Tuesday Open Thread

The Isley Brothers (play /ˈzl/ YZ-lee) is a highly influential, successful and long-running American music group consisting of different line-ups of six brothers, and a brother-in-law, Chris Jasper. The founding members were O’Kelly Isley, Jr., Rudolph Isley, Ronald Isley and Vernon Isley.

Starting their careers in the gospel performing circuit in the early 1950s, they eventually crossed over to secular music first finding modest success in doo-wop until the release of their first million-selling hit, “Shout“, in 1959. After several flops resulted in them being dropped from their record label, they found success again with sixties hits such as “Twist and Shout“, later covered successfully by The Beatles and the Motown hit, “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)” in 1962 and 1966 respectively. The group didn’t find success again until the end of the decade when their 1969 single, “It’s Your Thing“, (with Ernie Isley on bass guitar) was released. The song brought them success in the then-fledgling funk genre.

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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68 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread

  1. [wpvideo UiLuZoeT]

  2. Ametia says:


  3. Ametia says:

    Thinking While Black: Barack Obama, Race and the Politics of Conservative Smears
    Posted on March 12, 2012

    Forget Barack Obama’s praise for legal scholar Derrick Bell.

    Never mind his decades-long association with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

    Neither of these connections will matter once you get a load of what I’ve uncovered: a linkage between the president and someone at least as radical if not more so than either of those. A man whom President Obama has openly praised, and not just twenty-two years ago at some fairly innocuous law school protest, but regularly, in his books, in his speeches, repeatedly, over the course of his political career. Someone whom he has still never repudiated, as he did with Wright, no matter the many statements this individual is on record as making, and which line up rather nicely with many of Wright’s views.

    What does this radical for whom Obama has shown so much gushing and uncritical praise, say about economic issues? Only that capitalism is a system “permitting necessities to be taken from the many to give luxuries to the few,” and that, “Something is wrong with capitalism…Maybe America must move towards democratic socialism.”

    What does this militant, for whom the president shows so much love, say about white folks and race in America? Only that “Racism is a way of life for the vast majority of white Americans, spoken and unspoken, acknowledged and denied, subtle and sometimes not so subtle — the disease of racism permeates and poisons a whole body politic,” and that whites largely refuse to acknowledge “the debt that they owe a people who were kept in slavery,” for hundreds of years.


    And still, they can produce no one as towering in their greatness or as capable of moving Americans as a Dr. King.

    That must hurt. To know that while we on the left have heroes like that, they must make do with John Wayne, Jerry Falwell, James O’Keefe and the recently departed Andrew Breitbart.

    As the saying goes, haters gonna hate. But at least they could do us all a favor and apply their hate consistently.


  4. rikyrah says:

    MSNBC just called MS for Little Ricky

  5. rikyrah says:

    they already called Alabama for Little Ricky

  6. rikyrah says:

    let me say it..

    I gotta say it…

    you know it’s on the tip of my tongue…


    there’s two things.

    1. This woman couldn’t even win a debate against BO.

    2. Bitch, please!


    Sarah Palin challenges Obama to debate
    By Alicia M. Cohn – 03/13/12 12:37 PM ET

    Sarah Palin shot back at the Obama reelection campaign this week after it used footage of her in a fundraising video.

    “I’m not running for any office, but I’m more than happy to accept the dubious honor of being Barack Obama’s ‘enemy of the week’ if that includes the opportunity to debate him on the issues Americans are actually concerned about,” Palin wrote in a note on her Facebook page, posted late Monday. Palin was responding to a Web video fundraising for Obama that uses recent footage of Palin criticizing the president.

    Palin also offered a challenge to Obama.

    “I’m willing and free to discuss these issues with the President anywhere, anytime,” Palin wrote.

    The Obama campaign released a video on Friday that calls out Palin by name. It charges: “Sarah Palin and the far right say President Obama will bring back racial discrimination … against white people.”

    Palin said it is an example of Obama’s “diversionary tactics” that “shows that our President sure seems fearful of discussing the economy, energy prices, and all the other problems people need addressed.”

    She proposed that Obama could also debate any of “the four patriots currently running for the GOP nomination” — Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum or Ron Paul — on the issues.


  7. Palin Challenges Obama to a Debate


    Sarah Palin responded on Facebook to President Obama’s reelection campaign after footage of her was used in a fundraising video.

    Said Palin: “I’m not running for any office, but I’m more than happy to accept the dubious honor of being Barack Obama’s ‘enemy of the week’ if that includes the opportunity to debate him on the issues Americans are actually concerned about.”

    She added: “I’m willing and free to discuss these issues with the President anywhere, anytime.”

  8. rikyrah says:

    Looking for an affordable rental market? Study says you’re out of luck

    March Rental Advice: The gap between tenant wages and housing costs is widening precipitously, forcing millions of Americans to make tough choices. Here’s a look at what’s happening with rent across the country, and some advice on what you can do if you’re having trouble paying your rent.

    By Karen Aho of MSN Real Estate

    For middle- and low-income tenants, things just keep getting worse.

    Tenants know this: The rent keeps going up. Housing counselors know this: More working families are struggling to pay rent and are coming in to seek help, afraid they’ll end up homeless. Now, here come the numbers.

    First was the report in February from the federal Center for Housing Policy, which revealed that an astonishing 1 in 4 working households in America — around 10.6 million families — spend more than half of their pre-tax income on housing, a level that experts say is unhealthy, if not impossible, to sustain.

    Then on Tuesday came the latest exhaustive and dismal data crunch from the National Low Income Housing Coalition: “Out of Reach 2012,” which finds that in no community in America is it possible to reasonably make the rent on minimum wage. In 86% of counties surveyed, even the average pay of tenants, which is about twice the minimum wage, won’t cut it.

    There’s a very serious gap between what rents cost and the amount of money that low-wage workers and elderly and disabled people or those on SSI (Supplemental Security Income) can afford,” says Sheila Crowley, the president and CEO of the coalition. “It’s obviously worse in some places than in others, but no place is rent-affordable.”

    The coalition study uses fair-market rent, the 40th percentile of area rent, and actual wage levels from U.S. labor surveys. It defines “affordable” housing as costing no more than 30% of gross income, the widely recommended standard. Nationally, the average fair-market rent for a two-bedroom home in 2012 is $949, meaning a full-time worker would need to make $18.25 an hour to pay rent without unduly straining the family budget, $4.10 more than the average tenant wage of $14.15 and 2.5 times the federal minimum wage of $7.25. You can use this tool to calculate your own housing wage


  9. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 04:43 PM ET, 03/13/2012
    A showdown on judicial nominations
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    Harry Reid and Senate Democrats have announced that they are moving to a showdown on judicial vacancies beginning as early as tomorrow, with Reid filing for cloture on 17 District court nominees who have cleared the Judiciary Committee.

    It’s about time! Regardless of partisan fighting, these positions are extremely important to the proper functioning of the judicial system, and Republicans have blocked them for far too long without Reid forcing the issue.

    As far as I know, it’s unprecedented to file so many cloture petitions at once. Of course, it’s a response to unprecedented obstruction; never before has the minority party attempted to derail so many nominations. Until 2009, the vast majority of District Court appointments were uncontroversial. Indeed, most of Barack Obama’s nominees at this level, including most or all of this group, are still uncontroversial. Very few Republicans, if any, oppose these particular people. They just don’t want to allow votes on them.

