Saturday Open Thread

Good Morning. I hope you are enjoying time with family and friends.

Porgy and Bess is an opera, first performed in 1935, with music by George Gershwin, libretto by DuBose Heyward, and lyrics by Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward. It was based on DuBose Heyward’s novel Porgy and subsequent play of the same title, which he co-wrote with his wife Dorothy Heyward. All three works deal with African-American life in the fictitious Catfish Row (based on the area of Cabbage Row[1]) in Charleston, South Carolina, in the early 1920s.

Originally conceived by George Gershwin as an “American folk opera”, Porgy and Bess premiered in New York in the fall of 1935 and featured an entire cast of classically trained African-American singers—a daring artistic choice at the time. Gershwin chose the African-American musician Eva Jessye as the choral director for the opera.

The work was not widely accepted in the United States as a legitimate opera until 1976, when the Houston Grand Opera production of Gershwin’s complete score established it as an artistic triumph. Nine years later, the Metropolitan Opera of New York gave their first performance of the work. This production was also broadcast as part of the ongoing Saturday afternoon live Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts. The work is now considered part of the standard operatic repertoire and is regularly performed internationally. Despite this success, the opera has been controversial; some critics from the outset have considered it a racist portrayal of African Americans.

The song “Summertime” is the best-known selection from Porgy and Bess. Other popular and frequently recorded songs from the opera include “It Ain’t Necessarily So”, “Bess, You Is My Woman Now”, “I Loves You Porgy” and “I Got Plenty o’ Nuttin'”. The opera is admired for Gershwin’s innovative synthesis of European orchestral techniques with American jazz and folk music idioms.

Porgy and Bess tells the story of Porgy, a disabled black beggar living in the slums of Charleston, South Carolina. It deals with his attempts to rescue Bess from the clutches of Crown, her violent and possessive lover, and Sportin’ Life, the drug dealer. Where the earlier novel and stage-play differ, the opera generally follows the stage-play.



2011 The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (Paulus adaptation)

The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, directed by Diane Paulus, with book adapted by Suzan-Lori Parks, and music adapted by Diedre Murray, was presented by the American Repertory Theater (ART) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Broadway production was produced by Buddy Freitag and Barbara Freitag.[12] Previews started August 17, and the show opened August 31, 2011. Following Trevor Nunn’s production, the ART Porgy was the second production initiated by the Gershwin and Heyward estates to adapt the opera for the musical theatre stage. Again spoken dialogue, here written by Parks, replaced the opera’s sung recitatives.[citation needed] New orchestrations were created by Christopher Jahnke.[13]

Prior to the opening, Paulus, Parks and Murray made statements to the press about the production’s primary goal being to “introduce the work to the next generation of theatergoers”.[14] They discussed changes to the opera’s plot, dialogue and score that were being explored to make the work more appealing to a contemporary audience.[15] In response, Stephen Sondheim wrote an editorial letter taking exception to the premise that the original opera is a flawed work that needs to be improved.[16] Critic Hilton Als countered in The New Yorker that Sondheim had very little exposure to black culture and that the Paulus version succeeded in “humanizing the depiction of race onstage.”[17]

The original cast included Audra McDonald as Bess, Norm Lewis as Porgy, David Alan Grier as Sportin’ Life, Phillip Boykin as Crown, Nikki Renee Daniels as Clara, and Joshua Henry as Jake. The production began previews on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in December 2011 and officially opened on January 12, 2012.[18] All of the major roles are played by the same cast as in Cambridge.

Early reviews of the show were positive to mixed. All praised McDonald’s performance of Bess, but critics were divided on the success of the adaptation, staging and setting. Some praised the intimate scale of the drama and the believability of the performances; others found the staging to be unfocused and the settings to lack atmosphere.[19] Time magazine ranked the show as its number two choice among theatre productions in 2011.[20] Theatre review aggregator Curtain Critic gave the production a score of 74 out of 100 based on the opinions of 20 critics.[21] This production won the 2012 Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Musical and Leading Actress in a Musical.

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26 Responses to Saturday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    How Romneycare is like Obamacare on taxes

    The problem here for Romney is that his health care law in Massachusetts did the exact same thing as the Roberts-tweaked version of Obamacare will do. The individual mandate Romney installed uses the same tax scheme to penalize free riders as the Affordable Care Act will, charging people who chose to not purchase health insurance a penalty through the tax code. And Romney himself has acknowledged as much — many times.”

  2. Ametia says:

    Catching up on FACTS about Mitt Romney; bare with me here.


