Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread

Working overtime with BTO- Bachman Turner Overdrive’s “Takin’Care of Business”

Wiki: Bachman–Turner Overdrive ( /ˈbækmən/;[1] frequently known as BTO) is a Canadian rock group from Winnipeg, Manitoba, that had a series of hit albums and singles in the 1970s, selling over 7 million albums in that decade alone. Their 1970s catalog included five Top 40 albums and six Top 40 singles. The band has sold nearly 30 million albums worldwide, and has fans affectionately known as “gearheads”[2] (derived from the band’s gear-shaped logo). Many of their songs, including “Let It Ride”, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”, “Takin’ Care of Business”, “Hey You” and “Roll On Down the Highway”, still receive play on FM classic rock stations.

The pronunciation is an example of a speech pattern known as Canadian Shift. However, the pronunciation of /ˈbɑːkmən/ is the standard outside of Canada.[dubious – discuss] It has become so widespread, especially on American radio, that the band no longer makes the correction, and both pronunciations have become acceptable.

After the band went into a hiatus in 2005, Randy Bachman and Fred Turner reunited in 2010 for a tour and collaboration on new songs. In 2010, they played the halftime show at the Grey Cup in Edmonton, AB.

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65 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread

  1. David Letterman – Dave’s Monologue – 2/2/12

  2. Mitt Romney and Babies

    President Obama and Babies

  3. Ametia says:

    Capitol Assets: Some legislators send millions to groups connected to their relatives
    By Scott Higham, Kimberly Kindy and David S. Fallis, Tuesday, February 7, 7:59 PM

    Some members of Congress send tax dollars to companies, colleges and community groups where their spouses, children and parents work as salaried employees, lobbyists or board members, according to an examination of federal disclosure forms and local public records by The Washington Post.

    A U.S. senator from South Dakota helped add millions to a Pentagon program his wife supervised as a contract employee. A Washington congressman boosted the budget of an environmental group that his son ran as executive director. A Texas congresswoman guided millions to a university where her husband served as a vice president.

  4. rikyrah says:


    by John Cole

    The gang that couldn’t talk straight:

    Karen Handel, the politically embattled former vice president of public affairs for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, has broken her silence about her role in the breast cancer charity’s decision to defund Planned Parenthood and her decision to step down from her post.

    “First of all, I clearly acknowledge that I was involved in the process,” she said. “But to suggest that I had the sole authority is just absurd. The process was vetted. The policies were vetted at all the appropriate levels in the organization.”

    Handel’s statement directly contradicts what Komen executives have been telling the public since the decision was announced last week.

    “Karen did not have anything to do with this decision,” Komen founder Nancy Brinker told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Thursday. “This was decided at the board level and also by our mission.”

    So Handel resigns, and in doing so, calls the CEO a liar on the way out the door. Awesome. And while DougJ is still basking in the glow of his Moore Award nomination (the Daily Dish folks are really working overtime to become pathetic concern trolls), let me remind you how correct he was:

    Handel told Fox News that she blamed the public backlash against Komen on “vicious attacks” from Planned Parenthood.

    “The last time I checked, private non-profit organizations have a right and a responsibility to be able to set the highest standards and criteria on their own without interference, let alone the level of vicious attacks and coercion that has occurred by Planned Parenthood,” she said.

    But the backlash did not only come from Planned Parenthood. More than 50 members of Congress signed letters asking Komen to reverse course, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg publicly rebuked Komen and pledged $250,000 to Planned Parenthood, and approximately 37,000 people from all over the country signed a petition demanding that Handel resign.

    You see, when you tell the truth about them, they call it a vicious attack. They’re simply used to doing what they want and to hell with everyone else, so when someone pushes back, it shocks them.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Maddow: The GOP plan for birth control
    By Laura Conaway

    Tue Feb 7, 2012 6:00 PM EST

    Rachel got asked on the Today Show this morning about Americans’ access to contraception — both the GOP’s hard right turn against it and the Obama administration’s ruling that insurance plans must pay for birth control. The White House is signalling that it might compromise on requiring Catholic institutions to cover contraception for their employees who get insurance through work.

    This could mean hundreds of thousands, if not millions of American women can’t get health insurance coverage for contraception. Mitt Romney wants to eliminate all federal family planning. So women have to pay for birth control out of pocket under the Republicans’ plans now. All of the Republican candidates, including Mitt Romney, have supported legislation that could make birth control illegal, this personhood stuff.

    We’ll have a ton more on this tonight on the show. If you want to read in now, start with the personhood stuff Rachel mentioned and keep going with Mitt Romney here, here and here (“abortive pills” — he said that).

  6. Ametia says:

    First Amendment
    Federal Judge in Texas Says Requiring Sonograms Before Abortions to Go Forward
    Posted Feb 6, 2012 4:59 PM CST
    By Stephanie Francis Ward

    A Texas federal judge ruled today that he would not block a state law requiring women to have a sonogram before having an abortion, following a directive by the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the statute is constitutional.
    Previously U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks had ruled that parts of the law, which also requires doctors to play fetal heartbeats out loud and describe the fetuses’ features at least 24 hours before an abortion, violated doctors and patients’ First Amendment rights. The law has exceptions for cases of rape, incest and fetal deformities, the Associated Press reports. There is also an exception for women who travel long distances to see a doctor.
    In January, the 5th Circuit found that sonograms, fetal heartbeats and fetuses’ medical descriptions are important information, and overturned Sparks’ prior ruling.

  7. Company Apologizes After Employees Report Blackface, N-Word, ‘Routine’ Harassment

    A top official at a German manufacturing company issued an apology Tuesday after African American employees at its suburban Chicago office said they were “routinely” discriminated against by supervisors.

    The apology comes less than a week after Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the company, ThyssenKrupp A.G., will open its North American regional headquarters in Chicago. The move is expected to bring about 100 jobs to the city at first, and grow from there.

    “ThyssenKrupp’s decision to locate their North American headquarters in Chicago is a testament to the world-class business environment the city offers,” Mayor Emanuel said in a statement. “By combining transportation, infrastructure, and the best workforce in the world, Chicago is a destination for the greatest companies around the globe, and ThyssenKrupp is a perfect example of this.”

    After the announcement, however, questions were raised by local media about ThyssenKrupp’s treatment of minority employees. The Chicago Tribune reported that the Department of Human Rights received a complaint in November from sales representative Montrelle Reese, who said one of his supervisors used the N-word around black employees — and it was not a one time occurrence.


  8. Russ Feingold: Obama Super PAC Reversal Will Lead To ‘A Legalized Abramoff System’

    WASHINGTON — Former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) ripped into both President Barack Obama and his re-election team on Tuesday morning for backing off its previous criticism of outside spending on campaigns and embracing the role that super PACs will play in the 2012 election.

    “It is a dumb approach,” Feingold said in a phone interview with The Huffington Post. “It will lead to scandal and there are going to be a lot of people having corrupt conversations about huge amounts of money that will one day regret that they went down the route of what is effectively a legalized Abramoff system.”

