Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread | India Arie Week!

Wiki: India.Arie (born India Arie Simpson; October 3, 1975) is a Grammy Award-winning American singer-songwriter and record producer .[1] She has sold over 3.3 million records in the U.S. and 10 million worldwide. She has won four Grammy Awards from her 21 nominations, including Best R&B Album.

Simpson was born in Denver, Colorado. Her musical skills were encouraged by both parents early in life. Her mother Joyce is a former singer (she was signed to Motown as a teenager and opened for Stevie Wonder and Al Green)[2] and is now her stylist. She has an older brother named J’On. After her parents divorced, Simpson’s mother moved the family to Atlanta, Georgia when she was thirteen.[3] Simpson had taken up a succession of musical instruments throughout her schooling in Denver, but her interest in the guitar while attending the Savannah College of Art and Design, in Savannah, led to a personal revelation about songwriting and performing. “When I started tapping into my own sensitivity, I started to understand people better. It was a direct result of writing songs”, she said at the press release of her debut album, Acoustic Soul.

Co-founding the Atlanta-based independent music collective Groovement EarthShare (Groovement was the collective artists’ name and EarthShare was their independent label name), her one-song turn on a locally-released compilation led to a second-stage gig at the 1998 Lilith Fair. In 1999, a Universal/Motown music scout spotted her and made an introduction to former Motown CEO Kedar Massenberg. Arie currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia.

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71 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread | India Arie Week!

  1. rikyrah says:

    Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 07:42 AM PST
    David Koch on Walker recall: ‘We’ve spent a lot of money in Wisconsin. We’re going to spend more.’

    by Laura Clawson

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has help in fending off a recall:

    Asked about his efforts to sway public opinion, [David] Koch acknowledges his group is hard at work in places such as Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker is facing off with public unions and grappling with a likely recall vote.

    “We’re helping him, as we should. We’ve gotten pretty good at this over the years,” he says. “We’ve spent a lot of money in Wisconsin. We’re going to spend more.”

    The Koch brothers are giving Walker that help because:

    “What Scott Walker is doing with the public unions in Wisconsin is critically important. He’s an impressive guy and he’s very courageous,” Koch says after a benefit dinner of salmon and white wine. “If the unions win the recall, there will be no stopping union power.”

    Right-wing billionaires are pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into keeping Scott Walker in office because they see him as key to stopping “union power.” Looking at the amount of power unions have in this country—hint: not much—you can see just how thoroughly the Koch brothers want to crush unions, and how central to that Scott Walker is, whether as an active force in the state of Wisconsin or as a national figurehead for union-busting.

  2. rikyrah says:

    The ‘Conspiracy’ Is Fact: Santorum Booster Franklin Graham Questions Obama’s Faith
    February 21, 2012
    By Sarah Jones

    A few days ago Andrea Mitchell failed to catch a Santorum spokesperson referring to Obama’s “radical Islamic policies” and in the apology tour, Anne Kornblut from the Washington Post tittered about the “conspiracy theorists” who would jump on this statement to think it meant that Santorum really speaks this way about the President.

    Politico reported Monday (yesterday):

    “I expect we’re going to hear more from Alice Stewart (Santorum spokesperson) apologizing about those remarks. But there will be conspiracy theorists thinking it was some kind of message she was trying to get out or it was really on the mind of the Santorum campaign when they are talking about President Obama,” Kornblut said.

    Newsflash to Andrea and Anne and the rest of the mainstream media: It is. Where have you been?

    In fact, as a political reporter, for one to have missed this rather salient point, is confounding. It happens to be a major part of every Republican’s “policies”. They are, in fact, running on a 2008 redux of “He’s not like us.”

    In case there is any confusion, here is Franklin Graham on this morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe claiming that he can’t be sure Obama is a Christian and Obama doesn’t care about Christians being murdered, courtesy of Media Matters:

    Graham: Obama seems more concerned about (Muslims) than the Christians that are being murdered in Muslim countries.

    Graham then refuses to assert whether or not he thinks the President is a Christian, and relies upon the petulant and much-abused, “You have to ask President Obama….He has said he’s a Christian so I have to assume that he is but the question is what is a Christian….” refuge.

    Graham then proceeds to give us a definition of a Christian, which apparently involves getting approval of Franklin Graham. Graham then goes on to suggest that Obama may not have really come to Jesus. The good news is that Graham is sure that Jesus has forgiven him (Franklin) for his sins. This much he DOES know. After hard push back from the Morning Joe panel, Graham then tells us that Islam sees Obama as a son of Islam. Ahhh….Yes, so now we’re impugning the President based on Graham’s feelings about how Islam sees the President. Nice trick.

    But if we were to connect this to Santorum’s religious digs at Obama, we’d be “conspiracy theorists”.

    Kudos to the MSNBC panel of Morning Joe for trying to force Graham to articulate his fallacious attacks on the President’s religious beliefs. Graham’s duck and dodge was quite the dance under the circumstances.

  3. rikyrah says:

    February 21, 2012 3:00 PM
    Time For More Tax Cuts!

    By Ed Kilgore

    What do Republican politicians do when they need to pick it up a step? You’ve got it: they propose more tax cuts.

    So it’s no great surprise that Mitt Romney is signaling that he’s coming out with a new, “bold” tax proposal to coincide with his stretch drive towards primaries next week in Michigan and Arizona, not to mention the upcoming Super Tuesday (March 6).

    The chosen herald for this news appears to be that intrepid supply-sider, Larry Kudlow of National Review, who reports, with barely restrained excitement, that Mitt’s new tax cuts will be “across-the-board with supply-side incentives from rate reduction, and that it will help small-business owners as well as everyone else.”

    You may wonder why Romney didn’t find space for this stuff in his previously released 159-page economic plan. Looking at that beast for the first time in a while, it already includes making the Bush tax cuts permanent; abolishing estate taxes; a partial abolition of taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains; and lower corporate tax rates. Ah, but there it is, the placeholder for new goodies: “a conservative overhaul of the tax system over the long term that includes lower, flatter rates on a broader base.”

    Now lots of folks in both parties think it might be possible to have lower income tax rates if the lost revenues are offset by aggressive elimination of tax expenditures, from fossil fuel subsidies to the mortgage interest deduction, all of them zealously defended by some powerful lobby. It will be interesting to see if Romney moves in that direction, or instead (as one might guess from Kudlow’s enthusiasm) relies on the old voodoo magic of supply-side economics, and pretends lower rates will pay for themselves. Since he’s in full primary pander mode, it’s unlikely he’ll propose anything a signfiicant number of GOP primary voters will find objectionable.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Would Romney raise the debt ceiling?

    By Steve Benen

    Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:02 PM EST.

    Mitt Romney found it relatively easy to take down Newt Gingrich, targeting the disgraced former House Speaker’s controversial past. Going after Rick Santorum isn’t quite as easy.

    Here’s what Romney’s come up with so far.

    Associated Press

    Romney spoke for about 10 minutes with Sen. Rob Portman, R-[Ohio], at his side, the highest-ranking Republican in the state to endorse his candidacy.

    Romney took a brief shot at his principal opponent in the March 6 Ohio primary, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, saying that while Santorum was in the Senate, “he voted five times to raise the debt ceiling.”

    There were a few other criticisms, but it’s the debt-ceiling votes that have apparently become a favorite of the Romney campaign.

    This is, to put it mildly, bizarre. Romney apparently hopes to prove that Santorum’s routine votes to raise the federal debt limit will make the former senator look like a less-than-reliable conservative. As Jon Chait recently noted, “I continue to enjoy Romney’s sheer contempt for the electorate. Raising the debt ceiling and voting for earmarks are things that everybody does in Congress, including Republicans. Whereas supporting abortion rights, establishing universal health care, and calling yourself progressive are not things that Republican governors normally do.”

    Yesterday’s remarks in Ohio were especially jarring — Romney was standing alongside Sen. Rob Portman (R), who not only repeatedly voted to raise the debt ceiling himself as a member of Congress, but also served as George W. Bush’s budget director when the Bush/Cheney administration repeatedly raised the debt ceiling.

    In other words, Romney was condemning Santorum for taking the same position his closest Ohio ally also took.

    What’s more, there’s no evidence whatsoever that Romney has ever been bothered by these debt-limit increases before. Under Reagan, the U.S. raised the debt ceiling 18 times, and under Bush/Cheney, it was raised seven times. I can’t find any record of Romney ever complaining at the time about any of these increases.

    Now, however, Romney apparently considers this policy deeply troubling. So, here’s the follow-up question for the former governor: if elected, you’ll have to raise the debt ceiling several times, just as every modern president from both parties has done. Will you balk, pursue default, and trash the full faith and credit of the United States, or will you do what Santorum, Portman, and did?

