Monday Open Thread | Country Music Week

The Dixie Chicks are an American country band which has also successfully crossed over into other genres. The band is composed of founding members (and sisters) Martie Erwin Maguire and Emily Erwin Robison, and lead singer Natalie Maines. The band formed in 1989 in Dallas, Texas and was originally composed of four women performing bluegrass and country music, busking and touring the bluegrass festival circuits and small venues for six years without attracting a major label.

After the departure of one bandmate, the replacement of their lead singer, and a slight change in their repertoire, the Dixie Chicks soon achieved commercial success, beginning in 1998 with hit songs “There’s Your Trouble” and “Wide Open Spaces“.

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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100 Responses to Monday Open Thread | Country Music Week

  1. Dannie Owens ‏ @DAOWENS44:

    President Obama, Warrior in Chief –

  2. Ametia says:


    Ryan’s LIE & DENY about rejecting Ayn Rand. Once the Catholics reminded everyone his idol Rand was an Atheist. BWA HA HA HA

    • Ametia says:

      Audio Surfaces of Paul Ryan’s Effusive Love of Ayn Rand

      • I just want to speak to you a little bit about Ayn Rand and what she meant to me in my life and [in] the fight we’re engaged here in Congress. I grew up on Ayn Rand, that’s what I tell people.”
      • “I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are, and what my beliefs are.”
      • “It’s inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff. We start with Atlas Shrugged. People tell me I need to start with The Fountainhead then go to Atlas Shrugged [laughter]. There’s a big debate about that. We go to Fountainhead, but then we move on, and we require Mises and Hayek as well.”
      • “But the reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.”
      • “And when you look at the twentieth-century experiment with collectivism—that Ayn Rand, more than anybody else, did such a good job of articulating the pitfalls of statism and collectivism—you can’t find another thinker or writer who did a better job of describing and laying out the moral case for capitalism than Ayn Rand.”
      • “It’s so important that we go back to our roots to look at Ayn Rand’s vision, her writings, to see what our girding, under-grounding [sic] principles are.”
      • “Because there is no better place to find the moral case for capitalism and individualism than through Ayn Rand’s writings and works.”
      Monday is Paul Ryan Day on the Internet, fitting given how popular Ryan is, according to the Times’ Jonathan Weisman: “Among Republicans in and outside Mr. Ryan’s immediate circle, the admiration verges on infatuation.” But New York’s Jonathan Chait argues that Ryan’s reputation in the press as a bipartisan budget reformer is unearned.

  3. Ametia says:


  4. Ametia says:


    • Ametia says:

      April 30, 2012 at 12:07 pm
      Strong Grand Cherokee sales to keep Detroit plant open all summer

      From The Detroit News:
      Detroit— Sales of Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs are so strong that their factory will stay open through the normal two-week summer shutdown.

      Automakers typically close plants around the July 4 holiday to update cars and trucks for the new model year and maintain the machinery.

      But Chrysler spokeswoman Jodi Tinson says the Jefferson North factory in Detroit that makes the SUVs will stay open all summer. The plant is working overtime on two shifts and running two of every three Saturdays.

      Chrysler sold nearly 38,000 Grand Cherokees from January through March, up 44 percent from a year ago. Durango sales were up 33 percent at just over 11,000.

      Tinson says Chrysler can make changes for the 2013 model year while the plant is running.

      From The Detroit News:

  5. rikyrah says:

    found this comment over at TOD:

    April 30, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Exactly, they just don’t know what to make of President Obama. He has them on the ropes with the student loans. (By the way, the last time I check the slow jam video was rapidly approaching 5 million views. I am ashamed to admit how much I have contributed to that view count). He has them on the ropes with women. The speech on Friday to the Women’s Leadership Forum was amazing. He has them on the ropes as it relates to national security. They are practically hysterical about the OBL ad. And of course, he has them on the ropes with the immigration issue. PBO is not taking anything for granted with the Latino community. But they know that it was the Republican Party that killed the DREAM Act in 2010. PBO was devastated that the bill did not pass.

    This Republican Party is having a rude awakening. For over three years their knee jerk response was to be against everything that President Obama was for. The problem for them is that President Obama was always on the right side of the issues. He has a story to tell. They got nothin. Like Robert Gibbs so eloquently said they blame PBO for not cleaning up the mess they created fast enough. Truer words were never spoken.

    • they just don’t know what to make of President Obama. He has them on the ropes with the student loans. (By the way, the last time I check the slow jam video was rapidly approaching 5 million views. I am ashamed to admit how much I have contributed to that view count). He has them on the ropes with women. The speech on Friday to the Women’s Leadership Forum was amazing. He has them on the ropes as it relates to national security. They are practically hysterical about the OBL ad. And of course, he has them on the ropes with the immigration issue.

      40 Pictures, Images and Photos

    • Ametia says:

      I think sometimes you listen to the Romney campaign and they do think a lot people in this country are stupid,”Gibbs told NBC’s David Gregory. “Their message is: You didn’t clean up our mess fast enough.” (Source: Raw Story)


  6. Ametia says:


  7. Bush: Truly not concerned about bin Laden

  8. President Obama holds a Press Conference with Prime Minister Noda of Japan

  9. Mr. President, the GOP says you’re not going to run on your record. What are your thoughts?

  10. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    April 30, 2012 12:26 PM

    Oh, Yeah, the States

    By Ed Kilgore

    Zachery Goldfarb of WaPo has an important article today on the element of national economic policy that many in the chattering classes happily and consistently ignore: the forced austerity policies of state and local governments. The raw numbers really are pretty shocking:

    Today, as Obama seeks another term, the heavy job losses at the state and local level remain a significant economic concern. His response at different moments underscores how the president has sometimes fought hard against the political odds for policies he thinks crucial and at other times relented when the chances of success seemed low.
    Since the beginning of his term, state and local governments have shed 611,000 employees — including 196,000 educators — according to government statistics. Unlike the recovery in private-sector employment that Obama and his reelection campaign often cite — with businesses adding 4 million jobs since hiring hit its low point in 2010 — the jobs crisis at the state and local level has continued throughout his term.

    And that’s just the negative impact on jobs attributable to direct hiring and firing by state and local governments: not the indirect effect of cutbacks in the services these former employees used to provide, much less cutbacks in the counter-cyclical programs offering financial assistance to people struggling with a poor economy, which, in our system, are largely administered by the states.

    Most of Goldfarb’s piece is about the on-again, off-again, focus of the Obama administration on assistance to state and local government to offset or prevent employment reductions, particularly in education. He attributes most of the “off-again” tendencies to opposition from congressional Republicans. That is entirely true, insofar as Republicans these days (even at the non-federal level) habitually refer to federal aid to state and local governments as if it were some form of welfare or “bail-out” rather than an effort to contribute to shared public responsibilities.

    But there is a more pervasive tendency in Washington simply to treat lower levels of government as provicincial bailiwicks not much worth talking about unless they are sponsoring presidential primaries or casting electorate votes or maybe reshaping congressional districts. During the lengthy debate over economic stimulus proposals in 2009, you could be relatively well-read and never know that the bulk of “state and local aid” in the Obama proposal was for a Medicaid “super-match” aimed (with only mixed success) at keeping states from slashing benefits or eligibility precisely when the ranks of the un- and under-employed were most likely to lose health insurance. To this day discussions of ObamaCare often omit any but a footnoted reference to the role of an expanded Medicaid program in extending health care to the previously uninsured.

