Serendipity SOUL | Friday Open Thread | Funk Week!

Happy FRY-day, Everyone! Hope ya’ll are enjoying FUNK week! We’re going to end with the Masters of FUNK

Parliment Funkadelic

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44 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Friday Open Thread | Funk Week!

  1. Ametia says:

    Rikyrah, YOU’VE GOT MAIL! :-)

  2. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning Ms Green. Seems awhile we haven’t hailed each other out. Here’s one for you-; Life Without Black People

    A very humorous and revealing story is told about a group of white people who were fed up with African Americans, so they joined together and wished themselves away. They passed through a deep dark tunnel and emerged in sort of a twilight zone where there is an America without black people.

    At first these white people breathed a sigh of relief.

    ‘At last’, they said, ‘no more crime, drugs, violence and welfare.’

    All of the blacks have gone! Then suddenly, reality set in. The ‘NEW AMERICA’ is not America at all – only a barren land.
    1. There are very few crops that have flourished because the nation was built on a slave-supported system.

    2. There are no cities with tall skyscrapers because Alexander Mils, a black man, invented the elevator, and without it, one finds great difficulty reaching higher floors.

    3. There are few if any cars because Richard Spikes, a black man, invented the automatic gearshift, Joseph Gambol, also black, invented the Super Charge System for Internal Combustion Engines, and Garrett A. Morgan, a black man,
    invented the traffic signals.

    4. Furthermore, one could not use the rapid transit system because its procurer was the electric trolley, which was invented by another black man, Albert R. Robinson.

    5. Even if there were streets on which cars and a rapid transit system could operate, they were cluttered with paper because an African American, Charles Brooks, invented the street sweeper..

    6. There were few if any newspapers, magazines and books because John Love invented the pencil sharpener, William Purveys invented the fountain pen, and Lee Barrage invented the Type Writing Machine and W. A. Love invented the
    Advanced Printing Press. They were all, you guessed it, Black.

    7. Even if Americans could write their letters, articles and books, they would not have been transported by mail because William Barry invented the Postmarking and Canceling Machine, William Purveys invented the Hand Stamp and Philip Downing invented the Letter Drop.

    8. The lawns were brown and wilted because Joseph Smith invented the Lawn Sprinkler and John Burr the Lawn Mower.

    9. When they entered their homes, they found them to be poorly ventilated and poorly heated. You see, Frederick Jones invented the Air Conditioner and Alice Parker the Heating Furnace. Their homes were also dim. But of course, Lewis
    Lattimer later invented the Electric Lamp, Michael Harvey invented the lantern, and Granville T. Woods invented the Automatic Cut off Switch. Their homes were also filthy because Thomas W. Steward invented the Mop and Lloyd P. Ray the Dust Pan.

    10. Their children met them at the door – barefooted, shabby, motley and unkempt. But what could one expect? Jan E. Matzelinger invented the Shoe Lasting Machine, Walter Sammons invented the Comb, Sarah Boone invented the Ironing Board, and George T. Samon invented the Clothes Dryer.

    11. Finally, they were resigned to at least have dinner amidst all of this turmoil. But here again, the food had spoiled because another Black Man, John Standard invented the refrigerator.

    Now, isn’t that something? What would this country be like without the contributions of Blacks, as African-Americans?

    Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘by the time we leave for work, millions of Americans have depended on the inventions from the minds of Blacks.’

    Black history includes more than just slavery, Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Marcus Garvey & W.E.B. Dubois.

  3. rikyrah says:

    see…nothing but light-skinned Kneegrows….



    DNA study seeks origin of Appalachia’s Melungeons
    By TRAVIS LOLLER, Associated Press – 23 hours ago

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — For years, varied and sometimes wild claims have been made about the origins of a group of dark-skinned Appalachian residents once known derisively as the Melungeons. Some speculated they were descended from Portuguese explorers, or perhaps from Turkish slaves or Gypsies.

    Now a new DNA study in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy attempts to separate truth from oral tradition and wishful thinking. The study found the truth to be somewhat less exotic: Genetic evidence shows that the families historically called Melungeons are the offspring of sub-Saharan African men and white women of northern or central European origin.

    And that report, which was published in April in the peer-reviewed journal, doesn’t sit comfortably with some people who claim Melungeon ancestry.

    “There were a whole lot of people upset by this study,” lead researcher Roberta Estes said. “They just knew they were Portuguese, or Native American.”

    Beginning in the early 1800s, or possibly before, the term Melungeon (meh-LUN’-jun) was applied as a slur to a group of about 40 families along the Tennessee-Virginia border. But it has since become a catch-all phrase for a number of groups of mysterious mixed-race ancestry.

    In recent decades, interest in the origin of the Melungeons has risen dramatically with advances both in DNA research and in the advent of Internet resources that allow individuals to trace their ancestry without digging through dusty archives.

    G. Reginald Daniel, a sociologist at the University of California-Santa Barbara who’s spent more than 30 years examining multiracial people in the U.S. and wasn’t part of this research, said the study is more evidence that race-mixing in the U.S. isn’t a new phenomenon.

    “All of us are multiracial,” he said. “It is recapturing a more authentic U.S. history.”

    Estes and her fellow researchers theorize that the various Melungeon lines may have sprung from the unions of black and white indentured servants living in Virginia in the mid-1600s, before slavery.

    They conclude that as laws were put in place to penalize the mixing of races, the various family groups could only intermarry with each other, even migrating together from Virginia through the Carolinas before settling primarily in the mountains of East Tennessee.

    Claims of Portuguese ancestry likely were a ruse they used in order to remain free and retain other privileges that came with being considered white, according to the study’s authors.

