Serendipity SOUL | Wednesday Open Thread | Anita Baker Week


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95 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Wednesday Open Thread | Anita Baker Week

  1. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    April 04, 2012 3:13 PM
    Romney Calls for “Sourcing” and “Quality Control”—Not For Himself, Of Course

    By Ed Kilgore

    I wondered what tack Mitt Romney would take in following the president in an appearance before the newspaper editors association. But he really took my breath away:

    In just the few years since my last campaign, the changes in your industry are striking. Then, I looked to Drudge or FOX or CNN online to see what stories were developing. Hours after a speech, it was being dissected on the Internet. Now, it’s Twitter, and instantaneous reaction. In 2008, the coverage was about what I said in my speech. These days, it’s about what brand of jeans I am wearing and what I ate for lunch.

    Most people in my position are convinced that you are biased against us. We identify with LBJ’s famous quip that if he were to walk on water, your headline would read: “President Can’t Swim.”

    Some people thus welcome the tumult in your industry, heralding the new voices and the unfiltered or supposedly unbiased sources. Frankly, in some of the new media, I find myself missing the presence of editors to exercise quality control. I miss the days of two or more sources for a story – when at least one source was actually named.

    After reporting this remarkably hypocritical statement, Politico’s Alexander Burns blandly notes:

    [I]f you look over the arc of the primary season, it’s hard to see him as one of the major victims of anonymous sourcing, overhyping of trivia, et cetera — especially when you consider that his campaign is as eager as anyone to engage in the sins of Twitter, not-for-attribution sourcing and shielding the candidate from direct questions.

    Now I suppose when you have already developed a reputation for towering mendacity on subjects large and small, a medium-sized lie about your views on media accuracy is as easy as changing those jeans and a lot easier than changing your entire political persona on a regular basis. But you might think at some point the man would fear being struck down by a thunderbolt right on the spot if he lectures the media—old or new—about “sourcing” and “quality control.” Where’s the “presence of editors” when Mitt Romney opens his mouth each day? The mind reels.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Report: Howard suspends several student athletes, not competitive athletic program
    PUBLISHED 3 hours and 58 minutes ago
    LAST UPDATED 1 hour and 29 minutes ago

    Howard University has suspended several student-athletes from competition for possible NCAA infractions, but the school has not suspended its entire competitive athletics program, according to

    The school sent out a statement to NBCWashington News4 that read: “Howard University is conducting an internal investigation of possible NCAA rules-violations. As a result of this process, the University temporarily withheld a number of student-athletes from competition as a self-imposed action. Most teams will compete as scheduled. We are working diligently to fully resolve this matter as quickly as possible. In order to protect the integrity of this review, we are unable to share additional details at this time.”

    Earlier Wednesday, it was reported that Howard had suspended all of its teams, according to

    In a statement issued through the school, spokeswoman Kerry-Ann Hamilton said, “It is with great regret that we have temporarily suspended intercollegiate athletic competition. This is a self-imposed action while the University conducts a review. We are working quickly to resolve the issue.”

    Howard has seven men’s athletic teams and 10 women’s athletic teams.

    Washington City Paper spoke to a member of the women’s bowling team who said that an athletic official told the team that the school is “investigating problems with textbook vouchers given to athletes” and that the school allowed the athletes to spend money on what they wanted, which would be an NCAA violation. The bowler also told the paper that the university wants the improperly spent money to be repaid and that athletes can’t register for classes until the situation is resolved.

    Another athlete told Washington City Paper, “This whole situation is frustrating, and it shows how things within athletics need to be reformed and fixed. Many athletes have had their eligibility taken away and that has affected many sports dramatically.”

    Howard did not respond to additional request for comment, according to the newspaper.

    Read more:

  3. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s (Almost) Opening Day: How to Close the Deal
    By Charles P. Pierce
    at 10:09AM

    Not long ago, I offered some advice on the care and maintenance of the Romneybot 2.0. Specifically, I suggested some new rhetoric that could be programmed into the mechanism in order to dispel what appears to be a general confusion over the actual purpose of the machine. Is it a device programmed to run for president or for Finance Chairman of the local Kiwanis? Is its prime directive that of a moderate business-school Republican or a Jesus-come-lately snake-handling hero to The Base? Is it a coffee maker? A vacuum cleaner? A jukebox? Inquiring minds want to know.

    After another Tuesday night of festivities, the machine has bumped and staggered to three more primary wins, pretty much ending whatever purpose there ever was to the candidacy of Rick Santorum — and have I mentioned recently what a colossal dick that guy is? — but it has done so in such a fashion that even Politico was only rather, sort of, almost, nearly impressed. (Here’s the lede from their post-game summary: “It’s now really almost over.” Why, Willard, you won three primaries and nearly all the delegates? How perfectly adequate of you.) The central pivot to the whole thing was Wisconsin, where the politics are at a roiling boil, and where Romney finally and definitively committed himself to the budgetary extremism proposed by Paul Ryan, to the point where the zombie-eyed granny-starver signed onto the Romney campaign as the candidate’s permanent opening act, as well as to being a Man Of The Base. And there are some indications that the base is beginning to grumble its way into line; Romney was “competitive,” it is said, with Santorum among voters identifying themselves as evangelical Christians and/or “very conservative.” The cynical among us — okay, the cynical among me — feel inclined to point out that all this may prove is that, eventually, if you truckle long enough and hard enough, you become your pander.


    I’m Willard Romney, bitches, and how you like me now?

    “See what I did there on Tuesday night? I hammered those punks like ten-penny nails into a wedge of fine cheddar. I am a strong, able Republican with more money than God and an even greater taste for mindless destruction and casual vengeance. I am not a jack Mormon. I am a gangsta Mormon, motherfkers, and the country is my bling. I am Moroni’s Omar. I am the Stringer Bell of the Great Alkali Plain and the world is mine, whenever I want it. Come at the king, you best not miss. I’ll bury your ass like I buried Santorum’s, under so much money that nobody will ever find it, even though I hear it glows red in the dark every time someone mentions The Pill. I bought me a Wisconsin and a Maryland and a D.C., although I am aware that even my wealth — and have you noticed that I have $250 million stashed away for a rainy fking century? — wouldn’t be enough to carry The District in the general. But all I really have to do is spend enough to carry 51 percent of the Green Rooms there and I’m home fking free. And I can do that. Chuck Todd’s already halfway down into my vest pocket, looking for loose doubloons. And you know why?

    “Because I’m Willard Romney, bitches, and I can buy and sell your great-grandchildren and you won’t even know it happened.

    “You actually think I believe some of jive I’ve been running this year? That’s the part of you that I fking own now. You think you own me, but I own you, motherfkers. None of your heroes took the field, and everyone else who did was a clown. Meanwhile, I’m spreading green like I’m Vigoro and today, you look up and it’s me or That Person in the White House, and you’re all quivering in your Sansabelts. Don’t you fools understand? I bought your party. You hated me. You distrusted me. And now you have to vote for me. See how that happens? Happens all the time with me. The Supreme Court put your party up for auction and I was the high bidder, and I was the high bidder because I’m Willard Romney, bitches, but you can call me, “Sir.”

    (I mean, brokered convention? Get real.)

    “I can do what I want. Don’t you get that yet? I win, and I’m the president. I lose, and I’m walking a beach in California, with $250 million reasons to do absolutely nothing, and you’re back home in the underwater split-level, sending your money to TV preachers, waiting on hold for Rush, and dreaming sweet dreams about the former governor of Alaska. (You see what that dingbat suggested just now? Allen West for vice-president? Thank your personal gods for me, motherfkers, because, if you ran her, we’d lose 50 states, and Saskatchewan and Alberta would vote against her just for fun.) I need you people for precisely eight more months. Then, either I win, or I’m gone like your 401K; you’re all Ampad and I clean up, selling you off like unprofitable divisions, and you know why? Because I’m Willard Romney, bitches, and I’m all you got left.

    Read more:

  4. Joining Forces ‏ @JoiningForces:

    Today First Lady Michelle Obama announced 15,000 #jobs for military spouses: #joiningforces

  5. Ametia says:

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012
    Jerome Corsi and Heather Childers want to Lynch President Obama

    “Though the colored man is no longer subject to barter and sale, he is surrounded by an adverse settlement which fetters all his movements. In his downward course he meets with no resistance, but his course upward is resented and resisted at every step of his progress. If he comes in ignorance, rags and wretchedness he conforms to the popular belief of his character, and in that character he is welcome; but if he shall come as a gentleman, a scholar and a statesman, he is hailed as a contradiction to the national faith concerning his race, and his coming is resented as impudence. In one case he may provoke contempt and derision, but in the other he is an affront to pride and provokes malice.” Frederick Douglass September 25, 1883
    “The noose is tightening for Obama,” – Jerome Corsi explains how his book Where’s the Birth Certificate? is the essential primer for all conservatives who want to lynch President Obama for the crime of Being POTUS While Black.

    The Birthers and the Punk Ass Bitch Right-Wingers have been hyping their lies and “racialist” propaganda campaign for so long against President Obama that they have no where left to turn other than to call for his murder, which is now the point we have reached.

  6. Ametia says:

    Obama campaign leaves Mitt Romney trailing as focus shifts to November

    Shackled by the internal battle for the GOP nomination, Romney has been closing offices in key battleground states while the president has been firing on all cylinders for months

  7. Ametia says:

    “In the classic swing state of New Hampshire, Romney closed his only office immediately after the January 10 primary. To the astonishment of local Obama organisers, a “for lease” sign was hung outside the Romney headquarters four days before the vote was held. Obama, by contrast, has seven offices up and running in the state, with more than 25 paid staff.”

