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BE THE EXAMPLE. Love this woman…

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95 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Thursday Open Thread| Carole King Week!

  1. Joe Biden: Obama ‘Has A Big Stick


    LOL! I’ll bet he does!

    Crying with Laughter

  2. Romney Camp Attacks Obama Administration For Honest Discussion Of Iran Attack Consequences

    • Ametia says:

      Rev. Al is reporting on the GOP’s coordinated, pre-meditated plans to destroy the Obama Presidency starting JANURAY 20, 2009.

  3. CNN Breaking News

    Federal judge blocks release of #bin Laden death photos

  4. rikyrah says:

    What the war over youth vote is really about: Turnout
    By Greg Sargent
    Gallup finds that Obama is still beating Mitt Romney among young voters at 2008-like levels:

    Voters aged 18 to 29 in Gallup’s most recent five-day average, April 20-24, support Obama over Romney by 35 percentage points, 64% to 29%, and — compared with older age groups — have been disproportionately supportive of Obama since Gallup’s tracking began on April 11, albeit by differing margins.

    But the problem is that they don’t appear to be inclined to turn out to vote at the levels Obama may need:

    The practical value of Obama’s broad support among young voters is lessened by the fact that only six in 10 of these voters say they are registered to vote, and that fewer than six in 10 who are registered say they will definitely vote in November’s election

    Keeping in mind the necessary caveat that you should never read too much into one poll, you can bet that both the Obama and Romney campaigns are eyeing both these trends in similar fashion. Indeed, the ongoing war over young voters is probably more about whether they’ll turn out in large enough numbers for Obama than about any sense that Romney could actually win them over in any meaningful numbers.

    Romney’s quick embrace of Obama’s push to extend low interest rates for federally-funded student loans was about papering over a potential difference before it gets out of hand. With Obama embarking on a three-state student-loan tour designed to fire up young voters, Romney’s support for the extension was a hasty effort to dial back a contrast that — thanks to Romney’s statements during the primary — risks becoming a point of major contention that could motivate young voters: Over government’s role in helping alleviate student debt.

    Meanwhile, the Romney campaign’s pitch to young voters has been more an argument as to why they should not enthusiastically support Obama than it has been an argument for why they should support Romney. On a recent conference call organized to push for the youth vote, Romney surrogates argued again and again that Obama had failed them on the jobs front, without offering anything meaningful of their own in the way of specific policy prescriptions on issues important to young Americans.

    What’s more, Romney has couched his arguments to young voters in very businesslike terms. He recently said rather colorlessly that young voters “have” to vote for him if they are really following “what’s in their personal best interest.” This seems like it’s less about inspiring young voters for Romney than it is about shifting the debate to the economy, with the goal of moving it away from areas where Obama might still be able to generate excitement.

    Gallup’s conclusion says it all: “It is a well-established fact of American political life that young voters are not dependable voters. In a close election, however, the support of even low-turnout groups can be decisive.”

  5. rikyrah says:

    The Mormon Card
    Douthat expects it to be played:

    The Obama White House may not make Mormonism an issue directly, but that doesn’t mean that the incumbent won’t benefit from the coverage that Romney’s religion will inevitably receive. And it’s possible that Romney would stand to gain if he spoke more directly and in more detail about a worldview that’s clearly at the heart of his identity, and that provides one of the most authentic and deeply-felt influences on his often inauthentic-seeming personality. In one form or another, there will be plenty of attempts to define Romney’s religion for him, and he might be better off doing his own defining first.

    But he can’t, because even talking about it will send chills up Christianists’ spines. And yet questions will emerge: why were his in-laws barred from his Temple wedding service? Why was his dad born in Mexico? Could it be he was there because that’s where many of the older hard-core polygamists sought refuge after being hounded by the US government?

    Romney’s grandparents were monogamous, but polygamy is a big feature of the family tree before that: one of Romney’s great-grandfathers had five wives, and one of his great-great grandfathers – the “Apostle Paul of Mormonism” – had twelve wives (he was murdered by the former husband of one of them), thirty children, and 266 grandchildren.

    Romney really is LDS monarchy, his family going back deep into the heart of the religion’s history. I don’t see how he manages to avoid talking about this, about whether Mormonism is, as Ross has called it, a “heresy”, whether his view of God is as a human, whether humans can become gods, etc. The reason I think he has to find a way to address it is that it is such a profound influence on him that, unless people see a little of how his faith helped form his character and judgment, they will not be able to relate to him at all. For these reasons, I think the taboo on talking about the LDS could hurt more just as much as airing it all could. It’s close to lose-lose unless he can manage a speech as great as Obama’s on Wright.

    I should add and underline that I don’t regard any of this as faintly relevant to his capacity to be president. I think it is an amazing and very American thing for this race to be between a black man and a Mormon, given this country’s history. It’s an astounding achievement in both racial and religious progress. But then I’m not the one insisting that people’s religious faith be placed firmly in the public square on the same level as secular argument – and that candidates be judged by that. That’s the party Romney leads.

    • Ametia says:

      I wholeheartedly agree with Sulivan here. It will not bode well for Romney, if he doesn’t get the Mormonism on the table and speak to it. PBO gave the proverbial “race speech” after the Rev. Wright rant, and it smoothed out the heat from GODAMN AMERICA being played on an endless loop.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 01:20 PM ET, 04/26/2012
    Don’t let him sweet-talk you again
    By Greg Sargent

    A lot of chatter this morning about the new Web ad from the Rove-founded Crossroads empire, which depicts Obama looking ultra cool in a variety of shots before suddenly pivoting to a brutal depiction of economic suffering on Obama’s watch:

    Kevin Drum comments:

    The actual policy content is short and pro forma, so no need to pay attention to that. Mainly, it’s just a reminder that Obama is awfully, um, hip. He’s, you know, young and savvy….in an….urban kind of way. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
    I assume this is all just part of the mud-against-the-wall phase of the campaign, as the Rovesters try to get a bead on exactly which message makes Obama the least palatable to their heartland target audience. Unfortunately for them, this one makes Obama look a little too much like Will Smith, and I don’t think the heartland really has anything against Will Smith.

    I actually think this ad demonstrates the beginnings of a very carefully thought out attack line that we’ll be seeing in lots of forms. The gist of it is: Don’t let this smooth-talking slickster sweet talk you again.

    Republicans tried very hard to make the “celeb” attack stick in 2008. It didn’t work, of course. But in a way that gets at the real point here. This ad is basically a way of saying, See? We told you he was all slick and empty talk. You fell for it. Look what it got you.

    Mitt Romney has also been advancing a form of this argument. In his big victory speech the other day, he said: “Four years ago Barack Obama dazzled us in front of Greek columns with sweeping promises of hope and change. But after we came down to earth, after the celebration and parades, what do we have to show for three and a half years of President Obama?” The Greek columns have become a regular Romney refrain.

    It’s about giving swing voters a way to vote against Obama even if they may be inclined to cut him some slack and grant his policies more patience to work, because they appreciate that he inherited an extraordinary difficult situation. The message is: Obama himself talked you into having sky-high expectations for him, and you’re still suffering.

    “After four years of a celebrity president, is your life any better?” the Crossroads ad asks.

    Don’t be a sucker. Don’t get fooled again. He’s still a “celeb,” and he’s making the most of it. What good has it done for you?

  7. rikyrah says:

    Time to Dial Down the Outrage
    by BooMan
    Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 04:42:01 PM EST

    I find this so tiresome:

    Last year, the left was angry. At their [Netroots Nation] conference in Minneapolis last year, the anger of thousands of progressives who were spitting mad at President Obama was palpable. They dragged White House Communications Director Dan Pfieffer on stage for a well-attended drubbing that included boos.

    This was a Netroots still smarting from then-Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’ “professional left” crack, which left progressives feeling (at best) unloved by the Obama White House. They returned that sentiment in spades to Team Obama in 2011. At a panel called “What To Do When The President Is Just Not That Into You,” LGBT activist Dan Choi actually ripped up an Obama flyer on camera and chastised the Obama volunteer who dared present it to him.

    There is no such panel evident on the Netroots schedule for 2012. At this year’s conference in Providence, R.I., the bitterness will be tempered, organizers say.

