Serendipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread | Curtis Mayfield Week!

Happy MUN-dane, Everyone! This week 3 Chics featured artist is Curtis Mayfield. Enjoy

Wiki:   Curtis Lee Mayfield (June 3, 1942 – December 26, 1999) was an African-American soul, R&B, and funk singer, songwriter, and record producer. He is best known for his anthemic music with The Impressions during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and for composing the soundtrack to the blaxploitation film Super Fly, Mayfield is highly regarded as a pioneer of funk and of politically conscious African-American music.[1][2] He was also a multi-instrumentalist who played the guitar, bass, piano, saxophone, and drums. Curtis Mayfield is a winner of both the Grammy Legend Award (in 1994) and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (in 1995), and was a double inductee into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted as a member of The Impressions into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991, and again in 1999 as a solo artist. He is also a two-time Grammy Hall of Fame inductee.

Two significant characteristics distinguish Mayfield’s sound. First, he taught himself how to play guitar, tuning it to the black keys of the piano, thus giving him an open F-sharp tuning—F#, A#, C#, F#, A#, F#—that he used throughout his career.[3] Second, he primarily sang in falsetto register, adding another flavor to his music. This was not unique in itself, but most singers sing primarily in the modal register.


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73 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread | Curtis Mayfield Week!

  1. rikyrah says:

    Measuring the drapes, fundraising edition
    By Steve Benen

    Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:55 PM EDT

    Mitt Romney at a phone bank fundraiser last year in Las Vegas.

    The conventional wisdom says that President Obama and his campaign team are exceedingly confident about the 2012 race, to the point of nearly being cocky. But Obama isn’t the one already selling access at the 2013 inauguration for five figures.

    Former Governor Mitt Romney is already offering top donors access to a special “Presidential Inaugural retreat,” planned on the assumption that he will be elected president this November.

    The offer, in a fundraising email circulated by a top Georgia supporter to fellow Republicans and obtained by BuzzFeed, is one of several goodies offered to those who contribute more than $50,000 to the joint fundraising committee known as “Romney Victory,” a program whose outlines were first reported by POLITICO.

    Those donors will be named “Founding Members” of Romney Victory and invited to a California retreat with Romney and offered “yet to be determined access at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August.”

    They will also “have preferred status at the first Presidential Inaugural retreat,” the email says.

    Just to be clear, there’s nothing illegal or unethical about this — when it comes to inaugurations (for presidents of either party) and fundraising, incoming administrations have even more leeway and flexibility than they do during the campaigns.

    But this is still politically problematic. For one thing, Romney routinely likes to complain about “cronyism” in Washington, and yet, here he is selling promises of access for $50,000 at his inauguration.

    For another, Romney is already operating as if a victory is a foregone conclusion, seven months before voters have their say.

    I’ve heard of politicians “measuring the drapes” before an election, but this is pushing the envelope.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Fiscal Frauds
    By John Cole April 16th, 2012

    Of course he is just making shit up:

    A big mystery of Romney’s tax pledge — to “cut tax rates across the board by 20 percent” and reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent — is what tax loopholes he’ll close to pay for the cost.

    Romney’s tax cuts are projected to cost the federal government $5 trillion over 10 years, on top of the $4 trillion 10-year cost of making the Bush tax cuts permanent. Existing deductions and exemptions in the tax code, all together, reduce receipts by about $1 trillion per year, according to estimates.

    Chuck Marr, director of federal tax policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said all the deductions Romney proposed to scrap “would pay for less than 20 percent” of the $5 trillion cost of his tax plan. “The deductions he unveiled would raise less than $1 trillion,” he said.

    Romney’s mortgage interest proposal would yield “probably less than 1 percent of the total cost” of his tax cuts, Marr said, while axing the state and local deduction for everyone, which would be very difficult to enact politically, would yield about $800 billion to $900 billion over 10 years. “So that’d be a major step but still pay for a small share of his tax cuts,” Marr said.

    It’s unclear whether Romney would eliminate these expenditures entirely or simply cap them, to limit the extent to which they benefit high-income earners.

    The deductibility of home mortgage interest and the tax exemption for employer-provided health care eat up a big chunk of the $1 trillion in revenue the government loses annually because of tax expenditures. Both are very popular politically, and they’ve become fundamental to the country’s housing and health care policy. Other perks, like the low capital gains rate and oil and gas subsidies, are backed by powerful constituencies that both parties, but particularly Republicans, are at pains to scale back.

    The Romney campaign backed away from the remarks Monday morning, suggesting they’re aware the bad math could become a political liability. “He was just discussing ideas that came up on the campaign trail,” Romney surrogate Jim Talent told reporters on a conference call Monday. “He wasn’t announcing a policy yesterday. We don’t have any plans now to announce new policies.”

    It’s not a big mystery at all. He’s lying.

    How many more decades do we have to pretend the Republicans are fiscally responsible?

  3. rikyrah says:

    Romney Campaign Tries To Walk Back Policy Details Revealed At Fundraiser

    Evan McMorris-Santoro April 16, 2012, 9:51 AM 16632

    Mitt Romney has made it very clear he wants to keep it vague on the campaign trail when it comes to the way he’ll change how the American government looks. The politics of actually saying what he plans to do are just to dangerous for him to speak in anything else but gauzy language, he’s said.

    That’s the standard for the general electorate, anyway. Romney’s big-time donors, however, are another story. Two reporters on the trail with Romney over the weekend overheard Romney detailing his vision for eliminating the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and dramatically trimming the Department of Education — specific proposals he’s yet to unveil on the trail.

    His campaign predictably tried to put the genie back in the bottle.

    “I’m going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Some eliminate, but I’m probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go,” Romney said. “Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later. But I’m not going to actually go through these one by one. What I can tell you is, we’ve got far too many bureaucrats. I will send a lot of what happens in Washington back to the states.”

    As Romney noted, according to NBC, calling for an end to the Education Department is “politically volatile.” Romney tried it back during his 1994 Senate run against the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), and it didn’t go over well with the blue state electorate. Just a couple weeks ago Romney used this exact same anecdote to explain why he was avoiding the kind of specificity he outlined to the wealthy audience in Florida.

    “One of the things I found in a short campaign against Ted Kennedy was that when I said, for instance, that I wanted to eliminate the Department of Education, that was used to suggest I don’t care about education,” Romney told the Weekly Standard in March.

    “I think it’s important for me to point out that I anticipate that there will be departments and agencies that will either be eliminated or combined with other agencies.” Romney singled out housing vouchers as one place where he would make significant changes, but kept it purposely vague when it came to how he plans to chop the Cabinet. “Will there be some that get eliminated or combined?” he said. “The answer is yes, but I’m not going to give you a list right now.”

    Romney also named names on changes to the tax code he’d propose. A Wall Street Journal reporter outside the Palm Beach fundraiser overheard him proposing the elimination of mortgage deductions for second homes, as well as other changes aimed primarily at the wealthy. That new money would be used to pay for Romney’s tax-cut plan.

    Both the proposals themselves — and the fact that he revealed them to wealthy donors after keeping the public in the dark — will provide fodder for Democrats. It was little surprise, then, that Romney’s campaign quickly dismissed reports from the fundraiser.

    “He was tossing ideas out, not unveiling policy,” a Romney spokesperson told CNN.

  4. Ametia says:

    Senate rejects consideration of Buffett Rule tax increase for millionaires
    By Rosalind S. Helderman, Monday, April 16, 6:13 PM

    The Senate rejected consideration Monday of the so-called Buffett Rule , a key election-year Democratic initiative to impose a minimum tax rate on those making more than $1 million per year, as a philosophical debate over taxes that will define this year’s elections occurred on Capitol Hill.

    Democrats were unable to get the 60 votes necessary to break a filibuster and proceed to a full consideration of the measure, with the Senate voting 51 to 45 to move ahead. The vote was largely along party lines, although Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) voted with Democrats to allow the measure to proceed and Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor (Ark.) voted to block it.

  5. Ametia says:


  6. Ametia says:

    Posted at 03:33 PM ET, 04/16/2012
    AFL-CIO’s Trumka rips Obama: What about the 99 percent?

