Serendipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread | JAZZ Week


Happy Monday, Everyone! Enjoy some smooth jazz from Sade.

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84 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread | JAZZ Week

  1. Ametia says:

    As you can see, the president has been busy giving interviews to local reporters in key states today.

  2. Ametia says:

    President Barack Obama participates in an interview with Don Ward, KKTV, Colorado Springs, Colo., in the Cabinet Room of the White House, June 11, 2012.


  3. Ametia says:

    Michael Cogdill , Greenville, SC Has One On One With US President


  4. Ametia says:

    Kristen Remington Interviews President Obama- Nevada


  5. Ametia says:

    Tom Wills from Jacksonville, FL interviews Obama-one-one in DC-
    Channel 4 news team spends Monday at White House


  6. Ametia says:

    President Obama tells WDBJ7’s Hollani Davis that he hasn’t forgotten Southside Virginia
    Davis traveled to the White House to interview the Commander in Chief on Monday morning.


  7. Ametia says:

    One-on-One: President Obama on Wisconsin Politics- Matt Smith interview with PBO


  8. Ametia says:

    Romney Campaign Doubles Down: Fewer Teachers, Fewer Firefighters, Fewer Police Officers

  9. Ametia says:

    Does Barack Obama Need a Friend Like Bill Clinton?
    by Robert Shrum Jun 11, 2012 1:17 PM EDT

    A series of unhelpful comments by the former president has unnerved Democrats and emboldened Republicans. Robert Shrum says Bill Clinton should give advice—but not in the media

    From Fox News came the exultant headline: “Once shunned Clinton emerges as GOP’s election year ally.” They weren’t talking about Hillary—and for once, the network of the reactionary right was right.

    In a rapid-fire burst of attention-grabbing hyperactivity, Bill Clinton last week defended Mitt Romney’s business career as “sterling” and renounced the Obama campaign’s attack on Romney’s vampire capitalism. The former president added that with his record as governor, Romney “crosses the qualification threshold”—just as Obama’s latest advertising was focusing on indicting Mitt for making Massachusetts 47th among states in job creation. Clinton also fretted that with so many people thinking Obama has “failed,” the campaign’s imperative should not be to go after Romney, but to go positive and “explain what [the president] did” on the economy. Bill then topped off this remarkable excursion into the 2012 spotlight by appearing to endorse the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, transgressing one of the central dividing lines of the campaign

  10. rikyrah says:

    ‘Ignorance and Sophistry 101’
    By Steve Benen – Mon Jun 11, 2012 4:27 PM EDT.

    Mitt Romney and his campaign aides strongly believe policymakers can “help the American people” by laying off school teachers, police officers, and firefighters. The vast majority of the American mainstream doesn’t seem to agree, but Romney has apparently convinced Rush Limbaugh.

    Nobody’s opposed to cops or firefighters or teachers — but they aren’t private sector jobs,” Limbaugh said. “They do not contribute to economic growth. Their purpose is otherwise. They have an entirely different purpose: public safety, public education, this kind of thing. But there’s no growth in the economy. “If you add those jobs — and if there aren’t other types of private sector jobs added while at the same time we’re adding to the fire rolls and the cop rolls and teachers — we are reducing the size of the private sector. This is Marxism 101. It’s also Ignorance and Sophistry 101.”

    There was no reason to think Limbaugh was kidding.

    Look, I can’t say with any confidence whether Romney and Limbaugh actually believe this stuff. Romney, in particular, has occasionally dropped hints that he’s a closet Keynesian, but he can’t admit it because his party has become too radical to tolerate the same economic model both parties have accepted for several decades.

    But if Romney and Limbaugh actually, sincerely believe what they’re saying, I’d just ask them to consider one question: do they believe teachers, police officers, and firefighters spend money?


    I mean, really. Limbaugh argued with a straight face today that cops, firefighters, and teachers may work and contribute to society, “but there’s no growth in the economy” as a result of their jobs. In other words, there are hundreds of thousands of teachers and first responders, but they never buy things and they never invest, so when they get laid off en masse, there are no economic consequences whatsoever.

    Seriously, who’s going to believe this? Exactly how many voters are going to hear this and think, “Yep, that makes sense”?

  11. rikyrah says:

    What on earth is Bobby Jindal talking about?
    By Steve Benen – Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:19 PM EDT.

    The last we heard from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), he was attacking President Obama — eight years in state government, four years in the U.S. Senate, and four years as the president of the United States during a time of crisis — as being inexperienced. He prefers Mitt Romney, the least-experienced major-party presidential nominee in more than 70 years.

    Now, Jindal has a new anti-Obama attack: “I suspect that many in the Obama administration really don’t believe in private enterprise. At best, they see business as something to be endured so that it can provide tax money for government programs.”

    If this sounds familiar, it’s because Romney made a similar case last week, arguing that Obama is trying to move us away from being “a free-enterprise nation.”

    It’s hard to overstate how ridiculous this line of attack is. Ezra Klein noted today that Jindal is “considered among the most wonkish of the Republican Party’s class of rising stars.” That’s true; while so many GOP leaders show disdain for public policy, the Louisiana governor seems like a policymaker who not only knows what a GAO report is, but may have even read one.

    It’s exactly why his attacks are so disappointing — he knows this kind of rhetoric is stupid, but he says it anyway. Ezra called it a “shameful display.”

    Consider what it would mean for Jindal to actually believe what he’s saying here. It would mean he believes there are real, living, breathing human beings in the Obama administration who unhappily endure the existence of Apple because it leads to tax revenues, or who walk into their local hardware store and can only stomach the experience of buying a hammer because they know, deep down, that some percentage of that purchase is headed into Medicare’s coffers. These days, no one in China even thinks like that. To find anyone who actually thinks like that, you need a Hot Tub Time Machine set for the Soviet Union in 1973.

    What Jindal likely believes, rather, is that this kind of over-the-top comment speaks to something genuine in the conservative id. But it does so by ignoring the reality of the Obama administration’s policies.

    Right. Jindal’s take isn’t just wrong; it’s willfully hysterical.


    The notion that “many” in the Obama administration simply reject private enterprise at a conceptual level is the kind garbage we might expect from Michele Bachmann, Rush Limbaugh, or random right-wing bloggers.

    But for grown-ups — and especially for those who present themselves as credible wonks who care about policy — this is simply inexcusable. Under Obama, corporate profits have soared; corporate taxes are low; economic growth has relied exclusively on the private sector; and the major stock-market indexes have nearly doubled since 2009.

    To believe the Obama administration is made up of secret communists who only tolerate businesses to pay for government programs is to embrace a twisted fantasy land. Where is the evidence to bolster Jindal’s nonsense? Obama supports a health care package that mirrors plans from moderate Republicans and which Romney himself embraced at the state level. Obama supports a climate policy that’s similar to what McCain/Palin supported just four years ago. Obama supports Wall Street safeguards that were approved with bipartisan support. Obama has cut taxes repeatedly, and even now only seeks the same top marginal rate on the wealthy that was applied in the 1990s — when the economy soared.

    Gov. Jindal, grow up. Leave the hysterical attacks to the blowhards.

  12. Ametia says:

    Two More Health Insurers Pledge To Preserve Parts Of Obamacare | Aetna and Humana have joined UnitedHealthcare in promising to preserve several popular provisions of Obamacare, even if the high court rules the law unconstitutional later this month. Bloomberg reporter Alex Wayne tweets:

    Alex Wayne@aawayne

    Humana too. MT @aawayne Aetna to match UnitedHealth, cover preventive services, youngadults as dependents if SCOTUS knocks down #hcr. $HUM

    Come on Cigna & BCBS!

  13. Ametia says:

    Romney’s ‘Jobs Plan’ Gets Hammered by Economists
    The Fiscal Times
    June 11, 2012

    Mitt Romney’s top economic advisers last week painted a clear portrait of the policy initiative the Republican presidential hopeful plans to use to restore robust growth to the U.S. economy. In a phrase: more tax breaks for business.

    Writing in the Wall Street Journal, former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm, one of the leaders of the Tea Party movement, and Glenn Hubbard, a Columbia University business professor and top economic adviser to the Romney campaign, said the former Massachusetts governor, if elected, would enact the same policies as those enacted by President Ronald Reagan shortly after he took office in 1981. “Particularly powerful are (Romney’s) proposals to reduce marginal tax rates on business income earned by corporate and unincorporated businesses alike,” the two advisers wrote. “His goal, like Reagan’s, is to make it profitable to invest in job creation.”

    The two advisers accused President Obama of failing to understand business when he said the president’s job is “not simply to maximize profits.” They said, “Jobs are sustainable only when profits are sustainable….The American economy was built on the profits earned by serving consumers, and it will only be saved by earning profits.

