Serendipity SOUL| Thursday Open Thread | Norman Brown Week!

Norman Brown’s rendition of MAN IN THE MIRROR

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45 Responses to Serendipity SOUL| Thursday Open Thread | Norman Brown Week!

  1. rikyrah says:

    The Gaffe Worth A Thousand Ads

    It really is staggering to me that the almost certain Republican nominee has run a campaign so full of cringe-inducing, gob-smacking, eye-ball popping gaffes that he should have been consigned to the Perry folder by now – and yet still manages to stagger forward. The Etch-A-Sketch analogy from his closest and most senior aide is, however, the most devastating so far.

    It sums up every single worry about Romney in one metaphor: that he is a machine, that he can say or stand for anything, and that, from time to time, depending on which segment of the population he is appealing to, he will simply become something completely different. Which is, of course, per Kinsley, the true definition of a gaffe. Fehrnstrom told the truth. And Etch-A-Sketches, because they can draw anything and remove anything, are also a perfect metaphor for liars, opportunists and soulless re-invention.

    EtchHow, in other words, can such an allegedly professional campaign have larded itself up with statements and misstatements to such a degree you really would need a bungee cord to keep them all strapped to the roof? How did the Romney campaign beat all its rivals in finding ways to make him seem completely insincere, absurdly rich and socially clueless? And boy are they exploiting it – check these new ads out.

    Weigel claims that Eric Fehrnstrom has scored a “cleaner hit on his candidate than Rick Santorum ever has”:

    Aspects of this analogy make sense to me. An older etch-a-sketch has little lines and remainders from older sketches embedded in it, stuff you can’t make people forget. To a large extent, Romney will be able to campaign on new positions when he makes it out of the primary. He’s winning voters who want an electable candidate, not a Barry Goldwater clone, so, yes, there’s an expectation that he’ll move on from opposing the auto bailout, and agreeing with the Blunt amendment. But you don’t need to say this! It’s realpolitik, which means you should never, ever reveal it to voters.

    Philip Klein was equally taken aback by the candid metaphor:

    The fact that it’s coming from one of Romney’s long-time aides is stunning. An even scarier thought for conservatives: if the Romney campaign is willing to take them for granted before even clinching the nomination, imagine how quickly Romney would abandon conservatives if he ever made it to the White House.

    James Poniewozick adds, “In one short sentence, Fehrnstrom defined his boss as not only a blank slate but a toy.” Jamelle Bouie reassures conservative Romney skeptics:

    Conservatives widely believe that the party establishment will betray conservative values to win an election. For them, it explains the failed candidacies of George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain, and the failed presidency of George W. Bush. But now that they’re in the driver’s seat of the Republican Party, they can avoid this obstacle—it’s well within their power to keep Romney from running too far to the center, and distancing himself too much from the persona he’s built over the last five years.

    Tim Noah nonetheless explains what makes this gaffe different:

    Fehrnstrom’s Etch-A-Sketch crack will inspire parody images, Web widgets, and apps downloaded onto computer screens, tablet computers, iPhones, and of course Etch-A-Sketches. These images can effortlessly be e-mailed, Facebooked, and tweeted hither and yon. Competitive impulses will be stirred among rival campaigns, amateur and professional Web designers, and legions of wiseacres with too much time on their hands. Already we have this and this and this and this. There will be much, much more, and to Romney it will feel like it’s coming in the windows, down the chimney, and up the bathtub drain.

  2. rikyrah says:

    05:21 PM EST
    Allen West On Trayvon Martin Case: ‘This Is An Outrage’

    Rep. Allen West (R-FL), a high-profile conservative and one of two African-American Republicans currently serving in Congress, posted a statement early Thursday evening on Facebook, lambasting the local authorities in the handling of the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

    Notably, West said that the shooter George Zimmerman “should have been held in custody and certainly should not be walking free, still having a concealed weapons carry permit.”

    The full statement:

    I have sat back and allowed myself time to assess the current episode revealing itself in Sanford, Florida involving the shooting of 17-year-old Treyvon Martin. First of all, if all that has been reported is accurate, the Sanford Police Chief should be relieved of his duties due to what appears to be a mishandling of this shooting in its early stages. The US Navy SEALS identified Osama Bin Laden within hours, while this young man laid on a morgue slab for three days. The shooter, Mr Zimmerman, should have been held in custody and certainly should not be walking free, still having a concealed weapons carry permit. From my reading, it seems this young man was pursued and there was no probable cause to engage him, certainly not pursue and shoot him….against the direction of the 911 responder. Let’s all be appalled at this instance not because of race, but because a young American man has lost his life, seemingly, for no reason. I have signed a letter supporting a DOJ investigation. I am not heading to Sanford to shout and scream, because we need the responsible entities and agencies to handle this situation from this point without media bias or undue political influences. This is an outrage.

