us now look at the state of play regarding Willard Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and Piltdown Man of American politics.

    (It is a damn sight better than opening the week by discussing the state of play regarding a certain professional American football team of my casual acquaintance, the owner of which invited Rush Limbaugh to sit in his owner’s box in yesterday’s America-Fk-Yeah! Fest in Indianapolis and reaped the righteous whirlwind as a result. Bob, how could you?)

    Unquestionably, Willard had a good weekend. He got himself a thumping win in Nevada (more from there here and here), which seems to be further deflating the dirigible that is the Gingrich campaign, and also driving N. Leroy Gingrich, Definer of Civilization’s Rules and Leader (perhaps) of the Civilizing Forces, completely around the bend. (That late-night press conference on Saturday looked like a hostage tape.) There was some indication that the Bible-banging set in the Republican electorate might be slowly, but surely, acclimating itself to voting for the leader of an un-Christian cult. (What the hell, they made their peace with us Papists, after all.) Life is good. Nevertheless, as the pall of Romney’s inevitability begins to descend like a great cloud of methane upon the nation, things are also looking a little bit hinky.

    First, there was the matter of shit-canning Brett O’Donnell, apparently for the crime of being credited with turning around Willard’s debate performances. (O’Donnell is rather like the Johnny Sain of debate coaches; he managed to make Michele Bachmann look reasonably sane on stage through most of the early campaign, and it was his work with Romney before the Florida primary to which people pointed as to why Willard’s skills sharpened so noticeably.). This was the classic top-down corporate lickspittle move — fire anyone who makes the boss look bad even while making him look good. This is what people get when they say they want the country “run like a business.”

    Then there are the increasing indications that Willard’s adoption of full wingnut may not be simply a tactic through which he can get the nomination but, rather, a statement of the fact that he’s finally settled on a political persona after all these years. This is the new, permanent Romney. He will veto the DREAM Act and get tough with the people who used to trim his hedges. He will start a trade war with China and, if necessary, a real one with Iran. He is — no kidding, pinky-swear-to-Mormon-Jesus — completely pro-life. He wants a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, and also one defining marriage as being between a man and a woman. That’s the new Romney product line, and it’s selling.

    Sooner or later, every salesman comes to believe his own bullshit — Arthur Miller got famous by illustrating this very point — and it appears that Willard has been trafficking in the Neanderthal for so long that his brow is lowering by the hour. And the other members of the tribe are picking up on this and banging their sticks on the rocks in celebration. First we have Ann Coulter, superannuated television harpy, desperately groping for another 15 minutes, coming out and displaying what she claims are Willard’s nuts in a Mason jar:

    Coulter added that she was once at a fundraiser and approached Romney just before she was leaving the event. “I just wanted to go up to him and tell him, ‘You owe me and you better be as right-wing a president as I’m telling everybody you’re going to be,'” Coulter said.

    Be proud, Willard.

    But, beyond television freak-show performers, there’s some indication that the folks in the hinterlands are buying the Romney that Willard has come to sell:

    Obama’s health-care reform law also fits into tea party views on immigration. Much of the group’s indictment of the president rests on the fantasy that he wants to give free health care — not to mention a blanket amnesty and citizenship privileges — to undocumented immigrants, thus securing millions more votes for himself and the Democratic Party…. No surprise, then, that Romney has constantly declared his determination to get rid of ObamaCare the minute he moves into the White House.

    Got a view on an important issue of national policy that’s completely untethered from reality? Willard’s your boy, nudge-nudge, wink-wink.

    It is possible that there has been a more shameless panderer in the history of American politics than this guy, but it’s hard to think of one offhand. I watched him run against Ted Kennedy for the Senate, and in his one campaign for governor, and this creature I see wandering the landscape bears as much resemblance to that guy as Salt Lake City does to Tallahassee. He knows now that, if Ginrgich wants to remain a credible candidate, he only has Super Tuesday left. If Willard can cut him up just a little in the South, and then if he can win elsewhere, the whole thing is over. Which means Willard’s got to bring his new self to Alabama and Georgia. Imagine the pandering he can do there. The mind, she boggles.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Romney Does Not Endorse Clint Eastwood’s Message
    By Charles P. Pierce
    at 11:53AM

    By now, everybody’s seen the America’s At Halftime commercial, featuring Clint Eastwood, apparently reprising his role from Gran Torino, talking about how the country’s in the locker room right now, rehydrating, looking at Polaroids of the other team’s defense, discreetly gobbling Creatine and speed, and feeling better about how it rallied there in the late going to make the game with The Invisible Hand a lot closer than people though it would be.

