Saturday Open Thread

Kool & the Gang are an American jazz, R&B, soul, and funk group, originally formed in 1964 as the Jazziacs based in Jersey City, New Jersey.[1]

They went through several musical phases during the course of their recording career, starting out with a purist jazz sound, then becoming practitioners of R&B and funk, progressing to a smooth pop-funk ensemble, and in the post-millennium creating music with a modern, electro-pop sound.

They have sold over 70 million albums worldwide.

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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34 Responses to Saturday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    ALEC’s Secrets Revealed; Corporations Flee

    On May 11, 2012, about 20 state legislators from 15 oil- and gas-rich states are scheduled to meet in a hotel conference room in Charlotte. Representatives from major energy companies will be there, too. Oil and gas lobbying groups will give presentations to the lawmakers on fossil fuel prices and the need for modernizing the nation’s power grid. But no “lobbying” will take place. What happens in Charlotte will be called education.

    For three decades, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the meeting’s host, has brought together corporations (including Pfizer (PFE), AT&T (T), and ExxonMobil (XOM)) and state legislators to write what it calls model bills—pieces of legislation the industries would like to become law. Often this means protecting favored tax treatment or keeping regulations at bay. ALEC has also approved model bills on social issues, including gun control and voter registration. The bills then get passed around among the 1,800 mostly Republican legislators who are ALEC members. They introduce the model bills about 1,000 times a year in state capitols around the country, the group says. About 200 become law. ALEC pays for the meetings through membership fees (called donations) that corporations pay. The legislators receive travel stipends (called scholarships) to attend the meetings. ALEC is registered with the IRS as a nonprofit that provides a public service, not as a lobbyist that seeks to influence.

    This offers two benefits: Corporate members can deduct yearly dues, which run up to $25,000—more if they want to sponsor meetings; and ALEC doesn’t have to disclose the names of legislators and executives who attend. That’s important, because if ALEC operated with complete openness it would have difficulty operating at all. ALEC has attracted a wide and wealthy range of supporters in part because it’s done its work behind closed doors. Membership lists were secret. The origins of the model bills were secret. Part of ALEC’s mission is to present industry-backed legislation as grass-roots work. If this were to become clear to everyone, there’d be no reason for corporations to use it.

    Unfortunately for ALEC, that’s exactly what’s happening. Last year, government accountability group Common Cause successfully filed Freedom of Information Act requests with state legislators to learn more about their dealings with ALEC. At the same time, someone leaked ALEC’s internal bill library. All told, thousands of pages of internal ALEC documents were put online, including minutes and attendee lists for the last two years of meetings., a civil rights group, discovered in ALEC’s now-public library a model bill for voter ID laws passed by 34 states. The laws’ opponents say they suppress voting by minorities. In December the group began sending letters to ALEC’s corporate members asking how much they valued their minority customers. Since then McDonald’s (MCD), Wendy’s (WEN), Coca-Cola (KO), PepsiCo (PEP), Yum! Brands (YUM), Procter & Gamble (PG), and Intuit (INTU), among others, have stopped donating to ALEC. The corporate departures accelerated after the death of Trayvon Martin: Florida’s so-called stand-your-ground law also sits in ALEC’s model bill library.

  2. rikyrah says:

    CSPAN will re-broadcast the President’s rally in Richmond at 8 p.m. tonight

  3. rikyrah says:

    5 reasons we can never let Mitt Romney become President of the United States

    have only one prediction about the rest of 2012: It will be confusing.

    827,000 private sector jobs have already been created since January 1, 2012. And apparently, we’re supposed to believe this is bad—compared to the 600,000+ were we losing a month when the President took office. Mitt Romney says he’d be creating 500,000 jobs a month. And the only President to ever do that for more than one month was Mitt Romney’s new hero — Jimmy Carter.

    But there is some seriously bad news we have to deal with or we’ll be hoping the Mayans were right: voter registration is down among Hispanics and blacks, core parts of any winning Democratic coalition.

    So first and foremost, register that ass to vote. THEN tell a friend to do the same and pass it on.

    Republicans know they only win if you don’t vote, so they’re making it harder to vote than it is to buy a gun. Online registration is our best way around this.

    So why does this election matter? I’ll boil it down to some essentials.

    1. As President, Mitt Romney will pick at least two Supreme Court Justices.
    The Ginny Thomas Court has already thrown out campaign finance sanity and seems about to crush America’s best hope for universal health care. In the next few years, this same court will likely decide on abortion rights, gay marriage, endless digital privacy issues and more. Romney will appoint Justices as bad or worse than Bush’s choices — Roberts and Alito? Why? Because he’ll have to.