  3. Ametia says:


    Staff Sgt. Robert Bales will be charged with 17 counts of murder and six counts of assault and attempted murder related to a March 11 shooting spree in Afghanistan, a senior U.S. defense official said.

    The charges are expected to be announced on Friday. Bales was flown out of Afghanistan last week and is being held at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

    The civilian deaths, which included women and children, strained already-tense U.S.-Afghan relations and intensified a debate about whether to pull American troops ahead of their planned 2014 withdrawal.

  4. Breaking News: Whitney Houston died of accidental drowning. “effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use,”

  5. rikyrah says:

    The Gaffe Worth A Thousand Ads, Ctd

    Yes, it does take a while to sink in. But, like Joe Klein, I’m beginning to think that Eric Fehrnstrom’s description of his own candidate as an Etch-A-Sketch, capable of erasing anything he has believed or said in the past instantly, is close to a disqualifying comment.
    It doesn’t just imply, it asserts a cynicism and a hollowness that should disqualify anyone for the presidency. And it comes not from some radio moron or minor staffer – but from Romney’s closest confidant. It’s the Mother of all Gaffes, making any Romney shift in the general election an Etch-A-Sketch moment for his opponents. Joe:

    There is a gestalt to every campaign, a deep organic spirit … In Romney’s case, this spirit expresses itself in embarrassing gaffes, often at the moment of victory — and it reflects the sterile management-consultancy ethos at the heart of the candidate.

    He sees himself as a product, to be re-marketed and even reinvented for different markets. The problem with Romney is that there is no there there. There is merely product, which is him. Unsurprising then that the Obamaites are getting a little cocky. But what does it say about Obama’s strength that he’s still polling only four or five points over this gaffe-prone robot?

  6. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:21 PM ET, 03/22/2012
    Republicans prepare to take the Ryan plunge
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    We’ve all seen times when Congressional leaders have to entice rank-and-file Members to make hard votes because the party — or even the nation — needs it. But what we’re seeing now in the House is something highly unusual: Republican leaders are pushing members to take a tough vote for (as far as I can tell) no reason at all.

    That’s the real story of the Paul Ryan budget battle. Last night it barely squeaked through his own committee by one vote, after defections by two conservatives who said it didn’t cut spending enough. And that’s just conservatives. Moderates, too, may find it very difficult to vote for a budget which threatens to zero out large sections of the United States government (something which even Republican voters don’t want).

    And yet…this isn’t a vote that has to happen. This isn’t comparable to TARP, where the Bush administration surely knew that a vote was unpopular but were willing to press ahead anyway because they believed that the economy depended on it. Nor is it comparable to the Affordable Care Act: Even if Nancy Pelosi knew she was risking her majority over it, Dems were enacting a law they’d been fighting for her entire lifetime.

    Both of those, of course, became law — but if the Ryan budget passes the House, what happens next is…nothing. No Senate vote. No Congressionally-passed budget resolution. Nothing. And Ryan, and Speaker John Boehner, surely know it.

    It is, as Stan Collender has been saying, a campaign document, nothing more. And yet it’s a campaign document that Tea Partiers don’t seem to want, and one that will saddle Members in competitive districts with easy-to-attack positions. Nor does this appear to be something that Mitt Romney wants to emphasize as he shakes-and-erases his “severely” conservative programming for his coming general election persona.

    The whole thing is really rather mysterious. To tell the truth, I can’t really think of any good precedent: a vote on something that neither the party’s conservative or moderate wings wants to take on something that has no chance of advancing beyond that chamber. But Boehner and Ryan are asking Republican members to once again stick themselves with positions that you’ll see in Democratic attack ads all the way through Election Day. Which raises the question: When the bill comes to the floor next week, will rank and file Republicans really take the Ryan plunge?

