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

Happy FRY-day, Everyone! Roll out those “Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer”

Wiki:  Nathaniel Adams Coles (March 17, 1919 – February 15, 1965), known professionally as Nat King Cole, was an American musician who first came to prominence as a leading jazz pianist. He owes most of his popular musical fame to his soft baritone voice, which he used to perform in big band and jazz genres. He was one of the first black Americans to host a television variety show, and has maintained worldwide popularity since his death.

Cole’s first mainstream vocal hit was his 1943 recording of one of his compositions, “Straighten Up and Fly Right“, based on a black folk tale that his father had used as a theme for a sermon. Johnny Mercer invited him to record it for his fledgling Capitol Records label. It sold over 500,000 copies, proving that folk-based material could appeal to a wide audience. Although Cole would never be considered a rocker, the song can be seen as anticipating the first rock and roll records. Indeed, Bo Diddley, who performed similar transformations of folk material, counted Cole as an influence.

In 1946, the Cole trio paid to have their own 15-minute radio program on the air. It was called, “King Cole Trio Time.” It became the first radio program sponsored by a black performing artist. During those years, the trio recorded many “transcription” recordings, which were recording made in the radio studio for the broadcast. Later they were used for commercial records.

Beginning in the late 1940s, Cole began recording and performing pop-oriented material for mainstream audiences, in which he was often accompanied by a string orchestra. His stature as a popular icon was cemented during this period by hits such as “The Christmas Song” (Cole recorded that tune four times: on June 14, 1946, as a pure Trio recording, on August 19, 1946, with an added string section, on August 24, 1953, and in 1961 for the double album The Nat King Cole Story; this final version, recorded in stereo, is the one most often heard today), “Nature Boy” (1948), “Mona Lisa” (1950), “Too Young” (the #1 song in 1951),[6] and his signature tune “Unforgettable” (1951) (Gainer 1). While this shift to pop music led some jazz critics and fans to accuse Cole of selling out, he never totally abandoned his jazz roots; as late as 1956, for instance, he recorded an all-jazz album After Midnight. Cole had one of his last big hits in 1963, two years before his death, with the classic “Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer”, which reached #6 on the Pop chart.

…And “That Sunday, That Summer”

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47 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Friday Open Thread | “Summertime” Week!

  1. Ametia says:

    CNN & Erin Burnett; no wonder your ratings are in the toilet. Democratic Schism? Bill Clinton is all for business and PBO is not? GTFOH *watching CNN-FOX LITE*

  2. rikyrah says:


    George Zimmerman’s bond has been revoked in the Trayvon Martin shooting case.

  3. rikyrah says:

    The Justice Department ordered Florida’s elections division to halt a systematic effort to find and purge the state’s voter rolls of noncitizen voters. Florida’s effort appears to violate both the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which protects minorities, and the 1993 National Voter Registration Act – which governs voter purges – T. Christian Herren Jr., the Justice Department’s lead civil rights lawyer, wrote in a detailed two-page letter sent late Thursday night. State officials said they were reviewing the letter. But they indicated they might fight DOJ over its interpretation of federal law and expressed frustration that President Barack Obama’s administration has stonewalled the state’s noncitizen voter hunt for nine months.

    This part is of interest to me is this:

    expressed frustration that President Barack Obama’s administration has stonewalled the state’s noncitizen voter hunt for nine months.

    How come we’re just hearing of the DOJ’s blocking them for the last nine months?

  4. rikyrah says:

    Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 07:07 AM PDT.

    Wisconsin John Doe investigation launched after Scott Walker’s office stonewalled initial inquiry

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s story about the John Doe investigation that has led to criminal charges against three of his former aides, an appointee, and a major donor and has just hit 13 people granted immunity and counting is that sure, it surrounds him, but he himself is not only innocent of all wrongdoing, but actually initiated the investigation. It turns out that, like so many of Walker’s stories about his actions, is not quite the way it happened:

    On May 5, 2010, Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf filed a petition with court officials asking if his office could initiate a secret investigation into what happened with $11,000 in donations intended for Operation Freedom, an annual event honoring veterans.
    By making it a secret John Doe investigation, Landgraf wrote that prosecutors might get better cooperation from Walker’s office, which had been “unwilling or unable” to turn over records and information needed in the investigation. He said he would need to subpoena county records and officials.

    “It may be the County Executive’s Office is reluctant to provide information to investigators due to a fear of political embarrassment,” Landgraf wrote, noting that Walker was then running for governor.

    Walker’s recall campaign spokeswoman disputes this, saying Walker really really really tried to get things investigated. Meanwhile, the 13th person just granted immunity was Walker’s spokeswoman during his time as Milwaukee County executive, who joins Walker’s current non-campaign spokesman in the immunity club.
    Wisconsin voters are faced with a choice. They can believe Walker when he says he’s innocent and will remain untouched by the investigation, going on faith because he won’t release emails from the secret internet system his aides set up in the office, or they can connect the dots between the criminal charges against three Walker aides, an appointee, and a donor and the 13 people granted immunity, including current and former Walker spokespeople. And even if Walker himself is never a direct target of the investigation, is he running the kind of clean government Wisconsin wants to see?

