Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread

3 Chics Giving You The Best That We Got!

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90 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread

    • Ametia says:

      Your loving caring GOP in action, folks!

      Niki Haley = “Women don’t care about contraception.”

      LiL Ricky Santorum= I don’t care ’bout helping BLAH people”

      His Mittness Romney= “I like firing people.”

  1. Ametia says:

    I see Little Eddie Ryan’s auditioning for that VP slot tonight.

  2. Ametia says:

    I see you, Haley Michelle & Jay. Two lil cutie patuties!

  3. Ametia says:

    Go sit YOUR ASS DOWN, Little Ricky. We know you don’t like BLAH people.

  4. Ametia says:

    This video can’t be posted enough. LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE MITTENS

  5. Ametia says:


    The American Energy Alliance, a Big Oil front group, has launched a false ad in battleground states to mislead Americans about the President’s all-of-the-above energy strategy. The ad falsely claims that President Obama wants to raise the price of gas.

    The outrageous claim is representative of Big Oil’s political interests, not the truth. Led by a former lobbyist for the secretive billionaire Koch brothers, the American Energy Alliance (AEA) is dedicated to pushing the oil industry’s agenda and attacking President Obama because his policies conflict with their interests.

    President Obama is working to end the $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies that oil companies receive every year. But AEA declared such a move to be “discriminatory” and “outright hostil[e]” to the oil industry, despite the fact that big oil companies saw record profits last year while producing less oil.

    The Obama administration has collaborated with automakers including GM, Chrysler, and Ford, who agreed to new fuel economy standards that will nearly double the efficiency of new cars and light trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. AEA called this “government intervention at its worst” and declared that “auto companies should be ashamed of themselves” for helping create and signing on to the agreement that is moving us away from dependence on oil

  6. Ametia says:

    Mitt Romney will win the Republican presidential primary in the District of Columbia, CNN projects.

    The former Massachusetts governor will take all of the 16 delegates that were at stake Tuesday in D.C.’s winner-take-all contest.

    Earlier Tuesday night, CNN projected that Romney would win in Maryland and take the majority of that state’s 37 delegates, which are awarded proportionally.

    The wins put Romney past the halfway mark to the 1,144 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. Romney holds a wide delegate lead over the other major GOP presidential candidates, according to CNN estimates.

    The polls close in Wisconsin, Tuesday’s third contest, at 9 p.m. ET.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s Gender Advantage: a Closer Look
    By Ronald Brownstein
    April 3, 2012 | 12:12 PM

    Heads turned yesterday at the size of the advantage among women for President Obama in new Gallup/USA Today national and swing state polling. A closer look at the results shows that Obama’s gender gap is concentrated among groups that have favored him in the past, which could make it tougher for Mitt Romney to overcome his advantage.

    Gallup released two surveys. One was a national poll, which showed Obama leading Romney, the presumptive GOP nominee, by 49 percent to 45 percent among registered voters. In a second poll, Obama led Romney by 51 percent to 42 percent among registered voters in 12 key swing states.

    In both polls, Obama and Romney ran about even about men. The president’s advantage was driven almost entirely by women, who provided him a resounding double-digit advantage in both surveys. But a closer look showed women also dividing along lines familiar from recent elections.

    In each survey, Obama ran no better than about even among white women without a college education-the so-called waitress moms. In the swing-state poll, they split 44 percent for Obama and 43 percent for Romney. The national poll showed Romney winning 60 percent of them, compared to just 30 percent for Obama. That exaggerated margin is probably a statistical blip, but the direction is consistent with the 2008 results, in which Obama carried only 41 percent of non-college white women.
    In both surveys, however, Obama has opened big advantages among white women with at least a four-year degree. Those women prefer him by a solid 54 percent to 42 percent margin in the swing state survey, and by a crushing 66 percent to 30 percent in the national poll. Again, while that margin is probably a statistical blip, the direction is consistent with other surveys and the 2008 result in which Obama carried 52 percent of those college-educated white women.

    These college-educated white women tend to be more economically optimistic and more open to activist government than their blue-collar counterparts. But importantly, the upscale white women are also usually more liberal on social issues. Which means it’s probably not a surprise that they have moved sharply toward Obama after the GOP presidential candidates spent weeks pledging to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood and insisting that employers should be free not to fund contraception in company health care plans if it offends their moral beliefs. In a recent United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, a plurality of non-college white women opposed Obama’s compromise requiring religiously-affiliated employers to provide such coverage, while fully 60 percent of college-plus white women backed it.

    The waitress moms-non-college white women-have voted mostly Republican in each of the past six presidential races except for 1996, when Bill Clinton’s “tools for parents” agenda attracted many of them. Given their economic strain, it would hardly be surprising if they continued tilting Republican in 2012. But the college-educated white women have voted mostly Democratic in four of the past five elections (and split almost exactly in half in the other.)

    These early poll results underscore the challenge Romney will face in dislodging Obama’s hold on those white-collar women voters after the primary campaign’s sharp turn right on contraception-related issues-a subject that had not been seriously debated in American politics for over four decades. In turn, those women could prove critical to Obama’s hopes of retaining well-educated swing states that have grown central to the Democratic Electoral map, including Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina and Colorado.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 02:23 PM ET, 04/03/2012
    The three political objectives of Obama’s speech
    By Greg Sargent

    President Obama’s speech today attacking Paul Ryan’s budget seemed designed to accomplish three key political objectives. They added up to a broad election-year indictment of the Ryan-Romney vision, and staked out his offering in a big ideological argument that will determine the outcome of the 2012 elections.

    1) Obama cast the Romney-Ryan-GOP approach as not only radical and extreme, but as a proven failure. It’s likely Mitt Romney will easily clear the basic competence threshold of voters; his abilities and leadership qualities will likely be more established than John McCain’s in 2008. So a great deal will ride on whether Obama can persuade voters that the Ryan-Romney policy/ideological approach has already been tried and has been a miserable failure.

    Obama offered his most extensive effort to do this of the cycle. He noted that tax cuts for the rich under Bush were supposed to produce massive job growth, but didn’t; that trickle down economics was supposed to lead to broader prosperity, but didn’t; and that cutting government regulations can have actual consequences, such as dirtier air and water and less worker safety, and can lead to greater risk of financial disaster. “We tried their approach on a massive scale,” Obama said. “The results of their experiment are there for all to see.”

    2) Obama defended government activism as not just morally right, but as a way to faciliate economic growth. Obama has long defended government’s role in combatting inequality, preserving the safety net, and investing in the country’s future. But today he made perhaps his lengthiest case yet that such government activism is necessary to spur economic growth, too. It’s a case he hasn’t made as effectively in the past, but it will be crucial in rebutting GOP claims that liberal governance is to blame for our economic travails.

    He buttressed this argument with allusions to a string of accomplishments by Republican presidents, including Dwight Eisenhower’s interstate highway system and investmentments in scientific research, and other more recent achievements. “What leaders in both parties have traditionally understood is that these investments aren’t part of some scheme to redistribute wealth from one group to another,” Obama said. “These investments benefit us all. They contribute to genuine, durable economic growth.”

    The message: In opposing public investments on things like infrastructure and education, today’s GOP leaders are departing from longtime bipartisan consensus about the desirability of collective action to build our economy and lift the country.

    3) Obama framed the choice as one over who sacrifices to fix the deficit. Majorities of Americans favor higher taxes on the rich, but it’s unclear how much this actually motivates voters. Obama needs to vividly spell out to the American people that the push for higher taxes on the wealthy is at bottom about who will do the sacrificing to fix the country’s fiscal problems. If the wealthy don’t sacrifice a bit more, or if we give the rich still more tax cuts, the elderly and beneficiaries of government services will have to do all the sacrificing.

  9. rikyrah says:

    ‘Let’s just step back for a second and look at what $150,000 pays for’
    Posted by Ezra Klein at 05:29 PM ET, 04/03/2012

    Here’s a riff from Obama’s budget speech today that I predict you’re going to hear quite often over the next year:

    Meanwhile, these proposed tax breaks would come on top of more than a trillion dollars in tax giveaways for people making more than $250,000 a year. That’s an average of at least $150,000 for every millionaire in this country — $150,000. Let’s just step back for a second and look at what $150,000 pays for:

    A year’s worth of prescription drug coverage for a senior citizen. Plus a new school computer lab. Plus a year of medical care for a returning veteran. Plus a medical research grant for a chronic disease. Plus a year’s salary for a firefighter or police officer. Plus a tax credit to make a year of college more affordable. Plus a year’s worth of financial aid. One hundred fifty thousand dollars could pay for all of these things combined — investments in education and research that are essential to economic growth that benefits all of us. For $150,000, that would be going to each millionaire and billionaire in this country. This budget says we’d be better off as a country if that’s how we spend it.

