Serenipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread | Norman Brown Week!

Happy Monday, Everyone! 3Chics featured artist this week is Jazz guitarist Norman Brown. Enjoy!

Wiki: Norman Brown (born December 18, 1963 in Kansas City, Missouri) is a smooth jazz guitarist & singer, often compared to his contemporary George Benson.[1]

Norman Brown released debut album “Just Between Us” from Motown Records‘ Jazz label, Mo Jazz in 1992. Collaborators included the chorus group Boyz II Men, the singer Stevie Wonder and also noted engineer and writer Kenneth H. Williams. A portion of the album was produced by Norman Connors, a jazz drummer and producer which discovered Brown. Brown released the album “After the Storm” in 1994, which gained critical success; he followed this with the 1996 release “Better Days Ahead” which earned him a broader audience. Brown transferred Warner Bros. Records. In 2000, he released Celebration, which was produced by Paul Brown.

In 2002, he formed BWB with saxophonist Kirk Whalum and trumpeter Rick Braun, and released Groovin’.

In 2003, he and his producer Paul Brown won Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Album for 2002’s Just Chillin’. This was followed by the 2004 release West Coast Coolin’ .

During the summer of 2007, Brown had a No. 1 smooth jazz radio hit, “Let’s Take A Ride,” taken from the album Stay With Me, according to Radio and Records magazine.

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60 Responses to Serenipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread | Norman Brown Week!

  1. Ametia says:





  2. First Question with Jay Carney – March 19th 2012

  3. Eva Longoria on MSNBC: Romney on Wrong Side of Every Issue Pertaining to Latinos

  4. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 02:30 PM ET, 03/19/2012 TheWashingtonPost Mitt Romney bets on forgetfulness of the American people
    By Greg Sargent

    I’ve said this before, but in light of Mitt Romney’s economic speech today, it bears repeating: Virtually his entire case against Obama’s economic record rests on the assumption that the American people have developed a case of mass amnesia about the depth and severity of the economic crisis the President inherited.

    A few months ago, Romney liked to claim that Obama made the economy “worse.” But the good economic news forced Romney to revise that argument, and he took to claiming that, yes, okay, the economy is getting better, but only in spite of Obama’s policies, which are slowing down the natural recovery.

    Today Romney upped the ante yet again, offering still another explanation for why Obama should be denied a second term, even though the economy is recovering: It’s all about freedom! From the prepared remarks:

    The Obama administration’s assault on our economic freedom is the principal reason why the recovery has been so tepid — why it couldn’t meet their projections, let alone our expectations. If we don’t change course now, this assault on freedom could damage our economy and the well-being of American families for decades to come…
    The proof is in this weak recovery. This administration thinks our economy is struggling because the stimulus was too small. The truth is we’re struggling because our government is too big.
    Relatedly, this morning, Romney said: “The economy always comes back after a recession, of course. There’s never been one that we didn’t recover from. The problem is this one has been deeper than it needed to be and a slower recovery than it should have been, by virtue of the policies of this president.”

    The common thread here is obvious, and it’s important. The pace of this recovery, according to Romney, is sluggish compared to that of previous ones — proving that Obama’s policies, or his “assault on freedom,” are the reason why. Missing from this telling, of course, is the most important reason this recovery is different from previous ones: It came after the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

    Romney’s argument that the recovery’s pace would otherwise have been normal if not for Obama’s polices rests on a bet that the American people will forget about this, or won’t factor it into their decision this fall. Perhaps some enterprising reporter will ask Romney the obvious follow-up questions: What would you have done as president in early 2009? Is it really your contention that the economy would have recovered at a typical pace from the worst financial crisis since the 1930s if government had done nothing at all?

  5. rikyrah says:

    Clueless Republican Voters
    Posted on 03/19/2012 at 3:55 pm by Bob Cesca

    Here’s the results of a PPP poll of Republican voters planning to participate in the Illinois primary — you know, the state where President Obama was a resident, state senator and U.S. Senator.

    Do you think Barack Obama is a Christian or a Muslim, or are you not sure?
    Christian: 24
    Muslim: 39
    Not sure: 37

    Do you think Barack Obama was born in the United States, or not?
    Was born in U.S.: 36
    Not born in U.S.: 36
    Not sure: 28

    Do you believe in evolution, or not?
    Believe in evolution: 41
    Do not: 43
    Not sure: 16

    Incidentally, minor wording gripe. One doesn’t “believe in” evolution. Belief implies faith. We either accept the scientific facts or we don’t.

    Regardless, the “not sure” numbers are almost more ridiculous than the people who think the president isn’t American, etc. I assure you, there would never be “not sure” numbers as high as this for a white president.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Seller Of Racist Bumper Sticker Defends Use Of The N-Word To Describe President Obama
    By Adam Peck on Mar 19, 2012 at 11:45 am

    President Obama’s critics hate being labeled racists, but occasionally it’s hard to argue with the charges. Paula Smith, the owner, is defending a popular bumper sticker that is igniting debate on race and spawning widespread condemnation.

    “Don’t Re-Nig in 2012,” reads the sticker — a not-too-subtle play on a word that invokes one of the most repulsive racial epithets to attack the country’s first black president. Yet, Smith sees absolutely nothing wrong with it, as she told Forbes:

    Ms. Smith insisted that the bumper sticker is not racist. I asked her about the “N” word, for which “nig” is the shortened version. “According to the dictionary [the N word] does not mean black. It means a low down, lazy, sorry, low down person. That’s what the N word means.”

    Even if one were to ignore the racial scars of left by the “N-word” and rely solely on an academic definition, Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines it as an offensive word referring to “a black person.”

    But she goes further, explaining that her website found the design on a different site in 2010 and decided to sell it herself because she “thought it was cute.” Pressed by Forbes on whether she thought the N-word is offensive at all, she replied “no,” explaining that she herself doesn’t use it and that she has “helped black families.” “And besides,” she added, “Obama is not even black. He’s got a mixture of race. It’s his choice of what his nationality is.”

    Perhaps most upsetting of all is the fact that the sticker is currently the site’s top seller. Smith says she no longer actively maintains the website, and that she thought the site was “dead.” But in the last few days, people have been buying up the sticker at $3 apiece.

  7. rikyrah says:

    112% wrong in Pennsylvania
    By Steve Benen – Mon Mar 19, 2012 3:48 PM EDT.
    Getty Images

    Pennsylvania’s Corbett takes a step backwards on voting rights.
    Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) made national news last week when he was asked about his support for a state Republican measure on forced, state-mandated, medically-unnecessary ultrasounds. “I don’t know how you make anybody watch,” the governor replied. “You just have to close your eyes.”

    As it turns out, that’s not the only troubling thing Corbett said last week.

    The Pennsylvania governor also signed into law a voter-ID measure, rushed through the state legislature by Republican policymakers, the latest development in what some have labeled the GOP’s “war on voting.”

    Asked to explain the need for such a measure, Corbett offered a curious explanation (thanks to reader K.M. for the tip):

    “When some of the precincts come in with a 112 percent reporting you have to scratch your head and say how does that happen?” questioned Governor Corbett.

    At a certain level, that may seem persuasive. If there were precincts in the Keystone State that had 112% participation, then Republicans would have a pretty strong case for new measures intended to crack down on abuses.

    But here’s the trouble: there are no examples of Pennsylvania precincts, at a time or in an election, coming in with 112% participation. Corbett appears to have simply made this up.

    Indeed, Corbett was Pennsylvania’s state Attorney General, and before that, a U.S. Attorney. If he had found evidence of such obvious fraud, he had opportunities to investigate and prosecute. That never happened, because the fraud never took place.

    It’d be less frustrating if proponents of voter-suppression tactics were more forthright about their motivations. Instead of pretending he’s combating a problem that doesn’t exist, Corbett and his allies should simply admit what is plainly true: GOP officials are eager to block traditionally-Democratic constituencies from voting, and requiring voter IDs disproportionately affects the poor, the elderly, and minorities.

    The facts are obvious. You just have to open your eyes.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Crawford names his price
    By Steve Benen – Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:30 PM EDT.

    For quite a while, congressional Republicans have maintained, with unnerving unanimity, a simple response to Democratic budget requests: no tax increases on anyone at any time by any amount for any reason. Full stop.

    It came as something of a surprise, then, when Rep. Rick Crawford, a conservative Republican from Arkansas, threw the political world a curve ball last week, announcing his support for a surtax on millionaires and billionaires “as part of a broader fiscal responsibility package.” It was the first visible crack in the GOP’s anti-tax wall seen in many years.

