Serendipity SOUL | Thursday Open Thread | Curtis Mayfield Week!


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72 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Thursday Open Thread | Curtis Mayfield Week!

  1. Ametia says:

    President Obama’s supporters expand efforts in swing states
    April 20, 2012|By Tracy Jan

    PHILADELPHIA – Mitt Romney has pulled much of his planned multimillion-dollar advertising in Pennsylvania and downshifted on other campaign activities following Rick Santorum’s decision to end his presidential quest here. President Obama’s supporters, on the other hand, are intensifying their efforts in this battleground state.

    Volunteers armed with clipboards and campaign literature spend nights and weekends knocking on doors to register voters. They’re operating phone banks across the state, alerting residents about Obama’s agenda for “tax fairness.’’ The campaign just opened its 20th field office in the state, its fifth in Philadelphia alone, as a way to signal a neighborhood presence and recruit local volunteers.

  2. Ametia says:

    Behind the curtain: A brief history of Romney’s donors

    As the presumptive GOP nominee, Mitt Romney is relying on a cadre of high-dollar and special-interest donors to fund his campaign. Giving information about his real policy intentions and high-level access for cash, Romney and Republicans are working hard to pull in as much money as they can from wealthy lobbyists, corporations, and PACs. But just who are the people that Romney has called on for campaign cash?
    A closer look at Romney’s donors reveals a group of wealthy individuals with less-than-reputable records. Quite a few have been on the wrong side of the law, others have made profits at the expense of so many Americans, and still others are donating to help ensure Romney puts beneficial policies for them. Here’s a look at just a few of the people Romney has relied on:

    Donors who benefit from betting against America

    Paul “Chip” Schorr: Paul Schorr has given $112,500 to Romney’s presidential ambitions through Super PAC and direct campaign donations. As a partner at Blackstone, Schorr closed a deal in 2007 to outsource the services of seven U.S. companies to a a firm in Indians, boosting that firms profits by $220 million and making millionaires of the Indian management team. In 2006, he arranged a buyout of a Colorado travel reservations company that led to 841 layoffs while Blackstone and its partners recouped the billions of dollars they invested in less than a year.

    Read the rest here:

  3. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s misfire on plant closings
    By Steve Benen – Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:26 PM EDT.

    For much of 2011, Mitt Romney’s campaign relied heavily on a specific campaign tactic: they’d hold an event in front of a closed factory, then blame President Obama for the plant’s troubles. Most of the time this didn’t make any sense for those who care about details and facts, but Romney seemed to like it, so the Republican campaign kept doing it.

    But that was last summer, when the recovery stalled and talk of a “double dip” was ubiquitous. As of a few months ago, Romney decided to switch gears and acknowledge that the economy has improved on Obama’s watch after all, while insisting that Americans not give the president credit.

    As of today, Romney has switched back, and has returned to the closed factories.

    Republican Presidential presumptive nominee Mitt Romney appeared in Lorain, Ohio today to deliver a rebuttal to a speech President Obama just across town at a local community college. But the site of the speech isn’t necessarily linked to President Obama.

    The National Gypsum drywall plant were the speech is being held closed its doors four years ago during the Presidency of George Bush ,and while the banner in the background reads “Obama Isn’t Working,” at least one city official has publicly questioned the site of the speech.

    “When you have to clean up a mess that was created over eight years, you will not get it done in four,” Lorain City Council President Joel Arredondo, a Democrat, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

    So to prove some kind of point about Obama, Romney appeared at an Ohio factory … that closed under Bush.

    Asked about this, Eric Etch-A-Sketch Fehrnstrom said, “The fact that [the economy] struggled through the last three years is not the fault of Barack Obama’s predecessor; it’s the fault of this administration and the failure of their policies to really get this economy going again.”

    This is simply incoherent for anyone who cares about reality. For one thing, the fact that Obama inherited the worst global economic crisis in 80 years has everything to do with why the economy has struggled. For another, the economy has gotten better — while the economy was contracting in 2009, it’s growing number; while the economy was hemorrhaging jobs in 2009, it’s added 4 million private-sector jobs in the last three years.

    Even in Ohio, the unemployment rate has gone from 10.6% to 7.6%. Does Romney think better is worse? If so, why?

    And even if we put all of that aside, does Mitt Romney, of all people, really want to talk about plant closings? Isn’t the vulture capitalist who has car elevators precisely because he closed a lot of plants and laid off a lot of American workers?

    Or looking at the more recent past, the guy who wanted to let Detroit go bankrupt seems to have picked the wrong issue to campaign on.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney Seduces then Screws Republicans on Immigration
    By: Sarah JonesApril 19, 2012

    Conservative Mitt Romney is slip-sliding away with yet another flip flop. Dizzy yet?

    Mitt Romney’s courting of the conservative Republican base has ended with a stealthy, morning after slide out of bed and run for the door. Don’t worry, he’ll call you.

    If you believe that, you also believe that Romney is going to be “conservative” when elected. But hey, he knows you have no choice. You have to vote for him because no one else is going to ask you out at 11PM on a Thursday night, and if all you can get is a Mitt Ro booty call, well, you have to take it.

    Watch the flip flopping starting with today:

    Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign reiterated on Thursday that the candidate had never endorsed Arizona’s contested immigration law, noting that he meant only that its employee status verification provision should be a model.

    But wait, that’s not what he told his base as he smoothly slipped their clothes off during the primaries…

    He led them to believe that when he said Arizona should be a model for immigration legislation, he meant what he said. After all, Arizona is infamous for having the strongest anti-illegal immigration law in the country, not merely for E-verify. The Arizona law riled up critics as racial profiling because:

    The Arizona law makes it a misdemeanor crime for an immigrant to be in Arizona without carrying their papers, requires that state law enforcement officers attempt to determine an individual’s immigration status during a “lawful stop, detention or arrest” when there is reasonable suspicion that the individual is an illegal immigrant, bars state or local officials or agencies from restricting enforcement of federal immigration laws, and cracks down on those sheltering, hiring and transporting illegal aliens. (see analysis here:

    The Arizona law seeks to embody an “attrition through enforcement” doctrine.

    The New York Times reported:

    The law, which proponents and critics alike said was the broadest and strictest immigration measure in generations, would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and give the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. Opponents have called it an open invitation for harassment and discrimination against Hispanics regardless of their citizenship status.

    Even Joe Scarborough took issue with the law, noting its objectionable points, “It does offend me when one out of every three citizens in the state of Arizona are Hispanics, and you have now put a target on the back of one of three citizens who if they are walking their dog around a neighborhood. If they are walking their child to school, and they are an American citizen or a legal, legal immigrant can now put a target on their back and make them think that every time they walk out of their door, they may have to prove something. I will tell you that is unacceptable, and that is un-American.”

    One assumes it was this aspect to which Romney was referencing when he said he would use Arizona’s immigration law as a model for the country, and not just E-Verify. Romney called the contentious Arizona law a “model for the country” and attacked Obama for challenging it in court.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Watch out, the world’s behind you
    By DougJ, Head of Infidelity April 19th, 2012

    Wired for white, male, Republican control:

    A new study by the liberal watchdog group — which looked at ABC’s This Week, NBC’s Meet the Press, CBS’s Face the Nation and Fox News Sunday from August 2011 to February 2012 — claims that the Sunday morning shows have become “extraordinarily friendly terrain for the right.” Seventy percent of one-on-one interviews on the shows featured Republicans, according to the study. That’s 166 Republican guests to 70 Democrats. For the roundtable discussions, Republicans and/or conservatives made 282 appearances to 164 by Democrats and progressives.


