Thursday Open Thread | Country Music Week

Aaron Tippin was born in Pensacola, Florida, but raised on a farm in Travelers Rest, South Carolina, where he went to Blue Ridge High School. In the 1970s, he made a living as a singer, performing in various local bars. By the time Aaron was 20, he was working as a commercial pilot. In 1986, he moved to Nashville, where he eventually became a staff writer at Acuff-Rose.[3] He competed on TNN‘s You Can Be a Star talent contest in 1986, landed a song publishing contract and moved to Nashville in 1987. During this time he wrote songs for The Kingsmen, David Ball, Mark Collie, and Charley Pride. He would spend his nights working at Logan Aluminum in Logan County, Kentucky and spend his days driving 60 miles to Nashville to write songs.

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.
This entry was posted in Current Events, Music, Open Thread, Politics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

108 Responses to Thursday Open Thread | Country Music Week

  1. rikyrah says:

    Why I Am So Optimistic, But Also Worried
    by BooMan
    Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 11:15:11 PM EST

    It seems that all anyone wants to talk about tonight is the new poll out of Virginia that shows that women there hate Romney and that Clarence Thomas is the only black man in the state who plans to vote for him. Kos did some good analysis on a separate but related subject, which is that Obama has a Southwestern strategy and, if he wins Arizona, Romney is going to be pretty near out of luck.

    I know it’s early and pretty much anything can still happen, but I want to talk about a hypothetical scenario. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that Obama goes on to win every state that he won last time, plus Arizona. And let’s say that he wins by even stronger margins in Virginia and North Carolina. And let’s say that Romney doesn’t even come close to winning anywhere in the Upper Midwest and gets beats solidly in Florida.

    This isn’t a pie in the sky scenario. Recent polls show Obama leading, tied, or narrowly behind in Arizona. And other polls show him leading in North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Nevada, and in other swingy states. So, let’s think about this. How would the Republicans react?

    In recent times, the Republicans have responded to victory and defeat the same way. They interpret either outcome as proof that they need to move to the right. But an electoral map like the one I’ve described puts them in a no-win situation. Let me lay out some of the features of this map.

    GOP shut out in New England (34 electoral votes)
    GOP shut out in Mid-Atlantic, including PA and DC (83 electoral votes)
    GOP shut out in Upper Midwest (96 electoral votes)
    GOP shut out on Pacific coast (73 electoral votes)
    GOP loses Southwest, including Colorado, 29-5 (GOP holds Utah)
    GOP cedes 55 electoral votes from the Old Confederacy (Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida).

    What is that? About 370 electoral votes? About 100 more than is required to win the presidency?

    You can’t turn that around by winning back New Hampshire (4 votes) or Indiana (11 votes). If the GOP isn’t close in states like Florida and Virginia and they’re fighting for their lives in Arizona and North Carolina, then they don’t have very good odds of winning the presidency any time soon. And, if they win it, they’ll win it like Bush, by the skin of their teeth.

    It’s too early to say with confidence that this will be the result of the election, but if this is what happens, the GOP pretty much has to do a major reassessment. They will have to figure out a way to win back constituencies. My prediction is that their two biggest obstacles to regaining viability as a national party will be Latino voters and suburban women. They will have give up being the party of angry white men and make some kind of deal on comprehensive immigration reform. And they are going to have to stop these incredibly aggressive attacks on abortion rights and women’s health. If they don’t, they simply will not win the presidency ever again.

    It won’t be an easy transition, and it’s possible that they won’t be able to transform themselves. The GOP was unable to gain control of the House of Representatives for more than two single terms between 1933 and 1995. They know how to operate in a near-permanent minority. I think that’s where they’re headed.

    But, another way of looking at current events is that they are currently at their high-water mark for conservatism, and if they can just win this election they can really undo the New Deal, the Great Society, and overturn Roe v. Wade. They can use the High Court to give them advantages, like unlimited corporate spending in elections, that will allow them to remain as a viable national party.

    I’m optimistic, but the stakes are incredibly high in this election.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Who’s the Real Mitt Romney? Richard Grenell Has Taught Us
    Jonathan Cohn
    May 3, 2012 | 11:30 am

    Who is the real Mitt Romney? Richard Grenell, the openly gay conservative who abruptly resigned as a Romney campaign spokesman, has answered that question for us.

    The latest media accounts of Grenell’s departure suggest that neither Romney nor his campaign advisers had a problem with Grenell’s homosexuality or even his support for gay marriage. According to an account in the New York Times, Grenell pointed out during his job interviews that his background “could be an issue.” Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney’s longtime aide and strategist, reportedly told him “it’s not an issue for us.”

    That was probably true and, as it turns out, utterly irrelevant. Right-wingers protested the hiring of Grenell from the get-go and, instead of backing Grenell publicly, the Romney campaign sidelined him. Last week, according to reporting by Andrew Sullivan, campaign officials specifically instructed Grenell to remain silent on a call about foreign policy—even though it was a call Grenell had helped to organize and would have, under normal circumstances, helped to lead. It was not the first such incident and Grenell, apparently convinced the campaign had undermined his authority, to step down. “It’s not that the campaign cared whether Ric Grenell was gay,” a Republican adviser told the Times. “They believed this was a nonissue. But they didn’t want to confront the religious right.”

    The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin, a die-hard and well-connected Romney supporter, was the first to report Grenell’s exit from the campaign and told a similar story. “Despite the controversy in new media and in conservative circles,” Rubin observed, with apparent disappointment, “there was no public statement of support for Grenell by the campaign and no supportive social conservatives were enlisted to calm the waters.”

    That silence speaks volumes, because what matters ultimately is not what Romney or his advisers think but how they act. When Romney ran for governor of Massachusetts, he made overtures to the gay community, telling the newspaper Bay Windows, “I think extremists who would force their views on the party and try to shape the party are making a mistake.” But, as my colleague Tim Noah pointed out on Wednesday, those extremists are shaping the party right now—and Romney, clearly, is not about to stop them:

  3. rikyrah says:

    The Most Important Voters of 2012
    They’re white, they’re working-class, and they live in Ohio. And Romney has to win them over.
    By John Dickerson|
    Posted Wednesday, May 2, 2012, at 6:10 PM ET

    Ohio Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel is 34, but he looks 19. He’s not clean-cut—he’s freshly shorn. So when the young State Treasurer explains that he’s going to beat incumbent Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown by winning over working-class voters who spend their day with equipment that is hot, heavy, and dirty, it seems like a long shot. But Mandel has possible inroads with these voters: He served two tours in the Marines in Iraq. His grandfather was a laborer at a brass factory and his mother was also a union worker—the kind of voters he’s trying to court. In one of his ads he highlights his military experience. (A snapshot from Anbar Province puts grit on a man.) In another he highlights his working-class heritage.

    Mandel’s strategy may not work, but at least he can start the conversation with white, working-class voters, a critical voting bloc. The question after two days of reporting in Ohio is what Mitt Romney can do to appeal to these same voters? Is he going to visit the shift-change at the Lordstown GM plant and let them take his measure, or is he just going to hope that history and a bad economy will bring them out to vote against President Barack Obama?

    Ohio is competing with Florida for the title of most important state in this election. According to almost every serious analysis, it is a must-win for Mitt Romney. (Pause to cite the election-year adage: No Republican has won the presidency without winning Ohio.) Fifty-four percent of the electorate is made up of white, working-class voters, according to the Brookings Institution. Romney has a hard time with them. In the Ohio primary, according to exit polls, he lost those making $50,000-$100,000 by 11 points to Rick Santorum, and lost those without a college degree, too. The good news is that Obama has also had trouble with these voters. He lost them in the 2008 primary to Hillary Clinton and he lost working-class white voters to John McCain by 18 points. Romney will probably win these voters in Ohio but his challenge is to win them by a big enough margin to overcome Obama’s strengths with young voters, minorities, and college graduates.

    How should Romney make his case to working-class voters? How can he show that he understands them? We know what Romney’s father George Romney would do. In 1968 when he was running for president, George Romney took a 17-city tour of the “ghettos.” On this tour, the candidate interacted in unscripted moments with actual people. Unplanned events took place. He argued with those who opposed him. He suggested that he was interested in the lives of people who were not likely to be in his voting coalition. This kind of sustained engagement with serendipity would seem as foreign to the Mitt Romney campaign as campaigning in the nude.

    When Charlie Rose asked Romney this week on CBS This Morning whether he might replicate even a sliver of his father’s outreach, the governor said he has held regular meetings with voters away from the cameras. This was politically and logistically confusing. Those who have covered Romney by the minute were surprised to learn about these events. Also: Why, if you’re having trouble connecting with middle class voters—as the polls regularly show he does—would you hide these regular engagements with them? I asked the campaign for a few details and about why these meetings were secret and was told there would be no more information on this topic.

