Serendipity SOUL | Thursday Open Thread | “Summertime” Week!

Hot Fun in the Summertime!

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70 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Thursday Open Thread | “Summertime” Week!

  1. Ametia says:


  2. rikyrah says:

    So John Edwards got off.

    Um,. ok.

  3. Ametia says:

    Your weekly dose of Chauncey Devega

    Well played Mr. Romney. Very well played indeed.

    Mitt Romney’s “Barack Obama Isn’t Working” campaign is a genius political move. Less clumsy than the infamous Willie Horton ad, it is a more elegant and refined racial appeal for a slightly more civilized “colorblind” age.

    As such, Mitt Romney’s suggestion that Barack Obama is “not working” deftly draws on a set of stereotypes from the American popular imagination where black people, and black men in particular, are depicted as lazy and not self-sufficient. This is one of the core attributes of what social scientists have termed “symbolic racism.”

    This stereotype is central to contemporary right-wing political discourse, and can trace its lineage back to the Southern Strategy under Richard Nixon, and through to Ronald Reagan’s mobilization of anti-black sentiment with his allusions to “welfare queens” and “strapping young black bucks” who buy steaks with food stamps. As part of this pattern, the 2012 Republican campaign has featured such onerous moments as Rick Santorum’s suggesting that black Americans are parasites who live off of white people, as well as Newt Gingrich advising young people of color (because they are especially lazy and pathological) that they should be janitors in order to learn a “work ethic.”


  4. Ametia says:

    Former U.S. President George W. Bush (2nd L) stands next to U.S. President Barack Obama (L) while former first lady Laura Bush (2nd R) stands next to first lady Michelle Obama during the unveiling of their official White House portraits in the East Room of the White House in Washington May 31, 2012.

    • Ametia says:

      Barbara Bush (L) and Jenna Bush-Hager clap for their father during a portrait unveiling ceremony in the East Room of the White House May 31, 2012 in Washington, DC.

  5. Ametia says:

    Agenda set for Obama’s Minnesota visit

    WASHINGTON — The White House has released President Obama’s schedule for his Friday visit to Minnesota.

    Obama will hold a formal event at Honeywell’s Golden Valley campus, urging Congress to pass his “To-Do List,” an election year agenda he announced three weeks ago.

    According to the White House, Obama will “specifically highlighting the need to honor our commitment to returning veterans by passing legislation that creates a Veterans Jobs Corps to help Afghanistan and Iraq veterans get jobs as cops and firefighters, as well as other jobs serving their communities.” The rest of the To-Do List can be found here.

    Obama’s speech is scheduled for noon, and it’s not open to the public.

    Obama will also hold three fundraisers while he’s in town, at the Bachelor Farmer, the Minneapolis restaurant owned by Gov. Mark Dayton’s sons.

    By Devin Henry | 05/29/12

  6. rikyrah says:

    NYT: Fox Video Producer’s CNN Job Offer Revoked
    The Fox and Friends producer who put together the controversial ”four years of hope and change” video for the morning news show was set to take a job at CNN. But the NY Times’ Jeremy Peters reports that his offer has been revoked.

    Jeremy W. Peters
    @jwpetersNYT Fox News producer who was set to go to CNN before he made that anti-Obama vid has his offer revoked. Whether he stays at Fox unclear

  7. rikyrah says:

    4:04 PM EDT, Thursday May 31, 2012
    Warren To Brown: Leave My Parents Out Of This

    Massachusetts Senate aspirant Elizabeth Warren (D) fired back at Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) on Thursday, writing in a statement that the Republican incumbent should apologize for suggesting that Warren’s parents were dishonest when they informed her of the family’s Native American heritage.

    Warren has not provided any documentation of her heritage, but instead has said that she learned of her ancestry through family lore. On Thursday, Brown quipped to reporters, “My mom and dad have told me a lot of things, too, but they’re not always true.”

    From Warren’s statement:

    “Scott Brown’s comments about my parents are totally out of line. I resent him questioning their honesty. My mother and father are not here to defend themselves and should be off limits. Don and Pauline Herring are not fair game and Scott Brown should apologize.”

  8. rikyrah says:

    Hayworth Spokesman: ‘Hurl Some Acid At Those Female Democratic Senators’

    Pema Levy May 31, 2012, 3:53 PM

    Jay Townsend, a campaign spokesman for Republican Rep. Nan Hayworth (NY-19), weighed in on a local Facebook discussion with a violent comment about Democratic women in Congress, and his suggestion is now earning the congresswoman condemnation from one of her Democratic challengers.

    The Facebook page, called NY19 U.S. House of Representatives Discussion Center, encourages “civil multi-partisan discussion about issues impacting citizens of New York’s U.S. House District represented by Republican Congresswoman Nan Hayworth.” On it, a question about gas prices was also critical of Hayworth. Townsend responded to one commenter, Tom, by bringing up the “war on women” and suggested they “hurl some acid at those female democratic Senators.”

    The comment:

    Listen to Tom. What a little bee he has in his bonnet. Buzz Buzz. My question today … when is Tommy boy going to weigh in on all the Lilly Ledbetter hypocrites who claim to be fighting the War on Women? Let’s hurl some acid at those female democratic Senators who won’t abide the mandates they want to impose on the private sector.

    Richard Becker, one of several Democratic candidates vying to challenge Hayworth, went after Hayworth over Townsend’s comment via his campaign’s spokesman Barry Caro.
    From the New York Observer:

    I’d be fired – immediately and with cause – if I said stuff like this. Which begs the question: why is Jay Townsend still Nan Hayworth’s spokesman?” asked Becker campaign spokesman Barry Caro. “Does she agree that ‘bin Laden is dead in spite of Obama?’ Does she agree that we should ‘hurl some acid’ at politicians her campaign disagrees with? These comments are simply unprofessional and should never cross the lips of a congressional spokesman.” “This isn’t some obscure supporter or no-name right wing provocateur, and we’re not playing ‘six degrees of condemnation.’ This is Nan Hayworth’s official campaign spokesman saying some truly disturbing things on her behalf. The people of this district deserve to know whether Nan thinks what her spokesman is saying is OK – and if not, what she’s going to do about it.

    • Ametia says:

      Jay Townsend’s comment alone illustrates his disdain for women. Sounds like ammunition one’s uses to declare war to me.

  9. rikyrah says:

    In the Republican Party the American Dream is Just an Oxycontin Hallucination

    Margaret, only in America can a white, Christian woman grow up to marry a white, Christian man and live in a lovely home and shop at a Piggly Wiggly. Maybe I should run for President. Of course I would need to go back to school and get a degree from Harvard or Yale first.

    Now I thought the American public was smarter than this… Or maybe they are but the Republican base is just messing up the grading curve. Dress him however you want, but Romney is a rich son of a bitch. Period. He can talk all he wants about “Only in America…” but honest to God doesn’t anyone in the Republican Party see the irony in that? Only in America? He should say In America Only a wealthy guy in a business suit can get the Republican nomination. For Christ’s sake, the other guy is a black man raised by a single white woman. He’s a Christian mulatto who gets confused for a Kenyan Muslim. Now there’s your Only in America story. And evidently only in the Democratic Party as well.

    I don’t have issues with a poor man becoming wealthy any more than I do with a wealthy man becoming President. But is that all you’ve got? Mitt’s father’s family was temporarily poor during the depression? Get in line. His Dad had a pet pony named Monty. Wow. Life was real a pile of shit for that guy. Who names their pony Monty?

    Mitt Romney is George Bush all over again. Wealthy kid of a wealthy politician who has no earthly idea what it means to make the money stretch from one paycheck to another… Only in America my ass. Only in the Republican Party is more like it:

    Only in the Republican Party can a college dropout, married four times with no children call women sluts for using birth control. Maybe the addiction to Oxycontin made Rush sterile?

