Serendipity SOUL | Friday Open Thread | Carole King Week!

Happy FRY-day, Everyone. We hope you’ve enjoyed This week 3 Chics featured artist Carole King.


And another blast from the past

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106 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Friday Open Thread | Carole King Week!

  1. rikyrah says:

    I thought it was a headline from the Onion.

    But, lo and behold, I’m watching The Ed Show, and Willard had the nerve to tell a bunch of students to ‘GO GET THE MONEY FROM COLLEGE FROM MOMMY AND DADDY?’


  2. Mitt Romney: Who’s he listening to?

  3. U.S. President Barack Obama prepares to board Air Force One at Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia before returning to Washington, April 27, 2012.

  4. Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of To Kill A Mockingbird on Film

  5. rikyrah says:

    Boehner can make this subject go away
    By Steve Benen – Fri Apr 27, 2012 4:31 PM EDT.

    House Republicans this week said they would agree to keep student loan interest rates at their current level, but only if they’re allowed to gut spending on preventive health care to finance the costs. The White House balked, but the GOP didn’t care — today, the Republican bill passed, 215 to 195, largely along party lines.

    Several Democratic lawmakers noted the impact the GOP health care cuts would have on women’s health, and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who’s apparently grown a little sensitive to talk about the Republican “war on women,” threw a bit of a tantrum on the House floor during the legislative debate.

    I can appreciate why Boehner doesn’t want to talk about the negative impact Republican policies are having on women, but I’d remind the Speaker that the quickest way to change the conversation is for Republicans to stop pursuing policies that have a negative impact on women.

    In this case, rather than simply helping students because it would be good for them and the economy, Boehner’s caucus decided to play a cheap little game — they’ll keep interest rates low only if they take funding from the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which has nothing to do with student loans.

    What would the real-world impact be if Boehner’s health care cuts were to pass? There’s no mystery here: these cuts would mean hundreds of thousands of women would have less access to breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings, tens of thousands of children could lose access to immunizations, and programs to prevent congenital heart defects and fetal alcohol syndrome would be eliminated.

    That’s not an opinion; it’s just what would happen. The Prevention and Public Health Fund funds these efforts now, and if Republicans took the money from the fund, the efforts would be dramatically curtailed.

    Boehner can shout, point, and pound the podium to his heart’s content, but if he doesn’t want to be criticized for Republican measures that undermine women’s health, he should change his party’s agenda, not whine about Democrats shining a light on that agenda.

  6. rikyrah says:

    A Second Term for Obama
    by BooMan
    Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:44:51 PM EST

    Ruth Marcus is concern-trolling again: Or, maybe she’s trying to reassure the Villagers that Obama isn’t a secret socialist. I can’t even tell the difference anymore. In any case, Ms. Marcus doesn’t think Obama is going to do anything radical in a second term, but she sure wishes he would talk about doing some radically centrist things during the campaign.
    Congressional math will constrain Obama for the remainder of his presidency even if he wins a second term and the Dems do better than the historical average in the next midterms. There is no way Obama will ever again have a Congress as compliant as the one he enjoyed in 2009-2010, if you can call that Baucus-Nelson-Lincoln-Landrieu-Lieberman-led Congress “compliant.”

    The good old days are over, and our next shot at bold progressive change will come in 2016, when we’ll have a chance to win the presidency again and get back to a 60 vote advantage in the Senate.

    There is literally nothing the president or the party or you or I can do to change that reality. It is what it is.

    In a second term, however, Obama will be free to make decisions that are politically unpopular. He can be bolder on using the executive branch to address climate change, civil rights, election reform, prison reform, drug enforcement reform, etc. He can stand up to his own party, too, and will likely pursue tax and entitlement reform that liberals will not like.

    He will continue to tilt the federal courts to the left, and might make a truly meaningful Supreme Court appointment (or two). He’ll protect the health care, Wall Street, and consumer protection reforms that he’s made. Millions of people will begin receiving subsidies to pay for health insurance or Medicaid, creating a culture of dependency a huge bloc of Democratic voters for the foreseeable future and ending this nonsense about repealing ObamaCare.

    Our foreign policies will be protected from the neo-conservatives for four years, and we’ll likely see a period of peace reminiscent of the mid-1990’s.

    All-in-all, not what I would wish for, but so much better than what we’ve had and what Romney is offering that it’s not even a close call. Four more years!!

  7. Ametia says:

    Rikyrah, did you watch Scandal last night? Olivia Pope is DOPE. Damn; she’s takin on the POTUS!

  8. NBC News Lands ‘Situation Room’ Interview With Obama To Talk Bin Laden via @davidtaint

  9. rikyrah says:

    Strange Doings in Nebraska
    by BooMan
    Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 10:01:10 AM EST

    I hesitate to write about the senate race in Nebraska because I kind of doubt that most of my readers care too much. But the contest is interesting for a variety of reasons. It’s an open seat, created by the retirement of controversial Democratic Senator Ben Nelson. It’s widely considered the best pick-up opportunity for the Republicans, who need a net increase of three seats (if they also win the presidency) or four seats (if Romney loses) in order to take control of the upper chamber of Congress. The GOP Establishment is firmly behind the candidacy of Attorney General Jon Bruning. But Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), the Club for Growth, and many Tea Party organizations are opposing Bruning’s candidacy and throwing their support behind State Treasurer Don Stenberg. For the record, Stenberg lost a primary to Chuck Hagel in 1996 and a general election to Ben Nelson in 2000.
    Obviously, the extreme anti-tax right-wingers think Stenberg is more conservative than Bruning, but he hasn’t been able to raise much money on his own, and he doesn’t have much indigenous support. For these reasons, he’d probably be a weaker candidate to go up against the Democrat’s candidate, former U.S. senator and presidential candidate Bob Kerrey.