    This blind spot extends to all sorts of other elements of national policy. Conservatives are constantly complaining that poor people don’t pay federal income taxes (probably as a build-up to “tax reform” proposals that will reduce or kill the Earned Income Tax Credit). Progressives often note that this is extremely misleading because the working poor do pay highly regressive federal payroll taxes. But that tax burden is actually dwarfed by what low-income people pay in state and local taxes, as the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities—a Beltway oasis of interest in how the policies of different levels of government interact—has pointed out:

    [L]ow-income households as a group do, in fact, pay federal taxes. Congressional Budget Office data show that the poorest fifth of households paid an average of 4.0 percent of their incomes in federal taxes in 2007, the latest year for which these data are available — not an insignificant amount given how modest these households’ incomes are; the poorest fifth of households had average income of $18,400 in 2007. The next-to-the bottom fifth — those with incomes between $20,500 and $34,300 in 2007 — paid an average of 10.6 percent of their incomes in federal taxes.
    [But] even these figures greatly understate low-income households’ total tax burden because these households also pay substantial state and local taxes. Data from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy show that the poorest fifth of households paid a stunning 12.3 percent of their incomes in state and local taxes in 2011.
    When all federal, state, and local taxes are taken into account, the bottom fifth of households pays about 16 percent of their incomes in taxes, on average. The second-poorest fifth pays about 21 percent.

  11. Talking Points Memo ‏ @TPM;
    Obama needles Romney on old Osama bin Laden quotes (VIDEO)

  12. rikyrah says:

    April 30, 2012 12:58 PM

    War on “War on Voting” Heads to the Trenches

    By Ed Kilgore

    And speaking of the states, anyone interested in politics at all should read Michael Shear’s rundown in the New York Times about the Obama campaign’s plans for counteracting the effects of new voter ID laws and other elements of the GOP’s ongoing “war on voting.” It’s in theory a Plan B, since many of these laws are being challenged in the courts. But given the tendency of the courts to give states considerable leeway in this area, it’s a Plan B that we might as well expect to be executed.

    Here’s a taste of what the Obama ops are dealing with in three battleground states:

    In Wisconsin, where a new state law requires those registering voters to be deputized in whichever of the state’s 1,800 municipalities they are assigned to, the campaign sent a team of trainers armed with instructions for complying with the new regulations.
    In Florida, the campaign’s voter registration aides traveled across the state to train volunteers on a new requirement that voter registration signatures be handed in to state officials within 48 hours after they are collected.
    And in Ohio, Mr. Obama’s staff members have begun reaching out to let voters know about new laws that discourage precinct workers from telling voters where to go if they show up at the wrong precinct.

    And these issues are just the tip of the iceberg, with restrictions on early voting opportunities, fights over the voting rights of ex-felons, funding shortages (real or contrived) for election administration all in play. That’s before, of course, we even get to the usual last-minute shenanigans—registration list “purges,” last-minute changes in polling places, voter disinformation and intimidation schemes—Republicans have routinely deployed in recent elections to keep down the vote, particularly in minority precincts.

    We keep hearing that the Obama campaign’s ace-in-the-whole this year is its heavy investment in field infrastructure, especially as compared to a late-starting Romney campaign heavily reliant on Super-PAC funding mostly earmarked for attack ads. Looks like they will need every bit of it.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Obama 2012, Bin Laden, and Willard’s 3 A.M. Phone Call
    By Charles P. Pierce
    at 2:05PM

    Is anyone taking seriously the complaints now coming about how the president’s re-election campaign is using the decision to kill Osama bin Laden to its own advantage? I think the killing of the author of the 9/11 atrocities, and a considerable international murderer even beyond that particular crime, is something that a president who wants to be president again is within his rights to use. However, Willard Romney is all a’flutter. (“My dear young chap, that simply is not done.”) There apparently were no clouds in the sky at which John McCain could yell, so he weighed in on the dreadful inappropriateness of it all. And Arianna Huffington picked this issue to go back to being insufferable again:

    I don’t think there should be an ad about that…. [T]o turn it into a campaign ad is one of the most despicable things you can do. It’s the same thing that Hillary Clinton did with the 3 a.m. call. You know, you are not ready to be commander-in-chief.

    For what it’s worth, I didn’t think what Hillary Clinton did was out of bounds, either. But there is no serious comparison to be made here. When the Clinton campaign made their ad, they did so on behalf of a candidate who had no more experience taking that 3 a.m. phone call than Barack Obama did. In the present case, the president actually gave the order. Osama bin Laden is actually dead. And, having done what he did, the president is well within his rights to wonder out loud if Willard Romney would have made the same call, given what Romney said back in 2007, when he was just starting to run for president. And it’s no more or less “fair” on the merits than is Romney’s constant refrain that the president “doesn’t understand how the economy works” because he’s never been a vulture capitalist.

    (Today in New Hampshire, while travelling around with Senator Kelly Ayotte, his latest vice-presidential beard, and demonstrating the pure class and raw political courage that has marked his entire political career by throwing a cheap shot at someone who wasn’t in the room, Romney said that, “Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.” This from a man whose toughest decision in his life has been which house to sleep in.)

    The reason for all the dust that’s being thrown up is that, every time he talks about foreign policy, Romney is a blindfolded man in a yard full of rakes. He wrote a Washington Post op-ed about arms control that proved Romney didn’t know enough about the subject to feed to his fish. He flirted with advocating a trade war with China, and he and his advisors occasionally slip and call Russia “the Soviet Union.” Of course, he did make the bobsleds run on time, so there’s that.

    Read more:

  14. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 01:15 PM ET, 04/30/2012
    The `Party of No’ makes a comeback
    By Greg Sargent

    After a period in which the phrase “party of No” seemed to have fallen out of favor, the Obama campaign is again hammering away at the GOP as the “party of No” with sudden new frequency. The new Obama campaign video released today hits this theme hard. And in a speech today, Obama himself again laced into GOP obstructionism at length.

    But it’s worth noting that Obama’s “party of No” message has been tweaked, and is being used in service of a new goal. Before it was all about painting the GOP as unwilling to help solve the country’s problems, and about driving up the GOP’s negatives generally.

    Now, however, the resurgent “party of No” message is all about burnishing Obama’s character, by painting him as willing to persevere against implacable opposition — represented here by the GOP itself — and tremendous odds.

    In the new video, we see image after image of Republicans saying No to Obama’s initiatives, including Mitch McConnell declaring that job one is to deny Obama a second term. The narrator then says: “And still, he persevered. Here at home, and as commander in chief.”

    Meanwhile, in his speech today to union officials, Obama again revived the “party of No” theme: “I’ve sent Congress a whole series of jobs bills that would have put your members back to work. But time after time, Republicans have gotten together and said `no.’”

    Then Obama added: “But we can’t wait for Congress to do its job. You can’t afford to wait. And where Congress won’t act, I will. That’s why I’ve taken steps on my own to speed up loans and competitive grants for projects across the country that will support thousands of jobs.”

    The revival of the “party of No” phrase in this way points to a strategic dilemma the Obama campaign faces. The question surrounding Obama’s constant railing against GOP obstructionism has long been: Will swing voters care? It’s long seemed clear that even voters who accept that the GOP has been obstructing Obama’s agenda purely for political reasons could shrug and say: “That’s politics. Obama should be able to get it done despite GOP opposition. If he can’t, he must be weak and ineffective.”

    Resolving this problem is what’s driving the effort to highlight GOP obstructionism — along with inheriting two wars and the worst financial crisis in decades — as yet another obstacle Obama persevered against. Obama and his team recently concluded they needed to reframe the standoff with the GOP as one that didn’t showcase Obama’s inability to get things done in the face of political obstructionism but as one that demonstrates Obama’s continued action, in spite of determined and implacable opposition, via the exercise of executive power and his “We Can’t Wait” campaign. That’s what you’re seeing today, and you’ll be seeing a lot more of it.

  15. Mark Knoller ‏ @markknoller

    President Obama invited reporters to check past statements: “I said we’d go after bin-Laden if we had a shot at him – and that’s what we did.”

  16. President Obama and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda of Japan hold a Joint Press Conference

  17. rikyrah says:

    Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 08:27 AM PDT.

