Serendipity SOUL | Friday Open Thread | Anita Baker Week!

Happy FRY-day, Everyone. 3 CHICS concludes Anita Baker Week with…


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44 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Friday Open Thread | Anita Baker Week!

  1. rikyrah says:

    Obama, Ann Romney Paint Dueling Family Portraits
    Sara Libby April 6, 2012, 4:22 PM 16989

    Mitt Romney’s latest campaign video, simply titled “Family,” has a decidedly retro feel — and not just because it consists mostly of silent Super 8 footage and old yellowing family photographs featuring some spectacular ’70s fashions.

    The whole image projected in the video by narrator Ann Romney, Mitt’s official Female Ambassador, is evocative of a different era — she describes waiting at home with her sons for Mitt to return from work, at which point he’d become child-like himself — wrestling, throwing balls and pulling pranks.

    The video was released just as President Obama wrapped a speech kicking off the White House Forum on Women and the Economy, in which he too talked extensively about family. Both Obama’s speech and Romney’s video painted a picture of two candidates with unquestionable devotion to their families — but the dynamics, and the messengers, were starkly different.

    Ann Romney didn’t discuss her own life in the video beyond describing how she cherished the moments spent with her sons and husband.

    Obama, on the other hand, introduced Michelle as “the woman who once advised me at the law firm in Chicago where we met;” his mother, he said, was someone “who struggled to put herself through school and make ends meet” and his grandmother “started out on an assembly line” and “rose from being a secretary to being vice president at [a] bank.”

    He also may have made a subtle nod to the Romneys’ wealth when he said that Michelle was not only dedicated to her career, but “we didn’t have the luxury for her not to work.”

    Obama, notably, spoke to women directly in his speech — using phrases like “you shouldn’t be treated that way” and “like many of you, we both wished there was a machine that could let us be in two places at once.” Romney, as the “Family” video shows, continues to rely on Ann to speak to women on his behalf, rather than engaging with them directly.

    Obama and Ann Romney even joked about being outnumbered in their own homes. Ann Romney speaks as the words “Ann and her ‘6 boys’” — five sons, and Mitt — flash across the screen in the video; Obama pointed out that he was raised by “the women who’ve shaped my life” and now lives in a household that is “80 percent women.”

    Both candidates are trying to hone their pitches to women in the face of polls that show Obama benefiting from an enormous gender gap.

  2. National Review Writer Pens Racist Screed: ‘Avoid Concentrations Of Blacks,’ ‘Stay Out Of’ Their Neighborhoods

    Popular conservative columnist and National Review writer John Derbyshire topped all of his previous racist screeds (and sexist rants) today by posting a long breakdown of all of the important lessons he has taught his children about race — and he’s outdone his own racism with this one.

    Derbyshire wrote the column in the third person, as a list of lessons to his kids about race. The lessons are his response to “the talk” that black parents have with their children — conversations they are forced to have because of real, persistent racism. After spending a few minutes bemoaning that he can’t say a racist slur (“What you must call ‘the ‘N’ word’ is used freely among blacks but is taboo to nonblacks”) and opining on the hostility he believes all black people feel toward white people like himself (though he says he isn’t white before calling himself white several times), he cuts to the heart of his lessons for his children:

    (10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.

    (10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.

    (10c) If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date (neglect of that one got me the closest I have ever gotten to death by gunshot).

    (10d) Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks.

    (10e) If you are at some public event at which the number of blacks suddenly swells, leave as quickly as possible.

    (10f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.

    (10g) Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white.

    (10h) Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.

    (10i) If accosted by a strange black in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving.

    (11) The mean intelligence of blacks is much lower than for whites. The least intelligent ten percent of whites have IQs below 81; forty percent of blacks have IQs that low. Only one black in six is more intelligent than the average white; five whites out of six are more intelligent than the average black. These differences show in every test of general cognitive ability that anyone, of any race or nationality, has yet been able to devise. They are reflected in countless everyday situations. “Life is an IQ test.”

  3. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 03:44 PM ET, 04/06/2012
    Why Mitt Romney may never let go of Paul Ryan
    By Greg Sargent

    As I’ve been noting here, one of the interesting things about the battle over the Paul Ryan budget — and the larger vision it represents — is that both sides are acting as if they’re utterly convinced it plays in their favor. While Dems are salivating at using the architect of the GOP plan to end Medicare as we know it to drag Mitt Romney down, the likely GOP nominee has only intensified his embrace of the GOP budget chairman.

    Why is Romney doing this? Noam Scheiber offers an intriguing explanation: Romney has no choice. Romney, like John McCain and Bob Dole, has suspect conservative credentials, and both previous GOP nominees were dogged in the general election by suspicions on the right:

    Romney, if anything, suffers even more acutely from this problem. McCain and Dole were war heroes, at least, which counts for something in conservative circles. They also hailed from conservative states. In the eyes of right-wingers, Romney’s résumé offers nothing remotely as redeeming. No surprise, then, that having effectively bagged the nomination, a time when you’d expect him to lunge for the middle, Romney is moving rightward.

    How else to explain his strange embrace of Paul Ryan and Ryan’s Medicare-gutting, upper-income-tax-refunding budget in recent days? Given that the country is pretty down on Republicans, Romney’s only hope of winning the presidency is to distance himself from the party. And yet, over the last week, he’s done nothing but tie himself to the GOP’s most polarizing elements. He spent five days as Ryan’s wingman in Wisconsin and then explicitly defended the Ryan plan in Washington on Wednesday.

    Were Romney remotely confident of his right-wing résumé, he wouldn’t be auditioning Ryan for vice president, as he appears to be, but dismissing him as a cold-hearted pipsqueak.

    It has been widely assumed that Romney will at some point have to achieve separation from Ryan and the unpopular House GOP, in order to avoid alienating swing constituencies. But if Scheiber is right, this may not be an option.

    Recall that many on the right saw the Etch-A-Sketch tale as confirmation that Romney will inevitably ditch the conservative positions he mouthed to get through the primary. They will be watching for any signs of deviation from those positions in the general.

    Of course, it’s also possible that Romney is embracing Ryan because he agrees with his vision. While Romney really doesn’t seem to see social issues as worth going to war over, he seems to genuinely hold views that are as radical as Ryan’s when it comes to the distribution of wealth, the role of government and the safety net, the priorities that should dictate how we fix our fiscal mess, and the cure-all powers of an unfettered free market. Or maybe Romney is convinced Ryan is a political winner even among swing voters. Maybe he thinks they will reward Republicans for claiming to be willing to tackle the deficit and entitlements, and won’t pay close attention to niggling details such as who would get stuck with the bill under their plans.

    Whatever the reason, it does look like Romney isn’t letting go of Ryan anytime soon.

  4. rikyrah says:

    The Great American Health-Care Scandal
    By Charles P. Pierce at 1:15PM

    If you read nothing else today, read Andrea Louise Campbell’s account of her sister-in-law’s experience with The Greatest Health Care System In The World. And remember the following things about our current political situation:

    1) President Barack Obama, a Democrat, worked tirelessly for, and passed, a health-care reform law that leaves the greedy bastard industry at the center of how we do health-care, probably in perpetuity. He did this partly because his team was rather incompetent, and partly because it was the only way he could get Democrats to vote for the law.

    2) The health-care proposal in zombie-eyed granny-starver Paul Ryan’s “budget” would force elderly people to shop around among the various greedy bastards with a voucher that, with a couple of bucks, might even pay for their car fare on the trip.

    3) The Supreme Court, particularly Anthony Kennedy, but Samuel Alito, too, spent an inordinate amount of time worrying about how the Affordable Care Act might cause some minor headaches for the greedy bastard industry. Antonin Scalia, on the other hand, compared the situation of Ms. Campbell’s sister-in-law to someone’s choice of vegetables for their dinner.

