Saturday Open Thread

Good Morning, Everyone. Enjoy this weekend with family and friends.

hat tip-GLH

From Teen Vogue:

Defying Gravity: Teen Ballerina Michaela DePrince
Refusing to be held back by a nightmarish past or ugly stereotypes, teen ballerina Michaela DePrince is ready to soar.
By Giannella Garrett

Pick an afternoon on any day of the week, and chances are you’ll find Michaela DePrince in front of a wall of mirrors. It’s not a vanity thing. “I personally hate them,” says the seventeen-year-old rising ballerina, “but they help me focus on every detail when I’m working on technique.” Whether she’s gliding across the floor en pointe in class at American Ballet Theatre’s prestigious Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School in New York City or rehearsing for an upcoming gala performance, she perfects each movement through the looking glass.

Michaela landed a coveted spot in ABT’s preprofessional division in 2010 after making an appearance at the annual Youth America Grand Prix, the world’s largest student ballet competition—and a camera crew trailed her for an entire year leading up to the big event. She’s one of the stars of the new documentary First Position, which has won multiple awards on the film festival circuit. (For more information on the movie, visit Released in select theaters in May, it follows six gifted young dancers who face immense pressure and fierce competition as they vie for a place in an elite ballet company or school. For Michaela, however, the journey to becoming a ballerina at the JKO School is about much more than just hard work and sacrifice; hers is truly an against-all-odds story.

Long before she was on the path to pursuing her dance dreams, she lived in a total nightmare. Michaela was born in Sierra Leone, a small West African country that was ravaged by civil war between 1991 and 2002. When Michaela was just three, her beloved father—”I was a daddy’s girl,” she says—was shot and killed by rebels. Only a week later, her mom died from starvation. An uncle whisked Michaela away to an orphanage, where she became known as Number 27. “We were all ranked from the most favored to the least, and I was at the very bottom for being rebellious and having a skin condition called vitiligo, which produces white freckles on my neck and chest,” she says. “They called me ‘devil child.’ ” She shared a grass sleeping mat with Number 26, a girl named Mia, who was shunned for being left-handed; the two became inseparable.

Horrific violence was the norm each day, according to Michaela, who painfully remembers witnessing the brutal killing of the one teacher at the orphanage who cared for her. “She was pregnant, and the rebels, whom we called ‘debils,’ grabbed her as she left the school grounds. I squeezed through the rails of the gate and tried to go to her rescue, but I was very small and no help at all,” she recalls. “The debils bet on whether her baby was a boy or girl. Then one of them slit her open, pulled out the baby and threw it away, and then cut off my teacher’s arms and left her to die. For years afterward, I feared being chased by debils.”

One windy day, a magazine with a cover photograph of a beautiful, smiling ballerina in a tutu and pointe shoes swept up against a fence in the yard where Michaela played. She tore off the cover and hid it underneath her clothing. “I was in such a bad situation, so the fact that this person was so happy and enjoying life—it made me hope that I could be that happy someday,” she says. When a couple from New Jersey arrived soon afterward to adopt Mia, they were told that Michaela would never find a home, so they adopted her too. “My rebelliousness in Sierra Leone helped me survive there, and it stayed with me until I moved to the States and realized I was in a safe place with caring parents,” she says.

After a fruitless search through her new mom’s handbag for toe shoes, Michaela showed her the magazine photo. Michaela’s parents decided to enroll her in the Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia. When her family moved to Vermont six years later, she continued her dance studies at a local ballet school, but it lacked the professional rigor she craved. Eventually, she returned to the Rock School alone: At thirteen, she began boarding there full-time and enrolled in an online high school. “I missed my family desperately, but ballet is what I wanted to do,” she says. For the time being, college is on hold. “I want to take advantage of my youth and pursue ballet professionally,” she explains.

Following this dream hasn’t been easy. Along the way, Michaela has had to battle racism within the ballet world. “When I was eight, I was cast to play Marie in The Nutcracker, and I prepared hard for it. But right before the show, I was told that someone else would be dancing the part because ‘people aren’t ready for a black Marie,’ ” she recalls. She seriously considered quitting ballet until she got the chance to see black dancer Heidi Cruz perform with The Pennsylvania Ballet. “I was like, Wow, she’s amazing! She inspired me to keep dancing,” Michaela says.

