Tuesday Open Thread

The “Cha Cha Slide” is a song often played at dance clubs, school dances/proms, parties, skating rinks and weddings in Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the United Kingdom (the song reached number one in the latter country in 2004), created by Chicago’s DJ Casper (Willie Perry aka Mr. C the Slide Man). The Cha Cha Slide is a line dance with called instructions. Writer: William Perry Producer: Men On Business.

Willie Perry Jr. wrote the lyrics for, and recorded his performance of, the original version of the Cha Cha Slide around April 1, 1998. The song was heavily inspired by the Chicago stepping movement.

Can you shimmy, watusi, do the jerk, tighten up, mashed potatoes, twist, funky chicken, hustle, cabbage patch, running man, electric slide, Texas two step? Want to learn a few steps of the oldies but goodies? Stay with 3 Chics this week, as we get down with it. don’t hurt yourselves, now!

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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55 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    BWA HA HA Lawrence is kicking Joe Oliver’s ASS. the Slave-catcher is still on the prowl, getting PHAT paid to LIE.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Posted on Monday, 26 March 2012 17:20
    Marieme Sall, Senegal’s first black First Lady
    By Prince Ofori-Atta

    If Marieme Faye Sall chose not to read the newspapers before her husband’s victory, it was because she knew that the pro-Abdoulaye Wade propaganda machinery was spinning the mill to present her as a cloned Simone Gbagbo, wife of the former president of Côte d’Ivoire.

    According them, Macky Sall’s wife was power drunk, pious and instigating her husband to radicalise. 

On the other hand, comparison between outgoing president Abdoulaye Wade’s wife and newly elected Côte d’Ivoire’s President Alassane Ouattarra’s wife abounded. Both of them are white, blonde and French.

    In fact, all Senegalese first ladies, with the exception of former President Diouf’s wife, who was Senegalese of Lebanese descent, have been European. 

But contrary to what the rumour mill has produced, the forty something year old mother of three, is far from being the political animal that Simone Gbagbo was.

    Marieme is neither a hermit nor intrudes in her husband’s political career, but she is a committed housewife,” says a close friend. But her present attitude was beaten into shape as a result of old experiences. 

Once bitten twice shy, Marieme Faye Sall has done her level best to steer clear of some of the unsavoury memories she left behind during her husband’s 2004-2007 term as Prime Minister. Marieme is said to have done and undone the careers of many. The bitter after taste of that intrusion has been a lesson learnt. Today, she steers clear of the political scene.

    Again, unlike Simone, Marieme, who has been described as a down to earth person by people who have been near her in recent times, is never seen in meetings organised by Alliance pour la République (APR), her husband’s political party, created in 2008. And while she stayed close to her husband during the political campaign, she was not implicated in the party’s decision.

    Marieme Faye Sall was in high school when she met her future husband, Macky Sall, in 1992. Three years later she became pregnant and left her studies to take care of her family. Today, she becomes Senegal’s first black first lady to have a single nationality. Segnhor’s wife was French, Diouf’s wife had a Senegalese mother and a Lebanese father and Wade’s wife is French.


  3. rikyrah says:

    March 27, 2012 10:00 AM
    Conservatives, Trying to Feel Better About Their Racism
    By Nicole Belle

    here was little doubt that as the media voices clamored louder and louder about the Trayvon Martin case, that the cognitive dissonance under which most conservatives survive would be grasping for something—anything—at wouldn’t make them feel icky about the realization that they would have done the exact same thing George Zimmerman did (and be responsible for the death of an innocent child, guilty only of Walking While Black). So quickly, conservative sites like Malkin’s and media outlets like Fox started looking for ways to cast doubt on the story. Suddenly, George Zimmerman had a broken nose that wasn’t in the original police report. Pictures of the baby-faced Trayvon were darkened to make him more menacing. And if that wasn’t enough, now they’re resorting to using pictures of other African American kids with threatening postures and ‘thug’ clothing.

    And then Business Insider uses those pictures—pictures from Stormfront, fer cryin’ out loud—to ask if all these conservatives weren’t right all along to be skeptical of Trayvon Martin. After being rightfully called out for it, they took the photos down (initially, they kept them on the main page as shown above, but relocated the non-Trayvon picture from just below the headline to the bottom of the article with the update admitting that the picture was not of Trayvon). But they weren’t done being racist yet.

    UPDATES: There are images circulating online that are supposedly other pictures of Trayvon Martin. We saw one on Stormfront a racist message board.

    Need I ask why the reporter was trolling friggin’ Stormfront (which he admits is a racist site) for pictures of Trayvon Martin?

    It was embedded with another picture purporting to be Trayvon that the Miami News Times points out is NOT Trayvon Martin. One conservative website has already apologized for publishing it. (We originally published the entire image found on Stormfront, which included two photos, but we took the second down after finding out it wasn’t Trayvon Martin). And now there is also question as to whether the other image is of Trayvon. We have now removed both.)

    Excellent fact-checking and attribution work, Michael Brenden Dougherty of Business Insider. And yet, no apology from you, your Managing Editor or your publisher. Even Michelle “boo-fricking-hoo” Malkin had enough integrity to apologize for it. And you? Nada.

    But wait, it gets worse:

    But how would the story have been received by the public if this was the image of Trayvon Martin in your newspaper, rather than the earlier ones we’ve seen everywhere else?

    You have got to be kidding me. Well if we’re gonna play musical photos to rationalize your racism, tell me, Dougherty, how would this story have been received if instead of Trayvon, the kid in question looked like this* and George Zimmerman looked like this**? How would you be spinning to justify the “Stand Your Ground” law and the shooting of an unarmed child?

    In an effort to debunk the previous article’s notion that this image ‘says something’ about Trayvon Martin, writer Nicholas Carlson stepped in with a post of his own:

    Just So We’re Clear: This Picture Says NOTHING About Trayvon Martin

    Whether or not it is him.

    In it, he clearly explains why, regardless who that is actually a picture of, it says nothing about why an unarmed teenager was shot by a vigilante police-wannabe. It’s a really good article and Carlson does a good job of smacking Dougherty down. Unfortunately, even for those well-intentioned among us, there will always be fools who do not grasp the content of what’s being explained, but desperately cling to their racist tendencies. The juxtaposition of the non-Trayvon thug picture with the Trayvon name was enough to conflate the two in the minds of many readers, which can be evidenced by the comments section in that post. And the Managing Editor and publisher should take responsibility for that misconception. ***

    It’s easy to say that you’re not a racist. You have no white hoods in your closet, you’ve participated in no cross burnings. You might even have friends who are minorities. You can lie to yourself and say that you’re not racist. But make no mistake: Everything about the Dougherty article is all about making conservative white people feel comfortable against that encroaching feeling of unease that they would have acted as George Zimmerman did.

    And that is inherently racist.


  4. Jason Giroir, New Orleans Police Officer, Resigns After Posting Offensive Trayvon Martin Comments http://huff.to/GUtS9z

  5. rikyrah says:

    The Killing of Trayvon Martin (Cont.)
    By Charles P. Pierce
    at 6:09PM

    I noticed the other night that Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC has jumped with both feet aboard the story of the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager who was shot by a “neighborhood watch” officer, apparently for the crime of being in the wrong place with Skittles and an iced tea. This does not surprise me in the least, because I was a small part of a similar story back in the late 1970’s in Boston.

    When I worked for the Boston Phoenix, my colleague, the late Dave O’Brian, was entangled in a case involving the events that occurred when he’d gone on a “ridearound” with some Boston cops one night in 1975. At one point, the cops blew away a black hospital worker named James Bowden for the crime of driving a car with a license plate “similar” to one that had been seen on a car fleeing a grocery store robbery. Covering their asses, the cops tried to frame the dead guy for the grocery-store robbery. Bowden’s family had the great good fortune of hiring as its lawyer Lawrence O’Donnell, Sr. The senior O’Donnell started out as a Boston cop. He also was counsel for the defense in the legendary Brinks Job robbery trial. And, you can believe me when I say this, O’Donnell was exactly the kind of lawyer that you do not want to see at the other table if you’re a cop trying to bullshit your way out of a bad shoot that stunk to high heaven. As I recall, all of the O’Donnell sons were involved in the investigation of the case, too, and Lawrence, Jr. eventually wrote a book about it.

    Dave O’Brian, naturally, was a star witness for the Bowden family in their suit against the Boston P.D. So, on the days he had to testify, I’d have to cover the trial in his place, which meant I got to watch O’Donnell Sr. at work a couple of times. Eventually, after endless delays and a near-police strike, the Bowdens won a settlement of $843,498 and an acknowledgement that James Bowden had died an innocent man. All of which is to say that, if Lawrence O’Donnell, Jr. is on this case, then it’s because he’s lived it once before, even though this one is immeasurably worse.

