Wednesday Open Thread

Aretha Louise Franklin (born March 25, 1942) is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Although known for her soul recordings and referred to as The Queen of Soul, Franklin is also adept at jazz, blues, R&B, gospel music, and rock.

Rolling Stone magazine ranked her atop its “100 Greatest Singers of All Time” list,[1] as well as the ninth greatest artist of all time. She has won 18 competitive Grammys and two honorary Grammys. She has 20 No.1 singles on the Billboard R&B Singles Chart and two No.1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100: “Respect” (1967) and “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” (1987), a duet with George Michael. Since 1961, she has scored a total of 45 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Between 1967 and 1982 she had 10 No.1 R&B albums—more than any other female artist. In 1987, Franklin became the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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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63 Responses to Wednesday Open Thread

  1. Samuel Dyer says:

    Areatha Franklin is truly one of the greatest female Singer ‘s of all time. I love her music!!!

  2. Having a small donor problem Mitt Romney?

  3. Ametia says:

    Romney backtracks on birth-control stand after interview

    Last edited Wed Feb 29, 2012, 06:53 PM USA/ET – Edit history (1)
    Source: MarketWatch
    February 29, 2012, 5:45 PM

    Mitt Romney granted an interview on Wednesday to an Ohio reporter, who asked the former Massachusetts governor his stance on the Blunt amendment to a transportation bill, which would override President Barack Obama’s rule requiring all employer-provided insurance plans to cover contraception and would allow any employer to refuse to cover any kind of health service on religious or moral grounds. The Blunt amendment is due for a vote Thursday.

    According to an account of the interview, Romney said: “I’m not for the bill. But, look, the idea of presidential candidates getting into questions about contraception within a relationship between a man and a woman, husband and wife, I’m not going there.”

    But in turns out, he is going there. After Romney’s comments were reported, multiple press reports quoted Romney officials as saying that he does support the Blunt amendment.

    Read more:

  4. Ametia says:

    Franklin Graham apologizes for questioning Obama’s faith
    By Adelle M. Banks| Religion News Service, Published: February 28

    WASHINGTON — Evangelist Franklin Graham apologized Tuesday (Feb. 28) to President Obama for questioning his Christian faith and said religion has “nothing to do” with Graham’s decision not to support Obama’s re-election.

    Graham’s apology came after a group of prominent black religious leaders criticized the evangelist for saying he did not know whether Obama is a Christian and suggesting that Islamic law considers him to be a Muslim.

  5. rikyrah says:

    how about THIS piece of shyt here?

    I’ll say it again: THIS IS WHO THEY ARE.


    Damn, I just want some jam’

    By Brion McClanahan 1:00 PM 02/28/2012

    For those of you who missed it, several months ago “Mr. EBT” went viral with his hit tune “My EBT.” Classic examples of Shakespearean prose from the song include this passage: “Damn, I just want some jam. Walkin’ down the aisle ’cause I’m lookin’ for the haaaamm. Wham! Where da hell da cheese at?” And who could forget this line: “I wish I could buy some weed with my EBT, but the drug dealer frontin’ me. I mean, who cares? I mean, who cares? It’s an EBT, it’s not food stamps.” Catchy and brilliant! Mr. EBT is quite the wordsmith. Of course, he would lose his street cred without his Yankees hat and leather coat. Heck, it wasn’t even his Electronic Benefit Transfer card! He “borrowed” it from his sister! And now we have Jesse Jackson telling us Barack Obama should be honored to be the “food stamp president” because food stamps pay for everything under the sun and save lives. What’s going on, America?

    These are fine examples of what many Americans witness on a regular basis. The other day, while my family and I were waiting in a check-out line at Wal-Mart, I noticed that the woman checking out in front of us was texting on her $200 cell phone (which probably costs at least $100 a month in service fees and may have been paid for by the government as well) and holding what my wife says was a $100 designer purse, with a stack of junk food, beer and cigarettes on the belt behind a line of subsistence products like milk, cheese, cereal and meat.

    People pay for “necessary” items with their EBT government debit cards and then use cash for their smokes, beer and munchies. Yet, I have to fork over my hard-earned dollars for every item in my cart (and in essence theirs as well, since I pay taxes while they probably get “refunds” every April). Something is wrong here. Why is the average taxpayer both screwed by the system and forced to watch his tax dollars being wasted on people who abuse the system?

    I have a solution: Dharma-style food stamp reform. Fans of “Lost” will recognize the reference, but for those who did not watch the show, the Dharma Initiative packaged its own food to supply members of the project on the island. Each item came in a package with a simple black-and-white label and a basic description. Beer cans were marked with the word “Beer.” It probably tasted as bad as it looked. In any case, here is a picture:

    Dharma-style food stamp reform would have four basic components. First, the federal government would create a government “brand” of essential food items such as milk, cheese, meat, cereal, vegetables, bread, peanut butter, beans, juice, soup, baby formula, diapers, etc., and would package the items with simple black-and-white labels and basic descriptions. The word “Government” would be stamped across the top in bold letters so everyone would know it was a welfare item. These items could be manufactured by major companies through government contracts, thus not creating a net loss to private industry. Because competition is not an issue, taste and quality, with the exception of the baby formula and baby food, would not be a top priority. Snacks, soda, cigarettes and beer would not be available through the program.

    Second, the government would lease existing store fronts and set up “government stores.” There are typically several grocery store locations that have gone out of business in any given area; these would make ideal settings for the new government stores. The number of store locations would be chosen based on the size of the area and its number of food stamp recipients. The stores would be placed on public transportation routes for convenience.

    Third, and most importantly, all food stamp recipients would be required to spend their government dollars at these stores. Private grocery stores and chains, such as Wal-Mart and McDonald’s, would no longer be allowed to accept EBT cards, and the money loaded on the cards could not be withdrawn and used for any other purpose. Each card would have a set dollar amount sizable enough to purchase essential items from the government store. For example, a family of four could expect to receive enough government-brand beans, rice, bread, milk, cheese, meat, cereal and vegetables to last a month with careful planning. In other words, they must be ready to stretch a food budget. Families with babies would get a month supply of formula, baby food and diapers.

    Fourth, anyone who accepts government aid would have to submit to a monthly tobacco and drug test. Food stamp recipients are, after all, wards of the state. They are slaves to the government and should be reminded of that fact. If a recipient is found to have tobacco or drugs in his system, he would be dropped from the program. People on government aid would also lose the privilege of voting. That way they couldn’t vote for greater benefits or easier terms (most of them don’t vote, but now they couldn’t).

