Sunday Open Thread

Fred Hammond (born December 27, 1967 in Detroit, Michigan) is a gospel music singer, bass guitar player, and record producer.

Hammond has been active both as a member of the gospel performing group Commissioned, and as a solo artist (currently for Verity Records). He is a multiple Grammy-, Dove-, Stellar– award winner and nominee as a performer, producer and writer.

Hammond first gained recognition while playing bass guitar for the gospel group The Winans.[2] By 1985 he was one of the six original members of the group Commissioned, participating in 10 of the group’s 12 albums.

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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110 Responses to Sunday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Octavia won!

  2. rikyrah says:

    February 26, 2012 4:34 PM
    Taxmageddeon and the Tax Reform Farce

    By Matthew Zeitlin

    Ezra Klein tells us that Hill staffers are starting to call January 1st, 2013 “Taxmageddon” because of the legislated expiration of the Bush tax cuts, the introduction of higher Medicare taxes as part of the Affordable Care Act, and the expiration of the newly-extend payroll tax cut. One interesting wrinkle to Taxmageddon is that it will occur during a Congressional lame-duck session that could very well be in the last month of the Obama administration. This is a little strange, because things would be much simpler if the tax cuts expired a little after the new Congress took their seats, and so the winners of the 2012 elections could simply decide how to split up this giant pot of money bequeathed to them by their successors.

    Anyway, very few people think that all the scheduled tax increases will go into effect, and so whoever is in power should be able to work from whatever revenue level they can and then move on from there with the rest of their proposed legislation. What this means is that everything else — major changes in spending and the tax code — should have to wait for a resolution on the revenue side. This puts into stark relief all the wrangling we saw in 2011 over the debt ceiling and spending cuts along with President Obama’s proposed tax reform — and makes it all look a bit silly.

    There was always something mildly farcical about Obama going for a grand bargain on taxes and entitlement spending when, if he wins the election and then just vetoes everything that comes out of Congress, a substantial chunk of the near-and-medium term deficit will evaporate. There is something similarly goofy about the White House’s proposed corporate tax reform. It’s strange in a few ways. It combines the basic rate-lowering-and-base-broadening beloved by wonks with new preferences and tax-advantages for domestic manufacturing.

    What’s producing this discordance is, I think, a recognition that this corporate tax reform framework is unlikely to be implemented before the 2012 elections, and so will have to wait for a resolution to Taxmageddon.

    So, it makes more sense right now to propose some wonky reform and mix it with some stuff that will make good for good soundbites on the campaign trail. If you actually wanted to reform the corporate tax code, it would make a lot more sense to do so after there was some sort of legislative consensus on what the upper bound for revenues will be for at least the next four years, and then to go after the entire tax code in a revenue-neutral fashion.

    Reforming the corporate tax code on its own makes it more tempting to put in distortionary preferences for particular industries and, even more importantly, makes it tempting to do the reform with the goal of getting more revenue specifically from corporate taxes.

    If you start with a revenue level that’s based on the tax rates that will go into effect on January 1, 2013, and then go after everything at once, the result will likely be cleaner and more efficient.

  3. rikyrah says:

    I love Colin Firth. I just do. He’s right up there with George Clooney for me.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Rick Santorum is a Dangerous Demagogue
    Posted on 02/26/2012 at 3:00 pm by JM Ashby

    Rick Santorum is dangerous. There’s no other way to put it. He’s now saying things that could literally lead to the deaths of more service members serving in Afghanistan right now.

    Speaking in Marquette, Michigan, Sunday, Rick Santorum addressed an incident Sunday in which 7 U.S. service members were injured in a protest in response to U.S. military members burning a Koran. Santorum called the protestors evil, using the word repeatedly. He also condemned President Obama’s apology over the Koran-burning incident, saying that apologies only incite more violence because they are a show of weakness.

    Let me get this straight — apologizing for burning Qurans is a sign of weakness and will somehow lead to more violence? And repeatedly calling those who were offended evil is suppose to help?

    Several service members have been killed as a direct result of this incident. Does Santorum have no shame?

    This is the man currently polling at the top of the GOP contender list, by the way. The current Republican front-runner. The front-runner who is attempting to widen a now international conflict from the campaign trail.

    While part of me would be delighted if Santorum defeated Mitt Romney in a couple more states to prolong the primary process, I no longer consider that a worthy cause. This has gone on long enough. Santorum is a national embarrassment and may actually become a threat to security.

    • Let me get this straight — apologizing for burning Qurans is a sign of weakness and will somehow lead to more violence? And repeatedly calling those who were offended evil is suppose to help?

      Several service members have been killed as a direct result of this incident. Does Santorum have no shame?

      This crazy mofo IS a threat to National Security! He’s a fking disaster. I blame Sarah Palin was setting the bar so got damn low now any stupid sob think they can run for President. The GOP can’t be serious to actually allow this ass clown to become the nominee?

  5. rikyrah says:

    ok, I love George Clooney.

    I simply do.

  6. rikyrah says:

    spent the weekend with Peanut. do you all realize that The Flinstones, Jetsons and Scooby Doo are all over 40 years old? It amazes me that she likes all three.

    And, we watched Bambi for the first time….it’s sorta hard to explain to a little kid what a ‘ hunter’ is and why all the animals were running in the forest for their lives. Bambi’s sorta harsh for little kids, isn’t it?

    We also watched Aladdin. You know, there is no way that Aladdin could be made in today’s anti-Arab climate, which I find so sad.

  7. Ametia says:


  8. rikyrah says:

    VIOLA went natural!!

