Friday Open Thread

Etta James (born Jamesetta Hawkins; January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012) was an American singer. Her style spanned a variety of music genres including blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, soul, gospel and jazz. Starting her career in the mid-1950s, she gained fame with hits such as “Dance With Me, Henry“, “At Last“, “Tell Mama“, and “I’d Rather Go Blind” for which she wrote the lyrics.[1] She faced a number of personal problems, including drug addiction, before making a musical resurgence in the late 1980s with the album The Seven Year Itch.[

James is regarded as having bridged the gap between rhythm and blues and rock and roll, and is the winner of six Grammys and 17 Blues Music Awards. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Grammy Hall of Fame in both 1999 and 2008.

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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80 Responses to Friday Open Thread

  1. Progressive Commercial – Good Night, Flo

    LOL!  I love this commercial! ‘Squirrel Jail’! ‘Justice’!

  2. Ametia says:

    Posted at 03:59 PM ET, 03/30/2012
    Romney under fire for PAC donation to anti-gay marriage group
    By Dan Eggen

    A state political action committee run by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gave $10,000 to a conservative group that has come under scrutiny for plans to “drive a wedge” between African-Americans and gays, according to documents revealed Friday.

    Free & Strong America PAC Alabama, one of a network of state-level PACs that has raised and disbursed money on Romney’s behalf, gave the donation in 2008 to the National Organization for Marriage, which at the time was working to pass Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage in California, disclosure records show.

  3. The Raw Story ‏ @RawStory:

    Keith Olbermann booted from Current TV effective immediately

  4. Ametia says:

    Scott Walker Recall Date Set
    March 30, 2012
    By Justin “Filthy Liberal Scum” Rosario

    Mark your calenders! June 5 will either be the day that Wisconsin stands up and shows the GOP that their corporate agenda is not welcome or the day that we find out that corporations can buy any election if they just pump enough money in.

  5. Ametia says:


  6. Ametia says:

    Current TV Fires Keith Olbermann |

    The New York Times’ Brian Stelter breaks the news that Current TV has let go Keith Olbermann, and will replace him starting tonight with Eliot Spitzer, denying Olbermann to give a send-off or special comment to his viewers. Spitzer, like Olbermann, also had experience at MSNBC, where he appeared as a guest anchor. Olbermann had been suspended by MSNBC for violating its rules on campaign contributions, an event that soured his relationship with the network, before his departure from MSNBC opened the door to his deal with Current. He was at one point a high-profile acquisition for the network, founded by former Vice President Al Gore to provide a more progressive take on the news. But his ratings fell and his relationship with Current quickly foundered.

    • Ametia says:

      Seriously, Paul “Eddie Munster” Ryan, Romney has skills, courage and integrity?

      You must be be referring to that pic of ole hard working Mitt & Ann:

  7. Ametia says:


  8. lovelyladypa ‏ @lovelyladypa:

    @skepticalbrotha @adept2u BREAKING: Federal court strikes down key provisions of Wisconsin anti-union law #wirecall

    • Ametia says:

      SINGLE PAYER, anyone?

      “KEYES: You don’t think the subsidies for low-income people are going to be helpful?

      CALDWELL: No, no. The worst thing you can do is give it to an insurance company. I want to make my point. All insurance companies are controlled in their particular state. If you have a hurricane come up the east coast, the first one that’s going to leave you when they gotta pay too many claims is an insurance company. Insurance companies are the absolute worst people to handle this kind of business. I trust the government more than insurance companies. If the government wants to put forth a policy where they will pay for everything and you won’t have to go through an insurance policy, that’d be a whole lot better.”


  9. rikyrah says:

    Romney Secretly Donated $10K To NOM

    Sam Stein reports at Huffington Post:

    When Romney eventually made his donation, he did so quietly, and through an unusual channel. Records filed by Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC with the Federal Election Commission did not include details of that $10,000 donation. Nor did NOM’s public 990 form. In fact, record of the payment was only uncovered Friday when the pro-gay rights Human Rights Campaign was sent a private IRS filing from NOM via a whistleblower. The Human Rights Campaign shared the filing with The Huffington Post. Asked for comment, an aide to Romney said that the donation was made through the Alabama chapter of the Free and Strong America PAC. State records confirm this. However, the 990 NOM filed lists the donation as having come from PO Box 79226 in Belmont, Massachusetts.

  10. Ametia says:

    The group, run by Ralph Reed, is known for its hardline Christian conservative stances. Wonder if Mitt Romney’s attending.

    Register Now for the Wisconsin Faith & Freedom Presidential Kick-Off
    March 27, 2012

    It is our distinct pleasure to invite you to the Wisconsin Faith & Freedom Presidential Kick-Off, sponsored by the Wisconsin Faith & Freedom Coalition, to be held at the Country Springs Hotel on Saturday, March 31st in Waukesha, WI. Come hear from CONFIRMED speakers Governor Mitt Romney, Senator Rick Santorum, and Speaker Newt Gingrich.

  11. Ametia says:

    Labor Pains
    Before Mitt Romney can tack to the middle, he’ll have to enlist in Scott Walker’s war against unions to win Wisconsin.

    by Beth Reinhard
    Updated: March 30, 2012 | 6:19 a.m.
    March 29, 2012 | 3:00 p.m.