    What I find so fascinating about this race is the way it demonstrates fissures in the Republican Party. Let me quote from Jim DeMint:

    But DeMint, who several years ago launched a mission to elect more conservatives to the Senate, has remained staunchly opposed [to Bruning].
    He torched the U.S. Chamber of Commerce this week for backing Bruning.

    “As you may know, the Chamber supported the failed stimulus program, the Wall Street bailout, the auto bailout, cash-for-clunkers, as well as many other corporate welfare schemes,” DeMint wrote in a fundraising appeal for Stenberg. “The corporate welfare lobby in Washington wants to defeat Don Stenberg because he isn’t afraid to stand up to them.”

    The Republican Party basically exists to serve four partially overlapping groups: the people at the top of the financial services industry, religious and social conservatives, libertarian anti-government guns rights folks, and the Chamber of Commerce. It’s possible for the interests of these groups to conflict, but it’s not too common for Wall Street and the Chamber to disagree. It’s even less common for Republican politicians to buck both the Street and the Chamber at the same time. But that’s what Jim DeMint is doing. In attacking the Wall Street bailout, the stimulus bill, and interventions in the auto industry, DeMint is taking an extreme anti-business stance. And with the Club for Growth by his side, we see another strange fissure. The Club for Growth is mainly concerned with enforcing a no-new-taxes orthodoxy on the Republican Party, but this is normally seen as a means to an end, not an end in itself. By starving the government of funds, they hope to reduce its regulatory reach. The aims of the Club for Growth and Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce are normally aligned. But that is not the case in this race in Nebraska.

    We can see this fissure opening up in Washington DC, too. Today, it was announced that former Club for Growth president Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania will be taking over the leadership of the Republican Steering Committee from Jim DeMint

  10. rikyrah says:

    Nationally Lampooned Vacations
    By Zandar April 27th, 2012

    Conservatives continue to attack Michelle Obama as proxy to her husband, this time over the idea that in a bad economy, the Obama family shouldn’t dare go anywhere lest they draw the ire of swing state voters in Republican focus groups.

    They view everything through their own personal situation and if they can’t afford to do it, they can’t enjoy it, they don’t like Obama using their tax dollars to benefit himself,” said pollster John McLaughlin. “In this case, they see him as out of touch. While they are struggling he’s not sharing in that struggle and he’s basically doing what they can’t do on their tax dollars,” added the GOP pollster.

    He and several other top-tier Republican pollsters, organized by Resurgent Republic, traveled to 11 battleground states to host focus groups of independent and swing voters, mostly Democrats, who voted for President Obama in 2008 but who are now on the fence.

    McLaughlin handled blue collar and Catholic voters in Pittsburgh on April 3 and Cleveland on March 20. He found that they are very depressed about the economy and feel that their tax dollars are being sucked up by both the rich and those living on government assistance.

    During the focus group discussions about debt and spending cuts, many in his group volunteered criticism of the presidential vacations as something that should be cut. Among the lines McLaughlin wrote down was one from a Democratic woman who said, “Michelle Obama spends $1 million to take the kids to Hawaii,” and another who said, “President Obama was the only president to take so many trips.”

    The theme, said McLaughlin, is that the first family “is out of touch” with working class voters.

    What the focus groups are really proving is that the FOX News style propaganda attacks on our “uppity” First Family who should “know their place” and not be so “lazy” and “go on vacation so much” are working with the intended target, at least to some extent. The First Lady in particular has been savaged for spending “millions” on pricey vacations and top-shelf fashions, all supposedly on the taxpayer dime.

    There are two things wrong with it. One, the costs include security for the First Family, and given the unalloyed hatred these assholes have for the Obamas, I’d say that security is pretty necessary, possibly more necessary that with any other residents of the White House before them. Second of all, President Obama and Michelle Obama have still taken far less vacations than the Bush family preceding them. Laura Bush took yearly trips to Yosemite National Park with family friends and Secret Service protection. The total cost of just the White House trips to the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas? Some $20 million for just the plane costs.

  11. aquagranny911 says:

    Hola Chicas! Happy Friday!

    I just discovered that a person is “following” me & apparently making tweets based on my comments at some blogs I go to. I don’t know whether to be flattered or creeped out. I don’t tweet or FB so this is a bit unsettling. I WILL have to watch my language now!

    I’ve been feeling real good & real positive about this election. I don’t ever underestimate the Repugs evil but we have such a great ground game in place here in AZ. I will work my butt off for PBO & Dems to take Arizona. NO RETREAT! NO SURRENDER! FIRED UP! READY TO GO!

    Have a great weekend Ladies!

    • Ametia says:

      LOL Are they goatfiggers? Hola, AG! Good to see you. Stay fired up and ready to go. Enjoy your weekend.

    • Hey Aquagranny!

      What a pleasure to see you! The goatfiggers have no originality and not a thought of their own. Just like the people they serve. No plan, no ideas, no solutions.

      Have a great weekend, dear lady!

      • aquagranny911 says:

        No, no…way misunderstanding…the person’s tweets are positive & seem to be going out to lots of media web sites calling out BS with some of my words. It creeped me out a little because I mostly write just for my own self, to have my say & stay connected.

        If “goatfiggers” becomes a household word I may have to hide somewhere!

  12. Ametia says:

    VIDEO: 3rd ID soldier gets presidential memento
    Posted: April 27, 2012 – 12:53pm | Updated: April 27, 2012 – 1:01pm

    Soldiers greeting President Obama and the first lady at Hunter Army Airfield didn’t have to look far for a memento suitable for the presidential autograph.