At five feet four and a half inches, Michaela is shorter and more muscular than the “typical” ballerina, and a teacher once told her she didn’t have the body to be a professional dancer—a common bias against black ballerinas. “Many people believe that black women shouldn’t be ballet dancers, because they think we don’t have classic ballet bodies,” Michaela says. “I was once told black dancers don’t have good feet, so I worked hard to make my feet have a classical line. Now people don’t say that to me anymore.”

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46 Responses to Saturday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    Romneys sit down for interview with Oprah Winfrey
    (AP) – 14 minutes ago

    WOLFEBORO, N.H. (AP) — Republican Mitt Romney is talking about his presidential campaign with Oprah Winfrey.

    The presumptive GOP nominee and his wife, Ann, met with Winfrey on Friday for an interview that will be published in O, The Oprah Magazine. Romney aides late Saturday said the conversation took place as the Romneys were ready to begin a leisurely weekend at their lakefront house in Wolfeboro, N.H.

    The aides would not discuss the interview topics or tone before its publication.

    Winfrey in 2007 broke her long-standing rule against supporting politicians and came out for Barack Obama. She became one his strongest advocates and helped him win over female voters.

    Read more:

  2. Ametia says:

    Interesting how CNN is preserverating on JJJr.’s mood disorder. Better focus on Romney’s BAIN DISORDER.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Dissent Of The Day

    I still don’t like the ads, and I think the intimation that there was anything criminal in those SEC filings is way over the top.

    I don’t. For me the core point is that Romney’s retaining the title of sole owner, chairman and CEO of Bain through 2002 means unequivocally that he is responsible for what happened in those years at his own company, whatever the level of his practical involvement. I don’t think he was anything more than part time at most – but it’s the responsibility that matters – and the accountability that goes with it. A man who refuses to take responsibility for his own company and says he is not accountable for anything that happened there even as he remained CEO is not someone who would be an accountable president.

    More to the point, these attacks are not merely personal. When the Obama campaign says that Romney is not the solution, but the problem, they are arguing that the extremes to which our economy and culture have gone in the last two decades – e.g. the money-grubbing, tax-evading and reckless financial sector – will not be tackled by a man who made a fortune by engaging in it. And this is not over the top. Bain is at the center of Romney’s own argument for his candidacy. And the attacks on Romney’s foreign bank accounts are much less incendiary than arguing that Obama does not understand his own country or apologized for it.

    I expected and hoped for this. I wonder when the ad that shows Romney owned a company, Stericycle, that disposed of aborted babies, starts running in evangelical areas. Maybe mid-October. Rove would do it in a heart-beat. The point is not that Romney actively managed that acquisition; he almost certainly didn’t. The point is simply that he was CEO of the company when it did this and was drawing a salary for it. That means he is formally responsible for it. Romney’s response could still be that he disagrees with the transaction, didn’t choose it, and wishes that Bain had never touched it. But that kind of parsing of responsibility and trashing of his own company comes off as both weasely and disloyal respectively.

    We have a long way to go, but last week I think we saw the first real blood of this campaign. A hit, a palpable hit. And Romney’s appearance on five major channels is the most significant confirmation. They’re in trouble.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Campaign Ad Of The Day

    I’m waiting for all those who have long said that Obama is a weak, appeasing, useless politician to take another look at the man’s steely ruthlessness. He’s running a campaign against Romney that is as tough as Bush ran against Kerry. And he’s not backing down:


    What Romney says in this ad is far more misleading, deceptive and untrue than pointing out that Romney remained CEO of Bain through 2002, which is confirmed by the SEC. A reader notes one way in which this whole affair is lethal to the Republican:

    This follows on your wise reader of 4:42 Friday who explains why people like Romney play by their own rules. Here is my experience for comparison.

    I am a library administrator at a public university in Pennsylvania. Every spring I file a financial disclosure form revealing sources of income beyond my salary. The point is to expose any possible conflicts of interest between myself and individuals or companies with which the university might contract for goods or services. An example of a conflict would be accepting meals, lodging or entertainment from a vendor from whom I purchase access to electronic library content.

