Serendipity SOUL | Thursday Open Thread | Jazz Week!

Today President Obama will deliver remarks at the Cuyahoga Community College Metropolitan Campus in Cleveland, Ohio, on two contrasting visions for our economy. Estimated Event Time: 1:45 PM EDT. Stay tuned for post with link to the event.

In his remarks, the President will outline the choice in this election: between a vision for moving our country forward, ensuring that our economy is built to last and restoring economic security for the middle class, and Mitt Romney’s vision, based on the same failed economic policies that brought on the worst crisis since the Great Depression. Romney Economics is familiar and troubling: more budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy; fewer rules for Wall Street – the same formula that benefitted a few, but that crashed our economy and devastated the middle class.

On to todays, featured artist…Miles… HUMAN NATURE


And take this; BOYS & GIRLS!

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63 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Thursday Open Thread | Jazz Week!

  1. rikyrah says:


    can you find the video to this?

    from TOD in the comments:

    June 14, 2012 at 10:18 pm
    Did anyone catch Stephanie Cutter on Piers Morgan? My goodness, this woman is a machine full of facts about Pres. Obama’s accomplishments, GOP failures, and Romney’s arrant nonsense. She was AMAZING. Wherever Pres. Obama found her, he made a fan-fucking-tastic decision in hiring her. She blows my mind! She blew my mind just watching her make Piers Morgan look like a FOOL on his show. She stopped his GOP shilling cold and I mean COLD!

    She’s bloody amazing. She is never and I mean NEVER off message. Fact after fact after fact; BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! I was screaming my head off. And when she was done mopping the floor with Piers and Romney she just smiled and said thank you for inviting me on your show.

    She shut Piers down when he tried to resurrect the controversy of Clinton’s comments about Romney and Bain. She told him that Clinton supports Pres. Obama 100%. That she is happy about Clinton’s support and there is no division within the campaign. Said Clinton’s words weren’t controversial. That he said one can invest in businesses and grow jobs or one can do it the Romney way; load up businesses with debt, bankrupt them, take their pension and healthcare funds, rake in millions, and walk away. She called Romney out for leaving MA 47th in job creation.

    She pointed out that Romney does not care for the middle-class and will wreck this economy worse than the 08 financial meltdown. She talked about PBO’s American Jobs Act and how it will create 1M jobs and the GOP has been blocking it for the past 10 months. She talked about PBO creating 4.3M jobs and the economy having 27 months of job growth and how that is more than GWB created in 8 years.

    She was on FIRE! Everytime Piers tried to interrupt her, she did not let him. She took over the segment and got out PBO’s message with such passion and clarity. Said PBO’s plan for the economy in a 2nd term was visionary. That he wants an America where education is respected. An America where the middle-class grows and more people move into the middle-class. Said PBO wants an America built to last, Said PBO is looking forward. That the power is in voter’s hands to choose what kind of America they want to live in. One where Romney tries to build the economy from the top down or one where Pres. Obama rebuilds the middle-class and reaffirms the American dream.

    Holy freaking awesomeness. Wow! Just wow!

  2. Ametia says:

    “I’m Flattered that you are all interested in my vagina, but NO means NO!”

  3. Ametia says:


    Response to MHP segment;

  4. rikyrah says:

    did you know about this?

    TV FAB: VH1 RELEASES “Hollywood Exes” PROMO Pics STARRING Nicole Murphy, Sheree Fletcher, Mayte Garcia & Andrea Kelly

    Earlier today, VH1 introduced the promo pics from one of their hottest new reality shows, “Hollywood Exes.” Come inside and meet the ex-wives of Eddie Murphy, Prince, Will Smith, Jose Canseco and R. Kelly and get the deets on their show.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Dear White People: ‘The Amount Of Black Friends Required To Not Seem Racist Has Been Raised To Two’
    By ABL 2.0 June 14th, 2012

    I love this so hard:

    Fantastic, right?

    The filmmakers need 25K to make this happen. From the “Dear White People” indiegogo fundraising page:

    Remember when Black movies didn’t neccesarily star a dude in a fat suit and a wig? Or have major plot twists timed to Gospel numbers for no apparent reason? No? Damn…

    Well believe it or not there was a time when “Black Art-House” was a thing. When movies like Do The Right Thing, Hollywood Shuffle, and Boyz In Da Hood were breaking box office records as well as making us laugh, cry, and think in ways movies hadn’t before.

    The humble producers of DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, a satire about being a black face in a white place, long to bring those days back. But we can’t do it without you!

    Here’s the deal…we’re looking to raise seed money that will go a tremondously long way in securing the capital we’ll need to produce our million dollar indie feature. With our trailer, script and your help, we believe we can bring this exciting piece of cinema to life! Join us, won’t you?

  6. rikyrah says:

    About those pre-existing conditions…
    By Steve Benen – Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:10 AM EDT.

    Earlier this week, The Hill ran a curious headline: “Romney: Repeal health law, keep pre-existing conditions clause.” Congressional Republicans have already expressed a willingness to leave several key provisions of the Affordable Care Act intact, is Mitt Romney prepared to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions, too?

    Not exactly. Under Romney’s vision, an employee who has a pre-existing condition should be able to keep his or her coverage if they change jobs. That’s not exactly a bold position — since 1996, federal law has already protected these folks.

    But what about everyone else who has a pre-existing condition, including children? As Sam Stein reported, they’re out of luck.

    For starters, there is the question of what happens to individuals with pre-existing conditions who lose their jobs rather than move to a new one? Often, COBRA coverage doesn’t fully cover treatment costs or last long enough. Another, perhaps more pertinent question is what happens to people who enter the insurance market already suffering from a pre-existing condition? […]

    [A statement from the Romney campaign] confirms that under a Romney presidency, there would be no federal prohibition barring health insurers from discriminating against pre-existing conditions. Instead, his administration would push reforms that help eat away at the problem.

    Those “reforms” — including turning responsibilities to states — have been largely ineffective.