    What was unclear, however, is what Crawford expected in return. He was willing to accept the surtax, but what would Democrats be expected to give as part of this “fiscal responsibility package”? As it turns out, he’s asked for far too much.

    Mr. Crawford, a freshman from Arkansas, offered Democrats a deal — a 5 percent surtax on incomes greater than $1 million in exchange for passage of a balanced budget [amendment to the U.S. Constitution].

    Mr. Crawford said that a few Republicans had privately told him they liked the idea, but that none would go public. […]

    It was that impasse that Mr. Crawford said he hoped to break, with $400 billion in deficit reduction through tax increases on the very wealthy, coupled with the long-sought amendment to the Constitution requiring a balanced budget.

    Well, so much for that idea.

    I expected Crawford to seek steep concessions — I assumed privatization of Medicare would have been the most likely price Dems would be asked to pay — but a modest surtax in exchange for a ridiculous constitutional amendment guarantees that no sensible lawmaker in either party will take this proposal seriously.

    Crawford’s plan went from courageous creativity to jarring joke with remarkable speed.


    The fact remains that a balanced budget amendment would devastate the economy and make responses to future crises effectively impossible. Bruce Bartlett, a veteran of the Reagan and Bush administrations, explained recently that this is a “dreadful” idea that is “frankly, nuts.”

    In addition to all of the usual reasons a BBA is a tragic mistake, I’d just remind Crawford of a couple of related points.

    First, the whole idea of the amendment is a cheap cop-out. Policymakers who want to balance the budget can put together a plan to balance the budget. It’s hard work, of course, and would require sacrifice and compromise, but those who take this goal seriously can put in the effort and craft a plan.

    Backers of this amendment generally don’t want to bother. Instead of drafting a plan to balance the budget, Crawford wants a constitutional gimmick that will mandate a policy goal lawmakers can’t figure out how to accomplish on their own. That’s not responsible policymaking; that’s the opposite.

    And in case this isn’t already obvious, even the point of this endeavor is misguided. Sometimes, running deficits is the smart, responsible thing to do, and to assume that the budget should always be balanced is fundamentally misguided. It’s not even about left vs. right, since conservative priorities would be crushed, too. The entire Reagan agenda would have been unconstitutional in the 1980s, and Paul Ryan’s budget plan couldn’t even be considered if a balanced budget amendment were ratified.

    It’s a “pathetic joke” of a proposal. Trading it for a surtax that should be on the table anyway is madness.

  9. rikyrah 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.

    What is the position of this dangerous subversive to whom Barack Obama is clearly tethered, when it comes to the role of the United States in the world? Only that, “We’ve committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world, and I’m going to continue to say it. And we won’t stop it because of our pride and our arrogance as a nation.”

    There is more, much more in fact: pointed condemnations of white racism and arrogance, trenchant critiques of American nationalism and patriotism, and withering bromides against the wealthy, all from a man whom Barack Obama praises often, and apparently regards as something of a national role model.

    Indeed, he said as much a few months ago, when he dedicated a monument to this man on the Mall in Washington — the recently unveiled statue for Martin Luther King Jr.

    One can only wonder how Andrew Breitbart would have spun this, or how Sean Hannity might still. But then again, we do know how the right would handle such material. We know that they won’t touch it at all. Despite King’s radicalism — a radicalism about which most Americans remain unaware thanks to our four-decades long sanitizing of his work and message — the right will and must remain silent on this score, lest they bump up against the obvious: namely, that King is iconic (as well he should be), and as close to a secular Saint as one can get.

    But while the right will no doubt avoid smearing King, they have no trouble condemning others whose views, about U.S. foreign policy, racism and economic justice largely mirror his own. It is as if they believe anyone who dares note the ongoing reality of racism (as Bell did until his death), or the role the United States has played in propping up dictatorships and collaborating with human rights abuses abroad (as Wright did in the various sermons that brought down nationalistic jeremiads upon his head back in 2008), is ipso facto a racist and a traitor. To mention racism makes one racist. To speak of injustice in your own nation makes you un-American.

    It is a position ultimately requiring the right to believe that most all black people in the country are racist against white people and fundamentally treasonous, since most African Americans do indeed believe racism to be a real and persistent problem and since most continue to insist that there are various injustices afoot in the nation’s economic and justice systems. If believing these things makes one racist, then most all people of color would have to be written off as such. Likewise, the entire civil rights movement would have to be considered racist, for daring to criticize the United States and its white population for its foot-dragging lethargy with regard to ending segregation.

    Let’s remember, just as whites today largely deny that racism is an obstacle for people of color — and thus, consider it anti-white bigotry to tell them otherwise — so too, when the movement of which Dr. King was such a central part was forcing America to look at itself and the evil it perpetrated daily, most whites didn’t see what all the fuss was about. Polls in the early ’60s, before the passage of various civil rights laws, found that most whites (between 63 and 85 percent depending on the wording of the question) thought blacks were treated equally in their communities with regard to housing, jobs and education. So if condemning racism makes one racist, just because white folks disagree with the assessment of social reality being put forward by black people, we would have to conclude that the movement led by King was racist too, just as we are presumably to conclude about the positions of people like Derrick Bell, Jeremiah Wright and most all African Americans today.

  10. rikyrah says:

    March 16, 2012
    Romney’s path not taken
    Jonathan Chait:

    [T]here’s no reason to believe that Romney is especially dishonest in his core – that he has any special propensity to lie to his friends or neighbors or clients. He wanted a political career, and once he made that decision, he had only two choices: massive dishonesty or certain defeat.

    That’s probably correct, given the rigidity of contemporary GOP politics. There was however a third way, possibly — one more perilous, but far easier on the nerves, I would think, as well as on the memory, i.e., not having to always recall, Now what’s my position on that this year? And that way was Tim Pawlenty’s way, back in the day of 2009, when it looked as though the Minnesota governor could go all the way.

    What was the path? Straight down the middle, which in this increasingly conservative environment means solidly center-right. It’s undoubtedly true that by playing it straight Romney would have experienced even less primary and caucus success than he has. Yet playing it straight would have compensated Romney to some extent by promoting him as a straight-shooter; his most costly electoral defect up to this point has been that he’s untrustworthy and manipulative and too cunningly flexible. Plus, there is at least a reasonable chance that more moderates would have turned out by now had a vocal moderate been running.

    And we should also keep in mind who Romney has been running against. Was Herman Cain ever a real threat? Michele Bachmann? Rick Perry? Bozos, all. And if the race still came down to one between Romney and Rick Santorum, or Newt Gingrich, the difference of significance between Pawlenty and Romney is that Romney has always had the financing to outspend and therefore outlast any mop-up competition — especially the really poor sort, in every way, like Santorum.

    And, it goes without adding much necessary note, that Romney would not have been required to then flip again during the general campaign, back to a moderate stance. (This model also assumes an almost maniacally aggressive economy/jobs-centric campaign by Romney, rather than a reactive one to all the less-than-far-right positions he’s ever taken, which has proved a devastating and even ridiculous distraction for him.)

    Such an approach would have required real guts, of course: nerve and a methodical constancy of the kind Barack Obama displayed during the 2008 campaign. So, well, so much for that idea, with respect to Mitt Romney.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Dems To GOP: No Cover From Us On Medicare Privatization Plan
    Brian Beutler – March 19, 2012, 1:04 PM

    When House Republicans unveil their 2012 budget on Tuesday, they are expected to include a Medicare privatization plan endorsed by one Democrat — Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). That, Republicans will claim, proves their controversial overhaul proposal has bipartisan support.

    Leading Democrats say they won’t let the GOP get away with it.

    “We don’t see a difference in principle between the original Ryan plan and the so-called Wyden-Ryan plan,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) a party surrogate on health care issues, told reporters on a conference call Monday morning. “It’s equally bad or only marginally different but still would end Medicare as we know it.”

    The return of the budget wars coincides with the two-year anniversary of President Obama’s health care reform law, and Supreme Court arguments over whether that law is constitutional. It means Democrats are for the first time simultaneously attacking the GOP’s Medicare plans and robustly defending the health care law — including its new and growing benefits for Medicare patients.

    The Republican goals of repealing the health care law in its entirety, and phasing out the existing Medicare program and replacing it with a subsidized private insurance system, would roll back these and other benefit guarantees.