    What troubles me about Romney is that he is too rich, powerful and important to be asked to follow the same rules of disclosure that an ordinary civil servant follows. He has more in common with a Russian oligarch than a presumptive American government official. He is applying to the people of the United States for the job of leader, but he acts like his immense wealth and power put him above everyone else as regards commonplace expectations of transparency, in even a low-level official.

    That’s kind of strange, don’t you think? Such a sense of entitlement in a would-be president should cause Americans to be very wary. How would this translate into actions? Ask yourself this: how would Romney define “conflict of interest”? Does he actually understand the concept?

    I’m not sure he does.

  5. rikyrah says:


    35 Questions Mitt Romney Must Answer About Bain Capital Before The Issue Can Go Away

  6. Ametia says:

    CLASSIC- reposting this

  7. rikyrah says:

    found this in the comments at TOD:

    amk for obama
    July 14, 2012 at 2:49 pm
    A BJ post

    The press may not be able to handle it, but it sure looks like the Obama campaign can. They line up a series of attacks on Mitt Romney’s background and character, make sure they mesh with their broader theme that the Republicans exist solely to dick the middle class in the eye on behalf of of a coterie of disgustingly wealthy fuckheads, and then start pumping out the ads. The press. in thrall to the Ghost of David Broder say what they always say: “Democrats claim that Mitt Romney is a soulless automaton hellbent on sending every American job possible to China. Republicans disagree!”

    Now, is the press actually doing its job untangling fact from fiction? No, it’s not.

    But Barack Obama doesn’t give a shit. By turning Mitt’s record at Bain into a “controversy”, they’ve damaged the rationale for his candidacy pretty goddamn badly as it is. Axelrod and friends took a page out of Karl Rove’s playbook, squeegeed off the slime, and are now using it to give Mitt Romney ten thousand paper cuts.

    With that great post, gunnite folks

  8. rikyrah says:

    found this in the comments at BJ:

    Lavocat Says:

    Stop. Just stop. You’re waaaaaay overthinking this meta bullshit.

    Boys and girls, here’s what it comes down to: a black man is president and he is calling his rich, white male challenger out as the fucking FELON he very probably is!

    Think about that for a minute. The black president is calling the white challenger a criminal.


    That’s about as hardcore, as in-yer-fuckin’-face as you can get in American politics, circa 2012.

    Keep it comin’!

  9. rikyrah says:

    Found in the comment at TOD:

    July 14, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Marian Wright Edelman just nailed it on the Melissa Harris Perry show. She went on a justified epic rant about Pres. Obama’s accomplishments and basically told pundits to STFU. She shutdown Bob Herbert and his “Obama didn’t give me a magical unicorn, so I’m going to drag him down in the mud.” BS. She talked about the fact that when Pres. Obama walked into the oval office, he walked into chaos. Pure and utter chaos. An economy on the brink of disaster, an automobile industry on its knees, two wars that were in shambles, Bush tax cuts that had decimated the middle-class, and a level of obstruction that had never been witnessed before. She said that in the midst of all that quagmire, Pres. Obama saved the economy, rescued Detroit, passed healthcare reform, expanded CHIP and SCHIP for children and families, increased the amount of pell grants for students, ended the war in Iraq, put two women on the supreme court etc. and he did all that while the republicans blocked and obstructed his every move. She said he has been excellent. He’s been a wonderful President and pundits need to pipe down and start telling the truth about Pres. Obama. She even made Melissa go quiet and then had Melissa nodding in agreement.

