Monday Open Thread

Eric Patrick Clapton, CBE (born 30 March 1945) is an English guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter. Clapton is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist, and separately as a member of The Yardbirds and Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time.[2] Clapton ranked fourth in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”[3] and fourth in Gibson’s Top 50 Guitarists of All Time.[

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
This entry was posted in Current Events, Open Thread, Politics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

66 Responses to Monday Open Thread

  1. George Zimmerman is EVIL. What a SOB! He’s soliciting money off a child’s death! He needs to be fast tracked on the hell express!

    BREAKING:Zimmerman Just Launched His Own Website

  2. rikyrah says:

    April 09, 2012 12:32 PM

    “Swing Voters” and General Election Positioning

    By Ed Kilgore

    Facebook Twitter Digg Reddit StumbleUpon Delicious

    There’s another brief thought I’d offer about the Third Way paper on “fairness vs. opportunity” and “independent swing voters” that I discussed earlier today. Much of its analyis is based on a poll of self-identified independents in battleground states conducted by Global Strategy Group. Among other things, this survey asks “swing independents” (defined as self-identified independents who did not express strongly favorable or unfavorable views of President Obama or Mitt Romney) to plot their own ideology on a 1-9 left-right ideological scale, and then also plot the two parties and Obama and Romney.

    Putting aside all the many perils of this sort of polling, the “spectrum” question shows “swing-independents” on average perceiving themselves as closer to Romney ideologically than to Obama, but also closer to the Democratic than to the Republican Party. At the same time, Obama is perceived as very similar to his party ideolologically, while Romney is perceived as well to the left of his party. And above and beyond all these calculations, “swing independents” currently favor Obama against Romney by a 44-38 margin.

    So Obama’s only apparent “vulnerability” in this demographic vis a vis Romney is that Mitt is perceived as significantly more moderate than the GOP. This isn’t terribly surprising given Romney’s history and the time and expense that his Republican rivals have devoted to the task of labeling him as an unprincipled RINO. But Romney has been working hard to erase that perception (and will have to continue to erase it at least until Rick Santorum drops out and the GOP is suitably united), giving the Obama campaign a rich storehouse of statements and issue perceptions to exploit in the general election (as Jonathan Alter explains in some detail at Ten Miles Square today).

    So why is it Obama and/or the Democratic Party that needs, according to the Third Way study, to change its message on the economy? Sure, it’s always helpful to maximize one’s support in any and all voter demographics. But when your opponent is caught between pressure to make his views more consistent with those of his relatively unpopular party, and his richly earned reputation as a chameleon, and you are already working from an advantage in full concert with your own party, why run the risk of changing your message, particularly if the existing message happens to coincide with what you and your party actually believe and (in the case of income inequality and the unfairness of the tax code) with the factual situation the country faces?

    Look, I’m all for harvesting as much information from public opinion research as is possible, and don’t think there’s anything evil about responding to clear indications of what the public thinks and wants. But the advice offered in this paper really does live down to the negative reputation of Democratic “centrists” as people willing to make major concessions to conservative policy preferences in order to achieve very small advantages among very small groups of swing voters. It’s not worth it morally or politically.

  3. Ametia says:

    April 9, 2012 11:49 AM PrintText
    Romney campaign pulls ad due to Bella Santorum’s hospitalization

    Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has pulled a new television ad that attacks Rick Santorum because his ailing daughter remains in the hospital.

    “We have done this out of deference to Sen. Santorum’s decision to suspend his campaign for personal family reasons,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said.

    Santorum’s 3-year-old daughter Bella, who suffers from the genetic disorder Trisomy 18, was hospitalized on Friday. While Santorum canceled all campaign-related activities Monday to be with his daughter, spokesman Hogan Gidley said the candidate will be back on the trail in Pennsylvania on Tuesday. Gidley told MSNBC Bella has had a “miraculous” turnaround.

    “The family hopes to take her home a little bit later on today if she gets the all-clear from the doctors,” Gidley said.

  4. Ametia says:


    Wendell Potter
    Published: Monday 9 April 2012

    “Insurance executives know they will have to transform their companies even more rapidly, and get out of the risk business sooner rather than later, if the individual mandate is struck down.”

    If there is a group of people more anxious about how the Supreme Court will rule on the health care reform law than President Obama and the millions of Americans who are already benefiting from it, it is health insurance executives.

    Not only have their companies been spending millions of dollars implementing the parts of the law that pertains to them — and most of them do — but they also have been counting on the law as very possibly the only thing that can preserve the free market system of health insurance in this country. This is why it is so ironic that defenders of the free market are the most vocal critics of the law and the ones hoping most ardently that the Court will declare it unconstitutional.

    Health insurers have known for years that their business practices of excluding growing numbers of Americans from coverage and shifting more and more of the cost of care to policyholders are not sustainable over the long haul. That’s why their top priority during the health care reform debate was to make sure whatever bill Congress passed included the much-vilified individual mandate. And it’s also why the big insurance companies have been working almost frantically to reinvent themselves lately.

  5. US President Barack Obama does pushups during backetball shooting drills during the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House April 9, 2012 in Washington, DC. The First Family participated in the yearly event where the South Lawn is opened up to guests to participate in various egg rolls and other activities.

  6. WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 09: U.S. President Barack Obama (R) does pushups with retired NBA star Bruce Bowen during the annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House tennis court April 9, 2012 in Washington, DC. Thousands of people are expected to attend the 134-year-old tradition of rolling colored eggs down the White House lawn that was started by President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1878.

  7. rikyrah says:

    It’s Not the Centrism, Stupid

    by BooMan

    Mon Apr 9th, 2012 at 12:29:12 PM EST

    The price we pay for not consistently keeping our focus on how Congress actually works is that we get into dumb arguments about things like the proper definition and relative merits of “centrism.” I don’t really disagree with Ed Kilgore’s point about the wisdom of keeping centrism in the Democratic column and defining Republicans out of it. Rather than allowing fools like David Brooks to keep the name all to themselves, we ought to point out that he’s defending a budget plan that would upend eighty years of New Deal legislation. And Krugman shouldn’t yell at centrists. He should yell at people who are trying to shred the New Deal and call them radicals.

    But this is all a distraction. What matters is the composition of Congress, the ideological overlap between the parties, and the rules of Congress. We’ve come to a point in our politics where those three factors have combined to make it almost impossible for Congress to do anything, including keeping its own doors open and paying our debts.

    It hasn’t been this way for a long, long time. We used to have enough overlap in party ideology that members were free to wheel and deal.

    Maybe I ran for Congress, in part, to increase funding for mental health care. I might not like the Republican’s budget for the NIH, but I’d trade my vote for a little money to study bipolar disorder or something. Or maybe I could get a bridge fixed in my district, or funding for a new spur that would reduce commuter congestion. Nowadays, you can forget about it. The GOP can’t offer me any earmarks, their budget is so radical that I can’t support any of it, and my party would freak out if I crossed the aisle anyway. Who knows, I might wind up getting primaried. And the problem is a hundred times worse on the Republican side of the aisle, where I’d probably lose my most cherished committee seat and watch the leadership actively campaign for and fund my primary opponent.

    There’s no consensus anymore on what government is supposed to do

    . And Democratic Party members who are willing to consider the ideas of the other side are really not the type of people who believe in anything. It’s not a matter of contributing something decent to improve a lousy outcome. The House Republicans are offering a completely radical program that no elected Democrat should support or even take seriously.

