Thursday Open Thread

Kelly Price (born April 4, 1973) is an American R&B and soul singer, formerly on the Def Soul label.

Kelly Cherelle Price was born in Queens, New York. She began singing in church as a toddler. Her first professional engagement was with George Michael at Madison Square Garden in January 1992. As destiny would have it Price was over heard singing by Mariah Carey who after arriving to her own rehearsal late for the Grammys walked into a room where Price was singing in the rehearsal hall while everyone else was on a meal break. Carey subsequently introduced Price to Sony Columbia’s then CEO Tommy Mottola.[1] She made a name for herself as a backing and guest vocalist, appearing on a number of hit singles such as Mariah Carey‘s “Fantasy“, The Notorious B.I.G.‘s “Mo Money Mo Problems“, and Whitney Houston‘s “Heartbreak Hotel“. She has also sung background vocals for Faith Evans, Aretha Franklin, Brian McKnight, SWV and R. Kelly.

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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83 Responses to Thursday Open Thread

  1. The Raw Story ‏ @RawStory:

    Sandra Fluke on Rush Limbaugh: I was stunned, then outraged

  2. Ametia says:

    Scooby Doo says: ROO ROO!

    Report: Bomb Squad Responding To Rush Limbaugh’s House

    PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad is en route to Rush Limbaugh’s Palm Beach home to assist the Palm Beach Police Department, WPBF 25 News has learned.

    The nature of the emergency at 1495 N. Ocean Blvd. is not known at this time.
    This information just came in to the WPBF newsroom moments ago.
    WPBF’s Ari Hait is en route to the scene.

    Read more:

  3. Our Dependence on Foreign Oil Is Declining

    America’s dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year since President Obama took office. In 2010, we imported less than 50 percent of the oil our nation consumed—the first time that’s happened in 13 years—and the trend continued in 2011.

    We’re relying less on imported oil for a number of reasons, not least that production is up here in the United States. In fact, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years. As part of his strategy to increase safe, responsible oil production in the United States, President Obama has opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration and we now have more working oil and gas rigs than the rest of the world—combined.

    Despite all this, Americans are still paying more at the pump when we fill up. That’s because drilling for more oil here at home won’t affect the price of gas on its own. Oil is bought and sold on a world market. In the short term, it’s subject to price spikes when there’s instability or uncertainty along the global supply chain. And growing demand in countries like India, Brazil, and China, which tripled the number of cars on the road in the last five years, will drive prices even higher over the long term.

    So we have to do more than drill now to bring down prices for the future. Relying on the fossil fuels of the last century won’t be enough, especially as demand keeps increasing. We need an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy. This includes everything from tapping our offshore oil supplies and vast natural gas reserves, to doubling down on clean energy resources like wind and solar power, and developing new technologies that help us use less energy altogether.

    This is the strategy President Obama has been pursuing since he took office, but there’s still more to be done. We need to put in place the right incentives to encourage a clean energy future, and repeal the $4 billion in annual taxpayer subsidies paid to oil and gas companies. Today in New Hampshire, the President will reiterate his call on Congress to do just that.

  4. Ametia says:

    Thanks for the TWEETS, SG2! You TOTALLY ROCK!

  5. Ametia says:

    Md. Gov. O’Malley signs same-sex marriage bill

    Gov. Martin O’Malley has signed Maryland’s same-sex marriage bill. The state joins seven others and the District of Columbia in allowing same-sex marriages.

    Read more at:

  6. Appeals court will review conduct of federal judge who sent racist Obama email

  7. Ametia says:

    Does this man have kids, grandkids? They need to come and get this man, pack up hhis dentures and haul his AZZ off to a nursing home with MEDS.

    March 1, 2012 4:35 PM
    Sheriff Joe Arpaio suggests Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery

    Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, announced Thursday that his six-month investigation had found that “probable cause exists indicating that forgery and fraud may have been committed” in the release of President Obama’s long-form birth certificate.

    The publicity-hungry Arpaio, a strong opponent of illegal immigration who calls himself “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” said the evidence gathered by his investigators suggests Mr. Obama’s birth ertificate and selective service registration card are fakes.

    “Based on all of the evidence, I cannot in good faith report to you these documents are authentic,” Arpaio said at a press conference in Phoenix, adding that his “investigators believe that the long form birth certificate was manufactured electronically and that it did not originate in the paper format as presented by the White House.”

    The 79-year-old Arpaio, who has been accused by the Justice Department of racial profiling and who is being probed by a federal grand jury over potential abuse of power, said he told his investigators to examine the president’s documents with “no preconceived notions,” adding that he “felt that this investigation could clear President Obama’s name and put people’s minds at ease.”

  8. Ametia says:

    BWA HA HA Santorum didn’t wear his big boy undies for this interview!

  9. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 09:01 AM ET, 03/01/2012
    The Morning Plum: Is Romney a moderate or an extremist?
    By Greg Sargent

    It is as predictable as the tides: If Mitt Romney wins the GOP nomination, there will be a roar of commentary to the effect that, oh, Romney didn’t really mean all the extreme things he said during the primary; he’s really a moderate at heart who just had to play to the base on TV for a few months. And that dynamic will be hastened when Romney (which he inevitably will do) moderates his tune on social issues, the main yardstick many reporters and pundits use to judge a politician’s ideology.

    But E.J. Dionne argues in a must-read this morning that if you look at the economic policies Romney is embracing, and the economic worldview underlying them, he’s actually a radical and an extremist. His massive tax cuts for the rich would radically redistribute wealth upwards while slicing away at the safety net; combine those policy priorities with his revealing “gaffes” about his own privilege, and what you’re left with are “deeply held and radical views about how wealth and power ought to be distributed in the United States.”