  9. Santorum: ‘Singled Out,’ ‘Ridiculed’ For Conservative Views In College. Funny How No One Else Remembers It!

  10. stonecircle ‏ @stone_circle:

    Double your Girl Scout cookie orders this year in support of a national organization that welcomes, supports, empowers all girls

  11. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s New Tactic: Yes I’m Rich, And That’s A Good Thing
    Pema Levy February 26, 2012, 4:07 PM 2534 44

    Thus far, Mitt Romney’s wealth has caused him quite a few awkward moments on the campaign trail. Recall, for example, when he called $374K in speaking fees “not very much.” On Friday, Romney had another one of his out-of-touch moments when he said that his wife Ann “drives a couple of Cadillacs.” But rather than try to walk back the comment, team Romney appears to have a new tactic for dealing with this problem.

    When Romney and a surrogate were asked about Ann’s Cadillacs on the Sunday talk shows, their response was not to hide or apologize for Romney’s wealth. Instead, their message boiled down to: Yes he’s rich, get over it.

    On Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace played the clip of Romney’s comments and asked Romney if he can see why people may be “put off.” Romney replied indignantly: “If people think there’s something wrong with being successful in America then they better vote for the other guy.”

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a top Romney surrogate, sounded the same note on CBS’ Face the Nation Sunday morning. Asked about the Ann Romney’s Cadillacs, Christie replied:

    So the cat’s out of the bag, Bob, on the fact that Governor Romney’s wealthy. So he has a number of cars. Many people who’ve made a lot of money over time do. I think this is just something where, to be candid, folks are looking for him to make trip-ups.

    The ‘get over it’ approach to Romney’s wealth is one some Republican strategists and Romney supporters have been hoping Romney would adopt for a while. After Romney took a beating over comments about firing people, as well as flack over his tax returns, they wished Romney would use a less apologetic approach. As one Republican strategist told TPM’s Benjy Sarlin in January, Romney should channel the man who has since endorsed his candidacy: Donald Trump.

    “Trump never goes on defense on his wealth and, if anything, is obnoxiously offensive,” said former George W. Bush adviser Brad Blakeman. “His popularity comes from the fact that he is successful. Romney needs to be positive about his wealth and how he earned it.” Though he did caution that Romney should not replicate Trump’s arrogance.

    Perhaps Romney’s finally taking this advice. Romney and Christie tried to turn the candidate’s wealth into a political asset Sunday, arguing that financial success is exactly what the country needs in a president. “Listen, Governor Romney’s been successful,” said Christie. “I think that’s what we want in a president of the United States. Do we want somebody running who’s been a failure in everything they’ve done?”

    “I’ve been extraordinarily successful,” Romney said Sunday, “and I want to use that success and that know-how to help the American people.”

  12. rikyrah says:

    Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 08:03 AM PST
    N.J. Gov. Chris Christie guts greenhouse gas fund targeted by Koch Bros.’ Americans for Prosperity+*

    by Meteor Blades

    As one of its many objectives, the Koch Bros.-founded and -financed Americans for Prosperity has been out to defund the seven-year-old Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. It seems to have succeeded in New Jersey. Republican Gov. Chris Christie has just scooped up the $473,000 left in the RGGI coffers and plunked them into the general fund along with $210 million from the state’s clean energy fund.

    Myopia? Buffoonery? Hardly. It’s a calculated effort to block clean and green energy programs as well as anything smacking of “climate change” mitigation. While Christie himself is not personally a climate-change denialist, the tea party and oil-soaked AFP most definitely fit in that category. Thus does Christie align himself with the most retrograde of his party’s movers and shakers.

    This is not the first time the governor has raided each fund:

    Although repeating a budget-balancing move he has used in the past — Christie diverted more than $400 million in clean energy funds to balance his first state budget — the proposal irked clean energy advocates. In his first three budgets, the Governor has diverted approximately $620 million in clean energy money into the general fund.

    “They’re cutting the program to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “When people go to buy an energy-efficient appliance, they won’t be getting any rebates.”

    Ten Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states established RGGI as a cap-and-trade program in 2005. It limits CO2 emissions from power plants and charges them for every ton of CO2 by which they exceed the limit. Plants that can’t get below the limit are required to buy pollution allowances in state auctions. At least a quarter of the auction proceeds must be spent to benefit utility customers. Typically, the money is used to fund energy-efficiency and conservation programs for businesses and home-owners.

    Christie conceded last May that climate change is real, but he claimed RGGI is ineffective and vowed to take the state out of the program by the end of 2012. Maria Gallucci of InsideClimate News reports:

    In its three years in RGGI, New Jersey has generated more than $113 million in revenues from 14 auctions, even with Christie’s diversion of millions of dollars. The proceeds helped homeowners and businesses purchase energy-efficient appliances, weatherize homes and install rooftop solar panels, resulting in $150 million in economic activity and the creation of nearly 1,800 jobs, according to a November report by Analysis Group, a Boston-based consulting firm.

    A report this month by Environment New Jersey claims that scrapping RGGI would cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in future revenues. The state, at minimum, could generate more than $170 million in auction proceeds between 2012 and 2018, the report found. RGGI authorities are now reviewing the program and could move to tighten emissions requirements. If that happens, the state could bring in between $340 million and $680 million during that six-year time period, it said.

    In a statement about the program, Matt Elliott, Environment New Jersey’s Clean Energy Advocate, said:“It’s creating jobs, putting money back in our pockets, and cutting harmful air pollution. With data like this, the right choice is crystal clear: New Jersey should remain in RGGI and continue to reap the economic and environmental benefits for decades to come.”