    Yet, because of the rules of Congress which currently require 60 senators to do anything, and the composition of Congress which is split between a GOP House and an inadequate 53-member Democratic Senate, it is simply not possible to do anything without meeting in the middle and doing whatever it takes to get the congressional Republicans to go along. The only outcomes are bad outcomes. Inaction, wherever possible, is preferable to action. Simply stated, no good law can be made.

    Who is to blame for this? Not progressives. Not Democrats. Not centrists. The blame falls on conservatives. And only on conservatives.

    And there is no such thing as a centrist conservative. Not anymore. David Brooks is a party of one.

    As for the president, like any other president, his legislative record is going to be exactly as centrist as the composition of Congress over his term(s) in office. Give him the House and 60 nominal Democrats in the Senate and he’ll give you a major health care bill. Give him 57-59 Democrats and a handful of moderate Republicans and he will give you an avalanche of progressive legislation. Take away the House, most of the moderate Republicans, and reduce his Senate majority to 53? He’ll give you practically nothing. He’ll be lucky to keep our national parks open or avoid our country losing its credit rating.

    But, yeah, please call him a centrist. We don’t want Mitt Romney seizing that label, that’s for sure.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Just follow the leaders

    By Kay April 9th, 2012
    It’s a lot of work following Americans Elect, because one has to delve deep into the weeds of the rules to get any real sense of what the hell is going on there. Don’t do that. Instead, just read the dedicated and self-sacrificing people who follow their every move. This is from AE Transparency, which is only one of the sites that track AE:

    We Pay Attention To Americans Elect Corporation So You Won’t Have To

    in a surprising new development this week, undeclared ‘draft’ candidate David Walker skyrocketed out of nowhere (OK, out of 25th place) last week to break into our Top 20 candidate list this week in 17th place, leapfrogging all but three declared candidates. This surprise move had nothing to do with actually winning voter support (Walker gained only a lamentable 8 qualifying votes this week, anemic even by Americans Elect’s standards) and had everything to do with back-room funny business.

    How can just 8 votes (out of AECorp’s membership of 400,000+) significantly propel a candidate toward success in the Americans Elect beauty pageant? They can’t, of course. But moving the goal-posts sure can, and that is what transpired this week while you weren’t looking, as AECorp insiders quietly upgraded Walker’s ticket to ride.

    Americans Elect’s Candidate Certification Committee apparently originally classified Walker as a “contingently qualified” candidate, requiring him to net 50,000 qualifying votes to advance to the next round of balloting. Yet sometime during the past week (in the dark of night, perhaps, while we were all asleep?) Walker’s candidacy status on his Americans Elect web page appears to have been quietly changed to “Former Head of a Federal Agency” without any announcement, and his qualifying vote requirement was accordingly reduced from 50,000 to just 10,000. In other words, AECorp generously upgraded Walker’s ticket from coach to first class. Thus Walker (with only 94 qualifying votes) thereby automatically leapt from 25th place – behindcontingently qualified declared candidates Michealene Risley (454 qualifying votes) and TJ Ohara (141 qualifying votes) to 17th place (ahead of them both).

    And with just 11 more votes Walker will surpass contingently qualified declared candidate Laurence Kotlikoff (524 qualifying votes), as well.

    [UPDATE: Tip of the hat to Irregular Times’ Jim Cook for independently verifying Walker’s Easter Week Ascension (He is Risen!), with an able assist from Bing’s cache. Thanks, Jim!]

    All this would be much ado about nothing, but for the fact that David Walker, who has long lobbied for massive cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and other safety-net programs, is an Americans Elect Board of Advisors member (i.e., an AECorp insider himself), as well as for the existence of numerous signals over the past few weeks that Walker is a particular favorite of his fellow AECorp insiders. As Jim Cook of Irregular Times has carefully documented, AE insiders Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild and Mark McKinnon (George W. Bush’s former campaign manager) have both sung Walker’s praise as a potential presidential candidate lately, as has apparent AE auxiliary, “No Labels”. AE itself has issued a gushing press release extolling Walker’s virtues, and AE’s cheerleader on the New York Times op-ed page, Thomas Friedman, published a shamelessly flattering column in the Times in February imagining the glories of a Walker presidency. This represents a lot of serious firepower being brought to bear in support of a candidate who has, as yet, persuaded only 94 Americans to give him their qualifying votes at Americans Elect. Strange indeed.

    ‘Kremlin watchers’ here at AE Transparency (that is, the more paranoid among us) suggest that AECorp’s odd move this week…moving David Walker’s goal-posts by re-defining the term ‘Federal agency’…signals a growing impatience within the Americans Elect penthouse with Buddy Roemer’s now clearly established inability to draw votes (one of the major reasons for AE’s embarrassingly unsuccessful ballot thus far).

    Casting about for another potential draw (or so the theory goes), insiders have set their last desperate hopes on Walker. All that is required in order to save AE’s disastrous first-round balloting would be for humble, self-sacrificing Walker to officially declare his candidacy, for AE to once more rev up its powerful publicity machine in his favor (with reliable support from the Times’ Friedman), and – if absolutely necessary – to ever-so-slightly re-jigger the rules just one more time to, say, automatically advance the top three declared candidates (which could soon easily include Walker) to the next round of balloting, whatever their vote totals might be.

    Right now, it’s just a theory. But our hawk-eyed election monitors will be closely observing AECorp’s moves in these final weeks of its first-round ballot, looking for further Walker-promoting skullduggery. Maybe you should, too. After all, “Ninety-Four-Vote Dave” Walker might just be the next leader of the free world, if that’s what Ackerman Elects.

    Wouldn’t it be great if someone would ask Tom Friedman just how much he understands about this process he’s endorsed and promoted? Ask him a question. “How does AE work, Tom, specifically?”

  9. rikyrah says:

    Why Cantor’s in the GOP doghouse
    By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 9, 2012 11:30 AM EDT.

    Illinois recently hosted a rather bitter primary fight that pitted two House Republican incumbents: Adam Kinzinger and Don Manzullo. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) intervened in the race, throwing his support to Kinzinger, the freshman, over Manzullo, a 20-year-incumbent, to the surprise and disappointment of the GOP establishment.

    Cantor’s move ruffled feathers in GOP circles, but the story grew more serious late last week when Roll Call reported that Cantor donated $25,000 to an anti-incumbent super PAC to be used against Manzullo.

    The political action committee in question is the Campaign for Primary Accountability, which targets congressional incumbents in both parties for defeat, and which ran a series of attack ads against Manzullo. The super PAC is generally seen as a scourge by House Republicans, which makes Cantor’s $25,000 donation to the group that much more insulting to the party.

    According to the Majority Leader’s office, Cantor doesn’t really support the Campaign for Primary Accountability, he just gave it $25,000. Why? As a Cantor spokesperson told Roll Call, it’s because Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), who also supported Kinzinger, told Cantor it’d be a good idea.

