Serendipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread | Al Jarreau Week!

Happy Monday, Everyone! 3 Chics’ featured artist is Mr. Al Jarreau.

Wiki:  Alwin “Al” Lopez Jarreau (born March 12, 1940) is a seven-time Grammy Award winning American jazz singer.[1]  Jarreau was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the fifth of six children. His website refers to Reservoir, Inc., the name of the street where he lived. His father was a Seventh-Day Adventist Church minister and singer, and his mother was a church pianist. He and his family sang together in church concerts and in benefits, and he and his mother performed at PTA meetings.[2]

He was student council president and Badger Boys State delegate for Lincoln High School, going on to Ripon College, where he also sang with a group called the Indigos. Jarreau graduated in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology.[1] He went on to earn a master’s degree in vocational rehabilitation from the University of Iowa, worked as a Rehabilitation Counselor in San Francisco and moonlighted with a jazz trio headed by George Duke.

In 1967, he joined forces with acoustic guitarist Julio Martinez.[1] The duo became the star attraction at a small Sausalito night club called Gatsby’s. This success contributed to Jarreau’s decision to make professional singing his life and full-time career.

One of Jarreau’s most commercially successful albums is Breakin’ Away (1981), which includes the hit song “We’re In This Love Together.” He wrote and performed the Grammy-nominated theme to the 1980s American television show Moonlighting. Among other things, he is well known for his scat singing and the ability to imitate conventional guitar, bass, and percussive instrumentation. He was also a featured vocalist on USA for Africa’s “We Are the World” in which he sang the line, “…and so we all must lend a helping hand.” Another charitable media event, HBO’s Comic Relief, featured Al in a duet with Natalie Cole singing the song “Mr. President,” written by Joe Sterling, Mike Loveless and Ray Reach.


Love this video; IT’S FULL OF WIN!

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59 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread | Al Jarreau Week!

    • Ametia says:


      Mitt Romney is the quintessential republican. He has exploited America by using corporate bankruptcy laws to drain pensions, accounts, assets, borrow to company limits then walk away with millions at tax payer expense over and over as he laughed he way to his off shore accounts. Now he’s exploiting American tax laws to avoid paying taxes on his ill gotten gains as he brags of his success in avoiding military service, and getting rich by taking advantage of Americans.

  1. Ametia says:

    Barbour on Whether Romney Should Release Additional Tax Returns: “I Would”

    Joins Growing Chorus for More Transparency from Romney

    During a discussion of Mitt Romney’s refusal to follow decades of precedent and release multiple years of tax returns, which would allow the American people to examine Romney’s motivations on critical policy matters and see whether he used offshore tax havens to avoid paying U.S. taxes, former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said that if he were Mitt Romney, he would release additional years of returns.


  2. rikyrah says:

    this is who they are.

    this is the teahadist government at work.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Dude, where’s my yacht?
    By DougJ July 9th, 2012

    I know we’ve written about this a lot already, but did you evah?

    Peter Cohen, the former Shearson Lehman Bros. chief, told the Associated Press — while chewing on a cigar — that Romney is a “plain-talking guy.”

    Ted Conklin, who owns the American Hotel in Sag Harbor, told the New York Times that Obama is a “socialist.”

    “His idea is find a problem that doesn’t exist and get government to intervene,” Conklin added, his wife, Carol Simmons, nodding beside him in their gold Mercedes.

    Ms. Simmons paused to highlight what she said was her husband’s generous spirit: “Tell them who’s on your yacht this weekend! Tell him!”

    Over Mr. Conklin’s objections, Ms. Simmons disclosed that a major executive from Miramax, the movie company, was on the 75-foot yacht, because, she said, there were no rooms left at the hotel.

    After the way these assholes went after John Kerry for wind-surfing, if we don’t nail their feed to the ground and shove this stuff down their throat, then we may as well just suffocate ourselves with tote-bags.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Romney Set to Counterattack on Bain
    The L word.

    The Romney campaign will begin to aggressively push back against President Obama’s accusations that the Republican was an “outsourcing pioneer” today, a source privy to the the campaign’s strategy told BuzzFeed.

    In a conference call Monday morning, senior staff said Romney’s surrogates would stop shying away from the word “lie” in responding to Democrats’ attacks on his business record, and plan to go on TV to call Obama a “liar,” the source said.

    “They are very fed up with these attacks,” said the source.

    The pushback comes after a week of hand-wringing among GOP elite, who worry that Romney is letting Obama’s attacks — which seek to undermine the very rationale for the Republican’s candidacy, his private sector experience — gain traction without any serious effort to rebut them. Some Republican strategists have said Romney should be spending serious money to respond to the attacks.

    “The feeling was that nobody is watching this right now,” said the source. “They had a time frame to respond to the Bain attacks… But today the counterattack with the surrogates is going to begin.”

    • Ametia says:

      Bring it! It’s easier for these MOFOs to call Obama a liar, rather then ANSWER THE QUESTION:


  5. rikyrah says:

    Signs are Pointing to Obama Campaign having Dirt on Romney Finances

    I’ve been watching this particular topic with some interest.

    On one hand, there was Romney’s refusal to his own primary challengers to disclose his tax returns. And then reinforcement of that stance again once he became the apparent nominee for the GOP.

    However, the Obama campaign has pursued this unprecedented lack of transparency with more passion than I expected. It would be one thing if they were simply re-iterating the need for Romney to disclose the returns. It is an entirely different matter that they are escalating it with more fervor than a birther demanding Obama’s birth certificate. And this escalation is coordinated with the Democratic party, as they were out in full force this weekend hammering Romney on the point.

