Sunday Open Thread

Good Morning. Enjoy these joyful songs by the late Donna Summer. Thank you, Ms. Summer, for the wonderful music, whatever genre.

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58 Responses to Sunday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Robin Gibb, Member of Bee Gees, Died at 62

    May 20, 2012

    Robin Gibb, one of the founding member of the Bee Gees, along with his brothers Barry and Maurice, has died of at age 62.

    “The family of Robin Gibb, of the Bee Gees, announce with great sadness that Robin passed away today following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery. The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time,” family spokesman Doug Wright said.

    The singer, songwriter and disco icon waged a brave battle against colon and liver cancer.

  2. Ametia says:

    Robin Gibb, one of three brothers who made up the disco group The Bee Gees, died on Sunday, according to a statement on his website.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Obama Goes to War With Romney on Vets’ Issues

    By: Jenée Desmond-Harris | Posted: May 17, 2012

    President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign has launched Veterans & Military Families for Obama, a “campaign within a campaign” to tout the president’s commitment to these groups — and to draw stark distinctions between his record on related issues and those of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

    “It really seems like Romney just doesn’t care about our community,” said Rob Diamond, the Obama campaign’s outreach director for veterans and military families, in a conference call with reporters today. Romney, he said, cut veterans services as governor of Massachusetts and supports a House GOP budget that would “slash” veterans funding by $11 billion.

    Republicans struck back, with Virginia Rep. Randy Forbes saying that the troops returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are struggling to find jobs and are waiting too long to receive disability claims and mental-health services; he also said that there is “absolutely no matrix, no calculation you could use, that would lead you to believe that Obama’s policies have not failed veterans and military families.”

    Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, the nation’s highest-ranking elected official to have served a tour of duty in Iraq, and Sgt. Maj. John Estrada, the second African American to obtain this rank, explained their stakes in the effort to re-elect the president on a call with reporters.

    “I’m very excited about the re-election of President Obama and the reception in the veteran’s community … what I hear, what I feel, what I sense in this community is that we’ve got a president with a very strong commitment to veterans and military families … I’m really excited that we’re going to build on the president’s success from 2008,” Brown said.

    Estrada praised the president’s delivery on the campaign promise to arrange for electronic exchange of records between Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense to decrease the delay in veterans’ receipt of benefits. “We no longer have veterans who wait so long that some of them end up passing away without getting their benefits,” he said. “I think that’s a true sign of a great leader.”

    Obama is planning to travel to 16 states over the next few weeks and participate in outreach events including phone banks, house parties and press conferences to reach military voters.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Will Right-Wing Super PAC Topple Rangel?
    After funding primary upsets in both parties, a right-wing group is taking aim at the New York lawmaker.

    By: Edmund Newton | Posted: May 18, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    A ham-handed attempt by a super PAC to shake things up in the Democratic primary in New York’s 13th congressional district has raised charges of “conspiracy” and outside meddling from supporters of longtime incumbent Charles Rangel.

    The funding group, Campaign for Primary Accountability, says that it intends to throw its weight — and money — behind Rangel’s main challenger, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat. Principal donors to the PAC — which says its focus is on ousting entrenched congressional incumbents, regardless of political party or ideological bent, who seldom get challenged in primary elections — are conservative Republicans, including a bevy of Texas businessmen and financiers.

    A spokesman for Espaillat, a liberal Democrat who has served in the New York State Senate for 14 years, said that his candidate had no prior knowledge of the group’s involvement in the campaign. “Senator Espaillat’s campaign has no information about this or any other PAC’s decision to target Congressman Rangel for defeat,” said Ibrahim Khan. The primary is scheduled for June 26.

    Rangel’s campaign manager, Moises Perez, says that the super PAC is a front for “Texas right-wingers” who have a vendetta against the congressman. Rangel, who has represented Harlem and much of upper Manhattan in Congress for 41 years, has been outspoken in support of liberal causes, such as increased aid to veterans, economic programs to assist beleaguered cities and the Obama health care program.

    Super PAC spokesman Curtis Ellis describes it as “the equalizer,” seeking to balance the scales in primary elections where longtime incumbents like Rangel often receive little or no opposition from members of their own parties. “We’re working to increase participation by voters, to inform them of how important it is to vote in a primary,” Ellis says. “The incumbents have all the advantages in the primary, with access to lobbyists, corporate donations and money from PACs.”

    He adds that Rangel, having been in office for so long, has the additional advantage of widespread “name recognition.”

    “Everybody over the age of 12 has heard the name of Charles Rangel,” Ellis says.

  5. Ametia says:

    This POS, right here:

  6. Ametia says:

    PHOTOS: FLOTUS with NATO eaders’ spouses at the Gary Comer Youth Center in Chicago

  7. rikyrah says:

    Vanderbilt poll: Obama closes gap with Romney
    Tennesseans don’t like focus of legislature

    President Barack Obama has pulled into a virtual tie with presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in traditionally conservative Tennessee, according to a new Vanderbilt University pol..

    The poll also found that Tennesseans weren’t thrilled with the Republican-led General Assembly’s frequent focus on social, cultural and religious issues this year. But Republican Gov. Bill Haslam managed to remain above the fray, winning approval from 61 percent of poll participants.

