Serendipity SOUL | Thursday Open Thread | Funk Week!

Minneapolis FUNK…

Wiki: The Time (now The Original 7ven) is a funk and dance-pop ensemble formed in 1981. They are close Prince associates and arguably the most successful artists who have worked with him.

The Time (now The Original 7ven) is a funk and dance-pop ensemble formed in 1981. They are close Prince associates and arguably the most successful artists who have worked with him.

Jungle Love

Love Is A Game

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88 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Thursday Open Thread | Funk Week!

  1. rikyrah says:

    May 24, 2012 5:54 PM

    Path Not Taken

    By Ed Kilgore

    At Ten Miles Square today, Ezra Klein provides a neat summary of why the entire hep political world is talking about Mitt’s background at Bain Capital rather than as governor of Massachusetts, his most recent gig that did not involve downhill skiers or running for president:

    Neither campaign really wants to. The Romney campaign wants to avoid it because Romney governed from the center in ways that could now alienate the right. In a Republican Party looking for a true conservative, Romney sees little but danger in his record. His signature legislative accomplishment was the forerunner to “Obamacare.” Meanwhile, his state ranked 47th in job creation during his term. (So much for the secret knowledge gleaned from Bain about how to create jobs.)

    The Obama campaign doesn’t want to discuss it because Romney’s centrist record as governor might comfort independents, who otherwise may fear that Romney is a creature of the right. “I think people recognize that I’m not a partisan Republican, that I’m someone who is moderate, and that my views are progressive,” Romney said in 2002.

    Ah, but there’s a third thing the Obama campaign could talk about:

    We don’t have to pore over every decision Romney made in Massachusetts to discern what he would do in Washington if elected. Romney and the Republicans in Congress have explained exactly what they intend to accomplish — and their plans are remarkably in sync.

    The budget prepared by Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, and the Romney campaign’s general-election platform look quite similar. Both would cut taxes while flattening the tax code. Their Medicare-reform plans look similar; Ryan even modified his original draft to make it look more like Romney’s, which allows seniors to choose between traditional fee-for-service Medicare and private options. Their plans to increase defense spending are alike, as are their plans to cut domestic spending and to turn Medicaid, food stamps and other safety-net programs over to the states.

    Because it’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which Romney is elected and Republicans don’t hold the House and win control of the Senate, Republicans wouldn’t be stymied by Democratic opposition. They would have the votes to pass their agenda. True, they won’t get a filibuster-proof majority of 60 in the upper chamber, but Ryan’s budget is, well, a budget, which means it could be passed through the budget reconciliation process — and couldn’t be filibustered. To enact a radical change of direction, Republicans need only a simple majority of votes.

    Given that stark reality, perhaps I should rephrase my initial question: Why are we spending so much time discussing what Romney did at Bain … instead of what he will do as president?

    It would obvious make it all easier if Romney just put Ryan on the ticket. But presumably, Team Obama does plan at some point to follow the path not taken so far and pay special attention to the promises he made to his party in order to win the nomination.

    • Ametia says:


      Romney Promotes For-Profit College Owned By A Private Equity Firm That Does Business With Romney’s Son Tagg

      When asked about his plan for higher education, Mitt Romney has taken to endorsing the for-profit higher education industry, even singling out a specific college business, Full Sail University. When speaking with a local newspaper before the Iowa caucus, he volunteered Full Sail and other for-profit colleges as an answer to the rising costs of college tuition. He has also suggested Full Sail when speaking to college students in both New Hampshire.

      Full Sail, like many for-profit colleges, is an odd choice for a conservative. These schools depend on billions in taxpayer aid, much of it wasted on advertisements and bonuses for executives. And as many have demonstrated, companies like Full Sail have a less than stellar track record when it comes to future employment and debt for their students.

      As the New York Times pointed out, Full Sail is owned by a private equity firm called TA Associates, which is run by C. Kevin Landry, a major donor to Mitt Romney’s super PAC. According to Bloomberg News, Landry has now given $100,000 to Restore Our Future, the pro-Romney super PAC blanketing the airwaves in Republican primary states.

      The complex web of relationships between Full Sail’s owners and Tagg Romney’s investment business with TA Associates presents a conflict of interest for the presidential candidate. Is Mitt Romney promoting a greater degree of taxpayer money to an industry because of his family’s connection to it? Will investors with Tagg’s firm and donors to Romney’s super PAC be given preferential treatment in a Romney administration?

      What is known is that Romney has received between $100,000 and $1 million in returns from his stake in the investment company that is partnered with TA Associates, a private equity firm that is getting rich of for-profit universities — while Romney on the campaign trail has touted for-profit education as the future.

      The complex web of relationships between Full Sail’s owners and Tagg Romney’s investment business with TA Associates presents a conflict of interest for the presidential candidate. Is Mitt Romney promoting a greater degree of taxpayer money to an industry because of his family’s connection to it? Will investors with Tagg’s firm and donors to Romney’s super PAC be given preferential treatment in a Romney administration?

      What is known is that Romney has received between $100,000 and $1 million in returns from his stake in the investment company that is partnered with TA Associates, a private equity firm that is getting rich of for-profit universities — while Romney on the campaign trail has touted for-profit education as the future

  2. rikyrah says:

    And Don’t Come Back

    by BooMan
    Thu May 24th, 2012 at 02:05:05 PM EST
    Mitt Romney got lost and wound up in Philadelphia. He was not well-received by the citizens or the mayor. In fact, Mayor Humpty-Hump was verbally abusive in a humorous way.

    Later, as Romney was touring the all-black school, which the city school district turned over to a charter operator two years ago in an effort to improve student achievement, Democratic Mayor Michael Nutter held a press conference on a sidewalk outside blasting the Republican’s visit.

    “I don’t know why this guy’s here,” said Nutter, standing behind an Obama campaign sign. Romney “has suddenly somehow found West Philadelphia, somehow now wants to talk about education.”

    But the Democrat questioned whether Romney would learn much in a visit lasting less than two hours.

    “I don’t know that a one-day experience in the heart of West Philadelphia is enough to get you ready to run the United States of America,” said Nutter, surrounded by several dozen chanting Obama supporters and neighborhood residents.

    “Mitt Romney running his financial services firm put people out of work, damaged Americans, damaged families, caused people to lose their jobs, possibly lose their homes and all of that,” the mayor said.

    “So let’s talk about that. You want to have an urban experience? You want to have a West Philly experience? Then come out here and talk to somebody in West Philly.”

    How’s that for a respectful greeting? It’s like immune cells trying to eject a pathogen. “What are you doing here? Get the hell out.”

  3. Ametia says:

    Rev. Al has Deborah Davis on Politics nation this evening.

  4. Ametia says:

    Senate Rejects GOP, Dem Plans on Student Loans
    Published: May 24, 2012 at 6:31 PM ET

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate rejected dueling Democratic and Republican plans on Thursday for averting a July 1 doubling of interest rates on federal college loans for 7.4 million students, pushing back efforts to resolve the election-season showdown until next month.

    In mostly party-line roll calls, senators voted 62-34 against the GOP package and 51-43 for the Democratic version, with each falling short of the 60 votes needed for approval. Though both defeats were preordained, the twin votes gave lawmakers from each party a chance to show they favor easing students’ financial burdens — and potential grist for campaign ads accusing the other side of opposing the effort.

    The Senate planned to leave town later Thursday for a Memorial Day recess running through next week. Neither party wants to be accused of letting the interest rates grow at a time when voters are focused on coping in today’s rough-edged economy, giving each side an incentive to eventually strike a compromise.

  5. Ametia says:

    More scary pics of Romney at Philly charter school

  6. Ametia says:


  7. Ametia says:

    May 24, 2012 5:15 PM EDT/ 4:15 CT

    President Obama Speaks on Urging Congress to Act on the “To Do List”
    Newton, Iowa

  8. Ametia says:

    Hot summer author: Stephen Carter

    The book:
    The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln: A Novel

    What if John Wilkes Booth failed in his assassination attempt — and Abraham Lincoln recovered, only to face an impeachment trial? That’s the intriguing premise of The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Carter’s courtroom drama featuring a determined young African-American heroine

    Video-5 questions for Stephen Carter

  9. rikyrah says:

    Thu May 24, 2012 at 10:24 AM PDT.

    Florida begins MASSIVE voter purge in early bid to steal Presidency before elections

    This has EVERYTHING to do with the fact that Florida is a swing state. This has everything to do with stopping citizens from being able to vote. This has EVERYTHING to do with voter supression. Denying your countrymen their right to a vote, brought to you by the Republican Party.

    . . . in this election, “Governor Scott wants to play the role of Katherine Harris.”

    Katherine Harris, of course, was the Florida Secretary of State who helped George W. Bush “win” Florida and the Presidential election of 2000 after Bush v Gore was decided 5-4 by the Supreme Court in the most activist thing any American court had ever done at the time. According to one estimate from 2000 said that 7,000 voters were wrongfully removed from the rolls of eligible voters, 88% of whom were African-American. Al Gore won 92% of the African-American vote in Florida in 2000

    I remember the before times when George W. Bush wasn’t Presidenting yet and America had never heard of a hanging chad. If not for a few hundred votes in Florida and a few thousand more who were pushed off the voter rolls “by accident” this might be a very different country, a very different world. Am I alone in the thought that preventing your fellow countryman from having the right to vote is as Un-American as it gets?

  10. rikyrah says:

    from Balloon Juice:

    Hill Dweller Says:

    Willard’s handlers thought it would be a good idea to put him in a class room full of African-American kids…in Philly. He got an earful for supporting cuts in education, but the best part is the pictures. Willard’s awkwardness is palpable, even in still shots, and the kids look downright annoyed to have him there.

    I wish someone would have asked him why was he riding around France selling a religion that didn’t allow black people.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 09:45 AM ET, 05/24/2012
    Romney moves to emphasize his competence with latest ad
    By Jamelle Bouie

    As Greg and I have argued in the past, Mitt Romney’s key asset is the appearence of competence. By virtue of his look, composure and business background, voters assume that he has command over issues and that he could succeed if elected president. In its first general-election advertisement, the Romney campaign showed voters what the GOP nominee would do on his first day as president, in an attempt to play on that perception. Today the campaign released its second ad, and it’s a continuation of the first – a day one, part two, which focuses on what Romney would do for the economy:

    On day one, according to this commercial, Romney would “announce deficit reductions,” “stand up” to China on trade and begin to repeal “job-killing regulations.” It’s not clear what any of this would mean in real life. The president can’t cut budgets by fiat, so what would Romney actually do to reduce deficits on his first day? He could press Congress to implement his budget plan, but it calls for massive tax cuts that would deprive the government of revenue and make deficit reduction less likely.

