Monday Open Thread

Brian McKnight (born June 5, 1969) is an American singer-songwriter, arranger, producer, and R&B/Pop musician. He is a multi-instrumentalist who plays nine instruments: piano, guitar, bass guitar, drums, percussions, trombone, tuba, flugelhorn and trumpet.[1]

McKnight was born in Buffalo, New York. His musical career began in childhood when he became a member of his church choir and a band leader for his high school, Sweet Home High School.[2]

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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81 Responses to Monday Open Thread

  1. The Wife of Professor Derrick Bell—What a beautiful and gracious woman.
    God bless her!

    [wpvideo aZWMMZiw]

  2. Mitt Romney May Not Need Medicare, But Seniors Do

  3. rikyrah says:

    For you that tweet, here’s info for you to tweet back about these polls.

    poll comment from The Obama Diary:

    March 12, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    The ABC/WashPo and CBS/NYTimes polls are all complete BS. They polled more GOP voters over Dem voters. They polled more white men over minorities and they used some BS warped logic to try and explain that clap trap. They see that as Nov. draws near, PBO looks more and more un-defeatable so what do they do? They bring out a biased poll to make voters think he’s weak and Romney is the strongest candidate since the creation of time. Pure hogwash.


    and here’s further explanation from Deaniac at TPV

    Explaining the “dip” in Obama approval rating: They polled more Republicans!
    Monday, March 12, 2012 | Posted by Deaniac83 at 11:08 AM

    If you watch any of the morning news shows on TV, or read the news first thing with your morning coffee, you know today’s poll narrative in the media: In the midst of rising gas prices, Obama’s approval ratings dip. That is the headline from the ABC News/Washington Post poll released today, showing President Obama’s approval rating at 46% and disapproval at 50%, a reversal of fortunes from early February. Hell, it even shows Romney beating Obama by a point. The explanation offered by pundits and headlines? Gas prices, which 66% of Americans are very concerned about, the poll finds.

    But what’s behind the headlines? What’s beyond the pundits and the pontifications? Why did President Obama’s approval numbers really go down? Or did it even actually go down? What really accounts for the reversal from last month? The real answer: they polled more Republicans this time than last. Ta-da! I decided to compare the party ID numbers attached to this poll vs. the ones attached to the last poll. Look what I found:

    From the last poll to this one, there is a net 7 point gain for GOP identified voters as opposed to Democratic ones, and there is a net 8 point loss in the President’s approval rating. Hmm, looks like an awfully close correlation to me. If we assume that independents lean roughly the same way as the party ID numbers (really, very few voters are truly independent), GOP and GOP lean voters get a representation bump another 3 percentage points net, moving the GOP party ID vs. Democrats to a net +10 points as compared to the last poll. Given that about 80% of GOP and GOP-leaning voters oppose President Obama, the entire 8 point swing in the poll can be accounted for by the additional representation of Republican and Republican leaning voters.

    But what are the real numbers on voter registration in this country? From the most current data from states that allow registration by party, Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 12 point margin, 43% to 31%, with independents coming in at 24%. Granted, only 29 states and DC allow registration by party, so take that data with that caveat, but I will note that the February poll had a much closer party ID difference (D +11) to the known actual national data (D +12). In this poll, that has dwindled down to a D +4, which is obviously a significant over-representation Republican and GOP-leaning voters, and an equally significant under-representation of Democratic voter registration advantage.

    It is important to note here that the analysis above is not meant to show that ABC News and Washington Post pollsters somehow “cooked” the numbers. These variations – 3 points here and 4 points there, especially given the poll’s margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points – are normal statistical anomalies. But it is intellectually dishonest to point to this poll and find a gas price related “dip” for the president’s approval without looking at the very obvious factor of over-representation of GOP voters in the poll.

    That is even more true when the analysts have no basis for comparison. When the last poll showed the president’s approval rating at 50%, questions about gasoline were not involved, and thus there is simply no way of knowing, based on the numbers, whether gasoline prices actually are affecting the president’s approval rating, if they are affected at all. This month, the poll shows 66% of Americans “very” concerned about gas prices, but we do not know if this number was higher, lower, or the same last month. The analysts are basically comparing approval numbers based on another number (concern about gas prices) that wasn’t even present in the last poll. This is how logical fallacies are made.

    Here is another piece of information from the poll the media narrative drivers don’t want you to pay attention to: by a 54-40 margin, even this GOP-skewed group expect President Obama to win re-election. That is a net 17-point gain in Obama’s favor since January. This means that a large portion of even Republican and GOP-leaning voters believe that none of their candidates can win in November. I doubt this would be the case if any factor other than the over-representation of GOP voters were moving the approval and head-to-head matchup numbers in this poll

    As a final thought, the media buzz seems to be more a proof of the proverb that there are lies, damned lies and then there are statistics than it is about an actual dip in the president’s numbers. Statistical analysis is invaluable when it is done properly, analyzing and comparing all the factors. But when the same “numbers” are used to push a political talking point instead, a wealth of information buried in a survey gets ignored in favor of pushing a given narrative. That is the dangerous part. We need our media talking heads to leave behind narratives and look at real numbers and present real analysis.

  4. Ametia says:

    BREAKING: Rush Limbaugh Syndicator Suspends National Ads For Two Weeks
    By Judd Legum on Mar 12, 2012 at 9:24 pm reports that Premiere Networks, which syndicates the Rush Limbaugh show, told its affiliate radio stations that they are suspending national advertising for two weeks. Rush Limbaugh is normally provided to afflilates for free in return for running several minutes of national advertisements provided by Premiere each hour. These ads called “barter spots.” These spots are how Premiere makes its money off of Rush Limbaugh and other shows it syndicates.

    But without explanation, Premiere has supended these national advertisements for two weeks. calls the move “unusual.” The development suggests that Rush Limbaugh’s incessant sexist attacks on Sandra Fluke have caused severe damage to the show.

    From the memo:

    Attention Traffic Managers of Premiere News/Talk Affiliates:

    We are suspending the requirement to run barter spots for two weeks, March 12th and March 19th, for our News/Talk affiliates only.

    Please replace/re-traffic any Premiere barter spots immediately. Contractual requirements to run barter spots are being suspended for these two weeks only. Replace them with Lifelock and Lear Financial or a local spot of your choice.

    Earlier today, ThinkProgress exclusively reported that 140 advertisers, including dozens of major national corporations, had requested their ads no longer air on Rush Limbaugh. Lifelock and Lear Financial among the only companies standing by Limbaugh.

    Over the last several days much of the advertising time during the Rush Limbaugh show on his flagship station, WABC, has been filled with free public service announcements.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Rep. Stearns On Obama Birth’s Certificate: ‘The Question Is, Is It Legitimate?’

    By Scott Keyes on Mar 12, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    New video of a February town hall shows Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) pandering to birthers and raising questions about the legitimacy of President Obama’s birth certificate.

    When Stearns met with constituents on February 25 in Belleview, one of the first questions came from an elderly gentleman who insisted that Obama was not born in the United States and ought to be impeached. Rather than correcting the man and informing him that the president is indeed a natural-born American citizen, Stearns coddled the conspiracy theory by implying that Obama’s birth certificate may be a forgery — “is it legitimate?” Stearns wondered aloud.

    The Florida congressman noted that there is a “general consensus” that Obama “produced a birth certificate,” but gave no indication that he agreed with this sentiment. He also advanced an phony conservative meme, debunked by Dave Weigel and others, that Hawaii’s governor was incapable of locating the birth certificate:

    STEARNS: All I can tell you is that the general consensus is that he has produced a birth certificate. The question is, is it legitimate? That’s where we stand now. I’ve seen a copy of it on television. But you know the Governor of Hawaii couldn’t get what he felt was an original of the birth certificate. He tried to do it and gave up on it. So I think what Obama’s showing is a facsimile, but I think that debate probably is not enough, shall we say, just to impeach him. We’re going to have an election in five or six months so we can change the course of history by electing someone other than Obama. That’s what elections are all about. If we started impeachment this time of year, very difficult in terms of time and strength.

    • Ametia says:

      This is so utterly sad. I feel for these fearful, hateful, lying people, they are so fearful of change and losing power, that they would lie, cheat, steal, and prey on the elderly folks, who are only gettng their source from these liars. What a pathetic way to live.

  6. rikyrah says:

    U.S. Representative Donald Payne dead at 77

    U.S. Rep. Donald Payne, the elder statesman of New Jersey’s congressional delegation, died after a months-long battle with colon cancer today, according to his office . The longtime politician was 77.

    Payne announced last month he was under treatment for colon cancer but said that he expected to make a full recovery. Last week, though, his health took a turn for the worse.

    He was hospitalized at Georgetown University Hospital, but on Friday was flown back to New Jersey on a medical transport, his brother William Payne said. After arriving at Teterboro airport, he was taken to Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston.

    Payne, a Democrat who represented New Jersey’s 10th congressional district for 23 years, was placed in hospice care and died at roughly 2:30 this morning, according to two officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak on behalf of the Payne family.

    The state’s first — and before his death its only active — black congressman, Payne headed one of Newark’s most powerful political dynasties. His son Donald Payne Jr. is the Newark City Council president, as well as an Essex County Freeholder. His brother and lifelong political partner, William, is a former state assemblyman.

    “He’s had a tremendous impact on the state, country and the world,” William Payne said.

    Leaders from throughout the state and the country lined up today to express sorrow over the loss of a local and national hero.

    “Michelle and I were saddened to hear about the passing of Congressman Donald Payne, Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and former Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.” President Obama said in a statement. “By any standard, Don lived a full and meaningful life.”

    “Congressman Donald Payne was a leader of conscience and a public servant of diligence,” said former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “He was admired by his colleagues; he earned respect around the world for his outspoken advocacy on behalf of human rights and the worth and dignity of every person.”

    Payne was up for re-election this year and facing a primary in June. Despite his condition, he vowed to run again only last month and refused to take a leave of absence.

    A former teacher, Prudential executive, city councilman, and Essex County freeholder, Payne’s lifelong dream was to become a congressman. In 1988 he finally achieved that goal and was returned to Congress 11 times — by some of the widest margins in New Jersey congressional history.

    While in the House of Representatives, Payne was known as a tireless advocate for his constituents, a champion of education and a de facto ambassador to Africa. He helped secure $100 million to help prevent and treat malaria and HIV/AIDS, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.

  7. rikyrah says:

    N.C. County Kills Family-Planning Funds
    The elected county commissioners in New Hanover County, N.C. are sick and tired of using taxpayer funds to assist women who can’t keep their legs closed. And so on Monday they voted to reject a state grant designed to cover family-planning services.

    The Wilmington, N.C. Star-News reports the commission in the coastal county has “unanimously voted to turn down a state family planning grant that would cover contraceptive supplies along with other medical services related to family planning.”

    The commissioners didn’t think it was right to use taxpayer money to pay for women who want to have sex for non-procreative purposes.

    From the Star-News:

    Chairman Ted Davis said he thought it was a sad day when “taxpayers are asked to pay money for contraceptives” for women having sex without planning responsibly.

    “If these young women are being responsible and didn’t have the sex to begin with, we wouldn’t have this problem to begin with,” Davis said.