  8. Ametia says:

    Impeach the Supreme Court Justices If They Overturn Health-Care Law

    The Roberts Court’s rulings appear to be a concerted effort to send us back to the Gilded Age. If they dump the Affordable Care Act, writes David Dow, we should dump them.
    by David R. Dow | April 3, 2012 5:32 PM EDT

    You think the idea is laughable? Thomas Jefferson disagreed with you.
    Jefferson believed Supreme Court justices who undermine the principles of the Constitution ought to be impeached, and that wasn’t just idle talk. During his presidency, Jefferson led the effort to oust Justice Samuel Chase, arguing that Chase was improperly seizing power. The Senate acquitted Chase in 1805, and no Justice has been impeached since, but as the Supreme Court threatens to nullify the health-care law, Jefferson’s idea is worth revisiting.
    The problem with the current court is not merely that there is a good chance it will strike down a clearly constitutional law. The problem is that this decision would be the latest salvo in what seems to be a sustained effort on the part of the Roberts Court to return the country to the Gilded Age.
    During that period—which ran from the years after of the Civil War to the start of the 20th century—wealth became highly concentrated and corporations came to dominate American business.
    At the close of the Gilded Age, the U.S. infant mortality rate was around 10 percent—a number you find today in impoverished Central African nations. In some cities, it exceeded 30 percent. Women could not vote, and their lives were controlled by men. Blacks lived apart from whites and constituted an economic, social, and political underclass. Corporations exerted an unchecked and deleterious influence on the lives of workers.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 02:26 PM ET, 04/04/2012


    Romney calls for more media scrutiny. We should take him up on it.
    By Greg Sargent

    Obama’s speech yesterday and Mitt Romney’s speech today can both be seen as the official kickoff of the general election campaign. Both of them shared something in common: They each made appeals to the news media on how they should cover the campaign.

    In his speech today to newspaper publishers, Romney rolled out a new line — Obama is hiding his true agenda for his next term, and it’s up to the media to draw that out:

    Nancy Pelosi famously said that we would have to pass Obamacare to find out what was in it. President Obama has turned that advice into a campaign strategy: He wants us to re-elect him so we can find out what he will actually do.

    With all the challenges the nation faces, this is not the time for President Obama’s hide and seek campaign….

    He does not want to share his real plans before the election, either with the public or with the press. By flexibility, he means that “what the American public doesn’t know won’t hurt him.” He is intent on hiding. You and I will have to do the seeking.

    This is particularly interesting coming from Romney, whose own plans have been called out for their lack of specificity. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently concluded that even though Romney’s propsals would “require extraordinarily large cuts” in spending, Romney has for the most part “not outlined cuts in specific programs.”

    Romney has embraced the Paul Ryan plan — the GOP’s main offering in the great fical argument that will drive the election — and Ryan’s proposals, too, were damned by the Post editorial board as dangerously and intentionally vague.

    What’s more, as Steve Benen notes, Romney recently told the Weekly Standard that he intends to eliminate whole departments of government — but won’t say which ones.

    But put that aside for a second, and let’s take Romney’s assertions at face value. Romney has invited the press corps to scrutinize how forthcoming Obama has been with his proposals. Similarly, in Obama’s discussion with the same group yesterday, he called on the media to stop seeing false equivalences between both sides.

    So I propose we honor both of the candidates’ requests — particularly Romney’s. The GOP candidate’s speech today — and Obama’s speech laying out his proposals yesterday — provide an area where news oganizations can actually try to determine what is true or not, and who is right and who is wrong.

    Romney says Obama has not been forthcoming with his proposals, and has asked the news media to expose this. So how about we make a real effort to objectively determine whether that’s true, and to make a call on which side’s proposals have been more detailed and more forthcoming? Obama’s plans, or the Romney/Ryan plans?

    After all, Romney invited this himself with his comments today. How about it, then? Which candidate’s proposals are more detailed and more forthcoming about the choices and priorities they are asking voters to support?

  10. rikyrah says:

    Wed Apr 04, 2012 at 10:52 AM PDT.

    Mitt Romney manages to take both sides twice in just six sentences

    From his Wednesday speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, here’s a perfect piece of evidence demonstrating why so many people believe Mitt Romney is a dishonest political hack:

    Of course, no fiscal challenge is greater than the one we face with entitlements. As the President himself acknowledged three years ago, this is not a problem that we can kick down the road any further.

    I’d be willing to consider the President’s plan, but he doesn’t have one. That’s right: In over three years, he has failed to enact or even propose a serious plan to solve our entitlement crisis.

    Instead, he has taken a series of steps that end Medicare as we know it.

    He is the only President to ever cut $500 billion from Medicare.

    Consider Romney’s logic:
    1.Our biggest fiscal challenge is cutting entitlement spending
    2.Obama hasn’t offered a plan to cut entitlement spending
    3.Instead, Obama has cut entitlement spending by $500 billion, ending Medicare as we know it

    Even if you didn’t already know Romney’s claims about Medicare were dishonest, even if you didn’t know that he was the candidate to have proposed ending Medicare (in his words, “fundamentally transform Medicare”), the self-contradictions here are simply amazing.

    In the space of less than one hundred words, Mitt Romney says we need to cut entitlement spending, slams Obama for not cutting entitlement spending, and then slams Obama for cutting entitlement spending. You literally don’t need to know anything about the issue in order to see that Romney is full of crap; the internal inconsistency of his logic alone is enough.

    These are not the words of someone who is interested in doing the right thing or in being a good president. These are the words of someone whose one and only goal is advancing his own interests. He’s not interested in making a coherent argument, he’s merely interested in destroying his enemies to obtain power.

  11. rikyrah says:

    The elusive GOP health care alternative
    By Steve Benen – Wed Apr 4, 2012 3:42 PM EDT

    .It was one of those details that was generally overlooked, but during the fight over health care reform in 2009 and 2010, congressional Republicans promised, over and over again, to come up with a GOP alternative to “Obamacare.” They weren’t just attacking the Democratic plan, they said, Republicans were committed to presenting their own meaningful solutions.

    After missing a series of self-imposed deadlines, Republican leaders slapped together a half-hearted joke — the plan largely ignored the uninsured, did nothing for those with pre-existing conditions, and offered nothing for those worried about losing coverage when it’s needed most.

    That was 28 months ago. The GOP hasn’t even tried to do any real policy work on the issue since.

    Republicans are eager for the Supreme Court to turn back the clock, undo the recent national progress, and strip Americans who’ve benefited from the Affordable Care Act of their coverage and protections, but even now, GOP officials haven’t the foggiest idea what, if anything, they’d do for struggling American families if “Obamacare” is repealed or struck down.

    A ruling striking down the health law could pose future political problems for Republicans if Americans are still unable to find affordable health insurance or if policies provide inadequate coverage.

    Republican lawmakers with experience on health care issues acknowledge that they will have to take action should the health law fall, and planning for the next steps has kicked into high gear. […]

    “Our wheels are beginning to turn,” said Representative Fred Upton, Republican of Michigan and chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which would have a large role in developing Republican alternatives to the Obama health care law.

    Is that so. Three years after beginning work on a Republican alternative on health care reform, and two years after assuring the public that GOP policymakers will “replace” the Affordable Care Act with a credible policy after Obamacare is “repealed,” now Republicans’ “wheels are beginning to turn”?

    The point here is not to simply laugh at GOP officials’ reluctance to take policy matters seriously. Rather, the point is the larger salience for the public that couldn’t rely on the dysfunctional mess the Affordable Care Act has been cleaning up.

    As Greg Sargent explained, “Now that Obamacare’s demise is a real possibility, the question of what Republicans would do instead is no longer a symbolic one. Republicans can no longer rail about repealing Obamacare, secure in the knowledge that they don’t have to come up with anything to replace it. They may very well get their way… So again, what do Republicans … think the federal government should do for the nation’s tens of millions of uninsured? Is the answer basically ‘Nothing’?”

  12. rikyrah says:

    Romney Is Failed by His Surrogates. Again.
    Jamelle Bouie
    April 4, 2012
    Another admission that the former Massachusetts governor plans to change his tune as soon as the primaries end.

    That Mitt Romney plans to change his rhetoric for the general election is not a surprise, but it would behoove the campaign not to emphasize the point. Moreover, they would be well-served by avoiding words like “real views,” which suggests that the former Massachusetts governor is lying to conservatives, and intends to reveal his inner moderate to the public at large once it’s too late for Republicans to make a different choice.

    For my part, I’m not sure why anyone would trust Romney either way. If he’s willing to lie to win the nomination, what’s to say that his “real views” aren’t lies either? And if he wins the White House on the strength of those lies, who is to say that he won’t stop lying once in office? Given the degree to which Romney’s campaign is actually defined by mendacious dishonesty, this is a question that all voters need to answer, not just conservatives.

  13. Tunisia ‏ @symmetry11:

    5 New Orleans police officers get sentences ranging from 6 to 65 yrs for Danziger Bridge shootings.

  14. The NAACP ‏ @NAACP:

    This year, NAACP units across the country will register thousands of Americans to exercise their fundamental…

  15. Ametia says:

    Romney Says Obama Hides His Agenda
    Published: April 4, 2012

    WASHINGTON — The day after his clean sweep of three Republican primaries, Mitt Romney attacked President Obama on Wednesday for a “hide-and-seek campaign” that disguises his real intentions on the budget, foreign policy, energy and other policy touchstones.

    Appearing before a group of journalists that had hosted the president on Tuesday, Mr. Romney began by recalling Mr. Obama’s recent comment to Russia’s leader, in a moment picked up by a live microphone, that his flexibility on foreign policy would increase after the election.