    By Greg Sargent

    Last month, the AFL-CIO endorsed Obama, quieting all the talk about any rift or lingering differences between the President and organized labor. Many Dems hope enthusiastic union support will help Obama limit losses among blue collar whites in the swing states — something that could prove decisive in the 2012 election.

    Those hopes may have hit another snag: That rift has cracked open a bit once again.

    In an interview just now, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka ripped into Obama for taking a key step this weekend towards the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement — which Trumka claimed would have domestic political ramifications for Obama. Trumka said continuing betrayal of labor would make it harder to turn out supporters this fall and was already muddying Obama’s efforts to draw a sharp contrast with Mitt Romney over who represents the 99 percent.

    “The more these things happen, where workers interests are subjugated to other interests, it has a cumulative effect, making it harder for us to energize our members and get them out in the numbers necessary in the fall,” Trumka told me.

  7. Ametia,

    I Love Curtis Mayfield and I absolutely hate that I am not going to hear what you’ll bring the rest of the week. What a bummer :(

  8. Hiya, 3Chics!

    I miss you guys! I am in the process of moving into my house and I won’t have internet access for awhile. Right now, I am over at my daughter for a minute and thought I’d drop in and say hello to you good folks. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your support, donations, thoughts, prayers and words of encouragement during my horrible crisis. It’s been a long uphill climb but I’m getting there. I am still amazed at your outpouring of love you have shown me during such a dark time in my life. Thank you so much for everything. I’ll be out of pocket for a time but I’ll be back as soon as I can.


    I Love You banner

  9. Ametia says:

    Media lawyers: Unseal the George Zimmerman court file
    3:24 p.m. EST, April 16, 2012|
    By Rene Stutzman, Orlando Sentinel

    Media attorneys on Monday asked the Sanford judge overseeing the George Zimmerman murder case to unseal the court file.

    Attorneys for Zimmerman and the state last week agreed that they wanted paperwork in the file kept secret. That also includes all the evidence that the state will, in the next few days and weeks, provide Zimmerman’s attorney

  10. Ametia says:

    CNN BREAKING- Watch the negative media attacks continue!

    President Barack Obama holds a 9-point lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Monday, thanks in part to the perception that the president is more likeable and more in touch with the problems facing women and middle-class Americans.

    The poll indicates a pronounced gender gap that benefits Obama, who holds a 16-point advantage over his challenger among women and a 3-point advantage among men.

    The poll also found that 7 in 10 Americans favor Obama’s proposed change to the federal income tax rate for people who make more than $1 million a year — the so-called Buffett Rule. The proposal is particularly popular among Democrats and independents, but a small majority of Republicans also supported it.

    The Senate is expected to take a procedural vote later Monday on the Buffett Rule, which is expected to fall short of the 60 votes needed to move it to the Senate floor.

    The poll was conducted Friday through Sunday, after former Sen. Rick Santorum suspended his bid for the GOP nomination.

  11. Ametia says:


  12. Ametia says:

    Wisconsin Supreme Court won’t take up voter ID case
    By Andrew Jones
    Monday, April 16, 2012 15:27 EDT

    The Wisconsin Supreme Court refused to take up appeals to the state’s new voter ID law Monday, but an advocate against the law remained hopeful that they would take up the case in the future.

    The law, which requires residents to show photo ID in order to vote, was blocked last month by two separate state appeals courts in Dane County. The two judges requested that the state’s highest court take up the appeals from the League of Women Voters and the NAACP, with a trial behind held Monday in one of those cases over the law’s constitutionality.

    But neither group received an explanation as to why the court would not take up an appeal in separate orders, failing to get four out of the seven justices required to take up a case.

  13. Ametia says:

    Senate Hearing to Probe Racial Profiling
    April 16, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    On Tuesday, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) will chair a Senate hearing on the topic of racial profiling. By coincidence it comes at a time when, in the wake of the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, racial profiling is also a topic of heated national discussion.

    Called by the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, the hearing will feature experts who claim that the practice harms law enforcement, as well as explore the different faces of racial profiling, from anti-terrorism efforts that target Muslims to the routine suspicion of African Americans. It is the first Senate hearing on the issue since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

    At the heart of the proceeding will be a bill that has stalled in Congress for more than a decade: the End Racial Profiling Act. First introduced in 2001 by former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), the legislation has been repeatedly reintroduced since then, most recently in 2011 by co-sponsors Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Harry Reid (D-Nev).

  14. Ametia says:

    Michael Eric Dyson Blasts Conservatives For ‘Swallowing Camels’ In Trayvon Martin Story

    The Trayvon Martin story continues to spark crackling debates on race and justice in America, and Saturday morning’s Up with Chris Hayes was a particularly compelling example. In a pair of segments devoted to anxiety over black peoples’ reaction to the case, things got heated, but thanks to kind and wise host Chris Hayes, never boiled over, but Georgetown University Professor Michael Eric Dyson made some devastating points about conservative reaction to the story.


  15. Ametia says:

    NationofChange / Op-Ed
    Published: Monday 16 April 2012

    One of the most pernicious falsehoods you’ll hear during the next seven months of political campaigning is there’s a necessary tradeoff between fairness and economic growth. By this view, if we raise taxes on the wealthy the economy can’t grow as fast.

    Wrong. Taxes were far higher on top incomes in the three decades after World War II than they’ve been since. And the distribution of income was far more equal. Yet the American economy grew faster in those years than it’s grown since tax rates on the top were slashed in 1981.

    This wasn’t a post-war aberration. Bill Clinton raised taxes on the wealthy in the 1990s, and the economy produced faster job growth and higher wages than it did after George W. Bush slashed taxes on the rich in his first term.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Why the War Will Not End
    by BooMan
    Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 01:34:06 PM EST

    If you want to know why the Republicans are delusional in their hope that they will close the gender gap, all you need to do is take a look at Romney-surrogate Ed Gillespie’s failed appearance yesterday on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. Gillespie was pimping two lies that are supposed to immunize the campaign from criticism on women’s issues. The first lie is that over 90% of the jobs that were lost in the Great Recession were lost by women. When Chris Wallace pointed out that this was somewhere between highly misleading and completely untrue, Gillsepie accused the fact-checkers of having a liberal bias.

    The second lie was that Mitt Romney didn’t really mean it when he said he would get rid of Planned Parenthood. And, while it’s true that he would eliminate all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, that doesn’t mean that he would “defund it.”

    “Federal funding of abortion is not a noble thing to do. And so, defunding from a federal budget perspective of Planned Parenthood is not the same thing. […]

    “[I]t’s not fair to say not having federal funding for Planned Parenthood is defunding Planned Parenthood.”

    What does this leave us with? I guess we can be happy that Romney won’t make it illegal for you and me to make a donation to Planned Parenthood. But that’s not much to be happy about because Planned Parenthood would not exist without federal funding. That’s the whole point. In context, that’s what Romney said he would do. He was talking about eliminating subsidies and programs to help balance the budget.

    “You get rid of Obamacare, but there are others,” Romney [told] the station. “Planned Parenthood, we’re gonna get rid of that. The subsidy for Amtrak, I would eliminate that. The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, both excellent programs, but we can’t afford to borrow money to pay for these things.”

    Does anyone think Amtrak will exist without federal subsidies? Of course not. And neither will Planned Parenthood.

    These two talking points (about female unemployment and Planned Parenthood) are so stupid and misleading and dishonest that they cannot even fly on Fox News Sunday. That means their effectiveness will be limited to the people who exclusively watch Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly. Perhaps these talking points aren’t even good enough for O’Reilly, who seems to have an unpredictable bullshit detector that does occasionally go off.

    And what is the point of these talking points? In the first case, it’s saying that “we’re bad, but Obama’s worse..” And, in the second case, it’s saying “it depends on what the meaning of ‘defund’ is.”

    These are not winning arguments even when you have the facts on your side, which is not the case here.

    The problem really boils down the fact that the modern GOP cannot agree that the federal government should do anything. And that includes doing anything that women might appreciate more than men. They can’t come out with some set of policies that might interest women because the policy is that there are no policies. Are they going to increase the minimum wage? Chase down deadbeat dads? Help lower the cost of college loans? Include contraception in health care plans? Help women afford day care? Keep abortion legal? Improve maternity leave?