    One of the most frustrating conventions of our political coverage is that “moderation” is ascribed to politicians not just because of their views on social issues, but because of something more arbitrary: Their tone. In this usage, a “moderate” Republican is basically someone who doesn’t sound as crazy as Michele Bachmann or — to pick someone who’s a bit more relevant right now — Rick Santorum.

    Romney will inevitably benefit from the relentless focus on tone and social issues as the key markers of ideology once the pivot to the general election begins. Making this more perverse, Romney will enjoy the media designation as “moderate” even as he continues to embrace his economic worldview — which Dionne aptly describes as “extremism for the privileged” — and doesn’t moderate it in the least.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Getting to know Mitt Romney, whether he likes it or not
    by Kay

    I went to a Meet The Candidates event near here night before last:

    Angela Zimmann was there. She’s running against Bob Latta for the US House.

    John Vanover was there, I’ve mentioned him frequently here before, he’s the brave person who stepped up to run against an entrenched, well-funded culture warrior Republican for a seat in the Ohio legislature. He doesn’t have an online donations page set up yet, but we’re working on it.

    The event was mostly Q and A, and it was a good discussion. The attendees asked about Kasich’s plans to sell the turnpike, Lake Erie environmental protections, and school funding. No one asked about birth control, or whether or not President Obama is “really” a Christian, and the college student who was barred from testifying in the GOP House on contraception wasn’t even mentioned, let alone demeaned and insulted.

    Yesterday, Angela and some others held a press conference in Toledo to go after Romney on the auto industry rescue that he opposed. It’s a nice hook for Angela, because her opponent Bob Latta opposed the rescue too:

    Today, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern, State Representative Michael Ashford, 5th District Congressional candidate Angela Zimmann and Lucas County Democratic Party Chairman Ron Rothenbuhler stood in front of a podium sign reading, “Romney: Let Jeep Die” and held a press conference in Toledo to highlight Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s out-of-touch record when it comes to manufacturing and the auto industry. The event followed Mitt Romney’s appearance at American Posts LLC in Toledo.

    The Ohio Democrats opened the event by pointing to comments made by Romney earlier in the day in which he said, “I gotta push a button. That’ll be my heavy-lift in terms of manufacturing.”

    State Representative Mike Ashford of Toledo talked about the autoworkers he represents and the autoworkers across America. “Since President Obama stood up for the auto industry, more than 1.4 million jobs have been saved, 200,000 created and more than 150,000 expected in the next few years. And Chrysler will soon invest $500 million in the Jeep plant, right here in my district.”

    Ashford invited Mitt Romney to visit the Jeep plant and meet his constituents to hear how the auto industry has been helped through the rescue efforts that he opposed. 5th District Congressional Candidate Angela Zimmann slammed her Republican opponent, Congressman Bob Latta, for voting against the auto rescue.

    “This region of Ohio runs on cars,” Zimmann said. “The auto industry runs in our blood. But if Bob Latta had his way, our auto industry would not exist as it does today. It’s a real slap in the face that he thinks we won’t remember how he voted against our autoworkers.”

    The truth is, all Republicans opposed the auto rescue because the lock-step conventional wisdom of the people who manufacture nothing more tangible and real than opinion pieces was that the auto industry rescue would fail. They bet against that industry recovering. They all did. The auto industry collapse was real, and the rescue is real. Millions of jobs and a whole region of the US were hanging in the balance. Republicans don’t want to talk about it, and they may be able to dodge talking about it on the national stage, but they aren’t going to be able to escape it here:

    Mr. Romney didn’t mention his opposition to the federal government’s bailout of the auto industry, an issue that plagued him in Michigan, where he defeated former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum on Tuesday. But if Mr. Romney hoped to put the issue behind him after the primary race in Michigan, he’s likely to be disappointed—especially in northwest Ohio, where the local economy is tightly tied to Detroit’s. The North Toledo company Mr. Romney wanted to highlight as a beneficiary of his policies is a prime example. Universal Metals would be much different today without the bailout of the auto industry.

    Romney visited NW Ohio to “tout his business credentials”, but here’s what Mitt Romney’s business credentials led him to believe about the auto rescue:

    If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.

    Millions of people were watching and waiting to see whether they would be employed the following week, whether their pensions were going to disappear, and Mitt Romney took to the editorial pages to tell them their economic demise was “virtually guaranteed”. Why did he do that? Because he was absolutely confident doing so would benefit Mitt Romney politically, in 2012.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Blunt Amendment Blocked
    by John Cole

    Some rare good news in the Senate:

    Sen. Olympia Snowe, the Maine Republican who this week said she would not run for reelection, joined nearly all Democrats in a 51-48 vote to dispense of the amendment, which would have allowed employers to decline to cover certain health benefits that conflict with their religious beliefs.

    Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) voted for the proposed amendment to the Senate transportation bill, saying the Obama administration did not respond to her concerns about whether self-insured health plans of faith-based organizations would be exempt from the contraception coverage mandate. So did Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who this week questioned why Republicans were voting on the proposal now.

    Democratic Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania joined Republicans in support of the amendment.

    Afterwards, Blunt said the vote went “just as he expected it to go.”

    “I’m pleased it was bipartisan; I’m pleased that three Democrats were supportive. It’s a matter of conscience, people have to do what they have to do on something like this,” he said.

    “I’m confident this issue is not over and won’t be over until the administration figures out how to accommodate people’s religious views as it relates to these new mandates,” Blunt said.

