Monday Open Thread

En Vogue is an American female R&B[1] vocal group from Oakland, California assembled by music producers Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy.[2]

The group has won more MTV Video Music Awards than any other female group in MTV history, a total of seven, along with four Soul Train Awards, six American Music Awards, and seven Grammy nominations. According to Billboard Magazine they were the 18th most successful act of the 1990s, and one of the most popular and successful female groups of all time.[3] En Vogue have accumulated over 2,800 weeks on various Billboard charts.[4]

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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105 Responses to Monday Open Thread

  1. Federal agents raided the home of Joaquin Amador Serrapio Jr before he could make any attempt to harm the president.

    Punk ass mofo!

  2. Florida man arrested in threat on Obama.

  3. First lady Michelle Obama speaks before the National Governors Association, Monday, Feb. 27, 2012, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 03:22 PM ET, 02/27/2012
    Warren Buffett versus Chris Christie and the `just shut up’ caucus
    By Greg Sargent

    The other day, Blunt Truth Teller Chris Christie gave Warren Buffett a little bit of advice, Jersey style. Christie suggested that rather than try and engage the nation in a conversation about inequality and tax unfairness, he should “just write a check and shut up.”

    Today, Buffett hit back:

    “It’s sort of a touching response to a $1.2 trillion deficit, isn’t it? That somehow the American people will all send in checks and take care of it?” Buffett said in an interview on CNBC…

    Buffett said Christie’s comments were not “eloquent” and largely parroted a similar call from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

    “It’s sort of astounding to me that somebody that has the responsibility for being the minority leader in the Senate would think that you attack a $1.2 trillion or so deficit by asking for voluntary contributions,” Buffett said.

    Well, yes, it is amazing that public officials in positions of real influence and responsibility continue to repeat this line with no evident sense of embarrassment. But it’s worth noting that the “just shut up and write a check” argument has a subtext — it’s about playing on phony notions of liberal elitism and hypocrisy. It’s about suggesting that wealthy Democrats, or wealthy supporters of Democrats, aren’t really willing to put their money where their mouths are; they just want to bash the rich even as they enjoy the benefits of being rich themselves. You hear accents of this in the constant attacks on Elizabeth Warren as a “hypocrite” because she calls for higher taxes on the rich, even though she’s also wealthy.

    The thing is, though, that Buffett and Warren are calling for policy changes that would have a negative financial impact on themselves as well as other members of their class. This is not elitist or hypocritical. In fact, at bottom, it’s actually self-deprecating. They are arguing that they don’t deserve all the credit for getting rich; their good fortune was partly enabled by a society that’s supported by taxpayers, leaving them with a moral responsibility to chip in more if necessary to keep that society functioning.

  5. rikyrah says:

    The Return of Bob Kerrey
    By Charles P. Pierce
    at 1:00PM

    Well, I’m certainly thrilled by this development. Once again, Bob Kerrey, The Resume That Walks Like a Man, will leave the palace of his own mighty intellect and mingle in the political hurly-burly. Be still, my heart.

    There is no reason for Kerrey to have been the insufferable figure he has been for his entire political career. His C.V. is to die for — Medal of Honor winner, semi-self-made millionaire, putative Democrat, etc. etc. Of course, through the years, there have been some holes picked in that resume. That whole war-crime business that his pals in the elite media gave him a pass on back in 1998. His millions were made on the backs of underpaid and non-unionized restaurant workers, and Kerrey’s loyalty to the party never extended an inch beyond his own frustrated ambitions. In 1992, he sold out Bill Clinton to a reporter by calling the then-candidate “an unusually good liar.” In 2008, now campaigning for the unusually good liar’s wife, Kerrey called John Edwards an “ambulance chaser” and said of Barack Obama:

    “I like the fact that his name is Barack Hussein Obama, and that his father was a Muslim and that his paternal grandmother is a Muslim… There’s a billion people on the planet that are Muslims, and I think that experience is a big deal.”

    Yeah, sure you do.

    He once ran for president on his own hook, in 1992, and was responsible for perhaps the worst campaign for any serious contender prior to the arrival of Rick Perry this year. Kerrey always seemed baffled that the presidency wasn’t an appointive position. Well, he’s back, apparently, and he is marginally more of a obvious Democrat than Ben Nelson is. (So is a garden gnome.) He voted against the Defense of Marriage Act back in the day, so there’s that, but he also was the most prominent Democrat pushing the privatization of Social Security at roughly the same time. I can see him signing aboard some half-assed “compromise” on “entitlements” like the one being circulated at present by Democratic senator Ron Wyden and zombie-eyed granny-starver Paul Ryan. Sooner or later, on a big issue, the party’s need for his support is going to collide with his monumental self-regard. I don’t like the former’s chances.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Pastor leaves rooftop after Tyler Perry gives $98k for community center

    BY ART GOLAB Staff Reporter/
    February 24, 2012 11:58AM

    Theater and movie mogul Tyler Perry made a snap decision on a morning radio show Friday to give a South Side pastor the final $98,000 he needed to buy and tear down an abandoned motel.

    For 94 days, Rev. Corey Brooks had been camped out on the roof of a former motel, saying he would not come down until he had raised $450,000 to buy the property.

    Friday evening, with his giddy church flock swarming around him, Brooks finally came down and told his well-wishers how thrilled he’d been to receive Perry’s gift.

    “When I got the phone call, I was extremely ecstatic. I was hysterical,” Brooks said, tears welling in his eyes.

    The stunt got a lot of attention, and Brooks was more than halfway to his goal when one of his flock at New Beginnings Church sent a letter to Tom Joyner’s morning radio show. It nominated Brooks for a contest where a Harley-Davidson motorcycle would be donated to a deserving church.

    The letter, which described Brooks’ crusade to tear down the motel and build a community center, was selected as the winner and read on the air Friday morning to Perry, the sponsor of the contest.

    “This is all legit? This has all been vetted? How much money is he trying to raise?” Perry asked Joyner.

    Joyner and his sidekicks told Perry that Brooks was indeed legitimate and needed $98,000 to complete the deal .

    “OK, OK, I tell you what. You guys have vetted this? This is all real and legit?. I’ll do that. I’ll give him the $98,000,” said Perry, who later changed the gift to an even $100,000.

    “If this is all real and it’s a community center that’s going to help stop some of the crime that’s going on there — I love the people of Chicago, I’m in,” said Perry.

    Perry’s motorcycle contest was promoting his new movie called “Good Deeds.”

    Brooks had no warning. He was still up on the roof when his twitter feed and Facebook posts started going crazy. “I thought it was maybe somebody joking on the show. Then they called me. That’s when I found this was really serious,” Brooks, said speaking by phone from the rooftop.

    “The only thing I could do was cry, I was crying like a baby,” Brooks said. “I was trying not to let them know I was crying so much but my face was just full of tears.”

    Brooks, 43, had worked with the city to get the hotel at 6625 S. King Dr. closed down, calling it a hotbed of drugs and prostitution. Now he wants to demolish the eyesore and build a $15 million community center that will serve as a small business incubator as well as offer counseling and recreation to children.

    Later Friday, as Brooks prepared to take a hot shower, go out for dinner with his family and catch Perry’s new movie, he thanked countless people for contributing to his church’s cause, including an elderly woman on a fixed income who gave him $50, and a crack cocaine addict.

    Brooks described how the addict came up on a hydraulic lift and approached his tent.

    The man had tears in his eyes, Brooks said, telling him, “Pastor, if I can smoke crack cocaine and spend $40 on that, then surely I can spend $40 for a great cause.”

  7. rikyrah says:

    All or Nothing At All

    by John Cole

    Via the Great Orange Satan, Cardinal Francis George has decided the Catholic church gets to dictate what happens to lady parts of they should just burn it all down:

    What will happen if the HHS regulations are not rescinded? A Catholic institution, so far as I can see right now, will have one of four choices: 1) secularize itself, breaking its connection to the church, her moral and social teachings and the oversight of its ministry by the local bishop. This is a form of theft. It means the church will not be permitted to have an institutional voice in public life. 2) Pay exorbitant annual fines to avoid paying for insurance policies that cover abortifacient drugs, artificial contraception and sterilization. This is not economically sustainable. 3) Sell the institution to a non-Catholic group or to a local government. 4) Close down.

    Actually, I quite like option #3. Sell it to a non-Catholic group, and use the proceeds to pay back the thousands upon thousands of the Church’s sexual abuse victims around the world.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Speculation In Crude Oil Adds $23.39 To The Price Per Barrel

    If there were no speculation in oil futures on commodities exchange, the price of a barrel of oil might be as low as $74.61– not more than the present price of $108.00 a barrel.

    But, there is plenty of speculation as the possibility of strife in Iran, one of the globe’s largest crude oil producers, pushes up the price of oil futures, which in turn impact the price of buying crude oil in the open market. As of February 23, 2012 “managed money” held positions in NYMEX crude oil contracts equivalent to 233.9 million barrels of oil– the equivalent of about one year’s crude oil supply from Iran to Western European nations like France, Belgium, Greece, Italy and Spain.

    As Goldman Sachs believes that each million barrels of speculation in the oil futures market adds about 10 cents to the price of a barrel of oil, this means that in theory the speculative premium in oil prices due to speculation is as much as $23.39 a barrel in the price of NYMEX crude oil.

    In turn oil analysts believe that every $10 rise in the price of crude oil translates into a 24 cent rise in the price of gasoline at the pump. Using the 24 cent rise in the price of gasoline suggests that each dollar increase in a barrel of oil equals about $.56 per barrel.

    So, if a barrel of crude oil is $23.39 higher because of speculative action in the commodity markets– this translates out into a premium for gasoline at the pump of $.56 a gallon. Since gasoline in the northeast is about $3.68 a gallon, this suggests that without any speculation, the cost of a gallon would be only $3.12, a lot more favorable outcome.

    The trouble is that without a resolution of the threat of an attack on the Iranian nuclear bomb facilities, the tension communicated in newspaper headlines and television news shows is apt to drive the speculative interest even highe than 233.9 million barrels and so push up the price of crude oil per barrel.

    During the summer of 2008 when crude oil per barrel rose to $145 a barrel, the peak cost of a gallon of gasoline was at least $4.11. As prices skyrocketed gasoline usage declined, bringing down speculation, and thus the price of crude oil and gasoline. George Soros, hedge fund operator, took a massive short position in crude oil at $137 a barrel, and profited when the price subsequently fell.

  9. Ametia says:

    Posted at 03:10 PM ET, 02/27/2012
    Obama hits back against Santorum ‘snob’ criticism by defending college education stance

    By David Nakamura

    President Obama on Monday defended his stance that higher education is critical to preparing Americans to compete in the global workforce, offering a tacit rebuke to Republican rival Rick Santorum who called Obama a “snob” for wanting everyone to go to college.

    Speaking to the National Governors Association, Obama called on the group to protect public investment in education at a time of shrinking state budgets so that teachers remain in the classroom.

    Obama did not mention GOP presidential candidate Santorum by name in his remarks. But the president paused to say he wanted to make a specific point when it came to higher education.

    “When I speak about higher education we’re not just talking about a four-year degree,” Obama said. “We’re talking about somebody going to a community college and getting trained for that manufacturing job that now is requiring somebody walking through the door, handling a million-dollar piece of equipment. And they can’t go in there unless they’ve got some basic training beyond what they received in high school.”