    Mitt Romney should be good to go, ready to pivot toward the general election—and there would be no better place to start than Tuesday’s primary in Wisconsin. The state hasn’t voted for a Republican nominee since Ronald Reagan, but close elections in 2000 and 2004 branded it a battleground. Two years after President Obama solidly won the state with 56 percent of the vote, Republicans staged a comeback by winning the Governor’s Mansion, a Senate seat, and two House seats.

    In Wisconsin, moderates—and cheese-heads—rule.

    But there’s a problem. This purple, pleasant state has turned into a seething, smoldering hotbed over Gov. Scott Walker’s crackdown on public-sector unions and the subsequent backlash to recall him from office. Tens of thousands of state employees have descended on the Capitol to protest their loss of collective-bargaining rights. One million petition signatures and millions of dollars later, Walker faces a recall election, most likely in June.

    So, at a time when it makes sense for Romney to start reaching out to independents and Democrats with his jobs-first-and-foremost message, the vagaries of the primary calendar are forcing him to engage in a heated debate over labor rights.

    “No presidential candidate can come to this state and not address the collective-bargaining issue,” said Evan Zeppos, a Milwaukee-based Democratic consultant. “A lot of people here don’t even know there’s a presidential primary going on.”

  12. rikyrah says:

    Totally Called It
    By Zandar March 30th, 2012

    And it seems the unofficial and unconfirmed winner of the Ni-CLANG Sweepstakes is Rick Santorum, folks!

    Speaking to a group of voters in Janesville, Wisconsin on Wednesday, the candidate seemed to catch himself before using a word that sounds like “n*gger” to describe the president. (The original video of the speech is available here. The remarks in question take place at about 34:50.)

    “We know the candidate Barack Obama, what he was like – the anti-war government nig… America was a source for division around the world, that what we were doing was wrong,” Santorum said.

    “Oh, come on!” Santorum spokesman Hogan Gidley told Raw Story when asked for comment. “Give me a break. That’s unbelievable. What does it say about those that are running with this story that that’s where their mind goes. You know, I’m not going to dignify that with [a response].”

    “That is absolutely ridiculous.”

    Right. He meant to say “the anti-war government blah person.”

    It’s probably ridiculous. Santorum, speaking for 30 plus minutes, might have gotten tongue tied. The video’s inconclusive at best as far as I can tell. But you know what? It’s end of March, coming up on April. We’ve got seven months to go still and we’re reasonably close to having one of the major GOP candidates go there. Slick Rick here may have reasonable doubt in this instance. Sometime before November, it’s going to happen. Santorum wasn’t exactly singing the President’s praises in the speech.

    But hey, Santorum’s campaign and at times Santorum himself accused POTUS of promoting infanticide, promoting eugenics, of having radical Islamic policies and of being a bigot towards Santorum’s anti-gay bigot buddies. These are things Santorum and his people have gone on record of having said, so frankly dropping the n-word really can’t make him much more of an odious, self-righteous jagoff.

    Santorum crossed that line long ago.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:26 AM ET, 03/30/2012 TheWashingtonPost Romney-Ryan radicalism
    By Greg Sargent
    Let’s play connect the dots.

    * Recently, Paul Ryan introduced a budget that constitutes the GOP’s main offering in the great ideological argument over the country’s future. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, it would “likely produce the largest redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in modern U.S. history.” It would give the rich a huge tax cut, even as 62 percent of its spending cuts target low-income programs.

    * Yesterday, John Boehner described Ryan’s budget as a blueprint for the larger agenda that Republicans would enact if they seized more power in Washington.

    * Today, Paul Ryan endorsed Mitt Romney for president, arguing that he’s the best candidate to defeat Obama, which would give Republicans the power they need, as Boehner says, to enact the Ryan agenda writ large. And indeed, Romney has endorsed Ryan’s proposals, and his own plans are, in broad strokes, similar to Ryan’s.

    Romney and Ryan hold similarly radical economic worldviews. But neither of these two men is generally described as radical. The ideological makeup of politicians is often ascribed to them based on their tone and positions on social, not economic, issues. Jamelle Bouie:

    Romney wears a nice suit, doesn’t yell at people, and seems comfortable around liberals — but that doesn’t make him a moderate. If elected president, Romney would (along with every other Republican in Congress) make an unprecedented push to roll back the welfare state and transform government into a money train for the rich.
    Romney is likely to be granted the presumption of moderation by many national reporters and commentators the second he becomes the nominee. This will be partly because he will moderate his tone on contentious topics, and partly because Romney really doesn’t seem extreme on social issues. He plainly doesn’t see them as anything worth going to war about.

    But Romney really does seem to believe — sincerely and strongly — in a radical vision when it comes to the proper distribution of wealth, the priorites we should embrace in solving the country’s fiscal problems, and the rightful role of government and the safety net in guarding against the exesses of unfettered free market capitalism. Romney and Ryan share similar visions on these matters. And yet, because views on these issues rarely set the “radical” alarm bell off in reporters and commentators the way extreme social views or crazy Bachmannesque rants do, Romney will very likely escape that label, much as Ayn Rand admirer Ryan has been able to do.