    Many, like Spc. Michael DiLauro, reached into their cargo pockets and pulled out “the Marne Standard.” It’s a tiny booklet that tells Third Infantry Division soldiers everything they need to know about being 3rd ID soldiers.

    “It’s never left my body since the day I got the book,” DiLauro said.

  13. US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama kiss prior to Obama speaking to US troops at Third Infantry Division Headquarters at Fort Stewart in Hinesville, Georgia, on April 27, 2012, prior to Obama signing an Executive Order to help US service members and their families make informed decisions about education and to protect them from deceptive targeting by educational institutions. (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

  14. rikyrah says:

    Bipartisanship never stood a chance
    By Steve Benen – Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:35 PM EDT.

    Looking back at Barack Obama’s message from four years ago, one of the more common messages he pushed was a deeply-held desire to govern in a bipartisan way. As a candidate, he spoke extensively about reaching across the aisle, working in good faith, and bringing people with different ideologies together in a spirit of shared values and common purpose.

    We now know those efforts fell far short, and I suspect there will be some voters who are disappointed, hoping that Obama would have had more success in at least narrowing the partisan divide. But that’s all the more reason to understand why bipartisanship in the Obama era has proven to be impossible.

    Obama made several moves early on that suggested he was sincere. The president put Republicans in high-ranking administration positions; he expressed a willingness to compromise; and he pursued an agenda that was moderate and mainstream, embracing ideas on health care, energy, and immigration that have traditionally enjoyed bipartisan backing.

    In November 2008, shortly after the election, the Weekly Standard ran a piece with a list of steps Obama could take to prove that he’s serious about bipartisan governing. The president took most of the steps on the list.

    But what about congressional Republicans? Robert Draper has a new book coming out, which shines a light on a private meeting “top Republican lawmakers and strategists” held, literally the same day as Obama’s inauguration.

    According to Draper, the guest list that night (which was just over 15 people in total) included Republican Reps. Eric Cantor (Va.), Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Paul Ryan (Wis.), Pete Sessions (Texas), Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Pete Hoekstra (Mich.) and Dan Lungren (Calif.), along with Republican Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Ensign (Nev.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.). […]

    [T]he book says they plotted out ways to not just win back political power, but to also put the brakes on Obama’s legislative platform. “If you act like you’re the minority, you’re going to stay in the minority,” Draper quotes McCarthy as saying. “We’ve gotta challenge them on every single bill and challenge them on every single campaign.”

    Together, they sketched out a plan over the course of four hours: attack Tim Geithner, show “unyielding opposition” to every economic proposal, launch early attack ads targeting vulnerable Democrats. The GOP leaders left their meeting “almost giddily.”

    As Jamelle Bouie explained, “In other words, there was nothing President Obama could have done to build common ground with Republicans. From the beginning, the plan was to relentlessly obstruct Obama, regardless of whether that was good for the country The GOP’s high-minded rhetoric of compromise and bipartisanship was bunk.”

  15. rikyrah says:

    Again with the ‘inexperienced’ line?
    By Steve Benen – Fri Apr 27, 2012 10:43 AM EDT.

    Four years ago, it made sense that Republicans would target Barack Obama as an inexperienced presidential candidate. He’d only held elected office for 12 years, and he was running against a GOP nominee who’d been in Congress for a quarter-century, so it stood to reason that Obama’s critics would characterize the youthful candidate as unprepared for national office.

    In 2012, however, this line of attack is pretty incoherent, but as Benjy Sarlin reported, Republicans are giving it a try anyway.

    The RNC … launched an effort to brand Obama as unprepared for office on Thursday. In another throwback to the 2008 election, they used an old clip of Vice President Joe Biden, then a primary rival to Obama, questioning whether he was ready for the White House, and juxtaposed it with a video montage of lousy economic reports. Timing it to coincide with Biden’s speech touting the president’s record on foreign policy, the RNC paired it with an accompanying Twitter campaign using the hashtag “#StillNotReady.” […]

    Warn voters that a freshman senator is dangerously inexperienced is one thing. Running against an incumbent president with a few military campaigns to his name and Osama bin Laden in the ocean, is another. After all, there’s no one running more experienced at being president than the president himself.

    Quite right. President Obama, like him or not, has been leading the nation during a time of crisis, cleaning up a series of disasters left by his Republican predecessor, and serving as the Commander in Chief during a time of war. “Inexperienced” isn’t an adjective that comes to mind.

    But we can go a step further with this and ask a related question: do Mitt Romney’s backers really want to talk about the candidates and their experience in public service?

  16. Ametia says:

    Bin Laden is dead, General Motors is alive….
    Moaning JOKE- Vanilla is the new Black

  17. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:41 PM ET, 04/27/2012
    The next battle in the war over women
    By Greg Sargent

    It’s official: Senate Democrats will soon hold a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would update and strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963, a senior Democratic Senate aide confirms to me.

    “This vote is going to happen,” the aide says.

    The vote means this will likely be the next major battle in the war over women, and it could put Mitt Romney in a delicate political spot. It will force a choice: Either he supports the measure, which would put him at odds with the Senate GOP caucus (which voted against the bill two years ago), or he opposes it, which would put Romney at odds with his own rhetorical support for equal pay for women, potentially damaging him further among crucial female swing voters.

    The looming vote could revive a recent controversy that erupted around equal pay issues. On a recent Romney campaign conference call, HuffPo’s Sam Stein asked Romney surrogates whether Romney supports the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which mad e it easier for people to challenge pay discrimination. The campaign at first waffled, but then released a statement confirming that Romney “supports pay equity and is not looking to change current law.”

