Saturday Open Thread

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

Kathleen Battle

Kathleen Deanna Battle (born August 13, 1948), is an African-American operatic light lyric-coloratura soprano known for her agile and light voice and her silvery, pure tone.[1][2] Battle initially became known for her work within the concert repertoire through performances with major orchestras during the early and mid 1970s. She made her opera debut in 1975. Battle expanded her repertoire into lyric soprano and coloratura soprano roles during the 1980s and early 1990s. Although she no longer appears in operas, she remains active in concert and recital performances.[3]

Early years and musical education

Battle was born in Portsmouth, Ohio, USA, the youngest of seven children. Her father was a steelworker, and her mother was an active participant in the gospel music of the family’s African Methodist Episcopal church. Battle attended Portsmouth High School where her music teacher and mentor was Charles P. (Phil) Varney. In a Time Magazine interview with music critic Michael Walsh, he recalled first hearing the eight-year old Battle sing, describing her as “this tiny little thing singing so beautifully.” “I went to her later”, Varney recalled, “and told her God had blessed her, and she must always sing.”[4] In that same interview, Walsh described Battle as “the best lyric coloratura in the world”.[4]


Battle was a good student and was awarded a scholarship to the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where she studied voice with Franklin Bens and also worked with Italo Tajo.[5] She majored in music education rather than performance in undergraduate school and went on to get a master’s degree in Music Education as well. In 1971 Battle embarked on a teaching career in Cincinnati, taking a position at a Cincinnati inner-city public school. While teaching 5th and 6th grade music, she continued to study voice privately. She later studied singing with Daniel Ferro in New York.[6]


Major debuts
Professional debut: soprano soloist in Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, Festival dei Due Mondi, Spoleto, Italy, July 9, 1972.
Broadway debut: Treemonisha in Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha (Gunther Schuller, Conductor), (Wednesday and Saturday matinee performances), Uris Theatre, New York City, October 1975.[39]
Operatic debut: Rosina in The Barber of Seville, Michigan Opera Theatre, 1975.
New York City Opera company debut: Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, 1976.
San Francisco Opera company debut: Oscar in Un ballo in maschera (Kurt Herbert Adler, Conductor), November 12, 1977.[23]
Metropolitan Opera company debut: Shepherd in Tannhäuser (James Levine, Conductor), December 22, 1977.[16]
UK debut and Glyndebourne Festival Opera debut: Nerina in La fedeltà premiata, July 15, 1979.[12]
Lyric Opera of Chicago company debut: Oscar in Un ballo in maschera (John Pritchard, Conductor), November 26, 1980.[40]
Salzburg Festival debut and Salzburg opera debut: Despina in Così fan tutte (Ricardo Muti, Conductor), July 28, 1982.[14]
Salzburg Festival solo recital debut: August 25, 1984.[14]
Royal Opera, London company debut: Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos, June 17, 1985.[41]
Carnegie Hall solo recital debut: April 27, 1991.[20]

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22 Responses to Saturday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 04:00 PM PDT.

    Elizabeth Warren: ‘Why aren’t we rebuilding America?’

    by Joan McCarter

    Here’s Elizabeth Warren’s newest campaign ad:

    We’ve got bridges and roads in need of repair and thousands of people in need of work. Why aren’t we rebuilding America? Our competitors are putting people to work, building a future. China invests 9% of its GDP in infrastructure. America? We’re at just 2.4%. We can do better. We can build a foundation for a strong new economy and get people in MA to work right now. I’m Elizabeth Warren and I approve this message. Let’s go to work.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney’s Southern Strategy

    Thursday, July 26, 2012 |
    Posted by Deaniac83 at 2:47 PM

    Some of us weren’t surprised when Romney campaign aides went to British newspapers and bragged about their (or maybe America’s) “Anglo-saxon” heritage which Barack Obama “doesn’t appreciate.” The Romney campaign issued a non-denial denial of the quote. “If anyone said that, they weren’t reflecting the views of Gov. Romney or anyone inside the campaign,” said campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg.

    This is what is known as a dog whistle. You send out campaign aides to say racist comments to the media – in a foreign country no less (and to boot, the country our founders rebelled against) – make sure they are anonymous, and when there is inevitably a firestorm, you have plausible deniability. No matter, the message got through to the people it needed to go to. Right wing racists know you’re on their side, and you know, that mulatto is wrecking America. See, this way, you can get the racists riled up without scaring off the the broad middle.