    Marco Rubio has a dream … that President Obama is the one blocking immigration reform+*

    As if Marco Rubio’s half-baked concept of a Republican DREAM Act weren’t enough of a joke in its own right, on Thursday he tried to blame President Obama for the fact that House Republicans have already killed it even before its arrival. The White House, Rubio said, is “actively trying to torpedo my efforts” to build Republican support for an initiative on immigration.
    But as the White House reminded Rubio today, Republicans are the ones blocking progress on immigration—and they couldn’t be opposed to Rubio’s proposal because he hasn’t actually offered any details to oppose.

    “The notion that somehow the president or Democrats would be the roadblock to any progress on immigration is ridiculous,” a White House official told TPM. “If this proposal fails, the reason will be the Republicans.”
    The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, denied Rubio’s charge that the White House has been “actively trying to torpedo my efforts” on a compromise DREAM Act, as Roll Call reported. The aide said the White House would need to see an actual proposal before weighing in.

    “We can’t speculate on what may or may not be in the proposal. There is no proposal,” the official said. “So there’s nothing that we can be trying to torpedo

    Indeed, notes TPM’s Sahil Kapur, the White House is open to legislation that would grant legal status to immigrants while work continues on compressive immigration reform. But the chance of Republicans even agreeing to that? Nil, with or without Rubio. Just ask John Boehner. .

  18. rikyrah says:

    And, JMO about Osama Bin Laden and POTUS getting him.

    I said it when it happened, and I still believe it.

    The GOP is mad:
    1. That this President took him out.
    2. That Osama is dead, because they used him as a club for over 8 years against the Democrats. I never believed they wanted to get Osama in the first place. He was useful to them being alive.


    Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 09:35 AM PDT.

    Mitt Romney tries to Etch-A-Sketch away his opposition to bin Laden strategy+*
    by Jed Lewison

    Nearly five years ago, then-Senator Barack Obama said that if he were president and had actionable intelligence that high-value al Qaeda targets like Osama bin Laden were within Pakistan, he would take action with or without the cooperation of the Pakistani government—and Mitt Romney slammed him for it:

    “I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours… I don’t think those kinds of comments help in this effort to draw more friends to our effort,” Romney told reporters on the campaign trail. […] Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who is one of the Republican front-runners, said U.S. troops “shouldn’t be sent all over the world.” He called Obama’s comments “ill-timed” and “ill-considered.”
    Despite that criticism, Barack Obama kept his promise four years later, giving the order that resulted in the killing of Osama bin Laden. That order carried significant political risk, but it was the right call. Yet now that Obama’s position has been vindicated, Mitt Romney is trying to erase history:

    Romney on if he’d go after bin Laden: “Even Jimmy Carter would have would have given that order”

    — @EmilyABC via Seesmic If that’s true, it’s only because Mitt Romney has never been president. And if Mitt Romney had been president in May of 2011, Osama bin Laden would still be alive. It’s as simple as that.

    9:48 AM PT: Oh, and does anybody believe for a second that if the raid had turned out badly that Mitt Romney wouldn’t be clubbing President Obama with it just like Republicans did with Jimmy Carter?

  19. rikyrah says:

    Running against a party, not an opponent
    By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:17 PM EDT.

    Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) recently said she has “very little tolerance” for students drowning in student-loan debt, because young people seem to want opportunities “dumped in your lap.” Soon after, President Obama was in North Carolina, reminding students of the lawmaker’s rhetoric.

    When Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) said the very existence of the student-loan program is a “stage-three cancer of socialism,” it wasn’t long before Obama was using that on the stump, too.

    Steve Kornacki had a smart piece on this the other day, noting that the president is “discovering the one benefit of a Republican Congress dominated by true believers,” by “making the crazy work for him.”

    For a president to call out little-known members of the House is a bit unusual, and by doing so Obama could be accused of punching down. But that would be misreading what he was trying to achieve. His purpose in bringing up the Foxx and Akin comments was to highlight the extremely conservative spirit that animates today’s Republican Party. Their words might have been unusually provocative, but when it comes to policy, Foxx and Akin are very much within the mainstream of the GOP.

    This gets to one of the challenges Obama faces as he seeks reelection: to make voters understand that a vote for Mitt Romney is actually a vote to empower a Republican Party that is dominated by Foxx- and Akin-types.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Top GOP Strategist Denies Pay Disparity For Women
    Pema Levy- April 29, 2012, 4:54 PM

    During a contentious debate about women voters on Sunday roundtable, top Republican strategist Alex Castellanos downplayed the existence of a gender-based pay gap, a view which liberal MSNBC host Rachel Maddow described as “a serious difference in factual understanding of the world.”

    A new study released in April by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that women earn 77 cents to every dollar earned by men. It’s one of several studies showing women are paid less than men for doing the same work over the same number of hours. The exchange comes just as Democrats and President Obama are upping their attacks on Republicans over issues affecting women, from equal pay to mandatory ultrasound laws.

    On NBC’s Meet The Press, Maddow cited the 77 cent statistic, when Castellanos interjected that women don’t actually make less than men. “Do women make less than men for doing the same work” Maddow challenged him.

    Actually no,” he responded. “For example. Men work an average of 44 hours a week. Women work 41 hours a week. Men go into professions like engineering, science and math that earn more. Women want more flexibility.”

    In other words, Castellanos argued that it’s not discrimination that causes a pay gap, but rather the choices women make about how much they work and what fields they go into.

    Maddow rejoined that the disparity is the result of “structural discrimination that women really do face that Republicans don’t believe is happening.” She needled Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), a Romney surrogate who was also on the panel, for her vote against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act that makes it easier for women to sue for gender-based pay discrimination.

    The tussle took a more personal turn when Castellanos told Maddow, “I love how passionate you are. I wish you are as right about what you’re saying as you are passionate about it. I really do.”

    “That’s really condescending,” Maddow replied. “I mean this is a stylistic issue. My passion on this issue is actually me making a factual argument.”

  21. rikyrah says:

    Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 10:55 AM PDT.

    Obama talks infrastructure and jobs to Building Trades unions+*

    A relaxed and confident President Obama spoke to the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department’s legislative conference Monday morning, diverging substantially from his planned remarks to add jokes and swats at Republican leaders. A large part of the speech was framed around how Republican refusal to invest is causing America to fall behind:

    But here’s the thing—as a share of the economy, Europe invests more than twice what we do in infrastructure; China about four times as much. Are we going to sit back and let other countries build the newest airports and the fastest railroads and the most modern schools, at a time when we’ve got private construction companies all over the world—or all over the country—and millions of workers who are ready and willing to do that work right here in the United States of America?
    Speaking to the Building Trades unions was a perfect opportunity for the president to speak about jobs and infrastructure investment, since unemployment remains high among construction workers, and funding bridges, transit, roads, schools, and other infrastructure would create large numbers of construction jobs. It was also an opportunity for Obama to make his case to some unions that have been angry with his approach to the Keystone pipeline; though he didn’t directly discuss Keystone, by turning the focus on all of the infrastructure and construction jobs bills he has proposed and Republicans have blocked, he indirectly made the case for why those unions should focus their anger elsewhere.

    THE PRESIDENT: I sent them a jobs bill that would have put hundreds of thousands of construction workers back to work repairing our roads, our bridges, schools, transit systems, along with saving the jobs of cops and teachers and firefighters, creating a new tax cut for businesses. They said no.
    AUDIENCE: Booo —

    THE PRESIDENT: I went to the Speaker’s hometown, stood under a bridge that was crumbling. Everybody acknowledges it needs to be rebuilt.

    AUDIENCE MEMBER: Let him drive on it! (Laughter.)

    THE PRESIDENT: Maybe he doesn’t drive anymore. (Laughter.) Maybe he doesn’t notice how messed up it was. (Laughter.) They still said no.