    But Romney’s campaign has not said whether he would have signed that law in the first place.

    Now Romney’s rhetorical support for pay equity faces another test in the looming Senate vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act.

    This Act would put more pressure on employers to prove that differences in wages are not rooted in gender difference, and would make it easier for employees to divulge information about their salaries, which would in turn facilitate deterring or challenging pay discrimination.

    Two years ago Senate Republicans opposed the Paycheck Fairness Act, which had strong support from Obama, and it’s likely they will do so again. But Romney is on record supporting “pay equity” in principle, so he’d either have to break with that principle, or break with Senate Republicans, at a time when the battle over the female vote is raging in the presidential race. If Romney supports the measure, it could make passage of it more likely.

    “This is an issue that a number of women Democratic Senators are absolutely intent on addressing — they know that with women still being paid 77 cents to each male worker’s dollar, this is an issue of fundamental fairness that women across the country face daily,” a senior aide to a female Senator says. “A lot of women who don’t necessarily see this as a partisan issue will be watching.”

    The Romney campaign, in its pitch for female voters, has argued that women don’t care about social issues as much as they do about jobs, and that pocketbook issues will ultimately drive the female vote. But the Paycheck Fairness Act is a gender issue that’s all about the pocketbook and the economy.

  18. rikyrah says:

    The Mormon Card, Ctd
    A reader writes:

    As a believing, practicing Mormon AND Democrat, I would argue that most Democrats aren’t biased against Mormons per se – any more than some within the Democratic tent are biased against ALL organized religion (as Peter Beinart pointed out). I think the real issue is the LDS church has become, like it or not, strongly and predictibly affiliated with the Republican party (thanks to the political evangelicism of Ezra Taft Benson and others). So essentially these polls are saying, “as Democrat … would you consider voting for a Republican?” It isn’t religious bias or bigotry as much as political self-interest that causes many to pause and say “NO”.

    Obviously, I am oversimplifying things, but it exposes the dangers any religion faces when it or its members become too closely aligned with the platform of ANY political party.

    Another writes:

    A long-time Mormon reader here. I feel one small correction is necessary in the post about Romney’s Mormon roots, specifically mentioning that he is descended from Parley P. Pratt (or Big P3, as my friends and I called him growing up). You wrote, “Romney really is LDS monarchy, his family going back deep into the heart of the religion’s history.” Now, Romney is a rather high-profile LDS figure, but calling him “LDS monarchy” is a bit much, and it likely has little (or nothing) to do with his ancestry.

    I won’t say that being descended from church leaders has nothing to do with leadership positions in the church (it definitely did in the early days of the church, and may happen sometimes these days), but because so many were polygamist and had so many children, so many people are descended from those early leaders.

    That includes myself: I have several high-ranking ancestors who are mentioned in the Doctrine and Covenants (a canonized collection of Joseph Smith’s revelations), but have never once thought of myself as “LDS Monarchy.” Romney’s high status in the church is from his leadership positions (Bishop and Stake President), as previously noted by others, and not because of his pedigree.

    Another notes:

    Parley Pratt is also Jon Huntsman’s great-great-great-grandfather. I guess that kind of thing happens when you have 266 grandchildren …

  19. President Obama Speaks to Troops, Veterans and Military Families

    Now Streaming…

  20. Ametia says:

    Next Tuesday, May 1 marks 1 year anniversay.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 10:55 AM ET, 04/27/2012
    Revolt on the right over student loans?
    By Greg Sargent

    Today the House of Representatives is expected to vote on the House GOP bill to extend low interest rates for federally-funded student loans, which would pay for the extension out of Obamacare’s Prevention and Public Health fund. Will it pass the House?

    Two conservative groups have now come out against the plan, claiming they will hold it against any House Repubilcans who support it. The Club for Growth:

    The Club for Growth urges all House members to vote “NO” on the Interest Rate Reduction Act (H.R. 4628)…A vote on this plan, and perhaps procedural votes, will be included in the Club’s 2012 Congressional Scorecard.

    Regardless of the merits, the government should not be in the business of subsidizing student loans…Fiscal conservatives should not be promoting bad policy, which this bill contains.

    Heritage Action:

    This bill proposes to pay for the $5.9 billion extension by taking funds from Obamacare’s Prevention and Public Health Fund. The proper approach to Obamacare is to repeal the entire law. Congress should not use Obamacare as a “slush fund” to pay for temporary extensions.
    Heritage Action opposes H.R.4628 and will include it as a key vote on our scorecard.

    It’s unclear whether enough House conservatives will vote against the bill to prevent it from passing, however; House GOP aides seemed confident last night that it would pass. House Dem leaders are whipping their members to vote against the measure. But House Dem aides say they are not certain how many Dems may defect and support it, which could be ominous for Dems: The more Dems that vote Yes, the more House conservatives GOP leaders can afford to lose.

    Passage of the House GOP bill is central to the Republican endgame in this fight. GOP aides are hoping that once it has passed, Senate Dems will fail to overcome the GOP filibuster of their own version of the extension, which would be paid for by closing a loophole that helps wealthy taxpayers. If House Republicans pass their bill and Senate Dems don’t, House Republicans are hoping that this will shift the pressure from themselves on to Democrats, making it tougher for Obama to keep hammering away at them on the issue. This could also weaken the Dem negotiating position if and when talks over a compromise on how to pay for the extension start.