    While I believe the federal food stamp program to be unconstitutional, immoral and a state issue, the simple fact is that the program is not going away. There are more people on the dole now than at any other point in United States history, and with more Americans seemingly fine with the idea of taking government handouts, as Mr. EBT and Jesse Jackson have shown, the numbers will continue to grow. My reform measures might seem draconian to some (and the antithesis of the free market), but they would hopefully have the desired result of reducing food stamp rolls so we could eventually eliminate the program and let the states handle the issue. Before accepting food stamps, people would have to carefully consider whether they want to face the loss of voting privileges, the humiliation of shopping at government stores and using government food, the inability to smoke or do drugs and the added inconvenience of having to make two or three stops for their groceries should they choose to buy snacks with their own money. Plus, tax producers would no longer have to knowingly be face to face with people at the check-out who are on government assistance but have nicer cell phones and accessories than they do.

    There should be humiliation and pain in government assistance. Every time someone accepts food stamps, they are spitting on the principles of independence, and they, not the taxpayers who fund the program, should be reminded of that fact.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Bearing no resemblance to the Obama-Clinton race
    By Steve Benen

    Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:38 PM EST.

    In theory, an extended presidential nominating race doesn’t have to be a disaster for the candidates or their party. The process, at least on paper, can force the candidates to hone their message, sharpen responses to common attacks, and avoid complacency. As weeks turn to months turn to seasons, a longer race even helps keep the candidates and their message in the national eye in advance of the general election.

    Party officials tend to hate lengthy intra-party races — at a minimum, they’re expensive — but as we saw four years ago in the Obama-Clinton competition, the process can actually help a party and the eventual nominee.

    The RNC chair and his predecessor want us to believe that 2012 is no different. Sure, it looks like Republicans are tearing each other apart, and the longer-than-expected race is benefiting Democrats, but, party leaders argue, this messiness is constructive and ultimately beneficial.

    It’s a nice spin, but Dave Weigel makes a persuasive case against it.

    At a glance, the 2012 Republican primary looks a lot like the 2008 Democratic race. But that campaign pitted a well-liked candidate who would be the first African-American president against a well-like candidate who would have been the first female president. Neither ran a particularly negative campaign. Go and check out the most brutal ad that Obama aired against Hillary. He criticized her because the New York Times, “her hometown paper,” said she was “taking the low road.” That was it. With precious little ideological or policy space between them, the candidates waged war over whether the Democrats should nominates a figure of hope or a pragmatist.

    Now, look back at Romney-Santorum…. The front-runner who wants to play moderate if he wins — the guy who said today that he refuses to “set my hair on fire” and go brutal on Obama — isn’t reacting well to pressure. He looks weaker, and polls weaker, than he has for months.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s Most Dangerous GOP Opponent: Netanyahu

    This is disturbing news:

    Israeli officials say they won’t warn the U.S. if they decide to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, according to one U.S. intelligence official familiar with the discussions. The pronouncement, delivered in a series of private, top-level conversations, sets a tense tone ahead of meetings in the coming days at the White House and Capitol Hill.

    What it amounts to is a formal declaration that, if the US attempts at any point to differ seriously with Israel’s far right, the alliance is over. That’s after the most serious sanctions ever imposed on Iran, a covert war, and greater isolation for the Tehran regime both at home and abroad than at any point since 1979. Meanwhile, we get news analysis from the NYT that minimizes the potentially catastrophic global consequences of an Israeli-initiated war against another Muslim nation. But even the minimum is alarming:

    Administration, military and intelligence officials say Iran would most likely choose anonymous, indirect attacks against nations it views as supporting Israeli policy, in the hope of offering Tehran at least public deniability. Iran also might try to block, even temporarily, the Strait of Hormuz to further unsettle oil markets. An increase in car bombs set off against civilian targets in world capitals would also be possible. And Iran would almost certainly smuggle high-powered explosives across its border into Afghanistan, where they could be planted along roadways and set off by surrogate forces to kill and maim American and NATO troops — much as it did in Iraq during the peak of violence there

    So Israel would, without warning, put US troops and Western civilians at direct risk of terrorist assaults, would likely tip Pakistan into even more outright hostility to any cooperation with the West, and rally the Iranian opposition to its foul regime. It would destroy the global coalition against Iran, increase even further its own global isolation, and only set back Iranian nuclear development for a few years – and make it, or a Third World War based on religion, inevitable. My own fear is that global recruitment for Jihad would boom as well – reversing all the gains of the last three years. The war would also galvanize Islamist parties in the new Arab democracies, giving Israel more ammunition in blocking any rapprochement between the US and the Muslim world. And following this essential blackmail, the Israeli government would doubtless rally much of the US Congress, the entire GOP, its media outlets (like Fox, and the Washington Post), and a key part of the Democratic fundraising machinery to side entirely with Israel against the US president.

    I don’t think you can understand the Republican strategy for this election without factoring in a key GOP player, Benjamin Netanyahu. He already has core members of the US Congress siding openly with him against the US president and the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman – like McCain, Lieberman and Butters. Netanyahu’s war would be designed to rile up not only his own neo-fascist base, but also encourage American evangelical voters to turn out against Obama, the “anti-Christ”, while other Greater Israel fanatics, like Sheldon Adelson, keep bankrolling as many Greater Israel GOP nominees as they can. A global war which polarizes America and the world is exactly what Netanyahu wants. And it is exactly what the GOP needs to cut through Obama’s foreign policy advantage in this election. Because it is only through war, crisis and polarization that extremists can mobilize the emotions that keep them in power. They need war to win.

    Here’s a prediction. Netanyahu, in league and concert with Romney, Santorum and Gingrich, will make his move to get rid of Obama soon. And he will be more lethal to this president than any of his domestic foes.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Stimulus 101
    By Steve Benen
    Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:30 PM EST.

    Valerie Jarrett, a senior aide to President Obama, argued the other day that unemployment benefits “stimulate the economy.” The Romney campaign apparently didn’t care for the remark.

    “First they told us that borrowing $1 trillion from China was supposed to stimulate the economy,” a campaign spokesperson said. “Then just yesterday, one of President Obama’s top advisors said that unemployment stimulates the economy. That’s like saying an iceberg stimulated the Titanic. Only in White House fantasy world do debt, unemployment and higher taxes stimulate the economy.”

    It’s unsettling how easily confused Team Romney gets on these issues. The economy is supposed to be the former governor’s signature issue.

    For one thing, the stimulus (a) didn’t cost $1 trillion; (b) wasn’t financed by China; and (c) really did stimulate the economy. For another, Jarrett didn’t say “unemployment stimulates the economy”; she said unemployment benefits stimulate the economy.

    And third, whether the Romney campaign likes it or not, Jarrett was right. Paul Krugman had a column on this a while back that the former governor might find helpful.