    Democrats will be ramping up the campaign in the days and weeks ahead to remind seniors — and other health care law beneficiaries — of this major distinction between the parties.

    “They [seniors] don’t want Medicare itself to be diminished in some way,” Schakowsky said, “or to become too expected and therefore ruined.”

  12. rikyrah says:

    March 19, 2012 11:57 AM

    Rick’s Car Breaks Down in a Bad Neighborhood
    By Ed Kilgore

    Unless PPP’s latest survey of the state is uncharacteristically way off, Rick Santorum is cruisin’ for a real bruisin’ in tomorrow’s Illinois primary. It shows Romney up 45-30, with Santorum running out of time and not having the money to compete in the state’s expensive media markets. But more than anything else, Illinois is just a bad state for Rick, despite its superficial reputation as a blue-collar midwestern jurisdiction near places (Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan and Ohio) where Santorum has run well.

    As PPP shows, IL is a state where “somewhat conservative” voters outnumber “very conservative” voters; evangelicals are only 36% of the likely voters; and rural voters are outnumbered by more than two-to-one. Worse yet for Rick, it’s a place where fully a fourth of Republican voters think Obama’s a Christian and as many say he was born in the USA as say he wasn’t; where nearly half believe in evolution and three-fourths think race-mixin’ should be legal.

    And as PPP’s analysis indicates, even in the demographic categories where he does well, Santorum’s support is slipping from previous performances. When you combine these two factors, it can be devastating. In OH, for example, evangelicals made up 47% of the primary electorate and Rick won them by 18 points. PPP shows them at 36% in IL, and Santorum leads only by 10.

    I haven’t seen any consolidated analysis of spending in IL, but it looks like Team Santorum is getting massively outspent (something on the order of 10-1) by Team Romney.

    Thanks to the decision of MO Republicans not to hold a straw poll at its caucuses on Saturday (along with some apparent Romney-Paul tactical alliances on the ground), Santorum will have to wait until next Saturday’s primary in Louisiana for any sort of boost. He’s not, it appears, close enough in IL to get much traction from beating expectations and keeping the results in suspense until most of the news media stories have already been filed. Indeed, as a big fat Politico piece today filled with endless complaining about Romney’s campaign from Illinois pols indicates, Rick may actually be on the wrong side of the expectations game this time around.

    Santorum and his backers can only hope Mitt pulls off one of his patented pre-primary gaffes in IL—maybe simultaneously disrespecting the Cubs and the White Sox, or thanking donors for protecting his kids’ trust funds, or comparing his hair to Blago’s or something. Otherwise, Rick just needs to take his bad beating and move on, hoping the MSM doesn’t suddenly decide it’s all over.

  13. rikyrah says:

    02:03 PM EST
    Romney: Under Obama, Government Would Have Banned Edison’s Lightbulb

    In an address on the subject of economic freedom at the University of Chicago, Mitt Romney threw a punch at President Obama on one of conservatives favorite subjects: lightbulbs.

    And the government would have banned Thomas Edison’s light bulb. Oh yeah, Obama’s regulators actually did just that.
    Edison isn’t the only inventor Romney alleged would have been stymied under President Obama:

    President Obama hopes to erase his record with a speech. In a recent address, he said that, “We are inventors. We are builders. We are makers of things. We are Thomas Edison. We are the Wright Brothers. We are Bill Gates. We are Steve Jobs.”

    The reality is that, under President Obama’s administration, these pioneers would have found it much more difficult, if not impossible, to innovate, invent, and create.

    Under Dodd-Frank, they would have struggled to get loans from their community banks.

    A regulator would have shut down the Wright Brothers for their “dust pollution.”

  14. rikyrah says:

    GOP Leaders Take Conservative Fire For Health Care Repeal Strategy

    Sahil Kapur- March 19, 2012, 10:04 AM

    When top House Republicans advanced a bill this month aimed at repealing one of the most contentious parts of President Obama’s health care law, they didn’t see much downside. More bad press for health care reform, a splintered Democratic House minority and a consolidated Republican Party. They didn’t look hard enough.

    Not only have they managed to alienate some Democratic allies on the bill, slated for a floor vote this week, they’re also facing heat from the right for targeting just the one provision of “Obamacare,” instead of the law in its entirety.

    The provision is the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a panel of 15 experts that will be charged with holding down Medicare per-beneficiary costs years from now by restricting provider payments. The repeal bill easily cleared House committees, with some help from key Democrats, a number of whom are uncomfortable with the idea.

    On Friday, two prominent conservative members of Congress, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Rep. Steve King (R-IA), publicly accused the House GOP of muddying the party’s message on the Affordable Care Act. In a Washington Times op-ed titled “End Obamacare, don’t mend it,” the two lawmakers declare that scrapping the law in its entirety is a defining plank of the Republican platform.

    “Unfortunately, the clarity of that choice may soon be muddied, not by Democrats desperate to hide from their record, but inexplicably, by Republicans pushing a vote on a bill to undo one part of Obamacare: the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB),” DeMint and King write. While denouncing IPAB as “one of the most obnoxious parts” of the law, they declare that “we are as adamantly opposed to IPAB as we are to the rest of Obamacare — from the individual mandate to the abortion-pill requirement to the multitrillion-dollar price tag.”

    “The Democratic Party is the party of Obamacare,” they continue. “If Republicans, through their toying with Obamacare, present themselves to voters as the party of some of Obamacare, we will lose.”

    The op-ed dovetails a same-day letter from more than a dozen prominent conservative advocates to House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, pleading with them not to “muddy the water” of conservatives’ hatred for health care law by singling out IPAB. They write: “We cannot allow the idea to take root that the worst parts of Obamacare can somehow be ‘removed’ when in fact the entire law must be rescinded.”

  15. rikyrah says:

    What Are the Gobshites Saying These Days?
    By Charles P. Pierce at 12:45PM

    We begin our semi-regular weekly feature with newly minted conquistador Willard Romney, who won all the delegates Puerto Rico could offer over the weekend and has concluded therefore, ipso facto, Speedy Gonzales, that he has all the frijoles anyone could need to defeat President Obama in the fall. Ole!

    “Those people who don’t think that Latinos will vote for Republicans need to take a look at Puerto Rico and see there that conservative principles and Latino voters go together,” he said, listing interests Latinos shared with other voters, like jobs. “I intend to become our nominee, and I intend to get Latino voters to vote for a Republican and take back the White House.” Romney’s prediction drew cheers from his mostly white audience in a suburb north of Chicago…

    So, if we move Puerto Rico to Vernon Hills, Illinois, the Romneybot 2.0 is muy groovy, que no? Look, Willard, you and Santorum spent all your time down there trying to out-Anglo each other on English as the national language. You’re both tied to the Republican position on immigration which is, shall we say, unpopular within the segment of the population to which you’re trying to appeal. And you decided that Puerto Rico was exactly the place to make a campaign issue out of Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The fact that you actually managed to get 100,000 of Puerto Rico’s four million people to vote for you means only that whatever Marco Rubio wants for vice-president, you’ll bring it to him wearing an evening gown and heels, if that’s what it takes.

    But Willard’s been a’stirrin’ up the hornet’s nest elsewhere, too. David Gregory, Honest Broker and onetime member of Karl Rove’s chorus line, is peeved that the Romneybot 2.0 is dating other talk shows:

    “I don’t really know what they’re doing,” Gregory said. “He is becoming a Fox News contributor apparently, in terms of his interviews over there trying to reach a conservative audience.”

    ‘Fi were king of the forest, the one thing I would change about the political culture would be to demolish absolutely the cult of the Sunday chat shows. They are billowy relics of a bygone age. (I keep checking every week to see if Estes Kefauver and Paul Douglas are on to talk about Quemoy and Matsu again.) That they maintain their influence in policy circles in Washington is an argument for moving the capital to Guam, by the way.

    Up here, Senator McDreamy, about whom you can read much, much more on our various platforms, has had a good month. He’s ahead in the polls, and he got a lovely bounce out of his appearance at the annual Irish American minstrel show in South Boston yesterday, as even the Liberal Boston Globe, whose crush on McDreamy continues largely unrequited, noted that he was greeted as the hometown boy by the various gin-blossomed former governor councillors and fallen registers of probate in attendance. Which makes it all the more curious that McDreamy stepped in it so badly by signing onto Missouri goober Roy Blunt’s anti-contraception bill. Sensing a certain vulnerability on the issue, the senator jumped on board the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, and he got himself and his daughters onto the front page of today’s Boston Herald, in which he argues that their presence in his life is the reason you should ignore his curious alliance with the forces of No Ladyparts Please.