    Does anyone seriously doubt that there are people in the Netroots who know it is in their financial self-interest to keep the outrage level (and the click level) as high as possible? Anyone who’s ever done fundraising or membership drives for a policy organization can explain this to you. Rage-a-holics make money for purveyors of rage. Nevertheless, most people in the Netroots have more integrity than that. Most people could understand what Robert Gibbs was saying without taking it as a personal affront.

    The only thing that is different this year is that the audience is not in the mood for carping about the president.

  8. Ametia says:


    Twitter becomes a key real-time tool for campaigns
    By Karen Tumulty, Thursday, April 26, 1:19 PM

    The bully pulpit has a new kind of altar call: “Tweet them. We’ve got a hashtag. Here’s the hashtag for you to tweet them: #dontdoublemyrate.”

    President Obama repeated that Twitter hashtag twice more during a Tuesday speech opposing an increase in student loan interest rates. For good measure, he even had his Chapel Hill, N.C., audience chant it back to him.

    Within moments after Obama finished his remarks, Twitter users had written more than 20,000 posts containing “#dontdoublemyrate” — enough for Twitter to declare it a Top 10 worldwide “trending topic.”

    The six-year-old microblogging site came into its own this presidential cycle, but the past few weeks have demonstrated how clearly it has become the tool of choice for getting something into the political bloodstream, from manufacturing a battle over who can be called a working mom to building a movement around a piece of legislation.

  9. Mark Knoller ‏ @markknoller

    Pres Obama to award Bob Dylan, John Glenn & Madeleine Albright Medals Of Freedom – highest civilian honor he can bestow.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Michigan, this is your democracy
    By Laura Conaway – Thu Apr 26, 2012 2:45 PM EDT.

    The Michigan Board of State Canvassers today rejected a petition drive that would have put the state’s emergency manager law on the November ballot. The board’s staff had reported (pdf) that the petitioners had collected enough signatures, and recommended (pdf) that the board deny a challenge on the basis that the petition’s type size might be too small.

    That challenge came from a project living inside the same Republican consulting firm with a partner on the board. Also on the four member board was a Democrat whose labor union had worked to collect signatures. In the end, the board voted two-two, on party lines, meaning the petitions were toast. They had been signed by more than 200,000 Michigan voters.

    Eclectablog, a Democrat activist and blogger, was in the room. He writes: “The vote was followed by chants of ‘SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!’ ” And this: “After the vote, the room erupted. I apologize for the blurriness of this photo but it was pandemonium.”

    An attorney for the group trying to overturn the emergency manager law tells us he’ll file an appeal as early as Monday. “We had hoped that they would put democracy ahead of party allegiance, but we did not find that in this case,” Herb Sanders said.

    If you look back through the minutes of the Board of State Canvassers, you’ll notice almost no split votes on anything. Before today, the board looks not to have divided on any question since August 2010 (pdf). There’s another one in April 2006 (pdf). And back in 2005, before the minutes were posted, the board split along party lines, blocking temporarily a referendum to end some forms of affirmative action.

  11. symmetry11 ‏ @symmetry11

    Addressing VAWA, Sen. Al Franken Breaks Down On Senate Floor

  12. rikyrah says:

    Second poll out in Arizona pointing to a dead heat.

    Merrill/Morrison Institute. Arizona RVs. April 10-14, 16-20. ±4.4%.

    Romney: 42
    Obama: 40
    Behavior Research Centers/Rocky Mountain Poll. Arizona RVs. April 7-19. ±4.4%. (Jan results)

    Obama: 42 (37)
    Romney: 40 (43)

  13. rikyrah says:

    Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 10:03 AM PDT.

    Paul Ryan rejects ‘sorely needed’ moral hero Ayn Rand to suck up to bishops+*

    Paul Ryan, August 18, 2009:

    It doesn’t surprise me that sales of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged have surged lately with the Obama administration coming in because it’s that kind of thinking, that kind of writing, that is sorely needed right now. And I think a lot of people would observe that we are right now living in an Ayn Rand novel, metaphorically speaking. […]

    Ayn Rand, more than anyone else, did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism, and this to me is what matters most. It is not enough to say that President Obama’s taxes are too big or the health care plan doesn’t work for this or that policy reason. It is the morality of what is occurring right now and how it offends the morality of individuals working toward their own free will to produce, to achieve, to succeed, that is under attack. And it is that what I think Ayn Rand would be commenting on, which we need that kind of comment more than ever.

    Paul Ryan today:

    I reject her philosophy […] It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview. If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas […] Don’t give me Ayn Rand.

    Huh. Isn’t that funny? Two years ago, Ayn Rand was the pre-eminent voice of morality, but now Paul Ryan’s all, “Ayn Rand? Pfft. I’ve barely even heard of her.” Hmm. Why would Paul Ryan suddenly renounce “sorely needed” Ayn Rand? What could possibly have inspired such conversion …

    “Our problem with Representative Ryan is that he claims his budget is based on Catholic social teaching,” said Jesuit Father Thomas J. Reese, one of the organizers of the letter. “This is nonsense. As scholars, we want to join the Catholic bishops in pointing out that his budget has a devastating impact on programs for the poor.” […]
    “I am afraid that Chairman Ryan’s budget reflects the values of his favorite philosopher Ayn Rand rather than the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Father Reese. “Survival of the fittest may be okay for Social Darwinists but not for followers of the gospel of compassion and love.”

    Now that Paul Ryan has been schooled repeatedly by the Catholic bishops, theologians, and faculty from the Jesuit Georgetown University for claiming his Screw The Poor budget is inspired by his Catholic faith, he’s awfully desperate to claw his way back into the good graces of his Church, isn’t he? Heck, he’ll even reject that evil atheist Ayn Rand if the Church will just please, pretty please, stop telling him how immoral he is.
    Funny thing about Ayn Rand. She’s been dead for a while now, which means she didn’t become an atheist last week. She always was one, including back in 2009 when Paul Ryan thought she was the voice of morality. She was also always anti-gun, anti-politician, anti-monogamy … In other words, she was anti-everything Republicans supposedly stand for. Which is why it’s more than a little amusing that teabaggers like Paul Ryan have been invoking her name in the last few years as their spirit guide because she would have hated them too.

    Well, good for you, Paul Ryan, for deciding to suddenly reject the moral teachings of Ayn Rand that you so enthusiastically embraced just a short time ago in favor of that Jesus stuff you claim to prefer.

  14. Quarterback Phillip Sims takes a picture of President Barack Obama as he poses for a photo with members of the BCS National Champion University of Alabama Crimson Tide football team following a ceremony to honor their 14th national championship and their 2011-2012 season, on the South Lawn of the White House, April 19, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

  15. President Barack Obama talks with Jimmy Fallon during a taping of “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” at Memorial Hall on the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill campus in Chapel Hill, N.C., April 24, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

  16. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    April 26, 2012 12:29 PM

    Hip To Be Square?
    By Ed Kilgore

    One of the flimsiest of straw men that conservative gabbers seem to be burning down this week is the supposed “liberal” assumption that Mitt Romney can’t win because he’s “square” or “boring” while Barack Obama is “cool” and “interesting.” I guess this is a response to the same-day phenomena of Obama’s interview with Rolling Stone and his appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s show, or perhaps his events at college campuses.

    In any event, David Paul Kuhn has a very odd column out that tells us being “square” is not a bar to election as president. He then trots out Richard Nixon ‘72, George H.W. Bush ‘88, and Ronald Reagan ‘80 and ‘84 as examples of “square” pols who did well. Fortunately for his argument, he does not seek to make the case that the opponents of these “squares,” George McGovern, Michael Dukakis, Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale, were perceived as “hip.” Indeed, one does not often ascend to a presidential nomination by being “cool,” and there are plenty of “squares” in the losing column of presidential elections aside from the aforementioned Democrats, most recently Bob Dole, who actually campaigned on representing “a bridge to a time of tranquility, faith and confidence in action.”

    Having demolished an argument about Romney that no one has actually made, Kuhn does go on to identify Mitt’s “plutocratic demeanor” as a real problem for him. Like Romney, Richard Nixon was “stiff,” but he was a “working stiff,” says Kuhn in the column’s best line, while Romney does not have the “formative experience” story that allows patricians to build a bond with the less privileged. So the trick for Mitt is simply to exude “competence,” and his square jaw and business background will go a long way to do just that.