    4) It will not take long at all before the flying monkeys of Greater Winguttia descend upon Ms. Campbell and her infortunate relatives. Michelle Malkin probably has someone casing their countertops even as we speak.

    5) Any proposal to eliminate the centrality of the greedy bastard industry from how we deliver health-care in this country is dead on arrival.

    Their best hope is the survival of the Obama reform. Perhaps my brother can get a job that offers health insurance for the family, but without the reform’s protections, like the prohibition on denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, removal of annual and lifetime insurance caps, and reinsurance for large claims, there is no guarantee that they could obtain insurance. More likely, they would buy insurance on a health exchange. Here in Massachusetts, where such an exchange is in place, they could have purchased a plan with an affordable premium (at their income level, the monthly premiums range from $39 to $91 per adult). And these money and insurance issues would not have added to the other stresses in their profoundly changed lives.

    I’m sorry, but this is nuts. These are not considerations that should exist in an advanced democratic nation. And the hell of it all is, almost everyone I know has some story like this one. (My wife’s cousin currently has fallen down a similar rabbit hole.) Everybody out there whose health-care is hanging by a thread — which means everyone except wealthy pundits, and congresscritters with their gold-plated, government-run, single-payer plan — knows what the actual situation is. The uproar over this nonsense should be constant and deafening. And, yet, the ACA, goddammit, is the best answer our political system can provide, and the odds are even that we will backslide even on that jerry-rigged compromised system. You never feel as far from self-government as you do in our health-care system. It ought to be a lot harder to barter for someone else’s life.

    Read more:

  5. rikyrah says:

    April 06, 2012
    ‘It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen’
    If I were Jeb Bush or Chris Christie or Mitch Daniels, my biggest fear wouldn’t be the enormity by which Barack Obama is about to humiliate Mitt Romney at the polls, although the imminent thrashing would indeed produce a certain palsied effect; nor would my deepest angst lie in the immensely intimidating challenge of having to think of something favorable to say about Mitt every day, although such a challenge would undoubtedly have me retching with blank worry every preceding night.

    No, if I were Jeb or Chris or Mitch, my biggest fear, my deepest angst, would be this: Will I even have a party in 2016? — will 2012’s internal, explosive ideological fission have left me anything to work with, to build on, to even tolerate?

    Michelle Goldberg, of Newsweek and The Daily Beast, provides a few answers. For starters, reports Goldberg, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer says “he doesn’t think abhorrence of Obama will be enough to juice socially conservative turnout for Romney in November,” and from there, the direct quotes get even worse.

    Iowa talk-radio’s Steve Deace: “The biggest story that everyone in the media has missed this cycle is how frustrated and fed up the Republican Party base is with the Republican Party. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen.”

    And former Sam Brownback aide Jason Jones: “I just see that this election is the final battle in a long struggle between social conservatives and what we call the establishment of the party for control. This is the last time you will ever see someone like Mitt Romney even in contention for the nomination.”

    For some time it has been my contention that the GOP’s unavoidable 2012 crackup would propel an establishmentarian revanchism, but it’s beginning to look like the party’s Fischers, its Deaces and Joneses, will not be denied. What remains of the GOP Establishment — now cravenly huddled, offering moderates no hope whatsoever — may in fact be so internally vestigial by 2013, its only escape route will be a third party.

    I always believed the tea party would be forced out to form a third; now, I have my doubts. Either way, though — whether the establishment recaptures the party, or the extremists triumphantly plant a permanent flag — it seems inescapable that the conservative cell will split in 2013 (or thereabouts), into two distinct and formally separate ideological parties. Because Steve Deace is correct: the party’s radical base cannot stand forever alienated from the party itself — yet the moderates will also not forever roam in the barren desert.

  6. rikyrah says:

    April 06, 2012 1:29 PM
    The King of False Equivalence
    By Ed Kilgore

    There are few things you can rely on more firmly these days than the fact that New York Times columnist David Brooks will defend to the death the proposition that no matter what terrible things Republicans do, Democrats do them at least as much and probably more.

    His latest column rebukes the president for harsh criticism of Paul Ryan’s budget, partially on specific grounds, but mostly to push Obama back into his Brooks-designated box as someone who should be having a calm exchange of deficit reduction ideas with his fellow centrist-reformer Ryan.

    It is not one of Brooks’ better efforts at prestidigitation.

    Much of the game is given away by this brief acknowledgement of the Ryan Budget’s shortcomings:

    It should be said at the outset that the Ryan budget has some disturbing weaknesses, which Democrats are right to identify. The Ryan budget would cut too deeply into discretionary spending. This could lead to self-destructive cuts in scientific research, health care for poor kids and programs that boost social mobility. Moreover, the Ryan tax ideas are too regressive. They make tax cuts for the rich explicit while they hide any painful loophole closings that might hurt Republican donors.

    Since regressive tax cuts paid for by vast domestic spending cuts targeting the social safety net—which are also intended to claw back money for defense spending that the Pentagon says it doesn’t need—is sort of the essence of the Ryan Budget, this brisk treatment of its provisions as things worth quibbling about is pretty rich. Brooks is far more exercised by Obama trying to make a big deal out of these details. Quoting two very dubious sources, he announces that Ryan and Obama are actually pretty much on the same page because total spending won’t be vastly different ten years from now. So who cares if one side wants to cut Medicaid by one-third during this same ten-year time-frame, while the other is pursuing universal health coverage? Nothing to get all demagogue-y about!

    Brooks gets even more upset about Obama’s claim that Ryan would “end Medicare as we know it,” wheeling out Glenn Kessler’s much-derided PolitiFact attack on Democratic arguments that it would “end” (full stop!) Medicare to dismiss the president’s characterization. Brookes also ignores the inconvenient facts that in Ryan’s proposal (a) the “option” to stay in traditional Medicare is rather barren if the funds allocated to seniors to exercise it don’t pay for the benefits, and (b) if too many seniors exercise that kind option, the numbers won’t add up at all.

    But no matter. All this Brookesian tut-tutting is intended to get the column to its predestined conclusion:

    As I say, I have my own problems with Ryan’s plan, which Obama identified. But Ryan has at least taken a big step toward an eventual fiscal solution. He’s proposed necessary structural entitlement reforms, which the Democrats are unwilling to do. He’s proposed real tax reform, which the Democrats are also unwilling to do.

    These “necessary structural entitlement reforms,” mind you, include “ending Medicare as we know it,” which Brooks called a lie three paragraphs earlier, and block-granting Medicaid, which he does not deign to mention at all. As for “real tax reform,” Brooks himself says near the beginning of his column that Ryan proposed no such thing because he didn’t want to distract the very wealthy from the new benefits he is showering on them.

    The really weird thing is that everyone other than Brooks—not just Obama, but Ryan himself (who has described his safety-net cuts as necessary to reduce the immoral dependence of non-tax-paying lucky duckies on public assistance) and his presidential candidate Mitt Romney—seems to agree that the Ryan Budget does indeed represent a stark difference in values, goals and programs between the two parties, and a worthy general election campaign topic.

    Ah, but here’s why: Brooks wants Obama to stop all this divisiveness, and in recognition of the deficit “calamity” facing the nation, compete with Ryan by “topping him with something bigger and better.”