    The denial from the Romney campaign doesn’t make any sense. His campaign advisers didn’t say anything to the British newspaper that Mitt Romney hasn’t himself either said or signaled. For example, Mitt Romney’s campaign has an answer to all the uppity calls for him to release his tax returns, and while he hasn’t put it in exactly these words, it is, essentially, “Shut up, n*gger

    The Romney campaign has promised a hard pushback, and the candidate, his surrogates and even his wife previewed some of that pushback this week. Ann Romney arrogantly blathered on television that her husband has released all the tax information “you people need to know.” Mr. Romney himself resorted not only to purposefully lying regarding what President Obama said about businesses (that business owners did not build the roads that they use to ship their products, the Internet they use to sell to customers, or the universities that educated their workers), but to calling the President “foreign” over and over again. His surrogate said President Obama needed to “learn to be an American”, before walking it back, but having successfully sounded the dog whistle anyway. Reportedly the Romney campaign also plans to rehash President Obama’s past drug use.

    Mitt’s strategy to win in November is not based on values, nor policy, hell, it isn’t even based on personalities. It is based on the oldest scar in American history. Mitt Romney is, at best, hiding in plain sight his intention to win based on racial animus against the President. He’s not “like you”, he’s “foreign”, he doesn’t “understand [white] America.” This is Romney’s message.

  3. rikyrah says:

    What does America want to be?

    Thursday, July 26, 2012 | Posted by Liberal Librarian at 11:09 AM

    Life has intruded the past couple of weeks, so my essays have been scant. But that doesn’t mean that I’ve been ignoring the news. The political war of the past few weeks has done nothing but strengthen the argument I made in this essay a few weeks ago. Besides being a forceful Commander-in-Chief, President Obama and his team in Chicago have organized a pummeling of Mitt Romney and the GOP not usually seen coming from Democrats. They’ve allowed the Republicans to commit their forces in one desperate attack after another, and then moved in for the kill. November is a long way away, but the evidence of the past month shows that the Obama campaign has the GOP’s number, and is fighting political battles on the fields of its choice, to its advantage, while not allowing Romney and the Republicans to gain any firm footing.

    What’s hit me especially hard these past couple of weeks, though, is just how existential is the choice we face this November. Maybe 40 years ago, when there was a general consensus between the two parties on the role of government, brought about by the New Deal, people were merely voting as to which of the parties could better manage that consensus at any given time. That started to change with Richard Nixon’s “Southern strategy”, where the GOP threw its lot in with the ghosts of racism and white anger at black civil rights. It proceeded apace with Ronald Reagan, adding the Christian right wing into the mix, as well as a no-longer-disguised fealty to anything demanded by multinational corporations. And then with George W. Bush neo-imperialism became part of the GOP manifesto, with the maintenance of the American Empire paramount over any other governmental concern.


    What the Obama campaign of 2008 and his subsequent Presidency have done is to expose the hollow core of Republican ideology and governance. Step by step—because you have to attack 40 years of a particular mindset one bit at a time, and not try to undo it wholesale, much to the consternation of some on the Left—he has exposed GOP promises as nothing but lies to win votes and acquiescence for the increase in the power of corporations and the wealthy, the constricting of rights at home and the expansion of empire abroad. He took a healthcare plan put forth by the Heritage Foundation in the 90s, and modeled closely on Mitt Romney’s healthcare law in Massachusetts, and made it his own. Of course, as it was his, it was opposed by the GOP and the Right. In Libya he secured the fall of a dictator with a modicum of force, and was castigated by the GOP-led House for not seeking permission—a permission that GOP legislators never felt a Republican President needed. He showed that the Republicans were willing to see the full faith and credit of the United States turn to ashes in order to preserve tax breaks for the wealthy. Slice by slice he’s been hacking away at Republican boilerplate to expose it for the lie that it is. And he has thus presented the electorate with a stark choice.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Rant: Why NBC and The American Media Are An Embarrassment

    Posted on 07/28/2012 at 8:00 am by JM Ashby

    Like everyone else, I was flabbergasted upon learning yesterday that NBC would not be televising or streaming the Olympic opening ceremony live here in the year 2012.

