Serendipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread | FUNK Week!

Happy Monday, folks. Today’s 3 Chics featured FUNK artist is The OHIO PLAYERS.

Wiki: The Ohio Players were an American funk and R&B band, most popular in the 1970s. They are best known for their double #1 hit songs “Fire” and “Love Rollercoaster”.
The band formed in Dayton, Ohio in 1959[1] as the Ohio Untouchables, and initially included members Robert Ward (vocals/guitar), Marshall “Rock” Jones (bass), Clarence “Satch” Satchell (saxophone/guitar), Cornelius Johnson (drums), and Ralph “Pee Wee” Middlebrooks (trumpet/trombone). They were best known at the time as a backing group for Detroit’s The Falcons.[1] The Ohio Untouchables broke up in 1963 with Ward leaving for a solo career, but the core members of the group returned to Dayton and the following year added Gregory Webster (drums) along with Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner (guitar), who would become the group’s front man.[1] The group added two more singers, Bobby Lee Fears and Dutch Robinson, and became the house band for the New York based Compass Records in 1967.

The group disbanded again in 1970. After again reforming with a line-up including Bonner, Satchell, Middlebrooks, Jones, Webster, trumpeter Bruce Napier, vocalist Charles Dale Allen, trombonist Marvin Pierce and keyboardist Walter “Junie” Morrison, the Players had a minor hit on the Detroit-based Westbound label in 1971 with “Pain,” which reached the Top 40 of the Billboard R&B Chart. Dale Allen shared co-lead vocals on some of the early Westbound material, although he was not credited on their albums Pain and Pleasure.

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68 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread | FUNK Week!

  1. rikyrah says:

    Bashir slays me when he is just looking into the camera talking about Willard. Nobody shivs Willard on practically a daily basis with so much gusto as Bashir.

  2. Ametia says:

    Enjoy your icecream cone, Mr. President. Compliments of 3 Chics for a long hard, but very frutiful day!

  3. Ametia says:

    “It is hard and difficult and almost unbelievable that any member, especially a member from the state of georgia, would come and offer such amendment. there’s a long history in our country, especially in the 11 states that are — of the old confederacy from virginia to texas, a discrim — of discrimination based on race. on color. maybe some of us need to study a little contemporary history dealing with the question of voting rights. just think, before the voting rights act of 1965, it was almost impossible for many people in the state of georgia, in alabama new york virginia, in texas, to register to vote, to participate in the democratic process.

    The state of mississippi, for example, had a black voting aged population of more than 450,000 and only about 16,000 were registered to vote. one county in alabama was more than 80% but not more than — but not a single registered african-american voter, people had to pass a literacy test. one man was asked to count the jelly beans in a jar. it’s shameful to come here tonight and say to the department of justice you must not use one penny, one cent, one dime, one dollar to carry out the mandate of section 5 of the voting rights act.

    We should be opening up the political process and letting all our citizens come in and participate. people died for the right to vote. friends of mine. colleagues of mine. speak out against this amendment. it doesn’t have a place. i yield to the chairman. this is — i agree with the chairman. this is not the place. i will not yield. i urge my colleagues to vote against this amendment.”

  4. rikyrah says:

    are you watching Bashir?

    dude is on there, reading Booker’s comments verbatim about Bain.

    unreal in it’s hilariousness.

    fuck you, Corey.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Martin Bashir tonight:

    of course Willard’s time at Bain, and private equity are fair game, because these jokers are the bottom of the reason why the world was brought to the edge of financial collapse just 3 years ago.


    Corey, how come Bashir understands this and your ass doesn’t?

    • Ametia says:

      Booker was on Maddow; whining about the big, bad, GOP using him. Your AZZ got stung, because you stuck your honey-coated hands in the beehive, Corey.

  6. rikyrah says:

    21 May 2012 06:19 PM
    The Bain Of This Campaign, Ctd

    Another writes:

    Booker’s comparison of attacking Bain and attacking Rev. Wright is not apt because Obama is not touting his membership in Wright’s church as a reason to vote for him.


    Obama is not attacking private equity. He’s attacking the record of a man who claims to be a business wiz and job creator extraordinaire when what he really was was a man whose only business was to found a company who purchased up other businesses, sucked out all the equity and spit them out.

    He built nothing but his own bank account. If Romney were running on his record as governor (oops can’t do that) and could somehow use his Bain experience to prove he used his acumen to create jobs in MA – then that would be one thing. But he made sure his state was 47th in the nation on job creation. And just like with Bain, as soon as he could add the word “governor” to add to his resume, he ditched them and got out. Bain is totally fair game because the business model is the model for Romney’s entire mindset.

    Other than that I do find the political climate nauseating. But Obama didn’t start this fight. Romney and Citizens United did. And Cory Booker knows that. He should stick with rescuing neighbors from burning buildings instead of rescuing Mitt Romney.


    I have to take exception with your reader who argued that neither side gets the private equity story right. In reality, the left’s story is generally correct, though incomplete, while the right gets the story wrong because, well, it has to. In addition, a completely accurate telling of the story would include the terms “financial engineering” and “dividend recapitalization.”

    Financial engineering is the alchemy that drives the entire private equity industry – by rejiggering a company’s capital structure, a private equity firm purports to “create value” that previously didn’t exist. Like all other forms of alchemy, if it actually happened that simply, it might not be a bad thing. Unfortunately, the processes that create that value for the private equity firm – levering the company’s balance sheet with borrowed money, reducing headcount, cutting costs and, yes, tax arbitrage – tend to whipsaw a company by depriving it of any margin of error (because it has to spend its cash flow on interest payments) while also diverting resources away from future profit-maximizing initiatives (because all of its cash is being spent on interest payments).

    This is the legendary “discipline” that private equity apologists cite in these conversations, but there is very little focus on making the business, as the business, run better. Instead, the focus is on freeing up enough cash to service the debt and return cash to the new owners. The end result tends to be a less ambitious company with a far smaller footprint (employees, plants, etc.) and a reorientation away from investment in the future growth of the business and toward like as a “cash cow.” This is the case even when private equity “works.”

    Dividend recapitalization is the most insidious subset of financial engineering – the owners take out a loan backed by the assets of the company and use the proceeds from the loan to write themselves a dividend check of roughly the same amount. The company is again forced to focus all of its attention on servicing this new debt, frequently groaning under the pressure. When it fails in that mission and tumbles into bankruptcy, the private equity backers toss the keys to the creditors and walk away, having already recouped most, if not all (or, in some cases, many multiples of all) of their investment. Loans are, fundamentally, supposed to be used to boost investment in productive enterprises, but in this case, the financial/private equity industry has bastardized that premise to funnel money away from productive uses and straight into their coffers.

    I have worked around the private equity industry for nearly a decade, and I have never met anyone in it who can tell me with a straight face what productive ends the dividend recap serves (like your other reader, I do not consider tax arbitrage “productive”).

    All of this (including the cash cow and tax arbitrage concepts) is complicated stuff that requires a familiarity with finance that not many voters possess, which is why the left has such a hard time explaining what is really going on and instead leaves itself open to charges of demagoguery by focusing on the human cost of Bain’s investments and follow-on decisions. That’s unfortunate, but it does not render false the left’s substantive critiques on the topic, regardless of what Cory Booker and Harold Ford say.

    The right, on the other hand, can’t possibly reckon honestly with the pros and cons of private equity, because to do so would be an admission that it consists mainly of financial parlor tricks that benefit a small group of wealthy individuals at the expense of virtually everyone else. They know how that would play with the voters, and so they obfuscate at best, lie at worst and proclaim “class warfare” at every turn.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Obama: Bain Is Romney’s “Main Calling Card”
    Monday, May 21, 2012

    At NATO Summit, POTUS says, “This issue is not — quote — a distraction. This is what this campaign is going to be about.”