    No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

    Think of any idea you want to that might benefit women. Now imagine the likelihood of the Republicans funding that idea on the federal level.

    See? It’s impossible to imagine. They have no women’s agenda. The agenda they have is uniformly hostile to what women already have under the law.

    The Republicans cannot parse their way of this. The gender gap will actually grow rather than shrink if they continue to insist that the federal government cannot and should not do anything to help women and that the most important thing is not to help women but to stop helping them.

  17. rikyrah says:

    What ‘defunding’ Planned Parenthood means
    By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 16, 2012 12:32 PM EDT.

    Romney surrogate Ed Gillespie on “Fox News Sunday”
    Republican insider Ed Gillespie, serving in his new capacity as a Romney campaign advisor and surrogate, appeared on “Fox News Sunday” yesterday, and made some interesting comments about women’s issues.

    Most of the exchange was fairly predictable — Gillespie defended a foolish lie, for example — but note the campaign surrogate’s response when host Chris Wallace asked about Mitt Romney’s plan to “get rid of” all federal aid to Planned Parenthood

    “Federal funding of abortion is not a noble thing to do. And so, defunding from a federal budget perspective of Planned Parenthood is not the same thing. […]

    “[I]t’s not fair to say not having federal funding for Planned Parenthood is defunding Planned Parenthood.”

    First, as Gillespie probably knows, federal funding of abortion is already prohibited under the law. The Romney surrogate may find political value in misleading Fox viewers, but Planned Parenthood has traditionally enjoyed broad bipartisan support from the left, right, and center — before the more recent radicalization of the Republican Party — in part because of the fact tax dollars are not used to terminate unwanted pregnancies.

    Second, I’m fascinated by this notion that there’s a distinction, from the Romney campaign’s perspective, between taking away funding and “defunding.” If I’m not mistaken, this is an entirely new level or rhetorical parsing — Romney doesn’t want to defund the women’s health care organization; he simply wants to eliminate its funding. This is supposed to make sense.

    As Gillespie sees it, Planned Parenthood will have some funding if/when a Romney administration takes away all of its federal assistance, so calling this “defunding” is “not fair.”

    For the record, Romney wants to eliminate all tax-dollar aid to Planned Parenthood and end funding for Title X altogether. Gillespie’s creative spin notwithstanding, such a move would prevent countless American women from receiving necessary health care services.

    The Romney campaign is right when it says the “get rid of” line is generally taken out of context — the former governor said he’d “get rid of ” Planned Parenthood, but in context, he was talking about scrapping public aid. But the phrase that keeps coming to mind is “distinction without a difference” — if Republican policymakers end all public assistance for the group, Planned Parenthood as we know it will almost certainly cease to be.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Republicans to slash food stamps

    By DAVID ROGERS | 4/16/12 12:04 PM EDT
    Food stamps moved front-and-center in the budget wars Monday morning, as House Republicans began rolling out a first wave of $33.2 billion in 10-year savings that will have an immediate impact in the farm bill debate and come November, the 2012 elections.

    An average family of four faces an 11 percent cut in monthly benefits after Sept. 1, and even more important is the tighter enforcement of rules demanding that households exhaust most of their savings before qualifying for help. This hits hardest among the long-term unemployed, many of whom never before used the aid –now titled SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)—but have found it valuable in trying to stay afloat in the current recession.

    Indeed food stamp enrollment and costs have exploded since the financial collapse four years ago, making SNAP a target for the right— but also far bigger political issue in swing states like Florida, Nevada and Ohio.

    National food stamp enrollment reached 46.4 million people in January 2012, a nearly two-thirds increase from the average participation in fiscal 2008. The annual costs—now running in excess of $80 billion—have more than doubled in the same period. And even the most ardent food stamp proponents will sometimes say SNAP is a program “asked to do too much.”

    The White House deliberately increased monthly benefits in 2009 by about $20 per person as a way to pump stimulus dollars into the economy. And in this post welfare-reform crisis, hard-strapped governors have sought to maximize food stamp dollars as a cheap way to help families without tapping state funds.

    Read more:

  19. rikyrah says:

    The Spillover of Racialization into Evaluations of Bo Obama
    by Michael Tesler in Model Politics
    Tue April 10 2012, 10:26 a.m. PDT

    As mentioned in a previous Model Politics post, racial attitudes remain a much stronger predictor of attitudes towards Barack Obama than previous presidential candidates. Perhaps even more interesting, a series of findings by social scientists indicate that presidential vote choice isn’t the only thing that has become increasingly polarized by racial attitudes since Barack Obama’s rise to prominence. Indeed, these studies show that racial attitudes’ influence on a number of political evaluations increased significantly after becoming connected to Obama’s presidency—evaluations that include health care opinions, tax policy preferences, approval of Supreme Court nominees, midterm vote choices, and even identification with the Democratic Party (see: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). We have referred to this phenomenon as the spillover of racialization.

    To see just how far this spillover of racialization extends, I surveyed 1000 YouGov respondents about something with no manifest political content whatsoever—feelings towards politicians’ dogs. Individuals were first shown a picture of the Clinton’s former Chocolate Labrador, Buddy, and then asked to rate how favorably they felt towards him. These same respondents were then shown the above picture of the Obamas’ Portuguese Water Dog, Bo, but with an important twist: Half of the sample was told that the picture was of Bo Obama, and the remaining half was told that it was a picture of Ted Kennedy’s dog, Splash—a design enabled by the fortuitous fact that Kennedy actually had a Portuguese Water Dog named Splash. The idea here is that any differences in evaluations of Bo Obama and Splash Kennedy should be caused by their respective owners rather than their pictures.

    Much like prior spillover of racialization results, the figure below shows that respondents relied more heavily on their racial predispositions when evaluating Bo Obama than they did when rating the picture said to be Splash Kennedy. Indeed, the first panel of the display shows that moving from least to most racially resentful (see measurement: here) was associated with more than a 50 percentage point decrease in Bo’s favorability rating compared to less than a 20 point decrease in support for Splash. As can also be seen, the second panel of the display reveals a similar sized difference in the effect of feelings toward blacks, as rated on a 0-100 thermometer scale, on respondents’ respective evaluations of Bo Obama and Splash Kennedy.

  20. Ametia says:

    In case you’re keeping count at home, here are all the things Mitt Romney has hidden from us so far:

    o His tax returns

    o Details on his investments

    o Who his Bundlers are

    o Hard drives

    o Servers

    o Offshore money

    o And now, the specific policies he’d enact, if elected President.

    And the Senate is set to vote on the Buffett Rule today. To see how the rule would affect your life, visit here :

  21. Ametia says:

    And, as Buzzfeed reports,Mitt Romney is already measuring the drapes and offering access to a Presidential Inaugural retreat for donors willing to pay $50,000:

  22. Ametia says:


    This weekend, the Wall Street Journal and NBC broke thatat a closed-door, high-dollar fundraiser in Florida, Mitt Romney pledged to scrap HUD and drastically cut education – details that he has refused to reveal to the American people:

  23. rikyrah says:

    On Blacks and Fat: Darryl Roberts
    This filmmaker says that BMI is meaningless and stress is making African Americans obese.
    By: Jenée Desmond-Harris |
    Posted: April 16, 2012 at 12:59 AM

    Obesity is more common in African Americans than in other ethnic groups. But when it comes to black people and weight, that’s where the consensus seems to end. Is food the culprit? Is exercise the solution? Is there even a real problem to begin with, or should we be focusing on health — or even self-acceptance — rather than the number on the scale?

    Against the backdrop of the first lady’s mission to slim down the nation’s kids, black celebs getting endorsements after shedding inches and a booming weight-loss industry, The Root will publish a series of interviews with medical professionals, activists and fitness enthusiasts that reveal the complexity of this issue and the range of approaches to it.

    For the first in the series, The Root talked to filmmaker Darryl Roberts, whose documentaries America the Beautiful and America the Beautiful II: The Thin Commandments set out to challenge mainstream notions about weight, beauty and health.

    The Root: According to the latest statistics, African Americans are 1.5 times as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be obese. What’s going on, from your perspective, with black people, obesity and overall health?