    Instead, the east coast would have to wait a further three hours, and the west coast would have to wait a further six hours to watch the ceremony.

    I’m a cable subscriber, but I like many others turned to various 3rd party streamers to view BBC’s coverage of the opening ceremony live since neither NBC or any other American network would be showing it. And BBC’s coverage was excellent. They covered the entire ceremony without cutting to a commercial break and their anchors displayed nothing but respect for every nation and every athlete in attendance. They also displayed an operating knowledge of almost every team and used every opportunity possible to educate the viewer.

    Even if you chose not to utilize unconventional methods to watch the ceremony live, it would have been nearly impossible to avoid spoilers anyway as we live in a world that is connected at all times.

    NBC’s self-centered refusal to cover the ceremony live on any of its subsidiary channels was boneheaded enough, but even if they had covered it live, it wouldn’t have made up for their utterly embarrassing coverage of the event.

    Rather than cut directly to the opening ceremony, NBC opened their evening coverage with Bob Costas consulting Tom Brokaw on the “controversy” surrounding London’s supposed lack of preparedness for the games.

    The non-existent “controversy” was, of course, a reference to Mitt Romney’s disastrous tour of London wherein he made a complete ass of himself by accusing the city of being unprepared. The resulting British media shit-storm and rebuke from British politicians was a sight to behold, and not just because we got to eat popcorn while observing from across the pond. It was also magnificent because Romney was flat wrong, and under similar circumstances here in America our media would not inform you that Romney is wrong. They would instead play the role of faux concern troll and ask what “the other side” has to say about it.

    And that’s exactly how NBC decided to spend the first minutes of their Olympic coverage — by having Bob Costas and Tom Brokaw play the role of faux concern troll. Because if Mitt Romney says London is unprepared, and London says Mitt Romney is full of shit, we better turn to Tom fucking Brokaw to mediate the situation. He’s our antiquated fact-checker.

    If that weren’t enraging enough, NBC then spent the next half hour insulting our intelligence by pretending the opening ceremony hadn’t already occurred three hours earlier.

    Once NBC was done shoving Ryan Seacrest, Justin Beiber, and other mind-numbing, pre-game style speculation down our throats and finally began airing the tape-delayed ceremony, things got even worse.

    Co-anchors Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira spent the next several hours cracking the Macy’s Day Parade equivalent of fart jokes concerning everything from the dramatic opening ceremony, to the names of some of the nations in attendance, to the uniforms worn by some of the athletes, to the demeanor of Queen Elizabeth. And that was between the more than a dozen commercial breaks to sell us boner bills, luxury cars, and anti-Obama attack ads.

    Professional pontificator and obvious Romney fanboy Bob Costas also chimed in to say that no matter what your political ideology is, you “have to admit Romney saved the Olympics.”

    No, Bob. No we do not. Although if you want to discuss how Romney accepted a federal bailout of the Olympics, I’m game.

    Both the overseas reaction to Mitt Romney’s London stumble tour and NBC’s shithouse coverage of the opening day of the Olympics reminded me just how embarrassing, incompetent, and unprofessional the American media is. And not to absolve ourselves from blame — Americans have also become too complacent. We don’t demand better, and it’s time for us to start.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Serena Williams sure has friends in high places. Usually, the 14-time grand slam winner’s supporters’ box is populated by family members but for her first-round Olympics match on Saturday there was an addition to the cast: the American first lady, Michelle Obama.

    The US president’s wife was a guest of Williams, who won her fifth Wimbledon singles title three weeks ago, preferring to sit in the players’ box rather than the Royal Box, where dignitaries are usually planted at the All England Club.

    And after the US president’s wife sat alongside Williams’ mother, Oracene Price, inside the Centre Court it was quickly obvious the two were not exactly strangers.

    The 30-year-old twice referred to the first lady as simply “Michelle” during her post-match news conference, having disposed of Serbia’s former world No.1 Jelena Jankovic 6-3 6-1 with little drama on Saturday.

    “Oops, am I being rude?” Williams said when asked whether she was on first-name basis with Mrs Obama. “She’s so cool. I’ve met her several times. I feel comfortable saying ‘Michelle,’ and I think she wants the people to feel that way.