  13. Ametia says:


    3 Reasons Why Viola Davis Should Rock her ‘Fro At The Oscars
    Written by ReBecca Theodore-Vachon on February 25, 2012 11:00 am

    Dearest Viola,

    Tomorrow night promises to be the biggest night of your career. The world waits with bated breath to see if you walk away victorious in your showdown against Meryl Streep for the Best Actress Oscar. It’s been a helluva journey; you’ve been grinding away in this business for almost 20 years, and finally you be could rewarded for all that hard work. I know you’ve been in warrior mode the last few months having to defend your role in The Help, the most polarizing movie in the African-American community for 2011. I’m not going to lie to you; I wasn’t crazy about the movie. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that I respect your immense talent and support your bid for Oscar gold.

    That being said, I hope you win. Let’s face it, this is a business. The Oscars are far from being a meritocracy. The rule of thumb is, “The studio with the biggest awards campaign budget wins.” You happen to be part of a small percentage of actors who actually have genuine talent, so you should use that award however you can to your advantage.

    Let’s end this terrible track record of black actresses winning Academy Awards, only to have their careers flame out quicker than a wet firecracker. We can start with one very simple thing. Your hair. You need to strut down that red carpet tomorrow night with that fabulous ‘fro you’ve been hiding for all these years. The Viola Davis I saw with her natural hair at The Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon, the one kicking up her heels in that game changing spread in L.A. Times Magazine–THAT Viola is the one who’s going to rule Hollywood.

    For extra incentive, here are three reasons why you should consider leaving the wig at home come Oscar night:

    1. To F*ck With the Academy

    Aside from Whoopi Goldberg, hardly any black female Oscar winners (or nominees) have attended the ceremony with their God-given locks. We all know Hollyweird has a bizarre standard of beauty that the average woman can barely maintain. It’s even tougher for black actresses; our skin color, our hair, even our curves are clearly not welcomed in this industry. To quote comedian Paul Mooney “When your hair’s relaxed White people are relaxed. When your hair’s nappy, White people ain’t happy.” With this whole nostalgic (and unoriginal) slant that the Oscars are going for this year, why not shake up the status quo with a fashion forward statement? Let’s drag these old farts kicking and screaming into the 21st century! And let’s keep it real–once you win that Oscar, it’s yours.

    2. Do It For Every Little Black Girl in America

    There’s a reason why the black hair care industry is a nearly billion dollar business; as black women, a lot of us just aren’t comfortable with our kinks and curls. From the blowy hair we see in the latest shampoo commercial, to every beauty supply store stocked with 16″ Remy Indian, the message is clear: natural Black hair just isn’t attractive. There’s a problem when mothers are buying kiddie perms, using toxic chemicals to straighten their 6 year old daughter’s hair. Little girls shouldn’t have to spend their childhoods suffering from scalp burns or spending 2 hours a week at the beauty salon for a wash and set. How powerful an image would it be for brown girls around the world to see one of the best actresses of our generation stand on that podium, Oscar statue in hand, just happy to be nappy? Let’s show our precious mamitas we can win in any arena just being our beautiful, phenomenal selves.

    3. t Will Take Your Career in a New Direction

    I’ve read in several interviews that you’re frustrated with filmmakers who seem to put you in a box as the “dignified, long-suffering” black woman. Which is really a shame, because you are so much more than that. Have you noticed how the media goes bananas whenever you step out in your ‘fro? There’s a reason why, dear Viola–because you look absolutely stunning! You’ve been killing it on the red carpet this past awards season, showing off that killer bod (and that divine cleavage) in a dazzling array of haute couture. You’re an ebony goddess and Hollywood needs to take notice. Let’s put a moratorium on these stuffy tragic roles for like, ever. The L.A. Times shoot showed a playful, femme fatale that’s just bursting to come out. Let’s put you opposite some of our hottest black actors (Idris Elba, Chiwetel Ejiofor) perhaps in a steamy psycho-sexual thriller and see you finally cut loose.

    I know the naysayers will tell you that you must conform in order to succeed in the business, “You better slap on that wig girl!” Don’t listen to them–they lack vision and imagination. And really, who needs to be around people like that anyways? History’s trailblazers have always been the ones to buck tradition. I know it won’t be easy, but you’ll be in very good company: Adepero Oduye, Kim Wayans, Tracie Thoms, Yvette Nicole Brown, Tanika Ray, Tracee Ellis Ross. They’re all natural curly girls and loving it!

    Let’s start a “Free Viola’s Hair” campaign. We can rock out to India.Arie’s “I Am Not My Hair” playing on blast and toss back some Patron shots. We’ll gather up all those wigs and burn them in a bonfire. I’ll bring the gasoline and matches.

  14. rikyrah says:

    February 25, 2012 10:21 AM
    Romney’s Greatest Asset: Not Showing Up
    By Matthew Zeitlin

    Rick Santorum was leading in most Michigan polls until a Romney negative ad blitz followed by a lackluster debate performance left him reeling and behind Romney in the most recent polls.

    Romney’s main line of attack, seen in the ads and recited in the debate, focuses on Santorum’s time in in the House and Senate: especially voting for earmarks and debt ceiling increases and supporting Arlen Specter’s reelection in 2004.

    One way of describing these attacks is to say Romney is criticizing Santorum for being a nationally relevant, relatively powerful Republican during the Bush years. After all, you only get to vote for earmarks and to raising the debt ceiling if you’re winning elections and serving in Congress.

    As for supporting Arlen Specter, Santorum was following the lead of his party and the sitting Republican president to support a popular Republican in his home state. During Santorum’s years of supposed conservative heterodoxy , Romney was busy passing a universal health care plan .