    2009: Romney Touted That “Using Tax Penalties, As We Did, Or Tax Credits, As Others Have Proposed, Encourages ‘Free Riders’ To Take Responsibility For Themselves Rather Than Pass Their Medical Costs On To Others.” In the op-ed titled Mr. President, What’s The Rush? during the discussion about federal health care legislation Romney wrote, “Our experience also demonstrates that getting every citizen insured doesn’t have to break the bank. First, we established incentives for those who were uninsured to buy insurance. Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages ‘free riders’ to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others. This doesn’t cost the government a single dollar.”
    [Romney Op-Ed, USA Today, 7/30/09]

    2006: Romney Said He Expected Those Who Could Afford Insurance To Get It Or Else “We’re Going To Withhold Their Tax Refund Or Put In Place Other Penalties To Assure That Everybody Comes In The System.” Romney: “For those that have higher incomes, we expect them to have health insurance. And if they don’t we’re going to withhold their tax refund or put in place other penalties to assure that everybody comes in the system.”
    [Fox News with Brit Hume,4/5/06]

    2005: Romney Was Asked If The “Individual Mandate” Which Could Lead To “Garnishing Of Wages And Tax Penalties” Was Part Of His Plan, To Which He Replied, “Absolutely.” Romney was interviewed by Hugh Hewitt who said “Of course, the Globe ran with the harshest part. The individual mandate, which could lead to garnishing of wages even, and tax penalties. Is that part of your plan?” Romney replied, “Absolutely, which is if somebody shows up at the hospital, and they can afford to pay, and they haven’t bought insurance, they can’t just say look. I don’t want to pay for this bill. I’m going to walk away.”
    Romney Interview with Hugh Hewitt,6/23/05; Transcript Via Radio Blogger,6/23/05]

    2007: Romney Said The “Teeth” Oh His “Enforcement Mechanism” Was Due To “Kick In” In 2008 “When They Get Their Tax Bill Because If They Haven’t Bought Insurance, They’re Charged $100 A Month For Not Having Bought Insurance.” “These were people that used to go get free care, now they’re paying something. Now they know that their healthcare makes a difference to their pocketbook. They’re part of the system, that’s part of the revenue that came in – no more free ride. Everybody pays what they can afford. “And the final group, which are people earning over three times poverty level, the teeth in our enforcement mechanism don’t kick in until probably next April when they get their tax bill because if they haven’t bought insurance, they’re charged $100 a month for not having bought insurance.”
    [Governor Romney, Remarks at the Florida Medical Association,8/24/07]

    2008: Romney Said He Didn’t Back Off The Individual Mandate Nationally Saying “I Like Mandates.” MR. GIBSON: (Off mike) — Governor Romney — (off mike) — mandate and that’s an obstacle, although you’ve backed away from mandates on a national basis. MR. ROMNEY: No, no, I like mandates. Do the mandates work? Mandates — MR. THOMPSON: I beg your pardon? (Laughter.) MR. ROMNEY: Let me — MR. THOMPSON: I didn’t know you were going to admit that. MR. ROMNEY: Let me — oh, absolutely. MR. THOMPSON: You like mandates. MR. ROMNEY: Let me tell you what kind of mandates I like, Fred, which is this — MR. THOMPSON: And what did you come up with? (Laughter.) MR. GIBSON: Governor, you imposed tax — tax penalties in Massachusetts — (inaudible) — MR. ROMNEY: Yeah, we said, look, if people can afford to buy it, either buy the insurance or pay your own way. Don’t be free riders and pass on the cost of your health care to everybody else. [ABC Debate, New Hampshire Debate, 1/5/08]

    Romney Agreed He Imposed Tax Penalties In Massachusetts Saying “Yeah, We Said, Look, If People Can Afford To Buy It, Either Buy The Insurance Or Pay Your Own Way. Don’t Be Free Riders And Pass On The Cost Of Your Health Care To Everybody Else.” MR. GIBSON: “Governor, you imposed tax — tax penalties in Massachusetts — (inaudible) –“ MR. ROMNEY: “Yeah, we said, look, if people can afford to buy it, either buy the insurance or pay your own way. Don’t be free riders and pass on the cost of your health care to everybody else.” [ABC Debate, New Hampshire Debate, 1/5/08]

  3. rikyrah says:

    You’re Damn Right Obama Cares. Why Doesn’t Romney?

    Margaret, a few months back I joked with you about Dick Cheney having a heart transplant. If you recall I told you it should be called a heart implant because he didn’t actually have a heart to begin with. Yesterday, I was shocked to discover that Chief Justice John Roberts at some point must have undergone a heart implant as well. Who would have ever thought he would be the deciding vote on the Affordable Care Act or as I like to call it – Christianity 101, taking care of the sick and the poor.

    The existence of Robert’s heart has been a mystery to me for some time now. He was the champion of the pro-life movement until he announced that Roe vs. Wade was “settled law”. Then he voted against the Arizona immigration law and I began to think I could hear a faint beat coming from his chair. Of course he also took a piece of his rib and breathed life into inanimate corporations so creating a heart from nothing is certainly possible if not probable for him. It does appear that his new heart implant might be taking hold while Dick Cheney’s is extremely unlikely. But I am not yet ready to test that theory when it comes to a woman’s right to a safe, legal abortion.

    And lest you think yesterday’s ruling has nothing to do with abortion, let me remind you what that orange speaker of the house said just before Congress took the vote on this bill:

    “A ‘yes’ vote for this government takeover of health care is a ‘yes’ vote for sending hard-earned tax dollars to pay for abortions.”