    An ABC report added that Romney’s policy “does not immediately address people who have never had private health insurance, or who have had insurance but spent some time without, often because of financial circumstances and unemployment.”

    Given the popularity of these consumer protections — as many as 85% of Americans support coverage for those with pre-existing conditions — Romney is placing himself on the wrong side of the American mainstream.


    Stephanie Cutter of the Obama campaign responded, “Mitt Romney just clarified the choice in this election – he’d put insurance companies back in charge. People living with pre-existing conditions from asthma to breast cancer are on their own if Mitt Romney is elected president and millions more would lose their health insurance.”

    Something to keep in mind when you see news reports about Romney’s support for “keeping the pre-existing conditions clause.”

  7. rikyrah says:

    Total Obstruction of the Courts
    by BooMan
    Thu Jun 14th, 2012 at 02:09:39 PM EST

    Mitch McConnell just came out and announced that the Republican minority in the Senate will filibuster every single cloture vote on circuit court judges from now until after the presidential election. Worse, he falsely claims that it is routine to not have votes on circuit court judges within six months of a presidential election. But he’s full of it.

    According to data from the Federal Judicial Center, President Carter had 5 appeals judges confirmed between this day in 1980 and that year’s election, one of whom was future Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. President Reagan had 7 in his first term and 2 in his second. The first President Bush had 7. No appellate judges were confirmed in the lead up to the 1996 election, but one was confirmed at the end of President Clinton’s second term. The second President Bush had 3 confirmed during this period in 2004 and 2 in 2008.

    The only time this was done before was…you guessed it…in 1996, when Clinton was running for reelection. In the five terms served by the three most recent Republican presidents, there wasn’t a single term when the Democrats refused to allow votes on circuit judge nominations.

    Let’s look a the vacancies on the circuit courts of appeal.

    First Circuit: 1 vacancy
    Second Circuit: 0 vacancies
    Third Circuit: 0 vacancies
    Fourth Circuit: 1 vacancy
    Fifth Circuit: 1 vacancy
    Sixth Circuit: 0 vacancies
    Seventh Circuit: 1 vacancy
    Eighth Circuit: 0 vacancies
    Ninth Circuit: 1 vacancy
    Tenth Circuit: 2 vacancies
    Eleventh Circuit: 1 vacancy
    DC Circuit: 3 vacancies
    Federal Circuit: 1 vacancy

    That’s 12 total vacancies. Only four of our thirteen circuit courts of appeal are fully staffed. In January of 2011, Chief Justice John Roberts complained that there were a total of 96 federal judgeships vacant, a number that included the district courts. The number today is seventy-four, with 33 pending nominations. I suggest that Obama threaten to make at least 33 recess appointments, if not the 74 needed to fully staff our judiciary. And, yes, it can be done.

  8. rikyrah says:

    The best election money can buy
    By Steve Benen – Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:56 AM EDT.

    Karl Rove told Sean Hannity this week that President Obama and his allies have a dastardly election-year plan: they’ll win by “trying to take their wallet and buying it.”

    Even for Rove, who has a history of projection, the irony was rich. He’s complaining about Obama trying to “buy” the election just two weeks after we learned Obama will face a $1.8 billion operation trying to defeat him — a figure that obliterates all previous records — made up of $800 million from Romney and the RNC, and an estimated $1 billion from far-right attack groups, including Karl Rove’s.

    Someone’s trying to “buy” this election, but I don’t think it’s Obama.

    Indeed, the timing of Rove’s silly criticism could be better. Just one day after the accusation, this bombshell came to light.

    Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who helped prop up House speaker Newt Gingrich’s presidential primary campaign for months, is now using his massive wealth to help former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

    According to two sources familiar with the donation, Adelson is giving $10 million to the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future. Under Federal Election Commission law, Restore Our Future is free to accept donations of unlimited amounts from single donors but must reveal the identity of those givers.

    It’s the biggest single donation ever made to the group.

    Keep in mind, Adelson’s not done. He’s cut this $10 million check, but Forbes reports that his financial support this cycle is effectively “limitless.”

    Also note, Adelson is a familiar name — he’s reportedly spent more in this campaign cycle than George Soros spent in all of 2004, and it’s only mid-June — but let’s not forget that much of the 2012 financing will be secret.

    As E.J. Dionne Jr. explained in his latest column: “Americans won’t even fully know what’s happening to them because so much can be donated in secrecy to opaque organizations. It’s always helpful for voters to know who is trying to buy an election, and for whom. This time, much of the auction will be held in private. You can be sure that the candidates will find out who helped elect them, but the voters will remain in the dark.”

  9. rikyrah says:

    The GOP Holds President Obama, Not Holder in Contempt

    The GOP-controlled House Oversight Committee’s threat to bring contempt charges against Attorney General Eric Holder are merely the tail end of the GOP’s endless ploy to harass, embarrass, and ultimately weaken President Obama. The GOP always saw Holder as the weak link in the Obama administration; the one appointee who had potentially the most baggage, and the one most easily to taint and tarnish, with the aim that some of the taint would rub off on Obama. From the start, Obama knew that Holder could be a likely target of GOP attacks and tried to defuse them. He quietly asked key Senate Republicans whether they would try and delay or block Holder’s appointment. At the time there was no likelihood that the GOP could win a fight over Holder’s appointment. They didn’t have the votes. But that didn’t stop GOP congressional leaders from squawking about Holder during his confirmation hearing.

    He was grilled hard on green lighting a handful of controversial Clinton pardons as Clinton’s Deputy Attorney General, for allegedly engaging in special favoritism toward telecom giant Global Crossing when the company was in financial throes in 2002, and for enforcing a court order to send under age Cuban refugee Elián González back to Cuba in 1999.

    Holder drew more fire for his role in approving the clemency request for 16 members of the radical Puerto Rican independence group FALN, convicted of a string of terrorist bombings and murders. The FBI, Bureau of Prisons and U.S. state attorneys opposed clemency for the 16. Holder refused to comment on what part he played in the clemency action. This charge against him also went nowhere.