    On the other hand, if the conservative defections the above groups are trying to bring about prevent the House GOP bill from passing — a very big if, but still — it will enable Obama and Dems to press the case that the GOP won’t support an extension because they are ideologically opposed to government help with student loans. It will undercut the GOP argument that there’s no real dispute over the policy goal itself and that the argument is only over how to pay for it, and weaken the Republican position considerably.

    Stay tuned.

  22. rikyrah says:

    GOP left with no room to move on immigration
    By Steve Benen – Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:30 AM EDT.

    Mitt Romney quietly told supporters the other day that he’d like to see a “Republican DREAM Act” to help his party with Latino voters. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) believes he has just such a proposal, but he’s run into three fairly significant problems.

    First, Romney is too afraid of the political fallout to take a position on the proposal either way. Second, Rubio’s policy is plainly inadequate, and offers affected immigrants no pathway to citizenship.

    And third, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), before Rubio has even finished putting his bill together, effectively told the senator yesterday not to bother.

    The Speaker said Rubio, a rising GOP star, had briefed him on the details of his plan, but when he was asked about it on Thursday, Boehner gave no endorsement.

    “Well, there’s always hope,” Boehner said in response to a question on whether the GOP House could pass an immigration bill not solely focused on border security. “I found it of interest,” he said of Rubio’s proposal, “but the problem with this issue is that we’re operating in a very hostile political environment. And to deal with a very difficult issue like this … I think it would be difficult at best.”

    Or to translate, the House GOP caucus isn’t ready to pass any DREAM Act, even one written by a Republican for Republicans.

    Boehner’s comments come less than a week after Kris Kobach, Romney’s right-wing immigration adviser, also said Rubio’s conservative version of the plan is simply too liberal for the party’s hard-line, anti-immigrant base.

    Romney may want a “Republican DREAM Act,” but Boehner’s and Kobach’s reaction to Rubio’s efforts reinforce a larger truth: the GOP simply hasn’t left itself any room to maneuver. George W. Bush’s comprehensive immigration reform package from his second term is now seen in Republican circles as liberal nonsense; the DREAM Act that had enjoyed strong support from Republicans like Orrin Hatch, Dick Lugar, and John McCain has now been abandoned by the party altogether; and now a watered-down DREAM Act is dead on arrival before it’s even been written.

    There’s no room to govern, no room to compromise, and no opportunity to reach out to Latino voters between now and November with a positive message

    • Ametia says:

      See in one breath the GOP’s goal is to OBSTRUCT everything. In the next breath, they scamble to make up shit to further delay, destroy, distract, and obstruct.


  23. rikyrah says:

    April 26, 2012
    End the charade

    In almost always referring to Paul Ryan, in one form or another, as “the intellectual leader of the congressional Republicans,” is David Frum mocking him and the GOP’s soi-disant intellectualism? Or is Frum attempting, however artificially, some level of respect?

    My questions are genuine, for I really don’t know the answer. What I do know is that Frum, although I don’t read him every day, has become increasingly hostile to what he recognizes as Republicans’ colossally phony intellectualism. They’re dishonest about their premises, underhanded in their argumentation tactics, and downright fraudulent in their conclusions–per Frum’s piece today–and to bundle all that as some common species of “intellectualism” is the ultimate insult.

    Frum knows this. I’ve admired his libertarian lucidity ever since I first violently disagreed with his impressively written Dead Right. So why can’t he take that final step to ultimate clarity and just call a spade a spade? To just say, openly and without false respect, in honor of some higher civility which Republicans abjure, that Paul Ryan is no more “the intellectual leader of the congressional Republicans” than was Soupy Sales.

    The time has come for conservatism’s authentic intellectuals to drop the charade–to stop pretending that “intellectual” and “Republicans,” within contemporary political conservatism, can any longer find harmony or oneness in the same sentence.

    Let me be clear. I’m not advocating an escalation of harsh rhetoric and polemics. It’s just that this “gentlemanly” conservative routine from conservatism’s actual thinkers has become so patently disingenuous, it is, in itself, quite unseemly.

  24. Ametia says:

    Zimmerman raises over $200,000 online- Mark O’Mara -Anderson Cooper

    VIDEO here:

  25. rikyrah says:

    April 26, 2012 5:00 PM

    Ryan Pushes the Camel’s Nose Under the Tent

    By Ed Kilgore

    Boy, it’s quite the week for Paul Ryan’s pushback against criticism from his co-religionists. First he announced a preference for the metaphysics and epistemology of St. Thomas Aquinas over those of St. Ayn Rand during a friendly interview with National Review. Then he took himself over to Georgetown University to defend the compatibility of his budgetary handiwork with Catholic social teachings, which he certainly felt the need to do after a couple of tongue-lashings from the Bishops and from a large group of Catholic theologians and social services providers.

    As Jonathan Easley explained in a useful account of the speech at The Hill, Ryan (who ignored some very visible protesters) mainly relied on the argument that the “fiscal crisis” facing the country trumped any concern over his budget’s impact on the poor and vulnerable:

    “The overarching threat to our whole society today is the exploding federal debt,” Ryan said. “The Holy Father, Pope Benedict, has charged that governments, communities and individuals running up high debt levels are ‘living at the expense of future generations’ and ‘living in untruth.’”
    Ryan painted a bleak future for the United States if the country is unable to get its debt under control.

    “If our generation fails to meet its defining challenge, we would see America surrender her independence to the army of foreign creditors who now own roughly half of our public debt.”
    Ryan used that kind of heavy, existential language throughout, which may explain the ease with which he is able to dismiss criticism: If the looming economic crisis is what he says it is, it would seem to provide a moral defense for his budget. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), also a Catholic, has made a similar defense of the GOP budget.