    The general feeling is that the ad itself was a kind of endorsement of the president’s re-election bid, what with its emphasis on the recovery of the auto industry, which Willard Romney opposed in favor of letting the major automakers go bankrupt. If that is the case, then we might be seeing in these commercials (yesterday, there were also a whole series of GE ads about how American manufacturing was coming back) a clear indication of a weird inversion of what we expected to see out of this election. The president can’t run on “It’s Morning In America.” He’d look foolish. He can, however, credibly run on the notion that the sky is getting a little brighter in the east. By contrast, more than a few people have noted that the Republicans in general, and Willard in particular, seem interested in running on “It’s Apocalypse In America,” gloomily drooping around the country as the people to whom they’re talking try desperately to feel optimistic again. For their own selfish reasons, American corporations are more inclined to advertise on the former theme than on the latter. If that redounds to the president’s credit, you have to wonder how Willard Romney, candidate of the plutocracy, will respond, considering he’s looking down the barrel of the most powerful office in the world, backed (inadvertently) on every TV in every home, by the same corporate elite that’s funding his campaign. And he has to be thinking, “Do I feel lucky?”

    Well, do ya, punk?

  17. rikyrah says:

    FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO TWEET, please tweet Rev. Al about this. He and Rachel Maddow have been on the anti-union story.

    Not exactly a sneak attack
    by Kay

    Remember: it wasn’t an attack on unions, it was budget-balancing:

    An Ohio group has been cleared to continue its effort to push a ballot initiative that would keep workers covered by labor contracts from having to join a union or pay dues.
    Attorney General Mike DeWine on Wednesday said Ohioans for Workplace Freedom has provided a “fair and truthful” summary of its proposed right-to-work amendment.
    The approval comes the same day Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels signed a right-to-work bill, making it the first Rust Belt state to enact such a law.
    The Ohio proposal emerged this fall, days after voters rejected a law placing restrictions on public employee unions

    We were told for more than a year that the conservative assault on public sector unions had nothing to do with conservative opposition to unions, but instead was about state budgets. That was obviously a lie. That pundits of all stripes swallowed the lie whole does not make it less of a lie. Is there going to be any attempt to correct the record here? Because this is important. We’re going into an election year and conservatives are waging a full-out war on both public sector and private sector unions in state after state after state.

    This nonsense about “tone” isn’t helping to inform, but is instead offering them cover:

    There hasn’t been any moderation of their positions. None. In fact, they’re ramping up. The lie that this was about state budgets was repeated for 6 months. Can I now get six months of repetition of the facts now that the larger objective has come clear to even the most deluded and trusting observer? Or are we now going to focus on “tone”, whatever that means?

    Newt Gingrich’s biggest donor, Sheldon Adelson, is, among other things, virulently and specifically anti-union. Sheldon Adelson will directly and personally benefit if labor unions disappear. Newt Gingrich’s biggest donor has indicated that he will switch to Mitt Romney if Mitt Romney is the nominee

  18. rikyrah says:

    February 06, 2012 9:44 AM

    Rooster Taking Credit For Alarm Clock
    By Ed Kilgore

    Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is supposedly near the top of Mitt Romney’s list of poential running-mates, and you can sorta understand why: he’s the reasonably popular governor of a state Barack Obama carried in 2008, and also has deep connections to the Christian Right, which is not exactly Mitt’s base in the GOP.

    But if his remarks on CNN yesterday are any indication, McDonnell needs a little remedial education in economics:

    Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said Sunday that Republican governors deserve credit for the improving economy.
    “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 with Candy Crowley.”
    McDonnell did not elaborate on what the governors have done.
    The quasi-magical belief that governors can have a huge impact on economic developments has always puzzled me, but in McDonnell’s case, it is particularly strange and even ironic, since his state’s relatively robust condition clearly depends on its huge federal government presence (DC-dependent Northern Virginia’s unemployment rate is well under 5%). If his party’s desire to significantly reduce the size and scope of the federal government is implemented, none of the job-creatin’ tax-cuttin’ rhetoric the Commonwealth governor deploys will cut much ice.

    A useful phrase for people who take credit for coincidental occurrences is that they are like “a rooster taking credit for the sunrise.” In McDonnell’s case, it’s worse than that: he’s taking credit for economic phenomena his party actively opposes and treats as unhealthy “socialist” competition with “real” job growth. So he’s like a rooster taking credit for an alarm clock.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Is Obama the Least Liberal Dem President?
    Posted on 02/06/2012 at 12:12 pm by Bob Cesca
    Not a chance in hell. I have serious problems with this study by Keith Poole and taken at face value by Paul Krugman indicating that President Obama is the least liberal Democratic president in nearly a century.

    For the sake of proving my point, let’s take a quick look at the last two Democratic administrations. According to the study (and don’t laugh too hard) President Clinton is more liberal than President Obama.