    And there you have it: the “Other Obama” of the column’s title could restore himself to Brooks’ favor if he’d only admit his kinship with Paul Ryan and compete with him to roll back the New Deal, the Great Society, and the progressive nature of the federal tax code. Then the false equivalence of Obama and Ryan could be replaced with true equivalence, and David Brooks would be a very happy man.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, April 5, 2012What if the Supreme Court upholds Obamacare?
    Every article I’ve read since the Supreme Court’s oral arguments on Obamacare that addressed the “what if” question started with the assumption that they would declare the individual mandate unconstitutional. Those kinds of “what if’s” are important to consider. But nowhere have I seen anyone talk about the other possibility…what if the Supreme Court upholds Obamacare?”

    I know that most of this pontificating has gone in that direction because people think the oral arguments went badly and that the justices showed their leanings based on the questions they asked. But most legal scholars recognize that as a lousy way of predicting the outcome.

    So lets think about it for just a minute…what happens if Obamacare survives?

    First – and most importantly – are that:

    30 million more people get health insurance
    People with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage
    Young people up to age 26 can stay on their parent’s health insurance plans
    The Medicare prescription donut-hole remains closed
    The medical loss ratios stay in place
    There will be no lifetime limits on health insurance
    The Medicare Advisory Board will be tasked with finding cost savings
    Medicaid will be expanded to cover 12-15 million additional people
    States will set up health insurance exchanges
    Small businesses will get tax breaks for offering health insurance

    And on and on…

    But, from a political standpoint, the right wing will explode. And perhaps even more so due to the fact that expectations of Obamacare being declared unconstitutional have been raised. That should give the Republicans a big boost in the current enthusiasm gap. Because you can count on them making repeal of Obamacare a signature issue. That might help Republicans running for Congress is some key districts, but I’m not so sure its would be a good thing for Mitt Romney. I suspect that with his history in Massachusetts, he’d prefer that Obamacare be taken off the table in this election. But for the rest of the wingnut crowd, it will become open season on the Supreme Court. Things are pretty sure to get ugly because, as we’ve seen in the past, that crowd doesn’t show the same kind of restraint that someone like President Obama has demonstrated.

    I’d suggest that we need to be prepared for either scenario. Anyone who thinks they have a lock on predicting the outcome here is fooling themselves and anyone who bothers to pay attention to what they say.

    Posted by Smartypants at 9:40 AM

  8. rikyrah says:

    Fight on State
    In wake of scandal, power struggle spread from Penn State campus to state capital

    STATE COLLEGE, PA. — In the lobby of the Penn Stater hotel, they stood vigil — reporters, cameramen, students, alumni, residents and a few tipsy hotel bar patrons. It was Nov. 9, 2011, shortly before 9 p.m., and the throng awaited the decision of the Pennsylvania State University board of trustees. Behind the closed doors of Room 206, the 32 men and women charged with navigating the worst crisis in Penn State’s 156-year history were on the verge of a painstaking but seemingly unavoidable verdict.

    Near the back of a conference room littered with coffee cups and plates of half-eaten fudge brownies and chocolate-chip cookies, a 79-year-old trustee and philanthropist named Mimi Coppersmith stood up and beseeched her colleagues to reconsider what they were poised to do. “Coach Paterno is revered here in State College,” she said.

    “We’re not going to drink the Kool-Aid,” snapped John P. Surma, then the board’s vice chairman and the chief executive officer of United States Steel Corp. “This is what we need to do.”

    From the speaker of a nearby telephone, a distinctive voice chimed in: “Remember the children. Remember that little boy in the shower.” The voice belonged to Thomas W. Corbett Jr., the governor of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a member of the board of trustees. Corbett was participating in his first meeting, but he had the last word.

    Surma then asked whether any trustee objected to the firing of coach Joe Paterno.

    The question was met with silence.


    ive months after that night and two-and-a-half months after Paterno’s death from lung cancer at age 85, the Penn State community’s anger at the coach’s dismissal might be less visible but is no less visceral. The story of how the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse case escalated into a Penn State scandal and a Joe Paterno scandal before a rapt national audience seems, in retrospect, a deceptively simple narrative: The alleged rape of a young boy, witnessed by a graduate assistant inside the Penn State locker room showers, was not thoroughly investigated by the university after the head coach told his superiors about it.

    The untold story, though, is about bare-knuckle Pennsylvania politics, old grudges and perceived slights. It involves a stagnated child sexual abuse investigation that, to some, took a backseat to higher-profile cases and a gubernatorial campaign. It involves a head football coach who knew too little and, still, failed to do enough. It includes a passive school board of trustees that for months ignored a lurking controversy and then, under pressure to preserve Penn State’s reputation, quickly fired its legendary coach without ever talking with him.

    Through it all, the central character was Corbett.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 01:53 PM ET, 04/06/2012
    Scott Walker may loom over presidential election
    By Greg Sargent

    The Dem charge of a “GOP war on women” is getting a boost this morning, with the news that Scott Walker has quietly overturned Wisconsin’s equal pay law. As HuffPo reports, Walker has signed a measure repealing the 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act, which is designed to deter employers from discriminating against workers by giving them an easier way to challenge discrimination in the courts.

    Business goups support repeal on behalf of “job creators,” but Dems have denounced the move, claiming it will badly limit women’s access to a remedy against unfair pay and will “turn back the clock on women’s rights in the workplace.”

    This could loom large in the battle to recall Walker — injecting women’s issues into that contest — but it may also have repercussions in the presidential race.

    With the battle for the female vote in the presidential race intensifying deaily, the Obama campaign will try to make Walker’s latest move stick to Mitt Romney. Asked for comment on Walker’s repeal, Obama campaign spokesperson Lis Smith sends over a statement calling on Romney to take a position on repeal of this law:

    “As he campaigned across Wisconsin, Mitt Romney repeatedly praised Governor Scott Walker’s leadership, calling him a ‘hero’ and ‘a man of courage’. But with his signing yesterday of a bill make it harder for women to enforce in court their right to equal pay, Walker showed how far Republicans are willing to go to undermine not only women’s health care, but also their economic security. Does Romney think women should have ability to take their bosses to court to get the same pay as their male coworkers? Or does he stand with Governor Walker against this?”

    Here’s why this is interesting. Romney has fully embraced Walker and his agenda in recent days, proclaiming him a “hero” and vowing to campaign for him in his recall election. That alone ensures that Walker’s agenda will figure in the presidential race, since Romney’s support for it could be a factor in the battle over Wisconsin, a state that Republicans may need to take back from Obama to get to 270.

    Today’s news add another twist — one involving women’s issues. The Romney campaign has rolled out Ann Romney to argue in multiple forums that the battle over contraception and cultural issues won’t hurt Mitt, because women mostly care about jobs and kitchen table concerns. But here is a gender issue that’s an economic issue, and if Romney takes the wrong side of it, Ann Romney’s argument won’t work in this case.

    Because of all this — and because Obama officials hope repeal of the Wisconsin law will resonate among women nationally — you can expect the Obama camp to press Romney hard to take a position on this one.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Shaken Baby Syndrome” used in defense of Trayvon Martin’s killer

    “Shaken Baby Syndrome” was cited on Friday in the defense of George Zimmerman, the Sanford, Florida, man who shot and killed unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, in a case that has sparked a widespread public outcry.

    Hal Uhrig, a lawyer and former Gainesville, Florida, police officer who recently joined Zimmerman’s defense team, cited in a TV interview the brain damage that can seriously injure or kill an infant.

    His point, which has been made before, was that Zimmerman contends he shot Martin in self defense and feared for his life after the 17-year-old attacked him and began pounding his head into the concrete pavement of a gated community on a rainy evening in Sanford on February 26.

    But Uhrig’s choice of words, and use of a recognized sign of child abuse to defend a 28-year-old man who killed a kid, seemed likely to raise more than just a few eyebrows.