    Now Margaret, I know you hate that I write so frequently about this issue because it brings out the crazies – or as you now like to call them – the asshats. But what might be “settled law” for Roberts is far from settled for the Religious Wrong who have high-jacked the Republican Party.

    Many people will tell you that the Tea Party is about fiscal conservatism, I say bullshit. It might have been at one point, but today it is an all-out war on women. The only interest the Tea Party has in making government smaller is that a smaller government will more easily fit in a woman’s vagina. Oh goodness. I said that nasty word again. Someone should ban me from this webpage blog.

    Tea Party-backed GOP candidates—Nevada’s Sharron Angle, Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell, Colorado’s Ken Buck, Kentucky’s Rand Paul, Alaska’s Joe Miller, Minnesota’s Michele Bachmann, and New York’s Carl Paladino to name a few – while not all elected to office all believe that abortion should be illegal even in the case of rape or incest. When Sharron Angle was asked about it she said, “I think that two wrongs don’t make a right” and went on to advocate turning “a lemon situation into lemonade.” That’s right honey. Your uterus is Sharon’s lemonade. Well that’s one recipe that won’t be in my cookbook and now that’s one image I fear I won’t be able to get out of my mind. I’d like to punch Sharon Angle right in her lemonade stand.

    They couldn’t get Santorum so now the Tea Party will settle for Romney. That’s right, the devil himself, the man who invented Romneycare which led to Obamacare is suddenly acceptable because he is a recent convert to the pro-life movement. Mitt Romney supports the “personhood” initiative that would give human fertilized eggs the legal rights and protections that apply to people, and outlaw abortion as well as some of the most widely used forms of contraception and in vitro fertilization. Eggs are people. Corporations are people. Women, evidently, are not.

    Of course, if you want more proof there is my favorite Tea Party Poster Child – Rick Perry – the governor of my great state of Texas. In the war on women, here’s your General. This guy must have a pecker the size of a peanut because that is the only reason I can give for his unnatural hatred of women. Is my description of him too much you ask? Well let me cook you up you some food for thought:

    Texas has several peanut-pecker laws that make access to healthcare more difficult, more expensive and more degrading for women. Texas requires that abortions after 16 weeks take place in licensed ambulatory surgical centers even though there is no medical reason for that. The only reason is that ambulatory surgical centers are expensive and therefore hard to come by especialy in many rural communities where healthcare facilites are controlled by the Catholic Church. Texas also requires that you make two visits to the clinic in order to obtain an abortion. The first one is for an ultrasound and then you must have 24 hours of mandated reflection. Your doctor by law must also describe to you in detail how black your soul will become after the procedure as well as provide you with factually inaccurate information such as abortions cause breast cancer. That law was ironically called the Women’s Right To Know Act just in case women thought they were in a Starbuck’s instead of a Planned Parenthood. That means that most women, especially poor women in rural communities must travel several hours and take off from work not one, but often two days. I know. I know. It’s such an important decision and women are so stupid that they would practically fall out of their boudoir and into a Planned Parenthood for their daily abortion if Rick Perry didn’t save them from their own vaginas. The latest Perry attack? If Planned Parenthood in Texas gets any family planning money from the Federal Government, then no women’s health clinic in Texas will get family planning funding. We’re throwing the fetus out with the bath water. This guy is a real jackass.

    In truth, the poorest among us, the ones least likely to afford an unwanted child, the ones most likely to have agonized over this decision, and the ones most likely to have found themselves pregnant as a result of abuse – those women are the least equipped to afford additional fees, travel any distance from their families, and take off any time from their work. Four hungry kids at home…a husband without a job… you’re working in the morning as a hotel maid and in the evening as a waitress to make ends meet? Ole’ Rick doesn’t care. He just wants to make sure he can deny another child that expanded Medicaid funding he just sued the Federal Government over.

    Mr. Speaker, read my lips – “ NO MORE VAGINA LAWS”. Margaret, forgive me. I know that last sentence was more than you could stand. But war is hell honey. Today we won the battle, but the war is far from over.

    • Ametia says:

      BWA HA HA “He can’t be serious, walkin round in them mom jeans”


  4. rikyrah says:

    Romney and Kobach and Voting Rights

    By Kay June 30th, 2012

    The United States had another win on Obamacare Day, when the State of Arizona lost in an attempt to ignore or dodge federal law:

    The Supreme Court today denied an application by the State of Arizona to put on hold an April ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit sitting en banc found that voter registration provisions of Arizona’s Proposition 200 violate the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), and that Arizona cannot reject federal mail-in voter registration applications if they do not include documentary proof of citizenship.
    While Arizona can still seek Supreme Court review of the Ninth Circuit decision, today’s Supreme Court’s decision makes it unlikely that the Court would grant such a request.

    This means that the State of Arizona cannot impose restrictions on voting if those restrictions violate the National Voter Registration Act.