    Romney starts with an empathy deficit and continues to dig his hole deeper. At a recent speech at Ohio’s Otterbein University, Romney suggested to the students that one of several paths to success was that they could borrow money from their parents to start a business. (Mitt Romney has helped his son through a family trust.) With nearly 70 percent of college students on some kind of financial aid, it’s safe to assume that parents who can’t pay for school also don’t have ready cash to fund the first venture.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 08:37 AM ET, 05/04/2012
    The Morning Plum: The premise of Mitt Romney’s candidacy
    By Greg Sargent

    It could be very dangerous for Obama if Mitt Romney clears a basic competence threshold with voters — that is, if voters accept that his success in the private sector shows he possesses basic leadership qualities and a talent for turning around troubled enterprises that can magically be applied to a whole country.

    Central to that argument is the premise of Romney’s whole candidacy: That you can run American like a corporation, and that Romney’s experience has left him with an understanding of the economy that automatically translates into an ability to create jobs as a public official.

    Today the campaign will be fought around that idea.

    With Obama set to visit Ohio, Romney is out with a new Op ed in the Cleveland Plain Dealer that states the message clearly, even stating explicitly that the federal government is an “enterprise” that can be turned around like a business:

    Mr. President, forgive me for being blunt, but when it comes to economic affairs, you’re out of your depth. Unlike you, I am not a career politician. Unlike you, I’ve spent more than two decades working in the private sector, starting new businesses and turning around failing ones. Undoing the damage you’ve done will be a daunting challenge. But I’ve learned a thing or two about how government policies can kill private investment and stifle job creation and I have a plan to get government out of the way…
    I have spent much of my life in business, turning around troubled enterprises. I can do the same for the most troubled of all enterprises: our federal government.

    Of course, despite Romney’s claim that he isn’t a “career politician,” he has, in fact, been a public official — he was Governor of Massachusetts, a fact that goes oddly unmentioned in today’s Ohio Op ed. And the DNC is out with a new Web video today offering the response to Romney’s argument above — it shows footage of Rick Santorum brutally attacking Romney for presiding over a state that ranked 47th out of 50th in job creation.

    Santorum’s punchline: “If Mitt Romney’s an economic heavyweight, we’re in trouble”:

    As the above video shows, the effort to spotlight Romney’s job creation record in Massachusetts will be key to the effort to undermine Romney’s aura of basic competence and the whole premise of his candidacy. This isn’t the last we’re seeing of this Santorum footage.

    By the way: Note Romney’s description of his “plan to get government out of the way” and his repeated vow to “unleash” America’s “potential.” That’s Romney’s plan, in a nutshell: Get government out of the way and allow an unshackled private sector to shower prosperity and opportunity on everyone. As I argued here yesterday, it all turns on whether voters ask themselves this question, and how they answer it: What is Romney really offering here?

  5. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 03:33 PM ET, 05/03/2012
    What does Mitt Romney have to offer?
    By Greg Sargent

    A few days ago, Mitt Romney chatted with a bunch of firefighters, who told him about their struggles in the Obama economy. As Romney recalled it: “I asked the firefighters I was meeting with, about 15 or them, how many had had to take another job to make ends meet, and almost every one of them had.”

    Of course, firefighters are public sector workers. And Romney has said that public sector workers are getting paid too much, not that they’re getting paid too little. As Jonathan Chait puts it:

    Romney’s position is that these fine public servants are luxuriating in excessive pay, a fact that, unlike swelling income inequality, constitutes a major source of unfairness in American life. (“We will stop the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the taxpayers they serve,” he said last week.)
    This is actually a policy flashpoint between the two parties. Public employment has cratered in recent years, with public sector jobs continuing to decline even as private sector jobs rebound, exerting a continued drag on the sluggish recovery. Obama’s position is that the federal government ought to provide aid to state governments to rehire some of the laid-off teachers, cops, and firefighters. Republicans oppose this. Romney seems to have forgotten that the firefighters he came face-to-face with are one category of Americans whose economic pain he’s supposed to be in favor of.

    Steve Benen takes this further, adding that the episode and the attendant contradiction reveal the failure of Romney’s “transactional politics.” Romney is looking to take things away from public sector workers, students who rely on Pell Grants, those who rely on entitlements and government programs that might be cut, and the like:

  6. rikyrah says:

    The model of an Ayn Rand acolyte
    By Steve Benen – Thu May 3, 2012 4:38 PM EDT.

    Last week, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the right-wing chairman of the House Budget Committee, scoffed at the notion that he’s an acolyte of Ayn Rand. “I reject her philosophy,” Ryan said, adding he prefers Thomas Aquinas’ philosophy. He concluded, “Don’t give me Ayn Rand.”

    This led me, among others, to note some of Ryan’s previous comments on the infamous author, including the congressman’s famous boast, “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.” But what else has Ryan said about Rand?

    Our pal James Carter passed along this piece from the Atlas Society, which has now, for the first time, released the full audio of a speech the Wisconsin Republican delivered at a 2005 Atlas Society event.

    It’s an interesting set of remarks, in which Ryan explains Rand’s books “taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are.” The novels “inspired” him, became “required reading” for his staff and interns, and compelled him to seek public office.

    “[Y]ou 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. I always go back to, you know, Francisco d’Anconia’s speech on money when I think about monetary policy. And then I go to the 64-page John Galt speech, you know, on the radio at the end, and go back to a lot of other things that she did, to try and make sure that I can check my premises so that I know that what I’m believing and doing and advancing are square with the key principles of individualism. […]

    “[I]f we’re going to actually win this we need to make sure that we’re solid on premises, that our principles are well-defended, and if want to go and articulately defend these principles and what they mean to our society, what they mean for the trends that we set internationally, we have to go back to Ayn Rand.”

    “I reject her philosophy”? Sure you do, Mr. Chairman. Sure you do.

    James also passed along this clip of Ryan gushing about Rand in 2009 and how relevant he considers her work in his attacks on Democrats and the modern welfare state.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Issa targets Holder with contempt memo
    By Steve Benen – Fri May 4, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.

    As part of his ongoing fascination with the “Fast and Furious” controversy, House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) released a draft memo yesterday, making the case for holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. Is a major showdown brewing? It’s possible, but it’s unlikely to happen anytime soon.

    As Issa sees it, Holder and the Justice Department have not responded quickly enough to House Republicans’ demands for materials. The DOJ has said it’s already given Issa and his committee over 7,600 pages of documents, and continues to provide more, but it’s cautious about the public release of materials that could undermine ongoing criminal cases. (This is a position endorsed by a Reagan-era Office of Legal Counsel memo.)

    Issa, however, has an election season to think about, and seems principally concerned with what might be exploited for partisan gain. How concerned should Holder be about this? Not very — even if House Republicans seriously pursue a contempt resolution, the issue “would take years to sort out.”

    Stan Brand told TPM that Holder really shouldn’t be worried because of how cumbersome the contempt process can get, describing contempt proceedings as “mostly for show” and a “circus event.” The House would have to vote before it pursued civil remedies in court.

    “I can’t really take it seriously because as you know for the last 30 years the Justice Department — both Republicans and Democrats — has taken the position that you can’t enforce the contempt statute against members of the executive branch who assert privilege or some other defense to the subpoenas,” Brand said.

    “I wouldn’t be [worried] if I were advising the Attorney General, I’d say read the precedents and go about your business. Don’t worry about it, it’ll be 2014 before this gets resolved,” Brand said.

    As a rule, when committee chairs start huffing and puffing like this, the various officials work out some kind of arrangement. Of course, those traditions were established before House Republicans decided compromises were a menace. The worst case scenario: the House holds Holder in contempt and instructs the House sergeant at arms to try to arrest the Attorney General, creating a bizarre constitutional crisis.

  8. rikyrah says:



  9. rikyrah says:

    Delta Sigma Theta rescinds honorary membership of HIV Activist Rae Lewis-Thornton (video)

    1:53 PM TheSavvySista 29 comments

    The internet, especially Twitter, was all ablaze over the news that HIV activist and survivor, Rae Lewis-Thornton had her honorary membership into Delta Sigma Theta rescinded.

    Mrs. Lewis-Thornton took to Youtube to announce to the world what had happened and to express her profound disappointed to what she describes as a moment that completely ‘blind-sided’ her.

    Mrs. Lewis-Thornton was in the middle of counting down the days to her 50 birthday (which is a really big deal for a person who has been battling HIV/AIDS since 1986) when she received the devastating news.