    The study quotes from an 1874 court case in Tennessee in which a Melungeon woman’s inheritance was challenged. If Martha Simmerman were found to have African blood, she would lose the inheritance.

    Her attorney, Lewis Shepherd, argued successfully that the Simmerman’s family was descended from ancient Phoenicians who eventually migrated to Portugal and then to North America.

    Writing about his argument in a memoir published years later, Shepherd stated, “Our Southern high-bred people will never tolerate on equal terms any person who is even remotely tainted with negro blood, but they do not make the same objection to other brown or dark-skinned people, like the Spanish, the Cubans, the Italians, etc.”

    In another lawsuit in 1855, Jacob Perkins, who is described as “an East Tennessean of a Melungeon family,” sued a man who had accused him of having “negro blood.”

  4. Ametia says:

    GOP showing small shifts on taxes
    By Rosalind S. Helderman, Updated: Friday, May 25, 12:01 PM

    In GOP activist circles it is known simply as the pledge, and over the past 25 years it has become the essential conservative credential for a whole generation of Republicans seeking elective office in a party defined by its implacable opposition to raising taxes.

    Of the 242 Republicans serving in the House of Representatives, all but six have signed the the anti-tax pledge that has emerged as a key enforcement mechanism of the Republican orthodoxy on taxes.

  5. rikyrah says:

    The Trump case study
    By Steve Benen – Fri May 25, 2012 1:45 PM EDT.

    As a rule, I tend to ignore the political opinions of reality-show personality Donald Trump, but there is a certain electoral salience that underscores nonsense like this.

    “A book publisher came out three days ago and said that in his written synopsis of his book,” Trump went on, “he said he was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia. His mother never spent a day in the hospital.”

    Actually, Obama’s literary agency at the time, two decades ago, published a recently discovered catalogue of clients and their projects that included erroneous information about Obama and a prospective book about race that he ended up not writing. An agency assistant back then, Miriam Goderich, said last week that she was mistaken when she wrote that Obama was born in Kenya.

    But Trump isn’t buying it. “That’s what he told the literary agent,” Trump insisted. “That’s the way life works…. He didn’t know he was running for president, so he told the truth. The literary agent wrote down what he said…. He said he was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia…. Now they’re saying it was a mistake…. Give me a break.”

    I suspect most fair-minded people would consider Trump’s comments idiotic. So, why should anyone care? Because Trump is an official surrogate and fundraiser for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. During the Republican primaries, Romney even had Trump record robocalls for his campaign, and next week, the two will appear together in Las Vegas.

    As Greg Sargent noted today, when Hilary Rosen noted Ann Romney may not be qualified to serve as her husband’s economic advisor, it was national news for weeks, despite the fact that Rosen (a) was correct, (b) had no formal role whatsoever in President Obama’s campaign; and (c) was immediately denounced by high-profile members of the Obama team.

    And yet, here’s Trump, spewing obvious garbage, which won’t diminish his role on Team Romney and won’t stop the Republican candidate from fundraising with Trump.

    The playing field isn’t even.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Meet Maureen Russo: An Eligible Florida Voter Governor Rick Scott Just Purged From The Voting Rolls
    By Judd Legum on May 25, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Maureen Russo was born in Akron, Ohio. For the last 40 years she’s operated a dog boarding and grooming business — Bobbi’s World Kennels — with her husband in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Maureen is 60-years-old and has been a registered voter in the state for the last four decades. She regularly votes at the church around the corner from her home.

    Two weeks ago she received a letter from the State of Florida informing her that that had recieved information that she was not born in this country and, therefore, was ineligible to vote.

    She was given an option to request “an administrative hearing to present evidence” disputing the determination of the State of Florida that she was ineligible to vote. Unless Maureen returned a form requesting such a hearing within 30 days, she was told, it would result in “the removal of your name from the voter registration rolls.”

    She immediately sent off a registered letter to the State with a copy of her passport. She hasn’t heard anything back.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Etch A Sketching on China
    By Steve Benen – Fri May 25, 2012 12:35 PM EDT.

    Mitt Romney tends to stick to vague generalities when it comes to foreign policy, but that doesn’t stop him from slamming China with surprising frequency.

    In his second television ad of the general election, the Republican vows to “stand up to China” on his very first day in office, and in his interview with Mark Halperin this week, Romney mentioned China eight times. (“No one’s talking about the impact of China cheating in this country,” he said.)

    Jon Huntsman, a Romney supporter and the former U.S. ambassador to China, was unimpressed with Romney’s China-bashing when he was a candidate, but yesterday, Huntsman told CNN the public need not be concerned — because Romney doesn’t believe his own rhetoric.

    Huntsman was reminded of his quotes from a few months ago, when he said Romney’s “doesn’t quite understand” the U.S.-China relationship, adding that Romney is effectively calling for “a trade war.” Asked if he still believes what he said, Huntsman responded yesterday:

    “It’s no surprise during a campaign season you’re going to have people use China as an issue…. I think — this is a — this is a typical trajectory where during a campaign season you’re going to talk about China in ways that you’re hearing today. We’ve seen that election cycles gone by. Then you get in office….”

    In other words, from Huntsman’s perspective, there’s no cause for alarm regarding Romney’s irresponsible anti-China rhetoric, because Romney is simply being cynical and insincere to win votes.

    This, by the way, was Huntsman offering a defense of Romney, not a criticism. It was a national television interview in which a Romney supporter effectively argued, “Vote for my guy — he’s only saying dumb things to get elected.”

    Incidentally, the White House also noticed Romney’s swipe at China in his new ad. Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters this morning, “Despite his tough talk now, Gov. Romney wasn’t always for enforcing trade laws against China…. In his book, Gov. Romney attacked the president for standing up for American workers and businesses by enforcing trade law against China, even calling it ‘bad for the nation and our workers.'”