    From his previous rhetoric — “I will label China … a currency manipulator.… And they will recognize that if they cheat there is a price to pay” — it’s clear that Romney means a trade war when he says he plans to stand up to China. But as the Wall Street Journal rightfully pointed out in an editorial last fall, this would be a huge blunder; pursuing a trade war with China would drive up prices, hurt workers and damage our standing in the international community, especially on issues where Chinese help is invaluable. China-bashing might make for good politics (it’s par for the course in presidential elections), but it wouldn’t help the economy or create jobs.

    All of this gets to one of the big problems with Romney’s campaign; for all the talk of job creation, the Republican nominee doesn’t have a plan for stimulating the economy. You might argue for his tax cuts as a stimulative measure, but his other budget priorities — deep cuts to social spending — would counter any boost the economy gained from lower taxes. In a recent interview, Time magazine’s Mark Halperin gave Romney a chance to elaborate on his proposals for job creation, and the most he gave was a nod to his 59-point plan:

  12. rikyrah says:

    Allen West Objects To Early Voting Because ‘People See It As An Entitlement’, Suggests It May Be Unconstitutional
    By Scott Keyes on May 24, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Rep. Allen West (R-FL) took aim at early voting this week, criticizing its proliferation and suggesting that it may be unconstitutional.

    In 2008, more than half of Floridians voted before Election Day, a process that former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush (R) called “wonderful.” Yet early voting has been under attack recently in Florida. Last year, the state legislature passed a voter suppression bill that slashed early voting in the state from two weeks to eight days, including cutting out the Sunday before the election, a day when many congregants in black churches would vote en masse. Worse, this appears to be part of a much larger effort to suppress the vote in Florida. Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL), for example, is currently engaged in a massive effort to remove as many as 180,000 people from the voting rolls.

    ThinkProgress spoke with West about this rollback after a town hall meeting Tuesday. West was critical of “this early voting thing,” protesting that “people see it as an entitlement”:

    KEYES: Obviously the state legislature rolled back a lot of the early voting days, including cutting out the Sunday before the Tuesday for voting. I’ve been speaking with a lot of voters down here and they have programs called, for instance, “Souls to the Polls” where a lot of black churches and historically Latino churches would go to church on the first Sunday of the month and then go everybody transport and vote. That’s cut out now because now it’s cut off at the Saturday before the Tuesday election. Does that concern you at all, does that bother you?

    WEST: No, I think that when you look at our voting process here in the United States of America, it really comes down to you should be able to go out and vote on Election Day. If you cannot get out to vote on Election Day, you get an absentee ballot. I think that this early voting thing was something we provided and now some people see it as an entitlement, which is really not consistent with constitutional voting practices and procedures.

    Early voting has no business being a partisan issue. It simply allows people who can’t reach the polls on Election Day to still participate in our democracy. It also eases the burden on election officials who can spread out the process over weeks instead of a single day. West’s opposition to a program that even Jeb Bush admits is “great” and results in “high voter turnout” is inexplicable.

  13. rikyrah says:

    One of Jesse Kelly’s sore spots
    By Steve Benen – Thu May 24, 2012 1:54 PM EDT.

    With Gabrille Giffords having stepped aside to focus on her recovery, the special election to replace her in Arizona’s 8th congressional district is just three weeks away. Democrats have nominated Ron Barber, a former Giffords aide, while a familiar name will be on the ballot for Republicans.

    Remember Jesse Kelly? In 2010, the Tea Party Republican sponsored a campaign event in which supporters joined him in shooting a “fully automatic M-16.” The campaign’s announcement read at the time, “Get on target for November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office.” He also took a stand against food-safety regulations, suggesting it should be up to individuals to protect themselves from salmonella outbreaks.

    Kelly, in the same race, also accepted the endorsement of an anti-immigrant group called ALIPAC, which has been accused of having ties to white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

    Kelly lost a close race in 2010, but hopes to win the June 12 special election — but as the local ABC affiliate discovered, he and his campaign really doesn’t want to talk about ALIPAC.

    For the record, when you accept the support of accused extremists and neo-Nazis, “This election’s about jobs” isn’t a great answer.

    ALIPAC renewed its support for Kelly’s campaign last week

  14. rikyrah says:

    If You Want Another Debt And Spending Binge, Vote GOP, Ctd
    James Pethokoukis counters this graphic on Obama’s spending record with one of his own:

    Pethokoukis insists that Obama is responsible for his deficits:

    Only by establishing 2009 as the new baseline, something Republican budget hawks like Paul Ryan feared would happen, does Obama come off looking like a tightwad. Obama has turned a one-off surge in spending due to the Great Recession into his permanent New Normal through 2016 and beyond. It’s as if one of my teenagers crashed our family minivan, and I had to buy a new one. And then, since I liked that new car smell so much, I decided to buy a new van every year for the rest of my life. I would indeed be a reckless spender.

    He’s full of it.

    Kilgore explains why:

    I hardly think refusing to cut automatic stabilizer spending (the main areas of domestic spending increase since 2009), particularly for safety net programs where increased spending is a matter of higher enrollments by people in need rather than higher benefits, is analogous to buying a new car every year. … Pethokoukos also doesn’t mention that a recession depresses GDP, making spending (which is affected both by population growth and by higher demand for public services) a higher percentage even if nothing else happens.

    That last massive lie is at the core of Romney’s political strategy. By removing that context (which is like talking about the sinking of the Titanic without mentionng the iceberg), Romney is knowingly arguing that the spending and debt levels of the last three years were some kind of choice by a president who just loves to strangle the US economy by spending much more money than we have. But the only president who made that choice was George W. Bush – by crippling revenues, even as he fought wars with no budgets and new entitlements with no end (Medicare D), rendering us bankrupt even as we desperately needed a rainy day surplus to fight the depression.

    Obama did not have a serious choice; he had a fate. That fate was to pick up the pieces of the most catastrophic presidency in modern times. The final bouquet – after emptying the public coffers with no serious boost to employment, profits or growth – was the financial collapse, which both shrunk the economy, decimated revenues to 50 year lows, and automatically increased spending for the unemployed and poor in desperate need of help. Once you account for that – and the Nutting graph indeed shows that this was baked in the cake by the time Obama was elected – Obama has been, like most modern Democrats, far more fiscally conservative than any modern Republican.

    Now you could argue that Obama should have let the auto industry go fully bankrupt, allow the economy to head into deflation and depression without any fiscal stimulus to counter, cut the unemployed off at the knees – and we would be Greece today, underwater in a deepening and self-reinforcing depression. Can you imagine what Romney would have said about Obama’s record then?

    And yes, as Suderman notes, the real criticism should be focused on the absence of any long-term deal on entitlements, defense, taxes and spending – a deal that would do a huge amount for business confidence. But seriously: if one side simply refuses to put any serious revenue increases on the table at all, who’s really preventing that effort?

    There are legitimate issues to debate with respect to the future in this election. But the caricature of the last three years, the knowing lies that interweave with this false narrative, the attempt to describe a pragmatic, sane and successful president as somehow unqualified to tackle this mess – when the US economy has fared better in this period than much of the West – are deceptions, exploiting pain. I’m sick of them, and the cynicism they represent.

  15. rikyrah says:

    What Obama Has Wrought
    Support for Maryland’s marriage equality referendum is up 12 points. The reason:

    The movement over the last two months can be explained almost entirely by a major shift in opinion about same-sex marriage among black voters. Previously 56% said they would vote against the new law with only 39% planning to uphold it. Those numbers have now almost completely flipped, with 55% of African Americans planning to vote for the law and only 36% now opposed

    The result is that current polling shows marriage equality leading in the referendum polls by 57 – 37 percent. Now we know polls have over-read support for marriage equality in the past – but 20 points is a very big margin to overcome.

  16. rikyrah says:

    24 May 2012 10:56 AM
    Quote For The Day II

    “There was a woman in Iowa who shared her story of financial struggles, and he gave her an answer right out of an economic textbook. He said, “Our productivity equals our income.” And the notion was that somehow the reason people can’t pay their bills is because they’re not working hard enough. If they got more productive, suddenly their incomes would go up. Well, those of us who’ve spent time in the real world — (laughter) — know that the problem isn’t that the American people aren’t productive enough — you’ve been working harder than ever. The challenge we face right now, and the challenge we’ve faced for over a decade, is that harder work has not led to higher incomes, and bigger profits at the top haven’t led to better jobs,”
    – President Barack Obama.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Tony Soprano explains Bain Capital

  18. rikyrah says:

    In West Philly, Romney Faces The Racial Politics Of Education
    He called improving schools “the civil rights era of our time.” Outside the school, a heated debate on race, charters, and “if Mitt Romney even knows any Afro-Americans.”

    On Tuesday, Mitt Romney told a Washington, D.C. ballroom full of Hispanic business leaders that education was “the civil rights issue of our era.” The next day, he traveled to the heart of West Philadelphia and found out he may be right — but that diving headfirst into the racial politics of education reform could prove trickier than he anticipated.

    The candidate paid a visit Wednesday morning to Universal Bluford Charter School, a well kept, red-brick elementary facility on 58th Street surrounded by run-down town homes. Inside, he toured classrooms and took part in a frank roundtable with local administrators about the dismal state of American education.

    The more heated discussion, though, was taking place just outside the school’s perimeter, where local Obama supporters had organized a protest — chanting about Romney’s “greed,” railing against the public education cuts he enacted as Massachusetts governor, and waving signs that read, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and District Attorney Seth Williams even held a press conference to decry Romney’s education proposals, which are aimed at weakening teachers’ unions beyond Obama’s more modest pressure on them.

    But while many of the locals repeated the President’s familiar charge that Romney is “out of touch with most Americans” — and several even expressed reluctant support for the Republican’s plan to expand access to charter schools — it was hard to escape the emotional politics of race lurking just beneath the discussion. After all, in places like West Philadelphia, the education disparity isn’t just a class issue: It’s one that overwhelmingly hurts African-Americans.

    Lucretia Wilson, 64, a retired prison teacher, was among the Obama supporters who showed up to protest Romney’s visit.

    “He is not in a middle class neighborhood right now, which I feel he’s probably totally unaware of. He’s in a neighborhood of working poor, people working hard every and still can’t get by,” Wilson said, before adding, “I wonder if Mitt Romney even knows any Afro-Americans. I bet he doesn’t.”