    The explanation isn’t going over well with Cantor’s own caucus. For one thing, Cantor never told other members of the House Republican leadership that he was sending a check to an anti-incumbent PAC. For another, rank-and-file GOP lawmakers facing attacks from the Campaign for Primary Accountability expect their own Majority Leader to have nothing to do with the group.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Romney/Ryan: Embrace the Giant Sucking Sound
    By Anne Laurie April 9th, 2012

    Irredeemable WaPo jagoff Chris Cillizza on “Paul Ryan’s Rapidly-Improving Vice-Presidential Prospects“:

    … In what was a defining speech of his 2012 reelection campaign, Obama repeatedly called out Ryan and Republicans for their “laughable” approach to deficit reduction, describing the budget plan put forward by the Wisconsin Republican as a “Trojan horse”. Added Obama: “Disguised as deficit reduction plans, it is really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country. It is thinly veiled social Darwinism.”…

    Knowing now that Obama is going to go all-out on the Ryan plan, it makes an increasing amount of sense for Romney to not only fully embrace the plan (as he has done) but to fully embrace the man too.

    It’s not hard to imagine this thought in Romney headquarters this morning: You want to make the Ryan plan the centerpiece of this campaign? Fine. Game on. That’s a fight we want.

    If you believe — and you should — that the dominant issue of this campaign is over which party has the best plan to put the country on sound financial footing then there’s no better way for Romney to drive a contrast with Obama than to put the face of the conservative approach to budgeting on the national ticket. (It doesn’t hurt that Ryan is telegenic, beloved by tea party conservatives and from a swing state like Wisconsin.)…

    By all means, Republican base-rs, embrace the Zombie-Eyed Granny-Starver! Make this Randroid phantasy the public face of your party! Cillizza actually quotes Ezra Klein’s wonkish dissection of the way Ryan’s budget undermines Romney’s careful all-things-to-all-voters “moderation”… and then manages to proclaim this as a positive for the general election.

    I think former theatre critic Frank Rich, at NYMag’s Daily Intel, has a sounder understanding of the reality-based community:

    The president called the budget “social Darwinism” — is this a strategy the Democrats can keep up throughout the general election?
    “Social Darwinism” that budget clearly is, for it enshrines two principles: More tax cuts for the rich, and the gutting of programs that might benefit those who have not reached the pinnacle of economic evolution. Not just Medicare and Medicaid, but Head Start, Pell grants, and federal regulation of toxins as various as derivatives on Wall Street and “pink slime” in food. The House budget is a Pandora’s box of potential horrors that Democrats can roll out throughout 2012. And that political task is made easier by the fact that the Republicans, including Romney, are leaving the details blank, allowing voters (with Democratic prodding) to let their imaginations and fears run riot. Romney actually told The Weekly Standard that he would not “give you a list right now” of what federal departments and programs he would eliminate as President — and he said this just two weeks before he had the audacity to accuse Obama of playing “hide-and-seek.” Freud had a term for this — projection…

    Will it help or hurt Obama that the GOP budget’s author, Paul Ryan, is a relative newcomer to the national stage? Even Americans who know his name probably only have a vague idea of who he is other than a “Wisconsin budget wonk.”
    Ryan is too dull to serve as a political piñata — he’s “9-9-9” without the charisma. Should Romney pick him for Veep, as Washington’s current “whispering” has it, the GOP will at least have an all-white-male ticket in perfect sync with the party’s demographics. The bland leading the bland.

    Isn’t that precisely why Romney shouldn’t choose Ryan?
    You’d think. Then again, it’s hard to imagine how any vice-presidential choice could undo his and his party’s poor standing with two minorities, African-Americans and Hispanics, and one majority, women. This week Romney became clenched, awkward, and terse when asked to expound on the Mormon church’s egregious and tardy history in awarding blacks equal status to whites. He has endorsed Arizona’s Draconian anti-immigration law, which would punish Latinos for the crime of acting or looking “Latino,” and he has given the nation the concept of “self-deportation,” which some Hispanic voters might rightfully mistake for “self-flagellation,” or perhaps “self-annihilation.” Romney has also endorsed the so-called Blunt Amendment, and called for the elimination of Title X and Planned Parenthood funding — which would collectively deny poor and working women alike coverage not just for contraception but for cancer screening, among other health-care essentials…

  11. rikyrah says:

    Ask the Conservatives
    by BooMan
    Mon Apr 9th, 2012 at 12:04:43 AM EST

    There are two reasons why this is happening. There are two reasons, for example, why Atlas Van Lines can’t find anyone to drive its trucks in Louisville, and why Dallas can only afford to give job training to 43 out of the 23,500 people who have lost their jobs in the last 10 weeks.
    The first reason is that conservatives are assholes and they refuse to do anything to help anyone if it costs any taxpayers any money.

    The second reason is that conservatives bankrupted this country by slashing taxes on rich people, committing us to over a decade of war in Asia, enacting massive (and poorly designed) new federal programs and entitlements, and failing to regulate Wall Street.

    And, no, increasing education spending, creating a drug benefit under Medicare, and liberating Iraq from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein didn’t cost the taxpayers any money because conservatives borrowed every dime they spent to do those things. And then they told us that we had to make the middle class foot the bill for it and the poor to take the brunt of the cost of balancing the budget hole they created.

    But, you know, there’s a third reason why, for example, “[f]ederal money for the primary training program for dislocated workers is 18 percent lower in today’s dollars than it was in 2006, even though there are six million more people looking for work now.” That’s because conservatives are doing anything they can to prevent President Obama from improving the economy, and that includes refusing to help people find work.

    If you want to know why 16-year-old Aubrey Sandifer has to walk 20 minutes in the rain to school, ask conservatives. If you want to know why “Esmeralda Murillo, a 21-year-old mother of two, lost her welfare check, landed in a shelter and then returned to a boyfriend whose violent temper had driven her away,” ask conservatives. Ask the conservatives on the Supreme Court about this:

    With an anticipated bank account of more than $200 million, officials at American Crossroads said they would probably begin their campaign [against the president] this month. But they said they would focus the bulk of the first phase from May through July, which they believe is a critical period for making an impression on voters, before summer vacations and the party conventions take place.

    Steven J. Law, the group’s leader, said the ads would address the challenge of unseating a president who polls show is viewed favorably even though many people disapprove of his handling of the economy. Basically, Mr. Law said, “how to dislodge voters from him.”

    Set aside the war on women, or gays, or blacks, or Latinos, the middle class. Just focus on the most basic stuff. All across this country people are suffering for the simple reason that conservatives already have too much power.

    The idea that they might gain more power should be a complete non-starter for everyone but the most selfish people in the highest tax brackets.

  12. Ametia says:

    Mitt Romney Bodyboarding In La Jolla, CA Yesterday

  13. Finally! I have internet connection. I doNOT like Sudden Link! Ugh!

  14. Ametia says:

    Super PAC,’ Eyeing General Election, Aims Blitz at Obama
    Published: April 8, 2012

    American Crossroads, the biggest of the Republican “super PACs,” is planning to begin its first major anti-Obama advertising blitz of the year, a moment the Obama re-election campaign has been girding for and another sign that the general election is starting in earnest.

  15. Ametia says:

    Because a great teacher repeats, and RE-peats & REPEATS

  16. rikyrah says:

    April 07, 2012 1:27 PM
    The Case Against Principal Forgiveness Is The Case For Mass Refinancing
    By Matthew Zeitlin

    The big housing policy fight brewing between the Obama administration and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the regulator that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is over principal forgiveness: lowering the burden of outstanding mortgage debt on homeowners in order to reduce foreclosures and get homeowners out from their underwater mortgages.