    The New Hanover County decision comes amid a growing debate about contraception and family planning in North Carolina and nationally. Last year, North Carolina’s Republican-led legislature became one of a handful to try and ban state funding for Planned Parenthood.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 12:20 PM PDT
    Mitt Romney claims that President Obama is the one who is out of touch+*

    by Jed Lewison

    Mitt Romney keeps on spouting nonsense:

    “This is a president who thinks America is doing better,” Romney told more than 200 people who crammed into a restaurant porch trying to escape heavy rains and lightning. “He should go out and talk to the 24 million Americans who are out of work or stopped looking for work or are unemployed.”

    First of all, America is doing better than it was under President Bush. During Bush’s eight years in office, we lost 646,000 private sector jobs. When President Obama was inaugurated, the economy was in free fall. And if it weren’t for the stimulus, we’d have hit ended up with another Great Depression. Today the economy is growing: More jobs have been created in the past 12 months than in any 12 month stretch in the past five years.

    Second, President Obama has never suggested that we should go home and declare victory. When Republicans in Congress were whining about him wanting to give a speech during a GOP presidential debate, he was busy putting together a jobs plan because he wanted to accelerate the recovery, and he’s continuing to push Congress to take steps to bolster growth.

    Third, not only has Mitt Romney himself acknowledged the the economy is getting better (and that President Obama is not to blame for the recession), but Romney also publicly advocated a massive stimulus. He might not have supported every single thing in the stimulus President Obama signed into law, but most of what ended up being enacted were things that he had advocated in December 2008.

    (Also worth noting: Romney, like the Obama economic team, didn’t fully understand the devastating impact the financial collapse was having on the economy. He warned that unless Republicans signed a stimulus into law by mid-December, 500,000 jobs would be lost between then Obama’s inauguration. A stimulus wasn’t signed, and roughly one million private sector jobs were lost in those five weeks.)

    Finally, given that Mitt Romney told a group of out-of-work Floridians that he considers himself to be among the unemployed, he really ought not be giving President Obama lectures about how to stay in touch. The next thing you know Mitt Romney is going to say that President Obama is trying to end Medicare as we know it. Oh wait. He already is.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Just How Angry at Republicans Are Hispanic Voters?: The Ticker

    The most important political numbers of the week may not have been in Friday’s employment report, which brought pretty good news for the Obama camp — 227,000 jobs added in February along with a robust revision upward for the previous month’s tally. Still, Election Day is eight months away, and millions of Americans are out of work. There’s no telling if the economy will add enough jobs this year for the president to declare, at long last, that it’s “morning in America.”

    A different set of numbers, released earlier in the week, might ultimately prove even more decisive. In a Republican campaign that’s seen a few troughs, this week’s Fox News/Latin Insights poll of 1,200 likely Latino voters may qualify as a full-scale depression.

    How bad was the poll for Republicans?

    In a head-to-to head match-up between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, Obama is beating Romney 70 percent to 14. percent. If you combine all of Romney’s vote with all of the undecided vote, Romney still falls short of John McCain’s 2008 share of the Hispanic vote, a total almost universally regarded as inadequate for a Republican to win the White House.

    But surely the Republican can recover, can’t he?

    Perhaps. But at the very least the task seems to require a few months of groveling abjectly, and in Spanish. At the moment, Hispanic voters are not giving Republicans the political time of day. Asked which party does a better job respecting “traditional values,” Hispanic voters said … the Democrats. That’s right, Democrats. It wasn’t even close; the margin was 55 percent to 16 percent. (Just to rub it in, a slim majority of poll respondents described themselves as conservatives.)

    A refusal to credit Republicans with respecting traditional values is akin to refusing to credit Democrats with respecting skinny guys named “Barack.” It suggests a Hispanic electorate that may be downright hostile — certainly one that’s currently in no mood to forgive and forget the hostile Republican tone of the winter. If the jobs front continues to improve even modestly, Republicans will need to make massive inroads with Hispanic voters. It won’t be easy, but here’s a tip: 34 percent said a Latino vice presidential nominee would make them more likely to vote Republican.

  10. rikyrah says:

    LIST: Obama’s Top 50 Accomplishments
    You’ve been asking for a list of what the President has accomplished for some time – so here it is.

    Everyone has one of ʻthoseʼ kinds of friends, either on the left or the right – people who keep complaining that no matter what President Obama has done, they still don’t seem to believe he’s done anything at all.

    Now, thanks to the hard-working and talented team at one of our favorite sources, Washington Monthly, there’s a list of President Obama’s Top 50 accomplishments you can helpufully show to the doubters. Team Randi hopes this is just a starting list from Mr. Obama’s first term – what Paul Glastris at Washington Monthly calls ‘President Clinton’s third term’.

    Read Paul’s cover story, and check out a few of our favorites from Obama’s ‘Top 50’ list, below.

    Obama’s Top 50 Accomplishments
    By Paul Glastris, Ryan Cooper, and Siyu Hu – Washington Monthly

    1. Passed Health Care Reform: After five presidents over a century failed to create universal health insurance, signed the Affordable Care Act (2010). It will cover 32 million uninsured Americans beginning in 2014 and mandates a suite of experimental measures to cut health care cost growth, the number one cause of America’s long-term fiscal problems.

    4. Ended the War in Iraq: Ordered all U.S. military forces out of the country. Last troops left on December 18, 2011.

    7. Turned Around U.S. Auto Industry: In 2009, injected $62 billion in federal money (on top of $13.4 billion in loans from the Bush administration) into ailing GM and Chrysler in return for equity stakes and agreements for massive restructuring. Since bottoming out in 2009, the auto industry has added more than 100,000 jobs. In 2011, the Big Three automakers all gained market share for the first time in two decades. The government expects to lose $16 billion of its investment, less if the price of the GM stock it still owns increases.

    9. Repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: Ended 1990s-era restriction and formalized new policy allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military for the first time.

    Check out the full list of 50 HERE

    Read more:


    If you love the full list and you’d like to have a handy reminder, for the times you’re having one of THOSE discussions?

    Click on the stack of wallet cards and you can download your own prinatable, wallet-sized folding card listing all 50 of President Obama’s first term accomplishments.

    Print them as you need, laminate them, even give them away.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Fast talking Dyson about Caribou Barbie.

    She’s a woman of manifest unintelligence.


    He said a lot of things about her, but that just cracked me up.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Why the former half-term governor matters
    By Steve Benen

    Mon Mar 12, 2012 4:51 PM EDT

    Our guest tonight for the interview will be Nicolle Wallace, a senior adviser to the McCain/Palin 2008 campaign, who saw firsthand just how woefully unprepared the former half-term governor of Alaska was to seek national office.

    If you’ve seen HBO’s “Game Change,” you know Wallace has an interesting perspective to share on Sarah Palin.

    But as it turns out, President Obama’s re-election campaign has also taken an interest in the candidate-turned-Fox News personality. In a new video released by the Obama team, viewers are reminded of comments Palin made on the air last week.

    If you missed the clip, Palin’s scathing criticism of the president was blisteringly stupid, even for her, with the argument that the president is “bringing us back … to days before the Civil War.”

    Yes, Palin seriously expected Fox News viewers to believe the nation’s first African-American president wants to roll back the clock 150 years, to the days when slavery was legal.

    And while Palin (probably) won’t be on the ballot in 2012, the Obama campaign is seizing on her comments to remind the Democratic base of the kind of ugliness and extremism the party is up against this election year. It relates directly to efforts to drum enthusiasm among Dems who may not be fully engaged just yet, implicitly arguing, “Don’t let Palin and her ilk win.”

    I wouldn’t be too surprised if Republican leaders and the Romney campaign ask Palin to take a much lower profile in the coming months. Whether Palin honors the request is another matter.

  13. OMFG!

    TPM: NC county commission is tired of paying for women’s sex lives, rejects family planning funds

    The elected county commissioners in New Hanover County, N.C. are sick and tired of using taxpayer funds to assist women who can’t keep their legs closed. And so on Monday they voted to reject a state grant designed to cover family-planning services.

    The Wilmington, N.C. Star-News reports the commission in the coastal county has “unanimously voted to turn down a state family planning grant that would cover contraceptive supplies along with other medical services related to family planning.”

    The commissioners didn’t think it was right to use taxpayer money to pay for women who want to have sex for non-procreative purposes.

    • OMFG! The republican party has gone mad. You’re witnessing the implosion of the republican party right before our eyes!

      Notice all of this rhetoric is directed at women only? There is NOTHING directed at Men. Wanna know why? Sex is bad for women. Women aren’t suppose to like sex. On the other hand…Now a man has needs as we’re suppose to submit and obey….ummm…when hell freezes over.

      If this isn’t the most backwards bullsh*t I have ever seen in my life.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 10:01 AM PDT.

    Mitt Romney embraces the big Republican Medicare lie

    Mitt Romney is taking a page from the 2010 Republican playbook and trying to position himself to the left of President Obama on Medicare, while at the same time lying not just about Medicare under the Affordable Care Act, but about Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan which he has embraced. Greg Sargent has the Romney campaign’s statement on Medicare issued today.

    “There are two proposals on the table for addressing the nation’s entitlement crisis. Mitt Romney—along with a bipartisan group of leaders—has offered a solution that would introduce competition and choice into Medicare, control costs, and strengthen the program for future generations. President Obama has cut $500 billion from Medicare to fund Obamacare and created an unaccountable board with rationing power — all while America’s debt is spiraling out of control and we continue to run trillion-dollar deficits.

    “If President Obama’s plan is to end Medicare as we know it, he should say so. If he has another plan, he should have the courage to put it forward.”

    Putting aside the fact that Sen. Ron Wyden is hardly a leader, and his working with Ryan hardly makes their idea for Medicare bipartisan, there’s not an honest sentence in this statement. As Sargent points out, the $500 billion referenced is trimmed from Medicare providers, not from beneficiaries—it does not affect the Medicare recipients’ benefits or access to care. The rationing board is a figment of Romney’s imagination. As Sargent says, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (which is confirmed by the Senate, and thus accountable) is set up to find cost savings, and is forbidden by the law from making “rationing” kinds of decisions. There is nothing in the health law that ends Medicare, as we know it or any other way.

    Of course, at the same time, Romney is backing the Ryan plan which absolutely could lead to the end of Medicare as we know it. The alterations made to Ryan’s original voucher plan with the addition of Wyden’s ideas still don’t “save” Medicare; Medicare enrollees would still be diverted into private plans, lessening Medicare’s bargaining power and allowing it to do exactly what Republicans want it to: wither on the vine.

    Substance aside, this is as fundamentally dishonest as Romney has been on any policy issue. He’s smart enough, and has a sophisticated enough grasp of health care policy (Romneycare and all that) to know that this statement is nothing but flat out lies. Which gives a very simple answer to Sargent’s basic question: “Is there any limit to Mitt Romney’s dishonesty?”

  15. rikyrah says:

    Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 10:31 AM PDT.

    Mitt Romney predicts Alabama victory … and starts droppin’ the letter ‘G
    ‘by Jed Lewison

    Oh, Willard:

    Although he didn’t mention grits or his growing like of the word “y’all,” Romney’s awkward bid to connect to Southern voters was still evident. He wished the crowd a “fine Alabama good mornin’’” — dropping the letter “g” at the end of some words.
    Although PPP’s new poll shows that the race is deadlocked in a near-tie between Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, Romney said he’d win:

    In his only public event of the day, Romney predicted that “we’re going to win tomorrow” and implored Alabamans to “vote multiple times” in the state’s primary.
    Har, har! Voter fraud is okay if you’re votin’ for me! .