  14. Ametia says:

    Breaking Down MSNBC

    As part of the Keith Olbermann legacy (along with some left over anger management handbooks and mirrors), MSNBC has become positioned and recognized as the news channel for Progressives and Democrats. Prior to Olbermann’s success at the station through his openly expressed partisan views, MSNBC leaned rightward (they fired Phil Donahue for opposing the Iraq War), following in the footsteps of CNN at the time, trying to play the role of a conservative-tinged impartial journalistic outlet…often by providing Democratic responses to manufactured Republican propaganda which they echoed using the Fox News trick, “Some Republicans are saying that President Obama wants to eat our children…”. Though this tradition continues on at CNN and MSNBC , MSNBC looked at Olbermann’s explosive ratings and made the business decision to bring on more hosts that would appeal to and attract that same Progressive audience that caused the surge in Olbermann’s ratings so they hired Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, Lawrence O’Donnell and others (Chris Matthews was already hosting) to host shows.

    So MSNBC is the Progressives’ alternative to Fox News, right?


  15. Ametia says:

    Seeing the Entire Playing Field: An End to Reactionary Politics
    June 11, 2012

    The Chesapeake Bay Bridge is the only efficient way most people in Maryland, Washington, DC, and some parts of West Virginia and Virginia have available to get to the “Eastern Shore” of Maryland, Virginia and southern Delaware. There are two spans. The Southern-most span opened first, in the mid-1950s, with two lanes. The bridge became so incredibly popular, however, that a second span with three lanes was added in the early 1970s. You only pay a toll as you head east on the bridge. Over the years, the bridge has become far more crowded, as you can imagine and as it became more crowded, the back-ups to get onto the bridge have become progressively worse. In response to the interminable lines at the toll booths most Friday evenings during the summer, the Maryland Department of Transportation has added a lot more toll booths. You know, because more toll booths means shorter lines, right?


    Essentially, some :expert decided that more toll booths was the answer, but at best, that decision was reactionary, and without much thought, because it has actually led to worse delays and longer traffic jams. And they’re worse for a very foreseeable reason. There are now ELEVEN toll lanes before the eastern entrance to the bridge, but there are STILL only TWO eastbound lanes on the bridge itself. That means we essentially have ELEVEN lanes of traffic merging into TWO on heavy traffic days, and it’s that attempt to merge that causes the terrible jams that currently exist. The real solution — the non-reactionary solution — for the huge traffic jams would be to CLOSE most of the toll lanes when traffic is heavy. But imagine the public reaction if there was a backup on the Bay Bridge, and only four toll lanes were open. The politicians who have to make the decisions would be skewered.

    And that, in a nutshell, is the problem with politics these days. Politicians are faced with reactionary opinions, offered up by professional pundits, whose main goal is to stoke the fires among the populous, and who seem incapable of looking at the big picture. Reactionary opinions are, by definition, uninformed. You can’t possibly understand a situation without considering it carefully. For example, if you had just been in a three mile backup before the Bay Bridge, and saw that seven toll lanes were closed, you’d assume that was why traffic was clogged, and you’d be on the phone with your legislator demanding they all be opened. But when I explained to you that eleven toll lanes makes traffic move faster when it’s slow, but has the opposite effect when traffic is heavy, because the effect of eleven lanes of traffic merging into two has the effect of clogging the pipeline, so to speak, you would calmly see that, and realize that MDOT officials were SMART to close most of the toll plazas.

  16. Ametia says:


    Not surprisingly, Mitt Romney’s campaign is relying on distortions and dishonesty to distract from his out-of-touch comments that we don’t need more teachers, firefighters, and police officers. President Obama’s record is clear: he has cut excessive bureaucracy, while continuing to make critical investments that will help keep our streets safe and educate our kids. In Massachusetts, Mitt Romney had a very different approach. He grew the size of the government while laying off teachers and first responders, helping to drive the state down to 47th out of 50 in job creation. Romney’s promises to eliminate middle class jobs wouldn’t grow the economy and, in fact, would make it worse. Romney Economics didn’t work in Massachusetts and it won’t work now.”

    —Lis Smith, campaign spokeswoman

    • Ametia says:

      Here’s the video transcript:

      TRANSCRIPT: “And it’s worth noting, by the way — this is just a little aside — after there was a recession under Ronald Reagan, government employment went way up. It went up after the recessions under the first George Bush and the second George Bush. So each time there was a recession with a Republican President, compensated — we compensated by making sure that government didn’t see a drastic reduction in employment. The only time government employment has gone down during a recession has been under me. So I make that point just so you don’t buy into this whole bloated government argument that you hear.

      And frankly, if Congress had said yes to helping states put teachers back to work and put the economy before our politics, then tens of thousands more teachers in New York would have a job right now. That is a fact. And that would mean not only a lower unemployment rate, but also more customers for business.”

  17. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s High-Risk High-Reward Two-Term Strategy

    Scott Galupo hypothesizes:

    Let’s assume that the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act in full; there would go Obama’s signature domestic achievement. He achieved no significant fiscal reforms. He extended the Bush tax cuts… Obama has perhaps accelerated America’s exit from the quagmires of Iraq and Afghanistan. His rhetoric sounds different than his predecessor’s. … In the big picture, we’re left with a stimulus whose impact on the economy, whatever it was, has washed out completely; the tepid Dodd-Frank reforms of Wall Street; and a public affirmation of same-sex marriage.

    Yes. As I’ve noted, few first term presidents have achieved so much so tenuously. But all of this is a function of two things: first, the crushing burden of grappling with an economy in a tailspin and two wars in which victory was not easily defined (but getting the hell out of Iraq and killing much of al Qaeda and bin Laden is about as good as anyone would have forecast); and second, the long game strategy for lasting change. Obama cannot really leave his mark until this December when much of his fiscal strategizing against the GOP since 2010 will reach a moment of truth. Ditto Iran – also reaching a critical tipping point; and the actual implementation of universal healthcare – if it survives SCOTUS. And if you think Dodd-Frank was tepid, wait till the Romney-Ryan era and Wall Street will be back to the casino in no time.

    There’s a painful irony in all this: Obama’s legacy, more than most presidents, will be measured by his second term, because so many of his first term initiatives depend on a second. Without a second term, it could all be washed away – to Romney’s enormous benefit:

    Romney is on track, if elected, to enter the Oval Office with a stronger wind at his back than many of its previous occupants, including Obama. And that, more than anything else, may be what’s at stake in this election, at least for the combatants themselves. Like him or not, Obama has already done a lot of the hardest, dirtiest jobs on America’s 2009 to-do list. If he’s reelected in November, he gets the chance to preserve (and, finally, enjoy) the fruits of his labors: an improving economy, a universal health-care system, a safer war on terror, perhaps even that elusive deficit deal. Meanwhile, if Romney wins, he gets to build his presidency on ground his predecessor has very conveniently cleared for him—and Obama’s achievements go unrealized or uncredited.

    Obama’s long game was always a high-risk high-reward strategy. And this is when the nail-biting starts in earnest.

  18. rikyrah says:

    The Balls To Act Like Republicans
    Sanford Levinson wonders if the Democrats will grow them:

    I fully expect a Republican majority in the Senate, should Mitt Romney be elected, [to modify the filibuster rule by reducing the number of votes required to bring a measure to the floor when the Senate next convenes]. The Republican Party is determined to make its mark and will brook no opposition from 49, let alone 41, Democrats. What if the next Senate is evenly split? Then we will have the opportunity see one of the more bizarre features of the Constitution in action: If Obama and Biden lose the election, Biden will remain president of the Senate when it convenes, as required by the Twentieth Amendment, for the first time on January 3, 2013 (among other things, in order to count the electoral votes and declare the winners). This means that he would get to break a presumptive tie between filibuster-abolishing Republicans and now-filibuster-friendly Democrats. If Biden voted to maintain the filibuster, that would presumably settle the issue for the entire session and therefore guarantee that Democrats could block radical Republican measures, at least.

    The question, of course, is what if—unexpectedly, but not impossibly—not only are Obama and Biden reelected, but the Democrats retain the Senate and even gain back the House? Will they have the political will to do what I predict the Republicans would do were they a majority?

  19. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:57 PM ET, 06/11/2012
    TheWashingtonPost `Big government’ aid for cops, firefighters and teachers is popular
    By Greg Sargent

    This morning, top Romney surrogate John Sununu defended Mitt Romney’s declaration that we don’t need more cops, firefighters or teachers, arguing Romney had it right on the substance and the politics.

    “If there’s fewer kids in the classroom, the taxpayers really do want to hear that there’s fewer teachers — absolutely,” Sununu said, adding that there is “wisdom” in Romney’s comments.

    It’s unclear how to evaluate Sununu’s claim, given the caveat about having “fewer kids in the classroom.” But Romney himself, in delivering his now-infamous comments, suggested that the American people didn’t support hiring more cops, firefighters or teachers.

    So now that this has become a central issue in the campaign, what do Americans think of the idea of sending aid to states to protect the jobs of teachers and first responders?