    Only in the Republican Party can a blonde with big feet claim the widows of the 9/11 attacks “enjoyed their husbands’ deaths” and then go on to be a NY Times best-selling author and conservative analyst for Fox News.

    Only in the Republican Party can an idiot from Alaska run for Vice President on a platform of abstinence only while keeping an early pregnancy test strip in her purse for when the kids want an after school snack.

    Only in the Republican Party can Newt Gingrich, divorced twice (cheated thrice?), give stump speeches about the sanctity of marriage.

    Only in the Republican Party can John Boehner and Donald Trump get their skin that orange.

    And only in the Republican Party can Mitt Romney claim to be an example of the American Dream. Of course, in this case the dream is that a pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, liberal governor from Massachusetts grew up to become the conservative nominee for the Republican Party.

    Honey, I’m not scared of Romney. I’m scared of the idiots who vote for him. I mean it. Really

  10. Ametia says:

    What Would George Tiller Do?
    Jessica Valenti on May 31, 2012 – 10:26 AM ET

    Today is the third anniversary of Dr. George Tiller’s assassination. On May 31, 2009, Tiller was shot and killed by Scott Roeder while he served as an usher in his Wichita church. Tiller was one of the only abortion providers in the country to provide late-term abortions. He often wore a button that said “Trust Women.”

    I wonder, if Dr. Tiller were alive today, what he would think about the unwavering attack against women’s reproductive freedom and bodily integrity—if he could ever of imagined that American women would still not just be fighting for the right to abortion but for birth control. Or that there would be a national debate on whether or not it’s appropriate to call a woman who wants contraception coverage a “prostitute.” I imagine that even for a man who had seen a lot of misogyny in his life, the current climate against women would be shocking.

    Since Tiller’s murder, the legislative agenda against reproductive justice—and common-sense decency—has been staggering.

  11. Ametia says:

    JUST IN:

    The judge in John Edwards’ federal corruption trial ruled that the jury should continue deliberating after they reached a verdict on only one of six counts.

    Edwards’ lawyers had asked for a mistrial after the partial verdict on the ninth day of deliberations. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Mega-donors: Quit picking on usMega-donors: Quit picking on us

    By KENNETH P. VOGEL | 5/31/12 4:43 AM EDT
    All they wanted was to get involved.

    But to hear some of the biggest donors of 2012 tell it, their six- and seven-figure contributions have instead bought them nothing but grief.

    Their personal lives are fodder for news stories. President Barack Obama and his allies have singled out conservative mega-donors as greedy tax cheats, or worse. And a conservative website has launched a counteroffensive targeting big-money liberals.

    This is definitely not what they had in mind. In their view, cutting a million-dollar check to try to sway the presidential race should be just another way to do their part for democracy, not a fast-track to the front page.

    And now some are pushing back hard against the attention, asking: Why us?

    “This idea of giving public beatings has been around for a long time,” said Frank VanderSloot, a wealthy Idaho businessman who donated $1 million in corporate cash to the super PAC supporting Mitt Romney and says he’s raised between $2 million and $5 million for the Romney campaign.

    VanderSloot, who is also a national finance co-chairman for Romney, was among eight major Romney donors singled out on an Obama campaign website last month as having “less-than-reputable records,” and he thinks the purpose is clear – intimidation.

    “You go back to the Dark Ages when they put these people in the stocks or whatever they did, or publicly humiliated them as a deterrent to everybody else – watch this – watch what we do to the guy who did this.”

    VanderSloot is one of the loudest of the aggrieved mega-donors, announcing that his family’s privacy has been invaded and his health and home products company, Melaleuca, had lost hundreds of customers, and asserting the Obama campaign list and liberal websites have misrepresented his company and political activism.

    He’s waged an aggressive response, making a series of appearances on the Fox News Channel in which he called for donations to Romney in protest of the list. He also spoke at a Heritage Foundation event in Washington this week. And he told POLITICO he intended to make additional donations to the pro-Romney super PAC each time something untruthful was published about him – a plan he said his wife predicted could yield “several hundred thousand dollars” more in contributions.

    The top lawyer for VanderSloot’s company has demanded corrections from media outlets writing about VanderSloot’s political activity. When one blogger emailed back, “I do not appreciate thinly veiled threats,” the lawyer responded, “We have been neither thin nor veiled. … Melaleuca is more than capable and willing to protect its reputation from false and defamatory statements as it sees fit.”

    Plus, VanderSloot launched a website where he defends himself against what he calls attacks from “extreme, far left blog sites.”

    Other mega-donors seem to have been caught off-guard by media attention and partisan attacks.

    Joe Ricketts, the billionaire founder of TD Ameritrade, was said to be “extremely upset” by the controversy that swirled around him after the New York Times reported he was considering spending $10 million on ads attacking Obama over his controversial former pastor.

    Read more:

  13. TyrenM says:

    Good Morning 3Chics! Happy bday to me 43 Yea! Greatful. After working to remove Walker next door, work begins on re-electing my President; My Senator (Amy K.); trying to get a D- Congressman (Keith Ellison tells me I might now be in his district. I’ll look it up.); retaking my state legislature and keeping hate and voter discrimination off my state constitution.
    Whew. Lots of work to do and a short time to do it in. Have a great day all.

    • Ametia says:

      Hi Tyren, my favorite, fellow Minnesotan! :-) PBO’s coming to Golden Valley tommorow. He’ll be touring the Honeywell Plant and attending a fundraiser lunch downtown. I’m looking into securing a pass to get in. Saw Rep Ellison on Full Court Press this morning. Love him. Yep; we’ve got our work cut out for us here in MN. The baggers are trying to go ater our voting rights here too; it’s INSANE.
      Stop in often, we’re happy to see you.

  14. dannie22 says:

    im tweeting yr posts

  15. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, May 31, 2012
    Hero Kicked Off Bus For Protecting Handicapped Girl
    Posted by Bon Tindle

    On the bus, Rich was shocked by how some of the younger middle school girls were treating a student with mental disabilities.
    Rich complained about the bullying to the bus driver, then to school officials, but says the adults took no action.
    Rich told Fox 35 about the mean middle school bullies: “They would be mean to her, tell her she couldn’t sit on certain spots on the bus. They were giving her food that they put in her mouth. I actually had to tell her to spit it out because she didn’t understand.”
    “When the school didn’t do anything, I told the girls, if the school didn’t do anything, I was going to do something.”
    However, that warning got Rich into trouble with school officials, who have now banned her from riding the bus.

    Clearly, this kind and protective soul is the real threat. The school has complained that only one side of the story is being told, but what a side to tell. If these facts line up, it’s hard to imagine what other side could explain how common assault is tolerated but threatening to stop it is punished by banishment.

    She did just what we’d want, in a perfect world. She stood up, she followed the channels, and when those channels failed to protect the innocent she made sure someone did. She was punished for doing the right thing, at an age when she is learning how to step out and be independent.

    Rich isn’t in nearly as much trouble as the girl she was protecting. If the bus driver isn’t trying to control the situation, that poor child is at the mercy of the others, now without a buffer to help.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:45 AM ET, 05/31/2012
    Why President Romney would not govern as a moderate
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    Abortion and birth control are back in the news — the latest reminder that hot button social issues will continue to be part of the presidential race. The House is taking up a bill that prohibits abortions driven by gender concerns, with a vote scheduled for today. Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood is unleashing ads targeting Mitt Romney on his acquiescence to House plans to cut off funding to that organization.