    Oh well. Far be it from me to compete with Kuhn or anyone else in deep reflections on the psychology of swing voters who are presumed to care nothing about the policies or parties of presidential candidates, and are instead subconsciously looking for a daddy, a drinking buddy (not a good constituency for Romney!), a boss, a field marshal or a moral exemplar.

    Contra the planted axiom that “liberals” are mocking Romney as a “square” (which would, of course, be counter-productive since it would help create a bond between the candidate and regular folks that he is struggling to create), the standard raps on Mitt’s personality is that he is deeply weird (you know, weird religion, weird sense of humor, weird attitude towards workers and dogs) and/or is an empty suit whose only real conviction is that he ought to be president of the United States. These are not, actually, “square” attributes, since “squares” are by definition not weird, and usually have all sorts of core convictions that can get in the way of achieving great wealth or high political office.

    If Romney’s personality ultimately becomes a factor in this election, it will probably be because his lack of “squareness” interferes with his efforts to inspire confidence that swing voters unhappy with the status quo can afford to take a big chance on elevating him and his party to power. Perhaps it won’t matter at all. But if I were in his camp, I wouldn’t bet the farm on trying to make him look like the salt of the earth.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 08:45 AM PDT.

    Republicans fret about Mitt Romney’s persistent negativity

    This is one gem of a quote from today’s New York Times article on Republicans who are worried Mitt Romney has been too negative and want him to go positive:

    “Mitt Romney has to come up with a plan and policy and principles that people can rally around,” said Gov. Gary R. Herbert of Utah, a strong supporter of Mr. Romney who said it was “fair game” to point out differences with the president. “It can’t just be negativity.

    If Republicans wanted a candidate who would run a positive campaign, they picked the wrong guy. Case in point: he spent more than $100 million winning the Republican nomination, and more than 95 percent of his ads were attacks on fellow Republicans.
    But the issue here isn’t just Romney’s slash and burn style: it’s that the conservative economic agenda really doesn’t lend itself to a positive campaign. The whole conservative thesis is that Barack Obama’s presidency is destroying America because he’s a European-style communist dictator. (Never mind the fact that Europe is in recession because it’s following the austerian policies the right wants America to embrace.)

    To conservatives, the only way to save America is to reject Barack Obama. That’s a negative message, to it’s core. The only way to talk about it in semi-positive terms is for them to say that government must get out of the way. But even that isn’t really a positive agenda. And even if it were, Romney’s embraced it time and again. His basic plan is to cut taxes, slash regulations, and shrink government. Romney wants to effectively end Medicare, he wants to turn Social Security into a welfare program, and he supports austerian policies that would force us to stop investing public funds in our infrastructure.

    It takes a special kind of politician to make all that sound like something positive, especially when you’re also arguing that the Obama Armageddon is right around the corner—and Romney isn’t that kind of a politician. Perhaps he’ll decide to flip-flop and re-embrace the notion that government can actually have a positive impact on economic growth, but if he does that, he’ll run into a different problem—namely, his credibility, and specifically his lack thereof. So he’s in a bit of trap right now and aside from hoping the economy tanks, he probably isn’t quite sure what he should do.


  18. rikyrah says:


    Orange Julius is hitting the sauce before Noon now.


    Quote of the Day
    By Steve Benen – Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:25 PM EDT.

    Democrats and Republicans struck a deal last summer on spending levels for the upcoming year, clearing the way for a smooth budget process. House GOP leaders recently decided to ignore the agreement they accepted, make even deeper cuts, and tell Democrats they have to give in or there will be a government shutdown shortly before the election.

    House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), in other words, has said he will no longer honor the agreement he helped strike. Last week, the White House said that’s unacceptable — President Obama is fully prepared to keep his word, but won’t tolerate House Republicans breaking the hard-fought deal.

    Today, reporters asked the Speaker about the administration’s veto threat. Here’s a transcript of the exchange:

    Q: Last week the acting OMB director sent a letter to Congressional appropriators saying that basically the top line agreed to in the Budget Control Act, that the President would veto it if it’s not met.
    BOEHNER: Blah blah blah blah blah, alright, so?
    Q: Is that an official response?
    BOEHNER: Yes.

    Just to be absolutely clear about this, “Blah blah blah blah blah” is not my mockery of the House Speaker’s response to the question. Rather, Boehner literally said, “Blah blah blah blah blah.”


    if that’s not enough, here’s the rest of it from Benen:

    The Speaker is breaking his word, he’s being called on it, and he doesn’t care.

    Incidentally, in the exact same press briefing, Boehner complained that Obama’s efforts on student loan interest rates are beneath “the dignity” of the presidency.

    No word yet on whether the Speaker believes “Blah blah blah blah blah” is beneath “the dignity” of the his office.

    Incidentally, House Republicans continue to push ahead with a spending plan that ignores the agreement they already accepted, and some of the sillier members of the Senate Republican caucus, including Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), agree with the House GOP’s push.

    If Republicans keep this up, the likelihood of a government shutdown shortly before the November elections grows

    The President has them on the run with the student loan showdown…


  19. Joe Scarborough: Marco Rubio Not Ready To Be VP Like Obama Was Not Ready To Be President

  20. Ametia says:


    People of Color Less Likely to Vote Due to Super PAC Influence
    by Brentin Mock
    Thursday, April 26 2012, 9:20 AM EST Tags: Brennan Center for Justice, SuperPACs, Voter ID, Voter Rights

    It’s becoming more difficult for people to see how their vote is going to matter in the 2012 election. When states are increasingly passing voter ID laws that mandate voters prove they are citizens or that they are legitimate voters at the polls, while Super PACs are able to field millions of dollars, often from unidentified people, to influence elections, then democracy becomes less of a real thing to many people. A new survey from the Brennan Center for Justice shows majorities of Americans seeing Super PACs as corrupting forces on elections. There’s enough Super PAC distrust in the survey that many said they likely won’t vote. Evidently Bonnie Raitt isn’t the only person who feels, as she said in Rolling Stone, that “we have an auction instead of an election.”

    Voters of color certainly feel that way. In the Brennan survey, African Americans and Latino Americans were more likely than whites to say they feel discouraged from voting due to the outsized influence of Super PACs, and who can blame them? In many states, voters of color will have to go through the often un-user-friendly process of excavating birth and marriage documents, and then hoping there’s a DMV office close by that they can get to between shifts or after work hours, all to get ID cards that they otherwise wouldn’t need. Once done, they better hope their address doesn’t change (hope they’re not evicted, foreclosed upon or otherwise homeless), or that their name doesn’t change (hope they don’t get divorced), or if they are Latino, hope that their name is recorded correctly, or else they may get turned away after a long wait in line because the ID information doesn’t match with the registers.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s Secret Weapon Against Romney: Tea Party Standard-Bearers

    Benjy Sarlin April 26, 2012, 10:52 AM

    Mitt Romney has been careful to stake out the middle ground in the student loan fight this week, quickly capitulating to the White House’s position that Congress extend low interest rates to millions of Americans. That put him squarely at odds with House Republicans — a fact that President Obama has delighted in pointing out in speeches.

    Twice in the last week, Obama used anecdotes from ultra-conservative members of Congress discussing the loan fight, ignoring Romney in favor of tarnishing the Republican brand with its most incendiary members.

    On Tuesday it was Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), who Obama cited prominently in a speech to students in her own state at the University of North Carolina.

    “She said she had ‘very little tolerance for people who tell me they graduate with debt because there’s no reason for that.’ I’m just quoting here,” Obama said, highlighting a radio interview Foxx gave earlier that week. “The students who rack up student loan debt are just ‘sitting on their butts having opportunity dumped in your lap.’ I’m reading it here. I didn’t make this up.”

    He pounced. “Now, can you imagine saying something like that? Those of you who’ve had to take out student loans, you didn’t do it because you’re lazy. You didn’t do it lightly. You don’t like debt. A lot of you, your parents are helping out, but it’s tough on them. They’re straining. And so you do it because the cost of college keeps going up and you know there’s an investment in your future.”