  6. Ametia says:

    Video: Savannah Guthrie Makes TODAY Co-Anchor Debut After Ann Curry Exit
    EntertainmentJuly 9, 2012 AT 11:15AM
    By Zach Johnson.

    Read more:

  7. rikyrah says:

    Everyone knows the dice are loaded
    By DougJ July 9th, 2012

    A great Kos diary from commenter Upper West on Mitt Romney’s IRA:

    What was your return on your IRA, Keogh or Pension Plan last year? For the last 15 years? For 1984-1999?

    If you did great you made maybe 5 or 10 percent a year. If the period coincided with the Bull Market, maybe over 10 or 15 years you made 80-100 percent.

    But no matter how well you did, you did not do as well as Mitt Romney between 1984 and 1999. Mitt was allowed to contribute a maximum of $32,000 per year to his IRA and other forms of retirement accounts. So in 15 years, he contributed no more than $480,000.

    And yet that account is now worth $102,000,000!


    Using simple calculations, that equals a return of 21,250% (twenty one thousand two hundred fifty percent!)

  8. rikyrah says:

    Protecting the Black Community
    by BooMan
    Mon Jul 9th, 2012 at 09:36:44 AM EST

    I congratulate Ylan Q. Mui of the Washington Post for writing an article about how blacks have been devastated by the Great Recession, with their wealth destroyed, their jobs up and gone, and their credit ratings in the crapper. I was a little apprehensive as I began reading the piece. It seemed like it might be a call for restarting the sub-prime predatory lending market as a way of overcoming systemically low credit ratings in the black community. But that line of reasoning never really materialized, and the reporting turned out to be quite good.
    Ms. Ylan focused on the bad news, and credit ratings in particular, but there is some relief. In 2014, everyone in the black community will have the opportunity to gain access to health insurance, whether or not they can pay for it out of their own pockets. No longer will families be ruined because they can’t afford treatment for diabetes or cancer. The insurance companies can’t drop coverage capriciously, nor can they impose lifetime caps in coverage or deny coverage for those who lost their jobs but have pre-existing illnesses.

    Meanwhile, the Justice Department is aggressively pursuing settlements with the major lending banks who systemically defrauded blacks and Latinos by giving them less favorable loan terms.

    A month ago, the Justice Department reached a $21 million settlement with SunTrust over what it called a “racial surtax” on home loans. For instance, it said black borrowers in Atlanta were charged $745 more in fees than white borrowers with similar credit histories and qualifications.
    “SunTrust’s African American and Latino borrowers had no idea they could have gotten a better deal, no idea that white borrowers with similar credit would pay less,” Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez said. “That is discrimination with a smile.”

    The Justice Department also reached a $335 million settlement with Bank of America over similar charges last year and is investigating Wells Fargo. The banks have denied wrongdoing.

    This is in tandem with the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s efforts to crack down on a variety of groups that prey on the black and Latino communities, including pawn shops, check-cashing services, and issuers of pre-paid debit cards, car title loans, and rent-to-own schemes.

    The challenge is to find a way for people who need to credit to get it without being ripped off. That’s a mission that is complicated by the Republican Party’s relentless efforts to shield these non-bank lenders from regulation.

    House Bill 1909, sponsored by California Representative Joe Baca (CA-43), would create a new federal charter for non-bank financial service providers to bypass CFPB. It would also preempt state consumer protection laws and rollback consumer gains nationwide. Already several states across the country have passed strong consumer protections against the very same lenders this federal legislation would reverse. If enacted, non-bank lenders would no longer be subject to the federal Truth in Lending Act. Currently TILA requires disclosure of the cost of credit as an annual percentage rate (APR).

    There’s no chance that the Obama administration will sign Joe Baca’s law, but you can be sure that Mitt Romney would. Romney would also chip away at the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights that was passed in 2009.

    So far, Obama’s most progressive legacy has been the area of consumer protection, which benefits almost everyone, but disproportionately benefits those at the bottom of the economic ladder who are not savvy in financial matters and who are often desperate to obtain money on almost any terms.

    The right has been very focused in their effort to blame the housing bubble and ensuing financial meltdown on blacks and Latinos who borrowed money they couldn’t pay back. They ignore the fact that lenders devised ways to lend money to unqualified borrowers on fraudulently and discriminatorily unfavorable terms. They ignore the fact that whole industries grew up based on exploiting the needy’s desire to stay afloat just one week longer.

    Obama cannot single-handedly restore all the destroyed wealth in the black community, but he can make sure the black community is better protected from usury and fraud, and that they can have access to needed medical care without having to file for bankruptcy. In fact, he’s already set those protections in motion. All he needs is a second term to see those protections through.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 01:18 PM ET, 07/09/2012 ]
    Obama dares GOP to oppose middle class tax cuts
    By Greg Sargent

    President Obama, during his event just now calling on Congress to extend the Bush tax cuts on those making under $250,000:

    We should all agree to extend the tax cuts for the middle class. Let’s agree to do what we agree on. Right? That’s what compromise is all about. Let’s not hold the vast majority of Americans and our entire economy hostage while we debate the merits of another tax cut for the wealthy. We can have that debate. But let’s not hold up working out the thing that we already agree on.
    In many ways the fate of the tax cut for the wealthiest Americans will be decided by the outcome of the next election. My opponent will fight to keep them in place. I will fight to end them. That argument shouldn’t threaten you. It shouldn’t threaten the 98 percent of Americans who just want to know that their taxes won’t go up next year. Middle class families and small business owners — they deserve that guarantee. They deserve that certainty. It will be good for the economy, and it will be good for you.

