Thursday Open Thread

Jerry Butler (born Jerry Butler Jr., December 8, 1939, Sunflower, Mississippi)[1] is an American soul singer and songwriter. He is also noted as being the original lead singer of the R&B vocal group, The Impressions, as well as a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.

Butler is also an American politician. He serves as a Commissioner for Cook County, Illinois, having first been elected in 1985. As a member of this 17-member county board, he chairs the Health and Hospitals Committee, and serves as Vice Chair of the Construction Committee.

The mid 1950s had a profound impact on Butler’s life. He grew up poor, having lived in Chicago‘s Cabrini–Green housing complex. Music and the church provided solace from a city that was as segregated as those in the Deep South.[citation needed] He performed in a church choir with Curtis Mayfield. As a teenager, Butler sang in a gospel quartet called Northern Jubilee Gospel Singers, along with Mayfield. Mayfield, a guitar player, became the lone instrumentalist for the six-member Roosters group, which later became The Impressions. Inspired by Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers, the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, and the Pilgrim Travelers, getting into the music industry seemed inevitable.[2]

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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76 Responses to Thursday Open Thread

  1. LA radio hosts suspended for Houston comments

    http://music.msn.com/music/article.aspx?news=704775&silentchk=1

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles radio station has pulled two popular talk radio hosts off the air for comments they made about Whitney Houston.

    KFI AM 640 suspended John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou, the hosts of the “John and Ken Show,” for “making insensitive and inappropriate comments about the late Whitney Houston,” it said in a statement Thursday.

    Management does not condone, support or tolerate statements of this kind,” the station said.

    According to audio posted online at UrbanInformer.com, the hosts called the late singer a “crack ho” and said she was “cracked out for 20 years.”

    Kobylt said in statement that he and Chiampou “used language that was inappropriate” and they “sincerely apologize” to their listeners and to Houston’s family.

    We made a mistake, and we accept the station’s decision,” said Kobylt.

    The hosts, who broadcast their show weekday afternoons, will return to the airwaves Feb. 27.

    Kobylt and Chiampou often rail against taxes and illegal immigration. The National Hispanic Media Coalition said last year that it targeted the show’s advertisers to urge them to stop backing the program.

    The group said the hosts promote hate speech and appealed to listeners to call and harass an advocate for immigrant rights about state legislation to give financial aid to illegal immigrant college students.

    “A temporary suspension is not enough,” Alex Nogales, president and CEO of NHMC, said in a statement. “How many times do John and Ken get to spew their hate, apologize and then do it again after taking off a long weekend? KFI must permanently remove John and Ken from the air. Los Angeles deserves better.”

    Like

    • The bigots need to be fired. Keep their fking apology. Whitney wasn’t running around with a lot of men. She was in love with one man…. Bobby. So how is she a ho? I remember the media acting as if Anna Nicole was the most respectable woman this side of heaven. Enough! Fire these racist pricks!

      Like

  2. rikyrah says:

    I know I’m a day late, but I love this ‘ My Funny Valentine’ interpretation by Kyle on Living Single:

    My Funny Valentine – Terrence ‘TC’ Carson

    Like

  3. Breaking News @BreakingNews

    Police: 2 people shot at Federal Building in Long Beach, Calif. – @CBSLA http://cbsloc.al/yJXpXt

    Like

  4. President Barack Obama issues a Proclamation
    that this years black history theme will be ”Black Women in American Culture and History”

    http://beautifulbrowngirls.com/2012/02/02/president-barack-obama-pays-tribute-to-african-american-women/

    “The achievements of African American women are not limited to those recorded and retold in our history books. Their impact is felt in communities where they are quiet heroes who care for their families, in boardrooms where they are leaders of industry, in laboratories where they are discovering new technologies, and in classrooms where they are preparing the next generation for the world they will inherit. As we celebrate the successes of African American women, we recall that progress did not come easily, and that our work to widen the circle of opportunity for all Americans is not complete.

    From the literary giants who gave voice to their communities to the artists whose harmonies and brush strokes captured hardships and aspirations, African-American women have forever enriched our cultural heritage,” he writes. “Today we stand on the shoulders of countless African-American women who shattered glass ceilings and advanced our common goals.”The president announced that his year’s theme is “Black Women in American Culture and History.”

    Like

  5. Rikyrah,

    Thank you so much for today! You’re a jewel.

    Like

  6. rikyrah says:

    Romney to skip upcoming debate
    By Steve Benen – Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:14 PM EST.

    The Romney campaign has been hinting for over a month that it might start declining invitations to candidate debates. It doesn’t come as too big a surprise, then, that the former governor has decided to skip CNN’s March 1 debate in Atlanta.

    “With eight other states voting on March 6th, we will be campaigning in other parts of the country and unable to schedule the CNN Georgia debate,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said. “We have participated in 20 debates, including 8 from CNN.”

    The March 1 debate is second-to-last debate before Super Tuesday on March 6. There are a total of three debates between now and Super Tuesday.

    One could make the case that Romney and his aides aren’t necessarily hiding, but rather, they just don’t see the value in this seemingly endless stream of debates.

    But I think that’s a far-too-generous interpretation. Put it this way: if Romney were excelling in recent debates, and wowing Republican voters in every appearance, is there any way in the world he’d consider blowing off such an opportunity? It seems highly unlikely. In fact, for months, Romney was seen as easily the best debater in the field, and at the time, it seemed as if he couldn’t wait for the next one.

    Then his rivals started getting applause, and all of a sudden, Team Romney isn’t so sure these debates are such a great idea after all.

    The “scheduling” explanation also seems thin. This event in Atlanta was scheduled quite a while ago, and the campaigns knew it was coming. The more likely rationale is that Romney, in a bit of a panic and aware of his dwindling favorability ratings, no longer feels confident that these settings work to his advantage.

    There is, however, a risk from bowing out. How soon will it be before Republican insiders start asking themselves, “If Romney lacks the confidence to debate, what will he do when he’s up against President Obama?”
    .

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/16/10427850-romney-to-skip-upcoming-debate

    Like

  7. rikyrah says:

    The First Lady came and greeted visitors at the White House today:

    Like

  8. rikyrah says:

    Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 11:57 AM PST.