    This really isn’t a hypothetical issue, and if Romney is serious about debt-ceiling demagoguery, he has a responsibility to explain how he’ll handle the issue in office.

  5. rikyrah says:

    It’s Costing Romney a Fortune to Buy the Election
    Elspeth Reeve 956 Views11:01 AM ET

    It’s not that Mitt Romney’s money is no good in the Republican primary, it’s just that his money buys a lot less than everyone else’s. It’s like Mitt Romney’s political donations come in another currency — BerkShares, perhaps? — and the exchange rate in the Republican primary isn’t great. Romney has vastly outspent his competitors for the Republican nomination with not-so-vast success. Here’s our analysis of what Romney bought so far, based on the financial disclosure forms released Monday.

    The New York Times reports that 44 percent of Romney’s donors maxed out. While that’s bad in the long run, it’s theoretically good in the short run. Thats because just like in business, in campaign fundraising, you have to spend money to make money. And you have to spend less money to make money from bigger donors. So Romney should have used proportionally less of his money to raise more money, freeing him up to convince voters that he’s His was able to spend $10 million on communicating with voters, ABC News reports. The campaign used a super-expensive system to microtarget voters based on all kinds of consumer information, like how much they loved Williams Sonoma. Which makes these results even less impressive:
    Romney raised $6.5 million in January.
    Romney spent $19 million on the first four votes.
    Romney won two of the votes, and lost two. Then, in February, he won two more and lost three.

    Compare that to Rick Santorum’s money-for-votes record:
    Santorum raised $4.5 million in January.
    Santorum spent $3.3 million in January.
    Santorum won one primary in January. The next month, he lost two and won three.

    That’s despite the fact that Santorum was stuck in third place in national polls all of January, and that just $852,000 of his donations came from people giving $1,000 or more. Romney peaked in polls in January, right around when he destroyed his opponents in the New Hampshire primary. You would think that would mean money would rush in. (Barack Obama raised $32 million in January 2008, while Hillary Clinton raised $13.5 million, The Times points out.) But the cash didn’t come, at least, not in the waves that his rivals raised. Newt Gingrich took in almost as much money as Romney — $5.6 million — even though he was being trashed by tons of conservative leaders on TV as a socialist panderer who wanted a moon colony.

    Romney started with a huge financial advantage — he raised $56 million in 2011. He began this campaign, as Politico reported in August 2010, using a fundraising strategy he pioneered in 2006 — using state political action committees to allow him to raise more money from high-dollar contributors. Romney hasn’t started tapping his own impressive wealth to get his mediocre results. In April of last year, he began his 2012 campaign by forgiving the last $250,000 he’d loaned to his 2008 campaign. He’d already written off the rest of the $45 million he spent losing the 2008 primary.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Virginia House puts off ultrasound bill again
    By Laura Conaway
    Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:17 PM EST.

    The Virginia House of Delegates again today decided to put off voting on the Senate’s version of a bill to require women seeking an abortion to first undergo medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds. They also let the vote “pass by” yesterday, with a more than a thousand demonstrators lined up in a silent protest outside.

    Democratic Delegate David Englin writes:

    Quick update on Va. GOP’s vaginal penetration ultrasound mandate: The Senate version of the bill (Senate Bill 484) was scheduled for debate and final vote today, but House Republicans again made a motion to push off the debate and vote by another day. The same happened for Senate Bill 349, the so-called “conscience clause” bill that allows state-funded adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against GLBT families and youth.

    House Democrats then attempted a parliamentary maneuver that would have killed the ultrasound bill forever, but that failed on a party-line vote. Therefore, both bills are now scheduled for debate and vote tomorrow.

    Virginia Republicans are suddenly running scared of their own social agenda!

    Back in December, Governor Bob McDonnell’s administration approved a new list of reasons adoption agencies can discriminate against prospective parents — including religion, political belief and sexual orientation. More on Virginia’s “conscience clause” for adoptions bill here.

  7. rikyrah says:

    02:41 PM EST
    Redistricting Puts Bachmann In Blue District — But She’ll Continue To Run In Old One

    Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), a Tea Party favorite who made an unsuccessful run for president, has just encountered a slight complication in her re-election race to the House.

    A judicial panel in Minnesota has released a new Congressional map for the state. The map shows that Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann’s hometown of Stillwater, which was previously near the border of her heavily Republican 6th District, has now been put into the St. Paul-based 4th District of Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum.

    However, Bachmann tells the Star Tribune that she will run for re-election in the 6th, rather than the 4th, and thus avoid the member vs. member match against McCollum. Bachmann would likely have lost in her new home of the 4th District, while the 6th District is still mostly the same as it was before.

    Bachmann also told the paper that she has not yet decided whether to move into the 6th District. But it should be noted that the United States Constitution only requires state-level residency, not district-level, for member of the House. And Bachmann could feasibly continue to run in the district she has represented for six years, even though her hometown is no longer included within it

  8. rikyrah says:

    Two Charts That Should Make Romney Gulp

    Benjy Sarlin February 21, 2012, 1:05 PM

    It’s no secret that, as far as frontrunners go, Mitt Romney’s never exactly set the grassroots on fire. But his latest fundraising numbers drive home just how weak his small donor appeal is compared to his rivals — and especially President Obama.

    One good measure of fundraising strength with the masses is contributors who have given less than $200, who are not listed individually in finance reports. Let’s take a look at how the candidates stack up in the chart below, which shows how many of their millions have come from these low-money donors versus the higher rollers in the 2012 cycle.

    As you can see, Romney is the clear anomaly by a long shot, raising nearly 90 percent of his total haul from larger contributions. By contrast, only around 40% of Obama’s donations are from individuals who have given more than $200 total and his smaller contributors alone raised more money in total than Romney’s entire fundraising operation. For the rest of the Republican field, the ratio is somewhere closer to 50-50 — take a look at the total small donor cash for Gingrich and Paul, for example, and you see that their huge disadvantage versus Romney is almost entirely due to the frontrunner’s bigger contributors.

    “What it shows is that [Romney] does not have a broad base of support among small donors, who are motivated to give small amounts to the campaign,” campaign finance expert and UC-Irvine professor Richard Hasen told TPM.

    But the real worry for Romney is maxed out donors, who have given the $2,500 limit to his primary run and can no longer legally contribute. The chart below shows what percentage of each candidate’s total cash as of the start of 2012 came from top dollar donations.

    Once again, Romney stands out big time, with 67% of his overall money derived from max donors. And after turning in a weaker than expected $6.5 million haul for January while burning through $18.8 million in expenses, wealthy backers tapping out may be a real problem. Hillary Clinton experienced similar troubles right around the same time in her presidential run, forcing her to donate $5 million of her own money in February 2008. At the start of that year, 56% of Clinton’s campaign donations came from max contributors vs. 40% for President Obama, who was running rings around her with under-$200 donors.

    Romney does have some advantages over Hillary, however. He isn’t running against someone like Obama in the primary, whose 2008 operation was to fundraising what Jeremy Lin is to basketball. Gingrich, Santorum, and Paul have not been particularly impressive at bringing in cash lately and none of them beat Romney’s January numbers. Meanwhile, Hasen notes that John McCain’s late primary fundraising was also more reliant on big donors than some of his rivals — 44% of his contributions at the start of 2008 were max level, yet he survived the primary.

    But, much more importantly, Romney has a weapon that no candidate had in 2008: Super PACs. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, those rich donors who want to help out Romney with more than $2,500 can cut a check as gaudy as they want to an independent group called Restore Our Future, which is run by his former staffers,. And that’s exactly what they’re doing. Not only did Romney’s Super PAC outraise all its rivals in 2012, but the vast majority of the donations were over $100,000. Only in the last few weeks, with Sheldon Adelson cutting $5 million checks to Newt Gingrich ahead of competitive primaries, are his rivals beginning to compete.

    The trouble with Super PACs is that while they can help blanket the airwaves with attack ads, the campaign still needs to raise money to finance basic necessities like staff and travel. If things get tight there, Romney has another advantage his competitors don’t have: $200 million plus in personal assets. While Romney spent over $42 million of his own money on his 2008 bid, dipping into his own funds would be an embarrassing sign of weakness given that he long ago decided to rely on donors this time around.

  9. rikyrah says:

    February 21, 2012

    The ‘X’ Factor; a battle of pure polarization

    Newt Gingrich’s s-pac manservant Rick Tyler broods that in the expansive wasteland of Mitt Romney’s total war and scorched-earth campaigns, “there will be no one left to vote against Barack Obama.” And Newt Gingrich’s manservant may not be far from the truth.

    Look at it this way: X.