    When the economy is booming, and lack of sufficient willing workers is limiting growth, generous unemployment benefits may keep employment lower than it would have been otherwise. But as you may have noticed, right now the economy isn’t booming — again, there are five unemployed workers for every job opening. Cutting off benefits to the unemployed will make them even more desperate for work — but they can’t take jobs that aren’t there.

    Wait: there’s more. One main reason there aren’t enough jobs right now is weak consumer demand. Helping the unemployed, by putting money in the pockets of people who badly need it, helps support consumer spending. That’s why the Congressional Budget Office rates aid to the unemployed as a highly cost-effective form of economic stimulus. And unlike, say, large infrastructure projects, aid to the unemployed creates jobs quickly — while allowing that aid to lapse, which is what is happening right now, is a recipe for even weaker job growth, not in the distant future but over the next few months.

    The basic concept here is quite simple: unemployment benefits are good for the economy. People who receive the aid aren’t sticking it in a mattress or a money-market fund; they’re spending it and doing so immediately because it’s their main source of income. This injects demand and capital into the economy quickly, helping the beneficiaries and the rest of us.

    In fact, when it comes to bang for the buck, jobless aid is the second most effective stimulus in the public-sector arsenal, right behind food stamps.

  9. rikyrah says:

    All Eyes On Ohio

    We’ve said it many times before, but this time, it might actually be true. If Romney cannot win Ohio or any Southern evangelical state, he’s really in trouble. Heilemann focuses on Romney’s next test:

    [T]he same sets of eyes that were focused intently on Michigan will shift their gaze just slightly southward to Ohio — a state with a vast number of delegates on offer that also happens to be a pivotal battleground in the general election to come. If Romney can replicate his Michigan victory there and hold his own elsewhere, he may, just may, be in a position to start to make the argument that the nomination is (slowly, grindingly, but inexorably) coming within his grasp. If, however, Santorum bounces back, wins Ohio, and carries the other four or five states where he should run strong, it will all but guarantee that the nomination battle will carry on, in brutish fashion, all the way to June.

    Alex Castellanos jokes that Ohio is Michigan without “the Romney family history.” But it’s equally true, as Ed Morrissey notes, that the state as an absolute must-win for Santorum:

    Santorum has a lead in the RCP poll average of about eight points, but that may change with the loss in Michigan among the same kind of voters. Santorum cannot afford another loss in the Rust Belt, especially since Romney is likely to do well in most of the other Super Tuesday contests. Since all of the binding contests on Super Tuesday are proportional-allocation primaries, Santorum will get a significant number of delegates from second-place finishes again, but without a couple of big wins, Romney will keep adding to his delegate lead and making the case for donors to get on the bandwagon now.

  10. rikyrah says:

    The out-of-touch Republican front-runners

    By Harold Meyerson, Published: February 28

    The longer the Republican presidential contest drags on, the more uncomfortable Mitt Romney seems around blue-collar Americans, and the more antagonistic Rick Santorum seems toward America’s professionals, current and aspiring, and their ideals. This does not portend Republican success in November. Romney’s victories in Arizona and Michigan on Tuesday do not alter this dynamic.

    Romney’s stabs at seeming a regular guy have provided the most painful moments of his campaign. How to come off as a car buff in Michigan? Mention your wife’s Cadillacs. How to be a good ol’ boy at Daytona? Say you’re friends with some of the race car owners. Not since Richard Nixon has a national political leader appeared so excruciatingly ill at ease with the simplest public encounters.

    The roots of Romney’s awkwardness are shrouded in mystery. Perhaps, while going door to door in France in quest of converts to Mormonism, he came to believe that encounters with ordinary folks were an ordeal with which God tests the faithful. Certainly, his career in private equity did nothing to prepare him for conversations with actual workers. A good leveraged-buyout operator — and Romney was one of the best — doesn’t sit down with workers to hear their concerns, lest he end up heeding any interest save those of the bottom line. Whatever the reason, Romney’s encounters with ordinary men and women seem fraught with peril and grow steadily more surreal.

    Santorum, by contrast, seems comfortable only with ordinary guys, provided “ordinary” is defined as white, working-class, traditional, patriarchal, borderline theocratic and seething with resentment at everyone except the rich. Santorum is the latest right-wing demagogue who rails at the real and imagined sins of liberal cultural elites (joining Joseph McCarthy, George Wallace and Spiro Agnew, to name but a few), but in his zeal to damage Romney in Michigan, he has more effectively damaged himself throughout professional America.

    Not since McCarthy decided to attack the U.S. Army for allegedly coddling communists has a reactionary populist been so wide of the mark as Santorum was in attacking President Obama as a “snob” for saying he would like more young people to go to college. “There are good, decent men and women who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to [the] test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor to try to indoctrinate them,” Santorum said this weekend. “I understand why [Obama] wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image.”

    Of course, Obama never said that every young American should go to a four-year, liberal arts college. His point, rather, was that productive jobs in today’s blue-collar economy ask more of workers than they used to. “We are talking about somebody going to a community college and getting trained for that manufacturing job that is now requiring someone walking through the door [to handle] a million-dollar piece of equipment,” the president elaborated Monday. That’s not liberal snobbery; it’s the common sense of plant managers, foremen and factory-floor workers.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Bill O’Reilly Sides with George Clooney

    By Richard Horgan on February 28, 2012 11:00 AM

    Of all the celebrities who stopped on the Oscars red carpet to speak with the man holding the Fox News-flagged microphone, reporter Jesse Watters says George Clooney was the nicest. “He was the biggest celebrity that spoke to me; he didn’t have to stop and talk to me, but he did,” Watters told Bill O’Reilly last night. “And he was good-natured about the whole conversation.”

    Excepting Watters’ last question. When the reporter asked Clooney as the actor was walking away, “Is Obama doing a good job?”, The Descendants star reminded, “Yes he is. He’s the President of the United States, not Obama. He’s the President of the United States.” Clooney then glared purposefully at Watters.

  12. rikyrah says:

    cue up my teeny tiny violin


    Bonus Drop Means Trading Aspen for Coupons

    By Max Abelson – Feb 29, 2012 1:42 PM CT

    Andrew Schiff was sitting in a traffic jam in California this month after giving a speech at an investment conference about gold. He turned off the satellite radio, got out of the car and screamed a profanity.

    “I’m not Zen at all, and when I’m freaking out about the situation, where I’m stuck like a rat in a trap on a highway with no way to get out, it’s very hard,” Schiff, director of marketing for broker-dealer Euro Pacific Capital Inc., said in an interview.

    Schiff, 46, is facing another kind of jam this year: Paid a lower bonus, he said the $350,000 he earns, enough to put him in the country’s top 1 percent by income, doesn’t cover his family’s private-school tuition, a Kent, Connecticut, summer rental and the upgrade they would like from their 1,200-square- foot Brooklyn duplex.