    This will, I think, prove one of the crucial arguments of the election. If Obama can convince the electorate that taxes go to fund services they actually care about, and the Republicans are unwisely committed to gutting those services in order to cut taxes on the richest Americans, then he’s likely to win. If Mitt Romney is able to persuade them that taxes are mostly wasted, and that spending should be gutted to pay for large tax cuts, then he’s likely to win.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Found this over at The Obama Diary:

    Liberal Librarian
    April 3, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Ok, I’ve been thinking for the past few hours, and I think I’ve nailed down what made PBO’s speech today most effective: mockery. The tone in his voice was impossible to miss. Yes, there was fire. Yes, there was concern. But the dripping mockery with which he painted the GOP turned them from being “serious” participants in the national debate to a bunch of clowns doing the bidding of their feudal masters. He’s no longer hiding his condescension of the GOP’s “ideas”. And he’s also no longer hiding his distaste for what our Fourth Estate has become. He’s telling the press to do it’s damned job, which is to report and inform, not to play he-said-she-said games. It’s hard to take any group seriously when it’s being mocked, and when the mockery strikes a chord with the public. Today we saw the roll-out of one of his strategies: make the GOP seem so ridiculous that most people won’t be able to take them seriously.

  11. rikyrah says:

    President Obama to introduce ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ on TV
    April 3, 2012 | 12:42 pm

    President Obama will introduce a new restoration of the 1962 courtroom drama “To Kill a Mockingbird” on April 7 on the USA Network.

    Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee, “To Kill a Mockingbird” tells the story of white Southern lawyer Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck), who defends a black man accused of rape, Tom Robinson (Brock Peters).

    The airing on USA marks the first national broadcast of the movie since it was digitally remastered and restored by Universal Pictures and the American Film Institute in conjunction with Universal’s centennial this year.

    “I’m deeply honored that President Obama will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by introducing it to a national audience,” Lee said in a statement. “I believe it remains the best translation of a book to film ever made, and I’m proud to know that Gregory Peck’s portrayal of Atticus Finch lives on — in a world that needs him now more than ever.”

    USA is broadcasting “To Kill a Mockingbird” as part of its “Characters Unite” public-service campaign, a bid to combat discrimination through on-air programming, digital content and events.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Romney on Immigration: Etching a New Sketch
    By Joe Klein | @JoeKleinTIME | April 3, 2012

    According to The Note, here’s what Mitt Romney had to say about immigration on Monday:

    “This has always been a priority for the president he chooses to do nothing about,” Romney said. “Let the immigrant community not forget that while he uses this as a political weapon, he has not taken responsibility for fixing the problems we have.”

    This is hilarious on several grounds:

    1. Obama has been blocked from enacting immigration reform by the Republican Party. Romney has taken the most extreme position possible against reform, including opposition to Newt Gingrich’s proposal to exempt from deportation illegals who’ve been living in the U.S. for a long time.

    2. The Republican Party, and Romney, even oppose the Dream Act, which would give citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants who join the military or graduate from college.

    3. Even though he is loath to admit it, Obama has been extremely successful in monitoring the southern border and deporting people who’ve attempted to cross illegally.

    4. As a result of Obama’s crackdown, and the poor economy, illegal immigration has been dropping steadily over the past three years.

    5. Latino voters know that Romney’s draconian and silly position on immigration–his utter refusal to discuss what to do about the 11 or so millions of immigrants who are here illegally–was pure politics, a squalid attempt to pander to the nativist base of his party. That is why he is rocking along with about 14% support from Latinos in the polls. That is why this is one sketchy sketch he won’t be able to unetch.

    Read more:

  13. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 03:47 PM ET, 04/03/2012
    Obama brings facts to attack Romney and Ryan
    By James Downie

    “This is not conjecture. I am not exaggerating,” President Obama declared in a speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors Tuesday afternoon. “These are facts.” Those lines sum up what was best about a strong speech that (along with a Romney win tonight in Wisconsin) can be seen as kicking off the general election phase of the presidential race. The president peppered his speech with facts – a few examples:

    [R]esearch has shown that countries with less inequality tend to have stronger and steadier economic growth over the long run….

    The income of the top 1 percent has grown by more than 275 percent over the last few decades to an average of $1.3 million a year. But prosperity sure didn’t trickle down. Instead, during the last decade we had the slowest job growth in half a century. And the typical American family actually saw their incomes fall by about 6 percent even as the economy was growing….

    In fact, that renowned liberal Newt Gingrich first called the original version of the [Ryan] budget “radical” and said that it would contribute to “right-wing social engineering.”…

    If this budget became law, by the middle of the century, funding for [domestic discretionary spending] would have to be cut by about 95 percent….

    There is no way to get even close to $4.6 trillion in savings without dramatically reducing all kinds of tax breaks that go to middle-class families: tax breaks for health care, tax breaks for retirement, tax breaks for homeownership.

    With these points and many others, the president made the case that Ryan’s preference for tax cutting and smaller government has already failed as a catch-all solution to economic growth. And in the question and answer session, he again repeated three things every commentator needs to remember when talking about bipartisanship in Washington: Cap-and-trade was a conservative idea, the individual mandate was also a conservative idea, and not one Republican candidate would be in favor of a debt deal that had a revenues-cuts ratio of ten to one. To repeat the president’s point, these aren’t liberal interpretations; they’re the truth.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Some of Christie’s biggest bills match model legislation from D.C. group called ALEC
    Published: Sunday, April 01, 2012, 6:00 AM
    Updated: Tuesday, April 03, 2012, 5:25 PM

    Let’s say you’re a state lawmaker, passionate about charter schools, and you want to turn this passion into laws that create social change. What you need are bills. And you want them fast — ready-made, just add water, written in language that can withstand partisan debate and legal scrutiny.

    There is a place that has just what you want.

    It’s called the American Legislative Exchange Council, a little-known conservative group headquartered in Washington, D.C., and funded by some of the biggest corporations in the United States — most with a business interest in state legislation.

    ALEC has quietly made its mark on the political landscape by providing state governments with mock-up bills that academic and political experts say are, for the most part, tailored to fit a conservative agenda. In recent years, states — particularly those with new Republican governors and legislatures — have been flooded with ALEC’s model bills. Nearly 1,000 of them are introduced every year, and roughly one-fifth of those become law, according to ALEC’s own count. ALEC’s bills are especially attractive because they are written so they can virtually be copied and pasted onto legislative proposals across the land.

    For lawmakers, it can be an irresistible service.

    “The bottom line is what’s important. The bottom line is: ‘Get me a bill. I want the bill. Get me a bill that can do what you’re talking about,’” said Rutgers University professor Alan Rosenthal, an expert on state legislatures. “And ALEC can give them a bill.”

    A Star-Ledger analysis of hundreds of documents shows that ALEC bills are surfacing in New Jersey, where Republican Gov. Chris Christie is trying to remake the state, frequently against the wishes of a Democrat-controlled Legislature.

  15. Ametia says:

    Early exit polls out of Wisconsin show familiar patterns for Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum as the Republican nominating contest winds through the District of Columbia, Maryland and Wisconsin today.

    As in previous contests, Romney is doing better among the Wisconsin’s higher-earners and Santorum with its lower-income voters, according to those who responded to poll-takers.

    Santorum is more popular in Wisconsin’s rural areas and Romney in urban areas, according to the polls. Polls close in D.C. and Maryland at 8 p.m. ET and in Wisconsin at 9 p.m. ET., and 95 delegates are at stake.

    Watch CNN’s coverage live tonight and follow real-time results on, on CNN’s apps and on CNN’s mobile website. Follow CNN Politics on Facebook and on Twitter at #CNNElections.

  16. Ametia says:

    Help save the Violence Against Women Act

    The latest attack on women is over the Violence Against Women Act.

    The last time this program was reauthorized, it passed nearly unanimously through the House and Senate–but incredibly, the all-male Republican block on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted down the bill.

    That’s right: Republicans are now standing in the way of reauthorizing an incredibly popular and successful program that has reduced domestic violence rates by 58% since it was first passed in 1994.

    Tell Republican leadership to stop playing politics with women’s lives and pass the Violence Against Women Act now!

  17. Ametia says:

    April 3, 2012
    In Controversial Decision, Supreme Court Replaces Annual Physicals with Strip Searches

    Major Expansion of Police Officers’ Role

    WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – In a stunning decision on the future of healthcare in America, the Supreme Court decided today that annual physicals were unconstitutional and should be replaced by random strip searches conducted by the nation’s police.

    The decision, which appeared to expand the role of the police to include such duties as performing breast and prostate exams, took many in both the healthcare and law enforcement communities by surprise.

    Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, “While the Constitution makes no provisions for healthcare, it explicitly defends the people’s right to form militias; clearly, the Founders believed that if anyone should be looking up our asses it shouldn’t be a doctor, but someone with a gun.”