    Chicken Mitt: Romney to skip final pre‑Super Tuesday debate
    by Jed Lewison

    Mitt Romney will skip the final pre-Super Tuesday debate, scheduled for March 1 in Georgia to be broadcast on CNN:

    “Gov. Romney will be spending a lot of time campaigning in Georgia and Ohio ahead of Super Tuesday,” Romney press secretary Andrea Saul said in a statement. “With eight other states voting on March 6th, we will be campaigning in other parts of the country and unable to schedule the CNN Georgia debate. We have participated in 20 debates, including 8 from CNN.”

    Obviously, there’s risk inherent in participating in any debate. But it seems to me the downside of skipping the debate is much larger: not only does it look like you are afraid of your opponents, it also suggests to voters that you don’t take them seriously and aren’t willing to do what it takes to earn their vote. And if Romney doesn’t win Michigan the narrative could be severely bad for him. .

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/02/16/1065530/-Chicken-Mitt-Romney-to-skip-final-pre-Super-Tuesday-debate?via=blog_1

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  9. rikyrah says:

    Ryan: Even If Obama Wins We Don’t Need To Change Our Tax Philosophy

    Brian Beutler February 16, 2012, 11:06 AM

    The consensus among GOP leaders, and really leaders of both parties, is that the two biggest issues dividing the parties — how much wealthy Americans should pay in taxes, and how the health care safety net should be structured — will be decided by the elections in November.

    The implication is that if Republicans win convincingly, the country will have provided them a mandate to further reduce taxes and roll back Medicare, Medicaid and the health care law.

    But what happens if President Obama and the Democrats walk away with the prize? Will Republicans agree to increase, fairly significantly, the amount of money flowing into the Treasury?

    Er, um. Maybe.

    At a breakfast roundtable hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, the LA Times’ David Lauter pressed House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan on this key point.

    After a long digression, Ryan wouldn’t hold himself or his party to its own standard.

    “You know you can’t solve the budget problem by raising taxes,” Ryan objected.

    “But the more you raise taxes, the less you have to cut Medicare presumably,” Lauter countered.

    In the longer term, though, cutting health care programs will be the key, Ryan argued. “The numbers are just so awesome, the spending trajectory is just so enormous,” he said, implying that at some point his approach to Medicare and other programs will be inevitable.

    “Your budget calls for revenue at 18 or 19 percent of GDP, he’s calling for revenue in roughly 22 percent of GDP,” Lauter objected. “If he wins, do you say, ‘well OK the country’s chosen, we’re going to go to 22 percent of GDP,’ or do you just say the mandate only works if we win.’”

    Ryan wouldn’t say.

    “It would be great if he would join the bipartisan consensus on tax reform that’s occurring. He’s way on the left on this,” Ryan said. “What I’d like to think is after the election perhaps — the way I’d look at the President’s current policies, he can’t run on his record, he’s not changing his vision or his tact so he’s running on class division, on envy and resentment. This budget’s basically a campaign document. Maybe he would think twice and think about joining the bipartisan consensus that’s emerging on tax reform.”

    “I hate to think about that scenario in the future,” Ryan said chuckling. “I’d like to think about the scenario I painted.”

    When the outcome in November is clear, Congress will have to work at a rapid clip to deal with the looming expiry of the Bush tax cuts, and over a trillion dollars of automatic spending cuts scheduled to take effect on January 1. Ryan said he imagines that Congressional leaders will have different contingency plans ready to go depending on who wins — but that it might be necessary to punt all of these fiscal issues into early 2013 to buy enough legislative running room to pass a comprehensive solution.

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/02/ryan-even-if-obama-wins-we-dont-need-to-change-our-tax-philosophy.php?ref=fpnewsfeed

    Like

  10. rikyrah says:

    Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 08:52 AM PST.

    The longer the GOP nomination battle, the bigger we win

    Josh Marshall:

    First, the intensity of the primary fight is forcing Romney to take increasingly hard right positions that are alienating independent voters. As much as it’s a cliche, he can’t effectively tack to the center until he’s got the primaries behind him.
    Second, and a bit more intangibly, running around the country in a long twilight struggle with Rick Santorum is just … how to put it? inherently demeaning and diminishing. It’s like struggling to land a one pound fish or searching for the way out of a paper bag. People see you doing that and you just look weak and feckless, even pitiful.

    So how long does this play out? If Romney can get Michigan in hand, win convincingly and then do the same on Super Tuesday it’s probably back to being over. He’ll still have his work cut out for him but by mid-March he can get back into general election mode.

    But what if he doesn’t? The polls say it will be a challenge. And the deeper this gets into the Spring the closer you get to the point on the calendar where Romney simply won’t have enough time on the clock to undo the damage.

    Anyone who thinks ending the GOP nomination battle early helps Team Blue in any way is deluded. Anyone who thinks having Rick Santorum as the nominee hurts us is deluded. A Santorum nomination is the Obama campaign’s wildest dream.
    The longer this contest drags out, the more damage is done to the GOP’s chances in 2012. That’s why establishment Republicans who know how to read polls are desperate for this thing to be over yesterday.

    And if you’re really worried about someone emerging from a brokered convention, realize that any such candidate would emerge with zero organization, zero money (without taking campaign-killing federal funds), and zero momentum—plus, it would generate a great deal of ill will from those who worked for Santorum (or Romney, for that matter).

    That’s what Operation Hilarity is about—extending this race past Super Tuesday. Once we’re into March, we reassess based on conditions on the ground. At that point, perhaps we need to give Romney a boost to keep things dragging out!

    One thing is definitely for sure—the longer these guys have the spotlight, the worse it is for them. So let’s keep it squarely on them.

    .

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/02/16/1065417/-The-longer-the-GOP-nomination-battle-the-bigger-we-win?via=blog_1

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  11. rikyrah says:

    Mitt’s Brutal Calendar
    Josh Marshall February 14, 2012, 9:02 PM

    Earlier this evening I noted this eye-popping graphic which shows that Mitt Romney’s net favorability rating has plummeted to -24%. I don’t think many political observers would disagree that someone that far under water public opinion-wise is just not going to be elected president. That’s not going to happen. The real question is how and when Romney starts to unwind the damage. And here’s where the primary calendar becomes critical.

    There’s little doubt Romney can repair some of this damage. A small but significant amount is likely driven by intra-Republican opposition from the primary race itself. Santorum’s and Gingrich’s supporters aren’t crazy about Romney at the moment. And once Romney is the nominee a good bit of that animosity will soften.