    Holder was confirmed. However, the GOP’s insinuations of duplicity and wrong doing by him were an early warning sign that Holder would continue to be the GOP’s whipping boy surrogate for Obama. If they could discredit, taint, and tarnish Holder for even the most picayune act, it would be another slap at Obama. The only thing that the GOP lacked to dump Holder back on the hot seat was the votes. In 2010, it got them with the GOP House takeover.

    House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa led the GOP charge. The issue is Holder’s alleged cover-up and defiance of the committee’s demand to know what Holder did or didn’t do about the botched ATF’s Mexican gun sting operation “fast and furious” — in which thousands of guns were supposedly supplied to Mexican drug cartel traffickers. The gunning down of a Border Patrol agent in December 2010 and in which the illegal firearms were linked to dumped Holder even more squarely on the GOP hot seat.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Dimon’s accountability moment comes and goes
    By Steve Benen – Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:08 AM EDT.

    After JPMorgan Chase’s admittedly “stupid” trading bets that lost the company billions of dollars in just a few weeks, Congress did what it’s supposed to do: it announced hearings that would allow lawmakers to get to the bottom of things.

    Three weeks ago, we saw the first hearing, in which Senate Banking Committee Republicans, led by Richard Shelby (R) of Alabama, upbraided the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for not doing more to prevent this. Regulators explained that they still have limited powers in this area, but for GOP senators, this not only didn’t matter, it was inexplicably used as a rationale to give agencies less authority.

    If lawmakers gave regulators a hard time about JPMorgan’s fiasco, surely they’d be apoplectic when JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon appeared before the same committee yesterday, right? Well, not exactly. Consider this clip from last night’s Ed Show

    Republicans on the panel didn’t demand answers or propose solutions to prevent future disasters; they praised Dimon and sought his advice.

    The moral of the story? Wall Street’s bravado is apparently back — if it ever really went away at all.


    Jon Chait had a good piece on this yesterday.

    The financial crisis ushered in a kind of transition period. Americans were in a purple-faced rage at an industry they more or less correctly perceive as having first destroyed the economy, then received a generous bailout and resumed making obscene money while the rest of the country suffered. The rage was strong enough to make politicians of all stripes leery of appearing close to the industry. That hesitation is what allowed liberals to pass the Dodd-Frank law — just enough Republicans and moderate Democrats were frightened to be seen as carrying Wall Street water to force them to support a potentially serious reform.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:24 AM ET, 06/14/2012
    GOP governor to Romney: Stop hyping bad economic news in my state!
    By Greg Sargent

    The Wall Street Journal has just posted a terrific story on the increasing tensions between the Romney campaign, which is playing up bad economic news on a daily basis in every conceivable forum, and Republican governors, who prefer to emphasize that things are improving in their states.

    Perhaps the most interesting piece of news in the piece is this bit from Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who openly calls on Romney to stop hyping the bad economic news in his state:

    When Mr. Romney traveled to Iowa last month, his campaign released a Web ad highlighting Iowans who were struggling to find work — in a state with a 5.1 percent jobless rate, the seventh lowest in the U.S.
    “My state is seeing significant growth,” Mr. Branstad said in an interview, adding that he didn’t see why the Romney campaign decided to highlight unemployed Iowa residents. Ticking off a long list of companies that are expanding in the state, including Alcoa and John Deere, he said, “We are doing very well.”

    Ahead of Mr. Romney’s Iowa campaign stop in Des Moines last month, Mr. Branstad said, he suggested that Mr. Romney put aside his jobs message and focus on the perils of mounting U.S. debt. “Debt is the number one issue that people in Iowa want to talk about,” he said.
    Mr. Branstad wants the Romney campaign to focus more on what he and other GOP governors have done to cut taxes, trim state budgets and regulations, and, in some cases, to challenge labor unions.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 01:09 PM ET, 06/14/2012
    Mitch McConnell’s choice: Justice delayed, and delayed, and delayed
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    Republicans have apparently had enough of confirming judges: Roll Call reports that Mitch McConnell has decided that Republicans will block by filibuster all circuit court nominations until after the election. The result? More empty benches, and more judicial emergencies.

    Republicans are invoking the so-called Thurmond Rule, named after a sort-of precedent of Strom Thurmond blocking a Supreme Court nomination in 1968, to justify these types of maneuvers earlier and earlier in each presidential election cycle. The basic idea: there’s an election coming up, our side might win, and so it’s okay to keep the government from functioning normally until then.

    The big overall story here has been that the main difference between this cycle and previous ones has been expanding the targets of filibusters from those deemed “controversial,” for whatever reasons, to absolutely every nomination. Now, it’s true that many nominations did eventually get confirmed, sometimes because Republicans dropped their objections or, as in the case of 9th Circuit nominee Andrew Hurwitz this week, because enough Senators from the Snowe/Murkowski/Lugar faction split with the majority of their party and voted for cloture.

    But overall, Republican filibustering has meant that Barack Obama has put fewer judges on the bench, and had a smaller percentage of his nominees confirmed, than any of his recent predecessors. And that’s despite his party having a majority of the Senate throughout his presidency so far, and with a very large majority in the 111th Congress.

    Now, with McConnell’s announcement that all circuit court nominations are done for the cycle, things are going to get worse. This is the first time this has been done so early. In both 2004 and 2008, appeals court confirmations were shut down after June, but not this early. According to information provided by the Alliance for Justice, two circuit court judges were confirmed on June 24, 2008, and three were confirmed on June 24, 2004. An Alliance for Justice fact sheet going farther back reports that circuit court confirmations have continued into October of election years in earlier cycles.

    So Republicans have blocked more judges during Obama’s presidency than has ever happened before — and now they want to quit earlier than ever before, too.

    Remember: this isn’t just about partisan advantage. This is also about whether the courts can function well enough to provide justice. At the very least, it’s worth remembering that Mitch McConnell doesn’t seem to care about that one.