    Meet Kris Kobach, the Secretary of State of Kansas, who has been advising Romney since 2008:
    Kobach is most known, however, as the author of the Arizona Senate Bill 1070, the controversial law that gives local police broad powers to question and arrest undocumented immigrants. Several other states, including Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, used the law as model for similar legislation. Kobach helped write the Alabama version.
    He also is the driving force behind proof-of-citizenship voter registration requirements in Kansas that other states have modeled. In January, Kobach endorsed the presidential campaign of Republican Mitt Romney days before the South Carolina primary

    Kris Kobach believes that he is an advisor to Mitt Romney. This is potentially controversial, because Kobach is an anti-immigrant extremist who has also has done extensive work on voting issues. As in all things involving Mitt Romney, there are so many lies and dodges and contradictory claims that I have no earthly idea whether Kobach is an “official” advisor to Mitt Romney or not.

    This is what Mitt Romney said about Kobach:

  5. rikyrah says:

    Obama, for the Win!
    Published: June 29, 2012 514 Comments

    Republicans are apoplectic. They’ve lost again.

    The Supreme Court ruling on Thursday that largely found President Obama’s signature health care law to be constitutional left them floundering and fuming.

    The conservative chief justice, John Roberts Jr., joined the liberal wing of the court in doing so, much to the ire of Republicans.

    According to Politico, “Indiana congressman and gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence likened the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the Democratic health care law to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks,” during a closed-door House G.O.P. meeting. He later apologized.

    Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky and the son of former presidential candidate Ron Paul, issued a statement that seemed to suggest that the court doesn’t even have the authority to make the ruling. It read in part: “Just because a couple people on the Supreme Court declare something to be ‘constitutional’ does not make it so. The whole thing remains unconstitutional.”

    And what of the Judas chief justice? All hell rained down.

    On his online show, Glenn Beck (remember him?) called Roberts a coward and is selling a T-shirt to that effect.

    Beck’s own Web site explained, “Glenn also had radio co-host Pat Gray dress up as The Dread Pirate Roberts (a reference to Andre the Giant’s infamous scene in the classic film ‘The Princess Bride’).” That’s a quote. You can’t make this stuff up, folks.

    The right-wing radio personality Michael Savage suggested that Roberts ruled the way that he did because of epilepsy medication: “Neurologists will tell you that medication used for seizure disorders, such as epilepsy, can introduce mental slowing, forgetfulness and other cognitive problems. And if you look at Roberts’s writings, you can see the cognitive dissociation in what he is saying.”

    Roberts joked on Friday that he would be spending some time on an “impregnable island fortress” now that this court session is over. Good call.

    Republicans are so upset because one of the basic pillars of the “Obama illegitimacy” canard is that he is operating outside the parameters of the constitution, that he is the point of the shiv aimed at the heart of America.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Dems savor victory in health care ruling _ for now

    AP foreign, Saturday June 30 2012


    Associated Press= WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. John Dingell leaned back in his plush office chair and considered the feed that scrolled over his flat-screen TV at 10:07 a.m. Thursday. The Supreme Court, it said, had upheld the health care law he had worked for his entire life — and his father for nearly a quarter-century before that. And Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, had sided with the court’s liberals on the crucial point.

    “Well, I’ll be damned,” the dean of the House said quietly. His staff erupted in hoots and then, in a few cases, tears. One aide tore up a contingency plan for what to do if the court had ruled otherwise. “Ha!” Dingell said.

    Love or hate President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, its survival in the Supreme Court was sweet vindication for the Democrats who took enormous political risks — and paid with the loss of 64 seats and their House majority — to pass the law on their watch in 2010.

    Republicans spent millions of dollars in ads making Rep. Nancy Pelosi the face of what they characterized as a massive government power grab in a time of recession. It was Pelosi, after all, who as House speaker muscled the law through Congress despite advice from many Democrats, including some of Obama’s top aides, to narrow its scope.

    Two years later, polls generally show the public still leaning slightly against it. And Republicans, from presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney on down, are rallying around their promise to repeal what they dismiss as “Obamacare.”

    Democrats are acutely aware the public is still not solidly behind the policy and that the high court’s ruling may have energized Republicans. But cloistered Thursday on Capitol Hill, they savored the moment. Some spoke of the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the Obama patron who pushed for national health care for decades but did not live to see it signed into law.

    Pelosi, now occupying a smaller suite of offices as House minority leader, told her close friend and fellow Californian George Miller that the court’s decision was “a great victory.”

    “You bet your ass” it is, Miller responded, according to her office.

    “I did,” Pelosi is said to have replied.

    Dingell, 85, the longest-serving House member in history, clearly expected the court to strike down the law. He cautioned his staff to refrain from “dancing in the streets just yet.” But gradually, as he took in the news that Roberts had voted with the majority to uphold the law, he grinned.

    “I think my little dad would grinning up above,” the Michigan Democrat said.

    John Dingell Sr., elected to the House in 1932, had been a sponsor of the Social Security program and national health insurance. The senior Dingell died in office in 1955; his son was elected that year to the same seat.