    The details in the new case are piling up, and they’re getting more grotesque by the day. If the accounts of the cellphone calls are to be believed, Martin thought that George Zimmerman was stalking him. There’s some rattling of the cage regarding Florida’s idiotic “stand your ground” law, which some prosectors predicted at the time of its passage would inevitably produce something like this. The local police, who’ve botched this thing from minute one, are now going to have the Department Of Justice and the FBI gnawing on their ankles, to say nothing of the fact that the local cops seem to have bungled their way into the Emmett Till case of the new millennium. There will be marches and protests, and a lot of pissed off local cops doing crowd control. (Let us be clear. Some of the cops may be on Zimmerman’s side but, I suspect, most of them are going to be pissed because they don’t like to be in the middle of a circus caused by the deadly stupidity of a Dirty Harry wannabe.) And all because some triggerhappy local crank apparently decided that he was so threatened by Skittles and iced tea that he had no choice but to turn a public street into the OK Corral.

    Read more: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/trayvon-martin-continued-7492410#ixzz1qMR518sD

  6. rikyrah says:

    Santorum, Gingrich open to VP slot
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:47 PM EDT

    In every presidential campaign, candidates in both parties are invariably asked whether they’d consider joining their party’s ticket as vice president. The stock answer is generally the smart one: “I’m running for president, not vice president. I’m the best person for the job and I fully intend to be my party’s nominee.”

    When a candidate isn’t taking this line or something close to it, as a rule, it’s a strong hint that he or she believes the nominating race is effectively over. And when both of the frontrunner’s main opponents signal an openness to the idea at the same time, the nominating race is really over.

    With this in mind, consider yesterday’s events. Rick Santorum sat down with radical TV preacher Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, which asked the former senator if he would consider an invitation to join Mitt Romney’s Republican ticket. “Of course,” Santorum said, adding, “I’ll do whatever is necessary to help our country.”

    That’s a far cry from, “I’m running for president, not vice president.”

    Also yesterday, Newt Gingrich was asked on Fox News about a possible V.P. nomination. Though the former Speaker said an invitation is unlikely, he added, “I wouldn’t say no.”

    At least on the surface, Santorum and Gingrich scoff at the very idea of ending their presidential bids, and in public, continue to tell voters that they remain viable candidates. But when they both sit down for televised interviews, and both signal a willingness to accept roles on the ticket, Santorum and Gingrich are signaling a level of resignation and defeat neither has made up until now.

    As one GOP strategist told TPM, “Rick Santorum saying he would be open to being Romney’s vice president undermines the logic of his delegate campaign. To win his delegate race, he has to demonize Romney. He has now cut that path off.”

    The Romney campaign has effectively begun ignoring its GOP rivals. Given what Santorum and Gingrich are saying about their chances, that seems like a reasonable move.


  7. Ametia says:

    Jane Fonda to play Nancy Reagan in ‘Butler’
    Actress will portray former First Lady in Lee Daniels pic
    By Jeff Sneider
    Posted: Mon., Mar. 26, 2012, 2:25pm PT

    In the midst of recruiting an all-star ensemble for his long-gestating passion project “The Butler,” director Lee Daniels has tapped Jane Fonda to play Nancy Reagan.
    Based on a Washington Post report by Wil Haygood, pic follows Eugene Allen, the White House butler whose career started with Harry Truman in 1952 and ended in 1986 with Ronald Reagan.

    Forest Whitaker is closing a deal to play Allen, while Oprah Winfrey remains in talks to play his wife. David Oyelowo is in negotiations to play Allen’s son, while Liam Neeson and John Cusack are circling presidential supporting roles as Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon, respectively. Fonda will appear in a handful of scenes as the first lady of the United States.

    Daniels, who is directing from a script he co-wrote with Danny Strong, is in the process of finalizing financing for the pic, which has no distributor onboard yet. Pamela Williams will produce through Laura Ziskin Prods. along with Hilary Shor.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Making lists

    By Kay March 27th, 2012

    We started organizing for 2012 here locally so I’ll give you my initial thoughts. About a month ago, we met with the regional OFA coordinator, and he gave us the broad overview of what they’re planning in Ohio. About two weeks ago, an OFA organizer arrived at out house. We had agreed to host the local organizer, and this first young woman stayed about a week until she was reassigned to a county east of where I live. I think it’s safe to say she was promoted. Immediately after, another organizer arrived, and we’re working with her. We have not had much contact or conversation because I leave in the morning before she does, and she works much, much longer hours than I do, so she returns after I go to bed.

    The young woman who is the organizer is staying upstairs in what was my daughter’s room, before my daughter grew up and moved away to Pittsburgh. Our house was built in the 1940’s by the small town version of a wealthy industrialist. The upstairs was designed as a suite for the original owner’s twin boys. It has a room with two built in desks along one wall and shelving and drawers lining two walls, a bathroom, and then there’s really large room down the hall for sleeping. There’s also an odd little room up there that houses a giant safe. The safe is about 3 feet high and heavy as hell. I cannot imagine how they got it up the narrow stairs. The wealthy industrialist was perhaps a little eccentric and paranoid, because this is one of several secret stashes in the house. There is an inner cabinet that opens with a key inside a corner kitchen cabinet and a storage area about the size of a bureau drawer dropped in one of the bedroom floors so the lid is flush with the floor. Staying with us,the organizer will have plenty of spots to hide her jewels or stacks of cash, you know, alongside mine.

    Last week, she set up an event at the local Steelworkers hall. She had 25 “commits”, or people who said they would attend. Of those 25 commits, ten actually showed up. As a comparison, in 2008 we had about 40 reliable volunteers, so that’s not a bad start. Of the ten who came, I know two. That’s good I don’t know all but two because it means we have different “lists”. She’s not contacting the same people I know and might have called. When we combine our lists, she should be able to double her number. Tonight I will introduce her to the county Labor Council and she will add to her list at their meeting.

    Obama For America (OFA) volunteers are making phone calls on health care in a county nearby so that’s the tentative plan here. CNN came out to cover the phone banks, so it’s not a big secret. The phone calls are to Democrats and independents, and they are intended to both inform people on the law and determine which parts of the law (if any) people are familiar with.

    Here’s a CNN poll on overturning the health care law:

    According to the poll, 43% of Americans approve of the law, up five points from last November, with 50% saying they disapprove, down six points from last autumn. Of those who currently disapprove of the measure, 37% say they oppose the law because it’s too liberal, with 10% saying the give the measure a thumbs down because it’s not liberal enough.

    “The views of Republicans and Democrats on the health care law have barely budged since last year,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “But support among independents grew from 32 percent to 41 percent since November.”


  9. rikyrah says:

    Trayvon Martin Investigator Wanted Manslaughter Charge

    The lead homicide investigator in the shooting of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin recommended that neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter the night of the shooting, multiple sources told ABC News.

    But Sanford, Fla., Investigator Chris Serino was instructed to not press charges against Zimmerman because the state attorney’s office headed by Norman Wolfinger determined there wasn’t enough evidence to lead to a conviction, the sources told ABC News.

    Police brought Zimmerman into the station for questioning for a few hours on the night of the shooting, said Zimmerman’s attorney, despite his request for medical attention first. Ultimately they had to accept Zimmerman’s claim of self defense. He was never charged with a crime.

    Serino filed an affidavit on Feb. 26, the night that Martin was shot and killed by Zimmerman, that stated he was unconvinced Zimmerman’s version of events.

    Zimmerman, 28, claimed he shot Martin, 17, in self defense.

    One complicating factor in the investigation was that the first detective to interview Zimmerman about the shooting was a narcotics officer rather than a homicide detective.

    The State Attorney’s office said only “no comment” when asked about the affidavit today.

    The revelation is the latest salvo in a war of leaks meant to bolster each side amid rising tension over the shooting.


  10. rikyrah says:

    Wall Street’s Man of Choice

    Posted on 03/26/2012 at 3:30 pm by JM Ashby

    In a bit of not-shocking news, the latest numbers show that the overwhelming majority of contributions from the investment class and Wall Street honchos has gone to Mitt Romney during this presidential election. Meanwhile, small donations from individual donors continue to be the primary source of funds for OFA.

    Let there be no doubt where Wall Street’s political loyalties lie: Of all the money the securities and investment industry has poured into the 2012 presidential contest so far — to the candidates and the super PACs behind them — an unambiguous 92 percent has gone to the GOP, according to a new Center for Responsive Politics analysis.

    And in so doing, the securities and investment industry is betting hard on the candidacy of one of its own: Mitt Romney.