    Republicans are protesting that they are not stalling these nominees. Don’t be fooled. As Harry Reid said today, the Senate could easily “approve these judges in five minutes” if no one objected. And no one does object to these particular individuals. What we’re getting is stalling for the sake of stalling. In fact, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican Senator Lamar Alexander on the floor of the Senate today seemed to be claiming that Republicans had no intention of blocking the nominations…as long as Harry Reid agreed not to bring them up. No, that really was the gist of their argument.

    It’s not clear how Republicans will proceed and how it will all play out on the Senate floor. But this fight, over the district judge nominees who aren’t even controversial, is really just the warm-up for a looming, more-important battle over appeals judges who are also being filibustered by Republicans. Those, or at least some of those, are actually controversial. It’s not clear that Democrats have the votes for them, even if Dems are willing to fight hard. So we’ll see what happens with those. But first up is the fight over district judges, appointments that Republicans are delaying even though they don’t oppose them.

    It’s good to see the Majority Leader push ahead on this one. This is an area where neither Obama nor Senate Dems have shown nearly enough fight. Perhaps this signals that if Obama wins reelection, and Harry Reid returns as majority leader, the second term will be very different.


  10. rikyrah says:

    When Do We Get to See Obama’s Radicalism?
    Paul Waldman
    March 12, 2012

    Somehow, it’s always in the future.

    Last week I wrote a post mocking conservatives for their relentless search for the next secret videotape that will expose Barack Obama as a dangerous radical, the latest of which was the shocking revelation that as a law student, he supported his professor Derrick Bell’s efforts to diversify the Harvard Law School faculty. Unsurprisingly, conservatives reacted by saying that I just didn’t get it (here’s a sample). It’s worth saying a bit more about this phenomenon, because we surely haven’t seen the last of it, both in the campaign and in Obama’s second term, should he win one.

    The search for the radical associations in Obama’s pre-political history began almost as soon as Obama’s presidential candidacy began in 2007. Some conservatives (and that’s an important qualifier; many conservatives understand that this stuff is nuts) have been positively obsessed with uncovering Obama’s radical associations. They have also insisted that those associations are closer than anyone thinks. So it isn’t enough that Obama once served on a charitable board with former ’60s radical Bill Ayers; some want us to believe that Ayers actually ghostwrote Obama’s books! Obama didn’t just speak at a rally supporting Derrick Bell; he hugged Bell, which just shows how close they were!

    And all of this is supposed to lead to something, something about Obama’s presidency. Not even the craziest among the conspirators thinks that Obama is, today, taking orders from Ayers. But they would no doubt assert that he doesn’t have to, because in his youth Obama drank so deeply from their cup of extremist America-hating that he will be doing what the likes of Ayers want anyway.

    So here’s my question: When do we get to see Obama’s radicalism?

    I’m not talking about Affordable Care Act-type radicalism. I mean the real radicalism. The Weather Underground radicalism. The Black Panther radicalism. The dismantling of capitalism, the closing of the Defense Department, the demotion of white people to second-class citizenship. When is that going to come? Can they give us the litany of Obama policies that represent the realization of the visions of the ’60s radicals who supposedly control his mind across the decades?

    Because after all, the point of the supposedly shocking revelation about Obama’s past isn’t to help us understand what has already happened but to give us a preview of what is to come. For instance, some conservatives believe the auto bailout is a key component of Obama’s nefarious socialist plan. But you don’t need to know when Obama spoke with Bill Ayers 15 years ago or what he said about Derrick Bell 20 years ago to understand the auto bailout. You can look at the actual auto bailout. No, the shocking revelation is supposed to warn us about new radicalism, the radicalism to come that can only be appreciated if you grasp the full implications of the people Obama was hanging around with a couple of decades ago.

    So what exactly is it that they’re warning America about? When do we get to see this crazy radical Obama? If they’re pressed, there is an answer to this question: In his second term! That’s when the mask will be torn off, and the true Obama revealed. Sure, he might be governing like your average center-left Democrat now, but that’s only because he’s been lulling us into a false sense of security, so he can get re-elected and then begin his true project of remaking America, when Angela Davis gets nominated to the Supreme Court, private property is outlawed, and half the public gets herded onto collective farms. Or something.


  11. rikyrah says:

    The Murdoch End-Game?

    The deepening and darkening Murdoch mess in Britain is now threatening to entangle the prime minister. More from Mike Giglio on the increasing seriousness of the charges here. Money quote:

    Significantly, the arrests are not in relation to the illegal hacking of voicemails or payments to public officials, but to obstructing justice … Court documents released last month allege a so-called “email deletion policy” at News International, discussed by at least one unnamed senior executive, in which “hundreds of thousands of emails, on nine separate occasions, were destroyed,” according to the documents.

    Conspiracy to pervert the course of justice carries more serious legal implications than phone hacking. Tom Watson, the M.P. leading the campaign against Murdoch in Parliament, responded to news of the email deletion policy last month by tweeting, “the game is up @rupertmurdoch.”


  12. rikyrah says:

    The Hierarchy Re-Abuses The Sex Abuse Victims
    How hard is to to support the institutional hierarchy of the Catholic church these days? This hard:

    Mr. Donohue said leading bishops he knew had resolved to fight back more aggressively against the group SNAP, [Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests]: “The bishops have come together collectively. I can’t give you the names, but there’s a growing consensus on the part of the bishops that they had better toughen up and go out and buy some good lawyers to get tough. We don’t need altar boys.”

    He said bishops were also rethinking their approach of paying large settlements to groups of victims. “The church has been too quick to write a check, and I think they’ve realized it would be a lot less expensive in the long run if we fought them one by one,” Mr. Donohue said.

    Donohue is a thug. But he is for the hierarchy what Hannity is for the GOP base. And the line about “altar boys”? Sometimes, you realize that for some Catholics, nothing has changed since the revelation of the mass rape of children, altar boys often a prime target.


  13. Ametia says:

    Bill introduced to regulate men’s reproductive health
    Part of a trend, she likens the bill to men legislating ‘a woman’s womb.’
    By Jackie Borchardt, Columbus Bureau
    Updated 11:18 AM Monday, March 12, 2012

    COLUMBUS – 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’s bill joins a trend of female lawmakers submitting bills regulating men’s 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. Ohio anti-abortion advocates say the two can’t be compared.


  14. Ametia says:

    Ellen Gray

    Sarah Palin can still pack them in. Even when someone else is playing her.

    HBO’s “Game Change,” a chronicle — from the team behind HBO’s “Recount” — of the former Alaska governor’s candidacy for the vice presidency nearly four years ago, drew 2.1 million viewers in its initial run Saturday, making it the highest-rated HBO original film in nearly eight years.

    (Trivia buffs, take note: The last HBO film to do better in its premiere was “Something the Lord Made,” which drew 2.6 million viewers in May 2004.)

    Premieres, of course, are only a small part of HBO’s business, and it’s also happy today that “Game Change,” which stars Julianne Moore as Palin and Ed Harris as John McCain, drew 3.6 million pairs of eyeballs over the course of four weekend airings.

    Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/142468793.html#ixzz1p22MNw2v
    Watch sports videos you won’t find anywhere else

  15. rikyrah says:

    Quote of the Day
    By Steve Benen – Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:21 PM EDT.

    Campaign Management 101 argues there’s inherent value in getting a candidate out in public as often as possible, shaking hands and meeting people. A voter who meets a candidate in person is far more likely to cast a ballot for him or her.

    It’s counter-intuitive, but I tend to think Mitt Romney would actually be better off enjoying more quiet time by himself.

    “You might be shaking the president’s hand,” Mr. Romney told a man in Mobile, where a rainstorm forced his supporters to seek shelter on the porch of a cafe.

    Really, who talks like this? More importantly, who thinks like this?