    Rhonda Shropscire, a human resources consultant who lived nearby, said she agreed with Romney that education reform is a civil rights issue, and called the state of local schools “almost immoral.”

    “But,” she added, “I think there is no way that Mitt Romney can understand what it is like if you, as a parent, have to rely on public education for your children. There are no options for these people.”

  19. rikyrah says:

    Restoring the middleman to higher education

    One of the overlooked accomplishments of President Obama’s term is the reform of the student-loan system — an effort that was decades in the making, but had been blocked by Republicans and bank lobbyists until 2010.

    Under the old system, the student-loan industry received billions in taxpayer subsidies to provide a service the government could perform for less. As Rachel explained on the show a month ago, in 2010, Democrats removed the middleman, streamlined the process, saved taxpayers a ton of money, and helped more young people get college degrees.

    Yesterday, Mitt Romney unveiled a new education agenda, which vows to bring the middleman back.

    Mr. Romney’s speech was almost entirely focused on K-12 education. But in his policy paper, he called for restoring private lenders to the subsidized college loan market. Congress passed a law in 2010 at Mr. Obama’s urging that eliminated government fees paid to private banks, an estimated savings of $68 billion over 10 years, which was channeled into Pell grants for the poorest students.

    Sure, Obama’s reforms save taxpayer money and help more young people go to college, but by streamlining the process, Democrats have cut into bank profits — and that can’t stand.

    Taken together, it’s quite a pitch Romney has to make to young adults and their families: a Romney administration will cut Pell Grants, make it harder to get student loans, and encourage students who struggle with tuition costs to “shop around” until they can find a college they can afford.

    The former governor recently said, “I don’t see how a young American can vote for, well, can vote for a Democrat.” Yeah, it’s quite the mystery.

    That wasn’t the only thing we learned about Romney’s education agenda yesterday. The Republican, in the midst of an extended harangue against teachers unions*, also endorsed school vouchers.


    From the address:

    “As President, I will give the parents of every low-income and special needs student the chance to choose where their child goes to school. For the first time in history, federal education funds will be linked to a student, so that parents can send their child to any public or charter school, or to a private school, where permitted. And I will make that choice meaningful by ensuring there are sufficient options to exercise it.

    “To receive the full complement of federal education dollars, states must provide students with ample school choice.”

    Vouchers generally aren’t popular, and have repeatedly been voted down when put on statewide ballots, so Romney’s position may not do him any favors with voters.

    What’s more, the track record on voucher programs is poor — “experiments” in Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida, and D.C. all led to waste, mismanagement, and test scores that failed to improve. Of course, Romney is less concerned with results and more concerned with privatizing American education.

    Making matters even worse, Matt Yglesias took a closer look at a related Title 1 proposal. After some kids take the voucher and run, remaining kids in the underfunded public school will “have the option to use federal funds to purchase supplemental tutoring or digital courses from state-approved private providers rather than receiving Title I services from their district.”

    That’s far more problematic than it might sound.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Pushing Latino voters away
    By Steve Benen – Thu May 24, 2012 10:21 AM EDT.

    Mitt Romney spoke at The Latino Coalition’s Annual Economic Summit yesterday. If the audience hoped to hear the presumptive Republican nominee talk about immigration policy, they were disappointed — he literally didn’t mention the subject at all and immigration didn’t come up during the pre-screened Q&A session.

    And why not? Because Romney already has a severe problem with Latino voters, and the more he talks about his agenda, the worse off he is.

    Less than six months before November’s presidential election, President Obama enjoys a sizable lead over Mitt Romney among Latino voters, according to a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll of Latino respondents. […]

    In this survey, Obama holds a 34-point lead over Romney among registered Latino voters, 61 to 27 percent. In 2008, according to the exit polls, Obama defeated McCain among this key voting bloc, 67 to 31 percent.

    The president’s approval rating among all Latino adults stands at 61%, while only 26% of Latinos view Romney favorably.

    There’s no great mystery as to how the Republican reached this point. Romney has already said he’s an opponent of the DREAM Act; he’s palling around with Pete Wilson and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach; he endorses a “self-deportation” agenda; he’s critical of bilingualism; and his casual dismissals of “amnesty” and “illegals” are a staple of his campaign rhetoric. It’s why Romney has successfully alienated Latino voters to such a remarkable degree.

    But given the size of the Latino community, especially in some swing states, this is a problem Romney may find it difficult to fix.

    Update: Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said the other day, “I think we’ve had great successes when it comes to the Hispanic communities across America.” He may want to rethink that one

  21. rikyrah says:

    Romney defends class size stance to teachers
    Posted by
    CNN’s Kevin Liptak

    Mitt Romney, who is spending this week promoting a plan for America’s public school system, spent Thursday morning defending his stance that smaller class sizes don’t necessarily equate with better learning in schools.

    Romney participated in an education roundtable at a charter school in Philadelphia the day after laying out his education plan to Latino small business owners in Washington. Romney’s plan emphasizes school choice over other factors, including efforts to reduce the number of students in classrooms.

    Speaking of his time as governor of Massachusetts, Romney said he was frequently told that smaller class sizes would lead to better learning, but that certain studies advised otherwise.

    “I came into office and talked to people and said, ‘What can we do to improve our schools?'” Romney said at his Thursday event. “And a number of folks said we need smaller classroom sizes, that will make the biggest difference.”

    Romney went on to cite a study that showed no correlation between classroom size and performance, naming schools in Cambridge, Massachusetts as an example.

    “The schools in the district with the smallest classroom sizes had students performing in the bottom 10%,” Romney said. “Just getting smaller classrooms didn’t seem to be the key.”

    Romney was pressed on his stance by a music teacher at the charter school who questioned the research Romney cited.

    “I can’t think of any teacher in the whole time I’ve been teaching, for 10 years, 13 years, who would say that more students would benefit them,” Steven Morris, the teacher, said. “And I can’t think of a parent who would say ‘I would like my student to be in a classroom with a lot of kids with only one teacher.’ So I’m kind of wondering where this research comes from.”

    Another teacher participating in the roundtable said unequivocally that he had too many students in his classroom.

    “It’s too large,” the second teacher said. “It varies between classes, anywhere between 20 and 28. You can give more personalized attention to each student if you have a smaller class size.”

  22. Ametia says:


    Marco Rubio: Romney Presidency Will Be ‘About Making And Keeping America Special’


    by Noah Rothman | 9:36 am, May 24th, 2012
    Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio appeared on Fox & Friends on Thursday where he discussed his version of the DREAM Act, Hispanic voters and their reluctance to embrace the Republican party and the candidacy of Mitt Romney. Earlier, Romney had praised Rubio on Fox & Friends. When asked about this, Rubio responded that Romney was doing a good job of advancing the cause of the GOP and said a Romney presidency “is going to be about making and keeping America special.”

  23. Ametia says:

    President Barack Obama is holding a grassroots event today at the State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa.

    REMEMBER Romney’s visit to Iowa?

  24. rikyrah says:

    Asking the right questions about Bain Capital
    By Steve Benen – Thu May 24, 2012 9:36 AM EDT.

    Mitt Romney sat down with Time’s Mark Halperin yesterday for a pretty long interview, and we learned a few interesting things. For example, for all the Republican hatred of Keynesian economics, the Republican candidate said if he cut a trillion dollars out of the budget in his first year, he’d be “throwing us into recession or depression.”

    The former governor also said he can improve the economy through his very existence — “entrepreneurs” will start investing simply by virtue of Romney being in office — and though he wants to increase Pentagon spending and approve tax breaks, we can’t afford PBS.

    But Halperin, to his credit, also asked some worthwhile questions about Romney’s controversial private-sector background. “I know you think that working in the private sector in and of itself gives you insight into how the economy works,” the reporter said, “but what specific skills or policies did you learn at Bain that would help you create an environment where jobs would be created?” The presumptive GOP nominee replied:

    “Well that’s a bit of a question like saying, ‘What have you learned in life that would help you lead?’ My whole life has been learning to lead, from my parents, to my education, to the experience I had in the private sector, to helping run the Olympics, and then of course helping guide a state. Those experiences in totality have given me an understanding of how America works and how the economy works.

    “Twenty five years in business, including business with other nations, competing with companies across the world, has given me an understanding of what it is that makes America a good place to grow and add jobs, and why jobs leave America — why businesses decide to locate here, and why they decide to locate somewhere else. What outsourcing causes — what it’s caused by, rather. I understand, for instance, how to read a balance sheet. I happen to believe that having been in the private sector for twenty-five years gives me a perspective on how jobs are created — that someone who’s never spent a day in the private sector, like President Obama, simply doesn’t understand.”

    Reading the transcript, it was at this point when it occurred to me that Mitt Romney is basing his campaign on his private-sector work, but he hasn’t the foggiest idea how that business experience relates to the responsibilities of a president.

    Jon Chait argued that Romney’s response to Halperin’s question “is pure incoherence…. Basically Romney is just repeating his premise over and over again. He doesn’t say why his experience as a rich business guy better enables him to craft pro-growth policies.”

    It’s because there is no good answer to the question. The premise of Romney’s campaign is burdened by a flaw: it doesn’t make sense.


    Let’s say for the sake of conversation that Romney was great at running a private-equity firm. Let’s even assume he was the greatest private-equity investor in the country. Hell, let’s say he was the single private-equity investor in the history of the world.

    The question that Halperin, who hardly leans to the left, was getting at is simple enough: So?

    Chait added, “Romney insists that his Job Creator experience taught him that energy is part of the cost of a business, so it’s bad to pursue policies that result in high energy costs. But obviously this isn’t some special knowledge that you need to be in the private sector in order to acquire. If you’re the president, businesspeople will be happy to tell you this.”

    Romney’s pitch to voters is fairly straightforward: “I’d be a good president because I made wise private-equity investments and generated enormous profits.” There is, however, is a disconnect between one and the other: presidents aren’t called upon to make wise private-equity investments and generate enormous profits, making the pitch rather irrelevant.

    President Obama had a compelling take on this the other day:

  25. rikyrah says:

    saw this at another blog:

    this reporter is with WaPo and covers the Romney campaign. So evidently he heard this himself:

    Philip Rucker‏@PhilipRucker
    Romney’s host at charter school tells Mitt that the “education business a cash cow” that is “feeding the prison business right now.”