    “That incident calls his candor into serious question,” Mr. Romney said, and he asked on what other issues Mr. Obama would disclose his plans only after re-election.

  16. Ametia says:

    BlackBerry remains official Washington’s smartphone even as its maker’s fortunes decline
    By Cecilia Kang, Published: April 3

    Outside Washington, the world is moving at warp speed away from the BlackBerry. At its maker, profits are declining and executives are leaving, and the BlackBerry has even conceded its perch as the top smartphone in its native Canada.

    Inside the Beltway, time stands still. A half million federal workers — President Obama and his staff among them — are still thumbing little black keyboards on little black devices. And that number hasn’t dipped over the past few years while Research in Motion, BlackBerry’s maker, has recorded plummeting sales everywhere else.

  17. Ametia says:

    A federal judge Wednesday sentenced five former New Orleans police officers to prison terms ranging from six to 65 years for the shootings of unarmed civilians in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, prosecutors said.

    The ex-officers were convicted in August on a combined 25 counts of civil rights violations in the shootings, which occurred on the Danziger Bridge on September 4, 2005, six days after much of New Orleans went underwater when the powerful hurricane slammed into the Gulf Coast.

    The stiffest sentence went to former Officer Robert Faulcon, who was handed a 65-year term. Kenneth Bowen and Robert Gecivius got 40 years; Robert Villvaso, 38 years; and former detective Arthur Kaufman was sentenced to six years, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in New Orleans.

    Prosecutors argued the officers opened fire on an unarmed family, killing 17-year-old James Brissette and wounding four others. Minutes later, one of the officers shot and killed Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old man described by Justice Department officials as having severe mental disabilities and who was trying to flee the scene when he was shot, according to a Justice Department statement.

    One of the officers allegedly “stomped and kicked” Madison before he died, the statement noted.

  18. rikyrah says:

    FYI for readers in the NYCity area.

    Blair Underwood as STANLEY KOWALSKI

    In A Streetcar Named Desire

    Nicole Ari Parker as BLANCHE DUBOIS

  19. rikyrah says:

    What constitutes ‘the left’
    By Steve Benen – Wed Apr 4, 2012 2:45 PM EDT.

    President Obama speaks at an Associated Press luncheon on Tuesday.
    When President Obama spoke at an Associated Press luncheon yesterday, he reminded campaign journalists about the false-equivalence fallacy. He noted, for example, “I think that there is often times the impulse to suggest that if the two parties are disagreeing, then they’re equally at fault and the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and an equivalence is presented — which reinforces I think people’s cynicism about Washington generally.”

    He added, “So as all of you are doing your reporting, I think it’s important to remember that the positions I’m taking now on the budget and a host of other issues, if we had been having this discussion 20 years ago, or even 15 years ago, would have been considered squarely centrist positions. What’s changed is the center of the Republican Party.”

    James Fallows, who has waged a worthy crusade against false equivalencies, noted how “heartening” it was to hear Obama make the comments, “in particular before this crowd.”

    If only that crowd took the president’s encouragement more seriously. Here’s an AP piece published today on Obama’s remarks.

    Few would quarrel with President Barack Obama’s point that the Republican Party has drifted to the right in recent years, disavowing ideas it once embraced — even created. But making that case in a major campaign speech, Obama ignored realities in his own Democratic ranks. […]

    [I]f Republicans have moved to the right on health care, it’s also true that Obama has moved to the left. He strenuously opposed a mandate forcing people to obtain health insurance until he won office and changed his mind.

    With all due respect to the AP’s Calvin Woodward, this just isn’t true. Worse, it doesn’t make sense.


    It’s true that Obama changed his position on the mandate policy, but to characterize this as moving “to the left” ignores all of the relevant details — the mandate was a conservative idea, embraced by Republican policymakers for years.

    When a Democrat adopts a Republican policy, that’s not proof of the Democrat moving “to the left.”

    What’s more, as Brian Beutler noted, “In the early aughts, as a member of the Illinois state Senate, Obama strongly supported a single-payer health care system.”

    So, Obama went from supporting single-payer to adopting a plan designed by Mitt Romney and backed by moderate Republicans in the ’90s. The AP sees this as proof of Obama becoming more liberal on health care.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Charles Blow was sent a racist voicemail because of the Trayvon Martin Case:

  21. rikyrah says:

    Romney To Obama: I Know You Are, But What Am I?
    Benjy Sarlin- April 4, 2012, 2:15 PM

    Call it the “I’m rubber, you’re glue” election.

    Running President Bush’s campaigns, Karl Rove became famous for taking his opponent’s single biggest strength and turning it into his biggest weakness. Mitt Romney is laying out another approach: taking his own top vulnerabilities and projecting them onto his opponent.

    As Romney begins to settle into the role of presumptive nominee, he is deploying the strategy more and more. On Wednesday, Romney addressed the Newspaper Association of America in Washington, D.C. only a day after President Obama spoke there, delivering his his toughest speech yet. Obama targeted Romney and the House GOP with a slew of attacks that will likely help define the general election.

    The contrast between the two speeches was striking. Name an accusation Obama and Democrats have used against Romney, and chances are you heard the same charge leveled against Obama in Romney’s speech.

    The most obvious: flip-flopping. Ever since Romney recast himself as a conservative, pro-life Republican for his 2008 presidential run after previously cultivating an image as a moderate blue-state governor, it’s been his most persistent vulnerability. Romney’s dealt with this in 2012 partly by presenting proposals so vague as to be impossible to judge by either side, most notably a giant tax-cut plan that doesn’t include how it will be paid for and a subsidized voucher plan for Medicare that doesn’t say how large the subsidies will be. Romney explicitly said he avoided fleshing out his proposals because doing so makes them vulnerable to political attack, a lesson he said he learned after calling for the elimination of the Department of Education failed 1994 race against Sen. Ted Kennedy.

    Obama mentioned this dynamic in his speech, without naming Romney specifically, saying that the GOP was trying to conceal the scale of their proposed budget cuts by not naming which programs would be affected.

    “You can anticipate Republicans may say, ‘Well, we’ll avoid some of these cuts’ — since they don’t specify exactly the cuts that they would make,” Obama said. ”But they can only avoid some of these cuts if they cut even deeper in other areas. This is math.”

    Romney’s opening attack against Obama: He’s a flip-flopper in waiting who won’t release his true plans for political reasons. He led off with a lengthy accusation that the president’s “hot mic” remark to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he’ll have more “flexibility” to negotiate an arms deal after the election proves he can’t be trusted.

    “He is intent on hiding,” Romney said. “You and I will have to do the seeking.”

    Romney applied the same logic to Obama’s economic agenda.

    “Unlike President Obama, you don’t have to wait until after the election to find out what I believe in — or what my plans are,” Romney said. “I have a pro-growth agenda that will get our economy back on track — and get Americans back to work.”

    Romney took a similar tack in rebutting one of the most prominent charges Obama lobbed at the House GOP’s budget on Wednesday, which Romney strongly supports despite offering his own alternatives, regarding Medicare. Obama accused Republicans of dramatically reducing seniors’ Medicare benefits over time in order to reduce the deficit — Democrats’ most prominent objection to the Ryan budget in general.

    “The only reason the government will save any money — it won’t be on our books — is because we’ve shifted it to seniors,” Obama said. ”They’ll bear more of the costs themselves. It’s a bad idea, and it will ultimately end Medicare as we know it.”

    Romney responded in kind. He began by repeating his claim that Obama
    “doesn’t have” a plan to make Medicare spending sustainable, then pivoted to accuse Obama of … enacting a plan to cut Medicare in order to make its spending more sustainable.

    “In over three years, he has failed to enact or even propose a serious plan to solve our entitlement crisis,” Romney said. “Instead, he has taken a series of steps that end Medicare as we know it.”

    Then almost immediately afterwards Romney cites the Affordable Care Act’s provisions aimed at controlling Medicare spending as a negative: “To control Medicare costs, he has created an unelected, unaccountable panel with the power to prevent Medicare from providing certain treatments,” Romney said. He also criticized Obama for trimming $500 billion from Medicare Advantage over the next decade — even as the Ryan budget he support contains the exact same cuts.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Nikki Haley On Fox & Friends: It’s Amazing ‘What A Bully Obama Has Suddenly Become’
    Videoby Alex Alvarez | 9:10 am, April 4th, 2012

    South Carolina governor Nikki Haley stopped by the set of Fox & Friends Wednesday morning where she spoke, in part, about Rep. Paul Ryan‘s plan and reports that she is being investigated for tax fraud.

    “How do you not get angry at that?” Haley asked of President Obama calling Ryan’s budget plan radical. “I mean, this is a man that doesn’t understand the increase in debt. This is a man that doesn’t understand that spending has to stop. And this is a man who continues to go back to the New Deal himself, thinking government is the answer to everything that’s wrong.”

    When asked about news reports that she is being investigated by the Department of Justice for having possibly committed tax fraud, Governor Haley explained that “what this comes down to is the IRS issued a report that there never even was an examination. It was completely false.”

    She also criticized the media for picking up news items written by “unaccountable bloggers that cite anonymous sources.”

    “Blogs are taking over more and more,” she continued, “but they’re causing more problems because so much of it’s not true. So you end up causing distraction as opposed to just focusing on governing and policy.”