    “Tennessee is clearly a red state,” said John Geer, a professor of political science at Vanderbilt. “But these data show that the public is much more moderate than our state legislature.”

    The poll of 1,002 Tennessee residents who are 18 and older found 42 percent would vote for Romney and 41 percent for Obama if the election were held now. The survey, conducted May 2-9 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International for Vanderbilt, had a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

    Geer cautioned that the registered voters among the poll participants favored Romney by a larger margin, with 47 percent saying they would vote for the former Massachusetts governor and 40 percent for Obama. He said that’s a more likely outcome in November.

    “It’s not that close a race,” Geer said, predicting Romney would prevail with little trouble. “I suspect a lot of hard-core conservatives are still getting used to the idea of Romney as the nominee, and by the time the general election comes along, they’ll be in lock step with Romney. But right now there’s a small chunk that are still being cautious.”

  8. Ametia says:

    Here’s the difference: The President’s plan would cut the deficit by over $4 trillion, making $2.50 in spending cuts for every $1 in revenue increases, while asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share and eliminating special tax breaks for oil and gas companies—and it would still maintain key investments in education, infrastructure, job training, research and care for our veterans. Independent analysts at the Congressional Budget Office have shown that the President’s plan would result in deficits that fall over time and stabilize the debt as a share of GDP.

  9. Ametia says:


    Reports surfaced this week about a plan drafted by top Republican strategists to spend $10 million on inflammatory TV ads against the President, evoking Rev. Jeremiah Wright and images of the September 11th attacks to show what these strategists crafted as “the truth,” but what really is their divisive slime presented as the President’s plan to destroy America.

    The authors of the report are upset that voters “still aren’t ready to hate this president” and they’re apparently willing to go to appalling lengths to tear down the President and elect Mitt Romney. These kinds of hate-filled attacks are exactly why folks like you on the Truth Team are so crucial. Check out the blog post from our campaign manager Jim Messina and share it around:

  10. rikyrah says:

    Sunday, May 20, 2012 01:05 PM CDT
    Cory Booker, surrogate from hell
    What Cory Booker has to gain by calling President Obama’s attacks on Bain Capital “nauseating”
    By Steve Kornacki

    If Cory Booker went on “Meet the Press” on Sunday with the intent of helping President Obama, then his appearance was an utter failure. But anyone who’s followed the enormously ambitious Newark mayor’s career closely knows he’s not one to pull a Joe Biden. He’s just too smart and too smooth to screw up so epically.

    More likely, Booker went on the show to help himself and to advance his own long-term political prospects. And on that score, his appearance was a success.

    You’ve probably seen or are now seeing the headlines Booker generated by calling the Obama campaign’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s private equity background “nauseating” and likening them to efforts by some on the right to inject Rev. Jeremiah Wright into the campaign.

    “Enough is enough,” Booker said. “Stop attacking private equity. Stop attacking Jeremiah Wright.”

    He added: “I have to just say from a very personal level, I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity. To me, it’s just we’re getting to a ridiculous point in America. Especially that I know I live in a state where pension funds, unions and other people invest in companies like Bain Capital. If you look at the totality of Bain Capital’s record, they’ve done a lot to support businesses, to grow businesses. And this, to me — I’m very uncomfortable with.”

    Playing up Romney’s Bain record is, of course, central to Obama’s general election plan. Romney is running as a business-savvy “job creator” and relying on the public’s tendency to associate private sector success with economic competence. There is no overstating how vital it is for Obama and his campaign to break that link, and to establish that Romney’s real expertise is in making investors rich – not adding jobs and improving the quality of life for middle class workers.

    In belittling this strategy, Booker isn’t just breaking with Obama, he’s breaking with just about everyone who’s ever run against Romney – including Ted Kennedy, who used criticisms of Bain’s treatment of workers to pull away from Romney in their 1994 Senate race. Essentially, Kennedy created the blueprint that Obama is now using. Booker is also providing Republicans with a dream talking point: A top Obama surrogate not only disapproves of Obama’s use of Bain, he finds it nauseating!

    It wouldn’t be surprising if Booker has already heard from the White House, and surely he’s now in for a world of abuse from Obama supporters. But that hardly means he made a mistake, at least in terms of his own ambition. Financial support from Wall Street and, more broadly speaking, the investor class has been key to Booker’s rise, and remains key to his future dreams.

    It’s easy to forget, but before the world met Barack Obama in 2004, many believed that the first black president would be Booker. Armed with Stanford, Yale and Oxford degrees and all of the invaluable personal connections he forged at those institutions, he set out in the mid-1990s to craft a uniquely appealing political biography, swearing off lucrative job offers to move to Newark’s Central Ward and take up residence in public housing. Within a few years, he won a seat on the City Council, where he showed an early and consistent knack for self-generated publicity, most notably with a ten-day hunger strike in the summer of 1999.

    That set the stage for Booker’s 2002 race for mayor, an ugly contest against incumbent Sharpe James, an entrenched icon of the city’s civil rights generation of black politicians. James, as any self-respecting Newark mayor would do, leveraged his clout for campaign contributions from city workers, vendors and those who aspired to be city workers and vendors.

