Friday Open Thread

Sly and the Family Stone were an American rock, funk, and soul band from San Francisco, California. Active from 1966 to 1983, the band was pivotal in the development of soul, funk, and psychedelic music. Headed by singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist Sly Stone, and containing several of his family members and friends, the band was the first major American rock band to have an “integrated, multi-gender” lineup.[1]

Brothers Sly Stone and singer/guitarist Freddie Stone combined their bands (Sly & the Stoners and Freddie & the Stone Souls) in 1967. Sly and Freddie Stone, trumpeter Cynthia Robinson, drummer Gregg Errico,[2] saxophonist Jerry Martini, and bassist Larry Graham completed the original lineup; Sly and Freddie’s sister, singer/keyboardist Rose Stone, joined within a year.

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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65 Responses to Friday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    Obama to speak at Joplin HS graduation
    March 16, 2012

    JOPLIN, MO (KOTV/CBS) – President Barack Obama will deliver the graduation speech at Joplin High School, one year after powerful storms destroyed the building.

    Graduation day is May 21, the eve of the one-year anniversary of the F-5 tornado that devastated the town. With their old high school turned to rubble, students now learn in makeshift classrooms at the local mall.

    Some in the community are worried election-year politics will overshadow the seniors’ commencement. That sentiment was not lost on the school’s seniors.

    “I do believe a big part of it is for political reasons, but I’m not saying it’s his whole reasoning behind it,” said senior Zack Wages. “I think a big part of it is. But it’s not because he’s a Democrat. I think any President would do that.”

    The students know it’s a politically-charged election year, but some don’t agree with concerns the President will turn graduation into a campaign stop.

    “Living in the part of the country that we do, it’s not really pro-Obama,” Jerad Fisher said. “So there’s not really anything to be gained from coming to speak here.”

    Obama was elected on the promise of hope. The students say if he wants to see hope in person, their old campus is a good place to start.

    “Hope just kind of symbolizes that will to go on,” Fisher said. “And it’s not always going to be this bad. You can pull through.

  2. Ametia says:

    Love this commercial…

  3. US President Barack Obama holds a child while being greeted at Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport on March 16, 2012. Obama is spending the day traveling to Chicago and Atlanta to attend private and public campaign events

  4. rikyrah says:

    Wisconsin GOP Loses Majority
    Posted on 03/16/2012 at 5:00 pm by JM Ashby

    Today brings very good news for the citizens of Wisconsin.

    Following the resignation of State Senator Pam Galloway, who was headed for a recall election, the Republican party will no longer hold a majority in the state senate.

    Wisconsin state Sen. Pam Galloway (R) is resigning from the chamber today, citing a family health situation. Galloway was one of the targeted incumbents in upcoming recall elections.

    This also means that as of now, the Republicans have officially lost their Senate majority, leaving the chamber split 16-16. The recall elections to come will determine who takes the majority.

    Obviously a Democratic majority would be preferable, but in this case an evenly divided government is a positive step toward reclaiming Scottwalkerstan.

    It was the Republican majority who jammed Governor Scott Walker’s horrible budget, which cut nearly a billion dollars from education and half a billion dollars from Medicaid while also creating new corporate tax breaks, and his anti-union legislation that stripped public employees of their collective bargaining rights through the senate.

    An evenly divided state senate will give the Democrats the power they need to prevent the Republicans from passing any more horrible legislation. Legislation such as the voter suppression ID law that was recently ruled unconstitutional.

  5. rikyrah says:

    POTUS mentions Michelle and the crowd goes crazy!!

  6. rikyrah says:

    Tyler: “Never thought I’d see the day the Presidential motorcade roll thru south-west ATL. Giving these ATL children a glimpse of destiny.”

  7. rikyrah says:

    Black people crack me up. Watching the President, and folks in Atlanta are doing call and response with the President.

  8. Ametia says:


  9. Ametia says:

    Martin Bashir: Bashir: I agree with Ann Coulter about the GOP’s ‘con men and charlatans’

    March 16: MSNBC’s Martin Bashir explains why even conservative firebrands are tiring of GOP candidates using the political process to peddle product.


  10. rikyrah says:

    Sullivan posted the Pelosi video of the folks from Cletus-stan down in Mississippi, and he had some folks writing in, objecting to the video. Here is the pushback to those objectors.