  5. Ametia says:


    George Zimmerman hearing
    A Florida judge holds a hearing on a motion for protective order regarding discovery in the case of George Zimmerman.

  6. Ametia says:


  7. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, May 31, 2012
    PAC+ on Romney: “We intend to sink him”
    Here is an ad sponsored by PAC+ that will be airing all over Arizona in both English and Spanish.

    Please click on the link up above and learn more about PAC+.

    Here’s what staffer Kirk Clay says about them in an article titled The New Majority is the future, and the future has arrived.

    Today, PAC+, a new national network of leaders focused on democratizing money and politics to give voice to America’s New Majority, will launch a television advertising campaign targeted at the Latino electorate. This is PAC+’s first ad in Arizona, the center of the right wing’s attack on Latinos, and the fastest growing sector of the New American Majority. The ad will be the first Latino-focused ad by an independent group this cycle…

    “Romney has acknowledged that ‘he’s sunk’ if he can’t make inroads with Latinos. We intend to sink him, and to get the rest of the progressive community to join us,” said Steve Phillips, Chairman of PAC+…

    “PAC+ will not allow Romney’s history of and continued disrespect of contributions of Latinos to our nation to be erased like an Etch a Sketch by his handlers, especially vis-à-vis Latino voters. Romney’s words reflect his values and Latino voters must know what he truly thinks about the community and with whom he associates himself,” said Phillips. “PAC+’s ad will remind voters of this important fact.”

    “It’s very telling that Romney’s Spanish-language ad is nowhere to be found on his website. PAC+ reminds Romney that he can’t have it both ways — excoriating Latinos on one hand, and acting like he’s welcoming them with the other,” said Martinez Ortega. “There is a saying in Spanish, ‘Dime con quien andas, y te dire quien eres’ (“Tell me with whom you associate, and I’ll tell you who you are”) and Romney’s key advisors, allies, and supporters comprise some of the most anti-Latino voices in Arizona and in the country.”

  8. rikyrah says:

    From the comments at smartypants:

    Update: I 100% endorse this comment from Pyro Joe:

    Honestly? The job’s report doesn’t irritate me nearly as much as the reaction to it. I am so goddamn tired of our side going into a full hand ringing, depressive meltdown the moment a single thing goes even slightly pear shaped.

    We’ve done it over healthcare, taxes, the wars, the stimulus, the environment, the economy. We’ve done it over EVERYTHING. And you know what good it does? NOTHING! It doesn’t do a single goddamn thing to fix things we don’t like. Armchair quarterbacking and planning your flight to Mexico/Brazil/South Korea/Wherever isn’t going to fix a single thing.

    And on that note, do you know what makes Barack Obama such a great President? He doesn’t do this crap. He doesn’t give up, he doesn’t wring his hands and collapse into a fetal position under the Oval Office Desk. He’s a level headed man who, as I type this, is probably meeting with economic advisers and campaign staff, working out strategies and floating around ideas to win this election and improve this economy.

    So what can YOU do, Mr. or Mrs Frets-a-lot? How about this: stop it. It isn’t constructive, it doesn’t have any tangible benefit, and it probably actually harms the causes you care so much about in the long run by depressing people who might actually support you. Volunteer, GOTV, canvas, phone bank, fact check, post pictures of baby animals. I don’t care what it is you do as long as its constructive.

    This election is far from over, so stop acting like it is and pull your ass into high gear. We’ve got a country to save.

  9. rikyrah says:

    ‘Hurl some acid’
    By Steve Benen – Fri Jun 1, 2012 10:19 AM EDT.

    I’m hard pressed to imagine what possesses someone to even think of language like this.

    A spokesman for Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.) is facing criticism after advocating violence against female Democratic senators in a Facebook post.

    Jay Townsend, the official campaign spokesman for the freshman representative, went on a vicious online rant on Saturday, which he began by taunting a constituent who voiced criticism about an earlier post on gas prices. “Listen to Tom. What a little bee he has in his bonnet. Buzz Buzz,” Townsend wrote.

    “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.”

    Townsend is not some careless rookie; he’s a long-time Republican communications aide. On his bio page, he boasts of having “worked in more than 300 different campaigns in more than 25 different states” over the last three decades.

    To be sure, if Townsend wants to make an argument about pay inequities and lawmakers’ offices, he’s certainly encouraged to do so. But I’d love to know what made him think it was a good idea to publish a thought about hurling acid at women senators he disagrees with.

    Indeed, as Annie-Rose Strasser explained, “Acid throwing is not a joke. It is a serious and horrific form of gender-based violence. Seventy two percent of the time, victims of acid throwing are women. In fact, an attack occurred in Pakistan just four days ago– two women and one two year-old child were injured.”

    Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.) is now facing pressure to fire Townsend. As of this morning, he remains on the Republican’s campaign staff and the congresswoman has not commented on her spokesperson’s online tirade.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 05:23 PM ET, 05/31/2012
    Democrats are lousy storytellers
    By Greg Sargent

    Yesterday’s Marquette poll showing Scott Walker up by seven points also had another striking finding: Half of Wisconsinites think Walker would do better at creating jobs, while only 43 percent think that of Tom Barrett.

    Heather Digby Parton — otherwise known as “Digby” — comments:

    Even though Walker is being recalled mostly because of a fight with workers and the state is dead-last in job creation, 50% of the voters think he’ll be better at job creation than the other guy? Nobody in the country has done worse!
    This strikes me as yet another success of conservative talking points. I think many people have simply absorbed the oft-repeated notion that Republicans are the advocates for “job-creators” with their low taxes and deregulation and even in the face of clear evidence otherwise they can’t really see how anything else would work. And you can’t really blame them all that much. Nobody’s really telling them another story, at least not one that would make them think that Democrats would be better advocates for the “job creators.” So they default to the conventional wisdom or plain old tribalism.

    On the national level, you also see this dynamic. Some polls have shown that more Americans think Mitt Romney would do a better job on the economy than Obama would, basically accepting Romney’s claims to an economic magic touch at face value. That’s tempered a bit by the fact that voters seem to understand that Dems would do more to advance the interests of the middle class than Republicans would, and that the priorities of GOP policies are skewed towards the interests of the wealthy. But it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that many voters seem instinctively inclined to accept conservative arguments about job creation, and in a very general sense, this really has been an epic communications failure by Democrats.

  11. rikyrah says:

    The Austerity Agenda

    The boom, not the slump, is the right time for austerity.” So declared John Maynard Keynes 75 years ago, and he was right. Even if you have a long-run deficit problem — and who doesn’t? — slashing spending while the economy is deeply depressed is a self-defeating strategy, because it just deepens the depression.

    So why is Britain doing exactly what it shouldn’t? Unlike the governments of, say, Spain or California, the British government can borrow freely, at historically low interest rates. So why is that government sharply reducing investment and eliminating hundreds of thousands of public-sector jobs, rather than waiting until the economy is stronger?

    Over the past few days, I’ve posed that question to a number of supporters of the government of Prime Minister David Cameron, sometimes in private, sometimes on TV. And all these conversations followed the same arc: They began with a bad metaphor and ended with the revelation of ulterior motives.

    The bad metaphor — which you’ve surely heard many times — equates the debt problems of a national economy with the debt problems of an individual family. A family that has run up too much debt, the story goes, must tighten its belt. So if Britain, as a whole, has run up too much debt — which it has, although it’s mostly private rather than public debt — shouldn’t it do the same? What’s wrong with this comparison?

    The answer is that an economy is not like an indebted family. Our debt is mostly money we owe to each other; even more important, our income mostly comes from selling things to each other. Your spending is my income, and my spending is your income.

    So what happens if everyone simultaneously slashes spending in an attempt to pay down debt? The answer is that everyone’s income falls — my income falls because you’re spending less, and your income falls because I’m spending less. And, as our incomes plunge, our debt problem gets worse, not better.


    So the austerity drive in Britain isn’t really about debt and deficits at all; it’s about using deficit panic as an excuse to dismantle social programs. And this is, of course, exactly the same thing that has been happening in America.
    In fairness to Britain’s conservatives, they aren’t quite as crude as their American counterparts. They don’t rail against the evils of deficits in one breath, then demand huge tax cuts for the wealthy in the next (although the Cameron government has, in fact, significantly cut the top tax rate). And, in general, they seem less determined than America’s right to aid the rich and punish the poor. Still, the direction of policy is the same — and so is the fundamental insincerity of the calls for austerity.

  12. Ametia says:


  13. Ametia says:

    Elections Officials Throughout Florida Refuse To Use Rick Scott’s Inaccurate Lists To Purge Voters
    By Josh Israel on Jun 1, 2012 at 11:00 am

    On Wednesday, Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher (D) told ThinkProgress her office has rejected the error-ridden list of alleged non-citizen voters sent to county officials by Gov. Rick Scott’s (R-FL) administration. Now, as the Department of Justice has told Florida to stop its illegal purge, other county elections officials across Florida have confirmed their counties will not comply with the state’s effort:

    Sarasota County: Joyce Soltis, administrative assistant to Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent (R) told ThinkProgress that the county received 14 names of from the state as sure-fire non-citizens. At least two to three of them have already proved their citizenship to the county and one was removed after indicating that he or she was not an eligible voter. Soltis said that while the remaining 10 or 11 voters have not responded, due to the significant inaccuracies on the list, the office has decided “We are not purging anyone,” from that group.

    – Volusia County: Supervisor of Elections Ann McFall (R) told ThinkProgress that that county received 15 names from the state. One was not even sent a letter, because the voter is currently serving in the military and another has already proven citizenship. But she said they have no plans to remove any of the remaining 13 voters unless her office receives clear proof. “To say the least, the list is very suspect,” she explained.