    In polite society, people tend to say, “It’s nice to meet you.” Folks don’t generally say, “You must think it’s nice to meet me.”

    For all the talk on the right about Barack Obama being arrogant, I can’t recall him campaigning in 2008 and saying something like, “It must be great for a guy like you to be shaking hands with a guy like me.”

    In fairness, I should note that Romney seemed to realize his mistake yesterday, and added, “Then again, you might not.”

    That’s better, but it doesn’t quite change the fact that the Republican’s first instinct was to say, out loud, as arrogant a line I’ve heard from a presidential candidate in a long while.


  16. rikyrah says:

    the Evil One is back:

    Dick Cheney deems Canada excessively dangerous
    By Steve Benen – Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:25 PM EDT.

    This is what life is like now for Dick Cheney.

    The former vice president has reportedly canceled an April appearance in Toronto because of concern about security in Canada.

    “He felt that in Canada the risk of violent protest was simply too high,” said Ryan Ruppert, president of promotions company Spectre Live, according to Canada’s National Post.

    Ruppert’s company had booked Cheney for an April 24 appearance at the Metro Toronto Convention Center.

    If this sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because Cheney has had some trouble north of the border before. In September, the former U.S. vice president was in Vancouver to promote his book, and was forced to stay in his hotel room for several hours when protesters surrounded his hotel.

    Now, it’s possible the cancellation is a face-saving move, used as an excuse to paper over poor ticket sales. But that’s obviously speculative, and it doesn’t take away from the startling nature of the official line: Cheney is ducking Toronto because he considers it unsafe.

    Incidentally, Cheney is using Spectre to line up his events? The scandal-plagued politician, who embraced war and torture, is relying on a promotional company that has the exact same name as an evil organization from the James Bond franchise?

    I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried


  17. rikyrah says:

    I would argue this is no different than taking an airplane”
    by Kay

    A Wisconsin judge on Monday struck down the state’s voter identification law less than a week after another judge temporarily stopped it, complicating plans for state officials who want the law in place for the upcoming April 3 presidential primary. Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess issued the permanent injunction, finding the law unconstitutional because it would abridge the right to vote.

    I’m madly in love with this injunction, granted, but reading the language the judge chooses here, I’m really struck by how conservatives have managed to change the whole way we talk about voting. We’ve somehow wandered very, very far from the idea that voting is a right.

    From the Wisconsin judge, yesterday (pdf):

    Article III is unambiguous, and means exactly what it says. It creates both necessary and sufficient requirements for qualified voters. Every United States citizen 18 years of age or older who resides in an election district in Wisconsin is a qualified elector in that district, unless excluded by duly enacted laws barring certain convicted felons or adjudicated incompetents/partially incompetents. The government may not disqualify an elector who possesses those qualifications on the grounds that the voter does not satisfy additional statutorily created qualifications not contained in Article III, such as a photo ID.

    As our Supreme Court stated 132 years ago: “The elector possessing the qualifications prescribed by the constitution is invested with the constitutional right to vote at any election in this state. For the orderly exercise of the right resulting from these qualifications it is admitted that the legislature must prescribe necessary regulations as to the places, mode and manner, and whatever else may be required to insure its full and free exercise. But this duty and right inherently imply that such regulations are to be subordinate to the enjoyment of the right, the exercise of which is regulated. The right must not be impaired by the regulation. It must be regulation purely, not destruction. If this were not an immutable
    principle, elements essential to the right itself might be invaded, frittered away, or entirely exscinded, under the name or pretence of regulation, and thus would the natural order of things be subverted by making the principle subordinate to the accessory.

    If the mode or method, or regulations, prescribed by law for such purpose, and to such end, deprive a fully qualified elector of his right to vote at an election, without his fault and against his will, and require of him what is impracticable or impossible, and make his right to vote depend upon a condition which he is unable to perform, they are as destructive of his constitutional right, and make the law itself as void, as if it directly and arbitrarily disfranchised him without any pretended cause or reason, or required of an elector qualifications additional to those named in the constitution. It would be attempting to do indirectly what no one would claim could be done directly.

    …For that reason no right is more jealously guarded and protected by the departments of government under our constitutions, federal and state, than is the right of suffrage. It is a right which was enjoyed by the people before the adoption of the constitution and is one of the inherent rights which can be surrendered only by the people and subjected to limitation only by the fundamental law”

    No right is more jealously protected by the departments of government! Wow. Sounds important. He’s not talking about the right to buy beer, obviously, so voting must be…different than buying beer, somehow.


  18. rikyrah says:

    Content Section
    Michael Tomasky on GOP Plans to Sink the Economy
    by Michael Tomasky Mar 13, 2012 4:45 AM EDT

    Every month brings improved job news—and bleaker prospects for the Republicans in November. Which is why they’re contemplating economic sabotage as their only hope.

    We’re just under eight months away from Election Day now, which means that the GOP is starting to run out of time to think up new ways to ruin the economy so that Barack Obama doesn’t get reelected. The Republicans have to do this delicately, of course; they can’t be open about it lest it become too obvious that harming the economy is their goal. But they have to be aggressive enough about it for their efforts to bear some actual (rotten) fruit. There are three fronts—gas prices, jobs, and the budget—on which we should keep our eyes open for signs that the Republicans are trying to achieve Mitch McConnell’s No. 1 goal for America.

    Let’s take them in order. The Republicans received joyous news Monday in the form of the Washington Post poll that showed Obama’s numbers sinking in inverse proportion to rising gas prices. The gas situation is perfect for the GOP for two reasons. First, there’s very little a president can actually do about gas prices. Second, even though those prices don’t really tell us much about the more general economy, most people have the impression that they do, so for the out-party, it’s just a free whack.

    No one can blame Republicans for using Obama as a piñata on the issue. But here’s what they can be blamed for. What is causing these high prices? Not low supply and high demand, which is what they teach you in school. In fact, supply is high—domestic oil production is at its highest point in years, higher under this allegedly business-hating president than under oilmen Bush and Cheney. And demand has been low because of the economy, although it’s now picking up.

    No, experts blame a lot of the increase on fervid speculation in the oil markets, and a chief reason for a lot of that speculation is anxiety in those markets about a possible war with Iran. Said anxiety, in turn, is heightened every time a politician blusters about how we have no choice now but to go start that war. So this kind of rhetoric is a nice little two-fer for Republicans, who get to sound like tough guys and can also take comfort in knowing that the more they talk up attacking Iran, the more they’re doing their small part to keep prices high.

    Now let’s look to jobs. As you may know, while we’ve been getting these hopeful job reports these last few months, there is one sector that’s been lagging notably: the public sector. In fact, during 2011 the public sector across the country—state and local governments, in addition to the feds—laid off massive numbers of people. Public-sector job losses averaged 22,000 a month in 2011. State and municipal governments are laying people off mainly for two reasons: the economy, which means they’re bringing in less revenue, and the drastic cuts in federal aid, which have forced the layoffs and firings of nearly half a million public-sector workers in the last two years.


  19. rikyrah says:

    MORE for you in Twitter land.

    I hope you light them up.


    Rigging the poll: NYT sample has twice the actual share of ultra-conservatives
    Tuesday, March 13, 2012 | Posted by Deaniac83 at 9:00 AM

    After Washington Post/ABC News put out their poll drastically over-representing GOP and Republican leaning voters, New York Times and CBS News have come up with brand new blunders of their own on their poll released late afternoon yesterday, showing the president at an approval rating of “all time low” 41%. This poll has the most glaring, dumbfounding proof that its sample is rigged staring at you in the very front page of the poll’s crosstabs.

