Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread | Michael Jackson Week!



Hat tip Rikyrah

A boy and a girl listen to President Obama while he speaks at Symphony Hall, Boston, June 25

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83 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread | Michael Jackson Week!

  1. Ametia says:

    Filmmaker and writer Nora Ephron has died, her son Jacob Bernstein told The New York Times. She was 71.

    Ephron was nominated for three screenwriting Oscars for “Silkwood,” “When Harry Met Sally” and “Sleepless in Seattle.”

  2. rikyrah says:

    Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:30 AM PDT.

    White House dismisses Issa’s seven-page letter on executive privilege in ‘Fast and Furious’+*

    by Meteor Blades

    Rep. Darrell Issa sent a seven-page letter to the White House Monday taking issue with President Obama’s assertion of executive privilege over documents related to the government’s actions in the “Fast and Furious” case. Administration spokesman Eric Schultz has delivered a brief, serrated reply.
    Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wrote that the invoking of executive privilege was unjustified and merely “for the purpose of further obstructing a congressional investigation”:

    [Y]our privilege assertion means one of two things. Either you or your most senior advisors were involved in managing Operation Fast & Furious and the fallout from it, including the false February 4, 2011 letter provided by the Attorney General to the Committee, or, you are asserting a Presidential power that you know to be unjustified solely for the purpose of further obstructing a congressional investigation. To date, the White House has steadfastly maintained that it has not had any role in advising the Department with respect to the congressional investigation. The surprising assertion of executive privilege raised the question of whether that is still the case

    Said Schultz:

    The Congressman’s analysis has as much merit as his absurd contention that Operation Fast and Furious was created in order to promote gun control. Our position is consistent with Executive Branch legal precedent for the past three decades spanning Administrations of both parties, and dating back to President Reagan’s Department of Justice. The Courts have routinely considered deliberative process privilege claims and affirmed the right of the executive branch to invoke the privilege even when White House documents are not involved.

    In a party-line vote of 23-17, the Oversight Committee last week approved a contempt citation against Attorney General Eric Holder on the grounds he has withheld documents necessary for the committee to complete its investigation of Fast and Furious.
    At issue is release of documents and communications related to the administration’s actions in a program by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that allowed guns bought by straw buyers in the United States to be passed along to members of violent Mexican drug gangs. The idea was to build cases against both the straw buyers and the drug lords that would otherwise have been difficult or impossible. What happened, however, is that the ATF lost track of many of the firearms, and some of them were used to kill people, perhaps as many as 150 Mexicans, according to authorities there, and one U.S. Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry.

    The program was similar to one first developed by the Bush administration in 2006. Hundreds of weapons in that operation, known as “Wide Receiver,” also went missing before the program was shut down. The Oversight Committee has not sought the testimony of members of the Bush administration, including Alberto Gonzales, who was attorney general when Wide Receiver was initiated.

    A vote of the full House on the committee’s contempt resolution against Holder is slated for Thursday. If the majority approves, it would be the first time ever that a chamber of Congress has cited an attorney general for contempt.

  3. Ametia says:


    Hours after the ruling, the Department of Homeland Security canceled agreements with seven Arizona police departments that deputized officers to arrest people on immigration violations while on street patrol.

    Federal immigration officers will help, but only if doing so conforms to the department’s priorities, including catching repeat violators and identifying and removing those who threaten public safety and national security, the department said.<b.

    HEY NOW!

  4. rikyrah says:

    Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 03:38 PM PDT.

    Jeff Flake: Apartheid ‘coincides with our moral standards’

    If Arizona voters think Apartheid was all that, they’ve got their guy in Rep. Jeff Flake.

    In 1987, Flake testified before the Utah State Senate in support of a resolution expressing support for the government of South Africa while racial segregation laws were enforced — largely to support U.S. mining interests in the region

    Of Apartheid, Flake claimed “it coincides with our moral standards,” and claimed that a majority of black South Africans didn’t “care one way or another or they don’t know about the situation.”
    The recording of that testimony comes on the heels of this, over the weekend:

    “For anybody to suggest that I in any way countenanced what the South Africans were doing or the policy of apartheid is offensive,” he said, saying the charge “baffles” him.

    What’s baffling is how Flake’s morality coincides with that of the Apartheid regime.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Don’t have to travel far to see the future

    By Kay June 26th, 2012

    I’m not surprised to find out that former Fox News personality John Kasich, Medicare fraud profiteer Rick Scott and Mitt Romney are planning a celebration if the Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare. I imagine they’ll be a lot of high-fiving and dancing in the aisles on the Right and among current and former media personalities.

    Reality keeps intruding on conservative fantasy, though. For the vast majority of us who are not political or media celebrities, we have seen the future of health care without reform and it is Texas:

    Last year, Luis Duran drove almost 200 miles to San Antonio to have a colonoscopy because he didn’t want to wait six months for an opening at a county clinic.
    A few days later, the doctor in San Antonio – a friend of a friend who had performed the screening for free – called to break the news that Duran, 51, had advanced colon cancer and needed immediate surgery.
    “I kind of broke down,” recalled Duran, a machine operator whose employer had terminated his health policy. “I said, ‘Doctor, I don’t have insurance, and I don’t have much money, but I won’t refuse to pay. Please help me.’”
    They say everything is bigger in Texas, and the problem of the uninsured is no exception. The Houston metropolitan area has one of the highest rates of uninsured people in America, and a health safety net imploding under the demands of too many people and too few resources. Almost one in three residents – more than a million people—lack health insurance, and about 400 are turned away every day from the county hospital district’s call center because they can’t be accommodated at any of its 23 community or school-based centers.
    Those seeking care at the public hospital’s ER, meanwhile, arrive with blankets and coolers full of sandwiches and drinks in anticipation of waits that may go 24 hours or longer.
    “If the Affordable Care Act is overturned, the rest of the country should take a good look at the situation in Texas, because this is what happens when you keep Medicaid enrollment as low as possible and don’t undertake insurance reforms,” said Elena M. Marks, a health policy scholar at Rice University’s James Baker Institute for Public Policy and a former city health official.

    What do conservatives in Texas offer in response to this public health emergency? A theory. A marketing slogan. A phrase cooked up and refined at a think-tank round table:

    Opponents of the federal health care law see the problem of the uninsured very differently. They object not just to the price tag of expanding coverage to millions more people, but to the whole philosophy behind it.
    Texans are individualistic and value their freedoms and responsibilities, said Lucy Nashed, spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry, who notes Medicaid spending is a big part of Texas’ budget.
    “Individual responsibility is about making healthy choices and taking ownership of your lifestyle—not just about buying health insurance,” Nashed said. “And you can’t legislate a healthy lifestyle.”

  6. rikyrah says:

    Charles Pierce on Claire McCaskill not going to the DNC Convention:

    Is there a Democratic incumbent outside of the state of West Virginia less worth re-electing than Claire McCaskill in Missouri? That it remains vitally important that she be re-elected makes me want to remove my eyeballs with fondue forks. And, no, I don’t believe the anonymous aide’s bullshit explanation, either.

    One day, Claire. The voters of Missouri can’t spare the electricity of your very presence for one fcking day so you can support a president of your own party, and express solidarity with the national party that you’re going to need to get re-elected so you can go back to the Senate and start worrying about “common ground” again? It’s one thing to be a coward. It’s another to be an ingrate. It’s quite amazing to be both.

  7. rikyrah says:

    NBC/WSJ poll: Obama, Romney remain in dead heat

    By NBC News Senior Political Editor Mark Murray

    President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney remain locked in a tight contest, with each candidate displaying significant strengths and weaknesses four months before Election Day, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

    For Obama, he runs stronger than Romney does in the key swing states, and he holds a strong base of support among young voters, African Americans and Latinos. What’s more, the president continues to be personally popular

    In the poll, the president leads his presumptive challenger by three points among registered voters, 47 to 44 percent, which is within the survey’s margin of error.