    16 Mar 2012 11:46 AM
    The View From Mississippi: Dissent Against The Dissents

    We’re firmly into backlash-lash now. But I advise those trashing Alexandra Pelosi’s selective bias to check in with Real Time tonight. Meanwhile a Mississippi native writes:

    I have three words for all those folks saying how filled the state is with professionals and college grads and worldly types: WHITE CITIZENS COUNCIL.

    And as for Faulkner – who was cited in the defense of the state – has that person ever read his books? They are a literary equivalent of Pelosi’s film. And as for Welty, has the correspondent never read Miss Welty’s “Where is This Voice Coming From?” about the assassination of Medgar Evers published in that bastion of East Coast liberalism The New Yorker?

    Miss Welty: “That hot … night when Medgar Evers, the local civil rights leader, was shot down from behind in Jackson, I thought, with overwhelming directness: Whoever the murderer is, I know him: not his identity, but his coming about, in this time and place. That is, I ought to have learned by now, from here, what such a man, intent on such a deed, had going on in his mind. I wrote his story — my fiction — in the first person: about that character’s point of view, I felt, through my shock and revolt, I could make no mistake.” It was, she later told me when I was driving her home from her friend Frank Hains’s house, the only story she ever wrote out of anger. “I was mad at Mississippi.”

    These two great literary figures were never afraid to turn their gazes directly at whom they lived among. Why should we?

    Another writes:

    The question about whether the clips are representative of the state or not is a good one, and one that’s always hard to answer. But there is at least one obvious and objective measure we can think about: politics.

    Whether or not these people are typical of Mississippians in general, their views are certainly represented plentifully by the state’s elected politicians. That’s never an exact fit, of course, but I’d feel safe guessing that the number of Mississippi politicians who think they have to represent tolerant, bookstore visiting constituents is far outweighed by the number of their politicians who honestly believe their job is to be accountable to the kind of folks the video captures.

    Like it or not, politicians do have to represent the people who vote for them, and while few public figures in the state will be as crude as the folks in the video, I’d trust their public positions and statements to be a good indicator of the fact that these folks aren’t far out of the Mississippi mainstream.


    I was born and raised in rural Mississippi. Yes, I used to see people like the men in the video all the time – damn near on a daily basis. I’m not excusing them at all, but videos like that are not beneficial for progressive causes.

    Picking out the uneducated, toothless, old white men gives the impression that they represent bigotry in Mississippi. They are just the face, though. If you want to see the heart of bigotry in Mississippi, you have to go into the fancy country clubs, the prep schools, the fraternities, the churches, the haberdasheries, etc. Well off, well educated, well dressed, well spoken people harbor opinions that wouldn’t have been out of place in the 1880s. The language they use ranges from sophisticated and subtle to downright jaw-dropping (usually after a few drinks). If you want to hear the word nigger, don’t go snooping around trailer parks and truck stops; just walk by a group of men in seersucker suits at an Ole Miss football game.

    • Ametia says:

      THIS X’10000: Picking out the uneducated, toothless, old white men gives the impression that they represent bigotry in Mississippi.

      They are just the face, though. If you want to see the heart of bigotry in Mississippi, you have to go into the fancy country clubs, the prep schools, the fraternities, the churches, the haberdasheries, etc. Well off, well educated, well dressed, well spoken people harbor opinions that wouldn’t have been out of place in the 1880s.

      The language they use ranges from sophisticated and subtle to downright jaw-dropping (usually after a few drinks). If you want to hear the word nigger, don’t go snooping around trailer parks and truck stops; just walk by a group of men in seersucker suits at an Ole Miss football game.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 02:12 PM ET, 03/16/2012
    The new litmus test: The minimum wage
    By Greg Sargent