    Booker, meanwhile, had hardly lost touch with his old classmates, keeping one foot in Newark and the other in Manhattan, where he built on the connections to elite donors that he already had. He called the millions of dollars he raised for the race “love money.” The press – and James’ campaign – took note that almost all of it was from outside Newark, nearly half of it was from outside New Jersey, and a quarter of it came directly from Wall Street.

  11. rikyrah says:

    ok, watching a guilty pleasure – anyone else love School Ties with Brendan Fraser ?

    • Ametia says:

      Yes; I loved Brendan Fraser in School Ties. Antisemitism in a Prep school int he 1950s. Has a familiar ring today, doesn’t it? Just finished watching “Unfaithful” with Richard Gere and Diane Lane.

    • Ametia says:

      IF you google for the video , you’ll get the slanted FOX FAN’s version, such as the one above, where the id-git cut off the segment before Mr. Goosbee could respond to Mr. Paul “Eddie Munster” Ryan.


      Ryan, Goolsbee debate Obama, Romney economic records
      Published May 20, 2012 | Fox News Sunday | Chris Wallace

      Special Guests: Rep. Paul Ryan, Austan Goolsbee

      We’ll have a debate over the Obama and Romney record on jobs and their ideas to get the country back on track. Republican House Budget Chair Paul Ryan faces off against Austan Goolsbee, former head of the president’s Council of Economic Advisors.

      Ryan versus Goolsbee, only on “Fox News Sunday.”

      And, there are faces of financial crisis. We’ll ask our Sunday panel if President Obama can use the summits this weekend to find a solution.

      And our Power Player of the Week. A star figure skater making a name for herself off of the ice.

      All right now on “Fox News Sunday.”


      WALLACE: And hello, again, from Fox News in Washington.

      The Obama and Romney campaigns battle this week over who has the better plan to get Americans back to work. We want to continue that debate today with top advisers from both candidates.

      From Wisconsin, Republican Paul Ryan as chairman of the House Budget Committee. From Chicago, Austan Goolsbee is former chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisors.

      And, gentlemen, welcome back to “Fox News Sunday.”

      REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WIS.: Thank you.


      WALLACE: This week, the Obama campaign launched the attack on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capitol and told the story of a steel mill in Kansas City that went bankrupt in 2001, laying off 750 workers. Let’s take a look.


      JACK COBB, STEELWORKER: They came in and sucked the life out of us.

      UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was like watching an old friend bleed to death.

      UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bain Capital walked away with a lot of money that they made off of this planet. We view Mitt Romney as a job destroyer.


      WALLACE: And Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter followed up with this, “The goal of Romney economics has always been about wealth creation, not job creation. It’s wealth creation for a handful of investors, like Mitt Romney, not about creating jobs for everyone else.”

      Mr. Goolsbee, can you tell me a major CEO in this country that doesn’t see the main job as creator wealth for his investors?

      GOOLSBEE: I don’t know the answer to that. I think that when I saw Stephanie Cutter’s statement, it was in response to one of the Bain Capital partners who that said, our was job creation for the investors.

      WALLACE: That is for every CEO?

      GOOLSBEE: Well, this business is slightly different. And I would refer to this ad not so much as an attack, as a response. I mean, Governor Mitt Romney has been running for president really for six years and over the last six years consistently said that his main qualification to be president is his business experience. And then when there starts to be some examination of what did he do when he was running that business, they get very defensive and don’t want to discuss. And I don’t think —

      WALLACE: But do you see anything —


      GOOLSBEE: They ought to open the records and —

      WALLACE: But let me just ask you, sir, do you see anything wrong with what Bain Capital did, and what lots of money, millions of dollars into this steel industry, the time when the steel was in trouble, what’s wrong with that?

      GOOLSBEE: Well, it depends on how they did it. And as I say, they ought to turn over the annual records of the company.

      If you want to establish they did not have kind of a leverage buy out mentality of pulling the resources out of the company — turn over the records and let the people see what the business record was. Don’t just pick two or three companies that are the success stories and say look at these because that invites the ones that went wrong.

      In this case, the company did horribly but the investors did great. So, I think it’s a little bit different than a normal investor philosophy which if we can turn the company around in a positive way, we benefit. This was the case where they canceled the pension, they drove the company into the ground but the investors from Bain actually profited a great deal.

      WALLACE: Let me follow up with Congressman Paul Ryan.

      Because the Obama campaign says the point of Romney economics is to make money for Bain, to make money for their investors, even if all of the workers get wiped out. And in this particular case, with the steel mill in Kansas City, the workers and that plant went bankrupt. The 750 workers were laid off and Bain did make millions of dollars in profits.

      RYAN: You know what’s ironic about this, Chris, Mitt Romney was running the Olympics during this time. He wasn’t even running Bain during the time period in question.

      I think the individual if I’m not mistaken who was running Bain is a big Obama contributor.

      But for the point, Chris, what Bain did was they used private capital to help struggling businesses. What President Obama is doing is he’s gambling with taxpayer money and giving money to corporate contributors, to campaign contributors like Solyndra and he’s losing taxpayer money.