    I realize there are always three sides to a story: her side, their side, and the truth, but you have to admit that maybe things could have been dealt with a little differently. Rae Lewis-Thornton is a trailblazing, spitfire of a woman and she is deserving of respect.

    I don’t feel she was respected in this scenario. I have absolutely nothing against DST. I think it is a phenomenal organization that has thrived for almost 100 years, but that doesn’t negate the fact that a wonderful woman like Mrs. Lewis-Thornton was treated in the manner that she was treated.

    For those of you who are unfamiliar with Lewis-Thornton, I implore you to check out her website and familiarize yourself with this warrior woman.

    As a person who has lost love ones to HIV/AIDS, I have nothing but the utmost respect for Mrs. Lewis-Thornton. So forgive me if this post appears a little biased because in all honesty is is.

    Watch the video below and share your thoughts

  10. Ametia says:

    Michele Bachmann on OBAMNEY CARE & NEWT ROMNEY

  11. Ametia says:


  12. vettte says:

    The Obama “LOVE” Letters will soon be released. Somebody else writing a bio with new info that apparently didnt surface during the campaign, thank God. Barry was an honorable gentleman. Can’t wait to see their pics because inquiring minds want to know how these 2 women look. We are sold out to Michelle Robinson Obama and there is not much room for other women in his life in our mind’s eye. From the excerpts I’ve read so far, Barry may have been a little lacking in the romance department.

    ” The loneliness of Obama’s New York existence emerged in his letters to Alex McNear, a young woman from Occidental who had enchanted Obama when she was co-editing the literary magazine Feast, and with whom he reconnected when she spent the summer of 1982 in New York. Alex had always been fond of Barry, as she called him, and “thought he was interesting in a very particular way. He really worked his way through an idea or question, turned it over, looked at it from all sides, and then he came to a precise and elegant conclusion.” When Alex came to New York, she gave Obama a call. They met at an Italian restaurant on Lexington Avenue, and, as she remembered the night, “we sat and talked and ate and drank wine. Or at least I drank wine. I think he drank something stronger. It was one of those dark, old Italian restaurants that don’t exist in New York anymore. It was the kind of place where they leave you alone. I remember thinking how happy I felt just talking to him, that I could talk to him for hours. We walked slowly back to my apartment, on 90th, and said good-bye. After that we started spending much more time together.”

    • vettte says:

      So, here’s a “LOVE” letter excerpt that’s being published. Well, I can see why maybe it didnt work out in the romance department.

      ” In a letter to his then-girlfriend apparently responding to her deconstructionist interpretation of Eliot, Obama wrote:

      Eliot contains the same ecstatic vision which runs from Münzer to Yeats. However, he retains a grounding in the social reality/order of his time. Facing what he perceives as a choice between ecstatic chaos and lifeless mechanistic order, he accedes to maintaining a separation of asexual purity and brutal sexual reality. And he wears a stoical face before this. Read his essay on Tradition and the Individual Talent, as well as Four Quartets, when he’s less concerned with depicting moribund Europe, to catch a sense of what I speak. Remember how I said there’s a certain kind of conservatism which I respect more than bourgeois liberalism—Eliot is of this type. Of course, the dichotomy he maintains is reactionary, but it’s due to a deep fatalism, not ignorance. (Counter him with Yeats or Pound, who, arising from the same milieu, opted to support Hitler and Mussolini.) And this fatalism is born out of the relation between fertility and death, which I touched on in my last letter—life feeds on itself. A fatalism I share with the western tradition at times.”

      Read more:

  13. Ametia says:

    Mitt Romney’s Neocon War Cabinet
    Ari Berman
    May 2, 2012 | This article appeared in the May 21, 2012 edition of The Nation.

    It’s safe to say that foreign policy was not the strong suit of this year’s contenders for the GOP presidential nomination. Rick Perry labeled the Turkish government “Islamic terrorists.” Newt Gingrich referred to Palestinians as “invented” people. Herman Cain called Uzbekistan “Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan” and memorably blanked when asked what he thought of NATO’s incursion into Libya. Michele Bachmann pledged to close the US embassy in Iran, which hasn’t existed since 1980. Rick Santorum gave a major foreign policy speech at a Jelly Belly factory in California.

    Yet though the candidates and their views were often hard to take seriously, their statements on foreign policy reflected a more disturbing trend in the GOP. Despite facing a war-weary public, the candidates—with the exception of Ron Paul, an antiwar libertarian, and Jon Huntsman, a moderate internationalist—positioned themselves as unapologetic war hawks. That included Mitt Romney, marginally more polished than his rivals but hardly an expert. Given Romney’s well-established penchant for flip-flopping and opportunism, it’s difficult to know what he really believes on any issue, including foreign affairs (the campaign did not respond to a request for comment). But a comprehensive review of his statements during the primary and his choice of advisers suggests a return to the hawkish, unilateral interventionism of the George W. Bush administration should he win the White House in November.

  14. PoliticalCarnival ‏ @TPCblog

    Yet another study: Government stimulus boosted economy, may have ended recession #TPC

  15. Rikyrah, check your email ASAP

  16. Bin Laden ordered squads to try to attack Obama’s aircraft

    WASHINGTON — Osama bin Laden ordered terrorist teams in mid-2010 to blow up the planes of President Obama and Gen. David H. Petraeus, then commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, when they visited Afghanistan or Pakistan, according to a declassified letter released Thursday.

    Bin Laden argued that assassinating Obama would put a “totally unprepared” Vice President Joe Biden in charge of the country “which will lead the U.S. into a crisis.”

  17. rikyrah says:

    The Shep Has Sailed
    By Charles P. Pierce at 9:17AM

    I long have held the suspicion that, one day, Shep Smith of the Fox News Channel is just going to show up at work with an ax and lay waste to the set.


    Yesterday, he seemed a bit stranged out by the fulsome bushwah with which the Romney campaign greeted the long-anticipated departure of N. Leroy Gingrich:

    Newt Gingrich has brought creativity and intellectual vitality to American political life. During the course of this campaign, Newt demonstrated both eloquence and fearlessness in advancing conservative ideas. Although he long ago created an enduring place for himself in American history, I am confident that he will continue to make important contributions to our party and to the life of the nation. Ann and I are proud to call Newt and Callista friends and we look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead as we fight to restore America’s promise.

    Am I too cynical because I think, a month or so down the line, the names of Romney and Gingrich are once again going to be linked, this time in a story with the phrase “retired campaign debt” in its headline?

    Anyway, Shep greeted all this palaver with his opinion that politics are “weird and creepy.” Hard to argue with that, and for being so forthright about it, and for demonstrating while he did so every facial expression possible for a man who seemed to be eating a raw toad, and because his devotion to his alma mater is well-known, we send Ole Shep a resounding cheer.

    Read more:

  18. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 01:13 PM ET, 05/03/2012
    Would Mitt Romney revoke Obama’s executive order banning torture?
    By Greg Sargent

    Torture is back in the news again. The battle between the campaigns over the one-year anniversary of Bin Laden’s death has revived the debate over whether torture led to his killing, and Senate Dems are prepared to release an investigation asserting that it didn’t.

    So the Romney campaign should be asked: As president, would he revoke the executive order that Obama signed on his first day in office, restricting interrogation techniques to those in the Army Field Manual?

    Here’s why this is an important question.

    Yes, it’s true that Romney has criticized Obama in general for banning such techniques in the course of deriding Obama as weak, so it would seem that Romney is implicitly saying he would overturn the executive order. But an actual answer from Romney on whether he would revoke it would be something else entirely.

    This question goes to the heart of how serious Romney is about reviving enhanced interrogation techniques, and whether he’d be able to.

    If Romney really means to revive these techniques as an instrument of U.S. policy, an important first step — symbolically and substantively — would be to revoke that executive order. Theoretically, if there is a terror attack or threat that prompts Romney to greenlight the revival of these techniques, he could do so without first formally revoking the order. But any agency ordered to use these techniques might feel they need a legal rationale for doing so — something that, at a minimum, would require the order to be revoked or at least amended.

    In short, pledging to overturn the executive order is a clear way for Romney to signal he’s serious about restoring enhanced interrogation techniques. If he doesn’t pledge to overturn it, his attacks on Obama as weak — in part because he ended torture — will sound hollow, and he will be leaving a ban on techniques he says are necessary in place.

    Of course, Romney very well may say that he would overturn the executive order. After all, as Ari Berman reports today, Romney’s choice of advisers signals he’d return to the Bush approach to foreign policy, and many of them are probably torture proponents.

    But if Romney does pledge to do this, it would constitute a clear, and newsworthy, statement of intent: President Romney would actively revive the use of techniques that were a hallmark of the Bush approach, and were directly repudiated by Obama — and Romney would be implicitly endorsing Bush’s legal rationale for using them. This would go far beyond merely criticizing Obama for having ended their use.