  8. rikyrah says:

    What He Said
    By SteveM May 25th, 2012

    Brad DeLong has posted six questions he asked Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann, authors of the new book It’s Even Worse Than It Looks, which says that our political main problem is the appalling extremism of the Republican Party.

    DeLong also posted one question he didn’t ask Mann and Ornstein, and I’ve been trying to figure out something clever to say about it, but all I can say is that it sums up practically everything I feel about politics in America right now, so here it is:

    Look. You two are expecting normal politics to rein in a Republican Party gone bonkers extreme. But it will not work. The press corps will continue to say “he said, she said, yadda yadda yadda” either because they are gutless cowards or because they are bought. In a world of low-information voters, the bonkers extremism and sheer total meanness of the Republican Party will not get through. The only way it could get through would be if moderate Republican barons were to announce that they had had enough and were crossing t’he aisle, and if they did so in a way that they brought their affinities with them. But I don’t see Brent Scowcroft doing that, I don’t see Colin Powell doing that, I don’t see Greg Mankiw doing that, I don’t see Marty Feldstein doing that, I don’t see Gail Wilensky doing that, I don’t see Bob Dole doing that, I don’t see Jack Danforth doing that, I don’t see Richard Lugar doing that—and I don’t see you doing that, Mr. Ornstein. I don’t see you calling for the defeat of every single Republican candidate this fall and every fall until the party comes back to reality.

    And since all of you moderate Republicans are unwilling to take the only step that might fix the situation on your side, we have to take the only step open to us: We have to stop bringing a set of policy proposals and briefing papers to what the Republican Party has made a thermonuclear exchange. We have to oppose their noise, slime, and lie machine with a noise, disinfectant, and truth machine of our own—and at the same intensity.

    That means you moderates need to pick a side and fasten your seat belts, rather than wringing your hands about how the Republicans are being so mean, and you wish they would be less so.”

    What can I add to that?

  9. Ametia says:

    Trump Embraces Birtherism, Romney Embraces Trump
    By Judd Legum on May 24, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    In recent days, Donald Trump has intensified his efforts to advance discredited birther conspiracy theories against President Barack Obama. But that hasn’t stopped presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney from making Trump a major focus of his campaign.

    Today, Romney announced a major campaign event with Trump next week, at the reality TV star’s International Hotel in Las Vegas. Romney is also soliciting low dollar contributions to win a meal with Trump. The campaign has published this flyer:

    • Ametia says:

      Trump: Obama born in Kenya
      5/25/12 11:31 AM EDT

      Donald Trump has come a long way in the 2012 campaign: from maybe-candidate to Obama-birth-certificate agitator, to Mitt Romney endorser and fundraiser. He’s holding a joint fundraiser in Las Vegas on Tuesday with Romney and Newt Gingrich, and the Romney campaign is raffling off dinner with Trump and the candidate.

      But embracing Trump is a risky decision for anyone, as this interview he gave to Lloyd Grove demonstrates:

      “A book publisher came out three days ago and said that in his written synopsis of his book,” Trump went on, “he said he was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia. His mother never spent a day in the hospital.”

      Actually, Obama’s literary agency at the time, two decades ago, published a recently discovered catalogue of clients and their projects that included erroneous information about Obama and a prospective book about race that he ended up not writing. An agency assistant back then, Miriam Goderich, said last week that she was mistaken when she wrote that Obama was born in Kenya.

      But Trump isn’t buying it.

      “That’s what he told the literary agent,” Trump insisted. “That’s the way life works… He didn’t know he was running for president, so he told the truth. The literary agent wrote down what he said… He said he was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia… Now they’re saying it was a mistake. Just like his Kenyan grandmother said he was born in Kenya, and she pointed down the road to the hospital, and after people started screaming at her she said, ‘Oh, I mean Hawaii.’ Give me a break.”

    • Ametia says:

      And for all those white AMERICANS who embrace Romney with this knowledge EMBRACE BIRTHERISM. THE FUCKING END!

  10. Ametia says:

    From kindergarten to college: The clear choice between Romney and President Obama on education

    Education plays an integral role in a strong economy. President Obama has made critical investments and reforms that broaden educational opportunities for every American.

    Mitt Romney is now trying to convince the American people that he has an education plan that ensures a “chance for every child.” But a look at his record and the budget plan he supports would jeopardize the education and economic future of millions of students.

    Read more from the TRUTH TEAM HERE:

  11. rikyrah says:

    Fri May 25, 2012 at 09:10 AM PDT.

    Criticisms of Bain Capital make Wall Street sad+*

    Wow, this “Obama is hurting Wall Street’s fee-fees” stuff just never gets old, does it? I swear the New York Times could devote whole sections to it:

    Last week, a few dozen hedge fund and investment executives arrived at the Park Avenue home of Hamilton E. James, president of the private equity firm Blackstone. Each had paid $35,800 to spend two hours at a fund-raiser with President Obama, but the timing proved awkward: A few hours earlier, Mr. Obama’s campaign had begun a blistering attack on Mitt Romney’s career in private equity, the same business in which Mr. James has earned his many millions.
    “Campaigns do what campaigns have to do,” Mr. James later told friends. But not everyone was as forgiving. “People were incredulous,” said one person who attended the dinner. “They could have waited a week.”