  13. Ametia says:

    New polling from Daily Kos and SEIU (conducted by Public Policy Polling) up-ends conventional wisdom that President Obama’s supporters are less enthusiastic about his re-election bid than they were about his first run for the White House.In fact, half of those who say they plan to vote for Obama this November are more excited about him this time around:

  14. Ametia says:

    Mitt Romney would allow health insurance companies to once again discriminate against Americans with pre-existing health conditions: Romney Plan for Pre-Existing Conditions Draws Dem Fire:

  15. Ametia says:

    Exclusive: Adelson’s Pro-Romney Donations Will Be ‘Limitless,’ Could Top $100M
    Forbes has confirmed that billionaire Sheldon Adelson, along with his wife Miriam, has donated $10 million to the leading Super PAC supporting presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney–and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A well-placed source in the Adelson camp with direct knowledge of the casino billionaire’s thinking says that further donations will be “limitless.”

    Adelson, who has built Las Vegas Sands into an global casino empire, will do “whatever it takes” to defeat
    Obama, this source says. And given that Adelson is worth $24.9 billion–and told Forbes in a recent rare interview about his political giving that he had been willing to donate as much as $100 million to his initial presidential preference, Newt Gingrich–that “limitless” description telegraphs potential nine-digit support of Romney.

    • Ametia says:

      NO SHIT SHERLOCKS! These MOFOS think they can buy the 2012 Presidential election for Mitt “I WANNA BE PRESIDENT, JUST BECAUSE” Romney.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Arizona Republican Spokesman Calls Criticism From Women A ‘Bitch Session’

    Nick R. Martin- June 14, 2012, 10:33 AM

    The head spokesman for the Arizona Republican Party wasn’t too happy that two women criticized the extreme politics of the state GOP in a newspaper column this week. So he took to his blog to dismiss it as a “bitch session.”

    As first reported by Phoenix television station KTVK, what set spokesman Shane Wikfors off was a piece by longtime Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts.

    The column was based on an interview she did with local GOP donor Kathy Petsas, whose uncle used to be the director of the state party. It was titled “To dekook Arizona, start with the state Republican Party.”

    In it, the two women lambasted the state GOP’s bent toward conspiracy theories and social ideologues rather than the calmer, pragmatic ways of the past. Petsas was quoted as saying the state party had been “hijacked” at the highest levels.

    This did not sit well with Wikfors, who was hired as the chief spokesman for the party in August.

    “Ms. Petsas ran off to Laurie Roberts and engaged her in a ‘bitch session,’” Wikfors wrote on his blog, Sonoran Alliance. “Frankly, I’m getting a little tired of people like Kathy Petsas and even some of the political consultants who don’t do a damn thing for their Republican Party.”

    Wikfors defended his use of the phrase in an interview Wednesday with Phoenix television station KTVK. “It’s a colloquialism,” he said. “It’s universally used. Go to any corporate boardroom and you’ll hear that reference.”

  17. rikyrah says:

    Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Places Expiration Date on Democracy

    Back in April, Pennsylvania Secretary of State Carol Aichele visited the editorial board of the Erie Times-News newspaper to speak with them about the new photo voter ID bill Gov. Tom Corbett had just signed into law. The bill is supposed to fight or prevent voter fraud, but like with every other state that has passed voter ID laws, this fraud is mostly a boogeyman that seems to only haunt Republicans in their dreams (Check this Rolling Stone slideshow for an excellent ride through voter fraud myth debunkment).

    Aichele’s Erie visit was part of a state tour to educate voters about what they’d need for compliance with law and for the ability to exercise their right to vote. One of the IDs acceptable for voting is a state employee photo identification card. However, the law also says that IDs must have a current expiration date for voter eligibility, and the state employee cards do not. Aichele seemed to overlook this paradox in her education drive.

    “Pennsylvania Secretary of State Carol Aichele showed her state photo ID, which is not acceptable for voting because it doesn’t have an expiration date,” wrote the editorial board after she showed hers to them. It must have been humiliating for the secretary who was promoting the new law and her own example didn’t hold muster.

    It’s bad enough mandating that voters have ID cards, but to add the additional restriction that the ID needs an expiration date makes it even more obtrusive. The editorial says that 10 percent of Pennsylvanians, or 88,000, do not have a valid photo ID — though that number is contested and is thought to be much larger.

  18. rikyrah says:

    People Who Wish They Were Working On Obama Campaign Complain About Obama Campaign
    Paul Waldman
    June 13, 2012
    Democrats in disarray!

    Let’s say you’re a Democratic political consultant who has never worked for Barack Obama. How do you feel about him and his team? Well, chances are that although you respect their skill, you also think they’re too insular and too unwilling to listen to outside advice. Like yours! Because after all, if you’re a Democratic political consultant and you don’t work for the Obama campaign, you probably wish you did. There’s a lot of prestige, and not a little money, in working for the president’s re-election effort. If you didn’t work for the historic 2008 effort, you probably feel a little left out. And you probably also feel that you’re just as smart as David Axelrod or David Plouffe, and you ought to be going on Meet the Press to share your wisdom just like they do.

    But you can’t. So what can you do? You can complain anonymously to reporters that the Obama campaign is doing it wrong:

    That kind of unflappability is a hallmark of the Obama political operation — and was a crucial ingredient in its success in 2008. But some Democratic veterans are wondering whether the reelection campaign, run by the same tight-knit group that led it four years ago, is equipped for what lies ahead.

    “The bad thing is, there is no new thinking in that circle,” said one longtime operative in Democratic presidential campaigns who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid.

    Eight other prominent Democratic strategists interviewed shared that view, describing Obama’s team as resistant to advice and assistance from those who are not part of its core. All of them spoke on the condition of anonymity as well.

    When a consultant says the Obama team is “resistant to advice,” what he or she means is, “They won’t take my advice.”