    “They asked me did I mind if she sat in the family box. I was like, ‘of course not’. Please, it would be my honour. I mean, I love Michelle.”

  6. Beautiful voice, oh, so beautiful, thank you

  7. rikyrah says:

    Just wanna comment on the Olympic Opening Ceremony. Here was London, welcoming the WORLD. I was really touched by their choices for who would carry the Olympic flag, and that they all weren’t British.

    The choice for how they wanted to light the torch, in essence, having all the countries contribute to the building of the torch, was to me, a symbol of the different kind of world that we are living in today, and another reason why Willard and his ‘ Anglo-Saxon’ bullshyt rubbed the Brits the wrong way. London is a very cosmopolitan city – has been for centuries. And, they welcomed the WORLD last night.

    still LOL at the Queen and James Bond – it was such a British thing to do…part of their humor.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Romney bans media from Jerusalem fundraiser, violating pre-established protocol

    Posted by Philip Ruckerat 03:05 PM ET, 07/28/2012

    Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, who touched down here Saturday night for a day of meetings with top Israeli and Palestinian leaders, plans to wrap up his visit to Israel by collecting money from some of his biggest benefactors behind closed doors.

    Some of Romney’s Jewish donors are flying here from the United States to attend the Jerusalem fundraiser on Monday morning, including Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who has pledged to personally give tens of millions of dollars to a pro-Romney super PAC.

    But Romney’s campaign announced Saturday that it would block the news media from covering the event, which will be held at the King David Hotel. The campaign’s decision to close the fundraiser to the press violates the ground rules it negotiated with news organizations in April, when Romney wrapped up the Republican nomination and began opening some of his finance events to the news media.

    Under the agreement, a pool of wire, print and television reporters can cover every Romney fundraiser held in public venues, including hotels and country clubs. The campaign does not allow media coverage of fundraisers held in private residences.

    Campaign spokesman Rick Gorka declined to explain the campaign’s decision to violate protocol with the Jerusalem event. Pressed repeatedly by reporters to offer an explanation, Gorka said only that the fundraiser was “closed press.”

    “That’s all I’ve got for you — it’s closed press,” Gorka said.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 04:05 AM PDT.

    Romney Campaign: London Mayor “Eccentric and Odd” and Romney Not ‘Briefed for Magnitude of Trip”

    All information for the article rehash (I read the so you dont have to) can be found at this link

    Well Mitt keeps his foreign bashing on a roll. He’s definitely doing everything he can to avoid an ‘apology tour’.

    You may remember that London Mayor Boris Johnson lashed out at a crowd of 60,000+ about Romney’s remarks about London’s preparedness. He pretty much called Romney a ‘glorified visitor’ and proceeded to lead the crowd in a chant of ‘Yes We Can’.

    Addressing 60,000 Londoners on Thursday night, Johnson said: ‘I hear there’s a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we’re ready Are we ready? Yes we are!

    He then led the crowd in a chant of ‘Yes We Can’, Obama’s famous campaign slogan from 2008. ‘Can we put on the greatest Olympics games that have ever been held?’ he asked. ‘Can we beat France? Yes we can! Can we beat Australia? Yes we can!’

    Well instead of moving on and hoping the world forgets, Rmoney Camp has lashed out:

    A Romney campaign official has blasted Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, as an ‘eccentric, odd fellow’ whose public attack on the Republican candidate was ‘unbecoming’ and an indication of his bias towards President Barack Obama.

    ‘Johnson on the other hand lived up to his reputation as an eccentric, odd fellow. It was unbecoming to attack Governor Romney in that way. There really was no need. But Johnson made it clear in 2008 that his vote would have gone to Obama.’
    See, its unbecoming to attack Romney for attacking Britain, because Johnson was a Obama supporter. But if say…. a conservative Brit insults Romney, that is immediately forgivable:

    The official said that Prime Minister David Cameron’s ‘wisecrack’ about it being harder to stage an Olympic Games in London than ‘in the middle of nowhere’ – an apparent reference to Salt Lake City, where Romney oversaw the 2002 Winter Olympics – was ‘probably appropriate, albeit awkward’ and unfortunate for Romney
    Update: With all this fingerpointing I wonder if its time for a shakeup in the Romney Camp? Who do you think would stay/go? And how would the strategy change?
    Further down in the article you get this gem:

    The campaign official, who was not directly involved organising the London trip,
    that that the Romney campaign had not prepared sufficiently for ‘a visit of this magnitude’ and that the candidate had not been briefed properly on how to answer questions about the staging of the Olympic

  10. rikyrah says:

    The Battlegrounds: African-American turnout

    By The Admin on July 28, 2012

    Paulette Beale shakes her head at the suggestion, then flashes a contagious smile.