    It’s interesting that Ryan took this tack instead of claiming, as he did during a recent speech at the American Enterprise Institute, that his budget was precisely the sort of bracing moral tonic poor people needed, afflicted as they were by dependence on public assistance and a distressingly light tax burden. Perhaps no social encyclicals came to hand in defense of that proposition.

    But it’s clear he had a limited objective before this relatively hostile audience: establishing that his point of view was one of many legitimate interpretations of Catholic social teachings:

  26. rikyrah says:

    What apathy?

    Along the lines of the story I mentioned the other day in which a writer claimed that there was no enthusiasm for Obama while providing evidence to the contrary, here’s a story in the American Prospect claiming young voters are apathetic compared to how they were in 2008, entitled “Young, Restless, and Not Voting.” Note that the entire premise of the story hangs on the following piece of data:

    According to a poll released late last week, 61 percent of college-age Millennials (the futuristic-sounding name given to the generation born in the late 1980s and early 1990s) are registered to vote, but only 46 percent say that they will likely do so in November. By way of comparison, in 2008, 58.5 percent of the same age group was registered to vote, and 48 percent of them actually did.
    Go ahead, read it again. Okay, let’s sum up. Voter registration is higher today among this age group than it was four years ago. And 46 percent claim they will vote in November — just two percentage points shy of the allegedly staggering 48 percent that voted four years ago. The poll on which that 46% figure was based, by the way, has a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points (it says so on p. 40). In other words, predicted voter turnout among young voters this year is statistically identical to actual voter turnout four years ago.

    The rest of the article goes on to try to offer some rationale for why this trend that isn’t actually occurring is occurring.

    I certainly understand the desire to force findings into a theory, even if they don’t fit perfectly, but here the evidence is precisely the opposite of the narrative. Maybe we could change the narrative?

  27. rikyrah says:

    The best lies $6.1 million can buy
    By Steve Benen – Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.

    If President Obama has failed as spectacularly as his Republican detractors argue, shouldn’t it be easier for them to come up with honest attack ads?

    In other words, if Obama’s presidency has been genuinely awful, the right shouldn’t have any trouble at all coming up with devastating criticism based solely on facts — there would be no need to make stuff up because the truth would be brutal enough on its own.

    And yet, the Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity is running new attack ads like this one.

    The investment behind this spot is pretty remarkable given that it’s only April and the election is still 192 days away.

    The group Americans for Prosperity just went up with a $6.1 million ad buy in swing states that accuses the Obama administration of squandering American taxpayer dollars on green energy projects, asserting that some of the money actually went to foreign entities. The ad is going up in eight states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio and Virginia.

    The principal problem with the commercial is that it’s breathtakingly wrong. AFP would have voters believe the administration gave $1.2 billion “to a solar company that’s building a plant in Mexico,” when in reality the investment was a federal loan guarantee for an energy project in California. The ad points to “half a billion to an electric car company that created hundreds of jobs in Finland,” which is a claim that made the rounds last fall, before being completely and thoroughly debunked.

    Stephen Lacey and Rebecca Leber ran a detailed fact-check of the ad that’s well worth checking out, but the larger point that’s worth pondering is the fact that the Koch brothers and their attack operation feel the need to lie so blatantly in the first place. To hear Republicans tell it, the Recovery Act that saved the American economy was a terrible disaster. It wasn’t, but that’s their pitch.

    But if the stimulus were really so bad, couldn’t Americans for Prosperity find legitimate criticisms that stand up to scrutiny? Why lie when the truth is supposed to be so damaging? Perhaps because the facts aren’t on conservatives’ side at all.

  28. rikyrah says:

    April 26, 2012 5:30 PM

    Apparently, the Election is a Choice, Not a Referendum, After All!
    By Ed Kilgore

    This is a pretty rich, if not entirely unpredictable, development, per the New York Times’ Michael Barbaro:

    Republicans have a message for Mitt Romney: it’s time to go positive.

    Prominent party leaders, unsettled by the frequently combative tone of Mr. Romney’s presidential campaign, are pressing the presumptive Republican nominee to leaven his harsh criticism of President Obama with an optimistic conservative vision that can inspire the party faithful, appeal to swing voters and set out a governing agenda should he win in November.

    Their worry: that the angry tenor of the Republican primary season could carry over into the general election, leaving Mr. Romney trapped in a punch-counterpunch campaign that would limit his ability to define fundamental differences with the Democrats. In interviews, these Republicans said that Mr. Romney must focus more on what he is for, not just what he is against.

    What?!? You mean the general election is not just a referendum on Barack Obama’s performance, or on the economy, as every GOP analyst and talking head has been saying for months? Are Republicans admitting that it actually matters what people think of Mitt Romney and his party’s agenda? How could that be?

    Okay, now that I’ve had my fun, let’s all realize that whatever they’ve been saying, Republicans have always understood that at the most fundamental level the general election does involve a choice of two candidates, even if one of them, the incumbent, has a heavier burden or persuasion and mobilization to undertake. Otherwise you would not have seen Republican elites panic earlier this year at the prospect of the spiritual warrior Rick Santorum or the erratic gasbag Newt Gingrich heading the ticket. But it’s interesting how deeply Mitt Romney’s allies seem to be worried about the kind of alternative agenda and “vision” Romney is offering, and how early in the cycle they are beginning to worry that Mitt and his campaign just don’t get it. Perhaps they even think the president can and will make a decent positive case for his own governing record! Imagine that!