    Apparently one good way to remain competitive in some GOP primaries is to urinate on the minimum wage, by casting it either as a case of Big Government run amok or as a key cause of our economic woes.
    In a debate today in Missouri on KMOX, two of the three GOP candidate vying to take on Claire McCaskill for Senate seemed to come out for doing away with the minimum wage entirely. The third said it should not be raised at all.
    The three candidates — GOP Rep Todd Akin, businessman Jon Brunner, and state treasurer Sarah Steelman — were all asked today by moderator Charlie Brennan whether they favored increasing the minimum wage.
    Akin was the most forceful in suggesting it should be done away with. “I don’t think the government should be setting the prices or wages of different things,” he said. “I don’t think that’s the function of the government.”
    Brunner came close. “We’ve got to let free enterprise reign in the marketplace,” he said, which in the context of the question, seems to suggest it should be done away with. He added that it was a burden on small businesses.
    Only Steelman, in what may have been a slip-up, seemed to suggest clearly that it should stay put, though she said it shouldn’t be raised. “I’m not in favor of increasing it at this time,” she said. “I think it’s high enough as it is.”
    It’s not hard to imagine that the minimum wage could become an issue in more Senate and House races, and even in the presidential contest. It’s already become a litmus test issue in the GOP presidential primary. After Mitt Romney said the minimum wage should rise along with the consumer price index or some other index, he took a hammering from the Wall Street Journal and the Club for Growth before quietly declaring that maybe the minimum wage shouldn’t increase, after all.
    In the Missouri Senate race, which is going to be a tough one for McCaskill, the GOP candidates’ declarations on the minimum wage today could become a major issue. Dems will cast the statements as the latest example of Republicans being beholden to corporate benefactors, and skapegoating people on the lowest rungs of the income ladder for our continued economic suffering. Given that the issue will likely be key in other campaigns and even inthe presiential race, how this argument fares in a red-leaning state will be a key test case worth watching.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:53 PM ET, 03/16/2012

    The perils of running against a fantasy version of Obama
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    Want to see a great example of the closed GOP information feedback loop, and why it may prove dangerous for the Republican candidates?
    Think about the two Barack Obamas that Republicans are running against. One of them is basically a fraud; he’s never held a job before he somehow wound up the Democratic nominee in 2008. Or, as Mitt Romney asserted today: “It’s hard to create a job if you never had one.” Oh, and he’s entirely dependent on a teleprompter.
    The other Obama is the scheming, nefarious, stealth left-winger who any day now is going to unleash his radical socialist agenda. This Obama requires Republicans and conservative to chase down every radical “association” and every allegedly radical thing he’s ever said, no matter how mild.
    As many have noted, these two Obamas are somewhat at odds with each other. But the more important point is that neither version builds a convincing case against supporting Obama in 2012. No one is going to buy that Obama is too inexperienced to be president; no one is going to buy that he has some secret agenda that remained secret during four years in the White House.
    But Mitt Romney and the rest of the GOP field has have spent three years now speaking only to confirmed Republican voters. And those voters live in the world where reality is defined by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, in which all of that stuff makes perfect sense. Even worse, the candidates and their operatives themselves live in that world, or at least spend an awful lot of time there. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Romney campaign believes (on some level) that Obama never held a job in his life before mysteriously winding up as president, or that he can’t get through a debate without a teleprompter.
    If Romney keeps up these themes after he nails down the nomination he may be surprised at how poorly they play to swing voters. And Romney might well do that if his team really has come to believe these images are damaging and if his team has lost touch with just how far out of the mainstream they really are. How much of a difference any of this might make in November is hard to say. But if spending three years in a world created by conservative media leaves Republican operatives ill equipped to see what swing voters outside that bubble really care about, it could matter.

  13. rikyrah says:

    The Seinfeld Campaign
    Josh Green recently pointed out that Romney looks like he’s trying to run out the clock:

    Romney’s stump speech is a collection of platitudes and the strange ritual recitation of the lyrics to “America the Beautiful.” As one of his fundraisers put it to John Heilemann of New York magazine, “I have never seen anything more ridiculous or belittling.” This creates the impression that Romney has nothing to say — or, worse, has chosen not to say anything substantive— and is trying to coast to the nomination.

    That’s especially true of his economic “plan” which is currently so vague and so different from his original that it cannot even be scored. There’s focus on the debt for you. His tax and defense proposals would explode the debt and deficit, and his Iran war would send the economy into a new depression. And yet he’s going to balance the budget!

    And, yes, when you see him singing or reciting banalities, you begin to realize, in the wake of all his endless Dr Who-style ideological regenerations, that there really is no there there, no solid person you can react to or understand. This is a campaign about someone who can be changed into anything. Which means to say it is a Seinfeldian campaign about nothing. Molly Ball checks in with party strategists who find the campaign wanting:

    Myopic, insular and overconfident, Team Romney has squandered the candidate’s strengths and exacerbated his weaknesses, these critics charge. They point to specific strategic miscues: the failure to cultivate low-dollar donors; a lack of outreach to the conservative movement and the media generally; and the fateful decision to overlook the Feb. 7 contests in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri, where surprise wins for Rick Santorum catapulted him back into contention as Romney’s principal challenger. … “I think they’re extremely competent at the tactical things. They run a tight ship in terms of the nuts and bolts,” said John Weaver, the former strategist to John McCain and Jon Huntsman. “But their messaging is a head-scratcher at times.