  16. rikyrah says:

    March 12, 2012 12:35 PM

    Conservative Evangelical “World View” In Sharp Relief
    By Ed Kilgore

    Lots of progressive bloggers are having lots of fun with some of the crosstabs from PPI’s latest poll of likely Republican primary voters in Alabama and Mississippi—particularly the numbers showing a powerful reluctance to accept that the president is a Christian, and an embarrassingly large minority still favoring miscegenation laws against interracial marriage.

    But I’m interested in a deeper finding: the fairly large divisions between self-identified “evangelical Christians” and non-evangelicals on these questions. Evangelicals are so dominant in these two states that it’s easy to miss this: there are not, for example, especially large divisions in terms of candidate preferences (Romney is doing relatively well among evangelicals, which is why he is competitive in both states and might well win one or both).

    But: asked about the president’s religion, only 9% of evangelicals in both states agree Obama is a Christian (as opposed to 26% of non-evangelicals in Alabama and 19% in Mississippi). An actual majority (50% in AL, 54% in MS) of evangelicals think Obama is a Muslim, and the rest say they don’t know. It’s worth noting that the “don’t knows” probably include quite a few people who don’t think Obama is a Muslim, but also, like Rick Santorum, don’t much believe mainline Protestants are actually Christians.

    Interestingly enough, self-ID’d evangelicals in these two states are also much more likely than others to favor legal bans on interracial marriage: nearly one-fourth in Alabama, and one-third in Mississippi.

    Political observers who don’t pay much attention to religion or who lump all believers together probably can’t quite comprehend the extent to which white conservative evangelicals in this country have come to conflate their faith with conservative cultural values, creating a highly self-conscious “world view” that leads them to identify the Word of God with the mores of the (relatively recent) past. I used to have some country relatives who refused to acknowledge daylight savings time (as I wish I could have yesterday morning!) on grounds that standard time was God’s time! This as much as simple racism may well explain why a lot of these folks think it was a mistake to repeal miscegenation laws and elect as president a black man with the foreign-sounding name.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 09:34 AM PDT.

    A Mitt Romney billionaire, Ken Griffin, thinks hoi oligoi just don’t have enough political influence
    by Meteor Blades

    It isn’t bad enough that the mega-rich have a stranglehold on so many of “our” politicians. Plus an accompanying tight grip on the process we still dare to call, in our more optimistic moments, democracy. They also have to whine about how the system is stacked against them.
    Check out one of Mitt Romney’s billionaire angels, for instance. He’s Chicago-based hedge-fund manager Ken Griffin, a self-described Reagan Republican who was 20 years old when Reagan left office. Griffin and his wife, Anne, have poured $1.5 million into the Koch Brothers’ super PAC, Americans for Prosperity, and $150,000 into Restore Our Future, Romney’s super PAC. Plus a few hundred thousand for right-wing causes here and a few hundred thousand for right-wing causes there. They also contributed $200,000 to the mayoral campaign of Rahm Emanuel.

    But his political largesse isn’t having as much impact as he thinks it ought to:

    Do you think the ultrawealthy have an inordinate or inappropriate amount of influence on the political process?
    A. I think they actually have an insufficient influence. Those who have enjoyed the benefits of our system more than ever now owe a duty to protect the system that has created the greatest nation on this planet. […]

    Q. So do you or don’t you think the public should know if you’re giving this money?

    A. My public policy hat says transparency is valuable. On the flip side, this is a very sad moment in my lifetime. This is the first time class warfare has really been embraced as a political tool. Because we are looking at an administration that has embraced class warfare as being politically expedient, I do worry about the publicity that comes with being willing to both with my dollars and, more importantly, with my voice to stand for what I believe in.

    Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Decades of decoupling middle-class incomes from economic growth, increasing impoverishment, near-record levels of income and wealth inequality, 35 years of deregulation and lousy enforcement of the regulations that remain, union-busting, off-shoring of jobs and upward transfer of wealth via the tax laws have nothing to do with class warfare. All that’s just the natural order. And anybody who tries to upset the natural order—by re-regulating financial institutions, for instance, no matter how modestly—has clearly got it in for “job creators.” Not to mention the nation’s founders.
    If only Griffin’s and other members of the mega-rich super PAC contributors had a freer hand, if only hoi oligoi had real influence at the state and federal level, imagine what a fantastic country this would be.


  18. rikyrah says:

    The Post’s View
    Ken Cuccinelli’s climate-change witch hunt

    By Editorial Board, Published: March 11

    IF VIRGINIA Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) needs examples of official waste and abuse as he runs for governor, he could cite the harassment that he conducted against climate scientist Michael E. Mann, a costly episode of government overreach that is finally over.

    This month, after nearly two years of legal proceedings, the Virginia Supreme Court halted the attorney general’s investigation of Mr. Mann, who used to teach at the University of Virginia. Twisting a law designed to root out embezzlement of state funds and the like, the attorney general had demanded oceans of documents — including Mr. Mann’s e-mail correspondence — from U-Va. But, along with some technical legal problems with his demand, Mr. Cuccinelli didn’t offer any reasonable suspicion that Mr. Mann had committed anything resembling fraud — even as the attorney general proposed violating scientists’ sacrosanct freedom to conduct research without political pressure. Multiple independent reviews of Mr. Mann’s record have found that the professor did little more than participate in the normal push-and-pull of scientific inquiry.

    Mr. Cuccinelli’s inspiration appears to have been the conspiracy theorizing that emerged from the so-called Climategate scandal, in which global-warming opponents stole scientists’ e-mails — including a few of Mr. Mann’s — and then misinterpreted them to justify their activism.

    Now that the Supreme Court has shut Mr. Cuccinelli down, what’s left is a range of consequences that can only hurt the commonwealth. The university had to raise nearly $600,000 for legal fees — money the cash-strapped university should have been able to use for something productive. On top of that are the public resources of the attorney general’s office that Mr. Cuccinelli wasted. Scientists in Virginia now have reason to wonder whether they will suffer similar pressure if they publish research government officials don’t like. And, because of some of the Supreme Court’s legal findings, the powers of the attorney general to pursue actual fraud have been clipped.

    None of this is U-Va.’s fault. The university deserves credit for guarding the independence of its faculty. Rather, it’s squarely the doing of Mr. Cuccinelli and his witch hunt.

  19. rikyrah says:

    I believe this is a rhetorical question.


    Posted at 11:39 AM ET, 03/12/2012
    Is there any limit to Mitt Romney’s dishonesty?
    By Greg Sargent

    The other day, David Bernstein argued that there’s been an “important tipping point” where many national media figures have come to understand that “in the Romney campaign, they are dealing with something unlike the normal spin and hyperbole.” Bernstein suggested they are realizing Romney has crossed into groundbreaking levels of dishonesty.

    I wish I were as optimistic. I’d argue that much of the national media is still treating Romney’s nonstop distortions, dissembling, and outright lying as par for the course, as business as usual.

    Here’s a test case: The debate over Medicare — and Romney’s embrace of the Paul Ryan plan — is about to dominate the conversation. Romney is moving to get ahead of the story by accusing Obama of being the one who would “end Medicare as we know it.” Here’s the Romney campaign’s statement this morning:

    “There are two proposals on the table for addressing the nation’s entitlement crisis. Mitt Romney — along with a bipartisan group of leaders — has offered a solution that would introduce competition and choice into Medicare, control costs, and strengthen the program for future generations. President Obama has cut $500 billion from Medicare to fund Obamacare and created an unaccountable board with rationing power — all while America’s debt is spiraling out of control and we continue to run trillion-dollar deficits.

    “If President Obama’s plan is to end Medicare as we know it, he should say so. If he has another plan, he should have the courage to put it forward.”

    The claim that Romney supports a solution favored by a “bipartisan group of leaders” is a reference to the plan authored by Ryan and Dem Senator Ron Wyden. The idea that this represents “bipartisan” suppport is laughable. But this type of claim is made on both sides, so put it aside.

    More interesting is the assertion that Obama has “cut $500 billion from Medicare” and created an “unaccountable board with rationing power” even as the deficit is “spiraling out of control.” That’s a reference to Obamacare’s efforts to curb spending with $500 billion in savings that are actually wrung from health care providers, not Medicare beneficiaries. That “unaccountable board,” meanwhile, is a reference to the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which is designed to make recommendations for reducing Medicare costs, and explicitly cannot recommend rationing.

    Get the trick here? The Romney campaign is accusing Obama of slashing Medicare, and hence “ending Medicare as we know it,” while simultaneously accusing him of failing to curb entitlement spending in ways that pose grave danger to the nation’s finances. This, even as Romney has endorsed a plan that would quasi-voucherize Medicare and end the program as we know it.

    This is all about muddying the waters in advance of a debate that could cut badly against Romney. The GOP primary forced him to embrace Ryancare; Dems are going to hammer him over it. So the Romney camp is trying to get out front by blurring lines and sowing confusion over who actually is defending traditional Medicare and who would end the program’s fundamental mission as we know it. The question is whether this, too, will be treated as just part of the game.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Texas to voters: Help yourselves
    By Laura Conaway – Mon Mar 12, 2012 2:14 PM EDT

    In a six-page letter today, the Department of Justice told Texas that its new law to make voting harder cannot stand. The bulk of it is that by requiring voters to show photo ID they never had to show before, Texas could disenfranchise between 603,892 to 795,955 people, a disproportionate number of them Hispanic. But there’s more. From the letter (pdf):

    You have informed us that the DPS-issued “free” election identification certificate, which is proposed to be implemented by Section 20 of S.B. 14, would protect voters who do not already have another acceptable form of identification. The application process for these certificates will mirror the manner in which a person obtains a driver’s license. First-time applicants will be required to furnish various supplemental documents and undergo an application process that includes fingerprinting and traveling to a driver’s license office.

    An applicant for an election identification certificate will be required to provide two pieces of secondary identification, or one piece of secondary identification and two supporting documents. If a voter does not possess any of these documents, the least expensive option will be to spend $22 on a copy of the voter’s birth certificate. There is a statistically significant correlation between the Hispanic population percentage of a county and the percentage of a county’s population that lives below the poverty line. The legislature tabled amendments that would have prohibited state agencies from charging for any underlying documents needed to obtain an acceptable form of photographic identification.

    In other words, Texas knew voters would have trouble meeting the new requirements — and Texas did not care.

  21. rikyrah says:

    It Will Be Close

    Gary Younge explains why a GOP victory is “somewhere between a distinct possibility and a likelihood”:

    True, the employment outlook is improving. Sadly for Obama, that’s not the best economic indicator for electoral success. For that, most political economists track real disposable personal income growth per capita, or what the average person has left after tax and inflation. For the first 11 quarters of his presidency, the RDPI has stood at -0.4%. Obama, in short, is digging himself out of a very large hole. The question is whether he has a shovel-ready solution capable of digging him out fast enough.

    Jamelle Bouie piles on, armed with the WaPo’s poll this morning:

    With 46 percent approval to 50 percent disapproval, public assessment of Obama’s job performance has returned to its usual place just below the surface. Indeed, in a head-to-head matchup with Mitt Romney—the likely GOP nominee—President Obama loses, 47 percent to 49 percent. Against Rick Santorum, Obama has a scant three-point lead. The Washington Post attributes this drop to rising gas prices, which seems likely—the president’s standing has declined at both the same time that gas prices have gone up and Republicans have made it an issue.