    Obama: “His main calling card for why he thinks he should be president is his business experience. He’s not going out there touting his work in Massachusetts.”
    Halperin’s Take
    Praising Booker as a “great mayor” and slamming Romney was the wise move, and a well executed one. The similarities between Bush ’04 and Obama ’12 persist. The President just lays in wait for questions about his Massachusetts challenger, then hits with humor, conviction, and incredulity.

    Read more:

  8. rikyrah says:

    What do they always say?



    Bain and Financial Industry Gave Over $565,000 To Newark Mayor Cory Booker For 2002 Campaign

    By Josh Israel on May 21, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Yesterday, Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker (D) attacked the Obama campaign for making an issue of Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital during an appearance on Meet the Press. While the progressive leader later backed off the criticisms, Republicans have been quick to highlight his comments as an attack against the idea that scrutiny of Mitt Romney’s record as a businessman is fair game.

    A ThinkProgress examination of New Jersey campaign finance records for Booker’s first run for Mayor — back in 2002 — suggests a possible reason for his unease with attacks on Bain Capital and venture capital. They were among his earliest and most generous backers.

    Contributions to his 2002 campaign from venture capitalists, investors, and big Wall Street bankers brought him more than $115,000 for his 2002 campaign. Among those contributing to his campaign were John Connaughton ($2,000), Steve Pagliuca ($2,200), Jonathan Lavine ($1,000) — all of Bain Capital. While the forms are not totally clear, it appears the campaign raised less than $800,000 total, making this a significant percentage.

    He and his slate also jointly raised funds for the “Booker Team for Newark” joint committee. They received more than $450,000 for the 2002 campaign from the sector — including a pair of $15,400 contributions from Bain Capital Managing Directors Joshua Bekenstein and Mark Nunnelly. It appears that for the initial campaign and runoff, the slate raised less than $4 million — again making this a sizable chunk.

    In all — just in his first Mayoral run — Booker’s committees received more than $565,000 from the people he was defending. At least $36,000 of that came from folks at Romney’s old firm.

  9. Ametia says:

    Lawd have mercy! That man needs a good ass whoopin’ and JAIL TIME

  10. Ametia says:

    U.S. Catholic groups sue to block contraception mandate
    By Terry Baynes
    Mon May 21, 2012 6:53pm EDT

    (Reuters) – The University of Notre Dame and dozens of other Catholic institutions sued President Barack Obama’s administration on Monday to block a government regulation that requires employers to provide health insurance coverage for contraceptives to employees.

    The regulation, which is part of the president’s healthcare reform law, has sparked a nasty fight between the administration and the Roman Catholic Church, which opposes artificial contraception.

    Some 43 Catholic groups including Notre Dame, Catholic University of America and the Archdiocese of New York filed 12 different suits across the country.

    The organizations accuse the federal government of forcing them to support contraception, sterilization and birth control in violation of their religious beliefs or face steep fines.


    Read more:

  11. Ametia says:

    Secretary of State reverses stance on endorsements

    Bennett co-chairman for GOP candidate Romney’s Arizona campaign
    by Yvonne Wingett Sanchez – May. 21, 2012 03:07 AM
    The Republic |

    Read more:

    Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who oversees state elections, reversed his stance on endorsing candidates this election cycle, saying detractors would still criticize him based on endorsements he made years ago.

    During a televised debate with his Democratic opponent in 2010, Bennett, a Republican, told the audience it was improper for elections officials to weigh in on partisan issues.

    Bennett is now co-chairman for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Arizona campaign.

    Read more:

  12. Ametia says:

    Meet Priscilla Chan, tech’s newest first lady

    By Hayley Tsukayama, Monday, May 21, 8:35 AMThe Washington Post
    Once the dust had settled on the story of the Facebook IPO, it seemed the news cycle would might go without a mention of Facebook co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg for at least a couple of hours. Then came the news Saturday that Zuckerberg, 28, had married college sweetheart Priscilla Chan in a surprise ceremony.
    Chan, who has been with Zuckerberg for nine years, is quite accomplished in her own right — she is, after all, a Harvard graduate.

  13. rikyrah says:

    A World Without the Filibuster
    by BooMan
    Mon May 21st, 2012 at 11:46:58 AM EST

    Joshua Green takes a crack at imagining what Obama’s presidency would look like right now if there had been no filibuster in the U.S. Senate. It’s actually a very difficult thing to do. Let me explain why.
    The most basic and obvious way to tackle this question is to look at the list of bills passed by the House of Representatives that did not pass in the Senate. Then you have to determine if those were bills the president would have signed. And did those bills have the support of at least 50 senators? Once you’ve identified all the bills that meet those criteria, you can present that as a package of stuff that would have become law if not for the filibuster. And, while that would be fairly accurate, it doesn’t really even begin to scratch the surface of how things would be different.

    For example, I didn’t even mention judicial or political nominees. The filibuster has been used to slow down and block the confirmation of countless prospective judges and has left the executive branch far less than fully-staffed.

    I think people can fairly easily understand that the filibuster is used to block contentious laws and prevent people with far-left views from finding employment in the public square. But what most people don’t understand is that the mere existence of the filibuster has a tremendous impact.

    When the Democrats had control of Congress in 2009-2010, they still needed some Republican votes to overcome the filibuster. (The only exception was for a three month period between September 2009 and January 2010, when they did actually have the sixty votes they needed to pass ObamaCare through the Senate). Because the Democrats knew they had to attract some Republican support in the Senate, they passed bills in the House that were designed to win Republican support instead of what they would have done on their own in a parliamentary system. One example was the Cap & Trade bill that was based on Republican ideas and resembled McCain and Palin’s plan from their campaign.

    As for healthcare, the role of the filibuster is more pernicious. Health care policy was discussed and built up in Washington think tanks during the 14 years between the failure of Clinton’s plan and the beginning of the 2008 presidential campaign. Obama, Edwards, and Clinton’s health care plans were all very similar because they all came out of the Washington consensus that had built up about what could conceivably pass into law rather than what would be the best way of creating a universal system. But the calculus of what could pass was done with the full knowledge that nothing would pass with less than 60 votes. In other words, just by existing, the filibuster took a single-payer system out of the conversation and out of the consciousness of the nations’s best health care thinkers. Anyone who continued to talk about single-payer, like Dennis Kuninich for example, were considered fundamentally unserious. And they were unserious. If they wanted single-payer, they needed to kill the filibuster first.

    The truth is, if Washington hadn’t had to deal with the filibuster, the whole health care debate would have been different. Obama and Clinton and Edwards would have been calling for single-payer or would have lost to a candidate who was talking about it. The president would have been able to craft a plausible platform with progressive solutions and still be taken seriously. And he could have passed everything on his agenda in the first two years in office.

    So, not only would the president have signed everything Nancy Pelosi produced in 2009-2010, but what Pelosi produced wouldn’t have had to be watered down to appeal to a few straying Republicans.

    Finally, we have to talk about delay. The filibuster and other other procedural tactics have been used by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to simply chew up legislative days. They have filibustered bills they support just to make them take three days to pass instead of five minutes. By slowing down the process, the Republicans reduce what actually gets done.

    In any case, it’s very hard to say what Obama’s presidency would be like if he hadn’t had to deal with the filibuster, but there are two things you can be certain about. First, he would have been able to be much more aggressive about fixing the economy and we’d have a clear record to evaluate. We wouldn’t be asking if the Republicans are trying to ruin the economy to hurt the president, because the Republicans wouldn’t have had the power to do things like that (at least, not in 2009-2010).

    It’s also clear that progressives would be a lot happier with Obama in a world without the filibuster, but they should be careful what they wish for. Without the filibuster, a Republican congress would actually be able to do all kinds of things we don’t want like privatize Medicare and Social Security and outlaw abortion.