  14. rikyrah says:

    By Ta-Nehisi Coates
    Mar 30 2012, 12:19 PM ET 230

    As noted below, the attack on the memory of Trayvon Martin began with the exposure of his twitter feed, proceeded apace to the selective posting of pictures, moved with great energy to the faking of pictures, and has now found its natural terminus in unbridled white supremacy:

    In addition to the Facebook messages, Klanklannon posted a list of usernames and passwords for Martin’s social media and email accounts as proof of his exploits. All of the passwords had been changed to racist slurs. (Gmail: “niggerniggernigger” Twitter: “coontrayvonnigger”)
    No one should be surprised by this. Necromancy never ends well.

    Among the many reasons I hoped Barack Obama would not weigh in on Martin’s death, was the sense that for racists–closeted and otherwise–it would represent an escalation. By making the obvious plain–that the president is black, and that the days of small town justice are at an end–I thought he would invite the full brunt of racist bile to be heaped, not upon the president, but upon the parents of Trayvon Martin. What I forgot was that racists need no reason to justify themselves. They are what they their actions say they are.

    I would not withhold the life of Trayvon Martin from scrutiny and investigation. When someone claims a vicious assault upon their person–as George Zimmerman has–it is only intelligent to investigate the relevant background of the alleged assailant. It certainly is relevant to ask what, precisely, Martin was suspended for. It surely is important to ask if Martin had a history of violence.Whether or not Martin had a criminal record, most certainly is pertinent.

    But what, precisely, is the relevance of wearing gold grills? What, specifically, is the pertinence of having once given an obscene gesture? Why, exactly, does it matter that Martin’s imagination sometimes ranged into profane thoughts of sex and violence? How does any of this help us understand his killing at the hands of by George Zimmerman?

    It does not–unless you believe that the fact that Martin once gave a middle finger to a camera somehow proves that he is the sort of person who would saunter up to a man who outweighs by nearly 100 pounds, summon the powers of Thor, deck the man with one-shot, and stove him against concrete. We do not draw such conclusions from most teenagers, or even most people. That those who see nothing wrong with labeling a black man as a “Food Stamp President,” would draw them in the case of young black boy cannot be dismissed as coincidental.

    The Daily Caller is published by Tucker Carlson. Tucker Carlson is a man who once informed us, on national television, that he’d assaulted a gay man for subjecting him to the sort of treatment which nearly all of women-kind experiences hourly. This is not the assumption of a violent handle, or the quotation of rap lyrics it is the admitted commission of actual violence. Moreover, it’s the kind of violence that’s routinely dismissed as pathological in black boys, as well as the kind that had it ever been committed by Trayvon Martin would immediately serve as irrefutable evidence that he deserved to slaughtered in the street.

    It’s worth discerning the subtle differences between the actions of The Daily Caller, Michelle Malkin and Stormfront. But it’s also worth seeing their actions as they are–points on the continuum of racism delineating the cloaked and covert from the naked and profane.

    It is cruelty to sneer at the unguarded thoughts of dead children. But it is the specific cruelty of racism that prevents so many from ever seeing Martin as a child.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Wisconsin sets recalls for Walker, GOP state senators; Republican majority at stake
    By Laura Conaway – Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:35 PM EDT.

    As expected, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board ordered recall elections for Governor Scott Walker, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and three Republican state Senators. The board also ordered a recall election for a fourth Republican state senator, Pam Galloway, but she resigned earlier this month. Depending on potential primaries, the elections will happen May 8 and June 5.

    Organizers had turned in an overwhelming number of signatures for recalling Walker and Kleefisch especially, and those signatures proved to be valid at a rate of more than 95 percent. From the Wisconsin State Journal:

    The board’s staff had said in a memo Thursday that there were five fake names on Walker recall petitions, but it turned out one of those they suggested striking — Fungky Van Den Elzen — was a real person. That means they found just four fake names out of the 931,053 submitted on the Walker petitions: Adolf Hitler, Mick E. Mous, Donald L. Duck, and I Love Scott Walker Thanks.

    That last name, I Love Scott Walker Thanks, sounds more like a protest of the recall than an attempt to fake a name for the sake of having him kicked out of office.


    It’s worth noting that Wisconsin Republicans have lost what used to be a solid majority in the state Senate. As of this month, they’re down to a 16-16 tie, with an empty seat and one Republican who sides with Democrat on union issues. If they tried to pass Walker’s union-stripping bill today, they would lose. And if they fail to defend the seats they hold that are under recall, they face the loss of their majority entirely.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Video- Comic Aziz Ansari : Obama ‘talking trash, cracking jokes’
    Posted on Friday, March 30, 2012, 6:45 am by Paddy

  17. Ametia says:

    Report: Obama Camp Calls For Romney Tax Returns
    By Lara Seligman

    Updated: March 30, 2012 | 10:24 a.m.
    March 30, 2012 | 7:34 a.m.

    President Obama’s re-election campaign is calling on Mitt Romney to release his tax returns dating back to the 1980s, according to The Wall Street Journal.

    Following a front-page Wall Street Journal article Thursday reporting that employees at Bain Capital, Romney’s former private-equity firm, were allowed to invest their retirement money in companies the firm acquired through a special share class, the Obama camp is seeking Romney’s old tax returns to see if they contain information about the investment arrangement.