    There are bridges between Kentucky and Ohio where some of the key Republican leadership come from, where folks are having to do detours an extra hour, hour and a half drive every day on their commute because these bridges don’t work. They still said no. So then I said, well, maybe they couldn’t handle the whole bill in one big piece. Let’s break it up. Maybe it’s just too much for them.

    So I sent them just the part of the bill that would have created these construction jobs. They said no.

    Obama has long tried to move beyond partisanship (often to a fault), which means that every time he does anything partisan, Republicans and gullible members of the traditional media suggest he’s being hypocritical. As he focused on Republican obstructionism before this clearly receptive audience, though, Obama repeatedly noted that infrastructure should not be and has only recently become a partisan issue, pointing to an argument that should stand him in good stead on many fronts during the campaign—his efforts to get beyond partisanship were met by an increase in partisanship from Republicans, so what was he to do? But the key message of this speech is that Obama is not only ready to fight, he’s ready to enjoy it.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Romney struggles with bin Laden line
    By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:34 PM EDT.

    Late last week, as part of the anniversary of the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, President Obama’s campaign unveiled an ad that celebrated the successful strike, while asking, “Which path would Romney have taken?” Today, the presumptive Republican nominee tried to answer the question.

    Seeking to neutralize one of President Obama’s recent arguments, Mitt Romney said on Monday that “of course” he would have ordered military forces to make the 2011 raid that ended with the death of Osama bin Laden.

    Asked by a reporter during an appearance here whether he would have gone after the al-Qaida leader, Romney responded: “Of course.” He was then asked if he would have given the specific order to kill bin Laden.

    “Of course,” he said. “Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order

    Romney’s cheap shot at the former president notwithstanding, there are a few noteworthy angles to this. The first is this notion, common in Republican circles, that this was an easy call for the president to make, and that anyone in the same position would have done the same thing.

    The truth is far more complex. The president had a very difficult decision to make — was the intelligence solid enough? Was it better to use a drone attack or send in U.S. troops? What role, if any, should Pakistan play, and would be the consequences of going in without notifying Pakistani officials?

    There’s also the larger shift in administrative strategies. Whereas the Bush/Cheney administration made a conscious, deliberate decision to deemphasize capturing the al Qaeda leader, Obama chose to shift the emphasis back, making bin Laden a central focus of Obama’s counter-terrorism strategy.

    And then there’s Romney’s own stated positions. The former governor, who has no background in military policy, national security policy, or international affairs, really did say “it’s not worth moving heaven and earth” to get the terrorist responsible for 9/11. Around the same time, Romney said he would not order a strike into Pakistan to get bin Laden, rejecting Obama’s willingness “to enter an ally of ours” to target the terrorist leader.

    This morning, Romney said “of course” he’d do what Obama did. It’s effectively the same thing as saying, “Never mind everything I said during my first presidential campaign.”

  23. rikyrah says:

    Inside the Mitt Laden Smackdown
    Josh Marshall- April 30, 2012, 11:49 AM

    As you know, on the eve of the anniversary of the targeted killing of arch-terrorist Osama bin Laden, the Obama reelection campaign launched a frontal attack on Mitt Romney. They not only celebrated Obama’s decision but freely suggested that Romney wouldn’t have had the focus or the guts to make the call.

    As it happens, of course, Romney has provided plenty of evidence to back up this attack. In line with the late Bush administration policy and messaging on OBL, Romney repeatedly said that the US shouldn’t focus on hunting him down. The point wasn’t that OBL was off the hook but that we shouldn’t be focusing on this one guy. Romney followed by attacking Obama in 2008 for suggesting that he would unilaterally send American troops into Pakistan to kill bin Laden. In both cases, Romney was doing little more than repeating the strategic or political orthodoxy of the GOP leader of the moment, in the first case George W. Bush in 2007 and then John McCain in 2008.

    Romney might argue — maybe even accurately? — that he never really meant any of that stuff and that he would have done just what Obama did. But that would be an awkward and challenging argument to make.

    Let’s start with the premise that absolutely any sitting President who made a high stakes choice to order a commando raid that killed one of the most notorious enemies of the United States in American history would make that decision a center point in his or her campaign for a second term. To pretend otherwise is not only ludicrous; this is actually what a president should do. So much of what goes into a presidential campaign are indiciators – some bogus, others acute – about what a president would do in impossible to foresee, high stakes moments. Obama made a high stakes call. He was proved right. And he’ll bring that before the electorate to make his argument to keep him as president.

    But as I first argued back in 2004, national political campaigns are only loosely about ‘issues’ as news obsessives construe them. Contemporary American campaigns are much more meta-battles over power, masculinity and dominance, what I once called “bitch-slap politics.” Not pretty perhaps but you’ll never understand campaigns without understanding things through this prism. And that’s very much what’s happening with the Obama campaign’s latest fusillade against Mitt Romney. This isn’t simply – maybe not even mainly — about the actual decision to risk so much to kill bin Laden. It’s a dance to – let’s not run away from what it really is – unman Romney in his contest with the president.

    People don’t expect Democrats to make such brash moves on national security politics. It’s been a very long time since a Democratic president has been in a position to do it. Its aforementioned obviousness aside, it’s garnered a collective gasp from the pundit class. It was a smack right across the face of Mitt Romney right as he’s making a reasonably successful reintroduction of himself to the American people.

    The key is less the attack itself than how Romney responds. In this sort of schoolyard power play, if you attack someone and they’re unwilling or unable to defend themselves they become weak, dominated, pathetic. And the perception among voters is much more important than most of the policy minutiae political types focus on. This is what the Swift Boat attacks were really about. I’ve always doubted that many people actually believed the attacks on John Kerry. That wasn’t the point. It was his inability to defend himself that was devastating politically. It made him an object of ridicule and contempt, demoralizing supporters and inspiring opponents. Bush owned Kerry as a result. This is the position that the Obama team is trying to put Romney in.

    On its face it calls for an aggressive, hardcore response from Romney, putting to rest any idea that he lacks the inner resolve to have taken down bin Laden or stand toe to toe with Obama. But I suspect that folks in Chicago are figuring that with the wringer Romney’s been through in recent months, putting on so many different masks and faces, done so awkwardly and with diminishing credibility, that that itself will put him in a bind from which he can’t escape. Can Romney now credibly refashion himself as some mix of Conan the Barbarian and Rambo? Or will that simply reinforce the impression of falseness and unbelievability?

    That’s the box the Obama camp has set for their opponent.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 07:15 AM PDT.

    Republicans outraged Obama usurped their ‘Daddy party’ throne

    For decades, the Republican party enjoyed an advantage on national security and defense, anchoring and reinforcing its status as America’s ‘daddy party’. Bush’s failed Iraq strategy and prolonged bloodshed there damaged the brand, leading to a midterm meltdown and the axing of Rummy. McCain’s war service helped revive the GOP strength gap for 2008, but the financial crisis and Palin swamped that advantage. In 2012 however, the script has been flipped. After scoring an early victory on Gitmo, Republicans have largely been silent (apart from the ‘Obama apology tour’ meme) or muddled over security and foreign policy during the Obama presidency. Neoconservatism is unpopular and the tea party isn’t focused abroad.

    The events of last year proved a major turning point in reshaping perceptions and bolstering President Obama’s standing on defense and national security as he enters into a challenging re-election campaign. In 2011 Barack Obama:

    • eliminated Osama bin Laden
    • ended the Iraq war
    • intervened militarily to help Libyans oust the Gadhafi regime
    • leveraged our relationship with the Egyptian military to end Mubarak’s reign, breathing life into the Arab Spring
    • removed several other al-Qaida leaders—including Anwar al-Awlaki—from the battlefield, dramatically weakening the terrorist organization
    • ended “Don’t ask, don’t tell”
    • announced the withdrawal of surge forces from Afghanistan by summer of 2012, followed by a steady drawdown approaching the 2014 transfer deadline


    The raid President Obama ordered that killed America’s enemy #1 is the most memorable and visceral because of its surprise nature, revealed in a dramatic Sunday night presidential statement, and for the obvious emotional connection to 9/11. The successful mission ended a decade of national impotence, unleashing a wave of euphoric celebration that manifested outside the White House, in Manhattan and across the country. As the details came out, it was clear that the elements of risk associated with the raid were high and that Obama’s advisors were not sold on the mission, further elevating the presidential decision. Finally, President Obama demonstrated such graceful leadership in visiting NYC to honor the heroes of 9/11 and comfort the victims’ families.