  14. rikyrah says:

    16 Mar 2012 01:03 PM
    Coulter vs Palin Smackdown!

    Ladies and gentleman, we have an Yglesias nomination from an unexpected corner:

    “One of the ones promoting that [a brokered convention] is Sarah Palin, who has suggested herself as the choice. I think as long as it’s between us girls — I’ve been observing something about her. I don’t think it’s likely to happen. I don’t know what these people are cheering for. As I wrote in a column a few weeks back, who is this dream candidate we’re hoping to get from the convention, because Rick Perry used to be the dream candidate. Can we see them in a debate first? … our party and particularly our movement, the conservative movement, does have more of a problem with con men and charlatans than the Democratic Party,” she said. “I mean, the incentives seem to be set up to allow people — as long as you have a band of a few million fanatical followers, you can make money. The Democrats have managed to figure out how not to do that… The one pledge I support and I think I’m going to draft it up is for all Republican nominees for president — I want them to sign a pledge saying, ‘If I lose the nomination I pledge I will not take a gig with Fox News or write a book,’” – Ann Coulter.

    Yep, things are so bad even Coulter is now moving gingerly toward Frum territory. But if anyone helped create the conservative media-industrial rhetorical bomb-throwing complex, it was the drag queen posing as a fascist.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Quote For The Day

    “Pay close attention: Palin’s rhetoric between now and Tampa will continue to be critical of both Romney and Obama; it will continue to push for a contested primary; and it will continue to signal Palin’s willingness to accept the nomination of a brokered convention. Palin knows that Romney will never pack her star power with the base — and that neither Rick Santorum nor Newt Gingrich will either.

    In the aftermath of Santorum’s sweep of Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday, a brokered GOP convention is a very real possibility.

    The Republican Party has become a fractured mosaic of fringe constituencies — from Tea Partiers to evangelical anti-abortion activists, from libertarians who support Ron Paul to white supremacists who despise the fact that there is a black man in the White House. It is an unruly lot. The days of a GOP elite framing the presidential selection process are over. Charisma trumps experience; celebrity trumps substance; and, perhaps most disturbingly, anger trumps reason. Mama grizzlies, especially those who have been wounded, don’t go down easy,” – Geoffrey Dunn.


  16. rikyrah says:

    Santorum Opens A Can Of Whup-Ass On Romney
    Get your popcorn. This is getting good in Missouri:

    Discussing Romney’s record on various topics, including health and the 2008 bailouts, Santorum argued that the GOP needed a nominee who contrasted sharply with Obama, not “someone who advocated everything President Obama did on those subjects, everything, and worse, as governor, put things in place” and “on top of that, nominated and confirmed some of the most liberal justices in the history of the state of Massachusetts.” …
    “On the life issue,” Santorum said of Romney, “this is a man who gave money to Planned Parenthood, personal checks, who on every race he ran until he started to run for president filled out 100 percent pro-choice, and then at the end of his governor’s term when he decided to run for president, he had a conversion.” “Wonderful,” Santorum continued, a sarcastic edge to his voice. “I’m happy for him. But also at the end of his term his economic team gave low-interest loans to Planned Parenthood to build a clinic in Massachusetts after his conversion.”

    Then this jibe about the geography of Romney’s appeal:

    “If you look at where my Republican opponent has won, it’s always in and around the cities. It almost looks like a Republican versus a Democrat,” Santorum said, referring to some states that he did not explicitly name. “He’s winning the areas the Democrats win and I win the areas Republicans win.” Santorum paused for a moment. “Does that tell you something maybe?”

    It tells me that this is not over – by a long shot.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Why Illinois Is Close

    Electionate runs down the county-by-county demographics in Illinois. Bottom line:

    Perhaps no state is more representative of the national GOP than Illinois. No, it doesn’t include sparsely populated, Paul-friendly western highlands or the Mormons of greater Utah, but it has nearly everything else. The Chicago area is among the wealthiest in the country, while southern Illinois, which is physically and politically closer to Alabama and Mississippi than the Windy City, is dominated by culturally southern, working-class, evangelicals. Compared to Ohio and Michigan, Illinois is slightly less evangelical and more affluent, which points toward a narrow Romney advantage.