      So, what we have in the Obama administration is this crony capitalism, this corporate welfare where President Obama thinks it’s right that we taxpayer dollars to give to private companies and take bets on these private companies. That’s wrong.

      What is right is a private sector that you have risked that capital. You put capital in businesses whether they’re struggling or not to try and grow those businesses, some succeed, some don’t. On the net, when on Mitt Romney ran Bain, they were very successful. They created thousands of jobs, great success stories.

      Read more:

  12. Ametia says:

    David Axelrod: Romney ‘Tepid’ In Condemning Rev. Wright Attacks, Should ‘Refute’ Super PAC
    by Josh Feldman | 12:03 pm, May 20th, 2012

    Crowley asked Axelrod if Obama’s reelection team believes that Romney’s Mormonism is “off the table.” Axelrod immediately said they were, and then did a complete pivot to call on Romney to condemn the Wright attacks.

    “We’ve said [Romney’s faith is] not fair game, and we wish that Governor Romney would stand up as strongly and as resolutely, consistently, to refute these kinds of things on his side. Instead, he’s amplified them in the past and he’s put logs on that fire and that’s not leadership.”

    Crowley reminded Axelrod that Romney did, in fact, condemn the Super PAC for trying to drudge up Wright, which Axelrod dismissed as a “tepid” response. Crowley brought up a fundraising letter made by the campaign to capitalize on outrage over the Wright attacks, and asked if it was right for them to take that tactic. Axelrod argued that reaching out to supporters through fundraising letters is crucial in order to push back against the billions of dollars in Super PAC money being used to help boost Romney’s campaign.

    Watch the video below, courtesy of CNN:

  13. Ametia says:

    NationofChange / Op-Ed
    Published: Sunday 20 May 2012

    “Some wanted to classify a response to significant loss — deep sadness, insomnia, poor appetite, inability to concentrate, crying — lasting more than two weeks as a depression rather than normal grief, drawing fire from both mental-health professionals and ordinary folk.”

    We moderns seem determined to suppress all unhappiness with one exception: grief. The intense sadness following loss of a loved one still occupies a warm spot in our culture. We want that pain protected from the deadening analgesics of pharmaceuticals.

    That explains the American Psychiatric Association’s decision to retreat from a plan to categorize ordinary grief as an adjustment disorder. Some wanted to classify a response to significant loss — deep sadness, insomnia, poor appetite, inability to concentrate, crying — lasting more than two weeks as a depression rather than normal grief, drawing fire from both mental-health professionals and ordinary folk.

    The proposal to “medicalize” grief arose as the association was updating the bible for identifying conditions of the mind, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Insurers use DSM criteria for deciding whether to cover mental health services. This and other suggestions to expand the definition of mental illnesses were controversial: They could boost health care spending considerably and/or shortchange the care of those with serious conditions. But that’s another story.

  14. Ametia says:

    Here’s the full video from the SC Republican convention

  15. rikyrah says:

    Paul Ryan Claims Romney Budget, Which Adds $10 Trillion To Debt, Will ‘Prevent A Debt Crisis’

    By Travis Waldron on May 20, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s budget would add $10.7 trillion to the debt and reduce federal revenues to just 15 percent of GDP, exploding the “prairie fire of debt” Romney warned the nation about in a speech last week in Iowa.

    Romney isn’t the only one decrying the debt while ignoring that his budget would make it worse. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), in an appearance on Fox News this morning, made the laughable claim that a budget that explodes the debt will simultaneously prevent a debt crisis:

    RYAN: More to the point, though, the kind of budget Mitt Romney is talking about is one that prevents a debt crisis.

    Watch it:

    Ryan praised Romney’s 20 percent, across-the-board tax cuts that are paid for, he claims, by closing loopholes that primarily benefit the wealthy. The only problem with that, of course, is that Romney hasn’t laid out such a plan, and even if he did, it wouldn’t make up enough revenue to avoid adding trillions to the national debt.

    This isn’t anything new from Ryan. Though he paints himself as a very serious person who is trying to reduce the debt, he authored the House GOP’s radical budget plan, which manages to add to the debt despite cutting spending on programs that help the poor and middle classes because, like Romney, he gives away trillions in tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Jim Lee: GOP faithful in a state of denial
    By Jim Lee | 0 comments

    When considering the most ardent supporters of the two major political parties, I have to say that Republicans are in a perpetual state of denial and are doing the country more harm than their Democratic counterparts.

    The talk this past week about how Republicans are going to mount another major battle over raising the debt ceiling is just the latest example. Perhaps it is just that their thinking on the issue has evolved, like President Barack Obama’s thinking on the gay marriage issue, but Republicans had no problem raising the debt limit seven times during the Bush years, and it is the policies of those Bush years that drove us to the brink of depression.

    Last year, the Center on Budget Policy Priorities had a story highlighting how policies put in place in the Bush years would be the biggest contributor to projected deficits for the next decade. In a May 10, 2011 story highlighting the conclusions, Kathy Ruffing and James R. Horney wrote, “If not for the Bush tax cuts, the deficit-financed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the effects of the worst recession since the Great Depression (including the cost of policymakers’ actions to combat it), we would not be facing these huge deficits in the near term. By themselves, in fact, the Bush tax cuts and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will account for almost half of the $20 trillion in debt that, under current policies, the nation will owe by 2019. The stimulus law and financial rescues will account for less than 10 percent of the debt at that time.”