    Partisanship aside, women made up just 29 percent of the shows’ roundtable guests. Eighty-five percent of the guests were white, 11 percent were African American and 3 percent were Latino.

    • Ametia says:

      SUPRISE, SUPRISE, SUPRISE. Didn’t need no stinking study to know what we can clearly SEE & HEAR. I don’t watch ABC, NBC OR CBS unless someone from the Obama admin is a guest.Remember by 2009 John McShame had already appeared on MTP 54 fucking times. 54! that was 3 years ago. Since then, he’s been on 30.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 11:20 AM PDT.

    Mitt Romney wouldn’t eliminate the Department of Education, he’d use it to bust teachers unions

    Among Mitt Romney’s supposed-to-be-secret comments at a high-dollar Florida fundraiser Sunday evening was some information about his plans for the Department of Education, and it turns out that, given the lemons of a Department of Education, he’d make the lemonade of union-busting:

    “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 said, explaining that part of his reasoning behind preserving the agency was to maintain a federal role in pushing back against teachers’ unions. Romney added that he learned in his 1994 campaign for Senate that proposing to eliminate the agency was politically volatile.

    Once bitten by Sen. Ted Kennedy’s 1994 ad reminding people that they like the Education Department, that it does good things for their kids, two decades shy of proposing to outright eliminate it, apparently. Unfortunately for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, it wasn’t an issue in Romney’s 1994 election, so it would be fully on the chopping block in a Romney presidency.

    Teachers unions, obviously, are not amused:

    “If all he wants to do is use the Department of Education to go after unions — then he’s clearly not interested in using it to help kids,” Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers said in a statement. “How does it help kids when Romney wants to use the federal government to undermine teachers and their unions? Romney is out of touch. He doesn’t get it.”

  7. rikyrah says:


    I just saw the clip last night of you saying that Arizona was a model for the nation.

    WHEN will you understand, Youtube is NOT your friend.


    Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 09:58 AM PDT.

    Mitt Romney campaign: ‘You see a model here in Arizona’ didn’t mean what you thought it meant

    After seeing this tweet from National Journal reporter Beth Reinhard …

    Rubio says Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigration is not a “model,” contradicting Romney #njnextamerica
    — @bethreinhard via web …

    someone in Mitt Romney’s campaign rushed to defend their boss:

    UPDATE: Romney campaign says he didn’t call SB 1070 in AZ a model, was referring to E-Verify, so no air btwn him and Rubio.
    — @bethreinhard via web

    It turns out that Romney’s campaign has a plausible argument to make, but it’s important to note that this is the first time they are making it. At issue is Romney’s answer to this question from the Feb. 22 Republican debate

    KING: Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who’s with us tonight from Maricopa County—he’s in the audience—he told me this week here in Mesa—these are his words—”it’s called political garbage, if you will, to not arrest illegals already in this country.”

    You’ve talked, governor, about self-deportation, if businesses do their job, asking for the right documents, the people will leave. But what about arresting? Should there be aggressive, seek them out, find them and arrest them as the Sheriff Arpaio advocates?

    The question was clearly about whether Romney supports the policy put in place by SB 1070. His answer began:

    ROMNEY: You know, I think you see a model here in Arizona.


    Last September, for example, he told an Arizona television station that he favored SB 1070. “I support the efforts on the part of Arizona to have a safe and secure border,” he said. “I think that makes sense.” Romney told a town hall audience the same thing. “Well, I support the Arizona law by recognizing what Arizona has done—underscored the failure of the federal government to do its job.”

    So even if you were to accept the campaign’s new interpretation, Romney still believes Arizona is a national model for immigration law and still believes SB 1070 “makes sense,” and he has still vowed to drop federal lawsuits against it on day one.

  8. Ametia says:


    Think Progress / News Report
    Published: Thursday 19 April 2012

    “The loss of Yum! is also a significant loss for ALEC because the fast food giant held an important leadership role within the conservative group.”

    Yum! Brands, the owner of fast food brands KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut told Color of Change that they will no longer support the American Legislative Exchange Council, the right-wing front group that, until recently, was a driving force behind state voter suppression and “stand your ground” gun laws. Yum!’s decision means a dozen corporations (plus the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) have now dropped the conservative group:

    “Now we know that Yum! Brands has joined the 11 other companies that have announced in recent weeks that they’re no longer members of ALEC. These companies are McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Mars Inc., Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, Intuit, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Reed Elsevier (owner of LexisNexis and publisher of science and health information), American Traffic Solutions and Arizona Public Service.

    “We want to thank these companies for making the right decision, and we want to thank ColorOfChange members and our partners. We continue to call on all major corporations to stop funding ALEC given its involvement in voter suppression. Our members and allied groups are prepared to hold accountable companies that continue to associate themselves with an organization that has attacked voting rights, causing irreparable damage nationwide.”

  9. rikyrah says:

    Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 10:03 AM PDT.

    Eric Cantor says it’s time to tax the poor

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor justifies his latest big tax break for millionaires by dragging out an old, big lie.

    CANTOR: We also know that over 45 percent of the people in this country don’t pay income taxes at all, and we have to question whether that’s fair. And should we broaden the base in a way that we can lower the rates for everybody that pays taxes. […]
    KARL: Just wondering, what do you do about that? Are you saying we need to have a tax increase on the 45 percent who right now pay no federal income tax?

    CANTOR: I’m saying that, just in a macro way of looking at it, you’ve got to discuss that issue. […] I’ve never believed that you go raise taxes on those that have been successful that are paying in, taking away from them, so that you just hand out and give to someone else.

    Let’s just do this again, debunk that zombie lie. The more than 45 percent of people who “don’t pay income taxes” don’t pay federal income tax because they’re too poor! They pay federal payroll taxes. They pay sales taxes in most states. They pay a larger share of their income in taxes than rich people do. And they are students, and disabled people, and the elderly who don’t have income.
    And you know who doesn’t pay income tax? Two dozen Fortune 500 companies that avoided corporate income taxes altogether in 2011.

    And Eric Cantor says that we need to take even more money away from poor Americans and give it directly to “those that have been successful.” That’s the Republican version of redistribution of wealth.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Does Mitt Romney have a plan for Urbanites
    By The Admin on April 18, 2012

    In order to gain the attention of urban dwellers, politicians need to know what their wants and needs are. Rather than preaching empty promises, one must speak truths with charisma, thus earning true support (and swing votes) from the very people necessary to win the presidential race.

    Blacks, Latinos and many others are ready to make the bold move to stand with Mitt Romney, if only he shows them why they should.

    In a 2007 YouTube video, a young man named Cory, from North Hollywood, California, asks Mitt Romney what he is doing to reach out to African Americans. He further questions why Romney was a “no-show” at the recent debate at Morgan State University.