    By replacing annual checkups with random strip searches, the Court raised worries in the healthcare community that patients would not get the care they need, but those concerns were brushed aside by Justice Samuel Alito.

    “Ultimately, the responsibility to secure adequate medical attention falls to the citizen,” he said. “When a policeman is searching his body cavities, for example, it’s up to the citizen to say, ‘There’s a mole I’d like you to look at.’”

    Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that he was personally ready for a random strip search/exam at any moment, adding, “I’ve got nothing on under this robe.” Get a free subscription to the Borowitz Report here.

  18. Ametia says:

    Hmmmm, must be the big, bad, FBI raining down on Sanford. So the PO Po’s offering up ole Georgie Porgie to take the heat off of them? The FBI had better investigate the Sanford Police too. I wouldn’t trust anyone in that department, after the shitty, filthy way they handled Trayvon Martin’s murder. Tagging him a John Doe for 3 fucking days, knowing Trayvon had a cell phone and NEVER CALLED HIS PARENTS. FUCK THEM!

  19. Ametia says:

    George Zimmerman ready to surrender, if charged

    George Zimmerman would come out of hiding, and turn himself in to police if he’s charged, says his lawyer. Special prosecutor Angela Corey says she will decide whether to charge George Zimmerman “soon.”
    By Daniel Trotta, Reuters / April 3, 2012

    Sanford, Fla.

    Geogre Zimmerman would surrender to authorities if he is charged in the Florida shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, his attorney said on Monday, adding he was preparing for trial in the case that has captivated the US public.

    “If he’s charged, he will be arrested and he will turn himself in,” attorney Craig Sonner told Reuters in a telephone interview. “However it goes, he’s not hiding from the authorities. If he is asked, he will turn himself in. There’s not going to be a manhunt or anything like that.”

    Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, fatally shot Martin on the night of Feb. 26, saying he had acted in self-defense. Police released him without charge and said there was no evidence to contradict Zimmerman’s story that he was attacked by Martin, 17.

    • rikyrah says:

      this is fierce.

      thank you for sharing this.

    • Very powerful! Fierce!

      Black people don’t bother anyone. People fk with us. We suffer a minefield of oppression every damn day we breathe air. Our kids can’t walk down the street without being judged as “up to no good”. I’m fking tired of it. We’re not going to put up with this ish any longer!

      • Ametia says:

        He nailed it about Zimmerman too. If this mofo gets arrested, he’s taking it for the collective Sanford Police Department, because these fuckers COVERED up his murdering Trayvon Martin.

        The entire Sanford Police Department need to collect their white hooded robes and GTFO of there!

      • Every policeman that had a hand in this cover up need to be charged and sent to jail.

  20. rikyrah says:

    April 03, 2012 12:43 PM

    Rick the Dope Fiend and Mitt The Alpha Dog
    By Ed Kilgore

    I know a lot of readers really dislike Politico as the embodiment of everything they hate about the MSM and Beltway Culture generally. I think of it much as I used to think of TV network news: it’s flawed but essential, and really just part of the political landscape, reflecting both the MSM’s and Washington’s distinctive strengths and weaknesses.

    I say all this as prelude to the warning that Politico’s coverage for the very immediate future may be significantly distorted by its determination to sell lots of virtual copies of the campaign e-book penned by Mike Allen and Evan Thomas, Inside the Circus. This is the second of a planned four-part series. The first e-book, published in November, The Right Fights Back, did not seem to make much of a splash. It appears Politico wants to make sure that doesn’t happen again. And so some of the more visceral images contained in the new book are getting a lot of play.

    Exhibit A, coming to a newspaper, web site, or water cooler near you, is the tableau of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, jacked up on painkillers, lustily singing “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” in a New Hampshire men’s room just prior to a televised candidate debate. This appears to be Allen and Thomas’ central parable for the entire Perry campaign, the heavily-funded can’t-miss candidacy that allegedly ran aground because the governor came across as Bobo the Simpleminded during debates (I’d be more impressed if Allen and Thomas could specifically show the drugs convinced Perry to re-embrace college tuition benefits for the children of undocumented workers, which hurt Perry as much as any goofiness).

    But evocative as the Perry story may be (and the underlying claim of heavy drug use by the candidate is, of course, being vehemently denied by his staff), I’m personally even more haunted by a Romney vignette that Politico is promoting today. At the end of a long, murky excerpt about the debates within Camp Romney about the candidate’s personality, there suddenly appears this alarming set of images:

  21. rikyrah says:

    6 Reasons the Koch Brothers Had a Very Bad Week
    An FBI investigation, a new documentary, and a negative court ruling: here’s a look inside the Kochs’ worst week in a while.

    Were there a way for a few billion clams to wipe a week off the calendar, one imagines that Charles and David Koch, the multibillionaire principals of Koch Industries, would like to see the final week of March 2012 vaporized, at least in the public mind. For the Kochs, it was a week of bad news: a new documentary about their political activity and corporate negligence was making a splash — on the same day a story broke announcing an FBI investigation of two Wisconsin groups tied to Americans for Prosperity, the political ground organization they founded and fund. (Full disclosure: AlterNet is a supporter of the documentary, Koch Brothers Exposed, and I appear in the film.)

    Things got even worse the next day, Friday, March 30, when the billionaire brothers learned that a federal court handed down a decision that may ultimately require certain non-profit groups, such as Americans for Prosperity, to reveal their full donor list, and the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, who wrote a devastating profile of the brothers last year, reported on the Kochs’ involvement in a barrage of anti-Obama ads sponsored by a tax-exempt non-profit called the American Energy Alliance, which may also now be required to reveal its donor list.

    On the very same day, another federal court struck down portions of Wisconsin’s controversial law that stripped collective bargaining rights from most of the state’s public employees — a law championed by Americans for Prosperity, and rammed through the state legislature a year ago by the AFP-supported Gov. Scott Walker. Here, we take a closer look at the Kochs’ very bad week.

  22. Ametia says:


    ROMNEY: If you’re unfortunate enough to get a very serious condition and you have the insurance most people have. You pay the deductible and then it’s free! And so, you’ll go to a doctor and a hospital. You’d never think of asking about how much it’s going to cost because you don’t pay the bill — the insurance company does. In other countries like Switzerland, they have the patient pay 20 percent of the bill for elective surgeries and of course if it’s an emergency they don’t. But that gives you the chance to shop around….I’m also not naive enough to think that there would be a heck of a lot of problems that would be better run if we got the government out and turned back to the free market.

  23. Ametia says:

    Tornadoes were spotted in the Dallas-Forth Worth, area, prompting the National Weather Service to issue tornado emergencies.

    Video from CNN affiliate WFAA shows truck trailers being lifted and tossed like toys. Aerial footage also shows damage to homes; a Tarrant County official confirmed damage in the city of Arlington.

    See the dramatic video and follow coverage on, CNN’s mobile apps and on CNN TV.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 06:50 AM PDT.

    Mitt Romney tries to self-deport everything he’s ever said about immigration reform

    Now Mitt Romney blames President Obama for Republican obstruction on immigration reform:

    “This has always been a priority for the President he chooses to do nothing about,” Romney said. “Let the immigrant community not forget that, while he uses this as a political weapon, he has not taken responsibility for fixing the problems we have.”

    Sure … it’s President Obama’s fault that Republicans have blocked comprehensive immigration reform every single time it’s come up during the last decade. It’s Obama’s fault that Mitt Romney’s Republican Party won’t even support the DREAM Act. It’s got nothing to do with Republican extremism at all. Clearly, if you want to see immigration reform, you should trust Mitt Romney and a Republican Congress to get the job done:

    “That is something that I will not just talk about in this campaign. This will be a priority of mine if I become president to make sure we finally reform our immigration laws step by step, secure the border, improve our legal immigration system, so we can keep people here and welcome people here who will make America a stronger nation,” he said.

    I guess this is exactly what Romney’s campaign was talking about when it said Romney would try to Etch-A-Sketch his primary positions away.
    Just a few months ago, he was staking out such a hardline position on immigration that even Rick Perry said he “didn’t have a heart.” And when Newt Gingrich said he didn’t want to deport otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants who had been here for a quarter-century, Romney thought it was a golden opportunity to attack Newt for being too pro-immigrant. Then, just to outdo himself, Romney not only said he favored an immigration policy that would lead to “self-deportation,” he said Arizona’s “Paper’s Please” law was a model for the nation.

    But now Romney wants to win over a different set of voters, so he says the he’s the pro-immigrant candidate. He says that it’s Democrats who’ve been blocking immigration reform. He says that he wants an immigration policy designed to “keep people here.”

    It’s an amazing reversal, even by Romney standards. And the most amazing thing of all is that he expects people to believe what he says.