    Which is to say, political psychologists have long agreed that negative advertising’s collateral damage, in any general election season, lies in the alienation of independent voters, while in primary seasons its chief aim is to drive all but friendly partisans within the broader partisan camp of party into despair, indifference, and dormancy. This, the GOP’s presidential candidates have accomplished admirably: out of Maine’s more than 1.3 million residents, for example, scarcely 6,000, or 0.4 percent, bothered with civic duty.

    Republican genocide is taking a prodigious toll, and one must ponder its lasting effect. For about a quarter-year now we’ve witnessed massive air campaigns of charges and countercharges of malfeasance, fiscal recklessness, “serial hypocrisy” and “corporate raiding” and “blood money” — the war portends no delimitation, only escalation. When, however, this civil war officially concludes, and two-party belligerency commences, one easily envisions Republican enthusiasm as the top-left-to-bottom-right line in an ‘X’ graph. That is, there will be casualties and durable animosities lingering within the GOP base, which should materialize in lower turnout.

    Meanwhile, though, Barack Obama will possess an unmolested, essentially unified and motivated base, translating into the ‘X’s’ bottom-left-to-upper-right line. In other words, the scourge of polarization could actually work to Obama’s advantage; or, put another way, the independent vote may prove to be of lesser importance in 2012 than in preceding elections.

    With Obama and Mr. X (but probably Romney) blasting away at each other with martial abandon, independents will doubtless experience the selfsame despair the GOP base is now experiencing. In brief, independents could likely stay at home, which would cut into Obama’s numbers. Yet while Obama has a unified and (given Obama’s stump skills) energized base to work with, the disaffected, demoralized and despairing GOP base — see Tyler, above: “there will be no one left to vote against Barack Obama” — could likely stay home as well.

    Thus the rough and enduring equilibrium of this nation’s left and right camps could be thrown into a vast disequilibrium on the only day that will matter: November 6.


  10. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    February 21, 2012 12:16 PM
    Santorum: “You’re Not A Christian”
    By Ed Kilgore

    Defenders of Rick Santorum are very angry that anyone would suggest his “phony theology” comments about the president represented an attack on a fellow Christian’s beliefs. Turns out he was a bit more direct about it in an appearance in 2008, as reported at the time by Beliefnet founder Steve Waldman (who passed along a link to his post):

    After he’d accused Obama and other Democrats of religious fraudulance for a few minutes, journalist Terry Mattingly of asked whether it’s possible that rather than being fake, perhaps, Obama was sincerely reflecting a form of liberal Christianity in the tradition of Reinhold Neibuhr. Santorum surprised me by answering that yes, “I could buy that.” However, he questioned whether liberal christianity was really, well, Christian. “You’re a liberal something, but you’re not a Christian.” He continued, “When you take a salvation story and turn it into a liberation story you’ve abandoned Christiandom and I don’t think you have a right to claim it.”

    In other words, Obama’s faith is fraudulant in part because liberal Christianity is. I’ve come across this sentiment before. To a degree rarely discussed, many conservative Christians truly doubt both the theological truth and the spiritual authenticity of liberal Christians.

    As it happens, the Santorum appearance Waldman wrote about occurred around the same time in 2008 as the Pennsylvanian’s now famous speech at Ave Maria University when he regaled his audience with a narrative of the ongoing war for America between true Christians and Satan. He sadly concluded that mainline Protestantism, which was “gone from the world of Christianity,” had already been lost to His Infernal Majesty. Clearly, the apostasy of liberal Protestants was on his mind at that time, perhaps because of the rise to national power of Barack Obama.

    As Waldman noted, this is not that unusual an attitude for self-consciously conservative Christians to have these days, but it’s unusual to hear it from a politician. Rick Santorum cannot have it both ways, though. If he feels so strongly that Christians who don’t share his particular “world view” aren’t really Christian at all, then he should be loud and proud about it, and stop pretending he’s just this mild-mannered man of faith being persecuted by people who despise the very name of Jesus Christ.

  11. rikyrah says:

    You’re All Reactionaries

    by BooMan
    Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 12:43:35 PM EST

    Jennifer Rubin is alarmed that Rick Santorum is getting so much traction in the Republican primaries. She says that he’s not conservative, but a reactionary. To prove her case, she quotes Rick Santorum explaining the precise doctrine of the Catholic Church on birth control and conjugal love. If there is a problem with Santorum, it’s not that he’s confused about the teachings of the Church. His problem is that he wants to impose those teachings on all of us through the American legal system.
    Most Catholics don’t follow the teachings of the Church on birth control and conjugal love, but I don’t know if you want to go around calling those who do ‘reactionaries’ or denying them their right to call themselves ‘conservatives.’ In any case, I’d think a Washington Post columnist might want to be a little more careful to distinguish Santorum’s beliefs from his political platform. She makes an effort, but this doesn’t quite get it done, in my opinion:

    Santorum is reactionary in his discomfort with women working outside the home (other than his own working mother, presumably), who he claims were bamboozled by greed or “radical feminists” into seeking fulfillment and equality in the workplace. He is reactionary in declaring that women in the military are fit only to “fly small planes,” but not take on the duties they have been assuming under battlefield conditions for years. He is reactionary in telling women (married ones, even!) that contraception is harmful to them.
    Unlike a think tanker or pundit who wants to elucidate the adverse impact of social trends, he is running for president where, through policy and the bully pulpit, he intends to wage war on post-1960 America.

    I’d probably be more sympathetic to Rubin’s concerns if I thought there was a whiff of difference between Santorum’s social conservatism and the rest of the party’s. Okay, there’s a pontifical scent to Santorum that doesn’t hover around the ravings of Michele Bachmann or Tom Coburn, but their positions are largely the same. The only movement conservative I see who doesn’t want to roll everything back to 1960 is Ron Paul, who wants to roll things back to 1912.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Romney: ‘Labor Unions Play An Important Role In Our Society’

    By Alex Seitz-Wald on Feb 21, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Speaking in Michigan today ahead of the state’s primary, Mitt Romney broke with his party’s generally universal opposition to organized labor, saying, “labor unions play an important role in our society.” He noted that they can provide training so their members can learn new skills, “so they’re an important part of America’s economy.” While Romney goes on to say he’s in favor of anti-union right to work legislation and opposes “union bosses,” it’s refreshing to hear a Republican acknowledge that labor unions can serve a legitimate and positive role in the country. Watch it:

    Ironically, Romney has been attacking chief rival Rick Santorum for being too “pro-union.” “[W]hen it comes to Big Labor, Santorum has been about as conservative as Barack Obama,” a Romney campaign email declared. There’s almost zero truth to that statement, as Santorum has been strongly anti-labor.

    Meanwhile, as governor of Massachusetts, Romney supported the police union, offering more money in exchange for their electoral support. The former president of the State Police Association of Massachusetts even said, Romney “stood by labor” as governor.

  13. The enemy has raised it’s ugly head in attacking our President’s faith. We come against this wickedness & rebuke it in Jesus Name. How dare anyone attack a person’s faith?!

    Roman 10:9-10 says…That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

    Vindicate our President, Lord! And deal with Rick Santorum as you see fit.

  14. rikyrah says:

    In need of a new historical touchstone

    By Steve Benen

    Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:33 PM EST.

    Associated Press

    The Watergate in Washington, D.C.

    Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), May 2010:

    An e-mail from Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif.) campaign suggested Wednesday that the controversy over Rep. Joe Sestak’s (D-Pa.) alleged administration job offer could be President Barack Obama’s Watergate scandal.

    [Issa sent] an e-mail with the subject line “The Sestak Affair – Obama’s Watergate?”

    The Weekly Standard, September 2011:

    Will the ‘Fast and Furious’ Scandal Be Obama’s Watergate?

    Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), November 2011:

    Appearing Friday afternoon on Fox News, Michele Bachmann made a striking accusation against the Obama administration, presenting a severe conspiracy surrounding the government’s involvement in the failed Solyndra solar power company.

    “It just stinks on every level. This makes Watergate look like child’s play,” Bachmann declared.

    The American Spectator, this morning:

    Is Media Matters Obama’s Watergate?

    So far, none of these assorted controversies have amounted to much. In fact, some aren’t even coherent controversies at all.

    Put even putting that aside, can the right at least come up with a new touchstone to serve as a point of historical comparison?

  15. Ametia says:

    Posted at 01:16 PM ET, 02/21/2012
    Will improving economy boost Obama’s leverage over GOP?
    By Greg Sargent

    Will Obama’s victory on the payroll tax cut — combined with rising approval ratings and signs of an accelerating recovery — give him more leverage to prevail upon Congress to pass other items on his jobs-creation agenda?
    In a speech just now, Obama called on Congress not to get complacent about the recovery, and to pass his plan to help underwater homeowners and to pass a form of the Buffett Rule, for the good of the economy:
    My message to Congress is: Don’t stop here. Keep going. Keep taking the action that people are calling for to keep this economy growing…There’s a lot more that we can do — and there’s plenty of time to do it — if we want to build an economy where every American has the chance to find a job that pays well and supports a family.