    Clinton passed DADT. President Obama repealed it.

    Clinton signed DOMA. President Obama stopped defending it in court and would sign a repeal.

    Clinton flew 153,000 sorties into Iraq, bombed Iraq in ’98, attacked Afghanistan, Somalia and Bosnia. President Obama ended the Iraq War despite military pressure to stick around, and he’s in the process of wrapping up in Afghanistan.

    Clinton repealed Glass-Steagall by signing the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act which established all of the financial institutions that crashed the economy. President Obama repaired the damage in part by passing an unprecedented $800 billion stimulus package with billions in “big government” spending.

    On that note, Clinton declared “the era of big government is over” and continued to foster small government, deregulatory Reaganomics. President Obama is ending Reaganomics and defending the role of government.

    Clinton began the overseas outsourcing boom in part by signing NAFTA. President Obama is ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.

    Should I go on?

    Clinton signed welfare reform into law. President Obama expanded Medicaid and SCHIP. Clinton failed to pass healthcare reform. President Obama passed it.

    Etc, etc, etc.

    Don’t believe that study for a second. Sadly, many otherwise smart progressives will use this as fuel to justify their nearsighted view of the Obama administration’s accomplishments.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Emails show Handel behind Komen’s Planned Parenthood decision: report

    Susan G. Komen for the Cure Vice President Karen Handel drove the foundation’s decision to defund Planned Parenthood for purely political reasons, according to emails reviewed by The Huffington Post.

    “The emails show that Karen Handel was behind the entire decision to defund Planned Parenthood,” The Huffington Post’s Laura Bassett told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien Monday. “She was behind the strategy to develop the new criteria for who can be funded and she’s been behind the PR effort to clean up what’s happened since the decision was announced.”

    “What I understand is that Karen Handel, since she was hired back in April, has been kind of pumping up and magnifying the attacks against Komen and the anti-Planned Parenthood protests and whatnot, and trying to get the board and trying to get Komen leadership on her side as part of this decision to defund Planned Parenthood.”

    In a posting on her blog last year, Handel made no secret of her opposition to Planned Parenthood.

    “First, let me be clear, since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood,” she wrote.

    In a video posted to YouTube last week, Komen’s Founder and CEO Nancy G. Brinker denied that politics played any role in the decision.

    “It was a boldface lie,” Bassett explained. “Karen Handel had a political agenda against Planned Parenthood. And I know that Komen founder Nancy Brinker went on Andrea Mitchell Thursday and said that Karen Handel had nothing to do with this; this was not political. That’s simply not true. And if you’re a cancer charity, you have no business lying to the public about what’s going on behind closed doors.”

    Prior to Handel’s hiring, Komen’s lobbying shop had been staunchly Democratic — from its head to its hired guns, former Democratic aides did most of the heavy lifting on everything from the breast cancer stamp to breast cancer research to its advocacy on the health care bill.

  21. Ametia says:

    Is Obama the Least Liberal Dem President?

    Posted on 02/06/2012 at 12:12 pm by Bob Cesca

    Not a chance in hell. I have serious problems with this study by Keith Poole and taken at face value by Paul Krugman indicating that President Obama is the least liberal Democratic president in nearly a century.

    For the sake of proving my point, let’s take a quick look at the last two Democratic administrations. According to the study (and don’t laugh too hard) President Clinton is more liberal than President Obama.

  22. Ametia says:

    The whole performance was mediocre at best, IMHO I’m not a Madonna fan, can’t you tell?

  23. rikyrah says:

    Ron Paul and ‘honest rape’
    By Steve Benen – Mon Feb 6, 2012 9:40 AM EST.
    Associated Press
    Ron Paul sat down with CNN’s Piers Morgan the other day, and the interview led to this rather remarkable exchange:

    MORGAN: You have two daughters. You have many granddaughters. If one of them was raped — and I accept it’s a very unlikely thing to happen — but if they were, would you honestly look at them in the eye and say they had to have that child if they were impregnated?

    PAUL: No. If it’s an honest rape, that individual should go immediately to the emergency room. I would give them a shot of estrogen….

    There is, of course, a problem with the question itself. Morgan is working under the assumption that the daughters and granddaughters of prominent politicians are “unlikely” to face a sexual attacker. Reality doesn’t work that way.

    But it’s Paul’s response that’s truly offensive. Victims of an “honest rape” should be allowed to go to the emergency room, but everyone else — presumably victims of dishonest rape? — should expect to have their reproductive rights curtailed under Ron Paul’s vision of government power.