    “I’ve been to 1,000 women’s basketball games in my life,” he said, referring to his daughter Ayla’s scholastic basketball career. Brown, a man married to a working woman and with two daughters, added, “I think women know that I’m from a household of strong women.”

    Some of his best relatives are women.

    Read more:

  16. rikyrah says:

    Two American Killings and a Creeping Paranoia
    By Charles P. Pierce
    at 1:59PM

    There are two stories at the top of the news about people who shot other people to death. There are no obvious similarities between the two events. There are nothing but similarities between how the stories are being told to those of us trying to make sense out of the world.

    The first is the story of Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, who allegedly walked into a village in Afghanistan and went house to house, butchering people along the way. Ever since the army released Bales’s identity over the weekend, we have had a spate of stories in which people back here expressed amazement that Bales would ever do such a thing, and also seeking to explain away what is self-evidently a war crime by the kind of banal arguments presented every day in U.S. courtrooms by overworked public defenders. Family problems. Money pressures. Stress in the workplace which, in this case, involved four combat tours in our imperial exercises in southwest Asia, including at least one tour after he’d lost part of his foot and suffered a mild traumatic brain injury, which is yet another thing we didn’t care about until it became useful in our efforts to explain the unexplainable and to absolve ourselves of the consequences. It’s now going to be Bales’s alibi, and our own.

    The second is the story of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year old boy in Florida who was gunned down by a “neighborhood watch” commander named George Zimmerman, apparently for the crime of carrying Skittles in the wrong part of town:

    According to 911 recordings released late Friday by Sanford police, Zimmerman said the person was walking slowly, looked drugged and appeared to be looking at people’s houses. Police would later learn that Trayvon had gone to 7-Eleven during the NBA All Star game halftime to get Skittles and Arizona iced tea.

    This is what the local sheriff, a man named Bill Lee, whose job it is to be the ostensible real law enforcement officer for the area, had to say about the incident over the weekend:

    Police Chief Bill Lee said that although police do not encourage watch program volunteers to carry weapons, he recognizes a citizen’s constitutional right to do so. No arrest was made, Lee said, because there was no evidence to disprove Zimmerman’s account. He has cooperated with the investigation and never retained an attorney, Lee said. His phone numbers are disconnected and no one answered the door at his home or his parents’ home. His in-laws shooed a reporter away. After death threats and an avalanche of hate mail, Lee said Zimmerman went into hiding. Local station WFTV Channel 9 reported that he showed up with a truck last week and moved out. “We are taking a beating over this,” said Lee, who defends the investigation. “This is all very unsettling. I’m sure if George Zimmerman had the opportunity to relive Sunday, Feb. 26, he’d probably do things differently. I’m sure Trayvon would, too.”

    Got that? The victim would have “done things differently.” What things, exactly? Going for the Doritos instead of the Skittles? The Snapple instead of the Arizona Iced Tea? Yes, I am sure that, given the opportunity, Trayvon Martin would do things differently. For example, he would not have gotten shot. But he won’t have the opportunity because he’s dead, and he’s dead because George Zimmerman shot him in the head.

    You can see the enveloping ambiguity in both cases begin to soften the edges of the actual events, so as to make them easier to live with. There’s a creeping paranoia at the roots of both events. For Bales, it was another trip into a war zone where the lines between friend and foe were utterly blurred, and the search for someone to blame. For Zimmerman, it was the fear of crime that seems to have seeped into that neighborhood like foul water up from the earth, its source the very real economic dislocation abroad in the land, and the search for someone to blame. Someone who “seemed” to the professionally paranoid to be on drugs. Someone who “seemed” to the professionally paranoid to be “looking at” people’s houses. Bales and Zimmerman are already halfway to being, if not victims, then people just like the rest of us who simply “snapped” due to circumstances we can all understand, if not excuse. There, but for the grace of god, and all that.

    Read more:

  17. rikyrah says:

    Abandoning the minimum wage, too
    By Steve Benen – Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:35 PM EDT.

    We got a good laugh the other day when the three Republican U.S. Senate candidates in Missouri got together for a debate, and none of the three knew what the federal minimum wage is. But there’s another angle to this clip that’s worth paying attention to.

    Abandoning the minimum wage, too
    By Steve Benen – Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:35 PM EDT.We got a good laugh the other day when the three Republican U.S. Senate candidates in Missouri got together for a debate, and none of the three knew what the federal minimum wage is. But there’s another angle to this clip that’s worth paying attention to.

    Greg Sargent noted that, in addition to the candidates’ ignorance, two of the three candidates hoping to take on Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) in November “seemed to come out for doing away with the minimum wage entirely.”

    The three candidates — GOP Rep Todd Akin, businessman Jon Brunner, and state treasurer Sarah Steelman — were all asked today whether they favored increasing the minimum wage.

    [Rep. Todd 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.”

    [Businessman Jon 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. […]

    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.

    Quite right. I’d just add that this will apparently be the second consecutive cycle in which this is a problem — with increasing frequency, statewide GOP candidates are taking firm stands against the minimum wage.


    In 2010 Senate races, for example, Republican nominees in Connecticut, Alaska, West Virginia, Kentucky, and the state of Washington argued that they either oppose the minimum wage, consider its existence unconstitutional, or both.

    Remember when the Republican Party leaders used to champion a “living wage”? Many of its statewide candidates apparently don’t. (As recently as the 1970s, GOP support for wage controls, at least on a temporary basis, was not uncommon.)

    Indeed, the fact that U.S. Senate candidates would have no qualms about standing against the existence of a minimum wage is a reminder about how far the Republican mainstream has shifted. It’s no longer unusual for statewide GOP candidates to oppose the minimum wage, child-labor laws, the existing structure of Medicare and guaranteed benefits, restrictions on torture, collective bargaining, and unemployment benefits.

    Not too long ago, this would have been largely unthinkable, and such candidates would have been labeled “extremists,” unable to even compete in a statewide primary.

  18. rikyrah says:

    ………Swimsuit Model Accused of Heading International Drug Ring Captured
    By KEVIN DOLAK and DAVID WRIGHT | Good Morning America – 10 hours ago

    The international swimsuit model accused of being the mastermind of a worldwide drug ring run out of a Hollywood apartment has been arrested in Australia after skipping out on bail over a month ago.
    Simone Farrow, who was once the face of the Ed Hardy brand of bikinis, used 19 different aliases to ship methamphetamine around the world by FedEx and even the postal service, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency and Australian police.

    The 37-year-old, who was arrested in Queensland on Australia’s Gold Coast and extradited to Sydney last week, denied the charges and claims that she was in hiding after running for her life.

    “The only reason I’ve done this is because someone was trying to murder me,” Farrow told Australia’s Sunday Telegraph. “I’ve been in … relationships with numerous underworld figures or whatever you want to call them and I feel that maybe they feel threatened by my situation.”

    Farrow was first arrested in October 2009 after flying to Australia while the United States DEA was raiding her Sunset Boulevard apartment, allegedly seizing drugs and documents.

    After having a friend post her $150,000 bond in February, Farrow skipped bail. Police in Australia finally caught up with Farrow last week, at a cheap Gold Coast hotel.

    Under the stage name Simone Starr, Farrow was a bikini model, pin-up girl and a Penthouse magazine “pet,” while making FHM magazine’s Sexiest Women In The World list three times. Farrow was also promoting herself as a singer/songwriter, and on her website, as a would-be reality show star.

    Australian authorities now insist that behind that high-fashion facade, Farrow was leading a double life trafficking high-grade crystal meth, hiding them in shipments of bath salts.

    “It’s not uncommon in the modeling and entertainment industry,” former special agent Brad Garrett told ABC News. “If your skill set doesn’t take you any place else, where’s it going to take you? A quick buck would be distributing methamphetamine. It tells me that she was not that sophisticated, and she may be desperate for money.”–abc-news.html


  19. rikyrah says:

    ……Obama’s daughter spends springbreak in Mexico

    ..The elder daughter of US President Barack Obama is spending her springbreak in the historic Mexican city of Oaxaca in the company of 12 friends, a state police official said.

    The young tourists, including 13-year-old Malia Ann Obama, are staying at a downtown hotel in this city famous for its colonial architecture and well-preserved native American traditions, the official said.

