Serendipity Soul | Monday Open Thread | Wes Montgomery Week!

Happy Monday, Everyone. This week 3 Chics’ featured artist is the incomparable Mr. Wes Montgomery

Wiki: John Leslie “Wes” Montgomery (March 6, 1923 – June 15, 1968)[1] was an American jazz guitarist. He is widely considered one of the major jazz guitarists, emerging after such seminal figures as Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian and influencing countless others, including Pat Martino, George Benson, Russell Malone, Emily Remler, Kenny Burrell, Pat Metheny, Steve Howe, and Jimi Hendrix.

Montgomery was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. According to NPR Jazz Profiles “The Life and Music Of Wes Montgomery,” the nickname “Wes” was a child’s abbreviation of his middle name, Leslie.[2] He came from a musical family; his brothers, Monk (string bass and electric bass) and Buddy (vibraphone and piano), were jazz performers. The brothers released a number of albums together as the Montgomery Brothers. Although he was not skilled at reading music, he could learn complex melodies and riffs by ear. Montgomery started learning the six string guitar at the relatively late age of 20 by listening to and learning the recordings of his idol, guitarist Charlie Christian, however he had played a four string tenor guitar since age twelve. He was known for his ability to play Christian’s solos note for note and was hired by Lionel Hampton for this ability.[1]

Many fellow jazz guitarists consider Montgomery the greatest influence among modern jazz guitarists. Pat Metheny has praised him greatly, saying “I learned to play listening to Wes Montgomery’s Smokin’ at the Half Note.” In addition, Metheny stated to The New York Times in 2005 that the solo on “If You Could See Me Now,” from this album is his favorite of all time. Joe Pass said, “To me, there have been only three real innovators on the guitar—Wes Montgomery, Charlie Christian, and Django Reinhardt,” as cited in James Sallis’s The Guitar Players and in his Hot Licks instructional video. Kenny Burrell states, “It was an honor that he called me as his second guitarist for a session.” In addition, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Johnson, Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix, David Becker, Joe Diorio, Steve Lukather and Pat Martino have pointed to him numerous times as a great influence. Lee Ritenour, who recorded the 1992 album Wes Bound named after him, cites him as his most notable influence; he also named his son Wesley.


Monday Funnies, and they are TRUTH.

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74 Responses to Serendipity Soul | Monday Open Thread | Wes Montgomery Week!

  1. Ametia says:

    Romney’s Abortion Record: Spin vs. Truth

    February 22, 2012

    Slate’s National Correspondent William Saletan zeroes in on the many ways Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has changed his story over the years on the subject of abortion.

  2. Ametia says:

    Maybe Joey Scar was on the AUTISM scale when they found that dead intern in his Florida office.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Ohio: The Place Where the Bain Attacks Are Working

    If there is any state where attacks on Romney would be expected to make a difference, it would be Ohio—a state full of white working class swing voters who treat outsourcing and closed manufacturing plants seriously.

    For that reason, Priorities USA—the Obama-aligned Super PAC dedicated to attacking Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital—allocated considerable resources to the Buckeye State, airing advertisements in both the Cleveland and Columbus media markets. Besides Bain, more than one-fifth of Obama’s spending has been concentrated in Ohio, and total spending by Obama and his allies have outpaced spending on behalf of Romney by a considerable margin.

    And perhaps as a result, the president appears pretty strong in Ohio. Recent polls show Obama with a consistent lead in the state; just as importantly, Obama’s advantage seems to have grown over the last couple months. In polls conducted since late June, Obama improved by an average of net-3.5 percentage points over his prior margin. Three polls are not very many, but a 4 point advantage in a GOP-leaning state can’t be discounted

  4. rikyrah says:

    The Hidden Mitt

    The explanations in each case are slightly different, but point less to the operatives around Romney—who are neither dumb nor blind—than to their boss. Regarding Bain, the candidate has apparently been in some state of denial about the degree of vulnerability his record there presents. To him, the equation is dead simple: private sector = good. (And the campaign has further been hampered by the press-shy executives now running Bain, whose allergy to the spotlight, as Mark Halperin pointed out recently in Time, has ironically only increased the glare.) Regarding his taxes, Romney has been at once less helpful and more adamant with his advisers—and more clueless about the potential fallout. Those around him say that, even with the shitstorm his position has unleashed, he remains unyielding in his insistence that two years of returns are all he’s willing to make public.

    The depth to which Romney has dug in his heels has naturally provoked a welter of speculation about what in God’s name is in the returns—and just how bad it could be. That the levels of income will be stratospherically (some would say obscenely) high is taken as a given. That there are some years in which Romney paid an extremely low effective tax rate—lower, maybe much lower, than the 13.9 percent rate he paid in 2010—is quite likely. And then there is the most problematic possibility: that the Swiss and Cayman accounts that we already know about are just the tip of an iceberg, one that would suggest an aggressive, arguably unpatriotic pattern of tax-avoidance.

    My own guess, however, is that apart from one or more of these elements, what the Romney tax returns would lay bare is the extent of his donations to his church. In this case and all others, charitable donations are something to be proud of, an entirely honorable thing. But for a candidate who has taken extravagant pains to avoid discussion of his supremely prominent role in contemporary Mormonism, the idea of a wave of news stories detailing the tens of millions of dollars that he has given to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—surely making him among its most generous funders in the modern era—must be a kind of nightmare. The kind that would open a can of worms that has little to do with money and everything to do with an aspect of his life that might humanize him and be reassuring or even inspiring to millions of Americans, but that he evidently regards as a strict no-go zone.

  5. rikyrah says:

    GOP lie circles back to Elizabeth Warren

    By Steve Benen

    Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:55 PM EDT.

    It all comes full circle.

    Last September, Elizabeth Warren explained the role of public institutions in creating a society that allows American businesses to thrive. A video of the comments went viral, and soon after, President Obama echoed the sentiment.

    Last week, Mitt Romney’s campaign, hoping that voters are fools, made the case that American businesses thrive on their own without public institutions, and to believe otherwise is to be “foreign” and hostile towards free enterprise. And this week, Scott Brown’s campaign, hoping voters in Massachusetts are extremely dumb, brings the smear back around to Elizabeth Warren.

    In his new web video, Brown reassures, “I will never demonize you as business leaders and business owners.” Can he find anyone who actually demonizes business leaders? Well, no, but if you take rivals’ comments out of context and cynically hope that voters are deeply ignorant, Brown and Romney — who share campaign strategists — hope the lie will stick anyway.

    Greg Sargent calls the larger smear “ridiculous.”

  6. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 05:18 PM ET, 07/23/2012
    Star of Romney ad benefitted from federal contracts

    By Greg Sargent

    Democrats and the Obama campaign are pouncing on this article in the New Hampshire Union Leader reporting that the business owner who appeared in Mitt Romney’s ad bashing Obama received help getting loans — and defense contracts — via the federal government.

    The business owner, Jack Gilchrist, is featured in the Romney ad hitting Obama for allegedly claiming that business owners “didn’t build” their own businesses.

    According to the Union Leader, Gilchrist received $800,000 in tax exempt revenue bonds issued by the state to build a plant — bonds that are partly supported by the federal government — and also received several recent Navy and Coast Guard contracts.