    The gas price is also part of Netanyahu’s strategy for defeating Obama. I agree that we are probably currently witnessing a nadir for the GOP, given their appallingly wince-inducing primary campaign, and their recent falling straight into the contraception trap. And there’s a chance that Romney could effectively end the campaign this week if he were to win in Mississippi and Alabama in a split electorate. And Romney, I suspect, will likely run the most dishonest, distorting, polarizing campaign he can.

    My view remains that Obama needs to embrace radical tax reform and long-term debt reduction to buttress his credible claim to have inherited a catastrophe and turned it slowly around.

  22. rikyrah says:

    The masquerade is over
    by DougJarvus Green-Ellis

    I believe there are people who are not conservative ideologues who vote entirely on the basis of their opposition to reproductive rights. Likewise, I believe that there are people who are genuinely libertarians, not just conservatives who smoke pot. I also believe that there are white southern conservatives who are not racists.

    Let’s be clear, though: much of the Catholic Church’s hierarchy consists of people who aren’t “pro-life” so much as they are right-wing ideologues. Reproductive rights are just a tool for them to turn force the Catholic Church to act as Republican political PAC. Many, many “libertarians” economics bloggers are just hateful wingers:

    Some supposedly libertarian bloggers have let down their guard, coming out in favor of the vile Virginia probe lawand the Rush slut attack, and revealing in the process that all that reasonableness was just a facade.

    And a large proportion of southern Republicans are insanely racist:

    … PPP asks Republicans in Alabama, “Do you think Barack Obama is a Christian or a Muslim, or are you not sure?” Guess how many say Christian? 14%! Among the remaining 86%, “Muslim” slightly leads “not sure,” 45%-41%. (“Not sure” may by the demographic Rick Santorum is reaching out to when he accuses Obama of peddling a “phony theology.”)

    But the Alabama Republicans are a thoroughly trusting lot in comparison with their Mississippi brethren. Among Mississippi Republicans, just 12% say Christian, 52% say Muslim, and 36% aren’t sure.

    I guess the good news is that the internets make it harder and harder for all of these people to pretend to be decent, principled proponents of smaller government, or whatever it is they try to sell themselves as.

  23. rikyrah says:

    That’s two: South Carolina and now Texas
    by Kay

    Good, strong move:

    The U.S. Department of Justice has rejected Texas’ application for preclearance of its voter ID law, saying the state did not prove that the bill would not have a discriminatory effect on minority voters.

    “The department’s letter states that Texas did not meet its burden under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of showing that the law will not have a discriminatory effect on minority voters, and therefore the department objects to the Texas voter identification law,” said Xochitl Hinojosa, a Justice Department spokeswoman. “According to the state’s own data, a Hispanic registered voter is at least 46.5%, and potentially 120%, more likely than a non-Hispanic registered voter to lack the required identification.”

    Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas E. Perez wrote in a letter to Keith Ingram, the director of Texas’ elections division on Monday:

    “As noted above, an applicant for an election identification certificate will have to travel to a driver’s license office. This raises three discrete issues. First, according to the most recent American Community Survey three-year estimates, 7.3 percent of Hispanic or Latino households do not have an available vehicle, as compared with only 3.8 percent of non-Hispanic white households that lack an available vehicle. Statistically significant correlations exist between the Hispanic voting-age population percentage of a county, and the percentage of occupied housing units without a vehicle.

    Second, in 81 of the state’s 254 counties, there are no operational driver’s license offices. The disparity in the rates between Hispanics and non-Hispanics with regard to the possession of either a driver’s license or personal identification card issued by DPS is particularly stark in counties without driver’s license offices. According to the September 2011 data, 10.0 percent of Hispanics in counties without driver’s license offices do not have either form of identification, compared to 5.5 percent of non-Hispanics. According to the January 2012 data, that comparison is 14.6 percent of Hispanics in counties without driver’s license offices, as compared to 8.8 percent of non-Hispanics. During the legislative hearings, one senator stated that some voters in his district could have to travel up to 176 miles roundtrip in order to reach a driver’s license office.

    As I’ve probably made clear with my tens of voting rights posts, I think this is a really important issue, and worth fighting for. When conservatives say one fraudulently cast vote is one too many, well, I feel exactly the same way and just as strongly that one wrongfully disenfranchised voter is one too many. After years of looking at this, my conclusion is that conservatives are demanding that we on the voter access side accept a certain amount of risk and collateral damage with these voter ID laws that they would not and will not accept on their issue, which is (supposedly) voter impersonation fraud. I don’t know why I would accept any risk at all when they won’t. They’re demanding that their fears about voter impersonation fraud trump our concerns about voter access, completely and presumptively. I don’t accept that. If one is too many on the voter impersonation fraud side, then one is too many on the voter access side.
    In addition. Because I’ve been on several conference calls this year with voting rights people who are members of and work on behalf of various minority communities, I have learned, listening, that this is an extremely important issue to the people in the Democratic base who are in the targeted minority groups. They want action on this. They want voting rights affirmatively protected. It’s good policy and good politics to do that.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Grothman bill co-sponsor defending bill’s controversial language
    By Annie Scholz

    CREATED Mar. 9, 2012 – UPDATED: Mar. 9, 2012

    There is new fallout from a state Senator’s controversial bill that compares accidental pregnancies to child abuse.

    While a colleague comes to state Sen. Glenn Grothman’s defense — others say the stats don’t support the claims.

    Senator Grothman is getting most of the attention, but Representative Don Pridemore is a co-sponsor of the bill. In the wake of the controversy, he stands by putting his name on it — but health officials say what’s in the bill, isn’t always what they see.

    Senator Grothman claims there’s an epidemic of single parenthood, and he’s pointing a finger at women for it.

    “There’s been a huge change over the last 30 years, and a lot of that change has been the choice of women,” said Senator Grothman.

    The backlash has put his bill under a microscope. Specifically, it cites non-marital parenthood as a contributing factor in child abuse. The bill’s co-sponsor, Representative Don Pridemore, told TODAY’S TMJ4 he thinks even in abusive relationships, there are other options than divorce.

    “If they can refind those reasons and get back to why they got married in the first place it might help,” said Representative Don Pridemore.

    Health officials are firing back, saying while two parents might be ideal, it’s not always a healthy reality.

    Dr. Geoffrey Swain of the Milwaukee Health Department is also a professor at the UW-Madison. He says surrounding a child with an unhealthy marriage can lead to not only abuse, but depression and anxiety.

    “To the contrary one of the risk factors for child abuse and neglect is poor quality of marriage,” said Dr. Geoffrey Swain. “Marriage actually has nothing to do with it, it’s the quality of the relationship that matters in terms of the child’s health.”

    Pridemore says he thinks a single woman can take care of a family in some situations — but he thinks fathers are usually the disciplinarians and without that, “kids tend to go astray.”

  25. If you’re into basketball, you can now take the Obama Bracket challenge

  26. rikyrah says:

    Zombie lies linger in the Deep South
    By Steve Benen – Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:29 AM EDT.

    Zombie lies are clearly the hardest to kill.

    While it’s tempting to think the nation has moved past ridiculous questions about President Obama’s faith, Jon Chait takes a closer look at the latest Public Policy Polling survey (pdf) out of Alabama and Mississippi, and notices some disconcerting results.

    PPP asks Republicans in Alabama, “Do you think Barack Obama is a Christian or a Muslim, or are you not sure?” Guess how many say Christian? 14%! Among the remaining 86%, “Muslim” slightly leads “not sure,” 45%-41%. (“Not sure” may by the demographic Rick Santorum is reaching out to when he accuses Obama of peddling a “phony theology.”)

    But the Alabama Republicans are a thoroughly trusting lot in comparison with their Mississippi brethren. Among Mississippi Republicans, just 12% say Christian, 52% say Muslim, and 36% aren’t sure.

    The poll also finds that two-thirds of the Republicans in both states do not believe in evolution. Two-thirds of Alabama Republicans also believe interracial marriage ought to be legal, compared with 54% of Mississippi Republicans.

    To be sure, the poll only surveyed self-identified Republicans in Alabama and Mississippi — rather than the general population of both states — but that’s cold comfort.

    I’ve seen some suggestions that, as far as GOP voters in Alabama and Mississippi are concerned, “Muslim” may be less about religion and more about serving as a proxy for broader hostility towards the president. That’s certainly possible, though that sort of bigotry just isn’t healthy.

    But the other results paint just as ugly a picture. Only about one in seven Republicans in these states believes the president is telling the truth about his own faith tradition, but PPP also found most Republicans in Alabama and Mississippi rejecting modern biology and interracial marriage.

    That these are the same folks who’ll help decide who the Republican Party’s presidential nominee tomorrow is not at all reassuring.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Get. Out. Now. Ctd
    Newt is his nemesis’ indispensable ally:

    Gingrich staying in the race does nothing but help Romney win toss-up states (for example, Illinois and Wisconsin). Gingrich has shown an inability to connect with voters outside the Deep South, but he has siphoned off enough voters to allow Romney to skim by with vote percentages of 41% or below in Michigan and Ohio. Where Gingrich is likely stronger (Arkansas, Kentucky and North Carolina, among other states), Romney’s viability would extend to states he would have little chance in otherwise. With a plausible Gingrich campaign continuing, Romney would likely wrap up the nomination no later than early June, and probably by May, with a clear majority of delegates.

  28. rikyrah says:

    found this over at The Obama Diary

    March 12, 2012 at 11:58 am
    Watching the Up With Chris show Saturday, they had a member Bart Chilton, a Democratic member of the CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission), supposedly a “independent” board that is responsible for enacting Dodd-Frank regulations. Well as he informed everyone that Republican member Scott O’Malia is blocking regulations that would reign in Oil Speculators, which many believe are causing the spike in oil prices.

    The clip from the show is found here at the bottom of the page.

    I saw this segment – it was excellent.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Paying back Americans Elect’s millionaires
    By Steve Benen – Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:58 AM EDT.At least in the abstract, Americans Elect may have a pitch some voters find compelling. The outfit intends to spend heavily to gain a slot on the presidential ballot nationwide, then create a bipartisan ticket that voters would help choose online. The plan, however, is not without flaws.

    Americans Elect hasn’t had much luck finding willing candidates, but it is sitting on tens of millions of dollars and has collected the signatures needed to qualify for several states’ ballots. Complicating matters, the group’s organizers refuse to disclose where its money has come from, and has adopted a series of sketchy measures, including the ability to ignore the results of Americans Elect’s online candidate referendum.

    BuzzFeed reports today on another move that’s likely to raise eyebrows.

    A deep-pocketed group hoping to field a third candidate in November has quietly shifted its fundraising focus earlier this month to serve a curious goal, a spokeswoman has acknowledged to BuzzFeed: All money raised by Americans Elect will, for the forseeable future, be given to the millionaires who created it. […]

    Americans Elect, whose leaders have said they expect to spend $40 million this year getting on the ballot in 50 states and building a sophisticated platform for a secure online primary, casts the move as one in service of its populist goal of having no donor give more than $10,000. But its immediate effect may make it extremely difficult for the group, which is heavily bankrolled by its chairman, financier and philanthropist Peter Ackerman, to raise any more money at all, and particularly the kind of small, grassroots donations it seeks on its website.