    This is a bit of a surprise. Why? Usually in political messaging, a lot of the battle isn’t over what to think — it’s what to think about. Barack Obama would love voters to think about Mitt Romney’s record in Massachusetts and flip-flops…really, the Obama campaign just wants people to think about Romney, and not just about Obama. Republicans want people to think about unemployment. Generally, you can tell from what the campaigns talk about exactly what topics they want to campaign on, and most of the time the two sides differ on this dramatically.

    That’s why it’s always fascinating when both sides want people to focus on the same thing. We’ve seen this with the House Republican budget, which Paul Ryan insisted on bringing to the floor despite the obvious fact that it was going nowhere — and which Democrats were also eager to talk about. Now, we have both sides wanting voters to focus on abortion and birth control.

    The House vote targets what Republicans clearly see as a winning wrinkle in the abortion wars: abortion for the purpose of sex selection. While for Planned Parenthood, the issue in their ads isn’t stated as abortion at all; in their words, it’s about “birth control and cancer screenings.” It’s also worth noting that in neither case is this actually the Romney or Obama campaigns acting, and it’s unclear whether they would approve of the focus adopted by their allies.

    Still, it’s striking that both sides seem to be inviting voters to focus on this area. More than anything, it’s a good reminder that we’re in an era of partisan campaigns that go beyond what just presidential candidates might want to run on. We’re not just electing a person, but more than anything we’re electing a party, which means among other things a set of interest groups. That means that the candidates can’t always control what issues they want to talk about. And so issues such as abortion, birth control, and gay marriage will continue to pop up — with unpredictable consequences for the presidential race.

    This also means that whoever takes office in January will be constrained into carrying out his party’s agenda on everything — social issues included. Which in turn means that anyone who thinks a President Romney would have the leeway to govern as a moderate is kidding himself

  17. Ametia says:

    12:10 PM: The President and The First Lady meet for lunch with Former President George W. Bush, Former First Lady Laura Bush, President George H.W. Bush, Former First Lady Barbara Bush and family members

    1:25 PM: The President and The First Lady welcome Former President George W. Bush and Former First Lady Laura Bush for the official unveiling of their portraits; The Vice President, Former President George H.W. Bush and Former First Lady Barbara Bush will also attend

  18. rikyrah says:

    FBI investigates suspect GOP donations in Ohio
    By Steve Benen – Thu May 31, 2012 10:37 AM EDT.

    It wasn’t too long ago when Ohio Republicans were rocked by systemic scandals, which led then-Gov. Bob Taft (R) to face criminal conviction and even sent then-Rep. Bob Ney (R) to prison.

    We haven’t seen controversies of this magnitude since, and the stench of corruption didn’t dissuade Ohio voters from giving the GOP big victories in 2010, but there’s a burgeoning scandal in the Buckeye State that’s causing some heartburn in Ohio Republican circles.

    At issue are questionable donations, first reported by Alec MacGillis, which went to Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel (R), who’s running for the U.S. Senate this year, and Rep. Jim Renacci (R), who’s in a competitive race of his own. The suspect contributions have already drawn the interest of federal law enforcement officials.

    The Toledo Blade argued today that Mandel, in particular, has some explaining to do.

    The most recent questionable — but unanswered — incident involves more than $100,000 in donations to the Mandel campaign from the owner and 16 employees of Canton-based direct marketer Suarez Corp. A Blade investigation last year revealed that at least some of the donors and their spouses gave the legal maximum amount of $20,000 total to Mr. Mandel and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci (R., Wadsworth).

    Owner Benjamin Suarez, a backer of Republican causes, says that the Mandel campaign solicited the donations and that his workers are well paid. But records suggest that at least some of the donors are of unusually modest means to contribute that much money to political campaigns. The FBI apparently agrees, and is investigating the donations.

    Though details of the FBI probe are not yet available, it is illegal for a company to reimburse employees for campaign contributions. Whether that happened in this case is unclear, but when workers of modest means, who do not have a history of writing large campaign checks, suddenly donate the maximum to their boss’ preferred candidates, it’s enough to raise some eyebrows.

    Mandel returned the money last week and acknowledged that he’s aware of the FBI investigation. He also struggled when asked by a local reporter about the suspect donations, as evidenced in the video posted above.

    Apparently, if the Republican writes thank-you notes, that clears up the controversy?


    In his original report, MacGillis chatted with some of the folks who made some of the dubious contributions.

  19. rikyrah says:

    The Missouri Senate Race: A Surge, a Wallet, a Question
    By Charles P. Pierce at 12:38PM

    Claire McCaskill of Missouri is not exactly my kind of Democrat. To keep it closer to home, she’s not exactly Harry Truman’s kind of Democrat, either. She’s one of the prime movers in Congress behind the notion of a Grand Bargain, and she’s a civility cop of the first rank. Back in 2009, for example, when the March Of The Loons was just gathering steam, McCaskill dropped something called the Committment To American Prosperity Act, which was yet another example of my theory that, when lawmakers decide to sell their side down the river, they adhere always to Humphrey Bogart’s admonition from The Maltese Falcon: “The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter.” McCaskill’s little legislative darling would have driven federal spending down from 24.7 percent of GDP to 20.6, a much deeper cut than was being proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. McCaskill also called for means-testing Social Security, which sent Reid right up the wall.

    (Not that it’s done her any good. The real crazy people have landed on her so hard that she recently needed increased security at her events.)

    All that being said, things may have become a little brighter for McCaskill this week. Public Policy Polling released numbers showing McCaskill in a virtual dead heat with all three of her prospective Republican opponents, and also released numbers showing that there isn’t enough room in the upcoming Republican primary to shine a flashlight between between the three of them. This internecine bloodletting undoubtedly has helped McCaskill’s numbers as well.

    The big noise is the rise of self-financed Republican cosmetics millionnaire John Brunner, who’s edged into second place behind Sarah Steelman, having picked up the endorsements of, among other groups, the John Deere Company PAC and the Missouri Soybean Association. (The candidates are still waiting to hear who will get the coveted endorsement from the Missouri Farm Bureau.) U.S. senators Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin have signed on with the campaign as well. Brunner’s primary political experience before this was as a supporter of Pat Buchanan’s presidential aspirations, so if the Republicans turn for home and decide to out-wingnut each other, Brunner’s got a running start, as well as a considerable financial advantage.

    Recently, as he’s begun to surge, Brunner has decided that, once he’s elected, he will deal only with those issues covered in the Constitution:

    “I’m going to tell my scheduling guy, ‘Here’s how we’re going to work it here: I’m going to have a pile of Constitutions on my desk, I’m going to have a can of yellow highlighters. Anybody who wants to have a meeting with me, you grab that yellow highlighter [and] mark it in the Constitution and we’ll have a meeting. If it’s not there, no meeting.'”

    Well, the Air Force is screwed, but I suspect there’s good news a-comin’ for the Northwest Territory.

    And how great is it that Brunner’s primary adviser is a guy named John Hancock? Please tell me he has to sign off on everything regarding the campaign.

    Read more:

  20. rikyrah says:

    May 31, 2012 10:59 AM

    Romney/zzzzz 2012
    By Ed Kilgore

    Perhaps I’m just sleep-deprived, but I’m not kidding, folks, I started reading Robert Costa’s National Review piece making the case for John Thune as Mitt Romney’s running-mate, and my eyelids drooped and my head nearly crashed right down onto the keyboard.

    It probably didn’t help that Costa’s case for Thune wasn’t exactly stirring: He’s “lanky and telegenic.” He’s “the son of a school-teacher and the grandson of a hardware store owner.” His state is sorta kinda near the Rust Belt battleground area. He’s a “devout Christian.” His wife isn’t entirely opposed to his going onto the ticket. He’s friends with Mitch McConnell. How much excitement can you stand?