    2. Mitt Romney will have to be more extreme than George W. Bush to avoid a primary challenge in 2016.
    This week Mitt Romney’s campaign accepted the resignation openly gay spokesman, claiming the pressure from the religious right hounded him out. The self-described “yokel” behind that pressure, Bryan J. Fischer, then derided Mitt for buckling. “How will he stand up to North Korea?” The fact is Mitt will stand up to foreign nations in an overly aggressive way because he can’t stand up to his own base. George W. Bush never had to prove his conservative bona fides. Mitt will have to every day he’s in office. That’s why he’ll defund Planned Parenthood and roll back progress for gays and lesbians before the Bryan J. Fischers can even snap their fingers.

    3. Women will pay more for less health care, seniors will pay more for prescription medication and at least 45,000 Americans will die every year for lack of insurance.
    Romney’s key pledge is to repeal ObamaCare. Bam. 30,000,000 Americans who won’t get health care, thousands of kids off their parents’ policies and kids once again denied coverage for pre-existing conditions. Then under the Ryan budget, millions more will lose their Medicaid and everyone on Medicare who is under 55 will pay more for their insurance. The Godfather of Obamacare has to overcompensate to prove he’s an actual Republican and the result will be agony and death for the most vulnerable Americans.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Obama Kicks Off Campaign

    by BooMan
    Sat May 5th, 2012 at 12:44:48 PM EST

    How can you not just bust out laughing at Mitt Romney when you see stuff like this? I mean, it’s hysterical. He’s literally got nothing.

    “Welcome to Ohio,” Mitt Romney told President Obama with more than a dash of sarcasm in an open letter on the eve of Obama’s rally Saturday in Columbus. “I have a simple question for you: Where are the jobs?”

    Romney got an answer to that question last week from Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Campaigning for Romney outside the capital, the Republican governor could hardly have strayed further off message as he painted a bright picture of economic recovery in Ohio just as Romney was trying to do the opposite.

    “We have a website called Ohio Means Jobs and there’s probably about 80,000 jobs listed on there where there are openings,” Kasich told college students meeting with him and Romney.

    “Really?” a student asked in astonishment.

    In scanning the website, Kasich said, “you’re going to find a lot of real exciting opportunities.”

    Kasich is not the only Republican governor whose off-key boasts of a local jobs recovery have undercut the party’s presumptive presidential nominee right before a Romney speech portraying the economy under Obama as dismal.

    Virginia Gov. Bob McConnell offered the latest variation on Thursday as he introduced Romney at a rally in Portsmouth, Va.

    “Welcome to the state with the lowest unemployment rate in the Southeast,” McConnell said.

    As the audience cheered, Romney paused, then smiled and clapped his hands four times.

    “That’s good news,” he muttered, ignoring the head wind that any good news on jobs creates for his campaign in a crucial swing state like Virginia.

    The president is about to take the stage in Columbus, Ohio in front of a crowd that is many times bigger than anything Romney has produced during his whole campaign. Today is the formal kickoff of his reelection campaign. New slogan: Forward.

    Let’s see how this marketing campaign goes. It’s looking pretty slick so far

  5. President Obama’s Ohio Rally to begin shortly on Livestream:

  6. 2012 Kentucky Derby: Picks And Predictions

    The 2012 Kentucky Derby is Saturday. Our horse racing expert makes his picks and predictions for the race.

    • Ametia says:

      I’ll Have Another, ridden by Mario Gutierrez, has won the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby from the 19th post position

  7. Theres a pop-up shop for Obama 2012 gear onsite, but never fear, livestreamers—you can stock up at the online store: http://OFA.BO/4oVod1

  8. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s Wonderful Town
    Published: May 4, 201

    Barack Obama barely mentions his New York years in his autobiography, “Dreams From My Father.” I have always wanted to know more, ever since I learned that in 1981, when he was a student at Columbia, we lived within a few blocks of each other. Also, we patronized the same diner, and his first book editor was the editor of one of my books. So, really, we are practically the same person.

    This is not to be confused with the curiosity of, say, Donald Trump, who — during his pseudopresidential campaign — subjected Obama’s Columbia degree to the same keen intellectual scrutiny as the birth certificate. (“The people that went to school with him, they never saw him. They don’t know who he is. It’s crazy.”)

    I am bringing all this up because Vanity Fair has just published an interesting excerpt from a forthcoming Obama biography by David Maraniss. It includes interviews with two former girlfriends from the New York period.

    Admit it, everybody likes a good girlfriend story.