    “It’s still history,” she says, to rebut the notion there could be less intensity for President Barack Obama in the African-American community the second time around.

    “The first history was that he won. The second history’s that he won twice. So, it’s not just about history the first time, you have to be concerned about the history for the next four years also. You can make history more than one time, you know.”

    Her mother and father stand a few feet away, nodding approvingly.
    Paul and Altermese Beale founded Paul Beale’s Florist 41 years ago. Paulette takes the lead now, but her parents are on hand helping most days in a shop that is an institution in the Ogontz Avenue area of North Philadelphia.

    “We love him,” Altermese Beale says of Obama. “One of the proudest days of my life was the day he was elected.”

    The Beales are determined to see the president re-elected, and are part of an Obama campaign ground operation that is active early because of several obstacles to generating the big African-American turnout that was critical to then-Sen. Obama’s 2008 victories in many of the major presidential battlegrounds, Pennsylvania among them. (CNN)

  11. rikyrah says:

    Romney campaign tries to pick up the pieces from gaffe-strewn London visit

    Democrats have homed in on ’embarrassing’ trip as Republicans insist Americans don’t care about what happens in the UK

    Mitt Romney’s campaign is scrambling to limit the damage from his gaffe-strewn visit to London – which has drawn mocking put-downs from the city’s mayor and the British prime minister, and “Mitt the twit” headlines in the UK – by saying that Americans don’t care what the foreign press prints.

    But the attempt to downplay the debacle made little headway in the face of a barrage of critical coverage in the US, which portrayed the Republican presidential candidate as incompetent and undiplomatic, and stinging criticism from American Olympic legend Carl Lewis, who suggested that Romney should not be allowed to travel abroad.

    Senior Democrats accused Romney of embarrassing the US and himself and said that press criticism wasn’t limited to foreign newspapers. The New York Daily News called Romney’s visit to the UK “flub-filled”.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Romney looks for a breakout moment in Israel to salvage foreign trip

    Mitt Romney’s Friday was better than his Thursday.

    He did very little.

    Missing, however, was the breakout moment Romney may need to salvage his overseas tour, which got off to a rocky start when the presumptive Republican presidential nominee openly questioned Britain’s readiness to host the Olympic Games.

    Romney’s missteps have drawn extensive mockery in Britain and public consternation from both Republicans and Democrats in the United States, and his campaign advisers were at a loss Friday to put a positive spin on the story — other than to look ahead to the next two stops on his tour.

    Romney arrived in London under a bright spotlight, as expected, but apparently without a strategy for conveying a message to voters back home — such as reminding Americans of his widely lauded stewardship of the 2002 Winter Olympics or promoting his foreign-policy vision.

    As a result, there is now immense pressure on him to find better footing in Israel and Poland. Romney’s advisers hope his events in Jerusalem on Sunday — when he will lock arms with Israeli leaders — could create a moment of strength that might redefine the candidate’s intensely scrutinized audition as a statesman.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Why Mitt screws up

    Let’s put Romney on the shrink’s couch: His disastrous London gaffes reveal a deep-seated anxiety
    By Justin Frank

    People are asking, “What’s with Mitt Romney’s trip to the London Olympics?” He has made so many gaffes that the Daily Mail’s political editor asked, “Do we have a new Dubya on our hands?”

    That question is most important for the American voter. What drove Dubya were anxiety and fear, much of which he masked with his tough-guy swagger and rhetoric – and with his disarming sense of humor. When asked direct questions by the press, however, Bush would often freeze like a deer in the headlights. His slips of the tongue became the stuff of talk-show hosts, magazine articles and even books.