    Turns out we have polling on this question — and the idea is popular.

    Way back in the mists of ancient history, when Obama proposed the American Jobs Act, pollsters took the judicious step of polling its individual provisions. The relevant findings:

  20. rikyrah says:

    Romney camp doubles down on pro-layoffs agenda
    By Steve Benen – Mon Jun 11, 2012 2:05 PM EDT.

    On Friday, Mitt Romney argued policymakers can “help the American people” by laying off, not just public-sector workers in general, but specifically school teachers, police officers, and firefighters. The call for more public-sector austerity was immediately welcomed by President Obama’s re-election team.

    Any chance the Romney camp might walk this back? Apparently not — former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu (R), a leading Romney surrogate, talked to MSNBC’s Chris Jansing this morning, doubling down on the pro-layoffs line. Sununu said “people ought to stop jumping on it as a gaffe” — he’s right; this was a policy position, not a gaffe — but added that Romney’s position is “wise.”

    The whole thing is worth watching, but Sununu’s pitch effectively came to this: layoff for teachers and first responders is a good thing, because in some parts of the country, the population is shrinking. Or as he specifically put it, “If there’s fewer kids in the classrooms, the taxpayers really do want to hear there will be fewer teachers.”

    As spin goes, this is pretty weak. Romney wasn’t talking about population shifts; he was talking about the size of government. The Republican nominee specifically told supporters, “[Obama] wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more fireman, more policeman, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”

    He didn’t say “cut back on government” in areas based on trends in Census data.

    For that matter, Sununu doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Teachers and first responders aren’t being forced from their jobs because of shrinking populations; they’re unemployed because state and local governments are broke. The result are more struggling schools and less public safety. This, in turn, is bad those who get laid off, bad for the communities they serve, and bad for the economy as these folks scale back.

    But then there’s that other part of Sununu’s argument: what “taxpayers really do want to hear.”


    We talked earlier about a poll gauging public attitudes on this, but Greg Sargent tracked down some additional data that’s worth keeping in mind.

    Way back in the mists of ancient history, when Obama proposed the American Jobs Act, pollsters took the judicious step of polling its individual provisions. The relevant findings:

    * A CNN poll in October of 2011 found that 75 percent of Americans supported “providing federal money to state governments to allow them to hire teachers and first responders,” including 72 percent of independents.

    * A New York Times/CBS poll in September of 2011 found that 52 percent, and 51 percent of independents, think it’s a “good idea” to “provide money to state governments to avoid layoffs.”

    * A National Journal poll at around the same time found that 70 percent thought “providing funds to state and local governments to prevent layoffs of teachers, police officers, and other first responders” would be “very effective” or “somewhat effective” in creating more jobs.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Conservative political correctness targets ‘sea level rise’
    By Steve Benen – Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:30 PM EDT.

    Rising sea levels threaten to swallow inhabited Virginia islands.
    Paul Krugman recently picked up on a trend that’s quietly becoming more common: “right-wing political correctness.” As Krugman explained it, the goal is “to make it impossible to talk, and possibly even think, about ideas that challenge the established order.”

    There is, alas, a growing number of examples, but Rebecca Leber flagged a new one: we’re not supposed to say “sea level rise.”

    State Del. Chris Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, who insisted on changing the “sea level rise” study in the General Assembly to one on “recurrent flooding,” said he wants to get political speech out of the mix altogether.

    He said “sea level rise” is a “left-wing term” that conjures up animosities on the right. So why bring it into the equation?

    “What people care about is the floodwater coming through their door,” Stolle said. “Let’s focus on that. Let’s study that. So that’s what I wanted us to call it.”

    So, “sea level rise” might give people the impression that climate change is dangerous — in other words, it might convey accurate information — which necessarily makes the phrase inconvenient to those who deny climate change.

    In this case, Virginia, like North Carolina, wants to know what’s likely to happen to its ocean coast line as sea levels inch higher, but the study couldn’t progress unless phrases like “climate change” and “sea level rise” were carefully excluded, and “recurrent flooding” was embraced.

    I like the old version of political correctness better. The right-wing version is kind of weird

  22. rikyrah says:

    This is what not listening looks like
    By Laura Conaway – Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:32 PM EDT.

    Michigan Republicans say they need to pass a sweeping set of new regulations against abortion — starting with criminalizing most abortions after 20 weeks — to help women. If you watch tape from the House hearing last week, though, you can see that it’s really about putting the constitutional right to abortion out of reach.

    Bonnie Bucqueroux of Lansing Online News put together the video above from the hearing. She reports that the committee chair gaveled the meeting closed with witnesses against the bill still waiting to testify. At the 3:40 mark, you can watch as one of those witnesses gives her testimony anyway.

    WOMAN: I am a voter and I am a mother. At 43 years of age, I became pregnant with quadruplets.

    MAN: They’ve got another meeting coming in, so…

    WOMAN: I’ll be fast. The chances of a woman delivering healthy quadruplets is minimal. I was forced with the agonizing decision of deciding to selectively reduce or risk all four of my babies. Not a one of you has the right to tell me what decision I should have made. My babies, my body, my decision. Thank you.

    The woman almost shouts to be heard, and no one listens.

    Bucqueroux says the full Michigan House is expected to vote on the anti-abortion bills tomorrow. That gives you time to read them. They’re not light reading, exactly, but they are in plain enough language that you can get what’s going on: Michigan House Bill 5711, Michigan House Bill 5712, and Michigan House Bill 5713.

  23. rikyrah says:

    So much for the water’s edge
    By Steve Benen – Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:29 AM EDT.

    American political norms, which are now in short supply, dictate that partisan disputes are supposed to end at Vandenberg’s “water’s edge” — political actors are supposed to be mindful of taking our domestic disputes to an international level.

    Mitt Romney’s campaign is apparently ignoring these norms in new ways. We saw this in March, when the Republican condemned President Obama while the president was representing the U.S. overseas (a move that even drew a rebuke from House Speaker John Boehner), and again in May when Romney sought campaign contributions from Americans living in Hong Kong and Singapore (imagine the uproar if Obama sought campaign money from donors in China).

    This, however, takes the problem to another level.

    A senior economic adviser to Mitt Romney criticized President Obama and his policy toward crisis-torn Europe, and Germany in particular, in an op-ed article in a leading German newspaper on Saturday, raising the question of the propriety of taking America’s political fights into international affairs.

    The article — written by R. Glenn Hubbard, the dean of the Columbia Business School and a former adviser in the Bush administration, and published in the business journal Handelsblatt — drew a rebuke from the Obama campaign.

    “In a foreign news outlet, Governor Romney’s top economic adviser both discouraged essential steps that need to be taken to promote economic recovery and attempted to undermine America’s foreign policy abroad,” said Ben LaBolt, press secretary for the president’s re-election campaign.

    There are two main problems with this, and they’re both pretty offensive.


    The first problem here has to do with American traditions and norms — the Romney campaign is breaking unwritten rules by attacking the U.S. president in a foreign media forum.

    The second is purely substantive: the Romney campaign knows Europe’s crises are hurting the American economy, but it’s nevertheless going to a European outlet to push for more austerity, which is already failing miserably on a continental level.

    If Eurozone policymakers take the Romney campaign’s advice, they lose and we lose, but Romney’s electoral odds will improve — which for Hubbard, may be the only consideration that matters.

  24. rikyrah says:

    June 11, 2012
    Just how aghast was the WH press at “doing fine”?

    Whenever a president of the United States casually says something during a press conference that is genuinely jarring and legitimate cause for public concern–for example, “Apart from the GDP’s slight slacking, the health of our economy is good, except for the threat posed to it by some possibly hostile space aliens who just landed in Iowa”–you can be sure that that president will receive a follow-up question; in this exampled case, one likely related to invading space aliens.

    Yet here was the White House press’ instant reaction to President Obama’s outrageously ludicrous and deeply concerning claim last Friday that the private economy is “doing fine”:

    Thank you, sir. There are a couple of books out with, essentially, details about national security issues. There are reports

    Why the crickets? Because the reporters had heard the president’s remark in context. When such wording is only later characterized as outrageously ludicrous and deeply concerning, you can be sure its actual significance was pretty much squat

  25. rikyrah says:

    Huckabee: Justices should strike down health care to improve their polls
    Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) on Sunday advised justices on the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down President Barack Obama’s landmark health care reform law in order to improve their public approval rating.

    A New York Times/CBS News poll released last week showed that approval of the high court had slipped to 44 percent. Sixty percent now oppose life tenure for justices, and 76 percent believe their rulings are influenced by personal opinions.

    “The American people are at a high ebb of their disapproval of Obamacare,” Huckabee shrugged when confronted with the poll numbers on Sunday. “So if the Supreme Court wants to improve their standing if they see this poll, they will overturn Obamacare.

    “First on the basis of the law and the Constitution — which is the primary reason they ought to do it — and then because they, in fact, realize that it’s just bad policy.”