  19. rikyrah says:

    →The mystery of Marco Rubio & healthcare lobbyist Amber Stoner, Part 2
    Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2010, 10:49 am by GottaLaff

    No sooner do I finish a post about a questionable relationship between candidate for U.S. Senate Marco Rubio and his aide, health care lobbyist Amber Stoner, than another e-mail comes my way.

    Via one of my two sources:

    Ah the love plot thickens:

    Rubio helped her buy a new house, on Terrace St in Tallahassee apparently which I found from her OWN Tweet picture pages here (read the comment below the picture)

    I used Google Street View to identify the house’s address, went to the Leon County Property Appraiser’s database to look up the owner of the house and guess what….they have NO record for that street adress!

    POOF! Vanishing property records. Hmmmm. wonder why?

    Go to Google maps, enter 424 Terrace St. Use street view t see the property. It shows a property line between two properties. If you compare the home on the left to the picture she posted of her soon-to-be new house in the link above, you see they are the same house.

    Here’s a screen grab of Google Maps street view:

    Now, go to the Leon County Property Appraiser’s web site and enter tha address using their Search (for propery records). What did you get? Nothing, right?

    What does it take to make a property record disappear?

    Oh and we know she lives there because of recent tweet from her talking about hearing the Leon High School band from her home. It’s around the corner.

    Also, if you search Leon County Property records using her name or her name & Terrace St, NOTHING comes up.But she claims ownership of home.

    There may be more coming. Stay tuned.

  20. rikyrah says:

    We’re Rubber, You’re Glue
    by BooMan
    Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 01:45:58 PM EST

    For a political attack to really work it was to be truer about your opponent than it is about yourself. That’s why the following makes me laugh:

    Republicans are seeking to portray President Obama as the divider-in-chief, arguing the presidential candidate who trumpeted hope and change four years ago is now running an increasingly negative campaign.
    Their chief argument is that Obama’s attacks on the wealthy are meant to incite class warfare and a heightened us-versus-them mentality never seen before in present day politics.

    But Republicans also point to Democrats’ “war on women” and the contraception mandate in Obama’s healthcare law, which they argue is an attack on religious freedom.

    Even the lead-up to the anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden over the last week was used by a sharp-elbowed Obama to divide the nation, Republicans say.

    Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP nominee, seized on the theme in recent days.

    Let’s think about this. Attacking access to contraception is a direct attack on women. Passing laws to make getting an abortion as humiliating as possible is a direct attack on women. Any suggestion that the president doesn’t deserve credit for getting Usama bin-Laden is so ludicrous that it’s only purpose is to divide the nation. Mitt Romney’s harsh anti-Latino positions divide America. Throwing a national security adviser under the bus because he’s openly gay divides America.

    The president, on the other hand, is merely asking rich people to put some more money in the treasury so we don’t have to go deeper in debt or put ALL of the hardship of budget cuts on the people who utilize government programs and assistance. And that’s pretty much everyone when you consider education and research and development and transportation spending. Rich people got a giant decade-long gift of low tax rates and now the Republicans want everyone but rich people to pay for the resulting debt. How does that not divide the nation?

  21. Ametia says:

    The Real Mad Men: Following The Money Behind Tv Political Ads
    By Amy Goodman

    May Day, Murdoch and the murder of Milly Dowler. What do they have to do with the 2012 U.S. general election? This year’s election will undoubtedly be the most expensive in U.S. history, with some projections topping $5 billion. Not only has the amount of spending increased, but its nature has as well, following the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which allows unlimited spending by corporations, unions and so-called super PACs, all under the banner of “free speech.” This campaign season will unfold amidst a resurgent Occupy Wall Street movement launched globally on May 1, the same day the British Parliament released a report on Rupert Murdoch’s media empire charging that he is “not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.” Now more than ever, people should heed the advice of the famous Watergate source, Deep Throat: “Follow the money.”

    Most money in our elections goes to TV stations to run political advertisements. According to writers Robert McChesney and John Nichols in the Monthly Review, the amount of political ad spending is skyrocketing, such that “factoring for inflation, the 1972 election spent less than 3 percent of what will be spent on TV political ads in the 2012 election cycle.”

    For just one relatively small race, a recent Pennsylvania congressional primary between Democrats, journalist Ken Knelly provided a comprehensive analysis of the local TV news coverage compared with the amount of political ads that ran on the same TV stations. Knelly’s headline says it all: “28 hours of political ads (and a few minutes of news).” More than 3,300 ad spots were run on the stations serving the predominantly Democratic district. Lost in the hours of ads, Knelly writes, was the “very occasional news report on the race,” and he said the reports contained very little substance.

  22. rikyrah says:

    The limits of transactional politics
    By Steve Benen – Thu May 3, 2012 12:38 PM EDT.

    Mitt Romney stopped by a Manhattan fire station on Tuesday with Rudy Giuliani — by pure coincidence, it coincided with the anniversary of the mission that killed Osama bin Laden — and reflected on one of the conversations he had with a firefighter.

    Speaking at a Ritz Carlton fundraiser in a wealthy D.C. suburb, the presumptive GOP nominee said, “I spoke with a fireman yesterday, and he has a one-bedroom apartment, and his wife is pregnant, and he can’t afford a second bedroom. I asked the firefighters I was meeting with, about 15 or them, how many had had to take another job to make ends meet, and almost every one of them had.”

    Jon Chait picked up on the problem with Romney’s rhetoric.

    Well, maybe we should pay them more! Oh, wait — Romney’s position is that these fine public servants are luxuriating in excessive pay, a fact that, unlike swelling income inequality, constitutes a major source of unfairness in American life. (“We will stop the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the taxpayers they serve,” he said last week.)

    This is actually a policy flashpoint between the two parties. Public employment has cratered in recent years, with public sector jobs continuing to decline even as private sector jobs rebound, exerting a continued drag on the sluggish recovery. Obama’s position is that the federal government ought to provide aid to state governments to rehire some of the laid-off teachers, cops, and firefighters. Republicans oppose this. Romney seems to have forgotten that the firefighters he came face-to-face with are one category of Americans whose economic pain he’s supposed to be in favor of.

    Exactly. Obama even devoted a huge chunk of his American Jobs Act to hiring and saving jobs for first responders, like the firefighter Romney talked to on Tuesday. Republicans killed the proposal and Romney opposed the president’s plan.

    The disconnect is a real problem for the former governor (who, incidentally, has a record of laying off firefighters): he wants more public-sector layoffs, as well as pay cuts for public-sector workers, but he also wants to appear sympathetic to struggling first responders who won’t benefit at all from his policy agenda.

    In the bigger picture, this raises an often-overlooked problem for Romney’s larger pitch: his entire platform is a failure of transactional politics.


    Campaign politics, especially at the national level, tends to have a definite transactional quality. A candidate will identify a group of voters and offer to make what is, in effect, a trade — in exchange for your support in the election, the candidate will deliver a policy that will make a material difference in your life.

  23. rikyrah says:

    It’s even worse than it looks
    By Steve Benen – Thu May 3, 2012 11:31 AM EDT.

    We talked earlier in the week about an impressive op-ed from political scientists Tom Mann and Norm Ornstein — celebrated and respected figures of the Washington establishment — who argued, “Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.”

    For Mann and Ornstein, blaming “both sides” for what ails Washington is no longer accurate, and only exacerbates the problems posed by the radicalization of today’s GOP. “When one party moves this far from the mainstream,” they argued, “it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.”

    The thesis comes from a new book from Mann and Ornstein, It’s Even Worse Than It Looks, and nearly as interesting as their op-ed was a review of their book from the Washington Post’s Robert Kaiser (via Kevin Drum).

    Today’s Republican Party has little in common even with Ronald Reagan’s GOP, or with earlier versions that believed in government. Instead it has become “an insurgent outlier — ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition … all but declaring war on the government.” […]

    Mann and Ornstein rightly blame the news media for doing a mediocre job covering the most important political story of the last three decades: the transformation of the Republican Party. They are critical of the conventions of mainstream journalism that lead to the evenhandedness they have now abandoned themselves. They see a “reflexive tendency of many in the mainstream press to use false equivalence to explain outcomes,” when Republican obstructionism and Republican rejection of science and basic facts have no Democratic equivalents. It’s much easier to write stories “that convey an impression that the two sides are equally implicated.” […]

    And now, as Mann and Ornstein document so vividly, at a time when only good government could help us rediscover our footing as a nation, our Grand Old Party defines itself as the party of anti-government. This is why the title of this book is so good: Our situation really is even worse than it looks.