    Pelosi used Dingell’s gavel when the House passed the health care act in 2010. He attended the Senate vote early Christmas Eve morning 2009. And he was at Obama’s side when the president signed the measure into law.

    “We did it,” Dingell said Thursday.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Saturday, June 30, 2012Frum on Roberts v Scalia

    The other day I speculated about how the SCOTUS ruling on health care reform may have vindicated President Obama’s strategy as much as his policy.

    Yesterday, David Frum posted a rather lengthy comment from a reader who clerked on an appellate court saying basically the same thing.

    For some background, one of the main things the Court had to decide, if they were to find the mandate unconstitutional, was whether or not it could be “severed” from the rest of the law.

    What we know from the 4 dissenters on this ruling (Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy and Alito) is that they were not willing to consider severability. They simply wanted the entire bill tossed out.

    Frum’s reader suggests that was a bridge too far for Roberts.

    The following is speculation, but plausible, and would be an interesting parallel to the conservative legislative strategy. Any objective legal observer would tell you (and I’m trying to be one here) that the dissent’s treatment of the severability issue is detached from 200 years of constitutional law. It’s unsupported legally and it’s a mess logically… In any event, rather than holding the mandate [un]constitutional and those portions of the bill inextricably linked with it (guaranteed issue/community rating), four members of the Court were primed to throw the whole bill out. That level of judicial activism, in a context like this one, would be nearly unprecedented.

    I imagine the dissenters either had Roberts’s vote or that Roberts left the post argument conference without commiting to a side and saying something to the effect of “let me see how it writes.”… And he waited to see what was written.

    What was written was not measured judicial analysis, but rather an opinion that started with a goal — throw the bill out — and then figured out how to get there, blowing by any precedent in its path…

    That dissent intended to get his vote. It might have had it only struck a portion of the law. But Roberts correctly realized that he couldn’t jump off that cliff without precedent or logic supporting him. Kennedy, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas went all in. And they lost their bet. Just like the conservatives in Congress.
    In other words, the 4 dissenters took the same “total obstruction” strategy that we’ve seen from Republicans in Congress over and over.

    Its no surprise that a conservative like Frum would recognize this as a failed strategy by the conservatives on the Court. It is exactly the same argument he made following passage of the health care bill that got him ejected from the Republican establishment.

    A huge part of the blame for today’s disaster attaches to conservatives and Republicans ourselves.

    At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision:…No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama’s Waterloo – just as healthcare was Clinton’s in 1994…

    This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none…

    We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.
    So if Frum’s reader is right (and I suspect s/he is), Chief Justice Roberts just joined the few people on the right who have rejected the idea of total obstruction all the time, while justices like Scalia run ever faster off an extremist cliff.

    Asking Republicans to make that choice is part of the long game President Obama is engaging. Score a win for him on this one!

  8. rikyrah says:

    found this over at THE OBAMA DIARY in the comments:

    June 30, 2012 at 10:48 am
    If you missed Nancy Pelosi on MHP Show, you missed a LOT. She reminds of Ted Kennedy. She has the heart of a lioness. The way she beautifully compared Pres. Obama to JFK, the way she stood firm on ObamaCare, the way she refuted and challenged any negative attack on ObamaCare was beautiful. She is a champion and a fighter!

    She made ObamaCare personal. Talked about how it positively helps children, women, men, families, college students. Every freaking demographic.

    Then she closed by referencing Teddy Kennedy and how when he knew his brain tumor was getting worse, wrote a letter to Pres. Obama and asked that it be delivered to PBO when he, Teddy, died. She said that PBO told her that Teddy wrote that Pres. Obama reminds him so much of his brother JFK who brought hope to a beleaguered nation. She said that Teddy told PBO that he was just like JFK in that he and JFK are/were young dynamic leaders the nation needs/needed at a crucial time. That Teddy told PBO that though he’s dead, he has the utmost confidence that PBO would continue the fight for healthcare reform. That this is PBO’s time. That this is PBO’s moment and this moment in time has been waiting for Pres. Obama in particular. No one else. That it would be Pres. Obama and no one else who would make healthcare reform a reality. She ended by talking about how Teddy emphasized that he knew Pres. Obama would do it. That he will not be there physically but he knows that Pres. Obama will accomplish history.

    After ObamaCare was ruled constitutional, Nancy called Vicki Kennedy and told her that Teddy can now rest, that Pres. Obama has accomplished history and Teddy can breathe a sigh of relief and they both began sobbing uncontrollably.

    Her interview brought to home once again how historic ObamaCare is. 5 years….10 years….20 years from now, we will look back on this moment and smile because healthcare will finally be a right and not a privilege.

  9. rikyrah says:


    Two Little Girls Explain The Worst Haircut Ever

    From: Jeff Cohen
    Length: 00:02:57

    My five year old cut off my three year old’s hair. A few weeks later, I decided to interview them and get their explanations. Here’s what they told me. Read the full description.

  10. rikyrah says:

    What Romney runs from:.