    Gilchrist told the paper that the bonds were ultimately a “loser” for the company because of associated legal fees. But he insisted that his acceptance of defense contracts didn’t conflict with his criticism of Obama’s comments. And this from Gilchrist jumps out:

  7. rikyrah says:

    Warehouse 13 and ALPHAS return TONIGHT!!

  8. rikyrah says:

    How Republicans Sabotaged the Recovery

    The economy didn’t jump. It was pushed.


    5: The economy is meritocratic, so people earn what they deserve based on talent and effort.

    In a meritocracy, if you’re poor, it’s either your fault or just bad luck. If you were smarter or worked harder, chances are you’d be rich. There’s nothing fairer than a meritocracy, if you don’t mind some advantages going to people who were simply born with a greater ability to make money. A true meritocracy provides equal opportunities for everyone, and, if you have equal opportunity, why should you also have redistribution? Why take from the wealthy to support the strugglers, when the strugglers are only struggling because of their own deficiencies or laziness?

    The only reason would be to counteract occasional bad luck by providing some kind of temporary social insurance. That’s about as far as Republicans are willing to go. Unfortunately, their underlying assumption is wrong. The American economy is not a true meritocracy. Plenty of opportunities still go to people because of their connections and their families’ existing wealth, rather than because of their ideas or their work ethic. Plenty of our most talented, hard-working people don’t have time to start a business or develop new inventions, because they have to work two or three jobs just to put dinner on the table. Thousands of Americans still suffer discrimination every day because of their age, gender, race, or religion, whether they’re trying to get a job or a loan to buy a car or a house. And the people who want to change the system are shut out of the political process because they can’t afford a big campaign. At the same time, the way around these obstacles — the education system — is becoming harder to access because of self-segregated school districts, rising college tuition, and class stratification. As a result, the children of the rich tend to stay rich, and the children of the poor stay poor, no matter their abilities.

    The United States may be one of the more meritocratic countries in the world, but it is not a true meritocracy. When an American doesn’t have a job, or can’t pay for food, that doesn’t mean he or she is lazy or inept. Yet Republicans showed little sympathy for Americans down on their luck in the aftermath of the recession. Every time the Democrats tried to extend unemployment benefits in the deepest downturn since the Great Depression, the Republicans balked. And as millions of Americans slipped into poverty and even hunger, with state budgets being slashed and social services disappearing at the moment of greatest need, the Republicans turned the other way.

    With their economic philosophy based on so many mere myths, perhaps it isn’t surprising that the Republicans have a dismal economic record. In the past six decades, economic growth was highest — 3.9 percent annually, adjusted for changes in prices — when Democrats controlled the House, Senate, and presidency. When the Republicans controlled all three, growth averaged only 3.0 percent. That may not sound like a huge difference, but consider this: a drop of one percentage point in the economy’s rate of growth implies a shortfall in job creation of about one million jobs per year. Of course, economic policy sometimes needs time to take effect. But even if you give the Republicans a long runway — say, five years from the period when they control the government — the effect of their policies on economic growth is actually negative. Extending the runway to 10 years only makes their record look worse.,5

  9. rikyrah says:

    GOP Senator Blasts Obama For Talking ‘Incessantly’ About The Middle Class

    By Travis Waldron on Jul 23, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    President Obama’s plan to allow the Bush tax cuts for incomes above $250,000 to expire at the end of the year has revived the Republican talking point that he is waging “class warfare” against the wealthy, a point Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl (R) drove home in an entirely new fashion today.

    Speaking on the Senate floor, Kyl claimed that the president’s usage of the phrase “middle class” is “misguided and wrong and even dangerous.” Calling for an end to rhetoric about classes, Kyl blasted Obama for “incessantly” talking about class, “particularly the middle class”:

    KYL: Most prominently, we have a president who talks incessantly about class, particularly the middle class. Maybe you’ve noticed that. He defines class strictly by your income. In the president’s narrative, someone who makes $199,000 a year is a member of one class and someone who makes $200,000 belongs to another class. Does that make sense? Indeed, each day the president’s out on the campaign trail championing himself as the great protector of what he calls the middle class and pitting these Americans against their fellow citizens by arguing that the wealthiest class is victimizing them through the tax code.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Romney Dog Whistle: Obama’s Philosophy Is ‘Foreign To The American Experience’

    By Igor Volsky on Jul 23, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Mitt Romney doubled down on his characterization of President Obama as a “foreigner” during an interview with CNBC’s Larry Kudlow Monday afternoon, insisting that the president believes that the government is responsible for the success of entrepreneurs and small businesses.

    Romney’s comments continue to misrepresent Obama’s remarks at a July 17th event, during which Obama suggested that society as a whole contributes to the economic accomplishments of the individual. Republicans have seized on the remarks to advance the myth that the president espouses an “un American” governing philosophy:

    KUDLOW: Why do you think President Obama, what did he mean, if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build it, someone else made that happen? He claims it’s being taken out of context. What do you think it means? Do you think this is Obama anti-business, anti-entrepreneur? Or do you think maybe he has been treated unfairly? […]

    ROMNEY: This is an ideology which says hey, we’re all the same here, we ought to take from all and give to one another and that achievement, individual initiative and risk-taking and success are not to be rewarded as they have in the past. It’s a very strange and in some respects foreign to the American experience type of philosophy. We have always been a nation that has celebrated success of various kinds. The kid that gets the honor roll, the individual worker that gets a promotion, the person that gets a better job. And in fact, the person that builds a business. And by the way, if you have a business and you started it, you did build it. And you deserve credit for that. It was not built for you by government…. So his whole philosophy is an upside-down philosophy that does not comport with the American experience.

  11. rikyrah says:

    408 Wins: Eddie Robinson Now the #1 College Coach

    Today’s NCAA punishment of Penn State University by the NCAA is startling for a variety of reasons. First, the NCAA avoided complying with its own byzantine and laborious rule-making process. In sports columnist Pat Forde’s words, the results were “hastily reached.” That’s not to say that the punishment is wrong.

    Today’s sanctions mean that Eddie Robinson, who for 57 years from 1941 to 1997, was the head coach at Grambling State University, is the winningest football coach in Division I NCAA football history. Robinson had 408 wins. The other sanctions include:
    $60 million fine ($12 million a year for next 5 years for programs to understand the causes of child abuse and reduce their arm).
    Major scholarship reductions. Because of the severity of the punishments, current players can transfer immediately without having to sit the standard transfer year.
    4-year bowl ban
    Vacating all of Penn State’s (and therefore Joe Paterno’s) wins since 1998.

    Additionally, the Big 10 Conference will impose more punishments. The NCAA mandated that the money to pay the fine cannot come from sports other than football. This means either the football program must come up with the money or the academic side of the University must pay the fee. Money for the fine should come from football revenue.

    Some Penn State partisans are crying foul that these punishments unfairly target those not responsible for the Sandusky crime and cover-up. Yet, this is how the NCAA operates. Often the individuals responsible for rules violations do not face the brunt of the punishments; instead, the program gets punished. This is entirely correct in this circumstance. The problem at Penn State was systematic negligence and a culture that placing winning and hero worship above checks and balances. The Penn State administration knew of child abuse yet did not act. It decided its reputation was more important than preventing additional child abuse.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Chicago Style

    Romney is accusing Obama of practicing “Chicago-style politics.” Apparently, he has no idea what that means.