  24. Just what is going on here between” Marco Rubio & healthcare lobbyist Amber Stoner?

    I received a fascinating e-mail last night. It’s from a political insider who asked to remain anonymous. This person had a few questions for candidate for U.S. Senate, Marco Rubio, and his aide (and lobbyist) Amber Stoner.

    I have previously posted about the investigations of Marco Rubio. All our Rubio posts can be found here.

    Now, per another source who lives in Florida, there are ethics rules that cover lobbyists who work for candidates. She says they shouldn’t. But that wasn’t what this e-mail was about:

  25. rikyrah says:

    The reigning ‘I’m rubber, you’re glue’ champion
    By Steve Benen – Thu May 3, 2012 10:10 AM EDT.

    While others perfect their own “I’m rubber, you’re glue” tactics, I continue to believe Karl Rove is in a league of his own. Today, for example, the former Bush/Cheney aide used his Wall Street Journal column to condemn President Obama for politicizing national security. No, seriously.

    Looking back on the 2004 race, Rove said Team Bush offered “simple, positive statements and images” about national security, because he recognized the value of restraint.

    [I]n March 2004, the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign released its first ads. One of them, “Tested,” began with the announcer saying “the last few years have tested America in many ways. Some challenges we’ve seen before. And some were like no others.” During this last sentence, footage of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon appeared. The ads, including this one, were so inoffensive that called them “downright bland.”

    The problem, Rove added, is that Obama and his team don’t realize that sometimes, “less is more.”

    First, this is all a bit rich from the Republican political strategist whose team orchestrated the “Mission Accomplished” fiasco nine years ago this week. As Rachel noted in a segment on Tuesday, “The previous president put on a flight suit, pretended to fly a jet onto the deck of an aircraft carrier that was parked off the coast of San Diego and standing under a banner that read “mission accomplished,” he declared that in the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.”

  26. VOTE …like your life depends on it!

  27. Romney, Bachmann, McDonnell: Turning Back the Clock on Women’s Health

  28. rikyrah says:

    Romney Meets With Conservative Media In Closed-Door Session

    Mitt and Ann Romney spoke with members of the conservative press for two hours in an off-the-record meeting Wednesday in Washington, D.C., reports the Huffington Post. Attendees told HuffPo that the meeting was an “olive branch” to conservative media and an effort to get them on their side and “working with the campaign.” As many as 60 writers attended in person or by phone.

    From HuffPo:

    The attendees came from numerous conservative sites and right-of-center publications, including National Review, Daily Caller, American Spectator, Washington Examiner, Right Wing News, Powerline, Townhall, Ace of Spades, Rhiel World View, White House Dossier, and Pajamas Media. RNC chairman Reince Preibus also attended.

    Romney told attendees that it will be tough getting the campaign’s message across through mainstream media in a general election, presumably because of the assumption shared by conservatives that political journalists are likely to put their thumb on the scale for Obama.

    During a Q&A period, attendees brought up Fast and Furious, the botched U.S. gunrunning sting that conservative outlets have given more attention than the national media, along with concerns that the Romney campaign will continue leaking to establishment outlets, including ABC News and Politico, rather than conservative ones.

    Some conservative journalists left satisfied with what they heard. At one point, Romney told attendees that the campaign intended to work closely with their outlets and will even help conservative outlets writing about Obama with opposition research, according to an attendee.

    • Ametia says:

      Memo to Romne: the media has nothing but contempt for Obama, which is why he has had to move around them to get his accomplishments out to the American people.

      It is you Romney who HAS NO PALATABLE MESSAGE that is for Average AMERICANS. Try another excuse, we arent’ buying this bullshit.

  29. Ametia says:

    My First Summer Job. What’s yours?

    A first summer job can leave an impression that lasts a lifetime. Check out some of these videos of celebrities, Obama Administration officials and White House staffers talking about their first summer jobs.

    See videos of Cecilia Munoz, Jimmy Fallon, & Hilda Solisshare their first jobs.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Chart Of The Day

    A reason Obama wins the youth vote:

    Perhaps because Obama’s strength among young voters was first evident in Iowa, an extremely white state, discussions of race and age are generally held separately. Obama certainly did better among young whites than their parents and grandparents (54% among young whites v. 41% among all other whites), but much of Obama’s exceptional performance among young voters was due to the larger share of non-white voters. Indeed, even if Obama did as poorly among young whites as he did among whites over 30, Obama still would have won 58% of the youth vote. So long as non-white voters continue to offer overwhelming support for Democrats, the youth vote can be expected to offer overwhelming support for Democrats, as well

  31. rikyrah says:

    pieces like these are why I like Smartypants. Always thinking about the long game.


    Thursday, May 3, 2012
    President Obama’s long game strategy with the neocons

    Most of the commentary I’ve seen on President Obama’s speech from Afghanistan focused primarily on how/when he plans to remove troops from that country. As I wrote about previously, the implications of what he said are much more profound than that.

    My fellow Americans, we have traveled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war. Yet here, in the pre-dawn darkness of Afghanistan, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon. The Iraq War is over. The number of our troops in harm’s way has been cut in half, and more will be coming home soon. We have a clear path to fulfill our mission in Afghanistan, while delivering justice to al Qaeda…

    This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.
    The one person who seems to have understood the implications of what the President said is Bill Kristol.

    The most striking sentence of President Obama’s eloquent speech Tuesday night came very near the end: “This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.”

    Would that it were so. Would that it were so that the Sept. 11 attacks marked the beginning of a period whose end is soon approaching. The president thinks this, and the American people would like it to be so…

    But what if the reality is that, from Pakistan in the east to Tunisia in the west, and most visibly now in places such as Iran and Yemen and Somalia — and not just in Afghanistan — we are at war with political Islamism, a movement whose ability to find state sponsors and enablers is not limited to just one country or two?…

    There are, of course, problems with “global war on terror” as a phrase and an organizing principle. But it does capture what we might call the “big” view of 9/11 and its implications.
    So yes, Kristol understood that President Obama was talking about ending what he and the neocons in the Bush administration tried to set up as an endless war against “political Islamism,” otherwise known by them as the “global war on terror.” And they don’t like it one little bit.

    These are the same folks who who saw 9/11 as the opportunity to replace Russia and the Cold War with political Islamism and an endless war against terrorism. The one line in President Obama’s speech that they most likely reacted to the worst was this one:

    As we emerge from a decade of conflict abroad and economic crisis at home, it’s time to renew America — an America where our children live free from fear and have the skills to claim their dreams.
    Fear is all they’ve got…fear of the “other” here at home as well as abroad.

    If President Obama can take that from them by eliminating any threat posed by al Qaeda and finally end this endless war, they’ll having nothing to stand on.

    That’s the long game the President is playing. Mr. Kristol knows it. Over time, I suspect others will wake up to that fact.

    Posted by Smartypants at 8:13 AM

  32. rikyrah says:

    Romney And Latinos

    He spent yesterday trying to bring around the fire-breathing conservative new media. Weird how he seems to be ignoring another critical media constituency entirely:

    A full year after Romney launched his presidential bid, the campaign doesn’t have a Spanish version of its website, nor has it hired a Spanish-speaking spokesperson. Romney boycotted a primary debate on Univision, leading to the event’s collapse, and, to date, he has only done one sit-down interview on a national Spanish network. The apparent apathy has left Latino advocates — and more than a few Republicans — baffled, wondering whether the campaign has already written off one of the fastest-growing demographics in the country.

  33. President Obama Speaks at a Cinco de Mayo Reception
    May 03, 2012 5:00 PM EDT

  34. Get the Facts on Mitt Romney, Big Oil, and the Koch Brothers

  35. rikyrah says:

    Justice slower for black woman than for dog

    It has been 40 days since two men in white collared shirts knocked on Martinez Sutton’s door and told him his 22-year-old sister, Rekia Boyd, had been shot.

    “Are you Martinez Sutton?”

    “Yes. What is the problem?”

    “Are you the brother of Rekia Boyd?”


    “Your sister has been involved in a crime.”

    “What did she do?

    “ ‘She has been shot in the head,’ the man said and handed me a piece of paper,” Sutton told me.

    “This is the place she is at and this is the number you can call,” the detective said, Sutton recalled.

    “Then he said ‘sorry,’ and both detectives turned around and walked away.”

    Two days later, Boyd’s family was forced to take the young woman off life support.

    “Nobody wanted us to say anything about it. People said it was not wise to talk to the media. But every hour there was a report about a 22-year-old girl that got shot in the head,” Sutton said. “I wanted people to know her name and that she wasn’t just any old girl out there.”

    It happened on one of those freakishly warm evenings in March that drove Chicagoans in droves to the lakefront and city parks.