  16. Supreme Court To Revisit Affirmative Action In University Of Texas Case

    WASHINGTON — Affirmative action is heading back to the Supreme Court, and this time its prospects for survival are poorer than ever.

    The Court announced on Tuesday that it has agreed to hear a challenge to the University of Texas’ affirmative action program, which is used in sorting through applications after the automatic admission of all in-state applicants who graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class.

    The state’s top 10 percent law was passed as a race-neutral way of facilitating diversity on campus after a federal appeals court in 1996 banned affirmative action in Texas’ public universities. Then in 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court — in a majority opinion written by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor for herself and the Court’s four liberals — approved of certain types of race-conscious admissions practices in higher education for the purpose of achieving a diverse student body. In response, the University of Texas reinstated affirmative action, this time to assess applicants who would not be automatically admitted under the top 10 percent law.

    The state’s top 10 percent law was passed as a race-neutral way of facilitating diversity on campus after a federal appeals court in 1996 banned affirmative action in Texas’ public universities. Then in 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court — in a majority opinion written by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor for herself and the Court’s four liberals — approved of certain types of race-conscious admissions practices in higher education for the purpose of achieving a diverse student body. In response, the University of Texas reinstated affirmative action, this time to assess applicants who would not be automatically admitted under the top 10 percent law.

    Abigail Noel Fisher was one such student. In Fisher v. University of Texas, she claims that she was unconstitutionally denied admission because she is white. Texas argues that the use of race in its admissions process is indistinguishable from the University of Michigan Law School practices that the Supreme Court approved in 2003.

    • Ametia says:

      What a hateful. petty, disrepectful small little, man. So glad Wille Geist checked his ass on calling POTUS “OBAMA.”

      • Matthew 7:15

        Jesus: “Beware of false prophets, who
        come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are
        ravenous wolves”.

        Roman 10:9-10 says…That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

        And there you have it! When did God give Franklin Graham the power to discern and read hearts?

      • Ametia says:

        This TURD, Graham gets to speak for “most Christians” now, huh? Please deliver us from this EVIL.

    • rikyrah says:

      see we were on the same point…

      the same pissed off point

    • rikyrah says:

      here’s a longer clip:

      • Ametia says:

        Franklin Graham is a HATEFUL CRACKA. THE.END.

      • Franklin Graham = Racist hiding behind christianity & pretending to be something he’s not. He is NOT a man of God.

      • May 18, 2011

        “We didn’t question the Christianity of President Bush when he said he accepted Christ, and I’m disappointed in Rev. Franklin Graham in that regard,” Jakes told Martin. ”…And I would hope that he would see the rationale in apologizing for such statements — because if the president’s faith is suspect, then all of our faiths are suspect, because the Bible is quite clear about what it takes to be saved and the president has been quite open about his accepting Christ and him openly confessing it before men. And if it’s good enough for the Bible it ought to be good enough for the rest of us.”

      • The Scripture is VERY clear.

        Roman 10:9-10 says…That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

        President Obama has acknowledged his belief in Christ and has confessed his faith before us all. That’s ALL it takes. Anything else other than the above is a LIE & is NOT of God.

      • Ametia says:

        What folks like Graham can’t seem to answer is what happens to folks like me, Jews, Muslims, Hindus who are not Christians? Belief for one group does not mean belief for all. I respect each individuals right to chose their religions, but I will NOT accept anyone pushing their beliefs on me.PERIOD.

      • One thing about Christ is he does not force himself upon anyone.

        The Scripture says ..Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

      • Ametia says:

        I hear you, SG2.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Rove repeats a tired lie
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:30 AM EST.

    Karl Rove must be feeling a little antsy about 2012 — he’s not only repeating falsehoods on national television, he’s telling old lies that were debunked years ago.

    Here was Rove on Fox News last night, telling Sean Hannity about President Obama giving a loan to Brazil.

    “The president gave a loan to Brazil. Brazil which is eating our lunch economically internationally, why do they need our money? They have plenty of their own. [Obama] gave them a loan and told them, as you’ve just alluded to, went down there and said we want to be your best customer.”

    This again? Are Republicans still pushing this bogus story? I remember writing an item setting the record straight in 2010, after having seen it debunked in 2009.

    In far-right circles, President Obama loaned $2 billion to a Brazilian oil company to drill for oil in Brazilian waters, to benefit China. In reality, a Brazilian oil company, PetroBras, received a loan from the independent Export-Import Bank.

    The loan was approved by appointees of — you guessed it — the Bush/Cheney administration.

    The Export-Import Bank agreed to the loan, by the way, in large part because PetroBras agreed to use U.S.-made oilfield equipment and services on the project, which made the deal beneficial for both countries. The notion that Obama is just handing over money to Brazil is just silly.

    It’s possible Rove is bringing up this old argument because of rising gas prices, but for those who take reality seriously, this canard isn’t improving with age.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Trying to Catch His Breath With a Hole-Ridden Safety Net

    By Kevin Zelnio | February 10, 2012

    I’m sitting here on a bed that constantly readjusts itself. It’s terribly annoying and when I lay down on it there is a low rumbling of the motor that pushes air to my legs and sucks it from butt. The noise makes that grey matter between the ears in my head shake. Probably a malfunctioning bed, but it’s nothing to complain about given what is sitting next to me, 2 meters over, in the next adjustable bed.

    I’m at Carteret General Hospital on North Carolina’s scenic Crystal Coast, where I live. My beautiful, precious 6 year old son was admitted this past Tuesday for Pneumonia. It started 6 days before on a Wednesday. He asked his kindergarten teacher if he could lay down. Odd behavior for such an outgoing kid, one of the class favorites who even at 6 already seems quite the ladies man with 2 Lilies, a Tanzania, and an Ellie running up to him each day when I drop him off for school. Along with 2 Charleses, these friends are just the ones we hear about! When I picked up him from school he was clearly exhausted and went to bed early without his dinner.

    On Thursday we kept him home as he was obviously feverish and had flu like symptoms. He was getting worse, but then he tricked me on Sunday. He was looking a little better and was more responsive. We played for while, building bugs and monsters from blocks and putty, and chatting about how we should be getting the second season DVDs of Star Wars: The Clone Wars in the mail the next day. But that Monday [EDITED: Thanks to my wife for the clarification] night was horrible and he started vomiting every time we tried to give him medicine or liquids. He wasn’t eating and his fever was getting pretty high, up to 103. I drugged him the best I could with kid’s OTC meds and on Monday my wife and I attended to his needs however we could.

    We should have taken him to the Urgent Care right then and there. But we didn’t.

    My poor decision-making capabilities in this regard was influenced by my lack of experience with any major disease (I have an immune system of steel, fortified by coffee and whisky), and our lack of insurance. My family includes four of the 49.1 million uninsured people in the United States. I’ve comforted myself that we couldn’t afford private insurance, which we can’t, but at least we were all relatively healthy and never seemed to have problems.

    That was until my eldest started kindergarten this Fall. Now he is frequently at home for a few days with colds or mild flus. Still it’s nothing that popsicles, Dimetapp and a bunch of TLC can’t take care of. I work from home as a consultant and writer, so it didn’t bother me too much if and when I get infected, plus I am there to help my family when they fall ill.

    But recently my mindset has become affected by our position. I tell my kids not to do things that I certainly enjoyed doing as a kid, like don’t climb high on trees, run a little slower on the trail, watch out for roots and stones! It’s not just the usual parental concern either. I’m consciously thinking “oh my god, I cannot afford to fix them if they get broke!”.

    This is the luxury gap between the between the 20% of nonelderly americans who are uninsured and the rest. The luxury is, of course, being able to just walk into a doctor’s office and see them at the appropriate times. It is easy to discount this minority since most are at or near the poverty line. But many of the uninsured are like myself and just can’t seem to make the numbers work for a family of four each month by adding on private individual (i.e. non-group discounted) health insurance. Especially when you factor in the myriad other insurances we already pay: renter’s or home, wind and hail, flood, car, life, etc. It’s not that we are irresponsible, but the numbers. just. don’t. work.

  19. Ametia says:

    LOL I’m posting this again, well… because I can!

  20. Michelle Obama headlining major donor fund-raiser in Washington today

  21. rikyrah says:

    The GOP savior that will never come

    If Mitt melts down, the GOP won’t have a white knight to ride to the rescue

    By Steve Kornacki

    The next round of Republican primaries will take place one week from today, and the possibility that Mitt Romney will suffer a total wipeout can’t be ruled out.