    The filibuster works as ballast for the ship of state. It keeps our government very stable and predictable, regardless of which party is in charge. This has many benefits that people don’t consider because you don’t value what is not there. But, the problem now is that the ship needs to change course and the filibuster is preventing that from happening.

  14. rikyrah says:

    ok, WHAT did POTUS say at the press conference about Bain?

  15. rikyrah says:

    A Nauseating Cliché
    by BooMan
    Mon May 21st, 2012 at 10:15:50 AM EST

    There’s a saying in Washington DC that they think is very clever but it’s mostly just annoying. Anytime someone says something outrageous that also happens to contradict their party’s official line, they are applauded for being honest. Today’s example comes from Aaron Blake and Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post:

    In Washington, there’s an old cliche: A gaffe is when a politician is accidentally honest.
    That’s what happened to Newark (N.J.) Mayor Cory Booker during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. Booker, who is widely regarded as a fast riser in Democratic politics, veered badly off message when he defended Bain Capital — the longtime employer of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney — and described the negative tone of the campaign as “nauseating”.

    Maybe Cory Booker was being honest about his personal opinion, but what he said was ridiculous. It was a gaffe because it was stupid, not because it was truthful. I don’t think it’s surprising that an ambitious New Jersey politician would defend private equity firms. But to equate the attacks on Romney’s Bain Capital with the attacks on Rev. Jeremiah Wright was moronic on all levels.

    What really happened is that Booker made an appearance on Meet the Press where his job was to be a surrogate for the president and his reelection campaign. And he forgot that and decided to use his appearance to ask for money for himself from Wall Street. That’s not being courageous or honest or smart or loyal or anything praiseworthy.

    Yet, it’s portrayed in Washington as something completely different. Cory Booker let the “truth” slip out. If by ‘truth; you mean that Jersey politicians are as beholden to Wall Street as West virginia pols are beholden to coal, then he let the truth slip out. But if you mean that the ‘truth’ is that attacks on Romney’s record at Bain Capital are meritless smears that are no different in kind from attacks on the black church, then you’re suffering from Beltway Disease.

    • Ametia says:

      Chris Brown Slammed by Pink, Joe Jonas Over Billboard Awards Lip-Syncing

      Everybody’s a critic? When it comes to the stars who were treated—and we use that term as loosely as possible—to Chris Brown’s Billboard Music Awards performance last night, well, yes.

      And rather vocal critics, at that. Pink and Joe Jonas both slammed the R&B star’s rendition of “Turn Up the Music,” mincing no words when blasting the singer for miming his way through the tune.

  16. rikyrah says:

    found this in the comments at TOD:

    May 21, 2012 at 2:42 pm
    Cory Booker’s comments were the opening story for anyone checking their yahoo mail today. His comments are fueling the republican comments, fundraising, and have given them momentum they would be hard pressed to find. Remember the recent Republican initiative to destroy Barack Obama. One part of this was to find an “articulate” AA to lead the charge. If this very thing–a leading “articluate AA” to speak against the Obama re-election had not been devulged last week as one portion of a strategy to fight PBO I would find this “gaffe” idea somewhat easier to believe.

    I am old enough to know that if you listen really hard, people will tell you who they are. No one is perfect. But some people are closer to it than others. The Obama campaign will say it is unfortunate etc, etc. But don’t expect Cory Booker to ever be trusted again. This president is too smart for that. He does listen. He is a student of behavior. For those who want to believe that Cory Booker made an innocent gaffe, and anyone who discusses this further is just a distraction, I respect your right to your opinion. But 57 years of living and observing tell me that this man knew exactly what he was doing. His only problem is that he didn’t calculate the consequences correctly. Now he has to live with them.

    • Ametia says:

      ALL.OF.THIS. Diane’s got me by one year, and she’s on point. Booker showed us his ass, folks. Believe it; we saw his ASS.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Fighting the last war
    By Steve Benen – Mon May 21, 2012 1:26 PM EDT.

    Last week, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) took on President Obama’s record, arguing, “President Obama hasn’t run anything before he was elected President of the United States. Never ran a state, never a business, never ran a lemonade stand.”

    The focus groups must have loved this, because Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus argued yesterday:

    “[N]o matter what David Axelrod may say, President Obama’s private business experience hasn’t seen the inside of a lemonade stand.”

    This is a pretty standard criticism for any presidential candidate whose background is legislative work. Recent major-party nominees like John McCain, John Kerry, and Bob Dole — none of whom served as a governor or business leader — faced similar critiques.

    But as we’ve talked about before, these criticisms of Obama’s record were made four years ago. Since early 2009, he’s been president of the United States during a time of foreign and domestic crises. Obama may not have led a state or a business before getting elected, but he led a nation after getting elected.

    The larger arc to all of this is that Republicans are eager to fight the last war — redoing the 2008 campaign as if it never occurred. It’s why we still hear so much talk from the right about Jeremiah Wright, birth certificates, and Obama’s pre-2008 experiences.

    If you missed it, there was a good segment on this on Friday night.

  18. rikyrah says:


    TBogg makes an interesting point:

    TBogg @tbogg Probably a coincidence that so many of the conservative bloggers who met with Romney back on 5/2 have gone birther. #crazytrain
    18 May 12

    I’m scanning the list of attendees and I’m not sure if there’s a strict correlation between attendance and a recent increase in crazification, but it sure is interesting to me that Romney met with these folks and now we’re seeing a huge overall crazification uptick on the right, at precisely the moment when we were told by the mainstream press that Romney would pivot to the center.

    Romney hasn’t really pivoted to the center; he’s pretty much stayed where he’s been all through the campaign, which is a bit to the left of crazy right. But now I suppose he may look (to centrist voters) as if he’s pivoted to the center precisely because there’s so much crazy on the right (see, e.g., threats to keep Obama off the Arizona ballot, from which Romney can now high-mindedly distance himself).

    I suppose that’s the plan: the crazies motivate their fellow crazies, Romney reassures centrist voters by keeping his distance from the crazies, and the GOP wins. I’ve been vacillating on whether the crazy stuff is upsetting Team Romney or is merely the dark side of his campaign, but I’m leaning toward the latter.


    UPDATE: I guess I missed the fact that Breitbart’s Dana Loesch has been suggesting on Twitter that this, more or less, is the strategy. Charles Johnson and Tommy Christopher think there may be something to this.

    • Ametia says:

      Romney; YOU’RE SO BAIN. See the POTUS will keep the peddle on your RECORD, not your character. You however, keep up the good works your attempts at campaining VICARIOUSLY through WINGNUTIA slime.

      OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

  19. rikyrah says:

    Another big coincidence
    By DougJ, Head of Infidelity May 21st, 2012

    In early May, Mitt Romney met off the record with several members of the wing-o-sphere:

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

    Steve M noted a few days ago, apropos of the new round of birtherism:

    it sure is interesting to me that Romney met with these folks and now we’re seeing a huge overall crazification uptick on the right, at precisely the moment when we were told by the mainstream press that Romney would pivot to the center

    Today, McKay Coppins of Buzzfeed notes (via):

    If you’ve spent much time consuming conservative media lately, you’ve probably learned about a slow-burning ‘race war’ going on in America today. Sewing together disparate data points and compelling anecdotes like the attack in Norfolk, conservative bloggers and opinion-makers are driving the narrative with increasing frequency. Their message: Black-on-white violence is spiking—and the mainstream media is trying to cover it up.

    It’s a good thing the high-minded Romney people are putting the kibosh on race-baiting!

  20. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 01:01 PM ET, 05/21/2012
    The wrong way to attack Romney
    By Jamelle Bouie

    The latest Obama Web video is a great example of the centrality that Bain Capital will play in the campaign’s attempt to define Mitt Romney. This attack is more aggressive than anything we’ve seen so far. To borrow from one of the profiled workers, Romney is a “reverse Robin Hood,” who takes from the middle-class and gives to the rich, with no concern or regard for the lives of ordinary people.