    And what has been remarkable this year is how demographics have determined the final vote almost perfectly so far. No candidate has shifted his demographic appeal much, and no momentum has moved voters in one candidate’s direction for very long. That’s why this seems so endless. It’s a movie without a plot; it’s a themeless pudding.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Brodkorb: Other staffers who had affairs treated differently
    Former Minnesota Senate staffer Michael Brodkorb claims he was fired because of an affair with former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch and intends to prove other employees who had trysts with legislators were allowed to continue working.

    “Mr. Brodkorb has evidence that similarly situated female legislative employees, from both political parties, were not terminated from their employment positions despite intimate relationships with male legislators. It is clear that Mr. Brodkorb was terminated based on his gender,” the legal document said.

    In preparation for the lawsuit, Brodkorb’s legal team is prepared to dig deep into the romantic lives of legislators and staffers.

    “He intends to depose all of the female legislative staff employees who participated in intimate relationships, as well as the legislators who were party to those intimate relationships, in support of his claims of gender discrimination,” his attorney said in the document setting up Brodkorb’s reason for a possible wrongful dismissal lawsuit.

    His attorney, Phil Villaume, said that those depositions would be done in private to protect the identity of those involved. Vallaume said the depositions were not a threat but a legal necessity.

    Brodkorb was Koch’s executive assistant and communications director when he was let go last December, the day after she resigned. Brodkorb was fired in a restaurant away from the Capitol the same day Republican senators spoke publicly of her “inappropriate relationship” with a male staffer.

    Long a GOP insider, Brodkorb made his mark in politics by digging up sometimes unflattering information on rivals, usually Democrats.

    Senate officials have said Brodkorb’s claim of wrongful termination, “are without any merit whatsoever.”

    Secretary of the Senate Cal Ludeman said Wednesday that Brodkorb was attempting to “blackmail” the Senate, disrupt its work, and “extort” payment.

    “The Senate handled Mr. Brodkorb’s termination properly,” Ludeman said.

    Brodkorb’s legal document says that Ludeman told Brodkorb he was fired because Koch resigned as majority leader and because Brodkorb had an affair with her.

    On Thursday, Ludeman repeated that Brodkorb had been an “at will” employee and was dismissed because Koch was no longer in leadership and it had nothing to do with the affair he had with Koch.

    Brodkorb’s legal document said that Ludeman said precisely that when he fired Brodkorb on December 16.

    Ludeman said “I did not,” mention that connection.

    “There was no conversation or no word uttered by me about that at that event,” Ludeman said.

    Ludeman said that he does not know of any other Senators who have had affairs with other staffers.

    “I don’t know of any,” said Ludeman

  19. rikyrah says:

    Witnesses in Trayvon Martin death heard cries before shot
    By Frances Robles

    .Witnesses say they believe Trayvon Martin cried for help just before he was shot by a watch captain

    By Frances Robles

    SANFORD — They heard the desperate wail of a child, a gunshot, and then silence.
    Trayvon Martin, 17, died Feb. 26 in a dark pathway some 20 minutes after a neighborhood watch volunteer called police saying he thought a young stranger looked suspicious. It was raining, and the volunteer thought the kid in the hoodie walked too slow and peeked in windows.
    Three witnesses contacted by The Miami Herald say they saw or heard the moments before and after the Miami Gardens teenager’s killing. All three said they heard the last howl for help from a despondent boy, and believe the sequence of sounds shatters the notion that Trayvon was killed in self-defense.
    Police have not moved from their official statement of the shooting. But as the controversy grows, so does the number of voices disputing the official version that watch captain George Zimmerman gave to police: that the six-foot, three-inch, 140-pound teen assaulted him when Zimmerman, 28, tried to question him. In fear for his life, he pulled Kel Tek 9mm handgun from his waistband and shot.
    From Facebook to Twitter and online petitions, local police and prosecutors are getting tens of thousands of demands for criminal charges as the national media shines a spotlight on a small, racially diverse central Florida town with a history of police tension. There are now more and more calls for the U.S. Department of Justice to intervene and try to answer: What really happened to Trayvon Martin?
    “I heard someone crying — not boo-hoo crying, but scared or terrified or hurt maybe,” said Mary Cutcher, 31, who lives in the Retreat at Twin Lakes townhome community where the shooting occurred. “To me, it was a child.”

  20. rikyrah says:

    Republican-Controlled Arizona Legislature On Cusp Of Defunding Planned Parenthood
    By Scott Keyes on Mar 16, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Arizona is the latest battleground in the conservative war on women as the state legislature appears poised to strip funding from the women’s health care provider Planned Parenthood.