    By fulfilling his campaign promise to end the Iraq war, Barack Obama pleased the American people and upset Republican politicians. Nothing else so starkly highlights the chasm between Republican foreign-policy ideology and the thinking of average Americans. The troops were home for the holidays but Republicans were acting like grinches, prognosticating a collapse of the Iraqi government and a return to sectarian conflict. Well, the new round of P5+1 negotiations with Iran are taking place in Baghdad next month, so I guess all hell hasn’t broken loose yet. Back on the home front, the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden are leading a national effort through Joining Forces to, among other things, encourage companies to help meet the president’s jobs challenge for returning veterans and their spouses.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Detroit kids start ‘Freedom School’
    By Laura Conaway – Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:54 PM EDT

    Part of what you’re supposed to do in high school is re-create the world. You start breaking away from the rules adults put on you, and you make the world new. That’s your job. Your community, meanwhile, is supposed to give you a safe place to go to school and a decent education when you get there. You study, and they make it possible for you to learn.

    Deal, right? Like so many other basics of life in Detroit, education is breaking down. On hearing that the schools emergency manager would use his unilateral authority to close their high school, a couple of hundred kids last week walked out of Detroit’s Southwest High (Mark Maynard’s got video). The students were suspended, so instead, on Friday they started a “Freedom School” across from Southwest. They plan to study Civil Rights history, among other subjects, while they’re barred from their regular classes.

    You can follow the Freedom School on Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter. This morning it sounds like they’re dealing with lousy weather, getting help with classes and looking for help with lunches. After the jump, the speech given by one of their leaders, junior Raychel Gafford, about the walkout. She has the temerity to argue that schools are supposed to be assets to the community — maybe we’re supposed to invest them.


    The speech:

    Hi my name is Raychel Gafford. I’m 17 years old and i am in the 11th grade. We are the students of Western International standing in solidarity with the students of southwestern. We are here not only in solidarity with southwestern but to draw the line and take a stand for our education.

    We are walking out to fight for quality education and to protect our public school system. We are here demanding better education and that our voices be heard. Our school system should work WITH US not against us. I’m sick and tired of being pushed around. WHAT ABOUT YOU??

    All I hear when I hear about DPS schools is closings, chartering, MONEY MONEY MONEY and LACK OF MONEY! To be honest, I don’t think our education should have a price tag. I thought schools are supposed to be about educating students so we can be the best members of the community and grow to be successful adults.

    Schools are assets to the community. What’s going to happen when all our assets are privatized?? 80% of charter schools are for profit. THAT’S NOT WHAT OUR COMMUNITY NEEDS. Schools are not supposed to be ran as businesses, education is a long term investment. We should not be making money off of our students. We are children, WE ARE PEOPLE! NOT—DOLLAR SIGNS!

    The solution is not to close public schools. It’s not a quick fix. It only does long term damage to our neighborhoods. (When schools close, our families, and our neighbors leave the community so that their kids can have access to quality schools and opportunities elsewhere.) We need to improve the public school system here, not shrink it down or sell if off to charters until it disappears completely.

    Our community thrives off of public education. Without our proper education we are less prepared for life. We are the future! WE ARE THE NEXT GENERATION OF ADULTS! WE’RE HERE TELLING YOU THAT THERE IS A PROBLEM! We’re done choosing the lesser of two evils, or accepting solutions that are not good for our communities. This time we’re leading the way. We are demanding respect!

  26. rikyrah says:

    A pox on one of your houses
    By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:57 AM EDT.

    Rules are rules. When it comes to the political establishment discussing what ails the American system, the rules dictate that “both sides” are always to blame for everything in all instances. Even if reality clearly shows one party more responsible than the other, no one’s allowed to say so — to assign responsibility to those who deserve it is to be biased and irresponsible.

    With these rules in mind, it was a delightful surprise to see Tom Mann and Norm Ornstein publish a Washington Post op-ed over the weekend, headlined, “Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.”

    We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.

    The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

    When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.

    “Both sides do it” or “There is plenty of blame to go around” are the traditional refuges for an American news media intent on proving its lack of bias, while political scientists prefer generality and neutrality when discussing partisan polarization. Many self-styled bipartisan groups, in their search for common ground, propose solutions that move both sides to the center, a strategy that is simply untenable when one side is so far out of reach.

    For those unfamiliar with Mann and Ornstein, these aren’t just two political scientists who occasionally write about current events. Mann and Ornstein enjoy almost unparalleled credibility with the Beltway establishment, and are generally accepted as centrist observers, not ideologues or partisan bomb-throwers.

    This context matters. When Paul Krugman or Eugene Robinson says the radicalization of the Republican Party drives the dysfunction of our politics in the 21st century, they’re correct, but the impact of perspective is limited. When Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, present the same argument, their observation raises eyebrows.

    What’s more, consider the real-world implications of the GOP’s radicalism.


    Many of the examples Mann and Ornstein rely on in their piece point to a modern Republican Party filled with intemperate children, throwing around reckless conspiracies, driving moderates from their midst, and rejecting their own ideas the moment Democrats think they have merit.

    But the way in which the radicalization of the GOP affects modern policymaking cannot be overstated. A system designed to govern through compromise stops working when an entire political party refuses to make concessions. Policymakers have honored certain norms for generations, but once those norms have been abandoned — filibustering every bill of any consequence, for example — institutions begin to break down.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Navigating an obstacle course, one voter at a time
    By Kay April 30th, 2012Good:

    Field workers for President Obama’s campaign fanned out across the country over the weekend in an effort to confront a barrage of new voter identification laws that strategists say threaten the campaign’s hopes for registering new voters ahead of the November election.

    In Wisconsin, where a new state law requires those registering voters to be deputized in whichever of the state’s 1,800 municipalities they are assigned to, the campaign sent a team of trainers armed with instructions for complying with the new regulations. In Florida, the campaign’s voter registration aides traveled across the state to train volunteers on a new requirement that voter registration signatures be handed in to state officials within 48 hours after they are collected. And in Ohio, Mr. Obama’s staff members have begun reaching out to let voters know about new laws that discourage precinct workers from telling voters where to go if they show up at the wrong precinct.

    The voters who are dealing with this for the first time (Wisconsin!) are more vulnerable than voters in Ohio, because conservatives have been periodically changing the voting rules in Ohio since 2006. We’re on round three in Ohio, so we’re used to them setting up ever-higher and constantly changing barriers for the voters they disfavor to jump over. Right now they’re going after early voting in Ohio because God forbid we should extend the window where people might actually get in and cast a ballot. A single Tuesday in November is apparently a magical day of increased “integrity” and “ballot security” to conservatives, no matter that election officials have MORE time to check the validity of a submitted ballot with early voting, not LESS time. But, none of this voter fraud bullshit ever makes sense on the most basic, practical level, and all of it is accepted without question. We’re more than happy to accuse Democratic VOTERS of all kinds of illegal acts without a shred of proof, but even calmly walking through the outlandish claims of Republican lawmakers and leaders and lawyers step by step to determine if they make sense is off limits and partisan.

    In 2004, in Ohio, where I live anyway, John Kerry’s campaign used outside groups to register and inform voters, and it was a mess. Voter registration rules are state law, and one really needs people who are familiar with the rules and the state. Too, the Kerry campaign were contacting voters anyway. It never made a whole lot of sense to me why we were conducting two separate campaigns.