    But point out to Republicans that it was under their watch and it was their policies that put us in the current economic condition, and the response will more often than not be something along the lines of “that’s just the liberal pro-Obama media pushing the socialist president’s agenda.” Complete denial.

    Contrast that to Democrats and their response to media criticism of Obama’s “evolving” gay marriage views before he actually came out and supported it.

    Those stories and opinion pieces almost all fault Obama for trying to play politics and remain on the fence about a contentious issue. But do you hear waves of denials from Democrats? No.

  17. Ametia says:

    I’d like rikryah to bust a cap in Rubio’s bullshit right here:

    • rikyrah says:

      you know, I want little Marco’s ass to be chosen by Willard. because, I’m tired of this grifting fool. so, keep on it, Anchor Baby Rubio.

      keep on it.

  18. rikyrah says:

    GOP leader denies Democratic claims that he’s hurting the economy to hurt Obama’s election bid
    Associated Press

    Are Republican lawmakers deliberately stalling the economic recovery to hurt President Barack Obama’s re-election chances? Some top Democrats say yes, pointing to GOP stances on the debt limit and other issues that they claim are causing unnecessary economic anxiety and retarding growth.

    The latest Democratic complaint came after House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday that when Congress raises the nation’s borrowing cap in early 2013, he will again insist on big spending cuts to offset the increase. Boehner, R-Ohio, continues to reject higher tax rates, which Democrats demand from the wealthy.

    That led Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to say Boehner is virtually assuring another debt-ceiling crisis as bad or worse than the one that shook financial markets nine months ago.

    “The last thing the country needs is a rerun of last summer’s debacle that nearly brought down our economy,” Schumer said in a statement. In an interview, Schumer added: “I hope that the speaker is not doing this because he doesn’t want to see the economy improve, because what he said will certainly rattle the markets.”

    Boehner responded in a statement: “Republicans have passed nearly 30 bills that would help small businesses create jobs and we are waiting on Senate Democrats to vote on these common-sense measures. The failure to act on these jobs bills, as well as our crushing debt burden, is undermining economic growth and job creation.”

    Democrats say Republicans loaded their jobs bills with provisions certain to doom them in the Senate, such as restrictions on unions and on regulatory agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency.

    Regardless of whether Schumer’s suspicions are right, there’s evidence that unceasing partisan gridlock and the prospect of big tax increases and spending cuts in January are causing some companies to postpone expansions. Even small economic slowdowns are bad news for Obama, who is seeking re-election amid high unemployment.

    The Washington Post this past week compiled a list of military contractors, hospitals and universities that are delaying hires and bracing for cuts, partly because of fears that Washington’s partisan divisions will not abate.–economicsabotage,0,158017.story

  19. Ametia says:

    Charting Obama’s Journey to a Shift on Afghanistan
    Published: May 19, 2012

    It was just one brief exchange about Afghanistan with an aide late in 2009, but it suggests how President Obama’s thinking about what he once called “a war of necessity” began to radically change less than a year after he took up residency in the White House.

    Not long before, after a highly contentious debate within a war cabinet that was riddled with leaks, Mr. Obama had reluctantly decided to order a surge of more than 30,000 troops. The aide told Mr. Obama that he believed military leaders had agreed to the tight schedule to begin withdrawing those troops just 18 months later only because they thought they could persuade an inexperienced president to grant more time if they demanded it.

    “Well,” Mr. Obama responded that day, “I’m not going to give them more time.”

  20. rikyrah says:

    Wanker of the Day: Clive Crook

    by BooMan
    Sat May 19th, 2012 at 10:49:15 AM EST
    Clive Crook wanks:

    As always Bill Galston and John Cassidy are well worth reading. In interesting new commentaries on the election, both think Obama has the edge, while emphasizing that it might be a close thing and warning Democrats against complacency. I hesitate to put my instincts up against their careful analyses, but if the election were tomorrow and I was forced to put money on one of the candidates, I’d say Romney.

    Okay, first of all, the title of this column is Why I Think Obama is Losing. And he says that if the election were held tomorrow Romney would win. That’s just objectively false. While there are a smattering of national polls that show Romney basically even or narrowly ahead, the aggregate of polls show him behind. But national polls don’t matter. The president is ahead in all the states that matter, and if the election were held tomorrow he would win easily. Of course, the election will not be held tomorrow, but Crook is off to an inauspicious start. If your premise is ludicrous what hope is there for what follows?

    He goes on to list all the things that are not hurting Obama. People still like him and want him to succeed. The opposition is weak. The economy is strong enough for him to win reelection. So, what’s the problem?

    Obama’s big problem, I think, is that he is no longer the president he said he would be. Above all, he’s stopped trying to be that president. The astonishing enthusiasm for Obama in 2008 rested heavily on his promise to change Washington and unify the country. You can argue about whose fault it is that Washington is even more paralyzed by tribal fighting than before–in my view, it’s mostly (though not entirely) the GOP’s fault. For whatever reason, Obama failed to bring the change he promised. That would be forgivable, so long as he was determined to keep trying. But he isn’t determined to keep trying. His campaign message so far boils down to this: You just can’t work with these people. I tried, they’re not interested, so it’s war. If they want bitter partisan politics, they can have it.