  10. rikyrah says:

    Professional Left’s war on Obama: Chris Hayes equates leak prosecutions with shooting journalists
    Monday, February 27, 2012
    Posted by Deaniac83 at 12:02 PM

    At a time when the entire GOP is busy constructing a fictional Barack Obama that doesn’t actually exist, some on the “Left” have their own construction of yet another fictional Barack Obama. As opposed to the peacenik terrorist-loving Barack Obama constructed by the Right, the Left’s fictional version of the president presides over a police state America. On his MSNBC show “Up with Chris Hayes,” Chris Hayes launches a fresh attack on President Obama’s “national security state.” In this version, President Obama commits Syrian-style journalist-killing atrocities by… drum rolls please… prosecuting irresponsible leaks under specific, legally defined – with fully protected defendants’ rights – circumstances. Watch:

    You can see the whole segment here. But suffice it to say that Hayes’ gloating characterization of Jake Tapper of ABC News as a “bulldog” tips off his feelings on the issue. Hayes of course took the opportunity mention Bradley Manning (whose own defense won’t even claim his innocence) to throw some red meat to the anarchists, despite his self-proclaimed “conflict” on the case. He also invited his colleague at The Nation to sell his books on this segment. But I digress. Let’s get to the issue.

    The issue is the Obama administration’s prosecution of six federal employees under the Espionage Act for leaking classified information. Jake Tapper – who, as a journalist has a singular focus on getting more information, is not necessarily at fault – asked in the White House press briefing why the administration was praising brave journalists abroad and prosecuting leakers – he termed them “whistleblowers” – at home. But Chris Hayes, on his show, wasn’t playing journalist. He was playing analyst. Throughout the entire segment, neither he nor any of his guests caught onto some essential facts before accusing the President of “chilling” free speech.

    Let’s ignore for a moment the media’s own role in chilling free speech. Let’s forget for a while that this very media that is now lamenting about the Obama Administration’s prosecutions beat the war drums despite public evidence that Iraq was not a threat to the United States during George W. Bush’s rein.

    First of all, the Espionage Act is not an overarching punish-the-whistleblower mechanism that Hayes seems to intimate. It allows the government to charge individuals under a very specific set of circumstances, upheld by the Supreme Court. Specifically:

  11. rikyrah says:

    .No Enemies to the Right: The Defining Element of the GOP Primary

    There was, last week, a brief but thrilling moment in the GOP presidential contest: It seemed like, for the first time, a candidate would be attacked for being, not too liberal, but too far right. Back in the day, that wouldn’t have been too unusual, as when George H.W. Bush, in a remark that would haunt the rest of his career, mocked Ronald Reagan’s supply-side convictions as “voodoo economics.” This year though, in a fight universally described as among the nastiest in recent history, all the attacks have been in just one direction: from the right.

    This has obviously been the thrust of the endless criticisms of Mitt Romney, who has evolved from 2008’s movement conservative champion to 2012’s Republican in Name Only—even as his own policy positions have become increasingly conservative. But Romney has recently used the same tactics against his current rival, Rick Santorum. With Santorum roaming across the land like a firebug, suggesting that American liberty itself could not survive another Obama term, did Romney or his surrogates go after him for conservative extremism? Of course not: Santorum was blasted to hell and back for being a fiscal liberal or even for being in the “liberal wing of the Republican Party.” Suddenly his much-regretted endorsement of his Senate colleague Arlen Specter became a Mark of the Beast that obliterated his many years of service to the conservative cause; his votes (along with most other Senate Republicans) for George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind and Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit—understood at the time as central to Karl Rove’s master plan for building a conservative majority in the electorate—proved he was just another RINO.

    This is the same pattern we’ve seen throughout the election: far-right politicians attacked for their lefty positions. When it became time for Team Romney to take down Rick Perry a peg or two, it didn’t go after the Texan for flirting with secession. No: The successful assault on Perry was all about his unconscionable sympathy for the children of undocumented workers. Similarly, Newt Gingrich never drew a bit of fire for his constant anti-Muslim demagoguery or his attacks on the moral fiber of food stamp beneficiaries. He first got into trouble for daring to question the political viability of Paul Ryan’s draconian budget proposals. Later on, Romney and Ron Paul led a joint attack on Newt for once expressing a belief in global climate change (and worse yet, appearing with Nancy Pelosi in an ad on the subject) and for allegedly criticizing Saint Ronald Reagan. When Gingrich rose from the dead yet again, he was definitively put down by Romney and his super PAC for the crime of receiving lobbying dollars from Freddie Mac, which, as every wingnut knows, conspired with ACORN and poor people to destroy the housing market and the financial system.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Alabama GOP wants Virginia’s vaginal ultrasound bill
    By Laura Conaway – Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:32 PM EST.
    Click for the full collection.

    This idea started with Jess Idres and Ali Davis, and kept on going.
    A bunch of folks have been asking why Virginia got the nation in such an uproar over its vaginal ultrasounds bill, when Texas has had an even stricter one on the books for months now.

    “I hate to say this, but in Texas we can fight all day long, but there’s a propensity to write us off,” said state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston.

    “They think, ‘That’s Texas. Texas is a place where those kinds of things happen.'”

    So maybe that’s Texas. Meanwhile, Alabama Republicans would like their own vaginal ultrasound bill. Alabama Senate Bill 12 actually says “vaginal” right in it, so there’s no sense in lawmakers pretending they don’t know that’s part of the deal. If you read the language of the bill, you’ll see that they think the state’s right extends inside a woman’s body, as do the rights of anyone claiming to be the father, as do the rights of anyone claiming to be the grandparents.

    From the bill (pdf):

    Any person upon whom an abortion has been performed without compliance with this act, the father of the unborn child who was the subject of the abortion, or the grandparent of an unborn child may maintain an action against the person who performed the abortion in knowing or reckless violation of this act for actual and punitive damages….

    In every civil or criminal proceeding or action brought under this act, the court shall rule whether the anonymity of any female upon whom an abortion has been performed or attempted to be performed shall be preserved from public disclosure if she does not give her consent to such disclosure.

    And let’s not leave out Pennsylvania, where vaginal ultrasound House Bill 1077 requires that images from the procedure be placed in a woman’s line of sight. Republican state Rep. Todd Rock promises, “[Y]ou can turn your head or close your eyes.”

    So Pennsylvania’s willing to insert the state into your body, but they’ll stop short at propping your eyelids open.

    P.S. In covering the unraveling of Virginia’s ultrasound bill, the Washington Post made a special note of our segment with the vaginal probes “emblazoned with slogans such as, ‘If you can read this, your government is too close.” That’s a hat tip to viewer #maddow Twitter pals Ali Davis and Jess Idres, and maybe another answer to the question about why the Texas bill hasn’t gotten more attention. Producer Rebekah Dryden, who has done such terrific work for us on these stories, says that when the Texas bill passed, it wasn’t clear to everyone what it required. The monogrammed probes were a brilliant way to help the public understand the issue. Ali and Jess, take a bow.

  13. rikyrah says:

    27, 2012 2:54 PM
    Fuel for the Pauline Conspiracy Theory
    By Ed Kilgore

    There’s been a lot of talk—dating back at least to the Iowa Caucus stretch-run—that Ron Paul is doing his devious best to help Mitt Romney destroy his other GOP opponents. There is no question Paul spent a fair amount of money in Iowa helping Mitt demolish Newt Gingrich, though the fact that Paul was chasing Gingrich in the polls in that state made the tactic entirely unmysterious. It’s a bit less obvious why the Paul campaign seems to be doing the same number on Rick Santorum right now.

    In any event, Judd Legum of Think Progress has documented an even more thorough-going Mittophilia in Paul’s approach to the GOP candidate debates, in which the ratio of attacks on everybody-but-Mitt and Mitt is a nice round 39-0.

    Theories as to why Paul would want to help the most conventional of his opponents range from the pedestrian (it’s the shortest and easiest route for Paul to maintain first-tier candidate status, given Romney’s superior money and Establishment support) to the patriarchal (Ron wants to give Rand a shot at second-place on a ticket with Romney, or at least a seat-at-the-table in a Romney administration). But whatever the rationale, it is pretty clear Ron Paul is not interested in launching Rebel Alliance missiles at the Death Star.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Romney slams Santorum for agreeing with him
    By Steve Benen – Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:45 PM EST.

    In last week’s debate for the Republican presidential candidates, Mitt Romney put Rick Santorum on the defense over several issues, but at the top of the list was the former senator’s vote for No Child Left Behind. Santorum expressed some regret for the vote, but said politics is a “team sport,” and he was trying to support the Republican administration at the time.

    The response drew boos from the audience.

    Just as important, it also drew ridicule from Romney. The former governor said of Santorum the next day, “He talked of this of being ‘taking for one the team.’ I wonder which team he was taking it for. My team is the American people, not the insiders in Washington.”

    There is, however, a rather important detail that Romney hopes GOP voters won’t notice: he supported No Child Left Behind, too. In fact, Romney was going after Santorum for holding a position that Romney happens to agree with.

    BuzzFeed notes George W. Bush campaigning in support of Romney’s gubernatorial campaign in October 2002, and applauding Romney for supporting the NCLB law

    Romney hasn’t abandoned that position … and his staff say there’s nothing awkward about his attacking Santorum for taking the same side as he did.

    “Gov. Romney’s criticism of Santorum is that he voted for NCLB even though he said he was opposed on principle,” said a Romney aide. “Typical insider.”

    This is a little tough to wrap one’s head around. Santorum supported No Child Left Behind; Romney supported No Child Left Behind. Santorum sided with George W. Bush on the policy; Romney sided with George W. Bush on the policy. Santorum now regrets his vote; Romney still supports the education law.

    So, Romney is going on the attack because Santorum took the same position Romney took, only Santorum now wishes he hadn’t. Hmm.

    Greg Sargent notes this afternoon that the oddity of a story like this won’t necessarily cause much of a stir. Why not? Greg considers this compelling observation: “It’s worth wondering whether Romney is benefitting from a kind of ‘flip flop fatigue,’ in which the crush of equivocations, reversals and rhetorical contortions has gotten so relentless and ubiquitous that people are too exhausted to bother tracking or objecting to them anymore.”

  15. rikyrah says:

    February 27, 2012 2:18 PM
    Triumphal March Or Panicked Counter-Attack?
    By Ed Kilgore

    As regular readers have probably noticed, I believe the $64,000 question of contemporary U.S. politics is why one of the two major parties made the historically unusual decision to react to consecutive electoral landslide defeats in 2006 and 2008 by moving rapidly away from the vicinity of the political “center.” My theory has been that this strange phenomenon is probably best explained by the convergence of a long-term trend—the decades-long conquest of the GOP by “movement conservatism”—and a short-term challenge—the need for conservatives to disassociate themselves from the Bush era without repudiating their own ideology.

    But my esteemed friend and former colleague Jonathan Chait offered a different, if not entirely inconsistent, theory in an important column at New York published yesterday. Chait’s analysis is that Republicans are deeply aware they are doomed demographically, and are gambling everything on a last-ditch, all-or-nothing, confrontational appeal to White Identity Politics:

    If they can claw out a presidential win and hold on to Congress, they will have a glorious two-year window to restore the America they knew and loved, to lock in transformational change, or at least to wrench the status quo so far rightward that it will take Democrats a generation to wrench it back.