    • Russ Feingold, are you out of your mind? Oh, it’s OK for the GOP Super Pacs but not President Obama? Listen to yourself. It’s absolute ASSinine fuckery!

    • Ametia says:

      And of course RUSTY boy is PURE as the driven white snow, and would NEVER EVER consider playing on a level field. GTFOH Russ. You’re a LOSER!

  9. Karen Handel, Susan G. Komen Executive, Quits Over Planned Parenthood Dispute

    Karen Handel, vice president for public affairs at Susan G. Komen for the Cure, resigned on Tuesday following public outcry over the announcement Komen would pull funding from Planned Parenthood. After Komen reversed its decision, The Huffington Post reported that Handel drove the decision to defund Planned Parenthood over abortion politics and crafted the strategy to clean up the public relations mess that ensued.

    Although she acknowledges her involvement in the Planned Parenthood decision in her resignation letter, she also decries what she calls “gross mischaracterizations” of the situation and maintains that the decision was not about politics:

    I am deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy, its rationale, and my involvement in it. I openly acknowledge my role in the matter and continue to believe our decision was the best one for Komen’s future and the women we serve. However, the decision to update our granting model was made before I joined Komen, and the controversy related to Planned Parenthood has long been a concern to the organization. Neither the decision nor the changes themselves were based on anyone’s political beliefs or ideology. Rather, both were based on Komen’s mission and how to better serve women, as well as a realization of the need to distance Komen from controversy. I believe that Komen, like any other nonprofit organization, has the right and the responsibility to set criteria and highest standards for how and to whom it grants.
    What was a thoughtful and thoroughly reviewed decision — one that would have indeed enabled Komen to deliver even greater community impact — has unfortunately been turned into something about politics. This is entirely untrue. This development should sadden us all greatly.

  10. Sarah Palin: Obama ‘Would Really Fear’ Facing Newt Gingrich

    Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) continued to show her admiration for GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on Monday, claiming that he was the one candidate President Barack Obama “would really fear having to debate.”

    In a discussion with Greta Van Susteren of Fox News, Palin said that Obama’s camp was happily gearing up to face Mitt Romney, amid increasing speculation that it is only a matter of time until he locks up the GOP nomination. That would be a mistake, Palin suggested, because it would be ignoring the candidate best suited to defeat Obama: Newt Gingrich.

    [wpvideo ZzRy2mx3]

  11. Bob Kerrey won’t run for Senate in Nebraska:

  12. rikyrah says:

    Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 07:44 AM PST.

    Mitt Romney defends Susan G. Komen’s politicization of breast cancer
    by Kaili Joy GraY

    This probably won’t surprise anyone, but Mitt Romney, who once sought the endorsement of Planned Parenthood back when he was pretending to be a staunch supporter of women’s rights, is now joining the anti-woman extremists and railing against Planned Parenthood. And he thinks it’s just grand that Susan G. Komen for the Cure would rather court the “pro-life” movement than actually support cancer screening and prevention.

    Laura Bassett at Huffington Post reports that in a radio interview yesterday, Romney said that he doesn’t think Komen should continue to fund cancer screening at Planned Parenthood. And then he went further:

    I also feel that the government should cut off funding to Planned Parenthood […] Look, the idea that we’re subsidizing an institution which is providing abortion, in my view, is wrong. Planned Parenthood ought to stand on their own feet, and should not get government subsidy.

    It makes sense that Mitt Romney now opposes any government funding of Planned Parenthood. After all, it is the nation’s largest provider of health care to low-income women. And we know how Mitt feels about health care these days. And those low-income people about whom he is “not concerned.”
    Typical Mitt, though, wants to have it both ways. He wants the government to cut off Planned Parenthood because it “ought to stand on their own feet,” but he wants private organizations that support Planned Parenthood to also cut off funding. So basically, Planned Parenthood is supposed to magically operate all on its own, without any support from the public or private sectors. So if it can’t take support from anyone, well, maybe it will just go away completely, and those poor women Mitt doesn’t care about will be completely without health care.

    No wonder that’s Mitt’s position: Screw the poor people of this country by defunding their health care. Yup, that sure sounds like a plan Romney can get behind. Today, at least.

  13. rikyrah says:

    How To Kill The Change We Believe In: California Single Payer is Dead
    Those who have pragmatic views of what one can gain via government have long been at odds with the progressive purists among us. People who work on policy understand negotiations, compromise, taking time. Ideologues – unknowing progressives – want it all NOW and want it just as they desire. Quick fixes! Immediate change! My way!

    This past week these unknowing progressives finally did something that caused real damage to a highly desired outcome. Adopting the tactics of the TeaBaggers, they rallied for the beloved cause of single payer health care – and killed it. Here is the story.

    Single payer has been on the California legislative docket since 2004. It was authored by former state Senator Sheila Kuehl, arguably one of the most intelligent and collegial senators perhaps ever. She shepherded the bill through both houses several times, only to have it vetoed by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who, although he grew up with single payer care in Austria, dismissed it as “socialist” here in his adopted state.

    Kuehl was termed out in 2008, and another brilliant and energetic Senator, Mark Leno from San Francisco took up the mantle. The problem is, he came into the Senate along with a new set of legislators who had not walked the single payer walk and were unfamiliar with it and wary of its costs and consequences


    The courtesy votes shriveled under the scorched-earth onslaught from pro single payer fans. At the end of the day before the reconsideration vote, the bill had to be pulled so it would not be killed. It’s quieter, less public, but it’s still dead.

    Post-apocalyptic analysis the next day revealed not only was single payer DOA for the remainder of the session, there was a strong likelihood it would never again be picked up again by a single legislator. The stories of the supporters’ brutal treatment of Senator Leno, Senate leadership, and most of all, senate staff just shot through the Capitol. No legislator who had not been hermetically sealed during the fray could ignore it.

    So single payer in California is most likely dead legislatively. Not just the bill – the issue. It wasn’t killed by the usual suspects, the insurance industry, Chamber of Commerce, big Pharma, hospitals, or anti-tax folks.

    It was killed by the supporters.

    Thanks ideological purists. You told everyone how morally superior you are and what sell-outs the Senators are. They all got that. You win.

    Someday though I hope you can tell us all – what was it you won?

  14. rikyrah says:

    Bush on auto bailouts: ‘I’d do it again’
    By Paul A. Eisenstein, The Detroit Bureau

    It has become one of the rare things that binds the two men, the controversial automotive bailout that was begun by former President George W. Bush and completed by his successor, President Barrack Obama.

    The latter defended his actions during the recent state-of-the-union address, during which he declared “The U.S. auto industry is back.” His predecessor used a meeting of the nation’s auto dealers to defend his own actions, insisting he had no other choice but to completely sink the American economy.

    “I’d do it again,” proclaimed Bush, speaking to the annual convention of the National Automobile Dealers Association.