    Obama’s political imperative is to separate the battle over the Bush tax cut into two fights: One over whether to extend the middle class tax cuts; and a second one over whether to end the tax cuts on the rich. By contrast, the political imperative of Mitt Romney and Republicans is to do all they can to conflate these two battles, because if the first one were to be resolved, then they’d lose all their leverage in the second one.

    What’s more, the GOP position in that second battle — whether to extend the tax cuts only on the rich — is very unpopular. Republicans can’t agree to Obama’s proposal, because it would then mean the battle over whether to extend just the tax cuts for the rich would be isolated. Obama knows this. So he’s hoping that their opposition to his proposal will clarify and separate out the two battles — and who stands for whom — in the public mind.

  10. rikyrah says:

    July 08, 2012
    Our Cupp runneth over … and over and over and

    I see that S.E. Cupp is rapidly becoming the Jennifer Rubin of cable news; specifically, MSNBC’s embarrassment to the Washington Post’s embarrassment. This, on MSNBC’s part (as well as the Post’s), is a peculiar circumstance of network degradation whose avoidability was as completely possible as its rejection was utterly incomprehensible.

    I recall the first time I ever laid eyes and ears on Cupp. She was interviewing a distinguished historian of American conservatism, Prof. Corey Robin, for C-Span’s Book TV, and it was my instant impression that this woman had in her young life read perhaps one whole book on the general subject–Hayek’s, no doubt–causing within her a passionate romance with the idea of conservatism, whose complexity she had since abridged and encapsulated into stock phrases and sentimental platitudes.

    The hour spent with her was excruciating, bearable only in the knowledge that it would be my last–and singular–hour with her.

    I was living in innocent ignorance. Little did I know that MSNBC’s Phil Griffin was out there, somewhere, stalking the airwaves for some “cute” right-winging abomination sans a penis. Damn! He must have been flipping through the snob channels just as Ms. Cupp appeared, and thereupon screamed to some network lackey: Get me that witless foxy thing with the neat glasses!

    LACKEY: But Sir, she’s an idiot.

    GRIFFIN: I’m a cable news executive. Do you think I care? She’s foxy, so the witlessness doesn’t count.

    The rest is permanent history. Now we’ll never be rid of her, or her hysterical superficiality.

    Because Paddy Chayefsky was prophetic.

    • Ametia says:

      LOL That new MSNBC cable show called “Cycle is a HOT MESS. Steve Kornacki, Krystal Ball, Toure, and Cupp. 4 folks to sit around a table and do what? Where have we seen this before. ENOUGH!

      Cupp should take her silly ass to FOX.

  11. rikyrah says:

    The ‘surrogate problem’ lingers
    By Steve Benen – Mon Jul 9, 2012 10:16 AM EDT.

    For much of the year, Mitt Romney has struggled with high-profile surrogates who don’t seem to care for him. The trouble seems to be getting worse.

    Shortly after Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) threw his support to Romney, the senator said, “There are a lot of other people out there that some of us wish had run for president — but they didn’t.” When former NRCC Chairman Tom Davis endorsed Romney, he said on national television, “He may not be Mr. Personality. You know, he’s the guy who gives the fireside chat and the fire goes out.”

    The latest is House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), ostensibly a leading Romney ally, who appeared at a fundraiser in West Virginia and raised a few eyebrows. Roll Call reported over the weekend:

    The Ohio Republican made the remarks when an unidentified woman asked during a question-and-answer session: “Can you make me love Mitt Romney?”

    “No,” Boehner said. “Listen, we’re just politicians. I wasn’t elected to play God. The American people probably aren’t going to fall in love with Mitt Romney.”

    The House Speaker said “some people” will want to vote for Romney — specifically, Romney’s “friends, relatives and fellow Mormons” — but everyone else who backs Romney will be doing so, not because they think he’ll be a good president, but because they hate President Obama. Ouch.

    Is there any difference between Boehner’s comments and what a Democrat would have said on the same issue? Not really.


    As for the larger significance, I tend to think Boehner’s assessment is accurate — there’s polling evidence that shows most of the president’s support is genuine, but most of Romney’s support is based on the fact that he’s not Obama — and I continue to wonder if it offers a potential hint about the eventual outcome.

    In 2008, Republicans were motivated more by their opposition to Obama than their love of McCain. In 2004, Democratic voters were motivated more by their opposition to Bush than their love of Kerry.

    In 2000, Bush voters like Bush more than Gore voters liked Gore. In 1996, genuine GOP support for Dole was limited, and Republicans simply relied on anti-Clinton hatred.

    In recent elections, in other words, candidates with genuine support — voters who actually like their guy, rather than simply hating the other guy — have tended to do quite well. In 2012, Boehner and other Republicans don’t seem terribly concerned by the fact that Romney isn’t inspiring admiration, but rather, is counting on the incumbent inspiring hatred.

    But this hasn’t been a recipe for success lately.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:18 AM ET, 07/09/2012
    Mitt Romney: Middle class tax cut won’t help middle class
    By Greg Sargent

    This morning, President Obama will call on Congress to extend the Bush tax cuts just for those under $250,000 — an effort to put Republicans on the spot by forcing them to declare that they won’t support a middle class tax cut unless it’s coupled with an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the rich.

    Moments ago, Mitt Romney’s campaign rolled out its response:

    “President Obama’s response to even more bad economic news is a massive tax increase. It just proves again that the President doesn’t have a clue how to get America working again and help the middle class. The President’s latest bad idea is to raise taxes on families, job creators, and small businesses. Almost half a million fewer Americans are working today than the day Barack Obama took office, and we’ve just come through the worst job creation quarter in two years. Unlike President Obama, Governor Romney understands that the last thing we need to do in this economy is raise taxes on anyone.”