    Nick Timiraos reports in the Wall Street Journal that the disagreement between the administration and the FHFA’s head, Edward DeMarco, over principal forgiveness is fully out in the open, especially since the Treasury has offered to put up some of the money for the write-downs. What’s interesting is that DeMarco’s argument against principal forgiveness, as explained in a recent speech, is a great argument for another ambitious housing policy — a large scale refinancing of the underwater mortgages backed by Fannie and Freddie:

    The fundamental point of a loan modification is to adjust the borrower’s monthly payment to an affordable level. We have seen repeatedly that what matters most in successfully helping borrowers is a meaningful reduction in the monthly payment to an amount that helps stabilize the family’s finances. Indeed, we have found that payment reduction, not loan-to-value, is the key indicator of success in loan modifications.

    Moreover, this approach recognizes that three out of every four deeply underwater borrowers in Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s book of business today are current on their loans. These borrowers are demonstrating a continued willingness to meet their mortgage obligations. This should be recognized and encouraged, not dampened with incentives for people to not continue paying.

    So, if homeowners who are vastly underwater are still current on their payments and will likely be so in the future, then there is little reason to simply write-off their principal, which would end up increasing the liability of the taxpayer and would not actually be all that effective in preventing foreclosure. But if that’s really the case, then Fannie and Freddie ought to be doing a lot more to facilitate refinancing of these mortgages.

    If underwater homeowners are able to stay current on their mortgage at an interest rate that is a few percentage points above the low prevailing ones — and 75% of Fannie and Freddie backed homeowners who are underwater are current — then there is little reason not to help those same homeowners refinance at lower rates. After all, they have demonstrated an ability to make the payments, so their inability to refinance due to a horrendous housing market that has lead to so many underwater mortgages is an inefficiency that can be ameliorated by the intervention of Fannie and Freddie.

    In the same speech where DeMarco criticizes principal forgiveness, he lauds the HARP program, which facilitates refinancing for underwater mortgages and was recently extended and its eligibility criteria relaxed. It has, however, only successfully refinanced around one million mortgages. In any case, the FHFA only expanded HARP after the White House and many outside analysts had been calling for mass refinancing for almost two years, and most refinancing advocates still think that Fannie and Freddie could do much more. Whether the FHFA will follow the logic of its administrator, of course, remains to be seen.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Warren’s economic assessment falls far short
    By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 9, 2012 10:18 AM EDT.

    Pastor Rick Warren, who heads an evangelical megachurch in Orange County, California, talked to ABC’s Jake Tapper yesterday about a variety of topics, but it was Warren’s thoughts on the economy that struck me as especially important

    The host asked what he tells members of his congregation who are struggling, and Warren said the “root” of our problems have a “spiritual” cause. “We have overspent,” the pastor said. “The biggest problem for all of our economic problems is our inability to delay gratification. ‘I want it and I want it now. And I’m going to buy it even if I can’t afford it.’ And not only have people done that, the government has done it.”

    At an Orange County megachurch, this may lead to a lot of nodding heads. In reality, the policy details point in a very different direction.

    Warren seems to want Americans to believe our economy would be healthier if our government invested less. Indeed, the pastor’s argument seems to be that the Great Recession — partly the result of lax regulations and poor government oversight — would have been better if the public sector left more American families to fend for themselves. This is backwards, as the public-sector layoffs, and their drag on the national economy, help demonstrate.

    But Steve M. raised a good point about what else Warren said in the interview: “The only way to get people out of poverty is J-O-B-S. Create jobs. To create wealth, not to subsidize wealth.”

    Then I suppose the conservative pastor has a problem with developments like these?

    Across the country, work force centers that assist the unemployed are being asked to do more with less as federal funds dwindle for job training and related services. […]

    Federal money for the primary training program for dislocated workers is 18 percent lower in today’s dollars than it was in 2006, even though there are six million more people looking for work now. Funds used to provide basic job search services, like guidance on resumes and coaching for interviews, have fallen by 13 percent. […]

    Employers who want to hire often complain that the jobless do not have the necessary skills. In such an environment, advocates for workers say that cutting funds for training and other services makes little sense.

    Warren’s rhetoric may have a folksy charm, but his assessment of the economy is deeply misguided. He didn’t address these federal job-training programs in particular, but he nevertheless articulated an ideology that Republican policymakers share: the jobs landscape will improve if the nation invests less in those who need jobs.

    It’s not a “spiritual” mistake, but it is a policy mistake.

  18. rikyrah says:

    “Papers Please” and the Latino Vote
    Posted on 04/07/2012 at 5:00 pm by JM Ashby

    Following the arrest of several individuals who do not have brown skin, Alabama Republicans decided that they may need to revise their “Papers Please” anti-immigration law, HB56, to ensure that no more white people are arrested. After all, they weren’t the intended target.

    Among the proposed changes however, is one that makes the current bill even more egregious.

    Long-promised revisions to the state’s controversial immigration law were filed Thursday afternoon, with one significantly expanding provisions allowing officers to detain those they have “reasonable suspicion” of being in the country unlawfully.

    Under the current law, police could apply “reasonable suspicion” to the individual arrested or cited during a traffic stop. The new bill would allow law enforcement to detain anyone else in the vehicle.

    Amanda Beadle of ThinkProgress reports that it was law enforcement who requested this new provision, which I personally interpret as a tool for more efficiently scooping up groups of people to detain or deport rather than one at a time.

    Florida Senator Marco Rubio believes he can attract the undecided portion of the latino voting base in November by offering a cynical, watered-down version of the Dream Act, and while that may lure a small portion of voters, the vast majority will remain unswayed as long as Mitt Romney continues to pal around with the original author of “Papers Please,” Kris Kobach.

    Romney, who has pledged to veto the Dream Act, said Kris Kobach’s legislation is a “model” for the country.

    Recently-recalled Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce claiming that Mitt Romney’s immigration policy is “indentical” to his doesn’t help either.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Earl Ofari Hutchinson: Blacks Need not Apply to Virtually Lily White Senate

    What do Kendrick Meek, Alvin Greene, Mike Thurmond, and C. Anthony Muse have in common? They are black, male, and all four had hoped to join one of the world’s most elite, select and politically powerful bodies in the world, the U.S. Senate. They didn’t make it. Meek, Greene, and Thurmond lost their bids for Senate seats in 2010. Muse lost his this year. Their loss gave the U.S. Senate the dubious distinction of being one of the last remaining political bastions in America where blacks are invisible. It has been almost impossible for black senate candidates to crack the dried plaster hard racial ceiling of the U.S. Senate.

    Disgraced and imprisoned former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich’s hotly disputed Illinois senate appointee Roland Burris in 2008 was the last black to hold down a Senate seat. But that was just barely. When the Blagojevich corruption and bribery scandal publicly exploded, the Senate gave hard consideration to giving Burris the boot. A big factor in the Senate pull back from going after Burris was that it would have left the Senate especially moderate and liberal Senate Democrats wide open to the embarrassing and awkward rap that a bunch of white senators torpedoed the appointment of a black man. But that’s no longer a worry. Burris declined to run when his truncated term was up and that meant a return to a Senate with no blacks.

    That’s not the worst part. The worst is that the odds are good that the Senate will have no African-Americans for years to come.