  25. rikyrah says:

    Paul Ryan’s response to the President’s bitchslap of him for a second time:

    Following Obama’s speech Tuesday afternoon, Paul Ryan released the following statement on the House Budget Committee’s website:

    “History will not be kind to a President who, when it came time to confront our generation’s defining challenge, chose to duck and run. The President refuses to take responsibility for the economy and refuses to offer a credible plan to address the most predictable economic crisis in our history. Instead, he has chosen tired and cynical political attacks as he focuses on his own re-election.

    “The President has offered four budgets during his four years in the White House – each committed to funding ever-higher government spending by taking more from hardworking Americans and adding to a crushing burden of debt. His failed agenda is stifling opportunity and hope for the next generation.

    “Like his reckless budgets, today’s speech by President Obama is as revealing as it is disappointing: While others lead by offering real solutions, he has chosen to distort the truth and divide Americans in order to distract from his failed record. His empty promises are quickly becoming broken promises – and the American people will hold him accountable for this violation of their trust.”

  26. rikyrah says:

    Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 08:22 AM PDT.

    Mitt Romney pretends he doesn’t understand the health care system

    Disingenuous much? Here’s Mitt Romney, pretending like he doesn’t understand how the health care market works so he can sound like a real conservative.

    ROMNEY: If you’re unfortunate enough to get a very serious condition and you have the insurance most people have. You pay the deductible and then it’s free! And so, you’ll go to a doctor and a hospital. You’d never think of asking about how much it’s going to cost because you don’t pay the bill — the insurance company does. In other countries like Switzerland, they have the patient pay 20 percent of the bill for elective surgeries and of course if it’s an emergency they don’t. But that gives you the chance to shop around….I’m also not naive enough to think that there would be a heck of a lot of problems that would be better run if we got the government out and turned back to the free market.

    Right. The problem in our health care system is that people aren’t paying enough for it. It’s the favorite canard of conservatives: just apply market principles to health care, and force people to shop around for the lowest price for their health care so they have “skin in the game,” and the resulting competition will drive prices down.
    Which is of course bullshit.

    Consumers can’t shop around for health care services like they shop for refrigerators. A person newly diagnosed with lymphoma, or a heart condition, or even something as routine as asthma, doesn’t have the luxury of time or specialized knowledge to shop around for the best “buy,” for the provider that will give the best care at bargain basement prices.

    That’s not how health care works and Romney damned well knows it. He knows it because he might be an unprincipled panderer and flip-flopper, but he’s not an idiot. He’s been through health care reform and has the basic understanding of how the system works, which makes this bullshit from him even more despicable.


  27. rikyrah says:

  28. rikyrah says:

    Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 10:24 AM PDT.

    Democrats refuse to give Republicans cover for their plan to end Medicare

    Republicans have tried to co-opt some of the creators of the idea of “premium supports” in Medicare to say that their plan really isn’t so radical, that it’s a bipartisan idea. That effort is falling flat, as the former Clinton administration officials who’ve developed the idea have said they find little resemblance between it and what Rep. Paul Ryan cooked up.

    The fallback for Republicans is to try a bit of a head-fake—”Look, they did it, too.” (Always a strong way to defend your ideas.) In this case, it’s the vote of Democrat Rep. Steve Israel for the House version of the prescription drug plan back in 2003.

    The committee’s majority staff said Israel “cast the deciding vote that would have enacted a new premium support program in Medicare. That premium support model, contained in the House-passed Medicare prescription drug benefit legislation, is similar to the one contained in the House Republican budget, which Israel is now lambasting.”
    Israel’s office called the charge “laughably disingenuous.”
    “Rep. Israel voted to expand Medicare to offer prescription drug benefits, and that is the exact opposite of the last two Republican budgets that end the Medicare guarantee,” his spokeswoman Samantha Slater told TPM. “It’s apples and oranges, and desperate at that.”

  29. rikyrah says:

    Equality of opportunity
    By Steve Benen – Tue Apr 3, 2012 1:57 PM EDT

    .When Republicans consider the bigger picture and talk about the relationship between the government, the populace, and the economy, it’s uncommon to hear them characterize a dispute between “equality of opportunity” and “equality of outcome.”

    The latter, GOP leaders like Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney argue, is what Democrats want: everyone ends up with the same resources, regardless of how hard they work or the value of their labor. This isn’t even close to what Democrats actually want, but it’s the foundation of Republican attacks on “socialism.”

    Equality of opportunity, however, is supposed to stand in contrast as a superior alternative — everyone won’t end up with the same wealth, but government can at least ensure that everyone has a chance at success.

    The irony of this debate is that contemporary Republicans oppose both sides. Obviously, “equality of outcome” has few if any champions in American politics, but GOP talk notwithstanding, “equality of opportunity” isn’t really what Republicans have in mind, either.

    Ezra Klein notes Paul Ryan’s efforts last year to present a credible, conservative vision to address income inequality, based almost exclusively on upward mobility. But a closer look at Ryan’s vision suggests he doesn’t even know how to try to reach his own ostensible goals.

    Ryan’s presentation was persuasive. He’s right that the growth of social spending on the elderly is crowding out spending on the poor. And he was more convincing because he seemed to admit a hard truth that Republicans often deny: that government programs for the poor are a crucial way of ensuring income mobility, and as they get squeezed, so, too, do the life chances of those born at the base of the income ladder.

    But it is difficult to believe that Ryan’s budget was written by the same guy who wrote this paper. Because in Ryan’s budget, Social Security is untouched. The cuts to Medicaid and other health programs for the poor are twice the size of those to Medicare. The cuts to education, to food stamps, to transportation infrastructure and to pretty much everything else besides defense are draconian. As for the tax reform component, it cuts taxes on millionaires by more than $250,000, but it doesn’t name a single loophole or tax break that Ryan and the Republicans would close.

    In the end, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that 62 percent of the cuts come from programs for low-income Americans and 37 percent of the tax benefits go to the few Americans earning more than $1 million.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Trayvon Martin and the White Pundits
    By Charles P. Pierce at 3:19PM

    Bill Keller of The New York Times can count himself lucky. By deciding that the shooting of Trayvon Martin, for the crime of possessing snack food while wearing a hoodie in what George Zimmerman thought was the wrong neighborhood, was the occasion for a column criticizing hate-crimes legislation — and by wedging the conviction of Dharun Ravi for precipitating the suicide of Tyler Clementi into the argument for the purposes of making it, well, an argument — Keller wrote only the second-most hamhanded piece of punditry on the Martin case these last few days. The top prize goes to old Sparkle Pants himself, former Sarah Palin groupie Rich Lowry, in the National Review, wherein Lowry pounded the keys the hardest on what has become the white conservative Wurlitzer’s stock answer to the cries for some sort of justice in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin: How come you don’t talk about those black kids who kill other black kids, huh, huh? In this, of course, Lowry is upholding the National Review’s long-standing commitment to improving the lives of black people in America, another highlight of which was old Bill Buckley’s attempt to pin on King’s campaign of non-violent resistance the blame for the Newark riots in 1967 — this included:

    You do realize that there are laws against burning down delicatessen stores? Especially when the manager and his wife are still inside the store? Laws Schmaws. Have you never heard of civil disobedience? Have you never heard of Martin Luther King?

    Or, perhaps more apropos to our discussion was old Bill’s reaction to then-vice-president Hubert Humphrey’s attendance at the funeral of Viola Liuzzo, the civil-rights worker who was shot to death in her car. Old Bill noted that a white cop had been killed by a black man in Mississippi and that Humphrey had not attended the cop’s funeral, so how about that, huh, huh? Old tunes on the house organ again.

    As for Keller, well, there’s the argument against hate-crime laws, and then there seems to be his distaste for the volume of the protests calling for some sort of judicial action against Zimmerman for shooting Martin, and never the twain. As to the former, and the argument that crime-is-crime and that hate-crime laws are essentially thought-crimes, I usually propose a one-word answer:


    If you hold to the position that Keller appears to hold, then what does one make of Kristallnacht? That it was merely an unusually violent, unusually organized conspiracy to violate the local ordinances forbidding vandalism and assault? That hardly seems adequate. If, however, you hold that it was unusually violent and unusually organized vandalism and assault with a specific political and social purpose in mind — namely, the marginalization and intimidation of a minority group for the purposes of political and social control — then you must conclude that the vandalism and assaults committed in that campaign were of a different, more serious nature than someone who throws a brick through a window or punches someone in a bar. They were crimes directed at undermining and perverting the existing political order. You could argue, I guess, that Kristallnacht was the work of a political movement whereas the crimes prosecuted under hate-crimes statutes are generally the work of two or three individuals, but that doesn’t change the difference between what happened to James Byrd and, say, someone who was killed by a drunk driver. Keller admits that we prosecute people for different offenses based on what’s in the defendant’s mind all the time, but he seems to differentiate between the raw emotion and conscious political or social choice when judging the mens rea, and that the latter, somehow, has a penumbra of constitutional protecting that the former lacks. We disagree, I guess. But this…

    In most cases, hate crime laws take offenses that would carry more modest sentences — assault, vandalism — and ratchet up the penalty two or three times because we know, or think we know, what evil disposition lurked in the offender’s mind. Then we pat ourselves on the back. As if none of us, pure and righteous citizens, ever entertained a racist thought or laughed at a homophobic slur.