  7. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 04:12 PM ET, 03/22/2012
    Why Etch-A-Sketching may work for Romney
    By Greg Sargent

    Jonathan Cohn makes a great point about the Etch-A-Sketch controversy:

    One irony of Eric Fehrnstrom’s “etch-a-sketch” comment, suggesting that Mitt Romney was all set to remake himself as a moderate, is that it came on the same day that Romney embraced the new Paul Ryan budget — a radically conservative plan that, if enacted, would take health insurance from tens of millions of people while effectively ending the federal government except for entitlements and defense spending.

    That is an interesting irony. And it gets at another point that continues to get lost in discussions of Romney’s true ideological makeup — one that, I think, suggests that giving himself an Etch-A-Sketch makeover as he pivots to the general election just might work for him.

    Romney’s economic worldview — as evidenced in his embrace of Ryan’s plan — is probably the area where Romney really does genuinely hold radical views, ones that are far more heartfelt than his positions on social issues. I’m hardly the first to point this out, but many reporters and commentators judge a politician’s ideological makeup largely by focusing on tone, and on a candidate’s instincts on social issues, if not his or her stated positions. So it probably won’t be all that hard for Romney to earn the presuption of moderation from the national media once he’s the nominee.

    Oh, sure, Democrats will work extremely hard to draw attention to the positions he was forced to take on contraception and so forth during the GOP primary. But by and large, the bigfoot national reporters and commentators will treat all that as stuff Romney just had to say to get through the GOP nomination process. He didn’t really mean any of it; he just doesn’t seem radical, because he doesn’t come across as captivated by social issues or see them as anything to go to war over unless he absolutely has to.

    Meanwhile, Romney really does genuinely appear to hold extreme views about the proper distribution of wealth and power and about government’s proper role in combatting the excesses of unfettered free market capitalism. But because radicalism and moderation are so often ascribed based on tone and social issue instincts, he’ll be able to convincingly sell himself as a moderate to large numbers of swing voters despite his economic radicalism.

    This isn’t to say he’ll win the presidency, of course. Obama and Dems may successfully convince voters that Romney hews to a failed economic ideology, one that we’ve tried already to disastrous effect, that his priorities are way out of whack, and that he’s just too out of touch with how ordinary Americans live to properly address their problems. But when it comes to escaping the extremism label, Romney really may well be able to just … shake and erase.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 10:38 AM ET, 03/22/2012
    Karl Rove: Bin Laden killing was no biggie
    By Greg Sargent

    Keep an eye on this one, too, because it will also be central to GOP efforts to rewrite the history of the Obama presidency.

    In his big Wall Street Journal Op ed piece today atttacking Obama’s campaign documentary and minimizing the magnitude of the economic crisis Obama inherited, Karl Rove also claims the killing of Osama Bin Laden was no big deal.

    Rove cites this quote from Bill Clinton in the documentary to make the case that any president would have made the call Obama made:

    As for the killing of Osama bin Laden, Mr. Obama did what virtually any commander in chief would have done in the same situation. Even President Bill Clinton says in the film “that’s the call I would have made.” For this to be portrayed as the epic achievement of the first term tells you how bare the White House cupboards are.

    “That’s the call I would have made,” Clinton said in the documentary, according to Rove. And it’s true, Clinton did utter those words. But here’s the full quote from Clinton, at the 12:30 mark in the film:

    “He took the harder and the more honorable path. When I saw what had happened, I thought to myself, `I hope that’s the call I would have made.’”

    In Rove’s telling, Clinton said, “that’s the call I would have made. What Clinton actually said was, “I hope that’s the call I would have made.” Emphasis mine.

    This comical level of dissembling and mendacity is to be expected from Rove. But it’s a bit surprising that the Journal’s editors either didn’t think to check such an obviously ridiculous representation of Clinton’s quote, or worse, that they just waved Rove’s dishonesty through in the full knowledge of what Clinton had actually said.


    UPDATE: Rove’s article now has an editor’s note appended, which reads: “An earlier version of this column included an incomplete quote from Bill Clinton in the last paragraph.”

    Here’s what the paragraph now looks like:

    As for the killing of Osama bin Laden, Mr. Obama did what virtually any commander in chief would have done in the same situation. Even President Bill Clinton says in the film “I hope that’s the call I would have made.” For this to be portrayed as the epic achievement of the first term tells you how bare the White House cupboards are.

    As you can see, Clinton’s quote no longer supports the point Rove was making. And the current version is still truncated, and as a result still misses the spirit of his remark, which is completely at odds with Rove’s argument.