    The Obama campaign comes close to blaming Romney’s career at Bain for the devastation of entire communities, which — to me at least — seems like a stretch. In fact, I have my doubts about whether this will be an effective mode of attack. Yes, Romney has the appearance and affect of a wealthy patrician, and this helps the Obama campaign to paint him as aloof and distant from the concerns of regular people. But as much as we obsess over it in Washington, there’s no proof that voters are looking for someone who relates to them. What they want is someone who can fix the economy, and, at the moment, voters see Romney as best equipped to do so. Of the 79 percent of Americans who rank weak economic growth as an important problem, according to a recent Gallup survey, 52 percent favor Romney over Obama. Likewise, on the question of who can best deal with debt and deficits – which is often a proxy concern for the economy – Romney leads Obama by 15 percentage points.

    Attacking Romney on Bain may convince some voters that they don’t like the Republican nominee, but I’m not sure it will push them to question Romney’s competence. The best strategy for that might be to highlight the extent to which Romney is pushing to restore the (deeply unpopular) Bush agenda. So far, however, President Obama has been reluctant to bring his predecessor into the action

  21. rikyrah says:

    ‘Is that a record to be proud of?’
    By Steve Benen – Mon May 21, 2012 12:42 PM EDT.

    There’s a spirited debate underway on the relevance of Mitt Romney’s controversial private-sector background — even the party lines have been blurred — but I continue to think the Republican’s record while in office is arguably the greater vulnerability.

    On “Fox News Sunday” yesterday, host Chris Wallace asked a series of pointed questions to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Austan Goolsbee, the former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers for President Obama, but there was one question in particular that stood out for me.

    Wallace asked Ryan
    “You know, it’s not just a question of vision, it’s also a question record because of these men have served in office and have records in office. So, let’s take a look at that.

    “Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts for four years, Congressman Ryan. And during that time, Massachusetts ranked 47th of the 50 states in job creation. The only reason the unemployment rate went down [was] because so many people left the work force — more than any other state in the country except Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. Is that a record to be proud of?”

    The question only took 15 seconds to say, but it’s easy to imagine it showing up in an Obama campaign ad.

    When Ryan pushed back and said the unemployment rate in Massachusetts went down during Romney’s one term, Wallace again reminded him, “If I may, sir, again over the four years, 47th in job creation and unemployment rate went down because so many people were leaving the state.”

    Ryan didn’t have much of a response, so he changed the subject to the “contrast in visions” and Romney’s support for an “opportunity society.” (There’s that phrase again.)

    The larger point, of course, is that we’re looking at a campaign dynamic without a modern precedent, especially for a governor running for the White House. In 2000, George W. Bush said, “Look at what I did in Texas.” In 1992, Bill Clinton said, “Look at what I did in Arkansas.” In 1980, Ronald Reagan said, “Look at what I did in California.”

    And in 2012, Mitt Romney is saying, “Look at what I did at Bain Capital.”


    You know there’s a problem for Romney when his own top surrogates struggle to defend his record in Massachusetts — his only experience in government — during a Fox News interview.

    Indeed, let’s also not forget that Jon Huntsman, who’s endorsed Romney, said through his campaign last summer, “The reality is Mitt Romney’s record on job creation was abysmal by every standard.”

    As we talked about last week, this is probably an untenable scenario. At a certain point, a former governor running for president is going to have to talk about his tenure as governor.

    And when the subject comes to the fore, it might be difficult for Romney to explain his awful record on jobs, as well as the fact he failed to impress much of anyone when he tried to lead

  22. Ametia says:

    Chris Wallace asked Ryan:

    “You know, it’s not just a question of vision, it’s also a question record because of these men have served in office and have records in office. So, let’s take a look at that.

    “Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts for four years, Congressman Ryan. And during that time, Massachusetts ranked 47th of the 50 states in job creation. The only reason the unemployment rate went down [was] because so many people left the work force — more than any other state in the country except Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. Is that a record to be proud of?”

    The question only took 15 seconds to say, but it’s easy to imagine it showing up in an Obama campaign ad.

  23. Ametia says:

    Repost GO AXELROD!

  24. rikyrah says:

    It’s not ‘peacetime’
    By Steve Benen – Mon May 21, 2012 11:25 AM EDT

    .About a year ago, with his campaign already in full swing, Mitt Romney condemned President Obama for “one of the biggest peacetime spending binges in American history.” It was an odd thing for a presidential candidate to say — there’s been no spending binge and this isn’t “peacetime.”

    I thought of this when Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) made a very similar comment to MSNBC’s Chuck Todd (via Jed Lewison).

    For those who can’t watch clips online, Daniels argued

    “Well, you know, he’s been the president of this nation for the three years in which we have drifted ever closer to the biggest peacetime crisis we may have ever faced. There’s no doubt it. It’s a mathematical certainty…. To me the central question of this election is why such an administration deserves a second chance.”

    The “crisis” Daniels is referring to is the national debt. It’s quite a conversion for the Republican — as the budget director for the Bush/Cheney administration, Mitch Daniels had no concerns whatsoever about adding the cost of massive tax breaks to the national debt, as well as the cost of two wars. Indeed, whether Daniels understands this or not, the national debt keeps “drifting” to new depths because of the policies he endorsed at Bush’s OMB.

    Watching his interview is a bit like getting a lecture on fire safety from an arsonist.

    But there’s also that reference to “peacetime” that rankles. Republicans may occasionally forget that we’re a nation at war — I have a terrific book recommendation for Mitch Daniels — but this isn’t “peacetime.”


    We’re still fighting a war in Afghanistan; we just ended a war in Iraq; and we’ve engaged in military actions in a variety of theaters, including Libya and Yemen. On top of this, we’re recovering from the most serious global economic crisis since the Great Depression. These are, in other words, exactly the kind of conditions that require a nation to go into debt.

    Does Daniels not understand this? Is he really so eager to take cheap election-year shots that he’s lost sight of the basic details of the larger debate?

  25. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    May 21, 2012 9:01 AM

    “Super PACs Don’t Have Spouses”
    By Ed Kilgore

    One thing last week’s brouhaha over Joe Rickett’s RFP for a nasty anti-Obama ad provided was a peek into the new relationship that could soon begin to dominate politics, at least among the Republicans who are taking to Super-PACs like ducks to water: big-dollar donors and the “strategists” and ad-crafters who want their money. What’s missing from the picture? Candidates and the conventional campaigns that normally make most of the decisions about what voters see on television.

    Nick Confessore of the New York Times has expored this relationship in one of those odd “sympathy for the devil” articles in which the fiendish tribe of political consultants talk about how much easier it is to cut out the middle-man and work directly for the people writing the checks:

    In the insular but fast-growing world of super PACs and other independent outfits, there are no cranky candidates, no scheduling conflicts, no bitter strategy debates with rival advisers. There are only wealthy donors and the consultants vying to oblige them.

    It’s particularly interesting that Confessore managed to get Fred Davis on record discussing the improved lifestyle associated with working for a Super-PAC, since he’s the guy whose name was all over the Jeremiah Wright ad proposal for Joe Ricketts that nobody wants to take responsibility for:

    “You don’t have to go anywhere,” Mr. Davis said in an interview this month, before details of his proposed campaign against Mr. Obama became public. “You don’t have to get on a small prop plane to New Hampshire. You don’t have to stay at the Holiday Inn Express. You can stay home and manage everything during normal office hours.”

    Even the morally depraved, it seems, prefer to service presidential campaigns indirectly, keeping themselves away from the rolling ball of madness that many campaigns become.