    Fast forwarding to 2012, Mitt Romney has yet to reveal a plan of action for the urban people leaving open the question of whether the Romney team has a plan for the urban communities? (Washington Times)

    • Ametia says:


      Here’s what’s hitting the Twitterverse right now:
      #changeisnt is trending on Twitter right now amongst right-wing #tcot folks, but it seems ripe to highlight some of Romney’s (and the GOP’s) most backwards or un-progressive policies and stances. Below are a dozen or so examples (I’ll probably be tweeting them out from my account — @ericajanes if you don’t follow me already!) but wanted to share, in case any of you were interested in hopping on…

      #changeisnt calling bringing troops home from Iraq “tragic”

      #changeisnt leaving our troops in afghanistan indefinitely

      #changeisnt letting insurance companies deny kids healthcare

      #changeisnt tax cuts for billionaires paid for with tax hikes for the middle class

      #changeisnt rolling back women’s access to healthcare

      #changeisnt letting health insurance companies charge women more

      #changeisnt taking away protection against health insurance abuses

      #changeisnt letting the housing market hit bottom

      #changeisnt letting Detroit go bankrupt

      #changeisnt cutting taxes even more for billionaires

      #changeisnt subsidizing bit oil companies

      #changeisnt getting rid of Planned Parenthood

      Please feel free to add to the hashtags!

  11. Ametia says:

    Anti-Planned Parenthood budget bill could cost Ohio $9.8 Million in federal funds
    By Leonidas On April 18, 2012 ·

    As our Budget Watcher noted, the big news from the Legislature today was a vote to effectively defund Planned Parenthood. According to the AP story, the Republicans sought to “avoid constitutional issues” by placing “Planned Parenthood at the back of the line for money rather than defunding it entirely.”

    Don’t believe it.

    The law passed has a number of significant legal and constitutional consequences. The Dispatch notes that the Ohio plan is modeled after a law passed in Texas. So Texas provides a pretty good example of what to expect.

    Others can discuss why this is a really bad idea from a policy standpoint. I will focus here on the legal aspects.

    If this bill becomes a law, Texas shows that two bad things will happen to Ohio.

    First, as we noted back in February, this law is unconstitutional. We won’t repeat the whole post here – but here is the summary: a federal judge has already ruled that a state plan to reallocate federal family planning in a way that leaves little or no money for Planned Parenthood or similar groups violates the Free Speech, Association, and Due Process rights of Planned Parenthood. This is because the law is designed to punish Planned Parenthood for its advocacy of abortion rights and provision of constitutionally protected medical services.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 08:28 AM PDT.

    Mitt Romney is way, way too sensitive

    President Obama, 2009:

    None of us were born with a silver spoon in our mouths, but we got a great education.

    President Obama, 2010:

    Neither Harry or I were born with a silver spoon in our mouths. Our families were working folk. And we understand how hard it is sometimes.

    President Obama, 2011:

    Most of you weren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth.

    President Obama, yesterday:

    Somebody gave me an education. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Michelle wasn’t. But somebody gave us a chance.

    And Mitt Romney responds:

    Well, you know, the President is really taking aim at anybody he can find these days. In fact, in my case, I’m certainly not going to apologize for my dad and his success in life. He was born poor. He worked his way to become very successful despite the fact that he didn’t have a college degree. And one of the things he wanted to do was provide for me and for my brother and sisters.

    I’m not going to apologize for my dad’s success, but I know the president likes to attack fellow Americans. He’s always looking for a scapegoat, particularly those [who] have been successful like my dad, and I’m not going to rise to that. This is a time for us to solve problems. This is not a time for us to be attacking people; we should be attacking problems.

    And if I’m president, I will stop the attack on fellow Americans. I’ll stop the attack on people and start attacking the problems that have been looming over this country.

    Yeesh, talk about somebody who needs to lighten up. President Obama was not talking about Mitt Romney, nor Mitt’s dad. He was saying that one of the things that makes America great is the idea that everybody should have a fair shot at success, no matter who their parents might be, and that we as a nation need to be committed to supporting the educational opportunities that make that idea a reality. If Mitt can’t even agree with that, then what can he agree with? And if he thinks that is a personal attack, then what isn’t? .

  13. Ametia says:

    FAIL, FAIL, FAIL. Now we know Mitt is really groveling to the extreme, union-busting, KOCH Brother-run GOP

    Ohio Gov. John Kasich formally endorses GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney (updated)
    Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012, 10:36 AM Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2012, 12:15 PM

    Ohio Gov. John Kasich has formally endorsed presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, ending months of neutrality in the 2012 race.

    In an email from his campaign account late this morning, Kasich made it official.

    “The biggest issue in this presidential election will be who can make the economy stronger so that America’s families can be stronger,” Kasich said in the email. “I’m for Mitt Romney because he’s got the proven experience as a manager and as a job creator that America needs right now.”

  14. rikyrah says:

    Something Will Have To Give On Appropriations

    By Ed Kilgore

    Late yesterday President Obama’s threatened congressional Republicans with a pre-election government shutdown if they don’t get back into line with the deficit agreement established last year. There was nothing vague about the threat, either, as reported by TPM’s Brian Beutler:

    “Until the House of Representatives indicates that it will abide by last summer’s agreement, the President will not be able to sign any appropriations bills,” writes Jeffrey Zients, acting director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, in a letter addressed to congressional appropriators Wednesday.

    The message is simple: The government will shut down just ahead of the 2012 presidential election if Republicans break faith with the debt limit deal.

    The debt limit deal requires Congress by law to limit discretionary spending in next year’s appropriations to $1.047 trillion. During the debt limit fight, leaders of both parties and the White House understood that the government would be funded at this level for the next fiscal year — and moreover they had reached accord on how that money would be divided between defense and non-defense programs. Those agreements removed two trip wires, and appeared to greatly reduce the likelihood of a government shutdown in 2012.

    The GOP backtracking on the deficit deal is universally attributed to the conditions House conservatives placed on support for the Paul Ryan budget. In essence, they wouldn’t vote for it unless the leadership agreed to begin implementing its cuts through the appropriations process this year. Since this course of action also satisfied Republican Members frantic to head off the planned “sequestration” of defense spending at the end of the year, it wound up making sense to Boehner and company. And their rationalization for tearing up the agreement made so very publicly with the Senate and the White House is that the domestic spending levels in the agreement is a “ceiling, not a floor.” In other words: We never meant it.

    Now the White House is heading off one tactic they might have employed, assuming they can get some support in the Senate: sending the president a few bills he can sign, and holding off the controversial stuff—a defense appropriations bill with higher spending than the levels agreed to, or say, an ag appropriations bill with deep food stamp cuts—until the last minute, making Obama the bad guy for disrupting the government. It’s all or nothing: get back in line with the agreement you signed last year, or let the federal government drift towards a shutdown on September 30, five weeks before the election.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 07:40 AM PDT.

    Mitt Romney hasn’t taken a question from national press since March 16

    by Jed Lewison

    It’s been 35 days and counting since Governor Dog-on-Car took questions:

    ROMNEY WATCH: Reporters yelled questions at Romney yesterday on the rope line after a speech prebutting this summer’s Democratic National Convention — to no avail. Romney has not taken questions from the press since March 16 in Puerto Rico, and even then only one member of the national press corps got a question in. The rest were all from the Puerto Rican press.

    So what do you think he’s more afraid of? Questions about why he keeps on reviving the Republican War on Birth Control … or questions about why the centerpiece of his economic plan is an unpopular $10 trillion tax cut for the wealthy that will lead to a fiscal crisis without creating a single job?

    Someone should ask him. Oh, wait…


  16. Ametia says:

    ‘The Bachelor’ Racial Discrimination Lawsuit: Read the Full Complaint

    According to the suit, “the deliberate exclusion of people of color from the roles of the Bachelor and Bachelorette underscores the significant barriers that people of color continue to face in media and the broader marketplace.”