    It does have to be one thing or another: either Republicans fear the case for “firing” Obama is not as self-evident as they keep saying it is, or they fear there’s something about Romney or the GOP itself that will make it difficult to cross the “credibility threshold” that even the most adament “referendum” advocates will, if pressed, admit challengers must achieve.

    Either way, it’s refreshing to see and hear a bit of public self-doubt from the all-conquering party of 2010.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 08:33 AM ET, 04/27/2012
    The Morning Plum: Could Mitt Romney’s Latino pivot work?
    By Greg Sargent

    If Mitt Romney embraces Marco Rubio’s alternate DREAM Act, in order to make inroads among the Latino voters he alienated so badly during the primary, will the right revolt? Or will conservatives quietly give him the space he needs to reorient for the general election?

    Ron Brownstein has a good piece gaming out the various possibilities. One scenario, which has not gotten much attention, is an ominous one for Democrats, in which Rubio’s plan, and Romney’s embrace of it, wins support from immigration advocates and even some Dems:

    Publicly, immigrant-rights groups generally argue that Rubio’s concept doesn’t go far enough because it lacks a guaranteed pathway to citizenship for the young people involved. But private conversations already under way suggest that Rubio’s concept could divide Democrats and attract significant support among immigration advocates, at least as a starting point for discussion and perhaps even as the endpoint of an agreement.
    “If the concept as he has laid it out is translated into decent legislation and he brings Republican support to the table, it’s a game changer,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of the pro-immigration reform group America’s Voice.

    For this scenario to work, two things have to happen. First, conservatives will have to look the other way, or at least remain relatively quiet, as Romney embraces a concept that Kris Kobach, among others, had previously deemed unacceptable: Giving illegal immigrants legal status. Yesterday John Boehner suggested that a Rubio DREAM Act stands little chance of passing the House, but the real question is whether conservatives will kick up a major fuss about it, not whether it can pass Congress. Second, media figures will have to essentially forget about all the hard-line positions on immigration Romney took during the primary, and fail to hold him accountable for them.

    Judging by how things have gone so far in the general election, neither of those possibilities seems particularly outlandish. Whether such a scenario will actually allow Romney to make meaningful inroads among Latinos is an open question; Mike Tomasky makes a good case that it wouldn’t. But it wouldn’t be surprising at this point if Romney were granted plenty of space to give it a try.

  30. Ametia says:

    US economy slowed to 2.2 pct. growth rate in first quarter despite stronger consumer spending
    By Associated Press, Updated: Friday, April 27, 7:48 AM

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy grew more slowly in the first three months of this year. Stronger consumer spending was offset by cutbacks in government spending and business investment.

    The Commerce Department said Friday that the economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the January-March quarter, compared with a 3 percent gain in the final quarter of 2011. Consumers spent at the fastest pace in more than a year.

  31. rikyrah says:

    April 27, 2012 8:45 AM

    De Facto Austerity

    By Ed Kilgore

    As somewhat lower-than-expected first quarter GDP figures begin to sink in today, we’re going to hear another chorus of cries from conservatives that Obama’s economic policies have failed, and that what this economy needs is a good does of—austerity!

    No, that’s not the word they will use, of course, but demands that the “debt crisis” is America’s number one problem, or that “business confidence” needs a boost via assurances that the “debt crisis” will be addressed, or that government is soaking up resources that the private sector requires for long-term growth, etc. etc: that all adds up to the “A word.” And as Paul Krugman points out, we’ve already had a strong taste of it thanks to retrenchment of state and local governments over the last three years:

    For the past two years most policy makers in Europe and many politicians and pundits in America have been in thrall to a destructive economic doctrine. According to this doctrine, governments should respond to a severely depressed economy not the way the textbooks say they should — by spending more to offset falling private demand — but with fiscal austerity, slashing spending in an effort to balance their budgets.
    The good news is that many influential people are finally admitting that the confidence fairy was a myth. The bad news is that despite this admission there seems to be little prospect of a near-term course change either in Europe or here in America, where we never fully embraced the doctrine, but have, nonetheless, had de facto austerity in the form of huge spending and employment cuts at the state and local level.

    For the past two years most policy makers in Europe and many politicians and pundits in America have been in thrall to a destructive economic doctrine. According to this doctrine, governments should respond to a severely depressed economy not the way the textbooks say they should — by spending more to offset falling private demand — but with fiscal austerity, slashing spending in an effort to balance their budgets.

    The good news is that many influential people are finally admitting that the confidence fairy was a myth. The bad news is that despite this admission there seems to be little prospect of a near-term course change either in Europe or here in America, where we never fully embraced the doctrine, but have, nonetheless, had de facto austerity in the form of huge spending and employment cuts at the state and local level.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Party Like It’s 2008: GOP Goes After Obama’s Experience Again
    Benjy Sarlin April 26, 2012, 6:12 PM

    He’s the biggest celebrity in the world — but is he ready to lead?”

    Thus began John McCain’s 2008 “Celebrity” ad, the single most effective attack against Barack Obama in the last presidential election, playing off voters’ fears that his resume as a half-term senator was dangerously thin. That argument died the second McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate. Republicans seem to have decided now’s the time to bring it back. But is it past its expiration date?

    American Crossroads, the Karl Rove-connected big money group, put out its own homage to the “Celebrity” ad this week, trying to persuade young voters — once again — that Obama is a glitzy lightweight.

    The RNC, in a similar move, launched an effort to brand Obama as unprepared for office on Thursday. In another throwback to the 2008 election, they used an old clip of Vice President Joe Biden, then a primary rival to Obama, questioning whether he was ready for the White House, and juxtaposed it with a video montage of lousy economic reports. Timing it to coincide with Biden’s speech touting the president’s record on foreign policy, the RNCpaired it with an accompanying Twitter campaign using the hashtag “#StillNotReady.”