    • Ametia says:

      Love this post. The Obama campaign took down the Clinton Machine, and now the Clintonistas want to give advise? *Looking@youSKELETORCARVILLE*

  19. rikyrah says:

    Politico Reporter Admits The Press Is Covering For Republican Obstructionism
    Against overwhelming evidence that Republicans have plotted to obstruct everything President Obama does, even the things they agree with, the mainstream media has stubbornly insisted that “both sides” are the problem, that there’s just a “polarization” problem in DC. In an interview on Current TV’s The War Room with Jennifer Granholm, Politico‘s Joe Williams says that the press has been cowed into this perversion of “objectivity” by a right-wing that specializes in working the ref (I’m paraphrasing, of course).

    The Republicans’ obstruction of President Obama at every turn, aside from being more obvious than the evacuation habits of ursine mammals, has been traced to the very day Obama took office, when Republicans made a pact to block anything and everything he would ever try to do to fix the economy, even those things they agreed with. That pact remains in effect today, enforced by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Despite this plain reality, the Beltway press has continued to act as though the DC gridlock is a two-way problem.

    Even so, a recent poll shows that 49% of voters in Florida aren’t fooled, but former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and Joe Williams, White House correspondent for the influential, think that number could be higher if the press did its job.

    Gov. Granholm asked Williams, “Do the Capitol Hill journalists whisper about this obstructionism on the part of Republicans?”

    “There’s not so much a whisper,” Williams replied. “It’s pretty plain. A lot of people in a lot of newsrooms have a duty to be objective here, and I think that’s one of the reasons the poll numbers are so low, because we try to present news in an objective fashion, we try not to necessarily focus on what they said, and on the agenda, because they do have, for lack of a better term, legitimate reasons for saying what they’re saying. They are philosophically opposed with the President, and they can extrapolate and say that philosophical opposition is what’s leading them to vote against the President at every turn.”

    “But sooner or later, it becomes pretty obvious,” Williams continued, “especially when the President points out that some of the things he’s proposing that will fix the economy in years past have been universally loved by Republicans. They voted for transportation packages, they voted for infrastructure spending in the past–these were not controversial proposals until President Obama seemed to put his name on it. Then, all of a sudden, it became something that was untouchable–something the republicans didn’t even want to consider, much less hold a vote on.”

    “You said something really interesting there,” Gov. Granholm responded, “which is one of the reasons that the number of that poll might be so low–the 49%–is that the media feels like its got to be even-handed and on this channel, I think we would call that false equivalency. The media knows very well what the obstruction is.”

    “And there are many who would agree with you that it is false equivalency,” Williams allowed, “but nonetheless, one reason why that still sticks and still maintains a presence in most newsrooms is not only because of integrity of individual journalism, but also because the conservative Republican message machine is very, very good at vilifying people who they believe have crossed the line into advocacy, who have done a number on what they believe is their fair and objective way of looking at things and looking at the White House agenda.”

  20. Ametia says:

    June 14, 2012 1:00 PM EDT
    Vice President Biden Speaks at Tallwood High School Commencement Ceremony
    Virginia Beach, VA

  21. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    June 14, 2012 9:16 AM

    The “Reboot”

    By Ed Kilgore

    We are told that the president will make a “major speech” in Ohio today that will serve as a “reboot” of his campaign message. Here’s what Obama staff seem to be telling media types, per The Hill:

    “He will crystallize the argument as to what this campaign is about,” said one Obama aide, adding that Obama is expected to reiterate the need to boost the public sector and put firefighters, police officers and teachers back to work.
    Obama will also cast Romney’s policies as a return to the years of former President George W. Bush, which Obama’s team says would include “more budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy and fewer rules for Wall Street.”
    Aides say Obama will say that the election offers the American people a chance to break the stalemate between two distinctly different views on how to grow the economy, create jobs for the middle class, and pay down the debt. Obama is also expected to say that Romney and Republicans in Congress believe that eliminating regulations and cutting taxes by trillions of dollars, that the market will improve.
    Obama on the other hand believes that the economy grows from the middle class up and not from the top down and has an economic plan that will focus on education, energy, innovation, infrastructure, and a tax code that creates jobs and pays down the debt in a balanced fashion.

    Regular readers know I’m all for any message that focuses on the choice of governing philosophies the two candidates represent. But there is some danger that the “Obama is struggling” media chatter that has made a “reboot” seem appropriate will overwhelm the message. It’s a bit absurd. As Ezra Klein notes today, for all the talk of “Obama’s bad week” or “bad month,” there’s really only one significantly adverse thing that’s occurred recenctly: the May jobs report.

    But the May jobs report illustrated the extreme peril associated with any Obama message that fished into the Romney/MSM assertion that the election is a referendum on how voters currently feel about the economy. That’s pretty much what the Democracy Corps memo everyone’s talking about concluded as well. A “reboot” isn’t needed because of the “private sector is fine” gaffe or the alleged rebellion of the Clintonites or the sudden bullishness on Romney on Wall Street or any of the other snail’s-eye-view crap we’ve been hearing the last week or so. It’s needed to reflect a full commitment by the Obama campaign to a comparative message, in the teeth of all the naysaying from the opposition and the news media and half the political scientists in Christendom who are saying swing voters are too stupid to make comparisons and the incumbent’s only hope is to continue happy-talking about his record.

    Greg Sargent’s assessment of what the “reboot” speech should accomplish is pretty much my own:

  22. rikyrah says:

    SPIN METER: Romney’s public, private jobs claims

    Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s frequent remarks about the nation’s unemployment problem have long included one curiosity, if not an outright contradiction: It’s bad for private-sector workers to lose their jobs, he says, but it’s often good for government workers to do so.