    Last month, Obama’s edge over Romney was four points, 47 to 43 percent.

    Also in the current poll, the president’s overall approval rating stands at 47 percent (down a point from May), and his favorable-unfavorable score is 48 to 38 percent (which is essentially unchanged).

    “It looks like a dead heat on a merry-go-round,” Hart adds. “The position of the two horses has not changed.”

    Obama is ahead among African Americans (92 to 1 percent), women (52 to 39 percent), Latinos, voters ages 18-29 (52 to 35 percent) and independents (40 to 36 percent).

    Romney leads among Tea Party supporters (94 to 1 percent), whites (53 to 38 percent) and men (48 to 43 percent).

    And the two are running even among seniors, Midwest residents and high-interest voters.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Reid calls Paul abortion measure ‘ridiculous’
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:37 PM EDT.

    Among the many things Congress has on its to-do list this week is a flood-insurance bill, which is being pushed fairly aggressively by the leadership in both parties. It reauthorizes the National Flood Insurance for five years, before it expires next month, and it’s been widely expected that the bill would pass fairly easily.

    It has, however, run into a little trouble. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is demanding an amendment to the flood-insurance bill: the Life at Conception Act, which would define life as beginning at conception. Paul’s language states that “Congress hereby declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being.”

    What does Rand Paul’s take on reproductive rights have to do with flood insurance? Nothing, but Paul doesn’t much care.

    Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called this “ridiculous” and said he wouldn’t allow a vote on Paul’s amendment.

    Of course, in the larger context, it’s hard not to marvel at the Republicans’ laser-like focus on jobs, jobs, jobs culture-war legislation. This is precisely what GOP candidates promised voters in the 2010 midterms, right?

    Update: Rand Paul, an alleged libertarian, also want to use federal power to change abortion laws in the District of Columbia, even if the people of D.C. disagree.

    • Ametia says:

      “LET DETROIT GO BANKRUPT” That’s right, Mr. President; you tell folks what Romney said, because the media isn’t going to do it.

  9. rikyrah says:

    these slave catching sambo muthafuckas

    Ametia…where is that COON GRAPHIC?


    Voter suppression through the looking glass
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:22 PM EDT.

    In recent years, Republican officials, most notably at the state level, have created several new barriers to prevent Americans from participating in elections. The voter-suppression tactics have included everything from voter-ID laws to restrictions of voter-registration drives to closing early-voting windows.

    The tactics deliberately affect voting constituencies that traditionally vote Democratic: African Americans, Latinos, low-income seniors, and young people. But Herman Cain and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell have a new video arguing that reality is upside down: supporters of voter-suppression tactics, they argue, are actually on the side of civil rights.

    can assure you this video is not a parody; it’s not intended as satire; Cain and Blackwell are not trying to look ridiculous on purpose; and if you found yourself laughing at the clip, the humor was unintentional.

    Ed Kilgore was as floored by the video as I was.

    If for some reason you can’t access this video, it’s an ad from famous African-American right-wingers Ken Blackwell and Herman Cain attacking Eric Holder for failing to protect the right to vote by refusing to pursue the hallucinatory New Black Panther Party voter intimidation “threat” and by persecuting poor Rick Scott, who’s just trying to protect the “integrity” of the ballot box. This rolls out after images from the civil rights movement and a pious statement from the duo about the hard-fought right to vote.

    Yes, there are two sides to the larger fight. On the one hand, we have the nation’s first African American Attorney General, who’s fought back against Republican voter-suppression tactics. On the other, we have white GOP officials who are trying to rig the elections by making it harder for African Americans to register and vote.

    As far as Herman Cain and Ken Blackwell are concerned, if you care about civil rights, you’ll side with the latter, and throw the former out of office.


    Indeed, Cain and Blackwell even see themselves as an extension of the purple-fingered Iraqi voters who Republicans exploited as a partisan cudgel seven years ago.

    I’m tempted to say Cain and Blackwell should be ashamed of themselves for engaging in this pathetic stunt, defending the very people trying to stifle African American voting, and celebrating right-wing voter-suppression tactics as part of the civil rights struggle, but I suspect these two are well past the point of feeling any shame at all.

  10. Ametia says:

    Posted at 04:10 PM ET, 06/26/2012
    Student loan rate deal reached, Senate leaders say
    By Rosalind S. Helderman

    Top leaders in the Senate say they have reached a deal on freezing student loan rates for another year, though they are still deciding the mechanics for how the proposal should make its way through the Congress in the final busy days before lawmakers leave Washington for a week-long July 4 holiday.
    The compromise has appeared a near inevitability for weeks–since Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney joined President Obama in calling for Congress to keep rates from doubling on July 1.
    But Republicans and Democrats have been stuck on how to pay for the $6 billion cost–and over who was more to blame for the continued impasse. Without a resolution, Obama traveled the country to push for congressional action, even as Republicans bashed him for failing to help negotiate a deal.
    “We basically have the student loan issue worked out,” Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters Tuesday. “The next question is, what do we put it on to make sure we can complete it?”
    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reiterated concerns that Obama has been “largely uninvolved,” but said that he and Reid “have an understanding we think will be acceptable to the House.”

  11. Ametia says:

    Rikyrah, where are you? LOOKIE

    University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan has been reinstated.

    The Board of Visitors’ vote was 15-0, the university tweeted.

    Sullivan was removed earlier this month without a vote and without an initial explanation. Rector Helen Dragas said later “the university wasn’t acting quickly enough to address state and federal funding reductions, online education delivery and other challenges, but didn’t offer specific examples of how she thinks Sullivan has fallen short,” AP wrote earlier.

    Sullivan is U.Va.’s eighth president and became its first female leader in August 2010.

  12. Ametia says:

    Rielle Hunter, Tired of ‘Hiding,’ Split With John Edwards

    June 26, 2012

    Rielle Hunter and John Edwards have ended their controversial affair after it ruined Edwards’ political career, wrecked his marriage, was detailed in a criminal trial and relived in a tell-all memoir.

    Hunter said today that one reason they split up was because she was “no longer interested in hiding.”

    The former mistress dropped her bombshell during an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America.”

    Video on ABC:

  13. Ametia says:

    Loved L.O’s takedown of this bitch

  14. Ametia says:

    Wonder how the GOP and the NRA sleep at night, knowing that they are nominating the guy who signed the assault weapons ban in Massachusetts.

    Romney signs off on permanent assault weapons ban:

    IDIOTS, the lot of them…

  15. Ametia says:

    Speculation grows that Roberts will write majority opinion in health-care case
    By Robert Barnes, Tuesday, June 26, 12:44 PM

    Is Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. preparing a life preserver for President Obama’s health-care act or a stake?

    Monday’s action in the Supreme Court’s penultimate day of decisions may not have done much to shed light on what the justices have concluded about the Affordable Care Act. But it did lead most to believe that Roberts will be writing the majority opinion in the case.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:02 PM ET, 06/26/2012
    Despite GOP governor’s request, Romney camp hypes bad news in Iowa

    By Greg Sargent

    A few weeks ago, Terry Branstad, the Republican governor of Iowa, went public with his complaints about the Romney campaign’s tendency to hype the bad economic news in his state. Branstad questioned the Romney camp’s release of a web video highlighting the plight of the unemployed in Iowa — where the unemployment rate of 5.1 percent is significantly lower than the national average.

    “My state is seeing significant growth,” Branstad said. “We are doing very well.”

    Today, with Vice President Joe Biden in the state for an event, the Romney campaign has chosen to defy Branstad’s request.

    The Romney camp is out with an extensive new attack that blares: “IOWANS CONCERNED ABOUT THEIR FUTURE IN THE OBAMA ECONOMY.”

    “Vice President Biden is back in Iowa today to sell voters on the disappointing results of President Obama’s economic policies,” a Romney spokeperson says. “But Iowans — like all Americans — are still struggling to make ends meet in the Obama economy.”