    “I feel stuck,” Schiff said. “The New York that I wanted to have is still just beyond my reach.”

    The smaller bonus checks that hit accounts across the financial-services industry this month are making it difficult to maintain the lifestyles that Wall Street workers expect, according to interviews with bankers and their accountants, therapists, advisers and headhunters.

    “People who don’t have money don’t understand the stress,” said Alan Dlugash, a partner at accounting firm Marks Paneth & Shron LLP in New York who specializes in financial planning for the wealthy. “Could you imagine what it’s like to say I got three kids in private school, I have to think about pulling them out? How do you do that?”

  13. rikyrah says:

    Antonio Darden, Susana Martinez’s Former Hairstylist, On His Decision Not To Cut New Mexico Governor’s Hair

    New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez will never get the secret formula for her hair color, which was created just for her.

    So says Antonio Darden of Antonio’s Hair Studio in Sante Fe who made headlines when he let it be known he refused to cut Martinez’s hair because of the GOP governor’s opposition to same-sex marriage. He also seems to be dismissing Martinez’s office’s claim to The Huffington Post that he wasn’t even her regular hairdresser.

    “I colored and cut her hair, being a hair color educator for Macy’s,” Darden said in an interview on my radio program on SiriusXM OutQ. “So it wasn’t just cutting her hair. It was the hair color that was also involved.”

    And he went on to explain that Martinez, whose office had called him the day following his refusal to cut her hair to see if he had changed his mind, won’t be getting the formula for the color from him.

    “A lot of people think that the formula, when it’s made from a hair colorist, that it’s your right to have,” he explained. “It isn’t. You came here for me to formulate and do your hair color. Normally I sell the formula to people if they want to go to a different salon that is cheaper. I normally give the formula to clients if they’re moving out of state because I care about my clients. But I would not give that formula to her.”

  14. rikyrah says:

    BYU Professor makes controversial statements about Blacks & LDS Church

    Reported by: Kimberly Nelson

    SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – Comments made by a BYU Theology professor opening up old wounds about the LDS church’s policy on African Americans and priesthood.

    It was June 9th, 1978 when LDS President Spencer Kimball announced the church was opening its priesthood ranks to all worthy men. Some 30 years later the question why the church denied African Americans priesthood once again taking center stage because a Mormon is running for President.

    During an interview with The Washington Post BYU Professor Randy Bott’s explains the denial of priesthood to blacks as saving them from “the lowest rungs of hell reserved for people who abuse their priesthood powers.”

    Bott quoted as saying, “You couldn’t fall off the top of the ladder because you weren’t on the top of the ladder. So, in reality the blacks not having the priesthood was the greatest blessing god could give them.”

    Don Harwell is the president of the Genesis group for African American Mormons. “How do people come up with this stuff?” asked Harwell. “I get confused and a little discouraged that people still think this way.”

    Even more disappointing to Harwell is Bott had served in local leadership positions within the church such as a bishop, high councilor and mission president.

    Harwell said, “I have yet to read in the scriptures that says the Lord denied us the priesthood. I could be wrong but I read my scriptures every night.”

    The LDS church had no comment on Bott’s recent interview, but LDS apostle Jeffrey Holland had this to say during an interview with PBS in 2006. “We simply do not know why that practice, that policy, that doctrine was in place,” said Holland.

    This much is clear to Harwell. “If it was a commandment believe me it would be written down there would be no mistaking it.”

  15. rikyrah says:

    Obama betrayed blue-collar workers for urbanite hipsters, says Sen. Hatch

    By Josiah Ryan – 02/29/12 10:43 AM ET

    Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on Wednesday accused President Obama of betraying blue-collar Americans in favor of the city-dwelling liberal elite.

    “President Obama has traded in the hard hat and lunch bucket category of the Democratic Party for the hipster fedora and a double skim latte,” said Hatch, referring to the president’s energy policy, which has delayed the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and limited and delayed the exploration and production of some domestic energy.

    The president is putting the preferred lifestyle policies of wealthy urbanites ahead of the needs of blue-collar and union workers and middle-class Americans,” said Hatch. “He has put liberal environmental dreams above the economic reality that working-class Americans have been dealing with for years.”

    Hatch is one of many Republican senators who have taken to the Senate floor this week to batter President Obama over rising energy prices, which they say are his fault.

  16. Ametia says:

    The Daily Show’s Samantha Bee Demolishes Grover Norquist
    By Heather



  17. Ametia says:

    RIP Davy Jones.

  18. Ametia says:

    CNN: ‘Monkees’ teen idol Davy Jones dead of apparent heart attack at 66, Florida law enforcement official says.

  19. Michigan primary’s big winner may not be Mitt Romney,0,1035929.story

    Mitt Romney may have beaten Rick Santorum by a few percentage points in the Michigan Republican primary, but the real winner is President Obama.

    If Romney is the eventual Republican nominee, he will have to return to Michigan clearly branded as the guy who was willing to let the auto industry die. If Santorum is the nominee, he’ll be the Catholic candidate who couldn’t even carry the majority of Catholic Republicans in the state.

    Romney ended the Michigan campaign as the patrician whose buddies are the owners of NASCAR teams. Santorum is the religious firebrand who picked a fight with John F. Kennedy over separation of church and state. The result? Neither of the two did themselves a favor in Michigan.

  20. Sudden Link sucks! Ugh!

  21. Ametia says:

    Michael Steele On GOP’s Nightmare Primary: Don’t Blame Me, Blame Mitt!

    While top Republicans are tearing their hair out watching the Republican primaries slowly grind their way to a relatively small Super Tuesday, the RNC chair who designed this year’s calendar, Michael Steele, says the process is working exactly as planned. It’s the candidates who are the problem.
    As TPM reported Tuesday, the longer GOP primary calendar is thanks in part to efforts by the RNC to extend the race and spread out its major contests over a longer period, efforts that critics like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie now call “the dumbest idea anyone ever had.”
    But while some in the party see their brand weakening and their candidates’ funds dwindling while President Obama amasses an impressive war chest, Steele thinks the battle will only harden the eventual nominee.

    “It was designed exactly for that purpose, to properly vet all the candidates, but most importantly to give the base a chance to have their voices heard in states that aren’t Iowa and New Hampshire and the bigger states that play early,” Steele told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Tuesday. “So this is the process and I think I think it’s healthy, I think it’s exciting.”
    But Steele acknowledged that the primary fight’s sharply negative turn in recent weeks was a legitimate issue, comparing Mitt Romney to Darth Vader for his willingness to destroy his opponents.