    She was fierce. My goodness. She had no time for Bob Herbert’s nonsense and every time he tried to chime in with his “Obama doom and gloom” crap, she cut him off and continued on in praise of Pres. Obama. Bloody fantastic. She had the twitterverse saying a big “AMEN!!!!”,

  10. Ametia says:


  11. rikyrah says:

    Willard could clear all of this up…

    if he wasn’t the CEO from 99-2002, then put forth the person who was..

    oh yeah….if that happens, then that means he LIED TO SEC – A GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY


  12. Ametia says:

    President Obama’s in Virginia today. Here’s his schedule:

    :00: The President delivers remarks at a campaign event at Walkerton Tavern & Gardens, Glen Allen, Virginia

    2:45: Departs Richmond en route Sterling, Virginia

    3:25: Arrives Sterling

    4:15: Delivers remarks at a campaign event at Centreville High School

    5:40: Arrives at the White House

    Check it out at these links:

    • Ametia says:

      PBO was on FY-AH! in Virginia. Stood there in a downpour of rain and delivered.

      Will post video and pics later! And BTW, *WATCHING & LISTENING to ED RENDELL*
      Not on te POTUS’ side, never have been never will be.

  13. Ametia says:

    Romney whinning like a SPOILED RICH BRAT; asking PBO to apologize. What a LOSER!

  14. Ametia says:

    MITT Romney ‘s Version of 1999
    by Ametia

    Don’t worry, I won’t hurt you; only want to make some profits

    I was Lyin’ when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray

    But when I woke up this mornin’,

    Could’ve sworn it was judgment day

    The sky was all purple, there were people runnin’ everywhere

    Tryin’ to run from the destruction, you know I didn’t even care

    Say say two thousand twelve party over, oops, out of time!

    So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s February nineteen ninety-nine

    I was Lyin’ when I wrote this, so sue me if I go too fast

    But life is just for PROFITS and PROFITS were meant to last

    War is all around us, my mind says prepare to fight

    So if I gotta LIE I’m gonna listen to my Conscience tonight

    Yeah hey, they say two thousand twelve party over, oops, out of time

    So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s February nineteen ninety-nine

    Yeah, yeah, hey

    People, let me tell you somethin’

    If you didn’t come to defend Bain, don’t bother knockin’ on my door, got more bling in my pocket
    and baby it’s ready to roar, yeah hey

    Everybody’s out of work, we could all die any day, oh

    But before I let that happen, I’m gonna stash my cash away, oh ho

    They say two thousand twelve party over, oops, out of time
    (We’re runnin’ out of time)

    So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s February nineteen ninety-nine

    Ann, why does everybody talk about Bain?

    Ann, why does everybody talk about Bain

  15. Ametia says:

    Nation’s governors gather in Virginia
    By Anita Kumar, Published: July 13

    WILLIAMSBURG — Arriving in shiny, black sport-utility vehicles and packed with wired-in entourages, the nation’s governors descended on this tiny historic city where Colonial reenactors and candlemakers still dot the streets.

    The National Governors Association on Friday kicked off the first of a two-day summer meeting in one of the nation’s oldest communities with more than 1,000 people — governors, staff members, reporters and sponsors — milling around the Colonial capital.

    Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) lobbied to host the meeting, which showcases his state and offers him a national platform, a few months before November’s election. In recent years, the city has attracted Queen Elizabeth II and President Obama.

    “To walk in the footsteps of the founders is something that I hope will be a great source of inspiration . . . to all the governors,” McDonnell said at an opening news conference.

    Yes, I’m sure the founders would likely be all up in our vagina’s ” Gov. Vaggie” McD!

    Governors debated education, agriculture, homeland security and the economy. But health care received the most attention as states absorb the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Obama’s program.

  16. Ametia says:

    Obama’s Edge Over Romney: Shift in Opinion on Handling of the Economy

    President Barack Obama has gained an advantage over Republican Mitt Romney in a Pew Research Center Poll showing public confidence in either one’s handling of the economy shifting toward the president in the past month.

    Obama leads Romney by 50 percent to 43 percent among registered voters surveyed, Pew reports, with the Republican Party’s presumed presidential nominee losing 3 percentage points of support since its previous poll in early June.

    Public opinion on which candidate would do a better job of improving economic conditions has shifted from an advantage for Romney in Pew’s June survey to support for Obama in the latest survey of 2,373 registered voters conducted June 28-July 9.

    “Romney has not seized the advantage as the candidate best able to improve the economy,” the Pew Research Center states in its Web-site report on the survey. “In fact, he has lost ground on the issue over the past month.”