  14. rikyrah says:

    The Wrong Résumé

    Lost in the exhaust of mendacity left in Las Vegas this week, after Donald Trump brought his birther fantasies to town on behalf of Mitt Romney, was a curious statement by the man who has now cinched the Republican nomination for president.

    On Tuesday, the same day Trump proved yet again that money and truth, like money and taste, are seldom twined, Romney talked about amending the Constitution to require the president to have business experience. He spoke approvingly of a notion from a store owner who wanted to make anyone who does not have at least three years of business background ineligible to lead the country.

    “He said, ‘I’d like to have a provision in the Constitution that in addition to the age of the president and the citizenship of the president and the birth place of the president being set by the Constitution, I’d like it also to say that the president has to spend at least three years working in business before he could become president of the United States,’” said Romney, cheerfully summarizing this rewrite of the founders’ governing blueprint.

    Well, there goes Teddy Roosevelt, the writer, rancher and police commissioner, not to mention his distant cousin Franklin Roosevelt, the assistant naval secretary and politician, or Dwight Eisenhower, the career soldier. Ike’s résumé, which includes defeating the world’s most concentrated form of evil in Nazi Germany, would not be not enough to qualify him for the presidency.

    Romney has made business experience the main reason to elect him. Without his business past or his projections of business future, there is no there there. But history shows that time in the money trade is more often than not a prelude to a disastrous presidency. The less experience in business, the better the president.

    In a scholarly ranking of great presidents, a 2009 survey conducted by C-Span,6 of the 10 best leaders lacked sufficient business experience to be president by Romney’s rumination. This list includes Ronald Reagan, the actor, union activist and corporate spokesman, and John F. Kennedy, the naval officer, writer and politician. There is one failed businessman on the list of great presidents, the haberdasher Harry S. Truman.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:59 PM ET, 05/16/2012
    How Mitt Romney gets away with his lying
    By Greg Sargent

    Yesterday, Mitt Romney gave a big speech in which he accused Obama of lighting a “prairie fire of debt.” It’s a good line, and it has received widespread media coverage.

    Romney’s speech has already been dissected by Jonathan Chait and Steve Benen. They note that it’s entirely at odds with conventional understanding of how deficits work, and utterly disconnected from context, rendering it almost unquantifiably misleading.

    But I wanted to make another point. If you scan through all the media attention Romney’s speech received, you are hard-pressed to find any news accounts that tell readers the following rather relevant points:

    1) Nonpartisan experts believe Romney’s plans would increase the deficit far more than Obama’s would.

    2) George W. Bush’s policies arguably are more responsible for increasing the deficit than Obama’s are.

    Oh, sure, many of the news accounts contain the Obama campaign’s response to Romney’s speech; the Obama campaign put out a widely-reprinted statement arguing that Romney’s plans would increase the deficit and that he’d return to policies that created it in the first place.

    But this shouldn’t be a matter of partisan opinion. On the first point, independent experts think an actual set of facts exists that can be used to determine what the impact of Romney’s policies on the deficit would be. And according to those experts, based on what we know now, Romney’s policies would explode the deficit far more than Obama’s would.

    The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has taken a close look at this question. It has determined that relative to current policy — that is, if you keep the Bush tax cuts in place, as Romney wants to do — Romney’s tax cutting plans would increase the deficit by nearly $5 trillion over 10 years. That’s on top of keeping the Bush tax cuts for the rich. Romney has promised to close various loopholes to pay for his tax cuts, but he hasn’t specified which ones. Until he does, the Tax Policy Center concludes, his plan would cost $5 trillion — which would be added, yes, to the deficit.

    By contrast, Obama’s plans would not increase the deficit by anything close to that amount. Relative to current policy, the Tax Policy Center has found, Obama’s plan would reduce the deficit by approximately $2 trillion over the next decade. Now, under Obama, the deficit would still increase. That’s because current policy means we’re forgoing the $4.5 trillion in revenues we’d gain if we let all the Bush tax cuts expire. But neither candidate is going to do that. Obama, however, would end the Bush tax cuts for the rich and bring in revenues through a variety of other tax increases. Bottom line: relative to current policy, Obama’s plan would reduce the deficit by bringing in $180 billion or more in revenues a year, or approximately $2 trillion over 10 years; Romeny’s plan would increase the deficit by nearly $500 billion a year — $5 trillion over ten years.

    The Tax Policy Center’s Roberton Williams summed it up perfectly in a quote to me:

    “The bottom line is that whatever baseline you use, until Romney makes good on his promise to pay for his tax cuts, he would increase the deficit far more than Obama would.”
    On the second point, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has determined that the policies put in place under Bush are the main driver of the deficits that are projected over the next decade.

    The two bullet points above could not be more central to the debate over the debt that Romney’s big speech set in motion yesterday. Yet the vast majority of news consumers who now know that Romney has accused Obama of lighting a “prairie fire of debt” that threatens to engulf our children and our future haven’t been told about either of them.