    Oh noes! The horror! Imagine having enough money to throw around that you can spend a spare $35k on a two hour event, but still having to listen to mild, indirect criticism of someone who is in the same general line of business as you! I am very sad just thinking about it.
    What do we need to do here to make this better? Wait, I know—let’s put Wall Street bankers in more top-level government positions. We’re jam-packed with them already, though, so we’ll have to invent some entirely new departments just to wedge more Wall Street folks in there. Maybe a Bureau of Gutting Financial Regulations In a Super-Duper Expedited Fashion? A cabinet position dedicated to the private jet industry? What the hell, let’s give Wall Street bankers their own aircraft carrier. God help us if we have to listen to how terribly oppressed and downtrodden they all are. (Although if any Wall Street tycoons want to pay me $35k to sit down with me for two hours and gripe about how terribly oppressed they are, I’m all ears. For that price, I’ll even provide the bag of chips.)

  12. rikyrah says:

    Follow the bouncing jobs estimate
    By Steve Benen – Fri May 25, 2012 10:12 AM EDT.

    We talked last week about the Mitt Romney campaign’s “fuzzy jobs math,” in which the Republican candidate and his team would offer exaggerated boasts about the number of jobs he created, which the campaign couldn’t substantiate and which contradicted previous boasts.

    This week, Eric “Etch A Sketch” Fehrnstrom added to the record, telling MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell that Romney created “well in excess of 100,000” jobs at Bain Capital, more than the “tens of thousands” estimate that Romney had previously touted.

    We know that “100,000” figure isn’t true, but just as important is the fact that Team Romney keeps moving the goalposts. It’s a bad habit mocked effectively in this Priorities USA Action video, which will be released later today.

    This may seem like a “gotcha” gimmick, mocking Romney for his evolving I-once-caught-a-fish-this-big style of job-creation estimates, but it’s actually a very serious point. Indeed, Romney’s single most important claim as a candidate for the presidency is that he, during his private-sector career, was a “job creator.” If this isn’t true, his rationale for national office crumbles.

    And when a person making a bold claim can’t keep his story straight, it’s generally a strong hint that the claim is dubious.

    Bill Burton, a senior strategist at Priorities USA Action, told me this morning, “If [Romney] just released an accounting of the jobs gained and the jobs lost when he was at Bain, he could clear this whole controversy right up.”

    That’s true, but it’s a challenge Romney is unlikely to meet. I suspect we’ll see a full accounting of the former governor’s jobs record around the same time as we see his former tax returns — which is to say, never, since both are inexplicably being kept hidden from voters.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Obama Stumbles? Why the President’s Right to Talk About Bain

    The meme of the day in journo-world is that President Obama has stumbled at the outset of the general election campaign. The evidence for this? Well, uh, there isn’t very much, really–except that a few Democrats have criticized his campaign’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital and that Obama’s fundraising is merely humongous, instead of obscenely humongous. The two phenomena are linked, of course: Obama isn’t getting the usual haul from Wall Street because he has outrageously–outrageously!–tried to regulate the bankers who did so much to crash the economy in 2008. The handful of Democrats squawking are people who either (a) get money from private equity firms or (b) have retired and joined Mondo Casino. But there is another side to this story:

    I suspect that these Bain attacks are working. Indeed, I suspect the reason that the Obama campaign–and the President himself in an extraordinary moment at the NATO press conference last week–is so adamant about pursuing this tactic is that it (a) lays the predicate for the anti-Romney campaign to come and (b) has been extremely effective with focus groups. And so, what we may be seeing here is the exact opposite of a stumble.

    But are the attacks fair? No and yes. The job losses associated with the private equity brand of capitalism are, in fact, the least important long-term aspect of the story. It’s true, contra Krugman today (although Paul is absolutely right about his larger point, the bogus nature of the bankers’ narrative), that a great many American companies had become stagnant and bloated in the 1970s and that transitions had to be made to keep them profitably, especially in the area of information technology, and these transitions wiped out a lot of middle management jobs but made those companies more productive. Consultants like Bain suddenly became prominent and profitable because they helped companies through this transition.

    Romney took Bain to the next logical step–investing in companies that Bain improved. There was nothing wrong, and much that was right, about this in each individual case. Romney is telling the truth as he sees it: sometimes these investments didn’t work out, but often they did and the profits were huge. It’s also true that sharkier sorts, seeing the profits that could be wrung up in debt for equity swaps, jumped into the market in a far less responsible way than Bain had and engaged in the vulture capitalism–we’ll always be grateful to Rick Perry for that term–that has helped to hollow out the economy.

    It seems to me that Obama’s immediate point is wrong: Romney wasn’t primarily about job destruction and corporate plundering. His larger point–that Romney was not so much about job-creation as he was about profit-creation–is correct, though. But the largest point of all is this: private equity capitalism was all about short-term profits–maximizing shareholder value–rather than long-term growth. It ushered in an era of massive executive compensation and bonuses. It prospered because of tax rules that made debt more profitable than equity, and a “carried interest” tax dodge that enabled Mitt Romney to pay a lower percentage in taxes than your average construction worker. It can be a useful tool in restructuring companies and steering them toward profitability, but it is not the sort of model you’d want to apply to the entire American economy.

    A President has to be about long-term growth, not short-term profits–and to the extent that Barack Obama is using the Bain ads to make this larger argument, he is not “stumbling” or attacking “free enterprise,” but he is steering the conversation toward the most important topic this year: what sort of economy do we want to have and how do we get there?

    Read more:

  14. rikyrah says:

    Trump: ‘The Truth’ Is That Obama Was ‘Born In Kenya’ |

    In an interview with the Daily Beast published today Donald Trump asserts that Obama was born in Kenya, not the United States. Trump told Lloyd Grove, “That’s the way life works… He didn’t know he was running for president, so he told the truth. The literary agent wrote down what he said… He said he was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia… Now they’re saying it was a mistake. Just like his Kenyan grandmother said he was born in Kenya, and she pointed down the road to the hospital, and after people started screaming at her she said, ‘Oh, I mean Hawaii.’ Give me a break.” Trump is playing an active and high profile role in the Romney campaign, and is scheduled to appear at a major fundraiser with Romney on June 28. Previously, Romney made efforts to distance himself from birther conspiracy theorists.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Fri May 25, 2012 at 07:30 AM PDT.