    Some say Romney is so confident of victory that he’s looking for the “best qualified to be president” hopeful, which is what every nominee since Andrew Jackson has claimed he was looking for. Others say he’s terrified of the Palin precedent, and/or doesn’t want to make the Veepship a test of strength among the GOP’s various factions, and thus prefers someone as anodyne as possible. Either way, Thune, who probably does not leave an impression on his own bed when he arises in the morning, might fill the bill. But I’ll save reading the next profile of the man until a moment when I can use and afford a nap.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Scott Walker Doesn’t Like Him No Rules
    By Charles P. Pierce
    at 11:48AM

    Well, now, mercy, everyone’s getting into the act.

    Back in April, Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage its midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin, was invited by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives to come to Washington and discuss in detail the management style he’d brought to said subsidiary — specifically, whether or not he was pretty much selling off the state wholesale to his political financiers. Walker told the committee that he would never, ever engage in such seamy activities as using his office to reward his friends and punish his enemies because, golly whiz, what a thing to think about a person.

    Alas for Walker, that videotape subsequently emerged, in which he is shown telling his millionnaire backer Diane Hendricks that, using a “divide and conquer” strategy, he is working toward making Wisconsin a “completely red” state as regards union rights and collective bargaining. Now the Democratic members of the committee, who do not accept entirely the notion that you should say one thing to Congress and then another to cute lady sugar-daddy person, would like Walker to clarify his previous remarks. So, it is telling him, essentially, answer me these questions three, ‘ere the other side ye see….

    Do you dispute that you met with Diane Hendricks, one of your top donors, on January 18, 2011?

    Do you dispute that, in response to a question from Ms. Hendricks about whether Wisconsin could become “a completely red state,” you responded, “Oh, yeah,” and that your “first step” as Governor would be to “deal with collective bargaining for all public employee unions” in order to “divide and conquer”?

    In light of your answers to these questions, do you now wish to withdraw your sworn testimony before the Committee in which you asserted that you never “had a conversation with respect to your actions in Wisconsin and using them to punish members of the opposition party and their donor base”?

    See that last one? That part about “do you know wish to withdraw your sworn testimony”? That’s a big ‘un right there. That’s Congress-ese for “Would you like now to retract any part of the bullshit song you sang to us under oath there, Sparky?” Hard to see where this gets resolved before next Tuesday, and there’s enough fudge in Walker’s previous testimony to give the Republicans in the committee a chance to build him an alibi, but it’s a nice indication that Walker’s ingrained contempt for the rules is fully ready to go national, if needs be.

    For example, thanks to some good reporting by the Oshkosh Northwestern, we discover that Walker knew right from the moment he took office that what he was planning to do likely would initiate the process for his recall, so he simply never stopped running for governor. This rather belies his claim that his assault on public employees was dictated simply by the state’s dire fiscal problems, and it’s no great leap to use this as evidence that what he told the Congress about why he did what he did was, at the very least, disingenuous in the extreme.

    Whatever Walker might have told Congress, his financial supporters have heard him loud and clear. His campaign has raised an astonishing $5 million in less than a month — something just south of $200,000 a day, if you’re keeping score at home — to bring his overall total to $30 million. The Republican Governors Association has chipped in $3.9 million, and it’s also become clear that Walker is every bit the national conservative rock star that his outgunned opponent, Tom Barrett, has accused him of being:

    Read more:

  22. rikyrah says:

    from Charles Pierce:

    Mitt Romney Clinches Nomination

    Have you watched those lop-ears fall in line over the last month, since it’s been clear that I’ve cleared the deal for the mortgage on their minds and levied the lien on their souls? I mean, seriously, have you? Perry was out the other day defending me on Bain and all, and every verb had a subject and an object. Finally got the dosage right, I guess. And Gingrich? Geez, he was on TV just the other day acting like private equity was the best damn thing he’d heard of since the last time someone told him about that hot number that the Appropriations staff just hired. They’d all form a kick line at the Venetian if I asked them to, and I just might, because I sealed the deal last night in Texas, and they all know just as you all know that…

    I’m Mitt Romney, bitches, and I’m all you got left.

    So, on the night I sewed it up, I went and hung with Trump. So what? You got a problem with that? Here, let me lay a couple hundred thou’ on you and make that problem go away. You think it’s going to matter in a week? A month? Or, as we figure things in the campaign, 9000 commercials from now? Give me a freaking break. George F. Will is puzzled by why I’m hanging out with Trump? What do I “hope to gain”? Let me clear it up for you, George. Right now, I could go to California tomorrow, hang out with Charlie Manson at Corcoran for a few hours, and come away with the buck-and-a-half a week he makes folding sheets in the prison laundry. We could both carve X’s in our foreheads and call in the AP for a photo op. Watch this: “HELLLLLTER SKELLLLTER! SHE COMIN’ DOWN FAST!” You think it’s more than a one-day story, a bunch of people I wouldn’t hire to clean out the dressage barns mouthing off on TV about what I “hoped to gain” from associating with crazy-ass mass murderers? You keep worrying about LaRussa’s bullpen, or that 36-ounce Mizuno you’ve had stuck up your ass since the Carter Administration, and you let me worry about what I hope to gain from things. I remember guys like you from prep school, hanging back while guys like me did the real work of bullying the people who didn’t look like me. Back up on the roof rack, George. We’ll be in Ontario in no time…

  23. rikyrah says:

    The baseless Bain/Solyndra comparison
    By Steve Benen – Thu May 31, 2012 9:55 AM EDT.

    A couple of weeks ago, as the Obama campaign’s criticism of Mitt Romney’s controversial private-sector background intensified, the Republican campaign offered an underwhelming comparison. As Team Romney saw it, President Obama’s rescue of the American automotive industry was comparable to Bain Capital’s private equity practices.

    The comparison really didn’t make any sense, and soon faded away. This week, however, there’s a new comparison: Bain Capital is roughly equivalent to the administration’s investment in Solyndra.

    I can almost see the underlying point. Obama invested in green energy companies to improve American competitiveness, create jobs, and boost energy innovation, while Romney invested in companies to generate returns for investors. To the extent that both saw opportunities and made investments that carried risks, there’s a superficial similarity.

    But as Molly Redden explained, any serious analysis shows that the comparison quickly falls apart.

    First off, Romney allies typically explain away Bain’s failures as just the way capitalism works — sometimes, bad companies are swallowed by the market. Solyndra, whose solar technology was priced out of the market by cheaper Chinese solar panels, is a pretty classic example of this, and by citing its Adam Smithian demise in response to attacks on Bain, Romney allies have diminished their ability to dismiss Bain’s loser companies as just the natural cycle of capitalism.

    But the larger risk of this approach is that comparing any of Bain’s failures to Solyndra asks voters to examine private equity alongside public stimulus. The former is a game in which a tiny group of stakeholders set out to create as much value as possible for themselves: buying companies, often loading them up with debt they can’t bear, and extracting exorbitant fees for themselves before they reintroduce the company to the public and it either fails or succeeds. It’s essentially a no-risk racket…. Then there’s government stimulus, which is aimed at benefitting the public, and which the Obama administration has distributed with considerable success

    Bain and Solyndra, Redden added, “are really nothing alike.”


    That’s true, but notice that over the course of two days, the argument was nevertheless pushed by Romney, Karl Rove’s attack operation, George Will, Michael Barone, and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

    It’s almost as if Republicans all receive the same memo at the same time, telling them what to say in public.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    May 31, 2012 10:22 AM

    Clinton Betrays Clintonism
    By Ed Kilgore

    Looks like a lot of Republicans (and future Republicans) are taking their cues from Mitt Romney’s bizarre sub-message that Barack Obama has betrayed the legacy of Bill Clinton. Yesterday this was one of the main rationalizations used by former Rep. Artur Davis to justify his opportunistic move from hard-scrabble Alabama to the comfortable Virginia suburbs of DC, and from the Democratic to the Republican Party. And now today the Weekly Standard’s Jay Cost tries out the more complicated trick of arguing that in 2008 Obama destroyed the Clinton tradition which Democrats had never accepted in the first place.