    This is not to over-dramatize the situation. Romney remains favored to prevail in Arizona (where delegates are awarded on a winner-take-all basis) and he’s within striking distance of Rick Santorum in Michigan. Factor in his (and his super PAC’s) ability to saturate each state’s airwaves at will and his previous success at neutralizing rivals who’ve emerged to serious threats, and it’s not hard to see Romney winning both contests next Tuesday, thereby reasserting himself as the clear favorite for the nomination.

    But the fact remains that Romney has trailed in every Michigan poll taken recently, with the newest numbers from Public Policy Polling putting him four points behind. And his edge over Santorum in the most current Arizona survey is just three points, even though Santorum hasn’t put up much of a fight in the state. With Santorum now opening a double-digit lead nationally and with a pivotal debate set for Wednesday night, it’s absolutely possible that Romney will fall short in his native state, Michigan. And it’s not impossible, though far less likely, that he’ll lose in Arizona as well.

    This is why there’s suddenly loud talk about a new candidate jumping in the GOP race. If Romney melts down, Santorum looms as the next most likely victor — and his white hot culture war rhetoric these past few days is a perfect demonstration of why most November-minded Republicans believe his nomination would be a disaster. And after Santorum comes Newt Gingrich, whom those same Republicans tend to regard as poison, and then Ron Paul, who’s a nonstarter. As an unnamed Republican senator told ABC News late last week, “If Romney cannot win Michigan, we need a new candidate.”

    But while the GOP’s need for a savior would be obvious, don’t count on one emerging in the event of a Romney meltdown next Tuesday. There are four major reasons why:

    1. There just isn’t one. It’s been obvious since early last year that there was room for another candidate in the race, one capable of exciting the GOP’s Tea Party base while earning and maintaining the approval of the party’s opinion-shaping elites. This is easier said than done, as Rick Perry painfully demonstrated. The three most commonly mentioned white knights are Jeb Bush, Mitch Daniels and Chris Christie, but each has ideological baggage of his own; whether any is actually what the base is looking for is an open question. And after them, who is there? At this very, very late point, any new candidate would need to demonstrate wide support immediately. There just aren’t many — or any — Republicans who could do this.

  22. Ametia,

    I’m loving India Arie today. She is gorgeous too.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Targeting the existence of public schools
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:46 AM EST.

    About a year ago, when Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign was still in its infancy, he included an interesting target in a list of societal enemies: public education.

    “Just call them what they are,” Santorum said. “Public schools? That’s a nice way of putting it. These are government-run schools.”

    The former senator has apparently begun targeting public schools all over again

    For the first 150 years, most presidents home-schooled their children at the White House, he said. “Where did they come up that public education and bigger education bureaucracies was the rule in America? Parents educated their children, because it’s their responsibility to educate their children.”

    “Yes the government can help,” Mr. Santorum added. “But the idea that the federal government should be running schools, frankly much less that the state government should be running schools, is anachronistic. It goes back to the time of industrialization of America when people came off the farms where they did home-school or have the little neighborhood school, and into these big factories, so we built equal factories called public schools. And while those factories as we all know in Ohio and Pennsylvania have fundamentally changed, the factory school has not.”

    A day later, CBS’s Bob Schieffer asked Santorum, “Are you saying that we shouldn’t have public schools, now? I mean, I thought public schools were the foundation of American democracy.” The Republican presidential hopeful didn’t back down, reemphasizing his belief that federal and state governments should not be involved in public education.

    This is politically risky rhetoric. There’s ample evidence that the American mainstream considers the public education system one of the nation’s most cherished institutions, when asked what areas of the public sector most deserve budget cuts, schools invariably come in last.

    Indeed, Republican pollsters have advised GOP candidates in recent years to avoid calling for the end of the federal Department of Education, largely because it gives the appearance of hostility towards public education, which is thought to be an electoral loser.

    And yet, here we are.


    Let’s also note that Santorum isn’t alone — other Republican presidential candidates over the last year have also denounced public schools. Ron Paul said last year, “The public school system now is a propaganda machine. They start with our kids even in kindergarten, teaching them about family values, sexual education, gun rights, environmentalism — and they condition them to believe in so much which is totally un-American.”

    Michele Bachmann frequently criticized public schools, and Herman Cain went so far as to say there should be no government involvement in education at any level.

    What’s more, this talk is not uncommon in conservative media. CNSNews’ Terry Jeffrey argued not too long ago, “It is time to drive public schools out of business.” Townhall columnist Chuck Norris has begun calling public schools “indoctrination camps.”

    If the right’s goal is to lock up the homeschooling vote in advance of the 2012 elections, I would imagine conservatives have succeeded brilliantly.

  24. President Obama Hosts a Payroll Tax Cut event

    Now streaming…

  25. rikyrah says:

    You can’t spend more than you take in’
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:15 AM EST.

    Rep. Connie Mack IV, a Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Florida, recently shared his thoughts on fiscal conservatism at the Conservative Political Action Conference: “You can’t spend more than you take in.”

    Given his personal circumstances, it’s an odd maxim for Mack to base his campaign on

    Congressman Connie Mack has made penny-pinching debt-reduction central to his U.S. Senate campaign, but privately he has struggled at times with borrowing and paying his own obligations, court records show.

    Mack sometimes appeared to spend more than he earned, had property liens filed against him, overdrew his bank account and didn’t have enough money to pay his federal income taxes after his 2004 congressional election, according to court records from Fort Myers to Jacksonville to Fort Lauderdale. […]

    Mack’s biggest expense: a $675,000 home in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Virginia. Mack used a generous jumbo loan and credit line from the former Countrywide Mortgage to close on the deal less than 20 days after his election. He later took out a $17,000 line of credit on the home with another lender — effectively borrowing nearly 98 percent of the purchase price of the house.

    This is the same guy running for the Senate on a platform of fiscal responsibility?

    Asked to explain his financial difficulties, Mack blamed his divorce and ex-wife, but a Miami Herald analysis found, “[T]hough his divorce certainly contributed to his financial problems, it does not account for all the troubles he was having.”

    In fact, in 2004, during a successful congressional campaign, Mack borrowed an undisclosed sum from his father — himself a former U.S. senator — to pay his federal income tax bill, which came due long before his divorce. Around that time, Mack was spending thousands of dollars more each month than he was taking in.

    The congressman is one of several candidates running in the GOP Senate primary. These revelations probably won’t help give Mack an edge over his rivals.

  26. Ametia says:

    SERIOUSLY, Eugene, the Repubs have already gone down the rabbit hole

    Rick Santorum could take Republicans down with him
    By Eugene Robinson, Published: February 20

    Republicans haven’t quite thrown away what they see as a winnable presidential election, at least not yet. But they’re trying their best.

    In GOP circles, there is more than a whiff of panic in the air. Unemployment is still painfully high, Americans remain dissatisfied with the country’s direction, even the most favorable polls show President Obama’s approval at barely 50 percent — and yet there is a sense that the Republicans’ odds of winning back the White House grow longer day by day.

  27. rikyrah says:

    February 20, 2012 12:05 PM
    Of “Phony Theology”

    By Ed Kilgore

    As Adele Stan noted in this space yesterday, Rick Santorum reached a new summit Saturday in his efforts to paint the president and “liberals” generally as secularist enemies of Christianity. In a speech at a luncheon sponsored by the Ohio Christian Alliance (successor to the Ohio branch of the Christian Coalition), Santorum used an interesting phrase to describe Obama’s belief-system:

    Obama’s agenda is “not about you. It’s not about your quality of life. It’s not about your jobs. It’s about some phony ideal. Some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology,” Santorum told supporters of the conservative Tea Party movement at a Columbus hotel.

    Some observers immediately connected these comments to the widespread myth among Obama-haters that the president is actually a Muslim.

    Thus, when Santorum, under questioning about these remarks, said “If the president says he’s a Christian, he’s a Christian,” it probably looked to some as though he was backing down a bit from the thrust of his attacks.

    I don’t think so.

    As I noted in a post last week that has drawn some fire from conservative bloggers, Santorum is on record identifying with the fairly common fundamentalist belief (shared by some “traditionalist” Catholics and even by secular commentators) that mainline or “liberal” Protestants have largely abandoned Christianity for man-made idols. To use Santorum’s own phrase for Obama, many conservative Christians think mainliners maintain a theology that is “not a theology based on the Bible,” but on the nefarious beliefs of such neo-pagans as the “radical environmentalists” who don’t understand God gave dominion over nature to man for his enjoyment and exploitation.