    Chait and I point to a lot of the same phenomena to chronicle the unlikely and unmistakable nature of the rightward shift in the GOP’s agenda and message after 2008:

    Following Obama’s win, all sorts of loose talk concerning the Republican predicament filled the air. How would the party recast itself? Where would it move left, how would it find common ground with Obama, what new constituencies would it court?

    The most widely agreed-upon component of any such undertaking was a concerted effort to win back the Hispanic vote. It seemed like a pure political no-brainer, a vital outreach to an exploding electoral segment that could conceivably be weaned from its Democratic leanings, as had previous generations of Irish and Italian immigrants, without altering the party’s general right-wing thrust on other issues. George W. Bush had tried to cobble together a comprehensive immigration-reform policy only to see it collapse underneath a conservative grassroots revolt, and John McCain, who had initially co-sponsored a bill in the Senate, had to withdraw his support for it in his pursuit of the 2008 nomination.

    In the wake of his defeat, strategists like Karl Rove and Mike Murphy urged the GOP to abandon its stubborn opposition to reform. Instead, incredibly, the party adopted a more hawkish position, with Republicans in Congress rejecting even quarter-loaf compromises like the Dream Act and state-level officials like Jan Brewer launching new restrictionist crusades. This was, as Thomas Edsall writes in The Age of Austerity, “a major gamble that the GOP can continue to win as a white party despite the growing strength of the minority vote.”

    None of this is to say that Republicans ignored the rising tide of younger and browner voters that swamped them at the polls in 2008. Instead they set about keeping as many of them from the polls as possible.

    But, says Chait, they were only in a position to wage their war against voting because they lucked into a 2010 victory that had little or nothing to do with their own electoral appeal:

  16. rikyrah says:

    February 27, 2012 12:33 PM
    A Proposed Moratorium on Late Entry Speculation
    By Ed Kilgore

    Late-entry fantasists who keep lofting up the names of possible GOP saviors that a “brokered convention” might nominate have a basic problem: most of those names are of pols who have repeatedly said they are not interested, and/or have tangible handicaps that would cause big problems with key segments of the party they are supposed to save. You know: Jeb Bush is a squish on immigration, Chris Christie has mocked Islamophobes, Mitch Daniels has proposed a “truce” on cultural issues, and so on and so forth.

    So some scribblers have taken to writing about saviors who haven’t disclaimed interest in a candidacy and whose shortcomings have not already been analyzed, because nobody in his or her right mind would suggest them in the first place. That’s the only appropriate reaction to Adam Winkler’s Daily Beast column floating an extremely flimsy trial balloon for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

    I won’t go through Winkler’s full argument, which is so fundamentally silly that some readers have suggested it might be a parody. But here’s its real clincher of an “argument:”

    Yes, it is hard to believe that Clarence Thomas would ever be the Republican nominee. Then again, most people thought an inexperienced African-American often mistaken for a Muslim could never defeat presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton, much less be elected president.

    That depends on your definition of “most people.” Barack Obama was being hailed as a possible future president from the very moment he delivered his famous speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention—and some people thought so even earlier. And if the unlikelihood of some abstract “type” of a nominee becomes a credential for everyone else who is “unlikely,” then why stop at Clarence Thomas? Why not some county commissioner from North Dakota? Why not a Democrat? That would be a shocker, wouldn’t it?

    I think we need a moratorium on all late entry speculation until such time as turnout in Republican primaries drops 70% or at a minimum, Newt Gingrich has negotiated his third return from the dead this cycle and tops national polls once again.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 01:39 PM ET, 02/27/2012
    Mitt Romney and flip flop fatigue
    By Greg Sargent

    It occurs to me that two of the leading claims Mitt Romney has been making lately are, in a funny way, related.

    Romney frequently defends his opposition to Obama’s auto-bailout by suggesting that he, Romney, was the architect of the policy that actually saved the auto industry. He claims he initially suggested that the auto companies should go through a “managed bankruptcy,” and that the government should guarantee post-bankruptcy financing.

    And that’s true — but it’s mostly irrelevant. As Reuters noted, “that is not what happened.” Romney aggressively opposed the very thing that made it possible for the auto companies to go through that process — loans from the federal government. Even if you accept Romney’s contention that the auto industry would be doing better still if we hadn’t gone with a bailout, the notion that Romney is responsible for the approach Obama did adopt is a huge stretch.

    Meanwhile, Romney frequently rebuffs talk about the similarities between his Massachusetts health care law and Obama’s health reform initiative. And yet in this case, it happens to be true that he was the architect of the model for the hated “Obamacare.”

    Romney initially predicted the bailout would lead to the auto industry’s demise. Now he says he was responsible for the policy that made the auto industry’s rebound possible — even though he wasn’t. Meanwhile, Romney used to say that he hopes for a “nation that’s taken a mandate approach.” Now he derides Obamacare in the most lurid terms — even though he pioneered Obamacare’s approach.

    Meanwhile, still more has emerged today on yet another Romneyism. Mitt has been attacking Rick Santorum for claiming he voted for No Child Left Behind in violation of his own principles. Yet as Buzzfeed reports, Romney’s support for No Child Left Behind in 2008 what won him the backing of George W. Bush, who claimed that it showed that the two men “share a philosophy.” That’s not a flip-flop in the narrowest technical sense, but it still amounts to some remarkable dissembling.

    Yet no one seems to care about these latest revelations. It’s worth wondering whether Romney is benefitting from a kind of “flip flop fatigue,” in which the crush of equivocations, reversals and rhetorical contortions has gotten so relentless and ubiquitous that people are too exhausted to bother tracking or objecting to them anymore.

  18. Ametia says:

    The Oscars: Billy Crystal’s Black Jokes
    By: Jenée Desmond-Harris | Posted: February 27, 2012

    When it came to jokes involving black people, Academy Awards host Billy Crystal was on a roll last night.

    First, as part of his opening montage, he parodied Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, performing in blackface to portray Sammy Davis Jr. (Watch the video below). That was nothing new: He used to do the same in his 1980s Saturday Night Live performances.

    But he had more current racial material, too: After Octavia Spencer’s won best supporting actress for her role in The Help, he said, “That moment for Octavia is what the Oscars is all about. I love that movie a lot … When I came out of The Help I wanted to hug the first black woman that I saw, which from Beverly Hills is a 45-minute drive.”

    (After Spencer’s win, comedian Paul Scheer tweeted that the award “shows just how far we’ve come since Billy Crystal performed in Blackface.”)

  19. rikyrah says:

    New Study Links Relaxers To Fibroids

    ( — A new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology has linked hair relaxers to uterine fibroids, as well as early puberty in young girls.

    Scientists followed more than 23,000 pre-menopausal Black American women from 1997 to 2009 and found that the two- to three-times higher rate of fibroids among black women may be linked to chemical exposure through scalp lesions and burns resulting from relaxers.

    Women who got their first menstrual period before the age of 10 were also more likely to have uterine fibroids, and early menstruation may result from hair products black girls are using, according to a separate study published in the Annals of Epidemiology last summer.

    Three hundred African American, African Caribbean, Hispanic, and White women in New York City were studied. The women’s first menstrual period varied anywhere from age 8 to age 19, but African Americans, who were more likely to use straightening and relaxers hair oils, also reached menarche earlier than other racial/ethnic groups.

    While so far, there is only an association rather than a cause and effect relationship between relaxers, fibroid tumors, and puberty, many experts have been quick to point out that the hair care industry isn’t regulated by the FDA, meaning that there’s no definite way to fully know just how harmful standard Black hair care products really are.

    Fibroid Facts

    Fibroids are tumors that grow in the uterus. They are benign, which means they are not cancerous, and are made up of muscle fibers. Fibroids can be as small as a pea and can grow as large as a melon. It is estimated that 20-50% of women have, or will have, fibroids at some time in in their lives. They are rare in women under the age of 20, most common in women in their 30s and 40s, and tend to shrink after the menopause.

    According to US studies, fibroids occur up to nine times more often in black women than in white women, and tend to appear earlier. The reason for this is unclear. Also women who are overweight may be more likely to have fibroids. This is thought to be due to higher levels of estrogen in heavier women.

    Although the exact cause of fibroids is unknown, they seem to be influenced by estrogen. This would explain why they appear during a woman’s middle years (when estrogen levels are high) and stop growing after the menopause (when estrogen levels drop).

  20. rikyrah says:

    Report: Bob Kerrey Changes His Mind, Will Run For NE Senate

    The Washington Post reports that former Sen. Bob Kerrey will run for the Senate after previously indicating that he would not run. This is good news for Democrats, who felt that with Kerrey they have a chance of maintaining the seat being vacated by retiring Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson. Nebraska’s filing deadline is this week.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Walker: The Recall Costs Money — Think Of The Children And Seniors

    Eric Kleefeld- February 27, 2012, 10:03 AM

    Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) appeared Monday on Morning Joe, discussing the upcoming recall election against him by the state Democrats and organized labor. And among other things, he said, the recall is only hurting children and seniors — by costing money.

    MSNBC’s Willie Geist asked Walker: “You find yourself in the middle of this, mired in a recall election. The latest Marquette poll has you 47 approve, 47 percent disapproves, split right down the middle in the state of Wisconsin. This could be a long fight for you — a special election scheduled to take place in June, a primary in May. How distracted are you from doing the business of Wisconsin by trying to essentially win re-election in the middle of your term?” (Note: The May and June dates are not yet officially declared by state election officials, but are the likely outcome of the administrative process.)

    “Well, we’re focused,” Walker responded, “but it’s a huge distraction, not just for me, for the legislature. I mean, it’s $9 million of taxpayers’ money just to run this. Think about the number of kids we could help, think of the number of seniors we could help in our state with $9 million that we didn’t have to waste on this — this frivolous recall election.

    “But really, I mean, in the end, I think it’s amazing, after a year of being attacked by out of state special interests, the tens of millions of dollars that were poured in, the fact that we’re ahead of any of the Democrats in the race I think bodes well for the election.

    “But you know, I had to work hard to earn the trust of a majority of people in my state two years ago. I’m gonna have to work even harder to renew that trust with a majority of voters in our state. And I think in the end, when they see that we’re heading in the right direction — we’ve turned the corner, it is a new day in Wisconsin. But we’ve got a lot of work to do to get the state working even better.

    “I think elections are about the future, and we paint the picture of the contrast: Do we want to go forward, or do we want to go back to the days of the double-digit tax increases, the billion-dollar budget deficits, and the record job loss? I think that’s what really is at stake here.”—-think-of-the-children-and-seniors.php?ref=fpnewsfeed

  22. rikyrah says:

    What’s Your Name? Who’s Your Daddy?
    by BooMan
    Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 01:10:05 PM EST

    Mitt Romney (rapper name: R Money) doesn’t understand why people are hating on his bling-bling. It worked for Notorious B.I.G. back when gangsta rap learned to serve its masters. I mean, how is the following any different from R Money’s rap?

    You wanna be my main squeeze baby
    Don’tcha, you wanna gimme what I need baby
    Won’tcha, picture life as my wife just think
    Full length mink, fat X and O links
    Bracelets to match, conversation was all that
    Showed you the safe combinations and all that
    Guess you could say youse the one I trusted
    Who would ever think that you would spread like mustard?
    For you older folks, “Be thankful for what you’ve got, though you may not drive two great big Cadillacs, diamonds in the back, dog on top, diggin the scene with the gasoline…”

    This is America. A man’s got a right to flaunt his money and his connections. You, too, can be R Money’s bitch.