    Between his campaign committee and a monster super PAC supporting his candidacy, Romney has benefited from about 72% percent of the near $33 million Wall Street has contributed through February.

    But doesn’t Wall Street love President Obama? Isn’t he their stooge? Or something.

    There are some voices out there, particularly on the Left, who would like you to think so, but that isn’t supported by any available evidence.

    Even though it isn’t as strict as it needs to be, Democrats did not make any new friends when they passed Dodd-Frank, and fundraising during this election season shows that Mitt Romney is Wall Street’s overwhelming favorite to replace President Obama.

    And that’s not because they’re electrified by the strength of his character. Having no character would be preferable to them. That leaves Mitt Romney as the obvious choice


  11. rikyrah says:

    anyone else a fan of Alcatraz, the tv show?

  12. rikyrah says:

    Anti-gay group eyes ‘fanning the hostility’
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:31 AM EDT.

    The National Organization for Marriage is perhaps best known as the anti-gay group with those odd lightning commercials that were parodied so effectively. Now, however, NOM may become even better known for some internal memos that highlight the group’s divisive strategies.

    The leading opponents of same-sex marriage planned to defeat campaigns for gay marriage by “fanning the hostility” between black voters from gay voters and by casting President Obama as a radical foe of marriage, according to confidential documents made public in a Maine court today.

    The documents, circulated by the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, are marked “confidential” and detail the internal strategy of the National Organization for Marriage.

    NOM doesn’t exactly come across well in its internal documents. The group said in no uncertain terms that it intended to “drive a wedge between gays and blacks,” bait the LGBT community into attacking African-American spokespersons, and convince Latino voters that anti-gay animus is a “symbol of resistance to inappropriate assimilation.”

    The group’s materials also point to a $20 million effort in 2012 to defeat “the pro-gay Obama agenda” and expose the president “as a social radical.” Under a section headed “Sideswiping Obama,” NOM apparently planned to talk about pornography in order to undermine the Obama campaign — though I have no idea how the group intended to connect the two.

    In related news, the Obama administration yesterday directed a “health insurance company to cover the same-sex spouse of a federal employee,” a move experts believe is a historic first, and announced that same-sex families will be able to cross the U.S. border together, rather than the previous policy that forced married same-sex couples to go through customs separately.

    One assumes the National Organization for Marriage was not pleased with the news.


  13. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 10:59 AM ET, 03/27/2012
    GOP effort to repackage Ryan Medicare plan will be a tough sell

    By Greg Sargent

    The other day, Politico reported that House Republicans had developed an elaborate plan to sell the new version of Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan, as a way to avoid the political debacle that greeted last year’s rendition. The new talking points instructed Republicans to stress the fact that Ryancare 2.0 gives seniors the choice of “staying in the current Medicare system or using the new one.”

    With a vote on the new plan set for this week, a new National Journal poll suggests that this new pitch could also prove a tough sell:

    Which of the following two options comes closer to your own view of what Medicare should look like in the future?

    Medicare should continue as it is today, with the government providing health insurance and paying doctors and hospitals directly for the services they provide to seniors: 64 percent.

    Medicare should be changed to a system where the government provides seniors with a fixed sum of money they could use either to purchase private health insurance or to pay the cost of remaining in the current Medicare program: 26 percent.

    Even a majority of Republicans supports the current system, 56-30.

    The question wording takes care to point out that seniors would have the option of “remaining in the current Medicare program.” Yet only 26 percent of Americans support it. The public’s verdict seems unambiguous: Don’t tamper with Medicare’s traditional mission.

    Indeed, this is one area where the public sides overwhelmingly with Democrats, at a time when public opinion is still tilting against Obamacare. The same National Journal poll finds that the individual mandate is overwhelmingly opposed by Americans, 66-28; even a plurality of Democrats opposes it. Overall, 43 percent favor the law, versus 47 percent who oppose it.

    On Medicare, Dems continue to remain confident that this is a battle that they can win — one that will help define the 2012 elections. The DCCC is circulating a Web video starring Martin Sheen arguing that Ryancare 2.0 would end Medicare as we know it.

    Republicans, meanwhile, are circulating an internal poll showing that if the public is told that Ryancare 2.0 is “bipartisan,” necessary to prevent Medicare from going bankrupt, and preserves traditional Medicare as an option, a plurality supports it. But if the National Journal poll is to be believed, if you frame the question as a choice between leaving Medicare as it is and changing it into a new system — even one that preserves the option of remaining in the current program — the public overwhelmingly supports the former.


  14. rikyrah says:

    Repeal and replace with … nothing
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:37 PM EDT.

    Even before the Affordable Care Act was signed into law two years ago, congressional Republicans adopted a simple, three-word, poll-tested phrase: “repeal and replace.” The GOP would repeal the moderate reform law, which is based on a model Republicans used to support, and replace it with something new.

    Shortly after the 2010 midterms, Republicans still paid some lip service to the idea, but 15 months after taking the House majority, the GOP plan to reform the nation’s health care system — the “replace” part of the equation — doesn’t exist. There have been no plans circulated, no hearings scheduled, nothing. It’s almost as if Republicans weren’t sincere about following through on their promises to reform the old, dysfunctional health care system.

    Giving up on creating a health care plan makes Mitch McConnell smile.

    Maybe in 2013 we’ll see GOP lawmakers follow through? Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) suggested to Ramesh Ponnuru that the Republican plan has changed a bit — and only the first of the three words still matters.

    If the court keeps the law and McConnell becomes Senate majority leader, he vows that “the first item up would be to try to repeal Obamacare.”

    But he doesn’t favor comprehensive legislation to replace it. “We would want to more modestly approach this with more incremental fixes,” he told me. “Not a massive Republican alternative.”

    Two ideas McConnell mentions are allowing people to purchase health insurance across state lines and reforming medical-malpractice laws.

    As Jon Chait explained, “The choice we face is not between Obamacare and some different, even more ‘market-friendly’ alternative reform. It’s between Obamacare and subjecting millions of Americans to the insecurity and suffering of lacking health insurance. The uninsured can have the Republicans’ answer now. Their offer is this: nothing.”

    When the debate over health care reform got underway in earnest in 2009, Frank Luntz and other GOP pollsters/strategists warned the party that Americans expected improvements to the dysfunctional system, and Republicans couldn’t simply say “no” to everything.

    Three years later, that’s effectively where the party has ended up: wanting to go back to the mess “Obamacare” is cleaning up.


    But what about McConnell’s main idea? It’s one of the GOP’s favorite talking points: we don’t need real reform; we just need to let consumers buy across state lines. President Obama and the Affordable Care Act allow this, but set minimum standards that states must abide by. McConnell and his party want to go further, removing, or at least severely weakening, those standards.

    This is generally called the “race to the bottom.” Under McConnell’s vision, state policymakers would tell insurers that if they were to set up shop in their state the rules would be written in the industry’s favor. The industry would go with the state that offered the sweetest deal — which is to say, the most lax oversight with the fewest restrictions — and before long, it would be consumers’ only choice. Why? Because every insurer would move to that state, leaving Americans with no other coverage to buy.

    That’s exactly what happened with the credit card industry, and it’s a model to be avoided, not followed.


  15. rikyrah says:

    Trayvon Martin, White America and the Return of Dred Scott

    Posted on March 27, 2012

    For a while now we’ve known that there were significant numbers of white Americans who wanted to “take their country back” to some mythical period of the nation’s hagiographic past. We’ve known it because they’ve told us so, as often and endlessly as their lungs will allow.

    Little did we realize, however, that for at least some in the white community that prior era of glory was not merely the too-often-nostalgized 1950s — with its misremembered innocence still fresh in their minds — but rather, the 1850‘s. Not 1957, the year in which the CBS television network gave us Leave it to Beaver, but instead, 1857, the year in which the Supreme Court gave us its decision in Dred Scott.

    But now we know.

    It was there, after all, that the nation’s brightest, most accomplished and yet most ethically decrepit jurists reminded the nation that blacks “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” They could never be citizens, “entitled to all the rights, and privileges, and immunities, guaranteed by (the Constitution),” because the framers of that document (to whom the Court referred as “great men,” “high in their sense of honor”) had never intended them such. And much like today’s conservative theorists, who are equally enamored of the so-called “jurisprudence of original intent,” the highest court, beholden as it was to the insipid moral views of 18th century white supremacists, insisted things must stay that way.

    As the decision noted:

    “[T]he legislation and histories of the times, and the language used in the Declaration of Independence, show, that neither the class of persons who had been imported as slaves, nor their descendants, whether they had become free or not, were then acknowledged as a part of the people, nor intended to be included in the general words used in that memorable instrument (the Constitution).