    In other words, Santorum’s dog-whistle is aimed not so much at people who ignorantly believe Obama is a secret Muslim, but at people who look at Episcopalians and Presbyterians and Methodists and Congregationalists (Obama’s own denominational background) and see infidels who don’t understand that “true” Christianity requires hard-core opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage, or for that matter, environmentalism, feminism, and other departures from nineteenth century American mores. Indeed, in the 2008 Ave Maria University speech I wrote about the other day, Santorum described mainline Protestants as people who had, sadly, gone over to the enemy camp in a “spiritual war” between God and Satan.

    As a Roman Catholic, of course, Rick Santorum doesn’t follow a theology that is based strictly on the Bible, either, but on centuries of (selectively applied) Church teachings that happen to coincide with those of conservative evangelical Protestants. Catholic “traditionalists” are engaged in their own parallel war with “liberal Catholics” whom they accuse of “betraying” their Church by supporting legalized contraception and/or abortion or same-sex marriage or the ordination of women.

    The political alliance of Protestant fundamentalists and Catholic “traditionalists” has become a familiar part of the landscape in this country, odd as it may seem to old-timers who remember the conservative Protestant hostility to JFK’s presidential candidacy on grounds that no Catholic could conscientiously support strict separation of church and state (a position conservative evangelicals have themselves now emphatically abandoned.) But it’s important to understand that all the thundering about “secularism” we hear from the religio-political Right these days represents in no small part an intra-Christian civil war by conservatives on those in every faith tradition who do not accept their elevation of “traditional” cultural values to the level of religious absolutes.

  28. rikyrah says:

    February 21, 2012 9:46 AM
    Unbrokered, Unbought

    By Ed Kilgore

    So it seems the famously disciplined, easily herded, strictly hierarchical voters of the Republican Party are not yet falling into line behind the elites’ favorite candidate, Mitt Romney. And if his campaign collapses, they are not going to be happy with being told said elites will find a replacement for him from outside the current field of candidates.

    This latter finding comes from a new USA Today/Gallup poll, as reported by Susan Page:

    While most Republicans wish they had different choices in the party’s presidential field, a nationwide USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds overwhelming resistance to the idea of an old-styled brokered convention that would pick some new contender as the nominee.

    By 66%-29%, the Republicans and Republican-leaning independents surveyed say it would be better if one of the four candidates now running managed to secure enough delegates to clinch the nomination. Most are happy to see their roller-coaster campaign continue: 57% say the battle isn’t hurting the party.

    Guess the Draft Jeb Bush bandwagon that a “prominent Republican senator” said he’d help set up if Romney lost Michigan had better stay under wraps for a while.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Showing up

    by Kay

    Nothing is as powerful as showing up:

    RICHMOND, Va. — Hundreds of women stood mute, arm-in-arm, forming a human cordon through which legislators walked before Monday’s House and Senate sessions to protest a wave of anti-abortion legislation coursing through Virginia’s General Assembly.

    Capitol and state police officers, there to ensure order, estimated the crowd to be at least 1,000, perhaps 1,500 at the noon peak of the protest. The silent demonstration was over bills that would define embryos as humans and criminalize their destruction, require “transvaginal” ultrasounds of women seeking abortions, and cut state aid to poor women seeking abortions.

    “So there’s opposition to this measure. So what’s new about that?” said Marshall, the sponsor of the “personhood” legislation that could outlaw all abortions and, critics claim, some forms of contraception in Virginia if the 1973 Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion is reversed. The bill passed the House on a vote of 66-32 and is pending before the Senate Education and Health Committee.

    Both chambers have passed legislation that requires women to have a transvaginal ultrasound before undergoing abortions.

    Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, a socially conservative Roman Catholic, has said he will sign the ultrasound bill, but has taken no position on Marshall’s personhood bill, a spokesman said last week.

    I’ve read and thought a lot on the personhood bills, and in my opinion no one really has any idea what will happen if one of these is made law. I think the impact would be (potentially) absolutely huge:

    1.The life of each human being begins at conception.

    2. Unborn children have protectable interests in life, health, and well-being.
    3. The natural parents of unborn children have protectable interests in the life, health, and well-being of their unborn child.
    4. The laws of this Commonwealth shall be interpreted and construed to acknowledge on behalf of the unborn child at every stage of development all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of this Commonwealth, subject only to the Constitution of the United States and decisional interpretations thereof by the United States Supreme Court and specific provisions to the contrary in the statutes and constitution of this Commonwealth.

    5. As used in this section, the term “unborn children” or “unborn child” shall include any unborn child or children or the offspring of human beings from the moment of conception until birth at every stage of biological development.

    6. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as creating a cause of action against a woman for indirectly harming her unborn child by failing to properly care for herself or by failing to follow any particular program of prenatal care.
    7. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as affecting lawful assisted conception.

    I’ve tried to take it down to the practical level, and if I think it through redefining “person” is breathtaking in scope. In my state, Ohio, I think the newly defined “person” would have the same set of rights that a child has, because surely the newly defined person isn’t an adult, so I start there. I suppose a state legislature could attempt to narrow the rights of the “person” (remember: at conception):

    and specific provisions to the contrary in the statutes and constitution of this Commonwealth.

    but I think they’d then end up with two classes of juvenile “persons”, post-conception and post-birth, and that interpretation would then be challenged and also, frankly, unworkable as a practical matter.

    If I just mentally tick off the state law that applies to children and apply that “at conception” I’m really down the rabbit hole and into a new world.

    My overall feeling regarding the personhood amendments is that “serious conservatives” know that these laws would be absolutely revolutionary, potentially applicable to everything from child support to abuse, neglect and dependency actions, so there’s almost a wink and nod approach to them: allow the radical pro-lifers to go forward, and hope sanity prevails. I am no longer confident sanity will prevail.

    I cannot imagine a juvenile court (which is where it would end up in my state, I think, I don’t know where else it would go) determining the “best interests” of a “person” at conception, as against the rights of the parents and the state’s interest.

    It is difficult enough to get this right now, and we work with children that are separate and apart from another (adult) person, and the truth is we often don’t get it right. It’s difficult. We fail all the time

  30. rikyrah says:

    The ‘anti-science’ side of the political divide

    By Steve Benen

    Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:20 AM EST.

    Associated Press

    Santorum points to his elusive thinking cap.

    Rick Santorum made the transition yesterday from theology, pre-natal care, and WWII, to rhetoric that’s arguably even more ridiculous: accusing his opponents of being “anti-science.”

    Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum charged on Monday that President Barack Obama and Democrats were “anti-science” because they refused to exploit the Earth’s natural resources to the limits of technology. […]

    “It’s so funny that this party that criticizes the right for being anti-science, but when it comes to the management of the Earth, they are the anti-science ones!” the candidate declared. “We’re the ones who stand for science and technology and using the resources we have to make sure we have a quality of life in this country and maintain a good and stable environment.”

    Santorum added that there was “obviously a role for government to play” in environmental regulation, but it was best left to state and local government.

    “Freedom isn’t to do whatever you want to do, it’s to do what you ought to do,” he opined.

    Oh my.

    First, that’s an odd definition of “freedom.” Second, leaving environmental regulations to state and local governments is, at a fundamental level, absurd — air pollution in one state affects how people breathe in another; waste dumped in rivers, lakes, and oceans does not simply stay near the state of origin. This is one of those classic “why we have a federal government” areas of public policy.

    But it’s the notion that Rick Santorum feels comfortable labeling others “anti-science” that truly rankles. As the Raw Story report noted, this is the same former senator who crusaded against potentially life-saving stem-cell research and fought to require science teachers to include religious instruction in their lesson plans.

    Indeed, while Santorum seems offended that the left “criticizes the right for being anti-science,” reality is stubborn.


    The Republican hostility for science, scientists, the scientific method, scientific inquiry, and empirical research in general has already been solidified as part and parcel of the party’s identity. The GOP mainstream rejects scientific evidence on everything from global warming to stem-cell research to evolutionary biology to sex-ed — in part because they find reality inconvenient, and in part because, as David Brooks put it, many Republicans simply “do not accept the legitimacy of scholars and intellectual authorities.”

    In the Bush/Cheney era, there was an effective “war on science,” in which scientific research was either rejected or manipulated to suit political ends. The integrity of the scientific process itself came under attack, to the delight of the party and its base.

    In the Obama era, this has only intensified. As Chris Mooney explained very well a while back, “The science-based community once was split between Democrats and Republicans — but not anymore.”

    Increasingly, the parties are divided over expertise — with much more of it residing among liberals and Democrats, and with liberals and Democrats much more aligned with the views of scientists and scholars. More fundamentally, the parties are increasingly divided over reality itself….

    The expertise gap itself is becoming dramatic. In one of the most comprehensive surveys of American professors, sociologists Neil Gross of the University of British Columbia and Solon Simmons of George Mason found that 51 percent described themselves as Democrats, and 35.3 percent described themselves as independents — with the bulk of those independents distinctly Democrat-leaning, rather than straddling the center. Just 13.7 percent were Republicans. Academia has long been a liberal bastion, but it hasn’t always been this lopsided….