    …is just a glib horror. How many of “us,” no matter what we may think in the privacy of our own minds, have tied a black man to the bumper of a car and dragged him down a dirt road until his fking head popped off? If someone kills with unique savagery, and that savagery is based not in some dim psychological twisting but in coolly intellectualized race hatred, does the latter really have a constitutional protection because man is inherently a savage anyway?

    But when Bill goes wandering into the weeds on the Martin case, well, things go awry pretty quickly.

    But fashioning a narrative from the hate-crimes textbook — bellowing analogies to the racist nightmares of Birmingham and Selma, as the reliably rabble-rousing Reverend Sharpton has done — is just political opportunism. This is the kind of demagoguery that could prejudice a prosecution, or mobilize a mob.

    It may have escaped Keller’s recollection but, at the time the “racist nightmares” of Birmingham and Selma actually were occurring, there was a strong school of respectable opinion — and not just in the South and not just from Bill Buckley — that treated Dr. King the very same way that Keller treats Al Sharpton here: as a “rabble rouser,” and as a threat to the public order. That has been the deflection of choice for the defenders of white political power for centuries. It was the primary argument against the abolitionists, and not just in the South, either. Recently, I was looking through the proceedings of the debates over the Dyer Bill, an anti-lynching act proposed in 1922. (It passed the House but it was filibustered to death in the Senate.) Here’s what Hatton Summers, a congressman from Texas who opposed the bill, said in explaining why he would vote against it:

    “We people who believe we understood the situation are convinced that you men are fixing to cut the cord that holds in leash the passions of race conflict in the South and bring to the South such tragedies as occurred in East St. Louis in which almost as many people were killed in that one city in one riot as are killed in the entire South by mobs in two years…. If the Federal government interposes its power, assumes responsibility now borne entirely by the people, so that the man on the ground will feel that it is not his duty to protect, but that the Federal government has stepped in and will take care of the situation, then you are likely to turn loose the passions of race conflict in that community.”

    (I also would point out that anti-lynching laws were essentially rudimentary hate-crimes legislation, although the term had not yet been invented, because lynchings were far more than simply well-organized and festive public homicides. They were mechanisms of social control that supported a system of American apartheid. They had a political element to them that did not mitigate them. It exacerbated them.)

    (Also, the “East St. Louis” tragedy that Summers mentions was a virtual pogrom during which white mobs ran riot in the city, devastating the black community in no small part because they’d been told by local segregationists that black people were arming themselves. Local law enforcement abandoned the city to the mobs. An estimated 200 people were killed. But, of course, they largely brought it on themselves.)

    The Dyer bill was meant to find some kind of justice for the victims of unpunished killings. It was necessary because local government, and local law enforcement, were both unwilling and unable to bring that justice themselves. That is really all that people are asking for in Florida right now. If people think the calls are too strident, they should realize that the voices are calling out all the way through history to be heard.

    Read more:

  31. rikyrah says:

    Mississippi anti-abortion bill ‘obviously unconstitutional’
    By Laura Conaway – Tue Apr 3, 2012 1:06 PM EDT.
    Mississippi State Senator Hob Bryan

    All session, Mississippi Republicans have been working a pair of conservative bills that would almost surely give them trouble in the courts. With time running out, and with concerns about future court challenges, Mississippi Republicans have handed those bills over to the minority Democrats for a final say.

    One bill is an anti-immigration measure styled after the law in Alabama, which was in turn styled after the law in Arizona, and which has given both states fits since they passed them. State Senator Hob Bryan, the Mississippi Democrat whose committee is considering the bill, tells the Jackson Clarion-Ledger it could interfere with the way police officers and sheriffs do their jobs. That might be manners for “no way.”

    The second bill is one that Mississippi Republicans have hoped would essentially ban all abortions. State Senator Bryan says it doesn’t make sense to pass a measure that goes against Roe v. Wade. He says state lawmakers have taken plenty of votes already against abortion:

    What we have not done is to pass bill after bill after bill that was obviously unconstitutional just so we could all get on record one more time as casting another vote realizing that what was going to happen was someone would file suit the next day and the legislation would never take effect.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 08:58 AM ET, 04/03/2012
    The Morning Plum:
    Obama’s harsh attack on Ryan-Romney radicalism
    By Greg Sargent

    Here’s something both sides can agree upon: Paul Ryan’s budget — whose broad strokes have been endorsed by presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney — represents the GOP’s main offering in the big ideological argument that will decide this election and frame the big choice Americans face about the future of the country.

    Whether you call it “radical,” or “bold and courageous” (the terms favored by conservatives), the Ryan plan is more than a budget. It’s a set of priorities, and a vision — of the rightful distribution of wealth and the tax burden, and of government’s proper role in guarding against the excesses of unfettered free market capitalism — that will constitute the foundation of the GOP case this fall.

    In a speech today, President Obama will treat it as exactly that. And he’ll attack it pretty aggressively, describing it as “radical” and “thinly-veiled social Darwinism.” From the prepared remarks:

    “In this country, broad-based prosperity has never trickled-down from the success of a wealthy few. It has always come from the success of a strong and growing middle class. That’s how a generation who went to college on the GI Bill, including my grandfather, helped build the most prosperous economy the world has ever known. That’s why a CEO like Henry Ford made it his mission to pay his workers enough so they could buy the cars that they made. That’s why studies have shown that countries with less inequality tend to have stronger and steadier economic growth over the long run….

    “This Congressional Republican budget, however, is something different altogether. It’s a Trojan Horse. Disguised as deficit reduction plan, it’s really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country. It’s nothing but thinly-veiled Social Darwinism. It’s antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everyone who’s willing to work for it — a place where prosperity doesn’t trickle down from the top, but grows outward from the heart of the middle class. And by gutting the very things we need to grow an economy that’s built to last — education and training; research and development — it’s a prescription for decline

    These remarks seem designed to check a number of boxes. First, Obama is arguing that combatting inequality is not only essential as a matter of basic fairness, but because inequality hampers economic growth — a case he hasn’t made as effectively as he might.

    Second, Obama isn’t just attacking the conservative economic vision as “radical”; he’s making the case that it has already failed us. If Romney is able to persuade the electorate of his basic economic competence — a real possibility — the election could turn on Obama’s ability to persuade the electorate that we’ve already tried the “trickle down” solutions Romney is offering, and that they simply haven’t worked.

    Third, the election will turn partly on voters’ gut sense of which man has a clearer sense of where the country and the world are headed — hence the indictment of the Ryan/Romney lack of investment in education and research. The oft-repeated phrase “an economy that’s built to last” advances two arguments designed to make the election about something more than the state of the economy on Election Day 2012: Republican solutions have historically left the economy and country on a flimsy foundation; and they demonstrate no concrete vision for the future.

    Obama’s speech will likely be greeted by a great deal of whining about its “negative” and “partisan” tone. But politics is supposed to be about an aggressive clash of visions, and it looks like that’s exactly what we’re going to get today.

  33. rikyrah says:

    The Right’s Obama

    It has long befuddled me – the way so many on the right view him not with disagreement or discernment, but with contempt. Contempt is a strong word; and it is built on some notion of his illegitimacy as president. They called Clinton illegitimate as well, of course, because of his plurality victory in 1992 (he never quite made it to 50 percent of the vote in 1996 either). But Obama? A clear electoral victory by a black candidate after one of the most brilliant underdog campaigns in our lifetimes. I suppose the right’s view that racism no longer exists in America defuses the racial barrier. But it’s telling, is it not, that very, very few Republicans have hailed the election of a bi-racial man as president, if only to celebrate the progress this country has made.

    Why not fear of Obama’s charm? Or suspicion of his cunning? Why not coopt this oh-so-willing-to-be-coopted figure to move his policies to the right (as if the individual mandate, extension of Bush tax cuts, and escalation of the war in Afghanistan could get further right)?

    No. Instead we have contempt. A president who can be shouted at during a State of the Union address; a president whose birth certificate, readily available, is still questioned; a president who is regarded by an unthinkable chunk of Republicans as a Muslim; a president who allegedly cannot speak a full sentence without a TelePrompter; or, in Glenn Reynolds’ immortal words, “a racist hatemonger.”

    Every now and again, they tip their hand in further weirdness. One of the more Kinsley-esque moments in contemporary Washington is the spectacle of every liberal in the town now bemoaning judicial activism, and every conservative celebrating the courts as a vital part of our constitutional system. Why, it’s enough to make someone a little jaded. In that vein, comes one Michael Walsh who just had a conniption about the president’s attack on the Supreme Court yesterday. It speaks to the right’s view of this president:

    Obama’s only tough contest came in the 2008 primaries, when he ambushed the fat and complacent Clintons by rabbit-punching Hillary and hanging on in the face of her furious counter-attack to eke out a split-decision victory. Of the general election that year, the less said the better. As the gangster, Johnny Caspar, says in Miller’s Crossing, “If you can’t trust a fix, what can you trust?”