    What Romney is doing is taking advantage of the fact that, as a moderate Republican governor in a blue state, he wasn’t called on to take substantive political hits for the party. A Romney endorsement for Specter, for example, would have done next to nothing for Specter’s reelection. And had Romney won Teddy Kennedy’s seat in 1994 and been reelected to a second term, he probably would have been right there with Santorum and the overwhelming majority of Republicans, voting for earmarks and debt ceiling increases, supporting No Child Left Behind, and maybe even endorsing a moderate senator in a tough primary battle.

    So, in a contest against someone who can stand in for the faults of Bush-Era Republicanism, Romney’s greatest asset is that he couldn’t win a Senate election and was too moderate as governor to be part of a Republican governance failure.

  15. Obama’s dream: To run against Santorum

    Let me be blunt: If Republicans nominate Rick Santorum to run for president, they will lose.

    The prospect of four more years of President Barack Obama holds some appeal for many Americans but probably not for most Republicans. It may give doubters among them some comfort, however, to know that Obama and Santorum share the same prayer: that Santorum be the Republican nominee.

    It gives me no pleasure to rap Santorum, a man I know and respect even if I disagree with him on some issues. Not that he minds. He’s a scrapper who loves a fight — and he forgives. Bottom line: Santorum is a good man. He’s just a good man in the wrong century.

  16. rikyrah says:

    February 26, 2012 1:19 PM
    Getting the Politics In Politics Right

    By Matthew Zeitlin

    Alec MacGillis has a long piece in the Washington Post defending the politicization of public policy; or at least the idea that it’s appropriate to consider the electoral and political consequences of policy decisions. And while I think he’s right, one point that’s often lost when we talk about this stuff is figuring out which policy questions actually matter the most politically.

    No one doubts that a more robust economic recovery would have helped Obama and the Democrats substantially in 2010 and would help them in 2012. And yet, from accounts of policymaking in the Obama administration, we learn that the decision to start talking about the long-term deficit was not entirely made by the economists in the administration. Although Peter Orszag, the now-departed OMB chair, was a true-blue deficit hawk, it was the political team that, in early 2010, wanted to pivot towards austerity. Ryan Lizza’s January New Yorker piece describes their thinking:

    After a year of intense policymaking and legislating, Obama’s political advisers were attempting to reassert authority over the economic team. The recommendations were heavy on public relations and attempted to reposition Obama to appear less hostile to the concerns of the anti-government right. “Democratic Presidents rarely address small businesses in their message,” they advised Obama, “but you could use the opportunity to discuss what small businesses mean for the freedom to be your own boss, to pursue your own ideas and for our spirit of innovation.”

    Axelrod and other Obama political advisers saw anti-Keynesian rhetoric as a political
    necessity. They believed it was better to channel the anti-government winds than to fight them.

    Obama’s State of the Union speech, his aides said, “was an opportune moment to pivot to themes of restraining government spending.” They advised him to consider “freezing or cutting the discretionary budget,” instituting a senior-level government pay freeze, and cancelling some federal programs. They even noted that his government-reform efforts were “the most dramatic since Reagan’s conservative downsizing.”

    So here we have political advisers who are concerned with the political consequences of what the president decides to emphasize and propose. What they got wrong, it seems, it not so much that it’s important to consider the political consequences of an administration’s policy actions, but misunderstanding what drives the president’s political standing. As we’re seeing now, and as we already know, whether or not the macroeconomy and the labor market are perceived as improving has a huge bearing on a president and incumbent popularity and ability to win elections. Not only is effective recovery and stabilization policy clearly the “right” thing to do, it’s also the thing to do even if you’re only concerned with maintaining your standing in the polls and winning reelection.

  17. rikyrah says:

    February 26, 2012 10:23 AM Obama Campaign Goes After Kochs. Why?

    By Matthew Zeitlin
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    Before Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum addressed an Americans for Prosperity forum on Saturday, the DNC put together a web ad that weaves together oil industry subsidies, the Koch brothers efforts to defeat Obama, and Mitt Romney’s connection to them. Also, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina sent out a mass email criticizing Romney for speaking at the AFP event (AFP being just one of many conservative organizations receiving money from the Kochs) and describing the Kochs as oil profiteers who are willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to defeat the president.

    What’s interesting here is not so much the focus on a powerful and incredibly wealthy donor, but the Obama campaign’s apparent strategy of trying to depict the GOP as the party responsible for perverting government for the protection of special interests. What’s slightly strange about this effort is that Obama has been president since January, 2009.

    Because two of Obama’s signature policy initiatives — the stimulus and health care reform — are not particularly popular, he is forced to run for reelection in light of the fact that the American public has broadly lost faith in the government’s ability to do anything right, but not make it seem like he is to blame for it. And how to do that? Relentessly depict the Republicans, and the Republican nominee, as a puppet for the very forces who are truly responsible for cynicism about government.

    Stanley Greenberg, the long-time Democratic pollster and strategist, has been writing about this very issue since the Democrats took back the House and Senate in 2006. His argument, fleshed out most recently in the New York Times in July, is that “voters feel ever more estranged from government” and don’t even trust those politicians with whom they agree to implement their plans in a way that will benefit average Americans. This is a problem for Democrats who are championing government investment and social spending in light of what Greenberg calls “a full-blown crisis of legitimacy.” What to do?