    “Nearly One In Five Iowans Experienced Economic Insecurity In 2010, A 26-Year High,” the release proclaims.

    In one sense, the Romney camp’s attack today is an answer to the dilemma it faces in the case of Republicans like Branstad. It relentlessly references the “Obama economy” and “Obama’s economic policies” in highlighting Iowans’ continued struggles, as if to clarify that the criticism shouldn’t blow back on Branstad. At the same time, though, the Romney message today is clearly at odds with Branstad’s previous request that the Romney camp tone down the doom and gloom talk about his state, as well as with his Branstad’s claim that things are improving rapidly there.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 06/26/2012
    It isn’t easy being a black Republican

    By Jamelle Bouie

    This morning’s Post has a fascinating profile of Mia Love, the black Republican — and Mormon — who is running to represent Utah’s 4th District. If elected, she would be the first black female Republican to serve in Congress, and only the sixth black Republican to serve since the end of Reconstruction. That said, Republicans are fooling themselves if they think she will help build inroads into the African American community, as some Republicans appear to believe:

    Now, her congressional race against a popular incumbent whom Republicans have struggled to defeat has made Love a minor celebrity among GOP stalwarts. […]

    “Mia has a great opportunity to extend the message of liberty and economic freedom in ways that a lot of us can’t, and we’re excited about that,” said House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.) after hosting a fundraiser for her in Park City on Friday night.

    A while back, I described a dilemma that faces ambitious black politicians. Because of the districts and cities they represent — mostly black, mostly liberal, and lower-income — they have a harder time finding the money and support they need to win state-wide races. But, as I also pointed out, this ceiling doesn’t exist for black Republicans, and it’s not hard to see why. Unlike their Democratic counterparts, black Republicans tend to represent white districts — after all, the vast majority of African Americans vote Democratic. If a black Republican wants to serve in Congress, she needs to win in a mostly white district.

    The upside is that this makes it easier to run for statewide office. She’ll be closer to the median Utah voter and have greater opportunities for fundraising than a black Democrat representing a mostly black district. The downside, for Republicans, is that she holds little appeal to black voters; the low-tax, low-service platform of the current GOP doesn’t magically gain appeal when presented by African American politicians.

  18. rikyrah says:

    GOP continues to struggle over immigration issues, Latinos:

    Good stuff from Peter Wallsten, who reports that yesterday’s Arizona ruling is only intensifying a major problem for the GOP: How can Romney and Republicans avoid alienating Latinos when their base adores immigration policies (such as the Arizona law) that Latinos despise?

    Romney’s solution has been to try to create the appearance that he’s moderating his post-primary immigration tune, without taking actual policy positions on the most pressing problems associated with the issue. Nor will he say whether he’d repeal Obama’s current solution to them

  19. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 07:55 AM ET, 06/26/2012
    The Morning Plum: Obama escalates attack on Romney as `outsourcer in chief’

    By Greg Sargent

    “Does Virginia really want an outsourcer-in-chief in the White House?”

    That’s the closing line of a harsh new ad campaign the Obama team has just launched — with versions airing in three key swing states — which means the Obama campaign is escalating the attacks on Mitt Romney’s Bain years in a big way.

    The ads are based on the Post’s big story reporting that Bain invested in companines that were “pioneers” in the practice of shipping work overseas. What’s noteworthy is that the ads use these revelations to undermine Romney’s aura of economic competence, which Americans seem prepared to accept that he possesses, if polls are any indication:

    The spots open with footage of Romney’s own positive ads claiming that in the early days of his presidency, he’ll unleash a wave of job creation and economic growth. “But would he?” the ads ask, before pivoting to the outsourcing revelations.

    Many commentators have questioned the Obama strategy of attacking Romney’s Bain years, suggesting that the election will turn on the state of the economy and nothing else.. But it’s now clear that the Obama team sees this line of attack as absolutely central to defining Romney in the crucial months before the campaign kicks into high gear with the conventions at the end of the summer.

  20. rikyrah says:

    The Anatomy of a Republican Propaganda Campaign
    By: Adalia WoodburyJune 26, 2012

    Of the various explanations for Scott Walker’s recall victory in Wisconsin, Deborah Foster’s article on the value of framing the issues is the most compelling and the most viable.

    The GOP’s propaganda is well orchestrated, simple and powerful. The stuff is powerful to the point that we don’t realize it’s happening to us. We would like to think we are above it, or at least intelligent enough to recognize it when it comes knocking on our doors, in the form of “fair and balanced” reporting or as a commercial.

    After all, commercials are really just about providing snippets of information, be it to inform of us a product or a person. In politics, commercials are really just about informing us about politicians, their ideas or the horrible things the other guy has done.

    For our mockery of the GOP’s goosestepping in unison as they repeat the same talking points over and over again, the reality is, it’s a tried and true technique. Be it for something as innocuous as selling jeans or something more sinister, communicating the same message over and over again, compels us to act on the message and makes it possible to believe the absurd. One classic example is the lie that President Obama is a secret Muslim, Kenyan, who came up with this sinister plan to take the presidency in the United States prior to his birth,

    Another classic example of this is seen in “fast and furious”. Unlike the test marketed talking points on health care and tax reform, the mythology from which GOP propaganda on fast and furious had comparatively more humble beginnings in the person of Michael Vanderboegh on his blog, Sipsy Street Irregulars.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Republicans Have Been Emboldened by a Lazy Media that Won’t Call Out Their Lies
    By: RmuseJune 26, 2012

    One would think that when politicians give statements or speeches that are disseminated by the media, they most certainly would not be bald-faced lies because there are too many, nearly instantaneous, sources to check for veracity. However, at this point in time it is best to assume that every Republican utterance is mendacious, and it is in part because their veracity is never challenged and they know they are saying exactly what a certain demographic wants to hear whether it is true or not. This week, John Boehner nearly equaled Willard Romney as the biggest liar in the Republican ranks followed closely by ex-governor and senatorial candidate from Wisconsin, Tommy Thompson. The media is remiss to label any politician a liar, but there comes a point when misleading, embellishing, or mischaracterizing fails to describe what Republicans have become; habitual and dangerous liars.

    In a television ad for his campaign for the U.S. Senate, Tommy Thompson said that if voters send him to Washington, he will “stop the government takeover of health care by repealing Obamacare.” In 2010, Politifact deemed “government takeover of healthcare” the “Lie of the Year,” and regardless if one supports the Affordable Care Act or not, it is certainly not government takeover of healthcare. Thompson’s grievous lie, however, pales in comparison to Speaker John Boehner who, in a memo to his rank-and-file that was “shared widely with reporters,” said that with the “economy still recovering, the GOP needs to keep its focus squarely on jobs.”

    Boehner promised in the lead up to the 2010 midterm elections that Republicans’ highest priority was jobs, jobs, jobs, and yet for the past year-and-a-half, he led his teabagger caucus on a job-killing spree with Draconian spending cuts. Besides, Boehner is still sitting on President Obama’s jobs measures as well as nearly 3 million construction jobs he will not allow to come up for a vote unless the oil industry gets their coveted KeystoneXL pipeline approval. The only thing Republicans have focused on since January 2009 was obstructing all of the President’s agenda, and punishing women, children, seniors, and Veterans with severe budget cuts to make room for more tax cuts for the wealthy, and lest not forget, that when Boehner was informed that the Republican spending cuts would kill 1.1 million jobs, he cavalierly said, “so be it.” Then there is the king of liars, Willard Romney.