    Darryl Roberts: What I’ve found is that one of the things going on with African Americans and obesity is that we are living with a lot of stress in inner cities, and that stress is causing us to invite disease in our bodies and causing us to do emotional eating. In addition, there are food deserts [in black communities] where people simply can’t access the type of food they need to be healthy.

    TR: When it comes to African Americans and obesity, what is the biggest myth or misunderstanding?

    DR: The biggest myth would be that African Americans have these horrid eating habits, they live off McDonald’s and KFC and Popeyes, that they don’t exercise … People say this kind of thing in a way that’s totally devoid of the concept of the stress going on in black people’s lives. The other thing that’s hurting us in the black community is we’re not given the proper knowledge — we’re beat down with the message that you can’t be overweight and healthy — when in actuality, studies show that you can.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 04/16/2012
    The centrist dodge
    By Greg Sargent

    I’ve written here before about “the centrist dodge,” the rhetorical magic act regularly employed by commentators who mostly agree with Dems on major issues, but need to obscure this fact in order to maintain their pose as floating above the partisan fray.

    There are various ways of accomplishing this. You can call for a third party, even though the positions you want want that third party to adopt are broadly held by Dems. You can pretend that Obama and Dems haven’t proposed the things they have, in fact, proposed.

    Then there’s a third trick: Claim that you speak for swing voters, and that regardless of their positions on actual issues, they’ll certainly be turned off by the aggressive populist tone of Obama and Dems.

    Case in point: Bill Keller’s big Op ed piece today. He manages to acknowledge that Mitt Romney has lurched far to the right during the GOP primary, while simultaneously claiming that the real Romney is more “ideologically attuned” that Obama is to the “middle.” How do we know this? That recent Third Way poll is all we need! Obama’s new populist tone will thrill the “orthodox left” but will inevitably prove too “partisan” for the aforementioned “middle”:

    In the Democratic Party, a battle for Obama’s teleprompter is now under way between the moderates and the more orthodox left. The president sometimes, as in his last two State of the Union addresses, plays the even-keel, presidential pragmatist, sounding themes of balance and opportunity. Then sometimes lately he sounds more as if he’s trying out for the role of Robin Hood.
    The problem isn’t that the Buffett Rule is necessarily a bad idea. It isn’t that “social Darwinism” is a slander on Republicans. (Heck, it may be the only Darwinism Romney believes in.) The problem is that when Obama thrusts these populist themes to the center of his narrative, he sounds a little desperate. The candidate who ran on hope — promising to transcend bickering and get things done — is in danger of sounding like the candidate of partisan insurgency. Just as Romney was unconvincing as a right-wing scourge, Obama, a man lofty in his visions but realistic in his governance, feels inauthentic playing a plutocrat-bashing firebrand. The role the middle really wants him to play, I think, is president.
    I don’t know how to gauge whether swing voters want Obama to play the role of “plutocrat-bashing firebrand,” since that’s a pretty overheated description of what Obama is actually doing. I do know, however, that many polls have actually tried to measure where Americans stand on the positions Obama has taken, and the overall critique of inequality and the tax code he has offered, while playing the ”plutocrat-bashing firebrand” role Keller finds so distasteful.

    The polling can be found in Keller’s own paper. A recent New York Times poll found that 52 percent of Americans, and 55 percent of independents, think capital gains and dividends should be taxed at the same rate as ordinary income. It also found that 55 percent of Americans, including 58 percent of independents, think the wealthy pay less than their fair share in taxes. In other words, the “middle” agrees that the tax system is unfair.

    Indeed, a recent Post poll found that a majority (52-37) sees the unfairness of the economic system as a bigger problem in this country than overregulation, a regular Romney target. Independents agree, 50-39; moderates, 57-36. That’s a bit surprising, given that Romney is supposedly more attuned than Obama to the “middle.” Meanwhile, moderates and independents support raising taxes on the rich in poll after poll after poll after poll after poll.

    It’s unclear why all that polling from major news orgs is far less relevant than a single advocacy poll by Third Way to someone who is purporting to speak for millions and millions of swing voters.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Romney drops policy hints at closed-door fundraiser
    By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:47 AM EDT.

    A few weeks ago, Mitt Romney visited with the Weekly Standard and made the case for pre-election policy secrecy. The Republicans noted that during previous campaigns, when he’d tell voters what he planned to do in office, they would disapprove of his ideas, leading him to believe it’s preferable to remain vague in public until after the election.

    If the truth might cost Romney votes, the argument goes, then the truth should be hidden from the public. In private, however, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee is apparently willing to be a little more candid. Yesterday, Romney spoke at a fundraiser at a private home in Palm Beach, Florida, unaware of the fact that reporters could hear his remarks.

    Romney went into a level of detail not usually seen by the public in the speech, which was overheard by reporters on a sidewalk below. One possibility floated by Romney included the elimination of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Cabinet-level agency once led by Romney’s father, George.

    “I’m going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Some eliminate, but I’m probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go,” Romney said. “Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later.” […]

    Asked about the fate of the Department of Education in a potential Romney administration, the former governor suggested it would also face a dramatic restructuring.

    The fact that Romney is considering shutting down HUD is certainly new information.

    What’s more, the former governor added that he might also eliminate the second-home mortgage deduction, as well as deductions for state income and property taxes. This, too, is a level of tax-policy detail we haven’t heard from Romney thus far. Indeed, it’s no small revelation — it suggest a Romney administration would try to pay for tax breaks that benefit the wealthy by eliminating tax deductions, some of which are popular with the middle class.

    But what struck me as interesting is that Romney still isn’t willing to outline a detailed agenda, even when talking to wealthy donor friends, and even when he thinks reporters and the public won’t hear about it.


    At one point at this fundraiser, talking about parts of the government he intends to eliminate, Romney said, “I’m not going to actually go through these one by one.”

    In context, I don’t think he meant he wouldn’t go through them at last night’s event; I think he meant he wouldn’t go through them during the 2012 campaign because his views would be too controversial for the American mainstream.

    In other words, Romney is cagey about his intentions no matter where he is or who he’s talking to. Americans are supposed to vote for Romney first, then discover what he’d do in office after he wins.

    Remember, as far as Romney is concerned, Obama is guilty of playing a “hide and seek” game when it comes to pre-election policy specifics. As Romney argued two weeks ago, “Unlike President Obama, you don’t have to wait until after the election to find out what I believe in — or what my plans are.”

  26. rikyrah says:

    Another setback for the GOP’s outreach to Latinos
    By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:33 AM EDT.

    The National Republican Congressional Committee is well aware of their party’s problems with Latino voters, but insists it’s making progress. Indeed, the NRCC has a list of 27 non-incumbent Latino candidates running for office in 2012.

    Elise Foley, however, discovered some problems with the list.

    There’s just one issue: Some of the candidates on the list aren’t actually Latino — or even registered Republicans.

    The Huffington Post contacted each of the 27 reportedly Latino candidates touted by the NRCC, and spoke to more than half. Most of them said they hadn’t heard from the NRCC before they announced their run — and many still haven’t. In addition, two of the candidates told the Huffington Post they were married to Latinos, but were not Latino themselves. […]

    The problems with the list don’t end there. One candidate listed is no longer registered as a Republican for the purposes of his campaign.

    So, the National Republican Congressional Committee put together a list of Latino Republican candidates for 2012, without realizing that some of them are Latino and one of them isn’t even a Republican.

    This isn’t the sort of thing that’ll do as much damage as Republican support for “self-deportation” policies, or unyielding opposition to the DREAM Act, but it certainly doesn’t help. And the fact that the NRCC wasn’t aware of this helps reinforce the larger issue about Republicans and their disconnect from Latino voters.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Why Romney’s tax returns matter
    By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:28 AM EDT.

    By now, everyone is probably familiar with the predictable political tactic: wait until late on a Friday afternoon to release news you don’t want people to see. It’s a routine ploy in large part because it’s so effective.

    With this in mind, let’s not overlook the announcement from the Romney campaign, made around 5 p.m. eastern on Friday afternoon.