    But there inevitably comes the time when the fix isn’t in, when the opponent didn’t get the memo to take the dive, or when the mob simply tires of a champion who’s outlived his usefulness and seeks another tomato can.

    Walsh is clearly implying that the election of 2008 was “fixed” or “rigged.” And when you think about it, this has to be the case, or else their contempt for Obama would have to be leavened by at least some respect for one of the most brilliant underdog presidential campaigns in modern times. But not even that. Not even in the killing of Osama bin Laden could they give him any credit.

    Is this rank racism, pure partisanship, class resentment, or some toxic combination of them all?

  34. Ametia says:

    And this new organizing tool the Obama campaign launched last week, Own Your Vote, dedicated to organizing voters and educating them on Wisconsin’s new Voter ID laws:

  35. Ametia says:

    Vice President Biden speaks straight with Wisconsin volunteers
    By Josh on March 30, 2012

    Wisconsin campaign staff kicked off the program and stressed the importance of owning your vote in your local community. Vice President Biden reaffirmed that:
    “We’re going to win because of you.”

    Class act – Biden personally greeted the woman who fainted (but revived and refused to leave) and then gave her his glass of water.


  36. Ametia says:

    A daunting Obama ground game awaits Romney
    A GOP primary fight devours time and money while the president’s campaign pours millions into a national field effort.

    Reporting from Washington — As he moves unceasingly toward the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney has cast himself as the only GOP candidate with an organization hefty enough to take on President Obama’s campaign juggernaut.

    “The other guys are nice folks, but they haven’t organized a campaign with a staff, the organization, the fundraising capacity to actually beat Barack Obama,” Romney said this month on Fox News. “I have.”

    As the LA Times reported, most of his money has been poured into advertising, in contrast to the Obama campaign’s priority of organizing people on the ground.

  37. Ametia says:

    While Romney may have been campaigning hard against unions and the middle class in an attempt to win over Wisconsin Republican voters, look for him to abandon the state once the primary is over:

  38. Ametia says:

    Now Mitt Romney blames President Obama for Republican obstruction on immigration reform:

    “This has always been a priority for the President he chooses to do nothing about,” Romney said. “Let the immigrant community not forget that, while he uses this as a political weapon, he has not taken responsibility for fixing the problems we have.”
    Sure … it’s President Obama’s fault that Republicans have blocked comprehensive immigration reform every single time it’s come up during the last decade. It’s Obama’s fault that Mitt Romney’s Republican Party won’t even support the DREAM Act. It’s got nothing to do with Republican extremism at all. Clearly, if you want to see immigration reform, you should trust Mitt Romney and a Republican Congress to get the job done:

    “That is something that I will not just talk about in this campaign. This will be a priority of mine if I become president to make sure we finally reform our immigration laws step by step, secure the border, improve our legal immigration system, so we can keep people here and welcome people here who will make America a stronger nation,” he said.

  39. rikyrah says:

    Christie backs ALEC agenda in New Jersey
    By Steve Benen – Tue Apr 3, 2012 10:23 AM EDT.

    Chances are, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is largely unknown to most of the public. Perhaps it’s time that changes.

    Paul Krugman recently highlighted the “corporate-backed organization” that has “managed to keep a low profile even as it exerts vast influence” in state legislatures, most notably with Republican policymakers.

    As Krugman explained, ALEC is “very much a movement-conservative organization, funded by the usual suspects: the Kochs, Exxon Mobil, and so on. Unlike other such groups, however, it doesn’t just influence laws, it literally writes them, supplying fully drafted bills to state legislators. In Virginia, for example, more than 50 ALEC-written bills have been introduced, many almost word for word. And these bills often become law.”

    The policy agenda is anything but narrow — ALEC writes ready-made bills covering everything from education to the environment, labor laws to tax policy, gun laws to voting restrictions. The group’s role in Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law has helped boost its national notoriety.

    How influential is ALEC? Newark’s Star-Ledger ran a lengthy, detailed report over the weekend, documenting the extent to which the far-right organization’s agenda is being championed, at times nearly word for word, by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) administration.

    A Star-Ledger analysis of hundreds of documents shows that ALEC bills are surfacing in New Jersey, where Republican Gov. Chris Christie is trying to remake the state, frequently against the wishes of a Democrat-controlled Legislature.

    Drawing on bills crafted by the council, on New Jersey legislation and dozens of e-mails by Christie staffers and others, The Star-Ledger found a pattern of similarities between ALEC’s proposals and several measures championed by the Christie administration. At least three bills, one executive order and one agency rule accomplish the same goals set out by ALEC using the same specific policies. In eight passages contained in those documents, New Jersey initiatives and ALEC proposals line up almost word for word.

  40. rikyrah says:

    Tuesday, April 3, 2012
    Ain’t Nobody Worryin

    For years now I’ve been saying that if what was happening to black children happened to white children, the country would have long ago declared a “war on guns,” re-ignited the “war on poverty,” and would actually give a damn about things like urban education, economic development and housing. But its been clear that as long as its happening to “them,” its not on our radar.

    In a cruel twist, now it seems that one of the ways the right wing is going to try to deflect the problems with race in the Trayvon Martin case is to suggest that black people are somehow “playing the race card” this time because it is THEY who haven’t spoken up enough about these other issues. Ta-Nehisi Coates rips that one to shreds with examples any of us who have been paying attention would be able to chronicle in our own communities.

    I can tell you that I’ve met these African American parents. They’ve been working their butts off and screaming at us for years to give a damn about what’s happening to their children. But as Anthony Hamilton says…”Ain’t Nobody Worryin.”

  41. rikyrah says:

    A different kind of enthusiasm gap
    By Steve Benen – Tue Apr 3, 2012 11:09 AM EDT.

    Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) talked on Friday to National Review, a leading conservative publication, and fielded a pretty straightforward question, “So, why Romney?”

    Rubio responded with a lengthy, 325-word answer, which spanned 16 sentences. And in that 325-word, 16-sentence response, the high-profile senator, who may very well end up as his party’s vice presidential nominee, managed to say exactly zero nice things about Mitt Romney.

    I’m being entirely literal. Rubio was asked, “So, why Romney?” and he responded by talking at length about how awful he thinks President Obama is and how bad it would be for the Republican Party to have an extended floor fight at the convention. The closest thing to a compliment was when Rubio said, “Romney is winning the primary fair and square.”

    But that’s not praise, and it’s certainly not an explanation for why one person wants another person to be president of the United States.

    In fairness to Rubio, when pressed further by National Review, the senator came up with a couple of positive things to say about Romney, but remember, that took prompting — and this is one of Romney’s most notable supporters and potential running mates.

  42. rikyrah says:

    A swing and a miss from Romney on immigration
    By Steve Benen – Tue Apr 3, 2012 9:24 AM EDT

    .The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is starting to worry about the damage Republicans have done with Latino voters. Romney aides are reportedly “concerned” that the GOP “is turning away the increasingly powerful constituency.”

    The fears are well grounded; Romney and other Republicans have been alienating Latinos — the fastest growing voting constituency in the U.S. — throughout the 2012 race, so it stands to reason the likely GOP nominee will take steps to shake the Etch A Sketch and undo some of the damage.

    But if Romney thinks rhetoric like this will improve his standing, he’s deeply confused.

    In a pitch aimed at the nation’s growing pool of Hispanic voters, Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney attacked President Obama today for failing to fix the nation’s broken immigration system. […]

    Speaking at an oil distributorship, the former Massachusetts governor said the president “chooses to do nothing” about fixing America’s immigration laws and noted that Obama had pledged to make the issue a priority during his 2008 campaign for the White House.

    Let me get this straight. Barack Obama wants comprehensive immigration reform, including the DREAM Act. Latino voters want comprehensive immigration reform, including the DREAM Act. Congressional Republicans have rejected all efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform, including the DREAM Act, and Mitt Romney agrees with his party.

  43. rikyrah says:

    Van Jones: Even If ‘Obama Came Out As Gay’ He Would Not Lose Black Vote
    videoby Noah Rothman | 11:50 am, April 3rd, 2012

    Appearing on MSNBC’s Now with Alex Wagner, former White House advisor Van Jones said that embracing gay marriage, or even being gay himself, would not lose President Obama any support among African Americans.

    “If you talk about black voters versus progressive voters – the idea of driving a wedge – do you think that Obama would lose some of the black vote if, in fact, he did come out in support of gay marriage,” Wagner asked Jones.