    Earlier this week, an Arizona Senate panel approved HB 2800 on a party-line vote. The Arizona Senate Committee on Healthcare and Medical Liability Reform’s move came on the heels of support from the Arizona House, which approved the legislation earlier this month.

    If HB 2800 is indeed passed by the full Senate, Gov. Jan Brewer (R) is expected to sign the legislation into law, stripping state funding from any group such as Planned Parenthood that performs abortions.

    Unfortunately, the move would have a pronounced impact on poorer Arizona women who rely on places like Planned Parenthood for many of their health care needs. As the following chart shows, abortion accounts for just 3 percent of the patient care provided by Planned Parenthood. The other 97 percent included mammograms, STI treatment, and other health services.

  21. Ametia says:


  22. Ametia says:

    Close your eyes and take it up the vaggie like a good wittle woman! SMGDH Where on earth did these fools come from? Welp! folks you get who you voted for.

  23. Ametia says:


    Two years ago, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act – health reform – into law. The President’s health care law gives hard working, middle class families the security they deserve. The new law forces insurance companies to play by the rules, prohibiting them from dropping your coverage if you get sick, billing you into bankruptcy because of a lifetime limit, or, soon, discriminating against anyone with a pre-existing condition.

  24. Ametia says:

    Obamas’ Friday Fundraiser Frenzy: Six Events, $5.6 Million

    WASHINGTON) — The first family will fly off for a frenzy of fundraisers on Friday, with first lady Michelle Obama landing in Minneapolis and President Obama in Chicago and Atlanta.

    The six events combined should net at least $5.6 million for Democrats and the president’s re-election campaign, according to estimates provided by an Obama campaign official.

    Mrs. Obama will host an afternoon reception with 350 supporters in Minneapolis at the Walker Art Center. The invitation for the event lists tickets starting at $250 to attend and up to $10,000 to mingle with the first lady and take a photo with her.

    • Ametia says:

      THIS: “Meanwhile, the president will start his day in Chicago, headlining a reception at the Palmer House Hilton with more than 600 guests. Tickets for the event start at $2,500, a campaign official said. Obama will then head behind closed doors for an intimate roundtable discussion with 60 supporters who have each cut checks for $10,000.

      Flying south to Atlanta, Obama will then hobnob with donors into the evening at three fundraisers tailored to the African-American community.

      Seventy-five supporters will mingle with the president at an undisclosed private Atlanta residence, where tickets were $10,000 apiece. Then he’ll join a star-studded concert featuring CeeLo Green at Tyler Perry Studios, where at least 1,000 Obama fans are expected in the crowd, an official said. Each paid $500 or more.

      Before returning to Washington, Obama will visit the home of actor and director Tyler Perry, who’s hosting the ritziest party of the night at $35,800 per head. At least 60 people are expected to attend to toast the president.”

  25. Sing a simple song!

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

  26. George Clooney, arrested outside the Sudanese Embassy.

  27. “God’s Will”?: Sarah Palin’s Secret Plot to Capture the White House in 2012

    Anyone who has watched Sarah Palin closely in recent months can only marvel at the “magical thinking” she embraces with respect to the potential outcome of the Republican Party primary for president. It’s clear that Palin still has her sights set on the White House for 2012.

    In an interview with Sean Hannity in February, she declared:

    [A] brokered convention, I wouldn’t be afraid of that. The electorate shouldn’t be afraid of that. That’s a continuation of the process, and competition that perhaps would be, in the end, very good for our party, and good for the cause of defending our republic.
    In her widely reported interview with CNN on Super Tuesday, she openly stated that she would consider accepting the nomination at a brokered GOP convention:

    Anything is possible. I don’t close any doors that perhaps would be open out there, so, no, I wouldn’t close that door. My plan is to be at that convention.

  28. Ametia says:


    March 14, 2012
    Minnesota in Photos: ‘The Outsiders’ in Willmar
    Photos by Jeffrey Thompson

    Abdirizak Mahboub, Sahra Gure and their three children have been living in the traditionally Scandinavian community of Willmar, Minn. for about six months. Like many families in the area, they are learning to navigate the cultural melting pot Willmar has become.

  29. rikyrah says:

    09:01 AM EST
    CBS Goes Undercover At Luxury Fundraiser For GOP Freshmen

    CBS News went undercover at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Fla. on a recent weekend to check out a major fundraiser for freshman Republican that was attended by lobbyists. The fundraiser was arranged by the National Republican Congressional Committee and according to CBS featured “Sandy Adams (Fla.), Quico Canseco (Texas), Rick Crawford (Ark.), Bob Dold (Ill.), Sean Duffy (Wis.), Stephen Fincher (Tenn.), Mike Fitzpatrick (Penn.), Daniel Webster (Fla.), Mike Grimm (N.Y.), Nan Hayworth (N.Y.), Jim Renacci (Ohio) and Cory Gardner (Col).”