    In the past week, Willard told no fewer than 30 lies that were not just mischaracterizations or misstatements, but “enormous whoppers.” There is not room here to enumerate all thirty of Willard’s flagrant lies, but some are just too outrageous to ignore. For one, Romney said, in referring to healthcare reform, that President Obama “jammed through a bill and didn’t really try and work for a Republican vote.” The truth is that for months the President searched in vain for even one Republican to support the healthcare reform bill and was met with obstruction throughout the entire process. Romney also said that the president’s trillion- dollar stimulus failed to create jobs;” it is generally agreed that it created more than 3 million jobs as well as started the economy growing immediately. Romney also borrowed 2010’s lie of the year and said that “under Obamacare we’ll get a healthcare system run by the government.” Of course it is untrue, but with Willard’s pathological lying disorder, nothing is too outrageous; especially if it frightens stupid Americans, and that is a major reason Willard, Boehner and men like Thompson continue lying.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Sociopathic Justice

    by BooMan
    Mon Jun 25th, 2012 at 10:48:19 PM EST

    You have to scroll down a lot to find Clarence Thomas’s dissent in Miller v. Alabama (which was joined by Scalia), but it’s worth it. The case involved two different murders committed by 14 year olds. Actually, only one of them directly killed anyone. The other kid was guilty of murder because he was implicated in the crime that led to the victim’s death. Both of these kids received life sentences without the possibility of parole. Today, the court ruled in a 5-4 decision that those sentences were unconstitutional. The specific problem was that the judges had no discretion. Once convicted, the judges had to impose this harsh sentence. The Court said that each case involving juveniles must be considered individually on its own merits. In other words, a mandatory minimum sentence of life without the possibility of parole for a juvenile, may be cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. As a result, states cannot set such harsh mandatory minimum sentences for juveniles. The two kids can still be sentenced to life without parole, but only after a judge looks at their cases again, with the benefit of discretion.
    I hope that is clear.

    Justice Thomas has a different view. He thinks that the cruel and unusual standard should only apply to the method(s) of punishment. If being locked in a jail cell isn’t cruel or unusual, then no sentence to any amount of jail time can be cruel or unusual. Using his logic, a state legislature could make stealing from the cookie jar a crime punishable by twenty years in prison and that would not be cruel or unusual. In fact, a sentence of life without parole would be perfectly legitimate. He really, truly argues this.

    Justice Roberts is hardly any better in his dissent. He simply states that there is nothing unusual about people serving time in prison. Sure, some sentences might be cruel, but unless they are both cruel and unusual, then there is no problem.

    Justice Alito thinks the Court has no right to hold our society to a higher level of decency than when we just hung people from public gallows or shot them down in public executions. If we burned witches in Salem, who are we to think we’re so much more enlightened today? The country’s moral fiber has been eroding since Leave It to Beaver was cancelled so, obviously, however we treated child convicts in the 1780’s should be acceptable today.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal

    June 26, 2012 11:17 AMPay
    Those Bills On Time Or Forfeit Right To Vote

    By Ed Kilgore

    If the 2012 general election winds up as a close GOP win, the odds are very high that the national GOP drive to restrict the franchise will deserve significant credit or blame. You tend to think, quite rightly, of Florida as Ground zero for voter suppression, given that state’s decentralized voter administration system and the zest the state’s Republicans have shown for stealing elections in the name of “preventing” stolen elections. But it’s actually staid and civil Iowa that is exhibiting one of the boldest exercises in tilting the ballot box, via Gov. Terry Branstad’s determination to reduce the restoration of voting rights for ex-felons to a number closely approximating zero. The AP’s Ryan Foley has the story:

    Republican Gov. Terry Branstad has made Iowa one of the most difficult states in the nation for felons to vote, with an executive order he issued last year already having disenfranchised thousands of people, a review by The Associated Press shows.

    On the day he took office, Branstad signed an order reversing a six-year policy started under Democrat Tom Vilsack in which felons automatically regained their voting rights once they were discharged from state supervision. The move flew in the face of a nationwide trend to make voting easier for felons, making Iowa one of four states where felons must apply to the governor to have voting rights restored. Branstad’s new process requires applicants to submit a credit report, a provision critics call inappropriate and unique among states.

    Since then, 8,000 felons in Iowa have finished their prison sentences or been released from community supervision, but less than a dozen have successfully navigated the process of applying to get their citizenship rights back, according to public records obtained by the AP.

    A credit report to regain the right to vote? That’s about the most revealing reflection of latter-day Republican values I’ve seen in a while. As is this quote:

    The state’s new top elections official, Republican Secretary of State Matt Schultz, urged Branstad to reinstate the application process to “send a message to Iowa’s voters that their voting privilege is sacred and will not be compromised.”

    Voting’s a “privilege,” not a right, you see. There’s not a question in my mind that these people would reinstitute poll taxes if the courts and Grover Norquist would let them.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Impeachment is not a toy, redux
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Jun 26, 2012 12:33 PM EDT.

    As if Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl’s (R-Ariz.) comments yesterday about President Obama weren’t troubling enough, this morning he appeared on Bill Bennett’s radio show and used the “i” word.

    The host asked about compelling the Obama administration to “cooperate” with state immigration efforts, like those in Arizona. Kyl walked through the options.

    “If the president insists on continuing to ignore parts of the law that he doesn’t like, and simply not enforce that law, the primary remedy for that is political. And you have it two ways: one is oversight through the Congress to demonstrate what they’re doing wrong and there are some potential criminal charges there for dereliction of duty. Although, I haven’t looked that up yet. And the other part of it is people need to react through the ballot box to turn out of office those people who are not doing their duty.

    “Now if it’s bad enough and if shenanigans involved in it, then of course impeachment is always a possibility. But I don’t think at this point anybody is talking about that.”

    Obviously, Kyl didn’t push for presidential impeachment, but the fact that a member of the Republican Senate leadership is willing to even use the word when talking about disagreements over immigration policy is a little unsettling.

    Worse, this keeps coming up.


    As we talked about in April, Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) wants to impeach Obama because of “all of the czars,” while Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) talked in March about impeaching Obama for no apparent reason. What’s more, Fox News’ Neil Cavuto suggested in January that Obama might be open to impeachment over recess appointments; Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) has raised the prospect of impeaching Obama over DOMA; and Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) talked up the idea of presidential impeachment because “it would tie things up” in Washington for a while, making governing impossible. Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) even introduced an impeachment resolution, just in case Obama sends troops to Syria.

    What’s more, in 2010, both Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) also raised the specter of impeaching Obama.

    To be sure, no one is seriously pursuing this, but the sooner lawmakers realize that impeachment is not a toy, the better.

  25. Ametia says:

    Soledad on romney’s dodge

  26. Ametia says:

    Confrontation With TSA Agent Leaves Grandpa’s Ashes On Floor

    Indianapolis Man Furious Over Treatment At Florida Airport Checkpoint
    INDIANAPOLIS — A man’s attempt to bring the ashes of his grandfather home to Indianapolis ended with an angry scene in a Florida airport, with the ashes spilled on the terminal floor.
    John Gross, a resident of Indianapolis’ south side, was leaving Florida with the remains of his grandfather — Mario Mark Marcaletti, a Sicilian immigrant who worked for the Penn Central Railroad in central Indiana — in a tightly sealed jar marked “Human Remains.”

    Gross said he didn’t think he’d have a problem, until he ran into a TSA agent at the Orlando airport.
    “They opened up my bag, and I told them, ‘Please, be careful. These are my grandpa’s ashes,'” Gross told RTV6’s Norman Cox. “She picked up the jar. She opened it up.
    “I was told later on that she had no right to even open it, that they could have used other devices, like an X-ray machine. So she opened it up. She used her finger and was sifting through it. And then she accidentally spilled it.”

    Gross says about a quarter to a third of the contents spilled on the floor, leaving him frantically trying to gather up as much as he could while anxious passengers waited

  27. rikyrah says:

    It’s not a race for sixth-grade class president
    By Steve Benen –

    Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:11 AM EDT.

    I sometimes think about something President Obama said in his inaugural address: “We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.”

    If someone could let Obama’s opponent know, I’d appreciate it.

    For the second time in as many weeks, Mitt Romney’s campaign taunted President Barack Obama outside a speech.