    By Jacob Weisberg|Posted Monday, July 23, 2012, at 6:25 AM ET

    If I hear one more person accuse the Obama campaign of practicing “Chicago-style politics,” I’m gonna kick all his nephews off the park-district payroll. I’m gonna send some precinct captains over to straighten him out. Mitt Romney and his surrogates don’t understand what Chicago-style politics means. No one seems to have told them that it’s been gone for 25 years. And they don’t get that Barack Obama, in his Chicago days, never had anything to do with it.

    Chicago-style politics, in common parlance, refers to the 1950s-1970s era of the Richard J. Daley machine. If you want to read a great, short book about that world, I recommend Boss by Mike Royko. The strength and durability of the Daley machine was its ethnically based patronage network, a complex system of obligations, benefits, and loyalties that didn’t depend on televised communication with a broader public. It was a noncompetitive system that in its heyday had a lock on urban power and the spoils that went with it. One of the most memorable phrases from that era comes from a story often told by former White House Counsel Abner J. Mikva, who described attempting to volunteer on a local campaign in the late 1940s.

    “Who sent you?” asked the cigar-chomping 8th Ward precinct captain.

    “Nobody sent me,” replied Mikva.

    “We don’t want nobody nobody sent.”

    The machine was dominated by the Irish and centered in Bridgeport, the rough-and-tumble neighborhood that was the ancestral home of the Daleys. Bridgeport’s antithesis has always been the liberal, multicultural enclave of Hyde Park, the University of Chicago neighborhood where the Obamas—and Bill Ayers—live. (The other thing the precinct captain told Mikva was, “We don’t want nobody from the University of Chicago in this organization.”) Hyde Park’s 5th Ward was the only one out of 50 to elect an independent alderman until the late 1960s, when political reformers like my parents and their friends on the North Side began to challenge the Daley machine.

    By the mid-1980s, the independents had mostly finished off the Daley machine—thanks mainly to the Shakman decree, still very much in force, which prevents any political consideration in hiring, firing, and promotion, with the exception of a thin layer of policy positions. This meant that when Harold Washington, a black machine politician turned reformer, was elected in 1983, he controlled only a few hundred city and county jobs, instead of the 35,000 Daley had at his disposal. By the time the younger Richard M. Daley was elected mayor in 1989, the Chicago machine was, like the Italian Mafia, more legend than force. Chicago-style pizza still exists. Chicago-style politics, equally deplorable in my view, no longer does.

  13. Ametia says:

    Romney says new gun laws would not “make a difference”
    By Sam Youngman
    RENO, Nevada | Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:07pm EDT

    RENO, Nevada (Reuters) – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who has backed gun control measures in the past, said on Monday that additional laws would not have stopped last week’s massacre in a Colorado movie theater.

    “I still believe that the Second Amendment is the right course to preserve and defend and don’t believe that new laws are going to make a difference in this type of tragedy,” Romney told CNBC’s Lawrence Kudlow in an interview.

    Both Romney and his opponent, Democratic President Barack Obama, have demurred on the prospect of new gun control laws in the days since a gunman opened fire during a showing of the new “Batman” movie in a Denver suburb early on Friday, killing 12 and wounding 58.

    In the interview, Romney said that “very stringent” gun laws already exist in Colorado. Specifically, Romney was asked about laws that might ban the online sale of ammunition or restricting the sales of semi-automatic weapons.

    “Our challenge is not the laws, our challenge is people who, obviously, are distracted from reality and do unthinkable, unimaginable, inexplicable things,” Romney said.

    Some gun-rights groups have been skeptical of Romney because of his support for gun control measures when he served as governor of Massachusetts

  14. rikyrah says:

    Mormons’ First Families Rally Behind Romney

    In the mid-1800s, newly converted families from across the United States and Europe gathered in the growing Mormon town of Nauvoo, Ill., to help their prophet, Joseph Smith, build a New Jerusalem.

    Soon driven out by anti-Mormon neighbors who killed Mr. Smith and his brother Hyrum, they trekked westward by foot and on horseback, chased by Indians, cholera and even United States troops before settling together safely in Utah.

    Now, more than 150 years later, descendants of those first families of Mormonism are joining together in a new effort: delivering the White House to Mitt Romney, whose great-great-grandfather Miles Romney settled alongside many of their ancestors in Nauvoo in 1841 and joined their torturous migration.

    These families — Marriotts, Rollinses, Gardners and others — have formed a financial bulwark and support network for Mr. Romney at every important point in his political career. Starting with his 1994 Senate race, moving into the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics effort that became his political springboard and continuing through his first foray into presidential politics, they have been there to open doors, provide seed money and rally support.

    Mr. Romney’s candidacy has produced great pride among many Mormons, known officially as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But for this core group of the religion’s most prominent families, the ties to Mr. Romney go deeper. They share with him not only a faith, but also a dramatic history in which they have scaled the ladder of American society, starting as vilified outsiders and, after helping to settle the American West, rising to the heights of wealth and success within four generations.

  15. rikyrah says:

    12:46 PM EDT, Monday July 23, 2012
    Obama Campaign To Host Fundraiser With ‘The Wire’ Cast Members

    Cast members from the defunct HBO series “The Wire” will headline a fundraiser for President Obama in Martha’s Vineyard next month, the Sunlight Foundation reports. The event will be hosted at the home of Judy and Ron Davenport, the site reports, and tickets cost between $500 and $2,500.

    Obama called “The Wire” his favorite TV show in 2008, and named Omar Little as his favorite character.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Wanker of the Day: Tom Edsall

    by BooMan
    Mon Jul 23rd, 2012 at 05:10:35 PM EST

    Let’s not even have this debate because it is stupid. If Tom Edsall thinks the Democrats are trying to suppress the Republican vote by making Mitt Romney unappealing to some right-leaning would-be voters, let me ask him a question. Or, rather, I’ll ask you, since you are a community of progressive-minded people. Would you support a bill that made everyone with a Social Security number who can prove their citizenship and is eighteen years of age automatically registered to vote at any polling place, or by mail? And would you support imposing minor penalties on people who refuse to exercise their franchise (even if it is only to cast “none of the above” for every line on the ballot) unless someone is willing to certify (or have it certified for them) that they are incompetent to make political decisions?

    I think most progressives would sign off on a system that endeavors to establish the true will of the people by maximizing the percentage of people who vote to as close to 100% as is possible. Most of us would even support deterrents against not voting. The idea is twofold. First, the will of the people is established by determining the opinion of the greatest number of people. Second, that it is a citizen’s minimum duty to participate in elections.

    Would Republicans ever agree to such a thing? Would they help us create a national holiday weekend for voting, so everyone has a chance to cast a vote? Would they allow same-day registration? Would they let felons who have served their time vote? There are isolated cases where Republicans have supported making it easier to vote, but we won’t be seeing too many more examples of that.