    Check out the report by CBS investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson below.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Out Of Favor In Washington, Blunt-Style Bills Catch Fire In The States
    Pema Levy- March 15, 2012, 2:00 PM

    Over the last few weeks, Republicans have quietly backed away from the controversial Blunt Amendment and other legislative efforts to allow employers to deny contraception coverage to women. “I think Republicans know that it hasn’t served them well,” Sen. Chuck Schumer told TPM at the time. Apparently, state-level Republicans didn’t get the memo.

    Several state legislatures were inspired rather than dissuaded by the contraception debate in Washington, and are considering their own versions of the Blunt Amendment — keeping alive an issue national Republicans thought they were putting to bed. Arizona, New Hampshire, Idaho and Georgia have taken up bills to expand exemptions for contraception coverage. Ohio, Missouri, New Hampshire, Idaho and Wyoming lawmakers are moving symbolic resolutions condemning the administration’s contraception coverage rule.

    Lawmakers working on the state bills, like their counterparts in Congress, insist that the measures are about protecting religious liberty, not women’s access to health care. But a new poll from Bloomberg shows that a majority of voters don’t see it that way. The poll, released Wednesday, found 62 percent of Americans believe the debate over religious institutions’ obligations to provide birth control coverage is a matter of women’s health, not religious freedom. Worse, 77 percent do not think birth control to be part of the political debate in the first place.

    But thanks to these states, and Arizona in particular, the contraception debate is still raging in the national press, even now that national Republicans have quietly abandoned their effort. The Arizona bill, called HB 2625, mirrors the Blunt Amendment by changing the state’s contraceptive equity law so that any employer can choose not to cover contraception if they reject to it on religious grounds. HB 2625 passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday and is expected to be voted on by the full Senate this week. After that, it’s up to Gov. Jan Brewer whether she’ll sign it. The bill’s proponents are optimistic it will pass and get the governor’s signature, which would make Arizona the first state to enact a Blunt-style rule.

    But the Arizona bill doesn’t stop there — it also includes measures that make it even more provocative, giving more fodder to the press. It would require women who need hormonal contraception for medical reasons to prove that they are not using birth control to prevent pregnancy, which means divulging their private medical history to their employer. That makes it a “serious privacy interest problem,” Anjali Abraham, public policy director at the Arizona ACLU, told TPM.

    It gets even worse. Once a woman has forked over her private medical records, they could potentially be used against her. The bill would repeal a longstanding protection that prohibits religious employers from discriminating against employees who obtain contraception outside of their employer’s health care plan.

    The bill’s sponsors did not respond to requests for comment.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Republicans Still Trying To Thread The Needle On Contraception
    Evan McMorris-Santoro- March 16, 2012, 6:00 AM

    A pair of polls out this week appears to prove what the Democrats have been saying for weeks: The Republicans have lost the national contraception war. But Republicans are prepared to press on in the states, where they say the polling and the electorate favor them.

    New polling shows a majority of Americans are so far unconvinced — they see the fight over access to contraception coverage as a women’s health issue — not a matter of religious liberty. What’s more, they don’t think religious liberty is generally in peril.

    A Bloomberg poll released Wednesday found 62 percent of all respondents say the fight over new rules requiring insurance plans to cover contraception “involves health care and access to birth control.” Around 70 percent of women said the same thing.

    That’s not great news for the GOP, which has banked on voters agreeing that religious liberty is endangered.

    Another new poll out Thursday confirms Republicans are not persuading voters to see things their way. Fifty-six percent of respondents to an SSRS poll conducted for the Public Religion Research Institute “do not believe that the right of religious liberty is being threatened in America today.” (Thirty-nine percent do believe it is under threat.)

    It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Early in the contraception fight, many Republicans said Obama had finally gone too far, giving the GOP the angle of attack it needed to press the case that he was out of touch with average Americans. Some in the GOP warned the Republicans against trying this, but they forged ahead anyway.

    The polling suggests the national fight has gone the way Democrats (and the GOP critics) said it would. Republicans on the national level are now on the defensive. The NRSC, which has been pushing back hard against Democratic plans to capitalize on the contraception issue in Senate races, says the issue still plays in their favor on the ground in the states.