    One solution to this crisis of legitimacy Greenberg has suggested is taking up campaign finance reform and going after lobbyists. This way, politicians can align themselves with voters who, as Greenberg put it in a memo for Democracy Corps, “want their leaders to stand for reform and accountability, centered on breaking the nexus of money and power in Washington. “

    Although aggressively championing actual campaign finance proposals will likely be awkward in light of Obama’s embrace of pro-Obama Super PACs, it is much easier to go after the GOP’s wealthiest supporters. The fact that the GOP primary is as much a fight between Super PAC donors as it is candidates makes this line of attack even more plausible.

    If it’s going to be hard to convince the public your accomplishments are significant and that your policy proposals are good ones, your second best option might be to convince voters that the other guys aren’t even trying to do something good in the first place.

  18. rikyrah says:

    A People’s History of Koch Industries: How Stalin Funded the Tea Party Movement
    By Yasha Levine

    Everyone knows that Tea Party revolutionaries fear and hate socialism about as much as the Antichrist. Which is funny, because the Tea Party movement’s dirty little secret is that it owes its existence to the grandaddy of all Antichrists: the godless empire of the USSR.

    What few realize is that the secretive oil billionaires of the Koch family, the main supporters of the right-wing groups that orchestrated the Tea Party movement, would not have the means to bankroll their favorite causes had it not been for the pile of money the family made working for the Bolsheviks in the late 1920s and early 1930s, building refineries, training Communist engineers and laying down the foundation of Soviet oil infrastructure.

    The comrades were good to the Kochs. Today Koch Industries has grown into the second-largest private company in America. With an annual revenue of $100 billion, the company was just $6.3 billion shy of first place in 2008. Ownership is kept strictly in the family, with the company being split roughly between right-wing brothers Charles and David Koch, who are worth about $20 billion apiece and are infamous as the largest sponsors of right-wing causes. They bankroll scores of free-market and libertarian think tanks, institutes and advocacy groups. Reason magazine, Heritage Foundation and Cato Institute are just a few of Koch-backed free-market operations. Greenpeace estimates that the Koch family shelled out $25 million from 2005 to 2008 funding the “climate denial machine,” which means they outspent Exxon Mobile three to one.

    I first learned about the Kochs in February 2009, when Mark Ames and I were looking into the strange origins of the then-nascent Tea Party movement. Our investigation led us again and again to a handful of right-wing organizations and think tanks directly tied to the Kochs. We were the first to connect the dots and debunk the Tea Party movement’s “grassroots” front, exposing it as billionaire-backed astroturf campaign run by free-market advocacy groups FreedomWorks and Americans For Prosperity, both of which are closely linked to the Koch brothers

    But the Tea Party movement—and Koch family’s obscene wealth—go back more than half a century, all the way to grandpa Fredrick C. Koch, one of the founding members of the far-rightwing John Birch Society which was convinced that evil socialism was taking over America through unions, colored people, Jews, homosexuals, the Kennedys and even Dwight D. Eisenhower.


    Here is a better historical fact, one that the Kochs don’t like to repeat in public: the family’s initial wealth was not created by the harsh, creative forces of unfettered capitalism, but by the grace of the centrally-planned economy of the Soviet Union. This deserves repeating: The Koch family, America’s biggest pushers of the free-market Tea Party revolution, would not be the billionaires they are today were it not for the whim of one of Stalin’s comrades.

    The story of how the Koch family amassed its socialist wealth starts at the turn of the 20th century with the birth of Fredrick C. Koch. Fred was born in a tiny town in north Texas town to a Dutch immigrant and newspaper publisher. The historical record is not clear about the family’s wealth, but it appears that great-granddaddy Koch was not hurting for cash, because Fred Koch turned out to be a smart kid and was able to study at MIT and graduate with chemical engineering degree. A few years later, in 1925, Fred started up the Winkler-Koch Engineering Company with a former classmate, quickly developing and patenting a novel process to refine gasoline from crude oil that had a highe-yield than anything on the market. It was shaping up to be an American success story, where anything was possible with a bit of elbow grease and good ol’ ingenuity.

    The sky was the limit—until the free market rained on Fred’s parade.

    See, Fred was living through the Roaring Twenties, a time of big business, heavy speculation and zero government regulation. Much like today, cartels were free to form and free to fix—and so they did. Sensing a threat to their royalty-revenue stream from Winkler-Koch’s superior refining technology, the reigning oil cartel moved in to teach the young Koch how the laissez-faire business model worked in the real world.

    “[W]hen he tried to market his invention, the major oil companies sued him for patent infringement. Koch eventually won the lawsuits (after 15 years in court), but the controversy made it tough to attract many US customers,” according to Hoover’s Company Records service. Just like that, Winkler-Koch Engineering found itself squeezed out of the American market. They had a superior product at a cheaper price, but no one to sell it to.

    Luckily, there was one market where opportunity beckoned—and innovation was rewarded: the Soviet Union.

    Stalin’s first Five Year Plan was just kicking into action a nation-wide industrialization effort, and the Soviet planners needed smart, industrious college grads like Fred Koch. The Soviet Union was desperately trying to increase its oil refining capacity, so oil engineers were especially in high demand—and well paid, too.

    “We are the world’s greatest market, and we are prepared to order a large amount of goods and pay for them,” Joseph Stalin told an American journalist in 1932. Stalin wasn’t kidding. From 1926 to 1929, the Soviet oil industry bought $20 million worth of equipment from America. And Koch was about to get in on the action.