    In the polling sample, Republican primary voters are 23.6% of all those polled (301 of 1009 total polled). But luckily, we don’t have to look at the Times or CBS News to know what the actual turnout of GOP primary voters are as a percentage of the voting age population is, what with actual primaries going on right now and stuff. The actual percentage of voters turning out in GOP primaries as a percentage of the voting age population? 11.5%. So the pollsters more than double the representation of GOP primary voters over what the actual voting numbers are.

    Now think about this. Who votes in Republican primaries? Uber-right wing conservatives. These are the same group of gems that think that the president is both a Muslim and a member of a radical Christian church. You more than double their proportion in the sample from what their percentages actually are, just what exactly do you expect to happen to the president’s numbers from that cooked, rigged sample?

    This stunning and blatant rigging of the numbers comes on top of the biases also present in the ABC News/Washington Post poll: this poll too narrows the Democratic-Republican difference to the same level as the ABC news poll (D +4) as opposed to the actual voter registration data showing a much wider spread in favor of Democrats (D +12).

    So yes, you can believe this poll if you suspend your disbelief and also believe in the following:

    •People who are voting in GOP primaries are nearly a quarter of the voting age population, even though empirical data shows that they are only slightly over one in 10.

    •The actual data showing a big Democratic voter registration edge is simply false and roughly the same number of people identify with each party.

    •A boadload of voters will suddenly turn to the beliefs and voting patterns of the far far Right (they will more than double in number, to be exact) in November even though they’re not participating in picking the GOP nominee. Or, in the alternative, the voting age population will suddenly shrink but all the wingnuts will still be there.

    •Pigs fly. Actually, scratch this one. This one may be more believable than this poll.
    This is the height of insanity. What the Times and CBS News are polling is a sample severely skewed towards extreme conservatives (people who vote in Republican primaries). Why? Because they really want to poll the Republican primaries. But you add the president’s approval to this set of cooked sample, and you can create a nice stir in the media based on absolute garbage. And the rest of us are left no smarter for the clever tricks of pollsters vastly over-representing the far-right in their samples and passing it on as a legitimate national poll.


  20. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 01:07 PM ET, 03/13/2012 The next big issue to divide the GOP
    By Greg Sargent

    The payroll tax cut fight worked beautifully for Democrats because it left the Congressional GOP divided and vulnerable to charges that it was willing to put the recovery at risk in order to please the ideologues in its ranks. It pitted those who recognized that not extending the tax cut would be terrible politics against the Tea Party wing, which decided that a tax cut for working people suddenly needed to be opposed at all costs.

    Dems now think they have hit on another issue that could divide the GOP: The coming battle over the U.S. Import-Export Bank. It could pit the party’s business wing against “populist” conservatives, allowing Dems to portray the GOP as so in thrall to the Tea Party that it’s willing to jepoardize the recovery.

    The gist of the looming fight: The bank could hit its $100 billion loan limit by the end of this month. Obama and Dems want the limit lifted, because a lack of financing from the agency could make it harder for American companies to get the financing they need to export their products, at a time when Obama has prioritized boosting exports to keep the recovery moving.

    Business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have mounted a campaign for lifting the limit. But some House conservatives, backed by the Club for Growth, strongly oppose any such move. They insist that the bank subsidizes certain companies with taxpayer money — picking “winners and losers” — and sullies the sanctity of the free market.

    Dem messaging chief Chuck Schumer is challenging House Republicans to agree to the request — and signaling Dems will use this as a wedge issue if they don’t. In a statement sent my way, Schumer said:

    “It’s not every day Republicans oppose the Chamber of Commerce, but that’s how far overboard some in the House have gone. This shouldn’t be a fight, but if House Republicans oppose a no-brainer like this, it will be a colossal mistake just like the payroll tax cut debate was. They will be on the wrong side of a jobs issue, and they will be divided.”
    House GOP aides have said they are working on a compromise to bridge the divide by dealing with the “subsidies” the bank allegedly gives to the private sector. But this has alarmed the business groups. They insist the bank doesn’t subsidize anybody and that it doesn’t cost the goverment any money to provide financing, which is covered by fees. Failure to reauthorize it, they say, would cause catastrophic economic damage.

    A battle over a tax cut for 160 million working Americans is politically easier for Dems than one involving lobbyists and trade associations. But Democrats think the general contours will be the same: Obama and Dems — in league with the GOP’s pro-business wing — want action to keep the recovery moving forward, while the House GOP’s increasingly marginalized Tea Party wing throws up ideological roadblocks that risk sending the recovery back into the ditch.


  21. rikyrah says:

    Newt’s Base Tonight
    An insight:

    Newt cleans up with the ‘interracial marriage should be illegal’ crowd in both states. He’s up 40-27 on Romney with them in Mississippi and 37-28 with them in Alabama.


  22. rikyrah says:

    Reid’s clever move on judicial nominees
    By Steve Benen – Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:32 PM EDT.

    Senate Republicans have blocked President Obama’s judicial nominees in ways unseen in American history. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) thinks he’s found a way to make some progress on the issue.

    As a rule, Reid has lacked leverage — GOP lawmakers support very few policy measures, and have a non-existent legislative agenda, making tradeoffs difficult. But Republicans strongly support the poorly-named “JOBS Act,” which we discussed last week. It’s a very modest bill, much of which has already passed, but Republicans are eager to appear constructive in an election year, and are desperate to see the proposal become law.

    The Democratic Senate leader is comfortable with the bill, but would like to see some give and take before lining up a vote. Sahil Kapur has a good piece on Harry Reid playing a little hardball on the Hill

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a message for the Republicans: Filibuster over a dozen judicial nominees, as you’ve threatened to, and the country can watch for weeks as you hold up the bipartisan JOBS Act. I dare you. […]

    Reid pulled procedural levers Monday to force action on 17 stalled, non-controversial judicial nominees to federal trial courts — just as the Senate was expected to take up the House-passed JOBS Act, a modest GOP-led bill to encourage economic growth by loosening regulations on small business capital formation.

    That presents Republicans with a conundrum: proceed with the promised filibusters and eat up weeks of floor time while the JOBS Act sits in limbo; or accede to Reid’s demands and hand Democrats a win — and a bunch of federal judges.

    Because of the time-consuming nature of Republican obstructionist tactics, waiting for GOP senators to block each of these judicial nominees could delay action on the JOBS Act until May.

    Keep in mind, the judicial nominees in question aren’t contentious, wild-eyed choices, hated by the right — each of these would-be jurists has enjoyed bipartisan support. There’s simply no reason for the Senate minority to block their confirmation votes.

    And that leaves Republicans with a choice that should be easy: allow up-or-down votes on non-controversial judges, or wait several weeks before passing the JOBS Act they want. This whole process could be wrapped up this week, or it could bring the chamber to a halt for several weeks.

    For his part, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) seems to prefer the latter. Reid even offered to bring up the JOBS Act immediately yesterday afternoon, if only McConnell would agree to let the Senate do its job on these nominees.

    The Republican leader rejected the offer out of hand. No matter how severe the vacancy crisis on the federal bench, McConnell would rather block qualified judicial nominees than govern.


  23. Ametia says:

    Towson University student group’s messages spark debate over racism
    Youth for Western Civilization draws concern from other students

    March 09, 2012|By Erik Maza, The Baltimore Sun

    A student group at Towson University has again drawn criticism from other students who claim it is racist. But school administrators say they won’t be taking any action against the group.

    On Saturday night, members of Youth for Western Civilization chalked messages that included the words “White Pride” at several locations on campus, including the Student Union and Freedom Square, said its president, Matthew Heimbach. When discovered Monday, the messages angered other students.