    Indeed, the Texas Republican went on to say in the same interview, “If you talk about somebody coming in and they say, ‘Well, I was raped and I’m seven months pregnant and I don’t want to have anything to do with it,’ it’s a little bit different story.”

    I’ll look forward to Paul or his campaign elaborating on what, exactly, “honest rape” refers to, but the implication seems to be that American women are not to be trusted when it comes to rape claims. In context, “honest rape” seems to be, in Paul’s mind, the equivalent of “actual rape.” Those who qualify as rape victims under this Republican’s standards would be eligible for emergency contraception; those who failed to meet his standards would not. Who gets to decide? Apparently, Paul and other policymakers.

    Paul, a staunch of opponent of abortion rights, is pushing a line that’s tragically common on the right: women’s claims are not to be taken at face value, and it’s up to government to draw the lines.

    That Paul claims fealty to libertarian ideals makes this that much more incomprehensible.

  24. Ametia says:

    Obama dinner to mark end of Iraq War
    By Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY

    With U.S. forces still fighting in Afghanistan, the Obama administration has chosen to mark the end of the Iraq War with something more modest than a ticker-tape parade — a state-dinner-like event at the White House later this month feting a select group of combat veterans and their spouses or guests.

  25. Tom Brady————–>Not Today!

  26. Ametia says:

    Scalia Denies Abortion Views Influenced by Religion, Calls His GPS Opinion ‘Defendant Friendly’
    Posted Feb 4, 2012 6:03 PM CST
    By Debra Cassens Weiss

    On Saturday during the ABA Midyear Meeting in New Orleans, Scalia answered questions posed by Boston University law dean emeritus Ronald Cass and then from the audience. Topics included abortion, religion, lawyer pay and the justice’s recent opinion on police use of a GPS device to track a criminal suspect.
    The only topic that was off limits—and it was Cass who said Scalia couldn’t answer—was on the Constitution and same-sex marriage.
    Scalia didn’t hesitate when an audience member asked him whether his Catholicism influenced his opposition to Roe v. Wade. The answer, Scalia said, is no. If he followed religious doctrine, he would agree with those who say the Constitution requires states to ban abortion. Scalia said he believes the Constitution says nothing about abortion, and states can permit or ban it based on the will of the voters.
    Scalia also took on the legal profession and the high pay scales that lure top students into the law. He noted he earns less money than his former law clerks who become first-year associates at law firms. What’s more, he said, they get a $250,000 signing bonus. “There’s something wrong with a system where getting someone just a little bit brighter is worth that kind of money,” he said.
    Scalia didn’t retreat from previous assertions that too many of America’s best students are going to law school. He would instead like to see more of the top students going into professions such as engineering and teaching. “Society cannot afford to have such a huge proportion of its best minds going into the law,” he said.

  27. rikyrah says:

    now, this is some racist ass shyt:

  28. rikyrah says:

    Obama In The Poll Position
    by Zandar

    Good ol’ Zandardad flagged down this story in my email today on the latest WaPo/ABC poll numbers this morning, and they’re good news for the President (as far as election poll results in February can qualify as “good news” for anyone, I guess.) The crosstabs are pretty interesting when you take a look, too.

    President Obama’s approval ratings are 50%-46%, and by a 50%-48% reading, people think he deserves a second term. The Republican nominees as a group fare much worse in approval, 36%-54%.

    Of the Republican leaners in the poll, Newt has the most experience to qualify him for President (46%), but Mitt wins the “can beat Barack Obama” category with 56%.

    Here’s the interesting part: People are split on Mitt’s wealth being a positive or negative (43%-44%) but only 30% of Americans think he’s paying his fair share of taxes, 2/3rds of Americans don’t (66%).

    Also, President Obama would win 51%-45% over Romney and 54%-43% over Gingrich if the election were held now among registered voters. Finally, while President Obama splits with Romney on the issue of job creation and Romney has a six-point edge on handling the economy, the President has a whopping 19-point lead on protecting the middle class, and a 16-point one on handling terrorism.

    In other words, despite the effort to paint him as the dreaded Other, President Obama is winning handily on the middle-class “one of us” issue over Mitt. There’s a lesson to be learned there.

  29. rikyrah says:

    February 06, 2012 8:53 AM

    How Long, O Lord?
    By Ed Kilgore

    The chaos surrounding Saturday’s GOP caucuses in Nevada, with mass confusion of voters about where to caucus, battles over religious qualifications for a separate caucus, wildly varying procedures, and an apparent inability to count ballots or figure out who should report them, is being generally treated as a sad but isolated phenomenon. Here’s Politico’s basic take:

    By all accounts, the night was a foreseeable disaster, months in the making.
    The county party leaders rebuffed the state party’s wishes for a streamlined method of delivering results and state officials here don’t have sufficient clout to order the local officials around.