    –Uninsured rate (national): ……………17.0%
    –Uninsured rate (Massachusetts): ……2.7%

    –CHILD uninsured rate (national): …..10.0%
    –CHILD uninsured rate (Mass): ……….1.9%

    –Hispanic uninsured rate (national): ….32.4%
    –Hispanic uninsured rate (Mass): ………5.1%

    –Black uninsured rate (national): ………21.0%
    –Black uninsured rate (Mass): …………..3.5%

    –Asian uninsured rate (national): ………17.2%
    –Asian uninsured rate (Mass): …………. 1.6%

    –White uninsured rate (national): ……..10.8%
    –White uninsured rate (Mass): ………….2.4%.

  11. rikyrah says:

    June 29, 2012 11:59 AM
    The ObamneyCare Tax Increase

    By Ed Kilgore

    I noted briefly yesterday that in Mitt Romney’s statement on the Supreme Court’s ACA decision, he didn’t follow the Tax! Tax! Tax! message that had already been adopted by everyone else in his party, probably right down to any parrots owned by Republicans. At the time I figured that was partly because the less-than-spontanous Mitt was using a text prepared before it became evident that the decision hinged on validating ACA as an exercise of the federal government’s taxing power, and also because Team Romney is still straining to bend the discussion back to economics, leading Mitt to stress the supposed burden imposed on businesses by health reform.

    But something else troubling may be going on in Mittland as well. As New York’s Dan Amira points out today, if “ObamaCare” imposed a tax increase via an individual mandate, then so did “RomneyCare.” That matters not just because it’s another reminder that the former was largely modeled on the latter, but because it strikes directly at one of Romney’s rationalizations for claiming he hasn’t flip-flopped by signing the Massachusetts law while promising to kill the federal law in a fluid motion immediately after his hand drops from the Bible when he’s sworn in as president.

    If you were exposed to Mitt’s few serious challenges on RomneyCare during the primaries, you’ll recall his argument that his plan didn’t “raise taxes” on anyone. That’s true, though only because the state was able to gain a big windfall from federal Medicaid funds to make ends meet. But now that Republicans are emphasizing that the individual mandate itself is not only a “tax,” but a monstrous, economy-and-liberty-destroying tax, it’s kind hard to keep that talking point from backfiring on Romney.

    That’s not to say that Mitt is incapable of ignoring facts and logic and joining in the chorus of screams about ACA’s unique evils; he’s capable of almost limitless mendacity and hypocrisy, and he’s not really in control of the conservative movement that ultimately calls the shots in terms of election-year messaging. But it’s another reason you figure he’d just as soon everyone calm down and let him get back to his bullet-headed argument that anyone unhappy with the current performance of the economy simply has to vote for him.

  12. rikyrah says:

    June 29, 2012 4:10 PM
    Can Romney Remain Absurd Until November?

    By Ed Kilgore
    If you will forgive yet another post on the implications of the Supreme Court’s ACA decision, it is important to understand that for all the “excitement” and “motivation” it may create among “base voters,” this development also makes every day on the campaign trail a tightrope for Mitt Romney. He was already going to have to navigate his way to November talking constantly about the economy and the federal budget even as he was stuck with economic and budget policies that would horrify swing voters if they were aware of them. And now there will be no escape from the subject of a national health reform initiative modeled on his own plan in a gubernatorial administration that now seems about a million years away from where he has landed ideologically in order to win his party’s presidential nomination.

    National Journal’s Michael Hirsh refers to Romney’s current positioning on health care as presenting an “Absurd Romney:”

    The difficulty of Absurd Romney’s task is pointed up by Jonathan Gruber, an MIT economist who helped Romney design his 2006 health insurance program in Massachusetts. He says that the then-governor used reasoning and language very similar to that of Chief Justice John Roberts in arguing for the necessity of an individual mandate. While Roberts said that Congress did not have the right to mandate behavior, it did retain the right to “tax and spend,” including penalizing people for not buying health care.

    “It’s a penalty for free riding on the system. That’s the way Gov. Romney talked about it,” says Gruber, who later became one of the key architects of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which was modeled in part on the Romney law. “Justice Roberts used similar language today.” Back in the 2000s, when Gruber demonstrated to Romney with computer models that, absent an individual mandate, one-third of Massachusetts’ poorest and sickest would remain uninsured (and drive up costs for everyone), Romney jumped on the point, instantly converted, says Gruber. Romney went at the problem “like a management consultant or an engineer” with no ideological taint, even against the advice of his conservative political advisers, Gruber says. “They were concerned about the politics of universal health care. He argued them down.”

    Today, says Gruber, Romney is being “completely disingenuous” in arguing against a law whose principles he once embraced. And somewhat absurd. Gruber says Romney’s suggestion that, as in Massachusetts when he was governor, states should be permitted to decide on their health care plans is also disingenuous. Massachusetts could devise its health care law only because it had access to a large amount of federal money, a $385 million Medicaid grant that it needed to use to extend care to the poor. “He says the states could do it but not the federal government. Well, actually the states can’t do it” because they don’t have the money, says Gruber. “What he should be saying is that he ‘ll give the states a trillion dollars to come up with their own plans, but he’s not going to do that.