  24. rikyrah says:

    Santorum for VP? Romney doesn’t think so
    By Steve Benen – Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:20 AM EDT.

    Tim Noah argued last week that Rick Santorum is the likely pick for the number-two slot on the Republican presidential ticket, a prediction that Dave Weigel endorsed soon after. With this in mind, it was noteworthy when Mitt Romney addressed the possibility during a Fox News interview yesterday.

    Note that host Neil Cavuto didn’t bring up Santorum’s name; Romney did. Asked about running mates, the former governor said:

    “I find it interesting that [Santorum] continues to describe himself as the real conservative. This is the guy who voted against right-to-work. This is the guy that voted to fund Planned Parenthood. This is the person who voted to raise the debt ceiling five times without any compensating cuts.”

    This is just fascinating. Mitt Romney, of all people, seriously wants Fox News viewers to believe that Rick Santorum just isn’t conservative enough.

    Romney’s the guy who used to support abortion rights, gay rights, gun control, “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants, and combating climate change. He distanced himself from Reagan, voted in a Democratic primary, helped create the blueprint for the Affordable Care Act, and described his political views as “progressive.”

    “I find it interesting that [Santorum] continues to describe himself as the real conservative”? I find it interesting that Romney continues to present himself as an arbiter of such ideological tests.

    As for Santorum’s votes to fund Planned Parenthood — Republicans, including Reagan, have generally supported Planned Parenthood funding for decades — this is especially rich. Not only was Romney comfortable with Planned Parenthood funding during his term as governor, but Romney even attended a Planned Parenthood fundraiser — at which Ann Romney dropped off a $150 donation to the group — during his first U.S. Senate campaign.

    If nothing else, it takes real chutzpah to make arguments like this on national television and assume no one will notice


  25. Ametia says:

    Barack Obama Meets With David Cameron, A Look Back At The Special UK-US Relationship

  26. Ametia says:

    President Obama on Tuesday called the killing of Afghan civilians, allegedly by a U.S. soldier, outrageous and unacceptable, and he said he is heartbroken over the incident.

    “The United States takes this as seriously as if it was our own citizens and our own children who were murdered,” Obama said to reporters at the White House. He said he directed the Pentagon to spare no effort in conducting a full investigation of what happened, and pledged that “we will follow the facts wherever they lead us.”

    A unidentified U.S. soldier is accused of shooting nine children, three women and four men in a house-to-house rampage in villages near his combat outpost in southern Afghanistan on Sunday.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Will Immigration Hurt Romney Against Obama?

    Noah Millman strokes his chin:

    John McCain, the last Republican nominee, was well-known to be a strong proponent of liberal immigration reform. George Bush similarly. Romney, on the other hand, has made a point of endorsing restrictionist positions in the primaries, and of attacking his opponents (Perry and Gingrich, most notably) for “apostasy” on this question. Romney is certainly not a restrictionist’s dream candidate – his overall pro-business orientation makes it unlikely he would propose or support immigration measures that business opposes, and he has said many times that he supports increased legal immigration. But I would argue that, based on the positions he’s taken in the primaries, he would be positioned further in the restrictionist direction than any recent nominee of either party.

    Chart from Steve Benen, who captions:

    On the left, those columns show Obama’s edge over the GOP nominee in 2008, when exit polls showed McCain losing [Latino voters] by 36 points. On the right, those columns show Obama’s advantage over Romney based on the Fox News poll- 56 points.


  28. rikyrah says:

    Yglesias Award Nominee

    “Unfortunately, many conservatives are driving themselves crazy over Barack Obama’s past. This did not work in 2008 and it will not in 2012. In 2008, there was more and better ammo against Barack Obama. If his association with the Weather Underground and Jeremiah Wright could not sell him as a radical how can a video that shows him hugging a college professor prove that he is some sort of Manchurian Candidate for the Black Panthers now that he is in the fourth year of his presidency? This won’t work. Derrick Bell did not throw bombs, not even verbal ones. … This is birtherism again. This is a loser issue,” – Don Surber.


  29. rikyrah says:

    Rubio preps for national spotlight
    By Steve Benen – Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:09 AM EDT.

    Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has been a senator for about a year now, and as Rachel explained in a recent segment, he’s “done essentially nothing in federal politics at all.” The sum total of his legislative accomplishments? A resolution designating September 2011 as National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month.

    Rachel added that the Florida Republican “is not a particularly serious guy in terms of what he has done in his Senate life or even as a Senate candidate.” That’s clearly true. But given his right-wing worldview, his ethnicity, and the electoral significance of his home state, Rubio is widely seen as a strong contender for the Republican presidential ticket in 2012.

    Though the senator downplays such talk publicly, Politico reports today that Rubio and his team are “spending an extraordinary amount of time, money and effort” to take control over his “personal narrative.”

    Rubio has even hired investigators to look into his own background, since he knows Democrats are doing the same. His political action committee paid a firm more than $40,000 to conduct opposition research on Rubio, and it’s preparing to spend thousands more to dig into family stories, financial documents and real estate records — anything that could pop up in a political “oppo” file.

    The effort to hard wire Rubio’s version of his life story into the public psyche is remarkable for a freshman senator, more on the scale of a presidential candidate. Some in his operation say the staffing and money spent are comparable to Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s efforts when they arrived in the Senate with big names and even bigger ambition.

    Rubio is also, incidentally, “racing to publish his memoirs,” which will be out next year.

    His denials about the 2012 race notwithstanding, Rubio’s p.r. efforts are clearly the kind of steps one takes in advance of a national campaign. A senator doesn’t usually write an autobiography after 13 uneventful months in office, and a candidate doesn’t invest $40,000 to conduct opposition research on himself in 2012 when he’s not up for re-election until 2016.

    For the record, there are plenty of reasons to think Rubio won’t get the V.P. nod, regardless of his former attendance at a Mormon church. The Floridian has no accomplishments to speak of; his far-right vision won’t help much with Latino voters (Rubio even opposes the DREAM Act); he’s already been caught making bogus claims about his family history; and he’s argued publicly that bedrock American programs like Social Security and Medicare have weakened the fabric of our society.

    You don’t need to be a professional opposition researcher to know Rubio, who’s never demonstrated a working understanding of any area of public policy, is likely to struggle when confronted with national scrutiny.


  30. Ametia says:


  31. Ametia says:


  32. rikyrah says:

    Don’t believe the ‘away game’ hype
    By Steve Benen – Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:20 AM EDT.

    In a classic example of expectations management, Mitt Romney talked to an Alabama radio station last week about his efforts to compete in the Deep South, downplaying his chances. “I realize it’s a bit of an away game,” the former Massachusetts governor said.

    It’s a nice trick the Republican presidential hopeful is trying to pull off: if he comes up short today in Alabama and Mississippi, it’s not supposed to matter too much since this isn’t Romney’s neck of the woods. If he wins, the arguments goes, Romney has done something amazing, and the “away game” victories should end the nominating race.

    Putting aside the hype and expectations, it’s pretty obvious that Romney has gone all out to win in Alabama and Mississippi, campaigning aggressively in the Gulf Coast states over the last week, and picking up the support of much of the states’ Republican establishment.

    If Romney has a good day, it’ll be because he invested considerable amounts of time, energy, and money to win. If he falters, Romney shouldn’t get away with saying, “These primary losses don’t really count.”

    I put together this chart, based on data from Zeke Miller, showing what the three major Republican presidential campaigns spent in the two states. (The Hawaii GOP’s caucuses are also today, but the campaigns aren’t making an effort there.)