    So, interested voters are expected to pony up, not to advance the Americans Elect cause, but to pay back the millionaires who secretly got the group up and running? It seems like a tough sell.

    I realize Americas Elect is in a position to have an effect on the presidential race, and has secured a ballot line in several key states. But as near as I can tell, it’s an overly-secretive, well-financed gimmick, eager to play electoral mischief for reasons that are known only to its leaders.

  30. Tough Decisions: “The Road We’ve Traveled”
    New Obama documentary trailer focuses on bin Laden mission

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign has found another way to boast about the fact that he successfully took out Osama bin Laden: by bringing in Bill Clinton.

    Obama for America on Monday released new footage from “The Road We’ve Traveled,” a forthcoming documentary about Obama’s presidency, which features Clinton commending Obama’s decision to authorize the operation that killed bin Laden.

    “He took the harder, and the more honorable path. When I saw what had happened, I thought to myself, ‘I hope that’s the call I would’ve made,'” Clinton says in the clip:!

  31. rikyrah says:

    by Norbrook | March 11, 2012 · 3:48 pm

    The Republican Problem: The More People Listen, The More They’re Disliked.

    One of the news feeds I look at is from Talking Points Memo, and this bit about Rick Santorum caught my eye:

    For most of this campaign cycle Rick Santorum has been one of the least disliked Republican presidential candidates. This year especially he’s only been slightly underwater in terms of favorability and he was briefly in net positive territory. But around the 20th of last month that began to change in a big way

    Why then? Well, earlier he had swept three states and was now seen as the “principal challenger” heading into the next round – including Super Tuesday – and for the first time was garnering serious media exposure, giving interviews on many national outlets. This was not a good thing. But he’s not the first, either.

    One of the hallmarks of this primary season has been how poorly each of the “frontrunners” has been able to stand up to the media spotlight. I said in an earlier post:

    While various candidates have had “buzz” within the party ranks at various times, their campaigns resembled more a local elementary school play than a Broadway production. Candidates were caught unprepared for the media spotlight, they couldn’t enunciate a clear view of what they wanted to do, and frequently seemed to be caught out by predictable issues.

    When they were unknowns, or just a name on the ballot, people either didn’t have an opinion about them or there wasn’t a big gap in their favorable/unfavorable rating. That above-mentioned post was written when about the only people paying attention to the Republican field were Republican primary voters, the media, and political junkies. But as things started to move into the serious campaign season, more people started paying attention. While they’re still not paying attention to the extent that the various parties and media outlets might wish, they are paying at least some attention.

    Which has become the Republican’s problem, as it turns out. Mitt Romney’s problems with the conservative base weren’t the problems he’s had connecting with other voters. He’s seen as “uncaring,” or “out of touch.” Newt Gingrich’s turn reminded people of his time as Speaker of the House. Right after I wrote my post about the difference between the parties, the birth control issue blew up, and while Republicans tried to paint it as a “freedom of religion” issue, instead it turned into a “women’s rights” issue, helped along by rhetoric from various presidential candidates and pundits, with Rush Limbaugh pouring gasoline on it.

  32. John Michael – Sophisticated Lady

  33. rikyrah says:

    by Norbrook | March 12, 2012 · 6:52 am

    Greenwald and Digby Miss The Point About Kucinich

    Digby has a post up touting Glenn Greenwald’s paeon to Dennis Kucinich, and adding their own two cents to the mix.

    It’s dispiriting, to say the least, that such a stalwart liberal losing his office is celebrated with even more gusto than the defeat of your average Blue Dog, but there it is.

    Reading through those posts, you might think that the seat switched to a Republican. You’d have to look hard and long to figure out that he lost a primary to another Democrat! Yes, you don’t see Digby mention it at all, and Greenwald mentions it in passing and then proceeds to ignore it. Instead, they spend a lot of words bemoaning what a great progressive voice Kucinich is, and how it’s awful that “establishment Democrats” are happy that he’s gone. They attribute it to his “wackiness,” but Angry Black Lady points out the real reason: It’s not his wackiness, it’s his fecklessness. In terms of “effective” and “reliable,” Kucinich was not a “good progressive.” But that’s not all they missed.

    Here’s the first one: He lost a primary. This was not a general election, this was a Democrat versus Democrat ballot. He was up against another incumbent, having lost his district to redistricting. So you have two incumbents going against each other for their party’s nomination. Why is that a key point? Because primaries are base elections. You’re not talking about persuading Republicans or Independents. You’re persuading the people who belong to your party that you will best represent their views in Congress. The reality of the matter is that the Democratic voters in that district decided that Marcy Kaptur would do a better job of that than Dennis Kucinich. No, it wasn’t close, either.

    Which is what they are avoiding. You see, like it or not, and they don’t, it doesn’t matter how popular Dennis Kucinich is with Digby, Greenwald, others of the professional left, and various bloggers and commenters on “purity sites.” They do not vote in Ohio, and in particular, they don’t vote in the 9′th Congressional District. All politics are local, and no matter how popular someone is everywhere else, it’s the people who elect him or her that they have to pay attention to. That’s a lesson that various progressive “heroes” have learned the hard way, including Alan Grayson. Why are they avoiding that? Because it goes against their belief that they speak for progressives, that they are the voices of the “true Democratic Party.” The reality is that they are not the base, and most Democrats – actual voters, mind you – aren’t listening to them.

    The final point they’re missing about Kucinich? The thing they’re complaining about, that many Democrats are rather happy he lost. There are reasons why they’re happy. First, they have a very strong candidate who is an effective member of Congress, who is going to hold the seat. She’s running against Samuel Wurzelbacher, also known as “Joe the Plumber.” Second, from a progressive and party standpoint, Kucinich wasn’t that progressive or a particularly good Democrat. quoting Nate Silver:

  34. rikyrah says:

    Alone in Public Housing, With a Spare BedroomBy ELIZABETH A. HARRIS
    Published: March 11, 2012

    After 40 years living in her Manhattan apartment, Shirley Jones has accumulated a lifetime of mementos: pictures of yawning babies, colonies of tiny figurines, photographs of relatives, and a small collection of stuffed animals crowded onto a chair in the living room. Ms. Jones, 70, moved into her apartment, in the Amsterdam Houses on West 63rd Street, with her son when she was 30 years old and has lived there ever since.

    But last month, she opened a letter that said it was time for her to go: Ms. Jones lives alone in a public housing development, taking up a two-bedroom apartment that she no longer requires.

    The New York City Housing Authority, like other public housing authorities across the country, has a problem: By its count, there are 55,000 units in New York City’s public housing stock that are “underoccupied” — about one-third of all its apartments. Making matters worse, there are 15,000 public housing units that are overcrowded, not to mention 160,000 families on the waiting list to get into public housing.

    The Housing Authority is trying to get tenants like Ms. Jones to move into smaller apartments, but there is no guarantee they will be able to stay in their building, and many residents have been reluctant to comply. Because so few have moved so far, people at the other end of the spectrum are growing impatient.

    “It looks like a refugee camp in some of these apartments,” said Monica Corbett, head of the Residents Association at Pomonok Houses, a public housing complex in Queens, who slept in her living room for seven years while waiting for a two-bedroom space to share with her son.

    “They have a guest room and a computer room,” she continued of some of the older residents in her development, “and I have a mother with six kids in a one-bedroom. Yes, their roots are here, but we have families who are in need.”

    Underoccupation in public housing is a problem in large cities across the United States, and from the United Kingdom to Hong Kong, said Victor Bach, a senior housing policy analyst at the Community Service Society of New York. But few housing authorities have successfully tackled the issue, and even in New York, officials are moving slowly because of the delicacy involved in asking older residents to move from their homes.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Labor Leaders Plan to Apply New Clout in Effort for Obama

    Published: March 11, 2012

    As the A.F.L.-C.I.O. prepares to endorse President Obama on Tuesday, labor leaders say they will mount their biggest campaign effort, with far more union members than ever before — at least 400,000, they say — knocking on voters’ doors to counter the well-endowed “super PACs” backing Republicans.

    The same Supreme Court ruling in 2010 that set the stage for these political action committees to accept unlimited donations also allowed unions to send their foot soldiers to visit not just union members at home, but also voters who do not belong to unions — a move expected to increase labor’s political clout significantly in this year’s elections.

    Unions first used their expanded ability in a big way in Ohio last November to educate and mobilize both union and nonunion voters in a battle to repeal a law that curbed bargaining rights for Ohio’s teachers, firefighters and other public employees. Spurred by 17,000 union volunteers, labor won in a blowout, with Ohioans voting 62 percent to 38 percent to repeal a law that the Republican-dominated Legislature had enacted seven months earlier.

    “That was a pretty big wake-up call to the Republican Party and also to the Democratic Party, because it showed what labor unions can do when they’re motivated and can reach out to voters across the board,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.

    With numerous super PACs expected to broadcast a flood of TV spots in support of the Republican nominee, the Obama campaign is looking to organized labor to play a major role in offsetting that. Labor leaders say they expect unions to spend $400 million this year on national, state and local elections — including $100 million by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees — but they say their ground troops, not money, is labor’s signal contribution.

    Union officials assert that the elections this November, at the national and state levels, are vital to labor’s future because Republicans have made repeated efforts to undermine unions, whether through Wisconsin’s legislation to curb public sector collective bargaining, Indiana’s “right to work” law or Congressional efforts to weaken the National Labor Relations Board.

    Labor leaders voice confidence that they can rally millions of blue-collar voters behind President Obama in battleground states like Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

    “Look at what we’ve already seen this year — the super PACs have spent tens of millions of dollars,” Richard L. Trumka, the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s president, said in an interview. “We’re going to counter that by getting people out. We’ll never be able to match them with money.”

  36. Ametia says:


  37. Politico 44 ‏ @politico44:

    Clinton on bin Laden mission: Obama “took the harder and the more honorable path”

  38. Ametia says:

    Kentucky is NCAA overall top seed

    This time around, the madness began before the brackets even came out.

    Kentucky, Syracuse and North Carolina all earned top seeding for the NCAA tournament Sunday despite weekend losses that brought even more intrigue to the three-week, 67-game tournament better known as March Madness.

    Michigan State earned the other No. 1 seed and was the only one of the four top-billed teams to win its conference tournament. The Spartans defeated Ohio State 68-64 in the Big Ten title game — a contest widely viewed as the game for the last No. 1 seed, even if selection committee chairman Jeff Hathaway wouldn’t quite go there.

  39. Ametia says:

    Nice photos of Bobbi Kristina…

    ‘Mom’s spirit is with me’: Bobbi Kristina reveals she wants to follow in Whitney Houston’s footsteps in emotional first interview with Oprah
    By Sarah Fitzmaurice

    She has seen the negative effects fame can bring but Bobbi Kristina Brown has revealed that she is set for a career in acting and singing – just like her mother Whitney Houston.

    In a revealing and touching interview with Oprah Winfrey which aired in the U.S last night, the 19-year-old spoke about her mother’s death for the first time.

    Bobbi told Oprah that she wants to carry on her mother’s legacy and how she hears her mother’s spirit all the time encouraging her.