    There has always been some curiosity about the president’s pre-Michelle love life. Obama briefly described one unnamed romantic interest in “Dreams From My Father,” who turns out to be a composite of a couple of women, including a New Yorker named Genevieve Cook.

    If I were just starting out in life, I think one of my goals would be to become a composite girlfriend of a future president. You get a part in the story, but there’s really not all that much pressure.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Mitch McConnell tells the SCOTUS to Reaffirm Citizens United

    By: Adalia WoodburyMay 3, 2012

    Senator Mitch McConnell is looking to influence the Supreme Court when it reconsiders the Citizens’ United because we all know just how well Citizens United leveled the playing field for the oppressed corporations in America.

    Yes, Citizens United, which reversed decades of precedent on spending limits for corporations and unions alike. McConnell is reacting to the SCOTUS decision to reconsider the ruling in light of a ruling by the Montana Supreme Court in American Tradition Partnership, et al, v. Bullock, et al.

    In short, the Montana Supreme Court’s 5-2 ruling defies Citizens’ United and therefore set the stage for the SCOTUS to reconsider Citizens’ United. The Montana Supreme Court’s Chief Justice, Mike McGrath, wrote the Court’s opinion which makes the following observation about the implications of Citizens’ United:

    “The truth is that corporations wield inordinate power in Congress and in state legislatures. It is hard to tell where government ends and corporate America begins; the transition is seamless and overlapping. In my view, Citizens United has turned the First Amendment’s “open marketplace” of ideas into an auction house for Friedmanian15 corporatists. Freedom of speech is now synonymous with freedom to spend. Speech equals money; money equals democracy. This decidedly was not the view of the constitutional founders, who favored the preeminence of individual interests over those of big business. Citizens United, 130”

    Certainly, the court’s opinion coincides with reality and the views expressed by critics of Citizens United. In particular, it coincides with decades of precedent, that is before the Roberts Court ruled on Citizens’ United. But hey, why let a little precedent get between unfettered campaign financing by corporations? But the very reasons the court in Montana opposed Citizens United, in terms of state law, are the very reasons McConnell applauds that decision.

    The fallout from this decision has included among other things, a war on unions by conservative governors (most notably Scott Walker of Wisconsin) and conservative controlled legislatures with the enthusiasm of a kid let loose in a candy shop.

    It’s more than a little challenging to avoid seeing the quid quo pro in the room. With today’s call for a reaffirmation of Citizens’ United, Senator McConnell painted that quid quo pro candy apple red.

    Reaffirmation of Citizens’ United combined with the assault on Unions would give the corporatist Republicans a structural financial advantage over Americans who work for a living.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Obama Campaign Crushes Romney with War on Women Ad

    By: Sarah JonesMay 3, 2012

    Mitt Romney is pallin’ around with transvaginal ultrasound pushers.

    The Republicans are making this sooo easy. Mitt Romney’s top surrogate in Pennsylvania is the man who told women to “just close your eyes” during a transvaginal ultrasound. You want some painful, small government up your vagina and in your doctor’s office? Vote Romney!

    Mitt Romney shares a lot of Governor Tom Corbett’s “ideas” about women’s rights and today, Romney is “proud” of Corbett’s endorsement.

    Just close your eyes.

    The Obama campaign came out shouting on this issue tonight. All they had to do was put Romney’s quote of being so proud of Corbett’s endorsement next to a quote of Corbett’s and they were done. That’s it. That’s the ad (see above).

    No need to lie, no need for fancy spin. They reminded voters, “President Obama, however, said of the GOP’s assault on women’s rights: ‘When it comes to what’s going on out there, you’re not going to close your eyes. Women across America aren’t closing their eyes. As long as I’m President, I won’t either.’”

    Those aren’t just words, because this President has done more for women’s rights than any president in modern history, starting with his first few days in office, signing the Lily Ledbetter Act. Obama chose Joe Biden as his VP, and Joe has a strong history defending women’s rights and advocating for bills that protect women from domestic violence. Obama chose Hillary Clinton as his SOS, and she takes her advocacy for women’s rights and freedom around the world as she represents the United States.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Media Goes Silent as Gas Prices Fall After Obama Crack Down On Oil Speculation

    By: Jason EasleyMay 4, 2012′

    The media and the Republicans were happy to blame President Obama for the high price of gasoline in March, but they are giving Obama none of the credit for the drop in gas prices today.

    It seems like only yesterday that the GOP and their corporate media lackeys were telling us that gas prices would ruin Obama, but they have gone silent as gas prices have fallen since Obama announced his administration’s crackdown on oil speculation.