    Republicans like to purge voter rolls of even qualified and duly-registered voters. They like to curtail early voting, absentee voting, and voting my mail. They harass and demonize outfits that register voters. They deliberately put too few voting machines in Democratic areas. They make frivolous voter fraud charges and impose onerous photo ID requirements.

    Many Republicans openly express their opinion that only people who pay income taxes should have a say in our elections.

    There is no equivalency between these anti-democratic activities and beliefs and running an attack ad against Mitt Romney. That a bigger electorate will help Democrats win elections is not the Democrats’ fault. We’re standing up for a principle.

    • Ametia says:

      BAM! That’s why I turn the muthafucking channel whenever cable and major networks start analzying the white, angry, terrorist- MURDERERS!

  17. Ametia says:

    Mitt Romney Made Over $25 Million In Foreign Income While Governing, Campaigning

    Source: Huff Post

    WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney accumulated more than $25 million in foreign income between 2005 and 2010, while he was governor of Massachusetts and a presidential candidate, according to an analysis of his 2010 tax return.

    The 2010 return lists foreign tax payments Romney made dating back to 2000. By Romney standards, the payments were modest through 2004, averaging $37,000 a year. In 2005, however, his foreign tax bill shot up to $333,149 and stayed high for the next three years, before dipping in 2009, as the financial crisis hit hard.

    In 2010, Romney’s foreign tax bill was down to $67,173 on declared foreign income of $1,525,982. That’s a 4.4 percent rate. After expenses and various other deductions, Romney declared a net foreign income of $392,000, making his net tax rate 17 percent.

    Because the presumptive GOP presidential nominee has so far declined to release his earlier tax returns, HuffPost made a rough calculation of his prior foreign earnings by assuming he paid similar tax rates in previous years.

    Read more:

  18. Ametia says:

    32 Trillion sent over seas to avoid taxes. Yup. You read that rightamberpaw | Sun, Jul 22, 2012 11:24 PM EST
    To be fair to Romney, his software upgrades are wicked expensive. – promoted by david

    Pretty colors – for an ugly truth. I took this chart from this story. The figure given, globally, for the amount of money that the uber wealthy send out of the countries where they allegedly live into secretive tax shelters is 32 trillion. It isn’t just Willard Mitt Romney – it is Russian oligarchs, Korean billionaires, you get the picture. The more they have, the less they care about the rest of us. Do they plan to terraform new planets? Live under glass domes?

  19. Ametia says:


    Mitt Romney and Bain: a Fact Checker collection
    Posted by Glenn Kesslerat 06:02 AM ET, 07/20/2012

    had no role whatsoever in the management of Bain after I went off to the Olympics and that`s been demonstrated by people who work at Bain, by all of the documents but I still retained an ownership interest. . . . I had no involvement with the management of Bain Capital after February of 1999.”

    — Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, interview with CBS News, July 13, 2012

    Given the extensive interest in the question of when Mitt Romney stopped managing Bain Capital, we have compiled a summary of 11 Fact Checker columns that assessed claims that, at least in part, needed to deal with this question. We evaluated each claim on a case-by-case basis, so the Pinocchio count has varied depending on the importance of the 1999-2002 period to the facts at hand.

    At the end of this column we also provide some additional commentary on this question, especially in light of Romney’s assertion that that he had “no role whatsoever” in the management of Bain after February, 1999.

  20. Ametia says:

    Romney kept reins on Bain, bargained hard on severance during absence
    July 20, 2012|Beth Healy and Michael Kranish

    Shortly after Mitt Romney took a leave of absence from Bain Capital to run the Olympics in February 1999, he made a trip to Palm Beach, Fla. The firm Romney founded was meeting to celebrate its 15th anniversary as well as the men he had helped make extraordinarily wealthy.

    Romney and his partners had decided that, in his absence, five managing directors would oversee the company. And in Palm Beach it became clearer that Romney was unlikely to return — but would retain his title as chief executive officer and sole shareholder

  21. Ametia says:


    Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 09:10 AM PDT.
    It’s not just Mitt Romney’s tax returns that are under lock and key

    SNIP: Apparently, Romney’s operation never sent archivists any of that information. And now, they say, it has almost certainly been destroyed.
    Obviously, this isn’t the biggest deal in the world. Things like Romney’s tax return secrecy and his destruction of email records from the governor’s office in Massachusetts are much more troubling, but it is nonetheless part of a pattern of secrecy. And it’s not just lack of transparency: it’s that Romney made a big public promise to do something … and then he didn’t. He probably describes that as nothing but an asterisk, a legal technicality. But the rest of us call it a lie.


  22. Ametia says:

    Atlantic: No One is Going to Read Mitt Romney’s Olympic Emails:

  23. Ametia says:

    POTUS is speaking in Reno, NV now.

    Watch it here:

  24. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    July 23, 2012 9:24 AM

    Glad We Got That Cleared Up

    By Ed Kilgore

    So John McCain’s 2008 campaign manager Steve Schmidt is back in the news assuring us (per The Hill’s Justin Sink) that Mitt Romney’s tax returns were not a factor in McCain’s decision not to choose him as a running-mate:

    He said Romney had turned over 23-years’ worth of tax returns to the McCain campaign to vet that were extremely complex. But Schmidt also said there was nothing in the documents that would have precluded McCain from picking Romney.
    “Mitt Romney went through this process and what I can tell you is that he’s a person of decency with the highest ethical character and background,” Schmidt said. “There was nothing that was disqualifying. That pick in 2008 was not about any deficiency with Mitt Romney. It was a political decision that we made in a very bad political circumstance.”

    Well, that clears it up, right? Not exactly, insofar as (1) Schmidt earlier said he did’t actually review Mitt’s tax returns himself; (2) he’s also said Romney’s wealth was indeed the big disqualifier; and (3) he’s an operative for a political party that thinks rich folks pay too much in taxes.

    Steve Schmidt is about as reliable an authority for “vetting” Romney’s financial and tax records for us as Mitt’s buddy Donald Trump. And maybe that’s the next figure the GOP will trot out to vouch for him.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Say anything
    By Libby Spencer July 23rd, 2012

    This has been bugging me since yesterday.

    The Hill published this filler post about Slippery Mitt’s tax returns.

    A top campaign official who worked for Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) 2008 presidential bid and helped select his running mate said Sunday that Mitt Romney’s tax returns “do not look anything like the average American,” but held nothing which prevented him from being on the ticket.

    Steve Schmidt, McCain’s former campaign strategist, who viewed Romney’s tax returns when the presumptive nominee was being vetted for the vice presidential slot in the last cycle said Romney was an “extremely wealthy man.”

    Wait. Would this be the same Steve Schmidt who claimed he didn’t see the tax returns only a few days ago?

    Is it too much to ask that our professional media gatekeepers ask Mr. Schmidt to explain this glaring inconsistency? With journalism like this it’s small wonder the public is so misinformed.

  26. rikyrah says:

    The Only Wage Should Be the Minimum Wage
    By John Cole July 23rd, 2012

    Oh, look, a highly profitable company that made record setting profits with a management team so greedy and self-serving that they are attempting to squeeze their employees for concessions:

    When it comes to dealing with labor unions, Caterpillar has long taken a stance as tough as the bulldozers and backhoes that have burnished its global reputation. Be it two-tier wage scales or higher worker contributions for health insurance, the company has been a leader in devising new ways to cut labor costs, with other manufacturers often imitating its strategies.