    In 1929, after hosting a delegation of Soviet planners in Wichita, Kansas, Winkler and Koch signed a $5 million contract to build 15 refineries in the Soviet Union. According to Oil of Russia, a Russian oil industry trade magazine, the deal made Winkler–Koch into Comrade Stalin’s Number One refinery builder. It provided equipment and oversaw construction:

  19. [wpvideo DHe1h5rT]

    • Ametia says:

      Props to you, SG2, or this video. :-)

      I deeply admire Anita Hill, and i appreciated her presence and voiceon MHP’s show this morning. Thank You, Ms. Hill for your courage, authenticity, and service.

  20. Ametia says:

    For folks who want to delve into the White Woman’s facination with “The Help.”
    Because if you want to make th argument that the movie is a vehicle to teach folks who might not oherwise have known abou Black domestic workers….

    My question are:

    1. Would you have seen the movie had the book and movie been produced by a black women?

    2. What prevented you from researching te racial roadblocks an the domestic workers pre-movie The Help?

  21. David Gregory Gives Rick Santorum a Pass on ‘Indoctrination’ Remarks

    On this Sunday’s Meet the Press, host David Gregory did a fairly good job of pointing out that it was somewhat hypocritical of Rick Santorum to be criticizing President Obama for wanting all Americans to have an opportunity to go to college when he’s a college graduate himself and has encouraged his own children to go to college.

    Unfortunately, Gregory gave him a complete pass on his remarks that President Obama wants to “indoctrinate” students to a liberal agenda by encouraging higher college enrollment. He allowed Santorum to go on and on about how going to college as opposed to a trade school shouldn’t be the only way for someone to get ahead in life without every pinning him down on how going to college is supposed to be “indoctrinating” anyone.


    [wpvideo avjyLdEp]

    • Ametia says:

      Gregory let Rick Santorum furhter EXPOSE his INSANITY, for all to HEAR. No sane American is ever going lift a pinky an pull the lever for this NUTJOB.

      Furthermore, folks who support PBO know that he and his admin are working to help Americans to achieve a GOOD EDUCATION so that. They won’t end up like you lil Rickie.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Fading Chances
    Republicans appear incapable of nominating someone who can win the votes of independents in November.

    It’s misleading to say that the state of the economy determines whether a president will win reelection. But it is fair to say that when a White House incumbent is running for a second term, the election is first and foremost a referendum on that president; the single most important factor that voters consider in assessing a president is the state and direction of the economy. That is the default factor unless something happens to shift a race’s dynamic and make the election more like a choice than a referendum. At least, that’s what I’ve always thought.

    We do not know what the state and direction of the economy will be next fall. Without a doubt, the picture is better today than it was four or eight months ago. Still, very smart economists have widely divergent views on where the economy will be then. If the election were a referendum on President Obama and the economy four or eight months ago, he would have lost. If it were a referendum on Obama and the economy almost two weeks ago—when his approval rating tipped up to 48 and 49 percent in the Gallup Poll, and 50 percent in ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, and CNN surveys—he probably would have won. (His Gallup numbers have since trended downward to 44 percent; the decline likely reflects more attention on rising gasoline prices.)

    But now I wonder whether the economy will drive this election to the usual extent—or to the extent I had thought. More specifically, will the Republican Party nominate a candidate who can credibly compete for the independent voters whose support is so important in general elections?

    Independents represented 29 percent of the electorate in 2008. In last year’s combined Gallup polls, though, they were 40 percent—a record high. In 2000, Republican George W. Bush won the independent vote by 2 percentage points over Democrat Al Gore but narrowly lost the overall popular vote. In 2004, Democrat John Kerry actually carried independents by 1 point but lost the national popular vote by 3 points. The winner of the independent vote doesn’t necessarily win the general election. But a candidate has to be very competitive among independents to have a chance to win. In 2008, the GOP’s John McCain lost the independent vote by 8 percentage points and the election by 7 points.

    Republicans should be concerned that Mitt Romney’s numbers among independents have been tanking in recent weeks; he went from double-digit leads over Obama in some polls, including one by the Pew Research Center, to a 9-point deficit. He is considered the “most electable” Republican. If other GOP contenders have equally dismal or worse approval numbers among independents, you have to wonder whether this could end up as a choice election, with Republicans coming out on the losing end.

    It is becoming quite clear that the conservative base of the Republican Party is driving the car. These voters prefer someone from the pull-no-punches brand of conservatism that created the tea party movement in 2009 and handed Republicans their House majority in 2010. It’s certainly the GOP’s right and choice to do that. The calendar, though, says 2012. The mood of the broader electorate—and, specifically, independents—appears to be very different. If you see any of Obama’s advisers looking bruised from head to toe, it might be from pinching themselves in disbelief.

    A month ago, in my Jan. 23 National Journal Daily column, I pointed out that if Romney lost the Florida primary, after being thumped by former Speaker Newt Gingrich in South Carolina, time remained for a new candidate to get into the race. Thirteen states still had open filing deadlines then; 10 of them still do. Those contests could not provide a new entrant with the 1,144 delegates needed to walk into the GOP convention with the nomination. But with enough delegates from states such as California, the new candidate would have a seat at a table and possibly some momentum.

    If Romney loses Michigan and has a disappointing Super Tuesday, this scenario could happen. It is now quite plausible that Romney will lose the nomination. But it is much harder to see Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, or Ron Paul winning it.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Gillibrand Challenger: No One Would Notice If Roe V. Wade Were Overturned

    By Alex Seitz-Wald on Feb 24, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Wendy Long, a conservative judicial activist challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said yesterday that no one would miss Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that legalized abortion, if it were overturned. Long clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and served as a counsel for the conservative Judicial Confirmation Network, but is perhaps best known for spearheading several inaccurate race baiting attacks against Justice Sonia Sotomayor during her confirmation process.