    “We’re familiar with the Shaken Baby Syndrome,” said Uhrig on the CBS This Morning program. “You shake a baby, the brain shakes around inside the skull. You can die when someone’s pounding your head into the ground.”

    Apart from saying his client suffered a broken nose, Uhrig did not elaborate on the extent of any injuries Zimmerman actually suffered. But characteristic injuries associated with SBS, as Shaken Baby Syndrome is known, include bleeding in the brain. There are often no visible external signs such injuries have occurred.

  11. rikyrah says:

    S.C. Rep. Clyburn compares voter ID laws to Jim Crow era
    By The Admin on April 5, 2012

    U.S. House Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn and voting-rights advocates warned Wednesday that laws in South Carolina and other states could disenfranchise millions of Americans in the November presidential elections.

    The congressman compared the voter photo ID law that Gov. Nikki Haley signed last month and similar laws in other states with the post-Reconstruction Jim Crow laws that Southern states enacted, imposing poll taxes, literacy tests and other hurdles to prevent blacks from voting.

    “It was effective then, and if we aren’t vigilant, it will be effective today,” Clyburn said. “We must make sure that people are aware of the danger to our democracy.” (Sacramento Bee)

  12. rikyrah says:

    Murkowski blasts the GOP’s ‘attack on women’
    By Steve Benen – Fri Apr 6, 2012 12:33 PM EDT.

    Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) wants her party to stop its “attack on women.”
    To appreciate the trajectory of the Republicans’ “war on women,” take a look at Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) shift over the last month.

    On March 1, the Senate narrowly defeated the anti-contraception Blunt Amendment, but Murkowski sided with her party and supported it. A week later, after hearing from some women in Alaska, the senator expressed regret for the vote.

    Now, a few weeks later, Murkowski is less circumspect and more outraged. An Alaska paper had this report on the senator’s concerns about reproductive rights and her party’s agenda.

    “I think what you’re sensing is a fear, a concern that women feel threatened, that a long settled issue might not be settled,” Murkowski said.

    She cited things like conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh’s remarks about a female Georgetown University law student, which Murkowski called “offensive, horribly offensive.”

    “To have those kind of slurs against a woman … you had candidates who want to be our president not say, ‘That’s wrong. That’s offensive.’ They did not condemn the rhetoric,” Murkowski said.

    The senator added that she “will continue to support funding Planned Parenthood,” and can’t understand her party’s recent efforts.

    “It makes no sense to make this attack on women,” Murkowski said. “If you don’t feel this is an attack, you need to go home and talk to your wife and your daughters.”

    Murkowski may want to have a chat with her own Republican Party chairman, who this week described the GOP’s attack on women as “a fiction,” comparable to an imaginary “war on caterpillars.”

  13. rikyrah says:

    ALEC loses its anonymity
    By Steve Benen – Fri Apr 6, 2012 10:25 AM EDT.

    Most political organizations crave the spotlight. A higher profile generally means more influence, more power, and more contributions from donors. Groups on the left and right, from the NRA to, want to be household names because it maximizes their ability to have an impact.

    The group that preferred the shadows is getting the spotlight.
    But there are exceptions. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has traditionally been anonymous, working behind the scenes to advance a far-right agenda far from the public spotlight — which was always the intended plan. Shadowy obscurity allowed ALEC to be more effective and made it easier for lawmakers to follow the group’s lead without controversy.

    That’s quickly changing as ALEC finds itself where it didn’t want to be: in the spotlight.

    ALEC’s role in crafting Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, and the controversial measure’s role in the Trayvon Martin killing, brought new interest in the organization responsible for so many state proposals nationwide.

    And this, in turn, has made ALEC’s corporate benefactors nervous.

    Under pressure from the advocacy group ColorofChange, Kraft Foods Inc. said Thursday night it would end its support for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the conservative lobbying group that has backed state “Stand Your Ground” gun laws.

    In its statement, Kraft said that it will not renew its membership in ALEC when it expires this spring. The global food manufacturer said there were a “number of reasons” for the split, but did not specifically mention the advocacy campaign against ALEC.

    The end of Kraft’s support comes on the heels of Coca Cola and Pepsi, which also ending their corporate relationships with ALEC this week.

    As Ed Kilgore noted, “ALEC’s ability to operate without much, if any, public scrutiny is long gone.” That’s true, and it’s no small development.


    Paul Krugman recently highlighted the “corporate-backed organization,” noting its “vast influence” in state legislatures, most notably with Republican policymakers.

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

  14. rikyrah says:

    Meet Harold Simmons
    By Steve Benen – Fri Apr 6, 2012 11:27 AM EDT.

    When those of us following the 2012 election cycle closely think of wealthy donors investing heavily in their preferred candidates, a couple of names immediately come to mind. Under the “Every Republican Gets A Gazillionaire” framework, we know, for example, that Sheldon Adelson has helped bankroll Newt Gingrich, while Foster Friess backs Rick Santorum.

    Meet Harold Simmons, a very generous GOP billionaire.
    But there’s another name that’s not as well known, but who’s arguably more interesting: Harold Simmons. Though estimates vary slightly, the Texas billionaire has reportedly donated in upwards of $18 million in this election — and counting — with most of the money going to Karl Rove’s attack operation, American Crossroads, and Mitt Romney’s super PAC.

    By all accounts, Simmons is one of the most generous, if not the most generous, Republican billionaire in 2012. But even more interesting is why, exactly, he’s investing so heavily in the elections, and what he hopes to receive in return.

    Mariah Blake has an interesting report this week on the 80-year-old Simmons’ nuclear waste dump in Texas, which may be a key motivation behind his generosity.

    Simmons has a history of giving far and wide to grease the wheels for his business ventures — particularly his nuclear waste repository. And a raft of changes in the pipeline at federal agencies could determine whether the site is eligible for billions of dollars in new contracts.

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, for example, is considering allowing depleted uranium (more than a half-million tons of which are languishing at sites around the country) to be discarded in shallow land burial sites, like [Simmons’ Waste Control Specialists’], even though the National Research Council and some independent scientists suggest it’s better suited to more secure repositories. Similarly, the Department of Energy is weighing options for disposing of what is known as “greater-than-class-C” waste, the most radioactive low-level nuclear debris. In the past, it was generally considered too dangerous to dump in shallow land sites, but that route is now on the table.

    These deliberations, which began under the Bush administration, aren’t meant to be political. But progress under Obama has been halting, particularly on the NRC front. In fact, in January the NRC voted to abandon the depleted uranium rulemaking track it had been on since 2008 — a track favorable to WCS — and go back to the drawing board.

    There are also nuclear-waste disposal contracts available through the Department of Energy, and as Blake noted, Simmons “may be betting that having Republicans in office — particularly ones whose victory he bankrolled — could tilt the odds in his favor, as it has in the past.”

  15. rikyrah says:

    what part of


    don’t they understand?

    and I don’t mean that in a negative way.

    It’s WHAT HE DOES.

    He is an activist. He agitates.

    And, in this case, he is trying to help this family get JUSTICE for their MURDERED SON.

    SO, ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL these media types clutching the pearls about Rev. Al and his involvement in this case can kiss my Black ass.

    Because their asses wouldn’t have picked up this case…they would have been in the ‘ well, this is what the police said’ camp, and told Trayvon’s parents to go sit in a corner and accept their son’s murder was justified.

    GO REV. AL!!!


    Don’t blame Al Sharpton for making Trayvon Martin’s death a national cause for justice

    In a March 30 column, Margaret Carlson recounted the painful circumstances facing the family of Trayvon Martin, a teenager shot to death by a neighborhood watch volunteer in February while visiting Sanford with his father.