    The bailout, which ultimately totaled $85 billion, was originally begun during the waning days of the Bush Administration. With a specific rescue effort rejected by Congress, the former Commander-in-Chief decided to tap into a separate, $700 billion fund Capitol Hill did approve for the bailout of Wall Street and the banking industry.

    “Sometimes circumstances get in the way of philosophy,” said the ex-president, during his speech in Las Vegas, referring to his normal stand in favor of free trade. “If you make a bad decision, you ought to pay,” he said, referring to the collapse of both General Motors and Chrysler.

    But Bush also noted that coming on top of the failure of Lehman Brothers, the meltdown of the banking industry and the collapse of the housing market, a painful shift in policy was needed.

    “I didn’t want there to be 21 percent unemployment,” he stressed, echoing forecasts at the time that the loss of GM, Ford and the automotive lenders also covered by the bailout could lead to the loss of 1 million jobs.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Why The Payroll Tax Cut Is In Jeopardy
    Brian Beutler & Sahil Kapur February 7, 2012, 1:26 PM

    Top Democrats are openly calling into doubt the chances that Congressional negotiators will reach an agreement to renew the payroll tax cut before it expires at the end of the month. The culprit, they say, is a deep schism within the Republican conference over whether the the tax holiday is a good policy or just a political gimmick to help President Obama win re-election.

    The consequences of failure would result in a typical middle-class worker taking home about $1000 less this year, just as demand is starting to return to the U.S. economy and the unemployed are beginning to find work. Democrats, sensing political momentum from improving economic conditions, are warning Republicans that they’ll be held to account for the consequences if the tax cut ultimately lapses.

    “Time is wasting, so that I’m very concerned about it, and whether or not they can get to agreement is in doubt at this point in time,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer told reporters at his weekly Capitol briefing Tuesday. “Democrats want to see the economy grow, and there are some here, frankly, who are just as satisfied to have the economy not grow, not create jobs, not have GDP growth, so it can help their politics.”

    Many prominent GOPers either oppose the extension, or support it reluctantly, and then only on the condition that Democrats pay some sort of political price for having won the upper hand. However, others in the party want to avoid a repeat of the bruising fight in December, which continues to haunt the GOP.

    For now, the hardliners are winning. And the result is a growing public fight over how to pay for the nearly $200 billion package — which would both renew the payroll tax cut, extend emergency unemployment benefits, and prevent an automatic cut to Medicare physician reimbursements. The battle comes as the GOP renews its demands of reforming the unemployment program to allow states to impose restrictions like drug testing on beneficiaries.

    In private, House Republican conferees want to limit the negotiations over how to pay for the extenders to measures that have already passed at least one of the two Houses of Congress. This wipes measures like higher taxes on wealthy Americans, and war savings off the table, while preserving partisan GOP-backed payfors, including freezing federal worker pay, and increasing Medicare costs for some beneficiaries.

    “The ‘outside of scope of conference’ argument they’re trying to make is silly,” says one Dem aide briefed on the discussions. “They can’t say out of one side of their mouths that Dems don’t have any proposals and then consider any we provide outside scope of conference. [Sen. Bob] Casey offered a 1% surcharge on millionaires and Dems offered to pay for [the Medicare doc fix] using [savings from winding down overseas military operations].”

    This fight spilled into the open last week when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) first hinted Democrats will ignite an explosive political assault on the GOP if it looks like the payroll tax cut will lapse. On Monday, Reid said Republicans were “holding [middle class] money hostage to extort political payback.” Dems, he said, “will prepare a fallback plan” and “will be prepared to act with or without Republican cooperation.”

  16. rikyrah says:

    Court: CA Gay Marriage Ban Is Unconstitutional
    Published: February 7, 2012 at 1:07 PM ET

    A federal appeals court on Tuesday declared California’s same-sex marriage ban to be unconstitutional, putting the bitterly contested, voter-approved law on track for likely consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court.

    A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that a lower court judge correctly interpreted the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedents when he declared in 2010 that Proposition 8 was a violation of the civil rights of gays and lesbians.

    It was unclear when gay marriages might resume in California. Lawyers for Proposition 8 sponsors and for the two couples who successfully sued to overturn the ban have repeatedly said they would consider appealing to a larger panel of the court and then the U.S. Supreme Court if they did not receive a favorable ruling from the 9th Circuit.

    “Although the Constitution permits communities to enact most laws they believe to be desirable, it requires that there be at least a legitimate reason for the passage of a law that treats different classes of people differently. There was no such reason that Proposition 8 could have been enacted,” the ruling states.

    The panel also said there was no evidence that former Chief U.S. Judge Vaughn Walker was biased and should have disclosed before he issued his decision that he was gay and in a long-term relationship with another man.

    The ruling came more than a year after the appeals court heard arguments in the case

  17. rikyrah says:

    found this comment over at Balloon Juice about the President and the SUPERPAC money:

    79.Martin – February 7, 2012 | 12:27 pm · Link

    And I don’t think people fully understand the possible implications here. The Buffet Rule is projected to raise about $50B per year off of about 100,000 people. Most of that money would be raised off of a handful, though – guys with names like Koch and Adelson and Walton. They have to look at a value proposition here – if they can gang together and dump $1B into GOP SuperPACs and knock Obama out of office so the Buffet Rule can’t get signed, that’s a GREAT deal, and they can easily afford the $1B.

    Obama has been raising about $80 per donor. There are about 55 million registered Democrats in the US. Obama would need to raise $20 from every registered Democrat in the nation in order to match the donation that a dozen super-wealthy individuals not only could put forward, but likely have a financial incentive to put forward.

    This is the notion of asymmetrical warfare taken to an extreme. It could quite literally come down to the entire country vs enough guys to fit in a minivan.

  18. rikyrah says:

    February 07, 2012 11:20 AM

    Fire With Fire
    By Ed Kilgore

    Here was the predictable announcement today from Obama campaign manager Jim Messina:

    With so much at stake, we can’t allow for two sets of rules in this election whereby the Republican nominee is the beneficiary of unlimited spending and Democrats unilaterally disarm.
    Therefore, the campaign has decided to do what we can, consistent with the law, to support Priorities USA in its effort to counter the weight of the GOP Super PAC. We will do so only in the knowledge and with the expectation that all of its donations will be fully disclosed as required by law to the Federal Election Commission.

    What this change means practically: Senior campaign officials as well as some White House and Cabinet officials will attend and speak at Priorities USA fundraising events. While campaign officials may be appearing at events to amplify our message, these folks won’t be soliciting contributions for Priorities USA. I should also note that the President, Vice President, and First Lady will not be a part of this effort; their political activity will remain focused on the President’s campaign.

    This step is being compared by many to the decision by Obama in 2008 to reject public funds (and the spending limits accompanying them) after promising to play within that system. I don’t see it. For one thing, while Obama and other Democrats have deplored the Supreme Court decision that enabled Super PACs, I haven’t heard him make any specific promise that he would perpetually oppose the creation of one by Democrats. Moreover, in 2008, John McCain was in a position to attack Obama’s “flip-flop” on public financing because he was accepting public funds himself. No Republican candidate is in a position to exhibit innocence with respect to Super PACs.