    Romney’s campaign bus circled Obama’s fundraiser at Boston Symphony Hall Monday night several times, according to Romney deputy press secretary Ryan Williams and verified by several onlookers who said it was honking its horn as it passed.

    Williams told BuzzFeed that the bus made “a few” laps before local police closed the roads around the venue before Obama’s arrival. They plan on bringing the bus back after Obama leaves to attend another fundraiser.

    Did the bus laps and honking disrupt the event? Actually, no — the president’s appearance was indoors and attendees couldn’t see or hear the Romney campaign’s antics. As Kevin Drum noted, “[T]he bus didn’t interrupt anyone trying to speak, it didn’t block any entrances, and it didn’t harass anyone trying to get in.”

    So what was the point? Kevin thinks this is about the Romney campaign sending a signal to the Republican Party’s right-wing base, which apparently revels in nonsense like this, that the GOP nominee hates the president every bit as much as they do. That’s certainly plausible.

    I also wonder, though, whether the Romney campaign is simply run by overgrown children who think the race for the presidency of the United States during a time of global crisis is qualitatively similar to a race for sixth-grade class president.


    Indeed, as we discussed last week, the Romney campaign keeps doing this. Team Romney has a set of standard tactics, which include sending press releases, giving speeches, putting together ads, raising money, and apparently heckling. And instead of distancing himself from childish antics, the candidate himself has personally taken ownership of the tactics. Romney seems rather proud of the heckling.

  28. Ametia says:

    This bitch is crazy as HELL

    Weak on foreign policy? Really? Who started 2 wars and left America in debt and in a shithole? Your precious G-Dubyah Bush.

    Who got Osama? OBAMA, BEY-OTCH!

  29. Ametia says:


    In Alabama Prisons, the Less Sheriffs Spend on Food for Inmates, the More They Earn
    By Adam Peck

    It took almost three quarters of a century, but one Sheriff in Alabama is finally speaking out against a 1939 law that allows for the state’s 67 sheriffs to keep leftover money the state provides to each municipality for feeding inmates in local prisons.

    Sheriff Mike Rainey reportedly received $295,294 from the local, state and federal governments to spend on food for the county’s inmate population. But thanks to the old law, Rainey is entitled to pocket any money left over after he fulfills his responsibility of feeding his inmates.

    It’s not hard to imagine how such a system could lead to massive corruption. In 2009, former Morgan County Sheriff Greg Bartlett was himself put behind bars after he admitted to keeping more than $200,000 from the prison’s food budget while the inmates he oversaw were provided with inadequate food.

    Remarkably, Bartlett may not have actually broken any laws, a point the Alabama Sheriffs Association made to defend Bartlett during his trial.

  30. Ametia says:

    America Blog points out that yesterday Romney criticized big Government in front of a government-subsidized farm in Pennsylvania

    Even better, the owners of the heavily subsidized farm don’t like Obama, but they can’t pinpoint why. Gosh, whatever could that mean? Keep in mind that Lebanon County,

    Pennsylvania doesn’t have the largest African-American population and is well below the statewide numbers but I’m sure that has nothing to do with their opinion.

    **Yes, Mitt Romney, because we all know dem NEGROES luvs themselves some Gubment handouts!

    The Romney campaign is really on a roll these days bashing Obama and Big Government and then choosing bad locations to tell their story.

  31. Tuere Crawford says:

    How may I find a copy of the little boy and little girl watching Obamas speech at Symphony Hall?

  32. Ametia says:

    Blue Virginia points out that today Mitt Romney is holding a campaign rally at Carter Machinery in Salem, a company that has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the American Recovery Act, legislation Romney opposes:

    This oughta be interesting!

  33. Ametia says:

    Joe Scarborough reacted on MSNBC this morning: “Romney doesn’t want people to know what he believes”

  34. Ametia says:

    In case you missed it: Paul Waldman captures the agony that was Romney campaign spokesperson Rick Gorka’s non-answer on yesterday’s immigration ruling:“I’m sure that he would have much rather delivered a forthright explanation of his candidate’s clear and unambiguousposition on the issue, but since his candidate has no such position, he wastasked with saying nothing, over and over, to a bunch of reporters.”

  35. Ametia says:

    More Romney news!

    Left In Alabama tackles the Romney Campaign’s response: “Is Mitt Romney an outsourcing pioneer, or as Romney’s campaign insists, an offshoring pioneer? For Americans who need jobs on these shores, that’s a distinction without a difference. Neither Mitt deserves to be in the White House.”

    And Mike Lux sums up what abad week it’s been for Romney Economics:

    And don’t miss this Doonesbury cartoon, with the simplest break down of Romney Economics so far:

  36. Ametia says:


    Today, OFA released three new campaign ads in Virginia, Iowa, and Ohio. The Virginia ad highlights Mitt Romney’s history of investing in firms that were pioneers in shipping American jobs overseas.The other state-specific ads in Iowa and Ohio, take on his claim that he will stand up to China — a claim disproven by his record. Does America want an Outsourcer-in-Chief in the Oval Office.

  37. rikyrah says:

    What Jon Kyl considers a factual statement
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:28 AM EDT.

    Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R), who represents Arizona, issued a curious press release.
    “I note that in his response to today’s Supreme Court ruling, President Obama called on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. I also note that the bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill I helped draft in 2007 was killed — in part — by then-Senator Obama.

    Clearly, expectations for honesty are low when it comes to the politician who made “not intended to be a factual statement” famous, but even by Kyl’s low standards, this is unnerving.

    First, Obama, as a U.S. senator in 2007, didn’t vote to kill comprehensive immigration reform; he voted for it. Kyl’s version of reality is the opposite of the one the rest of us live in.

    Second, though Kyl bragged yesterday about the bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill he “helped draft” five years ago, if we actually look back at the Senate record, we see that the Arizona Republican voted to filibuster the bill. Jon Kyl is falsely accusing Obama of doing what Jon Kyl actually did.

    Maybe yesterday’s press release wasn’t intended to be a factual statement, either?

    Kyl’s Arizona colleague, Sen. John McCain (R), meanwhile, had his own take on recent events yesterday, which was nearly as ridiculous.


    By way of Benjy Sarlin, we see that McCain was on Fox News last night, talking about politics.

  38. rikyrah says:

    I LOVE the pic of the children. says so much

  39. rikyrah says:

    Teresa Sullivan: The ousted U-Va. leader who may regain the post
    By Daniel de Vise, Jenna Johnson and Donna St. George, Published: June 25
    CHARLOTTESVILLE — Early in her tenure as University of Virginia president, Teresa Sullivan sat down with her vice presidents and made this request: “Stay with me.”

    If they would remain in their jobs for 18 months, time for Sullivan to prove herself to them, she would give them at least that long to prove themselves to her.

    All of them stayed. But when the honeymoon was over, Sullivan’s job was on the line.

    Sullivan arrived at Virginia’s insular state flagship two years ago as the ultimate outsider. And she worked her way in, building a support network and winning allies across the length and width of the Grounds — from stodgy, old-guard alumni to the freshly minted students on the Lawn, from suits at the business school to costume designers in the drama department.

    “You can move fast, or you can move incrementally. But it doesn’t matter unless people follow you,” said David Leblang, the politics department chairman. “People follow her.”

    But out of the sight of faculty and students, dissent was deepening. Sullivan, it turned out, had a major blind spot: She apparently failed to detect an erosion in support from her governing board. Leaders of the Board of Visitors began working in secret last fall to build a case against her. Rector Helen E. Dragas, claiming the backing of other members, forced Sullivan’s resignation on June 10.

    To Sullivan’s critics on the board, her patient, deliberate approach was a liability. They wanted her to enact change, not pave the way for it — to stop running for president and be the president.

    “Simply put, we want the university to be a leader in fulfilling its mission, not a follower,” Dragas told the board last week.