    Philip Rucker‏@PhilipRucker
    Romney responds to concern about black achievement gap by promoting 2-parent households, “families with mom and dad together.”

  26. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s Higher Education Plan: A Giveaway To The Wall Street Banks And Predatory Schools That Fund His Campaign
    By Pat Garofalo on May 24, 2012 at 10:21 am

    2012 presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney released his higher education plan Wednesday, decrying the nation’s “education crisis.” During a speech before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Romney blamed President Obama for rising tuition prices and increasing student debt.

    Of course, tuition increases and growing debt are a phenomenon several decades in the making. And Romney’s plan would make the problem decidedly worse in two important ways, giving federal money away to Wall Street banks and predatory for-profit colleges, two industries to which Romney has extensive ties.

    First, as he’s promised before, Romney intends to divert money away from student aid — instead giving it away to banks — by repealing Obama’s student loan reforms:

    Reverse President Obama’s nationalization of the student loan market and welcome private sector participation in providing information, financing, and the education itself.

    President Obama did not nationalize the student loan market. (Plenty of banks still make private sector student loans.) Instead, Obama and the Democrats cut private banks out of the federal student loan program, ending billions in subsidies that were needlessly going to banks for acting as loan middlemen. The money saved went into the Pell Grant program. Romney’s plan would entail taking away Pell money in order to pay Wall Street to service federal loans.

    Second, Romney would remove regulations meant to protect students from predatory for-profit colleges:

    Ill-advised regulation imposed by the Obama administration, such as the so-called “Gainful Employment” rule, has made it even harder for some providers to operate, while distorting their incentives.

    This rule simply states that colleges leaving too many students crippled with debt and without good jobs lose their access to federal dollars. Many for-profit schools make nearly all of their revenue from the federal government — in the form of the various streams of aid used by their students — yet have much high rates of student loan default than public schools. Only 11 percent of higher education students in the country attend for-profit schools, but they account for 26 percent of federal student loans and 44 percent of student loan defaults.

    Romney is already intimately tied to the for-profit college industry. Inside Higher Ed noted that two of his advisers “have lobbied on behalf of the Apollo Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix.” On the campaign trail, Romney has effusively praised Full Sail University, a for-profit institution. And it seems that his policy platform would be a boon to this industry which is, in many instances, extremely predatory.

  27. Ametia says:

    Asking the right questions about Bain Capital
    By Steve Benen
    Thu May 24, 2012 9:36 AM EDT

    Mitt Romney sat down with Time’s Mark Halperin yesterday for a pretty long interview, and we learned a few interesting things. For example, for all the Republican hatred of Keynesian economics, the Republican candidate said if he cut a trillion dollars out of the budget in his first year, he’d be “throwing us into recession or depression.”

    The former governor also said he can improve the economy through his very existence — “entrepreneurs” will start investing simply by virtue of Romney being in office — and though he wants to increase Pentagon spending and approve tax breaks, we can’t afford PBS.

    But Halperin, to his credit, also asked some worthwhile questions about Romney’s controversial private-sector background. “I know you think that working in the private sector in and of itself gives you insight into how the economy works,” the reporter said, “but what specific skills or policies did you learn at Bain that would help you create an environment where jobs would be created?” The presumptive GOP nominee replied:

    Well that’s a bit of a question like saying, ‘What have you learned in life that would help you lead?’ My whole life has been learning to lead, from my parents, to my education, to the experience I had in the private sector, to helping run the Olympics, and then of course helping guide a state. Those experiences in totality have given me an understanding of how America works and how the economy works.

    “Twenty five years in business, including business with other nations, competing with companies across the world, has given me an understanding of what it is that makes America a good place to grow and add jobs, and why jobs leave America — why businesses decide to locate here, and why they decide to locate somewhere else. What outsourcing causes — what it’s caused by, rather. I understand, for instance, how to read a balance sheet. I happen to believe that having been in the private sector for twenty-five years gives me a perspective on how jobs are created — that someone who’s never spent a day in the private sector, like President Obama, simply doesn’t understand.”

    Reading the transcript, it was at this point when it occurred to me that Mitt Romney is basing his campaign on his private-sector work, but he hasn’t the foggiest idea how that business experience relates to the responsibilities of a president.

  28. rikyrah says:

    :30 AM EDT, Thursday May 24, 2012
    Poll: Obama With A Huge Lead Among Latino Voters

    A new poll commissioned by NBC News, the Wall Street Journal and Telemundo shows President Obama with a large lead among Latino voters, 61 percent to 27 percent over likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. President Obama’s approval rating among Latinos polled is 61 percent approve to 32 percent disapprove, while his handling of the economy is at 54 percent approve versus 38 percent disapprove. Romney’s favorablity is underwater at 26 percen favorable versus 35 percent unfavorable.

    The numbers show Latino voters favoring Democrats more generally in a few ways – the Democratic Party is viewed favorably by a 51 percent to 19 percent unfavorable spread, and strongly perfer a Congress controled by Dems, 58 percent to 30 percent for Republicans.

  29. rikyrah says:

    NBC/Marist Poll: Obama With Narrow Leads In Ohio, Florida And Virginia

    Polls from a trio of crucial swing states show President Barack Obama with small leads over presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, another sign that the 2012 campaign will be extremely competitive.

    The NBC/Marist surveys released Thursday polled registered voters in Ohio, Virginia and Florida — arguably the three most coveted states for both candidates. Obama enjoys his largest lead over Romney in Ohio, where the president is favored by voters over the former Massachusetts governor, 48 percent to 42 percent. The president’s leads over Romney in Virginia and Florida are identical: 48 percent to 44 percent. Obama’s four-point leads in Virginia and Florida are narrowly outside the poll’s margin of error of four percentage points.

    Not only will the three states figure prominently in the 2012 electoral college map; they are also home to three elected officials rumored to be on Romney’s veep shortlist. The bad news for Romney: tapping Ohio Sen. Rob Portman (R), Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) or Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) as a running mate would not improve the Republican ticket’s chances in their respective stomping grounds. The NBC/Marist poll found there is little change in the three swing states when Portman, McDonnell or Rubio are added to the hypothetical matchup, with the Democratic ticket of Obama and Vice President Joe Biden maintaining their leads in all three states.

  30. rikyrah says:

    And let’s take a look at the record specifically of Bain Capital, which Romney owned from 1992 to 2001.

    • 1988: Bain put $10 million down to buy Stage Stores, and in the mid-’90s took it public, collecting $184 million from stock offerings. Stage filed for bankruptcy in 2000.
    • 1992: Bain bought American Pad & Paper, investing $5 million, and collected $107 million from dividends. The business filed for bankruptcy in 2000.
    • 1993: Bain invested $25 million when buying GS Industries, and received $58 million from dividends. GS filed for bankruptcy in 2001.
    • 1994: Bain put $27 million down to buy medical equipment maker Dade Behring. Dade borrowed $230 million to buy some of its shares. Dade went bankrupt in 2002.
    • 1997: Bain invested $41 million when buying Details, and collected at least $70 million from stock offerings. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2003.

    Romney owned 100 percent of Bain Capital making him involved in all these deals, which represented more than 20 percent of the money Bain made from its investment funds between 1987 and 1995. Bain’s focus during all this time was leveraged buyouts, and it had not made venture investments since its earliest days.

    All of this is bad enough. But leveraged buyouts don’t only hurt businesses, workers, and the economy generally – they also short-change taxpayers, via a giant loophole in the tax code that enables companies to deduct loan interest from taxes. The provision was originally intended to encourage borrowing to build new factories, not to finance leveraged buyouts. But, according to Notre Dame Professor Brad Badertscher, private equity-owned companies paid a 22 percent tax rate before being bought, and only 10 percent the year after being acquired. That adds up to a savings of $130 billion in taxes since 2000.

    Let’s not be confused about the roles of venture capitalism and private equity….Romney seems to want to meld them both together, as if it was all good. NOT!

  31. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    May 24, 2012 8:58 AM

    What RomneyCare Means Now

    Today we’ve got a genuine must-read from Jonathan Cohn at The New Republic: a comprehensive analysis of Mitt Romney’s proposals for federal health care policy.

    Taking these proposals seriously is especially important because thanks to conservative criticism, we’ve all gotten used to the idea of associating Romney’s thinking on health care with so-called “RomneyCare,” the Massachusetts health reform plan that was a model for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.

    Even if you think Romney’s lying when he promises to repeal “ObamaCare” in its entirety and gradually replace it with an assortment of right-wing “market-oriented” initiatives largely aimed at restricting insurance coverage, it is abundantly clear that this is one topic on which he will be cut zero slack by his conservative guardians. Besides, the overall agenda Romney would be forced to embrace as Job One (or Job One-and-a-Half after the repeal of ObamaCare) the moment he is inaugurated, implementation of the Ryan budget, constitutes a definitive reversal of everything ObamaCare is intended to accomplish—a true 180 degree turn on health care policy aimed at bringing back the good ol’ days before health care was considered a “right.”

    Here’s the lede for Cohn’s assessment of Romney’s proposals:

    The gist: Repeal the Affordable Care Act; end Medicare and Medicaid as we know it, by turning the former into a voucher program and the latter into a block grant scheme; unravel private insurance, by changing the tax treatment of benefits and undermining state regulation.
    The good. Not much. Once in a while he talks up worthwhile reforms designed to improve the quality of care. He also endorses malpractice reform, which is a worthy idea, although his approach would do in a way that reduced damage awards without improving compensation for actual medical errors.
    The bad: Changing the tax treatment of health insurance makes sense if you do it alongside other reforms. But if you do it without those reforms, it undermines employer-sponsored coverage without providing adequate alternatives.
    The ugly: Up to 58 million more people could end up without health insurance, relative to what will happen if current law stays in place, according to one credible estimate drawn from the things he’s said so far

    Please read the whole thing when you get a chance, and share it with someone who is thinking of voting for Romney as some corporate technocrat who will “fix” the economy and make government a tad more efficient.

  32. rikyrah says:

    8:59 AM EDT, Thursday May 24, 2012
    Virginia Poll: Kaine Leads Allen By Six In Senate Race

    The latest NBC/Marist survey of Virginia released Thursday shows Tim Kaine holding a six-point lead over George Allen in the race for the Commonwealth’s open U.S. Senate seat.

    Among registered voters statewide, the state’s former Gov. Kaine tops Allen, who represented Virginia in the Senate from 2001-2007, 49 percent to 43 percent. After his gubernatorial term ended in 2010, Kaine became the chair of the Democratic National Committee, a post he left last year to launch his campaign. The two candidates are vying to replace Sen. Jim Webb (D), who defeated Allen in 2006 and announced last year that he will step down after his first term in office.