    Carlson said the case is ripe with naturally compelling tragedy. Trayvon was a “typical teenager” who “died for the crime of Walking While Black.” And she says that natural horror is quite enough to gain the story national media attention without the help of Rev. Al Sharpton.
    Unless it isn’t.

    Study after study has shown that young black men and teenagers are far more likely to be viewed as suspects; more likely to be profiled, arrested and jailed and more likely to be shot dead in America’s streets — by whites or fellow blacks — than any group. And their deaths, sadly, have become almost routine, from the standpoint of the media. Only in instances where the horror is captured on cell phone video and becomes a Youtube sensation, or when mass action takes place to galvanize national or global interest, do the dead become Trayvon Martin.

    Martin was shot, eulogized and buried, without the media sensation Carlson claims should have naturally occurred. For 10 days, it passed as strictly a local news item in Central Florida.
    Only after his parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, hired attorney Ben Crump — a Tallahassee lawyer who specializes in raising the profile of his clients’ dead loved ones, as evidenced in the case of Martin Lee Anderson, the 14-year-old beaten to death at a Florida boot camp in 2006 — did people start paying attention. It was Crump who contacted Sharpton, and Sharpton who helped organize the largest rally, in Sanford a week ago, which was among the events that made Trayvon’s death a national conversation.

    As dismissive as Carlson is of Sharpton’s role, it was inarguably critical to helping Trayvon be not just another dead black kid. Combined with advocacy on social media by people like Kevin Cunningham of (which was also needed in the Martin Lee Anderson case, which bubbled up only after the surveillance tape of his beating went viral, and after a ruckus was raised by then-state. Sen. Frederica Wilson, who organized last weekend’s Miami march for Trayvon Martin’s family) Sharpton helped bring the case crucial attention.

    Despite Carlson’s characterization, Sharpton didn’t inject himself into the Trayvon Martin case. The family and their lawyers called him; a distinction without a difference to those who have pursued Sharpton to the ends of the earth since the Tawana Brawley case in the 1980s, which Carlson, as if on cue, brings up.

    The Brawley case is irrelevant to the Trayvon Martin case. No one is disputing that the teen was shot to death by George Zimmerman — not even Zimmerman’s advocates or police. The only question is whether Zimmerman committed a crime.

    Rev. Sharpton is a colleague at MSNBC, and his radio show was the national offering of the local station I worked for from 2006 to 2007. I also lived in Brooklyn during the Rudolph Giuliani era, which many black New Yorkers remember darkly — and not because of Tawana Brawley.
    Rev. Sharpton doesn’t need me to defend him. But those who accuse him of whipping up a needless frenzy over Trayvon Martin should talk to the mothers of the thousands of black men and boys who die every year without much notice, let alone a single rally.

    Ask the mother of Amadou Diallo, shot dead in the vestibule of his apartment in 1999 by police officers who mistook the wallet, which he was reaching to get, for a gun. Or the family of Patrick Dorismond, shot to death by plainclothes NYPD detectives after getting into a scuffle with one of them because they asked him where to buy drugs, and whose juvenile record was flashed by Giuliani after his death, in defending the officers. Or the fiancee of Sean Bell, shot to death by undercover police on the night before his wedding in 2006.

    Sharpton got involved in those cases, too, at the request of the families. That’s probably the only reason you know any of their names. As with all cases that become media sensations — Natalee Holloway’s disappearance comes to mind — the unfortunate truth is that gaining, and holding, national and media attention requires more than just the natural elements of tragedy.

    Don’t fault grieving families for playing whatever cards they can, including calling in Rev. Sharpton. And don’t fault Sharpton for taking their calls.

    Read more here:

    • They can kick pointed rocks…with no shoes. The haters know Rev Al is effective and that’s why they’ve launched an attack against him. That’s why they’re mad!

      Stand with Rev Al!

  16. rikyrah says:

    First lady Michelle Obama covers the May issue of Ebony magazine
    By Alexis Garrett Stodghill

    8:28 PM on 04/05/2012

    First lady Michelle Obama covers the May issue of Ebony magazine, which is due out on April 17. According to various outlets, Ebony editor-in-chief Amy DuBois Barnett chats with America’s Mom-in-Chief in the issue about how she balances family life with executing her national initiatives — and how important her mother is to her.

  17. rikyrah says:

  18. Federal judge’s racist Obama e-mail to be investigated by 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

  19. Ametia says:


    Apr 6, 9:24 AM EDT
    Board seeks Marine’s dismissal in Facebook case

    CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (AP) — A military board has recommended dismissal for a Marine sergeant who criticized President Barack Obama on his Facebook page, including allegedly putting the president’s face on a “Jackass” movie poster.

    The Marine Corps administrative board said after a daylong hearing late Thursday at Camp Pendleton that Sgt. Gary Stein has committed misconduct and

  20. March Unemployment Falls to 8.2 Percent as 120,000 Jobs Added at

  21. rikyrah says:

    A Very Good Height Indeed
    by BooMan
    Thu Apr 5th, 2012 at 11:27:18 PM EST

    I guess Aaron Blake just doesn’t want to get it. When Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus denied that the Republicans were waging a war on women, no one was all that surprised. After all, he’s a spin doctor. That’s his job. No one expects him to say something like, “Well, Al, the reason we’re waging a war on women is because ______. ” I think pretty much everyone was prepared to offer the man some space to push back. But what he said was that the concerns of women about the Republicans’ efforts to “limit women’s access to mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, and contraception” were unreal and insubstantial. He said that the whole controversy was totally manufactured. He said women are full of shit. He said women might as well be asking about Mitt Romney’s birth certificate.

    HUNT: Let me ask you this. The Democrats of course say you are waging, the GOP is waging a war on women. I know you don’t agree with that, but looking at the polls, you have a gender gap problem. Recent polls show a huge, huge margin for Democrats among women voters. How big a problem is it? How do you close it?

    PRIEBUS: Well, for one thing, if the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars, and mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we have problems with caterpillars. The fact of the matter is it’s a fiction and this started a war against the Vatican that this president pursued. He still hasn’t answered Archbishop Dolan’s issues with Obama world and Obamacare, so I think that’s the first issue.

    He chose to use caterpillars as an example. He could have picked unicorns or dwarves. The example isn’t important. The point is that he took a serious allegation and used “a fanciful idea (a war on caterpillars) to call into question the idea that Republicans are engaged in a war on women.”

    The Republicans are engaged in a war on women. To be more specific, the Republicans are attacking reproductive choice and women’s health care plans in incredibly aggressive ways. They need to explain why, not dismiss people’s reactions.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s Gaffes Won’t Cost Him As Many Votes As His Views
    By Jonathan Alter Apr 5, 2012 6:00 PM CT

    If Barack Obama prevails this November, it will be in large part because of what has come out of Mitt Romney’s mouth in the last year.

    I’m not talking about gaffes, for which the presumptive Republican nominee has a Freudian propensity. It’s as if the gaffe that ended his beloved father’s 1968 presidential campaign (George Romney said he had been subject to “brainwashing” on a trip to South Vietnam) puts Mitt Romney into “Don’t think of an elephant” mode. He’s so conscious of not making a gaffe that his subconscious insists on one every couple of weeks.

    But gaffes are overrated as decisive campaign events. With the possible exception of President Gerald Ford saying during a televised debate a month before the 1976 election that Poland was not under Soviet domination (a howler that slowed an amazing comeback against Jimmy Carter), it’s hard to think of a misstatement that has determined the outcome.

    Romney letting slip that he pals around with Nascar owners, or that corporations are people, too, or that his wife drives a couple of Cadillacs may cement his position as the out-of-touch poster boy of the 1 percent. But if he convinces people he can fix an ailing economy, not much else will matter. Swing voters rarely vote against someone just because he’s rich.