    “You don’t have kitchen cabinets made up of well-intentioned friends and neighbors who don’t know what they’re doing but eat up a lot of your time,” said Bob Schuman, who ran a super PAC called Americans for Rick Perry during the Republican presidential primaries. “Super PACs don’t have spouses.”

    But it’s ultimately all about the money:

    While many Republican and Democratic candidates are forcing consultants to accept flat fees and smaller advertising commissions, independent spending also offers a rapidly expanding market. Through mid-May, outside groups had spent more than $124 million in this election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, double the rate four years earlier.

    We shouldn’t be too naive, though, about the “independence” of Super-PACs from the campaigns they assist. An enormous amount of energy will go into maintaining the fiction of “non-coordination,” less on legal grounds than for reasons of plausible deniability. You will note that Ricketts’ progress towards selecting an appropriately evil attack ad on Barack Obama ended about two minutes after Mitt Romney was forced to repudiate it. Had the backlash been slightly less severe, Mitt would have probably shrugged and disclaimed any responsibility for what some rich guy in the midwest was doing with his money (which is precisely how he acted when his favorite Super-PAC, Restore Our Future, came under fire during the primaries for hatefulness and mendacity), and we’d be watching Davis’ ad or something worse before long.

    In many respects Super-PACs are just more convenient for everyone: the donors who want fewer limits and more control over their investment; the candidates who don’t want their fingerprints on nastygrams; and most of all, the “creative” folk like Davis who would drag American politics to the bottom of hell in fifteen minutes if it boosted his bottom line, gained him the adulation of his peers, and spared him the ignominy of spending nights at a Holiday Inn Express.

  26. rikyrah says:

    May 21, 2012 10:40 AM
    By Ed Kilgore

    It’s pretty hilarious to listen to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus complain that Republicans are the victims of media attention paid to the Ricketts/Davis ad story, or that Obama is to blame:

    I know how it works. It’s the Democrats and Barack Obama that want the story out there. He wants the story to play out in the media, because for every day that [Obama adviser] David Axelrod and this President don’t have to talk about their broken promises when it comes to jobs, the debt, and the deficit — the more time they can talk about hypotheticals that may or may not come true — is a day they want to win on. So, look, this president’s got a bigger problem and his problem is no matter what he puts out there, no matter what distractions he puts out there, he can’t change the truth and escape the reality of where we are in this American economy. And it’s no good.

    Now best I can tell, Priebus is an unusually intense advocate of the idea that the best way to exhibit “message discipline” is to sound as blitheringly stupid as is possible: just stare at the camera with the eyes of a goat and repeat your talking points whether they are in any way relevant to what you are supposed to be talking about or are the least bit persuasive. So it doesn’t surprise me all that much that he’d have the chutzpah to insist that a leaked discussion between a major GOP donor and the all-time superstar conservative media consultant about exactly how much racism and religious bigotry they can get away with in a political ad represents an effort by Obama to change the subject.

    But the larger point here is pretty important for progressives to understand: the GOP is running a two-track campaign this year, one with a fiscal/economic message, and the other with a cultural message, and they have a lot invested in making sure the persuadable voters the first message is aimed at don’t hear the second. That would, as Priebus suggests, in fact be a “distraction.” But blaming the “distraction” on the very target of their own cultural attacks is entirely in line with the attacks themselves: Obama and “liberals” are always described as the aggressors in cultural conflicts. Is the Obama administration reluctant to carve out large areas of public policy where religious conservatives are allowed to do whatever they want? Then they are assaulting religious liberty! Do they suggest Americans still suffer from discrimination? Then they are racists! So it’s clear Obama’s “suspicious” background, whether it’s where he was born or how he got into this or that college or what his former pastor said in thirty years of sermons, is just an intolerable provocation to conservatives. How dare he distract the people who hate him!

    Get used to it. We’ll hear this every single time Republicans get caught pursuing the cultural prong of their campaign strategy.

  27. rikyrah says:

    If a provocative thesis falls in a forest…
    By Steve Benen – Mon May 21, 2012 10:42 AM EDT.

    Political scientists Tom Mann and Norm Ornstein — celebrated and respected figures of the Washington establishment — recently argued in an impressive op-ed, “Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.” It seemed like the kind of piece that would spur some debate within the political establishment. That hasn’t quite happened.

    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 Republican Party. “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.”

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

    It’s a rarely-seen thesis, which seemed likely to generate widespread discussion. But Media Matters prepared a fascinating report on the ways in which the Mann/Ornstein argument “has been largely ignored, with the top five national newspapers writing a total of zero news articles on their thesis.” The report included this chart:

    Remember, Mann and Ornstein aren’t just two random political scientists with a provocative op-ed. Mann and Ornstein enjoy almost unparalleled credibility with the Beltway establishment, and are generally accepted as centrist observers, not ideologues or partisan bomb-throwers. For years, these two have been quoted constantly as objective experts.

    This context matters. When Paul Krugman or Eugene Robinson says the radicalization of the Republican Party drives the dysfunction of our politics in the 21st century, they’re correct, but the impact of perspective is limited. When Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, present the same argument, it carries added weight because of their reputation as non-partisan, apolitical observers.

    Or at least, it’s supposed to.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Daring to Speak the Truth About Job Creation Gets Venture Capitalist Shunned
    By: Cassandra Vert

    Nick Hanauer is a smart guy. As one of the original investors in Amazon, he is a gazillionaire and can do whatever he wants. What he wants is to convince the world that the middle class, not the wealthy, are the true job creators and that the health of a nation depends on the health of its middle class.

    Recently, Hanauer did a TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design, though topics are broader) talk on this subject. After telling him the video of his talk would be posted on their web site, TED changed their minds and said the video was too controversial. Hanauer did not take this news quietly and complained of censorship. TED said that Hanauer’s video was too partisan and wasn’t good enough to qualify as one of the few they post on their site. Hanauer said that TED bowed to pressure, and TED said that Hanauer turned their rejection into a censorship controversy to get publicity.

    What they did together was get everybody talking about income inequality and economic fundamentals again. Tweets urged people to the video or script with “You know that TED talk you weren’t supposed to see? Here it is.” All the articles about the controversy (including this one) have stoked the media fire. In other words, a Democrat is driving the media machine the way we’ve seen Republicans do.

    Hanauer’s presentation is short and easy for anyone to understand. The video , script and slides don’t present any new ideas. The few statistics are easily verified. Hanauer doesn’t suggest radical change as others do. Like Warren Buffet, he is urging the government to tax wealthy people like him more.

    Yet TED curator Chris Anderson said that Hanauer’s piece “probably ranks as one of the most politically controversial talks we’ve ever run…” and “even if the talk was rated a home run, we couldn’t release it, because it would be unquestionably regarded as out and out political. We’re in the middle of an election year in the US. Your argument comes down firmly on the side of one party. And you even reference that at the start of the talk. “

    The bit at the beginning—the only reference to politics in the whole piece—says that the idea that raising taxes on the rich will cause job creation to go down is “an article of faith for Republicans and seldom challenged by Democrats….” That doesn’t sound like he likes either party’s handling of it.

    So what is all this political controversy Anderson fears? I have an idea.

    You know that expression, “facts have a liberal bias”?

    In reality, they shouldn’t, should they? Facts should be equally available and equally valid regardless of political ideology. Facts should be the basis, the “given” in any political ideology, not points of contention. And yet some are contested, and Hanauer uses or references some of these in his short talk.

    First, the whole premise of his talk is that the wealthy are not job creators, the middle class is. Although he provides plenty of evidence to support this claim, only one party agrees with him. Therefore, this is a partisan premise.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Getting by with a little help from their friends
    By Steve Benen – Mon May 21, 2012 10:04 AM EDT.

    With fundraising totals reaching extraordinary heights, there’s no doubt that both President Obama, Mitt Romney, and their assorted allies will have plenty of resources between now and Election Day.