    Now we have Mitt Romney, the putative Republican candidate for president in the 2012 election. His gaffes are different from the 43rd president’s; they don’t involve mispronouncing words or frequently issuing nonsensical sentences. They are more social gaffes, ones that seem to be made without much thought – if any. Bush was trying to say things he couldn’t say. Romney is not trying to say anything in particular, other than answer questions or make comments when called upon to do so. In fact he is too casual, and what comes out is often carelessly hostile.

    When Brian Williams asked him what he thought about the London games, Romney first tried to answer the question directly – something most politicians usually don’t do. He said, “It’s hard to know just how well it will turn out.” He then began to talk about his own work running the 2002 SLC winter Olympics in what seemed like a canned response. What strikes me is the confidence with which he spoke and the remarkable lack of thought he exhibited. This has become a pattern for him, and not just on this trip. But it is more noticeable than before because he is largely left to his own devices, without prepared remarks that he could use in informal conversation.

    That he was mocked and even rebuked by British leaders is less important to me than what lay beneath their criticism. Both the Mayor of London and the British Prime Minister commented separately about what they felt to be Romney’s insults regarding how Great Britain was running the games.

    Psychoanalysts look for patterns of behavior and the meaning behind those patterns. But we also — especially in the case of public figures — look at the pressures brought to bear on the individual, both internally (what I do in my consulting room) and externally (social pressures that affect behavior). In Romney’s case, he is competing in his own Olympics against President Obama, who also happens to be the most internationally popular American leader in generations. So the pressure is on for him to prove himself.

    Part of that pressure is self-generated, since a central component of Romney’s claim to greatness is that he ran the winter Olympics in 2002. Thus, he is under pressure to let people know that he can do it better – and he gave that impression in London. He has to prove to himself and others that he is indeed a superstar – especially since he knows he can’t touch Obama in a British popularity contest.

    Salon’s Joan Walsh has remarked over the months about Romney’s seeming indifference to answering questions. His casualness led her to use the psychiatric term “dissociated” when describing his style. I think her observations are most trenchant, though it is hard for me to move into the territory of diagnosis.

    But what is not hard to do is to think about what most likely motivates this behavior that puzzles so many in the media – including supporters who are frustrated with Romney’s unwillingness to disclose more of his tax returns. I think the force behind this behavior is massive anxiety, pure and simple. He is anxious about revealing who he is and about interacting with people he doesn’t know. He appears to have much less experience than Obama in interacting with people from all walks of life. Basically, he is uncomfortable except within his own family and in the presence of those who share his wealthy background and Mormon faith. There are many ways to defend against overwhelming anxiety, one of which is to act certain about every answer given.

    What comes out besides this sense of smiling certainty are signs of anxious contempt toward others – whether it is how the British run their Games or saying that kids who can’t afford college should borrow money from their parents. Put together, these and many similar statements – his pleasure at firing people or his belief that corporations are people (is that why he can comfortably bankrupt some?) – are all evidence of a hostility not dissimilar to stories about his bullying of others during his prep school days. At this stage, I suspect Mitt Romney is too anxious to be an effective president.

  14. rikyrah says:

    July 27, 2012, 8:14 pm

    He’s No Averell Harriman

    Fred Kaplan has what I think is the best take so far on Romneyshambles:

    The thing that Krauthammer doesn’t get is that Romney is not the sort of businessman—that his brand of capitalism is not the sort of enterprise—that requires even the most elementary understanding of diplomacy, courtesy, or sensitivity to other people’s values, lives, or perceptions.

    The American capitalists-turned-statesmen of an earlier generation—Douglas Dillon, Averell Harriman, Robert Lovett, John McCloy, Dean Acheson, Paul Nitze—took risks, built institutions, helped rebuild postwar Europe, befriended their foreign counterparts: in short, they cultivated an internationalist sensibility at their core. Whatever you think of their politics or Cold War policies generally (and there is much to criticize), financiers formed an American political elite in that era because finance (through the Marshall Plan, the World Bank, the IMF, and so forth) was so often the vehicle of American expansionism.

    By contrast, private-equity firms, such as Bain Capital, where Romney made his fortune, tend to view their client companies as cash cows, susceptible to cookie-cutter formulas from which the firms’ partners reap lavish fees, almost regardless of the outcome. Their ends and means breed an insularity, a sense of entitlement, a disposition to view all the world’s entities through a single prism and to appraise them along a single scale.