    Now, in what has become a test case in American labor relations, Caterpillar is trying to pioneer new territory, seeking steep concessions from its workers even when business is booming.

    Despite earning a record $4.9 billion profit last year and projecting even better results for 2012, the company is insisting on a six-year wage freeze and a pension freeze for most of the 780 production workers at its factory here. Caterpillar says it needs to keep its labor costs down to ensure its future competitiveness.

    The company’s stance has angered the workers, who went on strike 12 weeks ago. “Considering the offer they gave us, it’s a strike we had to have,” said Albert Williams, a 19-year Caterpillar employee, as he picketed in 99-degree heat outside the plant, which makes hydraulic parts and systems essential for much of the company’s earth-moving machinery.

    Caterpillar, which has significantly raised its executives’ compensation because of its strong profits, defended its demands, saying many unionized workers were paid well above market rates. To run the factory during the strike, the company is using replacement workers, managers and a few union members who have crossed the picket line.

  27. rikyrah says:

    July/August 2012

    Young Guns

    Obama’s surprisingly strong national security record owes much to a group of youthful aides few Americans have heard of.

    By Michael O’Donnell

    The Obamians: The Struggle Inside the White House to Redefine American Power
    by James Mann

    Of the many surprises in President Obama’s first term—accomplishing health care reform, neglecting judicial nominations, appointing Hillary Clinton secretary of state—the most interesting may be the administration’s robust foreign policy. Democrats are supposed to be strong on domestic matters but weak on defense. The party seemed to have embraced that stereotype by nominating a community activist cum constitutional law professor who eats arugula salads and embraces gay marriage. Had the man even fired an assault weapon? Yet here we are, months before the November 2012 election, and we find that Republican nominee Mitt Romney strays into foreign affairs at his peril. Obama has an impressive trophy room: he tracked down and killed Osama bin Laden, ended an unpopular war in Iraq, and ran a successful and limited one in Libya. Romney, by contrast, must shuffle guests into a den that mounts, at most, squirrels and rabbits. He briefly contended that anyone could have taken Obama’s prize buck: even Jimmy Carter, Romney said in April, would have ordered the assault that killed bin Laden. This fatuous claim was so silly and unfounded that Obama’s camp merely chuckled at it, and it went away.

    Three and a half years is a long enough time to begin to generalize and draw conclusions.The Obamians, by former Los Angeles Times reporter James Mann, takes a careful look at Obama’s foreign policy and the people who run it. The book follows Mann’s successful 2004 study, Rise of the Vulcans, which chronicled Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and the other fearless bullies who jumped into the pool and splashed all the water right out of it. The Obamians has many strengths, although the pair of catchy titles that grace Mann’s last two books suggests a weakness: shaping complex events to a simple, pithy narrative. It is a very Washington way to tell a story. The generation of Democratic foreign policy leaders that preceded the Obamians and opposed the Vulcans, Mann says, are the Trout Fishers. This is their name because they like to fish for trout during the Aspen Strategy Group conference in Colorado. Perhaps the Democrats’ rising stars for 2016 will be known as the Golfers—or the Frisbee Golfers. Their opponents will break from the past and use clever methods; we will call them the Sneaky Bastards.

    The cover of the book depicts Obama’s foreign policy cabinet: Vice President Joe Biden, flashing that ridiculous, toothy, baby-kissing smile; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Defense Secretary Leon Panetta; and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Yet these luminaries are not the Obamians, and the book is not about them. Rather, Mann focuses on a handful of younger worthies who do not hold cabinet positions but nevertheless have the president’s ear. No one would recognize them if they were put on the cover of a book. They ran foreign policy for the Obama campaign in 2008 and now mainly work at the National Security Council. The principal Obamians are Ben Rhodes, Mark Lippert, Denis McDonough, and Samantha Power. The United States ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, is not, strictly speaking, an Obamian, but her philosophy aligns with theirs and she may be considered an honorary member.

  28. rikyrah says:

    The health care exchanges the GOP pretends not to like
    By Steve Benen – Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:14 PM EDT.

    The Affordable Care Act is a multi-faceted law, but one of the more important policy elements is the creation of “exchanges.” Republicans hate the idea — or at least, they pretend to — but now is probably a good time for them to get over it.

    Exchanges, like the mandate, used to be a key GOP proposal. The word may seem wonky, but it’s a pretty simple idea: create a menu for consumers featuring coverage plans from private insurers. Americans can pick the plan that works best for them, and in order to participate, regulated insurers have to meet established standards. What’s more, under “Obamacare,” states set up their own exchanges, so it’s not some heavy-handed system imposed by Washington.

    Sounds good, right? The public seems to think so — a recent national poll found 80% of Republicans approve of exchanges. But GOP voters and GOP officials aren’t on the same page, and many Republicans at the state level refuse to comply with the law.

    Last week, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said his party is making a mistake, arguing there’s simply no reason for the GOP to fight against this worthwhile GOP idea. This Miami Herald report makes matters slightly worse for the right.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Stock Shifting and Loopholes: Mitt Romney’s Tax Evasion
    07/23/2012 · 9:04 am By Beth

    The Stew recently told you about the plight of workers at the Sensata Technologies facility in Freeport, Illinois, a Bain Capital owned company which will be outsourcing the jobs of their employees to China just before the election in November. The employees of Sensata have appealed to Mitt Romney to help save their jobs, which I have no doubt Romney will refuse to do.
    But in an interesting twist, perhaps a cruel twist of fate, it has been revealed that Romney, who has profited off of Bain’s takeover and subsequent gutting of Sensata, sequestered those funds in one of his “charitable foundations” to avoid paying taxes:

    Mitt Romney saved himself hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes in 2010 by transferring stock in two companies from his personal account to a nonprofit entity he set up. The stock maneuver included $172,397 in shares of Sensata Technologies, a company now under fire for a high-profile effort to offshore central Illinois jobs to China […]

    Romney had received the Sensata stock as part of a Bain payout; he listed no cost for it on his tax return. By transferring that stock to his nonprofit Tyler Charitable Foundation, he avoided roughly $25,000 in capital gains taxes he would have owed. He also shaved an additional $50,000 off his tax bill by deducting the charitable contribution from his income.

    You know, Jon Stewart did a piece recently about Romney and his money and made a very good point about Mr. Money-Bags:

    “Here’s what Romney doesn’t understand. Nobody cares that Mitt Romney is rich. It’s Romney’s inability to understand the institutional advantage that he gains from the government’s tax code largesse. That’s a little offensive to people, especially considering Romney’s view on anyone else who looks to the government for things like, I don’t know, food and medicine.“

  30. rikyrah says:

    anyone else watching Political Animals on USA?