  26. rikyrah says:

    Romney Campaign Chair: ‘Taxpayers Really Do Want To Hear There Will Be Fewer Teachers’
    By Travis Waldron on Jun 11, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign isn’t backing off the candidate’s claim that America needs fewer teachers, firefighters, and police officers. Instead, former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu (R), a top Romney campaign surrogate, backed Romney’s call this morning, telling MSNBC that changes in technology and population shifts have made layoffs of teachers and public safety officials necessary.

    Romney’s original comments left little room for interpretation. President Obama “says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers,” Romney said Friday. “Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.” But to Sununu, the comments highlighted a “real issue” that showed Romney’s “wisdom,” he told MSNBC’s Chris Jansing today:

    SUNUNU: Let me respond as a taxpayer, not as a representative of the Romney campaign. There are municipalities, there are states where there is flight of population. And as the population goes down, you need fewer teachers. As technology contributes to community security and dealing with issues that firefighters have to deal with, you would hope that you can, as a taxpayer, see the benefits of the efficiency and personnel that you get out of that.

    JANSING: But even if there’s movement to the suburbs, teachers and policemen are needed somewhere.

    SUNUNU: But I’m going to tell you there are places where just pumping money in to add to the public payroll is not what the taxpayers of this country want.

    JANSING: Do you think that taxpayers of this country want to hear fewer firefighters, fewer teachers, fewer police officers, from a strategic standpoint?

    SUNUNU: If there’s fewer kids in the classrooms, the taxpayers really do want to hear there will be fewer teachers. […] You have a lot of places where that is happening. You have a very mobile country now where things are changing. You have cities in this country in which the school population peaked ten, 15 years ago. And, yet the number of teachers that may have maintained has not changed. I think this is a real issue. And people ought to stop jumping on it as a gaffe and understand there’s wisdom in the comment.

    The facts of many of the layoffs don’t back up Sununu’s claims. Classrooms are busting at the seams because there are fewer teachers, and cities and towns across the country are closing entire public safety departments due to budget cuts. And, as Jansing noted, even if the population shifts were a legitimate argument, teachers and public safety officials are still needed where the population moves.

    Federal, state, and local governments have laid off more than 700,000 workers since Obama took office. Had that not happened, the unemployment rate would be a full point lower and the economic recovery would be stronger. To Romney and his campaign surrogates, however, those job losses are a step in “the right direction.”

  27. Ametia says:

    Joe Scarborough And Panelists Clash Over GOP ‘Delegitimizing’ Barack Obama
    Can it with the other side does it; Joe.


  28. Ametia says:

    Soledad’s working Bay Buchanan This dog ain’t hunting, Bay Bay…

    • rikyrah says:

      the public sector jobs were eliminated AT THE STATE LEVEL UNDER GOP CONTROL.



  29. rikyrah says:

    wonderful comment by Rhoda:

    Rhoda 1

    Mitt Romney really effed up with his on camera stance against cops, firefighters, and teachers. Here’s Mark Halperin trying to save him.

    The President doesn’t think the economy is “doing fine.” Mitt Romney doesn’t oppose firefighters, police, or teachers. Yes, there are legitimate questions about the President’s understanding of how the private sector operates. And, yes, Governor Romney supports less federal aid to states and localities for such jobs than the Democrats do. But shame on the media for starting the week perpetuating the self-fulfilling prophecy that Friday’s gaffes will be a big deal in the election by continuing to pump them. These gaffes will matter because we say they do.

    How can the press ever criticize politicians for trivializing our politics when we focus on statements that have little to do with the candidates actual views or their proposals for the future? But also: shame on both campaigns for saying, in effect, the other guy’s gaffe matters but our guy just had some bad phrasing which should be ignored.

    Damn. The MSM played gotcha with POTUS, estatic at the thought of ads that could be run against him with these words out of context. Then Mittens fucked up a good deal and team Obama went hard on the statement Romney made which is simply devastating in context!

    Now, they want to back off the whole fight they egged on! As they want team Obama to back off the Bain attacks. Not gonna happen. No one in Chicago is playing about this election. Team Romney says a prayer for Justice Roberts every damn day, they know without that Citzens United cash to try to suppress turnout and get the election close enough to steal they would have no chance. As it is, it takes everyone and their mother to rig the polls to a tie btwn the candidates.

    • Ametia says:

      The Romney camp is in for a Tsunami from the OBAMA camp. Better ask Hillary & Grampy McCain how it worked for them. Oh that’s right. McCain’s still chewing on the BITTER PILL he had to swallow.

    • Ametia says:

      Oh, and Mark Halperin. Go somewhere and sit you “DICK” loving name-calling ass down.

  30. Ametia says:

    Montana Governor Stands Up to Citizens United
    By Mehrad Yazdi

    The Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision has forced states to amend or completely throw out some anti-corruption laws that they had previously enacted, sometimes over a century ago. But one governor is fighting back. In a New York Times op-ed, Montana governor Brian Schweitzer (D) details the transparency he is trying to preserve in his state. Before Citizens United, Montana was at the forefront of anti-corruption laws having enacted legislation a century ago that banned corporate money from campaigns and later large individual donations too. As Governor Schweitzer explains:

    These laws have nurtured a rare, pure form of democracy. There’s very little money in Montana politics. Legislators are basically volunteers: they are ranchers, teachers, carpenters and all else, who put their professions on hold to serve a 90-day session, every odd year, for $80 a day.

    Read on:

  31. Ametia says:

    Some thoughts on #NN12 wrap up: our role going forward
    RyansTake | Sat, Jun 9, 2012 8:19 PM EST

    Thanks for the update – looking forward to more. Wish I could have been there for more of the conference. – promoted by david
    Well, Netroots Nation is over and now I’m waiting for WaterFire here in Providence RI, so I figured I’d offer some comments. Van Jones provided the final keynote address, humorously poking fun at the media that’s been saying the netroots is done and depressed over the Wisconsin loss. What are we going to do, cry over mean tweets from gloating conservatives? He says. Not so much.

    He made the case that the netroots and grassroots need a two-tiered strategy going forward: 1. Elect the President. We get nothing without him. 2. Have a plan in place to hold his feet to the fire.

    Read the rest here:

  32. Ametia says:

    Liberals shed frustration, gear up for election fight
    Sat, Jun 09 19:41 PM IST

    By John Whitesides

    PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (Reuters) – After a gut punch in Wisconsin and frequent bouts of disappointment with President Barack Obama, liberal activists could be excused for a lack of enthusiasm about November’s U.S. election.

    But many of those attending Netroots Nation, a three-day gathering of grassroots progressives in Rhode Island, said the stark choices in the looming battle for control of the White House and Congress were all the motivation they need.

    While liberals have frequently criticized Democrat Obama for being too quick to compromise and too slow to fight for their principles, those at the conference said it was time to focus on the stakes in his presidential race against Republican rival Mitt Romney.

    “Most progressives are pretty savvy and focused on the future, and Mitt Romney is going to be very motivating for us,” said Arshad Hasan, executive director of Democracy for America, the group founded by former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, whose failed 2004 presidential bid galvanized the left.

    “On everything from jobs and the economy to the future of the Supreme Court, he would be a very conservative president, and that is going to fire people up,” Hasan said.

    Nearly four years after celebrating Obama’s historic White House win, liberals have suffered a series of political setbacks beginning with heavy losses in the 2010 elections and topped by this week’s failed recall of Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

    Walker, who caused an uproar on the left with his anti-union policies, survived the recall election with help from a dramatic surge of spending by outside conservative groups. Wealthy activists like the brothers David and Charles Koch have poured millions into conservative Republican causes, and Democrats have not come close to matching it.

    Finding ways to fight back against that flood of conservative cash was a frequent discussion topic for the 3,000 bloggers, activists and grassroots leaders attending the conference, the biggest annual gathering of U.S. progressives.

  33. rikyrah says:

    June 09, 2012
    Mitt Romney–There he went again
    It’s kinda funny, actually.

    Yesterday, after President Obama slipped while uttering “fine,” my second thought was: Not to worry, because Mitt Romney, in his characteristic desperation to frantically exploit any out-of-context misstatement, will somehow step on, will jump up and down on, will absolutely pulverize his own exploitation.

    Online I almost instantly predicted–which of course would have been far from original–this dead-certain futurism. Yet before I could even get to my keyboard, this colossal bungler of a presidential candidate had already done pulverized it through his colossally fatuous, foot-in-mouth “accusation” that Obama says we need more fireman, more policeman, more teachers. Oh dear!

    Romney’s self-immolation had to be a record.

  34. Ametia says:

    Dem. gov.: Public sector job losses are dragging economy
    ByLeigh Ann Caldwell .


  35. rikyrah says:

    Jeb Bush: Reagan would have struggled with today’s GOP
    By Steve Benen – Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:50 AM EDT.