    Substitute the words “state” for “county” and “national” for “state” in the sentence just above, and you have an apt description of the entire ridiculous system we continue to employ in this country to choose candidates for president. Worse yet, it’s the same basic system we deploy for deciding whether people get to vote in the first place, and how (or whether) their votes are counted.

    Look, I worked for years in state government, and do take seriously the idea that states can serve as “laboratories of democracy.” But the right to vote, and for each vote to have equal weight, is not something we should still be “experimenting” with in this country. Yet we persist in letting states control virtually every aspect of our electoral machinery, and also our system for nominating presidents.

    The national parties could instantly create a more rational (and less expensive) system for nominating presidential candidates if they mustered the will to do so. But after many years of watching the quadrennial fiasco unfold, invariably pockmarked by disasters like Nevada’s, I’ve despaired of it ever happening. After all, if the Florida 2000 craziness did not sufficiently convince Americans that a radically decentralized system of election administration might have an impact on the fair and efficient functioning of our democracy, it’s probably too much to expect that we will ever devise a nominating system where a vote’s a vote.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney: “I Won’t Bribe Voters With A Handout”. President Obama’s Comprehensive List of Accomplishments in Helping the Poor.
    Sunday, February 05, 2012 | Posted by TiMT at 9:59 AM

    Somebody, please tell Mitt Romney that caring for the poor is not bribing for votes. I don’t know about you but I still have a problem with the “I am not concerned about the very poor” statement made by Mitt Romney. I think it is despicable and un-Americana. I know when the going got tough for Romney, he said he misspoke but I really do believe that Romney was speaking from the heart all along.

    Well, it is tough to know which side of the issue Mitt Romney is but Rachel Maddow had done a great job unmasking Romney’s fake behaviors and beliefs on her show (click the link for a must watch video from a couple of days ago). She, just as I believe, feels that his behavior “was not so much a misplaced set of words as it was a real statement of beliefs” and he demonstrated what he really feels about the poor during the Nevada caucus victory speech Saturday night when he pretty much called the President an “entitlement” President just like Newt called the President a “food stamp” President not so long ago.

    Here is the deal, if you care for the poor, you wouldn’t use their needs to score political point by belittling or demonizing them as if helping the poor is a crime or un-American. This is what Mitt Romney said in his victory speech in Nevada:

    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.

    think it is clear that Mitt Romney has a “state of believe” that perceives poor people as problems and painting President Obama as an “entitlement President” is a give away as to what he believes deep in his heart.

    Well, the best way to weed out the nonsense is to ask what will Mitt Romney do for the poor because I don’t believe he will make helping the poor a priority as President Obama has made. I have compiled President Obama’s Accomplishment on reducing and assisting people that have become victims of the increased poverty made worse by the economic crisis and these are things Mitt Romney will never try to do if he becomes President:

    go to the link and read the list:

  31. rikyrah says:

    February 06, 2012 8:20 AM

    You Have Not Suffered Enough, America
    By Ed Kilgore

    Saturday Rich Yeselson wrote here about the moralistic strain in American politics that leads President Obama to limit proposals to help homeowners with underwater mortgages to those who have proved themselves “responsible” (not that easy to determine, actually, unless you think homebuyers on one side of the housing bubble were inherently more responsible than those on the other).

    Housing aside, though, Paul Krugman puts his finger on a similar but broader phenomenon that is common in elite circles in this country: the belief that recessions, and particularly tight money, represent some sort of bracing, morally essential “purging” of evil spirits in the American psyche, reminding the great unwashed that they’d better keep their heads down and not get too irrationally exuberant. This attitude keeps popping up in the pronouncements of inflation fighters, some of them powerful players in our monetary system:

    Very early in this slump — basically, as soon as the threat of complete financial collapse began to recede — a significant number of people within the policy community began demanding an early end to efforts to support the economy. Some of their demands focused on the fiscal side, with calls for immediate austerity despite low borrowing costs and high unemployment. But there have also been repeated demands that the Fed and its counterparts abroad tighten money and raise interest rates.
    What’s the reasoning behind those demands? Well, it keeps changing. Sometimes it’s about the alleged risk of inflation: every uptick in consumer prices has been met with calls for tighter money now now now. And the inflation hawks at the Fed and elsewhere seem undeterred either by the way the predicted explosion of inflation keeps not happening, or by the disastrous results last April when the European Central Bank actually did raise rates, helping to set off the current European crisis.
    But there’s also a sort of freestanding opposition to low interest rates, a sense that there’s something wrong with cheap money and easy credit even in a desperately weak economy. I think of this as the urge to purge, after Andrew Mellon, Herbert Hoover’s Treasury secretary, who urged him to let liquidation run its course, to “purge the rottenness” that he believed afflicted America.