    Here’s Jay’s one sentence summary of his hypothesis, which is apparently the subject of a book he’s published:

    [W]hat we have then is a history of the Democratic party being skeptical of Clinton, then pushing him so far to the left that he lost public opinion, then rebuking his vice president, and then his wife in the 2008 election.

    I’ll have to admire Jay Cost’s chutzpah in asserting that the party which nominated Clinton for president twice, nominated his vice president once, and then nominated a man in whose White House you cannot throw a rock without hitting one of Clinton’s former staffers (or his wife!) in fact never accepted Clinton at all. Moreover, like Artur Davis, Cost feels clairvoyant enough to assert that Clinton himself doesn’t actually support Obama, and in Cost’s case, didn’t support his own agenda, but was “forced” by the party that never accepted him to live a lie.

    Lord-a-mercy! I thought, having lived through the nineties and ‘oughts as a self-conscious supporter of the “Clinton legacy” in the Democratic Party, with reasonably good contacts at high levels in ClintonWorld, maybe I understood it. Turns out I was being duped all that time, as Bill Clinton sold out Bill Clinton.

    Enough. Suffice it to say all this revisionist history revolving around Clinton has the transparent purporse of projecting the Republican Party’s steady drift (and then, more recently, violent lurch) to the right in recent years onto the opposition party. It helps that the Democratic Party is sufficiently diverse to support all sorts of interpretations of what it means to be a Democrat. But at bottom, the Donkey Party hasn’t much changed recently, with the important exception of its growing acceptance of LGBT rights. The Obama administration, stuffed with Clintonites, is championing the tax rates, the approach to health care and the environment, the fiscal and monetary policies (including a cautious openness to big changes in Medicare), and the international policies, of the more conservative elements of the Clinton administration. Bill Clinton seems to “get” this. It’s about time Republicans stopped presuming to speak for him and his legacy.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Cardinal Dolan, Brazen Liar?
    There are all sorts of arguments to be made about how the Catholic hierarchy handles priests accused of sexual abuse of minors. My view – call me crazy – is that people who sexually abuse minors should be reported directly to the police and fired. Canon law should not require paying for the retirement of child rapists, or taking care of them for the rest of their lives. Cardinal Dolan – the man leading the crusade against contraception in universal healthcare and the civil rights of gays and lesbians – disagrees. He provided payments to encourage priests to accept defrocking in order to accelerate the process under canon law. I’m with the victims on this:

    “In what other occupation, especially one working with families and operating schools and youth programs, is an employee given a cash bonus for raping and sexually assaulting children?”

    But that’s the morality of current canon law. Cardinal Dolan’s not responsible for existing canon law. But the real issue here is not what Dolan did, but that it now seems clear he lied about it:

    Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York authorized payments of as much as $20,000 to sexually abusive priests as an incentive for them to agree to dismissal from the priesthood when he was the archbishop of Milwaukee. Questioned at the time about the news that one particularly notorious pedophile cleric had been given a “payoff” to leave the priesthood, Cardinal Dolan, then the archbishop, responded that such an inference was “false, preposterous and unjust.”

    False, preposterous and unjust” is quite a statement. New evidence from the records, however, show Dolan was at the very meeting the payoffs were agreed to (just as the current Pope was at a meeting that allowed a child rapist to go on to assault and abuse more children). Dolan may recall that lying violates one of the ten commandments (which, for some mystifying reason did not include “Thou Shalt Not Have Non-Procreative Sex”). Maybe there’s some exculpatory explanation for what appears to be, on its face, a bald-faced and aggressive lie. So far:

    Cardinal Dolan, who is president of the national bishops’ conference and fast becoming the nation’s most high-profile Roman Catholic cleric, did not respond to several requests for comment.
    And so we wait for Dolan’s confession. I doubt the victims of rape will provide absolution.

    • Ametia says:

      Cardinal Dolan is too busy making guest appearnaces on tee vee bashing the Obama administration and threatening lawsuits about attacks on religion. If only Dolan was this passionate about threatening lawsuits against all those church pedophiles….

  26. rikyrah says:

    Thu May 31, 2012 at 07:45 AM PDT.

    Federal appeals court rules Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional
    by Jed Lewison .

    An appeals court ruled Thursday that a law that denies a host of federal benefits to gay married couples is unconstitutional.

    The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston said the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, discriminates against gay couples.

    The law was passed in 1996 at a time when it appeared Hawaii would legalize gay marriage. Since then, many states have instituted their own bans on gay marriage, while eight states have approved it, led by Massachusetts in 2004.

    The appeals court agreed with a lower court judge who ruled in 2010 that the law is unconstitutional because it interferes with the right of a state to define marriage and denies married gay couples federal benefits given to heterosexual married couples, including the ability to file joint tax returns.

    The court put a stay on its own ruling, anticipating that its ruling would be appealed and that the Supreme Court will ultimately make a final decision. Because the Obama administration will not defend the law—which President Obama believes is unconstitutional—the Republican-controlled House will mount its own defense of the law.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Wed May 30, 2012 at 01:15 PM PDT.

    Mitt Romney’s new jobs plan: Fire 145,000 Americans
    by Jed Lewison

    Mitt Romney on Tuesday morning, telling the people of Craig, Colorado that he wants to put them back to work by firing 145,000 Americans for the simple crime of working in the public sector:

    That stimulus he put in place, it didn’t help private sector jobs, it helped preserve government jobs, and the one place we should have cut back was on government jobs. We have a 145,000 more government workers under this president. Let’s send them home and put you back to work

    Mitt Romney’s 145,000 claim isn’t accurate, but even if it were, it’s amazing that Romney believes firing tens of thousands of Americans would be good for the economy. The way Romney puts it, firing public sector workers would create jobs in the private sector, but that’s nonsense. The economy isn’t zero-sum game: You don’t need to fire someone to create a job. In fact, every time someone loses their job, no matter whether they are in the private or public sector, the economy as a whole takes a hit.
    But Romney’s crazy economic theory is not even grounded in reality—under Obama, public sector employment has dropped, while private sector employment has grown. Obama signed the stimulus in February of 2009. Since then, public sector employment has dropped by 608,000. Private sector employment, meanwhile, has increased by 760,000. Even if you just look at federal employment (which is but a small fraction of the overall public sector workforce), only 26,000 jobs have been added, a slower pace of growth than in the private sector.

    So when Mitt Romney says he wants to see an economy where public sector workers are fired while private sector workers are hired, that’s exactly what he’s gotten ever since the stimulus was signed into law. Sure, he’d be happier if even more public sector workers had been fired, but then we’d be even worse off. The only way things could be better today than they are is if we’d had an even bigger stimulus than we did. If that’s what Mitt Romney were pushing for, perhaps his criticism of President Obama would be worth listening to. But it’s not—he’s saying the exact opposite.


  28. rikyrah says:

    30, 2012 5:11 PM

    GOPers Bob and Weave on Post-ObamaCare

    By Ed Kilgore

    It’s the total CW that a Supreme Court decision invalidating the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, in toto or in terms of the key individual mandate provision, would be an election-year disaster for Barack Obama. While I agree such a decision would be a historic setback for progressives (both in terms of its immediate effect and of the possible implications for judicial precedents supporting other progressive accomplishments), I’ve never thought it was at all clear it would benefit the GOP electorally this year.