  9. rikyrah says:

    here’s a hint..they don’t want NO PARTS of what will happen to them if they begin to mess with the Wee Michelles.

    ain’t nobody playing with these mofos.


    Romney Backer: “Maybe It’s Time” For The Right To “Go After The Obama Children”

    Appearing Wednesday night on Fox News’ Hannity, conservative columnist, author, and Mitt Romney backer Ann Coulter said that “maybe it’s time” for conservatives to “go after the Obama children.” Watch:

    Coulter was in the middle of claiming that liberals have rhetorically attacked the children of conservatives, but the right has refused to do so. This is false.

    In fact, there are several incidents of conservatives going after the children of Democratic presidents.

    * In 2010, conservative radio show host Glenn Beck mocked Malia Obama, doing a crude imitation of her voice, then questioning the then 11 year old child’s intelligence.

    * A few days later, Rush Limbaugh made the same attack on Malia Obama, using a falsetto impression of her voice.

    * In 1992, Rush Limbaugh illustrated a story about Chelsea Clinton with a picture of a dog on his short-lived television show.

    * In 2001, conservative writer John Derbyshire wrote a column in National Review titled “I Hate Chelsea Clinton.” In the column, Derbyshire wrote, “Who, in current public life, has been ‘thrown up to us’ so much as Chelsea?” He went on: “Chelsea had now reached the age at which it is acceptable to pass public comment on a woman’s physical appearance.” He concluded with: “Chelsea is a Clinton. She bears the taint; and though not prosecutable in law, in custom and nature the taint cannot be ignored.”

  10. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 09:02 AM ET, 03/22/2012
    The Morning Plum: The great rewrite
    By Greg Sargent

    There is probably no political goal more central to the GOP’s chances of winning the presidency than persuading the American people to forget just how deep and severe an economic crisis Obama inherited upon taking office.

    Mitt Romney has been busily trying to bring about mass public amnesia on this point ever since the good news about the economy foiled his initial strategy and message. And today Karl Rove, in a column attacking Obama’s campaign documentary, launches one of the most ambitious efforts yet to rewrite the history of the past five years:

    Mr. Obama has spent three years wallowing in blame. His culprits have ranged from his predecessor, to tsunamis and earthquakes, to ATMs, to Fox News, to yours truly. If you Google “Obama, Blame, Bush” and “Obama, Inherited,” you’ll get tens of millions of hits.

    As for inheriting the worst economy since the Great Depression: Perhaps Mr. Obama has forgotten the Carter presidency, which featured double-digit inflation, double-digit interest rates, and high unemployment.

    Rove is probably not the best messenger for this argument, given his central role in the presidency that presided over, yes, the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression. But the fact that he’s straining so hard to make this case is telling.

    Minimizing the magnitude of the mess that was dumped in Obama’s lap is absolutely central to the GOP’s whole case against Obama’s economic record. Before long virtually every major Republican and conservative voice will be full-throatedly chanting in unison from the same sheet music.

  11. rikyrah says:

    John Edwards is First Name Uncovered in ‘Millionaire Madam’ Investigation Updated 5 hrs ago

    A call girl working for alleged “Millionaire Madam” Anna Gristina told investigators she was paid to have sex with former U.S. Sen. John Edwards when he was in New York raising money for his failed presidential bid, DNAinfo has learned.

    Edwards is the first big name to surface in connection to Gristina’s alleged prostitution scheme run out of an Upper East Side apartment.

    Edwards’ lawyer declined to comment when reached Wednesday. On Thursday morning, his attorneys issued a statement to Politico and other news outlets saying their client “categorically” denied the allegation. Later Thursday morning, DNAinfo was contacted by Edwards’ attorney, Abbe Lowell, demanding a retraction.

    DNAinfo stands by its story.

    According to “On The Inside” sources, Edwards allegedly hooked up with one of Gristina’s high-end hookers in 2007 when the dashing pol from North Carolina brought his then high-flying presidential campaign to the Big Apple.

    Read more:

  12. Ametia says:


    The causes of singer Whitney Houston’s death were drowning and the “effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use,” the Los Angeles County coroner’s office says.

    She was found dead last month in the bathtub of her hotel room in Beverly Hills, California.