    Dragas may have underestimated the breadth of Sullivan’s support. Virtually every conceivable campus constituency has mobilized in her defense, including students, academic deans and rank-and-file faculty members. Tuesday, the board that voted for an interim successor to Sullivan will gather here to consider giving her the job back.

    The groundswell for Sullivan was fueled by outrage over the board’s secrecy and debate over the mission of major public universities. But it is also a reflection of the support she has gathered on campus.

    “This woman has been president less than 24 months,” said Robert Kemp, a business professor. “And to see this outcry — I’ve never seen anything like it.”

    The image of Sullivan gliding past 2,000 screaming supporters and through the doors of the Rotunda on June 18 for a seemingly final encounter with the board illustrated how lopsided the battle for U-Va. really was.

    Yes, Dragas had allies on the board. But Sullivan had the people.

  40. rikyrah says:

    What’s Really Going On At The University of Virginia? ~ dog’s eye view

    Have you been watching the attempted coup at the University of Virginia? The Board of Visitors has attempted to oust UVa’s president. The Board is comprised primarily of big campaign donors to the previous and current governors, Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Bob McDonnell. There is no UVa faculty representative, and one non-voting student member. The rest are corporate executives, attorneys, and two hospital executives (UVa has a hospital and medical school).

    The coup was led by the Rector (Board Chair), Helen Dragas, a UVa alum and real estate developer from Virginia Beach. She employed subterfuge, and it’s blown up in her face.

    Rather than call a full board meeting to air the “philosophical differences” between President Teresa Sullivan and the Board, Dragas and her allies worked one on one with the board members, building support for removing Sullivan. Once she had commitments, and without ever calling a board meeting (which would have resulted in a full discussion), Dragas told Sullivan the Board was prepared to remove her.

    Sullivan took Dragas at her word, and resigned immediately rather than face a board fight.

    We’ve never gotten a straight answer on why the Board is doing this. Nefarious rumors fly, of intrigues among big donors (hedge fund millionaires and the like). Could Dragas be doing the bidding of Goldman Sachs and its for-profit online division? Was it a play to spin off the hospital? Who can say yet? Those who know are not talking, or talking through Hill & Knowlton PR (looking at you, Rector Dragas). The vice rector resigned early on, and has remained silent.

    I think this might be the tip of the iceberg where massive corporations, big money, and public education intersect. UVa gets only 7% of its funding from the Commonwealth of Virginia, but plunder of public goods is not a new topic. We live in an era of unprecedented institutional fail.

    So this whole debacle bears watching. I am enjoying the pushback. There will be a student-led rally on the University’s Lawn this afternoon at two, and I am there in spirit. The students feel their Rector’s activities do not meet the standards of UVa’s much admired honor code.

    It’s my hope that President Teresa Sullivan is reinstated and Rector Helen Dragas sent packing, if she won’t resign. Dragas’ term is up very soon, on July 1, and one would think she’s too radioactive for [aspiring GOP VP] Bob McDonnell to re-appoint.

    FWIW: Helen Dragas was appointed by Tim Kaine, former Democratic governor and current senatorial candidate. He supports reinstating President Sullivan, and – like everyone who’s gone on record, including current Governor Bob McDonnell — does not approve of the Board’s process (or lack thereof). Dragas has contributed to Democratic candidates.

    Charlottesville’s alt-weekly, The Hook, has been doing stellar reporting on this.

    The Washington Post has also been excellent, and how often can you say that these days? The Post published a series of email correspondence between Dragas and her allies, which UVa’s student newspaper, the Cavalier Daily, obtained via FOIA request.

  41. rikyrah says:

    June 24, 2012

    I’m so ashamed

    I learned something BIG this morning, and I learned it in the shockingly tardy 21st paragraph of the NY Times’ 25-paragraph story, “Wearing Brave Face, Obama Braces for Health Care Ruling.” Had I been Jodi Kantor’s editor, I would have made it the lede, because, well, like I said, this is BIG, as in Joe Biden Big–yes it’s that fucking big, or at least damn close to it. To wit,

    If the court strikes down the mandate and Mr. Obama wins in November, he could face one last version of his perpetual choice on health care: would he settle, learning to live with a sharply edited law? (Given that Republicans see the bill as a signature piece of big-government overreach, he might have no choice.)

    I’m immensely thankful to Ms. Kantor for opening my delusional eyes. You see, it’s been my impression, nay, my conviction, that Republicans plunged into palsied hysterics over President Obama’s GOP-Hertitage Foundation-Mitt Romney Affordable Care Act because Republicans are obstructionist hooligans who wish Obama every possible political harm. I thought Republicans plunged into palsied hysterics because they’re a treacherous pack hypocritical jackals. And I thought Republicans plunged into palsied hysterics because, simply, hysterics is what they do.

    But now I learn that I’m wrong, dreadfully wrong, and that I’ve been wrong wrong wrong for some time. Because Republicans, according to Jodi Kantor and the inestimable New York Times, plunged into palsied hysterics only because they see the bill as a signature piece of big-government overreach.

    I just looked out the window. Yes, the sky is blue. I opened the window. I heard the birds chirping. And yes, yes, children are playing delightedly and the breeze is cool and refreshing and I see that all around me it’s morning again in America–strike that, it has been morning in America all along, but I was too blind to see it, too deaf to hear it, too contemptuous of what I foolishly thought were villainously depraved and slitheringly decadent Republicans to appreciate it. And here they were, those honorable chaps, just sitting in genuine, good-faith, philosophical disagreement.

    I’m so ashamed of myself. So terribly ashamed.

  42. rikyrah says:

    In Montana, more shades of tomorrow

    Antonin Scalia, writing for himself and on the temperamental behalf of Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.:

    Arizona has moved to protect its sovereignty — not in contradiction of federal law, but in complete compliance with it. If securing its territory in this fashion is not within the power of Arizona, we should cease referring to it as a sovereign state.

    This, from the same Justices who today “effectively overturned a century-old Montana law that prohibited corporate spending on political races in the state.”

    We know where this Court would go, in terms of the Arizona law’s stricken provisions, under one or two President Romney additions. Virtually no one of intellectual integrity any longer views this Court as broadly endowed with intellectual integrity itself; and under Romney’s appointment power, the Court’s contemptibly selective love of states rights would proceed with accelerating force–crushing those rights whenever favorable to a more egalitarian democracy (as it did to the Montana law), and upholding them whenever favorable to a top-down kind of generic brutality (as the dissenters wanted to do for Arizona).

    Today, the media are emphatically concentrating on the Arizona decision–and understandably so, because of the ways in which it might affect the presidential race, as well as dozens of other states and millions of Latinos–yet the Montana decision was of at least equal import. Because in it, the Court demonstrated that it possesses no intention of backsliding on its determination to concentrate ever greater power in the hands of an ideologically friendly few.

  43. rikyrah says:

    Why a sharp drop in gas prices matters
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:40 AM EDT.

    Veteran Democratic pollster Peter Hart recently conducted a focus group in Colorado, and if President Obama’s supporters want to feel depressed, they should certainly read what the undecided voters had to say.

    One woman, a 49-year-old a customer service representative for an airline, said she’d consider voting for the president, but only if he “could do something huge, like really lower the price of gas.”

    Of course, the notion that Obama, by sheer force of will, can lower the price of gas is deeply foolish. The public’s expectations about presidential power are often wildly at odds with reality; one official has limited control over the supply and demand of a globally-traded commodity.

    On the other hand, gas prices really are dropping like a rock.

    This chart, posted by Meteor Blades yesterday, shows gas prices over the last year. You’ll notice that the cost per gallon has dropped about 50 cents since mid-April. What’s more, with production up, oil inventories high, and global economic difficulties slowing demand, industry estimates suggest prices will drop to “$3 a gallon — or less — by autumn.”

    Obviously, conditions may change, but that’s where things stand for now. Why should you care? There are two main angles to consider: the economics and the politics.