  16. Ametia says:

    DWD Secretary Reggie Newson Orders Bad Job Numbers Hidden Until After Election (Wisconsin)

    A source in the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has revealed the DWD Secretary Reggie Newson has ordered staff not to discuss new and disappointing data on jobs in Wisconsin until after the June 5th election. Reggie Newson’s assistant, Laurel Steinmeyer, said that Newson was “traveling to Milwaukee” and was unavailable for comment, and would not comment herself. Asked directly for a comment, DWD spokesman John Dipko refused to answer and said he would follow up “later today.” He has not followed up, nor have any members of the DWD Media Relations Department returned any calls asking for comment.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 08:38 AM ET, 06/01/2012
    The Morning Plum: If you vote out Obama, it will make you feel better
    By Greg Sargent

    Today’s monthly jobs numbers were significantly worse than expected:

    Nonfarm payroll employment changed little in May (+69,000), and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 8.2 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today…
    The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for March was revised from +154,000 to +143,000, and the change for April was revised from +115,000 to +77,000.
    In this context, take a look at the new ad that was released this morning by Mitt Romney’s campaign. It is perhaps the clearest sign yet of how Team Romney views this race:

    The ad claims Romney will focus on the economy, the deficit, energy and trade with China, before adding:

    “But there’s something more than legislation or new policy. It’s the feeling we’ll have that our country’s back, back on the right track. That’s what will be different about a Romney presidency.”
    This may be the most explicit version we’ve seen of the Romney camp’s intended message: if you’re angry or frustrated by your current circumstances, or about how things are going, vote the guy in charge out, and it will make you feel better. The game plan: to get swing voters to cast their vote almost entirely as an expression of frustration and disillusionment with the economic status quo, and by extension with Obama himself, without thinking too hard about the true nature of the alternative Romney is offering.

    Or, as Steve Kornacki put it recently: “If you don’t think the economy’s in good shape, don’t ask questions — just vote the guy in charge out.”

    With jobs numbers like today’s, it just may work.

    • Ametia says:

      The disapponted, impatient, whiny voters played this game in 2010, and got a majority of GOPBAGGERS in congress and in their states GOVERNORS. ARE THEY ANY BETTER OFF? Vote PBO out and feel better about yourselves, PLEASE do it. And then who are you going to blame for your WOES?

  18. rikyrah says:

    May 31, 2012
    Bill Clinton is off to Wisconsin
    It could make a difference.

    I’ve written very little on the Wisconsin rebellions and subsequent recall battle, the reason having to do almost entirely with my immeasurable disgust with average Wisconsites. What the hell were they thinking when they voted in Republican Scott Walker to begin with? “Why, we didn’t know he was a monstrous perfidy and wholly owned instrument of sinister special interests when we did that,” they answer–although by 2010 it wasn’t exactly a state secret that virtually every Republican pol was a monstrous perfidy and wholly owned instrument of sinister special interests.

    That Walker entered office and thereupon instantly demonstrated what a sniveling worm he in fact was, was hardly surprising. Wisconsites quite literally got what they asked for. Shocking.

    But their shocking opacity hasn’t ended there. Not by a long shot. No, despite blockbuster revelation after blockbuster revelation, splattered all over their local and our national news, of Walker’s exceptionally disgraceful unsuitability for the state’s highest office, he’s done no worse than run about even with Tom Barrett, and generally ahead. This is not only incomprehensible; it’s inexcusable.

    Perhaps they’ll redeem themselves next week. If not, they’ll forever stand–or rather crawl–as politics’ poster boy for that swinish admixture of both democratic gullibility and unpardonable apathy.

    • Ametia says:

      All of this. Now the whiny titty babies are screaming for PBO to come to WI. *looking@uEDSCHULTZ* for one. Ed you told folks not to vote if they didn’t get their way in 2010., you know tht 99ers and said you wouldn’t vote either. Did you vote Ed?

      Still mad at this MOFO for telling folks not to vote. Guess what some of the WI dems didnt’ vote, let’s be honest, and the result is that cock-eyed puppet Scott Walker.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Not Working For Anyone
    By Charles P. Pierce at 9:45AM

    At the moment, the president is having the worst morning of his presidency. The Blog’s First Law Of Economics — Fck The Deficit. People Got No Jobs. People Got No Money. — has smacked him right upside the chops. The May jobs numbers are altogether unspinnable. The economy produced 69,000 new jobs or, if you need a handy comparison, 3000 fewer new jobs than there were people who, on average, bestirred themselves to watch the Kansas City Chiefs last season, and the Chiefs were 7-9. Unemployment ticked up to 8.2 percent and, most significantly, there was an increase of 300,000 in the number of in the number of the long-term unemployed, which adds up to a level of despair and hopelessness for which there is no moral metric. I would note that an additional 13,000 jobs were lost in the private sector which, of course, don’t count as far as many people in our political class are concerned because the salaries paid to public employees are paid out in money cooties that aren’t as clean and sparkly as the money that sits in, say, Tagg Romney’s trust fund.