    There was an enormous amount of interest in former President Bill Clinton’s kinda sorta off-message comments recently, but just as interesting are the recent comments of one of Mitt Romney’s highest-profile supporters: Jeb Bush.

    Last week, for example, the former Florida governor praised President Obama on education policy, hot on the heels of Romney delivering a speech condemning Obama’s education policy. Bush also said his party is being “short-sighted” on tax and immigration policies, which is not what the GOP mainstream wants to hear.

    This morning, Jeb Bush went further, endorsing Obama’s line about economic “headwinds” from Europe, and agreeing with Obama’s recent argument that both Ronald Reagan and his father George H. W. Bush would have a hard time getting nominated by today’s Republican Party.

    “Ronald Reagan would have, based on his record of finding accommodation, finding some degree of common ground, as would my dad — they would have a hard time if you define the Republican party — and I don’t — as having an orthodoxy that doesn’t allow for disagreement, doesn’t allow for finding some common ground,” Bush said, adding that he views the hyper-partisan moment as “temporary.”

    “Back to my dad’s time and Ronald Reagan’s time — they got a lot of stuff done with a lot of bipartisan support,” he said. Reagan “would be criticized for doing the things that he did.”

  36. rikyrah says:

    June 11, 2012 8:53 AM

    Mitch Daniels’ Future Games
    By Ed Kilgore

    For every open reactionary who pines for the restoration of the Good Old Days before uppity women and minorities ruined the greatest country the world ever knew, there is a figure who tries to recast the politics and economics of the distant past as the wave of a brave, innovative, future—almost hip. This seems to be Mitch Daniels’ particular thing:

    On the heels of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s history-making recall victory, the governor of nearby Indiana with his own record of curtailing union benefits suggested public-sector unions are past their prime and should be abolished.
    “I think, really, government works better without them,” Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels told “Fox News Sunday,” when asked whether public-worker unions should even exist.

    Yeah, all that job security and benefit stuff, certainly pensions, maybe even “retirement,” is so old-think. At the 2011 CPAC conference, at which Daniels was rapturously received despite the deep offense he had caused the Christian Right by proposing a “truce” on social issues while the urgent work of fiscal retrenchment could be consummated, Mitch came right out and said the New Deal and Great Society programs were obsolete and needed to be discarded in favor of something new and less safety-nettish:

    If freedom’s best friends cannot unify around a realistic, actionable program of fundamental change, one that attracts and persuades a broad majority of our fellow citizens, big change will not come….
    We know what the basic elements must be. An affectionate thank you to the major social welfare programs of the last century, but their sunsetting when those currently or soon to be enrolled have passed off the scene.

    “Affectionate thank you.” Yeah, Social Security and Medicare were fun while they lasted, kind of like handshake deals and dollar lunch specials and home visits by doctors. But no one could seriously think they’d work in this day and age, right? So shredding the safety net in order to give “job creators” lower tax rates and labor costs and more flexible, nimble business structures conducive to the knowledge-based global economy blah blah is what’s obviously necessary to keep up with never-ending change. And we sure don’t need any sclerotic, industrial-age unions around to resist change, particularly in the public sector, which needs to be the handmaiden of the fast-paced blah blah entrepreneurs who are peeking around corners to adapt our nation to its future global leadership role while the rest of us poor dumb cattle mosey along blindly, dependent on their bold genius, right?

    I personally prefer my reactionaries to be in the Jim DeMint mode, just blatantly dripping with resentment of anything and anyone that’s not just like him. But if Republicans win control of Congress and the White House this November and the Ryan Budget is enacted and we do begin to say our affectionate goodbyes to all that egalitarian nonsense of the twentieth century, we’ll hear a lot more from the likes of Mitch Daniels, who’ll comfort us that it’s all a matter of keeping the country strictly up to date.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 09:05 AM ET, 06/11/2012
    The Morning Plum: Mitt Romney, the `pro-layoffs’ candidate
    By Greg Sargent

    The press conference Obama held on Friday — at which he claimed the ”private sector is doing fine” — is still being covered as a “gaffe,” and no question, it was a serious misstep. But what also happened on Friday is that a larger argument was set in motion that could be central to the outcome of the presidential campaign.

    The two new Web videos the campaigns released this morning — both designed to frame this argument — capture this well. The Obama campaign is out with a new video highlighting Mitt Romney’s Friday claim that we don’t need any more cops, firefighters or teachers. The video broadens the attack to include an indictment of government cutbacks in Massachusetts during Romney’s tenure as governor. “Mitt Romney’s economic plan? He wants to cut jobs for firefighters, police, and teachers,” the video says.

    Meanwhile, the Romney camp is out with a new Web video that juxtaposes Obama’s “doing fine” quote with the misery of the ongoing unemployment crisis. “Has there ever been a president who’s so out of touch with the middle class?” the video says.

    Obama’s “doing fine” quote is getting more media attention than Romney’s quote about cops and firefighters is. But in a sense, Romney’s quote has at least as much actual policy relevance as Obama’s does. Arguably more. After all, Obama has proposed a plan to address the crisis, which suggests he doesn’t really think the economy is doing fine. By contrast, Romney’s quote is a policy statement — he really is proposing to respond to the crisis by cutting government further.

    Obama is pushing a plan to send $35 billion to the states for the hiring of first responders and teachers to speed the recovery. Romney has been claiming that he wants to cut thousands and thousands of government jobs in order to … put Americans back to work again. That isn’t an actual plan to do anything about the crisis, in the sense that it’s exactly what Romney would be proposing if the economy were doing great.

    But as the new Romney video again confirms, the Romney campaign is hoping voters make their decision based on frustration and disillusionment with the pace of the recovery — feelings the Romney camp is trying to exacerbate with the “doing fine” quote — without looking too closely at the true nature of the alternative Romney is offering. The Obama campaign is seizing on Romney’s quote about cops and firefighters to drive home the true nature of the Romney alternative.

    Result: The argument over the true relationship between government, public sector jobs and the economic crisis is now front and center. And as it happens, Obama is actually right about the relationship between government job loss and the continuing crisis, and Romney is wrong about it. Surely that’s at least as important as the optics of Obama’s admittedly serious gaffe.

  38. rikyrah says:

    North Dakota’s Measure 3 draws scrutiny
    By Steve Benen – Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:15 AM EDT.

    At first blush, the “Religious Liberty Restoration Act” measure on the North Dakota ballot may not seem especially offensive. But the proposal, which state voters will consider tomorrow, is far more controversial than it may appear.

    My friend and former colleague Joe Conn recently wrote a piece on the Measure 3 ballot initiative, which he explained has the potential to “rewrite the relationship between religion and government in North Dakota.”

    In practical terms, if critics are correct, the proposal would give religious institutions the power to opt out of laws they find problematic, on issues ranging from discrimination to health care. The regional Planned Parenthood affiliate also believes Measure 3 would affect women’s reproductive health, especially emergency care.

    Steven R. Morrison, a professor at the University of North Dakota School of Law, said the amendment includes “strikingly broad” language
    Morrison … said the amendment isn’t problematic in so far as it protects religious individuals whose faith-motivated conduct doesn’t interfere with the rights of others. But when religious people and institutions are protected at the expense of third parties, problems necessarily ensue.

    For example, Morrison said, under the amendment, a pharmacist might be able to refuse to fill a birth control prescription or a hospital employee could refuse to participate in an emergency abortion.

    “North Dakota,” Morrison noted, “is a large, sparsely populated rural state, and many people may have access to only one pharmacy or one hospital…. The amendment will protect religious practice, but its negative externalities may severely curtail others’ enjoyment of their own constitutional rights.”

  39. rikyrah says:

    California Assembly Passes Bill Allowing Citizens To Register To Vote On Election Day

    Posted by Linda H on 7:17 AM

    The California Assembly passed a major piece of voting rights legislation Thursday, May 31st, bucking the trend of new voter suppression laws that have passed in other states like Texas and Florida.
    AB 1436, which passed the Assembly by a 47-26 vote, would remove restrictions on when Californians could register to vote. If it becomes law, citizens would also be able to register at the polls on Election Day.
    Right now, Californians are only allowed to register up to 15 days before an election. Passing AB 1436 would change that and significantly boost voter turnout in the Golden State.

    In the nine states (plus Washington DC) that currently allow Election Day registration, studies have shown the legislation boosted voter turnout by seven percentage points. Most states that have implemented Election Day registration are small or medium-sized; California could pave the way for large states to embrace this important step in voting rights.
    AB 1436 will now advance to the Senate, where Democrats enjoy a 25-15 advantage

  40. rikyrah says:

    GMA’ Host Robin Roberts Announces She’s Diagnosed With MDS

    We’re so sorry to report that GMA host Robin Roberts, 51, has been diagnosed with MDS — Myelodysplastic Syndrome.