    Mitt Romney: I’m glad I’m Mr. Bain because um, er, well, uh… +*

    The New York Times’s Ashley Parker says Mitt Romney’s campaign is bullish on Bain…

    Mitt Romney’s campaign sees the time he spent at Bain Capital, the private equity firm he co-founded and ran for more than a decade, as a positive experience that highlights his leadership skills and his ability to turn around companies and create jobs.
    …but notes that turning it into a positive presents a serious challenge:

    For Mr. Romney’s campaign, the scrutiny of his time at Bain poses a delicate challenge: not only must he defend himself against attacks coming from the president, but he also must try to cast Bain and the lessons he learned there as a testament to his management skills.
    So how is Mr. Bain doing at explaining why his CEO record qualifies him for the presidency? Here’s how he tried to sell it to Mark Halperin:

    Halperin: The President says that your experience at Bain Capital will be central in this election. He says it does not qualify you to be a job creator as President. I know you think that working in the private sector in and of itself gives you insight into how the economy works, but what specific skills or policies did you learn at Bain that would help you create an environment where jobs would be created?
    Romney: 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.

    Not only did Romney fail to answer … he complained about the question. But Halperin asked again:

    Halperin: I want to ask you to be just a little bit more specific about that, because again, he said this is like the central way he’s going to run this campaign, to focus on your business career. You said you know how to read a balance sheet. There are a lot of people in America who know how to do that. What would make you qualify to be President – again, specific things you’ve learned, things you know, policies that grow out of your experience at Bain Capital that would lead toward job creation.
    Romney: Well Mark, let’s be a little more specific as to the area you’d like to suggest. Trade policies? Labor policies? Energy policies? Let’s take energy, for instance. I understand that in some industries, the input cost of energy is a major factor in whether an industry is going to locate in the United States or go elsewhere. So, when at Bain Capital, we started a new steel company called Steel Dynamics in Indiana, the cost of energy was a very important factor to the success of that enterprise.

    Yet another swing and a miss. As Jonathan Chait pointed out, you don’t need to be CEO of Bain Capital to know that the cost of energy is very important to businesses. In fact, President Obama has talked about the importance of energy costs to the economy. Moreover, the cost of energy to businesses isn’t the only important part of energy policy. Things like climate change are also important—and those are things that CEOs don’t have to spend their time thinking about.
    Halperin pressed forward on Bain, giving Romney yet another shot to sell his record:

    Halperin: So when the President says he wants to focus a lot of the election and debate on your career at Bain Capital, do you welcome that?
    Romney: Well of course, I’d like to also focus on his record. What is it that he’s done as the President of the United States over the last four years? And the American people are interested in, not so much in the history of where I was at Bain Capital, or that I have understanding of the private sector, but instead, has the President made things better for the American people?

  16. rikyrah says:

    Black metrosexual Abe Lincoln

    that still cracks me up

  17. rikyrah says:

    Seeking a GOP explanation for relief at the pump
    By Steve Benen – Fri May 25, 2012 9:31 AM EDT.

    Time will tell if expectations are met, but new reports this week suggest American consumers can expect “more relief at the pump heading into peak summer driving season.”

    After topping out at $3.92 in early April, gasoline now averages $3.68 a gallon. Weak demand, slumping crude oil prices and ample inventories could push prices to $3.55 by mid-June, says Brian Milne, analyst at Telvent DTN.

    That’s a far cry from $5-a-gallon fears in early 2012, when crude prices surged earlier and faster than ever before on fears that tensions with Iran threatened supplies. […]

    “We’re getting a bit of a break here,” says Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service, who notes that domestic supplies are at their highest levels since 1990.

    If this holds up, it’s good news. But I’m curious about the political angle to this.

    Last summer, with gas prices rising, several leading Republicans came up with a curious accusation: President Obama was causing pain at the pump deliberately, as part of some undefined environmental agenda. This odd line was pushed by Haley Barbour and the Koch brothers, among others.

    In the ensuing months, prices came back down, and the talking point went away — until March, when prominent Republicans like Newt Gingrich, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, and assorted Fox News figures said higher gas prices are the “conscious policy of this administration.”

    It was, even by conservative standards, a ridiculous accusation. But before their attacks slip down the memory hole, how about a little accountability: do Republicans still believe Obama is trying to get higher gas prices on purpose?

    When they see gas prices fall, do they think the president, who apparently can dictate what happens at the pump by snapping his fingers, deserves credit, or does Mitch Daniels and his cohorts believe Obama is just incompetent in his quest for higher prices?

  18. rikyrah says:

    Media marketing on a whole new level
    By Steve Benen – Fri May 25, 2012 8:40 AM EDT

    .Media outlets routinely try all kinds of gimmicks to obtain the contact information of potential readers, viewers, or listeners. But Tucker Carlson’s The Daily Caller, a conservative online outlet, appears to be breaking new ground in media marketing.

    Carlson’s site, like many of its rivals, are eager to have folks sign up for its daily email updates, and to that end, those who submit their email address will be registered to win a free 9C1 semi-automatic handgun — engraved with the Bill of Rights.

    Because sometimes, a free totebag and travel mug just won’t cut it.

    But what makes The Daily Caller’s marketing strategy just a little more provocative is the far-right voice the website has partnered with as part of the gun giveaway. In this case, the 9C1 semi-automatic handgun is manufactured by Jim Pontillo, who, as Simon Maloy explained, has some colorful political opinions of his own.