    When asked about health care, Haley offered some criticism of the President:

    We asked him to speed the track that it was on. What is amazing is what a bully President Obama has suddenly become. Here was a man that came in with “hope and change,” and now he’s bullying his way. He’s bullying his way on Paul Ryan, saying that he’s not coming up with an adequate budget, now he’s bullying the Supreme Court, saying “no, they won’t reverse this, they won’t go against this on this.” That’s not how things work. He has to lead. He shown no sort of leadership when it comes to balancing the budget. He’s shown no leadership when it comes to allowing the states to do the will of the people. He continues to say no. To everything.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s idea of a ‘hide and seek’ campaign
    By Steve Benen – Wed Apr 4, 2012 1:23 PM EDT

    .I’ll have a more detailed take on Mitt Romney’s speech in D.C. this afternoon a little later, but there was one claim in particular that’s worth special scrutiny.

    Romney argued today that President Obama’s campaign strategy is to “re-elect him so we can find out what he will actually do.” The likely Republican nominee added, “With all the challenges the nation faces, this is not the time for President Obama’s hide and seek campaign…. Unlike President Obama, you don’t have to wait until after the election to find out what I believe in — or what my plans are.”

    I don’t expect much from Romney, but this one managed to amaze me.

    Let’s revisit what Romney told the Weekly Standard last week.

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

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

    In other words, Romney could talk in detail about his post-election intentions, but he chooses not to. Why? Because voters might not like the truth, so the former governor believes it’s better to hide it from them. Americans are supposed to vote for Romney first, then discover what he’d do in office. Thanks to the Etch A Sketch, even the vague commitments Romney is making now may be discarded before November.

    Remember, his remarks to the Weekly Standard came just last week. This week, Romney’s saying that Obama is guilty of playing Romney’s “hide and seek” game.

    The former governor is taking the whole “rubber/glue” strategy to depths I hardly thought possible.

  24. rikyrah says:

    To Catch A Primary: Bruning Accuses Opponent Of Following His Daughter On Twitter

    Eric Kleefeld- April 4, 2012, 10:20 AM

    A debate Tuesday night in Nebraska for the Republican primary for Senate took a turn for the awkward when state Attorney General Jon Bruning accused his main opponent, former state Attorney General Don Stenberg, of stalking Bruning’s 14-year old daughter on Twitter.

    The Omaha World-Herald was there for the action.

    Bruning said that this past weekend, his daughter told him Stenberg tried to follow her. “Now you tell me — I’d like to know, why does a 62-year-old man want to follow a 14-year-old girl on Twitter. I’d really like to know. She said, ‘Dad, that’s kind of creepy.’”

    A decidedly flustered Stenberg said that he does not manage the campaign’s Twitter account himself, but that it is done by his campaign.

    Bruning dug in further: “You tried to follow her on Twitter, Don. That’s kind of weird.”

  25. rikyrah says:

  26. rikyrah says:

    Trayvon Martin and the Abandonment of Justice
    By Charles P. Pierce
    at 12:33PM

    The other day, the blog took a brief survey of how the non-Tucker Carlson operations of the Trayvon Martin counteroffensive was playing out among our friends over on the Right. It seems that National Review has decided to draw on its historically deep and abiding concern for the welfare of African Americans and commit itself wholeheartedly to the notion that the only reason liberals want to talk about the shooting of Trayvon Martin is that they hate white people so much, and that they choose to ignore what those young black savages have been doing to each other ever since the country failed to heed old Bill Buckley’s warning about that lawless bastard, Martin Luther King, Jr. Also, liberals are the ones in the gated communities of the media who aren’t down with embattled black youth the way that writers at the National Review always have been.

    (Can we say before we start that Ta-Nehisi Coates consulted our friend Mr. Google and pretty much put paid to this bullshit the other day, and made Juan Williams look foolish in the process? Bonus!)

    The latest sonata on the house organ comes from one Lee Habeeb, who pretends to be concerned that white liberals did not care about the beating death of Albert Vaughn enough to have Al Sharpton start shouting about it:

    You don’t know the name of those other 22 kids from Julian High School who died in 2008. You don’t know any of the other 530 young people, most of them minorities, who were killed between 2008 and January of 2012 in Chicago alone.All of them were tragedies. All of those victims were too young to die. Why didn’t you hear about their senseless deaths? Why didn’t the media make them household names? Why didn’t civil-rights leaders march, and march and march again, calling for justice? Because they were not killed by a white guy.

    Not sure why I didn’t read about them in National Review, either. But we continue, and you know what’s coming next, right? Because there’s one name that doesn’t appear in Habeeb’s tinpot cri de coeur:

    Nathaniel Tucker.

    The Chicago police arriving at the crime scene did not pick up Tucker and leave without doing the most basic police work.

    Police chased Tucker as he fled into a building about a block away and found him hiding under several blankets, prosecutors said. The aluminum bat was recovered behind the front door, court documents show.

    The Chicago police did not take Tucker to the police station in handcuffs and then release him without charge.

    Tucker was identified as the offender by several police officers and paramedics at the scene and in lineups by two individuals who were involved in the Saturday night fight, prosecutors said. Tucker is on parole for a 2005 conviction for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. He was sentenced to 3 years in prison in that case. His parole was scheduled to end in June 2009, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections. He has two other felony convictions on his record.

    Tucker’s lawyer said that Tucker was only defending himself against Vaughn, and that the dead boy was the aggressor throughout. He did not, however, get to run this rap on national television, and white conservative talk-show hosts did not broadcast her claims throughout the nation, and white conservative writers did not leap to support poor Nathaniel Tucker, who was scared about what Albert Vaughn could have done to him. And Vaughn was carrying something more than Skittles and an iced-tea.

    Vaughn, whom the defense alleges was a masterful fighter, allegedly struck Tucker’s cousin, prompting people aligned with both men to argue with one another, Assistant State’s Atty Mary Anna Planey said. When police arrived at the party in the 7000 block of South Throop Street, they saw Vaughn and one of his brothers carrying sticks with nails protruding from them. Police ordered them to drop the sticks and they complied..Tucker’s attorney, Tony Eben, said Vaughn and his friends were the aggressors in the altercation and Vaughn already had knocked out one person with a punch and armed himself with a board with protruding nails. He said if Tucker did strike Vaughn with a bat, it was in self-defense.

    This, of course, is all knee-jerk deflection and misdirection. The national outrage over the shooting of Trayvon Martin for the crime of carrying Skittles and iced tea in a neighborhood where George Zimmerman thought he didn’t belong is about the abandonment of justice. (It may also be about typical small-town backscratching, which would make it all the worse. A shooting of an unarmed black kid gets treated like it’s a local zoning problem to be solved over lunch at the Rotary.) If Zimmerman were in jail, or if he were free on bail awaiting trial, this would have been a one-week story back in February. It might have come back to life when and if a trial was held. But the Sanford cops let the man go without even pretending to investigate. There was a story yesterday that the FBI is going door-to-door in the neighborhood, looking for other witnesses. A kid shot to death, and the shooter in custody, and the local cops didn’t even do a canvass? Lt. Anita Van Buren would have had somebody’s head on a stick. Yeah, but all the fuss is really about white liberals who hate America.

    Read more:

  27. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:52 PM ET, 04/04/2012

    Elizabeth Warren’s story, not Scott Brown’s `independence,’ may decide Senate race
    By Greg Sargent

    Today Senator Scott Brown is appearing at the White House to witness the signing of a bill he pushed in the Senate — part of Brown’s effort to build his credentials as bipartisan and independent of the national GOP.

    There’s little doubt that Brown has successfully burnished those credentials, and he’s maintained high favorability ratings in the face of Elizabeth Warren’s challenge. A recent Boston Globe poll found that 49 percent see Brown as more willing than Warren to work across party lines, and 57 percent view him favorably.

    But here’s the question: How much will Brown’s positive ratings matter to the outcome? The most decisive factor may end up being how Warren is viewed. The race may turn on whether Brown can drive up Warren’s negatives — not whether he can keep his own positives high.

    The Globe poll finds that despite Brown’s clear success in coming across as bipartisan and likeable, the two are still statistically deadlocked at 37-35, with 26 percent undecided. Even though many Massachusetts voters have accepted Brown’s arguments about himself, one-fourth haven’t made up their minds.

    What’s more, Dems believe the election will turn on roughly 800,000 voters who did not come out in the special election that Brown won in 2010 — but will come out this fall, because it’s a presidential year. Many of these voters are believed to be Obama supporters.

    To win reelection, Brown will have to win over many voters who didn’t vote for him the first time — and who may be more receptive to the national Dem message than to the Republican one.

    This is why job one for national Republicans and conservative groups has been to try to drive up Warren’s negatives. They’ve hammered her for months as a Harvard elitist and Occupy Wall Street sympathizer, in hopes of rendering her unacceptable to culturally conservative Dems and independents who will back Obama in November.

    These voters may already see Brown as likeable and independent of the national GOP. Their vote, however, may turn on what they think of Warren. According to the Globe poll, Warren, too, remains well-liked — despite months of attacks on her character. Yes, Brown is more liked than Warren. But she is not disliked, either — and this could be key.

    The pact against outside spending adds a twist: It’s on Brown and the national GOP to drive up her negatives — with a negative campaign.

    None of this means Warren doesn’t face an extremely tough road ahead. Both sides think this will come down to the wire. But it may turn on this: If undecideds accept the Brown/GOP version of Warren — pointy-headed Harvard professor who thinks she knows how to spend ordinary folks’ money better than they do — he wins.

    But if they accept her story as she tells it — maintenance man’s daughter who made good, went to Harvard, and emerged as a major fighter for the middle class, with the best ideas on how to fortify it — she wins.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Conspiracy Theory
    Posted on 04/03/2012 at 5:00 pm by JM Ashby
    This needs no introduction. Just look.

    A FOX News anchor tweeted to followers on Tuesday to ask their take on a fringe conspiracy site’s suggestion that President Obama threatened to kill Chelsea Clinton in order to cover up a forged birth certificate.