    The breast cancer survivor announced that this is a rare side effect of breast cancer treatment and will begin pre-treatment for the disease today, June 11, in preparation for a bone marrow transplant.

    “I will beat this,” she told viewers on June 11.

    Her older sister Sally-Ann Roberts, 55, will be her bone marrow donor.

    “I am blessed,” Robin said, holding back tears, because her sister is a “virtually perfect” bone marrow match.

    Robin revealed that she has known about her devastating disease for awhile now. She found out about her diagnosis when GMA’s ratings beat The Today Show for the first time in 16 years on April 17. Then after going through a painful procedure to extract bone marrow for testing, the journalist received word she would interview President Barack Obama on May 9.

    “Talk about your highs and lows,” she said.

    Fortunately, doctors are hopeful for her recovery.

    “My doctors tell me I’m going to beat this — and I know it’s true,” Robin said.

    However, she will be off the GMA couch for “a chunk of time” as she battles her illness.

    “Bottom line: I’ve been living with this diagnosis for awhile and will continue to anchor GMA,” she said. “Going forward, it’s business as usual at GMA, which means I’ll be right here every day with George, Sam, Josh and Lara. When I miss a day here or there, I’m fortunate that some very talented friends at ABC News will fill-in. When I undergo the transplant later this year, I’ll miss a chunk of time.”

  41. rikyrah says:

    found this at TOD in the comments:

    Bill R.
    June 11, 2012 at 11:16 am
    I’m from Oregon. Grew up in Southern Oregon in a timber economy now largely gone. I will tell you how private equity companies like Bain ruin an economy. Remember, another word for private equity is “corporate raider.” In the Medford, Ore. area of Oregon there was a very successful timber company called MedCo. They had several mills and employed thousands of workers in high paying jobs. They owned millions of acres of timber growing company. They prided themselves in a policy of sustained yield in their harvest of timber. That way a supply of timber would always be there for their mills. Along came a private equity firm of corporate raiders, investors from Texas. They did a leveraged buyout of MedCo. In other words they did a hostile take over of a well functioning company that did not want to be bought out. They then proceeded to close all the mills, fire all the workers, loot the pension funds, and cut all the timber, shipping it overseas.

    These wealthy Texas raiders destroyed a progressive company that had functioned for generations as a job base for an entire region of Southern Oregon. Entire communities were thrown into poverty and unto government safety net programs. Lands were sold for real estate development with attempts to bypass land use laws. (I know because my father was running for mayor of Medford and was offered financial support if he would support their move to fire a city manager who insisted on enforcing land use laws.) So not only did this private equity company destroy and economic base but they corrupted the political process and public officials. My father lost the election, and his opponent won with the support of this private equity firm. This private equity firm left the government with a toxic waste dump to clean up and thousands of ruined lives to restore and laid waste to an entire forest. This is the legacy of MItt Romney and the GOP. This is their plan for America.

  42. Ametia says:

    Commerce secretary John Bryson accused of felony hit-and-run; officials say he had a seizure
    By Ed O’Keefe and Debbi Wilgoren, Updated: Monday, June 11, 8:49 AM

    U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson is accused of causing multiple auto collisions minutes apart in Southern California over the weekend, and of leaving the scene of one of the collisions, authorities said.

    A Commerce department spokeswoman said Bryson apparently suffered a seizure, and was hospitalized overnight for examination. It was not immediately clear whether the seizure cause the collisions, or may have resulted from them. Police in California said that if there was a medical reason for the car accidents, Bryson likely would not be prosecuted.

  43. Ametia says:

    Jerry Sandusky trial: Opening arguments to begin in Penn State sex abuse case
    ByArmen Keteyian

    CBS News) BELLEFONTE, Pa. — Opening arguments are set to begin Monday in the sex abuse trial of former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky.

    Sandusky is charged with 52 counts of criminal assault of 10 boys over a 15-year period. A jury of seven women and five men will hear the case.

    Complete coverage: The Penn State Scandal:

    The case will likely turn on the testimony of the alleged victims – what could be as many as eight, until now, anonymous young men coming out of the shadows inside historic Centre Country Courthouse to describe sexual abuse at the hands of a once revered – now reviled – football coach.

    “There really is no physical evidence,” Widener University law professor Wes Oliver said. “It’s entirely a question of he said, he said. “But there are a whole lot of ‘he’s.’ There are a whole lot of people to claim this story or claim similar stories.”

    Throughout the jury selection process, Sandusky sat side-by-side with his attorney Joe Amendola, listening intently and taking notes as more than 200 Centre County residents were whittled down to 12 jurors and four alternates. Many have ties to Penn State, including a professor and a current student who works in the athletic department.

  44. rikyrah says:

    UnitedHealthcare to keep some overhaul elements
    Washington Post
    Monday, June 11, 2012

    UnitedHealthcare, the nation’s largest health insurer, will keep in place several key consumer provisions mandated by the 2010 health care law regardless of whether the statute survives Supreme Court review.

    UnitedHealthcare will announce Monday that whatever the outcome of the court decision – expected this month – the company will continue to provide customers preventive health-care services without co-payments or other out-of-pocket charges, allow parents to keep adult children up to age 26 on their plans, and maintain the more streamlined appeals process required by the law.

    UnitedHealthcare would also continue to observe the law’s prohibitions on putting lifetime limits on insurance payouts and rescinding coverage after a member becomes ill, except in cases where a member intentionally lied on an insurance application.

    The provisions are part of a larger package in the law often referred to by supporters as the “Patients Bill of Rights” that took effect as plans renewed after Sept. 23, 2010. They are popular with consumers and relatively uncontroversial among insurers.

    “The protections we are voluntarily extending are good for people’s health, promote broader access to quality care and contribute to helping control rising health care costs,” Stephen Hemsley, chief executive of UnitedHealth Group, said in a statement.

    A spokesman at UnitedHealthcare said officials chose to announce their intentions now because “people in this uncertain time are worried about what might happen to their coverage and we think the time is right to let people know that these provisions will continue and they can count on us.”

    The announcement applies to the roughly 9 million consumers in plans that they or their employer have purchased from UnitedHealthcare. An additional 27 million people are covered by plans that are administered by UnitedHealthcare but for which their employer has assumed the financial risk, meaning that in effect their employer is their insurer. In these cases it would be up to the employer to decide which provisions to continue offering voluntarily.

    The “Patients Bill of Rights” also includes several mandates that UnitedHealthcare did not pledge to continue complying with if the Supreme Court invalidates the law. These include the elimination of annual limits on insurance payouts, which are being phased out under the law, and that statute’s ban on denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions.

    The latter would be impossible to do unilaterally, said UnitedHealthcare officials, because the company’s risk pool could be quickly skewed toward sick children. But in a statement they said the company is “committed to working with all other participants in the health care system to sustain that coverage.”

    Read more:

    • Ametia says:

      We know how this is going to turn out with SCOTUS. Thre’s too much money being made by teh industries = CORPORATIONS and they know it.

      The attempts to repeal OBAMACARE are GOP spitefullness against President Obama, nothing more nothing less. They hate him and want him gone.

    • Ametia says:

      The SCOTUS won’t strike out parts, they’ll keep the HCR bill in tact.

  45. rikyrah says:

    found this in the comments at The Obama Diary. Anyone from Virginia can give us some knowledge on this?


    June 11, 2012 at 9:30 am
    Off topic: The President of the University of Virginia, Teresa Sullivan, was fired yesterday with no explanation after only two years on the job. She has co-authored a book with Elizabeth Warren on the decline of the middle class. Some think the current VA state administration of Governor “Vaginal Probe” McDonnell was behind it. If the teabagger evangelicals continue taking over state governments this is the sort of thing we can expect in the future.

    • Ametia says:

      Wow, the depths to which these MOFOS will sink to, to maintain power. Just despicable. Maybe “Town” knows what’s up with this incident.

  46. rikyrah says:

    A reader over at the Maddow blog has been keeping track of the votern purge in Florida.

    couldn’t copy and paste, because this person has done a lot of research and left a lot of links:

  47. rikyrah says:

    Rick Scott vows to keep his voter purge going
    By Steve Benen – Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:24 AM EDT.

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) pre-election voter purge hasn’t had much success lately, but that didn’t stop him from going to a Tea Party Express event yesterday, urging far-right activists to help rally support for his scheme.

    Wearing khakis, a blue button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up and his signature custom-made cowboy boots, Scott defended the purge and enlisted their aid getting President Obama’s administration to cooperate by granting access to a federal immigration database.

    “Okay so the latest is who should get to vote in our state and in our country. People that are citizens of our country. It’s very simple, right? Who comes up with the idea that you get to vote if you’re not a citizen?” Scott asked near the end of a 15-minute speech at the Tallahassee Antique Car Museum.