    Most obviously, it would remove a motive for some swing voters to oppose Obama on grounds of this or that real or imagined shortcoming of “ObamaCare,” while creating a new motive for supporting him if he immediately proposes (as he would) a partial or near-total replacement. Conversely, Republicans could no longer remain vague about their own health reform “ideas,” and would be under intense pressure to do something about ObamaCare’s most popular provisions, of which Americans will become acutely aware in the massive media coverage that would follow an adverse decision by the Court.

    We’ve seen the fears and conflicts among Republicans about a post-ObamaCare 2012 election cycle in the recent maneuverings over what they would do about three specific “popular provisions:” one that has already taken effect (allowing children up to the age of 26 to remain on their parents’ health insurance policies); one that is in the process of being implemented (the filling-in of the Medicare Part D “doughtnut hole” affecting middle-class families); and one that is immensely popular if often misunderstood, the prohibition of denial of health insurance coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

    Conservative activists are generaly united in a “just say no” position that either endorses the health care status quo ante as more than adequate, or that promotes ancient GOP health policy pet rocks like interstate insurance sales, increased incentives for medical savings accounts, and “tort reform.” But many Republican members of Congress prefer a quick “fix” to neutralize a post-ObamaCare backlash.

    This latter tendency has reemerged most recently among Senate Republicans, as reported by TPM’s Sahil Kapur:

    Despite the blowback from conservatives, who want nothing less than to wipe out the law in its entirety, top Senate Republicans are signaling that they’re behind the strategy of resurrecting some aspects of the Affordable Care Act.
    Sen. Roy Blunt (MO), vice chair of the Senate GOP Conference, offered a ringing defense of the “Obamacare” under-26 provision, and said he wouldn’t oppose ideas he previously supported simply because President Obama adopted them….
    Sen. Lamar Alexander (TN), asked by TPM if he believes his party should back the pre-existing conditions and under-26 laws, didn’t endorse specifics but affirmed that his party ought to have a plan ready. “Well, I think we need to be prepared,” he said. “And we will be prepared.”

    The problem, of course, is that the children-under-26 provision won’t make health insurance companies happy, the “doughtnut hole” fix costs real money; and the biggie, a prohibition on pre-existing condition exclusions, could boost premiums through the roof and require strenuous federal regulation of insurers—not exactly what Republicans want since they are trying to undo existing state regulation of insurers.

    Roy Blunt provides a glimpse of GOP “thinking” on this last issue:

    Blunt floated the idea of high-risk pools to cover pre-existing conditions — an idea that presents its own adverse-selection quandary — and discussed the broader systemic problem in remarkably similar terms as Obama and his allies have done in their defense of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.
    “You know, you do run a risk when you decide you’re not going to have insurance,” Blunt said. “And a lot of those — that odd, that occasional young person who believes they’re not going to need health care, doesn’t get it, and then they have a terrible accident or they have a unique illness that most young people don’t have. These high risk pools give them somewhere to go that is somewhere close to normal insurance.”

    Anybody familiar with the high-risk polls currently operated by the states for people losing employer-based insurance—typically crappy insurance at extremely high rates—isn’t going to buy Blunt’s trial balloon for that “solution.” And it’s an indication of the deeper problem facing a party and an ideological movement that not only are hostile to health reform, but are fundamentally committed to a “vision” of health care that is a throwback to the 1950s.

  29. rikyrah says:

    When Fox drops the pretense
    By Steve Benen – Thu May 31, 2012 9:15 AM EDT.

    Even by Fox News standards, yesterday’s edition of “Fox & Friends” was jaw-dropping. The show produced and aired its own four-minute attack ad targeting President Obama, brazenly shifting Fox from the role of an ostensible news organization to that of a Republican super PAC.

    The Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik said Fox’s attack ad was reminiscent of “1930s propaganda,” adding, As the guy who challenged the Obama administration two years when it tried to deny Fox News access to interviews and other opportunities offered to the media on the grounds that Fox was not a legitimate news operation … even I am shocked by how blatantly Fox is throwing off any pretense of being a journalistic entity…. Any news organization that puts up this kind of video is rotten to the core.”

    Bill Shine, the executive vice president for programming at Fox News, eventually blamed “an associate producer” for the incident. It was a curious response that leads to some follow-up questions:

    * Did this associate producer stage a bloodless coup, commandeering Fox’s control room against the wishes of the senior producers and hosts? And if so, why did the in-house attack ad air twice?

    * If this associate producer was to blame, why did Gretchen Carlson introduce the attack ad by telling viewers, “We decided to take a look back at the president’s first term to see if it lived up to hope and change”? And why did Fox Nation tout the piece as a “must-see Fox video”?

    * If this associate producer did something wildly inappropriate that embarrassed the network and removed all doubt about Fox serving as an appendage to the Republican Party, why did “Fox & Friends” lavish praise on him after the attack ad aired?

    Whatever the answer to these questions, Fox News’ executives apparently weren’t pleased with yesterday’s developments — by mid-day, the “Fox & Friends” attack ad was removed from the show’s website as well as Fox Nation, the network’s aggregation site.

  30. Ametia says:

    In Wisconsin, it’s neck and neck. A new poll shows Scott Walker and Tom Barrett tied 49-49 ahead of the June 5 recall.

    The latest jobs report makes it easy to see why: Walker has failed Wisconsin.

    In April, 6,200 private sector jobs were lost. Wisconsin has the worst job growth rate in the country.

    Walker is using billionaire-backed ads to claim otherwise. They’re unleashing a deluge of patently false commercials on TV and radio.
    Five days until we can be rid of him. We can win if we match him on the air and meet thousands of voters face-to-face. Independents back Tom Barrett, 49-44. All it’ll take to win is continuing to push the truth.

  31. Ametia says:

    Michael Tomasky on the Audacity of GOP Dopes on Health Care
    by Michael Tomasky May 31, 2012 4:45 AM EDT

    In three weeks or so, the Supreme Court will rule on health care. Republicans have been discussing what they might do in the event that poor, beleaguered John Roberts manages to withstand that vicious assault of the liberals and to lead a majority that strikes down the individual mandate. This one is a classic, folks. After spending three years lying their eyes out about the bill and tearing this country apart over it, it now turns out that they may well want to keep several of its provisions. And of course they want to keep the easy and fun stuff and get rid of all that bad-bad-bad stuff, but what they don’t understand—or more likely do understand but refuse to acknowledge—is that the good doesn’t work without the “bad.” It’s breathtaking and ignorant—whether breathtakingly ignorant or ignorantly breathtaking I’m not quite sure. Call it the audacity of dopes.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    May 31, 2012 9:16 AM

    Blunt Instrument
    By Ed Kilgore

    As you probably know, the fine administration of Florida Gov. Rick Scott is making no bones about its determination to take every step it can get away with to “purge” the voting rolls of “suspected” noncitizens (a.k.a., suspected Democrats) before this November’s election—preferably so very near to the election that it will be too late to stop or correct.Rolling Stone’s Ari Berman has a timely overview of the blunt instrument of blank disqualifications and other franchise-shrinking steps Team Scott is using without a whole lot in the way of guile or apology:

    The latest purge comes on the heels of a trio of new voting restrictions passed by Florida Republicans last year, disenfranchising 100,000 previously eligible ex-felons who’d been granted the right to vote under GOP Governor Charlie Crist in 2008; shutting down non-partisan voter registration drives; and cutting back on early voting….
    Florida Republicans have taken voter suppression to a brazen extreme. After the 2010 election, Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, instructed Secretary of State Ken Browning to compile a massive database of alleged “non-citizen” voters. Browning resigned in February rather than implement Scott’s plan, saying “we were not confident enough about the information for this secretary to hang his hat on it.”
    But in early May his successor, Ken Detzner, a former beer-industry lobbyist, announced a list of 182,000 suspected non-citizens to be removed from the voting rolls, along with 50,000 apparently dead voters. (Seven thousand alleged felons had already been scrubbed from the rolls in the first four months of 2012). On May 8, the state mailed out a first batch of 2,600 letters to Florida residents informing them, “you are not a United States citizen; however you are registered to vote.” If the recipients do not reply within thirty days and affirm their U.S. citizenship, they will be dropped from the voter rolls.
    The first batch of names was riddled with inaccuracies. For example, as the progressive blog Think Progress noted, “an excess of 20 percent of the voters flagged as ‘non-citizens’ in Miami-Dade are, in fact, citizens. And the actual number may be much higher.” If this ratio holds for the rest of the names on the non-citizens list, more than 35,000 eligible voters could be disenfranchised.