  15. rikyrah says:

    love this comment from Balloon Juice:

    Donut Says:


    It’s actually a pretty simple thing – Romney doesn’t really grasp that the campaign is a job interview. I’ve met more than one person born into money who has the same kind of problem. Whenever someone has something they want, but which cannot be bought, or obtained by connection, they don’t quite know how to act. They have not really learned much of the social etiquette that goes into charming people and convincing them to give you something you need or want. The Romneys are finding themselves in all kinds of situations now where their cash means shit.

    Working a rope line, actually relating to people, etc, all the bullshit that goes into retail politics, it is very difficult for them. It’s very difficult for most people, for that matter. Politcal skill is in part having or projecting charisma, being “naturally” attractive, so that the voter you are trying to woo understands or believes that you really give a shit about them. You know, the whole empathy thing. It’s no wonder he struggled so much in the early primary/caucus states where retail contact is so crucial. The guy has never had to actually compete for any job, other than senator, governor and president, and he’s barely been able to win one office.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Team Romney Readies For “Saturday Obama Surprise”

    What’s the surprise? BuzzFeed doesn’t know yet or even know if it exists. But Boston is sure one is coming tomorrow.

    After a disastrous 48-hour news cycle in London, the Romney campaign “wants the world to know” that they are prepared for a “Saturday Obama Surprise,” of unknown specifications.

    “We want to communicate to the world that we are ready for whatever they throw at us,” a Romney adviser told BuzzFeed unsolicited. “After poor economic numbers today, we are preparing for them to throw out absurdities, distractions, and anything else they can to divert from the economy.”

    When asked why Romney’s camp expected a sneak attack from the Obama campaign, the advisor said their guard was up because of “how they’ve conducted themselves in the past.”

    So far, the campaign’s preparations have entailed assembling an army of surrogates to fill the message void while Romney is out of the country, unable to attack Obama himself because “politics end at the water’s edge.”

    The surrogates — including several of the names mentioned to be on Romney’s VP shortlist — “are ready to contribute to driving the economic message – with no apologies,” the adviser said. “We understand the other side doesn’t want to talk about the economy, but we’re not going to let them get us off message.”

    The adviser said that the “surprise” could be anything — but floated another Olympics-related attack on Romney as a possibility with what the Obama team might bring up.

    The Obama campaign, meanwhile, says they’ve got no surprises coming, accusing the Romney campaign of paranoia.

    “We’ve already announced what we’re doing this weekend, which is holding more than 4,700 organizational events across the nation mobilizing voters 100 days out from the election,” said campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt. “This is dog-wagging that would make David Mamet blush – a campaign reacting to a rumor they invented to try to pivot from their diplodisaster”

  17. rikyrah says:

    found this in the comments at Balloon Juice:

    kay Says:


    Does Romney himself do as many campaign/ public events as Obama? I don’t think he does. I see he does closed fundraisers, but I rarely see HIM holding a campaign event. I see a lot of GOP/Fox News celebrities who come from out of town. National surrogates. The kind of Republicans that appear at CPAC.
    In the Clinton/Obama race, and again in the Obama/ McCain race, they compared campaign events, how many times each candidate ventured out to meet actual voters. Why don’t we see that comparison between Romney and Obama?

  18. rikyrah says:

    Today at 2:35 PM

    Romney: Obama Abandoning Bush Agenda Caused Arab Spring
    By Jonathan Chait

    In an interview with Hayom, a right-wing Israeli newspaper, Mitt Romney says something really bizarre about the Arab Spring:

    “The Arab Spring is not appropriately named. It has become a development of more concern and it occurred in part because of the reluctance on the part of various dictators to provide more freedom to their citizens. President [George W.] Bush urged [deposed Egyptian President] Hosni Mubarak to move toward a more democratic posture, but President Obama abandoned the freedom agenda and we are seeing today a whirlwind of tumult in the Middle East in part because these nations did not embrace the reforms that could have changed the course of their history, in a more peaceful manner.”

    This is extremely weird.

    George W. Bush delivered a second inaugural address declaring that, henceforth, the United States would no longer bolster authoritarian allies but would instead actively work to support democracy across the globe. This new policy — the “Freedom Agenda” — kicked off a passionate debate among op-ed columnists and foreign-policy journals, until everybody figured out that the Freedom Agenda wasn’t an agenda at all but just a dramatic speech devoid of policy content.