    But fundamentally Mitt Romney’s reputation has taken a terrible beating across the spectrum, especially with independent and loosely affiliated voters. (He’s actually hitting almost Gingrich levels of unpopularity. He’s at -24 and Newt’s at -36.9.)

    So when does he start to repair the damage? Ideally, right now. But that’s the problem. Not only is the race not sewn up; the stitches seem to get looser by the day. Romney is now running behind Santorum nationwide and in the Mitt-critical state of Michigan.

    Yesterday or today I heard someone on TV say that Super Tuesday is Romney’s last chance to take the nomination as the consensus candidate. Here ‘consensus candidate’ would mean that the party decides to rally around a ‘winner’ well before that person is anywhere near to mathematically clinching the nomination. The other alternative is to slug it out for months and take it by (electoral) brute force.

    And this is where we come back to favorability ratings. I doubt there’s any way Romney really repairs the damage to his reputation and favorability before he gets the nomination fight behind him. There are two big factors working against him.

    First, the intensity of the primary fight is forcing Romney to take increasingly hard right positions that are alienating independent voters. As much as it’s a cliche, he can’t effectively tack to the center until he’s got the primaries behind him.

    Second, and a bit more intangibly, running around the country in a long twilight struggle with Rick Santorum is just … how to put it? inherently demeaning and diminishing. It’s like struggling to land a one pound fish or searching for the way out of a paper bag. People see you doing that and you just look weak and feckless, even pitiful.

    So how long does this play out? If Romney can get Michigan in hand, win convincingly and then do the same on Super Tuesday it’s probably back to being over. He’ll still have his work cut out for him but by mid-March he can get back into general election mode.

    But what if he doesn’t? The polls say it will be a challenge. And the deeper this gets into the Spring the closer you get to the point on the calendar where Romney simply won’t have enough time on the clock to undo the damage.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2012/02/earlier_this_evening_i_noted.php

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  12. rikyrah says:

    Losing Their Touch
    by BooMan
    Thu Feb 16th, 2012 at 01:02:52 PM EST

    The Republicans are losing the battle over contraception in a big way. They’ve lost their way on the optics. They seem incapable of anticipating our side’s tactics. And they’re making unforced errors.

    This morning, Democrats tore into House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) for preventing women from testifying before a hearing examining the Obama administration’s new regulation requiring employers and insurers to provide contraception coverage to their employees.

    Chairman Issa first denied a women the Democrats wanted to testify because the hearing was supposed to be confined to “religious liberty” and not contraception. Then Issa disallowed the testimony of a female college student because she didn’t “have the appropriate credentials” to testify before his committee. As a result, the Democrats walked out of the hearing in protest.

    What do you think will lead on the nightly news? How is that going to look to most people? In denying the testimony of these two women, Issa lost the whole point of his hearing which was to score some political points against the president. He will score no points. All his effort will result in nothing more than an own-goal.

    The GOP used to be good at this.

    No more.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2012/2/16/13252/8135

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  13. rikyrah says:

    February 15, 2012
    Yes, ‘some folks’ do that
    For the “Gotta love it” file, from Mitt, on Detroit radio today:

    The Santorum campaign went negative against me in South Carolina, my guess is they’ll do the same thing in Michigan. And you know that’s the nature of politics, you have some folks who distort and twist and you’ve got to be able to respond effectively and let people know the truth …

    That’s our boy, out there fighting the good fight against the wicked forces of twist and distortion.

    You know, if this presidential thing doesn’t work out for Romney, my understanding is that Baghdad Bob left a huge vacancy in the Iraq government, which doubtless could again use a man of Mitt’s rhetorical ingenuity.

    http://pmcarpenter.blogs.com/p_m_carpenters_commentary/2012/02/yes-some-folks-do-that.html

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  14. rikyrah says:

    February 16, 2012 12:20 PM

    The Fox Swing State Survey
    By Ed Kilgore

    In a week of very good news from the pollsters for Barack Obama, this has to be the best yet: a Fox News survey of registered voters in ten “swing states” (CO, FL, IA, NV, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA, WI) awarding a total of 131 electoral votes. Overall, Obama leads Romney in these states by a 47-39 margin, and leads Santorum by a 48-39 margin. His margin against Romney in “swing states” is actually better than in the most recent national Fox poll, which showed him leading 47-42.

    The poll results are not broken down by individual state (except for OH), but are arranged by region. Interestingly, Obama’s best “swing state” region is in the South (FL, NC, VA) where he leads Romney 51-37 and Santorum 57-29, and enjoys a 50/39 approval/disapproval ratio. He also leads Romney 47-40, and Santorum 51-37, in the three Rocky Mountain states (CO, NV), NM). On the other hand, Obama is shown as weaker in the Rust Belt states (IA, OH, PA, WI) than he is nationally, leading Romney 43-42 and tying Santorum 43-43. And in OH, the poll has Obama actually trailing both Romney (38-44) and Santorum (40-43).

    To a chattering class used to thinking of Ohio as the ball game, these results may seem at best mixed for the incumbent, or even ominous, and certainly that’s how some Republicans will likely spin it all. But if Obama is actually romping in southern swing states, you have to figure he’s doing especially well in Florida, and some pundits may not have yet internalized the fact that the latest reapportionment boosted FL’s electoral votes to 29 while lowering OH’s to 18 (and PA’s to 20).

    In any event, an eight-point overall lead for Obama in swing states is nothing to sneeze at, particularly if the messenger for that news is Fox.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2012_02/the_fox_swing_state_survey035452.php

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  15. rikyrah says:

    Pelosi to GOP on contraception: ‘Duh!’
    By Steve Benen – Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:34 PM EST.

    House Republicans organized a hearing this morning on the Obama administration’s policy on access to contraception, and the first panel was made up exclusively of men — each of whom opposes the White House position. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was not amused.

    Five men are testifying on women’s health,” Pelosi said, adding, “Where are the women? Imagine having a panel on women’s health and they don’t have any women on the panel.

    “Duh? What is it that men don’t understand about women’s health and how central the issue of family planning is to that? Not just if you’re having families but if you need those kinds of prescription drugs for your general health, which was the testimony they would have heard this morning if they had allowed a woman on the panel. I think the fact that they did not allow a woman on the panel is symbolic of the whole debate as to who is making these decisions about women’s health and who should be covered.”

    When Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) warned this week of a Republican “male-a-garchy,” he clearly had a point.