    I honestly don’t know what the Manchin team is thinking. I have no idea what polls they must be reading, or what strategy they think they are following. This was a radical, radical amendment, and I have no idea why Manchin would support this.

  12. Ametia says:

    Digging Deeper: Race, Sex, and the Obamas
    By Walter Rhett, on February 29th, 2012

    You never heard of the O. J. Simpson syndrome? Maybe the literary tradition of the tragic mulatto is familiar? Have you seen the late night or Black History Month reruns of the movie classic, Imitation of Life? Or perhaps you have read Richard Wright’s powerful novel, Native Son?

    What all of these ideas, experiences, and creative works have in common is race and sex. They mark the attitudes and norms of different points and plateaus in our national dialogue about the meaning and acceptability, and the failures, when race and sex share a common social ground.

    Up until fifty years ago, the thinking and tragedies of race and sex all ran in one direction. Culturally it was assumed the mix of race and sex resulted in toxic failures and always involved white males with black females. From slavery, this tradition produced what was called “the yard child,” a child who lived among the enslaved who had been parented by a white slaveholder. This tradition enters Presidential politics with Thomas Jefferson, and was later vigorously denied by both the historians and descendants of Jefferson, who concocted all sorts of alternatives to Jefferson parenting children by Sally Hemmings (the DNA virtually proves he did), she herself the daughter born of a relationship between holder and slave.

    Read on

  13. rikyrah says:

    One More Terrifying Thing Parents Haven’t Thought Of

    I knew I was supposed to have “the talk” about safe sex. And about drugs, and smoking, and stranger-danger, and texting while driving, and not eating unwrapped candy at Halloween. When they were younger I taught them to look both ways before crossing the street, and to never get in the car with someone they don’t know; as they got older I warned them not to text pictures of themselves naked, or get in the car with someone who was drunk.

    I didn’t know I had to warn them about helium.

    Neither did Ashley Long’s parents. The 14-year-old Oregon girl told her Mom and Dad she’d be at a slumber party ten days ago, but she went to a different kind of party instead — one at the condo of a 27-year-old, where there was alcohol and marijuana and a tank filled with helium. Ashley breathed in the gas, because it’s funny to hear your voice get high and squeaky.

    Instead, she died.

    Now her parents are trying to warn other parents, so they can warn their children. Helium, while inert, yes, is not benign. True, most people don’t die from a hit or two. And sure, it has been a fun parlor game for years, sucking on helium balloons. But in sufficient concentration — directly from a tank for instance — the helium crowds out the oxygen and can cause suffocation, which is why it is used in so-called “suicide machines”. Mixing with alcohol or drugs doesn’t help, either.

    One more warning on the list.

    Sometimes parenting feels like a race to discover what you should be afraid of before it shows up and grabs your child. It feels as if there is always something new, but really it is all part of the same thing — that your teen will do something stupid, and you will not have warned them. At all. Or enough.

    • Ametia says:


  14. President Obama speaking live now on American energy:

  15. Matt Myftiu ‏ @MattMyftiu:

    FYI: When Ted Kennedy died, Andrew Breitbart tweeted “Rest in Chappaquiddick.” … #breitbart

  16. Ametia says:

    By LAURIE KELLMAN, Thursday, March 1, 11:10 AM

    WASHINGTON — The Senate has defeated a Republican effort to roll back President Barack Obama’s policy on contraception insurance coverage.

    The measure sponsored by Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican, was defeated 51-48. The measure, an amendment to a pending transportation bill, would have allowed employers and insurers to opt out of portions of the president’s health care law they found morally objectionable. That would have included the law’s requirement that insurers cover the costs of birth control.

    Republicans said it was a matter of freedom of religion; Democrats said it was an assault on women’s rights and could be used to cancel virtually any part of the law.

    • Ametia says:

      Casey Breaks With Party On Contraceptive Vote
      By Sean Sullivan
      March 1, 2012 | 1:00 PM

      Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., voted against his party’s leadership on Thursday, siding with Republicans on an amendment to allow employers to opt out of coverage of medical services, including contraceptive services, that cut against their moral beliefs.

      The motion to table the amendment passed by a bare 51-48 majority, with three Democrats defecting to vote against it and one Republican joining Democrats to vote in favor of shelving it.

      Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., introduced the amendment, which has received increased attention following a national debate over mandating contraceptive coverage roiled the political landscape last month. But Casey, a Catholic Democrat, has been put in a tougher position over the issue than any member of his caucus. He faces reelection in a swing state where 32 percent of voters are Catholic, according to 2008 exit polling. After President Obama amended his position on mandating that certain religious institutions provide contraceptive coverage, many Democrats heaped praise on the president, but Casey remained squarely on the fence.

      “I appreciate the Administration’s attempt to find a solution to protect religious liberty. I also appreciate those who have proposed other remedies. I will review the details of today’s announcement to determine whether it strikes the right balance,” he said on Feb. 10. Thursday’s vote moves him further away from the White House and Democrats.

      With his vote, Casey is making a politically necessary calculation in a difficult position. He’s known as a Democrat who generally opposes abortion rights; it’s given him strong appeal in the culturally-conservative parts of the Keystone State. But he’s splitting with his party on legislation that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee deemed “radical” and “anti-woman.” If Republicans nominated a centrist candidate like businessman Steve Welch, it could hurt Casey’s appeal in the fiscally-conservative, socially-centrist Philadelphia suburbs.

  17. BREAKINGNEWS: Senate defeats GOP effort to roll back Obama policy on contraception insurance coverage.

  18. Ametia says:

    Barack Obama is not more conservative than Bill Clinton. Sorry. #maddow KAROLI
    Maddow showed a graph last night on her show depicting PBO as being MORE conservative than Kennedy, Carter and Clinton…REALLY?