    The shift in opinion is notable after two months of reports from the U.S. Department of Labor that the nation’s rate of unemployment has held steady at 8.2 percent, with just 77,000 jobs added in May and 80,000 jobs added in June.

    Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, called the latest job report a “kick in the gut” for Obama and evidence that the president’s economic policies are not working.

    Obama has pointed to more than two years of consecutive job growth from month to month, with more than 4 million jobs added, and maintained that “inch by inch, yard by yard, mile by mile,” the economy is improving. He has campaigned against Congress for not enacting measures which could add more jobs.

  17. Ametia says:

    Thank those folks for telling you that you couldn’t be, do or follow your dreams, Michaela. You followed your own NORTH STAR. Congrats on all your achievements.

    • A story well told. I felt sad and utter disgust to extreme happiness. Good for Micheala!

      • Ametia says:

        Michaela’s story is not an uncommon one. My hubby was born in Jamaica. He attended a missionary-sponsored Quaker school-similar to Sidwell Friends in Bethesda.

        When he attended government high school there, one of his teachers try to deter him from pursuing a goal of becoming an engineer or doctor. She told him to put down somehing “more sensible” like a mechanic or carpenter. today, he has a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering.

        • Those practices go on right here in the states in the States. Teachers still tell children they shouldn’t peruse their dreams and should take a trade. If it wasn’t for the restriction on the testings, kids would still be pushed through school without knowing how to read. Sad.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s Clear-as-Mud Bain Explanation
    By Molly Ball
    Jul 13 2012, 9:36 PM ET
    Mitt Romney gave a round of television interviews late Friday in an attempt to beat back the escalating firestorm over when he actually stopped running Bain Capital, a sign his campaign was reluctantly acknowledging the potential political damage from the issue. But despite getting asked more or less the same question by interviewers from ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News and NBC, Romney didn’t have a simple answer as to what his role at Bain was between 1999 and 2002. Take this passage from his interview with CBS’s Jan Crawford:

    CRAWFORD: But you were the sole owner? I mean, how should we be thinking about this? What was your role? You were the sole owner until 2002?
    ROMNEY: I was the owner of a, of the general partnership but there were investors which included pension funds and various entities of all kinds that owned the, if you will, the investments of the firm. But I was the owner of an entity which was a management entity. That entity was one which I had ownership of until the time of the retirement program was put in place. But I had no responsibility whatsoever after February of ’99 for the management or ownership – management, rather, of Bain Capital.

    If Romney’s line on Bain is complicated, that may be because the truth is complicated. If he continues to have trouble articulating a positive response to attacks on his business record, that may be because there isn’t one. But this is not the sort of sound bite that lays anything to rest.

    Meanwhile, in many of the interviews, Romney also was pushed on why he hasn’t released more of his tax returns. Here’s what he said about that to CNN’s Jim Acosta:

    ACOSTA: When are you going to release more of your taxes and how many years?
    ROMNEY: I’ve indicated that — well, first of all, we’ve complied with the law. The law requires us to put out a full financial disclosure. That I’ve done. And then, in addition to that, I’ve already put out one year of tax returns. We’ll put out the next year of tax returns as soon as the accountants have that ready. And that’s what we’re going to put out.

    I know there will always be calls for more. People always want to get more. And, you know, we’re putting out what is required plus more that is not required. And those are the two years that people are going to have. And that’s — that’s all that’s necessary for people to understand something about my finances. And, look, if people believe this should be a campaign about attacking one another on a personal basis and go back to the kinds of attacks that were suggested in some campaigns in the past, I don’t want to go there.

    It’s a mark of how successful the Obama campaign has been pushing the tax return issue that the Bain question and the tax question now seem inextricably linked, when in fact they are totally separate — related thematically at best. We already know from financial disclosures that Romney received a six-figure salary from Bain during the years when his role with the company is in question; his taxes from those years would tell us the exact magnitude of the salary, but wouldn’t likely clear up the question of how hands-on his managerial duties were or whether he personally signed off on Bain’s plant closings.