    Also note, the witness Democrats asked to participate, before being rejected by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), was law student Sandra Fluke. She was excluded from the hearing, but the testimony Fluke was prepared to deliver has been posted online.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/16/10427066-pelosi-to-gop-on-contraception-duh

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  16. rikyrah says:

    Is Santorum More Electable? Ctd
    Nate Silver isn’t sure:

    Obama would be a 77 percent favorite to win the popular vote against Santorum given 2.5 percent G.D.P. growth. Republicans wouldn’t care about that, however, if Santorum carried Ohio and Michigan — and perhaps even his home state, Pennsylvania — places where economic concerns tend to take precedence. Under these conditions, in fact, Republicans might be able to win the Electoral College while losing the popular vote.

    He gives Obama a 60 percent chance at reelection overall. In a later post, Silver takes another look at Romney’s electability:


    The point is simply that this is a debatable case — more so, say, than a comparison of Mr. Romney and Newt Gingrich might be. Also, a party is within its rights to consider factors above and beyond electability. A small additional chance of losing the general election to Mr. Obama might be deemed an acceptable risk if Republicans think Mr. Santorum would be more reliably conservative once in office.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/

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  17. rikyrah says:

    emailpermalink

    16 Feb 2012 01:55 PM Romney’s Absurd China Op-Ed

    He basically accuses Obama of ushering in a Chinese century. Ackerman rolls his eyes:

    You get a lot of invective about Obama and China. “Empty pomp and ceremony” for the Xi visit. “A near supplicant to Beijing” from the start. “Weakness,” inevitably. The Asia Pivot is “gimmicky and vacuous.” Romney pledges instead to “maintain a strong military presence in the Pacific”… which is exactly what Obama is vowing, and what the defense strategy the White House and Pentagon produced centers around. This is why Romney 2012 reminds me of Kerry 2004: the harsh rhetoric is inversely proportional to the substantive defense-policy difference.

    Drezner focuses on the economic bit:

    It’s ludicrous for Romney to claim he doesn’t want a trade war in the same breath that he promises “day one” action against China. No wonder conservatives are labeling Romney’s China policy as “blaringly anti-trade.” To be blunt, this China policy reads like it was composed by the Hulk. Maybe this will work in the GOP primary, but Romney and his China advisors should know better.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/02/romneys-absurd-china-op-ed.html

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  18. rikyrah says:

    This Foster Fries guy that’s bankrolling Santorum is a TOTAL LOON! He just told Andrea Mitchell that women should just put a couple of aspirins between their legs for birth control.

    Like

  19. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 09:00 AM ET, 02/16/2012
    The Morning Plum: Conservatives all in for birth control fight
    By Greg Sargent

    It’s becoming clearer by the moment that the battle over the contraceptive coverage mandate is only going to intensify, with real repercussions for the 2012 Congressional and presidential campaigns.

    If you want to understand why Republicans are committing to this fight, despite polls suggesting a majority sides with the White House on the issue, this must-read New York Times piece provides an answer. Christian and conservative groups are gearing up to get fully engaged, and have persuaded themselves that it will be a good issue against Obama this fall:


    Major evangelical groups that openly opposed Mr. Obama and his health care plan in the past see this as a new affront and a new opportunity for attack.
    The National Association of Evangelicals, which represents thousands of churches in 40 denominations, “will be working vigorously” against the mandate, said Galen Carey, the association’s vice president for government relations — lending substance to the statement last week by Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and a Baptist minister, that “we are all Catholics now.”
    Evangelical leaders say they would be outraged by the mandate in any case, but many also believe that it will bring them political gains. Mr. Reed, the conservative strategist, said that even if a majority of Americans expressed general support for requiring contraceptive coverage — and even if, as he believes, the economy remained the primary issue — getting conservative and religious voters more fired up could make a difference.
    “Among key voter groups in key battleground states, this issue in combination with others is not going to be helpful to Obama,” he said.

    So conservative groups see this as a good way to rev up the base. But the question is, at what cost among swing voters?

    Conservatives see this as a good way to relitigate “Obamacare,” and to advance a key subtext about Obama, which is that he wants to expand the reach of government into matters of faith and harbors a deep-seated hostility to religious values. But it’s my bet that this won’t square with voter perceptions of Obama and that the public will reject this framing of the issue. And it may even allow Dems to try to resell health reform on more friendly political turf. Independents, moderates, and women all overwhelmingly agree with Obama on this issue.

    But if this becomes a preoccupation of the conservative base, Republicans may go all in on making this a centeral election year fight.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/the-morning-plum-conservatives-all-in-for-birth-control-fight/2012/02/16/gIQA9bfdHR_blog.html

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  20. rikyrah says:

    Maloney asks, ‘Where are the women?’
    By Steve Benen – Thu Feb 16, 2012 11:36 AM EST.

    Following up on an earlier item, here was the witness table at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, as discussion about contraception access and health care got underway.

    You’ll notice, of course, that all of the witnesses are men. What you can’t tell from the photo is that the second panel will feature four more men, and the combined total of the nine witnesses will include no women, no experts on contraception, no experts on health care, and no experts who might say something Republicans disagree with.

    As ThinkProgress noted, this proved to be a bit too much for some of the Democratic woman on the committee. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) asked a sensible question under the circumstances: “Where are the women? When I look at this panel, I don’t see one, single woman representing the tens of millions of women across the country who want and need coverage for basic preventive health care services.”

    As the farce hearing progressed, nearly all of the Democratic women on the committee left the room in protest.

    There is one Republican woman on the committee, Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.), who has not expressed concerns about the one-sided nature of the hearing.

    Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who rejected the one witness Democrats asked to participate, claimed this morning that the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and a progressive voice, had been invited to participate, and would have provided balance to the hearing (balance, in this case, would mean nine conservatives and one liberal).

    In reality, committee Dems had considered Lynn as a possible witness, but instead invited a young female law student at Georgetown.

    Rev. Lynn [disclosure: Lynn is a long-time friend of mine] explained in a statement, “I was open to testify at today’s hearing, but I understand and support the minority’s decision to ask a woman to take part because this issue would affect women’s access to contraceptives and the right to conscience. I appreciate that I was given the opportunity to provide written testimony. I am disappointed, however, by the imbalance on the panel and the lack of women’s voices on an issue that has terrific impact on them. When the claim of ‘conscience’ by large religions collides with that of an individual woman, her right to make her own moral decision must be saved.”