    “The problem is that … the Romney campaign thought this would be the short, quick battle, and they’re not necessarily ready for a campaign that’s longer so the negative campaigning hits and hits hard,” Steele said. “The Death Star imagery I think is very appropriate here since it is sort of taking out that moon and then that planet to clear a pathway to the nomination.”
    He continued with his galactic metaphor: “The problem is there are a whole lot of little stars you have to get through first and that’s the base. They’re not lighting up for you right now and hes got to figure out a way to make that happen — and it’s not going to be by destroying Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum but selling why you are the better guy.”

  22. “The Facts”

  23. rikyrah says:

    Michigan Exit Polls: Santorum Winning Blue Collar Voters…Barely

    Exit polls of Michigan Republican primary voters show that former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum won more votes from blue-collar conservatives, while former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney took more votes among those in the upper income brackets. Numbers from CNN show that the two men nearly split lower-income voters (those with family incomes less than $30,000), but Santorum won those making between $30,000 and $50,000 by 8 points, and those with family incomes between $50,000 and $100,000 by 3 points, a group that represented a third of those polled.

    But the top third of exit poll respondents, those making $100,000 or more, went strongly for Romney. Romney won the $100,000 to $200,000 group by seven points, and among those who made $200,000 and more, Romney bested Santorum 55-29, the largest split of any income group. However, the group only made up ten percent of the exit poll total.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Why Mitt Romney Still Has A Battle To Win On Super Tuesday
    Kyle Leighton February 29, 2012, 5:58 AM

    Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the popular vote in Michigan on Tuesday night, and all of Arizona’s 29 delegates. His team can breathe a sigh of relief that whatever damage it took to get here, he’s still the leader for the Republican presidential nomination.

    But while Romney might be two steps closer to Tampa, he’s not anywhere near out of the woods. The campaign now takes a dangerous turn for his camp — to the South.

    Super Tuesday is a smaller affair this cycle than last. Much smaller, actually — California, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York were huge anchors of the 23 Democratic contests and 21 on the Republican side. Next week eleven states will hold their GOP votes, among them the Ohio, Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Massachusetts primaries as the major sources of delegates, along with caucuses in Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota, and Wyoming. Vermont has the fewest number of delegates at stake with 17, and only two candidates will have the opportunity to pick up Virginia’s votes, as Romney and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) are the only candidates on the ballot. In total, 419 delegates are up for grabs.

    Polling at the moment shows problems for Romney everywhere. The biggest fight looks to be over Ohio and its 66 delegates (1144 are needed to secure the nomination), where Romney has been in a more traditional fight by 2012 cycle standards, the former governor unable shake the various GOP flavors of the month. Here’s what the trend looks like over the last three months.

  25. Ametia says:


    North Korea has agreed to a moratorium on nuclear activity at Yongbyon, its major nuclear facility, the U.S. State Department said Wednesday. North Korea also has agreed to a moratorium on long-range missile launches.

    The announcement came Wednesday after a U.S. delegation returned from Beijing following a third exploratory round of bilateral talks.

    In a statement, the State Department said the United States “still has profound concerns regarding North Korean behavior across a wide range of areas” but that today’s announcement “reflects important, if limited, progress in addressing some of these.”

  26. Ametia says:

    But Michelle Obama’s the one with the anger management issues.
    Posted on February 28, 2012 by Emily L. Hauser

    So apparently Ann Romney, wanna-be First Lady, said this about the media:

    [It’s] getting harder and harder to be cheerful…. I am so mad at the press [that] I could just strangle them! And, you know, I think I’ve decided there are going to be some people invited on the bus and some people just aren’t going to be invited on the bus.

    READ ON:

  27. rikyrah says:

    Catholic Bishops Denounce Assembly Bill Making It Easier for Sexual Abuse Victims to Sue

    The Catholic Conference, which lobbies lawmakers on behalf of Catholic bishops in New York State denounced a bill pushed by Maspeth Assemblywoman Margaret Markey that would make it easier for sexual abuse victims to sue their accusers.

    The bill would temporarily lift the statute of limitations on lawsuits alleging the sexual abuse of children, and Ms. Markey has been pushing it for years. The Catholic Conference says carves out public schools, which have been a frequent site of abuse in recent years.

    “While Assembly Member Margaret Markey pursues a one-year ‘window’ in the statute of limitations to allow for lawsuits for 60- or 70-year old claims of sexual abuse against private schools and churches, it would be wise to look at what is going on TODAY in our public school system, and focus on protecting our children and grandchildren from predators,” wrote Dennis Poust, a spokesman for the group, in an email today. “Mrs. Markey’s bill would continue the unfair system of forever barring lawsuits against public institutions (schools, colleges, city pools, county health clinics, juvenile justice facilities, etc.) if the victim does not file a ‘notice of claim.’ with the courts within three or four months.”

    Mr. Poust emailed out a slew of stories showing instances of abuse in public schools, and passed along the following memo calling on the law to treat public schools and the Catholic church equally.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Chris Christie little help vs. Obama in N.J., poll finds
    By MJ LEE | 2/29/12 6:49 AM EST

    Having Gov. Chris Christie as his running mate would strengthen Mitt Romney’s bid against President Barack Obama in New Jersey, but not enough to help the Republican candidate catch up to the president in the Garden State, according to a new poll Wednesday.

    In a general election match-up that doesn’t take into consideration the vice presidential candidates, Romney would trail the president 49 percent to 39 percent in New Jersey, a Quinnipiac University survey of the state’s voters found.

    With Christie as his running mate, Romney would fare slightly better in the state, but still fall short of catching up to Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, 49 percent to 43 percent.

    “Putting [Christie] on the ticket helps the Republicans a little, but not enough, in New Jersey. If the measure of a vice presidential pick is carrying his or her home state, then Gov. Christie comes up short,” said Maurice Carroll, the director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute

    Read more:

  29. rikyrah says:

    Snowe’s stunning surprise
    By Steve Benen
    Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:53 AM EST.

    When prominent members of Congress are considering retirement, there’s nearly always some kind of hint in advance of the announcement. Maybe they stop raising money; perhaps they’re slow to put a campaign organization together; maybe key staffers are seen moving to new jobs elsewhere; something.

    But with Sen. Olympia Snowe (R) of Maine, all of the evidence pointed in the other direction. Not only were there no hints about a pending departure, the Republican senator gave every indication of seeking another term, even moving considerably to the right.

    It’s what made Snowe’s retirement announcement late yesterday such a stunning surprise.

    As I enter a new chapter, I see a vital need for the political center in order for our democracy to flourish and to find solutions that unite rather than divide us. It is time for change in the way we govern, and I believe there are unique opportunities to build support for that change from outside the United States Senate. I intend to help give voice to my fellow citizens who believe, as I do, that we must return to an era of civility in government driven by a common purpose to fulfill the promise that is unique to America.”