  19. rikyrah says:

    The Sickness On The Right

    This email, forwarded by a District Judge, tells you all you need to know:

    “Normally I don’t send or forward a lot of these, but even by my standards, it was a bit touching. I want all of my friends to feel what I felt when I read this. Hope it touches your heart like it did mine.

    “A little boy said to his mother; ‘Mommy, how come I’m black and you’re white?'” the email joke reads. “His mother replied, ‘Don’t even go there Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you’re lucky you don’t bark!'”

    What strikes me is not the hideous joke – but the sarcastic premise that it “touched his heart”. Try to get your head around that for a minute. The suggestion that the president was conceived in a mass gang-bang of a white woman that included animals “touched his heart.” He pretended to find it moving and poignant.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Federal judge struggles with allegations of racism

    By Steve Benen

    Thu Mar 1, 2012 9:22 AM EST.

    U.S. District Chief Judge Richard Cebull admitted yesterday to sending a racist email about President Obama from his courthouse chambers. His apology left much to be desired.

    The subject line of the e-mail, which Cebull sent from his official courthouse e-mail address on Feb. 20 at 3:42 p.m., reads: “A MOM’S MEMORY.”

    The forwarded text reads as follow:

    “Normally I don’t send or forward a lot of these, but even by my standards, it was a bit touching. I want all of my friends to feel what I felt when I read this. Hope it touches your heart like it did mine.

    “A little boy said to his mother; ‘Mommy, how come I’m black and you’re white?’ ” the e-mail joke reads. “His mother replied, ‘Don’t even go there Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you’re lucky you don’t bark!’ ”

    Cebull, an 11-year veteran of the federal bench, was a George W. Bush nominee. He’s served as Montana’s chief federal judge for nearly five years.

    After his email worked its way to a reporter at the Great Falls Tribune, Cebull was asked for an explanation. The judge admitted having sent it, acknowledged the message’s inherent racism, but denied being a bigot. Cebull said, “I apologize to anybody who is offended by it.”

    That’s not an uncommon line, but it’s also not a real apology. Genuine regret in a situation like this means apologizing for sending racist garbage, not apologizing to those who happen to be offended by racist garbage.

    Cebull added the email was intended to be a private communication and “was not intended by me in any way to become public.” This, too, is unhelpful. The judge is effectively arguing, “Sure, I sent along an ugly, racist message, but don’t worry, you weren’t supposed to know about it.”

    Cebull insists he’s not a racist, and only sent the message because of his hostility towards the president.

  21. Ametia says:

    I LOVE my Senator.

  22. Ametia says:


    • Ametia says:

      On Monday April 9, 2012, the First Family will host the 134th annual White House Easter Egg Roll. This year’s theme is “Let’s Go, Let’s Play, Let’s Move” and more than 35,000 people will be joining the First Family on the South Lawn for games, stories, singing, dancing and, of course, the traditional egg roll on the Lawn.

      Once again, tickets will be distributed through an online lottery system, allowing guests from across the United States to participate in a tradition that dates back to 1878. Starting on March 1 at 10 am EST, you can click here to enter the lottery and win a chance to join the fun (the lottery closes at 10 am EST on March 5, 2012). The event is open to children aged 13 years and younger and their families.

      In addition to all the fun and games, the day’s activities — which will include sports courts and cooking demonstrations — will help educate families on smart ways to incorporate healthy eating and exercise choices into their daily routines, which are key pillars of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative.

      Families and schools who can’t make the trip to Washington, DC but want to participate in the festivities can enter the annual poster contest.

    • Ametia says:

      Can BO be any cuter with the bunny ears?

  23. Santorum on Breitbart death: “What a huge loss”

  24. Ametia says:

    Obama fundraisers hit century mark
    Mar 1, 7:39AM by Mark Knoller Topics Campaign 2012

    NASHUA, New Hampshire — By day’s end, President Obama will hit 100 on the campaign fundraising scoreboard.

    He reaches the century mark by doing four money-raising events for his re-election campaign during a seven-hour swing through New York City. The visit follows a speech this afternoon here in Nashua, New Hampshire on the energy components of his strategy to boost the economy and create jobs.

    It has taken Mr. Obama less than a year to do a hundred re-election fund-raisers since he officially filed his candidacy for a second term with the Federal Election Commission on April 4, 2011.

  25. Andrew Breitbart Dies at Age 43

    9:30 a.m. EST: Good Morning America producer Katie Bosland tweets that Breitbart’s death has been confirmed: “LA Coroner’s Office has confirmed to @ABC that Andrew Breitbart passed away last night at UCLA Medical Center.”

  26. rikyrah says:

    James Murdoch Resigns, But Phone-Hacking Crisis Shows Little Sign of Abating
    by Mike GiglioFeb 29, 2012 4:35 PM EST

    The news of the younger Murdoch’s departure from News International has prompted speculation over succession plans within the Murdoch empire.

    Ever since the phone-hacking scandal forced Rupert Murdoch to shutter his News of the World tabloid last summer, there had been a general consensus among London’s media observers: James Murdoch, Rupert’s youngest son and heir apparent, wouldn’t last long at the helm of News International, the U.K. arm of the family’s News Corp. media empire. But few expected he would go so soon. It was announced today that James had stepped down as News International’s executive chairman, leaving behind a tempest of succession rumors and speculation over how deeply the phone-hacking crisis has affected the Murdoch family and their prized U.K. newspaper chain.