    When Romney describes this proposal as a “massive tax increase,” what he means is that calling for an extension of the cut for those under $250,000 is equivalent to calling for a tax hike on those over $250,000 — or, as he puts it, a tax hike on “families, job creators, and small businesses.”

    But allowing the high end tax cut to expire would only impact two percent of American taxpayers, Roberton Williams of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center tells me. That means Romney is describing a proposal to cut taxes on the vast majority of American taxpayers as a tax hike, because Obama’s plan does not also cut taxes on the top two percent.

    What’s more, even those taxpayers would benefit from Obama’s plan, Williams says, because the portion of their income under $250,000 would be taxed at the lower rate. Only their income over $250,000 would be taxed at a higher rate if the high end cuts expire.

    The Tax Policy Center has not estimated the average size of the tax increase the top two percent would suffer under this scenario. But it has estimated that the top one percent would see their after-tax income go down by all of seven percent.

    Putting aside the numbers, note Romney’s claim that this proposal “proves again that the President doesn’t have a clue” how to “help the middle class.” In other words, his response, with no exaggeration, is that extending tax cuts for those under $250,000 won’t help the middle class. Oh, and a tax cut is actually a tax hike!

  13. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 08:07 AM ET, 07/09/2012
    The Morning Plum: Obama shifts hard to tax fairness
    By Greg Sargent

    With the recovery going so poorly, why does Obama still hold a narrow lead? One reason, some observers think, is that Obama has successfully used the presidency to seize the political initiative on issues such as student loans and immigration.

    Today Obama will try to go on offense on what Dems hope will be a defining issue of the campaign: Taxes on the rich. He will announce in a Rose Garden speech that he wants Congress to extend the Bush tax cuts for those under $250,000.

    Republicans are already bashing the move as a threatened tax hike on “small businesses.” (They said the same thing about proposed tax hikes on those over $1 million; they’ll make this claim no matter what the cutoff is.) But this is a fight the Obama camp wants. It goes directly to the way the Obama team hopes swing voters will perceive this election: As a battle over which side really has the middle class’s interests at heart.

    Obama has said the single greatest obstacle to bipartisan compromise on how to move the country forward is the GOP refusal to entertain even a penny more in taxes from the rich, and has called on voters to break that “stalemate.” This move is designed to highlight the cause of this stalemate — to deepen this contrast with Republicans, by putting them in the position of opposing the middle class tax cut extension unless it’s paired with an extension of tax cuts for the rich, revealing whose interests the GOP is protecting.

    But ultimately, this move will be all about Mitt Romney. Obama’s GOP challenger has called for more across the board tax cuts that would disproportionately benefit the wealthy — on top of the Bush tax cuts. Dems believe tax fairness is a particularly potent issue against Romney. He personally benefits to an untold degree from low tax rates on investments; questions are mounting about Romney’s offshore accounts in tax havens; and despite those questions, he is refusing to release his own tax returns. As Paul Krugman points out today, Romney’s refusal to be transparent about his own finances suggests he doesn’t want to reveal the extent to which he would personally benefit from the policies he’s advocating, because so doing would be deeply damaging.

    Obama’s move may mean Romney will now have to take the position that the middle class cuts should not be extended in isolation, without extending those of the rich — to the degree, of course, that he feels pressure to take any position on today’s announcement at all.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Obama would reject bill extending tax cuts for wealthy: aide
    WASHINGTON | Mon Jul 9, 2012 11:11pm IST

    (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama would not sign any congressional legislation that extends Bush-era tax cuts to wealthier Americans, the White House said on Monday.

    “He would not support it. He would not sign that bill,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters when asked whether Obama would veto any bill passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives that keeps tax cuts in place across-the-board for all income levels.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Romney student loan plan criticized
    Would allow private lenders back into market
    By Tracy Jan
    Globe Staff /

    Mitt Romney promises to usher private lenders back into the federal student loan market in a bid to decrease default rates and increase efficiency if he becomes president, but such a move could cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars over a decade without saving students money, according to several higher education analysts.

    The prime beneficiaries, critics say, would be banks and loan companies that stand to reap a financial boon through subsidies to make nearly risk-free, government-backed loans. They are the same firms that benefited from the system that existed for decades before 2010, when President Obama required that the government issue all federal student loans.

    “The old guaranteed loan program was rife with lobbyists and will go down in history as a system that existed far longer than it needed to simply because it was enriching private companies,” said Jason Delisle, director of the Federal Education Budget Project at the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank. Inviting private lenders back into the program, he said, appears misguided: “What’s in it for students or taxpayers? Nothing.”

    Private lenders, however, argue that Obama’s move in 2010 cost the industry thousands of jobs as companies went out of business or shut down divisions that dealt with the servicing of such loans. And the Romney campaign says reintroducing private competition would spur innovation that could help prevent students from borrowing more than they should.

    The current market for loans to help students and parents pay skyrocketing tuition rates is dominated by government-backed loans made exclusively through the Department of Education’s federal direct loan program. In addition, the private market offers more loan options with no such backing — typically at higher interest rates. Before 2010, private firms also made government-backed loans.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Sunday, July 8, 2012
    Gov. Corbett contracts with Romney fundraiser for PA Voter ID ad campaign

    Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration has signed a $249,660 contract with a company run by Mitt Romney fundraiser, former state GOP party executive director, pharmaceutical lobbyist, and school voucher advocate Chris Bravacos to direct a media campaign promoting the state’s Voter ID law.

    Yes, that very same law, requiring that voters present identification at the polls, which critics contend will suppress Democratic-leaning non-white, poor, elderly and youth voters and which House Majority Leader Mike Turzai recently boasted (video) is “gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”

    One sample PSA on the Bravo Group’s Vimeo page portrays voter ID as just the latest installment in a bright history of American voting rights, and features anodyne black and white photos―including one of suffragettes. Another spot portrays a lot of shiny-toothed middle class models holding ID cards. [note: Bravo removed the two videos this morning but Occupy Harrisburg has reposted them here and here.]