    To be sure, the conventional wisdom a week ago was that Romney was not expected to be competitive in Alabama and Mississippi. But he’s well positioned today precisely because Romney went all out, assuming that primary wins here would lock up the GOP nomination.

    Given Romney’s efforts, win or lose, these primaries count.


  33. Ametia says:

    LO did a great job last night on his REWRITE in EXPOSING HIS MITTNESS as a LIAR. And how the MEDIA is DODGING coverage of CALLING OUT SAID LIAR

  34. Ametia says:

    Rules give shape to health insurance exchanges
    By Julie Appleby,

    The final shape for a key part of the health law — the state-based marketplaces where people will shop for insurance coverage — became clearer Monday in rules issued by the Obama administration.

    Under the long-awaited rules, states will have broad flexibility to design their insurance marketplaces, which are set to begin operation in 2014. Some states are working to set up their marketplaces, called exchanges, while others have declined to move forward until the Supreme Court makes its decision on the constitutionality of the federal health law.


  35. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 09:04 AM ET, 03/13/2012

    The Morning Plum: It’s all about the women
    By Greg Sargent

    Today’s New York Times/CBS poll contains awful numbers for Obama. His approval rating is at an all-time low of 41 percent. On the economy, that number is even lower, at 39 percent. The right-track-wrong-track numbers are 29-63.

    And yet…

    In the head to head matchup with Mitt Romney, Obama has made, and held, inroads with key voter groups that abandoned Democrats in 2010. Chief among them: Women.

    The poll finds Obama beating Romney by 49-41 among registered independents. That is driven by independent women, who prefer Obama by double digits. Among women overall — who split between Republicans and Dems in 2010 — Obama is favored by half, versus 39 percent for Romney.

    Interestingly, the same poll finds questionable support for Obama on the birth control coverage mandate. Fifty one percent say employers should be allowed to opt out of covering birth control based on religious or moral objections. (Yesterday’s Post poll found majority support for Obama’s position.)

    But here’s what’s intriguing: The poll also finds that voters view the issue the Dems’ way, with a majority saying this fight is about women’s health and women’s rights, and not about religious liberty. Note this quote from a follow-up interview with an independent woman:

    “They take a stand on keeping big government out of our lives, but then they want government to take over our private lives. It bothers me that with so many problems and issues in this world, the Republican candidates can only focus on religious issues.”

    The economy is likely to be the main driver of this election. Romney will have another chance to introduce himself to swing voters after the primary. Head-to-head matchups are not terribly important at this stage. But if this election is going to turn heavily on suburban and independent women, the GOP’s rejoining of the culture wars — and the relitigation of health reform around the law’s benefits for women in particular — could help define the contrast between the parties, and the GOP’s values, priorities, and vision for the future. That’s what Dems are betting on, anyway


  36. rikyrah says:

    Church Puts Legal Pressure on Abuse Victims’ Group
    Published: March 12, 2012

    Turning the tables on an advocacy group that has long supported victims of pedophile priests, lawyers for the Roman Catholic Church and priests accused of sexual abuse in two Missouri cases have gone to court to compel the group to disclose more than two decades of e-mails that could include correspondence with victims, lawyers, whistle-blowers, witnesses, the police, prosecutors and journalists.

    The group, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, is neither a plaintiff nor a defendant in the litigation. But the group has been subpoenaed five times in recent months in Kansas City and St. Louis, and its national director, David Clohessy, was questioned by a battery of lawyers for more than six hours this year. A judge in Kansas City ruled that the network must comply because it “almost certainly” had information relevant to the case.

    The network and its allies say the legal action is part of a campaign by the church to cripple an organization that has been the most visible defender of victims, and a relentless adversary, for more than two decades. “If there is one group that the higher-ups, the bishops, would like to see silenced,” said Marci A. Hamilton, a law professor at Yeshiva University and an advocate for victims of clergy sex crimes, “it definitely would be SNAP. And that’s what they’re going after. They’re trying to find a way to silence SNAP.”

    Lawyers for the church and priests say they cannot comment because of a judge’s order. But William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, a church advocacy group in New York, said targeting the network was justified because “SNAP is a menace to the Catholic Church.”

    Mr. Donohue said leading bishops he knew had resolved to fight back more aggressively against the group: “The bishops have come together collectively. I can’t give you the names, but there’s a growing consensus on the part of the bishops that they had better toughen up and go out and buy some good lawyers to get tough. We don’t need altar boys.”

    He said bishops were also rethinking their approach of paying large settlements to groups of victims. “The church has been too quick to write a check, and I think they’ve realized it would be a lot less expensive in the long run if we fought them one by one,” Mr. Donohue said.

    However, a spokeswoman for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Sister Mary Ann Walsh, said Mr. Donohue was incorrect.

    “There is no national strategy,” she said, and there was no meeting where legal counsel for the bishops decided to get more aggressive.

    Mr. Clohessy and others founded the survivors network as a loose collective of volunteers who had been victimized by Catholic priests. Their goal was to help others grapple with the emotional and psychological fallout. They make referrals to therapists and lawyers, and hold protests outside church offices.

    The group has three paid staff members, two part-time administrators and volunteers who lead 55 chapters in the United States and about 8 overseas. Its total revenue for 2010 was $352,903, some of it donations by lawyers who have sued the church. The group says it has spent about $50,000 and hundreds of hours of staff time since the subpoenas began, and is now arranging for lawyers who will work pro bono.

    When the scandal over clergy sexual abuse reached a peak in Boston in 2002, American bishops met at their conference in Dallas with network members who gave emotional testimony about the toll of the abuse. But relations have deteriorated since then, and SNAP members say bishops now refuse to meet with them.

    The first indication that the network would be caught up in legal proceedings came from Kansas City, where Bishop Robert W. Finn last year became the first American bishop ever to be criminally indicted for failure to report suspected child abuse.

    Mr. Clohessy received a subpoena in October at his St. Louis home, where he works, regarding the case John Doe B.P. v. the Rev. Michael Tierney and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

    Four plaintiffs are accusing Father Tierney of sexually abusing them years ago. The cases would be outside the statute of limitations in Missouri, but the plaintiffs contend they recovered their memories of abuse only recently.

    The subpoena asked that Mr. Clohessy turn over all documents in the last 23 years that mention repressed memory, any current or former priest in Kansas City, the diocese, Father Tierney, John Doe or Rebecca Randles, the attorney for the plaintiffs.

    The church’s lawyers say they need to see SNAP’s records to investigate whether Ms. Randles violated a gag order by giving the group information about one of the Tierney cases before it was filed, which the group then included in a news release.


  37. rikyrah says:

    Phone hacking: Rebekah Brooks arrested in Weeting probe
    13 March 12 07:26 ET

    Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks has been arrested as part of the police inquiry into allegations of phone hacking.

    Five other people were detained, including Mrs Brooks’ husband, the racehorse trainer Charlie Brooks.

    The arrests took place in Oxfordshire, London, Hampshire and Hertfordshire.

    Police said one woman and five men were held on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, as part of the Operation Weeting hacking probe.

    News International has confirmed that its head of security, Mark Hanna, is among the six people being held.

    Former News of the World and Sun editor Mrs Brooks was arrested at her home in Oxfordshire. Her husband was also detained and they are now being held at separate police stations.

    Officers are searching addresses connected to the arrests.

    As well as Mrs and Mr Brooks, the other people arrested are a 39-year-old man from Hampshire, a 46-year-old man from west London, a 38-year-old man from Hertfordshire, and a 48-year-old man from east London.

    The six are being interviewed at police stations in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and London.

    Mrs Brooks was arrested under Operation Weeting last July on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, before being released on police bail. She has also been arrested as part of the Operation Elveden investigation on suspicion of corruption.