    But it’s worth noting that while neither side will suffer from empty coffers, there’s a clear qualitative difference in the kind of donors that separate one campaign from the other. The Boston Globe had an interesting report on this the other day.

    When the head of JPMorgan Chase met with shareholders to answer for a trading loss of more than $2 billion Tuesday, it was against an evolving political backdrop: Donors from big banks are betting on Mitt Romney to defeat President Obama and repeal new restraints on risky, large-scale investments.

    “There’s no doubt that there’s been a big diminution of support for the president,” said William M. Daley, Obama’s former chief of staff and a former top JPMorgan Chase executive. “People in the financial services sector are saying, ‘The president has been too tough on us, both in policy and on rhetoric.’ ”

    The top five donor groups in Romney’s campaign are individuals and political action committees associated with large financial institutions, led by Wall Street giants Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, according to information compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group that tracks campaign donations.

    While in 2008, financial institutions were far more inclined to back the Democrat, those contributions have seen a sharp decline. The most generous contributors to Obama’s re-election campaign include exactly zero Wall Street backers: the top donor groups include individuals and PACs affiliated tech giants (Google and Microsoft), law firms, and academia.

    Why does this matter? For one thing, for voters who care about such things, Romney’s overwhelming support from Wall Street could prove to be politically problematic — just four years ago, these financial institutions’ recklessness and mismanagement nearly destroyed the global economy. Wall Street is not at all popular with the American mainstream, so being known as Wall Street’s candidate isn’t exactly a selling point.

    For another, these generous contributions do not occur in a vacuum — if Romney’s elected, he’ll pursue a policy agenda intended to make these Wall Street donors very happy.


    Indeed, consider what the presumptive Republican nominee said just last week about JPMorgan’s latest bad bets, which cost at least $2 billion: “This was a loss to shareholders and owners of JPMorgan and that’s the way America works. Some people experienced a loss in this case because of a bad decision. By the way, there was someone who made a gain.”

    The point of the argument was simple: there’s no need for safeguards or layers of accountability to protect the integrity of the system; it’s better for government to just get out of the way and let his Wall Street supporters do as they please. The market, the argument goes, will work itself out.

    Paul Krugman, referencing an example he discussed on the show on Friday, explained today how misguided this is.

  30. Ametia says:

    Last concert of all 3 BeeGees together

  31. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 09:57 AM ET, 05/21/2012 The danger of Obama’s attack on Bain Capital
    By Jamelle Bouie
    Yesterday, on “Meet the Press,” Newark mayor Cory Booker went off message and admonished the Obama campaign for its attacks on Bain Capital:

    “It’s nauseating to the American public. Enough is enough. Stop attacking private equity. Stop attacking Jeremiah Wright. As far as that stuff, 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.”

    The false equivalence here is easy to spot. The Jeremiah Wright controversy doesn’t tell you anything about President Obama’s presidency, and it actually is an attack on the president’s character — an attempt to paint him as a dangerous black radical. Bain Capital, by contrast, provides an actual window into Mitt Romney’s priorities and interests as a politician, which is why both sides have brought it to the center of their campaigns.

    For Romney, it helps build the appearance of competence. Voters are dissatisfied with the economy, and if they believe Romney has the skills to fix the problem, he will have cleared an important hurdle in his fight for the White House. It’s why he continues to cite the thousands of jobs he helped create at Bain, despite the lack of any actual proof.

    For Obama, the focus on Bain’s ugly side — vacant factories, abandoned workers and extracted wealth — is an attempt to flip Romney’s competence into a liability; yes, he’s good at his job, and for years, his job was to hurt the middle-class. The strength of this attack is that it holds appeal to white working-class voters in states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Right now, those voters are the weakest link in his reelection effort. If he can improve his performance, or at least, bring it to John Kerry levels, he’ll have a much stronger shot at reelection.

    The danger is that the attack could alienate Democrats with a connection to the investor class, who are already uneasy with the administration. This includes politicians such as Cory Booker, who have a direct connection to Wall Street, as well as any other Democrat who relies on the finance industry for campaign contributions. What’s more, the attack on Bain Capital comes close enough to the GOP charge of “class warfare” that it could harm Obama’s standing with the affluent and college-educated voters that were crucial to his 2008 victories in Virginia, North Carolina and Colorado.

    None of this is reason for Democrats to move away from the attack on Bain Capital; this has been a persistent drag on Romney’s political career for a reason — when used by able hands, the attack on Bain highlights the worst aspects of Romney’s political persona and places him on the defensive with voters. But the Obama campaign should know that it comes with the potential for blowback, and in a election that will probably turn on a few voters in a few states, that’s a risk worth considering.

    As an aside, Cory Booker’s gaffe — in the classic, truth-telling sense — gets to a broader, more important problem in American politics: the extent to which Wall Street has become the only viable funding mechanism for major national elections. For Democrats in particular, the decline of unions — and any other counterweight to wealthy interests — has put their political interests at odds with their substantive concerns. Liberals such as Booker might support Wall Street regulation, but they are effectively co-opted by the need for funding and support in expensive statewide elections. It’s hard to imagine a viable, long-term progressive politics when electoral success depends on the generosity of the nation’s wealthiest interests.

  32. Ametia says:

    Republicans Punish Americans Who Believe the Constitution Guarantees Them Equal Rights
    By: RmuseMay 20, 2012

    At America’s founding, Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” and it is the ultimate affirmation of equal rights. Although Jefferson’s words left little doubt that, indeed, all Americans were equal, ninety-two years later the 14th Amendment “required each state to provide equal protection under the law to all people within its jurisdiction,” and it made no provisions or exceptions to the rule. It has been 144 years since the 14th Amendment’s passage, and Republicans are still ignoring the Constitution when it contrasts with the Christian bible, and as is their practice, are seeking myriad ways to deny all Americans their constitutionally guaranteed equal rights.

    On Friday, in the Republican-led House of Representatives, a provision banning same-sex marriage was added to the annual National Defense Authorization Act bill on its way to the Senate. One of the amendment’s sponsors, Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) said, “Liberals may have successfully ended ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ but they should not be allowed to force members of our military to give up their religious beliefs.” It is a tried and trusted argument that panders to the religious right but has nothing to do with forcing anyone to give up their religious beliefs and Akin knows it. Besides adding an amendment to deny gays equal rights, the $642 billion defense budget breaks the Republican’s agreement reached last year with the Obama Administration by increasing military spending by $8 billion over the agreed limit. The Republican practice of never honoring their agreements aside, their inclusion of the ban on same-sex marriage is a violation of the 14th Amendment and a trend the GOP is leading to deny gays equal rights.

  33. rikyrah says:

    ‘Adults’ don’t hold the nation hostage
    By Steve Benen – Mon May 21, 2012 9:20 AM EDT.

    Last summer, just a few days after the debt-ceiling crisis had been resolved, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said of the debt limit, “What we did learn is this: it’s a hostage that’s worth ransoming.”

    I thought of this yesterday when McConnell told CBS’s Bob Schieffer, referencing House Speaker John Boehner, “The Speaker and I have been the adults in the room.”

    Ah yes, thank goodness for the adults. McConnell and Boehner (1) backed the Bush/Cheney agenda that added $5 trillion to the debt; (2) decided they no longer liked raising the debt ceiling; (3) held the nation hostage, threatening to hurt the country on purpose unless they got their way; and (4) rejected a White House offer to reduce the debt by $4 trillion.

    Nothing says “grown-up behavior” like the antics of an elementary schoolyard bully.

    The larger significance of McConnell’s quote, though, is the way in which in reinforces an odd truth: Republican leaders simply don’t see a problem with their dangerous and unprecedented debt-ceiling strategy. Boehner said last week that he may be threatening to trash the full faith and credit of the United States for the first time in history, but we shouldn’t consider this a “threat.”