    “We are here to block access to the hotel by other people and escort the vehicles that are carrying the visitors to tourism sites,” the police official told AFP under the condition of anonymity.

    Malia Obama and her friend are guarded by 25 US Secret Service agents as well as Mexican police, the official noted.

    The group, which arrived in Oaxaca Saturday, has already visited the architectural zone of Mitla and the tree of El Tule believed to have one thousand years.

    The sightseeing plan also includes visits to Monte Alban known for its archeological research sites and Oaxaca’s famous artisan quarters.


  20. Ametia says:

    THIS: Every Republican running for President would repeal the Affordable Care Act. What would that mean? Ensuring that the gender gap in health insurance continues unabated:

    • Ametia says:

      “Women still pay more than men for the same health insurance coverage…The new health care law will prohibit such “gender rating,” starting in 2014. But gaps persist in most states, with no evidence that insurers have taken steps to reduce them.”

  21. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 03/19/2012
    For Paul Ryan and his Medicare plan, it’s Groundhog Day
    By Greg Sargent

    This week, Paul Ryan is set to roll out a new version of the Medicare plan he introduced last spring. Republicans are hoping that this time around things will be different, because the new rendition has the blessing of Dem Senator Ron Wyden, which Republicans will point to as proof that the new plan is “bipartisan.”

    Democrats, meanwhile, are going to do all they can to ensure that this year’s plan proves just as controversial and politically potent against House Republicans as last year’s version proved.

    Along these lines, here’s an amusing data point.

    Ryan has just put out a new Web video — starring himself — that seeks to lay the groundwork for the coming rollout of his budget, which is likely to argue that spending cuts, with no tax hikes on the wealthy, are what’s required to solve our fiscal problems.

    It turns out, however, that the new video is extraordinarily similiar to another video he released a year ago on the eve of releasing his previous plan.

    The two videos feature the same ominous atmospherics. They feature the same warnings from Ryan of imminent debt armageddon. They feature very similar shots of Ryan gazing portentiously into the camera. They feature eerily similar footage of Ryan stalking the halls of Congress in the grip of excrutiating and existential deficit angst. And they even feature the same music.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Daniels’ elusive credibility
    By Steve Benen – Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:46 AM EDT.
    Associated Press

    Mitch Daniels is always eager to point the finger in the wrong direction.
    Paul Ryan isn’t the only one who mistakenly claims to have credibility on fiscal issues. There’s also Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R), who appears to have a remarkably short memory.

    Mitch Daniels’ signature issues has been deficit reduction, and he said that none of the candidates, including the president, have done enough to address it.

    “It is time for candidates to, I believe, propose specific remedies or steps to address this very survival-level issue that we’re facing. The president, I’m sorry to say, has gone completely AWOL on this issue,” said Daniels in an interview on Bloomberg TV’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt.”

    Of course, the president is the only who offered congressional Republicans a $4 trillion debt-reduction package that Democrats hated, only to see GOP officials turn it down as insufficiently conservative. “Completely AWOL” doesn’t seem like the appropriate phrase under the circumstances.

    But even if we put that aside, the larger issue is why Daniels believes he has credibility on the subject at all.

    As Paul Krugman noted a while back, Daniels is “held up as an icon of fiscal responsibility” without having earned it: “[W]hat I can’t forget is his key role in the squandering of the fiscal surplus Bush inherited. It wasn’t just that he supported the Bush tax cuts; the excuses he made for that irresponsibility were stunningly fraudulent.”

    It’s just bizarre for a guy who led the Bush/Cheney budget office to pick fiscal responsibility, of all things, as a signature issue.


    It was, after all, 10 years ago when George W. Bush signed his first massive tax-cut bill. At the time, he thanked three people for helping make it happen — Dick Cheney, then-Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, and his director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mitch Daniels.

    It was that tax-cut package that helped eliminate the massive surplus Bush and Daniels had inherited from the Clinton administration, and began a sea of red ink that, ironically, Daniels is now concerned about.

    When asked about this, Daniels tends to blame the end of the dot-com bubble for eliminating Clinton-era surpluses. The argument is utter nonsense, and has been thoroughly debunked.

    What’s more, Jamelle Bouie reported that Daniels also “badly underestimated the cost of the Iraq War, offering an estimate of $50 to $60 billion for the initial assault, and a forecast of $17 to $45 billion per year of occupation. At best — if we extend those costs to the present — Daniels was off by 2 and a half trillion dollars.”

    So, remind me — why is Daniels lecturing others on this?

  23. Ametia says:

    EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Rush Limbaugh’s Radical Roots
    By The Desperate Blogger, on March 18th, 2012

  24. Ametia says:

    B>His name is Trayvon Martin’
    By Steve Benen
    Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:06 AM EDT.

    Melissa Harris-Perry did a segment over the weekend about the death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, a few weeks ago, and it’s well worth watching, especially if you want to get brought up to speed on this story. The controversy surrounding this shooting is starting to garner national attention, and for good reason.

    Though the incident is still under investigation, what we know at this point is gut-wrenching enough. Martin, a 17-year-old, African-American high school student with good grades, was visiting relatives in a gated community. A neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, saw Martin walking, followed him, and called 911 to report the teenager acting “suspiciously,” adding, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good or he’s on drugs or something.”

    The police asked Zimmerman, who apparently had a habit of calling 911 with alarming frequency, to back off. He did not. Though the details remain sketchy, there was apparently some kind of confrontation between the 28-year-old Zimmerman and Martin, leading Zimmerman to shoot and kill the teenager.

    Martin was unarmed, carrying nothing more than a bag of candy and an iced tea. No charges have yet been filed against the shooter, though an investigation is still underway, and the matter has been brought to the attention of the FBI. For more details, I found Adam Weinstein’s piece on the controversy really helpful, too.

    I’d also note Melissa’s conclusion: “Despite Zimmerman having injuries consistent with self-defense, he also had a gun,” she said. “Trayvon had a bag of Skittles. His name is Trayvon Martin. When innocent children are killed, when their parents are left to wonder if their children’s lives matter at all, at least we can remember their names.”

  25. rikyrah says:

    March 19, 2012 8:38 AM
    Romney’s Hollow “Latino Win”
    By Ed Kilgore

    So in the least surprising development of the 2012 GOP presidential nominating contest, Mitt Romney won the Puerto Rico primary yesterday, winning a majority of the vote and sweeping all 20 delegates.

    In a textbook example of attempted overinterpretation, Romney had this to say about the win:

    “Those people who don’t think that Latinos will vote for a Republican need to take a look at Puerto Rico,” Romney said from a suburb north of Chicago. “I intend to become our nominee and I intend to get Latino voters to vote for a Republican and take back the White House.

    Yeah, right.

    Puerto Ricans voting in a Republican presidential primary are pretty likely, all other things being equal, to vote for a Republican in that primary. That candidate was also pretty likely to be Mitt, who endorsed statehood for Puerto Rico (a popular cause for Republican-leaning Puerto Ricans in particular), was in turn endorsed by the governor, and who was one of two hopefuls to actually campaign there. The other was Rick Santorum, who showed up just long enough to offend everyone in sight by saying Puerto Rico must make English a “primary language” before being considered for statehood.

    So Mitt was going to win this primary. The idea that this is some sort of harbinger of Mitt-o-mania among Latinos is ludicrous.

    As citizens of the United States, Puerto Ricans are the Latino group least likely to care about the immigration issues that many others Latinos care deeply about, and on which Romney has deliberately positioned himself a bit to the right of Jimmy Dean Sausage. And while Romney did well among the sizable Puerto Rican vote in Florida, again, that’s limited to those participating in the Republican primary. He’s not going to carry Florida’s Puerto Ricans in November, and the best he can hope for among Latinos generally is a relatively non-catastrophic loss.

  26. Ametia says:

    Why I think Mitt Romney is running for President.

    He has no particularly strong policy positions.

    He waffles on both sides.

    He is not comfortable with celebrity who dislikes personal questions and hates to be interviewed. When off script he cringes and reveals that he doesn’t really like ‘the crowd’.

    So why is Mitt Romney running for President, especially when he is so poor at it and it inflicts such painful criticism of him before his family.

    There are two possible explanations. The first is that he is trying to exceed his father’s legacy. His father was a very nice man who was at ease in public and had a pretty good chance of becoming President except for a single interview where he told the truth about the Vietnam war and his experience on a junket there.