    As recently as last month, Mitt Romney was still blaming President Obama for the price of gas, “He gets full credit or blame for what’s happened to this economy and what’s happened to gasoline prices under his watch and what’s happened to our schools and what’s happened to our military forces — all these things are his responsibility while he’s president.”

    Speaker of the House John Boehner went as far as to claim that gas prices could cost Obama the election, “But if the economy doesn’t get better, I don’t think he’ll win. If people don’t feel better about government-run health care, I don’t think he’ll win. And if gas prices are $5 or $6, he certainly isn’t going to win.”

    The media was happy to give the Republicans a free forum and plenty of airtime to use to blame Obama for gas prices, but on April 17 Obama called for a crackdown on oil speculation, “We can’t afford a situation where speculators artificially manipulate markets by buying up oil, creating the perception of a shortage, and driving prices higher, only to flip the oil for a quick profit. We can’t afford the situation where some speculators can reap millions (of dollars in profits), while millions of American families get the short end of the stick. That’s not the way the market should work.”

    Since Obama announced his crackdown on oil speculation, gas prices have fallen twelve cents a gallon. The media response to this news has been total silence. (I guess if Republicans don’t have anything to say then there is nothing for the corporate media to report).

    There are a couple of other factors at play that have also driven the price of gas down. Speculators had been running wild in February and March. They were betting that war with Iran was on horizon. When Israel or the international community did not take any military action against Iran, prices decreased. The other shoe to drop was that savvy U.S. drivers quickly decreased their consumption. When prices got too high, people started driving less. People have more fuel efficient vehicles that need less fuel. The hybrid has replaced the gas guzzling SUV as America’s car of choice. Better technology has made it easier for consumers to fight back against price gouging and speculation.

    • Ametia says:

      *CRICKETS* from the media. CNN is covering the nonsense about that Genevieve woman and PBO. Wolf blitzer is lickin his chops. MOFOs WOULD NOT over the OHIO OR THE VA POTUS rallies though FUCK THEM!

  12. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney’s Neocon War Cabinet
    Ari Berman
    May 2, 2012

    Romney is loath to mention Bush on the campaign trail, for obvious reasons, but today they sound like ideological soul mates on foreign policy. Listening to Romney, you’d never know that Bush left office bogged down by two unpopular wars that cost America dearly in blood and treasure. Of Romney’s forty identified foreign policy advisers, more than 70 percent worked for Bush. Many hail from the neoconservative wing of the party, were enthusiastic backers of the Iraq War and are proponents of a US or Israeli attack on Iran. Christopher Preble, a foreign policy expert at the Cato Institute, says, “Romney’s likely to be in the mold of George W. Bush when it comes to foreign policy if he were elected.” On some key issues, like Iran, Romney and his team are to the right of Bush. Romney’s embrace of the neoconservative cause—even if done cynically to woo the right—could turn into a policy nightmare if he becomes president.

    If we take the candidate at his word, a Romney presidency would move toward war against Iran; closely align Washington with the Israeli right; leave troops in Afghanistan at least until 2014 and refuse to negotiate with the Taliban; reset the Obama administration’s “reset” with Russia; and pursue a Reagan-like military buildup at home. The Washington Monthly dubbed Romney’s foreign policy vision the “more enemies, fewer friends” doctrine, which is chillingly reminiscent of the world Obama inherited from Bush.

    In March the Rev. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention told the Romney campaign it could win over “recalcitrant conservatives,” reported the Washington Post, by “previewing a few Cabinet selections: Santorum as attorney general, Gingrich as ambassador to the United Nations and John Bolton as secretary of state.” That suggestion, which might seem ludicrous, not to mention terrifying, is more plausible than one might think.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Romney To Troll For Attention at Obama Campaign Events

    By: Sarah JonesMay 4, 2012

    The Romney campaign has decided their best hope of being noticed is to crash Obama campaign events and hope to cause a disruption.

    Yes, this brilliant strategy of ride the coat tails of the popular guy is being called “rush the quarterback” because even the Romney campaign knows that Obama is the QB and Romney is just sitting on the bench thinking about how he coulda been a contender.

    Yahoo reports:

    At Ohio State University in Columbus, where Obama is set to speak around 1:25 p.m. ET on Saturday, Romney aides are planning to circle the candidate’s campaign bus. The campaign will also set up a phone banking operation staffed by Romney supporters and volunteers in a parking lot near the rally site at Ohio State.

    The campaign is also planning to dispatch staff and local surrogates to Obama’s rally at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, where the president is expected to speak at 4:35 p.m. ET.

    After both events, Romney supporters will deliver a “response” to the president’s remarks.