    Romney’s positions on employment are drawing new attention after his back-to-back comments about firefighters, police officers and teachers. The nation doesn’t need more of these workers, Romney said last Friday. And the federal government doesn’t pay for them, he said Tuesday, after Democrats harshly criticized him.
    The first statement can be debated. The second claim is simply false because the federal government spends billions of dollars a year to pay for teachers, police officers and firefighters throughout the country.
    It’s true that local governments generally hire such workers. But they use a mix of local, state and federal money to pay them. Romney would have been on firmer ground had he said the federal government doesn’t “hire” teachers, police and firefighters.
    What’s clear is that U.S. communities would have fewer such public-sector workers if the federal government stopped funding teachers through Title I, police officers through the COPS program and firefighters through the SAFER program.
    Romney sometimes suggests that firing a government employee can directly lead to the hiring of one or more private-sector workers. He told Colorado voters last month that President Barack Obama’s stimulus program “didn’t help private-sector jobs. It helped preserve government jobs.”
    The place to cut back, Romney said, “was on government jobs. We have 145,000 more government workers under this president. Let’s send them home and put you back to work.”
    Numerous independent economists have said the stimulus prevented the economic collapse, including private and public-sector jobs losses, from being worse.
    As for any increase in government employment since Obama took office in January 2009, that is true only if it refers solely to federal workers, and many of those were hired in areas Romney supports, such as the military and veterans’ affairs.
    Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of state, county and municipal workers have been laid off as local governments cope with ailing economies and decreased federal aid. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says 607,000 government jobs – all of them nonfederal – have been lost since January 2009.
    From a statistical standpoint, a laid-off government worker adds one name to the unemployment rolls, just as a laid-off private worker does. Economists and partisans debate the degree to which a smaller bureaucracy can lead to lower taxes, and perhaps less regulation, which might spur private expansion and hiring.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Yup: Americans still blame Bush more than Obama: Indeed, a new Gallup poll finds Bush blame running strong: 68 percent of Americans still blame him for the state of the economy, versus 52 percent who blame Obama, barely more than in early 2010. Sixty seven percent of independents, and even 49 percent of Republicans, blame Bush.

    Hmmm. I guess the American people are also “making excuses” for Obama, as Romney likes to put it when people note the disaster left to him by his predecessor.

  24. rikyrah says:

    A wrong-headed question on ‘Obamacare’
    Posted by Glenn Kessler at 06:02 AM ET, 06/14/2012

    President Obama: “Yeah, that would be kind of hard to explain, because the only folks that have been impacted in terms of the health care bill are insurance companies who are required to make sure that they’re providing preventive care, or they’re not dropping your coverage when you get sick. And so, this particular company probably wouldn’t have been impacted by that.”

    — exchange on June 11, 2012

    This is a story of how an uninformed question became fodder for the presidential campaign.

    Shortly after this interview aired, the Weekly Standard posted a blog item with this headline: “Obama Surprised to Learn Obamacare Is Hurting Small Businesses.”

    Then, the next morning, the presumptive GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, appeared on Fox News and declared: “He’s had a number of very revealing comments that show just how far out of touch he is with what’s happening in the country. Yesterday he said, among other things, that he didn’t realize that Obamacare is having any impact on small business.”

    Romney suggested Obama read a new survey of small businesses from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which purported to show that small businesses were less likely to hire workers because of the health care law. (More on that survey below.)

    Now, watching the video clip, it’s hard to see why someone would think Obama appears surprised. Despite Romney’s claim, he certainly doesn’t say he did not realize this problem. But he does seem a bit puzzled by the question, as should anyone: Why would a company consolidate offices in another state because of a national health care law?

    We decided to investigate.

    The Facts

    The company in question is Nemschoff Inc., which makes chairs and other furnishings for the health care industry, including hospitals. This should have raised a red flag because it is no small business. It is a subsidiary of Herman Miller Inc. (which makes super-nice office furniture), an international company with $1.6 billion in annual revenue. When Herman Miller acquired Nemschoff in 2009, it reported that Nemschoff had annual revenue of more than $90 million.

    Small businesses are generally defined as having annual revenue of less than $25 million. So the basic frame of the question was wrong, since this is not a small business. But it is even worse than that.

    As Romney well knows from his experience at Bain Capital, companies decide to consolidate offices for all sorts of the reasons. In this case, the answer is readily available from Herman Miller’s financial reports and discussions with analysts, as it has tried to explain why its health care business, such as Nemschoff, was dragging down profits.

    In a March 22 conference call with analysts, Herman Miller’s chief executive, Brian Walker, put much of the onus on the fact that the federal government was attempting to trim spending. Here’s what he said:

    Our health care business has a heavier mix of federal government business than our total business, i.e., it’s heavier weighted towards federal government. So when you look at what’s happened in health care for us, the government is down generally. The impact on the health care business has been greater because of the pullback in the federal government.
    In other words, cutbacks in federal government spending — precisely what Republicans such as Romney have demanded — led to the closure of the Nemschoff facility in Iowa, not the health care law.

    Herman Miller spokesman Mark Schurman, echoing comments he made to our colleague Greg Sargent, added one other point — that the uncertainty surrounding the health care law had also chilled some investment in new facilities. “We never said it was the health care act,” he said. “The question is what, if anything, is going to enacted.”

    After all, Romney says almost every day that he will halt the health care law if he is elected president. So it is no surprise that businesses would be reluctant to place bets based on the notion that the health care law will be fully implemented.

  25. Ametia says:

    Compliments of SG2 Thank you, lady! We miss you. :-((

  26. rikyrah says:

    Adelson Undermines Democracy
    by BooMan
    Wed Jun 13th, 2012 at 09:40:28 PM EST

    In 1992, future president Barack Obama led a very successful Project VOTE! campaign in Chicago. Seventeen years later, he was inaugurated. In 2004, I led a very successful Project Vote campaign here in the suburbs of Philadelphia. There is no word yet on whether I will be inaugurated in 2021. You know, he has a twelve year lead so I’m not worried yet. I guess I should be shooting for senator in 2016. Watch out, Pat Toomey!