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/16/10425952-maloney-asks-where-are-the-women

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  21. rikyrah says:

    Is Romney Dole?

    Well, first off, Dole had a dry sense of humor and fathomless sense of irony that Romney would not and could not even comprehend. But Steve Kornacki draws the parallel:

    Like Obama, Bill Clinton began the 1996 cycle on the heels of an epic midterm election defeat and with the opposition party convinced it had found the formula to defeat him. But the Republican Party’s image plunged in 1995 and early ’96, the product of overreach by its new congressional majority and the toxic antics of a House speaker named Newt Gingrich, while the economy — and Clinton’s approval scores — improved. By the time Bob Dole, who suffered an embarrassing series of early primary season defeats (including to Pat Buchanan in New Hampshire), finally secured the GOP nomination he was running far behind Clinton. And despite predictions throughout the spring of ’96 that the race would ultimately tighten, it never really did. After his defeat, Dole was known to lament that the election had come two years too late. Obama’s recent gains are tenuous, but it seems a lot more likely now than it did a few months ago that the 2012 Republican nominee will end up saying the same thing.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/

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  22. rikyrah says:

    The Unbelievable Lameness Of The GOP’s Favorite Joke

    Jill Lawrence is amazed that “the mockery of Obama as incapable of expressing a thought without a cue card won’t die”:


    The Republican nominee, whoever he is, will have to rely on a teleprompter, and at least one candidate — Mitt Romney — already uses one regularly. … Romney has used a teleprompter for at least three caucus and primary-night speeches. The teleprompter jokes … suggest a GOP mindset that could be counterproductive. It’s reflected in Romney’s constant allusions to Obama as “in over his head” and Sarah Palin’s sarcastic implication that he is an “idiot.” Do Republicans want to lull themselves into thinking Obama is an incompetent who can’t speak coherently or win a debate without a teleprompter?

    Lull themselves? A core, ugly minority of the GOP base assumes that Obama is an affirmative action candidate who didn’t write his own book, and is too black to be smart. The joke, I fear, relies in part on racism. So does the absurd condescension from someone like Palin of all people! In the end, of course, the joke is on the bigots. What does it say that a man they think is this dumb is beating them in the polls? Weigel, meanwhile, gleefully photographed the presence of teleprompters at CPAC.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/

    Like

  23. rikyrah says:

    February 16, 2012 10:08 AM

    Garry Wills on the Contraception Mandate
    By Ed Kilgore

    At several points during the administration’s ongoing struggle with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops over contraception coverage, I’ve found myself thinking: “Wonder what Garry Wills would have to say about this?” For those unfamiliar with Wills (one of my idols, from my first reading of Nixon Agonistes back in the 1970s right on up to the 2009 book What the Gospels Meant) he’s the author of an entire array of remarkable books about Christianity, Catholicism, the Founders and U.S. politics.

    Turns out we don’t have to wonder any more, because Wills has at least initially weighed in on the subject at the New York Review of Books’ blog. He certainly doesn’t mince words:

    Pusillanimous Catholics—Mark Shields and even, to a degree, the admirable E. J. Dionne—are saying that Catholics understandably resent an attack on “their” doctrine (even though they do not personally believe in it). Omnidirectional bad-faith arguments have clustered around what is falsely presented as a defense of “faith.” The layers of ignorance are equaled only by the willingness of people “of all faiths” to use them for their own purposes.

    Wills goes on to describe the whole issue as “phony,” from its framing as a test of religious freedom, to the effort to make it a token of Catholic solidarity, to the very assumption that contraception is a religious matter at all.

    I have no idea if Wills is going to write about this more in the immediate future, but I certainly hope so. His blog post has the air of an brief, irritable introduction to a lecture that will leave his opponents scrambling through centuries of texts to salvage their arguments, and their self-confidence.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2012_02/garry_wills_on_the_contracepti035449.php

    Like

  24. Fox News’ Eric Bolling Tells Maxine Waters To ‘Step Away From The Crack Pipe,’ Later Says He Was ‘Kidding’

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/16/eric-bolling-maxine-waters-crack-pipe-fox-news_n_1281540.html#comments

    Fox News host Eric Bolling shocked his co-hosts on “Fox and Friends” when he told Rep. Maxine Waters to “step away from the crack pipe” on Thursday. Bolling quickly said that he was “kidding.”

    Waters stirred up anger on the right when video surfaced on Wednesday showing her calling House Republican leaders John Boehner and Eric Cantor “demons.”

    On Thursday, Bolling and co-host Steve Doocy took turns bashing Waters for the remarks. But Bolling took things to another level.

    “Congresswoman, you saw what happened to Whitney Houston,” he said. “Step away from the crack pipe, step away from the Xanax, step away from the Lorazepam because it’s going to get you in trouble.”

    The other hosts immediately gasped, and Doocy muttered, “she’s not using drugs.”

    Like

  25. Joe Kennedy III announces run for Barney Frank’s seat http://wapo.st/y6OiK0

    Like

  26. Mitt Romney: I Would Have Rescued Detroit, Too!

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/02/mitt-romney-i-would-have-rescued-detroit-too.php

    One important aspect of Mitt Romney’s tough primary in Michigan this month is that it forces him to pin down his position on the auto bailout, which has been highly ambiguous over the last three years. On Wednesday Romney indicated that he may have provided direct loans to the industry — as the Obama administration did — had he been in charge at the time.

    Like

  27. Talking Points Memo @TPM:

    CHART: Independent voters flee Romney…and run to Obama http://tpm.ly/zHOlva

    It’s not surprising then that this voting bloc has had a role in fueling some separation in the national race between President Obama and the former governor, which see-sawed back and forth during 2011 as Obama was stung by the debt ceiling fight and the GOP race was starting up. While things will certainly tighten over the next ten months, the last four weeks of polling have exposed a truth about Romney’s chances in 2012: He’ll definitely have to make the sale.

    Like

  28. rikyrah says:

    Declaration of independents
    By Steve Benen – Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:23 AM EST.

    For much of 2011, when pundits claimed President Obama’s re-election prospects were poor, one area in particular was frequently cited: Obama was struggling with independents, with whom he’d done quite well in 2008. If the president has lost the independents, the argument goes, he’s lost a chance at a second term.