    Viral Boo-boos
    Between now and the election, these and other cable-ready boo-boos will become distant memories. Web ads about them may go viral, but they aren’t likely to sway anyone who hasn’t already decided against Romney.

    The bigger problem is what the soon-to-be Republican nominee has said on substance. The news media doesn’t focus much on issues, which are duller than the circus but usually more lethal politically. Unlike gaffes, political positions are fair game for Obama to exploit in front of 60 million voters watching the fall debates.

    Romney has flip-flopped so much that he now has little room to back away from what he said during the primaries. The “lamestream media” would crucify him for it; so would conservative base voters. Their “meh” on Mitt would quickly morph into a sense of betrayal. (The same logic explains why Romney, whatever his background, can’t possibly govern as a moderate.)

  23. rikyrah says:

    April 05, 2012
    Heaven continue to help us
    Perhaps this may help to clarify my and George Will’s immovable atheism when it comes to the Almighty Importance of a vice-presidential pick.

    The question arises of Sarah Palin, incontrovertibly the lousiest vp choice — in terms of suitability for an instant promotion — in American political history. Palin was of course the freakish focus of media attention throughout much of the general campaign; but that attention and all the surrounding controversy say nothing about her actual effect on the McCain vote.

    So let’s turn to Jonathan Chait’s analysis of October, 2010:

    Is the impact of Palin unknowable? Well, you can’t prove anything. But political scientists have tried to measure it and found that she had an extraordinarily large, and negative, impact.

    But what, precisely, did Chait’s “political scientists” conclude? It’s almost comically unintelligible:

    Judgment on her was incontestably important…. But why? We are unaware of any theory that opens the door to serious impact from the bottom half of the ticket.

    Back to Chait:

    And yet another paper estimated the impact of Palin as minus two points, which, again, is extraordinarily large for a vice-presidential nominee.

    Now, again, this doesn’t prove anything, although it’s pretty suggestive.

    As suggestive, say, as what political scientists Brian Brox and Madison Cassels concluded in 2009?

    In the final analysis, it seems unlikely that Palin had much of an impact on presidential voting. She certainly did not have a substantive impact on partisan voters, and although she could have had an impact on white independents, it would have required far higher evaluations of the vice-presidential nominee in order to sway a significant portion of independent voters to vote for McCain.

    Now remember: all this controversial muddle and academic inconclusiveness is in relation to the unquestionably lousiest vp choice in American political history.

    Thus in the absence of any firm, affirmative evidence on the existence of the VP’s Almighty Importance, I and George Will remain unambiguously atheistic.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Job totals disappoint, unemployment rate dips
    By Steve Benen – Fri Apr 6, 2012 8:52 AM EDT.

    The Washington Post’s Neil Irwin noted this morning that when it comes to the monthly jobs report, “We’re due for a disappointing number.” He was right — though forecasts projected about 200,000 new jobs in March, the new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics fell short of expectations.

    The U.S. economy added 120,000 jobs last month, while the overall unemployment rate dipped slightly to 8.2%. For the first time in a very long while, public-sector layoffs were less of a drag on the overall totals: the private sector added 121,000 jobs in March, while government lost only 1,000.

    By any measure, today’s disappointing totals are a real setback. While it’s never wise to overreact to one report, March’s job totals were the weakest since October, and reverse a three-month trend in which over 200,000 jobs were being created each month. In terms of revisions, January’s totals were revised down a little, while February’s were revised up a little.

    While 120,000 new jobs would have been considered great in, say, late 2009, it’s not even close to good enough now. This is a figure that barely keeps up with population growth, and is roughly half of what the economy should be producing as part of a larger recovery. Ideally, policymakers would see data like this and take steps to boost job creation, but given Republican efforts in Congress, that’s no longer an option.

  25. rikyrah says:

    When Young Breitbarts Attack: Obama’s Church ‘War’
    By Charles P. Pierce at 1:40PM

    Against all possible odds, deceased nuisance Andrew Breitbart managed to leave his media empire in the hands of people who know less about anything than he did.

    Just this week, we’ve had the jumping and howling and pitching of poo because, four years ago, the lamestream media covered up for President Mohammad Hussein Alinsky when he said that the Constitutional Convention “lasted through the spring of 1787,” when every super-otherwise-unemployable citizen-journalist knows that the convention actually ran through the summer, too. Scoreboard! (Of course, by saying it “lasted through the spring,” the president was being perfectly accurate. The convention ran from May 14 to September 17, 1787. So it did indeed “last through” the spring of 1787. It was not until the winter of 1791, of course, that we officially added a Bill of Rights, whereby freedom of the press is guaranteed to all of us, even self-evident dingbats.) Mr. Bogg already has had perfectly adequate fun with these people on this point, and with a special bonus Guess Who reference, besides.

    Undaunted by the gales of laughter sweeping down upon them from all sides, The Vetting goes gamely on. Today, we apparently discover that President Socialist J. Caseworker was schooled in his obvious anti-Catholicism by exactly the kind of guy you’d go to if you wanted to be schooled in obvious anti-Catholicism: the Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago. Joseph Bernadin was a towering figure of the liberal church, a good and decent man who died too young of pancreatic cancer. His memory deserves better than to be thrown by a pipsqueak know-nothing into a game of wingnut Mad Libs. (Also, the fact that paid Vatican hack George Weigel wasn’t a big fan represents still more points in Bernadin’s favor.) He replaced in Chicago John Cardinal Cody, a reactionary twit who ran the archdiocese like a wardheeler, up to and including serious financial chicanery, as well as a “relationship” with a wealthy widow for whom Cody bought a car. Bernadin brought the archdiocese’s credibility up from the bottom of the sea. He took an early stand on the subject of clerical sexual abuse, formulating a policy that eventually would be a model for the rest of the church to follow. When, shortly before he took sick, he himself was accused of a similar offense — a charge later dropped by his accuser — he forgave the man who brought the action. One of the last things he did while he was alive was file an amicus brief with the Supreme Court opposing a right-to-die law.

    This is the life that is summed up by the following:

    Obama’s travel documents and expenses were signed and approved by the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin,a controversial figure in the Catholic church who supported nearly every left-wing movement within it. Though Bernardin was well liked in Chicago, especially by a fawning media anxious to have a Catholic imprimatur on nearly every social issue of the day, Bernardin’s work undermined many Catholic teachings. Early on, he tried to maneuver around Paul VI’s teaching in Humanae Vitae, which governs the morally appropriate way to deal with sex and birth. At a dinner party, Bernardin famously credited Mikhail Gorbachev, not Reagan or John Paul II, with ending the Soviet Union. And perhaps most mischievously, Bernardin called for a “consistent ethic of life,” which tied the anti-abortion cause to pacifism and redistributionism and therefore gave cover to liberal Democrats trying to claim they were Catholic.

    Bernardin’s most enduring left-wing project was the Campaign for Human Development (CHD)-which, according to Obama biographer Stanley Kurtz, is “probably the largest funding source for community organizing in the United States.” According to George Weigel, “the Campaign for Human Development began to support programs of community organizing modeled on or promoted by Saul Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation.

    Oh, for fuck’s sake, just stop it.

    The entire church — including me, and every Catholic I’ve ever known — has been “maneuvering around” the theological idiocy of Humanae Vitae since shortly after the ink dried on it. And heresy against St. Ronnie? Surely, another Cadaver Synod is order. And you know who else called, in one way or another, for a “consistent ethic of life,” including economic and social justice, and an end to war and the arms race?

    Read more:

  26. rikyrah says:

    Christie’s malleable free-market principles
    By Steve Benen – Fri Apr 6, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.

    For New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), the month of April isn’t off to an especially good start.