    Reports indicate that the deal could have increased the value of certain investments, which may have helped swell Romney’s retirement account. The candidate’s IRA was valued at between $20.7 million and $101.6 million as of August, according to his financial disclosures.

  18. Ametia says:

    Has anyone seen The Hunger Games? I’m going to see it this weekend.

    Why Do Social Justice Nerds Love The Hunger Games? We Ask ‘Em

    The Hunger Games, the movie based on the young-adult sci-fi novel by Suzanne Collins, broke all kinds of box office records last weekend. And, as Jorge Rivas reported at earlier this week, it also gained some pretty unpleasant detractors: fans of the books who were offended that black actors were cast in the roles of, um, black characters. (Not everyone reads books closely.)

    In a way, it was to be expected. The cast of characters in the Hunger Games books are anything but whitewashed; racial categories don’t quite exist in Collins’ dystopian Panem (i.e. North America), but her treatment of race is still honest and nuanced. Some folks were bound to have problems with it.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Trayvon Martin: License to Kill
    A FoxNews article today begins with this provocative title:

    Taking Liberties: Arrested for reading the Bible?

    The title and the article give the intentional impression that Christian Fundamentalist Mark Mackey was arrested for simply reading the Christian bible.

    As if he was dragged from his home and thrown into prison for reading a religious book.

    As you might guess, there’s a bit more to it than that, for example Mackey wasn’t quietly reading the bible to himself at home, he was engaged in the obnoxious asshatery of “witnessing” to folks waiting in line in front of a California State DMV office. He was asked by both security and police to cease and desist, he refused and continued to annoy the hell out of people who had the choice of either listening to his unsolicited proselytizing or giving up their position in line (I suppose they also had the choice of punching him in the mouth repeatedly, which would have been my first impulse, but I digress).

    Despite Fox’s deliberately misleading and alarmist headline, Mackey was not arrested for “reading the bible,” he was arrested for being an irritating asshole.

    The editors at FoxNews know this, of course, that’s why they used the yellow journalism technique of casting the title of the article as a question. Arrested for being a Christian? Well, what do you think, poor persecuted Christians? Wink, wink. One has to wonder how the folks at Fox would have written this story if it had been a brown skinned man in a turban shouting Suras from the Quran.

    However, be that as it may, a rather large number of the faithful regard this arrest as just one more example of the ongoing bigotry against Christians in America, on par with being burned at the stake or thrown to the lions in the Coliseum. Commenters on Fox Nation lament this supposed “war on Christians” and rage against the abuse and bigotry that poor persecuted followers of Jesus have to endure every day as a repressed and harassed minority in America. You can read the story in much more detail for yourself, it’s been widely repeated on numerous Christian conservative websites and a video of the incident is, of course, on YouTube. With a little GoogleFu, You should have no trouble finding numerous examples.

    Now, here’s what I find interesting, if you read the various articles on those same sites, articles about this incident and the recent killing of a young black man in Sanford, Florida, and if you read the articles and comments under various faith blogs and the mainstream media reports of the aforementioned shooting you’ll notice a few things:

    1. There is no racism in America anymore, because a black man is president, Q.E.D. However, despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of American presidents have been openly Christian, including the current one, there is an ongoing American bias against Christians.

    2. A white man cannot harbor racist prejudice against people of color if his mother is Hispanic. However, a president whose mother was white and father was black clearly hates white people.

    3. A man who pursues another man lawfully minding his own business on a public street and then provokes a confrontation resulting in death, is not guilty of either murder nor manslaughter, but is, in fact, a patriot defending the constitutional freedoms of all Americans. However, an American citizen lawfully minding his own business on a public street who is confronted by an armed man has no right to either stand his ground, defend himself, or meet force with like force. He is, by simple nature of his appearance, a thug who deserves what he gets.

    4. Conservatives, gun owners, police, neighborhood watchers, and Christians should not be judged by a few extremists in their ranks. However, all black teenage males wearing hoodies may, in point of fact, be labeled thugs and criminals until proven otherwise.

    I suppose this form of doublethink isn’t particularly surprising, coming as it does from a group of people who seem to think that a country steeped in Christian tradition up to and including national icons, official mottos, symbols, phrases, traditions, oaths, federal holidays and composed of an overwhelming majority of Christians who have unashamedly declared this a Christian nation at the exclusion of other beliefs, and whose government, military, and law enforcement agencies are in fact composed almost entirely of Christians, is engaged in a war on Christians.


    A number of you wrote to ask my opinion of the Trayvon Martin shooting, or to ask why I had not already posted something – do I not care?

    Of course I care.

  20. Ametia says:

    U.S. Supreme Court
    Which Justices Dominated Oral Arguments on Insurance Mandate? Blog Tallies the Lines
    Posted Mar 30, 2012 6:22 AM CDT
    By Debra Cassens Weiss

    Conservative justices dominated the first half of oral arguments Tuesday on the health care law’s insurance mandate, accounting for 75 percent of the debate, while liberals dominated the second half, doing 85 percent of the talking, according to a blog analysis of lines in the transcript.

    And two justices spoke more than the others, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports. Overall, Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who spoke 226 lines, gets the “Big Talker Award,” the blog says. In second place is Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., speaking 197 lines. Justice Clarence Thomas stayed silent, as usual.