    Boyd and her friends were hanging out at Douglas Park near 15th and Albany when off-duty Police Officer Dante Servin, who lives in the area, allegedly drove up in a BMW and told the group to “shut up all that m—–f—— noise,” Sutton said witnesses told him.

    Antonio Cross yelled back “f— you,” at which point Servin allegedly stuck a gun out of the window and opened fire, wounding Cross in the hand and shooting Boyd in the head.

    Police officials initially claimed Cross had a gun, but no gun was found, and Cross has been charged with aggravated assault, a misdemeanor.

    Forty days later, Sutton still does not know whether Servin will be charged with anything for shooting his sister in the head.

    “Right now we are just waiting for an answer,” Sutton told me. “Everybody has told me that it’s under investigation. We are just playing a waiting game.”

    The family has filed a civil suit against Servin and the city.

    Scott Ando, the first deputy to the chief administrator of the Independent Police Review Authority, describes an investigation into these kind of allegations as “quite a lengthy process.”

    “It really varies greatly and depends on the complexity of the situation and the time it takes the Illinois State Police [to process evidence],” he said.

    According to Ando, the agency has already “done a canvas in the neighborhood, interviewed most of the witnesses in the area and asked for evidence that has been collected.”

    Still, he would not venture a guess about when Sutton might expect answers.

    Revin Fellows, a longtime community activist in Aurora who claims to be related to Boyd, pointed out a strange irony.

    Also during that stretch of warm days, Willy, a Pomeranian Papillon

    • Ametia says:

      Good GRIEF! The Rekia Boyd was shot in the fucking head, and the officers described her as being “INVOLVED IN A CRIME.” See how they worded this? Ms. Boyd was shot, yet she’s being described as though she’s commited a fucking crime.

      Who are these people licensed as detectives and police officers?

      Just another POC shot and dead, NEXT..


  36. U.S. Job Creation Nears Four-Year High

    PRINCETON, NJ — Gallup’s Job Creation Index increased to +20 in April from +18 in March. Net new hiring is now at its best level since July 2008 and is near +26 — the highest score Gallup has recorded since tracking began in January 2008.

  37. Daily Kos ‏ @dailykos:

    First-time unemployment benefit claims make a steep drop

  38. rikyrah says:

    Marco Rubio’s Rivera problem
    By Steve Benen – Thu May 3, 2012 9:13 AM EDT.

    Rep. David Rivera (R-Fla.) hasn’t had it easy lately. The conservative freshman has been investigated by the FBI, IRS, Miami-Dade Police Department’s public corruption unit, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, and Florida Department of Law Enforcement over allegations that he abused his former seat in Florida’s state House of Representatives for personal financial gain and repeatedly lied on financial disclosure forms.

    Not surprisingly, this has left Rivera’s future in politics in doubt. But perhaps the more interesting question is what the congressman’s scandals will do to his close, personal friend, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), whose career is on a very different trajectory.

    Chris Cillizza noted this week, “You can sum up Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s biggest impediment to being chosen vice president in two words: David Rivera.”

    [Fox News’ Bret Baier] pushed Rubio on Rivera, noting that not only is the Florida Senator hosting a D.C. fundraiser for his friend on May 16 but that the two men also co-owned a house together, a house that went into foreclosure.

    Rubio sought to cast the foreclosure issue as a simple misunderstanding; “There was a disagreement with the bank about how much the monthly payments were,” he told Baier, adding: “And it all got confusing.”

    Making the story a little more “confusing” is that Rivera has been accused of misusing campaign donations for personal use, and Rubio has largely admitted to having done the same thing.

    Indeed, the far-right senator was asked this week about using a Republican Party credit card to purchase personal items. Rubio conceded it “looks bad,” and acknowledged, “I shouldn’t have done it that way.”

    • Ametia says:

      Rubio conceded it “looks bad,” and acknowledged, “I shouldn’t have done it that way.”


  39. How Politico can fix its mistake about Obama book

    Dylan Byers, you need to fking apologize. You are a damn disgrace.

  40. 1911 United ‏ @1911united

    We’re are gearing up for the General Election! If you can see this, please take 5 seconds and share this video…

  41. Our President and First Lady Back in the Day

  42. rikyrah says:

    John Edwards’ daughter leaves courtroom crying
    By Michael Biesecker May 2, 2012 2:38PM

    John Edwards’ daughter left the courtroom crying during testimony on Wednesday about a confrontation between her father and deceased mother over the onetime presidential candidate’s extramarital affair.

    Former Edwards aide Christina Reynolds was testifying about an argument Elizabeth Edwards had with her husband on the day in October 2007 that a tabloid published a story about his affair. As Reynolds was beginning the account about what happened at the Raleigh airport, Edwards turned to his daughter Cate, who was seated in the front row.

    “I don’t know what’s coming; do you want to leave?” Edwards was heard asking.

    She responded inaudibly to him, then walked away wiping tears. Edwards was heard saying, “Cate, Cate” as she walked out. Cate Edwards later returned to court after a recess.

    Wednesday’s hearing at the campaign finance corruption trial also included an account from another aide who testified that he repeatedly voiced concerns about the mistress, Rielle Hunter, and later left the Edwards staff after an expletive-laced dressing down from the candidate. The mistress would later have Edwards’ child.

    But the most stirring testimony came from Reynolds, the candidate’s onetime communications adviser who was also a confidante of Elizabeth Edwards. Reynolds recently joined the board of the educational foundation named for Elizabeth Edwards, who died in December of 2010 after a years-long fight with cancer.

    Reynolds told the court that Elizabeth Edwards asked her over to the family’s Chapel Hill home in the summer of 2007 and revealed that her husband had confessed to an affair the previous year. The two women had bonded because they had similar backgrounds in military families.

    The following October, Reynolds testified, she observed a very upset Elizabeth Edwards confront her husband at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on the morning that The National Enquirer published a story about the affair. She stormed off and then collapsed in the parking lot, Reynolds said, and the aide and another staff member helped her into the bathroom of a private hangar.

    After collecting herself, Elizabeth Edwards came back into the hangar, found her husband and began yelling. She then pulled off her shirt and bra, leaving herself bare-chested, Reynolds said.

    “You don’t see me any more,” Reynolds quoted the wife as saying.

    Reynolds said Edwards didn’t show emotion, but that he called his wife’s doctor and asked for help.

  43. Ametia says:


    May 3, 2012 6:32 AM
    House GOP to distribute draft contempt citation against Eric Holder over “gunwalking”

    CBS News) Republicans on the House Oversight Committee were to take the first formal step Thursday toward contempt proceedings against Attorney General Eric Holder over the Fast and Furious “gunwalking” operation, CBS News has learned.

    The case for a citation declaring Holder in contempt will be laid out in a briefing paper and 48-page draft citation distributed to Democrats and Republicans on the committee. CBS News has obtained copies of both documents. In them, Republican members use strong language to accuse Holder of obstructing the committee’s investigation, which is now in its second year.

    The documents allege that the Justice Department has issued, “false denials, given answers intended to misdirect investigators, sought to intimidate witnesses, unlawfully withheld subpoenaed documents, and waited to be confronted with indisputable evidence before acknowledging uncomfortable facts.”

    Gov’t answers CBS News “Fast and Furious” records requests with blank pages
    Republicans prep contempt citation against Holder over Fast and Furious
    ATF let “gunwalking” suspect go after arrest

    “The Justice Department’s demonstrable contempt for the congressional investigation has inflicted harm on the people of two nations seeking the truth – and very pointedly on the family of fallen Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and ATF whistleblowers who now face retaliation in the wake of their own heroic efforts to expose wrongdoing,” says the brief to be distributed Thursday.

  44. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 03:21 PM ET, 05/02/2012

    Could Obama be in good shape for reelection after all?
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    Most prediction systems based on economic and other fundamentals suggest a very close presidential election in 2012. But one forecast by political scientist Larry Bartels, makes Obama a very solid favorite.

    And new research by John Sides and Lynn Vavreck hint that perhaps Bartels is right, and that Obama is in better shape than many assume.

    Bartels finds that poor economic performance in the first year or two of a president’s term isn’t just forgotten (as most models assume), but actually has an inverse relationship with re-election. The better the economy in Year One, the worse the president does three years later. The worse the economy in Year One, the better he does at the polls.

    Is Bartels correct? A new finding reported by Sides and Vavreck supports this. They looked at how presidential approval ratings are related to objective indicators such as the economy, scandal, and important events. They found that two presidents over the years consistently had higher approval ratings than they “should” have had: Ronald Reagan and, yes, Barack Obama. Obama’s approval ratings have been about nine points higher than the economy would indicate.