    The second is completely anecdotal and I have no proof, just speculation, it goes back 40 years to growing up with cousins of Mitt. In a nutshell I believe that Mitt Romney’s drive has to do with becoming the 4th most important person in the history of the Mormon Church. There have been three important bridges in Mormon history. The bridge of revelation (Smith), the bridge to Mormon Migration and Mormon Territory (Young), the bridge to Modernity and Conformity (Grant). The fourth bridge will be the person that brings Mormonism into complete and total acceptance of the American Christian community.

    In 1968 George Romney was ahead of Nixon in the polls and was much better liked. He had a warm personality and great success story as CEO and Governor of Michigan. He was candid and relaxed and that led to his stating that he was for the Vietnam war before and during a trip he made there but when he returned he began to realize that the diplomatic and military people in Vietnam were very insulated and that he had been ‘brainwashed’ by their briefings and enthusiasm for the war but upon reflection began to see the conflict differently. The use of the word ‘brainwashed’ a year before in an obscure radio interview was unearthed and played over and over again and effectively ended his political career.

    At that time I was 14 years old and was the direct descendent of (along with hundreds of others including Senator Bennett of Utah ) of Jedidiah Morgan Grant (the first mayor of Salt Lake City) and his son Heber J Grant (the second longest serving President of the Mormon Church 1919 – 1945). HJG had three major impact on the Church a) He started a ‘Good Neighbor Pollicy’ that removed revenge of anti Mormon ‘persecution’ and replaced it with a ‘Good Neighbor’ b) When the Depression hit the LDS church was seriously overleveraged and on the brink of insolvency he instituted internal reforms (see c) and went to New York and successfully negotiated refinance and kept the Church solvent and c) He moved the LDS Church from a wink and nod approach to polygamy (which he was found guilty of earlier) to starting to excommunicate Mormons that still practiced and pomoted it.

    Heber J Grant was also the last living member of the Council of Fifty (

    The Council of Fifty was designed to take over the administration of government when in a post apocalyptic world all other governments collapsed. It was active in Joseph Smiths campaign for President in 1844.

    With that background I had a number of interesting exchanges with one Rick Romney in the 8th grade. Rick was George’s nephew and Mitt’s first cousin. Even at that age I had a lot of interest in politics and would talk about the campaign with Rick. I also let it slip that I was a descendent of Heber J and Jedidiah Morgan Grant.

    Rick was in absolute awe. He was more impressed with my distant relatives (with whom we had no real contact beyond the occassional Uncle visit). I would dribble out little tidbits from time to time. What was particularly fascinating was Ricks’ reaction that we were no longer Mormons. It was incomprehensible to him. I explained that virtually no one in our immeidiate family bar one uncle that was a true insider, stayed up with it and I would dismissively mock the goofy things I had heard from my father about Mormon beliefs.

    Rick wasn’t surprised that we didn’t buy it all but couldn’t understand why we just didn’t pass that stuff by and build on the fantastic network of relations that our family would have had.

    I couldn’t understand how he would accept the mumbo jumbo of Mormonism and he couldn’t accept why I would be so concerned with any particular doctrine and turn away from such a vaulted family history.

    He viewed my antecedents as being close to the Matthew, Mark or Luke and I viewed them as earlier forms of the three stooges.

    Now I am also sure that Rick was a lot nicer about it than me and that I was probably pretty shitty about it way back then.

    But seeing how Mormons see Smith/Young and Grant and how they still sting at being outside the realm of what is considered acceptable and respectable intellectual thought I see Mitt Romney’s campaign as an effort to achieve what Joseph Smith attempted in 1844 but never achieved, election as President would put a permanent ‘Good Housekeeping Seal of approval’ on the LDS Church as being American as apple pie.

    From their point of view even a successful nomination of a major party, even if it is defeated in a general election will provide massive and permanent ‘certification’ as Mormons being considered normal.

    It would also explain why Romney always seems to be trying to get everyone’s approval, he wants to be known as the fourth great Mormon, the one that finally brought Mormonism inside of the American establishment.

  27. Ametia says:

    So folks today the media MEME for today is Obama’s losing his small donors & that’s why he’s out on the fundraising trail! BULLSHIT! Focus on the GOP’s greedy, open use of all those SLIMY SUPER PACS!

  28. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 09:00 AM ET, 03/19/2012
    The Morning Plum: Can Dems undermine Romney’s aura of competence?
    By Greg Sargent

    Mitt Romney is giving another speech on the economy today. Democrats are going to seize on it in order to take aim at an aspect of Romney’s political persona that has so far mostly gone unscathed — his aura of competence.

    Most Dem attacks on Romney have focused on his silver-foot-in-mouth gaffes and Bain Capital years, and what those say about his lack of appreciation of the struggles of ordinary people; his nonstop mendacity and what that says about character; and his extreme positions on social issues and on tax cuts for the rich, and what those say about his fiscal priorities and values.

    While all these are problematic for Romney, they don’t touch on what could arguably prove a source of political strength in a general election — the general sense that he’s competent and effective.

    Unlike Newt Gingrich and to a lesser extent Rick Santorum, Romney comes across as a decision-maker whose choices are methodical, data-driven, and not based in wishful thinking. If the recovery doesn’t accelerate or if the economy dips, and if swing voters are receptive to the argument that Obama’s policies haven’t been effective enough, this aura could loom large in a general election — even if those voters accept the case that in class terms, Romney isn’t one of them.

    Of course, there is an argument to be made against Romney’s competence, at least as a public official. His job creation record as Governor as Massachusetts has been panned by experts, which should undermine his claim that his private sector work shows he’s a “job creator.” And independent evaluations have found his economic plan would explode the deficit, which should compromise his claims that he’s the man to get our fiscal house in order.

    In a memo out this morning, the Obama campaign took aim at the “Massachusetts myth.”

    “If Romney is an expert in job creation, why did Massachusetts fall to 47th in job creation on his watch, and see manufacturing jobs decline by twice the national average while debt and taxes increased?” the memo says. “How will Romney pay for his $5 trillion tax cut without increasing the deficit?”

    Look for those arguments to assume an increasing role in the case against Romney. And keep an eye on the competence factor.

    • Ametia says:


  29. Ametia says:

    Hateful, pure intolerant, HATEFUL man

  30. Ametia says:

    Court says no TV cameras at health care arguments

    WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court rejected requests from news organizations Friday for live, televised coverage of this month’s historic arguments on President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul but agreed to release audio recordings of the proceedings on the same day.
    The court will post audio files and transcripts on its website (http:// within two hours of the end of the proceedings on each of the three days set aside for argument, March 26-28.

    The C-SPAN cable network said it would play back the arguments on a broadcast channel and on radio as soon as they are available.

    The justices have never allowed cameras inside the courtroom and decided not to make an exception for the health care case despite what the court called “extraordinary public interest.”

    A statement issued by the court’s public information office and a letter from Chief Justice John Roberts to C-SPAN did not say anything about cameras or live coverage, even though many news organizations, including The Associated Press, and several members of Congress had asked the court to permit cameras into the courtroom to cover the proceedings.

    One of the lawmakers, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., called the decision on expedited audio a step forward but said he was disappointed that Americans will not be able to “witness these public proceedings as they happen.”

    The decision harks back to Bush v. Gore, the case that sealed George W. Bush’s election as president in 2000. That was the first time the justices provided audio of the arguments on the same day after they turned away pleas to air the proceedings live in a case that riveted the nation.

    Then, as now, C-SPAN and other organizations told the court they would broadcast the arguments live and in their entirety.

    In subsequent years, the court would occasionally authorize same-day release of audio in high-profile cases.

    But beginning in October 2010, the justices said they would no longer entertain requests for same-day release of audio of argument sessions. Instead, the court began posting audio files of all arguments on its website on Fridays. They made an allowance for the six hours of health care arguments, the most time set aside for any issue in more than 45 years.

    In recent years, argument transcripts have been made available just a few hours later.

    Reporters are not allowed to carry recorders or cameras into the courtroom.

    Read more: Court says no TV cameras at health care arguments – The Denver Post

  31. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s Spending Record: More Conservative Than Reagan’s

    This is the kind of reality that makes Sean Hannity’s head explodes. So far, the GOP candidates have been running against a fictional president with a fictional record. Obama didn’t campaign to increase government spending, but inheriting what was in the final quarter of 2008 an annulaized contraction of 9 percent of GDP, he opted for a stimulus. That accounts for much of the spending.