    It’s a habit that actually predates Mellon and Hoover, going back at least to the monetary policy batttles of the late nineteenth century, during which farmers starved for credit and suffering from chronically low prices were regularly accused of moral laxity.

    The flip side of this syndrome, of course, is the tendency to believe that economic success and the ability to be a creditor instead of a debtor is a sign of strong moral fiber. Today’s conservative lionization of “job creators” is an example; as is the constant baiting of relatively comfortable elderly people to resent younger and poorer people as parasites seeking to rob them of the resources their virtue has earned them.

    The vast influence of non-moral factors, from inherited privilege to blind luck, in any one person’s fortunes, particularly during a deep recession, seems lost on those who see some sort of divine hand in a pecking order that favors them. But it’s a powerful inducement to the kind of policies that treat human suffering not only as deserved, but as good for the country.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Sunday, February 5, 2012
    Leaving Las Vegas
    Posted by Zandar

    Mittens took the Nevada Caucuses last night by a substantial margin over Newt, and in his victory speech Romney once again attacked President Obama for destroying capitalism, even as the job numbers have shown recent and real improvement.

    Romney thanked supporters at his campaign headquarters in Las Vegas, telling them that, “This isn’t the first time you gave me your vote of confidence, but this time I’m going to take it to the White House,” alluding to his win in Nevada in 2008.

    But then he turned his attention to President Barack Obama, saying Nevada has had enough of his kind of help in fixing its home mortgage crisis and that he failed at bringing down unemployment, saying, “America has also had enough of your kind of help.”

    Entering the race as front-runner, Romney had largely ignored his Republican rivals and focused on Obama. But as Gingrich rose to challenge him in polls, he was forced to address the other candidates in the race.

    His victory speech was a one-on-one with Obama.

    “This president began his presidency by apologizing for America. He should now be apologizing to America,” Romney told cheering supporters.

    Never mind the fact that the “Obama apology tour” nonsense is a lie, the “YOUR kind of help” is code-word racist garbage, and that the President has failed to bring down unemployment is also a massive load of bull. It doesn’t matter.

    The Republican spin is now “The Red State Recovery.”

    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.

    Got that? When the economy is bad, it’s because “President Obama’s policies are destroying business.” When the economy is improving, it’s “Republican Governors are leading the way.” And President Obama? He’s “bribing the voters” with your money.

    During his victory speech following the Nevada caucuses, the candidate told a crowd of supporters that voters shouldn’t expect a “free ticket” when he is president.

    “I will not attempt to bribe the voters with promises of new programs and new subsidies and ever-increasing checks from government,” Romney declared. “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.”

    “I’m asking each of you to remember how special it is to be an American. I want you to remember why it was that you or your ancestors, who sacrificed to come to America and to overcome the challenges of life in a new country, why they came here. It was not for a free ticket; it was for freedom.”

    And those of us whose ancestors didn’t have much of a choice when they came here, well, you don’t count.

    They will never give the President credit. Never. That’s because all they have has is lies and they know it. They’re counting on America to either believe them or be so turned off they refuse to vote. Either way, they win. That’s why taking a President Obama victory for granted in November is a massive mistake. Get out there and counter the lies among your friends and family.

    And vote. Your country depends on it.

  33. rikyrah says:

    McDonnell’s muddled message
    By Steve Benen – Mon Feb 6, 2012 8:44 AM EST.

    Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), who’s likely to be considered for his party’s vice presidential slot this year, raised an interesting argument yesterday while trying to spin the latest economic news.

    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.”

    Just at the surface, once prominent Republican leaders tell national television audiences that the economy is recovering under President Obama, the GOP is effectively giving away the store, or at least most of it.

    But the more one scrutinizes McDonnell’s new talking points, the less persuasive they appear. To hear the Virginia governor tell it, the economy is improving because of Republican governors, but whether McDonnell likes it or not, the current evidence points to a national recovery. There are 20 Democratic governors, including Democratic chief executives in two of nation’s three largest states, and their economies are improving, too.

    For that matter, there’s ample reason to believe McDonnell has it backwards. One of the factors holding back the economy over the last year is the shrinking public sector, and the deliberate layoffs of thousands of government employees. Governors from both parties have contributed to this — since states can’t run deficits, they generally haven’t had much of a choice — but it’s the GOP governors who’ve put austerity measures at the top of their respective to-do lists.

    That doesn’t boost the economy; it does the opposite.

    Indeed, there’s a degree of irony hearing McDonnell make the argument in the first place: thanks to money his state receives from Washington, Virginia has seen its government payrolls grow, even while most states slash public-sector jobs.