    12:05 PM PDT 4/18/2012 by Eriq Gardner

  17. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney, American Parasite

    His years at Bain represent everything you hate about capitalism
    By Pete Kotz Wednesday, Apr 18 2012

    It was the early 1990s, and the 750 men and women at Georgetown Steel were pumping out wire rods at peak performance. They had an abiding trust in management’s ability to run a smart company. That allegiance was rewarded with fat profit-sharing checks. In the basement-wage economy of Georgetown, South Carolina, Sanderson and his co-workers were blue-collar aristocracy.

    “We were doing very good,” says Sanderson, president of Steelworkers Local 7898. “The plant was making money, and we had good profit-sharing checks, and everything was going well.”

    What he didn’t know was that it was about to end. Hundreds of miles to the north, in Boston, a future presidential candidate was sizing up Georgetown’s books.

  18. Ametia says:

    Time for another dose of Mr. Higgins!

  19. rikyrah says:

    What this Election Will Be About
    by BooMan
    Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 10:39:41 AM EST

    We’ve spent a lot of time trying to unearth “the real Mitt Romney.” What does he stand for? What positions are merely for convenience and what positions are non-negotiable? Will he govern more like a Massachusetts governor facing an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature, or the more-conservative-than-thou candidate we saw in the primaries?

    And how much freedom does he have to choose?
    We don’t even know if Romney will be a realist or a neo-conservative in his foreign policy. His word counts for nothing. But there is one area where he is going to have to reveal himself. He is going to have to take sides on a government shutdown in September. The White House has now guaranteed this.

    I try to avoid writing about the budget both because I’m not that good at it and because it’s obviously quite boring. But the budget is going to wind up being the biggest domestic issue in this campaign. Let me try to explain. In the big picture, the dispute about the budget is really a proxy for two diametrically-opposed visions of the federal government and what it should do. Romney isn’t the driver of this vision. He just wound up in the ship’s cabin at this particular point in history. And this point in history is the high-water mark for the modern conservative movement. The Republican Party has been completely taken over by conservatives and they have more power in Congress than in any time in our nation’s history. They will either win this election and begin to implement their radical revision of the New Deal and post-war consensus, or they will lose this election and see their numbers recede as demographic changes force the party to moderate. So, yes, the stakes are really big.

    That’s the wide-angle view. The narrow-angle view is a lot more specific.

    In a major escalation of a slowly building fight over funding the government, the White House has warned House Republicans, in no uncertain terms, that the government will shut down in September if the GOP does not adhere to an agreement they cut with Democrats in August during the standoff over raising the nation’s debt limit.

    “Until the House of Representatives indicates that it will abide by last summer’s agreement, the President will not be able to sign any appropriations bills,” writes Jeffrey Zients, acting director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, in a letter addressed to congressional appropriators Wednesday.

  20. rikyrah says:

    GOP explains opposition to fair pay laws
    By Steve Benen – Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:29 AM EDT.

    Last week, Pete Hoekstra, the Republicans’ U.S. Senate hopeful in Michigan, called the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay law “a nuisance” that should be stripped from the books. This week in New Hampshire, state Republican Party Executive Director Tory Mazzola, a top Romney campaign, said the law is little more than “a handout to trial lawyers.”

    Other surrogates for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, rushed out to defend Mitt Romney’s record on women’s issues, despite their opposition to the Ledbetter law.

    And then there’s Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), who quietly repealed a state version of the Fair Pay law two weeks ago, and explained his reasoning yesterday.

    Walker defended the repeal in an interview Tuesday with WLUK-TV, saying the Equal Pay Enforcement Act had essentially been nothing but a boon for trial lawyers. His comments came on Equal Pay Day 2012, the day when a typical woman’s earnings catch the pay of male counterparts in 2011.

    “In the past, lawyers could clog up the legal system,” Walker said. “Instead, the state Department of Workforce Development gets to be the one that ultimately can put people back and give them up to two years back pay if there is reason to believe there was pay discrimination in the workforce.”

    So, Walker has decided to take the power out of the hands of women and their legal representatives, and instead put the power in the hands of … the Walker administration.

    For her part, Ledbetter herself spoke up yesterday, and doesn’t seem impressed with GOP arguments. “I am but one woman with one story, but there are thousands of women with the same story, all of whom believe equal pay for equal work is necessary,” she said. “This isn’t about a handout to trial lawyers. This is about a piece of legislation and an ideal that can make a difference for my daughter, my granddaughter, and women across this nation.”

    That all of this is happening the same week as Equal Pay Day adds an unfortunate irony to the debate.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 09:03 AM ET, 04/19/2012
    The Morning Plum: Who is winning the clash of visions?
    By Greg Sargent

    As I’ve been saying here, the burden is on President Obama to sell the need to combat inequality and tax unfairness as not just a matter of basic morality, but as a way to facilitate economic growth, by enabling government investment in the future that will spur opportunity and social mobility over the long term. Mitt Romney and Republicans are trying to disentangle the tax fairness issue from the economy in the public mind, by arguing that hiking taxes on the rich will do nothing for the economy and that shrinking government is the route to broad prosperity.

    Today’s New York Times/CBS poll is the first survey I’ve seen that asks about tax fairness in the context of economic growth:

    Which do you think is the best way to promote economic growth in the U.S.? 1.Lower taxes on individuals and businesses, and pay for those tax cuts by spending on some government services and programs, or 2. Spend more on education and the nation’s infrastructure, and raise taxes on wealthy individuals and businesses to pay for that spending.

    Lower taxes, cut spending: 37
    Spend more, raise taxes: 56

    The poll also finds that 67 percent say the government should do more to help improve the situation of middle class Americans; 52 percent say government shold do more to improve the housing market; 57 percent think the wealthy pay less than their fair share in taxes; and that 51 percent think capital gains should be taxed as ordinary income. People say they dislike government in the abstract, but when the talk turns to specifics, suddenly active government doesn’t look so bad.

    All this is key to Obama’s ongoing case that lowering taxes on the rich and trickle down economics represent a failed ideology and won’t help secure the middle class’s prosperity — and that more progressive taxation, more active government, and more investment in the future are the better way

  22. Ametia says:


    Gov. Mitt Romney to deliver 2012 Commencement address
    April 19, 2012 : Liberty University News Service

    Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. announced today that Gov. Mitt Romney will address Liberty University graduates at the 2012 Commencement ceremony to be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 12, at Arthur L. Williams Stadium.

    “We are delighted that Governor Romney will join us to celebrate Commencement with Liberty’s 2012 graduates,” said Liberty Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. “This will be a historic event for Liberty University reminiscent of the visits of Governor, and then presidential candidate, Ronald Reagan to Liberty’s campus in 1980 and of President George H.W. Bush who spoke at Liberty’s 1990 Commencement ceremony.”

    This will be Governor Romney’s first appearance at Liberty University. Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. will also be making remarks during the ceremony.

    Liberty University’s 39th Commencement will celebrate the achievement of more than 14,000 graduates with more than 34,000 guests expected to attend. The ceremony will also be broadcast by streaming video to the families of Liberty’s 70,000+ online students around the world.

    • Ametia says:

      To put this in perspective, here are a few factoids about Liberty.
      *The school is ranked #535 overall among America’s “Top Colleges.” That pretty much makes it among the worst colleges in America.