    And still — still! –the elite political consensus in this country is leaning perilously in the direction of austerity — or, as putative Democratic analyst Ed Rendell put it on Morning Joe today, “making the tough choices.” — at a time when 300,000 people of all ages have been thrown out of work and have failed to find any in longer than a year. And, next month, as an added bonus for being part of the greatest nation there absolutely ever was, about 70,000 of the long-term unemployed are going have their benefits run out sooner than they expected, bringing this year’s total up to nearly half-a-million. We have 300,000 long-term unemployed who could be rebuilding bridges, or serving coffee to those who are. We have 300,000 long-term unemployed who could be repairing roads, or driving vans full of people who do. We have 300,000 long-term unemployed who, all evidence indicates, their government largely has abandoned, and about whom their country’s corporate landlords could care even less. Perhaps this isn’t the best time in history for the president to be boasting regularly about how much federal spending he’s cut.

    He cannot win re-election on the merits if he’s mixing pale middle-class nostrums with deficit-hawk snake oil. The nation is in crisis now. It’s not in as deep a crisis as it was when he came into office, when we were shedding 800,000 jobs a month, but the unemployment level we have now is not sustainable in a viable political democracy. The media will be no help. This morning, as the crows came to sit upon the Capitol, I heard one commentator after another talk about how the jobs figures were depressed because the corporate class in this country was “concerned” about, or “uncertain of,” the situation in Europe. This is all my balls. They’re still hiring people in Malaysia, and in China, and everywhere else that people will work for 40 cents a day and no bathroom breaks. They’re not thinking about Greece when they do that. They’re not hiring people in this country because, frankly, and I know their tender fee-fees will be injured by this, the average American corporate CEO has the same relationship to patriotism as John Edwards had to his marriage vows. But he cannot run on any of this, either, not credibly, anyway. He lost that opportunity a couple of years ago. This morning, it’s hard to see a way forward for him on this, except to argue that the ditch was deeper than he thought it was, which is, let’s face it, an argument for dullards.

    The nation is in crisis now, and The Deficit is not it. The nation is in crisis now because an irresponsible and unaccountable money power ruined the economy, and the political system was unwilling or incapable of either fully repairing the damage, or fully holding to account the people who caused it. Half-measures were the order of the day, and too many of them were based on the mostly unreasonable assumption that American corporations are in any way patriotic, and on the entirely unreasonable assumption that the American government today responds to all of its citizens, and not just to the ones who write the checks. We are, most of us, just one bad turn away from being part of the long-term unemployed. We are suckers, we are. We’re playing in a rigged game.

    Read more:

  20. rikyrah says:

    The road not taken
    By Steve Benen – Fri Jun 1, 2012 9:35 AM EDT

    .About a year ago, the job market looked a lot like it does now — after a strong winter, the economy stumbled badly in May and job growth stalled. Once the Republicans’ debt-ceiling crisis was resolved, President Obama shifted gears, refocused his agenda, and unveiled the American Jobs Act.

    It seems like ages ago, but it was just last September when the president delivered an address to a joint session of Congress, laying out a detailed plan to boost job creation. It’s easy to forget, but it was a credible, serious plan — the AJA would have prevented thousands of layoffs for teachers, cops, and firefighters; invested heavily in infrastructure; and cut taxes intended to spur hiring.

    Independent analysis concluded the plan would have a significant and positive effect. From an AP report in September:

    A tentative thumbs-up. That was the assessment Thursday night from economists who offered mainly positive reviews of President Barack Obama’s $450 billion plan to stimulate job creation. […]
    Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, estimated that the president’s plan would boost economic growth by 2 percentage points, add 2 million jobs and reduce unemployment by a full percentage point next year compared with existing law.

    Macroeconomic Advisers wasn’t quite as optimistic, but its analysis projected that the White House plan “would give a significant boost to GDP and employment over the near-term.” The firm would expect to see the proposal create at least 1.3 million jobs.

    Despite public clamoring for action on jobs, congressional Republicans reflexively killed the American Jobs Act, saying it was unnecessary. The House wouldn’t bring it up for a vote, and a Republican filibuster killed it in the Senate. For GOP policymakers, this was a time when Washington should stop investing in job creation and start focusing on austerity — lower the deficit, take capital out of the economy, and everything would work out fine.

    As panic sets in after this morning’s brutal jobs report, take a moment to consider a hypothetical: what would the economy look like today if Congress had followed Obama’s lead, responded to public-opinion polls, and passed the American Jobs Act? In 2012, do you think the nation could use those 1.3 million jobs or not?

    Are we better off now as a result of Republican obstructionism and intransigence, or would we have been better off if popular and effective job-creation measures had been approved?

  21. rikyrah says:

    Romney sees silly WH conspiracy
    By Steve Benen – Thu May 31, 2012 4:38 PM EDT.

    Before Mitt Romney took credit for obnoxious hecklers, he quietly shuttled campaign reporters to a press conference outside Solyndra’s California headquarters. This apparently made activists on the right giddy — Team Romney not only orchestrated hecklers, they also talked about a company that was one of many that benefited from federal loan guarantees.