    The next day at the University of Iowa, he gave another tea party lawmaker the same treatment. This time, Obama singled out Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), who days earlier had suggested Congress might already have impeached Obama if not for “tactical concerns.” The quote Obama highlighted, however, was a line he made in a Senate debate in which Akin called government involvement in student loans “stage three cancer of socialism.”

    “Sometimes I like just getting these quotes because I am always interested in how folks talk about this issue,” Obama said. “You have got one member of Congress who compared these student loans, I am not kidding here, to a stage three cancer of socialism. Stage three cancer. I don’t know where to start. What do you mean? What are you talking about? Come on. Just when you think you heard it all in Washington, somebody comes up with a new way to go off the deep end.”

    Neither Republican lawmaker was too happy to see his or her words be held up as a laugh line for college audiences. Foxx complained to the Washington Post that she was taken out of context — her full quote was that she had “very little tolerance for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of debt because there’s no reason for that,” suggesting that students should only seek educational opportunities within their means.

    Akin also took umbrage with the context Obama provided.

  22. rikyrah says:

    26-4-2012 01:07 PM EDT
    Pelosi On GOP VAWA Bill: ‘We Don’t Want To Have Violence Against Women – Except Certain Women’

    With Senate Democrats poised to pass a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act that extends the laws protections to same-sex partners, immigrants, and Native Americans, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is in no hurry to help the Republicans past their less far-reaching alternative.

    “We’ll see what the Senate passes today,” she told reporters at her weekly Capitol briefing. “I think if there’s bipartisan support for the Senate version that speaks to why – why would we want to support a bill that we don’t want to have violence against women, except certain women it’s ok…. We want our bill to look very much like the Senate bill.”

    Pelosi didn’t go as far as to say Democrats would vote as a bloc against the House GOP bill – in the House, it’s probably the only reauthorization bill that will receive a direct floor vote. But it suggests Dems believe they have the upper hand in the fight, and will press the GOP – hard – to get behind the expanded provisions when House and Senate negotiators meet to iron out the differences between the two measures

  23. rikyrah says:

    GOP Sets Up A Showdown On Violence Against Women Act
    Sahil Kapur April 26, 2012, 5:49 AM

    Sensing that Democrats have them cornered on an issue central to a key voting bloc, Republicans are choosing to fight fire with fire.

    The House GOP unveiled a dueling version of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization on Wednesday, setting up a confrontation with Senate Democrats who are poised to pass a measure that would extend the law’s protections to Native Americans, gays and undocumented immigrants.

    “House Republicans are committed to protecting the true victims of domestic violence and sexual assault,” Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), a member of House GOP leadership, told reporters at a Capitol press briefing.

    The election-year context is crucial. Democrats currently enjoy a huge lead among women voters — an advantage Republicans helped them build by seeking to limit their access to contraception earlier this year. Killing VAWA reauthorization would no doubt widen that lead — and that’s at least part of the reason Senate Democrats want to expand the legislation in ways that are politically perilous for Republicans.

    The broader components of the measure — which provide tools to law enforcement to combat domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking — are not controversial. The key difference between the versions is that Democrats want to expand it to cover same-sex couples, undocumented immigrant and tribal communities, which most GOP lawmakers oppose. The Republican version largely extends the 1994 law as it exists today — without helping Democrats energize subsets of their voting base and without forcing Republicans to go to bat for adversarial constituencies.

    Republican women accused Democrats of politicizing the issue. “Unfortunately in Congress, there are some who’d like to make this a political play. They’d like to make cheap shots and try to politicize it in an election year,” said Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD). Rep. Sandy Adams (R-FL) said she hopes that “people will quit trying to make it a partisan issue.”

    Democrats see the GOP’s desire to offer an alternative in equally political terms.

    “Of course, this is totally about the gender gap they have created due to their attacks on women,” a senior Democratic aide told TPM. “[Their alternative] is transparently political and will be viewed as such by most women.”

  24. Mitt Romney Versus Reality: Global Edition

  25. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    April 26, 2012 8:45 AM

    Bankrupting the Vote

    By Ed Kilgore

    It’s well known that Republicans all over the country are doing what comes naturally by seeking to restrict the franchise, most notably through voter ID laws that will disproportionately affect poor and minority voters, restrictions on voter registration drives, and cutbacks on “convenience voting.” It’s even been called “the war on voting” in Ari Berman’s phrase.

    But a less well-known phenonmenon might be called “bankrupting the vote,” as states and localities (particular cities with heavily Democratic electorates) struggling with fiscal crises simply can’t afford to adequately staff and administer elections.

    Patricia Zengerle of Reuters has a must-read report on this phenomenon:

    In Detroit, the city clerk warned last week that the Rust Belt city would have trouble holding the November 6 presidential election under a slimmed-down budget the mayor proposed to address years of deep financial problems.

    In Jefferson County, Alabama, the local government was so short of cash for elections that it used road repair crews to staff the state’s Republican presidential primary last month.
    And in South Carolina, a $500,000 shortfall after the state’s Republican primary in January led elections officials to consider a sponsorship deal with comedian Stephen Colbert, who plays a mock conservative pundit on his late-night TV show.

    With cities and counties across the United States in dire financial straits, many local officials are struggling to come up with the millions of dollars they will need to hold the November 6 elections. That is likely to mean fewer election workers and long lines for voters, which could reduce turnout.
    It is a problem that could affect candidates and political parties in November but particularly President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats, who are relying on support from big cities such as Detroit.

    Worse yet, the “war on voting” can immensely increase the financial pressures on local voting administration, enhancing the suppressive effect.

    New, stricter voter registration laws in some states such as Florida could exacerbate the problem by raising the need for more elections workers to verify voters’ eligibility.
    Local governments across the nation are planning to shift costs – putting off road repairs for a few days while transit crews work on elections, or borrowing workers from other departments to help count votes.

    But they also are laying off staff who would have helped with voter questions, and cutting back the hours that polls are open.

    Besides raising constitutional questions about whether some people will have enough opportunity to vote, the situation could have an impact on close elections, analysts say.

  26. rikyrah says:

    A financial twist on the ‘war on voting’
    By Steve Benen – Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:38 PM EDT.

    When we talk about the “war on voting,” we tend to think of restrictions Republican policymakers are placing between voters and the ballot box in advance of the 2012 elections. Measures like voter-ID laws may prevent millions of Americans from participating this November.

    But Reuters reports today on a different kind of voting problem: communities that are so short on funds, they’re “struggling to come up with the millions of dollars they will need to hold the November 6 elections” (thanks to reader R.P. for the tip).

    It is a problem that could affect candidates and political parties in November but particularly President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats, who are relying on support from big cities such as Detroit.

    Local governments across the nation are planning to shift costs — putting off road repairs for a few days while transit crews work on elections, or borrowing workers from other departments to help count votes.

    But they also are laying off staff who would have helped with voter questions, and cutting back the hours that polls are open.

    Nothing says “21st century superpower” like watching American cities curtail road repair in order to afford an election.

    Regardless, the practical effects are hard to ignore: fewer election workers and fewer precincts means longer lines and lower turnout.

    What’s more, as Ed Kilgore explained this morning, we’re seeing the confluence of Republican interests: “[I]t’s particularly interesting to watch Republicans simultaneously promote austerity policies for state and local governments and new restrictions on voting. Many conservatives favor the former as an end in itself, but are receiving a sort of bonus as competent election administration becomes one of those luxuries many jurisdictions can’t quite afford

  27. Ametia says:

    Romney’s “Vision” Blind to Economic History

    On Tuesday night, the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney threw down the gauntlet. Declaring the election is “still about the economy – and we’re not stupid,” Romney warned that “President Obama and I have very different visions.” After claiming that “government is at the center of his vision,” the Republican offered the Romney Vision:

    “I have a very different vision for America, and of our future. It is an America driven by freedom, where free people, pursuing happiness in their own unique ways, create free enterprises that employ more and more Americans. Because there are so many enterprises that are succeeding, the competition for hard-working, educated and skilled employees is intense, and so wages and salaries rise. I see an America with a growing middle class, with rising standards of living.”