    As straw-men arguments go, Scott’s is a doozy. “Who comes up with the idea that you get to vote if you’re not a citizen?” Well, no one; the governor is attacking a line that no one is defending. Rather, the problem is Scott’s plan, though ostensibly about purging non-citizens from the voter rolls, has ended up unjustly targeting tens of thousands of eligible citizens, making this more of a voter-suppression plan than anything else.

    Indeed, given that 87% of Scott’s purge list is made up of minorities, minority voters tend to support Democrats, and the scheme is being executed five months before Election Day, the partisan motivations behind the governor’s agenda is rather transparent.

    Nevertheless, Scott vowed yesterday that he would not back down from his suppression tactics, and was reportedly emboldened by last week’s recall election in Wisconsin. In an unintentionally-hilarious twist, Scott was introduced yesterday by Tea Party Express co-founder Amy Kremer, who told the crowd, without a hint of irony, that the voter purge is necessary because, “If the Democrats cannot win it fair and square, they will steal it.”

    The next question, of course, is what will happen among those who have the most control over this process: the county elections supervisors.


    As Rachel explained last week, Scott can send purge lists to the counties, but it’s up to the county officials “to actually do the purging … and lately the county officials in Florida are not much in a mood for what the state is telling them to do.” Indeed, as of Friday, these 67 county election chiefs said they would not move forward with Scott’s purge plan because they lack confidence in the integrity of the governor’s list.

    One county elections supervisor said, “We’re just not going to do this. I’ve talked to many of the other supervisors and they agree. The list is bad. And this is illegal.”

    However, Maddow Blog commenter Luckton noted this morning that the scheme “is still being carried out by a few of the county supervisors,” who are bucking to pressure from the governor.

    Also keep an eye on Scott’s next move, which may include filing suit against the Obama administration for not helping him purge more voters from the state’s rolls.

  48. rikyrah says:

    I said it when the Vatican decided to mess with the nuns….my money has always been on the nuns. Anyone who’s been near Catholic School knows not to mess with the nuns.


    Nuns, Rebuked by Rome, Plan Road Trip to Spotlight Social Issues

    In a spirited retort to the Vatican, a group of Roman Catholic nuns is planning a bus trip across nine states this month, stopping at homeless shelters, food pantries, schools and health care facilities run by nuns to highlight their work with the nation’s poor and disenfranchised.

    The bus tour is a response to a blistering critique of American nuns released in April by the Vatican’s doctrinal office, which included the accusation that the nuns are outspoken on issues of social justice, but silent on other issues the church considers crucial: abortion and gay marriage.

    The sisters plan to use the tour also to protest cuts in programs for the poor and working families in the federal budget that was passed by the House of Representatives and proposed by Representative Paul D. Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who cited his Catholic faith to justify the cuts.

    “We’re doing this because these are life issues,” said Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a liberal social justice lobby in Washington. “And by lifting up the work of Catholic sisters, we will demonstrate the very programs and services that will be decimated by the House budget.”

    The bus tour is to begin on June 18 in Iowa and end on July 2 in Virginia. The dates overlap with the “Fortnight for Freedom,” events announced by Catholic bishops to rally opposition to what they see as the Obama administration’s violations of religious freedom. The bishops object in particular to a mandate in the health care overhaul to require religiously affiliated hospitals and universities to offer their employees coverage for birth control in their insurance plans.

    Sister Simone, a lawyer who ran a legal clinic for the poor in Oakland, Calif., for 18 years, is not completely on board with the bishops’ religious liberty campaign. She said that financing for Catholic social services had increased significantly in the three years since President Obama took office: “We’re celebrating the religious freedom we have.”

  49. rikyrah says:

    This Week in God
    By Steve Benen – Sat Jun 9, 2012 9:30 AM EDT.

    First up from the God Machine this week is a look at an ad promoting tourism to the United States, which may not seem especially noteworthy at first blush, but which has outraged some in the religious right.

    Seems pretty harmless, right? The video, obviously intended for an international audience, was crafted to highlight the way in which the United States celebrates diversity. But if you pause the video 33 seconds in, you might notice a man with his arm around another man. And that’s apparently a problem.

    The ad promoting tourism to the US seemed innocuous enough, but Family Research Council president Tony Perkins warns that the advertising campaign is being used to “highlight same-sex attractions.”

    The Discover America ad highlights diversity in the US, including a song by Rosanne Cash and images of an interracial couple, two Muslim women in a city and people celebrating the Hindu festival Holi. But Perkins is peeved by its attempt “to celebrate homosexuality” by featuring a man with his arm around his partner on a bus for almost two seconds. Perkins claimed that the ad depicts “a country of radical values and backwards priorities.”

    Perkins went on to blame President Obama for this, calling the ad part of Obama’s “push to ‘rebrand’ America.” In the event of a Romney presidency, presumably Perkins will have the influence to make sure ads like these never air anywhere.

  50. rikyrah says:

    The labor giant SEIU is teaming up with the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action for a multi-million-dollar Spanish-language ad campaign assailing Mitt Romney.

    The groups plan to commit $4 million to run TV and radio ads in Colorado, Nevada and Florida starting this week and continuing “throughout the summer,” a spokesperson for the group said.

    While many Democrats have focused on Romney’s views on immigration as a way of driving a wedge between him and Latino voters, the Priorities USA/SEIU spots are aimed at Romney’s broader economic views. The spots show some of his most infamous gaffes – “I’m also unemployed,” e.g.” – to say he’s out of touch with working people.

    “When you really are out of work, you are worried, and you don’t want to laugh or make fun of anybody,” one Latino voter says (in Spanish) in one of the spots. Reacting to Romney’s “I like being able to fire people” comment, another voter says: “I’d never support someone with that type of thinking.”

  51. rikyrah says:

    Obama camp focuses on Romney’s pro-layoffs plan
    By Steve Benen – Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:36 AM EDT.

    Many in the media seem fascinated by President Obama’s off-hand comment about the private sector doing “fine” relative to the public sector, but the more significant comment on Friday came a few hours later.

    Campaigning in Iowa, Mitt Romney adopted a pro-layoffs agenda when it comes to school teachers, police officers, and firefighters. Overnight, the Obama campaign released a new video on the subject.

    As a rule, gaffes tend to capture the political world’s attention, but in this case, we have something more significant than a soundbite — we have a policy position. Indeed, the Republican nominee for president seriously believes we can “help the American people” by laying off, not just public-sector workers in general, but specifically cops, firefighters, and teachers — and his background as a one-term governor makes clear he means it.

    This is so far from the mainstream that even Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) wouldn’t endorse Romney’s line. Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation” yesterday, the Republican governor said, “I know in my state our reforms allowed us to protect firefighters, police officers and teachers. That’s not what I think of when I think of big government.”

    I realize the out-of-context “private sector is doing fine” line is the official new plaything, but Romney’s position is substantive and important, and apparently even controversial among conservative Republicans. The differences between Obama and Romney on this have the potential to drive the presidential campaign: does it help or hurt America when hundreds of thousands of school teachers and first responders lose their jobs?

    For the first time in generations, the two major-party presidential candidates answer that question differently.

  52. rikyrah says:

    Earl Ofari Hutchinson: Even Obama’s Dog’s draws Racial Fire

    The racial pillorying of First Lady Michelle Obama was bad enough. The occasional snide digs and ugly depictions of the Obama’s daughters were even more despicable. But now the presidential family’s pet Portuguese Water Dog, Bo has taken heat. A Brown University social scientist used polling experiments and an independent survey to identify a series of issues that have been bitter and contentious between Obama and the GOP and that are seemingly race neutral such as tax policy, health care reform, Supreme Court appointments, and political party identification.

    He found that those with a racial antipathy toward blacks were more prone to oppose anything that Obama supported. That racial antipathy even extended to his dog. To test this, the Brown researcher showed a picture of the Obama’s dog to one half of the test group. He showed the same picture to the other half but told them that it was a picture of the late Senator Ted Kennedy’s pet Portuguese Water Dog, Splash. Those hostile to Obama were much more likely to express disdain toward Obama’s dog than that of Kennedy’s presumed pet.

    At first glance, it seems, trite, silly and well petty. But it is anything but. The never ending assault on the Obama’s has been the one constant from the moment that Obama declared his presidential candidacy in 2007. It did not hamper his drive to the White House in part because GOP presidential rival John McCain categorically forbade any use of overt or subtle racial appeals by his campaign team during the campaign. The disgust, revulsion, and apathy of many GOP leaning voters and conservative independents toward the domestic and foreign policy bumbles and stumbles of Bush, and the GOP’s sex, and corruption scandals, and giveaway to Wall Street, neutered the overt racial animus of many voters. But even that was misleading.

    The final presidential vote in 2008 gave ample warning of the potency of the GOP’s conservative white constituency when aroused. While Obama made a major breakthrough in winning a significant percent of votes from white independents and young white voters, McCain still won a majority of their vote. Overall, Obama garnered slightly more than 40 percent of the white male vote. Among Southern and Heartland America white male voters, Obama made almost no impact. In South Carolina and other Deep South states the vote was even more lopsided among white voters against Obama. The only thing that even made Obama’s showing respectable in those states was the record turnout and percentage of black votes that he got. They were all Democratic votes.