    When Romney tells us that corporations are people, that’s code for this:

    Seriously, when Donald Trump is something like the national ideal, why is Romney’s act falling on deaf ears? He may not watch NASCAR but he knows many of the car owners. See, he’s high class, not low class. When did this ever become a liability?

    I watched some of The Oscars last night. It was all, “Look at me!! I’m so fabulous.” On the red carpet they asked “who” not “what are you wearing?”

    How is Romney out of step?


    Romney could be selling us the American Dream. He could be giving us Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous. Just like the record executives took gangsta rap from its original focus on drugs, poverty, and police brutality and turned it into hoes, clothes, and gold bling, Romney could promise to make us all rich. Lord knows he’s as packaged as any beer or boner advertisement. We’re all primed for the “greed is good” message. We hear it a hundred times a day.

    This is America. It’s not that R Money has a losing message. He just can’t rap.

  23. rikyrah says:

    We Told You They Would Hate It
    by BooMan
    Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 10:11:27 AM EST

    Remember when Atrios and I used to write over and over again that a mandate requiring people to buy health insurance from private, for-profit, and hated insurance corporations would be massively unpopular? Chalk another one up for the Dirty Hippies:

    Voters in swing states stand overwhelmingly on one side of the debate: Three of four voters, including a majority of Democrats and of liberals, say the law is unconstitutional. That reaction is almost instinctual, says Stuart Altman, a professor of national health policy at Brandeis University who has joined two briefs supporting the law. “People say, ‘The government should not mandate that I have to do anything.’ ”

    He faults the Obama team for not responding effectively enough to what he calls a “torrent” of opposition and misinformation. “You have this drumbeat of negative comments and almost no positive,” he says. “You’re relying on the president to do the selling, and he’s moved on to other things. The congressional people on the Democratic side are not supporting it. They’re either being very quiet or running away from it themselves because they’re afraid of getting tarnished.”

    Overall, this USA TODAY/Gallup Poll appears to have some strange results. For example, it’s the only reputable poll out there that shows the president behind the Republicans in his reelection campaign. Something is probably a little weird with their sample, but it’s clear that there’s a problem for the Democrats when Gallup’s sample shows 75% of voters in swing states (including a majority of liberals) think the health insurance mandate is unconstitutional. Professor Altman is correct; the president and the Democrats need to go on offense on the Affordable Care Act.

    An example of an unpopular policy that has been turned around and become a political plus is the auto bailout. AFSCME is running pro-auto bailout ads in Ohio. The idea is to instill the impression that the auto bailout was a fabulous success (which it was) and that anyone who opposed it has poor judgment. The failure to tout the success of the Affordable Care Act stems from a variety of factors, including progressive disappointment with the lack of a public option, the step-by-step implementation, a scanter empirical evidentiary case that it has been a giant success (relative to the auto-bailout), and sheer exhaustion with the issue after the year-long effort to pass the bill.

    But it’s clear now that real damage has been done, and it’s bad enough to put the legislation in peril. If most of the country thinks the bill is unconstitutional and doesn’t much care if the whole thing is repealed, the conservative-led SCOTUS will surely respond. What I suggest is a massive ad campaign that uses real beneficiaries of the health care bill to hammer home the idea that the bill is completely awesome and that anyone who opposed it is a stupid moron.

    Make the bill popular, sell it is a the best thing ever, and the silly talk about constitutionality will go the way of birth certificate-talk.

    But the Dems need to get on it because it takes time to change perceptions and the Court is going to hear the first arguments in the case about a month from today.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:31 PM ET, 02/27/2012
    Will `Obamacare’ be a big liability in November? Don’t bet on it.
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    Will the Affordable Care Act hurt Barack Obama in November? Republicans today are gleefully circulating a new article by Susan Page that makes this case based on a new USA Today/Gallup poll, which finds that a majority of registered swing state voters thinks passage of health reform was a “bad idea” and that it should be repealed.

    But I think it’s wrong to conclude from this that “Obamacare” will damage Obama in November. This conclusion misses the way that issues generally work in presidential elections.

    The first point Page makes is the weakest: that ACA is responsible for “uniting Republicans in opposition” to Obama. In fact, it works the other way around. If Republicans are united against Obama’s various programs, including health care reform, it’s because they are already united against Obama. There’s never been any real question about whether Republicans would be unified against Obama this fall — no matter what he did or does.

    Her second point: Health care reform is “eroding his standing among independents.” I think that’s probably wrong, too. For the most part, this sort of issue functions on the symbolic level (given that implementation is still mainly in the future). Far more likely is that this works the other way around, too: Independents in this poll overall appear to give Obama mediocre ratings, which they are also applying by extension to his signature legislative accomplishment.

    What’s more, very few people in the poll report that health reform has had any effect on them personally, with 72% in swing states saying it has had “no effect.” I do expect that to change as the campaign goes on. Republicans will argue that every premium increase and every botched health care outcome is a result of “Obamacare,” while Democrats are going to highlight the popular elements of the law that have already been enacted. It is certainly possible that one of these messages will emerge as stronger once engaged. But it’s highly unlikely that today’s pre-campaign opinions predict that outcome.

    Meanwhile, health reform is also being dragged down, according to this poll, by the widespread current belief that it’s unconstitutional. By the time fall arrives swing voters will presumably have paid a lot more attention to what the Supreme Court has to say about this than to whatever they’ve been listening to now.

    What will drive swing voters’ views of health reform will be their overall feelings about the president, on the one hand, and millions of dollars in advertising, on the other. And even then, it’s not clear that attitudes towards it will be that crucial in motivating voters. It may be odd to think that even as important issue as health care reform won’t actually move very many votes, but that’s just how things work in partisan elections.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 09:02 AM ET, 02/27/2012
    The Morning Plum: Will auto-bailout stance dog Romney beyond Michigan?
    By Greg Sargent

    Can Mitt Romney’s opposition to the auto-bailout be used effectively against him in states other than Michigan — ones that could be decisive in November?

    Here’s a test case: A major union is wading into the GOP primary in Ohio — where voting is set to take place on March 6th — a state that has a significant auto industry presence and is expected to host a far tougher general election battle than in Michigan, where Obama holds a big lead over Romney in polls.

    The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is going up with this tough new ad in Ohio that uses Romney’s rejection of the auto-bailout to make a broader case against Romney’s priorities and approach to capitalism:

    “Romney would have turned his back on us — in the depths of the recession,” the ad says. “But he supported giving the banks billions in bailouts? That’s Mitt’s world. Why would we want to live in it?”

    It’s unclear whether this message will have resonance among GOP primary voters. But the ad represents a bet that the GOP primary has forced Romney so far to the right on the auto-bailout — requiring him to go through comical contortions to pretend it wasn’t a big success — that it’s worth branding him hard with it now, among swing voters in states other than Michigan.

    And it’s another glimpse of how the pro-Obama forces will use Romney’s opposition to the bailout to paint him as a heartless capitalist — and point to his profound wrongness about it as Exhibit A in Campaign 2012’s larger ideological argument over government’s role in interfering with the free market to protect and create American jobs.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 10:55 AM ET, 02/27/2012
    The right is losing the argument over Wall Street
    By Greg Sargent

    The American Future Fund, a well-funded Republican independent expenditure group, is up with a $4 million ad campaign in nine states that is designed to undermine President Obama’s populist message.

    How? By attacking him as a stooge of Wall Street, pointing out that he supported the financial industry bailout and has staffed his inner circle with Wall Streeters — a seemingly atypical argument from a GOP group

    Jonathan Chait points out the chutzpah on display here, noting that Mitt Romney’s Super PAC and campaign are heavily funded by Wall Street, that Wall Street types are furious with Obama for all his mean and nasty rhetoric towards them, that Obama passed Wall Street reform, which is hated by the industry, and that Romney has pledged to repeal it, in keeping with Wall Street’s wishes. As Chait notes, given all these facts, it’s amusing that the new Republican message is: “Obama is soft on financial crime.”

    Yes, it’s ridiculous. But it’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time this happened. As you may recall, the Rove-founded Crossroads GPS initially ran ads attacking Elizabeth Warren as too cozy with Occupy Wall Street and insinuating she supported protest violence before abruptly shifting gears and running a spot accusing her of being too cozy with the big banks, based on the fact that she … oversaw bailout spending. This, even though Warren was perhaps the nation’s most prominent critic of TARP.

    And here you can see one of the key reasons these outside groups exist: They can spend huge sums of money on ads that are truly amazing in their up-is-downism — ones that are designed to do nothing more than blur lines, muddy waters, and sow confusion — even as their chief beneficiaries avoid any accountability for their absurdity. After all, not even the Romney campaign would be audacious enough to run an ad like the above. Would it?

    Of course, there’s an upside to this. The massive amount being spent on ads designed to foment mass public ignorance over who is really fighting for whom is a pretty clear sign of who is really winning the argument here.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Yglesias Award Nominee

    “[T]he stimulus was one of the largest single tax cuts in U.S. history. To say the stimulus failed is to make the argument that tax cuts do not stimulate the economy. Ninety-five percent of all Americans got a tax cut under the plan. … The next time a Republican brags about his or her opposition to the failed stimulus, a cynic might respond by asking why they hate tax cuts so much,” – Juan Williams.

  28. rikyrah says:

    I work for Uncle Sam, and I’m proud of it
    By Jason Ullner, Published: February 26

    The author is a career Foreign Service Officer who has served in Tel Aviv, Baghdad and Washington. The views expressed here are his own and not necessarily those of the State Department or the U.S. government.

    I am a federal bureaucrat. A professional government employee. And guess what? I’m damn proud of it.

    It seems that all I hear these days are the once and future leaders of our country tripping over themselves to denigrate the work we do. I’m tired of it, and I’m fed up. I don’t claim to represent anyone other than myself, but I would bet that a fair number of federal employees feel as I do. We are lawyers, doctors, PhD students, economists, writers, electricians, construction workers, security officers and technology specialists. We are not a drain on the national economy; rather, we are a primary reason why the United States remains as great as it is.

    Like many federal workers, I have sacrificed: a high-paying job in the private sector; a year of my life (and the first six months of my daughter’s life) spent in Iraq; long hours; high stress; pay freezes. I’m not complaining; in fact, I quite enjoy my career and my life in the Foreign Service. Yet when I hear our politicians talking about “fixing” Washington, I often wonder to myself: whom would they like to “fix?” Is it the guy I see on the Metro every day, heading to work at the Food and Drug Administration to ensure that our food is safe? Is it the woman going into Commerce Department headquarters to support U.S. companies abroad? Or do they mean the thousands of people who support our troops overseas? How about my fellow Foreign Service officers, who put themselves in harm’s way in Baghdad, Kabul, Damascus and hundreds of other places around the world?

    I have no doubt that some within the federal bureaucracy simply show up each day to collect a paycheck. I also have no doubt that this happens within any number of multinational corporations, small businesses and law firms. But I know for a fact that most of us do this job not because we want to make a lot of money but because, simply put, we want to serve our country.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Who among us has not befriended NASCAR team owners?
    By Steve Benen – Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:00 AM EST.

    Eight years ago, John Kerry was mocked relentlessly for this ham-fisted quote: “Who among us does not love NASCAR?” In reality, Kerry never said this — Maureen Dowd made it up, and the media ran with it, losing sight of the joke — but the wealthy Massachusetts politician was pilloried anyway. It was, his detractors said, illustrative of Kerry’s detached elitism.

    Kerry’s quote was bogus. Mitt Romney’s latest gem, however, is real.