    On the former, the drop in gas prices is welcome news for consumers, but the reasoning behind the drop is not at all encouraging — crises in Europe and a weak domestic recovery are undermining demand, which in turn lower prices. Remember, after the crash in 2008, gas prices fell to about $1.80, but it wasn’t good news in a macro sense.

    That said, a drop in prices in the U.S. can put a little more money in consumers’ pockets, which may have a modest stimulative effect.

    But let’s not overlook the politics, either. Republicans have argued, repeatedly and without shame, that when gas prices were on the rise, this was entirely President Obama’s fault — many leading GOP voices argued with a straight face that the president was single handedly pushing gas prices up in an election year, on purpose.

    Indeed, Rebecca Leber pulled together some interesting quotes from the spring.

    Mitt Romney, March 18, 2012: “He gets full credit or blame for what’s happened in this economy, and what’s happened to gasoline prices under his watch, and what’s happened to our schools, and what’s happened to our military forces. All these things are his responsibility while he’s president.”

    House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), April 6, 2012: “The president holds the key to addressing the pain Ohioans are feeling at the gas pump and moving our nation away from its reliance on foreign energy. My question for the president is: what are you waiting for?”

    Boehner, April 6, 2012: “The president’s own policies to date have made matters worse and driven up gas prices.”

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Feb. 28 2012: “This President will go to any length to drive up gas prices and pave the way for his ideological agenda.”

    Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), March 13, 2012: Obama is “fully responsible for what the American public is paying for gasoline.”

    With this in mind, I’m inclined to once again wonder about some degree of accountability. Do Republicans still believe Obama is trying to get higher gas prices on purpose?

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

  44. rikyrah says:

    “Health Care As a Privilege: What the GOP Won’t Admit:”

    As we wait for a Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act this week, there is one urgent, overriding moral question at the heart of the health-care fight. Paradoxically, and maddeningly, there has not been any open moral debate over it. That question is whether access to basic medical care ought to be considered a right or something that is earned….

    Opponents of the law have endlessly invoked “socialism.” Nothing in the Affordable Care Act or any part of President Obama’s challenges the basic dynamics of market capitalism. All sides accept that some of us should continue to enjoy vastly greater comforts and pleasures than others. If you don’t work as hard as Mitt Romney has, or were born less smart, or to worse parents, or enjoyed worse schools, or invested your skills in an industry that collapsed, or suffered any other misfortune, then you will be punished for this. Your television may be low-definition, or you might not be able to heat or cool your home as comfortably as you would like; you may clothe your children in discarded garments from the Salvation Army.

    This is not in dispute. What is being disputed is whether the punishments to the losers in the market system should include, in addition to these other things, a denial of access to non-emergency medical treatment. The Republican position is that it should. They may not want a woman to have to suffer an untreated broken ankle for lack of affordable treatment. Likewise, I don’t want people to be denied nice televisions or other luxuries. I just don’t think high-definition television or nice clothing are goods that society owes to one and all. That is how Republicans think about health care.

    This is why it’s vital to bring yourself face-to face with the implications of mass uninsurance — not as emotional manipulation, but to force you to decide what forms of material deprivation ought to be morally acceptable. This question has become, at least at the moment, the primary philosophical divide between the parties. Democrats will confine the unfortunate to many forms of deprivation, but not deprivation of basic medical care. Republicans will. The GOP is the only mainstream political party in the advanced world to hold this stance.

  45. rikyrah says:

    A big win for the Obama administration

    By Eugene Robinson, Published: June 25

    By throwing out most of the anti-Latino Arizona immigration law and neutering the rest, the Supreme Court struck a rare blow for fairness and justice on Monday. Let’s hope this is the beginning of a streak.

    Let’s also hope that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who sided with the 5 to 3 majority in this case, likes the view from the liberals’ end of the bench. They could use his vote on the health-care-reform ruling, expected to be announced Thursday.

    In a perfect world, the court would have definitively eliminated the most notorious section of the Arizona law: the requirement that police check the immigration status of anyone who is detained. Because of its chilling invocation of police-state tactics, this became known as the “papers, please” provision.

    The court ruled that it is too soon to invalidate this part of the law but significantly narrowed the measure’s scope — and practically dared Arizona officials to step out of line. “This opinion does not foreclose other preemption and constitutional challenges to the law as interpreted and applied after it goes into effect,” the court wrote. Translation: We’ll be watching closely.

    Other parts of the law were less publicized but equally onerous and un-American. These provisions, happily, are now history.

    Even more gratifying is the court’s reinforcement of an obvious principle: The federal government has the responsibility for setting immigration policy, not the states. We do not need — and, thanks to this ruling, will not have — 50 sets of laws specifying who gets to live in this country and who doesn’t.

    The Arizona law sought to make it a state crime to fail to have proper immigration papers; in other words, failing to produce the right documents when asked could have subjected a person not just to deportation but to criminal penalties. The court ruled that this was preempted by federal law, which imposes no such sanctions.

    Arizona’s draconian statute also made it against the law for an undocumented immigrant to look for work. The court noted that existing federal law already addresses the employment issue but specifically puts the onus on employers, not workers.

  46. rikyrah says:

    Pending on Capitol Hill

    By Steve Benen

    Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.

    Associated Press

    These four have quite a bit of work to do this week.

    For obvious reasons, much of the political world’s focus this week will be on the U.S. Supreme Court, which handed down some major rulings yesterday, and will announce the fate of the Affordable Care Act on Thursday.

    But on the other side of 1st Street NE in Washington, DC, Congress will have a fairly important week, too. The deeply misguided contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder in the House is on top for Thursday — it’ll be overshadowed, to the GOP leadership’s delight, by the Obamacare ruling — but there are also several key bills facing inflexible deadlines.

    1. Student loan interest rates: Congress has until June 30 — that’s this Saturday — to act on student loan interest rates, or rates will double for over 7 million students, who’ll face an average of $1,000 in additional debt. The House GOP solution would keep student loan interest rates where they are, but pay for it by cutting access to breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings. Senate Democrats pay for the lower rates by closing a tax loophole that currently allows some very wealthy people to shield some of their earnings from the payroll tax (the S-corp provision).

    What’s going to happen? The talk on Capitol Hill is that a compromise is in the works, though the negotiations have mainly been on the Senate side, and there’s no telling what the House might do.

    2. Highway bill: The importance of this bill is generally underappreciated. After all, the highway bill is critically important to financing infrastructure projects nationwide, and is usually one of the year’s least-contentious legislative fights. Everyone knows this bill has to pass.

    Back in March, the Senate easily approved a bipartisan, two-year, $109 billion highway bill. The package was crafted by one of the chamber’s most liberal members, Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and one of its most conservative, James Inhoffe (R-Okla.), before passing the chamber on a 74-to-22 vote. But House Republicans rejected it for reasons that have never made much sense, and current highway funding expires at the end of this week. If Congress doesn’t work something out, the economy will take a severe hit at the worst possible time.

    What’s going to happen? Relevant leaders returned to the negotiating table late last week, but it’s unclear if any solution will satisfy the House GOP, which has taken a hard line against public investments in infrastructure.


    3. Violence Against Women Act: Very different versions of VAWA reauthorization have passed the House and Senate, and progress has “ground to a halt.” Though the Senate version passed with strong, bipartisan support, House Republicans have said they won’t consider it, because it’s too nice to the LGBT community, immigrants, and Native Americans.

    Though VAWA’s deadline is more open ended than student loans and the highway bill, there were widespread hopes the reauthorization agreement would come together well in advance of Congress’ summer recess, and at this point, there’s simply no movement at all.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said yesterday that lawmakers should expect to work this weekend unless there’s a sudden burst of legislative progress.

  47. rikyrah says:

    Jesse Jackson Jr. Takes Medical Leave of Absence


    Published: June 25, 2012 at 8:34 PM ET

    U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who defeated a primary challenge this year despite being the target of a House ethics investigation, has been on a medical leave for two weeks and is being treated for exhaustion, his office announced Monday.