    The tagline? “Your right to vote: it’s one thing you never want to miss out on.”

    What the ads don’t mention is that a whole lot of Pennsylvanians might just miss out on exercising that core democratic right.

    An astounding 758,939 registered voters in the state, or nine percent, do not have PennDot IDs, according to data released last Tuesday by the Department of State. In Philadelphia, it’s even worse: 186,830 registered voters, or 18 percent, do not have ID. Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele had previously assured lawmakers that 99 percent of Pennsylvanians possess the necessary ID―based on what, I have absolutely no idea.

    The state released this astonishing data on July 3 in what seems like a transparent effort to ensure that the bomb-like news would drop like a dud on the July 4th holiday. And they did so with the almost-unbelievably-Orwellian title “Department of State and PennDOT Confirm Most Registered Voters Have Photo ID.”

  17. rikyrah says:

    FOUND this in the comments section about all that Romney fundraising prowess:

    Collapse Expand What did I say last week….I knew it would come out. so of that $106M – how much was actually donors giving to Romney? Not much obviously. That money was the maxed out amount given to the RNC from the same donors they’ve always had.

    Aaron Blake‏@FixAaron
    Romney cash on hand breakdown: $49M campaign, $89M RNC, $22M Romney Victory.

  18. Ametia says:

    Texas governor rejects two provisions of health law

    Reuters) – Texas Governor Rick Perry said on Monday his state will not implement a Medicaid expansion or health insurance exchange, two provisions of the federal healthcare law upheld last month by the U.S. Supreme Court.

    “I will not be party to socializing healthcare and bankrupting my state in direct contradiction to our Constitution and our founding principles of limited government,” Perry said in a statement.

    “I stand proudly with the growing chorus of governors who reject the Obamacare power grab. Neither a ‘state’ exchange nor the expansion of Medicaid under this program would result in better ‘patient protection’ or in more ‘affordable care,'” Perry said. “They would only make Texas a mere appendage of the federal government when it comes to health care.”

    Some other states with Republican governors, including Wisconsin, Louisiana and Florida, also have said they would say no to the two provisions, with the hope that November elections will result in Republicans winning the White House and enough seats in Congress to repeal the law.

    Read more:

  19. rikyrah says:

    When the GOP elite slips into self-parody
    By Steve Benen – Mon Jul 9, 2012 11:29 AM EDT.

    Imagine if Thurston Howell III and C. Montgomery Burns were real people. Then imagine they were attending a fundraiser for Mitt Romney in the Hamptons. Then imagine they spoke to reporters about why, exactly, they want to see President Obama defeated.

    It turns out, you don’t actually have to imagine any of this, because yesterday, it actually happened. The multi-millionaire Republican — dodging questions about his controversial shell corporation in Bermuda, hidden cash in the Caymans, and inexplicable Swiss bank account — thought it’d be a good idea to spend the day in the Hamptons, attending several posh fundraisers with the hyper-elite, including an event at David Koch’s home.

    I couldn’t make up stuff like this if I tried.

    A New York City donor a few cars back, who also would not give her name, said Romney needed to do a better job connecting. “I don’t think the common person is getting it,” she said from the passenger seat of a Range Rover stamped with East Hampton beach permits. “Nobody understands why Obama is hurting them.

    “We’ve got the message,” she added. “But my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies — everybody who’s got the right to vote — they don’t understand what’s going on. I just think if you’re lower income — one, you’re not as educated, two, they don’t understand how it works, they don’t understand how the systems work, they don’t understand the impact.”

    I’m not sure which of those sentences is the most ridiculous. Let’s call it a tie.

    The L.A. Times report quoted another wealthy Romney donor saying, “It’s not helping the economy to pit the people who are the engine of the economy against the people who rely on that engine.” Apparently, asking the rich to pay the same tax rate they paid in the Clinton era is making wealthy people feel put upon. (Matt Yglesias also highlighted “the absurd level of self-regard among the winners in the modern American meritocracy.”)

    The New York Times report quoted Ted Conklin, the owner of the American Hotel in Sag Habor, speaking from inside his gold-colored Mercedes, whined that the president “is a socialist.” At his wife’s urging, Conklin then boasted that a Hollywood executive was staying on his 75-foot yacht because his hotel was fully booked.

    I don’t generally get nauseous reading the news. There are exceptions.


    It’s one thing to know Romney, worth a quarter of a billion dollars, is a hopelessly out-of-touch elitist, who enjoys the support of other hopelessly out-of-touch elitists. But the larger political context almost reads like a Dickens novel on acid — the “nails ladies” are uneducated, so they’re inclined to vote for the president, despite his tendencies to hurt rich people’s feelings.

    Keep in mind, under Obama, these hyper-wealthy Romney donors are doing great. Their stock portfolios are strong; they still have plenty of servants and “nails ladies”; and their tax burdens haven’t increased at all. Despite the brutal recession that began in late 2007, the folks who showed up to shower riches onto Romney have fared extremely well in recent years.

    But they’re not happy. There’s a Democratic president who’s too busy championing the interests of the middle class to think about their feelings, so it’s time to elect Mr. Car Elevator, who may not appeal to the riff raff, but who “understands how it works.”

    What does “it” refer to? I haven’t the foggiest idea, but I’m sure if I was allowed into one of these donor’s country clubs, someone would try to explain it to me.

  20. rikyrah says:

    On the offensive on women’s rights
    By Steve Benen – Mon Jul 9, 2012 10:45 AM EDT.