  31. rikyrah says:

    July 23, 2012
    I finally “get” Rubin

    Jennifer Rubin’s Pavlovian performance on yesterday’s “This Week” (I do believe I saw George Will slip her an under-the-table Kibble when she punctuated one admirably ear-scratching talking point) inspired me to venture a peek at her latest Post. Of this, I am glad, for though I hereupon realize that I am tragically slow on the uptake, my larger realization answers the question: How could any member of the august Beltway commentariat be so giddily unoriginal as Ms. Rubin?

    There it is, again, this time in an intellectually naked, black-and-white cyberspace piece contradictorily titled “Romney’s foreign policy” (the possessive is the contradiction), which runs about–with helpful numeration!–brooding prosaically on President Obama’s “real cuts in defense to help fund the explosion in domestic spending,” on President Obama’s “weakness and indecisiveness,” on President Obama’s “embolden[ing]” of “Vladimir Putin” (yeah, that’s right, you read that right: Vladimir, as in Soviet bear) and on President Obama’s “pick[ing] on allies,” such as Israel. (Israel, mind you, whose hegemonic self-determination has proceeded absolutely U.S.-unfettered.)

    But quake no longer. For against all this Democratic vintage and Obamian indulgence there now comes a man of true principle and Reaganite puissance, the latter of which, according to Ms. Rubin, is “militarily prepared, stands by allies, denounces despotism, and promotes … the development of human rights and democracy.”

  32. rikyrah says:

    July 23, 2012
    The pitiable pickling of the far right

    Whoa, this is huge. A new poll, reports the poll-financing Hill, finds that after four years of the electorate’s primary prejudice against W.’s gross economic mismanagement,

    Thirty-four percent [now] say Obama is the most to blame [for “paltry job growth and slow economic recovery”], followed by 23 percent who say Congress is the culprit. Twenty percent point the finger at Wall Street, and 18 percent cite former President George W. Bush.

    Huge, right?

    No. But it is laughable. The poll was conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, a spinoff of Rasmussen Reports, itself a creation of the far right’s disinformation imperative.

    So now Fox News and the right-wing blogosphere and the Reich Ministry of Talk Radio can get apeshit intoxicated in reporting this major public-opinion turnaround to their respective delusional markets; which is OK–don’t panic, since delusion feeds chiefly on itself.

  33. rikyrah says:

    July 23, 2012
    The rise of decline
    Frank Rich brilliantly finds the double irony in right-winging exceptionalists’ alarmism:

    Lost in all our declinist panic is the fact that the election of an African-American president is in itself an instance of American exceptionalism…. That his unlikely rise has somehow been twisted into a synonym for America’s supposed collapse over the past four years may be the most disturbing and intractable evidence of our decline of all.

    Such is the right’s virtuosity whenever it is out of ultimate power: frenzy mixed with malevolence.

    As Rich notes throughout his essay, “our declinist panic” comes not only from the right; this is equal opportunity exploitation by ratings- and page-view-driven liberals and even milquetoasted centrists, too. The absolute oddest irony from White House-denied right wingers, though, is that they maliciously seek and actively pursue the very decline they claim to deplore.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    July 23, 2012 12:30 PM

    The Hammer Comes Down

    By Ed Kilgore

    I know this is not a political story, except in the broader sense of the word. But the latest in the Penn State saga is the dominant news story of the day, and since I’m a confessed college football junkie, I should probably record my reaction to the penalties levied by the NCAA, and give commenters the opportunity to weigh in.

    As it happens, I’m visiting family in Georgia this week, and on the way in from the airport yesterday, I listened to Atlanta’s two sports talk radio stations, both of which were featuring commentary on the impending NCAA action. All I heard—incessantly and loudly—was what a travesty it was that the NCAA was punishing “the kids” and the coaches and the football program for the criminal actions of a few men who are either dead (Joe Paterno), in the hoosegow (Jerry Sandusky) or in disgrace and exposed to huge civil suits (former Penn State administrators).

    I am slightly conflicted on this subject, not because I’m worried about “the kids” (current players will keep their scholarships and have been liberated from the usual “transfer rule” requiring a year’s layoff before playing elsewhere, which means they’ll mostly be gobbled up by other programs), the coaches (mostly a new crew that came in knowing they were taking jobs in the sports equivalent of a post-nuclear-disaster site), or the program (which might well have been shut down entirely, and could use a few years of experiencing the Agony of Defeat). No, what bugs me is the NCAA’s usual claptrap about “setting a moral model” and “promoting the academic integrity of the schools.” I do not buy the claims of sports critics that big-time athletics drain money from other sports or from academics (at the big schools football subsidizes every other sport, and most donors are mainly interested in premium football seating, and thus wouldn’t transfer their money to the Physics Department if college football was eliminated). But let’s get serious: college football does not exist to inspire young Americans to be good do-bees, or to promote academics, other than perhaps by strenghtening public support for public higher education (at least that’s how it works in SEC country).

    Having said that, the NCAA sanctions, and particularly the $60 million fine that hits the Penn State program where it lives, and helps fund sex abuse prevention initiatives, make sense as an exercise in rough justice, which is all they could ever accomplish. It sends a pretty big message to colleges that if you choose to let your athletic departments exist in a nether-land where none of the usual laws, regulations, and safeguards apply, because they bring in so much money, then you are in danger of losing said money along with the game-winning ability to generate even more. Had the NCAA pretended this was all just a matter for the courts, and let Penn State’s football program slide, it would have lost a unique opportunity to promote the kind of general oversight that is needed not just to prevent this same kind of occurrances but those no one can specifically anticipate.

    Now I know some, perhaps many, readers have the opposite reaction of those sports-radio talking heads and are shocked that the Penn State disaster hasn’t led to a ban on college football or at least a radical reduction in the money involved. That’s a legitimate point of view, but it’s about as likely to happen as a ban on private possession of firearms—another step that recent tragic events might recommend. So the practical question is what can be done to address the Penn State revelations within the context of the current system. And I’d say the combination of disgrace (symbolized by the removal of the Paterno statue and emphasized by the NCAA’s decision to vacate all of Penn State’s victories from the date when the football staff began willfully ignoring Sandusky’s crimes), the civil suits to come, and the big NCAA hit to the Nittany Lions’ wallet, will have a salutory effect well beyond State College.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Katherine Jackson trying to ‘de-stress’, suffered mini-stroke says family

    Katherine Jackson, the mother of Michael Jackson and guardian of his three children, is safe and with a family member in Arizona, authorities said late Sunday, one day after another relative reported her missing.

    Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Pope said investigators made contact with Jackson, but he did not have specifics on her whereabouts. The agency previously said they believed she was with a relative and safe, but wanted to speak with her.

    Katherine Jackson is with her daughter Rebbie in Arizona, following a doctor’s orders to “de-stress” and stay away from the phone and computers, her son Jermaine Jackson said in a statement late Sunday. He said access to his mother is not being blocked.

    A member of the Jackson family had reported the family matriarch missing on Saturday, prompting a frantic plea from the late pop star’s only daughter to help locate her grandmother.

    “I haven’t spoken with her in a week I want her home now,” 14-year-old Paris Jackson tweeted, later providing a number for people to contact in case they see her grandmother. Katherine Jackson has been caring for Paris, Prince Michael and Blanket Jackson since their father’s death in June 2009.

    It was unclear who is taking care of the children in her absence.