    The PollTracker Average of the race mirrors the results of the NBC/Marist survey, with Kaine currently enjoying a roughly six point lead over Allen.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Wednesday, May 23, 2012
    Economy Of Motion
    Posted by Zandar
    This month’s WaPo/ABC News poll shows President Obama up 49-46 and more importantly, both men tied at 47% on the most important issue to voters: the economy.

    After months of aggressive campaigning on jobs and the economy, President Obama and Mitt Romney, his likely Republican challenger, are locked in a dead heat over who could fix the problem foremost on voters’ minds, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

    The parity on economic issues foreshadows what probably will continue to be a tough and negative campaign. Overall, voters would be split 49 percent for Obama and 46 percent for Romney if the November election were held now. On handling the economy, they are tied at 47 percent.

    Despite flare-ups over issues including contraception and same-sex marriage, more than half of all Americans cite the economy as the one concern that will decide their vote in the fall, relegating others — such as health care, taxes and the federal deficit — to single-digit status.

    More than eight in 10 Americans still rate the national economy negatively, but there are strains of optimism as it continues to recover from the collapse of 2008. A majority of Americans — 54 percent — say they are more hopeful than anxious about the situation over the next few years, while 58 percent are bullish about their financial prospects.

    Mitt Romney keeps saying he wants to talk about the economy…but he’s not winning that battle despite the economy being pretty lousy still. It’s getting better, and there are enough people who think so that the issue that Romney’s supposed to be winning on is instead a wash.

    Bad news for Mittens. I guess we’re in for another 23 weeks of Romney saying he wants to talk about the economy and having his SuperPACs talk about Jeremiah Wright and POTUS’s birth certificate instead.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, May 24, 2012
    Lies, Damn Lies, And GOP Statistics Involving Planned Parenthood
    Posted by Zandar
    Republicans just can’t tell the truth about Planned Parenthood, and the false outrage they generate is more than enough smoke to cover defunding the organization in state after state. The latest battleground is Pennsylvania, where lawmakers there are literally hitting cut and paste on Arizona’s horrific (and unconstitutional) abortion law, justified by the lie that Planned Parenthood performs an abortion “every 95 seconds.”

    Following in the footsteps of Republicans in Texas and Arizona, Pennsylvania State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R) proposed on Wednesday a bill that would prohibit the Planned Parenthood Federation of America from receiving any taxpayer funding in his state.

    Metcalfe was due to appear at a press conference on Wednesday morning with anti-abortion activists who wrote the bill, including representatives from the Alliance Defense Fund and the Susan B. Anthony List. Both groups boast on their websites of how effective they have been in harming Planned Parenthood’s funding, with the Susan B. Anthony List claiming that it played an integral role in sapping more than $61 million from the women’s health provider in legislative battles across the nation.

    In a prepared statement describing his bill, Metcalfe invented a number of allegations about the women’s health group, including a bizarre claim that they perform “an abortion every 95 seconds.” A similarly bizarre, admittedly invented claim landed Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ) in hot water last April, when he alleged that abortions are “well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.”

    Planned Parenthood says approximately 3 percent of their patients request referrals for abortion services. The vast majority of their work pertains to preventative care, like cancer and STD screenings, birth control prescriptions and reproductive health education, for lower-income patients who are underserved by the health care industry.

    The federal government and many states, including Pennsylvania, have already prohibited Planned Parenthood from using taxpayer funds to carry out abortions.

    Less than 3%. Referrals. You know, to other clinics where abortions can be performed. But somehow, that becomes “every 95 seconds” Planned Parenthood is doing this with taxpayer funding because all Republicans have to do is yell SLUT loudly and often enough and women magically lose the ability to determine their own reproductive health choices.

    Oh, and while we’re at it, let’s set some facts straight about the Affordable Care Act and your rights under it, which the GOP is also trying to take away from you.

  35. rikyrah says:

    May 23, 2012 5:39 PM

    Mitt Romney: The Missing Years

    By Ed Kilgore

    The Obama campaign did something interesting today. Instead of dwelling exclusively on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital, they drew attention to his record in the only public-sector job he’s ever held, as governor of Massachusetts. Here’s Eric Kleefeld’s report:

    The Obama campaign fired back at Mitt Romney’s speech Wednesday on education, in which Romney put forward school choice proposals, holding a conference call with reporters in which they tied “Romney economics,” of short-term gains, to their opponent’s positions on education.
    “Mitt Romney might not want to talk about his lackluster record in Massachusetts, but it’s an important window into what he would do as president,” said Obama campaign national press secretary Ben LaBolt, criticizing Romney for having sought cuts to early literacy programs, and for sharp increases in public college tuition during his term as governor.

    Once the primary season ended, and there were no rival Repubican candidates around to talk about RomneyCare, it was easy to forget that the man actually held a public office. And while he had a decent record on health care policy, it wasn’t all a smooth ride with fine results. I’m sure there’s a fat oppo research file somewhere in a hard drive in Chicago that could supply lots more detail. Let’s hear more of that.

  36. rikyrah says:

    The Truth About Governor Willard and Education
    By Charles P. Pierce
    at 4:29PM

    I spent four years living under the barely distinguishable leadership of Willard Romney, Governor of the Commonwealth (God Save it!) of Massachusetts. Since he’s out on the road now, running for president, and since he seems to be pretending that it was somebody else who was governor here, because it surely wasn’t him, pinky-swear, no backsies, who passed health-care reform and was at the wheel when the gay people got the chance to get married, I guess it’s up to the rest of us here to be his living memory of what happened when he won an election for the only time in his life. Today, speaking to a group of Latino businessmen in Los Angeles, Romney took time out from reassuring them that he wasn’t the racist goober he appeared to be in the primaries — “Heck, I was running for president!” — to excoriate public school teachers and their unions:

    “President Obama has been unable to stand up to union bosses and unwilling to stand up for our kids,” Romney charged, citing hundreds of millions of dollars contributed by teachers unions to Democratic campaigns as the cause. “We have to stop putting campaign cash ahead of our kids,” he said to applause.

    First of all, our kids? You mean Tagg and Bagg and Bogg and Quagg and whoever, who already have $100 miilion trust funds to send their kids to prep schools? Whatchoo mean “our,” extremely white man? But, the point here is that, while he was governor, he didn’t let cash of any kind get ahead of the “kids” in the public schools of the state where public education was pretty much invented. In 2006, he cut $37.8 million from the state’s higher education budget. Fees skyrocketed, as they did generally throughout the state. In 2003, he tried to cut $100 milion from that same budget while raising tuition by $50 million at state colleges and universities. He also wanted to slash job training initiatives and workforce training funding. Things were rather worse at the primary and secondary level, where Romney passed down budget cuts and left cities and towns holding the bag. And that’s the way it was.

    Read more:

  37. Ametia says:

    Speaking of Minnesota FUNK… Hat tip Rashad!

    Prince checks in to the Library of Congress

    The Library of Congress has added Prince and the Revolution’s “Purple Rain” soundtrack to its National Recording Registry — an elite group viewed as historical treasures and worthy of preservation for generations to come.

    With something like 26 million copies of “Purple Rain” sold worldwide, you’d think preserving it wouldn’t be a problem. But still, this is a big deal. Ten years since the program began, only 350 recordings have been chosen — not just music but speeches, radio skits, poetry, even a Lake Michigan foghorn.

    A total of 25 recordings were added in this year’s round, announced Wednesday, including “Green Onions” by Booker T. and the MG’s (which joins an actual speech by Booker T. Washington on the list).

    All in all, this year’s list is pretty funky, with cuts or albums from Bo Diddley, Parliament, Donna Summer and the Sugarhill Gang. Other musical greats include Dolly Parton, Leonard Bernstein, Stan Kenton and the Grateful Dead (a soundboard recording, natch).

    Here’s this year’s list:

  38. rikyrah says:

    Hitting Romney where it hurts, and why running around yelling “Cory Booker!” won’t help the GOP
    Tuesday, May 22, 2012
    | Posted by Deaniac83 at 1:47 PM

    On this Sunday’s Meet the Press, Newark mayor Cory Booker went “off-message” and took a GOP talking point bait – defending private equity firms and their business, in light of the Obama campaign going straight at Mitt Romney’s business record at Bain Capital. I say he took a Republican talking point bait because he fell into the trap of the Republican party attempting to define the president’s campaign anti-business, or even anti-private equity terms.

    As Mayor Booker clarified later in a video message, however, this isn’t about private equity in general, or about business. It is about Mitt Romney’s claim that his particular business experience prepares him to do a better job at creating jobs at a faster rate in this country. As the president himself explained, this is about the difference between profit maximization for wealthy investors (the job of a corporate buyout specialist) vs. ensuring jobs for the middle class and the poor (the job of the President of the United States).

    And there lies the big economic debate of this election: the conservative view of economics sees no difference between maximizing the income of the wealthy few and building a middle class. Their theory, proven wrong time and again, is that if we simply hand the well-to-do more and more money, then that wealth will trickle down to create jobs for the rest of us. This is why the Republicans see the scrutinizing of Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital as “an attack on free enterprise.” In their world, any policy that is not geared toward maximizing profits for the select few, without regard to the great many, is “an attack on free enterprise.”

    Mitt Romney and his party aren’t so incensed about the Bain scrutiny just because of that though. They are incensed because the scrutiny and the exposure by the Obama campaign is actually succeeding at dismantling that narrative. That is bad for both Mitt Romney and conservative voodoo economics at once. President Obama is making this election not just a choice between his record and Mitt Romney’s – which would be bad enough for Romney – he’s turning this election into a choice between the conservative and progressive economic visions.

    On the conservative side is the economic vision that Mitt Romney very much embodies. It is about creating more and more wealth for the few. It is about more than just an economic vision: it is about a social vision. A social vision in which wealth is the barometer of worth and the determinant of opportunity. This is a vision that believes that the rich are rich because they deserve it, and the poor are poor because they deserve it. This is a vision that fundamentally believes in an economically segregated society in which economic mobility is non-existent. It believes that social contracts are immoral, that society bears no responsibility for children, the elderly, the disabled and the involuntarily unemployed. This is the thread that binds their support for Mitt Romney’s performance at Bain together with special tax treatments for people in his class.