    How do we know President Obama believes he has the advantage on hot-button, culture-war issues? Because he’s not afraid to take the offensive, running ads like these.

    This spot, titled “Troubled,” was launched over the weekend by the Obama campaign, and will air in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia.

    A spot like this serves more than one purpose, of course. When it comes to defining Romney, ads like these dispel the notion that the former Massachusetts governor is a moderate — voters, especially women voters, who may have heard about Romney’s pro-choice past may benefit from learning the whole story.

    But let’s not miss the forest for the trees. This new campaign ad hammers Romney for wanting to overturn Roe, outlaw abortions, and scrap aid to Planned Parenthood — and Obama’s re-election campaign wouldn’t put a spot like this together unless it knew the American mainstream agrees with the president’s position.

    Indeed, it’s of particular interest that the spot will be airing in Virginia, a Southern state where social issues tend to cut against Democrats, but where state Republicans drew national outrage for pushing a forced-vaginal-ultrasound proposal.

    Will the 2012 race be defined by the culture war? Almost certainly not. But there are still plenty of voters who care deeply about social issues, and who were outraged by the “war on women” agenda pushed by GOP officials for much of the year. Obama and his team clearly believe they have the upper hand on reproductive rights this year, and the fact that Democrats are on the offensive speaks volumes about the efficacy (or lack thereof) of the right’s anti-choice, anti-contraception, anti-Planned Parenthood agenda of late.

  21. Ametia says:

    Jul 8, 2012, 6:28 pm Campaign 2012 | National Politics
    What is Mitt Romney hiding?
    By Libby Spencer

    Mitt Romney’s money is in the news again this week after an investigative piece by Vanity Fair took a look at his convoluted finances. It’s a complicated article, so let’s unpack it in increments. The first questions that should be answered are about Romney’s IRA. It’s a lot different than most of ours.

    His IRA raises two key questions, both of which his campaign has consistently declined to answer: How, despite a $6000 legal limit on annual contributions to an IRA, did Romney’s IRA grow to over $100 million? And did he avoid any U.S. taxes on its enormous returns?

    Read the details at this link, but the answer seems to be it’s possible to accrue that much money in an IRA by creative accounting and tax dodging using off-shore tax shelters. Of course, nobody knows for sure. However, these questions could be easily answered if Mr. Romney released his prior tax returns, as has been the precedent since his Dad, George Romney, established it back when he was running for president.

    To date, Romney refuses to release more than one year of past returns or to answer the questions raised by his numerous foreign investments. As his Dad said, releasing only one year could be a trick, just for show. So the question remains, what is Mitt Romney hiding? Since he’s running on the premise of his allegedly impeccable business skills, it’s a legitimate question.

  22. Ametia says:

    Op-Ed Columnist
    Mitt’s Gray Areas
    Published: July 8, 2012

    Once upon a time a rich man named Romney ran for president. He could claim, with considerable justice, that his wealth was well-earned, that he had in fact done a lot to create good jobs for American workers. Nonetheless, the public understandably wanted to know both how he had grown so rich and what he had done with his wealth; he obliged by releasing extensive information about his financial history.


  23. rikyrah says:

    Why focus groups’ incredulity matters
    By Steve Benen – Mon Jul 9, 2012 9:45 AM EDT.

    It seems like ages ago, but in October 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks, Republican policymakers pushed for what they called an “economic stimulus” bill. The GOP plan was absurd — the “stimulus” was a massive corporate giveaway, tilted towards the richest of the rich. Even the Wall Street Journal admitted the plan “mainly padded corporate bottom lines.”

    Democrats, eager to expose the ridiculous GOP agenda, convened focus groups to sharpen the message, but quickly ran into trouble: voters thought it was impossible that the GOP would actually do this. Paul Krugman explained at the time that the Republican stimulus “was so extreme that when political consultants tried to get reactions from voter focus groups, the voters refused to believe that they were describing the bill accurately.”

    I couldn’t help but think of this when I saw a report yesterday on the pro-Obama super PAC, Priorities Action USA, which ran into similar trouble telling voters about Mitt Romney.

    [Bill] Burton and his colleagues spent the early months of 2012 trying out the pitch that Romney was the most far-right presidential candidate since Barry Goldwater. It fell flat. The public did not view Romney as an extremist. For example, when Priorities informed a focus group that Romney supported the Ryan budget plan — and thus championed “ending Medicare as we know it” — while also advocating tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the respondents simply refused to believe any politician would do such a thing.

    As Jon Chait put it, focus group participants were hearing accurate descriptions, but the truth “struck those voters as so cartoonishly evil that they found the charge implausible.”

    Imagine how frustrating this must be to Democratic strategists. They can tell a room full of voters the truth about Romney’s agenda, and a whole lot of folks respond, “That can’t be right.”

    I can appreciate the underlying problem here: voters have been confronted with a lot of wild accusations over the years, and have become largely inured to the hyperbole. When the American mainstream hears about Candidate A or Party B supporting some radical policy, it assumes, just as a matter of course, that the claims come with built-in exaggerations. It’s “just politics.”

    Except, sometimes, it’s not.


    To a certain extent, I suspect this is why the Republican Party didn’t pay a severe price for the debt-ceiling crisis they created last year. In reality, the entire Republican Party threatened to crash the American economy, on purpose, and trash the full faith and credit of the United States, deliberately, unless Democrats met a series of non-negotiable demands. It was, to my mind, the most scandalous tactic adopted by a major party since the Civil War, but the American mainstream never responded that way — in part because the media characterized the crisis as being the fault of “both sides,” and in part because it seemed so hard to believe that literally every Republican in Washington would hold America hostage, threatening to do severe damage to the nation and its people unless they got their way.