    Putting aside the fact that independents are not a single, like-minded group of voters, the observation was not without merit. National candidates who struggle with this constituency generally fail to win, and there was evidence that Obama’s support with independents had slipped.

    Over the last several weeks, however, that slide has reversed course. Much of this has to do with an improving economy — Obama has seen his standing improve with nearly all groups — but it also has something to do with a trend Republicans should find disconcerting: independents don’t seem to like Mitt Romney at all.

    Take the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, for example. A month ago, Romney led the president among independents, 46% to 39%. As of this week, the numbers have flipped, and Obama now leads Romney among indy voters, 49% to 38%. That’s a dramatic shift in a very short period of time.

    A Pew Research Center poll from earlier this week showed a similar trend — Romney has gone from a 10-point lead over the president among independents to an 8-point deficit in just a month.

    TPM put together this chart to help drive the point home: the more independent voters see of Romney, the more they like Obama.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/16/10424906-declaration-of-independents

    Like

  29. Virginia Vaginal Probe

    Like

  30. rikyrah says:

    February 16, 2012 9:16 AM

    It Takes a Book
    By Ed Kilgore

    According to Bethany Mandel of Commentary, the Santorum Surge is sending journalists scurrying to the libraries or to Amazon to read the book the Pennsylvanian published in 2005 explaining his political philosophy:

    For the first time since his failed 2006 reelection campaign for Senate, journalists are pouring over Santorum’s book It Takes A Family and picking out what, in their minds, are the most offensive parts. Santorum is currently under fire for comments in the book (which he attributes to his wife) that discuss how “radical feminists” have devalued women who choose motherhood over going into the work force. With journalists at every major news organization waiting on their own copies to arrive since Santorum’s unlikely sweep last week, there will certainly be more potentially explosive tidbits from the book. The year after the book’s release, we saw the most conservative excerpts of the book quoted in and out of context in his opponent’s attack ads, and many analysts have cited these as a contributing factor in Santorum’s 18-point loss, a historic margin for an incumbent Republican Pennsylvania U.S. senator.

    I’d suggest those waiting for their copies of Santorum’s book read or re-read the review Bill Galston wrote for the Washington Monthly in 2005. As anyone familiar with Galston’s work would expect, he didn’t do a drive-by assessment of Santorum’s sound bites or just quote his most controversial statements, but came seriously to grips with the then-Senator’s efforts to reconcile illiberal pre-Vatican II Catholic social thinking with American individualism. You should read the whole thing, particularly given Santorum’s current status as the polling front-runner in the GOP presidential race. But as an appetizer, here is Galston’s conclusion:

    In the end, Santorum does not have the courage of his convictions. The logic of his argument should lead him to conclude that parents are not free to raise and educate their children in ways that undermine universal moral truths and socially essential virtues. He shrinks from this conclusion, I suspect, because he understands that his fellow citizens would never accept it. Yet, his premises point straight toward the ultimate concentration of state power we call theocracy. Nothing could be farther from the intention of the Framers in whose name Santorum claims to speak.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2012_02/it_takes_a_book035446.php

    Like

  31. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    February 16, 2012 8:30 AM

    Michigan Microcosm
    By Ed Kilgore

    We’ll obviously be hearing a lot from and about Michigan over the next twelve days, thanks to the state’s February 28 presidential primary, and the focus it will bring to Michi-centric issues like the relationship of the federal government to the auto industry.

    A Michigan focus will also inevitably lead to greater scrutiny of Mitt Romney’s personal story as a Michigan native whose father was not only an auto executive in a very different era, but later the prototypical moderate Republican politician—precisely the kind of politician Mitt set out to be when he started running for office in the 1990s.

    Mitt’s roots in the state, his ambivalent relationship with “Detroit” as a city and as a cultural symbol, and the sense you get that Michiganders are kind of “on to his game” having watched him more closely than most Americans others in his permutations, are all factors that could magnify the impact of the primary’s results here. That’s particularly true if Romney, with all his advantages, manages to lose.

    But win or lose in the primary, Romney’s not looking good in Michigan as a prospective Republican nominee. A new PPP poll of Michigan shows Barack Obama trouncing Romney by a 54-38 margin in the state. Tom Jensen succinctly explains what’s happened to Romney to make his native state virtually unwinnable for him in a general election


    Romney’s seen a major decline in his personal favorability in the state over the last 6 months from 39/43 to now 29/58. His numbers have dropped across the board but the most striking shift is with independents. He’s gone from a +14 spread with them at 48/34 to a -20 one at 32/52.

    52% of Michigan voters support the bailout of the auto industry when they look back on it to 36% opposed. With that majority who support it, Romney’s favorability is 19/75 and he trails Obama 81-15. 62% of Republican voters oppose the bailout to only 24% supportive so that issue may not hurt Romney too much in the primary, but his stance could take the state off the board for him in November.

    So it’s not just Mitt, but his party, that seems out of touch with Michigan perceptions at the moment; Obama beats Rick Santorum by 11 points, Ron Paul by 18 points, and Newt Gingrich by 22 points, in the same PPP survey. Meanwhile all the Michigan numbers reinforce the increasingly strong impression nationally that the basic political configurations of 2008, thought by many to be as distant as those of another century, have returned. Obama’s current 16-point margin over Romney in Michigan is the same as his margin of victory in the state over John McCain.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2012_02/michigan_microcosm035445.php

    Like

  32. rikyrah says:

    The GOP Farm Team Brings the Wingnut Once More
    By Charles P. Pierce
    at 11:15AM

    It’s been a while, so let’s check in on what’s happening in the states which, as we all know, are the Laboratories Of Democracy, and which these days seem under the control of a research syndicate made up of Doctor Frankenstein, Doctor Mengele, and Doctors Howard, Fine, and Howard.

    Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the Virginia House Of Delegates is merrily pushing along a “personhood” amendment similar to the one roundly rejected by the notoriously blue state of Mississippi a few months back. This is the brainchild of a state Delegate named Bob Marshall, who is a bit nutty even by anti-choice standards. Delegate Bob is also a little unhinged on the subject of gay people.

    (He’d also like Virginia to issue its own money, despite the many bad things that happened to Virginia the last time they tried that.)

    So, you would think that cooler heads might prevail in Virginia, and that a bill deemed too radical in Mississippi, and proposed by the legislature’s village idiot might get shuffled off to some dank subcommittee so as not to embarrass the entire Commonwealth. You, of course, would be wrong about this.