    Sure, GOPers will cry “hypocrisy,” while some goo-goo folks will cluck disapprovingly. And the content of Super PAC ads and other activities on both sides could well become an occasional campaign issue. But the minimal political cost of this fairly obvious decision can’t come close to matching the potential benefit of leveling the playing field. Super PACs have already become a huge factor in this presidential race. Wishing them away won’t do a bit of good, and until such time as the composition of the Supreme Court changes, they will remain an unfortunate but immovable part of the political landscape.

  19. Media Matters @mmfa:

    Dana Loesch: NAACP’s Ben Jealous “inebriated” for saying voter ID laws will suppress black vote (& young,elderly,poor)

  20. rikyrah says:

    Cornel West Settling Scores With Melissa Harris-Perry

    Cornel West, one of President Obama’s fiercest critics among black academicians, turns his fire on MSNBC’s newest host, Melissa Harris-Perry, in an apparent attempt to settle scores as he is interviewed for the Feb. 2 issue of Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.

    “West says that the attacks by his former colleague, Melissa Harris-Perry, in the Nation and on cable news were strictly personal,” Jamal Eric Watson writes.

    “. . . West was responsible for bringing her to Princeton from the University of Chicago after the two met at a conference. . . . She held a joint appointment between the Center for African American Studies and later turned on him and [Dr. Eddie] Gluade, the chairman of the department, calling them ‘hypocritical leftists.’ ‘I have a love for the sister, but she is a liar, and I hate lying,’ says West. . . . She’s become the momentary darling of the liberals, but I pray for her because she’s in over her head. She’s a fake and a fraud. I was so surprised how treacherous the sister was.’

    “Harris-Perry declined to be interviewed for this story.”

    “Melissa Harris-Perry” is to debut on MSNBC on Saturday, Feb. 18, airing Saturday and Sunday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon, Eastern time.

    Harris-Perry told Journal-isms she would have no comment

  21. Think Progress:

    FACT: Many Catholic hospitals, universities already cover contraception in their health insurance plans

  22. rikyrah says:

    Heard in Wisconsin: ‘Ignore the public comments’
    By Laura Conaway – Tue Feb 7, 2012 10:40 AM EST.

    From the March 2011 protests in Wisconsin.
    Since the 2010 elections, new Republican majorities in the states have been using government to weaken the Democratic electorate. That’s why so many states have been going after unions, which tend to vote Democratic and fund Democratic campaigns. That’s why so many states have been making it harder for students, the poor and the elderly to vote, because those groups tend to vote Democratic.

    In Wisconsin today, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that Republican lawmakers committed $400,000 in public money to a redistricting process that they kept secret along the way and that they used to bolster incumbent Republicans.

    As legislative leaders secretly developed new election maps last year to strengthen their majority, Republican lawmakers were told to ignore public comments and instead focus on what was said in private strategy sessions, according to a GOP memo that became public Monday.

    Other newly released documents also show almost all Republican lawmakers signed legal agreements promising not to discuss the new maps while they were being developed.

    One memo for Republican lawmakers instructed them: “Public comments on this map may be different than what you hear in this room. Ignore the public comments.”

    Money for the redistricting work went to a private law firm that required lawmakers to sign a pledge of secrecy. In the end, the maps delivered more Republican voters for 33 of the 58 sitting Assembly Republicans. An immigrants’ rights group, Voces de la Frontera, has filed a complaint alleging that lawmakers violated Wisconsin’s open meetings law by taking the work underground.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Today at 7:54 AM

    Republicans Finally Realize They’re Helping Obama
    By Jonathan Chait

    In a few weeks, the two-month payroll tax holiday extension Congress granted expires, and House Republicans have to decide whether to stop it or capitulate. The showdown approaches as the Republican Congress seems to have reached a turning point. Like their counterparts from sixteen years before, Republicans took control of the House of Representatives last year filled with revolutionary zeal, assuming that they could leverage their hold over one branch of Congress into sweeping changes in the national agenda. And like their predecessors, they blundered into high-profile confrontations with a Democratic president and suffered prolonged and deep damage in their public standing, with each new defeat slowly leeching the fanatical determination out of them.

    The Republicans, to be sure, are still plenty full of crazy. The ideological zeal remains almost fully intact, but the political zeal – the sheer bloody-minded insistence that steadfastness would invariably bring triumph – is always the first to flag. Signs have been popping up for a few weeks now. At their retreat last month, a pollster told House Republicans that their polling numbers had collapsed while Congressional Democrats have actually seen theirs improve.

    The larger problem is that President Obama has rehabilitated his own political standing in large part by highlighting the opposition of congressional Republicans. The Republican strategy has been to block and delay Obama’s agenda at every turn, and Obama has absorbed most of the backlash from a public that tends to hold the president singularly responsible for all political outcomes. Obama’s campaign of publicly highlighting Republican opposition has simultaneously helped to absolve him of at least part of the blame and made him look more like a strong leader.

    I was skeptical last October that Obama’s initiative would help his approval ratings, but it looks like I was wrong. Obama’s poll numbers have climbed over the last several months, with his net job-approval rating, which had bottomed out at minus ten percentage points, approaching parity. The improving economy surely has helped. But it’s notable that the economy hasn’t helped Congress, which has seen its approval actually fall over the same span. It has all helped Obama’s strategy of making voters judge him against a concrete alternative, one that happens to be pervasively unpopular.

    Republicans are beginning to grasp their own inadvertent complicity in Obama’s comeback. Some, of course, believe that their failure lies in having compromised too much. But political realism is advancing. Representative Tom Cole bluntly asserts that his party simply needs to disappear from the national debate: “The big thing for us is to not be part of the conversation instead of trying to inject ourselves into it.” It’s sound advice. If Republicans weren’t charging around threatening to overturn decades of American social policy and possibly plunge the world into economic crisis if Obama refuses to accede to their goals, Obama would have a harder time defining himself in opposition to them.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Three Current Supreme Court Justices Will Turn 80 Before The End Of The Next Presidential Term
    By Ian Millhiser on Feb 6, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    In an excellent piece highlighting the impact a second Obama term could have on the federal judiciary, the AP’s Mark Sherman provides an important reminder of what is at stake in this election:

    The next president, whether it’s Obama or a Republican, also has a reasonable shot at transforming the majority on the Supreme Court, because three justices representing the closely divided court’s liberal and conservative wings, as well as its center, will turn 80 before the next presidential term ends.

    The three justices are Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the leader of the court’s liberal wing, conservative Antonin Scalia, and Anthony Kennedy, who leans conservative but on some issues provides a decisive vote for the liberals.

    Kennedy, of course, does a whole lot more than simply “lean” conservative. Although his moderate views on issues such as gay rights and detainee treatment are welcome, Kennedy consistently places the interests of wealth individuals and corporations ahead of the more than 99 percent of Americans who cannot afford to buy and sell elections. Kennedy authored the egregious Citizens United decision that unleashed unlimited corporate efforts to buy elections and which led to the creation of Super PACs that empower billionaires to buy off candidates. He’s also consistently voted to allow corporations to force consumers and workers into a privatized, corporate-owned court system that overwhelmingly favors corporations.