    The Democratic National Committee is suggesting that Mitt Romney made another out of touch remark this morning during a tour at the Daytona 500 in which Romney said that while he does not “closely” follow racing he does “have great some friends who are NASCAR team owners. ”

    The remark came during a tour of team owner Richard Childress’ facilities, when Romney was asked by an Associated Press reporter whether he follows car racing.

    “Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans, but I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners,” Romney responded.

    In case you’re inclined to see this as satire, the Associated Press posted an audio of the clip online.

    The thesis that Mitt Romney just isn’t especially good at his job is bolstered by new evidence all the time. Yesterday was supposed to be an easy one for the former Massachusetts governor — show up in Florida; visit with NASCAR fans; pretend to be a regular person.

    But as we’ve seen repeatedly in recent months, Romney has a blind spot when it comes to wealth. Does he follow car racing? No, but he’s tight with the millionaires who own the teams. The line came just two days after Romney boasted about his wife driving “a couple of Cadillacs.”

    Indeed, a theme emerges when we consider what connects so many of Romney’s tone-deaf verbal missteps, including his recent explanation that he’s “not concerned about the very poor,” which came on the heels of Romney insisting that making over $374,000 in speaking fees in a year is “not very much” money. It followed Romney suggesting elected office is only for the rich, clumsily talking about his fondness for being able to fire people, demanding that talk of economic justice be limited to “quiet rooms,” accusing those who care about income inequality of “envy,” daring Rick Perry to accept a $10,000 bet, joking about being “unemployed,” arguing that those who slip into poverty are still middle class, and suggesting that Americans should somehow feel sorry for poor banks.

    There was also that “corporations are people, my friend” classic.

    What do all of these lines have in common? When it comes to his wealth, Romney is a clumsy rich guy who hasn’t learned how to talk about these issues in public.

    Update: In case it seemed as if Romney’s NASCAR visit wasn’t awkward enough, this was pretty remarkable, too: “[T]he crowd initially booed Mr. Romney, who occasionally struck a discordant note, as when he approached a group of fans wearing plastic ponchos. ‘I like those fancy raincoats you bought,’ he said. ‘Really sprung for the big bucks.'”

  30. rikyrah says:

    The success story Romney doesn’t want to talk about
    By Steve Benen – Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:13 AM EST.

    In his official portrait, Romney sits alongside his health care law, which he doesn’t want to talk about.

    It seems hard to believe now, but as recently as four or five years ago, Mitt Romney’s successful health care reform initiative in Massachusetts was supposed to be his springboard to national office. It wasn’t just his signature accomplishment as governor, it was a historic victory for Romney, giving him the kind of bragging rights few policymakers in either party could claim at the time.

    And why not? Romney’s breakthrough achievement demonstrated his ability to tackle major policy challenges and work with members of both parties to pass a sensible, mainstream legislative milestone. Of course it would be the sort of accomplishment to build a presidential campaign around.

    That is, at least, until President Obama’s Affordable Care Act was modeled after the Romney law, and the provisions of the ACA were deemed The Worst Policies Ever by Republicans nationwide.

    Making matters considerably more complicated, as Ezra Klein noted this morning, is the fact that “Romneycare” is working quite well.

    Mitt Romney has been very clear, and very confusing: His health-care reforms are working in Massachusetts, but they’re not a good model for the rest of the nation. New numbers out from Massachusetts — and from the rest of the nation — suggest he’s only half right. […]

    “From 2006 to 2010, employer-sponsored health-care premiums for a family rose about 19% in Massachusetts, while they rose about 22% in the US as a whole,” [Fred Bauer] writes. “Compare that to the period between 2002 and 2006, when Bay State family premiums increased 40% and US family premiums rose only 34.5%.” Individual premiums have also been growing more slowly than the national average.

    So Romneycare is working. Across the board. But perhaps, as Romney implies, there’s something that makes it unsuitable for the rest of the nation.

    If that’s so, however, we’re not seeing it yet. Romneycare’s cousin, the Affordable Care Act — or, as it’s more frequently known, Obamacare — isn’t fully in place, and won’t be until 2014 at the earliest. But it has passed. And since it has passed, health-care spending has been dropping.

    The result is a political mess for the former governor. Romney helped create a worthwhile health care policy that’s having a very positive impact, and common sense suggests he’d brag about this on the campaign trail.

    But he can’t, because Republicans have been conditioned to believe Romney’s policy and its federal cousin are based on a Hitler-inspired assault on capitalism that will kill the elderly.

    The single best and most impressive thing Romney has done in his entire adult life is, paradoxically, the one thing he’s least eager to talk about. To shine a light on his achievement is to remind voters of his support for government mandates, while inadvertently making the case for the same Obama law Romney has promised to destroy, regardless of the consequences.

    This wasn’t an issue during Romney’s 2008 campaign, because the GOP had not yet rejected the health care ideas they had traditionally supported. Now, he’s stuck between a rock and hard place.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Scott Brown, Elizabeth Warren, and contraception
    By Steve Benen – Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:32 AM EST.

    It seems hard to believe that in 2012, access to contraception would be the issue driving a U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts, but here we are.

    Late last week, incumbent Sen. Scott Brown (R) and his main challenger, Elizabeth Warren (D), had competing op-eds on the policy dispute in the Boston Globe. Brown, who has struggled badly to understand the basics of the controversy, continues to be deeply confused.

    Most notably, Brown believes he has a trump card to play: his approach is the same as Ted Kennedy’s. The Republican senator’s op-ed said he simply wants an exemption based on “moral and religious convictions.” Brown wrote, “My predecessor, the late Senator Ted Kennedy, believed just as I do.” A new Brown campaign radio ad is pushing the same line.

    The problem, of course, is that the talking point is simply not true.

    Patrick J. Kennedy lashed out at Senator Scott P. Brown of Massachusetts on Sunday, asking him to stop invoking the name of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Mr. Kennedy’s father, in a radio advertisement about insurance coverage for contraceptives. […]

    In a letter that the Brown campaign released on Sunday, Patrick Kennedy, a Democrat like his father, wrote: “Providing health care to every American was the work of my father’s life. The Blunt Amendment you are supporting is an attack on that cause.”

    Mr. Kennedy, a former congressman from Rhode Island, wrote that while his father “believed that health care providers should be allowed a conscience exemption from performing any service that conflicted with their faith,” he would have never supported “the broad language of the Blunt Amendment that will allow any employer, or even an insurance company, to use vague moral objections as an excuse to refuse to provide health care coverage.”

    The younger Kennedy added, “I ask that, moving forward, you do not confuse my father’s positions with your own.”

    Even Brown should be able to keep up on the basic details. The far-right proposal he’s endorsed allows all private-sector employers to deny any health services that businesses might find morally objectionable, including access to contraception. That bears no resemblance to a narrowly-tailored conscience exemption.

    It’s exactly why Brown is taking a beating from reporters who know better. The Boston Globe’s Yvonne Abraham recently asked, “What is Senator Scott Brown thinking? … Can it really help Brown to suddenly go all Santorum on us?” The Boston Herald’s Margery Eagan added that the senator “has sided with nuts.”

    That’s a lot different than siding with Ted Kennedy. Brown can keep claiming the legendary senator would back him up on his far-right position, but the Republican is either ignorant or deliberately trying to deceive.

  32. rikyrah says:

    ‘There’s nothing he’s not willing to do’
    By Steve Benen – Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:46 AM EST.

    The political world rarely offers examples of projection as perfect as this one.

    The clip, by way of my friend Kyle Mantyla at Right Wing Watch, shows scandal-plagued activist Ralph Reed, talking to Republicans in Florida about how dangerous President Obama and his team are in a campaign.

    As Reed sees it, “They’re coming with a knife in an alley…. Don’t underestimate Obama and don’t underestimate his team. There is nothing they will not do to win an election. This guy is as tough and as mean and as cynical as any politician you’ll ever see. There’s nothing he’s not willing to do.”

    Perhaps I’m oversensitive on this, but characterizing the president as a violent thug, ready to strike “with a knife in an alley,” seems to come with a not-so-subtle racial subtext.

    But even putting that aside, the irony of Ralph Reed, who disgraced himself in the Abramoff scandal, complaining about anyone being ruthless is almost amusing.

    Reed did, after all, once describe his own campaign tactics this way: “I paint my face and travel at night. You don’t know it’s over until you’re in a body bag.”

    Is this guy really in a position to accuse others of being “mean and cynical”?

  33. rikyrah says:

    Sunday, February 26, 2012
    The Message Pitch
    Posted by Zandar
    For all the readers out there who like to complain that Barack Obama is a tool of the wealthy, congratulations! The American Future Fund is spending $4 million in SuperPAC ads in nine swing states this month to push that exact message to help the Republicans.

    The AFF offensive highlights Obama’s claim – in a 2009 interview – that he didn’t “run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers.” The conservative group points out in its new ad that the Obama administration has included a lineup of veterans of the financial services industry, including White House chiefs of staff Rahm Emanuel, Bill Daley and Jack Lew.

    “His White House is full of Wall Street executives,” the spot says. “Now, Obama’s flush with cash, returning to Wall Street for more glitzy fundraisers … Obama won’t admit to supporting Wall Street, but Wall Street sure supports President Obama.”

    The AFF television ads will run on cable in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia. That’s real money going onto the airwaves in real states from a group that spent heavily in the 2010 midterms, but which has yet to fully ramp up for the 2012 general election.

    Gosh, I wonder who the targets of those ads are? After all, Nader voters cost Obama/Biden Missouri in 2008. The Republican SuperPACs may not know who their candidate is yet, but they damn sure know who they’re running against in November. They’re willing to spend big money to demoralize Obama voters already: $4 million in February, more than eight months before the election, to convince voters in swing states that Obama has failed them.

    And again, these were the same SuperPAC folks that spent almost ten million in 2010 to defeat Democrats. They’re getting a head start here in 2012, and they’re using an awfully familiar message to push, too.

    It’s the same ones we see the Useful Idiots pushing for the last two years. Now the stakes are much higher, and the Republicans are using it to attack the Democrats. And why wouldn’t they? It worked well for them in 2010.

    If they are willing to spend $4 million in February to push this manic progressive nonsense, how much will they be willing to spend in months closer to the election? Think about that while you’re deciding which party is beholden to the 1%.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Monday, February 27, 2012
    GOP Stupidity? Bring It On.
    Posted by Bon The Geek

    Author Robert Creamer agrees with what I’ve been saying for a while: GOP stupidity has jumped the shark to such a degree that it is actually a benefit to Dems.

    Mr. Creamer starts with the obvious birth control issue, which has by far done the most damage. Republicans generally play it safe and pick on minorities who don’t have the numbers to come together and make them pay at the polls for their ignorance. Now they’ve taken on an issue that affects women on a huge scale, and instead of backing away from the minefield they are charging right in. Further down in the article he covers a few smaller or less recent mistakes that are piling up. They are falling apart, and it’s starting to show. Choosing between Planned Parenthood and Forced Parenthood isn’t much of a contest.

    Taking on half the country’s medical rights is stupid. It’s a texbook bad move. It’s right up there with a land war in Asia, or going against a Sicilian when death is on the line. It’s worse than messing around with Jim or saying “I’ll be right back” if you suspect a killer in a hockey mask is on the scene. Yet these fools are so proud of their righteousness that they are forgetting their job is to take care of Americans. All of them. And until they figure it out, they are doing more harm to their reputation than any mudslinging from the left could ever accomplish.