    The problem for Romney, though, is that the tax question inevitably boils down to, “If he has nothing to hide, why doesn’t he just show us his taxes?” The answer to that question is that Romney has never claimed to have nothing to hide. In the returns we’ve already seen, there was plenty that Romney would have preferred to keep hidden, from a Swiss bank account to a shell company in Bermuda. The implication of Romney’s refusal to disclose more is that the political flak he continues to take for his secrecy is still thought to be less painful than the potential public financial colonoscopy. And that will lead many to conclude that he does, indeed, have something to hide.

  19. rikyrah says:

    What a Tangled Web


    Published: July 13, 2012

    Mitt Romney’s stories just don’t jibe.

    First, there is the issue of when he left Bain Capital, the private-equity firm he founded.

    On an August 2011 federal disclosure form, Romney stated that he “retired from Bain Capital on Feb. 11, 1999, to head the Salt Lake Organizing Committee.” The statement continued: “Since Feb. 11, 1999, Mr. Romney has not had any active role with any Bain Capital entity and had not been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way.”

    But, as The Boston Globe reported this week, Securities and Exchange Commission documents filed after 1999 by Bain Capital state that “he remained the firm’s ‘sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president.’ ”

    Furthermore, according to documents obtained by The Huffington Post, Romney testified in June 2002 that there “were a number of social trips and business trips that brought me back to Massachusetts, board meetings, Thanksgiving and so forth.” According to The Huffington Post, Romney also testified that he “remained on the board of the Staples Corporation and Marriott International, the LifeLike Corporation.”

    Here is where we must split the hair. All these things could be technically true, but that’d rest on a distinction most people wouldn’t make. There is no evidence that Romney played an “active role” in “any Bain Capital entity,” although he was active in the companies that Bain invested in. This depends on what you consider an “entity.”

    As puts it: “We think the term ‘Bain Capital entity’ on Romney’s disclosure forms could only refer to Bain’s various investment funds, not to companies in which it invested.”

    That may be technically true, but the spirit of the truth as most people engage it doesn’t turn on technicalities.

    For most Americans, filings for the Federal Election Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission are foreign concepts that would have limited resonance. But being misleading is a universal concept: most have done it and most frown upon it. The insinuation by the Obama campaign that Romney was either lying then or is lying now (or is shaving the truth down to a sliver) to make a buck and win an office is a much easier and more dangerous concept for voters to wrap their minds around.

    Furthermore, the slipperiness of this explanation underscores Romney’s otherness. If you were a construction worker or a schoolteacher, the year you stopped doing your job wouldn’t be ambiguous. Having no “active role” in a parent “entity” feels like a term of art for a con artist.

  20. rikyrah says:

    The Bain Question We Are Asking Is the Wrong Question

    By Charles P. Pierce

    at 12:00PM

    As entertaining as all the When-Did-Willard-Leave-Bain-And-How-Thoroughly-Did-He-Leave-It? whoop-de-doo is, doesn’t fighting over the subject imply that you’re accepting the notion that Bain only went all predatory and pirate-ish as a result of Thoroughly Moral Mitt’s departure? And isn’t that really the wrong question to be asking, and doesn’t that really make you sort of a sap? Discuss.

    Read more:

  21. rikyrah says:

    Obama Unrelenting On Bashing Romney’s Job Record
    by The Associated Press
    WOLFEBORO, N.H. July 14, 2012, 09:10 am ET

    WOLFEBORO, N.H. (AP) — Mitt Romney insists that he stepped down from his private equity firm years earlier than federal records indicate, but President Barack Obama is more than a little skeptical and says his Republican rival has much to explain.

    Obama campaign advisers said the president, during a second straight day in tightly contested Virginia, planned to remind voters on Saturday of the discrepancies between Securities and Exchange Commission filings and Romney’s recollection of his role at Boston-based Bain Capital.

    Obama was focusing on a state that he won in 2008, a first for a Democratic nominee since 1964, and on an issue that Romney says diverts attention from struggling economy.

    In a round of interviews, the Republican candidate defended his account of his role at Bain, and said Obama owed him an apology for an aide’s suggestion that the Security and Exchange Commission filings, if false, could bring a felony charge.

    “This is simply beneath the dignity of the presidency of the United States,” Romney told ABC.