    They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect…This opinion was at that time fixed and universal in the civilized portion of the white race. It was regarded as an axiom in morals as well as in politics, which no one thought of disputing, or supposed to be open to dispute; and men in every grade and position in society daily and habitually acted upon it in their private pursuits, as well as in matters of public concern, without doubting for a moment the correctness of this opinion.”

    Importantly, and this is what is particularly relevant for our current discussion, the Court opined that blacks were clearly never intended to be considered citizens, for had they been so, such designation would have extended to such individuals the unacceptable right “to go where they pleased at every hour of the day or night without molestation, unless they committed some violation of law…”

    And this is what brings us to the terrifying present, a period some 155 years later, but during which time it appears there are still far too many in the white community (and even some among persons of color) who would return us to the logic of Dred Scott. This they make clear from their hateful and bigoted musings about Trayvon Martin, a 17-year old black male who made the mistake, in their mind, of forgetting that he had no rights which white men (or even Latino white-male-wannabes like George Zimmerman) need respect. No right to go where he pleased, “without molestation,” no right to be treated like a citizen, indeed like a human being. No rights to due process, to peaceably assemble on a public street, to free speech (which he foolishly tried to exercise by asking his pursuer, Zimmerman, why he was following him), to be free from cruel and unusual punishment (such as extra-judicial execution for being black in a hoodie and thus arousing the suspicions of a paranoid negrophobe). No rights at all.


  16. rikyrah says:

    Who among us does not have an elevator for our cars?
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:49 AM EDT.

    Mitt Romney has repeatedly emphasized a call for “sacrifice,” as part of his vision for European-style austerity in the U.S. starting in 2013. Of course, the talk would be more compelling if it weren’t for that pesky mansion and its elevator for the Romney family cars.

    At Mitt Romney’s proposed California beach house, the cars will have their own separate elevator.

    There’s also a planned outdoor shower and a 3,600-square foot basement — a room with more floor space than the existing home’s entire living quarters.

    Those are just some of the amenities planned for the massive renovation of the Romneys’ home in the tony La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, according to plans on file with the city.

    As if this story couldn’t get any worse, it turns out Romney’s house also has its own lobbyist, who will help push the proposed design plan through the local approval process.

    Not bad for a guy who jokes about being “unemployed.”

    Jamison Foser joked, “What’s the big deal about Romney wanting an elevator for his cars? They can’t use the stairs, can they?” David Waldman added, “Sometimes I like to spice things up by hitting ‘shuffle’ on my car elevator, and driving whichever one comes up.”

    At a certain level, I can appreciate why this seems irrelevant to the campaign. After all, following a successful career as a vulture capitalist, Romney enjoys enormous personal wealth, and it stands to reason he would spend some of his millions on lavish accommodations.

    But I’m inclined to take note of stories like these in large part because of Romney’s policy agenda.


    The former governor’s platform calls for “sacrifice,” but only for those at the bottom — the very wealthy (those who can afford elevators for their cars and lobbyists for their houses) would get a massive tax break from a President Romney, while those struggling most would get a tax increase, in addition to cuts to programs the less fortunate rely heavily on, including deep cuts in education and health care.

    It’s against this backdrop that Romney boasts about his wife driving “a couple of Cadillacs,” says he’s “not concerned about the very poor,” and says making over $374,000 in speaking fees in a year is “not very much” money. All of those examples followed Romney suggesting elected office is only for the rich, clumsily talking about his fondness for being able to fire people, demanding that talk of economic justice be limited to “quiet rooms,” accusing those who care about income inequality of “envy,” daring Rick Perry to accept a $10,000 bet, and suggesting that Americans should somehow feel sorry for poor banks.


  17. rikyrah says:

    The economic pivot: from assigning blame to taking credit
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:14 AM EDT.

    For more than three years, congressional Republicans have been eager, if not desperate, to push a simple message: the economy stinks and the public should blame President Obama.

    Will GOP freshman Landry, Labrador, and others shift their party’s 2012 economic message?

    With the economy improving, however, some GOP lawmakers suddenly have a very different idea in mind for an election-year message.

    In a break with party leaders, some House Republicans want the GOP to take credit for the improvement in the economy that has occurred under their majority.

    It’s an economic argument that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has thus far rejected, despite the fact that the unemployment rate has fallen by nearly a full percentage point in the nearly 15 months since Republicans took control of the House.

    “I don’t know why they don’t make it, but I believe it’s the truth,” said freshman Rep. Jeff Landry (R-La.). “I believe that if anybody’s going to get a pat on the back for [lower] unemployment and the better economy, it’s House Republicans, and not the president and not the Senate.”

    Landry’s argument, giving House Republicans credit for the recent economic improvements, has apparently been endorsed by Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) and GOP economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin, among others.

    As a substantive matter, this pitch is rather silly, if not ridiculous. House Republicans haven’t passed any major economic legislation, so there’s nothing to take credit for, exactly. Indeed, throughout 2011, if one asked GOP officials why the economy was so weak, they’d point to taxes, “Obamacare,” and regulations. But in 2012, tax rates remain the same; the Affordable Care Act remains in place; and the identical regulations are being enforced in identical ways. By Republican reasoning, the strengthening recovery should be literally impossible.

    But even if we look beyond the substantive policy question, it appears congressional Republicans are approaching a fork in the road: do they embrace “the ’96 strategy” or not?

    Party officials appear divided on the question and there’s no clear answer as to what they will, or even should, do.


    The ’96 strategy is pretty straightforward: in 1996, the congressional Republican majority decided it was more important to keep their majority than to fight an uphill battle to win the White House. George Will recently recommended the GOP pursue a similar, if not identical, tack in 2012 — Barack Obama is likely to win a second term, he argued, so Republicans should focus on power on Capitol Hill.

    If Republicans decide to shift their economic message — from assigning blame for a bad economy to taking credit for an improving one — it would be an explicit endorsement of the ’96 strategy, effectively telling the GOP presidential ticket, “Good luck; you’re on your own.”

    And why not? The prospects for Republicans winning the Senate are mixed, at best, and there’s a chance Democrats can take back the House in November. If GOP lawmakers returned home and said, “Look at how much better the economy is now than it was a couple of years ago,” Mitt Romney would be in a very difficult spot, but Republicans would probably improve their own re-election odds.

    Indeed, there are already hints of a bizarre 2012 debate over who can credibly claim responsibility for the recent economic upswing: Democrats credit Obama; Romney credits Bush; and congressional Republicans want to credit themselves.

    But if the national conversation accepts an economic recovery as a given, the only folks who’ll struggle are those on the GOP ticket.


  18. Ametia says:

    Trayvon Martin, White America and the Return of Dred Scott
    Tim Wise
    Posted on March 27, 2012

    For a while now we’ve known that there were significant numbers of white Americans who wanted to “take their country back” to some mythical period of the nation’s hagiographic past. We’ve known it because they’ve told us so, as often and endlessly as their lungs will allow.

    Little did we realize, however, that for at least some in the white community that prior era of glory was not merely the too-often-nostalgized 1950s — with its misremembered innocence still fresh in their minds — but rather, the 1850‘s. Not 1957, the year in which the CBS television network gave us Leave it to Beaver, but instead, 1857, the year in which the Supreme Court gave us its decision in Dred Scott.

    But now we know.

    It was there, after all, that the nation’s brightest, most accomplished and yet most ethically decrepit jurists reminded the nation that blacks “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” They could never be citizens, “entitled to all the rights, and privileges, and immunities, guaranteed by (the Constitution),” because the framers of that document (to whom the Court referred as “great men,” “high in their sense of honor”) had never intended them such. And much like today’s conservative theorists, who are equally enamored of the so-called “jurisprudence of original intent,” the highest court, beholden as it was to the insipid moral views of 18th century white supremacists, insisted things must stay that way.

    As the decision noted:

    “[T]he legislation and histories of the times, and the language used in the Declaration of Independence, show, that neither the class of persons who had been imported as slaves, nor their descendants, whether they had become free or not, were then acknowledged as a part of the people, nor intended to be included in the general words used in that memorable instrument (the Constitution).

    They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect…This opinion was at that time fixed and universal in the civilized portion of the white race. It was regarded as an axiom in morals as well as in politics, which no one thought of disputing, or supposed to be open to dispute; and men in every grade and position in society daily and habitually acted upon it in their private pursuits, as well as in matters of public concern, without doubting for a moment the correctness of this opinion.”


  19. Ametia says:

    This post should be pritned and framed in every Black Parents home.

  20. Ametia says:


    Newt Gingrich Charging Supporters $50 To Take A Photograph With Him
    by James Crugnale | 10:18 am, March 27th, 2012

    Say cheese! Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is spearheading a new fundraising effort this week to inject new life into his struggling campaign, charging supporters $50 to take a photograph with him.