    What Reagan and Obama have in common is that both took office with the economy in terrible shape. No one else after Franklin Roosevelt inherited similarly terrible conditions. It’s certainly possible that the explanation for generous approval ratings for Reagan and Obama is that voters have been far less likely to penalize them for the economy — or perhaps far more likely to penalize the party that caused the mess — than they normally would have been.

    If that’s true (and other explanations are certainly possible), then it would be consistent with the Bartels model. If people are more generous with approval ratings for presidents who take office when the economy is a wreck, then they might also be more likely to vote for those presidents. Which makes a certain amount of intuitive sense, too.

  45. rikyrah says:

    May 02, 2012 5:30 PM

    “Philosophical Differences”

    By Ed Kilgore

    Last week the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to kill a program that offered states bonuses for doing a better job of enrolling eligible low-income children in the Medicaid and S-CHiP programs. This was part of the House Republican effort to pretend to implement the Ryan Budget Resolution, which was not, of course, actually enacted by Congress. So it pretty clearly represents their priorities.

    In Matt Dobias’ report on the action for Politico, there’s lots of talk from Republicans about how the bonuses undermine tough policing of the programs for possible fraud, and boost costs that states might have trouble covering when the bonuses run out. On the other side of the argument is Ron Pollack of the advocacy group Families USA:

    The whole purpose of the funds is to make sure that children who are eligible based on state-determined standards have an easier time — rather than a harder time — getting enrolled.
    Matt Salo, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors, however, said he sees a broader divide at play.
    “In Congress and across the country, there are philosophical differences about whether public programs should be available to everyone with as little effort as possible,” he said. “And there are others who believe they should be made available, but don’t beat down their doors to force it on them.”

    I’d say the “philosophical differences” run a little deeper than that. Why do we offer health insurance to low-income children? Is it because we just want to do them or their parents a favor? Or is it because giving kids basic health services tends to save an incredible amount of money in the long run, in chronic illnesses that might otherwise be prevented or managed, in expensive emergency room visits they won’t have to make, in costs that the rest of us will eventually bear? Could it even be that we value health as an end in itself, and would like to reduce the number of unnecessary deaths from untreated health conditions? Is it possible we think healthier children produce a healthier, happier, more prosperous country?

    Oh, sorry, I forgot. Anyone sharing that sort of “philosophy” might also see the value of universal health coverage, instead of treating the very idea as a socialist abomination sure to lead to health care rationing and euthanasia. That doesn’t describe our current breed of congressional Republican

  46. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 05:30 PM ET, 05/02/2012 TheWashingtonPost Millions in TV ads, but no poll movement for Scott Walker
    By Greg Sargent

    A new Marquette Law School poll that’s generating lots of chatter today finds that Scott Walker and his most likely recall opponent, Tom Barrett, are in a dead heat, with Barrett edging Walker by 47-46 among registered Wisconsin voters.

    The really important finding here, however, is that Walker’s approval rating, and his head to head numbers with Barrett, have not changed in months — if anything, they’re going down. And this is in spite of the fact that Walker and his allies have vastly outspent rivals in TV ads.

    Charles Franklin, a political scientist and expert in Wisconsin politics who directs the Marquette poll, sends over some numbers.

    In January, Walker’s job approval was 51 percent; in March, it was 50 percent; and this month, it’s 47 percent.

    In January, Walker was leading Barrett 50-44; in March, 47-45; and this month, he trails 46-47. (Among likely voters, Walker leads by a point; all of these findings suggest a mostly unchanging dead heat.)

    “There’s been a great deal of advertising in the state, especially from the Walker campaign and Republican supporters, and we’ve seen virtually no movement in the Walker numbers,” Franklin tells me.

    What’s particularly interesting here is that just yesterday, Walker announced he’d raised a staggering $13 million in three months for the recall fight. But even though he’s likely to outspend his Dem opponent in the home stretch, it’s unclear how much that will matter, because the numbers suggest ads are unlikely to move the needle much going forward.

    This means the race is all going to come down to turnout — the one area where Dems and unions can match Walker in resources and organization, perhaps neutralizing Walker’s ad spending advantage, Franklin says.

    “It won’t take much in voter turnout to tip the race either way,” Franklin says. “You can spend an awful lot of money on advertising and it would be unlikely to change many minds. But the advantages that Democrats and unions have traditionally had in the ground game is certainly an area where they can match Walker’s organization at the very least.”

  47. rikyrah says:

    How Would The GOP Pay For An Extension Of The Bush Tax Cuts?
    They’re not saying. Jonathan Bernstein fumes:

    Republicans are currently blocking the extension of lower student loan interest rates because they insist on cutting a health care fund to pay for its cost. But when it comes to the Bush tax cuts, they continue to believe that no budget offsets are necessary to pay for them. … You really couldn’t ask for clearer evidence that Republicans are not only wholly uninterested in reducing federal budget deficits, but even oppose the whole notion of considering individual spending and taxing decisions in the context of an overall budget.

  48. rikyrah says:

    Anyone here watch Revenge?

    how awesome was last night’s show?


    Emily put a chill down my spine in that final scene.

  49. rikyrah says:

    Rumsfeld still considers himself credible
    By Steve Benen – Thu May 3, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.

    Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has kept a relatively low profile in recent years — leaving office as a reviled national embarrassment tends to leave limited options — but he still works his way into the spotlight from time to time.

    This week, for example, Rumsfeld appeared on Fox News to question President Obama’s claims about the mission that killed Osama bin Laden a year ago. “You mentioned there was a tough decision,” he said. “I don’t think it was a tough decision.”

    There are a few relevant angles to the comments. First, whether the former Pentagon chief understands this or not, the decision facing Obama was far more complex and risky than Republicans chose to believe. Second, if Rumsfeld hadn’t made the wrong call at Tora Bora, the threat posed by the al Qaeda leader would have been eliminated a decade ago.

    But Glenn Thrush highlights another tidbit that seems important: six years ago, the U.S. was poised to launch a raid in Pakistan against al Qaeda, but Rumsfeld called it off. It was, he decided at the time, too risky.

  50. rikyrah says:

    May 02, 2012
    The unthinkable

    Although Ezra Klein concedes that “we can come up with endless hypotheticals,” he precedes that ambiguity with the sweeping, nearly certain assessment that “if President Obama wins reelection, it’s likely that one or both chambers will be controlled by Republicans.”

    What’s disturbing about that passage isn’t so much its grim pessimism in contradiction of its happy premise of Who knows?, but that Klein could likely be right. I confess I cling desperately to the upbeat optimism of Who knows?, however, for much the same reason that comedian Lewis Black doesn’t do jokes about Sarah Palin: his brain, he insists, refuses to acknowledge the towering nihilism of such a witless harpy in American politics.

    My brain rebels at even the foreshadow of another two years–or four–of a Cantor/McConnell-led daycare for the criminally pseudoconservative; two or four more years of infantile dogma and adolescent bullying; two or four more years of grinding, akimbo gridlock–all of which would create an inescapable drag on this groaning economy of ours, soon returning us to 10 percent unemployment (or worse) and vanishing GDP growth, and all of which the criminally pseudoconservative could then blame on sabotaged Democratic policies, just in time for the 2014 and ’16 elections.

    Don’t get me wrong. I find Democratic prescriptions for our weak economy rather anemic themselves, albeit necessarily, at least for the moment. But any alternative to the criminally pseudoconservative is preferable and by comparison looks and sounds positively splendid. What’s more, my brain simply cannot accept–and hey, after all, we’ve six months to go–that even Democrats could be so inept as to lose to a party that openly avows the destruction of America’s most cherished safety nets.

    No, I just can’t bring myself to entertain the horror of what Klein suggests; I won’t panic till I actually see the torrential monstrosity of Citizens United descend all around us, state by state, district by district, television by television.

    For the Democrats do have a plan, right?

  51. rikyrah says:

    Tweety says that Willard’s not interested in politics. and why we should FEAR ROMNEY’S ELECTION:

    • Ametia says:

      Because he will do the BIDDING for GROVER NORQUIST, THE KOCH BROTHERS, and ANYONE ELSE who will help him get his PASTY WHITE ASS in the Oval leather.

  52. rikyrah says:

    Obama Memoirs Cause a Reaction
    by BooMan
    Wed May 2nd, 2012 at 03:35:32 PM EST

    Never mind the faux outrage, the excerpts of David Maraniss’ book are fascinating. Obama’s girlfriends from the 1980’s seem like really intelligent and interesting people. The journal entries are of a much higher caliber than anything I would ever do. The psychological insights into the president are more clear than you might expect. The whole thing is so weird to me.
    It’s the setting, Manhattan in the 1980s. That’s a setting I know so well. I know how things looked, how they smelled. I know what was in the news. That’s when I learned what a city was. That old dirty crime-ridden New York? So many of us flitted in and out of that scene, doing this and that, drinking underage, going to clubs, scoring dime bags in Washington Square Park, working lousy dead-end corporate-starter jobs. My uncle was teaching at Columbia then. He’s still teaching there. My Dad worked there.