    On that note, there is widespread confusion about voter registration and voting because conservatives and media have conflated the two things for nearly a decade, and they are two separate processes. That’s why we hear the nonsense about Mickey Mouse voting.

    Here’s the truth, and it’s logical and it makes sense. Like state birth records process, another ordinary, mundane records process that has been turned into a super-complicated plot out of a spy novel, voter registration is governed by a series of rules and they’re all written down in state codes. Voter registration is not unknowable and mysterious and arbitrary.

    When one person accepts a voter registration card for another person, the individual who is “registering” that voter (turning the card in) may not make a final call on the validity of that registration. ALL registrations must be turned in. The state or county official makes the call on the validity of the registration. You can easily understand why this is so: if the person collecting voter registrations were permitted to cull registrations willy-nilly, just using their own best judgment, and rejected those registrations THEY deemed invalid, there would be all kinds of potential for dirty dealing. Easy, right? Makes sense? Yet every single year, regular as rain, we hear breathless reporting on how Mickey Mouse is voting, because a registration was turned in for Mickey Mouse at 123 Main Street. Registering to vote and voting and are two separate things, and the first must be completed before the second may even possibly occur. There’s really no rational reason to jump to accusing all disfavored voters of voter fraud, because that’s a baseless and unfair accusation.

  28. rikyrah says:

    McCain discovers a distaste for ‘politicization’
    By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 30, 2012 11:01 AM EDT.

    President Obama’s re-election campaign is eager to remind voters of the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, especially now in light of the one-year anniversary of the raid. This led Obama’s team to release a video last week noting the president’s role and Mitt Romney’s positions on the issue.

    On Friday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) feigned outrage, condemning Obama for trying to “politicize” his counter-terrorism accomplishment. In a statement promoted by the Republican National Committee, the failed former presidential candidate said, “Shame on Barack Obama for diminishing the memory of September 11th and the killing of Osama bin Laden by turning it into a cheap political attack ad.”

    Part of the problem here is that McCain still thinks he has credibility on matters related to national security and international affairs. He does not — the bitter senator has been astonishingly wrong about every major foreign policy challenge in recent memory.

    But the larger concern is that McCain seems to believe the president, during a re-election campaign, shouldn’t “politicize” his counter-terrorism victories. It’s an odd argument coming from the senator. Does he not remember this 9/11 tribute video at his own nomination convention?

  29. rikyrah says:

    Lugar v. Mourdock
    By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:32 PM EDT.

    There’s no shortage of compelling primary fights this year, but I’d argue none is as interesting as the Republican U.S. Senate primary in Indiana. There’s only a week to go, and it’s not too late for campaign watchers who haven’t been keeping an eye on the race to tune in.

    At the outset, perhaps the most remarkable thing is that this primary exists at all. Lugar is arguably the Senate’s most respected Republican statesman, and has traditionally been considered a GOP hero among Hoosiers. The notion of him facing a credible challenger at all seems rather outlandish.

    Former Sen. John Danforth (R-Mo.) said a while back, “If Dick Lugar, having served five terms in the U.S. Senate and being the most respected person in the Senate and the leading authority on foreign policy, is seriously challenged by anybody in the Republican Party, we have gone so far overboard that we are beyond redemption.”

    Well, guess what. Lugar is not only facing a serious challenge from Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, there’s a credible chance the incumbent senator is going to lose a week from tomorrow.

    For many within the Republican Party, this one race has become a proxy for the fight for the GOP’s soul. Mourdock, who says Lugar isn’t nearly right-wing enough, enjoys the support of Sarah Palin, the NRA, the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, and Herman Cain. Lugar is backed by John McCain, Mitch Daniels, Eric Cantor, and the party establishment.

    It reached the point last week that Young Guns Network, a group led by two former leading Cantor aides, have begun urging Democrats and independents to support Lugar in the GOP primary, and have mailings condemning Mourdouk from the left, criticizing him for wanting to shut down the Department of Education.

    That’s pretty remarkable in its own right. A Cantor-affiliated Republican group is going after a Republican Senate candidate for opposing the Department of Education — despite the fact that most of Cantor’s House GOP caucus has said largely the same thing.

  30. rikyrah says:

    WERQ: Michelle Obama in Naeem Khan
    Posted on Apr 30, 2012 in Fashion

    We need a little breather after that Mad Men post and we’ve got a ton of White House Correspondents’ Dinner (or as DC and media insiders like to call it, “Nerd Prom,” although we prefer “Versailles on Vicodin” ourselves) red carpet pics to plow through later, but let’s single one lady out for being First among them all, in title and in style.

    Shelley shut the room down again.

    First lady Michelle Obama attends the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in Washington in a Naeem Khan gown.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Romney takes credit for Obama policy he condemned
    By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 30, 2012 11:11 AM EDT.

    The Detroit Free Press’ Tom Walsh recently noticed that Mitt Romney has taken so many contradictory positions on the Obama administration’s auto-industry rescue, the Republican “must be on the verge of exhaustion from all the verbal contortions and mental gymnastics he puts himself through.”

    That was in February. The contortions are actually getting worse

    One of Mitt Romney’s top advisers said Saturday that President Obama’s decision to bailout Chrysler and General Motors was actually Romney’s idea.

    “[Romney’s] position on the bailout was exactly what President Obama followed. I know it infuriates them to hear that,” Eric Fehrnstrom, senior adviser to the Romney campaign, said. “The only economic success that President Obama has had is because he followed Mitt Romney’s advice.”

    This isn’t complicated — Team Romney can condemn the Obama administration’s policy or it can take credit for the Obama administration’s policy, but it shouldn’t try to do both. I know it infuriates them to hear that, but this is simply a matter of common sense — Romney can’t be for and against the same policy at the same time.

    In this case, Romney has said, publicly and repeatedly, that he opposed Obama’s industry rescue plan. The former governor said he preferred to “let Detroit go bankrupt,” and have GM and Chrysler rely on private funding to restructure and get back on their feet.

    Of course, in early 2009, the credit markets were frozen and there was no private funding available. (When a company called Bain Capital was approached, it refused to invest.) How does Romney reconcile his demands with reality? For the last three years, he hasn’t even tried to explain the contradiction. In fact, he’d prefer if we just overlook the details altogether.

    Just at face value, it takes a fair amount of chutzpah to face a crisis, get it wrong, then whine about the way in which the other guy got it right. But it takes truck loads worth of chutzpah to condemn the other guy then take credit for his success.


    We can say a couple of things with certainty. First, when President Obama launched his ambitious policy in 2009, he was taking a major gamble — not only with the backbone of American manufacturing, but with his presidency and its ability to use the power of government to repair a private industry facing collapse. As First Read noted at the time, “As the GM bailout goes, so goes the Obama presidency.”

    We now know the gamble paid off. GM and Chrysler are making money, expanding American facilities, and operating at capacity. It’s a remarkable success story and one of Obama’s most important domestic accomplishments. Republicans were absolutely certain the White House’s policy would fail, and they were wrong.

    Second, we also know that if policymakers had followed Romney’s advice, and waited for private financing, the American auto industry likely would have collapsed while waiting capital that didn’t exist. An economy that was already on the brink would have been forced to absorb hundreds of thousands of unemployed auto workers, crushing already-struggling communities in the Midwest.

    As of this weekend, the Romney campaign is effectively telling voters, “Wait, did we say we hate Obama’s policy? What we meant to say was that we love Obama’s policy because we came up with it. Never mind all that other stuff we said two months ago.”

    Even by Romney standards, this is ridiculous.