    Now some readers will say Romney and most of his supporters don’t give a damn about consistency, logic, or avoiding the appearance of being Absurd, and will just brazen it out. That may be true. But the thing about lying all the time about who you are, what you’ve done, and what you intend to do is that it frequently causes even the most disciplined dissembler to screw up or at least fail to make sense to voters with even minimal discernment. That’s the risk Romney is going to have to take nearly every time he opens his mouth over the next four months.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 02:40 PM ET, 06/29/2012
    Reality check: Romney and GOP could still repeal Obamacare

    By Jonathan Bernstein

    The Affordable Care Act is safe from the courts. But Mitt Romney has vowed to repeal the law on day one of his presidency. Would he really do that?

    That depends on two things: how far a slim Republican majority in the Senate would be willing to push — and how insistent Republican activists and aligned interest groups would be that they push as hard as possible.

    Ryan Lizza argues that repeal wouldn’t be feasible under Senate rules, at least not against 41 or more senators who are willing to fight hard against repeal. For more on reconciliation and just how exactly the various rules apply, I recommend Sarah Binder’s notes on the legislative effects of the Court’s ruling.

    But I’d emphasize one bottom-line fact: An intense majority in the Senate really can, ultimately, do whatever it wants, as long as it’s willing to sacrifice logic, reason and respectability on the way to getting there.

    Is it a problem under Senate rules to use reconciliation for something that increases the deficit? Change the rules — or change the Congressional Budget Office until it reports the “correct” score. Can a filibuster stop some things? Not if the Senate majority invents a new “Broccoli Tyranny” exception to filibuster rules, just as many Republicans during the George W. Bush presidency invented, and almost passed, a judicial nominees exception.

    Yes, there are real constraints against just rewriting the rules whenever they want. That’s why Democrats didn’t do it in 2009 and 2010. But still repeal could be done.

    So the real question is: How strong will the incentive for Republicans to go through with repeal be? David Frum argues today that the incentive might not be so strong after all. Don’t forget, he reminds us, that if the Medicare doughnut hole is reopened that you’ll have seniors angry at Romney and Republicans in Congress — just as young people will be angry if they’re kicked off their parents insurance.

    We don’t know how all of this will play out. But I wouldn’t underestimate how symbolically important repeal has come to be for Republican primary voters — or the extent to which Republican members of Congress fear those voters and the organized groups who keep them paranoid about being seen as RINOs.

    And there are plenty of other ways Republicans could undermine the law, to the extent that repeal would become irrelevant.

    It comes down to this: Would President Romney and a Republican Congress care more about alienating constituencies benefiting from the law or more about the symbolic importance to their base of eliminating Obamacare once and for all? Because they could eliminate Obamacare if they wanted to — no matter what the “rules” say.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 04:32 PM ET, 06/29/2012
    Bobby Jindal’s big blow for states’ rights

    By Greg Sargent

    As you know, Bobby Jindal has reacted to the Supreme Court decision upholding Obamacare by declaring defiantly that his state won’t be implementing the law.

    “We’re not moving forward with the exchanges,” Jindal said. “Instead, we’re going to do everything we can to defeat President Obama, get rid of ObamaCare.”

    This has been greeted mostly as states’ rights bluster designed to appeal to a national conservative audience. But it’s also worth noting that in striking this great blow for Louisiana’s rights, he is basically ensuring that the federal government will come in and build the exchange in his state for him — potentially without his input on how best to tailor it to his own constituents.

    The Affordable Care Act requires states to have exchanges. A state has several options: It can build the exchange itself, or it can collaborate with the federal government to build it, or it can let the federal government run it. The state has to tell the feds what path it has decided to take by mid-November. If the state does not want to run its own exchange, or collaborate with the feds to run it, the feds will begin setting up the exchange themselves in January.

    If Jindal is serious about not implementing an exchange, the latter course is what will happen under the law, says Kathleen Stoll, the deputy executive director at the pro-Obamacare Families USA.

    “If the state hasn’t moved forward, at that point, the feds have to come in to run the exchange to protect the citizens of Lousiana,” Stoll says. “The irony is that Jindal has made a choice to waste time and available federal dollars he could have used to build a state exchange uniquely tailored to his vision and the needs of the people of Louisiana.”

    Of course, Jindal is probably banking on Obama losing the election, and Romney fulfilling his promise to repeal Obamacare on day one of his presidency. But that’s a pretty big gamble. Romney, of course, may never make it to the Oval Office. And even if he does, it’s far from clear, given the uncertainties surrounding what Congress will look like and how it will act, if he can even succeed in obliterating the law as promised. If that doesn’t happen, in come the feds.

    “He’s playing with the lives of thousands of people in Louisiana,” Stoll says. “The stakes here are high.”

    Of course, his state has the right to take this course of action if he so pleases.

  15. rikyrah says:

    David Plouffe puts out a memo urging Congressional Dems to go on offense on health care and taxes, and not to get spooked by the GOP message that Obamacare is a massive tax hike.