    Mitt Romney has filed for an extension on his 2011 taxes, his campaign said Friday. […]

    Romney plans to file his return sometime in the next six months, and prior to the election will release it, “when there is sufficient information to provide an accurate return,” according to a spokeswoman, Andrea Saul.

    There’s no evidence to suggest there’s a nefarious explanation for the delayed filing, and extensions are not uncommon. But the issue of Romney’s elusive tax returns nevertheless continues to be an important one in the 2012 campaign. The presumptive Republican nominee is already earning a reputation as Mr. Secrecy, and the fact that he’s being so stingy when it comes to disclosure matters.

    What’s more, this isn’t going away. Benjy Sarlin reported, “The Obama campaign is launching a multi-pronged effort to highlight Romney’s low 13.9 percent tax rate, demand close to two dozen years of additional returns and request more information about his foreign assets.”

    Of particular interest to Team Obama is the fact that Romney has decades worth of tax returns; he just won’t share the materials with voters.


    When Romney was considered for John McCain’s 2008 ticket, for example, the former governor turned over 23 years worth of returns.

    And yet, when it comes to voters, Romney was willing to share last year’s returns, and his campaign has said he’ll eventually share this year’s materials, too. What about the documents that McCain saw before choosing someone else as his running mate? So far, Romney aides insist those materials will remain under wraps. Why? They won’t say.

    American Bridge 21st Century’s Rodell Mollineau published a detailed memo, noting the 12 things Americans could learn from Romney’s returns, if he discovers the benefits of disclosure. It’s not a short list, reinforcing the significance of the issue.

    For the record, President Obama and Vice President Biden have already put 12 years worth of returns online, available for public scrutiny.

  28. rikyrah says:

    It’s a matter of ‘choice’
    By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:04 AM EDT.

    There was a curious exchange on “Meet the Press” yesterday, with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) arguing, with a straight face, that she and her party want American women to be able to “make their own choices for the future of their own bodies.” No, seriously, that’s what she said

    For those who can’t watch clips online, the right-wing Minnesotan argued with a straight face:

    “What we want is women to be able to make their own choices…. You see, that’s the lie that happens under Obamacare. The president of the United States effectively becomes a health care dictator. Women don’t need anyone to tell them what to do on health care. We want women to have their own choices, their own money. That way they can make their own choices for their future on their own bodies.”

    To be sure, I don’t generally expect much in the way of coherence from Bachmann. She proudly embraces bizarre conspiracy theories; she routinely says ridiculous things on national television; she pretends to grasp public policies she doesn’t understand; and her worldview is detached from reality. Even as the Republican Party leaps off a right-wing cliff, Bachmann stands out for her unique brand of madness. Her reference to a presidential “health care dictator” helps underscore the point.

    But even if we put all of that aside, it’s just odd to hear far-right Republicans who oppose women’s reproductive rights speak passionately about far-right Republicans wanting women to “make their own choices” about “their own bodies.”

    Has Bachmann heard about her party’s push to restrict contraception access? How about getting rid of Planned Parenthood? Or maybe the state-mandated, medically-unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds? Perhaps measures to force women to tell their employers why they want birth control have crossed the congresswoman’s radar screen?

    “What we want is women to be able to make their own choices.” Bachmann keeps saying this, but I don’t think it means what she thinks it means.

  29. rikyrah says:

    A Peek at the Real Romney
    by BooMan
    Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 09:37:18 AM EST

    Mitt Romney appeared at a private fundraiser in Palm Beach, Florida last night and he thought he was alone. But the press could hear his remarks from the sidewalk below the residence. As a result, we now know several things that Romney will promise his donors in private but will not discuss on the campaign trail.

    For example, he has a plan to offset the cost of further lowering the marginal income tax rate on rich people.

    “I’m going to probably eliminate for high income people the second home mortgage deduction,” Romney said, adding that he would also likely eliminate deductions for state income and property taxes as well.

    “By virtue of doing that, we’ll get the same tax revenue, but we’ll have lower rates,” Romney explained. “The nice thing about lower rates is that small businesses not (sic) get to keep a larger share of what they’re earning and plow it back in to hire more people and expand their business.”

    This would impact people who have a second home that they do not rent out. But the law as it currently stands only allows you to deduct mortgage payments on $1.1 million of debt, so anyone with more than that in mortgage debt would not be impacted. Yet, all of us would lose the right to avoid double taxation on our local, state, and property taxes. There’s a reason Romney will only propose this privately.

    He has a plan for winning back Latinos, and it might surprise you:

    Predicting that immigration would become a much larger issue in the fall campaign, Romney told his audience, “We have to get Hispanic voters to vote for our party,” warning that recent polling showing Hispanics breaking in huge percentages for President Obama “spells doom for us.”

    Romney said the GOP must offer its own policies to woo Hispanics, including a “Republican DREAM Act,” referring to the legislative proposal favored by Democrats that would offer illegal immigrants a limited path to citizenship, to give Hispanic voters a real choice between parties.

    That’s actually a very poor description of what the DREAM Act would do. The DREAM Act would offer citizenship to students who graduate from high school and have no criminal record. It’s designed for the children of illegal immigrants who came to this country through no choice of their own and grew up here and excelled in their studies. It’s a bill that Mitt Romney has promised to veto.

    Indeed, the Democratic National Committee quickly responded to Romney’s remarks.

    “If there had been doubt in anyone’s mind—least of all, Hispanics in America, that Mitt Romney’s far-right views on immigration would make him the most extreme presidential nominee in recent memory, his statement [Saturday] that he would veto the DREAM Act if he were president is appalling,” said Juan Sepluveda, the DNC’s Senior Advisor for Hispanic Affairs. “This piece of legislation has been supported by members of both parties.”

    It’s not clear what a “Republican” DREAM Act would look like, but it appears to be one item on Romney’s Etch A Sketch agenda. Or, maybe, he was just telling his donors what they wanted to hear. That seems to be the case with the Department of Education because the following doesn’t even make any sense:

  30. rikyrah says:

    Pennsylvania’s Voter ID Law Adds The Amish To The Long List Of Voters Harmed By Voter ID
    By Amanda Peterson Beadle on Apr 12, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    In March, Pennsylvania became the first state in 2012 to enact a voter ID law. It could have a disastrous impact on the 700,000 Pennsylvanians who currently lack photo ID, but it also harm those who still need an ID to vote but object to having their picture taken for religious reasons, like the Amish and Mennonite communities. They can use a nonphoto ID to vote, but only after completing an interrogation about their faith, according to the Associated Press:

    The first item on PennDOT’s form asks applicants to “describe your religion.” It is followed by more questions that devout followers might struggle to answer, and some that inquire about the lives of family members.

    How many members are there of your religion?

    How many congregations?

    What’s the process by which you came to the religion?

    What religious practices do you observe?

    Do other family members hold the same religious beliefs?

    Submitting that form, once notarized, is not enough. Applicants must fill out another form.

    If they lack proof of identification, yet another form must be completed before a nonphoto ID is issued. The ID is valid for four years, and the renewal process is simpler.

    Going through this process is essential if those who hold religious objections to being photographed want to vote. Anyone who wants to vote must show identification in the November election.

    Now, even state senators who supported the voter ID law are concerned about the extensive questionnaire that people who object to being photographed because of their faith must answer. State Sen. Mike Folmer (R) said it seems intrusive and questioned why that much information is needed. “They are going to be keeping them from the polls, keeping American citizens from the polls,” he said. “That’s what I’m concerned about.”

    While many Amish and Mennonite people do not vote, those who do vote tend to vote for Republicans. But Republicans have led the charge across the U.S. to enact voter ID laws in an effort to disenfranchise groups of voters like groups, such as college students, low-income voters, and minorities. PennDOT reports that it has issued about 4,000 nonphoto IDs to Amish people, but there are about 61,000 Amish who live in the state. And it is doubtful more Amish will want to go through the arduous process to get a nonphoto ID simply to vote.