    Read more:

  40. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Jueseppi. We LOVE you right back! :-)

  41. rikyrah says:

    Alienating 53% of the electorate
    By Steve Benen – Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:33 AM EDT.

    In 2008, women represented 53% of the American electorate. Four years later, and with the 19th Amendment still intact, Republicans have reason to be concerned about the antagonism between the GOP and more than half of the country’s voters.

    A new Washington Post/ABC News poll, for example, asked respondents, “[W]hich political party would you say cares more about issues that are especially important to women?” Democrats led Republicans by 25 points, 55% to 30%.

    What’s more, Karen Tumulty noted the other day that when an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll asked last summer which party should control Congress, women preferred a Democratic majority, 46% to 42%. Last week, that margin had grown to 15 points.

    Over the weekend, the New York Times had an interesting piece on women feeling increasingly alienated by the Republican agenda. The lede referenced a baby shower attended by someone named Mary Russell.

    “We all agreed that this seemed like a throwback to 40 years ago,” said Ms. Russell, 57, a retired teacher from Iowa City who describes herself as an evangelical Christian and “old school” Republican of the moderate mold.

    Until the baby shower, just two weeks ago, she had favored Mitt Romney for president.

    Not anymore. She said she might vote for President Obama now. “I didn’t realize I had a strong viewpoint on this until these conversations,” Ms. Russell said. As for the Republican presidential candidates, she added: “If they’re going to decide on women’s reproductive issues, I’m not going to vote for any of them. Women’s reproduction is our own business.”

    Obviously, it’s a mistake to draw sweeping conclusions from the perspective of one individual, though when the GOP is pushing away a self-described evangelical Christian in Iowa, that’s can’t be encouraging.

    Indeed, the larger point is that we’re not just talking about one woman who attended a recent gathering in her community, but rather, Mary Russell isn’t alone. In addition to the recent polls, the NYT added that “dozens of interviews in recent weeks have found that moderate Republican and independent women — one of the most important electoral swing groups — are disenchanted by the Republican focus on social issues like contraception and abortion.”

    It’s against this backdrop that President Obama’s re-election campaign is beginning “an intensified effort this week to build support among women, using the debate over the new health care law to amplify an appeal that already appears to be benefiting from partisan clashes over birth control and abortion.”

    The gender gap was pretty enormous four years ago. Don’t be surprised if it’s even bigger in November.

  42. rikyrah says:

    How The Affordable Care Act Could Quash The GOP’s Dream Of Medicare Privatization
    Sahil Kapur- March 12, 2012, 5:40 AM

    What if “Obamacare” not only helped save Medicare from fiscal doom, but also quashed the GOP’s longstanding goal of privatizing the program? It’s too early to know what will ultimately happen, but new evidence suggests that nightmare scenario for conservatives is within the realm of possibility.

    In a development with potentially profound implications — both for Medicare itself and for the broader ideological fight between the two parties over the role of government — researchers writing in the New England Journal of Medicine believe that the growth in per patient Medicare costs has slowed, contra earlier projections that spending would soar at an unsustainable rate. More importantly, the researchers believe this trend will hold over time, thanks largely to the Affordable Care Act’s sweeping cost-control policies.

    It’s not yet clear whether the trend will be permanent — one key reason cost growth has slowed has nothing to do with policy or innovation, but rather that the economy has been depressed for years. But the ACA expanded on provider payment savings policies from the 2000s and adopted a plethora of new measures, some of which are already proving successful at reducing spending. On top of that, U.S. medical cost growth, long having exceeded other areas of the economy, is currently at a five-decade low and more closely in line with GDP.

    “On the whole, we do not believe that the recent slowdown in Medicare spending growth is a fluke,” wrote the researchers Chapin White and Paul Ginsburg. Thanks to the cost-control reforms over the last decade, they added, “the CBO projects that over the next decade Medicare spending per enrollee will grow substantially more slowly than the overall economy.” They argued that the ACA in particular lays the framework for longer term cost-control by transitioning the provider reimbursement system from paying for quantity to paying for quality, something even Republicans quietly believe is a good idea.

    If the cost-growth slowdown continues into the foreseeable future, it could have dramatic implications on the future of health care policy.

    The conservative movement has disliked Medicare ever since its inception in the early 1960s, when Ronald Reagan argued it would spell the end of freedom in America. Half a century after enactment, Republicans have found a potent pretext to dismantle the senior safety-net program: impending fiscal doom. Indeed, official projections in recent years have found that Medicare spending is on course to swallow the entire federal budget in half a century. And that has been the central justification for the GOP’s plan, written by Rep. Paul Ryan, to phase out traditional Medicare and replace it with a subsidized private insurance system.

    But if the NEJM projections hold, the threat of fiscal catastrophe would lose steam. And that means Republicans would have to resort to ideological arguments against Medicare if they want to end its basic structure — a hard sell given the program’s immense popularity. Prior efforts to dramatically scale back Medicare benefits have fallen flat, and without being able to portray privatization or “premium support” as critical to avoiding fiscal apocalypse, as Ryan does on a regular basis, there’s no reason to expect a different outcome.

  43. rikyrah says:

    Mary Brown, ‘Obamacare’ foe — and broke
    A woman whose case is before the Supreme Court is an exemplar of a problem the healthcare law was designed to address.

    March 11, 2012
    Mary Brown, whose case against the 2010 healthcare reform law is pending before the Supreme Court, argues that the government shouldn’t be able to force her to carry health insurance. Joined by three other individuals and a small-business trade association, she’s asking the justices to rule that the law’s insurance mandate is unconstitutional and that the rest of the act should be thrown out with it. But new revelations about her own situation make the case for the other side.

    As The Times’ David Savage reported, Brown and her husband have fallen on hard times since filing the lawsuit, largely because their auto repair business in Florida failed. The couple have filed for bankruptcy protection, asking a federal court to wipe out close to $60,000 in consumer debts. Significantly, their unpaid bills include $2,750 owed to a local hospital and physicians group and $1,735 to out-of-state medical specialists.

    The disclosures are political gold for the Obama administration, transforming Brown from a champion of individual liberty into an exemplar of a problem the new law was designed to address. Uninsured and underinsured Americans rack up about $60 billion in medical bills every year that they cannot afford, forcing doctors and hospitals to pass those costs on to federal taxpayers and those patients who can pay their bills. It’s not impinging on personal freedom to ask people to cover their own medical tabs. The mechanism Congress created to do that is the individual mandate.

    The insurance mandate and premium subsidies in the healthcare law are expected to significantly reduce the amount of uncompensated care and cost shifting. The mandate also helps balance the law’s insurance reforms, which bar companies from denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions and from making their policies prohibitively expensive. To prevent people from signing up for coverage when they need treatment, then dropping it when they’re healthy, Congress required all adult Americans to maintain health insurance coverage or pay a tax penalty.

    Brown and her allies contend that the law wouldn’t work as Congress intended if the mandate were removed, so the entire act must be scrapped if the mandate is found unconstitutional. But her own complaints about the cost illustrate the flaw in that reasoning. Much of the law is aimed at slowing the growth of healthcare expenses and improving the quality of care. Those provisions are still valuable regardless of what happens to the mandate. Nor do the insurance reforms fail if the mandate is eliminated. Lawmakers would simply have to find another mechanism to discourage people who can afford insurance from gaming the system. Republicans in Congress have proposed several ways to do so, including financial penalties and waiting periods for people who seek insurance only when they need treatment.,0,3670021.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MostEmailed+%28L.A.+Times+-+Most+E-mailed+Stories%29

  44. rikyrah says:

    Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 07:00 PM PDT.

    Mitt Romney, incompetent campaigns, and anti-Southern elitism
    by Steve Singier

    When watching Republican presidential frontrunner (it’s safe to start calling him that again) Mitt Romney campaign in the South, I cannot help but think about John Kerry.
    It is not because of anything Kerry did or didn’t do during his ultimately unsuccessful 2004 bid for the White House. And it is not because Kerry and Romney share a bunch of common threads. Sure, both are well-heeled men who forged their political careers in Massachusetts, but that’s just about where the similarities end.

    I think of John Kerry because I cannot even begin to imagine how badly the traditional media, to say nothing of the GOP, would have obliterated Kerry for the kind of campaign performance Romney has put on display in the South over the past month. Let’s face it—that would have been a sight to see.

    Perhaps some would write this off as overly sensitive, but is there any way to look at Romney’s performance last month at Daytona, coupled with this week’s performance campaigning in the Deep South, and not see a particularly obvious strain of anti-Southern elitism? And I am not talking about the faux elitism visited upon Kerry in 2004 (“he windsurfs!” “he looks French!”). This was the real stuff.

    Either Mitt Romney is the most socially awkward legitimate presidential candidate in modern history, or he is a snob with contempt for the South. Sorry, there doesn’t appear to be much middle ground in this particular case.

    For those unfamiliar, a brief recap of Romney’s greatest hits:

    While visiting Daytona International Speedway for the anticipated (but eventually rain delayed) start of the Daytona 500, Romney attempted to cite common cause with NASCAR fans by pointing out that while he’s not necessarily a fan of the sport, he had some “great friends” that owned some of the teams.
    Once there, he took the distance between himself and the fans a bit further with this amazing moment when meeting with NASCAR fans assembled at the event:

    The crowd initially booed Mr. Romney, who occasionally struck a discordant note, as when he approached a group of fans wearing plastic ponchos. “I like those fancy raincoats you bought,” he said. “Really sprung for the big bucks.”
    “Really sprung for the big bucks”? Can you imagine a Democratic politician throwing that line out, and still politically surviving?
    Then, when asked about the issue while being fluffed interviewed by Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, Romney actually doubled down:

    O’REILLY: You know whenever you make a joke like you did at the NASCAR race and you said you saw some people in these cheap little rain coats and you go way to spend the big bucks. And you know you’re always going to be portrayed as a rich guy who is out of touch with the folks, condescending to the folks. Am I correct? I mean that’s the way you’re going to be portrayed no matter what you do?
    ROMNEY: Yes, you’re probably right. I mean, the narrative that the – – that the Obama people want to push and that members of the mainstream media are very anxious to do for them is that anything I do, the joking around and having fun that somehow that fits their narrative.

    O’REILLY: Yes, you’re going to be a snob and this, that, and the other thing. So is it worth it for you even to say those things?

    ROMNEY: Well you know, it’s hard to imagine all the things they’re going to try and turn into attacks. I mean, that — that’s the first time you’ve — I’ve heard the one you’ve mentioned. Look I have worn a garbage bag for rain gear myself. And we’re out there in the rain. And the rain was getting us soaked. I didn’t — I didn’t have a rain coat myself. I would have liked one of those.

    Leaving aside it was the sneering “big bucks” comment that was the issue, and not the ponchos themselves, calling a plastic rain poncho a “garbage bag” was a nice added touch.
    Fresh from Super Tuesday, Romney decided to set expectations low for next week’s Alabama and Mississippi primaries. But to do so by declaring the Deep South a”bit of an away game”? Again, hard not to imagine a press frenzy if a liberal Democrat wrote off a region of the country as “an away game.”
    And then, earlier this week, the grand finale—while campaigning in Pascagoula, Misssissippi, Romney dropped the following bit of awesomeness:

    “I’m learning to say ‘y’all’ and I like grits. Strange things are happening to me.”
    Y’all. Grits. I think many of us had the same reaction upon hearing that sentence: “you have gotta be shitting me.”