    The Democratic Party has thus become the chosen party of what you might call “empirical professionals” and Americans with advanced degrees…. In recent decades, the Republican Party’s rightward shift alienated many academics, scientists, and intellectuals.

    Republican strategist John Weaver warned last year, “We’re not going to win a national election if we become the anti-science party.” With Santorum leading the way, it may already be too late.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Sunday, February 19, 2012
    Last Call
    Posted by Zandar
    Now that the GOP has set the stage with voter suppression efforts via “Voter ID laws”, they’re going after the bigger fish: the Voting Rights Act.

    An intensifying conservative legal assault on the Voting Rights Act could precipitate what many civil rights advocates regard as the nuclear option: a court ruling striking down one of the core elements of the landmark 1965 law guaranteeing African Americans and other minorities access to the ballot box.

    At the same time, the view that states should have free rein to change their election laws even in places with a history of Jim Crow seems to be gaining traction within the Republican Party.

    “There certainly has been a major change,” said Rick Hasen, a professor of election law at the University of California at Irvine. “Now, you have a whole bunch of credible mainstream state attorneys general and governors taking this view. … That would have been unheard of even five years ago. You would have been accused of being a racist.”

    Some of the shift appears to be driven by resentment of what tea party members and others perceive as an overgrown, out-of-control federal government, as well as by widespread concern among Republicans about claims of voter fraud at the polls. Part of the change could also stem from more vigorous enforcement of voting rights laws by President Barack Obama’s Justice Department.

    The issue has surfaced in the Republican presidential contest, including at one of the televised debates, and could move to the front burner within weeks as a federal appeals court in Washington prepares to rule on the leading lawsuit against the Voting Rights Act. That case, brought by Shelby County, Ala., is backed by the attorneys general of Alabama, Arizona and Georgia. At least three similar constitutional challenges are pending.

    It really is this simple: the coming demographics doom the GOP. They know it. They’re playing the Last Bastion Of White Male Supremacy card now before it’s too late. Striking down Roe v. Wade and the Voting Rights Act and wanting constitutional bans on same-sex marriage and abortion, it’s all about preserving their power when they become the new minority.

    It’s amazing. Talk about turning back the clock.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    February 21, 2012 9:14 AM
    Bottomless Pit Boss
    By Ed Kilgore

    In my last post I quoted from an interview of Sheldon Adelson by Forbes’ Steven Bertoni that is actually an excerpt from an upcoming cover story on the casino mogul. Confronted with his responsibility for the unusually vicious attack ads on Mitt Romney that the Gingrich Super-PAC Winning Our Future ran in SC, Adelson just waved his hand dismissively and said it was “untrue.” This sort of bald-faced assertion seems to be a personal signature for Sheldon, as evidenced by another segment of the interview:

    “I’m against very wealthy ­people attempting to or influencing elections,” he shrugs. “But as long as it’s doable I’m going to do it. Because I know that guys like Soros have been doing it for years, if not decades. And they stay below the radar by creating a network of corporations to funnel their money. I have my own philosophy and I’m not ashamed of it. I gave the money because there is no other legal way to do it. I don’t want to go through ten different corporations to hide my name. I’m proud of what I do and I’m not looking to escape recognition.”

    Yeah, that George Soros is devious, all right; nobody’s ever heard his name before. Adelson is just a regular guy whose ability to earn an honest living is being threatened by Barack Obama’s administration, and he’s not going to sit by and watch socialism take over America:

    The man whose net worth, by Forbes’ calculations, has jumped more ($21.6 billion) during Obama Administration than any American — Mark Zuckerberg included — wants to take the president out for economic reasons.“What scares me is the continuation of the socialist-style economy we’ve been experiencing for almost four years. That scares me because the redistribution of wealth is the path to more socialism, and to more of the government controlling people’s lives. What scares me is the lack of accountability that people would prefer to experience, just let the government take care of everything and I’ll go fish or I won’t work, etc.”

    Adelson suggests that his personal spending on Super-PACs could reach $100 million—he’s already up to a reported $21 million if you count his family’s contributions—and could definitely go much higher, notes Bertoni:

    With a net worth of roughly $25 billion, that $11 million [his initial investment in the Gingrich Super-PAC], which jolted Gingrich’s flatlining presidential bid back to life, equates to 0.044% of his fortune. For someone with a $1 million net worth, the equivalent would be $440, or a two-night stay at Adelson’s Venetian casino. Adelson could personally fund an entire presidential campaign—say, $1 billion or so—and not even notice.

    Hard to blame him, or the folks lavishly financing Mitt Romney’s heavier-spending, and equally vicious, Super-PAC. After all, in Obama’s America, they are being taxed and regulated into penury. Perhaps buying a presidential candidate is the last resort before they give up and repair to Galt’s Gulch, leaving the ungrateful parasites of this country behind to fend for themselves.

  33. rikyrah says:

    February 21, 2012 8:32 AM
    Year of the Nastygram

    By Ed Kilgore

    If you’ve gotten the impression that the Republican presidential nominating contest has become a wildly negative affair dominated by billionaire-financed Super-PACs, well, you’re not just having a psychic flash. As an alarming new report by WaPo’s T.W. Farnam indicates, something rather unprecedented is going on:

    Four years ago, just 6 percent of campaign advertising in the GOP primaries amounted to attacks on other Republicans; in this election, that figure has shot up to more than 50 percent, according to an analysis of advertising trends.

    And the negative ads are not just more frequent — they also appear to be more vitriolic.

    Pretty much everyone looking at the descent of the contest into viciousness points the finger at Mitt Romney and his Restore Our Future Super-PAC for leading the way. It was Team Mitt that first went heavily negative in Iowa, destroying initial leads by Rick Perry and then Newt Gingrich. The numbers support that narrative:

    Romney and the groups backing him have led the trend, spending two-thirds of their money on negative ads. Gingrich and the Winning Our Future PAC backing him have spent half of their funds on spots attacking other Republicans. Santorum and the PACs behind him have devoted one out of four dollars to attack ads….

    “Mitt Romney has resorted to a carpet-bombing strategy that helped him win some early primaries,” said Mark McKinnon, a political strategist for McCain and George W. Bush, “but his favorable impression among independents has collapsed. Seems likely there is some correlation.”

    Winning Our Future spokesman Rick Tyler said his group’s message was positive until it was forced to counter Romney’s “scorched earth” strategy.

    Yeah, well, Winning Our Future sure caught up in South Carolina, with ads and even an entire movie that painted Mitt Romney as a quintessentially evil man who personally swooped into the state to take away jobs for the sheer pleasure of watching people suffer.

    But no one much wants to take responsibility for this dumpster-dive of a campaign season. In an interview with Forbes, Winning Our Future’s principal donor, casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, makes this astonishing claim:

    “I don’t believe in negative campaigning. I believe in saying that my opponents are very good people and I’m confident a lot of them would do a good job, but I would do a better job, and here’s why,” says Adelson. “Money is fungible, but you can’t take my money out of the total money you have and use it for negative campaigning.” Of course, that stance ignores the fact that an avalanche of negative ads against Romney won Gingrich South Carolina, and that Adelson’s $5 million injection was the dominant source of his funding. “That’s what everybody says, but that doesn’t mean it’s true,” the billionaire says, waving his hands dismissively. “Most of what’s been written about me in this is untrue.”

    That’s the spirit of 2012, Sheldon! Just brazen it out!

  34. rikyrah says:

    Monday, February 20, 2012
    You Can Keep The Dime, Operator
    Posted by Zandar

    When you privatize a utility and cry “Government has no business in business!” and leave everything up to the free market and profit motive, you invariably get people who are priced out of the market. Take for example phone companies who want to simply end landline phone service in the some of the poorest counties in the country in eastern Kentucky.

    The industry is pushing Senate Bill 135, referred to as “the AT&T bill” by its sponsor and others because it originated with that company’s lobbyists. The bill would strip the Kentucky Public Service Commission of most of its remaining oversight of basic phone service provided by the three major carriers — AT&T, Windstream and Cincinnati Bell — such as the power to initiate investigations into service problems.

    More significant, critics say, the bill would let the companies end basic phone service in less profitable parts of their territories if other communications options. State law now requires the companies to serve as “carriers of last resort” for households throughout their territories.

    AT&T says it must follow where the market leads. Among its customers, land line usage has dropped 50 percent over the last 10 years and wireless usage has jumped 300 percent, said AT&T spokesman Brad Rateike.

    When you take utilities out of the public domain, this is invariably what happens. Profit motive means providing the utility to areas where it’s unprofitable means the service is ended. That’s where we’re heading right now, and with the country needing tens of billions of dollars worth of utility and infrastructure improvements, putting those under the aegis of the free market will only make things worse.