    It wasn’t just Obama, though, pressuring Romney.

    “There is no whining in politics,” chided John Weaver, a veteran Republican strategist. “Stop demanding an apology, release your tax returns.”

    Romney seemed unlikely to find any contrition from the Obama campaign, where a spokesman said there would be no apology, as the president’s aides dug in on an issue they see as a winner for them.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Bain Aside, Romney Trails On Nearly Every Issue

    Posted on 07/13/2012 at 5:30 pm by JM Ashby

    From Pew Research Center’s latest poll

    The significant lead Romney has over the president on reducing the federal deficit is a great example of just how bad the media coverage of the federal deficit has been. Particularly during the summer of last year leading up to the debt ceiling hostage crisis.

    President Obama has lowered the deficit since taking office and has passed legislation that will eliminate the deficit within this decade.

    The federal deficit was $1.4 trillion in fiscal year 2009. The fiscal 2009 budget was the last budget passed by George W. Bush. The projected federal deficit for fiscal 2012 is $937 billion according to the Congressional Budget Office.

    With the elimination of the Bush Tax Cuts included in the Budget Control Act (the debt ceiling deal) the federal deficit may entirely vanish by 2018.

    Alternatively, the limited proposals Mitt Romney has debuted during his time running for president would balloon the deficit and add as much as $10 trillion to the national debt.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s Bain story unraveling quickly
    By Steve Benen
    Fri Jul 13, 2012 4:59 PM EDT.

    One of the worst things that can happen to a politician burdened by a controversy is generally captured by a sound: drip, drip, drip. Instead of making a full disclosure from the outset, the politician allows revelations to come slowly, one at a time, dragging out the issue while creating a longer series of damaging headlines.

    When it comes to Mitt Romney and his Bain Capital, the drips just keep coming.

    Back in 2002 when he was running for Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney and his aides had no problem admitting he retained his position as CEO of Bain Capital after 1999. Press articles from the time describe how Mr. Romney was on a “leave of absence” after 1999 and had not fully cut ties with the private equity firm. […]

    Mr. Romney being on a “leave of absence” would explain the discrepancy and it doesn’t mean he played any role in managing the company, however, according to at least one former Bain Capital executive, during a prior leave of absence, Mr. Romney still remained in a very active role with the company.

    In 2002, a Boston Globe article quoted a former Bain Capital executive named Marc B. Wolpow who said Mr. Romney remained in a very active role at Bain Capital while he was supposedly on a leave of absence for his Senate race. Wolpow specifically said of Romney’s role, “I reported directly to Mitt Romney…. You can’t be CEO of Bain Capital and say, ‘I really don’t know what my guys were doing,'”

    Daily Kos’ Jed Lewison, meanwhile, highlights a Bain press release from July 1999 — several months after Romney claims to have given up his role at the firm — that describes Romney as being on “a part-time leave of absence” to work on the Olympics. What’s more, Dave Weigel notes Bain materials that said Romney would continue to have “input on investment and key personnel decisions” after his alleged departure.

    Making matters slightly worse, the Huffington Post has a report this afternoon, noting a federal disclosure form Romney filed in August 2011 that said Romney, after February 1999, “has not had any active role with any Bain Capital entity and has not been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way.” The article added, “That is false.”

    And making matters worse still, BuzzFeed has published a 2000 document, uncovered by our pal James Carter, that identifies Romney as being “principally engaged in the business of serving as sole stockholder of BCI VI, Inc. (Bain Capital Investors VI)” — materials signed by Romney that clearly contradict other disclosure forms filed with the FEC.

    The challenge, then, becomes figuring out which entity Romney was lying to: the SEC, the FEC, voters, or some combination thereof? Given the contradictions, and the fact that Romney’s version of events clearly don’t add up, his stories can’t all be truthful.

    Romney still has his defenders — most notably the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler, whose defense strains credulity — but the Republican’s story appears to be unraveling quickly.

  24. rikyrah says:

    I Want It Today

    How Amazon’s ambitious new push for same-day delivery will destroy local retail.