      *The school teaches “young Earth creationism as an explanation for the appearance of life on earth.” Seriously, that’s not a joke, they really do. In response, esteemed biologist Richard Dawkins said, “If it’s really true that the museum at Liberty University has dinosaur fossils which are labeled as being 3,000 years old, then that is an educational disgrace. It is debauching the whole idea of a university, and I would strongly encourage any members of Liberty University who may be here, to leave and go to a proper university.”

      *In May 2009, “Vice president of student affairs Mark Hine sent an e-mail to the president of LU’s College Democrats, Brian Diaz, revoking the university’s recognition of the club,” saying, “The Democratic Party platform is contrary to the mission of Liberty University and to Christian doctrine.” This decision “led some to question the University’s tax-exempt status, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service, asking for a review of the university’s tax status.”
      *According to Right Wing Watch, “Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. gave Perry a rousing welcome, defending the governor for his controversial effort to require that girls in Texas recieve HPV vaccinations and calling Perry’s secession talk ‘gutsy.'”

      *Liberty U. actually blocked access to the The Lynchburg News & Advance, after that paper “broke the news that Liberty University took in nearly a half-billion dollars last year in money from the government in the form of federal financial aid and noted that this could be seen as running counter to the university’s smaller government/conservative values agenda.”

      There’s a lot more, but that’s a decent sampling, just to put in context the school where “severely conservative” Willard “Mitt” Romney will be delivering the commencement address next month.

  23. rikyrah says:

    ‘Skin in the game’
    By Steve Benen – Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:52 AM EDT.

    If there’s one unshakable, unwavering rule in American politics in the 21st century, it’s this: Republicans oppose any tax increases on anyone by any amount for any reason, no matter the consequences. Full stop.

    There is, however, a pesky little asterisk tied to this rule that often goes overlooked: a whole lot of Republicans support tax hikes on the poor. Indeed, the House Republican budget plan, as written by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), actually increases the tax burden on those at the very bottom of the income scale.

    ThinkProgress’ Scott Keyes asked Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), a member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, about this yesterday. Tiberi stressed the need for low-income families, many of whom have no federal income tax burden at all, to have some “skin in the game.”

    This is a surprisingly common sentiment in GOP circles. Indeed, none other than Mitt Romney told voters in Florida last year, “I think it’s a real problem when you have half of Americans, almost half of Americans, that are not paying [federal] income tax.”

    Got that? Millions of struggling Americans are not currently required to pay federal income taxes, and the presumptive Republican nominee considers that “a real problem,” which presumably he would try to fix if elected.

    When Democrats want millionaires to pay a little more, it’s socialism. When Republicans want the poor to pay a little more, it’s just helping these low-income Americans have some “skin in the game.”

    Welcome to class warfare, Republican style.


    In case anyone’s forgotten, the relevant details matter here: millions of Americans may be exempt from income taxes, but they still pay sales taxes, state taxes, local taxes, Social Security taxes, Medicare/Medicaid taxes, and in many instances, property taxes. It’s not as if these folks are getting away with something — the existing tax structure leaves them out of the income tax system because they don’t make enough money to qualify. Indeed, many are retirees who can’t earn an income because they’re no longer in the workforce.

    But for many Republicans, including the party’s presidential candidate, it’s “a real problem” that these folks aren’t also paying federal income taxes — and the only way to correct this problem is by increasing the tax burdens of those least able to afford it.

  24. rikyrah says:

    BUT the President didn’t even say your name, Willard.

    how come you think he was talking about you?


    don’t start none, won’t be none, Willard.

    like I said….all you’ve been up against is grifters and amateurs.

    NOBODY is playing with you at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.


    Romney Responds To Obama’s ‘Silver Spoon’ Comment

    Appearing on Fox and Friends this morning, Mitt Romney responded to an implicit broadside from Obama yesterday, when the president said he ”wasn’t born with a silver spoon in [his] mouth.”

    “I’m certainly not going to apologize for my dad and his success in life,” Romney said. “He was born poor. He worked his way to become very successful despite the fact that he didn’t have a college degree and one of the things he wanted to do was provide for me and for my brother and sisters. I’m not going to apologize for my dad’s success. But I know the president likes to attack fellow Americans. He’s always looking for a scapegoat, particularly those that have been successful like my dad.”

  25. rikyrah says:

    Violence Against Women Act takes center stage
    By Steve Benen – Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:29 AM EDT.

    We first began reporting two months ago on the legislative fight surrounding the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which has traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support. This year’s effort has drawn Republican opposition, however, because the bill includes provisions to bolster LGBT protections, defenses for victims of domestic abuse who are undocumented immigrants, and expand the authority of Native American tribes to prosecute crimes.

    In previous years, VAWA sailed through the Senate with nary a discouraging word. This year, when the Senate Judiciary Committee took up the bill, literally every Republican on the committee voted against the bipartisan bill.

    To put it mildly, Democrats aren’t backing down on this. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) held a press conference yesterday to condemn Republican efforts to delay the bill; Attorney General Eric Holder said yesterday he finds it “inconceivable” that the bill has been held up; and Vice President Biden, who helped write the bill in 1994, delivered impassioned remarks on the subject yesterday.

    So, what’s going to happen? The odds of VAWA passage are quite good — Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) conceded yesterday that Republicans will not filibuster the bill, and if it gets an up-or-down vote, it’s almost certain to pass — but the Senate GOP minority is nevertheless working on its own scaled-back version of the bill to compete with the bipartisan version.

    The Senate schedule is influx, but we may see action on VAWA as early as today. The future of the bill in the Republican-led House is less clear.

    And what does the presumptive Republican presidential nominee think of the bill? I’m glad you asked.


    In 2004, reporters asked Mitt Romney during his first presidential campaign whether or not he supports the Violence Against Women Act. At the time, he said he wasn’t “familiar” with the law and didn’t have a position.

    This year, Romney is familiar with it, but is afraid to take a firm stand.

  26. rikyrah says:

    As Romney Courts Latinos, GOP Cuts Their Services

    Sahil Kapur April 19, 2012, 5:00 AM

    Exhibit A: Presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney is warning his donors that Republicans must win back Hispanic voters or face “demographic doom.”

    Exhibit B: House Republicans are pushing policies that disproportionately harm Hispanics.

    This study in contrast leaves Republicans on the horns of an election-year dilemma: As they eagerly seek to rebuild bridges with Hispanics, party leaders are simultaneously pushing bills that would make life harder for members of that same community.

    The Republican-led House advanced legislation Wednesday that aims to prevent parents who immigrated to the country illegally from receiving tax credits for raising children. And that’s inciting the ire of influential Hispanic advocates.

    “An estimated 85 percent of families affected by this policy change are Hispanic,” warned the National Council Of La Raza, a premier Latino group, in a statement Monday urging Congress to oppose the measure. The organization estimated that the policy would cost the typical undocumented family $70 per paycheck. “Approximately 3.5 million Latino children and their families would face greater hunger, poverty and other severe hardships if this proposal is enacted,” the group said.

    The Republican-led bill — still at the committee level — seeks to deny eligibility for the Child Tax Credit to parents who file their return with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Many undocumented immigrants — the lion’s share of whom are Hispanic, and whose children are often U.S. citizens — file taxes using an ITIN because they do not qualify for a Social Security number.

    “The legislation will help deter abuse and fraud that costs taxpayers billions of dollars by preventing those without Social Security numbers, including illegal immigrants who are currently ineligible to work in the United States, from receiving checks from the IRS in the form of the refundable child tax credit,” said House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) in his opening statement. “This provision will save taxpayers $7.6 billion over the next 10 years.”