    I have a lot in common with the president, and that’s probably why I was drawn to him in the first place. In some significant ways, I have walked in his shoes. I know what it’s like to work to empower marginalized and under-represented voters, and he knows it, too. That’s why stuff like this fills me with murderous rage.

    Billionaire conservative casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who helped keep Newt Gingrich’s failed presidential campaign alive during the Republican primaries, is giving $10 million to the super PAC supporting the presumptive GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
    The leader of the super PAC Restore Our Future, Carl Forti, wouldn’t confirm the donation and said his policy was to not comment on donors or potential donors. Mr. Adelson’s spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.

    Yeah, I know it’s not confirmed, but Adelson has already done enough. I can organize a county and get out the vote, but it takes a ton of shoe leather and sweat and tears. This guy writes a check, and suddenly the air waves are filled with attack ads that more than wipe out whatever I’ve been able to accomplish. If the Supreme Court had ruled that money equals work instead of speech, then I might understand. But the truth is that money cancels out work. There were some rich people who gave money to Project Vote. They paid us to work. Adelson is just paying people to make ads. “Go ahead,” he’s saying, “mobilize as many people as you want. I’ll poison the well and all your work will be for naught.”

    I consider what he’s doing to be a crime against democracy and representative government. It’s an absolute crime. I want to say this diplomatically, but I think real patriots should see these billionaires as a serious problem. I really do think that if we can’t change the laws to prohibit this kind of behavior then some people with pitchforks might have to have some kind of conversation with these folks. A man who makes his fortune in large part off of degenerate Chinese gamblers ought not to have the ability to take that foreign money and use it to cancel out the best efforts of those of us who fight for the least of us. Frankly, the foreign money makes it worse, but it is beside the point. There’s no such thing as one person, one vote when our campaigns are financed this way.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Comically Evil
    Posted on 06/13/2012 at 6:45 pm by JM Ashby

    Republicans are banding together to put a stop to the latest encroachment of big government — minimum wage for home healthcare providers.

    A group of Republican senators on Thursday introduced legislation aimed at blocking the Obama administration’s controversial efforts to extend minimum wage and overtime protections to 2 million in-home care providers through Department of Labor regulations.

    Sens. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., along with 11 other lawmakers, introduced a bill known as the Companionship Exemption Protection Act, to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to preserve the current state of the law’s so-called companionship services exemption.

    It’s minimum fuckin’ wage! Did Fox News do a segment on spoiled home health workers living in largesse that we all missed?

    The only reason the Obama Administration’s regulations are described as “controversial” is because the Republicans seemingly have a problem with people being paid a minimum amount of money for services rendered. Home healthcare providers are currently excluded from minimum wage requirements, which is known as companionship exemption. And while the “Companionship Exemption Protection Act” sounds harmless, it’s nothing more than an attempt to enshrine below-minimum wages for millions of workers.

    I happen to personally know several home healthcare providers, and they work harder than anyone else I know and they’re usually on-call day and night.

    They take care of your parents and grandparents. Do the Republicans not have parents, or were they long ago replaced by Skrulls? The latter would explain a lot.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 02:09 PM ET, 06/13/2012
    Company at center of Romney’s latest attack didn’t move because of Obamacare
    By Greg Sargent

    Mitt Romney has debuted a new talking point on the campaign trail, arguing Obama is out of touch with the negative impact Obamacare is having on small businesses. This is designed to reinforce the larger case that Obama is detached from Americans’ economic difficulties.

    Romney’s claim is based on a local interview Obama gave in Iowa, in which the president was told by a reporter that a local company had closed and was moving jobs to Wisconsin because of Obamacare. Obama reacted with incredulity, noting that the law’s provisions impacting such a company haven’t been implemented yet. That led Romney to remark that Obama “didn’t understand that Obamacare was hurting small business,” and “you have to scratch your head about that.”

    ABC News did a good fact check of this claim, noting that Romney had distorted what Obama said. But it gets better still.

    It turns out that the company didn’t close because of Obamacare at all, according to a company spokesperson. What’s more, the company sees lack of demand as the key problem — a lack of demand that is partly due to the drive to repeal or modify Obamacare, not to the implementation of the law itself.

    The company in question is called Nemschoff Chairs, and it manufactures a whole range of health care furniture for waiting rooms and so forth. Around 100 jobs are being moved out of Iowa as part of a consolidation with another plant in Wisconsin, where around 50 of those jobs will be preserved.

    But Obamacare’s implementation had nothing to do with the decision, Mark Schurman, a spokesman for parent company Herman Miller, tells me.

    “We never said health care reform is the reason we’re closing and consolidating that operation,” Schurman said. “We never said it’s the result of the health care reform legislation.”

    Schurman said that lack of demand for the product was a leading culprit. He pointed to a variety of factors that are inducing companies that buy Nemschoff’s health care furniture to hold off, including general economic conditions, the continuing bad news from Europe, and — yes — the drive to repeal or change Obamacare in Congress and the Supreme Court.

    “The ongoing uncertainty surrounding what health care reform will take place has caused some health care provider customers and other related aspects of the industry to defer investments in their facilities,” Schurman said.

    “The issue is not the administration’s proposed reforms,” he continued. “The issue is that there is no certainty as to what reform is going to look like. Is it going to be repealed or modified? Is it going to be decided in June by the Supreme Court, or the election? Or decided through a series of lawsuits?”

    “The uncertainty is caused by the ongoing debate,” Schurman said. “Were there no ongoing debate, there would be no uncertainty.”

  29. rikyrah says:

    Dana Milbank: The Wall Street Senate
    By Dana Milbank, Published: June 13
    The Washington Post

    JPMorgan Chase boss Jamie Dimon has been a scourge of the Obama administration in recent months, but when he appeared on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Republicans found the head of the country’s largest bank to be alarmingly off-message.

    Dimon had little interest in joining Republicans in complaining that President Obama’s regulations destroyed capitalism as they knew it. In fact, he even had some kind words for the Dodd-Frank financial reforms. And the banker’s most passionate plea to the lawmakers was one that Republicans most emphatically don’t want to hear: Enact the Simpson-Bowles debt proposal, a package of spending cuts and — gulp — increased tax revenue that was largely scuttled by House Republicans.