    The incident demonstrated divisions in the Jackson family just days after five of the singer’s siblings once again claimed that the King of Pop’s will was a fake and that the executors of his lucrative estate should step down.

    The undated letter, signed by Janet, Randy, Tito, Rebbie and Jermaine Jackson, claimed Katherine Jackson was being manipulated by the executors, John Branca and John McClain, her health had been affected, and she suffered a mini-stroke.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:32 PM ET, 07/23/2012
    TheWashingtonPost Scott Brown gets in on the Big Lie
    By Greg Sargent

    Look, ma, I can lie about Obama’s quote, too!

    Obama’s now infamous “didn’t build that” speech is similar to Elizabeth Warren’s viral remarks about how the rich didn’t get rich on their own. So it’s not surprising that Senator Scott Brown has just released a new Web video (embedded below) tying Obama’s remarks to Warren’s and painting them as vaguely anti-American. Brown says: “I will never demonize you as business leaders and business owners.”

    Brown, apparently taken with the plaudits Romney has earned from the right for lying relentlessly about Obama’s quote, has now done the same. His video reproduces the audio of Obama’s speech this way:

    “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, ‘well it must be ‘cause I was so smart.’ Because if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

  37. rikyrah says:

    Conservatives Outraged Over Obama Releasing Photo of Private Visit with Aurora Victims

    President Obama Speaks at Hospital without Prepared Text, Visits Victims and Families

    Conservatives are in a rage this morning that the White House released a photo of President Obama visiting with heroine Stephanie Davies and shooting victim Allie Young at the University of Colorado Hospital.

    Although the media was barred from the visit, this morning the White House released one photo, in order to inspire Americans. After all, 21-year-old Stephanie saved her friend Allie’s life. A grieving nation needs to hear about brave acts like Stephanie’s; it reminds us of what is best in us as we struggle to make sense with the monsters among us.

    Naturally, this means the President is being “tacky” and politicizing a tragedy, also known as actually showing up (instead of peering out of the window of Air Force One like conservatives favored leader, President Bush).

  38. rikyrah says:

    How The 0.1 Percent Lives Now
    A new report by McKinsey’s former chief economist suggests the world’s rich are beating the system on an astounding scale:

    Wealthy individuals may have been hiding as much as $32 trillion offshore at the end of 2010, according to Tax Justice Network, a U.K.-based organization that campaigns for transparency in the financial system. The estimate is almost three times the organization’s last estimate of $11.5 trillion in 2005. Fewer than 100,000 people own $9.8 trillion of offshore assets, according to the research, carried out by former McKinsey & Co. economist James Henry. There is a “huge black hole in the world economy” of untaxed private wealth, Henry said in a statement. “The lost tax revenue implied by our estimates is huge.”

    And it will only get worse:

    “These estimates reveal a staggering failure,” says John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network. “Inequality is much, much worse than official statistics show, but politicians are still relying on trickle-down to transfer wealth to poorer people. This new data shows the exact opposite has happened: for three decades extraordinary wealth has been cascading into the offshore accounts of a tiny number of super-rich.” … In many cases, the total worth of these assets far exceeds the value of the overseas debts of the countries they came from.

    We increasingly live in two worlds: the one where 99.9 percent of us live, and a separate, transnational society of the super-wealthy. One of whom we may elect to the presidency of the United States with the avowed intent of making those extremely wealthy people even wealthier.

  39. rikyrah says:

    The GOP’s foreign policy establishment fades
    By Steve Benen – Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:28 AM EDT.

    Last week, Senate Republicans effectively killed the Law of the Sea Treaty, despite the support of the Bush/Cheney administration, the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, and James Baker. And why did the Senate GOP do this? Because of paranoid fears about the U.N. among right-wing activists.

    It’s not the only treaty in trouble. The U.N. Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities also enjoys bipartisan support, with Republicans like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) arguing that it would simply extend our Americans with Disabilities Act to people around the world. But once again, the right, led by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), isn’t happy.

    “Parts of this treaty deals with abortion and the rights of children, issues that should be addressed by states, local governments and American parents not international bureaucrats,” DeMint spokesman Wesley Denton told The Hill in an email. […]

    [S]ome home-schooling advocates are worried about “international bureaucrats” telling them how to raise their children. In a 2007 study, six percent of the parents of the nation’s 1.5 million home-schooled students cited health or special needs as the reason for educating at home.

    Rick Santorum is also helping rally conservative opposition to the measure, telling the right that the U.N. treaty would “usurp the rights and powers of parents here in the United States.”

    As a factual matter, this is absurd, but the larger takeaway from this is a reminder about the dwindling influence of the Republican foreign policy establishment. There was a time not long ago when a proposal on international affairs backed by Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) and every living former Secretary of State from Republican administrations would have been seen as a no-brainer.

  40. rikyrah says:

    Rick Warren ponders students, animals
    By Steve Benen – Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:29 AM EDT.

    In June 1999, then-Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) appeared on the House floor to reflect on the Columbine massacre, and he proceeded to blame science textbooks for the murders. These tragedies happen, DeLay said, “because our school systems teach the children that they are nothing but glorified apes who are evolutionized [sic] out of some primordial soup.”

    I remember thinking at the time that this was among the most offensive things I’d ever heard from a public figure. Here was a prominent congressman — a member of the House GOP leadership at the time — blaming lessons on modern biology for madmen killing 13 people.

    DeLay’s comments came to mind over the weekend after I saw this tweet from megachurch pastor Rick Warren (via Jamelle Bouie).

    In fairness, I should note that Warren didn’t specifically say he was referring to the tragic violence in Aurora, and he later deleted the message altogether. But the prominent evangelical leader did publish the tweet on early Friday afternoon, just hours after the public learned about the shootings. If his message was unrelated to the massacre, the timing was quite a coincidence.

  41. rikyrah says:

    Nick Gourevitch ‏@nickgourevitch
    Proliferation of polling: In 1st 14 quarters of their terms, Gallup polled 6 times on Clinton, 7 on Bush, 88 on Obama

  42. Ametia says:

    A Self-Improvement Quest That Led to Burned Feet
    Published: July 22, 2012

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — Madina Kaderi, 18, who walked over burning coals and suffered blisters during a Tony Robbins seminar here, returned to the San Jose Convention Center on Sunday for the fourth and final day of motivational talks.

    She called the fire walk a positive experience and blamed herself for her injury. “I got scared,” she said. And with her Vans now safely on her feet, she added, “I’m glad I felt the pain.”

    Ms. Kaderi was one of nearly two dozen who were injured on Thursday, the first night of Mr. Robbins’s “Unleash the Power Within” seminar, which included a fire walk as a signature experience. She said she did not seek medical attention, but many of those hurt reported second- or third-degree burns, Capt. Reggie Williams of the San Jose Fire Department told The Associated Press.

    Thousands participated in the walk, which stretched down 24 lanes, each around eight feet long.

    “It transformed people’s lives in a single night,” said Carolynn Graves, 50, a real estate agent from Toronto, who crossed the coals without injury. “It’s a metaphor for facing your fears and accomplishing your goals.”
    “It transformed people’s lives in a single night,” said Carolynn Graves, 50, a real estate agent from Toronto, who crossed the coals without injury. “It’s a metaphor for facing your fears and accomplishing your goals.”