    The measure, part of a larger Republican plan to forestall automatic cuts to defense and domestic programs set to kick in Jan. 1, also axes food stamps and other domestic programs for low-income people, a disproportionate share of whom are Hispanic. The push is mostly political as the Democratic-led Senate is widely expected to reject it.

    But it underlies the difficulty Republicans will have courting Hispanic voters on the merits of their policies. Instead they’re relying on a weak economy, hunger for change and disillusionment with President Obama to help them make inroads with the community.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Holocaust survivor finds haven as Muslim in Israel

    For more than five decades, Leila Jabarin hid her secret from her Muslim children and grandchildren — that she was a Jewish Holocaust survivor born in Auschwitz concentration camp.

    Although her family knew she was a Jewish convert, none of them knew of her brutal past.

    It was only in the past week that Jabarin, who was born Helen Brashatsky, finally sat down and told them the story of how she was born inside Auschwitz, the most notorious symbol of Nazi Germany’s wartime campaign of genocide against Europe’s Jews.

    In an interview with AFP to mark Holocaust Memorial Day which begins at sundown on Wednesday, Jabarin, now 70, chuckles as she talks about what to call her.

    Her Muslim name is Leila, but in this Arab town in northern Israel where she has lived for the past 52 years, most people call her Umm Raja, Arabic for “Raja’s mother” after her first-born son.

    Like most Jewish children, she also has a Hebrew name — Leah — but she just likes to be called Helen.

    She was six when she came to live in Mandate Palestine with her parents, just months before the State of Israel was declared in May 1948.

    They arrived in a ship carrying Jewish immigrants from the former Yugoslavia, which was forced to anchor off the coast of Haifa for a week due to a heavy British bombardment of the northern port city, she says.

    Despite the war which broke out as soon as the British pulled out, it was a far cry from the savage reality the family had witnessed inside Auschwitz, says Jabarin who is dressed in a hijab and long robes, but whose pale skin and blue eyes belie her Eastern European parentage.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Um, no, Miss Ann married ‘ one of her own kind’. She’s not some plucky middle-class gal. She’s never not known privilege.


    The smartest choice Ann Romney made
    There is no shame in marrying up

    As a thirtysomething, city-dwelling, hypereducated, independent-thinking woman, I suppose I should recoil at the idea of one day getting married, quitting my ultracompetitive job and staying home to raise my brood of germ-carrying moochers.

    But as I sit in a cramped New York apartment, surrounded by bills, drowning in a sea of deadlines, the conventional life of a stay-at-home mother actually sounds pretty nice.

    I imagine that Ann Romney went through some thoughts on this matter in her own young years.

    At the very least, she couldn’t have known as a teenager that she would never really have to join the workforce. Her father, a self-made businessman, sent her to a prestigious private school in a Detroit suburb to get a good education. She got that — as well as a boyfriend named Mitt.

    And clearly she realized that even if she did marry her wealthy beau, these things aren’t always forever. Husbands leave, wives are widowed. Money goes away. Which is why she pursued a college education at Brigham Young University, and when that was cut short by a wedding, the birth of her first son and a move to Boston, she took night classes at Harvard to earn her degree.

    The wisdom of these fail-safe measures, which helped Ann hedge against an uncertain future, would earn praise, undoubtedly, from feminists and progressives who warn against the dangers of depending on a man for anything.

    But while liberal women may praise Ann for (at least) getting herself an education, where is the praise for Ann’s best decision of all — to marry well?

    Read more:

  29. Ametia says:

    New judge in Zimmerman case no ‘soft touch,’ lawyer saysBy the CNN Wire Staff
    April 19, 2012 — Updated 0210 GMT (1010
    CNN) — The judge who will take over the case of a Florida man accused of shooting an unarmed teenager has high ratings from defense lawyers but isn’t known as a “soft touch,” one Florida attorney said Wednesday.

    Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. will start by presiding over a bond hearing for George Zimmerman on Friday. Lester was assigned the intensely scrutinized case Wednesday afternoon after the recusal of Judge Jessica Recksiedler, who had been asked to step aside by Zimmerman’s lawyer.

    Bond hearing set for Friday; Recksiedler steps aside

    “He’s a great judge,” Orlando lawyer Diana Tennis told CNN sister network HLN. “He’s been on the bench a really long time. He’s very no-nonsense. He’s a real fast talker, very efficient, gets the cases in and out.”

    Tennis said Lester is “not known as a soft touch” but has a reputation for listening to both sides of a case.

    “I would definitely not call him a huge friend to the defense particularly, but he’s very fair if you go in and do the right thing,” she said.

  30. rikyrah says:

    CNN’s Don Lemon Gives Mitt Romney A Pass On Ted Nugent ‘Dead Or In Jail’ Remarks
    videoby Tommy Christopher | 2:48 pm, April 18th, 2012

    As the Secret Service looks into potentially threatening comments by musician and gun rights icon Ted Nugent, pressure has been building for Republican candidate Mitt Romney to reject the endorsement his campaign now claims they “never solicited,” and denounce Nugent’s remarks. During a CNN “Buzzer Beater” segment this afternoon, anchor Don Lemon did his level best to let Romney off the hook.

    The three panelists in the “Buzzer Beater” segment gave the predictable mix of opinions (one compared Nugent to Bill Maher, but last time I looked, calling someone a c*nt during a stand-up routine wasn’t grounds for a Secret Service inquiry) but it was Lemon’s attitude toward the controversy that was noteworthy. He set up the segment by playing a clip of Nugent’s remarks, which included his assertion that “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”

    Lemon tossed the issue to his panel with the leading question “Does Mitt Romney have to come out and say…He doesn’t really have to address this, does he?”

    Setting aside the ridiculous double-standard embedded in that statement (President Obama’s entire 2008 campaign was derailed by media obsession with a supporter’s remarks), Romney has a responsibility to respond because even if he didn’t “solicit” the endorsement (and as the Secret Service is learning now, it’s often better to seek something than to solicit it), he did make a promise in order to secure it, and cheerfully accepted it. But even if he hadn’t, even if Nugent had endorsed no one, decency would demand a response, as Lemon’s next question unintentionally demonstrates.

    Later in the segment, he laughingly asked “Why would anyone with a brain even pay attention to something that Ted Nugent said? wouldn’t you just be like whatever?”

    That’s exactly the point: no one with a brain pays attention to anything Ted Nugent says, but millions of people with guns do, people who are convinced, despite all evidence to the contrary, that President Obama means to confiscate those guns, people who have been hoarding them since before he took office.

    Even if the Secret Service determines that Nugent’s remark (which, to be fair, is open to interpretation, in much the same way that “Nice President you got there, be a shame if anything happened to him” is open to interpretation) is not actionable, even in light of his past admonition for Obama to “suck on” his “machine gun,” and even if Nugent himself lacks the requisite stones to carry out the act himself, one member of that army of paranoid gun-worshipers just might. Mitt Romney’s cowardly silence amounts to, if not tacit encouragement, a missed opportunity at discouragement.

    Don Lemon’s instinct to laugh at Ted Nugent is understandable, but when it comes to an incident like this, the media is really the only line of defense against this tide of menace. I’ve been covering the Secret Service for years, and their well-known modus operandi is to downplay threats to the President, because they believe publicizing them tends to lead to more threats. This may well work in Nugent’s favor, but with the President already reportedly the recipient of a record number of threats, the media needs to take the possible consequences of Nugent’s words seriously, if not Ted Nugent himself.