    FOX anchor Heather Childers, who only recently joined the network, asked: “Thoughts? Did Obama Campaign Threaten Chelsea Clinton’s Life 2 Keep Parents Silent?” with a link to the post on birther hub When confronted on Twitter by liberal watchdog Media Matters, Childers responded:”I know Media Matters strives 2b FACTUALLY correct so attach the article plz. I was asking 4 opinion.”

    Childers was just putting the theory out there. The viewers can decide if it’s true or not. We all know Fox viewers are a skeptical bunch who don’t believe everything they’re told, right?

    Fair and Balanced.

    I don’t even know what to file this under. Racism? Birtherism? Batshit Insanity? All of the above?

  29. rikyrah says:

    Elizabeth Catlett, Sculptor With Eye on Social Issues, Is Dead at 96
    Published: April 3, 2012

    Elizabeth Catlett, whose abstracted sculptures of the human form reflected her deep concern with the African-American experience and the struggle for civil rights, died on Monday at her home in Cuernavaca, Mexico, where she had lived since the late 1940s. She was 96.

    June Kelly, one of her American dealers, said Ms. Catlett died in her sleep.

    In her smoothly modeled clay, wood and stone sculptures, and vigorous woodcuts and linocuts, Ms. Catlett drew on her experience as an African-American woman who had come of age at a time of widespread segregation and who had felt its sting. But her art had other influences, including pre-Columbian sculpture, Henry Moore’s sensuous reclining nudes and Diego Rivera’s political murals.

    Her best-known works depict black women as strong, maternal figures. In one early sculpture, “Mother and Child” (1939), a young woman with close-cropped hair and features resembling a Gabon mask cradles a child against her shoulder. It won first prize in sculpture at the American Negro Exposition in Chicago. In a recent piece, “Bather” (2009), a similar-looking subject flexes her triceps in a gesture of vitality and confidence.

    Her art did not exclude men; “Invisible Man,” her 15-foot-high bronze memorial to the author Ralph Ellison, can be seen in Riverside Park in Manhattan, at 150th Street.

    Her art was often presented in the United States, in major surveys in the 1960s and ’70s in particular, among them “Two Centuries of Black American Art,” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1976. Her posters of Harriet Tubman, Angela Davis, Malcolm X and other figures were widely distributed.

    Alice Elizabeth Catlett was born on April 15, 1915, in Washington, the youngest of three children. Her mother, the former Mary Carson, was a truant officer; her father, John, who died before she was born, had taught at Tuskegee University and in the local public school system.

    Ms. Catlett became an educator, too. After graduating cum laude from Howard University in 1935, she taught high school in Durham, N.C.

    Howard hadn’t been her first choice. She had won a scholarship to the Carnegie Institute of Technology, in Pittsburgh, but the college refused to allow her to matriculate when it learned she was black. So she entered historically black Howard, with one semester’s worth of tuition saved by her mother. She earned scholarships to cover the rest.

  30. rikyrah says:

    The rubber-glue phenomenon
    By Steve Benen – Wed Apr 4, 2012 10:55 AM EDT.

    Just a couple of weeks ago, Rachel explained an annoying habit politicians and campaigns invariably pick up. She called it the “I’m rubber, you’re glue; whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you” technique.

    It’s a basic idea we’ve all seen many times. A politician and his or her team identify their biggest weaknesses and then start accusing their rival of being guilty of that same thing.

    Mitt Romney seems eager to perfect this technique.

    Romney’s most glaring policy problem is his abysmal jobs record — he failed in Massachusetts and orchestrated mass layoffs at his vulture-capital firm — so he accuses President Obama of failing to create jobs. Romney intends to end Medicare and replace it with a voucher scheme, so he accuses Obama of undermining Medicare. Romney favors European-style austerity and spent several years in France, so he accuses Obama of wanting to turn the U.S. into Europe.

    But last night, Romney unveiled a new line. Here was his speech in Wisconsin, after winning the state’s Republican primary:

    Here’s the quote that stood out for me:

    “President Obama thinks he’s doing a good job. No, I’m not kidding. He actually thinks he’s doing a great job. An historically great job. According to the President, only Lincoln, FDR and Lyndon Johnson have accomplished more. And no, he didn’t say that on Saturday Night Live.

    “It’s enough to make you think that years of flying around on Air Force One, surrounded by an adoring staff of True Believers telling you what a great job you are doing, well, that might be enough to make you a little out of touch.”

    For now, let’s put aside the fact that Romney is misquoting Obama, and instead focus on the real issue here: Romney thinks the president is “out of touch.” Yes, he said this with a straight face.


    This from the guy who needs an elevator for his cars. This from the guy who doesn’t let his quarter-of-a-billion-dollar fortune stop him from joking about being “unemployed.” This from the guy who finds stories about factory layoffs “humorous.”

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

    But his new line is that Obama is “out of touch.”

    Why? Probably because he knows how vulnerable he is on this, so he’s trying to muddy the waters. Maybe, the thinking goes, if voters can be convinced that both major party candidates are “out of touch,” Romney won’t suffer too much.

    Given Romney’s wealth and recent history, though, it’s hard to imagine anyone finding this persuasive.

  31. The Story of “Fired up! Ready to go!” – Obama for America 2012

  32. rikyrah says:

    Damaged goods, send them back
    By DougJ, Head of Infidelity April 4th, 2012

    I realize there’s nothing more wankerly than excerpting something from First Read I saw on PoliticalWire, but this is good, on Republican responses to Obama’s speech yesterday:

    The responses from the elected Republicans, while not QUITE as vitriolic, were similarly worded and focused. Bottom line: Their reaction seemed to be: How dare the president campaign against us! And as we pointed out yesterday, Obama isn’t necessarily running against Mitt Romney; he’s running against the Republican Party brand—and making sure that Romney owns that brand. In fact, Romney’s biggest challenge over the next two or three months will be for him to differentiate himself from the brand. There’s been a lot of focus of late on how damaged Romney has become in this process (his high negatives with indies, etc). But we’ve noticed a larger trend: The brand of the GOP is what’s been damaged; Romney may simply be collateral damage. And this is why he has to figure out a way to either improve the GOP’s brand or differentiate himself. Which can he achieve?

    The criticism of Romney for being “out of touch” etc. make me a bit uncomfortable. I’ll go along with them because I’m an unserious partisan, but generally speaking, you can spare me the beer primary. The criticism of Romney as a party hack who will do whatever the wingers in Congress want him to do, on the other hand, is right on the money. That’s why Romney scares me so much. He may not be a crazy motherfucker from around the way, but Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor are.

    If and when Romney loses in November, there will be a lot of Republican handwringing about how a “rock star” like Chris Christie or Marco Rubio would have won. But the fault lies not in their stars but in themselves, that they are lunatics.

    • Ametia says:

      BWA HA HA I heard Chuck Todd mention the Rethugs whining about PBO’s smackdown as I was headed out the door to work this morning. PBO’s taking NO PRISONERS. And is totally on the OFFENSIVE with these lying, obstructionist, fools. The Repubican Party is DEAD.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Get Ready for a War on Reason
    by BooMan
    Wed Apr 4th, 2012 at 11:32:11 AM EST

    I saw this over at Taegan’s place:

    First Read points out that President Obama “isn’t necessarily running against Mitt Romney; he’s running against the Republican Party brand — and making sure that Romney owns that brand. In fact, Romney’s biggest challenge over the next two or three months will be for him to differentiate himself from the brand.”

    “There’s been a lot of focus of late on how damaged Romney has become in this process (his high negatives with indies, etc). But we’ve noticed a larger trend: The brand of the GOP is what’s been damaged; Romney may simply be collateral damage. And this is why he has to figure out a way to either improve the GOP’s brand or differentiate himself. Which can he achieve?”

    I suppose this is correct. Romney either has to go running away from the modern GOP with his perfect hair on fire or he has to sell the modern GOP as the answer to all our problems. But before we even get started on this analysis, can we stipulate that Romney is a gigantic flip-flopper? Just this morning we learn that Romney was a strong supporter of Cap and Trade as recently as 2003. We have advisers saying he can reinvent himself as soon as he wraps up the nomination just like an Etch a Sketch. We have his wife saying that they will soon unzip the real Romney, and a Republican pro-choice former governor saying that Romney will close the gender gap once he exposes his “real views” on women’s issues.

    I know the American people are bored to death by the nominating process but in a digital age you simply can’t get away with saying one thing today and another thing tomorrow. Even if people didn’t see it when you said you were going to destroy Planned Parenthood, they’ll hear about it later, especially if you turn around and say you’re going to fund it to the gills. So, yes, we can agree that the modern GOP has a spoiled brand, but Romney has branded himself as wishy-washy and unprincipled and soulless. He can perhaps overcome that first impression, but not by more flip-flopping. In fact, I’d say that Mitt Romney has less room to move to the center than any candidate I’ve ever seen.

    And that may explain why he basically gave up on that idea by embracing Paul Ryan’s radical budget plan and traveling around Wisconsin with Ryan attached to his hip. The president ably demonstrated yesterday how vulnerable the Republicans have made themselves by voting for the Ryan Plan. In response, the right is flailing in agonized pain. Their only response is sustained, systemic lying of the kind that makes all statisticians and logicians die a little bit every single day.

    And it’s really hard to maintain a program of sustained and systemic lying. Bush and Cheney were successful for several post-9/11 years in leading this country into war under the threat of a mushroom cloud, but even they eventually became the boys who cried wolf. And they had a critical advantage. They had the power of incumbency.