    “I think if President Obama came out as gay he wouldn’t – President Obama is not going to lose the black vote no matter what he does,” responded Jones without hesitation to laughs from his fellow panelists.

    “I don’t understand this particular strategy,” Jones continued. “Certainly, our numbers are a little bit more – because we’re more religious as a community – a little bit softer on some of this stuff, but it’s not a hardcore issue for that many African Americans.”

    Jones went on to critique opponents of gay marriage. “I don’t even understand the argument that gay marriage is a threat to marriage. It’s not like there is some – if the gay people get married then the heterosexual people gotta get divorced,” said Jones. “There is some shortage of marriage. They’re [homosexuals] are trying to come and get all the marriage that’s left. It’s just kind of nuts.”

    “You can play to that sentiment, but I don’t think it shows up at the ballot box at all,” Jones concluded.

    Wagner went on to say that she believes “President Obama is, of course, in support of gay marriage. He just can’t come out and say it yet.”

  44. rikyrah says:

    Republicans Fail at Business Role in Defying Chamber

    Business groups counting on Republican gains in Congress to deliver their legislative agenda are voicing frustration over obstacles within a party usually allied with their interests.

    At least two measures are hitting snags — long-term highway construction funding and authority to keep the Export- Import Bank in business beyond May 31. Many of the Republicans elected in 2010 lean too heavily toward the demands of the Tea Party and other anti-spending groups, business leaders say.

    There are a number of Republican members, particularly new members, who are against the federal government having a large role in transportation issues,” said Pete Ruane, president of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association in Washington, D.C. “I don’t understand that,” Ruane said. “Their larger idea of cutting off federal spending trumps their support for transportation.”

    Bruce Josten, top lobbyist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said Tea Party-backed lawmakers have focused the congressional agenda on the deficit and debt. “It’s entirely appropriate if you look at the numbers,” he added.

    Still, Josten criticized the anti-spending Club for Growth, which rates lawmakers in part on whether they join it in opposing the highway and bank bills.

    “Just saying no to everything is not a contribution to the debate,” Josten said.

  45. BWD ‏ @theonlyadult

    Obama’s Fault! “@cnnbrk: Chrysler says March was its best car sales month in four years.


    Bin Laden dead. We’re out of Iraq. Auto Industry booming. Millions of jobs created. Dow, S&P & employment at 4 year bests. GOP in full fit.

  47. rikyrah says:

    The Obama IPO
    Will technology developed by his campaign make the president a power broker for many elections to come?
    By Sasha Issenberg|
    Posted Monday, April 2, 2012, at 3:10 PM ET

    In the middle of 2008, Derek Dukes decided he wanted to help Barack Obama get elected president. He started raising money for the campaign, largely through the Local Lefties mailing list that his girlfriend helped to run in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood, and regularly visited the campaign’s Market Street office for volunteer shifts. He saw many familiar faces there, either from his time at a Silicon Valley corporate headquarters (Dukes was Yahoo’s sixth employee) or the city’s startup scene (he had left Yahoo to launch the timeline website Dipity). “There had already been a little mini-collapse, and investment in the Internet pulled back,” says Dukes. “People in tech in San Francisco had a lot of free time.” Regardless of their backgrounds, these volunteers were being asked to make phone calls to voters in battleground states. When office organizers realized that Dukes, a technical product manager, had computer fluency, he was given data-entry tasks. “As a technologist, I thought the tools they were using weren’t very impressive but super-functional. It was obvious they could be doing things smarter and better,” he reflects. “But I wasn’t really involved at a level that I would give feedback or propose changes.”

    Last week, Dukes encountered some of those same faces once again at a party to christen a new Obama “tech field office,” which for a month has been quietly enlisting skilled Bay Area supporters to take on more ambitious work than phone canvassing or data entry. Unlike the hundreds of field offices Obama will eventually open elsewhere in the country, the campaign isn’t inviting walk-ins to its SoMa outpost; volunteers need to demonstrate that they have advanced coding and program-design talents and schedule regular shifts by appointment. The tech team at Obama’s Chicago headquarters hopes to assign them entire projects, and has dispatched a top campaign official, Catherine Bracy, to oversee the satellite facility.

    In 2008, most innovation was accidental, the result of a perpetually expanding campaign with a surfeit of talent and resources always looking to solve new problems. Much of the core technical work was contracted to outsiders: the web infrastructure to agency Blue State Digital, and the statistical models to Ken Strasma’s firm Strategic Telemetry. Yet this time around, most of those functions (and others) are being carried out by staff in Chicago—with new Silicon Valley-style titles like “chief innovation officer” and “product manager”—and boosted with extra help from West Coast volunteers. Just in the last week, the campaign has unveiled a new one-click fundraising protocol via text message and a fresh organizing interface it calls Dashboard.

    “It’s clear they’re putting more effort into building back-end systems in-house this time,” says Jim Pugh, who worked on Obama’s online-analytics team in 2008 and now oversees technology for the lefty advocacy group Rebuild the Dream. “Any presidential campaign, and the Obama campaign in particular, is going to have some very specific requirements. Doing custom design for stuff like that can get them a lot more than would be possible just going through third-party sources or contract work.”

    Those involved in Obama’s campaign are openly optimistic that their innovations will have an impact on the outcome in November, but their private conversations also raise tantalizing questions about what happens after the election. Could the technology developed by Obama’s campaign make the president a political power broker for elections to come?

  48. rikyrah says:

    Lawrence O’Donnell on Willard, the Mormon Church, and Black folk.

  49. rikyrah says:

    Obama, allies hit Romney on Big Oil ties
    By Steve Benen – Tue Apr 3, 2012 8:01 AM EDT.

    Because so much of the 2012 focus has been on the Republican presidential field, and the ads aired by the candidates and their super PACs, we’ve seen far less from the Obama/Biden campaign when it comes to election messaging. That’s changing now that the general-election phase is getting underway.

    The president’s re-election team unveiled this new ad late yesterday, which is airing in several battleground states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia.

    What’s interesting about the spot is the context in which it appears. In this case, a Republican-friendly outfit called the American Energy Alliance is already spending $3.6 million on attack ads that falsely blame Obama for rising gas prices. The president’s new spot helps make Obama’s case on energy policy — oil production has gone up each of the last three years, for example — but it’s also intended to rebut the AEA attack.

    Notice, however, that Mitt Romney is very much a part of the equation. Obviously, the former Massachusetts governor can’t be blamed for pain at the pump, but the Obama campaign’s message, like the one being pushed by the Priorities USA super PAC, ties the likely Republican nominee to Big Oil through his policy agenda and campaign financing.

    The criticism has the benefit of being true: the American Energy Alliance is being financed in part by the Koch brothers and the oil industry, which are enthusiastically backing the Romney campaign because the Republican has vowed to protect the industry’s tax breaks, profits, and drilling interests.

    The point isn’t exactly subtle. “Big Oil” isn’t popular with the American mainstream, and the Obama campaign wants voters to make the connection: Mitt Romney is the oil industry’s man.

    The fact that the president’s team is airing this ad at all signals a degree of concern about energy policy — if Obama didn’t feel vulnerable on the issue, his campaign would simply ignore the American Energy Alliance’s dishonest attacks — but it also suggests Obama/Biden has plenty to work with when it comes to pushing back against the Republican/oil industry barrage.

    Indeed, it’s worth recognizing just how weak an issue energy policy is for Romney and his team.


    The main problem, as the New York Times reported today, is that the likely Republican nominee has already argued for the same policies he’s now against.

  50. Ametia says:

    Helping low-income Americans find jobs
    By The Partnership for Public Service, Published: March 31 | Updated: Monday, April 2, 11:01 PM

    The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) may be best known for its housing programs, but it also is deeply involved in helping low income Americans get opportunities for job training and employment.

    That’s where Staci Gilliam’s comes into the picture. She is director of the department’s Economic Opportunity Division, which is responsible for the Section 3 program that requires recipients of HUD funding such as cities and housing authorities to make a good faith effort to train and employ low-income individuals and to contract with businesses that hire local low- income residents.

  51. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 02:09 PM ET, 04/02/2012
    In Trayvon Martin rant, Pat Buchanan misses the truth
    By Colbert I. King

    What would a discussion about the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin by 28-year-old non-black George Zimmerman be without a contribution from Patrick J. Buchanan?

    The recently fired MSNBC commentator weighed in with his thoughts in a recent blog post, entitled “It’s All About Race Now”. Though Buchanan’s riffs on race seldom break new ground, he never disappoints with his ability to spectacularly miss the point.

    In this case, Buchanan takes aim, and shoots wide of the mark, at what the hysteria over Martin’s death is all about.

    For Buchanan, it’s all about the exacerbation of the exploitation of racial conflict by the likes of Rep. Bobby Rush wearing a hoodie on the House floor and Rep. Maxine Waters calling Martin’s shooting a “hate crime.”