    Add 35,000 to the votes removed from the ballot by the earlier disenfranchisement efforts, and project it to a very close election in a state Republicans believe they must win to take back the White House, and it could be a pretty big deal. But what’s really maddening is how blase Republicans have become about disenfranchisement: voting isn’t being treated as a fundamental right, but as a selectively protected privilege that some categories of Americans are repeatedly forced to prove they deserve. Perhaps this attitude comes from the “constitutonal conservative” belief that government as Calvin Coolidge envisioned it is a divine institution that voters should not have the power to modify. Perhaps it has been influenced by the Randian view of poor people as looters who really shouldn’t be allowed to “vote themselves welfare” in the first place. But it’s there, it’s more blatant than ever, and it could have a big impact on what happens this November.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney’s Ads: Still Wrong on the Stimulus

    I’ve been on leave writing a book about the stimulus, so I’ve let others judge the Pants-on-Fire ads and Four-Pinocchio attacks and Solyndra-related nonsense that Republicans have been peddling about the stimulus. It’s certainly created jobs for fact-checkers. But now that I’m back, I suppose it’s my duty to weigh in on Mitt Romney’s new stimulus-bashing ad–apparently part of a new stimulus-bashing campaign–because it’s not just a rehash of the same old bogus charges. It’s added a brand new bogus charge that perfectly captures the up-is-down stimulus debate.

    Most of the ad is typical schadenfreude about Solyndra, along with three other stimulus-funded clean-energy companies that have run into problems. For the umpteenth time: Some of these companies will fail. That’s capitalism. That’s lending. That’s life. As one Obama aide told me: Some students who get Pell grants are going to end up drunks on the street. I’ve written about this before, and I’ll write about it again, but so far there have been fewer Solyndra-type failures than Congress expected. The Energy Department’s controversial loan program has billions in excess reserves. The stimulus did not just promote one company or one technology or one pathway towards a clean-energy economy; it invested in all kinds of alternatives to fossil fuels, so they could battle it out in the marketplace. And for what it’s worth, the Bush Administration was gung-ho about the Solyndra loan, too.

    (PHOTOS: Chad Ress – America Recovered)

    It was a line near the end of Romney’s ad that caught my attention: “The Inspector General said contracts were steered to ‘friends and family.’” That sounded like news. I’ve spent two years in stimulus-world, and I had no idea an inspector general had said that. I asked the Romney campaign for documentation, and it produced a Newsweek article asserting that Energy Department inspector general Gregory Friedman “has testified that contracts have been steered to ‘friends and family.’”

    Except that Newsweek article was an excerpt from the book “Throw Them All Out,” written by Peter Schweizer, a right-winger who has served as an adviser to Sarah Palin’s PAC, edited one of Andrew Breitbart’s websites, and written a slew of books portraying liberals as pond scum. Not exactly a disinterested source. And it turns out that the inspector general never testified that stimulus contracts were steered to friends and family. He said his office was investigating whether stimulus contracts were steered to friends and family. So far, it hasn’t confirmed that any were.

    That’s the real news. The Department of Energy has handled $37 billion in stimulus money, more than its annual budget. Overall, the federal government has distributed over $800 billion in stimulus money. Where are the sweetheart deals? Where are the actual outrages that are provoking outrage? During the debate over the stimulus, experts warned that as much as 5% to 7% of the stimulus could be lost to fraud. But by the end of 2011, independent investigators had documented only $7.2 million in fraud, about 0.001%. As I’ve written, reasonable people can disagree whether the stimulus was a good thing, but it’s definitely been a well-managed thing.

    Read more:

  34. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 09:01 AM ET, 05/31/2012
    The Morning Plum:
    Why the drive to recall Scott Walker is justified
    By Greg Sargent

    My pick for read of the morning is E.J. Dionne’s explanation of what’s really at stake in the Wisconsin recall fight, and why the drive to recall Scott Walker represents a legitimate response to broader aspects of the national conservative movement:

    Walker is being challenged not because he pursued conservative policies but because Wisconsin has become the most glaring example of a new and genuinely alarming approach to politics on the right. It seeks to use incumbency to alter the rules and tilt the legal and electoral playing field decisively toward the interests of those in power…
    The attack on unions was carried out in the name of saving state and local government money. But there is a big difference between, on the one hand, bargaining hard with the unions and demanding more reasonable pension agreements, and, on the other, trying to undercut the labor movement altogether…
    The paradox of Wisconsin is that, although recalling a governor would be unusual, Barrett is the candidate of regular order, of consensual politics, Wisconsin-style. Wisconsin has had successful conservative governors before, Republican Tommy Thompson prominent among them. They enacted conservative policies without turning the state upside down. They sought to win over their opponents rather than to inhibit their capacity to oppose…
    This recall should not have had to happen. But its root cause was not the orneriness of Walker’s opponents but a polarizing brand of conservative politics that most Americans, including many conservatives, have good reason to reject.

    I’ve been having an extended email argument with a pro-Walker voter in Wisconsin who is extolling Walker’s reforms while also lamenting how “polarized” politics has become. But is there any doubt that Walker is the primary cause of the state’s polarization, and, as E.J. notes, that he represents a larger break from consensual politics that is symptomatic of the GOP’s larger lurch to the right?

    Again: Unions agreed to the fiscal concessions Walker demanded, and in return, asked that Walker not take away their bargaining rights in an effort to destroy them completely. Walker refused, even though majorities of Wisconsinites opposed eliminating those rights. In other words, unions offered a compromise — and by the way, leaders like Mike Bloomberg see public unions as sometime partners in solving the fiscal problems of municipalities — but Walker insisted on their total capitulation. That’s what triggered the original protests, and the chaos that followed. Walker himself has since admitted he never campaigned on the radical idea of rolling back bargaining rights, and it has now emerged that Walker saw the rollback as only a “first step” in a “divide and conquer” strategy against labor. Though the recall battle is no longer about bargaining rights, the history is unambigous about who is mostly to blame for what has happened and how this all got started.

    I’ve said a number of times that I’m skeptical of the chances of recalling Walker, and I still haven’t revised that assessment. But there’s no question that the recall effort was a justifiable response to Walker’s overreach, and that pursuing it — even if it comes up short — was the right thing to do. The alternative — not responding to Walker’s conduct in a way

  35. rikyrah says:

    Woman Who Couldn’t Be Intimidated by Citigroup Wins $31 Million

    By Bob Ivry – May 30, 2012 11:01 PM CT

    Sherry Hunt never expected to be a senior manager at a Wall Street bank. She was a country girl, raised in rural Michigan by a dad who taught her to fish and a mom who showed her how to find wild mushrooms. She listened to Marty Robbins and Buck Owens on the radio and came to believe that God has a bigger plan, that everything happens for a reason.