    Not all women are pro-choice, as is their right. However, the numbers show that virtually every woman supports contraception, and the majority of men. The GOP attack on that has brought the cheers to silence, and made many women realize that our medical rights are in jeopardy. It’s not just abortion now, and that has led to many questions and clarifications. If the two issues become permanently linked this could be the event that starts the return to medical services for women. They had a chance to ease up. Any one candidate could have stepped in with the voice of reason and scooped up millions of votes. Instead, this double down epic fail shame spiral is what Republicans have to cope with. Creamer’s article does mention the trickle-down effect to all Republicans. I had been more focused on all things presidential, but of course he’s right.

    The saving grace is that our votes are secret and personal. Voters will have the privacy they need to make candidates feel the backlash. Of course, it’s an entirely different matter altogether as to whether Republicans will attribute it to their misogyny, or if they will blame it on something else. Right now, I’ll be satisfied if they have the debate while looking for a new job.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Monday, February 27, 2012
    Tyranny Of The Majority
    Posted by Zandar

    It’s a good thing that we don’t subject rights to voting, because of things like this.

    The U.S. Supreme Court last week agreed to hear a case involving the use of race as a factor in college admissions. Most voters oppose the use of so-called affirmative action policies at colleges and universities and continue to believe those policies have not been successful despite being in place for 50 years.

    The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 24% of Likely U.S. Voters favor applying affirmative action policies to college admissions. Fifty-five percent (55%) oppose the use of such policies to determine who is admitted to colleges and universities. Twenty-one percent (21%) are undecided.

    So let’s keep in mind that there’s a reason why the GOP wants to change state constitutions with 50% + 1 referendums in order to exclude people all the time. Rasmussen’s questions were about as hostile as they possibly could be to the subject, by the way. They were designed to get this reaction, and the right will use it to justify a Constitutional amendment to end it.

    I mean, if the GOP gets control, they’re going to end birth control, health care, living wages and dignity for people who can’t afford them, let’s just end higher education too. The country needs a couple million inner city janitors, you know.

  36. rikyrah says:

    February 27, 2012 10:28 AM
    120% of Republicans Favor Repeal of ObamaCare!
    By Ed Kilgore

    There’s a new Gallup survey out on the proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 that helps illustrate why the exact numbers on issues that divide partisans are a bit irrelevant. Here’s Gallup’s Jeffrey M. Jones:

    Americans divide evenly when asked if they favor (47%) or oppose (44%) a Republican president’s repealing the 2010 healthcare law if elected this November. Republicans overwhelmingly favor repeal (87%) and Democrats overwhelmingly oppose it (77%). However, Republicans hold their views much more intensely than Democrats, with 56% of Republicans strongly favoring repeal and 39% of Democrats strongly opposing it.

    Since every single Republican in Congress voted against the legislation, and the GOP presidential candidates have differed only in terms of the vehemence with which they denounce it as a socialist threat to fundamental American freedoms (and/or as quasi-genocidal), it’s a bit beside the point to figure out exactly what percentage of GOP voters favor repeal. It’s not as though there is some “sensible center” among Republican office-holders that “the base” must discipline in order to keep them from tolerating this approach to health reform once supported by quite a lot of GOP leaders and thinkers.

    It is germane that self-identified independents oppose repeal by a 47-40 margin. And in the event Republicans do win the White House and/or control of both Houses of Congress, it may well become important to determine whether voters really do support a return to the status quo ante, including the right of insurers to deny coverage to people on grounds of pre-existing conditions (not a popular position among any category of voters in the past). But like a lot of other measurements of “intensity,” the exact percentage of Republican voters favoring their party’s monolithic position on “ObamaCare” isn’t quite the big deal it is often made out to be, unless the question is whether the statute will be publicly burned after it is repealed.

  37. rikyrah says:

    February 27, 2012 9:58 AM
    Santorum Hurls
    By Ed Kilgore

    Though it was not an original remark, like Romney’s coziness with NASCAR owners rather than fans, Rick Santorum did double-down on a statement made last fall that reading John F. Kennedy’s famous 1960 Houston speech on church and state made him “want to throw up.” Once again, as Romney appears determined to come across as a sort of cartoon villain from a late nineteenth-century populist tract, Santorum seems locked in a perpetual casting-call for the Da Vinci Code (it doesn’t help that he sent two of his sons to a DC high school closely associated with the shadowy right-wing Catholic group Opus Dei).

    It’s not surprising, of course, that Santorum is nauseated by the idea of church-state separation, the Jeffersonian “myth” that undergirds the “secularism” he has ascribed as Barack Obama’s “phony theology,” and as the primary instrument of Satan’s plan for the conquest of the United States. But Rick has certainly got his history wrong here:

    Kennedy for the first time articulated the vision saying, ‘No, faith is not allowed in the public square. I will keep it separate.’ Go on and read the speech. ‘I will have nothing to do with faith. I won’t consult with people of faith.’ It was an absolutist doctrine that was abhorrent at the time of 1960.

    Uh, sorry, Rick, but far from articulating an “abhorrent” doctrine “for the first time,” JFK was telling his conservative Protestant interrogators in Houston precisely what they wanted to hear. While some conservative Catholics were indeed alarmed by what they perceived as Kennedy’s neo-Americanist heresy, conservative evangelicals in 1960—and particularly Southern Baptists—generally held views on the Establishment Clause that were difficult to distinguish from those of the ACLU.

    That’s all radically changed since 1960, but JFK was hardly out of the American mainstream at the time. And despite some clerical horror at his Houston speech, Kennedy’s version of what it meant to be a Catholic politician in the United States certainly did not bother Catholic voters, who supported him at levels approaching 80%. When the liberal Catholic scholar Fr. Andrew Greely suggested in 1967 that JFK should be declared a “Doctor of the Universal Church” for his embodiment of what it meant to be a modern Catholic, he was simply exaggerating a fairly prevalent sentiment among American Catholic lay folk.

    I am quite sure that characterization of Kennedy would make Rick Santorum hurl profusely. But it’s a reminder of what makes Santorum’s views on church-state issues, and on all the related “social issues,” so unusual. He is engaged not in a defense of Christian common-sense values against secular-socialist hordes in service to the Father of Lies, but an intra-Christian war in which hyper-traditionalist Catholics and hyper-conservative evangelicals come together to impose their views on believers and unbelievers alike. It’s a strange preoccupation for a professional politician, but then this is a strange year in Republican presidential politics.

  38. Michelle Obama to governors: Help with military spouses

    First lady Michelle Obama took her campaign to the nation’s governors today, asking them to make it easier for military spouses to get professional licenses when they move from state to state.

    “What we are asking for is a level playing field,” Mrs. Obama told members of the National Governors Association.

    Mrs. Obama — who appeared Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden — said licensing portable is “the number one frustration” voiced by military spouses.

    Military families move ten time more often that other families, Mrs. Obama said. Spouses whose work requires a state license — from real estate sales to teaching to medical career — have trouble getting approvals in their new states.

    Requirements range from new and higher fees to elementary classes that are unnecessary for veteran professionals.

    Mrs. Obama told the governors the story of a nurse who lost six months of paychecks while waiting for a license in a new state, and may now give up the profession altogether.

    • Ametia says:

      Sounds FAIR to me, FLOTUS & DR, JILL. We’re well aware of the GOP and some Dems who put war profits above our service men, women, and their families.

  39. rikyrah says:

    February 27, 2012 8:36 AM
    Mitt Romney and the Popeye Defense
    By Ed Kilgore

    As you may have heard, Mitt Romney made a surprise appearance at the (subsequently suspended) Daytona 500 yesterday, and made another one of his patented gaffes that draw attention to his wealth and elite status, as Sarah Boxer of CBS reports:

    Mitt Romney went to the Daytona 500 NASCAR race Sunday for what should have been a chance to show he’s one of the guys. Instead, in casual conversation with an Associated Press reporter at the Florida track, he reminded people once again that he is not exactly a regular Joe.
    Asked by the AP reporter if he follows NASCAR, Romney responded, “Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans. But I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.”

    Earlier in the day on Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace asked Romney how he’d respond to people who say he doesn’t “connect” with regular people, and played him a clip of his boast last week in Michigan that he owned four American cars, two of them Cadillacs. Here’s how Mitt responded:

    You know, I can’t be perfect. I just am who I am….

    If people think there’s something wrong with being successful in America, then they’d better vote for the other guy. Because I’ve been extraordinarily successful. And I want to use that success and that know-how to help the American people.

    Frankly, the Popeye defense (“I am what I am and that all what I am,” the sailor man often said) isn’t a real good one for Mitt Romney, particularly when it is combined with claims that anyone wondering if a guy like him understands what it’s like to experience real economic insecurity.must either be an envious would-be looter or one of those class-warfare socialists. The loud-and-proud I’m-better-than-you posture is also a bit problematic for someone trying to become the presidential nominee of a party that relies heavily on the argument that Barack Obama is an out-of-touch elitist.

    But given a wide-open chance by Chris Wallace to “correct a misconception” about himself yesterday, Romney did not address any of this, but instead talked about the misconception that someone representing Massachusetts couldn’t be a teeth-grinding, hippie-hating conservative, so to speak. That’s his message in the primaries, and he’s sticking to it.

  40. President Obama and V.P. Biden Speak to the National Governor’s Association

  41. rikyrah says:

    need some help.

    anyone have any comments on the Contour Memory Foam Pillows?

    are they any good?

  42. rikyrah says:

    found this over at The Obama Diary:

    Megan Smolenyak is the genealogist who traced President Obama’s Irish roots and found Michele Obama’s roots on a South Carolina plantation. She has a new (paperback) book out, “Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing.”

    There is one chapter on our President outlining her search for his Irish “home-town”. In an earlier chapter on “Famous Cousins” she notes that “While his father was from Kenya, his mother has deep American roots that meander back to the early days of Maryland, Virginia, and Massachusetts (not to mention New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Kansas). I’m probably missing a few states, but the point is that his family is well-represented in colonial America.” She writes of enthusiastic response of Moneygall when they found out an ancestor of the President came from their town. She also traveled to Moneygall for the President’s visit. She concludes this chapter with, “So yes, even though he’s only 1/32 Irish, no one will ever convince me that there’s anyone as Irish as Barack O’Bama.”

    She chose to trace Michelle’s background (two full chapters) at her own expense ($8,000+) because, “I regard the presence of Michelle, Malia, Sasha, and first grandmother, Marian Robinson, in the White House as historic. They are the first descendants of slaves to reside in the White House as members of the first family, and in my opinion, that’s a big deal. In a period of less than 150 years, to progress from slavery to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue speaks volumes about this family and our nation.” She found Michelle’s great-great-great grandmother recorded in an 1850 codicil to a will, she was a “girl about six years old named Melvina” who was willed to another. As an adult she was valued at $475.00. Most of Michelle’s ancestors were from Virginia. Before Emancipation it was illegal for them to marry. After the war, the Register of Colored Persons cohabiting together as Huasand and Wife on 27th February, 1866 was created in Henry County. Most of her ancestors did register and were then recorded as legally married with their children considered illegitimate. One couple lived the majority of lives on separate plantations in different counties but still managed to create a sense of family. It is likely Michelle has Irish and Indian ancestry as well. The author concludes the first chapter on Michelle with “I could now trace the migration of the Shields family from South Carolina to George to Alabama to Illinois — and on to the White House. Now that’s a Great Migration.”