    “Some campaigns make you travel all the way to Wall Street to pay $2,500 for a photo with a candidate,” Gingrich spokesperson R.C. Hammond said in a statement. “We chose to do it differently and ask our supporters for a nominal donation.”

    Gingrich’s campaign, which has only won two states so far, is hemorrhaging cash, announcing last week it had spent $200,000 more in February than it took in.


  21. rikyrah says:

    Confounded: How The Trayvon Martin Story Has Baffled The Conservative Press

    March 27, 2012 10:38 am ET by Eric Boehlert

    Addressing the unfolding story of an unarmed, 17-year-old Florida teen recently killed by a neighborhood watch activist who has not been charged with a crime, Fox News host Jon Scott recently wondered out loud whether the Trayvon Martin case really deserved the national media attention it was receiving. While Fox colleague Jim Pinkerton explained that the coverage stemmed from the fact that the press is “always interested in the cute child that gets murdered” and the “black victim of racism,” Scott’s query captured the larger Fox News feeling about the mushrooming Martin report, which was to view the story with a mixture of uncertainty and bafflement.

    It seemed the Martin story simply did not fit the right-wing’s preferred narrative about guns and minorities and how white America is allegedly under physical assault from Obama’s violent African-American base. Or, as Rush Limbaugh famously put it, “[I]n Obama’s America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering.”

    The conservative media have spent the last three years utterly obsessed with the topic of race in America, but only when they can frame that issue dishonestly; only when conservatives can use news events for race baiting purposes. So as the Martin story morphed into a national conversation about race and guns and the law, many conservative media voices remained silent early on. (A silence later replaced by attempts to smear the young victim.)

    For a snapshot, TVeyes.com indicates that between March 15 and 25, “Trayvon Martin” was mentioned nearly 500 times on CNN, 350 times on MSNBC, but less than 100 times on Fox News. Through the end of last week, for instance, Fox’s late afternoon round table discussion show, The Five, had never discussed the Martin shooting, according to a Nexis review.


    Last week on Bill O’Reilly’s primetime show there were more on-air mentions of “Media Matters” than there were “Trayvon Martin.” O’Reilly devoted a Talking Points Memo segment to each.

    And when Fox News did wade into the controversy last week the results were somewhat disastrous, like when Geraldo Rivera suggested it was the sweatshirt hoodie the Florida teen was wearing that was responsible for his death; a comment that was widely ridiculed. (His later suggestion that Martin was dressed like a “wannabe gangster” didn’t help matters.)

    Fox’s initial muted response, especially from it’s nighttime opinion shows, stood in stark contrast to the channel’s previous cheerleading for the “Stand Your Ground” law, which remains at the center of the Martin controversy. Backed by gun advocates, the Florida law puts the burden on prosecutors to disprove claims of self-defense from shooters who use deadly force. When the law was passed in 2005, critics warned about looming citizen confrontations like the one that ended Martin’s life.

    Yet rather than vigorously defend the law in the wake of the teen’s killing, and rather than offering up coherent analysis of the story, Fox opinion makers mostly preferred to look away, reluctant to engage in the debate. Perhaps, as Orlando Sentinel columnist Beth Kassab wrote last week, that’s because “There is no good way for gun proponents to spin the death of an unarmed teenager.”

    Without Fox News to show the way, much of the conservative press seemed adrift and unsure with how to proceed last week.

    From the Moderate Voice, March 23:

    There was a lot of buzz about Fox News initially ignoring the Trayvon Martin killing. What most people haven’t noted is that nearly every major conservative blog is completely ignoring the story. If you search for the word “Trayvon” on Hot Air, Michelle Malkin, Power Line, and Instapundit, you come up with zilch. There’s not a single mention on Drudge.

    Most of the blogs did eventually weigh in on the Martin story — in order to condemn Obama for respectfully acknowledging the controversy. (“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”) Malkin lashed out at the president for being “all too willing to pour gas on the fire.” In fact, it was Obama’s comments regarding Martin that seemed to free up conservatives and prompt them to treat the story of a dead teenager as a purely partisan one; a contest between the left and right. That’s the terrain they feel most comfortable on.

    In retrospect, the conservative press would have been better off maintaining its distance from the story since in recent days more and more far-right outlets have veered into the ugly territory of trying to smear a dead teenager in an effort to defuse the story and to shift the blame away from the gunman, George Zimmerman.

    Those wholesale attacks on Martin, sadly reminiscent of the right-wing media’s sex-based assaults on Sandra Fluke’s reputation, have revolved around loaded innuendos about the boy’s past, posting bogus photos of him online, retrieving tweets from the slain teenager’s closed Twitter account, and pretending the Martin story revolves around a small band of irrelevant New Black Panther Party members. (That’s been the Daily Caller specialty.)

    Just look at Breitbart blogger Dan Riehl who over the weekend posted a foolish and offensive piece that claimed a photo of Martin widely used by the press has been “altered” and lightened to make him appear less threatening. (It hadn’t been altered.)

    Riehl also went searching for old Facebook photos of Martin. He suggested he found one that featured a young boy posing in his underwear flashing an obscene hand gesture. He later took the photo down because he could not confirm it was the Martin who was murdered (it wasn’t), never bothering to explain what relevance old Facebook pictures had to do with the Florida killing.

    Still, Michelle Malkin’s new site Twitchy followed the misguided lead and also posted the same Facebook picture, suggesting the press had been hiding it because it made Martin look more menacing.

    Malkin’s site was then forced to post a correction and apology:


  22. rikyrah says:

    The ‘Color-Blind’ Delusions of the Trayvon Backlash
    By Charles P. Pierce
    at 10:24AM

    They’re circling the wagons down in Sanford these days. The defenders of George Zimmerman, the trigger-happy wannabe who clipped Trayvon Martin for the crime of being a black kid in a hoodie with snack foods in the wrong neighborhood, is now being cocooned by his lawyer — who scarpered on an appearence on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show last night — by some alleged friends, and by the local police department, which has screwed this case up to a faretheewell since the night the shooting happened, but which is now leaking like a sieve. Ask yourself how we suddenly know that the dead kid had been suspended from high school because he got caught with a bag that might once have contained marijuana. Ask yourself why we know that. We know that because this case is Not About Race.

    It is Not About Race because It Is Never About Race. Race is the past. Black people can vote. One of them is president. Nothing Is About Race anymore.
    Just ask Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum — and have I mentioned recently what a colossal dick that guy is? — and they’ll tell you that the president “injected” race into the tragedy. It wasn’t there before the president — who is (shhh!) black, you know — put it there. Ask Joe Oliver, this “friend” of the gunman who insists that Zimmerman might have said “fucking goons” and not “fucking coons,” because the latter is an obsolete racial slur and the former is a “term of endearment,” according to Oliver’s daughter. This is enormously believable because, if you’re an armed 28-year old gunslinger in pursuit of what you believe is a dangerous burglar, the first descriptive that would leap to anyone’s mind is a term of endearment used by high-school girls. Yeah, sure. Whatever. As if. And it is enormously believable because This Is Not About Race.

    It Is Never About Race. All those people arguing down through the years that the Civil War was about dueling conceptions of nationhood, or a clash of incompatible economic systems, or the ramifications of the 10th Amendment were all arguing, after all, that It Was Not About Race. Massive Resistance in the South in the 1960’s was about resistance to overweening federal power because It Was Not About Race. The Wallace campaigns, and the politically profitable adoption by modern conservatism of the leftover tropes and trappings of American apartheid was about the embattled white middle-class in the North and not About Race because It Is Never About Race. Ronald Reagan kicked off his campaign talking about states rights in Philadelphia, Mississippi, not far from where they dug three civil rights workers out of a dam, because he wanted to show that a new paradigm had been established in American constitutional history, and it was not About Race because It Is Never About Race. Amadou Diallo was Not About Race. According to the Equal Justice Initiative, which tracks such things, dozens of children are currently serving sentences of life without parole, of whom two-thirds of them are children of color, as a result of laws passed by legislators wanting to look tough on crime, and those statistics are not skewed because of race because It Is Never About Race. George Zimmerman saw a black kid with a hoodie and gave chase with his gun in his hand. But that was not about race, because Joe Oliver and the Sanford police and the oh-so-very fair-minded media are telling us, hell, don’t worry, It Is Never About Race.