    The Law Blog counted swing voter Justice Anthony M. Kennedy as a conservative. He barely spoke in the second half of the arguments. But he did observe toward the end that uninsured young people “uniquely” affect costs in medical care “in a way that is not true in other industries.”

    “Does Justice Kennedy stand closer to that view, or to the view he expressed in his more loquacious first half?” the blog wonders.

  21. Santorum: Candidate Obama Was “the anti-war government nigg—the uh—…”

  22. Mitt Romney & Paul Ryan: That’s Amore

  23. rikyrah says:

    MSNBC: …. a new NBC News/Marist poll shows President Obama holding a sizable advantage over his Republican opposition in Wisconsin, which he carried in 2008 but where Republicans made big gains in the 2010 midterms.

    Obama leads Romney in Wisconsin among registered voters, 52 percent to 35 percent, with 13 percent undecided. And he edges Santorum, 51 percent to 38 percent, with 11 percent undecided….

    Benefitting Obama is growing optimism about the state of the economy (52 percent believe the worst is behind them), as well as a more negative perception of the Republican Party (48 percent say the Democratic Party does a better job in appealing to those who aren’t hard-core supporters, while just 32 percent say that about the GOP).

    What’s more, there’s a significant gender gap: Obama leads Romney among women by 25 points (55 percent to 30 percent) and men by 12 points (50 percent to 38 percent). The president’s job-approval rating in Wisconsin stands at 50 percent.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Obama 2012: Built to Broadcast
    POSTED: March 28, 1:55 PM ET | By Tim Dickinson

    Our email list had reached 13 million people. We had essentially created our own television network, only better, because we communicated directly with no filter to what would amount to about 20 percent of the total number of votes we would need to win.” — David Plouffe, The Audacity to Win

    When Obama 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe likened the campaign’s email list to a television network in his campaign memoir, it was a rough analogy. But for the revamped Obama 2012 campaign, the meaning is quite literal. The YouTube and social media revolution of the last four years has given the campaign the power to produce and disseminate powerful video content that it can broadcast to a highly targeted audience of millions, effectively for free.

    The choice example is the campaign’s 17 minute Hollywood-caliber propaganda piece The Road We’ve Traveled, which lays out president Obama’s accomplishments with all the polish (but none of the skepticism) of a Frontline documentary.

    The docuganda casts Obama in heroic terms, a lone man commanding the powers of the presidency to ward off a depression, rescue the auto industry, reform health care, and take out Osama bin Laden. The film is largely in bounds on these facts, but it casts the Obama presidency as a succession of victories — with nary a nod to the administration’s laundry list of unmet objectives (cap-and-trade climate regulation, immigration reform, union “card check” voting, etc.), or to the crushing setback of the 2010 mid-terms.

    The campaign paid top dollar to produce the film — reports are it cost $354,000 to make — but effectively nothing to put this epic short in front of an audience of nearly 2 million viewers and counting, per YouTube metrics. (By contrast, during the heat of the 2008 campaign season, when the campaign wanted to push out a similar infomercial, it had to buy a half-hour of network prime time TV.) The film continues to be shown as an organizing tool at the houseparties of campaign volunteers, and even at high dollar fundraisers. And it’s had enough of an impact, evidently, that Karl Rove felt compelled to thrash it in his column for the Wall Street Journal — “Three dismal years are spun into 17 minutes of fact-challenged campaign film.”

    The Road We’ve Traveled is remarkable for its glitz and directorial pedigree — the filmmaker is Oscar winner Davis Guggenheim, who directed Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. But the same media strategy is evident throughout the 2012 campaign. The folks in Chicago have spent next to nothing on television ads. Yet the campaign’s digital team — the biggest squad by far in Obama 2012’s massive headquarters in a downtown skyscraper — is quietly churning out nearly a video a day, designed to reengage Obama supporters, activate new volunteers, or persuade fence-sitting independents.

    The campaign doesn’t put out a blast to reporters with every video. Indeed, Obama 2012 sends out few press releases at all. The point is not to leverage traditional media outlets to amplify the campaign’s message. The point appears precisely to go around the mainstream media, using social networks and more blunt tools like segments of the campaign’s email list to bring unfiltered messages directly to key consituencies.

    Check out the campaign’s YouTube channel. There’s a new video from feminist Gloria Steinem talking up the president’s record on women’s issues with more than 45,000 views in three days. There’s a video from February of the president kicking off African Americans for Obama 2012, with more than 1.5 million views.

    Read more:

  25. rikyrah says:

    Released: March 29, 2012

    The Gender Gap: Three Decades Old, as Wide as Ever

    The gender gap in presidential politics is not new. Democratic candidates have gotten more support from women than men for more than 30 years. Even so, Barack Obama’s advantages among women voters over his GOP rivals are striking.

    In the Pew Research Center’s most recent national survey, conducted March 7-11, Obama led Mitt Romney by 20 points (58% to 38%) among women voters. It marked the second consecutive month that Obama held such a wide advantage over Romney among women (59% to 38% in February). In both February and March, Obama ran about even with Romney among men.

    In the March survey, Obama’s overall lead over Rick Santorum was 18 points. Fully 61% of women voters said they would favor Obama in a matchup with Santorum, compared with just 35% who backed the former Pennsylvania senator.