    According to News Corp. the resignation is part of a longstanding plan to move James to the company’s New York headquarters and have him focus on pay-television business and international operations. “We are all grateful for James’s leadership at News International,” Rupert Murdoch said in a statement announcing the move. James was named News Corp.’s deputy chief operating officer last year.

    Analysts say today’s move suggests deep changes in the elder Murdoch’s succession plan, as well as increasing concern over News International’s mounting public-relations problems. The Leveson inquiry—which convened in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal to investigate press ethics—has been unearthing damning testimony about what Scotland Yard’s lead investigator called a “culture” of wrongdoing among Murdoch journalists, and police have recently arrested several top reporters and editors at News of the World’s sister paper, The Sun, as part of an investigation into illegal payments to public officials. These tremors, as well as nascent staff unrest at The Sun, seem have put Rupert Murdoch on the defensive: he flew to London to reassure his employees and to announce the rushed launch of a Sunday version of the paper, in what seemed like a bid to display his strength. Some experts suspect that James’s resignation reflects these recent woes—while others say the younger Murdoch’s move could also suggest that more damning information could be about to surface.

    Says a Westminster source who has been following phone hacking closely for years: “Maybe they know there’s worse stuff to come.”

    Of late, the crisis gripping Murdoch’s tabloids has shown no sign of abating.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s Most Dangerous GOP Opponent: Netanyahu, Ctd

    Some new details on the Israeli prime minister’s recruitment of US senators to push back against their own president and chairman of the JCOS

    Netanyahu and his advisers briefed a group of senators and senior congressmen during the past two weeks on the Iranian issue, and asked them to pressure Obama on the matter. Last week, Netanyahu met a group of five senior senators over lunch, headed by Sen. John McCain, who ran four years ago against Obama for president. Netanyahu reportedly told the senators he was not interfering in U.S. politics and expected U.S. officials not to interfere in Israeli politics either.

    So Netanyahu gets McCain – the president’s last electoral opponent – to make the following public statement:

    There should be no daylight between America and Israel in our assessment of the [Iranian] threat. Unfortunately there clearly is some.”

    And the “unfortunately” is clearly, in McCain’s view, Obama’s fault.

    What to make of all this? I’d say, as I did earlier today, it’s a further escalation of Netanyahu’s attempt to use US domestic politics to back a war on Iran. First we get McCain et al on Israeli soil backing the Israeli prime minister against the US president and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Then we get the report that Israel is preparing to strike alone. Now we hear via Haaretz that Netanyahu is demanding that Obama threaten a US military strike if Iran does not back down on its secluded nuclear research, rather than repeat the “all options are on the table” diplo-speak. Could this confusing set of signals have something to do with this:

    A new poll of Israeli public opinion found surprisingly low levels of support for a military strike against Iran — and especially if Israel has to go it alone. Just 19 percent of Israelis believe that Israel should strike Iran’s nuclear facilities if it must do so without American support. A significantly higher number — 42 percent — support a military strike if Israel has American support. Thirty-four percent do not support a military strike at all.

    So Israelis are deeply conflicted on this – something you won’t find reported every day on the op-ed page of the Washington Post. That’s why Netanyahu desperately needs US cover for an attack; and is furious he cannot simply push them around as he was once wont to do. Nonetheless, he has a united Republican front in Romney, Santorum and Gingrich, funded by Greater Israel fanatics like Sheldon Adelson, and in desperate need of a way to ignite the Christianist base. He will have a chunk of Democrats as well – and next week’s AIPAC conference to beat the drums for war. He also has the potential to send oil to $7 a gallon by election day – and tip Europe and the world into both a new terror crisis and a deeper, longer recession. All of this is leverage to get Obama to do something of enormous risk to the Middle East, the West and the wider world, and launch a war that America, rather than Israel, would have to own.

    That’s the card Netanyahu will come to Washington to play against the president next week. It’s not a weak one. But it’s a brittle one, given Israeli public opinion, the huge potential costs and minimal security benefits.

    One can only hope Obama has the cool to respond: “Remember Suez, prime minister. Remember Suez.”

  28. rikyrah says:

    Michigan and the Great Humbling of Romneybot 2.0

    By Charles P. Pierce

    at 8:25AM

    Well, it appears that, when it comes to staving off cataclysmically embarrassing public collapses, Willard Romney’s our boy. He managed to stave off Rick Santorum in Michigan last night by just enough that, together with Romney’s big win in Arizona, where he was supported by John McCain, Jan Brewer, and other less famous mummies, people aren’t going spend all their time over the next week talking about what a complete stiff he is. Granted, the jury is still very much out on that one. After Rick Santorum gave a heartfelt, weepy performance of almost transcendental mendacity, complete with props, Romney came out and appeared to be attempting to sell his audience some handy home-cleaning products. He even plugged his website and begged for some small-money donations. The guy makes the average Amway salesman sound like Demosthenes.

    (Can we pause right here and speculate that, some time in the past four years, Romney must have shot Chris Matthews’s dog? I have never seen a single politician get on a single pundit’s last nerve the way Romney apparently jumps on Matthews’s. There’s something very tribal going on here. It’s like listening to my grandparents talk about the No Irish Need Apply signs.)