    These weapons are made by Jim Pontillo, the owner of FMK Firearms. In addition to making guns, Pontillo moonlights as a lunatic conservative writer. We pointed out yesterday that he’s written a smattering of columns for Human Events, one of which extolled the patriotic ardor of modern-day secessionists. And it turns out that, until recently, Pontillo blogged enthusiastically at his website,

    I’ll confess I’d never heard of Pontillo until this week, but the Media Matters report includes some pretty remarkable excerpts of the gun manufacturer’s published works. Pontillo has joked about President Obama turning the White House into the “Black House”; he offered a defense for the Civil War, saying it’s “natural to understand the Confederate rebellion”; and he described Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB 1070 as “a warning to a despotic administration that the American people are only going to tolerate a limited amount of assault on their sovereignty,” adding that the law is “a precursor revealing dissatisfaction turning to action.”

    This is who The Daily Caller partnered with as part of a marketing gimmick to get conservatives’ email addresses?

  19. Ametia says:

    Judge strikes down Defense of Marriage Act provision in state employees’ case
    Bay City News Service

    OAKLAND — A federal judge ruled Thursday that the state’s public-employee pension system must make long-term care insurance equally available to same-sex spouses and partners.

    U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken said a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, is unconstitutional to the extent that it limits same-sex spouses of state workers in obtaining the insurance.

    The provision of the 1996 DOMA law defines marriage as “a legal union of a one man and one woman as husband and wife.”

    It has been used to bar gay and lesbian spouses from obtaining a variety of federal benefits.

    Read more:

  20. Ametia says:

    Why Bain questions matter
    By Eugene Robinson, Published: May 24

    Who are the dastardly enemies of free enterprise who decided to make an issue of Mitt Romney’s tenure at the private-equity firm Bain Capital? Er, those would be his fellow Republicans.

    Listen to what Newt Gingrich said in January: “The Bain model is to go in at a very low price, borrow an immense amount of money, pay Bain an immense amount of money and leave. I’ll let you decide if that’s really good capitalism. I think that’s exploitation.”

    Or what Rick Perry said that same month: “There is something inherently wrong when getting rich off failure and sticking it to someone else is how you do your business. I happen to think that that is indefensible.”

    When Democrats say things like that, they’re accused of being Bolsheviks who want to destroy capitalism. But even in the context of the GOP primary battle, where “moderate” was the ultimate epithet, Romney’s actions at Bain were seen as raising a legitimate and important question: Shouldn’t free markets serve the American people, rather than the other way around?

    President Obama is right to raise this issue now. I wish he had done so during the debate on financial regulatory reform — only now is he posing the kind of fundamental questions that needed to be asked — but better late than never. In his defense, a tough reelection campaign does tend to focus the mind.

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with private equity, which plays an important role in the economy. And, of course, there’s nothing wrong with wealth; those who risk their capital in private-equity ventures should be rewarded when those deals pay off. No one begrudges Romney his offshore investment accounts, his mansions or his wife’s Cadillacs.

    But as Romney himself acknowledges, free markets need rules and regulations in order to function. Some kinds of dealings are prohibited or even criminalized — insider trading, for example, because of the way it benefits a select few at the expense of other investors.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Sing It Loud, An America Like No Other
    May 23rd, 2012 12:00 am
    Leonard Pitts Jr.

    I, too, sing America.

    So wrote Langston Hughes, the unofficial poet laureate of the Harlem Renaissance. Hughes, whose 65 years spanned the lynch mobs of the early 20th century and the race riots of the mid-1960s, intended a defiant reminder to a nation too often content to include him out, a nation quick to regard him as the eternal Other, separate from and threatening to, what they saw as the “real” America, i.e., the white America.

    “I, too, sing America.”

    It was his way of letting them know that he, too, belonged to America. And America, to him.

    Hughes died 45 years ago this week, but the need for the reminder survives. Consider two headlines from last week about the revitalization of racially-provocative smears against President Obama. One story, originating in the New York Times, concerned a plan floated to — and wisely shot down by — a GOP Super PAC. It sought $10 million for ads tying Obama to incendiary statements by his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. If that leaves you feeling deja vu all over again, it’s because that controversy was already litigated — and dismissed — four years ago.

    This goofy plan to revive it envisioned the hiring of “an extremely literate, conservative African-American” spokesman (“How can you accuse us of racism? We’ve got us an extremely literate African-American spokesman!”) to argue that Obama lied when he presented himself as, ahem, a “black metrosexual Abe Lincoln.”

    The second story was nearly as bizarre. It seems Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett told a radio interviewer it is “possible” he’ll hold the president off that state’s ballot unless he gets proof Obama was born in the U.S.A. Perhaps that makes you think Bennett, who has gubernatorial aspirations, is pandering to the lunatic fringe. Perish the thought. “I’m not a birther,” he said, presumably with a straight face. “I believe that the president was born in Hawaii — or at least, I hope he was.”

    So it appears the fall campaign will turn, at least in part, upon a renewed effort to convince people that the president — a man they’ve seen daily for three years now, a man who, the polls suggest, voters find personally likable even when they disagree with his politics — is a scary and mysterious Other: “Hide the children, Martha — Obama is comin’!”

  22. rikyrah says:

    May 24, 2012
    That painful, sadistic-Romney laugh

    To me, what stands as the GOP’s most offensive rhetorical tactic yet deployed in modern American politics was reiterated yesterday by Mitt Romney, in his softball Mark Halperin interview–something Romney has uttered a gazillion times before, and he’ll utter a gazillion times again, between now and Election Day:

    It is a whole passel of elements that come together to create a strong economy, and for someone who spent their life in the economy, they understand how that works. And it’s very clear, by virtue of the President’s record, that he does not, and he is struggling. Look at him right now. He just doesn’t have a clue what to do to get this economy going.