    The Senate has sole power to approve a declaration of war, debate treaties, approve nominations to the Supreme Court and decide the guilt or innocence of an impeached president, and put the final stamp on all vital legislation at the national level.

    The Founding Fathers made no secret that they wanted the Senate to be an Olympian lawmaking body. James Madison bluntly wrote that the Senate should be the ultimate check to prevent the people from “overwhelming” government. For nearly 125 years, state legislators elected senators. The 17th Amendment passed in 1913 changed that. But it did not end the Senate’s political insulation and elitism. Nearly two-dozen senators are millionaires. Many have been in the Senate for decades, and they are virtually impossible to unseat. The six-year Senate term of office is the longest of any elected body in America. That spares senators the need to continually debate issues and policy decisions directly with voters. It also shields their legislative actions from public scrutiny.

    Mississippi is a textbook example of how changing racial demographics have little effect on Senate incumbents. Blacks comprise a third of the state’s population, and more than a quarter of the voters. They are solidly Democratic. Mississippi has the one of highest percentage of black delegates at the Democratic convention in 2008. Yet before Trent Lott quit the Senate he and Thad Cochran, had been in the Senate more than four decades.

    The problem for blacks, and for that matter women, Latinos, gays, beyond race and gender, of getting into the white, male privileged, clubby ole-boys Senate is money and political connections

    A Senate candidate must raise millions, get their party’s official stamp and appeal to conservative, white middle-class voters to get elected. Senate seats aren’t cheap. Obama raised a record $4 million dollars in a three-month span in his winning Senate effort. Obama preached a centrist, conservative message of family values, tax fairness and military preparedness and an emphasis of toughness on national security and the war on terrorism. He had to in order to draw support from conservative white Democrat voters and neutralize Republicans in central and downstate Illinois. But the key was still money, Obama had plenty of it, and that was the clincher. How much did he and do other candidates or incumbents need to run for or hold on to a Senate seat? According to the Center for Responsive Politics, in 2010, the average winning House candidate spent nearly a one and a half million dollars to run (not necessarily to win). A Senate seat cost almost 10 times more. The average price to win it soared to nearly $10 million.

    The Senate is not unaware that it is a body that is grossly undemocratic and unrepresentative of the country’s racial, ethnic and gender demographics. In fact, Senators have been repeatedly asked about their virtually lily white, rich, and male club. They have either declined to comment or simply issued a template statement that diversity is a good thing for America. But as far as diversity in their body, their silence has been deafening. In the words of one senator, it’s not an issue that’s discussed.

  20. Ametia says:

    State Attorney Angela Corey, appointed as a special prosecutor in the February shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, has decided against sending the case to a grand jury, her office said Monday.

    “The decision should not be considered a factor in the final determination of the case,” Corey’s office said in a statement.

    “At this time, the investigation continues and there will be no further comment from this office,” the statement said.

  21. rikyrah says:

    American Crossroads sees Obama winning tax debate
    By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 9, 2012 11:00 AM EDT.

    Karl Rove’s attack operation, American Crossroads, the powerhouse of the Republican family of super PACs, is planning to begin “its first major anti-Obama advertising blitz of the year.” It’s unclear how big the initial round of attacks will be, but the operation has “an anticipated bank account of more than $200 million,” most of which has come from undisclosed contributions.

    But Crossroads is doing more than just crafting ads; it’s also doing ample research as to which messages are resonating with the public. It led to this interesting tidbit.

    [Steven J. Law, the group’s leader, said] Crossroads research suggests that Mr. Obama’s campaign has started to gain traction among critical swing voters by arguing that Republicans, including Mr. Romney, favor an “economic plutocracy” in which middle-class voters can no longer count on financial security, even though they work hard and play by the rules.

    “His argument is: ‘The reason you feel bad is not because I’ve been an inadequate president but because the rules of the game are stacked against you,’ ” Mr. Law said. Calling it a “dystopian vision,” he added, “that narrative has some gravitational pull.”

    I’m not sure what’s “dystopian” about this. As Obama’s 2012 stump speech comes together, the president has begun telling audiences, “[F]or too long, for too many people, the basic American compact, the basic idea that if you work hard, if you’re responsible, if you’re looking after your family, that you should be able to find a job that pays a living wage, and you should be able to have health insurance so that you don’t worry about going bankrupt if somebody in your family gets sick, that you should be able to send your kids to college and aspire to higher heights than you ever achieved, that you should be able to retire with some dignity and respect — we understood that that basic compact for too many people felt like it was slipping away.”

    This resonates because, well, it’s true. It’s only “dystopian” if the president argues that we’re stuck like this, and that working families can no longer get ahead even if they play by the rules. Obama, of course, is saying the opposite — he’s arguing he wants to restore this basic social compact and provide a degree of financial stability and security for the middle class.

    Rove, Mitt Romney, and their party reject this vision, arguing that the middle class will prosper once the wealthy have more tax breaks, industries have fewer regulations, and families are left to fend for themselves with less public aid in health care and education.

    Is it any wonder American Crossroads’ focus groups are finding that an “economic plutocracy” isn’t currying favor with voters?

    The larger point, though, is that Crossroads is willing to admit that Obama’s argument is resonating.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Worst Persons in the World
    Posted on 04/09/2012 at 9:23 am by Bob Cesca
    Fox Orlando affiliate WOFL for this:

    A Fox Orlando affiliate decribed Neo-Nazis as “a civil rights group” on a television broadcast and online. The group of Neo-Nazis, known as the National Socialist Movement, has been conducting armed patrols of the streets of Sanford, Florida, the town where Trayvon Martin was shot dead.

    I do not think those words mean what Fox thinks they mean.

    Incidentally, by way of disproving a Glenn Beck fueled bullshit idea, this group is called “The National Socialist Movement.” I assure you, in no way shape or form do they have anything in common with the left or socialists in general. Why? Because the Nazi use of the word “socialist” was propaganda. As I’ve said dozens of times, the name “hot dog” has the word “dog” in it, but the food item doesn’t have anything to do with actual dogs.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Crossroads to go on air against Obama
    By BYRON TAU | 4/8/12 10:52 PM EDT

    American Crossroads — one of the major independent expendiure groups on the Republican side — is preparing a big anti-Obama blitz:

    Steven J. Law, the group’s leader, said the ads would address the challenge of unseating a president who polls show is viewed favorably even though many people disapprove of his handling of the economy. Basically, Mr. Law said, “how to dislodge voters from him.”

    The ultimate goal of the Crossroads campaign, Mr. Law said, would be to better connect Americans’ disappointment with the economy to their views of the president, especially among crucial swing voters.

    The Crossroads advertising push — the timing of which has been the subject of avid speculation at the Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago — would give the campaign of Mitt Romney, the Republican front-runner, the time and cover to map out its national organization, replenish its bank account and put the finishing touches on its own long-discussed advertising plan, which is expected to highlight the economic pain of ordinary Americans.

    President Obama’s reelection campaign has a big head start in terms of fundraising and organization over the eventual Republican nominee, but a big buy from an outside group like Crossroads can help level the playing field between the two parties.

    Mitt Romney and the RNC just filed paperwork to create a joint fundraising committee — pushing the maximum allowable donation to the Romney campaign up to $35,800 — an advantage that the Obama campaign and the DNC have enjoyed for some time now. Outside groups like Crossroads and the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future can help the GOP narrow that gap.