  16. rikyrah says:

    On Health Care Policy, Romney Favors G.O.P. Consensus


    Published: June 29, 2012

    Mitt Romney has pledged to stop “Obamacare” on Day 1 if he wins the White House. But what comes next?

    With the Supreme Court on Thursday upholding President Obama’s health care law, Mr. Romney faces increased pressure to flesh out alternatives to the law that he and other Republicans despise.

    Although Mr. Romney has repeatedly stressed his opposition to a federal mandate to buy insurance — a crucial provision of Mr. Obama’s law, modeled on a mandate Mr. Romney enacted as Massachusetts governor — he has devoted less time to describing his own health policies.

    But in speeches in the past year, he has made clear that he favors tax breaks, increased competition and devolving decisions to states to make health care more affordable, proposals that reflect a consensus on health policy that has solidified in the last decade among Republicans.

    Mr. Romney’s preferences, like those being proposed by Republicans in Congress, would put more emphasis on controlling health costs and less on reducing the ranks of the uninsured, the primary goal of the Obama plan. Conservatives say the new law does not seriously address rising health costs, a major factor in the high cost of insurance.

    One of Mr. Romney’s chief proposals could shake up how the vast majority of Americans get health care — through employers. He would give a tax break to people who buy insurance individually on the open market, so they would enjoy the same advantage as workers who get insurance as a benefit at work, which is not taxed as income.

    Aides to Mr. Romney said tax parity would introduce more consumer awareness of the costs of health insurance, and competition among insurers would drive down costs.

    A tax incentive to buy insurance “has the potential to be significant,” said Lanhee Chen, Mr. Romney’s policy director. “It can be something that really moves our health care system in a good direction.”

    Democrats warn that under such a system fewer employers will choose to offer health insurance, and older and sicker workers will be thrown into the market for individual insurance that they cannot afford.

    When Senator John McCain proposed in 2008 to offer a $5,000 tax credit to families for health insurance, independent analysts estimated that the ranks of the uninsured would rise by one million, to 21 million people.

  17. rikyrah says:

    For Mitt Romney, there’s no escaping health care

    Associated Press

    So much for Mitt Romney escaping health care.

    Reminders of the Republican presidential candidate’s signature achievement as Massachusetts governor – a sweeping state health care overhaul – now are everywhere. And Democrats and liberals – from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to President Barack Obama to party faithful in Congress – are making sure everyone knows that Romney’s requirement that all people have health insurance was the basis of the federal mandate that the Supreme Court just upheld as a tax.

    “Congress followed Massachusetts’ lead,” Ginsburg wrote in the landmark decision. By design or not, she ended up giving Democrats ammunition against Romney.

    Romney has spent much of the presidential campaign shying away from talking about the law he signed as governor and that Obama used as a blueprint for his national health care plan. Both measures require individuals to have health insurance, mandate that businesses offer healthcare to their employees and provide subsidies or exemptions for people who can’t afford it. Both laws also impose penalties on people who can afford health insurance but decide not to buy coverage.

    The Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday highlighted those similarities.

    Mindful of them, Romney long has sought to justify his position: He defends the Massachusetts law but says he would repeal Obama’s national version. The Republican also has tried to explain away comparisons between the two measures by telling audiences he would have been happy to help the president write a better law.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Romney: Students Should Get ‘As Much Education As They Can Afford’

    By Pat Garofalo on Jun 29, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    On the campaign trail Wednesday night in Virginia, Mitt Romney took on the topic of education. While extolling the virtues of America as “the land of opportunity for every single person,” Romney said that he believes students should only be able to get as much education “as they can afford”:

    I think this is a land of opportunity for every single person, every single citizen of this great nation. And I want to make sure that we keep America a place of opportunity, where everyone has a fair shot. They get as much education as they can afford and with their time they’re able to get and if they have a willingness to work hard and the right values, they ought to be able to provide for their family and have a shot of realizing their dreams.

    This is similar to other comments Romney has made regarding higher education, such as when he told students to simply borrow the money for college from their parents or when he told them to “shop around” or join the military to get an education. But the crux of the matter is that Romney’s policies would make college less affordable for low- and middle-income students. So what they “can afford” is going to be a lot less.

    For starters, Romney supports the radical Republican budget, authored by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), which would cut Pell Grants for more than one million students, at a time when Pell Grants are already covering the smallest percentage of tuition in their history.

    Next, Romney supports undoing the student loan reforms that were included in the 2010 health care bill. Those changes cut billions of dollars that were being wasted paying bank middlemen to service federal student loans, and instead plowed the money back into student aid. Repealing the measure, as Romney would like to do, would simply spend money to put banks back between students and their federal loans.

    Finally, Romney is a staunch supporter of predatory for-profit colleges, which are much more expensive than public schools, and often leave their students buried in debt and without the credentials necessary to obtain a good job. Of course, this should come as no surprise, since the for-profit industry is donating heavily to Romney’s campaign.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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