    And there you have it. Not merely a distortion–that this president just sits and thinks about economic reform, all alone, all by himself, sans any professional advisers; and not merely a lie–a twisted tale of unmitigated failure, “by virtue of the President’s record”; and not merely a misapplication of private experience to public service–“for someone who spent their life in the economy, they understand how [it] works.”

    True, it is all of those, but what reigns as supremely offensive is Romney & Co.’s medieval snickering over the president’s “struggle,” one compelled by the singular tortures of congressional Republicans who have racked, screwed, and burned at the stake virtually every economic remedy that Obama has proposed as further stimulus–the first of which did work, if only precisely to the degree by which congressional Republicans diluted it.

    There is an emphatic element in this offensive line of attack that transcends the political and goes straight to the sadistic. Yet what makes it so painful isn’t just Republicans’ natural offensiveness or studied sadism. After all, we’ve had years to accustom ourselves to the GOP’s soul-damaged decline. No, what makes it so excruciating is that so many Americans indeed accept it as “just politics” or, worse, actually lend it some credence; they actually say to themselves, “Yeah, that Romney guy has a point.”

    Vacate that credulity and you’d see national polling numbers of Obama vs. Romney, 75-25, which is to say, Romney would possess the polling strength of his hardcore base alone. This would not be a contest–at all; which is to say, further, that against an informed, educated electorate, the GOP would stand no chance whatsoever. Which finally is to say, with an easy certainty, that the GOP relies on a ghastly ignorance like no major party ever has, throughout the history of modern American politics.

  23. rikyrah says:

    A busy ‘Day One’
    By Steve Benen – Fri May 25, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.

    Last week, Mitt Romney’s campaign unveiled its first television ad of the general election, a generally positive spot describing what the Republican would do on “day one” if elected. In his first 24 hours in the Oval Office, Romney would apparently approve an environmentally-risky oil pipeline, cut taxes on the wealthy, and take away health care access for millions of Americans.

    Yesterday, the campaign unveiled its second ad, this one called, “Day One, Part Two.” Apparently, the Republican is sincere about hitting the ground running — he has quite a few ambitions for Jan. 21, 2013.

    For those who can’t watch clips online, viewers learn that Romney — still on his first day in office — would also “announce deficit reductions,” “stand up to China on trade,” and “begin repealing” federal regulations, which the Republican believes are responsible for hurting the economy.

    Voters who care about the truth won’t find much to like about this spot. Romney’s agenda doesn’t focus on deficit reduction; it would add trillions to the debt through tax cuts and increased defense spending (a problem that would be made worse if he kills the Affordable Care Act). If Romney pushes us into a trade war with China, we all lose. And the notion that regulations are hurting the economy is plainly false to anyone who knows what they’re talking about.

    But the larger lesson here is that Romney, despite a breathtakingly-conservative vision, really doesn’t have much to offer in the way of practical, real-world solutions to any of the nation’s pressing economic problems.

    As Jamelle Bouie explained, Romney’s “key asset is the appearance 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…. [But] for all the talk of job creation, the Republican nominee doesn’t have a plan for stimulating the economy.”

    Indeed, he’s not even trying.


    Consider the six ideas now on tap for Romney’s first day: tax cuts for the wealthy (which we know do little to boost demand), an oil pipeline (which might create some jobs, but not as many as the right likes to pretend), less access to health care (which wouldn’t do the economy any favors), deficit reduction (austerity doesn’t work), fewer regulations (which is vague and pointless), and a trade war with China (which would be incredibly dangerous).

    The myth of this guy’s competence has been greatly exaggerated.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Fire Walker Chronicles: Rolling In The Deep

    By Zandar May 25th, 2012

    Team Koch is stomping a dollar sign shaped mud hole in Tom Barrett and then drying it out, with the super-PACs backing GOP Gov. Scott Walker outspending the Democrats by more than 3-to-1 in the Wisconsin recall.

    Walker’s campaign, which has raised a record $25 million+ for the recall campaign, spent over $7 million for TV buys from March 20 through Election Day, according to a source tracking ad buys in the state. In anticipation of the recall, the governor has been on the air since last December, with spots touting his record, including his controversial budget repair bill curbing collective bargaining for public employees. In total, Walker’s campaign has spent over $12 million on recall election campaign ads.

    Republicans are apparently absolutely giddy with the thought that Walker’s win will usher in a new era of permanent GOP dominance. If it takes millions of dollars to purchase said dominance, and they have it to spend, why by gum, they’re going to do just that. Thanks, Citizens United!

    Walker is the frontrunner in the campaign, but Democrats released two polls this week showing the governor with only a small, single-digit lead. The outcome of the race will largely rest on which side can turn out its base. There are very few uncommitted voters, with nearly everyone holding a firm opinion of Walker.

    The two candidates will debate tonight and once more next Thursday.

    It’s not over with yet, folks. It’s all about getting people to the polls. Badger, badger, badger, don’t be a mushroom.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Olympia Snowe Has Stockholm Syndrome
    by BooMan
    Thu May 24th, 2012 at 11:46:07 PM EST

    This is kind of a minor point but ever since Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine announced that she won’t seek another term, she has started to vote ‘present’ a lot. This is not something I’ve noticed her do before. It’s like now that she is liberated from having to worry about things like getting primaried or getting reelected in the general or being punished by Mitch McConnell, she is exercising her newfound freedom by refusing to take a side. She doesn’t vote with her caucus, but she still refuses to vote against them. She’s like Patty Hearst, or something.
    I find it perplexing and more than a little pathetic.