    Long made the abortion comment to Capital New York’s Reid Pillfant at the Manhattan GOP’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner last night:

    “I think there is a universal understanding among the legal community that Roe v. Wade was a very flawed legal decision,” she said. “It’s a horrible decision from a constitutional law standpoint, and even liberal law professors will tell you that.

    “I believe that the issue of abortion should be left to the people to decide. The Constitution doesn’t mention the word abortion. So I think that’s what it’s really all about. And if Roe v. Wade were overturned tomorrow, nobody would even notice, because the states are legislating their own laws about abortion, completely independent.”

    Republican-controlled legislatures are attempting to restrict women’s access to abortion services, but Roe is preventing them from outlawing abortion entirely. Should the precedent be overturned, a lot of women would almost certainly notice as plenty of states would criminalize the procedure.

  24. Hola Chicas!!! Happy Sunday to you all!

    Confession. I belong to a great church but my Sunday attendance is spotty at best especially now when Sundays often get devoted to OFA activities. Anyway, this wonderful morning I did attend the service but couldn’t stay for the fellowship (I haz a sad about that but I had to gather a couple of grandkiddos on the way home)

    The homily was on the subject of “gratefulness” & that gratitude should be a part of every day, not limited to some times or seasons. This put me in mind of all the things I am grateful for, my family, the fact that I have a home & food, reasonable good health etc…

    Then I thought of something else. I’m grateful I am old, not just because I am still alive, although that is a plus but because I feel really free to let it all hang out! I don’t have to be concerned about “pretty” or watch my words lest I get fired from my job & my family may get pissed at me time to time but I’m past my expiration date so they are stuck with me now.

    I feel free to speak my mind any time I want. I can say anything I want & folks may consider me an old harpy or senile. I don’t care! I am grateful to be my age and who I am.

    Thanks, Chicas! I know I have been a bit absent but I do appreciate being able to post here.


    • Happy Sunday, Aquagranny!

      You’re welcome anytime. 3Chics is grateful to have you grace our blog. And that goes for our 3Chics community as well. It’s a pleasure to see you here.

      Enjoy and speak freely. We do! :)

      Mi casa su casa!

    • Ametia says:

      Hola, AG! We’r GRATEFUL to have you speak your mind here at 3 Chics, whenever you feel free to do so. Thank you, Chica! :-)

      P.S. As my grandpa used to say: “YOU AIN’T OLD, TIL YOU’RE COLD.”

  25. Ametia says:

    Latest Story
    How The Gas Prices Are Manipulated By The Koch Brothers And Other Wall Street Players
    By Emine Dilek

    Why are gas prices surging to levels unseen since the 2008 oil spike while the oil companies reporting record profits? Much of the problem is actually created by Wall Street traders here in the USA who gamble on oil prices and powerful multinational companies that manipulate the supply and demand by stockpiling oil when the price is low and expected to rise in the near future. And yes, so far this practice is perfectly legal.

    Bart Chilton, a commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the federal agency that regulates commodity futures and option trading in the United States, says a very few number of players control too much of the market, allowing them to push the price of gas higher and higher. The American public knows very little about the oil speculation industry because a conservative majority on the CFTC has refused to implement the mandates from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to curb abuses and provide transparency.

  26. Ametia says:

    Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 03:05 AM PST.
    Murdering, Lying, Thieving, Rat-F*** Republican Pieces of Sub-Amphibian Sh**…


    Republicans, you vile, repulsive, scum. You’re not leading this country. You’re not contributing to this country. You’re not even part of this country. You are the maggot-ridden rot that arises in this country’s damaged flesh; you are the vultures constantly picking at us to see if we’re weak enough yet to become your next meal; you create problems where none would otherwise exist, just to further weaken America and quicken your own insatiable appetites; you are garbage, and you are traitors. And you are not welcome in this country anymore.

  27. Ametia says:

    Minnesota’s controversial deadly force bill advances
    Source: Reuters

    (Reuters) – A Minnesota bill that could be sent to the governor next week would sharply expand the circumstances under which people can use deadly force when they feel threatened, a measure that law enforcement groups call a recipe for getting away with murder.

    Democratic Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has not said whether he will sign or veto the measure advanced by the Republican majority state Senate and House when it gets to him.

    Under the proposal, “If you are anywhere you can legally be, you can defend yourself against a criminal,” said Republican Senator Gretchen Hoffman, the Senate sponsor. “If I am on the street … and I feel imminent danger of physical harm, I should be able to act with equal or greater force.”

    Several state law enforcement groups opposed the measure, including the vast majority of the 300-plus members of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association.

    Read more:

  28. Ametia says:

    A Latino woman is on MHP saying there is a ENTHUSIASM GAP with OBAMA SUPPORTERS.

    WUH? Where are the photos, SG2? Let’s see that “GAP.”

  29. Mitt Romney Doubles Down On Cadillac Gaffe, Accuses Obama Of Corruption

    Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney on Sunday defended both his wealth and the number of cars he owns during an awkward exchange with Fox News’ Chris Wallace.

    Wallace asked the former Massachusetts governor whether his recent statement that his wife “drives a couple of Cadillacs” was out-of-touch with the economic realities facing most American families. Romney responded with a reference to the different states in which his cars are located, and suggested that only President Barack Obama’s supporters would begrudge him his automobile affluence.

    “I can’t be perfect, I just am who I am and I can tell you this with regards to the cars, that was talked about last September and us, what vehicles we own, we have a car in California, we have a car in Boston,” Romney said. “And so that’s the way it is. If people think that there is something wrong for being successful, they should vote for the other guy. I have been successful.”