    Warn voters that a freshman senator is dangerously inexperienced is one thing. Running against an incumbent president with a few military campaigns to his name and Osama bin Laden in the ocean, is another. After all, there’s no one running more experienced at being president than the president himself.

    Fred Davis, who created the original “Celebrity” ad, told TPM that he didn’t think the same message could work again in 2012.

    “Obviously, I’m flattered that they ran something similar to what we did, but in those days there was no base of knowledge about him,” he said. “The most amazing thing about him was he became president of the United States with no one knowing about him.”

    The RNC, however, argues that revisiting the experience angle can work — so long as it connects to the current debate over economy, as Thursday’s video does.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s 2007 Bin Laden Gaffe Comes Back To Haunt Him

    Benjy Sarlin April 26, 2012, 12:45 PM 27793298The Obama campaign isn’t shy about using the raid that killed Osama bin Laden as a political cudgel. But the White House’s record may get a boost from the GOP’s choice of nominee, whose previous presidential campaign included a spat with fellow Republicans over the relative unimportance of catching the Al Qaeda leader.

    In the campaign’s first major election speech on foreign policy, Vice President Joe Biden made extremely prominent use of an April 2007 Romney quote on bin Laden, in which he told the Associated Press “it’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.”

    “I was a little more direct,” Biden said in his speech. “We will follow the SOB to the gates of hell.”

    Romney’s “heaven and earth” line proved a gaffe at the time as well. Sen. John McCain, who tried to portray Romney throughout the race as weak on national security, told blogger Jennifer Rubin that “it takes a degree of naiveté to think [bin Laden is] not an element in the struggle against radical Islam.”

    Byron York, columnist for the National Review, held nothing back, writing at the time, “we have already spent billions and gone to a lot of effort to try to get bin Laden … it would be worth still more money and still more effort to kill the man behind 9/11.”

    “I can’t imagine any serious Republican candidate for president would say otherwise,” York wrote. “Perhaps Romney should watch the tape of the planes hitting the towers again.”

  34. Ametia says:

    POTUS & FLOTUS will be in Georgia today with military families.

  35. Ametia says:


    “If Paul Ryan Knew What Poverty Was, He Wouldn’t Be Giving This Speech”
    —By Stephanie Mencimer
    | Thu Apr. 26, 2012 12:20 PM PDT

    Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House budget committee, knew some Catholics were spoiling for a fight with him Thursday when he was scheduled to speak at Georgetown University, a Catholic institution. Nearly 90 faculty members and administrators sent him a letter expressing concerns with his recent comments that his proposed budget, which includes massive spending cuts to programs for the poor but not a single tax increase, was inspired by his Catholic faith.
    “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 Thomas Reese, a fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown, in a press release Tuesday. “Survival of the fittest may be okay for Social Darwinists but not for followers of the gospel of compassion and love.”
    The complaints seemed to resonate with Ryan. On Thursday, he went on record denouncing Ayn Rand, who believed altruism is evil, brushing off his well-documented obsession with her as a teenage romance. Ryan told the National Review’s Robert Costa: “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.”

  36. Ametia says:

    TRAYVON Martin’s atty: Zimmerman should return to jail

    The attorney for Trayvon Martin’s family says George Zimmerman should be back in jail because he failed to tell a judge he had $204,000 during a recent bond hearing.

    “They tried to portray themselves as indigent that they did not have any money,” said Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump. “We think the court should revoke his bond immediately, and he should be held accountable for misleading the court.”

    Zimmerman, who is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of unarmed 17-year-old Martin, has been given about $204,000 from supporters his lawyer Mark O’Mara said Thursday.

    The donations Zimmerman received will be discussed Friday at a court hearing in Florida, O’Mara said.

    Read more:

    • TheShyLurker says:

      The developments throughout this case are so depressing.

      Right now, I feel the racist Sanford status quo are just gonna find a loophole to let this murderer off scott free. It’s like they are defiant in doing the right thing.

      • Hi TheShyLurker!

        I concur about them being defiant in doing the right thing. The judge in the case ain’t worth dog poop. That bond was a slap in the face. I am just wondering how the DOJ investigation is going? I hope this sob face federal charges as well.

  37. Ametia says:

    Insurance rebates totalling $1.3 billion could be on the way this summer, study says
    By N.C. Aizenman, Published: April 26

    This summer millions of Americans could find a check in the mail from an unexpected source: their health-insurance company.

    Consumers and businesses will receive about $1.3 billion by this August from insurance plans that failed to meet a new standard in the 2010 health-care law, according to estimates released Thursday by the independent Kaiser Family Foundation. (That’s assuming the law, or at least the portion of it containing the rule, is upheld by the Supreme Court, which is expected to issue its decision in late June.)
    The rule requires most insurers to spend at least 80 percent of the premiums they collect from customers on health-care claims or quality improvement efforts — leaving no more than 20 percent for administrative expenses, such as salaries and marketing, and profits for investors.

    This “medical loss ratio” requirement took effect on Jan. 1, 2011, so under current law, any plans that exceeded their limits last year must refund customers the difference by Aug. 1.

    The amount will vary by state and plan, ranging from about a dollar to more than $500.

    Not all rebates will be issued in the form of a check. In some cases, insurers could give consumers and employers discounts on future premiums. Rebates on employer-purchased plans will generally be provided to the employer, which may opt to pass them on to workers.

  38. Ametia says:

    Twitter becomes a key real-time tool for campaigns
    By Karen Tumulty, Published: April 26

    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.”

  39. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

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