    But these assumptions are wrong. In the case of Romney, the Republican really does support a budget plan that would scrap Medicare and give tax breaks to millionaires. He really is planning to eliminate Wall Street safeguards and take away health care benefits from millions. He really believes the country will be better off if more teachers and police officers are laid off, and foreclosures continue unabated.

    This isn’t a liberal caricature based on election-year demagoguery; this is Mitt Romney’s policy agenda.

  24. Ametia says:

    Good, INFORMATIVE read from SmartyPants:

    Prepare yourself for the Republican attack on Obama’s stimulus

    Apparently the Republicans are planning to launch an attack on President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Program (the stimulus bill) this week.

    Republicans will open a new line of attack on President Barack Obama this week, invoking the economic stimulus program and various renewable energy projects that fell short of their job-creation goals or, in some instances, may have benefited foreign companies and workers.

    The Republican National Committee will unveil a new website and host events meant to “turn the tables’’ on Mr. Obama – in particular his effort to paint Republican challenger Mitt Romney as a callous business executive who profited from moving jobs overseas, according to a person familiar with the GOP initiative.

    Check out the entire piece here:

  25. rikyrah says:

    Fox’s Carlson: Obama Is Great At “Simplistic Messaging” For Voters Who Don’t “Pay Close Attention”
    Video ››› 3 hours and 19 minutes ago ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

  26. Ametia says:


  27. rikyrah says:

    Russia halts arms shipments to Syria

    MOSCOW (AP) — A senior Russian official says that Moscow is halting its weapons sales to Syrian authorities until the situation there calms down.

    Vyacheslav Dzirkaln, deputy chief of the Russian military and technical cooperation agency, told Russian news agencies on the sidelines of the Farnborough airshow south-west off London that Russia is not going to sign any new arms deals with Syria or send any more weapons.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Unanswered questions about Romney’s offshore finances
    By Steve Benen
    Mon Jul 9, 2012 9:07 AM EDT.

    If Sunday show watchers turned on their TVs yesterday, expecting to see Democrats on the offensive over Friday’s jobs report, they may have been surprised. Prominent Democratic voices, displaying a level of message discipline that’s highly unusual for their party, instead focused in on one lingering issue: what’s with Mitt Romney’s offshore finances?

    Democrats were unrelenting on this issue. Of particular interest was this comment from Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association: “I’ve never known of a Swiss bank account to build an American bridge, a Swiss bank account to create American jobs, or Swiss bank accounts to rebuild the levies to protect the people of New Orleans. That’s not an economic strategy for moving our country forward.”

    Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) added, “When it comes down to his Swiss bank account, there’s just no way to explain it.”

    That’s true, and it’s more than a throwaway line. On ABC’s “This Week,” host Terry Moran asked Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a leading Romney surrogate, three times to explain the Republican candidate’s offshore investments. In each instance, Jindal changed the subject, unsure what to say.

    For its part, the Romney campaign argued Friday that Democratic questions are “false and ridiculous.” Yesterday, Team Romney added that the questions are “unseemly and disgusting.”

    What’s fascinating, though, is that the adjectives didn’t come with accompanying nouns. What is it, exactly, about the questions that are “false”? The Romney campaign won’t say. Why are the questions “ridiculous”? The Romney campaign won’t say. Why is the issue “disgusting”? The Romney campaign won’t say.

    Offshore financing may seem like a complex issue — and complicated questions tend to get overlooked during a presidential campaign — but there are some basic questions here that should be fairly easy for anyone to understand.


    Let’s make this really easy:

    1. Why did Romney feel the need to create a shell corporation in Bermuda, then quickly move it into his wife’s name the day before he was sworn in as governor?

    2. Why did Romney feel the need to put millions of dollars in the Cayman Islands?

    3. Why did Romney feel the need to keep a Swiss bank account?

    4. Has there ever, in American history, been a major-party presidential candidate who didn’t want to keep his money in American banks?

    5. If Romney wasn’t trying to avoid U.S. taxes, why won’t he release his readily-available tax returns and clear the air?

  29. rikyrah says:

    A subject George Will should avoid
    By Steve Benen
    Mon Jul 9, 2012 8:30 AM EDT.

    The climate crisis is generally ignored on the major Sunday morning talk shows, so it was encouraging to see the subject come up on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” Far less encouraging, however, was George Will’s take on the issue.

    E.J. Dionne Jr., a member of the media panel on yesterday’s show, raised a terrific argument: “What I don’t understand is why my conservative friends are so resistant in taking out an insurance policy. There is a lot of evidence that human activity is changing the climate. There’s not a lot of dispute among scientists about this. Why wouldn’t we want to take out an insurance policy to protect ourselves? Because if we go wrong on this, we’re making an awfully big mistake.”

    George Will dismissed the argument out of hand. Ian Millhiser posted this clip of the conservative columnist’s response.

    For those who can’t watch clips online, Will told Dionne, “You asked us, how do we explain the heat? One word: summer. I grew up in central Illinois in a house without air conditioning. What is so unusual about this? … We’re having some hot weather. Get over it.”

    It’s worth appreciating the extent to which Will is dangerously wrong. Indeed, Steve Rattner, who was on the same panel, reminded Will, “[T]he 10 hottest years on record have been in the last 12 years. The 20 hottest years on record have been in the last 30 years. There is a lot of science around this. The polar icecaps, everything we’ve all read, I don’t think we can just ignore it, George.”

    But that’s exactly what Will wants to do. Indeed, he wants the rest of us to “just ignore it,” too.