    Republicans note that national polls don’t reflect how the issue is viewed in some state electorates, which may skew more conservative than a national sample. What’s more, they think think they’ve found a way to prove that the damaging social issues are really nothing more than a Democratic campaign tactic, an idea that’s been fashionable on the right for a while now.

    The NRSC plans to make use of that theory. They plan to play up Thursday’s Politico story portraying Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) as “scheming” to “portray Republicans as anti-women, anti-Latino and anti-middle class.”

    “Republicans can only hope that Claire McCaskill, Jon Tester, Tammy Baldwin and Heidi Heitkamp believe that undermining the Constitution, attacking religious liberty and standing with President Obama constitutes a winning political strategy in their states,” said Brian Walsh, NRSC communications director. “We would encourage all of them to travel around their states with party strategist Chuck Schumer and shout this message to the rooftops.”

  32. rikyrah says:

    So much for ‘he made it worse’
    By Steve Benen – Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.

    For the better part of the last year, there was one claim Mitt Romney made more than any other: President Obama, he said, made the economy “worse.”

    Reality makes clear that the dubious claim just isn’t true, but the Republican presidential hopeful repeated it anyway, ad nauseum, in nearly every speech, interview, and public appearance. It became the central point of the former governor’s entire campaign: Obama made the economy worse, and Romney would make it better.

    As national conditions improved, the argument became untenable, and the shift in Romney’s rhetoric tells an important story.

    Mitt Romney on Thursday night admitted that the economy is improving. “I believe we’re in a recovery mode, finally,” Romney told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “I think it’s likely things will get better.”

    This isn’t the first time Romney has grudgingly acknowledged that the economy is improving. He started moving in this direction two months ago, slowly acknowledging the economic upswing, but urging voters not to give Obama credit for the better conditions.

    At a certain level, that’s not an unreasonable point of discussion — if Republicans want to debate Democrats over how and why the economy strengthened, it’d be a debate worth having.

    But to have that debate is to concede the underlying point that the economy has obviously gotten significantly better since Obama became president. For the GOP, that’s extremely dangerous — going into a presidential election, Republicans will find it very difficult to win if the larger dispute boils down to “the nation is better off, and Obama deserves a second term” vs. “the nation is better off, but vote against Obama anyway.”

    For Romney, who likes to pretend the economy is his strong point, this is especially problematic. He can argue Obama made the economy “worse,” and he can concede the “we’re in a recovery mode,” but he can’t say both at the same time, at least if he wants to be taken seriously.

    The more Romney acknowledges the facts — Obama inherited an economic crisis, then helped turn things around — the harder it is to imagine him winning in November. This clip from January continues to stick in my mind as one of the most important of 2012:

  33. rikyrah says:

    The President is going to Atlanta for a fundraiser hosted by Tyler Perry tonight.

  34. rikyrah says:

  35. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 08:30 AM ET, 03/16/2012
    The Morning Plum:
    Is Obama’s 2008 coalition coming back?
    By Greg Sargent

    Ronald Brownstein is one of the best writers out there at explaining the impact the country’s shifting demographics are having on our politics, so when he tells you that President Obama is having some success in reassembling his 2008 coalition, you should listen to him.

    Brownstein details a new National Journal poll that finds Obama’s approval is up to 51 percent, and he’s making gains among key demographics when compared to a previous poll:

    Compared with the December survey, the new poll found his approval rating rising by 11 percentage points among independents; 8 among nonwhites; 6 among all whites; 7 among both college-educated white men and women; and 9 among the so-called waitress moms — white women without a college degree. Only among noncollege-educated white men did Obama remain stuck in neutral with virtually no gain from December.
    With most of these groups, Obama’s approval rating is approaching his actual share of the 2008 vote.
    Since the December poll, of course, the economy has added over 200,000 private sector jobs in each of the last three months. The new poll also finds that the number who anticipate continued improvement over the next year is up to 60 percent — a key number, given the importance of public perceptions of the economy’s direction.

    To be sure, this poll is at the high end of what we’ve seen in this week; Obama is still struggling badly with blue collar whites, a key swing constituency; and the country is still sharply divided on his performance, ensuring a very close election. But things may well be slowly moving in the right direction for him, and it’s possible, again, that the steep poll drop so many commentators said he suffered last week may have never really happened. Pollster’s average Obama approval is at 47 percent.

  36. rikyrah says:

  37. dannie22 says:

    good morning

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