    In a later chapter the author relates an assignment given her one February, Black History Month, to trace the ancestry of a well-known African American. provided her 48 hours to trace the background of Rev. Al Sharpton. Rev. Al agreed but was not involved until the very end (which took more than 48 hours) when he was informed about the findings. She relates the conversation in which she informed him that his family was owned by Strom Thurmond’s family. “It’s Sharpton’s silence that I remember best. Rev. Al is never at a loss for words, so it almost scared me… It’s one thing to know on an intellectual level that your ancestors were slaves, but another entirely to know the specifics… And that takes time to absorb. That’s what Sharpton was doing in his silence.” His great-grandfather, Coleman Sharpton, Sr., was as a young boy willed jointly to two inheritors. One inheritor died and his inheritors sold his half of Coleman to the other original inheritor of the boy. The document notes that “half of a Negro boy Coleman” was sold. “You can’t buy half a box of soap, but not too long ago, it was acceptable–normal, even–to buy half a human being. And that, to me, was as close as you can come to an instant education on slavery.”

  43. rikyrah says:

    Department of Justice
    Office of Public Affairs

    Friday, February 24, 2012

    Justice Department Announces Lawsuit to Protect Rights of Military and Overseas Voters in Alabama

    WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against the state of Alabama and its chief election official seeking relief to help ensure that military servicemembers, their family members and U.S. citizens living overseas have the opportunity to participate fully in Alabama’s March 13, 2012, federal primary election.

    The lawsuit, brought under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), was filed in federal district court in Montgomery, Ala. The suit alleges that the state failed to transmit absentee ballots to many of Alabama’s eligible military and overseas voters for the March 13, 2012, primary election in sufficient time for those voters to receive, cast and return their ballots in time to be counted. It also alleges that state procedures are inadequate to ensure that such voters can participate fully in the state’s April 24, 2012, primary run-off election, should one be necessary. The lawsuit seeks an order requiring the state to take all steps necessary to ensure that all affected UOCAVA voters are afforded a full opportunity to participate in the upcoming federal primary elections and all future federal elections.

    “Our uniformed servicemembers and overseas citizens deserve a meaningful opportunity to participate in the elections of our nation’s leaders,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “This suit seeks relief to ensure that Alabama’s military and overseas voters, many of whom are members of our armed forces and their families serving our country around the world, will have their votes counted not only in the state’s upcoming primary elections, but all future federal elections as well.”

    “Servicemembers make sacrifices for our country day in and day out,” said George L. Beck, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama. “Our office is committed to ensuring that the state of Alabama understands their obligations to comply with UOCAVA and ensure that military voters, as well as U.S. citizens who are overseas, are given the opportunity to vote while serving this country.”

    UOCAVA requires states to allow uniformed service voters (serving both overseas and within the United States) and their families and overseas citizens to register to vote and to vote absentee for all elections for federal office. In 2009, Congress enacted the MOVE Act, which made broad amendments to UOCAVA. Among those changes was a requirement that states transmit absentee ballots to voters covered under UOCAVA, by mail or electronically at the voter’s option, no later than 45 days before federal elections.

    The action was necessary because Alabama failed to mail ballots to many of its military and overseas citizens until after UOCAVA’s deadline of Jan. 28, 2012, the 45th day before this year’s primary election. The requested relief will help ensure that Alabama’s military and overseas voters have sufficient time to receive, mark and return their ballots in upcoming and future elections.

    More information about UOCAVA and other federal voting laws is available on the Department of Justice website at . Complaints may be reported to the Voting Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division at 1-800-253-3931.

  44. Mike Huckabee Laments ‘Toxic Atmosphere’ In 2012 Republican Primary

    In an interview with an Israeli TV station, Mike Huckabee lamented the current state of the Republican party, stating that the GOP’s ‘toxic atmosphere’ had discouraged him for running for president in 2012.

    Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and a GOP presidential candidate in 2008, announced last May that he would not seek the Republican nomination this year, much to the disappointment of many in his party.

    He discussed his decision during the interview on Sunday, explaining that “this was not the good year” for him to run again, despite his strong poll numbers.

    “I think that there is just such a toxic atmosphere right now, specifically in the Republican party,” he said. “I would love to say that it’s going to be all about ideas and solutions, but unfortunately a lot of it is about just being able to say, ‘I’m more angry at the Obama administration than somebody else.’ That’s not what motivates me politically or governmentally. I believe it ought to be about solutions.”

    • Mike Huckabee

      You aren’t any better. You’ve been dabbling in the same poisonous toxic. So stfu already!

      Huckabee: Obama Grew Up “In Kenya”

      During a radio appearance yesterday, Mike Huckabee repeatedly falsely claimed that President Obama grew up in Kenya. After questioning Obama’s purported secrecy about the birth certificate, radio host Steve Malzberg asked Huckabee if “we deserve to know more about this man.” Huckabee responded, “I would love to know more. What I know is troubling enough.”

      Speaking on WOR’s The Steve Malzberg Show, Huckabee — a Fox News host and potential presidential candidate — said that “one thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American … his perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British are a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather.”

    • Ametia says:

      Mike Fu*%kabee, you helped lift the lid off Pandora’s box of hate and racism. So go somewhere and sit you azz down and STFU!

  45. rikyrah says:

    another on point comment from Balloon Juice:

    40.kay – February 27, 2012 | 9:17 am · Link

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    It’s completely fascinating to me, because it so fits in to what we were told about finance masters of the universe, and risk, and how that turned out to be complete bullshit. They insulated themselves. They risked nothing, personally. They took huge gambles with other people’s money and lives, but they always, always got paid, and they always, always walked away.

    Romney won’t tell us who he is or what he stands for, because there’s personal risk involved in doing that. We’d be rejecting HIM if he were to do that, so he won’t, and he thought he could win w/out it, so why gamble?

    He could still pull it off, but, jesus, what a disastrous approach for a president. I can’t imagine him in some kind of crisis or emergency, and the only crisis or emergency that gets to the president is where there’s a host of risk-laden choices, and no one else wants to be blamed if it goes bad.

  46. rikyrah says:

    found this in the comments over at Balloon Juice:

    36.kay – February 27, 2012 | 9:01 am · Link

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    From what I’ve read about his campaign in Mass, all these nice polite Mormon missionary types surrounded him. Perhaps they still are, and just defer to him naturally.

    Romney is risk-averse, and the lock-step conventional wisdom 6 months ago was the election was going to be a referendum on Obama.

    It didn’t matter who Romney was, and there was risk in actually re-introducing Romney, so they simply didn’t do it.

    It was the safer choice, because he’s not a particularly appealing person.

    Run out the clock, hope the economy gets worse, throw big bags of money at demonizing Obama in the general and present Romney as not-Obama.

    IMO, Romney is too cautious to be President. I think he always, always takes the most conventional route, and he never makes a real, affirmative decision that might put him in harm’s way. His whole approach is passive positioning using negative ads. He doesn’t move first, ever. He responds.

    I wonder if it’s too late to re-introduce him. I think they should have done it 6 months ago. It would have been easy. No one knows who he is.

    If the election isn’t a referendum on Obama/economy, they’re in trouble.

  47. rikyrah says:

    There is a Bluebird in Mitt Romney’s Heart that Wants to Get Out

    by mistermix

    Even though Mitt tells it “stay down, do you want to mess me up”, it still sings from time to time, as it did yesterday at the Daytona 500:

    Asked by the AP reporter if he follows NASCAR, Romney responded, “Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans. But I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.”

    Mitt’s bluebird is kept in a golden cage covered with temple garments, but even when Mitt is reading from a script, we still heard it sing in Detroit on Friday when it told the world that Ann drives “a couple of Cadillacs”.

    The reason we hear Mitt’s bluebird is because it is used to living in a world where money is how you keep score, and Mitt was a winner in that world. Whenever Mitt has to debase himself by pretending that his money doesn’t matter, that he’s just like everyone else, his bluebird gets angry and sounds off. It’s not right to call these little glimpses into Mitt’s heart “mistakes” or “gaffes”. He believes very deeply that people should be impressed that he knows other rich people, or that he can buy as many cars as he pleases, and that’s why these little slips are so telling. Everything else that comes out of Mitt’s mouth lacks the authenticity of his bluebird’s song.

  48. rikyrah says:

    Preposterous GOP Argument of the Day: Romney’s Cadillacs Make Him More Electable

    February 26, 2012
    By Jason Easley

    Chris Christie offered up of the most preposterous argument of the day when he claimed that Mitt Romney was more electable because he owned Cadillacs and numerous other cars.

    GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: So the cat is out of the bag, Bob, on the fact that Governor Romney is wealthy. I mean, so he– so he has a number of cars. Many people who have made a lot of money over time do. And so I– I think this is just something where to be candid, folks are looking for him to make trip-ups. He’s telling the truth about the cars he has. What if he didn’t answer the question about how many cars he had or didn’t talk about it, then people would be saying he was hiding it. Listen, Governor Romney has been successful. I think, that’s what we want in a President of the United States. Do we want somebody running who has been a failure at everything they’ve done and is– is that going to recommend him for the White House? He’s been a great success in business. He has been a great success as executive, as governor of Massachusetts. I think that’s the kind of guy we want in the White House.

    Christie’s was engaging in some desperate spin when he tried to connect Romney’s fleet of vehicles with electability. He could have stopped his at the point where he talked about Romney’s wealth, but no he had to take it a step beyond by claiming that Romney’s wealth makes him an electable candidate for president. Bob Schieffer opened his interview by praising Chris Christie’s ability to answer questions from the media. Christie responded to this praise by dodging one of the first questions that he was asked.

    The question was about Romney’s inability to connect with regular folks, who believe it or not, don’t own multiple luxury cars. Christie’s answer was a magical mystery tour that ended up with Mitt Romney somehow being more presidential because he owns a bunch of cars. The absurdity of making this argument in a nation where millions of people are still unemployed is lost on the Republican Party.

    Contrary to what the Koch Brothers might believe there is no connection between a person’s wealth and their ability to govern the country, zip, zilch, zero, nada, none. Romney’s ownership of Cadillacs makes him no better as a potential general election candidate than John McCain’s multiple houses did in 2008. As Donald Trump demonstrates every time he opens his mouth, wealth does not equal intelligence or even, intellect.

    Chris Christie managed to turn the art of the spin into a theater of the absurd, and prove once again that Republicans really think you are that stupid.

  49. rikyrah says:

    February 25, 2012

    The ultimate Tea Party, with Mitt dragged behind

    The Post’s Bernstein takes issue with Krugman on Romney:

    I’d be very surprised if Republicans really do press austerity if they win unified control of government….

    [A] lot of the anti-Keynesian talk we’ve heard over the past three years is almost certainly partisan, and not ideological, in nature. George W. Bush didn’t react to either recession during his time in office by championing spending cuts, after all.

    Before going any farther, I first wish to point out that for all his tsk-tsking of President Obama’s European bias, it is in fact Mitt Romney who has consistently advocated a European-style approach to U.S. economic recovery. To hear Romney tell it, when it comes to social-economic policy Obama is some sort of riddling Otto von Bismarck wrapped in a mysterious Clement Atlee inside an enigmatic François Mitterrand; yet it is Romney, in bewildering accord with his party’s economus ignoramuses, who has repeatedly touted the disastrously foreign Merkel-Cameron-Sarkozy policy of strangulating austerity. Best stop there. If we get off on a Romney-hypocrisy jag, we’ll be here all day.