  30. Ametia says:

    Jan Brewer says she’ll likely endorse before Arizona primary

    By Michael A. Memoli

    February 25, 2012, 12:43 p.m.
    Reporting from Washington— Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer indicated Saturday that she’s likely to endorse one of the Republican presidential candidates before her state’s primary election on Tuesday.

    Speaking with reporters at the National Governors Assn. meeting in Washington, Brewer first said that she would definitely announce an endorsement before Tuesday, perhaps even as soon as Sunday. But then she hedged, saying, “If I get all my answers.”


    Brewer said she would not be attending a formal GOVERNOR’S dinner at the White House that night being hosted for all of the governors, one month after a heated tarmac discussion with the president when he visited the state. But she would attend a working meeting with her fellow governors at the White House on Monday.

    Asked if she would seek an opportunity to speak again with the president to smooth over any hard feelings from their previous meeting, Brewer said: “I will always look for an opportunity to sit down with the president, always.” She also said that the way the incident was reported was “distorted,” but would not elaborate.,0,3116854.story?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=cheatsheet_morning&cid=newsletter%3Bemail%3Bcheatsheet_morning&utm_term=Cheat%20Sheet

    • Ametia says:

      i’m sure PBO will truly miss you tonight at the WH Governor’s Dinner, Jan.

      Mitt Romney should be oh so proud to have your endorsement. SMGDH

  31. Mitt, Michigan and a Couple of Cadillacs

    Mitt Romney just can’t stop wealth allusions from creeping into the conversation.

    He did it again on Friday. At the end of a speech about his economic plan before the Detroit Economic Club, when it felt as though he was just winging it, he said: “I love this country. I actually love this state. This feels good being back in Michigan. Um, you know the trees are the right height. The, uh, the streets are just right. I like the fact that most of the cars I see are Detroit-made automobiles. I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually.”

    Two Cadillacs?

    That’s rich, literally.

    That’s not what you want to say when you are in Detroit, which, as I pointed out last week, has the highest poverty rate of any big city in America.

    That’s not what you want to say in a city where Megan Owens of the Detroit-based advocacy organization Transportation Riders United said on Friday that roughly half of its bus service has been eliminated in the past five or so years.

    That’s not what you want to say when discussing a tax-cut plan that, according to models prepared by the Tax Policy Center, would heavily weight the benefits toward the top of the income spectrum.

    That’s not what you want to say when, as David Cay Johnston of Reuters pointed out this week, Romney’s plan would:

    “Raise taxes on poor families with children at home and those going to college. Romney does this by reducing benefits from the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit and by ending the American Opportunity tax credit for college education.”

  32. HCAN ‏ @HCAN

    NYT: Blunt amendment allowing any employer to deny any treatment is an outrageous assault on First Amendment #hcr

  33. OMG! Mitt Romney is a complusive liar!

    Mitt Romney couldn’t have remembered Detroit milestone; he wasn’t born

    DETROIT—When Mitt Romney regaled a Michigan audience this week with childhood memories of a landmark moment in Detroit history, it was a rare instance of emotional candour.

    And, perhaps, an even rarer example of time travel.

    Romney recalled he was “probably 4 or something like that” the day of the Golden Jubilee, when three-quarters of a million people gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the American automobile.

    “My dad had a job being the grandmaster. They painted Woodward Ave. with gold paint,” Romney told a rapt Tea Party audience in the village of Milford Thursday night, reliving a moment of American industrial glory.

    The Golden Jubilee described so vividly by Romney was indeed an epic moment in automotive lore. The parade included one of the last public appearances by an elderly Henry Ford.

    And it took place June 1, 1946 — fully nine months before Romney was born.

    The timelines suggest Romney could well have been conceived that day. But it is inconceivable he was actually there.

    Was Romney wilfully rearranging history for the sake of retail politics? Or was this just an innocent faux-memory absorbed at the knee of his father George Romney, who did in fact oversee the Jubilee festivities? The benefit of the doubt suggests it may simply be a tale heard so many times that Toddler Mitt added it as his own.

  34. Surprise, Surprise: Dead People Weren’t Voting in South Carolina, Investigation Finds | AlterNet

    Despite allegations that more than 950 ballots were cast in South Carolina elections bearing deceased voters’ names, an investigation by the State Election Commission found no evidence of any voter fraud.

  35. An Effing Mess: Republicans Grow Pessimistic About Defeating Obama

    Obama’s reelection bid is gaining momentum, and trapped in the debacle that is the Republican primary, GOP insiders are getting pessimistic about November.

    For months GOP insiders have been expecting an Obama win, but their despair has reached a new low as reported by John Heilemann in New York Magazine, “A loss is what the GOP’s political class now expects. “Six months before this thing got going, every Republican I know was saying, ‘We’re gonna win, we’re gonna beat Obama,’ ” says former Reagan strategist Ed Rollins. “Now even those who’ve endorsed Romney say, ‘My God, what a fucking mess.’ ”

    How badly has the Republican Party f**ked this up?

    Usually, a political party uses their nominating process to build good will and positive momentum for their future standard bearer. However, the exact opposite is happening to the Republican Party in 2012. The latest Democracy Corps poll showed that the instead of helping douse the fire caused by the unpopular actions of the GOP controlled House, the Republican presidential candidates, especially Mitt Romney, have made things worse by spending tens of millions of dollars on negative advertising, and are pushing their party towards collapse.

  36. Good Morning, Jueseppi!

    Nice to see you this Sunday morning. Happy Sunday!

  37. Good Morning, 3 Chics! Happy Sunday!


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