    Ask yourself, who is more credible, Mitt Romney or President Obama? It would take unimaginable amounts of money and the ability to create free media for himself at any time for Romney to have any chance of convincing a majority of the people that Paul Ryan’s budget plan is good for them. In a Citizens United world with a mighty right-wing media wurlitzer, this isn’t totally out of the question, but it seems unlikely to work.

    The truth, though, is that Romney will try to move to the center at the same time that he tries to sell Ryan’s radical plan. And here’s what I think will happen.

    The most damaging thing about Sarah Palin wasn’t who she was or what she said. The most damaging thing was that she forced ordinary Republicans to pretend she was qualified and prepared to be president. She destroyed people’s integrity. She convinced millions to abandon any standards of logic or reason. And the result was a massive outbreak of really hateful stupidity: “I want Medicare, not socialized medicine.” Mitt Romney, in defending the math in Ryan’s plan while denying its impact on social programs, is going to force the Republicans to engage in a sixth-month tour-de-force of dishonesty where no scientific or logical standard is honored and in which scientists are disregarded and disparaged.

    It’s a Culture War on math. A Culture War on going to college. A Culture War on credentialed experts. An air war of saturation talking points, all of which do violence to the truth.

    It will be depressing. But it will also be dangerous because, as we saw with Palin, the fallout has a long half-life even if the Democrats ultimately prevail.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Haley claims women ‘don’t care about contraception’
    By Steve Benen – Wed Apr 4, 2012 9:32 AM EDT.

    Republican efforts to restrict contraception access, as part of the larger “war on women” campaign, have taken a considerable toll on the GOP, while giving Democrats a boost with more than half the electorate. It’s not surprising, then, that Republicans would start doing some damage control.

    This means making Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) a key Romney campaign surrogate; it means putting Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the only woman in the Republican leadership in either chamber, in front of reporters; and it means dispatching South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) to appear on “The View.”

    The line that stands out in this clip, of course, is Haley’s attempt to deflect her party’s responsibility: “Women don’t care about contraception; they care about jobs and the economy and raising their families and all those things…. The media wants to talk about contraception.”

    Right, it’s the media’s fault. Remember when major news organizations got together to encourage Republican policymakers to introduce legislation — at the state and federal level — to restrict access to birth control? No?

    This wasn’t the media’s fault; it wasn’t an elaborate Democratic trap; Sandra Fluke is not to blame; there is no conspiracy. Republicans picked this fight because they thought it’d be an election-year winner, but they soon discovered that women do care about contraception.

    The South Carolina governor added, “All we’re saying is we don’t want government to mandate when we have to have it or when we don’t.”

    What? Who, exactly, is trying to mandate when women take contraception? I can appreciate the GOP’s need to undo some of the recent damage it’s done to the party’s standing with women, but the efforts are more likely to succeed if the arguments are coherent.

  35. Michelle Obama will appear on “The Colbert Report,” reports @jeneps:

    • rikyrah says:

      if they really wanna mock him, they need to pull out those old Billy Crystal SNL clips of his Fernando skit.

      ” you look marvelous’.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:18 AM ET, 04/04/2012 Only one party is really attacking the judiciary. And it isn’t the Democrats.
    By Jonathan Bernstein
    The faux outrage at Barack Obama’s supposed attack on the Supreme Court hit a new low yesterday. I’m all for recognizing that the judiciary is a political branch. But that doesn’t mean judges should get their talking points from Fox News.

    To recap: A Fifth Circuit Appeals Judge, Jerry Smith, “demanded a letter explaining whether Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. believes federal judges have the authority to strike down federal laws,” in response to Obama’s claim that it would be “unprecedented” if the health law were overturned.

    As Kevin Drum said, Smith was “acting like a middle school teacher handing out punishment to a student because of something her father said at a city council meeting the night before.”

    This episode, along with last week’s appearance of broccoli tyranny in the questions of conservative Supreme Court justices, suggests that perhaps Federalist Society judges are spending a little too much time with Fox News and the rest of the Republican partisan press and not enough time with, you know, law books. Obviously the Obama administration hasn’t hinted at any challenge to judicial review.

    This is looking a lot like our old friend, the conservative information feedback loop, in which Republican party actors get all their information from conservative media and from talking to each other, leading them to give credence and even legitimacy to the wildest of false claims.

    What’s more, all the fuss about Obama’s suggestion that the Court might not want to toss out a major federal law for the first time in decades without really good reasons seems misplaced, when you consider that … a major plank in the GOP platform for the last few years has been to strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over entire areas of federal law.

    Newt Gingrich is making this a major portion of his campaign right now. Another onetime major presidential candidate, Rick Perry, has vowed to disregard negative Supreme Court rulings.

    Let’s hop into the wayback machine all the way back to December 27:

    Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry said during a GOP candidates forum Tuesday night that the Supreme Court should not be able to challenge anti-abortion measures.
    Gingrich said legislation he would support as president would prohibit judicial review. Perry simply asserted that he would ignore a negative ruling by the Supreme Court in such a case.
    In other words, there really is a current problem with one political party promoting radical actions to destroy judicial review, and it isn’t the president’s party. When Obama threatens to ignore a negative ruling from the court or to include (as Gingrich says he would) an “exclusionary” clause in bills in order to supposedly make them non-judiciable — neither of which have happened yet — then we have something to talk about. In the meantime, as Adam Serwer suggests: “Maybe Judge Smith should get his own blog at RedState

  37. rikyrah says:

    Female vote crucial for Obama, Romney
    By Amie Parnes – 04/04/12 05:00 AM ET

    GOP front-runner Mitt Romney needs to better tout his economic agenda and toss social issues aside if he wants to regain his footing with women and narrow the growing gender gap that President Obama has enjoyed in recent weeks, Republican strategists say.

    In the wake of the divisive contraception battle—which recently helped bolster Obama among women in a string of polls in a dozen swing states– Republicans say Romney needs to turn to spending issues which resound with a large swath of the electorate.

    The contraception issue was very damaging for Republicans and it was a huge turnoff to women voters,” said Tony Fratto, a Republican strategist who served as deputy press secretary to former president George W. Bush. “It hurt the Republican brand across the board and it made it difficult for Governor Romney to stay focused on economic issues.”

    Romney needs to focus his attention on lowering gas prices and cutting spending, said Republican strategist Ron Bonjean.

    “Neither side, the Republicans or the Democrats, has been able to solidify that vote,” Bonjean said.

    In the coming months, Fratto said, Romney should focus on pro-growth policies and other issues including trade and education in an appeal to women.

    “If he can talk about education as an economic issue not a cultural issue that would benefit him,” Fratto said. “And trade has not been a good issue for Obama either.”

    Kirsten Kukowski, press secretary for the Republican National Committee, said the RNC has been ramping up efforts in recent weeks to appeal to women.

    Recently, the RNC has been reaching out to key women surrogates and women’s groups while expanding their coalition. They have also been conducting outreach meetings with Republican congresswomen and other lawmakers including Gov. Nikki Haley (R-S.C.) to learn what issues they need to be focused on to appeal to the critical demographic.

    “Do we realize that women are going to be a key voting bloc? Yes,” Kukowski said. “Do we need to bring them into the fold? Yes.”

    But so far, Romney may have some ground to make up. A USA Today/Gallup poll this week showed Obama leading the GOP front-runner 51 percent to 42 percent, a big change from last month when Obama trailed the former Massachusetts governor by two points.

  38. Ametia says:

    President Obama hosted Easter prayer breakfast. Will post video when available

    To view other live-streaming events today go here:

  39. Ametia says:

    Meanwhile, DUMB & DUMBER…..

    • Ametia says:

      LMBAO Love this comment: “Obama Biden 2012. Its gonna take a shitload of sandwiches for this clown to get to the white house.”

  40. Ametia says:

    Posted at 06:49 PM ET, 04/03/2012
    President Obama to introduce USA network telecast of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’
    By Lisa de Moraes

    President Obama will deliver an introduction to USA network’s telecast of “To Kill a Mockingbird” on Saturday, April 7 at 8 p.m. ET, the network announced Tuesday.

    Based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, the film tells the story of lawyer Atticus Finch, played by Gregory Peck, and his struggle for justice in the small fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, in the 1930s.

    “With its bold portrayal of racial injustice and strong message of tolerance, fairness and honor, the movie still resonates with audiences today,” USA noted Tuesday.

  41. Ametia says:

    Posted at 10:23 AM ET, 04/03/2012
    Harper Lee: The ‘Mockingbird’ sequel that never came to be

    By Maura Judkis

    Harper Lee’s career was as prestigious as it was short. The enigmatic author whose award-winning first novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” won the Pulitzer Prize before she decided to eschew fame, never following the novel with a second one.

    Now 85, Lee resides quietly in her hometown of Monroeville, Ala., and hasn’t granted an interview in 50 years — not even to Oprah. If she were to give one, the question that any reporter would certainly ask: Is there a SECOND BOOK?

  42. Ametia says:

    Posted at 11:11 PM ET, 04/02/2012
    Obama touts coaching daughter’s basketball team to youth title

    By David Nakamura

    It remains to be seen if President Obama can win the big game in November, but he’s come up victorious this month in another arena — helping coach daughter Sasha’s youth basketball team, the Vipers, to a tournament title.

    So said Obama on Monday night during halftime of the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament between Kentucky and Kansas. In a taped interview with CBS Sports analyst Clark Kellogg, Obama offered details of the coaching stint he held during weekends over the winter.

    The president said he helped the head coach put the girls through practices.

  43. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 09:06 AM ET, 04/04/2012
    The Morning Plum: Obamacare may perish. What would GOP do about tens of millions of uninsured?
    By Greg Sargent

    As I’ve been noting here, the Supreme Court deliberations really should be focusing the conversation a bit more on this question: If Republicans get their way, and Obamacare is struck down, what would they do about the nation’s tens of millions of uninsured?