    On the other side is the progressive economic vision championed by President Obama. This is a vision that believes that everyone deserves a decent shot, that we as a country are responsible for the common good, and that only through a society that creates opportunities for everyone will we advance as a country. This is an economic vision in which everyone plays by the same rules, everyone pays their fair share and everyone has a fair shot. It’s a vision that fosters new ideas, incubates ingenuity, and creates new industry. It’s one that builds a great middle class that becomes the backbone of a consumer economy.

    That’s what this election is about. This election isn’t about the particular functions of corporate buyout specialists – it’s about whether being a corporate buyout specialist qualifies you to be President of the United States. This election isn’t about whether or not firms ought to be able to have a singular focus on making money for their investors regardless of the consequences on workers; it’s about whether we want the President of the United States to be focused on the workers or the big moneyed investors. This election is about examining two records: one of the current president, who has pulled us out of the worst recession since the 1930s, and one of his GOP challenger, whose sole self-asserted claim to qualifying for the presidency is his experience as a corporate buyout specialist that netted him and his firm an ocean of cash but seems to have left far too many economic casualties in his path.

    The American people deserve a fair evaluation of Mr. Romney’s record as that corporate buyout specialist, not in the least due to his own claim to being better qualified to create jobs based on that record. We deserve to know what Mitt Romney told the laid-off workers at the companies that Bain Capital profited from bankrupting, because you can be sure that’s what he’d say to American workers who lose their jobs due Romney’s public policies of concentrating wealth at the top. The American people deserve to know just how Mitt Romney would address the federal debt when his own business model was to buy companies and load them up with debt on their way to bankruptcy.

    These are serious times. We need serious people, and serious answers. This isn’t about Cory Booker. This isn’t about political point-scoring. This isn’t about Sunday morning talk-shows. This is about the future of this country. This is about whether we will sell our country to a corporate buyout specialist. We know that when we have a fair debate on these terms, Mitt Romney has no hope, because he can give no hope. So he can’t have a fair debate on these terms. That’s why, instead, “Cory Booker.”

  39. Ametia says:

    Speaking of FAILURES….

    • Ametia says:

      Really, Paul “EDDIE MUNSTER” Ryan, the president failed?

      These kinds of bullshit statements prove how fucked up Ryan and the GOP’s minds are. They live and operate in an ALTERNATE universe of LIES, OBSTRUCTIONISM & SPIN. Reading way too much Ayn Rand, son.

  40. rikyrah says:

    wonderful comment by zizi at Coates’ post:


    I think Pres. Obama is getting blowback for the very same meritocratic ideal that propelled him into the Presidency. Between his appearance on the national political scene in 2004 to his election in 2008, the already tattered American Dream seemed patchable, renewable and achievable to many Americans. And so despite Race, he filled the Rorschach Test of what many Americans could claim to ASPIRE to.

    Now, his very presence rubs many people the wrong way, and even more viscerally so when he chalks tangible successes. It has been really sad to watch the extent to which segments of Americans actually DISOWN the triumphs that he scores in this country’s name, almost as if he was scoring trophies not for their team. It is why we hear ugly groans or eyerolls when he brings up the demise of Osama bin Laden, for example. It seems that his successes as President are NOT their own. They cannot bask in them as collective glory because he led them. They reject his role as LEADER. He CANNOT be.

    To these people, he has become no longer the ideal product of a meritocracy that can be emulated or aspired to, but a symbol of UNFAIR/UNDESERVED singular success. Why? It’s because the Rightwing narrative has successfully ISOLATED him from the collective WE. Written out of the American tribe. He is being made into the Greek scape goat upon whom all ills must be transferred.

    And the perceived absence of godfathers & sugardaddies who visibly & menacingly back him signals to his detractors that there are NO CONSEQUENCES for vilifying Pres. Obama. Americans are at heart bullies (sorry but that is the truth) and love the braggadocio that posses and enforcers display. It makes them feel that MORE than merit gets you success. You need raw power. Merit by itself is NOW too hard to scale for many Americans and anyone who gets ahead by merit alone is suspect. Conservatives use this to intimidate people.

    It seems illogical but as someone who originally comes from a “Third World” country, I see the signs of an American society giving up the very core of the rugged individualism myth that sustained the “American Dream”. People would rather align with whatever “juju” that the inexplicably wealthy & powerful in society have than fight for a meritocracy. It allows sleeping dogs to lie when there isn’t enough wherewithal left to fight existential battles anymore. American people are spent/tired on their life’s treadmills.

    • Ametia says:

      Zizi NAILS it. “American dream and rugged individualism” isn’t meant for POC, didn’t you know!

      That’s why beginning in 2008, there’s been a downplaying of EDUCATION. The goalposts keep moving for the first Black POTUS, but folks don’t realize that he’s already out of their playing field, and in a LEAGUE of his own.

  41. rikyrah says:

    May 23, 2012 3:08 PM

    Civil Rights Revisionism

    By Ed Kilgore

    National Review’s current cover story, by Kevin Williamson, claims to expose the “outright lie” that the two major parties “switched roles” on civil rights for African-Americans during the 1960s. It is in fact a pretty audacious piece of revisionist history that combines an over-simplified “revelation” of pre-1960s Democratic hostility towards or indifference to civil rights (which no one, to my knowledge, has ever denied) with a twisted take on what both parties were doing in 1964—all in the service of the strange, frantic conservative effort to project liberal charges of contemporary racism onto liberals themselves.

    Jonathan Chait and (at Ten Miles Square) Jonathan Bernstein have already written extensive refutations of Williamson’s abuse of the historical record. Bernstein notes that Williamson’s generalizations about Democrats ignore the support for civil rights among non-southern Democrats that grew steadily from the New Deal (remember how much trouble Eleanor Roosevelt’s outspokenness on the subject caused her husband?) and Fair Deal (remember the 1948 Convention when a civil rights plank touched off the Dixiecrat movement that nearly derailed Harry Truman’s re-election?) on and eventually reached critical mass in the early 1960s. Chait provides this excellent summary of the “mainstream” view of the subject and Williamson’s unsuccesful revision:

    The mainstream, and correct, history of the politics of civil rights is as follows. Southern white supremacy operated out of the Democratic Party beginning in the nineteenth century, but the party began attracting northern liberals, including African-Americans, into an ideologically cumbersome coalition. Over time the liberals prevailed, forcing the Democratic Party to support civil rights, and driving conservative (and especially southern) whites out, where they realigned with the Republican Party.
    Williamson crafts a tale in which the Republican Party is and always has been the greatest friend the civil rights cause ever had. The Republican takeover of the white South had absolutely nothing to do with civil rights, the revisionist case proclaims, except insofar as white Southerners supported Republicans because they were more pro-civil rights.

    It’s this last argument by Williamson that I most want to comment on. Prior to 1964, southern white Republicans were a hardy minority built on the Mountain Republicanism of regions that had opposed the Confederacy and middle-class business-oriented city-dwellers. While neither faction was loudly racist, nor were they champions of civil rights, either. Not all Democrats were virulently racist, but the virulent racists were all Democrats. As V.O. Key demonstrated in his classic study, Southern Politics, the most race-sensitive white southerners, centered in the Black Belt regions of the Deep South, stuck with the White Man’s Party even as other southerners defected to the GOP in 1920 (over Prohibition) and 1928 (over Prohibition and Al Smith’s Catholicism). In 1948, these same racists heavily defected to the Dixiecrats in a protest against the national Party’s growing commitment to civil rights. They mostly returned to the Democrats after that uprising, until 1964, when they voted almost universally for Barry Goldwater, purely and simply because Goldwater had opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Four years later most of them voted for the race-centered candidacy of George Wallace, and four years after that just about every one of them voted for Richard Nixon. These were not people attracted to the GOP, when they were, because it was “pro-civil rights,” as Williamson asserts, or because they favored that party on any other issue. It was all about race, which is why, for example, the GOP percentage of the presidential vote veered insanely in Mississippi from 25% in 1960 to 87% in 1964 to 14% in 1968 to 78% in 1972.

    Jimmy Carter (who was endorsed by Wallace and most other surviving Democratic ex-segregationists) got a lot of those voters back for the obvious reason of regional pride, and after that issues other than civil rights did matter in the region, though the racial polarization of the two parties was evident from the beginning in Mississippi and eventually spread elsewhere. But however you slice it, the idea that Barry Goldwater in 1964 was viewed by white southerners as anything other than the direct descendent of the Dixiecrats is just ridiculous. Sure, issues other than civil rights buttressed GOP strength in the region later on, but it would not have happened if the GOP had not also rapidly become the party most hostile towards or indifferent to civil rights. It’s also worth mentioning that among the Republicans who were notably interested in civil rights in and after 1964, none of them were southerners.

    And that leads me to the most preposterous thing about Williamson’s essay: he’s writing as a movement conservative for the flagship publication of movement conservatism. To the extent that Republicans before, during or after the 1960s fit the pro-civil rights profile he’s trying to affix on the party as a whole, they were overwhelmingly not movement conservatives. Most of them, in fact, were the very “liberals” and “moderates” and “RINOs” movement conservatives have been trying to run out of the GOP, with great success, for decades.

    It’s likely, of course, that Williamson’s definition of “civil rights” differs not only from mine but from that shared by most people who aren’t “movement conservatives.” This is a man, after all, who think’s it is obvious that LBJ and other Democrats were pursuing a consciously racist strategy of “enslaving” African-Americans by promoting the social programs associated with the Great Society. He may well think “liberating” black folks from the morally corrupting influence of Medicaid or food stamps or the ignominy of affirmative action is the true “civil rights agenda.” In that sense, his revisionist effort will succeed, because it makes sense to the people who are his audience, and who don’t want to acknowedge that while most Republicans today may not be bigots, most bigots are certainly voting Republican, just as they voted Democratic prior to World War II. In that regard, there is zero question the two parties have “switched roles” with a vengence.

  42. rikyrah says:

    5/22/12 at 5:14 PM
    The Conservative Fantasy History of Civil Rights
    By Jonathan Chait

    The civil rights movement, once a controversial left-wing fringe, has grown deeply embedded into the fabric of our national story. This is a salutary development, but a problematic one for conservatives, who are the direct political descendants of (and, in the case of some of the older members of the movement, the exact same people as) the strident opponents of the civil rights movement. It has thus become necessary for conservatives to craft an alternative story, one that absolves their own ideology of any guilt. The right has dutifully set itself to its task, circulating its convoluted version of history, honing it to the point where it can be repeated by any defensive College Republican in his dorm room. Kevin Williamson’s cover story in National Review is the latest version of what is rapidly congealing into conservatism’s revisionist dogma.