    My instinct tells me this is a losing strategy.

    To me it seems so obviously the wrong strategy, in fact, that I struggle to understand what Obama’s people can be thinking. The fact that Republicans refuse to compromise is not, tactically speaking, a problem for the Democrats, but a wonderful opportunity. Offer centrist compromise proposals on the issues that confront the country–Bowles-Simpson on fiscal policy, to cite the most obvious instance–and let the Republicans reject them. Keep offering, keep being rejected. Don’t stop coming back with appeals for moderation and common sense, and let the GOP respond with promises to eliminate the federal government. See where that gets them.

    In the end, remember, Bill Clinton defeated Newt Gingrich. He had to stare down the base of his own party to do it–but he won.

    Obama did pursue this policy for the first two and a half years of his presidency. We can argue about to what degree he did this cynically and tactically and to what degree he suffered from some naïveté. But it stopped being an option right around the time the Republicans threatened to default on our debt and caused Standard & Poor to downgrade our credit rating. At that point, Obama could no longer pretend he had a good faith partner to negotiate with.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s Faith, Silent but Deep
    Published: May 19, 2012

    When Mitt Romney embarked on his first political race in 1994, he also slipped into a humble new role in the Mormon congregation he once led. On Sunday mornings, he stood in the sunlit chapel here teaching Bible classes for adults.

    Leading students through stories about Jesus and the Nephite and Lamanite tribes, who Mormons believe once populated the Americas, and tossing out peanut butter cups as rewards, Mr. Romney always returned to the same question: how could students apply the lessons of Mormon scripture in their daily lives?

    Now, as the presumptive Republican nominee for president, Mr. Romney speaks so sparingly about his faith — he and his aides frequently stipulate that he does not impose his beliefs on others — that its influence on him can be difficult to detect.

    But dozens of the candidate’s friends, fellow church members and relatives describe a man whose faith is his design for living. The church is by no means his only influence, and its impact cannot be fully untangled from that of his family, which is also steeped in Mormonism.

    But being a Latter-day Saint is “at the center of who he really is, if you scrape everything else off,” said Randy Sorensen, who worshiped with Mr. Romney in church.

    As a young consultant who arrived at the office before anyone else, Mr. Romney was being “deseret,” a term from the Book of Mormon meaning industrious as a honeybee, and he recruited colleagues and clients with the zeal of the missionary he once was. Mitt and Ann Romney’s marriage is strong because they believe they will live together in an eternal afterlife, relatives and friends say, which motivates them to iron out conflicts.

    Mr. Romney’s penchant for rules mirrors that of his church, where he once excommunicated adulterers and sometimes discouraged mothers from working outside the home. He may have many reasons for abhorring debt, wanting to limit federal power, promoting self-reliance and stressing the unique destiny of the United States, but those are all traditionally Mormon traits as well.

    Outside the spotlight, Mr. Romney can be demonstrative about his faith: belting out hymns (“What a Friend We Have in Jesus”) while horseback riding, fasting on designated days and finding a Mormon congregation to slip into on Sundays, no matter where he is.

    He prays for divine guidance on business decisions and political races, say those who have joined him. Sometimes on the campaign trail, Mr. and Mrs. Romney retreat to a quiet corner, bow their heads, clasp hands and share a brief prayer, said Representative Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican who has traveled with them.

    Clayton M. Christensen, a business professor at Harvard and a friend from church, said the question that drove the Sunday school classes — how to apply Mormon gospel in the wider world — also drives Mr. Romney’s life. “He just needs to know what God wants him to do and how he can get it done,” Mr. Christensen said.

    • Ametia says:

      Here we go again with this Cantor woman. Didn’t she write that book about the Obamas? One full of “he said, she said.” Now she’s Romney’s spiritual cheerleader.

  22. rikyrah says:

    A Clue for Kathleen Parker

    by BooMan
    Sat May 19th, 2012 at 12:40:46 PM EST

    Kathleen Parker needs an education about race and religion. She uses her column today to argue that the president’s past association with Reverend Jeremiah Wright is a legitimate issue because it “shine(s) a light on how Obama’s character was formed.” That seems fair. But looking at the president’s character is not what people are concerned about. That has nothing to do with why the Wright issue is considered a taboo.

    First of all, she’s looking at the wrong target. Yes, the issue is raised to cause political damage to the president. Therefore, it seems like he is the target. But he’s not the one being treated in a racist fashion. Jeremiah Wright, and by extension, the black church culture of our country are the ones being smeared here. Yes, you can take a few lines out of years and years of sermons and make Rev. Wright look bad or radical or un-American. But what you’re really saying is that anyone who belongs to a black church is unfit to be president. That black churches are radical and un-American. That’s both because the attackers are creating an unfair caricature of Rev. Wright, and because his views are nowhere near as unconventional in the black community as the attackers would have you believe. The idea that the government created AIDS to decimate the black community was once a quite common fear. That a preacher voiced that fear is really only reflective of what his community was feeling at that point in time. That may have been a paranoid belief, but are we going to now say that no one who was sitting in the pews is an American? That they’re all unqualified to be president?