    Today’s New York Times has a good piece in which leading Republicans are asked this question. The answer still appears to be: To Be Determined.

    GOP Rep. Fred Upton, the chair of the House Energy and Commerce, which would play a big role in developing an alternative to Obamacare, said this to the Times about the GOP plans: “Our wheels are beginning to turn.”

    Beginning to turn? Republicans vowed to come up with a replacement for Obamacare 15 months ago. There’s also this:

    Beyond some familiar ideas and slogans about “patient-centered health care,” the Republicans concede that they have far to go to come up with a comprehensive policy to fill the gap that could be left by a Supreme Court ruling this summer….

    Republicans are dusting off proposals that date back more than a decade: allowing individuals to buy health insurance across state lines, helping small businesses band together to buy insurance, offering generous tax deductions for the purchase of individual policies, expanding tax-favored health savings accounts and reining in medical malpractice suits.

    Many of these ideas were included in a package offered by Republicans in November 2009 as an alternative to legislation pushed through the House by Democrats. The Congressional Budget Office found that the Republican proposal would have reduced health insurance premiums by 5 percent to 10 percent, compared with what they would otherwise have been.
    The budget office said that the Republican proposal, offered by Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, who is now the House speaker, would have provided coverage to 3 million people, leaving 52 million uninsured .

    So, while Republicans are mulling ideas like “high risk pools” to subsidize coverage for those unable to get insurance because of medical conditions, little has changed: The “replace” part of “repeal and replace” would cover a tiny fraction of the numer that Obamacare would cover.

    The key is this: Now that Obamacare’s demise is a real possibility, the question of what Republicans would do instead is no longer a symbolic one. Republicans can no longer rail about repealing Obamacare, secure in the knowledge that they don’t have to come up with anything to replace it. They may very well get their way: Obamacare may be repealed.

    So again, what do Republicans — and all-but-certain nominee Mitt Romney, who has said the uninsured with preexisting conditions really shouldn’t have played “the game” the way they did — think the federal goverment should do for the nation’s tens of millions of uninsured? Is the answer basically Nothing? One hopes other news outlets will follow the Times’s lead and get serious about pressing for answers to this question.

  44. rikyrah says:

    Obama Steals the Show on GOP Primary Day by Mocking Romney’s Elitism
    By: Jason Easley
    April 3, 2012

    Once again GOP primary day got owned by President Obama, as he knocked down the Ryan budget and mocked Mitt Romney’s elitism.

    Here is the video of Obama mocking Romney’s love of the Ryan budget:

    President Obama addressed Mitt Romney’s support of the Ryan budget, “This is now the party’s governing platform. This is now what they are running on. One of my potential opponents, Governor Romney said he hoped a similar version of this plan from last year would be introduced as a bill on day one of his presidency. He said he’s very supportive of this new budget, and he even called it marvelous, which is word you don’t often hear when describing a budget. It’s a word you don’t often hear generally.”

    Obama specifically attacked the Ryan budget, “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.”

    He also argued against the theory of trickle down economics that serves as the basis for all Republican economic ideology, “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.”

    On a day when Mitt Romney might be able to virtually lock up the nomination, the president took the headlines away from him. The timing of the president’s remarks was no coincidence. The new version of the Ryan budget has been out there for a while. He could have delivered his remarks at any time, but the White House chose today to send the message that they aren’t going to lie down and let the Republicans dominate the headlines and airwaves will attack ads until the fall.

    The president is here to fight and he can upstage Romney and the Republicans any day of the week at any time of his choosing. Romney and the Republican message aren’t powerful enough to go toe to toe with Obama. This is a president who senses the power of his incumbency, and he is not afraid to flex his muscles and knock his opponents off the front page at will.

  45. rikyrah says:

    April 04, 2012
    Romney Molt Watch

    I was too well to watch another of Mitt Romney’s Suckerware parties last night, but now I’m rather sorry I didn’t. As the Post’s Stephen Stromberg notes, it was the first of his many, many oleaginous slithers to the middle, after sincerely assuring — for months — all the “right-wing Jacobins” that he was, is, and forever shall be “severely conservative.”

    Whole teams of expert linguists have labored to interpret that incomprehensible term, yet all they’ve come up with so far is this: It doesn’t mean what Mitt said last night. To wit …

    … although “it’s one of the greatest forces for good that this world has ever known,” I’m not naive enough to believe that free enterprise is the solution to all of our problems; and though “they need to be continuously updated, streamlined [and] modernized,” we of course understand that in a free market regulations are necessary and critical.

    Well, that didn’t take long.

    With Nixon we suffered through Nixon, then the new Nixon, then the new, new Nixon, who finished in disgrace as the new, new, new Nixon. With (the) Romney(s), we’ve already lost count.

  46. rikyrah says:

    Romney: Banking On Latino Disillusion?

    Pema Levy- April 3, 2012, 5:09 PM

    Democrats have been working hard to portray Mitt Romney as the most radical candidate on immigration in modern history. He has, they note, promised to veto the Dream Act, urged “self-deportation” and tapped the architect of the controversial Arizona and Alabama immigration laws as a campaign adviser.

    Many observers are waiting for Romney to tamp down his immigration rhetoric as part of his pivot to the general election. But some immigration activists suggest he’ll take a slightly different tack: Instead of softening his stance to win over Latino voters, they expect Romney will simply try to disenchant them so they don’t vote for Obama.

    Immigration “has always been a priority for the president he chooses to do nothing about,” Romney told supporters in Wisconsin on Monday.

    He campaigned saying he was going to reform immigration laws and simplify and protect the border and so forth. Then, he had two years with a Democrat House and Democrat Senate, and a super majority in each house, and he did nothing. So let the immigrant community not forget that while he uses this as a political — as a political weapon, he does not take responsibility for fixing the problems we have.

    Paul Ryan, on the trail with the former Massachusetts governor, followed Romney’s lead Monday, blaming Obama for not pushing reform. “This has to be something the president and the Congress makes a priority. This president has clearly not made it a priority,” Ryan said. “It’s a broken system, it doesn’t work for anybody. And we need to fix it so that we’re not finding ourselves having to go back every 10 years.” Neither Romney nor Ryan offered any details on how Republicans intend to fix it.

    Last month, a Fox News Latino poll showed Romney and the rest of the GOP field doing abysmally with Latino voters, largely because of their stance on immigration. Rumor has it that Republicans in the Senate are crafting their own version of the DREAM Act in the wake of such harrowing poll numbers.

    Romney’s attack on the administration doesn’t yet amount to a change in his own positions, though many Democrats believe that will come eventually. Given what Romney has stood for, to say Obama hasn’t done enough on immigration is “cynical in the extreme,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of the pro-immigration reform group America’s Voice. But, Sharry said, cynicism is precisely what Romney is aiming for.

    If Romney can’t rally Latinos to his side, he can at least suppress their turnout for his opponent, Sharry said. That tactic was already used in the Nevada Senate race in 2010, Sharry said, when a front group began running Spanish-language ads saying that neither party cares about immigration reform, so voters shouldn’t support either candidate.

    “We’ve been expecting this, to be honest” said Sharry, who predicted pro-Republican super PACs would pick up on the message in the coming months. “What this signals from Romney is, ‘Well, we can’t beat ‘em, so let’s try to keep ‘em from the polls,’” said Sharry. “They’re going to try to suppress Latino turnout. So, here we go.”

    “Clearly Romney wants to tamp down enthusiasm among Latino voters,” agreed Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. But it’s not likely to work because of the strong positions Romney has taken on immigration, Noorani said. “They’re going to see what Romney told his Republican base, and that will only serve to increase enthusiasm among Latino voters,” Noorani said.

    Lisa Navarrete, a spokesperson for the National Council of La Raza, remembered the tact from 2010, but said it’s premature to assume Romney is using it now after just one comment. “He didn’t say, ‘This hasn’t been done and I”m going to pass immigration reform,’” Navarrete said. Where Romney goes from here “is still to be determined” but Navarette predicted that with numerous voter ID laws being passed around the country, the strategy is likely to resurface in 2012.

  47. rikyrah says:

    Report: Wisconsin Polling Place Asked Voters For Photo IDs, Despite Law Being Blocked

    One Wisconsin polling place in the town of Fitchburg asked for photo IDs of voters, according to election officials in the state and reported by the AP. Wisconsin’s new law requiring a photo ID to vote has been blocked from taking effect by two federal judges, as national voting rights groups have filed suits challenging the law.

  48. rikyrah says:

    07:50 AM EDT
    4-4-2012 07:50 AM EDT
    Poll: Jews Are Not Abandoning Obama

    A survey from the Public Religion Research Institute shows American Jews are not abandoning President Obama, even as the GOP field tried to woo them recently with their hard pro-Israel stances. Still, 62% of Jewish voters want to see Obama win, and only 7% of those who backed him in 2008 would like to see a Republican win.

  49. rikyrah says:


    riddle me this, boys and girls…

    what if…

    yeah, you know….

    what if this guy were BLACK?

    read this story, and go W-T-F as I did.

    complexion protection, plain and simple.

    Arizona Lawmakers Say They’re Afraid Of Their Colleague

    Nick R. Martin- April 4, 2012, 4:56 AM

    If what his colleagues in the Arizona statehouse say is true, Rep. Daniel Patterson might be the most feared politician in the state.

    But it’s not his politics they say they fear. It’s his angry, threat-filled outbursts that they say are becoming all too normal. One such outburst managed to rattle a fellow lawmaker enough that she says she now sleeps with a weapon at her bedside — just in case.