    I despair now of there ever being justice for this dead boy. (Joe Oliver, the enthusiastically televised friend of the accused, is peddling the line that, during the fight, “the gun went off.” Pity.) The wagons are circling and the mainstream media are settling into their two-sides-to-this-terrible-tragedy mode, as though losing a fistfight, if that’s what actually happened, is an excuse for blowing away an unarmed teenager. This Cannot Be About Race. It’s about a terrible misunderstanding, not dissimilar to the tragic mistakes made by the NYPD when it shredded Diallo, or when it ventilated Sean Bell on Bell’s wedding day in 2006. It’s just another one of those awful events in which nobody’s really to blame because we’re all human and to err is human, even with a gun, and even when you have no earthly reason but your own fear and poisonous assumptions to stalk a black kid for the crime of possession of snack foods with intent to eat them in the wrong neighborhood. It must be difficult to be a black person in America. You live in a universe replete with unfortunate coincidental events.

    Read more: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/trayvon-martin-backlash-7650171#ixzz1qKu9tarJ

  23. Ametia says:

    Posted: Tue, Mar. 27, 2012, 3:01 AM
    Group sues over Pennsylvania’s ‘Year of the Bible’ resolution
    By Angela Couloumbis
    Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau

    HARRISBURG – A state House resolution declaring 2012 the “Year of the Bible” in Pennsylvania violates the U.S. Constitution and should be immediately withdrawn, a national association representing atheists and agnostics is contending in court.

    The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation filed suit Monday in federal court in Harrisburg, saying the resolution amounts to an official government endorsement of religion – and Christianity, in particular. That, the group contends, violates the Constitution’s establishment clause, which bars government from preferring one religion over another.

    “The Establishment Clause prohibits the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, its members and officers, from telling citizens which God to recognize, or which holy book to ‘study,’ much less directing citizens to ‘apply its teachings’,” the lawsuit contends.

    The one-page resolution, which unanimously passed the House in late January, recognizes what it calls the Bible’s “formative influence” in the founding of the nation and the state. It says that as the nation “faces great challenges,” there should be a recognition of a “national need to study and apply” Scripture.


  24. President Obama Speaks at the Nuclear Security Summit

  25. Ametia says:

    Posted at 06:15 PM ET, 03/26/2012
    Good news about popcorn and chocolate
    By Jennifer LaRue Huget

    Hmmm, what will it be, then? Popcorn? Chocolate? Or both?
    Both delicious treats have made news this week for their potential health benefits.

    Unpublished research presented this weekend at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Diego finds that popcorn has higher concentrations of polyphenols than do fruits and vegetables. Polyphenols are plant substances that are believed to serve as antioxidants; those compounds may ward off disease by protecting against harmful chemical reactions in the body. The downside: Most of those polyphenols reside in the hull — the part that gets stuck between our teeth. Also, though we throw around the terms “antioxidants” and “polyphenols,” we don’t really know much about how those substance work or how our bodies actually process them. As the chemists say in this video, more research is required.

    But the researchers also noted that popcorn is 100 percent whole grain and a terrific source of fiber. But cooking it in oil and adding butter and salt adds calories, fat and sodium that may lessen the snack’s nutritional value. And, they add, fruits and vegetables contain lots of other nutrients our bodies need, so you shouldn’t replace them with popcorn.


  26. Rene Stutzman= yellow journalism— in order to smear a dead child. Why? He’s a young black male. What a dishonest POS

  27. rikyrah says:

    Medvedev says Romney’s anti-Russia comment smacks of Hollywood

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday a comment by U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, branding Russia the “number one geopolitical foe”, smacked of Hollywood.

    Romney was speaking on CNN in response to a conversation in Seoul on missile defense between Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama.

    “Regarding ideological clichés, every time this or that side uses phrases like ‘enemy number one’, this always alarms me, this smells of Hollywood and certain times (of the past),” Medvedev said at the end of a nuclear security summit in the South Korean capital.

    “I would recommend all U.S. presidential candidates … to do two things. First, when phrasing their position one needs to use one’s head, one’s good reason, which would not do harm to a presidential candidate.

    “Also, (one needs to) look at his watch: we are in 2012 and not the mid-1970s.”


  28. rikyrah says:

    The importance of Romney’s accidental candor
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:21 AM EDT.

    Mitt Romney tends to avoid policy specifics, leading critics to argue that the Republican frontrunner is afraid of what voters would think if he offered a detailed agenda before the election.

    In an interview with the Weekly Standard, Romney effectively admitted that his critics are right.

    “One of the things I found in a short campaign against Ted Kennedy was that when I said, for instance, that I wanted to eliminate the Department of Education, that was used to suggest I don’t care about education,” Romney recalled. “So I think it’s important for me to point out that I anticipate that there will be departments and agencies that will either be eliminated or combined with other agencies….So will there be some that get eliminated or combined? The answer is yes, but I’m not going to give you a list right now.”

    Romney’s answer goes a long way to explain why some conservatives have been reluctant to embrace his candidacy. They want a list. They want it to be long, they want it to be detailed, and they want a candidate who is not only willing to provide one but eager to campaign on it…. That’s not Mitt Romney. It never will be.

    This might be one of the more important comments Romney has made in a long while. He could talk in detail about his plans to eliminate key government agencies and programs — many of which may be of critical importance to working families — but Romney chooses not to. Why? Because voters might not like the truth, so the former governor believes it’s better to hide it from them.

    As Jon Chait joked, “One of the things I have found in previous elections is that announcing my plans makes people want to vote against me!”

    The point isn’t that Romney’s expectations are wrong; he’s probably correct to assume controversial positions on key domestic priorities would cause voters to think twice about his candidacy. Rather, the point is, it’s dishonest and cowardly for a national candidate to operate this way. Romney is effectively telling voters, “Vote for me first and then I’ll tell you which parts of government I’ll eliminate.”

    It’s a remarkable message, not only for the American mainstream, which can’t be sure which of the many versions of Romney might try to govern, but also for the Republican base, which has no idea what to expect from Romney, pre- and post-Etch A Sketch.


  29. rikyrah says:

    The Case for George Zimmerman Is The Case Against Him
    By Robert Wright

    Mar 27 2012, 10:22 AM ET

    The Atlantic’s Andrew Cohen reported yesterday that, in the Trayvon Martin case, George Zimmerman’s side of the story is starting to “get traction.”

    Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that the facts of the case are basically as Zimmerman’s defenders claim: Zimmerman killed Martin because Martin was beating him up and Zimmerman felt his life was in danger. Even so, it seems to me that Zimmerman should do jail time for killing Martin.

    Here are some things we know about the case:

    1) A man with a gun pursued an unarmed teenager who had done nothing wrong.

    2) The man with the gun initiated a confrontation with the teenager. I realize that we don’t know exactly how any fight between Zimmerman and Martin started. And we never will, because only Zimmerman knows the details, and he’s not exactly unbiased. But by my lights, if you pursue an innocent, law-abiding citizen, thereby giving him or her reason to believe that you mean them harm–and reason to conclude that their self-defense may require fighting–you have thereby initiated a confrontation. Zimmerman will presumably depict his role in the encounter as passive. That testimony should count for roughly nothing, but in any event I’d say that even if it’s true, he still initiated a confrontation just by pursuing a guy in the dark until he caught up with him. (And he did that even though he knew he was violating the rules of the Neighborhood Watch game and in fact had just been reminded of that by a 911 dispatcher!)

    3) As a result of the confrontation, the man with the gun shot the teenager to death.

    When I see pictures of George Zimmerman I actually feel kind of sorry for him (though not as sorry as I feel for Trayvon Martin), and if his defenders are right about what happened then I should feel even sorrier for him. Still, do we want to live in a society where somebody with a gun can chase down an unarmed, law-abiding citizen, presumably scaring them to death, then kill them after a fight unsurprisingly breaks out–and still get off scot-free? Do you want every wannabe cop in America reading that this sort of thing is legal? Do you think America’s actual cops want to live in a world like that?

    If we don’t want to live in a world like that, then the law shouldn’t let George Zimmermans kill Trayvon Martins. And if Florida law now allows for things like this to happen, and Zimmerman gets off the hook, then after this case is over, the law should change.


  30. Ametia says:

    In defense of President Obama’s leadership on health-care reform
    By Tom Daschle, Published: March 26 | Updated: Tuesday, March 27, 5:00 AM

    I will never forget my conversation with President Obama just days after his inauguration. A growing number of his staff members were arguing that he should abandon his goal of health reform in his first term. And I was beginning to doubt the president’s personal willingness to commit to leading—and to risking political capital—in this cause.

    But then he said to me, “Health care is the most important thing we will ever do. It will be my legacy. And it is more important to me now than ever before. Don’t ever doubt that.”
    Read on


  31. Ametia says:

    Rob Kardashian detained by Miami police, nearly gets arrested after chasing photographer

    Ex-‘Dancing With the Stars’ contestant says he was just playing around; sister Kim, meanwhile, may press charges in flour incident

    By Joyce Chen / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
    Monday, March 26, 2012, 11:24 AM

    While older sister Kim was busy getting showered with flour over the weekend, Rob Kardashian was up to a little headline-making mischief of his own.