    “If we had done something remotely like Simpson-Bowles,” Dimon said in response to Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) at the end of the hearing, “you would have increased confidence in America. You would have shown a real fix of the long-term fiscal problem. I think you would have had . . . a more effective tax system that is conducive to economic growth.”

    In fact, he said, not enacting such a plan “helped cause a downturn last year.”

    Ostensibly, Dimon went to Capitol Hill to be grilled about his bank’s loss of more than $2 billion on an investment strategy that amounted to a glorified game of craps. Members of the Senate banking committee were to determine whether stronger financial regulations would be needed to prevent such gambling. But tougher regulation is unlikely, given Wall Street’s bankrolling of panel members’ campaigns, and lawmakers acted as though they were wholly owned subsidiaries of JPMorgan.

    “Mr. Dimon,” said Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), it “occurs to me that an enterprise as big and powerful as yours, you’ve got a lot of firepower and you’re — you’re just huge.”

    “You’re obviously renowned, rightfully so, I think,” contributed Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), “as being one of the most, you know, one of the best CEOs in the country.”


  30. rikyrah says:

    June 13, 2012 11:51 AM

    The Fast and Furious Dog Whistle

    By Ed Kilgore

    If you are puzzled by the ever-intensifying obsession among conservatives with “getting” Attorney General Eric Holder—now involving a threatened House contempt of Congress motion, and calls for his resignation from leading GOP senators—Think Progress’ Ian Millhiser has a reminder of what the yelling over the ATF’s “Fast and Furious” operation is really “about:”

    Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of this affair is what [Rep. Darrell] Issa once suggested his investigation will uncover. In an interview with Sean Hannity, Issa claimed that the Obama administration “made a crisis” when they continued the Bush-era gunrunning operations because they wanted to “us[e] this crisis to somehow take away or limit people’s Second Amendment rights.” This accusation originates from a former militiaman who supports violent resistance to imagined government attempts to seize his guns. And it amounts to an accusation that a series of botched gun stings that begun during the Bush Administration were actually part of a secret Obama plot to release guns to Mexican drug lords, so that those guns could then be used to kill federal agents, which would then cause a national uprising in support of gun control.

    So at the most basic level, the effort to take down Holder isn’t just a garden-variety gambit aimed at blaming a Cabinet member and an administration for a botched operation hatched by underlings as part of a “gunwalking” tactic developed during the Bush administration. It’s part of the broader claim on the Right that Obama is secretly plotting to take away everybody’s guns. There is zero, absolutely zero, evidence for any Obama “assault on the Second Amendment,” which is precisely why people like Issa have to cook up a theory this crazy. Beneath all the talk is yet another sharp dog whistle to “the base.”

  31. rikyrah says:

    Legal voters may or may not have been purged from Florida rolls

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott often says that no actual citizens have been removed from the voter rolls in his program to make sure noncitizens don’t have the chance to cast ballots.

    “Not one person has been taken off the voter rolls that was a resident, a U.S. citizen who has the right to vote,” Scott, a Republican, said Tuesday in Miami.

    But that might not be the case.

    In two counties – Collier and Lee – at least nine people have been removed from the voter rolls under Scott’s program, and elections officials have no solid proof that those people are noncitizens. More could be purged soon.

    It’s that lack of certainty that concerns Democrats, liberals and voting-rights groups, who have sued the state to stop the program. On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice also filed suit.
    Critics say they worry that the program will spook legitimate voters who are immigrants.
    “This affects the immigrant community and the rumor mill is churning,” said Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, a Miami lawyer representing the Advancement Project and a coalition of other liberal-leaning groups opposed to the program.

    “People are in fear,” she said. “This is complicated and threatening.”

    But Scott said he’s trying to make sure ineligible voters aren’t fraudulently casting ballots and “diluting” lawful vote.

    More than 100 noncitizens have been spotted on the rolls so far, officials say, and nearly half might have voted.

    The numbers are small and isolated, in large part because Lee and Collier appear to be the only two major Florida counties that are continuing with the program of purging potential noncitizens if they fail to respond to the counties’ requests to proof citizenship.

    The other major Florida counties stopped the process amid concerns with the accuracy of a list of 2,700 potential noncitizens furnished by the state. The list disproportionately contained the names of actual citizens legally entitled to vote and incidentally happened to target more minorities than non-Latino whites and Republicans.

    Had the large counties continued with the program, the controversy and questions would only have grown, judging by what’s happening in the two Southwest Florida counties. The state’s program could have been massive. The state initially identified more than 180,000 potential noncitizens on the rolls.

    Read more here:

  32. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s continental divide
    By Eelin Reily – Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:25 PM EDT.

    Read today’s German newspapers (or try to, as I did in Berlin) in print and online, and it becomes readily apparent that President Obama isn’t having a very good month, so far. But the headlines don’t tell the full story.

    A new international Pew poll shows that a declining majority of German citizens still approve of President Obama, down to 52 percent among those surveyed from 64 percent three years ago. And on the surface that number appears alarming. Berlin, after all, is where Mr. Obama campaigned for the American presidency in the summer of 2008, drawing a massive crowd of 100,000 and comparisons to John F. Kennedy in a city where there is now a Kennedy museum.

    In short, Germans are disappointed with President Obama. In particular, with his policy of employing drone strikes on terrorism suspects, which likely isn’t going to be at the list of any reason why Americans are disappointed with Mr. Obama’s performance. Only 38 percent of those surveyed approved of the Obama administration’s strategy (just 37 percent in France).

    But despite President Obama’s declining approval ratings on the European continent, an overwhelming majority see no reason to change course. Nearly nine in 10 say they’d like to see Mr. Obama elected to a second term.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Bitches Brew in the morning?

    thank you

  34. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

  35. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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