    There are a few angles to a story like this. First, in terms of the electoral consequences, Snowe’s announcement is a brutal setback for Republican plans to retake the Senate majority next year. As Steve Kornacki explained, “With Snowe in it, Democrats had virtually no chance of winning the Maine Senate race this year. Now they are likely to do so, given the state’s partisan bent.”

    Second, I can’t help but wonder how much Snowe regrets her shift to the right, taking positions she never would have adopted earlier in her career.

    Consider just the last few months. In October, she partnered with a right-wing Alabama senator to push a plan to make the legislative process even more difficult. A week earlier, she demanded the administration act with “urgency” to address the jobs crisis, only to filibuster a popular jobs bill a day later. The week before that, Snowe prioritized tax cuts for millionaires over job creation. Shortly before that, Snowe tried to argue that government spending is “clearly … the problem” when it comes to the nation’s finances, which is a popular line among conservatives, despite being completely wrong.

    There can be little doubt that Snowe has been Congress’ most moderate Republican for the last several years, but that doesn’t change the fact as party moved sharply to the right, she moved with it. Indeed, no matter how extreme the GOP became in recent years, Snowe simply kept her head down, going along with the crowd. When David Brooks complains about “Opossum Republicans,” he might as well have been referring to the senior senator from Maine.

    And third, there’s the mystery surrounding what, exactly, led to yesterday’s announcement.


    Snowe’s retirement wasn’t just a surprise; it’s practically bizarre. After three terms in the Senate, and giving every indication of seeking re-election, Olympia Snowe waited until two weeks before Maine’s filing deadline to bow out, and didn’t even tell her staff until yesterday afternoon. It all happened so quickly, the senator’s office hasn’t even posted her announcement online yet.

    The news doesn’t appear to be have planned especially well.

    • Ametia says:

      LOL Snowe knows what time it is. She saw that she didn’t stand a SNOWBALL’S (PUN INTENDED) chance in HELL of winning Main unless she kept moving her tookus to the RIGHT. Guess she was willing to fall completly down the RABBIT HOLE with the rest of the WINGNUTS.

      GO DEMS, take that Senate seat in 2012!!!!

  30. Ametia says:

    Revised Numbers Show U.S. Economy Quickened In The Fourth Quarter
    National News, Economy

    by Eyder Peralta

    During the last three months of the year, the U.S. economy picked up its pace of growth. The Commerce Department revised its previous estimate today and said the gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of 3 percent, which exceeded the previous estimate of 2.8 percent and was better than the third quarter’s 1.8 percent pace.

    The AP reports:
    “The growth estimate was revised up because consumers spent more than first thought, and businesses cut spending by much less.

    “Imports rose by a smaller amount. The report also showed that incomes rose in the second half of last year by more than previously estimated. Americans saved more, too.

    “Much of the growth in the fourth quarter was driven by companies restocking their shelves. Many had cut their inventories over the summer, when they thought the economy was on the verge of a recession.”

    Bloomberg reports that its survey of economists had predicted Commerce would make no revision to the number.

    The U.S. economy looks decent,” Drew Matus, senior U.S. economist at UBS Securities LLC in Stamford Connecticut, told Bloomberg. “There are certainly risks out there, but it looks better than what people are giving it credit for. The combination of job growth and credit creation and better spending numbers all seem to be feeding off themselves.”

    As we reported, another positive sign of recovery is that the Dow closed above 13,000 yesterday. It was the first time it hit that mark since the 2008 financial crisis.

  31. Ametia says:


    Feds Accuse Texas Doctor In $350 Million Medicare Fraud
    by Scott Hensley

    When it comes to schemes to defraud Medicare and Medicaid, there seems to be no limit to the ingenuity and tenacity of would-be scammers.

    Still, a Texas doctor and six co-conspirators indicted for an alleged long-running home health care scheme look to have set a new record for a one practice: at least $350 million in fraudulent Medicare bills and $24 million under Medicaid over nearly six years ending in late 2011.

    Dr. Jacques Roy, of Rockwall, Texas, and other doctors who worked with him certified more than 11,000 Medicare beneficiaries during that time so they could receive care in their homes, according to a federal indictment unsealed today. The government says that figure is more than any other group of doctors in the whole country during that time.

    Problem is that much of the care was unnecessary.

    Roy and a family member owned Medistat, a company that specialized in care for the homebound. I called Medistat asking for a response to the indictment, a receptionist said, “No comment.”

    The government alleges that Roy told Medistat employees to sign his name or use an electronic signature on forms required by Medicare to document a plan of care for patients, a requirement to get home care paid for.

    Medistat company allegedly worked with more than 500 home health care agencies, or HHAs, to find new patients. The indictment says:


    In an memo that asks for Dr. Roy to be detained, Sarah Saldana, the U.S. attorney in Dallas, says, “The evidence against him is strong and he faces a life sentence if convicted. He has already prepared to flee by creating a fake identity and sending the proceeds of his fraud offshore.”

  32. rikyrah says:

    The He-Man Woman Haters Club

    Posted on 02/29/2012 at 9:23 am by Bob Cesca

    Only four women appearied as guests on the Sunday shows. Media Matters with the sad tally:

    A total of 56 guests were booked on the Sunday programs to discuss national affairs in February. Of those, 52 were men. (The newsmaker tally does not include guests invited to participate in roundtable discussions this month.)

    And of the four women booked this month, just one, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was associated with the Democratic Party, despite the fact Democrats currently control the White House and the Senate. “We complain about this all the time,” a Democratic aide told Media Matters.

    Good thing the issues of birth control, women’s healthcare coverage and abortion never came up this month.

    • Ametia says:

      All three major networks, ABC, NBC, CBS all have men moderating their Sunday morning shows. Armanpor was a dismal failure on ABC, so they brought back Georgie Porgie.

      CNN has Candy “Carbo” Crowley and MSNBC now has Melissa Harris Perry and Alex Witt follows. CNN still has Fareed Zakaria and MSNBC has Chris Matthews.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Kid Rock Puts Romney Over the Top

    Posted on 02/29/2012 at 7:05 am by Bob Cesca

    Romney won Michigan (barely) and Arizona last night. The most striking thing wasn’t necessarily the victory, but Romney’s victory speech. But first, here’s what he said the other day.

    “It’s very easy to excite the [conservative] base with incendiary comments. We’ve seen throughout the campaign that if you’re willing to say really outrageous things that are accusative and attacking President Obama, that you’re going to jump up in the polls. I’m not willing to light my hair on fire to try and get support. I am who I am.”

    And here are some quotes from his acceptance speech:

    Four years ago, we warned that the Presidency was no place for on-the-job training. Today, we have an economy to prove it. […]

    Did he fix the economy? Did he tackle the housing crisis? Did he get Americans back to work? No. He put us on a path toward debt, deficits, and decline.