    As McDonnell auditions for national office, he’ll have to do better than this.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Obama dinner to mark end of Iraq War
    By Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY

    With U.S. forces still fighting in Afghanistan, the Obama administration has chosen to mark the end of the Iraq War with something more modest than a ticker-tape parade — a state-dinner-like event at the White House later this month feting a select group of combat veterans and their spouses or guests.

    The core theme is the common fighting man or woman, said Douglas Wilson, Pentagon public affairs chief.

    The intent is for those invited — with guests, numbering more than 200 — to represent the 1.5 million who fought in a nine-year-war that left nearly 4,500 dead and 32,000 wounded, he said.

    “The dining room that night will look like the America that served in Iraq,” Wilson said.

    “State dinners honor heads of state and I think the feeling was that this type of dinner is an appropriate way to honor men and women who … merit the same degree of respect as a head of state,” he said.

    The black-tie White House event to be called “A Nation’s Gratitude” may be unprecedented, Wilson said.

    Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley agreed “it’s an interesting White House first.”

    A formal White House announcement will come soon, Wilson said.

    Factions led by the 200,000-member Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America are pushing for a ticker-tape parade in New York City, the USA’s ritual celebration for heroes. “That (dinner) is a nice effort. The problem is what do you tell everybody outside that 200 who want to be a part of this,” Executive Director Paul Reickhoff said.

  35. rikyrah says:

    GOP turnout troubles continue
    By Steve Benen – Mon Feb 6, 2012 8:01 AM EST

    .Counting the votes in Nevada’s Republican presidential caucuses turned out to be more difficult than expected, but this morning, the final results were announced. The tally largely reflects what we already knew: Mitt Romney won easily, finishing with 50% (16,486 votes).

    What was far more interesting was the turnout.

    Total turnout was 32,930, far less than the 44,000 Republicans who voted in the GOP caucuses in 2008.

    Going into Saturday’s contest, Nevada GOP leaders told reporters they expected in upwards of 70,000 Republicans to participate. The final tally shows the party failed to even reach half that total.

    What’s more, if Nevada were the only state that struggled, it’d be easier to overlook. Unfortunately for the GOP, though, the poor showing in the Silver State fits into a larger pattern.

    The Republicans’ primary in Florida last week, for example, showed a sharp decline in turnout (about 14%) as compared to 2008. In the Iowa caucuses, GOP turnout fell short of expectations, and in the New Hampshire primary, it happened again. Turnout in South Carolina was strong, but given the party’s difficulties in the other four contests, it’s proving to be the exception.

    To reiterate a point from last week, this is not at all what Republican leaders anticipated. On the contrary, GOP officials in the states and at the national level assumed the exact opposite would happen.

    Remember, Republican turnout was supposed to soar in these early contests because of the larger circumstances.


    GOP voters are reportedly eager, if not foaming-at-the-mouth desperate, to fight a crusade against President Obama, and they had plenty of high-profile candidates trying to stoke their enthusiasm.

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

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

    At this point in 2008, after Republicans in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, and Nevada picked their preferred nominee, 2,793,538 GOP voters had participated. As of this morning, after those same five states have held their nominating contests, the total of Republicans voting is 2,679,841. Despite the strong showing in South Carolina, that’s still a drop off of 4% when party leaders assumed the opposite.

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

  36. rikyrah says:

    Nominating Mitt Malaprop
    Romney has the GOP nomination wrapped up — but his serial verbal miscues will haunt him in November
    posted on February 3, 2012, at 10:22 AM

    The Donald has spoken. He knows a done deal when he sees one.

    After Florida, Mitt is the Republican nominee. And the morning after, to the relief of Democrats and the distress of the conservative commentariat, he proved again that he is the gaffe machine that keeps on giving.

    First, the state of the race: Romney is ahead of Barack Obama’s pace in 2008. It was Super Tuesday then, still a month from now, when I argued that the Democratic contest was all over except for the noise, the ritual combat, and the counting, given that party rules made it impossible in fact if not in theory for Hillary Clinton to catch up. Obama had a lead, and proportional representation would protect it, awarding him almost as many delegates as her even in the primaries he lost.

    The GOP has a time-limited form of proportional representation — although Florida, which went earlier than it was supposed to, handed all 50 of its delegates to Romney on a winner-take-all basis. But it will be schedule and resources which more than anything else make the chances of stopping Romney less than zero.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Economic Gains, Questions on Romney Boost Obama’s Prospects for November

    Gary Langer
    February 6, 2012

    Mitt Romney has solidified his position for the Republican nomination but lost ground in the main event, with improved economic indicators and questions about Romney’s wealth and taxes lifting Barack Obama to a head-to-head advantage for the first time this cycle.