    The mainstream, and correct, history of the politics of civil rights is as follows. Southern white supremacy operated out of the Democratic Party beginning in the nineteenth century, but the party began attracting northern liberals, including African-Americans, into an ideologically cumbersome coalition. Over time the liberals prevailed, forcing the Democratic Party to support civil rights, and driving conservative (and especially southern) whites out, where they realigned with the Republican Party.

    Williamson crafts a tale in which the Republican Party is and always has been the greatest friend the civil rights cause ever had. The Republican takeover of the white South had absolutely nothing to do with civil rights, the revisionist case proclaims, except insofar as white Southerners supported Republicans because they were more pro-civil rights.

    One factoid undergirding this bizarre interpretation is that the partisan realignment obviously took a long time to complete — Southerners still frequently voted Democratic into the seventies and eighties. This proves, according to Williamson, that a backlash against civil rights could not have driven southern whites out of the Democratic Party. “They say things move slower in the South — but not that slow,” he insists.

    His story completely ignores the explicit revolt by conservative Southerners against the northern liberal civil rights wing, beginning with Strom Thurmond, who formed a third-party campaign in 1948 in protest against Harry Truman’s support for civil rights. Thurmond received 49 percent of the vote in Louisiana, 72 percent in South Carolina, 80 percent in Alabama, and 87 percent in Mississippi. He later, of course, switched to the Republican Party.

    Thurmond’s candidacy is instructive. Democratic voting was deeply acculturated among southern whites as a result of the Civil War. When southern whites began to shake loose of it, they began at the presidential level, in protest against the civil rights leanings of the national wing. It took decades for the transformation to filter down, first to Congressional-level representation (Thurmond, who Williamson mentions only in his capacity as a loyal Democrat, finally switched to the GOP in 1964), and ultimately to local-level government. The most fervently white supremacist portions of the South were also the slowest to shed their Confederate-rooted one-party traditions. None of this slowness actually proves Williamson’s contention that the decline of the Democratic Party in the South was unrelated to race.

    Williamson concedes, with inadvertently hilarious understatement, that the party “went through a long dry spell on civil-rights progress” — that would be the century that passed between Reconstruction and President Eisenhower’s minimalist response to massive resistance in 1957. But after this wee dry spell, the party resumed and maintained its natural place as civil rights champion. To the extent that Republicans replaced Democrats in the South, Williamson sees their support for civil rights as the cause. (“Republicans did begin to win some southern House seats, and in many cases segregationist Democrats were thrown out by southern voters in favor of civil-rights Republicans.”) As his one data point, Williamson cites the victory of George Bush in Texas over a Democrat who opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He correctly cites Bush’s previous record of moderation on civil rights but neglects to mention that Bush also opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

    Williamson does feel obliged to mention Barry Goldwater’s opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but defends it as a “principled” opposition to the “extension of federal power.” At the same time, he savages southern Democrats for their opposition to the 14th and 15th Amendments, Reconstruction, anti-lynching laws, and so on. It does not seem to occur to him that many of these opponents also presented their case in exactly the same pro-states’ rights, anti-federal power terms that Goldwater employed. Williamson is willing to concede that opponents of civil rights laws have philosophical principles behind them, but only if they are Republican. (Perhaps is the process by which figures like Thurmond and Jesse Helms were cleansed of their racism and became mere ideological opponents of federal intrusion.)

  43. Ametia says:

    It taking these pundits LONG ENOUGH to start calling out MITT’S LIES

  44. rikyrah says:

    Close White Resentment, Obama, and Appalachia
    By Ta-Nehisi Coates
    May 23 2012, 10:00 AM ET 577

    Steve Kornacki tries to do the math on Obama’s unpopularity throughout Appalachia:

    A majority of Kentucky’s 120 counties voted against Obama in the state’s Democratic presidential primary, opting instead for “uncommitted.” Big margins in Louisville and Lexington saved the president from the supreme embarrassment of actually losing the state, not that his overall 57.9 to 42.1 percent victory is anything to write home about…

    Chalking this up only to race may be an oversimplification, although there was exit poll data in 2008 that indicated it was an explicit factor for a sizable chunk of voters. Perhaps Obama’s race is one of several markers (along with his name, his background, and the never-ending Muslim rumors, his status as the “liberal” candidate in 2008) that low-income white rural voters use to associate him with a national Democratic Party that they believe has been overrun by affluent liberals, feminists, minorities, secularists and gays – people and groups whose interests are being serviced at the expense of their own.

    I think that “Chalking this up up only to race” is a strawman, and its one that I often see writers invoke when talking about white resentment and Obama. Here’s another example from Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake:

    But although no one doubts that race may be a factor, exit polling suggests that the opposition to Obama goes beyond it. And seasoned political observers who have studied the politics of these areas say race may be less of a problem for Obama than the broader cultural disconnect that many of these voters feel with the Democratic Party.

    “Race is definitely a factor for some Texans but not the majority,” said former congressman Charles W. Stenholm (D-Tex.). “The most significant factor is the perception/reality that the Obama administration has leaned toward the ultra-left viewpoint on almost all issues.”

    The presumption here is that race can somehow be bracketed off from the perception that Obama is “ultra-left.” Thus unlike other shameful acts of racism, opposition to Obama race as a possible “factor” but goes “beyond it.” Or in Kornacki’s formulation Obama, presumably unlike past victims, is facing a complicated opposition which can’t be reduced to raw hatred of blacks.

    The problem with these formulations is that they are utterly ahistorical. There is no history of racism in this country that chalked “up only to race.” You can’t really talk about stereotypes of, say, black laziness unless you understand stereotypes of the poor stretching back to 17th century Great Britain (Edmund Morgan again.) You can’t really talk about the Southern slave society without grappling with the relationship between the demand for arable land and the demand for labor. You can’t understand the racial pogroms at the turn of the century without understanding the increasing mobility of American women. (Philip Dray At The Hands Of Persons Unknown.)

    And this works the other way too. If you’re trying to understand the nature of American patriotism without thinking about anti-black racism, you will miss a lot. If you’re trying to understand the New Deal, without thinking about Southern segregationist senators you will miss a lot. If you’re trying to understand the very nature of American democracy itself, and not grappling with black you, you will miss almost all of it.

    In sum, there is very little about racism that can be chalked “only up to race.” Chalking up slavery, itself, only to race is a deeply distorting oversimplification. The profiling that young black males endure can’t chalked up “only to race” either. It’s also their youth and their gender. Complicating racism with other factors doesn’t make it any better. It just makes it racism. Again.

    I don’t mean to come down on Kornacki or Cillizza. But I think this sort of writing about race–and really about American politics–as though history doesn’t exist is a problem. Specifically, journalists are fond of saying “racism is only one factor” without realizing that any racism is unacceptable. It is wrong to believe Barack Obama shouldn’t be president because he’s black. That you have other reasons along with those–even ones that rank higher–doesn’t make it excusable. Likely those other reasons are themselves tied to Obama being black.

  45. rikyrah says:

    GOP takeover: The Randroid Generation

    by digby

    One thing about Ayn Rand’s influence is that, for the most part, it tends to wane as people grow up and wise up. But until they do, they tend to be insufferably single minded and painfully aggressive about it.

    So, does this seem like a good idea?

    Armed with an inherited fortune and a devotion to Ron Paul, John Ramsey, a 21-year-old college student from Nacogdoches, Tex., plunged into a little-watched Republican House primary in Northern Kentucky this spring to promote his version of freedom.

    More than $560,000 later, Mr. Ramsey’s chosen standard-bearer, Thomas H. Massie, a Republican, cruised to victory Tuesday in the race to select a successor to Representative Geoff Davis, a Republican who is retiring.

    The saturation advertising campaign waged by Mr. Ramsey’s “super PAC,” Liberty for All, may be the most visible manifestation of a phenomenon catching the attention of Republicans from Maine to Nevada.

    With their favorite having lost the nomination for president, Mr. Paul’s dedicated band of youthful supporters is looking down-ballot and swarming lightly guarded Republican redoubts like state party conventions in an attempt to infiltrate the top echelons of the party.

    “Karl Rove’s fear-and-smear-style Republicans are going to wake up at the end of the year and realize we are now in control of the Republican Party,” said Preston Bates, a Democrat-turned-Paulite who is running Liberty for All for Mr. Ramsey…

    Paulite candidates for Congress are sprouting up from Florida to Virginia to Colorado, challenging sitting Republicans and preaching the gospel of radically smaller government, an end to the Federal Reserve, restraints on Bush-era antiterrorism laws and a pullback from foreign military adventures.

    It would be nice to have some allies in the GOP on the last two items, so perhaps this could have a positive effect. But further radicalizing the party on taxes and budget cutting would be almost insane. And having 21 year old Randroid heirs to large fortunes buy elections is even more insane.

    And once again I have to ask, why do they all choose the Republican party? There isn’t even one civil liberties, anti-war elected official in the Party and barely any GOP voters who agree with them on those issues. There are a handful of elected Democrats and tons of voters on the left who do. And even if Democrats are guilty of the same sins as Republicans, meaning that they would not end wars any sooner, why assume they wouldn’t be happy to shrink government and cut taxes? There are many more Dems who are on the austerity bandwagon than there are Republicans who want to cut military spending.

    I think we know the answer. They have prioritized their concerns and they believe Republicans are more likely to follow through on their primary issues, which are low taxes and small government. The foreign policy piece is simply less important. It must be. Nobody would join the Republican Party if shrinking America’s military empire was what they really cared about. The Democrats may be warmongers too, but it’s definitional in the modern GOP. You have as much chance of changing that as you would have declaring the US is a Muslim nation.

  46. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 05:04 PM ET, 05/23/2012
    First hint of a GOP surrender on same-sex marriage?
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    It’s not 2004 any more.

    I’ve been looking at Republican Senate candidates’ Web sites today, and one of the things I was looking for was whether Republicans believe same-sex marriage is still a winner for them. The answer? A solid maybe, but perhaps leaning towards a “no.”

    I looked at the 16 candidates most likely to wind up in the Senate in January, because they are running either for an open seat or against a perceived weak Democratic incumbent. Of those 16, half included their support of “traditional” marriage on the issue pages of their site.