  24. Ametia says:

    Did anyone watch Scandal with Kerry Washington?

    If I Could Have This (Black-Girls-Run-The-Media-World) Moment 4 Life …
    I have already begun my mental preparations for the latest insult to Black women’s romantic lives that Steve Harvey’s upcoming film Think Like A Man will most certainly be.

    I have had to start these preparations because I know that despite the sense I claim to have, I’m prolly gone go see the movie. Why? Because even though light-skinned men went out in the 80s, Michael Ealy will never go out of style! He is #mmmgood!

    Anyway, let me stop being scandalous. This being Easter Monday and all.

    Instead, let me give a shout out to Scandal, Shonda Rimes’ newest show starring Kerry Washington, the first Black female lead on a primetime network drama, in, let’s just say, forever.

  25. Ametia says:

    The Modern Law Library

    ‘Devil in the Grove’ Author Discusses Early Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Case


  26. rikyrah says:

    April 09, 2012 10:04 AM

    Silence Is Not Golden
    By Ed Kilgore

    In my last post I took a shot at the premise that this or that issue—i.e., taxes—“belongs” to conservatives and should be avoided at all costs by progressives. In the past, this “issue-ownership” mindset has been a particularly bad habit on the Left, where it was common to advise progressive politicians not to “play on enemy turf” by talking about national security, crime, welfare, the budget, or other “conservative issues.” They should instead, it was thought, encourage persuadable voters to think more about issues on which they sympathize with the good guys. The era of pseudo-Lackoffian chatter about “frames” among progressives reinforced this very comforting prejudice, even though it effectively reduced political discourse to competing “narratives” in which the volume and intensity of each side’s rap become the only thing that matters, and “swing voters” are treated as essentially stupid and irresolute people who just need to be yelled at a bit louder.

    According to this approach, progressives probably wouldn’t want to talk about taxes at all. But at the moment, the claim that “silence is golden” is coming from an unexpected direction: the self-consciously centrist Third Way organization, in a new publication about “independent swing” voters entitled “Opportunity Trumps Fairness.”

    I haven’t had time to examine this paper thoroughly, and have several issues with its basic assumptions. But what jumped out at me most was its argument that even talking about “fairness” when it comes to taxes may be counterproductive, because although “independent swing” voters think a “fair” tax system might involve higher taxes on the wealthy, they also want poor people to pay more taxes and generally smile upon “flat tax” schemes. So “pressing them on what would be most fair” might well push them right into the conservative camp for good. Better just to shut up about “fairness”—which simply reinforces preconceived negative perceptions of liberals as redistributionists—and focus on “opportunity” instead.

    My basic problem with this sort of approach to messaging, whether it comes from the “left” or the “center,” is that by refusing to challenge conservative stereotypes of what progressives believe, it confirms them. When it comes to “fairness,” conservatives persistently argue that liberals favor an economic system biased in favor of the very rich and the very poor at the expense of the middle class. The rich have “loopholes” and the poor are “lucky duckies” who don’t pay taxes at all; better to have a flat tax that treats everybody and every source of income the same, right?

    If, as the Third Way paper argues, “swing voters” accept such premises, progressives have two choice: challenging the false premises, based on false characterizations of both the tax system and of what progressives would do about it, or falling silent and making “tax fairness” (of all things!) yet another concession to enemy turf.

    Once asserted by one side and conceded by the other, negative stereotypes are very hard to shake. That’s one of many reasons why in political competition, what you don’t say can kill you and silence is almost never golden.

  27. Ametia says:

    Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 01:37 PM PDT.

    BREAKING: Romney names running mate

    The Romney campaign today announced a surprise pick for Vice President – Exxon Mobil Corporation. “This is a game changing decision, that will really energize the true Republican base: Koch Industries, Haliburton, Walmart, Bechtel, Fox and Shell BP,” said a Romney spokesman. “It’s also a breakthrough for minority rights, as it’s the first time a Corporate American had appeared on the ballot. With subsidiaries in fifty eight countries and puppet regimes in six, Exxon Mobil brings to the ticket foreign policy experience focused on the only countries that matter – the ones with oil.”

  28. rikyrah says:

    A reputation Romney can’t afford to earn
    By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 9, 2012 9:44 AM EDT.

    In his latest column, the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank noted Mitt Romney’s latest speech in Washington, and paid particular attention to the fact that the likely Republican presidential nominee had “some trouble” telling the truth.

    The columnist highlighted quite a few of the former governor’s falsehoods — most of them will be familiar to readers who keep up on our weekly “Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity” feature — before noting the larger significance of Romney’s “prodigious output” of “whoppers.”

    That candidates don’t tell the truth is hardly news. Voters already know there are lies, damn lies, and politics…. But the fact that the fibs are routine doesn’t make them less insidious…. Romney’s fast-and-loose routine with the facts — deployed equally against his Republican rivals and Obama — is particularly disappointing because it is unnecessary. […]

    That Romney resorts to such gratuitous falsehoods discredits his leadership more than his opponent’s.

    For regular Maddow Blog readers, this certainly isn’t new. What’s notable about the Milbank column, however, is its existence — Romney’s unnerving dishonesty is starting to get noticed in ways that had gone largely overlooked for months. In other words, concerns about the ease with which the presumptive Republican nominee misleads the public are going mainstream.

    This matters. This is about the point in a presidential campaign at which media “narratives” start to stick. Romney can live with mockery of his out-of-touch patrician elitism; he can tolerate talk of his role in orchestrating mass layoffs; he embraces his lack of leadership experience; and he’s confident he can overcome talk of his flip-flopping.

    But if political observers start to see Romney as a man who frequently lies to advance his ambitions, it’s a character flaw that’s awfully tough to live down.

    As Rachel recently explained, “Some dishonesty in national American politics is frankly routine. It’s too bad, but it’s true. Romney-style dishonesty is a sight to behold. It’s different. He’s bending the curve.”

  29. Ametia says:

    Why Obama Should Run Against the Supreme Court

    Recently, there has been considerable debate over whether President Obama should run against the Supreme Court as part of his reelection campaign. High-ranking Democratic Rep. James Clyburn has endorsed the idea, and Obama himself has seemed to test the waters with anticipatory criticism of a decision striking down his health-care law as unconstitutional.

    But there’s a strong case to be made that Obama should run against the Supreme Court however the health-care case turns out, and that his campaign should begin that effort today. He should run, specifically, against the five justices on the Court who span the spectrum from conservative to very conservative: Anthony Kennedy, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito.

    There are two prominent objections to running against the court. But a closer looks shows why they should carry less weight than they now do.

    The first objection is purely strategic. According to this line of thinking, Obama would be making a strategic error in picking the fight with the court because of its standing and popularity, or because the clash would inevitably be so divisive it couldn’t but diminish him. The court’s approval rating (46 percent a few months ago) rivals President Obama’s (48 percent) own and far exceeds that of Congress (12 percent), which passed the health-care law.