    Tonight, she did it twice. First she voted ‘present’ on Lamar Alexander’s (R-TN) substitution amendment and then she did it again on Majority Leader Harry Reid’s bill to extend low-interest rate college loans.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Top 10 Obamacare Benefits At Stake For Women
    By Guest Blogger on May 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Our guest bloggers are Jessica Arons, director of the women’s health and rights program, and Lucy Panza, CAP policy analyst.

    The Supreme Court is currently reviewing the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as “Obamacare.” This landmark piece of legislation signed into law by President Barack Obama drastically reforms the way health insurance works in our country. Below, we outline 10 reasons why women in America have so much riding on the Supreme Court’s decision:

    1. Obamacare guarantees coverage of preventive services with no cost sharing. Preventive care promotes health and saves money. Yet many preventive care services are out of women’s reach due to high co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance. More than 50 percent of women have delayed seeking medical care due to cost, and one-third of women report forgoing basic necessities to pay for health care. But under the health reform law, insurers are now required to cover recommended preventive services such as mammograms, Pap smears, and well-baby care without cost sharing. More than 45 million women have already taken advantage of these services. And starting this August more services, including contraception, gestational diabetes screening, and breastfeeding supports, will be added to the list of preventive care that must be covered at no additional cost.

    2. Maternity care will be required in new insurance plans. Coverage for maternity care—health care that only women need—is routinely excluded in the individual insurance market. Only 12 percent of plans sold in the individual market even offer maternity coverage, which is frequently inadequate because of waiting periods or deductibles that can be as high as the cost of the birth itself. But once Obamacare is fully implemented in 2014, about 8.7 million women will have guaranteed access to maternity care in all new individual and small group plans.

    3. Women will no longer be denied insurance coverage for gender-related reasons. In today’s insurance market, it is common for insurers to refuse to cover women because of gender-based “pre-existing conditions,” such as having had a Cesarean section or being the victim of domestic violence or sexual assault. Thankfully, this practice will be outlawed under Obamacare in 2014. In the meantime, adults with pre-existing conditions who have been uninsured for at least six months can purchase affordable coverage through temporary Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plans.

    4. Women will no longer be charged more for their insurance coverage just for being women. Under a practice known as “gender rating,” insurers currently charge women higher premiums than men for identical health benefits. As a result, women now pay $1 billion more than men each year for the same health plans in the individual market. As of 2014, however, under the Affordable Care Act, gender rating will become illegal in all new individual and small group plans.

    5. Women have more control over their health care. Already, women no longer need a referral to see their obstetrician-gynecologist thanks to Obamacare. And they get to choose their primary care physician and their child’s pediatrician from their plan’s list of participating providers.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Three African-Americans Earn Doctorates in Chemistry, Set UM Record for Single Year

    Less than a year after launching an aggressive initiative to increase the number of graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, the University of Mississippi has recorded an impressive national achievement.

    Friday evening (May 11), the university graduated three African-American students with doctorates in chemistry, an exceptional number for any university.

    “On average, about 50 African-American students receive Ph.D.s in chemistry nationwide each year, so UM produced 6 percent of the national total,” said Maurice Eftink, associate provost and professor of chemistry and biochemistry.
    The history-making candidates who received their degrees Friday were Kari Copeland of Coldwater, Margo Montgomery of New Orleans and Jeffrey Veals of Gloster. And a fourth African-American student, Shanna Stoddard of Louisville, Ky., is on track to earn her doctorate in chemistry in December.

    “This is a significant achievement for these three graduates and their families, and it is also significant for the university,” Chancellor Dan Jones said. “UM 2020, our new strategic plan, calls on us as the flagship university of our state to lead our state and region in preparing professionals in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, especially from underrepresented groups.”

    It is the second time in recent years that UM has set a benchmark in STEM fields. The university produced four African-American Ph.D.s in mathematics in 2006.

    “That was an even more outstanding achievement given that there are only 15-to-30 African-American Ph.D.s in math granted each year. But the current achievement is still pretty noteworthy,” Eftink said.

    Charles Hussey, UM chair of chemistry and biochemistry, lauded his faculty for their support.

    “Our three students represent a significant proportion of the national graduates,” he said. “This department and its faculty are absolutely devoted to the success of minority students, regardless of whether they are undergraduate or graduate students.”

    Besides the three African-Americans, four more UM students were awarded doctoral degrees in chemistry and biochemistry this commencement: Rajesh Kota of India, Debra Jo Scardino of Moss Point, Lei Wang of China and Ashley Wright of Texarkana, Texas.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Philadelphia Teachers Grill Mitt Romney on Class Sizes

  29. rikyrah says:

    The G-Word: Why Romney Never Says ‘Governor’
    Romney emphasizes Bain, Olympics over time as governor

    Four of the past six US presidents were also former governors, and the qualification is generally considered one of the best for the White House. Nevertheless, you won’t hear Mitt Romney boasting of his term as governor of Massachusetts very often, preferring instead to talk about the Salt Lake City Olympics and Bain Capital. That’s because Massachusetts talk equals RomneyCare, abortion-rights support, and closing tax loopholes for the rich—in other words, being a centrist, a fate worse than arugula this election cycle, reports Politico.

    Romney’s campaign says he wants to focus on his business background and better distinguish him from President Obama. But Democrats call the omission revealing. “I think it’s weird for him to talk about what he wants to do in government and not make reference to what he actually did in government,” says the Bay State’s current governor, Deval Patrick. Pointing out how Massachusetts was 47th in job creation under Romney, Patrick said, “Mr. Fix It didn’t fix it.” Nonsense, counters a Romney spokesman: “Gov. Romney is proud of his record and his leadership experience in both the private and public sectors.”

  30. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  31. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

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