    The economy is improving by almost all measures. Regardless, do you see where I’m going here? Fire, fire, fire.

    These days, when hes not spending our money or infringing upon our rights, President Obama is busy running for re-election.

    That’s pure right-wing radio. Also, since when is a president not supposed to run for re-election? It’s another teleprompter-style attack. This (black) president shouldn’t do what every president has done — ever (except for LBJ and James K. Polk, but you know).

    While we’re here, there were a lot of lies like this one:

    President Obama wants to raise your taxes. I will cut them. That starts with an across-the-board, 20% rate cut for every American.

    I assume he’s saying he’ll give you a 20 percent discount based on what you’re paying now and not a rate reduction by 20 percent. If it’s the latter, everyone paying a marginal rate of 19 percent or less will get an automatic refund. I’m not sure how that’ll work.

    That aside, the president has been lowering taxes for people earning less than $250,000.

    The point here is that Romney has been running all along using far-right language. In fact, many of his flipflips have been a result of using incendiary language as a means of pandering to the fringe base.

    He has no character. No core beliefs. No ethics. He’s a robot who goes any which way the wind blows, and that makes him susceptible to nefarious puppeteering by others. We’ve already had a Republican president like that recently.

  34. Ametia says:

    Listen to The Boss’ new song “ROCKY GROUND.” I heard it on NPR this morning. One day premiere.

    Rocky Ground” is a song about keeping faith while the floodwaters rise. The song has those yearning spiritual horns I always loved in Van Morrison records, but this song doesn’t stop there. It opens with a sample of a historical recording: the words “I’m a soldier,” from the Church of God in Christ Congregation’s performance of “I’m A Soldier In The Army Of The Lord,” recorded by Alan Lomax in Clarksdale, Miss., in 1942.

  35. rikyrah says:

    28 Feb 2012 08:08 PM
    Live-Blogging The Michigan & Arizona Primaries

    10.52 pm. Allahpundit concludes:

    Looks like Mitt will win by roughly five points. Realistically, given the recent polling, that’s the best possible result he could have hoped for tonight, good enough to blunt the media’s attempts to spin this as a moral victory for RS even if Mitt did need to outspend Santorum by two to one or so just to hold his home state.

    I think that’s almost right – except the current gap is only 3 points, with close to 90 percent of the vote now in. Romney staggers on, therefore, without resolving any of his fundamental weaknesses. What Santorum represents – the hard edge of Christianism – remains a solid bloc that the Mormon Romney may be able to overcome by a long, hard slog in the primary, but will need to go very, very negative in the fall to bring out against Obama.
    Not a pretty prospect.
    10. 47 pm. A reader writes:

    When you ask, somewhat rhetorically, if the resistance to Romney among evangelicals has anything to do with religion, it seems fair to put the spotlight on those of the Mormon faith as well. The numbers suggests that they’re simply voting based on religion and little else. Although this is certainly their right, would we be as comfortable if a demographically dominant constituency, like Catholics as a whole, put forth such a lopsided voting margin against Romney in a Romney v. Obama matchup? And if we observed such an outcome in the national election, do those of the Mormon faith have a basis for complaint? Would such an outcome be cause for concern in our democracy and our society?
    This is somewhat related to conservatives’ occasional, hushed (except for Hannity) complaints about the heavy African American margin in favor of Obama. I’m not in search of a “solution” to this, but I am becoming somewhat uncomfortable about the extent of tribalism (for lack of a better word) that is forming around this upcoming election.

    10.43 pm. I wish I could think of something to say about Romney’s pedestrian acceptance speech. One new line that might work: “We need a recovery from this so-called recovery.” The rest is pabulum that could have been said at any point since the 1980s. More tax cuts and no more debt. Yeah, right. And lies, lies, lies. Obama thinks he is “unchecked by the Constitution”? That was his predecessor, right?
    10.34 pm. From the Santorum inside, a report. Money quote:

    Santorum isn’t walking back his “snob” comment about the president. In fact, Brabender says, “Super Tuesday” voters can expect to hear a continuation of that theme. But he acknowledges that his candidate does not always pick a perfect phrase, and that Santorum will probably not overuse that line. “When everything you say is not poll tested, not from a TelePrompTer, there will be times when you probably don’t pick the best words,” he says. Still, “the message should not be lost in the process,” he says. “What we’re willing to do is have a candidate who comes across as genuine, who is willing to speak his mind. There’s an authenticity to that.”

    10.05 pm. The black percentage of the Arizona Republican vote? Zero percent.
    Among Hispanics, Romney wins but with only 35 percent of the vote – around twelve points lower than his score as a whole. Not a good sign for the general election, I’d say

  36. rikyrah says:

    February 28, 2012
    Dear Mr. Jindal: Please don’t feed the buffoons

    Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, at a Republican Governors Association news conference this week:
    President Obama is clearly the most liberal president we’ve had. You’d literally have to go back to Jimmy Carter’s years in the White House, back in the 1970s, to match the liberal ideology, to match the incompetence.

    This is, as they say, a free country, so everyone has a right to interpret “incompetence” as they see it. But contemplate the egregious history in Mr. Jindal’s comments. Obama “is clearly the most liberal president we’ve had” — which knocks the founders of the New Deal and Great Society down one ideological peg, at least; then to confuse matters, Jindal asserts that Obama is equal in liberalism to conservative Democratic president Jimmy Carter.

    Which is it?

    Is Jindal actually unaware of what the 1980 Kennedy-Carter primary battle was all about? — as Jules Witcover put it in his history of the Democratic Party, that “New Dealers … abhorred Carter’s lack of passion for the old party commitment to government as an engine of aggressive and imaginative change”? Or does Jindal merely believe that since his base mindlessly believes that Carter was a flaming liberal, by virtue of his party label alone, then why tamper with their atrocious history?

    The most peculiar aspect of Jindal’s revisionism, settled among the vastness of GOP revisionism, is that it accomplishes only two things: 1) a few buffoons in the GOP base let loose a Hurrah! and 2) it becomes yet another laughingstock item to everyone else.

    Why do they do this to themselves? There ain’t no future in it.

  37. rikyrah says:

    February 28, 2012

    Wrong again

    From the Washington Post:

    The former Massachusetts governor said he was “not enough of a pundit” to evaluate how his comments [about Cadillacs and NASCAR owners] are received by voters struggling through the economic recession.

    It’s not a question of punditry, Mr. Romney. It’s a question of your humanity.

  38. rikyrah says:

    Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 05:02 AM PST.

    Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Voters don’t think Santorum can win

    by DemFromCT


    Mitt Romney’s narrow win in Michigan is unlikely to ease lingering doubts about his candidacy or head off the possibility of a long and divisive presidential nominating fight that is damaging Republican chances in November’s general election.

    The close result in Michigan at least temporarily returned Romney to his frontrunner status and averted an outbreak of panic among Republicans worried that staunch social conservative Rick Santorum could doom the party in the November election.

    Rick Santorum scares Republicans. That is a political fact, established by primary voters and reinforced by the pundits. Understand that before writing comments about how scary you think Santorum is. Hey, it’s one of the few things that unites conservatives and progressives. Another, of course, is that Romney sucks as a candidate.

  39. rikyrah says:

    Nothing good comes out of the Mackinac Center

    by Kay

    I got an email from a reader on an organizing effort he’s involved in at the University of Michigan. I read through all the information he provided.

    I’m pressed for time this morning, and it looks like this is going forward today, so what follows is his story, edited by me:

    Currently, Graduate Student Research Assistants aren’t unionized (they generally work in the hard sciences in labs). They were a part of the bargaining unit but were kicked out in 1980 by an administrative ruling from the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) that said that they weren’t employees.

    In April 2011, after a four-month card-collection drive, more than 1,200 GSRAs – 55 percent of the roughly 2,200 RAs employed at UM – signed cards and petitioned MERC to demand a union election. We had a roughly 75 percent sign up rate of the RAs were could actually find.

    Initially UM administrators, ferociously opposed the effort, but were overruled by the elected Board of Regents in May 2011.

    Despite the Regents’ vote, many faculty members and administrators continued to openly oppose the GSRA union drive, claiming that it would somehow disrupt the sacred magical “mentor-mentee” relationship between advisor and advisee. Oddly, for scientists and scholars, logic seemed in short supply For an example, see this fine example from an associate Dean in the College of Engineering.

    Notice how he doesn’t cite any empirical evidence for his claims.

    And for a response see here.

    For Henry Farrell’s marvelous takedown of the academic arguments against unionization see here.

    Meanwhile, In August 2011, as these issues were heating up, and MERC began reviewing its 1981 ruling, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy – our state JV associate of the American Legislative Exchange Council— jumped in to “represent” a GSRA who didn’t want a union and started screaming about “forced unionization” and attempting to interfere in the MERC hearing process.

    Then, our lovely right-wing attorney general took a break from his crusade against recreational pot users to jump into the party and spend taxpayer dollars trying to stop a union election.

    MERC threw out both the AG and the Mackinac Center’s complaints (as did other courts), opened a formal review of its 1981 ruling and ordered an non-partisan administrative law judge to conduct a fact-finding hearing, which took place this month.

    Now here’s where it gets really interesting. About a week and a half ago, the administrative hearing was concluding and less than a month before MERC would issue its ruling on whether or not GSRAs were employees in addition to being students, and therefore having rights to form a union under PERA. Suddenly the leader of the Michigan State Senate, Randy Richardville, introduces a bill (0971) that would redefine PERA to explicitly state that GSRAs are not employees. He claims that he met with a few GSRAs who didn’t want to be unionized, and was moved by their plight. Of course, he never met with any of the 1,200 GSRAs who signed cards supporting a union and who want a fair election.

    Anyhow, the bill flew through committee and passed out of the State Senate in two days, which is the quickest it has moved on anything in living memory.

    The bill is now before the House and slated for hearings on this Wednesday, March 1. No doubt it will be expedited.

    We are pressing as hard as we can to stop this bill, though we don’t have much hope. We’re just trying to make the GOP do this in broad daylight instead of quietly. (Have I mentioned this week is UM’s Spring Break?)

    Here’s a partial list of GOP reps in vulnerable districts we’re targeting, plus the speaker. We need 12 total to flip, which is a tall order.

    Mark Ouimet® District 52 (517) 373-0828
    Rick Olsen® District 55 (888) 345-2849
    Pat Somerville® District 23 (517) 373-0855
    Nancy Jenkins® District 55 (855) 292-0002
    Kevin Cotter® District 99 (517) 373-1789
    Jase Bolger® District 63 (Speaker) (517) 373-1787

    We’re also trying to put pressure on Gov. Snyder.

    Just to be clear – we all respect the rights of RAs who don’t want a union to vote “no” in a fair election. We also recognize that the university administration would have legitimate interests to protect at the bargaining table. But it’s undemocratic, unfair and underhanded to express these concerns by short circuiting an established administrative process and taking away choice on whether or not to form a union.

    This is the union site, where there’s a good run-down of the whole saga. If you’re in Michigan and sympathetic to our reader’s cause, help him out and make some phone calls.

  40. rikyrah says:

    Romney survives, but race continues

    By Steve Benen

    Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:00 AM EST.

    Associated Press

    At a certain level, it’s hard to see how Tuesday could have gone much better for Mitt Romney. After a few very rough weeks and surprising setbacks, the former governor cruised to an easy win in Arizona’s primary, and hung on to win in Michigan, preventing panic and chaos within the Republican Party ranks.

    And yet, as the dust settles, Romney and his supporters appear more relieved than satisfied. There’s a good reason for that.

    It’s easy to forget, but as recently as three months ago, Romney led Rick Santorum in Michigan by 32 points. As recently as one month ago, a statewide poll in Michigan showed Santorum running fourth, barely reaching double digits. In the ensuing weeks, Santorum condemned prenatal care, denounced higher education, said JFK’s commitment to religious liberty makes him want to vomit, and saw reports surface that he argued Satan had pushed mainline Protestantism out of the realm of Christianity.

    What’s more, Romney outspent Santorum in Michigan — a state where Romney was born and where his father was governor — by nearly a two-to-one margin.

    And Romney still only beat Santorum by three points. The sports cliche “a win is a win” is being bandied about, but so is the phrase “winning ugly.” Only Mitt Romney can win two major contests and reclaim the momentum in the race, and somehow look worse anyway.

    That said, at this point, Romney can at least credibly claim his campaign has regained its footing and has survived a tumultuous stretch. Indeed, there’s renewed talk this morning about Romney regaining the “frontrunner” status that was in question after Santorum’s wins in Colorado and Minnesota.

    But I think those predicting a longer slog are on safer ground. Romney is no longer flailing, but the process has done considerable damage to his standing — among Republicans and the general electoral alike — and the road ahead is hardly without hurdles.

    The state of Washington will hold its caucuses on Saturday, and Santorum is expected to do quite well. Super Tuesday is early next week, and while Romney had hoped to have the GOP nomination wrapped up by this point, in Tuesday’s four biggest contests — Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee, and Oklahoma — Romney isn’t favored to win any of them.

    The race, in other words, is unlikely to end anytime soon, much to the consternation of the Republican establishment.

  41. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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