    She got married at 16 and didn’t go to college. After she had her first child at 17, she needed a job. A friend helped her find one in 1975, processing home loans at a small bank in Alaska. Over the next 30 years, Hunt moved up the ladder to mortgage-banking positions in Indiana, Minnesota and Missouri, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its July issue.

    On her days off, when she wasn’t fishing with her husband, Jonathan, she rode her horse, Cody, in Wild West shows. She sometimes dressed up as the legendary cowgirl Annie Oakley, firing blanks from a vintage rifle to entertain an audience. She liked the mortgage business, liked that she was helping people buy houses.

    In November 2004, Hunt, now 55, joined Citigroup (C) Inc. as a vice president in the mortgage unit. It looked like a great career move. The housing market was booming, and the New York- based bank, the sixth-largest lender in the U.S. at the time, was responsible for 3.5 percent of all home loans. Hunt supervised 65 mortgage underwriters at CitiMortgage Inc.’s sprawling headquarters in O’Fallon, Missouri, 45 minutes west of St. Louis.

    Avoiding Fraud

    Hunt’s team was responsible for protecting Citigroup from fraud and bad investments. She and her colleagues inspected loans Citi wanted to buy from outside brokers and lenders to see whether they met the bank’s standards. The mortgages had to have properly signed paperwork, verifiable borrower income and realistic appraisals.

    Citi would vouch for the quality of these loans when it sold them to investors or approved them for government mortgage insurance.

    Investor demand was so strong for mortgages packaged into securities that Citigroup couldn’t process them fast enough. The Citi stamp of approval told investors that the bank would stand behind the mortgages if borrowers quit paying.

    At the mortgage-processing factory in O’Fallon, Hunt was working on an assembly line that helped inflate a housing bubble whose implosion would shake the world. The O’Fallon mortgage machinery was moving too fast to check every loan, Hunt says.

    Phony Appraisals

    By 2006, the bank was buying mortgages from outside lenders with doctored tax forms, phony appraisals and missing signatures, she says. It was Hunt’s job to identify these defects, and she did, in regular reports to her bosses.

    Executives buried her findings, Hunt says, before, during and after the financial crisis, and even into 2012.

  36. rikyrah says:

    VIDEO: Rep. Joe Walsh’s Macaca Moment

    “I am scared. I really am scared, Patrick, that we’re past the point — we have so many people now dependent on government, so many people want handouts. The Democratic Party promises groups of people everything. They want the Hispanic vote, they want Hispanics to be dependent on government, just like they got African Americans dependent on government. That’s their game. Jesse Jackson would be out of work if they weren’t dependent on government. There’d be no work for him.’

  37. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s Own Story Defines His American Dream

    by Scott Horsley
    NPR is examining what the American dream means to our culture, our economy and our politics. On Morning Edition, we’ll explore what Republicans think of the American dream. In this installment, the view from President Obama.

    The American dream — the idea that in this country anyone can rise from humble beginnings and succeed — is deeply woven into our national psyche. It’s a promise that draws immigrants to our shores. And it’s a staple on the campaign trail.

    On a campaign-style bus tour last fall, rolling through cotton fields and tobacco farms, President Obama stopped for a cheeseburger and sweet tea in the town of Reidsville, N.C. Shaking hands with a crowd outside the restaurant, Obama paused to offer some fatherly advice to college student Desmond McCowan.

    “Basically, he told me, be sure I graduated. Stay in school and be sure I graduated,” McCowan said. “It’s one thing when your parents tell you, but when the president tells you … I’m touched. I’m touched right now.”

    “Study hard,” said the president, whose own mother used to wake him up early to do just that. The idea that hard work and education pays off is one that Obama often conveys, in words and through his own biography.

    From the moment he burst on the national scene at the 2004 Democratic convention, Obama has served as a living example of the American dream — proof that in this country anyone can succeed, even a skinny black kid with a funny name.

    “I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story. That I owe a debt to all of those who came before me,” he said. “And that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.”

  38. rikyrah says:

    found this at POU

    • rikyrah says:


      When I have time I will focus.

      Always remember that for the last 8 years the DOJ civil rights and voting departments have been decimated. The Obama administration has been trying to rebuild same, however, it has been facing fire from states coupled with corporate interest ALEC intent of making sure not everyone has a right to vote.

      A part of this mindset is also about a means of creating a way in which an a Balkanization of America takes place with the impending demographic changes. For example see your senate populated by white males while the demographics are changing. There is an interest in maintaining that power structure. When people sat on their hands in 2010, the signaled to the race was more important that economics. The vote in 2010 provided a small window for the final kill of voter suppression to ensure nothing like an Obama election happens again and in the same short protect the interest of the ruling class.

      Eric Holder has been fighting for section 5 of the voters right act since he came into power and you can expect to see the case in the Supreme Court. See Shelby County v. Holder http://lawprofessors.typepad.c
      The D.C. Circuit ruled today in LaRoque v. Holder that a plaintiff’s challenge to the preclearance provision of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act was moot after the Attorney General withdrew its objection to a referendum making local elections nonpartisan in Kinston, North Carolina, a covered jurisdiction. etc —-

      A brief synopsis:

      If you read the constitution has written, it does not gurantee individual right to vote rather takes on legislative/executive requirements and leaves manner time and place for election of these entities to the state (some instances Fed can affix date). Article VI, section 3, stipulates that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” Its directed at the officials but read to imply the people. This notion was affirmed in Bush v. Gore where the court stated that the individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the president of the US. In essence, you get your right to vote from the 10th Amendment (all rights not delegated in the US by the constitution meaning not given to federal government is reserved to the states respectively or the people).

      We all work on the notion that voting is fundamental to a vibrant democracy. But it really isn’t until we have a voting rights amendment in the constitution.

      Always work off that there are two levels: Federal v. State. Federal has the federal constitution and every state has its own constitution, however their constitution cannot fall below the standards of the federal government. Most states determine their requirements for the election, those requirements then are utilized for national elections. i.e. residency requirement, IDs, gerrymandering etc.

      However, he federal constitution it via amendment states via 15, 19, 24 that it individuals cannot be prohibited from voting based on race, sex, 18 or older, poll tax etc. In short, if the state decides to change it cannot discriminate as noted by the Amendment. However, states were doing same which led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

      Holder’s power for regulation with regards to voting comes from specifically from section 5. This allows him to use the federal regulatory powers to review states/counties and determine whether they are in conformity with the voting rights act.… [read for more resources]

      In essence some states are controlled under section 5 of the voting rights acts based on past history. See… for a list. There is a formula utilized in determining whether a state/county will fall under a Section 5 administrative review. Some states have been fighting the formula and the overall section as I have indicated. Section 5 is not permanent and does not apply to every state. It is narrowly tailored per Supreme Court ruling. As the DOJ notes when initially implemented the Application of this formula resulted in the following states becoming, in their entirety, “covered jurisdictions”: Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Virginia. It has now changed for some, it is not statitic. Intend is to be able to find voter suppression based on formula which includes census.

      The specific administrative review we speak of us is in respect to specific outlined categories…. So for example Supreme Court sanctioned state voting rule changes will not be subject to DOJ review but federal court adopted changes would be if it reflects the policy of the district that falls under section 5.
      The remedy for the AG or private citizen is to bring an injuction action at the US district Court against the use of a change affecting voting that has not been reviewed under Section 5. This is what Holder has been doing since he got there and he has been alerting people.

      His scope of administrative review is limited. The people are going have to step up to protect hard fought rights our grandfathers fought for. A lot of people have taking things for granted. This whole voting suppression has been the game for a while only people were not paying attention.

      That is why he has been going to our communities to wake up. It is not a joke anymore.

  39. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! Time to get to work on Mitten’s MA record!


  40. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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