    I know we are supposed – along with Fox News – to have total amnesia about the spending record of George W. Bush, wh had nothing like the recession Obama inherited to counter. But there it is. Along with the fact that of the last seven presidents, the top three are all Republicans.

    One worry I have about a president Romney is exactly such a scenario. He has proposed to slash all taxes and increase defense spending by a stupendous amount. He has yet to identify the massive cuts in discretionary and entitlement spending he would need not to explode the debt as his GOP predecessors have done in the modern era.

    But if you’re going by the records, and want fiscal restraint, you’d be crazy at this point to back a Republican, without examining the fine print in extreme detail. Pity there isn’t any for Romney yet. Which tells you something in itself.

  32. rikyrah says: Presents: Eric Holder — The Vettening
    by Betty Cracker

    As GOP sage Sarah Palin recently noted, President Obama and his terrorist pals were allowed to waltz right into the Oval Office unscrutinized in 2008 while white people Republicans like Ms. Palin were pelted with gotcha questions such as, “What newspapers do you read?”

    Andrew Breitbart vowed to address the blatant unfairness of this situation by subjecting all African-American Obama Administration officials to a thorough vetting. After Breitbart’s untimely death, his underlings—the Breitbrats—announced that they would continue Dead Leader’s legacy by presenting an occasional series entitled Negros Said the Darnedest Things On Video in the 90s The Vetting.

    After revealing 10 days ago the scandalous footage of a young Barack Obama hugging a black Harvard Law School professor back when Phil Collins was king of the Billboard Hot 100, Breitbrat Joel Pollak unleashes another bombshell sure to rock the Obama Administration to its very foundations. Attorney General Holder was caught on tape intimating that it might be a good idea to convince young people that it’s not cool to “pack heat” or whatever quaint expression they used back when Boyz II Men topped the charts:

    “What we need to do is change the way in which people think about guns, especially young people, and make it something that’s not cool, that it’s not acceptable, it’s not hip to carry a gun anymore, in the way in which we changed our attitudes about cigarettes.”

    Translation: jack-booted DoJ thugs will kick down your door to collect your shootin’ arn in 3…2…1…. Stay tuned next week, when sinister Obama consigliere Valerie Jarrett will be revealed as the winner of the 1992 Black Panthers Ladies Auxiliary Brownie Bake-Off!

  33. rikyrah says:

    by mistermix

    A week or two ago, DougJ asked about the kinds of poltiical posts you’d like to see here, and quite a few of you asked for more local race coverage. Things just changed in my neck of the woods, so here goes:

    New York is just about to get a final Congressional re-districting map [pdf], created by a federal judge, and it makes sense. In the last set of gerrymandering, for example, Rochester and suburbs was divided between four districts. Now, aside from a couple of outlying suburbs, the Rochester metro is in one district.

    The surprise in all this is that Maggie Brooks, the long-time Republican county executive, is going to challenge 82-year-old Louise Slaughter, who’s held the main Rochester Congressional seat since the early 90s. Given that the towns in the new Rochester district went for Obama by 19 points in 2008, this seems like a suicide mission.

    Louise is about the peppiest 82 year-old I’ve ever seen, she’s a popular local figure, and she is the ranking member on the House Rules committee, so Rochester would be throwing away a lot of seniority if they voted for Brooks. By current Republican standards, Brooks is a liberal Republican, who won her last county-wide election with ease over a fairly popular suburban mayor. In that 2011 race, voters split their ballots to elect Brooks while also electing a Democrat as District Attorney.

    Republicans are probably betting that Brooks can pull the same trick in 2012, but the off-year county election is a completely different beast. The turnout is about a third of a Presidential year and the County Executive race is the top of the ticket. This year, Maggie will be running against the policies of the Obama Administration, which are fairly popular in New York. She’ll also be facing the stricter fundraising rules of a Federal race, and there are a lot more Democrats who come out to vote for President, especially in heavily Democratic inner-city Rochester.

    That said, Slaughter hasn’t done much campaigning or fundraising during the last decade because her opponents have been placeholders. Her health is of course a major question, as is whether her staff is ready to run a real campaign. I doubt she has a wartime consigliere, and the county Democratic party has shown a real ability to underperform registration numbers with weak GOTV and general disorganization.

    From the perspective of the Democrats’ attempt to re-take the house, a contested NY-25 race is not good news. Louise’s seniority will mean that the DCCC will put money into this race, which means less cash for challengers. There are a couple of tight neighboring races where local Democratic donors could have helped out, and now some of that money will go to Slaughter.

    That said, I have to admire the Republicans’ recruitment effort here. If Democrats could consistently get big local names to run for Congress, even against pretty steep odds, we’d have a better chance of taking back the House.

    If this kind of race analysis interests you, let me know in the comments and I’ll see if I can post about this race occasionally, and also get some guest posts from local blogs in other areas.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Idaho Senate to Vote on Mandatory Ultrasound Bill
    by ABL 2.0

    The Idaho Senate is set to vote on its mandatory ultrasound bill (SB 1387) and may do so as early as tomorrow—March 19. And yes, there’s enough transvaginal probing for the whole family:

    The Senate State Affairs Committee pushed a controversial measure forward [Wednesday] morning that would force women to undergo ultrasounds prior to having an abortion.

    Today’s party-line vote followed emotional debate that had proponents waving graphic pictures of aborted fetuses and opponents questioning the legality and redundancy of the proposal.

    Backers of the legislation said they spoke on behalf of the unborn in support of a measure that would help women make informed decisions and ultimately reduce the number of abortions.

    Critics of the measure called on lawmakers to trust the intelligence of women and their ability to make personal medical decisions. They asked them to uphold patient privacy acts and reminded the committee that passage of the law would constitute undue burden and government interference in the lives of women who may have to undergo two ultrasounds. One physician said the measure would set precedence in mandating a medical procedure.

    The 7-2 vote fell along party lines.

    The measure comes on the heels of 2007 legislation that enacted informed consent laws and leaves the ultrasound method up to the doctor. Ketchum Democratic Sen. Michelle Stennett questioned whether the bill would supersede existing law and noted the women in the early stages of pregnancy would be forced to have a transvaginal ultrasound.

    “I’m trying to think of any other required medical procedure. The only one I can think of is a blood draw when someone refuses a breathalyzer,” she said.

    Stacey Harder with Stanton Healthcare, an anti-abortion pregnancy crisis center, told lawmakers she represents the demographic the bill targets and said Senate Bill 1387 would guide her and others in making health care decisions.

    “I believe an ultrasound would help me make an informed decision,” she said.

    But proponents say the measure questions women’s intelligence and ability to make decisions on their own.

    “It does not help women. It shames and demeans women who are seeking the health care they need,” said Hannah Brass, legislative director of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, a lobbying branch of Planned Parenthood.

    Brass said the bill places undue burden on women, especially those who are poor or living in rural areas, and mandates a medical procedure for political rather than medical reasons.

    Huston Republican Sen. Patti Anne Lodge said the legislation would get women “into a life-affirming environment so she could get the counseling she needs.”

    But Lodge noted the bill doesn’t exempt victims of rape or incest.

    “I just think there are some points in this that would make it difficult for someone who has gone through rape or incest to go through a dual procedure,” Lodge said.

    “It seems to me that physicians have always been open with women about their options. This seems to be an intrusion on the privacy of a patient and a physician,” Pocatello Democrat Sen. Edgar Malepeai said before moving to hold the bill.

  35. rikyrah says:

    McCain urges GOP to give up on contraception fight
    By Steve Benen – Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.

    On “Meet the Press” yesterday, host David Gregory asked Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), “Do you think that there is something of a war on women among Republicans?” Instead of saying, “No, of course not,” the senator seemed to implicitly concede the reality of the situation, responding, “I think we have to fix that.”

    McCain added that Republicans “need to get off” the contraception issue altogether, adding, “I think we ought to respect the right of women to make choices in their lives.”

    This is a reversal for McCain, who voted for the anti-contraception Blunt Amendment a few weeks ago, and never expressed concerns about the effort until yesterday. What’s more, the sweeping nature of his response — “respect the right of women to make choices in their lives” — suggests the Republican effort to make this fight about religious liberty is effectively over. The GOP message simply failed.

    But there was something else McCain said on the issue that’s worth acknowledging. Gregory brought up a proposal pending in the senator’s home state of Arizona, which as Rachel explained on Friday, “would permit employers to ask their employees for proof of medical prescription if the employee seeks contraceptives for non-reproductive purposes. So, Arizona Republicans are going to make you tell your boss if you are having sex but you’re taking precautions not to get pregnant.”