    Fifty percent of Americans in this new ABC News/Washington Post poll approve of Obama’s job performance, the most since spring. Fifty percent say he deserves re-election, better than Bill Clinton at the start of his re-election year and as good as George W. Bush a month before he won a second term. And Obama now leads Romney among registered voters by a slight 51-45 percent, the first time either has cracked 50 percent in a series of matchups since spring.

    Two chief factors are at play. One is the economy’s gradual but unmistakable improvement, marked by the newly reported January unemployment rate of 8.3 percent, the lowest since a month after Obama took office. The president’s approval rating on handling the economy, while just 44 percent, is its best in 13 months.

    The other: questions focused on Romney’s wealth, his low tax burden and, relatedly, his ability to connect with average Americans. Notably, 52 percent in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, say the more they hear about Romney the less they like him – double the number who like him more.

    Based on his roughly 14 percent tax rate on 2010 income of about $22 million, the public by a broad 66-30 percent says Romney is not paying his fair share of taxes; even nearly half of Republicans say so, as do half of very conservative Americans. The public by 53-36 percent, a 17-point margin, thinks Obama better understands the economic problems people are having. Obama leads Romney by 55-37 percent in trust to better protect the interests of the middle class, and remarkably, by 10 points, 52-42 percent, in trust to handle taxes.

  38. rikyrah says:

    Michael Tomasky on the GOP’s Economic Sabotage
    Feb 6, 2012 4:45 AM EST

    When GOP congressman Allen West dismissed falling unemployment as “number games,” he was pointing the way forward for his party—into disinformation and deliberate destruction.

    It was somewhere between hilarious and pathetic to watch Republicans respond to the positive jobs report last Friday. Some friends and I were counting the minutes until some Republican started casting aspersions on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which compiles and releases the data. Sure enough, by early Friday afternoon, Tea Party Congressman Allen West was saying (on the basis of no evidence of course) that “Americans need truth, not these number games.” West’s comment suggests a desperation that will spread if future reports are as good as last week’s, which raises the question of what the Republicans will do next to try to wreck the economy.

    I know, one isn’t supposed to talk like this. I know, it’s evil to suggest that politicians would put their electoral fate this fall ahead of the conditions of the people. And, I know, it’s just . . . ooooh, it’s so mean!

    But the record shows clearly that all the Republican Party can do is destroy. First, Republicans destroyed the economy. We don’t speak much these days of George W. Bush, which I’ve always felt, from January 2009, was a big tactical error on the Democrats’ part. They should have been doing with Bush all this time what the Republicans did with Jimmy Carter. He was as bad a president. Actually worse. In terms of job creation, far, far worse. Check it out—Carter’s job-creation record was in fact rather enviable. So they spent eight years taking the humming economy they inherited and asphyxiating it. Bush handed Obama three huge messes—the biggest meltdown in 80 years, plus Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Then Obama tries to clean up mess number one, and they do everything they can to block every step he’s taken. It’s worked pretty well for them politically because the jobless rate has been high, and as long as that was the case, they could say no, choosing whatever weapon was handy and wagging their collective finger at the president.

    But what do they do now? What if the economy keeps creating 200,000-plus jobs a month? Economists, a pessimistic lot by training and nature, are now rethinking their pessimism. Just two weeks before the jobs numbers came out, the Congressional Budget Office released a report (PDF) showing, under one scenario, that unemployment would be 8.9 percent this fall and still higher in the last quarter of 2013, at 9.2 percent. These numbers received a massive amount of attention, as they fed the trouble-for-Obama story line that will yield the close election that political reporters are desperate to have. The report sent every Democrat in Washington into a funk

  39. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  40. Ametia says:

    The Citizens United catastrophe
    By E.J. Dionne Jr., Published: February 5

    We have seen the world created by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, and it doesn’t work. Oh, yes, it works nicely for the wealthiest and most powerful people in the country, especially if they want to shroud their efforts to influence politics behind shell corporations. It just doesn’t happen to work if you think we are a democracy and not a plutocracy.

    Two years ago, Citizens United tore down a century’s worth of law aimed at reducing the amount of corruption in our electoral system. It will go down as one of the most naive decisions ever rendered by the court.

  41. Ametia says:

    Voters split on second term for Obama, but he has edge on rivals

    Americans divide evenly on whether President Obama’s performance warrants a second term, as his negative ratings on the economy and jobs continue to tug downward on his popularity. But against GOP front-runner Mitt Romney, the president has key advantages. Read related article.

  42. Ametia says:

    Happy Mun-dane to ya, Jueseppi. Yeah; we’ve got work to do, baby! :-)

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