    The larger point requiring observation is that Jonathan Bernstein believes that Romney as president would re-re-re-convert to a some brand of Keynesian pragmatism, rather than, as his party now promises, ideologically slashing his (our) way to an economic apocalypse. And my point is, maybe Romney would indeed hew to sensible, empirical Keynesianism. On the other hand, maybe he wouldn’t. Who knows? Which is one of the more troubling and most disturbing problematics with what is laughably called “contemporary conservatism”: in reality an unmindfully erratic bunch of ever-shifting unpredictability with no core except, it can be argued, a nihilistic and anarchistic one.

    I use these terms not lightly, but rather precisely. Contrary to common perception, anarchy isn’t a political system, so to speak, in which everyone runs around like Emperor penguins stealing their neighbors’ nest-pebbles, but rather a system in which there is, simply, no central authority (i.e., federal government); and nihilism isn’t so much 19th-century Dostoyevskian agony or Nietzschean despair as it is the oversimplistic idea that things are so bad, it would be preferable to wipe the social-economic slate clean and start from scratch.

    In other words, anarchy and nihilism are the very “philosophical” species of the tea-partying radicals and revolutionaries who’ve been shoving the Republican Party farther and farther rightward for years now — and revolutionaryism has a nasty habit of out-radicalizing itself, since the revolutionaries themselves feel the perpetual need to demonstrate their ever-purer purity.

    Thus, before we realize the politico-philosophical catastrophe descending, we could — “if they win unified control of government” — be stuck with a Congress-cum-National Asylum full of Michele Bachmanns and Herman Cains, with a Gulliver on top, strapped by his loopy Lilliputians to idiotic policies such as “austerity.”

    The thing is, you see, with these guys, one never knows anymore.

  50. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s Constitution-friendly Religion

    February 27, 2012
    By Hrafnkell Haraldsson

    Jeffrey T. Kuhner of the Edmund Burke Institute, who last year accused President Obama of having “black nationalist sympathies” (whatever those are) wrote a column for the Washington Times on February 23, which he entitled Obama’s pseudo-religion, arguing that the “President’s secular moves” are “out of step with Judeo-Christian culture.” His claim is that “Mr. Obama is a radical leftist. Like all such extremists, he has nothing but contempt for traditional Christianity and the family.”

    If Obama’s “secular moves” are “out of step with Judeo-Christian culture” they are very much in step with the U.S. Constitution, for which Kuhner and his friends show only contempt.

    It is fitting that Kuhner should so despise the Obama “revolution” given the feelings English conservative Edmund Burke, “the great prophet of Anglo-American conservatism,” had for the French Revolution and the ideal of “we the people” (as expressed in his Thoughts on the Revolution in France, 1790). It is equally no surprise that radical liberal Thomas Paine wrote a point-by-point rebuttal of Burke’s attack called, appropriately enough, The Rights of Man (1791-2).

    It is significant, before we go on, to remember and to understand that Thomas Paine had to flee England when he wrote The Rights of Man and that for having done so, for having literally defended the rights of man in print, he was found guilty of seditious libel! Paine, the Englishman who was so instrumental in winning the American War for Independence (The Liberty Tree, 1775, Common Sense, 1776), was never able to return to England.

  51. rikyrah says:

    Quote For The Day II

    “The one thing Romney had to avoid that’s a mortal threat to him was an ideological contest with someone who has the credentials to be commander-in-chief. And Santorum, as a three-term member of Congress and two-term senator, clears that hurdle, especially running against a one-term governor. That’s why the race is more wide open now than at any other point before—because Romney is dealing for the first time with a plausible nominee in the eyes of Republican voters, where it’s absolutely impossible to get around his right flank,”

    – Steve Schmidt.

  52. rikyrah says:

    ‘What A F**king Mess’

    Posted on 02/27/2012 at 7:13 am by Bob Cesca

    Ed Rollins on the Republican Party at the moment:

    “Six months before this thing got going, every Republican I know was saying, ‘We’re gonna win, we’re gonna beat Obama.’ Now even those who’ve endorsed Romney say, ‘My God, what a fucking mess.’”

    This is what happens when the fringe of the party wags the dog. It’s a great way to lose elections and, more importantly, to become irrelevant.

    If Romney wants to win this thing, his best option is to run to the middle and distance himself from the far-right insanity that’s eclipsed what should have been the GOP primary debate.

  53. rikyrah says:

    there was no bad news in the poll for the President, so they have to try and go negative in the headline. 9 POINTS is ‘ inching up’?

    G-T-F-O-H with that.


    Battleground Poll: GOP president’s race takes toll, Obama inches up

    By JAMES HOHMANN | 2/27/12 4:30 AM EST

    A new POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Poll reveals the prolonged nominating battle is taking a toll on the GOP candidates and finds the president’s standing significantly improved from late last year.

    President Barack Obama’s approval rating is 53 percent, up 9 percentage points in four months. Matched up against his Republican opponents, he leads Mitt Romney by 10 points (53-43) and Rick Santorum by 11 (53-42). Even against a generic, unnamed Republican untarnished by attacks, Obama is up 5 percentage points. In November, he was tied.

    Read more:

    • Ametia says:

      POLU-TICO is full of SHIT. Teh GOP are SELF-DISTRUCTING. Meanwhile, President Obama has been PRESIDING.

      I believe that’s called DOING THE JOB THE POTUS WAS ELECTED TO DO.

  54. rikyrah says:

    For those of us who missed the live taping, and the rest of us who want an encore – don’t forget the “In Performance Blues Night” on PBS tonight at 9PM ET

  55. rikyrah says:

    2012 or Never

    Republicans are worried this election could be their last chance to stop history. This is fear talking. But not paranoia.

    .By Jonathan Chait
    Published Feb 26, 2012

    Of the various expressions of right-wing hysteria that have flowered over the past three years—goldbuggery, birtherism, death panels at home and imaginary apology tours by President Obama abroad—perhaps the strain that has taken deepest root within mainstream Republican circles is the terror that the achievements of the Obama administration may be irreversible, and that the time remaining to stop permanent nightfall is dwindling away

    “America is approaching a ‘tipping point’ beyond which the Nation will be unable to change course,” announces the dark, old-timey preamble to Paul Ryan’s “The Roadmap Plan,” a statement of fiscal principles that shaped the budget outline approved last spring by 98 percent of the House Republican caucus. Rick Santorum warns his audiences, “We are reaching a tipping point, folks, when those who pay are the minority and those who receive are the majority.” Even such a sober figure as Mitt Romney regularly says things like “We are only inches away from no longer being a free economy,” and that this election “could be our last chance.”

    The Republican Party is in the grips of many fever dreams. But this is not one of them. To be sure, the apocalyptic ideological analysis—that “freedom” is incompatible with Clinton-era tax rates and Massachusetts-style health care—is pure crazy. But the panicked strategic analysis, and the sense of urgency it gives rise to, is actually quite sound. The modern GOP—the party of Nixon, Reagan, and both Bushes—is staring down its own demographic extinction. Right-wing warnings of impending tyranny express, in hyperbolic form, well-grounded dread: that conservative America will soon come to be dominated, in a semi-permanent fashion, by an ascendant Democratic coalition hostile to its outlook and interests. And this impending doom has colored the party’s frantic, fearful response to the Obama presidency.

    The GOP has reason to be scared. Obama’s election was the vindication of a prediction made several years before by journalist John Judis and political scientist Ruy Teixeira in their 2002 book, The Emerging Democratic Majority. Despite the fact that George W. Bush then occupied the White House, Judis and Teixeira argued that demographic and political trends were converging in such a way as to form a ­natural-majority coalition for Democrats.

    The Republican Party had increasingly found itself confined to white voters, especially those lacking a college degree and rural whites who, as Obama awkwardly put it in 2008, tend to “cling to guns or religion.” Meanwhile, the Democrats had ­increased their standing among whites with graduate degrees, particularly the growing share of secular whites, and remained dominant among racial minorities. As a whole, Judis and Teixeira noted, the electorate was growing both somewhat better educated and dramatically less white, making every successive election less favorable for the GOP. And the trends were even more striking in some key swing states. Judis and Teixeira highlighted Colorado, Nevada, and Arizona, with skyrocketing Latino populations, and Virginia and North Carolina, with their influx of college-educated whites, as the most fertile grounds for the expanding Democratic base.

    Obama’s victory carried out the blueprint. Campaign reporters cast the election as a triumph of Obama’s inspirational message and cutting-edge organization, but above all his sweeping win reflected simple demography. Every year, the nonwhite proportion of the electorate grows by about half a percentage point—meaning that in every presidential election, the minority share of the vote increases by 2 percent, a huge amount in a closely divided country. One measure of how thoroughly the electorate had changed by the time of Obama’s election was that, if college-­educated whites, working-class whites, and minorities had cast the same proportion of the votes in 1988 as they did in 2008, Michael Dukakis would have, just barely, won. By 2020—just eight years away—nonwhite voters should rise from a quarter of the 2008 electorate to one third. In 30 years, nonwhites will outnumber whites.

    • The Republican Party had increasingly found itself confined to white voters, especially those lacking a college degree and rural whites who, as Obama awkwardly put it in 2008, tend to “cling to guns or religion.”


      Judis and Teixeira highlighted Colorado, Nevada, and Arizona, with skyrocketing Latino populations, and Virginia and North Carolina, with their influx of college-educated whites, as the most fertile grounds for the expanding Democratic base.


  56. Ametia says:

    CNN Cleveland schooll on LOCKDOWN

    Shooting reported at Chardon High School near Cleveland, Ohio, local law enforcement officer says.

  57. Ametia says:

    Because i can’t get ENOUGH of this man….

  58. rikyrah says:

    AUDIO: Romney Strikes Again: “I Have Some Great Friends Who Are NASCAR Team Owners”

    Mitt Romney once again has shown why he increasingly is viewed as an out of touch, wealthy elitist. Attending the Daytona 500 rally on Sunday, Romney was asked by an AP reporter if he was a fan of NASCAR.

    Romney responded: “Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans. But I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.”

    Not many people are friends with the wealthy elite who are able to own NASCAR teams.

  59. rikyrah says:

    TOTAL En Vogue fan here :)

  60. LOL!

    Good Morning, Jueseppi! En Vogue= hot divas!

  61. Why 2012 Is The GOP’s Last Chance

    Of the various expressions of right-wing hysteria that have flowered over the past three years—goldbuggery, birtherism, death panels at home and imaginary apology tours by President Obama abroad—perhaps the strain that has taken deepest root within mainstream Republican circles is the terror that the achievements of the Obama administration may be irreversible, and that the time remaining to stop permanent nightfall is dwindling away.

  62. Rick Santorum Secret Service Protection: GOP Candidate Requests Security

    MILNER, Ga. — Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is expected to get Secret Service protection Tuesday, according to an administration official with knowledge of the plan.

    The campaign of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich requested Secret Service protection last week and is awaiting word on whether he will receive the security, a person close to the campaign said Sunday.

    The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive security matters.

    Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has received the protection since Feb. 1. Secret Service protection is given to each major party’s presidential nominee but can be provided earlier if the Homeland Security Department approves a campaign’s request.

    Businessman Herman Cain received Secret Service protection last November but dropped out of the race in December.

    Federal law allows candidates to seek protection if they meet a series of standards, including public prominence as measured by polls and fundraising.

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