    Unfortunately for Mitt Romney, it has been Democrats in the White House who have delivered the shared prosperity he describes. After all, as the historical record shows, from economic growth and job creation to stock market performance and just about every other indicator of the health of the U.S. capitalism, the modern U.S. economy has almost always done better under Democratic presidents. Despite GOP mythology to the contrary, America generally gained more jobs and grew faster when taxes were higher (even much higher) and income inequality lower. And while the U.S. recovery from the Bush recession remains painfully slow, most economists – including the nonpartisan CBO and some of John McCain’s own 2008 advisers – believe President Obama saved the American free-enterprise system from the abyss.

  28. Shout out to @marabout40

    Hold on…Change is coming! Trust me..behind every dark cloud is sunshine! It will get better!

  29. rikyrah says:

    Romney Foreign Policy Adviser Attacks Obama’s ‘Czechoslovakia’ Policy
    By Ben Armbruster on Apr 26, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Later today, Vice President Biden is expected in a speech to open up an attack on Mitt Romney’s foreign policy saying that a President Romney will take America back to the George W. Bush era. “Gov. Romney is counting on our collective amnesia,” Biden said according to excerpts already released.

    The Romney campaign organized a conference call today with three of Romney’s foreign policy advisers to push back. During the call, Romney adviser Ambassador Pierre Prosper attacked President Obama for dealing with Russia, albeit using geographical terms from the Cold War era:

    PROSPER: The United States has become a spectator on issues of national security. We’ve also been embarrassed by North Korea where again it continues to be a conciliatory leaning forward approach and yet the North Koreans will launch a missile surprising the United States by violating their agreement.

    You now Russia is another example where we give and Russia gets and we get nothing in return. The United States abandoned its missile defense sites in Poland and Czechoslovakia, yet Russia does nothing but obstruct us, or efforts in Iran and Syria.

    • Ametia says:

      Associated Press: Romney Criticized President Obama For Setting A Timetable For Ending The War In Afghanistan But Has Not Said “Whether His Own War Strategy Would Keep The U.S. Fighting In Afghanistan Past” 2014

      Republicans offer few details on Afghanistan plans

      The Republican reluctance to outline specific policy positions is evidence of the complex nature of managing the decade-long war as public support dwindles, and concerns that detailed campaign promises could pigeonhole a candidate if he goes on to win the White House.

      It’s a role reversal for the parties from 2008, when a Republican president was mired in a long and unpopular war and Democratic candidates, including Obama, tried to convince voters that they should take the reins.

      But the political calculus for the current crop of Republicans is more complicated than it was for Obama in 2008. Obama opposed the Iraq war from the start and his election-year promise to bring it to an end put him in lockstep with the rest of his party.

  30. rikyrah says:

    The Great Surrendering: How Cabal Became Our Politics
    By Charles P. Pierce
    at 11:31AM

    Ed Kilgore asks a series of piquant questions at the end of his post about the revelations in Bob Draper’s new book about the young brigade of vandals in the House of Representatives. The last of them is the most intriguing:

    And at what point, exactly, did the Move Right To Win strategy that had always existed on the fringes of conservative political science circles become uniform orthodoxy, to the point that the 2012 GOP nomination contest because strictly a matter of identifying the maximum conservatism the political markets could bear?

    I think I can — and recently have — offered at least a partial answer. It, of course, began to happen in the 1960’s, when the Democrats allied themselves with the civil-rights movement and lost the South and those parts of the North where people thought the South had a point. But it really accelerated in the 1970’s, when the Democratic party overreacted to what happened to George McGovern and began whoring after corporate money, an effort that required them to abandon at least partly their traditional allies in the civil-rights and labor movements, and to soften their positions on a number of important issues, and basically inculcated into the party a permanent instinct for accommodation and surrender that was only strengthened after the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. The rise of the Democratic Leadership Council was, in its own way, one of the largest white flags in the history of American politics. In fact, one of the most dismal weekends of my life came at the 1982 Democratic “Mid-Term” Convention, where it became plain that great progressives like the late Billie Carr of Texas were no longer welcomed by the party’s serious people.

    At that point, the Republican fringe was empowered by the simple fact that there now was no political entity pushing back at them with a force equal to theirs in the opposite direction. At the very least, the Democrats could be counted upon to give them some of what they wanted, at which point they would scream and holler and nobody noticed that the “Center” was drifting in their direction. And when they overreached — the Clinton Impeachment, Schiavo, the entire Bush presidency — they didn’t have to regroup. I’ve often used Stalin’s order to the Red Army to describe this — Ni shagu nazad: Not one step backwards — and it’s true. They fight like they do not care what happens to the country either way. They fight as though they don’t care if they burn their party down. The Democrats fight like they care about both things. The Democrats stopped taking risks 30 years ago. Faced with nihilism, they reach for the olive branch, which is generally sent back to them in ashes.

    Because they can’t look honestly at what they’ve done to themselves, the Democrats generally engage in semi-annual unicorn hunts in which they go off in search of reasonable Republicans with whom they can deal. My god, in the most recent issue of Rolling Stone, the president, against whom this nihilistic vandalism has reached a foul sort of apogee, is still questing after these mythical critters:

    Read more:

  31. rikyrah says:

    From Iraq’s CPA to Team Romney
    By Steve Benen – Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:30 AM EDT.

    Historically, the political world doesn’t pay too much attention to who presidential campaigns bring on as policy advisors, but it’s hard to deny the significance of these staffers. For one thing, they help shape a candidate’s worldview, especially when a presidential hopeful lacks ideas and principles of his own. For another, should the candidate actually win, the advisors will probably end up with powerful jobs in the new administration.

    And who has Mitt Romney’s ear? On foreign policy, one of the top members of his team is Dan Senor.

    Dan Senor is less known to the general public, but familiar to those who’ve followed the Iraq debacle closely. From 2003 to 2004, Senor served as a Coalition Provisional Authority spokesman under Paul Bremer. After that smashing success, Senor returned to Washington, where, among other things, in September 2004 he helped write speeches for Iraqi interim prime minister Ayad Allawi’s U.S. visit, and then apparently went on television to praise those speeches as evidence of Bush’s accomplishments in Iraq.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Apr 26

    Our President Has Soul. Ain’t Nothin’ Wrong with That.
    By Charles P. Pierce at 8:30AM

    Let us begin by noting that any argument against a president’s doing something that is based on disappointment that what the president may be doing is “beneath the dignity of the office” must at least account for the fact that, in the not altogether distant past, “the office” has been the place wherein has been discussed the criminal cover-up of a burglary, the criminal sale of missiles to a nation guilty of the contemporaneous slaughter of 241 American servicemen, the commitment of the United States to join those other nations of the world that torture their prisoners, and, yes, blowjobs. Any argument about “the dignity of the office” that doesn’t use these episodes as points of comparison and metrics of how we judge the relative “dignity” of things is not worthy of discussion. And, anyway, the president works for us, and the Oval Office is not the Temple of Dendur or the grotto at Lourdes. Please, people, get over yourselves.

    Nonetheless, and for reasons mostly foul, we are hearing this bafflegab again when it comes to the president’s appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s teevee show on which the president “slow-jammed” the news. We also have heard it about the president’s now-annual NCAA tournament selections on ESPN — where he’s been a lot better at it than, say, me, damnit — and about his brief turn as the lead singer in an Al Green a capella tribute. There was a little huffing, too, about his singing along on “Sweet Home Chicago” when it was blues night at the White House, probably because those same people were worried that the old tune was code for him to release the Windy City thugs who are going the Kenyan-steal the election or something. Also, there’s been some ongoing snarkery about how much golf he plays. And, from the Beyond, Ike gets testy and tells people to shut the hell up about that.

    (It has also engaged the attention of morons, who suddenly find virtue in the principles underlying the old Fairness Doctrine, which St. Reagan did away with so that you can drive from Cape Cod to Mendocino and never not hear Rush Limbaugh. Also, FREEEEEEEDDOOOOOOMMMM!)

    Lawrence O’Donnell last night provided the service of pointing out how just about every president we’ve had since World War II has gone out of his way to demonstrate a familiarity with at least the most polite fringes of pop culture. (This really accelerated when John Kennedy was hanging with the Rat Pack in Vegas.) O’Donnell was good enough to share with us the most spectacularly bizarre example of this that we have….