    Ironically, this new hurdle to Amish voters was erected while many Republicans also insist that the Obama Administration is attacking religious freedom through new federal regulations that require employer-provided health insurance plans to cover contraception. It’s difficult to square the GOP’s claims about religious liberty with the impact of voter ID on specific faiths. Pennsylvania’s voter ID law requires certain people of faith to take additional steps simply to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

  31. Ametia says:


    Norway mass killer Anders Behring Breivik claims self-defense in bomb-and-shooting massacre
    Updated at 7:19 a.m. ET

    (AP) OSLO, Norway – A right-wing fanatic admitted Monday to unleashing a bomb-and-shooting massacre that killed 77 people in Norway but pleaded not guilty to criminal charges, saying he was acting in self-defense.

    On the first day of his long-awaited trial, Anders Behring Breivik defiantly rejected the authority of the court as it sought to assign responsibility for the July 22 attacks that shocked Norway and jolted the image of terrorism in Europe.

    Dressed in a dark suit and sporting a thin beard, Breivik smiled as a guard removed his handcuffs in the crowded court room. The 33-year-old then flashed a closed-fist salute, before shaking hands with prosecutors and court officials.
    “I don’t recognize Norwegian courts because you get your mandate from the Norwegian political parties who support multiculturalism,” Breivik said in his first comments to the court.


  32. Ametia says:

    One in five US adults does not use the internet: study

    One in five US adults does not use the internet at all, according to a new report from the Pew Internet Project.
    One in five US adults does not use the internet at all, according to a new report from the Pew Internet Project. They don’t use email, read newspapers online, check out friends’ photos on Facebook or waste time watching cat videos on YouTube.

    The main cause? There’s no good reason to go online, 48 percent of respondents told Pew researchers. “They don’t want to use the internet and don’t need to use it to get the information they want or conduct the communication they want,” the report said, according to CNN.

    Other common reasons the non-internet-users are living life unplugged: They don’t have access to a computer, it’s too expensive, it’s too difficult and it’s a waste of time, the survey-takers told Pew. Only about 20 percent of non-users said they knew enough about technology to go online if they wanted to, PC Magazine reported.

    More from GlobalPost: Study: Social media users unfriend those with contrary political opinions

    American adults who never go online tend to be older (59 percent of US senior citizens live internet-free), have less education (60 percent of high-school dropouts don’t use the internet) and be poorer (40 percent of people with an annual household income under $30,000 are offline), Pew researchers found, according to CNN.

    Adults with disabilities were also less likely to use the internet, Pew said, according to PC Magazine. While 81 percent of adults without a disability go online, only 54 percent of respondents with a disability said they use the internet.

    Most Americans who don’t currently surf the web have never gone online before and live in an internet-free household, Pew researchers found, according to CNN.

    For the survey, Pew researchers interviewed 2,260 adults, in English and Spanish, between July 25 and Aug. 26, 2011, PC Magazine reported.

  33. Ametia says:

    Senate To Vote On Buffett Rule
    Brian Beutler-April 16, 2012, 5:00 AM192532

    The Senate returns from a two-week recess Monday to tee off a fight over inequality, GOP anti-tax absolutism and the budget that will persist until Election Day.

    After months of build-up, the Senate will vote on legislation that enshrines the “Buffett Rule” — the principle that no one who makes more than $1 million a year should pay a lower effective tax rate than an average, middle-class American.


    The back story to the Buffett Rule — and the press corps’ jaundiced treatment of it — is here. Voting for the rule would explicitly violate the anti-tax pledge nearly every Republican lawmaker has taken. As such, the GOP is attacking it in myriad ways, and even endangered moderates, such as Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), are expected to oppose it.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 09:03 AM ET, 04/16/2012
    The Morning Plum: Romney will eliminate whole government agencies. But he won’t say which ones.
    By Greg Sargent

    Back in March, Mitt Romney confided to the Weekly Standard that he intended as president to eliminate a whole slew of government agencies, but he wasn’t yet prepared to say which ones. The press corps mostly shrugged.

    Last night, Romney took this a step further: He suggested to a group of friendly donors that he has no intention of revealing which agencies he plans to eliminate for the duration of the campaign. An NBC reporter overheard Romney’s comments, and this quote jumps out:

    “I’m going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Some eliminate, but I’m probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go,” Romney said. “Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later. But I’m not going to actually go through these one by one. What I can tell you is, we’ve got far too many bureaucrats. I will send a lot of what happens in Washington back to the states.”
    Glad we’ve now achieved some, er, clarity on this point. Sure, Romney did go a bit further than he has in public, revealing that he’ll likely consolidate the Department of Education with another agency or dramatically downsize it. But Romney, who has promised to cut any government programs that don’t pass his China test — if they’re not worth borrowing money from China to finance, they’re not worth keeping — is simply not willing to say which ones.

    There’s no mystery here: People routinely tell pollsters they favor cutting government spending in the abstract, but when talk turns to specifics, they suddenly realize they don’t hate goverment so much, after all. And so, Romney’s comments last night sounded like a pretty straightforward assertion to a friendly audience that he will deliberately remain vague throughout the election about which government agencies he’ll either consolidate or eliminate wholesale.

    However ambiguous, the vow to massively cut government is necessary to plug the big whole in his vision: He continues to promise huge tax cuts for the rich, even as he also continues to promise that he’ll solve our deficit problem. The money has to come from somewhere. But Romney won’t say where. You’d think news orgs might want to get on this one of these days

  35. rikyrah says:

    Romney Identifies Tax Cuts at Private Fund-raising Event
    By Brett Smiley

    Mitt Romney spoke to deep-pocketed supporters at a private estate in Palm Beach, Florida, on Sunday night, and from a public sidewalk outside, reporters were able to overhear specifics on tax deductions he would use to offset the 20 percent income tax cut he’s proposed for all taxpayers. At least publicly, Romney has to this point discussed his plan only in general terms. “I’m going to probably eliminate for high-income people the second-home mortgage deduction,” Romney reportedly told the crowd in a backyard. “By virtue of doing that, we’ll get the same tax revenue, but we’ll have lower rates. The nice thing about lower rates is that small businesses get to keep a larger share of what they’re earning and plow it back in to hire more people and expand their business.”

    According to The Wall Street Journal, Romney also said he would likely eliminate the state income tax deduction and state property tax deduction.

    In addition, the presumptive Republican nominee said he would seek to make cuts in the Department of Education and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
    “I’m going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them,” Romney said. “Some eliminate, but I’m probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go. Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later. But I’m not going to actually go through these one by one. What I can tell you is, we’ve got far too many bureaucrats. I will send a lot of what happens in Washington back to the states.”

    “The Department of Education: I will either consolidate with another agency, or perhaps make it a heck of a lot smaller. I’m not going to get rid of it entirely,” Romney told supporters.

    Which isn’t terribly surprising, but he’s yet to say it publicly.

    What is kind of surprising is an apparent Ann Romney comment, capping off the “war on women” debate. Both MSNBC and the Journal have reported that Ann Romney said, “It was my early birthday present for someone to be critical of me as a mother, and that was really a defining moment, and I loved it.”

  36. rikyrah says:

    Op-Ed Columnist
    Cannibalize the Future
    Published: April 12, 2012

    One general rule of modern politics is that the people who talk most about future generations — who go around solemnly declaring that we’re burdening our children with debt — are, in practice, the people most eager to sacrifice our future for short-term political gain. You can see that principle at work in the House Republican budget, which starts with dire warnings about the evils of deficits, then calls for tax cuts that would make the deficit even bigger, offset only by the claim to have a secret plan to make up for the revenue losses somehow or other.

    And you can see it in the actions of Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, who talks loudly about acting responsibly but may actually be the least responsible governor the state has ever had.

    Mr. Christie’s big move — the one that will define his record — was his unilateral decision back in 2010 to cancel work that was already under way on a new rail tunnel linking New Jersey with New York. At the time, Mr. Christie claimed that he was just being fiscally responsible, while critics said that he had canceled the project just so he could raid it for funds.

    Now the independent Government Accountability Office has weighed in with a report on the controversy, and it confirms everything the critics were saying.

    Much press coverage of the new report focuses, understandably, on the evidence that Mr. Christie made false statements about the tunnel’s financing and cost. The governor asserted that the projected costs were rising sharply; the report tells us that this simply wasn’t true. The governor claimed that New Jersey was being asked to pay for 70 percent of a project that would shower benefits on residents of New York; in fact, the bulk of the financing would have come either from the federal government or from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which collects revenue from residents of both states.