    If Obama is reelected, however, he could have the opportunity to replace Scalia or Kennedy and transform a Court that has bent over backwards for the one percent into a Court interested in enforcing laws enacted to benefit all Americans. Perhaps this is why super-wealthy donors taking advantage of Kennedy’s error in Citizens United are overwhelming using their vast fortunes to try to defeat Obama.

    • Ametia says:

      THIS: “Perhaps this is why super-wealthy donors taking advantage of Kennedy’s error in Citizens United are overwhelming using their vast fortunes to try to defeat Obama.”

      • thorsaurus says:

        I know this flies under the radar with most of the voting public, but I think the impending turnover of the SCOUS is the single biggest issue in this election. I shudder at the thought of a Mittens appointed bench. You think the current group is corporate? If the Republican’ts re-take the White House, you might as well just sew the Exxon and BOA patches right on the black robes, like NASCAR drivers.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Optimism has a well known liberal bias
    By Steve Benen – Tue Feb 7, 2012 9:28 AM EST.Following up on a segment from last night’s show, if yesterday was any indication, it might be a while before the right stops complaining about Chrysler’s Super Bowl ad.

    Karl Rove seems to be leading the charge, telling Fox News he was “offended” by the commercial, adding, “This is a sign of what happens when you have Chicago-style politics.” The complaints were part of a larger “conservative outcry” in response to the spot.

    In the unlikely event you haven’t already seen it, the “Halftime in America” ad, starring Clint Eastwood, did not explicitly include any political messages. It was patriotic, and perhaps even nationalistic, but it wasn’t partisan — there were no references to parties, ideologies, or officials.

    It’s “halftime in America,” Eastwood told viewers. “People are out of work and they’re hurting. And they’re all wondering what they’re going to do to make a comeback. And we’re all scared, because this isn’t a game.” The point of the ad, though, was to draw a parallel between the American auto industry and the nation as a whole — Detroit nearly collapsed, but “now Motor City is fighting again.”

    The ad continues, “[A]fter those trials, we all rallied around what was right, and acted as one. Because that’s what we do. We find a way through tough times, and if we can’t find a way, then we’ll make one…. This country can’t be knocked out with one punch. We get right back up again and when we do the world is going to hear the roar of our engines. Yeah, it’s halftime America. And, our second half is about to begin.”

    For Rove and the right, there are two principal concerns here — one related to policy, the other about themes. There’s a strong case to be made that conservatives are wrong on both counts.


    On the former, Chrysler and U.S. auto industry itself survived because the Obama administration rescued it in 2009. Republicans were apoplectic about the policy, and told anyone who would listen that the White House policy would be a disaster and a fiasco.

    We now know the right was wrong about the policy. Obama took a gamble and it worked — the rescue saved millions of jobs, the companies themselves, and the backbone of American manufacturing. The “Halftime in America” ad rubs salt in the wound, reminding conservatives not only of the fact that they were wrong about the industry at a time of crisis, but also of the fact that government intervention in the marketplace can work.

    But the thematic issue is just as interesting. At a visceral level, we know exactly why the Chrysler commercial rankled the right — it told Americans to feeling optimistic again.

    We’ve reached a very strange point in the national discourse. Nine months before the election, many Republicans have adopted the line that hope itself is now partisan, and those sounding encouraging notes should be assumed to be partisan players. Stephen Colbert made famous the adage that “reality has a well know liberal bias,” but we now have a revised maxim for 2012: Optimism has a well known liberal bias, too.

    For Rove and his allies, Chrysler wants Americans to feel good about the future because it represents a form of political payback. That’s nonsense — Chrysler wants consumers to feel optimistic so they’ll buy cars.

    The complaints themselves are telling. The right is so invested in its message — America is in decline, our best days are over, abandon all hope — that the very idea of optimism is quite literally offensive.

    “This country can’t be knocked out with one punch. We get right back up again and when we do the world is going to hear the roar of our engines.” What does it say about the Republican message of 2012 when they hear this, shriek, and reach for the panic button?

  26. rikyrah says:

    Republicans Seek To Pack U.S. Senate With Radical Constitutional Lawyers
    By Ian Millhiser on Feb 6, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Newsday reports that Wendy Long, a former law clerk to tenther Justice Clarence Thomas who is best known for spearheading several inaccurate race baiting attacks against Justice Sonia Sotomayor during Sotomayor’s confirmation process, is considering running for Senate against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) this year. Long, however, is not simply significant for her racially-questionable attacks on Sotomayor. She would also be the latest GOP Senate candidate to bring both genuine legal credentials and a deeply radical tenther vision of the Constitution to the race.

    In 2008, Long penned a book review which not only slams the late Justice Thurgood Marshall’s rather banal statement that the original Constitution was a flawed document because it allowed slavery and discrimination, it also embraces one of her former boss’ most radical views — praising an opinion by Justice Thomas which would lead to everything from national child labor laws to the federal ban on whites-only lunch counters being declared unconstitutional. Sadly, such bizarre distortions of the Constitution has become increasingly common on the campaign trial in the post-Tea Party era:

    •Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), a former law clerk to Justice Samuel Alito, shares Long and Thomas’ radical belief that national child labor laws violate the Constitution. He’s also claimed that Medicare and Social Security — among many other things — are unconstitutional.
    •Ted Cruz, a former Texas solicitor general and law clerk to Chief Justice William Rehnquist, proposed using an unconstitutional backdoor method to get states to nullify the Affordable Care Act and he co-authored a white paper advocating a reading of the Constitution that would eliminate Medicaid and most federal education funding.
    •Joe Miller, a Yale law grad and former federal magistrate judge, ran for Senate in 2010 on the platform that pretty much everything is unconstitutional — including Social Security, Medicare, the federal minimum wage, and unemployment benefits.
    There is hardly an outpouring of support for this kind of candidate. Long is far from the favorite to win in a solid blue state like New York, especially after Gillibrand so recently spanked her GOP opponent during a cycle that otherwise favored Republicans. Likewise, the six outspoken tenther candidates who ran for Senate in 2010 massively underperformed the remainder of the GOP. Miller lost to a candidate whose name wasn’t even on the ballot. And Lee won in large part because he was able to manipulate the Utah’ GOP’s undemocratic method of choosing Senate candidates in order to get his name on the ballot in this blood red state.

    Nevertheless, the emergence of multiple candidates who combine genuine legal credentials with a desire to declare nearly the entire Twentieth Century unconstitutional is a troubling trend, and one that could have long term consequences for American policy. Few Democratic officials have the same comfort discussing constitutional matters as a Mike Lee or a Wendy Long, even if Lee and Long are consistently wrong about how they read the Constitution. If this trend continues, it will mean that voters will receive a continuous diet of constitutional garbage with little constitutional reality presented to them as an alternative. And if only one side makes its case to the electorate, it won’t be long before the inmates take over the asylum.