    The former “Dancing With the Stars” contestant was with friends in Miami early Sunday morning when he noticed a photographer taking pictures of the group from across the street, according to TMZ.

    Kardashian took off after the paparazzo in what he later said was a mock chase — but according to the site, the photographer fled for his life, screaming for help.

    Nearby police officers who saw the entire incident immediately detained the 25-year-old reality star, but Kardashian explained to them that he had just been playing around, TMZ reports.

    After some more questioning in the back of a police car, Kardashian was reportedly able to convince officers the entire incident was a misunderstanding, and was released shortly afterward.

    Kim’s flour-bombing incident hasn’t been so easily dismissed, however.

    The reality starlet initially said that she wouldn’t press charges against the female animal rights activist who dumped a bag of flour on her in protest of her fur-loving tendencies, but later changed her mind.

    “I said earlier no I wasn’t [going to file a complaint],” Kardashian told Us Weekly. “I am just going to think about it, because I don’t want some to think they can really get away with that.

    “So we are going to handle that.”

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/rob-kardashian-detained-police-arrested-chasing-photog-article-1.1050894#ixzz1qKLcDOIn

  32. rikyrah says:

    March 25, 2012
    Mitt Romney sparkles, mesmerizes the Weekly Standard, and ricochets some bs

    Politico is highlighting a lengthy, as well as classically craven, Mitt Romney quote from a Weekly Standard interview, in which the former governor attempts to elevate deliberate ambiguity and unsubtle shiftiness to the high artifice of principled politics. To summarize in the interest of space, Romney says he’ll cut government, but refuses to say how. Interviewer Stephen Hayes observes in scattered emotional eruptions:

    It’s a smart answer and a deeply conservative one….

    Romney, ever cautious, is reluctant to get specific about the programs he would like to kill….

    In a conversation with him, you can feel him thinking about his words….

    Why have conservative interviewers become so touchy-feely? Really, this is getting out of hand, and it’s been doing so since 2008, when National Review’s Rich Lowry gushed:

    I’m sure I’m not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, ‘Hey, I think she just winked at me.’ And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America. This is a quality that can’t be learned.

    Then and there, I suspect, Rich was indeed feeling himself (while) thinking about her winks and words.

    But, back to Mr. Hayes’ feelings, as well as Mitt’s words/winks — the substantive quality of which we’d love to learn, but Mitt just won’t permit it. It gets worse. Having refused to unveil the government programs he’d cut, Romney then turns and says to Hayes:

    I describe what my positions are on issues and lay out my policy and people will either warm to it or not, depending upon how they connect with it.

    But of course Romney does not “describe what [his] positions are.” In fact he had pointedly told Hayes that he wouldn’t describe them.

    One must gather up pluck and soldier on to the Romney interview’s very end, however, to really “feel him thinking” like the unctuous Zelig he is:

    Romney’s critique of Obama is often focused on competence more than ideology. “He’s a nice guy, but he’s in over his head,” Romney often says.

    Why not say more about ideology? Romney says the two critiques are mutually reinforcing.

    Obama, he says, has an “agenda which is contrary to the interests of the economy and the nation. And I think a lot of people who have that agenda are clueless.”

    Thus ends the interview on a note you probably noticed: on a final, “I’ll put it however you want me to put it” Mitt Romney note — a pol whose focus is often on “competence,” but hey, Stephen, if you want “ideology,” then by God Romney will give you that instead.

    As Rich Lowry said with an epistemological certainty in which we must place our hope and trust: “This is a quality that can’t be learned.”


  33. rikyrah says:

    Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 10:30 AM PDT.

    House Republicans counting on Ryan budget for 2012 electoral success
    by Joan McCarter

    House Republicans, now that we’re four months into the election year, have started figuring out how they’re going to position themselves for November. (To cut them a little slack, they haven’t been in Washington to work this stuff out all that much yet this year, or to work on anything, actually.) They’ve apparently decided to go all in on the Ryan budget, including gutting Medicare and repealing the Affordable Care Act.

    In private meetings set to begin on Tuesday with restless Republican lawmakers, leaders will outline a “strategic plan” to take the House GOP through Election Day, with items ranging from rewriting the corporate and individual Tax Code to overhauling federal regulations to changing U.S. energy policy.

    The briefings, including a presentation from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), will also outline the Republicans’ plans to repeal Obama’s health care law, whether or not the Supreme Court keeps the law in place. Included in the agenda is entitlement reform, debt reduction and oversight hearings by House committees.

    The road map is aimed partly at reassuring House Republicans anxious about the party’s legislative record and direction.

    So it will be more drill, drill, drill and evil light bulbs; job-killing regulations; no new taxes for “job creators”; raise the retirement age; take away Medicare; repeal Obamacare; and have more inquisitions by Rep. Darrell Issa. They don’t detail what new fronts on the war on women they’ll be opening, but chances are they’ll throw most of that in with health care repeal.
    How anything in this agenda differs from the previous year is not readily apparent. Particularly when you throw in the fact that the budget breaks the existing budget deal and presents yet another government shutdown threat.

    With the nihilist wing of the caucus essentially in charge, it seems there’s little else leadership can or wants to do. But given how poorly this has worked out for them so far in the court or public opinion.


  34. rikyrah says:

    March 26, 2012
    Mitt Romney’s wolf by the ear

    Columbia University’s Thomas Edsall, contributor to the NY Times’ “Campaign Stops,” surveys the self-limiting anthropology of the Republican Party’s thinning tribes of a base, only to add this final insult to Mitt Romney’s elaborate struggles with it:

    Gallup found that only 35% of [the GOP base] would “enthusiastically” back Romney in the election, far fewer than the 47% percent who said they enthusiastically supported McCain at this time in 2008.

    Romney may be the GOP’s first nominee to suffer from a ravaging, untreatable case of Stockholm Syndrome. Every serious contender of yore made some concessions to his party’s base — George W. Bush, for instance, faked and even agonized his way through 2000’s politically requisite “compassionate conservatism” and “humble” foreign policy; Barry Goldwater resisted but buckled under socially conservative pressure; and internationalist Wendell Willkie was made to grovel before his party’s isolationist wing — but no one ever endured such a remorseless gauntlet of ‘Opposite Days’ like the long-enduring Mitt Romney.

    And to what end? Observes Prof. Edsall:

    These lukewarm Republican primary voters are, in effect, threatening to abandon the nominee after forcing him to pass ruthless ideological litmus tests …

    … such as evangelical Christians — “now a majority, 50.53 percent, of all Republican presidential primary voters,” according to the Faith and Freedom Coalition — who are contemptuous of any Republican pol so foolish or bold as to acknowledge the human contribution to global warming, a damnable heretical act which Romney has been captured on film committing. Then of course, too, there’s the governor’s little “cult” problem, an inescapable self-identity ready-made for the punishing bigotry of right-wing Christians.

    And all this while, as Mitt Romney attempts the placation of the implacable, he’s alienating and thus bleeding the potential of the possibly game-deciding independent vote.

    Though delightful, the entirety of Romney’s essentially incontrovertible reality of electoral doom meets with the media’s persistent campaign narrative of: “Close, very, very close the Obama-Romney race shall be.” It’s like rewatching the run-up coverage of the Clay-Liston fight.


  35. rikyrah says:

    Why Health Reform is Safe, and the Caveman Argument Against the Individual Mandate
    Monday, March 26, 2012 |
    Posted by Deaniac83 at 12:58 PM

    The big story last week, on the political front, has been the Supreme Court’s scheduling of oral arguments on the legal challenges to the health care reform law the President signed two years ago. It’s an unnerving case, to be sure, as people across the political pages try to read tea-leaves to surmise the fate of this incredible reform. The far Right is aware that ObamaCare, should all elements of it be allowed to go into effect in 2014, it will be as popular as Medicare and any attempt to screw with it will result in the reddest Congressional districts turning blue. They have spent not only time to challenge the law in the courts, but they have also outspent supporters on a 3:1 basis on spreading propaganda trashing the law.

    I am not a lawyer. But for what it’s worth, I do think there is something to be taken from the precise cases that the Supreme Court is hearing this week. The Washington Post has a helpful graphic showing the cases SCOTUS is actually deciding in order to determine the fate of health reform.