    If we judge presidential campaign tactics and strategies by the standards of far-right 11 year olds at recess, this was awesome.

    Back here in Grown-Up Land, however, there are a couple of curious angles to today’s stunt. For one thing, Romney apparently kept the Solyndra press conference a secret because of paranoid fears about White House sabotage

    We knew, if word got out, that Solyndra would do everything in their power, and the Obama administration would do everything in their power, to stop us from having this news conference, “an unnamed adviser told reporters, per CNN.

    Reporters raised the question of how this devious plot to derail the event would work given that the freedom to hold a press conference in public is a fairly basic right.

    “Well, he’s only the president of the United States,” the adviser replied…. Romney alluded to similar concerns personally in his press conference.

    “I think there are people who don’t want to see this event occur, don’t want to have questions asked about this particular investment,” Romney told reporters when asked about the secrecy behind the event, according to the New York Times.

    As a rule, putting aside policies and any personal opinions, I tend to at least consider Romney’s operation to be competent and well organized. But for these guys to seriously believe the White House would sabotage a Romney press conference is deeply strange, and more than a little paranoid.

    Are we to believe Romney and his team would function this way if elected?

    What’s more, Romney’s conspiracy theories aside, there’s a more substantive issue to also keep in mind: the Republican is apparently desperate to politicize failed loan guarantees, but he has the exact same kind of troubles in his own record.


    Greg Sargent reports today on Karl Rove’s attack operation, American Crossroads, running Solyndra-related ads, without much concern for how this issue might make its preferred candidate look.

    The Crossroads video … cites the Massachusetts company Evergreen Solar as an example of a company that received taxpayer money before declaring bankruptcy or suffering “serious financial issues” — which the video derides as a “risky investment strategy.” Romney picked up that attack line today, appearing in front of a shuttered Solyndra outlet to bash Obama.

    But in 2002, three weeks into Governor Mitt Romney’s term, Evergreen Solar received $2.5 million from the Romney administration for a “major expansion and to cover operating losses as it tried to become profitable,” according to a February article in Politico. The investment was part of a broader program in which the Romney administration gave millions in subsidies to multiple other companies, Politico reported.

    Evergreen ultimately filed for bankruptcy last year, making this case very similar to Solyndra


  22. rikyrah says:

    Without GOP Austerity, Economy Would Be Recovering At Pace Of ‘Reagan Recovery’
    By Travis Waldron on Mar 5, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Ignoring the warnings of economists and clear evidence in Europe that austerity would only hold back an economic recovery, Republicans in Washington have pushed for deep spending cuts and other austerity measures. One side effect of those spending cuts is that state and local governments, already facing budget crunches because of the slow economy, have been forced to make even deeper reductions to their own budgets. Hundreds of thousands of public sector employees — teachers, police officers, and firefighters included — have lost their jobs as a result of those cuts.

    The economy is now slowly recovering, enough that Republicans are left just criticizing the pace of the recovery, not its existence. But without the GOP-backed austerity measures and the job losses they’ve caused, the recovery would be moving at the speed of the Reagan recovery of the 1980s, according to an analysis from economist Paul Krugman:

    In fact, if it weren’t for this destructive fiscal austerity, our unemployment rate would almost certainly be lower now than it was at a comparable stage of the “Morning in America” recovery during the Reagan era. […]

    If government employment under Mr. Obama had grown at Reagan-era rates, 1.3 million more Americans would be working as schoolteachers, firefighters, police officers, etc., than are currently employed in such jobs.

    And once you take the effects of public spending on private employment into account, a rough estimate is that the unemployment rate would be 1.5 percentage points lower than it is, or below 7 percent — significantly better than the Reagan economy at this stage.

    At this point in the Reagan recovery, Krugman notes, government purchases rose 11.6 percent; they’re down 2.6 percent under Obama. During the Reagan recovery, government employment rose 3.1 percent; under Obama, it is down 2.7 percent. Under Obama, government spending rose 2.6 percent during the first two-and-a-half years of the recovery, compared to a 10.2 percent rise under Reagan.

    Despite those numbers, Republicans continue to blame “out of control spending” and a growing federal government for holding back the economy, holding Reagan’s recovery up as an example of the success of the party’s policies. As Krugman’s analysis shows, however, Reagan’s recovery wasn’t constrained by the austerity measures that are now barreling Europe toward a second recession and preventing the U.S. economy from growing at a faster pace.

  23. Ametia says:

    Clarence Thomas and Yale begin to repair relationship
    By Robert Barnes, Published: May 31

    t would hardly seem newsworthy that a Supreme Court justice was going to be the keynote speaker at a gathering of alumni of his elite law school.

    Except when the justice is Clarence Thomas, and the elite law school is Yale.

    “Strained” would not begin to describe the relationship between the New Haven, Conn., school and Thomas, Class of 1974. For years, the 63-year-old justice has avoided his alma mater, writing that it was a mistake for him to have attended the school and declining to have his portrait hung in its halls, as is the case with other notable graduates.