  27. rikyrah says:

    ‘Democrats can’t be unilaterally disarmed’
    By Steve Benen – Tue Feb 7, 2012 8:38 AM EST.

    For months, Republican super PACs have been raising vast sums from wealthy donors, heavily influencing the race for the GOP presidential nomination, and setting the stage for a breathtakingly expensive general election. The political world, however, hasn’t heard much from Democratic super PACs, which have raised far less money.

    That will apparently soon change.

    President Obama is signaling to wealthy Democratic donors that he wants them to start contributing to an outside group supporting his re-election, reversing a long-held position as he confronts a deep financial disadvantage on a vital front in the campaign.

    Aides said the president had signed off on a plan to dispatch cabinet officials, senior advisers at the White House and top campaign staff members to deliver speeches on behalf of Mr. Obama at fund-raising events for Priorities USA Action, the leading Democratic “super PAC,” whose fund-raising has been dwarfed by Republican groups. The new policy was presented to the campaign’s National Finance Committee in a call Monday evening and announced in an e-mail to supporters.

    “We’re not going to fight this fight with one hand tied behind our back,” Jim Messina, the manager of Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign, said in an interview. “With so much at stake,

    The general spin on this story so far has been that Obama’s position has shifted — he opposed the court rulings that cleared the way for these super PACs; he’d prefer that the outside groups not exist, and yet he’s now urging financial backers to invest in an allied super PAC anyway.

    But there’s a reasonable case to be made that the president and his team are simply adapting to circumstances beyond their control. The far-right and well-financed Republican super PACs are going to exist and will spend hundreds of millions of dollars in 2012, whether Obama likes it or not.

    The question, then, is whether the president and his allies are prepared to fight fire with fire. As of today, the answer appears to be “yes.”


    Indeed, Jim Messina argued overnight that the Obama campaign just doesn’t have a choice

    The President opposed the Citizens United decision. He understood that with the dramatic growth in opportunities to raise and spend unlimited special-interest money, we would see new strategies to hide it from public view. He continues to support a law to force full disclosure of all funding intended to influence our elections, a reform that was blocked in 2010 by a unanimous Republican filibuster in the U.S. Senate. And the President favors action — by constitutional amendment, if necessary — to place reasonable limits on all such spending.

    But this cycle, our campaign has to face the reality of the law as it currently stands.

    He added that Republican super PACS, in aggregate, are “expected to spend half a billion dollars, above and beyond what the Republican nominee and party are expected to commit to try to defeat the President.” That may sound like hyperbole, but it’s a reasonable estimate. The Koch brothers alone are prepared to spend $100 million later this year to defeat Obama.

    Under these circumstances, the Democrats’ move is easy to understand: they didn’t want the post-Citizens United changes to the system, but they’re stuck with them nevertheless. In this case, Dems simply intend to play by the rules — rules they don’t like, rules they wish were different, rules they’d gladly change, but the rules nevertheless.

    Democrats had a choice: stick to principle, refuse to play by the new rules, and make defeat far more likely, or level the playing field. I don’t imagine the debate lasted very long — national campaigns in which Republicans, the Koch brothers, and Karl Rove are held to one standard, while Democrats voluntarily abide by a more difficult standard would appear to be a recipe for failure.

    The national discourse doesn’t benefit from these new rules, but the discourse also suffers when only one side follows the rules to get its message out to voters.

    As Paul Begala explained in April, “We strongly support reform. We support new laws to require transparency of all donations. We support repealing the wrongheaded Citizens United ruling. But, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, you go to war with the laws you have, not the laws you wish you had. Mr. Rove, the billionaire Koch brothers, the Chamber of Commerce, the NRA, the American Action Network, FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity, the Club for Growth, and other right-wing groups are projected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to advance an extreme agenda which would hammer the middle class. We will not let their attacks go unanswered.”

    The only surprise here is that anyone would be surprised by the decision.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Monday, February 6, 2012
    Last Call
    Posted by Zandar
    The Law Of Unintended Consequences has apparently bitten the Maine GOP so hard in the ass that they’re scrambling to scuttle their own voter ID law.

    Though Republicans enjoy full control over Maine’s lawmaking process, they’ve dropped a push to require certain photo identification in order to vote.

    Though Maine Republicans were considering voter ID legislation at the beginning of the year, Democrats vociferously objected because the bill could prevent thousands of Mainers from voting, particularly elderly individuals. On Friday, Republicans acceded to those objections, striking the voter ID language from an election law bill. This is the second time voter ID has failed to pass the GOP-controlled Maine legislature. Last year, a voter ID bill failed in the Senate after first being passed by the House.

    And that’s actually the unofficial reason. The actual reason they’re scrapping their own voter ID laws? The people told them to sit the hell down back in November.

    Maine Republicans were chastened during the 2011 session after they passed a bill to eliminate the state’s 38 year-old law allowing for Election Day registration, only to see their move overturned by a citizens veto in November. More than 60 percent of Mainers rebuked the legislature and voted to restore Election Day registration.

    State Rep. Diane Russell (D) pointed to this episode to explain why Republicans opted against pursuing voter ID again this year. “Last November, 60% of Maine voters overwhelmingly rejected the Republican election suppression agenda,” Russell, who sits on the committee that removed the voter ID language, told ThinkProgress. “It is a real testament to Maine voters that Republicans decided against pursuing another failed election suppression policy by killing voter ID.”

    Also, and just to be completely frank, a law designed to disenfranchise the elderly and minorities in a state like Maine is going to hit “the elderly” a lot harder than “minorities” because, well, it’s Maine. So yes, this little stunt was destined to backfire completely, and lo and behold it did. Surprise!

  29. Ametia says:

    Congressional earmarks sometimes used to fund projects near lawmakers’ properties
    By David S. Fallis, Scott Higham and Kimberly Kindy, Published: February 6

    A U.S. senator from Alabama directed more than $100 million in federal earmarks to renovate downtown Tuscaloosa near his own commercial office building. A congressman from Georgia secured $6.3 million in taxpayer funds to replenish the beach about 900 feet from his island vacation cottage. A representative from Michigan earmarked $486,000 to add a bike lane to a bridge within walking distance of her home.

    Thirty-three members of Congress have directed more than $300 million in earmarks and other spending provisions to dozens of public projects that are next to or within about two miles of the lawmakers’ own property, according to a Washington Post investigation.

  30. rikyrah says:

    found this at another site:

    A mailing list I subscribe to posted more info on the “Letter from an ex-slave”

    This letter — which is 100% legitimate — “makes the rounds” every once in a
    while over the 147 years since it was first published in an Ohio paper, then
    copied in the NY Tribune, then in Lydia Maria Child’s Freedmen’s Book. In fact,
    it was oft-reprinted in a variety of publications between 1865-67, including in
    French. Then again during the 1960s/1970s. And again in the internet age.