    Mrs Brooks is the only suspect among the six to have been arrested previously as part of the ongoing police operations. All the others are fresh arrests.

    The Metropolitan Police said the arrest operation was carried out after consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service.

    It brings the total number of people arrested in Operation Weeting and its linked inquiries to 44.

    The other investigations are Operation Elveden into corrupt payments to police officers and Operation Tuleta into computer hacking.


  38. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s Positions Increasingly Impossible To Nail Down
    Benjy Sarlin- March 13, 2012, 5:39 AM

    Democrats and Republicans alike have tried to portray Mitt Romney as a “flip-flopper” who changes his positions on crucial issues over time. But in 2012, Romney’s inoculated himself against these charges with a more nuanced tactic: taking positions that are so vague as to be adaptable to any situation.

    The most recent example is Medicare, where the Romney campaign released a heavily misleading memo on Monday that, in addition to other odd claims, simultaneously called out the White House for not reducing Medicare spending then attacked them for doing exactly that in the very same paragraph.

    In fact, Romney has been attacking President Obama from both sides on Medicare funding for months. And while it’s a clear contradiction, there’s no decisive way to evaluate just which side of the issue he’s on thanks to a vague proposal that withholds key details. Romney has suggested replacing Medicare with a voucher system in which seniors are allowed to choose between private insurance and a competing public plan and then receive federal help to pay for the coverage. But unlike the House GOP’s budget — the so-called Ryan Plan — Romney has declined to offer any specifics on how big those subsidies would be.

    The Romney camp declined to provide any solid numbers when asked by TPM; a spokeswoman instead quoted a Romney speech from this month in which he said companies would “compete to offer insurance coverage at the lowest possible price. Seniors will then receive government support to ensure they can afford that coverage.”

    The result of this ambiguity? The ambiguity has given Romney wide leverage to tailor his message according to what’s politically convenient. Ask Romney whether Americans should be worried about cuts to their benefits in senior-heavy Florida, and he responds: “We will never go after Medicare or Social Security. We will protect those programs.” Ask him at a gathering of spending-slashing enthusiasts like CPAC, and he insists he will “slow the growth rate in benefits for higher-income retirees” and that “we can’t afford to avoid these entitlement challenges any longer.” Given Romney’s broad pledges to dramatically reduce overall spending while increasing the military budget and lowering taxes, major cuts to Medicare would almost certainly be required. But he has an easy out as long as he refrains from giving any more information.

    The same goes for Romney’s tax plan, where he has pledged to reduce tax rates across the board by 20 percent by cutting tax breaks that favor the wealthy and reducing overall spending. Which tax expenditures and spending programs would be cut? Not clear. Which current breaks for middle- and working-class Americans are off limits? Also not clear.

    The result, once again: Romney can brush off any attacks on his plan as uninformed. And he did just that this month when pressed over an independent analysis that his tax breaks would add to the deficit and likely require tax increases on some low-income Americans.

    “I think it’s interesting for the groups to try and score it because it can’t be scored because those kind of details have to be worked out with Congress and we have a wide array of options,” Romney said.

    In the case of Romney’s Medicare and tax proposals, he’s being judged against a hypothetical policy change. But in the case of his confusing position on the auto bailout, he has to explain actual results — a thriving Detroit that he warned would be devastated if it received federal cash.


  39. Ametia says:

    All red meat is bad for you, new study says
    A long-term study finds that eating any amount and any type increases the risk of premature death.

    By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times

    March 12, 2012, 4:28 p.m.
    Eating red meat — any amount and any type — appears to significantly increase the risk of premature death, according to a long-range study that examined the eating habits and health of more than 110,000 adults for more than 20 years.

    For instance, adding just one 3-ounce serving of unprocessed red meat — picture a piece of steak no bigger than a deck of cards — to one’s daily diet was associated with a 13% greater chance of dying during the course of the study.

    Even worse, adding an extra daily serving of processed red meat, such as a hot dog or two slices of bacon, was linked to a 20% higher risk of death during the study.

    “Any red meat you eat contributes to the risk,” said An Pan, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and lead author of the study, published online Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

    Crunching data from thousands of questionnaires that asked people how frequently they ate a variety of foods, the researchers also discovered that replacing red meat with other foods seemed to reduce mortality risk for study participants.


  40. rikyrah says:

    The Many Misleading Claims In Mitt’s Monday Medicare Memo
    Brian Beutler- March 12, 2012, 12:59 PM

    As part of an effort to reverse the public’s perception of the parties’ positions on Medicare, Mitt Romney’s campaign is appropriating a common Democratic attack and using it against President Obama. To wit, it’s Obama, not Romney and the GOP, who plans to “end Medicare as we know it.”

    There are multiple, and conflicting, facets to this claim, all of which are intended to obscure one fundamental fact — the GOP broadly supports a plan that, over years, will phase out traditional Medicare, and replace it with a subsidized private (or private-public) insurance system for seniors; President Obama supports, and has signed into law, efforts to make the existing single-payer Medicare plan more cost-effective in order to avoid “ending Medicare as we know it.”

    Romney’s own Medicare framework is fairly vague. But he has articulated support for the more detailed plan in the GOP’s budget, written by Rep. Paul Ryan. That model would provide future seniors federal subsidies to buy private insurance, and allow the existing Medicare program to phase itself out as current seniors pass away, or opt into the private system. A different version of this same program, (the so-called Wyden-Ryan plan, which Romney also supports) would provide future seniors more generous subsidies, and allow them to buy into the existing Medicare program as a public option. The unifying feature of these plans is that they end the Medicare benefit guarantee, and replace it with a subsidy (or defined contribution).

    President Obama, by contrast, has made cutting waste on the provider side a key goal. His 2010 health care law includes myriad new policies and pilot programs aimed at bringing costs down by eliminating waste and introducing new efficiencies into Medicare. He also enacted the Independent Payment Advisory Board — the health care law’s cost-cutting panel, whose expert members will, in the years ahead, be tasked with reducing provider payments in order to keep Medicare spending growth at or below GDP growth plus 1 percent. Crucially, the plan is designed to preserve the basic structure of the existing program for all seniors, current and future.

    A new Romney camp memo elides all of this. First it ignores the fact that Obama’s health law and the Romney-backed Wyden-Ryan plan hold Medicare cost growth at the same level. Instead, it asks, “Why is President Obama ending Medicare as we know it by allowing it to go bankrupt in less than 15 years?” There are reasons to doubt Medicare will go bankrupt in the next 15 years, but if Obama’s cost-growth plan leads to bankruptcy, then either Romney’s does too, or else he’ll have to lay out how much he plans to cut future seniors’ vouchers to keep his plan sustainable for a longer period of time.

    Romney’s staff refers to the plan outlined on the campaign website, which notes “Mitt continues to work on refining the details of his plan, and he is exploring different options for ensuring that future seniors receive the premium support they need while also ensuring that competitive pressures encourage providers to improve quality and control cost.”

    The memo goes on to attack Obama for “ending Medicare as we know it,” by cutting $500 billion from Medicare spending in the health care law. This line frustrates some conservatives who say it exposes Romney’s unwillingness, in the face of political pressure, to truly roll back Medicare — the GOP vilified the health care law’s Medicare cuts to great effect, making them politically toxic even for those who claim to support cutting Medicare spending.

    But those cuts were aimed at providers (other than physicians) and at over-payments to private insurers participating in the Medicare Advantage program (corporate welfare essentially). They didn’t change the architecture of Medicare, didn’t cut patient benefits directly, if at all and were paired with new benefits under the program like free annual checkups and a prescription drug rebate for seniors who fall into Medicare’s prescription drug “donut hole.”