    A Harvard post-election assessment of the 2008 presidential vote found that race did factor into the presidential election and that it cost Obama an added three to five percent of the national popular vote. Put bluntly, if Obama had been white the election would have been a route.

    The quick surge of the Tea Party in the aftermath of Obama’s election with its thinly disguised race baiting digs, taunts, slogan, offensive parodying, posters, and depictions of Obama and Michelle Obama were early warning signs that race was not off the presidential election table. During the GOP presidential primary campaign GOP presidential candidates made sure of that with the stream of race-tinged references Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Mitt Romney made to food stamps, welfare, work ethics, and an entitlement society. Then there were the racially-loaded newsletters from Ron Paul that resurfaced. The candidates when challenged ducked, dodged, and denied any racial intent, or in the case of Paul’s newsletter, that he even penned them.

    GOP presidential candidates for the past three decades have crunched the voter numbers and the statistics. The GOP base is the white South and the Heartland. They deliver more than one-third of the electoral votes needed to bag the White House. These are the also the voters that GOP presidents and aspiring presidents, Nixon, Reagan, Bush Sr. George W. Bush, and John McCain and legions of GOP governors, senators and congresspersons, banked on for victory and to seize and maintain regional and national political dominance. They haven’t disappointed them. Racial code talk has been a key weapon in the GOP’s campaign arsenal. It has been the spark to reignite the GOP’s traditional conservative, lower income, white male loyalists. A legion of well-heeled GOP Super PACS will spend millions on below the belt hit ads on Obama before November. Almost certainly some of them will go even lower into the gutter and dredge up the bogus birth certificate ploy and his long severed relationship with his former pastor Jeremiah Wright.

    The Brown University survey simply reconfirmed the horrid fact that President Obama’s public policy stances and battles have been relentlessly clouded, obstructed and opposed by subtle and overt racial perceptions and animus. It’s no surprise then that the Obama’s family dog has drawn racial fire too.

  53. rikyrah says:

    Willow Smith to Play the Next ‘Annie’

    Willow Smith is budding as a young star.

    The progeny of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith is expanding her horizon and will star in a modern day version “Annie.”

    Will Smith, who is slated to produce the Sony Pictures project, also confirmed to Good Morning America that his “Men In Black 3” co-star, Oscar winner Emma Thompson, wrote the script for the contemporary “Annie” film.

    A black Annie?

    Yes. The story will be set in modern-day New York and will feature music totally headed by Hip Hop mogul, Jay Z. This project is right up the rapper’s alley, being that he remastered the old “Annie” classic in “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem).”

    Last year Willow told People magazine that she wanted Brad Pitt to be her adoptive father, “Daddy Warbucks.”

    Filming will begin in 2013

    • Ametia says:

      Great news; can’t wait to see Willow in this adaptation of Annie. Loved the Wiz with young Michael Jackson. It’s high time we see more productions of diversity.

  54. rikyrah says:

    une 10, 2012 07:00 PM
    Reliable Sources: David Shuster Pwns Jennifer Rubin, Politico, and Conservative Whiners
    By karoli

    This segment is entitled “The Media vs. Mitt” on CNN’s website. Evidently there’s some whining (when is there NOT whining?) in conservative quarters that Mittens isn’t getting a fair shake by the media. Never mind that Pew found that President Obama had received far less positive coverage than negative during the first four months of the year, and followed that up with another study more recently affirming that at no time has President Obama received more favorable coverage than Mitt Romney.

    Never mind all of that, because Politico has now weighed in with their “concerns,” which involve the number of stories about Mitt’s mendacity, meanness, and other character flaws—things Ari Fleischer thinks are “personal” and which Jennifer Rubin thinks are “shiny things.”

    Of course, right about the time Rubin refers to them as shiny things, she’s off to the races listing the number of media “vetting failures” there were over President Obama’s drug use as a college student.

    Shuster is great at debunking their manufactured poutrage, calling it “just more Republican BS,” which is a great characterization to use on a cable news channel that actually thinks it’s a good idea to employ Dana Loesch and Erick Erickson as commentators.

    Fleischer and Rubin are just playing the refs, and hoping to nip any media curiosity about Mitt Romney’s penchant for impersonating fake cops in the bud before that story actually gets in front of the American people. As to the so-called “failure” of media to vet President Obama, well, here’s a pretty clear picture from The Grio as to how much of a lie that is.

    Really, Ari? You’ve got to be kidding. The press is still running probing, sneering stories about PresidentObama. Are you familiar with Maureen Dowd’s work? It is not for the faint of heart. And if you are brave enough to venture into the outer reaches of the Internet where World Net Daily resides, you are sure to find tales of Obama munching on puppies for lunch.

    As for candidate Obama? I have two words for you: Jeremiah Wright. In 2008, the electorate was treated to “God d**n America!” on a loop for what seemed like ever. And now, thanks to Romney surrogate Donald Trump, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, and an assortment of conservatives, we are going to be treated to six months of intense Birther speculation that the media is still loathe to call racist because the word “racist” is so uncivil

    Shuster really nails Rubin, though, when he hammers her on her false equivalencies with regard to the different stories. On the one hand, there is the self-disclosed drug use on Obama’s part. On the other, there’s Mitt Romney pinning down a gay student and cutting his hair while he cried and screamed. What is equivalent about those two stories? Answer: Not a darn thing, and as Shuster explains, to try to equate them is ridiculous.

    I’ll clarify further: Romney’s treatment of that student and fake cop incident are entirely relevant because they go straight to the question of how he relates to and treats others. Obama’s drug use is relevant to the extent that it was better for him to disclose it and rob conservatives of screaming headlines, but it says nothing about how he regards other members of the human race.

    It isn’t a shiny thing, these things Romney does. And it’s not wrong to bring them into the light. Voters deserve to understand how Mitt Romney views his relationship to others and his place in the larger sea of humanity. It’s clear he sees himself as One Appointed To Bully Them.

  55. rikyrah says:

    Audra McDonald takes best actress at the Tonys

    Audra McDonald was named best lead actress in a musical and her “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” was named best musical revival. This is her fifth Tony Award, tying the competitive record held by Angela Lansbury and Julie Harris.

    “I was a little girl with a potbelly and afro puffs, hyperactive and overdramatic. And I found the theater, and I found my home,” McDonald said. Looking at her daughter, she said her big night wasn’t as wonderful as the night her daughter was born.

  56. Ametia says:


  57. Ametia says:

    In Spain’s bailout request, Greece’s crisis played key role
    By Michael Birnbaum, Published: June 10

    ATHENS — Spain was forced to seek a bailout this weekend, becoming by far the largest country to need help during Europe’s 2 1 / 2-year-long economic crisis. But it was tiny Greece that pushed Spain over the brink.

    Greek voters head to the polls Sunday with a stark choice between leaders who accept the harsh terms of the bailouts that have kept their country afloat and those who reject them, potentially at the cost of Greece’s future in the euro zone. Fears that a Greek rejection would send markets into panic about the currency union’s future pushed Spain to seek the aid ahead of Greece’s election

    • rikyrah says:

      Meet Donnie Box
      By Steve Benen – Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.

      The conventional wisdom says it’s a mistake for President Obama’s re-election campaign and its allies to criticize Mitt Romney’s controversial private-sector background. In recent weeks, Republicans have said it showed hostility towards capitalism; some high-profile Democrats have balked; the many in the media have predicted a public backlash. The entire line of attack is a dud.

      Except, there’s some evidence that actual voters aren’t responding the way they’ve been told to respond. On the contrary, though the criticisms have been “panned up and down the Acela Corridor,” they appear to be working elsewhere.

      With that in mind, Priorities USA Action, the pro-Obama super PAC, has launched this new spot.

      The ad features Donnie Box, who lost his job of 32 years at Kansas City’s GST Steel after Romney’s firm took it over. “Romney and Bain Capital shut this place down,” Box says in the commercial, standing outside a shuttered factory where he used to work. “They shut down entire livelihoods. They promised us healthcare package, they promised us maintain our retirement program, and those were the first two things to disappear. This was a booming place. And Mitt Romney and Bain Capital turned it into a junkyard. Just making money and leaving.”

      If Box seems familiar, it may be because we’ve seen him before — in January, he was also featured in an ad from

      Remember, if the conventional wisdom is right, Priorities USA Action is wasting its money, focusing on a part of Romney’s record that voters don’t care about. But given this super PAC’s limited resources, I suspect the group has reason to believe ads like these will resonate, even if the political establishment assumes they won’t.

      This new spot is part of a $7 million ad buy, and it will air in Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

  58. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone. Hope you had a restful weekend. Let’s get to work and get out the information = TRUTH & GOTV!

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