  31. Ametia says:

    Democrats in the Ohio Legislature are angry about a proposal that’s been slipped into a budget adjustment bill. It would strip money away from Planned Parenthoods throughout Ohio. Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles reports.

    Lots of company, lots of critics

    Planned Parenthood estimates one-in-five American women use the group’s services sometime in their lifetimes. That’s why Sen. Turner says it’s important fight Republicans in the Ohio House and Senate to keep funding for the health screenings and preventative care the organization provides.
    “They’ve got this illusion about abortion that is the rhetoric of the ridiculous,” she maintains. “The truth of the matter is Planned Parenthood is necessary for poor, rural and urban women in the state of Ohio. But I guess the Republican party is saying, ‘The Hell with poor, black, Latino and white women in this state because they don’t matter.’ Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”


    Gonadakis says comprehensive care centers provide many services, including pre-natal care and mammograms, that Planned Parenthood doesn’t provide.
    “So I’m not sure what they are providing other than abortions and sexual health types of services such as condoms and the pills.” Gonadakis denies the move to strip funding from Planned Parenthood is politically motivated.

    Listen to audio and read the full script here:

  32. Ametia says:

    White House Champions of Change: Innovations in Renewable Energy

    On April 19th, we honor leaders who are making a difference advancing new ideas that lead the way to a clean energy future and an economy that’s built to last. Their work is helping to power a new clean energy economy with the potential to substantially reduce energy imports from foreign sources.

    watch it live-streaming here 12:30 EDT:

  33. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    April 18, 2012 4:04 PM

    The Drug Testing Scam Blows Up

    By Ed Kilgore

    Back in February, Tarren Bragdon of the Florida-based Foundation for Government Accountabiity (an affiliate of the nationwide State Policy Network of right-wing think tanks) traveled to Atlanta to share with Georgia’s Republican-controlled legislature the good news about the Sunshine State’s law (which took effect last July) requiring drug testing for all those applying for benefits under the Temporary Asssistance to Needy Families (TANF) program:

    Georgia State Representative Jason Spencer, sponsor of HB 668, invited Bragdon to testify in support of his bill after studying earlier FGA research on Florida’s welfare cash drug testing requirement. FGA analysis of state-generated data from the first quarter of the Florida law showed a 48 percent drop in monthly cash assistance approvals and a drug-related denial rate of 19 percent. In all, Florida taxpayers saved an estimated $1.8 million.
    In December, Bragdon gave a similar presentation on Florida’s welfare cash drug testing law to the Health and Human Services Task Force of the American Legislative Exchange Council, an association of public, private and non-profit policy leaders who collaborate to develop ideas that address common challenges faced by the states.

    Wow: welfare approvals cut in half by drug testing! No wonder the public-spirited folk of ALEC wanted to hear all about it.

    Except it appears FGA’s “analysis” of the number was just a tad off. According to official documents from Florida forced from the state by the courts and then released by the ACLU (which is challenging the law on constitutional grounds), drug testing of welfare applicants has had no real effect on caseloads and has actually imposed a net cost on taxpayers, per this report from Lizette Alvarez of the New York Times:

    From July through October in Florida — the four months when testing took place before Judge Scriven’s order — 2.6 percent of the state’s cash assistance applicants failed the drug test, or 108 of 4,086, according to the figures from the state obtained by the group. The most common reason was marijuana use. An additional 40 people canceled the tests without taking them.

    Because the Florida law requires that applicants who pass the test be reimbursed for the cost, an average of $30, the cost to the state was $118,140. This is more than would have been paid out in benefits to the people who failed the test, Mr. Newton said.

    As a result, the testing cost the government an extra $45,780, he said.

    And the testing did not have the effect some predicted. An internal document about Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, caseloads stated that the drug testing policy, at least from July through September, did not lead to fewer cases.

    “We saw no dampening effect on the caseload,” the document said.

  34. rikyrah says:

    April 19, 2012 8:07 AM

    Your Handy Guide to Gutting Dodd Frank After the Fact
    By Paul Glastris

    Here’s what you do. First, you get the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable to file a lawsuit arguing that the SEC didn’t conduct sufficient cost-benefit analysis when implementing a provision in the law giving slightly greater rights to shareholders to nominate candidates for corporate boards, and you hire Antonin Scalia’s son Eugene as your litigator.

    Then you make sure the case is brought before the corporate-friendly U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Then that circuit empanels three GOP-appointed judges, including Douglas Ginsberg and David Sentelle (the judge who overturned the convictions of Oliver North and John Poindexter and later appointed Ken Starr to investigate Whitewater), to hear the case.

    Then, when the case—surprise surprise—goes against the SEC because the judges find that the agency didn’t factor in the possibility that union pension funds might use their new-found power to require corporations to actually pay their employees better, you use the court ruling as a precedent to put the fear of God in every financial regulatory agency in town. Now, you have the agencies worried that all the initial rulemaking they’ve been doing on Dodd Frank, the months and months of meetings and drafts and so forth, could be similarly overturned. So they extend the deadlines and conduct more economic studies and water down the draft regs in order to make sure they can get past the incredibly high new bar created by the most conservative and partisan members of the federal bench. And so you get SEC yesterday voting for rules on credit default swaps, which played a lead role in the financial crisis, that exempt from government supervision dealers who engage in up to $3 billion in such transactions per year, which is 30 times higher than the threshold the agency proposed in December 2010.

    That, my friend, is how you play the game.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Thomas Friedman’s bad habits
    By Steve Benen – Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:50 PM EDT.

    If New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman hoped to get people talking with his column today, it was a sterling success — I’ve lost count of how many pieces I’ve read today about Friedman’s latest submission. The responses haven’t exactly been positive, but at Friedman can at least take comfort in knowing his column is being read.

    Before getting into his latest piece, I wanted to note a little context. In 2011, Friedman seemed to develop a bad habit: he kept writing columns complaining that President Obama had failed to take a certain action, apparently unaware that the president has already taken that action.

    In August, Friedman presented a policy platform he believes is absent from America’s political discourse, but neglected to mention that it was practically word-for-word the same platform Obama already endorsed. In September, Friedman did it again. In early October, he did it again. And in November, the Times columnist did it once more.

    That was last year. In 2012, Friedman has written that he wants both parties to find some kind of centrist, middle ground on big-picture national challenges, possibly pushed into responsibility by some third, independent force. Then, he wrote that column again. And then he wrote it again.

    And today, the columnist wrote it once more

    This election has to be about those hard choices, smart investments and shared sacrifices — how we set our economy on a clear-cut path of near-term, job-growing improvements in infrastructure and education and on a long-term pathway to serious fiscal, tax and entitlement reform. The next president has to have a mandate to do all of this.

    But, today, neither party is generating that mandate — talking seriously enough about the taxes that will have to be raised or the entitlement spending that will have to be cut to put us on sustainable footing, let alone offering an inspired vision of American renewal that might motivate such sacrifice. That’s why I still believe that the national debate would benefit from the entrance of a substantial independent candidate — like the straight-talking, socially moderate and fiscally conservative [New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg] — who could challenge, and maybe even improve, both major-party presidential candidates by speaking honestly about what is needed to restore the foundations of America’s global leadership before we implode.

    It’s hard to know where to start, but let’s give this a shot.