    And let us be clear that the tuned-in presidency has been altogether a good thing. America’s pop culture has been one of this country’s greatest — and certainly, one of its most benign — gifts to the wider world. It wasn’t just Lech Walesa, and Vaclav Havel, and the former Karol Wojtyla who cracked the Soviet bloc. It also was bluejeans and the Beatles, as Havel himself readily acknowledged. What we have today, though, and with all due respect to Bill Clinton, who at least knew the difference between John Coltrane and Air Supply, is a president steeped in a love of black popular culture, which happens to be the basis for almost everything that’s been responsible for the triumph of American pop culture generally. This has been the guilty secret of American art and music for almost the entire length of the country’s history — the fiddlers on the plantations, the soul bands playing in the basement of segregated Southern fraternities, the white kids sneaking down to the South Side to Sylvio’s in Chicago to watch Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf cut heads, the roots of everything that Elvis did, and the roots of everything that came after him, including all those suburban kids listening to NWA and Public Enemy back in what is now the day. And doing it well was all about, as Albert Murray put it in the essential The Hero And The Blues, a way to honor your ancestors in their graves.

    Read more:

  33. rikyrah says:

    GOP keeps slamming Obama for agreeing with the GOP
    By Steve Benen – Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:46 AM EDT.

    The Romney campaign organized a press call this morning to go after the Obama administration on foreign policy, and the leading surrogate was none other than Den Senor, the Bush/Cheney flack who spoke for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq soon after the U.S. invasion.

    We’ll get back to Senor’s role on Team Romney a little later, but something he said this morning struck me as interesting

    Hmm. So to hear the Romney campaign tell it, President Obama did the right thing, and imposed tough sanctions on Iran — much tougher than anything we saw from the Bush administration — but no one should give Obama too much credit for this because the president had to be “dragged” into doing the right thing.

    This is noteworthy for a couple of reasons. First, Senor is contradicting the Republican nominee himself, who’s argued publicly that Obama didn’t impose these sanctions at all. Team Romney can say the sanctions don’t exist, or they can say they do, but they can’t say both.

    Second, and more important, is the fact that the Romney campaign is attacking Obama for taking a position Romney agrees with.

    This keeps happening. Two weeks ago, the Romney campaign complained bitterly about Obama approving a free-trade agreement with Columbia — which Romney also supported.

    Similarly, Karl Rove’s attack operation, American Crossroads, recently launched attack ads in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, slamming Obama for not doing enough for the coal industry. In reality, not only has the president has invested heavily in “clean coal technology,” but coal production is up over the last three years, employment in the coal-mining industry is the highest it’s been since 1997, and U.S. coal exports have soared, reaching levels unseen in decades.

    In other words, American Crossroads is bashing Obama for doing what the right hoped he’d do. It’s not identical to the “I’m rubber, you’re glue” tactic Romney is so fond of, but it’s certainly close.

    Given all that Democrats and Republicans have to fight about, isn’t it odd that Republicans keep complaining about Obama agreeing with Republicans?

  34. rikyrah says:

    Walker plays fast and loose with equal-pay law
    By Steve Benen – Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:08 AM EDT.

    It seemed rather remarkable earlier this month when Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), in the midst of a national debate about the Republicans’ “war on women,” quietly repealed the 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act, a state version of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay law.

    He’s apparently unimpressed with the pushback, and in recent remarks to the Illinois Policy Institute, rejected the premise of the criticism (thanks to reader K.S. for the tip).

    For those who can’t watch clips online, Walker emphasized what remains illegal in Wisconsin: ” The reality is today in the state of Wisconsin it is illegal to discriminate for employment, not only for hiring, but for promotions or any other impact on employment…. You repeatedly hear pundits and others out there claiming that we repealed Equal Pay in the state. That’s just 100 percent wrong. It is still against the law to discriminate based on those factors.”

    That may sound persuasive, but Rosie Gray noted the effects of the governor rolling back the key parts of Wisconsin’s equal pay law.

    The act was meant to give victims of wage discrimination more legal avenues for pursuing cases against their employers, but Walker signed a measure removing parts of the law that allowed people to plead their cases in state circuit court as opposed to federal court.

    The Republican governor’s pushback, in other words, is wildly misleading. Walker’s argument, in effect, is, “It’s still illegal to discriminate against women.” That’s true, but it’s also incomplete — the state’s Equal Pay Enforcement Act created a mechanism through which victims of discrimination could seek a legal recourse.

    The governor thinks it’s enough to simply make discrimination illegal. It’s a step, but Democratic policymakers in Wisconsin a few years ago went further, making it easier for those who’ve faced discrimination to do something about it. Walker quietly turned back the clock.

    The far-right governor may be embarrassed about it now, but that’s 100 percent what happened.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 09:06 AM ET, 04/26/2012
    The Morning Plum: Dems intensify pressure in student loan fight
    By Greg Sargent

    As you know, House Republicans said yesterday that they will move foward with a bill that would pay for an extension of low student loan rates with money from the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a portion of the health reform law. So what’s the next move for Dems?

    This statement, released last night by Harry Reid’s office, suggests Dems are going to crank up the brinkmanship further:

    “Democrats are opposed to shortchanging an important program that supports crucial efforts to prevent disease and protect against public health emergencies just so Republicans can continue protecting millionaire tax dodgers. The best way to pay for legislation that will keep student loan interest rates from doubling is to close a tax loophole that allows wealthy individuals to avoid paying the same income taxes that middle-class Americans pay.”
    This is a reference to paying for the student loan extension by “preventing some business owners from sheltering their income from Medicare and Social Security taxes,” as the New York Times puts it today.

    If the goal here is to demonstrate that Republicans prioritize low taxes for the rich over investing in the young, this may do the trick nicely. Obama is expected to continue his public pressure on Republicans to extend the low rates, and if he incorporates this new pay-for into his pitch, the stark contrast in priorities the Dem campaign is designed to heighten will only intensify.

  36. rikyrah says:

    The GOP objects to Obama’s ‘slow jam’
    By Steve Benen – Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:07 AM EDT.

    For most, Tuesday night offered a fun, lighthearted moment. President Obama appeared on NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” and among other things, “slow jammed” the news. In the process, Obama used the opportunity to urge Congress to extend lower interest rates on student loans, a top White House priority.

    I realize we’re in a political environment in which every move the president makes will draw reflexive criticism from the right, but the pushback on this is pretty silly.

    Fox News has responded to President Obama’s appearance on NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon by suggesting that Obama is somehow denigrating the office of the presidency. For instance, today on Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson said that it’s “nutso” for Obama to go on “these comedy shows” because it “lowers the status of the office.”

    On the April 23 edition of the show, Fox News host Dana Perino — a press secretary for President George W. Bush — said that Bush had “a very different outlook on these comedy shows. He liked them, he respected them, but he never went on during his presidency.”

    Carlson said that it’s “hard to believe that in 2012, we have presidents and candidates considering to go on these comedy shows, and even host, like, Saturday Night Live.”

    Actually, it’s not hard to believe at all. George W. Bush appeared on a game show in 2008; Bill Clinton talked about his underwear on MTV in 1994; and my personal favorite, Richard Nixon appeared on “Laugh In” to deliver the show’s signature catch phrase in 1968.

  37. Ametia says:

    Argument recap: A choice between radical and reasonable?

    With Justice Antonin Scalia pushing the radical idea that the Constitution gives states clear authority to close their borders entirely to immigrants without a legal right to be in the U.S., seven other Justices on Wednesday went looking for a more reasonable way to judge states’ power in the immigration field. If the Court accepts the word of Arizona’s lawyer that the state is seeking only very limited authority, the state has a real chance to begin enforcing key parts of its controversial law — S.B. 1070 — at least until further legal tests unfold in lower courts.

    In an oral argument that ran 20 minutes beyond the scheduled hour, the Justices focused tightly on the actual operation of the four specific provisions of the law at issue, and most of the Court seemed prepared to accept that Arizona police would act in measured ways as they arrest and detain individuals they think might be in the U.S. illegally. And most of the Justices seemed somewhat skeptical that the federal government would have to change its own immigration priorities just because states were becoming more active.

    At the end of the argument in Arizona v. United States (11-182), though, the question remained how a final opinion might be written to enlarge states’ power to deal with some 12 million foreign nationals without basing that authority upon the Scalia view that states have a free hand under the Constitution to craft their own immigration policies. The other Justices who spoke up obviously did not want to turn states entirely loose in this field. So perhaps not all of the four clauses would survive — especially vulnerable may be sections that created new state crimes as a way to enforce federal immigration restrictions.