    Meanwhile, back home in Princeton, Michelle Robinson was walking past me on Prospect Avenue, hanging at the Third World Center. Her brother was starring on Petey Carill’s awesome basketball team. She’s just a shadow in these journals. She’s the strong black woman at the beginning and end of his relationship with Genevieve Cook:

    Early in Barack’s relationship with Genevieve, he had told her about “his adolescent image of the perfect ideal woman” and how he had searched for her “at the expense of hooking up with available girls.” Who was this ideal woman? Genevieve conjured her in her mind, and it was someone other than herself. She wrote, “I can’t help thinking that what he would really want, be powerfully drawn to, was a woman, very strong, very upright, a fighter, a laugher, well-­experienced—a black woman I keep seeing her as.”

    Thursday, May 23, 1985
    Barack leaving my life—at least as far as being lovers goes. In the same way that the relationship was founded on calculated boundaries and carefully, rationally considered developments, it seems to be ending along coolly considered lines. I read back over the past year in my journals, and see and feel several themes in it all … how from the beginning what I have been most concerned with has been my sense of Barack’s withholding the kind of emotional involvement I was seeking. I guess I hoped time would change things and he’d let go and “fall in love” with me. Now, at this point, I’m left wondering if Barack’s reserve, etc. is not just the time in his life, but, after all, emotional scarring that will make it difficult for him to get involved even after he’s sorted his life through with age and experience.

    Hard to say, as obviously I was not the person that brought infatuation. (That lithe, bubbly, strong black lady is waiting somewhere!)

    Genevieve turned out to be right. Very, very right.

    The threads of the Obamas’ lives swirl around mine like this, which is probably why I was drawn to him in the first place. Princeton, Columbia, New York in the 1980’s, community organizing, Project Vote…

    So many people say that they don’t know who Obama is; that he’s exotic or rootless. I don’t feel that way at all. I grew up with kids from Iran and Ethiopia and Nigeria and the Philippines and all kinds of other places. People I knew traveled all the time, to Europe, to Japan, to China, to Cambodia, to Africa. I even knew the pretentious Ivy League college party scene, and the pretentious living room faculty cocktail party scene, and the Upper West Side post-modernist obsessed drinking party scene. What did Obama think of T.S. Eliot?

    I haven’t read “The Waste Land” for a year, and I never did bother to check all the footnotes. But I will hazard these statements—Eliot contains the same ecstatic vision which runs from Münzer to Yeats. However, he retains a grounding in the social reality/order of his time. Facing what he perceives as a choice between ecstatic chaos and lifeless mechanistic order, he accedes to maintaining a separation of asexual purity and brutal sexual reality. And he wears a stoical face before this. Read his essay on Tradition and the Individual Talent, as well as Four Quartets, when he’s less concerned with depicting moribund Europe, to catch a sense of what I speak. Remember how I said there’s a certain kind of conservatism which I respect more than bourgeois liberalism—Eliot is of this type. Of course, the dichotomy he maintains is reactionary, but it’s due to a deep fatalism, not ignorance. (Counter him with Yeats or Pound, who, arising from the same milieu, opted to support Hitler and Mussolini.) And this fatalism is born out of the relation between fertility and death, which I touched on in my last letter—life feeds on itself. A fatalism I share with the western tradition at times. You seem surprised at Eliot’s irreconcilable ambivalence; don’t you share this ambivalence yourself, Alex?

    Unfortunately, I am familiar with that kind of talk even when people aren’t trying to impress a girl. It’s called being competitively intelligent in a world of sickeningly intelligent people. That’s what I grew up with and nothing could seem more American to me until I stepped out of that milieu and into our more normal communities. I quickly learned that my experience wasn’t typical at all. It was as American as apple pie, but it wasn’t typical.

    Yet, of all the people I’ve known and seen come out of that elite culture, no one has seemed to me better-suited to be president than Barack Obama.

  53. rikyrah says:

    The (New) Largest Medicare Fraud Bust
    Posted on 05/02/2012 at 3:00 pm by JM Ashby
    The Obama Administration is going after healthcare fraud with gusto.

    Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have announced the largest healthcare fraud bust of this administration, surpassing the previous record set in February.

    Washington (CNN) — More than 100 people have been charged and an estimated $450 million in false billings uncovered by federal agents in a nationwide operation that authorities say is the largest bust in recent history.

    Law enforcement sources say the charges were lodged in seven metropolitan areas, capping an investigation of several months into efforts to defraud Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health programs.

    It is the largest of four such sweeps announced during the Obama administration.

    I have nothing more than anecdotal evidence to base the claim on, but I would not be shocked in the slightest to learn a great number of those busted in this nationwide operation were sympathetic and supportive of the campaign to block healthcare reform. Because confronting phony billing is a centerpiece of that reform. And not just the illegal kind.

    The previous record-setting bust of this administration was that of Dr. Jacques Roy, who was accused of over $375 million in phony billing.

  54. Ametia says:


    Under President Obama: Julia is enrolled in a Head Start program to help get her ready for school. Because of steps President Obama has taken to improve programs like this one, Julia joins thousands of students across the country who will start kindergarten ready to learn and succeed.

    Under Mitt Romney: The Romney/Ryan budget could cut programs like Head Start by 20%, meaning the program would offer 200,000 fewer slots per year.

  55. Ametia says:

    Food-safety rules in limbo at Office of Management and Budget
    By Dina ElBoghdady, Published: May 2

    More than a year after President Obama signed a landmark food-safety bill, the key provisions are hung up at a unit of the White House that is in charge of reviewing proposed policy changes.

    The delay at the Office of Management and Budget baffles consumer advocates and industry groups, which joined forces to lobby for passage of the legislation and press for its funding. The united front by this unusual alliance — and the president’s enthusiastic endorsement of the legislation in the past — makes the hold-up especially puzzling.
    In recent letters to the administration, nearly half a dozen groups expressed frustration with the OMB.

    “There’s no explanation for the hold-up,” said Erik Olson, director of food programs at the Pew Health Group, which co-wrote one of the letters with the Grocery Manufacturers Association. “Until this new package of safeguards is put into place, all the promise of the new food-safety law will not be met.”

    OMB officials say the duration of this review is not unusual given the complexity of the regulations. “The administration is working as expeditiously as possible to implement this legislation we fought so hard for,” said Moira Mack, an OMB spokeswoman.

  56. Ametia says:

    Obama’s winning strategy on foreign policy
    By E.J. Dionne Jr., Published: May 2

    We expect some hypocrisy in politics, but it was still jaw-dropping to behold Republicans accusing President Obama of politicizing the anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden. Wasn’t it just eight years ago that the GOP organized an entire presidential campaign — including the choreography of its 2004 national convention — around the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and George W. Bush’s response to them?

    Obama’s opponents don’t just think we have short attention spans. They imagine we have no memories whatsoever.
    Yet very quickly, Mitt Romney and the rest of his party began slinking away from their offensive. It’s true, of course, that Obama played the ultimate presidential trump card. He visited our troops in Afghanistan on Tuesday, the anniversary of the bin Laden raid, and, with military vehicles serving as a rough-hewn backdrop, addressed the nation from the scene of our longest war.

    But the GOP retreat reflected something else as well. For the first time since the early 1960s, the Republican Party enters a presidential campaign at a decided disadvantage on foreign policy. Republicans find it hard to get accustomed to the fact that when they pull their favorite political levers — accusations that Democrats are “weak” or Romney’s persistent and false claims that Obama “apologizes” for America — nothing happens.

  57. First lady Michelle�Obama, left, is escorted by Tech Sgt. Jordan Bishopp upon her arrival at Kirtland Air Force Base, in Albuquerque, N.M. , on Tuesday, May 1, 2012. The visit was the last in a two-day, four-state campaign and fundraising swing through the region

  58. Which Leaders Rock Our World? Drumroll, Please …

    (April 23) — President Barack Obama is still the world’s most respected leader, according to a new six-country poll.

    Released today by France 24 and Radio France Internationale, the Harris Interactive Poll asked 6,135 adults between the ages of 16 and 64 who live in the United States, Britain, France, Italy, Germany or Spain to name their favorite world leaders.

    Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed chose Obama, which is one percentage point higher than when Harris Interactive asked the same question in November.

  59. Good Morning, everyone

    From this

Leave a Reply