  36. rikyrah says:

    President Obama, Mitt Romney sharpen campaign messages

    by Amy Gardner and Nia-Malika Henderson, Published: April 18The Washington Post
    ELYRIA, Ohio —

    Mitt Romney made his case Wednesday for the failure of the Obama years in the very place where the president will ask for four more in September: Charlotte, host city of the Democratic National Convention.

    Obama, speaking at a community college in the critical swing state of Ohio, wrapped his economic message around this personal jab at Romney: “I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth.”

    The general-election campaign is underway — and so are the attempts to get into each other’s head. Each candidate devoted Wednesday to economic arguments about why he should win in November and also why, for very personal reasons, the other should not.

    Speaking to about 200 people across from the stadium where Obama will give his convention speech, Romney hammered the president for failing to make good on his promises. Reading from Obama’s address when he accepted his party’s nomination in Denver four years ago, Romney used the president’s words against him in a speech that aides billed as a “prebuttal” to Obama’s nominating address.

    “Were a trusting people. We’re a hopeful people. But we’re not dumb, and we’re not going to fall for the same lines from the same person just because we’re in a different place,” Romney said.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Town Crier Boehner Crawls Out From Under His Rock
    Posted on 04/18/2012 at 5:30 pm by JM Ashby

    …to insult the president.

    House Speaker John Boehner today took on President Obama directly, criticizing the president for “shrinking from his responsibility to lead” on the economy and suggesting the president lacks “any courage to help tackle these problems.”

    Courage is becoming the first black president of the United States.

    Courage is going for the “grand bargain” and offering over $4 trillion in cuts and tax hikes.

    Courage is ending DADT in a country that is still disappointingly homophobic.

    Courage is publicly and repeatedly calling for the end of the bubble-generating, trickle-down-economics in a country that worships money.

    I can think of dozens of cases wherein John Boehner has not displayed courage, but I don’t think I need to list them.

  38. Ametia says:


  39. rikyrah says:

    Posted on 04/18/2012 at 8:00 pm by JM Ashby

    In other news, the Republican-controlled House Agriculture Committee voted today to advance $33 billion in cuts to food stamps (SNAP). According to recent numbers, food stamps have reduced poverty by 8 percent and are directly stimulative for the economy.

    And speaking outside of the binary — go stand in line at the grocery behind a single mother with a baby who is paying for food with food stamps and then tell me we should vote to end them immediately. If you can do that, you aren’t human.

  40. rikyrah says:

    House GOP eyes tax cut, ignores ‘debt crisis’
    By Steve Benen – Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is taking the lead on yet another tax cut bill.

    The Senate’s Democratic majority this week pushed a measure, known as the “Buffett Rule,” that would have closed a tax loophole benefiting millionaires and brought in roughly $46 billion to the Treasury over the next decade. It died after a GOP filibuster.

    Today, the House Republican majority will vote on a measure of its own, known as the “Small Business Tax Cut Act,” that will cost roughly $46 billion, and which is expected to pass. Is the bill any good? Actually, no.

    [The bill would] let most business owners deduct up to 20 percent of their business income in 2012 — a $46 billion tax cut. Despite the Mom-and-Pop label, it is designed so that nearly half of the tax cut would go to people with annual income over $1 million, and more than four-fifths would go to those making over $200,000, according to the Tax Policy Center.

    The bill’s proponents, led by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, say that lower taxes would lead to more hiring. But the economic reality is that employers, big and small, are hesitant to hire because of slow or uncertain demand for their products and services, not because of their tax burden. And companies would receive the tax cut even if they did not hire new workers — making it a windfall, not an incentive.

    Part of the problem is that the Republican definition of “small businesses” includes some very large businesses that are already quite profitable and don’t need another tax cut.

    What’s more, the White House, which has already promised a veto if the bill reaches President Obama’s desk, would probably be economically counterproductive. As The Hill reported, administration officials contend that proposal “could actually stifle hiring, saying small businesses that have invested or hired more might get a smaller cut than those who did not, encouraging firms to avoid hiring for the year to maximize the benefit. The White House also contended the cut could be a tool for abuse, as companies might ‘hire’ family members for a deduction, or try to re-characterize existing activities to qualify for it.”

    And then there’s the most entertaining angle of them all: House Republicans would pay for their bill by — you guessed it — simply adding the costs the deficit they sometimes pretend to care about.


    Politico reported, “Several Republican leadership aides say they have no plans to offset the tax cut, which a centerpiece of their agenda during these next two weeks in session.”

    I wouldn’t say I’m surprised by this, exactly, but it’s awfully amusing. In the name of “fiscal responsibility,” Republicans have successfully bullied Democrats into making sure every proposal they even think about is fully paid for, because bills that add so much as a penny to the deficit is the moral equivalent to taking a baseball bat to our grandchildren.

  41. Ametia says:

    Aww HELL, 2 brothas are on CNN this morning stating that they are filing a suit against ABC’s The Bachelor for discrimination, for excluding PEOPLE of COLOR. 10 years, 23 seasons and no black LEAD bachelors,

  42. rikyrah says:

    Lawsuit: Former Bain execs fired employees for not being Mormon

    Former executives from Bain Capital, a company founded by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, have been accused of firing six out of seven members of a management team for not belonging to the Mormon church.

    David McCurdy and four other co-plaintiffs are suing Sorenson Capital Partners (SCP), Care Holding Co., Care Senior Living, and SCP Care Acquisition because they say the private equity firm fired them from their jobs at Care Senior Living because they were not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), according to Courthouse News Service.

    “Despite the promise of 5-years employment, in mid-November 2011, after only 7 months Plaintiffs were told that their employment would be terminated effective February 2012,” the lawsuit (PDF), which was filed in federal court in Oregon, states.

  43. rikyrah says:

    Romney comments spark ‘CookieGate’ special

    A Pennsylvania bakery is making light of comments made by Mitt Romney on Tuesday, when he compared a batch of cookies from the mom-and-pop store to snacks found at 7-eleven.

    After his remarks rippled across the Bethel Park community outside of Pittsburgh, the 57-year-old bakery on Wednesday began offering a ‘CookieGate’ special: Buy a dozen, get a half-dozen free.

    “I’m sure he meant it all in jest and didn’t mean to slam a local bakery,” Julie Lytle, the bakery’s spokeswoman, said. “It’s nothing that we want to get really upset about it, no reason to be angry. We’re just having fun with it.”

    The small town stir began Tuesday at a community center event when Romney paused to take note of the desserts while sitting down at a picnic table.

    “I’m not sure about these cookies. They don’t look like you made them,” Romney said to the woman sitting next to him “No, no. They came from the local 7-eleven, bakery, or whatever.”

    The comments quickly spread on Twitter, with some pointing to the remarks as an example of Romney being out of touch to the point of confusing 7-11 with a bakery.

  44. rikyrah says:

    I absolutely love Curtis Mayfield.

    Been waiting for Superfly.

  45. Ametia says:

    Two-paycheck couples, working because they must
    By E.J. Dionne Jr., Published: April 18

    Instead of fighting a phony mommy war over what Hilary Rosen said about Ann Romney, we should face the fact that most families these days cannot afford to have one parent stay home with the kids. This is not about “lifestyle” or “values.” This is an economic struggle highlighting yet again the social costs arising from decades of stagnating or declining wages and growing income inequality.

    There is a profound class bias in our discussion of what mothers should or should not do. The public debate seems premised on the idea that all two-parent families have a choice as to whether one or both work. That’s still true for the better-off. But this choice is denied to most American families. They have had to send two people into the workforce whether they wanted to or not.

  46. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

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