    What Kathleen Parker is missing is that you can’t make distorted attacks on the Rev. Jeremiah Wright in isolation. If he can be attacked that way, so can many other preachers and churches. You delegitimize his church and you are attacking black churches all over the country.

    Secondly, there’s a common understanding that you don’t attack people for their privately-held religious beliefs and practices. Lord knows we on the left could spend all day every day between now and November highlighting the strange doctrines of the Church of Latter Day Saints. We’re not going to do that. Sure, some individuals will do that. But the president isn’t going to do it. The DNC isn’t going to do it. Our Super PACs aren’t going to do it.

    Didn’t the Mormon church help form Mitt Romney’s character?

    It sure did. But if we’re going to say that’s not a legitimate way to have your character formed, we’ll be attacking all Mormons, not just Mitt Romney.

  23. rikyrah says:

    North Carolina is Going To Be Tough

    by BooMan
    Sat May 19th, 2012 at 06:14:25 PM EST
    I can’t think of a plausible scenario where North Carolina would decide the presidential election. But it sure would be nice to win it again. Recent polls there have been mixed. Public Policy Polling had Obama up by one point, SurveyUSA had him up by four, and the pro-GOP Rasmussen had Romney up by eight points. Of course, the Democratic National Convention will take place in Charlotte, for whatever that’s worth. I think it’s clear that the Obama campaign thought a state they won by less than 15,000 votes needed a little boost. But it’s not going to be easy:

    One senior North Carolina Democrat, who insisted on anonymity because of involvement in multiple statewide and legislative campaigns, said private polling in a variety of state races shows that white voters and independents are trending toward Republicans in an alarming way.

    “The biggest thing Obama has got to overcome here is his problems with white independent voters, those middle-of-the-road voters,” the Democrat said. “If he doesn’t, we are going to get our asses whipped like I have never seen in my 20 years of doing politics.”

    The Democrat predicted a “bloodbath” for the party in November if those numbers fail to tighten.

    Holding the convention in Charlotte, this person said, might make for an exciting week but will do little to push the state in Obama’s direction: “I’m glad that it’s here for sheer state pride, but is it going to make much difference at Wilber’s Barbecue in Goldsboro?”

    In 2008, Obama lost independents to McCain in the Tarheel State. He won because the Republicans had 31% turnout and he turned out a massive amount of new voters, including hordes of college students. He was also more convincing with North Carolina’s students than he was nationally:

    The share of voters under 30 was the same in North Carolina as it was nationally.

    But thanks in large part to the stout organizational efforts of the Obama campaign on more than 100 college campuses across the state, voters between 18 and 29 chose Obama over McCain by a stunning 74%-26% margin.

    If that split more closely resembled the youth vote nationwide — 66% for Obama and 32% for McCain — roughly 60,000 North Carolina votes would have swung to McCain, handing him the state and its 15 electoral votes.

  24. rikyrah says:

    John Boehner is an Orange Muppet

    by BooMan
    Sun May 20th, 2012 at 10:54:01 AM EST

    I’ll give Dana Milbank partial credit for taking John Boehner to task over his intention to revive the crisis over the debt ceiling and create another avoidable fiasco that needlessly harms the economy. I don’t understand, however, why Milbank can’t see what is staring him straight in the face:

    As I watched [Boehner] defend his position in the House TV studio Thursday morning, I had an uncomfortable thought: Does Boehner want the economy to tank?

    My instinct says that he does not, that his concern for Americans’ suffering trumps his party’s interests.

    Dana, you have terrible instincts.

    I think your mistake may be that you are looking at this as a matter of what John Boehner wants. But the Speaker is not in control of his caucus. He could have tried to exert control over them at some point, and he might have succeeded. But he’s been too afraid of a coup to take the chance. Remember when he tried to negotiate a grand bargain with the president and then discovered that he didn’t have that authority?

    He knows that his caucus won’t let him approve a hike in the debt ceiling without a second round of brinksmanship. He doesn’t feel like he has a choice in the matter. He’s not pulling the strings here. He’s like an orange muppet.

    The second Debt Ceiling Fiasco isn’t going to happen because the Speaker is a cynic who wants to tank the economy. It’s going to happen because the Speaker is weak and ineffectual and he likes his job more than he cares about other people being out of work. The Second Fiasco is going to happen because his caucus is functionally insane.

  25. Ametia says:

    Transgender at five
    By Petula Dvorak, Published: May 19

    Kathryn wanted pants. And short hair. Then trucks and swords.

    Her parents, Jean and Stephen, were fine with their toddler’s embrace of all things boy. They’ve both been school teachers and coaches in Maryland and are pretty immune to the quirky stuff that kids do.

    But it kept getting more intense, all this boyishness from their younger daughter. She began to argue vehemently — as only a tantrum-prone toddler can — that she was not a girl.

    “I am a boy,” the child insisted, at just 2 years old.
    And that made Jean uneasy. It was weird.