    Jordan (how his name was really spelled) and P.H. Anderson were real people.
    I’ve traced them and their story and am writing a book on both men and the
    letter. It’s a fascinating story.

    P.H. Anderson was “hip deep” in debt in August 1865 and had written Jordan, who
    had played a slave “managerial” role at Big Springs, to return I’m sure to help
    get in the harvest, help recruit back some of the slave laborers who had fled
    the plantation for nearby towns, and save the old plantation. Jordan didn’t
    return, the plantation was lost, and P.H was dead by 1867.

    Jordan and his family lived in Dayton, Ohio, from 1864 until his death in the
    early 20th century. He worked for the V. Winters mentioned in the letter.

    Roy E. Finkenbine
    Interim Dean and Professor of History
    College of Liberal Arts and Education
    University of Detroit Mercy

  31. rikyrah says:

    Tuesday, February 7, 2012
    The Next Target Of GOP “Otherization”: Business
    Posted by Zandar
    I wonder how the US Chamber of Commerce feels about Karl Rove declaring open season on every business that took stimulus money, starting with US automakers.

    During a segment with Fox News, the network’s current contributor and the former Deputy Chief of Staff said he was “offended” by Chrysler’s “Halftime in America” commercial which featured a pro-Detroit revival sentiment and a gravelly, rousing Clint Eastwood telling viewers, “This country can’t be knocked out with one punch, we get right back up again.” (Come on Rove, you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.)

    “I was, frankly, offended by it,” Rove stated about the ad that suggests that America’s “second half is about to begin,” adding, “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 the best-wishes of the management which is benefited by getting a bunch of our money that they’ll never pay back.”

    Rove hits all the dog whistles in about 10 seconds there: “Chicago-style”, “minions”, “our tax dollars” “never pay back”. President Kenyachurian Comesforyourdaughters will redistribute everything you have to THUG LYFE POSSE.

    If the “crony capitalism” message sounds familiar, it’s because Rove is channeling his buddy Mittens.

    Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney met with supporters Monday morning and criticized President Barack Obama’s policies relating to health care reform, proposed military cuts and “crony capitalism.

    ”Romney, speaking to a crowd at Ring Power Lift Trucks on the Southside, also addressed the housing market difficulties that have plagued Florida.

    “Instead of being driven by the market and consumers, it’s driven by politicians,” Romney said, referring to “crony capitalism” and deals the government has given to companies.

    On the economy, Romney said he would “restore the free market enterprise” to combat such practices.

    Rove is putting American business on notice: If you tell the truth and admit that the federal government helped you in any way over the last three years, the Republicans will destroy you. The GOP message has to be “Barack Hussein Otherbama is destroying businesses with SOSHULIZM!” Anyone who admits otherwise, like Chrysler, immediately becomes a potential target for House Republican subpoenas.

    I bet you’ll see them drag up auto execs before too long. And then the message to any corporation who backs the Dems will be loud and clear. And keep in mind, the GOP will do anything to “prove” that the Obama administration’s efforts to help the economy through federal programs were immoral, if not *whispers* illegal.

    The GOP is fully vested is America’s defeat. Our economy has to crumble now or Obama might be re-elected.

    Oh, and to Clint Eastwood’s credit? He replied to Rove with this:

    In an upcoming interview with Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, Eastwood responds to Rove’s accusations. ”l am certainly not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama,” Eastwood said. “It was meant to be a message about job growth and the spirit of America. I think all politicians will agree with it. I thought the spirit was OK.” Eastwood’s comments will be aired on O’Reilly’s show tonight.

    And yeah, Eastwood voted for McCain. But businesses have been pushing ads like this for decades now. Only with a certain President in the White House is it a problem.

  32. rikyrah says:

    We Will Not Play by Two Sets of Rules
    By Jim Messina, Campaign Manager on February 6, 2012

    In 2010, the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case opened the door to a new wave of so-called Super PACs—non-candidate political committees that can receive and spend unlimited money from special interests. For the first time, these committees could accept money from corporations, not just wealthy individuals.

    The decision has accelerated a dangerous trend toward a political system increasingly dominated by big-money interests with disproportionate power to spend freely to influence our elections and our government.

    It’s a trend the President has fought against, coming into office with a mission to limit special-interest influence in Washington. He put in place the most sweeping ethics reforms in history to close the revolving door between government and lobbyists. And he’s overseen the most open administration ever—reversing Bush-era policies designed to limit Freedom of Information Act requests and disclosing White House visitor records so that Americans can see how their government works.

    The President opposed the Citizens United decision. He understood that with the dramatic growth in opportunities to raise and spend unlimited special-interest money, we would see new strategies to hide it from public view. He continues to support a law to force full disclosure of all funding intended to influence our elections, a reform that was blocked in 2010 by a unanimous Republican filibuster in the U.S. Senate. And the President favors action—by constitutional amendment, if necessary—to place reasonable limits on all such spending.

    But this cycle, our campaign has to face the reality of the law as it currently stands.

    Over the last few months, Super PACs affiliated with Republican presidential candidates have spent more than $40 million on television and radio, almost all of it for negative ads.

    Last week, filings showed that the Super PAC affiliated with Mitt Romney’s campaign raised $30 million in 2011 from fewer than 200 contributors, most of them from the financial sector. Governor Romney personally helped raise money for this group, which is run by some of his closest allies.

    Meanwhile, other Super PACs established for the sole purpose of defeating the President—along with “nonprofits” that also aren’t required to disclose the sources of their funding—have raised more than $50 million. In the aggregate, these groups are expected to spend half a billion dollars, above and beyond what the Republican nominee and party are expected to commit to try to defeat the President.

    With so much at stake, we can’t allow for two sets of rules in this election whereby the Republican nominee is the beneficiary of unlimited spending and Democrats unilaterally disarm.

    Therefore, the campaign has decided to do what we can, consistent with the law, to support Priorities USA in its effort to counter the weight of the GOP Super PAC. We will do so only in the knowledge and with the expectation that all of its donations will be fully disclosed as required by law to the Federal Election Commission.

    What this change means practically: Senior campaign officials as well as some White House and Cabinet officials will attend and speak at Priorities USA fundraising events. While campaign officials may be appearing at events to amplify our message, these folks won’t be soliciting contributions for Priorities USA. I should also note that the President, Vice President, and First Lady will not be a part of this effort; their political activity will remain focused on the President’s campaign.