  30. rikyrah says:

    April 08, 2012 9:20 AM

    Scott Walker: Not Just the Scourge Of Public Employees
    By Matthew Zeitlin

    In the past few days, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, who is internationally (in)famous for his campaign against the collective bargaining rights of his state’s public employees, signed two pieces of legislation that, while totally in keeping with a conservative agenda, seem to have little to do with the crisis in the state’s finances and economy that he was elected to fix. The first bill, which actually garnered a fair amount of attention after Walker signed it on Thursday, repealed a 2009 law which allowed women who were victims of workplace discrimination to sue their employers for damages. The second, signed on Thursday but only announced by Walker on Friday, mandates that sex education in Wisconsin schools “stress abstinence as the only reliable way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.”

    Now, these two issues — limiting access to the courts to seek redress against employer discrimination and emphasizing abstinence in sex education — are core Republican concerns. What they are not, however, is at all part of some radical reorganization of state finances and spending priorities in order to maintain solvency and limit the size of state government. That Scott Walker, the governor most well known for his agressive actions against state employees as part of his strategy to reorient the state government’s priorities and scope, has signed these two pieces of culture war legislation is particularly vivid demonstration that the portrayal of the Tea Party as somehow unconcerned with traditional social issues was totally out of line with reality.

    Mike Konczal and Bryce Covert, in a paper published by the Roosevelt Institute and an article in the Nation, have a more comprehensive look at the Republicans who were swept into statehouses in 2010 on a wave of Tea Party discontent. One of their more telling findings is that the Republicans pursuing the core Tea Party priority of reducing their state’s public workforce were also passing legislation anti-abortion legislation and laws restricting voter registration:

    Our analysis has shown that this conservative, anti-public worker agenda works hand-in-glove with both restrictions on reproductive freedom and attempts to curtail voting rights. In 2010, Republican Governor Mitch Daniels argued that conservatives should call a “truce” on culture issues and focus on reducing the deficit. Instead, conservative state governments managed to do both at once: push through a record number of government layoffs while also restricting reproductive freedom and democratic voting rights. As the Guttmacher Institute noted, “issues related to reproductive health and rights at the state level received unprecedented attention in 2011.” Ninety-two provisions in 24 states directly restricted access to abortion services, almost triple the previous record. The midterm turnover gave the anti-choice movement its chance.

    When asked by the Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff about the pro-life’s successes, Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, said, “The most obvious thing was the 2010 election…. When we saw this big wave come in, we were ready to grab the ball and run with it.”
    The same pattern emerges in states that have passed voter suppression laws. As The Nation’s Ari Berman described it in Rolling Stone, “a new crop of GOP governors and state legislators has passed a series of seemingly disconnected measures that could prevent millions of students, minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts and the elderly from casting ballots.” These laws range from requiring a government-issued ID to vote, to requiring proof of citizenship to register, to not allowing citizens to register on election day and closing the early voting period. They all produce the same result: decreased access to voting and the democratic process.

    Many of the states that passed or considered anti-choice, anti-democracy bills were those that targeted public workers. Again, we see that the states that the GOP took over in 2010 are much more likely to pass abortion-related restrictions compared to other non-GOP state legislatures, just as they were more likely to make public sector cuts.

  31. Ametia says:

    This BITCH was CRAZY

  32. rikyrah says:

    April 09, 2012 8:45 AM
    Buffet Rule Tax Day Push
    By Ed Kilgore

    Usually the week leading up to April 15, the federal income tax filing day, belongs to conservatives who have the change to score uncontested goal after goal against an unloved and unlovable tax system, and more broadly, the public commitments that make it necessary.

    But this year, it looks like Democrats will for once try to take the initiative with a “tax fairness” campaign that will have the added benefit of directing public attention to Mitt Romney’s balance sheet. Here’s Jonathan Wiesman’s description:

    President Obama and Senate Democrats will kick off a coordinated pressure campaign on Republicans next week ahead of a tax day vote on legislation to enact the president’s “Buffett Rule,” which would ensure that the rich pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes.

    Mr. Obama will travel to Florida on Tuesday for a speech on the Buffett Rule, named after the billionaire investor Warren E. Buffett, who has made a point of saying that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. The Obama campaign will hold Buffett Rule events in other swing states that day, and Senate Democratic leaders have encouraged Democratic senators to get involved with those campaign efforts….

    The push comes ahead of a procedural vote on April 16 that will decide whether the Senate will even debate the bill, and Democrats give it little chance of reaching the necessary 60-vote threshold.

    Wiesman’s article goes on to debate whether the Buffet Rule specifically, or “fairness” generally, is a winning election-year economic message.

    I think this sort of argument falls prey to the amazingly persistent and pernicious idea that whole issue areas “belong” to one party of the other. No, it doesn’t make much sense for tax fairness to become an overriding issue for Democrats this year. But it makes even less sense for Democrats to fall mute or try to change the subject every time Republicans talk about taxes.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Now THIS , I had never head of before:


    Is Posthumous Marrying Offensive?
    by Maisie Allison

    According to the Mormon Church, Thomas Jefferson is the husband of Sally Hemmings, his slave and the mother of several of his children, the couple having been “proxy sealed” in a practice similar to posthumous baptism:

    [T]he LDS Church, according to its Family Search registry, considers Hemings to be Thomas Jefferson’s wife. (One of two—the other of course being Jefferson’s legal wife, Martha, who happens to be Sally Hemings’s half-sister; she and Hemings were both the daughters of Virginia plantation owner John Wayles.) Jefferson is also listed as the father of Hemings’s children. … Why does this matter? Because Mormons not only believe in baptizing non-Mormons who have died—they also believe in “sealing” families so they can spend eternity together.

    Joanna Brooks grapples with the ceremony:

    Mormonism uniquely emphasizes eternal marriage as a rite necessary to enter the highest levels of heaven. Viewed through this theological prism (and with a generous dose of romantic idealism about the quality of most human marriages), the practice of posthumous sealings has special warmth for LDS people. But sealing deceased slaves to their slavemasters? Thomas Jefferson to Sally Hemmings? A relationship that emblematizes slavery’s most complicated and intimate forms of exploitation?

  34. rikyrah says:

    That’s a cold shot
    By DougJ, Head of Infidelity April 8th, 2012

    A few months ago (I think I wrote about it at the time), I did a conference call with some kind of group of liberal people, including E. J. Dionne. I went after E. J., telling him that all he ever did was say “my good friend David makes a great point about why we may have to starve all the poor people, even if I don’t completely agree”. He seemed taken aback and someone else told me he mouthed “who is this guy” after I asked it. I like to think (though I know it isn’t so) that’s why he’s writing stuff like this now:

    Conservatives are not accustomed to being on the defensive.

    They have long experience with attacking the evils of the left and the abuses of activist judges. They love to assail “tax-and-spend liberals” without ever discussing who should be taxed or what government money is actually spent on. They expect their progressive opponents to be wimpy and apologetic.

    So imagine the shock when President Obama decided last week to speak plainly about what a Supreme Court decision throwing out the health-care law would mean, and then landed straight shots against the Mitt Romney-supported Paul Ryan budget as “a Trojan horse,” “an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country,” and “thinly veiled social Darwinism.”


    Progressives would be wildly irresponsible if they sat by quietly while a conservative Supreme Court majority undid 80 years of jurisprudence. Roosevelt wasn’t a wimp, and Obama has decided that he won’t be one, either. Conservatives are unhappy because they prefer passive, intimidated liberals to the fighting kind.