    Earlier this week, Newark’s Star-Ledger ran a lengthy, detailed report documenting the extent to which the governor’s legislative proposals, executive orders, and agency rules were written, at times word for word, by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a shadowy far-right group that seeks to impose a conservative agenda in state legislatures.

    Yesterday, the New York Times’ Charles Bagli reported on Christie’s practice of handing out lucrative tax credits to preferred in-state corporations.

    Since taking office in 2010, Gov. Chris Christie has approved a record $1.57 billion in state tax breaks for dozens of New Jersey’s largest companies after they pledged to add jobs. Mr. Christie has emphasized that these are prudent measures intended to help heal the state’s economy, which lost more than 260,000 jobs in the recession. The companies often received the tax breaks after they threatened to move to New York or elsewhere.

    The generous distribution of subsidies in New Jersey has come under fire from government-reform groups, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York City and some New Jersey landlords, who contend that the programs are an expensive and ineffective form of assistance to wealthy corporations.

    The critics pointed out that even when the promised jobs have not materialized, the Christie administration has merely reduced, not withdrawn, the subsidies. And they say that the administration is mortgaging the state’s future by forgiving so much tax revenue for the next 10 to 15 years.

    At a certain level, this may seem routine. After all, governors from both parties routinely use tax incentives to, for example, entice employers to relocate to their state. This is neither new nor controversial.

    But with the Christie administration, the details paint a different, and more problematic, picture.


    For one thing, some of these businesses are using the money to simply move from one New Jersey location to another New Jersey location. For that matter, Republican principles dictate that the government not pick private-sector winners and losers, but rather let the free market work. New Jersey’s GOP governor, however, is handing out corporate welfare faster than any of his predecessors, despite only having been in office for two-and-a-half years, and despite his state’s financial difficulties.

    Moreover, the policy itself is problematic. As Matt Yglesias explained, “The game of maintaining relatively high statutory rates and then handing out special breaks to politically influential firms just opens the door to corruption and abuse, while disadvantaging both small firms and especially the kind of potentially fast growing startups that account for the bulk of net job creation in a dynamic economy.”

    As Christie continues to gear up for a role on the national stage — remember, he’s already talking about how ready he’ll be to run for president “four years from now” — expect stories like these to linger.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Almost No One Loves Mitt
    For good reason:

    A moderate-turned-extremist may perhaps grasp the brass ring. But he makes everyone uneasy. Moderate Republican voters, of whom there may be more than meet the eye, may worry that President Romney will be captive to a GOP Congress beholden to the base. Tea Party types may worry that he’ll shake the Etch-A-Sketch again when dancing to a different piper, the general electorate and/or a divided Congress. No one, in any case, likes a liar, and people across the political spectrum know that Romney lies from sunup to sundown. Democrats know that nothing he says about Obama is true; conservatives know that nothing he says about his past positions and actions is true; and moderates know, or should know, that he’s betrayed them to the base.

  28. rikyrah says:

    ‘Like It Is’ Producer Gil Noble Is Dead at 80
    He developed Like It Is into one of TV’s top public-affairs programs focusing on black America.
    By: Monée Fields-White |
    Posted: April 5, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    As a journalist and television producer, Gil Noble worked to dispel negative images of African Americans in media. The notable host of the long-running public-affairs program Like It Is also pushed for clear ethics and objectivity in journalism. According to WABC-TV, he “passed away peacefully after a long illness,” this morning, at the age of 80. Noble had suffered a stroke in July 2011.

    “Gil Noble’s life and work had a profound effect on our society and culture,” said WABC-TV President and General Manager Dave Davis in a released statement. “His contributions are a part of history and will be remembered for years to come. Today, our hearts are with Gil’s family, his wife Jean and their five children, and we thank them for so lovingly sharing him with the world all these years.” WABC anchor Diana Williams, who posted the news on Twitter and Facebook, noted that Noble had taught her a lot. “Gil Noble was a giant in broadcasting who reminded generations of newscasters who followed in his footsteps that we have a responsibility to tell it ‘like it is’. His loss cannot be calculated personally or professionally,” noted New York Association of Black Journalists vice president of broadcast Cheryl Wills, who is also an anchor for NY1.

    According to WABC-TV, Noble’s family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Gil Noble Archives, P.O. Box 43138, Upper Montclair, NJ 07043. “Proceeds will be used to preserve the archives so that Noble’s mission of educating the community about its culture and history will continue,” reports the station.

    Born on Feb. 22, 1932, in Harlem, N.Y., Noble was raised by Jamaican immigrants Gilbert and Iris Noble. Growing up influenced by jazz pianist Erroll Garner, young Noble took up the piano and decided as a teen to pursue a career in music. He even formed the Gil Noble Trio, playing in New York clubs while attending City College. (His love of jazz would later lead him to become a strong supporter of the Jazz Foundation of America and join its board of directors.)

    After graduating, he went on to work for Union Carbide and modeled part time. He met his future wife, Jean, also a model, at this time.

    Noble got his first break in broadcast media in 1962, when he became a part-time announcer for Harlem radio station WLIB. He soon began reporting and reading newscasts as well as servicing the Associated Press teletype machine. He also tracked interview tapes.,0

  29. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 08:32 AM ET, 04/06/2012
    The Morning Plum: Will Campaign 2012 be about inequality, or jobs?
    By Greg Sargent

    Paul Ryan’s budget. The Buffett Rule. Mitt Romney’s wealth, millionaire tax rates, and refusal to release his tax returns.

    That trifecta, which is dominating this morning’s news, adds up to a presidential campaign that, if Dems have their way, will be more focused on issues of inequality and tax fairness — and the ideological differences between the two parties over them — than any campaign in recent memory.

    I noted here yesterday that Senate Democrats plan to keep bringing up the Buffett Rule again and again for the rest of the year. The idea is to force Senate Republicans to vote to protect the tax rates of millionaires who pay lower rates than many middle class taxpayers do.

    Now the Wall Street Journal reports that Dems are going to press the case even further by targeting 13 specific GOP Senators with a blitz of Op eds and possibly public pressure from Obama himself.

    The key to this whole issue is that the GOP is set to nominate a man who is worth $250 million and himself benefits to an untold degree from the tax code the Buffett Rule would undo — so Dems are, in effect, boxing in Republicans on whether they will continue to protect their own presidential nominee’s lower-than-middle-class rates. This will be central to the Dem strategy of painting Mitt Romney as the walking embodiment of all the ways the economy and tax code are stacked in favor of the wealthy and against the middle class.

    But will these issues matter nearly as much as the state of the economy on Election Day 2012?

  30. rikyrah says:

    Black Journalists Harassed on Twitter for Reporting on Trayvon Martin Tragedy

    Reporting the news and mainly facts seems to upset many CNN viewers. Well that’s the conclusion that many would draw if they read some of the Twitter rants that CNN’s Don Lemon and MSNBC’s and’s commentator Goldie Taylor received following their on-air coverage “about the social fault lines the Trayvon Martin case has exposed.”
    “Please don’t send me any more tweets that by having this conversation, I’m a racist or a race-baiter,” Lemon said during the broadcast. “This is a conversation we all need to have, so relax on that.”

    Lemon referenced some of the responses “disgusting” and “ridiculous.” He read one tweet aloud: “Don Lemon, you are a racist. You are fixated on this one issue over and over. We want to hear the news, not your personal agenda. Go work for BET.”

    “That was the nice one,” Lemon remarked. “He didn’t call me the n-word.”

    Taylor said she has been met with similar responses for discussing the controversy. “I’ve been called the ‘N’ word more collectively, over the last 72 hours than I have my whole life,” she said. “It is amazing to me what people will say with the anonymity of a tweet.”