    What’s more, that was essentially the only issue about gay men and lesbians that attracted any interest. Only one of the candidates — Viriginia’s George Allen — took a position on any related issue. For what it’s worth, Allen still thinks it’s 2004 (or maybe he thinks it’s 1964, or something): He uses his issue page to oppose adding sexual orientation to the hate crimes list (that’s already happened) and adoption by same-sex couples. Allen also endorsed a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage, which only a few of those who mentioned the issue specified.

    As always, there’s an important caveat here: I’m looking only at the Web sites, which may not include a full statement of the candidates’ positions, and even there I’m only looking for “issues” or similar sections.

    Still, while many Republicans will remain opposed to marriage equality, few appear to want to run on the issue or stress that they’ll fight hard against it, even those who are currently running in Republican primaries, where the electorate presumably is most likely to care about the issue. There’s no reticence on social issues in general; almost all of these candidates wanted to show their pro-life credentials, and Second Amendment issues were extremely prominent. But not sexual orientation. Is it an early sign of a future surrender? If I had to guess, I’d say so.

  47. rikyrah says:

    May 24, 2012
    George Will’s got nothin’

    If you google “George Will Elizabeth Warren Wall Street,” your top results will yield abundant links to the battling George Will and Elizabeth Warren, but next to nothing about Wall Street. Upon your searching eyes there shall be dumped a stream of articles concerning Will and Warren and “diversity,” but no “Wall Street.”

    With reference to Will, this seems odd, does it not, considering that Warren’s nearly exclusive professional target has been, yep, the mercenaries and cowboys and criminals and mountebanks of Wall Street–and not, rather logically, her non-existent Harvard Law classes and her non-existent professional endeavors in cultural studies. Yet it’s the latter–cultural studies; diversity–on which Will concentrates today.

    The last time (that I’m aware of) that Will obsessed about Warren–but, again, not Wall Street–was when Warren had uttered this Teddy Rooseveltesque paradigm:

    There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there — good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for…. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea — God bless, keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.

    This, Will labeled the stuff of “a collectivist political agenda,” just before reassuring us that what he amusingly persists in calling “conservatism,” on the other hand, “urges government humility in the face of society’s creative complexity.” In a more lucid and far less ideologically intoxicated moment, Will might have specified his conservatism of “government complacency” or “inattention” or “sloth” or “irresponsibility” or just downright “indifference” to all but the already, preposterously rich. Will prefers, however, an altogether imaginary version of conservatism.

    Just as he prefers an imaginary version of Elizabeth Warren, an imaginary version of contemporary liberalism, and an imaginary version of what the Massachusetts U.S. Senate race is all about. Why? For the same reason the “distraction” campaign against Barack Obama is being conducted: “conservatives” got nothin’ else

  48. rikyrah says:

    Rachel Maddow reviews the shocking and shameful political history of former Vice President Dick Cheney and notes that not only has Mitt Romney stacked his campaign with former Bush staffers but he has openly expressed his association and admiration for Dick Cheney without fear of political repercussion.

  49. rikyrah says:

    Colin Powell will have none of Hannity’s foolishness.

  50. rikyrah says:

    A birther Congressman running in a no-longer safe GOP district, makes an ass of himself.

  51. rikyrah says:

    When the ‘numbers guy’ gets the numbers wrong
    By Steve Benen – Wed May 23, 2012 2:53 PM EDT

    .Mitt Romney sat down with Time’s Mark Halperin this morning, and made a rather remarkable boast about future job growth in a Romney administration.

    “Over a period of 4 years, by virtue of the policies that we put in place, we get the unemployment rate down to 6 percent, perhaps a little lower,” the Republican said.

    There are, of course, two glaring problems with this. The first is that Romney told voters any unemployment rate above 4 percent is a problem. He didn’t say this years ago; he set this standard earlier this month.

    The second is that Romney doesn’t realize what we’re on track to reach that standard anyway. The self-described “numbers guy” told Halperin that his “policies” will “get the unemployment rate down to 6 percent,” but as Travis Waldron noted, “The Congressional Budget Office predicts that unemployment will average 6.3 percent in 2016; the Office of Management and Budget, meanwhile, projects unemployment will hit 6.1 percent and ultimately fall below 6 percent the same year.”

    In other words, Romney is promising to deliver results we’re likely to get anyway. The myth of this guy’s competence has been greatly exaggerated.

  52. rikyrah says:

    Colin Powell: ‘Come on Mitt, think’
    By Steve Benen – Wed May 23, 2012 3:50 PM EDT.

    Former Secretary of State Colin Powell appeared on NBC’s “Today” show yesterday and demurred when it came to endorsing a presidential candidate in 2012, at least for now. Given Powell’s support for President Obama four years ago, this caused a minor freak-out in much of the political establishment. (That Powell may yet endorse Obama later was largely overlooked.)

    Though this morning’s interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” will probably generate far less chatter, the comments from the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs were arguably more politically provocative.

    Asked about Mitt Romney, for example, Powell expressed concerns about the Republican’s far-right advisors, especially on foreign policy, whose judgment Powell considers suspect. At one point, he urged Romney, “Come on Mitt, think” — as if to say Romney is not already thinking.

    Powell added that he and others in the Republican mainstream have been “taken aback” by some of the hardline positions adopted by the presumptive GOP nominee. (For context, it’s worth noting that Romney has surrounded himself with many of the worst members of the Bush/Cheney team, all of whom were wrong about nearly everything, and many of whom had no use for Powell’s vision of U.S. foreign policy.)

    Powell also emphasized his support for investments in education and infrastructure — “what we need to be doing,” he said — which clearly aligns him with Obama and against Romney, though he did not explicitly say so.

    Update: Powell also supports marriage equality and has no use for Sean Hannity’s silliness.

  53. rikyrah says:

    Obama benefits from growing swing-state economies
    By Steve Benen – Thu May 24, 2012 7:59 AM EDT.

    We talked last week about Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) delivering a message to his constituents: the state’s economy is improving, jobs are being created, and there’s reason for optimism. It is, of course, the exact opposite of what Mitt Romney wants Ohioans to believe right now.This week, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) was similarly unhelpful to the larger GOP cause.

    “Today’s unemployment report adds to the series of encouraging indicators that Florida’s economy is steadily moving in the right direction. With 243,594 job openings listed by various help-wanted websites and our unemployment rate down 2.2 points to 8.7%, more Floridians are finding new jobs throughout the Sunshine State. […]

    “With a strong start to 2012, our economy is situated for even brighter days during the summer season.”

    You can almost hear Romney shouting in the background: “You guys are screwing this up royally. We need people feeling depressed and hopeless, not excited about ‘brighter days.'”

    This keeps happening. Many of the nation’s key swing states — Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Nevada, Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania — are led by Republican governors, each of whom are eager to tell their constituents that the economy is looking up. They’re hoping to boost their own fortunes, but inadvertently, they’re also helping President Obama in an election year in which the economy is easily the nation’s top issue.

    What’s more, Bloomberg News reported this week, “The unemployment rates in a majority of the 2012 battleground states are lower than the national average as those economies improve.” In Ohio, the jobless rate is down to 7.4%. In Virginia, it’s improved to 5.6%. Even in Nevada, where the unemployment rate is still a crushing 11.7%, the figure has dropped two points in one year, which represents rather extraordinary progress.


    Obviously, folks like Kasich, Scott, and Bob “Ultrasound” McDonnell don’t want the president to get credit for the fact that the economy improved after his administration and congressional Democrats pulled the nation bank from the brink of a catastrophe. But that doesn’t change Romney’s central challenge: telling voters in these key states not to believe their lying eyes.

    “Things are obviously getting better,” he’ll argue, “though I need you to believe they’re getting worse.” It’s no easy task.

  54. rikyrah says:

    EXCLUSIVE: Florida Congressman Demands Gov. Rick Scott ‘Immediately Suspend’ Voter Purge
    By Judd Legum and Ian Millhiser on May 23, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Florida Congressman Ted Deutch (D) told ThinkProgress today that Gov. Rick Scott was engaging in a “blatant attempt to supress voter turnout.” Scott is currently involved in a massive effort to purge up to 180,000 from the voting rolls. The list, purportedly of non-citizens, has proven unreliable. Earlier this week, Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Mike Ertel, a Republican, posted a picture on Twitter of a voter on the list falsely identified as ineligible, with his passport.

    Congressman Deutch said that his office has heard from several constituents who have recieved a voting ineligibility letter in error. In light of these errors, Deutch will soon send a letter to Scott demanding the purge be immediatly suspended. An excerpt:

    It is out of grave concern that we write to ask for the immediate suspension of the Florida Division of Elections’ directive that county supervisors of elections purge up to 180,000 names from Florida’s voter rolls in advance of the November 2012 elections.

    While we all agree that the right to vote should be reserved only to those who are eligible, any process that could strip Floridians of their voting rights should be conducted with the utmost caution and transparency, and certainly not within six months of a major federal election and within 90 days of the primary. Providing a list of names with questionable validity – created with absolutely no oversight – to county supervisors and asking that they purge their rolls will create chaotic results and further undermine Floridians’ confidence in the integrity of our elections. A rushed process will undermine both Florida and federal law requiring voter rolls to be maintained in a uniform and nondiscriminatory manner.

    The letter was circulated to the entire Florida Congressional delegation and Deutch expects several of his colleagues to sign on. Deutch noted that while Florida has “no history of mass voter fraud” it does have a history of “mass voter disenfranchisement” that proceeded the presidential election in 2000.

    In 1998, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris hired a private company to create a “scrub list” of duplicate registrations, deceased voters and felons prohibited from voting in Florida. The company’s list, however, was riddled with errors. One person flagged as a felon by the list was actually a Florida judge. A county elections supervisor discovered the list was unreliable when she received an erroneous letter informing her that she was a felon and could not vote. By one estimate, 7000 Florida voters were wrongfully removed from the voter rolls for the 2000 presidential election — 13 times George W. Bush’s margin of victory in that state after the Supreme Court halted the post-election recount.

    Deutch said that, in this election, “Governor Scott wants to play the role of Katherine Harris.”

    African-Americans made up 88 percent of the voters removed from the rolls in the purge that preceeded the 2000 election, even though they account for only about 11 percent of Florida voters. In Florida, 93 percent of black voters cast a ballot for Al Gore.

  55. rikyrah says:

    Chris Matthews talks with Steven Rattner, former lead auto adviser for the Obama administration, and Time’s Mark Halperin about the many topics that are “off limits” when it comes to talking to and about Mitt Romney, and why Romney doesn’t want to talk about his record as governor or his record at Bain.

  56. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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