    Nevertheless, it was a big night for what is laughingly referred to as the “Republican establishment.” This is just enough traction to keep the Romneybot 2.0 rolling through Super Tuesday, even though he’s going to get crisped in the South as N. Leroy Gingrich rolls back the stone one more time, and even though he could lose Ohio (and Tennessee) to Santorum’s suitcoat full of miracles. (“Is that Marcellus shale in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?”) It’s still easy to picture how Romney can blow this thing. His campaign really does seem to be wheezing a bit; having counted on an early blowout, it seems in its own way to be as ill-suited to the long haul as Santorum’s is. After last night, however, it’s awfully hard to see how any of these other guys can win it now. And, if they did nothing else, last night’s results probably buried forever any scenario that depended on the late entry of a white knight, or, dammit, the possibility of a brokered convention in Tampa, where the nomination could get parceled out over lap dances at Mons Venus.

    What also is obvious is the fact that Rick Santorum blew his main chance over the past couple of weeks, primarily by being a colossal dick, and have I mentioned recently what a colossal dick he is? He couldn’t resist a chance to let his freak flag fly on the proper use of other people’s ladyparts and on his peculiar vision of what the separation of church and state actually means. He picked a fight with John F. Kennedy on the latter issue, which may be the most singularly stupid thing I’ve seen a candidate do in 50 years. And last night, after spending a month channelling Pius XII, according to the exit polls, he lost decisively among Catholic voters to a Mormon bishop. This proves three: one, that there is no such thing as a “Catholic vote”; two, that the Catholic laity remains completely convinced that contraception is their own damn business and that the clan of the red beanie should butt out of it; and three, that picking on the sainted Jack Kennedy (God be good to him) is generally considered far more mortal a sin than using the Pill is. Santorum could have avoided all of these unforced errors, but that would require that he not be a colossal dick, and you might as well expect to see Willard Romney on stage with Parliament-Funkadelic.

    And it sounded last night like Santorum knew it, too. Why else would he spend the whole first third of his speech talking about all the empowered working women — mom, wife, daughter — who have surrounded him in his life? Oh, he moved on to some serious lying about the president, particularly on the issue of health care, and I think his waving around that hunk of rock is going to be immortal in the annals of campaign video. But mainly, you saw a guy who’d been humbled, and who knew exactly why he’d been humbled. You also saw a guy who knew he’d let his last best chance go a’glimmering.

    There’s bound to be a great settling beginning right about now. Romney’s gotten about as much out of his relentless pandering as he’s likely to get — He talked last night about both “the Death Tax” and “a Democrat Congress.” His wingnut jargon coach deserves a raise — and so we are likely to hear more of what we heard last night, which was some preposterous jaw-flapping about how honest and steadfast he always has been in his principles. This is what will constitute “a move to the center.” Romney can’t shift any of his actual positions to the center without looking even more ridiculous than he has over the last year. So he will shift his rhetoric in that general direction in the hopes that, by November, enough people will have forgotten what a complete political ‘ho he’s been since 2007 to give him a shot in the general election. He will survive Super Tuesday by winning in New England and out west while Santorum and Gingrich vainly carve up the delegates elsewhere. (And in Virginia, Romney’s on the ballot only with his invaluable wingman, Ron Paul, a masterpiece of abject fail on the part of both the Gingrich and Santorum campaigns that’s going to allow Romney to collect somewhere north of 40 of the state’s delegates.) What we saw last night, finally, was the end of the beginning. Nobody else has enough rocks in their pockets any more.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Ad War Update: Cranking Up The Fear

    A paranoid and sinister spot from the Romney campaign:

    The clip insinuates that Obama’s reelection campaign put large sums of money behind anti-Romney efforts. (While affiliated groups did, the Obama campaign was not involved.) It also plays up the now infamous line from an anonymous “Democratic strategist aligned with the White House” that they’d have to pursue a “kill Romney” strategy unless the economy improved. … There’s no mention of former Sen. Rick Santorum, Romney’s chief Republican rival, in the spot.

    The second [reason the ad is telling] is the overt plea for cash. In both the text below the video on the Romney campaign’s landing page and in ads that pop up while it plays, the campaign solicits donations. Having asked supporters to visit his website and help the campaign in any capacity during his victory speech last night, it’s becoming more and more evident that Romney is strapped for cash.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Romney Wins, the Middle Class Loses

    Published: February 29, 2012 \

    Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum fought each other to nearly a draw in the Michigan primary and may actually have to split its delegates, but together they may have lost Michigan for their party by running campaigns that were completely disconnected from the lives of middle-class voters and pushed ever farther to the right margins of American politics.

    A month ago, the state was rated a tossup in this November’s general election. But after voters got a taste of the Republican field, Michigan seems to be on President Obama’s side of the ledger, along with Wisconsin. Both elected Republican governors in 2010, but large numbers of blue-collar voters have turned away from the party after realizing how little regard it has for their interests.

    Mr. Romney was unable to generate any enthusiasm in the state where he was born and where his family is well known. In fact, polls around the country have suggested that Republican primary voters are not thrilled with any of their choices so far. He won largely because of Mr. Santorum’s blunders, including his inexplicable decision to denigrate the value of college and to declare his contempt for John F. Kennedy and the Constitution’s mandate for an absolute separation of church and state.

    Mr. Romney’s victory speech Tuesday night was unlikely to do much about the Republican electorate’s disappointment. Like his lightweight stump speeches around Michigan, he rattled off a long list of things he opposes: taxes (mostly on the rich), government spending (mostly on the poor), health care reform (for everyone). There was next to nothing about what he supports, with the exception of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. A blue-collar family that has suffered a job loss (or fears one) heard nothing that offered the promise of a more stable, hopeful future.

    “We will abolish, finally, the death tax,” he announced. That’s great news to those with estates of $5 million or more. It was a slap in the face to those whose unemployment insurance is about to run out because his party has insisted on getting tough with jobless government freeloaders.