    As Dana Milbank put it over the weekend:

    John Boehner thinks it’s kind of funny. “It struck me as somewhat comical,” he told reporters Thursday morning, “that, you know, people are looking to me like I’m the guy carrying a sword around town, I’m going to bludgeon someone.”

    Well, Mr. Speaker, maybe that’s because your rapier keeps setting off the metal detectors.

    GOP leaders aren’t just comfortable deliberately holding the country hostage, they’re lacking in self-awareness, seeing themselves as responsible “adults” who aren’t doing anything wrong.

    This somehow makes the problem worse. It’s one thing for a villain to hold a gun to the head of a hostage; it’s something else when he feels a degree self-righteousness while he’s doing it.

  34. Ametia says:

    I’ll be on a conference call this morning at 10:30 a.m. to discuss the AMPAD video above. Please post any questions you’d like me to ask on the call. Randy Johnson, former Ampad worker w’ll be on the call too.


  35. Ametia says:


    Dropping out: Is college worth the cost?
    May 20, 2012 4:00 PM

    Students with promising ideas are paid $100,000 to drop out of college and become entrepreneurs in a controversial program founded by billionaire Peter Thiel. Morley Safer reports.

    Dropping out: Is college worth the cost?

    (CBS News) One of the wealthiest, best-educated American entrepreneurs, Peter Thiel, isn’t convinced college is worth the cost. With only half of recent U.S. college graduates in full-time jobs, and student loans now at $1 trillion, Thiel has come up with his own small-scale solution: pay a couple dozen of the nation’s most promising students $100,000 to walk away from college and pursue their passions. Morley Safer takes a look at Thiel’s critique of college.

    full segment here:;storyMediaBox

  36. rikyrah says:

    Monday, May 21, 2012
    Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion
    Posted by Zandar
    The Republicans have truly lost control of their rough beast, slouching towards Washington DC. Here’s GOP Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois at a town hall meeting

    “Obama wants everybody on government run health care,” he said. “That is a legitimate opinion, I wish he were honest and he would tell us that.”

    “Let them go to Europe,” a constituent at the town hall replied. “We are the only country on this planet that is still semi-free — until the 1900s.”

    “We’re losing it,” Walsh interrupted.

    “I know we are, that is the problem,” she continued. “But we fought for this, we need to keep our freedom and we aren’t because of the seditious behavior of people who lie about who they are and get into all of our public offices, and then we can’t get them out in time before they do the damage and we have been sleeping for one hundred years. It is sedition. I mean, they did it underground. If they are honest brokers and they believe in what they’re saying and where they want this country to go — like Obama — then you’re right he should have said it before he was elected, and said I’m a socialist, I believe in socialism, in communism, Nazism, whatever, and say this is where I want to lead the country — not do it underhandedly.”

    OK, so we’ve got a woman who point blank calls the President and his supporters “seditious” and believes that the President believes in socialism, communism, Nazism, whatever”. What does Joe Walsh respond with?

    “However you want to label or define it, don’t you think after three and a half years as a country now we have a really good idea where this President wants to go?” he said.

    Profile in courage right there. Because charges of sedition and going full swastika is “just a label” when applied to Democrats or the President. You do understand that to millions of these folks, you don’t count as American, or even human. You don’t belong in their country. They would have you deported or strung up as a traitor or worse if it were up to them.

    And you know what? If we sit on our asses and don’t vote and don’t get the word out and don’t oppose this idiocy, it will be up to them. Because this ignorant, hateful woman? Her vote counts precisely the same as your vote or mine, and she’s going to vote.

    Will you?

    Don’t think they believe there’s a civil war going on in the US already? They believe it. Enough to say that in front of their congressman. And if we do nothing, this country will be run by the people elected by women like this. Period.

    We’re just 3 Senate seat losses and a White House loss from these folks controlling the whole ball of wax.

    Mull that over for a while

  37. rikyrah says:

    How Republicans Have Gained The Upper Hand In The Fight Over The Violence Against Women Act

    Brian Beutler- May 21, 2012, 5:22 AM

    An obscure parliamentary snafu has stymied Democrats’ aggressive efforts to extend Violence Against Women Act protections to same-sex couples, illegal immigrants, and tribal communities, and provided the GOP leverage to keep those provisions out of legislation to reauthorize that law.

    It has been weeks since Senate Democrats — and several Republicans — passed VAWA legislation, and left House Republicans in the tough position of arguing that the law’s scope should not be explicitly widened. Last week House Republicans passed a narrower reauthorization bill, which the White House has threatened to veto, giving Dems what they believed to be an upper hand.

    Typically, this ordering of events would give Democrats a great deal of leverage over Republicans, and possibly force them to agree to provisions that would alienate GOP voters by benefiting constituencies the base is hostile to.

    “The House Republicans passed a bill that takes us backward in terms of protections for women,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi declared Thursday.

  38. rikyrah says:

    Rep. Pelosi, Showing the GOP’s Angry Children What Professionalism Looks Like
    By Anne Laurie May 21st, 2012

    If only we could clone this woman, I’d feel a lot surer about America’s future:

    Per Ed O’Keefe at the Washington Post:

    “I just want to come back with the Democrats in the majority, that’s really what is important,” she told ABC’s “This Week.” “I’m really excited about the election and the opportunity it gives us to make the distinction, and I’m very proud that president Obama is at the top of our ticket.”

    Whether or not she serves again as speaker is “incidental,” Pelosi said, adding that “what’s important is that the Democrats win.”

    Republicans maintain a 244 to 196 majority in the House, and Democrats would need to hold all of their current seats and win at least 25 more in order to win back the majority in November. Pelosi said Sunday that she agrees with House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) that at least 50 GOP lawmakers are vulnerable this year, but added that she think as many as 75 Republican seats are in play.

    “I feel pretty good about where we are,” she told ABC.

  39. rikyrah says:

    What Cory Booker finds ‘nauseating’
    By Steve Benen – Mon May 21, 2012 8:00 AM EDT

    .Newark Mayor Cory Booker, widely considered a rising star in Democratic politics, raised quite a few eyebrows yesterday when he denounced criticism of Mitt Romney’s work at Bain Capital.

    On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Booker said, “[F]rom a very personal level, I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity,” adding he’s “very uncomfortable with” the recent talk about Bain. Drawing a parallel between attacks on Jeremiah Wright and criticism of Romney’s private-sector work, the mayor said, “[T]his kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides.”

    It was an unexpected, and rather confusing, argument. For one thing, I’ve seen no evidence of Democrats attacking private equity in general, but rather, criticizing Romney’s specific tactics: orchestrating leveraged buyouts, loading up companies with large debts, flipping them quickly for large profits, and treating thousands of laid off workers as collateral damage. For another, Obama isn’t running around saying, “Vote for me because I was a member of Wright’s church,” so comparing Bain criticism to The Ricketts Plan is misplaced.

    As reports of Booker’s comments spread — Republicans were promoting them heavily — the mayor felt the need to clarify matters in a YouTube clip.

    It’s hard to see this as anything but a reversal. Whereas on “Meet the Press,” Booker said in no uncertain terms, “Stop attacking private equity,” the mayor said in his clip, “Let me be clear: Mitt Romney has made his business record a centerpiece of his campaign. He’s talked about himself as a job creator. And therefore it is reasonable — and in fact I encourage it — for the Obama campaign to examine that record and discuss it. I have no problem with that.”

    Apparently, upon further reflection, the scrutiny of Bain is less “nauseating” after all.

    • Ametia says:

      Watching the “Full Court Press” with Bill Press this morning. His guest, can’t remember who it was now said….. FOLLOW THE MONEY.