    The gender gap – the difference in support for a candidate among women and men – is about as wide today as it was at this point in the campaign four years ago. In March 2008, both Democratic candidates, Obama and Hillary Clinton, had narrower overall leads over John McCain than Obama has today. Obama ran about even with McCain among men, but he led by 14 points among women (53% to 39%). Clinton trailed among men, yet also led by 14 points among women.

    In November 2008, Obama defeated McCain by eight points (53% to 45%). While Obama essentially broke even with McCain among men (49% Obama, 48% McCain), he held a commanding 56% to 43% over McCain among women.

    The gender gap in 2008 – the seven-point difference between women and men in support for the Democratic candidate – was comparable to the gap in most elections since 1980. Even when Democratic candidates failed to garner a majority of the women’s vote – as in 1980, 1984 and 1988 – they still drew more support from women than from men.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Paul Ryan’s unbridled chutzpah on defense spending
    By Steve Benen – Fri Mar 30, 2012 8:47 AM EDT.

    The United States spends more on its military than any other nation on the planet by a large margin. Indeed, we spend nearly as much as the combined military budgets of all the world powers. Given the nation’s fiscal challenges, combined with the fact that we’ve already ended one major war and are winding down another, it’s not surprising that sensible voices believe it’s time to scale back the Pentagon budget.

    That includes, by the way, officials at the Pentagon. U.S. military leaders have proposed cuts of nearly a half-trillion dollars over the next decade, which defense officials and national security experts believe can be made without increasing the nation’s vulnerabilities or undermining our ability to fight if necessary. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, for example, has already heartily endorsed the budget cuts.

    With this in mind, it was rather striking to see Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the right-wing chairman of the House Budget Committee, suggest yesterday that U.S. military leaders are not to be trusted.

    We don’t think the generals are giving us their true advice,” Ryan said during a forum on the budget sponsored by the National Journal. “We don’t think the generals believe their budget is really the right budget.” […]

    He went on to say that while there were certainly inefficiencies that could be reduced in the Pentagon’s budget, fighting wars in the Middle East and a “dangerous world” necessitated keeping defense spending level.

    Ryan was specifically asked yesterday, “You don’t believe the generals?” The congressman replied, “What I believe is this budget does hollow out defense. I believe this budget goes beyond where we should go to keep people safe.”

    Ryan added that his budget plan, unlike the plan endorsed by U.S. military leaders, counts an “honest Pentagon budget.”

    Even for Ryan, this takes an enormous amount of chutzpah.

    Let’s unpack this a bit, because it’s important to understand how ridiculous it is.


    First, Ryan is ostensibly someone who’s eager to slash every possible public investment. Indeed, he believes spending has to be brutally cut to the bone to prevent some kind of looming “debt crisis,” And yet, given the chance to cut nearly a half-trillion in spending over the next decade, the right-wing Wisconsinite has suddenly discovered he disapproves of budget cuts after all. (Ryan wants to increase defense spending, even while cutting everything else.) If the cuts don’t hurt working families, he’s apparently not interested.

    Second, let’s not forget that the Pentagon wants these budget cuts. It’s not as if there’s a dispute between the White House and the brass, and Ryan is siding with the latter. Instead, Ryan is looking for budget cuts; the Pentagon is recommending some; and the Budget Committee chairman prefers to ignore the recommendations.

    Third, notice that Ryan is effectively accusing U.S. military leaders of lying to Congress about the resources necessary to keep the nation safe. I wonder what the reaction would be if a House Democrat did that.

    And finally, there’s the biggest, most jaw-dropping angle of them all: Paul Ryan, who has never served in the military a day in his life, believes he knows better than the U.S. military leadership what funding levels are needed to “keep people safe.”

    Amazing. Just amazing.

  27. rikyrah says:

    March 29, 2012 5:30 PM
    Saving General Ryan
    By Ed Kilgore

    Well, this item from The Hill’s Justin Sink would just make my day, if it weren’t so horrifying:

    House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) expressed skepticism Thursday that U.S. military leaders were being honest in their budget requests to Congress.

    “We don’t think the generals are giving us their true advice,” Ryan said during a forum on the budget sponsored by the National Journal. “We don’t think the generals believe their budget is really the right budget….

    He went on to say that while there were certainly inefficiencies that could be reduced in the Pentagon’s budget, fighting wars in the Middle East and a “dangerous world” necessitated keeping defense spending level.

    The comments were in response to a question from National Journal managing editor Kristin Roberts, who asked Ryan why the committee chose “to go against the advice of the generals” in rolling back $487 billion in proposed cuts to the Pentagon’s budget over the next decade.

    Wait, it gets even better with Roberts’ follow-up question:

    After Ryan’s initial remarks, Roberts noted that the budget was something that came from the Defense Department itself, not the Obama administration.

    You don’t believe the generals?” Roberts asked.

    “What I believe is this budget does hollow out defense,” Ryan responded. “I believe this budget goes beyond where we should go to keep people safe.”

    So this “genius” budgeter, whose party is always happy to defer to the generals when the generals say what they want to hear, is putting a couple of stars on his shoulder and dictating what the Pentagon needs to “keep people safe.” That’s particularly amazing since General Ryan is under fire from every direction for failing to offer a credible plan to reach his own arbitrary deficit reduction targets.