    Remember that the Supreme Court is the final appallette court, and as such, it is deciding appeals from decisions made by lower courts. On the most important question, the individual mandate, it is thus rather remarkable to note whose appeal the court is hearing. The government’s. The lower appeals court agreed with a district court decision that the individual mandate is unconstitutional. The government, namely the Department of Health and Human Services, appealed the ruling from a lower court dismissing the Constitutionality of the individual mandate. In other words, despite what you’ve heard, in technical terms, the Court is actually not hearing a challenge to ObamaCare. It is hearing an appeal by the government challenging the validity of the ruling of a lower court with regard to the individual mandate. The court is not hearing an appeal by the opponents of the law from a court which has upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate.

    Does this make a difference, given that the Court is still hearing arguments on three questions – namely the individual mandate itself, whether it is severable from the rest of the law (and thus the rest could stand should the mandate be found unconstitutional) and whether any challenge can even be brought against the individual mandate given that it is not in force yet and no fines on it has yet been collected? I think it does make a difference. That the consolidation is happening under an appeal by the HHS would indicate that SCOTUS sees at least a potential that the lower court ruling, invalidating the mandate, was in error.


  36. rikyrah says:

    March 26, 2012

    Chris Cillizza was stuck. Something new to write about. Aye, there’s the rub, a little something we all know well in the grinding monotony of this GOP presidential race. So he coquettishly asked a throwaway question — “Is Mitt Romney underrated?” — and proceeded to titillate in a most amusing manner.

    Well, let’s see, answered Cillizza, Romney’s a Mormon in a monstrously anti-Mormon party, he’s “a moderate … in a party that wants red-meat conservatism,” he possesses “a Northeastern base in a Southern party,” his “signature legislative achievement” was a healthcare bill roundly detested by the base, and, to boot, he “is no world-beater as a candidate,” he’s “awkward and somewhat tin-eared,” and, finally, and somewhat charitably, the man “can seem aloof.”

    Ergo, all things considered, “it’s clear that he doesn’t get enough credit for what he’s accomplished” — i.e., presumably, a miraculous survival.

    But wait. What are these 10 words I also espy, buried in Cillizza’s column? Ah, yes. The only real answer, in the form of an overriding understatement, as to whether Mitt Romney is critically underrated as a Republican candidate: “Romney has benefited from a deeply flawed set of opponents.”

    Translated, no one of even the scantiest political abilities could have lost to a Michele Bachmann, a Herman Cain, a Newt Gingrich or a Rick Santorum. No one.


  37. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone. :-) I love the Electric slide.

  38. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 03:03 PM ET, 03/26/2012
    New frontiers in political dishonesty
    By Greg Sargent

    It’s often been pointed out that one of the main problems with fact-checking dishonest politicians is that they know they can continue to lie with impunity, since no one in the media cares except for a few pointy-headed truth-squadders.

    Here is one of the best examples of this we’ve ever seen.

    Meet Josh Mandel, the GOP challenger to Ohio Dem Senator Sherrod Brown. National right wing groups have spent huge money targeting him, and the race could be pivotal to Dem hopes of holding the Senate.

    Mandel has been pilloried by Politifact for excessive lying about Brown, particularly with regard to his “pants on fire” claim that Brown is one of the politicians most responsible for Ohio jobs moving to China.

    But in a confrontational interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Mandel attacked Politifact as politically motived, insisted his claims are true, and went on to offer a remarkable response. Mandel said he was under no obligation to back up his own assertions, and confidently predicted he’d continue repeating them “again and again” with no repurcussions:

    Consider his response in an interview last week when asked again to identify a single Ohio job that went to China because of a decisive vote by Brown.

    “If that’s the level of specificity you’re looking for, you’re the reporters — you go do the grunt work,” said Mandel, who lives in Beachwood. “Any reporter who doesn’t believe Sherrod Brown is responsible for jobs going to China is simply out of touch.”

    PolitiFact Ohio already had done the “grunt work” and found that the examples cited by Mandel’s campaign failed to back up his claim, hence the Pants on Fire rating. Right or wrong, Mandel vowed to repeat the assertion “again and again” and said he sees no downside.

    And you know what? He’s probably right! Indeed, in forthrightly admitting that he won’t be substantiating his claims because there’s no downside in repeating a debunked assertion again and again, Mandel for once deserves points for honesty.


  39. rikyrah says:

    Diplomacy Is Syria’s Business, Yo
    By Zandar March 27th, 2012Looks like Bashar al-Assad is ready to deal.

    The Syrian government has accepted U.N. envoy Kofi Annan’s plan to forge peace and end violence, Annan’s spokesman said on Tuesday.

    Annan has offered Syria a six-point plan – supported by the U.N. Security Council – as a way to halt the violence.

    The proposal seeks to stop the violence and the killing, give access to humanitarian agencies, release detainees, and start an inclusive political dialogue to address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people, according to a U.N. statement.

    Hey look. Smart power and stuff. It’s like it works or something, and that there are ugly foreign policy problems that can be solved without blowing things up. Can’t wait until the usual suspects tell us how awesome the United Nations suddenly is, and that President Whatshisface had nothing to do with this.


  40. rikyrah says:

    Explain This To Me
    by BooMan
    Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 11:51:00 PM EST

    Normally, I try to understand what’s going on in Washington DC so I can give you an informed opinion. But I’m a little flummoxed about what the GOP is doing here. The Senate Republicans changed course and voted overwhelmingly for cloture on a bill that would strip Big Oil of a lot of their tax breaks. Then Mitch McConnell indicated that he’s eager to have a debate on the issue:

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the floor Monday that “common sense and basic economics” show that raising industry taxes will send gasoline prices even higher.
    “This is the Democrat response to high gas prices,” he said ahead of the vote.

    “And frankly, I can’t think of a better way to illustrate how completely out of touch they are on this issue. And that’s why Republicans plan to support moving forward on a debate over this legislation, because it’s a debate the country deserves,” McConnell said.

    So, it seems plain that the GOP thinks they can win a debate over protecting Big Oil’s tax breaks by arguing that the those tax breaks will lower prices at the pump. I think that’s dubious. What this also seems to demonstrate is that the Republicans think they can get a few straying Democrats to kill the bill. And they could be right. Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Mark Begich of Alaska all voted against cloture. We know how Big Oil rules Louisiana and Alaska, so I am not surprised by these defections. But if those are the only three Democratic senators who will vote with Big Oil, the bill will pass at 50-50 with the vice-president breaking the tie.

    But I guess McConnell can risk losing since the House won’t do ANYTHING to upset the energy industry.


  41. rikyrah says:

    Romney doesn’t know how to fake foreign policy acumen
    By Steve Benen – Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.A couple of years ago, as debate over the New START nuclear treaty was intensifying, Mitt Romney decided to weigh in on the debate with an op-ed, hoping to demonstrate some acumen on international affairs. It didn’t go well. Fred Kaplan wrote at the time, “In 35 years of following debates over nuclear arms control, I have never seen anything quite as shabby, misleading and — let’s not mince words — thoroughly ignorant as Mitt Romney’s attack on the New START treaty.”

    Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), arguably the Republican Party’s most respected voice on foreign policy, issued “an unusually harsh statement,” calling Romney out for his nonsense.

    Two years later, Romney isn’t done pretending he deserves a seat at the big-kids’ table. After President Obama signaled yesterday his intention to negotiate with Russia on missile defense in a second term, the former governor was indignant.

    The key quote in the clip was Romney arguing, in reference to Russia, “[T]his is without question our number one geopolitical foe, they fight every cause for the world’s worst actors, the idea that [President Obama] has more flexibility in mind for Russia is very, very troubling indeed.”

    For one thing, Obama didn’t talk about more flexibility for Russia; he talked about more flexibility for himself, urging Russian leaders to be patient until after the election season. There’s a big difference between the two.

    For another, calling Russia the nation’s “number one geopolitical foe” has renewed a debate over whether Romney understands these issues as well as he thinks he does.

    The Democratic National Committee, for example, distributed this statement from former Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig:

    “Governor Romney offered his judgment today that Russia is our nation’s number one geopolitical foe. This conclusion, as outdated as his ideas on the economy, energy needs, and social issues, is left over from the last century. Does Governor Romney believe that a Cold War foreign policy is the right course in the twenty-first century? Does he believe that Russia is a bigger threat to the U.S. today than terrorism, or cyberwarfare, or a nuclear-armed and erratic North Korea?

    “Oddly, before calling Russia our number one foe, he issued a foreign policy white paper that only got around to Russia after sections on China, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Middle East, Iran, North Korea, and Latin America. His most recent statement is yet another revelation that Mitt Romney repeatedly speaks inconsistently and in ways that are disconnected from twenty-first century realities.”

    The white-paper Danzig mentions referred to a 42-page foreign policy prospectus released by the Romney campaign, which ignored Russia — our so-called “number one geopolitical foe” — for the first 34 pages.


  42. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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