    In Buchanan’s eyes, Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer in a Florida gated community, had good cause to be suspicious of a “6 feet tall … black man or youth with a hood over his head.”

    With that, Buchanan launched into his rant: “black males between 16 and 36, though only 2 or 3 percent of the population, are responsible for a third of all our crimes;” and this: “whenever cable TV runs hidden-camera footage of a liquor or convenience store being held up and someone behind the counter being shot, the perp often is a black male wearing a hoodie.”

    And so it follows, as Buchanan tells it, that Zimmerman’s antennae should have been raised at the sight of that black stranger shielded by a hoodie walking in his community.

    If that’s racial profiling, so be it, I suppose is the answer.

    Wrote Buchanan: “The real America is a country where the black crime rate is seven times as high as the white rate … where white criminals choose black victims in 3 percent of their crimes, but black criminals choose white victims in 45 percent of their crimes.” And he goes on like this, citing statistics that point to disproportionately larger numbers of blacks and Hispanics tied to gun assaults.

    All of which is absolutely irrelevant to the eruption of nationwide protests in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death.

    It is the absence of justice in this case that strikes the nerve of so many Americans. Yes, there is black-on-black crime. More blacks fall victim to black criminals than whites. But, what sets those black perps apart from the man who shot Trayvon Martin is that those offenders are pursued by the criminal justice system. Most of them end up in jail or on probation and with criminal records.

    Left to their own devices, officials in Sanford, Fla., were going to let George Zimmerman merrily get on with his life as if he had never pulled a trigger and shot and unarmed teenager dead.

    That’s why the nation has taken to its feet.

    Were it not for a coast-to-coast outcry, Trayvon Martin’s shooting death would not now be under investigation by a special prosecutor appointed by Florida’s governor, the FBI, the Justice Department and a grand jury.

    Buchanan, as usual, missed the truth of the matter by a mile

    • I am so happy I don’t have to listen to or see this racist bigot on my TV anymore. A place in hell is reserved for Pat Buchanan and I hope he goes there early.

  52. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney can’t shake away impressions he’s made
    By Eugene Robinson,
    Published: April 2
    The Washington Post

    The problem for Mitt Romney, assuming he eventually wins the GOP nomination, is that a general-election campaign isn’t really like an Etch a Sketch. Alas, traces from the primaries linger.

    The ghost image that remains will be of a strikingly uninspiring standard-bearer who deadened the Republican Party’s great passion into a sense of duty. Voters will discern the outlines of a candidate who spent the better part of a decade running for president without giving evidence of a core philosophy beyond his belief in Wall Street’s brand of capitalism.
    It must be safe, by now, to predict that Romney wins the nomination. Right? I mean, yes, there’s a chance that Rick Santorum will stay in the race and somehow manage to keep Romney from wrapping things up before the convention. But even then, Romney would likely arrive in Tampa with such a big lead, and needing so few delegates to go over the top, that any challenge would be futile.

    In an attempt to foreclose even the remote possibility of a contested convention, the Romney campaign has been trotting out a bevy of prominent Republicans to announce their support. But is it just me, or do these endorsements have all the enthusiasm of a series of hostage tapes?


    It was Romney aide Eric Fehrnstrom who suggested that the general-election campaign would begin with a blank slate, like a shaken Etch a Sketch. But the truth is that, come the fall, Romney will still be Romney.

    Nothing can erase the fact that he authored a health-care reform in Massachusetts, including an individual insurance mandate, that was used as the model for Obamacare. Nothing can erase the way he has pandered to the far right during the primaries — taking, for example, a hard-line position on undocumented immigrants that calls for “self-deportation” — in an attempt to disavow his erstwhile political identity as a moderate.

    And I’m afraid that nothing can erase the impression Romney has made, through a host of statements and actions, of having allowed his great wealth to isolate him from the cares and woes of the rest of humanity. You know the litany: “Corporations are people, my friend.” “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.” “Ann [Romney] drives a couple of Cadillacs.”

    My personal favorite came at the Daytona 500, when Romney was asked if he followed NAS­CAR. “Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans,” Romney replied, “but I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.”

    In the fall, Romney will also have to defend a belligerent and weirdly anachronistic set of policies, or postures, concerning America’s role in the world. His description of Russia as “without question our number-one geopolitical foe” was bizarre, but I don’t think it was accidental. Romney seems to be itching to wage a Cold War, and if one doesn’t exist, he’ll invent one — with Russia, China, somebody.

  53. Ametia says:

    Breaking: James Murdoch is stepping down as chairman of UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB, Sky News reports.

    • Ametia says:

      James Murdoch, the son of media magnate Rupert Murdoch, is expected to step down today as the chairman of BSkyB, a longtime institutional investor in the British satellite broadcaster told CNN.

      Sky News, which is owned by BSkyB, also reported that James Murdoch was resigning from the post, citing unnamed sources.

      The move would come on the heels of his resignation from News Corp.’s British newspaper publishing companies in the wake of hacking scandals over the past year.

  54. rikyrah says:

    Rove draws parallel between NAACP, Crossroads
    By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 2, 2012 4:35 PM EDT.

    Poor Karl Rove is feeling picked on again. All he wants to do is receive millions in secret donations to lie about Democrats, without feeling aggravation about pesky concepts like “transparency” and “disclosure.” Is that so wrong?

    Ryan J. Reilly reports today that Rove’s comically-dishonest American Crossroads is facing pressure from state treasurers, which want to make “hedge funds that manage state pension funds disclose donations” to super PACs, including, presumably, Rove’s.

    This predictably makes Rove feel like a persecuted victim … along the lines of the NAACP in the segregationist South.

    For those who can’t watch clips online, here’s what the former Bush/Cheney strategist presented as a defense for Fox News viewers:

    “In the 1940s and 50s, a number of states attorneys general attempted to force a particular 501(c)4 to disclose its donors — the purpose was to intimidate people into not giving to that organization.

    “The group was the NAACP — which is a 501(c)4 — has a 501(c)4 and does not disclose donors. That effort failed, in fact a Supreme Court in a 1954 case general held the right of organizations like that not to make their donors’ names public.

    “Let’s be honest what this is about. This is about a group of people on the left who have used this vehicle, 501(c)4, to run advertising and to run attacks on Republicans for years, who now object when Republicans began to duplicate their tactics and they want to intimidate people into not giving to these conservative efforts, and I think it’s shameful. I think it’s a sign of their fear of democracy, and it’s interesting that they have antecedents and the antecedents are a bunch of segregationist attorneys general trying to shut down the NAACP. It goes to the base emotions and base philosophy behind most of this.”

    So, in Rove’s little morality tale, he’s the NAACP battling segregationists, and the liberals who don’t want corporations using Rove to buy Americans elections are the white supremacists.

  55. rikyrah says:

    Yesterday at 10:39 AM

    Romney: The Economy Equals Business
    By Jonathan Chait

    Mitt Romney has unveiled a new version of his stump speech, mixing odes to free enterprise with feverish hallucinations about President Obama’s imagined hatred and vilification of rich people. This passage leapt out at me, as it embodies both the substantive problem with Romney’s vision and a major potential liability:

    Out-of-touch liberals like Barack Obama say they want a strong economy, but they really don’t like businesses very much. But the economy is simply the product of all the nations’ businesses added together. So it’s like saying you love omelettes but don’t like eggs.

    The key notion here is that the economy is just a sum of businesses in the same way an omelet is simply a bunch of eggs. Romney took a lot of flack for announcing last summer that “corporations are people,” but he was right about that — he was rebutting a puerile left-wing view of corporations as disembodied things that could be taxed without, somehow, coming out of somebody’s pocket. The view Romney assailed also, implicitly, presented corporations as malevolent actors whose welfare is unrelated, or even in opposition, to that of the country as a whole.

    Romney’s line about businesses as the whole of the economy is in some respects the mirror image of that puerile leftism: Businesses are not just part of the economy, they are the economy. That premise would explain Romney’s program.

    But there is more to the economy than business. It also consists of such things as the public sector and workers. The distinction is important because during the last business cycle, which coincided with the George W. Bush presidency, corporate profits rose sharply while the median income failed to rise at all. It would be unfair to blame this entirely or even mostly on Republican policies, though Republican policies surely played a role. The larger point illustrated here is that to define the fate of the economy solely as the product of business is wrong. Not just morally wrong but factually wrong.

    Business success is a necessary condition for a successful economy, but it’s not a sufficient condition. Romney is contrasting his pro-business standpoint against Obama’s imagined hatred for business. The actual contrast is Romney’s belief that the economy is entirely defined by the success of business, against Obama’s attempts to balance the needs of business with providing for the health, educational opportunity, and general well-being of the workforce. This also seems like a contrast that would be easy for Obama to exploit: Most Americans, I’d guess, see themselves as part of the economy. A conceptualization of the economy that excludes them is not one they would like to embrace.

  56. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Beautiful Peoples! :-)

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