    Asked about the measure, McCain said he’s “confident” it will not become law, adding that the proposal “certainly doesn’t reflect, in my view, the majority view of the people of Arizona.”

    Here’s a little tidbit McCain may not know: the bill has already passed the Arizona state House, thanks to the strong support of his own party. Perhaps without realizing it, the senator told a national television audience that Republicans in Arizona are pushing an agenda that’s at odds with what Arizona’s mainstream wants.

    In other words, Democrats in the Grand Canyon State have a new and unexpected ally in pushing back against the GOP’s culture-war proposals: John McCain.

    Postscript: This was, by the way, McCain’s 64th appearance on “Meet the Press.” He’s been a guest more than anyone else in the show’s 65 year history.

  36. rikyrah says:

    The details Paul Ryan has forgotten
    By Steve Benen – Mon Mar 19, 2012 9:25 AM EDT.

    House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is set to unveil his caucus’ new budget plan, and to help ensure it lands on fertile soil, the far-right Republican released a video trailer for his plan late last week.

    For those who can’t watch clips online, Ryan argues that the 2008 crash caught policymakers “by surprise,” but he sees another one on the way.

    “Let me ask you a question: what if your president, your senator and your congressman knew it was coming? What if they knew when it was going to happen, why it was going to happen, and more importantly, what if they knew what they needed to do to stop it from happening and they had the time to stop it? But they chose to do nothing about it, because it wasn’t good politics?

    “What would you think of that person? It would be immoral. This coming debt crisis is the most predictable crisis we’ve ever had in this country. And look what’s happening. This is why we’re acting. This is why we’re leading. This is why we’re proposing — and passing out of the House — a budget to fix this problem: so we can save our country for ourselves and our children’s future.”

    The political motivations for all of this are pretty obvious: Ryan’s plan is going to recommend brutal cuts to domestic programs, and will do his best to say the slashes are necessary because of the “coming debt crisis.” For the Ayn Rand acolyte, these aren’t cuts he wants to make, but rather, they’re cuts he thinks he has to make to prevent a debt-driven disaster.

    Or so the argument goes.

    There are a few angles to keep in mind as the debate begins again in earnest, and they share a theme: Ryan has absolutely zero credibility on these issues, and his fear-mongering is not to be taken seriously.


    First, there is no debt crisis. The United States can easily borrow as much as it needs at low interest rates, suggesting there’s nothing even close to a debt crisis. This is a fig leaf the right is using to rationalize draconian cut to domestic priorities, which they’ve long wanted to make anyway.

    Second, if Paul Ryan and his allies were seriously panicked about reducing the deficit in a hurry to prevent a “crisis,” they’d consider modest tax increases on the wealthy. Indeed, we know exactly what’s driving the national debt, and much of it has to do with tax cuts the rich didn’t need and the country couldn’t afford. When Ryan acknowledges this, he’ll start to have some credibility on the issue.

    And third, for all of Ryan’s alleged fear about the debt, his last budget plan ignored deficit reduction altogether, and instead prioritized more tax breaks for those at the very top.

    Funny, these relevant details didn’t seem to make the cut of Ryan’s little video. What a shame.

  37. rikyrah says:

    What Everyone Should Know About Trayvon Martin (1995-2012)
    By Judd Legum on Mar 18, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    On February 26, 2012, a 17-year-old African-American named Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida. The shooter was George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old white man. Zimmerman admits killing Martin, but claims he was acting in self-defense. Three weeks after Martin’s death, no arrests have been made and Zimmerman remains free.

    Here is what everyone should know about the case:

    1. Zimmerman called the police to report Martin’s “suspicious” behavior, which he described as “just walking around looking about.” Zimmerman was in his car when he saw Martin walking on the street. He called the police and said: “There’s a real suspicious guy. This guy looks like he’s up to no good, on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around looking about… These a**holes always get away” [Orlando Sentinel]

    2. Zimmerman pursued Martin against the explicit instructions of the police dispatcher:

    Dispatcher: “Are you following him?”
    Zimmerman: “Yeah”
    Dispatcher: “OK, we don’t need you to do that.”

    [Orlando Sentinel]

    3. Prior to the release of the 911 tapes, Zimmerman’s father released a statement claiming “[a]t no time did George follow or confront Mr. Martin.” [Sun Sentinel]

    4. Zimmerman was carrying a a 9 millimeter handgun. Martin was carrying a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea. [ABC News]

    5. Martin weighed 140 pounds. Zimmerman weighs 250 pounds. [Orlando Sentinel; WDBO]

    6. Martin’s English teacher described him as “as an A and B student who majored in cheerfulness.” [Orlando Sentinel]

    7. Martin had no criminal record. [New York Times]

    8. Zimmerman “was charged in July 2005 with resisting arrest with violence and battery on an officer. The charges appear to have been dropped.” [Huffington Post]

    9. Zimmerman called the police 46 times since Jan. 1, 2011. [Miami Herald]

    10. According to neighbors, Zimmerman was “fixated on crime and focused on young, black males.” [Miami Herald]

    11. Zimmerman “had been the subject of complaints by neighbors in his gated community for aggressive tactics” [Huffington Post]

    12. A police officer “corrected” a key witness. “The officer told the witness, a long-time teacher, it was Zimmerman who cried for help, said the witness. ABC News has spoken to the teacher and she confirmed that the officer corrected her when she said she heard the teenager shout for help.” [ABC News]

    13. Three witnesses say they heard a boy cry for help before a shot was fired. “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.” [Miami Herald]

    14. The officer in charge of the crime scene also received criticism in 2010 when he initially failed to arrest a lieutenant’s son who was videotaped attacking a homeless black man. [New York Times]

    15. The police did not test Zimmerman for drugs or alcohol. A law enforcement expert told ABC that Zimmerman sounds intoxicated on the 911 tapes. Drug and alcohol testing is “standard procedure in most homicide investigations.” [ABC News]

    The Martin case had been turned over to the Seminole County State Attorney’s Office. Martin’s family has asked for the FBI to investigate.

  38. rikyrah says:

    Federal contractors donate to ‘super PAC’ backing Romney
    It’s unclear whether a ban on such giving is still valid after the Supreme Court ruling that freed up independent political spending.

    By Ian Duncan and Matea Gold, Washington Bureau

    March 18, 2012, 7:17 p.m.
    Reporting from Washington— A “super PAC” that has spent more than $35 million on behalf of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has accepted donations from federal contractors despite a 36-year-old ban against such companies making federal political expenditures.

    At least five companies with government contracts gave a combined $890,000 to Restore Our Future, the pro-Romney super PAC, a review of federal contracting records and campaign finance data shows.

    Other super PACs, including Republican-allied American Crossroads, and Priorities USA Action, which backs President Obama, have language on their websites warning that federal contractors are not allowed to make donations.

    Restore Our Future does not list the prohibition on its website.

    Several contributors — including a Florida aerospace company that has contracts with the Defense Department, and a Boston-based construction company that is helping build a Navy base — are taking advantage of a legal gray area created by the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in the Citizens United case, which said that independent political expenditures could not be regulated based on who was making them.

    Federal courts and the Federal Election Commission, which is responsible for enforcing the federal contractor ban, have yet to decide whether it is still valid. That leaves the legality of such contributions in question, though several election law experts believe the ban will be found unconstitutional.

    “It’s a risk judgment that clients need to make,” said Robert Kelner, a Washington lawyer who advises corporations on political law compliance.

    A veteran election law attorney, Jan Baran, said he advised companies with federal contracts not to give to super PACs until the FEC or the courts formally ruled on whether the ban was still valid.

    “We just think it ought to be cleared up,” he said.,0,5184326.story

  39. Ametia says:

    Grading the nation: How accountable is your state?

    The tales are sadly familiar to even the most casual observer of state politics.

    In Georgia, more than 650 government employees accepted gifts from vendors doing business with the state in 2007 and 2008, clearly violating state ethics law. The last time the state issued a penalty on a vendor was 1999.

    A North Carolina legislator sponsored and voted on a bill to loosen regulations on billboard construction, even though he co-owned five billboards in the state. When the ethics commission reviewed the case, it found no conflict; after all, the panel reasoned, the legislation would benefit all billboard owners in the state — not just the lawmaker who pushed for the bill.

    read on

  40. dannie22 says:

    good morning all!

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