    For context, it’s also worth noting that Will’s profound ignorance on the subject isn’t new. In January, he published a truly unhinged column, arguing that global warming is part of an elaborate collectivist plot. He wasn’t kidding.

    In 2009, Will’s commentary on climate change was filled with so many dramatic errors of fact and judgment, the Washington Post felt compelled to publish a compelling retort from my friend Chris Mooney, who carefully explained that Will has no idea what he’s talking about.

    And yet, Will keeps popping off on the subject, both in print and on national television, hoping unsuspecting news consumers won’t realize that every argument he presents is blisteringly untrue.

  30. rikyrah says:

    The Cake We’re Apparently Supposed To Be Eating Is A Lie

    By Zandar July 9th, 2012

    The R-Money Koch Block 2012 Tour hit the Hamptons this weekend, and America’s most precious resource, its clueless rich assholes, have something to say to the bourgeoisie.

    A New York City donor a few cars back, who also would not give her name, said Romney needed to do a better job connecting. “I don’t think the common person is getting it,” she said from the passenger seat of a Range Rover stamped with East Hampton beach permits. “Nobody understands why Obama is hurting them.

    “We’ve got the message,” she added. “But my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies—everybody who’s got the right to vote—they don’t understand what’s going on. I just think if you’re lower income—one, you’re not as educated, two, they don’t understand how it works, they don’t understand how the systems work, they don’t understand the impact.”

    On one level, she’s right. We’re just too dumb to get how we’ve been mauled economically by people in Range Rovers with East Hampton beach permits. If we truly understood that nearly 95% of the economic income growth over the last few years went to just the top 1% in this country, if we truly grasped what that meant, we’d be out there playing “Who Wants To Pitchfork A Millionaire?”

    Sadly, a great many of us are engaged in Stockholm Syndrome with these bozos.

    Sharon Zambrelli voted for Obama in 2008 but has been disappointed with his handling of the economy and leadership style. “I was very disenchanted with the political process and he gave me hope,” she said, but ultimately: “He’s just a politician,” she said, an “emperor with no clothes.”

    The Zambrellis scoffed at attempts by the Democrats—who mocked Romney in an ad Sunday as “great for oil billionaires, bad for the middle class”—to wage class warfare. “Would you like to hear about the fundraisers I went to for him?” Sharon Zambrelli said of Obama. “Do you have an hour? … All the ones in the city—it was all of Wall Street.”

    “It’s not helping the economy to pit the people who are the engine of the economy against the people who rely on that engine,” Michael Zambrelli said as the couple waited in their SUV for clearance into the Creeks shortly after the candidate’s motorcade flew by and entered the pine-tree lined estate. “He’s basically been biting the hand that fed him in ‘08. … I would bet 25% of the people here were supporters of Obama in ‘08. And they’re here now.”

    I wonder honestly how the Zambrellis have been doing in the last 4 years, because they seem to be saying that 90%+ growth going to people like them is unacceptably low and Obama needs to go because of it. Loosely translated, I’m seeing “Well McCain/Palin were basically insane and we weren’t going to help them, but this Obama guy actually is talking about making us pay more here. Who does he think he is?”

    And we’re all really just ungrateful, stupid bastards to these people, and they really don’t understand why more of us aren’t eager to worship them as the “engines of the economy” when the reality is our consumer-based economy has been driven by the middle class buying crap at a breakneck pace and putting money in the pockets of these people, and as far as they’re concerned they just don’t need us anymore. Hey, to an extent they’re right. There’s plenty of people in China and India and Brazil and whatnot who will buy their corporate crap these days. We’ve made ourselves obsolete in the grand corporate crap consumption game. It’s gone global.

    If we understood anything, we’d understand that they can make our lives even more miserable and they’ve signaled their intent to do just that. Of course, if we really understood things, we’d be out there making things extremely miserable for the gilded class while we still could. It hasn’t occurred to any of them that the rest of us are in trouble, and don’t see why we can’t be like them if we just played our cards right. Pretty easy to make a royal flush or three with 47 cards in your hand, of course. It’s a little harder when you have two in your hand and the cost of drawing from the deck is a couple decades of student loan debt or heading out to the Sandbox and hoping most of you comes back in useable condition.

    But we’re just all parasites and looters and moochers to these guys, and you’d think with all these gifts they have, one of them would look up how things like this tend to go in the history books, and it always ends up badly for the guys on top of the pyramid when the revolution flips the whole rotten mess over.

    Something’s got to give, and soon.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Hi all.

    I would like to ask for your prayers and positive thoughts for my sister who was admitted to the hospital.

  32. Ametia says:

    Romney Donor Says ‘Lower Income’ People ‘Don’t Understand What’s Going On’
    By Judd Legum posted from ThinkProgress Election on Jul 8, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Today, Mitt Romney is holding a series of fundraisers in the Hamptons, culminating with a huge event at the home of billionaire David Koch. The LA Times is on the scene and reporter Maeve Reston caught up with a donor on her way into one of the events.

    The woman, who wouldn’t reveal her name, said the following:

    I don’t think the common person is getting it…my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies — everybody who’s got the right to vote — they don’t understand what’s going on. I just think if you’re lower income — one, you’re not as educated, two, they don’t understand how it works, they don’t understand how the systems work, they don’t understand the impact.

    The recommended contribution for the event she was attending was $25,000.

    Earlier in the campaign Romney received criticism for saying, “I’m not concerned with the very poor.” He later said he misspoke.

    Romney’s tax plan would give the richest 0.1% of Americans an average tax cut of $264,000.

  33. Ametia says:

    Mornin’, Everybody! Happy HUMP day. :-)

    PBO to hold presser in the WH at noon today. Calling on Congress to extend tax cuts for the MIDDLE CLASS.

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