    But Thomas returned to the school in December, teaching a class with a liberal law professor and speaking with members of the Federalist Society and the Black Law Students Association.

  24. rikyrah says:

    May 31, 2012 05:00 PM
    John Stossel Admits His Fox Poverty Investigation Video “Just a TV Stunt”

    By karoli

    As Heather wrote earlier this week, John Stossel did an hour-long special on poverty to prove that our social safety nets are just encouraging slackers. In Stossel-like fashion, he went to a food line and surveyed people waiting for food assistance to see if they owned refrigerators, cell phones and TVs.

    Evidently in Stossel-land, you’re not truly poor unless you’re eating off the sidewalk with no roof over your head, no telephone, no refrigerator, and especially no car, which is an exceptionally cynical view to take. Without a car and without a phone, there will be no jobs. Without a refrigerator, there can be no food. Televisions are cheap.

    Poverty should not be defined by electronic device ownership, but Stossel intimates that somehow it’s bad and wrong for someone who is standing in line at a food bank to own a cell phone or a car. Anyone with half a brain watching this special has to conclude that what Stossel is really doing is simply trying to reinforce the right wing trope that people of color are lazy moochers who will suck whatever resources they can from the government. To anyone actually familiar with the challenges of poverty, Stossel’s report strikes all the wrong notes about what does and does not define poverty.

    Which is, apparently, what John Stossel intended. During his appearance with Billo Tuesday night, Stossel admitted the whole report was just a TV stunt.

    O’REILLY: What did you learn about poverty that surprised you in this whole big thing?

    STOSSEL: Nothing. It’s just a TV stunt. I’d done the research.

    So, folks living in poverty, how do you feel about John Stossel using a bunch of one-line interviews for a “TV stunt?” How do you feel about being shamed for having tools that are essential to communicate, to try and lift yourselves out of poverty?

    Here’s what annoys me most about this whole “report” of John Stossel’s. It focuses on material items as a measure of poverty. Lives can’t be measured on the basis of what people have. Why not ask those people how many family members they’ve lost to street crime? Ask them what opportunities they believe exist for better jobs. Ask them about why their neighborhood schools lack the same educational quality and opportunity as the schools on the other side of town. Those factors are far larger measures of poverty than whether someone has a DVD player or a cell phone.

    But then, as Stossel admits, it’s all a gimmick to push the idea that we could all prosper if we’d just let the oligarchs have most of the wealth in this country. A contemptible but wholly predictable premise for Fox News to pimp.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Politico’s “Vetting” Flop

    By David Weigel

    | Posted Thursday, May 31, 2012, at 4:06 PM ET

    GQ, Poynter, and every other media organization that employs an English-speaker has ripped apart Politico’s lead story today — a Mike Allen/Jim VandeHei stunner about Republicans’ certitude that their guy is getting tougher treatment than Barack Obama. Politico’s media scribe Dylan Byers has a good run-down of the controversy. Problem: He closes it out by trying to explain where Politico may have been coming from.

    VandeHei and Allen cite four different stories — two in the Times, two in the Post — and in each case their central preoccupation is with which page the story appears on in the print edition. A Times story about Ann Romney’s horse-riding days appears “on the front page of its Sunday edition,” while a Times story about new revelations of Obama’s pot-smoking days appears as “a brief on A15.” The pot-smoking story “landed on page A6” of the Washington Post, while Horowitz’s story about Romney’s bullying was “a front-pager.”

    1) Who, in the news cycles of 2012, cares what page an article appears on? Campaigns care if the Post or the Times covers a story. They shoot out e-mails informing reporters that the Post or the Times covered said story. These e-mails rarely make reference of what page the stories appeared on because reporters are going to read them online. (A Romney e-mail today sends me, twice, to the excellent Washington Free Beacon, which is online only.)

    2) If we’re playing the page number game, the idea that the Times (focus on them for now) buried its “vetting” stories about Obama can’t stand up to scrutiny. You can’y compare Obama 2012 to Romney 2012, because Obama’s already been his party’s nominee and won an election. Go back to Obama’s first run. In April 2007, nearly a year before he became a campaign issue, the Times published a 2,593 word Jodi Kantor story (with addtional reporting from Kenya!) about Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his relationship to Barack Obama. The story appeared on A1. On May 11, 2008, when Obama had largely locked up the nomination but still had to fend off Hillary Clinton in tough states, the Times published a 5,024 word story titled “Pragmatic Politics, Forged on the South Side,” which delved into Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dorhn — “Hyde Park’s fringes,” and “unrepentant members of the radical Weather Underground that bombed the United States Capitol and the Pentagon to protest the Vietnam War.” This also appeared on A1.

    3) The David Maraniss story about Obama’s pot-smoking days adds to a fact that was already known about the president when he ran in 2007. Horowitz’s story was an original scoop, based on interviews with Romney associates who hadn’t talked before. Also: One is about the illicit use of a drug, while the other is about bullying a kid with a gender-bending haircut.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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