    By Farhad Manjoo|Posted Wednesday, July 11, 2012, at 5:53 PM ET

    Amazon has long enjoyed an unbeatable price advantage over its physical rivals. When I buy a $1,000 laptop from Wal-Mart, the company is required to collect local sales tax from me, so I pay almost $1,100 at checkout. In most states, Amazon is exempt from that rule. According to a 1992 Supreme Court ruling, only firms with a physical presence in a state are required to collect taxes from residents. Technically, when I buy a $1,000 laptop from Amazon, I’m supposed to pay a $100 “use tax” when I file my annual return with my home state of California. But nobody does that. For most people, then, most items at Amazon are significantly cheaper than the same, identically priced items at other stores.

    In response to pressure from local businesses, many states have passed laws that aim to force Amazon to collect sales taxes (the laws do so by broadening what it means for a company to have a physical presence in the state). Amazon hasn’t taken kindly to these efforts. It has filed numerous legal challenges, and fired all of its marketing affiliates in Colorado, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and California. It also launched a $5 million political campaign to get voters to turn back the California law. And when Texas’ comptroller presented Amazon with a $269 million sales tax bill last year, the company shut down its distribution center in Dallas.

    But suddenly, Amazon has stopped fighting the sales-tax war. Last fall it dropped its repeal campaign in California and instead signed a deal with lawmakers to begin collecting sales taxes later this year. That was followed by several more tax deals—over the course of the next couple years, Amazon will begin collecting sales tax from residents of Nevada, New Jersey, Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia, and on July 1, it began collecting taxes from Texans. It also currently collects taxes from residents of Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota, and its home state of Washington. After all the tax deals go into effect, the company will be collecting taxes from the majority of its American customers.

    Why would Amazon give up its precious tax advantage? This week, as part of an excellent investigative series on the firm, the Financial Times’ Barney Jopson reports that Amazon’s tax capitulation is part of a major shift in the company’s operations. Amazon’s grand strategy has been to set up distribution centers in faraway, low-cost states and then ship stuff to people in more populous, high-cost states. When I order stuff from Amazon, for instance, it gets shipped to California from one of the company’s massive warehouses in Kentucky or Nevada.

    But now Amazon has a new game. Now that it has agreed to collect sales taxes, the company can legally set up warehouses right inside some of the largest metropolitan areas in the nation. Why would it want to do that? Because Amazon’s new goal is to get stuff to you immediately—as soon as a few hours after you hit Buy. (Disclosure: Slate participates in Amazon Associates, an “affiliate” advertising plan that rewards websites for sending customers to the online store. This means that if you click on an Amazon link from Slate—including a link in this story—and you end up buying something, Amazon will send Slate a percentage of your final purchase price.)

    It’s hard to overstate how thoroughly this move will shake up the retail industry. Same-day delivery has long been the holy grail of Internet retailers, something that dozens of startups have tried and failed to accomplish. (Remember But Amazon is investing billions to make next-day delivery standard, and same-day delivery an option for lots of customers. If it can pull that off, the company will permanently alter how we shop. To put it more bluntly: Physical retailers will be hosed.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s Got Nothing

    My italics. He had “no role with regards to” Bain Capital after February 1999 (a very broad statement) – except for being the CEO, and repeatedly returning to Massachusetts for board meetings of Bain-owned companies, which he “attended by telephone if I could not return”.

    A false SEC filing is a serious offense; to say so is not disgusting. So is potential perjury in 2002 when Romney detailed his continued involvement in Bain-owned enterprises in the period he retained the CEO title and now says he had nothing whatsoever to do with Bain. The SEC filing rules apply to everyone – except, it seems, to Romney, and his well-paid legal and accounting team. They may have so internalized this immunity from any accountability that Romney may indeed genuinely feel disgusted by being called to follow the normal rules, or called out on logical inconsistencies.

    I’m getting the feeling that Romney thinks he is above the level of accountability required in a presidential candidate or even in an average ethical businessman. He seems genuinely offended to be directly challenged with facts – which he still won’t address or rebut in detail. So he simply huffs and puffs and uses words like “disgusting” for a perfectly valid charge in the big boy world of presidential politics.

    This does not seem to me to be like a candidate ready for prime time.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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