    Then, half a dozen years later, a string of popular revolts sprang up across the Arab world. Since this was the kind of thing Bush had called for in his speech, neoconservatives immediately began claiming credit for it. (A slight variation on the Bush-was-right theme came from former Karl Rove aide Pete Wehner who, torn between his love of Bush and hatred for Obama, proclaimed that the Arab Spring was happening because of Bush and despite Obama’s lack of support for the Freedom Agenda.)

    One group of people who have never felt all that excited about the Arab Spring were Israeli conservatives and some of their ideological allies, who fear the general spread of unrest, and the particular loss of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. That is the constituency Romney is trying to woo in his interview. The way to do that is to ignore the Freedom Agenda and blame Obama for Abandoning Our Allies. Instead he blames the Arab Spring on Obama abandoning the Freedom Agenda, arguing that if only he had pressed Mubarak to hold free elections, he would have. Mubarak knew perfectly well that he would have stood no chance of winning a free election, so Romney’s attempt to hold these principles together is total nonsense.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Yesterday at 11:41 AM

    Mitt Romney, Underminer
    By Jonathan Chait

    Mitt Romney’s fair but ill-advised comments about the Olympics highlight what seems to be a recurrent subgenre of Romney gaffe: the undermining gaffe. Romney is a rich, handsome, successful man who has to slog through all kinds of tedious crap to achieve his goal of being president. Almost all the time he manages to say that he is “delighted” by anything and everything that comes his way.

    But every so often the pose grows too tiresome. No, he is not delighted by your Olympic games. Romney knows how to throw an Olympics, and your Olympics sucks. What’s the deal with these crap store-bought cookies? Why are you bums wearing those cheap ponchos?

    The undermining gaffe occurs when Romney is trying to ingratiate himself with somebody, yet can’t help but point out that their standards of excellence don’t rise to his own. Sucking up to people is just a completely unnatural act for him.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Willard Mitt Romney Is A Deeply Weird Entity

    By Anne Laurie July 28th, 2012

    In an interview with proud professional courtier-to-power Piers Morgan, Romney and his sidekick LovelySpouseAnn explain, one more time, that wherever he’s succeeded, it’s because Mitt Romney is Just That Wonderful. And wherever it may look, to the uninformed observer, as though Mitt Romney did not succeed, it’s because some people don’t believe America is the Greatest Country in the History of the World. Not—Romney repeats this many times—that he would commit the “tremendous breach” of criticizing Some Other Guy’s policy while on foreign soil. But Romney looks forward to implementing a new, improved, deeply patriotic foreign policy: Strength, Through Resolve! Because what makes China so strong, today, is their tremendous commitment to free enterprise…

    It’s like somebody put all the preferred neoconservative buzzwords, plus a dictionary of MBA-speak, into a blender set on Puree. (Also, LovelySpouseAnn seriously needs to work on her “adoring political helpmeet” expression. Not every presidential candidate’s wife can be Nancy Reagan, but right now Ann would lose a competition with Laura Bush.)

  21. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney’s not-so special relationship.

    Mitt Romney leaves London for Israel on Saturday, the second leg of his foreign tour, presumably hoping he’ll get a better reception from the press there.

    His aim, we are told, is to stress the shared values of that country and the USA, a relationship he will say is anchored in tragedy and survival.

    Survive is about what he has done in London.

    His team are not yet willing to talk on or off the record about the drubbing he got at the hands of the British press.

    Not wishing to indulge in even a little face-saving spin must be a sign of deep trauma.

    I’m told Mr Romney thought the opening ceremony was “absolutely amazing”, and wanted to thank the organisers for a spectacular show.

    But as no cameras were allowed near Mr Romney, we don’t know how he felt during the Olympics’ literally all-dancing celebration of the single-payer health scheme (the NHS).

    This musical tribute to what he calls the “European entitlement society” can’t have made him stand up and cheer.

    Talking about how Mr Romney’s visit to London went, aside from the Olympics debacle, may seem rather like that old joke: “Apart from that, how was the play, Mrs Lincoln?”

  22. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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