    Taxes exist precisely for things like this. But we’re told government itself is evil and useless. I may joke about how glibertarians want us all to fend for ourselves, but the reality is that’s exactly where we’re going under “smaller government”.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Monday, February 20, 2012
    Last Call
    Posted by Zandar

    Republicans may have hidden their plan to end Medicare and replace it with vouchers with a presidential election year in the cards, but it doesn’t mean they’ve given up. There’s too much money at stake for their corporate overlords, and when there’s big enough money, there’s Blue Dogs willing to crap on the carpet

    Republicans want to turn Medicare into a subsidized private insurance structure and cut costs on the beneficiary side. This concept — dubbed “premium support” by backers and “vouchers” by critics — would end the coverage guarantee and give seniors a fixed amount to shop for insurance on a private exchange. If the subsidy is too small, tough luck; they’re on their own.

    The Ryan budget aimed to replace traditional Medicare with this concept. But after voting overwhelmingly for it last year, Republicans have grown conscious of the political reality that it’s too radical to pass, and are offering up gentler versions of its core components. Two months ago Ryan himself teamed up with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) to unveil a new blueprint that keeps traditional Medicare alive as an option in the exchanges and has less harsh benefit cuts. Last week Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Richard Burr (R-NC) rolled out a more fully developed version of a similar plan, containing provisions clearly aimed at enticing Democrats.

    The idea was first proposed by former Sen. Pete Domenici (R) and former Clinton budget director Alice Rivlin before Ryan ran with it. Wyden is the only Democrat to support the concept — the White House and Dems otherwise remain strongly opposed to any version of it.

    Contrary to Republican claims, Democrats do have a plan to keep Medicare solvent: the plan is to keep its single-payer structure and cut costs on the provider side. The health care reform law lays the framework for such a mechanism starting in 2014 called the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a panel of 15 presidential-appointed and senate-confirmed members that has the authority to restrict provider payments without congressional approval. (The theory is lawmakers won’t do it on their own.)

    But keeping IPAB alive will be a hard slog. One reason is Republicans are determined to smother it in its cradle: they’ve threatened not to confirm any members to the board, and it’s unlikely Dems will have a filibuster-proof Senate majority anytime soon. The second reason is that health industry opposition to IPAB is so vociferous and united that some Dems are running away from it and signing on to GOP legislation to repeal the panel.

    So keep a careful eye on this. Just like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Republicans have every intention of making sure the mandated plan they agreed to and that was signed into law can never function. To do it, they will need the Blue Dogs that are left. And both sides know it.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Merit badges, cookies, and ‘the destruction of traditional American family values’
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Feb 21, 2012 8:30 AM EST

    Remember a couple of weeks ago when we talked about the right’s increasing animosity towards the Girl Scouts? As this story out of Indiana helps demonstrate, it’s apparently getting worse.

    A Fort Wayne lawmaker has refused to sign on to a resolution celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts, calling the group a “radicalized organization” that supports abortion and promotes the homosexual lifestyle.

    Rep. Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne, sent a letter to his fellow House Republicans on Saturday explaining why he would be the only member in the House not to endorse the nonbinding resolution.

    He said he did some web-based research and found allegations that the Girl Scouts are a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood, allows transgender females to join and encourages sex.

    Morris also said the fact that First Lady Michelle Obama is honorary president “should give each of us reason to pause before our individual and collective endorsement of the organization.”

    Morris, a state representative, added that he believes the Girl Scouts have been “subverted in the name of liberal progressive politics and the destruction of traditional American family values.”

    He wasn’t kidding.

    When Fort Wayne’s Journal Gazette talked to Ashley Sharp, assistant director of marketing for the Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michiana, she didn’t seem especially fazed by the Republican’s criticisms. “It really hasn’t affected us,” Sharp said. “Our membership is still strong and our cookie sales are up from last year.”

    That said, the larger trend suggests this is quickly becoming the latest front in the right’s culture war.


    As we talked about earlier in the month, conservatives’ antipathy towards the Girl Scouts used to be limited to the fringes. In 1994, for example, James Dobson’s Focus on the Family published a memorable attack on the Girl Scouts, insisting the group “lost their way” after the Scouts made a religious oath optional for membership. (For the religious right, faith shouldn’t be voluntary; it should be mandated on children by authority figures demanding vows of allegiance.)

    But while much of the American mainstream likely considers Girl Scouts as American as moms, baseball, and apple pie, the organized freak-out appears to be expanding.

    In today’s prayer alert, the Family Research Council boasted that as a result of their pressure campaign against the Girl Scouts “their cookie sales are suffering.” The FRC has long attacked the Girl Scouts over discredited allegations that the Girl Scouts work with Planned Parenthood to promote “casual sex” and train girls about living with HIV. […]

    Although “none of the money” from Girl Scout cookie sales “is given to any other group,” that hasn’t stopped FRC from asking for prayers against the Girl Scouts. The prayer alert says the “Scouts had better confess their errors” and stop “collaborating with Planned Parenthood,” and even cites a passage from Matthew 27 on the suicide of Judas Iscariot to imply that the Girl Scouts are taking blood money.

    The Family Research Council isn’t alone. As recently as December, Fox News went after the group quite a bit, and CNN contributor Dana Loesch not only lamented the “moral decline” of the Girl Scouts, she also suggested conservatives should stop buying their cookies as a form of political protest.

    Comedy Central recently responded with the appropriate derision: “Don’t be fooled by those cute little outfits or merit badges. The Girl Scouts aren’t just selling you a pack of cookies — they’re selling you a pack of lies, with a light coating of toasted coconut communism. Why do the Girl Scouts teach survival skills? It’s clearly an attempt to build some kind of liberal tween militia. Volunteering and ‘helping’ others? Just another strategy to mobilize the working poor and other key Democratic voting blocs.”

    This was, in case it’s not obvious, sarcasm.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Santorum: Privacy ruined everything

    By Laura Conaway
    Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:03 PM EST

    Our pal James Carter digs this up from a speech given by Republican frontrunner Rick Santorum back in 2003:

    All the rights in the Constitution, which are individually based rights, according to our founders were not there for the individual’s gain, but the reason we established those rights was for the common good. The right to privacy is not the right to a common good. It’s a me-centered right, that obviously started in the sexual revolution with contraception and obviously quickly evolved to abortion, and now has found its way into the marriage debate. And all those acts that were self-giving acts, self-sacrificing acts, have been polluted by this right to privacy.

    No wonder Santorum thinks birth control “is not OK” — your right to it ruined the Constitution. More tonight on the show, including an answer to how he became the Republican frontrunner.

  38. rikyrah says:

    that picture of India is FIERCE!!!

  39. dannie22 says:

    Good morning

  40. Private Plane Inside Obama’s Flyzone Carries Weed

    WASHINGTON – When President Barack Obama takes to the sky in his air force helicopter the rest of the flying world has to comply with keeping an eight mile distance from the presidential craft Marine One.

    One private Cessna owner didn’t obey by these rules and was ordered to ground his small plane immediately.

    Once on the ground, the plane was stormed by a troop of armed security who discovered 18 kilos (40 pounds) of fresh ‘weed’ tucked inside the small craft’s cabin.

    The incident took place Thursday morning when the President, who is visiting California as part of his election campaign, flew from Corona Del Mar (San Diego) to Los Angeles.

    The pilot of the Cessna did not respond when ground control contacted him. He was hence intercepted by two F-16 fighter jets that forced the pilot to land his small plane in Long Beach.

    A spokesperson for the secret service said that at no time was President Obama in any danger and the man had no intention to harm the president.

    The pilot was arrested however for transporting ‘illegal’ cargo.

  41. Michelle Obama Courts Women Voters by Touting Free Access to Contraception

    Michelle Obama is being billed as the featured attraction in house parties her husband’s re- election campaign is organizing around the country tomorrow to try to boost his support among women voters.

    The first lady is to appear via conference call at the “Women for Obama” gatherings, President Barack Obama’s re- election campaign said in an e-mail sent to supporters last night.

    Michelle Obama, serving as honorary chairwoman of Women for Obama, will “deliver a message just for us about the progress we’re making together and the work ahead in the months to come,” according to the e-mail, which said that “hearing from the First Lady is sure to get us fired up.”

    The women’s house parties come as Michelle Obama is taking a more visible role in her husband’s re-election campaign. She spoke at Democratic Party fundraisers in Los Angeles on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, while in California for appearances on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and Ellen DeGeneres’ show to promote her “Let’s Move” anti-obesity program.

    The house parties also follow the Obama administration’s rule to provide women who work for religious hospitals and universities access to free contraception through their health insurance.

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