    The Romney campaign says they will continue to “bracket” Obama events by publishing op-eds and holding press conferences with ultra-sound pushers like Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell of “Confederate History Month”, because nothing says big tent and popular like hanging out with the extremists of your own party.

    Poor Bob has seen his approval ratings dip five points in a March Quinnipiac poll after his state was pushing medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds for women. Finally the Governor relented and permitted us women to only be subjected to an unnecessary abdominal ultrasound. So small government of him! Course Bob is angling for that Veep job, and women of America are holding their breath to see just what kind of civil liberty lovin’, small government conservative Romney picks to curry favor with the extremists.

    If the Romney campaign is banking on this Tea Party Alinsky tactic to work as well on Obama as it did Santorum and Gingrich, they’re going to be sadly mistaken. The President is used to being trolled by loudmouth extremists; he’s been the target of Republicans for three years now and counting. The Romney campaign can thank big daddy Koch Brothers for giving Obama all of the practice in the world dealing with the disrupt and hijack tactics of the Right.

  14. rikyrah says:

    By Brad Friedman on 5/4/2012 3:44pm
    GOP Voter Registration Firm Turns in Thousands of ‘Invalid’ Registration Forms in California
    Long history of Republican registration fraud continues, dwarfs allegations against ACORN workers…

    You’re unlikely to hear a peep about this on Fox “News” (unless they happen to have me on), but the California Secretary of State’s Election Fraud Division is now reportedly investigating a firmed hired by the Sacramento County Republican Party said to have submitted thousands of fraudulent voter registration forms.

    According to a report today from Sacramento ABC affiliate News10 [see video posted below], a private, for-profit firm calling itself Momentum Political Services, hired by the local Republican Party “to boost GOP registration ranks in key battleground communities” has turned in more than 3,100 hundred invalid voter registration cards during their recent drive.

    Voter registration forms have allegedly been turned in with fake addresses, voter names that don’t exist, duplicate Social Security numbers, and party affiliations that seem to have been changed “by someone” to Republican. The head of the firm has admitted she has hired workers with criminal backgrounds, as found via Craigslist.

    The charges of serial voter registration fraud sound very similar to those leveled in 2008 against another outfit hired by the California State GOP to register Republican voters before that year’s Presidential election. In that case, the head of the firm was arrested, and eventually pleaded guilty to voter registration charges himself.

    In 2006, another firm hired by the CA Republican Party turned in thousands of registration forms with fake names and an error rate as high as 60 percent. And in 2004, a firm hired by the GOP was investigated in a number of states for shredding Democratic voter registrations and tossing them into dumpsters. Despite those allegations, the same folks were later hired by the McCain/Palin campaign in 2008 to run voter registration drives before the Presidential election.

    Of course, you probably haven’t heard of any of those stories, even while you’ve heard plenty about a handful of ACORN workers — no actual ACORN officials, mind you, and they were never hired by the Democratic Party, and never led to a fraudulent vote — turning in fraudulent registration forms in past years.

    But nobody who ever worked for the non-profit ACORN has ever been accused of what these Republican firms continue to do on behalf of the Republican officials who hire them, paying them per Republican registration, year after year, as is once again apparent in the allegations surfacing today against Momentum Political Services…

    Thousands of Fraudulent Applications

    News10 reports that Sacramento County election officials began noticing “invalid voter registration cards at much higher rates than previous for-profit registration drives.” Once election officials began tracking the cards coming in from Momentum Political Services, they found that “44 percent of all invalid voter registration cards in the county came from just one company.”
    The company is Sacramento-based Momentum Political Services, a small operation that hires independent contractors to fan out across the region and register voters. In many cases, those contractors also circulate petitions for ballot initiatives, and often register citizens at the same time they enlist a signature in support of one or more initiatives.

    State and federal campaign records show Momentum was paid some $49,000 by the Sacramento County Republican Party to boost GOP registration ranks in key battleground communities.

    Sacramento County elections officials put the tally of invalid cards submitted by Momentum Political Services at more than 3,100.

    In some instances, cards were submitted with street numbers or names that can’t be found. In others, the voters themselves don’t appear to exist, as formal county registration letters come back undeliverable. Officials said a number of cards were also submitted for individual voters who not only couldn’t be located, but who also all had the same last four Social Security digits.

    And in some instances, the voter’s party affiliation appears to have been changed, by someone, to Republican.

    “The circulator signed in blue ink, and it just happens that the party is checked in a blue ink,” said [Sacramento County registrar of voters Jill] LaVine during an examination of one suspicious card. “The voter did the rest [of the card] in black ink.”

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