    Lemon asked Taylor to elaborate. “I was checking my Twitter,” she recalled. “And someone said, ‘I’ll shoot you,’ and my response was, “You better be a quicker draw.”

  31. rikyrah says:

    Exclusive: DC fixer Judy Smith on keeping ABC’s ‘Scandal’ in check

    Judy Smith has long been a force to be reckoned with in Washington when it comes to cleaning up hot political messes – so much so that Hollywood has taken notice.

    This week, ABC premieres the latest Shonda Rhimes drama “Scandal,” which is based on Smith’s work as the head of a DC-based public relations firm that specializes in crisis management.

    To put it bluntly, Smith is a professional fixer. In a career spanning more than 25 years, her clients have ranged from Marion Barry, to Clarence Thomas, to Monica Lewinsky. In fact, Smith’s TV counterpart, Kerry Washington’s Olivia Pope, tackles a Lewinsky-esque problem involving the President of the United States in Thursday’s series premiere

  32. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s Organizational Advantage on Full Display in N.H.
    By Scott Conroy – April 5, 2012

    Almost three months after his resounding victory in the New Hampshire primary launched Mitt Romney toward the Republican nomination, his former campaign headquarters here is empty.

    A “for lease” sign is plastered across the window of the inconspicuous storefront on Elm Street, and there are no indications that the staff and resources devoted to Romney’s strongest early primary win are close to getting back to work in what is shaping up as an important swing state in the general election.

    About a half-mile down the road on Maple Street is another campaign office that has been bustling with activity since it opened in October. Inside, young staffers from around the country and local volunteers are taking advantage of abundant resources to lay the groundwork for President Obama’s push to win New Hampshire’s four electoral votes in November.

    Jez Taft, a 33-year-old volunteer from Manchester who also works part time at a local kennel, spent Wednesday morning on data-entry duty. Taft was an Obama volunteer during the 2008 campaign, and although she said the pace of the current campaign is calm, she is in no way tempted to slack off.

    “The people I talk to personally are just as passionate as they were the last time, but I hear a lot of complacency, too,” she said. “People think it’s going to be easy. And for me personally, that’s terrifying.”

    As a small but electorally significant state that is expected to be up for grabs in November, New Hampshire is a microcosm of the massive organizational head start that Obama’s re-election team enjoys over the Romney campaign, which is still working to wrap up the GOP nomination for the former Massachusetts governor.

    The Obama team already has more than 30 paid staffers on the ground in New Hampshire and is expanding rapidly across the state. Its headquarters in Manchester is one of seven Obama field offices here, and the president’s campaign has already held several events in each of the state’s 10 counties.

    By contrast, Romney does not have any paid staffers on the ground, and his campaign has barely maintained a footprint in the state.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Romney using ethics exception to limit disclosure of Bain holdings
    By Tom Hamburger, Published: April 5
    The Washington Post

    Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney, whose wealth has become a central issue in the 2012 campaign, has taken advantage of an obscure exception in federal ethics laws to avoid disclosing the nature and extent of his holdings.

    By offering a limited description of his assets, Romney has made it difficult to know precisely where his money is invested, whether it is offshore or in controversial companies, or whether those holdings could affect his policies or present any conflicts of interest.

    In 48 accounts from Bain Capital, the private equity firm he founded in Boston, Romney declined on his financial disclosure forms to identify the underlying assets, including his holdings in a company that moved U.S. jobs to China and a California firm once owned by Bain that filed for bankruptcy years ago and laid off more than 1,000 workers.

    Those are known only because Bain publicly disclosed them in government filings and on the Internet. But most of the underlying assets — the specific investments of Bain funds— are not known because Romney is covered by a confidentiality agreement with the company.

    Several of Romney’s assets — including a large family trust valued at roughly $100 million, nine overseas holdings and 12 partnership interests— were not named initially on his disclosure forms, emerging months later when he agreed to release his tax returns.

    There is no indication that Romney is violating any rules, and his advisers note that his reports have been certified by the Office of Government Ethics, which reviews the disclosures required of presidential candidates.

    Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said the disclosure “completely and accurately describes Governor Romney’s assets as required by the law.” She said Romney does not know the details of his investments since he turned them over to a trustee to manage, and that ethics officials confirmed that “everything … was reported correctly” and completely.

    Several outside experts across the political spectrum, however, say Romney’s disclosure is the most opaque they have encountered, with some suggesting the filing effectively defeats the spirit of disclosure requirements.

    “His approach turns the whole purpose of the ethics statute on its ear,” said Cleta Mitchell, a Republican lawyer who has represented dozens of candidates and officials in the disclosure process, including Romney’s leading challenger for the GOP nomination, Rick Santorum.

  34. rikyrah says:

    BREAKING: Progressive Movement Compels Coca-Cola To Pull Support From ALEC Over Voter Suppression Efforts
    By Faiz Shakir on Apr 4, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Prompted by a petition campaign by the progressive advocacy group Color of Change, Coca-Cola has pulled its support from ALEC, a right-wing corporate-funded front group which has been pushing voter restriction efforts around the country. The company released this statement moments ago:

    The Coca-Cola Company has elected to discontinue its membership with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Our involvement with ALEC was focused on efforts to oppose discriminatory food and beverage taxes, not on issues that have no direct bearing on our business. We have a long-standing policy of only taking positions on issues that impact our Company and industry.

    Impressively, Coke’s retreat came just five hours after Color of Change announced its petition, which read: “ALEC has pushed voter ID laws which disenfranchise large numbers of Black voters. Along with the NRA, ALEC also pushed a bill based on Florida’s ‘shoot first’ law – which has shielded Trayvon Martin’s killer from justice – into two dozen states across the country.”

    Just this morning, the Center for American Progress released a report highlighting ALEC’s role in voter suppression:

    ALEC charges corporations such as Koch Industries Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and The Coca-Cola Co. a fee and gives them access to members of state legislatures. Under ALEC’s auspices, legislators, corporate representatives, and ALEC officials work together to draft model legislation. As ALEC spokesperson Michael Bowman told NPR, this system is especially effective because “you have legislators who will ask questions much more freely at our meetings because they are not under the eyes of the press, the eyes of the voters.”

  35. rikyrah says:

    PepsiCo Ends Partnership With Right-Wing Front Group ALEC
    By Adam Peck on Apr 5, 2012 at 9:30 am

    PepsiCo, the world’s second largest beverage company, has ended its partnership with ALEC, the controversial right-wing group that lobbies for voter suppression efforts. Pepsi’s move, which actually came in January but was first reported this morning by NPR, may also have had a role in compelling Coca-Cola to drop its support for ALEC.

    Yesterday, progressive advocacy group Color of Change announced a boycott effort targeting several other corporations that are still members of the group, which for years has partnered with elected officials at a state level to draft and pass controversial, far-right legislation. Just a few hours later, Coke announced that they too are severing ties with the ALEC. As NPR reported today:

    It’s part of a much broader campaign to spotlight companies that sell products to a public that might object to hard-line conservative policies such as stand your ground laws or requirements that voters show a photo ID at the polls.

    Some civil rights groups say voter ID laws are discriminatory and suppress minority voter turnout.

    “The clear and simple message was that you can’t come for black folks’ money by day and try to take away our vote by night,” said Rashad Robinson, director of ColorOfChange.

    ALEC has also been cited as the driving force behind “Stand Your Ground” laws which have contributed to cases like Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. George Zimmerman, who shot and killed Trayvon in February, remains free thanks to Florida’s version of the bill, which ALEC now uses as a template when introducing similar bills across the country.

    Yesterday, the Center for American Progress released an extensive new report explaining ALEC’s efforts to disenfranchise voters.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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