    I hope the deficit hawks who keep defending Ryan weigh in on this determination to cram more money down the Pentagon. Or maybe GOP leaders can save him from even further mockery by letting him off the hook for sticking to the philosophy of never cutting defense spending when there’s a single dollar left to wring out of the poor.

  28. rikyrah says:

    March 30, 2012 8:41 AM
    March of the Lemmings?
    By Ed Kilgore

    Before spending any more time bashing Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, let’s pause for a moment and gaze in wonder at the determination of House Republicans to identify themselves with this document. All but ten of them voted for it. They have zero bipartisan cover. They know for a fact that it will go nowhere in the Senate.

    Yet not only have they insisted on going on the record for this turkey, they are now going to pretend it was indeed enacted in the Senate, and go through a bizarre exercise in pretending to implement it, so that they can then pretend to have avoided the defense “sequesters” agreed to in last year’s debt limit agreement. Yes, it will have a real-life effect on the behavior of House appropriators in negotiations with the Senate late in the year, making another government shutdown very likely, but other than that, the whole thing is a petulant exercise in play-acting.


    David Rogers of Politico asks that question today, and sort of shrugs and says:

    This appears to reflect three forces. First is the relentless pressure on GOP leaders to tack to the right to appease tea party conservatives.
    Second is the entrenched power of Republican defense hawks, often reliable votes for Boehner on other issues and a bloc to which he is very responsive. The lament that the Pentagon must be protected from cuts reached the point in the Budget Committee markup last week that Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) began listing all the wars for which he felt America had been unprepared: He included “the War for Independence.”
    Third, as the debt problem has grown, the tone of the annual budget debate seems to have changed. Factions in both parties appear more likely to stake out extreme positions that have little bearing on political reality

    All in all, it appears House Republicans are so upset that they were backed into a bipartisan agreement last year (though it was basically an agreement not to agree, and to put into place a failsafe spending cut mechanism to punish them if they continued to fail to agree) that they want to put on a demonstration of what Congress would be like if there were no Democrats in it. Democrats should be very grateful.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Their Story is Just Falling Apart
    by BooMan
    Thu Mar 29th, 2012 at 11:31:46 PM EST

    FBI Special Agent Dave Couvertier in the Tampa field office and Department of Justice spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa in Washington spoke to the Los Angeles Times about their investigation of the Trayvon Martin case. They made it completely clear that their investigation is not focused on the Sanford police department. And if they’re running into problems with the department, they’re keeping a tight poker face.

    So there’s no federal investigation into the local police?
    Hinojosa: When the Justice Department investigates a whole police department, like we did in New Orleans or in L.A., that is a pattern of practice investigation — that’s something different. We are not doing that here.
    What happens if, in the course of your investigation, you uncover improprieties by local police or prosecutors?

    Couvertier: If something like that did come up, that would be addressed accordingly, either by state [investigators], federal, or both. But right now we are focused on the circumstances surrounding Trayvon’s death and his civil rights. The state attorney’s office is looking at the death and how everything was handled so they would be aware of any issues and address those accordingly.

    I think we’ve been witnessing an ongoing conspiracy and cover-up, and I think the entire investigation of the Trayvon Martin case has been compromised. I think false police reports were filed. I think witnesses were mishandled. I can’t imagine that the FBI can get the facts of this case without running up against false statements and unethical behavior by police officers and their higher-ups.

    That’s also true for the Florida state investigator. But I don’t think Roscoe P. Coltrane and Enos are going to be able to keep their stories straight.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Paul Ryan’s Conspiracy Theory
    Posted on 03/29/2012 at 6:00 pm by JM Ashby
    From the Derpartment of “you can’t make this shit up.”

    Tax-cut magician Paul Ryan is accusing the Joint Chiefs of Staff of being dishonest in their budget request, and the reason is –wait for it– they’re requesting less spending than expected!

    Under normal circumstances you would assume that less spending would be music to the ears of a spending-obsessed man like Paul Ryan, but not in this case. In this case, an agreement between the Joint Chiefs and President Obama, wherein they agree to less spending, must be some kind of conspiracy.

    House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., claimed Thursday that senior U.S. military officials and commanders were being dishonest in their budget requests to Congress.

    “We don’t believe the generals are giving us their true budget,” Ryan said at the National Journal Live Budget Policy summit, adding, “I think there’s a lot of budget smoke and mirrors in the Pentagon’s budget.” […]

    In his FY2013 budget, Ryan proposed dismantling the automatic sequestration of defense spending, replacing those cuts with unspecified savings from mandatory programs.

    It gets better.

    The spending levels being proposed by the Pentagon are the same levels previously agreed to, by both parties, under the Budget Control Act (the debt-ceiling deal).

    Now that the Republicans have officially abandoned the debt-ceiling framework and have, once again, voted to pass Paul Ryan’s Medicare-killing budget along party lines, they’re pretending that automatically-triggered spending cuts at the Pentagon were never agreed to, even though they were.

    By the way, I hear accusing your most senior commanders of lying and producing fraudulent budget requests is a great way to “support the troops.”

  31. rikyrah says:

    March 29, 2012
    Verrilli’s struggle
    Andrew Sullivan points to a delicious GQ article by former White House spokesman Reid Cherlin:

    The consensus seems to be that we should crap on Solicitor General Don Verrilli for struggling to defend the individual mandate….