    “I am a boy” became a constant theme in struggles over clothing, bathing, swimming, eating, playing, breathing.


  26. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney fails to see America
    By Colbert I. King, Published: May 18

    After a third reading of Mitt Romney’s Liberty University commencement speech, I still fail to see how my Post colleague Michael Gerson could have described it as “more than good.”

    Romney’s address struck me as standard fare for a college graduation. He hit all the familiar notes: gratitude to school and a nod to parents for sacrifices made; celebration of the virtues of hard work, devotion to principles, individualism, service, family. There was even a little shameless politicking, with Romney telling the audience “what the next four years might hold for me is yet to be determined. But . . . things are looking up, and I take your kind hospitality today as a sign of good things to come.

    It was the kind of speech that could have been delivered — sans the pandering and the references to more-contemporary figures (the late Chuck Colson; the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, who founded Liberty University; and the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.) — to college graduating classes in the 1950s or even in 1900.

    The Liberty remarks, as seems to be true of many Romney speeches, reflected a rather constricted view of the country. Perhaps it’s because Romney chooses to deliver most of his lines to narrow audiences.

    Missing in his Liberty offering, as with some other Romney speeches, is any recognition — not praises, mind you, but simple acknowledgment — that 21st-century America is more than a white, middle-class country.

    He revealed no sense whatsoever of knowing that the overwhelming majority of Liberty grads will, in their adult lives, inhabit an America in which they will be the minority.

    Romney’s speeches seem tailor-made for audiences that look pretty much like him.

    At least that is what one is led to believe after observing where Romney chooses to go and what he has to say.

    I tried to imagine Romney’s Liberty address being delivered to the graduates and their families at the 2012 commencement exercises I attended a week ago at historically black Howard University in Washington.

    I cannot believe, however, that the Romney campaign apparatus would have allowed the presumptive Republican presidential nominee to tell an African American audience numbering in the thousands that Falwell was “a gracious Christian example” and a “courageous and big-hearted minister of the Gospel who . . . never hated an adversary.”

    Indeed, Romney lauded Falwell, who famously said: “I do question the sincerity and nonviolent intentions of some civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mr. James Farmer, and others, who are known to have left-wing associations.”

  27. rikyrah says:

    Michelle Obama’s campaign strategy: Steering clear of the hot issues
    By Krissah Thompson, Published: May 19

    As the presidential campaign ramped up earlier this year, Michelle Obama presented poet Maya Angelou with an award and a hug at the BET Honors award show. Two days later, she danced on an episode of iCarly, a tweens sitcom.

    In late January, the first lady began a tour of the late-night television circuit that culminated in mid-April with a visit to Stephen Colbert’s show to promote her work with military families. She has appeared on the talk show “Ellen” twice this year, doing push-ups and joking about her high school photo, and made a cameo on “The Biggest Loser.” She is on television almost as much as her husband.

    But as ubiquitous as the first lady has become, she also has carved out a distinct role in President Obama’s reelection campaign and in the country: innocuous cheerleader, steering clear of the tough, hot-button issues and carrying no hint of political liability that occasionally worried the campaign in 2008.

    Despite a fierce national debate over policies affecting women, with the Obama campaign driving a conversation on issues such as abortion rights and renewing the Violence Against Women Act, Michelle Obama has been quiet on these divisive subjects.

    A Harvard-educated lawyer and one-time executive at the University of Chicago Hospitals, she has largely sidestepped the pending Supreme Court decision on health care, instead focusing on the importance of seeing three women on the court’s bench and the benefits of the law to American families.

    Although President Obama said he leaned heavily on his wife’s counsel before making his decision to endorse gay marriage, the first lady has left it to her husband to talk about the details in public.

    • Ametia says:

      Michelle Obama is FLOTUS & Barack Obama is POTUS, and they are both doing EXTREMELY well, considering the VITRIOL heaped upon them from evrywhere.

  28. Ametia says:

    States Rally In Campaign Finance Legal Battle

    by The Associated Press
    May 20, 2012

    Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia are backing Montana in its fight to prevent the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision from being used to strike down state laws restricting corporate campaign spending.

    The states, led by New York, are asking the high court to preserve Montana’s state-level regulations on corporate political expenditures, according to a copy of a brief written by New York’s attorney general’s office and obtained by The Associated Press ahead of Monday’s filing.

    The Supreme Court is being asked to reverse a state court’s decision to uphold the Montana law. Virginia-based American Tradition Partnership is asking the nation’s high court to rule without a hearing because the group says the state law conflicts directly with the Citizens United decision that removed the federal ban on corporate campaign spending.

  29. Ametia says:

    May 20, 3:56 AM EDT

    Day after historic IPO, Facebook’s Zuckerberg weds

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — For Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, it was quite a week – from birthday, to IPO, to I DO.

    A day after the historic Facebook stock offering, Zuckerberg on Saturday wed 27-year-old Priscilla Chan, his girlfriend of nearly a decade, according to a guest authorized to speak for the couple. The person spoke only on the condition of anonymity.

    Zuckerberg gave his new bride a ring he had designed with a “very simple ruby” to end an incredibly eventful week, according to the guest.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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