    Next, the memo knocks Obama for “ending Medicare as we know it” by creating IPAB — a critique that’s at odds with the notion that Obama’s made no hard choices to rein in Medicare spending. Indeed, IPAB’s unpopular enough that several Democrats have joined a GOP effort to repeal it. But IPAB’s goal is precisely to avoid “ending Medicare as we know it” by making the existing single-payer structure sustainable.

    Romney says Obama’s cuts to Medicare Advantage over-payments “ends Medicare as we know it” for diminishing that program for today’s seniors. That’s of a piece with the attack on the health care law’s $500 billion Medicare spending cuts. But it also ignores the fact that Medicare Advantage — a private option for seniors who want to be insured outside of government-payer Medicare — has failed mightily to control costs, leaving taxpayers on the hook for more money than they would have been if seniors didn’t have the Medicare Advantage option. The health care law brought Medicare Advantage costs per patient in line with those of traditional Medicare, but did not end the program. Indeed early evidence suggests the health care law made Medicare Advantage both cheaper and more attractive to seniors.

    Finally, Romney dings Obama, in essence, for not achieving a permanent “doc fix” to eliminate the threat physicians face each year that their Medicare reimbursement rates will drop dramatically. This is true as far as it goes, but the formula that determines those reimbursement rates has been flawed since it was implemented years ago, and Congress has always patched it to make sure doctor reimbursement rates rise over time. Democrats initially hoped to include a permanent “doc fix” in the health care bill, but the added costs to the law gave Republicans wider berth to attack the legislation’s price tag, and Democrats ultimately retreated. This issue has flummoxed both parties for years, but Romney is no closer than anyone else to providing a workable solution.


  41. Ametia says:

    Michael Tomasky on GOP Plans to Sink the Economy
    by Michael TomaskyMar 13, 2012 4:45 AM EDT

    Every month brings improved job news—and bleaker prospects for the Republicans in November. Which is why they’re contemplating economic sabotage as their only hope.

    We’re just under eight months away from Election Day now, which means that the GOP is starting to run out of time to think up new ways to ruin the economy so that Barack Obama doesn’t get reelected. The Republicans have to do this delicately, of course; they can’t be open about it lest it become too obvious that harming the economy is their goal. But they have to be aggressive enough about it for their efforts to bear some actual (rotten) fruit. There are three fronts—gas prices, jobs, and the budget—on which we should keep our eyes open for signs that the Republicans are trying to achieve Mitch McConnell’s No. 1 goal for America.


  42. rikyrah says:

    Romney fumbles with NFL answer
    By Steve Benen – Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.

    Mitt Romney called in to a popular sports talk show in Alabama yesterday, a day ahead of the state’s Republican presidential primary. As interviews go, this seemed like a fairly easy one — it was unlikely the host, Paul Finebaum, would press the former governor for an explanation about his support for health care mandates.

    Indeed, it’s not like Romney would go on the show, repeat his mistake from two weeks ago, and talk about being friends with millionaire team owners again, right? Wrong.

    [A]t one point, Mr. Finebaum asked Mr. Romney, as a New England Patriots fan, where he thought Peyton Manning should go as a free agent, and the candidate highlighted his friendship with football team owners — echoing comments in which he explained his affinity for Nascar by noting he knew the owners of Nascar teams.

    “I’m surprised to hear that Denver’s thinking about him,” Mr. Romney said. “I don’t want him in our neck of the woods, let’s put it that way.”

    “I’ve got a lot of good friends, the owner of the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets, both owners are friends of mine,” he added. “But let’s keep him away from New England.”

    Romney really is approaching self-parody here. Just two weeks ago, Romney was in Florida for the Daytona 500, and was asked whether he follows car racing. “Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans,” he responded, “but I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.”

    Romney’s boast that he’s tight with the millionaires who own NASCAR teams came just two days after Romney boasted about his wife driving “a couple of Cadillacs.”

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

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

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


  43. rikyrah says:

    Florida congressman joins ‘birther’ brigade
    By Steve Benen – Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:35 AM EDT

    .Nearly a full year after the White House released President Obama’s “long-form” birth certificate, I’d hoped even the most ridiculous members of Congress would realize the “birther” garbage is a dead end.

    Alas, Scott Keyes posted this video yesterday from Rep. Cliff Stearns’ (R) recent town-hall meeting in his Florida district.


    For those who can’t watch clips online, the Republican congressman heard from a misguided constituent who wants to see the president impeached because he falsely believes Obama wasn’t born in the United States. There were any number of ways for Stearns to respond to the strange voter, and the lawmaker chose the worst one.

    “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.”

    Even by the standards of House Republicans, this is pretty nutty. There is no reason to question the legitimacy of the documents; the governor of Hawaii did not struggle to locate the materials; and lending credence to the notion of presidential impeachment is simply absurd on its face.

    Remember, Cliff Stearns isn’t just some random media personality or right-wing blogger, saying foolish things in public for attention. He’s a 12-term congressman and the chairman of a House committee panel on oversight and investigations.

    This is, in other words, a lawmaker who should have some idea what he’s talking about.

    Why are there so many polls showing so much confusion about basic tenets of reality? In part because we have public officials like Stearns spewing nonsense.


    • Ametia says:

      Yes, the VOTERS elected these CaC wingnuts to represent them, without any awareness of how their bigoted hate, and dangerous legislation hurts other Americans. They must be booted out of office ASAP!

  44. rikyrah says:

    Misleading Mitt misguided on Medicare
    By Steve Benen – Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:05 PM EDT.

    Mitt Romney turned 65 today, and decided to celebrate his Medicare eligibility by … lying about Medicare.

    As part of an effort to reverse the public’s perception of the parties’ positions on Medicare, Mitt Romney’s campaign is appropriating a common Democratic attack and using it against President Obama. To wit, it’s Obama, not Romney and the GOP, who plans to “end Medicare as we know it.”

    Brian Beutler does a nice job taking apart Romney’s Medicare claims in great detail, noting among other things that Romney has endorsed Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which scraps the existing Medicare program and replaces it with a voucher scheme, making the larger argument rather ironic.

    It’s also worth mentioning that Romney’s new offensive repeats a bizarre contradiction from a month ago: Obama is “cutting” Medicare while also doing nothing to cut Medicare. (The Republican campaign should pick one or the other, but let’s not forget that the “cut” claim is itself a lie.)

    And while we’re at it, it was especially entertaining to see the Romney campaign say the president’s re-election campaign should “have the courage” to put forward Obama’s real intentions on Medicare — this from the candidate who won’t put forward a detailed plan of its own

    But there’s a larger context to all of this. Greg Sargent explained, “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.”

    Right on cue, Ben Smith joked about Romney’s Medicare deceptions, writing, “Exposed: There is gambling going on in this establishment.”

    I can appreciate why the Romney campaign’s dishonesty on Medicare is dismissed as yet another eye-rolling development. After all, the GOP frontrunner has chosen to run a campaign that’s not exactly truth-oriented.

    But when we’re dealing with one of the year’s most important policy disputes, and the leading Republican contender gets caught lying blatantly, media professionals are making a mistake when they do little more than shrug their shoulders. When reporters get so inured to Romney’s dishonesty that it no longer seems interesting or noteworthy, it sends a signal to the political world that facts and honesty simply don’t matter anymore, and campaigns should come down to which candidate can tell better lies.

    When Romney sees his misleading rhetoric met with “Casablanca” jokes, it only encourages him to see what else he can get away with.


  45. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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