  45. rikyrah says:

    Rush saw his shadow today. Six more weeks of stupidity…

    by Margaret and Helen

    Margaret, evidently you and I are sluts, and so are the majority of women who live in this country. Well good for us. I have always said that well-behaved women rarely make history. I have also said that Rush Limbaugh is a big fat pig. Pigs and sluts. Sadly, that’s what this has all boiled down to.

    In 2008, the Democratic Party had a tough decision to make. Would we give America its first female President or would we give American its first African-American President? Would we turn the corner on sexism in this country or racism? Would we finally rise above hate and bigotry and make a statement that we truly are the land of the free? Either way, we would profoundly change the world for the better. And that we did. At the same time, over in the Republican camp, that party was trying to decide if you could see Russia from Sarah Palin’s kitchen window.

    This year the Republicans have another tough decision to make as well. Will they decide that Mormonism is a cult or will they decide that women who use birth control are sluts? It’s a tough call. But either way we will profoundly change the definition of just how stupid is stupid. God Bless America.

    Margaret, the Republicans had a meeting about birth control and didn’t include a single woman – kind of like the Catholic Church but without the funny hats. It’s like inviting Rush Limbaugh to a Jenny Craig convention or like Sarah Palin calling a family meeting and forgetting to bring the early pregnancy test sticks. Why bother?

    I’ll bet you a dollar to a donut that most of the Republican men at that meeting have a bottle of Viagra in their medicine cabinet. Why is it so hard to understand that birth control makes for better healthcare for women? And honestly why is it so hard to see that Rush is a college drop out drug addict who – like most addicts – will say anything for a buck. As entertainment that’s comedy gold, but his being a powerful Republican spokesperson ought to tell you just how low the Republican Party has sunk. You just can’t make this kind of bullshit up.

    I wish November would get here already so Obama can go back to fixing what’s wrong with this country.

    I mean it. Really

  46. rikyrah says:

    March 12, 2012
    Post hoc ergo propter hoc

    All that Sputnik-inspired money poured into American education, all that pride in American literacy, all those American cable and satellite connections to the Information Superhighway — and yet at least half the country still stumbles through its medieval day believing that the cock’s crowing caused the sun to rise.

    From the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll:

    Fifty percent of Americans see the Obama administration as having the power to do something about the cost of a gallon of gasoline … [and] Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they disapprove of the way the president is handling the situation.

    I, for one, would prefer that Obama do something ameliorative about this windy weather in March before he pauses from his despotic meddling in our already perfect healthcare system to order home deliveries of $2.50-a-gallon gasoline, as well as free eggs, nickel beer, and ponies for everybody. Yet my seething, not-really-threatening, thrice-daily letters to the White House about our neglected meteorological needs have yielded nothing but presidential indifference (and, possibly, 24/7 FBI surveillance).

    Tin-foilers of the world, unite!

  47. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 08:50 AM ET, 03/12/2012

    The Morning Plum: How rising gas prices put Obama at risk
    By Greg Sargent

    Most economists think the recovery is accelerating, and that it’s real. Yet in the new Post/ABC News poll, Obama’s approval numbers are dropping. It’s the first clear sign that rising gas prices could imperil his reelection chances — by imposing additional hardship on struggling voters otherwise inclined to believe the economy is improving.

    The poll finds that Obama’s overall approval is down to 46-50; his approval on the economy is upside down at 38-59. After gains among independents and downscale whites, the new poll finds disapproval among them running high, at 57 percent and 66 percent. After leading Mitt Romney, Obama is now statistically tied with him, 47-49.

    And yet the poll also finds that public optimisim about the economy is rising. A 49 percent plurality say they’re optimistic about the state of the economy, up from 44-52 at the end of last year; two-thirds, 66 percent, are optimistic about their own families’ financial situation. The public is evenly split, 49-49, on whether their personal experiences indicate the economy is recovering — up significantly since January.

    Do gas prices explain the disparity? Eighty-nine percent say they’re concerned about them; 63 pecent say gas prices have caused them financial hardship. Respondents say by 50-45 that there’s something the Obama administration can do to reduce gas prices. Obama’s approval on the issue is at an abysmal 26-65.

    In all these findings you see two major GOP attack lines converging. By relentlessly blaming Obama for the financial hardships rising gas prices are imposing on swing voters, Republicans are trying to make them less willing to credit Obama for the recovery, perhaps leaving them more receptive to the other GOP argument — that the economy is only improving in spite of Obama’s policies, and not because of them.

  48. rikyrah says:

    What hath Rush wrought?
    By Steve Benen – Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:41 AM EDT.
    Getty Images

    Limbaugh may notice trouble for his industry on the horizon.
    One of the key angles to the recent controversy surrounding Rush Limbaugh has to do with advertisers: at last count, 51 sponsors of the Republican’s show have pulled their support, leading to a “dead air” problem in at least one major market.

    As it turns out, though, it’s not just Limbaugh. The larger set of circumstances — the public backlash to the host’s misogyny, social-media activism, advertisers’ reluctance to take sides in a culture war — has affected a broader group of far-right hosts in an unexpected way.

    Premiere Networks is circulating a list of 98 advertisers who want to avoid “environments likely to stir negative sentiments.” The list includes carmakers (Ford, GM, Toyota), insurance companies (Allstate, Geico, Prudential, State Farm) and restaurants (McDonald’s, Subway).

    Premiere Radio syndicates Limbaugh’s show, but the network has heard from these dozens of high-profile advertisers — which, collectively, are worth millions of dollars in ad revenue — each of whom want to avoid sponsorship of content that may be “deemed to be offensive or controversial.” Among the other hosts included on the list are Mark Levin, Tom Leykis, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity.

    It’s brought the industry to an unexpected point: Limbaugh has become so toxic, major advertisers want to avoid him and other shock jocks who might be as offensive as he is. As John Avlon noted over the weekend, “Rush Limbaugh made the right-wing talk-radio industry, and he just might break it.”

    [T]he irony is that the same market forces that right-wing talk-radio hosts champion are helping to seal their fate. Advertisers are abandoning the shows because they no longer want to be associated with the hyperpartisan — and occasionally hateful — rhetoric. They are finally drawing a line because consumers are starting to take a stand. […]

    When big money starts shifting, it is a sign of a deeper tide that is difficult to undo, even if you are an industry icon like Rush Limbaugh. It is a sign that the times are changing.

    The free market at work.

  49. rikyrah says:

    Cheeky Ohio Democratic Senator and her Viagra Bill
    by ABL 2.0

    I’m loving this new game of Bill/Counter-Bill that seems to be trending in legislatures nationwide, as Republicans introduce draconian Handmaids-Tale-esque laws and Democrats return fire with purposefully absurd bills. These bills are introduced, of course, to highlight the absurdity of the current legislative war that Republicans are waging against women.

    We’ve seen a “no sperm is sacred” bill in Oklahoma ; a bill banning vasectomies in Georgia; and a rectal amendment bill in Virginia, among others.

    Well, Ohio has thrown its whimsical hat into the ring with a bill that would regulate men’s access to erectile dysfunction drugs like Cialis and Viagra:

    Before getting a prescription for Viagra or other erectile dysfunction drugs, men would have to see a sex therapist, receive a cardiac stress test and get a notarized affidavit signed by a sexual partner affirming impotency, if state Sen. Nina Turner has her way.

    The Cleveland Democrat introduced Senate Bill 307 this week.

    A critic of efforts to restrict abortion and contraception for women, Turner says she is concerned about men’s reproductive health… Turner said if state policymakers want to legislate women’s health choices through measures such as House Bill 125, known as the ‘Heartbeat bill,’ they should also be able to legislate men’s reproductive health.

    Marvelous. More of these please.

  50. rikyrah says:

    Sunday Night Open Thread: Eat A Cookie!
    by Anne Laurie

    Scott ‘Cosmo Boy’ Brown may brag about his NRA credentials, but Elizabeth Warren has mad knife skills:

    … I really, really didn’t want to arm twelve little girls with knives, particularly when a couple of the girls were fairly excitable. But I couldn’t deny the girls’ argument that the safe use of a knife was a basic cooking skill, and they all absolutely, positively promised to be responsible, calm and careful. So I agreed. The hardest part was borrowing extra paring knives from all the neighbors with the explanation that I wanted to give them to children.

    The big day came, and we drilled on the basics: how to walk with a knife (at your side, never in front of you), how to hold a knife for cutting, and how to care for a cutting board. We successfully cut bananas with table knives, bread with serrated knives, and—the pinnacle—we cut celery, tomatoes, and green peppers with sharp paring knives, and best of all, without injury.

    I don’t know if these girls graduated to fancier knife work, but I do know that they learned friendship, leadership and fun. Even now, I sometimes think of the rules of knife use—and I miss my Brownies….

    Well, it made me laugh. Yes, I was a Brownie once, and a Junior Scout too, although I was never very good at group participation projects. And while Juliette Gordon Low (good Suthrun lady that she was) doesn’t seem to have been much of a suffragette, her very public activism despite significant hearing loss made her a disability rights activist by the standards of her era.

    Apart from celebrating a hundred years of proto-female empowerment, what’s on the agenda for the upcoming week?

  51. rikyrah says:

    Toto, I Don’t Think We’re in Oz Anymore
    By Charles P. Pierce
    at 7:00PM

    So Rick Santorum — and, incidentally, have I mentioned recently what a colossal dick he is? — won the Kansas caucuses on Saturday by something of a handy margin. And there was great rejoicing among the god-botherers and fetus-fetishists and doctor-shoote… oh, Lord, there I go again, offending against civility. Somebody’s going to get all upset if I point out (again) that, for doctors seeking to enable women to exercise their constitutional rights, Kansas is something of a shooting gallery. And that an awful lot of people who spend an awful lot of time deploring such things — almost always after the fact — probably showed up to give Santorum yet another big win. Frankly, the state of Kansas is out of its goddamn mind these days, but it’s also ground zero in the current war on the unauthorized-by-Jeebus use of ladyparts, thanks to Governor Sam Brownback, who is what the Council of Trent had in mind for a governor of Kansas, and that was in 1545. Sam sat this one out, officially, but he did share a stage with Santorum.

    Kansas is also central to the great conundrum of the Republican party. There is no question that the attitudes and beliefs driving the Republican party of Kansas are the attitudes and beliefs that are driving the party as a whole toward, paradoxically, nominating Willard Romney in Tampa come August. This massive cognitive dissonance is very likely an unsolvable problem. Sooner or later, Romney’s going to have to cut a major deal with these people — the VP, some serious and visible planks in the platform — and, no matter how accustomed he’s become to looking publicly ridiculous over the past five years, Romney’s going to pay a serious price for what he’s going to be compelled to do just to keep the people who think like Santorum in the hall. The Republican party, for a number of reasons, has a political base that has little or no loyalty to the formal institution of the Republican party, and that does have profound and unshakable loyalty to attitudes and beliefs that are orbiting so distantly from common sense that the Hubble can’t find them. The Democrats have a grumbly, disloyal base, too — I’m often part of it — but the grumbling is based on a difference of opinion over how one responds politically to actual events, and not to the notion that Hezbollah is forming up in Nicaragua, preparing to invade Corpus Christi, and not to the notion that global climate change is a “hoax” ginned up in the faculty lounge so a bunch of scientists can get rich. Reality-based community, my ass, Karl.