    This week, those same lawmakers said they are now considering throwing Patterson out of office after an ethics investigation uncovered a series of similar outbursts, along with other allegations, including that he once offered to give a lobbyist his vote in exchange for sex and that he regularly smokes marijuana.

    The investigation came after prosecutors in Tucson charged Patterson with four misdemeanor counts of domestic violence. The charges, which he has pleaded not guilty to, stemmed from fights with his live-in girlfriend, who also happened to be his campaign manager at the time.

    In late February, the woman went public with allegations that he dragged her from a car as she tried to drive away from their house during an argument.

    It was the second time in two years a woman accused Patterson of domestic violence. In September 2010, the Tucson Weekly newspaper uncovered that his estranged wife had filed for a restraining order, saying he had been violent with her.

    Patterson has refused to resign or apologize since the newest allegations began to surface.

    However, he announced late Tuesday he was suspending his reelection campaign and “likely will not” seek a seat in the House again this year.

    “I want focus on family, break from politics,” he wrote in a message on Twitter.

    Earlier in the week, he took a more defiant tone, taking to Twitter on Monday to defend himself against the latest report, which was put together by powerful Phoenix attorney Mike Manning and a team of investigators at the request of the House ethics committee.

    “Manning report had pre-determined political outcome; based on lies & slams by politicians, lobbyists & lawyers,” Patterson wrote in one post.

    • Ametia says:

      Yep! Patterson’s violent history and current outburst are being challenged, but wait until he gets that knife in his throat or shot dead by the lady who sleeps with a weapon at her bedside. odds are, the lady will get charged with murder for defending herself.


    • What? OMG!

      • Ametia says:

        See it’s going to take Paterson being killed or he kills. Then the media will parade a few of hisso-called supporters to say what a nice man he is and they will say “I can’t believe He’d ever do “anything like this.” (*INSERT MURDER HERE*) because these folks don’t want to admit that white men KILL OTHER PEOPLE!

  50. rikyrah says:

    Pew: Trayvon Martin Coverage Has a Political Bent
    David Taintor- April 4, 2012, 5:42 AM

    The shooting of unarmed Florida teen Trayvon Martin was the first story of 2012 to receive more news coverage than the race for the White House. But a new Pew Research Center study shows a wide racial and partisan divide in reactions to the coverage.

    Fifty-eight percent of black respondents cite the Martin case as their top story, compared to 24 percent of whites. And 56 percent of Republicans surveyed say there has been too much coverage of the case, while 25 percent of Democrats say the same.

    The Martin shooting has slowly grown from local story to national issue, creating a debate over Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, legislation that allows people who feel threatened to use deadly force in self defense, and laws like it. Rev. Al Sharpton — a civil rights icon and MSNBC host — has led the charge in Sanford, appearing often with Martin’s parents and marching in rallies demanding justice for the teen’s premature death. The shooting rose to the presidential level when Obama last month called the death a “tragedy,” adding that if he had a son, “he’d look like Travon.”

    It has primarily been a cable news story, said Carroll Doherty, associate director at the Pew Research Center. After the story exploded, Sharpton moved his radio and TV shows to Florida to cover the case. MSNBC and CNN plugged “exclusive” interviews with witnesses and family members in hopes of unearthing new facts in the case.

    While the Martin story was the first of 2012 to get more coverage than the presidential election, coverage of the Supreme Court hearings on the health care reform law last week edged the Martin coverage 19 percent to 18 percent, according to Pew’s numbers.

    Overall, 30 percent of respondents say they followed the Martin story more closely than any other story. The Supreme Court hearings last week came in second at 15 percent. Democrats, regardless of race, are more likely to follow the case than Republicans, according to the study.

  51. rikyrah says:

    in his rewrite segment, Lawrence O’Donnell explains how Willard is now trying to make the President an athiest.

    • Ametia says:

      Saw it. LO was SPOT ON. Wilard’s a snake in the grass, tryna divert attention away from his Mormonism to paint PBO as an Atheist. Just DESPICABLE!

  52. rikyrah says:

    The 5th Circuit’s unsettling tantrum
    By Steve Benen – Wed Apr 4, 2012 8:50 AM EDT.

    At a press conference on Monday, President Obama argued in support of the Affordable Care Act’s constitutionality, and said, “I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”

    The phrasing may have been incomplete, but the point was hardly controversial. As Obama clarified yesterday, in cases like these, the justices haven’t overturned federal laws since before the New Deal. “The point I was making,” he added, “is that the Supreme Court is the final say on our Constitution and our laws, and all of us have to respect it, but it’s precisely because of that extraordinary power that the Court has traditionally exercised significant restraint and deference to our duly elected legislature, our Congress.”

    That happens to be true — the Supreme Court has not struck down a central provision of a landmark federal statute since the 1930s. But it didn’t stop a Reagan-appointed judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit from throwing a tantrum from the bench yesterday.

    A federal judge on Tuesday expressed concern over President Obama’s comments on the Supreme Court’s consideration of the health-care law and demanded a letter explaining whether Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. believes federal judges have the authority to strike down federal laws.

    Judge Jerry Smith, a Republican appointee on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, was part of a three-judge panel hearing arguments in a lawsuit over the Affordable Care Act when he issued his unusual demand, saying the Justice Department must submit the three-page, single-spaced letter by noon Thursday, according to a lawyer who was in the courtroom.

    This is not only ridiculous, it’s also an embarrassment to the federal judiciary at a time when the institution can least afford another setback in its credibility.

    No matter what you think of president or this case, when powerful judges start acting like childish politicians, it’s cause for genuine concern about the integrity of our courts.


    Yesterday’s tantrum, even by conservative standards, was pathetic. Judge Smith saw something on the news, decided to question whether the president accepts the principle of judicial review, and then assigned homework to a Justice Department attorney — complete with instructions on page length and spacing, as if 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is now a 9th grade English class.

    Is it too much to ask that the right take a moment to grow up?

    Even Orin Kerr, a conservative legal scholar, described Smith’s antics as “highly inappropriate,” adding that federal judges “should not be going outside the record to come up with assignments to litigants based on press releases by politicians in such politically charged matters. It just makes the judges look like political actors themselves, which doesn’t help anyone.”

    The larger concern, especially after last week’s oral arguments at the Supreme Court, is that Americans can no longer have any confidence that judges, especially on the right, are guided by anything other than partisan and ideological goals. Our system of government relies heavily on independent judiciary, but some judges appear willing, even eager, to blur the line between their duties and political activism. When Americans start to see conservative judges as Republicans, rather than just Republican appointees, the integrity of the courts suffers in immeasurable ways.

    This just isn’t a healthy for our democracy. Here’s hoping Judge Smith reflects on his tantrum and realizes he made a mistake. The federal bench is no place for partisan grandstanding.

  53. rikyrah says:

    Romney cruises; Santorum looks ahead
    By Steve Benen – Wed Apr 4, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.

    So, is it over? After a year of campaigning and three months of voting, can we finally say the race for the Republican presidential nomination has ended

    It’s an unsatisfying answer, but it depends on how you look at it.

    For most of us, of course it’s over, and it’s been over for quite some time. Mitt Romney followed a familiar script — heavily outspend his rivals and rely on a superior campaign organization — to cruise to easy wins in Wisconsin, Maryland, and D.C. yesterday. In the process, the former governor picked up a whole slew of new delegates, giving him a commanding lead over his GOP rivals.

    More important than these results, though, is the larger context: the Republican Party has lost its appetite for this nomination fight, and has effectively demanded its completion. They don’t love Romney, they don’t trust Romney, and they don’t even seem to respect Romney, but GOP officials are well aware of the fact they’re stuck with him anyway.

    The race may continue in a literal sense, but for all intents and purposes, the general election phase is underway — Romney is joint fundraising with the RNC; President Obama and his allies are going after Romney by name; and the political establishment in both parties now effectively considers the other GOP candidates invisible.

    But then there’s the flipside.

    Romney has a commanding lead, but he’s still only about halfway to the 1,144 delegates he needs to officially wrap things up. Indeed, Rick Santorum told supporters last night, “We have now reached the point where it’s halftime. Half the delegates in this process have been selected, and who’s ready to charge out of the locker room in Pennsylvania for a strong second half?”

    It didn’t sound like a guy pondering withdrawal.

    For most of us, the prospect of watching three more months of Republican primaries is, shall we say, unappealing. But so long as Santorum clings to hope — and has a reason to cling to hope — that probably won’t matter.


    Remember, when he looks at the calendar, the former senator even sees some likely primary wins in his near future: Pennsylvania on April 24, West Virginia on May 8, Arkansas on May 22, and Texas on May 29.

    From Santorum’s perspective, there’s simply no reason to quit when there are victories ahead in delegate-rich primary states. For that matter, there’s no larger incentive to bow out — the party establishment won’t be happy but it doesn’t like him anyway, and it’s not like he has a day job to return to. He might embarrass himself, but Santorum lost his re-election bid in his home state by 18 points, and parlayed that humiliation into a presidential campaign. Shame is apparently irrelevant.

    The one thing Santorum won’t be able to control, however, is indifference. Attention will turn — it’s already turned — to the Obama-Romney general-election matchup, and no matter how hard he’s willing to fight, the question that will dog Santorum in the coming weeks is, “You’re still here?”

  54. Ametia says:

    Baylor Claims Women’s Title
    Brittney Griner’s 26 and 13 lead Baylor to NCAA’s first 40-win season

    DENVER — Brittney Griner took the Baylor Lady Bears to new heights.

    Blocking layups, snagging rebounds, hitting shots over two and three helpless defenders, all season long she towered over the competition.
    That left Griner with just one more task Tuesday night — cutting down the nets.

  55. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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