    Ms. Graves suggested that the people who burned their feet “were out of state,” a term that participants said meant having the proper mental attitude.

    Mr. Robbins was not available for comment. A member of his staff explained that he rarely gives interviews except to “Piers Morgan Tonight” and the “Today” show.

  43. rikyrah says:

    Economics on Conservative Crack

    Thursday, July 19, 2012 | Posted by Deaniac83 at 9:30 AM

    You might have heard of this by now. Republicans are heralding a crackpot study, funded by the Chamber of Commerce and other right wing groups, released by Ernst & Young, claiming that returning the top marginal rate for those making $250,000 or more in taxable income will cost 700,000 jobs!

    The so-called study incorporates not just the president’s proposal to revert the tax rates for the rich back to the Clinton era (you know, a time at which this study would supposedly predict a jobs drought), but also his policy proposals to raise the top marginal capital gains rate to 20%, limiting itemized deductions for the ultra wealthy, to equalize dividend income with earned income in terms of taxes, and the Affordabe Care Act’s increase in the Medicare tax for top income earners. That’s all fair, given that the president has either signed into law or supports all of those proposals. But here’s where the crackpottery comes in:

    •It assumes that the rich would rather make less money than make more money and pay a slightly higher percentage of it in taxes.
    •It assumes that the effect of raising taxes on the least fortunate is approximately the same as raising taxes on the super rich. In fact, they assume that the rich are more tax sensitive.
    •It assumes that businesses, especially “pass through” corporations with partnerships or sole proprietorships, would cease hiring if their taxes go up.

  44. rikyrah says:

    July 23, 2012 8:48 am

    False Equivalency Watch

    By Ed Kilgore

    I’m normally a fan of veteran political reporter Thomas Edsall, who has a knack for understanding some of the deeper cultural conflics underlying contemporary electoral battles. And much of the latest analysis he provides in a New York Times piece today, focusing on Obama’s demographic strategy, is unobjectionable.

    But I sure object to this comparison:
    [Obama] is running a two-track campaign. One track of his re-election drive seeks to boost turnout among core liberal groups; the other aims to suppress turnout and minimize his margin of defeat in the most hostile segment of the electorate, whites without college degrees….

    Over the past two years, Republican-controlled state legislatures have been conducting an aggressive vote-suppression strategy of their own through the passage of voter identification laws and laws imposing harsh restrictions on voter registration drives.

    Even if you buy Edsall’s assumption that the Obama campaign’s anti-Romney ads are designed to convince non-college educated white voters who won’t support the incumbent to give Romney a pass as well, it is fundamentally wrong to treat such efforts as equivalent to utilizing the power of government to bar voters from the polls altogether. Voters hypothetically convinced by the Obama ads to “stay home” in the presidential contest are perfectly free to skip that ballot line and vote their preferences for other offices, just as they are perfectly free to ignore both presidential campaigns’ attack ads and make a “hard choice” between two candidates they aren’t crazy about. Lumping negative ads together with voter disenfrancisement under the rubric of “vote suppression” legitimizes the latter as a campaign tactic rather than what it actually is: an assault on the exercise of fundamental democratic rights.

  45. rikyrah says:

    I think this is bullshyt.

    If a program that shielded A PEDOPHILE can’t get the death penalty….and I don’t mean for 1, 5 or 10 years…I mean that program should be G-O-N-E. .only written about in history books.

    I don’t wanna hear shyt about some booster giving an adult some money under the table.

    one is between consenting adults.

    the other is a program that shielded someone who PREYED ON CHILDREN.


    Stay of Execution

    By mistermix July 23rd, 2012

    It sounds like Penn State is going to get hit hard by the NCAA, but when the dust clears, the PSU football team will be playing this year:

    NCAA president Mark Emmert has decided to punish Penn State with severe penalties likely to include a significant loss of scholarships and loss of multiple bowls, a source close to the decision told ESPN’s Joe Schad on Sunday morning.

    But Penn State will not receive the so-called “death penalty” that would have suspended the program for at least one year, the source said.

    The penalties, however, are considered to be so harsh that the death penalty may have been preferable, the source said.

    The term “death penalty” in NCAA sports says a whole lot about NCAA culture. When being unable to play something as peripheral to the mission of a university as a single college sport is considered “death”, you see the mismatch between the expectations of fans and those of us who don’t care about college athletics. After reading about the decade or so that Penn State sheltered a criminal child rapist, shutting down the football program for a year or two, then letting it start again as, say, a Division III program on probation for a few more, seems to me like a pretty reasonable way to punish all of Sandusky’s enablers. Instead, it was an open question whether the NCAA would do anything (since, technically, no NCAA rules were violated—apparently child rape is outside the purview of the NCAA charter), and almost anything they do today, even though it approaches nothing like the life altering damage of child abuse, will be considered a jaw-dropping, unprecedented, draconian punishment.

  46. rikyrah says:

    Ron Johnson’s vision of an armed populace
    By Steve Benen
    Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:47 AM EDT.

    Given the massacre in Aurora on Friday, much of the discussions on the Sunday shows dealt with what, if anything, can be done to prevent similar violence in the future. One of the more noteworthy discussions was held on “Fox News Sunday,” where Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) made the case for gun control, and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) argued against it.

    Much of the conversation went about as one might expect. Johnson, a right-wing senator in his second year, argued that policymakers can’t enact any new restrictions on firearms, and that even high-capacity magazines, which had been banned as part of the federal assault-weapon ban that expired in 2004, must be legally permissible.

    If policymakers even try to “keep these weapons out of the hands of sick, demented individuals who want to do harm,” the result is undue restrictions on “our freedoms.”

    So what would Johnson prefer to see as an alternative?

    • Ametia says:

      BOTTOM LINE: Ron and NEM wants white folks to be armed, not darkies. And they want those STAND YOUR GROUND LAWS for white folks, so they can shoot down black folks. Ask Trayvon Martin how that works.

      Oh that's right George Zimmerman MURDERED Trayvon, while he was packing Skittles and an Arizona iced tea.

  47. Ametia says:


  48. Ametia says:

    PBO & VP Biden schedule:

    11.00 Vice President Biden addresses the National Association of Police Organizations’ annual convention in Manalapan, Florida

    2:25: President Obama departs San Francisco en route Reno, Nevada

    3:10: Arrives in Reno

    3:35: Delivers remarks at the 113th National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (Live coverage)

  49. rikyrah says:

    David Axelrod✔

    Tax returns. Bundlers. Bain. MA records & now key docs from Olympics. When it comes to secrecy, Mitt takes the gold!

  50. Ametia says:

    In swing states, economic picture a little brighter for Obama

    By Chris Cillizza, Published: July 22

    Nationally, the economic picture is decidedly dismal — a sullen state of affairs that has led many political observers to conclude that President Obama is an underdog in his bid for a second term.

    But in the 12 (or so) swing states — where Democrats and Republicans will spend the lion’s share of their time and money in the 100 or so days between now and Nov. 6 — the economic picture is considerably sunnier.

  51. named my son wes,after wes montgomery!,

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