    In a three-sentence news release, Jackson’s office disclosed that the Democrat went on leave June 10 but did not provide further details, including how long he would be away. In the release, he asked that his family’s privacy be respected.

    “I don’t know how long he’ll be out of action,” said Frank Watkins, Jackson’s spokesman, adding that he could not offer additional details.

    Several of Jackson’s congressional colleagues noted his absence last week on the House floor, where he missed votes. U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, a Chicago Democrat, did not know why he was gone.

    The statement said Jackson’s offices will remain open for constituent services. Since June 10, the congressman’s office has sent out news releases quoting him. His Twitter site has remained active, including two tweets Monday about the Affordable Care Act, which the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on this week.

    Earlier this year, Jackson, 47, faced a primary challenge from former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson and campaigned more actively than in previous years. Since then, the veteran Democrat has been promoting a third Chicago area airport and campaigned against a proposed federal detention center for illegal immigrants.

    Jackson first won office in 1995 and represents Illinois’ 2nd District, which includes neighborhoods on Chicago’s South Side and in its south suburbs.

  48. rikyrah says:

    slave catching heifer


    Tea Party Group Hires African American Republican Consultant To Help Recruit Minorities

    FreedomWorks, a prominent tea party-aligned organization that supports the candidacies of conservative politicians, announced Monday that it hired prominent black conservative political consultant, Deneen Borelli, to help recruit minorities.

    According to a report in The Daily Caller on Monday, Borelli will serve as the group’s new director of outreach.

    “In her new role, Deneen will speak at events promoting FreedomWorks’ pro-liberty agenda, participate in recruiting grassroots activists — including minorities — and aggressively challenge the misleading voices of the liberal black establishment,” read the press release announcing Borelli’s hire.

    Borelli, author of Backslash: How Obama and the Left are riving Americans to the Government Plantation, is a contributor with the Fox News Channel and has been a featured speaker at FreedomWorks rallies for several years.

  49. Ametia says:

    President , VP, & FLOTUS Schedule

    9:05: President Obama departs Boston en route Atlanta

    11:15: Arrives Atlanta

    11:30: VP Biden delivers remarks at a campaign event in Waterloo, Iowa (live coverage)

    1:25: PBO delivers remarks at a campaign event at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel (live coverage)

    1:45: Michelle Obama delivers remarks at campaign event in Chicago

    2:10: PBO attends a campaign event at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel (closed press)

    3:15: Michelle Obama joins Illinois Governor Pat Quinn at the Illinois National Guard Armory in Chicago as he signs into law the ‘Military Family Licensing Act’.

    3:35: PBO departs Atlanta en route Miami

    5:10: PBO arrives in Miami

    5:45: PBO attends a campaign event (private residence)

    6:00: Michelle Obama delivers remarks at campaign event in Chicago

    8:30: PBO delivers remarks at a campaign event at The Fillmore Miami Beach (live coverage)

    9:45: Departs Miami en route Joint Base Andrews

    12:10 Arrives at the White House

  50. rikyrah says:

    Dems seek to recast Holder furor as GOP effort to suppress votes

    By Jordy Yager – 06/26/12 05:00 AM ET

    Democrats are seeking to portray the Republican contempt motion against Attorney General Eric Holder as an assault on minority rights.

    Republicans have repeatedly accused Holder and the Obama administration of stonewalling Congress, but Democrats are now trying to steer the “Fast and Furious” debate away from transparency and toward voter suppression.

    At the front of the push is a group of seven national civil rights leaders, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, that is scheduled to hold a press conference Tuesday about the effect that placing Holder in contempt of Congress would have on his ability to protect the rights of black and Hispanic voters, homeowners and immigrants.

    “I’m not saying that this is because Holder is black, and I’m not calling [Republicans] racists. I’m saying what they’re doing has a racial effect, and that’s what we’re going to talk about [on Tuesday],” said Sharpton in a phone interview.

    “The question one would have to raise is: If he is held in contempt, under that cloud, how does he fight for voter rights? This compromises the Justice Department from being able to do a lot of fighting.”

    The civil rights leaders are expected to echo concerns raised by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) last week.

  51. Ametia says:

    White House preparing Executive Orders if HCR is struck down by Supreme Court

    Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Obama, says that the White House “will be prepared” if the Supreme Court overturns all or part of the administration’s health care reform law, according to Politico.

    Meanwhile, Marc Ambinder says that the White House is preparing executive orders if the law is struck down. “Their content and timing I don’t know. But they’ve got contingency plans a-plenty.”

  52. rikyrah says:

    Romney Responds To Supreme Court Ruling On Arizona’s Immigration Law, Doesn’t Say If He Agrees With The Decision

    By Igor Volsky on Jun 25, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Mitt Romney has issued a statement responding to the Supreme Court’s decision striking down provisions in Arizona’s controversial immigration law (SB 1070) without saying if he agrees with the ruling. The former Massachusetts governor sticks to generalities, calling on the president to lead on the immigration issue:

    “Today’s decision underscores the need for a President who will lead on this critical issue and work in a bipartisan fashion to pursue a national immigration strategy. President Obama has failed to provide any leadership on immigration. This represents yet another broken promise by this President. I believe that each state has the duty–and the right–to secure our borders and preserve the rule of law, particularly when the federal government has failed to meet its responsibilities. As Candidate Obama, he promised to present an immigration plan during his first year in office. But 4 years later, we are still waiting.

    During the Republican presidential primary, Romney said that the state’s measure should serve as “model” for the nation. He promised to drop the federal government’s challenge to the law, adding, “just as Arizona is finding out, you can stop illegal immigration. It’s time we finally did it.”


    Romney aides tell reporters that the candidate will not comment on the decision in person. An aide said that Romney “has been pretty clear on his stance on immigration.”


    Romney still won’t take a stand on the decision:

    Jim Acosta@jimacostacnn

    When pressed by reporters moments ago, Romney aide Rick Gorka did not say whether candidate agrees with SCOTUS decision on AZ law.


    Read this exchange between a Romney spokesperson and reporters. Traveling spokesman Rick Gorka repeatedly avoids saying what the governor actually thinks of the Supreme Court’s decision. Watch some of the awkward exchange:


    Romney has broken his silence on the decision. According to the Associated Press, he believes the “Supreme Court should have given ‘more latitude’ to states on immigration.”

    Byron Tau@ByronTau

    More Romney, on SB 1070: “States now under this decision have less authority, less latitude to enforce immigration laws.”


    Romney expanded on his position during an event with donors: “Now you probably heard today there was a Supreme Court decision relating to immigration and given the failure of the immigration policy in this country, I would have preferred to see the Supreme Court give more latitude to the states not less.” “And there are states now under this decision have less authority, less latitude to enforce immigration laws.”

  53. Ametia says:

    A big win for the Obama administration
    By Eugene Robinson, Published: June 25

    By throwing out most of the anti-Latino Arizona immigration law and neutering the rest, the Supreme Court struck a rare blow for fairness and justice on Monday. Let’s hope this is the beginning of a streak.

    Let’s also hope that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who sided with the 5 to 3 majority in this case, likes the view from the liberals’ end of the bench. They could use his vote on the health-care-reform ruling, expected to be announced Thursday.

    In a perfect world, the court would have definitively eliminated the most notorious section of the Arizona law: the requirement that police check the immigration status of anyone who is detained. Because of its chilling invocation of police-state tactics, this became known as the “papers, please” provision.

    The court ruled that it is too soon to invalidate this part of the law but significantly narrowed the measure’s scope — and practically dared Arizona officials to step out of line. “This opinion does not foreclose other preemption and constitutional challenges to the law as interpreted and applied after it goes into effect,” the court wrote. Translation: We’ll be watching closely.

  54. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

  55. Ametia says:

    Dang! I meant to schedule not publish this now. Oh well; It couldn’t wait, so it’s up. Post away!

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