    But while it’s important to document Mr. Christie’s mendacity, it’s even more important to understand the utter folly of his decision. The new report drives home just how necessary, and very much overdue, the tunnel project was and is. Demand for public transit is rising across America, reflecting both population growth and shifting preferences in an era of high gas prices. Yet New Jersey is linked to New York by just two single-track tunnels built a century ago — tunnels that run at 100 percent of capacity during peak hours. How could this situation not call for new investment?

    Well, Mr. Christie insisted that his state couldn’t afford the cost. As we’ve already seen, however, he apparently couldn’t make that case without being dishonest about the numbers. So what was his real motive?

  37. rikyrah says:

    Senate GOP poised to kill Buffett Rule
    By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:45 AM EDT.

    There’s a strange loophole in the federal tax code. Those Americans who become wealthy thanks to private-equity funds — hedge-fund managers, vulture capitalists — get to pay a special, lower tax rate. The result is a tax policy dynamic that’s obviously unfair: some millionaires end up paying a lower rate than most of the middle class.

    Democrats have proposed closing the loophole with something called the “Buffett Rule,” which would require those who make $1 million or more to pay at least a 30% rate, and the Senate is scheduled to act on the proposal today. Is there any chance the measure might pass? Well, no — Republicans have vowed to kill the proposal with a filibuster when Democrats try to bring it to the floor this afternoon.

    When the Senate minority prevents an up-or-down vote today, they’ll not only ignore the wishes of most members of the Senate, they’ll also ignore the wishes of most of the country — Gallup reported on Friday that Americans favor the Buffett Rule, 60% to 37%.

  38. rikyrah says:

    Mitt’s muddled message on Moms
    By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.

    It’s funny how a 43-second video can ruin the Romney’s campaign’s entire offensive on stay-at-home moms.

    On Wednesday, CNN pundit Hilary Rosen noted that Mitt Romney claims to rely on his wife for guidance on women and economic issues, which Rosen argued is odd, since Ann Romney has “never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing.” As you probably noticed, this led Republicans to say Democrats are “attacking” moms, and it led many in the media to suggest “both sides” are engaged in a “war on women.”

    The Romney campaign, in particular, tried to exploit the CNN pundit’s observation in all sorts of creative ways, most notably pushing the line, “All moms are working moms.” Take a moment, however, to compare that sentiment to the line Romney pushed in January, as was first reported yesterday on MSNBC’s “Up With Chris Hayes.”

    For those who can’t watch clips on line, the former governor was reflecting on his Massachusetts policy, forcing women on welfare to meet a mandatory work requirement. He told a New Hampshire audience, “I said, for instance, that even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless.’ And I said, ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.'”

    It’s hard to overstate the extent to which this contradicts the Romney campaign’s line from last week. Romney argues in this video that a woman caring for a two year old isn’t really “working,” and should find a job outside the home in order to have some “dignity.”

    So, if you’re Ann Romney, being a stay-at-home mom counts as “work.” If you’re a low-income mother struggling to get by, being a stay-at-home mom is undignified and doesn’t count as “work.”

    When Mitt Romney told the NRA last week, “I happen to believe that all moms are working moms,” we apparently missed the asterisk that read, “Unless you’re poor, in which case, those moms should get real jobs.”


    Here are a few questions for the political world to ponder: why should Hilary Rosen’s observation generate a national controversy, while Romney’s policy positions go overlooked? Or put another way, which of the two statements is more insulting to moms? Which of the two is more condescending?

    Why does Romney believe moms with private-equity riches are dignified and should have a choice about working outside the home, while moms who need public assistance lack dignity and should have no choice?

    Or more to the point, why will Romney and Republicans continue to say “all moms are working moms” without the fear that voters will laugh in their face?

  39. rikyrah says:

    Exclusive: Romney Sells Inauguration Access, Nine Months Early
    A cool $50,000 reserves your seat at the “presidential inaugural retreat.” Now all Mitt has to do is get elected!

    posted Apr 16, 2012 12:04am EDT

    Former Governor Mitt Romney is already offering top donors access to a special “Presidential Inaugural retreat,” planned on the assumption that he will be elected president this November.

    The offer, in a fundraising email circulated by a top Georgia supporter to fellow Republicans and obtained by BuzzFeed, is one of several goodies offered to those who contribute more than $50,000 to the joint fundraising committee known as “Romney Victory,” a program whose outlines were first reported by POLITICO.

    Those donors will be named “Founding Members” of Romney Victory and invited to a California retreat with Romney and offered “yet to be determined access at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August.”

    They will also “have preferred status at the first Presidential Inaugural retreat,” the email says.

    The copy of the email obtained by BuzzFeed was forwarded by Richard Stormont, a former executive at the Marriott hotel chain, on whose board Romney sat.

    Access to official and quasi-official presidential events has been a running source of scandal since well before President Bill Clinton offered top donors the opportunity to spend the night in the Lincoln bedroom. Presidents typically balance access with propriety, but the New York Times reported Sunday that the Obama White House has also opened its doors to top donors.

    And Romney and other Republicans have sharply criticized Obama for, they allege, favoring political and financial supporters in deals ranging from the auto bailout to green energy investments.

    But Romney already appears to be preparing to open his nascent administration to his top financial supporters, the email from Stormont suggests, and the email contains an unusual combination of promises of access and early measuring of the presidential drapes. It also lays out the cost of other levels of access. At one Georgia fundraiser, for instance, $10,000 is required to “get a photo with Governor Romney.”

  40. rikyrah says:

    This Isn’t Going to Work
    by BooMan
    Sun Apr 15th, 2012 at 07:07:41 PM EST

    I have no idea how they expect this to work:

    Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), an active Romney surrogate, put the budding relationship between senior Republican congressional leaders and their presumptive nominee’s campaign this way: “I don’t think it’ll be a big, wet, slobbery French kiss. But they’ll be holding hands from time to time.”

    First of all, Rep. Chaffetz is anything but a “senior Republican congressional leader.” He’s a sophomore who was elected in 2008. He has a couple of nice appointments on the Judiciary and Budget committees, but he has no seniority. The only subcommittee he chairs is a backwater slot on the Government Oversight and Homeland Security Committee. He’s famous for three things: his father was once married to Michael Dukakis’s wife Kitty, he was the place-kicker for Brigham Young University, and he sleeps on a cot in his congressional office rather than getting an apartment in Washington DC.

    But all of that speaks more about the author of this article than the point of the article. The point is that congressional leaders are looking to defer to the Romney campaign and do its bidding. But Republicans in Congress have no more clue what Romney stands for than Romney does. And why would Romney want to have anything to do with Congress?

    A senior Romney official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the campaign will look to its GOP allies on the Hill to amplify its message in the Capitol and keep close tabs on the congressional agenda.
    “We’re not going to be 100 percent linked up, but I do think as a general rule, we would like to see our friends up there as allies,” the official said. “I think ultimately, we are all in the same mindset here: We would like to defeat President Obama.”

    Asked if Romney will keep his distance from congressional Republicans given Congress’s rock-bottom approval ratings, the official said: “What I would say is that there’s a time to work with folks up there, and there may be other times where we may pursue our own path.”

    Let me put it this way. The Obama administration and every Democratic activist in the country is going to be spending twelve hours a day linking Romney to Cantor, Boehner, and McConnell, and twelve hours a day linking Romney to the governors of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida, Arizona, and elsewhere. If Romney wants to be close to them, I couldn’t be happier about that. And if he wants to get some separation from the Tea Party, he’s going to alienate his own base. He can ask John Boehner how easy it is to move to the middle in this environment.

    Ever see someone throw a fish on a pier? That’s going to be Mitt Romney. Flip-flip-flopping and gasping for air. The only natural reaction to that is to take a long look at the suffering fish, and then throw it back.

  41. rikyrah says:

    Wanker of the Day: Bill Keller
    by BooMan
    Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 01:16:57 AM EST

    Bill Keller alerts us, “Be warned: political science is an inexact science, if not an outright oxymoron,” before he engages us with his own version of political science. He should have heeded his own advice. If I can encapsulate Keller’s science in a sentence, it is this: “no one loves a moderate, but the voters who will decide the presidential election are clamoring for a moderate.”