  13. Ametia says:

    Democrats’ battle to win back House ramps up in Illinois
    By Paul Kane, Updated: Thursday, March 22, 12:44 PM

    LOMBARD, Ill. — The uphill Democratic effort to reclaim the House majority got a boost Thursday as three nominees in key Illinois districts began a coordinated campaign against the GOP budget, led by a legless Iraq war veteran who barrels around Chicago’s western suburbs in her Ford F-150 truck trumpeting an economic-fairness agenda.

    Tammy Duckworth, whose near-miss campaign for Congress in 2006 made her an icon in the antiwar movement, secured the Democratic nomination for a new congressional district that some argue was drawn specifically for her, part of an aggressive effort by Illinois Democrats to net as many as five seats with the new lines. With a hometown hero, President Obama, at the top of the ticket, Democrats hope that their down-ballot candidates in the Land of Lincoln can draft off of him and collect up to 20 percent of the 25 seats they needed to return the speaker’s gavel to Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

  14. Ametia says:

    Shocker! Karl Rove Endorses Obama in WSJ Op-Ed. Really!*

    In his fight for re-election this fall, President Barack Obama will have support from the unlikeliest of quarters: Karl Rove, former top aide to George W. Bush.

    Writing on the op-ed page of The Wall Street Journal today, Rove, normally a staunch partisan and Republican loyalist, declared, “Mr. Obama deserves re-election for restoring America to prosperity after a recession.” Further enumerating his accomplishments, Rove added, “Mr. Obama ended the Iraq War and…Osama bin Laden was killed on his watch.”

    It was the surprise of the political season, but maybe it shouldn’t have been. While it took until now for him to issue a full endorsement, Rove has for months been using the Journal’s op-ed page to signal his approval for the president. Just last week, in fact, he praised Obama’s work ethic, writing, “He is working a lot harder than he thought he would.”

  15. CNN Breaking News:

    Parents of Trayvon Martin to meet with Justice officials.

  16. Talking Points Memo ‏ @TPM

    In OK, Woman heard telling Prez she was born at same hospital in Hawaii. He quipped: “Do you have YOUR birth certificate?”

  17. Vice President Joe Biden Speaks at UAW in Toledo, Ohio – Obama for America 2012

  18. Dems for Progress ‏ @demsforprogress:

    Rev. Al Sharpton says mom died, but he’ll still attend Sanford rally at

  19. Even Mitt Rommey Knows an Etch A Sketch Can’t Erase his Extreme Positions

  20. Ametia says:

    Outrage over Trayvon Martin shooting spreads
    ByJeff Glor – March 22, 2012 7:15 AM

    CBS News) SANFORD, Fla. – Fury over the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin is spreading.

    Marchers took to the streets in New York City and Miami Wednesday, demanding the arrest of the shooter, neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. And he’s not the only one under fire.

    In Manhattan, hundreds demonstrated, seeking justice, they said, for Martin.
    The “Million Hoodie March” got its name because Martin was wearing a hoodie on Feb. 28, the night Zimmerman shot him.
    Martin’s parents were at the New York protest, surrounded by supporters.
    “Our son was not committing any crime,” said Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton. “Our son is your son. I want you guys to stand up for justice and stand up for what’s right.” That got a loud “yeah” from the crowd.

  21. Ametia says:

    U.S. Marine faces boot for anti-Obama Facebook posts

    SAN DIEGO (AP) – A Marine sergeant who started a Facebook group that is openly critical of President Obama and posted comments saying he will not follow the unlawful orders of the commander in chief is facing possible dismissal from the Corps.

    The Marines on Wednesday told Sgt. Gary Stein — a Camp Pendleton Marine who started the Facebook page called Armed Forces Tea Party — that he is in violation of Pentagon policy barring troops from political activities.

    Stein, a nine-year member of the Corps, said he started the page to encourage fellow service members to exercise their free speech rights. He has also criticized U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for his comments on Syria.

    The Marine Corps said in a statement that Stein’s commanding officer ordered a preliminary inquiry on March 8 after receiving allegations that Stein posted the political statements violating the Pentagon’s directives.

    “After reviewing the findings of the preliminary inquiry, the commander decided to address the allegations through administrative action,” the Corps said.

    “I’m completely shocked that this is happening,” Stein said. “I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve only stated what our oath states that I will defend the constitution and that I will not follow unlawful orders. If that’s a crime, what is America coming to?” ( YOUR HATE IS SHOWING, GARY)

  22. Ametia says:

    H/T DU Thanks!

  23. dannie22 says:

    good morning all

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