  38. Ametia says:

    It’s going to be another video heavy day, folks!

  39. Ametia says:

    PBO’s interviewer for Rolling Stones article is on CBS This Morning. PBO’s one of the smartest, self-confident man. “He’s as good as it gets” As an individual capable, confident, and intelligence.
    The article is deep.

  40. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s principled, radical view for America
    By E.J. Dionne Jr., Published: April 25
    The Washington Post

    It turns out that there is at least one question on which Mitt Romney is not a flip-flopper: He has a utopian view of what an unfettered, lightly taxed market economy can achieve.

    He would never put it this way, of course, but his approach looks forward by looking backward to the late 19th century, when government let market forces rip and a conservative Supreme Court swept aside as unconstitutional almost every effort to write rules for the economic game. This magical capitalism is the centerpiece of Romney’s campaign, and it may prove to be his undoing.

    Here’s Romney’s problem. His best strategy is to cast President Obama as a failure because the economy has not come all the way back from the implosion of 2008. The most effective passages in his well-reviewed speech after his primary victories Tuesday were about the shortcomings of the status quo.

    “Is it easier to make ends meet?” Romney asked. “Is it easier to sell your home or buy a new one? Have you saved what you needed for retirement? Are you making more at your job? Do you have a better chance to get a better job? Are you paying less at the pump?”

    And there was the line pundits were bound to love that played off James Carville’s memorable utterance from Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign. “It’s still about the economy,” Romney said, clearly relishing the moment, “and we’re not stupid.”

    But Romney, unlike Clinton, is not offering a program through which government would take specific steps to solve the problems he catalogues. Instead, he is calling on voters to share his faith that our difficulties would go away if the state simply got out of the way, allowed the market do its thing and counted on the success of the successful to lift up everyone else.

    Romney is right in saying he has “a very different vision” from Obama’s, and this is where the magic comes in. He envisions “an America driven by freedom, where free people, pursuing happiness in their own unique ways, create free enterprises that employ more and more Americans. And because there are so many enterprises that are succeeding, the competition for hardworking, educated, skilled employees is intense, so wages and salaries rise.”

    Just like that, all would be well — as if we never needed the trust-busting of the Progressive Era, the social legislation of the New Deal, the health programs of the Great Society and the coordinated action of the world’s governments in 2008 and 2009 to keep the Great Recession from becoming something far worse.

    This is Romney’s true radicalism. I suspect it is a principled radicalism. And exposing its implications will be Obama’s opening to make the campaign about something other the economy, stupid. Romney’s speech Tuesday was every bit as important as his supporters said it was. It contained both the foundation of an effective campaign based on the electorate’s discontents and the basis for undermining the very argument Romney wants to make.

  41. Ametia says:

    Obama plans first two big rallies of general-election campaign
    Posted by Amy Gardnerat 09:46 PM ET, 04/25/2012

    President Obama will hold his first two major political rallies of the general-election campaign next weekend at colleges in Ohio and Virginia, staking a claim in two of the most closely watched battleground states of the year and continuing his dialogue with student voters, whose energy and enthusiasm were crucial to his victory four years ago.

    “Welcome to the general election,” David Axelrod, Obama’s senior campaign strategist, said on a conference call with reporters late Wednesday during which he and campaign manager Jim Messina announced the events. A day after Republican contender Mitt Romney swept five primary contests, Axelrod and Messina declared the GOP nomination battle over — and the Obama-Romney race underway.

    The advisers made clear that the campaign will continue to draw a stark contrast between what they described as Obama’s long-standing desire to protect “that basic American compact that if you work hard you can get ahead” and Romney’s record of protecting the wealthy. They mentioned Romney’s time as Massachusetts governor, when the state ranked 47th in the country for job creation, as well as his time as a venture capitalist at Bain Capital, during which “he didn’t care about job creation but about wealth creation for himself and his partners.”

    They offered a clear blueprint of what’s to come over the next five months of campaigning — and a continuation of the message that Obama has been broadcasting in recent appearances, including a three-state swing this week during which he urged Congress to prevent federal interest rates on student loans from doubling in July.

    “We’re not the candidate who reinvents himself from week to week,” Axelrod said. “If you want that, you have to go somewhere else. This is a candidate who has a mission, and he’s going to see it through, and that is to rebuild an economy in which the middle class is thriving, in which people can get ahead, in which everybody from Main Street to Wall Street plays by the same rules and gets a fair shake.”

    Obama’s rallies will take place on May 5 at Ohio State University in Columbus and at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Few additional details were available, but at the time of the call with reporters, the campaign announced the events to its grass-roots supporters via e-mail and text messaging, urging supporters to sign up for a chance to meet the president backstage. Messina said first lady Michelle Obama plan to travel with the president to both events.

    Republicans reacted quickly to the news of Obama’s upcoming rallies. Statements from the Republican National Committee; from Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, who has been mentioned as a possible Romney running mate; and from the Romney camp lashed back at the Obama advisers’ barbs.

    “Unfortunately, voters will have to expect that the Obama campaign will be running a campaign based on personal attacks to divert, distract and distort,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said. “Like Mitt Romney said last night, ‘It’s still the economy, and we’re not stupid.’ ”

    Also Wednesday, the RNC filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Office alleging that Obama has misused Air Force One and other federal resources for campaign purposes. The president has been under fire not only for traveling more often to battleground states such as Florida and Ohio but for labeling some trips, such as his swing this week through North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa, “official business” when the trip paid clear political dividends.

  42. rikyrah says:

    April 25, 2012 3:17 PM
    The Supremes Look At S.B. 1070: Not About Profiling!
    By Ed Kilgore

    Based on the initial oral arguments, it appears unlikely the U.S. Supreme Court will strike down Arizona’s influential S.B. 1070 which enlists state and local law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration laws. Portions of the law might not survive, however, and it appears the Court might make its validation strictly contingent on assurances the state is making that it will implement the law without usurping the federal government’s power to determine the ultimate treatment of undocumented people arrested under its authority. As is generally the case, Anthony Kennedy could be the swing vote in the decision, though oral arguments indicated that even the Court’s “liberal bloc” is skeptical about the federal government’s case.

    But something that Court-watchers need to keep in mind is that a central issue in the court-of-public-opinion debate over Arizona’s laws and those elsewhere it has inspired—the likelihood that law enforcement officers will be encouraged or even forced to engaged in ethnic “profiling” in determining whether to suspect an arrestee’s immigration status—is not before the Court at all.

    Here’s Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSBlog on this key point:

    Assuming that the Court does allow most, if not all, of S.B. 1070′s four sections to go into effect, that still would not amount to final constitutional clearance for any of the sections. The case reached the Justices in a preliminary state, and there will be ongoing challenges in lower courts when the case is returned to them. Moreover, there are challenges to some of those provisions that the Court did not cosnider on Wednesday, because they are not part of the federal government’s legal assault on the Arizona statute.
    The most important of those remaining challenges is the claim that at least two of the four sections give police authority to arrest and detain people just because they look like foreigners — in a phrase, “racial profiling.” While some of the amici in this case did raise that in their briefs, the federal government has studiously avoided the claim. And, the moment that Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., took his place at the lectern to make the U.S. challenge, Chief Justice Roberts sought to make sure that he did not talk about “racial profiling.”
    Roberts said: “Before you get into what the case is about, I’d like to clear up at the outset what it’s not about. No part of your argument has to do with rcil or ethnic profiling, does it? I saw none of that in your brief.” Verrilli said that was correct. But the Chief Justice wanted to be sure: “Okay. So this is not a case about ethnic profiling.” The Solicitor General answered: “We’re not making any allegation about racial or ethnic profiling in this case.”

    Because the feds are currently going after S.B. 1070 on the constitutonal issue of alleged state usurpation of federal immigration enforcement authority, they won’t “go there” to the profiling issue, at least not at this stage of the legal battle. But it could well come up in a future case, as it will come up in the broader political debate over immigration policy that this Supreme Court review may well reignite.

  43. rikyrah says:

    There’s a new book out exposing that on the night of President Obama’s inauguration, the GOP met to plan to take him down.

    Lawrence O’Donnell did a segment on it last night.