    And, just coincidentally, a moderate is someone who agrees with Mark Penn and Doug Schoen about everything.

    ¶Swing voters tend to be fiscal conservatives, meaning they are profoundly worried about deficits and debt.
    ¶They are mostly economic moderates, meaning they are free-marketers but expect government to help provide the physical and intellectual infrastructure that creates opportunity.

    ¶They are aspirational — that is, they have nothing against the rich — but they don’t oppose tax increases.

    ¶They want the country well protected, but not throwing its weight around in the world.

    ¶They tend to be fairly progressive on social issues; they think, for example, that abortion should be discouraged but not prohibited

    Why did Bill Keller write this article? The answer is obvious. He wrote it to tsk-tsk the president for showing signs of economic populism. I know this because I read Keller’s conclusion:

    In the Democratic Party, a battle for Obama’s teleprompter is now under way between the moderates and the more orthodox left. The president sometimes, as in his last two State of the Union addresses, plays the even-keel, presidential pragmatist, sounding themes of balance and opportunity. Then sometimes lately he sounds more as if he’s trying out for the role of Robin Hood.

    The problem isn’t that the Buffett Rule is necessarily a bad idea. It isn’t that “social Darwinism” is a slander on Republicans. (Heck, it may be the only Darwinism Romney believes in.) The problem is that when Obama thrusts these populist themes to the center of his narrative, he sounds a little desperate. The candidate who ran on hope — promising to transcend bickering and get things done — is in danger of sounding like the candidate of partisan insurgency. Just as Romney was unconvincing as a right-wing scourge, Obama, a man lofty in his visions but realistic in his governance, feels inauthentic playing a plutocrat-bashing firebrand. The role the middle really wants him to play, I think, is president.

    This nugget of conventional wisdom has it all. He makes depressingly stupid digs at Obama for using a teleprompter and Romney for not believing in evolution. See? He can echo the dumbest of dumb critiques from both sides of the aisle!

    There’s nothing wrong with the Buffett Rule except that it seems inauthentic, desperate, and unfriendly to plutocrats to talk about it.

    Romney, of course, gets a complete pass for everything he said during the primaries that might bite him in the ass in the general because he “was unconvincing as a right-wing scourge.” In other words, Mr. Keller will shake up the Etch A Sketch so Romney doesn’t have to.

    What the president really needs to do is to drop all this talk about taxing rich people and cater his every word to the poll-tested-to-death wisdom of the Third Way. As if the Third Way isn’t sophisticated enough to know to ask questions in such a way as to find the answers it seeks.

    This is very stupid material. The Republican Party isn’t just a little out of the mainstream right now. This isn’t a choice between a make-believe moderate version of Mitt Romney and some far left governing majority. It’s a choice between America as we have all grown up to know it, and some dystopia that can be seen playing out in states like Wisconsin, Ohio, Arizona, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Florida.

    Interjecting the self-serving polling of Third Way into the conversation is beyond impertinent. If we were to start this out as a race with the Dems taking the positions of Clinton and the Republicans taking the positions of Dole, and we ran the tape forward, the rightward line would veer off the page while the leftward line would remain nearly constant. While Obama is instinctively a notch or two to the left of Clinton, the realities of Washington make it impossible for him to govern more than a notch and a half to Clinton’s left.

    While the right is questioning his religious beliefs and citizenship, Obama is just trying to pay our bills.

    A lot of people on the left have been delusional over the last four years, but at least they believed in something. Bill Keller believes in nothing beyond keeping his tax rates low.

  42. rikyrah says:

    Trayvon Martin’s parents finding solace in activism
    Stay Connected

    It was still dark outside, and reporters were already waiting.
    On the morning a grand jury was supposed to convene to deliberate on the Trayvon Martin case, the slain teenager’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, started her day as she has so many others these past six weeks: at 7 a.m., on live national television.
    She repeated answers to the same tired questions with poise. She pretended it did not irk her to be asked again and again: “What would you say to George Zimmerman?” Fulton gave a dozen back-to-back interviews that day, often invoking the Bible verse from Proverbs that got her through the crushing grief in the public eye: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.”
    “I am not doing this for fun,” Fulton said later. “I am doing this for a purpose. I know the purpose I am doing it for, and it pushes me forward, giving me the force to go ahead and put my clothes on and do it.”
    After six weeks of rallies, news conferences and television interviews, Fulton finally fulfilled her purpose Wednesday, when Zimmerman, the man who killed her 17-year-old son, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. The arrest underscored the effectiveness of a soft-spoken woman who, together with her ex-husband and team of attorneys, embarked on an uphill mission and created a movement.
    “We had a lot of questions. I questioned, ‘Why Trayvon?’” she said.
    “So many people’s children are killed, and their names are not known all over the world. Trayvon’s name is known all over the world. I had to go back and reread that scripture and lean not to my own understanding.”
    On March 21, when she saw throngs of marchers in New York City wearing hoodies and chanting her boy’s name, she began to understand.
    Martin died Feb. 26 when Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer in the gated community where the high school junior was staying, spotted the hooded teen walking too slowly in the rain and found him suspicious. Zimmerman called police. Within minutes the two were on the grass scuffling. Zimmerman claims he was taking a beating from Martin. He says he was forced to shoot the teen to save his own life.
    The case sparked a national dialogue about everything from racial profiling to gun ownership to community patrols, and a black youth’s choice to don a hoodie. It so galvanized the nation that a man who went free the night he shot an unarmed high school student now faces the prospect of life in prison.
    Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty and experts agree he has a decent shot at going free under the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law.
    “I still don’t think Sybrina has completely accepted that Trayvon is never coming back,” said Benjamin Crump, the Tallahassee attorney the family hired to help push for criminal charges. “At some point it will hit her. The media interviews are a constant reminder that this is real. What distinguishes Sybrina is that she’s an educated woman who tries to think before she responds. She has an inner voice, and I’m blown away by the things she says.”

    Read more here:

  43. rikyrah says:

    <Good Morning, Everyone.

    As we begin this week, I think we already know what will be happening.

    The MSM, as usual, will be trying to find anything to attach negatively to this President.

    Follow the clues, folks.

    We had, last week, a variety of polls, all of which had the President leading Willard by far outside the margin of error.

    Last month, we had the FOX NEWS poll telling us that the President's lead with Latinos was 70 – 14%.

    The latest Rasmussen poll had POTUS at 50%. Always with Ras, if the best they could do with the President was 50%, that means to me that the President is actually at 55-57%.

    Then, the latest poll of the Purple Swing States, where not only is the President leading Willard outside of the Margin of Error, but that the internals show the President with an 18% lead among women, while he is even with men.

    That gap with women has been confirmed by other polls.

    Then, WAPO tried some bullshyt about The President winning SINGLE women, but trailing badly among married, while PEW threw shade on that bullshyt showing POTUS trailing married women by 2 points. IN WHAT WORLD is 2 points ' trailing badly'. 2 points is the MARGIN OF ERROR, which means he's even with Willard.

    This is all about MONEY.


    IF the President is within the margin of error with men

    AND leading women by 18%.

    I don't give a rat's ass how many voter suppression laws they pass..

    there IS no horserace.

    and, IF therei s no horserace,

    then they can't get their hands on that Citizens United money.

    Just wanted to remind folks of that this morning.

  44. Ametia says:

    President Obama’s March fundraising haul: $53 million
    Posted by Rachel Weinerat 07:34 AM ET, 04/16/2012

    President Obama raised $53 million last month for his reelection, a substantial increase from the month before.

    In February, Obama raised $45 million from 348,000 donors. This month he upped his total by $8 million, and increased his donor pool to 567,000.

    Campaign manager Jim Messina announced the total — raised in conjunction with the Democratic National Committee and two joing committees, the Obama Victory Fund and the Swing State Victory Fund — in a Web video that focused on small donors.

    “People are building this organization five and ten bucks at a time to take on Mitt Romney,” Messina said.

  45. Ametia says:

    Russ Feingold is on Moaning Joke, giving our President a lesson on global security, while plugging his book.

  46. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

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