    Middle-class voters did learn that Mr. Romney still opposes the auto-industry bailout that has saved the jobs of more than a million workers in Michigan and the region. (He called it a giveaway to unions, ignoring worker sacrifices that are well-known in the upper Midwest.) They learned how the 14 percent of Michigan residents who have no health insurance would be left on their own once the candidates get a chance to repeal health care reform. And they learned that Mr. Santorum is far more concerned about the menace of birth control and liberal college professors than he is about their struggles.

    If they listened to Mr. Obama’s fiery speech to the United Auto Workers on Tuesday, however, they heard a very different set of priorities: using government action to bring an entire industry back to life, raising taxes on the rich to avoid cutting programs for the poor, keeping insurance companies from cutting off the sick.

    “Since when are hard-working men and women who are putting in a hard day’s work every day — since when are they special interests?” the president asked, addressing the contempt for labor demonstrated by the candidates and several Republican governors in the Midwest. The answer explains why Mr. Obama was up by 18 points over Mr. Romney in a recent Michigan poll, and why Republican leaders are worried about their presidential field.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Obama leads Republicans on health care issues

    President Obama has a big advantage over any of his potential Republican rivals when it comes to issues involving health care and Medicare, a new poll shows.

    The survey, taken by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, shows that 58% of Americans trust Obama to make the right decisions on the 2010 health care law and on Medicare. By contrast, only 43% trust his closest Republican rivals on those issues.

    Among Republicans surveyed, Rick Santorum does the best on health care issues. He was trusted by about 70% of Republicans, compared to about 65% for Mitt Romney and 60% for Newt Gingrich.

    The survey also ranked the relative importance of health care issues among presidential election voters. Two issues topped the list: the cost of health insurance and Medicare, deemed “extremely important” by more than 1 in 3 voters. The health care law and birth control were deemed crucial by 24%, abortion by 21%.

  32. rikyrah says:

    From Strength to Strength

    Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie have it all wrong. Americans believe in President Barack Obama’s foreign policy competence — and picking a fight just makes the GOP candidates look lame.

    Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie’s recent article in Foreign Policy urges the Republican presidential aspirants to attack President Barack Obama more vigorously on his national security record. It’s a debate that the president and Democrats should welcome.

    At the outset, leave aside the source of the counsel — listening to top aides to President George W. Bush proffer advice on foreign policy is a bit like hearing Mrs. O’Leary and her cow lecture about urban planning, after they’ve burned down Chicago.

    The real problem with their advice is that it badly misreads both the president’s record and how the public assesses it. Americans may be sharply polarized on many issues, but they are relatively aligned on their confidence in Obama as commander in chief. Over 60 percent approve of the job Obama is doing handling terrorism — and this was true even before the May 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden. According to a February ABC/Washington Post survey, voters trust Obama to handle international affairs more than the Republican Party’s likely standard-bearer, Mitt Romney, by an outsized 19-point margin.

    What explains these strong ratings?

    Historically, Americans are fairly non-ideological on foreign policy. Above all, they want results, and that is what Obama has produced.

    Bin Laden is dead, along with 22 of al Qaeda’s other top 30 leaders, including Anwar al-Awlaki, who encouraged Nidal Malik Hasan, accused of killing U.S. soldiers at Fort Hood. Obama ended America’s war in Iraq, as he pledged, while waging the war in Afghanistan with far greater focus and intensity, enabling the United States to plan for a handover to Afghanistan’s own security forces.

    The president skillfully supported the democratic uprisings of the Arab Spring and helped build a NATO-led force that put an end to Muammar al-Qaddafi’s dictatorship. Squarely recognizing the danger Iran’s nuclear program poses — to the United States, Israel, and the entire Middle East — Obama has persistently worked to put in place the toughest-ever international sanctions on Iran, significantly undercutting Tehran’s economic resources and its ability to build nuclear weapons, while also being clear that he is leaving all options, including the use of force, on the table.

    Even as military spending falls with the winding down of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Obama administration is ensuring America’s military strength remains unrivaled, increasing support for veterans and their families, and using precision drones, Navy SEALs, and other special operations forces to sustain the U.S. military edge against diverse new threats around the globe.

    Reliance on foreign oil is at a 16-year low, making it harder for oil producers in the Middle East or elsewhere to hold U.S. foreign policy hostage. And America’s image abroad has bounced back from the historic lows it reached under Bush. In declaring America “the one indispensable nation in world affairs,” Obama has refuted any notion that he is a declinist or apologist for American strength and leadership.

  33. rikyrah says:

    I can’t stand Milbank, but funny is funny.


    Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech, in (mostly) his own words

    By Dana Milbank, Published: February 28

    “I have some great friends that are NASCAR team owners.”

    — Mitt Romney, Feb. 26


    “Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually.”

    — Mitt Romney, Feb. 24

    TAMPA, Aug. 30, 2012

    Fellow Republicans, as I stand here tonight to accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States, I feel like a million bucks. Actually, I feel as if I am worth between 150 and about 200 some-odd million dollars. It is difficult to say with certainty because some of it is in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Luxembourg and a Swiss bank account.

    It is particularly meaningful to accept your nomination in Florida, a state where so many of my friends own so many things. The Miami Dolphins. The Orlando Magic. The Jacksonville Jaguars. The Doral country club. In fact, I have great friends who own some of Florida’s finest hotels, resorts, yachts and most valuable tracts of real estate, from Palm Beach to Naples.

    To reach this day, I feel as if I have lived the American Dream. I grew up on the real streets of America, in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. My father, a public servant, scrimped and saved enough of his earnings as CEO of American Motors to send me to the Cranbrook prep school, France and Harvard Business School.