  40. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s cash advantage grew in April
    Posted by Aaron Blake at 07:45 PM ET,

    Despite his newfound status as the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney’s campaign saw its fundraising fall off slightly in April, it spent more than it raised, and it still has less than one-tenth as much cash on hand as President Obama.

    As previously reported, Romney raised $40 million for his campaign and the Republican National Committee in April — nearly equalling Obama and the Democrats’s $43.6 million — but the report filed Sunday shows the vast majority of that was for the RNC.

    An FEC report filed Sunday shows Romney’s campaign raised $11.7 million for the month — down from more than $13 million in March — and spent $12.6 million, dropping its cash on hand number to $9.2 million.

    Obama, by contrast, raised $25.7 million for his campaign and spent $14.6 million, leaving him with $115 million cash on hand. (Of course, Obama didn’t face a contested Democratic primary campaign.)

    And Romney wasn’t the only one to see his fundraising fall off; the top super PAC supporting his campaign, Restore Our Future, raised just $4.6 million for the month, down from $8.7 million in March. It had $8.2 million cash on hand at the end of the month.

    Meanwhile, Rick Santorum ended his campaign with $1 million in the bank and $2.3 million in debt, while Newt Gingrich exited with $4.8 million in debt and just $807,000 in cash.

  41. rikyrah says:

    Solamere, Tagg Romney, and the New American Normal
    By Charles P. Pierce at 11:23AM

    The problem with crony capitalism isn’t the capitalism, it’s the cronies.

    The cronies take the capitalism out of crony capitalism, which is why it can flourish under ostensibly Communist systems, like China or the old Soviet Union, as well as it can flourish here. The cronies limit your vision. They cosset you against the world. They help you avoid the downturns and vicissitudes to which all of us fall heir. They can give you a false sense of how smart you are and, in turn, how much wealth and success are things that are yours by right, rather than things that you earn. They can turn you into George W. Bush. This is in no way a good thing.

    Comes now Tagg Romney, Financial Wizard. With a little help from Daddy’s friends. For all the Romney palaver about the way the family has scrapped its way into the top 1 percent, it’s a long way from that cabin in Mexico. This is the world which the Romneys inhabit now — the world of starter trust-funds of $100 million, the world in which $244 million in investments comes from a simple handshake over dinner at Torrey Pines, money enough to buy you a lot of fine alibis when questions arise about the benefits of being in business with the son of a possible president of the United States. It’s scary:

    Solamere’s founders dispute any notion that they have cashed in on their political connections, arguing that Solamere, like any fund, has had to persuade investors on its merits. “No one we went to as an investor said, ‘Oh, your dad is Mitt Romney, I’m going to give you $10 million,” Tagg Romney said, noting that his father’s political future was uncertain when the firm began. He added, “Our relationships with people got us in the door, but that did not get us investors.”

    Does he think that anyone needed to mention who his father was? That’s the kind of thing that’s understood in this world, the kind of thing that is not spoken about, because it’s gauche to mention and because everyone knows what’s reallt going on. Solamere was raising money in the middle of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, one that was caused by thievery and brigandage that took place within the very industry in which Solamere was trying to establish itself. Does anyone with the analytical skills of a handball believe that the investors were charmed into handing over $300 million to a rookie and that who the rookie’s father was — and who the rookie’s father might turn out to be — didn’t matter at all? Particularly since a lot of them had invested heavily in the possibility of making the rookie’s father what the rookie’s father wanted to be? Not even the class of people who wrecked the economy are that arrogant and/or stupid.

    This is the kind of thinking that has been normalized in this country — that private deals carving up the national wealth are the way the system is supposed to operate, that the secret handshakes and the private codes are the way to divvy up the national wealth, the discreet dinners a deux or a huit are the arenas within the business of the nation must be conducted, lest the whole system fail, while the rest of us look at it from the outside and wonder how things could have gone so terribly wrong.

    Read more:

  42. rikyrah says:

    -Rep. Ford: Booker was right
    By TIM MAK | 5/21/12 7:36 AM EDT
    Former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford Jr. said Monday that he would not have walked back New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker’s surprising comments criticizing the Obama campaign for attacking private equity.

    “I would not have backed off the comments if I were Mayor Booker,” Ford, a Democrat, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “The substance of his comments on ‘Meet the Press,’ I agree with the core of it. I would not have backed them out… private equity’s not a bad thing. As a matter of fact, private equity is a good thing in many, many instances.”

    Having said that, I understand as a surrogate for the campaign, you have to have one of your key and most eloquent and most effective surrogates at least clarify or at least bring context to his statements,” continued Ford.

    Booker, an Obama surrogate, criticized the campaign’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s tenure at private-equity firm Bain Capital on the NBC Sunday morning show.

    “It’s nauseating to the American public,” Booker told host David Gregory. “Enough is enough. Stop attacking private equity. Stop attacking Jeremiah Wright.”

    “As far as that stuff, I have to just say from a very personal level I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity,” he added.

    But by the evening, Booker had walked his comments back, saying that Romney’s record at Bain was fair game.

    “Mitt Romney has made his business record a centerpiece of his campaign — he’s talked about himself as a job creator,” Booker said in a nearly four-minute video. “Therefore, it is reasonable — in fact, I encourage it — for the Obama campaign to examine that record and discuss it.”

    Read more:

  43. Ametia says:

    By Robert Barnes, Published: May 20

    Has anything changed in the world of campaign finance that might give pause to the five members of the Supreme Court who decided Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission exactly 28 months ago Monday?

    Or, to be more precise, has anything changed in the mind of at least one of them?

    Boehner, McConnell say they’ll insist on more spending cuts when Obama asks to increase the debt limit.

    The court faces that question in a flurry of contradictory arguments prompted by a decision by the Montana Supreme Court late last year.

    In upholding a 100-year-old state law, the Montana justices seemed to be openly defying Citizens United’s holding that the First Amendment grants corporations, and by extension labor unions, the right to spend unlimited amounts of their treasuries to support or oppose candidates.

    The Supreme Court has already blocked the Montana decision, and the justices may simply set their counterparts in Helena straight by summarily reversing the finding.

  44. Ametia says:

    A choice of capitalisms
    By E.J. Dionne Jr., Published: May 20

    In this election, we’re not having an argument that pits capitalism against socialism. We are trying to decide what kind of capitalism we want. It is a debate as American as Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay — which is to say that we have always done this. In light of the rise of inequality and the financial mess we just went through, it’s a discussion we very much need to have now.

    The back-and-forth about Bain Capital, Mitt Romney’s old company, is part of something larger. So is the inquest into the implications of multibillion-dollar trading losses at JPMorgan Chase. Capitalism can produce wonders. It is also capable of self-destruction, and it can leave a lot of wounded people behind. The trick is to get the most out of what capitalism does well, while containing or preventing the problems it can cause.

    • Ametia says:

      Ampad, a paper company, acquired and quickly closed a plant in Marion, Indianawhich cost all 250 workers their jobs. Ampad went on to lose a total of 1,500 jobs while Romney and his investors multiplied their initial investment 20 times over, illustrating how Romney Economics is about doing whatever it takes to maximize profit, regardless of the cost to workers, companies and communities.

      Mitt Romney has repeatedly cited his business experience as his chief qualification to be President, claiming he would use it to boost the economy, create jobs, and reduce the deficit. But Romney’s business values put short term profit for himself and his investors ahead of long term growth for the companies he bought and sold–destroying some of the communities where he and his partners invested — values thatwould be disastrous for our economy and our nation if Romney were in the White House.

      While Romney wants to go back to the philosophy that created the economic crisis, President Obama is moving America forward – to an economy built to last, where hard work pays off, responsibility is rewarded, and everyone has a fair shot, does their fair share, and plays by the same rules.

  45. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone. Happy MUN-dane! :-)

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