    EVERYTHING that all of us have been saying since the beginning of POTUS’ term has been proven true.

  44. rikyrah says:

    Birtherism Still Won’t Die
    Posted on 04/25/2012 at 5:40 pm by JM Ashby

    The president of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, criticized the media during an appearance on the American Family Association’s radio program today because they have allegedly marginalized Right Wing cranks who still insist President Obama wasn’t born in this country. Perkins considers this a “legitimate issue.”

    PERKINS: [The media] have attempted to marginalize anyone who challenges this administration on those principles and that driving ideology. You know, it goes back to what they did to those that questioned the issue of his birth certificate. Look, I don’t know about all that, but I will tell you this, it’s a legitimate issue from the standpoint of what the Constitution says.

    And I think what we’ve done is we’ve done great harm to foundation of our government by marginalizing and attacking anyone who brings up a legitimate issue.

    How dare we treat racist nutjobs like the racist nutjobs they are.

    The obvious, and easily substantiated, rebuttal is that questioning the legitimacy of the president’s citizenship on the basis of his skin color and name has done more harm to the foundation of our government than the media’s dubious-at-best rejection of dog-whistle politics.

    Much of the opposition to the president is easily traceable to questions of his legitimacy, not his ideology, and even the opposition to his ideology is primarily informed by dog-whistle politics.

    It’s unlikely those questions will dissipate until the president either leaves office or spontaneously turns white and changes his name to John Smith.

    • Ametia says:

      Folks like Tony Perkins like to drudge up the CONSTITUTION to frame their issues with PBO, because, like you know, all those wig-wearing white dudes WROTE it.

      And like how dare the BLACK President be a CONSTITUTIONAL LAWYER, and like actually tries to GOVERN by it. GTFOH Tony Perkins!

  45. rikyrah says:

    April 25, 2012 5:44 PM
    House GOP Tries New Gambit on Student Loans
    By Ed Kilgore

    Given today’s publicity over student loan indebtedness reaching a cool trillion dollars (see Daniel Luzer’s post on this at College Guide), and Mitt Romney’s earlier undercutting of their position, it’s not surprising that House Republicans are signalling that they, too, will support extending current interest rates for student loans.

    But there is, of course, a wrinkle, per Politico’s Jake Sherman:

    To avoid adding to the debt, Republicans will try to take money from a public health prevention fund in the Democrats’ 2010 health care law. Senate Democrats are aiming for a separate mechanism to offset the price tag of the extension. And that could set up a showdown between the two bodies and the president during this hotly contested election year.

    In their usual hammer-headed way, House Republicans will try to combine one popular position (extending current student loan interest rates) with another (gutting ObamaCare). They are counting on no one much noticing that the element of ObamaCare they are raiding in this particular maneuver is funding for the one health care reform everyone claims to support: a stronger focus on preventive health care.

    How Senate Democrats and the White House frame their response to this gambit will be interesting and important.

  46. rikyrah says:

    What drives Kobach and Hethmon
    By Steve Benen – Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:49 PM EDT.

    The Washington Post has an interesting profile piece this week on two of the men who’ve helped push the Republican Party so far to the right on immigration policy. Of particular interest, though, was a tidbit about one of their motivations.

    One, Kris Kobach, was a telegenic law professor who was worried about foreign terrorists. The other, Michael Hethmon, was a bookish lawyer afraid that immigrants would overburden the environment.

    Over the past six years, the two have become the most successful propagators of a powerful idea: that state and local governments can make life so miserable for illegal immigrants that they would choose to deport themselves…. Kobach and Hethmon have helped six states and at least seven cities and counties write tough legislation that allows local police or bureaucrats to crack down on illegal immigrants

    This is pretty standard fare, until Hethmon notes his concerns about the culture.

    Immigration is “on track to change the demographic makeup of the entire country. You know, what they call ‘minority-majority,’ ” said Hethmon, who is general counsel at the Washington-based Immigration Reform Law Institute. “How many countries have gone through a transition like that — peacefully, carefully? It’s theoretically possible, but we don’t have any examples.”

    But the quote itself deserves more attention. As Hethmon sees it, he’s motivated, at least in part, by concerns about a transition from a white U.S. majority, which he fears may not be “peaceful.” In other words, he’s working on anti-immigrant measures for Republican policymakers nationwide to prevent whites from slipping into the American minority.

  47. rikyrah says:

    One step forward, one step back on student loans
    By Steve Benen – Thu Apr 26, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.

    In the fight over student loans, yesterday offered some good news and some bad news. The good news is, House Republicans have switched gears and are now willing to prevent interest rates from doubling for over 7 million students.

    The bad news is, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he wants to pay for the measure by taking money out of the Affordable Care Act’s “slush fund.”

    Obamacare has a “slush fund”? Actually, no. As Greg Sargent explained, Boehner is referring to funds the Department of Health and Human Services can use on preventive care and public health programs, in addition to resources to help states set up health insurance exchanges. It’s fully transparent; it’s part of existing law, and it’s money well spent. This is the largely the opposite of a “slush fund.”

    Regardless, it leaves the debate in unpleasant place. House Republicans, at least of yesterday, effectively want to give Democrats a choice: cut health care investments or raise student loan interest rates. It’s at least mildly encouraging that GOP officials aren’t actively trying to raise interest rates, but in the larger fight, it’s one step forward and one step back.

    On a related note, Rep. Todd Akin (R), a U.S. Senate candidate in Missouri, said a few days ago that he considers the very existence of the federal student-loan program “the equivalent of stage three cancer of socialism.” If you missed it on the show last night, President Obama referenced Akin’s comments at an event in Iowa yesterday.

  48. rikyrah says:

    The one term that must not be mentioned
    By Steve Benen – Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:55 PM EDT.

    David Axelrod, a top political strategist for President Obama, raised an interesting point about Mitt Romney’s big speech in New Hampshire last night
    It’s a fair point about an overlooked aspect of the speech. In fact, going through the transcript this afternoon, I noticed that Romney mentioned his father being a governor, but not his own term in office.

    When I was doing research for this recent piece on presidential candidates and their pre-campaign experience in public service — Romney’s the least experienced nominee in 72 years — I found plenty of governors and former governors who tried (and succeeded) to parlay their background as the chief executive of a state into becoming the chief executive of the nation.

    But I could find no example of a major-party nominee whose only experience in government was serving as a governor, but who then made no effort to talk about this experience as part of his appeal to voters for national office. Nor could I find any examples of a governor quitting after one term, knowing he’d lose if he sought re-election, and then running for president.

    And why is it, exactly, that Romney is avoiding the subject of his only background in public service? Perhaps because, during his 2003-to-2007 tenure, Romney failed to impress much of anyone.

    “His favorability was basically a straight line down from his honeymoon,” said David Paleologos, director of Suffolk University’s Political Research Center and a longtime Massachusetts pollster. “Sometimes familiarity breeds contempt.” […]

    Romney entered the Massachusetts State House in January 2003 with a flashy favorability rating of 61 percent…. By November 2004, voters were souring, and a Suffolk poll found his favorable rating had dropped to 47 percent… By November 2006, as he closed out his increasingly absentee term, his overall job approval rating had cratered to 36 percent

    Thomas Whalen, a Boston University political science professor, put it this way: “To know Mitt Romney is to dislike him. That is the moral of the story.”

    Maybe he looks better in hindsight? No, Romney’s former constituents still don’t like him and still don’t want him to be president.

    Maybe it’s because he was a GOP governor in a reliably “blue” state? No, Massachusetts has had plenty of modern Republican governors — Weld, Cellucci, Swift — and all were more popular with their Bay State constituents than Romney.

    This is all generally overlooked, which is a shame because it seems pretty important.


    We’re talking about a politician who’s held public office just once, for a grand total of four years. During that one term, his constituents got a good look at his leadership, and came to actively dislike him.

    Romney looked at this and thought, “Hey, now I’m ready for a promotion to the White House!”

    This is roughly the equivalent of North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue (D), who is stepping down after one term, burdened by a low approval rating, announcing that she’s running for president in 2016.

    This really ought to come up on the campaign trail more often. Here’s the sample question reporters can ask Romney: why were you so woefully unpopular with your own constituents when voters gave you a chance to lead?

  49. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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