    And, also, this is the casual slander that passes for political thought among the people with whom Romney cannot be nominated for president:

    In his appearance in Topeka, Santorum lashed out at Romney, saying that the former Massachusetts governor “can’t wait” for the primary season to be over so that he can “get back in his comfort zone.” He added, “We already have one president who doesn’t tell the truth to the American people. We don’t need another nominated by our party to do the same. Gov. Romney reinvents himself for whatever the political occasion calls for.”

    It is now permissible in the Republican party to say anything you want about the incumbent president of the United States. I’m going to open comments for someone to prove to me that a Democratic candidate in, say, 2004 came that close to calling George W. Bush a liar. The general election campaign is going to be the most savage and truthless exercise that money can buy, and the money involved is going to be able to buy a lot. The GOP is one small step from having one of its politicians drop an N-bomb on TV. Watching Willard Romney have to reinvent himself as a barbarian is going to be the best show in town.

  52. rikyrah says:

    Yglesias Award Nominee

    “You know, the economy may be getting better and Republicans may lose their edge on that issue,” – Rick Santorum.

  53. rikyrah says:

    If you believe in equal justice, you’re a “black radical”
    Sunday, March 11, 2012 | Posted by Deaniac83 at 12:02 PM

    We all know by now about the “radical hug” between Harvard Law Review President Barack Obama and the only contemporary tenured black professor at Harvard, Derrick Bell. The big “bombshell” moment is that two black intellectuals (didn’t that just make a chill go down your spine?) embraced. Student Obama introduced a professor who was protesting the lack of ethnic diversity on campus.

    The Right’s “OMG Obama is a black radical” meme that’s being fed here has two parts in this particular incarnation: first, portraying Professor Bell as a black radical, and second, intimating that Barack Obama too is a black radical – guilty by association with Prof. Bell. Neither of these narratives is true, of course. As Prof. Melissa Harris Perry pointed out on her segment on this subject on MSNBC yesterday, President Obama is being convicted in the court of conservative thought of the unforgivable crime of hugging a black man.

    We are all aware that every word spoken by every person you have ever locked arms in a cause with is not your responsibility. But while the Breitbartians are busy digging up disagreeable things that Prof. Bell said outside of that rally (like his apparent qualified praise of Louis Farrakhan a few years after the rally at Harvard) to foist on President Obama as if he had said those things himself, I think that it’s important to note just what about that particular rally that conservatives find so… radical. Evidently, it is the battle for racial social justice that is a ‘black radical’ idea.

    What the Late Professor Bell subscribed to is a theory race consciousness that involved combating institutionalized racism rather than just legal discrimination or personal racism. Prof. Bell is known as the father of critical race theory, which challenged certain notions of race-neutral justice.

    It’s an academic movement that looks at society and the law through a racial lens, and these days it’s more controversial than radical. The theory came around in the 1970s and ’80s as Bell and other law professors and activists became disillusioned with the results of the civil rights movement. Though blacks had supposedly gained equality before the law, they pointed out that whites continued to wield disproportionate power and enjoy superior standards of living. Classical liberal ideals such as meritocracy, equal opportunity, and colorblind justice, they said, actually served the white elite by cloaking and reinforcing society’s deep structural inequalities.

    Racism, according to this line of thought, is not a matter of bad behavior by individual racists; it’s embedded in American attitudes and institutions. Even with overt discrimination outlawed, institutional racism and unconscious biases—sometimes expressed through accidental slights, as when a white person praises a black person as “clean” and “articulate”—would keep minorities down.

    One need not agree in entirety with the whole of critical race theory to recognize the immense value in it. I, for example, do believe that meritocracy, equal opportunity, and truly colorblind justice are goals worthy of pursuing and attaining as a country. But there is no denying deep-seated institutionalized racism, the social and institutional consistency of white privilege, and the devastation of minority communities through desperately insufficient resources. From black inner city schools vs. schools in wealthy white suburbs to institutions of higher education, media, law, government and business, white privilege is looking you in the eye.

    There are those whose very political being rests upon denying white privilege and institutional racism even as they reap the benefits of it themselves. There is a whole political party in this country that thrives on the southern strategy – a political strategy based on outright racism, denying white privilege, and portraying measures to address deep social and political inequities as “reverse racism.” For these institutions and individuals, any discussion of racial inequality is ‘radical,’ just as any discussion of economic disparities is ‘class warfare.’ For these folks, that Barack Obama is black and president is bad enough, but that he dared to support a call for diversifying a faculty that had only one tenured black professor is absolutely outrageous.

    And so here we are with a desperate attempt to start a race war by the Breitbartians and the Fox “News” people. Oh, they are talking radical alright. They are talking about a few ‘radical’ notions: the first ‘radical’ notion is white privilege. Secondly, in their view, it is ‘radical’ to simply point out institutionalized racism. Their third and final ‘radical’ notion is intellectualism in discussing the issues of race.

    “Black radical” – the term these conservative media outlets are using to describe Prof. Bell, and by association, President Obama – is nothing more than a thinly veiled synonym for “uppity nigger.” It is meant to limit the movement for racial equity to minorities only, denying the immense contributions of – and trying to end the future participation of – white people who have dedicated their lives to equal justice. It is meant to demean, delegitimize, and marginalize minorities (especially African Americans) demanding equal justice. It is meant to shut down any meaningful evaluation of socio-economic public policies that perpeuate institutional racism. And in no small part, it is directed to delegitimize President Obama by scaring old southern white people of smart black people.

  54. rikyrah says:

    Ohio Cracks Up
    By Charles P. Pierce at 3:27PM

    Good thing the primary’s over, and we don’t have to confront the question of why all four Republican presidential candidates are so bjectively pro-earthquake:

    The improper placement of the Youngstown well stemmed in part from inadequate geological data being available to regulators, the Ohio report states. New rules would require a complete roll of geophysical logs to be submitted to the state. “These logs were not available to inform regulators of the possible issues in geologic formations prior to well operation,” the document says.

    This is a nice, delicate bureaucratic way of stating a fundamental truth: The extraction industries do not care how much damage they do to the rest of it and, when called upon it, will stonewall and lie and try to buy their way out of it. When you hear any politician talk about “sufficient safeguards” on technology like this, bear in mind that you are hearing the functional equivalent of “gentle cobras.”

  55. rikyrah says:

    #Wisconsin still looks mad from here
    By Laura Conaway – Sun Mar 11, 2012 7:48 PM EDT.

    An estimated 65,000 people gathered at the Wisconsin state capitol yesterday to mark the one-year anniversary of Governor Scott Walker’s bill stripping union rights from public employees.

    Governor Walker spent the anniversary making headlines for his new legal defense fund, part of the ongoing John Doe investigation into allegations against his staff back when he was Milwaukee County executive. With regard to his union-stripping law, the governor sent a National Tea Party Alert for funds to help ward off a recall. “It is time to stop these out-of-state special interests in their tracks and let them know that our conservative values will not be taken lightly,” he wrote, followed by a plea to give “whatever you can afford.”

  56. rikyrah says:

    The Full Clinton
    by Zandar

    Via Alan Colmes this morning:

    Republican Congressman Walter Jones wants to impeach President Obama over his actions in Libya. House Concurrent Resolution 107 is his bill, which begins:

    Expressing the sense of Congress that the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.

    And so it begins. Perhaps the resolution should be called the Sad Attempt To Get Republican Turnout Act. Obama Derangement Syndrome, America’s greatest untapped unnatural resource.

  57. rikyrah says:

    Gov. Ultrasound struggles to defend his record
    By Steve Benen – Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.

    Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) sat down with David Gregory on “Meet the Press” yesterday, and though he had to know the question was coming, the Republican still struggled to defend his record on forced ultrasounds.

    The host asked the governor a pretty straightforward question: “You backed an abortion bill initially that included a very invasive procedure as part of an ultrasound that the state would have required and then you backed off of that. Were you wrong to support that initially or did you simply back off because the political heat got turned up the way it did?”

    Under the circumstances, that was hardly an unfair inquiry. McDonnell had announced his support for a measure that would have required women in Virginia to undergo a state-mandated vaginal probe in order to terminate a pregnancy. Once the proposal generated a national controversy, the governor dropped his support and opted for a different forced-ultrasound measure.

    Despite weeks of debate, McDonnell struggled with Gregory’s question, repeatedly trying to change the subject. For those who can’t watch clips online, the full transcript is available, but after repeated exchanges, the Virginia governor eventually offered this underwhelming defense.

    GREGORY: This was the state of the Virginia mandating women have an additional procedure, a mandated health procedure. I thought that’s exactly what conservatives opposed?

    McDONNELL: David, this was about stating what informed consent is and saying that women have a right to know certain things before a procedure. Every invasive procedure has an informed consent requirement.

    This was the best the Republican could do, and after these two sentences, McDonnell changed the subject again.

    The Virginian obviously still hopes to be added to his party’s presidential ticket, but before McDonnell packs his bags for Tampa, he’ll need a more coherent explanation of his record.


    He publicly endorsed a proposal to require women, against the wishes of physicians, to undergo an invasive, medically-unnecessary procedure, because some right-wing culture warriors want to shame patients. McDonnell ended up signing an only-slightly-less outrageous measure that still requires Virginians to undergo state-mandated, medically-unnecessary ultrasounds, to satisfy the demands of far-right activists.

    Asked about this, the governor argues that “women have a right to know” about their pregnancy? McDonnell’s defense is, in effect, big-government paternalism?

    Good luck with the vetting process, gov.

  58. rikyrah says:

    I have a Sistafriend who just went through a bad time of things. She was trying to get out of a job that she hated, and thought she would have been good for a position at a company that she had been helping while at the job she hated. She didn’t understand why they wouldn’t hire her, because she was already doing the job they were advertising. I told her not to get bitter about it, and that I could just feel that these folks weren’t doing right.

    Well, yesterday she called me.

    The place that wouldn’t hire her – they’re under indictment, and all the folks that were nasty to her on her job search there, no longer have jobs, but need lawyers.

    I’ve said it before – Karma remains undefeated.

    And, best part – out of nowhere, my friend got a better position with a different from a month ago.

    Irony is wicked, and Karma=UNDEFEATED.

    • Ametia says:

      LOL YourSsistafrined is indeed DIVINELY protected. Congratulations, Sistafriend!

      What folks don’t realize about.

      KARMA is that it’s not a man-made law.

      KARMA IS A UNIVERSAL LAW, you know reaping & sowing, cause and effect.

  59. We love you back, Jueseppi!

  60. Newt Gingrich Has Not Talked To Rick Perry About VP Slot, Top Aide Says

    WASHINGTON — A senior aide to Newt Gingrich told The Huffington Post late Sunday that the former House Speaker from Georgia has not spoken with Texas Gov. Rick Perry about naming him as a running mate.

    “Of course we think very highly of Gov. Perry and appreciate very much his generous support, but this is not a topic the two principals have discussed,” Kevin Kellems, a senior adviser to Gingrich, told HuffPost in an e-mail.

    • LMBAO

      Why would he? Newt is NOT going to be the nominee; therefore he will NEVER be President of the United States of America.

      He might try for the President of Tiffany. That might work? Crying with Laughter

  61. Hat tip The

    Chicago Original Freestyle Steppin

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