    But here’s what this doesn’t change: the fact that ordinary people stepping up to take control of the political process is essential to our strategy.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Another Pale Shadow of His Old Man
    by Anne Laurie

    Michael Tomasky, in the New York Review of Books, has a nice compact summary of the life of Willard Mitt Romney so far:

    George Wilcken Romney, the former automobile executive who became the centrist Republican governor of Michigan in 1963, was considered a presidential possibility leading up to the 1964 election. Moderate Republicans around the country were getting awfully nervous about this Goldwater fellow and seeking out plausible alternatives. But Romney, a tall and square-jawed man with impressive hair, had made a commitment to the voters of his state that he would serve four years, and Romney was a man who meant what he said, so a 1964 run was out of the question. The task of opposing Barry Goldwater fell to other moderates—Nelson Rockefeller and Pennsylvania’s William Scranton. Romney did, however, leave his mark on the campaign: having deemed Goldwater an enemy of civil rights, which he backed ardently, he walked out of the party’s convention at San Francisco’s Cow Palace. He had his seventeen-year-old youngest son, Mitt, in tow, and thus Mitt, too, occasionally gets credit (at www, for starters) for stalking away from his party on a matter of the highest principle.

    Today, as the younger Romney struggles to secure the GOP nomination that seemed his for the taking until his crushing loss to Newt Gingrich in South Carolina, to think about that anecdote and his father’s towering influence on him, to read these two balanced but essentially unflattering books, and to watch Willard Mitt Romney run a campaign in which he has charged as hard and fast to the right as he could on almost every issue you can think of lead inevitably to comparisons between the two Romneys, comparisons in which the younger Romney comes up dramatically short…

  34. rikyrah says:

    NRCC Finance Chairman Flubs His Own Finances
    Posted on 02/06/2012 at 6:30 pm by JM Ashby
    From the department of “you can’t make this shit up.”

    The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) has found that Representative Vern Buchanan (R-Derp) has failed to disclose 17 sources of income on his financial disclosure forms.

    Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) failed to disclose income on his disclosure forms and didnt report 17 positions he held at various companies and organizations from 2007 through 2010, according to an Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) report released Monday.

    The report was issued to the House Ethics Committee on Nov. 8 but disclosed publicly on Monday. The House Ethics Committee said in a statement that it had decided to “gather additional information necessary to complete its review.” […]

    Buchanan has been under an ethics cloud in recent months and is currently the subject of several ongoing investigations involving his finances and alleged violations of campaign finance law. His campaign claimed a Federal Election Commission report had exonerated him of the later allegations, but the FEC general counsel report actually said that several of his statements were not credible

    Vern Buchanan is the finance chairman for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

    The finance chairman can’t even report his own finances correctly!

    Vern is also still under investigation by the Department of Justice for allegedly reimbursing the employees of his former car dealership for donating to his campaign.

    You’re doing great, Republicans!

  35. rikyrah says:

    February 06, 2012
    The bigger ass is the wiser choice

    Although the Washington Post-ABC News’s latest polling on an Obama-Romney matchup is good news, for now this contest is more about trends, and they’re even better.

    To put it somewhat more broadly than statisticians, somewhat less exactingly than political scientists, and with a decorum befitting the blogosphere’s rather ill-mannered directness, Americans, on average, think Romney an unendurable ass.

    Or, as the Post put it, with a trifle more sophistication: “By better than 2 to 1, Americans say the more they learn about Romney, the less they like him.” Remarkable restraint then seized Dan Balz, Jon Cohen & Editors, which prevented them from adding the straight-reportorial assessment, “It’s nearly enough to restore one’s faith in American democracy.”

    Not just a plurality, but a majority — outside the margin of error — “of those who are closely following the campaign say they disapprove of what the GOP candidates have been saying.” When narrowed to Romney, even the GOP aborigines give as many thumbs down as thumbs up. What’s more, he’s bleeding independents.

    Ahem. Dear Republicans, a word of advice, or, let’s say, a friendly suggestion. You are going down, and you are going down hard. True, it’s a long road to November; but when the sitting president, in his fourth year, is also sitting on an 8+ unemployment rate (thanks to those charmless hooligans with whom you so gratuitously stuffed Congress last year) and your “electable” guy is experiencing the equivalent of an electoral defenestration, then no one would blame you for fundamentally reassessing. So, my suggestion, already adverbially exposed: Go with Newt.

    Look, you’d have far more fun, the rest of us would be immeasurably entertained, the media would soar to the sensationalist heavens, some faux Lincoln-Douglas redux would guarantee more funny million-dollar ads and Madonna could do the halftime show — all the way around, Gingrich is a win, win, win … there’s just no downside. But he is sure lose, you say? Well, yeah. But what is Mitt going to do, assuming we can all stay awake long enough to find out?

    No, no. Newt’s your guy. Go with Newt. Make everybody’s day.

  36. rikyrah says:

    February 06, 2012
    Of gamesmanship and respect
    The anatomy of political gamesmanship, at the country’s expense:

    Republicans first opposed a one-year payroll tax-cut extension, even though tax cuts are the GOP’s universal answer to all maladies great and small, from recessions to toothaches. Further, they insisted payroll tax cuts must be paid for, although tax cuts for the excessively affluent need never be paid for, since tax cuts pay for themselves — until President Obama wanted one. So Obama and the congressional Democratic leadership pared the tax cut’s duration to two months — figuring something was better than nothing — upon which Republicans instantly threw themselves into violent opposition because, they argued, the deal should extend to one year, which they had just got through opposing. They would fight, fight, fight for a one-year deal, or nothing.

    Now they have their chance. And what do we hear? “It’s far from a done deal,” says one House Republican, while another says the longer extension is merely “a gimmick to try to get [Obama] reelected.” One Senate Republican calls the extension a “very slippery slope,” while another says that for him, “it’ll be a hard sell.”

    The very essence of Republicanism is presently teetering betwixt a Marx Brothers movie and a Bram Stoker novel. It is yet to plunge all the way, that is, entirely one way or t’other, so for now it’s suspended in a kind of comedic lugubriousness, or, if you prefer, a lugubrious comedy of errors.

    Which leads to this: We used to hear, and from a few pluckily delusional souls we still hear, about the civil indispensability of respecting others’ opinions; yet what these voices almost invariably neglect to add is that others’ opinions should first be respect-worthy — those arising from political farces and bloodsucking villains don’t count.

    Mahatma Ghandi once observed (and this may be apocryphal, nevertheless it is fair) that he’d gladly become a Christian, just as soon as he met one. Well, I’d gladly respect an authentically conservative Republican, just as soon as I find one.

    –Mahatma Phil

  37. rikyrah says:

    Casual Observation
    by BooMan
    Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 09:20:02 PM EST

    Rather than asking whether we are better off today than we were four years ago, we really should be asking whether the Republican Party is more or less dysfunctional and deranged than it was four years ago. By almost any measure, we’re better off than we were when Barack Obama was inaugurated, but that is not the most important question. Elections are choices. And the choice isn’t between sticking with Barack Obama or going back to the land of Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales and John Bolton. We’d be fortunate to have that choice.

  38. Students, from left, Gaby Dempsey, 12, Kate Murray, 13, and Mackenzie Grewell, 13, read in the Red Room of the White House after setting up their science fair exhibit, Feb. 6, 2012. The three girls, part of the Flying Monkeys First Lego League Team from Ames Middle School in Ames, Iowa, will participate in the second annual White House Science Fair with over 100 students from 45 states. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

  39. The righties have lost their mind over this ad!

    It’s Halftime in America

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