    Let us move along, then, to Kansas where, just in time for Valentine’s Day, a bill is being debated today that would allow the state to nullify — there’s that word again — any local anti-discrimination statute passed by any city or town in the state. (Tennessee’s already done this, by the way.) You would think that cooler heads might prevail in Kansas, and that all those proud conservative boasts about “devolving power” down to the local level would come into play to defeat such an overreach by the state government. You, of course, would be very wrong.

    Our last stop is in Arizona, which seems bound and determined to vote itself back to the Stone Age, one law at a time. Not only would this bill get dozens of books chucked out of the curriculum, it apparently is so badly written that it would make a criminal out of any teachers who went home and said to a friend, “This fucking new law about what I can teach belongs in North Fucking Korea.” One of its sponsors is a state representative named Lori Klein, who previously became famous for pulling a gun on a reporter in the middle of an interview, and for defending Herman Cain from charges of horndoggery by stating that he’d never dogged her, “and I am an attractive woman.” (No jokes. Remember, she’s packing.) You would think that cooler heads might prevail, and Arizona would be tired of being the national poster child for bad laws and wingnut overreach. You, of course, would be extremely wrong about this.

    I hate to keep harping on this, but what you’re seeing in the state legislatures is the activity of the Republican farm team. The people voting for laws springing from the mushy brains of people like Bob Marshall and Lori Klein are the young Republicans who, a few cycles from now, will be running for Congress, probably from safe Republican districts that they’ve helped draw up, and aided immeasurably by voter-suppression laws that they’ve helped pass. Most of them will be the products of the vast conservative candidate manufacturing base — the kids at CPAC, the College Republicans, the various Christianist organization. They will not equivocate. They will not moderate. And they are the future of the party. Anyone who thinks the Republican party eventually again will have to “move to the middle” (this translates from the Punditese to “regain its sanity”) isn’t paying attention. In 2006, the Republicans were handed a defeat every bit as epic as any one ever handed to the Democrats. They did not pause to give it a second thought. Their resolve hardened. They ran what few “moderates” were left right out of the party. And, in 2010, they got a wave election that not only gained them the House of Representativse, but also the legislative majorities in the states that are now producing these goofy-ass laws, and a lot more seriously dangerous ones as well. And, even then, they blew a chance to retake the Senate by running sideshow freaks like Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell. They didn’t care.

    They do not stop, even when they’re losing. The country told them, through the 1998 midterms, that it didn’t want Bill Clinton impeached. Bill Clinton got impeached. In 2005, everybody including their Democratic colleagues told them that they were going off the cliff in their meddling in the life and death of Terri Schiavo. There were gobs of polling data to back them up. The Republicans kept meddling even after Ms. Schiavo passed.Is there any evidence that the Republicans are moving “toward the middle” in their presidential contest? Ask poor Willard Romney if that’s the case. The current frontrunner is a nutball ultramontane Catholic who lost his last race by 18 points, at least in part because he was one of the more noxious of the Schiavo meddlers.

    The fact is that the presidency is not really that important to them. They have found a way to make it impossible for any Democratic president to govern as a Democrat. Their real goal is in the legislatures, federal and state, where they have been able to exercise their power on the issues they care about. They will not change themselves. They are going to have to have the wingnut flogged out of them over several losing election cycles, and they’ve arranged things in the states so that may not be possible. The president should not be talking about “Congress” and “Washington,” and expect the country to clue in that he’s nudging and winking in code about the Republicans. He should make it clear that one of our two major political parties is now an extremist party from its lowest levels to its highest echelons. This should be an issue in the campaign as imporant as income inequality or campaign finance, but it won’t be. Barack Obama’s just not built that way. And, out in the states, things are getting crazier by the day. In Virginia, by the way, Bob Marshall’s running for the U.S.Senate in 2012. In any party that was halfway

    Read more: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/states-rights-next-generation-6655303#ixzz1mYRKXK1N

    Like

  33. rikyrah says:

    Jobless claims reach four-year low
    By Steve Benen – Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:40 AM EST.

    The general trend on initial unemployment claims over the last few months has been largely encouraging, despite occasional setbacks, and most analysts expected this morning’s report to show a modest uptick in filings.

    The good news is, that didn’t happen. The better news is, initial jobless claims have reached a level so low, the numbers haven’t been this good in four years.

    Weekly jobless claims in the U.S. fell by 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 348,000 in the week ended Feb. 11, the Labor Department said Thursday. That’s the lowest level since March 2008, when the U.S. was in the early stages of a recession. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch estimated claims would total 368,000. Claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 361,000 from 358,000. The four-week average of claims, meanwhile, fell by a smaller 1,750 to 365,250, keeping it near a four-year low.

    In terms of metrics, keep in mind, when these jobless claims fall below the 400,000 threshold, it’s considered evidence of an improving jobs landscape. When the number drops below 370,000, it suggests jobs are actually being created rather quickly.

    We’ve now dropped below 370,000 for two consecutive weeks, and three of the last five weeks.

    And with that, here’s the chart, showing weekly, initial unemployment claims going back to the beginning of 2007. (Remember, unlike the monthly jobs chart, a lower number is good news.) For context, I’ve added an arrow to show the point at which President Obama’s Recovery Act began spending money.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/16/10424634-jobless-claims-reach-four-year-low

    Like

  34. Breaking News:

    General Motors posts record $7.6 billion net profit for 2011; 1st year since 2004 that all Big Three automakers are profitable – @CNNMoney

    Like

  35. rikyrah says:

    Feb. 16, 2012, 8:30 a.m. EST
    U.S. weekly jobless claims drop 13,000 to 348,000

    // WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) – Weekly jobless claims in the U.S. fell by 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 348,000 in the week ended Feb. 11, the Labor Department said Thursday. That’s the lowest level since March 2008, when the U.S. was in the early stages of a recession. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch estimated claims would total 368,000. Claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 361,000 from 358,000. The four-week average of claims, meanwhile, fell by a smaller 1,750 to 365,250, keeping it near a four-year low. //

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-weekly-jobless-claims-drop-13000-to-348000-2012-02-16?siteid=bnbh

    Like

  36. The Associated Press @AP

    BREAKING: Weekly unemployment applications drop to 348,000, lowest level in 4 years.