    Just fucking let these clowns have it. Tebow knows they deserve even worse. If Bobo and David Gergen whine about your angry, partisan tone, that just means you’re doing it right.

    I don’t mind that Obama does the “centrist” Village thing sometimes, as long as he hits when he has an opening. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.

  35. rikyrah says:


    he was always a racist.

    so, the headline should be : racist writer ouster after ridiculously racist tirade.

    because all of his writings before proved he was a racist..he was just ridiculous with this piece, and his fellow NROers couldn’t give him cover.


    Conservative writer ousted after racist tirade
    By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 9, 2012 7:59 AM EDT

    .Following up on an item from the weekend, National Review editor Rich Lowry announced that John Derbyshire will no longer write for the prominent conservative magazine.

    His latest provocation, in a webzine, lurches from the politically incorrect to the nasty and indefensible. We never would have published it, but the main reason that people noticed it is that it is by a National Review writer. Derb is effectively using our name to get more oxygen for views with which we’d never associate ourselves otherwise.

    So there has to be a parting of the ways. Derb has long danced around the line on these issues, but this column is so outlandish it constitutes a kind of letter of resignation. It’s a free country, and Derb can write whatever he wants, wherever he wants. Just not in the pages of NR or NRO, or as someone associated with NR any longer.

    If you’re just joining the story, Derbyshire, in a piece for Taki’s Magazine, explained the lessons he has shared with his children about race in America. The list of tips Derbyshire has given his kids include urging his kids to “avoid concentrations of blacks,” steering clear of events and locations likely to be “swamped with blacks,” and among other things, choosing not to live in communities “run by black politicians.”

    He added, “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.”

    The piece was published on Thursday; controversy erupted on Friday; and Derbyshire was told he’s no longer welcome at National Review on Saturday.

    Given Derbyshire’s record of hateful rhetoric — the wasn’t the first time the writer has published offensive content on race — it’s worth considering why he was given such a platform in the first place. For that matter, given National Review’s often-ugly history on race, the Derbyshire controversy represents a fairly significant setback for the conservative magazine.

    But in the larger context, I often wonder where the tipping point lies for conservative media figures — just how far do they have to go in order to face consequences for their outrageous rhetoric? For Limbaugh, it was calling Sandra Fluke a “slut” and requesting a sex tape. For Coulter, it was a public condemnation of 9/11 widows. And for Derbyshire, it was apparently an online racist screed.

    • Ametia says:

      Derbyshire’s rantings are the stuff that perpetuates the rabid, vile, and bigoted racism that pervades America today. ADIOS MOFO! I’m sure the NR will replacve him with another turd who is a so-called master at veiling his racism.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Getting Worked Over
    By Zandar April 9th, 2012

    What’s going on here in Kentucky’s employment scene is typical nationally:

    With the economy slowly reviving, an executive from Atlas Van Lines recently visited Louisville, Ky., with good news: the company wanted to hire more than 100 truck drivers ahead of the summer moving season.

    But a usually reliable source of workers, the local government-financed job center, could offer little help, because the federal money that local officials had designated to help train drivers was already exhausted. Without the government assistance, many of the people who would be interested in applying for the driving jobs could not afford the $4,000 classes to obtain commercial driver’s licenses. Now Atlas is struggling to find eligible drivers.

    Across the country, work force centers that assist the unemployed are being asked to do more with less as federal funds dwindle for job training and related services.

    And that’s because Republicans have cut job training programs again and again. Both this year’s version of the Ryan Austerity Plan and last year’s version called for massive cuts to job training programs, and the Republicans got a healthy chunk of those cuts as part of budget deals (that they are looking to renege upon now). By the way, every single Republican in Congress voted to keep paying federal oil subsidies which would have more than covered the job training budget several times over. Instead, these programs are out of money in April already.

    To bolster training and other services for jobless workers, the Obama administration recently proposed consolidating two programs. The general dislocated worker program paid for under the Workforce Investment Act would be combined with the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which provides training and other benefits to workers who lose their jobs because of foreign competition.

    The trade program, which has an annual budget of $575 million, is typically more generous, but narrow in eligibility. The combined program would make all funds available to anyone who had lost a job, regardless of the reason.

    In his latest budget proposal, President Obama also requested an additional $2.8 billion a year for job training over the next decade. “Even in this very tight budget,” said Gene Sperling, national economic adviser, “the president felt that there was an imperative to call right now for a more simplified and effective training system” that also had an increase in funds.

    You’re probably saying to yourself “Why cut job training programs for people who want to work when unemployment is as high as it is?” You’ve answered your own question, same as why Republicans want to eliminate federal programs for birth control, preventative care, sex education, early childhood education, and day care. They don’t want anything to get better for the working poor. They might end up with an extra five bucks to give to a Democrat. Can’t have that. Gotta have tax cuts for the Job Creators instead. That’ll teach you to be poor.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Stupid is as stupid does
    By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 9, 2012 8:51 AM EDT.

    Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who uses Twitter far more than most elected politicians, published a curious message over the weekend.

    To translate the abbreviations, the Iowa Republican said that his constituents asked why he’s not outraged at President Obama’s attack on the Supreme Court’s independence. Grassley responded to these questions by telling constituents that the American people are “not as stupid as this ex-professor of constitutional law.”

    Grassley’s Senate office later confirmed that the tweet came from the senator himself — his account was not hacked by someone trying to make Grassley look foolish — and a spokesperson said the senator believes the president doesn’t “understand Marbury v Madison.”

    The general response to this over the weekend was to use Grassley’s comments as another example of the toxicity that permeates the political discourse. There’s certainly some truth to this — 30-year veterans of the U.S. Senate traditionally conduct themselves with more dignity and stature than Grassley chooses to show, and his tweet calling the president “stupid” is a reminder about the overall demise of “statesmanship” in the Republican Party.

    But there’s more to this. Intemperate rhetoric from a classless senator matters, but what matters more is the substance behind his rhetoric. Grassley is a crude politician, but the larger significance of this is that he has no idea what he’s talking about.


    First, as a factual matter, Obama didn’t attack the Supreme Court’s independence, and he never failed to understand judicial review. This is simply ridiculous, as Grassley and his press office likely realize — all one has to do is read what the president actually said.

    But the larger point to this is that Grassley has a lot of nerve questioning the intellect of others as part of the debate over health care.

    Grassley, for those who may have forgotten his role in the health care debate, insisted there was “a bipartisan consensus” for an individual mandate, only to turn around soon after and condemn the mandate that he’d already endorsed. He also talked up death panel garbage; he routinely contradicted himself; and he vowed to vote against his own compromise plan during bipartisan negotiations.

    For that matter, during the same debate, he touted Glenn Beck’s book and at one point, even tried to exploit Ted Kennedy’s cancer for political gain.

    Best of all, after Grassley failed to kill health care reform, the senator took credit for the ways in which the Affordable Care Act helped Iowans.

    Someone has demonstrated “stupidity” here, but I don’t think it’s the president.

  38. Trayvon Martin: Protesters call for civil disobedience.

  39. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  40. 2012 Easter Egg Roll
    The White House

    April 09, 2012 7:30 AM EDT

  41. President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama Speak at the 2012 Easter Egg Roll

    April 09, 2012 10:30 AM EDT

  42. Rock ‘n’ Egg Roll Stage
    The White House

    Now Streaming…

Leave a Reply