  32. K. Young ‏ @Kennymack1971:

    Ratfuckery at it’s finest. RT @ariannahuff On bin Laden assassination: It’s one thing to celebrate its success, but …

  33. rikyrah says:

    learn something new everyday, reading this ‘ where are they now?’ article at the Root about the Cosby Show, and here’s what they said about Phylicia Rashad:

    Phylicia Rashad: Now
    She’s currently filming the all-black version of Steel Magnolias and will play Clairee (Olympia Dukakis’ character in the original). She also just picked up a role in a new NBC drama pilot, Do No Harm. In 2010, she appeared in three films: Frankie & Alice, Just Wright and For Colored Girls.

    had no idea there was an all-Black version of Steel Magnolias.

  34. backdoordraft ‏ @boycotkochbros:

    There is no Doubt the whole Agenda ROMNEY is running is RACISM…Republicans are just angry seeing the Black POTUS in the White MAN’s HOUSE

  35. Ametia says:


  36. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s role in Bin Laden killing: As Kevin Drum notes, whatever you think about Obama touting the killing of Bin Laden, there is actually an available set of facts that allow us to gauge whether Republicans are right or wrong in claiming that any other president would have made the same call Obama made:

    I don’t know what Mitt Romney would have done in similar circumstances, but there’s not much question that Obama played an active and ultimately crucial role. Without his leadership, things might have turned out quite differently.
    Given the centrality of this argument to the campaign, you’d think news orgs would try a little harder to establish who’s actually right about Obama’s role in the killing.

    * Paul Ryan owns Mitt Romney: An interesting quote from conservative GOP Rep. Tom Cole, buried in today’s big New York Times piece on the budet chairman:

    “Paul Ryan effectively captured the Republican presidential candidates.”
    If Democrats are intent on elevating Ryan’s plan — with its deep spending cuts and its ending of Medicare as we know it — as the agenda that Republicans will pursue if Romney is elected president, this quote won’t hurt.

    * Norquist to Romney: Ryan owns you: Another telling nugget from the Times story: “Grover Norquist, the Republican strategist who heads Americans for Tax Reform, said in an interview that he did not expect Mr. Romney to lead as president. He just wants him to sign the bills that put Mr. Ryan’s vision into practice.”

  37. Ametia says:

    April 30, 2012 10:45 AM EDT

    Embed Code for President Obama Speaks at the Building and Construction Trades Department Legislative Conference:


  38. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 09:01 AM ET, 04/30/2012
    The Morning Plum: Austerity, not government, is the problem
    By Greg Sargent

    Let’s get started with the read of the morning: Zachary Goldfarb’s excellent account detailing that one of the biggest threats to the recovery has been cuts to state and local governments:

    Since the beginning of his term, state and local governments have shed 611,000 employees — including 196,000 educators — according to government statistics. Unlike the recovery in private-sector employment that Obama and his reelection campaign often cite — with businesses adding 4 million jobs since hiring hit its low point in 2010 — the jobs crisis at the state and local level has continued throughout his term…
    “The job losses at state and local governments is the most serious weight on the job market,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, who has advised both parties.

    The story also makes an important point about Obama’s capitulation to austerity: At key moments, Obama ceded the argument to Republicans who were insisting that spending cuts were necessary for the good of the economy, and gave up on making the case for more stimulus spending, thinking it was a political nonstarter. In fairness, when Obama made his pivot to jobs last fall, he did aggressively push for more spending on hiring public sector workers, which was blocked by Republicans who didn’t want it paid for by a tiny tax hike on the rich.

    Either way, what’s remarkable here is that the usual suspects continue to argue that the growth of government is a drag on the recovery, when the exact opposite is true.

  39. rikyrah says:

    The Five Stages Of GOP Reaction To Osama Bin Laden’s Death — And What’s Next
    Benjy Sarlin & Evan McMorris-Santoro April 30, 2012, 5:54 AM

    As America nears the one-year anniversary of the operation that killed Osama bin Laden, Democrats are running on the tagline, “bin Laden is dead, General Motors is alive,” as Vice President Joe Biden put it this week.

    Republicans are not happy with the development. After the Obama campaign put out a video suggesting Mitt Romney might not have made the same decision to send Navy SEALs into Pakistan, the RNC went ballistic, dispatching an irate John McCain to condemn their efforts to “politicize” bin Laden’s demise.

    In truth, both sides have been sharpening their political message since the moment the death was announced. Let’s review the five stages of the evolving Republican response.

    1) If You Can’t Say Anything Nice …

    Almost no one in the Republican field of current or on-the-fence presidential candidates criticized Obama for taking out America’s most-wanted terrorist. But there were a few notable themes that presaged future partisan warfare. While Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Chris Christie and even Donald Trump congratulated the president on the historic achievement, many went out of their way to avoid mentioning his role in the mission. Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin thanked the military and intelligence communities — and omitted other players. Rick Santorum begrudgingly acknowledged the president’s role while — simultaneously — calling him “not someone I would say is known for fighting great causes in defense of American freedom.” As the months went on, Perry sharpened this line further, answering a question on Obama’s importance to the mission with, “I’m almost positive it was Navy SEALs.”

    2) Congratulations, President Bush!

    In a parallel effort, veterans of the previous administration took to cable news en masse to push their own talking point: The real hero of the Pakistan raid was President George W. Bush. Top Bush administration officials like Karl Rove and Donald Rumsfeld pushed the idea that the raid was only possible because of intelligence gathered through controversial measures like “enhanced interrogation” (or as human rights groups called it, torture).

    “I think the tools that President Bush put into place — GITMO, rendition, enhanced interrogation, the vast effort to collect and collate this information — obviously served his successor quite well,” Rove said on Fox News.

    Many cited an early Associated Press account of the mission that suggested information that helped track down bin Laden’s courier, the big breakthrough that enabled the mission, may have been extracted under duress from al Qaeda plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. But subsequent reports, including an AP correction, indicated the information came up months after harsher techniques had been abandoned and was volunteered under ordinary interrogation.

    3) Stray Attacks

    As the initial euphoria of the mission faded, the more daring members of the partisan Republican crowd began testing some genuinely aggressive efforts to take Obama’s big achievement out of the game.Two that stood out: Sean Hannity casually mentioned on his show that the bin Laden raid “wouldn’t have happened if [Obama] had his way, and that can be proven, as well, on tape.” Santorum, still a long-shot candidate at the moment, told a gathering of Jewish Republicans that Obama had blown it by announcing bin Laden had been killed.

    4) Even Ralph Nader Would Have Done It

    With news of bin Laden’s death more than six months old, Romney began testing a new talking point: Sure, Obama ordered the bin Laden mission. But, hey, who wouldn’t have?

    “We’re delighted that he gave the order to take out Osama bin Laden,” Romney said in December. “Any president would have done that, but this one did, and that’s a good thing. I’m not going to say everything he’s done is wrong.”

    Presaging the fights to come, Democrats offered a strong response, including a video of Republicans praising Obama’s decision and specifically citing the difficult circumstances, murky intelligence and the risk of sparking an international incident if things went wrong.

    5) … And Let Us Never Speak Of This Again

    Which bring us to this week. The initial GOP response so far has mostly been to declare discussion of bin Laden out of bounds, period, when it comes to the election. The Romney campaign issued a statement saying Obama wants to “divide us, in order to try to distract voters’ attention from the failures of his administration. McCain’s statement, circulated by the RNC, declared that bin Laden talk “politicizes” a sacred shared moment in our history and thus should be deemed unacceptable. Republican operatives also passed around an ABC article suggesting Obama is hypocritical to bring up bin Laden because he criticized Hillary Clinton for running a primary ad featuring the terrorist in 2008.