    It would have been easy for Verrilli–or any of us–to explain single-payer health care. “Look,” we could have said, “the government is paying for everyone to have coverage.” End of story. But single-payer is not what our brilliant, world-leading political system gave us. What it gave us is essentially a halfsy–an extraordinarily confusing patchwork in which some novel legislative mechanisms are used to induce individuals, businesses, insurance companies, and states into doing things that add up to concrete good.

    Why did it go down that way? In part because lawmakers are essentially shortsighted, self-serving, and scared of their own shadow. But there’s a bigger problem: health care as a system is incredibly complicated, and also incredibly scary and off-putting for voters to think about–which is the reason most people never want to talk about it or learn about it in the first place.

    And which, of course, is why Obamacare has such a narrow political base; “Which is why,” notes Sullivan, “one possible end-result of all this would be a stronger argument for a simple, constitutional single-payer system.”

    It was old-school conservatives who once took the philosophical lead in warning of the bushwhacking law of unintended consequences. The contemporary crop may soon, and rather rudely, be reintroduced to the old wisdom.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 04:43 PM ET, 03/29/2012
    Obama’s approval is now right side up
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    For the first time since June, Barack Obama is right side up: his approval this week moved slightly higher than his disapproval on Pollster’s poll-of-the-polls trend line.

    Indeed, Obama’s current 47.7% approval rate is almost a two-year high. He briefly reached as high as 48.8% last January, but never matched that during the bin Laden rally last spring. Before that, you have to go back to February 2010 to find him up to 48%. Other calculations yield similar results, such as the polling average at Real Clear Politics, which also has Obama at 47.7 but had him a bit higher earlier this month.

    The current rally is now about six months old. It began after Obama reached his all-time low on the Pollster trend line in the first week of September, hitting 42.6%. It’s maybe worth noting that there are no specific events associated with the rally. Presumably, the president is being helped by an improving economy. It’s certainly possible that his shift to talking more about jobs since September — or, perhaps, his shift away from talking about federal budget deficits — has helped.

    That suggests the president will continue to grow slowly more popular as long as the basic news environment remains the same — continued moderate-but-real economic recovery, which was reflected in today’s unemployment, GDP, and income numbers.

    It’s still too early for polling to be very meaningful, but to the extent that any of it is worth paying attention to, I would still recommend the watching the president’s approval numbers and basically nothing else. In particular, I wouldn’t pay any attention at all to Mitt Romney’s current polling doldrums. Jamelle Bouie reminds us today that Bill Clinton had similarly lackluster numbers at this point in 1992, but once he moved closer to his convention, he rapidly improved, and it turned out that his primary-stage weaknesses predicted nothing at all. Similarly, Romney’s current weakness is going to depress his totals in head-to-head polling trial heats. I’m as big a political junkie as there is, but I’m almost entirely ignoring those right now.

    The best polling hint about where the election is at right now can be found in Barack Obama’s approval numbers. And while they’re a long way from “sure thing,” it’s certainly good news for the president that he’s finally emerged from months of being upside down in those polls

  33. rikyrah says:

    George Zimmerman lost job as party security guard for being too aggressive, ex-co-worker says
    Zimmerman at center of firestorm for fatally shooting unarmed teen Trayvon Martin last month

    George Zimmerman was fired from his job as an under-the-table security guard for “being too aggressive,” a former co-worker told the Daily News.

    Zimmerman, at the center of a firestorm for shooting an unarmed black teenager a month ago, worked for two different agencies providing security to illegal house parties between 2001 and 2005, the former co-worker said.

    Usually he was just a cool guy. He liked to drink and hang with the women like the rest of us,” he said. “But it was like Jekyll and Hyde. When the dude snapped, he snapped.”

    The source said Zimmerman, who made between $50 and $100 a night, was let go in 2005.

    “He had a temper and he became a liability,” the man said. “One time this woman was acting a little out of control. She was drunk. George lost his cool and totally overreacted,” he said. “It was weird, because he was such a cool guy, but he got all nuts. He picked her up and threw her. It was pure rage. She twisted her ankle. Everyone was flipping out.”

    The year 2005 was a bad one for Zimmerman: he was arrested for fighting with a cop trying to arrest his friend for underage drinking, and he and his ex-fiancée took out protective orders against each other.

    Read more:

  34. rikyrah says:

    Rep. Frank: Romney ‘unburdened by any commitment to any principle whatsoever’
    By Justin Sink – 03/29/12 05:09 PM ET

    Rep. Barney Frank (R-Mass.) blasted GOP front-runner Mitt Romney in no uncertain terms Thursday, saying his former governor was “a man totally devoid of any commitment to any principle except his own advancement.”

    The Massachusetts lawmaker blasted the Republican presidential hopeful as politically opportunistic and predicted that his shifts on major policy issues were likely why Republicans had been wary of fully embracing his candidacy.

    “Usually, when a politician shifts position to a certain group, they don’t mind, people are usually tolerant of people who flop toward them,” Frank said on MSNBC. “But Mitt Romney has been so obvious in his absolute lack of principle that even the people who he temporarily says ‘I agree with you’ are not reassured because they understand when the wind blows he will go.”

  35. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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