    Like

  37. rikyrah says:

    Maya Angelou: ‘Barack Obama has done a remarkable job’

    Poet and veteran civil rights activist, Maya Angelou is the sage of black America. And for her, Barack Obama has delivered. She talks about her hopes for his-re-election – and receiving an award from his wife Michelle

    There has always been something bittersweet about the life experience of Maya Angelou. Think of the literature fashioned from a harsh and tragic upbringing in racially segregated Missouri and Arkansas: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings; Wouldn’t Take Nothing for my Journey Now. Think of her triumphs articulating the struggle of African Americans through the civil rights era. Consider that each year, her birthday, 4 April, brings with it both joy and painful memories. Who would share that anniversary with the assassination of her friend, Martin Luther King?

    This year, if it progresses as Angelou expects, will exacerbate the pattern, bringing a momentous high, but not before some sickening lows. Don’t worry about Barack Obama, says the chronicler of black history. He’ll be re-elected. He deserves to be re-elected. But between now and November, it’s going to get nasty.

    “I think we are going to see a number of people who say: ‘I have no racial prejudice in my heart, not in my conversation,'” Angelou says. “But in the next few months, as we wind up to the double campaign, I tell you we are going to see some nastiness, some vulgarity, I think. They’ll pull the sheets off.”

    Obama has critics and doubters. Angelou, the sage of black America, now 83, has no time for them. “I think he has done a remarkable job, knowing how much he has been opposed,” she says. “Every suggestion he makes, the Republicans en masse fight against him or don’t vote at all.” It’s about him being a Democrat and being the first black president, she says.

    ………………….

    Reflecting on that presidency, what did she expect? “I was hoping for the best. And I think I have gotten the best from him.” What of his detractors? “Those are people who didn’t see the morass into which he stepped.”

    He is America’s president. But he also describes himself as America’s first black president. That, says Angelou, speaking from her home in North Carolina, has had an extraordinary impact on black America. “His physical self, just being there, his photograph in the newspapers as president of the United States; that has done so much good for the spirit of the African American. We see more and more children wanting to be like President Obama, wanting to go to school.”

    Angelou, still active despite chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), has been keen to fete Obama, and he has been equally keen to return the favour. In 2010, she was named at the White House as one of 15 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honour. Obama quoted her, saying: “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

    More recently, her presidential link has been via the first lady, Michelle Obama. “She’s the grand dame,” says Angelou. “I wrote her a note a few months ago because I was in a gathering. The president and his party were there, but I had to leave early. I know that’s a gaffe because no one leaves the building before the president so I wrote and apologised. I got a letter from her in her own handwriting. She said: ‘I have only one regret – that I didn’t come over and hug your neck.'”

    When next they met, Angelou’s shock was palpable. Millions of viewers of the US channel Black Entertainment Television (BET) saw the author – recipient of three Grammys, a Pulitzer nomination and 30 honorary degrees – prepare to receive more yet recognition; a BET Honors award. She had no idea who would present it. Enter the first lady. “She talked for about 10 minutes about my work and its impact on her and her husband for the past 20 years,” she says. “Calm now, but not then, Angelou told reporters: “I thought my heart would burst.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/feb/15/maya-angelou-barack-obama-remarkable-job?CMP=twt_gu

    Like

  38. dannie22 says:

    good morning all

    Like

  39. Allen West sings Pretty Woman

    Like

  40. New GOP Medicare plan promotes private insurance, raises eligibility age, increases premiums

    http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/139424153.html

    WASHINGTON – Two Republican senators are unveiling a Medicare rescue plan that features an accelerated transition to private health insurance for many seniors, a gradual increase in the eligibility age, and higher premiums for middle-class and upper-income retirees.

    Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Richard Burr of North Carolina say they’re not out to win a political popularity contest. Instead, they want to engage fellow policymakers and the public in a “grown-up” conversation about the scope of changes needed to preserve Medicare in some form for future generations.

    “All of us in Congress are running around fixing everything except our biggest problem,” Coburn said in an interview. “If you don’t start fixing Medicare now, you can’t save it.”

    The plan to be announced Thursday is unlikely to advance in Congress during an election year, but it will help define the debate for presidential and congressional candidates.

    Like

  41. A newspaper front page shows a photo of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama at a newsstand in Beijing, China, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012. Xi, who is expected to become president in 2013, made clear that China wants a deeper relationship with the United States and even welcomes its engagement in the Asia-Pacific, as long as it respects China’s interests and concerns in its own neighborhood.

    Like

  42. The Other Sarah: What’s wrong with Sarah Palin?

    http://www.politicususa.com/en/other-sarah-palin

    Familiarity with Palin Breeds Contempt, Fear and Alarm

    Sarah Palin’s much-anticipated debut on Fox News this week has not gone well. From O’Reilly’s condescension to Beck’s mocking of her paranoia, this has been a rough roll out for the ambitious, yet ignorant, and paranoid Palin.

    While Palin is a savvy person who can be quick and clever, her worldview is the size of a postage stamp and her mind has long since shuttered out any reality other than the small town she grew up in.

    She’s willfully ignorant, yes. But not dumb. Plenty of ignorant people skate by on TV. Heavens, she can wear an ear prompter, get scripts in advance. Masking ignorance is the great charade of TV and has given us many failed leaders; Bush’s notorious ear prompters for “spontaneous answers” come to mind.

    Like

  43. Obama outraises Republican rivals in two-thirds of states http://usat.ly/zvZBRk

    Like

  44. Mitt Romney to auto industry…

    Smiley Run Over By Train

    Like

  45. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/15/whitney-houston-funeral-livestream-online_n_1280244.html

    NEW YORK — Fans worldwide who want to bid Whitney Houston farewell will be able to watch her private funeral on the Internet.

    Her publicist, Kristen Foster, announced that The Associated Press will be allowed a camera at the Saturday ceremony in Newark, N.J. The AP will stream the service on . The event also will be available to broadcasters via satellite. http://livestream.com/aplive

    Houston was born in Newark. She died in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Saturday at the age of 48. Her body was flown back to her native New Jersey on Monday.

    The service will be at New Hope Baptist Church, where she sang as a child. She will be buried in Fair View Cemetery in Westfield, where her father, John Russell Houston Jr., was buried in 2003.

    Like

  46. …I didn’t know that.

    Like

  47. Good Morning, 3Chics! Happy Thursday!

    smile it's the second best thing you can do with your lips

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