    The Obama campaign thinks it has a unique opportunity to press the bin Laden issue because, unlike most Republican presidential candidates, Romney is actually on record suggesting he “wouldn’t move heaven and earth” to catch bin Laden in 2007 and — perhaps more damning — criticizing Obama in 2008 for saying he’d act unilaterally to strike bin Laden from Pakistan if necessary, the exact scenario that actually took place. In an awkward twist, McCain, slammed Romney for the 2007 quote while running against him, calling it an example of “naivete” at the time.—-and-whats-next.php?ref=fpa

  40. rikyrah says:

    April 28, 2012
    Mann-Ornstein’s absolute must-read

    In “Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem,” the Brookings Institution’s Thomas Mann and the American Enterprise Institute’s Norman Ornstein let loose with a righteous fury that refreshes, mostly because their opening proposition–that Republicans are incontrovertibly “the problem”–ends with an admonitory and almost equally thematic swipe at the problem-children of mainstream journalism. “[A] balanced treatment of an unbalanced phenomenon distorts reality,” write Mann and Ornstein, hence journalism’s “even-handed, unfiltered presentation of opposing views” only invites more destructive distortion.

    Mann-Ornstein hypostatize ‘The Republican Question’ through the wretched personage of Allen West, whose latest imbecility, as we all well remember, arrived in his McCarthyization of Democrats’ Progressive Caucus–which is like comparing a DAR quilting bee to a neoNazi cadre. Regarding West’s “comment,” Mann-Ornstein find it “striking” that “such extreme remarks and views are now taken for granted” by the GOP leadership; that West is less outlier than outrageously typical.

    Which brings us back to the political press, which, as I recall, by and large treated West’s obscenity as a soundbite of amusing puff, rather than as a monumental manifestation of a profound institutional problem that is reducing this country to a dysfunctional joke.

    Indeed, it took the aggressively blunt Barney Frank to do political journalism’s perfectly commonsensical job for it:

    It’s an indication of the significant deterioration of the Republican Party as a responsible entity that an ignorant, mean guy like Allen West is considered one of their stars.

    I ask people, when you hear something so breathtakingly dumb and vicious as that, how do people expect us to be able to work out some compromise with him?

    Nonetheless, everyday we are witness to an endless stream of disgust and exasperation from apparently intoxicated political commentators who are disgusted and exasperated with … Barack Obama, who obstinately refuses, for instance, to embrace Simpson-Bowles and obstinately refuses, in another instance, to tackle tax reform–with the demented likes of a party-full of Allen Wests.

    I don’t know from which distillery they get their pure goofjuice and from which Latin American country they get their prime goofweed, but both must be the tragic enablers of these commentators’ “balanced treatment,” as Mann-Ornstein put it, of a wickedly “unbalanced phenomenon.” I just cannot think of any other explanation for their dissociative relationship with reality; that they can, with a schoolmarmish pedantry and superior aloofness, hold Obama in any way accountable for not advancing the political ball of moderation.

    But addiction to intoxicated pomposity is no excuse. Political journalists who see themselves as the adults–because in their minds they are the fair, even-handed supervisors of a symmetrically immature political playground–are in reality as culpable as the Republican Party’s juvenile delinquents.

    There is an altogether guilty party here; and it’s not the conservative party, which in contrast to the GOP’s radicalism just happens to be the Democratic Party, led by a Democratic president. And that’s where responsible, conscientious political journalists should start: getting their labels right.

  41. rikyrah says:

    Those Aren’t Real Jobs Anyway
    Posted on 04/28/2012 at 3:20 pm by JM Ashby

    During his speech at Otterbein College yesterday, Mitt Romney decided to attack the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the stimulus) not because it saved or created jobs, but because it saved or created the wrong jobs. Government jobs. Because those aren’t real jobs. Or something.

    Then there was the stimulus itself. $787 billion of borrowing. It could have been entirely focused on getting getting the private sector to buy capital equipment, for instance. That puts people to work. Or to hire people. Instead, it primary protected people in the governmental sector, which is probably the sector that should have been shrinking.

    He’s right about one thing. It did primarily protect people in the public sector. Over a million of them to be more specific. And I would like to thank Mister Romney for admitting that it saved jobs even if he thinks it was the wrong jobs.

    Is Romney arguing that we should have let over a million people lose their jobs all because of some deranged ideology that says a job is a job unless its a government job then it’s not a job?

    Employment is good for the economy, no matter who is doing the employing. Public or private. And tossing over a million public workers off the rolls would be just as big of a shock, if not bigger, than tossing a million private workers off the rolls. Because public employees have loans, mortgages, and children too.

    Adding… the government has been shrinking. States are still laying off workers. Mitt Romney thinks this is a good thing.

  42. rikyrah says:

    April 29, 2012
    Obama’s “warrior presidency”
    In the NY Times, the New America Foundation’s Peter Bergen unfolds a three-page defense of this thesis:

    From both the right and left, there has been a continuing, dramatic cognitive disconnect between Mr. Obama’s [foreign policy] record and the public perception of his leadership: despite his demonstrated willingness to use force, neither side regards him as the warrior president he is.

    One complicating word in that passage is “the,” just prior to “public,” in the phrase “public perception.” It contains the seed of the passage’s own destruction. We must assume, given its context, that Bergen means to say “their” public perception (i.e., the left and right’s) and not “the” public’s perception, which is a vast difference within an entirely different meaning–the latter of which is never really established in Bergen’s piece, hence there could be no “dramatic cognitive disconnect.”

    But here I perhaps quibble too much, which only suppresses my larger point. That being, one could also argue that Bergen misuses “public,” in that he means to say “private”; for publicly, it seems to me, the left has indeed extolled Obama as a “warrior president,” since the left is still trying to live down its rather unpleasant reputation for having carelessly misplaced China a few decades back, not to mention Korea and Vietnam, both North and South.

    So, although I grasp Bergen’s point, I simply disagree with it.

    As for the right’s “perception” of Mr. Obama’s foreign policy, well, what can one say, as contaminated as it is with hatred, bile, distortion, and above all, a monstrous dishonesty. The political right, which remains indistinguishable from the neocon right, has removed itself as a legitimate voice in what is a profoundly legitimate debate.

  43. rikyrah says:

    Quote of the Morning
    Posted on 04/29/2012 at 11:30 am by Bob Cesca

    “Shame on Barack Obama for diminishing the memory of September 11th and the killing of Osama bin Laden by turning it into a cheap political attack ad. This is the same President who once criticized Hillary Clinton for invoking bin Laden ‘to score political points.’

    “This is the same President who said, after bin Laden was dead, that we shouldn’t ‘spike the ball’ after the touchdown. And now Barack Obama is not only trying to score political points by invoking Osama bin Laden, he is doing a shameless end-zone dance to help himself get reelected.

    “No one disputes that the President deserves credit for ordering the raid, but to politicize it in this way is the height of hypocrisy.” Senator John McCain


    Funny, I don’t remember McCain condemning the Bush/Giuliani/Republican exploitation of 9/11 as a means to illegally invade and occupy Iraq or to use 9/11 imagery in a 2008 pro-McCain TV commercial. Hell, McCain’s party exploited everything 9/11-related for eight years and McCain’s former running mate invoked terrorism more times than we can accurately count.

    • Ametia says:


      PRESIDENT OBAMA, I PORMISE YOU, HAS A BIG STICK. and that’s why they’re mad.

      PRESIDENT OBAMA IS STRONG ON NATIONAL SECURITY, and that’s why the GOP’s trying to downplay this HISTORICAL EVENT. THE BLACK PREZ gave the ORDERS, and took out OBL, after the BUSHITES let him ROAM the earth for how many years?

      THANK YOU, President Barack Obama for your skill, leadership, and finese!

  44. Ametia says:

    Stephen King: Tax Me, for F@%&’s Sake!
    Apr 30, 2012 4:45 AM EDT

    The iconic writer scolds the superrich (including himself—and Mitt Romney) for not giving back, and warns of a Kingsian apocalyptic scenario if inequality is not addressed in America

  45. Young Jeezy gets some Presidential love.

  46. [wpvideo DxEkjleB]

  47. Good Morning, Chicas!

    Click here for more graphics and gifs!

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