    From those humble beginnings, I was able to pull myself up by my bootstraps and become part of the great middle class of this country. As part of the American middle class, I have been able to buy various homes, four cars and several horses. Sure, there are government workers who make more than I do, but I am not complaining. I, like millions of Americans, have been unemployed.

    To reach this stage tonight, I have crisscrossed this great land by chartered jet, from the cul-de-sacs of Greenwich, Conn., to the hills of La Jolla, Calif. Along the way, I have felt a kinship with my fellow Americans — not just those in East Hampton and Aspen, but also those in Grosse Pointe and Kenilworth. I have met unfortunate Americans, struggling to get by on less than the $374,000 I made in speaking fees — which, I can tell you, is not very much. I’m proud to say I got to where I am today without temporary little Band-Aids such as cuts in the payroll tax.

    And though I am not concerned with the very poor, I have a good sense of the indignities working people face, because I have enjoyed firing a number of them myself. I have seen a checkout line at Wal-Mart. I have worn clothing from the Gap. I have stood with Americans forced to wear plastic ponchos at sporting events because they do not have big bucks. I know that terrible feeling of struggling to find a Lincoln in my wallet because it was hidden behind a Franklin.

    On my path to the nomination, I survived many false and misleading attacks. My opponents accused me of quadrupling the size of my $12 million home in California, but this was a lie. I was only doubling the square footage, if you don’t count the basement and garage. There was also that woman in New Hampshire who asked me to give up some of my four houses. But I only have three — and that’s counting the little place with the guest house and boathouse on Lake Winnipesaukee.

    I am accepting your nomination tonight on behalf of the millions of Americans who fear they will get the pink slip — a fear I have felt as well. I may not have struggled to make a mortgage payment, but my great friends the Marriotts run many lodging facilities. I know what it’s like to be an office worker because my colleagues and I used to be owners of Staples. I know people can have trouble sleeping at night because we had a stake in Sealy. I know how hard it can be to put food on the table, because we were owners of Domino’s Pizza. I understand American ingenuity because we owned part of Brookstone.

    Corporations are people, my friends, and I’d particularly like to thank a few very special people — Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse — for allowing me to survive the Newt Gingrich scare in South Carolina and the Rick Santorum scare in Michigan.

    So let us go forth from this convention to win the White House. To those who say that we cannot win, I have a simple reply: I’ll bet you 10,000 bucks.

  34. rikyrah says:

    ‘I’m not for the bill’
    By Steve Benen
    Thu Mar 1, 2012 8:00 AM EST.

    The Senate is likely to vote today on the anti-contraception Blunt Amendment, championed by Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt (R), which would allow all private-sector employers to deny any health services that businesses might find morally objectionable. Despite the controversy surrounding the measure, Mitt Romney hasn’t taken a position on the bill.

    Yesterday, that changed. Jim Heath, a reporter with the Ohio News Network, asked the Republican presidential candidate about the anti-contraception proposal, and got an unexpected response.

    It was pretty straightforward. Heath even explained what he was referring to: “Blunt-Rubio is being debated, I believe, later this week. It deals with banning or allowing employers to ban providing female contraception. Have you taken a position on it? He [Santorum] said he was for that. We’ll talk about personhood in a second, but he’s for that. Have you taken a position?”

    Romney said, “I’m not for the bill,” and proceeded to argue that presidential candidates shouldn’t get into “questions about contraception.”

    For all of the shameless pandering Romney has done to the far-right Republican base, this unambiguous answer reflected remarkable bravery on the candidate’s part. Republicans have been hyperventilating for weeks about the issue, and here was the likely GOP presidential nominee announcing, on camera, his opposition to his party’s legislative remedy.

    Like too many of Romney’s positions, it didn’t last.


    Just one hour after saying he’s “not for” the Blunt Amendment, the presidential hopeful announced, “Of course I support the Blunt Amendment.” Romney added that he “didn’t understand” Heath’s question, and his campaign spokesperson issued a statement, complaining that the question was “confusing.”

    As the afternoon progressed, Romney backers even began complaining that reports documenting the candidate’s actual words were somehow unfair — as if quoting what presidential candidates say on television is now evidence of irresponsible reporting.

  35. What Romney Will Take Away From Women

  36. Federal Judge Sent Joke Email Implying Obama’s Mother Had Sex With Dog

    Montana Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull, a George W. Bush nominee, admitted on Wednesday that he forwarded a racially-charged email implying that President Barack Obama might have been the product of a sexual encounter between his mother and a dog.

    “A little boy said to his mother; ‘Mommy, how come I’m black and you’re white?’” the email forwarded from Cebull’s official court email address on Feb. 20 read, according to the Great Falls Tribune. “His mother replied, ‘Don’t even go there Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you’re lucky you don’t bark!’”

    The federal judge’s email called the joke “a bit touching” and said he wanted all of his friends to feel what he felt when he read the email. “Hope it touches your heart like it did mine,” he wrote.

    • What a disgusting filthy slug. He needs to be removed from the bench. This kind of ish CANNOT be tolerated. Racism has no business in the courtroom and this man can’t be trusted to judge fairly. Time to put a stop to this now!

      Deliver us from this evil!

    • rikyrah says:

      uh huh

      uh huh


      • Ametia says:

        These disgusting racists have nothing else to share but their hate for the Black President. This judge is a prime example of 21st CENTURY KKK, only instead of the white hoods and robes, he’s wearing a black robe. Folks like Richard Cebull must be removed from his position, onced they have been EXPOSED for the hateful, racists pricks they ALWAYS were.

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